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FUNDAMENTALS OF CRIMINAL LAW

Art. 63. Rules for the application of indivisible penalties. — In all cases in which the law prescribes a single
indivisible penalty, it shall be applied by the courts regardless of any mitigating or aggravating circumstances that
may have attended the commission of the deed.
In all cases in which the law prescribes a penalty composed of two indivisible penalties, the following rules shall be
observed in the application thereof:
1. When in the commission of the deed there is present only one aggravating circumstance, the greater penalty
shall be applied.
2. When there are neither mitigating nor aggravating circumstances and there is no aggravating circumstance, the
lesser penalty shall be applied.
3. When the commission of the act is attended by some mitigating circumstances and there is no aggravating
circumstance, the lesser penalty shall be applied.
4. When both mitigating and aggravating circumstances attended the commission of the act, the court shall
reasonably allow them to offset one another in consideration of their number and importance, for the purpose of
applying the penalty in accordance with the preceding rules, according to the result of such compensation.

Art. 64. Rules for the application of penalties which contain three periods. — In cases in which the
penalties prescribed by law contain three periods, whether it be a single divisible penalty or composed of three
different penalties, each one of which forms a period in accordance with the provisions of Articles 76 and 77, the
court shall observe for the application of the penalty the following rules, according to whether there are or are not
mitigating or aggravating circumstances:
1. When there are neither aggravating nor mitigating circumstances, they shall impose the penalty prescribed by
law in its medium period.
2. When only a mitigating circumstances is present in the commission of the act, they shall impose the penalty in
its minimum period.
3. When an aggravating circumstance is present in the commission of the act, they shall impose the penalty in its
maximum period.
4. When both mitigating and aggravating circumstances are present, the court shall reasonably offset those of one
class against the other according to their relative weight.
5. When there are two or more mitigating circumstances and no aggravating circumstances are present, the court
shall impose the penalty next lower to that prescribed by law, in the period that it may deem applicable, according
to the number and nature of such circumstances.
6. Whatever may be the number and nature of the aggravating circumstances, the courts shall not impose a
greater penalty than that prescribed by law, in its maximum period.
7. Within the limits of each period, the court shall determine the extent of the penalty according to the number and
nature of the aggravating and mitigating circumstances and the greater and lesser extent of the evil produced by
the crime.

INDETERMINATE SENTENCE LAW

Section 1. Hereafter, in imposing a prison sentence for an offense punished by the Revised Penal Code, or its
amendments, the court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate sentence the maximum term of which shall
be that which, in view of the attending circumstances, could be properly imposed under the rules of the said Code,
and the minimum which shall be within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by the Code for the
offense; and if the offense is punished by any other law, the court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate
sentence, the maximum term of which shall not exceed the maximum fixed by said law and the minimum shall not
be less than the minimum term prescribed by the same.

Sec. 2. This Act shall not apply to persons convicted of offenses punished with death penalty or life-imprisonment;
to those convicted of treason, conspiracy or proposal to commit treason; to those convicted of misprision of
treason, rebellion, sedition or espionage; to those convicted of piracy; to those who are habitual delinquents; to
those who have escaped from confinement or evaded sentence; to those who having been granted conditional
pardon by the Chief Executive shall have violated the terms thereof; to those whose maximum term of
imprisonment does not exceed one year, not to those already sentenced by final judgment at the time of approval
of this Act, except as provided in Section 5 hereof.

PD 603 (THE CHILD AND YOUTH WELFARE CODE)

Art. 192. Suspension of Sentence and Commitment of Youthful Offender. - If after hearing the evidence in the
proper proceedings, the court should find that the youthful offender has committed the acts charged against him
the court shall determine the imposable penalty, including any civil liability chargeable against him. However,
instead of pronouncing judgment of conviction, the court shall suspend all further proceedings and shall commit
such minor to the custody or care of the Department of Social Welfare, or to any training institution operated by
the government, or duly licensed agencies or any other responsible person, until he shall have reached twenty-one
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years of age or, for a shorter period as the court may deem proper, after considering the reports and
recommendations of the Department of Social Welfare or the agency or responsible individual under whose care he
has been committed.
The youthful offender shall be subject to visitation and supervision by a representative of the Department of Social
Welfare or any duly licensed agency or such other officer as the Court may designate subject to such conditions as
it may prescribe.

G.R. No. 159208 August 18, 2006


RENNIE DECLARADOR, Petitioner, vs.HON. SALVADOR S. GUBATON, Presiding Judge, Branch 14, Roxas
City, and FRANK BANSALES, Respondents.
This is a Petition for Certiorari seeking to nullify the portion of the Decision 1 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
Roxas City, Branch 14, in Criminal Case No. C-1419-10-2002, suspending the sentence of respondent Frank
Bansales and ordering his commitment to the Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth at Concordia, Nueva
Valencia, Guimaras.
Frank Bansales was born on June 3, 1985. He was a student at the Cabug-Cabug National High School in President
Roxas, Capiz. At around 9:45 a.m. on July 25, 2002, Yvonne Declarador was stabbed to death. After conducting
the autopsy on the cadaver, Rural Health Physician Pilar Posadas prepared a Post-Mortem Certificate indicating that
the victim sustained 15 stab wounds on different parts of the body. 2
On October 10, 2002, an Information charging Frank Bansales with murder was filed by the Assistant Provincial
Prosecutor with the Family Court. The accusatory portion reads:
That on or about 9:45 o’clock in the morning of July 25, 2002, inside a classroom in Cabug-Cabug National High
School in President Roxas, Capiz, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the accused
armed with a knife and with intent to kill, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault
and stab with the said knife [his] teacher, one YVONNE DECLARADOR, thereby hitting and inflicting upon the latter
multiple fatal stab wounds in the different parts of the body which caused the immediate death of the said Yvonne
Declarador.
The crime was committed with the attendance of the qualifying aggravating circumstances of evident premeditation
and abuse of superior strength considering that the attack was made by the accused using a long knife which the
latter carried along with him from his house to the school against his lady teacher who was unarmed and
defenseless at that time and by inflicting upon the latter about fifteen (15) fatal knife wounds resulting to her
death. 3
In view of the plea of the accused and the evidence presented, the RTC rendered judgment on May 20, 2003
finding Bansales guilty of murder. However, the court suspended the sentence of the accused and ordered his
commitment to the Regional Rehabilitation for Youth at Concordia, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras. The dispositive
portion of the decision reads:
In view of the Plea of Guilty by the accused and the evidence presented by the prosecution, the court finds CICL
Frank Bansales GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder being charged. Being a minor, 17 years of
age at the time of the commission of the offense charged, he is entitled to a special mitigating circumstance of
minority, and is sentenced to suffer an indeterminate imprisonment of twelve (12) years and one (1) day to
seventeen (17) years and four (4) month of reclusion temporal and to pay the heirs of Yvonne Declarador, a civil
indemnity of Seventy-Five Thousand Pesos (P75,000.00), Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) for moral damages,
Forty-Three Thousand Pesos (P43,000.00) for funeral expenses, attorney’s fee of One Hundred Thousand Pesos
(P100,000.00) and unearned income of One Million Three Hundred Seventy Thousand Pesos and Seventy Centavos
(P1,370,000.70).
The parents (father and mother of juvenile Frank Bansales) and his teacher-in-charge at the Cabug-Cabug National
High School of President Roxas, Capiz, are jointly subsidiarily liable in case of insolvency, as the crime was
established to have been committed inside the classroom of Cabug-Cabug National High School and during school
hours.
Pursuant to the provision of P.D. 603, as amended, the sentence is suspended and the Child in conflict with the law
(CICL), Frank Bansales is ordered committed to the Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth at Concordia, Nueva
Valencia, Guimaras.
Furnish copies of this decision the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor, the Private Prosecutors, the DSWD Capiz
Provincial Office, Roxas City, the Regional Rehabilitation for Youth, Concordia, Guimaras, the accused and his
counsel, Atty. Ramcez John Honrado.
SO ORDERED. 4
On June 2, 2003, the RTC set a preliminary conference for 10:00 a.m. of June 10, 2003 with the Public Prosecutor,
the Social Welfare Officer of the court, and the Officer-in-Charge of the Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth,
considering that the accused would turn 18 on June 3, 2003. 5
Rennie Declarador, the surviving spouse of the deceased, filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of
Court assailing that portion of the decision of the trial court’s decision suspending the sentence of the accused and
committing him to the rehabilitation center.
Petitioner claimed that under Article 192 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 603, as well as A.M. No. 02-1-18-SC
(otherwise known as the Rule on Juveniles in Conflict with the Law), the benefit of a suspended sentence does not
apply to a juvenile who is convicted of an offense punishable by death, 6 reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment.
Citing the ruling of this Court in People v. Ondo, 7 petitioner avers that since Bansales was charged with murder
punishable by reclusion perpetua to death, he is disqualified from availing the benefits of a suspended sentence.
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In his Comment, Bansales avers that petitioner has no standing to file the petition, considering that the offense
charged is a public crime brought in the name of the People of the Philippines; only the Office of the Solicitor
General (OSG) is authorized to file a petition in court assailing the order of the RTC which suspended the service of
his sentence. He further avers that Section 32 of A.M. No. 02-1-18-SC entitles the accused to an automatic
suspension of sentence and allows the court to commit the juvenile to the youth center; hence, the court did not
abuse its discretion in suspending the sentence of the accused.
In reply, petitioner maintains that he has sufficient personality to file the petition.
The OSG, for its part, posits that respondent’s sentence cannot be suspended since he was charged with a capital
offense punishable by reclusion perpetua to death. It insists that the entitlement of a juvenile to a suspended
sentence does not depend upon the sentence actually imposed by the trial court but upon the imposable penalty
for the crime charged as provided for by law.
The issues for resolution are the following: (1) whether petitioner has standing to file the petition; (2) whether
petitioner violated the doctrine of hierarchy of courts in filing his petition with this Court; and (3) whether
respondent court committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in ordering the
suspension of the sentence of respondent Bansales and his commitment to the Regional Rehabilitation Center for
the Youth.
The petition is granted.
On the first issue, we rule for the petitioner. Being the surviving spouse of the deceased and the offended party, he
has sufficient personality to file the instant special civil action for certiorari. 8 This is in line with the underlying
spirit of the liberal construction of the Rules of Court in order to promote their object. 9 Moreover, the OSG has
filed its comment on the petition and has joined the petitioner in his plea for the nullification of the assailed portion
of the RTC decision.
On the second issue, the rule is that a petition for review on certiorari which seeks to nullify an order of the RTC
should be filed in the Court of Appeals in aid of its appellate jurisdiction. 10 A direct invocation of the original
jurisdiction of the Court to issue writs of certiorari may be allowed only when there are special and important
reasons therefor clearly and specifically set out in the petition. 11 This is an established policy necessary to prevent
inordinate demands upon this Court’s time and attention which are better devoted to those matters within its
exclusive jurisdiction, and to prevent further overcrowding of the Court’s docket. 12
However, in Fortich v. Corona, 13 the Court held that considering the nature and importance of the issues raised
and in the interest of speedy justice, and to avoid future litigations, the Court may take cognizance of a petition for
certiorari directly filed before it. 14 Moreover, this Court has suspended its own rules and excepted a particular
case from their operation whenever the interests of justice so require.
In this case, we resolve to take cognizance of the case, involving as it does a juvenile and the application of the
Rule on Juveniles in Conflict with the Law.
The charge against respondent Bansales was murder with the qualifying circumstance of either evident
premeditation or abuse of superior strength. Under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic
Act (Rep. Act) No. 7659, the imposable penalty for the crime is reclusion perpetua to death. The trial court found
him guilty of murder.
Article 192 of P.D. No. 603, as amended, provides:
Art. 192. Suspension of Sentence and Commitment of Youthful Offender. – If after hearing the evidence in the
proper proceedings, the court should find that the youthful offender has committed the acts charged against him,
the court, shall determine the imposable penalty, including any civil liability chargeable against him. However,
instead of pronouncing judgment of conviction, the court, upon application of the youthful offender and if it finds
that the best interest of the public, as well as that of the offender will be served thereby, may suspend all further
proceedings and commit such minor to the custody or care of the Department of Social Welfare and Development
or to any training institution operated by the government or any other responsible person until he shall have
reached twenty-one years of age, or for a shorter period as the court may deem proper, after considering the
reports and recommendations of the Department of Social Welfare and Development or the government training
institution or responsible person under whose care he has been committed.
Upon receipt of the application of the youthful offender for suspension of his sentence, the court may require the
Department of Social Welfare and Development to prepare and submit to the court a social case study report over
the offender and his family.
The youthful offender shall be subject to visitation and supervision by the representative of the Department of
Social Welfare and Development or government training institution as the court may designate subject to such
conditions as it may prescribe.
The benefits of this article shall not apply to a youthful offender who has once enjoyed suspension of sentence
under its provisions or to one who is convicted for an offense punishable by death or life imprisonment or to one
who is convicted for an offense by the Military Tribunals.
The law was reproduced in A.M. No. 02-1-18-SC where, except for those under paragraph 3, Section 32 of the law,
the sentence of the accused is automatically suspended:
Sec. 32. Automatic Suspension of Sentence and Disposition Orders. – The sentence shall be suspended without
need of application by the juvenile in conflict with the law. The court shall set the case for disposition conference
within fifteen (15) days from the promulgation of sentence which shall be attended by the social worker of the
Family Court, the juvenile, and his parents or guardian ad litem. It shall proceed to issue any or a combination of
the following disposition measures best suited to the rehabilitation and welfare of the juvenile: care, guidance, and
supervision orders; Drug and alcohol treatment; Participation in group counseling and similar activities;
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Commitment to the Youth Rehabilitation Center of the DSWD or other centers for juvenile in conflict with the law
authorized by the Secretary of DSWD.
The Social Services and Counseling Division (SSCD) of the DSWD shall monitor the compliance by the juvenile in
conflict with the law with the disposition measure and shall submit regularly to the Family Court a status and
progress report on the matter. The Family Court may set a conference for the evaluation of such report in the
presence, if practicable, of the juvenile, his parents or guardian, and other persons whose presence may be
deemed necessary.
The benefits of suspended sentence shall not apply to a juvenile in conflict with the law who has once enjoyed
suspension of sentence, or to one who is convicted of an offense punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life
imprisonment, or when at the time of promulgation of judgment the juvenile is already eighteen (18) years of age
or over.
Thus, it is clear that a person who is convicted of an offense punishable by death, life imprisonment, or reclusion
perpetua is disqualified from availing the benefits of a suspended sentence. "Punishable" is defined as "deserving
of, or capable, or liable to punishment; liable to be punished; may be punished; liable to punishment." 15 The word
"punishable" does not mean "must be punished," but "liable to be punished" as specified. 16 In U.S. v. Villalon, 17
the Court defined punishable as "deserving of, or liable for, punishment." Thus, the term refers to the possible, not
to the actual sentence. It is concerned with the penalty which may be, and not which is imposed.
The disqualification is based on the nature of the crime charged and the imposable penalty therefor, and not on the
penalty imposed by the court after trial. It is not the actual penalty imposed but the possible one which determines
the disqualification of a juvenile. 18 Despite the disqualification of Bansales, respondent Judge, nevertheless,
ordered the suspension of the sentence meted against him. By this act, respondent Judge committed grave abuse
of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction.
We note that, in the meantime, Rep. Act No. 9344 took effect on May 20, 2006. Section 38 of the law reads:
SEC. 38. Automatic Suspension of Sentence. – Once the child who is under eighteen (18) years of age at the time
of the commission of the offense is found guilty of the offense charged, the court shall determine and ascertain any
civil liability which may have resulted from the offense committed. However, instead of pronouncing the judgment
of conviction, the court shall place the child in conflict with the law under suspended sentence, without need of
application: Provided, however, That suspension of sentence shall still be applied even if the juvenile is already
eighteen (18) years of age or more at the time of the pronouncement of his/her guilt.
Upon suspension of sentence and after considering the various circumstances of the child, the court shall impose
the appropriate disposition measures as provided in the Supreme Court on Juveniles in Conflict with the Law.
The law merely amended Article 192 of P.D. No. 603, as amended by A.M. No. 02-1-18-SC, in that the suspension
of sentence shall be enjoyed by the juvenile even if he is already 18 years of age or more at the time of the
pronouncement of his/her guilt. The other disqualifications in Article 192 of P.D. No. 603, as amended, and Section
32 of A.M. No. 02-1-18-SC have not been deleted from Section 38 of Rep. Act No. 9344. Evidently, the intention of
Congress was to maintain the other disqualifications as provided in Article 192 of P.D. No. 603, as amended, and
Section 32 of A.M. No. 02-1-18-SC. Hence, juveniles who have been convicted of a crime the imposable penalty for
which is reclusion perpetua, life imprisonment or reclusion perpetua to death or death, are disqualified from having
their sentences suspended.
Case law has it that statutes in pari materia should be read and construed together because enactments of the
same legislature on the same subject are supposed to form part of one uniform system; later statutes are
supplementary or complimentary to the earlier enactments and in the passage of its acts the legislature is
supposed to have in mind the existing legislations on the subject and to have enacted the new act with reference
thereto. 19 Statutes in pari materia should be construed together to attain the purpose of an expressed national
policy. 20
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is GRANTED. The Order of the respondent Judge suspending the
sentence of respondent Frank Bansales is NULLIFIED.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 130602 March 15, 2000


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs.MICHAEL FRONDA y QUINDARA, ANTONINO FLORA
y SABADO, JR., LAURO MILLAMINA y CINENSE, JR., accused, MICHAEL FRONDA y QUINDARA, accused-
appellant.
Accused Michael Fronda (hereafter FRONDA); Antonino Flora, Jr.; and Lauro Millamina, Jr., were charged with and
tried for violation of Section 4, Article II of R.A. No. 6425, 1 as amended, before the Regional Trial Court of Baguio
City, Branch 6, in Criminal Case No. 14570-R under an information whose accusatory portion reads as follows:
That on or about the 8th day of October, 1996, in the City of Baguio, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually aiding one another, did then
and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously sell and deliver to PO3 June Corpuz and PO2 Ceasary Harry Bedey,
members of the Philippine National Police, Baguio City, one (1) kilo marijuana leaves wrapped with newspaper, a
prohibited drug, well knowing that the sale and delivery of such drug is prohibited without authority of law to do
so, in violation of the aforementioned provisions of law.
CONTRARY TO LAW. 2
Accused entered a plea of not guilty upon arraignment.
At the trial, the prosecution presented as witnesses PO2 Ceasary Harry Bedey and PO3 June Corpuz, who arrested
the accused, and Police Senior Inspector Alma Margarita Villaseñor, the forensic chemist.
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After its Demurrer to Evidence was denied, the defense presented as witnesses the three accused and their
landlady, Mrs. Lolita Flora.
The prosecution's evidence was faithfully summarized by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) in its
Manifestation and Motion in Lieu of Appellee's Brief as follows:
On October 8, 1998, around 12:00 high noon, Police Officer Cesary Harry Bedey, Desk Officer at the Baguio City
Police Office, was informed by a "concerned citizen" thru telephone that somebody was engaged in selling
marijuana at No. 341 A. Bonifacio Street, Baguio City (TSN, December 11, 1996, p. 3). The caller mentioned the
names of Michael Fronda, Antonino Flora, Jr. and Lauro Millamina, Jr., as the marijuana dealers (TSN, ibid., p. 6).
After referring the matter to his superior, Officer Bedey was advised to look for Police Officer June Corpuz who was
also a resident of No. 341 A. Bonifacio Street (TSN, ibid., p. 4).
When Officer June Corpuz arrived at the police station around 8:30 in the evening, Bedey immediately relayed to
him the information about the drug dealing activities at the given address (TSN, ibid., pp. 4-5). Both of them then
agreed to verify "the information" and proceeded to 341 Bonifacio Street, which was also Corpuz' residence (TSN,
ibid., p. 5).
There were actually two (2) houses at 341 A. Bonifacio Street. The first house was the residence of the land lady,
Lolita Flora, while the second house was a two-storey building leased to bedspacers. There were 2 rooms at the
first floor and also two rooms at the second floor. One room at the first floor was occupied by Fronda, Flora and
Millamina and beside it was another room occupied by one Gilbert Mugot. At the second floor, Officer Corpuz
occupied the room directly above that of the accused (TSN, December 3, 1996, pp. 8-9).
To avoid detection, Corpuz then went ahead of Bedey and a woman companion. Upon reaching the place, he joined
the drinking session held at the room of Gilbert Mugot (TSN, December 3, 1996, pp. 4-5, 10).
Meanwhile, Bedey and his woman companion following Corpuz, proceeded to the house of the landlady and
inquired where the appellant and his co-accused resided (TSN, December 3, 1996, pp. 5-6; TSN, December 11,
1996, p. 5). After Lolita Flora had pointed to one of the rooms at the first floor, Bedey proceeded there and
knocked at the door (TSN, December 11, 1996, p. 7). Somebody from inside then pulled the door open half-way
and asked, "What do you want?" (TSN, ibid., pp. 8-9,11,13).
As soon as the door was opened, Bedey stepped backwards, about 3 to 4 meters (TSN, December 11, 1996, p. 9),
and then asked if he could buy marijuana (TSN, ibid., pp. 9,13).
Someone answered, "there is," and a square package wrapped in newspaper about 1 to 2 inches thick, 8 1/2
inches in width and 11 inches long was then handed to Bedey (TSN, ibid., pp. 9, 15, 16).
Bedey immediately opened the package a little, smelled it and determined that the contents were marijuana (TSN,
ibid., p. 20). At the same time, he asked, "How much?" (TSN, ibid., pp. 13-18).
When somebody answered "P1,000.00," Bedey immediately shouted "positive" (TSN, ibid., pp. 19-20).
Upon hearing Bedey, officer June Corpuz immediately rushed towards him from the next room (TSN, December 3,
1996, p. 11). He and Bedey then advised/invited the occupants of the room to come out (TSN, December 3, 1996,
ibid; December 11, 1996, p. 20) Michael Fronda, Lauro Millamina., Jr., and Antonino Flora, Jr. came out of the
room (TSN, December 11, 1996, p. 22; December 3, 1996, pp. 11,14, 16-17).
The three were immediately brought to the police station and charged with selling marijuana (TSN, December 3,
1996, p. 18; December 11, 1996, p. 32). Meanwhile, the brick of marijuana was turned over to the PNP Crime
Laboratory where Alma Margarita Villaseñor, Forensic Chemist, subjected it to physical, chemical and confirmatory
tests (TSN, December 3, 1996, p. 38). The package, weighing 1.1 kilograms, was confirmed to be marijuana, a
prohibited drug (TSN, ibid., pp. 38-40, Exhibit "D").
The accused's defense is denial. Their version of the incident was also succinctly summarized by the OSG in its
Manifestation and Motion in Lieu of Appellee's Brief, thus:
[The accused] claimed that they hailed from Talogtog, Nueva Ecija and were freshmen students at the University of
Baguio (TSN, February 4, 1997, pp. 13-14; February 6, 1997, p. 2). Since June 1996, they stayed as bedspacers at
the boarding house/apartment of Mrs. Lolita Flora at No. 341 A. Bonifacio Street, Baguio City (TSN, February 4,
1997, p. 3; February 6, 1997, ibid).
From June 16 to September 30, 1996, only the three of them occupied a room located at the first floor of the
apartment. However, on October 1, 1996, one Ramil (Rommel) Oroy from Kapangan, Benguet, was taken in by
Mrs. Lolita Flora as another bedspacer and stayed with them in their room (TSN, February 4, 1997, pp. 3-4;
February 5, 1997, p. 2; February 6, 1997, p. 8).
Around 7:00 o'clock in the evening of October 8, 1996, Fronda, Flora and Millamina came home one after the other
from their respective classes at the University of Baguio. At the time, Oroy was inside, talking with two (2)
unidentified visitors. They did not mind Oroy and his visitors and proceeded to eat their supper. Thereafter, the
three of them went to sleep (TSN, February 4, 1997, pp. 6-7, 19 24; February 5, 1997, pp. 9-10; February 6,
1997, pp. 4-6).
They were suddenly awakened when they heard someone calling their names and ordering them to go out of their
room (TSN, February 4, 1997, pp. 8-9; February 5, 1997, p. 4.). As soon as they went out, they were surprised
when they were handcuffed and brought to the police station for allegedly dealing in marijuana (TSN, February 4,
1997, pp. 9-12; February 5, 1997, pp. 6-8; February 6, 1997, pp. 6-7).
Mrs. Lolita Flora confirmed on the stand that, indeed, on October 8, 1996, appellant Fronda, Flora and Millamina
were sharing their room with a new boarder, Rommel/Ramil Oroy.
All the accused vigorously denied having anything to do with the brick of marijuana recovered on the night of 8
October 1996, which they allegedly saw for the first time only during the trial. 3 FRONDA claimed that he did not
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even know what a marijuana was. 4 Millamina denied that he was engaged in selling marijuana, and that any one
of them handed the marijuana to PO2 Bedey. 5
In its Decision of 6 March 1997, 6 the trial court found the prosecution's evidence sufficient to prove that the
accused conspired in delivering or dealing in marijuana. It reasoned that (1) the accused were literally caught
flagrante delicto, delivering or dealing a brick of marijuana to PO2 Bedey; (2) only the accused came out of the
room where the brick of marijuana was obtained; (3) the marijuana was sold and delivered by the three of them, if
not by one of them; (4) since the accused chose to cover up for each other, they must have acted together in
dealing in the marijuana; and (5) notwithstanding the fact that no money was exchanged, there was a transaction
of the delivery of the marijuana and the "twin elements of the selling transaction and the corpus delicti were
present to uphold a conviction under Section 4, Article II of the Dangerous Drugs Act, as amended."
The trial court did not find credible accused's claim that they were mere students, since their classcards,
enrollment or registration papers, or even their teachers and classmates were not presented. It dismissed as
concocted and fabricated the defense's story that a fourth bedspacer named Rommel Oroy/Ramil Uroy was inside
the room of the accused with two unidentified visitors in the night of 8 October 1996 when the marijuana was
obtained by PO2 Bedey, considering that PO3 Corpuz testified categorically that only the three accused came out of
the room as occupants. If indeed Ramil Oroy and his two unidentified visitors were inside the room on that
occasion, they could not have escaped the attention of the policemen, there being only one door to the room and
the two policemen were outside that door when they asked the occupants to come out. Besides, when caught, the
accused did not tell the police that there were other occupants in the room. The Court disbelieved Lolita Flora's
corroborative testimony that a certain Ramil Oroy was also a bedspacer in that room and considered it as a last
minute attempt on her part to help out the three accused to create a doubt on who were inside the room at the
time.
The trial court thus convicted all the accused of violation of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, and sentenced
them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of P500,000, plus costs.
On 11 March 1997, all the three accused filed a Notice of Appeal. 7 However, two days later, Flora and Millamina
filed a Motion for Suspension of Sentence 8 under the provision of P.D. No. 603, as amended. 9 Pending its
resolution, the trial court issued an Order 10 holding in abeyance Flora and Millamina's Notice of Appeal until their
motion was resolved. It also stated that FRONDA's appeal would be forwarded to us only after the resolution of his
co-accused's motion for suspension of sentence.
During the hearing of the motion, the trial court informed Atty. Jaime Ulep, Flora and Millamina's new counsel, that
should the Supreme Court ultimately rule that the movants were not entitled to a suspended sentence, they might
lose their right to appeal because by their move to avail themselves of the benefit of the suspended sentence, they
could be deemed to have withdrawn their appeal and not to have disputed the trial court's finding of guilt. Thus,
Flora and Millamina were required to manifest to the court whether
(1) they are pursuing only the appeal of the decision in this case and therefore their appeal should be forwarded
immediately to the Supreme Court and that they are withdrawing their Motion for Suspension of Sentence which
shall no longer be resolved by the court; or
(2) they are pursuing only the motion to suspend sentence and therefore withdrawing their notice of appeal in
which case the court will resolve the Motion to Suspend Sentence immediately; or
(3) they are pursuing their motion for a suspension of sentence which should therefore be resolved by the court
and in the event the accused minors do not qualify, their appeal of the decision of the court convicting them should
nevertheless be forwarded to the Supreme Court as they are also pursuing the appeal. 11
In his Manifestation of 26 May 1997 Atty. Ulep stated that accused Flora and Millamina were "pursuing their motion
for a suspension of sentence and/or for the suspension of further proceedings under Article 192 of P.D. 603, as
amended"; and in the possibility that they would not qualify, they would file a petition to be admitted to bail and to
avail themselves of their right to appeal the decision. 12
On 4 June 1997, the trial court granted Flora and Millamina's motion for suspension of sentence 13 and amended
its decision by (1) reducing their penalty to an indeterminate penalty ranging from 6 years and 1 day of prision
mayor as minimum to 14 years, 8 months and 1 day of reclusion temporal as maximum on ground of the
privileged mitigating circumstance of minority, both being below 18 years of age at the time the offense was
committed; (2) suspending their sentence for two years from 4 June 1997; (3) releasing Flora and Millamina and
committing them to the custody of their parents and grandparents, respectively, with the supervision of the
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Nueva Ecija; and (4) stating that should they behave
properly, they would be discharged and their case would be dismissed; otherwise, they would be returned to the
court for pronouncement of their penalty.
In its Order of 9 June 1997, the trial court forwarded to us the records of the case "for purposes of the appeal of
Michael Fronda only," 14 and ordered FRONDA's commitment to the Bureau of Corrections in Muntinlupa City for
preventive imprisonment pending appeal. 15
In our Resolution of 19 January 1998 we accepted not only the appeal of FRONDA, but also those of Flora and
Millamina. The acceptance of the appeals of Flora and Millamina was erroneous because they did not appeal from
the Amended Decision. Consequently, we shall deal only with FRONDA's appeal.
FRONDA alleges that (a) the trial court erred in convicting him solely on the basis of circumstantial evidence, and in
totally disregarding the evidence for the defense; (b) the prosecution's evidence is insufficient to warrant a
conviction; and (c) there being no factual or legal basis, the decision is a complete nullity.
For the State, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed a Manifestation and Motion in Lieu of Appellee's Brief,
submitting that the prosecution's evidence fails to meet the quantum of evidence required to overcome the
7

constitutional presumption of innocence; and thus, regardless of the supposed weakness of their defense, all the
accused are entitled to acquittal. It therefore recommends the acquittal not only of appellant FRONDA, but also of
his co-accused, Flora and Millamina.
In every criminal prosecution, the identity of the offender or offenders, like the crime itself, must be established by
proof beyond reasonable doubt. Identification which does not preclude a reasonable possibility of mistake cannot
be accorded any evidentiary force. 16 Thus, where eyewitnesses contradict themselves on the identity of the
malefactor, the element of reasonable doubt is injected and cannot be lightly disregarded. 17 In the absence of
proof beyond reasonable doubt as to the identity of the culprit, the accused's constitutional right of presumption of
innocence until the contrary is proved is not overcome, and he is entitled to an acquittal 18 even though his
innocence may be doubted. 19 The constitutional presumption of innocence guaranteed to every individual is of
primary importance, and the conviction of the accused must rest not on the weakness of the defense but on the
strength of the evidence for the prosecution. 20
In the instant case, as correctly pointed out by both FRONDA and the OSG, the trial court's finding that FRONDA
and the other accused were "literally caught flagrante delicto, delivering or dealing in a brick of marijuana to Police
Officer Bedey" is not supported by the evidence adduced by the prosecution. Flagrante delicto means "[i]n the very
act of committing the crime." 21 To be caught flagrante delicto, therefore, necessarily implies positive identification
by the eyewitness or eyewitnesses. Such is a "direct evidence" of culpability, which is "that which proves the fact in
dispute without the aid of any inference or presumption" 22 in contrast to circumstantial evidence which is "the
proof of facts from which, taken collectively, the existence of the particular fact in dispute may be inferred as a
necessary or probable consequence." 23 Circumstantial evidence, however, is not a weaker form of evidence vis-á-
vis direct evidence, for our rules make no distinction between direct evidence of fact and evidence of circumstances
from which the existence of a fact may be inferred. 24 No greater degree of certainty is required when the
evidence is circumstantial than when it is direct; for in either case, the trier of fact must be convinced beyond
reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused. 25
In this case, as pointed out by the parties, neither PO2 Bedey, who transacted with and obtained the brick of
marijuana from "somebody" in the room at 341 A. Bonifacio St., Baguio City, nor PO3 Corpuz, who rushed to the
scene upon hearing Bedey shout "Positive," could identify the person or persons Bedey was talking to and dealing
with prior to and at the time the brick of marijuana was obtained. Thus, the trial court had to resort to inference
that since Bedey obtained the brick of marijuana from "somebody" from the same room occupied by FRONDA and
the other accused who, when their names were called, "volunteered" as occupants of the room, then one or some
of them must be responsible for selling and delivering to Bedey the marijuana.
From the testimony of PO2 Bedey on the circumstances resulting in the delivery of a brick of marijuana, it is clear
that none of the accused was caught flagrante delicto selling or delivering marijuana. Due to the darkness and lack
of illumination inside and outside the door where the transaction took place, Bedey could not identify the person he
was dealing with. He was not even sure how many person or persons he was talking to that night in question.
Significantly, he admitted that there were several persons who came out of the room other than the accused. Like
PO3 Corpuz, he did not even bother to enter the room to check whether there were persons other than the
accused. When Bedey was given the final chance to identify who among the three accused talked to him and
handed him the marijuana, he could not do so. 26
PO3 Corpuz, who was in another room when Bedey obtained the marijuana, neither witnessed the transaction
leading to the delivery of marijuana. His testimony that only the accused came out of the room was materially
contradicted by Bedey's testimony that besides the accused, there were other persons who came out of the room.
Moreover, Corpuz also admitted during cross examination that, like Bedey, he did not enter the room of the
accused and thus could not definitely rule out the possibility that there were other persons in the room aside from
the three. 27
In view of the admissions by the police officers who conducted the "operation" that they could not identify the
person or persons who transacted with Bedey and delivered the brick of marijuana, and that they did not bother to
enter the room where the marijuana was obtained, there is no moral certainty that FRONDA and the other accused
were responsible for the delivery of marijuana to Bedey.
Indeed, far from having been caught flagrante delicto, the evidence against FRONDA and his co-accused is, at
most, only circumstantial in nature. Where the evidence is purely circumstantial, there should be an even greater
need than usual to apply with vigor the rule that the prosecution cannot depend on the weakness of the defense
and that any conviction must rest on nothing less than a moral certainty of guilt of the accused. 28 Under the Rules
of Court, circumstantial evidence would be sufficient for conviction if the following concur: (a) there is more than
one circumstance; (b) the facts from which the inferences are derived are proved; and (c) the combination of all
the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. Or, as jurisprudentially formulated,
a judgment of conviction based on circumstantial evidence can be upheld only if the circumstances proven
constitute an unbroken chain which leads to one fair and reasonable conclusion pointing to the accused, to the
exclusion of all others, as the guilty person; i.e., the circumstances proven must be consistent with each other and
consistent with the hypothesis that the accused is guilty. 29
The only circumstantial evidence clearly established by the prosecution against the accused are the following: (1)
the fact that a brick of marijuana was obtained by Bedey from "somebody" inside the room which the appellants
were also occupying; and (2) when called out, the accused "volunteered" to come out of the room. The concordant
combination and cumulative effect of these circumstances do not satisfy the requirements of Section 4, Rule 133 of
the Rules of Court. They do not conclusively establish the guilt of the accused beyond any reasonable doubt. They
do not exclude the possibility that other persons might have been the ones who transacted with Bedey and handed
8

him the marijuana principally because the police officers failed to seal off the area from other curious boarders and
to enter the room to ensure that no other persons were still inside that room. Notably, Bedey testified that there
were other persons besides the accused who came out of the room.
The foregoing disquisitions render unnecessary a discussion on the trial court's finding of conspiracy.
A final word on the fate of Flora and Millamina is in order. We disagree with the view of the trial court that the
application and grant of Flora and Millamina's suspension of sentence presupposed their acceptance of the finding
of guilt against them and constituted a waiver of the right to appeal. It must be emphasized that an application for
suspension of sentence under the provisions of Article 192 of the Child and Youth Welfare Code is not the same as
an application for probation, which is deemed a waiver of their right to appeal. 30 There is nothing in the said Code
which prohibits a youthful offender from appealing his conviction after he proves to be incorrigible and the trial
court proceeds to pronounce its judgment of guilty and sentence against him. 31 In fact, as amended by P.D. No.
1179, Article 197 of the Code expressly provides that the convicted offender may still apply for probation under the
provisions of P. D. No. 968. Conversely, the accused may pursue his appeal if he chooses not to avail himself of the
benefits of probation. Although the right to appeal is a statutory right, it is an essential part of the judicial system.
Courts should proceed with caution so as not to deprive a party of this right; they should, instead, afford every
party-litigant the amplest opportunity for the proper and just disposition of his cause, free from the constraints of
technicalities. 32
At any rate, even if Flora and Millamina did not pursue their appeal, the acquittal of FRONDA and our finding that
the prosecution has not established the guilt of all the accused beyond reasonable doubt must, perforce, benefit
Flora and Millamina. 33 First, neither the charge of conspiracy nor their individual liability was proved beyond
reasonable doubt. Second, under Section 11 (a), Rule 122 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, an "[a]ppeal taken
by one or more of several accused shall not affect those who did not appeal, except in so far as the judgment of
the appellate court is favorable and applicable to the latter." After all, the grant of suspended sentence to accused
Flora and Millamina does not mean that they are already exonerated from the crime charged; only that the
pronouncement of judgment and the service of sentence are suspended 34 until their return to court for final
disposition depending on their conduct and the progress of rehabilitation. 35 Should the criminal case against them
be dismissed based on their observance of good conduct, it would only mean that they would suffer no penalty. 36
WHEREFORE, the Amended Decision of the RTC, Baguio City, Branch 6, in Criminal Case No. 14570-R is hereby
REVERSED. A new judgment is hereby rendered ACQUITTING MICHAEL FRONDA y QUINDARA and his co-accused
ANTONINO FLORA y SABADO, JR., and LAURO MILLAMINA y CINENSE, JR. The Director of the Bureau of
Corrections is directed to immediately release from confinement MICHAEL FRONDA unless his further detention is
warranted by virtue of any lawful cause, and to make a report of such release within five (5) days from notice
hereof.
Costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED.

PD NO. 968 (ESTABLISHING A PROBATION SYSTEM)


Sec. 9. Disqualified Offenders. — The benefits of this Decree shall not be extended to those:
(a) sentenced to serve a maximum term of imprisonment of more than six years;
(b) convicted of any offense against the security of the State;
(c) who have previously been convicted by final judgment of an offense punished by imprisonment of not less than
one month and one day and/or a fine of not less than Two Hundred Pesos;
(d) who have been once on probation under the provisions of this Decree; and
(e) who are already serving sentence at the time the substantive provisions of this Decree became applicable
pursuant to Section 33 hereof.

G.R. Nos. L-69810-14 June 19, 1985


TEODULO RURA vs. HON. GERVACIO A. LEOPENA, ET AL.
This case involves the application of the Probation Law (P.D. No. 968, as amended), more specifically Section 9
thereof which disqualifies from probation those persons:
(c) who have previously been convicted by final judgment of an offense punished by imprisonment of not less than
one month and one day and or a fine of not less than Two Hundred Pesos.
Petitioner Teodulo Rura was accused, tried and convicted of five (5) counts of estafa committed on different dates
in the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Tubigon-Clarin, Tubigon, Bohol, denominated as Criminal Case Nos. 523, 524,
525, 526 and 527.
The five cases were jointly tried and a single decision was rendered on August 18, 1983. Rura was sentenced to a
total prison term of seventeen (17) months and twenty-five (25) days. In each criminal case the sentence was
three (3) months and fifteen (15) days.
Rura appealed to the Regional Trial Court of Bohol but said court affirmed the decision of the lower court. When the
case was remanded to the court of origin for execution of judgment, Rura applied for probation. The application
was opposed by a probation officer of Bohol on the ground Chat Rura is disqualified for probation under Sec. 9 (c)
of the Probation law quoted above. The court denied the application for probation. A motion for reconsideration was
likewise denied. Hence the instant petition.
The question which is raised is whether or not the petitioner is disqualified for probation.
In denying the application for probation, the respondent judge said:
9

Though the five estafa cases were jointly tried and decided by the court convicting the accused thereof, yet the
dates of commission are different. Upon conviction he was guilty of said offenses as of the dates of commission of
the acts complained of. (Rollo, p, 58.)
Upon the other hand, the petitioner argues:
We beg to disagree. There is no previous conviction by final judgment to speak of. The five (5) cases of Estafa
were tried jointly and there is only one decision rendered on the same date—August 18. 1983. It could not be
presumed that accused-petitioner had been convicted one after the other for the five cases of Estafa because the
conviction in these cases took place within the same day, August 18, 1983 by means of a Joint Decision, and not in
a separate decision.
Previous conviction, we submit, presupposes that there is a prior sentence or that there was already a decision
rendered which convicted the accused. In this instant cases, however, there is only one decision rendered on the
five (5) counts of Estafa which was promulgated on the same date. In other words the effects of conviction does
not retract to the date of the commission of the offense as the trial court held. (Id., pp, 8-9.)
We hold for the petitioner. When he applied for probation he had no previous conviction by final judgment. When
he applied for probation the only conviction against him was the judgment which was the subject of his application.
The statute relates "previous" to the date of conviction, not to the date of the commission of the crime.
WHEREFORE, the petition is granted and the respondent judge is directed to give due course to the petitioner's
application for probation. No costs.

G.R. No. 127899 December 2, 1999


SANTOS VS. COURT OF APPEALS
At bar is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the Decision, 1 Resolution,
2 and Supplemental Resolution 3 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 38522.
The facts that matter are as follows:
Petitioner issued fifty-four (54) checks in the total amount of Three Million Nine Hundred Eighty Nine Thousand One
Hundred Seventy-Five and 10/100 (P3,989,175.10) Pesos, all of which checks were dishonored upon presentment
to the drawee bank.
On October 12, 1993, the petitioner was charged with fifty-four (54) counts of violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang
22 ("BP 22") in fifty-four (54) separate Informations, docketed as Criminal Case Nos. 102009 to 102062,
respectively, before Branch 160 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City. To the said accusations, petitioner
pleaded not guilty upon arraignment. After trial, she was found guilty in a Decision promulgated on December 20,
1994, sentencing her to a total prison term of fifty-four (54) years and to pay P3,989,175.10 to the private
respondent.
Petitioner therefore, filed an application for probation, which was referred by Presiding Judge Umali to the
Probation Officer of Marikina, for investigation, report, and recommendation.
Private respondent opposed subject application for probation on the grounds that: the petitioner is not eligible for
probation because she has been sentenced to suffer an imprisonment of fifty-four (54) years, and she failed to pay
her judgment debt to the private respondent.
On January 6, 1995, private respondent presented a "Motion for a Writ of Execution", which motion was granted by
Judge Umali in an Order dated January 11, 1995. Thus, the corresponding writ of execution issued for the
implementation and satisfaction of the monetary aspect of the said Decision. Thereafter, the sheriff prepared and
signed a Notice of Levy on Execution over several properties belonging to the petitioner.
On February 13, 1995, petitioner and her husband executed a "Deed of Absolute Sale" deeding out in favor of
Teodoro S. Dijamco ("Mr. Dijamco") for P264,570.00 a parcel of land in La Trinidad, Benguet ("Benguet Property"),
covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-18721 ("TCT No. T-18721"). On the same day, the sheriff annotated
the Notice of Levy on Execution on the dorsal portion of TCT No. T-18721.
On March 29, 1995, Mr. Dijamco filed an "Affidavit of Third-Party-Claim" over the same Benguet property on the
strength of the said previous sale but averring already a consideration of P3,000,000.00. Attached thereto are the
checks he allegedly paid for subject property.
On May 5, 1995, private respondent interposed a "Supplemental Opposition" to the application for probation;
contending that:
xxx xxx xxx
2. Recent developments show that the accused had been disposing and/or mortgaging her properties in obvious
attempt to negate the satisfaction of her civil liability to herein private complainant, as evidenced by the Affidavit of
Third Party Claim filed by Teodoro S. Dijamco and the Real Estate Mortgage executed by the accused in favor of
the Rural Bank of Angono, Inc. (attached as Annexes "A" and "B" in the Comment/Opposition to the Post Sentence
Investigation Report).
3. It must be stressed that the real estate mortgage was executed by the accused in anticipation of an unfavorable
judgment and that the alleged sale the real property in favor of Teodoro Dijamco was made after this Honorable
Court had rendered judgment convicting the accused of the crime charged and after notice of levy on execution
had been annotated on the title. Clearly, the said mortgage and sale executed by the accused constitute indirect
contempt under Sec. 3 of Rule 71 of the Rules of Court and the accused may likewise be prosecuted criminally for
the said acts.
4. Moreover, the accused is disqualified from the benefits of the aforecited Decree as she has been sentenced to a
total of fifty four (54) years of imprisonment.
10

5. From the foregoing, it is crystal clear that the accused is not entitled to the benefits of the probation law and
that the acts enumerated constitute indirect contempt.
In the Order he issued on June 30, 1995, Judge Umali granted petitioner's application for probation for a period of
six (6) years, subject to the following terms and conditions, to wit:
1. Probationer shall report initially to the Chief parole and Probation Officer at Marikina Parole & Probation Off. Hall
of Justice, Marikina within seventy-two hours from receipt of the Order granting Probation.
2. She shall, thereafter, report to her supervising probation and parole officer 2 times a month, unless otherwise
modified by the Chief Probation and Parole Officer.
3. She shall reside in #8 Jazmin, Twinsville Subd. Concepcion, Marikina and shall not change her residence without
approval of the supervising probation and parole officer or of the Court, as the case may be.
4. She shall secure a written permit to travel outside the jurisdiction of the parole and probation office from the
chief probation officer, and from the Court if such travel exceeds thirty (30) days.
5. She shall allow the supervising probation officer, or an authorized Volunteer Aide to visit her place of work and
home.
6. She shall meet her family responsibilities.
7. She shall devote herself to a specific employment and shall not change said employment without prior notice to
the supervising officer; and/or shall pursue a prescribed secular study or vocational training.
8. She shall refrain from associating with persons of questionable character, and shall not commit any other
offense.
9. She shall cooperate with her program of supervision, and shall satisfy any other condition related to her
rehabilitation and not unduly restrictive of her liberty or incompatible with her freedom of conscience.
10. She shall plant at least five (5) fruit bearing trees in his backyard or any government lot as part of her
rehabilitation.
11. She shall participate in the Parole and Probationer's Project as clean and green project in Marikina and attend
the First Friday Mass at the Hall of Justice of Marikina.
Private respondent moved for reconsideration but to no avail. Her motion for reconsideration was denied.
Dissatisfied, the private respondent filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the
Rules of Court, questioning the grant of probation. In its Decision 4 dated August 16, 1996, the Court of Appeals
ruled thus:
IN THE LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the Petition is GRANTED. The Orders of the Respondent Judge, Annexes
"A" and "B" of the Petition are SET ASIDE. Let the records of this case be remanded to the Court a quo. The
Respondent Judge is hereby directed to issue a warrant for the arrest of the Private Respondent.
Private respondent filed a Motion for Reconsideration 5 of the above Decision but the same was denied in the
Resolution 6 dated January 7, 1997, holding:
Anent Private Respondent's "Motion for Reconsideration", We find no valid justification for a reversal or
reconsideration of our Decision. Private Respondent's claim that the Petitioner is not the proper party-in-interest to
file the Petition is barren of merit. In the first place, the Private Respondent, in her Answer/Comment and the
Public Respondent, in his Comment, on the Petition, never claimed that the Petitioner was not the proper party-in-
interest to file the Petition. More, the Solicitor General appearing for the Public Respondent has not filed any
"Motion for Reconsideration" of our Decision. Evidently, the Solicitor General is in accord with our Decision.
Anent Petitioner's "Motion for the Issuance of a Hold Departure Order", We find the said motion meritorious and
hereby grants the same. Accordingly, the Commissioner & Immigration and Deportation is hereby directed not to
allow the departure from the Philippines of the Private Respondent Marilyn C. Santos, married, and a resident of
No. 8 Jasmin Street, Twinville Subdivision, Marikina City, until further orders of this Court.
SO ORDERED.
In a Supplemental Resolution 7 dated January 29, 1997, the Court of Appeals elucidated further its Resolution that
the herein petitioner is the real party-in-interest, and declared that there were no procedural lapses in the granting
of private respondent's petition.
Having lost the case before the Court of Appeals, petitioner has come to this Court for relief; contending that:
I
PRIVATE RESPONDENT CORAZON T. CASTRO IS NOT THE REAL PARTY IN INTEREST TO QUESTION THE GRANT OF
PROBATION TO HEREIN PETITIONER.
II
NON-PAYMENT OF THE CIVIL LIABILITY IMPOSED ON PETITIONER IN THE DECISION RENDERED IN THE CRIMINAL
CASE IS NOT A GROUND FOR THE REVOCATION OF PROBATION.
III
THE COURT OF APPEALS IS MORE INTERESTED IN THE FULL SATISFACTION OF PRIVATE RESPONDENT CORAZON
T. CASTRO RELATIVE TO THE CIVIL ASPECT OF CASE THAN IN THE REHABILITATION OF PETITIONER AS A
PROBATIONER. THIS IS HIGHLY IMPROPER.
IV
THE GRANT OF PROBATION TO PETITIONER MARILYN C. SANTOS IS FAIT ACCOMPLI AND SHE HAS COMPLIED
WITH THE CONDITIONS OF THE PROBATION GRANTED HER.
V
THE GRANT OF PROBATION BY JUDGE UMALI TO PETITIONER UNDER THE FACTS OBTAINING DOES NOT
CONSTITUTE GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION.
VI
11

THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN ISSUING A "HOLD DEPARTURE ORDER"
TO PREVENT PETITIONER FROM LEAVING THE PHILIPPINES.
Anent the first issue, the Court holds that the private respondent had the personality to bring a special civil action
for certiorari before the Court of Appeals. Being the person aggrieved by petitioner's issuance of bouncing checks,
private respondent has an interest in the civil aspect of the case. It is not true that it is only the State or the People
that can prosecute the special civil action before the Court of Appeals. Private respondent may bring such action in
her own name to protect her interest in the case.
In a special civil action for certiorari filed under Section 1, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court wherein it is alleged that
the trial court committed a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction or on other jurisdictional
grounds, the rules state that the petition may be filed by the person aggrieved. In such case, the aggrieved parties
are the State and the private offended party or complainant. The complainant has an interest in the civil aspect of
the case so he may file such special civil action questioning the decision or action of the respondent court on
jurisdictional grounds. In so doing, complainant should not bring the action in the name of the People of the
Philippines. The action may be prosecuted in name of said complainant. (People v. Santiago, 174 SCRA 143, 153)
xxx xxx xxx
In the instant case, the recourse of the complainant to the respondent Court was therefore proper since it was
brought in his own name and not in that of the People of the Philippines. That the said proceedings benefited the
People is not a reversible error. Neither does it constitute grave abuse of discretion. . . . (De la Rosa v. Court of
Appeals, 253 SCRA 501, 508)
Anent the second, third, and fifth issues, erroneous is petitioner's submission that the Court of Appeals unduly
stressed petitioner's non-satisfaction of her civil liability as the basis for reversing the grant of probation to her.
The proper approach to the problem, and the Court considers the same as the pivotal issue in this case, is whether
the petitioner is entitled to probation.
The point of conflict is whether the petitioner is qualified to be granted probation. Stated otherwise, has petitioner
shown her qualifications entitling her to the grant of probation? Is society better off with petitioner in jail or should
petitioner be allowed to co-mingle with the people, subject to some conditions, despite her criminal record?
Probation is not a right of an accused but a mere privilege, an act of grace and clemency or immunity conferred by
the state, which may be granted to a seemingly deserving defendant who thereby escapes the extreme rigors of
the penalty imposed by law for the offense for which he was convicted. 8 The primary objective in granting
probation is the reformation of the probationer. Courts must be meticulous enough to ensure that the ends of
justice and the best interest of the public as well as the accused be served by the grant of
probation. 9
Probation is a just privilege the grant of which is discretionary upon the court. Before granting probation, the court
must consider the potentiality of the offender to reform, together with the demands of justice and public interest,
along with other relevant circumstances. 10 The courts are not to limit the basis of their decision to the report or
recommendation of the probation officer, which is at best only persuasive. 11
In granting petitioner's application for probation, Judge Umali ratiocinated:
Based on the report of the probation officer, accused may be granted probation (P.D. 968, as amended) The
findings of the Parole and Probation Office shows that accused is not considered as a rescidivist [sic]; accused
petitioner is not in need of correctional treatment, but more of an individualize treatment of rehabilitation; offenses
committed by accused/petitioner is not so grave a crime that she can pose a great threat in the peace and order of
the community where she resides; and accused/petitioner is not condemned by the community because of her
cases, it can be presumed that she is still welcome to mingle with the community and participate in any community
projects.
Her failure to satisfy the judgment on the civil liability is not a ground for the denial of the application for probation
of accused. Moreover, the court had earlier issued a writ of execution to satisfy the money judgment in an order
dated January 11, 1995 and the sheriff of this court had issued a notice of levy on execution on the properties of
accused.
Foregoing considered that petition of accused for probation is hereby Granted. (Order, June 30, 1995; Rollo, p. 99)
When the aforesaid order was assailed before it, the Court of Appeals reversed the grant of probation, on the
grounds that the respondent judge gravely abused his discretion and petitioner was unworthy of probation; ruling
thus:
As it was, the Private Respondent had violated, with impunity, Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 no less than fifty-four (54)
times to the damage and prejudice of the Petitioner in the aggregate amount of close to P4,000,000.00. One would
believe that the Private Respondent had learned her lesson, would strive, from then on, to reform, shy away from
doing and abetting injustices to her fellowmen, make amends for her criminal misdeeds, demonstrate remorse and
concomitant determination to reform and turn a new leaf in her life, and reassume her role as a responsible and
productive member of community. On the contrary, after escaping from the specter of imprisonment and averting
the tribulations and vicissitudes of a long prison term, by applying for and securing probation from the Respondent
Judge, Private Respondent resorted to devious chicanery and artifice to prevent Petitioner from recovering her
losses and perpetrate reprehensible if not criminal acts of falsification of the "Deed of Absolute Sale" in favor of
Dijamco over her Benguet property, thus flaunting, once again, her mockery and defiance of justice, foul play and
unabashedly making gross misrepresentations to the Probation Officer.
In fine, then, We find and so declare that the Respondent Judge abused his discretion amounting to lack of
jurisdiction in granting probation to the Private Respondent. Accordingly, We find and so declare that the Orders
complained of, Annexes "A" and "B" of the Petition are null and void." (Decision, p. 24; Rollo, p. 51)
12

The Court finds merit in the determination by the Court of Appeals that the herein petitioner is not entitled to
probation because she had displayed a devious and reprehensible character in trying to evade the implementation
of the execution against her thereby rendering the judgment against her ineffective; as indicated by the following
facts and circumstances, to wit:
1. On February 13, 1995, petitioner disposed of her Benguet property by means of a "Deed of Absolute Sale" in
favor of Mr. Dijamco and had the deed registered in Benguet to preempt the sheriff of the lower court from causing
the "Notice of Levy on Execution" annotated at the back of the title of the Benguet property.
2. The "Deed of Absolute Sale" executed in favor of Mr. Dijamco stated a consideration of P264,570.00 when in
truth and in fact, the consideration was P3,000,000.00, as stated in the uncontested "Affidavit of Third Party Claim"
of Mr. Dijamco and as evidenced by the checks issued to and encashed by petitioner. By understating the price,
petitioner committed acts of falsification causing damage to the government as the latter was deprived of taxes
that should have been paid from the sale.
3. There is evidence to prove that the "Deed of Absolute Sale" may just have been a simulated sale because
petitioner's husband, in his "Affidavit of Third Party Claim" dated February 21, 1995, still claimed the property to
be theirs. There is no mention whatsoever of any sale to Mr. Dijamco.
4. Petitioner never remitted a single centavo of the proceeds of the "Real Estate Mortgage" (in favor of Rural Bank
of Angono, Inc.) and "Deed of Absolute Sale" (in favor of Mr. Dijamco) to the private respondent. If she really had
the good intentions of settling and satisfying the judgment of the trial court, she should have at least offered a
portion of said proceeds to private respondent. Worse, she exhibited a design to compeletely evade her civil
obligation to private respondent.
5. Petitioner's claim that the Benguet property actually belongs to Corazon Leano is of no moment and could not be
given credence. The documentary evidence presented in this case overwhelmingly proves that such claim is puerile
and tenuous. Primarily, the "Deed of Absolute Sale" and "Affidavit of Third Party Claim" (filed by petitioner's
husband) prove their ownership of the Benguet property.
From the foregoing, it can be gleaned unerringly that petitioner has shown no remorse for the criminal acts she
committed against the private respondent. Her issuing subject fifty-four (54) bouncing checks is a serious offense.
To allow petitioner to be placed on probation would be to depreciate the seriousness of her malefactions. Worse,
instead of complying with the orders of the trial court requiring her to pay her civil liability, she even resorted to
devious schemes to evade the execution of the judgment against her. Verily, petitioner is not the penitent offender
who is eligible for probation within legal contemplation. Her demeanor manifested that she is incapable to be
reformed and will only be a menace to society should she be permitted to co-mingle with the public.
With respect to the fourth issue, petitioner's contention that her probation is fait accompli is equally untenable. The
six (6) year period of probation which commenced on June 30, 1995, has not yet been completed. Furthermore,
even if the said period has expired, such lapse of the period of probation does not detract from the fact that the
order granting probation was tainted with grave abuse of discretion. Probation having been improperly granted,
there is no probation to speak of.
Anent the last issue, the Court rules that the issuance of a "hold departure order" against the petitioner is
warranted under the premises. Having displayed a criminal tendency and propensity to evade or disobey the lawful
orders of the trial court, there is indeed the need to restrict the petitioner's movements and activities so as not to
render nugatory the multiple judgments rendered against her.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 38522 AFFIRMED.
No pronouncement as to costs.

RA 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002)


Sec. 70. Probation or Community Service for a First-Time Minor Offender in Lieu of Imprisonment. – Upon
promulgation of the sentence, the court may, in its discretion, place the accused under probation, even if the
sentence provided under this Act is higher than that provided under existing law on probation, or impose
community service in lieu of imprisonment. In case of probation, the supervision and rehabilitative surveillance
shall be undertaken by the Board through the DOH in coordination with the Board of Pardons and Parole and the
Probation Administration. Upon compliance with the conditions of the probation, the Board shall submit a written
report to the court recommending termination of probation and a final discharge of the probationer, whereupon the
court shall issue such an order.
The community service shall be complied with under conditions, time and place as may be determined by the court
in its discretion and upon the recommendation of the Board and shall apply only to violators of Section 15 of this
Act. The completion of the community service shall be under the supervision and rehabilitative surveillance of the
Board during the period required by the court. Thereafter, the Board shall render a report on the manner of
compliance of said community service. The court in its discretion may require extension of the community service
or order a final discharge.chanrobles virtual law library
In both cases, the judicial records shall be covered by the provisions of Sections 60 and 64 of this Act.chanrobles
virtual law library
If the sentence promulgated by the court requires imprisonment, the period spent in the Center by the accused
during the suspended sentence period shall be deducted from the sentence to be served.

MICHAEL PADUA VS. PEOPLE (GR NO. 168546, JULY 23, 2008)
13

This petition for review assails the Decision dated April 19, 2005 and Resolution dated June 14, 2005, of the Court
of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 86977 which had respectively dismissed Michael Padua’s petition for certiorari and
denied his motion for reconsideration. Padua’s petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals assailed the
Orders dated May 11, 2004 and July 28, 2004 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 168, Pasig City, which had
denied his petition for probation.
The facts, culled from the records, are as follows:
On June 16, 2003, petitioner Michael Padua and Edgar Allan Ubalde were charged before the RTC, Branch 168,
Pasig City of violating Section 5, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165, otherwise known as the “Comprehensive
Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002,” for selling dangerous drugs. The Information reads:
The Prosecution, through the undersigned Public Prosecutor, charges Edgar Allan Ubalde y Velchez a.k.a. “Allan”
and Michael Padua y Tordel a.k.a. “Mike”, with the crime of violation of Sec. 5, Art. II, Republic Act No. 9165 in
relation to R.A. [No.] 8369, Sec. 5 par. (a) and (i), committed as follows:
On or about June 6, 2003, in Pasig City, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the accused, Edgar
Allan Ubalde y Velchez and Michael Padua y Tordel, a minor, seventeen (17) years old, conspiring and
confederating together and both of them mutually helping and aiding one another, not being lawfully authorized to
sell any dangerous drug, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously sell, deliver and give away to PO1
Roland A. Panis, a police poseur-buyer, one (1) folded newsprint containing 4.86 grams of dried marijuana fruiting
tops, which was found positive to the tests for marijuana, a dangerous drug, in violation of the said law.
Contrary to law.
When arraigned on October 13, 2003, Padua, assisted by his counsel de oficio, entered a plea of not guilty.
During the pre-trial conference on February 2, 2004, however, Padua’s counsel manifested that his client was
willing to withdraw his plea of not guilty and enter a plea of guilty to avail of the benefits granted to first-time
offenders under Section 70 of Rep. Act No. 9165. The prosecutor interposed no objection. Thus, the RTC
on the same date issued an Order stating that the former plea of Padua of not guilty was considered withdrawn.
Padua was re-arraigned and pleaded guilty. Hence, in a Decision dated February 6, 2004, the RTC found Padua
guilty of the crime charged:
In view of the foregoing, the Court finds accused Michael Padua y Tordel guilty of [v]iolation of Sec. 5 Art. II of
R.A. No. 9165 in relation to R.A. No. 8369 Sec. 5 par. (a) and (i) thereof, and therefore, sentences him to suffer an
indeterminate sentence of six (6) years and one (1) day of Prision Mayor as minimum to seventeen (17) years and
four (4) months of reclusion temporal as maximum and a fine of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00).
No subsidiary imprisonment, however, shall be imposed should [the] accused fail to pay the fine pursuant to Art.
39 par. 3 of the Revised Penal Code.
SO ORDERED.
Padua subsequently filed a Petition for Probation dated February 10, 2004 alleging that he is a minor and a first-
time offender who desires to avail of the benefits of probation under Presidential Decree No. 968 (P.D. No. 968),
otherwise known as “The Probation Law of 1976” and Section 70 of Rep. Act No. 9165. He further alleged that he
possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications under the said laws.
The RTC in an Order dated February 10, 2004 directed the Probation Officer of Pasig City to conduct a Post-
Sentence Investigation and submit a report and recommendation within 60 days from receipt of the order. The
City Prosecutor was also directed to submit his comment on the said petition within five days from receipt of the
order.
On April 6, 2004, Chief Probation and Parole Officer Josefina J. Pasana submitted a Post-Sentence Investigation
Report to the RTC recommending that Padua be placed on probation.
However, on May 11, 2004, public respondent Pairing Judge Agnes Reyes-Carpio issued an Order denying the
Petition for Probation on the ground that under Section 24 of Rep. Act No. 9165, any person convicted of drug
trafficking cannot avail of the privilege granted by the Probation Law. The court ruled thus:
Before this Court now is the Post-Sentence Investigation Report (PSIR) on minor Michael Padua y Tordel prepared
by Senior Parole and Probation Officer Teodoro Villaverde and submitted by the Chief of the Pasig City Parole and
Probation Office, Josefina J. Pasana.
In the aforesaid PSIR, Senior PPO Teodoro Villaverde recommended that minor Michael Padua y Tordel be placed
on probation, anchoring his recommendation on Articles 189 and 192 of P.D. 603, otherwise known as the Child
and Welfare Code, as amended, which deal with the suspension of sentence and commitment of youthful offender.
Such articles, therefore, do not find application in this case, the matter before the Court being an application for
probation by minor Michael Padua y Tordel and not the suspension of his sentence.
On the other hand, Section 70 is under Article VIII of R.A. 9165 which deals with the Program for Treatment and
Rehabilitation of Drug Dependents. Sections 54 to 76, all under Article VIII of R.A. 9165 specifically refer to
violations of either Section 15 or Section 11. Nowhere in Article VIII was [v]iolation of Section 5 ever mentioned.
More importantly, while the provisions of R.A. 9165, particularly Section 70 thereof deals with Probation or
Community Service for First- Time Minor Offender in Lieu of Imprisonment, the Court is of the view and so holds
that minor Michael Padua y Tordel who was charged and convicted of violating Section 5, Article II, R.A. 9165,
cannot avail of probation under said section in view of the provision of Section 24 which is hereunder quoted:
“Sec. 24. Non-Applicability of the Probation Law for Drug Traffickers and Pushers. – Any person convicted for drug
trafficking or pushing under this Act, regardless of the penalty imposed by the Court, cannot avail of the privilege
granted by the Probation Law or Presidential Decree No. 968, as amended.” (underlining supplied)
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition for Probation filed by Michael Padua y Tord[e]l should be, as it is
hereby DENIED.
14

SO ORDERED.
Padua filed a motion for reconsideration of the order but the same was denied on July 28, 2004. He filed a petition
for certiorari under Rule 65 with the Court of Appeals assailing the order, but the Court of Appeals, in a Decision
dated April 19, 2005, dismissed his petition. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition is hereby DENIED for lack of merit and ordered DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.
Padua filed a motion for reconsideration of the Court of Appeals decision but it was denied. Hence, this petition
where he raises the following issues:
I.
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DENIAL OF THE PETITION FOR PROBATION
WHICH DEPRIVED PETITIONER’S RIGHT AS A MINOR UNDER ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. [02-1-18-SC]
OTHERWISE KNOWN AS [THE] RULE ON JUVENILES IN CONFLICT WITH THE LAW.
II.
WHETHER OR NOT [THE] ACCUSED[’S] RIGHT [TO BE RELEASED UNDER RECOGNIZANCE] HAS BEEN VIOLATED
OR DEPRIVED IN THE LIGHT OF R.A. 9344 OTHERWISE KNOWN AS AN ACT ESTABLISHING A COMPREHENSIVE
JUVENILE JUSTICE AND WELFARE SYSTEM, CREATING THE JUVENILE JUSTICE AND WELFARE COUNCIL UNDER
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR AND OTHER PURPOSES.
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), representing public respondent, opted to adopt its Comment as its
Memorandum. In its Comment, the OSG countered that
I.
The trial court and the Court of Appeals have legal basis in applying Section 24, Article II of R.A. 9165 instead of
Section 70, Article VIII of the same law.
II.
Section 32 of A.M. No. 02-1-18-SC otherwise known as the “Rule on Juveniles in Conflict with the Law” has no
application to the instant case.
Simply, the issues are: (1) Did the Court of Appeals err in dismissing Padua’s petition for certiorari assailing the
trial court’s order denying his petition for probation? (2) Was Padua’s right under Rep. Act No. 9344, the “Juvenile
Justice and Welfare Act of 2006,” violated? and (3) Does Section 32 of A.M. No. 02-1-18-SC otherwise known as
the “Rule on Juveniles in Conflict with the Law” have application in this case?
As to the first issue, we rule that the Court of Appeals did not err in dismissing Padua’s petition for certiorari.
For certiorari to prosper, the following requisites must concur: (1) the writ is directed against a tribunal, a board
or any officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions; (2) such tribunal, board or officer has acted without or
in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; and (3) there
is no appeal or any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.
“Without jurisdiction” means that the court acted with absolute lack of authority. There is “excess of jurisdiction”
when the court transcends its power or acts without any statutory authority. “Grave abuse of discretion” implies
such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as to be equivalent to lack or excess of jurisdiction. In other
words, power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion, prejudice, or personal hostility,
and such exercise is so patent or so gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal
either to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law.
A review of the orders of the RTC denying Padua’s petition for probation shows that the RTC neither acted without
jurisdiction nor with grave abuse of discretion because it merely applied the law and adhered to principles of
statutory construction in denying Padua’s petition for probation.
Padua was charged and convicted for violation of Section 5, Article II of Rep. Act No. 9165 for selling dangerous
drugs. It is clear under Section 24 of Rep. Act No. 9165 that any person convicted of drug trafficking cannot avail
of the privilege of probation, to wit:
SEC. 24. Non-Applicability of the Probation Law for Drug Traffickers and Pushers. – Any person convicted for drug
trafficking or pushing under this Act, regardless of the penalty imposed by the Court, cannot avail of the privilege
granted by the Probation Law or Presidential Decree No. 968, as amended. (Emphasis supplied.)
The law is clear and leaves no room for interpretation. Any person convicted for drug trafficking or pushing,
regardless of the penalty imposed, cannot avail of the privilege granted by the Probation Law or P.D. No. 968. The
elementary rule in statutory construction is that when the words and phrases of the statute are clear and
unequivocal, their meaning must be determined from the language employed and the statute must be taken to
mean exactly what it says. If a statute is clear, plain and free from ambiguity, it must be given its literal meaning
and applied without attempted interpretation. This is what is known as the plain-meaning rule or verba legis. It is
expressed in the maxim, index animi sermo, or speech is the index of intention. Furthermore, there is the maxim
verba legis non est recedendum, or from the words of a statute there should be no departure.
Moreover, the Court of Appeals correctly pointed out that the intention of the legislators in Section 24 of Rep. Act
No. 9165 is to provide stiffer and harsher punishment for those persons convicted of drug trafficking or pushing
while extending a sympathetic and magnanimous hand in Section 70 to drug dependents who are found guilty of
violation of Sections 11 and 15 of the Act. The law considers the users and possessors of illegal drugs as victims
while the drug traffickers and pushers as predators. Hence, while drug traffickers and pushers, like Padua, are
categorically disqualified from availing the law on probation, youthful drug dependents, users and possessors alike,
are given the chance to mend their ways. The Court of Appeals also correctly stated that had it been the intention
of the legislators to exempt from the application of Section 24 the drug traffickers and pushers who are minors and
first time offenders, the law could have easily declared so.
15

The law indeed appears strict and harsh against drug traffickers and drug pushers while protective of drug
users. To illustrate, a person arrested for using illegal or dangerous drugs is meted only a penalty of six months
rehabilitation in a government center, as minimum, for the first offense under Section 15 of Rep. Act No. 9165,
while a person charged and convicted of selling dangerous drugs shall suffer life imprisonment to death and a fine
ranging from Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00) to Ten Million Pesos (P10,000,000.00) under Section 5,
Rep. Act No. 9165.
As for the second and third issues, Padua cannot argue that his right under Rep. Act No. 9344, the “Juvenile Justice
and Welfare Act of 2006” was violated. Nor can he argue that Section 32 of A.M. No. 02-1-18-SC otherwise known
as the “Rule on Juveniles in Conflict with the Law” has application in this case. Section 68 of Rep. Act No. 9344
and Section 32 of A.M. No. 02-1-18-SC both pertain to suspension of sentence and not probation.
Furthermore, suspension of sentence under Section 38 of Rep. Act No. 9344 could no longer be retroactively
applied for petitioner’s benefit. Section 38 of Rep. Act No. 9344 provides that once a child under 18 years of age is
found guilty of the offense charged, instead of pronouncing the judgment of conviction, the court shall place the
child in conflict with the law under suspended sentence. Section 40 of Rep. Act No. 9344, however, provides that
once the child reaches 18 years of age, the court shall determine whether to discharge the child, order execution of
sentence, or extend the suspended sentence for a certain specified period or until the child reaches the maximum
age of 21 years. Petitioner has already reached 21 years of age or over and thus, could no longer be considered a
child for purposes of applying Rep. Act 9344. Thus, the application of Sections 38 and 40 appears moot and
academic as far as his case is concerned.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed Decision dated April 19, 2005 and the Resolution dated June 14,
2005 of the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

RA 9344 (JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM AND WELFARE SYSTEM)


Sec. 38. Automatic Suspension of Sentence. - Once the child who is under eighteen (18) years of age at the
time of the commission of the offense is found guilty of the offense charged, the court shall determine and
ascertain any civil liability which may have resulted from the offense committed. However, instead of pronouncing
the judgment of conviction, the court shall place the child in conflict with the law under suspended sentence,
without need of application: Provided, however, That suspension of sentence shall still be applied even if the
juvenile is already eighteen years (18) of age or more at the time of the pronouncement of his/her guilt.
Upon suspension of sentence and after considering the various chcumstances of the child, the court shall impose
the appropriate disposition measures as provided in the Supreme Court Rule on Juveniles in Conflict with the Law.
Sec. 40. Return of the Child in Conflict with the Law to Court. - If the court finds that the objective of the
disposition measures imposed upon the child in conflict with the law have not been fulfilled, or if the child in conflict
with the law has willfully failed to comply with the conditions of his/her disposition or rehabilitation program, the
child in conflict with the law shall be brought before the court for execution of judgment.
If said child in conflict with the law has reached eighteen (18) years of age while under suspended sentence, the
court shall determine whether to discharge the child in accordance with this Act, to order execution of sentence, or
to extend the suspended sentence for a certain specified period or until the child reaches the maximum age of
twenty-one (21) years.
BAR QUESTIONS ON INDETERMINATE SENTENCE LAW, PROBATION LAW, MITIGATING AND
AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCES

Indeterminate Sentence Law (1994)


Itos was convicted of an offense penalized by a special law. The penalty prescribed is not less than six years but
not more than twelve years. No modifying circumstance attended the commission of the crime. If you were the
judge, will you apply the Indeterminate Sentence Law? If so, how will you apply it?
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
If I were the judge, I will apply the provisions of the Indeterminate Sentence Law, as the last sentence of Section 1
Act 4103, specifically provides the application thereof for violations of special laws.
Under the same provision, the minimum must not be less than the minimum provided therein (six years and one
day) and the maximum shall not be more than the maximum provided therein, i.e. twelve years. (People vs.
Rosalina Reyes, 186 SCRA 184)
Indeterminate Sentence Law (1999)
Andres is charged with an offense defined by a special law. The penalty prescribed for the offense is imprisonment
of not less than five (5) years but not more than ten [10) years. Upon arraignment, he entered a plea of guilty. In
the imposition of the proper penalty, should the Indeterminate Sentence Law be applied? If you were the Judge
trying the case, what penalty would you impose on Andres? (4%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
Yes, the Indeterminate Sentence Law should be applied because the minimum imprisonment is more than one (1)
year.
If I were the Judge, I will impose an indeterminate sentence, the maximum of which shall not exceed the
maximum fixed by law and the minimum shall not be less than the minimum penalty prescribed by the same. I
have the discretion to impose the penalty within the said minimum and maximum.
Indeterminate Sentence Law (1999)
16

A was convicted of illegal possession of grease guns and two Thompson sub-machine guns punishable under the
old law [RA No,4] with imprisonment of from five (5) to ten (10) years. The trial court sentenced the accused to
suffer imprisonment of five (5) years and one (1) day. Is the penalty thus imposed correct? Explain. (3%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
Indeterminate Sentence Law does not apply to: The penalty imposed, being only a straight penalty, is not correct
because it does not comply with the Indeterminate Sentence Law which applies to this case. Said law requires that
if the offense is punished by any law other than the Revised Penal Code, the court shall sentence the accused to an
indeterminate sentence, the maximum term of which shall not exceed the maximum penalty fixed by the law and
the minimum shall not be less than the minimum penalty prescribed by the same.
Indeterminate Sentence Law (2002)
How are the maximum and the minimum terms of the indeterminate sentence for offenses punishable under the
Revised Penal Code determined? (3%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
For crimes punished under the Revised Penal Code, the maximum term of the Indeterminate sentence shall be the
penalty properly imposable under the same Code after considering the attending mitigating and/or aggravating
circumstances according to Art, 64 of said Code. The minimum term of the same sentence shall be fixed within the
range of the penalty next lower in degree to that prescribed for the crime under the said Code.
Under the law, what is the purpose for fixing the maximum and the minimum terms of the indeterminate sentence?
(2%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
The purpose of the law in fixing the minimum term of the sentence is to set the grace period at which the convict
may be released on parole from imprisonment, unless by his conduct he is not deserving of parole and thus he
shall continue serving his prison term in Jail but in no case to go beyond the maximum term fixed in the sentence.
Indeterminate Sentence Law (2005)
Harold was convicted of a crime defined and penalized by a special penal law where the imposable penalty is from
6 months, as minimum, to 3 years, as maximum.
State with reasons whether the court may correctly impose the following penalties:
a) a straight penalty of 10 months;
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
Yes, because the penalty is less than one year, a straight penalty may be imposed. (People v. Arellano, G.R. No,
46501, October 5, 1939)
ALTERNATIVE ANSWER:
Under the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the minimum imposable penalty shall be imposed but the maximum shall
not exceed the maximum imposable by law.
b) 6 months, as minimum, to 11 months, as maximum;
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
No, because Indeterminate Sentence Law does not apply when the penalty imposed is less than one year (Sec. 2,
Art. 4103, as amended).
c) a straight penalty of 2 years. (5%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
No, because the Indeterminate Sentence Law will apply when the minimum of the penalty exceeds one year.
ALTERNATIVE ANSWER.
If the imposition of straight penalty which consists of the minimum period of the penalty prescribed by law, then it
may be allowed because it favors the accused.
Indeterminate Sentence Law; Exceptions (1999)
Under what circumstances is the Indeterminate Sentence Law not applicable? (2%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
1) Persons convicted of offenses punished with death penalty or life imprisonment; 2) Those convicted of treason,
conspiracy or proposal to commit treason; 3) Those convicted of misprision of treason, rebellion,
sedition or espionage; 4) Those convicted of piracy; 5) Those who are habitual delinquents; 6) Those who shall
have escaped from confinement or
evaded sentence; 7) Those who violated the terms of conditional pardon granted to them by the Chief Executive;
8) Those whose maximum term of imprisonment does not exceed one year;
9) Those who, upon the approval of the law (December 5, 1933). had been sentenced by final Judgment;
10) Those sentenced to the penalty of destierro or suspension.
Indeterminate Sentence Law; Exceptions (2003)
When would the Indeterminate Sentence Law be inapplicable? 4%
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
The Indeterminate Sentence Law is not applicable to:
1) those persons convicted of offenses punished with death penalty or life-imprisonment or reclusion
perpetua;
2) those convicted of treason, conspiracy or proposal to commit treason; 3) those convicted of misprision of
treason, rebellion,
sedition or espionage; 4) those convicted of piracy; 5) those who are habitual delinquents; 6) those who shall have
escaped from confinement or
evaded sentence;
17

7) those who having been granted conditional pardon by the Chief Executive shall have violated the terms
thereof;
8) those whose maximum term of imprisonment does not exceed one year; 9) those already sentenced by final
judgment at the time of approval of this Act; and 10) those whose sentence imposes penalties which do not involve
imprisonment, like destierro.
Penalties; Homicide w/ Modifying Circumstance (1995)
Homer was convicted of homicide. The trial court appreciated the following modifying circumstances: the
aggravating circumstance of nocturnity, and the mitigating circumstances of passion and obfuscation, no intent to
commit so grave a wrong, illiteracy and voluntary surrender. The imposable penalty for homicide is reclusion
temporal the range of which is twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years. Taking into account the
attendant aggravating and mitigating circumstances, and applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, determine the
proper penalty to be imposed on the accused.
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
It appears that there is one aggravating circumstance (nocturnity), and four mitigating circumstances (passion and
obfuscation, no intent to commit so grave a wrong as that committed and voluntary surrender). Par. 4, Art. 64
should be applied. Hence there will be off-setting of modifying circumstances, which will now result in the excess of
three mitigating circumstances. This will therefore justify in reducing the penalty to the minimum period.
The existence of an aggravating circumstance, albeit there are four aggravating, will not justify the lowering of the
penalty to the next lower degree under paragraph 5 of said Article, as this is applicable only if THERE IS NO
AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCE present. Since the crime committed is Homicide and the penalty therefor is
reclusion temporal, the MAXIMUM sentence under the Indeterminate Sentence Law should be the minimum of the
penalty, which is 12 years and 1 day to 14 years and 8 months. The MINIMUM penalty will thus be the penalty next
lower in degree, which is prision mayor in its full extent (6 years and 1 day to 12 years). Ergo, the proper penalty
would be 6 years and 1 day, as minimum, to 12 years and 1 day, as maximum. I believe that because of the
remaining mitigating circumstances after the off-setting it would be very logical to impose the minimum of the
MINIMUM sentence under the ISL and the minimum of the MAXIMUM sentence.
Penalties; Mitigating Circumstances w/out Aggravating Circumstance (1997)
Assume in the preceding problem that there were two mitigating circumstances and no aggravating circumstance.
Impose the proper prison penalty.
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
There being two (2) mitigating circumstances without any aggravating circumstance, the proper prison penalty is
arresto mayor (in any of its periods, ie. ranging from one
(1) month and one (1) day to six (6) months) as MINIMUM to prision correccional in its maximum period four (4)
years, two (2) months, and one (1) day to six (6) years as MAXIMUM. Under Art. 64, par. 5 of the Revised Penal
Code, when a penalty contains three periods, each one of which forms a period in accordance with Article 76 and
77 of the same Code, and there are
two or more mitigating circumstances and no aggravating circumstances, the penalty next lower in degree should
be imposed. For purposes of the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the penalty next lower in degree should be
determined without regard as to whether the basic penalty provided by the Revised Penal Code should be applied
in its maximum or minimum period as circumstances modifying liability may require. The penalty next lower in
degree to prision correccional. Therefore, as previously stated, the minimum should be within the range of arresto
mayor and the maximum is within the range of prision correctional in its maximum period.
Penalties; Parricide w/ Mitigating Circumstance (1997)
A and B pleaded guilty to the crime of parricide. The court found three mitigating circumstances, namely, plea of
guilty, lack of Instruction and lack of intent to commit so grave a wrong as that committed. The prescribed penalty
for parricide is reclusion perpetua to death. Impose the proper principal penalty.
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
The proper penalty is reclusion perpetua. Even if there are two or more mitigating circumstances, a court cannot
lower the penalty by one degree (Art. 63. par. 3, Revised Penal Code; People vs. Formigones, 87 Phil. 685). In U.S.
vs. Relador 60 Phil. 593, where the crime committed was parricide with the two (2) mitigating circumstances of
illiteracy and lack of intention to commit so grave a wrong, and with no aggravating circumstance, the Supreme
Court held that the proper, penalty to be imposed is reclusion perpetua.
Penalties; Preventive Imprisonment (1994)
1) When is there preventive imprisonment? 2) When is the accused credited with the full time of his preventive
imprisonment, and when is he credited with 4/5 thereof?
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
1) There is preventive imprisonment when [a) an offender is detained while the criminal case against him is being
heard, either because the crime committed is a capital offense and not bailable, or even if the crime committed
was bailable, the offender could not post the required bail for his provisional liberty.
2) An accused is credited with the full time of his preventive imprisonment if he voluntarily agreed in writing to
abide by the rules of the institution imposed upon its prisoners, provided that:
a) the penalty imposed on him for the crime committed consists of a deprivation of liberty;
b) he is not disqualified from such credit for being a recidivist, or for having been previously convicted for two or
more times of any crime, or for having failed to surrender voluntarily for the execution of the sentence upon being
so summoned (Art. 29, RPC).
18

Where the accused however did not agree he would only be credited with 4/5 of the time he had undergone
preventive imprisonment.
Penalties; Reclusion Perpetua (RA) No. 7959 (2005)
Under Article 27 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act (RA) No. 7959, reclusion perpetua shall be
from 20 years and 1 day to 40 years. Does this mean that reclusion perpetua is now a divisible penalty? Explain.
(2%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
No, because the Supreme Court has repeatedly called the attention of the Bench and the Bar to the fact that the
penalties of reclusion perpetua and life imprisonment are not synonymous and should be applied correctly and as
may be specified by the applicable law. Reclusion perpetua has a specific duration of 20 years and 1 day to 40
years (Art. 27) and accessory penalties (Art. 41), while life imprisonment has no definite term or accessory
penalties. Also, life imprisonment is imposable on crimes punished by special laws, and not on felonies in the Code
(People vs. De Guzman, G.R. Nos. 51385-86, Jan. 22, 1993; People vs. Estrella, G.R. Nos. 92506-07, April 28,
1993; People vs. Alvero,
G.R. No. 72319, June 30,1993; People vs. Lapiroso, G.R. No. 122507, Feb. 25, 1999).[see Criminal Law
Conspectus, page 156]
Penalties; Reclusion Perpetua vs. Life Imprisonment (1994)
Differentiate reclusion perpetua from life imprisonment.
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
RECLUSION PERPETUA is that penalty provided for in the Revised Penal Code for crimes defined in and penalized
therein except for some crimes defined by special laws which impose reclusion perpetua, such as violations of
Republic Act 6425, as amended by Republic Act 7659 or of PD 1860; while LIFE IMPRISONMENT is a penalty
usually provided for in special laws. Reclusion perpetua has a duration of twenty (20) years and one (1) day to
forty [40] years under Republic Act 7659, while life imprisonment has no duration; reclusion perpetua may be
reduced by one or two degrees; reclusion perpetuates accessory penalties while life imprisonment does not have
any accessory penalties (People vs. Baguio, 196 SCRA 459, People vs. Panellos, 205 SCRA 546).
Penalties; Reclusion Perpetua vs. Life Imprisonment (2001)
After trial, Judge Juan Laya of the Manila RTC found Benjamin Garcia guilty of Murder, the victim having sustained
several bullet wounds in his body so that he died despite medical assistance given in the Ospital ng Manila.
Because the weapon used by Benjamin was unlicensed and the qualifying circumstance of treachery was found to
be present. Judge Laya rendered his decision convicting Benjamin and sentencing him to "reclusion perpetua or life
imprisonment".
Are "reclusion perpetua" and life imprisonment the same and can be imposed interchangeably as in the foregoing
sentence? Or are they totally different? State your reasons. (3%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
The penalty of reclusion perpetua and the penalty of life Imprisonment are totally different from each other and
therefore, should not be used interchangeably.
Reclusion perpetua is a penalty prescribed by the Revised Penal Code, with a fixed duration of imprisonment from
20 years and 1 day to 40 years, and carries it with accessory penalties.
Life imprisonment, on the other hand, is a penalty prescribed by special laws, with no fixed duration of
imprisonment and without any accessory penalty.
Probation Law: Proper Period (2005)
Maganda was charged with violation of the Bouncing Checks Law (BP 22) punishable by imprisonment of not less
than 30 days but not more than 1 year or a fine of not less than but not more than double the amount of the
check, which fine shall not exceed P200,000.00, or both. The court convicted her of the crime and sentenced her to
pay a fine of P50,000.00 with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the private complainant
the amount of the check. Maganda was unable to pay the fine but filed a petition for probation. The court granted
the petition subject to the condition, among others, that she should not change her residence without the court’s
prior approval.
a) What is the proper period of probation?
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
The period shall not be less than twice the total number of days of subsidiary imprisonment. Under Act No. 1732,
subsidiary imprisonment for violations of special laws shall not exceed 6 months at the rate of one day of
imprisonment for every F2.50. Hence, the proper period of probation should not be less than (6 months nor more
than 12 months. Since P50,000.00 fine is more than the maximum subsidiary imprisonment of 6 months at P2.50 a
day.
b) Supposing before the Order of Discharge was issued by the court but after the lapse of the period of probation,
Maganda transferred residence without prior approval of the court. May the court revoke the Order of Probation
and order her to serve the subsidiary imprisonment? Explain.
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
Yes. The Court may revoke her probation. Probation is not coterminous with its period. There must first be issued
by the court an order of final discharge based on the report and recommendation of the probation officer. Only
then can the case of the probationer be terminated.
(Bala v. Martinez, G.R. No. 67301, January 29, 1990, citing Sec. 16 of P.D. No. 968)
Probation Law; Barred by Appeal (1994)
19

On February 3, 1986, Roberto was convicted of arson through reckless imprudence and sentenced to pay a fine of
P15,000.00, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency by the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City.
On February 10, 1986, he appealed to the Court of Appeals. Several months later, he filed a motion to withdraw
the appeal on the ground that he is applying for probation. On May 7, 1987, the Court of Appeals granted the
motion and considered the appeal withdrawn.
On June 10, 1987, the records of the case were remanded to the trial court. Roberto filed a "Motion for Probation"
praying that execution of his sentence be suspended, and that a probation officer be ordered to conduct an
Investigation and to submit a report on his probation.
The judge denied the motion on the ground that pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 1990, which took effect on
July 16,1986, no application for probation shall be entertained or granted if the defendant has perfected an appeal
from the judgment of conviction. Is the denial of Roberto's motion correct?
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
Yes. Even if at the time of his conviction Roberto was qualified for probation but that at the time of his application
for probation, he is no longer qualified, he is not entitled to probation. The qualification for probation must be
determined as of the time the application is filed in Court (Bernardo vs. Judge, etal. GRNo. L86561,Nov, 10. 1992;
Edwin de la Cruz vs. Judge Callejo. et al, SP-19655, April 18, 1990, citing Llamado vs. CA, et al, GR No. 84859,
June 28, 1989; Bernardo us. Judge Balagot, etal, GR 86561, Nov. 10, 1992).
Probation Law; Barred by Appeal (2001)
A, a subdivision developer, was convicted by the RTC of Makati for failure to issue the subdivision title to a lot
buyer despite full payment of the lot, and sentenced to suffer one year Imprisonment. A appealed the decision of
the RTC to the Court of Appeals but his appeal was dismissed. May A still apply for probation? Explain. (5%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
No, A is no longer qualified to apply for probation after he appealed from the judgment of conviction by the RTC.
The probation law (PD 968, as amended by PD1990) now provides that no application for probation shall be
entertained or granted if the accused has perfected an appeal from the judgment of conviction (Sec. 4, PD 968).
Probation Law; Maximum Term vs. Total Term (1997)
The accused was found guilty of grave oral defamation in sixteen (16) informations which were tried jointly and
was sentenced in one decision to suffer in each case a prison term of one (1) year and one (1) day to one (1) year
and eight (8) months of prision correccional. Within the period to appeal, he filed an application for probation under
the Probation Law of 1976, as amended. Could he possibly qualify for probation?
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
Yes. In Francisco vs. Court of Appeals, 243 SCRA 384, the Supreme Court held that in case of one decision
imposing multiple prison terms, the totality of the prison terms should not be taken into account for the purposes
of determining the eligibility of the accused for the
36 of 86
probation. The law uses the word "maximum term", and not total term. It is enough that each of the prison terms
does not exceed six years. The number of offenses is immaterial for as long as the penalties imposed, when taken
individually and separately, are within the probationable period.
Probation Law; Order Denying Probation; Not Appealable (2002)
A was charged with homicide. After trial, he was found guilty and sentenced to six (6) years and one (1) day in
prision mayor, as minimum, to twelve (12) years and one
(1) day of reclusion temporal, as maximum. Prior to his conviction, he had been found guilty of vagrancy and
imprisoned for ten (10) days of arresto manor and fined fifty pesos (P50.00). Is he eligible for probation? Why?
(3%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
No, he is not entitled to the benefits of the Probation Law (PD 968, as amended) does not extend to those
sentenced to serve a maximum term of imprisonment of more than six years (Sec. 9a).
It is of no moment that in his previous conviction A was given a penalty of only ten (10) days of arresto mayor and
a fine of P50.00.
B. May a probationer appeal from the decision revoking the grant of probation or modifying the terms and
conditions thereof? (2%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
No. Under Section 4 of the Probation Law, as amended, an order granting or denying probation is not appealable.
Probation Law; Period Covered (2004)
PX was convicted and sentenced to imprisonment of thirty days and a fine of one hundred pesos. Previously, PX
was convicted of another crime for which the penalty imposed on him was thirty days only. Is PX entitled to
probation? Explain briefly. (5%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
Yes, PX may apply for probation. His previous conviction for another crime with a penalty of thirty days
imprisonment or not exceeding one (1) month does not disqualify him from applying for probation; the penalty for
his present conviction does not disqualify him either from applying for probation, since the imprisonment does not
exceed six (6) years (Sec. 9, Pres. Decree No. 968).
Probation Law; Right; Barred by Appeal (1995)
In a case for violation of Sec. 8, RA 6425, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act, accused Vincent was
given the benefit of the mitigating circumstances of voluntary plea of guilt and drunkenness not otherwise habitual.
He was sentenced to suffer a penalty of six (6) years and one (1) day and to pay a fine of P6,000.00 with the
20

accessory penalties provided by law, plus costs. Vincent applied for probation. The probation officer favorably
recommended his application.
If you were the Judge, what action will you take on the application? Discuss fully.
Suppose that Vincent was convicted of a crime for which he was sentenced to a maximum penalty of ten (10)
years. Under the law, he is not eligible for probation. He seasonably appealed his conviction. While affirming the
judgment of conviction, the appellate court reduced the penalty to a maximum of four (4) years and four (4)
months taking into consideration certain modifying circumstances. Vincent now applies for probation. How will you
rule on his application? Discuss fully.

