You are on page 1of 45

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G.R. No.

167571 2008 November 25,

investigation, only Tongson appeared and filed his counter-affidavit.6 Tongson claimed that he had been unjustly included as party-respondent in the case since petitioner had lent money to Cawili in the latter's personal capacity. Moreover, like petitioner, he had lent various sums to Cawili and in appreciation of his services, he was offered to be an officer of Roma Oil Corporation. He averred that he was not Cawili's business associate; in fact, he himself had filed several criminal cases against Cawili for violation of B.P. Blg. 22. Tongson denied that he had issued the bounced checks and pointed out that his signatures on the said checks had been falsified. To counter these allegations, petitioner presented several documents showing Tongson's signatures, which were purportedly the same as the those appearing on the checks.7 He also showed a copy of an affidavit of adverse claim wherein Tongson himself had claimed to be Cawili's business associate.8 In a resolution dated 6 December 1995,9 City Prosecutor III Eliodoro V. Lara found probable cause only against Cawili and dismissed the charges against Tongson. Petitioner filed a partial appeal before the Department of Justice (DOJ) even while the case against Cawili was filed before the proper court. In a letterresolution dated 11 July 1997,10 after finding that it was possible for Tongson to co-sign the bounced checks and that he had deliberately altered his signature in the pleadings submitted during the preliminary investigation, Chief State Prosecutor Jovencito R. Zuño directed the City Prosecutor of Quezon City to conduct a reinvestigation of the case against Tongson and to refer the questioned signatures to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). Tongson moved for the reconsideration of the resolution, but his motion was denied for lack of merit.

LUIS PANAGUITON, JR., petitioner vs. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, RAMON C. TONGSON and RODRIGO G. CAWILI, respondents. DECISION TINGA, J.: This is a Petition for Review1 of the resolutions of the Court of Appeals dated 29 October 2004 and 21 March 2005 in CA G.R. SP No. 87119, which dismissed Luis Panaguiton, Jr.'s (petitioner's) petition for certiorari and his subsequent motion for reconsideration.2 The facts, as culled from the records, follow. In 1992, Rodrigo Cawili (Cawili) borrowed various sums of money amounting to P1,979,459.00 from petitioner. On 8 January 1993, Cawili and his business associate, Ramon C. Tongson (Tongson), jointly issued in favor of petitioner three (3) checks in payment of the said loans. Significantly, all three (3) checks bore the signatures of both Cawili and Tongson. Upon presentment for payment on 18 March 1993, the checks were dishonored, either for insufficiency of funds or by the closure of the account. Petitioner made formal demands to pay the amounts of the checks upon Cawili on 23 May 1995 and upon Tongson on 26 June 1995, but to no avail.3 On 24 August 1995, petitioner filed a complaint against Cawili and Tongson4 for violating Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 (B.P. Blg. 22)5 before the Quezon City Prosecutor's Office. During the preliminary

On 15 March 1999, Assistant City Prosecutor Ma. Lelibet S. Sampaga (ACP Sampaga) dismissed the complaint against Tongson without referring the matter to the NBI per the Chief State Prosecutor's resolution. In her resolution,11 ACP Sampaga held that the case had already prescribed pursuant to Act No. 3326, as amended,12 which provides that violations penalized by B.P. Blg. 22 shall prescribe after four (4) years. In this case, the four (4)-year period started on the date the checks were dishonored, or on 20 January 1993 and 18 March 1993. The filing of the complaint before the Quezon City Prosecutor on 24 August 1995 did not interrupt the running of the prescriptive period, as the law contemplates judicial, and not administrative proceedings. Thus, considering that from 1993 to 1998, more than four (4) years had already elapsed and no information had as yet been filed against Tongson, the alleged violation of B.P. Blg. 22 imputed to him had already prescribed.13 Moreover, ACP Sampaga stated that the order of the Chief State Prosecutor to refer the matter to the NBI could no longer be sanctioned under Section 3, Rule 112 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure because the initiative should come from petitioner himself and not the investigating prosecutor.14 Finally, ACP Sampaga found that Tongson had no dealings with petitioner.15 Petitioner appealed to the DOJ. But the DOJ, through Undersecretary Manuel A.J. Teehankee, dismissed the same, stating that the offense had already prescribed pursuant to Act No. 3326.16Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the DOJ resolution. On 3 April 2003,17 the DOJ, this time through then Undersecretary Ma. Merceditas N. Gutierrez, ruled in his favor and declared that the offense had not prescribed and that the filing of the complaint with the prosecutor's office interrupted the running of the prescriptive period citing Ingco v. Sandiganbayan.18 Thus, the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City was directed to file three (3) separate informations against Tongson for violation of B.P. Blg.

22.19 On 8 July 2003, the City Prosecutor's Office filed an information20 charging petitioner with three (3) counts of violation of B.P. Blg. 22.21 However, in a resolution dated 9 August 2004,22 the DOJ, presumably acting on a motion for reconsideration filed by Tongson, ruled that the subject offense had already prescribed and ordered "the withdrawal of the three (3) informations for violation of B.P. Blg. 22" against Tongson. In justifying its sudden turnabout, the DOJ explained that Act No. 3326 applies to violations of special acts that do not provide for a prescriptive period for the offenses thereunder. Since B.P. Blg. 22, as a special act, does not provide for the prescription of the offense it defines and punishes, Act No. 3326 applies to it, and not Art. 90 of the Revised Penal Code which governs the prescription of offenses penalized thereunder.23The DOJ also cited the case of Zaldivia v. Reyes, Jr.,24 wherein the Supreme Court ruled that the proceedings referred to in Act No. 3326, as amended, are judicial proceedings, and not the one before the prosecutor's office. Petitioner thus filed a petition for certiorari25 before the Court of Appeals assailing the 9 August 2004 resolution of the DOJ. The petition was dismissed by the Court of Appeals in view of petitioner's failure to attach a proper verification and certification of non-forum shopping. The Court of Appeals also noted that the 3 April 2003 resolution of the DOJ attached to the petition is a mere photocopy.26 Petitioner moved for the reconsideration of the appellate court's resolution, attaching to said motion an amended Verification/Certification of NonForum Shopping.27Still, the Court of Appeals denied petitioner's motion, stating that subsequent compliance with the formal requirements would not per se warrant a reconsideration of its resolution. Besides, the Court of Appeals added, the petition is patently without merit and the questions raised therein are

too unsubstantial to require consideration.28 In the instant petition, petitioner claims that the Court of Appeals committed grave error in dismissing his petition on technical grounds and in ruling that the petition before it was patently without merit and the questions are too unsubstantial to require consideration. The DOJ, in its comment,29 states that the Court of Appeals did not err in dismissing the petition for non-compliance with the Rules of Court. It also reiterates that the filing of a complaint with the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City does not interrupt the running of the prescriptive period for violation of B.P. Blg. 22. It argues that under B.P. Blg. 22, a special law which does not provide for its own prescriptive period, offenses prescribe in four (4) years in accordance with Act No. 3326. Cawili and Tongson submitted their comment, arguing that the Court of Appeals did not err in dismissing the petition for certiorari. They claim that the offense of violation of B.P. Blg. 22 has already prescribed per Act No. 3326. In addition, they claim that the long delay, attributable to petitioner and the State, violated their constitutional right to speedy disposition of cases.30 The petition is meritorious. First on the technical issues. Petitioner submits that the verification attached to his petition before the Court of Appeals substantially complies with the rules, the verification being intended simply to secure an assurance that the allegations in the pleading are true and correct and not a product of the imagination or a matter of speculation. He points out that this Court has held in a number of cases that a deficiency in the verification can be excused or dispensed with, the defect being neither jurisdictional nor always fatal. 31

Indeed, the verification is merely a formal requirement intended to secure an assurance that matters which are alleged are true and correct–the court may simply order the correction of unverified pleadings or act on them and waive strict compliance with the rules in order that the ends of justice may be served,32 as in the instant case. In the case at bar, we find that by attaching the pertinent verification to his motion for reconsideration, petitioner sufficiently complied with the verification requirement. Petitioner also submits that the Court of Appeals erred in dismissing the petition on the ground that there was failure to attach a certified true copy or duplicate original of the 3 April 2003 resolution of the DOJ. We agree. A plain reading of the petition before the Court of Appeals shows that it seeks the annulment of the DOJ resolution dated 9 August 2004,33 a certified true copy of which was attached as Annex "A."34 Obviously, the Court of Appeals committed a grievous mistake. Now, on the substantive aspects. Petitioner assails the DOJ's reliance on Zaldivia v. Reyes,35 a case involving the violation of a municipal ordinance, in declaring that the prescriptive period is tolled only upon filing of the information in court. According to petitioner, what is applicable in this case is Ingco v. Sandiganbayan,36 wherein this Court ruled that the filing of the complaint with the fiscal's office for preliminary investigation suspends the running of the prescriptive period. Petitioner also notes that the Ingco case similarly involved the violation of a special law, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, petitioner notes.37 He argues that sustaining the DOJ's and the Court of Appeals' pronouncements would result in grave injustice to him since the delays in the present case were clearly beyond his control.38

There is no question that Act No. 3326, appropriately entitled An Act to Establish Prescription for Violations of Special Acts and Municipal Ordinances and to Provide When Prescription Shall Begin,is the law applicable to offenses under special laws which do not provide their own prescriptive periods. The pertinent provisions read: Section 1. Violations penalized by special acts shall, unless otherwise provided in such acts, prescribe in accordance with the following rules: (a) x x x; (b) after four years for those punished by imprisonment for more than one month, but less than two years; (c) x x x Sec. 2. Prescription shall begin to run from the day of the commission of the violation of the law, and if the same be not known at the time, from the discovery thereof and the institution of judicial proceedings for its investigation and punishment. The prescription shall be interrupted when proceedings are instituted against the guilty person, and shall begin to run again if the proceedings are dismissed for reasons not constituting jeopardy. We agree that Act. No. 3326 applies to offenses under B.P. Blg. 22. An offense under B.P. Blg. 22 merits the penalty of imprisonment of not less than thirty (30) days but not more than one year or by a fine, hence, under Act No. 3326, a violation of B.P. Blg. 22 prescribes in four (4) years from the commission of the offense or, if the same be not known at the time, from the discovery thereof. Nevertheless, we cannot uphold the position that only the filing of a case in court can toll the running of the prescriptive period. It must be pointed out that when Act No. 3326 was passed on 4 December 1926, preliminary investigation of criminal offenses was conducted by justices of the

peace, thus, the phraseology in the law, "institution of judicial proceedings for its investigation and punishment,"39 and the prevailing rule at the time was that once a complaint is filed with the justice of the peace for preliminary investigation, the prescription of the offense is halted.40 The historical perspective on the application of Act No. 3326 is illuminating.41 Act No. 3226 was approved on 4 December 1926 at a time when the function of conducting the preliminary investigation of criminal offenses was vested in the justices of the peace. Thus, the prevailing rule at the time, as shown in the cases of U.S. v. Lazada42 and People v. Joson,43 is that the prescription of the offense is tolled once a complaint is filed with the justice of the peace for preliminary investigation inasmuch as the filing of the complaint signifies the institution of the criminal proceedings against the accused.44 These cases were followed by our declaration in People v. Parao and Parao45 that the first step taken in the investigation or examination of offenses partakes the nature of a judicial proceeding which suspends the prescription of the offense.46Subsequently, in People v. Olarte,47 we held that the filing of the complaint in the Municipal Court, even if it be merely for purposes of preliminary examination or investigation, should, and does, interrupt the period of prescription of the criminal responsibility, even if the court where the complaint or information is filed cannot try the case on the merits. In addition, even if the court where the complaint or information is filed may only proceed to investigate the case, its actuations already represent the initial step of the proceedings against the offender,48 and hence, the prescriptive period should be interrupted. In Ingco v. Sandiganbayan49 and Sanrio Company Limited v. Lim,50 which involved violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (R.A. No. 3019) and the Intellectual Property Code (R.A. No. 8293),

3326. he had already initiated the active prosecution of the case as early as 24 August 1995.54 Indeed. an aggregate period of nine (9) years had elapsed. the petition is GRANTED.P. The resolutions of the Court of Appeals dated 29 October 2004 and 21 March 2005 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Blg. well within the four (4)-year prescriptive period.52 another special law. Clearly. However. and thus effectively interrupts the prescriptive period.55 A clear example would be this case. 3326 appears before "investigation and punishment" in the old law. The resolution of the Department of Justice dated 9 August 2004 is also ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. to rule otherwise would deprive the injured party the right to obtain vindication on account of delays that are not under his control.which are both special laws.51 the Court ruled that the nature and purpose of the investigation conducted by the Securities and Exchange Commission on violations of the Revised Securities Act. No costs. After all.. Petitioner 's filing of his complaint-affidavit before the Office of the City Prosecutor on 24 August 1995 signified the commencement of the proceedings for the prosecution of the accused and thus effectively interrupted the prescriptive period for the offenses they had been charged under B. Interport Resources Corporation. should not be allowed to suffer unnecessarily further simply because of circumstances beyond their control. within the prescribed periods. With this clarification. The following disquisition in the Interport Resources case53 is instructive. only to suffer setbacks because of the DOJ's flipflopping resolutions and its misapplication of Act No. et al. with the subsequent change in set-up whereby the investigation of the charge for purposes of prosecution has become the exclusive function of the executive branch. any kind of investigative proceeding instituted against the guilty person which may ultimately lead to his prosecution should be sufficient to toll prescription. from the time petitioner filed his complaint-affidavit with the Office of the City Prosecutor (24 August 1995) up to the time the DOJ issued the assailed resolution. wherein petitioner filed his complaintaffidavit on 24 August 1995. He likewise timely filed his appeals and his motions for reconsideration on the dismissal of the charges against Tongson. is equivalent to the preliminary investigation conducted by the DOJ in criminal cases. like the accused's delaying tactics or the delay and inefficiency of the investigating agencies. the term "proceedings" should now be understood either executive or judicial in character: executive when it involves the investigation phase and judicial when it refers to the trial and judgment stage. He went through the proper channels. with the debunking of the claim of prescription there is no longer any impediment to the filing of the information against petitioner. the Court ruled that the prescriptive period is interrupted by the institution of proceedings for preliminary investigation against the accused. 22. We rule and so hold that the offense has not yet prescribed. 2 of Act No. WHEREFORE. the delay was beyond petitioner's control. especially those who do not sleep on their rights and actively pursue their causes. since there is a definite finding of probable cause. Moreover. thus: While it may be observed that the term "judicial proceedings" in Sec. The Department of Justice is ORDERED to REFILE the information against the petitioner. In the more recent case of Securities and Exchange Commission v. Aggrieved parties. .

and the Division Chairperson's Attestation. DANTE O. it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the above Decision were reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court's Division. JR. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. 2008] CEDRIC SAYCO y VILLANUEVA. as well as the August 7.R. Associate Justice THIRD DIVISION [G.: Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the May 23.SO ORDERED. Petitioner. Article VIII of the Constitution. 159703. Presidential Decree (P. March 03. QUISUMBING Associate Justice Chairperson PRESBITERO J. LEONARDO A. DECISION AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ.A.D. No. QUISUMBING Associate Justice Chairperson CERTIFICATION Pursuant to Section 13. 2003 CA Resolution[3] which denied his Motion for Reconsideration. PUNO Chief Justice . 8294. VELASCO. TINGA Associate Justice WE CONCUR: LEONARDO A. BRION Associate Justice ATTESTATION I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court's Division. vs.) No. The facts are not disputed. Respondent. Petitioner was charged before the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC). as amended by Republic Act (R. 1866.) No. Bais City with illegal possession of firearms under an Information which reads: The undersigned Prosecutor II hereby accuses ZEDRIC SAYCO Y VILLANUEVA of the crime of Illegal Possession of Firearm and Ammunitions penalized and defined under Section 1 of Presidential Decree HITA CARPIO MORALES Associate Justice ARTURO D. 2003 Resolution[1] of the Court Appeals (CA) which affirmed the conviction of Cedric Sayco y Villanueva[2](petitioner) for violation of Section 1. J. REYNATO S.

