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G.R. No.

L-5162 January 31, 1952


ELISEO SILVA, petitioner,
vs.
THE HONORABLE FELICIANO OCAMPO, GABRIEL P. PRIETO and QUINTIN PAREDES, JR., in their capacities as Commissioners of the
Public Service Commission and BELEN CABRERA, respondents.
Rivera, Castano, Medina and Ampil for petitioner.
A.R. Aspillera for respondents Hons. Feliciano Ocampo, Gabriel P. Prieto and Quintin Paredes, Jr. Evaristo R. Sandoval for
respondent Belen Cabrera.
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.:
This is a petition for certiorari wherein it is prayed that, pending hearing, a writ of preliminary injunction be issued to restrain the
respondent Belen Cabrera from operating her ice plant and that, after hearing, the order granting said respondent a provisional
permit to operate her ice plant be declared null and void.
Belen Cabrera filed in the Public Service Commission an application for a certificate of public convenience to install, maintain
and operate in the City of Lipa an ice plant with a 10-ton daily productive capacity and to sell the produce of said plant in said
city as well as in several municipalities of the province of Batangas. Eliseo Silva opposed the application on the ground that his
ice plant was adequate to meet the needs of the public and that public convenience did not require the operation of another
ice plant. Commissioner Feliciano Ocampo commissioned Attorney Antonio H. Aspillera, chief of the legal division, to receive the
evidence. Based on the evidence received by Aspillera, the Commission granted the application. On appeal, however, the
Supreme Court held that the proceedings had before Attorney Aspillera were null and void being in violation of section 3 of the
Public Service Act, as amended, and set aside the decision of the Commission and ordered that the case returned for re-
hearing.
At the re-hearing before Commissioner Ocampo, counsel for the application offered to re-submit all the evidence presented by
her at the hearing before Attorney Aspillera. Counsel for oppositor objected to the re-submission contending that said evidence
can only be re-submitted if both parties agree to do so. Commissioner Ocampo ruled that the evidence could be re-submitted
subject only to a revision by the Commissioner of the rulings made by Attorney Aspillera, and Commissioner Ocampo in fact
revised said rulings and found them to be correct. In the opinion of Commissioner Ocampo, the applicant has the right either to
re-submit her former evidence or to present evidence de novo and that it is not intended by the decision of this Court to curtail
her right to choose between these two alternatives. On the basis of this evidence, Commissioner Ocampo granted to the
applicant a provisional permit subject to the condition that it may be cancelled or revoked at any time and without prejudi ce to
whatever final decision may be rendered in the case. The motion for reconsideration of oppositor having been denied, he filed
this petition for certiorari.
The dispositive part of the decision invoked by petitioner in opposing the re-submission by the applicant of her evidence says in
part as follows:
Setting aside the decision appealed from, let this case be returned to the Public Service Commission so that evidence
may be submitted by the parties in a hearing or hearings before the Commission in banc or before any of the
Commissioners if properly authorized, unless of course, said parties agree at said hearing or hearings to re-submit the
evidence already presented and taken down, with such modifications and under such conditions as they may agree
upon, including such other evidence which they wish to present. (G.R. No. L-3629).
Petitioner contends that Commissioner Ocampo acted in a manner contrary to the ruling of the Supreme Court when he
allowed the re-submission of the evidence of the applicant, instead of requiring her to present her evidence de novo, over the
objection of the petitioner. For this reason, petitioner contends, the decision of Commissioner Ocampo should be set aside and
rendered without effect.
The interpretation placed on the above ruling of this Court by Commissioner Ocampo is indeed erroneous, as it fails to grasp its
real import and significance. The rationale of the rule is none other than to make the Commission, or any of the Commissioners
who may be authorized for this purpose, to try the case or, receive the evidence itself, as the law requires, so that it may have
the necessary opportunity for observation and appreciation of the evidence to enable it to reach an accurate and intelligent
conclusion. Mere re-submission of the evidence already presented would not meet this compelling objective, the only exception
being when the opposing parties agree to such re-submission. This is a privilege that can exercise or waive in the use of their
discretion. Inasmuch as Commissioner Ocampo has not observed the directive contained in the decision adverted to and it
appearing that this decision has been concurred in by the other two Commissioners, we are of the opinion that the respondent
Commission has committed an abuse of discretion in overruling the petitioner to the re-submission of the evidence presented by
the applicant before Attorney Aspillera.
We notice, however, that the incident relative to the resubmission of the evidence of the application took place in connection
only with the hearing set by the Commission for the purpose of determining if said applicant could be given a provisional or
authority to continue operating her 10-ton ice plant in Lipa City pending hearing and final determination of the case. The
hearing was set at the express instance of the applicant in view of the attitude of the oppositor in asking for an indefinite
postponement of the hearing on the merits. The Commission found that the applicant had made considerable investment to
acquire and install her 10-ton ice plant in the city of Lipa and that there was an urgent need for ice not only by the people of
that city but also of the towns of Cuenca, Alitagtag and Ibaan, which condition had existed and continued to exist since the
original decision in this case had been rendered, for which reasons the Commission found sufficient warrant the issuance of a
provisional permit. In so granting such provisional permit, the Commission partly said: "If the best interests and convenience of the
public are to be subserved, applicant should be granted a provisional permit, to continue operating her plant while this case is
being litigated. To order the closing down of applicant's plant in the face of the evidence showing that the public needs her
service would be a disservice to the public. This provisional authority should be granted because the public's need for the service
is urgent and the hearing and final determination of this case will necessarily take time."
We are of the opinion that while the evidence presented by the applicant has been admitted in violation of the directive of this
Court, however, such evidence may serve as justification, if the Commission so finds it, to warrant the issuance of a provisi onal
permit. There is nothing in the law which prohibits the Commission from receiving any pertinent evidence for the purpose of
acting on a petition for the provisional permit. The law is silent as to the procedure to be followed with regard to provisional
permit. The law even empowers the Commission to act, without hearing, on certain matters of public interest, "subject to
established limitations and exceptions and saving provisions, to the contrary" (section 17, Com. Act 146, as amended). There
being no express prohibition in the law, nor any provision to the contrary, we hold that the re-submitted evidence may serve as
basis for the issuance of a provisional permit to the applicant.
A case in point Peck vs. Public Utilities Commission, 170 N.E. 364. In this case, certificates 82 and 83, for interstate bus
transportation between Toledo and Sylvania, Ohio, were owned by the Black Hawk Lines, Inc., and such company was
conducting operations thereunder. Upon the application of certain creditors, a receiver was appointed. Later, Michigan-Ohio
Bus Lines, Inc., filed an application for an extension of its certificate No 84 to cover the same route theretofore operated on
under certificates 82 and 83 by the Black Hawk Lines, Inc. The Commission, without notice to the receiver or to the Black Hawks
Lines, Inc., issued an order granting temporarily an extension of certificate No. 847 to operate over what had theretofore been
routes 82 and 83. On appeal, the grant of this temporary permit was assigned as error. The Supreme Court of Ohio justified the
action of the Commission saying on this point as follows:
Believing in good faith that the public living along the line of this route was without transportation service, that the
transportation company then holding the certificate serving such territory did not provide the service required or the
particular kind of equipment necessary to furnish such service, and that the public was practically without
transportation, we cannot find that such temporary order, issued as an emergency measure, violated the letter or spirit
of section 614-87, General Code. (Peck vs. Public Utilities Commission, 170 N.E. 366).
As regards the contention of petitioner that Public Service Commission has no power to grant temporary or provisional permit
under the law, it suffices for us to state that the Commission has such power when the purpose of the permit is to meet an urgent
public necessity (Javellana vs. La Paz Ice Plant and Cold Storage Co., 64 Phil., 893; Ablaza Transportation Co.,
Inc., vs. Pampanga Bus Inc., 88 Phil., 412).
Wherefore, the petition is denied with costs against the petitioner.
It is ordered that the Public Service Commission immediately set the hearings of this case for trial de novo in line with the ruling of
this Court in G.R. No. L-3629.
*

Paras, C.J., Pablo, Bengzon, Padilla, Tuason, Montemayor, Reyes and Jugo, JJ., concur.
August 30, 1967


G.R. No. L-22301
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
MARIO MAPA Y MAPULONG, defendant-appellant.
Francisco P. Cabigao for defendant-appellant.
Office of the Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor General F. R. Rosete and Solicitor O. C. Hernandez for plaintiff-
appellee.
FERNANDO, J.:
The sole question in this appeal from a judgment of conviction by the lower court is whether or not the appointment to and
holding of the position of a secret agent to the provincial governor would constitute a sufficient defense to a prosecution for the
crime of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition. We hold that it does not.
The accused in this case was indicted for the above offense in an information dated August 14, 1962 reading as follows: "The
undersized accuses MARIO MAPA Y MAPULONG of a violation of Section 878 in connection with Section 2692 of the Revised
Administrative Code, as amended by Commonwealth Act No. 56 and as further amended by Republic Act No. 4, committed as
follows: That on or about the 13th day of August, 1962, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused did then and there
wilfully and unlawfully have in his possession and under his custody and control one home-made revolver (Paltik), Cal. 22, without
serial number, with six (6) rounds of ammunition, without first having secured the necessary license or permit therefor from the
corresponding authorities. Contrary to law."
When the case was called for hearing on September 3, 1963, the lower court at the outset asked the counsel for the accused:
"May counsel stipulate that the accused was found in possession of the gun involved in this case, that he has neither a permit or
license to possess the same and that we can submit the same on a question of law whether or not an agent of the governor can
hold a firearm without a permit issued by the Philippine Constabulary." After counsel sought from the fiscal an assurance that he
would not question the authenticity of his exhibits, the understanding being that only a question of law would be submitted for
decision, he explicitly specified such question to be "whether or not a secret agent is not required to get a license for his firearm."
Upon the lower court stating that the fiscal should examine the document so that he could pass on their authenticity, the fiscal
asked the following question: "Does the accused admit that this pistol cal. 22 revolver with six rounds of ammunition mentioned in
the information was found in his possession on August 13, 1962, in the City of Manila without first having secured the necessary
license or permit thereof from the corresponding authority?" The accused, now the appellant, answered categorically: "Yes, Your
Honor." Upon which, the lower court made a statement: "The accused admits, Yes, and his counsel Atty. Cabigao also affirms
that the accused admits."
Forthwith, the fiscal announced that he was "willing to submit the same for decision." Counsel for the accused on his part
presented four (4) exhibits consisting of his appointment "as secret agent of the Hon. Feliciano Leviste," then Governor of
Batangas, dated June 2, 1962;
[[
1
]]
another document likewise issued by Gov. Leviste also addressed to the accused directing
him to proceed to Manila, Pasay and Quezon City on a confidential mission;
[[
2
]]
the oath of office of the accused as such secret
agent,
[[
3
]]
a certificate dated March 11, 1963, to the effect that the accused "is a secret agent" of Gov. Leviste.
[[
4
]]
Counsel for
the accused then stated that with the presentation of the above exhibits he was "willing to submit the case on the question of
whether or not a secret agent duly appointed and qualified as such of the provincial governor is exempt from the requirement
of having a license of firearm." The exhibits were admitted and the parties were given time to file their respective memoranda.
Thereafter on November 27, 1963, the lower court rendered a decision convicting the accused "of the crime of illegal possessi on
of firearms and sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of from one year and one day to two years and to pay the costs. The
firearm and ammunition confiscated from him are forfeited in favor of the Government."
The only question being one of law, the appeal was taken to this Court. The decision must be affirmed.
The law is explicit that except as thereafter specifically allowed, "it shall be unlawful for any person to . . . possess any firearm,
detached parts of firearms or ammunition therefor, or any instrument or implement used or intended to be used in the
manufacture of firearms, parts of firearms, or ammunition."
[[
5
]]
The next section provides that "firearms and ammunition regularly
and lawfully issued to officers, soldiers, sailors, or marines [of the Armed Forces of the Philippines], the Philippine Constabulary,
guards in the employment of the Bureau of Prisons, municipal police, provincial governors, lieutenant governors, provincial
treasurers, municipal treasurers, municipal mayors, and guards of provincial prisoners and jails," are not covered "when such
firearms are in possession of such officials and public servants for use in the performance of their official duties."
[[
6
]]

The law cannot be any clearer. No provision is made for a secret agent. As such he is not exempt. Our task is equally clear. The
first and fundamental duty of courts is to apply the law. "Construction and interpretation come only after it has been
demonstrated that application is impossible or inadequate without them."
[[
7
]]
The conviction of the accused must stand. It
cannot be set aside.
Accused however would rely on People v. Macarandang,
[[
8
]]
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, sufficiently put him within the category of a "peace officer" equivalent even to a member of the municipal
police expressly covered by section 879." Such reliance is misplaced. It is not within the power of this Court to set aside the clear
and explicit mandate of a statutory provision. To the extent therefore that this decision conflicts with what was held in People v.
Macarandang, it no longer speaks with authority.
Wherefore, the judgment appealed from is affirmed.
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro and Angeles, JJ.,


G.R. Nos. 24116-17 August 22, 1968
CEBU PORTLAND CEMENT COMPANY, plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
MUNICIPALITY OF NAGA, CEBU, ET AL., defendants-appellees.
Tomas P. Matic, Jr. and Lorenzo R. Mosqueda for plaintiff-appellant.
Fernan, Osmea and Bellaflor for defendants-appellees.
FERNANDO, J.:
In two separate actions, plaintiff-appellant Cebu Portland Cement Company sought to test the validity of the distraint and
thereafter the sale at public auction by the principal defendant-appellee, Municipality of Naga, Cebu, of 100,000 bags of
cement for the purpose of satisfying its alleged deficiency in the payment of the municipal license tax for 1960, municipal l icense
tax for 1961 as well as the penalty, all in the total sum of P204,300.00. The lower court rendered a joint decision sustaining the
validity of the action taken by defendant-appellee Municipality of Naga. The case is now before us on appeal. We affirm.
According to the appealed decision: "From all the evidence, mostly documentary, adduced during the hearing the following
facts have been established. The efforts of the defendant Treasurer to collect from the plaintiff the municipal license tax imposed
by Amended Ordinance No. 21. Series of 1959 on cement factories located within the Municipality of Naga, Cebu, have met
with rebuff time and again. The demands made on the taxpayer ... have not been entirely successful. Finally, the defendant
Treasurer decided on June 26, 1961 to avail of the Civil remedies provided for under Section 2304 of the Revised Administrati ve
Code and gave the plaintiff a period of ten days from receipt thereof within which to settle the account, computed as follows
...: Deficiency Municipal License Tax for 1960 P80,250.00; Municipal License Tax for 1961 P90,000.00; and 20% Penalty
P34,050.00, stating in exasperation, "This is our last recourse as we had exhausted all efforts for an amicable solution of our
problem." "
1

It was further shown: "On July 6, 1961, at 11:00 A.M., the defendant Treasurer notified the Plant Manager of the plaintiff that he
was "distraining 100,000 bags of Apo cement in satisfaction of your delinquency in municipal license taxes in the total amount of
P204,300.00" ... This notice was received by the acting officer in charge of the plaintiff's plant, Vicente T. Garaygay, according to
his own admission. At first, he was not in accord with the said letter, asking the defendant Treasurer for time to study the same,
but in the afternoon he [acknowledged the] distraint ..."
2

As was noted in the decision, the defendant Treasurer in turn "signed the receipt for goods, articles or effects seized under
authority of Section 2304 of the Revised Administrative Code, certifying that he has constructively distrained on July 6, 1961 from
the Cebu Portland Cement Company at its plant at Tina-an, Naga, Cebu, 100,000 bags of Apo cement in tanks, and that "the
said articles or goods will be sold at public auction to the highest bidder on July 27, 1961, and the proceeds thereof will be
utilized in part satisfaction of the account of the said company in municipal licenses and penalties in the total amount of
P204,300.00 due the Municipality of Naga Province of Cebu" ..."
3

The lower court likewise found as a fact that on the same day, July 6, 1961, the municipal treasurer posted the notice of sal e to
the effect that pursuant to the provisions of Section 2305 of the Revised Administrative Code, he would sell at public auction for
cash to the highest bidder at the main entrance of the municipal building of the Municipality of Naga, Province of Cebu,
Philippines on the 27th day of July, 1961, at 9 o'clock in the morning, the property seized and distrained or levied upon from the
Cebu Portland Cement Company in satisfaction of the municipal license taxes and penalties in the amount of P204,300.00,
specifying that what was to be sold was 100,000 bags of Apo cement.
4
No sale, as thus announced, was held on July 27, 1961. It
was likewise stated in the appealed decision that there was stipulation by the parties to this effect: "1. The auction sale took
place on January 30, 1962, ..."
5

In this appeal from the above joint decision, plaintiff-appellant Cebu Portland Cement Company upholds the view that the
distraint of the 100,000 bags of cement as well as the sale at public auction thereafter made ran counter to the law. As earlier
noted, we do not see it that way.
1. On the validity of the distraint In the first two errors assigned, plaintiff-appellant submits as illegal the distraint of 100,000 bags
of cement made on July 6, 1961. Its contention is premised on the fact that in the letter of defendant-appellee dated June 26,
1961, requiring plaintiff-appellant to settle its account of P204,300.00, it was given a period of 10 days from receipt within which it
could pay, failure to do so being the occasion for the distraint of its property. It is now alleged that the 10-day period of grace
was not allowed to lapse, the distraint having taken place on July 6, 1961.
It suffices to answer such a contention by referring to the explicit language of the law. According to the Revised Administrative
Code: "The remedy by distraint shall proceed as follows: Upon the failure of the person owing any municipal tax or revenue to
pay the same, at the time required, the municipal treasurer may seize and distrain any personal property belonging to such
person or any property subject to the tax lien, in sufficient quantity to satisfy the tax or charge in question, together with any
increment thereto incident to delinquency, and the expenses of the distraint."
6

The clear and explicit language of the law leaves no room for doubt. The municipal treasurer "may seize and distrain any
personal property" of the individual or entity subject to the tax upon failure "to pay the same, at the time required ..." There was
such a failure on the part of plaintiff-appellant to pay the municipal tax at the time required. The power of the municipal
treasurer in accordance with the above provision therefore came into play.1wph1.t
Whatever might have been set forth in the letter of the municipal treasurer could not change or amend the law it has to be
enforced as written. That was what the lower court did. What was done then cannot be rightfully looked upon as a failure to
abide by what the statutory provision requires. Time and time again, it has been repeatedly declared by this Court that where
the law speaks in clear and categorical language, there is no room for interpretation. There is only room for application. That was
what occurred in this case.
7

2. On the validity of the auction sale The validity of the auction sale held on January 30, 1962 is challenged in the next two
errors assigned as allegedly committed by the lower court. Plaintiff-appellant's argument is predicated on the fact that it was not
until January 16, 1962 that it was notified that the public auction sale was to take place on January 29, 1962. It is its view that
under the Revised Administrative Code
8
the sale of the distrained property cannot take place "less than twenty days after notice
to the owner or possessor of the property [distrained] ... and the publication or posting of such notice."
Why such a contention could not prosper is explained clearly by the lower court in the appealed decision. Thus: "With respect to
the claim that the auction sale held on January 30, 1962 pursuant to the distraint was null and void for being contrary to law
because not more than twenty days have elapsed from the date of notice, it is believed that the defendant Municipality of
Naga and Municipal Treasurer of Naga have substantially complied with the requirements provided for by Section 2305 of the
Revised Administrative Code. From the time that the plaintiff was first notified of the distraint on July 6, 1961 up to the date of the
sale on January 30, 1962, certainly, more than twenty days have elapsed. If the sale did not take place, as advertised, on July 27,
1961, but only on January 30, 1962, it was due to the requests for deferment made by the plaintiff which unduly delayed the
proceedings for collection of the tax, and the said taxpayer should not be allowed now to complain that the required period
has not yet elapsed when the intention of the tax collector was already well-publicized for many months."
9
The reasonableness
of the above observation of the lower court cannot be disputed. Under the circumstances, the allegation that there was no
observance of the twenty-day period hardly carries conviction.
The point is further made that the auction sale took place not on January 29, 1962, as stated in the notice of sale, but on the next
day, January 30, 1962. According to plaintiff-appellant: "On this score alone, the sale ..., was illegal as it was not made on the
time stated in the notice."
10

There is no basis to sustain such a plea as the finding of the lower court is otherwise. Thus: "On January 16, 1962, the defendant
Treasurer informed Garaygay that he would cause the readvertisement for sale at public auction of the 100,000 bags of Apo
cement which were under constructive distraint ... On January 19, 1962, the said defendant issued the corresponding notice of
sale, which fixed January 30, 1962, at 10:00 A.M., as the date of sale, posting the said notice in public places and deliveri ng
copies thereof to the interested parties in the previous notice, ... Ultimately, the bidding was conducted on that day, January 30,
1962, with the representatives of the Provincial Auditor and Provincial Treasurer present. Only two bidders submitted sealed bids.
After the bidding, the defendant-treasurer informed the plaintiff that an award was given to the winning bidder, ..."
11

This being a direct appeal to us, plaintiff-appellant must be deemed to have accepted as conclusive what the lower court
found as established by the evidence, only questions of law being brought to us for review. It is the established rule that when a
party appeals directly to this Court, he is deemed to have waived the right to dispute any finding of fact made by the court
below.
12

WHEREFORE, the decision of the lower court dated 23, 1964, is affirmed in toto. With costs against plaintiff-appellant.1wph1.t
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro and Angeles, JJ., concur.


G.R. No. L-26419 October 16, 1970
GEDEON G. QUIJANO and EUGENIA T. QUIJANO, petitioners-appellants,
vs.
THE DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES and THE EX-OFICIO SHERIFF OF MISAMIS OCCIDENTAL, respondents-appellees.
J. Alaric P. Acosta for petitioners-appellant.
Esperanza Valenzoga for respondents-appellees.

BARREDO, J.:.
Appeal from the decision of the Court of First Instance of Misamis Occidental in its Special Civil Case No. 2519, dismissing the
petition for mandamus with prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction filed therein by the herein petitioners-appellants Gedeon G.
Quijano and Eugenio T. Quijano to compel the herein respondent-appellee Development Bank of the Philippines to accept said
petitioners-appellants' back pay certificate payment of their loan from the said appellee Bank, and to restrain the herein
respondent-appellee ex-oficio sheriff of the province of Misamis Occidental from proceeding with the scheduled foreclosure sale
of the real properties the above-named appellant spouses had mortgaged with the Development Bank of the Philippines to
secure the loan aforementioned.
The said appealed decision was based on the following:
STIPULATION OF FACTS.
The undersigned parties, thru counsels, hereby submit the foregoing stipulation of facts, to wit:
I. That the petitioners filed an application for an urban estate loan with the Rehabilitation Finance Corporation
(RFC), predecessor-in-interest of the herein respondent-bank, in the amount of P19,500.00;
II. That the petitioners' urban real estate loan was approved per RFC Board Resolution No. 2533 on April 30, 1953;
III. That the mortgage contract was executed by the petitioners in favor of the respondent-bank on March 23,
1954;
IV. That the said loan of P19,500.00 was to be received by the petitioners in several releases, subject among
others, to the following conditions:.
"(1) That the amount of P4,200.00 shall be released only after:.
"(a) the execution and registration of the mortgage contract;
"(b) the presentation of a duly approved building permit;
"(c) the construction has been started and the value of the work done
amounted to P6,500.00;.
"(d) the submission of the certificate of title covering Psu-136173, free form any
encumbrance and
"(e) the submission of evidence showing full payment of current estate taxes;
(2) That the subsequent releases shall not be more than 100% of the value of the construction
completed in excess of P6,500.00; that all releases shall be made against the payroll of workers
engaged in the project, receipts of all materials used and that there are no unpaid labor or
unpaid materials;
(3) That a sufficient amount may be withheld until the building is completed and painted and
found in accordance with the plans and specifications submitted;
(4) That the amount of insurance of the building, when completed, shall not be less than
P18,000.00, which shall be secured by the mortgagee, in accordance with its Board Resolution
No. 3395, series of 1947;
(5) That the construction and painting of the building shall be completed within 120 days from
the date of the mortgage contract;
(6) That the release of this loan is subject to the availability of funds;
(7) That the lien appearing on the face of the title shall be cancelled, otherwise, Luciana
Jimenez shall sign as co-mortgagor; that this mortgage contract was registered on March 23,
1954 with the Register of Deeds of Misamis Occidental at Oroquieta;
"V. That the first release of P4,200 was made on April 29, 1954, and the other releases were made subsequent
thereafter;
"VI. That as of July 31, 1965, the outstanding obligation of the petitioners with the respondent-bank, including
interests, was P13,983.59;
"VII. That on July 27, 1965, petitioner Gedeon Quijano, as holder of Acknowledgment No. 10181, wrote the
respondent-bank in Manila offering to pay in the amount of P14,000.00 for his outstanding obligation with the
respondent-bank, out of the proceeds of his back pay pursuant to Republic Act No. 897;
"VIII. That the respondent-bank, thru its Ozamis Branch advised the petitioners of the non-acceptance of his offer
on the ground that the loan was not incurred before or subsisting on June 20, 1953 when Republic Act 897 was
approved;
"IX. That the respondent-bank, thru its Ozamis City Branch, filed on October 14, 1965, an application for the
foreclosure of real estate mortgage executed by the petitioners, and that acting on the application of the
respondent-bank, the Provincial Sheriff, thru his deputies, scheduled the public auction sale for January 18, 1966,
after advising petitioner Gedeon Quijano of the application for foreclosure filed by the respondent-bank;
"X. That the parties herein agree to transfer the auction sale scheduled for January 16, 1966 to February 18, 1966,
without the necessity of republication of the notice of sale."
Upon these facts and the submission of the parties that the only issue is whether or not the obligation of the petitioners was
subsisting at the time of the approval of Republic Act No. 897, the Amendatory Act of Julie 20, 1953 to Republic Act 304, the
original back pay law, the trial court dismissed the petition, as already stated, and directed respondent sheri ff to proceed and
continue with the public auction sale of the property mortgaged in accordance with the foreclosure application of respondent
Development Bank of the Philippines after due notice to petitioners. In their appeal, petitioners' sole assignment of error is that:
"The trial court erred in declaring that the loan of the petitioners-appellants was not subsisting when Republic Act No. 897 was
enacted on June 20, 1953."
The appeal has no merit.
The pertinent portions of the controlling provisions of the aforementioned Back Pay Law, as amended by Republic Act No. 897
on June 20, 1953,
1
read as follows:.
SEC. 2. The Treasurer of the Philippines shall, upon application of all persons specified in section one hereof and
within one year from the approval of this Amendatory Act, and under such rules and regulations as may be
promulgated by the Secretary of Finance, acknowledge and file requests for the recognition of the right to the
Salaries and wages as provided in section one hereof and notice of such acknowledgment shall be issued to
the applicant which shall state the total amount of such salaries or wages due the applicant, and certify that it
shall be redeemed by the Government of the Philippines within ten years from the date of their issuance without
interests: Provided, That upon application and subject to such rules and regulations as may be approved by the
Secretary of Finance a certificate of indebtedness may be issued by the Treasurer of the Philippines covering the
whole or a part of the total salaries and wages the right to which has been duly acknowledged and
recognized, provided that the face value of such certificate of indebtedness shall not exceed the amount that
the applicant may need for the payment of (1) obligations subsisting at the time of the approval of this
Amendatory Act for which the applicant may directly be liable to the government or to any of its branches or
instrumentalities, or the corporations owned or controlled by the Government, or to any citizen of the Philippines,
or to any association or corporation organized under the laws of the Philippines, who may be willing to accept
the same for such settlement; ...
It is indeed settled that under the above provisions, the Government or any of its agencies does not have any discretion in the
acceptance of back pay certificates, 2 when they are used by the applicants or original holders themselves for the settlement of
any of the obligations or liabilities specifically enumerated in the law.
3
It is equally clear, however, that the same provisions
expressly require that the obligations for which certificates of indebtedness may be accepted as payments of must
be subsisting at the time of the approval of Republic Act No. 897; hence when, as in the instant case, such back pay certificates
are offered in payment to a government-owned corporation of an obligation thereto which was not subsisting at the time of the
enactment of said amendatory Act on June 20, 1953, which corporation may not, legally be compelled to accept the
certificates.
It is true that appellants' application for an urban real estate loan was approved by appellee bank on April 80, 1953. It appears,
however, that appellants did not avail of it until much later, as in fact, they executed the mortgage contract only on March 23,
1954, and furthermore, that the release of the amount of the said loan of P19,500.00 was to be made in installments and subject
to compliance with certain conditions by said appellants. Under these circumstances, Our ruling in the case of Rodriguez vs.
Development Bank of the Philippines 4 is controlling.
In that case, Rodriguez obtained a loan from the said Development Bank of the Philippines to be received by him in several
releases and to be paid later in installments, under the terms and conditions specified in the loan agreement. Pursuant to said
agreement, Rodriguez received the first release in the sum of P5,000.00 on May 27, 1953, while the subsequent releases coveri ng
the P9,000.00 balance of the loan were all availed of and received by him later than June, 1953. Later, Rodriguez paid the
installments as they fell due. When a balance of about P10,000.00 remained unpaid, Rodriguez offered to pay the said
outstanding balance of the loan with his back pay certificate. The Bank refused at first to accept the said tender of payment in
certificate, and when it accepted the same later, it limited its acceptance only to the amount of P5,000.00 representing the
portion of the loan released before the passage of Republic Act No. 897, although the amount of the back pay certificate
offered by Rodriguez was more than sufficient to cover the total unpaid balance of the loan. So, Rodriguez instituted an acti on
for mandamus in the Court of First Instance of Davao to compel the Bank to accept his back pay certificate in payment of his
whole outstanding obligation or, in other words, even for the portions of the loan corresponding to the releases made after June
20, 1953. This action was dismissed by the trial court and upon appeal to this Court, the dismissal was affirmed upon the following
rationale:.
It can not be said that appellant became indebted to the Bank for the total amount of P14,000.00 from the
date of the agreement. The releases of the balance of the agreed loan were made dependent on certain
conditions (see additional conditions mentioned in paragraph 4 of the stipulation of facts, supra) among which
is the availability of funds. Non-compliance with any of these conditions will not entitle the appellant to the
release of the balance of the agreed loan and conversely, will not entitle the bank to hold the appellant liable
for the unreleased amounts. Consequently, we hold, as did the trial court, that:.
"... the amounts released in July, 1953 and thereafter cannot be considered as obligations
subsisting in June, 1953. The defendant may be compelled to accept a back pay certificate in
payment of obligations subsisting when the Amendatory Act was approved (Sec. 2, Republic
Act 897).t.hqw Republic Act 897 was approved on June 20, 1953. The defendant may
not be compelled to accept plaintiff's back pay certificate in payment of the amounts
released after June 20, 1953."
The case of Sabelino v. RFC (G.R. No. L-11790, Sept. 30, 1958) relied upon by appellant is irrelevant, as the
mortgage indebtedness sought to be paid with appellee's back pay certificate therein, appears to have
subsisted prior to the approval of Republic Act No. 897. ...
Herein appellants' situation is even worse than that of Rodriguez. Here appellants actually availed of thei r approved loan only
about nine (9) months after the enactment of Republic Act 897 and the corresponding releases thereof were received by
appellants only after the execution of the mortgage contract on March 23, 1954. Undoubtedly, notwithstanding the approval by
the appellee Development Bank of the Philippines (RFC) of appellants' loan application on April 30, 1953, appellants did not
thereby incur any obligation to pay the same; only after the corresponding amounts were released to appellants after March 23,
1954 did such obligation attach; and it cannot, therefore, be said that the said loan was an obligation subsisting at the time of
the approval of Republic Act No. 897 on June 20, 1953.
It may be truly said, as contended by appellants, that when their application for the loan was approved by the appellee Bank
on April 30, 1953, an agreement was perfected between them and said Bank, but it should be noted that under such agreement
the only enforceable obligation that was created was that of the Bank to grant the loan applied for, whereas the obligation of
appellants to pay the same could not have arisen until after the amount of the loan has been actually released to them; and
said release was even subject to their compliance with certain conditions specified in the mortgage contract executed after the
approval already of Republic Act 897. Appellants' appeal that a more liberal construction of the law would enable "many
crippled or disabled veterans, or their wives and orphans, or those who had in one way or another unselfishly sacrificed or
contributed to the cause of the last war" to take advantage of their back pay certificates, does deserve sympathy, for indeed,
among the avowed purposes of the said law are: "First, to serve as a source of financial aid to needy veterans, like crippled or
disabled veterans, and to their wives and orphans. Secondly, to give recognition to the sacrifices of those who joined the last
war, and particularly to those who have given their all for the cause of the last war." (Congressional Record No. 61, 2nd
Congress, 4th Regular Session, May 6, 1953, page 74, as quoted in Florentino, et al. vs. PNB, 98 Phil. 959, 961-963).t.hqw On
the other hand, however, We cannot see any room for interpretation or construction in the clear and unambiguous language of
the above-quoted provision of law. This Court has steadfastly adhered to the doctrine that its first and fundamental duty is the
application of the law according to its express terms, interpretation being called for only when such literal application is
impossible.
5
No process of interpretation or construction need be resorted to here a provision of law peremptorily calls for
application. Where a requirement or condition is made in explicit and unambiguous terms, no discretion is left to the judiciary. It
must see to it that its mandate is obeyed.
6
Thus, even before the amendment of the Back Pay Law, when said law limited the
applicability of back pay certificates to "obligations subsisting at the time of the approval of this Act," this Court has ruled that
obligations contracted after its enactment on June 18, 1948 cannot come within its purview.
Since the debt of appellants was contracted on November 24, 1948, they could not validly seek to discharge it
by application of their back pay certificate under Republic Act 304, on June 18, 1948, because that Act, in
terms, limited any such application to "obligations subsisting at the time of the approval of this Act". (Sec. 2)
7

WHEREFORE, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed. No costs.
Reyes, J.B.L., Act. C.J., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro, Fernando, Teehankee, Villamor and Makasiar, JJ., concur


G.R. No. , 127 SCRA 419
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
DECISION
December 31, 1983
G.R. No. , ,
vs.
, .
, J.:
This Court is confronted once again with the question of whether or not it is a court or a labor arbiter that can pass on a suit for
damages filed by the employer, here private respondent Zamboanga Wood Products. Respondent Judge Carlito A. Eisma 1
then of the Court of First Instance, now of the Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga City, was of the view that it is a court and
denied a motion to dismiss filed by petitioners National Federation of labor and Zambowood Monthly Employees Union, its
officers and members. It was such an order dated July 20, 1982 that led to the filing of this certiorari and prohibition proceeding.
In the order assailed, it was required that the officers and members of petitioner union appear before the court to show cause
why a writ of preliminary injunction should not be issued against them and in the meanwhile such persons as well as any other
persons acting under their command and on their behalf were "temporarily restrained and ordered to desist and refrain from
further obstructing, impeding and impairing plaintiff's use of its property and free ingress to or egress from plaintiff's Manufacturing
Division facilities at Lumbayao, Zamboanga City and on its road right of way leading to and from said plaintiff's facilities, pending
the determination of the litigation, and unless a contrary order is issued by this Court." 2
The record discloses that petitioner National Federation of Labor, on March 5, 1982, filed with the Ministry of Labor and
Employment, Labor Relations Division, Zamboanga City, a petition for direct certification as the sole exclusive collective
bargaining representative of the monthly paid employees of the respondent Zamboanga Wood Products, Inc. at its
manufacturing plant in Lumbayao, Zamboanga City. 3 Such employees, on April 17, 1982 charged respondent firm before the
same office of the Ministry of Labor for underpayment of monthly living allowances. 4 Then came, on May 3, 1982, from petitioner
union, a notice of strike against private respondent, alleging illegal termination of Dionisio Estioca, president of the said local
union; unfair labor practice, non-payment of living allowances; and "employment of oppressive alien management personnel
without proper permit. 5 It was followed by the union submitting the minutes of the declaration of strike, "including the ninety (90)
ballots, of which 79 voted for yes and three voted for no." 6 The strike began on May 23, 1982. 7 On July 9, 1982, private
respondent Zambowood filed a complaint with respondent Judge against the officers and members of petitioners union, for
"damages for obstruction of private property with prayer for preliminary injunction and/or restraining order." 8 It was alleged that
defendants, now petitioners, blockaded the road leading to its manufacturing division, thus preventing customers and suppliers
free ingress to or egress from such premises. 9 Six days later, there was a motion for the dismissal and for the dissolution of the
restraining order and opposition to the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction filed by petitioners. It was contended that the
acts complained of were incidents of picketing by defendants then on strike against private respondent, and that therefore the
exclusive jurisdiction belongs to the Labor Arbiter pursuant to Batas Pambansa Blg. 227, not to a court of first instance.10 There
was, as noted earlier, a motion to dismiss, which was denied. Hence this petition for certiorari.
Four days after such petition was filed, on August 3, 1982, this Court required respondents to answer and set the plea for a
preliminary injunction to be heard on Thursday, August 5, 1982. 11 After such hearing, a temporary restraining order was issued,
"directing respondent Judge and the commanding officer in Zamboanga and his agents from enforcing the ex-parte order of
injunction dated July 20, 1982; and to restrain the respondent Judge from proceeding with the hearing of the until otherwise
case effective as of [that] date and continuing ordered by [the] Court. In the exercise of the right to peaceful picketing,
petitioner unions must abide strictly with Batas Pambansa Blg. 227, specifically Section 6 thereof, amending Article 265 of the
Labor Code, which now reads: '(e) No person engaged in picketing shall commit any act of violence, coercion or intimidation or
obstruct the free ingress to or egress from the employer's premises for lawful purposes, or obstruct public thoroughfares.' " 12
On August 13, 1982, the answer of private respondent was filed sustaining the original jurisdiction of respondent Judge and
maintaining that the order complained of was not in excess of such jurisdiction, or issued with grave abuse of discretion. Solicitor
General Estelito P. Mendoza, 13 on the other hand, instead of filing an answer, submitted a Manifestation in lieu thereof. He met
squarely the issue of whether or not respondent Judge had jurisdiction, and answered in the negative. He (i)ncluded that "the
instant petition has merit and should be given due course."
He traced the changes undergone by the Labor Code, citing at the same time the decisions issued by this Court after each of
such changes. As pointed out, the original wording of Article 217 vested the labor arbiters with jurisdictional. 14 So it was applied
by this Court in Garcia v. Martinez 15 and in Bengzon v. Inciong. 16 On May 1, 1978, however, Presidential Decree No. 1367 was
issued, amending Article 217, and provided "that the Regional Directors shall not indorse and Labor Arbiters shall not entertain
claims for moral and other forms of damages." 17 The ordinary courts were thus vested with jurisdiction to award actual and
moral damages in the case of illegal dismissal of employees. 18 That is not, as pointed out by the Solicitor General, the end of the
story, for on May 1, 1980, Presidential Decree No. 1691 was issued, further amending Article 217, returning the original jurisdiction
to the labor arbiters, thus enabling them to decide "3. All money claims of workers, including those based on non-payment or
underpayment of wages, overtime compensation, separation pay and other benefits provided by law or appropriate
agreement, except claims for employees compensation, social security, medicare and maternity benefits; [and] (5) All other
claims arising from employer-employee relations unless expressly excluded by tills Code." 19 An equally conclusive manifestation
of the lack of jurisdiction of a court of first instance then, a regional trial court now, is Batas Pambansa Blg. 130, amending Article
217 of the Labor Code. It took effect on August 21, 1981. Subparagraph 2, paragraph (a) is now worded thus: "(2) those that
involve wages, hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment." 20 This is to be compared with the former
phraseology "(2) unresolved issue in collective bargaining, including those that involve wages, hours of work and other terms and
conditions of employment." 21 It is to be noted that Batas Pambansa Blg. 130made no change with respect to the original and
exclusive jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters with respect to money claims of workers or claims for damages arising from employer-
employee relations.
Nothing becomes clearer, therefore, than the meritorious character of this petition. certiorari and prohibition lie, respondent
Judge being devoid of jurisdiction to act on the matter.
1. Article 217 is to be applied the way it is worded. The exclusive original jurisdiction of a labor arbiter is therein provi ded for
explicitly. It means, it can only mean, that a court of first instance judge then, a regional trial court judge now, certainl y acts
beyond the scope of the authority conferred on him by law when he entertained the suit for damages, arising from picketing
that accompanied a strike. That was squarely within the express terms of the law. Any deviation cannot therefore be tolerated.
So it has been the constant ruling of this Court even prior to Lizarraga Hermanos v. Yap Tico, 22 a 1913 decision. The ringing words
of the ponencia of Justice Moreland still call for obedience. Thus, "The first and fundamental duty of courts, in our judgment, is to
apply the law. Construction and interpretation come only after it has been demonstrated that application is impossible or
inadequate without them." 23 It is so even after the lapse of sixty years. 24
2. On the precise question at issue under the law as it now stands, this Court has spoken in three decisions. They all reflect the
utmost fidelity to the plain command of the law that it is a labor arbiter, not a court, that ossesses original and exclusive
jurisdiction to decide a claim for damages arising from picketing or a strike. In Pepsi -Cola Bottling Co. v. Martinez, 25 the issue
was set forth in the opening paragraph, in the ponencia of Justice Escolin: "This petition for certiorari, prohibition
and mandamus raises anew the legal question often brought to this Court: Which tribunal has exclusive jurisdiction over an
action filed by an employee against his employer for recovery of unpaid salaries, separation benefits and damages ? the court
of general jurisdiction or the Labor Arbiter of the National Labor Relations Commission [NLRC]?" 26 It was categorically held: "We
rule that the Labor Arbiter has exclusive jurisdiction over the case." 27 Then came this portion of the opinion: "Jurisdiction over the
subject matter in a judicial proceeding is conferred by the sovereign authority which organizes the court; and it is given only by
law. Jurisdiction is never presumed; it must be conferred by law in words that do not admit of doubt. Since the jurisdiction of
courts and judicial tribunals is derived exclusively from the statutes of the forum, the issue before us should be resolved on the
basis of the law or statute now in force. We find that law in presidential Decree 1691 which took effect on May 1, 1980, Section 3
of which reads as follows: ... Article 217. Jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and the Commission. ? (a) The Labor Arbiters shall have the
original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide the following cases involving all workers, whether agricultural or non-
agricultural: ... 3. All money claims of workers, including those based on nonpayment or underpayment of wages, overtime
compensation, separation pay and other benefits provided by law or appropriate agreement, except claims for employees'
compensation, social security, medicare and maternity benefits; 4. Cases involving household services; and 5. All other claims
arising from employer-employee relations, unless expressly excluded by this Code." 28 That same month, two other cases were
similarly decided, Ebon v. De Guzman 29 and Aguda v. Vallejos. 30
3. It is regrettable that the ruling in the above three decisions, decided in March of 1982, was not followed by private respondent
when it filed the complaint for damages on July 9, 1982, more than four months later. 31 On this point, reference may be made
to our decision in National Federation of Labor, et al. v. The Honorable Minister of Labor and Employment, 32 promulgated on
September 15, 1983. In that case, the question involved was the failure of the same private respondent, Zamboanga Wood
Products, Inc., to admit the striking petitioners, eighty-one in number, back to work after an order of Minister Blas F. Ople
certifying to the National Labor Relations Commission the labor dispute for compulsory arbitration pursuant to Article 264 (g) of
the Labor Code of the Philippines. It was noted in the first paragraph of our opinion in that case: "On the face of it, it seems
difficult to explain why private respondent would not comply with such order considering that the request for compulsory
arbitration came from it. It ignored this notification by the presidents of the labor unions involved to its resident manager that the
striking employees would lift their picket line and start returning to work on August 20, 1982. Then, too, Minister Ople deni ed a
partial motion for reconsideration insofar as the return-to-work aspect is concerned which reads: 'We find no merit in the said
Motion for Reconsideration. The Labor code, as amended, specifically Article 264 (g), mandates that whenever a labor dispute is
certified by the Minister of Labor and Employment to the National Labor Relations Commission for compulsory arbitration and a
strike has already taken place at the time of certification, "all striking employees shall immediately return to work and the
employees shall immediately resume operations and readmit all workers under the same terms and conditions prevailing before
the strike." ' " 33 No valid distinction can be made between the exercise of compulsory arbitration vested in the Ministry of Labor
and the jurisdiction of a labor arbiter to pass over claims for damages in the light of the express provision of the Labor Code as
set forth in Article 217. In both cases, it is the Ministry, not a court of justice, that is vested by law with competence to act on the
matter.
4. The issuance of Presidential Decree No. 1691 and the enactment of Batas Pambansa Blg. 130, made clear that the exclusive
and original jurisdiction for damages would once again be vested in labor arbiters. It can be affirmed that even if they were not
that explicit, history has vindicated the view that in the appraisal of what was referred to by Philippine American Management &
Financing Co., Inc. v. Management & Supervisors Association of the Philippine-American Management & Financing Co., Inc. 34
as "the rather thorny question as to where in labor matters the dividing line is to be drawn" 35 between the power lodged in an
administrative body and a court, the unmistakable trend has been to refer it to the former. Thus: "Increasingly, this Court has
been committed to the view that unless the law speaks clearly and unequivocally, the choice should fall on [an administrative
agency]." 36 Certainly, the present Labor Code is even more committed to the view that on policy grounds, and equally so in
the interest of greater promptness in the disposition of labor matters, a court is spared the often onerous task of determini ng what
essentially is a factual matter, namely, the damages that may be incurred by either labor or management as a result of disputes
or controversies arising from employer-employee relations.
WHEREFORE, the writ of certiorari is granted and the order of July 20, 1982, issued by respondent Judge, is nullified and set aside.
The writ of prohibition is likewise granted and respondent Judge, or whoever acts in his behalf in the Regional Trial Court to which
this case is assigned, is enjoin from taking any further action on Civil Case No. 716 (2751), except for the purpose of dismi ssing it.
The temporary restraining order of August 5, 1982 is hereby made permanent.
Teehankee, Makasiar, Aquino, Guerrero, Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Escolin Relova and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ., concur.
Concepcion Jr., J., took no part.
De Castro, J., is on leave.


G.R. No. , 88 SCRA 616
January 31, 1979
G.R. No. , ,
vs.
, .
, J.:
In this mandamus petition dismissed by the lower court, petitioner-appellant would seek a reversal of such decision relying on
what it considered to be a right granted by Section 62 of the Republic Act No. 2023, more specifically the first two paragraphs
thereof: "... (1) A member of a cooperative may, notwithstanding the provisions of existing laws, execute an agreement in favor
of the co-operative authorizing his employer to deduct from the salary or wages payable to him by the employer such amount
as may be specified in the agreement and to pay the amount so deducted to the co-operative in satisfaction of any debt or
other demand owing from the member to the co-operative. (2) Upon the exemption of such agreement the employer shall if so
required by the co-operative by a request in writing and so long as such debt or other demand or any part of it remains unpaid,
make the claimant and remit forth with the amount so deducted to the co-operative." 1
To show that such is futile, the appealed decision, as quoted in the brief for petitioner-appellant, stated the following: "Then
petitioner contends that under the above provisions of Rep. Act 2023, the loans granted by credit union to its members enjoy first
priority in the payroll collection from the respondent's employees' wages and salaries. As can be clearly seen, there is nothing in
the provision of Rep. Act 2023hereinabove quoted which provides that obligation of laborers and employees payable to credit
unions shall enjoy first priority in the deduction from the employees' wages and salaries. The only effect of Rep. Act 2023 is to
compel the employer to deduct from the salaries or wages payable to members of the employees' cooperative credit unions
the employees' debts to the union and to pay the same to the credit union. In other words, if Rep. Act 2023 had been enacted,
the employer could not be compelled to act as the collecting agent of the employees' credit union for the employees' debt to
his credit union but to contend that the debt of a member of the employees cooperative credit union as having first priority in
the matter of deduction, is to write something into the law which does not appear. In other words, the mandatory character
of Rep. Act 2023 is only to compel the employer to make the deduction of the employees' debt from the latter's salary and turn
this over to the employees' credit union but this mandatory character does not convert the credit union's credit into a first priority
credit. If the legislative intent in enacting pars. 1 and 2 of Sec. 62 of Rep. Act 2023 were to give first priority in the matter of
payments to the obligations of employees in favor of their credit unions, then, the law would have so expressly declared. Thus,
the express provisions of the New Civil Code, Arts. 2241, 2242 and 2244 show the legislative intent on preference of credits. 2
Such an interpretation, as could be expected, found favor with the respondent-appellee, which, in its brief, succinctly pointed
out "that there is nothing in said provision from which it could be implied that it gives top priori ty to obligations of the nature of
that payable to petitioner, and that, therefore, respondent company, in issuing the documents known as Exhibit "3" and Exhibi t
"P", which establish the order of priority of payment out of the salaries of the employees of respondent-appellee, did not violate
the above-quoted Section 62 of Republic Act 2023. In promulgating Exhibit "3", [and] Exhibit "P" respondent, in effect,
implemented the said provision of law. 3
This petition being one for mandamus and the provision of law relied upon being clear on its face, it would appear that no
favorable action can be taken on this appeal. We affirm.
1. The applicable provision of Republic Act No. 2023 quoted earlier, speaks for itself. There is no ambiguity. As thus worded, it was
so applied. Petitioner-appellant cannot therefore raise any valid objection. For the lower court to view it otherwise would have
been to alter the law. That cannot be done by the judiciary. That is a function that properly appertains to the legislative branch.
As was pointed out in Gonzaga v. Court of Appeals: 4 "It has been repeated time and time again that where the statutory norm
speaks unequivocally, there is nothing for the courts to do except to apply it. The law, leaving no doubt as to the scope of its
operation, must be obeyed. Our decisions have consistently born to that effect. 5.
2. Clearly, then, mandamus does not lie. Petitioner-appellant was unable to show a clear legal right. The very law on which he
would base his action fails to supply any basis for this petition. A more rigorous analysis would have prevented him from instituting
a a suit of this character. In J.R.S. Business Corporation v. Montesa, 6 this Court held. "Man-damus is the proper remedy if it could
be shown that there was neglect on the part of a tribunal in the performance of an act, which specifically the law enjoins as a
duty or an unlawful exclusion of a party from the use and enjoyment of a right to which he is entitled. 7 The opinion continued in
this wise:"According to former Chief Justice Moran," only specific legal rights may be enforced by mandamus if they are clear
and certain. If the legal rights are of the petitioner are not well defined, clear, and certain, the petition must be dismissed. In
support of the above view, Viuda e Hijos de Crispulo Zamora v. Wright was cited. As was there categorically stated: "This court
has held that it is fundamental that the duties to be enforced by mandamus must be those which are clear and enjoined by law
or by reason of official station, and that petitioner must have a clear, legal right to the thing and that it must be the legal duty of
the defendant to perform the required act.' As expressed by the then Justice Recto in a subsequent opinion: "It is well establish
that only specific legal rights are enforceable by mandamus, that the right sought to be enforced must be certain and clear,
and that the writ not issue in cases where the right is doubtful." To the same effect is the formulation of such doctrine by former
Justice Barrera: "Stated otherwise, the writ never issues in doubtful cases. It neither confers powers nor imposes duties. It is simply a
command to exercise a power already possessed and to perform a duty already imposed." 8 So it has been since then. 9 The
latest reported case, Province. of Pangasinan v. Reparations Commission, 10 this court speaking through Justice Concepcion Jr.,
reiterated such a well-settled doctrine: "It has also been held that it is essential to the issuance of the writ of mandamus that the
plaintiff should have a clear legal right to the thing demanded, and it must be the imperative duty of the defendant to perform
the act required. It never issues in doubtful cases. 11
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is affirmed. No pronouncement as to costs.
Barredo, Antonio, Concepcion, Jr., Santos and Abad Santos, JJ., concur.
Aquino, J., took no part





G.R. No. L-68729 May 29, 1987
RADIO COMMUNICATIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES, INC., petitioner,
vs.
NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION and KAYUMANGGI RADIO NETWORK INCORPORATED, respondents.

GUTIERREZ, JR, J.:
This petition seeks the reversal of the decision of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) which ordered petitioner
Radio Communications of the Philippines, Incorporated (RCPI) to desist from operating its radio telephone services in Catarman,
Northern Samar; San Jose, Occidental Mindoro; and Sorsogon, Sorsogon.
Petitioner has been operating a radio communications system since 1957 under its legislative franchise granted by Republic Act
No. 2036 which was enacted on June 23, 1957.
In 1968, the petitioner established a radio telegraph service in Sorsogon, Sorsogon. In 1971, another radio telegraph service was
put up in San Jose, Mindoro followed by another in Catarman, Samar in 1976. The installation of radio telephone services started
in 1971 in San Jose, Mindoro; then in Sorsogon, Sorsogon and Catarman, Samar in 1983.
In a decision dated June 24, 1980 in NTC Case No. 80-08, private respondent Kayumanggi Radio Network Incorporated was
authorized by the public respondent to operate radio communications systems in Catarman, Samar and in San Jose, Mindoro.
On December 14, 1983, the private respondent filed a complaint with the NTC alleging that the petitioner was operating in
Catarman, Samar and in San Jose, Mindoro without a certificate of public covenience and necessity. The petitioner, on the
other hand, counter-alleged that its telephone services in the places subject of the complaint are covered by the legislative
franchise recognized by both the public respondent and its predecessor, the Public Service Commission. In its supplemental
reply, the petitioner further stated that it has been in operation in the questioned places long before private respondent
Kayumanggi filed its application to operate in the same places.
After conducting a hearing, NTC, in its decision dated August 22, 1984 ordered petitioner RCPI to immediately cease or desist
from the operation of its radio telephone services in Catarman Northern Samar; San Jose, Occidental Mindoro; and Sorsogon,
Sorsogon stating that under Executive Order No. 546, a certificate of public convenience and necessity is mandatory for the
operation of communication utilities and services including radio communications.
On September 4, 1984, the petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied in an order dated September 12, 1984.
On October 1, 1984, the present petition was filed raising the issue of whether or not petitioner RCPI, a grantee of a legislative
franchise to operate a radio company, is required to secure a certificate of public convenience and necessity before it can
validly operate its radio stations including radio telephone services in Catarman, Northern Samar; San Jose, Occidental Mindoro;
and Sorsogon, Sorsogon.
The petitioner's main argument states that the abolition of the Public Service Commission under Presidential Decree No. 1 and
the creation of the National Telecommunications Commission under Executive Order No. 546 to replace the defunct Public
Service Commission did not affect sections 14 and 15 of the Public Service Law (Commonwealth Act. No. 146, as amended).
The provisions of the Public Service Law pertinent to the petitioner's allegation are as follows:
Section 13. (a) the Commission shall have jurisdiction, supervision, and control over all public services and their franchises,
equipment and other properties, and in the exercise of its authority, it shall have the necessary powers and the aid of public
force: ...
Section 14. The following are exempted from the provisions of the preceding section:
xxx xxx xxx
(d) Radio companies except with respect to the fixing of rates;
xxx xxx xxx
Section 15. With the exception of those enumerated in the preceding section, no public service shall operate in the Philippines
without possessing a valid and subsisting certificate from the Public Service Commission, known as "certificate of public
convenience," or "certificate of convenience and public necessity," as the case may be, to the effect that the operation of said
service and the authorization to do business will promote the public interests in a proper and suitable manner. ...
We find no merit in the petitioner's contention.
Pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 1 dated September 23,1972, reorganizing the executive branch of the National Government,
the Public Service Commission was abolished and its functions were transferred to three specialized regulatory boards, as follows:
the Board of Transportation, the Board of Communications and the Board of Power and Waterworks. The functions so transferred
were still subject to the limitations provided in sections 14 and 15 of the Public Service Law, as amended. With the enactment of
Executive Order No. 546 on July 23, 1979 implementing P.D. No.1, the Board of Communications and the Telecommunications
Control Bureau were abolished and their functions were transferred to the National Telecommunications Commission (Sec. 19(d),
Executive Order No. 546). Section 15 of said Executive Order spells out the functions of the National Telecommunications
Commission as follows:
Sec. 15. Functions of the Commission.-The Commission shall exercise the following functions:
a. Issue Certificate of Public Convenience for the operation of communications utilities and services, radio communications
petitions systems, wire or wireless telephone or telegraph system, radio and television broadcasting system and other similar
public utilities;
b. Establish, prescribe and regulate areas of operation of particular operators of public service communications; and determi ne
and prescribe charges or rates pertinent to the operation of such public utility facilities and services except in cases where
charges or rates are established by international bodies or associations of which the Philippines is a participating member or by
bodies recognized by the Philippine Government as the proper arbiter of such charges or rates;
c. Grant permits for the use of radio frequencies for wireless telephone and telegraph systems and radio communication systems
including amateur radio stations and radio and television broadcasting systems;
d. Sub-allocate series of frequencies of bands allocated by the International Telecommunications Union to the specific services;
e. Establish and prescribe rules, regulations, standards, specifications in all cases related to the issued Certificate of Public
Convenience and administer and enforce the same;
f. Coordinate and cooperate with government agencies and other entities concerned with any aspect involving
communications with a view to continuously improve the communications service in the country;
g. Promulgate such rules and regulations, as public safety and interest may require, to encourage a larger and more effective
use of communications, radio and television broadcasting facilities, and to maintain effective competition among private
entities in these activities whenever the Commission finds it reasonably feasible;
h. Supervise and inspect the operation of radio stations and telecommunications facilities;
i. Undertake the examination and licensing of radio operators;
j. Undertake, whenever necessary, the registration of radio transmitters and transceivers; and
k. Perform such other functions as may be prescribed by law.
It is clear from the aforequoted provision that the exemption enjoyed by radio companies from the jurisdiction of the Public
Service Commission and the Board of Communications no longer exists because of the changes effected by the Reorganization
Law and implementing executive orders. The petitioner's claim that its franchise cannot be affected by Executive Order No. 546
on the ground that it has long been in operation since 1957 cannot be sustained.
A franchise started out as a "royal privilege or (a) branch of the King's prerogative, subsisting in the hands of a subject." This
definition was given by Finch, adopted by Blackstone, and accepted by every authority since (State v. Twin Village Water Co.,
98 Me 214, 56 A 763 (1903)). Today, a franchise, being merely a privilege emanating from the sovereign power of the state and
owing its existence to a grant, is subject to regulation by the state itself by virtue of its police power through its administrative
agencies. We ruled in Pangasinan transportation Co., Inc. v. Public Service Commission (70 Phil. 221) that:
... statutes enacted for the regulation of public utilities, being a proper exercise by the State of its police power, ar e applicable
not only to those public utilities coming into existence after its passage, but likewise to those already established and in operation
...
Executive Order No. 546, being an implementing measure of P.D. No. I insofar as it amends the Public Service Law (CA No. 146,
as amended) is applicable to the petitioner who must be bound by its provisions. The petitioner cannot install and operate radio
telephone services on the basis of its legislative franchise alone.
The position of the petitioner that by the mere grant of its franchise under RA No. 2036 it can operate a radio communications
system anywhere within the Philippines is erroneous. Section 1 of said statute reads:
Section 1. Subject to the provisions of the Constitution, and to the provisions, not inconsistent herewith, of Act Numbered Three
thousand eight hundred and forty-six, entitled.' An Act providing for the regulation of radio stations and radio communications in
the Philippine Islands, and for other purposes;' Commonwealth Act Numbered One hundred forty-six, known as the Public Service
Act, and their amendments, and other applicable laws, there is hereby granted to the Radio Communications of the Philippines,
its successors or assigns, the right and privilege of constructing, installing, establishing and operating in the Philippines, at such
places as the said corporation may select and the Secretary of Public Works and Communications may approve, radio stations
for the reception and transmission of wireless messages on radiotelegraphy and/or radiotelephone, including both coastal and
marine telecommunications, each station to consist of two radio apparatus comprising of a receiving and sending radio
apparatus. (Emphasis supplied).
Section 4(a) of the same Act further provides that:
Sec. 4(a). This franchise shall not take effect nor shall any powers thereunder be exercised by the grantee until the Secretary of
Public works and Communications shall have allotted to the grantee the frequencies and wave lengths to be used, and issued
to the grantee a license for such case. (Emphasis supplied)
Thus, in the words of R.A. No. 2036 itself, approval of the then Secretary of Public Works and Communications was a precondition
before the petitioner could put up radio stations in areas where it desires to operate. It has been repeated time and again that
where the statutory norm speaks unequivocally, there is nothing for the courts to do except to apply it. The law, leaving no doubt
as to the scope of its operation, must be obeyed. (Gonzaga v. Court of Appeals, 51 SCRA 381).
The records of the case do not show any grant of authority from the then Secretary of Public Works and Communications before
the petitioner installed the questioned radio telephone services in San Jose, Mindoro in 1971. The same is true as regards the
radio telephone services opened in Sorsogon, Sorsogon and Catarman, Samar in 1983. No certificate of public convenience
and necessity appears to have been secured by the petitioner from the public respondent when such certificate,was required
by the applicable public utility regulations (See executive Order No. 546, sec. 15, supra.; Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.
v. City of Davao, 15 SCRA 75; Olongapo Electric Light and Power Corp. v. National Power Corporation, et al., G.R. No. L-24912,
promulgated April 9, 1987.)
It was well within the powers of the public respondent to authorize the installation by the private respondent network of radio
communications systems in Catarman, Samar and San Jose, Mindoro. Under the circumstances of this case, the mere fact that
the petitioner possesses a franchise to put up and operate a radio communications system in certain areas is not an insuperable
obstacle to the public respondent's issuing the proper certificate to an applicant desiring to extend the same services to those
areas. The Constitution mandates that a franchise cannot be exclusive in nature nor can a franchise be granted except that it
must be subject to amendment, alteration, or even repeal by the legislature when the common good so requires. (Art. XII, sec.
11 of the 1986 Constitution). There is an express provision in the petitioner's franchise which provides compliance with the above
mandate R.A. 2036, sec. 15).
In view of the foregoing, we find no reason to disturb the public respondent's findings of fact, and conclusions of law insofar as
the private respondent was authorized to operate in Catarman, Samar and San Jose, Mindoro. As a rule, the Commission's
findings of fact, if supported by substantial evidence, are conclusive upon this Court. We may modify or ignore them only when it
clearly appears that there is no evidence to support reasonablysuch a conclusion. (Halili v. Daplas, 14 SCRA 14). The petitioner
has not shown why the private respondent should be denied the authority to operate its services in Samar and Mindoro. It has
not overcome the presumption that when the public respondent disturbed the petitioner's monopoly in certain areas, it was
doing so pursuant to public interest and the common good.
WHEREFORE, the challenged order of the public respondent dated August 22, 1984 is hereby AFFIRMED. The petition is dismissed
for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.
Fernan (Chairman), Paras, Padilla, Bidin and Cortes, JJ., concur.