SUGGESTED ANSWER:
1. If I were the judge, I will deny the application for probation. The accused is not entitled to probation as Sec. 9 of
the Probation Law, PD NO. 968, as amended, specifically mentions that those who "are sentenced to serve a
maximum term of imprisonment of more than six years" are not entitled to the benefits of the law.
2. The law and jurisprudence are to the effect that appeal by the accused from a sentence of conviction forfeits his
right to probation.(Sec. 4, PD No. 968. as amended by PD 1990; Bernardo us. Balagot; Francisco vs. CA: Llamado
vs. CA; De la Cruz vs. Judge Callejo, CA case).
This is the second consecutive year that this question was asked. It is the sincere belief of the Committee that
there is a need to re-examine the doctrine. Firstly, much as the accused wanted to apply for probation he is
proscribed from doing so as the maximum penalty is NOT PROBATIONABLE. Secondly, when the maximum penalty
was reduced to one which allows probation it is but fair and just to grant him that right because it is apparent that
the trial judge committed an error and for which the accused should not be made to suffer. Judicial tribunals in this
jurisdiction are not only courts of law but also of equity. Thirdly, the judgment of the appellate court should be
considered a new decision as the trial court's decision was vacated; hence, he could take advantage of the law
when the decision is remanded to the trial court for execution (Please see Dissenting opinion in Francisco vs. CA).
It is suggested, therefore, that an examinee answering in this tenor should be credited with some points.
Probation Law; Right; Barred by Appeal (2003)
Juan was convicted of the Regional Trial Court of a crime and sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment for a
minimum of eight years. He appealed both his conviction and the penalty imposed upon him to the Court of
Appeals. The appellate court ultimately sustained Juan's conviction but reduced his sentence to a maximum of four
years and eight months imprisonment. Could Juan forthwith file an application for probation? Explain. 8%
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
No, Juan can no longer avail of the probation because he appealed from the judgment of conviction of the trial
court, and therefore, cannot apply for probation anymore. Section 4 of the Probation Law, as amended,
mandates that no application for probation shall be entertained or granted if the accused has perfected an appeal
from the judgment of conviction.
Suspension of Sentence; Adults/Minors (2006)
There are at least 7 instances or situations in criminal cases wherein the accused, either as an adult or as a minor,
can apply for and/or be granted a suspended sentence. Enumerate at least 5 of them. (5%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:

1. Suspension of sentence of minor under P.D. 603 as amended by R.A. 9344.

2. Suspension of sentence of minor above 15 but below 18 years of age at the time of trial under R.A. 9344.

3. Suspension of sentence of minor above 15 but below 18 years of age at the commission of the offense,
while acting with discernment.

4. Suspension of sentence by reason of insanity (Art. 79, Revised Penal Code).

5. Suspension of sentence for first offense of a minor violating RJV. 9165. (Sec. 32)

6. Suspension of sentence under the probation law.

(P.D. 968)

7. Suspension of death sentence of a pregnant woman. (Art. 83, Revised Penal Code)

(NOTA BENE: R.A. 9344 is outside the coverage of the examination)


Suspension of Sentence; Minors (2003)
A was 2 months below 18 years of age when he committed the crime. He was charged with the crime 3 months
later. He was 23 when he was finally convicted and sentenced. Instead of preparing to serve a jail term, he sought
a suspension of the sentence on the ground that he was a juvenile offender Should he be entitled to a suspension
of sentence? Reasons. 4%
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
No, A is not entitled to a suspension of the sentence because he is no longer a minor at the time of promulgation of
the sentence. For purposes of suspension of sentence, the offender's age at the time of promulgation of the
21

sentence is the one considered, not his age when he committed the crime. So although A was below 18 years old
when he committed the crime, but he was already 23 years old when sentenced, he is no longer eligible for
suspension of the sentence.
Can juvenile offenders, who are recidivists, validly ask for suspension of sentence? Explain. 4%
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
Yes, so long as the offender is still a minor at the time of the promulgation of the sentence. The law establishing
Family Courts, Rep. Act 8369, provides to this effect: that if the minor is found guilty, the court should promulgate
the sentence and ascertain any civil liability which the accused may have incurred. However, the sentence shall
be suspended without the need of application pursuant to PD 603, otherwise known as the "Child and Youth
Welfare Code" (RA 8369, Sec. 5a), It is under PD 603 that an application for suspension of the
sentence is required and thereunder it is one of the conditions for suspension of sentence that the offender be a
first time convict: this has been displaced by RA 8369.
Suspension of Sentence; Youthful Offender (1995)
Victor, Ricky, Rod and Ronnie went to the store of Mang Pandoy. Victor and Ricky entered the store while Rod and
Ronnie posted themselves at the door. After ordering beer Ricky complained that he was shortchanged although
Mang Pandoy vehemently denied it. Suddenly Ricky whipped out a knife as he announced "Hold-up ito!" and
stabbed Mang Pandoy to death. Rod boxed the store's salesgirl Lucy to prevent her from helping Mang Pandoy.
When Lucy ran out of the store to seek help from people next door she was chased by Ronnie. As soon as Ricky
had stabbed Mang Pandoy, Victor scooped up the money from the cash box. Then Victor and Ricky dashed to the
street and shouted, "Tumakbo na kayo!" Rod was 14 and Ronnie was 17. The money and other articles looted from
the store of Mang Pandoy were later found in the houses of Victor and Ricky.
Discuss fully the criminal liability of Victor, Ricky, Rod and Ronnie.
Are the minors Rod and Ronnie entitled to suspended sentence under The Child and Youth Welfare Code? Explain.

SUGGESTED ANSWER:
1 . All are liable for the special complex crime of robbery with homicide....
2. No, because the benefits of suspension of sentence is not available where the youthful offender has been
convicted of an offense punishable by life imprisonment or death, pursuant to P.D. No. 603, Art. 192, The complex
crime of robbery with homicide is punishable by reclusion perpetua to death under Art. 294 (1), RFC [People vs.
Galit. 230 SCRA 486).
EXTINCTION OF CRIMINAL LIABILITY
Amnesty vs. PD 1160 (2006)
Can former DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman apply for amnesty? How about columnist Randy David? (You are
supposed to know the crimes or offenses ascribed to them as published in almost all newspapers for the past
several months.) (2.5%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
Proclamation 1160, which amended Proclamation 724, applies only to offenses committed prior to 1999. Thus,
their applications shall be ineffectual and useless.
General Lim and General Querubin of the Scout Rangers and Philippine Marines, respectively, were changed with
conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman under the Articles of War. Can they apply for amnesty? (2.5%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
Proclamation 1160, which amended Proclamation 724, applies only to offenses committed prior to 1999. Thus,
their applications shall be ineffectual and useless.
Amnesty; Crimes Covered (2006)
Under Presidential Proclamation No. 724, amending Presidential Proclamation No. 347, certain crimes are covered
by the grant of amnesty. Name at least 5 of these crimes. (2.5%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
Crimes covered under Presidential Proclamation No.
724:

1. Coupd'etat,

2. Rebellion or insurrection;

3. Disloyalty of public officers or employees;

4. Inciting to rebellion or insurrection;

5. Conspiracy to commit rebellion or insurrection;

6. Proposal to commit rebellion or insurrection;

7. Sedition;

8. Conspiracy to commit sedition;


22

9. Inciting to sedition;

10. Illegal Assembly;

11. Illegal Association;

12. Direct Assault;

13. Indirect Assault;

14. Resistance and disobedience to a person in authority;

15. Tumults and other disturbances;

16. Unlawful use of means of publications and unlawful utterrances;

17. Alarm and scandal;

18. Illegal Possession of firearms.

Pardon vs. Amnesty (2006)


Enumerate the differences between pardon and amnesty. (2.5%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
a) PARDON includes any crime and is exercised individually by the President, while AMNESTY applies to
classes of persons or communities who may be guilty of political offenses.
b) PARDON is exercised when the person is already convicted, while AMNESTY may be exercised even before
trial or investigation.
c) PARDON looks forward and relieves the offender of the penalty of the offense for which he has been
convicted; it does not work for the restoration of the rights to hold public office, or the right of suffrage, unless
such rights are expressly restored by means of pardon, while AMNESTY looks backward and abolishes the offense
and its effects, as if the person had committed no offense.
d) PARDON does not alter the fact that the accused is criminally liable as it produces only the extinction of
the penalty, while AMNESTY removes the criminal liability of the offender because it obliterates every vestige of the
crime.
e) PARDON being a private act by the President, must be pleaded and proved by the person pardoned, while
AMNESTY which is a Proclamation of the Chief Executive with the concurrence of Congress is a public act of which
the courts should take judicial notice.
39 of 86
Pardon; Effect; Reinstatement (1994)
Linda was convicted by the Sandiganbayan of estafa, through falsification of public document. She was sentenced
accordingly and ordered to pay, among others, P5,000.00 representing the balance of the amount defrauded.
The case reached the Supreme Court which affirmed the judgment of conviction. During the pendency of Linda's
motion for reconsideration in the said Court, the President extended to her an absolute pardon which she accepted.
By reason of such pardon, she wrote the Department of Finance requesting that she be restored to her former post
as assistant treasurer, which is still vacant. The Department ruled that Linda may be reinstated to her former
position without the necessity of a new appointment and directed the City Treasurer to see to it that the sum of
P5,000.00 be satisfied. Claiming that she should not be made to pay P5,000.00, Linda appealed to the Office of the
President.
The Office of the President dismissed the appeal and held that acquittal, not absolute pardon. Is the only ground
for reinstatement to one's former position and that the absolute pardon does not exempt the culprit from payment
of civil liability. Is Linda entitled to reinstatement?
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
No, Linda is not entitled to reinstatement to her former position inasmuch as her right thereto had been
relinquished or forfeited by reason of her conviction. The absolute pardon merely extinguished her criminal liability,
removed her disqualification, and restored her eligibility for appointment to that office. She has to re-apply for
such position and under the usual procedure required for a new appointment. Moreover, the pardon does not
extinguish the civil liability arising from the crime.
(Monsanto vs.Factoran, Jr., 170 SCRA 191); see Art. 36, RPC)

Art. 267 Trespass to Dwelling (2009)/True or False


The use of an unlicensed firearm in homicide is considered a generic aggravating circumstance which can be offset
by an ordinary mitigating circumstance.
23

Amnesty and Art. 157 Evasion of Service of Sentence (2009)


Antero Makabayan was convicted of the crime of Rebellion. While serving sentence, he escaped from jail. Captured,
he was charged with, and convicted of, Evasion of Service of Sentence. Thereafter, the President of the Philippines
issued an amnesty proclamation for the offense of Rebellion. Antero applied for and was granted the benefit of the
amnesty proclamation.
Antero then filed a petition for habeas corpus, praying for his immediate release from confinement. He claims that
the amnesty extends to the offense of Evasion of Service of Sentence. As judge, will you grant the petition?
Discuss fully. (4%)

Indeterminate Sentence Law (2009)


1. In a conviction for homicide, the trial court appreciated two (2) mitigating circumstances and one (1)
aggravating circumstance. Homicide under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code is punishable by
reclusion temporal, an imprisonment term of twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years.
Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, determine the appropriate penalty to be imposed. Explain.
(3%)

Indeterminate Sentence Law (2009)


Joe was 17 years old when he committed homicide in 2005. The crime is punishable by reclusion temporal. After
two years in hiding, he was arrested and appropriately charged in May 2007. Since Republic Act 9344 (Juvenile
Justice and Welfare Act of 2006) was already in effect, Joe moved to avail of the process of intervention or
diversion.
What is intervention or diversion? Is Joe entitled to intervention or diversion? Explain. (3%)

Suppose Joe’s motion for intervention or diversion was denied, and he was convicted two (2) years later when Joe
was already 21 years old, should the judge apply the suspension of sentence? Explain. (2%)

Suppose Joe was convicted of attempted murder with a special aggravating circumstance and was denied
suspension of sentence, would he be eligible for probation under Presidential Decree (PD) 968, considering that the
death penalty is imposable for the consummated felony? Explain. (2%)
24

TITLE ONE: CRIMES AGAINST NATIONAL SECURITY

Art. 114. Treason. — Any person who, owing allegiance to (the United States or) the Government of the
Philippine Islands, not being a foreigner, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid or
comfort within the Philippine Islands or elsewhere, shall be punished by reclusion temporal to death and shall pay a
fine not to exceed P20,000 pesos.
No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses at least to the same overt act or
on confession of the accused in open court.
Likewise, an alien, residing in the Philippine Islands, who commits acts of treason as defined in paragraph 1 of this
Article shall be punished by prision mayor to death and shall pay a fine not to exceed P20,000 pesos. (As amended
by E.O. No. 44, May 31, 1945).

Elements of Treason
1. That the offender is a Filipino citizen or an alien residing in the Philippines.
2. That there is a war in which the Philippines is involved.
3. That the offender either
a. Levies war against the Government, OR
b. Adheres to the enemies, giving them aid or comfort.

Treason, defined
- Treason is the breach of allegiance to a government, committed by a person who owes allegiance to it.

Nature of the crime


- Violation by the subject of his allegiance to his sovereign or to the supreme authority of the State

Treason cannot be committed in times of peace (It is a wartime offense).


- It is a war crime, not an all-time offense.
- Treasonable acts may actually be perpetrated during peace, but there are no traitors until war has started.
- It is punished by the state as an act of self-defense and self-preservation.

Treason is a CONTINUING CRIME.


Even after the war, offender can be prosecuted.
Treason is a continuing offense. It can be committed by a single act or by a series of acts. It can be committed in
one single time or at different times and only one criminal intent. In construing the provisions relating to the
commission of several acts, the same must be done in pursuance or furtherance of the act of treason.
No matter how many acts of treason are committed by the offender, he will be liable for only one crime of treason.

Treason distinguished from Rebellion


An act levying war to help the foreign enemy is treason; otherwise, it would be rebellion. In treason, the purpose is
to deliver the government to the enemy or to pave the way for the coming of the enemy, whereas in rebellion, the
purpose is to substitute the government with their own.

Treason distinguished from Sedition


Treason is the violation by a subject of his allegiance to his sovereign or the supreme authority of the state,
whereas sedition is the raising of commotions or disturbances in the state.

In treason, the offender repudiates his allegiance to the government by means of force or intimidation. He does
not recognize the supreme authority of the State. He violates his allegiance by fighting the forces of the duly
constituted authorities.

In sedition, the offender disagrees with certain policies of the State and seeks to disturb public peace by raising a
commotion or public uprising.

Treason distinguished from Espionage


Espionage is a crime not conditioned by the citizenship of the offender. This is also true as regards treason, in view
of the amendment to Art. 114.
25

But treason is committed only in time of war while espionage may be committed both in time of peace and in time
of war. Treason is limited in two ways committing the crime: levying war, and adhering to the enemy giving them
aid or comfort, while espionage may be committed in many ways. (Com. Act. No. 616).

Art. 122. Piracy in general and mutiny on the high seas. — The penalty of reclusion temporal shall be inflicted
upon any person who, on the high seas, shall attack or seize a vessel or, not being a member of its complement
nor a passenger, shall seize the whole or part of the cargo of said vessel, its equipment, or personal belongings of
its complement or passengers.
The same penalty shall be inflicted in case of mutiny on the high seas.

Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, Sec. 10. Place of commission of the offense. – The complaint or
information is sufficient if it can be understood from its allegations that the offense was committed or some of its
essential ingredients occurred at some place within the jurisdiction of the court, unless the particular place where it
was committed constitutes an essential element of the offense charged or is necessary for its identification.

Art. 2. Application of its provisions. — Except as provided in the treaties and laws of preferential application,
the provisions of this Code shall be enforced not only within the Philippine Archipelago, including its atmosphere, its
interior waters and maritime zone, but also outside of its jurisdiction, against those who:
5. Should commit any of the crimes against national security and the law of nations, defined in Title One of Book
Two of this Code.

Elements of piracy
1. That the vessel is on the high seas or in Philippine waters
2. That the offenders are not members of its complement or passengers of the vessel
3. That the offenders
a. Attack or seize the vessel OR
b. Seize the whole or part of the cargo of said vessel, its equipment or personal belongings of its complement or
passengers

G.R. No. 17958 February 27, 1922


PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. vs. LOL-LO, ET AL.

Facts: A boat, in which there were 11 men, women & children, arrived between the Islands of Buang and Bukid in
the Dutch East Indies. There the boat was surrounded by 6 vintas manned by 24 Moros all armed. The Moros first
asked for food, but once on the boat, took for themselves all of the cargo, attacked some of the men, and brutally
violated the 2 of the women by methods too horrible to be described . All of the persons on the boat with the
exception of the 2 young women, were again placed on it & holes were made in it, with the idea that it would
submerge, but after 11 days of hardship & privation they were succored. 2 of the Moro marauders were Lol-lo &
Saraw who later returned to their home in Sulu, Phils. There they were arrested & were charged in the CFI of Sulu
with the crime of piracy.
Issue: WON the court has jurisdiction?
Held: It cannot be contended with any degree of force that the CFI of Sulu was without jurisdiction of the case.
Piracy is a crime not against any particular state but against all mankind. It may be punished in the competent
tribunal of any country where the offender maybe found or into which he maybe carried. Nor does it matter that
the crime was committed within the jurisdictional 3-mile limit of a foreign state. The crime of piracy was
accompanied by 1) rape and 2) the abandonment of persons without means of saving themselves. Lol-lo who
raped one of the women was sentenced to death, there being the aggravating circumstances of cruelty, abuse of
superior strength and ignominy, without any mitigating circumstance.

Art. 123. Qualified piracy. — The penalty of reclusion temporal to death shall be imposed upon those who
commit any of the crimes referred to in the preceding article, under any of the following circumstances:
1. Whenever they have seized a vessel by boarding or firing upon the same;
2. Whenever the pirates have abandoned their victims without means of saving themselves; or
3. Whenever the crime is accompanied by murder, homicide, physical injuries or rape.

G.R. No. L-57292 February 18, 1986


PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. vs. JULAIDE SIYOH
In Criminal Case No. 318 of the aforesaid court, JULAIDE SIYOH, OMARKAYAM KIRAM, NAMLI INDANAN and
ANDAW JAMAHALI were accused of qualified piracy with triple murder and frustrated murder said to have been
committed according to the information as follows:
That on or about the 14th day of July, 1979, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, viz., at Mataja Is.,
Municipality of Lantawan, Province of Basilan, Philippines, the above named accused, being strangers and without
lawful authority, armed with firearms and taking advantage of their superior strength, conspiring and confederating
together, aiding and assisting one with the other, with intent to gain and by the use of violence or intimidation
26

against persons and force upon things, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, fire their guns into
the air and stop the pumpboat wherein Rodolfo de Castro, Danilo Hiolen, Anastacio de Guzman and Antonio de
Guzman were riding, traveling at that time from the island of Baluk-Baluk towards Pilas, boarded the said
pumpboat and take, steal and carry away all their cash money, wrist watches, stereo sets, merchandise and other
personal belongings amounting to the total amount of P 18,342.00, Philippine Currency; that the said accused, on
the occasion of the crime herein above-described, taking advantage that the said victims were at their mercy, did
then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with intent to kill, ordered them to jump into the water,
whereupon, the said accused, fired their guns at them which caused the death of Rodolfo de Castro, Danilo Hiolen,
Anastacio de Guzman and wounding one Antonio de Guzman; thus the accused have performed all the acts of
execution which would have produced the crime of Qualified Piracy with Quadruple Murder, but which,
nevertheless, did not produce it by reasons of causes in dependent of their will, that is, said Antonio de Guzman
was able to swim to the shore and hid himself, and due to the timely medical assistance rendered to said victim,
Antonio de Guzman which prevented his death. (Expediente, pp. 1-2.)
An order of arrest was issued against all of the accused but only Julaide Siyoh and Omar-kayam Kiram were
apprehended. (Id, p. 8.)
After trial, the court a quo rendered a decision with the following dispositive portion.
WHEREFORE, in view of the fore going considerations, this Court finds the accused Omar-kayam Kiram and Julaide
Siyoh guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Qualified Piracy with Triple Murder and Frustrated Murder as
defined and penalized under the provision of Presidential Decree No. 532, and hereby sentences each one of them
to suffer the supreme penalty of DEATH. However, considering the provision of Section 106 of the Code of
Mindanao and Sulu, the illiteracy or ignorance or extreme poverty of the accused who are members of the cultural
minorities, under a regime of so called compassionate society, a commutation to life imprisonment is
recommended. (Id, p. 130.)
In their appeal, Siyoh and Kiram make only one assignment of error:
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE GUILT OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANTS OMAR-KAYAM KIRAM
AND JULAIDE SIYOH HAS BEEN PROVED BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT. (Brief, p. 8.)
The People's version of the facts is as follows:
Alberto Aurea was a businessman engaged in selling dry goods at the Larmitan Public Market, in the province of
Basilan (pp. 2-3, tsn). On July 7, 1979 and on July 10, 1979, Antonio de Guzman, Danilo Hiolen, Rodolfo de Castro
and Anastacio de Guzman received goods from his store consisting of mosquito nets, blankets, wrist watch sets
and stereophono with total value of P15,000 more or less (pp. 4-6, tsn). The goods were received under an
agreement that they would be sold by the above-named persons and thereafter they would pay the value of said
goods to Aurea and keep part of the profits for themselves. However these people neither paid the value of the
goods to Aurea nor returned the goods to him (pp. 6-7, tsn). On July 15, 1979, Aurea was informed by Antonio de
Guzman that his group was held up near Baluk- Baluk Island and that his companions were hacked (p. 8, tsn). On
July 16, 1979, the bodies of Rodolfo de Castro, Danilo Hiolen and Anastacio de Guzman were brought by the PC
seaborne patrol to Isabela, Basilan (pp. 17-18, 29, tsn). Only Antonio de Guzman survived the incident that caused
the death of his companions.
It appears that on July 10, 1979, Antonio de Guzman together with his friends who were also travelling merchants
like him, were on their way to Pilas Island, Province of Basilan, to sell the goods they received from Alberto Aurea.
The goods they brought with them had a total value of P18,000.00 (pp- 36-37, tsn). They left for Pilas Island at
2:00 p.m. of July 10, 1979 on a pumpboat. They took their dinner and slept that night in the house of Omar-
kayam Kiram at Pilas Island (pp. 37-38, tsn).
The following day, July 11, 1979, de Guzman's group, together with Kiram and Julaide Siyoh, started selling their
goods, They were able to sell goods worth P 3,500.00. On July 12, 1979, the group, again accompanied by Kiram
and Siyoh, went to sell their goods at another place, Sangbay, where they sold goods worth P 12,000.00 (pp. 40-
42, tsn). They returned to Pilas Island at 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon and again slept at Kiram's house. However
that night Kiram did not sleep in his house, and upon inquiry the following day when Antonio de Guzman saw him,
Kiram told the former that he slept at the house of Siyoh.
On that day, July 13, 1979, the group of Antonio de Guzman went to Baluk-Baluk, a place suggested by Kiram.
They were able to sell goods worth P3,000.00 (pp. 43-46, tsn). They returned to Pilas Island for the night but
Kiram did not sleep with them (p. 47, tsn).
The following day, July 14, 1979, the group again went to Baluk-Baluk accompanied by Kiram and Siyoh (pp. 48,
50 t.s.n), They used the pumpboat of Kiram. Kiram and Siyoh were at that time armed with 'barongs'. They arrived
at Baluk-Baluk at about 10:00 o'clock in the morning and upon arrival at the place Kiram and Siyoh going ahead of
the group went to a house about 15 meters away from the place where the group was selling its goods (pp. 50-53,
tsn). Kiram and Siyoh were seen by the group talking with two persons whose faces the group saw but could not
recognize (pp. 53-54, tsn). After selling their goods, the members of the group, together with Kiram and Siyoh,
prepared to return to Pilas Island. They rode on a pumpboat where Siyoh positioned himself at the front while
Kiram operated the engine. On the way to Pilas Island, Antonio de Guzman saw another pumpboat painted red and
green about 200 meters away from their pumpboat (pp. 55, tsn). Shortly after" Kiram turned off the engine of
their pumpboat. Thereafter two shots were fired from the other pumpboat as it moved towards them (pp. 57-58,
tsn). There were two persons on the other pumpboat who were armed with armantes. De Guzman recognized them
to be the same persons he saw Kiram conversing with in a house at Baluk-Baluk Island. When the boat came close
to them, Kiram threw a rope to the other pumpboat which towed de Guzman's pumpboat towards Mataja Island.
On the way to Mataja Island, Antonio de Guzman and his companions were divested of their money and their
27

goods by Kiram (pp. 59-61, tsn). Thereafter Kiram and his companions ordered the group of de Guzman to
undress. Taking fancy on the pants of Antonio de Guzman, Kiram put it on. With everybody undressed, Kiram said
'It was good to kill all of you'. After that remark, Siyoh hacked Danilo Hiolen while Kiram hacked Rodolfo de Castro.
Antonio de Guzman jumped into the water. As he was swimming away from the pumpboat, the two companions of
Kiram fired at him, injuring his back (pp. 62-65, tsn). But he was able to reach a mangrove where he stayed till
nightfall. When he left the mangrove, he saw the dead bodies of Anastacio de Guzman, Danilo Hiolen and Rodolfo
de Castro. He was picked up by a fishing boat and brought to the Philippine Army station at Maluso where he
received first aid treatment. Later he was brought to the J.S. Alano Memorial Hospital at Isabela, Basilan province
(pp. 66-68, tsn).
On July 15, 1979, while waiting for the dead bodies of his companions at the wharf, de Guzman saw Siyoh and
Kiram. He pointed them out to the PC and the two were arrested before they could run. When arrested, Kiram was
wearing the pants he took from de Guzman and de Guzman had to ask Pat. Bayabas at the Provincial Jail to get
back his pants from Kiram (pp. 69-72, tsn).
Antonio de Guzman was physically examined at the J.S. Alano Memorial Hospital at Isabela, Basilan and findings
showed: 'gunshot wound, scapular area, bilateral, tangenital' (Exh. C, prosecution). (pp. 134-136, tsn). Dr. Jaime
M. Junio, Provincial Health Officer of Basilan, examined the dead bodies of Rodolfo de Castro and Danilo Hiolen and
issued the corresponding death certificates (Exhs. D and E, prosecution). (pp. 137-138; 140-141, tsn). (Brief, pp.
5-11.)
As can be seen from the lone assignment of error, the issue is the credibility of witnesses. Who should be believed
Antonio de Guzman who was the lone prosecution eye-witness or Siyoh and Kiram the accused-appellants who
claims that they were also the victims of the crime? The trial court which had the opportunity of observing the
demeanor of the witnesses and how they testified assigned credibility to the former and an examination of the
record does not reveal any fact or circumstance of weight and influence which was overlooked or the significance of
which was misinterpreted as would justify a reversal of the trial court's determination. Additionally, the following
claims of the appellants are not convincing:
1. That if they were the culprits they could have easily robbed their victims at the Kiram house or on any of the
occasions when they were travelling together. Suffice it to say that robbing the victims at Kiram's house would
make Kiram and his family immediately suspect and robbing the victims before they had sold all their goods would
be premature. However, robbing and killing the victims while at sea and after they had sold all their goods was
both timely and provided safety from prying eyes.
2. That the accused immediately reported the incident to the PC. The record does not support this assertion. For as
the prosecution stated: "It is of important consequence to mention that the witness presented by the defense are
all from Pilas Island and friends of the accused. They claimed to be members of retrieving team for the dead bodies
but no PC soldiers were ever presented to attest this fact. The defense may counter why the prosecution also failed
to present the Maluso Police Daily Event book? This matter has been brought by Antonio not to the attention of the
PC or Police but to an army detachment. The Army is known to have no docket book, so why take the pain in
locating the army soldiers with whom the report was made? (Memorandum, p. 7.) And Judge Rasul also makes this
observation: "..., this Court is puzzled, assuming the version of the defense to be true, why the lone survivor
Antonio de Guzman as having been allegedly helped by the accused testified against them. Indeed, no evidence
was presented and nothing can be inferred from the evidence of the defense so far presented showing reason why
the lone survivor should pervert the truth or fabricate or manufacture such heinous crime as qualified piracy with
triple murders and frustrated murder? The point which makes us doubt the version of the defense is the role taken
by the PC to whom the report was allegedly made by the accused immediately after the commission of the offense.
Instead of helping the accused, the PC law enforcement agency in Isabela, perhaps not crediting the report of the
accused or believing in the version of the report made by the lone survivor Antonio de Guzman, acted consistently
with the latter's report and placed the accused under detention for investigation." (Expediente, pp. 127-128.)
3. That the affidavits of Dolores de Guzman, wife of the deceased Anastacio de Guzman, and Primitiva de Castro,
wife of the deceased Rodolfo de Castro, state that Antonio de Guzman informed them shortly after the incident that
their husbands were killed by the companions of Siyoh and Kiram. The thrust of the appellants' claim, therefore, is
that Namli Indanan and Andaw Jamahali were the killers and not the former. But this claim is baseless in the face
of the proven conspiracy among the accused for as Judge Rasul has stated:
It is believed that conspiracy as alleged in the information is sufficiently proved in this case. In fact the following
facts appear to have been established to show clearly conspiracy: A) On July 14, 1979, while peddling, the
survivor-witness Tony de Guzman noticed that near the window of a dilapidated house, both accused were talking
to two (2) armed strange-looking men at Baluk-Baluk Island; B) When the pumpboat was chased and overtaken,
the survivor-witness Tony de Guzman recognized their captors to be the same two (2) armed strangers to whom
the two accused talked in Baluk- Baluk Island near the dilapidated house; C) The two accused, without order from
the two armed strangers transferred the unsold goods to the captors' banca; D) That Tony de Guzman and
companion peddlers were divested of their jewelries and cash and undressed while the two accused remained
unharmed or not molested. These concerted actions on their part prove conspiracy and make them equally liable
for the same crime (People vs. Pedro, 16 SCRA 57; People vs. lndic 10 SCRA 130). The convergence of the will of
the conspirators in the scheming and execution of the crime amply justifies the imputation of all of them the act of
any of them (People vs. Peralta, 25 SCRA, 759). (Id., pp. 128-129.)
4. That there is no evidence Anastacio de Guzman was killed together with Rodolfo de Castro and Danilo Hiolen
because his remains were never recovered. There is no reason to suppose that Anastacio de Guzman is still alive or
that he died in a manner different from his companions. The incident took place on July 14, 1979 and when the
28

trial court decided the case on June 8, 1981 Anastacio de Guzman was still missing. But the number of persons
killed on the occasion of piracy is not material. P.D. No. 532 considers qualified piracy, i.e. rape, murder or
homicide is committed as a result or on the occasion of piracy, as a special complex crime punishable by death
regardless of the number of victims.
5. That the death certificates are vague as to the nature of the injuries sustained by the victims; were they hacked
wounds or gunshot wounds? The cause of death stated for Rodolfo de Castro and Danilo Hiolen is: "Hemorrhage
due to hacked wounds, possible gunshot wounds." (Exhs. D and E.) The cause is consistent with the testimony of
Antonio de Guzman that the victims were hacked; that the appellants were armed with "barongs" while Indanan
and Jamahali were armed with armalites.
WHEREFORE, finding the decision under review to be in accord with both the facts and the law, it is affirmed with
the following modifications: (a) for lack of necessary votes the penalty imposed shall be reclusion perpetua; and
(b) each of the appellants shall pay in solidum to the heirs of each of the deceased indemnity in the amount of
P30,000.00. No special pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED

PD 532 ANTI-PIRACY AND HIGHWAY ROBBERY LAW OF 1974


Sec. 2. Definition of Terms. - The following terms shall mean and be understood, as follows:
a. Philippine Waters. - It shall refer to all bodies of water, such as but not limited to, seas, gulfs,
bays around, between and connecting each of the Islands of the Philippine Archipelago, irrespective of
its depth, breadth, length or dimension, and all other waters belonging to the Philippines by historic or
legal title, including territorial sea, the sea-bed, the insular shelves, and other submarine areas over
which the Philippines has sovereignty or jurisdiction.
b. Vessel. - Any vessel or watercraft used for transport of passengers and cargo from one place
to another through Philippine Waters. It shall include all kinds and types of vessels or boats used in
fishing.
d. Piracy. - Any attack upon or seizure of any vessel, or the taking away of the whole or part
thereof or its cargo, equipment, or the personal belongings of its complement or passengers,
irrespective of the value thereof, by means of violence against or intimidation of persons or force upon
things, committed by any person, including a passenger or member of the complement of said vessel,
in Philippine waters, shall be considered as piracy. The offenders shall be considered as pirates and
punished as hereinafter provided.
Sec. 4. Aiding pirates or highway robbers/brigands or abetting piracy or highway
robbery/brigandage. - Any person who knowingly and in any manner aids or protects pirates or
highway robbers/brigands, such as giving them information about the movement of police or other
peace officers of the government, or acquires or receives property taken by such pirates or brigands or
in any manner derives any benefit therefrom; or any person who directly or indirectly abets the
commission of piracy or highway robbery or brigandage, shall be considered as an accomplice of the
principal offenders and be punished in accordance with the Rules prescribed by the Revised Penal Code.
It shall be presumed that any person who does any of the acts provided in this Section has
performed knowingly, unless the contrary is proven.

RA 6235 ACTS INIMICAL TO CIVIL AVIATION


Sec. 1. It shall be unlawful for any person to compel a change in the course or destination of an
aircraft of Philippine registry, or to seize or usurp the control thereof, while it is in flight.
An aircraft is in flight from the moment all its external doors are closed following embarkation
until any of such doors is opened for disembarkation.
It shall likewise be unlawful for any person to compel an aircraft of foreign registry to land in
Philippine territory or to seize or usurp the control thereof while it is within the said territory.
Sec. 3. It shall be unlawful for any person, natural or juridical, to ship, load or carry in any
passenger aircraft operating as a public utility within the Philippines, and explosive, flammable,
corrosive or poisonous substance or material.

Piracy is a crime not against any particular state but against all mankind, it may be punished in the competent
tribunal of any country where the offender may be found or into which he may be carried. Nor does it matter that
the crime was committed within the jurisdictional 3-mile limit of a foreign state.

2008 Bar Question

The inter-island vessel M/V Viva Lines I, while cruising off Batanes, was forced to seek shelter at the harbor of
Kaoshiung, Taiwan because of a strong typhoon. While anchored in said harbor, Max, Baldo and Bogart arrived in a
speedboat, fired a bazooka at the bow of the vessel, boarded it and divested the passengers of their money and
jewelry. A passenger of M/V Viva Lines I, Dodong advantage of the confusion to settle an old grudge with another
29

passenger, and killed him. After their apprehension, all four were charged with qualified piracy before a Philippine
court.
1. Was the charge of qualified piracy against the three person ( Max, Badong and Bogart ) who boarded the
inter-island vessel correct? Explain.

Yes, they boarded and fired upon the ship and divested the passengers of their money and jewelry (Art.
122, 123, RPC). As long as murder or homicide is committed as a result of or on occasion of piracy, the
special complex crime of qualified piracy is committed.

2. Was Dodong correctly charged before the Philippine court for qualified piracy? Explain.

Dodong was correctly charged before the Philippine court, though it should be for murder or homicide
because he did not act in conspiracy or concert within the pirates. Under the territorial principle of
jurisdiction in International Law, the Philippine court will have jurisdiction over the offense of murder or
homicide because it was committed by Dodong on a vessel of Philippine registry, and the crime is also
cognizable by the courts of Kaoshiung, Taiwan.

2006 Bar Question

1. While the 5.5. Nagoya Maru was negotiating the sea route from Hongkong towards Manila, and while still
300 miles from Aparri, Cagayan, its engines malfunctioned. The Captain ordered the ship to stop for
emergency repairs lasting for almost 15 hours. Due to exhaustion, the officers and crew fell asleep. While
the ship was anchored, a motorboat manned by renegade Ybanags from Claveria, Cagayan, passed by and
took advantage of the situation. They cut the ship's engines and took away several heavy crates of
electrical equipment and loaded them in their motorboat. Then they left hurriedly towards Aparri. At
daybreak, the crew found that a robbery took place. They radioed the Aparri Port Authorities resulting in
the apprehension of the culprits.
What crime was committed? Explain.

The crime committed was piracy under Art. 122, RPC, the essence of which is robbery directed against a
vessel and/or its cargoes. The taking of the several heavy crates of electrical equipment from a vessel at
sea, was effected by force and undoubtedly with intent to gain. It is of no moment that the vessel was
anchored when depredated so long as it was at sea.

2. Supposing that while the robbery was taking place, the culprits stabbed a member of the crew while
sleeping.
What crime was committed? Explain.

The crime was qualified piracy under Art. 123 of the RPC because it was attended by a killing committed
by the same culprits against a member of the crew of the vessel.

BAR QUESTIONS ON TITLE 1

Piracy in the High Seas & Qualified Piracy (2006)


While the S.S. Nagoya Maru was negotiating the sea route from Hongkong towards Manila, and while still 300 miles
from Aparri, Cagayan, its engines malfunctioned. The Captain ordered the ship to stop for emergency repairs
lasting for almost 15 hours. Due to exhaustion, the officers and crew fell asleep. While the ship was anchored, a
motorboat manned by renegade Ybanags from Claveria, Cagayan, passed by and took advantage of the situation.
They cut the ship's engines and took away several heavy crates of electrical equipment and loaded them in their
motorboat. Then they left hurriedly towards Aparri. At daybreak, the crew found that a robbery took place. They
radioed the Aparri Port Authorities resulting in the apprehension of the culprits.
What crime was committed? Explain. (2.5%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
Piracy in the high seas was committed by the renegade Ybanags. The culprits, who are neither members of the
complement nor passengers of the ship, seized part of the equipment of the vessel while it was three hundred
miles away from Aparri, Cagayan (Art. 122, Revised Penal Code).
Supposing that while the robbery was taking place, the culprits stabbed a member of the crew while sleeping. What
crime was committed? Explain. (2.5%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
The crime committed is qualified piracy, because it was accompanied by physical injuries/homicide. The culprits
stabbed a member of the crew while sleeping (Art. 123, Revised Penal Code).
Vessel (2000)
After drinking one (1) case of San Miguel beer and taking two plates of "pulutan", Binoy, a Filipino seaman,
stabbed to death Sio My, a Singaporean seaman, aboard M/V "Princess of the Pacific", an overseas vessel which
was sailing in the South China Sea. The vessel, although Panamanian registered, is owned by Lucio Sy, a rich
30

Filipino businessman. When M/V "Princess of the Pacific" reached a Philippine Port at Cebu City, the Captain of the
vessel turned over the assailant Binoy to the Philippine authorities. An information for homicide was filed against
Binoy in the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City. He moved to quash the information for lack of jurisdiction. If you
were the Judge, will you grant the motion? Why? (5%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
Yes, the Motion to Quash the Information should be granted. The Philippine court has no jurisdiction over the crime
committed since it was committed on the high seas or outside of Philippine territory and on board a vessel not
registered or licensed in the Philippines (US vs. Fowler, 1 Phil 614)
It is the registration of the vessel in accordance with the laws of the Philippines, not the citizenship of her owner,
which makes it a Philippine ship. The vessel being registered in Panama, the laws of Panama govern while it is in
the high seas.

TITLE TWO: CRIMES AGAINST THE FUNDAMENTAL LAWS OF THE STATE

A. CLASSES OF ARBITRARY DETENTION:

Art. 124. Arbitrary detention. — Any public officer or employee who, without legal grounds, detains a person,
shall suffer;
1. The penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum
period, if the detention has not exceeded three days;
2. The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods, if the detention has
continued more than three but not more than fifteen days;
3. The penalty of prision mayor, if the detention has continued for more than fifteen days but not
more than six months; and
4. That of reclusion temporal, if the detention shall have exceeded six months.
5. The commission of a crime, or violent insanity or any other ailment requiring the compulsory
confinement of the patient in a hospital, shall be considered legal grounds for the detention of
any person.

Illegal detention distinguished from arbitrary detention:


Illegal detention Arbitrary Detention
Committed by a private individual Committed by a public officer or employee
By unlawfully kidnapping, detaining or otherwise depriving a By detaining a person without legal ground
person of liberty
It is a crime against personal liberty It is a crime against the fundamental laws of the
State

Elements
1. That the offender is a public officer or employee
2. That he detains a person
3. That the detention is without legal grounds

A. Definition of Arbitrary Detention


Deprivation by a public officer of the liberty of person without legal ground. If the offender is a private individual
the offense illegal detention. But when a private individual connives with a public officer, the crime is arbitrary
detention due to conspiracy and the higher penalty is imposed. The crime of illegal detention is absorbed in
arbitrary detention.

Legal grounds for the detention of a person


1. The commission of a crime;
2. Violent insanity or other ailment requiring compulsory confinement in a hospital.

Arrest without a warrant – when lawful


- A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
a. When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to
commit an offense;
b. When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the
person to be arrested has committed it; and
c. When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or a place where he is
serving judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending, or escaped while being transferred from one
confinement to another.
- NOTE: (a) and (b) pertains to suspect caught in flagrante delicto, while (c) pertains to escaping prisoners
31

2006 Bar Question


What are the 3 ways of committing arbitrary detention? Explain each.

a. by detaining or locking up a person without any legal cause or ground therefore purposely to restrain his
liberty (Art. 124)
b. by delaying delivery to the proper judicial authority of a person lawfully arrested without a warrant (Art.
125).
c. By delaying release of a prisoner whose release has been ordered by competent authority (Art. 126)
In all the above-stated ways, the principal offender should be a public officer acting under color of his
authority.

What are the legal grounds for detention?


The legal grounds for detention are:
a. commission of a crime;
b. violent insanity or other ailment requiring compulsory confinement in an institution established for such
purpose.

When is an arrest by a peace officer or by a private person considered lawful? Explain.


Arrest by a peace officer or by a private person is lawful---
a. When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting
to commit an offense;
b. When an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe based on personal
knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it; and
c. When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from penal establishment or place where
he is serving sentence or is temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being
transferred from one confinement to another.

Art. 125. Delay in the delivery of detained persons to the proper judicial authorities. — The penalties
provided in the next preceding article shall be imposed upon the public officer or employee who shall detain any
person for some legal ground and shall fail to deliver such person to the proper judicial authorities within the period
of; twelve (12) hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by light penalties, or their equivalent; eighteen (18) hours,
for crimes or offenses punishable by correctional penalties, or their equivalent and thirty-six (36) hours, for crimes,
or offenses punishable by afflictive or capital penalties, or their equivalent.
In every case, the person detained shall be informed of the cause of his detention and shall be allowed upon his
request, to communicate and confer at any time with his attorney or counsel. (As amended by E.O. Nos. 59 and
272, Nov. 7, 1986 and July 25, 1987, respectively).

Elements
1. That the offender is a public officer or employee
2. That he has detained a person for some legal ground
3. That he fails to deliver such person to the proper judicial authorities within:
a. 12 hours for crimes punishable by light felonies
b. 18 hours for crimes punishable by correctional penalties
c. 36 hours for crimes punishable by afflictive or capital penalties

G.R. No. 134503 July 2, 1999


Jasper Agbay vs. Deputy Ombudsman

This petition for certiorari seeks to nullify the Resolution of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military dated 19
January 1998 1 which recommended the dismissal of the criminal complaint filed by petitioner against herein
private respondents for violation of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code for delay in the delivery of detained
persons, and the Order of April 13, 1998 2 which denied his motion for reconsideration.
The pertinent facts leading to the filing of the petition at bar are as follows:
On September 7, 1997, petitioner, together with a certain Sherwin Jugalbot, was arrested and detained at the
Liloan Police Station, Metro Cebu for an alleged violation of R.A. 7610, the "Special Protection of Children Against
Child abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act." 3 The following day, or on September 8, 1997, a Complaint for
violation of R.A. 7610 was filed against petitioner and Jugalbot before the 7th Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Liloan,
Metro Cebu by one Joan Gicaraya for and in behalf of her daughter Gayle 4. The complaint, insofar as pertinent,
reads as follows:
That on the 7th day of September 1997 at Sitio Bonbon, Brgy. Catarman, Liloan, Metro Cebu, Philippines and
within the Preliminary Jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and there, willfully,
feloniously and unlawfully, conspiring, confederating, helping with one another, while accused JASPER AGBAY
manipulating to finger the vagina of GAYLE FATIMA AMIGABLE GICAYARA, his companion block the sight of the
32

Private Complainant, Mrs. JOAN A. GICAYARA, while on board a tricycle going their destinations. Upon initial
investigation of the Bgy, Captain of Bgy. Catarman, accused SHERWIN JUGALBOT was released and accused
JASPER AGBAY is presently detain Liloan Police Station Jail. Medical Certificate issued from Don Vicente Sotto
Memorial Medical Center, Cebu City is hereto attached.
On September 10, 1997, counsel for petitioner wrote the Chief of Police of Liloan demanding the immediate release
of petitioner considering that the latter had "failed to deliver the detained Jasper Agbay to the proper judicial
authority within thirty-six (36) hours from September 7, 1997." 5 Private respondents did not act on this letter and
continued to detain petitioner. 6
On September 12; 1997, the 7th Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Liloan, Metro Cebu issued an order, denominated
as "Detention During the Pendency of the Case", committing petitioner to the jail warden of Cebu City. 7 Five (5)
days later, or on September 17, 1997, petitioner was ordered released by the said court after he had posted bond.
8
On September 26, 1997, petitioner filed a complaint for delay in the delivery of detained persons against herein
private respondents SPO4 Nemesio Natividad, Jr., SPO2 Eleazar M. Salomon and other unidentified police officers
stationed at the Liloan Police Substation, before the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas. 9
Regarding the complaint for violation of R.A. 7610, it is alleged by petitioner that on November 10, 1997, the 7th
MCTC of Liloan, Metro Cebu issued a resolution containing the following dispositive portion:
WHEREFORE, finding probable cause for the crime in Violation of Republic Act 7610, it is hereby recommended that
an INFORMATION be filed against the two aforenamed accused.
Forward the record of this case to the Provincial Fiscal's Office for appropriate action. 10
By virtue of Memorandum Circular No. 14, Series of 1995, dated 10 October 1995 of the Office of the Ombudsman,
11 the case for delay in delivery filed by petitioner against herein private respondents before the Deputy
Ombudsman for the Visayas was transferred to the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military for its proper disposition.
Thus, it was this office which acted on the complaint, now denominated as OMB-VIS-CRIM-97-0786, and which
issued the questioned Resolution dated January 19, 1998 recommending its dismissal against herein private
respondents. Petitioner moved for reconsideration of this Resolution but this motion was denied in an Order dated
April 13, 1998.
Hence, this petition for certiorari.
The grounds relied upon in the present petition 12 are as follows:
I.
THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN RELYING ON MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 14,
SERIES OF 1995, DATED 10 OCTOBER 1995, OF THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN IN HOLDING THAT IT HAS
COMPETENCE TO ACT ON THE ABOVE-ENTITLED CASE BEFORE IT, THE SAID CIRCULAR BEING
UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND ILLEGAL, HENCE, NULL AND VOID.
II.
THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN NOT HOLDING THAT IT IS BEYOND ITS
COMPENCE TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT THE MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURT OF LILOAN-COMPOSTELA
HAS IN FACT NO JURISDICTION TO TRY THE CASE FILED AGAINST HEREIN PETITIONER.
III.
THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE MCTC, WHILE HAVING
AUTHORITY TO CONDUCT A PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION, IS NOT THE "PROPER JUDICIAL AUTHORITY "
CONTEMPLATED IN ARTICLE 125 OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE AND, HENCE, THE FILING OF THE COMPLAINT
BEFORE IT FOR THE PURPOSE OF CONDUCTING A PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION DID NOT INTERRUPT THE
PERIOD PRESCRIBED BY ART. 125.
IV.
THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN HOLIDING THAT THE ISSUE OF THE VALIDITY
OF THE ORDER OF DETENTION IS IRRELEVANT TO THE ISSUE OF CRIMINAL LIABILITY OF PRIVATE RESPONDENTS
FOR DELAY IN THE DELIVERY OF DETAINED PERSONS.
V.
THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN HOLDING THAT THE DUTY OF PRIVATE
RESPONDENTS TO FILE THE NECESSARY COMPLAINT IN COURT WAS FULFILLED WHEN THEY FILED A FORMAL
COMPLAINT ON 8 SEPTEMBER 1997 WITH THE 7TH MCTC OF LILOAN-COMPOSTELA.
On the first issue, petitioner argues that due to the civilian character of the Philippine National Police, the Office of
the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military, by virtue of the description of the Office, has no competence or
jurisdiction to act on his complaint against private respondents who are members of the PNP. Petitioner also
questions the constitutionality of Memorandum Circular No. 14 insofar as it purports to vest the Office of the
Deputy Ombudsman for Military Affairs with jurisdiction to investigate all cases against personnel of the Philippine
National Police.1âwphi1.nêt
There is no dispute as to the civilian character of our police force. The 1987 Constitution, in Section 6, Article XVI,
has mandated the establishment of "one police force, which shall be national in scope and civilian character
(emphasis supplied)." Likewise, R.A. 6975 13 is categorical in describing the civilian character of the police force.
14 The only question now is whether Memorandum Circular No. 14, in vesting the Office of the Deputy
Ombudsman for the Military with jurisdiction to investigate complaints against members of the PNP, violates the
latter's civilian character.
As opined by the Office of the Solicitor General in its Comment dated 7 December 1998 15, the issue as to whether
the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military has the authority to investigate civilian personnel of the government was
33

resolved in the affirmative in the case of Acop v. Office of the Ombudsman. 16 In that case, the petitioners, who
were members of the Philippine National Police questioned the jurisdiction of the Deputy Ombudsman to
investigate the alleged shootout of certain suspected members of the "Kuratong Baleleng" robbery gang; this Court
held that:
The deliberations on the Deputy for the military establishment do not yield conclusive evidence that such deputy is
prohibited from performing other functions or duties affecting non-military personnel. On the contrary, a review of
the relevant Constitutional provisions reveal otherwise.
As previously established, the Ombudsman "may exercise such other powers or perform such functions or duties"
as Congress may prescribe through legisiation. Therefore, nothing can prevent Congress from giving the
Ombudsman supervision and control over the Ombudsman's deputies, one being the deputy for the military
establishment. In this light, Section 11 of R.A. No. 6770 provides:
Sec. 11. Structural Organization. — The authority and responsibility for the exercise of the mandate of the Office of
the Ombudsman and for the discharge of its powers and functions shall be vested in the Ombudsman, who shall
have supervision and control of the said Office.
While Section 31 thereof declares:
Sec. 31. Designation of Investigators and Prosecutors. — The Ombudsman may utilize the personnel of his office
and/or designate or deputize any fiscal, state prosecutor to assist in the investigation and prosecution of certain
cases. Those designated or deputized to assist him herein shall be under his supervision and control.
Accordingly, the Ombudsman may refer cases involving non-military personnel for investigation by the Deputy for
Military Affairs. In these cases at bench, therefore, no irregularity attended the referral by the Acting Ombudsman
of the Kurutong Baleleng case to respondent Casaclang who, in turn, created a panel of investigators. 17
The cited case is determinative of the issue. However, petitioner, in his Reply to Comment dated February 1, 1999,
argues that the ruling in the Acop case is not on all fours with the case at bar 18. Petitioner states that the doctrine
laid down in the said case is simply that "the Ombudsman may refer cases involving non-military personnel for
investigation by the Deputy for Military Affairs. This doctrine, petitioner argues, "applies only to isolated or
individual cases involving non-military personnel referred by the Ombudsman to the Deputy for Military Affairs" and
does not apply when, as in this case, there is a wholesale or indiscriminate referral of such cases to the Deputy
Ombudsman for Military Affairs in the form of an Office Memorandum Circular.
Petitioner's arguments do not convince as there is no basis for the distinction.
There is no basis in the above-cited decision to limit the referral of cases involving non-military personnel to the
Deputy Ombudsman for Military Affairs to isolated or individual cases. The Office of the Ombudsman, in issuing
Memorandum Circular No. 15, is simply exercising the power vested in the Ombudsman "to utilize the personnel of
his office and/or designate or deputize any fiscal, state prosecutor or the or lawyer in the government service to
act as special investigator or prosecutor to assist in the investigation and prosecution of certain cases." This Court,
absent any grave abuse of discretion, may not enterfere with the exercise by the Ombudsman of his power of
supervision and control over the said Office.
Petitioner further argues that Memorandum Circular No. 14 violates the clear intent and policy of the Constitution
and of R.A. 6975 to maintain the civilian character of the police force and "would render nugatory and meaningless
the distinction between cases involving civilian and military personnel and the creation of separate divisions of the
Ombudsman." 19
Said contentions are misplaced.
The Deputy Ombudsman for the Military, despite his designation as such, is by no means a member of the military
establishment. The said Office was established "to extend the Office of the Ombudsman to the military
establishment just as it champions the common people against bureaucratic indifference". The Office was intended
to help the "ordinary foot soldiers" to obtain redress for their grievances against higher authorities and the drafters
of the Constitution were aware that the creation of the Office, which is seemingly independent of the President, to
perform functions which constitutionally should be performed by the President, might be in derogation of the
powers of the President as Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces 20.
It must be borne in mind that the Office of the Ombudsman was envisioned by the framers of the 1987
Constitution as the "eyes and ears of the people" 21 and "a champion of the citizen. 22" Sec. 12, Art. XI of the
1987 Constitution describes the Ombudsman and his deputies as "protectors of the people." Thus, first and
foremost, the Ombudsman and his deputies, including the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military owe their allegiance
to the people and ordinary citizens, it is clearly not a part of the military. We fail to see how the assumption of
jurisdiction by the said office over the investigation of cases involving the PNP would detract from or violate the
civilian character of the police force when precisely the Office of the Ombudsman is a civilian office.
The other issues raised by petitioner concerns the application of Art. 125 of the Revised Penal Code which provides
as follows:
Art. 125. Delay in the delivery of detained persons to the proper judicial authorities. — The penalties provided in
the next preceding article shall be imposed upon the public officer or employee who shall detain any person for
some legal ground and shall fail to deliver such person for the proper judicial authorities within the period of:
twelve (12) hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by light penalties, or their equivalent; eighteen (18) hours, for
crimes or offenses punishable by correctional penalties, or their equivalent; and thirty-six hours (36) hours, for
crimes or offenses punishable by afflictive or capital penalties, or their equivalent.
In every case, the person detained shall be informed of the cause of his detention and shall be allowed, upon his
request, to communicate and confer at any time with his attorney or counsel.
34

In the case at bar, petitioner was arrested and detained at the Liloan Police Station on 7 September 1997 for an
alleged violation of R.A. 7610, specifically section 5 (b) thereof 23. This crime carries a penalty of reclusion
temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua, an afflictive penalty. Under these circumstances, a criminal
complaint or information should be filed with the proper judicial authorities within thirty six (36) hours of his arrest.
As borne by the records before us the mother of private complainant, Joan Gicaraya, filed a complaint on 8
September 1997 against petitioner for violation of R.A. 7610 before the 7th Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Liloan,
Metro Cebu.
Petitioner contends that the act of private complainant in filing the complaint before the MCTC was for purposes of
preliminary investigation as the MCTC has no jurisdiction to try the offense. This act of private complainant
petitioner argues, was unnecessary, a surplusage which did not interrupt the period prescribed by Art. 125 24
considering that under the Rules it is the Regional Trial Court which has jurisdiction to try the case against him. As
such, upon the lapse of the thirty-six hours given to the arresting officers to effect his delivery to the proper
Regional Trial Court, private respondents were already guilty of violating Art. 125. Thus, petitioner argues, when
the Judge-Designate of the 7th MCTC issued a Commitment Order on September 12, 1997, he was acting contrary
to law since by then there was no basis for the continued detention of petitioner. 25
In addressing the issue, the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military in its 13 April 1998 Order, stated that
the duty of filing the corresponding complaint in court was "fulfille by respondent when the formal complaint was
filed on September 8, 1997 with the 7th MCTC of Liloan-Compostela, barely 20 hours after the arrest of herein
complainant of September 7, 1997." 26 The Solicitor General, for his part, argues that while a municipal court
judge may conduct preliminary investigations as an exception to his normal judicial duties, he still retains the
authority to issue an order of release or commitment. As such, upon the filing of the complaint with the MCTC,
there was already compliance with the very purpose and intent of Art. 125 27.
The core issue is whether the filing of the complaint with the Municipal Trial Court constitutes to a "proper judicial
authority" as contemplated by Art. 125 of the Revised Penal Code.
Art. 125 of the Revised Penal Code is intended to prevent any abuse resulting from confining a person without
informing him of his offense and without permitting him to go on bail 28. More specifically, it punishes public
officials or employees who shall detain any person for some legal ground and shall fail to deliver such person to the
proper judicial authorities within the periods prescribed by law. The continued detention of the accused becomes
illegal upon the expiration of the periods provided for by Art. 125 without such detainee having been delivered to
the corresponding judicial authorities 29.
The words "judicial authority" as contemplated by Art. 125 mean "the courts of justices or judges of said courts
vested with judicial power to order the temporary detention or confinement of a person charged with having
committed a public offense, that is, the Supreme Court and other such inferior courts as may be established by
law. 30"
Petitioner takes great pains in arguing that when a municipal trial court judge, as in the instant case, conducts a
preliminary investigation, he is not acting as a judge but as a fiscal. In support, petitioner cites the cases of
Sangguniang Bayan ng Batac, Ilocos Norte vs. Albano, 260 SCRA 561, and Castillo vs. Villaluz, 171 SCRA 39,
where it was held that "when a preliminary investigation is conducted by a judge, he performs a non-judicial
function as an exception to his usual duties." Thus, petitioner opines, the ruling in Sayo v. Chief of Police of Manila,
80 Phil. 862, that the city fiscal is not the proper judicial authority referred to in Art. 125 is applicable.
Petitioner's reliance on the cited cases is misplaced. The cited cases of Sangguniang Bayan and Castillo dealt with
the issue of whether or not the findings of the Municipal Court Judge in a preliminary investigation are subject to
review by provincial and city fiscals. There was no pronoucement in these cases as to whether or not a municipal
trial court, in the exercise of its power to conduct preliminary investigations, is a proper judicial authority as
contemplated by Art. 125.
Neither can petitioner rely on the doctrine enunciated in Sayo vs. Chief of Police, supra, since the facts of this case
are different. In Sayo, the complainant was filed with the city fiscal of Manila who could not issue an order of
release or commitment while in the instant case, the complaint was filed with a judge who had the power to issue
such an order. Furthermore, in the Resolution denying the Motion for Reconsideration of the Sayo case 31, this
Court even made a pronouncement that the delivery of a detained person "is a legal one and consists in making a
charge or filing a complaint against the prisoner with the proper justice of the peace or judge of Court of First
Instance in provinces, and in filing by the city fiscal of an information with the corresponding city courts after an
investigation if the evidence against said person warrants."
The power to order the release or confinement of an accused is determinative of the issue. In contrast with a city
fiscal, it is undisputed that a municipal court judge, even in the performance of his function to conduct preliminary
investigations, retains the power to issue an order of release or commitment 32. Furthermore, upon the filing of
the complaint with the Municipal Trial Court, the intent behind art. 125 is satisfied considering that by such act, the
detained person is informed of the crime imputed against him and, upon his application with the court, he may be
released on bail 33. Petitioner himself acknowledged this power of the MCTC to order his release when he applied
for and was granted his release upon posting bail 34. Thus, the very purpose underlying Article 125 has been duly
served with the filing of the complaint with the MCTC. We agree with the postion of the Ombudsman that such
filing of the complaint with the MCTC interrupted the period prescribed in said Article.
Finally, we note that it was the mother of private complainant who filed the complaint against petitioner with the
7th MCTC of Liloan, Metro Cebu. If tere was any error in this procedure, private respondents should not be held
liable. In the same manner, petitioner's argument that the controversial orders issued by the MCTC are contrary' to
law does not give rise to criminal liability on the part of the respondents. Respondent police officers may have
35

rendered themselves open to sanctions if they had released petitioners without the order of the court, knowing
fully well that a complainant was a already filed with it.
WHEREFORE, finding no grave abuse of discretion in the issuance of the assailed January 19, 1998 Resolution and
the April 13, 1998 Order of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military, the Court resolves to DISMISS
the petition. No pronouncement as to costs.

EXCEPTIONS TO ARTICLE 125:


1. When the arrest is by virtue of a warrant of arrest.
2. Presence of the circumstances considered in determining liability of officer detaining a person beyond
legal period and these are:
a. The means of communication as well as
b. The hour of arrest and
c. Other circumstances such as the time of surrender and the material possibility for the fiscal to
make the investigation and file in time the necessary information must be taken into
consideration.
3. SEC. 18. Period of Detention Without Judicial Warrant of Arrest. - The provisions of Article 125
of the Revised Penal Code to the contrary notwithstanding, any police or law enforcement personnel,
who, having been duly authorized in writing by the Anti-Terrorism Council has taken custody of a
person charged with or suspected of the crime of terrorism or the crime of conspiracy to commit
terrorism shall, without incurring any criminal liability for delay in the delivery of detained persons to
the proper judicial authorities, deliver said charged or suspected person to the proper judicial
authority within a period of three days counted from the moment the said charged or
suspected person has been apprehended or arrested, detained, and taken into custody by
the said police, or law enforcement personnel: Provided, That the arrest of those suspected of
the crime of terrorism or conspiracy to commit terrorism must result from the surveillance under
Section 7 and examination of bank deposits under Section 27 of this Act. (2007 Human Security Act)

Art. 126. Delaying release. — The penalties provided for in Article 124 shall be imposed upon any public officer
or employee who delays for the period of time specified therein the performance of any judicial or executive order
for the release of a prisoner or detention prisoner, or unduly delays the service of the notice of such order to said
prisoner or the proceedings upon any petition for the liberation of such person.

Elements
1. That the offender is a public officer or employee
2. That there is a judicial or executive order for the release of a prisoner or detention prisoner, or that there is a
proceeding upon a petition for the liberation of such person
3. That the offender without good reason delays:
a. The service of the notice of such order to the prisoner;
b. The performance of such judicial or executive order for the release of the prisoner; OR
c. The proceedings upon a petition for the release of such person

Three acts are punishable under Article 126


1. By delaying the performance of a judicial or executive order for the release of a prisoner
2. By unduly delaying the service of the notice of such order to said prisoner
3. By unduly delaying the proceedings upon any petition for the liberation of such person

Art. 128. Violation of domicile. — The penalty of prision correccional in its minimum period shall be imposed
upon any public officer or employee who, not being authorized by judicial order, shall enter any dwelling against
the will of the owner thereof, search papers or other effects found therein without the previous consent of such
owner, or having surreptitiously entered said dwelling, and being required to leave the premises, shall refuse to do
so.
If the offense be committed in the night-time, or if any papers or effects not constituting evidence of a crime be
not returned immediately after the search made by the offender, the penalty shall be prision correccional in its
medium and maximum periods.

Elements
1. That the offender is a public officer or employee
2. That he is not authorized by judicial order to enter the dwelling and/or make a search therein for papers or other
effects

Acts punishable under Article 128


1. By entering any dwelling against the will of the owner; OR
2. By searching paper or other effects found therein without the previous consent of such owner; OR
3. By refusing to leave the premises, after having surreptitiously entered said dwelling and after having required to
leave the same
36

“Against the will of the owner”


To constitute a violation, the entrance by the public officer or employee must be against the will of the owner of
the dwelling, which presupposes opposition or prohibition by said owner, express or implied. If the entrance by the
public officer or employee is only without the consent of the owner of the dwelling, the crime is not committed.
Neither is the crime committed if the owner of the dwelling consented to such entrance. (People vs. Luis Sane)

The offender must be a public officer or employee


If the offender is a private individual, the crime committed is trespass to dwelling (Article 280).

2002 Bar Question


What is the difference between violation of domicile and trespass to dwelling?

The differences between violation of domicile and trespass to dwelling are; 1) The offender in violation of domicile
is a public officer acting under color of authority; in trespass to dwelling, the offender is a private person or public
officer acting in a private capacity.

2) Violation of domicile is committed in 3 different ways: (1) by entering the dwelling of another against the
will of the latter; (2) searching papers and other effects inside the dwelling without the previous consent of the
owner; or (3) refusing to leave the premises which he entered surreptitiously, after being required to leave the
premises.
Trespass to dwelling is committed only in one way; that is, by entering the dwelling of another against the
express or implied will of the latter.

RA NO. 9372 (HUMAN SECURITY ACT OF 2007) WHICH TOOK EFFECT ON JULY 15, 2007
SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. - It is declared a policy of the State to protect life, liberty, and property from acts
of terrorism, to condemn terrorism as inimical and dangerous to the national security of the country and to the
welfare of the people, and to make terrorism a crime against the Filipino people, against humanity, and against the
law of nations.
In the implementation of the policy stated above, the State shall uphold the basic rights and fundamental liberties
of the people as enshrined in the Constitution.
The State recognizes that the fight against terrorism requires a comprehensive approach, comprising political,
economic, diplomatic, military, and legal means duly taking into account the root causes of terrorism without
acknowledging these as justifications for terrorist and/or criminal activities. Such measures shall include conflict
management and post-conflict peace-building, addressing the roots of conflict by building state capacity and
promoting equitable economic development.
Nothing in this Act shall be interpreted as a curtailment, restriction or diminution of constitutionally recognized
powers of the executive branch of the government. It is to be understood, however that the exercise of the
constitutionally recognized powers of the executive department of the government shall not prejudice respect for
human rights which shall be absolute and protected at all times.
SEC. 3. Terrorism.- Any person who commits an act punishable under any of the following provisions of the
Revised Penal Code:
a. Article 122 (Piracy in General and Mutiny in the High Seas or in the Philippine Waters);
b. Article 134 (Rebellion or Insurrection);
c. Article 134-a (Coup d' Etat), including acts committed by private persons;
d. Article 248 (Murder);
e. Article 267 (Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention);
f. Article 324 (Crimes Involving Destruction), or under
1. Presidential Decree No. 1613 (The Law on Arson);
2. Republic Act No. 6969 (Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act of 1990);
3. Republic Act No. 5207, (Atomic Energy Regulatory and Liability Act of 1968);
4. Republic Act No. 6235 (Anti-Hijacking Law);
5. Presidential Decree No. 532 (Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery Law of 1974); and,
6. Presidential Decree No. 1866, as amended (Decree Codifying the Laws on Illegal and Unlawful Possession,
Manufacture, Dealing in, Acquisition or Disposition of Firearms, Ammunitions or Explosives)
thereby sowing and creating a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace, in
order to coerce the government to give in to an unlawful demand shall be guilty of the crime of terrorism and shall
suffer the penalty of forty (40) years of imprisonment, without the benefit of parole as provided for under Act No.
4103, otherwise known as the Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended.
SEC. 4. Conspiracy to Commit Terrorism. - Persons who conspire to commit the crime of terrorism shall suffer
the penalty of forty (40) years of imprisonment.
There is conspiracy when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of the crime of
terrorism as defined in Section 3 hereof and decide to commit the same.
SEC. 8. Formal Application for Judicial Authorization. - The written order of the authorizing division of the Court of
Appeals to track down, tap, listen to, intercept, and record communications, messages, conversations, discussions,
or spoken or written words of any person suspected of the crime of terrorism or the crime of conspiracy to commit
37

terrorism shall only be granted by the authorizing division of the Court of Appeals upon an ex parte written
application of a police or of a law enforcement official who has been duly authorized in writing by the Anti-
Terrorism Council created in Section 53 of this Act to file such ex parte application, and upon examination under
oath or affirmation of the applicant and the witnesses he may produce to establish: (a) that there is probable cause
to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the said crime of terrorism or conspiracy to
commit terrorism has been committed, or is being committed, or is about to be committed; (b) that there is
probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that evidence, which is essential
to the conviction of any charged or suspected person for, or to the solution or prevention of, any such crimes, will
be obtained; and, (c) that there is no other effective means readily available for acquiring such evidence.
SEC. 17. Proscription of Terrorist Organizations, Association, or Group of Persons. - Any organization,
association, or group of persons organized for the purpose of engaging in terrorism, or which, although not
organized for that purpose, actually uses the acts to terrorize mentioned in this Act or to sow and create a
condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace in order to coerce the government to
give in to an unlawful demand shall, upon application of the Department of Justice before a competent Regional
Trial Court, with due notice and opportunity to be heard given to the organization, association, or group of persons
concerned, be declared as a terrorist and outlawed organization, association, or group of persons by the said
Regional Trial Court.
SEC. 18. Period of Detention Without Judicial Warrant of Arrest. - The provisions of Article 125 of the
Revised Penal Code to the contrary notwithstanding, any police or law enforcement personnel, who, having been
duly authorized in writing by the Anti-Terrorism Council has taken custody of a person charged with or suspected
of the crime of terrorism or the crime of conspiracy to commit terrorism shall, without incurring any criminal
liability for delay in the delivery of detained persons to the proper judicial authorities, deliver said charged or
suspected person to the proper judicial authority within a period of three days counted from the moment the said
charged or suspected person has been apprehended or arrested, detained, and taken into custody by the said
police, or law enforcement personnel: Provided, That the arrest of those suspected of the crime of terrorism or
conspiracy to commit terrorism must result from the surveillance under Section 7 and examination of bank deposits
under Section 27 of this Act.
The police or law enforcement personnel concerned shall, before detaining the person suspected of the crime of
terrorism, present him or her before any judge at the latter's residence or office nearest the place where the arrest
took place at any time of the day or night. It shall be the duty of the judge, among other things, to ascertain the
identity of the police or law enforcement personnel and the person or persons they have arrested and presented
before him or her, to inquire of them the reasons why they have arrested the person and determine by questioning
and personal observation whether or not the suspect has been subjected to any physical, moral or psychological
torture by whom and why. The judge shall then submit a written report of what he/she had observed when the
subject was brought before him to the proper court that has jurisdiction over the case of the person thus arrested.
The judge shall forthwith submit his/her report within three calendar days from the time the suspect was brought
to his/her residence or office.
Immediately after taking custody of a person charged with or suspected of the crime of terrorism or conspiracy to
commit terrorism, the police or law enforcement personnel shall notify in writing the judge of the court nearest the
place of apprehension or arrest: Provided ,That where the arrest is made during Saturdays, Sundays, holidays or
after office hours, the written notice shall be served at the residence of the judge nearest the place where the
accused was arrested.
The penalty of ten (10) years and one day to twelve (12) years of imprisonment shall be imposed upon the police
or law enforcement personnel who fails to notify and judge as Provided in the preceding paragraph.
SEC. 19. Period of Detention in the Event of an Actual or Imminent Terrorist Attack. - In the event of an
actual or imminent terrorist attack, suspects may not be detained for more than three days without the written
approval of a municipal, city, provincial or regional official of a Human Rights Commission or judge of the
municipal, regional trial court, the Sandiganbayan or a justice of the Court of Appeals nearest the place of the
arrest. If the arrest is made during Saturdays, Sundays, holidays or after office hours, the arresting police or law
enforcement personnel shall bring the person thus arrested to the residence of any of the officials mentioned above
that is nearest the place where the accused was arrested. The approval in writing of any of the said officials shall
be secured by the police or law enforcement personnel concerned within five days after the date of the detention of
the persons concerned: Provided, however, That within three days after the detention the suspects, whose
connection with the terror attack or threat is not established, shall be released immediately.
SEC. 26. Restriction on Travel. - In cases where evidence of guilt is not strong, and the person charged with the
crime of terrorism or conspiracy to commit terrorism is entitled to bail and is granted the same, the court, upon
application by the prosecutor, shall limit the right of travel of the accused to within the municipality or city where
he resides or where the case is pending, in the interest of national security and public safety, consistent with
Article III, Section 6 of the Constitution. Travel outside of said municipality or city, without the authorization of the
court, shall be deemed a violation of the terms and conditions of his bail, which shall then be forfeited as provided
under the Rules of Court.
He/she may also be placed under house arrest by order of the court at his or her usual place of residence.
While under house arrest, he or she may not use telephones, cellphones, e-mails, computers, the internet or other
means of communications with people outside the residence until otherwise ordered by the court.
The restrictions abovementioned shall be terminated upon the acquittal of the accused or of the dismissal of the
case filed against him or earlier upon the discretion of the court on motion of the prosecutor or of the accused.
38

SEC. 27. Judicial Authorization Required to Examine Bank Deposits, Accounts, and Records. - The
provisions of Republic Act No. 1405 as amended, to the contrary notwithstanding, the justices of the Court of
Appeals designated as a special court to handle anti-terrorism cases after satisfying themselves of the existence of
probable cause in a hearing called for that purpose that: (1) a person charged with or suspected of the crime of
terrorism or, conspiracy to commit terrorism, (2) of a judicially declared and outlawed terrorist organization,
association, or group of persons; and (3) of a member of such judicially declared and outlawed organization,
association, or group of persons, may authorize in writing any police or law enforcement officer and the members
of his/her team duly authorized in writing by the anti-terrorism council to: (a) examine, or cause the examination
of, the deposits, placements, trust accounts, assets and records in a bank or financial institution; and (b) gather or
cause the gathering of any relevant information about such deposits, placements, trust accounts, assets, and
records from a bank or financial institution. The bank or financial institution concerned, shall not refuse to allow
such examination or to provide the desired information, when so, ordered by and served with the written order of
the Court of Appeals.
SEC. 39. Seizure and Sequestration. - The deposits and their outstanding balances, placements, trust accounts,
assets, and records in any bank or financial institution, moneys, businesses, transportation and communication
equipment, supplies and other implements, and property of whatever kind and nature belonging: (1) to any person
suspected of or charged before a competent Regional Trial Court for the crime of terrorism or the crime of
conspiracy to commit terrorism; (2) to a judicially declared and outlawed organization, association, or group of
persons; or (3) to a member of such organization, association, or group of persons shall be seized, sequestered,
and frozen in order to prevent their use, transfer, or conveyance for purposes that are inimical to the safety and
security of the people or injurious to the interest of the State.
The accused or a person suspected of may withdraw such sums as may be reasonably needed by the monthly
needs of his family including the services of his or her counsel and his or her family's medical needs upon approval
of the court. He or she may also use any of his property that is under seizure or sequestration or frozen because of
his/her indictment as a terrorist upon permission of the court for any legitimate reason.
Any person who unjustifiably refuses to follow the order of the proper division of the Court of Appeals to allow the
person accused of the crime of terrorism or of the crime of conspiracy to commit terrorism to withdraw such sums
from sequestered or frozen deposits, placements, trust accounts, assets and records as may be necessary for the
regular sustenance of his/her family or to use any of his/her property that has been seized, sequestered or frozen
for legitimate purposes while his/her case is pending shall suffer the penalty of ten (10) years and one day to
twelve (12) years of imprisonment.
SEC. 55. Role of the Commission on Human Rights. - The Commission on Human Rights shall give the highest
priority to the investigation and prosecution of violations of civil and political rights of persons in relation to the
implementation of this Act; and for this purpose, the Commission shall have the concurrent jurisdiction to
prosecute public officials, law enforcers, and other persons who may have violated the civil and political rights of
persons suspected of, or detained for the crime of terrorism or conspiracy to commit terrorism.
SEC. 58. Extra-Territorial Application of this Act. - Subject to the provision of an existing treaty of which the
Philippines is a signatory and to any contrary provision of any law of preferential application, the provisions of this
Act shall apply: (1) to individual persons who commit any of the crimes defined and punished in this Act within the
terrestrial domain, interior waters, maritime zone, and airspace of the Philippines; (2) to individual persons who,
although physically outside the territorial limits of the Philippines, commit, conspire or plot to commit any of the
crimes defined and punished in this Act inside the territorial limits of the Philippines; (3) to individual persons who,
although physically outside the territorial limits of the Philippines, commit any of the said crimes on board
Philippine ship or Philippine airship; (4) to individual persons who commit any of said crimes within any embassy,
consulate, or diplomatic premises belonging to or occupied by the Philippine government in an official capacity; (5)
to individual persons who, although physically outside the territorial limits of the Philippines, commit said crimes
against Philippine citizens or persons of Philippines descent, where their citizenship or ethnicity was a factor in the
commission of the crime; and (6) to individual persons who, although physically outside the territorial limits of the
Philippines, commit said crimes directly against the Philippine government.
SEC. 62. Special Effectivity Clause. - After the bill shall have been signed into law by the President, the Act shall
be published in three newspapers of national circulation; three newspapers of local circulation, one each in llocos
Norte, Baguio City and Pampanga; three newspapers of local circulation, one each in Cebu, lloilo and Tacloban; and
three newspapers of local circulation, one each in Cagayan de Oro, Davao and General Santos city.
The title of the Act and its provisions defining the acts of terrorism that are punished shall be aired everyday at
primetime for seven days, morning, noon and night over three national television and radio networks; three radio
and television networks, one each in Cebu, Tacloban and lloilo; and in five radio and television networks, one each
in Lanao del Sur, Cagayan de Oro, Davao City, Cotabato City and Zamboanga City. The publication in the
newspapers of local circulation and the announcements over local radio and television networks shall be done in
the dominant language of the community. After the publication required above shall have been done, the Act shall
take effect two months after the elections are held in May 2007. Thereafter, the provisions of this Act shall be
automatically suspended one month before and two months as after the holding of any election.