the MTCC rendered a Decision. premises considered. 2003 Resolution. They immediately went to the aforementioned place.[6] On appeal. at Bais City. Hence. They approached the unidentified person and asked him . the present Petition raising the following issues: I Whether the lower court erred in convicting the petitioner for violation of P. The accused Zedric V. while they were at the Police Station. 99-001 is hereby affirmed in all respects subject only to the modification with respect to the penalty imposed by the trial court. He declared that on or about 3:35 in the afternoon of January 3. 1866. petitioner entered a plea of “Not Guilty”.D. 1999. they saw one unidentified person tucking a handgun on his right side waistline. 8294. Bais City in Criminal Case No. The firearm (Exhibit A) and the ammunitions (Exhibit B) are forfeited in favor of the government. Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. as amended by Republic Act No. to FIVE YEARS. the Judgment dated August 2. Bais City issued a Decision dated March 14. An act contrary. committed as follows: That on or about January 3. 1866. Sayco is convicted for violation of Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. There being no modifying circumstances. they received a telephone call from a concerned citizen from Tavera Street. and upon their arrival thereat. four (4) months and one (1) day of prision correccional as maximum [sic]. premises considered. as amended by RA 8294. Petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration[8] was also denied by the CA in its August 7. 2002. and to pay a fine of FIFTEEN THOUSAND PESOS.[9] As summarized by the RTC and MTCC. IT IS SO ORDERED. 2003 CA Resolution assailed herein. the Court sentences the accused to a prison term ranging from THREE YEARS.[7] Petitioner filed with the CA a Petition for Review but the same was denied in the May 23. SIX MONTHS AND TWENTY DAYS of Prision Correccional Medium as minimum. without first having obtained the proper license or authority to possess the same. to be disposed of in accordance with law. unlawfully and feloniously possess and carry away one (1) caliber 9MM marked “SIGSAUER P229” with fourteen (14) live ammunitions and with Serial Number AE 25171.[5] On August 2. affirming the conviction of petitioner but lowering his penalty as follows: WHEREFORE. did. tucking a handgun on his waist. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. the evidence for the prosecution consisted of the following: EVIDENCE OF THE PROSECUTION The first prosecution witness in the person of PO3 Mariano Labe testified on January 17. despite the latter’s proof of authority to possess the subject firearm. the Court finds that the evidence presented has sufficiently established the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.Number 1866 as amended by Republic Act Number 8294. then and there willfully. The herein accused-appellant is hereby sentenced to the indeterminate penalty of four (4) months of arresto mayor as maximum [sic] to two (2) years. Bais City. 1999. II Whether the prosecution’s evidence proved the petitioner’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt. 2002. the Regional Trial Court (RTC). and applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law. 2003. FOUR MONTHS and TWENTY DAYS of Prision Correccional Maximum as maximum. the above-named accused. 2002 rendered by the Municipal Trial Court in Cities. SO ORDERED.[4] Upon arraignment. informing them that one unidentified person was inside Abueva’s Repair Shop located at Tavera Street.

. 1999. petitioner does not deny that he was in possession of the subject firearm and ammunitions when he was apprehended on January 3. He corroborated the testimony of SPO2 Valentino Zamora and PO2 Mariano Labe. James (SGD) SSg (Inf) PA FS Supply NCO PA Commanding Officer CA Zedric V. which reads: Hqs Field Station 743. but the answer was in the negative. and confiscated from his possession and custody a Caliber 9MM marked “SIGSAUER P299” with 14 live ammunitions with Serial No. thus: Mission Orders Number: FS743-A-241 APPROVED BY: RICARDO B BAYHON (SGD) Major (INF) . 7ISU. ISG. I acknowledge to have received from MAJOR RICARDO B. Exhibit B . 7ISU. Commanding Officer. they talked to the accused in Cebuano.Joint Affidavit of the police officers. He was presented to corroborate the testimony of Mariano Labe. Philippines. Negros Occidental.fourteen (14) pieces live ammunition and one (1) magazine placed in a black plastic bag. FS743. so they spoke to him in English. 2002.[11] and 2) Mission Order dated January 1. The arrested person was identified as Zedric Sayco y Villanueva. He further declared that during the incident. 25171. QT UNI NAME OF CLASSI. member of the PNP Bais City. SPO2 VALENTINO ZAMORA. 1999 in Bais City. a resident of Binalbagan. BAYHON (INF) PA. AE 25171. The following exhibits were admitted as part of the evidence of the prosecution: Exhibit A . Zayco (SGD) Confidential Agent. At this juncture.UNIT PRIC Y T DESCRIPTI FICATIO TOTA E ON N L 1 ea Cal 9mm Pistol (SIG SAUER) SN: AE 25171 2 ea Mags for Cal 9mm pistol 24 ea Ctgs for 9mm Ammo x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-NOTHING FOLLOWS-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x Basis: For use of subject EP in connection with his official duties/mission in the AOR. specifically: 1) Memorandum Receipt for Equipment (Non-expendable Property). subject to the provision of the accounting law and which will be used in the office of FS 7431. 2002. but they found out then that the latter is an Ilonggo. but he insists that he had the requisite permits to carry the same. PA the following property for which I am responsible. Exhibit C . they immediately effected the arrest.[10] (Emphasis supplied) For his defense. SPO2 VICENTE DORADO also testified on February 26.one (1) 9 mm pistol with serial no. ISG. Bacolod City. testified on February 26. Camp Montelibano Sr. NOTED BY: Nolasco B.if he had a license to possess said firearm. PA. 01 January 1999.

The corpus delicti in the crime of illegal possession of firearms is the accused's lack of license or permit to possess or carry the firearm. Calib Mak Kind Serial MR/Licen Nr er e Nr se Nr Amm o Sig Pisto AE251 9mm Sau ISG Prop 24 rds l 71 er VI SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS: .[15] said documents cannot take the place of the requisite license.[17] instead. as possession itself is not prohibited by law. PURPOSE CONFIDENTIA L III. GOA BD Civilian (x) () A () V. As said firearm and ammunitions are government property duly licensed to the Intelligence Security Group (ISG) of the AFP. Petitioner further argues that he merely acted in good faith when he relied on the Memorandum Receipt and Mission Order for authority to carry said firearm and ammunitions. it would be a grave injustice if he were to be punished for the deficiency of said documents. DURATION 01 January 1999 to 31 March 1999 IV AUTHORIZED ATTIRE/UNIFORM . a For personnel in uniform.[18] The Solicitor General filed his Comment. AUTHORIZED TO CARRY FIREARMS: (x) Yes ( ) No. as held in Pastrano v. but by the Commanding Officer of the Philippine Army . Court of Appeals[14] and Belga v. [19] pointing out that good faith is not a valid defense in the crime of illegal possession of firearms. and it was in that capacity that he received the subject firearm and ammunitions from the AFP. Personnel in uniform without holster and personnel in civilian attire will ensure that their firearms are concealed unless in actual and lawful use. the prosecution has the burden of proving that the firearm exists and that the accused who owned or possessed it does not have the corresponding license or permit to possess or carry the same. DESTINATIO Negros Island N II.[20] The arguments of petitioner are not tenable. firearms shall be placed in holster securely attached to the belt.TO: CA Cedric V. The MTCC held that the Memorandum Receipt and Mission Order do not constitute the license required by law because “they were not issued by the Philippine National Police (PNP) Firearms and Explosives Unit. In the present Petition.[21] To establish the corpus delicti. the same could not be licensed under his name.[16] The CA wholly concurred with both courts.[22] There is no dispute over these key facts: The RTC and MTCC gave no significance to the foregoing documents. petitioner insists that he is a confidential agent of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). BAYHON (SGD) Major (INF) PA FS 743 Commander [12] who is not authorized by law to issue licenses to civilians to possess firearms and ammunitions.”[13] The RTC added that. Buban. what he obtained were a Memorandum Receipt and a Mission Order whereby ISG entrusted to him the subject firearm and ammunitions and authorized him to carry the same around Bacolod City. xxxx RICARDO B. Zayco I. the . thus.

the Constabulary. [24] Petitioner interposed no new argument that would convince this Court to abandon a deep-rooted jurisprudence. pistol. guards in the employ of the Bureau of Prisons. The Chief of the Insular Constabulary shall keep a record of the guns and revolvers distributed. it is a settled jurisprudence that a memorandum receipt and mission order cannot take the place of a duly issued firearms license. as amended by R. Thus. the issue to be resolved is confined to whether petitioner's Memorandum Receipt and Mission Order constitute sufficient authority for him to possess the subject firearm and ammunitions and carry the same outside of his residence. second. 1866. As correctly cited by the Solicitor General. and equipment and shall report to the Commission. firm. or corporation. possess. that petitioner holds a Memorandum Receipt and Mission Order covering the subject firearm and ammunitions. sailors. In 1901. or have the custody of any rifle. The foregoing provisions of this Act shall not apply to firearms and ammunition therefor regularly and lawfully issued to officers. the Philippine Commission enacted Act No. The guns. revolvers. together with a statement of the cost. and ammunitions needed to equip the insular and municipal police shall be purchased by the Insular Purchasing Agent on the order of the Chief of Insular Constabulary. carbine. attendant to such phenomenon. except air rifles of small caliber and limited range used as toys. this Court finds it opportune to examine the rules governing the issuance of memorandum receipts and mission orders covering governmentowned firearms to special and confidential civilian agents. by whom they shall be distributed to the provinces and municipalities as they may be needed. without violating P. that petitioner is a confidential agent of the ISG-AFP. such as extra-judicial killings. However. 8294.D. (Emphasis supplied) Firearms owned by the government may therefore be distributed by the Chief of the Insular Constabulary to the members of the insular and municipal police. buy or otherwise acquire. Shortly. No. the police force . or any other deadly weapon x x x unless and until such person. revolver. the United States Philippine Commission enacted Act No. to the end that appropriation may be made to defray the cost thereof. musket. or air rifle. that petitioner lacks a license issued by the Firearms and Explosives Unit of the PNP. or marines of the United States Army and Navy. soldiers. third. The Insular Chief shall prescribe for the Insular Constabulary suitable arms. It shall be unlawful for any person. with merely a record of the distribution being required. 175. pay the license fee. and fifth. or corporation shall secure a license. (Emphasis supplied) but exempted therefrom the following government-owned firearms: Section 16. dispose of. to municipalities and provinces x x x. rather than outrightly dismiss the present petition in the light of existing jurisprudence.first. providing for the organization of an Insular Constabulary. uniform. that the subject firearm and ammunitions exist.[23] and an accused who relies on said documents cannot invoke good faith as a defense against a prosecution for illegal possession of firearms. by their numbers. for purposes of sale. through the Civil Governor. and execute a bond and otherwise comply with the requirements of this Act and the rules and regulations issued in executive orders by the Governor-General pursuant to the provisions of this Act x x x. 1780[25] regulating possession of firearms: Section 1. No. to import. Section 6 vested in the Chief of the Insular Constabulary the following authority over the distribution of firearms: Section 6. in order to pave the way for a more effective regulation of the proliferation of such firearms and the abatement of crimes.A. fourth. firm. his action in this regard. shotgun. that petitioner had possession thereof at the time of his apprehension. as this is a malum prohibitum.

" The next section provides that "firearms and ammunition regularly and lawfully issued to officers. municipal police. it no longer speaks with authority." are not covered "when such firearms are in possession of such officials and public servants for use in the performance of their official duties. soldiers. It is not within the power of this Court to set aside the clear and explicit mandate of a statutory provision. overhauled its interpretation of Section 879. where a secret agent was acquitted on appeal on the assumption that the appointment "of the accused as a secret agent to assist in the maintenance of peace and order campaigns and detection of crimes. 1866 was issued. sufficiently put him within the category of a "peace officer" equivalent even to a member of the municipal police expressly covered by section 879. [31] (Emphasis supplied) We also abandoned the view that good faith is a defense against a prosecution for illegal possession of firearms. Licera. To the extent therefore that this decision conflicts with what was held in People v. or ammunition. imposing stiffer penalties on illegal possession of firearms. thus: The law is explicit that except as thereafter specially allowed. provincial treasurers. Accused however would rely on People v. Macarandang. or marines of the Unites States Army and Navy." The law cannot be any clearer. in People v. . municipal treasurers." The conviction of the accused must stand. Mapa.[29] we acquitted a civilian guard from a charge of illegal possession of firearms on the ground that he acted in good faith in bearing the firearms issued to him by his superior. Macarandang. 1983. provincial prisoners and jails when such firearms are in possession of such officials and public servants for use in the performance of their official duties.This article shall not apply to firearms and ammunition regularly and lawfully issued to officers. (Emphasis supplied) The 1917 Revised Administrative Code[26] retained the foregoing exemption: Section 879. provincial governors. and guards of provincial prisoners and jails. It cannot be set aside. and guards of provincial prisoners and jails. No. municipal police.[32] On June 29. As such he is not exempt. parts of firearms. the Philippine Constabulary. detached parts of firearms or ammunition therefor. Macarandang.[28] In People v. lieutenant governors. provincial governors." Such reliance is misplaced. municipal treasurers. sailors. lieutenant governors. municipal mayors. lieutenant governors. Two years later. (Emphasis supplied) In People of the Philippines v. provincial treasurers. It also added the . guards in the employment of the Bureau of Prisons. The first and fundamental duty of courts is to apply the law.of the City of Manila. municipal presidents. Asa. provincial treasurers. P. soldiers. the Philippine Constabulary. speaking through Justice Fernando. No provision is made for a secret agent. Our task is equally clear. when such firearms are in possession of such officials and public servants for use in the performance of their official duties.[30] the Court. We reiterated this ruling in People of the Philippines v. guards in the employment of the Bureau of Prisons.[27] we interpreted Section 879 of the 1917 Revised Administrative Code as applicable to a secret agent appointed by a governor as said agent holds a position equivalent to that of peace officer or member of the municipal police. or any instrument or implement used or intended to be used in the manufacture of firearms. municipal police. "it shall be unlawful for any person to x x x possess any firearm. sailors. provincial governors. or marines [of the Armed Forces of the Philippines]. Exemption as to firearms and ammunition used by military and naval forces or by peace officers. "Construction and interpretation come only after it has been demonstrated that application is impossible or inadequate without them.D.

292.following separate requirement for carrying firearms: Section 1. No. men and regular civilian agents of the Ministry of National Defense (MOND)/Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) including members of the ICHDF: xxxx . which includes the following provisions salient to the issuance.D. who shall issue authority to carry firearm and/or ammunition outside of residence without authority therefor. possession and carrying of government-owned firearms.D. sale. civilian or military. Unlawful manufacture. No. No.A. as amended by R. possession and carrying of governmentowned firearms: Section 1. Unauthorized issuance of authority to carry firearms and/or ammunition outside of residence. 1866. . otherwise known as the 1987 Administrative Code. their residence in the office/station to which the grantee belongs. It includes the office or house where they are kept and the premises of the house enclosed by walls and gates separating said premises from adjacent properties.For purposes of Presidential Decree No.x x x The penalty of prision mayor shall be imposed upon any person who shall carry any licensed firearm outside his residence without legal authority therefor. “Mission Order” . “Permit to Carry Firearm Outside of Residence” . Authority to issue mission order involving the carrying of firearm.A. 1866 was later amended by R. 8294. 8294. . the Chief of the Philippine Constabulary issued The Implementing Rules and Regulations of P.[33] which lowered the imposable penalties for illegal possession of firearm when no other crime is committed. As matters stand. Section 1 of P.The following are authorized to issue mission orders with provisions which may entitle the bearer thereof to carry his issued/licensed firearm and ammunition for the duration of such mission: a. “Residence” . However. the following terms shall mean and be interpreted as hereinafter defined: xxxx d. and reinforced by paragraph 6. as construed by this Court in Mapa and Neri. In exercise of its rule-making authority under Section 8[35] of P. Section 879. 1866. f. therefore.D.refers to that place where the firearm and ammunition are being permanently kept. their residence shall be that specified in the license or permit. For firearms covered bya regular license or special permit. is still the basic law on the issuance. Definition of terms. No.D. acquisition. and those covered by a Certificate of Registration or a Memorandum Receipt.is a written authority issued to any person by the Chief of Constabulary which entitles such person to carry his licensed or lawfully issued firearms outside of residence for the duration and purpose specified therein. neither law amended or repealed Section 879 of the 1917 Revised Administrative Code. .The penalty of prision correccional shall be imposed upon any person. disposition or possession of firearms and ammunition or implements used or intended to be used in the manufacture of firearms or ammunition. e.[34] left Section 879 untouched. 1866. xxxx Section 7. For officers. No.is a written directive or order issued by government authority as enumerated in Section 5 hereof to persons who are under his supervision and control for a definite purpose or objective during a specified period and to such place or places as therein mentioned which may entitle the bearer thereof to carry his duly issued or licensed firearm outside of his residence when so specified therein. xxxx Section 5. Even Executive Order No. No. 1866. P. .