[G.R. Nos. 115008-09. July 24, 1996]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. DANIEL QUIJADA Y CIRCULADO, accused-appellant.
D E C I S I O N
DAVIDE, JR., J.:
Accused-appellant Daniel Quijada appeals from the decision of 30 September 1993 of Branch 1
of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bohol convicting him of the two offenses separately charged in two informations, viz., murder
under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code and illegal possession of firearm in its aggravated form under P.D. No. 1866, and
imposing upon him the penalty of reclusion perpetua for the first crime and an indeterminate penalty ranging from seventeen
years, four months, and one day, as minimum, to twenty years and one day, as maximum, for the second crime.[1]
The appeal was originally assigned to the Third Division of the Court but was later referred to the Court en banc in view of the
problematical issue of whether to sustain the trial court's judgment in conformity with the doctrine laid down inPeople vs. Tac-
an,[2] People vs. Tiozon,[3] People vs. Caling,[4] People vs. Jumamoy,[5] People vs. Deunida,[6] People vs. Tiongco,[7] People vs.
Fernandez,[8] and People vs. Somooc,[9] or to modify the judgment and convict the appellant only of illegal possession of
firearm in its aggravated form pursuant to People vs. Barros,[10] which this Court (Second Division) decided on 27 June 1995.
The informations read as follows:
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 8178
That on or about the 30th day of December, 1992, in the municipality of Dauis, province of Bohol, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, with intent to kill and without any justifiable motive, with
treachery and abuse of superior strength, the accused being then armed with a .38 cal. revolver, while the victim was unarmed,
suddenly attacked the victim without giving the latter the opportunity to defend himself, and with evident premeditation, the
accused having harbored a grudge against the victim a week prior to the incident of murder, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and shoot Diosdado Iroy y Nesnea with the use of the said firearm, hitting the latter on
his head and causing serious injuries which resulted to his death; to the damage and prejudice of the heirs of the deceased.
Acts committed contrary to the provision of Art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code, with aggravating circumstance of nighttime
being purposely sought for or taken advantage of by the accused to facilitate the commission of the crime.[11]
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 8179
That on or about the 30th day of December, 1992, in the municipality of Dauis, province of Bohol, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously keep, carry
and have in his possession, custody and control a firearm (hand gun) with ammunition, without first obtaining the necessary
permit or license to possess the said firearm from competent authorities which firearm was carried by the said accused outside of
his residence and was used by him in committing the crime of Murder with Diosdado Iroy y Nesnea as the victim; to the damage
and prejudice of the Republic of the Philippines.
Acts committed contrary to the provisions of P.D. No. 1866.[12]
Having arisen from the same incident, the cases were consolidated, and joint hearings were had. The witnesses presented by
the prosecution were SPO4 Felipe Nigparanon (Acting Chief of Police of Dauis, Bohol), SPO Gondalino Inte, Dr. Greg Julius
Sodusta, Rosita Iroy, and Teodula Matalinis. The defense presented as witnesses Alfred Aranzado, Edwin Nistal, Julius Bonao,
Saturnino Maglupay, and the appellant himself.
The evidence for the prosecution is summarized by the Office of the Solicitor General in the Brief for the Appellee as follows:
On 25 December 1992, a benefit dance was held at the Basketball Court of Barangay Tinago, Dauis, Bohol. On this occasion, a
fist fight occurred between Diosdado Iroy and appellant Daniel Quijada as the latter was constantly annoying and pestering the
former's sister. Rosita Iroy (TSN, Crim. Cases 8178 & 8179, June 8, 1993, pp. 32-35; August 5, 1993, pp. 14-15).
In the evening of 30 December 1992, another benefit dance/disco was held in the same place. This benefit dance was
attended bv Rosita Iroy, Ariel Dano, Teodora Badayos, Ado Aranzado, Largo Iroy and Diosdado Iroy.
While Rosita Iroy and others were enjoying themselves inside the dancing area, Diosdado Iroy, Eugene Nesnea and Largo Iroy,
who were then sitting at the plaza (the area where they positioned themselves was duly lighted and was approximately four
meters from the dancing hall), decided to just watch the activities in the dance hall directly from the plaza.
After dancing, Rosita Iroy decided to leave and went outside the gate of the dance area. Subsequently, or around 11:30 of the
same night, while facing the direction of Diosdado Iroy, Rosita lroy saw appellant surreptitiously approach her brother Diosdado
Iroy from behind. Suddenly, appellant fired his revolver at Diosdado Iroy, hitting the latter at the back portion of the head. This
caused Rosita Iroy to spontaneously shout that appellant shot her brother; while appellant, after shooting Diosdado Iroy, ran
towards the cornfield.
Diosdado Iroy was immediately rushed by Elmer Nigparanon and Largo Iroy to the hospital but the injury sustained was fatal. In
the meantime, Rosita Iroy went home and relayed to her parents the unfortunate incident (TSN, Crim Case Nos. 8178 & 8179,
June 8, 1993, pp. 9-22, inclusive of the preceding paragraphs).
At around midnight, the incident was reported to then Acting Chief of Police Felipe Nigparanon by Mrs. Alejandra Iroy and her
daughter Teodula Matalinis. The police officer made entries in the police blotter regarding the shooting and correspondingly,
ordered his men to pick up the appellant. But they were unable to locate appellant on that occasion (TSN, Crim. Case Nos. 8178
& 8179, June 9, 1993, pp. 2-6).
In the afternoon of 31 December 1992, appellant, together with his father Teogenes Quijada went to the police station at Dauis,
Bohol. There and then, appellant was pinpointed by Elenito Nistal and Rosita Iroy as the person who shot Diosdado Iroy. These
facts were entered in the police blotter as Entry No. 1151 (TSN, Crim. Case Nos. 8178 & 8179, ibid. p. 14, June 14, 1993, pp. 4-
6).[13]
The slug was embedded at the midbrain.[14] Diosdado Iroy died of Cardiorespiratory arrest, secondary to tonsillar herniation,
secondary to massive intracranial hemorrhage, secondary to gunshot wound, 1 cm. left occipital area, transacting cerebellum
up to midbrain.[15]
The firearm used by the appellant in shooting Diosdado Iroy was not licensed. Per certifications issued on 26 April 1993, the
appellant was not a duly licensed firearm holder as verified from a consolidated list of licensed firearm holders in the
province[16] and was not authorized to carry a firearm outside his residence.[17]
The appellant interposed the defense of alibi, which the trial court rejected because he was positively identified by prosecution
witness Rosita Iroy. It summarized his testimony in this wise:
Daniel Quijada y Circulado, the accused in the instant cases, declared that in the afternoon of December 30, 1992 he was in
their house At 6:00 o'clock in the afternoon he went to Tagbilaran City together with Julius Bonao in a tricycle No. 250to solicit
passengers. They transported passengers until 10:30 o'clock in the evening. They then proceeded to the Tagbilaran wharf
waiting for the passenger boat Trans Asia Taiwan. Before the arrival of Trans Asia Taiwan they had a talk with Saturnino
Maglopay. They were able to pick up two passengers for Graham Avenue near La Roca Hotel. They then returned to the
Tagbilaran wharf for the arrival of MV Cebu City that docked at 12:10 past midnight. They had a talk with Saturnino Maglopay
who was waiting for his aunties scheduled to arrive aboard MV Cebu City. They were not able to pick up passengers which, as a
consequence, they went home. They had on their way home passengers for the Agora Public Market. They arrived at the house
of Julian Bonao at Bil-isan, Panglao, Bohol at 3:00 o'clock in the morning of December 31, 1992 where he passed the night. He
went home to Mariveles, Dauis, Bohol at 9:00 o'clock in the morning.[18]
The trial court gave full faith and credit to the version of the prosecution and found the appellant guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crimes charged and sentenced him accordingly. It appreciated the presence of the qualifying circumstance of
treachery considering that the appellant shot the victim at the back of the head while the latter was watching the dance. The
dispositive portion of the decision dated 30 September 1993 reads as follows:
PREMISES CONSIDERED, in Criminal Case No. 8178, the court finds the accused Daniel Quijada guilty of the crime of murder
punished under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code and hereby sentences him to suffer an imprisonment
ofReclusion Perpetua, with the accessories of the law and to pay the cost.
In Criminal Case No. 8179, the Court finds the accused Daniel Quijada guilty of the crime of Qualified Illegal Possession of Firearm
and Ammunition punished under Sec. 1 of R.A. No. 1866 as amended, and hereby sentences him to suffer an indeterminate
sentence from Seventeen (17) years Four (4) months and One (1) day, as minimum, to Twenty (20) years and One (1) day, as
maximum, with the accessories of the law and to pay the cost.
The slug or bullet which was extracted from the brain at the back portion of the head of the victim Diosdado Iroy is hereby
ordered forfeited in favor of the government.
It appearing that the accused Daniel Quijada has undergone preventive imprisonment he is entitled to the full time he has
undergone preventive imprisonment to be deducted from the term of sentence if he has executed a waiver otherwise he will
only be entitled to 4/5 of the time he has undergone preventive imprisonment to be deducted from his term of sentence if he
has not executed a waiver.[19]
On 29 October 1993, after discovering that it had inadvertently omitted in the decision an award of civil indemnity and other
damages in Criminal Case No. 8178, the trial court issued an order directing the appellant to pay the parents of the victim the
amount of P50,000.00 as indemnity for the death of their son and P10,000.00 for funeral expenses.[20] The order was to form an
integral part of the decision.
The decision was promulgated on 29 October 1993.[21]
The appellant forthwith interposed the present appeal, and in his Brief, he contends that the trial court erred
I
. . . IN CONVICTING ACCUSED-APPELLANT AND GIVING CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONY OF PROSECUTION WITNESSES ROSITA IROY
AND FELIPE NIGPARANON.
II
. . . IN NOT CONSIDERING THE TESTIMONIES OF DEFENSE WITNESSES EDWIN NISTAL AND ALFRED ARANZADO, AND IN DISREGARDING
THE PICTORIAL EXHIBITS OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT PARTICULARLY THE RELATIVE POSITIONS OF DIOSDADO IROY, ROSITA IROY,
EDWIN NISTAL, AND ALFRED ARANZADO.
III
. . . IN FAILING TO CONSIDER THAT PROSECUTION WITNESSES ROSITA IROY AND SP04 FELIPE NIGPARANON HAD MOTIVES IN FALSELY
TESTIFYING AGAINST ACCUSED-APPELLANT.[22]
The appellant then submits that the issue in this case boils down to the identity of the killer of Diosdado Iroy. To support his stand
that the killer was not identified, he attacks the credibility of prosecution witnesses Rosita Iroy and SP04 Felipe Nigparanon. He
claims that the former had a motive "to put him in a bad light" and calls our attention to her direct testimony that her brother
Diosdado, the victim, boxed him on the night of 25 December 1992 because he allegedly "bothered her." He further asserts that
Rosita could not have seen the person who shot Diosdado considering their respective positions, particularly Rosita who,
according to defense witnesses Nistal and Aranzado, was still inside the dancing area and ran towards the crime scene only
after Diosdado was shot. And, the appellant considers it as suppression of evidence when the prosecution did not present as
witnesses Diosdado's companions who were allegedly seated with Diosdado when he was shot.
As to SPO4 Nigparanon, the appellant intimates improper motives in that the said witness is a neighbor of the Iroys, and when he
testified, a case for arbitrary detention had already been filed against him by the appellant. The appellant further claims of
alleged omissions and unexplained entries in the police blotter.
Finally, the appellant wants us to favorably consider his defense of alibi which, according to him, gained strength because of the
lack of evidence on the identity of the killer. Furthermore, he stresses that his conduct in voluntarily going to the police station
after having been informed that he, among many others, was summoned by the police is hardly the actuation of the
perpetrator of the killing of Diosdado Iroy -- specially so if Rosita Iroy's claim is to be believed that moments after the shooting she
shouted that Daniel Quijada shot Diosdado Iroy.
In its Appellee's Brief, the People refutes every argument raised by the appellant and recommends that we affirm in toto the
challenged decision.
After a careful scrutiny of the records and evaluation of the evidence adduced by the parties, we find this appeal to be
absolutely without merit.
The imputation of ill-motive on the part of Rosita Iroy and the basis therefor hardly persuade. The appellant was the one who
was boxed by and lost to Diosdado Iroy in their fight on the night of 25 December 1992. It is then logical and consistent with
human experience that it would be the appellant who would have forthwith entertained a grudge, if not hatred, against
Diosdado. No convincing evidence was shown that Rosita had any reason to falsely implicate the appellant in the death of her
brother Diosdado.
The claim that Rosita could not have seen who shot her brother Diosdado because, as testified to by defense witnesses Nistal
and Aranzado, she was inside the dancing hall and rushed to her brother only after the latter was shot is equally baseless. The
following testimony of Rosita shows beyond cavil that she saw the assailant:
Q You said that you were initially dancing inside the dancing place and you went out, about what time did you get out?
A 11:00 o'clock.
Q And you were standing about two (2) meters from Diosdado Iroy until 11:30 when the incident happened?
A Yes, I was standing.
Q And where did you face, you were facing Diosdado Iroy or the dancing area?
A I was intending to go near my brother. I was approaching and getting near going to my brother Diosdado Iroy and while in
the process I saw Daniel Quijada shot my brother Diosdado Iroy.[23]
xxx xxx xxx
Q And in your estimate, how far was your brother Diosdado Iroy while he was sitting at the plaza to the dancing place?
A More or less four (4) meters distance.
COURT:
From the dancing hall?
A Yes, your honor.
Q And in your observation, was the place where Diosdado Iroy was sitting lighted or illuminated?
A Yes, sir.
Q What kind of light illuminated the place?
A I do not know what kind of light but it was lighted.
Q Was it an electric light?
A It is electric light coming from a bulb.
Q Where is that electric bulb that illuminated the place located?
A It was placed at the gate of the dancing place and the light from the house.
Q You said gate of the dancing place, you mean the dancing place was enclosed at that time and there was a gate, an
opening?
A Yes, sir.
Q What material was used to enclose the dancing place?
A Bamboo.
Q And how far was the bulb which was placed near the entrance of the dancing place to the place where Diosdado Iroy was
sitting?
A Five (5) meters.
Q You mentioned also that there was a light coming from the house, now whose house was that?
A The house of spouses Fe and Berto, I do not know the family name.
Q Was the light coming from the house of spouses Fe and Berto an electric light?
A Yes sir.
Q And in your estimate, how far was the source of light of the house of Fe and Berto to the place where Diosdado Iroy was
sitting?
A About six (6) meters distance.[24]
xxx xxx xxx
Q What was the color of the electric bulb in the gate of the dancing place?
A The white bulb.[25]
The trial court disbelieved the testimony of Nistal and Aranzado. It explicitly declared:
The factual findings of the Court in the instant case is anchored principally in ". . . observing the attitude and deportment of
witnesses while listening to them speak (People vs. Magaluna, 205, SCRA 266).
thereby indicating that on the basis of the witnesses' deportment and manner of testifying, the declarations of Nistal and
Aranzado failed to convince the trial court that they were telling the truth. Settled is the rule that the factual findings of the trial
court, especially on the credibility of witnesses, are accorded great weight and respect. For, the trial court has the advantage
of observing the witnesses through the different indicators of truthfulness or falsehood, such as the angry flush of an insisted
assertion or the sudden pallor of a discovered lie or the tremulous mutter of a reluctant answer or the forthright tone of a ready
reply;[26] or the furtive glance, the blush of conscious shame, the hesitation, the sincere or the flippant or sneering tone, the
heat, the calmness, the yawn, the sigh, the candor or lack of it, the scant or full realization of the solemnity of an oath, the
carriage and mien.[27] The appellant has miserably failed to convince us that we must depart from this rule.
Neither are we persuaded by the claimed suppression of evidence occasioned by the non-presentation as prosecution
witnesses any of the companions of Diosdado who were seated with him when he was shot. In the first place, the said
companions could not have seen from their back the person who suddenly shot Diosdado. In the second place, the testimony
of the companions would, at the most, only corroborate that of Rosita Iroy. Besides, there is no suggestion at all that the said
companions were not available to the appellant. It is settled that the presumption in Section 3 (e), Rule 131 of the Rules of Court
that evidence willfully suppressed would be adverse if produced does not apply when the testimony of the witness is merely
corroborative or where the witness is available to the accused.[28]
The alleged improper motive on the part of SP04 Nigparanon simply because he is a neighbor of the Iroy; remains purely
speculative, as no evidence was offered to establish that such a relationship affected SP04 Nigparanon's objectivity. As a police
officer, he enjoyed in his favor the presumption of regularity in the performance of his official duty.[29] As to the alleged
omissions and unexplained entries in the police blotter, the same were sufficiently clarified by SP04 Nigparanon.
The defense of alibi interposed by the appellant deserves scant consideration. He was positively identified by a credible
witness. It is a fundamental judicial dictum that the defense of alibi cannot prevail over the positive identification of the
accused.[30] Besides, for that defense to prosper it is not enough to prove that the accused was somewhere else when the
crime was committed; he must also demonstrate that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime
at the time of its commission.[31] As testified to by defense witness Julian Bonao, the Tagbilaran wharf, where the appellant said
he was, is only about eight to nine kilometers away from the crime scene and it would take only about thirty minutes to traverse
the distance with the use of a tricycle.[32] It was, therefore, not physically impossible for the appellant to have been at the scene
of the crime at the time of its commission.
Finally, the appellant asserts that if he were the killer of Diosdado Iroy, he would not have voluntarily proceeded to the police
station. This argument is plain sophistry. The law does not find unusual the voluntary surrender of offenders; it even considers
such act as a mitigating circumstance.[33] Moreover, non-flight is not conclusive proof of innocence.[34]
The evidence for the prosecution further established with moral certainty that the appellant had no license to possess or carry a
firearm. The firearm then that he used in shooting Diosdado Iroy was unlicensed. He, therefore, committed the crime of
aggravated illegal possession of firearm under the second paragraph of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866, which reads:
SEC.
1. Unlawful Manufacture, Sale, Acquisition, Disposition or Possession of Firearms, Ammunition or Instruments Used or Intended to b
e Used in the Manufacture of Firearms or Ammunition -- The penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period
to reclusion perpetuashall be imposed upon any person who shall unlawfully manufacture, deal in, acquire, dispose or possess
any firearm, part of firearm, ammunition or machinery, tool or instrument used or intended to be used in the manufacture of any
firearm or ammunition.
If homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm, the penalty of death shall be imposed.
In light of the doctrine enunciated in People vs. Tac-an,[35] and reiterated
in People vs. Tiozon,[36] People vs. Caling,[37] People vs. Jumamoy,[38] People vs. Deunida,[39] People vs. Tiongco,[40] People v
s. Fernandez,[41] and People vs.Somooc,[42] that one who kills another with the use of an unlicensed firearm commits two
separate offenses of (1) either homicide or murder under the Revised Penal Code, and (2) aggravated illegal possession of
firearm under the second paragraph of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866, we sustain the decision of the trial court finding the appellant
guilty of two separate offenses of murder in Criminal Case No. 8178 and of aggravated illegal possession of firearm in Criminal
Case No. 8179.
Although Tac-an and Tiozon relate more to the issue of whether there is a violation of the constitutional proscription against
double jeopardy if an accused is prosecuted for homicide or murder and for aggravated illegal possession of firearm, they at the
same time laid down the rule that these are separate offenses, with the first punished under the Revised Penal Code and the
second under a special law; hence, the constitutional bar against double jeopardy will not apply. We observed in Tac-an:
It is elementary that the constitutional right against double jeopardy protects one against a second or later prosecution for
the same offense, and that when the subsequent information charges another and different offense, although arising from the
same act or set of acts, there is no prohibited double jeopardy. In the case at bar, it appears to us quite clear that the offense
charged in Criminal Case No. 4007 is that of unlawful possession of an unlicensed firearm penalized under a special statute, while
the offense charged in Criminal Case No. 4012 was that of murder punished under the Revised Penal Code. It would appear
self-evident that these two (2) offenses in themselves are quite different one from the other, such that in principle, the subsequent
filing of Criminal Case No. 4012 is not to be regarded as having placed appellant in a prohibited second jeopardy.
And we stressed that the use of the unlicensed firearm cannot serve to increase the penalty for homicide or murder; however,
the killing of a person with the use of an unlicensed firearm, by express provision of P.D. No. 1866, shall increase the penalty for
illegal possession of firearm.
In Tiozon, we stated:
It may be loosely said that homicide or murder qualifies the offense penalized in said Section 1 because it is a circumstance
which increases the penalty. It does not, however, follow that the homicide or murder is absorbed in the offense; otherwise, an
anomalous absurdity results whereby a more serious crime defined and penalized in the Revised Penal Code is absorbed by a
statutory offense, which is just a malum prohibitum. The rationale for the qualification, as implied from the exordium of the
decree, is to effectively deter violations of the laws on firearms and to stop the "upsurge of crimes vitally affecting publi c order
and safety due to the proliferation of illegally possessed and manufactured firearms, x x x." In fine then, the killing of a person with
the use of an unlicensed firearm may give rise to separate prosecutions for (a) violation of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866 and (b)
violation of either Article 248 (Murder) or Article 249 (Homicide) of the Revised Penal Code. The accused cannot plead one as a
bar to the other; or, stated otherwise, the rule against double jeopardy cannot be invoked because the first is punished by a
special law while the second, homicide or murder, is punished by the Revised Penal Code.
In People vs. Doriguez, [24 SCRA 163, 171], We held:
It is a cardinal rule that the protection against double jeopardy may be invoked only for the same offense or identical
offenses. A simple act may offend against two (or more) entirely distinct and unrelated provisions of law, and if one provision
requires proof of an additional fact or element which the other does not, an acquittal or conviction or a dismissal of the
information under one does not bar prosecution under the other. Phrased elsewise, where two different laws (or articles of the
same code) defines two crimes, prior jeopardy as to one of them is not obstacle to a prosecution of the other, although both
offenses arise from the same fact, if each crime involves some important act which is not an essential element of the other.
In People vs. Bacolod [89 Phil. 621], from the act of firing a shot from a sub-machine gun which caused public panic among the
people present and physical injuries to one, informations of physical injuries through reckless i mprudence and for serious public
disturbance were filed. Accused pleaded guilty and was convicted in the first and he sought to dismiss the second on the
ground of double jeopardy. We ruled:
The protection against double jeopardy is only for the same offense. A simple act may be an offense against two different
provisions of law and if one provision requires proof of an additional fact which the other does not, an acquittal or conviction
under one does not bar prosecution under the other.
Since the informations were for separate offense[s] -- the first against a person and the second against public peace and order --
one cannot be pleaded as a bar to the other under the rule on double jeopardy.
In Caling, we explicitly opined that a person charged with aggravated illegal possession of firearm under the second paragraph
of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866 can also be separately charged with and convicted of homicide or murder under the Revised Penal
Code and punished accordingly. Thus:
It seems that the Court a quo did indeed err in believing that there is such a thing as "the special complex crime of Illegal
Possession of Unlicensed Firearm Used in Homicide as provided for and defined under the 2nd paragraph of Sec. 1 of P.D. 1866
as amended," and declaring Caling guilty thereof. The legal provision invoked, "Sec. 1 of P.D. 1866, as amended," reads as
follows:
"SECTION 1. Unlawful Manufacture, Sale, Acquisition, Disposition or Possession of Firearms [or] Ammunition or Instruments Used or
Intended to be Used in the Manufacture of Firearms or Ammunition. - The penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period
to reclusionperpetua shall be imposed upon any person who shall unlawfully manufacture, deal in, acquire, dispose, or possess
any firearm, part of firearm, ammunition or machinery, tool or instrument used or intended to be used in the manufacture of any
firearm or ammunition.
If homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm, the penalty of death shall be imposed."
What is penalized in the first paragraph, insofar as material to the present case is the sole, simple act of a person who shall,
among others, "unlawfully possess any firearm x x x (or) ammunition x x x." Obviously, possession of any firearm is unlawful if the
necessary permit and/or license therefor is not first obtained. To that act is attached the penalty
of reclusion temporal, maximum, to reclusion perpetua. Now, if "with the use of (such) an unlicensed firearm, a "homicide or
murder is committed," the crime is aggravated and is more heavily punished, with the capital punishment.
The gravamen of the offense in its simplest form is, basically, the fact of possession of a firearm without license. The crime may be
denominated simple illegal possession, to distinguish it from its aggravated form. It is Aggravated if the unlicensed firearm is use
d in thecommission of a homicide or murder under the Revised Penal Code. But the homicide or murder is not absorbed in the c
rime of possession of an unlicensed firearm; neither is the latter absorbed in the former. There are two distinct crimes that are her
e spoken of. One is unlawfulpossession of a firearm, which may be either simple or aggravated, defined and punished respectiv
ely by the first and second paragraphs of Section 1 of PD 1866. The other is homicide or murder, committed with the use of an un
licensed firearm. The mere possession of afirearm without legal authority consummates the crime under P.D. 1866, and the liabilit
y for illegal possession is made heavier by the firearm's use in a killing. The killing, whether homicide or murder, is obviously distinct
from the act of possession, and is separately punishedand defined under the Revised Penal Code. (emphasis supplied)
In Jumamoy, we reiterated Caling and amplified the rationale on why an accused who kills another with an unlicensed firearm
can be prosecuted and punished for the two separate offenses of violation of the second paragraph of Section 1 of P.D. No.
1866 and for homicide or murder under the Revised Penal Code. Thus:
Coming to the charge of illegal possession of firearms, Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866 penalizes, inter alia, the unlawful possession of
firearms or ammunition with reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua. However, under the second
paragraph thereof, the penalty is increased to death if homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed
firearm. It may thus be loosely said that homicide or murder qualifies the offense because both are circumstances which increas
e the penalty. It does not, however, follow that thehomicide or murder is absorbed in the offense. If these were to be so, an ano
malous absurdity would result whereby a more serious crime defined and penalized under the Revised Penal Code will be absor
bed by a statutory offense, one which is merely malum prohibitum. Hence, the killing of a person with the use of an unlicensed fir
earm may give rise to separate prosecutions for (a) the violation of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866 and (b) the violation of either Articl
e 248 (Murder) or Article 249 (Homicide) of the Revised Penal Code. The accused cannot plead one to bar the other; stated
otherwise, the rule against double jeopardy cannot be invoked as the first is punished by a special law while the second - Murder
or Homicide - is punished by the Revised Penal Code. [citing People vs. Tiozon, 198 SCRA 368, 379 (1991); People vs. Doriguez, 24
SCRA 163 (1968)]. Considering, however, that the imposition of the death penalty is prohibited by the Constitution, the proper
imposable penalty would be the penalty next lower in degree, or reclusion perpetua. (emphasis supplied)
In Deunida, in discussing the propriety of the Government's action in withdrawing an information for murder and pursuing only
the information for "Qualified Illegal Possession of Firearm," this Court categorically declared:
At the outset, it must be stressed that, contrary to the prosecution's legal position in withdrawing the information for murder, the
offense defined in the second paragraph of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866 does not absorb the crime of homicide or murder under
the Revised Penal Code and, therefore, does not bar the simultaneous or subsequent prosecution of the latter crime. The 1982
decision in Lazaro vs. People, involving the violation of P.D. No. 9, which the investigating prosecutor invokes to justify the
withdrawal, is no longer controlling in view of our decisions in People vs. Tac-an, People vs. Tiozon, and People vs. Caling.
In Somooc, we once more ruled:
The offense charged by the Information is clear enough from the terms of that document, although both the Information and
the decision of the trial court used the term "Illegal Possession of Firearm with Homicide," a phrase which has sometimes been
supposed to connote a "complex crime as used in the Revised Penal Code. Such nomenclature is, however, as we have ruled
in People vs. Caling, a misnomer since there is no complex crime of illegal possession of firearm with homicide. The gravamen of
the offense penalized in P.D. No. 1866 is the fact of possession of a firearm without a license or authority for such possession. This
offense is aggravated and the imposable penalty upgraded if the unlicensed firearm is shown to have been used in the
commission of homicide or murder, offenses penalized under the Revised Penal Code. The killing of a human being, whether
characterized as homicide or murder, is patently distinct from the act of possession of an unlicensed firearm and is separately
punished under the provisions of the Revised Penal Code.
The foregoing doctrine suffered a setback when in our decision of 27 June 1995 in People vs. Barros,[43] we set aside that portion
of the appealed decision convicting the appellant of the offense of murder and affirmed that portion convicting him of illegal
possession of firearm in its aggravated form. We therein made the following statement:
[A]ppellant may not in the premises be convicted of two separate offenses [of illegal possession of firearm in its aggravated form
and of murder], but only that of illegal possession of firearm in its aggravated form, in light of the legal principles and propositions
set forth in the separate opinion of Mr. Justice Florenz D. Regalado, to which the Members of the Division, the ponente included,
subscribe.
The pertinent portions of the separate opinion of Mr. Justice Florenz D. Regalado referred to therein read as follows:
This premise accordingly brings up the second query as to whether or not the crime should properly be the aggravated illegal
possession of an unlicensed firearm through the use of which a homicide or murder is committed. It is submitted that an
accused so situated should be liable only for the graver offense of aggravated illegal possession of the firearm punished by
death under the second paragraph of Section 1, Presidential Decree No. 1866, and it is on this point that the writer dissents from
the holding which would impose a separate penalty for the homicide in addition to that for the illegal possession of the firearm
used to commit the former.
If the possession of the unlicensed firearm is the only offense imputable to the accused, the Court has correctly held that to be
the simple possession punished with reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua in the first paragraph of
Section 1. Where, complementarily, the unlicensed firearm is used to commit homicide or murder, then either of these felonies
will convert the erstwhile simple illegal possession into the graver offense of aggravated illegal possession. In other words, the
homicide or murder constitutes the essential element for integrating into existence the capital offense of the aggravated for m of
illegal possession of a firearm. Legally, therefore, it would be illogical and unjustifiable to use the very same offenses of homicide
or murder as integral elements of and to create the said capital offense, and then treat the former all over again as
independent offenses to be separately punished further, with penalties immediately following the death penalty to boot.
The situation contemplated in the second query is, from the punitive standpoint, virtually of the nature of the so-called, special
complex crimes," which should more appropriately be called composite crimes, punished in Article 294, Article 297 and Article
335. They are neither of the same legal basis as nor subject to the rules on complex crimes in Article 48, since they do not consi st
of a single act giving rise to two or more grave or less grave felonies nor do they involve an offense being a necessary means to
commit another. However, just like the regular complex crimes and the present case of aggravated illegal possession of
firearms, only a single penalty is imposed for each of such composite crimes although composed of two or more offenses.
On the other hand, even if two felonies would otherwise have been covered by the conceptual definition of a complex crime
under Article 48, but the Code imposes a single definite penalty therefor, it cannot also be punished as a complex crime, much
less as separate offense, but with only the single penalty prescribed by law. Thus, even where a single act results in two less
grave felonies of serious physical injuries and serious slander by deed, the offense will not be punished as
a delito compuesto under Article 48 but as less serious physical injuries with ignominy under the second paragraph of Article
265. The serious slander by deed is integrated into and produces a graver offense, and the former is no longer separately
punished.
What is, therefore, sought to be stressed by such alternative illustration, as well as the discussion on complex and composite
crimes, is that when an offense becomes a component of another, the resultant crime being correspondingly punished as thus
aggravated by the integration of the other, the former is not to be further separately punished as the majority would want to do
with the homicide involved in the case at bar.
With the foregoing answers to the second question, the third inquiry is more of a question of classification for purposes of the
other provisions of the Code. The theory in Tac-an that the principal offense is the aggravated form of illegal possession of
firearm and the killing shall merely be included in the particulars or, better still, as an element of the principal offense, may be
conceded. After all, the plurality of crimes here is actually source from the very provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1866 which
sought to "consolidate, codify and integrate" the various laws and presidential decrees to harmonize their provision" which must
be updated and revised in order to more effectively deter violators of said laws.
This would be akin to the legislative intendment underlying the provisions of the Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972, wherein the
principal crime to be charged is still carnapping, although the penalty therefore is increased when the owner, driver or
occupant of the carnapped vehicle is killed. The same situation, with escalating punitive provisions when attended by a killing,
are found in the Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery Law of 1974 and the Anti-Cattle Rustling Law of 1974, wherein the
principal crimes still are piracy, highway robbery and cattle rustling. Also, in the matter of destructive arson, the principal offense
when, inter alia, death results as a consequence of the commission of any of the acts punished under said article of the Code.
In the present case, the academic value of specifying whether it is a case of illegal possession of firearm resulting in homicide or
murder, or, conversely, homicide or murder through the illegal possession and use of an unlicensed firearm, would lie in the
possible application of the provision on recidivism. Essentially, it would be in the theoretical realm since, taken either way, the
penalty for aggravated illegal possession of a firearm is the single indivisible penalty of death, in which case the provision on
recidivism would not apply. If, however, the illegal possession is not established but either homicide or murder is proved, then the
matter of recidivism may have some significance in the sense that, for purposes thereof, the accused was convicted of a crime
against persons and he becomes a recidivist upon conviction of another crime under the same title of the Code.
Lastly, on the matter of the offense or offenses to be considered and the penalty to be imposed when the unlawful killing and
the illegal possession are charged in separate informations, from what has been said the appropriate course of action would be
to consolidate the cases and render a joint decision thereon, imposing a single penalty for aggravated illegal possession of
firearm if such possession and the unlawful taking of life shall have been proved, or for only the proven offense which may be
either simple illegal possession, homicide or murder perse. The same procedural rule and substantive disposition should be
adopted if one information for each offense was drawn up and these informations were individually assigned to different courts
or branches of the same court.
Indeed, the practice of charging the offense of illegal possession separately from the homicide or murder could be susceptibl e
of abuse since it entails undue concentration of prosecutorial powers and discretion. Prefatorily, the fact that the killing was
committed with a firearm will necessarily be known to the police or prosecutorial agencies, the only probable problem being the
determination and obtention of evidence to show that the firearm is unlicensed.
Now, if a separate information for homicide or murder is filed without alleging therein that the same was committed by means of
an unlicensed firearm, the case would not fall under Presidential Decree No. 1866. Even if the use of a firearm is alleged therein,
but without alleging the lack of a license therefor as where that fact has not yet been verified, the mere use of a firearm by itself,
even if proved in that case, would not affect the accused either since it is not an aggravating or qualifying circumstance.
Conversely, if the information is only for illegal possession, with the prosecution intending to file thereafter the charge for
homicide or murder but the same is inexplicably delayed or is not consolidated wi th the information for illegal possession, then
any conviction that may result from the former would only be for simple illegal possession. If, on the other hand, the separate
and subsequent prosecution for homicide or murder prospers, the objective of Presidential Decree No. 1866 cannot be achieved
since the penalty imposable in that second prosecution will only be for the unlawful killing and further subject to such modi fying
circumstances as may be proved.
In any event, the foregoing contingencies would run counter to the proposition that the real offense committed by the accused,
and for which sole offense he should be punished, is the aggravated form of illegal possession of a firearm. Further, it is the
writer's position that the possible problems projected herein may be minimized or obviated if both offenses involved are charged
in only one information or that the trial thereof, if separately charged, be invariably consolidated for joint decision. Conjointly,
this is the course necessarily indicated since only a single composite crime is actually involved and it is palpable error to deal
therewith and dispose thereof by segregated parts in piecemeal fashion.
If we follow Barros, the conviction of the appellant for murder in Criminal Case No. 8178 must have to be set aside. He should
only suffer the penalty for the aggravated illegal possession of firearm in Criminal Case No. 8179.
The Court en banc finds in this appeal an opportunity to reexamine the existing conflicting doctrines applicable to prosecutions
for murder or homicide and for aggravated illegal possession of firearm in instances where an unlicensed firearm is used in the
killing of a person. After a lengthy deliberation thereon, the Court en banc arrived at the conclusion that the rule laid down
in Tac-an, reiterated in Tiozon, Caling, Jumamoy, Deunida, Tiongco, Fernandez, and Somooc is the better rule, for it applies the
laws concerned according to their letter and spirit, thereby steering this Court away from a dangerous course which could have
irretrievably led it to an inexcusable breach of the doctrine of separation of powers through Judicial legislation. That rule upholds
and enhances the lawmaker's intent or purpose in aggravating the crime of illegal possession of firearm when an unlicensed
firearm is used in the commission of murder or homicide. Contrary to the view of our esteemed brother, Mr. Justice Florenz D.
Regalado, in his Concurring and Dissenting Opinion in the case under consideration, Tac-an did not enunciate an unfortunate
doctrine or a "speciously camouflaged theory" which "constitutes an affront on doctrinal concepts of penal law and assails
even the ordinary notions of common sense."
If Tac-an did in fact enunciate such an "unfortunate doctrine," which this Court has reiterated in a convincing number of cases
and for a convincing number of years, so must the same verdict be made in our decision in People vs. De Gracia,[44] which was
promulgated on 6 July 1994. In the latter case, we held that unlawful possession of an unlicensed firearm in furtherance of
rebellion may give rise to separate prosecutions for a violation of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866 and also for a violation of Articles 134
and 135 of the Revised Penal Code on rebellion. A distinction between that situation and the case where an unlicensed firearm
is used in homicide or murder would have no basis at all. In De Gracia, this Court, speaking through Mr. Justice Florenz D.
Regalado, made the following authoritative pronouncements:
III. As earlier stated, it was stipulated and admitted by both parties that from November 30, 1989 up to and until December 9,
1989, there was a rebellion. Ergo, our next inquiry is whether or not appellant's possession of the firearms, explosives and
ammunition seized and recovered from him was for the purpose and in furtherance of rebellion.
The trial court found accused guilty of illegal possession of firearms in furtherance of rebellion pursuant to paragraph 2 of Article
135 of the Revised Penal Code which states that "any person merely participating or executing the command of others in a
rebellion shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period." The court below held that appellant De Gracia, who had
been servicing the personal needs of Col. Matillano (whose active armed opposition against the Government, particularly at the
Camelot Hotel, was well known), is guilty of the act of guarding the explosives and "molotov bombs for and in behalf of the
latter. We accept this finding of the lower court.
The above provision of the law was, however, erroneously and improperly used by the court below as a basis in determining the
degree of liability of appellant and the penalty to be imposed on
him. It must be made clear that appellant is charged with the qualified offense ofillegal possession of firearms in furtherance of r
ebellion under Presidential Decree No. 1866 which, in law, is distinct from the crime of rebellion punished under Article 134 and 13
5 of the Revised Penal Code. There are two separate statutes penalizing different offenses withdiscrete penalties. The Revised P
enal Code treats rebellion as a crime apart from murder, homicide, arson, or other offenses, such as illegal possession of firearms,
that might conceivably be committed in the course of a rebellion. Presidential Decree No. 1866 defines andpunishes, as a speci
fic offense, the crime of illegal possession of firearms committed in the course or as part of a rebellion.
As a matter of fact, in one case involving the constitutionality of Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1866, the Court has explain
ed that said provision of the law will not be invalidated by the mere fact that the same act is penalized under two different statut
es with differentpenalties, even if considered highly advantageous to the prosecution and onerous to the accused. It follows tha
t, subject to the presence of requisite elements in each case, unlawful possession of an unlicensed firearm in furtherance of rebel
lion may give rise to separateprosecutions for a violation of Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1866, and also a violation of Artic
les 134 and 135 of the Revised Penal Code on rebellion. Double jeopardy in this case cannot be invoked because the first is an o
ffense punished by a special law while thesecond is a felony punished by the Revised Penal Code with variant elements.
We cannot justify what we did in De Gracia with a claim that the virtue of fidelity to a controlling doctrine, i.e., of Tac-an, had
compelled us to do so. Indeed, if Tac-an enunciated an "unfortunate doctrine" which is "an affront on doctrinal concepts of
penal law and assails even the ordinary notions of common sense," then De Gracia should have blazed the trail of a new
enlightenment and forthwith set aside the "unfortunate doctrine" without any delay to camouflage a judicial faux pas or a
doctrinal quirk. De Gracia provided an excellent vehicle for an honorable departure from Tac-an because no attack on the
latter was necessary as the former merely involved other crimes to which the doctrine in Tac-an might only be applied by
analogy. De Gracia did not even intimate the need to reexamine Tac-an; on the contrary, it adapted the latter to another
category of illegal possession of firearm qualified by rebellion precisely because the same legal principle and legislative purpose
were involved, and not because De Gracia wanted to perpetuate an "unfortunate doctrine" or to embellish "the expanding
framework of our criminal law from barnacled ideas which have not grown apace with conceptual changes over time," as the
concurring and dissenting opinion charges.
The majority now reiterates the doctrine in Tac-an and the subsequent cases not because it has become hostage to the "inertia
of time [which] has always been the obstacle to the virtues of change," as the concurring and dissenting opinion finds it to be,
but rather because it honestly believes that Tac-an laid down the correct doctrine. If P.D. No. 1866 as applied in Tac-an is an
"affront on doctrinal concepts of penal laws and assails even the ordinary notions of common sense," the blame must not be laid
at the doorsteps of this Court, but on the lawmaker's. All that the Court did in Tac-an was to apply the law, for there was nothing
in that case that warranted an interpretation or the application of the niceties of legal hermeneutics. It did not forget that its
duty is merely to apply the law in such a way that shall not usurp legislative powers by judicial legislation and that in the course of
such application or construction it should not make or supervise legislation, or under the guise of interpretation modify, revise,
amend, distort, remodel, or rewrite the law, or give the law a construction which is repugnant to its terms.[45]
Murder and homicide are defined and penalized by the Revised Penal Code[46] as crimes against persons. They
are mala in se because malice or dolo is a necessary ingredient therefor.[47] On the other hand, the offense of illegal possession
of firearm is defined and punished by a special penal law,[48] P.D. No. 1866. It is a malum prohibitum[49] which the lawmaker,
then President Ferdinand E. Marcos, in the exercise of his martial law powers, so condemned not only because of its nature but
also because of the larger policy consideration of containing or reducing, if not eliminating, the upsurge of crimes vitally
affecting public order and safety due to the proliferation of illegally possessed and manufactured firearms, ammunition, and
explosives. If intent to commit the crime were required, enforcement of the decree and its policy or purpose would be difficult
to achieve. Hence, there is conceded wisdom in punishing illegal possession of firearm without taking into account the criminal
intent of the possessor. All that is needed is intent to perpetrate the act prohibited by law, coupled, of course,
by animus possidendi. However, it must be clearly understood that this animus possidendi is without regard to any other criminal
or felonious intent which an accused may have harbored in possessing the firearm.[50]
A long discourse then on the concepts of malum in se and malum prohibilum and their distinctions is an exercise in futility.
We disagree for lack of basis the following statements of Mr. Justice Regalado in his Concurring and Dissenting Opinion, to wit:
The second paragraph of the aforestated Section 1 expressly and unequivocally provides for such illegal possession and resultant
killing as a single integrated offense which is punished as such. The majority not only created two offenses by dividing a single
offense into two but, worse, it resorted to the unprecedented and invalid act of treating the original offense as a single
integrated crime and then creating another offense by using a component crime which is also an element of the former.
It would already have been a clear case of judicial legislation if the illegal possession with murder punished with a single penalty
have been divided into two separate offenses of illegal possession and murder with distinct penalties. It is consequently a
compounded infringement of legislative powers for this Court to now, as it has done, treat that single offense as specifically
described by the law and impose reclusion perpetua therefor (since the death penalty for that offense is still proscribed), but
then proceed further by plucking out therefrom the crime of murder in order to be able to impose the death sentence. For
indeed, on this score, it is beyond cavil that in the aggravated form of illegal possession, the consequential murder (or homicide)
is an integrated element or integral component since without the accompanying death, the crime woul d merely be simple
illegal possession of a firearm under the first paragraph of Section 1.
The second paragraph of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866 does not warrant and support a conclusion that it intended to treat "illegal
possession and resultant killing" (emphasis supplied) "as a single and integrated offense" of illegal possession with homicide or
murder. It does not use the clause as a result or on the occasion of to evince an intention to create a single integrated
crime. By its unequivocal and explicit language, which we quote to be clearly understood:
If homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm, the penalty of death shall be imposed. (emphasis
supplied)
the crime of either homicide or murder is committed NOT AS A RESULT OR ON THE OCCASION of the violation of Section 1, but
WITH THE USE of an unlicensed firearm, whose possession is penalized therein. There is a world of difference, which is too obvious,
between (a) the commission of homicide or murder as a result or on the occasion of the violation of Section 1, and (b) the
commission of homicide or murder with the use of an unlicensed firearm. In the first, homicide or murder is not the original
purpose or primary objective of the offender, but a secondary event or circumstance either resulting from or perpetrated on the
occasion of the commission of that originally or primarily intended. In the second, the killing, which requires a mens rea, is the
primary purpose, and to carry that out effectively the offender uses an unlicensed firearm.
As to the question then of Mr. Justice Regalado of whether this Court should also apply the rule enunciated here to P.D. No. 532
(Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery Law of 1974), P.D. No. 533 (Anti-Cattle Rustling Law of 1974), and P.D. No. 534 (Defining
Illegal Fishing and Prescribing Stiffer Penalties Therefor), the answer is resoundingly in the negative. In those cases, the lawmaker
clearly intended a single integrated offense or a special complex offense because the death therein occurs
as a result or on the occasion of the commission of the offenses therein penalized or was not the primary purpose of the
offender, unlike in the second paragraph of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866. Thus, (a) Section 3 of P.D. No. 532 provides:

SEC. 3. Penalties. -- Any person who commits piracy or highway robbery/brigandage as herein defined, shall, upon conviction by
competent court be punished by:
a. Piracy. - The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium and maximum periods shall be imposed. If physical injuries or other
crimes are committed as a result or on the occasion thereof, the penalty of reclusion perpetua shall be imposed. If
rape, murder or homicide iscommitted as a result or on the occasion of piracy, or when the offenders abandoned the victims
without means of saving themselves, or when the seizure is accomplished by firing upon or boarding a vessel, the mandatory
penalty of death shall be imposed.
b. Highway Robbery/Brigandage.-- The penalty of reclusion temporal in its minimum period shall be imposed. If physical injuries
or other crimes are committed during or on the occasion of the commission of robbery or brigandage, the penalty
of reclusion temporal in its medium and maximum periods shall be imposed. If kidnapping for ransom or extortion,
or murder or homicide, or rape is committed as a result or on the occasion thereof, the penalty of death shall be
imposed. (emphasis supplied)
(b) Section 8 of P.D. No. 533 reads in part as follows:

SEC. 8. Penal provisions. -- Any person convicted of cattle rustling as herein defined shall, irrespective of the value of the large
cattle involved, be punished by prision mayor in its maximum period to reclusion temporal in its medium period if the offense is
committed without violence against or intimidation of persons or force upon things. If the offense is committed with violence
against or intimidation of persons or force upon things, the penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period
to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed. If a person isseriously injured
or killed as a result or on the occasion of the commission of cattle rustling, the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death shall be im
posed. (emphasis supplied)
and (c) Section 3 of P.D. No. 534 reads as follows:

SECTION. 3. Penalties.-- Violations of this Decree and the rules and regulations mentioned in paragraph (f) of Section 1 hereof
shall be punished as follows:
a. by imprisonment from 10 to 12 years, if explosives are used: Provided, that if the explosion results (1) in physical injury to
person, the penalty shall be imprisonment from 12 to 20 years, or
(2) in the loss of human life, then the penalty shall be imprisonment from 20 yearsto life, or death;
b. by imprisonment from 8 to 10 years, if obnoxious or poisonous substances are
used: Provided, that if the use of such substances results (1) in physical injury to any person, the penalty shall be imprisonment
from 10 to 12 years, or (2) in the loss of human life, then thepenalty shall be imprisonment from 20 years to life, or death; x x x
(emphasis supplied)
The unequivocal intent of the second paragraph of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866 is to respect and preserve homicide or murder as
a distinct offense penalized under the Revised Penal Code and to increase the penalty for illegal possession of firearm where
such a firearm is used in killing a person. Its clear language yields no intention of the lawmaker to repeal or
modify, pro tanto, Articles 248 and 249 of the Revised Penal Code, in such a way that if an unlicensed firearm is used in the
commission of homicide or murder, either of these crimes, as the case may be, would only serve to aggravate the offense of
illegal possession of firearm and would not anymore be separately punished. Indeed, the words of the subject provision are
palpably clear to exclude any suggestion that either of the crimes of homicide and murder, as crimes mala in se under the
Revised Penal Code, is obliterated as such and reduced as a mere aggravating circumstance in illegal possession of firearm
whenever the unlicensed firearm is used in killing a person. The only purpose of the provision is to increase the penalty
prescribed in the first paragraph of Section 1 -- reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua --
to death, seemingly because of the accused's manifest arrogant defiance and contempt of the law in using an unlicensed
weapon to kill another, but never, at the same time, to absolve the accused from any criminal liability for the death of the victim.
Neither is the second paragraph of Section 1 meant to punish homicide or murder with death if either crime is committed with
the use of an unlicensed firearm, i.e., to consider such use merely as a qualifying circumstance and not as an offense. That
could not have been the intention of the lawmaker because the term "penalty" in the subject provision is obviously meant to be
the penalty for illegal possession of firearm and not the penalty for homicide or murder. We explicitly stated in Tac-an:
There is no law which renders the use of an unlicensed firearm as an aggravating circumstance in homicide or murder. Under an
information charging homicide or murder, the fact that the death weapon was an unlicensed firearm cannot be used to
increase the penalty for the second offense of homicide or murder to death .... The essential point is that the unlicensed
character or condition of the instrument used in destroying human life or committing some other crime, is not included in the
inventory of aggravating circumstances set out in Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code.
A law may, of course, be enacted making the use of an unlicensed firearm as a qualifying circumstance. This would not be
without precedent. By analogy, we can cite Section 17 of B.P. Blg. 179, which amended the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 (R.A.
No. 6425). The said section provides that when an offender commits a crime under a state of addiction, such a state shall be
considered as a qualifying aggravating circumstance in the definition of the crime and the application of the penalty under the
Revised Penal Code.
In short, there is nothing in P.D. No. 1866 that manifests, even vaguely, a legislative intent to decriminalize homicide or murder if
either crime is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm, or to convert the offense of illegal possession of firearm as a
qualifying circumstance if the firearm so illegally possessed is used in the commission of homicide or murder. To charge the
lawmaker with that intent is to impute an absurdity that would defeat the clear intent to preserve the law on homicide and
murder and impose a higher penalty for illegal possession of firearm if such firearm is used in the commission of homicide or
murder.
Evidently, the majority did not, as charged in the concurring and dissenting opinion, create two offenses by dividing a single
offense into two. Neither did it resort to the "unprecedented and invalid act of treating the original offense as a single integrated
crime and then creating another offense by using a component crime which is also an element of the former." The majority has
always maintained that the killing of a person with the use of an illegally possessed firearm gives rise to two separate offenses of
(a) homicide or murder under the Revised Penal Code, and (b) illegal possession of firearm in its aggravated form.
What then would be a clear case of judicial legislation is an interpretation of the second paragraph of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866
that would make it define and punish a single integrated offense and give to the words WITH THE USE OF a similar meaning as the
words AS A RESULT OR ON THE OCCASION OF, a meaning which is neither born out by the letter of the law nor supported by its
intent. Worth noting is the rule in statutory construction that if a statute is clear, plain, and free from ambiguity, it must be given its
literal meaning and applied without attempted interpretation,[51] leaving the court no room for any extended ratiocination or
rationalization of the law.[52]
Peregrinations into the field of penology such as on the concept of a single integrated crime or composite crimes, or into the
philosophical domain of integration of the essential elements of one crime to that of another would then be unnecessary in li ght
of the clear language and indubitable purpose and intent of the second paragraph of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866. The realm of
penology, the determination of what should be criminalized, the definition of crimes, and the prescription of penalties are the
exclusive prerogatives of the legislature. As its wisdom may dictate, the legislature may even create from a single act or
transaction various offenses for different purposes subject only to the limitations set forth by the Constitution. This Court cannot
dictate upon the legislature to respect the orthodox view concerning a single integrated crime or composite crimes.
The only apparent obstacle to the imposition of cumulative penalties for various acts is the rule on double jeopardy. This brings
us to the proposition in the dissenting opinion of Mr. Justice Regalado that the majority view offends the constitutional bar
against double jeopardy under the "same-evidence" test enunciated in People vs. Diaz.[53] He then concludes:
In the cases now before us, it is difficult to assume that the evidence for the murder in the first charge of aggravated illegal
possession of firearm with murder would be different from the evidence to be adduced in the subsequent charge for murder
alone. In the second charge, the illegal possession is not in issue, except peripherally and inconsequentially since it is not an
element or modifying circumstance in the second charge, hence the evidence therefor is immaterial. But, in both prosecutions,
the evidence on murder is essential, in the first charge because without it the crime is only simple illegal possession, and, in the
second charge, because murder is the very subject of the prosecution. Assuming that all the other requirements under Section
7, Rule 117 are present, can it be doubted that double jeopardy is necessarily present and can be validly raised to bar the
second prosecution for murder?
In fact, we can extrapolate the constitutional and reglementary objection to the cases of the other composite crimes for which
a single penalty is imposed, such as the complex, compound and so-called special complex crimes. Verily, I cannot conceive of
how a person convicted of estafa through falsification under Article 48 can be validly prosecuted anew for the same offense or
either estafa or falsification; or how the accused convicted of robbery with homicide under Article 294 can be legally charged
again with either of the same component crimes of robbery or homicide; or how the convict who was found guilty of rape with
homicide under Article 335 can be duly haled before the court again to face charges of either the same rape or
homicide. Why, then, do we now sanction a second prosecution for murder in the cases at bar since the very same offense was
an indispensable component for the other composite offense of illegal possession of firearm with murder? Why would the
objection of non bis in idim as a bar to a second jeopardy lie in the preceding examples and not apply to the cases now before
us?
We are unable to agree to the proposition. For one, the issue of double jeopardy is not raised in this case. For another, the so-
called "same-evidence" test is not a conclusive, much less exclusive, test in double jeopardy cases of the first category under the
Double Jeopardy Clause which is covered by Section 21, Article III of the Constitution and which reads as follows:
No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense. If an act is punished by a law and an ordinance,
conviction or acquittal under either shall constitute a bar to another prosecution for the same act.
Note that the first category speaks of the same offense. The second refers to the same act. This was explicitly distinguished
in Yap vs. Lutero,[54] from where People vs. Relova[55] quotes the following:
Thirdly, our Bill of Rights deals with two (2) kinds of double jeopardy. The first sentence of clause 20, Section 1, Article III of the
Constitution, ordains that "no person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense." (italics in the original)
The second sentence of said clause provides that "if an act is punishable by a law and an ordinance, conviction or acquittal
under either shall constitute a bar to another prosecution for the same act." Thus, the first sentence prohibits double jeopardy of
punishment for the same offense whereas, the second contemplates double jeopardy of punishment for the same act. Under
the first sentence, one may be twice put in jeopardy of punishment of the same act, provided that he is charged with different
offenses, or the offense charged in one case is not included in, or does not include, the crime charged in the other case. The
second sentence applies, even if the offenses charged are not the same, owing to the fact that one constitutes a violation of an
ordinance and the other a violation of a statute. If the two charges are based on one and the same act, conviction or acquittal
under either the law or the ordinance shall bar a prosecution under the other. Incidentally, such conviction or acquittal is not
indispensable to sustain the plea of double jeopardy of punishment for the same offense. So long as jeopardy has been
attached under one of the informations charging said offense, the defense may be availed of in the other case involving the
same offense, even if there has been neither conviction nor acquittal in either case.
Elsewise stated, where the offenses charged are penalized either by different sections of the same statute or by different
statutes, the important inquiry relates to the identity of offenses charged. The constitutional protection against double jeopardy
is available only where an identity is shown to exist between the earlier and the subsequent offenses charged.[56] The question
of identity or lack of identity of offenses is addressed by examining the essential elements of each of the two offenses charged,
as such elements are set out in the respective legislative definitions of the offenses involved.[57]
It may be noted that to determine the same offense under the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the
Constitution of the United States of America which reads:
[N]or shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb . . . .
the rule applicable is the following: "where the same act or transaction constitutes a violation of two distinct statutory provisions,
the test to be applied to determine whether there are two offenses or only one, is whether each provision requires proof of an
additional fact which the other does not."[58]
The Double Jeopardy Clause of the Constitution of the United States of America was brought to the Philippines through the
Philippine Bill of 1 July 1902, whose Section 5 provided, inter alia:
[N]o person for the same offense shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment . . . .
This provision was carried over in identical words in Section 3 of the Jones Law of 29 August 1916.[59] Then under the 1935
Constitution, the Jones Law provision was recast with the addition of a provision referring to the same act. Thus, paragraph 20,
Section 1, Article III thereof provided as follows:
No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense. If an act is punished by a law and an ordinance,
conviction or acquittal under either shall constitute a bar to another prosecution for the same act.
This was adopted verbatim in Section 22, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution and in Section 21, Article III of the present
Constitution.
This additional-element test in Lutero and Relova and in Blockburger, Gore, and Missouri would safely bring the second
paragraph of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866 out of the proscribed double jeopardy principle. For, undeniably, the elements of illegal
possession of firearm in its aggravated form are different from the elements of homicide or murder, let alone the fact that these
crimes are defined and penalized under different laws and the former is malum prohibitum, while both the latter are mala in
se. Hence, the fear that the majority's construction of the subject provision would violate the constitutional bar against double
jeopardy is unfounded.
The penalty which the trial court imposed in Criminal Case No. 8179 for illegal possession of firearm in its aggravated form must,
however, be modified. The penalty prescribed by P.D. No. 1866 is death. Since Section 19(1), Article III of the Constitution
prohibits the imposition of the death penalty, the penalty next lower in degree, reclusion perpetual must be imposed.
WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is DISMISSED, and the challenged decision of 30 September 1993 of Branch 1 of the Regional Trial
Court of Bohol finding accused-appellant DANIEL QUIJADA y CIRCULADO guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
murder in Criminal Case No. 8178 and of illegal possession of firearm in its aggravated form in Criminal Case No. 8179 is
AFFIRMED. The penalty imposed in the first case, as amended by the Order of 29 October 1993, is sustained; however, the
penalty imposed in the second case is changed to Reclusion Perpetua from the indeterminate penalty ranging from Seventeen
(17) years, Four (4) months, and One (1) day, as minimum, to Twenty (20) years and One (1) day, as maximum.
Costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED.
Padilla, Bellosillo, Melo, Francisco, Panganiban, and Torres, Jr., JJ., concur.
Narvasa, C.J., Romero, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, JJ., joined J. Regalado in his concurring and dissenting opinion.
Regalado, J., see concurring and dissenting opinion.
Hermosisima, J., see concurring opinion.