BAR QUESTIONS ON TITLE TWO


Violation of Domicile vs. Trespass to Dwelling (2002)
What is the difference between violation of domicile and trespass to dwelling? (2%)
39

SUGGESTED ANSWER:
The differences between violation of domicile and trespass to dwelling are; 1) The offender in violation of domicile
is a public
officer acting under color of authority; in trespass to dwelling, the offender is a private person or public officer
acting in a private capacity.
2) Violation of domicile is committed in 3 different ways: (1) by entering the dwelling of another against the
will of the latter; (2) searching papers and other effects inside the dwelling without the previous consent of the
owner; or (3) refusing to leave the premises which he entered surreptitiously, after being required to leave the
premises.
3) Trespass to dwelling is committed only in one way; that is, by entering the dwelling of another against the
express or implied will of the latter.
Homicide; Fraustrated; Physical Injuries (1994)
At about 11:00 in the evening, Dante forced his way inside the house of Mamerto. Jay, Mamerto's son, saw Dante
and accosted him, Dante pulled a knife and stabbed Jay on his abdomen. Mamerto heard the commotion and went
out of his room. Dante, who was about to escape, assaulted Mamerto. Jay suffered injuries which, were it not for
the timely medical attendance, would have caused his death. Mamerto sustained Injuries that incapacitated him for
25 days. What crime or crimes did Dante commit?
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
Dante committed qualified trespass to dwelling, frustrated homicide for the stabbing of Jay, and less serious
physical injuries for the assault on Mamerto.
The crime of qualified trespass to dwelling should not be complexed with frustrated homicide ...
Dante committed frustrated homicide for the stabbing of Jay because he had already performed all the acts of
execution which would have produced the intended felony of homicide were it not for causes independent of the act
of Dante. Dante had the intent to kill judging from the weapon used, the manner of committing the crime and the
part of the body stabbed. Dante is guilty of less serious physical injuries for the wounds sustained by Mamerto.
There appears to be no intent to kill because Dante merely assaulted Mamerto without using the knife.
Arbitrary Detention; Elements; Grounds (2006)
1. What are the 3 ways of committing arbitrary detention? Explain each. (2.5.%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
The 3 ways of arbitrary detention are:
a) Arbitrary detention by detaining a person without legal ground committed by any public officer or
employee who, without legal grounds, detains a person (Art. 124, Revised Penal Code).
b) Delay in the delivery of detained persons to the proper judicial authorities which is committed by a public
officer or employee who shall detain any person for some legal ground and shall fail to deliver such person to the
proper judicial authorities within the period of: twelve (12) hours, for crimes or offense punishable by light
penalties, or their equivalent; eighteen hours (18), for crimes or offenses punishable by correctional facilities, or
their equivalent; and thirty-six (36) hours for crimes or offenses punishable by afflictive or capital penalties, or
their equivalent (Art. 125, Revised Penal Code).
c) Delaying release is committed by any public officer or employee who delays the release for the period of
time specified therein the performance of any judicial or executive order for the release of the prisoner, or unduly
delays
the service of the notice of such order to said prisoner or the proceedings upon any petition for the liberation of
such person (Art. 126, Revised Penal Code).
2. What are the legal grounds for detention? (2.5%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
The commission of a crime, or violent insanity or any other ailment requiring the compulsory confinement of the
patient in a hospital shall be considered legal grounds for the detention of any person (Art. 124[2], Revised Penal
Code).
3. When is an arrest by a peace officer or by a private person considered lawful? Explain. (5%)

1. When the arrest by a peace officer is made pursuant to a valid warrant.

2. A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:

i. When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting
to commit an offense,
ii. When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that
the person to be arrested has committed it, and
iii. When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from penal establishment or place where
he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being
transferred from one confinement to another (Sec. 5, Rule 113,1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure).
Kidnapping; Serious Illegal Detention (1997)
A and B conspiring with each other, kidnapped C and detained him. The duo then called up C's wife informing her
that they had her husband and would release him only if she paid a ransom in the amount of P10,000,000 and
that, if she were to fail, they would kill him. The next day, C, who had just recovered from an illness had a relapse.
40

Fearing he might die if not treated at once by a doctor, A and B released C during the early morning of the third
day of detention.
Charged with kidnapping and serious illegal detention provided in Article 267, RPC, A and B filed a petition for bail.
They contended that since they had voluntarily released C within three days from commencement of the detention,
without having been paid any amount of the ransom demanded and before the institution of criminal proceedings
against them, the crime committed was only slight illegal detention prescribed in Article 268, RPC.
After hearing, the trial court found the evidence of guilt to be strong and therefore denied the petition for bail. On
appeal, the only issue was: Was the crime committed kidnapping and serious detention or slight Illegal detention?
Decide.
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
The crime committed by A and B is kidnapping and serious illegal detention because they made a demand for
ransom and threatened to kill C if the latter's wife did not pay the same. Without the demand for ransom, the
crime could have been slight illegal detention only.
The contention of A and B that they had voluntary released C within three days from the commencement of the
detention is immaterial as they are charged with a crime where the penalty prescribed is death (Asistio vs. San
Diego. 10SCRA673).
They were properly denied bail because the trial court found that the evidence of guilt in the information for
kidnapping and serious Illegal detention is strong.
Trespass to Dwelling; Private Persons (2006)
Under what situations may a private person enter any dwelling, residence, or other establishments without being
liable for trespass to dwelling? (2.5%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
Trespass to dwelling is not applicable to any person who shall enter another's dwelling for the purpose of: a)
Preventing some serious harm to himself, its occupants, or a third person; and b) Rendering service to humanity
or justice;
Any person who shall enter cafes, taverns, inns, and other public houses, while the same are open will likewise not
be liable (Art. 280, Revised Penal Code).
Tresspass to Dwelling; Rule of Absorption (1994)
At about 11:00 in the evening, Dante forced his way inside the house of Mamerto. Jay. Mamerto's son, saw Dante
and accosted him, Dante pulled a knife and stabbed Jay on his abdomen. Mamerto heard the commotion and went
out of his room. Dante, who was about to escape, assaulted Mamerto. Jay suffered Injuries which, were it not for
the timely medical attendance, would have caused his death. Mamerto sustained Injuries that incapacitated him for
25 days. What crime or crimes did Dante commit?
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
Dante committed qualified trespass to dwelling, frustrated homicide for the stabbing of Jay, and less serious
physical injuries for the assault on Mamerto.
The crime of qualified trespass to dwelling should not be complexed with frustrated homicide because when the
trespass is committed as a means to commit a more serious offense, trespass to dwelling is absorbed by the
greater crime, and the former constitutes an aggravating circumstance of dwelling (People vs. Abedoza, 53
Phil.788).
Dante committed frustrated homicide for the stabbing of Jay.... Dante is guilty of less serious physical injuries for
the wounds sustained by Mamerto...
Unjust Vexation vs Acts of Lasciviousness (1994)
When is embracing, kissing and touching a girl's breast considered only unjust vexation instead of acts of
lasciviousness?
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
The acts of embracing, kissing of a woman arising either out of passion or other motive and the touching of her
breast as a mere incident of the embrace without lewd design constitutes merely unjust vexation (People vs,
Ignacio. CA GRNo. 5119-R, September 30, 1950). However, where the kissing, embracing and the touching of the
breast of a woman are done with lewd design, the same constitute acts of lasciviousness (People vs. Percival Gilo,
10 SCRA 753).
Art. 124 Arbitrary Detention (2008)
After due hearing on a petition for a writ of amparo founded on the acts of enforced disappearance and extralegal
killing of the son of the complainant allegedly done by the respondent military officers, the court granted the
petition. May the military officers be criminally charged in court with enforced disappearance and extralegal killing?
Explain fully.
Yes, the respondent military officers maybe criminally charged in court since “enforced disappearance” constitutes
arbitrary detention under Art. 124 or Unlawful Arrest under Art. 269 of the RPC. Extralegal killing can also be
considered murder and/or homicide under Art. 248/249 RPC.
ALTERNATIVE ANSWER:
The petition for the writ of amparo is not a criminal proceeding and will not determine the guilt of the respondents.
If the evidence so warrants, the amparo court may refer the case to the Department of Justice for criminal
prosecution (A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC) of the military officers for the special complex crime of kidnapping with murder
or homicide under Art. 276 of the RPC as amended by RA 7659.

Art. 280 Trespass to Dwelling (2009)/True or False


41

A policeman who, without a judicial order, enters a private house over the owner’s opposition is guilty of trespass
to dwelling.

Art. 267 Illegal Detention/Art. 270 Kidnapping of minors (2009)


Virgilio, armed with a gun, stopped a van along a major thoroughfare in Manila, pointed the gun at the driver and
shouted: "Tigil! Kidnap ito!"
Terrified, the driver, Juanito, stopped the van and allowed Virgilio to board. Inside the van were Jeremias, a 6-
year-old child, son of a multi-millionaire, and Daday, the child’s nanny. Virgilio told Juanito to drive to a deserted
place, and there, ordered the driver to alight. Before Juanito was allowed to go, Virgilio instructed him to tell
Jeremias’ parents that unless they give a ransom of P10-million within two (2) days, Jeremias would be beheaded.
Daday was told to remain in the van and take care of Jeremias until the ransom is paid. Virgilio then drove the van
to his safehouse.
What crime or crimes, if any, did Virgilio commit? Explain. (5%)

TITLE THREE: CRIMES AGAINST PUBLIC ORDER

Art. 134. Rebellion or insurrection; How committed. — The crime of rebellion or insurrection is committed by
rising publicly and taking arms against the Government for the purpose of removing from the allegiance to said
Government or its laws, the territory of the Philippine Islands or any part thereof, of any body of land, naval or
other armed forces, depriving the Chief Executive or the Legislature, wholly or partially, of any of their powers or
prerogatives. (As amended by R.A. 6968).

People vs. Hernandez, et. al.


Nos. L-6025-26 July 18, 1956

Facts: Accused Hernandez is alleged to be either a member or officer of Committee on Labor Organization (CLO),
an active agency of the Communist Party of the Philippines (PKP). The said agency has engaged in activities
involving rebellion that will ensure the permanent success of the armed rebellion against the Republic of the
Philippines. The purpose of the rebellion is to remove the territory of the Philippines from the allegiance to the
government and laws thereof. Their activities consist of making armed raids, sorties and ambushes, attacks against
police constabulary, and army detachments as well as innocent civilians & as a necessary means to commit the
crime of rebellion, in connection therewith & in furtherance thereof have then & there committed acts of murder,
pillage, looting, plunder and arson & planned destruction of private & public property to create & spread chaos,
disorder, terror & fear so as to facilitate the accomplishment of the aforesaid purpose. The accused is alleged to
have committed murders, arsons and robberies pursuant to their purpose. In relation thereto, the accused was
charged with & convicted of rebellion, completed with murders, arsons & robberies. The penalty imposed on him is
life imprisonment. The defense, however, contended that he cannot be charged with rebellion complexed with
murder, arson or robbery.
Issue: WON the charge against him is correct?
Decision: The motion for bail is granted. The accused is provisionally released.
Ratio Decidendi:
a. For engaging in war, serious violence, physical injuries and destruction of life & property are inherent in
rebellion but not in assault upon persons in authority or agents of persons in authority or in rape.
b. Political crimes are those directly aimed against the political order, as well as such common crimes as maybe
committed to achieve a political purpose. The decisive factor is the intent or motive.
c. If a crime usually regarded as common, like homicide, is perpetrated for the purpose of removing from the
allegiance to the Government the territory of the Philippine Islands or any part thereof then said offense
becomes stripped of its “common” complexion, inasmuch as being part & parcel of the crime of rebellion, the
former acquires the political character of the latter.
42

d. Another definition of political offense: These are divested of their character as “common offenses” & assume
the political complexion of the main crime of which they are mere ingredients and consequently cannot be
punished separately from the principal offense or complexed with the same, to justify the imposition of a
graver penalty.
e. Under the allegations of amended information, the murders, arsons, & robberies described therein are mere
ingredients of the crime of rebellion allegedly committed by said defendants as means “necessary” for the
perpetration of said offense of rebellion.
f. That the crime charged in the aforementioned amended information is, therefore, SIMPLE REBELLION, not the
complex crime of rebellion with multiple murder, arsons & robberies.
g. In the commission of rebellion, one must consider all acts committed in furtherance thereof. Such crime
constitutes only one crime, punishable with one single penalty.

G.R. No. 92163 June 5, 1990


JUAN PONCE ENRILE vs. JUDGE JAIME SALAZAR

Thirty-four years after it wrote history into our criminal jurisprudence, People vs. Hernandez 1 once more takes
center stage as the focus of a confrontation at law that would re-examine, if not the validity of its doctrine, the
limits of its applicability. To be sure, the intervening period saw a number of similar cases 2 that took issue with
the ruling-all with a marked lack of success-but none, it would Beem, where season and circumstance had more
effectively conspired to attract wide public attention and excite impassioned debate, even among laymen; none,
certainly, which has seen quite the kind and range of arguments that are now brought to bear on the same
question.
The facts are not in dispute. In the afternoon of February 27, 1990, Senate Minority Floor Leader Juan Ponce Enrile
was arrested by law enforcement officers led by Director Alfredo Lim of the National Bureau of Investigation on the
strength of a warrant issued by Hon. Jaime Salazar of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City Branch 103, in
Criminal Case No. 9010941. The warrant had issued on an information signed and earlier that day filed by a panel
of prosecutors composed of Senior State Prosecutor Aurelio C. Trampe, State Prosecutor Ferdinand R. Abesamis
and Assistant City Prosecutor Eulogio Mananquil, Jr., charging Senator Enrile, the spouses Rebecco and Erlinda
Panlilio, and Gregorio Honasan with the crime of rebellion with murder and multiple frustrated murder allegedly
committed during the period of the failed coup attempt from November 29 to December 10, 1990. Senator Enrile
was taken to and held overnight at the NBI headquarters on Taft Avenue, Manila, without bail, none having been
recommended in the information and none fixed in the arrest warrant. The following morning, February 28, 1990,
he was brought to Camp Tomas Karingal in Quezon City where he was given over to the custody of the
Superintendent of the Northern Police District, Brig. Gen. Edgardo Dula Torres. 3
On the same date of February 28, 1990, Senator Enrile, through counsel, filed the petition for habeas corpus herein
(which was followed by a supplemental petition filed on March 2, 1990), alleging that he was deprived of his
constitutional rights in being, or having been:
(a) held to answer for criminal offense which does not exist in the statute books;
(b) charged with a criminal offense in an information for which no complaint was initially filed or preliminary
investigation was conducted, hence was denied due process;
(c) denied his right to bail; and
(d) arrested and detained on the strength of a warrant issued without the judge who issued it first having
personally determined the existence of probable cause. 4
The Court issued the writ prayed for, returnable March 5, 1990 and set the plea for hearing on March 6, 1990. 5
On March 5, 1990, the Solicitor General filed a consolidated return 6 for the respondents in this case and in G.R.
No. 92164 7 Which had been contemporaneously but separately filed by two of Senator Enrile's co-accused, the
spouses Rebecco and Erlinda Panlilio, and raised similar questions. Said return urged that the petitioners' case does
not fall within the Hernandez ruling because-and this is putting it very simply-the information in Hernandez
charged murders and other common crimes committed as a necessary means for the commission of rebellion,
whereas the information against Sen. Enrile et al. charged murder and frustrated murder committed on the
occasion, but not in furtherance, of rebellion. Stated otherwise, the Solicitor General would distinguish between the
complex crime ("delito complejo") arising from an offense being a necessary means for committing another, which
is referred to in the second clause of Article 48, Revised Penal Code, and is the subject of the Hernandez ruling,
and the compound crime ("delito compuesto") arising from a single act constituting two or more grave or less
grave offenses referred to in the first clause of the same paragraph, with which Hernandez was not concerned and
to which, therefore, it should not apply.
The parties were heard in oral argument, as scheduled, on March 6, 1990, after which the Court issued its
Resolution of the same date 8 granting Senator Enrile and the Panlilio spouses provisional liberty conditioned upon
their filing, within 24 hours from notice, cash or surety bonds of P100,000.00 (for Senator Enrile) and P200,000.00
(for the Panlilios), respectively. The Resolution stated that it was issued without prejudice to a more extended
resolution on the matter of the provisional liberty of the petitioners and stressed that it was not passing upon the
legal issues raised in both cases. Four Members of the Court 9 voted against granting bail to Senator Enrile, and
two 10 against granting bail to the Panlilios.
The Court now addresses those issues insofar as they are raised and litigated in Senator Enrile's petition, G.R. No.
92163.
43

The parties' oral and written pleas presented the Court with the following options:
(a) abandon Hernandez and adopt the minority view expressed in the main dissent of Justice Montemayor in said
case that rebellion cannot absorb more serious crimes, and that under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code
rebellion may properly be complexed with common offenses, so-called; this option was suggested by the Solicitor
General in oral argument although it is not offered in his written pleadings;
(b) hold Hernandez applicable only to offenses committed in furtherance, or as a necessary means for the
commission, of rebellion, but not to acts committed in the course of a rebellion which also constitute "common"
crimes of grave or less grave character;
(c) maintain Hernandez as applying to make rebellion absorb all other offenses committed in its course, whether or
not necessary to its commission or in furtherance thereof.
On the first option, eleven (11) Members of the Court voted against abandoning Hernandez. Two (2) Members felt
that the doctrine should be re-examined. 10-A In the view of the majority, the ruling remains good law, its
substantive and logical bases have withstood all subsequent challenges and no new ones are presented here
persuasive enough to warrant a complete reversal. This view is reinforced by the fact that not too long ago, the
incumbent President, exercising her powers under the 1986 Freedom Constitution, saw fit to repeal, among others,
Presidential Decree No. 942 of the former regime which precisely sought to nullify or neutralize Hernandez by
enacting a new provision (Art. 142-A) into the Revised Penal Code to the effect that "(w)hen by reason, or on the
occasion, of any of the crimes penalized in this Chapter (Chapter I of Title 3, which includes rebellion), acts which
constitute offenses upon which graver penalties are imposed by law are committed, the penalty for the most
serious offense in its maximum period shall be imposed upon the offender."' 11 In thus acting, the President in
effect by legislative flat reinstated Hernandez as binding doctrine with the effect of law. The Court can do no less
than accord it the same recognition, absent any sufficiently powerful reason against so doing.
On the second option, the Court unanimously voted to reject the theory that Hernandez is, or should be, limited in
its application to offenses committed as a necessary means for the commission of rebellion and that the ruling
should not be interpreted as prohibiting the complexing of rebellion with other common crimes committed on the
occasion, but not in furtherance, thereof. While four Members of the Court felt that the proponents' arguments
were not entirely devoid of merit, the consensus was that they were not sufficient to overcome what appears to be
the real thrust of Hernandez to rule out the complexing of rebellion with any other offense committed in its course
under either of the aforecited clauses of Article 48, as is made clear by the following excerpt from the majority
opinion in that case:
There is one other reason-and a fundamental one at that-why Article 48 of our Penal Code cannot be applied in the
case at bar. If murder were not complexed with rebellion, and the two crimes were punished separately (assuming
that this could be done), the following penalties would be imposable upon the movant, namely: (1) for the crime of
rebellion, a fine not exceeding P20,000 and prision mayor, in the corresponding period, depending upon the
modifying circumstances present, but never exceeding 12 years of prision mayor, and (2) for the crime of murder,
reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death, depending upon the modifying circumstances present. in other
words, in the absence of aggravating circumstances, the extreme penalty could not be imposed upon him.
However, under Article 48 said penalty would have to be meted out to him, even in the absence of a single
aggravating circumstance. Thus, said provision, if construed in conformity with the theory of the prosecution,
would be unfavorable to the movant.
Upon the other hand, said Article 48 was enacted for the purpose of favoring the culprit, not of sentencing him to a
penalty more severe than that which would be proper if the several acts performed by him were punished
separately. In the words of Rodriguez Navarro:
La unificacion de penas en los casos de concurso de delitos a que hace referencia este articulo (75 del Codigo de
1932), esta basado francamente en el principio pro reo.' (II Doctrina Penal del Tribunal Supremo de Espana, p.
2168.)
We are aware of the fact that this observation refers to Article 71 (later 75) of the Spanish Penal Code (the
counterpart of our Article 48), as amended in 1908 and then in 1932, reading:
Las disposiciones del articulo anterior no son aplicables en el caso de que un solo hecho constituya dos o mas
delitos, o cuando el uno de ellos sea medio necesario para cometer el otro.
En estos casos solo se impondra la pena correspondiente al delito mas grave en su grado maximo, hasta el limite
que represents la suma de las que pudieran imponerse, penando separadamente los delitos.
Cuando la pena asi computada exceda de este limite, se sancionaran los delitos por separado. (Rodriguez Navarro,
Doctrina Penal del Tribunal Supremo, Vol. II, p. 2163)
and that our Article 48 does not contain the qualification inserted in said amendment, restricting the imposition of
the penalty for the graver offense in its maximum period to the case when it does not exceed the sum total of the
penalties imposable if the acts charged were dealt with separately. The absence of said limitation in our Penal Code
does not, to our mind, affect substantially the spirit of said Article 48. Indeed, if one act constitutes two or more
offenses, there can be no reason to inflict a punishment graver than that prescribed for each one of said offenses
put together. In directing that the penalty for the graver offense be, in such case, imposed in its maximum period,
Article 48 could have had no other purpose than to prescribe a penalty lower than the aggregate of the penalties
for each offense, if imposed separately. The reason for this benevolent spirit of article 48 is readily discernible.
When two or more crimes are the result of a single act, the offender is deemed less perverse than when he
commits said crimes thru separate and distinct acts. Instead of sentencing him for each crime independently from
the other, he must suffer the maximum of the penalty for the more serious one, on the assumption that it is less
grave than the sum total of the separate penalties for each offense. 12
44

The rejection of both options shapes and determines the primary ruling of the Court, which is that Hernandez
remains binding doctrine operating to prohibit the complexing of rebellion with any other offense committed on the
occasion thereof, either as a means necessary to its commission or as an unintended effect of an activity that
constitutes rebellion.
This, however, does not write finis to the case. Petitioner's guilt or innocence is not here inquired into, much less
adjudged. That is for the trial court to do at the proper time. The Court's ruling merely provides a take-off point for
the disposition of other questions relevant to the petitioner's complaints about the denial of his rights and to the
propriety of the recourse he has taken.
The Court rules further (by a vote of 11 to 3) that the information filed against the petitioner does in fact charge an
offense. Disregarding the objectionable phrasing that would complex rebellion with murder and multiple frustrated
murder, that indictment is to be read as charging simple rebellion. Thus, in Hernandez, the Court said:
In conclusion, we hold that, under the allegations of the amended information against defendant-appellant Amado
V. Hernandez, the murders, arsons and robberies described therein are mere ingredients of the crime of rebellion
allegedly committed by said defendants, as means "necessary" (4) for the perpetration of said offense of rebellion;
that the crime charged in the aforementioned amended information is, therefore, simple rebellion, not the complex
crime of rebellion with multiple murder, arsons and robberies; that the maximum penalty imposable under such
charge cannot exceed twelve (12) years of prision mayor and a fine of P2H,HHH; and that, in conformity with the
policy of this court in dealing with accused persons amenable to a similar punishment, said defendant may be
allowed bail. 13
The plaint of petitioner's counsel that he is charged with a crime that does not exist in the statute books, while
technically correct so far as the Court has ruled that rebellion may not be complexed with other offenses
committed on the occasion thereof, must therefore be dismissed as a mere flight of rhetoric. Read in the context of
Hernandez, the information does indeed charge the petitioner with a crime defined and punished by the Revised
Penal Code: simple rebellion.
Was the petitioner charged without a complaint having been initially filed and/or preliminary investigation
conducted? The record shows otherwise, that a complaint against petitioner for simple rebellion was filed by the
Director of the National Bureau of Investigation, and that on the strength of said complaint a preliminary
investigation was conducted by the respondent prosecutors, culminating in the filing of the questioned information.
14 There is nothing inherently irregular or contrary to law in filing against a respondent an indictment for an
offense different from what is charged in the initiatory complaint, if warranted by the evidence developed during
the preliminary investigation.
It is also contended that the respondent Judge issued the warrant for petitioner's arrest without first personally
determining the existence of probable cause by examining under oath or affirmation the complainant and his
witnesses, in violation of Art. III, sec. 2, of the Constitution. 15 This Court has already ruled, however, that it is not
the unavoidable duty of the judge to make such a personal examination, it being sufficient that he follows
established procedure by personally evaluating the report and the supporting documents submitted by the
prosecutor. 16 Petitioner claims that the warrant of arrest issued barely one hour and twenty minutes after the
case was raffled off to the respondent Judge, which hardly gave the latter sufficient time to personally go over the
voluminous records of the preliminary investigation. 17 Merely because said respondent had what some might
consider only a relatively brief period within which to comply with that duty, gives no reason to assume that he had
not, or could not have, so complied; nor does that single circumstance suffice to overcome the legal presumption
that official duty has been regularly performed.
Petitioner finally claims that he was denied the right to bail. In the light of the Court's reaffirmation of Hernandez
as applicable to petitioner's case, and of the logical and necessary corollary that the information against him should
be considered as charging only the crime of simple rebellion, which is bailable before conviction, that must now be
accepted as a correct proposition. But the question remains: Given the facts from which this case arose, was a
petition for habeas corpus in this Court the appropriate vehicle for asserting a right to bail or vindicating its denial?
The criminal case before the respondent Judge was the normal venue for invoking the petitioner's right to have
provisional liberty pending trial and judgment. The original jurisdiction to grant or deny bail rested with said
respondent. The correct course was for petitioner to invoke that jurisdiction by filing a petition to be admitted to
bail, claiming a right to bail per se by reason of the weakness of the evidence against him. Only after that remedy
was denied by the trial court should the review jurisdiction of this Court have been invoked, and even then, not
without first applying to the Court of Appeals if appropriate relief was also available there.
Even acceptance of petitioner's premise that going by the Hernandez ruling, the information charges a non-existent
crime or, contrarily, theorizing on the same basis that it charges more than one offense, would not excuse or
justify his improper choice of remedies. Under either hypothesis, the obvious recourse would have been a motion
to quash brought in the criminal action before the respondent Judge. 18
There thus seems to be no question that All the grounds upon which petitioner has founded the present petition,
whether these went into the substance of what is charged in the information or imputed error or omission on the
part of the prosecuting panel or of the respondent Judge in dealing with the charges against him, were originally
justiciable in the criminal case before said Judge and should have been brought up there instead of directly to this
Court.
There was and is no reason to assume that the resolution of any of these questions was beyond the ability or
competence of the respondent Judge-indeed such an assumption would be demeaning and less than fair to our trial
courts; none whatever to hold them to be of such complexity or transcendental importance as to disqualify every
court, except this Court, from deciding them; none, in short that would justify by passing established judicial
45

processes designed to orderly move litigation through the hierarchy of our courts. Parenthentically, this is the
reason behind the vote of four Members of the Court against the grant of bail to petitioner: the view that the trial
court should not thus be precipitately ousted of its original jurisdiction to grant or deny bail, and if it erred in that
matter, denied an opportunity to correct its error. It makes no difference that the respondent Judge here issued a
warrant of arrest fixing no bail. Immemorial practice sanctions simply following the prosecutor's recommendation
regarding bail, though it may be perceived as the better course for the judge motu proprio to set a bail hearing
where a capital offense is charged. 19 It is, in any event, incumbent on the accused as to whom no bail has been
recommended or fixed to claim the right to a bail hearing and thereby put to proof the strength or weakness of the
evidence against him.
It is apropos to point out that the present petition has triggered a rush to this Court of other parties in a similar
situation, all apparently taking their cue from it, distrustful or contemptuous of the efficacy of seeking recourse in
the regular manner just outlined. The proliferation of such pleas has only contributed to the delay that the
petitioner may have hoped to avoid by coming directly to this Court.
Not only because popular interest seems focused on the outcome of the present petition, but also because to wash
the Court's hand off it on jurisdictional grounds would only compound the delay that it has already gone through,
the Court now decides the same on the merits. But in so doing, the Court cannot express too strongly the view that
said petition interdicted the ordered and orderly progression of proceedings that should have started with the trial
court and reached this Court only if the relief appealed for was denied by the former and, in a proper case, by the
Court of Appeals on review.
Let it be made very clear that hereafter the Court will no longer countenance, but will give short shrift to, pleas like
the present, that clearly short-circuit the judicial process and burden it with the resolution of issues properly within
the original competence of the lower courts. What has thus far been stated is equally applicable to and decisive of
the petition of the Panlilio spouses (G.R. No. 92164) which is virtually Identical to that of petitioner Enrile in factual
milieu and is therefore determinable on the same principles already set forth. Said spouses have uncontestedly
pleaded 20 that warrants of arrest issued against them as co-accused of petitioner Enrile in Criminal Case No. 90-
10941, that when they appeared before NBI Director Alfredo Lim in the afternoon of March 1, 1990, they were
taken into custody and detained without bail on the strength of said warrants in violation-they claim-of their
constitutional rights.
It may be that in the light of contemporary events, the act of rebellion has lost that quitessentiany quixotic quality
that justifies the relative leniency with which it is regarded and punished by law, that present-day rebels are less
impelled by love of country than by lust for power and have become no better than mere terrorists to whom
nothing, not even the sanctity of human life, is allowed to stand in the way of their ambitions. Nothing so
underscores this aberration as the rash of seemingly senseless killings, bombings, kidnappings and assorted
mayhem so much in the news these days, as often perpetrated against innocent civilians as against the military,
but by and large attributable to, or even claimed by so-called rebels to be part of, an ongoing rebellion.
It is enough to give anyone pause-and the Court is no exception-that not even the crowded streets of our capital
City seem safe from such unsettling violence that is disruptive of the public peace and stymies every effort at
national economic recovery. There is an apparent need to restructure the law on rebellion, either to raise the
penalty therefor or to clearly define and delimit the other offenses to be considered as absorbed thereby, so that it
cannot be conveniently utilized as the umbrella for every sort of illegal activity undertaken in its name. The Court
has no power to effect such change, for it can only interpret the law as it stands at any given time, and what is
needed lies beyond interpretation. Hopefully, Congress will perceive the need for promptly seizing the initiative in
this matter, which is properly within its province.
WHEREFORE, the Court reiterates that based on the doctrine enunciated in People vs. Hernandez, the questioned
information filed against petitioners Juan Ponce Enrile and the spouses Rebecco and Erlinda Panlilio must be read
as charging simple rebellion only, hence said petitioners are entitled to bail, before final conviction, as a matter of
right. The Court's earlier grant of bail to petitioners being merely provisional in character, the proceedings in both
cases are ordered REMANDED to the respondent Judge to fix the amount of bail to be posted by the petitioners.
Once bail is fixed by said respondent for any of the petitioners, the corresponding bail bond flied with this Court
shall become functus oficio. No pronouncement as to costs.

G.R. No. L-38538 April 15, 1988


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. ANDRES A. MANGLALLAN

On September 3, 1972 in Barrio Punti East, Sta. Ana, Cagayan, Ka Daniel who appears to be the leader of the New
People's Army (NPA) in the area directed Andres Manglallan, Cesar Alvarez, Domingo Ramos, and Virgilio
Ballesteros, members of the NPA to go to Barrio Punti and kill one Apolonio Ragual who was suspected by Ka
Daniel to be a Philippine Constabulary (PC) informer. Said four went to the barrio of Ragual, Manglallan carrying a
Browning shotgun, Ramos a Thompson, Alvarez a carbine and Ballesteros, a homemade gun called Bulldog, They
arrived at Punti at 9:00 A.M. and they saw Ragual at the river bank giving his carabao a bath. Ramos went to him
and after a while shot him with his gun. Manglallan also shot him with his Browning followed with another shot by
Alvarez, as a result of which Ragual fell down and died. Manglallan then placed on the dead body of Ragual a
writing and drawing made by their association warning the people and the PC of their activities. 1 Thereafter, the
group returned and reported to Ka Daniel that Ragual was already dead. Dr. Leonides Flores, the Municipal Health
Officer of Sta. Ana, Cagayan conducted a post-mortem examination on the remains of Apolonio Ragual at about
46

4:00 P.M. of the same day, after which he issued an autopsy report 2 showing multiple gunshot wounds suffered
by the deceased and finding the cause of death to be severe hemorrhage, shock secondary to multiple gunshot
wounds.
An information was filed by the provincial fiscal in the Court of First Instance of Cagayan charging Andres
Manglallan, Virgilio Ballesteros, and Cesar Alvarez of the crime of murder. However, upon arraignment on accused
Manglallan and Ballesteros were present as Alvares was at large. Upon motion of the fiscal, Ballesteros was
discharged from the information as a government witness. The trial on the merits proceeded as against Manglallan
after which a decision was rendered on March 19, 1974, the dispositive part of which reads as follows:
WEREFORE, in view of the foregoing considerations, the Court finds the accused Andres Manglallan guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of murder, defined and penalized under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code,
without any aggravating or mitigating circumstance offsetting each other, and hereby sentences him to suffer
reclusion perpetua to indemnify the heirs of the victim in the amount of TWELVE THOUSAND PESOS (P12,000.00)
without, however, serving subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency; and to pay the costs.
The accused being a detention prisoner and having signed the agreement required of detention prisoners by Article
29 of the Revised Penal Code, As amended by Republic Act No. 6127, is credited with the whole period of his
preventive imprisonment in the service of his sentence.
Not satisfied therewith, said accused interposed this appeal alleging that the lower court committed the following
assigned errors:
First Assignment of Error
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE CRIME COMMITTED IS NOT MURDER BUT A POLITICAL
OFFENSE WHICH GIVES RISE TO THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER IT FALLS UNDER THE ANTI-SUBVERSION ACT
OR UNDER ARTICLES 134 AND 135 OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE.
Second Assignment of Error
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT DEFENDANT-APPELLANT COULD BE HELD LIABLE FOR ONLY
MERE MEMBERSHIP IN THE NEW PEOPLE'S ARMY (NPA) WHICH IS PENALIZED BY ARRESTO MAYOR AND NOT FOR
A GRAVER CRIME PENALIZED BY PRISION MAYOR TO DEATH. DEFENDANT-APPELLANT HAVING BEEN DENIED OF
HIS STATUTORY RIGHT AND THE TWO-WITNESS REQUIREMENT OF THE ANTI- SUBVERSION ACT NOT HAVING
BEEN COMPLIED WITH.
Third Assignment of Error
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN GIVING FULL CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONY OF BALLESTEROS AND IN NOT
HOLDING, ASSUMMING REBELLION AS THE APPLICABLE OF TENSE. THAT DEFENDANT-APPELLANT COULD, IF AT
ALL, BE HELD LIABLE MERELY AS AN ACCOMPLICE IN THE CRIME OF REBELLION.
Fourth Assignment of Error
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT APPRECIATING VOLUNTARY SURRENDER AS A MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCE.
After the briefs of the parties were filed, the defendant-appellant filed a motion to withdraw the appeal on October
25, 1977 as he had lost interest in the same and is convinced that the decision appealed from is in accordance with
law and the evidence.
The Solicitor General was required to comment on this motion and he recommended the denial of the motion to
withdraw the appeal in view of the recommendation in the People's brief that accused-appellant should be
convicted of the lesser offense of simple rebellion which is more favorable to the appellant. The counsel de oficio
for the appellant, in reply to the said comment stated that he agrees with the Id comment of the Solicitor General
and asked that the appeal be decided at the earliest possible time. Appellant filed a separate manifestation and
motion stating his interest to pursue the appeal. The motion was granted by the Court on January 25, 1982.
Under the first assigned error, the appellant contends that the crime he committed is not murder but a political
offense which gives rise to the question as to whether the same falls under the Anti-Subversion Act or under
Articles 134 and 135 of the Revised Penal Code. The appellant admits that he was a member of the NPA then
operating in the Cagayan area with Ka Daniel as their leader. He asserts that the NPA is the military arm of the
Communist Party of the Philippines. 3 There is no question likewise that the killing of Apolonio Ragual by the
appellant and his companions who were also members of the NPA upon orders of Ka Daniel was politically
motivated. They suspected Ragual as an informer for the PC. In fact, after he was killed, they left a letter and a
drawing on the body of Ragual as a warning to others not to follow his example. 4
In the case of People vs. Agarin, 5 which was a prosecution for murder, like the present case, where the accused
Huk member with his companions killed the victim because he was a PC informer, this Court held that the crime
committed is simple rebellion and not murder, as follows:
The offense perpetrated by appellant is murder, qualified by abuse of superior strength. Considering, however, the
fact that the killing was committed as a means to or in the furtherance of the subversive ends of the Huk balahaps
(HUKS) because the Id appellant and his companions, Commander Manaing and Commander Vida suspected the
deceased to have acted as a spy and had informed the BOT and Government agencies regarding the presence of
the Huks in that region, we find the Id Federico Agarin alias Commander "Smith" guilty of the crime of simple
rebellion only (People vs. Hernandez, et al., 99 Phil. 515; 52 Off. Gaz. [12] 5506; Secs. 4 and 5, Rule 116; People
vs. Melecio Aquino, et al., 108 Phil 814; 57 Off. Gaz [51] 91 80)'" [People vs. Agarin, 109 Phil. 430, 436]"
The Court, therefore, sustains the contention of the appellant that the crime he committed is not murder but the
crime of rebellion punishable under Articles 134 and 135 of the Revised Penal Code.
The Court does not agree, however, with the allegation of the appellant that he could be held liable only for being a
member in the NPA punishable under the Anti-Subversion Act. More than being a member of the NPA, which is a
47

subversive organization, the appellant took up arms against the government by committing murder, as in this
case, which thus holds him liable for the graver offense of rebellion.
Nor can the argument of the appellant that he should be held liable as an accomplice be sustained. The records
show without doubt that together with his companions, they killed the victim, the appellant being among those who
shot him and thereafter they placed the letter and drawing on top of the body of the deceased as a warning against
others. His participation in the commission of the offense is obviously that of a principal and not that of a mere
accomplice.
Under the fourth assigned error, the appellant claims that he should be credited the mitigating circumstance of
voluntary surrender,. Evidence has been adduced by the appellant that after several months of hiding after the
killing, he voluntarily surrendered to Lt. Lee Barnes. 6
The elements of this mitigating circumstance.
(a) The offender had not actually been arrested;
(b) That the offender surrendered himself to a person in authority or the latter's agent; and
(c) The surrendered was voluntary. 7
All the above elements are present in the case. The appellant should thus be credited this mitigating circumstance.
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby modified by convicting the accused-appellant of the crime of
rebellion punishable under Article 135 of the Revised Penal Code and not of murder. Considering that the
commission of the offense was attended by the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrendered, and applying the
Indeterminate Sentence Law, appellant is hereby imposed an indeterminate penalty of imprisonment of Two (2)
Years and Four (4) Months of prision correccional as minimum to Six (6) Years and One (1) Day of prision mayor as
maximum to pay a fine of P10,000.00 and to indemnify the heirs of the deceased Apolonio Ragual in the amount of
P30,000.00. As the accused-appellant is a detention prisoner in the New Bilibid Prisons and he appears to have
been under detention for a period beyond the period of the penalty herein-above imposed on him, he is hereby
ordered Released immediately from detention unless he is being held for some other charges. This Decision is
immediately executory.

Elements
1. That there be a
a. Public uprising AND
b. Taking arms against the Government
2. That the purpose of the uprising or movement is either
a. To remove from the allegiance to said Government or its laws
(1) The territory of the Philippines or any part thereof; OR
(2) Any body of land, naval or other armed forces; OR
b. To deprive the Chief Executive or Congress, wholly or partially, of any of their powers or prerogatives.

Rebellion and insurrection are NOT synonymous


• Rebellion is more frequently used where the object of the movement is completely to overthrow and supersede
the existing government.
• Insurrection is more commonly used in reference to a movement which seeks merely to effect some change of
minor importance or to prevent the exercise of governmental authority with respect to particular matters or
subjects.

Nature of the crime of rebellion


• A crime of masses, of a multitude.
• A vast movement of men and a complex net of intrigues and plots.
• It evokes, not merely a challenge to the constituted authorities, but also civil war on a bigger or lesser scale.
• The RPC expressly declares that there must be a public uprising and the taking of arms.

Rebellion distinguished from treason


a. The levying of war against the Government would constitute treason when performed to aid the enemy. It
would also constitute an adherence to the enemy, giving him aid and comfort.
The levying of war against the Government during peace time for any of the purposes mentioned in Art.
134 is rebellion.
b. Rebellion always involves taking up arms against the Government; treason maybe committed by mere
adherence to the enemy giving him aid or comfort.

Political crimes and common crimes, distinguished


• Political crimes are those directly aimed against the political order as well as such common crimes as may be
committed to achieve a political purpose.
• The decisive factor is the intent or motive.

CONTINUING OFFENSE; EFFECT.

G.R. No. 81567 October 3, 1991


48

Umil vs. Ramos

Before the Court are separate motions filed by the petitioners in the above-entitled petitions, seeking
reconsideration of the Court's decision promulgated on 9 July 1990 (the decision, for brevity) which dismissed the
petitions, with the following dispositive part:
WHEREFORE, the petitions are hereby DISMISSED, except that in G.R. No. 85727 (Espiritu vs. Lim), the bail bond
for petitioner's provisional liberty is hereby ordered reduced from P60,000.00 to P10,000.00. No costs.
The Court avails of this opportunity to clarify its ruling a begins with the statement that the decision did not rule —
as many misunderstood it to do — that mere suspicion that one is Communist Party or New People's Army member
is a valid ground for his arrest without warrant. Moreover, the decision merely applied long existing laws to the
factual situations obtaining in the several petitions. Among these laws are th outlawing the Communist Party of the
Philippines (CPP) similar organizations and penalizing membership therein be dealt with shortly). It is elementary,
in this connection, if these laws no longer reflect the thinking or sentiment of the people, it is Congress as the
elected representative of the people — not the Court — that should repeal, change or modify them.
In their separate motions for reconsideration, petitioners, in sum, maintain:
1. That the assailed decision, in upholding the validity of the questioned arrests made without warrant, and in
relying on the provisions of the Rules of Court, particularly Section 5 of Rule 113 (Arrest), disregards the fact that
such arrests violated the constitutional rights of the persons arrested;
2. That the doctrine laid down in Garcia vs. Enrile 1 and Ilagan vs. Enrile 2 should be abandoned;
3. That the decision erred in considering the admissions made by the persons arrested as to their membership in
the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army, and their ownership of the unlicensed firearms,
ammunitions and subversive documents found in their possession at the time of arrest, inasmuch as those
confessions do not comply with the requirements on admissibility of extrajudicial admissions;
4. That the assailed decision is based on a misappreciation of facts;
5. That G.R. No. 81567 (the Umil case) should not be deemed moot and academic.
We find no merit in the motions for reconsideration.
It can not be overlooked that these are petitions for the issuance of the writ of habeas corpus, filed by petitioners
under the Rules of Court. 3 The writ of habeas corpus exists as a speedy and effective remedy to relieve persons
from unlawful restraint. 4 Therefore, the function of the special proceedings of habeas corpus is to inquire into the
legality of one's detention, 5 so that if detention is illegal, the detainee may be ordered forthwit released.
In the petitions at bar, to ascertain whether the detention petitioners was illegal or not, the Court before rendering
decision dated 9 July 1990, looked into whether their questioned arrests without warrant were made in accordance
with law. For, if the arrests were made in accordance with law, would follow that the detention resulting from such
arrests also in accordance with law.
There can be no dispute that, as a general rule, no peace officer or person has the power or authority to arrest
anyo without a warrant of arrest, except in those cases express authorized by law. 6 The law expressly allowing
arrests witho warrant is found in Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court which states the grounds upon which a
valid arrest, without warrant, can be conducted.
In the present cases, the focus is understandably on Section 5, paragraphs (a) and (b) of the said Rule 113, which
read:
Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. — A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a
person:
(a) When, in his presence, the person to he arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to
commit an offense;
(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the
person to be arrest has committed it; and
. . . (Emphasis supplied).
The Court's decision of 9 July 1990 rules that the arrest Rolando Dural (G.R. No. 81567) without warrant is justified
it can be said that, within the contemplation of Section 5 Rule 113, he (Dural) was committing an offense, when
arrested because Dural was arrested for being a member of the New People's Army, an outlawed organization,
where membership penalized, 7 and for subversion which, like rebellion is, under the doctrine of Garcia vs. Enrile,
8 a continuing offense, thus:
The crimes of insurrection or rebellion, subversion, conspiracy or proposal to commit such crimes, and other crimes
and offenses committed in the furtherance (sic) on the occasion thereof, or incident thereto, or in connection
therewith under Presidential Proclamation No. 2045, are all in the nature of continuing offenses which set them
apart from the common offenses, aside from their essentially involving a massive conspiracy of nationwide
magnitude. . . .
Given the ideological content of membership in the CPP/NPA which includes armed struggle for the overthrow of
organized government, Dural did not cease to be, or became less of a subversive, FOR PURPOSES OF ARREST,
simply because he was, at the time of arrest, confined in the St. Agnes Hospital. Dural was identified as one of
several persons who the day before his arrest, without warrant, at the St. Agnes Hospital, had shot two (2)
CAPCOM policemen in their patrol car. That Dural had shot the two (2) policemen in Caloocan City as part of his
mission as a "sparrow" (NPA member) did not end there and then. Dural, given another opportunity, would have
shot or would shoot other policemen anywhere as agents or representatives of organized government. It is in this
sense that subversion like rebellion (or insurrection) is perceived here as a continuing offense. Unlike other so-
called "common" offenses, i.e. adultery, murder, arson, etc., which generally end upon their commission,
49

subversion and rebellion are anchored on an ideological base which compels the repetition of the same acts of
lawlessness and violence until the overriding objective of overthrowing organized government is attained.
Nor can it be said that Dural's arrest was grounded on mere suspicion by the arresting officers of his membership
in the CPP/NPA. His arrest was based on "probable cause," as supported by actual facts that will be shown
hereafter.
Viewed from another but related perspective, it may also be said, under the facts of the Umil case, that the arrest
of Dural falls under Section 5, paragraph (b), Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, which requires two (2) conditions for
a valid arrestt without warrant: first, that the person to be arrested has just committed an offense, and second,
that the arresting peace officer or private person has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be
arrested is the one who committed the offense. Section 5(b), Rule 113, it will be noted, refers to arrests without
warrant, based on "personal knowledge of facts" acquired by the arresting officer or private person.
It has been ruled that "personal knowledge of facts," in arrests without warrant must be based upon probable
cause, which means an actual belief or reasonable grounds of suspicion 9
The grounds of suspicion are reasonable when, in the absence of actual belief of the arresting officers, the
suspicion that the person to be arrested is probably guilty of committing the offense, is based on actual facts, i.e.,
supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to create the probable cause of guilt of the person to
be arrested. 10 A reasonable suspicion therefore must be founded on probable cause, coupled with good faith on
the part of the peace officers making the arrest. 11
These requisites were complied with in the Umil case and in the other cases at bar.
In G.R. No. 81567 (Umil case), military agents, on 1 February 1988, were dispatched to the St. Agnes Hospital,
Roosevelt Avenue, Quezon City, to verify a confidential information which was received by their office, about a
"sparrow man" (NPA member) who had been admitted to the said hospital with a gunshot wound; that the
information further disclosed that the wounded man in the said hospital was among the five (5) male "sparrows"
who murdered two (2) Capcom mobile patrols the day before, or on 31 January 1988 at about 12:00 o'clock noon,
before a road hump along Macanining St., Bagong Barrio, Caloocan City; that based on the same information, the
wounded man's name was listed by the hospital management as "Ronnie Javellon," twenty-two (22) years old of
Block 10, Lot 4, South City Homes, Biñan, Laguna. 12
Said confidential information received by the arresting officers, to the effect that an NPA member ("sparrow unit")
was being treated for a gunshot wound in the named hospital, is deemed reasonable and with cause as it was
based on actual facts and supported by circumstances sufficient to engender a belief that an NPA member was
truly in the said hospital. The actual facts supported by circumstances are: first — the day before, or on 31 January
1988, two (2) CAPCOM soldiers were actually killed in Bagong Bario, Caloocan City by five (5) "sparrows" including
Dural; second — a wounded person listed in the hospital records as "Ronnie Javellon" was actually then being
treated in St. Agnes Hospital for a gunshot wound; third — as the records of this case disclosed later, "Ronnie
Javellon" and his address entered in the hospital records were fictitious and the wounded man was in reality
Rolando Dural.
In fine, the confidential information received by the arresting officers merited their immediate attention and action
and, in fact, it was found to be true. Even the petitioners in their motion for reconsideration, 13 believe that the
confidential information of the arresting officers to the effect that Dural was then being treated in St. Agnes
Hospital was actually received from the attending doctor and hospital management in compliance with the
directives of the law, 14 and, therefore, came from reliable sources.
As to the condition that "probable cause" must also be coupled with acts done in good faith by the officers who
make the arrest, the Court notes that the peace officers wno arrested Dural are deemed to have conducted the
same in good faith, considering that law enforcers are presumed to regularly perform their official duties. The
records show that the arresting officers did not appear to have been ill-motivated in arresting Dural. 15 It is
therefore clear that the arrest, without warrant, of Dural was made in compliance with the requirements of
paragraphs (a) and (b) of Section 5, Rule 113.
Parenthetically, it should be mentioned here that a few day after Dural's arrest, without warrant, an information
charging double murder with assault against agents of persons in authority was filed against Dural in the Regional
Trial Court of Caloocan City (Criminal Case No. C-30112). He was thus promptly placed under judicial custody (as
distinguished fro custody of the arresting officers). On 31 August 1988, he wa convicted of the crime charged and
sentenced to reclusion perpetua. The judgment of conviction is now on appeal before this Court in G.R. No. 84921.
As to Amelia Roque and Wilfredo Buenaobra (G.R. Nos. 84581-82), Domingo Anonuevo and Ramon Casiple (G.R.
Nos. 84583-84) and Vicky Ocaya (G.R. No. 83162), their arrests, without warrant, are also justified. They were
searched pursuant to search warrants issued by a court of law and were found wit unlicensed firearms, explosives
and/or ammunition in their persons. They were, therefore, caught in flagrante delicto which justified their outright
arrests without warrant, under Sec 5(a), Rule 113, Rules of Court. Parenthetically, it should be mentioned here
that a few davs after their arrests without warrant, informations were filed in court against said petitioners, thereby
placing them within judicial custody and disposition. Furthermore, Buenaobra mooted his own petition fo habeas
corpus by announcing to this Court during the hearing of these petitions that he had chosen to remain in detention
in the custody of the authorities.
More specifically, the antecedent facts in the "in flagrante" cases are:
1. On 27 June 1988, the military agents received information imparted by a former NPA about the operations of the
CPP and NPA in Metro Manila and that a certain house occupied by one Renato Constantine, located in the Villaluz
Compound, Molave St., Marikina Heights, Marikina, Metro Manila was being used as their safehouse; that in view of
this information, the said house was placed under military surveillance and on 12 August 1988, pursuant to a
50

search warrant duly issued by court, a search of the house was conducted; that when Renato Constantine was then
confronted he could not produce any permit to possess the firearms, ammunitions, radio and other
communications equipment, and he admitted that he was a ranking member of the CPP. 16
2. In the case of Wilfredo Buenaobra, he arrived at the house of Renato Constantino in the evening of 12 August
1988, and admitted that he was an NPA courier and he had with him letters to Renato Constantine and other
members of the rebel group.
3. On the other hand, the arrest of Amelia Roque was a consequence of the arrest of Buenaobra who had in his
possession papers leading to the whereabouts of Roque; 17 that, at the time of her arrest, the military agents
found subversive documents and live ammunitions, and she admitted then that the documents belonged to her. 18
4. As regards Domingo Anonuevo and Ramon Casiple they were arrested without warrant on 13 August 1988,
when they arrived at the said house of Renato Constantine in the evening of said date; that when the agents
frisked them, subversive documents, and loaded guns were found in the latter's possession but failing to show a
permit to possess them. 19
5. With regard to Vicky Ocaya, she was arrested, without warrant when she arrived (on 12 May 1988) at the
premises ofthe house of one Benito Tiamzon who was believed to be the head of the CPP/NPA, and whose house
was subject of a search warrant duly issued by the court. At the time of her arrest without warrant the agents of
the PC-Intelligence and Investigation found ammunitions and subversive documents in the car of Ocaya. 20
It is to be noted in the above cases (Roque, Buenaobra, Anonuevo, Casiple and Ocaya) that the reason which
compelled the military agents to make the arrests without warrant was the information given to the military
authorities that two (2) safehouses (one occupied by Renato Constantine and the other by Benito Tiamzon) were
being used by the CPP/NPA for their operations, with information as to their exact location and the names of
Renato Constantine and Benito Tiamzon as residents or occupants thereof.
And at the time of the actual arrests, the following circumstances surrounded said arrests (of Roque, Buenaobra,
Anonuevo and Casiple), which confirmed the belief of the military agents that the information they had received
was true and the persons to be arrested were probably guilty of the commission of certain crimes: first: search
warrant was duly issued to effect the search of the Constantine safehouse; second: found in the safehouse was a
person named Renato Constantine, who admitted that he was a ranking member of the CPP, and found in his
possession were unlicensed firearms and communications equipment; third: at the time of their arrests, in their
possession were unlicensed firearms, ammunitions and/or subversive documents, and they admitted ownership
thereof as well as their membership in the CPP/NPA. And then, shortly after their arrests, they were positively
identified by their former comrades in the organization as CPP/NPA members. In view of these circumstances, the
corresponding informations were filed in court against said arrested persons. The records also show that, as in the
case of Dural, the arrests without warrant made by the military agents in the Constantino safehouse and later in
the Amelia Roque house, do not appear to have been ill-motivated or irregularly performed.
With all these facts and circumstances existing before, during and after the arrest of the afore-named persons
(Dural, Buenaobra, Roque, Anonuevo, Casiple and Ocaya), no prudent an can say that it would have been better
for the military agents not to have acted at all and made any arrest. That would have been an unpardonable
neglect of official duty and a cause for disciplinary action against the peace officers involved.
For, one of the duties of law enforcers is to arrest lawbreakers in order to place them in the hands of executive and
judicial authorities upon whom devolves the duty to investigate the acts constituting the alleged violation of law
and to prosecute and secure the punishment therefor. 21 An arrest is therefore in the nature of an administrative
measure. The power to arrest without warrant is without limitation as long as the requirements of Section 5, Rule
113 are met. This rule is founded on an overwhelming public interest in peace and order in our communities.
In ascertaining whether the arrest without warrant is conducted in accordance with the conditions set forth in
Section 5, Rule 113, this Court determines not whether the persons arrested are indeed guilty of committing the
crime for which they were arrested. 22 Not evidence of guilt, but "probable cause" is the reason that can validly
compel the peace officers, in the performance of their duties and in the interest of public order, to conduct an
arrest without warrant. 23
The courts should not expect of law-enforcers more than what the law requires of them. Under the conditions set
forth in Section 5, Rule 113, particularly paragraph (b) thereof, even if the arrested persons are later found to be
innocent and acquitted, the arresting officers are not liable. 24 But if they do not strictly comply with the said
conditions, the arresting officers can be held liable for the crime of arbitrary detention, 25 for damages under
Article 32 of the Civil Code 26 and/or for other administrative sanctions.
In G.R. No. 85727, Espiritu, on 23 November 1988, was arrested without warrant, on the basis of the attestation of
certain witnesses: that about 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon of 22 November 1988, at the corner of Magsaysay
Boulevard and Velencia St., Sta. Mesa, Manila, Espiritu spoke at a gathering of drivers and sympathizers, where he
said, among other things:
Bukas tuloy ang welga natin . . . hanggang sa magkagulona. 27 (Emphasis supplied)
and that the police authorities were present during the press conference held at the National Press Club (NPC) on
22 November 1988 where Espiritu called for a nationwide strike (of jeepney and bus drivers) on 23 November
1988. 28 Espiritu was arrested without warrant, not for subversion or any "continuing offense," but for uttering the
above-quoted language which, in the perception of the arresting officers, was inciting to sedition.
Many persons may differ as to the validity of such perception and regard the language as falling within free speech
guaranteed by the Constitution. But, then, Espiritu had not lost the right to insist, during the pre-trial or trial on
the merits, that he was just exercising his right to free speech regardless of the charged atmosphere in which it
was uttered. But, the authority of the peace officers to make the arrest, without warrant, at the time the words
51

were uttered, or soon thereafter, is still another thing. In the balancing of authority and freedom, which obviously
becomes difficult at times, the Court has, in this case, tilted the scale in favor of authority but only for purposes of
the arrest (not conviction). Let it be noted that the Court has ordered the bail for Espiritu's release to be reduced
from P60,000.00 to P10,000.00.
Let it also be noted that supervening events have made the Espiritu case moot and academic. For Espiritu had
before arraignment asked the court a quo for re-investigation, the peace officers did not appear. Because of this
development, the defense asked the court a quo at the resumption of the hearings to dismiss the case. Case
against Espiritu (Criminal Case No. 88-68385) has been provisionally dismissed and his bail bond cancelled.
In G.R. No. 86332 (Nazareno), the records show that in the morning of 14 December 1988, Romulo Bunye II was
killed by a group of men in Alabang, Muntinlupa, Metro Manila; that at about 5:00 o'clock in the morning of 28
December 1988, Ramil Regala, one of the suspects in the said killing, was arrested and he pointed to Narciso
Nazareno as one of his companions during the killing of Bunye II; that at 7:20 of the same morning (28 December
1988), the police agents arrested Nazareno, without warrant, for investigation. 29
Although the killing of Bunye II occurred on 14 December 1988, while Nazareno's arrest without warrant was made
only on 28 December 1988, or 14 days later, the arrest fans under Section 5(b) of Rule 113, since it was only on
28 December 1988 that the police authorities came to know that Nazareno was probably one of those guilty in the
killing of Bunye II and the arrest had to be made promptly, even without warrant, (after the police were alerted)
and despite the lapse of fourteen (14) days to prevent possible flight.
As shown in the decision under consideration, this Court, in upholding the arrest without warrant of Nazareno
noted several facts and events surrounding his arrest and detention, as follows:
. . . on 3 January 1989 (or six (6) days after his arrest without warrant), an information charging Narciso
Nazareno, Ramil Regala and two (2) others, with the killing of Romulo Bunye II was filed wit the Regional Trial
Court of Makati, Metro Manila. The case is dock eted therein as Criminal Case No. 731.
On 7 January 1989, Narciso Nazareno filed a motion to post bail but the motion was denied by the trial court in an
order dated 10 January 1989, even as the motion to post bail, earlier filed by his co-accused, Manuel Laureaga,
was granted by the same trial court.
On 13 January 1989, a petition for habeas corpus was filed with this Court on behalf of Narciso Nazareno and on 13
January 1989, the Court issued the writ of habeas corpus, retumable to the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial
Court of Bifian, Laguna, Branch 24, ordering said court to hear the case on 30 January 1989 and thereafter resolve
the petition.
At the conclusion of the hearing, or on 1 February 1989, the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Biñan,
Laguna issued a resolution denying the petition for habeas corpus, it appearing that the said Narciso Nazareno is in
the custody of the respondents by reason of an information filed against him with the Regional Trial Court of
Makati, Metro Manila which liad taken cognizance of said case and had, in fact, denied the motion for bail filed by
said Narciso Nazareno (presumably because of the strength of the evidence against him).
This Court reiterates that shortly after the arrests of Espiritu and Nazareno, the corresponding informations against
them were filed in court. The arrests of Espiritu and Nazareno were based on probable cause and supported by
factual circumstances. They complied with conditions set forth in Section 5(b) of Rule 113. They were not arbitrary
or whimsical arrests.
Parenthetically, it should be here stated that Nazareno has since been convicted by the court a quo for murder and
sentenced to reclusion perpetua. He has appealed the judgment of conviction to the Court of Appeals where it is
pending as of this date ( CA-G.R. No. still undocketed).
Petitioners contend that the decision of 9 July 1990 ignored the contitution requisiteds for admissibility of an
extrajudicial admission.
In the case of Buenaobra (G.R. Nos. 84581-82), he admitted 30 that he was an NPA courier. On the other hand, in
the case of Amelia Roque, she admitted 31 that the unlicensed firearms, ammunition and subversive documents
found in her possession during her arrest, belonged to her.
The Court, it is true, took into account the admissions of the arrested persons of their membership in the CPP/NPA,
as well as their ownership of the unlicensed firearms, ammunitions and documents in their possession. But again,
these admissions, as revealed by the records, strengthen the Court's perception that truly the grounds upon which
the arresting officers based their arrests without warrant, are supported by probable cause, i.e. that the persons
arrested were probably guilty of the commission of certain offenses, in compliance with Section 5, Rule 113 of the
Rules of Court. To note these admissions, on the other hand, is not to rule that the persons arrested are already
guilty of the offenses upon which their warrantless arrests were predicated. The task of determining the guilt or
innocence of persons arrested without warrant is not proper in a petition for habeas corpus. It pertains to the trial
of the case on the merits.
As to the argument that the doctrines in Garcia vs. Enrile, and Ilagan vs. Enrile should be abandoned, this Court
finds no compelling reason at this time to disturb the same, particularly ln the light of prevailing conditions where
national security and liability are still directly challenged perhaps with greater vigor from the communist rebels.
What is important is that everv arrest without warrant be tested as to its legality via habeas corpus proceeding.
This Court. will promptly look into — and all other appropriate courts are enjoined to do the same — the legality of
the arrest without warrant so that if the conditions under Sec. 5 of Rule 113, Rules of Court, as elucidated in this
Resolution, are not met, then the detainee shall forthwith be ordered released; but if such conditions are met, then
the detainee shall not be made to languish in his detention but must be promptly tried to the end that he may be
either acquitted or convicted, with the least delay, as warranted by the evidence.
A Final Word
52

This Resolution ends as it began, reiterating that mere suspicion of being a Communist Party member or a
subversive is absolutely not a ground for the arrest without warrant of the suspect. The Court predicated the
validity of the questioned arrests without warrant in these petitions, not on mere unsubstantiated suspicion, but on
compliance with the conditions set forth in Section 5, Rule 113, Rules of Court, a long existing law, and which, for
stress, are probable cause and good faith of the arresting peace officers, and, further, on the basis of, as the
records show, the actual facts and circumstances supporting the arrests. More than the allure of popularity or
palatability to some groups, what is important is that the Court be right.
ACCORDINGLY, the motions for reconsideration of the decision dated 9 July 1990, are DENIED. This denial is
FINAL.

G.R. No. 125796, Promulgated: December 27, 2000


OFFICE OF THE PROSECUTOR vs. CA, ET. AL.

The issue in this case is whether, even before the start of trial, the prosecution can be ordered to change the
information which it had filed on the ground that the evidence presented at the preliminary investigation shows
that the crime committed is not murder with multiple frustrated murder, but rebellion. The trial court ruled that the
power to determine what crime to charge on the basis of the evidence gathered is the prerogative of the public
prosecutor. The Court of Appeals, however, while agreeing with the trial court, nevertheless found the prosecutor
to have gravely abused his discretion in charging murder with frustrated murder on the ground that the evidence
adduced at the preliminary investigation shows that the crime committed was rebellion. Accordingly, it ordered the
prosecutor to substitute the information filed by him. Hence, this petition brought by the provincial prosecutor of
Zamboanga del Norte for a review of the decision of the Court of Appeals.
The facts are not in dispute. On August 3, 1993, the provincial prosecutor of Zamboanga del Norte1 filed with the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 8, Dipolog City, an information (docketed as Criminal Case No, 6427) charging private
respondents and 10 other individuals with murder and multiple frustrated murder. The Information reads:
The undersigned, Provincial Prosecutor, accuses ATICO OBODO alias "Dondoy," NACENCIANO PACA-LIUGA, JR.,
ELEAZAR FLORENDO, NESTOR BASES alias ‘Beses/Belly,’ FLORENCIO CANDIA alias "Bimbo," JUDY CATUBIG alias
‘Elboy/Al," PETER MOLATO alias, Joker,’ ALBERTO CATUBIG alias "Blacky", ALMARIO CATUBIG alias ‘Nixon,’ JIMMY
BENGAL alias "Macoboy," ENRICO SIMBULAN alias ‘Monstop,’ JIMMY GARIG alias "Gino" and BERNIDO QUENCAS
alias "Digoy’ of the crime of MURDER WITH MULTIPLE FRUSTRATED MURDER, committed as follows:
That, in the morning, on or about the 1st day of May, 1988, in the Municipality of Katipunan, Zamboanga del
Norte, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused armed with the high caliber
firearms, conspiring, confederating together and mutually helping one another and with intent to kill by means of
treachery and evident premeditation did then and there willfully, unlawfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack,
assault and fire several shots to one Cpl. ALFREDO DELA CRUZ PA, which accused his instantaneous death and
causing injuries to the following victims namely: SGT. RODRIGO ALVIAR PA, SGT. RODRIGO BARADI, SGT.
LINOGAMAN PIATOS and SGT. BELLIZAR PA, which injuries would ordinarily cause their death; thus performing all
the acts of execution which would have produced the crime of MURDER, as a consequence, but which nevertheless
did not produce it for reason of causes independent of the will of the herein accused, that is the timely and able
medical attendance rendered to the said victims which prevented their death; that as a result of the commission of
the said crime the heirs of Cpl. Alfredo de la Cruz and the herein victims suffered the following damages, vis:
On victim CPL ALFREDO DELA CRUZ:
53

Indemnity for
Victim’s death ….. P50, 000.00
Loss of earning
Capacity ………… 30,000.00
P80, 000.00
SGT. RODRIGO ALVIAR:
a) Hospitalization …… P10, 000.00
Loss of earning
Capacity ………….. 10,000.00
P20, 000.00
SGT. LINOGAMAN PIATOS:
a) Hospitalization …… P10, 000.00
Loss of earning
Capacity ………….. 10,000.00
P20,000.00
SGT. RODRIGO BARADI;
a) Hospitalization …… P10,000.00
Loss of earning
Capacity ………….. 10,000.00
P20,000.00
SGT. BELLIZAR:
a) Hospitalization …… P10,000.00
Loss of earning
Capacity ………….. 10,000.00
P20,000.00
CONTR ARY TO LAW (Viol. Of Art. 248, in relation or Art. 48 of the Revised Penal Code), with the aggravating
circumstance of superior strength and with the qualifying circumstances of treachery and evident premeditation.2
The foregoing information is based on a joint affidavit executed on June 1, 1993 by five individuals, who claim to
be former members of the New People’s Army (NPA), before the Municipal Trial Court of Katipunan, Zamboanga del
Norte. The affiants stated that on May 1, 1988, their group, which included private respondents, figured in an
armed encounter with elements of the Philippine Army in Campo Uno, Femagas, Katipunan, Zamboanga del Norte,
as a result of which one solider, Cpl. Alfredo de la Cruz, was killed while four others, Sgts. Rodrigo Alviar,
Linomagan Piatos, Rodrigo Baradi, and a certain Bellizar, were seriously wounded. Although private respondents
did not appear nor submit affidavits in the preliminary investigation, they appealed the resolution of the provincial
prosecutor to the Secretary of Justice on the ground that, in accusing them of murder and multiple frustrated
murder, the provincial prosecutor disregarded the political motivation which made the crime committed rebellion.
When the case was filed in court, private respondents reiterated their contention and prayed that the provincial
prosecutor be ordered to change the charge from murder with multiple frustrated murder to rebellion.
On September 29, 1995, the trial court issued an order denying private respondents’ motion for the correction or
amendment of the information. The trial court said.3
Be it recalled, that as pointed out by the Asst. Provincial Prosecutor, the same moving counsel sometime on July
22, 1993 filed a notice of appeal assailing the resolution of the provincial prosecutor dated July 16, 1993 finding
probable cause against all the above-named accused for the crime of Murder and Multiple frustrated Murder, to the
Honorable Secretary of Justice, by raising the same issue that "instead of recommending the filing of a political
crime such as subversion or rebellion, the investigating prosecutor is recommending the filing of the common crime
of murder to cover-up the apparent political color of the alleged crime committed.’ Until the Secretary of Justice
therefore resolves the appeal by the movant, this court will have no basis to order the public prosecutor to amend
or change the crime charged in the information. Besides, this Court recognizes and respects the prerogative of the
fiscal to determine whether or not a prima facie case exists in a given case against the accused. This power vested
in the fiscal cannot be interfered with even by the courts.
But since the case has already been filed with this Court, jurisdiction therefor now lies with the court. It may not
even be bound by the ruling of the Secretary of Justice…
Private respondents twice moved for reconsideration and twice were rebuffed. They then filed a petition for
certiorari with this Court to set aside the orders dated September 29, October 24, and November 3, 1995 of the
trial court. They impleaded the provincial prosecutor of Zamboanga del Norte as co-respondent of Judge Pacifico
Garcia of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 8, Dipolog City.
Without ruling on the petition, this Court referred the case to the Court of Appeals, which, in decision4 dated July
24, 1996, the subject of this review, found the provincial prosecutor guilty of grave abuse of discretion in charging
private respondents with murder with multiple frustrated murder. The Court of Appeals held:
The New People’s Army (NPA) is the armed component of the Communist Party in this country called the national
Democratic Front (NDF). The ultimate objective of the NPA/NDF is to overthrow the constitutional democratic plant
it with a government anchored on the communist ideology.
It is common practice of the military and police to charge captured or arrested members f the NPA with capital
offenses like murder, robbery with homicide, illegal possession of firearms used in the commission of homicide or
murder, arson resulting in death rather than on simple rebellion.
54

If an NPA fighter (terrorist, according to the military lexicon) commits homicide, murder, arson, robbery, illegal
possession of firearms and ammunition in furtherance or on the occasion of his revolutionary pursuit, the only
crime he has committed is rebellion because all those common crimes are absorbed in the latter one pursuant to
the ruling in People v. Hernandez, 99 Phil. 515 and several subsequent cases.
The reason why instead of charging the NPA fighter with capital offenses mentioned supra and not the proper
offense of rebellion is obvious. Rebellion is a bailable offense and given the resources of the NPA, it is the easiest
thing for it to bail out its members facing rebellion charges in court. Once out, the NPA fighter goes back to his
mountain lair and continues the fight against the government. If he is accused of a capital offense where the
granting of bail is a matter of discretion, his chances of securing provisional liberty during the pendency of the trial
are very much lessened.
Since, the military and the police carry the brunt of fighting the NPAs and in so doing they put their limbs and lives
on the line, it is easy for Us to understand why they usually charge the captured or arrested NPAs with capital
offenses instead of the proper offense which is rebellion. The police or military practice is of course wrong, but it is
not much of a problem because it is at most recommendatory in nature. It is the prosecutory service that
ultimately decides the offense to be charged.
No one disputes the well-entrenched principle in criminal procedure that the public prosecutor has the discretion to
determine the crime to be charged in a criminal action. But like all discretion’s, his must be exercised soundly,
meaning, reasonably, responsibly, and fairly. As stated by the Supreme Court in Misola v. Panga cited in
respondents’ Comment (p. 61, Rollo); "The question of instituting a criminal charge is one addressed to the sound
discretion of the investigating Fiscal. The information must be supported by the facts brought about by an inquiry
made by him." (Underscoring supplied).
If then, a public prosecutor deliberately ignores or suppresses an evidence in his hands which palpably indicates
the chargeable offense and files an information charging a more serious one, he departs from the precinct of
discretion and treads on the forbidden field or arbitrary action.
This was what happened in the case at bench. The evidentiary bases of the criminal action against petitioners are
the Joint Affidavit and the recorded testimony earlier adverted to. It is not at all disputed that based upon these
two documents, the proper offense to charge petitioners with is rebellion. No amount of legalistic sophistry can
make those documents support murder for these offenses in the factual milieu in this case were all absorbed by
rebellion.
We vehemently reject respondents’ contention that the petitioners do not suffer any prejudice because they can
use their theory that the chargeable offense is only rebellion as a defense in the trial on the merits and if the trial
court finds that the evidence establishes only rebellion, then, it can convict them under the Information for just
that lesser crime. This argument is not only wrong but betrays insensitivity to violation of human rights. If
prosecutory discretion is twisted to charge a person of an unbailable offense and, therefore, keeps him under
detention when the truly chargeable offense is a bailable one, the prosecutor transgresses upon the human rights
of the accused.5
The appeals court was more kindly disposed toward the trial court. It said:
Respecting the respondent court, the situation is different…
The Joint Affidavit and the recorded testimony mentioned earlier are not part of the records. The trial has not yet
been started and, therefore, no evidence has yet been adduced. There is no basis then for the trial court even to
call the attention of the prosecutor to a mistake in the crime charged.
We hold that respondent court did not commit an error in issuing the assailed orders, much less gravely abused its
discretion in issuing them.6
Accordingly, the Court of Appeals ordered:
WHEREFORE, with the foregoing premises, We a) dismiss the petition as against respondent court for lack of merit;
and b) order the respondent office of Provincial Prosecutor to file a substitute Information in Criminal Case No.
6472 charging the petitioners with rebellion only.7
Petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals erred
IN MAKING DISPARATE AND IRRECONCILABLE RULINGS CONCERNING THE CORRECTNESS OF THE ACTION OF
PETITIONER AND THE LOWER COURT.
IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONER GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN CHARGING PRIVATE RESPONDENTS WITH
MURDER AND MULTIPLE FRUSTRATED MURDER.8
We find the contentions to be well taken.
First. It was improper for the Court of Appeals to consider the record of the preliminary investigation as basis for
finding petitioner provincial prosecutor guilty of grave abuse of discretion when such record was not presented
before the trial court and, therefore, was not part of the record of the case. Rule 112, 8 of the Revised Rules of
Criminal procedure provide;
SEC. 8. Record of preliminary investigation. – The record of the preliminary investigation whether conducted by a
judge or a fiscal, shall not form part of the record of the case in the Regional Trial Court. However, the said court,
on its own initiative or that of any party, may order the production of the record of any part thereof whenever the
same shall be necessary in the resolution of the case or any incident therein, or shall be introduced as evidence by
the party requesting for its production.
The certiorari proceedings in the Court of Appeals was limited to the record of the trial court and indeed the Court
of Appeals recognized this by absolving the trial court of any liability for abuse of its discretion. It is petitioner
provincial prosecutor, which it found guilty of grave abuse of discretion in filing a case for murder with multiple
frustrated murder against private respondents because, in its view, the crime committed is rebellion. The Court of
55

Appeals based its ruling on the joint affidavit of five prosecution witnesses and their testimonies relating to such
affidavit before the Municipal Trial Court of Katipunan, Zamboanga del Norte, which had conducted the preliminary
investigation. But this could not be done because the petition before it was a petition for certiorari to set aside
orders of the Regional Trial Court denying private respondents’ motion to compel petitioner to change the charge
against them from murder with frustrated murder to rebellion.
To sustain the procedure followed by the Court of Appeals of considering evidence dehors the record of the trial
court would be to set a bad precedent whereby the accused in any case can demand, upon the filing of the
information, a review of the evidence presented during the preliminary investigation for the purpose of compelling
the trial court to change the charge to a lesser offense. Such a ruling would undermine the authority of the
prosecutor and impose and intolerable burden on the trial court. As held in Depamaylo v. Brotario.9
The Court in a number of cases has declared that a municipal judge has no legal authority to determine the
character of the crime but only to determine whether or not the evidence presented supported prima facie the
allegation of facts contained in the complaint. He has no legal authority to determine the character of the crime
and his declaration upon that point can only be regarded as an expression of opinion in no wise binding on the
court (People vs. Gorospe, 53 Phil. 960; de Guzman vs. Escalona, 97 SCRA 619). This power belongs to the fiscal
Bais vs. Tugaoen, 89 SCRA 101).
It is to be noted that private respondents did not even attend the preliminary investigation during which they could
have shown that the crime committed was rebellion because the killing and wounding of the government troopers
was made in furtherance of rebellion and not for some private motive.
Second. Indeed, it is not at all clear that the crime as made out by the facts alleged in the Joint Affidavit of
witnesses is rebellion and not murder with multiple murder. The affidavit reads:
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
PROVINCE OF ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE) S.S
Municipality of Jose Dalman)
X-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x
JOINT AFFIDAVIT

I..Teofilo D. Sarigan, 31 years old, Manuel A. Cuenca, 28 yrs. Old, Romulo A. Pacaldo, 25 years
old, Carmelito Carpe, 36 yrs. Old, all married and Pablo D. Maladia, 20 yrs. old and with postal
address of Brgy. Lopero, Brgy. Lumaping, of Jose Dalman, Brgy. Villahermosa, Roxas, all of ZDN,
Brgy. Sigamok, Dumingag, ZDS and Brgy. Lipay. Jose Dalman, ZDN after having been duly sworn
to an oath in accordance to law do hereby depose and answer questions propounded:

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:


Q – Why are you here now in this office?
A – To render statement regarding the alleged incident wherein we were previously involved when we were still
with the underground movement of CPP/NPA that transpired on or about 011000H May 1988 at vicinity Campo
Uno, Femagas, Katipunan, ZDN against the government troops of 321B.
Q – Since when the five (5) of you entered the underground movement of CPP.NPA?
A – Since May 16, 1980, August 12, 1980, March 12, 1981, May 7, 1983 and August 27, 2987, sir.
Q – What is your previous position?
A – CO, FCOM (Front Command) and second deputy secretary of FC-1 "BBC, the Vice CO, FCOM, the CO, FCOM
after @ Bebeth surrender, a Unit Militia (YM) member, GYP element under squad Lion all of FC-1 "BBC" in which we
are operating within the Province of ZDN.
Q – Will you narrate to me what and how the incident you are referring to all about?
A – Actually sir, last 30 April 1988 our main force of FGU, FC-1 "BBC" had a meeting at vicinity basketball court of
vicinity Campo Uno, Femagas, Katipunan ZDN. While on that status our security group left at the high ground
portion of the place and engaged the advancing government troops of 321B after which we then decided to
postpone the meeting hence, the government troops presence. However, on the following day of 01 May 1988 at
about 10:00 o’clock in the morning when we assembled again at the aforesaid place, firefight occurred between us
and the government troops of 321B which resulted to inflict casualties to the 321B troopers, KIA one (1) Cpl.
Alfredo Dela Cruz and wounding four (4) others, Sgt. Rodrigo Alviar, Sgt. Linogaman Piatos, Sgt. Rodrigo Baradi
and Sgt. Bellizar while on our side with one wounded @ TOY.
Q – Can you still recall the names of those other NPA’s that participated in that encounter against the government
troops?
A – Yes, sir. ATICO OBORDO @ DONDOY, NACENCIANO PACALIUGA JR., @ ALFIE/IGI, ELEAZAT FLOREDO,
NESTOR BASES @ BELOY/BELLY. FLORENCIO CANDIA @ BIMBO, JUDY CATUBIG @ ELBOY/AL, PETER MOLATO @
JOKER, BIENVENIDO CATUBIG @ RASTY, ALBERTO CATUBIG @ BLACKY/RENATO, ALMARIO CATUBIG @ NOEL,
ROGER CATUBIG @ JAMSE, JOEL CATUBIG @ NIXON, JIMMY DINGAL @ MACBOY, ENRICO SIMBULAN @ NONSTOP,
@ DANDY, @ WAWAY, @ ALBA/JONAS, JIMMY GARIG @ NONOY, NILO CATUNGAN @ GINO, BERNIDO QUENECAS
@ DIGOY, @ CRISTINE/LFA @ MARILOU @ ELNA, @ BENIGNO PAULINO CORPUZ @ JR/PAWA, BENJAMIN
SANTANDER @ JAKE, @NESTOR, @ JAY, @ ISAGANI, @ RONIE, ESMAEL OBORDO @ ANICIO, @ FREDO, @ RUEL,
@ DODONG, JULITA ADJANAN @ GENIE, @ TONY, @ RJ, @ LANNIE @ DEMET, @ RENDON, @JESS, @ SAMSON
AND many others, sir.
Q – Then what transpired next?
56

A – Right after the encounter, we withdraw our troops towards vicinity SVR, complex, Sergio Osmeña, Sr., ZDN.
Q – Do you have something more to say?
A – Nothing more, sir.
Q – Are you willing to sign you statement without being forced, coerced or intimidated?
A – Yes, sir.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, WE hereunto affix our signature this 1st day of June 1993 at Katipunan, ZN Philippines.
(SGD.) TEOFILO D. SARIGAN
Affiant
(SGD,) MANUEL A. CUENCA
Affiant
(SGD,) ROMULO A. PACALDO
Affiant
(SGD.) CARMELITO L. CARPE
Affiant
(SGD.) PABLO G. MALADIA
Affiant
SUBSCRIBED and SWORN to before me this 1st day of June 1993 at Katipunan, ZN, Philippines.
(SGD.) ADELA S. GANDOLA
Municipal Trial Judge
Nowhere is the political motivation for the commission of the crime indicated in foregoing affidavit. Merely because
it is alleged that private respondents were members of the CCP/NPA who engaged government troops in a firefight
resulting in the death of a government trooper and the wounding of four others does not necessarily mean that the
killing and wounding of the victims was made in furtherance of a rebellion. The political motivation for the crime
must be shown in order to justify finding the crime committed to be rebellion. Otherwise, as in People v. Ompad,10
although it was shown that the accused was an NPA commander, he was nonetheless convicted of murder for the
killing of a person suspected of being a government informer. At all events, as this Court said in Balosis v.
Chanvez:11
Certainly, the public prosecutors should have the option to ascertain which prosecutions should be initiated on the
basis of the evidence at hand. That a criminal act may have elements common to more than one offense does not
rob the prosecutor of that option (or discretion) and mandatory require him to charge the lesser offense although
the evidence before him may warrant prosecution of the more serious one.12
In Baylosis v. Chavez, the accused, who were NPA members, assailed the constitutionality of P.D. No. 1866 under
which they were charged with illegal possession of firearm and ammunition on the ground that it gave prosecutors
the discretion to charge an accused either with rebellion or with other crimes committed in furtherance thereof. In
rejecting their contention, this Court said:
The argument is not tenable. The fact is that the Revised Penal Code trets rebellion or insurrection as a crime
distinct from murder, homicide, arson, or other felonies that might conceivably be committed in the course of
rebellion. It is the Code, therefore, in relation to the evidence in the hands of the public prosecutor, and not the
latter’s whim or caprice, which gives the choice. The Code allows, for example, separate prosecutions for either
murder or rebellion, although not for both where the indictment alleges that the former has been committed in
furtherance of or in connection with the latter.13
The burden of proving that the motivation for the crime is political and not private is on the defense. This is the
teaching of another case.14 in which it was held;

In deciding if the crime is rebellion, not murder, it becomes imperative for our courts to ascertain whether or not
the act was done in furtherance of a political end. The political motive of the act should be conclusively
demonstrated.
In such cases the burden of demonstrating political motive falls on the defense, motive, being a state of mind
which the accused better than any individual knows.
Its not enough that the overt acts of rebellion are duly proven. Both purpose and overt acts are essential
components of the crime. With either of these elements wanting, the crime of rebellion legally does not exist.
The proceedings in the case at bar is still in the pre-arraignment stage. The parties have yet to present their
respective evidence. If during the trial, private respondents are able to show proof which would support their
present contention, then they can avail of the remedy provided under the second paragraph of Rule 110, 1415
which provides:
If it appears at any time before judgement that a mistake has been made in charging the proper offense, the court
shall dismiss the original complaint or information upon the filing of a new one charging the proper offense in
accordance with Rule 119, Section 11, provided the accused would not be placed thereby in double jeopardy…
Until then, however, petitioner provincial prosecutor is under no obligation to change against private respondents.
Third. The Court of Appeals says it is a common practice of the military and the police to charge captured members
of the NPA with capital offenses like murder, robbery with homicide, or illegal possession of firearms rather than
rebellion. The alleged purpose is to deny them bail only if it can be shown that the evidence against them is not
strong, whereas if the charge is rebellion, private respondents would have an absolute right to bail.
As already stated, however, given the Joint affidavit of the prosecution witnesses alone, it is not possible to
determine at this stage of the criminal proceeding that in engaging the government troops in a "firefight," private
respondents were acting in pursuance of rebellion. It could be that the "firefight" was more of an ambush staged
57

by the NPA, as shown by the fact that while the government troop suffered one dead and four wounded, the
CPP/NPA suffered only one wounded.
The charge that it is "common practice’ for the military and the police to charge suspected rebels with murder in
order to prevent them from going on bail can be laid equally at the door of the accused. As noted in Enrile v.
Salazar:16
It may be that in the light of contemporary events, the act of rebellion has lost that quintessentially quixotic quality
that justifies the relative leniency with which it is regarded and punished by law, that present-day rebels are less
impelled by love of country than by lust for power and have become no better than mere terrorists to whom
nothing, not even the sancity of human life, is allowed to stand in the way of their ambitions. Nothing so c this
aberration as the rash of seemingly senseless killings, bombings, kidnappings and assorted mayhem so much in
the news these days, as often perpetrated against innocent civilians as against the military, but by and large
attributable to, or even claimed by so called rebels to be part of, an ongoing rebellion.17
What the real crime is must await the presentation of evidence at the trial or at the hearing on the application for
bail. Those accused of common crimes can then show proof that the crime with which they were charged is really
rebellion. They are thus not without any remedy.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals, dated July 24, 1996, is REVERSED insofar as it orders petitioner
to file a substitute information for rebellion in Criminal Case No. 6427. In other respects, it is AFFIRMED.