D. If mission orders are issued to civilians (not members of the uniformed service). company commanders and their equivalent in the Philippine Air Force and Philippine Navy. The following specific guidelines shall be strictly observed in the carrying of firearm outside of residence: a. i. c. (Emphasis supplied) Earlier. certificate of registration or M/R) are prohibited from carrying their firearms outside of residence except when they have been issued by the Chief of Constabulary a permit to carry firearm outside of their residence as provided for in Section hereof or in actual performance of duty or official mission under Section 4 and 5 hereof. 1866 which codifies all the laws on firearms and explosives clarify the following: xxxx b. (Emphasis supplied) The Ministry of Justice also issued Memorandum Circular No. 1984[36] was issued to the Chief of Staff of the AFP.(8) Provincial commanders. Further. Section 5 identifies the officials/officers of the MOND/AFP who are authorized to issue Mission Orders to enable AFP officers. they must be civilian agents included in the regular plantilla of the government agency involved in law enforcement and are receiving regular compensation for services they are rendering.) Section 6 (a) of the Implementing Rules and Regulations was later amended to read as follows: a-1. 8 dated October 16. to wit: x x x It is unlawful for any person or office to issue a mission order authorizing the carrying of firearms by any person unless the following conditions are met: 1. special permit. prohibiting the issuance of government-owned firearms to civilians. The Implementing Rules and Regulations of P. 2. Special or confidential civilian agents or the like are not regular civilian agents and are therefore violating the law when they carry firearms (personal-owned or government-issued) with Mission Orders. There are no other laws or AFP . METRODISCOM commanders. xxxx Section 6. Mission Order. men and regular civilian agents carry their firearms in the performance of their duties. (Emphasis supplied.. he must be an organic member of the command/unit of the AFP officer issuing the mission order. Specific guidelines in the carrying of firearms outside of residence. That the AFP officer is authorized by the law to issue the mission order. INP and NBI. That the recipient or addressee of the mission order is also authorized by the law to have a mission order. a Letter Directive dated May 19. 1986.x x x No Mission Order shall be issued to any civilian agent authorizing the same to carry firearms outside of residence unless he/she is included in the regular plantillaof the government agency involved in law enforcement and is receiving regular compensationfor the services he/she is rendering in the agency. Regular civilian agents are those who are covered by Permanent or Temporary Civil Service attested appointments in the plantilla of civilian employees.e. or at higher level of command. Lawful Holders of Firearm – Lawful holders of firearm (regular licenses. further strengthening the foregoing Implementing Rules and Regulations. . the civilian agent must be included in a specific law enforcement/police/intelligence project proposal or special project which specifically requires the use of firearm(s) to insure its accomplishment and that the project is duly approved at the PC Regional Command level or its equivalent level in other major services of the AFP. viz: 4.

[39]However. (Emphasis supplied) It is noted that the Implementing Rules and Regulations of P. . allude to “memorandum receipts” covering government-owned firearms. it is clear that petitioner is not authorized to possess and carry the subject firearm and ammunition. 1866. said special or confidential civilian agents are not qualified to receive. the rules governing memorandum receipts and mission orders covering the issuance to and the possession and/or carrying of government-owned firearms by special or confidential civilian agents may be synthesized as follows: First. he was not on an official mission in Bais City but had merely visited the place to attend to a family emergency. 8294. . MRs not renewed after three years shall not be considered in making physical count of the equipment. Worse. said special or confidential civilian agents do not qualify for mission orders to carry firearms (whether private.regulations authorizing the loan of AFPowned firearms to private firms and individuals. Issues of equipment to officers and employees. The mission order issued to petitioner was illegal. as amended by R. Set against the foregoing rules. notwithstanding the memorandum receipt and mission order which were illegally issued to him. No. No. While said rules do not define the term.D. of a regular license to possess firearms and a permit to carry the same outside of residence. Second. As such. as he offered no evidence that he is in the regular plantilla of the AFP or that he is receiving regular compensation from said agency. he was not authorized to receive the subject government-owned firearm and ammunitions. (Emphasis supplied) From the foregoing discussion. Their ineligibility will not be cured by the issuance of a memorandum receipt for equipment covering said governmentowned firearms. No. and Third. Neither will they qualify for exemption from the requirements of a regular firearms license and a permit to carry firearms by the mere issuance to them of a government-owned firearms covered by a memorandum receipt. Petitioner testified that at that time. Neither was petitioner authorized to bear the subject firearm and ammunitions outside of his residence. 1866.A.D. No. we can derive its meaning from Section 492 of the Government Auditing and Accounting Manual (Volume I: Government Auditing Rules and Regulations)[37] to wit: Section 492. The memorandum receipt he signed to account for said government properties did not legitimize his possession thereof. special or confidential civilian agents who are not included in the regular plantilla of any government agency involved in law enforcement or receiving regular compensation for services rendered are not exempt from the requirements under P.owned or government-owned) outside of their residence.Equipment issued by the property officer for official use of officials and employees shall be covered by Memorandum Receipt for Equipment (MR) which shall be renewed every January of the third year after issue. as amended. petitioner was not even acting as such confidential civilian agent at the time he was carrying the subject firearm and ammunitions. Petitioner is a planter[38] who was recruited to assist in the counter-insurgency campaign of the AFP. he cannot be considered a regular civilian agent but a mere confidential civilian agent as defined under Section 6(a) of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of P. therefore.D. 1866.[40] While this Court sustains the conviction of petitioner for illegal possession of firearms. The foregoing rules do not apply to special or confidential civilian agents in possession of or bearing private-owned firearms that are duly licensed and covered by permits to carry the same outside of residence. given that he is not a regular civilian agent but a mere confidential civilian agent. obtain and possess government-owned firearms.

A further revision of the penalty is warranted in view of the special provision in the Indeterminate Sentence Law applicable to crimes penalized by a special law. The MTCC imposed on petitioner the penalty of imprisonment for three (3) years. to five (5) years. two (2) months and one (1) day. acquire. prision correccional in its maximum period ranges from four (4) years. Sale. and if the offense is punished by any other law. and the minimum which shall be within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by the Code for the offense. (Emphasis supplied) P. Thus. the Resolutions dated May 23. Unlawful Manufacture. four (4) months and one (1) day ofprision correccional as maximum. to five (5) years. Acquisition. [42] The CA affirmed the RTC. tool or instrument used or intended to be used in the manufacture of any firearm or ammunition: Provided. Disposition or Possession of Firearms or Ammunition or Instruments Used or Intended to be Used in the Manufacture of Firearms or Ammunition. [41] Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law. the RTC lowered the penalty to four (4) months of arresto mayor as minimum. or possess any low powered firearm.The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period and a fine of not less than Fifteen thousand pesos (P15. part of firearm.we re-examine the imprisonment term to which petitioner was sentenced by the RTC. four (4) months and twentyone (21) days as maximum. and considering that petitioner accepted the subject firearm and ammunitions from the government under the erroneous notion that the memorandum receipt and mission order issued to him legitimized his possession thereof. 2003 of the Regional Trial Court of Bais City are MODIFIED insofar only as the penalty of imprisonment is concerned. 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. four (4) months and twenty (20) days ofprision correccional maximum as maximum. to six (6) years. No. six (6) months and twenty (20) days of prision correccional medium as minimum. to two (2) years. Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. two (2) months and one (1) day as minimum to five (5) years. as affirmed by the CA. as follows: Section 1. However.32 and other firearm of similar firepower. (Emphasis supplied. . four (4) months and twenty-one (21) days of prision correccional as maximum. two (2) months and one (1) day of prision correccional as minimum. dispose. WHEREFORE. the appropriate indeterminate penalty is four (4) years. 1866. the petition is DENIED. 2003 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. 2003 and August 7. or machinery. deal in.D. 8294 lowered the penalty. As prescribed under Section 1 of the Indeterminate Sentence Law. 1866 imposed the penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua for illegal possession of firearms. SP No. . or its amendments.A. . R. the court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate sentence. could be properly imposed under the rules of the said Code.R. the appropriate penalty that can be imposed on petitioner should keep within said range.) Under Article 27 of the Revised Penal Code. 27228 together with the Decision dated March 14. the court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate sentence the maximum term of which shall be that which. as amended. Hereafter.000) shall be imposed upon any person who shall unlawfully manufacture. in view of the attending circumstances. Petitioner Cedric Sayco y Villanueva is sentenced to serve an indeterminate penalty of four (4) years. ammunition. for reasons stated in the text of herein Decision. such as rimfire handgun. to wit: Section 1. is hereby further amended to read as follows: Section 1.380 or . there being no attendant mitigating or aggravating circumstance. in imposing a prison sentence for an offense punished by the Revised Penal Code. That no other crime was committed. No.

the said accused did then and there. Case No. Eventually. with four (4) live bullets. unlawfully. by then and there carrying the same along V. One (1) . this City. as minimum. HON. Presiding Judge. the two (2) cases were tried jointly. Regional Trial Court. 142675. Mapa Ext. No. in accordance with PD. and. On arraignment. CONTRARY TO LAW. unlawfully and knowingly have in his possession and under his custody and control one (1) . petitioner. 1999. Philippines.R. J. July 22. 1866[4] and violation of COMELEC [5] Resolution No. as provided for by the COMELEC Resolution No. RTC. Case No. Rev. willfully. EN BANC 149821.[1] dismissing the Petition for Certiorari with Prayer for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order filed by the petitioner against the Honorable Manuel F.[3] denying petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. to wit: 1. Sta. separately sentencing petitioner to an indeterminate penalty of ten (10) years and one (1) day of prision mayor. 96-149820 That on or about April 27. 1996. [G. and to a prison term of one (1) year in Crim.38 cal. allegedly committed. 2828. 7166 (Gun Ban). Manila and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. Branch 43. CONTRARY TO LAW. 2000. the following are the undisputed factual antecedents: Petitioner Vicente Agote y Matol was earlier charged before the sala of respondent judge with Illegal Possession of Firearms under Presidential Decree No. respectively. respondents. LORENZO. Philippines. 1999. Without first having secured from the proper authorities the necessary license therefor. Lorenzo. MANUEL F. 1866 in Crim. 2991-UDK. 96- . as maximum. as follows: CRIMINAL CASE NO. docketed as Criminal Cases No. vs. in a decision dated May 18. 2. petitioner Vicente Agote y Matol seeks to annul and set aside the following resolutions of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. 96-149820 (illegal possession of firearm). 8294[2]. without serial number. petitioner pleaded “Not Guilty” to both charges. in the City of Manila. knowingly have in possession and under his custody and control. Mesa. 96-149821 That on or about April 27.R. which is a public place on the aforesaid date which is covered by an election period.38 cal. Rev. Presiding Judge. Resolution dated February 8. 2826 (Gun Ban). without serial no. SP No. No. in relation to RA No. 96-149820 and 96- CRIMINAL CASE NO. DECISION GARCIA. to eighteen (18) years eight (8) months and one (1) day of reclusion temporal. Branch 43 for refusing to retroactively apply in his favor Republic Act No. Resolution dated September 14. 2005] VICENTE AGOTE Y MATOL.SO ORDERED. 1996 in the City of Manila. As culled from the pleadings on record. the trial court rendered a judgment of conviction in both cases. Manila. without first securing the written authority from the COMELEC. Thereafter.: In this appeal by way of a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. with four (4) live ammunition/bullets in the chamber. the said accused did then and there willfully.

to wit: (a) the remedy of certiorari availed of by petitioner is improper since he should have appealed from the July 15. Act No. Indeed. 1999. Therefrom. No. Pointing out. And the distinction is well-known: there is a question of law in a given case when the doubt or difference arises as to what the law is on a certain state of facts. petitioner went to the Court of Appeals on a petition for certiorari with prayer for a temporary restraining order.[12] pursuant to Rule 41.A.[8] the appellate court dismissed petitioner’s recourse on two (2) grounds. In the herein assailed resolution dated September 14. that the penalty for illegal possession of firearms under P. 8294. 8294 a retroactive application. being favorable to him. the same must not involve an examination of the probative value of the evidence presented by the litigants or any one of them. and (b) lack of jurisdiction. unless the contrary is provided. among others. the latter law. v. CA declared: ‘The trial court and the respondent court are bound to apply the governing law at the time of the appellant’s commission of the offense for it is a rule that laws are repealed only by subsequent ones. while “appeals from judgments of the [same courts] in the exercise of their original jurisdiction must be brought directly to the Supreme Court in cases where the appellant raises only questions of law”[11]. SP No. the COMELEC Meanwhile. In its order dated July 15. on June 6. the issue raised is one purely of law. Republic Act 8294 did not so provide that it shall have a retroactive effect. as the issue involved is a pure question of law cognizable by the Supreme Court. Inc. 1999. For a question to be one of law. Unquestionably.[9]petitioner is now with us. What he questions is said court’s legal conclusion that Rep.. Considering that “judgments of regional trial courts in the exercise of their original jurisdiction are to be elevated to the Court of Appeals in cases when appellant raises questions of fact or mixed questions of fact and law”. 8294 cannot be retroactively applied to him.R. Act No. Section 2 (c) of the same Rules. it must be stressed that petitioner never put in issue the factual findings of the trial court. Act No. 8294[6] was approved into law. The Supreme Court likewise in the case of Padilla vs. it is the duty of judicial officers to respect and apply the law as it stands. however. saying: [7] With his motion for reconsideration having been denied by the appellate court in its subsequent resolution of February 8. 1866 has already been reduced by the subsequent enactment of Rep. 1999 order of the trial court. 4 of the Civil Code which states that laws shall have no retroactive effect. 1997. At the outset. as amended. should be the one applied in determining his penalty for illegal possession of firearms. submitting for resolution the following issues: (1) whether the Court of Appeals erred in dismissing his petition forcertiorari. The petition is partly meritorious. thereat docketed as CA-G. there is a question of fact when the doubt or difference arises as to the truth or the falsehood of the facts alleged. petitioner moved for a reconsideration of the May 18. 8294) is indeed favorable to the accused and therefore should be made retroactive we are also guided by Art. As we have said in Macawiwili Gold Mining and Development Co. 2000. viz: . and (2) whether the courts below erred in not giving Rep. petitioner should have appealed the trial court’s ruling to this Court by way of a petition for review on certiorari in accordance with Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. 2991-UDK. hence.149821 (violation of Resolution on gun ban). the trial court denied petitioner’s motion.D. Republic Act No. 1999 decision of the trial court. Court of Appeals: [10] While the law (R.

the appeal shall be to the Supreme Court by petition for review on certiorari in accordance with Rule 45. what petitioner should have done was to take an appeal from the trial court’s order of July 15. what with the reality that the provisions thereof are undoubtedly favorable to petitioner. We shall now proceed to determine whether the provisions of Rep. to (18) . the Court has the power to suspend procedural rules in the exercise of its inherent power.’ In proper cases.R. xxx xxx xxx xxx We have made similar rulings in other cases. Here. As the same Rollo shows. By reason. 1866 can be retroactively applied to this case. he was sentenced to suffer a prison term ranging from ten (10) years and one (1) day ofprision mayor. must always be avoided. 8294 amending P. to promulgate rules concerning ‘pleading..D. Be that as it may. or after more than fifteen (15) days when petitioner filed his wrong remedy of certiorari with the appellate court. No. 2. so to speak. SP No. For the crime of illegal possession of firearms in Crim. or any plain. which would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate rather than promote substantial justice. 1999 judgment of conviction.[15] we held: Unquestionably. (1) illegal possession of firearms under P. 1996.SEC. 1866 and (2) violation of COMELEC Resolution No. we shall exercise our prerogative to set aside technicalities in the Rules and “hold the bull by its horns”. 2991-UDK. as minimum. 2826 on gun ban. were both committed by the petitioner on April 27. the two (2) crimes for which petitioner was convicted by the trial court. practice and procedure in all courts.D. 1999. In Solicitor General. Case No. procedural rules may be relaxed or suspended in the interest of substantial justice. 8294. Modes of appeal.[13] the remedies of appeal and certiorari being mutually exclusive and not alternative or successive. this Court has suspended its own rules and excepted a particular case from their operation whenever the higher interests of justice so require. Petitioner’s case is worse compounded by the fact that even his period for appeal had already prescribed when he filed with the Court of Appeals his certiorari petition in CA-G. it was only on August 23. The Metropolitan Manila Authority. 96-149820. the power of this Court to suspend its own rules whenever the interest of justice requires is not without legal authority or precedent. his right to resort to a petition forcertiorari under Rule 65 was effectively foreclosed. After all. then. al. the Court feels that it must squarely address the issue raised in this case regarding the retroactivity of Rep.e. – (a) xxx xxx xxx (b) xxx xxx xxx (c) Appeal by certiorari. of the availability to petitioner of the remedy of a petition for review under Rule 45. then. vs. precisely because one of the requirements for the availment of the latter remedy is that “there should be no appeal. as expressly recognized in the Constitution. Their strict and rigid application. et. i. For this purpose. No. Act No. which otherwise may be miscarried because of a rigid and formalistic adherence to such rules. speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law”. The Rollo of said case reveals that petitioner received his copy of the trial court’s order denying his motion for reconsideration on July 20. Act No. 1999 which denied his motion for reconsideration of the May 18. xxx Time and again. thus: Be it remembered that rules of procedure are but mere tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice. – In all cases where only questions of law are raised or involved.[14] As correctly observed by the Court of Appeals. 1999.