G.R. No. 92163 June 5, 1990
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS. JUAN PONCE ENRILE, petitioner
vs.
JUDGE JAIME SALAZAR (Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City [Br. 103], SENIOR STATE PROSECUTOR AURELIO
TRAMPE, PROSECUTOR FERDINAND R. ABESAMIS, AND CITY ASSISTANT CITY PROSECUTOR EULOGIO MANANQUIL, NATIONAL BUREAU
OF INVESTIGATION DIRECTOR ALFREDO LIM, BRIG. GEN. EDGAR DULA TORRES (Superintendent of the Northern Police District) AND/
OR ANY AND ALL PERSONS WHO MAY HAVE ACTUAL CUSTODY OVER THE PERSON OF JUAN PONCE ENRILE, respondents.
G.R. No. 92164 June 5, 1990
SPS. REBECCO E. PANLILIO AND ERLINDA E. PANLILIO, petitioners,
vs.
PROSECUTORS FERNANDO DE LEON, AURELIO C. TRAMPE, FFRDINAND R. ABESAMIS, AND EULOGIO C. MANANQUIL, and HON.
JAIME W. SALAZAR, JR., in his capacity as Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Quezon City, Branch 103, respondents.

NARVASA, J.:
Thirty-four years after it wrote history into our criminal jurisprudence, People vs. Hernandez 1 once more takes center stage as the
focus of a confrontation at law that would re-examine, if not the validity of its doctrine, the limits of its applicability. To be sure,
the intervening period saw a number of similar cases 2 that took issue with the ruling-all with a marked lack of success-but none,
it would Beem, where season and circumstance had more effectively conspired to attract wide public attention and excite
impassioned debate, even among laymen; none, certainly, which has seen quite the kind and range of arguments that are now
brought to bear on the same question.
The facts are not in dispute. In the afternoon of February 27, 1990, Senate Minority Floor Leader Juan Ponce Enrile was arrested
by law enforcement officers led by Director Alfredo Lim of the National Bureau of Investigation on the strength of a warrant
issued by Hon. Jaime Salazar of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City Branch 103, in Criminal Case No. 9010941. The warrant
had issued on an information signed and earlier that day filed by a panel of prosecutors composed of Senior State Prosecutor
Aurelio C. Trampe, State Prosecutor Ferdinand R. Abesamis and Assistant City Prosecutor Eulogio Mananquil, Jr., charging
Senator Enrile, the spouses Rebecco and Erlinda Panlilio, and Gregorio Honasan with the crime of rebellion with murder and
multiple frustrated murder allegedly committed during the period of the failed coup attempt from November 29 to December
10, 1990. Senator Enrile was taken to and held overnight at the NBI headquarters on Taft Avenue, Manila, without bail, none
having been recommended in the information and none fixed in the arrest warrant. The following morning, February 28, 1990, he
was brought to Camp Tomas Karingal in Quezon City where he was given over to the custody of the Superintendent of the
Northern Police District, Brig. Gen. Edgardo Dula Torres. 3
On the same date of February 28, 1990, Senator Enrile, through counsel, filed the petition for habeas corpusherein (which was
followed by a supplemental petition filed on March 2, 1990), alleging that he was deprived of his constitutional rights in being, or
having been:
(a) held to answer for criminal offense which does not exist in the statute books;
(b) charged with a criminal offense in an information for which no complaint was initially filed or preliminary investigation was
conducted, hence was denied due process;
(c) denied his right to bail; and
(d) arrested and detained on the strength of a warrant issued without the judge who issued it first having personally determi ned
the existence of probable cause. 4
The Court issued the writ prayed for, returnable March 5, 1990 and set the plea for hearing on March 6, 1990. 5On March 5, 1990,
the Solicitor General filed a consolidated return 6 for the respondents in this case and in G.R. No. 92164 7 Which had been
contemporaneously but separately filed by two of Senator Enrile's co-accused, the spouses Rebecco and Erlinda Panlilio, and
raised similar questions. Said return urged that the petitioners' case does not fall within the Hernandez ruling because-and this is
putting it very simply-the information in Hernandez charged murders and other common crimes committed as a necessary
means for the commission of rebellion, whereas the information against Sen. Enrile et al. charged murder and frustrated murder
committed on the occasion, but not in furtherance, of rebellion. Stated otherwise, the Solicitor General would distinguish
between the complex crime ("delito complejo") arising from an offense being a necessary means for committing another, which
is referred to in the second clause of Article 48, Revised Penal Code, and is the subject of the Hernandez ruling, and the
compound crime ("delito compuesto") arising from a single act constituting two or more grave or less grave offenses referred to
in the first clause of the same paragraph, with which Hernandez was not concerned and to which, therefore, it should not apply.
The parties were heard in oral argument, as scheduled, on March 6, 1990, after which the Court issued its Resolution of the same
date 8 granting Senator Enrile and the Panlilio spouses provisional liberty conditioned upon their filing, within 24 hours from notice,
cash or surety bonds of P100,000.00 (for Senator Enrile) and P200,000.00 (for the Panlilios), respectively. The Resolution stated that
it was issued without prejudice to a more extended resolution on the matter of the provisional liberty of the petitioners and
stressed that it was not passing upon the legal issues raised in both cases. Four Members of the Court 9 voted against granting
bail to Senator Enrile, and two 10 against granting bail to the Panlilios.
The Court now addresses those issues insofar as they are raised and litigated in Senator Enrile's petition, G.R. No. 92163.
The parties' oral and written pleas presented the Court with the following options:
(a) abandon Hernandez and adopt the minority view expressed in the main dissent of Justice Montemayor in said case that
rebellion cannot absorb more serious crimes, and that under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code rebellion may properly be
complexed with common offenses, so-called; this option was suggested by the Solicitor General in oral argument although it is
not offered in his written pleadings;
(b) hold Hernandez applicable only to offenses committed in furtherance, or as a necessary means for the commission, of
rebellion, but not to acts committed in the course of a rebellion which also constitute "common" crimes of grave or less grave
character;
(c) maintain Hernandez as applying to make rebellion absorb all other offenses committed in its course, whether or not
necessary to its commission or in furtherance thereof.
On the first option, eleven (11) Members of the Court voted against abandoning Hernandez. Two (2) Members felt that the
doctrine should be re-examined. 10-A In the view of the majority, the ruling remains good law, its substantive and logical bases
have withstood all subsequent challenges and no new ones are presented here persuasive enough to warrant a complete
reversal. This view is reinforced by the fact that not too long ago, the incumbent President, exercising her powers under the 1986
Freedom Constitution, saw fit to repeal, among others, Presidential Decree No. 942 of the former regime which precisely sought
to nullify or neutralize Hernandez by enacting a new provision (Art. 142-A) into the Revised Penal Code to the effect that "(w)hen
by reason, or on the occasion, of any of the crimes penalized in this Chapter (Chapter I of Title 3, which includes rebellion), acts
which constitute offenses upon which graver penalties are imposed by law are committed, the penalty for the most serious
offense in its maximum period shall be imposed upon the offender."' 11 In thus acting, the President in effect by legislative flat
reinstated Hernandezas binding doctrine with the effect of law. The Court can do no less than accord it the same recognition,
absent any sufficiently powerful reason against so doing.
On the second option, the Court unanimously voted to reject the theory that Hernandez is, or should be, limited in its application
to offenses committed as a necessary means for the commission of rebellion and that the ruling should not be interpreted as
prohibiting the complexing of rebellion with other common crimes committed on the occasion, but not in furtherance, thereof.
While four Members of the Court felt that the proponents' arguments were not entirely devoid of merit, the consensus was that
they were not sufficient to overcome what appears to be the real thrust of Hernandez to rule out the complexing of rebellion
with any other offense committed in its course under either of the aforecited clauses of Article 48, as is made clear by the
following excerpt from the majority opinion in that case:
There is one other reason-and a fundamental one at that-why Article 48 of our Penal Code cannot be applied in the case at
bar. If murder were not complexed with rebellion, and the two crimes were punished separately (assuming that this could be
done), the following penalties would be imposable upon the movant, namely: (1) for the crime of rebellion, a fine not exceeding
P20,000 and prision mayor, in the corresponding period, depending upon the modifying circumstances present, but never
exceeding 12 years of prision mayor, and (2) for the crime of murder, reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death,
depending upon the modifying circumstances present. in other words, in the absence of aggravating circumstances, the
extreme penalty could not be imposed upon him. However, under Article 48 said penalty would have to be meted out to
him, even in the absence of a single aggravating circumstance. Thus, said provision, if construed in conformity with the theory of
the prosecution, would be unfavorable to the movant.
Upon the other hand, said Article 48 was enacted for the purpose of favoring the culprit, not of sentencing him to a
penalty more severe than that which would be proper if the several acts performed by him were punished separately. In the
words of Rodriguez Navarro:
La unificacion de penas en los casos de concurso de delitos a que hace referencia este articulo (75 del Codigo de 1932), esta
basado francamente en el principio pro reo.' (II Doctrina Penal del Tribunal Supremo de Espana, p. 2168.)
We are aware of the fact that this observation refers to Article 71 (later 75) of the Spanish Penal Code (the counterpart of our
Article 48), as amended in 1908 and then in 1932, reading:
Las disposiciones del articulo anterior no son aplicables en el caso de que un solo hecho constituya dos o mas delitos, o cuando
el uno de ellos sea medio necesario para cometer el otro.
En estos casos solo se impondra la pena correspondiente al delito mas grave en su grado maximo, hasta el limite que represents
la suma de las que pudieran imponerse, penando separadamente los delitos.
Cuando la pena asi computada exceda de este limite, se sancionaran los delitos por separado. (Rodriguez Navarro, Doctrina
Penal del Tribunal Supremo, Vol. II, p. 2163)
and that our Article 48 does not contain the qualification inserted in said amendment, restricting the imposition of the penalty for
the graver offense in its maximum period to the case when it does not exceed the sum total of the penalties imposable if the
acts charged were dealt with separately. The absence of said limitation in our Penal Code does not, to our mind, affect
substantially the spirit of said Article 48. Indeed, if one act constitutes two or more offenses, there can be no reason to i nflict a
punishment graver than that prescribed for each one of said offenses put together. In directing that the penalty for the graver
offense be, in such case, imposed in its maximum period, Article 48 could have had no other purpose than to prescribe a
penalty lower than the aggregate of the penalties for each offense, if imposed separately. The reason for this benevolent spirit of
article 48 is readily discernible. When two or more crimes are the result of a single act, the offender is deemed less perver se than
when he commits said crimes thru separate and distinct acts. Instead of sentencing him for each crime independently from the
other, he must suffer the maximum of the penalty for the more serious one, on the assumption that it is less grave than the sum
total of the separate penalties for each offense. 12
The rejection of both options shapes and determines the primary ruling of the Court, which is that Hernandezremains binding
doctrine operating to prohibit the complexing of rebellion with any other offense committed on the occasion thereof, either as a
means necessary to its commission or as an unintended effect of an activity that constitutes rebellion.
This, however, does not write finis to the case. Petitioner's guilt or innocence is not here inquired into, much less adjudged. That is
for the trial court to do at the proper time. The Court's ruling merely provides a take-off point for the disposition of other questions
relevant to the petitioner's complaints about the denial of his rights and to the propriety of the recourse he has taken.
The Court rules further (by a vote of 11 to 3) that the information filed against the petitioner does in fact charge an offense.
Disregarding the objectionable phrasing that would complex rebellion with murder and multiple frustrated murder, that
indictment is to be read as charging simple rebellion. Thus, in Hernandez, the Court said:
In conclusion, we hold that, under the allegations of the amended information against defendant-appellant Amado V.
Hernandez, the murders, arsons and robberies described therein are mere ingredients of the crime of rebellion allegedly
committed by said defendants, as means "necessary" (4) for the perpetration of said offense of rebellion; that the
crime charged in the aforementioned amended information is, therefore, simple rebellion, not the complex crime of rebellion
with multiple murder, arsons and robberies; that the maximum penalty imposable under such charge cannot exceed twelve (12)
years of prision mayor and a fine of P2H,HHH; and that, in conformity with the policy of this court in dealing with accused persons
amenable to a similar punishment, said defendant may be allowed bail. 13
The plaint of petitioner's counsel that he is charged with a crime that does not exist in the statute books, while technicall y correct
so far as the Court has ruled that rebellion may not be complexed with other offenses committed on the occasion thereof, must
therefore be dismissed as a mere flight of rhetoric. Read in the context of Hernandez, the information does indeed charge the
petitioner with a crime defined and punished by the Revised Penal Code: simple rebellion.
Was the petitioner charged without a complaint having been initially filed and/or preliminary investigation conducted? The
record shows otherwise, that a complaint against petitioner for simple rebellion was filed by the Director of the National Bureau
of Investigation, and that on the strength of said complaint a preliminary investigation was conducted by the respondent
prosecutors, culminating in the filing of the questioned information. 14 There is nothing inherently irregular or contrary to law in
filing against a respondent an indictment for an offense different from what is charged in the initiatory complaint, if warranted by
the evidence developed during the preliminary investigation.
It is also contended that the respondent Judge issued the warrant for petitioner's arrest without first personallydetermining the
existence of probable cause by examining under oath or affirmation the complainant and his witnesses, in violation of Art. II I,
sec. 2, of the Constitution. 15 This Court has already ruled, however, that it is not the unavoidable duty of the judge to make such
a personal examination, it being sufficient that he follows established procedure by personally evaluating the report and the
supporting documents submitted by the prosecutor. 16 Petitioner claims that the warrant of arrest issued barely one hour and
twenty minutes after the case was raffled off to the respondent Judge, which hardly gave the latter sufficient time to personally
go over the voluminous records of the preliminary investigation. 17 Merely because said respondent had what some might
consider only a relatively brief period within which to comply with that duty, gives no reason to assume that he had not, or could
not have, so complied; nor does that single circumstance suffice to overcome the legal presumption that official duty has been
regularly performed.
Petitioner finally claims that he was denied the right to bail. In the light of the Court's reaffirmation of Hernandezas applicable to
petitioner's case, and of the logical and necessary corollary that the information against him should be considered as charging
only the crime of simple rebellion, which is bailable before conviction, that must now be accepted as a correct proposition. But
the question remains: Given the facts from which this case arose, was a petition for habeas corpus in this Court the appropriate
vehicle for asserting a right to bail or vindicating its denial?
The criminal case before the respondent Judge was the normal venue for invoking the petitioner's right to have provisional liberty
pending trial and judgment. The original jurisdiction to grant or deny bail rested with said respondent. The correct course was for
petitioner to invoke that jurisdiction by filing a petition to be admitted to bail, claiming a right to bail per se by reason of the
weakness of the evidence against him. Only after that remedy was denied by the trial court should the review jurisdiction of this
Court have been invoked, and even then, not without first applying to the Court of Appeals if appropriate relief was also
available there.
Even acceptance of petitioner's premise that going by the Hernandez ruling, the information charges a non-existent crime or,
contrarily, theorizing on the same basis that it charges more than one offense, would not excuse or justify his improper choice of
remedies. Under either hypothesis, the obvious recourse would have been a motion to quash brought in the criminal action
before the respondent Judge. 18
There thus seems to be no question that All the grounds upon which petitioner has founded the present petition, whether these
went into the substance of what is charged in the information or imputed error or omission on the part of the prosecuting panel
or of the respondent Judge in dealing with the charges against him, were originally justiciable in the criminal case before said
Judge and should have been brought up there instead of directly to this Court.
There was and is no reason to assume that the resolution of any of these questions was beyond the abi lity or competence of the
respondent Judge-indeed such an assumption would be demeaning and less than fair to our trial courts; none whatever to hold
them to be of such complexity or transcendental importance as to disqualify every court, except this Court, from deciding them;
none, in short that would justify by passing established judicial processes designed to orderly move litigation through the
hierarchy of our courts. Parenthentically, this is the reason behind the vote of four Members of the Court against the grant of bail
to petitioner: the view that the trial court should not thus be precipitately ousted of its original jurisdiction to grant or deny bail,
and if it erred in that matter, denied an opportunity to correct its error. It makes no difference that the respondent Judge here
issued a warrant of arrest fixing no bail. Immemorial practice sanctions simply following the prosecutor's recommendation
regarding bail, though it may be perceived as the better course for the judge motu proprio to set a bail hearing where a capital
offense is charged. 19 It is, in any event, incumbent on the accused as to whom no bail has been recommended or fixed to
claim the right to a bail hearing and thereby put to proof the strength or weakness of the evidence against him.
It is apropos to point out that the present petition has triggered a rush to this Court of other parties in a similar situati on, all
apparently taking their cue from it, distrustful or contemptuous of the efficacy of seeking recourse in the regular manner just
outlined. The proliferation of such pleas has only contributed to the delay that the petitioner may have hoped to avoid by
coming directly to this Court.
Not only because popular interest seems focused on the outcome of the present petition, but also because to wash the Court's
hand off it on jurisdictional grounds would only compound the delay that it has already gone through, the Court now decides
the same on the merits. But in so doing, the Court cannot express too strongly the view that said petition interdicted the ordered
and orderly progression of proceedings that should have started with the trial court and reached this Court only if the relief
appealed for was denied by the former and, in a proper case, by the Court of Appeals on review.
Let it be made very clear that hereafter the Court will no longer countenance, but will give short shrift to, pleas like the present,
that clearly short-circuit the judicial process and burden it with the resolution of issues properly within the original competence of
the lower courts. What has thus far been stated is equally applicable to and decisive of the petition of the Panlilio spouses (G.R.
No. 92164) which is virtually Identical to that of petitioner Enrile in factual milieu and is therefore determinable on the same
principles already set forth. Said spouses have uncontestedly pleaded 20 that warrants of arrest issued against them as co-
accused of petitioner Enrile in Criminal Case No. 90-10941, that when they appeared before NBI Director Alfredo Lim in the
afternoon of March 1, 1990, they were taken into custody and detained without bail on the strength of said warrants in violation-
they claim-of their constitutional rights.
It may be that in the light of contemporary events, the act of rebellion has lost that quitessentiany quixotic quality that justifies the
relative leniency with which it is regarded and punished by law, that present-day rebels are less impelled by love of country than
by lust for power and have become no better than mere terrorists to whom nothing, not even the sanctity of human life, is
allowed to stand in the way of their ambitions. Nothing so underscores this aberration as the rash of seemingly senseless kil lings,
bombings, kidnappings and assorted mayhem so much in the news these days, as often perpetrated against innocent civilians
as against the military, but by and large attributable to, or even claimed by so-called rebels to be part of, an ongoing rebellion.
It is enough to give anyone pause-and the Court is no exception-that not even the crowded streets of our capital City seem safe
from such unsettling violence that is disruptive of the public peace and stymies every effort at national economic recovery.
There is an apparent need to restructure the law on rebellion, either to raise the penalty therefor or to clearly define and delimit
the other offenses to be considered as absorbed thereby, so that it cannot be conveniently utilized as the umbrella for every sort
of illegal activity undertaken in its name. The Court has no power to effect such change, for it can only interpret the law as it
stands at any given time, and what is needed lies beyond interpretation. Hopefully, Congress will perceive the need for promptly
seizing the initiative in this matter, which is properly within its province.
WHEREFORE, the Court reiterates that based on the doctrine enunciated in People vs. Hernandez, the questioned information
filed against petitioners Juan Ponce Enrile and the spouses Rebecco and Erlinda Panlilio must be read as charging simple
rebellion only, hence said petitioners are entitled to bail, before final conviction, as a matter of right. The Court's earli er grant of
bail to petitioners being merely provisional in character, the proceedings in both cases are ordered REMANDED to the
respondent Judge to fix the amount of bail to be posted by the petitioners. Once bail is fixed by said respondent for any of the
petitioners, the corresponding bail bond flied with this Court shall become functus oficio. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Cruz, Gancayco and Regalado, JJ., concur.
Medialdea, J., concurs in G.R. No. 92164 but took no part in G.R. No. 92163.
Cortes and Grio-Aquino, JJ., are on leave.


Separate Opinions

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., concurring:
I join my colleagues in holding that the Hernandez doctrine, which has been with us for the past three decades, remains good
law and, thus, should remain undisturbed, despite periodic challenges to it that, ironically, have only served to strengthen its
pronouncements.
I take exception to the view, however, that habeas corpus was not the proper remedy.
Had the Information filed below charged merely the simple crime of Rebellion, that proposition could have been plausible. But
that Information charged Rebellion complexed with Murder and Multiple Frustrated Murder, a crime which does not exist in our
statute books. The charge was obviously intended to make the penalty for the most serious offense in its maximum period
imposable upon the offender pursuant to Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code. Thus, no bail was recommended in the
Information nor was any prescribed in the Warrant of Arrest issued by the Trial Court.
Under the attendant circumstances, therefore, to have filed a Motion to Quash before the lower Court would not have brought
about the speedy relief from unlawful restraint that petitioner was seeking. During the pendency of said Motion before the lower
Court, petitioner could have continued to languish in detention. Besides, the Writ ofHabeas Corpus may still issue even if another
remedy, which is less effective, may be availed of (Chavez vs. Court of Appeals, 24 SCRA 663).
It is true that habeas corpus would ordinarily not he when a person is under custody by virtue of a process issued by a Court.
The Court, however, must have jurisdiction to issue the process. In this case, the Court below must be deemed to have been
ousted of jurisdiction when it illegally curtailed petitioner's liberty. Habeas corpus is thus available.
The writ of habeas corpus is available to relieve persons from unlawful restraint. But where the detention or confinement is the
result of a process issued by the court or judge or by virtue of a judgment or sentence, the writ ordinarily cannot be availed of. It
may still be invoked though if the process, judgment or sentence proceeded from a court or tribunal the jurisdiction of which
may be assailed. Even if it had authority to act at the outset, it is now the prevailing doctrine that a deprivation of constitutional
right, if shown to exist, would oust it of jurisdiction. In such a case, habeas corpus could be relied upon to regain one's
liberty (Celeste vs. People, 31 SCRA 391) [Emphasis emphasis].
The Petition for habeas corpus was precisely premised on the violation of petitioner's constitutional right to bail inasmuch as
rebellion, under the present state of the law, is a bailable offense and the crime for which petitioner stands accused of and for
which he was denied bail is non-existent in law.
While litigants should, as a rule, ascend the steps of the judicial ladder, nothing should stop this Court from taking cognizance of
petitions brought before it raising urgent constitutional issues, any procedural flaw notwithstanding.
The rules on habeas corpus are to be liberally construed (Ganaway v. Quilen, 42 Phil. 805), the writ of habeas corpus being the
fundamental instrument for safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary and lawless state action. The scope and flexibil ity
of the writ-its capacity to reach all manner of illegal detention-its ability to cut through barriers of form and procedural mazes-
have always been emphasized and jealously guarded by courts and lawmakers (Gumabon v. Director of Bureau of Prisons, 37
SCRA 420) [emphasis supplied].
The proliferation of cases in this Court, which followed in the wake of this Petition, was brought about by the insistence of the
prosecution to charge the crime of Rebellion complexed with other common offenses notwithstanding the fact that this Court
had not yet ruled on the validity of that charge and had granted provisional liberty to petitioner.
If, indeed, it is desired to make the crime of Rebellion a capital offense (now punishable by reclusion perpetua), the remedy lies
in legislation. But Article 142-A 1 of the Revised Penal Code, along with P.D. No. 942, were repealed, for being "repressive," by EO
No. 187 on 5 June 1987. EO 187 further explicitly provided that Article 134 (and others enumerated) of the Revised Penal Code
was "restored to its full force and effect as it existed before said amendatory decrees." Having been so repealed, this Court is
bereft of power to legislate into existence, under the guise of re-examining a settled doctrine, a "creature unknown in law"- the
complex crime of Rebellion with Murder. The remand of the case to the lower Court for further proceedings is in order. The Writ
of Habeas Corpus has served its purpose.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J., concurring:
I join the Court's decision to grant the petition. In reiterating the rule that under existing law rebellion may not be compl exed with
murder, the Court emphasizes that it cannot legislate a new-crime into existence nor prescribe a penalty for its commission. That
function is exclusively for Congress.
I write this separate opinion to make clear how I view certain issues arising from these cases, especially on how the defective
informations filed by the prosecutors should have been treated.
I agree with the ponente that a petition for habeas corpus is ordinarily not the proper procedure to assert the right to bail . Under
the special circumstances of this case, however, the petitioners had no other recourse. They had to come to us.
First, the trial court was certainly aware of the decision in People v. Hernandez, 99 Phil. 515 (1956) that there is no such crime in
our statute books as rebellion complexed with murder, that murder committed in connection with a rebellion is absorbed by the
crime of rebellion, and that a resort to arms resulting in the destruction of life or property constitutes neither two or more offenses
nor a complex crime but one crime-rebellion pure and simple.
Second, Hernandez has been the law for 34 years. It has been reiterated in equally sensational cases. All lawyers and even law
students are aware of the doctrine. Attempts to have the doctrine re-examined have been consistently rejected by this Court.
Third, President Marcos through the use of his then legislative powers, issued Pres. Decree 942, thereby installing the new crime of
rebellion complexed with offenses like murder where graver penalties are imposed by law. However, President Aquino using her
then legislative powers expressly repealed PD 942 by issuing Exec. Order 187. She thereby erased the crime of rebellion
complexed with murder and made it clear that theHernandez doctrine remains the controlling rule. The prosecution has not
explained why it insists on resurrecting an offense expressly wiped out by the President. The prosecution, in effect, questions the
action of the President in repealing a repressive decree, a decree which, according to the repeal order, is violative of human
rights.
Fourth, any re-examination of the Hernandez doctrine brings the ex post facto principle into the picture. Decisions of this Court
form part of our legal system. Even if we declare that rebellion may be complexed with murder, our declaration can not be
made retroactive where the effect is to imprison a person for a crime which did not exist until the Supreme Court reversed itself.
And fifth, the attempts to distinguish this case from the Hernandez case by stressing that the killings charged in the information
were committed "on the occasion of, but not a necessary means for, the commission of rebellion" result in outlandish
consequences and ignore the basic nature of rebellion. Thus, under the prosecution theory a bomb dropped on PTV-4 which kills
government troopers results in simple rebellion because the act is a necessary means to make the rebellion succeed. However, if
the same bomb also kills some civilians in the neighborhood, the dropping of the bomb becomes rebellion complexed with
murder because the killing of civilians is not necessary for the success of a rebellion and, therefore, the killings are only "on the
occasion of but not a 'necessary means for' the commission of rebellion.
This argument is puerile.
The crime of rebellion consists of many acts. The dropping of one bomb cannot be isolated as a separate crime of rebellion.
Neither should the dropping of one hundred bombs or the firing of thousands of machine gun bullets be broken up into a
hundred or thousands of separate offenses, if each bomb or each bullet happens to result in the destruction of life and property.
The same act cannot be punishable by separate penalties depending on what strikes the fancy of prosecutors-punishment for
the killing of soldiers or retribution for the deaths of civilians. The prosecution also loses sight of the regrettable fact that in total
war and in rebellion the killing of civilians, the laying waste of civilian economies, the massacre of innocent people, the blowing
up of passenger airplanes, and other acts of terrorism are all used by those engaged in rebellion. We cannot and should not try
to ascertain the intent of rebels for each single act unless the act is plainly not connected to the rebellion. We cannot use Article
48 of the Revised Penal Code in lieu of still-to- be-enacted legislation. The killing of civilians during a rebel attack on military
facilities furthers the rebellion and is part of the rebellion.
The trial court was certainly aware of all the above considerations. I cannot understand why the trial Judge issued the warrant of
arrest which categorically states therein that the accused was not entitled to bail. The petitioner was compelled to come to us
so he would not be arrested without bail for a nonexistent crime. The trial court forgot to apply an established doctrine of the
Supreme Court. Worse, it issued a warrant which reversed 34 years of established procedure based on a well -known Supreme
Court ruling.
All courts should remember that they form part of an independent judicial system; they do not belong to the prosecution service.
A court should never play into the hands of the prosecution and blindly comply with its erroneous manifestations. Faced with an
information charging a manifestly non-existent crime, the duty of a trial court is to throw it out. Or, at the very least and where
possible, make it conform to the law.
A lower court cannot re-examine and reverse a decision of the Supreme Court especially a decision consistently followed for 34
years. Where a Judge disagrees with a Supreme Court ruling, he is free to express his reservations in the body of his decision,
order, or resolution. However, any judgment he renders, any order he prescribes, and any processes he issues must follow the
Supreme Court precedent. A trial court has no jurisdiction to reverse or ignore precedents of the Supreme Court. In this particular
case, it should have been the Solicitor General coming to this Court to question the lower court's rejection of the application for
a warrant of arrest without bail. It should have been the Solicitor-General provoking the issue of re-examination instead of the
petitioners asking to be freed from their arrest for a non-existent crime.
The principle bears repeating:
Respondent Court of Appeals really was devoid of any choice at all. It could not have ruled in any other way on the legal
question raised. This Tribunal having spoken, its duty was to obey. It is as simple as that. There is relevance to this excer pt from
Barrera v. Barrera. (L-31589, July 31, 1970, 34 SCRA 98) 'The delicate task of ascertaining the significance that attaches to a
constitutional or statutory provision, an executive order, a procedural norm or a municipal ordinance is committed to the
judiciary. It thus discharges a role no less crucial than that appertaining to the other two departments in the maintenance of the
rule of law. To assure stability in legal relations and avoid confusion, it has to speak with one voice. It does so with finality, logically
and rightly, through the highest judicial organ, this Court. What it says then should be definitive and authoritative, binding on
those occupying the lower ranks in the judicial hierarchy. They have to defer and to submit.' (Ibid, 107. The opinion of Justice
Laurel in People v. Vera, 65 Phil. 56 [1937] was cited). The ensuing paragraph of the opinion in Barrera further emphasizes the
point: Such a thought was reiterated in an opinion of Justice J.B.L. Reyes and further emphasized in these words: 'Judge
Gaudencio Cloribel need not be reminded that the Supreme Court, by tradition and in our system of judicial administration, has
the last word on what the law is; it is the final arbiter of any justifiable controversy. There is only one Supreme Court from whose
decisions all other courts should take their bearings. (Ibid. Justice J.B.L. Reyes spoke thus in Albert v. Court of First Instance of
Manila (Br. VI), L-26364, May 29, 1968, 23 SCRA 948, 961. (Tugade v. Court of Appeals, 85 SCRA 226 [1978]. See also Albert v. Court
of First Instance, 23 SCRA 948 [1968] and Vir-Jen Shipping and Marine Services, Inc. v. NLRC, 125 SCRA 577 [1983])
I find the situation in Spouses Panlilio v. Prosecutors Fernando de Leon, et al. even more inexplicable. In the case of the Panlilios,
any probable cause to commit the non- existent crime of rebellion complexed with murder exists only in the minds of the
prosecutors, not in the records of the case.
I have gone over the records and pleadings furnished to the members of the Supreme Court. I listened intently to the oral
arguments during the hearing and it was quite apparent that the constitutional requirement of probable cause was not satisfied.
In fact, in answer to my query for any other proofs to support the issuance of a warrant of arrest, the answer was that the
evidence would be submitted in due time to the trial court.
The spouses Panlilio and one parent have been in the restaurant business for decades. Under the records of these petitions, any
restaurant owner or hotel manager who serves food to rebels is a co-conspirator in the rebellion. The absurdity of this proposition
is apparent if we bear in mind that rebels ride in buses and jeepneys, eat meals in rural houses when mealtime finds them in the
vicinity, join weddings, fiestas, and other parties, play basketball with barrio youths, attend masses and church services and
otherwise mix with people in various gatherings. Even if the hosts recognize them to be rebels and fail to shoo them away, it does
not necessarily follow that the former are co-conspirators in a rebellion.
The only basis for probable cause shown by the records of the Panlilio case is the alleged fact that the petitioners served food to
rebels at the Enrile household and a hotel supervisor asked two or three of their waiters, without reason, to go on a vacation.
Clearly, a much, much stronger showing of probable cause must be shown.
In Salonga v. Cruz Pao, 134 SCRA 438 (1985), then Senator Salonga was charged as a conspirator in the heinous bombing of
innocent civilians because the man who planted the bomb had, sometime earlier, appeared in a group photograph taken
during a birthday party in the United States with the Senator and other guests. It was a case of conspiracy proved through a
group picture. Here, it is a case of conspiracy sought to proved through the catering of food.
The Court in Salonga stressed:
The purpose of a preliminary investigation is to secure the innocent against hasty, malicious and oppressive prosecution, and to
protect him from an open and public accusation of crime, from the trouble, expense and anxiety of a public trial, and also to
protect the state from useless and expensive trials. (Trocio v. Manta, 118 SCRA 241; citing Hashimn v. Boncan, 71 Phil. 216). The
right to a preliminary investigation is a statutory grant, and to withhold it would be to transgress constitutional due process. (See
People v. Oandasa, 25 SCRA 277) However, in order to satisfy the due process clause it is not enough that the preliminary
investigation is conducted in the sense of making sure that a transgressor shall not escape with impunity. A preliminary
investigation serves not only the purposes of the State. More important, it is a part of the guarantees of freedom and fair play
which are birthrights of all who live in our country. It is, therefore, imperative upon the fiscal or the judge as the case may be, to
relieve the accused from the pain of going through a trial once it is ascertained that the evidence is insufficient to sustai n a
prima facie case or that no probable cause exists to form a sufficient belief as to the guilt of the accused. Although there is no
general formula or fixed rule for the determination of probable cause since the same must be decided in the light of the
conditions obtaining in given situations and its existence depends to a large degree upon the finding or opinion of the judge
conducting the examination, such a finding should not disregard the facts before the judge nor run counter to the clear dictates
of reason (See La Chemise Lacoste, S.A. v. Fernandez, 129 SCRA 391). The judge or fiscal, therefore, should not go on with the
prosecution in the hope that some credible evidence might later turn up during trial for this would be a flagrant violation of a
basic right which the courts are created to uphold. It bears repeating that the judiciary lives up to its mission by vitalizing and not
denigrating constitutional rights. So it has been before. It should continue to be so. (id., pp. 461- 462)
Because of the foregoing, I take exception to that part of the ponencia which will read the informations as charging simple
rebellion. This case did not arise from innocent error. If an information charges murder but its contents show only the ingredients
of homicide, the Judge may rightly read it as charging homicide. In these cases, however, there is a deliberate attempt to
charge the petitioners for an offense which this Court has ruled as non-existent. The prosecution wanted Hernandez to be
reversed. Since the prosecution has filed informations for a crime which, under our rulings, does not exist, those informations
should be treated as null and void. New informations charging the correct offense should be filed. And in G.R. No. 92164, an
extra effort should be made to see whether or not the Principle in Salonga v. Cruz Patio, et al. (supra) has been violated.
The Court is not, in any way, preventing the Government from using more effective weapons to suppress rebellion. If the
Government feels that the current situation calls for the imposition of more severe penalties like death or the creation of new
crimes like rebellion complexed with murder, the remedy is with Congress, not the courts.
I, therefore, vote to GRANT the petitions and to ORDER the respondent court to DISMISS the void informations for a non-existent
crime.

FELICIANO, J., concurring:
I concur in the result reached by the majority of the Court.
I believe that there are certain aspects of the Hernandez doctrine that, as an abstract question of law, could stand
reexamination or clarification. I have in mind in particular matters such as the correct or appropriate relationship between Article
134 and Article 135 of the Revised Penal Code. This is a matter which relates to the legal concept of rebellion in our legal system.
If one examines the actual terms of Article 134 (entitled: "Rebellion or Insurrection-How Committed"), it would appear that this
Article specifies both the overt acts and the criminal purpose which, when put together, would constitute the offense of
rebellion. Thus, Article 134 states that "the crime of rebellion is committed by rising publicly and taking arms against the
Government "(i.e., the overt acts comprising rebellion), "for the purpose of (i.e., the specific criminal intent or political objective)
removing from the allegiance to said government or its laws the territory of the Republic of the Philippines or any part thereof, or
any body of land, naval or other armed forces, or depriving the Chief Executive or the Legislature, wholly or partially, of their
powers or prerogatives." At the same time, Article 135 (entitled: "Penalty for Rebellion or Insurrection.") sets out a listing of acts or
particular measures which appear to fall under the rubric of rebellion or insurrection: "engaging in war against the forces of the
Government, destroying property or committing serious violence, exacting contributions or diverting public funds from the lawful
purpose for which they have been appropriated." Are these modalities of rebellion generally? Or are they particular modes by
which those "who promote [ ], maintain [ ] or head [ ] a rebellion or insurrection" commit rebellion, or particular modes of
participation in a rebellion by public officers or employees? Clearly, the scope of the legal concept of rebellion relates to the
distinction between, on the one hand, the indispensable acts or ingredients of the crime of rebellion under the Revised Penal
Code and, on the other hand, differing optional modes of seeking to carry out the political or social objective of the rebell ion or
insurrection.
The difficulty that is at once raised by any effort to examine once more even the above threshold questions is that the resul ts of
such re-examination may well be that acts which under the Hernandez doctrine are absorbed into rebellion, may be
characterized as separate or discrete offenses which, as a matter of law, can either be prosecuted separately from rebellion or
prosecuted under the provisions of Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code, which (both Clause 1 and Clause 2 thereof) clearly
envisage the existence of at least two (2) distinct offenses. To reach such a conclusion in the case at bar, would, as far as I can
see, result in colliding with the fundamental non-retroactivity principle (Article 4, Civil Code; Article 22, Revised Penal Code; both
in relation to Article 8, Civil Code).
The non-retroactivity rule applies to statutes principally. But, statutes do not exist in the abstract but rather bear upon the lives of
people with the specific form given them by judicial decisions interpreting their norms. Judicial decisions construing statutory
norms give specific shape and content to such norms. In time, the statutory norms become encrusted with the glosses placed
upon them by the courts and the glosses become integral with the norms (Cf Caltex v. Palomar, 18 SCRA 247 [1966]). Thus, while
in legal theory, judicial interpretation of a statute becomes part of the law as of the date that the law was originally enacted, I
believe this theory is not to be applied rigorously where a new judicial doctrine is announced, in particular one overruling a
previous existing doctrine of long standing (here, 36 years) and most specially not where the statute construed is criminal i n
nature and the new doctrine is more onerous for the accused than the pre-existing one (People v. Jabinal, 55 SCRA 607 [1974];
People v. Licera, 65 SCRA 270 [1975]; Gumabon v. Director of Prisons, 37 SCRA 420 [1971]). Moreover, the non-retroactivity rule
whether in respect of legislative acts or judicial decisions has constitutional implications. The prevailing rule in the United States is
that a judicial decision that retroactively renders an act criminal or enhances the severity of the penalty prescribed for an
offense, is vulnerable to constitutional challenge based upon the rule against ex post facto laws and the due process clause
(Bouie v. City of Columbia, 378 US 347,12 L. Ed. 2d 894 [1964]; Marks v. U.S., 43 US 188, 51 L. Ed. 2d 260 [1977]; Devine v. New
Mexico Department of Corrections, 866 F. 2d 339 [1989]).
It is urged by the Solicitor General that the non-retroactivity principle does not present any real problem for the reason that
the Hernandez doctrine was based upon Article 48, second clause, of the Revised Penal Code and not upon the first clause
thereof, while it is precisely the first clause of Article 48 that the Government here invokes. It is, however, open to serious doubt
whether Hernandez can reasonably be so simply and sharply characterized. And assuming the Hernandez could be so
characterized, subsequent cases refer to theHernandez doctrine in terms which do not distinguish clearly between the first
clause and the second clause of Article 48 (e.g., People v. Geronimo, 100 Phil. 90 [1956]; People v. Rodriguez, 107 Phil. 659
[1960]). Thus, it appears to me that the critical question would be whether a man of ordinary intelligence would have necessarily
read or understood the Hernandez doctrine as referring exclusively to Article 48, second clause. Put in slightly different terms, the
important question would be whether the new doctrine here proposed by the Government could fairly have been derived by a
man of average intelligence (or counsel of average competence in the law) from an examination of Articles 134 and 135 of the
Revised Penal Code as interpreted by the Court in theHernandez and subsequent cases. To formulate the question ill these terms
would almost be to compel a negative answer, especially in view of the conclusions reached by the Court and its several
Members today.
Finally, there appears to be no question that the new doctrine that the Government would have us discover for the first time
since the promulgation of the Revised Penal Code in 1932, would be more onerous for the respondent accused than the simple
application of the Hernandez doctrine that murders which have been committed on the occasion of and in furtherance of the
crime of rebellion must be deemed absorbed in the offense of simple rebellion.
I agree therefore that the information in this case must be viewed as charging only the crime of simple rebellion.

FERNAN, C.J., concurring and dissenting:
I am constrained to write this separate opinion on what seems to be a rigid adherence to the 1956 ruling of the Court. The
numerous challenges to the doctrine enunciated in the case of People vs. Hernandez, 99 Phil. 515 (1956) should at once
demonstrate the need to redefine the applicability of said doctrine so as to make it conformable with accepted and well -
settled principles of criminal law and jurisprudence.
To my mind, the Hernandez doctrine should not be interpreted as an all-embracing authority for the rule that all common crimes
committed on the occasion, or in furtherance of, or in connection with, rebellion are absorbed by the latter. To that extent, I
cannot go along with the view of the majority in the instant case that 'Hernandez remains binding doctrine operating to prohibit
the complexing of rebellion with any other offense committed on the occasion thereof, either as a means necessary to its
commission or as an unintended effect of an activity that constitutes rebellion" (p. 9, Decision).
The Hernandez doctrine has served the purpose for which it was appealed by the Court in 1956 during the communist-inspired
rebellion of the Huks. The changes in our society in the span of 34 years since then have far-reaching effects on the all-
embracing applicability of the doctrine considering the emergence of alternative modes of seizing the powers of the duly
constituted Government not contemplated in Articles 134 and 135 of the Revised Penal Code and their consequent effects on
the lives of our people. The doctrine was good law then, but I believe that there is a certain aspect of the Hernandez doctri ne
that needs clarification.
With all due respect to the views of my brethren in the Court, I believe that the Court, in the instant case, should have further
considered that distinction between acts or offenses which are indispensable in the commission of rebellion, on the one hand,
and those acts or offenses that are merely necessary but not indispensable in the commission of rebellion, on the other. The
majority of the Court is correct in adopting, albeit impliedly, the view in Hernandez case that when an offense perpetrated as a
necessary means of committing another, which is an element of the latter, the resulting interlocking crimes should be considered
as only one simple offense and must be deemed outside the operation of the complex crime provision (Article 48) of the Revised
Penal Code. As in the case of Hernandez, the Court, however, failed in the instant case to distinguish what is indispensable from
what is merely necessary in the commission of an offense, resulting thus in the rule that common crimes like murder, arson,
robbery, etc. committed in the course or on the occasion of rebellion are absorbed or included in the latter as elements thereof.
The relevance of the distinction is significant, more particularly, if applied to contemporaneous events happening in our country
today. Theoretically, a crime which is indispensable in the commission of another must necessarily be an element of the latter;
but a crime that is merely necessary but not indispensable in the commission of another is not an element of the latter, and if
and when actually committed, brings the interlocking crime within the operation of the complex crime provision (Art. 48) of the
Revised Penal Code. With that distinction, common crimes committed against Government forces and property in the course of
rebellion are properly considered indispensable overt acts of rebellion and are logically absorbed in it as virtual ingredients or
elements thereof, but common crimes committed against the civilian population in the course or on the occasion of rebellion
and in furtherance thereof, may be necessary but not indispensable in committing the latter, and may, therefore, not be
considered as elements of the said crime of rebellion. To illustrate, the deaths occurring during armed confrontation or clashes
between government forces and the rebels are absorbed in the rebellion, and would be those resulting from the bombing of
military camps and installations, as these acts are indispensable in carrying out the rebellion. But deliberately shooting down an
unarmed innocent civilian to instill fear or create chaos among the people, although done in the furtherance of the rebellion,
should not be absorbed in the crime of rebellion as the felonious act is merely necessary, but not indispensable. In the latter
case, Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code should apply.
The occurrence of a coup d' etat in our country as a mode of seizing the powers of the duly-constituted government by staging
surprise attacks or occupying centers of powers, of which this Court should take judicial notice, has introduced a new dimension
to the interpretation of the provisions on rebellion and insurrection in the Revised Penal Code. Generally, as a mode of seizing the
powers of the duly constituted government, it falls within the contemplation of rebellion under the Revised Penal Code, but,
strictly construed, a coup d'etat per se is a class by itself. The manner of its execution and the extent and magnitude of its effects
on the lives of the people distinguish a coup d'etat from the traditional definition and modes of commission attached by the
Revised Penal Code to the crime of rebellion as applied by the Court to the communist-inspired rebellion of the 1950's. A coup
d'etat may be executed successfully without its perpetrators resorting to the commission of other serious crimes such as murder,
arson, kidnapping, robbery, etc. because of the element of surprise and the precise timing of its execution. In extreme cases
where murder, arson, robbery, and other common crimes are committed on the occasion of a coup d' etat, the distinction
referred to above on what is necessary and what is indispensable in the commission of the coup d'etat should be painstakingly
considered as the Court should have done in the case of herein petitioners.
I concur in the result insofar as the other issues are resolved by the Court but I take exception to the vote of the majority on the
broad application of the Hernandez doctrine.
BIDIN, J., concurring and dissenting:
I concur with the majority opinion except as regards the dispositive portion thereof which orders the remand of the case to the
respondent judge for further proceedings to fix the amount of bail to be posted by the petitioner.
I submit that the proceedings need not be remanded to the respondent judge for the purpose of fixing bail since we have
construed the indictment herein as charging simple rebellion, an offense which is bailable. Consequently, habeas corpus is the
proper remedy available to petitioner as an accused who had been charged with simple rebellion, a bailable offense but who
had been denied his right to bail by the respondent judge in violation of petitioner's constitutional right to bail. In view thereof,
the responsibility of fixing the amount of bail and approval thereof when filed, devolves upon us, if complete relief is to be
accorded to petitioner in the instant proceedings.
It is indubitable that before conviction, admission to bail is a matter of right to the defendant, accused before the Regional Trial
Court of an offense less than capital (Section 13 Article III, Constitution and Section 3, Rule 114). Petitioner is, before Us, on a
petition for habeas corpus praying, among others, for his provisional release on bail. Since the offense charged (construed as
simple rebellion) admits of bail, it is incumbent upon us m the exercise of our jurisdiction over the petition for habeas
corpus (Section 5 (1), Article VIII, Constitution; Section 2, Rule 102), to grant petitioner his right to bail and having admitted him to
bail, to fix the amount thereof in such sums as the court deems reasonable. Thereafter, the rules require that "the proceedings
together with the bond" shall forthwith be certified to the respondent trial court (Section 14, Rule 102).
Accordingly, the cash bond in the amount of P 100,000.00 posted by petitioner for his provisional release pursuant to our
resolution dated March 6, 1990 should now be deemed and admitted as his bail bond for his provisional release in the case
(simple rebellion) pending before the respondent judge, without necessity of a remand for further proceedings, conditioned for
his (petitioner's) appearance before the trial court to abide its order or judgment in the said case.

SARMIENTO, J., concurring and dissenting:
I agree that People v. Hernandez 1 should abide. More than three decades after which it was penned, it has firmly settled in the
tomes of our jurisprudence as correct doctrine.
As Hernandez put it, rebellion means "engaging m war against the forces of the government," 2 which implies "resort to arms,
requisition of property and services, collection of taxes and contributions, restraint of liberty, damage to property, physical injuries
and loss of life, and the hunger, illness and unhappiness that war leaves in its wake. ..." 3whether committed in furtherance, of as
a necessary means for the commission, or in the course, of rebellion. To say that rebellion may be complexed with any other
offense, in this case murder, is to play into a contradiction in terms because exactly, rebellion includes murder, among other
possible crimes.
I also agree that the information may stand as an accusation for simple rebellion. Since the acts complained of as constituting
rebellion have been embodied in the information, mention therein of murder as a complexing offense is a surplusage, because
in any case, the crime of rebellion is left fully described. 4
At any rate, the government need only amend the information by a clerical correction, since an amendment will not alter its
substance.
I dissent, however, insofar as the majority orders the remand of the matter of bail to the lower court. I take it that when we, in our
Resolution of March 6, 1990, granted the petitioner "provisional liberty" upon the filing of a bond of P100,000.00, we granted him
bail. The fact that we gave him "provisional liberty" is in my view, of no moment, because bail means provisional liberty. It will
serve no useful purpose to have the trial court hear the incident again when we ourselves have been satisfied that the petiti oner
is entitled to temporary freedom.

PADILLA, J., dissenting:
I concur in the majority opinion insofar as it holds that the ruling in People vs. Hernandez, 99 Phil. 515 "remains binding doctrine
operating to prohibit the complexing of rebellion with any other offense committed on the occasion thereof, either as a means
necessary to its commission or as an unintended effect of an activity that constitutes rebellion."
I dissent, however, from the majority opinion insofar as it holds that the information in question, while charging the complex crime
of rebellion with murder and multiple frustrated murder, "is to be read as charging simple rebellion."
The present cases are to be distinguished from the Hernandez case in at least one (1) material respect. In theHernandez case,
this Court was confronted with an appealed case, i.e., Hernandez had been convicted by the trial court of the complex crime
of rebellion with murder, arson and robbery, and his plea to be released on bail before the Supreme Court, pending appeal,
gave birth to the now celebrated Hernandez doctrine that the crime of rebellion complexed with murder, arson and robbery
does not exist. In the present cases, on the other hand, the Court is confronted with an original case, i.e., where an information
has been recently filed in the trial court and the petitioners have not even pleaded thereto.
Furthermore, the Supreme Court, in the Hernandez case, was "ground-breaking" on the issue of whether rebellion can be
complexed with murder, arson, robbery, etc. In the present cases, on the other hand, the prosecution and the lower court, not
only had the Hernandez doctrine (as case law), but Executive Order No. 187 of President Corazon C. Aquino dated 5 June 1987
(as statutory law) to bind them to the legal proposition that the crime of rebellion complexed with murder, and multiple
frustrated murder does not exist.
And yet, notwithstanding these unmistakable and controlling beacon lights-absent when this Court laid down
theHernandez doctrine-the prosecution has insisted in filing, and the lower court has persisted in hearing, an information
charging the petitioners with rebellion complexed with murder an multiple frustrated murder. That information is clearly a nullity
and plainly void ab initio. Its head should not be allowed to surface. As a nullity in substantive law, it charges nothing; it has given
rise to nothing. The warrants of arrest issued pursuant thereto are as null and void as the information on which they are anchored.
And, since the entire question of the information's validity is before the Court in these habeas corpus cases, I venture to say that
the information isfatally defective, even under procedural law, because it charges more than one (1) offense (Sec. 13, Rule 110,
Rules of Court).
I submit then that it is not for this Court to energize a dead and, at best, fatally decrepit information by labelling or "baptizing" it
differently from what it announces itself to be. The prosecution must file an entirely new and proper information, for this entire
exercise to merit the serious consideration of the courts.
ACCORDINGLY, I vote to GRANT the petitions, QUASH the warrants of arrest, and ORDER the information for rebellion complexed
with murder and multiple frustrated murder in Criminal Case Nos. 90-10941, RTC of Quezon City, DISMISSED.
Consequently, the petitioners should be ordered permanently released and their bails cancelled.
Paras, J., concurs.