Article 134-A. Coup d'etat; How committed. — The crime of coup d'etat is a swift attack accompanied by
violence, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth, directed against duly constituted authorities of the Republic of
the Philippines, or any military camp or installation, communications network, public utilities or other facilities
needed for the exercise and continued possession of power, singly or simultaneously carried out anywhere in the
Philippines by any person or persons, belonging to the military or police or holding any public office of employment
with or without civilian support or participation for the purpose of seizing or diminishing state power. (As amended
by R.A. 6968).

Elements
1. That the offender is a person/s belonging to the military or police or holding any public office or employment
2. That it is committed by means of a swift attack accompanied by violence, intimidation, threat, strategy or
stealth
3. That the attack is directed against duly constituted authorities of the Republic of the Philippines or any military
camp or installation, communication networks, public utilities or other facilities needed for the exercise and
continued possession of power
4. That the purpose of the attack is to seize or diminish state power

2004 BAR QUESTION


Distinguish clearly but briefly;
1. Between rebellion and coup d’ etat based on their constitutive elements as criminal offenses

REBELLION is committed when a multitude of persons rise publicly in arms for the purpose of
overthrowing the duly constituted government, to be replaced by a government of the rebels. It is carried
out by force and violence, but need not be participated in by any member of the military, national police
or any public officer.

COUP D'ETAT is committed when members of the military, Philippine National Police, or public officer,
acting as principal offenders, launched a swift attack thru strategy, stealth, threat, violence or intimidation
against duly constituted authorities of the Republic of the Philippines, military camp or installation,
communication networks, public facilities or utilities needed for the exercise and continued possession of
governmental powers, for the purpose of seizing or diminishing state powers.

Unlike rebellion which requires a public uprising, coup d'etat may be carried out singly or simultaneously
and the principal offenders must be members of the military, national police or public officer, with or
without civilian support. The criminal objective need not be to overthrow the existing government but only
to destabilize or paralyze the existing government.

Art. 135. Penalty for rebellion, insurrection or coup d'etat. — Any person who promotes, maintains, or heads
rebellion or insurrection shall suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
Any person merely participating or executing the commands of others in a rebellion shall suffer the penalty of
reclusion temporal.
Any person who leads or in any manner directs or commands others to undertake a coup d'etat shall suffer the
penalty of reclusion perpetua.
Any person in the government service who participates, or executes directions or commands of others in
undertaking a coup d'etat shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period.
Any person not in the government service who participates, or in any manner supports, finances, abets or aids in
undertaking a coup d'etat shall suffer the penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period.
58

When the rebellion, insurrection, or coup d'etat shall be under the command of unknown leaders, any person who
in fact directed the others, spoke for them, signed receipts and other documents issued in their name, as
performed similar acts, on behalf or the rebels shall be deemed a leader of such a rebellion, insurrection, or coup
d'etat. (As amended by R.A. 6968, approved on October 24, 1990).

Art. 136. Conspiracy and proposal to commit coup d'etat, rebellion or insurrection. — The conspiracy and
proposal to commit coup d'etat shall be punished by prision mayor in minimum period and a fine which shall not
exceed eight thousand pesos (P8,000.00).
The conspiracy and proposal to commit rebellion or insurrection shall be punished respectively, by prision
correccional in its maximum period and a fine which shall not exceed five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) and by
prision correccional in its medium period and a fine not exceeding two thousand pesos (P2,000.00). (As amended
by R.A. 6968, approved October 24, 1990).

Art. 137. Disloyalty of public officers or employees. — The penalty of prision correccional in its minimum
period shall be imposed upon public officers or employees who have failed to resist a rebellion by all the means in
their power, or shall continue to discharge the duties of their offices under the control of the rebels or shall accept
appointment to office under them. (Reinstated by E.O. No. 187).

Art. 138. Inciting a rebellion or insurrection. — The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period shall be
imposed upon any person who, without taking arms or being in open hostility against the Government, shall incite
others to the execution of any of the acts specified in article 134 of this Code, by means of speeches,
proclamations, writings, emblems, banners or other representations tending to the same end. (Reinstated by E.O.
No. 187).

Elements
1. That the offender does not take arms or is not in open hostility against the Government
2. That he incites others to the execution of any of the acts of rebellion
3. That the inciting is done by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, banners or other representations
tending to the same end

Art. 139. Sedition; How committed. — The crime of sedition is committed by persons who rise publicly and
tumultuously in order to attain by force, intimidation, or by other means outside of legal methods, any of the
following objects:
1. To prevent the promulgation or execution of any law or the holding of any popular election;
2. To prevent the National Government, or any provincial or municipal government or any public officer thereof
from freely exercising its or his functions, or prevent the execution of any administrative order;
3. To inflict any act of hate or revenge upon the person or property of any public officer or employee;
4. To commit, for any political or social end, any act of hate or revenge against private persons or any social class;
and
5. To despoil, for any political or social end, any person, municipality or province, or the National Government (or
the Government of the United States), of all its property or any part thereof.

Elements
1. That the offender rise 1) publicly and 2) tumultuously;
2. That they employ force, intimidation, or other means outside of legal methods;
3. That the offenders employ any of those means to attain any of the following objects:
a. To prevent the promulgation or execution of any law or holding of any popular election;
b. To prevent the National Government or any provincial or municipal government, or any public officer thereof
from freely exercising its or his functions, or prevent the execution of any administrative order;
c. To inflict any act of hate or revenge upon the person or property of any public officer or employee
d. To commit, for any political or social end, any act of hate or revenge against private persons or any social class;
and
e. To despoil, for any political or social end, any person, municipality or province, or the National Government of all
its property or any part thereof.

Nature of the crime


• Raising of commotions or disturbances in the State.
• The ultimate object is a violation of the public peace or at least such a course of measures as evidently
engenders it.

What distinguishes sedition from rebellion is the object or purpose of the uprising
1. In both rebellion and sedition, there must be a public uprising.
2. In rebellion there must be the taking up of arms against the Government; In sedition, it is sufficient that the
public uprising is tumultuous.
59

3. If the purpose of the uprising is not exactly against the Government and not for the purpose of doing the things
defined in Article 134, but merely to attain by force, intimidation, or by other means outside of legal methods, one
object, to wit, to inflict an act of hate or revenge upon the person or property of a public official, it is sedition.

Sedition distinguished from treason


• Treason is the violation by a subject of his allegiance to his sovereign or liege, lord, or to the supreme authority
of the State.
• Sedition is the raising of commotions or disturbances in the State.

Common crimes are not absorbed in sedition


Note the clause in the opening sentence of Art. 189, which says: “The crime of sedition is committed by persons
who rise publicly and tumultuously.” In Art. 163, the word “tumultuous” is given a definite meaning. It says that
”the disturbance shall be deemed to be tumultuous if caused by more than three persons who are armed or
provided with means of violence.

PEOPLE VS. UMALI


96 PHIL 185

Facts: On the eve of the election, at the house of Pasumbal’s father, then beng used as his electoral headquarters,
Congressman Umali instructed Pasumbal to contact the Huks through Commander Abeng so that Punzalan would
be killed. Pasumbal, complying with the order of his Chief (Umali), went to the mountains which were quite near
the town and held a conference with Commander Abeng. It would seem that Umali and Pasumbal had a feeling that
Punzalan was going to win in the election the next day, and that his death was the surest way to eliminate him
from the electoral fight.

In the evening of the same day, Pasumbal reported to Umali about his conference with Commander Abeng, saying
that the latter was agreeable to the proposition and even outlined the manner of attack.

After waiting for sometime, Abeng and his troops numbering about fifty, armed with garands and carbines, arrived.
Congressman Umali, holding a revolver, was seen in the company of Huk Commander Torio and about 30 armed
men. Then shots were heard. Afterwards, they saw Umali and his companions leave in the direction of Taguan, by
way of the railroad tracks.

Held: We are convinced that the principal and main, though not necessarily the most serious, crime committed
here was not rebellion but rather that of sedition. The purpose of the raid and the act of the raiders in rising
publicly and taking up arms was not exactly against the Government and for the purpose of doing things defined in
Article 134 of the RPC. The raiders did not even attack the Presidencia, the seat of the local Government. Rather,
the object was to attain by means of force, intimidation, etc., one object, to wit, to inflict an act of hate or revenge
upon the person or property of a public official, namely, Punzalan who was then mayor of Tiaong.

Inciting an act of hate or revenge upon public officers

PEOPLE vs. CABRERA


53 PHIL. 64

Facts: A policeman posted on Calle Real had an encounter with some constabulary soldiers, resulting in the death
of a constabulary private. This encounter engendered on the part of the constabulary soldiers a desire for revenge
against the police force in Mainila. They escaped from the barracks with their guns and made an attack upon the
police force. They fired in the direction of the intersection of Calles Real and Cabildo, killing a policeman and a
civilian. They also fired upon a passing street car, slaying one and wounding other innocent passengers. They
attacked the Luneta Police Station and the office of the secret service.

Held: The crime committed is sedition. The object of the uprising was to inflict an act of hate or revenge upon the
persons of the policemen who were public officers or employees.

The object of the uprising in this case is that one stated in par. 3 of Art. 139. Note also that in sedition, the
offenders need not be private individuals.

G.R. No. L-12686 October 24, 1963


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. KAMLON HADJI, ET AL.

Kamlon Hadji, together with a number of other defendants, was charged in the Court of First Instance of Sulu for
different crimes in various cases, to wit: in Criminal Case No. 1162 for rebellion; in Criminal Cases Nos. 1162-A to
60

1162-N and 1348 for multiple murder and multiple injuries; and in Criminal Case No. 1353, together with Ulloh
Kaddam, et al., for kidnapping with murder and attempted murder.
The parties stipulated to have these cases tried jointly whereafter the trial court rendered judgment the dispositive
portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, in Crim. Case No. 1162, the Court hereby sentences the accused Kamlon, leader of the sedition, to
an indeterminate imprisonment of FOUR (4) YEARS, TWO (2) MONTHS and ONE (1) DAY of prision correccional as
minimum to SIX (6) YEARS and EIGHT (8) MONTHS of prision mayor as maximum; to pay a fine of P10,000.00
without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to pay the proportionate costs.
Each of the accused, Adjudi Asarani and Amsajen Jamah is hereby sentenced to indeterminate imprisonment of
THREE (3) YEARS, SIX (6) MONTHS and TWENTY (20) DAYS of prision correccional as minimum to FIVE (5) YEARS,
FOUR (4) MONTHS and TWENTY (20) DAYS of prision correccional as maximum; to pay a fine of P5,000.00, each,
and in case of insolvency, to suffer the corresponding subsidiary imprisonment which, however, shall not exceed
one-third of the principal penalty; and to pay the proportionate costs.
Each and everyone of the accused Jumla Abdukari Abdulialim Adin, Ulloh Urong Angkang Adiad, Angkang Illama,
Sahidula Ajad, lbbing Janah, Kakari Damboa, Akbara Abduhasman, Hatib Hala Amsajen, Hatib Jaron alias Baito
Haron, Awah Kamsa; Waliul Adjudi; Jaujali Gadjali; Suhalili Jamli; Sinihag Salihan; Sarahan Ibba; is hereby
sentenced to an indeterminate of TWO (2) YEARS, FOUR (4) MONTH IMPRISONMENT and ONE (1) DAY of prision
correccional minimum to FOUR (4) YEARS, NINE (9) MONTHS and TEN (10) DAYS of prision correccional as
maximum; to pay a fine of P3,000.00 and in case of insolvency to suffer the corresponding subsidiary
imprisonment which, however, shall not exceed one-third of the principal penalty; and to pay the proportionate
costs.
Each and everyone of the accused Amsah Laih, Jundai Halisan, Taraman Adil, Kahiral Dastan, Boyongan Sabiban,
Sakkam Hussin, Baybayan Asao, Abdurahman Sahol, Palicta Dugong and Kaligogan Ladialawan is hereby acquitted
of the charges against him with the portionate costs de oficio. Their immediate release from custody is hereby
ordered.
Crim. Cases Nos. 1162-A to 1162-N and 1348 are hereby ordered dismissed with costs de oficio. The release from
custody of all the accused in those cases, except those who are charged or convicted in another case, is hereby
ordered.
In Crim. Case No. 1353, the Court hereby sentences the accused Kamlon to the death penalty for the kidnapping of
Jamalul Alling and Hatib Ajibon complexed with the murder of Jamalul Alling; to indemnify the heirs of the
deceased in the sum of P3,000.00, without imprisonment in case of insolvency; and to pay the costs.
The instant appeal pertains solely to Criminal Case No. 1353 for which the accused, Kamlon, was found guilty and
sentenced to the death penalty. A co-accused in this ease, Ulluh, was still at large at the time the lower court
rendered its judgment.
In connection with the conviction of Kamlon, however, it must be stated that the trial judge recommended the
commutation of the penalty imposed to life imprisonment, The trial judge based his recommendation upon his
finding that the defendant agreed to surrender principally because he was made to believe by the authorities "that
he would be paroled." In the words of the decision of the lower court, "If the Constabulary officers concerned did
not promise any condition to Kamlon for his surrender, said officers deliberately misled the negotiator Arolas
Tulawie and Kamlon into believing that Kamlon's parole would be respected or be enforced after all outlaws had
surrendered. In one word, the officers concerned dealt with Arolas Tulawie and Kamlon in double talk. They were
not frank.
The trial court rendered the judgment of conviction upon the following factual findings:
One morning some two years prior to the trial of this case, the herein defendant, together with two other armed
companions, Ulluh and Angkang, set out to look for two men whom they suspected were responsible for the
disappearance of two of the followers of the defendant. The search ended when the defendant and his companions
chanced upon their quarry, Hatib Ajibun and Jamalul Alling, in the vicinity of Buhangin Mahaba gathering vines.
Thereupon, threatening to kill unless Ajibun and Alling went with them, Kamlon and his companions seized the pair
and brought them to Tigbas, Luuk District where, at that time, Kamlon was residing. At the market place of Tigbas,
Kamlon made known to his captives the reason for their abduction, and, although Ajibun and Alling disavowed any
knowledge or responsibility for the disappearance of the two persons Kamlon was seeking to avenge, their
protestations of innocence were disbelieved and altogether unheeded.
Hatib Ajibun and Jamalul Alling were detained overnight. The following day, between 2 and 3 o'clock in the
afternoon, they were brought to the market place and, in a store, they were made to sit on chairs, one beside the
other. On being ordered by Kamlon, their hands were then tied to the roof by Ulluh. Thus seated and with their
hands tied to the roof, Kamlon leveled his automatic carbine at Jamalul Alling and fired, killing him instantly.
Kamlon then ordered Ulluh to cut the neck of the dead man whereupon Ulluh, with a barong or native bolo, did as
he was bidden.
Ulluh then brought the headless body and the severed head to his vinta by the shore and paddled out far into the
sea. When he returned, he no longer had with him his gruesome load.
Meanwhile, Kamlon decided to spare Hatib Ajibun from the fate he imposed on Jamalul Alling. Instead, Ajibun was
conducted back to Kamlon's house where he was "tried' by Kamlon for his alleged participation in the
disappearance of two of his followers. The "trial" must have caused Kamlon to doubt Ajibun's guilt because at its
end, he was merely told to raise the sum of P105.00 as fine and thereafter he was set free.
The account of Alling's murder as above established by the trial court was denied, disavowed and disputed by the
defendant. He offered an entirely different version of the killing. According to Kamlon, the deceased was shot to
61

death, not by him, but by some relatives of a woman who, on that occasion, Jamalul Alling and Hatib Ajibun were
attempting to abduct.
The defendant's version of the killing of Jamalul Alling was sought to be established by the sisters, Bariha Imam
Habilul and Muhayla Iman Habilul, who testified that one day they went to take a bath at a watering place some
100 brazas from where they were living. While washing their clothes at the same place and gathering water in
bamboo tubes, Bariha suddenly heard Muhayla shout: "Bariha, you better run away. I am being embraced and held
by Ajibun and Jamalul." Muhayla made the outcry because Jamalul and Ajibun who emerged from the nearby
bushes suddenly took hold of the hands of Muhayla and pulled her towards the eastern part of the place, a sitio
called Buhangin Mahaba. Upon hearing the scream of Muhayla, Bariha ran away but was able to see Ajibun and
Jamalul holding the hands of Muhayla.
Bariha ran and screamed for help. Among those who came to her succor were her uncle, Adu, and some other
men-folk of the village, Biteng, Tanji and Uttung, who forthwith armed themselves with guns and went after Ajibun
and Jamalul.
Meanwhile, at Buhangin Mahaba, Jamalul and Ajibun tried to force Muhayla into a vinta. Ajibun went inside the
vinta and pulled the hands of Muhayla as Jamalul pushed her into the craft in an effort to place her on board.
Muhayla, however, succeeded in frustrating their efforts by pushing the vinta, and while being engaged in this
struggle, she heard her uncle Adu yell: "Muhayla, duck;" Muhayla ducked by dropping herself on the sea, face
downwards, and as her body hit the shallow water, she heard bursts of gunfire coming from the place where Adu
had given out his order.
After the shots, Muhayla ran towards her uncle. The burst of fire hit Jamalul who fell on the water almost falling on
Muhayla. Ajibun was fired upon, but he was able to paddle himself away out to the sea.
We cannot find any just or valid cause for rejecting the version accepted by the trial court. While the defendant had
indeed insisted that the prosecution version was false and untrue, he has failed to demonstrate to this Tribunal
exactly in what area of the proceeding or evidence such fallacy and untruth obtain. This case has resolved itself
into a question of who among the witness at the trial were telling the truth. We can hardly hold ourselves in a
better position to answer that than the trial judge who had his five physical senses to aid him reach the fair,
correct and just conclusion. While we have merely the records to guide Us by, the trial judge saw the witnesses,
heard them speak, watched them move. He was, therefore, in the far advantageous position of being able to
discriminate more competently than Us the prevaricators among the witnesses from those who testified the truth.
Consequently, as the evidence on record sufficiently attest to the findings of the lower court, We shall not disturb
the same.
The defendant contend that the length of time which intervened between the actual commission of the crime
charged and the filing of the same in the trial court — a period of 21 months — attests to the unreliability of the
prosecution witnesses. We are told that if those who testified for the government did actually witness the
defendant commit the murder, they would have forthwith reported the incident to the authorities and this case
would have been filed sooner. It is vigorously impressed on Us that the delay betrays the truthfulness of the case
for the prosecution.
We cannot sustain the view of the defendant on the last point raised. Although it is true that undue delay in the
prosecution of criminal actions speaks of the suspicious veracity of the state's claim, the same observation cannot
be made where the delay or inaction, long though it may be, was imposed on the government by causes over
which it has no control. In the premises and as explained by the Solicitor General's Office, "the incident took place
15 days before the last military operations against Kamlon. People in the area affected were in the grip of fear and
felt no other than for their personal safety. The witnesses could have preferred to remain in silence of what they
knew against Kamlon in the hope, however, that with the military operations about to be set afoot, retributive
justice would catch up with Kamlon and his henchmen that they might perish in the battle."
The more transcendental aspect of this appeal refers to the view of the defendant that, by the doctrine enunciated
in the cases of People v. Hernandez, et al., 52 O.G. 5506 and People v. Geronimo, 53 O.G. No. 1, p. 68, "the trial
court erred in convicting herein accused for kidnapping with murder in spite of the fact that said acts of violence
were committed in furtherance of sedition and therefore absorbed in this latter crime."
There is neither law nor jurisprudence which can allow this Court to uphold the defendant's claim that acts of
violence like murder and kidnapping are absorbed by sedition. The aforecited cases of Hernandez and Geronimo,
supra, cannot properly be invoked as authority for that legal proposition since those two cases involved the crime
of rebellion and not sedition.
Indeed, as this Court adheres to and is guided in great measure by the rule of stare decisis, We deem ourselves
unfree at the moment to disregard our rulings in the cases of People v. Cabrera, 43 Phil. 64, and People v. Umali,
G.R. No. L-5803, Nov. 29, 1954. In the Cabrera case, this Court held:
It is merely stating the obvious to say that sedition is not the same offense as murder. Sedition is a crime against
public order; murder is a crime against persons. Sedition is a crime directed against the existence of the State, the
authority of the government, and the general public tranquility; murder is a crime directed against the lives of
individuals. (U.S. v. Abad [1902], 1 Phil. 437.) Sedition in its more general sense is the raising of commotions or
disturbances in the state; murder at common law is where a person of sound mind and discretion unlawfully kills
any human being, in the peace of the sovereign, with malice aforethought, express or implied.
The offenses charged in the two informations for sedition and murder are perfectly distinct in point of law however
nearly they may be connected in point of fact. Not alone are the offenses com nomine different, but the allegations
in the body of the information are different. The gist of the information for sedition is the public and tumultuous
uprising of the constabulary in order to attain by force and outside of legal methods the object of inflicting an act of
62

hate and revenge upon the persons of the police force of the city of Manila by firing at them in several places in the
city of Manila; that gist of the information in the murder case is that the Constabulary, conspiring together, illegally
and criminally killed eight persons and gravely wounded three others. The crimes of murder and serious physical
injuries were not necessarily included in the information for sedition; and the defendants could not have been
convicted of these crimes under the first information. (Emphasis supplied)
And, in the case of People v. Umali, supra, after rejecting the government's theory that the crime committed was
rebellion complexed with multiple murder, frustrated murder, arson and robbery, but rather sedition and the said
common crimes, We proceeded to convict the defendants therein of the said crime of sedition and the common
crimes of murder, frustrated murder, etc. The dispositive portion of this last cited case read: "In conclusion, we
find appellants guilty of sedition, multiple murder, arson, frustrated murder and physical injuries. . . ."
Clearly then, the rule obtaining in this jurisdiction allows for the treatment of the common offenses of murder etc.
as distinct and independent acts separable from sedition.
In citing the cases of Hernandez and Geronimo, supra, it seems to Us that the herein defendant missed a very
significant point. When We held in those two cases that murder and other acts of violence were absorbed by
"rebellion," the common crimes alleged to have been committed in furtherance of the rebellion were specifically
charged in the information and, for that reason, were consequently necessarily alleged to have been committed for
political ends. In the prosecution at bar, however, as pointed out by the Solicitor General, "the information makes
no allegation of political motivation, and the evidence is totally devoid of any such motivation, for on the contrary,
the proof adduced shows that the killing had no political or social color, but purely motivated by personal
vengeance."
There is yet one significant fact in this case which must be made of record before this Tribunal hands down Its
judgment on appeal. The defendant Kamlon, prior to his prosecution for the case at bar, had been convicted for
rebellion with multiple murder and multiple physical injuries in Criminal Case No. 763 of the Court of First Instance
of Sulu. Soon after his conviction, however, he was extended a conditional pardon by the late President Elpidio
Quirino. There were four (4) conditions to the pardon, namely: (1) that Kamlon was to report monthly to the
nearest constabulary or Justice of the Peace; (2) that Kamlon would assist the authorities in the surrender of
firearms; and (3) that Kamlon would allow himself to be visited by any authority of the Government and allow him
to question him freely; and (4) that he would cooperate with the Government in the surrender and apprehension of
wanted persons in Luuk.
Instead of honoring the aforementioned conditions, however, Kamlon brazenly violated the same. He did not only
fail to report regularly to the authorities as required; he even violently prevented legitimate government agents
from visiting and questioning him. It was these lawlessness and defiance which ultimately precipitated and resulted
into the various criminal prosecutions enumerated at the start of this decision, including this one on appeal.
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, this Court affirms in full the findings and judgment of the lower court. The crime
committed is kidnapping complexed with murder. We find the death penalty as well as the indemnity in the amount
of P3,000.00 imposed in accordance with law and affirm the same with costs against the defendant.

Art. 140. Penalty for sedition. — The leader of a sedition shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its
minimum period and a fine not exceeding 10,000 pesos.
Other persons participating therein shall suffer the penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period and a fine
not exceeding 5,000 pesos. (Reinstated by E.O. No. 187).

Art. 141. Conspiracy to commit sedition. — Persons conspiring to commit the crime of sedition shall be
punished by prision correccional in its medium period and a fine not exceeding 2,000 pesos. (Reinstated by E.O.
No. 187).

Art. 142. Inciting to sedition. — The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period and a fine not
exceeding 2,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any person who, without taking any direct part in the crime of
sedition, should incite others to the accomplishment of any of the acts which constitute sedition, by means of
speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, cartoons, banners, or other representations tending to the same end,
or upon any person or persons who shall utter seditious words or speeches, write, publish, or circulate scurrilous
libels against the Government (of the United States or the Government of the Commonwealth) of the Philippines,
or any of the duly constituted authorities thereof, or which tend to disturb or obstruct any lawful officer in
executing the functions of his office, or which tend to instigate others to cabal and meet together for unlawful
purposes, or which suggest or incite rebellious conspiracies or riots, or which lead or tend to stir up the people
against the lawful authorities or to disturb the peace of the community, the safety and order of the Government, or
who shall knowingly conceal such evil practices. (Reinstated by E.O. No. 187).

Elements
1. That the offender does not take direct part in the crime of sedition
2. That he incites others to the accomplishment of any of the acts which constitute sedition
3. That the inciting is done by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, cartoons, banners or other
representations tending to the same end.

Different acts of inciting to sedition


63

1. Inciting others to the accomplishment of any of the acts which constitute sedition by means of speeches,
proclamations, writings, emblems, etc.
2. Uttering seditious words or speeches which tend to disturb the public peace
3. Writing, publishing, or circulating scurrilous libels against the Government or any of the duly constituted
authorities thereof, which tend to disturb the public peace.

Uttering seditious words


G.R. No. L-21049 December 22, 1923
PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. vs. ISAAC PEREZ

Isaac Perez, the municipal secretary of Pilar, Sorsogon, and Fortunato Lodovice, a citizen of that municipality,
happening to meet on the morning of April 1, 1992, in the presidencia of Pilar, they became engaged in a
discussion regarding the administration of Governor-General Wood, which resulted in Perez shouting a number of
times: "The Filipinos, like myself, must use bolos for cutting off Wood's head for having recommended a bad thing
for the Filipinos, for he has killed our independence." Charged in the Court of First Instance of Sorsogon with a
violation of article 256 of the Penal Code having to do with contempt of ministers of the Crown or other persons in
authority, and convicted thereof, Perez has appealed the case to this court. The question presented for decision is,
What crime, if any, did the accused commit?
A logical point of departure is the information presented in this case. It reads in translation as follows:
That on or about April 1, 1922, in the municipality of Pilar, Province of Sorsogon, Philippine Islands, the said
accused, Isaac Perez, while holding a discussion with several persons on political matters, did criminally, unlawfully
and wilfully and with knowledge that Honorable Leonard Wood was the Governor-General of the Philippine Islands
and in the discharge of his functions as such authority, insult by word, without his presence, said Governor-
General, uttering in a loud voice and in the presence of many persons, and in a public place, the following phrases:
"Asin an mangña filipinos na caparejo co, maninigong gumamit nin sundang asin haleon an payo ni Wood huli can
saiyang recomendacion sa pag raot con Filipinas," which in English, is as follows: "And the Filipinos, like myself,
must use bolos for cutting off Wood's head for having recommended a bad thing for the Philippines.
Contrary to article 256 of the Penal Code.
At the trial of the case, two witnesses were called on behalf of the prosecution and three witnesses on behalf of the
defense. According to the first witness for the Government, Juan Lumbao, the municipal president of Pilar, what
Perez said on the occasion in question was this:
"The Filipinos, like myself, should get a bolo and cut off the head of Governor-General Wood, because he has
recommended a bad administration in these Islands and has not made a good recommendation; on the contrary,
he has assassinated the independence of the Philippines and for this reason, we have not obtained independence
and the head of that Governor-General must be cut off." Higinio J. Angustia, justice of the peace of Pilar, in a
written statement, and Gregorio Cresencio, another witness for the prosecution, corroborated the testimony of the
first witness. Cresencio understood that Perez invited the Filipinos including himself to get their bolos and cut off
the head of Governor-General Wood and throw it into the sea.
The witnesses for the defense did not deny that an altercation took place on the morning of April 1, 1922, in which
the accused participated. But they endeavored to explain that the discussion was between Perez and one Severo
Madrid, the latter maintaining that the fault was due to the Nacionalista Party, while Perez argued that the
Governor-General was to blame. The accused testified that the discussion was held in a peaceful manner, and that
what he wished to say was that the Governor-General should be removed and substituted by another. On the
witness stand, he stated that his words were the following: "We are but blaming the Nacionalista Party which is in
power but do not take into account that above the representatives there is Governor-General Wood who controls
everything, and I told him that the day on which the Democrats may kill that Governor-General, then we, the
Filipinos will install the government we like whether you Democratas want to pay or not to pay taxes."
The trial judge found as a fact, and we think with abundant reason, that it had been proved beyond a reasonable
doubt that the accused made use of the language stated in the beginning of this decision and set out in the
information. The question of fact thus settled, the question of law recurs as to the crime of which the accused
should be convicted.
It should be recalled that the fiscal named, in the information, article 256 of the Penal Code as having been
infringed and the trial judge so found in his decision. The first error assigned by counsel for the appellant is
addressed to this conclusion of the lower court and is to the effect that article 256 of the Penal Code is no longer in
force.
In the case of United States vs. Helbig ([1920], R. G. No. 14705 1), the accused was charged with having uttered
the following language: "To hell with the President of the United States and his proclamation!" Mr. Helbig was
prosecuted under article 256, and though the case was eventually sent back to the court of origin for a new trial,
the appellate court by majority vote held as a question of law that article 256 is still in force.
In the case of People vs. Perfecto ([1922], 43 Phil., 887), the accused was charged with having published an article
reflecting on the Philippine Senate and its members in violation of article 256 of the Penal Code. In this court, Mr.
Perfecto was acquitted by unanimous vote, with three members of the court holding that article 256 was abrogated
completely by the change from Spanish to American sovereignty over the Philippines, and with six members
holding that the Libel Law had the effect of repealing so much of article 256 as relates to written defamation,
abuse, or insult, and that under the information and the facts, the defendant was neither guilty of a violation of
64

article 256 of the Penal Code nor of the libel Law. In the course of the main opinion in the Perfecto case, is found
this significant sentence: "Act No. 292 of the Philippine Commission, the Treason and Sedition Law, may also have
affected article 256, but as to this point, it is not necessary to make a pronouncement."
It may therefore be taken as settled doctrine, to which those of us who retain a contrary opinion must bow with as
good grace as we can muster, that until otherwise decided by higher authority, so much of article 256 of the Penal
Code as does not relate to ministers of the Crown or to writings coming under the Libel Law, exist and must be
enforced. To which proposition, can properly be appended a corollary, namely: Seditious words, speeches, or libels,
constitute a violation of Act No. 292, the Treason and Sedition Law, and to this extent, both the Penal Code and
the Libel Law are modified.
Accepting the above statements relative to the continuance and status of article 256 of the Penal Code, it is our
opinion that the law infringed in this instance is not this article but rather a portion of the Treason and Sedition
Law. In other words, as will later appear, we think that the words of the accused did not so much tend to defame,
abuse, or insult, a person in authority, as they did to raise a disturbance in the community.
In criminal law, there are a variety of offenses which are not directed primarily against individuals, but rather
against the existence of the State, the authority of the Government, or the general public peace. The offenses
created and defined in Act No. 292 are distinctly of this character. Among them is sedition, which is the raising of
commotions or disturbances in the State. It is a revolt against legitimate authority. Though the ultimate object of
sedition is a violation of the public peace or at least such a course of measures as evidently engenders it, yet it
does not aim at direct and open violence against the laws, or the subversion of the Constitution. (2 Bouvier's Law
Dictionary, 974; U.S. vs. Abad [1902], 1 Phil., 437; People vs. Cabrera [1922], 43 Phil., 64.)
It is of course fundamentally true that the provisions of Act No. 292 must not be interpreted so as to abridge the
freedom of speech and the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the Government for redress of
grievances. Criticism is permitted to penetrate even to the foundations of Government. Criticism, no matter how
severe, on the Executive, the Legislature, and the Judiciary, is within the range of liberty of speech, unless the
intention and effect be seditious. But when the intention and effect of the act is seditious, the constitutional
guaranties of freedom of speech and press and of assembly and petition must yield to punitive measures designed
to maintain the prestige of constituted authority, the supremacy of the constitution and the laws, and the existence
of the State. (III Wharton's Criminal Law, pp. 2127 et seq.; U.S. vs. Apurado [1907], 7 Phil., 422; People vs.
Perfecto, supra.)
Here, the person maligned by the accused is the Chief Executive of the Philippine Islands. His official position, like
the Presidency of the United States and other high offices, under a democratic form of government, instead, of
affording immunity from promiscuous comment, seems rather to invite abusive attacks. But in this instance, the
attack on the Governor-General passes the furthest bounds of free speech was intended. There is a seditious
tendency in the words used, which could easily produce disaffection among the people and a state of feeling
incompatible with a disposition to remain loyal to the Government and obedient to the laws.
The Governor-General is an executive official appointed by the President of the United States by and with the
advice and consent of the Senate of the United States, and holds in his office at the pleasure of the President. The
Organic Act vests supreme executive power in the Governor-General to be exercised in accordance with law. The
Governor-General is the representative of executive civil authority in the Philippines and of the sovereign power. A
seditious attack on the Governor-General is an attack on the rights of the Filipino people and on American
sovereignty. (Concepcion vs. Paredes [1921], 42 Phil., 599; U.S. vs. Dorr [1903], 2 Phil., 332.)
Section 8 of Act No. 292 of the Philippine Commission, as amended by Act No. 1692, appears to have been placed
on the statute books exactly to meet such a situation. This section reads as follows:
Every person who shall utter seditious words or speeches, or who shall write, publish or circulate scurrilous libels
against the Government of the United States or against the Government of the Philippine Islands, or who shall
print, write, publish utter or make any statement, or speech, or do any act which tends to disturb or obstruct any
lawful officer in executing his office or in performing his duty, or which tends to instigate others to cabal or meet
together for unlawful purposes, or which suggests or incites rebellious conspiracies or which tends to stir up the
people against the lawful authorities, or which tends to disturb the peace of the community or the safety or order
of the Government, or who shall knowingly conceal such evil practices from the constituted authorities, shall be
punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars United States currency or by imprisonment not exceeding
two years, or both, in the discretion of the court.
In the words of the law, Perez has uttered seditious words. He has made a statement and done an act which
tended to instigate others to cabal or meet together for unlawful purposes. He has made a statement and done an
act which suggested and incited rebellious conspiracies. He has made a statement and done an act which tended to
stir up the people against the lawful authorities. He has made a statement and done an act which tended to disturb
the peace of the community and the safety or order of the Government. All of these various tendencies can be
ascribed to the action of Perez and may be characterized as penalized by section 8 of Act No. 292 as amended.
A judgment and sentence convicting the accused of a violation of section 8 of Act No. 292 as amended, is, in effect,
responsive to, and based upon, the offense with which the defendant is charged. The designation of the crime by
the fiscal is not conclusive. The crime of which the defendant stands charged is that described by the facts stated
in the information. In accordance with our settled rule, an accused may be found guilty and convicted of a graver
offense than that designated in the information, if such graver offense is included or described in the body of the
information, and is afterwards justified by the proof presented during the trial. (Guevarra's Code of Criminal
Procedure, p. 9; De Joya's Code of Criminal Procedure, p. 9.)
65

The penalty meted out by the trial court falls within the limits provided by the Treason and Sedition Law, and will,
we think, sufficiently punish the accused.
That we have given more attention to this case than it deserves, may be possible. Our course is justified when it is
recalled that only last year, Mr. Chief Justice Taft of the United States Supreme Court, in speaking of an
outrageous libel on the Governor of the Porto Rico, observed: "A reading of the two articles removes the slightest
doubt that they go far beyond the "exuberant expressions of meridional speech," to use the expression of this
court in a similar case in Gandia vs. Pettingill (222 U.S. , 452, 456). Indeed they are so excessive and outrageous
in their character that they suggest the query whether their superlative vilification has not overleapt itself and
become unconsciously humorous." (Balzac vs. Porto Rico [1922], 258 U.S., 298.) While our own sense of humor is
not entirely blunted, we nevertheless entertain the conviction that the courts should be the first to stamp out the
embers of insurrection. The fugitive flame of disloyalty, lighted by an irresponsible individual, must be dealt with
firmly before it endangers the general public peace.
The result is to agree with the trial Judge in his findings of fact, and on these facts to convict the accused of a
violation of section 8 of Act No. 292 as amended. With the modification thus indicated, judgment is affirmed, it
being understood that, in accordance with the sentence of the lower court, the defendant and appellant shall suffer
2 months and 1 day's imprisonment and pay the costs. So ordered.

Uttering seditious speech


PEOPLE VS. NABONG
G.R. No. L-36426 November 3, 1932
This appeal has been brought to reverse a judgment of the Court of First Instance of the Province of Nueva Ecija,
finding the appellant, Ignacio Nabong, guilty of the offense of sedition under section 8 of Act No. 292, as amended
by Act No. 1692, and sentencing him to pay a fine of two hundred pesos, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency, and requiring him to pay the costs.
The appellant is an attorney engaged in the practice of law at Cabanatuan, in the Province of Nueva Ecija;
and shortly before the incident with which we are here concerned, he had been retained to defend one Juan Feleo
against a charge of sedition that had been preferred against him. Feleo was in those days a recognized leader of
the communists in Nueva Ecija, and was related by marriage to the appellant. In the latter part of January, 1931,
one Antonio D. Ora, the head of the communists in the Philippine Islands, died in the municipality of Santa Rosa,
Nueva Ecija, and a necrological service in his memory was appointed by his followers to be held at Santa Rosa on
the evening of January 30. The fact that said meeting was to be held came to the attention of Major Silvino
Gallardo, in charge of the Philippine Constabulary in Cabanatuan, and he was informed that the red flag would be
displayed in this meeting as an emblem of the communists. Major Gallardo accordingly had an interview with the
provincial fiscal over the question whether the display of the flag should be prevented. The fiscal gave an opinion to
the effect that the display of the red flag would be unlawful, and a copy of his opinion to this effect was placed in
the hands of Major Gallardo. As Major Gallardo left the court-house, he met the appellant Nabong, and knowing the
relation between the latter and Feleo, the leader of the communists in that province, Major Gallardo requested
Nabong to interfere and prevent the display of the red flag at the meeting referred to. At this interview a copy of
the fiscal's opinion was exhibited to Nabong and was read by him in the presence of various persons. After
perusing the opinion Nabong said that he did not agree with the conclusion of the fiscal; and he, therefore, refused
to accompany the Constabulary officers and the deputy provincial fiscal to Santa Rosa, stating that, if he were to
go there, he would tell the communists that no law prohibited the display of the red flag and that he would induce
them to display the same. He added that, if the communist were forbidden to use the flag, a disturbance would
probably result.
The Constabulary officers, accompanied by the deputy fiscal Villamor, then departed for Santa Rosa. On
their way they met Juan Feleo. In the interview that followed, Feleo was shown the opinion of the fiscal and he was
requested to refrain from displaying the red flag at the meeting in Santa Rosa. Feleo promised to comply with this
request, at least until he should have discussed the matter with the communist leaders in Manila.
Although Nabong, as above stated, had refused to accompany Major Gallardo and his companions on their
trip to Santa Rosa, he waited a while at Cabanatuan and afterwards left for Santa Rosa, arriving in time to
participate in the meeting. At this meeting the red flag was displayed, contrary to the promise that Feleo had made
to Major Gallardo; and upon learning of this fact, Major Gallardo, accompanied by several Constabulary officers and
soldiers, repaired to the place in Santa Rosa where the meeting was being held. Upon arrival they found Feleo
making a speech, and inasmuch as some of his utterances appeared to be of a seditious nature, Major Gallardo
caused him to be arrested and removed from the place. At the same time the red flag which was being displayed
on the platform was removed. Words spoken by Feleo on this occasion became the subject of prosecution in People
vs. Feleo, G. R. No. 36428. 1
The arrest and removal of Feleo resulted in disorder among the people present at the meeting, and Major
Gallardo found it advisable to make a short speech explaining why Feleo had been arrested. Then, seeing Nabong
present, Major Gallardo told him that the disturbance would have been avoided if he (Nabong) had followed the
suggestion made to him at Cabanatuan by Major Gallardo. Nabong replied that the communists had consulted him
and that he had advised them to display the flag inasmuch as the act was not prohibited by any law.
After Feleo had been arrested and taken away, the proceedings at the meeting were continued, and Jacinto
Manahan spoke to the crowd. He was followed by Ignacio Nabong who delivered a speech in Tagalog, occupying
some twenty minutes of time. In the course of this speech Nabong criticized the members of the Constabulary,
using words substantially to the following effect:
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They committed a real abuse in seizing the flag. The members of the Constabulary are bad because they
shoot even innocent women, as it happened in Tayug. — In view of this, we ought to be united to suppress that
abuse. Overthrow the present government and establish our own government, the government of the poor. Use
your whip so that there may be marks on their sides.
While Nabong was talking his words were attentively listened to by deputy fiscal Villamor, as well as Captain
Cacdac and Lieutenant Arambulo, all of whom understood the Tagalog language. At the same time Captain Cacdac
and Lieutenant Arambulo took notes of the substance of this part of the speech. Major Gallardo himself was also
attentive to what was said, and from time to time, in the course of the speech, the major asked fiscal Villamor
whether the language then being used was seditious. An affirmative answer to these questions was not given by
the fiscal until that part of the speech was reached which contained the words above quoted, and after those words
had been spoken Nabong was arrested.
The proof in our opinion shows beyond reasonable doubt that the language imputed to the appellant was
used by him; and this is corroborated by the circumstance that the appellant, upon the occasion of a meeting of
the Nueva Ecija Bar Association in connection with this charge against Nabong, admitted having advocated in Santa
Rosa the overthrow of the Government. Such advocacy by the defendant is confirmed by the testimony of Amado
Estonilo, a witness for the defense.
The testimony for the defense tends to show that Nabong went to Santa Rosa for the purpose of preventing
a disturbance, and that upon arrival in Santa Rosa he attempted to prevail upon Feleo not to display the red flag.
The proof for the defense further suggests that Nabong is well affected to the Government and that the language
used by him was not intended to advocate the overthrow of the Government by force. The trial court seems to
have attached little weight to this line of proof, and we are of the opinion that in this no error was committed.
The language used by the appellant clearly imported an overthrow of the Government by violence, and it
should be interpreted in the plain and obvious sense in which it was evidently intended to be understood. The word
"overthrow" could not have been intended as referring to an ordinary change by the exercise of the elective
franchise. The use of the whip, an instrument designed to leave marks on the sides of adversaries, is inconsistent
with the mild interpretation which the appellant would have us impute to the language. It was the purpose of the
speaker, beyond a doubt, to incite his hearers to the overthrow of organized government by unlawful means. The
words used by the appellant manifestly tended to induce the people to resist and use violence against the agents of
the Constabulary and to instigate the poor to cabal and meet together for unlawful purposes. They also suggested
and incited rebellious conspiracies, thereby tending to stir up the people against the lawful authorities and to
disturb the peace of the community and the order of the Government, in violation of section 8 of Act No. 292 of the
Philippine Commission, as amended. It is not necessary, in order to be seditious, that the words used should in fact
result in a rising of the people against the constituted authorities. The law is not aimed merely at actual
disturbance, and its purpose is also to punish utterances which may endanger public order. As was said by the
Supreme Court of the United States in Gitlow vs. New York (268 U. S., 652, 669), "Such utterances, by their very
nature, involve danger to the public peace and to the security of the State. They threaten breaches of the peace
and ultimate revolution. And the immediate danger is none the less real and substantial, because the effect of a
given utterance cannot be accurately foreseen."
The question of the seditious character of the language imputed in the information to the appellant was
raised by demurrer to the information, but the demurrer was overruled and the defendant was required to plead.
There was no error in the action thus taken by the trial court.
It is suggested in the appellant's brief that the provisions of our law relating to sedition are incompatible
with that portion of section 3 of the Jones Law which declares that no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of
speech or of the press, but the appellant's brief does not contain any argument tending to support this suggestion.
At any rate the point is not well taken. The acts contemplated in the provisions of law relating to sedition are not
protected by the constitutional provision, being abuses rather than the exercise of the right of speech and of the
use of the press. It is a fundamental principle, long established, that the freedom of speech and of the press which
is secured by the Constitution does not confer an absolute right to speak or publish, without responsibility,
whatever one may choose, or unrestricted or unbridled license that gives immunity for every possible use of
language and prevents the punishment of those who abuse this freedom. (Gitlow vs. New York, 268 U. S., 652,
666.) lawphil.net
With respect to the penalty appropriate to this case, we are of the opinion that the trial court erred in not
imposing upon the appellant imprisonment for a period of six months in addition to the fine of P200. In reaching
this conclusion we bear in mind the fact that the appellant is a lawyer by profession, and by reason of his
intelligence and education, as well as by the obligation of his office as a lawyer, it was his duty to exercise his
influence in support of the State. Instead of this he appears to have made the cause of Feleo and other
communistic agitators his own. In particular, it is proved that the display of the red flag upon the occasion referred
to was due to his advice. In taking this position and uttering the seditious words which he is proved to have used,
the appellant violated not only the written law but his oath of office as an attorney.
The act which is the subject of this prosecution was committed prior to the coming into effect of the Revised
Penal Code; but the penalty provided for this offense in article 142 in relation with article 139 of said Code is
greater than that imposed by the trial court, and by this court, under section 8 of Act No. 292. It results that
nothing beneficial to the appellant is revealed in the new Code.
It being understood, therefore, that the penalty of imprisonment for six months is imposed upon the
appellant in addition to the fine, the judgment appealed from is affirmed. So ordered, with costs against the
appellant.
67

Scurrilous Libel
G.R. No. L-2990 December 17, 1951
OSCAR M. ESPUELAS vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.
Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code punishes those who shall write, publish or circulate scurrilous libels against
the Government of the Philippines or any of the duly constituted authorities thereof or which suggest or incite
rebellious conspiracies or riots or which tend to stir up the people againts the lawful authorities or to disturb the
peace of the community.
The appellant Oscar Espuelas y Mendoza was, after trial, convicted in the Court of First Instance of Bohol of a
violation of the above article. The conviction was affirmed by the Court of Appeals, because according to said court.
"About the time compromised between June 9 and June 24, 1947, both dates inclusive, in the town of Tagbilaran,
Bohol, Oscar Espuelas y Mendoza had his picture taken, making it to appear as if he were hanging lifeless at the
end of a piece of rope suspended form the limb of the tree, when in truth and in fact, he was merely standing on a
barrel (Exhibit A, C-I). After securing copies of his photograph, Espuelas sent copies of same to several newspapers
and weeklies of general circulation (Exhibit C, F, G, H, I), not only in the Province of Bohol but also throughout the
Philippines and abroad, for their publication with a suicide note or letter, wherein he made to appear that it was
written by a fictitious suicide, Alberto Reveniera and addressed to the latter's supposed wife translation of which
letter or note in hereunder reproduced:
Dearest wife and children, bury me five meters deep. Over my grave don't plant a cross or put floral wreaths, for I
don't need them.
Please don't bury me in the lonely place. Bury me in the Catholic cemetery. Although I have committed suicide, I
still have the right to burried among Christians.
But don't pray for me. Don't remember me, and don't feel sorry. Wipe me out of your lives.
My dear wife, if someone asks to you why I committed suicide, tell them I did it because I was not pleased with the
administration of Roxas. Tell the whole world about this.
And if they ask why I did not like the administration of Roxas, point out to them the situation in Central Luzon, the
Leyte.
Dear wife, write to President Truman and Churchill. Tell them that here in the Philippines our government is
infested with many Hitlers and Mussolinis.lawphil.net
Teach our children to burn pictures of Roxas if and when they come across one.
I committed suicide because I am ashamed of our government under Roxas. I cannot hold high my brows to the
world with this dirty government.
I committed suicide because I have no power to put under Juez de Cuchillo all the Roxas people now in power. So,
I sacrificed my own self.
The accused admitted the fact that he wrote the note or letter above quoted and caused its publication in the Free
Press, the Evening News, the Bisayas, Lamdang and other local periodicals and that he had impersonated one
Alberto Reveniera by signing said pseudonymous name in said note or letter and posed himself as Alberto
Reveniera in a picture taken wherein he was shown hanging by the end of a rope tied to a limb of a tree."
The latter is a scurrilous libel against the Government. 1 It calls our government one of crooks and dishonest
persons (dirty) infested with Nazis and a Fascistis i.e. dictators.
And the communication reveals a tendency to produce dissatisfaction or a feeling incompatible with the disposition
to remain loyal to the government. 2
Writings which tend to overthrow or undermine the security of the government or to weaken the confidence of the
people in the government are against the public peace, and are criminal not only because they tend to incite to a
breach of the peace but because they are conducive to the destruction of the very government itself (See 19 Am.
Law Rep. 1511). Regarded as seditious libels they were the subject of criminal proceedings since early times in
England. (V op. cit.).
As explained by Paterson, 3 ". . . the great factors of government, consisting of the Sovereign, the Parliament, the
ministers of state, the courts of justice, must be recognized as holding functions founded on sound principles and
to be defended and treated with an established and well-nigh unalterable respect. Each of these great institutions
has peculiar virtues and peculiar weaknesses, but whether at any one time the virtue or the weakness
predominates, there must be a certain standard of decorum reserved for all. Each guarded remonstrance, each
fiery invective, each burst of indignation must rest on some basis of respect and deference towards the depository,
for the time being, of every great constitutional function. Hence another limit of free speech and writing is sedition.
And yet within there is ample room and verge enough for the freest use of the tongue and pen in passing strictures
in the judgment and conduct of every constituted authority."
Naturally, when the people's share in the government was restricted, there was a disposition to punish even mild
criticism of the ruler or the departments of government. But as governments grew to be more representative, the
laws of sedition became less drastic and freedom of expression strife continue to be prohibited.
The United States punished seditious utterances in the act of July 14, 1798 containing provisions parallel to our
own article 142. Analogous prohibitions are found in the Espionage Act of June 1917 and the seditious libel
amendment thereto in May, 1918.
Of course such legislation despite its general merit is liable to become a weapon of intolerance constraining the free
expression of opinion, or mere agitation for reform. But so long as there is a sufficient safeguard by requiring
intent on the part of the defendant to produce illegal action-such legislation aimed at anarchy and radicalism
presents largely a question of policy. Our Legislature has spoken in article 142 and the law must be applied.
68

In disposing of this appeal, careful thought had to be given to the fundamental right to freedom of speech. Yet the
freedom of speech secured by the Constitution "does not confer an absolute right to speak or publish without
responsibility whatever one may choose." It is not "unbridled license that gives immunity for every possible use of
language and prevents the punishment of those who abuse this freedom. 4" So statutes against sedition have
guaranty, although they should not be interpreted so as to agitate for institutional changes. 5
Not to be restrained is the privilege of any citizen to criticize his government officials and to submit his criticism to
the "free trade of ideas" and to plead for its acceptance in "the competition of the market." However, let such
criticism be specific and therefore constructive, reasoned or tempered, and not a contemptuous condemnation of
the entire government set-up. Such wholesale attack is nothing less than an invitation to disloyalty to the
government. In the article now under examination one will find no particular objectionable actuation of the
government. It is called dirty, it is called a dictatorship, it is called shameful, but no particular omissions or
commissions are set forth. Instead the article drip with male-violence and hate towards the constituted authorities.
It tries to arouse animosity towards all public servants headed by President Roxas whose pictures this appellant
would burn and would teach the younger generation to destroy.
Analyzed for meaning and weighed in its consequences the article cannot fail to impress thinking persons that it
seeks to sow the seeds of sedition and strife. The infuriating language is not a sincere effort to persuade, what with
the writer's simulated suicide and false claim to martyrdom and what with is failure to particularize. When the use
irritating language centers not on persuading the readers but on creating disturbances, the rationable of free
speech cannot apply and the speaker or writer is removed from the protection of the constitutional guaranty.
If it be argued that the article does not discredit the entire governmental structure but only President Roxas and
his men, the reply is that article 142 punishes not only all libels against the Government but also "libels against
any of the duly constituted authorities thereof." The "Roxas people" in the Government obviously refer of least to
the President, his Cabinet and the majority of legislators to whom the adjectives dirty, Hitlers and Mussolinis were
naturally directed. On this score alone the conviction could be upheld. 6
As heretofore stated publication suggest or incites rebellious conspiracies or riots and tends to stir up people
against the constituted authorities, or to provoke violence from opposition who may seek to silence the writer. 7
Which is the sum and substance of the offense under consideration.
The essence of seditious libel may be said to its immediate tendency to stir up general discontent to the pitch of
illegal courses; that is to say to induce people to resort to illegal methods other than those provided by the
Constitution, in order to repress the evils which press upon their minds. 8
"The idea of violence prevades the whole letter" says Justice Paredes of the Court of Appeals. "The mere fact that a
person was so disgusted with his "dirty government" to the point of taking his own life, is not merely a sign of
disillusionment; it is a clear act to arouse its readers a sense of dissatisfaction against its duly constituted
authorities. The mention made in said letter of the situation in Central Luzon, the Hukbalahaps, Julio Guillen and
the banditry in Leyte, which are instances of flagrant and armed attacks against the law and the duly constituted
authorities cannot but be interpreted by the reading public as an indirect justification of the open defiance by the
Hukbalahaps against the constituted government, the attempt against the life of President Roxas and the ruthless
depredations committed by the bandits of Leyte, thus insinuating that a state on lawlessness, rebellion and
anarchy would be very much better than the maladministration of said President and his men.
To top it all, the appellant proclaimed to his readers that he committed suicide because he had "no power to put
under juez de cuchillo all the Roxas people now in power." Knowing, that the expression Juez de Cuchillo means to
the ordinary layman as the Law of the Knife, a "summary and arbitrary execution by the knife", the idea intended
by the appellant to be conveyed was no other than bloody, violent and unpeaceful methods to free the government
from the administration of Roxas and his men.
The meaning, intent and effect of the article involves maybe a question of fact, making the findings of the court of
appeals conclusive upon us. 9
Anyway, it is clear that the letter suggested the decapitation or assassination of all Roxas officials (at least
members of the Cabinet and a majority of Legislators including the Chief Executive himself). And such suggestion
clinches the case against appellant.
In 1922 Isaac Perez of Sorsogon while discussing political matter with several persons in a public place uttered
theses words: "Filipinos must use bolos for cutting off Wood's head" — referring to the them Governor-General,
Leonard Wood. Perez was found guilty of inciting to sedition in a judgment of this court published in Volume 45 of
the Philippine Reports. That precedent is undeniably opposite. Note that the opinion was penned by Mr. Justice
Malcolm probably of speech. Adopting his own words we could say, "Here the person maligned by the accused is
the Chief Executive of the Philippine Islands. His official position, like the President of the United States and other
high office, under form of government, instead of affording immunity from promiscuous comment, seems rather to
invite abusive attacks. But in this instance, the attack on the President passes the furthest bounds of free speech
and common decency. More than a figure of speech was intended. There is a seditious tendency in the words used,
which could easily produce disaffection among the people and a state of feeling incompatible with a disposition to
remain loyal to the Government and obedient to the laws."
The accused must therefore be found guilty as charged. And there being no question as to the legality of the
penalty imposed on him, the decision will be affirmed with costs.

Art. 143. Act tending to prevent the meeting of the Assembly and similar bodies. — The penalty of prision
correccional or a fine ranging from 200 to 2,000 pesos, or both, shall be imposed upon any person who, by force or
fraud, prevents the meeting of the National Assembly (Congress of the Philippines) or of any of its committees or
69

subcommittees, constitutional commissions or committees or divisions thereof, or of any provincial board or city or
municipal council or board. (Reinstated by E.O. No. 187).
Elements
1. That there be a projected or actual meeting of the National Assembly or any of its committees or
subcommittees, constitutional committees or divisions thereof, or any provincial board or city or municipal council
or board.
2. That the offender who may be any person prevents such meeting by force or fraud.
Art. 144. Disturbance of proceedings. — The penalty of arresto mayor or a fine from 200 to 1,000 pesos shall be
imposed upon any person who disturbs the meetings of the National Assembly (Congress of the Philippines) or of
any of its committees or subcommittees, constitutional commissions or committees or divisions thereof, or of any
provincial board or city or municipal council or board, or in the presence of any such bodies should behave in such
manner as to interrupt its proceedings or to impair the respect due it. (Reinstated by E.O. No. 187).

Elements
1. That there must be a meeting of the National Assembly or any of its committees or subcommittees,
constitutional committees or divisions thereof, or any provincial board or city or municipal council or board.
2. That the offender does any of the following acts:
a. He disturbs any of such meetings
b. He behaves while in the presence of any such bodies in such a manner as to interrupt its proceedings or to
impair the respect due it.

Art. 146. Illegal assemblies. — The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its
medium period shall be imposed upon the organizers or leaders of any meeting attended by armed persons for the
purpose of committing any of the crimes punishable under this Code, or of any meeting in which the audience is
incited to the commission of the crime of treason, rebellion or insurrection, sedition or assault upon a person in
authority or his agents. Persons merely present at such meeting shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor, unless
they are armed, in which case the penalty shall be prision correccional.
If any person present at the meeting carries an unlicensed firearm, it shall be presumed that the purpose of said
meeting, insofar as he is concerned, is to commit acts punishable under this Code, and he shall be considered a
leader or organizer of the meeting within the purview of the preceding paragraph.
As used in this article, the word "meeting" shall be understood to include a gathering or group, whether in a fixed
place or moving. (Reinstated by E.O. No. 187).

What are illegal assemblies?


1. Any meeting attended by armed persons for the purpose of committing any of the crimes punishable under the
Code

Requisites
(1) That there is a meeting, a gathering or group of persons, whether in a fixed place or moving;
(2) That the meeting is attended by armed persons;
(3) That the purpose of the meeting is to commit any of the crimes punishable under the Code.

2. Any meeting in which the audience, whether armed or not, is incited to the commission of the crime of treason,
rebellion or insurrection, sedition, or assault upon a person in authority or his agents.

Requisites
(1) That there is a meeting, a gathering or group of persons, whether in a fixed place or moving;
(2) That the audience, whether armed or not, is incited to the commission of the crime of treason, rebellion or
insurrection, sedition or direct assault.
Art. 147. Illegal associations. — The penalty of prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods and a fine
not exceeding 1,000 pesos shall be imposed upon the founders, directors, and presidents of associations totally or
partially organized for the purpose of committing any of the crimes punishable under this Code or for some
purpose contrary to public morals. Mere members of said associations shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor.
(Reinstated by E.O. No. 187).

Illegal association distinguished from illegal assembly


Illegal Assembly Illegal Association
Necessary that there is an actual meeting or assembly or armed Not necessary that there be an actual meeting
persons for the purpose of committing any of the crimes
punishable under this Code; or of individuals who, although not
armed, are incited to the commission of treason, rebellion,
sedition, or assault upon a person in authority or his agent
It is the meeting an attendance at such meeting that are It is the act of forming or organizing and
punished. membership in the association that are
70

punished.

Persons liable: Persons liable


1) organizers or leaders of the meeting 1) founders, directors and president
2) persons present at the meeting 2) members

Other illegal means for the purpose of placing such government or political subdivision under the control and
domination of any alien power; AND
3. Taking up arms against the Government, the offender being a member of the Communist Party or of any
subversive association.

Art. 148. Direct assaults. — Any person or persons who, without a public uprising, shall employ force or
intimidation for the attainment of any of the purpose enumerated in defining the crimes of rebellion and sedition,
or shall attack, employ force, or seriously intimidate or resist any person in authority or any of his agents, while
engaged in the performance of official duties, or on occasion of such performance, shall suffer the penalty of
prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods and a fine not exceeding P1,000 pesos, when the assault
is committed with a weapon or when the offender is a public officer or employee, or when the offender lays hands
upon a person in authority. If none of these circumstances be present, the penalty of prision correccional in its
minimum period and a fine not exceeding P500 pesos shall be imposed.

Two ways of committing the crime of direct assault


1. Without public uprising, by employing force or intimidation for the attainment of any of the purposes
enumerated in defining the crimes of rebellion and sedition

Elements
1. That the offender employs force or intimidation
2. That the aim of the offender is to attain any of the purposes of the crime of rebellion or any of the objects of the
crime of sedition
3. that there is no public uprising

2. Without public uprising, by attacking, by employing force or by seriously intimidating or by seriously


resisting any person in authority or any of his agents, while engaged in the performance of official duties,
or on occasion of such performance

Elements of 2nd form of direct assault


1. That the offender a) makes an attack, b) employs force, c) makes a serious intimidation, or d)makes a serious
resistance
2. That the person assaulted is a person in authority or his agents
3. That at the time of the assault the person in authority or his agent a) is engaged in the actual performance of
official duties, or that he is assaulted b) by reason of the past performance of official duties
4. That the offender knows that the one he is assaulting is a person in authority or his agent in the exercise of his
duties
5. That there is no public uprising

Who is a person in authority?


• Any person directly vested with jurisdiction, whether as an individual or as a member of some court or
governmental corporation, board or commission, shall be deemed a person in authority. A barrio captain and a
barangay chairman are included.
• “directly vested with jurisdiction” – the power or authority to govern and execute the laws

Who is an agent of a person in authority?


• An agent of a person in authority is one who, by direct provision of law or by election or by appointment by
competent authority, is charged with the maintenance of public order and the protection and security of life
and property, such as a barrio vice-lieutenant, barrio councilman and barrio policeman and any person who
comes to the aid of persons in authority.

2 kinds of direct assault


1. simple assault
2. qualified assault

Direct assault is qualified


1. when the assault is committed with a weapon
2. when the offender is a public officer or employee
3. when the offender lays hand upon a person in authority
71

COMPLEX CRIME OF DIRECT ASSAULT WITH MURDER


G.R. No. 88189 July 9, 1996
PEOPLE VS. TIBURCIO ABALOS
In this appeal, accused-appellant Tiburcio Abalos seeks absolution from the judgment of conviction rendered by the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 27, of Catbalogan, Samar which pronounced him guilty of the complex crime of direct
assault with murder in Criminal Case No. 2302. His arguments in the present appeal turn on the central question of
unwarranted credence allegedly extended by the trial court to the version of the criminal incident narrated by the
sole prosecution witness. The totality of the evidence adduced, however, indubitably confirms appellant's guilt of
the offense charged. Accordingly, we affirm.
An information filed in the trial court, dated April 21, 1983, imputed the crime of direct assault with murder to
herein appellant Tiburcio Abalos, alias "Ewet," with the allegations —
That on or about the 20th day of March, 1983, at nighttime, in the Municipality of Catbalogan, Province of Samar,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with deliberate intent to
kill, with treachery and evident premeditation and knowing fully well that one Sofronio Labine was an agent of a
person in authority being a member of the Integrated National Police with station at Catbalogan, Samar, did then
and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and strike said Sofronio Labine with a piece of wood,
which said accused ha(d) conveniently provided himself for the purpose while said P/Pfc. Sofronio Labine, a duly
appointed and qualified member of the said INP, was engaged in the performance of his official duties or on the
occasion of such performance, that is, maintaining peace and order during the barangay fiesta of Canlapwas, of
said municipality, thereby inflicting upon him "Lacerated wound 2 inches parietal area right. Blood oozing from both
ears and nose" which wound directly caused his death.
That in the commission of the crime, the aggravating circumstance of nocturnity was present. 1
At his arraignment on June 7, 1983, appellant, with the assistance of counsel, entered a plea of not guilty. 2 The
trial conducted thereafter culminated in the decision 3 of the trial court on February 3, 1989 finding appellant guilty
as charged and meting out to him the penalty of "life imprisonment, with the accessories of the law." Appellant was
likewise ordered to indemnify the heirs of the victim in the sum of P30,000.00; actual and compensatory damages
in the amount of P2,633.00, with P15,000.00 as moral damages; and to pay the costs. 4
As recounted by prosecution witness Felipe Basal, a farmer residing in Barangay Pupua, Catbalogan, Samar,
appellant assaulted the victim, Pfc. Sofronio Labine, at around 8:00 P.M. of March 20, 1983, which was then the
day of the barangay fiesta celebrations in Barangay Canlapwas, Catbalogan, Samar. The incident transpired near
the house of appellant at the said barangay. Felipe Basal was then having a drinking session in front of the shanty
of one Rodulfo Figueroa, Jr. which was situated just a few meters from the residence of appellant.
According to Basal, at about that time he noticed the father of appellant, Police Major Cecilio Abalos, scolding his
employees in his transportation business for turning in only two hundred pesos in earnings for that day. While
Major Abalos was thus berating his employees, appellant arrived and asked his father not to scold them and to just
let them take part in the barangay festivities. This infuriated the elder Abalos and set off a heated argument
between father and son. 5
While the two were thus quarreling, a woman shouted "Justicia, boligue kumi! Adi in mag-a-aringasa." meaning,
"Police officer, help us! Somebody's making trouble here." The victim, Pfc. Sofronio Labine, then appeared on the
scene and asked Major Abalos, "What is it, sir?" The victim saluted Abalos when the latter turned around to face
him. As Major Abalos leveled his carbine at Labine, appellant hurriedly left and procured a piece of wood, about two
inches thick, three inches wide and three feet long, from a nearby Ford Fiera vehicle.
He then swiftly returned and unceremoniously swung with that wooden piece at Labine from behind, hitting the
policeman at the back of the right side of his head. Labine collapsed unconscious in a heap, and he later expired
from the severe skull fracture he sustained from that blow. Felipe Basal and his wife took flight right after appellant
struck the victim, fearful that they might be hit by possible stray bullets 6 should a gunfight ensue.
Appellant's testimony, on the other hand, is of a different tenor. He admits having struck Labine with a piece of
wood during the incident in question but claims that he did so in the erroneous belief that his father was being
attacked by a member of the New People's Army (NPA). According to appellant, he was then seated inside their
family-owned Sarao jeepney parked beside the store of Rodulfo Figueroa, Jr. near their home in Barangay
Canlapwas when he noticed a man in fatigue uniform suddenly accost his father. At that time, appellant's father
had just arrived from a trip from Wright, Samar and had just alighted from his service vehicle, a Ford Fiera.
The man tried to disarm Major Abalos of his firearm but the latter resisted and while the two were grappling for
possession of the gun, appellant instinctively went to the rescue of his father. He got a piece of wood from
Figueroa's store with which he then clubbed Labine whom he did not recognize at that point. When Labine fell to
the ground from the blow, appellant immediately fled to Barangay Mercedes nearby, fearing that the man had
companions who might retaliate. When he came to know of the identity of his victim the following morning, he
forthwith surrendered to the authorities. 7
As mentioned at the outset, the foregoing version of the factual antecedents as presented by appellant was roundly
rejected by the lower court which found the same unworthy of belief. Appellant ascribes reversible errors to the
trial court (a) in not giving credence to the evidence adduced by the defense; (b) in believing the evidence
presented by the prosecution; (c) in relying on the prosecution's evidence which falls short of the required
quantum of evidence that would warrant a conviction; (d) in finding that treachery attended the commission of the
72

crime and failing to credit in appellant's favor his voluntary surrender; and (e) in finding appellant guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime charged.
In the main, appellant insists that the trial court should not have given credence to the story of the lone eyewitness
for the prosecution. He also contends that since the testimony of that witness bore clear traces of incredibility,
particularly the fact that he could not have had a clear view of the incident due to poor visibility, the prosecution
should have presented as well the woman who had called for help at the height of the incident if only to
corroborate Basal's narration of the events. Appellant also assails as inherently incredible the fact that it took quite
a time for witness Felipe Basal to come forward and divulge what he knew to the authorities. All these,
unfortunately, are flawed arguments.
From the evidence in the case at bar, the prosecution has convincingly proved, through the clear and positive
testimony of Basal, the manner in which the victim was killed by herein appellant. The record is bereft of any
showing that said prosecution witness was actuated by any evil motivation or dubious intent in testifying against
appellant. Moreover, a doctrine of long standing in this jurisdiction is that the testimony of a lone eyewitness, if
credible and positive, is sufficient to convict an accused. 9 There was thus no need, as appellant would want the
prosecution to do, to present in court the woman who shouted for assistance since her testimony would only be
corroborative in nature.
The presentation of such species of evidence in court would only be warranted when there are compelling reasons
to suspect that the eyewitness is prevaricating or that his observations were inaccurate. 10 Besides, it is up to the
People to determine who should be presented as prosecution witness on the basis of its own assessment of the
necessity for such testimony. 11 Also, no unreasonable delay could even be attributed to Felipe Basal considering
that during the wake for Pfc. Labine, Basal came and intimated to the widow of the victim that he was going to
testify regarding her husband's slaying. 12
Appellant's contention that the deceased had attacked and attempted to divest his father of his firearm is rather
preposterous considering that no reason was advanced as to why the deceased patrolman would assault a police
officer of superior rank. Parenthetically, the condition of visibility at the time of the incident was conducive not only
to the clear and positive identification of appellant as the victim's assailant but likewise to an actual and
unobstructed view of the events that led to the victim's violent death.
Basal was seated just a few meters away from the protagonists whom he all knew, he being also a long-time
resident of that municipality. There was a twelve-foot high fluorescent lamppost located along the road and which,
by appellant's own reckoning, was just seventeen meters away from them. 13 Notwithstanding the fact that a
couple of trees partly obstructed the post, the illumination cast by the fluorescent lamp and the nearby houses
provided sufficient brightness for the identification of the combatants.
Curiously enough, appellant's assertion that there was poor visibility is ironically contradicted by his testimony
which is detailed on facts that one could readily recall after witnessing an event in broad daylight. While appellant
considers unbelievable Basal's identification of him supposedly because of inadequate lighting, he himself, under
the same conditions, could clearly see his father's assailant wearing a fatigue uniform which was different from that
worn by policemen. He even asserts that he saw his father clutching the carbine with his hands holding the butt
while his purported assailant held on tightly to the rifle. 14 What these facts establish is that the lights in the area
at the time of the incident were enough to afford Basal an excellent view of the incident, contrary to appellant's
pretense. Appellant's testimony is thus negated by the rule that evidence, to be believed, must have been given
not only by a credible witness, but that the same must also be reasonably acceptable in itself.
Appellant's flight right after he had assaulted the victim is also corrosive of his testimony. For, if it were true that
he had merely labored under the wrong notion that his father was being attacked by a member of the NPA, and
that it was an innocent case of error in personae, he could have readily surrendered to his father right then and
there. After all, Cecilio Abalos was a police major and was the Station Commander of the Integrated National Police
(INP) in Wright, Samar. Further, there was no necessity at all for him to flee from the crime scene for fear of
retaliation considering that he was in the company of his own father who, aside from his position, was then armed
with a carbine. Appellant's explanation is, therefore, absurd and should be considered as self-serving evidence with
no weight in law.
On the offense committed by appellant, the trial court correctly concluded that he should be held accountable for
the complex crime of direct assault with murder. There are two modes of committing atentados contra la autoridad
o sus agentes under Article 148 of the Revised Penal Code. The first is not a true atentado as it is tantamount to
rebellion or sedition, except that there is no public uprising. On the other hand, the second mode is the more
common way of committing assault and is aggravated when there is a weapon employed in the attack, or the
offender is a public officer, or the offender lays hands upon a person in authority. 15
Appellant committed the second form of assault, the elements of which are that there must be an attack, use of
force, or serious intimidation or resistance upon a person in authority or his agent; the assault was made when the
said person was performing his duties or on the occasion of such performance; and the accused knew that the
victim is a person in authority or his agent, that is, that the accused must have the intention to offend, injure or
assault the offended party as a person in authority or an agent of a person in authority. 16
Here, Labine was a duly appointed member of the then INP in Catbalogan, Samar and, thus, was an agent of a
person in authority pursuant to Article 152 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. There is also no dispute that he
was in the actual performance of his duties when assaulted by appellant, that is, he was maintaining peace and
order during the fiesta in Barangay Canlapwas. Appellant himself testified that he personally knew Labine to be a
policeman 17 and, in fact, Labine was then wearing his uniform. These facts should have sufficiently deterred
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appellant from attacking him, and his defiant conduct clearly demonstrates that he really had the criminal intent to
assault and injure an agent of the law.
When the assault results in the killing of that agent or of a person in authority for that matter, there arises the
complex crime of direct assault with murder or homicide. 18 The killing in the instant case constituted the felony of
murder qualified by alevosia through treacherous means deliberately adopted Pfc. Labine was struck from behind
while he was being confronted at the same time by appellant's father. The evidence shows that appellant
deliberately went behind the victim whom he then hit with a piece of wood which he deliberately got for that
purpose.
Obviously, appellant resorted to such means to avoid any risk to himself, knowing fully well that his quarry was a
policeman who could readily mount a defense. The aggravating circumstances of evident premeditation and
nocturnity, however, were not duly proven, as correctly ruled by the court below. On the other hand, appellant's
voluntary surrender even if duly taken into account by the trial court would have been inconsequential.
The offense is a complex crime, the penalty for which is that for the graver offense, to be imposed in the maximum
period. Considering that the more serious crime of murder then carried the penalty of reclusion temporal in its
maximum period to death, the imposable penalty should have been death. The mitigating circumstance, in that
context, would have been unavailing and inapplicable since the penalty thus imposed by the law is indivisible. 19 At
all events, the punishment of death could not be imposed as it would have to be reduced to reclusion perpetua due
to the then existing proscription against the imposition of the death penalty. 20
However, the designation by the trial court of the imposable penalty as "life imprisonment" is erroneous, as the
same should properly be denominated as reclusion perpetua. 21 Also, the death indemnity payable to the heirs of
the victim, under the present jurisprudential policy, is P50,000.00.
ACCORDINGLY, with the MODIFICATION that the penalty imposed upon accused-appellant Tiburcio Abalos should
be reclusion perpetua, and that the death indemnity is hereby increased to P50,000.00, the judgment of the court
a quo in Criminal Case No. 2302 is AFFIRMED in all other respects, with costs against accused-appellant.

The crime of slight physical injuries absorbed in direct assault


PEOPLE VS. ACIERTO
G.R. No. L-36595 November 28, 1932
This is an appeal taken by the accused Leon Acierto from the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Ilocos
Norte, convicting him of the crime of assault upon a public officer, defined and punished in article 251, in
connection with the last paragraph of article 250 of the old Penal Code, with the mitigating circumstance of passion
and obfuscation, not offset by any aggravating circumstance, and sentencing him two years, eleven months, and
eleven days of prision correccional, a fine of 1,000 pesetas, the accessory penalties of the law, with subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency at the rate of one day for every P2.50, and the costs of the prosecution.
In support of his appeal, the appellant assigns the following alleged errors as committed by the court a quo
in its decision, to wit:
1. The lower court erred in not finding that the accused-appellant Leon Acierto acted in self-defense in preventing
or repelling with his fists, the unlawful attack begun by the alleged offended party, Hipolito Velasco.
2. The lower court also erred in finding the accused-appellant guilty of the crime of assault upon a public officer,
defined and punished in article 251 of the Penal code in connection with the last paragraph of article 250 hereof.
3. Lastly, the lower court erred in not acquitting the accused-appellant, Leon Acierto, of all criminal liability for the
crime with which he was charged.
The prosecution attempted to prove the following facts:
At about 10 o'clock on the morning of March 2, 1931, while the offended party, Hipolito Velasco, duly
appointed postmaster for the municipality of Bacarra, Province of Ilocos Norte, was in his office situated in the
municipal building, counting two rolls of twenty-peso bills amounting in all to P4,000, the accused, Leon Acierto,
entered the office without the postmaster's noticing it, and stood behind him. Without saying a word, the accused
took one of the rolls, but the postmaster caught hold of his hand and took away the money, saying: "Get out of
here, Lawyer, because we have plenty of work". The defendant moved away towards the north, and the
postmaster, believing he had gone, began to count the money again; but the accused came back to his side, and
as he did not want to be disturbed, he put the money in the safe, took the key to the office, and as he was going
towards the door, said to the accused: "Be so good as to leave now, Lawyer". The other answered: "I don't want
to. You may close it". He said this with his hands in his trouser's pockets, and was walking about the room. When
he came to the door of the office, the postmaster again told the accused: "Be so good as to leave now, Lawyer".
The accused gave the same answer. For the third time the offended party said to the defendant: "Go away now,"
and the latter answered: "I don't want to leave." Displeased with this answer, the offended party approached the
defendant quietly, and took hold of his left hand to conduct him outside. Whereupon the lawyer hit him in the right
eye with his fist, leaving him stunned, and making him lose his balance. When he recovered, the accused again hit
him, first in the right frontal region, and then below the left eye. The offended party shouted for help, and a
member of the municipal police, as well as his office companions, came up. As a result of the blows he had
sustained, the offended party suffered an ecchymosis in the orbit of the left eye, and another in the frontal region,
which took seven days to heal completely.
Testifying in his own behalf, the accused said that on the morning of March 2, 1931, he had gone to the
post office of Bacarra to collect his correspondence, and approached the postmaster, the offended party herein,
Hipolito Velasco, who was counting bank bills on his table, and being close friend, he gave him one or two little
slaps on the back; that as the man paid no attention, he slapped the table; that the postmaster then got up angrily
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and said: "Don't you come around with your jokes; I may stick a knife into you." The accused was hurt by this
taunt, and began to walk away. The postmaster then got up, put the papers in the safe, and when the accused was
already within two meters of the door, passed by him and blocked his way, and said with a gesture of threat: "Get
out, you, I say." That as the accused would not budge, he rushed at him, caught his right arm, and pushed him
forward, giving him a blow on the right temple; that the accused then returned the blow, giving rise to a fist fight
between the two until a policeman came and separated them, and took them outside the hall; that the offended
party had not told him to leave his office or was he answered in the manner attributed to him.
The trial court, who saw and heard the witnesses testify, gave more credit to the testimony for the
prosecution than that for the defense. There is no doubt that in spite of his intimacy with the offended party, the
accused had no right to enter the latter's office and disturb him while in the performance of his duty, counting
money he had received from Manila. But taking into account the circumstances of the case and the friendship
between the two, it may be supposed that the defendant was joking, and the offended party happened to be in
irritable mood, on account of the work he had, and it degenerated into a real fight, having been provoked by the
herein accused.
The court a quo found the accused guilty of the crime of assault upon a public officer, defined and punished
in article 251, in connection with the last paragraph of article 250, of the old Penal Code. The Attorney-General
considers the act to constitute two crimes: assault upon an agent of authority, defined in article 249, paragraph 2,
and punished in the last paragraph of article 250 of the Penal Code; and slight physical injuries, defined and
punished in article 587 of the same code.
The first question to decide in the present appeal is whether one offended party, Hipolito Velasco, as
postmaster of Bacarra, Ilocos Norte, who was discharging his duties at the time of the assault, is merely a public
officer, or is an agent of authority besides.
In People vs. Ramos (p. 462, ante), by Justice Imperial, it was held:lawphil.net
From the above-quoted provisions of law we believe it may be deduced that the provincial treasurer is a
person in authority within the province where he exercises his jurisdiction, and that the municipal treasurer, being
his deputy ex officio, is an agent of authority, and not a person in authority, as this word is employed in the Penal
Code under which the information against the appellant was filed.
The postmaster of a municipality is an agent of the Director of Posts, and as such is in charge of the custody
of the Government funds that come into his hands by virtue of the transactions with the public in postal matters,
telegrams, savings bank, and so forth, and like a municipal treasurer is an agent of a person in authority in
addition to being a public officer, inasmuch as the Director of Posts is a person in authority who by law exercises
jurisdiction of his own in postal and telegraphic matters.
Since the offended party, Hipolito Velasco was an agent of a person in authority when he was attacked, the
defendant herein having laid hands upon him, the crime of which the latter is guilty is assault upon an agent of a
person in authority, defined and punished in the last paragraph of article 250, in connection with paragraph 2 of
article 249 of the Penal Code, the penalty fixed by law being prision correccional in the minimum and medium
degrees, and a fine not less than 375 pesetas or more than 3,750 pesetas, and this penalty must be imposed in
the medium degree because there is no modifying circumstance present.
The same offense is punished in article 148 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty fixed being that of
prision correccional in the minimum degree, and a fine not exceeding P500 which is less severe than the penalty
prescribed by the old Penal Code for the same crime, and in accordance with article 22 of the Revised Penal Code,
and the accused not being an habitual criminal, the penalty provided by article 148 above-mentioned must be
imposed.
With regard to the physical injuries sustained by the offended party from the attack, they, being light in
character are to be considered as inherent in the, assault, for it cannot be supposed that in laying hands upon a
person, no harm or injury will be caused.lawphi1.net
In view of the foregoing considerations, we are of opinion and so hold: (1) That a postmaster is an agent of
a person in authority; and (2) that the slight physical injuries sustained by such an agent as a result of the
defendant's laying hands upon him, are inherent in the offense of assault upon an agent of a person in authority.
Wherefore, the judgment appealed from is modified, and the accused-appellant is held to be guilty of
assault upon an agent of a person in authority, and sentenced to suffer one year, one month, and eleven days of
prision correccional, and to pay a fine of P100, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, plus costs. So
ordered.