1866. 8294 took effect on July 6.357 and caliber . is hereby further amended to read as follows: ‘SECTION 1. or possess any firearm. Court of Appeals[20]that said law must be given retroactive effect in favor of those accused under P.D.[21] For sure. As early as August 1997.22 center-fire magnum and other firearms with firing capability of full automatic and by burst of two or three:Provided. 8294 does not apply if another crime has been committed. the month after Rep. Sale.[22] where the accused was charged with the complex crime of multiple murder with double frustrated murder and illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions under two separate informations. No. Unlawful Manufacture. ammunition. in People vs. No. positing further that the statement made by this Court in People vs.32 and other firearm of similar firepower. Sale. (Emphasis supplied) When Rep.38 caliber and 9 millimeter such as caliber . or possess any low powered firearm. should not be applied to this case because the proviso in Section 1 of said law that “no other crime was committed” must refer only to those crimes committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm and not when the other crime is not related to the use thereof or where the law violated merely criminalizes the possession of the same. dispose.000) shall be imposed upon any person who shall unlawfully manufacture. 8294 retroactively so that the accused therein may not be convicted of the .380 or . however. Acquisition. like in the case of election gun ban. this Court even took a bolder stance by applying Rep. . tool or instrument used or intended to be used in the manufacture of any firearm or ammunition. as here. Act No. [17] the Office of the Solicitor General agrees with the petitioner. 1866.44. or machinery. deal in. Disposition or Possession of Firearms or Ammunition or Instruments Used or Intended to be Used in the Manufacture of Firearms of Ammunition. Valdez. 8294 should be the one imposed on him. (Emphasis supplied) Based on the foregoing. Act No.[16] the penalty for illegal possession of firearms was lowered. tool or instrument used or intended to be used in the manufacture of any firearm or ammunition: Provided. Disposition or Possession of Firearms or Ammunition or Instruments Used or Intended to be Used in the Manufacture of Firearms or Ammunition. That no other crime was committed by the person arrested. That no other crime was committed. ammunition or machinery. part of firearm. part of firearm. dispose. such as rimfire handgun. 8294 took effect. Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. . Jayson[18] to the effect that the provisions for a lighter penalty under Rep. — The penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon any person who shall unlawfully manufacture. as maximum. Acquisition. Act No. acquire.000) shall be imposed if the firearm is classified as high powered firearm which includes those with bores bigger in diameter than . in accordance with P.D. Unlawful Manufacture.45 and also lesser calibered firearms but considered powerful such as caliber . deal in. eight (8) months and one (1) day of reclusion temporal. petitioner contends that the reduced penalty under Rep. Since then. Significantly. — The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period and a fine of not less than Fifteen thousand pesos (P15. acquire. 1866. depending on the class of firearm possessed.eighteen years. in its Manifestation In Lieu of Comment. . . The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period and a fine of Thirty thousand pesos (P30. as amended.[19] this Court has pronounced in Gonzales vs. Section 1 of which reads: SECTION 1. viz: SECTION 1.41. Act No.40. this Court had consistently adhered to the Gonzales ruling. Act No. 1997.

another twist. the present case takes center stage presenting.separate crime of illegal possession of firearms.[26] however. appellant can no longer be held liable for illegal possession of firearms. Let us take a look at the jurisprudence once again. in other cases. Act No. In this case. xxx . Ladjaalam. The question then which appears to be of first impression. Given this Court’s aforequoted pronouncement in Almeida. in any event. In the light of the existing rulings and jurisprudence on the matter. the Court has ruled in previous cases that in view of the enactment of Republic Act No. was not being “used” in the commission of an offense. 2826 (Gun Ban). this Court. Walpan M. Moreover. and therefore. 1. there can be no separate offense of simple illegal possession of firearms. appellant cannot be convicted of two separate offenses of illegal possession of firearms and direct assault with attempted homicide. 8294. The Valdez ruling had been applied in a host of subsequent cases. the Court did not appreciate this “use” of such unlicensed firearm as an aggravating circumstance as provided therein.(Emphasis supplied) In Almeida. together with the prohibited drugs. this time. although the accused was acquitted of the separate charge of illegal possession of firearm for lack of evidence. for the language of the new law demonstrates the legislative intent to favor the accused. illegal possession of firearms becomes merely an aggravating circumstance.[24] although the Court had given Rep. so to speak. Accordingly. can the accused in the present case still be separately convicted of two (2) offenses of illegal possession of firearms and violation of gun ban. in this case. 8294. People. as required by the Rules on Criminal Procedure. the plain meaning of RA 8294’s simple language is most favorable to herein appellant. and illegal possession of prohibited drugs. Verily. is whether or not the unlicensed firearm should be actually “used” and discharged in the course of committing the other crime in order that Sec. when the “use” of an unlicensed firearm was not specifically alleged in the information. Almeida.[23] Yet. 8294 retroactive effect so as to prevent the conviction of an accused of the separate crime of illegal possession of firearm when the said unlicensed firearm was “used” to commit the crime of murder or homicide. not a separate offense. no other interpretation is justified. that of illegal possession of dangerous drugs. Since direct assault with multiple attempted homicide was committed in this case. 8294 will apply so that no separate crime of illegal possession of firearms may be charged. In Cupcupin vs. Act No. Act No. but refused to apply the same retroactively so as to aggravate the crime of murder. the unlicensed firearm was not actually “used” or discharged in committing the other offense? In People vs. In the more recent case of People vs. but the unlicensed firearm was not “used” or discharged in this case. who was charged of illegal possession of firearms was also charged of another offense: Violation of COMELEC Resolution No. more so because as in Almeida. applied the basic principles in criminal law. penal laws are construed liberally in favor of the accused. and categorically held: [27] xxx A simple reading thereof shows that if an unlicensed firearm is used in the commission of any crime. interpreting the subject proviso in Section 1 of Rep. Hence. Petitioner. if the ‘other crime’ is murder or homicide. there can be no separate offense of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition if there is another crime committed such as. it should be noted that the unlicensed firearm was merely found lying around.[25] the accused was charged and convicted for two (2) separate crimes of illegal possession of firearms. the Court nevertheless made the following clear pronouncement: Furthermore. Rep.

For sure. necessarily arises from the language of RA 8294. the unlicensed firearm was not actually “used”. Act No. the Court cannot but set aside petitioner’s conviction in Criminal Case No. violation of COMELEC Resolution No.e. While we understand respondent People’s contention that the “use” of the firearm seemed to have been the main consideration during the deliberations of the subject provision of Rep. This consequence. the provisions of Rep. The Court’s hands are now tied and it cannot supply the perceived deficiency in the final version without contravening the most basic principles in the interpretation of penal laws which had always leaned in favor of the accused. there is. Rep. and we have done so in this case. however. Verily. 8294 in accusedappellant’s favor because it would mean his acquittal from the separate offense of illegal possession of firearms. 8294 should be applied liberally and retroactively in that appellant must be acquitted of the charge of illegal possession of firearms. 1. whose wisdom is not subject to the Court’s review. i. Bustamante. However. Our task is constitutionally confined only to applying the law and jurisprudence to the proven facts.[30] where. this ruling is not without misgivings considering that it would mean petitioner’s acquittal of the more serious offense of illegal possession of firearms which carries a much heavier penalty than violation of the COMELEC gun-ban resolution. If the intention of the law in the second paragraph were to refer only to homicide and murder. and People vs. 8294. Bernal. 96-149820 for illegal possession of firearm since another crime was committed at the same time. People vs.(Emphasis supplied). Act No. it should have expressly said so. both of which are punishable by arresto menor. Sec. as it did in the third paragraph. as in Almeida. 8294.. 2826 or the Gun Ban. 1 of Rep. Garcia. Act No. the Court has no discretion to give statutes a new meaning detached from the manifest intendment and language of the legislature. Admittedly. Guided by the foregoing. Act No. Indeed. provided that ‘no other crime was committed by the person arrested’. the Court declared that insofar as it is favorable to the appellant. 8294 restrains the Court from convicting petitioner of the separate crime of illegal possession of firearm despite the fact that. like alarm and scandal or slight physical injuries. The solemn power and duty of the Court to interpret and apply the law does not include the power to correct by reading into the law what is not written therein. the accused may evade conviction for illegal possession of firearms by using such weapons in committing an even lighter offense.[29] where the Court retroactively applied Rep. as we have rationalized in Ladjaalam:[31] xxx Indeed. Act No.xxx xxx xxx xxx The law is clear: the accused can be convicted of simple illegal possession of firearms. in refusing to convict the accused-appellant of the separate offense of illegal possession of firearms. only the Legislature can remedy such deficiency. The aforementioned ruling was reiterated and applied in the subsequent cases of People vs. if any. by proper amendment of Sec. the fact remains that the word “use” never found its way into the final version of the bill which eventually became Rep. Any perception that the result reached here appears unwise should be addressed to Congress. closer relation between possession of unlicensed firearm and violation of the COMELEC gun-ban than the .[28] where the judgment of conviction of the accusedappellants for illegal possession of firearms was set aside there being another crime – kidnapping for ransom – which they were perpetrating at the same time. neither should we. As written. Act No. in this case. 8294. Under our system of government where powers are allocated to the three (3) great branches. where the law does not distinguish.

Azcuna. Ynares-Santiago. No. the abovementioned accused. Puno. Lingayen. 1987. Callejo. Austria-Martinez. Quisumbing. RODOLFO DELA ROSA Y AVILES. and Chico-Nazario. Panganiban.: Rodolfo dela Rosa y Aviles appeals the decision of the Regional Trial Court. 2826 in relation to Rep. SECOND DIVISION [G. plaintiffappellee.. did then and there wilfully (sic). Pangasinan. and RODOLFO QUIMSON Y NAVA (At large). 96149820 for illegal possession of firearms is hereby DISMISSED while the judgment of conviction in Criminal Case No. vs.. 84857. J. in sitio (sic) Kadampat.. his immediate release from custody is hereby ORDERED unless detained for some other lawful cause. convicting him of illegal possession of firearms and explosives and imposing the penalty of reclusion perpetua. Barangay Bolo. [1] On January 27. conspiring.J. SandovalGutierrez. JJ. 96149821. WHEREFORE. Act No. is AFFIRMED. 1998] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. Davide. Tinga.. ANTONIO DELA ROSA y AVILES. custody and control three (3) homemade . concur. January 16. unlawfully and feloniously have in their possession. ANTONIO DELA ROSA Y AVILES. Branch 38. Corona. confederating and helping one another. Since petitioner has already served more than the penalty imposed upon him by the trial court in Criminal Case No. Sr. DECISION PUNO. First Judicial Region. New Republic of the Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. Carpio. accused-appellants. C.illegal possession of unlicensed firearm to the crime of illegal possession of prohibited drugs in Almeida. CRESENCIO REYES y DELA CRUZ and RODOLFO QUIMSON y NAVA. province (sic) of Pangasinan. an information for illegal possession of firearms and explosives was filed against RODOLFO DELA ROSA y AVILES. Criminal Case No. SO ORDERED. Carpio-Morales. Jr. 96-149821 for violation of COMELEC Resolution No. municipality (sic) of Labrador. to wit: "That on or about the 9th of December 1986. 7166 (Gun Ban).R.

they were brought to the police headquarters. Antonio dela Rosa. Cancino entered the house. Kagawad Rigor introduced the surrenderees to Cpl. The four had with them a short shotgun (Exhibit A) and a bag containing several sticks of dynamite (Exhibit C to C7). 1987. the four accused withdrew their plea of not guilty and substituted it with a plea of guilt. alias Kumander Tamang. Cancino and showed him the short shotgun (Exhibit A) and the bag (Exhibit C to C-7) containing several sticks of dynamite. Reyes was carrying a bag (Exhibit C) while Kumander Tamang had a shotgun (Exhibit A). all accused. Cipriano Castillo. 1866. On November 10. Arsenio Paragas and Cpl. Accused Rodolfo dela Rosa testified that he first saw Kumander Tamang on October 28. 1987. The trial proceeded against the three remaining accused. When the banana leaves were removed. were brought to the Philippine Constabulary (PC) Headquarters in Lingayen. The prosecution established that in the morning of December 9. Labrador. At the police station. 1986 at a relative's wake. except Rodolfo Quimson. Patrolman Gasline Fernandez recorded the report in the police blotter. Crispin Cancino. Cpl. Pangasinan claiming they want to lead a new life. where their statements were taken by Cpl. Then."[2] All accused pleaded not guilty when arraigned on February 3. 1986. On November 1. without first securing the necessary permit/license to possess the same. Kumander Tamang went to his house and succeeded in persuading him to join the . 1986. The other policemen stayed outside to secure the area.[8] The following day. In Lingayen. "Contrary to Presidential Decree No. only Kagawad Rigor and Cpl. 1986. the station commander.[3] However. on March 19. They informed him that Benjamin Nano. the charred body of Benjamin Nano was recovered by the police in Sitio Tebel Patar.[9] On the other hand. for he was only a sawali maker. He told Kumander Tamang he would think it over. [5] Thereafter. 1987. On March 12. Bolo. trial proceeded. the four (4) accused filed a motion withdrawing their plea of guilt. [4] The lower court granted the motion in a resolution dated March 25. He was utilized as a witness by the prosecution. Cresencio Reyes was with Kumander Tamang at that time. surrendered to Kagawad Valeriano Rigor of Sitio Kadampat. Inside the house. [7] Meanwhile. Cresencio Reyes and Rodolfo Quimson. they proceeded at the municipal building and called on Mayor Calixto Pancho. The court accepted the plea and sentenced him accordingly. 1987. Kumander Tamang then convinced him to join the New People's Army (NPA). 1866.[6] Kagawad Rigor offered them breakfast and afterwards went to the police station to report the presence of four (4) surrenderees in his house. He said he did not. Reyes pointed to the hiding place which was covered by banana leaves. When the group arrived. was shot by one of them. After ascertaining that the plea of guilt was not made improvidently. The surrenderees had their picture taken with Mayor Pancho and Kagawad Rigor. the three accused contend they were recruited by Kumander Tamang on different dates. Afterwards. Rodolfo dela Rosa. However. the lower court imposed upon them the corresponding penalty. Kumander Tamang went to his house and reiterated his offer to him. brought along several policemen and proceeded to the house of Kagawad Rigor. accused Cresencio Reyes changed his mind again and pleaded guilty to a lesser offense punishable under the last paragraph of Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. Cresencio Reyes informed the police that there were firearms left buried in Sitio Tebel Patar. who was left behind to guide the police in recovering the body of Kumander Tamang. the police unearthed two (2) long barreled shotguns (Exhibits B and D). Kumander Tamang asked him whether he owned a piece of land. a member of the New People's Army (NPA).gauge 12 shotguns and fourteen (14) pieces of dynamite explosives.