Separate Opinions
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., concurring:
I join my colleagues in holding that the Hernandez doctrine, which has been with us for the past three decades, remains good
law and, thus, should remain undisturbed, despite periodic challenges to it that, ironically, have only served to strengthen its
pronouncements.
I take exception to the view, however, that habeas corpus was not the proper remedy.
Had the Information filed below charged merely the simple crime of Rebellion, that proposition could have been plausible. But
that Information charged Rebellion complexed with Murder and Multiple Frustrated Murder, a crime which does not exist in our
statute books. The charge was obviously intended to make the penalty for the most serious offense in its maximum period
imposable upon the offender pursuant to Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code. Thus, no bail was recommended in the
Information nor was any prescribed in the Warrant of Arrest issued by the Trial Court.
Under the attendant circumstances, therefore, to have filed a Motion to Quash before the lower Court would not have brought
about the speedy relief from unlawful restraint that petitioner was seeking. During the pendency of said Motion before the lower
Court, petitioner could have continued to languish in detention. Besides, the Writ ofHabeas Corpus may still issue even if another
remedy, which is less effective, may be availed of (Chavez vs. Court of Appeals, 24 SCRA 663).
It is true that habeas corpus would ordinarily not he when a person is under custody by virtue of a process issued by a Court.
The Court, however, must have jurisdiction to issue the process. In this case, the Court below must be deemed to have been
ousted of jurisdiction when it illegally curtailed petitioner's liberty. Habeas corpus is thus available.
The writ of habeas corpus is available to relieve persons from unlawful restraint. But where the detention or confinement is the
result of a process issued by the court or judge or by virtue of a judgment or sentence, the writ ordinarily cannot be availed of. It
may still be invoked though if the process, judgment or sentence proceeded from a court or tribunal the jurisdiction of which
may be assailed. Even if it had authority to act at the outset, it is now the prevailing doctrine that a deprivation of constitutional
right, if shown to exist, would oust it of jurisdiction. In such a case, habeas corpus could be relied upon to regain one's
liberty (Celeste vs. People, 31 SCRA 391) [Emphasis emphasis].
The Petition for habeas corpus was precisely premised on the violation of petitioner's constitutional right to bail inasmuch as
rebellion, under the present state of the law, is a bailable offense and the crime for which petitioner stands accused of and for
which he was denied bail is non-existent in law.
While litigants should, as a rule, ascend the steps of the judicial ladder, nothing should stop this Court from taking cognizance of
petitions brought before it raising urgent constitutional issues, any procedural flaw notwithstanding.
The rules on habeas corpus are to be liberally construed (Ganaway v. Quilen, 42 Phil. 805), the writ of habeas corpus being the
fundamental instrument for safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary and lawless state action. The scope and flexibility
of the writ-its capacity to reach all manner of illegal detention-its ability to cut through barriers of form and procedural mazes-
have always been emphasized and jealously guarded by courts and lawmakers (Gumabon v. Director of Bureau of Prisons, 37
SCRA 420) [emphasis supplied].
The proliferation of cases in this Court, which followed in the wake of this Petition, was brought about by the insistence of the
prosecution to charge the crime of Rebellion complexed with other common offenses notwithstanding the fact that this Court
had not yet ruled on the validity of that charge and had granted provisional liberty to petitioner.
If, indeed, it is desired to make the crime of Rebellion a capital offense (now punishable by reclusion perpetua), the remedy lies
in legislation. But Article 142-A 1 of the Revised Penal Code, along with P.D. No. 942, were repealed, for being "repressive," by EO
No. 187 on 5 June 1987. EO 187 further explicitly provided that Article 134 (and others enumerated) of the Revised Penal Code
was "restored to its full force and effect as it existed before said amendatory decrees." Having been so repealed, this Court is
bereft of power to legislate into existence, under the guise of re-examining a settled doctrine, a "creature unknown in law"- the
complex crime of Rebellion with Murder. The remand of the case to the lower Court for further proceedings is in order. The Wr it
of Habeas Corpus has served its purpose.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J., concurring:
I join the Court's decision to grant the petition. In reiterating the rule that under existing law rebellion may not be compl exed with
murder, the Court emphasizes that it cannot legislate a new-crime into existence nor prescribe a penalty for its commission. That
function is exclusively for Congress.
I write this separate opinion to make clear how I view certain issues arising from these cases, especially on how the defecti ve
informations filed by the prosecutors should have been treated.
I agree with the ponente that a petition for habeas corpus is ordinarily not the proper procedure to assert the right to bail . Under
the special circumstances of this case, however, the petitioners had no other recourse. They had to come to us.
First, the trial court was certainly aware of the decision in People v. Hernandez, 99 Phil. 515 (1956) that there is no such crime in
our statute books as rebellion complexed with murder, that murder committed in connection with a rebellion is absorbed by the
crime of rebellion, and that a resort to arms resulting in the destruction of life or property constitutes neither two or more offenses
nor a complex crime but one crime-rebellion pure and simple.
Second, Hernandez has been the law for 34 years. It has been reiterated in equally sensational cases. All lawyers and even law
students are aware of the doctrine. Attempts to have the doctrine re-examined have been consistently rejected by this Court.
Third, President Marcos through the use of his then legislative powers, issued Pres. Decree 942, thereby installing the new crime of
rebellion complexed with offenses like murder where graver penalties are imposed by law. However, President Aquino using her
then legislative powers expressly repealed PD 942 by issuing Exec. Order 187. She thereby erased the crime of rebellion
complexed with murder and made it clear that theHernandez doctrine remains the controlling rule. The prosecution has not
explained why it insists on resurrecting an offense expressly wiped out by the President. The prosecution, in effect, questions the
action of the President in repealing a repressive decree, a decree which, according to the repeal order, is violative of human
rights.
Fourth, any re-examination of the Hernandez doctrine brings the ex post facto principle into the picture. Decisions of this Court
form part of our legal system. Even if we declare that rebellion may be complexed with murder, our declaration can not be
made retroactive where the effect is to imprison a person for a crime which did not exist until the Supreme Court reversed itself.
And fifth, the attempts to distinguish this case from the Hernandez case by stressing that the killings charged in the information
were committed "on the occasion of, but not a necessary means for, the commission of rebellion" result in outlandish
consequences and ignore the basic nature of rebellion. Thus, under the prosecution theory a bomb dropped on PTV-4 which kills
government troopers results in simple rebellion because the act is a necessary means to make the rebellion succeed. However, if
the same bomb also kills some civilians in the neighborhood, the dropping of the bomb becomes rebellion complexed with
murder because the killing of civilians is not necessary for the success of a rebellion and, therefore, the killings are only "on the
occasion of but not a 'necessary means for' the commission of rebellion.
This argument is puerile.
The crime of rebellion consists of many acts. The dropping of one bomb cannot be isolated as a separate crime of rebellion.
Neither should the dropping of one hundred bombs or the firing of thousands of machine gun bullets be broken up into a
hundred or thousands of separate offenses, if each bomb or each bullet happens to result in the destruction of life and property.
The same act cannot be punishable by separate penalties depending on what strikes the fancy of prosecutors-punishment for
the killing of soldiers or retribution for the deaths of civilians. The prosecution also loses sight of the regrettable fact that in total
war and in rebellion the killing of civilians, the laying waste of civilian economies, the massacre of innocent people, the blowing
up of passenger airplanes, and other acts of terrorism are all used by those engaged in rebellion. We cannot and should not try
to ascertain the intent of rebels for each single act unless the act is plainly not connected to the rebellion. We cannot use Article
48 of the Revised Penal Code in lieu of still-to- be-enacted legislation. The killing of civilians during a rebel attack on military
facilities furthers the rebellion and is part of the rebellion.
The trial court was certainly aware of all the above considerations. I cannot understand why the trial Judge issued the warrant of
arrest which categorically states therein that the accused was not entitled to bail. The petitioner was compelled to come to us
so he would not be arrested without bail for a nonexistent crime. The trial court forgot to apply an established doctrine of the
Supreme Court. Worse, it issued a warrant which reversed 34 years of established procedure based on a well -known Supreme
Court ruling.
All courts should remember that they form part of an independent judicial system; they do not belong to the prosecution servi ce.
A court should never play into the hands of the prosecution and blindly comply with its erroneous manifestations. Faced with an
information charging a manifestly non-existent crime, the duty of a trial court is to throw it out. Or, at the very least and where
possible, make it conform to the law.
A lower court cannot re-examine and reverse a decision of the Supreme Court especially a decision consistently followed for 34
years. Where a Judge disagrees with a Supreme Court ruling, he is free to express his reservations in the body of hi s decision,
order, or resolution. However, any judgment he renders, any order he prescribes, and any processes he issues must follow the
Supreme Court precedent. A trial court has no jurisdiction to reverse or ignore precedents of the Supreme Court. In thi s particular
case, it should have been the Solicitor General coming to this Court to question the lower court's rejection of the applicati on for
a warrant of arrest without bail. It should have been the Solicitor-General provoking the issue of re-examination instead of the
petitioners asking to be freed from their arrest for a non-existent crime.
The principle bears repeating:
Respondent Court of Appeals really was devoid of any choice at all. It could not have ruled in any other way on the legal
question raised. This Tribunal having spoken, its duty was to obey. It is as simple as that. There is relevance to this excerpt from
Barrera v. Barrera. (L-31589, July 31, 1970, 34 SCRA 98) 'The delicate task of ascertaining the significance that attaches to a
constitutional or statutory provision, an executive order, a procedural norm or a municipal ordinance is committed to the
judiciary. It thus discharges a role no less crucial than that appertaining to the other two departments in the maintenance of the
rule of law. To assure stability in legal relations and avoid confusion, it has to speak with one voice. It does so with finality, logically
and rightly, through the highest judicial organ, this Court. What it says then should be definitive and authoritative, binding on
those occupying the lower ranks in the judicial hierarchy. They have to defer and to submit.' (Ibid, 107. The opinion of Justice
Laurel in People v. Vera, 65 Phil. 56 [1937] was cited). The ensuing paragraph of the opinion in Barrera further emphasi zes the
point: Such a thought was reiterated in an opinion of Justice J.B.L. Reyes and further emphasized in these words: 'Judge
Gaudencio Cloribel need not be reminded that the Supreme Court, by tradition and in our system of judicial administration, has
the last word on what the law is; it is the final arbiter of any justifiable controversy. There is only one Supreme Court from whose
decisions all other courts should take their bearings. (Ibid. Justice J.B.L. Reyes spoke thus in Albert v. Court of First I nstance of
Manila (Br. VI), L-26364, May 29, 1968, 23 SCRA 948, 961. (Tugade v. Court of Appeals, 85 SCRA 226 [1978]. See also Albert v. Court
of First Instance, 23 SCRA 948 [1968] and Vir-Jen Shipping and Marine Services, Inc. v. NLRC, 125 SCRA 577 [1983])
I find the situation in Spouses Panlilio v. Prosecutors Fernando de Leon, et al. even more inexplicable. In the case of the Panlilios,
any probable cause to commit the non- existent crime of rebellion complexed with murder exists only in the minds of the
prosecutors, not in the records of the case.
I have gone over the records and pleadings furnished to the members of the Supreme Court. I listened intently to the oral
arguments during the hearing and it was quite apparent that the constitutional requirement of probable cause was not satisfied.
In fact, in answer to my query for any other proofs to support the issuance of a warrant of arrest, the answer was that the
evidence would be submitted in due time to the trial court.
The spouses Panlilio and one parent have been in the restaurant business for decades. Under the records of these petitions, any
restaurant owner or hotel manager who serves food to rebels is a co-conspirator in the rebellion. The absurdity of this proposition
is apparent if we bear in mind that rebels ride in buses and jeepneys, eat meals in rural houses when mealtime finds them in the
vicinity, join weddings, fiestas, and other parties, play basketball with barrio youths, attend masses and church services and
otherwise mix with people in various gatherings. Even if the hosts recognize them to be rebels and fail to shoo them away, it does
not necessarily follow that the former are co-conspirators in a rebellion.
The only basis for probable cause shown by the records of the Panlilio case is the alleged fact that the petitioners served food to
rebels at the Enrile household and a hotel supervisor asked two or three of their waiters, without reason, to go on a vacation.
Clearly, a much, much stronger showing of probable cause must be shown.
In Salonga v. Cruz Pao, 134 SCRA 438 (1985), then Senator Salonga was charged as a conspirator in the heinous bombing of
innocent civilians because the man who planted the bomb had, sometime earlier, appeared in a group photograph taken
during a birthday party in the United States with the Senator and other guests. It was a case of conspiracy proved through a
group picture. Here, it is a case of conspiracy sought to proved through the catering of food.
The Court in Salonga stressed:
The purpose of a preliminary investigation is to secure the innocent against hasty, malicious and oppressive prosecution, and to
protect him from an open and public accusation of crime, from the trouble, expense and anxiety of a public trial, and also to
protect the state from useless and expensive trials. (Trocio v. Manta, 118 SCRA 241; citing Hashimn v. Boncan, 71 Phil. 216). The
right to a preliminary investigation is a statutory grant, and to withhold it would be to transgress constitutional due process. (See
People v. Oandasa, 25 SCRA 277) However, in order to satisfy the due process clause it is not enough that the preliminary
investigation is conducted in the sense of making sure that a transgressor shall not escape with impunity. A preliminary
investigation serves not only the purposes of the State. More important, it is a part of the guarantees of freedom and fair play
which are birthrights of all who live in our country. It is, therefore, imperative upon the fiscal or the judge as the case may be, to
relieve the accused from the pain of going through a trial once it is ascertained that the evidence is insufficient to sustain a
prima facie case or that no probable cause exists to form a sufficient belief as to the guilt of the accused. Although there is no
general formula or fixed rule for the determination of probable cause since the same must be decided in the light of the
conditions obtaining in given situations and its existence depends to a large degree upon the finding or opinion of the judge
conducting the examination, such a finding should not disregard the facts before the judge nor run counter to the clear dictates
of reason (See La Chemise Lacoste, S.A. v. Fernandez, 129 SCRA 391). The judge or fiscal, therefore, should not go on with the
prosecution in the hope that some credible evidence might later turn up during trial for this would be a flagrant violation of a
basic right which the courts are created to uphold. It bears repeating that the judiciary lives up to its mission by vitalizi ng and not
denigrating constitutional rights. So it has been before. It should continue to be so. (id., pp. 461- 462)
Because of the foregoing, I take exception to that part of the ponencia which will read the informations as charging simple
rebellion. This case did not arise from innocent error. If an information charges murder but its contents show only the ingredients
of homicide, the Judge may rightly read it as charging homicide. In these cases, however, there is a deliberate attempt to
charge the petitioners for an offense which this Court has ruled as non-existent. The prosecution wanted Hernandez to be
reversed. Since the prosecution has filed informations for a crime which, under our rulings, does not exist, those informations
should be treated as null and void. New informations charging the correct offense should be filed. And in G.R. No. 92164, an
extra effort should be made to see whether or not the Principle in Salonga v. Cruz Patio, et al. (supra) has been violated.
The Court is not, in any way, preventing the Government from using more effective weapons to suppress rebellion. If the
Government feels that the current situation calls for the imposition of more severe penalties like death or the creation of new
crimes like rebellion complexed with murder, the remedy is with Congress, not the courts.
I, therefore, vote to GRANT the petitions and to ORDER the respondent court to DISMISS the void informations for a non-existent
crime.

FELICIANO, J., concurring:
I concur in the result reached by the majority of the Court.
I believe that there are certain aspects of the Hernandez doctrine that, as an abstract question of law, could stand
reexamination or clarification. I have in mind in particular matters such as the correct or appropriate relationship between Article
134 and Article 135 of the Revised Penal Code. This is a matter which relates to the legal concept of rebellion in our legal system.
If one examines the actual terms of Article 134 (entitled: "Rebellion or Insurrection-How Committed"), it would appear that this
Article specifies both the overt acts and the criminal purpose which, when put together, would constitute the offense of
rebellion. Thus, Article 134 states that "the crime of rebellion is committed by rising publicly and taking arms against the
Government "(i.e., the overt acts comprising rebellion), "for the purpose of (i.e., the specific criminal intent or political objective)
removing from the allegiance to said government or its laws the territory of the Republic of the Philippines or any part ther eof, or
any body of land, naval or other armed forces, or depriving the Chief Executive or the Legislature, wholly or partially, of their
powers or prerogatives." At the same time, Article 135 (entitled: "Penalty for Rebellion or Insurrection.") sets out a listing of acts or
particular measures which appear to fall under the rubric of rebellion or insurrection: "engaging in war against the forces of the
Government, destroying property or committing serious violence, exacting contributions or diverting public funds from the lawful
purpose for which they have been appropriated." Are these modalities of rebellion generally? Or are they particular modes by
which those "who promote [ ], maintain [ ] or head [ ] a rebellion or insurrection" commit rebellion, or particular modes of
participation in a rebellion by public officers or employees? Clearly, the scope of the legal concept of rebellion relates to the
distinction between, on the one hand, the indispensable acts or ingredients of the crime of rebellion under the Revised Penal
Code and, on the other hand, differing optional modes of seeking to carry out the political or social objective of the rebell ion or
insurrection.
The difficulty that is at once raised by any effort to examine once more even the above threshold questions is that the results of
such re-examination may well be that acts which under the Hernandez doctrine are absorbed into rebellion, may be
characterized as separate or discrete offenses which, as a matter of law, can either be prosecuted separately from rebellion or
prosecuted under the provisions of Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code, which (both Clause 1 and Clause 2 thereof) clearly
envisage the existence of at least two (2) distinct offenses. To reach such a conclusion in the case at bar, would, as far as I can
see, result in colliding with the fundamental non-retroactivity principle (Article 4, Civil Code; Article 22, Revised Penal Code; both
in relation to Article 8, Civil Code).
The non-retroactivity rule applies to statutes principally. But, statutes do not exist in the abstract but rather bear upon the lives of
people with the specific form given them by judicial decisions interpreting their norms. Judicial decisions construing statutory
norms give specific shape and content to such norms. In time, the statutory norms become encrusted with the glosses placed
upon them by the courts and the glosses become integral with the norms (Cf Caltex v. Palomar, 18 SCRA 247 [1966]). Thus, while
in legal theory, judicial interpretation of a statute becomes part of the law as of the date that the law was originally enacted, I
believe this theory is not to be applied rigorously where a new judicial doctrine is announced, in particular one overruling a
previous existing doctrine of long standing (here, 36 years) and most specially not where the statute construed is criminal in
nature and the new doctrine is more onerous for the accused than the pre-existing one (People v. Jabinal, 55 SCRA 607 [1974];
People v. Licera, 65 SCRA 270 [1975]; Gumabon v. Director of Prisons, 37 SCRA 420 [1971]). Moreover, the non-retroactivity rule
whether in respect of legislative acts or judicial decisions has constitutional implications. The prevailing rule in the United States is
that a judicial decision that retroactively renders an act criminal or enhances the severity of the penalty prescribed for an
offense, is vulnerable to constitutional challenge based upon the rule against ex post facto laws and the due process clause
(Bouie v. City of Columbia, 378 US 347,12 L. Ed. 2d 894 [1964]; Marks v. U.S., 43 US 188, 51 L. Ed. 2d 260 [1977]; Devine v. New
Mexico Department of Corrections, 866 F. 2d 339 [1989]).
It is urged by the Solicitor General that the non-retroactivity principle does not present any real problem for the reason that
the Hernandez doctrine was based upon Article 48, second clause, of the Revised Penal Code and not upon the first clause
thereof, while it is precisely the first clause of Article 48 that the Government here invokes. It is, however, open to serious doubt
whether Hernandez can reasonably be so simply and sharply characterized. And assuming the Hernandez could be so
characterized, subsequent cases refer to theHernandez doctrine in terms which do not distinguish clearly between the first
clause and the second clause of Article 48 (e.g., People v. Geronimo, 100 Phil. 90 [1956]; People v. Rodriguez, 107 Phil. 659
[1960]). Thus, it appears to me that the critical question would be whether a man of ordinary intelligence would have necessarily
read or understood the Hernandez doctrine as referring exclusively to Article 48, second clause. Put in slightly different terms, the
important question would be whether the new doctrine here proposed by the Government could fairly have been derived by a
man of average intelligence (or counsel of average competence in the law) from an examination of Articles 134 and 135 of the
Revised Penal Code as interpreted by the Court in theHernandez and subsequent cases. To formulate the question ill these terms
would almost be to compel a negative answer, especially in view of the conclusions reached by the Court and its several
Members today.
Finally, there appears to be no question that the new doctrine that the Government would have us discover for the first time
since the promulgation of the Revised Penal Code in 1932, would be more onerous for the respondent accused than the simple
application of the Hernandez doctrine that murders which have been committed on the occasion of and in furtherance of the
crime of rebellion must be deemed absorbed in the offense of simple rebellion.
I agree therefore that the information in this case must be viewed as charging only the crime of simple rebellion.

FERNAN, C.J., concurring and dissenting:
I am constrained to write this separate opinion on what seems to be a rigid adherence to the 1956 ruling of the Court. The
numerous challenges to the doctrine enunciated in the case of People vs. Hernandez, 99 Phil. 515 (1956) should at once
demonstrate the need to redefine the applicability of said doctrine so as to make it conformable with accepted and well-
settled principles of criminal law and jurisprudence.
To my mind, the Hernandez doctrine should not be interpreted as an all-embracing authority for the rule that all common crimes
committed on the occasion, or in furtherance of, or in connection with, rebellion are absorbed by the latter. To that extent, I
cannot go along with the view of the majority in the instant case that 'Hernandez remains binding doctrine operating to prohi bit
the complexing of rebellion with any other offense committed on the occasion thereof, either as a means necessary to its
commission or as an unintended effect of an activity that constitutes rebellion" (p. 9, Decision).
The Hernandez doctrine has served the purpose for which it was appealed by the Court in 1956 during the communist-inspired
rebellion of the Huks. The changes in our society in the span of 34 years since then have far-reaching effects on the all-
embracing applicability of the doctrine considering the emergence of alternative modes of seizing the powers of the duly
constituted Government not contemplated in Articles 134 and 135 of the Revised Penal Code and their consequent effects on
the lives of our people. The doctrine was good law then, but I believe that there is a certain aspect of the Hernandez doctrine
that needs clarification.
With all due respect to the views of my brethren in the Court, I believe that the Court, in the instant case, should have fur ther
considered that distinction between acts or offenses which are indispensable in the commission of rebellion, on the one hand,
and those acts or offenses that are merely necessary but not indispensable in the commission of rebellion, on the other. The
majority of the Court is correct in adopting, albeit impliedly, the view in Hernandez case that when an offense perpetrated as a
necessary means of committing another, which is an element of the latter, the resulting interlocking crimes should be considered
as only one simple offense and must be deemed outside the operation of the complex crime provision (Article 48) of the Revised
Penal Code. As in the case of Hernandez, the Court, however, failed in the instant case to distinguish what is indispensable from
what is merely necessary in the commission of an offense, resulting thus in the rule that common crimes like murder, arson,
robbery, etc. committed in the course or on the occasion of rebellion are absorbed or included in the latter as elements thereof.
The relevance of the distinction is significant, more particularly, if applied to contemporaneous events happening in our country
today. Theoretically, a crime which is indispensable in the commission of another must necessarily be an element of the latter;
but a crime that is merely necessary but not indispensable in the commission of another is not an element of the latter, and if
and when actually committed, brings the interlocking crime within the operation of the complex crime provision (Art. 48) of the
Revised Penal Code. With that distinction, common crimes committed against Government forces and property in the course of
rebellion are properly considered indispensable overt acts of rebellion and are logically absorbed in it as virtual ingredients or
elements thereof, but common crimes committed against the civilian population in the course or on the occasion of rebellion
and in furtherance thereof, may be necessary but not indispensable in committing the latter, and may, therefore, not be
considered as elements of the said crime of rebellion. To illustrate, the deaths occurring during armed confrontation or clashes
between government forces and the rebels are absorbed in the rebellion, and would be those resulting from the bombing of
military camps and installations, as these acts are indispensable in carrying out the rebellion. But deliberately shooting down an
unarmed innocent civilian to instill fear or create chaos among the people, although done in the furtherance of the rebellion,
should not be absorbed in the crime of rebellion as the felonious act is merely necessary, but not indispensable. In the latter
case, Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code should apply.
The occurrence of a coup d' etat in our country as a mode of seizing the powers of the duly-constituted government by staging
surprise attacks or occupying centers of powers, of which this Court should take judicial notice, has introduced a new dimension
to the interpretation of the provisions on rebellion and insurrection in the Revised Penal Code. Generally, as a mode of seizing the
powers of the duly constituted government, it falls within the contemplation of rebellion under the Revised Penal Code, but,
strictly construed, a coup d'etat per se is a class by itself. The manner of its execution and the extent and magnitude of its effects
on the lives of the people distinguish a coup d'etat from the traditional definition and modes of commission attached by the
Revised Penal Code to the crime of rebellion as applied by the Court to the communist-inspired rebellion of the 1950's. A coup
d'etat may be executed successfully without its perpetrators resorting to the commission of other serious crimes such as murder,
arson, kidnapping, robbery, etc. because of the element of surprise and the precise timing of its execution. In extreme cases
where murder, arson, robbery, and other common crimes are committed on the occasion of a coup d' etat, the distinction
referred to above on what is necessary and what is indispensable in the commission of the coup d'etat should be painstakingly
considered as the Court should have done in the case of herein petitioners.
I concur in the result insofar as the other issues are resolved by the Court but I take exception to the vote of the majority on the
broad application of the Hernandez doctrine.
BIDIN, J., concurring and dissenting:
I concur with the majority opinion except as regards the dispositive portion thereof which orders the remand of the case to the
respondent judge for further proceedings to fix the amount of bail to be posted by the petitioner.
I submit that the proceedings need not be remanded to the respondent judge for the purpose of fixing bail since we have
construed the indictment herein as charging simple rebellion, an offense which is bailable. Consequently, habeas corpus is the
proper remedy available to petitioner as an accused who had been charged with simple rebellion, a bailable offense but who
had been denied his right to bail by the respondent judge in violation of petitioner's constitutional right to bail. In view thereof,
the responsibility of fixing the amount of bail and approval thereof when filed, devolves upon us, if complete relief is to be
accorded to petitioner in the instant proceedings.
It is indubitable that before conviction, admission to bail is a matter of right to the defendant, accused before the Regional Trial
Court of an offense less than capital (Section 13 Article III, Constitution and Section 3, Rule 114). Petitioner is, before Us, on a
petition for habeas corpus praying, among others, for his provisional release on bail. Since the offense charged (construed as
simple rebellion) admits of bail, it is incumbent upon us m the exercise of our jurisdiction over the petition for habeas
corpus (Section 5 (1), Article VIII, Constitution; Section 2, Rule 102), to grant petitioner his right to bail and having admitted him to
bail, to fix the amount thereof in such sums as the court deems reasonable. Thereafter, the rules require that "the proceedings
together with the bond" shall forthwith be certified to the respondent trial court (Section 14, Rule 102).
Accordingly, the cash bond in the amount of P 100,000.00 posted by petitioner for his provisional release pursuant to our
resolution dated March 6, 1990 should now be deemed and admitted as his bail bond for his provisional release in the case
(simple rebellion) pending before the respondent judge, without necessity of a remand for further proceedings, conditioned for
his (petitioner's) appearance before the trial court to abide its order or judgment in the said case.

SARMIENTO, J., concurring and dissenting:
I agree that People v. Hernandez 1 should abide. More than three decades after which it was penned, it has firmly settled in the
tomes of our jurisprudence as correct doctrine.
As Hernandez put it, rebellion means "engaging m war against the forces of the government," 2 which implies "resort to arms,
requisition of property and services, collection of taxes and contributions, restraint of liberty, damage to property, physical injuries
and loss of life, and the hunger, illness and unhappiness that war leaves in its wake. ..." 3whether committed in furtherance, of as
a necessary means for the commission, or in the course, of rebellion. To say that rebellion may be complexed with any other
offense, in this case murder, is to play into a contradiction in terms because exactly, rebellion includes murder, among other
possible crimes.
I also agree that the information may stand as an accusation for simple rebellion. Since the acts complained of as constituti ng
rebellion have been embodied in the information, mention therein of murder as a complexing offense is a surplusage, because
in any case, the crime of rebellion is left fully described. 4
At any rate, the government need only amend the information by a clerical correction, since an amendment will not alter its
substance.
I dissent, however, insofar as the majority orders the remand of the matter of bail to the lower court. I take it that when we, in our
Resolution of March 6, 1990, granted the petitioner "provisional liberty" upon the filing of a bond of P100,000.00, we granted him
bail. The fact that we gave him "provisional liberty" is in my view, of no moment, because bail means provisional liberty. It will
serve no useful purpose to have the trial court hear the incident again when we ourselves have been satisfied that the petitioner
is entitled to temporary freedom.

PADILLA, J., dissenting:
I concur in the majority opinion insofar as it holds that the ruling in People vs. Hernandez, 99 Phil. 515 "remains binding doctrine
operating to prohibit the complexing of rebellion with any other offense committed on the occasion thereof, either as a means
necessary to its commission or as an unintended effect of an activity that constitutes rebellion."
I dissent, however, from the majority opinion insofar as it holds that the information in question, while charging the complex crime
of rebellion with murder and multiple frustrated murder, "is to be read as charging simple rebellion."
The present cases are to be distinguished from the Hernandez case in at least one (1) material respect. In theHernandez case,
this Court was confronted with an appealed case, i.e., Hernandez had been convicted by the trial court of the complex crime
of rebellion with murder, arson and robbery, and his plea to be released on bail before the Supreme Court, pending appeal,
gave birth to the now celebrated Hernandez doctrine that the crime of rebellion complexed with murder, arson and robbery
does not exist. In the present cases, on the other hand, the Court is confronted with an original case, i.e., where an information
has been recently filed in the trial court and the petitioners have not even pleaded thereto.
Furthermore, the Supreme Court, in the Hernandez case, was "ground-breaking" on the issue of whether rebellion can be
complexed with murder, arson, robbery, etc. In the present cases, on the other hand, the prosecution and the lower court, not
only had the Hernandez doctrine (as case law), but Executive Order No. 187 of President Corazon C. Aquino dated 5 June 1987
(as statutory law) to bind them to the legal proposition that the crime of rebellion complexed with murder, and multiple
frustrated murder does not exist.
And yet, notwithstanding these unmistakable and controlling beacon lights-absent when this Court laid down
theHernandez doctrine-the prosecution has insisted in filing, and the lower court has persisted in hearing, an information
charging the petitioners with rebellion complexed with murder an multiple frustrated murder. That information is clearly a nullity
and plainly void ab initio. Its head should not be allowed to surface. As a nullity in substantive law, it charges nothing; it has given
rise to nothing. The warrants of arrest issued pursuant thereto are as null and void as the information on which they are anchored.
And, since the entire question of the information's validity is before the Court in these habeas corpus cases, I venture to say that
the information isfatally defective, even under procedural law, because it charges more than one (1) offense (Sec. 13, Rule 110,
Rules of Court).
I submit then that it is not for this Court to energize a dead and, at best, fatally decrepit information by labelling or "baptizing" it
differently from what it announces itself to be. The prosecution must file an entirely new and proper information, for this entire
exercise to merit the serious consideration of the courts.
ACCORDINGLY, I vote to GRANT the petitions, QUASH the warrants of arrest, and ORDER the information for rebellion complexed
with murder and multiple frustrated murder in Criminal Case Nos. 90-10941, RTC of Quezon City, DISMISSED.
Consequently, the petitioners should be ordered permanently released and their bails cancelled.
Paras, J.,

G.R. No. L-30642 April 30, 1985
PERFECTO S. FLORESCA, in his own behalf and on behalf of the minors ROMULO and NESTOR S. FLORESCA; and ERLINDA FLORESCA-
GABUYO, PEDRO S. FLORESCA, JR., CELSO S. FLORESCA, MELBA S. FLORESCA, JUDITH S. FLORESCA and CARMEN S. FLORESCA;
LYDIA CARAMAT VDA. DE MARTINEZ in her own behalf and on behalf of her minor children LINDA, ROMEO, ANTONIO JEAN and
ELY, all surnamed Martinez; and DANIEL MARTINEZ and TOMAS MARTINEZ;
SALUSTIANA ASPIRAS VDA. DE OBRA, in her own behalf and on behalf of her minor children JOSE, ESTELA, JULITA SALUD and
DANILO, all surnamed OBRA;
LYDIA CULBENGAN VDA. DE VILLAR, in her own behalf and on behalf of her minor children EDNA, GEORGE and LARRY III, all
surnamed VILLAR;
DOLORES LOLITA ADER VDA. DE LANUZA, in her own behalf and on behalf of her minor children EDITHA, ELIZABETH, DIVINA,
RAYMUNDO, NESTOR and AURELIO, JR. all surnamed LANUZA;
EMERENCIANA JOSE VDA. DE ISLA, in her own behalf and on behalf of her minor children JOSE, LORENZO, JR., MARIA, VENUS and
FELIX, all surnamed ISLA, petitioners,
vs.
PHILEX MINING CORPORATION and HON. JESUS P. MORFE, Presiding Judge of Branch XIII, Court of First Instance of
Manila, respondents.
Rodolfo C. Pacampara for petitioners.
Tito M. Villaluna for respondents.

MAKASIAR, J.:
This is a petition to review the order of the former Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch XIII, dated December 16, 1968
dismissing petitioners' complaint for damages on the ground of lack of jurisdiction.
Petitioners are the heirs of the deceased employees of Philex Mining Corporation (hereinafter referred to as Philex), who, while
working at its copper mines underground operations at Tuba, Benguet on June 28, 1967, died as a result of the cave-in that
buried them in the tunnels of the mine. Specifically, the complaint alleges that Philex, in violation of government rules and
regulations, negligently and deliberately failed to take the required precautions for the protection of the lives of its men working
underground. Portion of the complaint reads:
xxx xxx xxx
9. That for sometime prior and up to June 28,1967, the defendant PHILEX, with gross and reckless negligence and imprudence
and deliberate failure to take the required precautions for the due protection of the lives of its men working underground at the
time, and in utter violation of the laws and the rules and regulations duly promulgated by the Government pursuant thereto,
allowed great amount of water and mud to accumulate in an open pit area at the mine above Block 43-S-1 which seeped
through and saturated the 600 ft. column of broken ore and rock below it, thereby exerting tremendous pressure on the working
spaces at its 4300 level, with the result that, on the said date, at about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, with the collapse of all
underground supports due to such enormous pressure, approximately 500,000 cubic feet of broken ores rocks, mud and water,
accompanied by surface boulders, blasted through the tunnels and flowed out and filled in, in a matter of approximately five (5)
minutes, the underground workings, ripped timber supports and carried off materials, machines and equipment which blocked
all avenues of exit, thereby trapping within its tunnels of all its men above referred to, including those named in the next
preceding paragraph, represented by the plaintiffs herein;
10. That out of the 48 mine workers who were then working at defendant PHILEX's mine on the said date, five (5) were able to
escape from the terrifying holocaust; 22 were rescued within the next 7 days; and the rest, 21 in number, incl uding those referred
to in paragraph 7 hereinabove, were left mercilessly to their fate, notwithstanding the fact that up to then, a great many of them
were still alive, entombed in the tunnels of the mine, but were not rescued due to defendant PHILEX's decision to abandon
rescue operations, in utter disregard of its bounden legal and moral duties in the premises;
xxx xxx xxx
13. That defendant PHILEX not only violated the law and the rules and regulations duly promulgated by the duly constituted
authorities as set out by the Special Committee above referred to, in their Report of investigation, pages 7-13, Annex 'B' hereof,
but also failed completely to provide its men working underground the necessary security for the protection of their lives
notwithstanding the fact that it had vast financial resources, it having made, during the year 1966 alone, a total operating
income of P 38,220,254.00, or net earnings, after taxes of P19,117,394.00, as per its llth Annual Report for the year ended
December 31, 1966, and with aggregate assets totalling P 45,794,103.00 as of December 31, 1966;
xxx xxx xxx
(pp. 42-44, rec.)
A motion to dismiss dated May 14, 1968 was filed by Philex alleging that the causes of action of petitioners based on an industrial
accident are covered by the provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Act (Act 3428, as amended by RA 772) and that the
former Court of First Instance has no jurisdiction over the case. Petitioners filed an opposition dated May 27, 1968 to the said
motion to dismiss claiming that the causes of action are not based on the provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Act but on
the provisions of the Civil Code allowing the award of actual, moral and exemplary damages, particularly:
Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the
damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre- existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-
delict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.
Art. 2178. The provisions of articles 1172 to 1174 are also applicable to a quasi-delict.
(b) Art. 1173The fault or negligence of the obligor consists in the omission of that diligence which is required by the nature of
the obligation and corresponds with the circumstances of the persons, of the time and of the place. When negligence shows
bad faith, the provisions of Articles 1171 and 2201, paragraph 2 shall apply.
Art. 2201. x x x x x x x x x
In case of fraud, bad faith, malice or wanton attitude, the obligor shall be responsible for all damages which may be reasonably
attributed to the non-performance of the obligation.
Art. 2231. In quasi-delicts, exemplary damages may be granted if the defendant acted with gross negligence.
After a reply and a rejoinder thereto were filed, respondent Judge issued an order dated June 27, 1968 dismissing the case on
the ground that it falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Workmen's Compensation Commission. On petitioners' motion for
reconsideration of the said order, respondent Judge, on September 23, 1968, reconsidered and set aside his order of June 27,
1968 and allowed Philex to file an answer to the complaint. Philex moved to reconsider the aforesaid order which was opposed
by petitioners.
On December 16, 1968, respondent Judge dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction and ruled that in accordance with the
established jurisprudence, the Workmen's Compensation Commission has exclusive original jurisdiction over damage or
compensation claims for work-connected deaths or injuries of workmen or employees, irrespective of whether or not the
employer was negligent, adding that if the employer's negligence results in work-connected deaths or injuries, the employer
shall, pursuant to Section 4-A of the Workmen's Compensation Act, pay additional compensation equal to 50% of the
compensation fixed in the Act.
Petitioners thus filed the present petition.
In their brief, petitioners raised the following assignment of errors:
I
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING THE PLAINTIFFS- PETITIONERS' COMPLAINT FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION.
II
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO CONSIDER THE CLEAR DISTINCTION BETWEEN CLAIMS FOR DAMAGES UNDER THE CIVIL
CODE AND CLAIMS FOR COMPENSATION UNDER THE WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION ACT.
A
In the first assignment of error, petitioners argue that the lower court has jurisdiction over the cause of action since the complaint
is based on the provisions of the Civil Code on damages, particularly Articles 2176, 2178, 1173, 2201 and 2231, and not on the
provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Act. They point out that the complaint alleges gross and brazen negligence on the
part of Philex in failing to take the necessary security for the protection of the lives of its employees working underground. They
also assert that since Philex opted to file a motion to dismiss in the court a quo, the allegations in their complaint including those
contained in the annexes are deemed admitted.
In the second assignment of error, petitioners asseverate that respondent Judge failed to see the distinction between the claims
for compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act and the claims for damages based on gross negligence of Philex
under the Civil Code. They point out that workmen's compensation refers to liability for compensation for loss resulting from injury,
disability or death of the working man through industrial accident or disease, without regard to the fault or negligence of the
employer, while the claim for damages under the Civil Code which petitioners pursued in the regular court, refers to the
employer's liability for reckless and wanton negligence resulting in the death of the employees and for which the regular court
has jurisdiction to adjudicate the same.
On the other hand, Philex asserts that work-connected injuries are compensable exclusively under the provisions of Sections 5
and 46 of the Workmen's Compensation Act, which read:
SEC. 5. Exclusive right to compensation.The rights and remedies granted by this Act to an employee by reason of a personal
injury entitling him to compensation shall exclude all other rights and remedies accruing to the employee, his personal
representatives, dependents or nearest of kin against the employer under the Civil Code and other laws because of said injury ...
SEC. 46. Jurisdiction. The Workmen's Compensation Commissioner shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide claims
for compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act, subject to appeal to the Supreme Court, ...
Philex cites the case of Manalo vs. Foster Wheeler (98 Phil. 855 [1956]) where it was held that "all claims of workmen against their
employer for damages due to accident suffered in the course of employment shall be investigated and adjudicated by the
Workmen's Compensation Commission," subject to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Philex maintains that the fact that an employer was negligent, does not remove the case from the exclusive character of
recoveries under the Workmen's Compensation Act; because Section 4-A of the Act provides an additional compensation in
case the employer fails to comply with the requirements of safety as imposed by law to prevent accidents. In fact, it points out
that Philex voluntarily paid the compensation due the petitioners and all the payments have been accepted in behal f of the
deceased miners, except the heirs of Nazarito Floresca who insisted that they are entitled to a greater amount of damages
under the Civil Code.
In the hearing of this case, then Undersecretary of Labor Israel Bocobo, then Atty. Edgardo Angara, now President of the
University of the Philippines, Justice Manuel Lazaro, as corporate counsel and Assistant General Manager of the GSIS Legal Affairs
Department, and Commissioner on Elections, formerly UP Law Center Director Froilan Bacungan, appeared as amici curiae and
thereafter, submitted their respective memoranda.
The issue to be resolved as WE stated in the resolution of November 26, 1976, is:
Whether the action of an injured employee or worker or that of his heirs in case of his death under the Workmen's Compensation
Act is exclusive, selective or cumulative, that is to say, whether his or his heirs' action is exclusively restricted to seeking the limited
compensation provided under the Workmen's Compensation Act or whether they have a right of selection or choice of action
between availing of the worker's right under the Workmen's Compensation Act and suing in the regular courts under the Civil
Code for higher damages (actual, moral and/or exemplary) from the employer by virtue of negligence (or fault) of the employer
or of his other employees or whether they may avail cumulatively of both actions, i.e., collect the limited compensation under
the Workmen's Compensation Act and sue in addition for damages in the regular courts.
There are divergent opinions in this case. Justice Lazaro is of the opinion that an injured employee or worker, or the heirs in case
of his death, may initiate a complaint to recover damages (not compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act) with
the regular court on the basis of negligence of an employer pursuant to the Civil Code provisions. Atty. Angara believes
otherwise. He submits that the remedy of an injured employee for work-connected injury or accident is exclusive in accordance
with Section 5 of the Workmen's Compensation Act, while Atty. Bacungan's position is that the action is selective. He opines that
the heirs of the employee in case of his death have a right of choice to avail themselves of the benefits provided under the
Workmen's Compensation Act or to sue in the regular court under the Civil Code for higher damages from the employer by
virtue of negligence of the latter. Atty. Bocobo's stand is the same as that of Atty. Bacungan and adds that once the heirs elect
the remedy provided for under the Act, they are no longer entitled to avail themselves of the remedy provided for under the
Civil Code by filing an action for higher damages in the regular court, and vice versa.
On August 3, 1978, petitioners-heirs of deceased employee Nazarito Floresca filed a motion to dismiss on the ground that they
have amicably settled their claim with respondent Philex. In the resolution of September 7, 1978, WE dismissed the petition only
insofar as the aforesaid petitioners are connected, it appearing that there are other petitioners in this case.
WE hold that the former Court of First Instance has jurisdiction to try the case,
It should be underscored that petitioners' complaint is not for compensation based on the Workmen's Compensation Act but a
complaint for damages (actual, exemplary and moral) in the total amount of eight hundred twenty-five thousand (P825,000.00)
pesos. Petitioners did not invoke the provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Act to entitle them to compensation thereunder.
In fact, no allegation appeared in the complaint that the employees died from accident arising out of and in the course of their
employments. The complaint instead alleges gross and reckless negligence and deliberate failure on the part of Philex to protect
the lives of its workers as a consequence of which a cave-in occurred resulting in the death of the employees working
underground. Settled is the rule that in ascertaining whether or not the cause of action is in the nature of workmen's
compensation claim or a claim for damages pursuant to the provisions of the Civil Code, the test is the averments or allegations
in the complaint (Belandres vs. Lopez Sugar Mill, Co., Inc., 97 Phil. 100).
In the present case, there exists between Philex and the deceased employees a contractual relationship. The alleged gross and
reckless negligence and deliberate failure that amount to bad faith on the part of Philex, constitute a breach of contract for
which it may be held liable for damages. The provisions of the Civil Code on cases of breach of contract when there is fraud or
bad faith, read:
Art. 2232. In contracts and quasi-contracts, the court may award exemplary damages if the defendant acted in a wanton,
fraudulent, reckless, oppressive or malevolent manner.
Art. 2201. In contracts and quasi-contracts, the damages for which the obligor who acted in good faith is able shall be those
that are the natural and probable consequences of the breach of the obligation, and which the parties have foreseen or could
have reasonably foreseen at the time the obligation was constituted.
In cases of fraud, bad faith, malice or wanton attitude, the obligor shall be responsible for all damages which may be
reasonably attributed to the non-performance of the obligation.
Furthermore, Articles 2216 et seq., Civil Code, allow the payment of all kinds of damages, as assessed by the court.
The rationale in awarding compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act differs from that in giving damages under the
Civil Code. The compensation acts are based on a theory of compensation distinct from the existing theories of damages,
payments under the acts being made as compensation and not as damages (99 C.J.S. 53). Compensation is given to mitigate
the harshness and insecurity of industrial life for the workman and his family. Hence, an employer is liable whether negligence
exists or not since liability is created by law. Recovery under the Act is not based on any theory of actionable wrong on the part
of the employer (99 C.J.S. 36).
In other words, under the compensation acts, the employer is liable to pay compensation benefits for loss of income, as long as
the death, sickness or injury is work-connected or work-aggravated, even if the death or injury is not due to the fault of the
employer (Murillo vs. Mendoza, 66 Phil. 689). On the other hand, damages are awarded to one as a vindication of the wrongful
invasion of his rights. It is the indemnity recoverable by a person who has sustained injury either in his person, property or relative
rights, through the act or default of another (25 C.J.S. 452).
The claimant for damages under the Civil Code has the burden of proving the causal relation between the defendant's
negligence and the resulting injury as well as the damages suffered. While under the Workmen's Compensation Act, there is a
presumption in favor of the deceased or injured employee that the death or injury is work-connected or work-aggravated; and
the employer has the burden to prove otherwise (De los Angeles vs. GSIS, 94 SCRA 308; Carino vs. WCC, 93 SCRA 551; Maria
Cristina Fertilizer Corp. vs. WCC, 60 SCRA 228).
The claim of petitioners that the case is not cognizable by the Workmen's Compensation Commission then, now Employees
Compensation Commission, is strengthened by the fact that unlike in the Civil Code, the Workmen's Compensation Act did not
contain any provision for an award of actual, moral and exemplary damages. What the Act provided was merely the right of
the heirs to claim limited compensation for the death in the amount of six thousand (P6,000.00) pesos plus buri al expenses of two
hundred (P200.00) pesos, and medical expenses when incurred (Sections 8, 12 and 13, Workmen's Compensation Act), and an
additional compensation of only 50% if the complaint alleges failure on the part of the employer to "install and maintain safety
appliances or to take other precautions for the prevention of accident or occupational disease" (Section 4-A, Ibid.). In the case
at bar, the amount sought to be recovered is over and above that which was provided under the Workmen's Compensati on Act
and which cannot be granted by the Commission.
Moreover, under the Workmen's Compensation Act, compensation benefits should be paid to an employee who suffered an
accident not due to the facilities or lack of facilities in the industry of his employer but caused by factors outside the industrial
plant of his employer. Under the Civil Code, the liability of the employer, depends on breach of contract or tort. The Workmen's
Compensation Act was specifically enacted to afford protection to the employees or workmen. It is a social legislation designed
to give relief to the workman who has been the victim of an accident causing his death or ailment or injury in the pursuit of his
employment (Abong vs. WCC, 54 SCRA 379).
WE now come to the query as to whether or not the injured employee or his heirs in case of death have a right of selection or
choice of action between availing themselves of the worker's right under the Workmen's Compensation Act and suing in the
regular courts under the Civil Code for higher damages (actual, moral and exemplary) from the employers by virtue of that
negligence or fault of the employers or whether they may avail themselves cumulatively of both actions, i.e., collect the limited
compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act and sue in addition for damages in the regular courts.
In disposing of a similar issue, this Court in Pacana vs. Cebu Autobus Company, 32 SCRA 442, ruled that an injured worker has a
choice of either to recover from the employer the fixed amounts set by the Workmen's Compensation Act or to prosecute an
ordinary civil action against the tortfeasor for higher damages but he cannot pursue both courses of action simultaneously.
In Pacaa WE said:
In the analogous case of Esguerra vs. Munoz Palma, involving the application of Section 6 of the Workmen's Compensation Act
on the injured workers' right to sue third- party tortfeasors in the regular courts, Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, again speaking for the
Court, pointed out that the injured worker has the choice of remedies but cannot pursue both courses of action simultaneously
and thus balanced the relative advantage of recourse under the Workmen's Compensation Act as against an ordinary action.
As applied to this case, petitioner Esguerra cannot maintain his action for damages against the respondents (defendants
below), because he has elected to seek compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Law, and his claim (case No. 44549
of the Compensation Commission) was being processed at the time he filed this action in the Court of First Instance. It is argued
for petitioner that as the damages recoverable under the Civil Code are much more extensive than the amounts that may be
awarded under the Workmen's Compensation Act, they should not be deemed incompatible. As already indicated, the injured
laborer was initially free to choose either to recover from the employer the fixed amounts set by the Compensation Law or else,
to prosecute an ordinary civil action against the tortfeasor for higher damages. While perhaps not as profitable, the smaller
indemnity obtainable by the first course is balanced by the claimant's being relieved of the burden of proving the causal
connection between the defendant's negligence and the resulting injury, and of having to establish the extent of the damage
suffered; issues that are apt to be troublesome to establish satisfactorily. Having staked his fortunes on a particular remedy,
petitioner is precluded from pursuing the alternate course, at least until the prior claim is rejected by the Compensation
Commission. Anyway, under the proviso of Section 6 aforequoted, if the employer Franklin Baker Company recovers, by
derivative action against the alleged tortfeasors, a sum greater than the compensation he may have paid the herein petitioner,
the excess accrues to the latter.
Although the doctrine in the case of Esguerra vs. Munoz Palma (104 Phil. 582), applies to third-party tortfeasor, said rule should
likewise apply to the employer-tortfeasor.
Insofar as the heirs of Nazarito Floresca are concerned, as already stated, the petition has been dismissed in the resolution of
September 7, 1978 in view of the amicable settlement reached by Philex and the said heirs.
With regard to the other petitioners, it was alleged by Philex in its motion to dismiss dated May 14, 1968 before the court a quo,
that the heirs of the deceased employees, namely Emerito Obra, Larry Villar, Jr., Aurelio Lanuza, Lorenzo Isla and Saturnino
Martinez submitted notices and claims for compensation to the Regional Office No. 1 of the then Department of Labor and all of
them have been paid in full as of August 25, 1967, except Saturnino Martinez whose heirs decided that they be paid in
installments (pp. 106-107, rec.). Such allegation was admitted by herein petitioners in their opposition to the motion to dismiss
dated May 27, 1968 (pp. 121-122, rec.) in the lower court, but they set up the defense that the claims were filed under the
Workmen's Compensation Act before they learned of the official report of the committee created to investigate the accident
which established the criminal negligence and violation of law by Philex, and which report was forwarded by the Director of
Mines to the then Executive Secretary Rafael Salas in a letter dated October 19, 1967 only (p. 76, rec.).
WE hold that although the other petitioners had received the benefits under the Workmen's Compensation Act, such may not
preclude them from bringing an action before the regular court because they became cognizant of the fact that Philex has
been remiss in its contractual obligations with the deceased miners only after receiving compensation under the Act. Had
petitioners been aware of said violation of government rules and regulations by Philex, and of its negligence, they would not
have sought redress under the Workmen's Compensation Commission which awarded a lesser amount for compensation. The
choice of the first remedy was based on ignorance or a mistake of fact, which nullifies the choice as it was not an intelligent
choice. The case should therefore be remanded to the lower court for further proceedings. However, should the petitioners be
successful in their bid before the lower court, the payments made under the Workmen's Compensation Act should be deducted
from the damages that may be decreed in their favor.
B
Contrary to the perception of the dissenting opinion, the Court does not legislate in the instant case. The Court merely appl ies
and gives effect to the constitutional guarantees of social justice then secured by Section 5 of Article 11 and Section 6 of Article
XIV of the 1935 Constitution, and now by Sections 6, 7, and 9 of Article 11 of the DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES AND STATE
POLICIES of the 1973 Constitution, as amended, and as implemented by Articles 2176, 2177, 2178, 1173, 2201, 2216, 2231 and
2232 of the New Civil Code of 1950.
To emphasize, the 1935 Constitution declares that:
Sec. 5. The promotion of social justice to insure the well-being and economic security of all the people should be the concern of
the State (Art. II).
Sec. 6. The State shall afford protection to labor, especially to working women, and minors, and shall regulate the relations
between landowner and tenant, and between labor and capital in industry and in agriculture. The State may provide for
compulsory arbitration (Art. XIV).
The 1973 Constitution likewise commands the State to "promote social justice to insure the dignity, welfare, and security of all the
people "... regulate the use ... and disposition of private property and equitably diffuse property ownership and profits "establish,
maintain and ensure adequate social services in, the field of education, health, housing, employment, welfare and social
security to guarantee the enjoyment by the people of a decent standard of living" (Sections 6 and 7, Art. II, 1973 Constitution);
"... afford protection to labor, ... and regulate the relations between workers and employers ..., and assure the rights of workers to
... just and humane conditions of work" (Sec. 9, Art. II, 1973 Constitution, emphasis supplied).
The foregoing constitutional guarantees in favor of labor institutionalized in Section 9 of Article 11 of the 1973 Constituti on and re-
stated as a declaration of basic policy in Article 3 of the New Labor Code, thus:
Art. 3. Declaration of basic policy.The State shall afford protection to labor, promote full employment, ensure equal work
opportunities regardless of sex, race or creed, and regulate the relations between workers and employers. The State shall assure
the rights of workers to self-organization, collective bargaining, security of tenure, and just and humane conditions of work.
(emphasis supplied).
The aforestated constitutional principles as implemented by the aforementioned articles of the New Civil Code cannot be
impliedly repealed by the restrictive provisions of Article 173 of the New Labor Code. Section 5 of the Workmen's Compensation
Act (before it was amended by R.A. No. 772 on June 20, 1952), predecessor of Article 173 of the New Labor Code, has been
superseded by the aforestated provisions of the New Civil Code, a subsequent law, which took effect on August 30, 1950, which
obey the constitutional mandates of social justice enhancing as they do the rights of the workers as against their employers.
Article 173 of the New Labor Code seems to diminish the rights of the workers and therefore collides with the social justice
guarantee of the Constitution and the liberal provisions of the New Civil Code.
The guarantees of social justice embodied in Sections 6, 7 and 9 of Article II of the 1973 Constitution are statements of legal
principles to be applied and enforced by the courts. Mr. Justice Robert Jackson in the case of West Virginia State Board of
Education vs. Barnette, with characteristic eloquence, enunciated:
The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them
beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One's right to
life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not
be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections (319 U.S. 625, 638, 87 L.ed. 1638, emphasis supplied).
In case of any doubt which may be engendered by Article 173 of the New Labor Code, both the New Labor Code and the Civil
Code direct that the doubts should be resolved in favor of the workers and employees.
Thus, Article 4 of the New Labor Code, otherwise known as Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended, promulgated on May 1,
1974, but which took effect six months thereafter, provides that "all doubts in the implementation and interpretation of the
provisions of this Code, including its implementing rules and regulations, shall be resolved in favor of labor" (Art. 2, Labor Code).
Article 10 of the New Civil Code states: "In case of doubt in the interpretation or application of laws, it is presumed that the law-
making body intended right and justice to prevail. "
More specifically, Article 1702 of the New Civil Code likewise directs that. "In case of doubt, all labor legislation and all labor
contracts shall be construed in favor of the safety and decent living of the laborer."
Before it was amended by Commonwealth Act No. 772 on June 20, 1952, Section 5 of the Workmen's Compensation Act
provided:
Sec. 5. Exclusive right to compensation.- The rights and remedies granted by this Act to an employee by reason of a personal
injury entitling him to compensation shall exclude all other rights and remedies accruing to the employee, his personal
representatives, dependents or nearest of kin against the employer under the Civil Code and other laws, because of said injury
(emphasis supplied).
Employers contracting laborecsrs in the Philippine Islands for work outside the same may stipulate with such laborers that the
remedies prescribed by this Act shall apply exclusively to injuries received outside the Islands through accidents happeni ng in
and during the performance of the duties of the employment; and all service contracts made in the manner prescribed in this
section shall be presumed to include such agreement.
Only the second paragraph of Section 5 of the Workmen's Compensation Act No. 3428, was amended by Commonwealth Act
No. 772 on June 20, 1952, thus:
Sec. 5. Exclusive right to compensation.- The rights and remedies granted by this Act to an employee by reason of a personal
injury entitling him to compensation shall exclude all other rights and remedies accruing to the employee, his personal
representatives, dependents or nearest of kin against the employer under the Civil Code and other laws, because of said injury.
Employers contracting laborers in the Philippine Islands for work outside the same shall stipulate with such laborers that the
remedies prescribed by this Act shall apply to injuries received outside the Island through accidents happening in and during the
performance of the duties of the employment. Such stipulation shall not prejudice the right of the laborers to the benefits of the
Workmen's Compensation Law of the place where the accident occurs, should such law be more favorable to them (As
amended by section 5 of Republic Act No. 772).
Article 173 of the New Labor Code does not repeal expressly nor impliedly the applicable provisions of the New Civil Code,
because said Article 173 provides:
Art. 173. Exclusiveness of liability.- Unless otherwise provided, the liability of the State Insurance Fund under this Title shall be
exclusive and in place of all other liabilities of the employer to the employee, his dependents or anyone otherwise entitled to
receive damages on behalf of the employee or his dependents. The payment of compensation under this Title shall bar the
recovery of benefits as provided for in Section 699 of the Revised Administrative Code, Republic Act Numbered Eleven hundred
sixty-one, as amended, Commonwealth Act Numbered One hundred eighty- six, as amended, Commonwealth Act Numbered
Six hundred ten, as amended, Republic Act Numbered Forty-eight hundred Sixty-four, as amended, and other laws whose
benefits are administered by the System during the period of such payment for the same disability or death, and conversely
(emphasis supplied).
As above-quoted, Article 173 of the New Labor Code expressly repealed only Section 699 of the Revised Administrative Code,
R.A. No. 1161, as amended, C.A. No. 186, as amended, R.A. No. 610, as amended, R.A. No. 4864, as amended, and all other
laws whose benefits are administered by the System (referring to the GSIS or SSS).
Unlike Section 5 of the Workmen's Compensation Act as aforequoted, Article 173 of the New Labor Code does not even
remotely, much less expressly, repeal the New Civil Code provisions heretofore quoted.
It is patent, therefore, that recovery under the New Civil Code for damages arising from negligence, is not barred by Article 173
of the New Labor Code. And the damages recoverable under the New Civil Code are not administered by the System provided
for by the New Labor Code, which defines the "System" as referring to the Government Service Insurance System or the Social
Security System (Art. 167 [c], [d] and [e] of the New Labor Code).
Furthermore, under Article 8 of the New Civil Code, decisions of the Supreme Court form part of the law of the land.
Article 8 of the New Civil Code provides:
Art. 8. Judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form a part of the legal system of the
Philippines.
The Court, through the late Chief Justice Fred Ruiz Castro, in People vs. Licera ruled:
Article 8 of the Civil Code of the Philippines decrees that judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution
form part of this jurisdiction's legal system. These decisions, although in themselves not laws, constitute evidence of what the laws
mean. The application or interpretation placed by the Court upon a law is part of the law as of the date of the enactment of the
said law since the Court's application or interpretation merely establishes the contemporaneous legislative intent that the
construed law purports to carry into effect" (65 SCRA 270, 272-273 [1975]).
WE ruled that judicial decisions of the Supreme Court assume the same authority as the statute itself (Caltex vs. Palomer, 18 SCRA
247; 124 Phil. 763).
The aforequoted provisions of Section 5 of the Workmen's Compensation Act, before and after it was amended by
Commonwealth Act No. 772 on June 20, 1952, limited the right of recovery in favor of the deceased, ailing or injured employee
to the compensation provided for therein. Said Section 5 was not accorded controlling application by the Supreme Court in the
1970 case of Pacana vs. Cebu Autobus Company (32 SCRA 442) when WE ruled that an injured worker has a choice of either to
recover from the employer the fixed amount set by the Workmen's Compensation Act or to prosecute an ordinary civil action
against the tortfeasor for greater damages; but he cannot pursue both courses of action simultaneously. Said Pacana case
penned by Mr. Justice Teehankee, applied Article 1711 of the Civil Code as against the Workmen's Compensation Act,
reiterating the 1969 ruling in the case of Valencia vs. Manila Yacht Club (28 SCRA 724, June 30,1969) and the 1958 case of
Esguerra vs. Munoz Palma (104 Phil. 582), both penned by Justice J.B.L. Reyes. Said Pacana case was concurred in by Justices
J.B.L. Reyes, Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro, Fernando and Villamor.
Since the first sentence of Article 173 of the New Labor Code is merely a re-statement of the first paragraph of Section 5 of the
Workmen's Compensation Act, as amended, and does not even refer, neither expressly nor impliedly, to the Civil Code as
Section 5 of the Workmen's Compensation Act did, with greater reason said Article 173 must be subject to the same
interpretation adopted in the cases of Pacana, Valencia and Esguerra aforementioned as the doctrine in the aforesaid three (3)
cases is faithful to and advances the social justice guarantees enshrined in both the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions.
It should be stressed likewise that there is no similar provision on social justice in the American Federal Constitution, nor in the
various state constitutions of the American Union. Consequently, the restrictive nature of the American decisions on the
Workmen's Compensation Act cannot limit the range and compass of OUR interpretation of our own laws, especially Article 1711
of the New Civil Code, vis-a-vis Article 173 of the New Labor Code, in relation to Section 5 of Article II and Section 6 of Article XIV
of the 1935 Constitution then, and now Sections 6, 7 and 9 of the Declaration of Principles and State Policies of Article II of the
1973 Constitution.
The dissent seems to subordinate the life of the laborer to the property rights of the employer. The right to life is guaranteed
specifically by the due process clause of the Constitution. To relieve the employer from liability for the death of his workers arising
from his gross or wanton fault or failure to provide safety devices for the protection of his employees or workers against the
dangers which are inherent in underground mining, is to deprive the deceased worker and his heirs of the right to recover
indemnity for the loss of the life of the worker and the consequent loss to his fami ly without due process of law. The dissent in
effect condones and therefore encourages such gross or wanton neglect on the part of the employer to comply with his legal
obligation to provide safety measures for the protection of the life, limb and health of his worker. Even from the moral viewpoint
alone, such attitude is un-Christian.
It is therefore patent that giving effect to the social justice guarantees of the Constitution, as implemented by the provisi ons of
the New Civil Code, is not an exercise of the power of law-making, but is rendering obedience to the mandates of the
fundamental law and the implementing legislation aforementioned.
The Court, to repeat, is not legislating in the instant case.
It is axiomatic that no ordinary statute can override a constitutional provision.
The words of Section 5 of the Workmen's Compensation Act and of Article 173 of the New Labor Code subvert the rights of the
petitioners as surviving heirs of the deceased mining employees. Section 5 of the Workmen's Compensation Act and Article 173
of the New Labor Code are retrogressive; because they are a throwback to the obsolete laissez-faire doctrine of Adam Smith
enunciated in 1776 in his treatise Wealth of Nations (Collier's Encyclopedia, Vol. 21, p. 93, 1964), which has been discarded soon
after the close of the 18th century due to the Industrial Revolution that generated the machines and other mechanical devices
(beginning with Eli Whitney's cotton gin of 1793 and Robert Fulton's steamboat of 1807) for production and transportation which
are dangerous to life, limb and health. The old socio-political-economic philosophy of live-and-let-live is now superdesed by the
benign Christian shibboleth of live-and-help others to live. Those who profess to be Christians should not adhere to Cain's selfish
affirmation that he is not his brother's keeper. In this our civilization, each one of us is our brother's keeper. No man is an island. To
assert otherwise is to be as atavistic and ante-deluvian as the 1837 case of Prisley vs. Fowler (3 MN 1,150 reprint 1030) invoked by
the dissent, The Prisley case was decided in 1837 during the era of economic royalists and robber barons of America. Only
ruthless, unfeeling capitalistics and egoistic reactionaries continue to pay obeisance to such un-Christian doctrine. The Prisley rule
humiliates man and debases him; because the decision derisively refers to the lowly worker as "servant" and utilizes with
aristocratic arrogance "master" for "employer." It robs man of his inherent dignity and dehumanizes him. To stress this affront to
human dignity, WE only have to restate the quotation from Prisley, thus: "The mere relation of the master and the servant never
can imply an obligation on the part of the master to take more care of the servant than he may reasonably be expected to do
himself." This is the very selfish doctrine that provoked the American Civil War which generated so much hatred and drew so
much precious blood on American plains and valleys from 1861 to 1864.
"Idolatrous reverence" for the letter of the law sacrifices the human being. The spirit of the law insures man's survival and ennobles
him. In the words of Shakespeare, "the letter of the law killeth; its spirit giveth life."
C
It is curious that the dissenting opinion clings to the myth that the courts cannot legislate.
That myth had been exploded by Article 9 of the New Civil Code, which provides that "No judge or court shall decline to render
judgment by reason of the silence, obscurity or insufficiency of the laws. "
Hence, even the legislator himself, through Article 9 of the New Civil Code, recognizes that in certain instances, the court, in the
language of Justice Holmes, "do and must legislate" to fill in the gaps in the law; because the mind of the legislator, like all human
beings, is finite and therefore cannot envisage all possible cases to which the law may apply Nor has the human mind the infini te
capacity to anticipate all situations.
But about two centuries before Article 9 of the New Civil Code, the founding fathers of the American Constitution foresaw and
recognized the eventuality that the courts may have to legislate to supply the omissions or to clarify the ambiguities in the
American Constitution and the statutes.
'Thus, Alexander Hamilton pragmatically admits that judicial legislation may be justified but denies that the power of the
Judiciary to nullify statutes may give rise to Judicial tyranny (The Federalist, Modern Library, pp. 503-511, 1937 ed.). Thomas
Jefferson went farther to concede that the court is even i ndependent of the Nation itself (A.F.L. vs. American Sash Company,
1949 335 US 538).
Many of the great expounders of the American Constitution likewise share the same view. Chief Justice Marshall pronounced: "I t
is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial department to say what the law is (Marbury vs. Madison I Cranch 127 1803),
which was re-stated by Chief Justice Hughes when he said that "the Constitution is what the judge says it is (Address on May 3,
1907, quoted by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on March 9, 1937). This was reiterated by Justice Cardozo who pronounced
that "No doubt the limits for the judge are narrower. He legislates only between gaps. He fills the open spaces in the law. " (The
Nature of the Judicial Process, p. 113). In the language of Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone, "The only limit to the judicial legislation is
the restraint of the judge" (U.S. vs. Butler 297 U.S. 1 Dissenting Opinion, p. 79), which view is also entertained by Justice Frankfurter
and Justice Robert Jackson. In the rhetoric of Justice Frankfurter, "the courts breathe life, feeble or strong, into the inert pages of
the Constitution and all statute books."
It should be stressed that the liability of the employer under Section 5 of the Workmen's Compensation Act or Article 173 of the
New Labor Code is limited to death, ailment or injury caused by the nature of the work, without any fault on the part of the
employers. It is correctly termed no fault liability. Section 5 of the Workmen's Compensation Act, as amended, or Article 173 of
the New Labor Code, does not cover the tortious liability of the employer occasioned by his fault or culpable negligence in
failing to provide the safety devices required by the law for the protection of the life, limb and health of the workers. Under either
Section 5 or Article 173, the employer remains liable to pay compensation benefits to the employee whose death, ailment or
injury is work-connected, even if the employer has faithfully and diligently furnished all the safety measures and contrivances
decreed by the law to protect the employee.
The written word is no longer the "sovereign talisman." In the epigrammatic language of Mr. Justice Cardozo, "the law has
outgrown its primitive stage of formalism when the precise word was the sovereign talisman, and every slip was fatal" (Wood vs.
Duff Gordon 222 NW 88; Cardozo, The Nature of the Judicial Process 100). Justice Cardozo warned that: "Sometimes the
conservatism of judges has threatened for an interval to rob the legislation of its efficacy. ... Precedents established in those items
exert an unhappy influence even now" (citing Pound, Common Law and Legislation 21 Harvard Law Review 383, 387).
Finally, Justice Holmes delivered the coup de grace when he pragmatically admitted, although with a cautionary undertone:
"that judges do and must legislate, but they can do so only interstitially they are confined from molar to molecular motions"
(Southern Pacific Company vs. Jensen, 244 US 204 1917). And in the subsequent case of Springer vs. Government (277 US 188,
210-212, 72 L.ed. 845, 852- 853), Justice Holmes pronounced:
The great ordinances of the Constitution do not establish and divide fields of black and white. Even the more specific of them
are found to terminate in a penumbra shading gradually from one extreme to the other. x x x. When we come to the
fundamental distinctions it is still more obvious that they must be received with a certain latitude or our government could not go
on.
To make a rule of conduct applicable to an individual who but for such action would be free from it is to legislate yet it is what
the judges do whenever they determine which of two competing principles of policy shall prevail.
xxx xxx xxx
It does not seem to need argument to show that however we may disguise it by veiling words we do not and cannot carry out
the distinction between legislative and executive action with mathematical precision and divide the branches into waterlight
compartments, were it ever so desirable to do so, which I am far from believing that it is, or that the Constitution requires.
True, there are jurists and legal writers who affirm that judges should not legislate, but grudgingly concede that in certain cases
judges do legislate. They criticize the assumption by the courts of such law-making power as dangerous for it may degenerate
into Judicial tyranny. They include Blackstone, Jeremy Bentham, Justice Black, Justice Harlan, Justice Roberts, Justice David
Brewer, Ronald Dworkin, Rolf Sartorious, Macklin Fleming and Beryl Harold Levy. But said Justices, jurists or legal commentators,
who either deny the power of the courts to legislate in-between gaps of the law, or decry the exercise of such power, have not
pointed to examples of the exercise by the courts of such law-making authority in the interpretation and application of the laws
in specific cases that gave rise to judicial tyranny or oppression or that such judicial legislation has not protected public interest
or individual welfare, particularly the lowly workers or the underprivileged.
On the other hand, there are numerous decisions interpreting the Bill of Rights and statutory enactments expanding the scope of
such provisions to protect human rights. Foremost among them is the doctrine in the cases of Miranda vs. Arizona (384 US 436
1964), Gideon vs. Wainright (372 US 335), Escubedo vs. Illinois (378 US 478), which guaranteed the accused under custodial
investigation his rights to remain silent and to counsel and to be informed of such rights as even as it protects him against the use
of force or intimidation to extort confession from him. These rights are not found in the American Bill of Rights. These rights are now
institutionalized in Section 20, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution. Only the peace-and-order adherents were critical of the activism
of the American Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Earl Warren.
Even the definition of Identical offenses for purposes of the double jeopardy provision was developed by American judicial
decisions, not by amendment to the Bill of Rights on double jeopardy (see Justice Laurel in People vs. Tarok, 73 Phil. 260, 261-268).
And these judicial decisions have been re-stated in Section 7 of Rule 117 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, as well as in
Section 9 of Rule 117 of the 1964 Revised Rules of Court. In both provisions, the second offense is the same as the first offense if
the second offense is an attempt to commit the first or frustration thereof or necessarily includes or is necessarily included in the
first offense.
The requisites of double jeopardy are not spelled out in the Bill of Rights. They were also developed by judicial decisions in the
United States and in the Philippines even before people vs. Ylagan (58 Phil. 851-853).
Again, the equal protection clause was interpreted in the case of Plessy vs. Ferguson (163 US 537) as securing to the Negroes
equal but separate facilities, which doctrine was revoked in the case of Brown vs. Maryland Board of Education (349 US 294),
holding that the equal protection clause means that the Negroes are entitled to attend the same schools attended by the
whites-equal facilities in the same school-which was extended to public parks and public buses.
De-segregation, not segregation, is now the governing principle.
Among other examples, the due process clause was interpreted in the case of People vs. Pomar (46 Phil. 440) by a conservative,
capitalistic court to invalidate a law granting maternity leave to working women-according primacy to property rights over
human rights. The case of People vs. Pomar is no longer the rule.
As early as 1904, in the case of Lochner vs. New York (198 US 45, 76, 49 L. ed. 937, 949), Justice Holmes had been railing against
the conservatism of Judges perverting the guarantee of due process to protect property ri ghts as against human rights or social
justice for the working man. The law fixing maximum hours of labor was invalidated. Justice Holmes was vindicated finally in 1936
in the case of West Coast Hotel vs. Parish (300 US 377-79; 81 L. ed. 703) where the American Supreme Court upheld the rights of
workers to social justice in the form of guaranteed minimum wage for women and minors, working hours not exceeding eight (8)
daily, and maternity leave for women employees.
The power of judicial review and the principle of separation of powers as well as the rule on political questions have been
evolved and grafted into the American Constitution by judicial decisions (Marbury vs. Madison, supra Coleman vs. Miller, 307 US
433, 83 L. ed. 1385; Springer vs. Government, 277 US 210-212, 72 L. ed. 852, 853).
It is noteworthy that Justice Black, who seems to be against judicial legislation, penned a separate concurring opinion in the
case of Coleman vs. Miller, supra, affirming the doctrine of political question as beyond the ambit of judicial review. There is
nothing in both the American and Philippine Constitutions expressly providing that the power of the courts is limited by the
principle of separation of powers and the doctrine on political questions. There are numerous cases in Philippine jurisprudence
applying the doctrines of separation of powers and political questions and invoking American precedents.
Unlike the American Constitution, both the 1935 and 1973 Philippine Constitutions expressly vest in the Supreme Court the power
to review the validity or constitutionality of any legislative enactment or executive act.
WHEREFORE, THE TRIAL COURT'S ORDER OF DISMISSAL IS HEREBY REVERSED AND SET ASIDE AND THE CASE IS REMANDED TO IT FOR
FURTHER PROCEEDINGS. SHOULD A GREATER AMOUNT OF DAMAGES BE DECREED IN FAVOR OF HEREIN PETITIONERS, THE
PAYMENTS ALREADY MADE TO THEM PURSUANT TO THE WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION ACT SHALL BE DEDUCTED. NO COSTS.
SO ORDERED.
Fernando, C.J., Teehankee, Plana, Escolin, De la Fuente, Cuevas and Alampay JJ., concur.
Concepcion, Jr., J., is on leave.
Abad Santos and Relova, JJ., took no part.