Art. 149. Indirect assaults. — The penalty of prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods and a fine
not exceeding P500 pesos shall be imposed upon any person who shall make use of force or intimidation upon any
person coming to the aid of the authorities or their agents on occasion of the commission of any of the crimes
defined in the next preceding article.

Elements
1. That a person in authority or his agent is the victim of any of the forms of direct assault
2. That a person comes to the aid of such authority or his agent
3. That the offender makes use of force or intimidation upon such person coming to the aid of the authority or his
agent
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Art. 151. Resistance and disobedience to a person in authority or the agents of such person. — The
penalty of arresto mayor and a fine not exceeding 500 pesos shall be imposed upon any person who not being
included in the provisions of the preceding articles shall resist or seriously disobey any person in authority, or the
agents of such person, while engaged in the performance of official duties.
When the disobedience to an agent of a person in authority is not of a serious nature, the penalty of arresto menor
or a fine ranging from 10 to P100 pesos shall be imposed upon the offender.

Elements of resistance and serious disobedience


1. That a person in authority or his agent is engaged in the performance of official duty or gives a lawful order to
the offender
2. That the offender resists or seriously disobeys such person in authority or his agent
3. That the act of the offender is not included in the provisions of Article 148-150

Art. 152. Persons in authority and agents of persons in authority; Who shall be deemed as such. — In
applying the provisions of the preceding and other articles of this Code, any person directly vested with jurisdiction,
whether as an individual or as a member of some court or governmental corporation, board, or commission, shall
be deemed a person in authority. A barrio captain and a barangay chairman shall also be deemed a person in
authority.
A person who, by direct provision of law or by election or by appointment by competent authority, is charged with
the maintenance of public order and the protection and security of life and property, such as a barrio councilman,
barrio policeman and barangay leader and any person who comes to the aid of persons in authority, shall be
deemed an agent of a person in authority.
In applying the provisions of Articles 148 and 151 of this Code, teachers, professors and persons charged with the
supervision of public or duly recognized private schools, colleges and universities, and lawyers in the actual
performance of their professional duties or on the occasion of such performance, shall be deemed persons in
authority. (As amended by PD No. 299, Sept. 19, 1973 and Batas Pambansa Blg. 873, June 12, 1985).

G.R. No. 109617 August 11, 1997


PEOPLE VS. FELIPE SION, ET. AL.
In its decision 1 in Criminal Case No. D-10796 dated 20 January 1993, but promulgated on 8 February 1993,
Branch 44 (Dagupan City) of the Regional Trial Court of the First Judicial Region decreed as follows:
WHEREFORE, the Court finds accused Felipe Sion alias "Junior" and Federico Disu alias Miguel Disu guilty beyond
reasonable doubt as principals of the crime of Murder pursuant to Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, and in
view of the attendance of the aggravating circumstance of cruelty which is not offset by any mitigating
circumstance, the two accused are hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua, and to indemnify
jointly the heirs of the victim the sum of P50,000.00 and to pay the costs of the proceedings.
Accused Felipe Sion alias "Junior" and Federico Disu alias Miguel Disu are ordered to pay jointly the heirs of the
victim the sum of P11,910.00 as actual damages.
SO ORDERED.
Felipe Sion alias "Junior," whose full name is Felipe Rodriguez Sion, Jr. 2 (hereafter appellant Sion), and Federico
Disu alias "Miguel" (hereafter appellant Disu), seasonably appealed therefrom to this Court 3 in view of the penalty
imposed. 4
The case against appellants commenced with the filing of a criminal complaint for Murder 5 on 19 November 1991
in Criminal Case No. 2141 (SP-91) before the Fourth Municipal Circuit Trial Court of San Fabian-San Jacinto in the
Province of Pangasinan. Charged with appellants therein were Johnny Juguilon, Edong Sion, Felix Sion alias "Ellet,"
and "four (4) other John Does." After appropriate preliminary examination, Judge Sergio Garcia of said court issued
a warrant for the arrest of the accused with no bail fixed for their temporary liberty. 6 However, the warrant was
served only on appellant Disu, while the rest then remained at large. Upon appellant Disu's motion for bail, to
which Asst. Provincial Prosecutor Restituto Dumlao, Jr., recommended that bail be fixed at P40,000.00 for said
accused only, the court fixed said accused's bail at such amount; and upon filing and approval of the bail bond,
appellant Disu was ordered released. 7 Subsequently, one Atty. Fernando Cabrera filed, for the rest of the accused,
a motion to reduce the bail from P40,000.00 to
P20,000.00. 8 As Provincial Prosecutor Dumlao agreed to a reduction of P10,000.00, the court granted the motion
and fixed bail at P30,000.00. None of them, however, filed a bail bond.
For failure of the accused to submit the required counter-affidavits, the Municipal Circuit Trial Court, finding
probable cause against all the accused for the crime of murder on the basis of the evidence for the prosecution,
ordered the transmittal of the record of the case, including the bail bond of accused Federico Disu, to the Office of
the Provincial Prosecutor of Pangasinan for appropriate action. 9
On 21 January 1992, an Information 10 was filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC), First Judicial Region, in
Dagupan City, Pangasinan, against appellants Sion and Disu and Johnny Juguilon, Edong Sion, Felix Sion alias
"Ellet," and four (4) unidentified persons (designated as John, Peter, Richard and Paul Doe), accusing them of the
crime of murder committed as follows:
That on or about October 16, 1991 in the evening at Brgy. Binday, municipality of San Fabian, province of
Pangasinan, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, armed with
stones and a bladed weapon conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another with intent to kill with
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treachery and evident premeditation did, then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously hurl with stones, attack
and stab Fernando Abaoag inflicting upon him the following injuries:
— stab wound 1 1/2 inches in width, 9 inches in depth between 10-11 ICS, mid axillary area slanting upwards
hitting the left lobe of the lung
— stab wound right lateral side of the neck 1 1/2, inch in depth
— stab wound 1 1/2 inches in width, 1 1/2 in depth mid scapular area, left
— contusion superimposed abrasion left eyebrow
which caused his instant death, to the damage and prejudice of his heirs.
CONTRARY to Art. 248, Revised Penal Code.
The information was docketed as Criminal Case No. D-10796 and assigned to Branch 44 thereof.
On 2 June 1992, accused Sion was arrested. 11 Then on 10 June 1992, the RTC annulled and voided the bail
earlier granted to appellant Disu by the MCTC Judge Sergio Garcia for luck of proper hearing, denied the motion for
bail filed by appellant Sion, and ordered their detention in jail. 12
Since only appellants Sion and Disu were arrested, the case proceeded against them only. Upon arraignment, both
pleaded not guilty to the charge and waived pre-trial. 13
The prosecution's witnesses were Cesar and Felicitas Abaoag, the brother and the wife of the victim, respectively;
Dr. Leopoldo Manalo, San Fabian Municipal Health Officer; Rosendo Imuslan, barangay captain of Barangay Binday;
and SPO1 Ricardo Abrio. On the other hand, the defense presented as its witness appellant Disu; appellant Sion;
Corazon Sion, wife of appellant Sion; and Dr. Leopoldo Manalo.
The evidence for the prosecution as established by the testimonies of its witnesses is partly summarized by the
Office of the Solicitor General in the Brief for the Appellee, as follows:
On or about 7:00 o'clock in the evening of October 16, 1991, Cesar Abaoag was at the barangay road in front of
his house situated in Binday, San Fabian, Pangasinan. He was with his elder brother Carlos Abaoag and Ricardo
Manuel (p. 6, TSN, August 20, 1992) when all of a sudden, Ronnie Manuel arrived coming from the west
complaining that he was being chased by Felipe Sion and Johnny Juguilon (p. 7, TSN, id.). On that same occasion,
Fernando Abaoag also arrived at the scene. He said to Ronnie, "why Ronnie, you are making trouble again." The
latter answered, "I am not making trouble uncle because while I was inside the house of Eling Alcantara, Felipe
Sion and Johnny Juguilon were trying to stab me. (p. 8, TSN, id.). Seconds later, Felipe Sion and Johnny Juguilon
appeared and started throwing stones. Fernando Abaoag told them to stop throwing stones but before they
desisted and left, one of them uttered "even you Andong, you are interfering, you will also have your day, vulva of
your mother, you Abaoag[s]" (pp. 9-10, id.) Apparently, the utterance was directed against Fernando Abaoag
whose nickname is Andong.
Subsequently thereafter, at about 9:00 o'clock on that same evening, Cesar Abaoag while inside his house lying
down on his bed heard the sound of stone throwing at the nearby house of his brother Fernando. He went out to
see who were throwing stones (14, TSN, id.). When already near the house of Lolly Galdones, Cesar Abaoag saw
his brother Fernando already outside his house. He also saw Johnny Juguilon, one of the members of the group of
stone throwers, hurl a big stone against Fernando. Upon being hit on the left eyebrow, Fernando turned his back
towards Felix Sion, Edong Sion and Miguel Disu who were also throwing stones towards his direction. On the other
hand, appellant Felipe Sion, who was near the victim, with a very sharp double bladed dagger, stabbed Fernando,
first on the left side just below the armpit, then on the left waistline and finally on the right side of the neck below
the jaw (pp. 18-19, TSN, id.).
Cesar tried to extend help to his brother but Miguel Disu hurled a stone on him which landed on his right side
below the armpit. When he heard Felipe Sion shouting to his companions saying, "we will also kill Cesar," Cesar
desisted in helping brother (pp. 22-23, TSN, id.). Instead, he ran to his brother's house and informed Felicitas, the
wife, about the helpless condition of Fernando (pp. 22-23, TSN, id.). Upon being informed, Felicitas accompanied
by Carlos Abaoag, went to the place of the incident. The assailants were no longer there. She only saw her
husband lying prostate on the ground very weak in the state of dying. When she inquired what happened,
Fernando answered "naalaak" which in English means "I was hit" (pp. 4-5, TSN, July 27, 1992). Fernando told his
wife that his assailants were Felipe Sion, Miguel Disu, Edong Sion, Johnny Juguilon and Felix Sion (p. 6, TSN, id.)
The victim was rushed to St. Blaise Hospital in San Fabian but he was pronounced dead on arrival (pp. 24-25, TSN,
August 20, 1992).
Dr. Leopoldo Manalo, a Municipal Health Officer of San Fabian, Pangasinan conducted post mortem examination
(Exh. A) on the body of the victim. The result of his findings showed that Fernando Abaoag sustained the following
injuries, to wit:
1) stab wound 1 1/2 inches in width, 9 inches in depth between 10-11, ICS, mid axillary area slanting upwards
hitting the left lobe of the lung
2) stab wound right lateral side of the neck 1 1/2 inches in width, 1 1/2 inch in depth
3) stab wound 1 1/2 inches in width, 1 1/2 in depth mid scapular area, left
4) contusion superimposed abrasion left eyebrow. 14
Dr. Manalo further testified that the stab wounds were caused by a sharp-pointed instrument, possibly a dagger,
with the first wound hitting the lower lobe of the left lung causing severe bleeding and its eventual collapse. He
determined the cause of death to be hemorrhagic shock secondary to multiple stab wounds. 15
Barangay Captain Imuslan testified that he and Kagawad Fernando Gatchalian, on the night of the incident, found a
small bolo and a bloodied double-bladed weapon (dagger) near the scene of the crime. 16 Cesar Abaoag
recognized this weapon as the one used by appellant Sion in stabbing the
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victim. 17 On her part, Felicitas Abaoag declared that she spent more than P11,000.00 for the wake and burial of
her husband whose death saddened her, she being left alone to take care of their children. 18
In his defense, appellant Sion, brother and cousin of accused Edong 19 Sion and Felix Sion alias "Ellet,"
respectively, admitted that on the night in question, he participated in a stone-throwing incident and "free-for-all
rumble" between his group (the Sions and Johnny Juguilon) on one hand, and the Abaoags and Manuels, on the
other. However, he professed his innocence, claiming that it was his brother Edong Sion and Johnny Juguilon who
stabbed the victim. 20 His version of the incident was summarized by the trial court, thus:
On October 16, 1991 at about 7:00 p.m., he, together with Johnny Juguilon went to the house of Eling Alcantara as
he wanted to talk with his son, his friend. Ronnie Manuel was already there when they arrived. While at the place,
Johnny Juguilon and Ronnie Manuel came out and started fighting with each other. Ronnie and Manuel ran and
proceeded to the place of his cousin. He was pacifying Johnny Juguilon and Ronnie Manuel but Johnny Juguilon
threw stones at Ronnie Manuel. At this point, Fernando Abaoag intervened in the quarrel saying, "vulva of your
mother Johnny, you are too much, you will also have your day." Johnny Juguilon answered "vulva of your mother
Andoy, do not interfere because you are not our enemy." After the verbal exchange, he took Johnny Juguilon to
their (Sion's) house . . . . At about 9:00 p.m., that same evening, they stoned their house, its sides and the stairs.
He and Idong and Johnny Juguilon looked for Cesar Abaoag, Ronnie Manuel, Ricky Manuel, Andong Abaoag and two
(2) other companions. They were at the place of Marta Soriano. After that, they still threw stones towards them.
There was a free for all rumble between Ronnie Manuel, Ricky Manuel, the Abaoags and Idong Sion, and Johnny
Juguilon, Ellet Sion and himself, in front of the house of Loly Galdones. He denied the testimony of Cesar Abaoag
that he stabbed Fernando Abaoag three times and before he was stabbed Johnny Juguilon stoned him (Fernando
Abaoag). It was Idong Sion and Johnny Juguilon who stabbed Fernando Abaoag. After Fernando Abaoag was
stabbed, they ran away. His group also ran away. He went home and rushed towards Johnny Juguilon because he
was stabbed. He brought Juguilon to the St. Blaise Clinic and Hospital. He did not report the incident to Barangay
Captain Rosendo Imuslan. On October 17, 1:00 p.m., he presented himself to Kagawad Lagman who brought him
to the Police Station . . . . 21
In his defense, appellant Disu offered denial and alibi. He declared that he had no participation in the killing of
Fernando Abaoag, and during the whole night of 16 October 1991, while the quarrel, stoning and stabbing
incidents in question were taking place, he was resting and sleeping in the house of his employer, Felicidad
Gatchalian, after driving the latter's jeepney the entire day. However, before proceeding home from work that
afternoon, he went to the store of Oping Juguilon to buy cigarettes and dropped by the house of appellant Sion
where he stayed for about five minutes. He only learned about the killing the following morning when he was told
that he was one of the suspects. He was arrested about a month after the incident. 22
On rebuttal, Cesar Abaoag refuted the testimony of appellant Sion. Cesar asserted that neither his brothers, the
Manuels nor himself threw stones at Sion's house; there was no free-for-all fight between the Sions and the
Abaoags; Johnny Juguilon and Edong Sion merely threw stones at, but did not stab, Fernando Abaoag; and it was
only appellant Sion who stabbed Fernando Abaoag. 23
After the conclusion of trial, the court granted appellants' motion to file a memorandum within fifteen days. Despite
the extension given, appellants' counsel did not file the memorandum. Thus, in its order of 11 December 1992, the
trial court declared the case submitted for decision. 24
On 8 February 1993, the trial court promulgated its decision, 25 the dispositive portion quoted in the introductory
paragraph of this ponencia.
As to the culpability of appellants Sion and Disu, the trial court found:
The defense of accused Federico Disu alias Miguel Disu and Felipe Rodriguez Sion, Jr. deserve scant consideration.
Cesar Abaoag narrated in detail how his brother Fernando Abaoag was stoned by accused Johnny Juguilon,
Federico Disu and Felix Sion and how accused Felipe Sion stabbed Fernando Abaoag three times. Cesar Abaoag
saw Johnny Juguilon throw stone hitting the left eyebrow of Fernando Abaoag, and when his brother (Fernando
Abaoag) turned left, accused Federico Disu alias Miguel Disu, Idong Sion and Felix Sion simultaneously threw
stones toward him (Fernando Abaoag). Then, at a distance of two (2) meters, Cesar Abaoag saw accused Felipe
Sion stab Fernando Abaoag three times, hitting the left side below the armpit, then on the left waistline and the
right side of the neck below the jaw of the deceased with the use of a sharp double bladed dagger.
Cesar Abaoag could not be mistaken in the identification because he was two meters away when he saw the
accused Felipe Sion stab his brother, and, moreover, there was a light illuminating the place of the incident coming
from the houses of Marta Soriano and Loly Caldones. Cesar Abaoag identified the dagger (Exhibit D).
The narrations of Cesar Abaoag are bolstered by the testimony of Dr. Leopoldo Manalo, the doctor who conducted
the postmortem examination on the cadaver of Fernando Abaoag. Dr. Manalo stated that "stab wound 1 1/2 inches
in width, 9 inches in depth between 10-11 ICS, mid-axillary area slanting upwards hitting the left lobe of the lung"
is located below the left armpit. The second stab wound, "stab wound right lateral side of the neck 1 1/2 inches in
width, 1 1/2 in depth," is located at the right side of the nec[k] at the back. The doctor stated that the wounds
were caused possibly by a dagger.
Finally, it is well to quote the statement uttered by Fernando Abaoag in the presence of Felicitas Abaoag, to wit:
"naalaak, which means, I was hit, take note of this because I cannot survive these injuries of mine". Fernando
Abaoag told Felicitas Abaoag, Felipe Sion, Miguel Disu, Idong Sion, Johnny Juguilon and Felix Sion stabbed him. (2-
12 tsn July 27, 1992). This is a dying declaration because it was made under a consciousness of impending death
(Section 37, Rule 130, Rules of Court). 26
The trial court likewise found that conspiracy was duly established by the prosecution, thus:
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As stated in the decision, accused Johnny Juguilon threw stone, hitting the left eyebrow of Fernando Abaoag, and
Edong Sion, Felix Sion and Federico (Miguel) Disu simultaneously threw stones upon the deceased, while accused
Felipe Sion alias "Junior" stabbed him (victim) three times, resulting in the latter's death. 27
It then appreciated against appellants (a) the qualifying circumstance of treachery because the "attack was so
sudden that the victim had no time to defend himself" and (b) the generic aggravating circumstance of cruelty
because "there were three stab wounds" and the first wound — which "caused severe bleeding and collapse of the
lung" and the death of Fernando Abaoag — "was deliberately augmented by inflicting the other wounds which are
unnecessary for its commission." 28 It did not, however, appreciate evident premeditation for lack of "substantial"
evidence; 29 nor give the benefit of voluntary surrender in favor of appellant Sion since his surrender was merely
"forced by circumstances," as he "presented himself to Kagawad Lagman because he was suspected as one of the
persons who stabbed the victim." 30
Appellants, through counsel, seasonably filed their Notice of Appeal. 31
In their eight-page Appellant's Brief, filed by counsel de oficio Atty. Iris L. Bonifacio, 32 appellants plead for their
acquittal, contending that the trial court erred: (1) in convicting them of murder; (2) in taking into account the
aggravating circumstance of cruelty; (3) in ruling that conspiracy was established; (4) in not appreciating the
presence of voluntary surrender; and (5) in disregarding the defense of appellant Sion that it was Edong Sion and
Johnny Juguilon who were responsible for the death of Fernando Abaoag.
In support of their first assigned error, appellants attack the identification made of them by prosecution witnesses.
They claim that if witness Cesar Abaoag actually saw appellant Sion stab the victim, then Cesar should have
immediately informed Felicitas Abaoag, the victim's wife, of this fact. Cesar's failure was then unusual and
unnatural. Then, too, Felicitas Abaoag's testimony on her husband's alleged dying declaration was "not specific" as
far as the assailant's identities were concerned because the victim merely said "naalaak" ("I was hit"), without
identifying appellant Sion as the one who stabbed him; and, her claim that her husband identified all the five (5)
accused as the ones who "stabbed" him was "an impossibility." Moreover, the prosecution witnesses were limited
to relatives of the victims; "other vital witnesses" — such as Marta Soriano, Loly Galdones, or Eling Alcantara —
should have been presented to corroborate the "biased" testimonies of Cesar and Felicitas Abaoag.
Appellants further contend that: (1) there was no treachery since the stabbing of the victim was not "sudden"; (2)
cruelty was not proven because "there is no clear testimony" that the first stab wound was fatal and the second
and third wounds were "unnecessary"; (3) conspiracy cannot be deduced from the mere fact that all the accused
threw stones at the victim before the stabbing; (4) appellant Sion voluntarily surrendered even before the police
started investigating the case when he was not yet a suspect; and (5) appellant Sion could not have testified that it
was Edong Sion and Johnny Juguilon who stabbed the victim if such were not true, considering that the former is
his brother and the latter his barriomate; and (6) appellant Sion bore no grudge against the victim and did not
escape.
On the other hand, the Office of the Solicitor General, in its Brief for the Appellee, supports the trial court's findings
and conclusions, except as to the appreciation of cruelty, which it concedes to be erroneous.
Our careful review of the record of the evidence adduced by the parties convinces us that prosecution witness
Cesar Abaoag positively identified appellants as being present during the incident in question and saw appellant
Sion stab the victim thrice. As correctly found by the trial court:
Cesar Abaoag could not be mistaken in the identification because he was two meters away when he saw the
accused Felipe Sion stab his brother, and, moreover, there was a light illuminating the place of the incident coming
from the houses of Marta Soriano and Loly Caldones. Cesar Abaoag identified the dagger (Exhibit D).
Cesar Abaoag also saw the rest of the accused, including appellant Disu, throwing stones at the victim. He was
definite, however, that it was only accused Johnny Juguilon who was able to hit the victim at the left eyebrow. The
three stab wounds inflicted by appellant Sion and the injury at the left eyebrow caused by the stone thrown by
Juguilon jibed with the post mortem findings of Dr. Manalo as he described the injury on the left eyebrow as
"contusion superimposed abrasion left eyebrow." 33 If Cesar had any ulterior motive to testify against appellant
Disu, he could have declared that it was Disu, and not Juguilon, who hit the victim with a stone. Cesar then
honestly narrated what he observed.
That Cesar did not at once inform Felicitas Abaoag that it was appellant Sion who stabbed her husband, was not
proof, as appellants suggest, that Cesar was absent from the crime when it was committed. Cesar's presence was
admitted by appellant Sion himself on direct examination, thus:
Q Did you see Cesar Abaoag on that occasion anywhere near Fernando Abaoag when you said he was stabbed by
Johnny Juguilon and Idong Sion?
A Yes, sir. 34
Furthermore, Cesar satisfactorily explained his failure to forthwith inform Felicitas of this fact. At that time, Cesar
himself was running away from the accused who had hit him with a stone. His pressing concern then was to get
someone to help his wounded brother; besides, he was scared of accused Felix Sion, uncle of appellant Sion, who
was a "notorious" character in their neighborhood. 35 It is settled that delay in divulging the name of the
perpetrator of a crime, if sufficiently explained, does not impair the credibility of the witness nor destroy its
probative value. 36 In any event, in his sworn statement 37 which was submitted on 22 October 1991 before
Judge Sergio Garcia, he narrated what he had witnessed and mentioned appellants Sion and Disu as among the
perpetrators of the crime.
The identifications of appellants and their co-accused were further bolstered by the declaration made by the victim
to his wife, Felicitas Abaoag. The trial court correctly characterized this as a "dying declaration," 38 having been
made under the consciousness of impending death. The victim was already weak his wife saw him and he knew
79

that he would not survive the injuries he sustained; he even died a few minutes later while on the way to the
hospital. 39 When Felicitas saw her husband, he told her what had happened to him, who caused his injuries and
that he did not expect to live, thus:
Q What happened next after that when you met your husband?
A Immediately asked him what happened to him.
Q And what was the answer of Fernando Abaoag?
A He said, "naalaak," which means, I was hit.
COURT:
Q Did you ask him why he said "naalaak"?
A He said he was stabbed and he was injured.
Q What do you mean by word "naalaak"?
A I was hit.
COURT:
Proceed.
PROSECUTOR DUMLAO:
Q Do you know the reason why he was hit?
A What I understand is that in the course of his pacifying the trouble between his nephew and the rest, he was
stabbed, sir.
Q Aside from the statement of your husband Fernando Abaoag that he was hit, what else did he say, if you know?
A He said, take note of this because I know I cannot survive with these injuries of mine.
COURT:
Q What else did he tell you aside from that?
A He said, remember that in case I cannot survive with the injuries that I sustained, the men who stabbed me are
Felipe Sion, Miguel Disu, Idong Sion, Johnny Juguilon and Felix Sion, sir. 40 (emphasis supplied)
We find these statements given by the victim to his wife to have met the requisites of a dying declaration under
Section 37 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, viz: (a) death is imminent and the declarant was conscious of that
fact; (b) the preliminary facts which bring the declaration within its scope must be made to appear; (c) the
declaration relates to the facts or circumstances pertaining to the fatal injury or death; and (d) the declarant would
have been competent to testify had he survived. 41 Dying declarations are admissible in evidence as an exception
to the hearsay rule because of necessity and trustworthiness. Necessity, because the declarant's death renders
impossible his taking the witness stand, and it often happens that there is no other equally satisfactory proof of the
crime; and trustworthiness, for it is "made in extremity, when the party is at the point of death and every hope of
this world is gone; when every motive to falsehood is silenced, and the mind is induced by the most powerful
consideration to speak the truth. 42 We find no ulterior motive on the part of Felicitas to fabricate the declarations
of her husband.
We likewise find to be without basis appellants' claim that all the prosecution witnesses were biased due to their
relation to the victim's family. Plainly, witnesses Imuslan (the barangay captain) and Dr. Manalo were not related
to the victim, while the relationship of witnesses Cesar Abaoag and Felicitas Abaoag to the victim, as brother and
wife, respectively, neither disqualified them as witnesses nor rendered their testimony unworthy of belief. It is not
to be lightly supposed that relatives of the deceased would callously violate their conscience to avenge the death of
a dear one by blaming it on persons whom they believe to be innocent thereof. 43 A witness' relationship to a
victim, far from rendering his testimony biased, would even render the same more credible as it would be
unnatural for a relative who is interested in vindicating the crime to accuse somebody other than the real culprit.
44
Neither was the failure of the prosecution to present other witnesses, such as those mentioned by the appellants,
fatal to the cause of the People. It is well-settled that the decision as whom to present as witnesses for the
prosecution is addressed to the sound discretion of the prosecutor handling the case and the non-presentation of
certain witnesses by the prosecution is not a plausible defense. 45 The prosecution is not obliged to present all
possible witnesses, especially if their testimony will only serve to corroborate that of another eyewitness'
testimony, in which case the former may every well be dispensed with considering that the testimony of a single
witness, if credible and positive to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt, would suffice. 46
The trial court correctly rejected appellant Sion's defense that it was not he who stabbed the victim, but his brother
Edong Sion and Johnny Juguilon, both of whom fled after the incident. Constituting a mere denial of Cesar
Abaoag's positive testimony that it was appellant Sion who stabbed the victim, such must fail in light of the settled
rule of evidence that positive testimony is stronger that negative testimony. 47 Moreover, the claim was made
rather late in the day, casting serious doubt as to its veracity. From the time that appellant Sion presented himself
to Kagawad Lagman and the police authorities on 17 October 1991, and during his subsequent incarceration, he
never told anyone nor made any statement that he was not one who stabbed the victim; he did not even so inform
his close relatives, not even his wife who visited him in jail. 48 Also, during the preliminary investigation, when he
had the opportunity to submit counter-affidavits and other evidence to refute the charges, he did not care to
dispute the statements of Felicitas and Cesar Abaoag identifying him and detailing his participation in the crime. 49
He raised this claim for the first time only during his testimony in court almost one (1) year after the stabbing
incident and his initial surrender, and notably, only after the hope of apprehending Idong Sion and Johnny
Juguilon, together with the other accused, already seemed remote. Such failure to immediately disclose the
information as soon as he was implicated in the crime and his prolonged silence on a vital matter hardly inspire
belief, being unnatural and inconsistent with ordinary habits of men and common experience.
80

That appellant Sion did not flee, unlike his brother Edong and Johnny Juguilon, neither proved his innocence. Non-
flight — unlike flight of an accused which validly serves as a badge of guilt — is simply inaction which may be due
to several factors; hence, it should not be construed as an indication of innocence. 50
Appellant Sion's claim of lack of ill-feeling or grudge against Fernando Abaoag was belied and contradicted by his
admission in court that just before the stabbing of the victim, he and his co-accused hurled stones at and fought
with the Abaoags, including Fernando, whom he blamed for allegedly stoning his house. 51 It is also belied by his
actuation and utterance made earlier in the evening of 16 October 1991 when Fernando Abaoag interfered in the
quarrel between appellant Sion and Fernando's nephew, Ronnie Manuel, which prompted appellant Sion and
Johnny Juguilon to curse and warn Fernando, thus: "even you Andong [Fernando Abaoag] you are interfering, you
are siding with your nephew Ronnie Manuel, you have also your day . . . . you Abaoags." 52 Appellant Sion also
admitted that he "had an ill-feeling towards" Ronnie Manuel, the victim's nephew, because "he was making
trouble" inside his jeepney "5 days before the incident." 53
In light of the positive identification of appellants, appellant Disu's alibi must fail.
It is settled that alibi is a weak defense for it is easy to concoct and fabricate; it cannot prevail over and is
worthless in the face of the positive identification by credible witnesses that an accused perpetrated the crime. 54
We are unable to discern any plausible reason, and appellant Disu does not offer any, why he should be falsely
implicated by Cesar Abaoag and mentioned in the victim's dying declaration as one of the victim' assailants, if
appellant Disu was not actually present during the incident and had no participation in the commission of the
crime. As to his motive or lack thereof, appellant Disu claims that he had no misunderstanding with Fernando
Abaoag or his family. 55 However, Felipe Sion, Jr., disclosed that appellant Disu was close to the Sion clan, which
explains why appellant Disu sympathized with and joined the Sions and Juguilon in assaulting the victim: Federico
Disu was Sion Jr.'s jeepney conductor for five (5) months, the latter teaching the former how to drive for three (3)
months; and when Disu became a driver himself, they had the same route and saw each other every day at the
poblacion. 56 Disu even admitted that on 16 October 1991, after 5:00 p.m., he "dropped by" the house of Felipe
Sion, which he often did before. 57
We now rule on the presence or absence of conspiracy. There is conspiracy when two or more persons come to an
agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. 58 Direct proof of a previous agreement
to commit a crime is not necessary; it may be deduced from the mode and manner in which the offense was
perpetrated, or inferred from acts of the accused themselves when such point to a joint purpose design, concerted
action and community of interest. 59 Once conspiracy is established, the act of one is the act of all. 60
In this case, appellants and the other accused were already at the barangay road of Binday, near the houses of
Lolly Galdones and Marta Soriano, when Fernando Abaoag, who was looking for the persons who just stoned his
house several times, and Cesar Abaoag, arrived. Immediately, Johnny Juguilon threw a stone at Fernando hitting
him on the left eyebrow; then, Edong, and Felix Sion and appellant Disu, "simultaneously" threw stones, also at
Fernando. As Fernando turned away from his assailants, appellant Sion "rushed" and stabbed the victim three (3)
times, even as the latter raised his arms saying, "I will not fight back." When Cesar Abaoag tried to help his
brother Fernando, appellant Disu threw and hit Cesar with a stone. Appellant Sion then commanded his
companions to also kill Cesar, prompting the latter to run away. Then the assailants fled, leaving behind a small
bolo and a dagger. The confluence of their acts indubitably manifested a community of interest and unity of
purpose and design to take Fernando Abaoag's life.
We also find to be unsupported by evidence appellant's claim, through the testimony of appellant Sion, that the
fatal stabbing of Fernando Abaoag was a result of a "free-for-all rumble," thereby possibly tempering their liability
to that of causing death in a tumultuous affray under Article 251 of the Revised Penal Code, which carries a penalty
lower than that for homicide. 61 In this case, it was ascertained beyond doubt that appellant Sion inflicted the fatal
stab wounds; hence, this claim must be rejected.
Having resolved appellants' liability for Fernando Abaoag's death, we now rule on the circumstances attendant to
the commission of the crime.
In convicting appellants of murder, the trial court considered the qualifying circumstance of treachery, and
disregarded the qualifying circumstance of evident premeditation, which was likewise alleged in the information.
We agree as to the latter as the prosecution failed to prove the essential elements of evident premeditation, viz:
(a) the time when appellants determined to commit the crime; (b) an act manifestly indicating that they clung to
their determination; and (c) a sufficient lapse of time between such determination and execution to allow them to
reflect upon the consequences of their act. 62
We disagree, however, with the trial court's finding as regards the qualifying circumstance of treachery. Under the
law, there is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes against the person, employing means,
methods, or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly or specifically to ensure its execution, without risk
to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might make. 63 We find no clear and convincing
evidence of treachery. Cesar Abaoag's testimony as to how his brother was attacked lacks sufficient detail showing
conclusively that the mode and manner of the assault rendered the victim entirely defenseless. He merely testified
that when he and his brother proceeded west of the barangay road of Binday, he saw Johnny Juguilon stone his
brother and hit him on the left eyebrow. Fernando Abaoag then turned to the left with his back towards Felix Sion,
Edong Sion, Miguel Disu and the four (4) other unidentified companions, who then "simultaneously" threw stones
at Fernando. "Seconds later," Cesar saw appellant Sion holding a very sharp double bladed dagger and stab his
brother three (3) times; Fernando Abaoag, when stabbed, "was just standing and said 'I will not fight.'" 64 They
were six (6) meters away from Johnny Juguilon when the latter first hurled a stone at Fernando which signaled the
other accused to the same. 65
81

Considering therefore the distance between the assailants and the victim when the attack commenced, and the fact
the three were two (2) waves of stoning which preceded the stabbing of the victim, these should have sufficiently
forewarned him of the greater danger which loomed and prompted him to escape. Moreover, in light of the absence
of clear details showing conclusively that the stabbing was inflicted from behind or the victim was entirely helpless
when stabbed, we are not prepared to conclude that the attack was "so sudden and unexpected" as to render the
victim entirely defenseless. Treachery cannot qualify the killing to murder when the victim was forewarned of the
attack by the assailant, or when the attack was frontal, or the attack was not so sudden as to have caught the
deceased completely unaware. 66 Furthermore, the evidence does not disclose that the means of execution were
deliberately or consciously adopted by appellants.
Absent then of any qualifying circumstance, the crime committed was homicide as defined and penalized under
Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code.
The trial court likewise erred in appreciating against appellants the generic aggravating circumstance of cruelty, 67
based solely on the fact that the victim was stabbed thrice, with the first stab wound hitting the lower left lung
causing severe bleeding and its collapse. In fact, appellee concedes this error of the trial court. Cruelty cannot be
appreciated in absence of any showing that appellants, for their pleasure and satisfaction, caused the victim to
suffer slowly and painfully and inflicted on him unnecessary physical and moral pain; and, the mere fact that
wounds in excess of what was indispensably necessary to cause death were found on the body of the victim does
not necessarily imply that such wounds were inflicted with cruelty and with the intention of deliberately intensifying
the victim's suffering. 68 In the instant case, the evidence only shows that the three (3) stab wounds were
delivered in succession, nothing more.
We agree with appellants that appellant Sion is entitled to the benefit of the mitigating circumstance of voluntary
surrender, which requires that "the offender voluntarily surrendered himself to a person in authority." 69 Its
requisites are: (a) the offender had not been actually arrested; (b) the offender surrendered himself to a person in
authority or to the latter's agent; and (c) the surrender was voluntary. 70 For a surrender to be voluntary, it must
be spontaneous and show the intent of the accused to submit himself unconditionally to the authorities, either: (1)
because he acknowledges his guilt; or (2) because he wishes to save them the trouble and expense incidental to
his search and capture. 71
As shown by the records, in the afternoon of 17 October 1991, appellant Sion "presented" himself to Kagawad
Modesto Lagman who, in turn, "escorted and surrendered" him to the police in the poblacion. 72 His admission that
he surrendered because he was already suspected as one of the perpetrators of the crime does not make his
surrender "forced by circumstances" as ruled by the trial court. His arrest at that time was neither imminent nor
inevitable. At the time of his surrender, no warrant of arrest against him had yet been issued, the same having
been issued only on 19 November 1991. 73 In fact, he was released from custody after a few days, and was
ordered committed to jail only sometime in June 1992, after his motion for bail was denied by the trial court on 10
June 1992 and was thus taken into custody. 74 This subsequent fact should not diminish nor erase the favorable
effect of Felipe Sion Jr.'s voluntary surrender on 17 October 1991. As has been held, whatever the accused's
reason for surrendering — either the fear of reprisal from victim's relatives or, in this case, his knowledge that he
was already a suspect — "does not gainsay the spontaneity of the surrender, nor alter the fact that by giving
himself up, he saved the State the time and trouble of searching for him until arrested." 75
We disagree with Appellee's submission that there was no voluntary surrender because appellant Sion surrender to
a mere barangay "Kagawad" or Sangguniang Barangay member, and not to the police authorities, implying that
the former is not a person in authority. 76 This ignores Section 388 of the Local Government Code of 1991 which
expressly provides, in part, that "[f]or purposes of the Revised Penal Code, the punong barangay, sangguniang
barangay members, and members of the lupong tagapamayapa in each barangay shall be deemed as persons in
authority in their jurisdictions . . . ." 77 This law expands the definition of a person in authority under the Revised
Penal Code, wherein among the barangay officials, only the barangay captain or chairman, now called Punong
Barangay, is expressly considered a person in authority, as provided in Article 152 thereof. Thus, in addition to the
Punong Barangay, the members of the Sangguniang Barangay, or Kagawads, and members of the Lupong
Tagapayapa are now considered not merely as agents of, but as persons, in authority. 78
WHEREFORE, the challenged decision of Branch 44 (Dagupan City) of the Regional Trial Court of the First Judicial
Region in Criminal Case No. D-10796 is MODIFIED. As modified, appellants FELIFE SION, alias "JUNIOR" or FELIFE
RODRIGUEZ, JR., and FEDERICO DISU, alias "MIGUEL," are hereby declared GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt, as
principals, of the crime of HOMICIDE as defined and penalized in Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code, with the
former entitled to the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender, and applying the Indeterminate Sentence
Law, they are sentenced, respectively, to suffer an indeterminate penalty ranging from eight (8) years of prison
mayor minimum, as minimum, to fourteen (14) years and eight (8) months of reclusion temporal as maximum,
and an indeterminate penalty ranging from ten (10) years and one (1) day of prision mayor maximum, as
minimum, to seventeen (17) years, four (4) months and one (1) day of reclusion temporal minimum as maximum,
with all the accessory penalties therefor, and subject to the provision of Article 29 of the Revised Penal Code.
Except as so modified, the rest of the challenged judgment stands.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE OF 1991


Section 388. Persons in Authority. - For purposes of the Revised Penal Code, the punong barangay, sangguniang
barangay members, and members of the lupong tagapamayapa in each barangay shall be deemed as persons in
authority in their jurisdictions, while other barangay officials and members who may be designated by law or
ordinance and charged with the maintenance of public order, protection and security of life and property, or the
82

maintenance of a desirable and balanced environment, and any barangay member who comes to the aid of persons
in authority, shall be deemed agents of persons in authority.

Art. 153. Tumults and other disturbance of public orders; Tumultuous disturbance or interruption liable
to cause disturbance. — The penalty of arresto mayor in its medium period to prision correccional in its minimum
period and a fine not exceeding 1,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any person who shall cause any serious
disturbance in a public place, office, or establishment, or shall interrupt or disturb public performances, functions or
gatherings, or peaceful meetings, if the act is not included in the provisions of Articles 131 and 132.
The penalty next higher in degree shall be imposed upon persons causing any disturbance or interruption of a
tumultuous character.
The disturbance or interruption shall be deemed to be tumultuous if caused by more than three persons who are
armed or provided with means of violence.
The penalty of arresto mayor shall be imposed upon any person who in any meeting, association, or public place,
shall make any outcry tending to incite rebellion or sedition or in such place shall display placards or emblems
which provoke a disturbance of the public order.
The penalty of arresto menor and a fine not to exceed P200 pesos shall be imposed upon these persons who in
violation of the provisions contained in the last clause of Article 85, shall bury with pomp the body of a person who
has been legally executed.
Inciting to sedition or rebellion distinguished from public disorder
Inciting to Sedition or Rebellion Public Disorder
It is necessary that the offender should have done the act with the If the outcry is more or less unconscious outburst
idea afterthought of inducing his hearers or readers to commit the which, although rebellious or seditious in nature,
crime of rebellion or sedition. is not intentionally calculated to induce others to
commit rebellion or sedition.

G.R. No. L-2578 July 31, 1951


PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. vs. LADISLAO BACOLOD
This appeal calls for practical application of the principles governing the defense of double jeopardy.
In the Court of First Instance of Cebu, on September 10, 1948. Ladislao Bacolod pleaded guilty to an informations
charging him the crime of serious physical injuries thru reckless imprudence committed on February 21, 1948 in
Santa Fe, same province. Thereafter he was arraigned in another case for having caused a public disturbance on
the same date, the second information alleging.
That on or about the 21st day of February, 1948, in the municipality of Santa Fe, province of Cebu, Philippines, and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused with deliberate intent, and on the occasion
of a dance held in the municipal tennis court in connection with the town fiesta, did then and there wilfully,
criminally and feloniously cause a serious disturbance in a public place by firing a sub-machine gun which wounded
one Consorcia Pasinio, thereby causing panic among the numerous people present in the said dance who ran and
scampered in all directions.
His counsel de oficio moved to quash this second information, invoking double jeopardy by reason of the first
information which for convenience is quoted:
That on or about the 21st day of February, 1948, in the municipality of Santa Fe, province of Cebu, Philippines, and
within the jurisdiction of this Court, the above-named accused, then a member of the PC patrol, by reckless
imprudence and without taking due care and precautions to avoid damage and injury to the life and property of
other persons, did then and there fire a shoot of the sub-machine gun thereby hitting Consorcia Pasinio at the back
of right side of her body which physical injury required or will require medical attendance for more than 30 days
but less than 90, and incapacitated or will incapacitate her from performing her customary labor for the same
period of time.
The motion to quash was granted, and the people appealed in due time.
Did the lower court err?
It will be observed that both informations have one common element: defendant's having fired a sub-machine gun.
The first, however, charged him with physical injuries inflicted on Consorcia Pasinio thru reckless imprudence. On
the other hand the second information accuses him of having deliberately fired the machine gun to cause a
disturbance in the festivity or gathering, thereby producing panic among the people present therein. The two
informations do not describe the same offense. One is a crime against persons; but the other is an offense against
public peace and order.1
The first is punished under article 263 of the Revised Penal Code and the latter under article 153 referring to
individuals disturbing public gatherings or peaceful meetings. The proof establishing the first would not establish
the second, it being necessary to show, besides the willful discharge of firearm, that there was a dance in the
tennis court in connection with the town fiesta, and that the people in attendance became panicky and terrified.
The offenses are not the same although they arose from same act of Ladislao Bacolod. Consequently conviction for
the first does not bar trial for the second.2
A majority of the American courts have held that the offense of unlawful assembly and riot is distinct from the
offense of assault and battery.3
83

The protection against double jeopardy is only for the same offense. A single act may be an offense against two
different provisions of law and if one provision requires proof of an additional fact which, the other does not an
acquittal or conviction under one does not a bar prosecution under the other.4
It is true that section 9 of Rule 113 prohibits prosecution for any offense which necessarily includes or is
necessarily included in the offense charged, in the former, informations. But it may not be held that the second
offense in this case necessarily included the first, physical injuries is included in a charge of murder. Neither may it
be maintained that every crime of physical injuries necessarily produces such public disorder as is contemplated by
section 153 of the Revised Penal Code. Note especially that the first information did not describe the festal
celebration in which the injuries were inflicted.
It has been suggested that the new Rules of Court modified the above principles, and the precedent of People vs.
Tarok, 40 Off. Gaz., 3488 is invoked. Enough to state, that this last decision and its doctrinal innovation has been
expressly repudiated in Melo vs. People, 47 Off. Gaz., 4631, with which our present, views substantially conform.
From the foregoing observations it follows that the court a quo made a mistake in dismissing the second
information. Therefore, the appealed resolution is reversed and the record is remanded for further proceedings. So
ordered.

Art. 155. Alarms and scandals. — The penalty of arresto menor or a fine not exceeding P200 pesos shall be
imposed upon:
1. Any person who within any town or public place, shall discharge any firearm, rocket, firecracker, or other
explosives calculated to cause alarm or danger;
2. Any person who shall instigate or take an active part in any charivari or other disorderly meeting offensive to
another or prejudicial to public tranquility;
3. Any person who, while wandering about at night or while engaged in any other nocturnal amusements, shall
disturb the public peace; or
4. Any person who, while intoxicated or otherwise, shall cause any disturbance or scandal in public places, provided
that the circumstances of the case shall not make the provisions of Article 153 applicable.

Disturbance of serious nature falls under Article 153


• If the disturbance is of serious nature, the case will fall under Article 153 not under Paragraph 4 of this article.
Article 155 does not make any distinction as to particular place in the town or public place where the discharge of
firearm, rocket, etc. is effected; as long as it produced alarm or danger.
Is the discharge of firecrackers or rockets during fiestas or festive occasions covered by Paragraph 1 of Article 155?
• Viada opined that it is not.

Art. 157. Evasion of service of sentence. — The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum
periods shall be imposed upon any convict who shall evade service of his sentence by escaping during the term of
his imprisonment by reason of final judgment. However, if such evasion or escape shall have taken place by means
of unlawful entry, by breaking doors, windows, gates, walls, roofs, or floors, or by using picklocks, false keys,
deceit, violence or intimidation, or through connivance with other convicts or employees of the penal institution,
the penalty shall be prision correccional in its maximum period.

Elements
1. That the offender is a convict by final judgment
2. That he is serving his sentence which consists in deprivation of liberty
3. That he evades the service of his sentence by escaping during the term of his sentence

G.R. No. L-1255 July 30, 1947


CARLOS TOLEDANO vs. FELIX SEVERINO
This is an appeal from the decision of the court of First Instance of Occidental Negros which denied the appellant's
petition for habeas corpus.
The appellant appealed from the order denying his petition, and now submits to this Court the following
assignment of errors:
1. The trial court erred in not finding that it lacks jurisdiction over the person of the petitioner, and over the crime
he has committed.
2. The trial court erred in sentencing him to serve the unexpired portion of a sentence for a crime committed prior
to the Japanese Invasion.
3. The trial court erred in not giving him his liberty.
(I) The first and third assignments of error do not deserve a serious consideration.
Appellant's contention that the court a quo had no jurisdiction over the person of the appellant is untenable, for it
is plain that the appellant, having filed a petition for habeas corpus with the court, the latter had acquired
jurisdiction of the person of the appellant.
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And as to the alleged lack of jurisdiction of the lower court over the crime committed by the appellant, suffice it to
say that said appellant was not tried and convicted by the said court. In this habeas corpus proceeding the lower
court denied only the release of the appellant, because there was no showing that the trial court which convicted
him had no jurisdiction over the crime and the person of the appellant, and to impose the penalty imposed upon
him.
(II) The second assignment of error is not meritorious also, for the lower court did not sentence the appellant to
serve the unexpired portion of the sentence he was serving for a crime committed prior to the Japanese invasion.
What the lower court did was only to deny the petition for habeas corpus, for the reason that the appellant was
being legally detained since he was serving the unexpired portion of his sentence. The lower court did not try the
appellant for evasion or violation of sentence under article 171 of the Revised Penal Code, which requires a new
prosecution, previous trial and the imposition of another penalty if convicted of said offense.
In view of the foregoing, the order appealed is affirmed with costs against the appellant.

G.R. No. L-1960 November 26, 1948


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. FLORENTINO ABILONG
Florentino Abilong was charged in the Court of First Instance of Manila with evasion of service of sentence under
the following information:
That on or about the 17th day of September, 1947, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused, being then
a convict sentenced and ordered to serve two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day of destierro during which
he should not enter any place within the radius of 100 kilometers from the City of Manila, by virtue of final
judgment rendered by the municipal court on April 5, 1946, in criminal case No. B-4795 for attempted robbery, did
then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously evade the service of said sentence by going beyond the limits
made against him and commit vagrancy.
Contrary to law.
Upon arraignment he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day of
prision correccional, with the accessory penalties of the law and to pay the costs. He is appealing from that
decision with the following assignment of error:
1. The lower court erred in imposing a penalty on the accused under article 157 of the Revised Penal Code, which
does not cover evasion of service of "destierro."
Counsel for the appellant contends that a person like the accused evading a sentence of destierro is not criminally
liable under the provisions of the Revised Penal Code, particularly article 157 of the said Code for the reason that
said article 157 refers only to persons who are imprisoned in a penal institution and completely deprived of their
liberty. He bases his contention on the word "imprisonment" used in the English text of said article which in part
reads as follows:
Evasion of service of sentence. — The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods shall be
imposed upon any convict who shall evade service of his sentence by escaping during the term of his imprisonment
by reason of final judgment.
The Solicitor General in his brief says that had the original text of the Revised Penal Code been in the English
language, then the theory of the appellant could be uphold. However, it is the Spanish text that is controlling in
case of doubt. The Spanish text of article 157 in part reads thus:
ART. 157. Quebrantamiento de sentencia. — Sera castigado con prision correccional en sus grados medio y
maximo el sentenciado que quebrantare su condena, fugandose mientras estuviere sufriendo privacion de libertad
por sentencia firme; . . . .
We agree with the Solicitor General that inasmuch as the Revised Penal Code was originally approved and enacted
in Spanish, the Spanish text governs (People vs. Manaba, 58 Phil., 665, 668). It is clear that the word
"imprisonment" used in the English text is a wrong or erroneous translation of the phrase "sufriendo privacion de
libertad" used in the Spanish text. It is equally clear that although the Solicitor General impliedly admits destierro
as not constituting imprisonment, it is a deprivation of liberty, though partial, in the sense that as in the present
case, the appellant by his sentence of destierro was deprived of the liberty to enter the City of Manila. This view
has been adopted in the case of People vs. Samonte, No. 36559 (July 26, 1932; 57 Phil., 968) wherein this Court
held, as quoted in the brief of the Solicitor General that "it is clear that a person under sentence of destierro is
suffering deprivation of his liberty and escapes from the restrictions of the penalty when he enters the prohibited
area." Said ruling in that case was ratified by this Court, though, indirectly in the case of People vs. Jose de Jesus,
(45 Off. Gaz. Supp. to No. 9, p. 370)1, where it was held that one evades the service of his sentence of destierro
when he enters the prohibited area specified in the judgment of conviction, and he cannot invoke the provisions of
the Indeterminate Sentence Law which provides that its provisions do not apply to those who shall have escaped
from confinement or evaded sentence.
In conclusion we find and hold that the appellant is guilty of evasion of service of sentence under article 157 of the
Revised Penal Code (Spanish text), in that during the period of his sentence of destierro by virtue of final judgment
wherein he was prohibited from entering the City of Manila, he entered said City.
Finding no reversible error in the decision appealed from, the same is hereby affirmed with costs against the
appellant. So ordered.
Art. 158. Evasion of service of sentence on the occasion of disorder, conflagrations, earthquakes, or
other calamities. — A convict who shall evade the service of his sentence, by leaving the penal institution where
he shall have been confined, on the occasion of disorder resulting from a conflagration, earthquake, explosion, or
similar catastrophe, or during a mutiny in which he has not participated, shall suffer an increase of one-fifth of the
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time still remaining to be served under the original sentence, which in no case shall exceed six months, if he shall
fail to give himself up to the authorities within forty-eight hours following the issuance of a proclamation by the
Chief Executive announcing the passing away of such calamity.
Convicts who, under the circumstances mentioned in the preceding paragraph, shall give themselves up to the
authorities within the above mentioned period of 48 hours, shall be entitled to the deduction provided in Article 98.
Elements
1. That the offender is a convict by final judgment, who is confined in a penal institution;
2. That there is disorder resulting from:
a. Conflagration
b. Earthquake
c. Explosion
d. Similar catastrophe, OR
e. Mutiny in which he has not participated.
3. That the offender evades the service of his sentence by leaving the penal institution where he is confined, on the
occasion of such disorder or during the mutiny.
4. That the offender fails to give himself up to the authorities within 48 hours following the issuance of a
proclamation by the Chief Executive announcing the passing away of such calamity.

The offender must be a convict by final judgment because only a convict by final judgment can “evade the service
of his sentence.”

G.R. No. L-810 March 31, 1947


MANUEL ARTIGAS LOSADA vs. JUAN ACENAS
This is an appeal from an order, dated July 20, 1946, of the justice of the peace of Puerto Princesa, Palawan, who,
in the absence of the judge of first instance (Act No. 2131), directed the release on habeas corpus, of Manuel
Artigas Losada, Getulio Geocada, Santiago Aguda, and Francisco Danao, inmates of the Davao Penal Colony at
Inagawan, Palawan.
The first is undergoing a maximum sentence of 15 years, 2 months and 2 days for estafa, and estafa through
falsification. Such term is due to expire, with good conduct allowance, on July 16, 1947.
The second, Getulio Geocada, doing time for illegal possession of counterfeit money is due for release April 25,
1947.
The third, Santiago Aguda, serving a sentence of 12 years and 1 day for homicide, would be entitled to his liberty
about January 7, 1948, should he observe good conduct in the meantime.
The last, Francisco Danao, jailed for abduction with rape, will complete the service of his sentence, with good
conduct allowance, about June 19, 1948.
As above stated, the court decreed in July, 1946, that these four penal colonists should forthwith be freed from
restraint. Reason for the decree was their allegation, and the court's opinion, that they had earned a special time
allowance in the form of a deduction of one-fifth of their respective sentences under articles 98 and 158 of the
Revised Penal Code, which for convenience are quoted below:
A deduction of one-fifth of the period of his sentence shall be granted to any prisoner who, having evaded the
service of his sentence under the circumstances mentioned in article 158 of this Code, gives himself up to the
authorities within 48 hours following the issuance of a proclamation announcing the passing away of the calamity
or catastrophe referred to in said article. (Article 98, Revised Penal Code.)
A convict who shall evade the services of his sentence, by leaving the penal institution where he shall have been
confined, on the occasion, or similar catastrophe, or during a mutiny in which he has not participated, shall suffer
an increase of one-fifth of the time still remaining to be served under the original sentence, which in no case shall
exceed six months, if he shall fail to give himself up to the authorities within forty-eight hours following the
issuance of a proclamation by the Chief Executive announcing the passing away of such calamity.
Convicts who, under the circumstances mentioned period of 48 hours, shall be entitled to the deduction provided in
article 98. (Article 158, Revised Penal Code.)
The judge a quo made those observations in support of his action.
. . . in the opinion of this Court, those prisoners who, having all the chances to escape and did not escape but
remained in their prison cell during the disorder caused by war have shown more convincingly their loyalty than
those who escaped under the circumstances specifically enumerated in article 158 and give themselves up within
48 hours. After the executive proclamation for the latter, that is, the prisoner who escaped might have been
persuaded to give themselves up merely because they could see but a slim chance to avoid capture inasmuch as
the government then was functioning with all its normal efficiency. And if those who are loyal merely in times of
conflagration, earthquake, explosion and other similar catastrophe are considered loyal and are for that reason
given in their favor one-fifth reduction of their sentences, with more reason that those who stayed in their places of
confinement during the war . . ..
These are considerations that more properly belong to the legislative department, should an amendment to the law
be proposed. They are likewise equitable pleas, which the executive department could properly entertain in
connection with petitions for parole or pardon of the prisoners. But they may not authorize the courts to read into
the statute additional conditions or situations. The special allowance for loyalty authorized by articles 98 and 158 of
the Revised Penal Code refers to those convicts who, having evaded the service of their sentences by leaving the
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penal institution, give themselves up within two days. As these petitioners are not in that class, because they have
not escaped, they have no claim to that allowance. For one thing there is no showing that they ever had the
opportunity to escape, or that having such opportunity they had the mettle to take advantage of it or to brave the
perils in connection with a jailbreak. And there is no assurance that had they successfully run away and regained
their precious liberty they would have, nevertheless, voluntarily exchanged it later with privations of prison life
impelled by that sense of right and loyalty to the Government, which is sought to be rewarded with the special
allowance. Wherefore, it is not plain that their case comes within the spirit of the law they have invoked. It must be
observed in this connection that the only circumstance favorable to petitioners is the admission of the respondent
that they "remained in the penal colony and did not try to escape during the war."
The appealed decision is reversed and the petition for habeas corpus denied. No costs. So ordered.
Art. 160. Commission of another crime during service of penalty imposed for another offense; Penalty.
— Besides the provisions of Rule 5 of Article 62, any person who shall commit a felony after having been convicted
by final judgment, before beginning to serve such sentence, or while serving the same, shall be punished by the
maximum period of the penalty prescribed by law for the new felony.
Any convict of the class referred to in this article, who is not a habitual criminal, shall be pardoned at the age of
seventy years if he shall have already served out his original sentence, or when he shall complete it after reaching
the said age, unless by reason of his conduct or other circumstances he shall not be worthy of such clemency.

Article 160 provides for the so-called quasi-recidivism


• Quasi-recidivism is a special aggravating circumstance where a person, after having been convicted by final
judgment, shall commit a new felony before beginning to serve such sentence, or while serving the same. He
shall be punished by the maximum period of the penalty prescribed by law for the new felony.
Elements
1. That the offender was already convicted by final judgment of one offense
2. That he committed a new felony before beginning to serve such sentence or while serving the same

G.R. No. L-38624 July 25, 1975


PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. vs. CONRADO BAUTISTA, ET AL.
Mandatory review of the death penalty imposed by the Circuit Criminal Court of Pasig, Rizal in its decision in case
"CC-VII-847-Rizal" for Murder, entitled "People vs. Conrado Bautista and Gerardo Abuhin", the dispositive part of
which reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, finding the accused, Conrado Bautista and Gerardo Abuhin, GUILTY, beyond reasonable doubt, of the
crime of Murder, under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as charged in the information, the Court hereby
sentences each one of them to suffer the penalty of DEATH; to indemnify the heirs of the offended party the
amount of P12,000.00; to pay the amount of P5,000.00 as moral damages; and another P5,000.00 as exemplary
damages; and to pay their proportionate shares of the costs.
Prisoners George Daeng, No, 56088-P; Rolando Castillo, No. 31087-C (these two already sentenced previously);
Conrado Bautista, No. 71055-P; Gerardo Abuhin, No. 61409-P who are serving sentence by virtue of final
judgment, in the New Bilibid Prison, Muntinlupa, Rizal, were accused of Murder, committed as follows: .
That on or about December 13, 1970, in the New Bilibid Prison, Muntinglupa, Rizal, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused while then confined at the said institution, conspiring,
confederating and acting together and each armed with improvised deadly weapons, did, then and there wilfully,
unlawfully and feloniously assault and would therewith one Basilio Beltran, No. 71495-P, another convicted prisoner
serving final sentence in the same institution, then in the process of serving the accused breakfast, inflicting upon
him multiple stab wounds while then unarmed and unable to defend himself from the attack launched by the
accused, as a result of which the said Basilio Beltran died instantly.
That the offense when committed by the accused was attended by the qualifying circumstance of treachery and
generic aggravating circumstances of evident premeditation and obvious ungratefulness.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
Both accused Conrado Bautista and Gerardo Abuhin were arraigned on March 10, 1973, and they pleaded not
guilty, after which the case went to trial on the merits. The evidence for the prosecution established the following
facts:
That on or about 6:15 in the morning of December 13, 1970, a stabbing incident took place near the door of 8-C
(cell house) at building 8; that the victim in said stabbing incident was Basilio Beltran who was also a prisoner in
the New Bilibid Prison with the rank of IC (Inmate Cadet); that on said date and time, while prison guard Armando
Miranda, assigned keeper at Building 8 was then opening the door of 8-C, where members of the Sigue-Sigue
Sputnik Gang were confined, with him were IC Basilio Beltran and Domingo Mallari, both confined at dormitory 8-
A-2, who were then carrying bread ration for breakfast of the Sigue-Sigue Sputnik Gang at 8-C, when all of a
sudden, the four accused, two of whom were already sentenced, and two of whom were Conrado Bautista and
Gerardo Abuhin, rushed out from their cell and attacked and stabbed to death prisoner Basilio Beltran, while
Domingo Mallari sneaked away from the attackers; that the victim, Basilio Beltran, was facing the accused,
standing, carrying the breakfast ration for the occupants of 8-C when he was almost simultaneously stabbed by his
attackers as a result of which he sustained multiple stab wounds, numbering 12 in all, on the different parts of his
body; that the weapons used in stabbing the victim were matalas or improvised deadly instruments; and an icepick
which is improvised also; that the accused were investigated by the investigators and they admitted having killed
87

the victim because of an alleged threat by the inmates cadets that they would kill any member of the Sigue-Sigue
Sputnik Gang everytime that the IC delivered their ration, so that they moved ahead of the IC by taking that
opportunity.
Their defenses of denial and alibi based on testimonial evidence of the accused, and their claim that their written
statements admitting the crime were extracted from them by force and intimidation, consisted of:
The accused Conrado Bautista was placed on the witness stand and he testified that he was 28 years old, married
and a woodcarver by Occupation and formerly residing at 2504 Cagayan St., Sta. Ana, Manila, but now an inmate
of the New Bilibid Prison, Muntinglupa, Rizal, after having been convicted by final judgment for the crane of
Robbery. In the course of the direct examination by counsel de oficio, Atty. Leonora M. Cabasal, accused Bautista
intimated to his counsel that he be allowed to withdraw his former plea of not guilty and that he be allowed to
substitute it with a plea of guilty. He was asked by his counsel, if he realized the gravity of the offense that he has
committed and he manifested that he realized the same; that he realized the fact and he is aware that he would be
penalized in accordance with law; that he is determined to change his life because he wanted to be free, after
serving his sentence. However, during the cross examination of the prosecution when he was asked if he helped
the other accused, namely: Gerardo Abuhin, Rolando Castillo and George Daeng, in stabbing the victim, Basilio
Beltran, he answered in the negative, alleging that he was inside the bartolina in that morning of December 13,
1970, when the victim was stabbed to death, and he only admitted as a participant in the killing of the victim
because Boy Coro (a Alfredo Mariano poked him with an improvised weapon; that this Boy Coro according to him
was the leader of the Sputnik Gang and he was very powerful because Boy Coro was the one giving orders and
they were mere followers; that the statement he allegedly signed was not really his own statement but that of the
investigator who forced him to sign the same through force and intimidation and maltreatment, but he did not file
any charge against said investigator according because according him he does not know anything about filing
charges. With this manifestation of the accused Conrado Bautista, the counsel de oficio moved that the former plea
of not guilty of said accused be allowed to remain on record, which was granted by the Court, there being no
objection on the part of the prosecution. So also, the defense of the accused Gerardo Abuhin that he was lying
down on his cell when he suddenly heard a commotion and he stook up and took his weapon, when he saw many
people coming out and he heard someone shouting, "everybody must come out"; that what was stated in his
statement was not the real happening, because it was only his gawa-gawa, knowing that Sarmiento and Coro were
very powerful in their cell and if he would not follow, something might be done against him; that it was not true
that his co-accused Bautista was involved in the stabbing and his conscience would not forgive him to implicate a
man who was not really a participant in that riot; that he was not able to add in his statement that Bautista was
not guilty because he was not asked about it and it did not occur to his mind to exculpate him in the course of his
giving a statement to the investigator; and that it would be against his conscience if he would let Bautista suffer for
anything that he did not commit; that he was intimidated by investigator de las Alas into giving an extrajudicial
confession and out of fear he signed the same.
We have gone to great lengths in closely scrutinizing the evidence presented in this case, and no amount of deeper
probing can convince Us that the trial court committed any reversible error in basing its judgment of conviction "on
the testimonies of the prosecution eye witnesses corroborating the statements in the extrajudicial confessions of
the accused" (Exh. "C-4"; Exh. "C-5").
An examination of the corroborated sworn statements of accused Rolando Castillo (already sentenced on a plea of
guilty, September 15, 1973) Exh. "C-1"; of Prison guard Armando Miranda, Exhibit "C-2"; of accused George
Daeng (already sentenced on a plea of guilty, September 1, 1973), Exh. "C-3"; of accused Conrado Bautista, Exh.
"C-4" of accused Gerardo Abuhin, Exh. "C-5"; and of prisoner (inmate cadet) Domingo Mallari, Exh. "D", shows
that on the morning of December 13, 1970, at around 6:15 A.M., while prison guard Armando Miranda
accompanied by Inmate Cadets Basilio Beltran (victim) and Domingo Mallari who carried bread and coffee, were
about to give food to the prisoners in "Brigada 8-C" under the stairs of "Brigada 8-A-2", located at New Bilibid
Prison, Muntinlupa, Rizal, four prisoners, accused Rolando Castillo, George Daeng, Conrado Bautista, and Gerardo
Abuhin, all armed with "matalas" (improvised deadly weapons) suddenly pushed the cell door and rushed out.
While one of the four (Rolando Castillo) suddenly pointed his weapon at prison guard Miranda, the other three
simultaneously attacked and stabbed inmate cadet Basilio Beltran; that accused Rolando Castillo joined the three
others in stabbing the already prostrate victim; and the attack happened so suddenly that it did not take half a
minute for the four accused to kill the victim. The other inmate cadet, Domingo Mallari, was able to get away and
give the alarm. Witness Domingo Mallari in his sworn statement Exh. "D" was able to identify by their appearance,
not by name, the four accused (Castillo, Abuhin, Bautista and Daeng) out of ten prisoners in a line-up, as the
prisoners who stabbed the victim. This same witness stated that it was accused Conrado Bautista who first stabbed
the victim.
We noticed from the sworn statements that they were all taken during the investigation immediately conducted on
the very day of the crime, December 13, 1970, except that of prison guard Armando Miranda which was taken on
December 15, 1970. The sworn statement (Exh. "C-1") of accused Castillo given before PG Investigator, IS Ignacio
J. Ferrer, was taken in the presence of prison guard-investigator Jesus B. Tomagan, Chief Investigator Benedicto R.
Planta and Administrative Officer Exequiel A. Santos. The sworn statement (Exh. "C-3") of accused George Daeng
given before P.F. Jesus B. Tomagan was taken in the presence of Security Officer B.R. Planta, P.G. Ignacio Ferrer
and Administrative Officer Exequiel A. Santos. The sworn statement (Exh. "C-4") of accused Conrado Bautista
given before P.G. Jesus B. Tomagan was taken in the presence of Chief Investigator Benedicto R. Planta,
Investigator Ignacio Ferrer and Administrative Officer Exequiel A. Santos. The sworn statement (Exh. "C-5") of
88

accused Gerardo Abuhin given before P. G. Abraham de las Alas was taken in the presence of P. G. Ignacio J.
Ferrer, P. G. Jesus B. Tomagan and Administrative Officer Exequiel A. Santos.
The alleged threat and intimidation used in assailing the voluntariness of the extrajudicial confessions of the four
accused, being general in nature, becomes hardly credible in the face of the overwhelming established facts and
circumstances, as for instance (1) the judicial plea of guilty of accused Castillo and Daeng (both of whom were
already sentenced); (2) the very apparently disinterested and truthful narrations of prison guard Miranda and
inmate cadet Mallari who were eye-witnesses to the crime and who positively identified the four accused as the
persons who stabbed the victim, there being no other prisoners who at that moment of the crime could have
participated in it; (3) the manifestly spontaneous narrations of the circumstances that happened during the crime
appearing in the sworn statements that were executed on the very day the crime was committed, when those who
participated and who witnessed the crime did not have sufficient time to fabricate evidence and distort the truth;
(4) the fact that it would be difficult to presume that those disinterested investigators who were present when the
accused gave their sworn statements would subvert the ends of justice and falsify the truth by utilizing force and
intimidation on the accused, there being no indication nor evidence that they have a motive or grudge against the
accused; (5) and the fact that those officials of the Bureau of Prisons were merely doing their duties in the regular
course of official business when they conducted the investigation to shed light on the crime committed.
The narration of the crime contained in the sworn statement of prisoner Domingo Mallari (Exh. "D") who was an
eyewitness to the crime substantially coincides with his testimony in court in all material aspects and he was able
to identify the four accused (Castillo, Abuhin, Daeng, Bautista) when asked to do so during the trial (pp. 7-25 t.s.n.
Hearing on August 25, 1973). The four improvised deadly weapons used by the accused in killing the victim were
all recovered and identified (pp. 3-8; 14-15, t.s.n. Hearing of September 1, 1973.).1äwphï1.ñët Prison guard
Armando Miranda's testimony in court clearly corroborated all his narrations contained in his sworn statement Exh.
"C-2", pointing out without doubt that the accused Bautista, Abuhin, Castillo and Daeng were the prisoners who
rushed out of their cell and stabbed the victim, Beltran, in the early morning of December 13, 1970 (t.s.n. pp. 2-
11, Hearing of April 28, 1973).
Accused Abuhin in his testimony in open court admitted that he participated in the killing and stabbed twice,
although he said he did so because he was hit and wounded by a knife thrown from above (p. 5 t.s.n. Hearing of
November 29, 1973). He declared that he gave his sworn statement, Exh. "C-5", voluntarily Cpp. 6-7 t.s.n. Hearing
of November 29, 1973). Accused Bautista admitted in open court that the signature appearing on Exhibit "C-4" (his
sworn statement) is his (p. 7 t.s.n. Hearing of December 13, 1973). He claimed that he was maltreated by
investigator Ferrer to extract from him the confession contained in his sworn statement. Yet he could not explain
why notwithstanding the supposed injuries inflicted on him, he could sign the sworn statement calmly without signs
of nervousness or trembling; he was not treated for his supposed injuries, was never hospitalized for them, and
never reported the supposed maltreatment to Administrative Officer Exequiel A. Santos whom he treated like a
father (pp. 7-9 t.s.n. Hearing of December 13, 1973).
Accused Bautista's very weak alibi was that on the morning of December 13, 1970, when the crime was committed
he was sleeping in his cell (pp. 9-10 t.s.n. Hearing of December 13, 1973). Witness Antonio Juaningco, another
prisoner, tried to substantiate Bautista's alibi by testifying that on the morning of December 13, 1970, accused
Bautista was with him sleeping in cell no. 9 and went out because they were awakened by a commotion and then
saw the victim Beltran already dead (p. 21 t.s.n. Hearing of December 13, 1973).1äwphï1.ñët Accused Abuhin
when recalled to the witness stand did a complete somersault on his previous testimony implicating Bautista when
he stated that on that occasion he did not see Bautista (p. 28 t.s.n. Hearing of December 13, 1973). The trial court
did not commit any mistake in not giving credit to the alibi of accused Bautista, for aside from its inherent
weakness as a defense, unsupported as it is by credible evidence, his alibi cannot stand against the positive
identification made by prison guard Miranda, witness Mallari, and the very damaging sworn statements of his co-
accused Castillo and Daeng both of whom, by their plea of guilty, had been previously sentenced for the same
crime with which Bautista is charged. We consider of little significance the belated testimony of Castillo, after he
was convicted and sentenced, that Bautista was not a participant in the crime (pp. 2-6 t.s.n. Hearing of January
21, 1974). We are more inclined to give more credence to his sworn statement (Exh. "C-1") given on the very date
of the crime, considering that Castillo had pleaded guilty to the crime of murder and he has nothing more to lose in
subsequently repudiating his previous narration of the crime implicating his co-accused Bautista. It is likewise
considered of no moment that another witness, prisoner Benito Balagtas, testified that when the crime was
committed in the early morning of December 13, 1970, accused Bautista was sleeping in cell no. 13 (p. 4 t.s.n.
Hearing of March 8, 1974).1äwphï1.ñët It is very significant that while defense witness Antonio Juaningco testified
that on the morning of December 13, 1970, accused Bautista was with him sleeping in cell no. 9, this defense
witness Balagtas in turn testified that accused Bautista was sleeping in cell no. 13 on the very same occasion. What
a tragedy for the accused and a significant victory for truth that even the very witnesses presented to establish an
alibi for accused Bautista contradicted themselves on a very material point. Neither do We give credence to the
testimony of witness Ricardo Felix, another prisoner, that on the morning of December 13, 1970, immediately after
the killing of victim Beltran, he saw prisoner Daeng, Boy Coro and Rolando Castillo "poking a knife to Bautista" and
threatening said Bautista to admit the crime.
We consider it an exercise in futility to discuss further the alleged errors committed by the trial court in considering
as generic aggravating circumstances the presence of obvious ungratefulness and evident premeditation so as to
impose the maximum penalty of death, because Article 160 of the Revised Penal Code succintly provides that "any
person who shall commit a felony after having been convicted by final judgment, ..., or while serving the same,
shall be punished by the maximum period of the penalty prescribed by law for the new felony". In passing,
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however, it may be stated that the consideration of mitigating and aggravating circumstances is for the purpose of
fixing the proper penalty within the minimum, medium or maximum as provided by law, but We have no choice
here other than to impose the maximum because by mandate of Article 160 of the Revised Penal Code a person
convicted of a crime while serving sentence for a previous crime shall get the maximum of the penalty prescribed
by law for the new felony (murder), which is death, without further regard of the effect of mitigating or
aggravating circumstance, or the complete absence thereof.
The trial court correctly considered the qualifying circumstance of treachery in the commission of the crime of
murder. It was conclusively proven that the accused in a sudden, concerted and unprovoked act, all of them being
armed with improvised deadly weapons, stabbed the victim to death after pushing their cell door open, threatening
and throwing off-guard Miranda when the victim who was holding in both hands the bread and coffee intended for
the breakfast of the assailants was not in a position to defend himself from the unexpected assault.
As to the existence of evident premeditation, it was established by the following circumstances: (1) the sudden
concerted attack, perpetrated and calculated to throw off guard the intended victim as he was in the act of giving
food to the assailants, which attack necessarily must have been planned; (2) that all of the accused were armed
with improvised deadly weapons which they were not supposed to possess and which they must have secretly
prepared for a long time for committing the crime; and (3) the admission on the part of the accused in their sworn
statements that they killed the victim by "attacking first" because they had heard that the members of the rival
gang would liquidate them, leading to the conclusion that the accused must have planned how to counteract the
supposed attack of the rival gang by literally beating the latter to the draw.
The aggravating circumstance of obvious ungratefulness was present as the victim was suddenly attacked while in
the act of giving the assailants their bread and coffee for breakfast. Instead of being grateful to the victim, at least
by doing him no harm, they took advantage of his helplessness when his two arms were used for carrying their
food, thus preventing him from defending himself from the sudden attack.
IN THE LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, the requirements of moral certainty in the evaluation of
evidence have been more than adequately met. We have no other alternative than to affirm the penalty of death
imposed by the trial court, and all other parts of the judgment.
Costs against the accused.