at 10:00 o'clock in the morning. They saw the Kagawad sitting by himself on a bench outside his house. After the meeting. they descended the mountains and headed towards Sitio Kadampat.[13] When trial concluded. Kumander Tamang called them to a meeting. At that time. When an investigator started to question them..[10] On December 8. they gave their subscribed statements to the police. who was Rodolfo's cousin. Reyes signalled the three to approach the house.NPA. so as not to frighten him. who was left behind. At first. He told them it would be better to surrender themselves to the authorities. After five (5) minutes. they asked for a lawyer to assist them but the investigator said they would not need one for they were surrenderees and would soon be freed. He ordered them to gather the shotgun and the sticks of dynamite while he set on fire Kumander Tamang's hut. the policemen pointed their guns at the accused but Kagawad Rigor told them there was no need for they were surrendering themselves to the authorities. they were brought to the police headquarters. At five o'clock in the afternoon. Again. they reached the house of Kagawad Rigor. Kagawad Rigor let them inside the house and offered them breakfast. He announced that Kumander Tamang was dead. 1987.m. When the two came out. Afterwards. Mayor Calixto Pancho greeted and congratulated them for coming back to the fold of law. After their statements were taken. descended the mountains and proceeded to the house of Antonio dela Rosa. They had their picture taken with Mayor Pancho and Kagawad Rigor. the following day. Kumander Tamang and Cresencio Reyes. All of them headed for the mountains afterwards. Kumander Tamang told them that at five o'clock in the afternoon they would go down Sitio Kadampat and assassinate Kagawad Rigor. Kagawad Rigor then left the house and went to the police station. Labrador. to lead the police to Kumander Tamang's body. Kumander Tamang Cresencio Reyes and Antonio dela Rosa went to the house of Rodolfo Quimson. Kumander Tamang took the bag (Exhibit C) which Reyes always carries and opened it. The bag yielded several sticks of dynamite. 1986. dela Rosa was with them. Kagawad Rigor then showed the policemen the shotgun and the bag containing the sticks of dynamite. they returned to their hut and rested. Rodolfo dela Rosa. Afterwards. they returned to their hideout in the mountains. At 7:00 a. They rushed outside and saw Reyes holding Kumander Tamang's shotgun. When the two came out. The policemen took all the surrenderees to the Municipal Hall. they heard a gunshot from the hut of Kumander Tamang. Pangasinan. Reyes placed the shotgun and the bag on top of the dining table.[11] He then instructed them on how to use the explosives. They saw said firearms for the first time when the prosecution presented them as exhibits during the trial. 1986. They denied ever seeing the two (2) long firearms (Exhibits C and D) which were recovered in Sitio Tebel Patar. The three others waited by the roadside. where they were detained. They stayed inside for 15 minutes. At two o'clock in the afternoon. Only Reyes approached the Kagawad. Antonio dela Rosa did not appeal [14] while Rodolfo Quimson escaped[15] from the National Bilibid Prisons (NBP) where he was . the police took them back to the police station in Labrador. Kumander Tamang and Reyes entered the house and stayed inside for ten (10) minutes.[12] He returned with several policemen. the lower court convicted the three (3) accused. Kumander Tamang was carrying a shotgun (Exhibit A) while Reyes was carrying a bag (Exhibit C). On the evening of November 14. they were transferred to the provincial jail in Lingayen. only Kumander Tamang and Reyes entered Quimson's house. Hence. At the Municipal Hall. When they arrived at said place. 1986. On January 5. On November 20. Rodolfo dela Rosa. Quimson was with them. Kumander Tamang brought him at a hideout in the mountains of Sitio Tebel Patar. except Rodolfo Quimson.

Such intent to possess is. dispose or possess any firearms. In the first (intent to commit the crime). de Gracia. the crime itself. and (ii) lacks the authority or license to possess it. a distinction should be made between criminal intent and intent to possess.detained after the lower court convicted him. illegal possession of firearms is committed when the holder thereof: (i) possesses a firearm. is sufficient to convict a person for illegal possession of a firearm. there is reason to conclude that he provided himself with arms such as Exhibits A. or machinery. punished by a special law. In the present case. Intent to commit the crime and intent to perpetrate the act must be distinguished.[19] we clarified the meaning of possession for the purpose of convicting a person under PD 1866.[18] In People v. ammunition. Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. to the authorities. The trial court perceived otherwise. appellant dela Rosa must be convicted. intent to commit the crime is not necessary. part of firearm. thus: "But. It is of no moment that he surrendered the ammunitions to the authorities. 1866 punishes any person who shall "x x x unlawfully manufacture. his real intention was merely to turn over the ammunitions. We fail to see how appellant dela Rosa could be convicted of illegal possession of firearms based on the above reasoning. According to him. We find merit in the appeal. A person may not have consciously intended to commit a crime but he intended to commit an act. "When a crime is punished by a special law. which were owned by Kumander Tamang. and that act is by the very nature of things. it must still be shown that there was animus possidendi or an intent to possess on the part of the accused. in the second (intent to perpetrate the act) it is enough that the prohibited act is done freely and consciously. acquire. However. It is undisputed that accused-appellant Rodolfo dela Rosa and his companions were the ones who surrendered the subject firearm (Exhibit A) and explosives (Exhibit C to C-7) to Kagawad Rigor. Rodolfo dela Rosa denies that he was in possession of said ammunitions in the manner punishable by law. B. C to C-7 and D. there must be criminal intent. deal in."(Underscoring supplied) [17] Broken down into its salient elements. is the mere fact of physical or constructive possession sufficient to convict a person for unlawful possession of firearms or must there be an intent to possess to constitute a violation of the law? This query assumes significance for illegal possession of firearms is a malum prohibitum.[16] And since mere possession is sufficient to convict a person for crimes which are malum prohibitum like illegal possession of firearms. it is sufficient that the offender has the intent to perpetrate the act prohibited by the special law. as a rule. tool or instrument used or intended to be used in the manufacture of any firearm or ammunition. . While mere possession without criminal intent. 1866. Only Rodolfo dela Rosa appealed contending that: THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT RODOLFO DELA ROSA GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME OF ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF FIREARMS AND EXPLOSIVES. in which case good faith and absence of criminal intent are not valid defenses. It declared that since Rodolfo dela Rosa joined the New People's Army (NPA). DEFINED AND PENALIZED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO.

We stated therein that: "The terms "control" and "dominion" themselves are relative terms not susceptible of exact definition.[20] we held that a temporary. incidental. incidental. or harmless possession of firearms is not punishable. since intent to hold and eventually use the weapon would be lacking. Estoista. x x x Thus. in People v.[22] It is not enough that the firearm was found in the person of the accused who held the same temporarily and casually or for the purpose of surrendering the same. and opinions on the degree and character of control or dominion sufficient to constitute a violation vary. until the police officer unceremoniously seized the same from him. In fine. He then forgot about the firearm. animus possidendi is a state of mind. The rule laid down in the United States courts rule which we here adopt . Justice Regalado wrote that: "x x x." Also." In the early case of People v. but would not justify a charge for illegal possession of firearm. in which case it would have been safer and would have avoided detection. 1866. without regard to any other criminal or felonious intent which the accused may have harbored in possessing the firearm. Admittedly. This is not important in convicting a person under Presidential Decree No. may suffice for purposes of establishing a case of theft. A typical example of such possession is where "a person picks up a weapon or hands it to another to examine or hold for a moment. Hence. the . stealing a firearm with intent not to use but to render the owner defenseless. casual or harmless possession or control of a firearm is not a violation of a statute prohibiting the possessing or carrying of this kind of weapon. and that he intended to possess the same. as his real intent. Remereta. could be determined solely based on his prior and coetaneous acts and the surrounding circumstances explaining how the subject firearm came to his possession. what goes on into the mind of an accused. even if such possession was made in good faith and without criminal intent. the accused contended that he was on his way to the municipal hall to surrender the firearm when he met some of his friends. Criminal intent here refers to the intention of the accused to commit an offense with the use of an unlicensed firearm. in People v.however. the kind of possession punishable under PD No. affording him no chance to surrender it himself. it is sufficient that the accused had no authority or license to possess a firearm. casual.[24] we rejected the argument of the accused that the charge against him should be dismissed because there was no animus possidendi on his part. In rejecting accused-appellant's claim. we held that transient possession is not sufficient to convict one under the latter crime. 1866 is one where the accused possessed a firearm either physically or constructively with animus possidendi or intention to possess the same. in order that one may be found guilty of a violation of the decree." Hence. In said case. As such.[23] Thus. thus: "While in stealing a firearm the accused must necessarily come into possession thereof. the crime of illegal possession of firearms is not committed by mere transient possession of the weapon. the Court finds it hard to believe that appellant still had to hide the firearm in his waist before setting out to surrender it to the authorities when he could have taken the gun to the town hall in the same bag in which he found it.[21] where the question posed was whether an accused who stole a firearm could simultaneously be prosecuted for theft and illegal possession of firearms.is that temporary. Leo Lian.

Leo Lian." The Office of the Solicitor General offers the extrajudicial statement of accused Rodolfo dela Rosa[27] that Kumander Tamang supplied him with explosives and dynamite in furtherance of subversive activities. Coming now to the case before us. Solayao. Dela Rosa and his companions had surrendered the ammunitions to Kagawad Rigor even before the police arrived. the only relevant question asked by the judge was: "JUDGE ABELLA "Q: Did you or the Stn. Similarly. the police learned of the surrender because Kagawad Rigor reported it to the police station in Labrador.[25] In this case. temporary and only incidental for the purpose of surrendering the ammunitions to the authorities. Under such circumstance. Dela Rosa's possession was harmless. The presumption is erroneous.[26] the prosecution offered no other evidence during the trial which showed lack of license. the extrajudicial statement is sufficient to prove that the firearms were illegally possessed. In acquitting the accused-appellant. we stressed that the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond reasonable doubt the lack of license which is a negative averment. But they stated that they have no license to possess any of the firearms and explosives which were recovered from their possession. Lubo. Consequently. the Office of the Solicitor General's contention that dela Rosa was in constructive possession of the ammunitions is irrelevant for possession -whether physical or constructive. the prosecution failed to establish the first element of animus possidendi. Accused-appellant Lubo was found to have secured a "temporary license" for the subject firearm. Except for the preliminary examination of Pfc. sir. In People v. . In the case at bar." That animus possidendi is determinable from the prior and simultaneous acts of the accused is further exemplified by People v. where appellant Lian merely feigned intention to surrender the firearm which the police found in his possession.indispensable elements of possession without the necessary authority or license and the corresponding attendance of animus possidendi have both been convincingly established by the prosecution to warrant appellant's conviction x x x. his conduct belied the same. even if it had contained an admission that he had no license. it still would not have sufficed. In the preliminary examination. Corollarily.without animus possidendi is not punishable. it is undisputed that the police officers never really arrested Rodolfo dela Rosa.[30] the prosecution relied only on the testimonial evidence that accused-appellant admitted before the police officer who accosted him that he did not have any authority or license to carry the subject firearm when he was asked if he had one. the records are bereft of sufficient proof that Rodolfo dela Rosa possessed the ammunitions without authority to do so. control and custody. And. we held that accusedappellant intended to possess the subject firearm beyond reasonable doubt. Cipriano P. Commander ask or verify whether any or all of the abovenamed suspects have any license to possess the above-mentioned firearms and explosives? "A: Yes.[28] According to the Solicitors. Castillo conducted by Municipal Circuit Trial Judge Benjamin N. [29] the same did not contain any admission that he had no license to possess the firearm. This is in contrast to People v. In fact. for the truth of the matter was that there was no need for such arrest. while accusedappellant pleaded lack of animus possidendi. Aside from the fact that dela Rosa repudiated the extrajudicial statement because it was uncounselled. appellant dela Rosa's intention to surrender the ammunitions was very clear from the beginning and he was able to execute the same. Abella.

[35] We find that such quantum of proof was not adequately presented in this case. but not a separate offense. 1866.. except if and detained for other offenses.” appellant. But. then the burden of proof is upon the party averring the negative.[31] The burden is in consonance with the evidentiary rule that "when a negative is averred in a pleading. it is incumbent on the Government to prove both elements of the crime: (1) that the accused possessed the firearm and (2) that he had not first obtained a license or permit from the appropriate authorities. In a prosecution under Presidential Decree No. His immediate release from the National Bilibid Prisons Republic Act No. L-3616. IN VIEW WHEREOF. charged Regalado. the burden placed on the shoulders of the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt the lack of license is premised on the constitutional presumption of innocence of the accused. [33] Thus. Hence. J. presented a certification from the Firearms and Explosives Unit that the accused did not have the license to the gun. The Office of the Solicitor General contends that for accused-appellant to join the New People's Army and stay in the mountains without arming themselves is highly improbable. WALPAN LADJAALAM y MIHAJIL “WARPAN. accusedappellant Rodolfo dela Rosa is acquitted in Criminal Case No."[32] More importantly. solely. where an accused was convicted of direct assault with multiple attempted homicide for firing an unlicensed M-14 rifle at several policemen who were about to serve a search warrant. mere speculations and probabilities cannot substitute for proof required to establish the guilt of an accused beyond reasonable doubt. We reiterate that mere suspicion will not prove the prosecution's case in court. if the person is held liable for murder or homicide. illegal possession of firearms is an aggravating circumstance. Mendoza. vs. 136149-51.” Furthermore. this Court suggested that the prosecution could have. concur.R. SO ORDERED. THIRD DIVISION [G. at the very least. appellee. Nos. (Chairman). there is reason to believe that they illegally possessed the ammunitions to further their subversive activities even prior to surrendering them to the authorities. in People v. JJ. [34] (NBP) is ordered. September 19. Thus. will not suffice. provided that the person arrested committed “no other crime. 2000] PEOPLE OF PHILIPPINES. 8294 penalizes simple illegal possession of firearms. Solayao. he cannot be held guilty of the separate offense of . an extrajudicial admission of the accused.: THE alias As always. The rule is the same whether the offenses are punishable under the Revised Penal Code which are mala in se or in crimes which aremalum prohibitum by virtue of special law. DECISION PANGANIBAN. or a plaintiff's case depends upon the establishment of a negative. and the means of proving the fact are equally within the control of each party. and Martinez.