Separate Opinions

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., dissenting:
A
This case involves a complaint for damages for the death of five employees of PHILEX Mining Corporation under the general
provisions of the Civil Code. The Civil Code itself, however, provides for its non-applicability to the complaint. It is specifically
provided in Article 2196 of the Code, found in Title XVIII-Damages that:
COMPENSATION FOR WORKMEN AND OTHER EMPLOYEES IN CASE OF DEATH, INJURY OR ILLNESS IS REGULATED BY SPECIAL LAWS.
Compensation and damages are synonymous. In Esguerra vs. Muoz Palma, etc., et al., 104 Phil. 582, 586, Justice J.B.L. Reyes
had said:
Petitioner also avers that compensation is not damages. This argument is but a play on words. The term compensation' is used in
the law (Act 3812 and Republic Act 772) in the sense of indemnity for damages suffered, being awarded for a personal injury
caused or aggravated by or in the course of employment. ...
By the very provisions of the Civil Code, it is a "special law", not the Code itself, which has to apply to the complaint involved in
the instant case. That "special law", in reference to the complaint, can be no other than the Workmen's Compensation
Even assuming, without conceding, that an employee is entitled to an election of remedies, as the majority rules, both options
cannot be exercised simultaneously, and the exercise of one will preclude the exercise of the other. The petitioners had already
exercised their option to come under the Workmen's Compensation Act, and they have already received compensation
payable to them under that Act. Stated differently, the remedy under the Workmen's Compensation Act had already become a
"finished transaction".
There are two considerations why it is believed petitioners should no longer be allowed to exercise the option to sue under the
Civil Code. In the first place, the proceedings under the Workmen's Compensation Act have already become the law in regards
to" the "election of remedies", because those proceedings had become a "finished transaction".
In the second place, it should be plainly equitable that, if a person entitled to an "election of remedies" makes a first election
and accepts the benefits thereof, he should no longer be allowed to avail himself of the second option. At the very least, if he
wants to make a second election, in disregard of the first election he has made, when he makes the second election he should
surrender the benefits he had obtained under the first election, This was not done in the case before the Court.
B.
'There is full concurrence on my part with the dissenting opinion of Mr. Justice Gutierrez upholding "the exclusory provision of the
Workmen's Compensation Act." I may further add:
1. The Workmen's Compensation Act (Act No. 3428) was approved on December 10, 1927 and took effect on June 10, 1928. It
was patterned from Minnesota and Hawaii statutes.
Act No. 3428 was adopted by the Philippine legislature, in Spanish and some sections of the law were taken from the statutes of
Minnesota and Hawaii, (Chapter 209 of the Revised Laws of Hawaii, 1925). [Morabe & Inton, Workmen's Compensation Act, p. 2]
Under the Workmen's Compensation Act of Hawaii, when the Act is applicable, the remedy under the Act is exclusive The
following is stated in 1 Schneider Workmen's Compensation Text, pp. 266, 267.
Sec. 112. Hawaii
Statutory Synopsis. The act is compulsory as to employees in 'all industrial employment' and employees of the territory and its
political subdivisions. (Sections 7480-7481, S.S., Vol. 1, p. 713.)
Compensation is not payable when injury is due to employee's willful intention to injure himself or another or to his intoxication.
(Sec. 7482, S.S., p. 713.)
When the act is applicable the remedy thereunder is exclusive (Sec. 7483, S.S., p. 714.)
2. In providing for exclusiveness of the remedy under our Workmen's Compensation Act, the Philippine Legislature worded the first
paragraph of Section 5 of the Act as follows:
SEC. 5. Exclusive right to compensation.-The rights and remedies granted by this Act to an employee
by reason of a personal injury entitling him to compensation
shall exclude all other rights and remedies accruing to the employee, his personal representatives, dependents or nearest of kin
against the employer
under the Civil Code and other laws, because of said injury (Paragraphing and emphasis supplied)
In regards to the intent of the Legislature under the foregoing provision:
A cardinal rule in the interpretation of statutes is that the meaning and intention of the law-making body must be sought, first of
all in the words of the statute itself, read and considered in their natural, ordinary, commonly-accepted and most obvious
significations, according to good and approved usage and without resorting to forced or subtle construction Courts, therefore,
as a rule, cannot presume that the law-making body does not know the meaning of words and the rules of grammar.
Consequently, the grammatical reading of a statute must be presumed to yield its correct sense. (Espino vs. Cleofe 52 SCRA 92,
98) [Italics supplied]
3. The original second paragraph of Section 5 provided:
Employers contracting laborers in the Philippine Islands for work outside the same shall stipulate with such laborers that the
remedies prescribed by this Act shall apply exclusively to injuries received outside the Islands through accidents happening in
and during the performance of the duties of the employment. (Italics supplied)
The use of the word "exclusively is a further confirmation of the exclusory provision of the Act, subject only to exceptions which
may be provided in the Act itself.
4. It might be mentioned that, within the Act itself, provision is made for remedies other than within the Act itself. Thus, Section 6,
in part, provides:
SEC. 6. Liability of third parties.-In case an employee suffers an injury for which compensation is due under this Act by any other
person besides his employer, it shall be optional with such injured employee either to claim compensation from his employer,
under this Act, or sue such other person for damages, in accordance with law; ... (Emphasis supplied)
If the legislative intent under the first paragraph of Section 5 were to allow the injured employee to sue his employer under the
Civil Code, the legislator could very easily have formulated the said first paragraph of Section 5 according to the pattern of
Section 6. That that was not done shows the legislative intent not to allow any option to an employee to sue the employer under
the Civil Code for injuries compensable under the Act.
5. There should be no question but that the original first paragraph of Section 5 of the Workmen's Compensation Act, formulated
in 1927, provided that an injured worker or employee, or his heirs, if entitled to compensation under the Act, cannot have
independent recourse neither to the Civil Code nor to any other law relative to the liability of the employer. After 1927, there
were occasions when the legislator had the opportunity to amend the first paragraph of Section 5 such that the remedies under
the Act would not be exclusive; yet, the legislator refrained from doing so. That shows the legislatives continuing intent to
maintain the exclusory provision of the first paragraph of Section 5 unless otherwise provided in the Act itself.
(a) The original second paragraph of Section 5 provided:
Employers contracting laborers in the Philippine Islands for work outside the same shall stipulate with such laborers that the
remedies prescribed by this Act shall apply (exclusively) to injuries received outside the Islands through accidents happening in
and during the performance of the duties of the employment (and all service contracts made in the manner prescribed in this
section be presumed to include such agreement).
On June 20, 1952, through RA 772, the foregoing second paragraph was amended with the elimination of the underlined words
in parentheses, and the addition of this sentence at the end of the paragraph:
Such stipulation shall not prejudice the right of the laborers to the benefits of the Workmen's Compensation Law of the place
where the accident occurs, should such law be more favorable to them. (Emphasis supplied)
It will be seen that, within the Act itself, the exclusory character of the Act was amended. At that time, if he had so desired, the
legislator could have amended the first paragraph of Section 5 so that the employee would have the option to sue the
employer under the Act, or under the Civil Code, should the latter be more favorable to him.
(b) The Workmen's Compensation Act, which took effect in 1927, grants compensation to an injured employee without regard to
the presence or absence of negligence on the part of the employer. The compensation is deemed an expense chargeable to
the industry (Murillo vs. Mendoza, 66 Phil. 689 [1938]).
In time, it must have been thought that it was inequitable to have the amount of compensation, caused by negligence on the
part of the employer, to be the same amount payable when the employer was not negligent. Based on that thinking, Section 4-
A 1 was included into the Act, on June 20, 1952, through RA 772. Said Section 4-A increased the compensation payable by 50%
in case there was negligence on the part of the employer. That additional section evidenced the intent of the legislator not to
give an option to an employee, injured with negligence on the part of the employer, to sue the latter under the provisions of the
Civil Code.
On June 20, 1964, Section 4-A was amended (insubstantially) by RA 4119. The legislator was again given the opportunity to
provide, but he did not, the option to an employee to sue under the Act or under the Civil Code.
When a Court gives effect to a statute not in accordance with the intent of the law-maker, the Court is unjustifiably legislating.
It is in view of the foregoing that I vote for affirmation of the trial Court's dismissal of the Complaint.
GUTIERREZ, JR., J., dissenting:
To grant the petition and allow the victims of industrial accidents to file damages suits based on torts would be a radical
innovation not only contrary to the express provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Act but a departure from the principles
evolved in the long history of workmen's compensation. At the very least, it should be the legislature and not this Court which
should remove the exclusory provision of the Workmen's Compensation Act, a provision reiterated in the present Labor Code on
employees' compensation.
Workmen's compensation evolved to remedy the evils associated with the situation in the early years of the industrial revolution
when injured workingmen had to rely on damage suits to get recompense.
Before workmen's compensation, an injured worker seeking damages would have to prove in a tort suit that his employer was
either negligent or in bad faith, that his injury was caused by the employer and not a fellow worker, and that he was not guilty of
contributory negligence. The employer could employ not only his wealth in defeating the claim for damages but a host of
common law defenses available to him as well. The worker was supposed to know what he entered into when he accepted
employment. As stated in the leading case of Priestley u. Fowler (3 M. & W. 1, 150 Reprint 1030) decided in 1837 "the mere
relation of the master and the servant never can imply an obligation on the part of the master to take more care of the servant
than he may reasonably be expected to do of himself." By entering into a contract of employment, the worker was deemed to
accept the risks of employment that he should discover and guard against himself.
The problems associated with the application of the fellow servant rule, the assumption of risk doctrine, the principle of
contributory negligence, and the many other defenses so easily raised in protracted damage suits illustrated the need for a
system whereby workers had only to prove the fact of covered employment and the fact of injury arising from employment in
order to be compensated.
The need for a compensation scheme where liability is created solely by statute and made compulsory and where the element
of fault-either the fault of the employer or the fault of the employee-disregarded became obvious. Another objective was to
have simplified, expeditious, inexpensive, and non-litigious procedures so that victims of industrial accidents could more readily, if
not automatically, receive compensation for work-related injuries.
Inspite of common law defenses to defeat a claim being recognized, employers' liability acts were a major step in the desired
direction. However, employers liability legislation proved inadequate. Legislative reform led to the workmen's compensation.
I cite the above familiar background because workmen's compensation represents a compromise. In return for the near
certainty of receiving a sum of money fixed by law, the injured worker gives up the right to subject the employer to a tort suit for
huge amounts of damages. Thus, liability not only disregards the element of fault but it is also a pre- determined amount based
on the wages of the injured worker and in certain cases, the actual cost of rehabilitation. The worker does not receive the total
damages for his pain and suffering which he could otherwise claim in a civil suit. The employer is required to act swiftly on
compensation claims. An administrative agency supervises the program. And because the overwhelming mass of workingmen
are benefited by the compensation system, individual workers who may want to sue for big amounts of damages must yield to
the interests of their entire working class.
The nature of the compensation principle is explained as follows:
An appreciation of the nature of the compensation principle is essential to an understanding of the acts and the cases
interpreting them.
By the turn of the century it was apparent that the toll of industrial accidents of both the avoidable and unavoidable variety had
become enormous, and government was faced with the problem of who was to pay for the human wreckage wrought by the
dangers of modern industry. If the accident was avoidable and could be attributed to the carelessness of the employer, existing
tort principles offered some measure of redress. Even here, however, the woeful inadequacy of the fault principle was manifest.
The uncertainty of the outcome of torts litigation in court placed the employee at a substantial disadvantage. So long as liability
depended on fault there could be no recovery until the finger of blame had been pointed officially at the employer or his
agents. In most cases both the facts and the law were uncertain. The witnesses, who were usually fellow workers of the victim,
were torn between friendship or loyalty to their class, on the one hand, and fear of reprisal by the employer, on the other. The
expense and delay of litigation often prompted the injured employee to accept a compromise settlement for a fraction of the
full value of his claim. Even if suit were successfully prosecuted, a large share of the proceeds of the judgment were exacted as
contingent fees by counsel. Thus the employer against whom judgment was cast often paid a substantial damage bill, while only
a part of this enured to the benefit of the injured employee or his dependents. The employee's judgment was nearly always too
little and too late.
xxx xxx xxx
Workmen's Compensation rests upon the economic principle that those persons who enjoy the product of a business- whether it
be in the form of goods or services- should ultimately bear the cost of the injuries or deaths that are incident to the manufacture,
preparation and distribution of the product. ...
xxx xxx xxx
Under this approach the element of personal fault either disappears entirely or is subordinated to broader economic
considerations. The employer absorbs the cost of accident loss only initially; it is expected that this cost will eventually pass down
the stream of commerce in the form of increase price until it is spread in dilution among the ultimate consumers. So long as each
competing unit in a given industry is uniformly affected, no producer can gain any substantial competitive advantage or suffer
any appreciable loss by reason of the general adoption of the compensation principle.
In order that the compensation principle may operate properly and with fairness to all parties it is essential that the anticipated
accident cost be predictable and that it be fixed at a figure that will not disrupt too violently the traffic in the product of the
industry affected. Thus predictability and moderateness of cost are necessary from the broad economic viewpoint. ....
Compensation, then, differs from the conventional damage suit in two important respects: Fault on the part of either employer or
employee is eliminated; and compensation payable according to a definitely limited schedule is substituted for damages. All
compensation acts alike work these two major changes, irrespective of how they may differ in other particulars.
Compensation, when regarded from the viewpoint of employer and employee represents a compromise in which each party
surrenders certain advantages in order to gain others which are of more importance both to him and to society. The employer
gives up the immunity he otherwise would enjoy in cases where he is not at fault, and the employee surrenders his former right to
full damages and accepts instead a more modest claim for bare essentials, represented by compensation.
The importance of the compromise character of compensation cannot be overemphasized. The statutes vary a great deal with
reference to the proper point of balance. The amount of weekly compensation payments and the length of the period during
which compensation is to be paid are matters concerning which the acts differ considerably. The interpretation of any
compensation statute will be influenced greatly by the court's reaction to the basic point of compromise established in the Act.
If the court feels that the basic compromise unduly favors the employer, it will be tempted to restore what it regards as a proper
balance by adopting an interpretation that favors the worker. In this way, a compensation act drawn in a spirit of extreme
conservatism may be transformed by a sympathetic court into a fairly liberal instrument; and conversely, an act that greatly
favors the laborer may be so interpreted by the courts that employers can have little reason to complain. Much of the
unevenness and apparent conflict in compensation decisions throughout the various jurisdictions must be attributed to this."
(Malone & Plant, Workmen's Compensation American Casebook Series, pp. 63-65).
The schedule of compensation, the rates of payments, the compensable injuries and diseases, the premiums paid by employers
to the present system, the actuarial stability of the trust fund and many other interrelated parts have all been carefully studied
before the integrated scheme was enacted in to law. We have a system whose parts must mesh harmonious with one another if
it is to succeed. The basic theory has to be followed.
If this Court disregards this totality of the scheme and in a spirit of generosity recasts some parts of the system without touching
the related others, the entire structure is endangered. For instance, I am personally against stretching the law and allowing
payment of compensation for contingencies never envisioned to be compensable when the law was formulated. Certainly, only
harmful results to the principle of workmen's compensation can arise if workmen, whom the law allows to receive employment
compensation, can still elect to file damage suits for industrial accidents. It was precisely for this reason that Section 5 of the
Workmen's Compensation Act, which reads:
SEC. 5. Exclusive right to compensation.-The rights and remedies granted by this Act to an employee by reason of a personal
injury entitling him to compensation shall exclude all other rights and remedies accruing to the employee, his personal
representatives, dependents or nearest of kin against the employer under the Civil Code and other laws because of said injury.
...
Article 173 of the labor Code also provides:
ART. 173. Exclusivenesss of liability.Unless otherwise provided, the liability of the State Insurance Fund under this Title shall be
exclusive and in place of all other liabilities of the employer to the employee his dependents or anyone otherwise entitled to
receive damages on behalf of the employee or his dependents.
I am against the Court assuming the role of legislator in a matter calling for actuarial studies and public hearings. If empl oyers
already required to contribute to the State Insurance Fund will still have to bear the cost of damage suits or get insurance for that
purpose, a major study will be necessary. The issue before us is more far reaching than the interests of the poor victims and their
families. All workers covered by workmen's compensation and all employers who employ covered employees are affected. Even
as I have deepest sympathies for the victims, I regret that I am constrained to dissent from the majority opinion.


Separate Opinions

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., dissenting:
A
This case involves a complaint for damages for the death of five employees of PHILEX Mining Corporation under the general
provisions of the Civil Code. The Civil Code itself, however, provides for its non-applicability to the complaint. It is specifically
provided in Article 2196 of the Code, found in Title XVIII-Damages that:
COMPENSATION FOR WORKMEN AND OTHER EMPLOYEES IN CASE OF DEATH, INJURY OR ILLNESS IS REGULATED BY SPECIAL LAWS.
Compensation and damages are synonymous. In Esguerra vs. Muoz Palma, etc., et al., 104 Phil. 582, 586, Justice J.B.L. Reyes
had said:
Petitioner also avers that compensation is not damages. This argument is but a play on words. The term compensation' is used in
the law (Act 3812 and Republic Act 772) in the sense of indemnity for damages suffered, being awarded for a personal injury
caused or aggravated by or in the course of employment. ...
By the very provisions of the Civil Code, it is a "special law", not the Code itself, which has to apply to the complaint involved in
the instant case. That "special law", in reference to the complaint, can be no other than the Workmen's Compensation
Even assuming, without conceding, that an employee is entitled to an election of remedies, as the majority rules, both options
cannot be exercised simultaneously, and the exercise of one will preclude the exercise of the other. The petitioners had already
exercised their option to come under the Workmen's Compensation Act, and they have already received compensation
payable to them under that Act. Stated differently, the remedy under the Workmen's Compensation Act had already become a
"finished transaction".
There are two considerations why it is believed petitioners should no longer be allowed to exercise the option to sue under the
Civil Code. In the first place, the proceedings under the Workmen's Compensation Act have already become the law in regards
to" the "election of remedies", because those proceedings had become a "finished transaction".
In the second place, it should be plainly equitable that, if a person entitled to an "electi on of remedies" makes a first election
and accepts the benefits thereof, he should no longer be allowed to avail himself of the second option. At the very least, if he
wants to make a second election, in disregard of the first election he has made, when he makes the second election he should
surrender the benefits he had obtained under the first election, This was not done in the case before the Court.
B.
'There is full concurrence on my part with the dissenting opinion of Mr. Justice Gutierrez upholding "the exclusory provision of the
Workmen's Compensation Act." I may further add:
1. The Workmen's Compensation Act (Act No. 3428) was approved on December 10, 1927 and took effect on June 10, 1928. It
was patterned from Minnesota and Hawaii statutes.
Act No. 3428 was adopted by the Philippine legislature, in Spanish and some sections of the law were taken from the statutes of
Minnesota and Hawaii, (Chapter 209 of the Revised Laws of Hawaii, 1925). [Morabe & Inton, Workmen's Compensation Act, p. 2]
Under the Workmen's Compensation Act of Hawaii, when the Act is applicable, the remedy under the Act is exclusive The
following is stated in 1 Schneider Workmen's Compensation Text, pp. 266, 267.
Sec. 112. Hawaii
Statutory Synopsis. The act is compulsory as to employees in 'all industrial employment' and employees of the territory and its
political subdivisions. (Sections 7480-7481, S.S., Vol. 1, p. 713.)
Compensation is not payable when injury is due to employee's willful intention to injure himself or another or to his intoxication.
(Sec. 7482, S.S., p. 713.)
When the act is applicable the remedy thereunder is exclusive (Sec. 7483, S.S., p. 714.)
2. In providing for exclusiveness of the remedy under our Workmen's Compensation Act, the Philippine Legislature worded the first
paragraph of Section 5 of the Act as follows:
SEC. 5. Exclusive right to compensation.-The rights and remedies granted by this Act to an employee
by reason of a personal injury entitling him to compensation
shall exclude all other rights and remedies accruing to the employee, his personal representatives, dependents or nearest of kin
against the employer
under the Civil Code and other laws, because of said injury (Paragraphing and emphasis supplied)
In regards to the intent of the Legislature under the foregoing provision:
A cardinal rule in the interpretation of statutes is that the meaning and intention of the law-making body must be sought, first of
all in the words of the statute itself, read and considered in their natural, ordinary, commonly-accepted and most obvious
significations, according to good and approved usage and without resorting to forced or subtle construction Courts, therefore,
as a rule, cannot presume that the law-making body does not know the meaning of words and the rules of grammar.
Consequently, the grammatical reading of a statute must be presumed to yield its correct sense. (Espino vs. Cleofe 52 SCRA 92,
98) [Italics supplied]
3. The original second paragraph of Section 5 provided:
Employers contracting laborers in the Philippine Islands for work outside the same shall stipulate with such laborers that the
remedies prescribed by this Act shall apply exclusively to injuries received outside the Islands through accidents happening in
and during the performance of the duties of the employment. (Italics supplied)
The use of the word "exclusively is a further confirmation of the exclusory provision of the Act, subject only to exceptions which
may be provided in the Act itself.
4. It might be mentioned that, within the Act itself, provision is made for remedies other than within the Act itself. Thus, Section 6,
in part, provides:
SEC. 6. Liability of third parties.-In case an employee suffers an injury for which compensation is due under this Act by any other
person besides his employer, it shall be optional with such injured employee either to claim compensation from his employer,
under this Act, or sue such other person for damages, in accordance with law; ... (Emphasis supplied)
If the legislative intent under the first paragraph of Section 5 were to allow the injured employee to sue his employer under the
Civil Code, the legislator could very easily have formulated the said first paragraph of Section 5 according to the pattern of
Section 6. That that was not done shows the legislative intent not to allow any option to an employee to sue the employer under
the Civil Code for injuries compensable under the Act.
5. There should be no question but that the original first paragraph of Section 5 of the Workmen's Compensation Act, formulated
in 1927, provided that an injured worker or employee, or his heirs, if entitled to compensation under the Act, cannot have
independent recourse neither to the Civil Code nor to any other law relative to the liability of the employer. After 1927, there
were occasions when the legislator had the opportunity to amend the first paragraph of Section 5 such that the remedies under
the Act would not be exclusive; yet, the legislator refrained from doing so. That shows the legislatives continuing intent to
maintain the exclusory provision of the first paragraph of Section 5 unless otherwise provided in the Act itself.
(a) The original second paragraph of Section 5 provided:
Employers contracting laborers in the Philippine Islands for work outside the same shall stipulate with such laborers that the
remedies prescribed by this Act shall apply (exclusively) to injuries received outside the Islands through accidents happening in
and during the performance of the duties of the employment (and all service contracts made in the manner prescribed in this
section be presumed to include such agreement).
On June 20, 1952, through RA 772, the foregoing second paragraph was amended with the elimination of the underlined words
in parentheses, and the addition of this sentence at the end of the paragraph:
Such stipulation shall not prejudice the right of the laborers to the benefits of the Workmen's Compensation Law of the place
where the accident occurs, should such law be more favorable to them. (Emphasis supplied)
It will be seen that, within the Act itself, the exclusory character of the Act was amended. At that time, if he had so desired, the
legislator could have amended the first paragraph of Section 5 so that the employee would have the option to sue the
employer under the Act, or under the Civil Code, should the latter be more favorable to him.
(b) The Workmen's Compensation Act, which took effect in 1927, grants compensation to an injured employee without regard to
the presence or absence of negligence on the part of the employer. The compensation is deemed an expense chargeable to
the industry (Murillo vs. Mendoza, 66 Phil. 689 [1938]).
In time, it must have been thought that it was inequitable to have the amount of compensation, caused by negligence on the
part of the employer, to be the same amount payable when the employer was not negligent. Based on that thinking, Section 4-
A 1 was included into the Act, on June 20, 1952, through RA 772. Said Section 4-A increased the compensation payable by 50%
in case there was negligence on the part of the employer. That additional section evidenced the intent of the legislator not to
give an option to an employee, injured with negligence on the part of the employer, to sue the latter under the provisions of the
Civil Code.
On June 20, 1964, Section 4-A was amended (insubstantially) by RA 4119. The legislator was again given the opportunity to
provide, but he did not, the option to an employee to sue under the Act or under the Civil Code.
When a Court gives effect to a statute not in accordance with the intent of the law-maker, the Court is unjustifiably legislating.
It is in view of the foregoing that I vote for affirmation of the trial Court's dismissal of the Complaint.
GUTIERREZ, JR., J., dissenting:
To grant the petition and allow the victims of industrial accidents to file damages suits based on torts would be a radical
innovation not only contrary to the express provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Act but a departure from the principles
evolved in the long history of workmen's compensation. At the very least, it should be the legislature and not this Court which
should remove the exclusory provision of the Workmen's Compensation Act, a provision reiterated in the present Labor Code on
employees' compensation.
Workmen's compensation evolved to remedy the evils associated with the situation in the early years of the industrial revolution
when injured workingmen had to rely on damage suits to get recompense.
Before workmen's compensation, an injured worker seeking damages would have to prove in a tort suit that his employer was
either negligent or in bad faith, that his injury was caused by the employer and not a fellow worker, and that he was not gui lty of
contributory negligence. The employer could employ not only his wealth in defeating the claim for damages but a host of
common law defenses available to him as well. The worker was supposed to know what he entered into when he accepted
employment. As stated in the leading case of Priestley u. Fowler (3 M. & W. 1, 150 Reprint 1030) decided in 1837 "the mere
relation of the master and the servant never can imply an obligation on the part of the master to take more care of the servant
than he may reasonably be expected to do of himself." By entering into a contract of employment, the worker was deemed to
accept the risks of employment that he should discover and guard against himself.
The problems associated with the application of the fellow servant rule, the assumption of risk doctrine, the principle of
contributory negligence, and the many other defenses so easily raised in protracted damage suits illustrated the need for a
system whereby workers had only to prove the fact of covered employment and the fact of injury arising from employment in
order to be compensated.
The need for a compensation scheme where liability is created solely by statute and made compulsory and where the element
of fault-either the fault of the employer or the fault of the employee-disregarded became obvious. Another objective was to
have simplified, expeditious, inexpensive, and non-litigious procedures so that victims of industrial accidents could more readily, if
not automatically, receive compensation for work-related injuries.
Inspite of common law defenses to defeat a claim being recognized, employers' liability acts were a major step in the desired
direction. However, employers liability legislation proved inadequate. Legislative reform led to the workmen's compensation.
I cite the above familiar background because workmen's compensation represents a compromise. In return for the near
certainty of receiving a sum of money fixed by law, the injured worker gives up the right to subject the employer to a tort suit for
huge amounts of damages. Thus, liability not only disregards the element of fault but it is also a pre- determined amount based
on the wages of the injured worker and in certain cases, the actual cost of rehabilitation. The worker does not receive the total
damages for his pain and suffering which he could otherwise claim in a civil suit. The employer is required to act swiftly on
compensation claims. An administrative agency supervises the program. And because the overwhelming mass of workingmen
are benefited by the compensation system, individual workers who may want to sue for big amounts of damages must yield to
the interests of their entire working class.
The nature of the compensation principle is explained as follows:
An appreciation of the nature of the compensation principle is essential to an understanding of the acts and the cases
interpreting them.
By the turn of the century it was apparent that the toll of industrial accidents of both the avoidable and unavoidable variety had
become enormous, and government was faced with the problem of who was to pay for the human wreckage wrought by the
dangers of modern industry. If the accident was avoidable and could be attributed to the carelessness of the employer, existi ng
tort principles offered some measure of redress. Even here, however, the woeful inadequacy of the fault principle was manifest.
The uncertainty of the outcome of torts litigation in court placed the employee at a substantial disadvantage. So long as liability
depended on fault there could be no recovery until the finger of blame had been pointed officially at the employer or his
agents. In most cases both the facts and the law were uncertain. The witnesses, who were usually fellow workers of the victim,
were torn between friendship or loyalty to their class, on the one hand, and fear of reprisal by the employer, on the other. The
expense and delay of litigation often prompted the injured employee to accept a compromise settlement for a fraction of the
full value of his claim. Even if suit were successfully prosecuted, a large share of the proceeds of the judgment were exacted as
contingent fees by counsel. Thus the employer against whom judgment was cast often paid a substantial damage bill, while only
a part of this enured to the benefit of the injured employee or his dependents. The employee's judgment was nearly always too
little and too late.
xxx xxx xxx
Workmen's Compensation rests upon the economic principle that those persons who enjoy the product of a business- whether it
be in the form of goods or services- should ultimately bear the cost of the injuries or deaths that are incident to the manufacture,
preparation and distribution of the product. ...
xxx xxx xxx
Under this approach the element of personal fault either disappears entirely or is subordinated to broader economic
considerations. The employer absorbs the cost of accident loss only initially; it is expected that this cost will eventually pass down
the stream of commerce in the form of increase price until it is spread in dilution among the ultimate consumers. So long as each
competing unit in a given industry is uniformly affected, no producer can gain any substantial competitive advantage or suffer
any appreciable loss by reason of the general adoption of the compensation principle.
In order that the compensation principle may operate properly and with fairness to all parties it is essential that the anticipated
accident cost be predictable and that it be fixed at a figure that will not disrupt too violently the traffic in the product of the
industry affected. Thus predictability and moderateness of cost are necessary from the broad economic viewpoint. ....
Compensation, then, differs from the conventional damage suit in two important respects: Fault on the part of either employer or
employee is eliminated; and compensation payable according to a definitely limited schedule is substituted for damages. All
compensation acts alike work these two major changes, irrespective of how they may differ in other particulars.
Compensation, when regarded from the viewpoint of employer and employee represents a compromise in which each party
surrenders certain advantages in order to gain others which are of more importance both to him and to society. The employer
gives up the immunity he otherwise would enjoy in cases where he is not at fault, and the employee surrenders his for mer right to
full damages and accepts instead a more modest claim for bare essentials, represented by compensation.
The importance of the compromise character of compensation cannot be overemphasized. The statutes vary a great deal with
reference to the proper point of balance. The amount of weekly compensation payments and the length of the period during
which compensation is to be paid are matters concerning which the acts differ considerably. The interpretation of any
compensation statute will be influenced greatly by the court's reaction to the basic point of compromise established in the Act.
If the court feels that the basic compromise unduly favors the employer, it will be tempted to restore what it regards as a proper
balance by adopting an interpretation that favors the worker. In this way, a compensation act drawn in a spirit of extreme
conservatism may be transformed by a sympathetic court into a fairly liberal instrument; and conversely, an act that greatly
favors the laborer may be so interpreted by the courts that employers can have little reason to complain. Much of the
unevenness and apparent conflict in compensation decisions throughout the various jurisdictions must be attributed to this."
(Malone & Plant, Workmen's Compensation American Casebook Series, pp. 63-65).
The schedule of compensation, the rates of payments, the compensable injuries and diseases, the premiums paid by employers
to the present system, the actuarial stability of the trust fund and many other interrelated parts have all been carefully studied
before the integrated scheme was enacted in to law. We have a system whose parts must mesh harmonious with one another if
it is to succeed. The basic theory has to be followed.
If this Court disregards this totality of the scheme and in a spirit of generosity recasts some parts of the system without touching
the related others, the entire structure is endangered. For instance, I am personally against stretching the law and allowing
payment of compensation for contingencies never envisioned to be compensable when the law was formulated. Certainly, only
harmful results to the principle of workmen's compensation can arise if workmen, whom the law allows to receive employment
compensation, can still elect to file damage suits for industrial accidents. It was precisely for this reason that Section 5 of the
Workmen's Compensation Act, which reads:
SEC. 5. Exclusive right to compensation.-The rights and remedies granted by this Act to an employee by reason of a personal
injury entitling him to compensation shall exclude all other rights and remedies accruing to the employee, his personal
representatives, dependents or nearest of kin against the employer under the Civil Code and other laws because of said injury.
...
Article 173 of the labor Code also provides:
ART. 173. Exclusivenesss of liability.Unless otherwise provided, the liability of the State Insurance Fund under this Title shall be
exclusive and in place of all other liabilities of the employer to the employee his dependents or anyone otherwise entitled to
receive damages on behalf of the employee or his dependents.
I am against the Court assuming the role of legislator in a matter calling for actuarial studies and public hearings. If empl oyers
already required to contribute to the State Insurance Fund will still have to bear the cost of damage suits or get insurance for that
purpose, a major study will be necessary. The issue before us is more far reaching than the interests of the poor victims and their
families. All workers covered by workmen's compensation and all employers who employ covered employees are affected. Even
as I have deepest sympathies for the victims, I regret that I am constrained to dissent from the majority opinion.

G.R. No. 72005 May 29, 1987
PHILIPPINE BRITISH ASSURANCE CO., INC., petitioner,
vs.
HONORABLE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT; SYCWIN COATING & WIRES, INC., and DOMINADOR CACPAL, CHIEF DEPUTY SHERRIF
OF MANILA, respondents.

GANCAYCO, J.:
This is a Petition for Review on certiorari of the Resolution dated September 12, 1985 of the Intermediate Appellate Court in AC-
G.R. No. CR-05409 1 granting private respondent's motion for execution pending appeal and ordering the issuance of the
corresponding writ of execution on the counterbond to lift attachment filed by petitioner. The focal issue that emerges is whether
an order of execution pending appeal of a judgment maybe enforced on the said bond. In the Resolution of September 25,
1985 2 this Court as prayed for, without necessarily giving due course to the petition, issued a temporary restraining order
enjoining the respondents from enforcing the order complaint of.
The records disclose that private respondent Sycwin Coating & Wires, Inc., filed a complaint for collection of a sum of money
against Varian Industrial Corporation before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. During the pendency of the suit, private
respondent succeeded in attaching some of the properties of Varian Industrial Corporation upon the posting of a supersedeas
bond. 3 The latter in turn posted a counterbond in the sum of P1,400, 000.00 4 thru petitioner Philippine British Assurance Co., Inc.,
so the attached properties were released.
On December 28, 1984, the trial court rendered a Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment is hereby GRANTED, and judgment is rendered in favor of the plaintiff and
against the defendant Varian Industrial Corporation, and the latter is hereby ordered:
1. To pay plaintiff the amount of P1,401,468.00, the principal obligation with 12% interest per annum from the date of default until
fully paid;
2. To pay plaintiff 5% of the principal obligation as liquidated damages;
3. To pay plaintiff P30,000.00 as exemplary damages;
4. To pay plaintiff 15% of P1,401,468.00, the principal obligation, as and for attorney's fees; and
5. To pay the costs of suit.
Accordingly, the counterclaim of the defendant is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED. 5
Varian Industrial Corporation appealed the decision to the respondent Court. Sycwin then filed a petition for execution pending
appeal against the properties of Varian in respondent Court. Varian was required to file its comment but none was filed. In the
Resolution of July 5, 1985, respondent Court ordered the execution pending appeal as prayed for. 6 However, the writ of
execution was returned unsatisfied as Varian failed to deliver the previously attached personal properties upon demand. In a
Petition dated August 13, 1985 filed with respondent Court Sycwin prayed that the surety (herein petitioner) be ordered to pay
the value of its bond. 7 In compliance with the Resolution of August 23, 1985 of the respondent Court herein petitioner filed its
comment. 8 In the Resolution of September 12, 1985, 9 the respondent Court granted the petition. Hence this action.
It is the submission of private respondent Sycwin that without a previous motion for reconsideration of the questioned resolution,
certiorari would not lie. While as a general rule a motion for reconsiderati on has been considered a condition sine qua non for
the granting of a writ of certiorari, this rule does not apply when special circumstances warrant immediate or more direct
action. 10 It has been held further that a motion for reconsideration may be dispensed with in cases like this where execution
had been ordered and the need for relief was extremely urgent. 11
The counterbond provides:
WHEREAS, in the above-entitled case pending in the Regional Trial Court, National Capital Judicial Region, Branch LXXXV,
Quezon City, an order of Attachment was issued against abovenamed Defendant;
WHEREAS, the Defendant, for the purpose of lifting and/or dissolving the order of attachment issued against them in the above-
en-titled case, have offered to file a counterbond in the sum of PESOS ONE MILLION FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND ONLY
(P1,400,000.00), Philippine Currency, as provided for in Section 5, Rule 57 of the Revised Rules of Court.
NOW, THEREFORE, we, VARIAN INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION, as Principal and the PHILIPPINE BRITISH ASSURANCE COMPANY, INC., a
corporation duly organized and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the Philippines, as Surety, in consideration of the
above and of the lifting or dissolution of the order of attachment, hereby jointly and severally, bi nd ourselves in favor of the
above Plaintiff in the sum of PESOS ONE MILLION FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND ONLY (P1,400,000.00), Philippine Currency, under the
condition that in case the Plaintiff recovers judgment in the action, and Defendant will, on demand, re-deliver the attached
property so released to the Officer of the Court and the same shall be applied to the payment of the judgment, or in default
thereof, the defendant and Surety will, on demand, pay to the Plaintiff the full value of the property released.
EXECUTED at Manila, Philippines, this 28th day of June, 1984. 12
Sections 5, 12, and 17 of Rule 57 of the Revised Rules of Court also provide:
SEC. 5. Manner of attaching property. The officer executing the order shall without delay attach, to await judgment and
execution in the action, all the properties of the party against whom the order is issued in the province, not exempt from
execution, or so much thereof as may be sufficient to satisfy the applicant's demand, unless the former makes a deposit with the
clerk or judge of the court from which the order issued, or gives a counter-bond executed to the applicant, in an amount
sufficient to satisfy such demand besides costs, or in an amount equal to the value of the property which is about to be
attached, to secure payment to the applicant of any judgement ment which he may recover in the action. The officer shall also
forthwith serve a copy of the applicant's affidavit and bond, and of the order of attachment, on the adverse party, if he be
found within the province.
SEC. 12. Discharge of attachment upon giving counterbond. At any time after an order of attachment has been granted, the
party whose property has been attached, or the person appearing on his behalf, may, upon reasonable notice to the applicant,
apply to the judge who granted the order, or to the judge of the court in which the action is pending, for an order dischargi ng
the attachment wholly or in part on the security given. The judge shall, after hearing, order the discharge of the attachment if a
cash deposit is made, or a counter-bond executed to the attaching creditor is filed, on behalf of the adverse party, with the
clerk or judge of the court where the application is made, in an amount equal to the value of the property attached as
determined by the judge, to secure the payment of any judgment that the attaching creditor may recover in the action. Upon
the filing of such counter-bond, copy thereof shall forthwith be served on the attaching creditor or his lawyer. Upon the
discharge of an attachment in accordance with the provisions of this section the property attached, or the proceeds of any sale
thereof, shall be delivered to the party making the deposit or giving the counterbond aforesaid standing in place of the property
so released. Should such counterbond for any reason be found to be, or become, insufficient, and the party furnishing the same
fail to file an additional counterbond, the attaching creditor may apply for a new order of attachment.
SEC. 17. When execution returned unsatisfied, recovery had upon bond. If the execution be returned unsatisfied in whole or in
part, the surety or sureties on any counter-bond given pursuant to the provisions of this rule to secure the payment of the
judgment shall become charged on such counter- bond, and bound to pay to the judgement creditor upon demand, the
amount due under the judgment, which amount may be recovered from such surety or sureties after notice and summary
hearing in the same action. (Emphasis supplied.)
Under Sections 5 and 12, Rule 57 above reproduced it is provided that the counterbond is intended to secure the payment
of "any judgment" that the attaching creditor may recover in the action. Under Section 17 of same rule it provides that when "the
execution be returned unsatisfied in whole or in part" it is only then that "payment of the judgment shall become charged on
such counterbond."
The counterbond was issued in accordance with the provisions of Section 5, Rule 57 of the Rules of Court as provided in the
second paragraph aforecited which is deemed reproduced as part of the counterbond. In the third paragraph it is also
stipulated that the counterbond is to be "applied for the payment of the judgment." Neither the rules nor the provisions of the
counterbond limited its application to a final and executory judgment. Indeed, it is specified that it applies to the payment
of any judgment that maybe recovered by plaintiff. Thus, the only logical conclusion is that an execution of any judgment
including one pending appeal if returned unsatisfied maybe charged against such a counterbond.
It is well recognized rule that where the law does not distinguish, courts should not distinguish. Ubi lex non distinguish nec nos
distinguere debemos. 13 "The rule, founded on logic, is a corollary of the principle that general words and phrases in a statute
should ordinarily be accorded their natural and general significance. 14 The rule requires that a general term or phrase should
not be reduced into parts and one part distinguished from the other so as to justify its exclusion from the operation of the
law. 15 In other words, there should be no distinction in the application of a statute where none is indicated.16 For courts are not
authorized to distinguish where the law makes no distinction. They should instead administer the law not as they think it ought to
be but as they find it and without regard to consequences. 17
A corollary of the principle is the rule that where the law does not make any exception, courts may not except something
therefrom, unless there is compelling reason apparent in the law to justify it.18 Thus where a statute grants a person against
whom possession of "any land" is unlawfully withheld the right to bring an action for unlawful detainer, this Court held that the
phrase "any land" includes all kinds of land, whether agricultural, residential, or mineral.19 Since the law in this case does not
make any distinction nor intended to make any exception, when it speaks of "any judgment" which maybe charged against the
counterbond, it should be interpreted to refer not only to a final and executory judgment in the case but also a judgment
pending appeal.
All that is required is that the conditions provided for by law are complied with, as outlined in the case of Towers Assurance
Corporation v. Ororama Supermart, 20
Under Section 17, in order that the judgment creditor might recover from the surety on the counterbond, it is necessary (1) t hat
the execution be first issued against the principal debtor and that such execution was returned unsatisfied in whole or in part; (2)
that the creditor make a demand upon the surety for the satisfaction of the judgment, and (3) that the surety be given notice
and a summary hearing on the same action as to his liability for the judgment under his counterbond.
The rule therefore, is that the counterbond to lift attachment that is issued in accordance with the provisions of Section 5, Rule 57,
of the Rules of Court, shall be charged with the payment of any judgment that is returned unsatisfied. It covers not only a final
and executory judgement but also the execution of a judgment pending appeal.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit and the restraining order issued on September 25, 1985 is hereby
dissolved with costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
Yap (Chairman), Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Cruz and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.
Feliciano, J., is on leave.

G.R. No. 74917 January 20, 1988
BANCO DE ORO SAVINGS AND MORTGAGE BANK, petitioner,
vs.
EQUITABLE BANKING CORPORATION, PHILIPPINE CLEARING HOUSE CORPORATION, AND REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF QUEZON CITY,
BRANCH XCII (92), respondents.