G.R. No. L-38756 November 13, 1984


PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. vs. ROMUALDO CAPILLAS, ET AL.
This is an automatic review of the decision rendered by the defunct Circuit Criminal Court at Pasig, Rizal, in CCC-
VII-1335 Rizal, for murder.
ROMUALDO CAPILLAS and AQUILINO PACALA were accused of the crime of murder alleged to have been
committed as follows:
That on or about September 9, 1971, in the New Bilibid Prison, Muntinlupa, Rizal, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused while then, confined at the said institution,
conspiring, confederating and helping one another with treachery and evident premeditation, and each armed with
improvised deadly weapons did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously assault and wound therewith one
Patricio Gallardo, No. 39072-P a sentenced prisoner in the same institution, inflicting upon him the multiple stab
wounds, while then unarmed and unable to defend himself/themselves from the attack launched by the accused,
as a result of which the said Patricio Gallardo died instantly;
That the offense when committed by the above accused was attended by the aggravating circumstances of
recidivism in the case of both accused. (Expediente, p. 1.)
When the accused were arraigned on July 5, 1973, with the assistance of counsel, both pleaded GUILTY.
Thereafter, according to the trial court:
The accused were apprised by the Court of the consequence of their plea of guilty that there is no other penalty to
be meted upon them except death and the said accused manifested that although they are aware that they might
be punished with death, still they are pleading guilty to the crime they have committed.
Pursuant to the doctrine laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of People vs. Daeng, et al., G.R. No. L-34091,
January 30, 1973, the Court ordered the presentation of evidence to determine the degree of culpability of the
accused. (Id, p. 113.)
The trial court rendered the following judgment:
WHEREFORE, in view of the spontaneous and voluntary confession of guilt made by the accused Romualdo Capillas
and Aquilino Pacala, the Court finds them GUILTY, beyond reasonable doubt, of the crime of Murder in accordance
with Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as charged in the information, and hereby sentences them to suffer the
penalty of DEATH; to indemnify the heirs of the offended party in the amount of P12,000.00; to pay the amount of
P5,000.00 as moral damages; another P5,000.00 as exemplary damages; and to pay the costs. (Id., p. 118.)
The appellants do not dispute the factual findings of the trial court. The errors which they impute to said court
relate to the propriety of imposing the death penalty on them and ordering the payment of moral and exemplary
damages.
The People's version of the facts is as follows:
Romualdo Capillas and Aquilino Pacala are both inmates of the death row of the National Prisons at Muntinlupa (p.
2, tsn, November 28, 1973; p. 2, tsn, November 27, 1973). Romualdo Capillas has been confined in the national
penitentiary since 1964. He was sentenced to death for the crime of robbery in band with homicide by the Court of
First Instance of Samar (pp. 4-6, tsn, November 27, 1973; pp. 24 and 28, Records). Aquiline Pacala was sentenced
to death together with his brother by the Court of First Instance of Samar (pp. 8-9, tsn, November 28, 1973) for
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robbery with homicide (p. 24, Records). As of September 9, 1971, the date of the slaying of the victim in the
instant case, the decisions convicting both accused were still under automatic review by this Honorable Court (p. 6,
tsn, November 27, 1973; pp. 24, 28 & 30, Records).
Sometime before September 9, 1971, the victim Patricio Gallardo, also an inmate of Muntinlupa, was transferred
from his original cell to the so-called death row dormitory. His leg was chained when he was transferred there (p.
9, tsn, November 27, 1973). Accused Capillas was the squad leader of dormitory 1-D, the dormitory to which the
victim was transferred (p. 3, tsn, November 27, 1973).
On September 9, 1971 at about 1 1:00 A.M., the victim was in cell 32, dormitory 1-D (p. 3, tsn, November 27,
1973).
While the victim was seated near the door of his cell (Cell No. 32), accused Capillas stabbed him without any
warning, first in the stomach, then successively in different parts of the body (pp. 8-9, tsn, November 27, 1973;
Exhibit G).
Accused Pacala is one of the followers of accused Capillas (p. 7, tsn, November 28, 1973). Before and up to
September 9, 1971, Capillas' Batang Samar Leyte gang was fighting the Genuine Ilocano gang of Gallardo. (p. 12,
tsn, November 28, 1973). Capillas had previously told Pacala that he entertained ill feelings against the victim (p.
8, tsn, November 28, 1973). When he saw Capillas stabbing the victim, and with his previous knowledge of the ill
feeling entertained by Capillas against the victim, Pacala got out of his cell, took his weapon and also stabbed the
victim (p. 8, tsn, November 28, 1973) on the chest. At the time that the victim was being stabbed by the accused,
he was pleading for his life saying, 'Maawa na kayo sa akin' (p. 5, tsn, November 28, 1973), 'Huwag mo na akong
patayin' (p. 11, tsn, November 11, 1973). The accused, nevertheless, disregarded his plea for mercy and
proceeded to stab him. Because of the multiple wounds, death was immediate (p. 5, tsn, Oct. 27, 1973).
An autopsy was conducted by Dr. Ricardo G. Ibarrola of the NBI who found the following wounds:
Exhibit "A" (p. 96, Records)
Aside from abrasives
Inside wound, left hand, dorso-medial aspect, 6.5 cm, long running almost vertically, involving deeply the muscles.
Stab wounds, elliptical in shape, with cleancut edges, one of the extremities of which is blunt and the other sharp.
1. Left mammary region, medial aspect, level of the third intercostal space along the parasternal line, 4.8 cm. from
the anterior midline, 1.8 cm. long, running downwards medially, superior extremity, of which is sharp, directed
slightly upwards, medially and backwards, involving among others the soft tissues ... 12.0 cm. depth.
2. Left inframary region ...
3. Left infraxillary region — 15.0 cm. depth.
4. Left infra-axillary line — 9.0 cm. depth.
5. Left hypochondriac region — 11 cm. depth.
6. Umbilican region — 9.0 cm. depth.
7. Right arm — 2.3 cm. depth.
8. Left forearm — 3.5 cm. depth.
9. Left thigh — 7.0 cm. depth.
10. Left thigh — 9.0 cm. depth.
11. Left thigh — 6.0 cm. depth.
12. Left thigh — 10.0 cm.depth.
(Brief, pp. 3-6.)
The trial court appreciated in favor of the accused the mitigating circumstances of voluntary surrender and plea of
guilty. Nonetheless the death penalty was imposed on them because, according to the court, "this being a case of
quasi-recidivism, as special aggravating circumstance, the same cannot be offset by any ordinary mitigating
circumstance because of the mandatory provision of Article 160 of the Revised Penal Code which specifically
provides that the offender shall be punished by the maximum period of the penalty prescribed by law for the new
felony. (Pp. vs. Perete, 58 O.G. 8628)." (Expediente, p. 118.)
The appellants claim, and the Solicitor General agrees, that Article 160 of the Revised Penal Code does not apply to
them. The codal provision reads as follows:
Art. 160. Commission of another crime during service of penalty imposed for another previous offense — Penalty.
— Besides the provisions of rule 5 of article 62, any person who shall commit a felony after having been convicted
by final judgment, before beginning to serve such sentence, or while serving the same, shall be punished by the
maximum period of the penalty prescribed by law for the new felony.
In the case at bar the appellants committed the crime of murder while they were confined at the New Bilibid Prison.
But such fact does not justify the application of Article 160 of the Revised Penal Code to them because the record is
bereft of any evidence introduced by the prosecution showing that they were serving sentence by virtue of final
judgments.
Romualdo Capillas had been sentenced to death for robbery in band with homicide by the Court of First Instance of
Samar but when he committed the murder on September 9, 1971, his sentence had not yet become final because
it was still under review by this Court.
As to Aquilino Pacala he admitted that he had been sentenced to death for a crime committed in Laya, Samar, and
that he had been previously convicted of trespass. But there is no evidence to the effect that when he took part in
killing Patricio Gallardo he was serving final sentence for the crime committed in Samar.
(The death sentence imposed on Romualdo Capillas was reduced to reclusion perpetua for lack of necessary votes
in a decision promulgated on October 21, 1981. See People vs. Capillas, L-27177, 108 SCRA 173. As to Aquiline
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Pacala the death sentence imposed on him was likewise reduced to reclusion perpetua in a decision promulgated
on August 15, 1974. See People vs. Pacala, L-26647, 58 SCRA 370).
It is true that the information alleges recidivism as an aggravating circumstance for the two accused. True it is also
that a plea of guilty is deemed as an admission of all the material allegations in the information including the
attendant circumstances. But in the instant case the trial court proceeded to receive evidence despite the plea of
guilty because of the serious nature of the offense and the evidence shows that the appellants are not recidivists.
The evidence, under the circumstances, must prevail over the admission.
The Solicitor General concedes that Capillas is entitled to two mitigating circumstances: voluntary surrender and
plea of guilty.
The Solicitor General concedes that Pacala is entitled to the mitigating circumstance of plea of guilty but denies
that he can invoke voluntary surrender because it is not supported by the evidence. The latter point is well-taken
because Pacala himself stated during the hearing that he did not surrender; he merely waited in his cell until prison
employees took him out.
The penalty for murder is reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death. Capillas has two mitigating
circumstances in his favor so that the penalty is reduced by one degree to prision mayor maximum to reclusion
temporal medium. As to Pacala who has one mitigating circumstance in his favor, the minimum period of the
penalty for murder is applicable.
The appellants claim that the trial court erred in awarding moral and exemplary damages. This claim appears to be
academic and would require no discussion in the light of their economic condition. Nonetheless, it is useful to state
that the relevant provisions of the Civil Code do authorize the award not only of compensatory or actual damages
in delicts and quasi-delicts but also of moral and exemplary damages. (See People vs. Pantoja, L-18793, Oct. 11,
1968, 25 SCRA 468.)
WHEREFORE, the judgment of the court a quo is modified; Romualdo Capillas is sentenced to an indeterminate
penalty of ten (10) years of prision mayor, as minimum, to fourteen (14) years of reclusion temporal, as
maximum; Aquilino Pacala is sentenced to an indeterminate of reclusion temporal, as minimum, to twenty (20)
years of reclusion temporal, as maximum; both shall indemnify, jointly and severally, the heirs of the deceased in
the amount of P30,000.00, and to pay the costs.
G.R. No. L-38176 January 22, 1980
PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. vs. ARTURO ALICIA
Before the Circuit Criminal Court, Seventh Judicial District, the accused, Arturo Alicia and Victor Bangayan, were
charged with the crimes of Murder and of Multiple Frustrated Murder (Criminal Case No. CCC-VII-1391-Rizal)
committed as follows:
That on or about the 2nd day of May, 1972, in the New Bilibid Prison, Muntinlupa, Rizal, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the aforenamed accused, while then confined at the said institution, each
armed with improvised deadly weapons, conspiring, confederating and acting together and mutually helping one
another, with treachery, evident premeditation and deliberate intent to kill – did then and there willfully, unlawfully
and feloniously assault, attack and stab:
1. Pedro Madjos, No. 76970-P
2. Felipe Macerin, No. 53421-P
3. Victorio Sansanan, No. 58203-P
4. Sulficio Sulina, No. 79723-P
all prisoners serving final sentences in the same institution while then unarmed and unable to defend themselves
from the attack launched by the accused thereby inflicting upon Pedro Madjos a stab wound which directly cause
his death and simultaneously inflicting upon Felipe Macerin, Victorio Sansanan and Sulficio Sulina stab wounds in
the different parts of their bodies, the accused having performed all the acts of execution which would produce the
offense of murder, but which nevertheless did not produce it by reason of causes independent of their will, that is
by the timely arrival of prison guards which deterred the accused from inflicting further injuries on their victims and
the timely and able assistance of the NBP Hospital Staff in treating the injured.
Contrary to law.
Upon arraignment, the accused, duly assisted by counsel, pleaded guilty to the charge. The trial court ordered a
mandatory presentation of the prosecution's evidence. Trial followed and on January 28, 1974, the lower court
rendered judgment, the dispositive portion of which reads, thus:
WHEREFORE, finding the accused, Victor Bangayan and Arturo Alicia, GUILTY, beyond reasonable doubt, of the
crime of Murder, as defined under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as charged in the information, the Court
hereby sentences them to suffer the penalty of DEATH; to indemnify the heirs of the victim, the amount of
P10,000.00 jointly and severally; to pay moral damages in the amount of P5,000.00 and another P5,000.00 as
exemplary damages, jointly and severally; and to pay their proportionate shares of the costs.
Likewise, finding the accused, Victor Bangayan and Arturo Alicia, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt, of the crime of
Multiple Frustrated Murder, as defined under Article 250 of the Revised Penal Code, as charged in the information,
the Court hereby sentences each one of them to suffer the penalty of TEN (10) YEARS AND ONE (1) DAY of prision
mayor, as minimum, to SEVENTEEN (17) YEARS AND FOUR (4) MONTHS of prision mayor as maximum, to
indemnify the heirs of the offended parties in the amount of P5,000.00 as moral damages and another P5,000.00,
as exemplary damages, jointly and severally: and to pay their proportionate shares of the costs.
xxx xxx xxx
The case is now before Us on automatic review pursuant to Rule 122, Section 9 of the Rules of Court.
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The prosecution presented as its witnesses Dr. Argente Alejandro, Tolentino Avelina, Francisco Cometa, Jr., Sulficio
Sulina, Loneida Panopio and Dr. Mariano Cueva, Jr..
Dr. Argente Alejandro, a physician employed in the Bureau of Prisons Hospital, testified that he treated Felipe
Macerin who sustained two lacerated wounds (two inches right midaxillary line and one-third inch around the right
elbow just above the distal portion all over the bone), both of which could have been caused by an improvised
weapon usually used by prisoners in Muntinlupa; that he sutured the wounds and gave the victim an IPS anti-
tetanus syrup and antibiotic five per cent dextrose and water; that Felipe Macerin had already been admitted to the
hospital for treatment of siptomiasis when these injuries were inflicted upon him; and that the injuries of Macerin
had been cured and he recovered, but sixteen days after the stabbing incident he died of Maxonia (the doctor's
certificate of the NBP Hospital shows that the cause of his death is "Carcinoma-Liver").
He further testified that aside from Felipe Macerin, he also treated Sulficio Sulina and Victorio Sansanan for injuries
resulting from the stabbing incident at Ward 3 of the NBP Hospital; that Sulficio Sulina sustained four (4) lacerated
wounds (one inch subcostal left parasternal line; one inch supra clavicular region right; two inches right elbow; and
two inches hyposgastrion); that he conducted an exploratory operation, suturing his urinary bladder which was
penetrated in the distal part of the elum and part of the dentary column; that the injuries of the internal organs of
Sulina would have been fatal without surgical intervention and that they could have been caused by an improvised
weapon used by prisoners; that Sulficio Sulina recovered from his injuries and was discharged on June 24, 1972;
and that Victorio Sansanan was treated by him for a superficial lacerated wound (one-half of an inch at the back
lever of the dentary parasipital area) which was not fatal.
Furthermore, he testified that another prisoner, Pedro Madjos died in the hospital and his cadaver was forwarded
to the Muntinlupa Board of Investigation for autopsy; that he examined the cadaver and saw one wound which is
1.5 cms., one foot long from the axillary line, which caused his death as it penetrated the heart.
Tolentino Avelina, an investigator in the Investigation Section of the New Bilibid Prisons, declared that he
investigated a stabbing incident which transpired on May 2, 1972 inside Ward 3 of the New Bilibid Prisons Hospital
wherein Pedro Madjos Felipe Macerin, Victorio Sansanan and Sulficio Sulina were attacked and stabbed by other
prison inmates, and that said investigation was reduced in writing (Exhibit "B"). He declared that when he arrived
at the office before 8:00 o'clock in the morning on said date, he was informed of the stabbing incident so he
immediately proceeded to Ward 3 of the NBP Hospital to investigate and determine who the victims were and their
assailants. In the court of his investigation he took written statements from appellant Arturo Alicia on May 2, 1972
(E exhibit "C") wherein the latter admitted before him that he (Alicia) was the one who stabbed Pedro Madjos,
Victorio Sansanan and Felipe Macerin (Exhibit "C-2") with an improvised weapon (Exhibit "D"), and from Victorio
Sansanan on July 1, 1972 (Exhibit "E"), one of the victims in that incident, wherein Sansanan Identified his
assailant as Arturo Alicia. Sulficio Sulina executed a written statement on June 19, 1972 (Exhibit "F"), pointing to
Victor Bangayan (Exhibit "F-2") as his assailant.
Francisco Cometa, Jr., a prison guard in the Investigation Section of the Bureau of Prisons, testified that he
investigated prisoner Victor Bangayan on May 2, 1972, in connection with the stabbing incident at the NBP Hospital
and reduced the investigation in writing (Exhibit "I"); that in that statement, Bangayan admitted that he was one
of those who attacked the victims (Exhibit "I-2") and that he used an improvised deadly weapon (Exhibit "I-3");
that appellants explained that they attacked and stabbed their victims because the latter were members of the
rival Batang City Jail Gang, and were planning to attack them and other members of the Commando Gang.
Sulficio Sulina, one of the victims and an inmate in the New Bilibid Prisons, testified that on May 2, 1972, at about
5:00 o'clock in the morning, while confined in the hospital, he was stabbed five times by appellant Victor
Bangayan.
Leonida Panopio, a resident physician, testified that on May 2, 1972, she learned about a stabbing incident where
the victims were Madjos, Macerin, Sansanan and Sulina, and about the death of Madjos, and that she accordingly
prepared a death report (Exhibit "A-4").
Mariano Cueva, Jr., a physician and medicolegal officer of the NBI, testified that he personally conducted an
autopsy on the cadaver of Pedro Madjos and his post-mortem findings are embodied in his Necropsy Report No. N-
72-845 (Exhibit "L"); that according to his findings, the stab would found on the left side of the abdomen of the
late Pedro Madjos was 14 cms. from the center line and 17 cms. above the hipbone, 1-½ inches in width,
penetrating the body of the left, about 15 cms., involving vital structures and causing serious or severe
hemorrhage which caused his death; that the external characteristic of the wound indicates that the stabbing
instrument was sharp, pointed with double edges, like a dagger, a double edged balisong, a knife or any similar
stabbing instrument; that from the direction of the wounds, it appears that the assailant was in front of the victim
when he attacked him; that the death could have occurred several minutes or an hour after the injury was
inflicted; and that it is possible that the attack was sudden and unexpected in view of the absence of any sign that
the victim attempted to parry the blow.
During the trial, the appellants testified in their behalves.
Appellant Victor Bangayan, an inmate of the New Bilibid Prisons, Muntinlupa, Rizal, testified that he is presently
confined at the New Bilibid Prisons, serving sentence for the crime of robbery holdup and at the same time
awaiting the outcome of his appeal from a judgment of conviction in a murder case wherein he was sentenced to
suffer the penalty of death (G.R. No. L-36234, submitted for decision with this tribunal). He declared that when the
incident took place, he was confined at the NBP Hospital due to swollen jaw and recuperating from fever. He
claimed that he stabbed Madjos because they quarreled in a gambling game wherein the latter cheated him After
he stabbed the victim he surrendered voluntarily to the prison authorities and voluntarily gave his statement to the
investigators.
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Arturo Alicia, also an inmate of the New Bilibid Prisons, testified that he is serving sentence for the crime of
robbery he committed in Manila; that on May 2, 1972, he had a drinking spree with his companions, using alcohol
which they bought from a hospital attendant; that after drinking he went to his "tarima"; that all he knew was that
he stabbed Pedro Madjos but he had no intention of killing him; that on the date of the incident he was confined in
the hospital because he was vomiting blood; that he also stabbed Victorio Sansanan and Felipe Macerin; and that
after the incident he surrendered to the authorities and voluntarily gave his statement to them.
It has been sufficiently established by the evidence that in the early morning of May 2, 1972, Pedro Madjos, Felipe
Macerin, Victorio Sansanan and Sulficio Sulina, all persons serving sentences for one reason or another and
confined in Ward 3 of the prison hospital, were attacked and stabbed by appellants who were armed with
improvised pointed instruments. This resulted in the death of Pedro Madjos and the infliction of numerous stab
wounds on the persons of Macerin, Sansanan and Sulina injuries which could have caused their death were it not
for the timely arrival of prison guards and for the medical assistance rendered to them by the prison hospital
personnel. Macerin was about to plug in an electric iron when he was stabbed by prisoner Arturo Alicia. Pedro
Madjos was massaging the body of Victorio Sansanan, who was then suffering from asthma, when he and Victorio
were stabbed by Arturo Alicia. Sulficio Sulina was stabbed by Victor Bangayan while he was asleep on a mat laid on
the cement floor of Ward 3, adjacent to the attendant's table. Appellants admitted to the investigators that they
stabbed the victims because of the reported plan of the latter to attack them the following day. Hence, in the
evening of May 1, 1972, appellants Alicia and Bangayan decided to attack the members of the Batang City Jail
Gang early the following morning.
In her brief, counsel de oficio for the appellants, Atty. Eugenia Banzon Jose contends that appellants acted in
selfdefense in view of the imminent attack upon them by the rival gang that none of the elements which would
qualify the crime as murder had been proven; that the aggravating circumstance of recidivism should not have
been applied, and on the contrary, appellants should have been given the benefit of the mitigating circumstances
of voluntary surrender and plea of guilty.
To begin with, a plea of guilty admits all the material allegations of the Information, including the attendant
circumstances qualifying and/or aggravating the crime. Prescinding from the foregoing, self-defense is an
affirmative allegation which the accused must prove with sufficient, satisfactory and convincing evidence. 1 Here,
no such evidence has been presented. To support the claim that the offense was not qualified by treachery, the
counsel de oficio makes capital of the testimony of Dr. Cueva to the effect that when Pedro Madjos was stabbed,
his assailant was in front of him, hence the attack on the victim was face to face. But the same witness, Dr. Cueva,
also testified that it was possible that the attack was sudden and unexpected because of the absence of any sign
that the victim attempted to parry the stabbing thrust, and appellants admitted that to insure the success of their
ploy they suddenly attacked their victims during the early dawn of May 2, 1972. As a matter of fact, Sulficio Sulina
was still sleeping on the floor when he was stabbed five times by appellant Victor Bangayan.
The existence of the qualifying circumstance of premeditation is shown by the fact that as early as the evening of
May 1, 1972, appellants agreed to attack their victims, which plan they executed in the early morning of the
following day. From the time they agreed on their plan until dawn of the next day when the plan was implemented,
sufficient time had elapsed to allow appellants to meditate and reflect upon their plan and the possible
consequences of their act. This decision on the. part of appellants to attack their victims, was, therefore, the result
of meditation, calculation or reflection. 2
Appellants' counsel de oficio makes much ado about the fact that the trial court questioned appellants as to the fact
of their previous conviction. This, she contends, violated the constitutional rights of the appellants against self-
incrimination.
The trial court's question as to the nature of the offense for the commission of which appellants were serving
sentence did not call for incriminating answers. The fact that appellants, at the time of the commission of the
crime, were prisoners in the New Bilibid Prisons serving sentence by final judgment is not disputed. The status of
appellants as such appears in their extrajudicial confessions (Exhibits "C" and "1") which were submitted in
evidence. Since the Information alleges that appellants committed the afore-mentioned crime "while then confined"
in the New Bilibid Prisons, and the evidence of the prosecution shows that they were inmates of the New Bilibid
Prisons serving sentence by virtue of final judgment, it was proper for the trial court to inquire as to the nature of
the offense for which they were serving sentence.
The lower court correctly found the existence of the special aggravating circumstance of quasi-recidivism, defined
under Article 160 of the Revised Penal Code. Article 160 of the Revised Penal Code provides:
ART. 160. Commission of another crime during service of penalty imposed for another previous offense. — Penalty.
— Besides the provisions of rule 5 of article 62, any person who shall commit a felony after having been convicted
by final judgment, before beginning to serve such sentence, or while serving the same, sham be punished by the
maximum period of the penalty prescribed by law for the new felony.
Quasi-recidivism is a special aggravating circumstance which imposes the maximum of the penalty for the new
offense. It makes no difference, for the purpose of the effect of quasi-recidivism under Article 160 of the Revised
Penal Code, whether the crime for which an accused is serving sentence at the time of the commission of the
offense charged, falls under the said Code or under special law. 3 Quasi-recidivism is punished with more severity
than recidivism proper because the aggravating circumstance of recidivism, as any other aggravating
circumstance, may be offset by a mitigating circumstance present in the commission of the crime, whereas, in a
case of quasi-recidivism the maximum degree of the penalty prescribed by law for the crime committed should
always be imposed irrespective of the presence of any mitigating circumstance.
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In the case at bar, both appellants Arturo Alicia and Victor Bangayan were serving sentence for robbery by virtue
of final judgment when they committed the new felony. The existence of quasi-recidivism renders moot the
argument Of appellants' counsel that the trial court failed to consider certain mitigating circumstances which should
have entitled the appellants to a lower penalty. Although the counsel de oficio of appellants is correct in her
statement that after the commission of the crime appellants voluntarily surrendered to the authorities and
executed statements admitting their participation, and that both pleaded guilty to the Offense, those circumstances
notwithstanding, the imposition of the supreme penalty is in order. 4 However, for lack of votes, the penalty to be
meted the appellants must be reduced to reclusion perpetua.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the judgment of the trial court is AFFIRMED, with the modification that the
appellants are hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. The indemnity of P1,000.00 in the
murder case is hereby raised to P12,000.00.
G.R. No. L-25177 October 31, 1969
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. NICOLAS LAYSON, ET AL.
This is an automatic review of the decision dated September 25, 1965 of the Court of First Instance of Davao in
criminal case 8495 imposing the death penalty on Nicolas Layson, Cezar Ragub, Cezar Fugoso and Joventino
Garces.
On January 17, 1964 when these four accused stabbed Regino Gasang to death, they were inmates of the Davao
Penal Colony serving sentences of conviction for the following crimes:
Nicolas Layson — kidnapping with robbery, homicide, homicide and theft;

Cezar Ragub — frustrated murder and homicide;

Cezar Fugoso — robbery in an inhabited house and theft;

Joventino Garces — robbery hold-up and robbery in an uninhabited house.


In the early morning of that hapless day, at about 4:45 o'clock, the four accused, armed with bladed weapons,
entered the cell where the unsuspecting victim, prisoner Regino Gasang, was. Layson locked the door of the room.
Without warning and acting in concert they then swiftly took turns in stabbing Gasang. They thereafter barricaded
themselves, refusing to surrender to the trustees who had come to the scene of the crime, agreeing to surrender
only to Vicente Afurong, the supervising prison guard. Afurong arrived, identified himself, and assured them of
their safety, whereupon they handed their weapons through the hole of the barricaded door and surrendered
themselves.
Gasang died shortly after being brought to the prison hospital. Death was caused by severe internal and external
hemorrhage and shock, all secondary to multiple stab wounds.
Layson, Ragub and Fugoso admitted that they killed Gasang because the latter urinated on their coffee cups a
number of times. Garces stated that he killed Gasang because the latter spat on him a week before. The four
plotted to kill Gasang a few days prior to the actual slaying.
On March 25, 1964 all the accused were indicted for the crime of murder. The information recites:
The undersigned accuses Nicolas Layson, Cezar Ragub, Cezar Fugoso and Joventino Garces of the crime of Murder,
under Art. 248, in relation to Art. 160, of the Revised Penal Code, committed as follows:
That on or about January 17, 1964, in the Davao Penal Colony, Municipality of Panabo, Province of Davao,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, the above-mentioned accused, while then being convicts
serving in the said Davao Penal Colony their corresponding sentences of conviction by reason of final judgment
imposed upon them, conspiring and confederating together and helping one another, armed with sharp-pointed
instruments, with treachery, evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength, and with intent to kill, did then
and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and stab with said weapons Regino Gasang, their co-
inmate in the said Colony, thereby inflicting upon him serious injuries which caused his death; with the aggravating
circumstances of (1) recidivism with respect to the accused Nicolas Layson and Cezar Ragub, and (2) all of them
with two or more prior convictions.
Upon arraignment, all the four accused, assisted by counsel de officio, freely and spontaneously pleaded guilty.
Notwithstanding the plea of guilty, the court a quo proceeded to receive testimony because of the gravity of the
offense. On September 30, 1965 the court rendered its decision, the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principals of the crime of murder,
defined and penalized under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, with the mitigating circumstance of plea of
guilty in favor of all of them and the aggravating circumstances of recidivism and having been previously punished
for two or more crimes to which the law attaches a lighter penalty with respect to the accused Nicolas Layson and
Cezar Ragub, the aggravating circumstance of having been punished with two or more offenses to which the law
attaches a lighter penalty with respect to the accused Cezar Fugoso and Joventino Garces and the aggravating
circumstances consisting of any two of the qualifying circumstances alleged in the information which are treachery,
evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength for one is sufficient to qualify the crime to murder and the
special aggravating circumstance of having committed the crime charged while serving the penalty imposed upon
them for previous offenses as regards all the accused and conformably with Article 160 of the Revised Penal Code,
hereby sentences all of them to DEATH, to indemnify jointly and severally the heirs of the deceased Regino Gasang
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in the amount of Six Thousand Pesos (P6,000.00) without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency by reason
of the penalty imposed and to pay the costs proportionately.
For the purposes of this review, suffice it to consider, on the one hand, the aggravating circumstances of evident
premeditation and treachery and the special aggravating circumstance of quasi-recidivism, and, on the other, the
mitigating circumstance of plea of guilty.
We reject the recommendation of the Solicitor General that the mitigating circumstance of passion and obfuscation
be considered in favor of all the accused. For this circumstance to exist, it is necessary that the act which gave rise
to the obfuscation be not removed from the commission of the offense by a considerable length of time, during
which period the perpetrator might recover his normal equanimity.1
Three of the accused admitted that they harbored ill-feeling against Gasang because the latter urinated on their
coffee cups several times, all these taking place at least ten days before the actual slaying. Gasang spat on Garces
a week before the day of the killing. All of the accused plotted to kill Gasang a few days before January 17, 1964.
In the light of these circumstances, it is evident that sufficient time had elapsed during which the accused regained
their equanimity. They moved their evil scheme forward to consummation after obtaining weapons from their
fellow inmates whose aid they had solicited. The aforenarrated circumstances negate the presence of passion and
obfuscation; upon the contrary, they prove the attendance of the aggravating circumstance of evident
premeditation.
Treachery attended the commission of the crime. The necropsy report (exh. I) and the diagram (exh. J), plus the
testimony of Dr. Guillermo de Guzman, conclusively prove that the victim was killed in a manner insuring utter
suddenness and complete surprise in the execution of the offense, with resultant incapability of the victim to offer
resistance. That there was abuse of superior strength would suffice to qualify the crime to murder, but this
circumstance must be considered as absorbed in treachery.2
Treachery qualifies the killing to murder;3 evident premeditation becomes a mere generic aggravating
circumstance4 which is offset by the mitigating circumstance of plea of guilty. A qualifying circumstance not only
gives the crime its proper and exclusive name but also places the author thereof in such a situation as to deserve
no other penalty than that specially prescribed for said crime.5
The special aggravating circumstance of quasi-recidivism (art. 160, Rev. Penal Code) was correctly considered
against all the accused, who, at the time of the commission of the offense, were undoubtedly serving their
respective sentences for previous convictions. Quasi-recidivism has for its effect the punishment of the accused
with the maximum period of the penalty prescribed by law for the new felony, and cannot be offset by an ordinary
mitigating circumstance.6
When they pleaded guilty to the charge of murder, all the accused admitted all the material facts and
circumstances alleged in the information. The crime of murder is punished with reclusion temporal in its maximum
period to death. Because of the attendance of the special aggravating circumstance of quasi-recidivism, this Court
is left with no alternative to affirming the death penalty imposed by the court a quo.
It was error for the trial judge to consider against the accused the aggravating circumstance of having been
previously punished for two or more crimes to which the law attaches lighter penalties because the said
aggravating circumstance of "reiteracion" requires that the offender against whom it is considered shall have
served out his sentences for the prior offenses. Here all the accused were yet serving their respective sentences at
the time of the commission of the murder.
Concurrence in the grim view that we take of this case is given by Attorney Potenciano Villegas, Jr., counsel de
officio for the four accused, who unqualifiedly recommends affirmance of the judgment a quo.
It is indeed a lethal hand that pens affirmance of a death sentence, but ours is the inescapable duty to enforce the
inexorable mandate of the law.
ACCORDINGLY, the judgment a quo imposing the death penalty on Nicolas Layson, Cezar Ragub, Cezar Fugoso and
Joventino Garces, is affirmed. The indemnification to the heirs of the victim, Regino Gasang, is hereby increased to
P12,000,7 to be paid jointly and severally by the four accused. Costs de officio.
BAR QUESTION TITLE THREE

Art 134; Rebellion; Politically Motivated; Committed by NPA Members (1998)


On May 5, 1992, at about 6:00 a.m., while Governor Alegre of Laguna was on board his car traveling along the
National Highway of Laguna, Joselito and Vicente shot him on the head resulting in his instant death. At that time,
Joselito and Vicente were members of the liquidation squad of the New People's Army and they killed the governor
upon orders of their senior officer. Commander Tiago. According to Joselito and Vicente,
they were ordered to kill Governor Alegre because of his corrupt practices. If you were the prosecutor, what crime
will you charge Joselito and Vicente? [5%J
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
If I were the prosecutor, I would charge Joselito and Vicente with the crime of rebellion, considering that the killers
were members of the liquidation squad of the New People's Army and the killing was upon orders of their
commander; hence, politically-motivated. This was the ruling in People vs. Avila, 207 SCRA 1568 involving identical
facts which is a movement taken judicial notice of as engaged in rebellion against the Government.
ALTERNATIVE ANSWER:
If I were the prosecutor, I would charge Joselito and Vicente for the crime of murder as the purpose of the killing
was because of his "corrupt practices ", which does not appear to be politically motivated. There is no indication as
to how the killing would promote or further the objective of the New Peoples Army. The killing is murder because it
was committed with treachery.
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ALTERNATIVE ANSWER:
The crime should be rebellion with murder considering that Art. 135 of the Revised Penal Code has already been
amended by Rep. Act No. 6968, deleting from said Article, common crimes which used to be punished as part and
parcel of the crime of rebellion. The ruling in People vs. Hernandez, 99 Phil. 515 (1994), that rebellion may not be
completed with common crimes committed in furtherance thereof, was because the common crimes were then
penalized in Art. 135 together with the rebellion, with one penalty and Art. 48 of the Rev. Penal Code cannot be
applied. Art. 135 of said Code remained exactly the same when the case of Enrile vs, Salazar, 186 SCRA 217
(1990) was resolved. Precisely for the reason that Art. 48 cannot apply because the common crimes were punished
as part of rebellion in Art. 135, that this Article was amended, deleting the common crimes therefrom. That the
common crimes were deleted from said Article, demonstrates a clear legislative intention to treat the common
crimes as distinct from rebellion and remove the legal impediment to the application of Art.
48. It is noteworthy that in Enrile vs. Salazar (supra) the Supreme Court said these:
"There is an apparent need to restructure the law on rebellion, either to raise the penalty therefor or to clearly
define and delimit the other offenses to be considered as absorbed thereby, so that if it cannot be conveniently
utilized as the umbrella for every sort of illegal activity undertaken in its name. The Court has no power to effect
such change, for it can only interpret the law as it stands at any given time, and what is needed lies beyond
interpretation. Hopefully, Congress will perceive the need for promptly seizing the initiative in this matter, which is
purely with in its province,"
And significantly the said amendment to Art. 135 of the Rev. Penal Code was made at around the time the ruling in
Salazar was handled down, obviously to
neutralize the Hernandez and the Salazar rulings. The amendment was sort of a rider to the coup d'etat law, Rep.
Act No 6968.
Art 134-A: Coup d’ etat & Rape; Frustrated (2005)
Taking into account the nature and elements of the felonies of coup d’ etat and rape, may one be criminally liable
for frustrated coup d’ etat or frustrated rape? Explain. (2%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
No, one cannot be criminally liable for frustrated coup d’ etat or frustrated rape because in coup d’ etat the mere
attack directed against the duly constituted authorities of the Republic of the Philippines, or any military camp or
installation, communication networks, public utilities or other facilities needed for the exercise and continued
possession of power would consummate the crime. The objective may not be to overthrow the government but
only to destabilize or paralyze the government through the seizure of facilities and utilities essential to the
continued possession and exercise of governmental powers.
On the other hand, in the crime of rape there is no frustrated rape it is either attempted or consummated rape. If
the accused who placed himself on top of a woman, raising her skirt and unbuttoning his pants, the endeavor to
have sex with her very apparent, is guilty of Attempted rape. On the other hand, entry on the labia or lips of the
female organ by the penis, even without rupture of the hymen or laceration of the vagina, consummates the crime
of rape. More so, it has long abandoned its “stray” decision in People vs. Erina 50 Phil 998 where the accused was
found guilty of Frustrated rape.
Art 134-A; Coup d’etat (2002)
If a group of persons belonging to the armed forces makes a swift attack, accompanied by violence, intimidation
and threat against a vital military installation for the purpose of seizing power and taking over such installation,
what crime or crimes are they guilty of? (3%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
The perpetrators, being persons belonging to the Armed Forces, would be guilty of the crime of coup d'etat, under
Article 134-A of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, because their attack was against vital military installations
which are essential to the continued possession and exercise of governmental powers, and their purpose is to seize
power by taking over such installations.
B. If the attack is quelled but the leader is unknown, who shall be deemed the leader thereof? (2%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
The leader being unknown, any person who in fact directed the others, spoke for them, signed receipts and other
documents issued in their name, or performed similar acts, on behalf of the group shall be deemed the leader of
said coup d'etat (Art 135, R.P.C.)
Art 134-A; Coup d’etat; New Firearms Law (1998)
1. How is the crime of coup d'etat committed? [3%]
2. Supposing a public school teacher participated in a coup d'etat using an unlicensed firearm. What crime or
crimes did he commit? [2%]
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
1. The crime of coup d'etat is committed by a swift attack, accompanied by violence, intimidation, threat, strategy
or stealth against the duly constituted authorities of the Republic of the Philippines, military camps and
installations, communication networks, public utilities and facilities needed for the exercise and continued
possession of power, carried out singly or simultaneously anywhere in the Philippines by persons belonging to the
military or police or holding public office, with or without civilian support or participation, for the purpose of seizing
or diminishing state power. (Art 134-A, RPC).
2. The public school teacher committed only coup d'etat for his participation therein. His use of an unlicensed
firearm is absorbed in the coup d'etat under the new firearms law (Rep. Act No. 8294).
Art 136; Conspiracy to Commit Rebellion (1994)
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VC, JG. GG and JG conspired to overthrow the Philippine Government. VG was recognized as the titular head of the
conspiracy. Several meetings were held and the plan was finalized. JJ, bothered by his conscience, confessed to
Father Abraham that he, VG, JG and GG have conspired to overthrow the government. Father Abraham did not
report this information to the proper authorities. Did Father Abraham commit a crime? If so, what crime was
committed? What is his criminal liability?
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
No, Father Abraham did not commit a crime because the conspiracy involved is one to commit rebellion, not a
conspiracy to commit treason which makes a person criminally liable under Art 116, RFC. And even assuming that
it will fall as misprision of treason, Father Abraham is exempted from criminal liability under Art. 12, par. 7, as his
failure to report can be considered as due to "insuperable cause", as this involves the sanctity and inviolability of a
confession.
Conspiracy to commit rebellion results in criminal liability to the co-conspirators, but not to a person who learned of
such and did not report to the proper authorities (US vs. Vergara, 3 Phil. 432; People vs. Atienza. 56 Phil. 353).
Art 148; Direct Assault vs. Resistance & Disobedience (2001)
A, a teacher at Mapa High School, having gotten mad at X, one of his pupils, because of the latter's throwing paper
clips at his classmates, twisted his right ear. X went out of the classroom crying and proceeded home located at
the back of the school. He reported to his parents Y and Z what A had done to him. Y and Z immediately proceeded
to the school building and because they were running and talking in loud voices, they were seen by the barangay
chairman, B, who followed them as he suspected that an untoward incident might happen. Upon seeing A inside
the classroom, X pointed him out to his father, Y, who administered a fist blow on A, causing him to fall down.
When Y was about to kick A, B rushed towards Y and pinned both of the latter's arms. Seeing his father being held
by B, X went near and punched B on the face, which caused him to lose his grip on Y. Throughout this incident, Z
shouted words of encouragement at Y, her husband, and also threatened to slap A. Some security guards of the
school arrived, intervened and surrounded X, Y and Z so that they could be investigated in the principal's office.
Before leaving, Z passed near A and threw a small flower pot at him but it was deflected by B. a) What, if any, are
the respective criminal liability of X Y and Z? (6%) b) Would your answer be the same if B were a barangay tanod
only? (4%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
a) X is liable for Direct Assault only, assuming the physical injuries inflicted on B, the Barangay Chairman, to be
only slight and hence, would be absorbed in the direct assault. A Barangay Chairman is a person in authority
(Art. 152, RPC) and in this case, was performing his duty of maintaining peace and order when attacked.
Y is liable for the complex crimes of Direct Assault With Less Serious Physical Injuries for the fist blow on A, the
teacher, which caused the latter to fall down. For purposes of the crimes in Arts. 148 and 151 of the Revised Penal
Code, a teacher is considered a person in authority, and having been attacked by Y by reason of his performance of
official duty, direct assault is committed with the resulting less serious physical injuries completed. Z, the mother
of X and wife of Y may only be liable as an accomplice to the complex crimes of direct assault with less serious
physical injuries committed by Y. Her participation should not be considered as that of a coprincipal, since her
reactions were only incited by her relationship to X and Y. as the mother of X and the wife of Y.
b) If B were a Barangay Tanod only, the act of X of laying hand on him, being an agent of a person in authority
only, would constitute the crime of Resistance and Disobedience under Article 151, since X, a high school pupil,
could not be considered as having acted out of contempt for authority but more of helping his father get free from
the grip of B. Laying hand on an agent of a person in authority is not ipso facto direct assault, while it would always
be direct assault if done to a person in authority in defiance to the latter is exercise of authority.
Art 148; Direct Assault; Teachers & Professors (2002)
A, a lady professor, was giving an examination. She noticed B, one of the students, cheating. She called the
student's attention and confiscated his examination booklet, causing embarrassment to him. The following
day, while the class was going on, the student, B, approached A and, without any warning, slapped her. B would
have inflicted further injuries on A had not C, another student, come to A's rescue and prevented B from continuing
his attack. B turned his ire on C and punched the latter. What crime or crimes, if any, did B commit? Why? (5%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
B committed two (2) counts of direct assault: one for slapping the professor, A, who was then conducting classes
and thus exercising authority; and another one for the violence on the student C, who came to the aid of the said
professor.
By express provision of Article 152, in relation to Article 148 of the Revised Penal Code, teachers and professors of
public or duly recognized private schools, colleges and universities in the actual performance of their professional
duties or on the occasion of such performance are deemed persons in authority for purposes of the crimes of direct
assault and of resistance and disobedience in Articles 148 and 151 of said Code. And any person who comes to the
aid of persons in authority shall be deemed an agent of a person in authority. Accordingly, the attack on C is, in the
eyes of the law, an attack on an agent of a person in authority, not just an attack on a student.
Art 148; Persons in Authority/Agents of Persons in Authority (2000)
Who are deemed to be persons in authority and agents of persons in authority? (3%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
Persons in authority are persons directly vested with jurisdiction, whether as an individual or as a member of some
court or government corporation, board, or commission. Barrio captains and barangay chairmen are also deemed
persons in authority. (Article 152, RPC)
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Agents of persons in authority are persons who by direct provision of law or by election or by appointment by
competent authority, are charged with maintenance of public order, the protection and security of life and
property, such as barrio councilman, barrio policeman, barangay leader and any person who comes to the aid of
persons in authority (Art. 152, RPC),
In applying the provisions of Articles 148 and 151 of the Rev. Penal Code, teachers, professors and persons
charged with the supervision of public or duly recognized private schools, colleges and universities, and lawyers in
the actual performance of their professional duties or on the occasion of such performance, shall be deemed
persons in authority. (P.D. No. 299, and Batas Pambansa Blg. 873).
Art 156; Delivery of Prisoners from Jail (2002)
A, a detention prisoner, was taken to a hospital for emergency medical treatment. His followers, all of whom were
armed, went to the hospital to take him away or help him escape. The prison guards, seeing that they were
outnumbered and that resistance would endanger the lives of other patients, deckled to allow the prisoner to be
taken by his followers. What crime, if any, was committed by A's followers? Why? (3%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
A's followers shall be liable as principals in the crime of delivery of prisoner from Jail (Art. 156, Revised Penal
Code).
The felony is committed not only by removing from any jail or penal establishment any person confined therein but
also by helping in the escape of such person outside of said establishments by means of violence, intimidation,
bribery, or any other means.
Art 157; Evasion of Service of Sentence (1998)
Manny killed his wife under exceptional circumstances and was sentenced by the Regional Trial Court of Dagupan
City to suffer the penalty of destierro during which he was not to enter the city.
While serving sentence, Manny went to Dagupan City to visit his mother. Later, he was arrested in Manila.
1. Did Manny commit any crime? [3%]
2. If so, where should he be prosecuted? [2%]
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
1. Yes. Manny committed the crime of evasion of service of sentence when he went to Dagupan City, which he was
prohibited from entering under his sentence of destierro.
A sentence imposing the penalty of destierro is evaded when the convict enters any of the place/places he is
prohibited from entering under the sentence or come within the prohibited radius. Although destierro does not
involve imprisonment, it is nonetheless a deprivation of liberty. (People vs. Abilong. 82 Phil. 172).
2. Manny may be prosecuted in Dagupan City or in Manila where he was arrested. This is so because evasion of
service of sentence is a continuing offense, as the convict is a fugitive from justice in such case. (Parulan vs. Dir. of
Prisons, L-28519, 17 Feb. 1968)
Art. 134; Rebellion vs. Coup d'etat (2004)
Distinguish clearly but briefly: Between rebellion and coup d'etat, based on their constitutive elements as criminal
offenses.
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
REBELLION is committed when a multitude of persons rise publicly in arms for the purpose of overthrowing the
duly constituted government, to be replaced by a government of the rebels. It is carried out by force and violence,
but need not be participated in by any member of the military, national police or any public officer.
COUP D'ETAT is committed when members of the military, Philippine National Police, or public officer,
46 of 86
acting as principal offenders, launched a swift attack thru strategy, stealth, threat, violence or intimidation against
duly constituted authorities of the Republic of the Philippines, military camp or installation, communication
networks, public facilities or utilities needed for the exercise and continued possession of governmental powers, for
the purpose of seizing or diminishing state powers.
Unlike rebellion which requires a public uprising, coup d'etat may be carried out singly or simultaneously and the
principal offenders must be members of the military, national police or public officer, with or without civilian
support. The criminal objective need not be to overthrow the existing government but only to destabilize or
paralyze the existing government.
Complex Crime; Direct Assault with murder (2000)
Because of the approaching town fiesta in San Miguel, Bulacan, a dance was held in Barangay Camias. A, the
Barangay Captain, was invited to deliver a speech to start the dance. While A was delivering his speech. B, one of
the guests, went to the middle of the dance floor making obscene dance movements, brandishing a knife and
challenging everyone present to a fight. A approached B and admonished him to keep quiet and not to disturb the
dance and peace of the occasion. B, instead of heeding the advice of A, stabbed the latter at his back twice when A
turned his back to proceed to the microphone to continue his speech. A fell to the ground and died. At the time of
the incident A was not armed. What crime was committed? Explain. (2%)
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
The complex crime of direct assault with murder was committed. A, as a Barangay Captain, is a person in authority
and was acting in an official capacity when he tried to maintain peace and order during the public dance in the
Barangay, by admonishing B to keep quiet and not to disturb the dance and peace of the occasion. When B,
instead of heeding A's advice, attacked the latter, B acted in contempt and lawless defiance of authority
constituting the crime of direct assault, which characterized the stabbing of A. And since A was stabbed at the back
when he was not in a position to defend himself nor retaliate, there was treachery in the stabbing. Hence, the
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death caused by such stabbing was murder and having been committed with direct assault, a complex crime of
direct assault with murder was committed by B.
Art 148; Direct Assault with murder (1995)
Pascual operated a rice thresher in Barangay Napnud where he resided. Renato, a resident of the neighboring
Barangay Guihaman, also operated a mobile rice thresher which he often brought to Barangay Napnud to thresh
the palay of the farmers there. This was bitterly resented by Pascual, one afternoon Pascual, and his two sons
confronted Renato and his men who were operating their mobile rice thresher along a feeder road in Napnud. A
heated argument ensued. A barangay captain who was
Criminal Law Bar Examination Q & A (1994-2006)
fetched by one of Pascual's men tried to appease Pascual and Renato to prevent a violent confrontation. However,
Pascual resented the intervention of the barangay captain and hacked him to death. What crime was committed by
Pascual? Discuss fully.
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
Pascual committed the complex crime of homicide with assault upon a person in authority (Arts. 148 and 249 in
relation to Art, 48, RPC). A barangay chairman, is in law (Art. 152), a person in authority and if he is attacked
while in the performance of his official duties or on the occasion thereof the felony of direct assault is committed.
Art. 48, RPC, on the other hand, provides that if a single act produces two or more grave or less grave felonies, a
complex crime is committed. Here, the single act of the offender in hacking the victim to death resulted in two
felonies, homicide which is grave and direct assault which is less grave.
Criminal Liability; Tumultous Affray (1997)
During a town fiesta, a free-for-all fight erupted in the public plaza. As a result of the tumultuous affray, A
sustained one fatal and three superficial stab wounds. He died a day after. B, C, D and E were proven to be
participants in the "rumble", each using a knife against A, but it could not be ascertained who among them inflicted
the mortal injury. Who shall be held criminally liable for the death of A and for what?
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
B, C, D, and E being participants in the tumultuous affray and having been proven to have inflicted serious physical
injuries, or at least, employed violence upon A, are criminally liable for the latter's death. And because it cannot be
ascertained who among them inflicted the mortal injury on A, there being a free-for-all fight or tumultuous affray.
B, C, D, and E are all liable for the crime of death caused in a tumultuous affray under Article 251 of the Revised
Penal Code.
Criminal Liability; Tumultuous Affray (2003)
In a free-for-all brawl that ensued after some customers inside a night club became unruly, guns were fired by a
group, among them A and B, that finally put the customers back to their senses. Unfortunately, one customer died.
Subsequent investigation revealed that A's gunshot had inflicted on the victim a slight wound that did not cause
the deceased's death nor materially contribute to it. It was B's gunshot that inflicted a fatal wound on the
deceased. A contended that his liability should, if at all, be limited to slight physical injury. Would you agree? Why?
6%
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
No, I beg to disagree with A's contention that his liability should be limited to slight physical injury only. He should
be held liable for attempted homicide because he inflicted said injury with the use of a firearm which is a lethal
weapon. Intent to kill is inherent in the use of a firearm. (Araneta, Jr. v. Court of Appeals, 187 SCRA 123 [1990])
ALTERNATIVE ANSWER:
Yes, I would agree to A's contention that his criminal liability should be for slight physical injury only, because he
fired his gun only to pacify the unruly customers of the night club and therefore, without intent to kill. B's gunshot
that inflicted a fatal wound on the deceased may not be imputed to A because conspiracy cannot exist when there
is a free-for-all brawl or tumultuous affray. A and B are liable only for their respective act
Death under Exceptional Circumstances (2005)
Pete, a security guard, arrived home late one night after rendering overtime. He was shocked to see Flor, his wife,
and Benjie, his best friend, completely naked having sexual intercourse. Pete pulled out his service gun and shot
and killed Benjie. Pete was charged with murder for the death of Benjie. Pete contended that he acted in defense of
his honor and that, therefore, he should be acquitted of the crime.
The court found that Benjie died under exceptional circumstances and exonerated Pete of the crime, but sentenced
him to destierro, conformably with Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code. The court also ordered Pete to pay
indemnity to the heirs of the victim in the amount of P50,000.00. (5%)
Under Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code, is destierro a penalty? Explain.
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
In the case of People v. Abarca, G.R. No. 74433, September 14, 1987, the Court ruled that Article 247 does not
define a felony. However, it went on to state that the penalty is merely banishment of the accused, intended for his
protection. Punishment, therefore, is not inflicted on the accused.
ALTERNATIVE ANSWER:
Yes. Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code does not define and provide for a specific crime but grants a privilege or
benefit to the accused for the killing of another or the infliction of Serious Physical Injuries. Destierro is a
punishment whereby a convict is banished to a certain place and is prohibited from entering or coming near that
place designated in the sentence, not less than 25 kms. (People v. Araquel, G.R. No. L-12629, December 9, 1959)
Did the court correctly order Pete to pay indemnity despite his exoneration under Article 247 of the Revised Penal
Code? Explain.
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SUGGESTED ANSWER:
Yes, because the privilege defined under this Article exempts the offender from criminal liability but not from civil
liability. (People v. Abarca, G.R, No. L-74483, September 14, 1987; Art. 12, Revised Penal Code)
Illegal Possession of Firearms – RA 8294 (1998)
Supposing a public school teacher participated in a coup d'etat using an unlicensed firearm. What crime or crimes
did he commit? [2%]
SUGGESTED ANSWER:
The public school teacher committed only coup d'etat for his participation therein. His use of an unlicensed firearm
is absorbed in the coup d'etat under the new firearms law (Rep. Act No. 8294). A prosecution for illegal possession
of firearm under the new law is allowed only if the unlicensed firearm was not used in the commission of another
crime.

Art. 139 Sedition (2007)


What are the different acts of inciting to sedition?
The different acts which constitute the crime of inciting to sedition are:
1. Inciting others through speeches, writings, banners and other media of representation to commit acts which
constitute sedition;
2. Uttering seditious words, speeches or circulating scurrilous libels against the Government of the Philippines or
any of its duly constituted authorities, which tend to disturb or obstruct the performance of official functions,
or which tend to incite others to cabal and meet for unlawful purposes;
3. Inciting through the same media of representation rebellious conspiracies or riots;
4. Stirring people to go against lawful authorities, or disturb the peace and public order of the community or of
the Government; or
5. Knowingly concealing any of the aforestated evil practices (Art. 142, RPC)

Amnesty and Art. 157 Evasion of Service of Sentence (2009)


Antero Makabayan was convicted of the crime of Rebellion. While serving sentence, he escaped from jail. Captured,
he was charged with, and convicted of, Evasion of Service of Sentence. Thereafter, the President of the Philippines
issued an amnesty proclamation for the offense of Rebellion. Antero applied for and was granted the benefit of the
amnesty proclamation.
Antero then filed a petition for habeas corpus, praying for his immediate release from confinement. He claims that
the amnesty extends to the offense of Evasion of Service of Sentence. As judge, will you grant the petition?
Discuss fully. (4%)

Art. 148 Direct Assault (2009)


Rigoberto gate-crashed the 71st birthday party of Judge Lorenzo. Armed with a piece of wood commonly known as
dos por dos, Rigoberto hit Judge Lorenzo on the back, causing the latter’s hospitalization for 30 days. Upon
investigation, it appeared that Rigoberto had a grudge against Judge Lorenzo who, two years earlier, had cited
Rigoberto in contempt and ordered his imprisonment for three (3) days.
1. Is Rigoberto guilty of Direct Assault? Why or why not? (3%)

2. Would your answer be the same if the reason for the attack was that when Judge Lorenzo was still a
practicing lawyer ten years ago, he prosecuted Rigoberto and succeeded in sending him to jail for one
year? Explain your answer. (3%)
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Art. 148 Direct Assault (2009)


While Alfredo, Braulio, Ciriaco, and Domingo were robbing a bank, policemen arrived. A firefight ensued between
the bank robbers and the responding policemen, and one of the policemen was killed.
1. What crime or crimes, if any, had been committed? Explain. (3%)

2. Suppose it was Alfredo who was killed by the responding policemen, what charges can be filed against Braulio,
Ciriaco and Domingo? Explain. (2%)

3. Suppose in the course of the robbery, before the policemen arrived, Braulio shot and killed Alfredo following a
heated disagreement on who should carry the money bags, what would be the criminal liability of Braulio,
Ciriaco and Domingo? Explain. (2%)

TITLE FOUR: CRIMES AGAINST PUBLIC INTEREST


Art. 166. Forging treasury or bank notes on other documents payable to bearer; importing, and uttering
such false or forged notes and documents. — The forging or falsification of treasury or bank notes or
certificates or other obligations and securities payable to bearer and the importation and uttering in connivance
with forgers or importers of such false or forged obligations or notes, shall be punished as follows:
1. By reclusion temporal in its minimum period and a fine not to exceed P10,000 pesos, if the document which has
been falsified, counterfeited, or altered, is an obligations or security of the United States or of the Philippines
Islands.
The word "obligation or security of the United States or of the Philippine Islands" shall be held to mean all bonds,
certificates of indebtedness, national bank notes, fractional notes, certificates of deposit, bills, checks, or drafts for
money, drawn by or upon authorized officers of the United States or of the Philippine Islands, and other
representatives of value, of whatever denomination, which have been or may be issued under any act of the
Congress of the United States or of the Philippine Legislature.
2. By prision mayor in its maximum period and a fine not to exceed P5,000 pesos, if the falsified or altered
document is a circulating note issued by any banking association duly authorized by law to issue the same.
3. By prision mayor in its medium period and a fine not to exceed P5,000 pesos, if the falsified or counterfeited
document was issued by a foreign government.
4. By prision mayor in its minimum period and a fine not to exceed P2,000 pesos, when the forged or altered
document is a circulating note or bill issued by a foreign bank duly authorized therefor.
How are “forging” and “falsification” committed
• Forging is committed by giving to treasury or bank note or any instrument payable to bearer or order the
appearance of a true and genuine document.
• Falsification is committed by erasing, substituting, counterfeiting, or altering by any means, the figures, letters,
words, or signs contained therein.
• To forge an instrument is to make false instrument intended to be passed for the genuine one.
Art. 169. How forgery is committed. — The forgery referred to in this section may be committed by any of the
following means:
1. By giving to a treasury or bank note or any instrument, payable to bearer or order mentioned therein, the
appearance of a true genuine document.
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2. By erasing, substituting, counterfeiting or altering by any means the figures, letters, words or signs contained
therein.
Forgery includes acts of falsification and acts of counterfeiting or forging said instruments.
Art. 168. Illegal possession and use of false treasury or bank notes and other instruments of credit. —
Unless the act be one of those coming under the provisions of any of the preceding articles, any person who shall
knowingly use or have in his possession, with intent to use any of the false or falsified instruments referred to in
this section, shall suffer the penalty next lower in degree than that prescribed in said articles.
Elements
1. That any treasury or bank note or certificate or other obligation and security payable to bearer, or any
instrument payable to order or other document of credit not payable to bearer is forged or falsified by another
person.
2. That the offender knows that any of those instruments is forged or falsified.
3. That he performs any of these acts –
4. Using any of such forged or falsified instruments; OR
5. Possessing with intent to use any of such forged or falsified instruments
Art. 171. Falsification by public officer, employee or notary or ecclesiastic minister. — The penalty of
prision mayor and a fine not to exceed P5,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any public officer, employee, or notary
who, taking advantage of his official position, shall falsify a document by committing any of the following acts:
1. Counterfeiting or imitating any handwriting, signature or rubric;
2. Causing it to appear that persons have participated in any act or proceeding when they did not in fact so
participate;
3. Attributing to persons who have participated in an act or proceeding statements other than those in fact made
by them;
4. Making untruthful statements in a narration of facts;
5. Altering true dates;
6. Making any alteration or intercalation in a genuine document which changes its meaning;
7. Issuing in an authenticated form a document purporting to be a copy of an original document when no such
original exists, or including in such a copy a statement contrary to, or different from, that of the genuine original;
or
8. Intercalating any instrument or note relative to the issuance thereof in a protocol, registry, or official book.
The same penalty shall be imposed upon any ecclesiastical minister who shall commit any of the offenses
enumerated in the preceding paragraphs of this article, with respect to any record or document of such character
that its falsification may affect the civil status of persons.
Elements
1. That the offender is a public officer, employee or notary public.
2. That he takes advantage of his official position.
3. That he falsifies a document by committing any of the following acts:
a. Counterfeiting or imitating any handwriting, signature or rubric
b. Causing it to appear that persons have participated in any act or proceeding when they did not in fact so
participate
c. Attributing to persons who have participated in an act or proceeding statements other than those in fact made
by them
d. Making untruthful statements in a narration of facts
e. Altering true dates
f. Making any alteration or intercalation in a genuine document which changes its meaning
g. Issuing in authenticated form a document purporting to be a copy of an original document when no such original
exists, or including in such copy a statement contrary to, or different from that of the original.
h. Intercalating any instrument or note relative to the issuance thereof in a protocol, registry or official book.
In case the offender is an ecclesiastical minister, the act of falsification is committed with respect to any record or
document of such character that its falsification may affect the civil status of persons.
A. Meaning of document and kinds of documents
[GRN 93942 September 7, 1992]
HERNANDO C. LAYNO, petitioner, vs, THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and SANDIGANBAYAN,
respondents.
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 12955, dated
15 June 1990, finding the petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of falsification of public document
defined in Article Penned by Justice Jose S. Balajadia and concurred in by Justices Romeo M. Escareal and
Cipriano.A Del Rosario.
171, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code.
Briefly, the facts as found by the Sandiganbayan are as follows:
The petitioner was the incumbent municipal mayor of Lianga, Surigao del Sur, on 16 March 1980, having been
elected to that position in the elections held in that year. As chief executive of the municipality, he had the
authority to appoint employees in the municipal government of Lianga.
On 16 March 1980, the petitioner appointed Fernando Y. Layne, his legitimate son, meat inspector in the office of
the municipal treasurer of Lianga. He signed the appointment document-Civil Service Form No.35--twice, first as
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the appointing authority and second, as the personnel officer, certifying "(t)hat all the required supporting papers
pursuant to MC 5, s. 1974, as amended, have been complied with, reviewed and found to be in order."
Among the supporting papers required for the appointment is the Certification (Exh. "B") signed by the petitioner,
reading as follows:
"In connection with the appointment of MR. FERNANDO Y. LAYNO, Lianga, Surigao del Sur, in the Office of the
Municipal Treasurer, Lianga, Surigao del Sur at the rate of FOUR THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED THIRTY TWO PESOS
ONLY per annum (P4,632.00), effective March 16,1980. I HEREBY CERTIFY THAT:
"I. He is not related to me to (sic) any person exercising immediate supervision over him within the third degree of
either consanguinity or affinity."
On the same day, i.e., 16 March 1980, Fernando Y. Layno took his oath of office with the petitioner as the
administering officer.
Thereafter, the appointment paper, together with the required supporting documents, was forwarded to the Davao
Regional Office of the Civil Service Commission and was received by the said office on 17 May 1980. On 20 May
1980, the OIC, Jorge Mindanao, acting by authority of the Commission, approved the appointment of Fernando Y.
Layne. Three (3) days later, the approved appointment was returned to the office of the petitioner.
The appointee, however, neither assumed the position to which he was appointed nor collected the sa lary
corresponding to it.1
On 28 September 1988, petitioner was charged before the Sandiganbayan with the crime of falsification of public
document defined in Article 171, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code, in an Information reading as follows:
"That on or about March 16,1980, in the Municipality of Lianga, Province of Surigao del Sur, Philippines, and within
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, a public officer, being then the incumbent
Municipal Mayor of Lianga, Surigao del Sur, taking advantage of his official position and committing the offense in
relation to his duties, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously prepare and falsify a document or
certification, wherein said accused is legally bound to disclose the truth, by stating that a certain Fernando Y.
Layne of Lianga, Surigao del Sur is not related to him within the third degree of either consanguinity or affinity,
when in truth and in fact, as the said accused well knew, said Fernando Y. Layno is his son, thus, making untruthful
statements in a narration of facts, to the damage of the public interests.
"Contrary to law.2"
When arraigned, petitioner assisted by counsel de parte pleaded not guilty.3
At the pre-trial held on 9 February 1989, the petitioner admitted that: (1) he was the duly elected mayor of Lianga,
Surigao del Sur, on the date alleged in the information; (2) that, as mayor, he had the authority to appoint
employees in the municipal government of Lianga; (3) that on 16 March 1980, he appointed Fernando Y. Layno
meat inspector in the office of the municipal treasurer of Lianga, Surigao del Sur; and (4) that the appointee is his
legitimate son. Upon motion of the petitioner, his admission that he appointed Fernando Y. Layno was made
subject to the qualification that he later on revoked the appointment upon being advised that it was against the law
on nepotism.4
Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued, and the prosecution as well as the defense adduced their respective
evidence.
After the trial, on 15 June 1990, the Sandiganbayan as aforestated promulgated its decision5 finding the petitioner
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of falsification of public document defined and penalized in Article 171,
para. graph 4 of the Revised Penal Code, the dispositive portion of which reads:
'WHEREFORE, We find the amused, HERNANDO LAYNO y DE CASTRO, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of falsifi. cation of public document defined in Article 171, paragraph 4, of the Revised Penal Code. There
being no aggravating or mitigating circumstance and applying in his favor the Indeterminate Sentence Law, We
impose upon him the indeterminate imprisonment ranging from TWO (2) YEARS, FOUR (4) MONTHS, and ONE (1)
DAY of prision correccional, as minimum, to EIGHT (8) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of prision mayor, as maximum,
and a fine of TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED PESOS (P2,500.00), Philippine currency, without subsidi. ary
imprisonment in case of insolvency. No costs."6
The petitioner has interposed the present appeal, contending that;
"I. THE SANDIGANBAYAN UTTERLY FAILED TO CONSIDER THE FACTUAL AND LEGAL DEFENSES OF PETITIONER.
"II. THE PROSECUTION EVIDENCE IS GROSSLY INSUFFICIENT TO SUSTAIN; A VERDICT OF CONVICTION.
"III. THE SANDIGANBAYAN FAILED TO YIELD OBEDIENCE TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL MANDATE OF PROOF BEYOND
REASONABLE DOUBT."7
The appeal is devoid of merit.
Petitioner assails the Sandiganbayan in not giving weight nor credence to his defense that he did not sign nor issue
the certification (Exh. B) in question. He claims that the lone witness for the prosecution, Armando R. Pandi, Jr.,
who identi fied his signature on the said certification is incompetent to testify on the matter because he admitted
during the trial that he never saw him (petitioner) actually signing (affixing) his signature on the questioned
certification. Petitioner further claims that the said witness is biased and prejudiced and that his testimony is
incredible, unreliable and undeserving of belief. He argues that Pandi did not testify voluntarily but was actually
instructed by the incumbent mayor who was his (petitioner's) political opponent for the mayorship of the
Municipality of Lianga in the laist local election and that he (Pandi) is a relative of the incumbent vice-mayor
against whom he (petitioner) has a longstanding political feud.
The petitioner's aforesaid contentions are without merit. Under Sec. 22, Rule 132 of the Revised Rules on Evidence,
the handwriting of a person maybe proved by any witness who "has seen writing purporting to be his upon which
the witness acted or been charged, and has thus acquired knowledge of the handwriting of such person." Otherwise
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stated, any witness may be called who has, by sufficient means, acquired knowledge of the general character of
the handwriting of the party whose signature is in question.8

Prosecution witness Amando R. Pandit Jr. was competent to testify on the signature of petitioner on the
certification, Exhibit "B" because in the course of his employment as municipal secretary and designated personnel
officer in the municipal government of Lianga, Surigao del Sur, he had seen records under his charge bearing the
long and short signatures of the petitioner, and, as such, he had acquired knowledge of the general character of
the handwritingof the petitioner. As aptly observed by the Sandiganbayan.
"x x x. Pandi has seen in the course of his employment in the Municipal Government of Lianga aft Municipal
Secretary since July 15,1988, and aft; designated personnel Officer from February 1, 1989, appointment records of
municipal employees and old resolutions of the Municipal Council bearing the full and abbreviated signatures of the
accused as Municipal Mayor. For this reason, he became familiar with those signatures. He could therefore identify
and did identify the full signature on the Certification, Exhibit "B", to be that of the accused.9
Moreover, the Sandiganbayan's conclusion that the signature on the certification in question is the signature of the
petitioner was not only based on the testimony of Amando R. Pandi, Jr, Section 22, Rule 132 of the Revised Rules
on Evidence further provides that "(e)vidence respecting the handwriting may also be given by a comparison,
made by the witness or the court, with writings admitted or treated as genuine by the party against whom the
evidence is offered, or proved to be genuine to the satisfaction of the judge." Pursuant thereto, the Sandiganbayan
compared the signature on the certification with the signatures of the petitioner on documents filed with the court,
and which were proved to be genuine. Thus, the Sandiganbayan held:
"The record of this case contains documents bearing signatures of the accused which have been proved to be
genuine or treated by him to be so. We refer, among many others, to two full signatures undisputably affixed by
the accused on the appointment paper, Exhibit A, on March 16,1980, the day when the questioned signature was
made. There is no doubt that these two signatures strikingly resemble that on Exhibit B not only in general
appearance but also in the manner the illegible letters were formed. Even the accused himself reluctantly admitted
that the challenged signature 'really looks like my signature and is almost the same ......10
After making the comparison, the Sandiganbayan was satisfied and convinced that the signature on the
certification Exhibit B is truly the signature of the petitioner. The Court finds no ground or reason for disturbing
such finding or conclusion.
On the question of credibility of the witness for the prosecution Amando R. Pandi, Jr., it would suffice to state that
"the rule consistently adhered to by this Court is to give due respect to the finding of the trial court on the matter,
the latter tribunal having had the opportunity to observe the demeanor and conduct of witnesscs while testifying
and, therefore, is in a better position to properly gauge their credibility. Thus, appellate tribunals will not disturb
the findings of fact of the trial court unless there is proof that said court, in making the findings, had failed to
appreciate some fact or circumstance of weight and substance that would have altered the results of the case."11
Upon review of the records, the Court finds no reason to reject the findings and conclusions of the Sandiganbayan.
Petitioner also assails the Sandiganbayan in disregarding his defense that he had no obligation to disclose the truth
about his relationship with the appointee-his son Fernando Y. Layno. He argues that there is nothing in Section 49
(a) of P.D. No. 80712 which makes it a legal obligation of the appointing public official to disclose his true
relationship with the appointee in the form of a certification. He further argues that the law contemplated under
Article 171, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code is not a prohibitory but a mandatory law, that is, a law which
requires the revelation of any relationship, either by blood or affinity, between the appointing public official and the
appointee.
Again, the petitioners aforesaid contention is devoid of merit.
In one case,13 the defendant-appellee therein was charged with falsification of a public document by
misrepresenting to the representative of the City Treasurer of Cebu that his name was Antonio Perez, that his place
of birth was Jere, Leyte and that his citizenship was FiIipino, and by means of such misrepresentation, said
represents e of the City Treasurer (if Cebu was made to issue and write, and in fact did issue and write on the
corresponding lines of residence certificate NoA-1618529 the name of Antonio Perez, es the name of the taxpayer,
Jaro, Leyte, as his place of birth, and Filipino as his citizenship, thus causing it to appear that said residence
certificate No. A- 1618529 dated 7 January 1952, was issued to one Antonio Perez with place of birth at Jaro,
Leyte, and his citizenship as Filipino, when in truth and in fact, as the accused well knew, his true name was Po
Giok To, his place of birth was Amoy, China, and his citizenship was Chinese. The accused moved to quash the
information on the ground that it did not allege that he (the accused) had the obligation to disclose the truth in the
document allegedly falsified. 'The trial court quashed the information. The prosecution appealed to this Court. In
resolving the appeal and reversing the trial court's judgment, this Court hold:
11x x x, the obligation on the part of the accused to disclose the truth as to the facts that should appear in a
residence certificate, is inherent in the very nature and purpose of said document. Section 3 of Commonwealth Act
465 (otherwise known as the Residence Tax Law) provides 'that the residence certificate for persons shall contain
the full name, place and date of birth, citizenship, civil status, length of residence in the Philippines, length of
residence in the city or municipality where the certificate is issued, occupation or calling', all of which facts are
required to appear therein for the purpose of establishing the true and correct identity of the person to whom the
certificate is issued' Needless to say, this provision implies that the person to whom the certificate is issued must
state to the officer who issues the same, the true facts, required to appear therein, the latter having merely the
ministerial function of recording thereon the facts supplied by this person. And to guarantee that the facts given
correctly and truly identify the holder of the certificate, he is also required by Sec. 3, Supra, to sign the document
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and affix his right hand thumbmark thereon. There is, therefore, no question that the accused had the duty to
disclose the true facts about his name, place of birth, and citizenship to the officer or employee who issued his
residence certificate No. A-1618529; and such duty being inherent in the transaction, there was no need for the
criminal charge to allege that the accused had such duty."
In another case,14 the defendant-appellant who was born a citizen of the Philippines married one Kho Cheng, a
Chinese citizen, on 6 January 1936. As a consequence of said marriage, she acquired the citizenship of her
husband, for which reason, she was registered as an alien in the Bureau of Immigration. Sometime in 1951, she
purchased a parcel of residential land from the San Francisco del Monte, Inc., as evidenced by a deed of sale which
appeared to have been acknowledged by appellant and Cipriano B. Castro, VicePresident of the San Francisco del
Monte, Inc. in the City of Manila before a notary public. The deed of sale stated inter alia that appellant was a
widow and a Filipino citizen, she having represented to the clerk who typed the deed that she was a widow. The
truth however was that her husband was then alive and that, at the time the deed of sale was executed, she was a
registered alien. The deed of sale was subsequently registered with the Register of Deeds of Quezon City, after
which appellant was issued Transfer Certificate of Title No. 15975 covering the lot subject of the sale.
After an investigation conducted by an agent of the AntiDummy Board, an information was filled with the court a
quo charging the appellant with the offense of falsification of public document. The trial court found the appellant
guilty as charged. Appellant appealed to the Court of Appeals. In sustaining her conviction, the appellate court
held:
x x x. In this connection, it is to be noted that alienage modifies or limits a person's capacity to act (Art. 39, new
Civil Code). For instance, Section 5, Article XIII of the Constitution prohibits aliens from acquiring agricultural land.
There is, therefore, no merit in the argument that appellant did not have a legal obligation to disclose her true
citizenship, for, had she revealed the truth in the deed of sale, the same would have been a patent nullity, being in
violation of the constitutional mandate referred to above, and it would have never have been registered with the
Register of Deeds of Quezon City. That the integrity of the document Exhibit C was thus affected by appellant's
false statement regarding, her citizenship cannot be doubted."
Furthermore, Section 54 of Act No. 496 explicitly requires that 'Every deed or voluntary instrument presented for
registration shall contain or have indorsed upon it the full name, nationality, place of residence, and the post-office
address of the grantee or other persons acquiring or claiming such interest under such instrument, and every such
instrument shall also state whether the grantee is married or unmarried, and, if married, give the name in full of
the husband or wife.' Now, it being undeniable that deed of sale, Exhibit C, was intended to beas it was a fact-
registered with the corresponding Register of Deeds, and considering that in transactions affecting registered land,
such as the one in question, the registration of the deed of conveyance is the operative act by which title is fully
conveyed to the grantee as against all parties, which was paramount in her mind to precisely achieve her ultimate
purpose, appellant could not validly claim that she was not legally obliged to reveal her civil status and citizenship
in the deed Exhibit C. Otherwise, the deed could not have been registered and a new title would not have been
issued in her favor."
The law on nepotism, as provided in Section 49(a) of PD No. 807, prohibits the appointing or recommending
authority from making any appointment in the national, provincial, city or municipal governments or in any branch
or instrumentality thereof, including government-t-owned or controlled corporations, in favor of his (appointing or
recommending authority's) relative within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity.15 Thus, in order to
guarantee that the law is duly observed, it is required, among others, that the appointment paper should be
accompanied by a certification of the appointing or recommending authority stating therein that he is not related to
the appointee within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity. Although Section 49(a) of PD No. 807 does not
explicitly provide that the appointing or recommending authority shall disclose his true relationship with the
appointee in the form of a certification, nonetheless, in the light of the rulings in the aforecited cases, the legal
obligation of the appointing _r recommending authority to state the true facts required to be stated in the
certification is inherent in the law on prohibition against nepotism and the nature and purpose of such certification.
In the case at bar, since the petitioner was the appointing authority when he made the appointment in favor of his
son, Fernando T. Layno, as meat inspector in the office of the municipal treasurer of Lianga, Surigao del Sur, he
had the legal obligation to disclose in the certification his true relationship with the appointee. As aptly observed by
the Solicitor General in his Memorandum "The general purpose of PD No. 807 is to'insure and promote the
constitutional mandate that appointments in the Civil Service shall be made only according to merit and fitness, to
provide within the public service a progressive system of personnel administration, and to adopt measures to
promote moral and the highest degree of responsibility, integrity, loyalty, efriciency, and professionalism in the
Civil Service.' (Section 2, PD No. 807)
"The civil service laws are designed to eradicate the system of appointment to public office based on political
considerations and to eliminate as far as practicable the element of partisanship and personal favoritism in making
appointments. These laws intend to establish a merit system of fitness and efficiency as the basis of the
appointment; to secure more competent employees, and thereby promote better government. (Meran vs. Edralin,
154 SCRA 238 [19871).
'Indeed, there are many cases wherein local elective officials, upon assumption to office, wield their new-found
power by appointing their own proteges, and even relatives, in violation of civil service laws and regulations.
Victory at the polls should not be taken as authority for the commission of such illegal acts. (Mendoza vs.
Quisumbing, G.R. No. 78053, June 4, 1990, citing Nemenzo vs. Sabillano, 25 SCRA 1 [19681)
"Clearly, the provision on nepotism under Section 49 of PD No. 807 was incorporated to prevent the nefarious
practice of appointing or recommending relatives within the third civil degree of consanguinity or affinity. And to
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insure that the provision on nepotism is duly observed, the appointing authority issues a certification that the
appointee is not related to him within the third civil degree of consanguinity or affinity. Otherwise, the very
purpose of the prohibition would be put to naught.
"Prosecution witness Pandi testified that the certification is one of the documents required by the Civil Service
Commission to be Aft attached to the appointment paper and without said certification, the appointment will not be
acted upon. He also testified that he knows of no appointment which has been approved by the Civil Service
Commission without the certification. (TSN, April 26, 1989, pp. 7-8)
"Even the petitioner admitted, on cross examination by the public prosecutor, that in all the years he was the
Mayor of Lianga and during which time he had been issuing appointments, he signed certifications similar to the
certification (Exhibit 'B") he issued to his son. (TSN, August 21, 1988, pp. 22-23)
"Plainly, petitioner, as the officer authorized to issue the certification, has the legal obligation be disclose the truth
as to the facts that should appear in the certification, it being inherent in the purpose of the document and in the
very nature of the prohibition.
XXXXXXxxx ,
"Had petitioner, therefore, truthfully declared that the appointee was his son, the appointment would have been
disapproved by the Civil Service Commission and he would have been prosecuted, as in fact he was in another
case, for violation of the law on nepotism."16
Petitioner assails the Sandiganbayan in not taking into consideration his defense of lack of criminal intent to
commit the crime, as evidenced by his withdrawal of the appointment followed by his order to the municipal
treasurer not to honor the appointment of his son and not to allow him to report for work, and that he made the
appointment through oversight and ignorance of the lamp on nepotism. In other words, he contends that he acted
in good faith when he made the appointment in favor of his son,
This Court had indeed ruled that good faith is a valid defense in a charge of falsification of public documents by
making untruthful statements in a narration of facts.17 In the present case, however, the petitioner's claim of good
faith is unavailing as it is inconsistent with his very defense that he did not sign nor issue the certification in
question. As held by the Sandiganbayan "The plea cannot be accepted. He expressly admitted that Fernando Y
Layno was his legitimate son. Nevertheless, he deliberately disregarded that fact, brazenly certifying that he was
not related to him within the third degree of consanguinity. The perversion was designed to conceal his father-son
relationship from the Civil Service Commission and thereby deceived it, as it was in fact deceived, in approving the
appointment he extended to him. The criminal intent is not only obvious, but is also presumed, from the untruthful
narration of fact. The crime of falsification having already been committed, no acts showing subsequent repentance
and abandonment of purpose, even if true, can relieve the accused of his penal liability. "18 (emphasis supplied)
Finally, the petitioner contends that the Sandiganbayan failed to yield obedience to the constitutional mandate that
guilt must be proven by proof beyond reasonable doubt, claiming that the evidence for the prosecution is grossly
insufficient to sustain his conviction.
In Syquian vs. The People of the Philippines,19 this Court held that:
"The offense of falsification by a public officer under Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code is committed by 'any
public officer, employee or notary who, taking advantage of his official position, shall falsify a document by
committing any of the following acts: x x x 4. Making untruthful statements in a narration of fact; x x x.'It is
settled that in this fourth kind of falsification, the following requisites must coricur:
(a) That the offender makes in a document untruthful statements in a narration of facts;
(b) That he has a legal obligation to disclose the truth of the facts narrated by him; and (c) That the facts narrated
by the offender are absolutely false (Cabigas v. People, G.R. No. 67472, July 3, 1987, 162 SCRA 18.)"
After a thorough review of the records, the Court finds that all the elements of the crime of falsification of public
document under Article 171, par. 4, of the Revised Penal Code are present in the case at bar.
The petitioner was a public officer20 being then the incumbent mayor of the Municipality of Lianga, Surigao del
Sur, when he issued on 16 March 1980 the appointment in favor of Fernando Y. Layno as a meet inspector in the
office of the municipal treasurer of Lianga. In connection with the said appointment, the petitioner taking
advantage of his official position,21 issued the certification (Exh. B)22-a public document--stating therein that he is
not related to the appointee within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity; but, as previously discussed, he
had the legal obligation to disclose his true relationship with the appointee. The facts narrated by the petitioner in
the said certification are absolutely false because the bare fact and naked truth is that the appointee Fernando Y.
Layno is his legitimate son.
Contrary, therefore, to the petitioner's pretense, the Sandiganbayan did not commit any reversible error in finding
the petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of falsification by a public officer under Article 171, par.
4, of the Revised Penal Code.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the challenged decision of the Sandiganbayan is hereby AFFIRMED.
[GRN 82197 March 13, 1989.*]
MANUEL L. SIQUIAN, petitioner, vs. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, and THE COURT OF APPEALS,
respondents.
The information charging petitioner Manuel L. Siquian, the then municipal mayor of Angadanan, Isabela, of the
crime of falsification of public document under Art. 171, p. 4 of the Revised Penal Code filed by Second Assistant
Provincial Fiscal before Branch XX of the Regional Trial Court of Cauayan, Isabela reads as follows:
That on or about the 1st day of July, 1975, in the Municipality of Angadanan, Province of Isabela, and within the
preliminary jurisdiction of this Honorable court, the accused Manuel L. Siquian, being then the Municipal Mayor of
Angadanan, Isabela, taking advantage of his position as such Municipal Mayor did then and there wilfully,
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unlawfully and feloniously prepare and, sign a false document, knowing it to be false, to wit. An official
communication to the Civil Service Commissioner, dated July 1, 1975, which is required by law in order to support
the appointment of a certain Jesusa B. Carreon to the position of clerk in the Office of the Municipal Secretary
which (sic) he appointed as such by stating and making it appear in said document that there was such a position
existing and that funds therefore were available. When in truth and in fact, as said accused well-know (sic), there
was no such position or item and no funds were available for said position in the Fiscal Budget of Angadanan for
1975-76, nor was there any special ordinance creating said position and appropriating the necessary funds
therefor.
x x x [Rollo, pp. 23-24.]
Upon arraignment, petitioner pleaded not guilty to the offense charged and the trial of the case ensued. The facts
as found by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) are as follows:
It appears from the evidence that sometime in June 1975, Jesusa Carreon, 20 years old, single and a resident of
Ilagan, Isabela, went to the accused Manuel L. Siquian, Mayor of the Municipality of Angadanan, Province of
Isabela, to apply for employment in the office of the Mayor. Earlier, she and her friends went to the Municipal Hall
of Angadanan to ask information if there was any vacancy. When she was informed that there was, she went to see
the accused in his house.
The accused must have agreed to appoint her because he accompanied her to the office of the Municipal Secretary,
Emilio Valenzuela. The latter, however, was not there. Even so, the accused told Jesusa Carreon to report for work
the following day and that she should be included in the budget. The accused then acompanied her to the Office of
the Municipal Treasurer, Calo Battung. The Treasurer agreed that she could report for work.
One week after, Jesusa Carreon went alone to the Office of the Municipal Secretary. He was there. When she went
to the accused, she was told to go back to the Municipal Secretary to work for her appointment papers.
She was appointed clerk to the Municipal Secretary in the Office of the Municipal Secretary, on July 1, 1975 by the
accused.
xxx
Accompanying her appointment is the certification, among others, of the availability of funds (C.S. Form No. 203)
dated July 1, 1975, issued by the accused Manuel L. Siquian, pursuant to the requirements of Memorandum
Circular No. 5, Series of 1975, addressed to the Commissioner of Civil Service, Manila (Exh. "C").
x x x Jesusa Carreon took her oath of Office (Exh. "A-1") on July 1, 1975, and promptly began to work on the same
day. Her monthly salary was P120.00. She rendered services for the months of July, August, September, October,
November and December 1975 (Exhibits "B", "B-1" to "B-5") She was not, however, paid. As early as October
1975, she went to the Municipal Treasurer to receive her salary, but she was told that there was no money yet. In
November 1975, she went to see the accused, but the latter told her to see the treasurer. She went to the
Treasurer who told her that there was no money. Because of this, she went to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan at
the Provincial Capitol in Ilagan, Isabela, to ask (sic) information regarding her unpaid salaries. She was interviewed
by Atty. Efren Ambrosio, Provincial Administrator. Atty. Ambrosio asked her if she had complete appointment
papers. Thereafter, she filed her verified complaint dated April 20, 1976, against the accused. Her complaint is
addressed to Governor Faustino N. Dy (Exhibit "G" and "G-1").
It also appears from the evidence that the Municipal council of Angadanan, Isabela, failed to enact the annual
budget for the municipality for the Fiscal Year 1975-1976 (Exhs. "H", and "H-2"). Accordingly, and pursuant to PD
No. 477, the annual budget for the previous Fiscal Year 1974-1975, was deemed re-enacted (Exh. "H-1"). Thus,
the Municipal Plantilla of Personnel for the Fiscal Year 1975-1976 is the same as the Plantilla of Personnel for the
Fiscal Year 1975-1976. No supplemental budget was enacted by the municipal council of Angadanan.
In the Plantilla of Personnel for 1974-1975, which was deemed re-enacted for the Fiscal Year 1975-1976, there was
no new item or appropriation for the position of clerk in the Office of the Municipal Secretary of Angadanan,
Isabela. Ile new position of clerk in the office of the Municipal Council appearing in the Municipal Plantilla for
Personnel (Exhibit "H-2") for 19741975, was filled-up as early as October 16, 1974 by the accused when he
appointed Clarita G. Ramirez to that position (Exhibits "J" and "J-2"). With respect to the new position of a Clerk to
the office of the Municipal Mayor in the Plantilla for 1974-1975, it was already filled-up by the appointment of Miss
Marivic A. Tallod on June 16, 1975, by the accused (Exhibits "K" and "K-4"). As early as June 28, 1974, the same
position was held by Miss Felicidad Visitacion who was appointed by the accused, but she resigned (Exhs. "K" and
"K-1").
x x x [Rollo, pp. 26, 28, 29-30.]
After trial, the Court found the petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged and decreed:
WHEREFORE, finding the accused Manuel L. Siquian guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of falsification of
public document as charged in the information, the Court hereby sentences said accused to suffer an indeterminate
penalty of from FIVE (5) YEARS, EIGHT (8) MONTHS and ONE (1) DAY of prision correctional (sic) as minimum to
SEVEN YEARS of prision mayor as maximum and to pay a fine of THREE THOUSAND (P3,000.00) PESOS.
SO ORDERED. [Rollo, p. 35.]
On appeal, the respondent Court of Appeals ruled as follows:
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is in accordance with law and the evidence and is hereby therefore
affirmed. Costs against the accusedappellant.
SO ORDERED. [Rollo, p. 42.]
Hence, this petition for review seeking reversal of the CA decision and the acquittal of petitioner Manuel L. Siquian.
Petitioner contends that the respondent court has decided a question of substance not in accord with law and
108

jurisprudence when it affirmed the decision of the trial court convicting him of the crime of falsification despite the
following:
A. The evidence on record which consists of the testimony of the prosecution's principal witness, shows the
absence of criminal intent on the part of the accused.
B. There is no evidence that the accused took advantage of his position as Municip[a] Mayor when he made the
allegedly falsified certification.
C. The statement that "Funds for the position are available" is not a narration of facts but a conclusion of law.
D. The petitioner was deprived of his right to due process of law when the trial court proceeded with the trial in his
absence despite a pending petition for change of venue with the Supreme Court. [Rollo, p.13.]
Petitioner's arguments, however, are bereft of any merit.
The offense of falsification by a public officer under Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code is committed by "any
public officer, employee or notary who, taking advantage of his official position, shall falsify a document by
committing any of the following acts: . . . 4. Making untruthful statements in a narration of fact; . . ." It is settled
that in this fourth kind of falsification, the following requisites must concur:
(a) That the offender makes in a document untruthful statements in a narration of facts;
(b) That he has a legal obligation to disclose the truth of the facts narrated by him; and
(c) That the facts narrated by the offender are absolutely false [Cabigas v. People, G.R. No. 67472, July 3, 1987,
152 SCRA 18.]
All these requisites had been fully met in the case at bar. petitioner, a public officer, being then the mayor of the
municipality of Angadanan, Isabela, made an untruthful statement in the narration of facts contained in the
certification which he issued in connection with the appointment of complainant Jesusa Carreon. The certification,
having been issued by a public official in the exercise of the function of his office is a public document [U.S. v.
Asensi, 34 Phil. 765 (1915)]. It is immaterial whether or not the Civil Service Commissioner to whom the
certification was addressed received the document issued by petitioner. Since the certification was prepared by
petitioner in accordance with the standard forms prescribed by the government (specifically the Civil Service
Commission) pursuant to law, the certification was invested with the character of a public document [People v.
Asensi, supra citing U.S. v. Vy Guico, 12 Phil. 209 [1908]) falsification of which is punishable under Article 171 of
the Revised Penal Code. Here, falsification of such document was committed when the petitioner stated that funds
were available for the position to which Jesusa Carreon was appointed when he knew that, in reality, the position
itself did not even exist and no funds had been appropriated therefor.
Petitioner's stance that the certification which he issued contained no narration of facts but rather a conclusion of
law is not meritorious. The respondent court, upholding the Solicitor General's arguments, correctly ruled as
follows:
"Conclusion of law" is defined as a proposition not arrived at by any process of natural reasoning from a fact or
combination of facts stated but by the application of the artificial rules of law to the facts pleaded [Levins v.
Rovegno, 71 Cal. 273, 12 p. 161; Black's Law Dict., p. 362).
From the above-cited definition, it can be deduced that the certification by the appellant that "funds for the position
are available" does not require the application of the artificial rules of law. To certify that funds are available for the
position what one should do was (sic) to refer to the budget and plantilla of personnel of the applicable fiscal year
and ascertain if such item exists and funds are allocated therefor.
In the present case, despite the presence of the records which shows that there is no position and funds therefor
referred to in the certification, the appellant, fully aware of the data provided by the records, certified falsely that
"funds for the position are available" [Rollo, p. 41].
It is undisputed that the Municipal Council of Angadanan failed to enact the annual budget of the municipality for
the Fiscal Year 1975-1976 and therefore, the annual budget for the last fiscal year, 1974-1975, was deemed re-
enacted under P.D. No. 477. In the Municipal Plantilla of Personnel (Exh. "B-2") accompanying the Annual Budget
for the Municipality of Angadanan, Isabela for the Fiscal Year 1974-1975, there is no such position as Clerk to the
Municipal Secretary in the Office of the Municipal Secretary, the position to which Jesusa Carreon was appointed.
Accordingly, there is no appropriation made in the Annual Budget for the Fiscal Year 1974-1975 for such position,
thus rendering petitioner's statement in his certification utterly false. The requisite of absolute falsity of the
statement made in the document is met when there exists not even an iota of colorable truth in what is declared in
the narration of facts [U.S. v. Bayot, 10 Phil. 518 (1908)], as in this case. From the foregoing, it can be seen that
the first and third requirements laid down in the Cabigas case, supra, are fully satisfied.
The second element of the offense is likewise present. Under the civil service rules and regulations, specifically the
Guidelines in the Preparation of Appointment for Original Appointment (Exhs. "D" and "D-3"), a certification of the
availability of funds for the position to be filled up is required to be signed by the bead of office or any officer who
has been delegated the authority to sign. As an officer authorized by law to issue this certification which is
designated as Civil Service Form No. 203, as revised, the petitioner has a legal obligation to disclose the truth of
the facts narrated by him in said certification which includes information as to the availability of the funds for the
position being filled up.
Contrary to petitioner's claim, the existence of a wrongful intent to injure a third person is not necessary when the
falsified document is a public document. This has already been authoritatively decreed in the 1955 case of People
v. Po Giok To [96 Phil. 913 (1955)]. The Court in the aforementioned case explicitly stated that wrongful intent on
the part of the accused to injure a third person is not an essential element of the crime of falsification of public
document. The rationale for this principal distinction between falsification of public and private documents has been
stated by the Court in this wise: "In the falsification of public or official documents, whether by public officials or
109

private persons, it is unnecessary that there be present the idea of gain or the intent to injure a third person, for
the reason that, in contradistinction to private documents, the principal thing punished is the violation of the public
faith and the destruction of truth as therein solemnly proclaimed" [People v. Po Giok To, supra at 918, citing People
v. Pacana, 47 Phil. 48 (1924)]. In falsification of public documents therefore, the controlling consideration is the
public character of a document and the existence of any prejudice caused to third persons or, at least, the intent to
cause such damage becomes immaterial [People v. Pecana, supra].
Petitioner's plea for acquittal on the ground that the evidence for the prosecution shows the absence of criminal
intent on his part must be denied. While this Court has declared good faith as a valid defense to falsification of
public documents by making untruthful statements in a narration of facts [U.S. v. San Jose, 7 Phil. 604 (1907)],
such defense cannot serve to exonerate the petitioner since the element of good faith has not clearly been shown
to exist in the case at bar.
Under the applicable law at the time, petitioner, as municipal mayor of Angadanan, Isabela presides at all meetings
of the municipal council [Section 2621 (d), Revised Administrative Code] and signs all ordinances and resolutions
passed by the municipal council [Section 2624 (c), Revised Administrative Code]. He was thus aware that (1) for
failure to enact a budget for the Fiscal Year 1975-1976, Ordinance No. V of the Municipal Council of Angadanan,
Isabela which was the Municipal Annual Budget of Angadanan, Isabela for Fiscal Year 1974-1975 was re-enacted
and (2) that under the Municipal Plantilla of Personnel for that fiscal year, there were no funds appropriated for the
position of clerk to the municipal secretary. His knowledge of these facts is shown by the fact that he even affixed
his signature in attestation to the correctness of these documents; i.e. Ordinance No. V and Municipal Plantilla of
Personnel. [See Exhs. "H-1" and "H-2", Folder of Exhibits, pp. 27-32]. He cannot claim good faith in issuing a
certification of the availability of funds for the questioned position since at the time he issued such certification on
July 1, 1975, the fiscal year 1975-1976 had already commenced and no new ordinance creating the new position to
which he appointed Jesusa Carreon had been enacted by the municipal council.
In view of the foregoing considerations, petitioner must be held criminally liable for his act of issuing the absolutely
false certification as to the availability of funds for the subject position. The law considers his act criminal since it
amounts to an untruthful statement in a narration of facts in a public document [Article 171 (4), Revised Penal
Code]. Criminal intent and the will to commit a crime are presumed to exist on the part of the person who executes
an act which the law punishes, unless the contrary shall appear [United States v. Apostol, 14 Phil. 92 (1909)]. In
this case, the presumption that petitioner committed the act with criminal intention, which arose from proof of his
commission of the unlawful act, stands unrebutted.
Petitioner's claim that there was no showing that he took advantage of his official position in falsifying the
document should likewise be rejected. This essential element of falsification of a public document by public officer
requires that the offender "abuse his office or use the influence, prestige or ascendancy which his office gives him,
in committing the crime" [U.S. v. Rodriguez, 19 Phil. 150 (1911)]. Abuse of public office is considered present
when the offender falsifies a document in connection with the duties of his office which consist of either making or
preparing or otherwise intervening in the preparation of a document [U.S. v. Inosanto, 20 Phil. 376 (1911); People
v. Santiago Uy, 101 Phil. 159 (1957)], as in the case of petitioner who was charged with the duty of issuing the
certification necessary for the appointment of Jesusa Carreon.
Finally, the alleged denial of due process of law committed by the trial court when it proceeded with the trial of the
case in the absence of the petitioner despite a pending petition for change of venue with the Supreme Court is
totally unfounded. A careful and thorough review of the record reveals that petitioner had been afforded due
process when the trial court, in view of the absence of petitioner, granted continuances to enable the defense to
present its evidence although the prosecution bad rested its case as early as December 7, 1978. [See Original
Records, p. 253, et seq.)
It is a basic postulate in law that what is repugnant to due process is not lack of previous notice but absolute lack
of opportunity to be heard [Tajonera v. Lamaroza, G.R. Nos. L-48097 & 49035, December 19, 1981, 110 SCRA
438]. Hence, this Court laid down this criterion to determine whether an accused in a criminal case has been
properly accorded due process of law:
"x x x (I)f an accused has been beard in a court of competent jurisdiction and proceeded against under the orderly
process" of law, and only punished after inquiry and investigation, upon notice to him, with an opportunity to be
heard, and a judgment awarded within the authority of a constitutional law, then he has had due process of law. x
x x" [People v. Muit, G.R. No. L-48875, October 21, 1982, 117 SCRA 696 citing People v. Castillo, 776 Phil. 73
(1946); Italics supplied.]
Thus, there is no denial of due process when an accused is afforded the chance to present evidence on his behalf
but due to his repeated, unjustifiable failure to appear at the hearings, the trial court ordered the case to be
deemed submitted upon the evidence presented by the prosecution. For under such circumstances, he will be
deemed to have waived his right to be present during the trial [Section 1 (c), Rule 115 of the Revised Rules of
Court] and his right to adduce evidence on his behalf [People v. Angco, 103 Phil. 33 (1958).]
It is true that he filed a petition for change of venue with the Supreme Court. However, on the date set for the
hearing of the petitioner's urgent motion to suspend the proceedings in the trial court due to the pendency of the
petition for change of venue, he also failed to appear [See Order dated January 18, 1985, Original Records, p.
428). In fact, Atty. Romeo Calixto, one of the counsel for the petitioner, manifested before the trial court that he
was withdrawing as counsel for his client for the reason that he has lost contact with the latter who already went
abroad [See Original Records, p. 435]. Hence, the trial court cannot be faulted for rendering its decision on the
basis solely of the evidence presented by the prosecution.
110