conspiring and confederating together. Walpan Ladjaalam being then the owner of a residential house located at Rio Hondo.[2] all signed by Assistant Regional State Prosecutor Ricardo G. [4] this City.38 with SN-311092 with five live ammunition and one empty shell of [a] cal. aimed and directed at the fatal parts of the bodies of the above-named police officers. Filed against appellant were four Informations. mutually aiding and assisting x x x his co-accused wife Nur-in Ladjaalam and Ahmad Sailabbi y Hajaraini. who at the time of the attack were engaged in the performance of their duties. Neither can such unlawful act be considered to have aggravated the direct assault. well known to the accused as members of the Philippine National Police.illegal possession of firearms. and feloniously have in their possession and under their custody and control. the above-named accused. Philippines. Zamboanga City Police Office. did then and there. and SPO1 RICARDO J. that is. JR. Philippines. M-16 Armalite Rifles and other assorted firearms and explosives. agents of a person in authority. did then and there wilfully. which found him guilty of three out of the four charges lodged against him. unlawfully and feloniously try and attempt to kill SPO1 WILLIAM B. in the City of Zamboanga. was worded thus: “That on or about September 24. did then and there wilfully.”[7] The third Information. in the City of Zamboanga. LACASTESANTOS.. 38 x x x Smith and Wesson. the above-named accused being then armed with M-14 Armalite Rifles. RIVERA[. in flagrant violation of the aforementioned law. mutually aiding and assisting x x x one another and with intent to kill. The first Information[3] was for maintaining a den for the use of regulated drugs. also known as “Warpan. JONES. conspiring and confederating together. in the City of Zamboanga.” appeals before us the September 17. the above-named accused. one (1) M-79 (single) rifle with pouch and with five (5) empty shell[s]. two (2) magazines with twenty (20) and twenty[-one] (21) rounds of live [ammunition]. to the person of the accused thus . We quote it below: “That on or about September 24.[8] for multiple attempted murder with direct assault. M-16 Armalite Rifles and other assorted firearms and explosives. mutually aiding and assisting with one another.38 revolver with five (5) live ammunition. where regulated drug [was] used in any form. the following weapons. and as such. PO3 ENRIQUE C. one (1) home made caliber . wilfully. 1997. on the occasion when said officers were about to serve the Search Warrant legally issued by the Regional Trial Court. It reads as follows: “That on or about September 24. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. unlawfully and feloniously. 1997. to wit: one (1) M14 rifle with SN 1555225 with magazines and seven (7) rounds of live ammunition.. without first having obtained the necessary license and or permit therefor from authorities concerned. 1997.”[5] The second Information[6] charged appellant with illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. this City. to wit: by then and there firing their M-14 x x x Armalite Rifles.38 Caliber paltik revolver with Serial Number 311092 and one defaced M79 grenade launcher paltik. in the following manner. two (2) . unlawfully. 1997. Cabaron and dated September 25. one (1) homemade caliber . MIRASOL. 1998 Decision[1] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Zamboanga City (Branch 16).] SPO1 AMADO A. JR. Philippines. without any justifiable reason or purpose other than to use it in the commission of crime. The Case Walpan Ladjaalam y Mihajil. maintain said house as a den. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. conspiring and confederating together.

a. “3. C).[13] the Office of the Solicitor General presents the facts in this wise: “At 1:45 p. 1997.m. the cases against Nur-in Ladjaalam and Ahmad Sailabbi y Hajaraini were dismissed upon motion of the Office of the City Prosecutor. “4. as amended by Republic Act. the assailed Decision was rendered. in Criminal Case No. and ACQUITS him of said crime with costs de oficio. otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972.m.[10] On December 21. The accused were consequently released from jail. that is. the dispositive part of which reads: “WHEREFORE. and SENTENCES said accused to suffer an indeterminate penalty of SIX (6) YEARS of prision correccional as minimum to EIGHT (8) YEARS of prision mayor as maximum and to pay a fine [of] THIRTY THOUSAND (P30. Article III. a briefing was conducted inside the office of the Anti-Vice/Narcotics Unit of the Zamboanga City Police Office in connection with the service of the search warrant.000. of the same day. whereas accused PO2 Nurhakim T. of Republic Act No. Article III. who were subdued and subsequently placed under arrest. Article IV.00) and pay the costs. ‘WARPAN’ “1.00) and to pay the costs. and if the accused did not accomplish their unlawful purpose. NOT GUILTY of Violation of Section 16. his wife and some John Does (Exh. PO3 Allan Marcos Obut filed an application for the issuance of a search warrant against appellant.a. in Criminal Case No.[11] After pretrial. the Court finds accused WALPAN LADJAALAM y MIHAJIL a. GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT of the crime of Illegal Possession of Firearm and Ammunition penalized under Presidential Decree No. as amended. in relation to Section 21. No. during which he entered a plea of not guilty. 14637. of September 24. in Criminal Case No. 14639.000. and SENTENCES said accused to the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA and to pay a fine ofFIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND (P500. GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT of Violation of Section 15-A.”[9] In the fourth Information. 1997. GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT of the crime of Direct Assault with Multiple Attempted Homicide andSENTENCES said accused to an indeterminate penalty of TWO (2) YEARS and FOUR (4) MONTHS of prision correccional as minimum to SIX (6) YEARSof prision correccional as maximum and to pay a fine of ONE THOUSAND (P1. The . this appeal.” (emphasis in the original) Hence. which had conducted a reinvestigation of the cases as ordered by the lower court. “2. ‘Warpan’ and Ahmad Sailabbi y Hajairani. Hadjula was able to make good his escape and has remained at-large. of Republic Act No. 8294. 14636.k. as amended. 6425. After the search warrant was issued about 2:30 p.000. 1866. 1998. it was not by reason of their own voluntary desistance but rather because of the fact that all the above-named police officers were able to seek cover during the firing and were not hit by the bullets and explosives fired by the accused and also by the fact said police officers were able to wrestle with two (2) of the accused namely: Walpan Ladjaalam y Mihajil a.k. to kill the abovenamed Police Officers.commencing the commission of crime of multiple murder directly by overt acts. otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972.00) and to pay the costs. 6425. appellant was charged with illegal possession of drugs. In Criminal Case No.[12] The Facts Prosecution’s Version In its Brief. 14638. The arraignment of appellant on all four (4) charges took place on January 6.

41. pp. After identifying themselves as members of the PNP Anti-Vice/Narcotics Unit. He removed the magazine from the rifle and the bullet inside the chamber of the rifle. 1998. March 5.. Gaganting opened the main (steel) gate of the house. 1998. 19-21). He likewise saw three (3) M16 rifle magazines (Exh. March 3. March 4. 21-23). SPO1 Ricardo Lacastesantos and PO3 Enrique Rivera were designated to conduct the search.briefing was conducted by SPO2 Felipe Gaganting. G-2) in a corner at the second floor (TSN. 1998. and Obut entered the door of the extension building. together with SPO2 Gaganting. Obut presented to the old women a copy of the search warrant. 57-59. 1998. Gregorio and Obut followed and entered the house. 32. Before they could reach appellant’s house. B-3) with magazine on top of the sofa at the sala on the second floor (Ibid. March 5. 1998. 1998. pp. 54). Two (2) old women were in the sala together with a young girl and three (3) children. G-3) and another with twenty-one (21) live ammunition (Exh. and PO3 Dela Peña who were with the first group of policemen saw appellant fire an M14 rifle towards them. “Lacastesantos and Mirasol proceeded to the second floor where they earlier saw appellant firing an M14 rifle at them through the window. One of the old women took the children to the second floor while the young girl remained seated at the corner (Ibid. Gaganting. raid’ (Ibid. The other members of the team then entered. pp. 1998. “After Lacastesantos and Mirasol entered appellant’s house. March 3. pp. after breaking and removing the jalousies. one with twenty (20) live ammunition (Exh. P. Mirasol and SPO1 Cesar Rabuya arrested appellant at the back of his house after a brief chase (Ibid. Dela Peña. March 3. 14-16). 43-44. 27). 1555225. 45-46. PO3 Renato Dela Peña was assigned as presentor of the warrant. There was also gunfire at the back of the house (Ibid. Seeing this. 23-32. PO3 Obut and Superintendent Soledad. p. Rivera. He went inside the bedroom and. p. When they were fired upon. On top of a table was a pencil case . 53-57). three (3) persons sitting at a nearby store ran towards the house shouting. Mirasol. jumped from the window to the roof of a neighboring house. appellant noticed their presence. Other policemen were assigned as perimeter guards (TSN. When the policemen were about ten (10) meters from the main gate of the house. pp. “After the briefing. March 4. April 22. the group. p.They all knew appellant.. they were met by a rapid burst of gunfire coming from the second floor of the house. pp. 33-36). 41-43). ‘[P]olice.. pp. raid. “In front of the house was an extension building connected to the concrete fence (Ibid. Mirasol rushed downstairs and asked help from the other members of the raiding team to arrest appellant.. more than thirty (30) policemen headed by Police Superintendent Edwin Soledad proceeded to the house of appellant and his wife at Rio Hondo on board several police vehicles (TSN.. The rifle bore Serial No.. Lacastesantos went to the second floor and shouted to the policemen outside not to fire in the direction of the second floor because there were children. sought cover at the concrete fence to observe the movements at the second floor of the house while other policemen surrounded the house (Ibid. PO3 Rivera. Lacastesantos saw an M14 rifle (Exh. 1998. “At the second floor. 4). While they were going upstairs. G-4). Lacastesantos. pp. 1998. 50-51).He saw two (2) more M14 rifle magazines on the sofa. April 23. SPO2 Lacastesantos.. Dela Peña and Rivera then searched appellant’s room on the ground floor in the presence of Punong Barangay Elhano (TSN. Chief of the Anti-Vice/Narcotics Unit. During the briefing. “SPO1 Mirasol. 73-76). Lacastesantos and Mirasol entered the house through the main door and went inside the sala of the ground floor while other policemen surrounded the house. pp. Gregorio. He counted seventeen (17) live ammunition inside the magazine.

he took a tricycle and went home (Ibid. pp. “The following day. “While they were smoking ‘shabu. April 23. p.38 caliber revolver (Exh. namely. 8-15). 1997 showed that the following firearms ‘were fired’ (Exh. an examination conducted by Police Inspector Susan M. They asked Locson to smoke ‘shabu’ and Locson obliged.. giving rise to the possibility that appellant had fired a gun before the examination (TSN. 311092 (Exh. “After the search and before returning to the police station.’ Locson heard gunfire coming from appellant’s house. April 23. on the fifty (50) pieces of folded aluminum foils each containing white crystalline granules with a total weight of 1. another . The latter got three (3) decks of shabu from his waist bag. 11). each containing methamphetamine hydrochloride or ‘shabu’. They all stood and entered appellant’s compound but were instructed to pass [through] the other side. B-2). W. September 25. 1998.62 mm M14 U. 30-32). he was instructed by SPO2 Gaganting to go to appellant’s house to buy ‘shabu. He placed the three (3) decks of ‘shabu’ he bought on the table (Ibid. 1998. Upon reaching a place near the Fisheries School. one (1) homemade . Cayabyab. pp. “Other items were found during the search. and one (1) empty shell of an M14 rifle (TSN. April 22. B5): a . Appellant told them to escape ‘because the police are already here. However. P03 Dela Peña prepared a ‘Receipt for Property Seized’ (Exh. pp. 11-12).00 worth of ‘shabu’ from appellant. pp. March 3. TSN.. A-3). M) narrating what transpired at appellant’s house [o]n the afternoon of September 24. A copy of the receipt was given to appellant but he refused to acknowledge the properties seized (TSN. the examination of one (1) crystalline stone weighing 83. J) with fifty (50) folded aluminum foils inside (Exhs. and by Punong Barangay Hadji Hussin Elhano and radio reporter Jun Cayona as witnesses. The receipt was signed by Dela Peña as the seizure officer. 16-21).38 caliber revolver (homemade) with Serial No. B-2) with five (5) live [ammunition]. 1998. 1555225 (Exh. B-4).m. Gunpowder residue examinations conducted on September 26. 5) and had been to appellant’s house about fifteen (15) times before. 17-19). rifle with Serial No. 23-25). Appellant instructed Locson to go behind the curtain where there was a table. P & 3) listing the properties seized during the search. 1997. “An examination conducted by Police Inspector Mercedes D. March 3. “Rino Bartolome Locson was an informer of the Anti-Vice/Narcotics Unit of the Zamboanga Police. B-3). J-1 to J-50). 1998. Diestro. assorted coins in different denominations (Exh. a Cal.S. 1997. pp. There were six (6) persons already smoking. likewise a Forensic Chemist of the PNP Crime Laboratory Service Office 9. There was a lighted kerosene lamp made of a medicine bottle placed on the table. p. [O]n the morning of September 24.2674 grams (Exh.’ Locson knew appellant as a seller of ‘shabu’ (TSN. “With respect to the crystalline substances.’ They scampered and ‘ran away because there were already shots. They were fired within five (5) days prior to the examination (TSN. 7.(Exh. pp.’ Locson jumped over the fence and ran towards the seashore. on the paraffin casts taken from both hands of appellant yielded positive for gunpowder nitrates (Exh. 1998. and an M79 rifle without a serial number (Exh. he went to the police station and executed an affidavit (Exh.38 caliber revolver (homemade) without a serial number (Exh. K) yielded . B-4). one (1) M79 single rifle with [a] pouch containing five (5) empty shells of an M79 rifle (Exh. 1998. J-1 to J50) yielded positive results for the presence of methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) (Exh. They met appellant at the back of his house. B-1). Forensic Chemist of the PNP Crime Laboratory Service Office 9. 1997. He went to Rio Hondo and arrived at appellant’s house at 3:20 p. April 28.7426 grams (Exh. L). He bought P300.

He affirmed that he owns that house. The gun does not belong to him. p. A policeman also owns an M14 rifle but he does not know the policeman (tsn.’ He was arrested by four (4) persons. They left the place already because they were afraid when the police raided the place. pp. id). he was sleeping in the house of Dandao. May 4.negative results for the presence of methamphetamine hydrochloride (Exh. He used to go to Labuan in Malaysia and bring cigarettes to the Philippines without paying taxes (tsn. when he was arrested by the police. id. He noticed the presence of policemen in his neighborhood at Aplaya. Not one of those who arrested him testified in Court. a relative of his wife. 1998). According to him. “The records of the Regional Operation and Plans Division of the PNP Firearm and Explosive Section show that appellant ‘had not applied/filed any application for license to possess firearm and ammunition or x x x been given authority to carry [a] firearm outside of his residence’ (Exh. He does not know prosecution witness Rino Locson y Bartolome.a. the three (3) empty M16 rifle magazines (Exh. He slept in Dandao’s house and not in his house because they ha[d] ‘a sort of a conference’ as Dandao’s daughter was leaving for Saudi Arabia. in his case he does not know Locson and he does not recognize him (tsn. However. 5. id). 43. May 4. He was handcuffed and placed inside a jeep parked at Rio Hondo Elementary School. the two (2) caliber . At the back of my house’ (tsn. He does not know who arrested him ‘considering that the one who arrested me does not have nameplate. He could only recognize the husband whose name is Momoy.11.) “Walpan Ladjaalam declared there were occupants who were renting his extension house. 46-47. ‘B-3’) which according to policemen. ‘W’) and the white crystalline stone (Exh. I think this (is) theirs. the two (2) M14 magazines with live ammunition (Exh. Rio Hondo when he heard shots. 2. 1998). id. 8-10. xxx. the fifty (50) aluminum foils each containing shabu (Exhs. He said the ‘policemen’ [were] ‘the one[s] who fire[d] at us’ (tsn. The firearms do not belong to him. 30 years old.). p. pp. (tsn. ‘G-4’). 15. 40-41. He said he was arrested ‘xxx [at] the other side of my house. ‘J’.38 revolvers (Exhs. Although Locson recognized him. May 4. He woke up and went out of the house and that was the time that he was arrested. at the other side of the fence where I was sleeping. L). 1998). ‘B4’).k. xxx they just brought that as their evidence’ (tsn. ‘G’. [15] Hence. He testified that [o]n the afternoon of September 24. 1617. If he fired a gun at the policemen for sure they [would] die ‘[b]ecause the door is very near x x x the vicinity of my house’.). p. p. he used in firing at them. id). They are from Jolo. 1997. ‘G-1’ to ‘G-2’). he did not fire a gun at the policemen from [t]he second floor of his house. pp. pp. ‘K’) all do not belong to him. id. 39-40. id.). Regarding the blue bag containing assorted coins. He does not own the M14 rifle (Exh. p. he said: ‘that is not ours. He did not sell anything to Locson and did not entertain him. p. He was alone. the assorted coins placed inside a blue bag (Exh. He does not have a gun like that (tsn. He said that the policemen just produced those things as their evidence. married. ‘J-1’ to ‘J-50’) placed inside a pencil case (Exh. id). pp. ‘Warpan’. Four (4) persons were staying in the extension house. we quote the pertinent parts of the assailed Decision: “Accused Walpan Ladjaalam y Mihajil a. 15-24. gave his occupation as ‘smuggling’ (tsn. he admitted that more people kn[e]w him as Walpan Ladjaalam rather than Abdul Nasser Abdurakman (tsn. He said that the M79 rifle (Exh. 7. ‘B-2’). They were brought by the policemen (tsn. ‘G-3’. ‘B-1’. X)”[14] Defense’s Version Appellant Ladjaalam agrees with the narration of facts given by the lower court. He said that his true name [was] Abdul Nasser Abdurakman and that Warpan or Walpan Ladjaalam [was] only his ‘alias’. He is not selling shabu but he knows ‘for a fact .