GANCAYCO, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari of a decision of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City promulgated on March 24, 1986 in
Civil Case No. Q-46517 entitled Banco de Oro Savings and Mortgage Bank versus Equitable Banking Corporation and the
Philippine Clearing House Corporation after a review of the Decision of the Board of Directors of the Philippine Clearing House
Corporation (PCHC) in the case of Equitable Banking Corporation (EBC) vs. Banco de Oro Savings and Mortgage (BCO),
ARBICOM Case No. 84033.
The undisputed facts are as follows:
It appears that some time in March, April, May and August 1983, plaintiff through its Visa Card Department, drew six crossed
Manager's check (Exhibits "A" to "F", and herein referred to as Checks) having an aggregate amount of Forty Five Thousand Nine
Hundred and Eighty Two & 23/100 (P45,982.23) Pesos and payable to certain member establishments of Visa Card. Subsequently,
the Checks were deposited with the defendant to the credit of its depositor, a certain Aida Trencio.
Following normal procedures, and after stamping at the back of the Checks the usual endorsements. All prior and/or lack of
endorsement guaranteed the defendant sent the checks for clearing through the Philippine Clearing House Corporation
(PCHC). Accordingly, plaintiff paid the Checks; its clearing account was debited for the value of the Checks and defendant's
clearing account was credited for the same amount,
Thereafter, plaintiff discovered that the endorsements appearing at the back of the Checks and purporting to be that of the
payees were forged and/or unauthorized or otherwise belong to persons other than the payees.
Pursuant to the PCHC Clearing Rules and Regulations, plaintiff presented the Checks directly to the defendant for the purpose of
claiming reimbursement from the latter. However, defendant refused to accept such direct presentation and to reimburse the
plaintiff for the value of the Checks; hence, this case.
In its Complaint, plaintiff prays for judgment to require the defendant to pay the plaintiff the sum of P45,982.23 with interest at the
rate of 12% per annum from the date of the complaint plus attorney's fees in the amount of P10,000.00 as well as the cost of the
suit.
In accordance with Section 38 of the Clearing House Rules and Regulations, the dispute was presented for Arbitration; and Atty.
Ceasar Querubin was designated as the Arbitrator.
After an exhaustive investigation and hearing the Arbiter rendered a decision in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant
ordering the PCHC to debit the clearing account of the defendant, and to credit the clearing account of the plaintiff of the
amount of P45,982.23 with interest at the rate of 12% per annum from date of the complaint and Attorney's fee in the amount of
P5,000.00. No pronouncement as to cost was made. 1
In a motion for reconsideration filed by the petitioner, the Board of Directors of the PCHC affirmed the decision of the said Arbiter
in this wise:
In view of all the foregoing, the decision of the Arbiter is confirmed; and the Philippine Clearing House Corporation is hereby
ordered to debit the clearing account of the defendant and credit the clearing account of plaintiff the amount of Forty Five
Thousand Nine Hundred Eighty Two & 23/100 (P45,982.23) Pesos with interest at the rate of 12% per annum from date of the
complaint, and the Attorney's fee in the amount of Five Thousand (P5,000.00) Pesos.
Thus, a petition for review was filed with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch XCII, wherein in due course a deci sion
was rendered affirming in toto the decision of the PCHC.
Hence this petition.
The petition is focused on the following issues:
1. Did the PCHC have any jurisdiction to give due course to and adjudicate Arbicom Case No. 84033?
2. Were the subject checks non-negotiable and if not, does it fall under the ambit of the power of the PCHC?
3. Is the Negotiable Instrument Law, Act No. 2031 applicable in deciding controversies of this nature by the PCHC?
4. What law should govern in resolving controversies of this nature?
5. Was the petitioner bank negligent and thus responsible for any undue payment?
Petitioner maintains that the PCHC is not clothed with jurisdiction because the Clearing House Rules and Regulations of PCHC
cover and apply only to checks that are genuinely negotiable. Emphasis is laid on the primary purpose of the PCHC in the
Articles of Incorporation, which states:
To provide, maintain and render an effective, convenient, efficient, economical and relevant exchange and facilitate service
limited to check processing and sorting by way of assisting member banks, entities in clearing checks and other clearing items as
defined in existing and in future Central Bank of the Philippines circulars, memoranda, circular letters, rules and regulations and
policies in pursuance to the provisions of Section 107 of R.A. 265. ...
and Section 107 of R.A. 265 which provides:
xxx xxx xxx
The deposit reserves maintained by the banks in the Central Bank, in accordance with the provisions of Section 1000 shall serve
as a basis for the clearing of checks, and the settlement of interbank balances ...
Petitioner argues that by law and common sense, the term check should be interpreted as one that fits the articles of
incorporation of the PCHC, the Central Bank and the Clearing House Rules stating that it is a negotiable instrument citing the
definition of a "check" as basically a "bill of exchange" under Section 185 of the NIL and that it should be payable to "order" or to
"bearer" under Section 126 of game law. Petitioner alleges that with the cancellation of the printed words "or bearer from the
face of the check, it becomes non-negotiable so the PCHC has no jurisdiction over the case.
The Regional Trial Court took exception to this stand and conclusion put forth by the herein petitioner as it held:
Petitioner's theory cannot be maintained. As will be noted, the PCHC makes no distinction as to the character or nature of the
checks subject of its jurisdiction. The pertinent provisions quoted in petitioners memorandum simply refer to check(s). Where the
law does not distinguish, we shall not distinguish.
In the case of Reyes vs. Chuanico (CA-G.R. No. 20813 R, Feb. 5, 1962) the Appellate Court categorically stated that there are
four kinds of checks in this jurisdiction; the regular check; the cashier's check; the traveller's check; and the crossed check. The
Court, further elucidated, that while the Negotiable Instruments Law does not contain any provision on crossed checks, it is coon
practice in commercial and banking operations to issue checks of this character, obviously in accordance with Article 541 of the
Code of Commerce. Attention is likewise called to Section 185 of the Negotiable Instruments Law:
Sec. 185. Check defined. A check is a bill of exchange drawn on a bank payable on demand. Except as herein otherwise
provided, the provisions of this act applicable to a bill of exchange payable on demand apply to a check
and the provisions of Section 61 (supra) that the drawer may insert in the instrument an express stipulation negating or limi ting his
own liability to the holder. Consequently, it appears that the use of the term "check" in the Articles of Incorporation of PCHC is to
be perceived as not limited to negotiable checks only, but to checks as is generally known in use in commercial or business
transactions.
Anent Petitioner's liability on said instruments, this court is in full accord with the ruling of the PCHC Board of Directors that:
In presenting the Checks for clearing and for payment, the defendant made an express guarantee on the validity of "all prior
endorsements." Thus, stamped at the back of the checks are the defendant's clear warranty; ALL PRIOR ENDORSEMENTS
AND/OR LACK OF ENDORSEMENTS GUARANTEED. With. out such warranty, plaintiff would not have paid on the checks.
No amount of legal jargon can reverse the clear meaning of defendant's warranty. As the warranty has proven to be false and
inaccurate, the defendant is liable for any damage arising out of the falsity of its representation.
The principle of estoppel, effectively prevents the defendant from denying liability for any damage sustained by the plaintiff
which, relying upon an action or declaration of the defendant, paid on the Checks. The same principle of estoppel effectively
prevents the defendant from denying the existence of the Checks. (Pp. 1011 Decision; pp. 4344, Rollo)
We agree.
As provided in the aforecited articles of incorporation of PCHC its operation extend to "clearing checks and other clearing
items." No doubt transactions on non-negotiable checks are within the ambit of its jurisdiction.
In a previous case, this Court had occasion to rule: "Ubi lex non distinguish nec nos distinguere debemos." 2 It was enunciated in
Loc Cham v. Ocampo, 77 Phil. 636 (1946):
The rule, founded on logic is a corollary of the principle that general words and phrases in a statute should ordinarily be
accorded their natural and general significance. In other words, there should be no distinction in the application of a statute
where none is indicated.
There should be no distinction in the application of a statute where none is indicated for courts are not authorized to disti nguish
where the law makes no distinction. They should instead administer the law not as they think it ought to be but as they find it and
without regard to consequences. 3
The term check as used in the said Articles of Incorporation of PCHC can only connote checks in general use in commercial and
business activities. It cannot be conceived to be limited to negotiable checks only.
Checks are used between banks and bankers and their customers, and are designed to facilitate banking operations. It is of the
essence to be payable on demand, because the contract between the banker and the customer is that the money is needed
on demand. 4
The participation of the two banks, petitioner and private respondent, in the clearing operations of PCHC is a manifestation of
their submission to its jurisdiction. Sec. 3 and 36.6 of the PCHC-CHRR clearing rules and regulations provide:
SEC. 3. AGREEMENT TO THESE RULES. It is the general agreement and understanding that any participant in the Philippine
Clearing House Corporation, MICR clearing operations by the mere fact of their participation, thereby manifests its agreement to
these Rules and Regulations and its subsequent amendments."
Sec 36.6. (ARBITRATION) The fact that a bank participates in the clearing operations of the PCHC shall be deemed its written
and subscribed consent to the binding effect of this arbitration agreement as if it had done so in accordance with section 4 of
the Republic Act No. 876, otherwise known as the Arbitration Law.
Further Section 2 of the Arbitration Law mandates:
Two or more persons or parties may submit to the arbitration of one or more arbitrators any controversy existing between them at
the time of the submission and which may be the subject of an action, or the parties of any contract may in such contract agree
to settle by arbitration a controversy thereafter arising between them. Such submission or contract shall be valid and irrevocable,
save upon grounds as exist at law for the revocation of any contract.
Such submission or contract may include question arising out of valuations, appraisals or other controversies which may be
collateral, incidental, precedent or subsequent to any issue between the parties. ...
Sec. 21 of the same rules, says:
Items which have been the subject of material alteration or items bearing forged endorsement when such endorsement is
necessary for negotiation shall be returned by direct presentation or demand to the Presenting Bank and not through the regular
clearing house facilities within the period prescribed by law for the filing of a legal action by the returning bank/branch,
institution or entity sending the same. (Emphasis supplied)
Viewing these provisions the conclusion is clear that the PCHC Rules and Regulations should not be interpreted to be applicable
only to checks which are negotiable instruments but also to non-negotiable instruments and that the PCHC has jurisdiction over
this case even as the checks subject of this litigation are admittedly non-negotiable.
Moreover, petitioner is estopped from raising the defense of non-negotiability of the checks in question. It stamped its guarantee
on the back of the checks and subsequently presented these checks for clearing and it was on the basis of these endorsements
by the petitioner that the proceeds were credited in its clearing account.
The petitioner by its own acts and representation can not now deny liability because it assumed the liabilities of an endorser by
stamping its guarantee at the back of the checks.
The petitioner having stamped its guarantee of "all prior endorsements and/or lack of endorsements" (Exh. A-2 to F-2) is now
estopped from claiming that the checks under consideration are not negotiable instruments. The checks were accepted for
deposit by the petitioner stamping thereon its guarantee, in order that it can clear the said checks with the respondent bank. By
such deliberate and positive attitude of the petitioner it has for all legal intents and purposes treated the said cheeks as
negotiable instruments and accordingly assumed the warranty of the endorser when it stamped its guarantee of prior
endorsements at the back of the checks. It led the said respondent to believe that it was acting as endorser of the checks and
on the strength of this guarantee said respondent cleared the checks in question and credited the account of the petitioner.
Petitioner is now barred from taking an opposite posture by claiming that the disputed checks are not negotiable instrument.
This Court enunciated in Philippine National Bank vs. Court of Appeals 5 a point relevant to the issue when it stated the doctrine
of estoppel is based upon the grounds of public policy, fair dealing, good faith and justice and its purpose is to forbid one to
speak against his own act, representations or commitments to the injury of one to whom they were directed and who
reasonably relied thereon.
A commercial bank cannot escape the liability of an endorser of a check and which may turn out to be a forged endorsement.
Whenever any bank treats the signature at the back of the checks as endorsements and thus logically guarantees the same as
such there can be no doubt said bank has considered the checks as negotiable.
Apropos the matter of forgery in endorsements, this Court has succinctly emphasized that the collecting bank or last endorser
generally suffers the loss because it has the duty to ascertain the genuineness of all prior endorsements considering that the act
of presenting the check for payment to the drawee is an assertion that the party making the presentment has done its duty to
ascertain the genuineness of the endorsements. This is laid down in the case of PNB vs. National City Bank. 6 In another case, this
court held that if the drawee-bank discovers that the signature of the payee was forged after it has paid the amount of the
check to the holder thereof, it can recover the amount paid from the collecting bank. 7
A truism stated by this Court is that "The doctrine of estoppel precludes a party from repudiating an obligation voluntarily
assumed after having accepted benefits therefrom. To countenance such repudiation would be contrary to equity and put
premium on fraud or misrepresentation". 8
We made clear in Our decision in Philippine National Bank vs. The National City Bank of NY & Motor Service Co. that:
Where a check is accepted or certified by the bank on which it is drawn, the bank is estopped to deny the genuineness of the
drawers signature and his capacity to issue the instrument.
If a drawee bank pays a forged check which was previously accepted or certified by the said bank, it can not recover from a
holder who did not participate in the forgery and did not have actual notice thereof.
The payment of a check does not include or imply its acceptance in the sense that this word is used in Section 62 of the
Negotiable Instruments Act. 9
The point that comes uppermost is whether the drawee bank was negligent in failing to discover the alteration or the forgery.
Very akin to the case at bar is one which involves a suit filed by the drawer of checks against the collecting bank and this came
about in Farmers State Bank 10 where it was held:
A cause of action against the (collecting bank) in favor of the appellee (the drawer) accrued as a result of the bank breachi ng
its implied warranty of the genuineness of the indorsements of the name of the payee by bringing about the presentation of the
checks (to the drawee bank) and collecting the amounts thereof, the right to enforce that cause of action was not destroyed
by the circumstance that another cause of action for the recovery of the amounts paid on the checks would have accrued in
favor of the appellee against another or to others than the bank if when the checks were paid they have been indorsed by the
payee. (United States vs. National Exchange Bank, 214 US, 302, 29 S CT665, 53 L. Ed 1006, 16 Am. Cas. 11 84; Onondaga County
Savings Bank vs. United States (E.C.A.) 64 F 703)
Section 66 of the Negotiable Instruments ordains that:
Every indorser who indorsee without qualification, warrants to all subsequent holders in due course' (a) that the instrument is
genuine and in all respects what it purports to be; (b) that he has good title to it; (c) that all prior parties have capacity to
contract; and (d) that the instrument is at the time of his indorsement valid and subsisting. 11
It has been enunciated in an American case particularly in American Exchange National Bank vs. Yorkville Bank12 that: "the
drawer owes no duty of diligence to the collecting bank (one who had accepted an altered check and had paid over the
proceeds to the depositor) except of seasonably discovering the alteration by a comparison of its returned checks and check
stubs or other equivalent record, and to inform the drawee thereof." In this case it was further held that:
The real and underlying reasons why negligence of the drawer constitutes no defense to the collecting bank are that there is no
privity between the drawer and the collecting bank (Corn Exchange Bank vs. Nassau Bank, 204 N.Y.S. 80) and the drawer owe to
that bank no duty of vigilance (New York Produce Exchange Bank vs. Twelfth Ward Bank, 204 N.Y.S. 54) and no act of the
collecting bank is induced by any act or representation or admission of the drawer (Seaboard National Bank vs. Bank of America
(supra) and it follows that negligence on the part of the drawer cannot create any liability from it to the collecting bank, and the
drawer thus is neither a necessary nor a proper party to an action by the drawee bank against such bank. It is quite true that
depositors in banks are under the obligation of examining their passbooks and returned vouchers as a protection against the
payment by the depository bank against forged checks, and negligence in the performance of that obligation may relieve that
bank of liability for the repayment of amounts paid out on forged checks, which but for such negligence it would be bound to
repay. A leading case on that subject is Morgan vs. United States Mortgage and Trust Col. 208 N.Y. 218, 101 N.E. 871 Amn. Cas.
1914D, 462, L.R.A. 1915D, 74.
Thus We hold that while the drawer generally owes no duty of diligence to the collecting bank, the law imposes a duty of
diligence on the collecting bank to scrutinize checks deposited with it for the purpose of determining their genuineness and
regularity. The collecting bank being primarily engaged in banking holds itself out to the public as the expert and the law holds it
to a high standard of conduct.
And although the subject checks are non-negotiable the responsibility of petitioner as indorser thereof remains.
To countenance a repudiation by the petitioner of its obligation would be contrary to equity and would deal a negative blow to
the whole banking system of this country.
The court reproduces with approval the following disquisition of the PCHC in its decision
II. Payments To Persons Other
Than The Payees Are Not Valid
And Give Rise To An Obligation
To Return Amounts Received
Nothing is more clear than that neither the defendant's depositor nor the defendant is entitled to receive payment payable for
the Checks. As the checks are not payable to defendant's depositor, payments to persons other than payees named therein,
their successor-in-interest or any person authorized to receive payment are not valid. Article 1240, New Civil Code of the
Philippines unequivocably provides that:
"Art. 1240. Payment shall be made to the person in whose favor the obligation has been constituted, or his successo-in-interest, or
any person authorized to receive it. "
Considering that neither the defendant's depositor nor the defendant is entitled to receive payments for the Checks, payments
to any of them give rise to an obligation to return the amounts received. Section 2154 of the New Civil Code mandates that:
Article 2154. If something is received when there is no right to demand it, and it was unduly delivered through mistake, the
obligation to return it arises.
It is contended that plaintiff should be held responsible for issuing the Checks notwithstanding that the underlying transactions
were fictitious This contention has no basis in our jurisprudence.
The nullity of the underlying transactions does not diminish, but in fact strengthens, plaintiffs right to recover from the defendant.
Such nullity clearly emphasizes the obligation of the payees to return the proceeds of the Checks. If a failure of consideration is
sufficient to warrant a finding that a payee is not entitled to payment or must return payment already made, with more reason
the defendant, who is neither the payee nor the person authorized by the payee, should be compelled to surrender the
proceeds of the Checks received by it. Defendant does not have any title to the Checks; neither can it claim any derivative title
to them.
III. Having Violated Its Warranty
On Validity Of All Endorsements,
Collecting Bank Cannot Deny
liability To Those Who Relied
On Its Warranty
In presenting the Checks for clearing and for payment, the defendant made an express guarantee on the validity of "all prior
endorsements." Thus, stamped at the bank of the checks are the defendant's clear warranty: ALL PRIOR ENDORSEMENTS AND/OR
LACK OF ENDORSEMENTS GUARANTEED. Without such warranty, plaintiff would not have paid on the checks.
No amount of legal jargon can reverse the clear meaning of defendant's warranty. As the warranty has proven to be false and
inaccurate, the defendant is liable for any damage arising out of the falsity of its representation.
The principle of estoppel effectively prevents the defendant from denying liability for any damages sustained by the plaintiff
which, relying upon an action or declaration of the defendant, paid on the Checks. The same principle of estoppel effectively
prevents the defendant from denying the existence of the Checks.
Whether the Checks have been issued for valuable considerations or not is of no serious moment to this case. These Checks have
been made the subject of contracts of endorsement wherein the defendant made expressed warranties to induce payment by
the drawer of the Checks; and the defendant cannot now refuse liability for breach of warranty as a consequence of such
forged endorsements. The defendant has falsely warranted in favor of plaintiff the validity of all endorsements and the
genuineness of the cheeks in all respects what they purport to be.
The damage that will result if judgment is not rendered for the plaintiff is irreparable. The collecting bank has privity with the
depositor who is the principal culprit in this case. The defendant knows the depositor; her address and her history, Depositor is
defendant's client. It has taken a risk on its depositor when it allowed her to collect on the crossed-checks.
Having accepted the crossed checks from persons other than the payees, the defendant is guilty of negligence; the risk of
wrongful payment has to be assumed by the defendant.
On the matter of the award of the interest and attorney's fees, the Board of Directors finds no reason to reverse the decision of
the Arbiter. The defendant's failure to reimburse the plaintiff has constrained the plaintiff to regular the services of counsel in
order to protect its interest notwithstanding that plaintiffs claim is plainly valid just and demandable. In addition, defendant's
clear obligation is to reimburse plaintiff upon direct presentation of the checks; and it is undenied that up to this time the
defendant has failed to make such reimbursement.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit without pronouncement as to costs. The decision of the respondent cour t
of 24 March 1986 and its order of 3 June 1986 are hereby declared to be immediately executory.
SO ORDERED.
Teehankee, C.J., Narvasa, Cruz and Paras, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. 78687 January 31, 1989
ELENA SALENILLAS AND BERNARDINO SALENILLAS, petitioners,
vs.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and HONORABLE RAYMUNDO SEVA, JUDGE OF BRANCH 38 OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF
CAMARINES NORTE and WILLIAM GUERRA, respondents.
Jose L. Lapak for petitioners.
Jose T. Atienza for private respondent.

SARMIENTO, J.:
This petition for review on certiorari which seeks the reversal and setting aside of the decision 1 of the Court of
Appeals 2 dismissing the petition for certiorari against Judge Raymundo Seva of the Regional Trial Court of Camarines Norte and
the private respondent, William Guerra, involves a pure question of law i.e., the coverage and application of Section 119 of
Commonwealth Act No. 141, as amended, known otherwise as the Public Land Act.
The facts are undisputed.
The property subject matter of the case was formerly covered by Original Certificate of Title No. P-1248, issued by virtue of Free
Patent Application No. 192765, in favor of the spouses, Florencia H. de Enciso and Miguel Enciso. The said original certificate of
title was inscribed in the Registration Book for the Province of Camarines Norte on December 10, 1961. On February 28, 1970, the
patentees, the Enciso spouses, by an Absolute Deed of Sale, sold the property in favor of the petitioners, the spouses Elena
Salenillas and Bernardino Salenillas for a consideration of P900.00. Petitioner Elena Salenillas is a daughter of the Encisos. As a
result of the aforementioned sale, Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-8104 of the Register of Deeds of Camarines Norte was issued in
the name of the Salenillas, cancelling Original Certificate of Title No. P-1248. On June 30, 1971, the petitioners mortgaged the
property now covered by T.C.T. No. T-8104 with the Rural Bank of Daet, Inc. The mortgage was subsequently released on
November 22, 1973 after the petitioners paid the amount of P1,000.00. Later, or on December 4, 1975, the petitioners again
mortgaged the property, this time in favor of the Philippine National Bank Branch, Daet, Camarines Norte as security for a loan of
P2,500.00.
For failure of the petitioners to pay their loan, extrajudicial foreclosure proceeding, pursuant to Act No. 3135, was instituted by the
Philippine National Bank against the mortgage and the property was sold at a public auction held on February 27, 1981. The
private respondent, William Guerra, emerged as the highest bidder in the said public auction and as a result thereof a
"Certificate of Sale" was issued to him by the Ex Officio Provincial Sheriff of Camarines Norte. Ultimately, on July 12, 1983, a
"Sheriff's Final Deed" was executed in favor of the private respondent.
On August 17,1983, the Philippine National Bank filed with the Regional Trial Court of Camarines Norte at Daet, a motion for a writ
of possession. The public respondent, Judge Raymundo Seva of the trial court, acting on the motion, issued on September 22,
1983 an order for the issuance of a writ of possession in favor of the private respondent. When the deputy sheriff of Camarines
Norte however, attempted on November 17, 1983, to place the property in the possession of the private respondent, the
petitioners refused to vacate and surrender the possession of the same and instead offered to repurchase it under Section 119 of
the Public Land Act. On August 15, 1984, another motion, this time for the issuance of an alias writ of possession was filed by the
private respondent with the trial court. The petitioners, on August 31, 1984, opposed the private respondents' motion and instead
made a formal offer to repurchase the property. Notwithstanding the petitioners' opposition and formal offer, the trial court
judge on October 12, 1984 issued the alias writ of possession prayed for the private respondent. The petitioners moved for a
reconsideration of the order but their motion was denied.
Undeterred by their initial setback, the petitioners elevated the case to the respondent Court of Appeals by way of a petition
for certiorari claiming that the respondent trial court judge acted with grave abuse of discretion in issuing the order dated
October 12, 1984 granting the writ of possession, and the order dated October 22, 1984, denying their motion for reconsider
consideration.
In a resolution dated January 23, 1985, the respondent appellate court gave due course to the petition; required the parties to
submit simultaneous memoranda in support to their respective positions; and restrained the trial court and the private
respondent from executing, implementing or otherwise giving effect to the assailed writ of possession until further orders from the
court. 3 However, in a decision promulgated on September 17, 1986, the respondent Court of Appeals dismissed the case for
lack of merit. According to the appellate court:
It must be noted that when the original owner, Florencia H. Enciso whose title, OCT No. P-1248, was issued on August 9, 1961,
executed a deed of absolute sale on February 28, 1970 of the property covered by said title to spouses Elena Salenillas and
Bernardino Salenillas, the five year period to repurchase the property provided for in Section 119 of Commonwealth Act No. 141
as amended could have already started. Prom this fact alone, the petition should have been dismissed. However, granting that
the transfer from parent to child for a nominal sum may not be the "conveyance" contemplated by the law. We will rule on the
issue raised by the petitioners. 4
xxx xxx xxx
Applying the case of Monge, et al. vs. Angeles, et al., 5 the appellate court went on to hold that the five-year period of the
petitioners to repurchase under Section 119 of the Public Land Act had already prescribed. The point of reckoning, ruled the
respondent court in consonance with Monge is from the date the petitioners mortgaged the property on December 4, 1973.
Thus, when the petitioners made their formal offer to repurchase on August 31, 1984, the period had clearly expired.
In an effort to still overturn the decision, the petitioners moved for reconsideration. Their motion apparently went for naught
because on May 7, 1987, the respondent appellate court resolved to deny the same. Hence, this petition.
Before us, the petitioners maintain that contrary to the rulings of the courts below, their right to repurchase within five years under
Section 119 of the Public Land Act has not yet prescribed. To support their contention, the petitioners cite the cases of Paras vs.
Court of Appeals 6 and Manuel vs. Philippine National Bank, et al. 7
On the other side, the private respondent, in support of the appellate court's decision, states that the sale of the contested
property by the patentees to the petitioners disqualified the latter from being legal heirs vis-a-vis the said property. As such, they
(the petitioners) no longer enjoy the right granted to heirs under the provisions of Section 119 of the Public Land Act. 8
In fine, what need be determined and resolved here are: whether or not the petitioners have the right to repurchase the
contested property under Section 119 of the Public Land Act; and assuming the answer to the question is in the affirmative,
whether or not their right to repurchase had already prescribed.
We rule for the petitioners. They are granted by the law the right to repurchase their property and their right to do so subsists.
Section 119 of the Public Land Act, as amended, provides in full:
Sec. 119. Every conveyance of land acquired under the free patent or homestead provisions, when proper, shall be subject to
repurchase by the applicant, his widow, or legal heirs within a period of five years from the date of the conveyance.
From the foregoing legal provision, it is explicit that only three classes of persons are bestowed the right to repurchase the
applicant-patentee, his widow, or other legal heirs. Consequently, the contention of the private respondent sustained by the
respondent appellate court that the petitioners do not belong to any of those classes of repurchasers because they acquired
the property not through inheritance but by sale, has no legal basis. The petitioners-spouses are the daughter and son-in-law of
the Encisos, patentees of the contested property. At the very least, petitioner Elena Salenillas, being a child of the Encisos, is a
"legal heir" of the latter. As such, and even on this score alone, she may therefore validly repurchase. This must be so because
Section 119 of the Public Land Act, in speaking of "legal heirs," makes no distinction. Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos distinguere
debemos.
Moreover, to indorse the distinction made by the private respondent and the appellate court would be to contravene the very
purpose of Section 119 of the Public Land Act which is to give the homesteader or patentee every chance to preserve for
himself and his family the land that the State had gratuitously given him as a reward for his labor in clearing and cultivating
it. 9 Considering that petitioner Salenillas is a daughter of the spouses Florencia H. Enciso and Miguel Enciso, there is no
gainsaying that allowing her (Elena) and her husband to repurchase the property would be more in keeping with the spirit of the
law. We have time and again said that between two statutory interpretations, that which better serves the purpose of the law
should prevail.
Guided by the same purpose of the law, and proceeding to the other issue here raised, we rule that the five-year period for the
petitioners to repurchase their property had not yet prescribed.
The case of Monge et al. vs. Angeles, et al., 10 cited as authority by the respondent Court of Appeals is inapplicable to the
present controversy. The facts obtaining there are substantially different from those in this case. In Monge the conveyance
involved was a pacto de retro sale and not a foreclosure sale. More importantly, the question raised there was whether the five-
year period provided for in Section 119 "should be counted from the date of the sale even if the same is with an option to
repurchase or from the date the ownership of the land has become consolidated in favor of the purchaser because of the
homesteader's failure to redeem it. 11 It is therefore understandable why the Court ruled there as it did. A sale on pacto de
retro immediately vests title, ownership, and, generally possession over the property on the vendee a retro, subject only to the
right of the vendor a retro to repurchase within the stipulated period. It is an absolute sale with a resolutory condition.
The cases 12 pointed to by the petitioner in support of their position, on the other hand, present facts that are quite identical to
those in the case at bar. Both cases involved properties the titles over which were obtained either through homestead or free
patent. These properties were mortgaged to a bank as collateral for loans, and, upon failure of the owners to pay their
indebtedness, the mortgages were foreclosed. In both instances, the Court ruled that the five-year period to. repurchase a
homestead sold at public auction or foreclosure sale under Act 3135 begins on the day after the expiration of the period of
redemption when the deed of absolute sale is executed thereby formally transferring the property to the purchaser, and not
otherwise. Taking into account that the mortgage was foreclosed and the mortgaged property sold at a public auction to the
private respondent on February 27, 1981, with the "Sheriff's Final Deed" issued on July 12, 1983, the two offers of the petitioners to
repurchase the first on November 17, 1983, and the second, formally, on August 31, 1984 were both made within the prescri bed
five-year period.
Now, as regards the redemption price, applying Sec. 30 of Rule 39 of the Revised Rules of Court, the petitioners should reimburse
the private respondent the amount of the purchase price at the public auction plus interest at the rate of one per centum per
month up to November 17, 1983, together with the amounts of assessments and taxes on the property that the private
respondent might have paid after purchase and interest on the last named amount at the same rate as that on the purchase
price. 13
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated September 17, 1986, and the Resolution dated May 7, 1987 of the
Court of Appeals, and the Orders dated September 22, 1983, October 12, 1984, and October 22, 1984 of the Regional Trial Court
of Daet, Camarines Norte, are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and another one ENTERED directing the private respondent to
reconvey the subject property and to execute the corresponding deed of reconveyance therefor in favor of the petitioners
upon the return to him by the latter of the purchase price and the amounts, if any, of assessments or taxes he paid plus interest of
one (1%) per centum per month on both amounts up to November 17, 1983.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Melencio-Herrera (Chairperson), Paras, Padilla and Regalado, JJ., concur


[G.R. No. L-27489. April 30, 1970.]
LEONORA TANTOY VDA. DE MACABENTA, for herself and in behalf of her minor child, RAQUEL MACABENTA,
claimants-appellees, v. DAVAO STEVEDORE TERMINAL COMPANY,Respondent-Appellant.
Peregrino M. Andres for Claimants-Appellees.
H. A. Cabarroguis & Associates for Respondent-Appellant.

SYLLABUS


1. LABOR AND SOCIAL LEGISLATION; WORKMENS COMPENSATION ACT; DEPENDENTS OF INJURED EMPLOYER. From the
express language of the Workmens Compensation Act, a widow living with the deceased or actually dependent upon him totally or
partly as well as her daughter, if under 18 years of age or incapable of supporting him or herself, and unmarried, whether or not
actually dependent upon the deceased, are considered dependents.

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; INSTANT CASE. Claimant here is clearly the widow of the deceased Conrado Macabenta. It is true that the
marriage took place after the fatal accident but there was no question that at the time of his death she was marked to him.

3. STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION; WHERE LAW IS CLEAR; DUTY OF COURT TO APPLY THE LAW TO FACTS AS FOUND. Where the
law is clear, our duty is equally plain. We must apply it to the facts as found. What is more, we have taken pains to defeat any
evasion of its literal language by rejecting an interpretation, even if not totally devoid of plausibility, but likely to attach to it a
significance different from that intended by the lawmakers. A paraphrases of an aphorism from Holmes is not inappropriate. there
can always occur to intelligence hostile to a piece of legislation a misinterpretation that may, without due reflection, be considered
not too far-fetched.

4. ID.; ID.; SETTLED RULE. The Court has constantly held from the early cases of Ty Sue v. Hord, 12 Phil. 485, a 1909
decision, in United States v. Toribio, 15 Phil. 85 and again in Riera v. Palmori, 40 Phil. 105 (1919) that , assuming a choice is
necessary between conflicting theories, that which best conforms to the language of the statute and its purpose should prevail and
that no construction is to be adopted that would "tend to defeat the purpose and object of the legislator."cralaw virtua1aw li brary

5. ID.; ID.; WHERE POLICY OF LAW IS CLEAR; DUTY COURT TO GIVE EFFECT. Once the policy of purpose of the law has been
ascertained, effect should be given to it by the judiciary. Even if honest doubts could be entertained, therefor, as to the meaning
of the statutory provisions, still respect for such a basic doctrine calls for a rejection of the plea of the Davao Stevedore Terminal
Company.

6. LABOR AND SOCIAL LEGISLATION; WORKMENS COMPENSATION ACT; INTERPRETATION AND CONSTRUCTION, TO BE IN
ACCORDANCE WITH CONSTITUTIONAL MANDATE. "To state the constructions sought to be fastened on the clear and explicit
language of the statute is to reject it. It comes into collision with the constitutional command pursuant to the social justice
principle that the government extend protection to labor." How could such an intent then be imputed to the legislative body. No
such suspicious ought to be entertained that it was contemplated by our lawmakers that any provision of the Workmens
Compensation Act could be so worded as to deny protection to the laboring elements and their dependents and thus frustrate the
constitutional objective of social justice.

7. ID.; ID.; WORKMENS COMPENSATION COMMISSION; FINDINGS OF FACT IT BASED ON SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE, NOT
DISTURBED ON APPEAL; INSTANT CASE. The alleged error that the accident resulting in the death of Condrado Macabenta
could not be considered as having arisen out of and in the course of employment is not to be taken too seriously. The facts as set
forth in the decision, which must be accepted by us in view of their being based on substantial evidence argue against the
condensation of the Davao Stevedore Terminal Company.

8. ID.; ID.; APPEAL FROM DECISION OF THE WORKMENS COMPENSATION COMMISSION TO SUPREME COURT ASCERTAINTMENT
OF CREDIBILITY AND WEIGHT OF CONFLICTING EVIDENCE, BEYOND AUTHORITY IN APPEALS BY CERTIORARI. The task of
ascertaining the credibility and weight of conflicting evidence is, however, beyond the province of our authority in appeals
bycertiorari. Even if the possibility that the Commissions conclusions were erroneous could not be ruled out, still, to borrow the
language of justice Dizon in Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. v. Workmens Compensation Commission, such errors would
constitute mere errors of judgment but do not involve any grave abuse of discretion on its part.


D E C I S I O N


FERNANDO, J.:


The success of the employer Davao Stevedore Terminal Company in imparting plausibility to the novel question raised as to
whether or not the widow of a deceased employee whose marriage occurred after the accident as well as the posthumous child
could be considered dependents within the meaning of the Workmens Compensation Act may be gauged by the fact that we gave
due course to the petition for the review of a decision of the Workmens Compensation Commission answering the question in the
affirmative and sustaining the right to compensation of the claimant Leonora Tantoy Vda. de Macabenta for herself and in behalf
of her minor child, Raquel Macabenta. After hearing the parties and in the right of the language of the law, its manifest purpose,
and the constitutional provisions on social justice and protection to labor, we answer the question similarly. We affirm the
appealed decision of the Workmens Compensation Commission.

In the decision rendered by the then Chairman of the Commission, Nieves Baens del Rosario, dated September 27, 1966, it is
stated that there is no dispute "that at the time that the decedent met the vehicular accident on September 13, 1961 which led to
his death on September 29, 1961, the claimant-widow was not yet married to the decedent although they had already been living
together as husband and wife for the past three months. However. on the day following the accident, they were lawfully wedded
in a marriage ceremony solemnized at San Pedro Hospital in Davao City where the deceased was hospitalized up to his death. It is
noteworthy that the marriage was facilitated through the intercession of the general manager of the respondent company." 1 The
decision likewise noted that the claimant widow gave birth on April 8, 1962 to the posthumous daughter of the deceased who was
given the name Raquel Tantoy Macabenta.

As to how the deceased Conrado Macabenta met his accident, the decision, after stating that the deceased was a laborer in the
sawmill of the Davao Stevedore Terminal Company at Manay, Panabo, Davao, about 48 kilometers from his residence in Davao
City, went on as follows: "Although some sort of quarters were provided by the respondent to its employees at the sawmill, many
of them apparently preferred to commute, and the deceased in particular went home about three times a week. While the
respondent, through its lone witness and at the same time production manager, Sergio Dalisay, disclaimed the claimants
declarations that the company provided a service pickup to transport its employees to and from work, the synthesis of the very
same testimonial evidence does not support this denial, but on the contrary tends to bring out the fact that the respondent did
furnish transportation." 2 As a result, it reversed the finding of the then acting referee of its regional office in Davao City and
awarded to the claimant widow for herself and in behalf of her minor child the amount of P2,708.00 as compensation and the sum
of P270.80 as attorneys fees.

Hence, this petition for review, which, as noted, was given due course primarily due to the question raised being one of first
impression. As announced at the opening of this opinion, we uphold the Workmens Compensation Commission.

1. From the express language of the Workmens Compensation Act, a widow living with the deceased or actually dependent upon
him totally or partly as well as her daughter, if under 18 years of age or incapable of supporting him or herself, and unmarried,
whether or not actually dependent upon the deceased are considered dependents. 3 Claimant here is clearly the widow of the
deceased Conrado Macabenta. It is true that the marriage took place after the fatal accident but there was no question that at the
time of his death she was married to him. She, therefore, comes entirely within the letter of the law. Nor can there be any doubt
that the child, Raquel Macabenta, also falls within the words the Act employs. As set forth in the decision, while the marriage took
place on Sept. 14, 1961, the widow and the deceased had already been living together as husband and wife the preceding three
months. The child born of such relationship, later legalized, is, as made clear in the decision, the posthumous daughter of the
deceased. What the employer Davao Stevedore Terminal Company seems bent in ignoring is that our Civil Code, in no uncertain
terms, considers a conceived child born for all purposes that are favorable to her provided the birth is attended with the conditions
specified, namely, that she is alive at the time she is completely delivered from the mothers womb. 4 Here, fortunately, the child
has survived the ordeal of the loss of the one called upon to support her, her father, who, unfortunately however, met his death
before her birth.

Time and time again, we have stressed that where the law is clear, our duty is equally plain. We must apply it to the facts as
found. 5 What is more, we have taken pains to defeat any evasion of its literal language by rejecting an interpretation, even if not
totally devoid of plausibility, but likely to attach to it a significance different from that intended by the lawmakers. A paraphrase of
an aphorism from Holmes is not inappropriate. There can always occur to an intelligence hostile to a piece of legislation a
misinterpretation that may, without due reflection, be considered not too far-fetched. The employer in this case, without
impugning its motives, must have succumbed to such a temptation, quite understandable but certainly far from justifiable. It is
quite obvious then why we find its stand devoid of merit.

2. Our conclusion likewise finds support in the fundamental principle that once the policy or purpose of the law has been
ascertained, effect should be given to it by the judiciary. 6 Even if honest doubts could be entertained, therefore, as to the
meaning of the statutory provisions, still respect for such a basic doctrine calls for a rejection of the plea of the Davao Stevedore
Terminal Company. We have never deviated from our constant holding from Ty Sue v. Hord, 7 a 1909 decision, that, assuming a
choice is necessary between conflicting theories, that which best conforms to the language of the statute and its purpose should
prevail. Again, as far back as United States v. Toribio, 8 decided the next year, we made unmistakable our view that no
construction is to be adopted that would bend "to defeat the purpose and object of the legislator." We made use of an expression
almost identical in Riera v. Palmaroli 9 with our warning against so narrowly interpreting a statute "as to defeat the manifest
purpose of the legislator." The employer in this case should have been well advised to take into consideration the teachings of the
above cases before it sought to press upon us the desirability of imparting to the applicable statutory language a meaning that
would render fruitless the purpose so clearly evident on the face of the Workmens Compensation Act.

3. There is still another avenue of approach that similarly calls for the affirmance of the decision of the Workmens Compensation
Commission now on appeal. This is apparent from an excerpt from a recent case of Automotive Parts & Equipment Company,
Incorporated v. Lingad: 10 "To state the construction sought to be fastened on the clear and explicit language of the statute is to
reject it. It comes into collision with the constitutional command pursuant to the social justice principle that the government
extend protection to labor." How could such an intent then be imputed to the legislative body. No such suspicion ought to be
entertained that it was contemplated by our lawmakers that any provision of the Workmens Compensation Act could be so
worded as to deny protection to the laboring elements and their dependents and thus frustrate the constitutional objective of
social justice. To quote from the Lingad case anew: "For it is undeniable that every statute, much more so one arising from a
legislative implementation of a constitutional mandate, must be so construed that no question as to its conformity with what the
fundamental law requires need arise.

4. The basic question in this petition for review thus disposed of, there is nothing to stand in the way of the affirmance of the
decision now on appeal. The alleged error that the accident resulting in the death of Conrado Macabenta could not be considered
as having arisen out of and in the course of employment is not to be taken too seriously. The facts as set forth in the decision,
which must be accepted by us in view of their being based on substantial evidence argue against the contention of the Davao
Stevedore Terminal Company. As we had occasion to state only last month in B. F. Goodrich Philippines, Inc. v. Acebedo: 11 "Nor
can the conclusion reached by respondent Commission be repudiated unless on a clear showing of failure to consider the evidence
on record or failure to consider fundamental and patent logical relationships in the evidence, amounting to a clear travesty of
justice or grave abuse of discretion. What was said by us in Basaysay v. Workmens Compensation Commission, through the
present Chief Justice, bears repeating: The task of ascertaining the credibility and weight of conflicting evidence, is, however,
beyond the province of our authority in appeals by certiorari. Even if the possibility that the Commissions conclusions were
erroneous could not be ruled out, still, to borrow the language of Justice Dizon in Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. v. Workmens
Compensation Commission.such errors would constitute mere errors of judgment but do not involve any grave abuse of discretion
on its part."

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Workmens Compensation Commission of September 27, 1966 is affirmed. With costs against
respondent Davao Stevedore Terminal Company.

Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Castro, Zaldivar, Teehankee and Villamor, JJ., concur.

Dizon and Makalintal, JJ., took no part


[G.R. Nos. L-32613-14 December 27, 1972
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
HON. SIMEON. FERRER (in his capacity as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Tarlac, Branch I), FELICIANO CO alias LEONCIO
CO alias "Bob," and NILO S. TAYAG alias Romy Reyes alias "Taba,"respondents.
Solicitor R. Mutuc for respondent Feliciano Co.
Jose W. Diokno for respondent Nilo Tayag.

CASTRO, J.:p
I. Statement of the Case
Posed in issue in these two cases is the constitutionality of the Anti-Subversion
Act, 1 which outlaws the Communist Party of the Philippines and other "subversive associations," and punishes any person who
"knowingly, willfully and by overt acts affiliates himself with, becomes or remains a member" of the Party or of any other si milar
"subversive" organization.
On March 5, 1970 a criminal complaint for violation of section 4 of the Anti -Subversion Act was filed against the respondent
Feliciano Co in the Court of First Instance of Tarlac. On March 10 Judge Jose C. de Guzman conducted a preliminary
investigation and, finding a prima facie case against Co, directed the Government prosecutors to file the corresponding
information. The twice-amended information, docketed as Criminal Case No. 27, recites:
That on or about May 1969 to December 5, 1969, in the Municipality of Capas, Province of Tarlac, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, feloniously became an officer and/or ranking leader of the
Communist Party of the Philippines, an outlawed and illegal organization aimed to overthrow the Government of the Philippines
by means of force, violence, deceit, subversion, or any other illegal means for the purpose of establishing in the Philippines a
totalitarian regime and placing the government under the control and domination of an alien power, by being an instructor in
the Mao Tse Tung University, the training school of recruits of the New People's Army, the military arm of the said Communist Party
of the Philippines.
That in the commission of the above offense, the following aggravating circumstances are present, to wit:
(a) That the crime has been committed in contempt of or with insult to public authorities;
(b) That the crime was committed by a band; and afford impunity.
(c) With the aid of armed men or persons who insure or afford impunity.
Co moved to quash on the ground that the Anti-Subversion Act is a bill of attainder.
Meanwhile, on May 25, 1970, another criminal complaint was filed with the same court, sharing the respondent Nilo Tayag and
five others with subversion. After preliminary investigation was had, an information was filed, which, as amended, reads:
The undersigned provincial Fiscal of Tarlac and State Prosecutors duly designated by the Secretary of Justice to collaborate with
the Provincial Fiscal of Tarlac, pursuant to the Order dated June 5, above entitled case, hereby accuse Nilo S. Tayag, alias Romy
Reyes alias TABA, ARTHUR GARCIA, RENATO (REY) CASIPE, ABELARDO GARCIA, MANUEL ALAVADO, BENJAMIN BIE alias
COMMANDER MELODY and several JOHN DOES, whose identities are still unknown, for violation of REPUBLIC ACT No. 1700,
otherwise known as the Anti-Subversion Law, committed as follows:
That in or about March 1969 and for sometime prior thereto and thereafter, in the Province of Tarlac, within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, and elsewhere in the Philippines, the above-named accused knowingly, willfully and by overt acts organized,
joined and/or remained as offices and/or ranking leaders, of the KABATAANG MAKABAYAN, a subversive organizati on as
defined in Republic Act No. 1700; that BENJAMIN BIE and COMMANDER MELODY, in addition thereto, knowingly, willfully and by
over acts joined and/or remained as a member and became an officer and/or ranking leader not only of the Communist Party
of the Philippines but also of the New People's Army, the military arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines; and that all the
above-named accused, as such officers and/or ranking leaders of the aforestated subversive organizations, conspiring,
confederating and mutually helping one another, did then and there knowingly, willfully and feloniously commit subversive
and/or seditious acts, by inciting, instigating and stirring the people to unite and rise publicly and tumultuously and take up arms
against the government, and/or engage in rebellious conspiracies and riots to overthrow the government of the Republic of the
Philippines by force, violence, deceit, subversion and/or other illegal means among which are the following:
1. On several occasions within the province of Tarlac, the accused conducted meetings and/or seminars wherein the said
accused delivered speeches instigating and inciting the people to unite, rise in arms and overthrow the Government of the
Republic of the Philippines, by force, violence, deceit, subversion and/or other illegal means; and toward this end, the said
accused organized, among others a chapter of the KABATAANG MAKABAYAN in barrio Motrico, La Paz, Tarlac for the avowed
purpose of undertaking or promoting an armed revolution, subversive and/or seditious propaganda, conspiracies, and/or riots
and/or other illegal means to discredit and overthrow the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and to established in
the Philippines a Communist regime.
2. The accused NILO TAYAG alias ROMY REYES alias TABA, together with FRANCISCO PORTEM alias KIKO Gonzales and others,
pursued the above subversive and/or seditious activities in San Pablo City by recruiting members for the New People's Army,
and/or by instigating and inciting the people to organize and unite for the purpose of overthrowing the Government of the
Republic of the Philippines through armed revolution, deceit, subversion and/or other illegal means, and establishing in the
Philippines a Communist Government.
That the following aggravating circumstances attended the commission of the offense: (a) aid of armed men or persons to
insure or afford impunity; and (b) craft, fraud, or disguise was employed.
On July 21, 1970 Tayag moved to quash, impugning the validity of the statute on the grounds that (1) it is a bill of attainder; (2) it
is vague; (3) it embraces more than one subject not expressed in the title thereof; and (4) it denied him the equal protection of
the laws.
Resolving the constitutional issues raised, the trial court, in its resolution of September 15, 1970, declared the statute void on the
grounds that it is a bill of attainder and that it is vague and overboard, and dismissed the informations against the two accused.
The Government appealed. We resolved to treat its appeal as a special civil action for certiorari.
II. Is the Act a Bill of Attainder?
Article III, section 1 (11) of the Constitution states that "No bill of attainder or ex port facto law shall be enacted."2 A bill of
attainder is a legislative act which inflicts punishment without trial. 3 Its essence is the substitution of a legislative for a judicial
determination of guilt. 4 The constitutional ban against bills of attainder serves to implement the principle of separation of
powers 5 by confining legislatures to
rule-making 6 and thereby forestalling legislative usurpation of the judicial function. 7 History in perspective, bills of attainder were
employed to suppress unpopular causes and political minorities, 8 and it is against this evil that the constitutional prohibition is
directed. The singling out of a definite class, the imposition of a burden on it, and a legislative intent, suffice to stigmatizea statute
as a bill of attainder. 9
In the case at bar, the Anti-Subversion Act was condemned by the court a quo as a bill of attainder because it "tars and
feathers" the Communist Party of the Philippines as a "continuing menace to the freedom and security of the country; its
existence, a 'clear, present and grave danger to the security of the Philippines.'" By means of the Act, the trial court said,
Congress usurped "the powers of the judge," and assumed "judicial magistracy by pronouncing the guilt of the CCP without any
of the forms or safeguards of judicial trial." Finally, according to the trial court, "if the only issue [to be determined] is whether or
not the accused is a knowing and voluntary member, the law is still a bill of attainder because it has expressly created a
presumption of organizational guilt which the accused can never hope to overthrow."
1. When the Act is viewed in its actual operation, it will be seen that it does not specify the Communist Party of the Philippines or
the members thereof for the purpose of punishment. What it does is simply to declare the Party to be an organized conspiracy
for the overthrow of the Government for the purposes of the prohibition, stated in section 4, against membership in the outlawed
organization. The term "Communist Party of the Philippines" issued solely for definitional purposes. In fact the Act applies not only
to the Communist Party of the Philippines but also to "any other organization having the same purpose and their successors." Its
focus is not on individuals but on conduct. 10
This feature of the Act distinguishes it from section 504 of the U.S. Federal Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of
1959 11 which, in U.S. vs. Brown, 12 was held to be a bill of attainder and therefore unconstitutional. Section 504 provided in its
pertinent parts as follows:
(a) No person who is or has been a member of the Communist
Party ... shall serve
(1) as an officer, director, trustee, member of any executive board or similar governing body, business agent, manager,
organizer, or other employee (other than as an employee performing exclusively clerical or custodial duties) of any labor
organization.
during or for five years after the termination of his membership in the Communist Party....
(b) Any person who willfully violates this section shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than one year, or
both.
This statute specified the Communist Party, and imposes disability and penalties on its members. Membership in the Party, without
more, ipso facto disqualifies a person from becoming an officer or a member of the governing body of any labor organization.
As the Supreme Court of the United States pointed out:
Under the line of cases just outlined, sec. 504 of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act plainly constitutes a bi ll of
attainder. Congress undoubtedly possesses power under the Commerce Clause to enact legislation designed to keep from
positions affecting interstate commerce persons who may use of such positions to bring about political strikes. In section 504,
however, Congress has exceeded the authority granted it by the Constitution. The statute does not set forth a generally
applicable rule decreeing that any person who commits certain acts or possesses certain characteristics (acts and
characteristics which, in Congress' view, make them likely to initiate political strikes) shall not hold union office, and leaves to
courts and juries the job of deciding what persons have committed the specified acts or possessed the specified
characteristics. Instead, it designates in no uncertain terms the persons who possess the feared characteristics and therefore
cannot hold union office without incurring criminal liability members of the Communist Party.
Communist Party v. Subversive Activities Control Board, 367 US 1, 6 L ed 2d 625, 81 S CT 1357, lend a support to our conclusion.
That case involved an appeal from an order by the Control Board ordering the Communist Party to register as a "Communist-
action organization," under the Subversive Activities Control Act of 1950, 64 Stat 987, 50 USC sec. 781 et seq. (1958 ed). The
definition of "Communist-action organization" which the Board is to apply is set forth in sec. 3 of the Act:
[A]ny organization in the United States ... which (i)is substantially directed, dominated, or controlled by the foreign government or
foreign organization controlling the world Communist movement referred to in section 2 of this title, and(ii) operates primarily to
advance the objectives of such world Communist movement... 64 Stat 989, 50 USC sec. 782 (1958 ed.)
A majority of the Court rejected the argument that the Act was a bill of attainder, reasoning that sec. 3 does not specify the
persons or groups upon which the deprivations setforth in the Act are to be imposed, but instead sets forth a general definition.
Although the Board has determined in 1953 that the Communist Party was a "Communist-action organization," the Court found
the statutory definition not to be so narrow as to insure that the Party would always come within it:
In this proceeding the Board had found, and the Court of Appeals has sustained its conclusion, that the Communist Party, by
virtud of the activities in which it now engages, comes within the terms of the Act. If the Party should at anytime choose to
abandon these activities, after it is once registered pursuant to sec. 7, the Act provides adequate means of relief. (367 US, at 87,
6 L ed 2d at 683)
Indeed, were the Anti-Subversion Act a bill of attainder, it would be totally unnecessary to charge Communists in court, as the
law alone, without more, would suffice to secure their punishment. But the undeniable fact is that their guilt still has to be
judicially established. The Government has yet to prove at the trial that the accused joined the Party knowingly, willfully and by
overt acts, and that they joined the Party, knowing its subversive character and with specific intent to further its basic objective,
i.e., to overthrow the existing Government by force deceit, and other illegal means and place the country under the control and
domination of a foreign power.
As to the claim that under the statute organizationl guilt is nonetheless imputed despite the requirement of proof of knowing
membership in the Party, suffice it to say that is precisely the nature of conspiracy, which has been referred to as a "dragneet
device" whereby all who participate in the criminal covenant are liable. The contention would be correct if the statute were
construed as punishing mere membership devoid of any specific intent to further the unlawful goals of the Party. 13 But the
statute specifically required that membership must be knowing or active, with specific intent to further the illegal objectives of
the Party. That is what section 4 means when it requires that membership, to be unlawful, must be shown to have been acquired
"knowingly, willfully and by overt acts." 14 The ingredient of specific intent to pursue the unlawful goals of the Party must be
shown by "overt acts." 15 This constitutes an element of "membership" distinct from the ingredient of guilty knowledge. The former
requires proof of direct participation in the organization's unlawful activities, while the latter requires proof of mere adherence to
the organization's illegal objectives.
2. Even assuming, however, that the Act specifies individuals and not activities, this feature is not enough to render it a bill of
attainder. A statute prohibiting partners or employees of securities underwriting firms from serving as officers or employees of
national banks on the basis of a legislative finding that the persons mentioned would be subject to the temptation to commit
acts deemed inimical to the national economy, has been declared not to be a bill of attainder. 16 Similarly, a statute requiring
every secret, oath-bound society having a membership of at least twenty to register, and punishing any person who becomes a
member of such society which fails to register or remains a member thereof, was declared valid even if in its operation it was
shown to apply only to the members of the Ku Klux Klan. 17
In the Philippines the validity of section 23 (b) of the Industrial Peace Act, 18 requiring labor unions to file with the Department of
Labor affidavits of union officers "to the effect that they are not members of the Communist Party and that they are not
members of any organization which teaches the overthrow of the Government by force or by any illegal or unconstitutional
method," was upheld by this Court. 19
Indeed, it is only when a statute applies either to named individuals or to easily ascertainable members of a group in such a way
as to inflict punishment on them without a judicial trial does it become a bill of attainder. 20It is upon this ground that statutes
which disqualified those who had taken part in the rebellion against the Government of the United States during the Civil War
from holding office, 21 or from exercising their profession, 22 or which prohibited the payment of further compensation to
individuals named in the Act on the basis of a finding that they had engages in subversive activities, 23 or which made it a crime
for a member of the Communist Party to serve as an officer or employee of a labor union, 24 have been invalidated as bills of
attainder.
But when the judgment expressed in legislation is so universally acknowledged to be certain as to be "judicially noticeable," the
legislature may apply its own rules, and judicial hearing is not needed fairly to make such determination. 25
In New York ex rel. Bryant vs. Zimmerman, 26 the New York legislature passed a law requiring every secret, oath-bound society
with a membership of at least twenty to register, and punishing any person who joined or remained a member of such a society
failing to register. While the statute did not specify the Ku Klux Klan, in its operation the law applied to the KKK exclusively. In
sustaining the statute against the claim that it discriminated against the Ku Klux Klan while exempting other secret, oath-bound
organizations like masonic societies and the Knights of Columbus, the United States Supreme Court relied on common
knowledge of the nature and activities of the Ku Klux Klan. The Court said:
The courts below recognized the principle shown in the cases just cited and reached the conclusion that the classification was
justified by a difference between the two classes of associations shown by experience, and that the difference consisted (a) in a
manifest tendency on the part of one class to make the secrecy surrounding its purpose and membership a cloak for acts and
conduct inimical to personal rights and public welfare, and (b) in the absence of such a tendency on the part of the other class.
In pointing out this difference one of the courts said of the Ku Klux Klan, the principal association in the included class: "It is a
matter of common knowledge that this organization functions largely at night, its members disguised by hoods and gowns and
doing things calculated to strike terror into the minds of the people;" and later said of the other class: "These organizations and
their purposes are well known, many of them having been in existence for many years. Many of them are oath-bound and
secret. But we hear no complaint against them regarding violation of the peace or interfering with the rights of others." Another
of the courts said: "It is a matter of common knowledge that the association or organization of which the relator is concededly a
member exercises activities tending to the prejudice and intimidation of sundry classes of our citizens. But the legislation is not
confined to this society;" and later said of the other class: "Labor uni ons have a recognized lawful purpose. The benevolent
orders mentioned in the Benevolent Orders Law have already received legislative scrutiny and have been granted special
privileges so that the legislature may well consider them beneficial rather than harmful agencies." The third court, after
recognizing "the potentialities of evil in secret societies," and observing that "the danger of certain organizations has been
judicially demonstrated," meaning in that state, said: "Benevolent orders, labor unions and college fraternities have existed
for many years, and, while not immune from hostile criticism, have on the whole justified their existence."
We assume that the legislature had before it such information as was readily available including the published report of a
hearing, before a committee of the House of Representatives of the 57th Congress relating to the formation, purposes and
activities of the Klu Klux Klan. If so it was advised putting aside controverted evidence that the order was a revival of the Ku
Klux Klan of an earlier time with additional features borrowed from the Know Nothing and the A. P. A. orders of other periods;
that its memberships was limited to native-born, gentile, protestant whites; that in part of its constitution and printed creed it
proclaimed the widest freedom for all and full adherence to the Constitution of the United States; in another exacted of its
member an oath to shield and preserve "white supremacy;" and in still another declared any person actively opposing its
principles to be "a dangerous ingredient in the body politic of our country and an enemy to the weal of our national
commonwealth;" that it was conducting a crusade against Catholics, Jews, and Negroes, and stimulating hurtful religious and
race prejudices; that it was striving for political power and assuming a sort of guardianship over the administration of local, state
and national affairs; and that at times it was taking into its own hands the punishment of what some of its members conceived to
be crimes.27
In the Philippines the character of the Communist Party has been the object of continuing scrutiny by this Court. In 1932 we
found the Communist Party of the Philippines to be an illegal association. 28 In 1969 we again found that the objective of the
Party was the "overthrow of the Philippine Government by armed struggle and to establish in the Philippines a communist form of
government similar to that of Soviet Russia and Red China." 29 More recently, inLansang vs. Garcia, 30 we noted the growth of
the Communist Party of the Philippines and the organization of Communist fronts among youth organizations such as the
Kabataang Makabayan (KM) and the emergence of the New People's Army. After meticulously reviewing the evidence, we
said: "We entertain, therefore, no doubts about the existence of a sizeable group of men who have publicly risen in arms to
overthrow the government and have thus been and still are engaged in rebellion against the Government of the Philippines.
3. Nor is it enough that the statute specify persons or groups in order that it may fall within the ambit of the prohibition against bills
of attainder. It is also necessary that it must apply retroactively and reach past conduct. This requirement follows from the nature
of a bill of attainder as a legislative adjudication of guilt. As Justice Frankfurter observed, "frequently a bill of attainder was ...
doubly objectionable because of its ex post factofeatures. This is the historic explanation for uniting the two mischiefs in one
clause 'No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed.' ... Therefore, if [a statute] is a bill of attainder it is also an ex
post facto law. But if it is not an ex post facto law, the reasons that establish that it is not are persuasive that it cannot be a bill of
attainder." 31
Thus in Gardner vs. Board of Public Works, 32 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the validity of the Charter of the City of Los Angeles
which provided:
... [N]o person shall hold or retain or be eligible for any public office or employment in the service of the City of Los Angeles, in
any office or department thereof, either elective or appointive, who has within five (5) years prior to the effective date of this
section advised, advocated, or taught, or who may, after this section becomes effective, become a member of or affiliated
with any group, society, association, organization or party which advises, advocates or teaches or has within said period of five
(5) years advised, advocated, or taught the overthrow by force or violence of the Government of the United States of America
or of the State of California.
In upholding the statute, the Court stressed the prospective application of the Act to the petitioner therein, thus:
... Immaterial here is any opinion we might have as to the charter provision insofar as it purported to apply restrospectively for a
five-year period to its effective date. We assume that under the Federal Constitution the Charter Amendment is valid to the
extent that it bars from the city's public service persons who, subsequently to its adoption in 1941, advise, advocate, or reach the
violent overthrow of the Government or who are or become affiliated with any group doing so. The provisions operating thus
prospectively were a reasonable regulation to protect the municipal service by establishing an employment qualification of
loyalty to the State and the United States.
... Unlike the provisions of the charter and ordinance under which petitioners were removed, the statute in the Lovett case did
not declare general and prospectively operative standards of qualification and eligibility for public employment. Rather, by its
terms it prohibited any further payment of compensationto named individuals or employees. Under these circumstances, viewed
against the legislative background, the statutewas held to have imposed penalties without judicial trial.
Indeed, if one objection to the bill of attainder is thatCongress thereby assumed judicial magistracy, them it mustbe
demonstrated that the statute claimed to be a bill of attainderreaches past conduct and that the penalties it imposesare
inescapable. As the U.S. Supreme Court observedwith respect to the U.S. Federal Subversive Activities ControlAct of 1950:
Nor is the statute made an act of "outlawry" or of attainderby the fact that the conduct which it regulates is describedwith such
particularity that, in probability, few organizationswill come within the statutory terms. Legislatures may act tocurb behavi our
which they regard as harmful to the public welfare,whether that conduct is found to be engaged in by manypersons or by one.
So long as the incidence of legislation issuch that the persons who engage in the regulated conduct, bethey many or few, can
escape regulation merely by altering thecourse of their own present activities, there can be no complaintof an attainder. 33
This statement, mutatis mutandis, may be said of theAnti-Subversion Act. Section 4 thereof expressly statesthat the prohibition
therein applies only to acts committed"After the approval of this Act." Only those who "knowingly,willfully and by overt acts
affiliate themselves with,become or remain members of the Communist Party of thePhilippines and/or its successors or of any
subversive association"after June 20, 1957, are punished. Those whowere members of the Party or of any other subversive
associationat the time of the enactment of the law, weregiven the opportunity of purging themselves of liability byrenouncing in
writing and under oath their membershipin the Party. The law expressly provides that such renunciationshall operate to exempt
such persons from penalliability. 34 The penalties prescribed by the Act are thereforenot inescapable.
III. The Act and the Requirements of Due Process
1. As already stated, the legislative declaration in section 2 of the Act that the Communist Party of the Philippinesis an organized
conspiracy for the overthrow of theGovernment is inteded not to provide the basis for a legislativefinding of guilt of the members
of the Party butrather to justify the proscription spelled out in section 4. Freedom of expression and freedom of association are
sofundamental that they are thought by some to occupy a"preferred position" in the hierarchy of constitutional
values. 35 Accordingly, any limitation on their exercise mustbe justified by the existence of a substantive evil. This isthe reason why
before enacting the statute in question Congressconducted careful investigations and then stated itsfindings in the preamble,
thus:
... [T]he Communist Party of the Philippines althoughpurportedly a political party, is in fact an organized conspiracyto overthrow
the Government of the Republic of the Philippinesnot only by force and violence but also by deceit, subversionand other illegal
means, for the purpose of establishing in thePhilippines a totalitarian regime subject to alien dominationand control;
... [T]he continued existence and activities of the CommunistParty of the Philippines constitutes a clear, present andgrave
danger to the security of the Philippines;
... [I]n the face of the organized, systematice and persistentsubversion, national in scope but international in direction,posed by
the Communist Party of the Philippines and its activities,there is urgent need for special legislation to cope withthis conti nuing
menace to the freedom and security of the country.
In truth, the constitutionality of the Act would be opento question if, instead of making these findings in enactingthe statute,
Congress omitted to do so.
In saying that by means of the Act Congress has assumed judicial magistracy, the trial courd failed to takeproper account of the
distinction between legislative fact and adjudicative fact. Professor Paul Freund elucidatesthe crucial distinction, thus:
... A law forbidding the sale of beverages containingmore than 3.2 per cent of alcohol would raise a question of legislativefact,
i.e., whether this standard has a reasonable relationto public health, morals, and the enforcement problem. Alaw forbidding the
sale of intoxicating beverages (assuming itis not so vague as to require supplementation by rule-making)would raise a question
of adjudicative fact, i.e., whether thisor that beverage is intoxicating within the meaning of the statuteand the limits on
governmental action imposed by the Constitution. Of course what we mean by fact in each case is itselfan ultimate conclusion
founded on underlying facts and oncriteria of judgment for weighing them.
A conventional formulation is that legislative facts those facts which are relevant to the legislative judgment will not be
canvassed save to determine whether there is a rationalbasis for believing that they exist, while adjudicativefacts those which
tie the legislative enactment to the litigant are to be demonstrated and found according to the ordinarystandards prevailing
for judicial trials. 36
The test formulated in Nebbia vs. new York, 37 andadopted by this Court in Lansang vs. Garcia, 38 is that 'if laws are seen to
have a reasonable relation to a proper legislative purpose, and are neither arbitrary nor discriminatory, the requirements of due
process are satisfied, and judicial determination to that effect renders a court functus officio." The recital of legislative findings
implements this test.
With respect to a similar statement of legislative findingsin the U.S. Federal Subversive Activities Control Actof 1950 (that
"Communist-action organizations" are controlledby the foreign government controlling the worldCommunist movement and that
they operate primarily to"advance the objectives of such world Communist movement"),the U.S. Supreme Court said:
It is not for the courts to reexamine the validity of theselegislative findings and reject them....They are the productof extensive
investigation by Committes of Congress over morethan a decade and a half. Cf. Nebbia v. New York, 291 U.S.502, 516, 530. We
certainly cannot dismiss them as unfoundedirrational imaginings. ... And if we accept them, as we mustas a not unentertainabl e
appraisal by Congress of the threatwhich Communist organizations pose not only to existing governmentin the United States, but
to the United States as asovereign, independent Nation. ...we must recognize that thepower of Congress to regulate Communist
organizations of thisnature is
extensive. 39
This statement, mutatis mutandis, may be said of thelegislative findings articulated in the Anti-Subversion Act.
That the Government has a right to protect itself againstsubversion is a proposition too plain to require elaboration.Self-
preservation is the "ultimate value" of society. It surpasses and transcendes every other value, "forif a society cannot protect its
very structure from armedinternal attack, ...no subordinate value can be protected" 40 As Chief Justice Vinson so aptly said
in Dennis vs. United States: 41
Whatever theoretical merit there may be to the argumentthat there is a 'right' to rebellion against dictatorial governmentsis
without force where the existing structure of government provides for peaceful and orderly change. We rejectany principle of
governmental helplessness in the face of preparationfor revolution, which principle, carried to its logical conclusion,must lead to
anarchy. No one could conceive that it isnot within the power of Congress to prohibit acts intended tooverthrow the
government by force and violence.
2. By carefully delimiting the reach of the Act to conduct (as explicitly described in sectin 4 thereof), Congressreaffirmed its
respect for the rule that "even throughthe governmental purpose be legitimate and substantial,that purpose cannot be pursued
by means that broadly stiflefundamental personal liberties when the end can be more narrowly achieved." 42 The requirement
of knowing membership,as distinguished from nominalmembership, hasbeen held as a sufficient basis for penalizing
membershipin a subversive organization. 43 For, as has been stated:
Membership in an organization renders aid and encouragement to the organization; and when membership is acceptedor
retained with knowledge that the organization is engaged inan unlawful purpose, the one accepting or retaining
membershipwith such knowledge makes himself a party to the unlawfulenterprise in which it is engaged. 44
3. The argument that the Act is unconstitutionallyoverbroad because section 2 merely speaks of "overthrow"of the Government
and overthrow may be achieved by peaceful means, misconceives the function of the phrase"knowingly, willfully and by overt
acts" in section 4. Section 2 is merely a legislative declaration; the definitionsof and the penalties prescribed for the dif ferent acts
prescribedare stated in section 4 which requires that membershipin the Communist Party of the Philippines, to be unlawful, must
be acquired "knowingly, willfully and by overt acts." Indeed, the first "whereas" clause makes clear thatthe overthrow
contemplated is "overthrow not only by forceand violence but also be deceit, subversion and other illegalmeans." The absence
of this qualificatio in section 2 appearsto be due more to an oversight rather than to deliberateomission.
Moreover, the word "overthrow' sufficiently connotesthe use of violent and other illegal means. Only in a metaphoricalsense may
one speak of peaceful overthrow ofgovernments, and certainly the law does not speak in metaphors.In the case of the Anti -
Subversion Act, the use ofthe word "overthrow" in a metaphorical sense is hardlyconsistent with the clearly delineated objective
of the "overthrow,"namely, "establishing in the Philippines a totalitarianregime and place [sic] the Government under thecontrol
and domination of an alien power." What thisCourt once said in a prosecution for sedition is appropos: "The language used by
the appellant clearly imported anoverthrow of the Government by violence, and it should beinterpreted in the plain and
obvious sense in which it wasevidently intended to be understood. The word 'overthrow'could not have been intended as
referring to an ordinarychange by the exercise of the elective franchise. The useof the whip [which the accused exhorted his
audience to useagainst the Constabulary], an instrument designed toleave marks on the si des of adversaries, is inconsistentwith
the mild interpretation which the appellant wouldhave us impute to the language." 45
IV. The Act and the Guaranty of Free Expression
As already pointed out, the Act is aimed against conspiracies to overthrow the Government by force, violence orother illegal
means. Whatever interest in freedom of speechand freedom of association is infringed by the prohibitionagainst knowing
membership in the Communist Party ofthe Philippines, is so indirect and so insubstantial as to beclearly and heavily outweighed
by the overriding considerationsof national security and the preservartion of democraticinstitutions in his country.
The membership clause of the U.S. Federal Smith Actis similar in many respects to the membership provision ofthe Anti-Subversion
Act. The former provides:
Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize anysociety, group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate,
orencourage the overthrow or destruction of any such governmentby force or violence; or becomes or is a member of, or
affiliatedwith, any such society, group or assembly of persons, knowingthe purpose thereof
Shall be fined not more than $20,000 or imprisoned notmore than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for emplymentby
the United States or any department or agencythereof, for the five years next following his conviction.... 46
In sustaining the validity of this provision, the "Court said in Scales vs. United States: 47
It was settled in Dennis that advocacy with which we arehere concerned is not constitutionally protected speech, and itwas
further established that a combination to promote suchadvocacy, albeit under the aegis of what purports to be a politicalparty,
is not such association as is protected by the firstAmendment. We can discern no reason why membership, whenit constitutes a
purposeful form of complicity in a group engagingin this same forbidden advocacy, should receive anygreater degree of
protection from the guarantees of that Amendment.
Moreover, as was held in another case, where the problemsof accommodating the exigencies of self-preservationand the
values of liberty are as complex and intricate as inthe situation described in the legislative findings stated inthe U.S. Federal
Subversive Activities Control Act of 1950,the legislative judgment as to how that threat may best bemet consistently with the
safeguards of personal freedomsis not to be set aside merely because the judgment of judgeswould, in the first instance, have
chosen other methods. 48 For in truth, legislation, "whether it restrains freedom tohire or freedom to speak, is itself an effort at
compromisebetween the claims of the social order and individual freedom,and when the legislative compromise in either case
isbrought to the judicial test the court stands one step removedfrom the conflict and its resolution through law." 49
V. The Act and its Title
The respondent Tayag invokes the constitutional commandthat "no bill which may be enacted into law shall embrace more
than one subject which shall be expressed in the title of the bill." 50
What is assailed as not germane to or embraced in thetitle of the Act is the last proviso of section 4 which reads:
And provided, finally, That one who conspires with anyother person to overthrow the Government of the Republic ofthe
Philippines, or the government of any of its political subdivisionsby force, violence, deceit, subversion or illegal means,for the
purpose of placing such Government or political subdivisionunder the control and domination of any lien power, shallbe
punished by prision correccional to prision mayor with allthe accessory penalties provided therefor in the same code.
It is argued that the said proviso, in reality, punishes notonly membership in the Communist Party of the Philippinesor simil ar
associations, but as well "any conspiracyby two persons to overthrow the national or any local governmentby illegal means,
even if their intent is not to establisha totalitarian regime, burt a democratic regime, evenif their purpose is not to place the
nation under an aliencommunist power, but under an alien democratic power likethe United States or England or Malaysia or
even an anti-communistpower like Spain, Japan, Thailand or Taiwanor Indonesia."
The Act, in addition to its main title ("An Act to Outlawthe Communist Party of the Philippines and SimilarAssociations, Penalizing
Membership Therein, and forOther Purposes"), has a short title. Section 1 providesthat "This Act shall be known as the
Anti-Subversion Act."Together with the main title, the short title of the statuteunequivocally indicates that the subject matter is
subversionin general which has for its fundamental purpose the substitutionof a foreign totalitarian regime in place of theexisting
Government and not merely subversion by Communistconspiracies..
The title of a bill need not be a catalogue or an indexof its contents, and need not recite the details of the Act. 51It is a valid title
if it indicates in broad but clear termsthe nature, scope, and consequences of the proposed lawand its operation. 52 A narrow
or technical construction isto be avoided, and the statute will be read fairly and reasonablyin order not to thwart the legislative
intent. We holdthat the Anti-Subversion Act fully satisfies these requirements.
VI. Conclusion and Guidelines
In conclusion, even as we uphold the validity of theAnti-Subversion Act, we cannot overemphasize the needfor prudence and
circumspection in its enforcement, operatingas it does in the sensitive area of freedom of expressionand belief. Accordingly, we
set the following basic guidelines to be observed in any prosecution under the Act.The Government, in addition to proving such
circumstancesas may affect liability, must establish the following elementsof the crime of joining the Communist Party of the
Philippinesor any other subversive association:
(1) In the case of subversive organizations other thanthe Communist Party of the Philippines, (a) that thepurpose of the
organization is to overthrow the presentGovernment of the Philippines and to establish in thiscountry a totalitarian regime under
the domination of aforeign power; (b) that the accused joined such organization;and (c) that he did so knowingly, willfully and
byovert acts; and
(2) In the case of the Communist Party of the Philippines,(a) that the CPP continues to pursue the objectiveswhich led Congress
in 1957 to declare it to be an organizedconspiracy for the overthrow of the Government by illegalmeans for the purpose of
placing the country under thecontrol of a foreign power; (b) that the accused joined theCPP; and (c) that he did so willfully,
knowingly and byovert acts.
We refrain from making any pronouncement as to thecrime or remaining a member of the Communist Party ofthe Philippines or
of any other subversive association: weleave this matter to future determination.
ACCORDINGLY, the questioned resolution of September15, 1970 is set aside, and these two cases are herebyremanded to the
court a quo for trial on the merits. Costs de oficio.
Makalintal, Zaldivar, Teehankee, Barredo and Esguerra, JJ., concur.
Concepcion, C.J., concurs in the result.
Makasiar and Antonio, JJ., took no part.