WHEREFORE, the appealed decision being in conformity with law and settled jurisprudence, the same is AFFIRMED
and the instant petition is hereby DENIED.
[GRN L-67472 July 3, 1987.]
DARIO CABIGAS Y CACHO, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.
PETITION to review the decision of the Sandiganbayan.
Under separate informations both dated September 20, 1982, the Office of the Tanodbayan charges Dario Cabigas
y Cacho and Benedicto Reynes y Lopez on two (2) counts, with the crime of Falsification of Official Documents
allegedly committed in the following manner:
(1) Criminal Case No. 6529
"That on or about March 29, 1982, in the Municipality of Makati, Metro Manila, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, accused Dario Cabigas y Cacho and Benedicto Reynes y Lopez, both public officers being then
employed as Securities Custodian and Securities Receiving Clerk, respectively, of the Land Bank of the Philippines,
Makati Branch, a government-owned and/or controlled corporation, conspiring together, taking advantage of their
official position and committing the crime herein charged in relation to their Office, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously falsify x x x Securities Delivery Receipt dated March 9, 1982 x x x evidencing, among
others, receipt by them in their official capacity of Treasury Bills bearing Serial No. A000064 up to A000082 of the
795th series, by then and there making alterations and/or intercalations thereon to the effect that only treasury
bills bearing SN-A000064 to A-000076 were received by them on March 9, 1982, for the purpose of hiding or
concealing the loss while in their custody of six (6) treasury bills bearing SN-A-000077 to A-000082 of the 795th
series, thereby changing the meaning of said Securities Delivery Receipt."
(2) Criminal Case No. 6938
"That on or about March 30, 1982 in the Municipality of Makati, Metro Manila, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, accused Dario Cabigas y Cacho and Benedicto Reynes y Lopez, both public officers, being then
employed as Securities Custodian and Securities Receiving Clerk, respectively, of the Land Bank of the Philippines,
Makati Branch, a government-owned and/or controlled corporation, conspiring together, and taking advantage of
their official positions and committing the crime herein charged in relation to their office, did then and there
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously falsify the Daily Report of Securities/Documents under custody dated March 30,
1992, which is an official document evidencing the securities transactions and/or operations of the Makati Branch
of the aforenamed bank, and which it was their official duty to prepare and submit to their superiors, by then and
there indicating in said document, for the purpose of hiding the loss or disappearance while in their custody of six
(6) treasury bills of the 795th series, with face value of P500,000.00 each, that the beginning balance of securities
under their custody as to volume was 1,533 pieces, when, the ending balance as to volume in the previous day's
report was 1,539 pieces and that the beginning balance as to face value in the previous day's report was
P610,095,000.00 and thereafter falsely stating in the footnote of the same document that the reduction was due to
'Adjustment on Erroneous Entry (incoming) dated 3/09182' the truth being that the six (6) pieces of treasury bills
with aggregate face value of P3,000,000.00 were not erroneously entered in either the Securities Delivery Receipt
or the Daily Report of Securities /Documents under Custody, both dated March 9, 1982, but were discovered to
have been missing after an inventory conducted by accused on March 20, 1982, thereby making an untruthful
statement in a narration of facts in violation of par. 4 of Articles 171 of the Revised Penal Code."
After arraignment and trial, the Sandiganbayan rendered its decision in both cases, the dispositive portion of which
reads as follows:
"WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered:
"1. In Criminal Case No. 6529 ACQUITTING the accused Dario Cabigas y Cacho and Benedicto Reynes y Lopez, with
costs de officio and ordering their bail bonds in the said case cancelled.
"2. In Criminal Case No. 6938:
"a) Finding the accused Dario Cabigas y Cacho GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt as principal of the crime of
Falsification of a Public or Official Document defined and penalized under Article 171, paragraph No. 6 of the
Revised Penal Code without any mitigating or aggravating circumstances; and applying the indeterminate Sentence
Law, hereby sentencing him to an indeterminate penalty ranging from TWO (2) YEARS, FOUR (4) MONTHS and
ONE (1) DAY of prision correccional as minimum, to EIGHT (8) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of prision mayor, as
maximum, to pay a fine of P2,000.00 without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs.
"b) ACQUITTING accused Benedicto Reynes y Lopez, with costs de officio; an ordering his bail bond cancelled.
"SO ORDERED."
The instant petition is an appeal, interposed by herein petitioner Dario Cabigas y Cacho from the foregoing decision
in Criminal Case No. 6938.
The following pertinent facts are not disputed: Petitioner Dario Cabigas is the Securities Custodian of the Securities
Section of the Land Bank of the Philippines assigned to its branch at Makati, Metro Manila. Assisting him in his work
is Benedicto Reynes, the securities receiving clerk. The Fund Management Department (FMD) of the Land Bank of
the Philippines is engaged in money market and securities trading transactions. The securities which are in the
form of treasury notes and bills are in turn deposited with the Securities Section of the Land Bank of the
Philippines, Makati Branch.
On March 9, 1982, the Fund Management Department, delivered to the Securities Section, Makati Branch of the
Land Bank of the Philippines, for safekeeping, 112 pieces of treasury notes and treasury bills worth P46,000,000.00
and for which a copy of the Securities Delivery Receipt (SDR) Exh. D, was issued to the Fund Management Dept.
while the original of the same was retained by the Securities Section. Included in the securities received on March
9, 1982 are 19 pieces of treasury bills with Serial Nos. A-000064 to A-000082, 795th series, in the denomination of
111

P500,000.00 each, or a total amount of P9,500,000.00. After receiving the securities, the accused would prepare
the Daily Report on Securities/Documents Under Custody (DR SDUC) evidencing the securities transactions and
operations of the Makati Branch of the Land Bank of the Philippines. This has been the routine procedure being
adopted by the accused in the performance of his duty as a Security Custodian,
On March 29, 1982, in the course of their inventory of treasury notes and bills deposited with them, Cabigas and
Reynes discovered the loss of six (6) treasury bills of the 795th series with a total value of P3,000,000.00. Upon
verification that Securities Delivery Receipt (SDR) dated March 9, 1982, Exhibit C, was the source document of the
missing securities which were delivered to them for safekeeping, accused Reynes crossed out with a red ink in the
said document the last two digits "82" and the addition after them of the figure "76" on the serial numbers A-
000064 to A-000082 of the 19 treasury bills of the 795th series with a total maturity value of P9,500,000.00. Then
at the bottom of the SDR, Cabigas placed the notation "For adjustment" and below it the date "3/29/82." Then
upon Cabigas' suggestion, Reynes reported the incident to their branch manager, Aurora Pigram. When the DR
SDUC for March 29,1982 was prepared, the number of treasury bills of the 795th series stood at 1,539 pieces with
a total face value of P610,095,000.00.
The following day, Reynes prepared a draft report for March 30, 1982 by carrying forward the ending balance of
the treasury bills of the 795th series reflected in the DR SDUC dated March 29, 1982. However, instead of following
the draft prepared by Reynes, Cabigas prepared his own report-DR SDUC (Exh. "G") dated March 30, 1982 wherein
he indicated 1,533 pieces of treasury bills of the 795th series with a total amount of P607,095,000.00 which the
latter claimed to be the number of securities of the 795th series in his possession at the time of the preparation of
said report. At the bottom of DR SDUC (Exh. "G") Cabigas placed the notation "Adjustment on Erroneous Entry
(incoming) dated March 9, 1982" as legend of the asterisk (*) sign which appears after the figure "1,533."
On May 20, 1982, a certain Rosie Chua was found to be authenticating with the Central Bank of the Philippines a
treasury bill of the 795th series with Serial No. A-000082 in the amount of P500,000.00. Upon investigation by NBI
agents, it was discovered that the Land Bank of the Philippines Makati Branch Manager, Aurora Pigram, was the
one who negotiated the said treasury bill with the Gainsbo Commodities. Further investigation revealed that the
five (5) missing treasury bills with series numbers A-000077 to A000081 were negotiated by Pigram with the Home
Savings Bank to secure a loan. The Land Bank immediately sought the assistance of the NBI in investigating the
case. On May 24, 1982, Cabigas and Reynes were investigated by NBI agents. After the investigation, Cabigas and
Reynes were arrested for having allegedly conspired together in falsifying the Securities Delivery Receipt (SDR)
dated March 9, 1982 (Exh. "C") and the Daily Report on Securities/Documents under custody (DR SDUC) Exh. G
dated March 30, 1982 and for which the corresponding informations were filed with the Sandiganbayan. Both
accused were acquitted in Criminal Case No. 6529. However, accused Dario Cabigas y Cacho was convicted in
Criminal Case No. 6938, while his co-accused was acquitted therein.
In convicting accused Dario Cabigas y Cacho, the Sandiganbayan stated in its now assailed Decision that "In the
case of Exhibit "G", the Daily Report on Securities/Documents Under Custody (DR SDUC) for March 30, 1982, the
alleged falsification consists of the following entries (figures) pertaining to treasury bills: '1,533', P607,095,000.00
'1,533 and 607,095,000.00' marked on the document as Exhibit G-1, and the legend of the asterisk (*) sign at the
bottom portion reading, 'Adjustment on erroneous entry (incoming) dated 3109/82' marked as Exhibit G-2. The
numbers '1,533' and '607,095,000.00' represent the volume and the total face/maturity value, respectively, of the
treasury bills supposedly in the custody of the Securities Section as of March 30, 1982. Those entries were
falsifications, the prosecution maintains, because the correct number of treasury bills deposited with the Securities
Section as of that date was 1,539 valued at P610,095,000.00; that the said figures were altered to '1,533 and
P607,095,000.00 respectively, to conceal the loss or disappearance of 6 treasury bills worth P3,000,000.00, and
that the footnote at the bottom portion of the document (Exh. G-2) was written to attribute the reduction in the
number of treasury bills from '1,539' to '1,533' to mistake or error in the entries in the Securities Delivery Receipt
of March 9,1982 (Exh. C).
"The discrepancy in the figures is indeed apparent. In the DR SDUC for March 29,1982 (Exh. F), the ending balance
on the number of treasury bills at the close of office hours on that day was 1,539 pieces with a total face/maturity
value of P610,095,000.00 (Exh. F-1), Accordingly, the beginning balance on the number of the same treasury bills
on the following day, March 30, 1982, must also be 1,539 pieces with a total face/Maturity value of
P610,095,000.00. But as it was made to appear in the DR SDUC for March 30,1982 (Exhs. "G") and G-1), the
beginning and ending balances on the number and value of treasury bills for that date were 1,533 pieces and
P607,095,000.00 maturity value.
"The question now is, who caused the alterations and what was the purpose behind them, "
"x x xx x x x x x
"By changing the original figures in the draft of the DR SDUC from '1,539' and '610' to '1,533' and '607'
respectively, and causing Reynes to type the final copy of the DR SDUC on the basis of the corrected draft Cabigas
caused the document to show that the treasury bills in their custody as of March 30, 1982 were 1,533 pieces with a
total face/maturity value of P607,095,000.00 By placing, likewise, an asterisk (*) sign after the figure '1,533' and
writing the words 'Adjustment on erroneous entry (incoming) dated 3/09/82' as legend of the asterisk (*) sign,
Cabigas caused to make it appear that the discrepancy of 6 treasury bills valued at P3,000,000.00 was due to error
in the entries in the Securities Delivery Receipt of March 9, 1982
(Exh. C). Considering that the said SDR of March 9, 1982 (Exh. C) did not contain any error but reflected the
number of securities received by them on that day, it is obvious that Cabigas made the alterations in Exhibit G and
the misleading footnote (Exh. 0-2) in order to suppress, hide or conceal the fact that the 6 treasury bills comprising
the discrepancy were lost while in their custody.
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"The alterations amounted to falsification of Exhibit G, a public or official document, under paragraph No. 4, Article
171, of the Revised Penal Code, by making untruthful statements in a narration of facts. As Securities Custodian,
Cabigas was under obligation to disclose in the said document the correct number and total maturity value of the
securities under his official custody as of March 30, 1982."
It is a settled doctrine that in falsification by an employee under par. No. 4 of Article 171, which reads-"by making
untruthful statements in a narration of facts,"-the following elements must concur
(a) That the offender makes in a document untruthful statements in a narration of facts;
(b) That he has a legal obligation to disclose the truth of the facts narrated by him;
(e) That the facts narrated by the offender are absolutely false; and
(d) That the perversion of truth in the narration of facts was made with the wrongful intent of injuring a third
person.
Herein petitioner contends that the foregoing elements are not present in the case at bar. The correction of the
figure from 1,539 to 1,533 pieces to conform to the actual number of treasury under custody is not falsification
because it was made to speak the truth (US vs. Mateo, 25 Phil. 324). The placing of an asterisk (*) sign after the
figure "1,533" and writing the words, "Adjustment on erroneous entry (incoming) dated 3/09/82" as legend of the
asterisk sign, contrary to the ruling of the respondent court, was not effected to hide or conceal the fact that the
missing 6 treasury bills were lost. It would be far more difficult to detect or discover the loss if there was no
asterisk or footnote in the DR SDUC, Exh. G. In fact, the evidence discloses that immediately upon discovery of the
loss on March 29, 1982, petitioner reported the matter to his immediate supervisor, Estela. L. Espiritu and Branch
Manager of the Securities Section, Aurora Pigram. This shows good faith and lack of motive on the part of
petitioner to conceal the said loss.
Petitioner further argues that the Daily Report on Securities/Documents under Custody (DR SDUC) is a form purely
devised and adopted by him. This form was never required, neither was it introduced nor prescribed by the Land
Bank. Petitioner, therefore, was not under "legal obligation" to disclose in the DR SDUC or SDR, the correct number
and total maturity value of the securities under their official custody as of a given date. It is purely optional on the
part of petitioner to use the said forms.
The Honorable Solicitor General recommends that the accused be acquitted because "There is nothing to show the
DR SDUC dated March 30, 1982, Exh. G, for the alleged falsification of which petitioner was convicted in Criminal
Case No. 6938 is a form the submission of which was or is required by law. In the petition for review, petitioner
points out that as testified by him the form was not an official form of the Land Bank. The form was his own
initiative adopted 'for our own convenience and also for reference purposes.' Petitioner therefore, was not under
legal obligation to disclose or reveal the truth by mid DR SDUC. In the absence of such obligation and of the
alleged wrongful intent, defendant cannot be legally convicted of the crime of falsification of public document with
which he is charged. (People vs. Quasha, 93 Phil. 333)."
WHEREFORE, on ground of reasonable doubt, the decision of the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 6938 is
hereby REVERSED and another one rendered ACQUITTING the petitioner, Dario Cabigas y Cacho.
Cost de oficio.
G.R. No. L-7236 April 30, 1955
PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. vs. PO GIOK TO
In the Court of First Instance of Cebu, the defendant appellee Po Giok To was charged with the crime of falsification
under the following information:
That on or about the 7th day of January, 1952, in the City of Cebu, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the said accused, with intent to falsify or forge a public document, did then and there wilfully,
unlawfully and feloniously falsify, or forge a public document consisting of residence certificate No. A-1618529
issued to him in the City of Cebu, on January 7, 1952, by e representative of the City Treasurer of Cebu, to wit: by
misrepresenting to the said representative of the City Treasurer of Cebu that his name is Antonio Perez, that his
place of birth is Jaro, Leyte and that his citizenship is Filipino, and by means of such misrepresentation, said
representative of the City Treasurer of Cebu was made to issue and write, and in fact did issue and write, on the
corresponding lines on said residence certificate No. A-1618529 the name of Antonio Perez, as the name of the
taxpayer, Jaro, Leyte as his place of birth, and Filipino as his citizenship, thus causing it to appear that the said
residence certificate No. A-1618529 dated January 7, 1952, was issued to one Antonio Perez with his place of birth
as Jaro, Leyte, and with his citizenship as Filipino, when in truth and in fact, as the accused well knew, his true
name is Po Giok To, his place of birth is Amoy, China, and his citizenship is Chinese.
Contrary to law.
(Appellants Brief, pp. 2-3).
The accused filed a motion to quash on the ground that the information does not allege (1) that the accused had
the obligation to disclose the truth in the document allegedly falsified, nor (2) that the accused had the wrongful
intent to injure a third person. The City Fiscal opposed the motion to quash claiming that the information alleges all
the integral elements of the offense charged as defined by the statute. The lower Court, however, found the motion
to quash meritorious and ordered the amendment of the information. Upon insistence of the City Fiscal that the
information was sufficient and that he was not in possession of any evidence that the accused made use of the
residence certificate containing the alleged false entries, the Court a quo dismissed the case without prejudice.
Hence, this appeal by the Government.
The sole issue is whether or not the information in question alleges sufficient facts to constitute the crime of
falsification of public document. The defense contends that the information is insufficient for failure to recite two
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alleged essential elements of the crime charged; namely, the obligation on the part of the accused to disclose the
truth, and wrongful intent on the part of the accused to injure third persons.
We agree with the Solicitor-General that the first element allegedly lacking in the information, viz., the obligation
on the part of the accused to disclose the truth as to the facts that should appear in a residence certificate, is
inherent in the very nature and purpose of said document. Section 3 Commonwealth Act 465 (otherwise known as
the Residence Tax Act) provides "that the residence certificate for persons shall contain the full name, place and
date of birth, citizenship, civil status, length of residence in the city or municipality where the certificate is issued,
occupation or calling", all of which facts are required to appear therein for the purpose of establishing the true and
correct identity of the person to whom the certificate is issued. Needless to say, this provision implies that the
person to whom the certificate is issued must state to the officer who issues the same, the true facts, required to
appear therein, the latter having merely the ministerial function of recording thereon the facts as supplied by this
person. And to guarantee that the facts given correctly and truly identify the holder of the certificate, he is also
required by Sec. 3, supra, to sign the document and affix his right hand thumb mark thereon. There is, therefore,
no question that the accused had the duty to disclose the true facts about his name, place of birth, and citizenship
to the officer or employee who issued his residence certificate No. A-1618529; and such duty being inherent in the
transaction, there was no need for the criminal charge to allege that the accused had such duty.
Anent the second element allegedly lacking in the information in question, the law is clear that wrongful intent on
the part of the accused to injure a third person is not an essential element of the crime of falsification of public
document.
Article 172, par. 1, in connection with Art. 171, par. 4, of the Revised Penal Code, under which provision the
accused is charged, provides as follows:
ART. 171. Falsification by the public officer, employee or notary or ecclesiastic minister. — The penalty of prision
mayor and a fine not to exceed 5,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any public officer, employee, or notary who,
taking advantage of his official position shall falsify a document by committing any of the following acts:
xxx xxx xxx
4. Making untruthful statements in a narration of facts.

ART. 172. Falsification by private individuals and use of falsified documents. — The penalty of prision
correccional in its medium and maximum periods and a fine of not more than 5,000 pesos shall be imposed upon:
xxx xxx xxx
1. Any private individual who shall commit any of the falsifications enumerated in the next preceding article in any
other kind of commercial document.
On the other hand, Art. 172, par 2, defining the crime falsification of private document, provides:
2. Any person who, to the damage of a third party, or with intent to cause such damage, shall in any private
document commit any of the acts of falsification enumerated in the next preceeding article.
The distinction made by the law between falsification by private persons, first, of public documents, and secondly
of private documents, is clear; the first is committed by the mere performance of any of the acts of falsification
enumerated in Art. 171; while the second is committed not only by the performance of any of the acts of
falsification enumerated in Art. 171; but it must likewise be shown that such act of falsification was committed to
the damage of a third party or with intent to cause such damage.
The reason for the distinction is given in a decision of the Supreme Court of Spain dated December 23, 1885, cited
by this Court in the case of People vs. Pacana, 47 Phil. 48; i.e., that in the falsification of public or official
documents, whether by public officials or by private persons, it is unnecessary that there be present the idea of
gain or the intent to injure a third person, for the reason that, in contradiction to private documents, the principal
thing punished is the violation of the public faith and the destruction of the truth as therein solemnly proclaimed.
Our own commentators on the Revised Penal Code are also agreed on this distinction. (Francisco, Revised Penal
Code.) Sec. ed., Vol. II, Part 1, p. 301; Guevara, Comm. on the Revised Penal Code, IV Ed., P. 172; Albert,
Revised Penal Code, 1948 Ed., p. 398).
Moreover, the acts charged, if true, would result in confusion in the government records, since the fingerprint of
the accused would not correspond to that of the person whose personal circumstances are recited in the certificate.
Such confusion in its records evidently operates to the Government's prejudice. Being the natural and direct result
of the criminal act charged, the accused must be presumed to have intended it.
Defendant-appellee also advances the theory that a private person can not commit the crime of falsification
charged, i. e., by making untruthful statements in a narration of facts, referring to the opinion of the late Justice
Albert that "only of the eight ways of committing falsifications enumerated in Article 171, to wit, the first, the fifth,
and the sixth, are open to a private individual" (Albert, supra, p. 405); and stresses that if there had been any
falsification at all in this case, it was committed by the employee who, though innocently, wrote the allegedly
untrue facts on defendant's residence certificate. The opinion quoted plainly refers to direct falsification by a
private person, and does not contemplate situations where the accused, though a private person, becomes a
principal to the act of falsification committed by a public official or employee, by induction, cooperation, or planned
conspiracy (cf. Sent. of Tribunal Supremo of Spain of 23 Mar. 1885; 28 Apr. 1905; 28 Mar. 1893). In the present
case, although it is true that it was the employee of the Office of the City Treasurer of Cebu who performed the
overt act of writing the allegedly false facts on the defendant's residence certificate, it was however, the
defendants who induced him to do so by supplying him with those facts. Consequently, the employee was
defendant's mere innocent agent in the performance of the crime charged, while defendant was a principal by
inducement.
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Finally, it is argued for the defendant-appellee that there being a special law with respect to residence certificates
expressly punishing their falsification (Commonwealth Act No. 465), this special law, and not the provisions of the
Revised Penal Code, should apply in this case; and since Commonwealth Act No. 465, sec. 11 punishes the
falsification of a residence certificate only when it is done "for the purpose of using the same in the payment of
revenue or in securing any exemption or privilege conferred by law", which element is not alleged in the
information, the same was properly dismissed by the lower Court. Again this contention is without merit. The fact
that Commonwealth Act No. 465 punishes the falsification of residence certificates in the cases mentioned therein
does not prevent the application of the general provisions of the Revised Penal Code on other acts of falsification
not covered by the special law, since under Art. 10 of the Rev. Penal Code, it has supplementary application to all
special laws, unless the latter should specially provide the contrary, and Commonwealth Act No. 465 makes no
provision that it exclusively applies to all falsifications of residence certificates. Then, again, section 12 of
Commonwealth Act. No. 465 penalize all other violations of the residence certificate law not covered by the
preceeding sections thereof. Which law is applicable should be determined when the case is decided on its merits.
At the present stage of the proceedings, however, it can be stated that whether the crime charged be punishable
under the Revised Penal Code, or sec. 12 Comm. Act No. 465, the information was sufficient, and its dismissal for
insufficiency by the Court below was improper and erroneous.
The order of the trial court dismissing the information filed in this case is, therefore, reversed, and the case is
remanded to the Court below for further proceedings, with costs against the defendant-appellee.
a. Introduction in evidence or use of falsified documents---last par.
Art. 172. Falsification by private individual and use of falsified documents. — The penalty of prision
correccional in its medium and maximum periods and a fine of not more than P5,000 pesos shall be imposed upon:
1. Any private individual who shall commit any of the falsifications enumerated in the next preceding article in any
public or official document or letter of exchange or any other kind of commercial document; and
2. Any person who, to the damage of a third party, or with the intent to cause such damage, shall in any private
document commit any of the acts of falsification enumerated in the next preceding article.
Any person who shall knowingly introduce in evidence in any judicial proceeding or to the damage of another or
who, with the intent to cause such damage, shall use any of the false documents embraced in the next preceding
article, or in any of the foregoing subdivisions of this article, shall be punished by the penalty next lower in degree.
Three acts punished under Article 172
1. Falsification of public, official or commercial document by a private individual
2. Falsification of private documents by any person
3. Use of falsified document
Falsification under paragraph 1 of Article 172
1. That the offender is a private individual or a public officer or employee who did not take advantage of his official
position
2. That he committed any of the acts of falsification enumerated in Article 171
3. That the falsification was committed in a public or official or commercial document
Falsification under paragraph 2 of Article 172.
Elements of falsification of private document
1. That the offender committed any of the acts of falsification, except those in paragraphs 7, enumerated in Article
171
2. That the falsification was committed in any private document
3. That the falsification caused damage to a third party or at least the falsification was committed with intent to
cause such damage
e. There is no complex crime of estafa through falsification of a private document. Cash vouchers are
private documents not commercial documents.
G.R. No. 139857 September 15, 2006
LEONILA BATULANON vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES
This petition assails the October 30, 1998 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 15221, affirming
with modification the April 15, 1993 Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court of General Santos City, Branch 22 in
Criminal Case Nos. 3453, 3625, 3626 and 3627, convicting Leonila Batulanon of estafa through falsification of
commercial documents, and the July 29, 1999 Resolution3 denying the motion for reconsideration.
Complainant Polomolok Credit Cooperative Incorporated (PCCI) employed Batulanon as its Cashier/Manager from
May 1980 up to December 22, 1982. She was in charge of receiving deposits from and releasing loans to the
member of the cooperative.
During an audit conducted in December 1982, certain irregularities concerning the release of loans were
discovered.4
Thereafter, four informations for estafa thru falsification of commercial documents were filed against Batulanon, to
wit:
Criminal Case No. 3625
That on or about the 2nd day of June, 1982 at Poblacion Municipality of Polomolok, Province of South Cotabato,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court said accused being then the manager-cashier of
Polomolok Credit Cooperative, Inc., (PCCI), entrusted with the duty of managing the aff[a]irs of the cooperative,
receiving payments to, and collections of, the same, and paying out loans to members, taking advantage of her
position and with intent to prejudice and defraud the cooperative, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
115

feloniously falsify a commercial document, namely: Cash/Check Voucher No. 30-A of PCCI in the name of Erlinda
Omadlao by then and there making an entry therein that the said Erlinda Omadlao was granted a loan of P4,160,
Philippine Currency, and by signing on the appropriate line thereon the signature of Erlinda Omadlao showing that
she received the loan, thus making it appear that the said Erlinda Omadlao was granted a loan and received the
amount of P4,160 when in truth and in fact the said person was never granted a loan, never received the same,
and never signed the cash/check voucher issued in her name, and in furtherance of her criminal intent and
fraudulent design to defraud PCCI said accused did then and there release to herself the same and received the
loan of P4,160 and thereafter misappropriate and convert to her own use and benefit the said amount, and despite
demands, refused and still refuses to restitute the same, to the damage and prejudice of PCCI, in the
aforementioned amount of P4,160, Philippine Currency.5
Criminal Case No. 3626
That on or about the 24th day of September, 1982 at Poblacion, Municipality of Polomolok, Province of South
Cotabato, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, said accused being then the manager-
cashier of Polomolok Credit Cooperative, Inc. (PCCI), entrusted with the duty of managing the affairs of the
cooperative, receiving payments to, and collections of, the same, and paying out loans to members taking
advantage of her position and with intent to prejudice and defraud the cooperative, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously falsify a commercial document, namely: Cash/Check Voucher No. 237 A of PCCI in the
name of Gonafreda Oracion by then and there making an entry therein that the said Gonafreda Oracion was
granted a loan of P4,000.00 and by signals on the appropriate line thereon the signature of Gonafreda Oracion
showing that she received the loan, thus making it appear that the said Gonafreda Oracion was granted a loan,
received the loan of P4,000.00 when in truth and in fact said person was never granted a loan, never received the
same, and never signed the Cash/Check voucher issued in her name, and in furtherance of her criminal intent and
fraudulent design to defraud PCCI said accused did then and there release to herself the same and received the
amount of P4,000.00 and thereafter misappropriate and convert to her own use and benefit the said amount, and
despite demands, refused and still refuses to restitute the same, to the damage and prejudice of PCCI, in the
aforementioned amount of P4,000, Philippine Currency.
CONTRARY TO LAW.6
Criminal Case No. 3453
That on or about the 10th day of October 1982 at Poblacion, Municipality of Polomolok, Province of South Cotabato,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, the said accused being then the manager-cashier of
Polomolok Credit Cooperative, Inc., (PCCI), entrusted with the duty of managing the affairs of the cooperative,
receiving payments to, and collection of the same and paying out loans to members, taking advantage of her
position and with intent to prejudice and defraud the cooperative, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously falsify a commercial document, namely: an Individual Deposits and Loan Ledger of one Ferlyn Arroyo
with the PCCI by then and there entering on the appropriate column of the ledger the entry that the said Ferlyn
Arroyo had a fixed deposit of P1,000.00 with the PCCI and was granted a loan in the amount of P3,500.00, thus
making it appear that the said person made a fixed deposit on the aforesaid date with, and was granted a loan by
the PCCI when in truth and in fact Ferlyn Arroyo never made such a deposit and was never granted loan and after
the document was so falsified in the manner set forth, said accused did then and there again falsify the Cash/Check
Voucher of the PCCI in the name of Ferlyn Arroyo by signing therein the signature of Ferlyn Arroyo, thus making it
appear that the said Ferlyn Arroyo received the loan of P3,500, Philippine Currency, when in truth and in fact said
Ferlyn Arroyo never received the loan, and in furtherance of her criminal intent and fraudulent design to defraud
PCCI said accused did then and there release to herself the same, and received the amount of P3,500, and
thereafter, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously misappropriate and convert to her own personal
use and benefit the said amount, and despite demands, refused and still refuses to restitute the same, to the
damage and prejudice of the PCCI in the aforementioned amount of P3,500, Philippine Currency.
CONTRARY TO LAW.7
Criminal Case No. 3627
That on or about the 7th day of December, 1982 at Poblacion, Municipality of Polomolok, Province of South
Cotabato, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, the said accused being then the manager-
cashier of Polomolok Credit Cooperative, Inc., (PCCI) entrusted with the duty of managing the affairs of the
cooperative, receiving payments to, and collection of, the same and paying out loans to members, taking
advantage of her position and with intent to prejudice and defraud the cooperative, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously falsify a commercial document, namely: an Individual Deposits and Loan Ledger of one
Dennis Batulanon with the PCCI by then and there entering on the appropriate column of the ledger the entry that
the said Dennis Batulanon had a fixed deposit of P2,000.00 with the PCCI and was granted a loan in the amount of
P5,000.00 thus making it appear that the said person made fixed deposit on the aforesaid date with, and was
granted a loan by the PCCI when in truth and in fact Dennis Batulanon never made such a deposit and was never
granted loan and offer the document was so falsified in the manner set forth, said accused did then and there
again falsify the Cash/Check Voucher No. 374 A of PCCI in the name of Dennis Batulanon by signing therein the
signature of Dennis Batulanon, thus making it appear that the said Dennis Batulanon received the loan of
P5,000.00 when in truth and in fact said Dennis Batulanon never received the loan and in furtherance of her
criminal intent and fraudulent design to defraud PCCI said accused did then and there release to herself the same
and receive the loan of P5,000, and thereafter, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
misappropriate and convert to her own personal use and benefit the said amount, and [despite] demands, refused
116

and still refuses to restitute the same to the damage and prejudice of the PCCI in the aforementioned amount of
P5,000, Philippine Currency.
CONTRARY TO LAW.8
The cases were raffled to Branch 22 of the Regional Trial Court of General Santos City and docketed as Criminal
Case Nos. 3453, 3625, 3626 and 3627.
Batulanon pleaded not guilty to the charges, afterwhich a joint trial on the merits ensued.
The prosecution presented Maria Theresa Medallo, Benedicto Gopio, Jr., and Bonifacio Jayoma as witnesses.
Medallo, the posting clerk whose job was to assist Batulanon in the preparation of cash vouchers9 testified that on
certain dates in 1982, Batulanon released four Cash Vouchers representing varying amounts to four different
individuals as follows: On June 2, 1982, Cash Voucher No. 30A 10 for P4,160.00 was released to Erlinda Omadlao;
on September 24, 1982, Cash Voucher No. 237A 11 for P4,000.00 was released to Gonafreda12 Oracion; P3, 500.00
thru Cash Voucher No. 276A13 was released to Ferlyn Arroyo on October 16, 1982 and on December 7, 1982,
P5,000.00 was released to Dennis Batulanon thru Cash Voucher No. 374A.14
Medallo testified that Omadlao, Oracion, and Dennis Batulanon were not eligible to apply for loan because they
were not bona fide members of the cooperative.15 Ferlyn Arroyo on the other hand, was a member of the
cooperative but there was no proof that she applied for a loan with PCCI in 1982. She subsequently withdrew her
membership in 1983.16 Medallo stated that pursuant to the cooperative's by-laws, only bona fide members who
must have a fixed deposit are eligible for loans.17
Medallo categorically stated that she saw Batulanon sign the names of Oracion and Arroyo in their respective cash
vouchers and made it appear in the records that they were payees and recipients of the amount stated therein.18
As to the signature of Omadlao in Cash Voucher No. 30A, she declared that the same was actually the handwriting
of appellant.19
Gopio, Jr. was a member of PCCI since 1975 and a member of its board of directors since 1979. He corroborated
Medallo's testimony that Omadlao, Arroyo, Oracion and Dennis Batulanon are not members of PCCI. He stated that
Oracion is Batulanon's sister-in-law while Dennis Batulanon is her son who was only 3 years old in 1982. He
averred that membership in the cooperative is not open to minors.20
Jayoma was the Vice-Chairman of the PCCI Board of Directors in 1980 before becoming its Chairman in 1982 until
1983. He testified that the loans made to Oracion, Omadlao, Arroyo and Dennis Batulanon did not pass through the
cooperative's Credit Committee and PCCI's Board of Directors for screening purposes. He claimed that Oracion's
signature on Cash Voucher No. 237A is Batulanon's handwriting.21 Jayoma also testified that among the four loans
taken, only that in Arroyo's name was settled.22
The defense presented two witnesses, namely, Maria Theresa Medallo who was presented as a hostile witness and
Batulanon.
Medallo was subpoenaed by the trial court on behalf of the defense and was asked to bring with her the PCCI
General Journal for the year 1982. After certifying that the said document reflected all the financial transactions of
the cooperative for that year, she was asked to identify the entries in the Journal with respect to the vouchers in
question. Medallo was able to identify only Cash Voucher No. 237A in the name of Gonafreda Oracion. She failed to
identify the other vouchers because the Journal had missing pages and she was not the one who prepared the
entries.23
Batulanon denied all the charges against her. She claimed that she did not sign the vouchers in the names of
Omadlao, Oracion and Arroyo; that the same were signed by the loan applicants in her presence at the PCCI office
after she personally released the money to them; 24 that the three were members of the cooperative as shown by
their individual deposits and the ledger; that the board of directors passed a resolution in August 1982 authorizing
her to certify to the correctness of the entries in the vouchers; that it has become an accepted practice in the
cooperative for her to release loans and dispense with the approval of Gopio Jr., in case of his absence; 25 that she
signed the loan application and voucher of her son Dennis Batulanon because he was a minor but she clarified that
she asked Gopio, Jr., to add his signature on the documents to avoid suspicion of irregularity; 26 that contrary to the
testimony of Gopio, Jr., minors are eligible for membership in the cooperative provided they are children of regular
members.
Batulanon admitted that she took out a loan in her son's name because she is no longer qualified for another loan
as she still has to pay off an existing loan; that she had started paying off her son's loan but the cooperative
refused to accept her payments after the cases were filed in court. 27 She also declared that one automatically
becomes a member when he deposits money with the cooperative. 28 When she was Cashier/Manager of PCCI from
1980 to 1982, the cooperative did not have by-laws yet.29
On rebuttal, Jayoma belied that PCCI had no by-laws from 1980-1982, because the cooperative had been
registered since 1967.30
On April 15, 1993, the trial court rendered a Decision convicting Batulanon as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, finding the accused Leonila Batulanon guilty beyond reasonable doubt in all the
above-entitled case, she is sentenced in each of the four cases to 4 months of ARRESTO MAYOR to 1 year and 2
months of PRISION CORRECTIONAL, to indemnify the PCCI in the total sum of P16,660.00 with legal interest from
the institution of the complaints until fully paid, plus costs.
SO ORDERED.31
The Court of Appeals affirmed with modification the decision of the trial court, thus:
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is MODIFIED. Appellant LEONILA BATULANON is found guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of Falsification of Private Documents under Par. 2, Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code; and is
hereby sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of six (6) months of arresto mayor maximum, AS MINIMUM,
117

to four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional medium, AS MAXIMUM; to pay a fine of five thousand
(P5,000.00) pesos; and to indemnify the Polomolok Cooperative Credit , Inc. the sum of thirteen thousand one
hundred sixty (P13,160.00), plus legal interests from the filing of the complaints until fully paid, plus costs.
SO ORDERED.32
The motion for reconsideration was denied, hence this petition.
Batulanon argues that in any falsification case, the best witness is the person whose signature was allegedly
forged, thus the prosecution should have presented Erlinda Omadlao, Gonafreda Oracion and Ferlyn Arroyo instead
of relying on the testimony of an unreliable and biased witness such as Medallo.33 She avers that the crime of
falsification of private document requires as an element prejudice to a third person. She insists that PCCI has not
been prejudiced by these loan transactions because these loans are accounts receivable by the cooperative.34
The petition lacks merit.
Although the offense charged in the information is estafa through falsification of commercial document, appellant
could be convicted of falsification of private document under the well-settled rule that it is the allegations in the
information that determines the nature of the offense and not the technical name given in the preamble of the
information. In Andaya v. People,35 we held:
From a legal point of view, and in a very real sense, it is of no concern to the accused what is the technical name
of the crime of which he stands charged. It in no way aids him in a defense on the merits. x x x That to which his
attention should be directed, and in which he, above all things else, should be most interested, are the facts
alleged. The real question is not did he commit a crime given in the law some technical and specific name, but did
he perform the acts alleged in the body of the information in the manner therein set forth. x x x The real and
important question to him is, "Did you perform the acts alleged in the manner alleged?" not, "Did you commit a
crime named murder?" If he performed the acts alleged, in the manner stated, the law determines what the name
of the crime is and fixes the penalty therefor. x x x If the accused performed the acts alleged in the manner
alleged, then he ought to be punished and punished adequately, whatever may be the name of the crime which
those acts constitute.
The elements of falsification of private document under Article 172, paragraph 236 of the Revised Penal Code are:
(1) that the offender committed any of the acts of falsification, except those in paragraph 7, Article 171; (2) that
the falsification was committed in any private document; and (3) that the falsification caused damage to a third
party or at least the falsification was committed with intent to cause such damage.37
In Criminal Case Nos. 3625, 3626, and 3453, Batulanon's act38 of falsification falls under paragraph 2 of Article
171, i.e., causing it to appear that persons have participated in any act or proceeding when they did not in fact so
participate. This is because by signing the name of Omadlao, Oracion, and Arroyo in Cash Voucher Nos. 30A, 237A,
and 267A, respectively, as payee of the amounts appearing in the corresponding cash vouchers, Batulanon made it
appear that they obtained a loan and received its proceeds when they did not in fact secure said loan nor receive
the amounts reflected in the cash vouchers.
The prosecution established that Batulanon caused the preparation of the Cash Vouchers in the name of Omadlao
and Oracion knowing that they are not PCCI members and not qualified for a loan from the cooperative. In the case
of Arroyo, Batulanon was aware that while the former is a member, she did not apply for a loan with the
cooperative.
Medallo categorically declared that she saw Batulanon forge the signatures of Oracion and Arroyo in the vouchers
and made it appear that the amounts stated therein were actually received by these persons. As to the signature of
Arroyo, Medallo's credible testimony and her familiarity with the handwriting of Batulanon proved that it was
indeed the latter who signed the name of Arroyo. Contrary to Batulanon's contention, the prosecution is not duty-
bound to present the persons whose signatures were forged as Medallo's eyewitness account of the incident was
sufficient. Moreover, under Section 22, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, the handwriting of a person may be proved
by any witness who believes it to be the handwriting of such person because he has seen the person write, or has
seen writing purporting to be his upon which the witness has acted or been charged, and has thus acquired
knowledge of the handwriting of such person.
Her insistence that Medallo is a biased witness is without basis. There is no evidence showing that Medallo was
prompted by any ill motive.
The claim that Batulanon's letter to the cooperative asking for a compromise was not an admission of guilt is
untenable. Section 27, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court provides that in criminal cases, except those involving quasi-
offenses or criminal negligence or those allowed by law to be compromised, an offer of compromise by the accused
may be received in evidence as an implied admission of guilt.
There is no merit in Batulanon's assertion that PCCI has not been prejudiced because the loan transactions are
reflected in its books as accounts receivable. It has been established that PCCI only grants loans to its bona fide
members with no subsisting loan. These alleged borrowers are not members of PCCI and neither are they eligible
for a loan. Of the four accounts, only that in Ferlyn Arroyo's name was settled because her mother, Erlinda, agreed
to settle the loan to avoid legal prosecution with the understanding however, that she will be reimbursed once the
money is collected from Batulanon.39
The Court of Appeals40 correctly ruled that the subject vouchers are private documents and not commercial
documents because they are not documents used by merchants or businessmen to promote or facilitate trade or
credit transactions41 nor are they defined and regulated by the Code of Commerce or other commercial law. 42
Rather, they are private documents, which have been defined as deeds or instruments executed by a private
person without the intervention of a public notary or of other person legally authorized, by which some disposition
or agreement is proved, evidenced or set forth. 43
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In all criminal prosecutions, the burden of proof is on the prosecution to establish the guilt of the accused beyond
reasonable doubt. It has the duty to prove each and every element of the crime charged in the information to
warrant a finding of guilt for the said crime or for any other crime necessarily included therein.44 The prosecution in
this case was able to discharge its burden completely.
As there is no complex crime of estafa through falsification of private document,45 it is important to ascertain
whether the offender is to be charged with falsification of a private document or with estafa. If the falsification of a
private document is committed as a means to commit estafa, the proper crime to be charged is falsification. If the
estafa can be committed without the necessity of falsifying a document, the proper crime to be charged is estafa.
Thus, in People v. Reyes,46 the accused made it appear in the time book of the Calamba Sugar Estate that a
laborer, Ciriaco Sario, worked 21 days during the month of July, 1929, when in reality he had worked only 11 days,
and then charged the offended party, the Calamba Sugar Estate, the wages of the laborer for 21 days. The accused
misappropriated the wages during which the laborer did not work for which he was convicted of falsification of
private document.
In U.S. v. Infante,47 the accused changed the description of the pawned article on the face of the pawn ticket and
made it appear that the article is of greatly superior value, and thereafter pawned the falsified ticket in another
pawnshop for an amount largely in excess of the true value of the article pawned. He was found guilty of
falsification of a private document. In U.S. v. Chan Tiao,48 the accused presented a document of guaranty
purportedly signed by Ortigas Hermanos for the payment of P2,055.00 as the value of 150 sacks of sugar, and by
means of said falsified documents, succeeded in obtaining the sacks of sugar, was held guilty of falsification of a
private document.
In view of the foregoing, we find that the Court of Appeals correctly held Batulanon guilty beyond reasonable doubt
of Falsification of Private Documents in Criminal Case Nos. 3625, 3626 and 3453.
Article 172 punishes the crime of Falsification of a Private Document with the penalty of prision correccional in its
medium and maximum periods with a duration of two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day to six (6) years.
There being no aggravating or mitigating circumstances, the penalty should be imposed in its medium period,
which is three (3) years, six (6) months and twenty-one (21) days to four (4) years, nine (9) months and ten (10)
days. Taking into consideration the Indeterminate Sentence Law, Batulanon is entitled to an indeterminate penalty
the minimum of which must be within the range of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in
its minimum period, or four (4) months and one (1) day to two (2) years and four (4) months.49 Thus, in Criminal
Case Nos. 3625, 3626 and 3453, the Court of Appeals correctly imposed the penalty of six (6) months of arresto
mayor, as minimum, to four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional, as maximum, which is within the
range of the allowed imposable penalty.
Since Batulanon's conviction was for 3 counts of falsification of private documents, she shall suffer the
aforementioned penalties for each count of the offense charged. She is also ordered to indemnify PCCI the amount
of P11,660.00 representing the aggregate amount of the 3 loans without deducting the amount of P3,500.00 paid
by Ferlyn Arroyo's mother as the same was settled with the understanding that PCCI will reimburse the former
once the money is recovered. The amount shall earn interest at the rate of 6% per annum from the filing of the
complaints on November 28, 1994 until the finality of this judgment. From the time the decision becomes final and
executory, the interest rate shall be 12% per annum until its satisfaction.
However, in Criminal Case No. 3627, the crime committed by Batulanon is estafa and not falsification. Under Article
171 of the Revised Penal Code, the acts that may constitute falsification are the following:
1. Counterfeiting or imitating any handwriting, signature, or rubric;
2. Causing it to appear that persons have participated in any act or proceeding when they did not in fact so
participate;
3. Attributing to persons who have participated in an act or proceeding statements other than those in fact made
by them;
4. Making untruthful statements in a narration of facts;
5. Altering true dates;
6. Making any alteration or intercalation in a genuine document which changes its meaning;
7. Issuing in an authenticated form a document purporting to be a copy of an original document when no such
original exists, or including in such copy a statement contrary to, or different from, that of the genuine original; or;
8. Intercalating any instrument or note relative to the issuance thereof in a protocol, registry, or official book.
In Criminal Case No. 3627, the trial court convicted petitioner Batulanon for falsifying Dennis Batulanon's signature
in the cash voucher based on the Information charging her of signing the name of her 3 year old son, Dennis. The
records, however, reveal that in Cash Voucher No. 374A, petitioner Batulanon did not falsify the signature of
Dennis. What she did was to sign: "by: lbatulanon" to indicate that she received the proceeds of the loan in behalf
of Dennis. Said act does not fall under any of the modes of falsification under Article 171 because there in nothing
untruthful about the fact that she used the name of Dennis and that as representative of the latter, obtained the
proceeds of the loan from PCCI. The essence of falsification is the act of making untruthful or false statements,
which is not attendant in this case. As to whether, such representation involves fraud which caused damage to
PCCI is a different matter which will make her liable for estafa, but not for falsification. Hence, it was an error for
the courts below to hold that petitioner Batulanon is also guilty of falsification of private document with respect to
Criminal Case No. 3627 involving the cash voucher of Dennis.50
The elements of estafa through conversion or misappropriation under Art. 315 (1) (b) of the Revised Penal Code
are:
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(1) that money, goods or other personal property is received by the offender in trust, or on commission, or for
administration, or under any other obligation involving the duty to make delivery of, or to return, the same;
(2) that there be misappropriation or conversion of such money or property by the offender or denial on his part of
such receipt;
(3) that such misappropriation or conversion or denial is to the prejudice of another;
(4) that there is a demand made by the offended party on the offender. (Note: The 4th element is not necessary
when there is evidence of misappropriation of the goods by the defendant)51
Thus in the case of U.S. v. Sevilla,52 the Court convicted the appellant of estafa by misappropriation. The latter, a
treasurer of the Manila Rail Road Company, took the sum of P8,330.00 out of the funds of the company and used it
for personal purposes. He replaced said cash with his personal check of the same amount drawn on the Philippine
National Bank (PNB), with instruction to his cashier not to deposit the same in the current account of the Manila
Rail Road Company until the end of the month. When an audit was conducted, the check of appellant was
discovered to have been carried in the accounts as part of the cash on hand. An inquiry with the PNB disclosed that
he had only P125.66 in his account, although in the afternoon of the same day, he deposited in his account with
the PNB sufficient sum to cover the check. In handing down a judgment of conviction, the Court explained that:
Fraudulent intent in committing the conversion or diversion is very evidently not a necessary element of the form
of estafa here discussed; the breach of confidence involved in the conversion or diversion of trust funds takes the
place of fraudulent intent and is in itself sufficient. The reason for this is obvious: Grave as the offense is,
comparatively few men misappropriate trust funds with the intention of defrauding the owner; in most cases the
offender hopes to be able to restore the funds before the defalcation is discovered. x x x
Applying the legal principles here stated to the facts of the case, we find all of the necessary elements of estafa x x
x. That the money for which the appellant's checks were substituted was received by him for safe-keeping or
administration, or both, can hardly be disputed. He was the responsible financial officer of the corporation and as
such had immediate control of the current funds for the purposes of safe-keeping and was charged with the
custody of the same. That he, in the exercise of such control and custody, was aided by subordinates cannot alter
the case nor can the fact that one of the subordinates, the cashier, was a bonded employee who, if he had acted
on his own responsibility, might also have misappropriated the same funds and thus have become guilty of estafa.
Neither can there be any doubt that, in taking money for his personal use, from the funds entrusted to him for
safekeeping and substituting his personal checks therefor with instructions that the checks were to be retained by
the cashier for a certain period, the appellant misappropriated and diverted the funds for that period. The checks
did not constitute cash and as long as they were retained by the appellant or remained under his personal control
they were of no value to the corporation; he might as well have kept them in his pocket as to deliver them to his
subordinate with instructions to retain them.
xxxx
But it is argued in the present case that it was not the intention of the accused to permanently misappropriate the
funds to himself. As we have already stated, such intention rarely exists in cases of this nature and, as we have
seen, it is not a necessary element of the crime. Though authorities have been cited who, at first sight, appear to
hold that misappropriation of trust funds for short periods does not always amount to estafa, we are not disposed
to extend this interpretation of the law to cases where officers of corporations convert corporate funds to their own
use, especially where, as in this case, the corporation is of a quasi-public character. The statute is clear and makes
no distinction between permanent misappropriations and temporary ones. We can see no reason in the present
case why it should not be applied in its literal sense.
The third element of the crime with which the appellant is charged is injury to another. The appellant's counsel
argues that the only injury in this case is the loss of interest suffered by the Railroad Company during the period
the funds were withheld by the appellant. It is, however, well settled by former adjudications of this court that the
disturbance in property rights caused by the misappropriation, though only temporary, is in itself sufficient to
constitute injury within the meaning of paragraph 5, supra. (U.S. vs. Goyenechea, 8 Phil., 117 U.S. vs. Malong, 36
Phil., 821.)53
In the instant case, there is no doubt that as Cashier/Manager, Batulanon holds the money for administration and
in trust for PCCI. Knowing that she is no longer qualified to obtain a loan, she fraudulently used the name of her
son who is likewise disqualified to secure a loan from PCCI. Her misappropriation of the amount she obtained from
the loan is also not disputed as she even admitted receiving the same for personal use. Although the amount
received by Batulanon is reflected in the records as part of the receivables of PCCI, damage was still caused to the
latter because the sum misappropriated by her could have been loaned by PCCI to qualified members, or used in
other productive undertakings. At any rate, the disturbance in property rights caused by Batulaono's
misappropriation is in itself sufficient to constitute injury within the meaning of Article 315.
Considering that the amount misappropriated by Batulanon was P5,000.00, the applicable provision is paragraph
(3) of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code, which imposes the penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to
prision correccional in its minimum period, where the amount defrauded is over P200.00 but does not exceed
P6,000.00. There being no modifying circumstances, the penalty shall be imposed in its medium period. With the
application of the Indeterminate Sentence Law, Batulaon is entitled to an indeterminate penalty of three (3)
months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to one (1) year and eight (8) months of prision correccional, as maximum.
WHEREFORE, the Decision appealed from is AFFIRMED with the following MODIFICATIONS:
(1) In Criminal Case Nos. 3625, 3626 and 3453, Leonila Batulanon is found GUILTY of three counts of falsification
of private documents and is sentenced to suffer the penalty of six (6) months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to
four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional, as maximum, for each count, and to indemnify
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complainant Polomolok Credit Cooperative Incorporated the amount of P11,660.00 with interest at the rate of 6%
per annum from November 28, 1994 until finality of this judgment. The interest rate of 12% per annum shall be
imposed from finality of this judgment until its satisfaction; and
(2) In Criminal Case No. 3627, Leonila Batulanon is found GUILTY of estafa and is sentenced to suffer the penalty
of three (3) months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to one (1) year and eight (8) months of prision correccional, as
maximum. She is likewise ordered to indemnify Polomolok Credit Cooperative Incorporated the sum of P5,000.00
with interest at the rate of 6% per annum from November 28, 1994 until finality of this judgment. The interest rate
of 12% per annum shall be imposed from finality of this judgment until its satisfaction.
[GRN 81541 October 4, 1989.*]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MANILA, et. al.
PETITION to review the orders of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Br. 22. Togonon, J.
Pedro Caragao, complainant in Criminal Case No. 87-53321 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, National Capital
Judicial Region, Branch 22, presided over by the respondent judge, for falsification of public document, invoking
the name of the "People of the Philippines," petitions the Court for the review on certiorari, under Rule 45 of the
Revised Rules of Court, of two orders of the respondent trial court, dated July 17, 1987 and August 26, 1987. The
first order granted the defense motion to quash the information while the second denied the motion for
reconsideration of the first order.
The controversy arose from the following facts:
On September 20, 1980, the private respondents sold several parcels of land located in Dasmariñas, Cavite, in
favor of Ricardo Silverio. These parcels were at that time registered in the names of the private respondents. One
of the parcels, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-110942 of the Registry of Deeds for the province of
Cavite, is the subject matter of a litigation between the private respondents and Pedro Caragao and his coowners
for reconveyance and cancellation of title and damages docketed as Civil Case No. TG-493 before Branch XVIll of
the Regional Trial Court of Cavite in Tagaytay City.
Pedro Caragao then caused the annotation of a notice of lis pendens at the back of the original of the Transfer
Certificate of Title (T.C.T.) of the parcel of land under litigation, on file in the Register of Deeds for the province of
Cavite, without the knowledge of the private respondents. Hence, the owners' (private respondents') copy of the
title in question did not bear any annotation of such notice of lis pendens.
When the private respondents sold the two parcels of land to Silverio, including the one under litigation for
reconveyance between Caragao and the private respondents, they warranted that the properties are "free from all
liens and encumbrances whatsoever." Thus the Deed of Sale states:
2. That for and in consideration of the sum of TWELVE MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED SIXTEEN THOUSAND AND NINE
HUNDRED TEN PESOS (P12,716,910.00), Philippine Currency, to be paid by the VENDEEMORTGAGOR to the
VENDOR-MORTGAGEE as specified hereunder, the latter, by these presents. do hereby SELL, TRANSFER and
CONVEY unto the VENDEE-MORTGAGOR, its heirs, assigns and successors-in-interests the above-described two (2)
parcels of land, together with all the improvements thereon, free from all liens and encumbrances whatsoever.1
(italics supplied.)
On the basis of this express warranty vis-a-vis the notice of lis pendens duly annotated at the back of the original
of the Transfer Certificate of Title (T.C.T.-110942) on file in the Registry of Deeds for the Province of Cavite,
Assistant Fiscal Napoleon V. Dilao of the City of Manila filed an information for "Falsification of Public Document"
against the private respondents. The information reads in part:
That on or about the 20th day of September 1980 in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused, conspiring
and confederating together and helping one another, being then private persons and with intent to cause damage
to public interest,did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously commit acts of falsification on a public
document, in the following manner, to wit: by then and there making it appear that a parcel of agricultural land
situated at Malinta, Dasmariñas, Cavite identified as Lot No. 3877-A-1 and now by TCT No. T-110942 is free from
all liens and encumbrances, which is subject of a Deed of Sale With Mortgage signed and executed in favor of one
Ricardo Silverio which was subscribed and sworn to before Notary Public Carolina L. De Guzman and entered in his
(sic) Notarial Registry As Doc. No. 89, Page 11, Book No. 111, Series of 1980, and therefore a public document, by
making it appear that the said parcel of agricultural land is "FREE FROM ALL LIENS AND ENCUMBRANCES", when in
truth and in fact, it is not, as the accused fully well knew that the subject parcel of land is subject of litigation in
Civil Case No. TG493 in the Regional Trial Court, Branch XVIII of Tagaytay City for reconveyance and/or
cancellation of title and damages, as evidenced by the "Notice of Lis Pendens" at the back of said TCT No. T-
110942 under Entry No. 71086 dated August 9,1980 and acts (sic) of inscription is (on) August 11, 1980, to the
damage and prejudice of public interest.
Contrary to law.2
Before arraignment, the private respondents, accused in the respondent trial court, filed, under date of June 17,
1987, a 'Motion To Quash" the information, on the ground that the facts charged do not constitute an offense [Par.
(a), See. 3, Rule 117, Revised Rules of Court]. They contended "that a notice of lis pendens is not a lien or an
encumbrance within the contemplation of the law much less of the parties."3 Moreover, the "(a)ccused were not
summoned by the Register of Deeds concerning the alleged notice of lis pendens"4 despite the fact that all the
parcels of land were, at the time of the sale to Silverio, registered in the names of the private respondents,
accused in the court below.5
The respondents aver that, without their knowledge, Pedro Caragao had caused the annotation of the notice of lis
pendens at the back of the original copy of the T.C.T, of the land under litigation6 in the Register of Deeds for the
province of Cavite. They stress that their (owner's) copy of the T.C.T. in question is "clean"- did not bear any
121

annotation of notice of lis pendens. They assure that prior to the sale, the accused did not mortgage or otherwise
encumber the said property as security for the payment of any obligation. They claim that at the time of the sale
on September 20, 1980, the accused believed that the properties being sold, including the one under litigation,
were indeed free from all liens and encumbrances as they really were.7
The court a quo, in an order dated July 17, 1987, sustained the private respondents' Motion to Quash and
dismissed the case ruling that a notice of lis pendens is not a lien or encumbrance. The court said:
The motion to quash is well-taken. A notice of lis pendens is not a lien or encumbrance under our civil law. It is a
mere cautionary notice to prospective buyers of certain property that said property is tinder litigation, and that any
sale made thereof shall be subject to the result of such litigation. It imposes no obligation on the owner, but on the
prospective buyer.
It is to be noted, also, that the clause is merely a formal statement in sales contained in notarized documents
inserted by the drafter of the deed even without any actual statement by the vendor.8
Only on August 7, 1987,9 after the issuance of the order granting the Motion to Quash, did Pedro Caragao file his
opposition. In a nutshell, he contended that the notice of lis pendens is the evidence of the lien or encumbrance on
the subject property, and not the lien or encumbrance itself charged in the information.
On August 12, 1987, Pedro Caragao moved for reconsideration of the July 17, 1987 order of quashal arguing that:
a) The Notice Of Lis Pendens Is Not The Lien Or Encumbrance Charged In The INFORMATION, But Merely An
Evidence of Such Lien Or Encumbrance.
b) The Information is clear and clear cut that The Lien Or Encumbrance Being Charged Is The Fact That "The
Subject Parcel of Land is Subject of LITIGATION in Civil Case No. TG-493 x x x as EVIDENCED by the Notice of Lis
Pendens'x x x"
c) Litigation is both an encumbrance and hen on the property being litigated. d) Ignorance of the law excuses no
one. c) Damage to a third person is NOT an element in falsification of a public document."10
The lower court in an order dated August 26,1987, denied the private prosecutor's motion for reconsideration,
hence, this petition,
Before us now, the petitioner assigns the following errors:
I
RESPONDENT TRIAL COURT ERRED AND COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OF
JURISDICTION WHEN IT RULED THAT THE NOTICE OF LIS PENDENS ANNOTATED AT THE BACK OF TCT NO. T-
110942 IS THE VERY LIEN OR INCUMBRANCE (sic) CHARGED IN THE INFORMATION, WHEN IN FACT, SAID
ANNOTATION IS MERELY AN EVIDENCE OF PENDING LITIGATION AND IT IS THE PROPERTY'S STATUS OF BEING A
LITIGATED PROPERTY THAT IS THE LIEN OR ENCUMBRANCE CHARGED IN THE INFORMATION.
II
RESPONDENT TRIAL COURT ERRED AND COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OF
JURISDICTION WHEN IT DISMISSED THE SUBJECT CRIMINAL CASE FOR FALSIFICATION OF PUBLIC DOCUMENT
ON THE GROUND THAT "FACTS CHARGED DO NOT CONSTITUTE AN OFFENSE." BECAUSE THE TRIAL JUDGE
SUBSTITUTED THE PLAIN RECITALS OF THE INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE SUPPORTING SUCH
RECITALS WITH HIS ERRONEOUS OPINION AND INAPPLICABLE AND IRRELEVANT DOCTRINES.11
Even, if we disregard the semantics of the private prosecutor's first submission, it has no merit nonetheless.
Central to the controversy in this case is the issue as to whether or not a notice of lis pendens is a lien or
encumbrance within the contemplation of criminal law, in particular, the crime of falsification of public document. If
so, then the private respondents would have committed falsification because they stated in paragraph 2 of the
deed of sale they executed in favor of Ricardo Silverio, that the real properties they sold were "free from all liens
and encumbrances" although a notice of lis pendens is annotated at the back of the T.C.T. of one parcel.
The meaning, nature, recording, and effects of a notice of lis pendens are clearly stated in the Revised Rules of
Court, Rule 14, Section 24, thus:
SEC. 24. Notice of lis pendens.-In an action affecting the title or the right of possession ofreal property, the
plaintiff, at the time of filing the complaint, and the defendant, at the time of filing his answer, when affirmative
relief is claimed in such answer, or at any time afterwards, may record in the office of the registrar of deeds of the
province in which the property is situated a notice of the pendency of the action, containing the names of the
parties and the object of the action or defense, and a description of the property in that province affected thereby.
From the time only of filing such notice for record shall a purchaser, or incumbrancer of the property affected
thereby, be deemed to have constructive notice of the pendency of the action, and only of its pendency against
parties designated by their real names.
The notice of lis pendens hereinabove mentioned may be cancelled only upon order of the court, after proper
showing that notice is for the purpose of molesting the adverse party, or that it is not necessary to protect the
rights of the party who caused it to be recorded.
Lis pendens is a Latin term which literally means a pending suit12 or a pending litigation while a notice of lis
pendens is an announcement to the whole world that a particular real property is in litigation, serving as a warning
that one who acquires an interest over the said property does so at his own risk, or that he gambles on the result
of the litigation over the said property.13 It is but a signal to the intending buyer or mortgagee to take care or
beware and to investigate the prospect or nonprospect of the litigation succeeding before he forks down his money.
Notice of Lis pendens has been conceived and, more often than not, availed of, to protect the real rights of the
registrant while the case involving such rights is pending resolution or decision. With the notice of lis pendens duly
recorded, and remains uncancelled, he could rest secure that he would not lose the property or any part of it
during the litigation.
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"[T]he doctrine of Lis pendens is founded upon reason of public policy and necessity, the purpose of which is to
keep the subject matter of the litigation within the power of the Court until the judgment or the decree shall have
been entered; otherwise, by successive alienations pending the litigation, its judgment or decree shall be rendered
abortive and impossible of execution."14
The lower court is therefore correct in ruling that a notice of Lis pendens being a mere cautionary notice to a
prospective buyer or mortgagee of a parcel of land under litigation, then it imposes no obligation on the owner, but
on the prospective buyer. It cannot conceivably be the "lien or encumbrance" contemplated by law.
On the other hand, a "lien" is a charge on property usually for the payment of some debt or obligation.15 A "lien"
is a qualified right or a proprietary interest, which may be exercised over the property of another. It is a right
which the law gives to have a debt satisfied out of a particular thing.16 It signifies a legal claim or charge on
property, either real or personal, as a collateral or security for the payment of some debt or obligation.
Similarly, an "encumbrance is a burden upon land, depreciative of its value, such as a lien, easement, or servitude,
which, though adverse to (the) interest of (the) landowner, does not conflict with his conveyance of (the) land in
fee."17
The following are considered encumbrances: A claim, lien, charge, or liability attached to and binding real property;
e.g., a mortgage, judgment lien, lease, security interest, easement or right of way, accrued and unpaid taxes.18 A
lien is already an existing burden or charge on the property while a notice of lis pendens, as the very term
connotes, is only a notice or warning that a claim or possible charge on the property is pending determination by
the court.
Consequently, the effect of a notice of lis pendens is not to establish an actual lien on the property affected. All
that it does is to give notice to third persons and to the whole world that any interest they may acquire in the
property pending litigation will be subject to the eventuality or result of the suit. It follows to reason, therefore,
that the mere failure to state in a public document, as a notarized deed of sale, the existence of a notice of lis
pendens does not constitute falsification of a public document under Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code. This is
specially true in the case at bar because the notice of lis pendens is annotated only at the back of the original of
the T.C.T. in the Registry of Deeds; it does not appear at the back of the owner's copy of the same T.C.T.
The petitioner has taken the semantic stance that the notice of lis pendens is not the lien or encumbrance charged
in the information but that it is merely an evidence of such litigation. In sum, the petitioner claims that the status
of being a litigated property is the very lien or encumbrance that is charged in the information.
The petitioner's sophistry stretches the legal meaning of lien and encumbrance too far to be tenable. Be that as it
may, not all claims against a property can be considered a lien within the contemplation of law. First, such claims
must be in satisfaction of some debt or performance of an act under a contract. Second, the legal right to enforce
such payment or performance of an act be anchored on an existing or demandable obligation and not merely
dependent upon the result of a pending litigation where the claims of the parties are not yet finally determined.
Such claims in a pending litigation only ripen to a "lien" within the contemplation of law when there is already a
valid judgment rendered because then it becomes a judgment or judicial lien.
The fact that the property is contested or under litigation does not necessarily give rise to the conclusion that the
complainant or petitioner has a better legal right than the respondents so as to enable the former to enforce a lien
thereon. That is exactly the reason for a notice of lis pendensto warn those who may subsequently deal with the
property to take cognizance of the conflicting rights between the parties.
In fine, a notice of lis pendens, or a pending litigation, or the fact that the property is under litigation is not within
the purview of what is legally considered a lien or encumbrance. The term notice of lis pendens is a distinct
concept, as differentiated from the term lien or encumbrance. The trial court, therefore, committed no reversible
error in granting the private respondents' Motion to Quash, and thereby dismissing the information against them.
The issue raised by the Solicitor General and the private respondents that there is a patent lack of authority on the
private prosecution to file this petition or even to move for reconsideration of the lower court's order granting the
Motion to Quash is well-taken. But there is no need to dwell on that point further considering that the foregoing
disquisition, without more, sufficiently disposes of the petition.
WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error committed by respondent court, the petition is hereby DISMISSED, and
the two challenged orders, dated July 17,1987 and August 26,1987, are AFFIRMED.
Costs against the petitioner.
a. Presumption as to material author of falsification
G.R.No.62634. June26,1992.
ADOLFO CAUBANG, petitioner, us. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.
PETITION for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals.
This is a petition filed by the accused Adolfo Caubang to review the Court of Appeals decision which affirmed in toto
his conviction of the crime of falsification of a public document punished under Article 172, paragraph 1 of the
Revised Penal Code, in relation to Article 171, paragraph 2. At the time Caubang was charged with committing the
crime, he was the incumbent mayor of Baganga, Davao Oriental.
The information charging him with the offense alleged:
"That on or about the 15th day of January, 1975, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused, being then a
private individual, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously commit an act of falsification on a
Statement of Assets and Liabilities of the Bagangs Consolidated Arrastre-Stevedcring Services, Inc., which is a
public and/or official document identified as Document No. 95, Page No. 15, Book No. 27, Series of 1975 of the
Notary Public Justo Agtarap of the City of Manila, by then and there forging, falsifying and simulating, or causing to
be forged, falsified and simulated the signature of the treasurer thereof, Baltazar Pagaduan, appearing on the
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lower, right hand portion of the said document, thus making it appear, as it did appear, that the said document
was made, prepared and signed by the said Baltazar Pagaduan, thereby attributing to the latter particiPation and
intervention in the making and preparation of said document by signing his name and affixing his signature thereon
when in truth and in fact, as the said accused well knew, the said Baltazar Pagaduan did not so participate, neither
did he authorize the herein accused or anybody else to prepare and sign tKe same.' (See RTC decision, pp. i and ii
in Rollo, p. 51)
The facts as found by the trial court are as follows:
"That in 1954, the accused and hi, brother, Melquiades Caubang, Florencio Teves and Teodoro Diaz organized a
stevedoring service in Davao Oriental called the Biinganga Mutual Association. This was operating without permit
from the Bureau of Customs since its establishment.
"In 1966, Solomon Baja also organized the East Coast Arrastre Stevedoring Services, Inc., also in Davao Oriental.
Baltazar Pagaduan was one of the members thereof who was its manager since 1967.
"In 1974, the Collector of Customs at Mati, Davao, suggested that the two arrastre companies merge into one.
Following the suggestion, the respective officials of both organizations entered into a merger agreement with the
signing of a document to that effect (See Exh. A-1). Thereafter, they drew up and signed the Articles of
Incorporation (Exh. H) of a new merged organization which they called the Banganga Consolidated Arrastre
Stevedoring Services, Inc. Baltazar Pagaduen was elected Treasurer of the merged corporation and he executed
and signed his Treasurer's Affidavit (Exh. H-1).
After the execution of the Articles of Incorporation (Exh. H) and the Treasnirer's Affidavit (Exh. H-1), the accused
brought to Manila these papers, as well as the sum of P2,500.00 on the paid-up capital and P500.00 for filing fees,
for the registration of the new corporation with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC for short). During
the process of its registration in Manila, the accused accomplished and signed an information sheet (Exh. Q and an
undertaking to change the corporate name in the event that another person, firm or entity has acquired a prior
right to use the same or one similar to it (Exh. D). He also wrote at the bottom of Exhibit D a promise to submit
the TAN (Tax Account Number) of his brother, Melquiades (should be Clemente) Caubang now marked Exhibit D-1.
On the 15th day of January, 1975, the corporation was registered with the SEC which issued a Certificate of
Registration (Exh. B-1). The Certificate of Registration (Exh. B-1), together with the letter of transmittal (Exh. F-1),
was received by the accused who brought and hand-ca"ied the same to Davao Oriental.
Disputed is the authorship of the forgery of the signature of Baltazar Pagaduan, marked Exhibit B-2-a, found in the
Statement of Assets and Liabilities of the Banganga Consolidated Arrastre Stevedoring Services, Inc., marked
Exhibit B-2, which was submitted to the SEC as required by SEC as a pre-requisite to the registration of the new
corporation." (RTC decision, p. iii in Rollo, p. 51)
The plaintiff-appellee, People of the Philippines, admits that the officials of the two arrastre companies originally
agreed to a the East Coast Arrastre Stevedoring Services, Inc. (ECASSI). It notes that the BMA which was partly
owned by petitioner had been operating without a business permit since 1957, a fact explicitly admitted by
petitioner in a letter to the Social Security System for exemption from coverage by the system in the years prior to
1967. (Exhibit "0," Table of Exhibits, p. 37)
Thereafter, or on December 18, 1974, the officials of both arrastre companies executed the Articles of
Incorporation for the newly-formed Banganga Consolidated Arrastre Stevedoring Services, Incorporated (BCASSI)
and elected Baltazar Pagaduan, as Treasurer, who then accomplished a Treasurer's Affidavit. For failure to receive
P500.00 as initial payment of sub. scription from each of the incorporators except Solomon Baia and himself,
Pagaduan claimed to have announced to the rest of them namely, Melquiades Caubang, Clemente Caubang and
Federico Teves, that the merger will not push through (See Rollo, p. 44; TSN, August 16,1976, p. 23) Pagaduan
said that he left the Treasurer's Affidavit, which he signed, with the accused. He was surprised to learn more than a
month after he signed the affidavit, or in February 1975, that the proposed merger was already registered with the
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He also learned that he had supposedly executed and signed a
Statement of Assets and Liabilities on February 15, 1975 before a notary public who was not known to him.
The bulk of the evidence for the prosecution consists of testimonies of Pagaduan, Solomon Baja, and the persons
who received for processing the incorporation papers in the SEC, namely, Juana Jularbal and Atty. Bernardo
Espejo. The prosecution presented evidence that the accused-petitioner was the person who had possession and
use of the papers for incorporation including the questioned Statement of Assets and Liabilities.
For his part, the accused-appellant denies having been the one who personally went to and handed over the
documents before the SEC. This, notwithstanding his statement that since he frequently travelled to Manila on
official business, the incorporators requested and authorized him to file the Articles of Incorporation and the
Treaqurer's Affidavit, and to present the P2,600.00 paid-up capital for registration of the newly-formed company
with the SEC. The following is his own narration of events:
"5. Because petitioner frequently travelled to Manila on official business, the incorporators requested him to
register the articles of incorporation with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Petitioner agreed and brought
the papers to Manila on January 14, 1975. His associate Luis Granados, who had been previously notified by his
son of his coming, met him at Avenue Hotel at (sic) Manila. Because he had to attend to official matters of his
municipality in the Department of Local Governments, petitioner entrusted the filing of the articles of incorporation
to Granados to whom he gave P2,500.00 representing the paid-up capital of the corporation, plus expense money.
6. In the afternoon of January 14, 1975, Tuesday, Granados went to the SEC to register the articles. While there
he negotiated with a fixer named 'Pete' who agreed to rile the articles for a fee of P300, but who, after consultation
with an SEC clerk, found that certain papers were lacking. Pete thereupon typed the general information sheet and
ar, undertaking to change the name of the corporation should there be any already registered with that name
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placing thereat the name of petitioner as 'authorized representative' after Granados told him that the president,
Clemente Caubang, was not available but that his brother, the petitioner, was in town. Pete asked for the TAN of
Clemente Caubang but since Granados did not have it with him, he returned to Avenue Hotel with the papers
prepared by Pete. Late in the afternoon, he met the petitioner and after showing him the additional papers
prepared by Pete, petitioner signed them. Petitioner did not have with him the TAN of Clemente Caubang but
nevertheless wrote on the undertaking to change the corporate name that the TAN will be submitted upon the filing
of the by-laws of the corporation.
7. On January 15,1976, Wednesday, Granados returned to the SEC and gave the papers to Pete. The articles were
riled by Pete who thereupon got the agreed fee of P300 from Granados. Pete then followed-up the papers in the
SEC while Granados waited outside upon the advice of Pete. Later, Pete fetched him to appear before a lady
employee at the SEC to whom he presented the P2,500 paid-up capital of the corporation. After counting the
money, the lady returned it to Granados. Then Pete told him to return on the following Friday, January 17, 1975.
8. On the agreed day, Pete gave Granados an envelope full of papers and told him that the articles were already
registered. Granados left and returned to the hotel where he found the petitioner. He gave him the papers saying
they were already approved.
9. As it now appears, the SEC approved the articles of incorporation of the merged companies on January 16,
1975. Among the papers filed with the SEC was the statement of assets and liabilities of BCASS that the company
had total assets in the form of cash in the amount of P2,600 and liabilities to shareholders in the same amount.
The statement was signed by Balta;iar Pagaduan as Treasurer and sworn to before Notary Public Justo Agtarap of
Manila on January 15, 1975.
10. Claiming that the signature on the statement of assets and liabilities was not his, Pagaduan then filed with the
Department of Justice a complaint for forgery of his signature against the petitioner. Solomon Baja also
commenced against petitioner the following complaints:
a. With the SEC for cancellation ofthe registration ofBaganga Consolidated Arrastre and Stevedoring Services, Inc.;
b. With the Department of Local Governments;
c. With the Office of the Secretary of National Defense; and
d. With the Office of the President; in his efforts to unseat petitioner as; mayor of Baganga, Davao Oriental and to
put out of business the arrastre company of his (Adolfo's) brother, Melquiades Caubang. During this period, all
local elective officials were undergoing performance audit and the President had declared that officials with pending
charges will be removed from office. The charges were given wide publicity in the radio and newspapers circulating
in Mindanao. Significantly, after Baja signed the articles of incorporation of BCASS, Inc., he nevertheless continued
to operate his former stevedoring company." (Rollo, pp. 16-20)
On July 31, 1978, the trial court found the accused petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of falsification of a
public document and sentenced him to suffer an indeterminate penalty of from one (1) year and one (1) day of
prision correccional, as minimum, to three (3) years, six (6) months and twenty-one (21) days of prision
correccional as maximum, and to pay: (1) a fine of P3,000.00 with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency
at the rate of P8.00 a day but not exceeding one-third of the Principal penalty, and (2) the costs. The court also
allowed him a credit of his preventive imprisonment in the service of his sentence to the extent of four-fifths.
On August 7, 1978, petitioner filed a notice to appeal the judgment of conviction. The Court of Appeals affirmed
the decision finding no grounds for its reversal.
Hence, this petition where the following issues are raised:
"1. Whether or not the exception to the general rule and not the general rule itself on the findings of the trial court
on credibility of witnesses being binding on the appellate court, is to be applied in this case where the guilt of the
accused has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt, as laid down in People v. Peruelo, 78 OG No. 16, pp.
2024,2031;
2. Whether or not the exception to the general rule, and not the general rule itself on the finality of findings of fact
by the Court of Appeals, is applicable and must govern in this case where the findings of fact of the Court of
Appeals are:
a) Contrary to the established fact, as decided in Roque v. Buan, 21 SCRA 642, 650-651, and, therefore, should be
reversed by this Court;
b) Overlooked matters of substance in the evaluation of the evidence, as held in Lim Yhi Luya v. Court of Appeals
and Hind Sugar Company, 78 OG No. 25, pp. 3208, 3229 or misinter. preted the significance of some fact or
circumstance, as held in People v. Marcos, 70 Phil. 468, 472, and, therefore, should be reversed by this Court.
3. Whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the judgment of conviction for halsification of the official
document in question where the entries therein are not absolutely false and no damage was caused to the
government or third parties, and in the absence of criminal intent, contrary to the ruling in Beradio v. Court of
Appeals, et al., 77 O.G. No. 48, pp. 6315, 6327." (Rollo, pp. 23-24)
After an in depth examination of the records of the case, the Court is convinced that there is strong evidence that
leaves no doubt as to the guilt of the accused.
The first two questions raised by petitioner pertain to one and the same issue of the correctness or propriety of the
factual findings of the court, including the finding on credibility of witnesses. The Court restates that the credibility
of witnesses who testified in court becomes a matter of great significance in order to determine whether or not the
degree of proof required in criminal cases has been met. (People v. Belibet, 199 SCRA 587 [1991])
It is a well-settled rule, however, that appellate courts generally will not disturb, but instead uphold and respect
the factual findings of the trial court which had the opportunity to hear the witnesses and to observe their
deportment as well as the manner of testifying during the trial, and which was in a better position to decide the
125