Rio Hondo. Then the policeman shot her husband.11-14. pp. his cousin Boy Ladjaalam.T. two small children and a helper when ‘soldiers’ entered the house.6-8. He smokes two packs of cigarette a day. 1997. They pulled his waist bag and took his DiaStar wrist watch. Ating Sapadi. more or less 80 years old. he was not able to take a bath. id). Walpan Ladjaalam said that he saw that ‘it was the policeman who shot them[. Ahamad Sailabbi was also not in the house. he was brought to the PNP Regional Office at R.5. 1998). He was taken to the police station where he was detained for one day and one night. 1998). He was shot three times and was hit on the forehead leaving a scar. ha was standing in front of his house when policemen arrived and immediately arrested him. married testified that about 4:00 o’clock [o]n the afternoon of September 24. 1998).She is the mother of Ahma Sailabbi. “During the raid conducted on his house. When her husband went down. “Anilhawa Ahamad. From the police station. “Melba Usma. he was instructed by the policeman to lie down in prone position. id). The policeman called her husband. When Melba heard shots. 30-33.May 4. May 4.00’ placed inside a waist bag tied around his waist. pp. he smoked [a] cigarette given to him by his younger sister. While he was at the police station. There is only one house between her parents’ house and the house of Walpan Ladjaalam. May 5. pp. 24-26. pp. A Search Warrant was shown to Anilhawa after the search was conducted and just before the policemen left the place. they grabbed the bag from her and poked a gun at her. While at the police station. They tried to open a bag containing jewelry. 1998). 20 years old. A policeman was looking for her husband. The policeman had two other companions who also shot her . p. id). testified that [o]n the afternoon of September 24. Barangay Chairman Elhano arrived ‘already late in the afternoon. He lighted the cigarettes with [a] match. He had ‘around P50. One of them is Hadji Agbi (tsn. Anilhaw declared that aside from a bag containing jewelry and a bag full of money. 37 years old.” They were killed at the back of his house. 1998). May 5. They searched the house and scattered things and got what they wanted. “Akmad (Ahmad) Sailabbi. “After his arrest Walpan Ladjaalam was brought to the police station where he stayed for one day and one night before he was transferred to the City jail. a widow was in the house of Walpan Ladjaalam whom he calls ‘Hadji Id’ at the time the police raided the house. in that area known as Aplaya. she had not seen anything else that was taken from Walpan Ladjaalam’s house (tsn. He said that no charges were filed against the one responsible for their death (tsn. Walpan’s wife.000. she went downstairs. and Jecar (Sikkal) Usman. The policemen told him to lie down in prone position and a policeman searched his back. 9. 1997. p. pp. When Anilhawa tried to bring the bag outside the room. pp. At that time Walpan Ladjaalam was not in the house. they kept on firing (their guns) even inside the house’ (tsn. Her husband Sikkal Usman is the brother of Nur-in Ladjaalam. Lim Boulevard where he was subject to paraffin examination (tsn. May 5. They were armed with short and long firearms. 9-12. a widow. she was in the house of her parents lying together with her husband Sikkal Usma. She was together with Babo Dandan.] before they left that was the time the Search Warrant (was) given to us by xxx Barangay Captain Hussin Elhano’ (tsn. They entered the room of Walpan Ladjaalam. 25-29. the younger brother of his wife were killed. Anilhawa Ahamad said that ‘it was already late in the afternoon[. His injury was not treated. He was about to go to the City Proper to buy articles he was intending to bring to Sabah. ‘(W)hen they arrived.that there are plenty of person who are engaged in selling shabu in that place’. almost sundown’ (tsn.] only I do not know his name. He was detained at the City Jail for three months and five days after which he was released (tsn.

reasoning thus: . 246 SCRA 184 (1995). she was sitting at the door of her house watching her children playing when a motorcyle. p. three persons died. the judge noted that Appellant Ladjaalam.’ As a result of firing.”[16] The Trial Court’s Ruling The trial court observed that the house of appellant was raided on September 24. driven by a person. declared that [o]n the afternoon of September 24. Gaganting again poked a gun at her and ‘there was a shot. testified that about 4:00 o ‘clock [o]n the afternoon of September 24. Rule 1[2]6 of the Rules of Court which provides that ‘A search warrant shall not issue but upon probable cause in connection with one specific offense xxx’. the lower court nullified the said Warrant because it had been issued for more than one specific offense. Rule 126 of the [R]evised Rules of Court and is ‘totally null and void. 1997 by virtue of Search Warrant No. 1997. “Murkisa Usman. 51 years old. pp. [20] who were participants in the raid. 18.[22] The trial court concluded that the testimonies of these officers must prevail over appellant’s narration that he was not in his house when the raid was conducted. May 8. 17-18. 1998). he was fetched by two policemen at Catabangan where he was attending a seminar. He went down from his motorcycle. and confirmed by the laboratory report on the paraffin tests conducted on the firearms and appellant. namely. This fact was established by the testimonies of several police officers.’”[19] (emphasis in the original) Nevertheless. the trial court deemed appellant’s arrest as valid. The three persons were killed outside the fence of Walpan Ladjaalam (tsn. ‘Upon seeing the things that were recovered during the search. May 8. the firearms and the shabu‘ (tsn. When he went inside the house. People. He did not see the Search Warrant. I just signed the receipt (Exh. based on his statements in his Counter Affidavit. Boy Ladjaalam and Atip Sapali Sali (tsn.[17] in violation of Section 3. Sikkal Usman. 17. they arrived at the Rio Hondo already late in the afternoon. pp. 1998). Upon entering the gate. He saw policemen were already inside the house. stopped near her house. It emphasized that he had shot at the officers who were trying to serve the void search warrant. impliedly contradicted his assertions in open court that there had been no exchange of gunfire during the raid. “P”. 30 years old. 1998).2-7. [18] The court a quo ruled: “It should be stated at the outset that Search Warrant No. pulled a gun and poked it at Murkisa. Murkisa stood up and raised her hands. May 5. “P-1”) of the things x x x taken during the search” (tsn. 1998). he saw Walpan at the gate already handcuffed. They were being counted and placed on a table. The search was already over and things were already taken inside the house. However. He saw three dead bodies at the side of the fence when he went to the other side of the house. the Supreme Court ruled that a search warrant for more than one offense a ‘scatter shot warrant’ . What was shown to him were the things recovered during the search which were being listed. 1997. Prescinding from this point. May 5. Rule 126 of the Rules of Court. Walpan called him but the police advised him not to approach Walpan. p. married. 20 issued on the same day. 8-10.husband while he was lying down in prone position (tsn. The driver was Gaganting whom she called a soldier. She got her children and when she was about to enter the room of her house. Because of traffic along the way. “Barangay Captain Hadji Hussin Elhano.[21] Additionally. pp. the court a quo validated the arrest of appellant. 20 is totally ‘null and void’ because it was issued for more than one specific offense x x x contrary to Section 3. id).violates Section 3. he saw ‘the things that they (policemen) searched. In Tambasan vs.

saying that frame-up. corroborated by SPO1 Ricardo Lacastesantos and SPO1 Amado Mirasol. Aside from being uncorroborated. arrest a person xxx (w)hen in his presence.k. a certain Momoy.“Under the circumstances. He admitted that he is the owner of the extension house but he alleged that there were four (4) occupants who rented that extension house. including evidence of the general reputation of the house. within the meaning of the rule authorizing an arrest without a warrant. appellant’s claim that the items that were seized by the police officers had been planted was disbelieved by the trial court.”[23] As a consequence of the legal arrest. or by any other document . Moreover. subject to seizure”[26] since appellant “had not applied for a license to possess firearm and had not been given authority to carry firearm outside his residence. was an inherently weak defense. without a warrant. ‘A peace officer or a private person may. Walpan’s testimony was not elaborated by evidence as to when or for how long was the extension house rented. or its general reputation among police officers.’ An offense is committed in the presence or within the view of an officer. clearly established that Walpan Ladjaalam operated and maintained a drug den in his extension house where shabu or methamphetamine hydrochloride. a regulated drug. SPO1 Lacastesantos. and SPO1 Mirasol. and three other M16 rifle magazines. It then dismissed these allegations. or is attempting to commit an offense. like alibi. when they were accompanied by the barangay chairman and a radio reporter who might testify against them. Jr. or hears the disturbances created thereby and proceeds at once to the scene thereof. the seizure of the following was also deemed valid: the M14 rifle (with a magazine containing seventeen live [24] ammunition) used by appellant against the police elements.a. Warpan’ that he did not maintain an extension house or a room where drug users who allegedly buy shabu from him inhales or smokes shabu cannot prevail over the testimonies of Locson.[28] The trial court also convicted the accused of the crime of maintaining a drug den.”[27] For being incredible and unsupported by evidence. The uncorroborated testimony of accused Walpan Ladjaalam a. although at a distance. At the time the policemen entered the house of accused Walpan Ladjaalam after he had fired shots at the policemen who intended to serve the Search Warrant to him. and where persons or customers bought and used shabu or methamphetamine hydrochloride by burning the said regulated drug and sniffing its smoke with the use of an aluminum foil tooter. Its existence [may be] proved not only by direct evidence but may also be established by proof of facts and circumstances. they could have done so during the previous raids or those conducted after his arrest. It ruled that if the police officers wanted to plant evidence to incriminate him. A drug den is a lair or hideaway where prohibited or regulated drugs are used in any form or are found. when the officer sees the offense. the policemen ‘had authority to pursue and arrest Walpan Ladjaalam and confiscate the firearm he used in shooting at the policemen and to enter his house to effect said arrest and confiscation of the firearm. is actually committing. the husband. and was pursued and arrested after he committed the crime of shooting at the policemen who were about to serve the Search Warrant. the accused was engaged in the commission of a crime. the amount of rental paid. the person to be arrested has committed. it added that these same items were “evidence [of] the commission of a crime and/or contraband and therefore.’ Under Rule 113. It reasoned as follows: “The testimony of Rino Bartolome Locson. it was unbelievable that they would choose to plant evidence. of the Rules of Court. was sold.[25] The trial court observed that these items were in “plain view” of the pursuing police officers. Section 5 (a). He knew the name of only one of the four occupants who are allegedly from Jolo. To its mind. two M14 magazines.

The blue bag containing assorted coins cannot be returned to the accused Walpan Ladjaalam a. the former deserve more credence. Denials. 'Warpan’ is a weak defense.] considering that no policeman was hit and injured by the accused and no circumstance was proved to qualify the attempted killing to attempted murder. Neither could the accused be held liable for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition except for the (1) M14 rifle with Serial Number 1555225 and with magazine containing fifteen (15) live ammunition and two more M14 rifle magazines with twenty (20) and twentyone (21) live ammunition respectively considering that the policemen who recovered or seized the other firearms and ammunition did not testify in court. the trial court explained appellant’s liability in this manner: “x x x.”[30] The Issues In his Brief. are negative and self-serving evidence which deserve no weight in law and cannot be given evidentiary weight over the testimony of credible witnesses who testify on affirmative matters.7426 grams all containing methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu allegedly found in his house are inadmissible as evidence against him considering that they were seized after [a] search conducted by virtue of Search Warrant No. in relation to Section 21. ‘Warpan’ cannot be held liable [for] the crime of Violation of Section 16. 20 which is totally null and void as it was issued for more than one offense.a. Article III.a. because the fifty (50) pieces of folded aluminum foils having a total weight of 1.a. The act of the accused in firing an M14 rifle to the policemen who were about to enter his house to serve a search warrant constitutes the crime of direct assault with multiple attempted homicide[.k. ‘Warpan’ because according to the accused the blue bag and assorted coins do not belong to him[.e. we shall take up these issues seriatim: (a) denial of .k. II “The trial court erred when it denied the appellant the right and opportunity for an ocular inspection of the scene of the firefight and where the house of the appellant [was] located. shabu) were planted by the police. Article IV. As between the positive declaration of the prosecution witnesses and the negative statements of the accused. “The accused Walpan Ladjaalam a. and were not found in ‘plain view’ of the police officers who seized them.k. appellant submits the following Assignment of Errors: I “The trial court erred when it concluded that appellant Walpan Ladjaalam y Mihajil [had] fired first at the police officers who went to his house to serve a search warrant upon him which led to an exchange of fire between Ladjaalam and the police officer.showing that the extension house was in fact rented. as amended. of Republic Act 6425 otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1992. Denial is the weakest defense and cannot prevail over the positive and categorical testimonies of the prosecution witnesses.] instead the said assorted coins should be turned over to the National Treasury.”[31] In the interest of simplicity. III “The trial court erred when it ruled that the presumption of regularity in the performance of their duties [excluded] the claim of the appellant that the firearms and methamphetamine hydrochloride (i.] not multiple attempted murder with direct assault[.”[29] In conclusion. if unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence.The defense of denial put up by accused Walpan Ladjaalam a.

[35] Moreover. He argues that an ocular inspection would have afforded the lower court “a better perspective and an idea with respect to the scene of the crime. You said you were fired upon? A: More or less. xxxxxxxxx PROSECUTOR NUVAL: Q: Now. there is no reason to disturb the exercise of that discretion. We fail to see the need for an ocular inspection in this case..”[32] We do not agree.[41]testified thus: “PROSECUTOR NUVAL: Q: And. [38] Suffice it to state that the trial court’s assessment of their credibility is generally accorded respect. we cannot exempt this .[40] Quite the contrary. even finality. the question whether to view the setting of a relevant event has long been recognized to be within the discretion of the trial judge.[33]We note in particular that the defense had even requested SPO1 Amado Mirasol Jr. the testimonies of these witnesses positively showed that appellant had fired upon the approaching police elements. COURT: Q: How far were you from the concrete fen[c]e when you were met by a volley of fire? . you said you were able to enter the house after the gate was opened by your colleague Felipe Gaganting . questions the credibility of the prosecution witnesses. Your Honor.. entered the main door of the house of Walfran [sic] Ladjaalam at the ground floor. in essence.. (b) credibility of the prosecution witnesses. We went inside the sala on the ground The Court’s Ruling The appeal has no merit. Q: Who opened the gate Mr. and (c) the defense of frame-up. at that time you were hiding at the concrete fence? A: Yes. right? A: Yes. I will reform that question. Q: And. we shall also discuss the proper crimes and penalties to be imposed on appellant. Q: And it’s there where you were met by a volley of fire? A: Yes. especially in the light of the clear testimonies of the prosecution witnesses. Q: What did you see inside the house? A: I. you said you went inside the house. to sketch the subject premises to give the lower court a fairly good idea of appellant’s house. case from the general rule. together with SPO1 Ricardo Lacastesantos. Q: Now..the request for ocular inspection.[36] Here. when this gate was opened. SPO1 Amado Mirasol Jr. this trail is towards the front of the house of the accused? A: Yes. and that he had subsequently attempted to escape.[37] Second Issue: Credibility of Prosecution Witnesses Appellant. five (5) meters.[39] After carefully examining the records and finding no material inconsistencies to support appellant’s claim. In addition. Efren Gregorio and Allan Marcos Obut. First Issue: Denial of Request for Ocular Inspection Appellant insists that the trial court erred in denying his request for an ocular inspection of the Ladjaalam residence.[34] Viewing the site of the raid would have only delayed the proceedings. Witness? A: SPO2 Felipe Gaganting.