Separate Opinions

FERNANDO, J., dissenting:
It is with regard that I find myself unable to join therest of my brethren in the decision reached upholding thevalidity of the Anti-
Subversion Act. 1 It is to be admittedthat the learned and scholarly opinbion of Justice Castro hasthe impress of conscientious
and painstaking scrutiny ofthe constitutional issues raised. What is more, the stressin the concluding portion thereof on basic
guidelines thatwill assure in the trial of those prosecuted under suchAct respect for their constitutional rights is to be
commended.Nonetheless, my own reading of the decisionscited, interpreting the bill of attainder clause 2 coupled withthe
fears, perhaps induced by a too-latitudinarian constructionof the guarantees of freedom of belief and expression 3 as well as
freedom of association 4 as to impermissible inroadsto which they may be exposed, compels a differentconclusion. Hence this
dissent.
1. There is to be sure no thought on my part that theequally pressing concern of state safety and security shouldbe ignored. The
political branches of the governmentwould lay themselves oepn to a justifiable indictment fornegligence had they been remiss
in their obligation tosafeguard the nation against its sworn enemies. In a simplerera, where the overthrow of the government
wasusually through the rising up in arms, with weapons farless sophisticated than those now in existence, there wasno
constitutional issue of the magnitude that now confrontsus. Force has to be met with force. It was as clearcutas that. Advances
in science as well as more subtlemethods of inducing disloyalty and weakening the senseof allegiance have introduced
complexities in coping withsuch problems. There must be then, and I am the firstto recognize it, a greater understanding for the
governmentalresponde to situations of that character. It is inthat light that the validity of the Anti -Subversion Act isto be
appraised. From ny standpoint, and I am not presumptuousenough to claim that it is the only perspectiveor that is the most
realistic, I feel that there was an insufficientappreciation of the compulsion of the constitutionalcommands against bills of
attainder and abridgmentof free speech. I am comforted by the thought that evenhad my view prevailed, all that it would
mean is that anew legislation, more in comformity to my way of thinkingto what is ordained by the fundamental law, wouldhave
to be enacted. No valid fear need be entertained thenthat a setback would be occasioned to legitilate state effortsto stem the
tide of subversive activities, in whateverform manifested.
2. The starting point in any inquiry as to the significanceof the bill of attainder clause is the meaning attachedto it by the
Constitutional Convention of 1934 and by the people who adopted it. As was explained by the then Delegate, later Justice, Jose
P. Laurel in his address on November19, 1934 as Chairman of the Committee on the Bill of Rights quoted in the opinion of the
Court: "A billof attainder is a legislative act which inflicts punishment without judicial trial. (Cummings v. United States, 4Wall. 277,
18 L ed 356). In England, the Bill of Attainder was an act of Parliament by which a man was tried, convictedand sentenced to
death without a jury, without ahearing in court, without hearing the witnesses againsthim and without regard to the rules of
evidence. His bloodwas attainted or corrupted, rendering him devoid of allheritable quality of acquiring and disposing
property bydescent. (Ex parte Garland, 4 Wall. 333, 18 L ed. 366) If the penalty imposed was less than death, the act wasknown
as a 'bill of pains and penalties.' Bills of attainder, like ex post facto laws, were favorite methods of Stuartoppression. Once, the
name of Thomas Jefferson was includedin a bill of attainder presented to Parliament becauseof his reform activities." 5 Two
American SupremeCourt decision were thus in the minds of the framers.They are Cummings v. Missouri 6 and Ex
parte Garland. 7 They speak unequivocally. Legislative acts, no matter whattheir form, that apply either to named individuals or
easilyascertainable members of a group in such a way as to inflicton them punishment amounting to a deprivation ofany right,
civil or political, without judicial trial are billsof attainder prohibited by the Constitution. 8
Cummings v. Missouri 9 was a criminal prosecution ofa Catholic priest for refusing to take the loyalty oath requiredby the state
Constitution of Missouri of 1865. Undersuch a provision, lawyers, doctors, ministers, and otherprofessionals must disavow that they
had ever, "by act orword," manifested a "desire" for the success of the nation'senemies or a sympathy" with the rebels of the
AmericanCivil War. If they swore falsely, they were guilty of perjury.If they engaged in their professions without theoath, they were
criminally liable. The United States Supreme Court condemned the provision as a bill of attainder,identified as any legislati ve act
inflicting punishment withoutjudicial trial. The deprivation of any right, civil orpolitical, previously enjoyed, amounted to a
punishment.Why such a conclusion was unavoidable was explained inthe opinion of Justice Field thus: "A bill of attainder isa
legislative act, which inflicts punishment without a judicialtrial. If the punishment be less than death, the actis termed a bill of
pains and penalties. Within the meaningof the Constitution, bills of attainder include bills ofpains and penalties. In these cases the
legislative body, inaddition to its legitimate functions, exercises the powersand office of judge; it assumes, in the language of
thetextbooks, judicial magistracy; it pronounces upon theguilt of the party, without any of the forms or safeguardsof trial; it
determines the sufficiency of the proofs produced,whether conformable to the rules of evidence orotherwise; and it fixes the
degree of punishment in accordancewith its own notions of the enormity of the offense. ... If the clauses of the 2d article of the
Constitutionof Missouri, to which we have referred, had in termsdeclared that Mr. Cummings was guilty, or should be heldguilty,
of having been in armed hostility to the UnitedStates, or of having entered that state to avoid beingenrolled or drafted into the
military service of the UnitedStates, and, therefore, should be deprived of the right topreach as a priest of the Catholic church, or
to teach inany institution of learning, there could be no question thatthe clauses would constitute a bill of attainder withi n
themeaning of the Federal Constitution. If these clauses, insteadof mentioning his name, had declared that all priestsand
clergymen within the state of Missouri were guiltyof these acts, or should be held guilty of them, and hencebe subjected to the
like deprivation, the clause would beequally open to objection. And further, it these clauseshad declared that all such priests
and clergymen shouldbe so held guilty, and be thus deprived, provided they didnot, by a day designated, do certain specified
acts, theywould be no less within the inhibition of the Federal Constitution.In all these cases there would be the
legislativeenactment creating the deprivation, without any of theordinary forms and guards provided for the security ofthe
citizen in the administration of justice by the establishedtribunales." 10
On the very same day that the ruling in Cummings washanded down, Ex parte Garland 11 was also decided. Thatwas a motion
for leave to practrice as an attorney beforethe American Supreme Court. Petitioner Garland wasadmitted to such bar at the
December term of 1860. Underthe previous rules of such Court, all that was necessarywas that the applicant have three years
practice in the statecourts to which he belonged. In March 1865, the rule waschanged by the addi tion of a clause requiring that
an oathbe taken under the Congressional acts of 1862 and 1865to the effect that such candidate for admission to the barhad
never voluntarily borne arms against the UnitedStates. Petitioner Garland could not in conscience subscribeto such an oath, but
he was able to show a presidentialpardon extended on July 15, 1865. With such actof clemency, he moved that he be allowed
to continue inpractice contending that the test oath requirement wasunconstitutional as a bill of attainder and that at any
rate,he was pardoned. The same ruling was announced by theCourt again through Justice Field. Thus: "In the exclusionwhich the
statute adjudges, it imposes a punishmentfor some of the acts specified which were not punishableat the time they were
committedl; and for other of the actsit adds a new punishment to that before prescribed, andit is thus brought within the fur ther
inhibition of the Consitutionagainst the passage of an ex post facto law. Inthe case of Cummings v. Missouri, just decided, ...
wehave had occasion to consider at length the meaning of abill of attainder and of an ex post facto law in the clauseof the
Constitution forbidding their passage by the states,and it is unnecessary to repeat here what we there said.A like prohibiti on is
contained in the Constitution againstenactments of this kind by Congress; and the argumentpresented in that case against
certain clauses of the Constitutionof Missouri is equally applicable to the act ofCongress under consideration in this case." 12
There was a reiteration of the Cummings and Garlanddoctrine in United States v. Lovett, 13 decided in 1946.There it was shown
that in 1943 the respondents, Lovett,Watson, and Dodd, were and had been for several yearsworking for the government. The
government agencies,which had lawfully employed them, were fully satisfiedwith the quality of their work and wished to keep
thememployed on their jobs. Over their protest, Congress providedin Section 304 of the Urgent Deficiency AppropriationAct of
1943, by way of an amendment attached to theHouse Bill, that after November 15, 1943, no salary orcompensation should be
paid respondent out of any moneythen or thereafter appropriated except for services as jurorsor members of the armed forces,
unless they wereprior to November 15, 1943, again appointed to jobs bythe President with the advide and consent of the
Senate.Notwithstanding such Congressional enactment, and thefailure of the President to reappoint the respondents,
theagencies, kept all the respondents at work on their jobs forvarying periods after November 15, 1943, but their
compensationwas discontinued after that date. Respondentsbrought this action in the Court of Claims for the salariesto which
they felt entitled. The Ameican Supreme Courtstated that its inquiry was thus confined to whether theaction in the light of proper
construction of the Act presenteda justificiable controversy, and, if so, whether Section304 is a bill of attainder insofar as the
respondents wereconcerned.
After holding that there was a juditiciable, view theAmerican Supreme Court in an opinion by Justice Blackcategorically
affirmed: "We hold that Section 304 fallsprecisely within the category of Congressional actionswhich the Constitution barred by
providing that 'No Billof Attainder or ex post Law shall be passed.' InCummings v. State of Missouri, ... this Court said, 'Abill of
attainder is a legislative act which inflicts punishmentwithout a judicial trial. If the punishment be lessthan death, the act is
termed a bill of pains and penalties.Within the meaning of the Constitution, bills of attainderinclude bills of pains and penalties.' ...
On the sameday the Cummings case was decided, the Court, in Exparte Garland, also held invalid on the same grounds anAct
of Congress which required attorneys practicing beforethis Court to take a similar oath. Neither of thesecases has ever been
overruled. They stand for the propositionthat legislative acts, no matter what their form,that apply either to named individuals or
to easily ascertainablemembers of a group in such a way as to inflictpunishment on them without a judicial trial are billsof
attainder prohibited by the Constitution. Adherenceto this principle requires invalidation of Section 304. Wedo adhere to it." 14
United States v. Brown 15 a 1965 decision was the firstcase to review a conviction under the Labor-ManagementReporting and
Disclosure Act of 1959, making it a crimefor a member of the Communist Party to serve as anofficer ir, except in clerical or
custodial positions, anemployee of a labor union. Respondent Brown, a longshoremanon the San Francisco docks, and an open
andavowed Communist, for more than a quarter of a centurywas elected to the Executive Board of Local 10 of theInternational
Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Unionfor consecutive one-year terms in 1959, 1960, and 1961.On May 24, 1961,
respondent was charged in a one-countindictment returned in a district court of California withservicing as a member of an
executive board of a labororganization while a member of the Communist Party, inwillful violation of the above provision. The
question ofits validity under the bill of attainder clause was thusproperly raised for adjudication. While convicted in thelower
court, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuitreversed. It was sustained by the American SupremeCourt. As noted in the
opinion by Chief Justice Warren,"the wide variation in form, purpose and effect of ante-Constitutionbills of attainder indicates
that the properscope of the Bill of Attainder Clause, and its relevance tocontemporary problems, must ultimately be sought by
attemptingto discern the reasons for its inclusion in theConstitution, and the evils it was desinged to eliminate.The best available
evidence, the writings of the architectsof our constitutional system, indicates that the Bill ofAttainder Clause was inteded not as a
narrow, technical(and therefore soon to be outmoded) prohibition, but ratheras an implementation of the separation of powers,
ageneral safeguard against legislative exercise of the judicialfunction, or more simply trial by legislature." 16 Then after
referring to Cummings, Garland, and Lovett,Chief Justice Warren continued: "Under the line of casesjust outlined, Sec. 504 of the
Labor Management Reportingand Disclosure Act plainly constitutes a bill of attainder. Congress undoubtedly possesses power
under theCommerce Clause to enact legislation designed to keepfrom positions affecting interstate commerce persons
whomay use such positions to bring about political strikes. In Sec. 504, however, Congress has exceeded the authoritygranted it
by the Constitution. The statute does not setforth a generally applicable rule decreeing that any personwho commits certain
acts or possesses certain characteristics (acts and characteristics whhich, in Congress'view, make them likely to initiate political
strikes) shallnot hold union office, and leave to courts and juries thejob of deciding what persons have committed the
specifiedacts or possessed the specified characteristics. Instead,it designates in no uncertain terms the personswho possess the
fearec characteristics and therefore cannothold union office without incurring criminal liability members of the Communist
Party." 17
Even Communist Party v. Subversive Activities ControlBoard, 18 where the provision of the Subversive ActivitiesControl Act of 1950
requiring the Communist Party ofthe United States to register was sustained, the opinionof Justice Frankfurter for the Court,
speaking for a five-manmajority, did indicate adherence to the Cummingsprinciple. Had the American Communist Party been
outlawed,the outcome certainly would have been different.Thus: "The Act is not a bill of attainder. It attaches notto specifi ed
organizations but to described activities inwhich an organization may or may not engage. The singlingout of an individual for
legislatively prescribed punishmentconstitutes an attainder whether the individualis called by name or described in terms of
conduct which,because it is past conduct, operates only as a designationof particular persons. ... The Subversive Activities
ControlAct is not of that king. It requires the registrationonly of organizations which, after the date of the Act,are found to be
under the direction, domination, or controlof certain foreign powers and to operate primarily toadvance certain objectives. This
finding must be madeafter full administrative hearing, subject to judicial reviewwhich opens the record for the reviewing
court'sdetermination whether the administrative findings as tofact are supported by the preponderance of the evidence.Present
activity constitutes an operative element to whichthe statute attaches legal consequences, not merely a pointof reference for
the ascertainment of particularly personsineluctably designated by the legislature." 19
The teaching of the above cases, which I find highlypersuasive considering what appeared to be in the mindsof the framers of
the 1934 Constitutional Conventionyields for me the conclusion that the Anti -SubversionAct falls within the ban of the bill of
attainder clause. Itshould be noted that three subsequent cases upholding theCummings and Garland doctrine were likewise
cited in theopinion of the Court. The interpretation accorded to themby my brethren is, of course, different but I am unable togo
along with them especially in the light of the categoricallanguage appearing in Lovett. This is not to lose sightof the qualification
that for them could deprive such aholding of its explicit character as shown by this excerptfrom the opinion of the Court:
"Indeed, were the Anti-SubversionAct a bill of attainder it would be totally unnecessaryto charge communists in court, as the law
alone,without more, would suffice to secure their conviction andpunishment. But the fact is that their guilt still has to bej udicially
estblished. The Government has yet to proveat the trial that the accused joined the Party knowingly,willfully and by overt acts,
and that they joined the Partyknowing its subversive character and with specific intentto further its objective, i.e., to overthrow
the existing Governmentby force, deceit, and other illegal means and placeit under the control and domination of a foreign
power. 20While not implausible, I find difficulty in yielding acceptance.In Cummings, there was a criminal prosecution ofthe
Catholic priest who refused to take the loyalty oath.Again in Brown, there was an indictment of the laborleader who, judging by
his membership in the CommunistParty, did transgress the statutory provision subsequentlyfound offensive to the bill attainder
clause. If the constructionI would place on theoff-repeated pronouncementof the American Supreme Court is correct, then the
merefact that a criminal case would have to be instituted wouldnot save the statute. It does seem clear to me that fromthe very
title of the Anti-Subversion Act, "to outlaw the Communist Party of the Philippines and similar associations,"not to mention other
specific provisions, the taintof invalidity is quite marked. Hence, my inability to concurin the judgment reached as the statute not
suffering fromany fatal infirmity in view of the Constitutional prohibitionagainst bills of attainder.
3. This brings me to the question of the alleged repugnancyof the Anti -Subversion Act to the intellectual libertysafeguarded by
the Constitution in terms of the free speechand free assocition guarantees. 21 It is to be admitted thatat the time of the
enactment of Republic Act No. 1700,the threat that Communism, the Russian brand then, didpose was a painful reality for
Congressional leaders andthe then President. Its shadow fell squarely across thelives of all. Subversion then could neither be
denied notdisparaged. There was, in the expert opinion of those conversantwith such mattes, a danger to out national
existenceof no mean character. Nonetheless, the remedies toward off such menace must not be repugnant to our
Constitution.We are legally precluded from acting in anyother way. The apprehension justly felt is no warrant forthrowing to the
discard fundamental guarantees. Vigilantwe had to be, but not at the expense of constitutional ideals.
One of them, certainly highly-prized of the utmost significance,is the right to dissent. One can differ, evenobject; one can express
dissatisfaction with things as theyare. There are timew when one not only can but must.Such dissent can take the form of the
most critical andthe most disparaging remarks. They may give offense tothose in authority, to those who wield powe and
influence.Nevertheless, they are entitled to constitutional protection.Insofar as the content of such dissent is concerned, thelimits
are hardly discernible. It cannot be confined totrivial matters or to such as are devoid of too much significance.It can reach the
heart of things. Such dissentmay, for those not so adventurous in the realm of ideas,possess a subversive tinge. Even those who
oppose a democraticform of government cannot be silenced. This is trueespecially in centers of learning where scholars
competentin their line may, as a result of their studies, assert thata future is bleak for the system of government now favoredby
Western democracies. There may be doubts entertainedby some as to the lawfulness of their exercisingthis right to dissent to the
point of advocary of such adrastic change. Any citizen may do so without fear thatthereby he incurs the risk of a penal sanction.
That ismerely to affirm the truth of this ringing declaration fromJefferson: "If there be any among us who would wish todissolve this
union or to change its republican form, letthem stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety withwhich error of opinion may be
tolerated where reason isleft free to combat it." 22 As was so well put by the philosopher,Sidney Hook: "Without holding the right
to theexpression of heresy at any time and place to be absolute for even the right to non-heretical speech cannot
beabsolute it still seems wise to tolerate the expression evenof Communist, fascist and other heresies, lest in outlawingthem we
include other kings of heresies, and deprive ourselvesof the opportunity to acquite possibly sounder ideasthan our own." 23
The line is to be drawn, however, where the wordsamount to an incitement to commit the crime of seditionor rebellion. The state
has been reached, to follow theformulation of Cardozo, where thought merges into action.Thus is loyalty shown to the freedom
of speech or pressordained by the Constitution. It does not bar the expressionof views affecting the very life of the state, even
ifopposed to its fundamental presuppositions. It allows, ifit does not require as a matter of fact, that unorthodoxi deas be freely
ventilated and fully heard. Dissent is notdisloyalty.
Such an approach is reinforced by the well-settled constitutionalprinciple "that even though the governmental purposesbe
legitimate and substantial, they cannot be pursuedby means that broadly stifle fundamental personalliberties when the end can
be more narrowly achieved.For precision of regulation is the touchstone in an areaso closely related to our most precious
freedoms." 24 This is so for "a governmental purpose to control or prevent activities constitutionally subject to state regulation
may notbe achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadlyand thereby invade the area of protected freedoms." 25 It
isindispensable then that "an over breadth" in the applicabilityof the statute be avoided. If such be the case, then theline
dividing the valid from the constitutionally infirm hasbeen crossed. That for me is the conclusion to be drawnfrom the wording of
the Anti-Subversion Act.
There is to my mind support for the stand I take inthe dissent of Justice Black in the Communist Party casediscussed above. What
is to be kept in view is that a legislativemeasure certainly less drastic in its treatment ofthe admittedly serious Communist problem
was found inthe opinion of this noted jurist offensive to the FirstAmendment of the American Constitution safeguardingfree
speech. Thus: "If there is one thing certain aboutthe First Amendment it is that this Amendment was designedto guarantee the
freest interchange of ideas aboutall public matters and that, of course, means the interchangeof all ideas, however such ideas
may be viewed inother countries and whatever change in the existing structureof government it may be hoped that these ideas
willbring about. Now, when this country is trying to spreadthe high ideals of democracy all over the world ideals that are
revolutionary in many countries seems to be aparticularly inappropriate time to stifle First Amendmentfreedoms in this country.
The same arguments that areused to justify the outlawry of Communist ideas here couldbe used to justify an outlawry of the
ideas of democracyin other countries." 26 Further he stated: "I believe with theFramers of the First Amendment that the internal
securityof a nation like ours does not and cannot be made todepend upon the use of force by Government to make allthe
beliefs and opinions of the people fit into a commonmold on any single subject. Such enforced conformity ofthought would
tend only to deprive our people of the boldspirit of adventure and progress which has brought thisNation to its present greatness.
The creation of publicopinion by groups, organizations, societies, clubs, and partieshas been and is a necessary part of our
democraticsociety. Such groups, like the Sons of Liberty and theAmerican Corresponding Societies, played a large part
increating sentiment in this country that led the people ofthe Colonies to want a nation of their own. The Father ofthe
Constitution James Madison said, in speakingof the Sedition Act aimed at crushing the Jefferson Party,that had that law
been in effect during the period beforethe Revolution, the United States might well have continuedto be 'miserable colonies,
groaning under a foreign yoke.'In my judgment, this country's internal security can betterbe served by depending upon the
affection of the peoplethan by attempting to instill them with fear and dreadof the power of Government. The Communist Party
hasnever been more than a small group in this country. Andits numbers had been dwindling even before the Governmentbegan
its campaign to destroy the Party by force oflaw. This was because a vast majority of the Americanpeople were against the
Party's policies and overwhelminglyrejected its candidates year after year. That is the trueAmerican way of securing this Nation
against dangerousideas. Of course that is not the way to protect the Nationagainst actions of violence and treason. The
Foundersdrew a distinction in our Constitution which we would bewise to follow. They gave the Government the fullest powerto
prosecute overt actions in violation of valid lawsbut withheld any power to punish people for nothing morethan advocacy of
their views." 27
With the sentiments thus expressed uppermost in mymind and congenial to my way of thinking, I cannot sharethe conclusion
reached by my breathren as to the Anti-Subversion Act successfully meeting the test of validity onfree speech and freedom of
association grounds.
4. It could be that this approach to the constitutionalquestions involved arises from an appraisal of the challengedstatute which
for me is susceptible of an interpretationthat it does represent a defeatist attitude on thepart of those of us, who are devotees at
the shrine of aliberal-democratic state. That certainly could not havebeen the thought of its framers; nonethel ess, such an
assumptionis not devoid of plausibility for why resort tothis extreme measure susceptible as it is to what apparentlyare not
unfounded attacks on constitutional grounds?Is this not to ignore what previously was accepted as anobvious truth, namely that
the light of liberalism sendsits shafts in many directions? It can illuminate, and itcan win the hearts and minds of men. It if difficult
forme to accept the view then that a resort to outlawry isindispensable, that suppression is the only answer to whatis an admitted
evil. There could have been a greater exposureof the undesirability of the communist creed, itscontradictions and arbitrarines, its
lack of fealty to reason,its inculcation of disloyalty, and its subservience tocentralized dictation that brooks no opposition. It is
thus,in a realistic sense, a manifestation of the fear of freethought and the will to suppress it. For better, of course,is the
propaganda of the deed. What the communists promise,this government can fulfill. It is up to it then to takeremedial measures
to alleviate the condition of our countrymenwhose lives are in a condition of destitution andmisery. It may not be able to
change matters radically.At least, it should take earnest steps in that direction.What is important for those at the bottom of the
economicpyramid is that they are not denied the opportunity for abetter life. If they, or at least their children, cannot evenlook
forward to that, then a constitutional regime is nothingbut a mockery and a tragic illusion. Such a response,I am optimistic
enough to believe, has the merit of thinning,if not completely eliminating, the embattled ranksand outposts of ignorance,
fanaticism and error. That forme would be more in accordance with the basic propositionof our polity. This is not therefore to
preach a doctrine of object surrender to the forces apparently bent on the adoption of a way of life so totally opposed to the
deeply felt traditions of our people. This is, for me at least, an affirmation of the vitality of the democratic creed, with an
expression of regret that it could not have been more impressively set forth in language worthy of the subject.
It is in the light of the views above expressed that I find myself unable to yield concurrence to the ably-written opinion of Justice
Castro for the Court sustaining the validity of the Anti-Subversion Act.


Separate Opinions
FERNANDO, J., dissenting:
It is with regard that I find myself unable to join therest of my brethren in the decision reached upholding thevalidity of the Anti-
Subversion Act. 1 It is to be admittedthat the learned and scholarly opinbion of Justice Castro hasthe impress of conscientious
and painstaking scrutiny ofthe constitutional issues raised. What is more, the stressin the concluding portion thereof on basic
guidelines thatwill assure in the trial of those prosecuted under suchAct respect for their constitutional rights is to be
commended.Nonetheless, my own reading of the decisionscited, interpreting the bill of attainder clause 2 coupled withthe
fears, perhaps induced by a too-latitudinarian constructionof the guarantees of freedom of belief and expression 3 as well as
freedom of association 4 as to impermissible inroadsto which they may be exposed, compels a differentconclusion. Hence this
dissent.
1. There is to be sure no thought on my part that theequally pressing concern of state safety and security shouldbe ignored. The
political branches of the governmentwould lay themselves oepn to a justifiable indictment fornegligence had they been remiss
in their obligation tosafeguard the nation against its sworn enemies. In a simplerera, where the overthrow of the government
wasusually through the rising up in arms, with weapons farless sophisticated than those now in existence, there wasno
constitutional issue of the magnitude that now confrontsus. Force has to be met with force. It was as clearcutas that. Advances
in science as well as more subtlemethods of inducing disloyalty and weakening the senseof allegiance have introduced
complexities in coping withsuch problems. There must be then, and I am the firstto recognize it, a greater understanding for the
governmentalresponde to situations of that character. It is inthat light that the validity of the Anti -Subversion Act isto be
appraised. From ny standpoint, and I am not presumptuousenough to claim that it is the only perspectiveor that is the most
realistic, I feel that there was an insufficientappreciation of the compulsion of the constitutionalcommands against bills of
attainder and abridgmentof free speech. I am comforted by the thought that evenhad my view prevailed, all that it would
mean is that anew legislation, more in comformity to my way of thinkingto what is ordained by the fundamental law, wouldhave
to be enacted. No valid fear need be entertained thenthat a setback would be occasioned to legitilate state effortsto stem the
tide of subversive activities, in whateverform manifested.
2. The starting point in any inquiry as to the significanceof the bill of attainder clause is the meaning attachedto it by the
Constitutional Convention of 1934 and by the people who adopted it. As was explained by the then Delegate, later Justice, Jose
P. Laurel in his address on November19, 1934 as Chairman of the Committee on the Bill of Rights quoted in the opinion of the
Court: "A billof attainder is a legislative act which inflicts punishment without judicial trial. (Cummings v. United States, 4Wall. 277,
18 L ed 356). In England, the Bill of Attainder was an act of Parliament by which a man was tried, convictedand sentenced to
death without a jury, without ahearing in court, without hearing the witnesses againsthim and without regard to the rules of
evidence. His bloodwas attainted or corrupted, rendering him devoid of allheritable quality of acquiring and disposing
property bydescent. (Ex parte Garland, 4 Wall. 333, 18 L ed. 366) If the penalty imposed was less than death, the act wasknown
as a 'bill of pains and penalties.' Bills of attainder, like ex post facto laws, were favorite methods of Stuartoppression. Once, the
name of Thomas Jefferson was includedin a bill of attainder presented to Parliament becauseof his reform activities." 5 Two
American SupremeCourt decision were thus in the minds of the framers.They are Cummings v. Missouri 6 and Ex
parte Garland. 7 They speak unequivocally. Legislative acts, no matter whattheir form, that apply either to named individuals or
easilyascertainable members of a group in such a way as to inflicton them punishment amounting to a deprivation ofany right,
civil or political, without judicial trial are billsof attainder prohibited by the Constitution. 8
Cummings v. Missouri 9 was a criminal prosecution ofa Catholic priest for refusing to take the loyalty oath requiredby the state
Constitution of Missouri of 1865. Undersuch a provision, lawyers, doctors, ministers, and otherprofessionals must disavow that they
had ever, "by act orword," manifested a "desire" for the success of the nation'senemies or a sympathy" with the rebels of the
AmericanCivil War. If they swore falsely, they were guilty of perjury.If they engaged in their professions without theoath, they were
criminally liable. The United States Supreme Court condemned the provision as a bill of attainder,identified as any legislati ve act
inflicting punishment withoutjudicial trial. The deprivation of any right, civil orpolitical, previously enjoyed, amounted to a
punishment.Why such a conclusion was unavoidable was explained inthe opinion of Justice Field thus: "A bill of attainder isa
legislative act, which inflicts punishment without a judicialtrial. If the punishment be less than death, the actis termed a bill of
pains and penalties. Within the meaningof the Constitution, bills of attainder include bills ofpains and penalties. In these cases the
legislative body, inaddition to its legitimate functions, exercises the powersand office of judge; it assumes, in the language of
thetextbooks, judicial magistracy; it pronounces upon theguilt of the party, without any of the forms or safeguardsof trial; it
determines the sufficiency of the proofs produced,whether conformable to the rules of evidence orotherwise; and it fixes the
degree of punishment in accordancewith its own notions of the enormity of the offense. ... If the clauses of the 2d article of the
Constitutionof Missouri, to which we have referred, had in termsdeclared that Mr. Cummings was guilty, or should be heldguilty,
of having been in armed hostility to the UnitedStates, or of having entered that state to avoid beingenrolled or drafted into the
military service of the UnitedStates, and, therefore, should be deprived of the right topreach as a priest of the Catholic church, or
to teach inany institution of learning, there could be no question thatthe clauses would constitute a bill of attainder withi n
themeaning of the Federal Constitution. If these clauses, insteadof mentioning his name, had declared that all priestsand
clergymen within the state of Missouri were guiltyof these acts, or should be held guilty of them, and hencebe subjected to the
like deprivation, the clause would beequally open to objection. And further, it these clauseshad declared that all such priests
and clergymen shouldbe so held guilty, and be thus deprived, provided they didnot, by a day designated, do certain specified
acts, theywould be no less within the inhibition of the Federal Constitution.In all these cases there would be the
legislativeenactment creating the deprivation, without any of theordinary forms and guards provided for the security ofthe
citizen in the administration of justice by the establishedtribunales." 10
On the very same day that the ruling in Cummings washanded down, Ex parte Garland 11 was also decided. Thatwas a motion
for leave to practrice as an attorney beforethe American Supreme Court. Petitioner Garland wasadmitted to such bar at the
December term of 1860. Underthe previous rules of such Court, all that was necessarywas that the applicant have three years
practice in the statecourts to which he belonged. In March 1865, the rule waschanged by the addition of a clause requiring that
an oathbe taken under the Congressional acts of 1862 and 1865to the effect that such candidate for admission to the barhad
never voluntarily borne arms against the UnitedStates. Petitioner Garland could not in conscience subscribeto such an oath, but
he was able to show a presidentialpardon extended on July 15, 1865. With such actof clemency, he moved that he be allowed
to continue inpractice contending that the test oath requirement wasunconstitutional as a bill of attainder and that at any
rate,he was pardoned. The same ruling was announced by theCourt again through Justice Field. Thus: "In the exclusionwhich the
statute adjudges, it imposes a punishmentfor some of the acts specified which were not punishableat the time they were
committedl; and for other of the actsit adds a new punishment to that before prescribed, andit is thus brought within the further
inhibition of the Consitutionagainst the passage of an ex post facto law. Inthe case of Cummings v. Missouri, just decided, ...
wehave had occasion to consider at length the meaning of abill of attainder and of an ex post facto law in the clauseof the
Constitution forbidding their passage by the states,and it is unnecessary to repeat here what we there said.A like prohibition is
contained in the Constitution againstenactments of this kind by Congress; and the argumentpresented in that case against
certain clauses of the Constitutionof Missouri is equally applicable to the act ofCongress under consideration in this case." 12
There was a reiteration of the Cummings and Garlanddoctrine in United States v. Lovett, 13 decided in 1946.There it was shown
that in 1943 the respondents, Lovett,Watson, and Dodd, were and had been for several yearsworking for the government. The
government agencies,which had lawfully employed them, were fully satisfiedwith the quality of their work and wished to keep
thememployed on their jobs. Over their protest, Congress providedin Section 304 of the Urgent Deficiency AppropriationAct of
1943, by way of an amendment attached to theHouse Bill, that after November 15, 1943, no salary orcompensation should be
paid respondent out of any moneythen or thereafter appropriated except for services as jurorsor members of the armed forces,
unless they wereprior to November 15, 1943, again appointed to jobs bythe President with the advide and consent of the
Senate.Notwithstanding such Congressional enactment, and thefailure of the President to reappoint the respondents,
theagencies, kept all the respondents at work on their jobs forvarying periods after November 15, 1943, but their
compensationwas discontinued after that date. Respondentsbrought this action in the Court of Claims for the salariesto which
they felt entitled. The Ameican Supreme Courtstated that its inquiry was thus confined to whether theaction in the light of proper
construction of the Act presenteda justificiable controversy, and, if so, whether Section304 is a bill of attainder insofar as the
respondents wereconcerned.
After holding that there was a juditiciable, view theAmerican Supreme Court in an opinion by Justice Blackcategorically
affirmed: "We hold that Section 304 fallsprecisely within the category of Congressional actionswhich the Constitution barred by
providing that 'No Billof Attainder or ex post Law shall be passed.' InCummings v. State of Missouri, ... this Court said, 'Abill of
attainder is a legislative act which inflicts punishmentwithout a judicial trial. If the punishment be lessthan death, the act is
termed a bill of pains and penalties.Within the meaning of the Constitution, bills of attainderinclude bills of pains and penalties.' ...
On the sameday the Cummings case was decided, the Court, in Exparte Garland, also held invalid on the same grounds anAct
of Congress which required attorneys practicing beforethis Court to take a similar oath. Neither of thesecases has ever been
overruled. They stand for the propositionthat legislative acts, no matter what their form,that apply either to named individuals or
to easily ascertainablemembers of a group in such a way as to inflictpunishment on them without a judicial trial are billsof
attainder prohibited by the Constitution. Adherenceto this principle requires invalidation of Section 304. Wedo adhere to it." 14
United States v. Brown 15 a 1965 decision was the firstcase to review a conviction under the Labor-ManagementReporting and
Disclosure Act of 1959, making it a crimefor a member of the Communist Party to serve as anofficer ir, except in clerical or
custodial positions, anemployee of a labor union. Respondent Brown, a longshoremanon the San Francisco docks, and an open
andavowed Communist, for more than a quarter of a centurywas elected to the Executive Board of Local 10 of theInternational
Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Unionfor consecutive one-year terms in 1959, 1960, and 1961.On May 24, 1961,
respondent was charged in a one-countindictment returned in a district court of California withservicing as a member of an
executive board of a labororganization while a member of the Communist Party, inwillful violation of the above provision. The
question ofits validity under the bill of attainder clause was thusproperly raised for adjudication. While convicted in thelower
court, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuitreversed. It was sustained by the American SupremeCourt. As noted in the
opinion by Chief Justice Warren,"the wide variation in form, purpose and effect of ante-Constitutionbills of attainder indicates
that the properscope of the Bill of Attainder Clause, and its relevance tocontemporary problems, must ultimately be sought by
attemptingto discern the reasons for its inclusion in theConstitution, and the evils it was desinged to eliminate.The best available
evidence, the writings of the architectsof our constitutional system, indicates that the Bill ofAttainder Clause was inteded not as a
narrow, technical(and therefore soon to be outmoded) prohibition, but ratheras an implementation of the separation of powers,
ageneral safeguard against legislative exercise of the judicialfunction, or more simply trial by legislature." 16 Then after
referring to Cummings, Garland, and Lovett,Chief Justice Warren continued: "Under the line of casesjust outlined, Sec. 504 of the
Labor Management Reportingand Disclosure Act plainly constitutes a bill of attainder. Congress undoubtedly possesses power
under theCommerce Clause to enact legislation designed to keepfrom positions affecting interstate commerce persons
whomay use such positions to bring about political strikes. In Sec. 504, however, Congress has exceeded the authoritygranted it
by the Constitution. The statute does not setforth a generally applicable rule decreeing that any personwho commits certain
acts or possesses certain characteristics (acts and characteristics whhich, in Congress'view, make them likely to initiate political
strikes) shallnot hold union office, and leave to courts and juries thejob of deciding what persons have committed the
specifiedacts or possessed the specified characteristics. Instead,it designates in no uncertain terms the personswho possess the
fearec characteristics and therefore cannothold union office without incurring criminal liability members of the Communist
Party." 17
Even Communist Party v. Subversive Activities ControlBoard, 18 where the provision of the Subversive ActivitiesControl Act of 1950
requiring the Communist Party ofthe United States to register was sustained, the opinionof Justice Frankfurter for the Court,
speaking for a five-manmajority, did indicate adherence to the Cummingsprinciple. Had the Ameri can Communist Party been
outlawed,the outcome certainly would have been different.Thus: "The Act is not a bill of attainder. It attaches notto specifi ed
organizations but to described activities inwhich an organization may or may not engage. The singlingout of an individual for
legislatively prescribed punishmentconstitutes an attainder whether the individualis called by name or described in terms of
conduct which,because it is past conduct, operates only as a designationof particular persons. ... The Subversive Activities
ControlAct is not of that king. It requires the registrationonly of organizations which, after the date of the Act,are found to be
under the direction, domination, or controlof certain foreign powers and to operate primarily toadvance certain objectives. This
finding must be madeafter full administrative hearing, subject to judicial reviewwhich opens the record for the reviewing
court'sdetermination whether the administrative findings as tofact are supported by the preponderance of the evidence.Present
activity constitutes an operative element to whichthe statute attaches legal consequences, not merely a pointof reference for
the ascertainment of particularly personsineluctably designated by the legislature." 19
The teaching of the above cases, which I find highlypersuasive considering what appeared to be in the mindsof the framers of
the 1934 Constitutional Conventionyields for me the conclusion that the Anti -SubversionAct falls within the ban of the bill of
attainder clause. Itshould be noted that three subsequent cases upholding theCummings and Garland doctrine were likewise
cited in theopinion of the Court. The interpretation accorded to themby my brethren is, of course, different but I am unable togo
along with them especially in the light of the categoricallanguage appearing in Lovett. This is not to lose sightof the qualification
that for them could deprive such aholding of its explicit character as shown by this excerptfrom the opinion of the Court:
"Indeed, were the Anti-SubversionAct a bill of attainder it would be totally unnecessaryto charge communists in court, as the law
alone,without more, would suffice to secure their conviction andpunishment. But the fact is that their guilt still has to bej udicially
estblished. The Government has yet to proveat the trial that the accused joined the Party knowingly,willfully and by overt acts,
and that they joined the Partyknowing its subversive character and with specific intentto further its objective, i.e., to overthrow
the existing Governmentby force, deceit, and other illegal means and placeit under the control and domination of a foreign
power. 20While not implausible, I find difficulty in yielding acceptance.In Cummings, there was a criminal prosecution ofthe
Catholic priest who refused to take the loyalty oath.Again in Brown, there was an indictment of the laborleader who, judging by
his membership in the CommunistParty, did transgress the statutory provision subsequentlyfound offensive to the bill attainder
clause. If the constructionI would place on theoff-repeated pronouncementof the American Supreme Court is correct, then the
merefact that a criminal case would have to be instituted wouldnot save the statute. It does seem clear to me that fromthe very
title of the Anti-Subversion Act, "to outlaw the Communist Party of the Philippines and similar associations,"not to mention other
specific provisions, the taintof invalidity is quite marked. Hence, my inability to concurin the judgment reached as the statute not
suffering fromany fatal infirmity in view of the Constitutional prohibitionagainst bills of attainder.
3. This brings me to the question of the alleged repugnancyof the Anti -Subversion Act to the intellectual libertysafeguarded by
the Constitution in terms of the free speechand free assocition guarantees. 21 It is to be admitted thatat the time of the
enactment of Republic Act No. 1700,the threat that Communism, the Russian brand then, didpose was a painful reality for
Congressional leaders andthe then President. Its shadow fell squarely across thelives of all. Subversion then could neither be
denied notdisparaged. There was, in the expert opinion of those conversantwith such mattes, a danger to out national
existenceof no mean character. Nonetheless, the remedies toward off such menace must not be repugnant to our
Constitution.We are legally precluded from acting in anyother way. The apprehension justly felt is no warrant forthrowing to the
discard fundamental guarantees. Vigilantwe had to be, but not at the expense of constitutional i deals.
One of them, certainly highly-prized of the utmost significance,is the right to dissent. One can differ, evenobject; one can express
dissatisfaction with things as theyare. There are timew when one not only can but must.Such dissent can take the form of the
most critical andthe most disparaging remarks. They may give offense tothose in authority, to those who wield powe and
influence.Nevertheless, they are entitled to constitutional protection.Insofar as the content of such dissent is concerned, thelimits
are hardly discernible. It cannot be confined totrivial matters or to such as are devoid of too much significance.It can reach the
heart of things. Such dissentmay, for those not so adventurous in the realm of ideas,possess a subversive tinge. Even those who
oppose a democraticform of government cannot be silenced. This is trueespecially in centers of learning where scholars
competentin their line may, as a result of their studies, assert thata future is bleak for the system of government now favoredby
Western democracies. There may be doubts entertainedby some as to the lawfulness of their exercisingthis right to dissent to the
point of advocary of such adrastic change. Any citizen may do so without fear thatthereby he incurs the risk of a penal sanction.
That ismerely to affirm the truth of this ringing declaration fromJefferson: "If there be any among us who would wish todissolve this
union or to change its republican form, letthem stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety withwhich error of opini on may be
tolerated where reason isleft free to combat it." 22 As was so well put by the philosopher,Sidney Hook: "Without holding the right
to theexpression of heresy at any time and place to be absolute for even the right to non-heretical speech cannot
beabsolute it still seems wise to tolerate the expression evenof Communist, fascist and other heresies, lest in outlawingthem we
include other kings of heresies, and deprive ourselvesof the opportunity to acquite possibly sounder ideasthan our own." 23
The line is to be drawn, however, where the wordsamount to an incitement to commit the crime of seditionor rebellion. The state
has been reached, to follow theformulation of Cardozo, where thought merges into action.Thus is loyalty shown to the freedom
of speech or pressordained by the Constitution. It does not bar the expressionof views affecting the very life of the state, even
ifopposed to its fundamental presuppositions. It allows, ifit does not require as a matter of fact, that unorthodoxideas be freely
ventilated and fully heard. Dissent is notdisloyalty.
Such an approach is reinforced by the well-settled constitutionalprinciple "that even though the governmental purposesbe
legitimate and substantial, they cannot be pursuedby means that broadly stifle fundamental personalliberties when the end can
be more narrowly achieved.For precision of regulation is the touchstone in an areaso closely related to our most precious
freedoms." 24 This is so for "a governmental purpose to control or prevent activities constitutionally subject to state regulation
may notbe achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadlyand thereby invade the area of protected freedoms." 25 It
isindispensable then that "an over breadth" in the applicabilityof the statute be avoided. If such be the case, then theline
dividing the valid from the constitutionally infirm hasbeen crossed. That for me is the conclusion to be drawnfrom the wording of
the Anti-Subversion Act.
There is to my mind support for the stand I take inthe dissent of Justice Black in the Communist Party casediscussed above. What
is to be kept in view is that a legislativemeasure certainly less drastic in its treatment ofthe admittedly serious Communist problem
was found inthe opinion of this noted jurist offensive to the FirstAmendment of the American Constitution safeguardingfree
speech. Thus: "If there is one thing certain aboutthe First Amendment it is that this Amendment was designedto guarantee the
freest interchange of ideas aboutall public matters and that, of course, means the interchangeof all ideas, however such ideas
may be viewed inother countries and whatever change in the existing structureof government it may be hoped that these ideas
willbring about. Now, when this country is trying to spreadthe high ideals of democracy all over the world ideals that are
revolutionary in many countries seems to be aparticularly inappropriate time to stifle First Amendmentfreedoms in this country.
The same arguments that areused to justify the outlawry of Communist ideas here couldbe used to justify an outlawry of the
ideas of democracyin other countries." 26 Further he stated: "I believe with theFramers of the First Amendment that the internal
securityof a nation like ours does not and cannot be made todepend upon the use of force by Government to make allthe
beliefs and opinions of the people fit into a commonmold on any single subject. Such enforced conformity ofthought would
tend only to deprive our people of the boldspirit of adventure and progress which has brought thi sNation to its present greatness.
The creation of publicopinion by groups, organizations, societies, clubs, and partieshas been and is a necessary part of our
democraticsociety. Such groups, like the Sons of Liberty and theAmerican Corresponding Societies, played a large part
increating sentiment in this country that led the people ofthe Colonies to want a nation of their own. The Father ofthe
Constitution James Madison said, in speakingof the Sedition Act aimed at crushing the Jefferson Party,that had that law
been in effect during the period beforethe Revolution, the United States might well have continuedto be 'miserable colonies,
groaning under a foreign yoke.'In my judgment, this country's internal security can betterbe served by depending upon the
affection of the peoplethan by attempting to instill them with fear and dreadof the power of Government. The Communist Party
hasnever been more than a small group in this country. Andits numbers had been dwindling even before the Governmentbegan
its campaign to destroy the Party by force oflaw. This was because a vast majority of the Americanpeople were against the
Party's policies and overwhelminglyrejected its candidates year after year. That is the trueAmerican way of securing this Nation
against dangerousideas. Of course that is not the way to protect the Nationagainst actions of violence and treason. The
Foundersdrew a distinction in our Constitution which we would bewise to follow. They gave the Government the fullest powerto
prosecute overt actions in violation of valid lawsbut withheld any power to punish people for nothing morethan advocacy of
their views." 27
With the sentiments thus expressed uppermost in mymind and congenial to my way of thinking, I cannot sharethe conclusion
reached by my breathren as to the Anti-Subversion Act successfully meeting the test of validity onfree speech and freedom of
association grounds.
4. It could be that this approach to the constitutionalquestions involved arises from an appraisal of the challengedstatute which
for me is susceptible of an interpretationthat it does represent a defeatist attitude on thepart of those of us, who are devotees at
the shrine of aliberal-democratic state. That certainly could not havebeen the thought of its framers; nonetheless, such an
assumptionis not devoid of plausibility for why resort tothis extreme measure susceptible as it is to what apparentlyare not
unfounded attacks on constitutional grounds?Is this not to ignore what previously was accepted as anobvious truth, namely that
the light of liberalism sendsits shafts in many directions? It can illuminate, and itcan win the hearts and minds of men. It if difficult
forme to accept the view then that a resort to outlawry isindispensable, that suppression is the only answer to whatis an admitted
evil. There could have been a greater exposureof the undesirability of the communist creed, itscontradictions and arbitrarines, its
lack of fealty to reason,its inculcation of disloyalty, and its subservience tocentralized dictation that brooks no opposition. It is
thus,in a realistic sense, a manifestation of the fear of freethought and the will to suppress it. For better, of course,is the
propaganda of the deed. What the communists promise,this government can fulfill. It is up to it then to takeremedial measures
to alleviate the condition of our countrymenwhose lives are in a condition of destitution andmisery. It may not be able to
change matters radically.At least, it should take earnest steps in that direction.What is important for those at the bottom of the
economicpyramid is that they are not denied the opportunity for abetter life. If they, or at least their children, cannot evenlook
forward to that, then a constitutional regime is nothingbut a mockery and a tragic illusion. Such a response,I am optimistic
enough to believe, has the merit of thinning,if not completely eliminating, the embattled ranksand outposts of ignorance,
fanaticism and error. That forme would be more in accordance with the basic propositionof our polity. This is not therefore to
preach a doctrine of object surrender to the forces apparently bent on the adoption of a way of life so totally opposed to the
deeply felt traditions of our people. This is, for me at least, an affirmation of the vitality of the democratic creed, with an
expression of regret that it could not have been more impressively set forth in language worthy of the subject.
It is in the light of the views above expressed that I find myself unable to yield concurrence to the ably-written opinion of Justice
Castro for the Court sustaining the validity of the Anti-Subversion Act.
G.R. No. L-25246 September 12, 1974
BENJAMIN VICTORIANO, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
ELIZALDE ROPE WORKERS' UNION and ELIZALDE ROPE FACTORY, INC., defendants, ELIZALDE ROPE WORKERS' UNION, defendant-
appellant.
Salonga, Ordonez, Yap, Sicat & Associates for plaintiff-appellee.
Cipriano Cid & Associates for defendant-appellant.