case. (People v. De Mesa, 188 SCRA 48 (1990); People v. Arbolante, G.R. No. 96713, October 17, 1991; People v.
Caraig, G.R. No. 91162, October 3, 1991; People v. Aguiling, G.R. No. 91662, March 11, 1992) Moreover, the juris.
diction of this Court in cases brought before it from the Court of Appeals is limited to reviewing errors of law and
not errors of fact. (Bernardo de los Santos v. Faustino B. Reyes, at al., L45027, January 27, 1992) This doctrine
will not apply only where, as alleged in the case at bar, the judge has plainly overlooked certain facts of substance
and value which, if considered, might affect the result of the case. (People v. Javier, 183 SCRA 702 (19901; People
v. Belibet, supra) As will be seen later, the court did not overlook rhaterial points as to avoid application of the
general rule.
Contrary to the submission of petitioner, the circumstantial evidence relied upon by the trial court and the
respondent appellate court are sufficient to establish the fact that the accused-petitioner was responsible for the
falsification of the Statement of Assets and Liabilities. (Exhibit "B-2," Table of Exhibits, p. 5)
The Court found that the following papers were submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for
the registration of the Baganga Consolidated Arrastre-Stevedoring Services, Inc. (BCASSI): (1) the Articles of
Incorporation (Exhibit "H," Table of Exhibits, p. 15); (2) Treasurer's Affidavit (Exhibit "A," ibid, p. 1); and (3) the
Statement of Assets and Liabilities (Exhibit "B-2," ibid., p. 6).
Additionally, the following were also submitted and made part of the records; (1) a General Information Sheet
(Exhibit "C," ibid., p. 9) on which appears the signature of petitioner as the one who certified the truthfulness of
the data placed therein; and (2) a typewritten letter also signed by the accused expressing willingness to change
the corporate name in case of a prior registrant bearing the same or a similar name (Exhibit "D," ibid., p. 10) on
which there was a handwritten promise to submit the Tax Account N umber (TAN) of one of the incorporators,
Clemente Caubang. At the trial, the petitioner admitted having affixed his signature on Exhibits "C" and "D."
The records also reveal the report of SEC Examiner Juana Jularbal dated January 15, 1975 on which she declared
that:
"I have made a physical count of the paid-up capital of the Baganga Consolidated Arrastre-Stevedoring Services,
Inc. in the amount of TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED PESOS, P2,500.00 presented by Mr. Adolfo Caubang as
representative of the corporation x x x." (See Exhibit "E,"Table of Exhibits, p. 11)
Petitioner himself states that he came to Manila from Baganga, Davao on January 14, 1975 bringing with him only
the Articles of Incorporation, the Treasurer's Affidavit, and the cash amount of P2,500 paid-up capital. He did not
mention the Statement of Assets and Liabilities to be among those carried by him for purposes of registration.
Despite this, the records show that there was on file a copy of the Statement of Assets and Liabilities executed on
January 16, 1975 and notarized on the same date by a notary public in Manila, Atty. Justo Agtarap, and bearing a
signature purporting to be that of Baltazar Pagaduan. The signature appears to be written in crooked strokes. A
comparison of that signature to those sample signatures of Pagaduan appearing in Exhibit "L" on page 32 of the
Table of Exhibits, on the Treasurer's Affidavit and on the Articles of Incorporation proves that it is not genuine nor
authentic. Considering that the accused-petitioner acted as the representative of the new corporation to file the
documents and that the named-officers were in Davao in January 1975, it was physically impossible for Pagaduan
to have signed the statement and subscribed it before Atty. Agtarap in Manila.
The fact that accused-petitioner did not carry with him the statement throws open the question of how that
document came into being and who caused its execution.
Having represented himself to be the authorized person to register the company, it logically follows that petitioner
had knowledge about the existence of the document, which along with Exhibits "C" and "D," was an equally
important requirement for the registration of a corporation. Thus, it behooved upon the accused-petitioner to shad
light or, the sudden appearance of the spurious document.
Instead, the petitioner insists on his own version that it was some other person, i.e., a fixer named Pete who
personally appeared before the SEC in all stages of the process for a fee until the claiming of the certificate of
registration. He alleges that Pete finished the registration upon agreement with Luis Granados, from whom the
petitioner asked for assistance.
The arguments of the petitioner are mere denials which, if weighed against documentary evidence as well as the
testimonies of prosecution witnesses, Ms. Jularbal and Atty. Espejo of the SEC, do not lay down a convincing
ground to reverse the respondent court's decision.
The main thrust of the petitioner's arguments refers to the inapplicability to this case of the presumption of law
that a person who is found in possession of a forged document and who used the same is the forger thereof. He
attempts to englighten the Court by relating some intervening circumstances to disprove his possible knowledge or
interference in the making of the Statement of Asseta and Liabilities prior to the submission of the latter to the
SEC.
The petitioner states that the trial court admitted in its decision the failure of prosecution witness, Juana Jularbal,
to identify the accused as the one who presented the P2,500.00 cash. Non-identification of the accused as the
presenter allegedly defeats the evicience or a report naming him to be the one.
A careful reading of the decision, however, reveals that the trial court did not actually make such an admission.
After comparing the testimony of defense witness Luis Granados and that of Jularbal, the trial court gave credence
to the latter's testimony. Granados testified that he was the one who gave the money to Jularbal. The court
distinctly noted, however, that Granados' testimony "lacks detail as to keep the court wondering on how Juama
Jularbal could have known the name of Adolfo Caubang as the representative of the registrant corporation to
enable her to put this fact in Exhibit'E.'" (RTC decision, P. xiii in Rollo, p. 51) The defense theory, therefore, is not
in accord with human experience.
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Thus, the absence of contradictory evidence the trial court correctly based its judgment on the factual statement
appearing in Exhibit "E," i.e., that the P2,500.00 was presented by Adolfo Caubang as the authorized
representative.
The petitioner denies having signed Exhibit "D" (or the typewritten undertaking to change the corporate name with
a written promise to give Clemente Caubang's TAN) in the presence of Atty. Espejo.
He alleges that he accomplished it in his hotel room on January 14, 1975 upon being asked by Granados to do so.
He also states that there was no written evidence in Exhibit "D" to indicate that he signed in the office of Atty.
Espejo.
The vacillations of Atty. Espejo did not make him an unreliable witness. The Court has held several times that
inconsistencies and contradictions referring to minor details do not dispel the credibility of the witness (People v.
Sabellano, 198 SCRA 196 (19911; People v. Custodio, 197 SCRA 538 [19911).
The Court has earlier ruled that:
"The most candid witness oftentimes makes mistakes but such honest lapses do not necessarily impair his intrinsic
credibility. Minor inconsistencies do not affect the veracity and testimony on material points." (People v. Belibet,
supm, at page 592)
The material facts pointing to the accused-petitioner as the one who accomplished and signed Exhibit "D,"
wherever he may have done so, remains undisputed. Thus, there is sufficient evidence to prove his active
participation in the completion of the registration requirements.
The petitioner contends that the respondent appellate court erred in fmcling that it was he who followed up the
registration of the Articles of Incorporation with the SEC. The respondent court, he alleges, overlooked the fact that
he gave the Articles of Incorporation, the Treasurer's Affidavit and the cash of P2,500.00 to Granados on January
14,1975. From that time on, he never saw the papers again, except for Exhibits C. and "D," until the completion of
the process. It was allegedly the fixer who took charge of the registration in order to expedite it. He denies having
received and signed the letter transmitting the certificate of incorporation (Exhibit "F," Table of Exhibits, p. 13) and
the Certificate of Incorporation dated January 15, 1975.
The Court finds that the accused-petitioner has consistently made use of the fixer as a necessary character to block
the possibility of his having gone to the SEC. The petitioner not only had to use the person of Luis Granados but
also a third person whose shadowy character and shady occupation do not help at all to convince us of the veracity
of the defense theory.
There was no way of verifying the existence of the fixer in the defense version. It is quite likely that no fixer in his
right mind would audaciously volunteer to disclose his true identity in court and testify that he acted as such.
Whatever the reason for the non-production of this key participant, utilizing a fixer as part of the scenario becomes
a convenient ploy to divert the mind of the court from the more plausible inference that the accused-petitioner
engineered the spurious statement of assets and liabilities.
Even assuming that the defense story was true and such that the accused-petitioner could not have been the one
who personally received the letter of transmittal and the certificate of incorporation, the circumstances point to the
vital fact that being the real authorized representative, any representations made at his own instance by another
before the SEC and for the newly-formed corporation, were absolutely made on behalf of the accused Adolfo
Caubang.
The principle of estoppel in pais is made applicable to the situation wherein the accused, either by himself or
through another person made a representation by submitting a supposedly validly executed statement of assets
and liabilities to form part of the registration requirements, and thereafter, by receiving the certificate of
incorporation and the letter transmitting the certificate of incorporation. The accused acted in a manner as to make
the SEC believe that the person transacting was duly authorized to do so and was faithfully complying with the
lawful requirements of the agency.
The presumptionjuris et dejure: that whenever a party has by his own declaration, act or omission, intentionally
and deliberately led another to believe a particular thing to be true, and to act upon such belief, he cannot in a
litigation arising out of such declaration, act or omission be permitted to falsify it-more appropriately solves the
disparity between the factual narrations of the defense as well as those of the prosecution.
Even if the allegation that some other person filed and followed up the registration papers was true, the
accusedpetitioner would still be subjected to the same conclusion.
It is not strange to realize that in cases of forgery, the prosecution "would not always have the means for obtaining
such direct evidence to confute acts contrived clandestinely." (Koh Tieck Heng v. People, 192 SCRA 533 at 546
[1990]) This is the reason why the court a quo and the respondent appellate court had to rely on circumstantial
evidence consisting of pieces of facts, which if woven together would produce a single network establishing the
guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. (People v. Esparcia, 187 SCRA 282 [19901)
The version of facts as presented and proven by the People deserves more credence for being in consonance with
human experience and normal conduct and for being based on documentary evidence admitted by the accused-
petitioner. (People v. Aguiling, supra)
Having been the one responsible for the filing of the registration papers, including the means he felt necessary to
accomplish the registradon, the accused must likewise be accountable therefor. As the authorized representative
he is deemed to have been the one in custody or possession, or at least the one who has gotten hold even for a
short while, of the papers which included the statement of assets and liabilities. That he knew of the execution of
the statement is a possibility not too difficult to imagine under the circumstances.
We are satisfied that the court a quo and the respondent court did not err in relying upon the presumption that the
possessor and user of a falsified document is presumed to be the forger thereof (People v. Sendaydiego, 81 SCRA
127

120 [19781; People v. Caragao, 30 SCRA 993 [19691; Alarcon v. Court of Appeals, 19 SCRA 688 (19671; Dava v.
People, G.R. No. 73905, September 30, 1991).
The evidence conclusively shows that the statement of assets and liabilities was not among those brought by the
petitioner from Davao to Manila. The statement was not an authentic representation of the assets and liabilities of
the BCASSI. It was surreptitiously signed by someone who imitated the signaure of Balta, ar Pagaduan. Indeed, no
forger could ever do this in the open.
Forgery could easily be consummated only by the forger alone or in the confidence of persons in connivance with
him.
The filing of the previously inexistent document subjects the accused-petitioner to the inference that he used it as
part of the registration papers. In the absence of a credible and satisfactory explanation of how the document
came into being and then filed with the SEC, the accused is presumed to be the forger of the signature of
Pagaduan, and the one who prepared doubtful information on the financial status of the proposed corporation
(People v. Cu Unjieng, 61 Phil. 906 (1935]).
The Court has similarly ruled in United States v. Castillo, 6 Phil. 453 [19061 regarding the utterance of a check:
"The utterance of such an instrument, when unexplained is strong evidence tending to establish the fact that the
utterer either himself forged the instrument or caused it to be forged, and that this evidence, taken together with
the further evidence set out xxx and brought out on the trial of the case establishes the guilt of the accused with
which he was charged beyond a reasonable doubt." (At p. 455; italics supplied)
In the case at bar, the filing of the statement of assets and liabilities remained unexplained. This fact, together
with other proofs presented by the prosecution, is strong evidence tending to show that the accused Adolfo
Caubang either himself forged the statement or caused it to be forged by someone else. Worthy of note is the
willingness of the accused to accomplish all that were necessary to acquire a certificate of incorporation.
Contrary to the denials of the accused, the Court upholds the finding that "he was the one, or through someone
else as he claimed, who received the Certificate of Registration (Exhibit "6") from the SEC and who brought it home
to Davao" (RTC decision, page x in Rollo, p. 51). We find no reason to believe the assertion that the respondent
appellate court erred in relying on the factual determination by the trial court.
The petitioner contends that there were absolutely no false entries in the statement of assets and liabilities as to
make its execution injurious or damaging to the government or third parties. The claim is without merit.
In the falsification of a public document such as Exhibit "B2," it is immaterial whether or not the contents set forth
therein were false. What is important is the fact that the signature of another was counterfeited.
The ruling in Beradio v. Court of Appeals, 103 SCRA 567 [19811, alleged by petitioner to be applicable is not
binding in the instant case. In that case, the official document involved was a time record, the accomplishment of
which was for the purpose of proving rendition of service in the interest of the public. The reason why the Court
ruled that there was no damage to the government was because under the facts proven, the time record had
already served its purpose. The time record could thereafter be set aside for being worthless. Moreover, the
submission of a time record was not strictly required of election registrars as a matter of legal obligation, but only
for administrative procedural convenience.
The Court, however, did not fail to distinguish a time record from other public documents "with continuing interest
affecting the public welfare which is naturally damaged if that document is falsified." (Beradio v. Court of Appeals,
supra, p. 584)
This is not to say that Exhibit "B-2" is a public document the falsification of which must have the effect of damage
that must first be proven.
The Court is of the view that mere falsification by forging the signature of Baltazar Pagaduan as to cause it to
appear that Pagaduan has participated in the execution of Exhibit 'T-2," when he did not in fact so participate,
makes the accusedpetitioner criminally liable. In a crime of falsification of a public or official document, the
principal thing punished is the "violation of the public faith and the destruction of the truth as therein solemnly
proclaimed." (People v. Pecans, 47 Phil. 48 [19241; People v. Po Giok To, 96 Phil. 913 (1955]; Sarep v.
Sandiganbayan, 177 SCRA 440 [19891) Thus, intent to gain or to injure is immaterial. Even more so, the gain or
damage is not necessary.
The petitioner states that the respondent appellate court erred in finding that the merger, through which the new
corporation was formed, did not materialize. It is unfortunate that petitioner gravely misunderstood not only the
manner by which the respondent court presented the facts, but also their simple meaning. In quoting the narration
prepared by the prosecution, the appellate court did not additionaIly indicate nor give the impression that the
merger did not push through.
The quotation, as again quoted by petitioner, related that:
. x x x [Me (referring to Pagaduan) told the subscribers that the merger will not push through." (Rollo, p. 30)
In his last attempt to dwell on prevarications, the petitioner argues that prosecution witnesses, Baltazar Pagaduan
and Solomon Baj a had an ulterior motive to destroy his integrity by instituting the charge of falsification against
him. He stated that Baja, his political rival for mayoralty at that time, was inclined to unseat him as mayor.
The Court finds this an effort to befuddle what has been established by the evidence on record. The respondent
court correctly ignored the infusion of political or partisan matters where the evidence was found to be wrong to
convict the accused-petitioner of falsification beyond reasonable doubt. The questions raised we fattual. We see no
reason to deviate from the usual respect accorded to factual findings of the trial court and the Court of Appeals.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED for absence of reversible error on the part of the respondent court.
The appealed judgment of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED in toto.
SO ORDERED.
128

[GRN 68203 September 13, 1989.*]


METUROGAN L. SAREP, petitioner, vs. HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN, respondent.
APPEAL from the decision of the Sandiganbayan. Escareal, J. The facts are stated in the opinion of the
Court.
Petitioner, Meturogan L. Sarep, appeals from the decision1 of the Sandiganbayan, dated 3 April 1984, in Criminal
Case No. 4273, entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Meturogan Sarep y Lucman," convicting him of the crime of
Falsification of Public Document through Reckless Imprudence, as defined and penalized in Article 171, paragraph
4, in relation to Article 365, paragraph 1, of the Revised Penal Code. The information, originally filed before the
Court of First Instance of Cotabato, charged petitioner with the crime of Falsification of Official Document,
committed as follows:
"That on or about December 30, 1977, or sometime prior thereto, in the City of Cotabato, Philippines, and within
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused being then employed as Soil Technologist II under the
Bureau of Soils, Region XII, Cotabato City, with a Temporary Appointment, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully
and feloniously take without permission from the records of said Office the appointment paper proposed in his
name dated January 19, 1976, which appointment paper was replaced due to an incorrect entry, by another one
bearing the same date; and the accused once in possession of said appointment paper, did then and there wilfully,
unlawfully and feloniously change, alter and falsify the date, figures and words written thereon, thus changing its
meaning and attributing to the person who caused the preparation of the same, statements other than those in
fact made by him; that the falsification and alteration were committed for the purpose of converting the Temporary
Status of his appointment to a Permanent Status, and which accused succeeded by having said falsified
appointment paper attested by the Civil Service Commission in Manila without the knowledge of the Civil Service
Commission, Region XII, who has the jurisdiction and authority to attest appointments under Regional XII."2
From the aforesaid judgment of conviction, petitioner appealed to this Court, after his motion for reconsideration
was denied by respondent court on 9 May 1984.
The antecedent facts are as follows:
On 19 January 1976, Director Kundo Pahm. of the Bureau of Soils, Region XII, extended an appointment in favor of
Meturogen L. Sarep (herein petitioner) to the position of Soil Technologist II (Exh. "C"). After signing the
appointment paper, Pahm noticed an error in the item on civil service eligibility. The entry therein read "First Grade
Unassembled" instead of "Unassembled Examination" which was the appropriate eligibility for the position of Soil
Technologist; whereupon, Director Pahm called the attention of the acting personnel officer, Usman Salic, to the
error and directed him to prepare another appointment paper (Exh. "B") which Pahm signed after noting the
correction made by the personnel officer. The appointment was approved by the Assistant Regional Director of the
Civil Service Commission (CSC) as "temporary."
Sarep's appointment was renewed on 23 May 1977 (Exh. "A") to expire on 1 April 1978 and, just like his 1976
appointment, the same was approved as "temporary" by the CSC Regional Office.
In March 1978, Director Pahm decided not to renew petitioner's appointment since the latter was not performing
the duties of his position. Petitioner was accordingly informed of the director's decision. Three (3) days later, Pahm
was surprised to receive a xerox copy of Sarep's appointment paper dated 30 December 1976 (Exh. "C") with
erasures and superim-positions thereon, which was approved by the CSC Central Office in Manila as "permanent."
When asked by Pahm to produce the original copy of the appointment paper, petitioner refused to do so.
Consequently, Pahm went to the regional office of the Civil Service Commission to verify and he was advised to file
a petition to recall or cancel Sarep's appointment (Exh, "C") which he did, by forwarding to the CSC Central Office
in Manila a "Petition for Recall and/or Withdrawal and Cancel Supposed Permanent Appointment of Mr. Meturogan
L. Sarep, Soil Technologist II, Lanao del Sur Soil District Office."
On 21 December 1978, an Information for Falsification of Official Document was filed against Sarep before the
Court of First Instance of Cotabato, which was docketed therein as Criminal Case No. 596. The case was later
transferred to respondent Sandiganbayan pursuant to the lower court's Order dated 25 September 1981.
After trial, the respondent Sandiganbayan promulgated the now assailed decision, the dispositive part of which
reads:
"WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding accused Meturogan Sarep y Lucman GUILTY beyond reasonable
doubt as principal in the offense of Falsification of Public Documents through Reckless Imprudence, as defined and
penalized in Article 171, paragraph 4, in relation to Article 365, paragraph 1, of the Revised Penal Code, and there
being present the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender, hereby sentences him to suffer the straight
penalty of imprisonment for THREE (3) MONTHS, to pay a fine of P500.00, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency, and to pay the costs of this action."3
As earlier mentioned, petitioner appealed the said decision on the sole assignment of error.
"THAT THE LOWER COURT ERRED OF [sic] CONVICTING THE PETITIONER FOR FALSIFICATION THROUGH
RECKLESS IMPRUDENCE."4
It is petitioner's submission that, based on the evidence presented by the prosecution and the defense, there is no
evidence which proves that he caused the erasures, alterations and intercalations on Exh. "C" for which he was
found guilty of falsification of public document through reckless imprudence. He points to the personnel officer,
Usman Salic, or the latter's subordinates, as responsible for the erasures and alterations in said appointment
paper. He likewise asserts that Director Kundo Pahm should also be held responsible. In support of this assertion,
he quotes a portion of the cross examination of witness Pahm, to wit:
"ATTY. ORENCIA:
129

QNow it appears in Exhibit I that there is an erasure above the typewritten words December 30, 1976 which
erasure can be read as February ... which the month could be read as February; Do you still insist that this Exhibit
C was dated January 19, 1976?
AYes air, of course when I first signed it.
ATTY. ORENCIA:
May we respectfully request that the erasure above the words December 30 which reads February be encircled and
be marked as Exhibit I -a.
JUSTICE ESCAREAL:
Mark it.
JUSTICE MOLINA:
QThe word that was originally printed was February and another superimposed to it?
AYes sir, below December 30 which is also the date appearing in Exhibit C, Your Honor.
XXX
JUSTICE ESCAREAL:
QWhy did you not cancel the document when you found out that there was something wrong with it?
AI trusted the personnel officer and that he will be the one, Your Honor.
QSine [sic) the document bears your signature, you should have crossed your signature out?
AMay be that was my fault, Your Honor."5
Petitioner thus claims that the appointment paper (Exhibit "C") already bore the erasures, alterations and
intercalations even before Pahm signed it.
Petitioner also contends that the following elements of the crime charged under paragraph 4, Article 171, of the.
Revised Penal Code, are absent in the case:
1. The offender makes in a document false statement in a narration of facts;
2. He has a legal obligation to disclose the truth of the facts narrated by him;
3. The person making the narration of facts must be aware of the falsity of the facts narrated by him.
Petitioner submits that he is not a public officer who is in charge of preparing appointments of the employees in the
agency; that he had no participation or intervention in the preparation of his appointment paper nor held it in
custody in an official capacity. Moreover, petitioner argues that granting, for the sake of argument, but not
admitting, that he did falsify the questioned document, no third person had been damaged thereby. He also points
out that the alleged falsified document bears the correct item number and appropriate civil service eligibility.
Hence, there is no falsification. He cites the case of U.S. vs. Lino Reyes, in which:
"It was ruled that there can be no conviction for falsification of a public document in the absence of proof that the
defendant maliciously perverted the truth with wrongful intent of injuring third person."6
Finally, petitioner invokes good faith in his defense. He claims that after the personnel officer handed him the
questioned document, which bore the erasures and alterations as well as the Director's signature, he brought it to
the Civil Service Commission in Manila upon suggestion and with the permission of the personnel officer.
The petition is without merit.
The core of petitioner's arguments is based on the testimony of witness Kundo Pahm, earlier quoted. Petitioner
makes capital of the testimony of Director Pahm that the latter signed Exhibit "C" even if he already noticed the
mistake in the stated eligibility. However, an analysis and examination of the same testimony and that of witness
Usman Salic, the personnel officer, would show that Exhibit "C" was precisely discarded or cancelled after Director
Pahm had inadvertently signed it before noticing the mistake in the entry on civil service eligibility only. On the
other hand, petitioner's citation of the testimonies of both Kundo Pahm and Usman Salic disproves his contention
that both officers are to be blamed for the falsification. Both officers categorically stated that Exhibit "C" was
replaced by another appointment paper (Exh. "B") which was duly approved by the CSC Regional Office in Cotabato
City. It is clear that Exhibit "C" was the cancelled appointment paper that was missing but later found in the
possession of petitioner already bearing erasures, alterations and superimpositions. Consider the following
testimonies:
1. Kundo Pahm:
'FISCAL FERRER:
What did you do then with this Exhibit C after the preparation of Exhibit B which was approved by the Civil Service
Commission?
AWhen I noticed after going over for the second time, I called my personnel officer to prepare another one because
of that term which I requested him to make another one because it is not appropriate term.
FISCAL FERRER:
QDid you ever ask the cancellation of this Exhibit C by your personnel officer?
ATTY ORENCIA:
Objection, leading.
JUSTICE ESCAREAL: Reform.
FISCAL FERRER:
QWhat was your instruction if any for your personnel officer for him to do with respect to this Exhibit C because
Exhibit B was prepared with the proper correction?
AI just gave that back to him and being a personnel officer I presume he knows his functions."7
xxx
2. Usman Salic:
130

QMeantime with the approval of this Exhibit B what did you do with Exhibit C which you were asked by the director
to cancel?
AThis is the appointment which I was looking for because it was lost.
QWhere did you keep this Exhibit C after you were advised by the director to prepare another appointment for Mr.
Sarep?
AI kept it in my drawer.
QAfter you kept this Exhibit C inside. I withdraw that question.
QWhat is your purpose any way in keeping this Exhibit C inside your drawer when there was already another
appointment for Mr. Sarep?
AMy purpose there is to cancel that. The only mistake I committed there was, I was not able to cancel it right
away.
QThereafter or in the following days months did you try to cancel this Exhibit C?
AI was not able to cancel it because it was already lost.
QWhen for the first time did you notice that this was already missing, Exhibit C?
AI noticed after I prepared the second appointment."8
The Court does not accept petitioner's defense of good faith. He admitted that he knew that Director Pahm. was
not only uninclined to extend him a permanent appointment due to his lack of civil service eligibility but he also did
not authorize him (Sarep) to follow up his appointment with the Civil Service Commission in Manila. More
importantly, he knew that if the falsified document had been presented before the CSC Regional Office, it would
have surely been attested as temporary only. Hence, he purposely avoided filing the appointment paper with the
CSC Regional Office, which is the practice and standard procedure in the regional office of the Bureau of Soils and,
instead, personally brought it to Manila where somehow he was able to have it stamped approved as permanent.
The Court also rejects Sarep's argument that there is no falsification, as the alleged falsified document bears the
correct item number and appropriate eligibility. We agree with the respondent court that "(I)t is falsification, and
not a correction, which the law punishes (People vs. Mateo, 25 Phil. 324; Arriola vs. Republic, 103 Phil. 730)."
Likewise, "(I)n the falsification of public or official documents, whether by public officials or by private persons, it is
not necessary that there be present the idea of gain or the intent to injure a third person, for the reason that, in
contradiction to private documents, the principal thing punished is the violation of the public faith and the
destruction of the truth as therein solemnly proclaimed (Decision of the Supreme Court of Spain of December 23,
1886, cited in People vs. Pecana, 47 Phil. 56)."9
Since petitioner is the only person who stood to benefit by the falsification of the document that was found in his
possession, it is presumed that he is the material author of the falsification. Petitioner has failed to convince the
Court that a person other than himself made the erasures, alterations and superimpositions on the questioned
appointment paper (Exh. "C',).
The Sandiganbayan in qualifying the offense and arriving at the penalty imposed on the petitioner held:
"We are inclined, however, to credit the accused herein with the benefit of the circumstance that he did not
maliciously pervert the truth with the wrongful intent of injuring some person (People vs. Reyes, 1 Phil. 341). Since
he sincerely believed that his CSC eligibility based on his having passed the Regional Cultural Community Officer
(Unassembled) Examination and educational attainment were sufficient to qualify him for a permanent position,
then he should only be held liable for falsification through reckless imprudence (People vs. Leopando, 36 O.G.
2937, People vs. Maleza, 14 Phil. 468; People vs. Pacheco, 18 Phil. 399).
"Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code, which punishes criminal negligence or quasi-offenses, furnishes the middle
way between a wrongful act committed with wrongful intent, which gives rise to a felony, and a wrongful act
committed without any intent which may entirely exempt the doer from criminal liability. It is the duty of everyone
to execute his own acts with due care and diligence in order that no prejudicial or injurious results may be suffered
by others from acts that are otherwise offensive (Aquino, R.P.C. Vol. III, 1976, Ed., p. 1884). What is penalized is
the mental attitude or condition behind the acts of dangerous recklessness and lack of care or foresight although
such mental attitude might have produced several effects or consequences (People vs. Cano, L-19660, May 24,
1966).
"Consequently, the penalty to be imposed upon the accused herein should be that as provided for in the first
paragraph of Article 366 of the Revised Penal Code, which is the penalty prescribed for any person who by reckless
imprudence, shall commit any act which, had it been intentional would constitute a grave felony, to wit: arresto
mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its medium period. Accused is entitled to the mitigating
circumstance of voluntary surrender (Page 38, Record). No other modifying circumstance appears proven on the
record."10
The Court finds no reversible error in the Sandiganbayan's decision finding petitioner, Meturogan L. Sarep, guilty of
the crime of falsification of public document through reckless im. prudence. However, the penalty imposed should
be imprisonment of THREE MONTHS AND ONE DAY TO ONE YEAR, SEVEN MONTHS AND TEN DAYS, instead of
imprisonment of THREE MONTHS under the appealed decision, since the period of the penalty imposed, i.e., arresto
mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its medium period is four months and one day to four years
and two months reduced by appreciating the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender and applying the
Indeterminate Sentence Law.
WHEREFORE, except as modified with respect to the penalty, the decision of the respondent Sandiganbayan is
AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
KOH TIECK HENG, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and COURT OF APPEALS,
respondents.1990 December 212nd DivisionG.R. Nos. 48535-36D E C I S I O N
131

This petition for review on certiorari impugns the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 16246-47-CR 1
which affirmed the judgment of the former Court of First Instance of Manila in Criminal Cases Nos. 15006 and
15007 convicting herein accused-petitioner of estafa and attempted estafa, respectively.
The facts as found by the trial court and adopted by respondent court are as follows:
"From the evidence extant on the record, the following facts appear undisputed: That accused Koh Tieck Heng,
alias Tomas P. Flores opened Savings Account No. 26580, with the Security Bank and Trust Company, Escolta St.,
Manila, hereinafter called SBTC in short, with an initial deposit of P500.00, made on 21 Feb. 1973, for which he
was given a pass book in his name of Tomas P. Flores (see Exh. C). He made a second deposit of P400.00 then a
withdrawal of P500.00 then a deposit of P775.00, and then a withdrawal of P1,000.00 (Entries on Exh. C).

"On 13 March (sic, August) accused went to SBTC and filled up or accomplished and signed a deposit slip (Exh. B)
for a deposit of P18,060.00 in check. With the deposit slip, he submitted to Urbana Ramos de Ferrer, Teller No. 2 of
SBTC, his pass book (Exh. C) and a Philippine Bank of Communications Check No. U-186378, dated August 9, 1973
(Exh. A) for P18,060.00, appearing to have been signed and issued by `F. Dycaico', who was then maintaining with
the Philippine Bank of Communications, hereinafter referred also as PBC, a checking account No. 13360. This check
was signed and indorsed by the accused. Upon deposit of this check for P18,060.00, the said sum was posted in
the pass book (Exh. C), as shown in Exhibit C-1. (T.s.n., pp. 5-15, Oct. 10, 1973, hearing).
"On 16 August 1973, the accused withdrew from this Savings Account No. 26580, the sum of P10,000.00 upon
submission to Margarita Tiongson, Teller No. 3, of a withdrawal slip (Exh. E) accomplished and signed by him. Such
withdrawal was posted in the pass book (Exh. C), shown by Exhibit C-2. Upon receipt of the amount withdrawn,
the teller caused the accused to sign at the back of the withdrawal slip and which signature is marked Exhibit E-1.
On the next day, 17 August 1973, the accused withdrew another amount of P5,500.00 upon defendant's
submission to Teller No. 3 of a withdrawal slip (Exh. F) and the pass book. The withdrawal was posted in the pass
book as shown by Exhibit C-3. Upon receipt of the sum withdrawn, the teller caused the accused to sign at the
back of the withdrawal slip and which signature is marked Exhibit F-1. (T.s.n., pp. 21-30; 32-39, id.).
"On 18 August 1973, the accused went again to the SBTC to deposit another Philippine Bank of Communications
Check No. U-186414 (Exh. H), dated 11 August 1973 for P18,060.00 which appears to be signed by 'F. Dycaico'
against Checking Account No. 13360. Accused, therefore, filled up and accomplished a deposit slip (Exh. I) for
P18,060.00. After accomplishing Exhibit I, accused submitted the check (Exh. H), the pass book (Exh. C) and the
deposit slip (Exh. I) to Candida Abella Villanueva, Teller No. 5. The deposit of P18,060.00 was thus posted at the
pass book (Exh. C), as shown by Exh. C-4 (T.s.n., pp. 60-70, Id.).
"Sometime in that month of August 1973, Florencio Dycaico, who maintains the Checking Account No. 13360 with
the Philippine Bank of Communications saw his Statement of Account and came upon an amount of P18,060.00
debited against his account. He complained to the PBC that he never issued a check for that much. With this
information PBC informed SBTC that the check, Exh. A, was a spurious check. So, SBTC officials instructed their
bank tellers to watch for Tomas P. Flores. NBI agent Mamerto Espartero was also assigned to crack down on check
forgers or passers in company with an informer, at the premises of SBTC, in coordination with SBTC officials
(T.s.n., pp. 3-7, 12, 16-17, Nov. 12, 1973, hearing).
"Then, came the pay off. The accused appeared in the SBTC premises on 22 August 1973. He filled up,
accomplished and signed a withdrawal slip (Exh. K) for P15,500.00, and after that he submitted his passbook (Exh.
C) with the withdrawal slip to Maria Victoria Soriano, SBTC Teller No. 7. Forewarned to watch for the accused
Tomas P. Flores, she asked the accused to sign his name in Exh. K, and he did sign it as requested. He signed his
name of Koh Tieck Heng (See Exh. K-3). After that, Teller No. 7 brought the slip and the pass book of Tomas P.
Flores. Teller No. 7 returned to her cage and then called up for Tomas P. Flores. The accused went to Teller No. 7.
Teller No. 7 asked the accused to sign his name at the back, and which signature is marked Exh. K-2. After he
signed Exh. K-2, the NBI agent Espartero swooped down on the accused and apprehended him. The accused was
brought inside the Cashier's Office. He was interviewed and then later brought to the NBI office where he was
investigated. In the course of his investigation, he executed a written statement now marked Exh. M. (T.s.n., pp.
3-20, Oct. 22, 1973, hearing)." 2
Based on the facts narrated, appellant Koh Tieck Heng, alias Teddy Koh, alias Tomas P. Flores, was charged in
Criminal Case No. 15006 before the then Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch XII, with the crime of estafa thru
falsification of a commercial document in an information which reads:
"That on or about and during the period comprised between August 13, 1973 and August 17, 1973, inclusive, in
the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused, conspiring and confederating with one whose true name, identity
and present whereabouts are still unknown and mutually helping each other, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully
and feloniously, with intent to defraud, commit acts of falsification on a commercial document in the following
manner, to wit: the said accused, after opening a savings account with the Security Bank and Trust Company,
under Savings Account No. 26580 in the name of Tomas P. Flores, and having somehow illegally obtained
possession of Philippine Bank of Communications Check No. U-186378, dated July 14, 1973, pay to cash, in the
amount of P225.00, issued by F. DYCAICO, and therefore a commercial document, did then and there wilfully,
unlawfully and feloniously forge and falsify and/or cause to be forged and falsified the aforesaid check by then and
there erasing and altering and/or causing to be erased and altered the date and amount of said check and
superimposing or causing to be superimposed over the original date and amount of said check the following: 'Aug.
9' after the printed word 'MANILA', the figures '73' after the figures '19', the figures 'P18,060.00' after the sign 'P'
and the words 'Eighteen Thousand Sixty Only' after the printed word 'PESOS', thus causing it to appear as it did
appear that said check was issued on August 9, 1973, for the amount of P18,060.00, when in truth and in fact as
132

the said accused well knew, the correct date of said check is July 14, 1973, and the real amount of the check so
drawn and issued by said F. DYCAICO is only for P225.00, thereby making or causing to be made alterations and
changes in a genuine document which altered or changed its meaning: that once the aforesaid check had been
forged and falsified, altered or otherwise changed in the manner above set forth, said accused affixed the signature
Tomas P. Flores at the back thereof and deposited said check in his account with the Security Bank and Trust
Company, Escolta Branch, this City, which check was cleared by the Philippine Bank of Communications upon
presentation thereof believing that said check is genuine; and thereafter, said accused, with intent to defraud,
withdrew from said account the amounts of P10,000.00 and P5,500.00 on August 16, 1973 and August 17, 1973
respectively, or a total of P15,500.00, which amount, once in his possession, said accused misappropriated,
misapplied and converted to his own personal use and benefit, to the damage and prejudice of the Security Bank
and Trust Company and/or the Philippine Bank of Communications in the aforesaid amount of P15,500.00,
Philippine currency." 3
On the same date, appellant was also charged in Criminal Case No. 15007 with attempted estafa thru falsification
of a commercial document before the same court under the following information:
"That on or about and during the period comprised between August 18, 1973 and `August 22, 1973, inclusive, in
the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused, being then a depositor of the Security Bank and Trust Company,
Escolta Branch, this City, under Savings Account No. 26580, conspiring and confederating together with one whose
true name, identity and present whereabouts are still unknown and mutually helping each other, with intent to
defraud, commenced the commission of the crime of estafa thru falsification of commercial document directly by
overt acts, to wit: the said accused having somehow obtained possession of Philippine Bank of Communications
Check No. U-186414, dated August 11, 1973, pay to cash, in the amount of P2,030.00 issued by F. DYCAICO, and
therefore a commercial document, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously forge and falsify and or
cause to be forged and falsified the aforesaid check by then and there erasing and altering and/or causing to be
erased and altered the amount of said check and superimposing or causing to be superimposed over the original
amount of said check the figures 'P18,060.00' after the sign 'P' and the words 'Eighteen Thousand Sixty Only' after
the printed word 'Pesos', thus causing it to appear, as in fact it did appear, that said check was issued for the
amount of P18,060.00, when in truth and in fact as the accused well knew, the correct and real amount of the
check so drawn and issued by said F. DYCAICO is only for P2,030.00 thereby making or causing to be made
alterations and changes in a genuine document which altered or changed its meaning; that once the aforesaid
check had been forged and falsified, altered or otherwise changed in the manner above set forth, said accused
affixed the signature Tomas P. Flores at the back of said check and deposited the same in his account with the
Security Bank and Trust Company, the latter believing that said check is genuine, accepted the same for deposit,
and thereafter, the said accused with intent to defraud, accomplished a withdrawal slip for the sum of P15,500.00
and presented the same to the teller of the Security Bank and Trust Company for the purpose of withdrawing the
said amount, but the said accused did not perform all the acts of execution which should have produced the crime
of estafa thru falsification of a commercial document by reason of some cause other than his own spontaneous
desistance, that is, by the timely discovery made by the officials and/or employees of said bank of the forgery and
falsification made on the aforesaid check before payment could be made which led then and there to the
apprehension of said accused." 4
Appellant pleaded not guilty when arraigned in both cases, which were subsequently ordered consolidated. In his
defense at the trial, and later adopted for the same purpose in his brief, appellant claims:
"That on August 9, 1973, he went to the Supersonic Auto Supply, situated at the corner of España and P. Leoncio
Sts., Sampaloc, Manila. He went there to buy auto spare parts as he is engaged in the buying and selling of auto
spare parts. When he was at this store, a person whom accused claimed to know later as Jimmy Go, was also
buying tires. The store did not have tires for sale, and so the tire salesman pointed to the accused as one who is
selling such stuff. So, this man went to the accused and asked him if he had tires for sale. Accused asked the man
who introduced himself to the accused as Jimmy Go, how many tires he needed. This man told the accused he
needed twenty-four (24) pieces of tires. Accused told this `Jimmy Go' that he had the 24 tires but that he needed
cash. Accused told `Jimmy Go' that he does not accept checks for payment, especially he did not know him.
Accused claims that was the first time he had met this man 'Jimmy Go'. 'Jimmy Go', however, told the accused that
he can issue the check and he can deliver the tires only after having encashed the same. To this proposition, the
accused agreed.
'Jimmy Go', therefore, brought out a check, now Exh. A, and then signed it in his presence. He signed the name 'F.
Dycaico'. He then crossed the check at the upper left hand corner of the check. Accused claims that except the
signature and the lines used to cross the check as aforementioned all the other handwritten portions of the check
were already there when 'Jimmy Go' signed it.
"After signing Exh. A, 'Jimmy Go' handed it to the accused. Seeing the amount to be big, as the cost price of the 24
pieces of tires was only about P3,000.00, more or less, the accused told, 'Jimmy Go' that he has no cash to return
for the difference. 'Jimmy Go' told him to just deliver the difference after he has encashed it. So the accused got
the check and they parted.
"He claimed he went to the SBTC on 13 August 1973 as he deposited the check (Exh. A) in his bank account
(passbook, Exh. C), filling up therefor a deposit slip (Exh. B.). The accused claimed that on 13 August 1973, he
went to withdraw P10,000.00, accomplishing Exh. E. After withdrawing P10,000.00, the accused went to España
St. and delivered to 'Jimmy Go' the P10,000.00.
He delivered the tires in the afternoon. On that same day, 'Jimmy Go' told the accused that he needed the balance
of the money and so he said that he delivered the balance of P5,500.00 on 16 August 1973. On this date, 16 Aug.
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1973, as per his claim, 'Jimmy Go' again delivered to him another check (Exh. H) as 'Jimmy Go' was buying
another fifty (50) pieces of tires. So, he took the check and deposited it with SBTC on his account (passbook, Exh.
C). He claims he could not get the proceeds of the checks because at the time he was withdrawing from his
deposit, two men approached him and immediately handcuffed him" 5
On November 26, 1973 the trial court rendered judgment 6 finding appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
felonies charged in both cases, the decretal portion of its decision reading as follows:
"IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, the Court finding the guilt of the accused for the crime charged
in both cases (No. 15006 and 15007) to have been proved beyond reasonable doubt, and there being neither
mitigating nor aggravating circumstances to affect his penal liability, hereby imposes upon the accused and
sentences him to suffer:
(a) In Crim. Case. No. 15006
an indeterminate penalty of from FOUR (4) years and TWO (2) months of prision correccional, as minimum, to
EIGHT (8) years and ONE (1) day of prision mayor, as maximum, with all the accessory penalties of the law, and
to indemnify the Security Bank and Trust Company the sum of P18,060.00, sans subsidiary imprisonment in case
of insolvency, and to pay the costs; and
(b) In Crim. Case No. 15007
an indeterminate penalty of from TWO (2) years, FOUR (4) months of prision correccional, as minimum, to six (6)
years of prision correccional as maximum, with all the accessory penalties of the law, and to pay a fine of
P5,000.00 and to suffer a subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency at the rate of P8.00 a day, but in no case
shall it exceed one-third (1/3) of the term of the sentence nor shall it continue for more than one year, and to pay
the costs.
"The accused shall first serve the sentence imposed in Crim. Case No. 15006, to which shall be credited four-fifths
(4/5) of his preventive imprisonment in the service of his sentence.
SO ORDERED." 7
Not satisfied therewith, petitioner interposed an appeal with respondent Court of Appeals, docketed therein as CA-
G.R. No. 16246-47-Cr. Respondent court, in a decision promulgated on September 26, 1977, affirmed the
judgment of conviction but modified the penalties in both cases as follows:
"In Criminal Case No. 15006
to suffer an indeterminate penalty of four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional, as minimum, to six
(6) years, eight (8) months and twenty (20) days of prision mayor, as maximum, with all the accessory penalties
of the law; to indemnify the Security Bank and Trust Company in the sum of P18,060.00, without subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency; and to pay the costs; and
In Criminal Case No. 15007
to suffer the penalty of four (4) months and twenty (20) days of arresto mayor, and to pay the costs.
"The Accused shall first serve the sentence imposed in Criminal Case No. 15006 and shall be credited with the term
of his preventive imprisonment in accordance with Article 29 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. No.
6127.
SO ORDERED." 8
Culled from the submissions of both parties in the present appeal and the established facts of these cases, the
issues raised and submitted for determination by us may be synthesized into whether or not respondent court
erred
(1) In supposedly changing the tenor and or nature of the accusation and convicting appellant on the basis of this
new accusation without having informed him of the nature and cause of the accusation;
(2) In holding that there is a crime of attempted estafa and convicting appellant of such crime in the absence of
the essential elements of deceit and damage; and
(3) In arriving at a conclusion of guilt of the crimes of attempted estafa and estafa, both thru falsification of
commercial documents, on the basis merely of a presumption of law, despite the absence of evidence showing that
appellant committed, or had knowledge of, the crimes charged, in violation of the constitutional presumption of
innocence and doctrinal jurisprudence on proof beyond reasonable doubt in favor of appellant.
Parenthetically, this petition for review on certiorari was formerly denied in a Resolution of this Court, dated August
18, 1978, 9 but was later on given due course on a Motion for Reconsideration and/or for New Trial, 10 based
inter alia, on an alleged letter of one Jimmy Go dated August 14, 1978, which appellant supposedly received on
August 21, 1978 and which he claims he could not have discovered and produced during the trial of the cases
despite diligent efforts to produce the same. Mere zerox copies of the supposed letter and the mailing envelope
were appended to said motion.
We do not, however, deem it proper to include the aforesaid matter in the issues above enumerated considering
that the requirement in the 1964 Rules of Court 11 , which was then in force, to the effect that a motion for new
trial must be supported by affidavits of the witnesses by whom such evidence is expected to be given, has not
been complied with; and (b) the judgment of conviction will not in any way be affected by such evidence the
authenticity and credibility whereof have not been established, aside from the obvious fact that the tenor thereof is
inherently improbable and such a letter could easily be concocted.
Coming now to the first issue, appellant alleges that there is a variance between the allegations in the information
and the evidence adduced, thereby depriving him of the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the
accusation against him.
The rule that an accused cannot be convicted of an offense not charged or included in the information is based
upon the right to be informed of the true nature and cause of the accusation against him. 12 However, respondent
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court exhaustively discussed this issue and lucidly explained the facts upon which its judgment of conviction was
predicated, thus:
"It is a fact that under the two informations, the mode of falsification attributed to the Accused is that of having
erased and altered the dates and amounts of the checks in question, and superimposing or causing to be
superimposed over the original dates and amount of said checks other dates and amounts, thereby making
alterations and changes in genuine documents which changed their meaning. Clearly, therefore, the offense
charged is that penalized under Article 172 in relation to Article 171 (6) of the Revised Penal Code.
"It is to be noted, however, that presented in evidence by the prosecution for the First Case were two checks,
Exhs. 'A' and `O', which both bear the identical Check No. U-186378 but the former bears the amount of P225.00,
while the latter that of P18,060.00, both drawn and issued by 'F. Dycaico'. For the Second Case, two checks were
likewise presented, Exhs. 'H' and 'P' which bear the identical Check No. U-186414, but the former bears the
amount of P2,030.00 while the latter that of P18,060.00, both drawn and issued by 'F. Dycaico'.
"Prosecution witness, Florencio Dycaico, admitted that he issued the checks, Exhs. 'O' and 'P', in the amounts of
P225.00 and P2,030.00 respectively, but denied having issued at all the checks, Exhibits 'A' and 'H', both in the
respective amounts of P18,060.00.
"It has to be conceded, therefore, as alleged by the defense, and likewise admitted by the People, that considering
the evidence adduced, there were no erasures nor alterations nor superimpositions as alleged in both Informations,
but that Exhibits 'A' and 'H' were forgeries in toto. In other words, while the Accused has been charged of Estafa
and Attempted Estafa thru Falsification of a commercial document under Article 172 in relation to Article 171,
paragraph 6 the Revised Penal Code, reading
'Art. 171. . . . shall falsify a document by committing any of the following acts:
xxx xxx xxx
'6. Making any alterations or intercalation in a genuine document which changes its meaning,'
based on the evidence, the accusation would fall under either paragraph 1 or 2 of Article 171 of the same Code
which reads:
'1. Counterfeiting or imitating any handwriting, signature or rubric;
'2. Causing it to appear that persons have participated in any act or proceeding when they did not in fact so
participate.'
"Be that as it may, as pointed out by the State, the aforementioned variance affects solely the charge of
Falsification, of which the Accused should not have been convicted under the time-honored rule that an Accused
should be informed of the true nature and cause of the accusation against him.
However, with respect to the charges of Estafa and Attempted Estafa, respectively, (complexed under the two
Informations with Falsification of a Commercial Document) conviction would still be proper, the two essential
requisites of Estafa, namely fraud or deceit and damage to another, having been charged and proven." 13
On the second issue, appellant contends that respondent court erred in convicting him of attempted estafa in
Criminal Case No. 15007 when it admitted in its decision that appellant was not able to withdraw the value of the
second check as he was apprehended in the act of withdrawing the same.
From this, he argues that having failed to withdraw the sum as part value of the second check, no amount
whatsoever was taken by him, hence no damage or prejudice was suffered by the bank. Absent such damage, he
concludes, he can not be convicted of attempted estafa.
This is specious argumentation.
Basically, the two essential requisites of fraud or deceit and damage or injury must be established by sufficient and
competent evidence in order that the crime of estafa may be established. 14 Deceit is the false representation of a
matter of fact (whether by words or conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of that which
should have been disclosed) which deceives or is intended to deceive another so that he shall act upon it to his
legal injury. 15 The fact that appellant was the possessor and utterer of the checks in question (Exhibits "A" and
"H") and having benefited from the subsequent withdrawals, as well as having attempted to gain by trying to
withdraw an amount thereon, the inevitable conclusion would be that he was the one who falsified said Exhibits "A"
and "H". Ineluctably, the use of the spurious checks is by itself fraud or deceit.
Although one of the essential elements of estafa is damage or prejudice to the offended party, 16 in the absence
of proof thereof the offender would at least be guilty of attempted estafa. Appellant commenced the commission of
the crime of estafa but he failed to perform all the acts of execution which would produce the crime, not by reason
of his own spontaneous desistance but because of his apprehension by the authorities before he could obtain the
amount. Since only the intent to cause damage and not the damage itself has been shown, respondent court
correctly convicted appellant of attempted estafa.
Lastly, appellant insists that there is no evidence whatsoever pointing to him as the person who falsified the two
checks in question (Exhs. "A" and "H"), as the prosecution failed to refute his version regarding the circumstances
under which he allegedly took possession of the said checks. He further posits the view that while the courts may
apply the presumptions of law in some cases, the presumption that the possessor of a falsified document is
presumed to be the forger does not constitute proof beyond reasonable doubt and can not be applied in his case,
allegedly because the provisions not only of the Constitution but also of the Rules of Court must be the basis of the
judgment.
We disagree.
While it may appear that the prosecution failed to directly contradict the claim of appellant as to how he came into
possession of the two checks, it is understandable that the prosecution would not always have the means for
obtaining such direct evidence to confute acts contrived clandestinely.
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Undoubtedly, too, as a general rule, positive testimony as to a particular fact, uncontradicted by anyone, should
control the decision of the court. Where, however, there is such an inherent improbability in the testimony or
theory of the witness, the court may properly disregard such evidence, even in the absence of any direct conflicting
testimony. We agree with respondent court that the People's version of the facts deserves more credence and it is
more in consonance with human experience.
As repeatedly expounded by this Court, evidence to be worthy of credit, must not only proceed from a credible
source but must, in addition, be credible in itself. And by this is meant that it shall be natural, reasonable and
probable as to make it easy to believe. 17 No better test has yet been found to determine the value of the
testimony of a witness than its conformity to the knowledge and common experience of mankind. 18 As bewailed
by the court below, the theory espoused by appellant "is taxing too much the credulity of this Court, an insult to
the humble intelligence and the common sense of this Court." 19
The checks in question (Exhibits "A" and "H") were undeniably spurious, or were forgeries in toto. Prosecution
witness Florencio Dycaico categorically testified that he did not issue said checks but only those checks in the
amount of P225.00 and P2,030.00 (Exhibits "O" and "P"). The disclaimer by Dycaico of his alleged signatures on
the aforesaid checks is prima facie evidence of falsification and consequently shifts the burden of evidence to
appellant to prove otherwise, but which burden appellant has not discharged.
The court a quo, as well as respondent court, posed the question as to the identity of the forger, and we are
satisfied that both courts did not err in relying upon the presumption that the possessor of a falsified document is
presumed to be the author thereof. It is an established rule that when it is proved that a person has in his
possession a falsified document and makes use of the same, the presumption or inference is justified that such
person is the forger.
20 The petitioner has been shown to have been the possessor and utterer of the two checks (Exhibits "A" and "H")
when he made use of and benefited therefrom by his withdrawals of and attempt to withdraw funds through said
checks. The circumstance, therefore, that appellant made use of and benefited from the falsified document is a
strong evidence that he either himself falsified it or caused the same to be falsified, 21 he being criminally
responsible in either case. 22 Since appellant is the only person who stood to be benefited by the falsification of
the document that was found in his possession, it is presumed that he is the material author of such falsification.
23
It is thus apparent that the refusal of respondent Court of Appeals to give credence to the theory of the defense is
substantially supported by the ambient circumstances and the evidence on record. Besides, this being a petition for
review on certiorari of a decision of respondent court rendered in the exercise of its exclusive appellate jurisdiction
over the decision of the trial court, said decision of respondent court is "final", subject only to our power of review
on questions of law. 24
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the appealed judgment of respondent Court of Appeals is hereby
AFFIRMED in toto.
b. Bank Checks are commercial documents
G.R. Nos. L-30012-30015 March 9, 1929
PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. vs. JOSEPH L. WILSON, ET AL.
The defendant Alfredo Dolores was accused with Joseph L. Wilson in criminal cases Nos. 35408 (G. R. No. 30012),
35426 (G. R. No. 30013), and 35447 (G. R. No. 30014) of the crimes of falsification of a telegraphic dispatch,
estafa through falsification of mercantile document, and falsification of a mercantile document, respectively. In the
information filed in the criminal case No. 35408, it is alleged that "on or about the 26th day of September, 1927, in
the City of Manila, Philippine Islands, the said accused being then employees of the San Carlos Milling Company, a
business from doing business in this city, conspiring and confederating together, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully, feloniously, with grave abuse of confidence and with intent of gain, falsify a cable or telegraphic
dispatch, to wit: a cablegram in the following manner: the said accused, taking advantage of their positions as
employees of the aforesaid San Carlos Milling Company of which Alfred D. Cooper was then the manager, prepared
and caused to be prepared on the front page of a cablegram form used by the Commercial Pacific Cable Co., of said
city, the following code cablegram:
SCARLOSCO HONOLULU
WYSUXMOOJL.
which, deciphered, reads as follows:
SCARLOSCO — San Carlos Milling Co., Ltd.
HONOLULU — Honolulu
WYSUX — Deposit Irving Bank — Columbia Trust Co., New York for account China Banking Corporation, Manila, account San Carlos Milling
Co., Ltd., $———; instruct Irving Bank-Columbia Trust Co., advise Manila of deposit by cable.
MOOJL — 100,000
and wrote on the back thereof in typewriter at the space provided for the name and address of the sender the following:
ALFRED D. COOPER
By (Sgd.) ALFREDO DOLORES
227 David, Manila
thereby causing it to appear that the above-mentioned cablegraphic message was prepared and sent by and under
the authority and with the knowledge and consent of Alfred D. Cooper, then manager of the San Carlos Milling
Company wherein the said accused were then employed, when in truth and in fact, as the said accused very well
knew, the said Alfred D. Cooper never authorized, nor had any knowledge of, nor gave his permission to the
preparation and sending of the said cablegraphic message; that the said accused, once having forged and falsified
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the above- mentioned cablegraphic message in the manner above described, presented the same to the office of
the Commercial Pacific Cable Company for the due transmission.
The information filed in criminal case No. 35426 charges that "on or about September 29, 1927, in the City of
Manila, Philippine Islands, the above named defendants, who were then employees or clerks of a mercantile
concern known as "San Carlos Milling Co., Ltd.," duly organized in this locality, with grave abuse of confidence and
with the intention to defraud and prejudice said institution and the local banking institution known as "Bank of the
Philippine Islands," acting upon a common agreement, and cooperating with each other and conspiring together,
falsified a mercantile document, to wit, a check against the Bank of the Philippine Islands for the sum of two
hundred thousand pesos by forging and simulating at the bottom and in the indorsement of said check the
signatures of Newland Baldwin, Manager of the San Carlos Milling Co., Inc., and falsely causing it to appear that
said Newland Baldwin intervened in said check, when in fact said Newland Baldwin never had such intervention, so
that the aforesaid check, once falsified, reads as follows:
No. A-352046
THE BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS
OFFICIAL DEPOSITORY OF THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT
MANILA, P. I., September 29, 1927
Pay to San Carlos Milling Co., Ltd., or order Pesos Two Hundred Thousand & 00/100 only (P200,000), Philippine
currency.
SAN CARLOS MILLING CO., LTD.
By NEWLAND BALDWIN
For Agent
that once said check was falsified, prepared, and drawn as above stated, the said accused, containing the collusion
and conspiracy plotted by them, presented it for payment to the Bank of the Philippine Islands, falsely and
fraudulently stating and representing to said bank and its officers that the check was authentic and duly signed by
Newland Baldwin, manager of said company, San Carlos Milling Co., Ltd., in the ordinary course of its business, the
accused herein having succeeded, through said falsification and deceitful representations, in collecting the amount
of the check aforesaid in the Bank of the Philippine Islands, to wit, two hundred pesos (P200,000), which said
defendants misappropriated and converted to their personal use and benefit, to the damage and prejudice of said
institutions, to wit, the San Carlos Milling Co., Ltd., and the Bank of the Philippine Islands, in the aforesaid sum of
two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000), Philippine currency, equivalent to 1,000,000 pesetas.
The information filed in the criminal case No. 35477 reads as follows:
That on or about September 28, 1927, in the City of Manila, Philippine Islands, the above named defendants, who
were then employees or clerks of a mercantile concern known as San Carlos Milling Co., Ltd., of this locality, with
grave abuse of confidence and with the intention to prejudice said institution, acting upon a common agreement
and cooperating with each other and conspiring together, did willfully, unlawfully and criminally falsify, in a
mercantile document, to wit, the "Manager's Check" No. 17444 of the China Banking Corporation, of September
28, 1927, is issued in favor of the San Carlos Milling Co., Ltd., for the sum of two hundred thousand and one pesos
(P200,001), the signature of one Newland Baldwin, Manager of said San Carlos Milling Co., Ltd., by forging,
simulating, and imitating it in the indorsement on the back of said document, and falsely causing it to appear in
said indorsement that Newland Baldwin intervened therein, when in fact said Newland Baldwin never had such
intervention, so that, once falsified, said indorsement reads as follows:
For deposit only with Bank of the Philippine Islands, to credit of account of San Carlos Milling Co., Ltd.,
By NEWLAND BALDWIN
For Agent
Upon being arraigned on the above-quoted informations, the defendant Alfredo Dolores pleaded not guilty and,
upon motion by the prosecution, and with the conformity of the attorneys for the defense, a joint trial of the
above-mentioned cases with respect to the defendant Alfredo Dolores was had.
The trial court found the defendant Alfredo A, Dolores guilty as principal, by direct participation and in conspiracy
with Joseph L. Wilson, of the crimes alleged in the informations filed in criminal cases Nos. 35408, 35426 and
35447, and sentenced him in a criminal case No. 35408, for the crime of falsification of a telegraphic dispatch with
the presence of the aggravating circumstance of abuse of confidence, to four years, nine months, and eleven days
of prision correccional, to the corresponding accessory penalties, and to pay one-half of the costs of the
proceedings; in criminal case No. 35426, for the crime of estafa through falsification of a mercantile document, to
eight years of presidio mayor, to the corresponding accessory penalties, and to pay one-half of the costs of the
proceedings; and in criminal case No. 35447, for the crime of falsification of a mercantile document, with the
presence of the aggravating circumstance of abuse of confidence, to four years, nine months, and eleven days of
prision correccional, to pay a fine of 12,500 pesetas, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, to the
corresponding accessory penalties, and to pay one-half of the costs of the proceedings. From these judgment the
defendant Dolores appealed.
The evidence fully sustains the findings of the court below and leaves no doubt whatever as to the appellant's guilt,
but his counsel insists that the court erred (1) in holding that "in preparing and in sending the false cablegram,
Exhibit A (case No. 35408), as well as in preparing and in negotiating the check no less false, Exhibit C (case No.
35426) and in later collecting its value, and in likewise preparing the false commercial documents, Exhibits A and
B, of the criminal case No. 35447, it was the idea of the said accused to benefit himself and damage another," and
(2) in holding that the defendant Alfredo Dolores wanted to defraud and damage or, more correctly, defrauded and
damaged the San Carlos Milling Co., Ltd., and the Bank of the Philippine Islands.
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Under the first assignment of error, counsel argues that the defendant Dolores did nothing but carry out the orders
of his superior, Joseph L. Wilson, and that he, consequently, is exempt from criminal responsibility. This argument
is entirely groundless. In order to work exemption from criminal responsibility for obeying the orders of a superior,
it must be shown that the person who gives the order and the person who executes it acting within the limitations
prescribed by law. That is not the case here. In his brief, the Attorney-General well and truly says:
The evidence of record clearly shows that the defendant Alfredo Dolores took direct part in, and cooperated with
his codefendant Joseph L. Wilson by means of acts prior to, and simultaneous with, the perpetration of the crimes
in question. He cooperated in the drafting of the checks and other documents for the falsification of which he is
now prosecuted, and he was the one who cashed said check and withdrew the money from the bank. He
furthermore received from Joseph L. Wilson the sum of P10,000 as his share in the embezzled amount. It cannot
be maintained, therefore, that Alfredo Dolores merely obeyed his superiors, and that he was not informed of the
fact that his codefendant, Joseph L. Wilson intended to embezzle said money.
Moreover, the behavior of the defendant Alfredo Dolores subsequent to the commission of the crimes in question
clearly shows his guilt. It is proven that after the withdrawal of the amount of P200,000 from the Bank of the
Philippine Islands, he was seen in secret conversation with Joseph L. Wilson in Calle Herran, Paco; that from that
day he had been hiding from the authorities; that he had registered at the Plaza Hotel under the name of Jose Gil;
that he went to Sorsogon and Albay, where he represented himself as Patricio Lopez; that in Albay he attempted to
Board a foreign vessel, but did not succeed in his attempt. The flight of a person after the commission of an
offense, while it does not constitute a presumption of guilt, is nevertheless a circumstance indicative of his guilt (U.
S. vs Sarikala, 37 Phil., 486; U. S. vs. Virrey, 37 Phil., 618).
The second assignment of error evidently relates to case G. R. No. 30013 (estafa through falsification of a
mercantile document) and requires no refutation. The conspirators carried away P200,001, and, of course,
someone suffered the loss. Whether the loss fell on the San Carlos Milling Co., Ltd., or on the Bank of the Philippine
Islands is immaterial; it is sufficient that it was sustained by a person or persons, other than the perpetrators of
the crime. It is to be observed that the trial court, at the request of the interested parties, made no
pronouncement as to the indemnity and that, therefore, the civil responsibility is not involved in the cases before
us.
The judgment appealed from are affirmed with the costs against the appellant. So ordered.
Malversation through falsification of public document
G.R. Nos. L-41265 and L-41266 July 27, 1934
PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. vs. JOSE BARBAS
In these two cases the defendant was charged in the Court of First Instance of Occidental Negros with the crime of
malversation of public funds through the falsification of public documents. In case No. 8857 (G. R. No. 41265) it
was alleged:
Que en o hacia el mes de abril de 1932, en el Municipio de Sagay, Provincia de Negros Occidental, Islas Filipinas, el
acusado arriba nombrado siendo un delegado especial del tesorero provincial de esta Provincia para la venta de
cedula personal y por razon de su cargo era responsable de los fondos publicos que tuviere en su poder recibio de
Marciano Salazar la cantidad de P2 como pago de la cedula personal de dicho Marciano Salazar correspondiente al
año 1932 y el acusado con abuso de su cargo entrego a dicho Marciano Salazar el duplicado de la Cedula F No.
1061367 falsificado antes, en al singuiente forma: Que el original de dicha cedula fue expedido a Patricio
Fernandez y en dicho original asi como en el duplicado aparecia el nombre de Patricio Fernandez despues de las
palabras impresas. "This certifies that"; que el acusado con el objeto de poder recibir la cantidad de P2 de Marciano
Salazar, con abuso de au cargo borro en el duplicado de la cedula No. 1061367, el nombre de Patricio Fernandez
que aparece despues de las palabras "This certifies that", y en su lugar escribio y puso el nombre de Marciano
Salazar, y una vez conseguida de dicho Marciano Salazar la cantidad de P2, voluntaria e ilegalmente se apropio
para su uso y beneficio de dicha suma en dafio y perjuicio de la Provincia de Negros Occidental y del Municipio de
Sagay.
The information in case No. 8859 (G. R. No. 41266), except as to the names, reads the same as the one quoted
above.
After hearing the evidence, the trial judge found the defendant guilty of estafa through the falsification of public
documents, and sentenced him in each case to suffer an indeterminate sentence of not less than six months and
one day of prision correccional and not more than ten years and one day of prision mayor, to indemnify Marciano
Salazar and Policarpo Palmares, respectively, in the sum of P2, and to pay the costs.
Appellant's attorney now alleges that the trial court erred in considering the acts committed by Jose Barbas as
estafa by means of the falsification of public documents, and in not acquitting him, with the costs de oficio.
In our opinion there is no doubt as to the guilt of the defendant. The evidence clearly shows that after selling the
cedulas marked D and F to Angel Baflor and Patricio Fernandez, respectively, the defendant sold and delivered
Exhibits A and C, the duplicates of these two cedulas, to Policarpo Palmares and Marciano Salazar respectively, and
collected from each of them P2. The, defendant did not account for the money which he collected from each
Palmares and Salazar.
Cedula certificates are prepared in triplicate. The original is delivered to the purchaser, and the duplicate and
triplicate, which are carbon copies of the original, are retained by the internal revenue officer. Because the
defendant accounted to the municipal treasurer of Sagay for the cedulas received, the lower court found that the
defendant was not guilty of malversation but of estafa through the falsification of public documents. It is clear,
however, that the defendant, acting as special deputy of the provincial treasurer, collected from Policarpo Palmares
and Marciano Salazar P2 each in payment of their cedula tax and delivered to them what he represented to be the
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corresponding cedulas. This money was clearly received by the defendant in his capacity of a public officer, and in
our opinion constituted a valid payment of the cedula tax of Palmares and Salazar, and the defendant who
misappropriated it is guilty of the malversation of public funds.
The evidence shows that the defendant altered the duplicates of the cedulas in question as alleged in the
informations. These duplicates are public documents, and the alterations made by the defendant constituted the
falsification of public documents. The evidence shows that the duplicates of the cedulas in question were falsified
by the defendant in order that he might sell them to Palmares and Salazar. The falsification was therefore the
means which the defendant availed himself of in committing the crime of malversation. As the acts of the
defendant constitute a complex crime, the penalty applicable thereto is that to the more serious offense, or the
falsification of a public document. The corresponding penalty therefore is the maximum degree of prision mayor, or
from ten years and one day to twelve years of prision mayor, and a fine of not more than P5,000. The medium
degree of prision mayor in its maximum period is from ten years, eight months, and one day to eleven years and
four months.
In case No. 8857 (G. R. No. 41265) the defendant is sentenced suffer an indeterminate sentence of not less than
one year prision correccional and not more than ten years, eight months, and one day of prision mayor, to pay a
fine of P5, and to indemnify the Government of the Philippine Islands in the sum of P2, without subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs. The defendant is further sentenced to suffer the penalty
of perpetual special disqualification.
In case No. 8859 (G. R. No. 41266) the defendant is sentenced to suffer an indeterminate sentence of not less
than one year of prision correccional and not more than ten years, eight months, and one day of prision mayor, to
pay a fine of P5 and to indemnify the Government of the Philippine Islands in the sum of P2, without subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs.
As thus modified, the decisions appealed from are affirmed, with the costs against the appellant.

G.R. No. L-31255 August 7, 1929


PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. vs. ISAIAS GEYROSAGA
From the sentence of ten years and one day of prision mayor, a fine of 8,666 pesetas, and costs, which the Court
of First Instance of Cebu imposed upon the defendant for the crime of estafa committed through the falsification of
a false document, this appeal is taken and the defendant's counsel assigns as error to the trial court the conviction,
rather than the acquittal of the accussed.
Counsel contends that the appellant, in performing the duties of the postmaster, made an involuntary mistake in
considering a certain woman to be the real Demetria Sualibio and the payee of the money order Exhibit C,
delivering to said fictitious person amount of the said money order. Such allegations made by the defendant,
uncorroborated as they are, cannot be deemed sufficiently established.
It is a proven fact that the amount of money ordered referred to, paid by the post office by which the defendant
was in charge, did not reach the hands of the real payee of the money. It is also a proven fact admitted by the
defendant himself, that he wrote the name "Demeteria Sualibyo" on the money order Exhibit C, in the space
provided for the signature acknowledging the payment of the money order. It is another proven fact that the
fictitious nor the real Demeteria Sualibio authorized with any mark the appearance of said name in
acknowledgment of the payment of the money order. The defendant tried to explain this vital efficiency by saying:
I wrote the name of Demeteria Sualibio because when that woman presented herself, Francisco K. Ruiz told me
that she did not know how to write, and whenever one who does not know how to write calls for a registered letter
or a money order, if that person does not know how to write, I sign his name and then require him to stamp his
fingerprint, but on that occasion I forgot to demand the fingerprint, because I was called away to the telegraph
apparatus, as there was much business.
This explanation of the incredible forgetfulness on the part of the defendant to follow the good practice of requiring
the illiterates to stamp their fingerprints instead of signing their names, is not acceptable to us.
The same may be said in what appears to be the lieu of the payee's signature in the card Exhibit A, where the lack
of the fingerprint in the interested party was due to the alleged call to the telegraph apparatus.
There is a force and weight in the observation of the Attorney-General in his brief, and in his writing the name of
Demetria Sulibio in these Exhibits C and A, the defendant did not do so in his ordinary writing, as may readily be
seen by comparing it with his handwriting in Exhibit D.
The fact proven in the case, and the indicia arising therefrom, establish beyond reasonable doubt that the
defendant, through the falsification of the public documents Exhibit A and C, consisting in making it appear that
Demetria Sualibio had taken part in the signing thereof, she having had no intervention whatever in said act,
abstracted and appropriated the sum of $62, equivalent to 620 pesetas, Philippine currency, with fraud against and
prejudice to the aforesaid payee and owner of the said sum of money.
We find the following recommendation of the Attorney-General made in his brief, to be correct:
The fact proved constitute the complex crime of estafa through the falsification of public documents, defined in the
article 535, case 5, in connection with article 300, paragraph 2, of the Penal Code, as said article was amended by
Act no. 2712. Following the rule set forth in article 39 of the said code, the penalty which must be imposed upon
the defendant is that corresponding to the more serious crime, which, in this case, is falsification of public
documents, (prision mayor, and a fine of not less that 250 nor more than 12,500 pesetas, and perpetual
disqualification for holding pubic office), which must be applied in its maximum degree. There being no
circumstance in modifying the criminal liability said penalty must be imposed in its minimum degree, that is ten
years, eight months, and one day of prision mayor, and a fine within the limits fixed above.
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Wherefore, the judgment appealed from is hereby specified, and the defendant is sentenced to ten years, eight
months and one day of prision mayor, and the accessory penalties prescribed in Article 61 of the Penal Code, said
judgement being affirmed in all other respects, with costs of both instances against the appellant. So ordered.

Art. 177. Usurpation of authority or official functions. — Any person who shall knowingly and falsely
represent himself to be an officer, agent or representative of any department or agency of the Philippine
Government or of any foreign government, or who, under pretense of official position, shall perform any act
pertaining to any person in authority or public officer of the Philippine Government or any foreign government, or
any agency thereof, without being lawfully entitled to do so, shall suffer the penalty of prision correccional in its
minimum and medium periods.
Two offenses are contemplated in Article 177
1. Usurpation of Authority (first portion)
2. Usurpation of Official Functions (second portion)
2 ways of committing the crime under Article 177
• By knowingly and falsely representing oneself to be an officer, agent or representative of any department or
agency of the Philippine Government or any foreign government
• NOTE: In usurpation of authority, the mere act of knowingly and falsely representing oneself to be an officer,
etc. is sufficient. It is not necessary that he performs an act pertaining to a public officer.
• By performing any act pertaining to any person in authority or public officer of the Philippine Government or of a
foreign government or any agency thereof, under pretense of official position, and without being lawfully
entitled to do so.
• NOTE: In usurpation of official functions, it is essential that the offender should have performed an act pertaining
to a person in authority or public officer, in addition to other requirements
Art. 178. Using fictitious name and concealing true name. — The penalty of arresto mayor and a fine not to
exceed 500 pesos shall be imposed upon any person who shall publicly use a fictitious name for the purpose of
concealing a crime, evading the execution of a judgment or causing damage.
Any person who conceals his true name and other personal circumstances shall be punished by arresto menor or a
fine not to exceed 200 pesos.
Elements
1. That the offender uses a name other than his real name
2. That he uses the fictitious name publicly
3. That the purpose of the offender is
a. To conceal a crime;
b. To evade the execution of a judgment; OR
c. To cause damage to public interest.

Elements
1. That the offender conceals
a. His true name AND
b. All other personal circumstances.
2. That the purpose is only to conceal his identity.

CORAZON LEGAMIA y RIVERA, petitioner, vs. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT AND PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, respondents.1984 August 282nd DivisionG.R. No. L-63817D E C I S I O N
This is an appeal by certiorari to review and reverse a decision of the Intermediate Appellate Court.
In the defunct Court of First Instance of Manila, Corazon Legamia was accused of using an alias in violation of
Commonwealth Act No. 142, as amended. The information against her reads:
"That on or about November 4th, 1974, and for sometime prior and subsequent thereto, in the City of Manila,
Philippines, the said accused did then and there wilfully and unlawfully use the substitute or alias name CORAZON
L. REYES, which is different from Corazon Legamia y Rivera with which she was christened or by which she has
been known since childhood, nor as a pseudonym for literary purpose and without having been previously
authorized by a competent Court to do so; that it was discovered only on or about November 4th, 1974." (Rollo,
pp. 11-12.)
She was convicted by the trial court which sentenced her to an indeterminate prison term of one (1) year, as
minimum, to two (2) years, as maximum; to pay a fine of 5,000.00, with subsidiary imprisonment; and to pay the
costs. The trial court recommended, however, that she be extended executive clemency. On appeal to the
Intermediate Appellate Court, the sentence was affirmed in toto. Hence the instant petition.
The facts:
Corazon Legamia lived with Emilio N. Reyes for 19 years - from November 8, 1965 to September 26, 1974, when
Emilio died. During their live-in arrangement they produced a boy who was named Michael Raphael Gabriel L.
Reyes. He was born on October 18, 1971.
From the time Corazon and Emilio lived together until the latter's death, Corazon was known as Corazon L. Reyes;
she styled herself as Mrs. Reyes; and Emilio introduced her to friends as Mrs. Reyes.
Emilio was Branch Claim Manager, Naga Branch, of the Agricultural Credit Administration when he died. On October
29, 1974, or shortly after Emilio's death, Corazon filed a letter claim in behalf of Michael with the Agricultural Credit
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Administration for death benefits. The letter was signed "Corazon L. Reyes." The voucher evidencing payment of
Michael's claim in the amount of P2,648.76 was also signed "Corazon L. Reyes."
For using the name Reyes although she was not married to Emilio, Felicisima Reyes who was married to Emilio filed
a complaint which led to Corazon's prosecution. Parenthetically, the amount paid to Michael is "equivalent to 2/5 of
that which is due to each legitimate child in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Code" per advice given by
Atty. Diomedes A. Bragado of the Agricultural Credit Administration to Felicisima. (Rollo, pp. 14-15.)
The law:
Commonwealth Act No. 142 provides in Section 1:
"Section 1. Except as a pseudonym solely for literary, cinema, television, radio or other entertainment purposes
and in athletic events where the use of pseudonym is a normally accepted practice, no person shall use any name
different from the one with which he was registered at birth in the office of the local civil registry, or with which he
was baptized for the first time, or in case of an alien, with which he was registered in the Bureau of Immigration
upon entry; or such substitute name as may have been authorized by a competent court: Provided, That persons,
whose births have not been registered in any local civil registry and who have not been baptized, have one year
from the approval of this act within which to register their names in the civil registry of their residence. The name
shall comprise the patronymic name and one or two surnames." (As amended by R.A. No. 6085.)
The issue:
Did the petitioner violate the law in the light of the facts abovestated?
The resolution:
It is not uncommon in Philippine society for a woman to represent herself as the wife and use the name of the man
she is living with despite the fact that the man is married to another woman. The practice, to be sure, is not
encouraged but neither is it unduly frowned upon. A number of women can be identified who are living with men
prominent in political, business and social circles. The woman publicly holds herself out as the man's wife and uses
his family name blithely ignoring the fact that he is not her husband. And yet none of the women has been charged
of violating the C.A. No. 142 because ours is not a bigoted but a tolerant and understanding society. It is in the
light of our cultural environment that the law must be construed.
In the case at bar, Corazon had been living with Emilio for almost 20 years. He introduced her to the public as his
wife and she assumed that role and his name without any sinister purpose or personal material gain in mind. She
applied for benefits upon his death not for herself but for Michael who as a boy of tender years was under her
guardianship. Surely, the lawmakers could not have meant to criminalize what Corazon had done especially
because some of them probably had their own Corazons.
WHEREFORE, the decision under review is hereby set aside; the petitioner is acquitted of the charge. No costs.
a. Use of Alias/Anti-Alias Law
G.R. No. 112170 April 10, 1996
CESARIO URSUA, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS AND PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
This is a petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals which affirmed the conviction of petitioner by
the Regional Trial Court of Davao City for violation of Sec. 1 of C.A. No. 142, as amended by R.A. No. 6085,
otherwise known as "An Act to Regulate the Use of Aliases". 1
Petitioner Cesario Ursua was a Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer assigned in Kidapawan,
Cotabato. On 9 May 1989 the Provincial Governor of Cotabato requested the Office of the Ombudsman in Manila to
conduct an investigation on a complaint for bribery, dishonesty, abuse of authority and giving of unwarranted
benefits by petitioner and other officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The complaint
was initiated by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Cotabato through a resolution advising the Governor to report
the involvement of petitioner and others in the illegal cutting of mahogany trees and hauling of illegally-cut logs in
the area. 2
On 1 August 1989 Atty. Francis Palmones, counsel for petitioner, wrote the Office of the Ombudsman in Davao City
requesting that he be furnished copy of the complaint against petitioner. Atty. Palmones then asked his client
Ursua to take his letter-request to the Office of the Ombudsman because his law firm's messenger, Oscar Perez,
had to attend to some personal matters. Before proceeding to the Office of the Ombudsman petitioner talked to
Oscar Perez and told him that he was reluctant to personally ask for the document since he was one of the
respondents before the Ombudsman. However, Perez advised him not to worry as he could just sign his (Perez)
name if ever he would be required to acknowledge receipt of the complaint. 3
When petitioner arrived at the Office of the Ombudsman in Davao City he was instructed by the security officer to
register in the visitors' logbook. Instead of writing down his name petitioner wrote the name "Oscar Perez" after
which he was told to proceed to the Administrative Division for the copy of the complaint he needed. He handed
the letter of Atty. Palmones to the Chief of the Administrative Division, Ms. Loida Kahulugan, who then gave him a
copy of the complaint, receipt of which he acknowledged by writing the name "Oscar Perez." 4
Before petitioner could leave the premises he was greeted by an acquaintance, Josefa Amparo, who also worked in
the same office. They conversed for a while then he left. When Loida learned that the person who introduced
himself as "Oscar Perez" was actually petitioner Cesario Ursua, a customer of Josefa Amparo in her gasoline
station, Loida reported the matter to the Deputy Ombudsman who recommended that petitioner be accordingly
charged.
On 18 December 1990, after the prosecution had completed the presentation of its evidence, petitioner without
leave of court filed a demurrer to evidence alleging that the failure of the prosecution to prove that his supposed
alias was different from his registered name in the local civil registry was fatal to its cause. Petitioner argued that
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no document from the local civil registry was presented to show the registered name of accused which according to
him was a condition sine qua non for the validity of his conviction.
The trial court rejected his contentions and found him guilty of violating Sec. 1 of C.A. No. 142 as amended by R.A.
No. 6085. He was sentenced to suffer a prison term of one (1) year and one (1) day of prision correccional
minimum as minimum, to four (4) years of prision correccional medium as maximum, with all the accessory
penalties provided for by law, and to pay a fine of P4,000.00 plus costs.
Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals.
On 31 May 1993 the Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction of petitioner but modified the penalty by imposing an
indeterminate term of one (1) year as minimum to three (3) years as maximum and a fine of P5,000.00.
Petitioner now comes to us for review of his conviction as he reasserts his innocence. He contends that he has not
violated C.A. No. 142 as amended by R.A. No. 6085 as he never used any alias name; neither is "Oscar Perez" his
alias. An alias, according to him, is a term which connotes the habitual use of another name by