’ Q: Now. xxxxxxxxx PROSECUTOR NUVAL: Q: Now.”[42] What happened thereafter was narrated by Senior Police Officer Ricardo Lacastesantos. xxxxxxxxx COURT: Reform.] I saw two old woman. what did you do with these two old women? A: I did not mind those two old women because those two women were sitting on the ground floor. I. Q: This sala set where is this located? A: Located [on] the second floor of the house. Q: Now. noticed our presence and immediately went inside the bedroom [o]n the second floor and he went immediately and jumped from the window of his house x x x leading to the roof of the neighbor’s house. I was able to manage to arrest Walfan Ladjaalam. That is leading Q: What happened when you entered and he jumped to the roofing of the neighbor’s house? A: Immediately.] will you please tell us where is the Serial No. I saw [an] M14 rifle and I shouted from the outside. I was concentrating on the second floor because Ladjaalam was firing towards our group so. of this? A: 1555225 and I put my initial. RJL. Q: Can you still identify that M14 rifle which you said you recovered from the sale set? A: Yes. so. we immediately went downstairs and asked the assistance of the members of the raiding team to arrest Walfan Ladjaalam. together with Ricardo Lacastesantos. Q: What happened when you already on the second floor? were Q: What happened there? when you were A: We immediately went out and I asked the assistance of the members of the raiding team and the investigator of the unit especially SPO1 Cesar Rabuya. I myself. Q: Why can you identify that? A: The Serial No. . I have here M14 rifle[. FISCAL NUVAL: This is already marked as our Exhibit ‘B3’ with magazine. of M14 is 1555225 and I marked it with my initial. went upstairs to the second floor of the house.floor of his house[. ‘do not fire at the second floor because there [are] a lot of children here. A: While we were proceeding to the second floor. Q: Is there a sala [o]n the second floor? A: Yes.[43] as follows: “Q: What did you notice [o]n the second floor? A: I went where the firing came from. Walfan [sic] Ladjaalam. that rifle you said [was an] M14. Q: Were you able to go to the second floor of the house? A: Yes. where did you find this? A: At the sala set. one magazine and seven round [ammunition]. xxxxxxxxx PROSECUTOR NUVAL: Q: Were you able to go down? A: Yes.

Q: What do you mean Madam Witness. Madam Witness? A: The result of the examination [was] that both hands of the subject person. that indicates Madam Witness. were positive for gunpowder nitrate. ha[d] presence of gun powder nitrates.] I removed the magazine and I turned it over to the investigator. he fired a gun? A: Yes. it could be possible that the gun was fired before the incident x x x.. Q: How about the M14? A: Found with [ammunition].”[44] . Q: Can we conclude that he fired a gun? A: I cannot conclude that he fired a gun because there are so many circumstances [why] a person [would be] positive on his hands for gun powder nitrates. Q: Why? A: I put x x x markings. particularly the M-14 which he had used. three empty M16 rifle magazines and three M14. what did you do with this firearm? A: When I recovered it I removed the bullets inside the chamber[. What did you do with this? A: SPO3 Abu did the swabbing both in the chamber and the barrel wherein I observed there [were] black and traces of brown residue on the bolt. Q: The M16 magazines [were] empty? A: Empty. most likely. Madam Witness this Exhibit ‘B-3’.] Q: Where are your initials? A: On the magazines. xxxxxxxxx COURT: So. Q: And. what does that indicate? A: It indicates there is presence of powder nitrates. so. Q: Where did you turn it over? A: At the crime scene. what was the result of your examination. Both of his hands as well as the weapons. Now. xxxxxxxxx PROSECUTOR NUVAL: Q: What about.. where are magazines? A: In the corner. which is the M14 rifle. all in all six magazines.Q: After recovering this. chamber and in the barrel. a[si]de from the magazine attached to the M14 rifle you found six more magazines? A: Yes. because of my initials[. COURT: Q: Can you identify them? A: Yes. Q: Recently? A: Because of the traces of brown residue. Police Inspector Mercedes DelfinDiestro explained in open court: “Q: Okay.? A: It indicates that the gun was fired. Q: But. Q: RJL? A: RJL. Q: Now. Q: What did you do with [these] three magazines of M16? A: I turned [them] investigator. that magazine. over to the the three M16 These were confirmed by the results of the paraffin tests conducted on appellant and on the weapons seized during the raid. can you still identify this? A: Yes. xxxxxxxxx Q: So.

Mr. whose house [are you] referring to.5. a private individual.[51] coupled with the presumption of regularity in the performance of their duty. . and I inspected and x x x we were attacked by armed persons. is this [what] you are referring to [as] your house (emphasis Duly proven from the foregoing were the two elements[46] of the crime of illegal possession of firearms. This Court has invariably held that the defense of frame-up is inherently weak. we gather that the main defense he raises is frame-up. such defense cannot be given much credence. the established fact that appellant had fired an M-14 rifle upon the approaching police officers clearly showed the existence of the firearm or weapon and his possession thereof. whose signature is this? (Showing) A Yes. where is this swab used at the time of the swabbing of this Exhibit? A: This one. . Witness.7 and 8. since it is easy to fabricate. . Q: And also before the incident it was fired because of the brown residue? A: Yes. his statements in his Counter Affidavit are inconsistent with his testimony during the trial. Q I have here a Counter-Affidavit and it was signed before this representation on the 8th day of December 1997[.[48] Further. [the] house you are referring to [in] this paragraph. or carried by. after examining the records of this case.[50]Absent any showing of an improper motive on the part of the police officers. it should be pointed out that his possession and use of an M-14 rifle were obviously unauthorized because this weapon could not be licensed in favor of.” [45] claims that the items seized from his house were “planted.. PROSECUTOR NUVAL: May we ask that this be marked as Exhibit ‘B-3-A’. you stated in this CounterAffidavit which I quote: ‘that I was resting and sleeping when I heard the gunshots and I noticed that the shots were directed towards our house. He . and that he had not been given authority to carry any outside his residence. do you remember having executed an Affidavit/ a Counter-Affidavit? A I could not remember. we conclude that appellant has failed to substantiate his claim.” and that the entire Zamboanga police force was out to get him at all cost. but terribly difficult to disprove. On the contrary. This is mine.3.. Sufficing to satisfy the second element was the prosecution’s Certification[47] stating that he had not filed any application for license to possess a firearm.[52] Indeed. during the incident? A: Yes. Walpan Ladjaalam. Q: What does it indicate? A: It indicates that the firearm was recently fired.Q: There is also black residue? A: Yes. in paragraph[s] 1. and I was apprehended by the persons who attacked x x x our house’. Q: And. COURT: Q: The firing there indicates that the gun was recently fired. Q Now. Sir.4.6. Undoubtedly.] tell us whose signature is this appearing above the typewritten name FISCAL NUVAL: Q . Your supplied) Honor.[49] Third Issue: Defense of Frame-up From the convoluted arguments strewn before us by appellant.2.[53] He testified thus: “Q Now.

It contends that under the facts of the case. Witness. including the time of the raid. (2) direct assault with attempted homicide. I was at home in my house Aplaya. The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) disagrees. Campo Muslim. That appellant did not deny ownership of the house and its extension lent credence to the prosecution’s story. an offense for which he was correctly sentenced toreclusion perpetua. 1997.[56] We note that direct assault with the use of a weapon carries the penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods. which constitutes the “most serious crime. and (3) illegal possession of firearms. Campo Muslim[. for the present complex crime.[58] Crime and Punishment Illegal Possession of Firearms The trial court convicted appellant of three crimes: (1) maintenance of a drug den. We will discuss each of these. while attempted homicide carries the penalty of prision correccional. in paragraph 6 of your CounterAffidavit you stated and I quote: ‘that [o]n that afternoon of September 24. my companions in my house [were] the two old women and my children. is x x x not correct? A Yes. Direct Assault with Multiple Attempted Homicide The trial court was also correct in convicting appellant of direct assault[55] with multiple counts of attempted homicide.or the house of your neighbors [from] which you said you heard gunshots? A Our house. the trial court convicted him also of the separate offense of illegal possession of firearms under PD 1866. Campo Muslim. Bo. your statement particularly paragraph 6 of your CounterAffidavit that you were at home in [your] house at Aplaya Riohondo Bo. and sentenced him to 6 years of prision correccional to 8 years of prision mayor. the applicable law should have been PD 1866. Bo. as amended by RA 8294. It found that “[t]he act of the accused [of] firing an M14 rifle [at] the policemen[. His guilt was clearly established by the testimony of Prosecution Witness Rino Bartolome Locson. in that statement Mr. Q So. Sir. you were in your house or you were in your neighbors[‘] house at that time when you heard gunshots? A I was in the house near my house. The trial court’s ruling and the OSG’s submission exemplify the legal We agree with the trial court that appellant was guilty of maintenance of a drug den. Riohondo. who himself had used the extension house of appellant as a . is this correct? A They were not there. you said that you were at home in [your] house at Aplaya. Maintenance of a Drug Den Aside from finding appellant guilty of direct assault with multiple attempted homicide.[57] Hence. This is not correct.” should be imposed and applied in its maximum period. as worded prior to its amendment by RA 8294. the penalty for direct assault. on the ground that the trial court should not have applied the new law.”[54] drug den on several occasions.] who were about to enter his house to serve a search warrant x x x” constituted such complex crime.] which is which now. Riohondo. The former’s testimony was corroborated by all the raiding police officers who testified before the court. Q Now. Q Now.

part of firearm. acquire.357 and caliber .” Citing People v.The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period and a fine of not less than Fifteen thousand pesos (P15. such violation shall be absorbed as an element of the crime of rebellion or insurrection. or machinery. corporation or entity to be used by any person or persons found guilty of violating the provisions of the preceding paragraphs or willfully or knowingly allow any of them to use unlicensed firearms or firearms without any legal authority to be carried outside of their residence in the course of their employment. or possess any low powered firearm. ammunition. the trial court posits that appellant should be convicted of illegal possession of firearms. sedition. which provides as follows: “SECTION 1. 1866.45 and also lesser calibered firearms but considered powerful such as caliber . such as rimfire handgun. Since another crime -. corporation or entity. penalizes simple illegal possession of firearms even if another crime is committed at the same time. deal in. however.[59] the OSG argues that the foregoing provision does not cover the specific facts of this case. who shall willfully or knowingly allow any of the firearms owned by such firm. It did not explain its ruling. Unlawful Manufacture.380 or . sedition. such use of an unlicensed firearm shall be considered as an aggravating circumstance. since there was no killing in this case. tool or instrument used or intended to be used in the manufacture of any firearm or ammunition: Provided. “The penalty of arresto mayor shall be imposed upon any person who shall carry any licensed firearm outside his residence without legal authority therefor. dispose. . Hence.30 caliber and 9 millimeter such as caliber . company. in addition to direct assault with multiple attempted homicide. Based on these premises. is hereby further amended to read as follows: “Section 1.40.direct assault with multiple unlawful homicide -. appellant cannot be convicted of simple illegal possession of firearms under the second paragraph of the aforecited provision. before us now are opposing views on how to interpret Section 1 of the new law. Sale.32 and other firearm of similar firepower.44.[60] Applying a different interpretation. That no other crime was committed by the person arrested. Furthermore. Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. as amended. -.000) shall be imposed if the firearm is classified as high powered firearm which includes those with bores bigger in diameter than .22 centerfire magnum and other firearms with firing capability of full automatic and by burst of two or three:Provided. the OSG concludes that the applicable law is not RA 8294. as worded prior the new law. company. .was committed. “If the violation of this Section is in furtherance of or incident to. president. or attempted coup d’etat. Disposition or Possession of Firearms or Ammunition Instruments Used or Intended to be Used in the Manufacture of Firearms or Ammunition. That no other crime was committed. or attempted coup d’etat. Considering that it could not have been ignorant of theproviso[61] in . “The same penalty shall be imposed upon the owner. or in connection with the crime of rebellion or insurrection. “The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period and a fine of Thirty thousand pesos (P30. but PD 1866 which.000) shall be imposed upon any person who shall unlawfully manufacture. Acquisition. manager. Jayson. director or other responsible officer of any public or private firm. illegal possession cannot be deemed as an aggravating circumstance under the third paragraph of the provision. . however.community’s difficulty in grappling with the changes brought about by RA 8294.41. “If homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm. .

In this case. We reject the OSG’s contention that PD 1866.Since direct assault with multiple attempted homicide was committed in this case. since the crime committed was direct assault and not homicide or murder. the other crime committed was direct assault with multiple attempted homicide. not a separate offense. Verily. Moreover. Our task is constitutionally confined only to applying . 1997. the original language of PD 1866 had already been expressly superseded by RA 8294 which took effect on July 6. however.[63] Accordingly. We explained.[62] In this case. should be applied in this case. Any perception that the result reached here appears unwise should be addressed to Congress. Jayson[65] is misplaced. neither should we. the trial court found appellant guilty of illegal possession of firearms.the second paragraph. among other amendments to PD 1866. it seemed to have construed “no other crime” as referring only to homicide and murder. as worded prior to its amendment by RA 8294.[68] both of which are punishable by arresto menor. Indeed. illegal possession of firearms cannot be deemed an aggravating circumstance. Hence. an offense which normally carries a penalty heavier than that for direct assault.[66] like alarm and scandal[67] or slight physical injuries. Moreover. whose wisdom is not subject to the Court’s review.[64] In other words. hence. the accused may evade conviction for illegal possession of firearms by using such weapons in committing an even lighter offense. the plain meaning of RA 8294’s simple language is most favorable to herein appellant. there can be no separate offense of simple illegal possession of firearms. this Court sustained the conviction of appellant for illegal possession of firearms. appellant cannot be convicted of two separate offenses of illegal possession of firearms and direct assault with attempted homicide. as it did in the third paragraph. which justified a conviction for illegal possession of firearms separate from any other crime. necessarily arises from the language of RA 8294. the Court has no discretion to give statutes a new meaning detached from the manifest intendment and language of the legislature. In other words. The law is clear: the accused can be convicted of simple illegal possession of firearms.” Just as unacceptable is the interpretation of the trial court. Indeed. While the penalty for the first is prision mayor. appellant can no longer be held liable for illegal possession of firearms. provided that “no other crime was committed by the person arrested. if the “other crime” is murder or homicide. it should have expressly said so. if a crime other than murder or homicide is committed. True. We find no justification for limiting the proviso in the second paragraph to murder and homicide. where the law does not distinguish. illegal possession of firearms becomes merely an aggravating circumstance. in both of which illegal possession of firearms is an aggravating circumstance.” Furthermore. We cannot accept either of these interpretations because they ignore the plain language of the statute.[69] This consequence. When the crime was committed on September 24. 1997. however. contained the specific proviso that “no other crime was committed. for the language of the new law demonstrates the legislative intent to favor the accused. It was replaced by RA 8294 which. The Court is aware that this ruling effectively exonerates appellant of illegal possession of an M-14 rifle. A simple reading thereof shows that if an unlicensed firearm is used in the commission of any crime. that “the criminal case for homicide [was] not before us for consideration. no other interpretation is justified. Verily. penal laws are construed liberally in favor of the accused. a person may still be convicted of illegal possession of firearms. no longer in existence was the earlier provision of PD 1866. although he had also committed homicide.” If the intention of the law in the second paragraph were to refer only to homicide and murder. for the second it is only prision correccional. the OSG’s reliance on People v.

Vitug. concur..the law and jurisprudence[70] to the proven facts. and (2) maintaining a drug den. Purisima. Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the Congress of the Philippines for a possible review. . for which he is sentenced to 2 years and 4 months to 6 years of prision correccional. SO ORDERED. Costs against appellant. at its sound discretion. JJ. for which he was correctly sentenced by the trial court to reclusion perpetua. and Gonzaga-Reyes. Melo. the appealed Decision is hereby AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that appellant is found guilty only of two offenses: (1) direct assault and multiple attempted homicide with the use of a weapon. of RA 8294. and we have done so in this case. WHEREFORE. (Chairman).