ZALDIVAR, J.:p
Appeal to this Court on purely questions of law from the decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila in its Civil Case No.
58894.
The undisputed facts that spawned the instant case follow:
Benjamin Victoriano (hereinafter referred to as Appellee), a member of the religious sect known as the "Iglesia ni Cristo", had
been in the employ of the Elizalde Rope Factory, Inc. (hereinafter referred to as Company) since 1958. As such employee, he
was a member of the Elizalde Rope Workers' Union (hereinafter referred to as Union) which had with the Company a collective
bargaining agreement containing a closed shop provision which reads as follows:
Membership in the Union shall be required as a condition of employment for all permanent employees workers covered by this
Agreement.
The collective bargaining agreement expired on March 3, 1964 but was renewed the following day, March 4, 1964.
Under Section 4(a), paragraph 4, of Republic Act No. 875, prior to its amendment by Republic Act No. 3350, the employer was
not precluded "from making an agreement with a labor organization to require as a condition of employment membership
therein, if such labor organization is the representative of the employees." On June 18, 1961, however, Republic Act No. 3350 was
enacted, introducing an amendment to paragraph (4) subsection (a) of section 4 of Republic Act No. 875, as follows: ... "but
such agreement shall not cover members of any religious sects which prohibit affiliation of their members in any such labor
organization".
Being a member of a religious sect that prohibits the affiliation of its members with any labor organization, Appellee presented his
resignation to appellant Union in 1962, and when no action was taken thereon, he reiterated his resignation on September 3,
1974. Thereupon, the Union wrote a formal letter to the Company asking the latter to separate Appellee from the service in view
of the fact that he was resigning from the Union as a member. The management of the Company in turn notified Appellee and
his counsel that unless the Appellee could achieve a satisfactory arrangement with the Union, the Company would be
constrained to dismiss him from the service. This prompted Appellee to file an action for injunction, docketed as Civil Case No.
58894 in the Court of First Instance of Manila to enjoin the Company and the Union from dismissing Appellee. 1 In its answer, the
Union invoked the "union security clause" of the collective bargaining agreement; assailed the constitutionality of Republic Act
No. 3350; and contended that the Court had no jurisdiction over the case, pursuant to Republic Act No. 875, Sections 24 and 9
(d) and (e). 2 Upon the facts agreed upon by the parties during the pre-trial conference, the Court a quo rendered its decision
on August 26, 1965, the dispositive portion of which reads:
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, judgment is rendered enjoining the defendant Elizalde Rope Factory, Inc. from dismissing the
plaintiff from his present employment and sentencing the defendant Elizalde Rope Workers' Union to pay the plaintiff P500 for
attorney's fees and the costs of this action. 3
From this decision, the Union appealed directly to this Court on purely questions of law, assigning the following errors:
I. That the lower court erred when it did not rule that Republic Act No. 3350 is unconstitutional.
II. That the lower court erred when it sentenced appellant herein to pay plaintiff the sum of P500 as attorney's fees and the cost
thereof.
In support of the alleged unconstitutionality of Republic Act No. 3350, the Union contented, firstly, that the Act infringes on the
fundamental right to form lawful associations; that "the very phraseology of said Republic Act 3350, that membership in a labor
organization is banned to all those belonging to such religious sect prohibiting affiliation with any labor organization" 4 , "prohibits
all the members of a given religious sect from joining any labor union if such sect prohibits affiliations of their members thereto" 5 ;
and, consequently, deprives said members of their constitutional right to form or join lawful associations or organizations
guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and thus becomes obnoxious to Article III, Section 1 (6) of the 1935 Constitution. 6
Secondly, the Union contended that Republic Act No. 3350 is unconstitutional for impairing the obligation of contracts in that,
while the Union is obliged to comply with its collective bargaining agreement containing a "closed shop provision," the Act
relieves the employer from its reciprocal obligation of cooperating in the maintenance of union membership as a condition of
employment; and that said Act, furthermore, impairs the Union's rights as it deprives the union of dues from members who, under
the Act, are relieved from the obligation to continue as such members. 7
Thirdly, the Union contended that Republic Act No. 3350 discriminatorily favors those religious sects which ban their members
from joining labor unions, in violation of Article Ill, Section 1 (7) of the 1935 Constitution; and while said Act unduly protects certain
religious sects, it leaves no rights or protection to labor organizations. 8
Fourthly, Republic Act No. 3350, asserted the Union, violates the constitutional provision that "no religious test shall be required for
the exercise of a civil right," in that the laborer's exercise of his civil right to join associations for purposes not contrary to law has to
be determined under the Act by his affiliation with a religious sect; that conversely, if a worker has to sever his religious
connection with a sect that prohibits membership in a labor organization in order to be able to join a labor organization, said Act
would violate religious freedom. 9
Fifthly, the Union contended that Republic Act No. 3350, violates the "equal protection of laws" clause of the Constitution, it
being a discriminately legislation, inasmuch as by exempting from the operation of closed shop agreement the members of the
"Iglesia ni Cristo", it has granted said members undue advantages over their fellow workers, for while the Act exempts them from
union obligation and liability, it nevertheless entitles them at the same time to the enjoyment of all concessions, benefits and
other emoluments that the union might secure from the employer. 10
Sixthly, the Union contended that Republic Act No. 3350 violates the constitutional provision regarding the promotion of soci al
justice. 11
Appellant Union, furthermore, asserted that a "closed shop provision" in a collective bargaining agreement cannot be
considered violative of religious freedom, as to call for the amendment introduced by Republic Act No. 3350; 12 and that unless
Republic Act No. 3350 is declared unconstitutional, trade unionism in this country would be wiped out as employers would prefer
to hire or employ members of the Iglesia ni Cristo in order to do away with labor organizations. 13
Appellee, assailing appellant's arguments, contended that Republic Act No. 3350 does not violate the right to form lawful
associations, for the right to join associations includes the right not to join or to resign from a labor organization, if one's
conscience does not allow his membership therein, and the Act has given substance to such right by prohibiting the compulsion
of workers to join labor organizations; 14 that said Act does not impair the obligation of contracts for said law formed part of, and
was incorporated into, the terms of the closed shop agreement;15 that the Act does not violate the establishment of religion
clause or separation of Church and State, for Congress, in enacting said law, merely accommodated the religious needs of
those workers whose religion prohibits its members from joining labor unions, and balanced the collective rights of organized
labor with the constitutional right of an individual to freely exercise his chosen religion; that the constitutional right to the free
exercise of one's religion has primacy and preference over union security measures which are merely contractual 16 ; that said
Act does not violate the constitutional provision of equal protection, for the classification of workers under the Act depending on
their religious tenets is based on substantial distinction, is germane to the purpose of the law, and applies to all the members of a
given class; 17 that said Act, finally, does not violate the social justice policy of the Constitution, for said Act was enacted
precisely to equalize employment opportunities for all citizens in the midst of the diversities of their religious beliefs." 18
I. Before We proceed to the discussion of the first assigned error, it is necessary to premise that there are some thoroughly
established principles which must be followed in all cases where questions of constitutionality as obtains in the instant case are
involved. All presumptions are indulged in favor of constitutionality; one who attacks a statute, alleging unconstitutionality must
prove its invalidity beyond a reasonable doubt, that a law may work hardship does not render it unconstitutional; that if any
reasonable basis may be conceived which supports the statute, it will be upheld, and the challenger must negate all possible
bases; that the courts are not concerned with the wisdom, justice, policy, or expediency of a statute; and that a liberal
interpretation of the constitution in favor of the constitutionality of legislation should be adopted. 19
1. Appellant Union's contention that Republic Act No. 3350 prohibits and bans the members of such religious sects that forbid
affiliation of their members with labor unions from joining labor unions appears nowhere in the wording of Republic Act No. 3350;
neither can the same be deduced by necessary implication therefrom. It is not surprising, therefore, that appellant, having thus
misread the Act, committed the error of contending that said Act is obnoxious to the constitutional provision on freedom of
association.
Both the Constitution and Republic Act No. 875 recognize freedom of association. Section 1 (6) of Article III of the Constitution of
1935, as well as Section 7 of Article IV of the Constitution of 1973, provide that the right to form associations or societies for
purposes not contrary to law shall not be abridged. Section 3 of Republic Act No. 875 provides that employees shall have the
right to self-organization and to form, join of assist labor organizations of their own choosing for the purpose of collective
bargaining and to engage in concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining and other mutual aid or protection.
What the Constitution and the Industrial Peace Act recognize and guarantee is the "right" to form or join associations.
Notwithstanding the different theories propounded by the different schools of jurisprudence regarding the nature and contents
of a "right", it can be safely said that whatever theory one subscribes to, a right comprehends at least two broad notions,
namely: first, liberty or freedom, i.e., the absence of legal restraint, whereby an employee may act for himself without being
prevented by law; and second, power, whereby an employee may, as he pleases, join or refrain from Joining an association. It is,
therefore, the employee who should decide for himself whether he should join or not an association; and should he choose to
join, he himself makes up his mind as to which association he would join; and even after he has joined, he still retains the liberty
and the power to leave and cancel his membership with said organization at any time. 20 It is clear, therefore, that the right to
join a union includes the right to abstain from joining any union. 21 Inasmuch as what both the Constitution and the Industrial
Peace Act have recognized, and guaranteed to the employee, is the "right" to join associations of his choice, it would be absurd
to say that the law also imposes, in the same breath, upon the employee the duty to join associations. The law does not enjoi n
an employee to sign up with any association.
The right to refrain from joining labor organizations recognized by Section 3 of the Industrial Peace Act is, however, limited. The
legal protection granted to such right to refrain from joining is withdrawn by operation of law, where a labor union and an
employer have agreed on a closed shop, by virtue of which the employer may employ only member of the collective
bargaining union, and the employees must continue to be members of the union for the duration of the contract in order to
keep their jobs. Thus Section 4 (a) (4) of the Industrial Peace Act, before its amendment by Republic Act No. 3350, provides that
although it would be an unfair labor practice for an employer "to discriminate in regard to hire or tenure of employment or any
term or condition of employment to encourage or discourage membership in any labor organization" the employer is, however,
not precluded "from making an agreement with a labor organization to require as a condition of employment membership
therein, if such labor organization is the representative of the employees". By virtue, therefore, of a closed shop agreement,
before the enactment of Republic Act No. 3350, if any person, regardless of his religious beliefs, wishes to be employed or to
keep his employment, he must become a member of the collective bargaining union. Hence, the right of said employee not to
join the labor union is curtailed and withdrawn.
To that all-embracing coverage of the closed shop arrangement, Republic Act No. 3350 introduced an exception, when it
added to Section 4 (a) (4) of the Industrial Peace Act the following proviso: "but such agreement shall not cover members of any
religious sects which prohibit affiliation of their members in any such labor organization". Republic Act No. 3350 merely
excludes ipso jure from the application and coverage of the closed shop agreement the employees belonging to any religious
sects which prohibit affiliation of their members with any labor organization. What the exception provides, therefore, is that
members of said religious sects cannot be compelled or coerced to join labor unions even when said unions have closed shop
agreements with the employers; that in spite of any closed shop agreement, members of said religious sects cannot be refused
employment or dismissed from their jobs on the sole ground that they are not members of the collective bargaining union. It is
clear, therefore, that the assailed Act, far from infringing the constitutional provision on freedom of association, upholds and
reinforces it. It does not prohibit the members of said religious sects from affiliating with labor unions. It still leaves to said members
the liberty and the power to affiliate, or not to affiliate, with labor unions. If, notwithstanding their religious beliefs, the members of
said religious sects prefer to sign up with the labor union, they can do so. If in deference and fealty to their religious faith, they
refuse to sign up, they can do so; the law does not coerce them to join; neither does the law prohibit them from joining; and
neither may the employer or labor union compel them to join. Republic Act No. 3350, therefore, does not violate the
constitutional provision on freedom of association.
2. Appellant Union also contends that the Act is unconstitutional for impairing the obligation of its contract, specifically, the
"union security clause" embodied in its Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Company, by virtue of which "membership in
the union was required as a condition for employment for all permanent employees workers". This agreement was already in
existence at the time Republic Act No. 3350 was enacted on June 18, 1961, and it cannot, therefore, be deemed to have been
incorporated into the agreement. But by reason of this amendment, Appellee, as well as others similarly situated, could no
longer be dismissed from his job even if he should cease to be a member, or disaffiliate from the Union, and the Company coul d
continue employing him notwithstanding his disaffiliation from the Union. The Act, therefore, introduced a change into the
express terms of the union security clause; the Company was partly absolved by law from the contractual obligation it had with
the Union of employing only Union members in permanent positions, It cannot be denied, therefore, that there was indeed an
impairment of said union security clause.
According to Black, any statute which introduces a change into the express terms of the contract, or its legal construction, or its
validity, or its discharge, or the remedy for its enforcement, impairs the contract. The extent of the change is not material. It is not
a question of degree or manner or cause, but of encroaching in any respect on its obligation or dispensing with any part of i ts
force. There is an impairment of the contract if either party is absolved by law from its performance. 22 Impairment has also been
predicated on laws which, without destroying contracts, derogate from substantial contractual rights. 23
It should not be overlooked, however, that the prohibition to impair the obligation of contracts is not absolute and unqualified.
The prohibition is general, affording a broad outline and requiring construction to fill in the details. The prohibition is not to be
read with literal exactness like a mathematical formula, for it prohibits unreasonable impairment only. 24 In spite of the
constitutional prohibition, the State continues to possess authority to safeguard the vital interests of its people. Legislation
appropriate to safeguarding said interests may modify or abrogate contracts already in effect. 25 For not only are existing laws
read into contracts in order to fix the obligations as between the parties, but the reservation of essential attributes of sovereign
power is also read into contracts as a postulate of the legal order. All contracts made with reference to any matter that is
subject to regulation under the police power must be understood as made in reference to the possible exercise of that
power. 26 Otherwise, important and valuable reforms may be precluded by the simple device of entering into contracts for the
purpose of doing that which otherwise may be prohibited. The policy of protecting contracts against impairment presupposes
the maintenance of a government by virtue of which contractual relations are worthwhile a government whi ch retains
adequate authority to secure the peace and good order of society. The contract clause of the Constitution must, therefore, be
not only in harmony with, but also in subordination to, in appropriate instances, the reserved power of the state to safeguard the
vital interests of the people. It follows that not all legislations, which have the effect of impairing a contract, are obnoxious to the
constitutional prohibition as to impairment, and a statute passed in the legitimate exercise of police power, although it
incidentally destroys existing contract rights, must be upheld by the courts. This has special application to contracts regul ating
relations between capital and labor which are not merely contractual, and said labor contracts, for being impressed with public
interest, must yield to the common good. 27
In several occasions this Court declared that the prohibition against impairing the obligations of contracts has no applicati on to
statutes relating to public subjects within the domain of the general legislative powers of the state involving public
welfare. 28 Thus, this Court also held that the Blue Sunday Law was not an infringement of the obligation of a contract that
required the employer to furnish work on Sundays to his employees, the law having been enacted to secure the well-being and
happiness of the laboring class, and being, furthermore, a legitimate exercise of the police power. 29
In order to determine whether legislation unconstitutionally impairs contract obligations, no unchanging yardstick, applicable at
all times and under all circumstances, by which the validity of each statute may be measured or determined, has been
fashioned, but every case must be determined upon its own circumstances. Legislation impairing the obligation of contracts can
be sustained when it is enacted for the promotion of the general good of the people, and when the means adopted to secure
that end are reasonable. Both the end sought and the means adopted must be legitimate, i.e., within the scope of the reserved
power of the state construed in harmony with the constitutional limitation of that power. 30
What then was the purpose sought to be achieved by Republic Act No. 3350? Its purpose was to insure freedom of belief and
religion, and to promote the general welfare by preventing discrimination against those members of religious sects which prohibit
their members from joining labor unions, confirming thereby their natural, statutory and constitutional right to work, the fr uits of
which work are usually the only means whereby they can maintain their own life and the life of their dependents. It cannot be
gainsaid that said purpose is legitimate.
The questioned Act also provides protection to members of said religious sects against two aggregates of group strength from
which the individual needs protection. The individual employee, at various times in his working life, is confronted by two
aggregates of power collective labor, directed by a union, and collective capital, directed by management. The union, an
institution developed to organize labor into a collective force and thus protect the individual employee from the power of
collective capital, is, paradoxically, both the champion of employee rights, and a new source of their frustration. Moreover,
when the Union interacts with management, it produces yet a third aggregate of group strength from which the individual also
needs protection the collective bargaining relationship. 31
The aforementioned purpose of the amendatory law is clearly seen in the Explanatory Note to House Bill No. 5859, which later
became Republic Act No. 3350, as follows:
It would be unthinkable indeed to refuse employing a person who, on account of his religious beliefs and convictions, cannot
accept membership in a labor organization although he possesses all the qualifications for the job. This is tantamount to
punishing such person for believing in a doctrine he has a right under the law to believe in. The law would not allow
discrimination to flourish to the detriment of those whose religion discards membership in any labor organization. Likewise, the
law would not commend the deprivation of their right to work and pursue a modest means of livelihood, without in any manner
violating their religious faith and/or belief. 32
It cannot be denied, furthermore, that the means adopted by the Act to achieve that purpose exempting the members of
said religious sects from coverage of union security agreements is reasonable.
It may not be amiss to point out here that the free exercise of religious profession or belief is superior to contract rights. In case of
conflict, the latter must, therefore, yield to the former. The Supreme Court of the United States has also declared on several
occasions that the rights in the First Amendment, which include freedom of religion, enjoy a preferred position in the
constitutional system. 33 Religious freedom, although not unlimited, is a fundamental personal right and liberty, 34 and has a
preferred position in the hierarchy of values. Contractual rights, therefore, must yield to freedom of religion. It is only where
unavoidably necessary to prevent an immediate and grave danger to the security and welfare of the community that
infringement of religious freedom may be justified, and only to the smallest extent necessary to avoid the danger.
3. In further support of its contention that Republic Act No. 3350 is unconstitutional, appellant Union averred that said Act
discriminates in favor of members of said religious sects in violation of Section 1 (7) of Article Ill of the 1935 Constitution, and which
is now Section 8 of Article IV of the 1973 Constitution, which provides:
No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, and the free exercise and
enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination and preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test
shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.
The constitutional provision into only prohibits legislation for the support of any religious tenets or the modes of worship of any
sect, thus forestalling compulsion by law of the acceptance of any creed or the practice of any form of worship, 35 but also
assures the free exercise of one's chosen form of religion within limits of utmost amplitude. It has been said that the religion
clauses of the Constitution are all designed to protect the broadest possible liberty of conscience, to allow each man to bel ieve
as his conscience directs, to profess his beliefs, and to live as he believes he ought to live, consistent with the liberty of others and
with the common good. 36 Any legislation whose effect or purpose is to impede the observance of one or all religions, or to
discriminate invidiously between the religions, is invalid, even though the burden may be characterized as being only
indirect. 37 But if the stage regulates conduct by enacting, within its power, a general law which has for its purpose and effect to
advance the state's secular goals, the statute is valid despite its indirect burden on religious observance, unless the state can
accomplish its purpose without imposing such burden. 38
In Aglipay v. Ruiz 39 , this Court had occasion to state that the government should not be precluded from pursuing valid
objectives secular in character even if the incidental result would be favorable to a religion or sect. It has likewise been held that
the statute, in order to withstand the strictures of constitutional prohibition, must have a secular legislative purpose and a primary
effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion. 40 Assessed by these criteria, Republic Act No. 3350 cannot be said to violate
the constitutional inhibition of the "no-establishment" (of religion) clause of the Constitution.
The purpose of Republic Act No. 3350 is secular, worldly, and temporal, not spiritual or religious or holy and eternal. It was
intended to serve the secular purpose of advancing the constitutional right to the free exercise of religion, by averting that
certain persons be refused work, or be dismissed from work, or be dispossessed of their right to work and of being impeded to
pursue a modest means of livelihood, by reason of union security agreements. To help its citizens to find gainful employment
whereby they can make a living to support themselves and their families is a valid objective of the state. In fact, the state is
enjoined, in the 1935 Constitution, to afford protection to labor, and regulate the relations between labor and capital and
industry. 41More so now in the 1973 Constitution where it is mandated that "the State shall afford protection to labor, promote full
employment and equality in employment, ensure equal work opportunities regardless of sex, race or creed and regulate the
relation between workers and employers. 42
The primary effects of the exemption from closed shop agreements in favor of members of religious sects that prohibit their
members from affiliating with a labor organization, is the protection of said employees against the aggregate force of the
collective bargaining agreement, and relieving certain citizens of a burden on their religious beliefs; and by eliminating to a
certain extent economic insecurity due to unemployment, which is a serious menace to the health, morals, and welfare of the
people of the State, the Act also promotes the well-being of society. It is our view that the exemption from the effects of closed
shop agreement does not directly advance, or diminish, the interests of any particular religion. Although the exemption may
benefit those who are members of religious sects that prohibit their members from joining labor unions, the benefit upon the
religious sects is merely incidental and indirect. The "establishment clause" (of religion) does not ban regulation on conduct
whose reason or effect merely happens to coincide or harmonize with the tenets of some or all religions. 43 The free exercise
clause of the Constitution has been interpreted to require that religious exercise be preferentially aided.44
We believe that in enacting Republic Act No. 3350, Congress acted consistently with the spirit of the constitutional provision. It
acted merely to relieve the exercise of religion, by certain persons, of a burden that is imposed by union security agreements. It
was Congress itself that imposed that burden when it enacted the Industrial Peace Act (Republic Act 875), and, certainly,
Congress, if it so deems advisable, could take away the same burden. It is certain that not every conscience can be
accommodated by all the laws of the land; but when general laws conflict with scrupples of conscience, exemptions ought to
be granted unless some "compelling state interest" intervenes. 45 In the instant case, We see no such compelling state interest to
withhold exemption.
Appellant bewails that while Republic Act No. 3350 protects members of certain religious sects, it leaves no right to, and is silent
as to the protection of, labor organizations. The purpose of Republic Act No. 3350 was not to grant rights to labor unions. The
rights of labor unions are amply provided for in Republic Act No. 875 and the new Labor Code. As to the lamented silence of the
Act regarding the rights and protection of labor unions, suffice it to say, first, that the validity of a statute is determined by its
provisions, not by its silence 46 ; and, second, the fact that the law may work hardship does not render it unconstitutional. 47
It would not be amiss to state, regarding this matter, that to compel persons to join and remain members of a union to keep their
jobs in violation of their religious scrupples, would hurt, rather than help, labor unions, Congress has seen it fit to exempt religious
objectors lest their resistance spread to other workers, for religious objections have contagious potentialities more than political
and philosophic objections.
Furthermore, let it be noted that coerced unity and loyalty even to the country, and a fortiori to a labor union assuming that
such unity and loyalty can be attained through coercion is not a goal that is constitutionally obtainable at the expense of
religious liberty. 48 A desirable end cannot be promoted by prohibited means.
4. Appellants' fourth contention, that Republic Act No. 3350 violates the constitutional prohibition against requiring a reli gious test
for the exercise of a civil right or a political right, is not well taken. The Act does not require as a qualification, or condition, for
joining any lawful association membership in any particular religion or in any religious sect; neither does the Act require affiliation
with a religious sect that prohibits its members from joining a labor union as a condition or qualification for withdrawing from a
labor union. Joining or withdrawing from a labor union requires a positive act. Republic Act No. 3350 only exempts members with
such religious affiliation from the coverage of closed shop agreements. So, under this Act, a religious objector is not requi red to
do a positive act to exercise the right to join or to resign from the union. He is exempted ipso jure without need of any positive
act on his part. A conscientious religious objector need not perform a positive act or exercise the right of resigning from the labor
union he is exempted from the coverage of any closed shop agreement that a labor union may have entered into. How then
can there be a religious test required for the exercise of a right when no right need be exercised?
We have said that it was within the police power of the State to enact Republic Act No. 3350, and that its purpose was legal and
in consonance with the Constitution. It is never an illegal evasion of a constitutional provision or prohibition to accomplish a
desired result, which is lawful in itself, by discovering or following a legal way to do it. 49
5. Appellant avers as its fifth ground that Republic Act No. 3350 is a discriminatory legislation, inasmuch as it grants to the
members of certain religious sects undue advantages over other workers, thus violating Section 1 of Article III of the 1935
Constitution which forbids the denial to any person of the equal protection of the laws. 50
The guaranty of equal protection of the laws is not a guaranty of equality in the application of the laws upon all citizens of the
state. It is not, therefore, a requirement, in order to avoid the constitutional prohibition against inequality, that every man,
woman and child should be affected alike by a statute. Equality of operation of statutes does not mean indiscriminate operati on
on persons merely as such, but on persons according to the circumstances surrounding them. It guarantees equality, not identity
of rights. The Constitution does not require that things which are different in fact be treated in law as though they were the same.
The equal protection clause does not forbid discrimination as to things that are different. 51 It does not prohibit legislation which
is limited either in the object to which it is directed or by the territory within which it is to operate.
The equal protection of the laws clause of the Constitution allows classification. Classification in law, as in the other departments
of knowledge or practice, is the grouping of things in speculation or practice because they agree with one another in certain
particulars. A law is not invalid because of simple inequality. 52 The very idea of classification is that of inequality, so that it goes
without saying that the mere fact of inequality in no manner determines the matter of constitutionality. 53 All that is required of a
valid classification is that it be reasonable, which means that the classification should be based on substantial distinctions which
make for real differences; that it must be germane to the purpose of the law; that it must not be limited to existing conditi ons
only; and that it must apply equally to each member of the class. 54 This Court has held that the standard is satisfied if the
classification or distinction is based on a reasonable foundation or rational basis and is not palpably arbitrary. 55
In the exercise of its power to make classifications for the purpose of enacting laws over matters within its jurisdiction, the state is
recognized as enjoying a wide range of discretion. 56 It is not necessary that the classification be based on scientific or marked
differences of things or in their relation. 57 Neither is it necessary that the classification be made with mathematical
nicety. 58 Hence legislative classification may in many cases properly rest on narrow distinctions, 59 for the equal protection
guaranty does not preclude the legislature from recognizing degrees of evil or harm, and legislation is addressed to evils as they
may appear.
We believe that Republic Act No. 3350 satisfies the aforementioned requirements. The Act classifies employees and workers, as
to the effect and coverage of union shop security agreements, into those who by reason of their religious beliefs and convictions
cannot sign up with a labor union, and those whose religion does not prohibit membership in labor unions. Tile classification rests
on real or substantial, not merely imaginary or whimsical, distinctions. There is such real distinction in the beliefs, feelings and
sentiments of employees. Employees do not believe in the same religious faith and different religions differ in their dogmas and
cannons. Religious beliefs, manifestations and practices, though they are found in all places, and in all times, take so many
varied forms as to be almost beyond imagination. There are many views that comprise the broad spectrum of religious beliefs
among the people. There are diverse manners in which beliefs, equally paramount in the lives of their possessors, may be
articulated. Today the country is far more heterogenous in religion than before, differences in religion do exist, and these
differences are important and should not be ignored.
Even from the phychological point of view, the classification is based on real and important differences. Religious beliefs are not
mere beliefs, mere ideas existing only in the mind, for they carry with them practical consequences and are the motives of
certain rules. of human conduct and the justification of certain acts. 60Religious sentiment makes a man view things and events
in their relation to his God. It gives to human life its distinctive character, its tone, its happiness or unhappiness its enjoyment or
irksomeness. Usually, a strong and passionate desire is involved in a religious belief. To certain persons, no single factor of their
experience is more important to them than their religion, or their not having any religion. Because of differences i n religious belief
and sentiments, a very poor person may consider himself better than the rich, and the man who even lacks the necessities of l ife
may be more cheerful than the one who has all possible luxuries. Due to their religious beliefs people, like the martyrs, became
resigned to the inevitable and accepted cheerfully even the most painful and excruciating pains. Because of differences in
religious beliefs, the world has witnessed turmoil, civil strife, persecution, hatred, bloodshed and war, generated to a large extent
by members of sects who were intolerant of other religious beliefs. The classification, introduced by Republic Act No. 3350,
therefore, rests on substantial distinctions.
The classification introduced by said Act is also germane to its purpose. The purpose of the law is precisely to avoid those who
cannot, because of their religious belief, join labor unions, from being deprived of their right to work and from being dismi ssed
from their work because of union shop security agreements.
Republic Act No. 3350, furthermore, is not limited in its application to conditions existing at the time of its enactment. The law
does not provide that it is to be effective for a certain period of time only. It is intended to apply for all times as long as the
conditions to which the law is applicable exist. As long as there are closed shop agreements between an employer and a labor
union, and there are employees who are prohibited by their religion from affiliating with labor unions, their exemption from the
coverage of said agreements continues.
Finally, the Act applies equally to all members of said religious sects; this is evident from its provision. The fact that the law grants
a privilege to members of said religious sects cannot by itself render the Act unconstitutional, for as We have adverted to, the
Act only restores to them their freedom of association which closed shop agreements have taken away, and puts them in the
same plane as the other workers who are not prohibited by their religion from joining labor unions. The circumstance, that the
other employees, because they are differently situated, are not granted the same privilege, does not render the law
unconstitutional, for every classification allowed by the Constitution by its nature involves inequality.
The mere fact that the legislative classification may result in actual inequality is not violative of the right to equal protection, for
every classification of persons or things for regulation by law produces inequality in some degree, but the law is not thereby
rendered invalid. A classification otherwise reasonable does not offend the constitution simply because in practice it results in
some inequality. 61 Anent this matter, it has been said that whenever it is apparent from the scope of the law that its object is for
the benefit of the public and the means by which the benefit is to be obtained are of public character, the law will be uphel d
even though incidental advantage may occur to individuals beyond those enjoyed by the general public. 62
6. Appellant's further contention that Republic Act No. 3350 violates the constitutional provision on social justice is also baseless.
Social justice is intended to promote the welfare of all the people. 63 Republic Act No. 3350 promotes that welfare insofar as it
looks after the welfare of those who, because of their religious belief, cannot join labor unions; the Act prevents their bei ng
deprived of work and of the means of livelihood. In determining whether any particular measure is for public advantage, it is not
necessary that the entire state be directly benefited it is sufficient that a portion of the state be benefited thereby.
Social justice also means the adoption by the Government of measures calculated to insure economic stability of all component
elements of society, through the maintenance of a proper economic and social equilibrium in the inter -relations of the members
of the community. 64 Republic Act No. 3350 insures economic stability to the members of a religious sect, like the Iglesia ni Cristo,
who are also component elements of society, for it insures security in their employment, notwithstanding their failure to joi n a
labor union having a closed shop agreement with the employer. The Act also advances the proper economic and social
equilibrium between labor unions and employees who cannot join labor unions, for it exempts the latter from the compelling
necessity of joining labor unions that have closed shop agreements and equalizes, in so far as opportunity to work is concerned,
those whose religion prohibits membership in labor unions with those whose religion does not prohibit said membership. Social
justice does not imply social equality, because social inequality will always exist as long as social relations depend on personal or
subjective proclivities. Social justice does not require legal equality because legal equality, being a relative term, is necessarily
premised on differentiations based on personal or natural conditions. 65 Social justice guarantees equality of opportunity 66 ,
and this is precisely what Republic Act No. 3350 proposes to accomplish it gives laborers, irrespective of their religious
scrupples, equal opportunity for work.
7. As its last ground, appellant contends that the amendment introduced by Republic Act No. 3350 is not called for in other
words, the Act is not proper, necessary or desirable. Anent this matter, it has been held that a statute which is not necessary is
not, for that reason, unconstitutional; that in determining the constitutional validity of legislation, the courts are unconcerned with
issues as to the necessity for the enactment of the legislation in question. 67 Courts do inquire into the wisdom of
laws. 68 Moreover, legislatures, being chosen by the people, are presumed to understand and correctly appreciate the needs of
the people, and it may change the laws accordingly. 69 The fear is entertained by appellant that unless the Act is declared
unconstitutional, employers will prefer employing members of religious sects that prohibit their members from joining labor unions,
and thus be a fatal blow to unionism. We do not agree. The threat to unionism will depend on the number of employees who are
members of the religious sects that control the demands of the labor market. But there is really no occasion now to go further
and anticipate problems We cannot judge with the material now before Us. At any rate, the validity of a statute is to be
determined from its general purpose and its efficacy to accomplish the end desired, not from its effects on a particular
case. 70 The essential basis for the exercise of power, and not a mere incidental result arising from its exertion, is the criterion by
which the validity of a statute is to be measured. 71
II. We now pass on the second assignment of error, in support of which the Union argued that the decision of the trial court
ordering the Union to pay P500 for attorney's fees directly contravenes Section 24 of Republic Act No. 875, for the instant action
involves an industrial dispute wherein the Union was a party, and said Union merely acted in the exercise of its rights under the
union shop provision of its existing collective bargaining contract with the Company; that said order also contravenes Articl e
2208 of the Civil Code; that, furthermore, Appellee was never actually dismissed by the defendant Company and did not
therefore suffer any damage at all . 72
In refuting appellant Union's arguments, Appellee claimed that in the instant case there was really no industrial dispute involved
in the attempt to compel Appellee to maintain its membership in the union under pain of dismissal, and that the Union, by its act,
inflicted intentional harm on Appellee; that since Appellee was compelled to institute an action to protect his right to work,
appellant could legally be ordered to pay attorney's fees under Articles 1704 and 2208 of the Civil Code. 73
The second paragraph of Section 24 of Republic Act No. 875 which is relied upon by appellant provides that:
No suit, action or other proceedings shall be maintainable in any court against a labor organization or any officer or member
thereof for any act done by or on behalf of such organization in furtherance of an industrial dispute to which it is a party, on the
ground only that such act induces some other person to break a contract of employment or that it is in restraint of trade or
interferes with the trade, business or employment of some other person or with the right of some other person to dispose of his
capital or labor. (Emphasis supplied)
That there was a labor dispute in the instant case cannot be disputed for appellant sought the discharge of respondent by virtue
of the closed shop agreement and under Section 2 (j) of Republic Act No. 875 a question involving tenure of employment is
included in the term "labor dispute". 74 The discharge or the act of seeking it is the labor dispute itself. It being the labor dispute
itself, that very same act of the Union in asking the employer to dismiss Appellee cannot be "an act done ... in furtherance of an
industrial dispute". The mere fact that appellant is a labor union does not necessarily mean that all its acts are in furtherance of
an industrial dispute. 75 Appellant Union, therefore, cannot invoke in its favor Section 24 of Republic Act No. 875. This case is not
intertwined with any unfair labor practice case existing at the time when Appellee filed his complaint before the lower court.
Neither does Article 2208 of the Civil Code, invoked by the Union, serve as its shield. The article provides that attorney's fees and
expenses of litigation may be awarded "when the defendant's act or omission has compelled the plaintiff ... to incur expenses to
protect his interest"; and "in any other case where the court deems it just and equitable that attorney's fees and expenses of
litigation should be recovered". In the instant case, it cannot be gainsaid that appellant Union's act in demanding Appellee' s
dismissal caused Appellee to incur expenses to prevent his being dismissed from his job. Costs according to Section 1, Rule 142,
of the Rules of Court, shall be allowed as a matter of course to the prevailing party.
WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is dismissed, and the decision, dated August 26, 1965, of the Court of First Instance of Manila, in
its Civil Case No. 58894, appealed from is affirmed, with costs against appellant Union. It is so ordered.
Makalintal, C.J, Castro, Teehankee, Barredo, Makasiar, Antonio, Esguerra, Muoz Palma and Aquino, JJ., concur.



Separate Opinions

FERNANDO, J, concurring:
The decision arrived at unanimously by this Court that Republic Act No. 3350 is free from the constitutional infirmities imputed to it
was demonstrated in a manner wellnigh conclusive in the learned, scholarly, and comprehensive opinion so typical of the effor ts
of the ponente, Justice Zaldivar. Like the rest of my brethren, I concur fully. Considering moreover, the detailed attention paid to
each and every objection raised as to its validity and the clarity and persuasiveness with which it was shown to be devoid of
support in authoritative doctrines, it would appear that the last word has been written on this particular subject. Nonetheless, I
deem it proper to submit this brief expression of my views on the transcendent character of religious freedom 1 and its primacy
even as against the claims of protection to labor, 2 also one of the fundamental principles of the Constitution.
1. Religious freedom is identified with the liberty every individual possesses to worship or not a Supreme Being, and if a devotee of
any sect, to act in accordance with its creed. Thus is constitutionally safeguarded, according to Justice Laurel, that "profession of
faith to an active power that binds and elevates man to his Creator ...." 3The choice of what a man wishes to believe in is his and
his alone. That is a domain left untouched, where intrusion is not allowed, a citadel to which the law is denied entry, whatever be
his thoughts or hopes. In that sphere, what he wills reigns supreme. The doctrine to which he pays fealty may for some be
unsupported by evidence, devoid of rational foundation. No matter. There is no requirement as to its conformity to what has
found acceptance. It suffices that for him such a concept holds undisputed sway. That is a recognition of man's freedom. That
for him is one of the ways of self- realization. It would be to disregard the dignity that attaches to every human being to deprive
him of such an attribute. The "fixed star on our constitutional constellation," to borrow the felicitous phrase of Justice Jackson, is
that no official, not excluding the highest, has it in his power to prescribe what shall be orthodox in matters of conscience or to
mundane affairs, for that matter.
Gerona v. Secretary of Education 4 speaks similarly. In the language of its ponente, Justice Montemayor: "The realm of belief and
creed is infinite and limitless bounded only by one's imagination and thought. So is the freedom of belief, including religious
belief, limitless and without bounds. One may believe in most anything, however strange, bizarre and unreasonable the same
may appear to others, even heretical when weighed in the scales of orthodoxy or doctrinal standards." 5 There was this
qualification though: "But between the freedom of belief and the exercise of said belief, there is quite a stretch of road to travel.
If the exercise of said religious belief clashes with the established institutions of society and with the law, then the former must
yield and give way to the latter. The Government steps in and either restrains said exercise or even prosecutes the one exercising
it." 6 It was on that basis that the daily compulsory flag ceremony in accordance with a statute 7 was found free from the
constitutional objection on the part of a religious sect, the Jehovah's Witnesses, whose members alleged that their participation
would be offensive to their religious beliefs. In a case not dissimilar, West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 8 the
American Supreme Court reached a contrary conclusion. Justice Jackson's eloquent opinion is, for this writer, highly persuasive.
Thus: "The case is made difficult not because the principles of its decision are obscure but because the flag involved is our own.
Nevertheless, we apply the limitations of the Constitution with no fear that freedom to be intellectually and spiritually diverse or
even contrary will disintegrate the social organization. To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are
voluntary and spontaneous instead of a compulsory routine is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to
free minds. We can have intellectual individualism and the rich cultural diversities that we owe to exceptional minds only at the
price of occasional eccentricity and abnormal attitudes. When they are so harmless to others or to the State as those we deal
with here, the price is not too great. But freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere
shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order." 9
There is moreover this ringing affirmation by Chief Justice Hughes of the primacy of religious freedom in the forum of consci ence
even as against the command of the State itself: "Much has been said of the paramount duty to the state, a duty to be
recognized, it is urged, even though it conflicts with convictions of duty to God. Undoubtedly that duty to the state exists within
the domain of power, for government may enforce obedience to laws regardless of scruples. When one's belief collides with the
power of the state, the latter is supreme within its sphere and submission or punishment follows. But, in the forum of consci ence,
duty to a moral power higher than the state has always been maintained. The reservation of that supreme obligation, as a
matter of principle, would unquestionably be made by many of our conscientious and law-abiding citizens. The essence of
religion is belief in a relation to God involving duties superior to those arising from any human relation." 10 The American Chief
Justice spoke in dissent, it is true, but with him in agreement were three of the foremost jurists who ever sat in that Tribunal,
Justices Holmes, Brandeis, and Stone.
2. As I view Justice Zaldivar's opinion in that light, my concurrence, as set forth earlier, is wholehearted and entire. With such a
cardinal postulate as the basis of our polity, it has a message that cannot be misread. Thus is intoned with a reverberating clang,
to paraphrase Cardozo, a fundamental principle that drowns all weaker sounds. The labored effort to cast doubt on the validity
of the statutory provision in question is far from persuasive. It is attended by futility. It is not for this Court, as I conceive of the
judicial function, to restrict the scope of a preferred freedom.
3. There is, however, the question of whether such an exception possesses an implication that lessens the effectiveness of state
efforts to protect labor, likewise, as noted, constitutionally ordained. Such a vi ew, on the surface, may not be lacking in
plausibility, but upon closer analysis, it cannot stand scrutiny. Thought must be given to the freedom of association, likewi se an
aspect of intellectual liberty. For the late Professor Howe a constitutionalist and in his lifetime the biographer of the great Holmes,
it even partakes of the political theory of pluralistic sovereignty. So great is the respect for the autonomy accorded voluntary
societies. 11 Such a right implies at the very least that one can determine for himself whether or not he should join or refrain from
joining a labor organization, an institutional device for promoting the welfare of the working man. A closed shop, on the other
hand, is inherently coercive. That is why, as is unmistakably reflected in our decisions, the latest of which is Guijarno v. Court of
Industrial Relations, 12 it is far from being a favorite of the law. For a statutory provision then to further curtail its operation, is
precisely to follow the dictates of sound public policy.
The exhaustive and well-researched opinion of Justice Zaldivar thus is in the mainstream of constitutional tradition. That, for me, is
the channel to follow.


Separate Opinions
FERNANDO, J, concurring:
The decision arrived at unanimously by this Court that Republic Act No. 3350 is free from the constitutional infirmities imputed to it
was demonstrated in a manner wellnigh conclusive in the learned, scholarly, and comprehensive opinion so typical of the effor ts
of the ponente, Justice Zaldivar. Like the rest of my brethren, I concur fully. Considering moreover, the detailed attention paid to
each and every objection raised as to its validity and the clarity and persuasiveness with which it was shown to be devoid of
support in authoritative doctrines, it would appear that the last word has been written on this particular subject. Nonetheless, I
deem it proper to submit this brief expression of my views on the transcendent character of religious freedom 1 and its primacy
even as against the claims of protection to labor, 2 also one of the fundamental principles of the Constitution.
1. Religious freedom is identified with the liberty every individual possesses to worship or not a Supreme Being, and if a devotee of
any sect, to act in accordance with its creed. Thus is constitutionally safeguarded, according to Justice Laurel, that "profession of
faith to an active power that binds and elevates man to his Creator ...." 3The choice of what a man wishes to believe in is his and
his alone. That is a domain left untouched, where intrusion is not allowed, a citadel to which the law is denied entry, whatever be
his thoughts or hopes. In that sphere, what he wills reigns supreme. The doctrine to which he pays fealty may for some be
unsupported by evidence, devoid of rational foundation. No matter. There is no requirement as to its conformity to what has
found acceptance. It suffices that for him such a concept holds undisputed sway. That is a recognition of man's freedom. That
for him is one of the ways of self- realization. It would be to disregard the dignity that attaches to every human being to deprive
him of such an attribute. The "fixed star on our constitutional constellation," to borrow the felicitous phrase of Justice Jackson, is
that no official, not excluding the highest, has it in his power to prescribe what shall be orthodox in matters of conscience or to
mundane affairs, for that matter.
Gerona v. Secretary of Education 4 speaks similarly. In the language of its ponente, Justice Montemayor: "The realm of belief and
creed is infinite and limitless bounded only by one's imagination and thought. So is the freedom of belief, including religious
belief, limitless and without bounds. One may believe in most anything, however strange, bizarre and unreasonable the same
may appear to others, even heretical when weighed in the scales of orthodoxy or doctrinal standards." 5 There was this
qualification though: "But between the freedom of belief and the exercise of said belief, there is quite a stretch of road to travel.
If the exercise of said religious belief clashes with the established institutions of society and with the law, then the former must
yield and give way to the latter. The Government steps in and either restrains said exercise or even prosecutes the one exercising
it." 6 It was on that basis that the daily compulsory flag ceremony in accordance with a statute 7 was found free from the
constitutional objection on the part of a religious sect, the Jehovah's Witnesses, whose members alleged that their parti cipation
would be offensive to their religious beliefs. In a case not dissimilar, West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 8 the
American Supreme Court reached a contrary conclusion. Justice Jackson's eloquent opinion is, for this writer, highly persuasive.
Thus: "The case is made difficult not because the principles of its decision are obscure but because the flag involved is our own.
Nevertheless, we apply the limitations of the Constitution with no fear that freedom to be intellectually and spiritually diverse or
even contrary will disintegrate the social organization. To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are
voluntary and spontaneous instead of a compulsory routine is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to
free minds. We can have intellectual individualism and the rich cultural diversities that we owe to exceptional minds only at the
price of occasional eccentricity and abnormal attitudes. When they are so harmless to others or to the State as those we deal
with here, the price is not too great. But freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere
shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order." 9
There is moreover this ringing affirmation by Chief Justice Hughes of the primacy of religious freedom in the forum of consci ence
even as against the command of the State itself: "Much has been said of the paramount duty to the state, a duty to be
recognized, it is urged, even though it conflicts with convictions of duty to God. Undoubtedly that duty to the state exists within
the domain of power, for government may enforce obedience to laws regardless of scruples. When one's belief collides with the
power of the state, the latter is supreme within its sphere and submission or punishment follows. But, in the forum of consci ence,
duty to a moral power higher than the state has always been maintained. The reservation of that supreme obligation, as a
matter of principle, would unquestionably be made by many of our conscientious and law-abiding citizens. The essence of
religion is belief in a relation to God involving duties superior to those arising from any human relation." 10 The American Chief
Justice spoke in dissent, it is true, but with him in agreement were three of the foremost jurists who ever sat in that Tribunal,
Justices Holmes, Brandeis, and Stone.
2. As I view Justice Zaldivar's opinion in that light, my concurrence, as set forth earlier, is wholehearted and entire. With such a
cardinal postulate as the basis of our polity, it has a message that cannot be misread. Thus is intoned with a reverberating clang,
to paraphrase Cardozo, a fundamental principle that drowns all weaker sounds. The labored effort to cast doubt on the validity
of the statutory provision in question is far from persuasive. It is attended by futility. It is not for this Court, as I conceive of the
judicial function, to restrict the scope of a preferred freedom.
3. There is, however, the question of whether such an exception possesses an implication that lessens the effectiveness of state
efforts to protect labor, likewise, as noted, constitutionally ordained. Such a view, on the surface, may not be lacking in
plausibility, but upon closer analysis, it cannot stand scrutiny. Thought must be given to the freedom of association, likewi se an
aspect of intellectual liberty. For the late Professor Howe a constitutionalist and in his lifetime the biographer of the great Holmes,
it even partakes of the political theory of pluralistic sovereignty. So great is the respect for the autonomy accorded voluntary
societies. 11 Such a right implies at the very least that one can determine for himself whether or not he should join or refrain from
joining a labor organization, an institutional device for promoting the welfare of the working man. A closed shop, on the other
hand, is inherently coercive. That is why, as is unmistakably reflected in our decisions, the latest of which is Guijarno v. Court of
Industrial Relations, 12 it is far from being a favorite of the law. For a statutory provision then to further curtail its operation, is
precisely to follow the dictates of sound public policy.
The exhaustive and well-researched opinion of Justice Zaldivar thus is in the mainstream of constitutional tradition. That, for me, is
the channel to follow.
G.R. No. 43263, Manila Trading & Supply Co. v. Reyes, 62 Phil. 461
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
October 31, 1935
G.R. No. 43263
MANILA TRADING & SUPPLY CO., plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
E.M. REYES, defendant-appellee.
Ross, Lawrence and Selph and Antonio T. Carrascoso, Jr., for appellant.
Isabel Artacho-Ocampo for appellee.
MALCOLM, J.:
The only question presented is the validity of Act No. 4122, known as the Installment Sales Law, reading as follows:
AN ACT TO AMEND THE CIVIL CODE BY INSERTING BETWEEN SECTlONS FOURTEEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY-FOUR AND FOURTEEN
HUNDRED AND FIFTY-FIVE THEREOF A NEW SECTION, TO BE KNOWN AS SECTION FOURTEEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY-FOUR-A.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Legislature assembled and by the authority of the
same:
SECTION 1. The Civil Code is hereby amended by inserting between sections fourteen hundred and fifty-four and fourteen
hundred and fifty-five thereof a new section, to be known as section fourteen hundred and fifty-four-A, which shall read as
follows:
"SEC. 1454-A. In a contract for the sale of personal property payable in installments, failure to pay two or more installments shall
confer upon the vendor the right to cancel the sale or foreclose the mortgage if one has been given the property, without
reimbursement to the purchaser of the installments already paid, if there be an agreement to this effect.
"However, if the vendor has chosen to foreclose the mortgage he shall have no further action against the purchaser for the
recovery of any unpaid balance owing by the same, and any agreement to the contrary shall be null and void.
"The same rule shall apply to leases of personal property with option to purchase, when the lessor has chosen to deprive the
lessee of the enjoyment of such personal property."
SEC 2. This Act shall take effect on its approval.
Approved, December 9, 1933.
There is no dispute as to the facts. They may be summarize as follows: On December 13, 1933 that is, subsequent to the
enactment of Act No. 4122 E.M. Reyes executed in favor of the Manila Trading & Supply Co., a chattel mortgage on an
automobile as security for the payment of the sum of P400, which Reyes agreed to pay in ten equal monthly installments. As
found by the trial judge, Reyes failed to pay some of the installments due on his obligation. Thereupon the Manila Trading &
Supply Co., proceeded to foreclose its chattel mortgage. The mortgaged property was sold at public auction by the sheriff of
the City of Manila for the sum of P200, After applying this sum, with interest, costs, and liquidated damages to Reyes'
indebtedness, the latter owed the company a balance of P275.47, with interest thereon at the rate of 12 percent per annum
from February 19, 1934.
When Reyes failed to pay the deficiency on the debt, the company instituted an action in the Court of First Instance of Manil a
for the recovery thereof. To plaintiff's complaint defendant filed an answer in which he pleaded as a defense that plaintiff,
having chosen to foreclose its chattel mortgage, had no further action against defendant for the recovery of the unpaid
balance owed by him to plaintiff, as provided by Act No. 4122. After trial the lower court sustained defendant's defense and
rendered a judgment absolving him from the complaint, with costs.
From this judgment, the plaintiff has taken an appeal and here contends that the l ower court erred in not declaring Act No.
4122 of the Philippine Legislature unconstitutional for the following reasons: (1) in that it embraces more than one subject, (2) in
that it unduly restrains the liberty of a person to contract with respect to his property rights, (3) in that it is class legislation, and (4)
in that it denies vendors and lessors of personal property the equal protection of the laws.
1. Title of the Law. Act No. 4122 is entitled, "An Act to amend the Civil Code by inserting between sections fourteen hundred
and fifty-four and fourteen, hundred and fifty-five thereof a new section, to be known as section fourteen hundred and fifty-four-
A." It is argued that the Act amends the Civil Code and the Chattel Mortgage Law,Act No. 1508. As a consequence, it is alleged,
that one of the subjects covered by the Act, the amendment of the Chattel Mortgage Law, is not expressed in the title thereof ,
in violation of section 3 of the Organic Act, the Act of Congress of August 29, 1916 which provides that no bill which may be
enacted into law shall embrace more than one subject, and that subject shall be expressed in the title of the bill."
We think that this is taking altogether too narrow and technical a view of the matter. Legislation should not be embarrassed by
overly strict construction. The constitutional provision, while designed to remedy an evil, was not designed to require great
particularity in stating the object of the law in its title. In reality, while Act No. 4122deals with three subjects, sales of personal
property on the installment plan, chattel mortgages, and leases of personal property with option to repurchase, all three are
comprehended within the subject of installment payments. (Macondray & Co. vs. R. de Santos [1935], 61 Phil., 370.)
It would be well, however, to scrutinize this point a little more closely. The portion of the Civil Code which is amended is Book IV,
Title IV having to do with contract of purchase and sale and Chapter I having to do with the nature and form of this contract.
The Chattel Mortgage Law, in section 3, defines a chattel mortgage as conditional sale of personal property as security for the
payment a debt or the performance of some other obligation specified therein. The close analogy between chattel mortgages
as covered by Act No. 1508 and conditional sales as covered by the Civil Code gave this court considerable difficulty, but
eventually it was determined that a chattel mortgage, under Act No. 1508 is not of the Same effect as a contract of purchase
and sale with right of repurchase under the Civil Code. (Manila Trading & Supply Co. vs. Tamaraw Plantation Co. [1925], 47 Phil.,
513, reconciling Meyers vs. Thein [1910], 15 Phil., 303;Bachrach vs. Mantel [1913] 25 Phil., 410, and Bachrach Motor
Co. vs. Summers [1921], 42 Phil., 3.) Likewise the close relationship between chattel mortgages and conditional sales in other
jurisdictions is evidenced by the fact that a well-known text writer saw fit to choose this as the title for his work. (Jones, Chattel
Mortgages and Conditional Sales, 1933 ed.)
It could be added, if necessary, that the general rule is adopted in this jurisdiction to the effect that a title which declares a
statute to be an act to amend a specific code is sufficient and the precise nature of the amendatory act need not be further
stated. (People vs. Buenviaje [1925], 47 Phil., 536.) On the supposition, therefore, which seems reasonable, that the purpose had
in mind by the Legislature in enacting Act No. 4122was to provide legislation concerning sales of personal property on the
installment plan, this subject was sufficiently expressed by indicating that the law had to do with an amendment of the Civil
Code in the portion thereof given up to contract of purchase and sale.
2. Liberty of contract, class legislation, and equal protection of the laws. The question of the validity of an act is solely one of
constitutional power. Questions of expediency, of motive, or of results are irrelevant. Nevertheless it is not improper to inquire as
to the occasion for the enactment of a law. The legislative purpose thus di sclosed can then serve as a fit background for
constitutional inquiry.
Judge Moran in first instance had the following to say relative to the reasons for the enactment of Act No. 4122:
Act No. 4122 aims to correct a social and economic evil, the inordinate love for luxury of those who, without sufficient means,
purchase personal effects, and the ruinous practice of some commercial houses of purchasing back the goods sold for a
nominal price besides keeping a part of the price already paid and collecting the balance, with stipulated interest, costs, and
attorney's fees. For instance, a company sells a truck for P6,500. The purchaser makes down payment of P500, the balance to be
paid in twenty-four equal installments of P250 each. Pursuant to the practice before the enactment of Act No. 4122, if the
purchaser fails to pay the first two installments, the company takes possession of the truck and has it sold to at public auction at
which sale it purchases the truck for a nominal price, at most P500, without prejudice to its right to collect the balance of P5,500,
plus interest, costs and attorney's fees. As a consequence, the vendor does not only recover the goods sold, used hardly two
months perhaps with only slight wear and tear, but also collects the entire stipulated purchase price, which probably swelled up
fifty per cent including interest, costs, and attorney's fees. This practice is worse than usurious in many instances. And al though, of
course, the purchaser must suffer the consequences of his imprudence and lack of foresight, the chastisement must not be to
the extent of ruining the vendor in a manner which shocks the conscience. The object of the law is highly commendable. As to
whether or not the means employed to do away with the evil above-mentioned are arbitrary will be presently set out.
In a case which readied this court, Mr. Justice Goddard, interpreting Act No. 4122, made the following observations:
Undoubtedly the principal object of the above amendment was to remedy the abuses committed in connection with the
foreclosure of chattel mortgages. This amendment prevents mortgagees from seizing the mortgaged property, buying it at
foreclosure sale for a low price and then bringing suit against the mortgagor for a deficiency judgment. The almost invariable
result of this procedure was that the mortgagor found himself minus the property and still owing practically the full amount of his
original indebtedness. Under this amendment the vendor of personal property, the purchase price of which is payable in
installments, has the right to cancel the sale or foreclose the mortgage if one has been given on the property. Whichever right
the vendor elects he need not return to the purchaser the amount of the installments already paid, "if there be an agreement to
that effect". Furthermore, if the vendor avails himself of the right to foreclose the mortgage this amendment prohibits him f rom
bringing an action against the purchaser for the unpaid balance.
In other words, under this amendment, in all proceedings for the foreclosure of chattel mortgages, executed on chattels which
have been sold on the installment plan, the mortgagee is limited to the property included in the mortgage." (Bachrach Motor
Co. vs. Millan [1935], 61 Phil., 409.)
Public policy having thus had in view the objects just outlined, we should next examine the law to determine if notwithstanding
that policy, it violates any of the constitutional principles dealing with the three general subjects here to be considered.
In an effort to enlighten us, our attention has been directed to certain authorities, principally one coming from the State of
Washington and another from the State of Oregon. For reasons which will soon appear, we do not think that either decision is
controlling.
In 1897, an Act was passed in the State of Washington which provided "that in all proceedings for the foreclosure of mortgages
hereafter executed, or on judgments rendered upon the debt thereby secured, the mortgagee or assignee shall be limited to
the property included in the mortgage." It was held by a divided court of three to two that the statute since limiting the right to
enforce a debt secured by mortgage to the property mortgaged, whether realty or chattels, was an undue restraint upon the
liberty of a citizen to contract with respect to his property rights. But as is readily apparent, the Washington law and the Philippine
law are radically different in phraseology and in effect (Dennis vs. Moses [1898], 40 L.R.A., 302.)
In Oregon, in a decision of a later date, an Act abolishing deficiency judgments upon the foreclosure of mortgages to secure
the unpaid balance of the purchase price of real property was unanimously sustained by Supreme Court of that State. The
importance of the subject matter in that jurisdiction was revealed by the fact tat four separate opinions were prepared by the
justices participating, in one of which Mr. Justice Johns, shortly thereafter to become a member of this court, concurred.
However, it is but fair to state that one of the reasons prompting the court to uphold the law was the financial depression which
had prevailed in the State. While in the Philippines the court can take judicial notice of the stringency of finances that presses
upon the people, we have no reason to believe that this was the reason that motivated the enactment of Act No. 4122.
(Wright vs. Wimberly [1919], 184 Pac., 740.)
While we are on the subject of the authorities, we may state that we have examined all of those obtainable, including some of
recent date, but have not been enlightened very much because as just indicated, they concerned different states of facts and
different laws. We gain the most help from the case of Bronson vs. Kinzie ([1843], 1 How., 311), decided by the Supreme Court of
the United States. It had under consideration a law passed in the State of Illinois, which provided that the equitable estate of the
mortgagor should not be extinguished for twelve months after sale on decree, and which prevented any sale of the mortgaged
properly unless two-thirds of the amount at which the property had been valued by appraisers should be bid therefor.
The court, by Mr. Chief Justice Taney, declared: "Mortgages made since the passage of these laws must undoubtedly be
governed by them; for every State has the power to describe the legal and equitable obligations of a contract to be made and
executed within its jurisdiction. It may exempt any property it thinks proper from sale, for the payment of a debt; and may i mpose
such conditions and restrictions upon the creditor as its judgment and policy may dictate. And all future contracts would be
subject to such provisions; and they would be obligatory upon the parties in the courts of the United States, as well as in those of
the State.
As we understand it, parties have no vested right in particular remedies or modes of procedure, and the Legislature may change
existing remedies or modes of procedure without impairing the obligation of contracts, provided an efficacious remedy remains
enforcement. But changes in the remedies available for the enforcement of a mortgage may not, even when publicly policy is
invoked as an excuse, be pressed so far as to cut down the security of a mortgage without moderation or reason or in a spirit of
oppression. (Brotherhood of American Yeoman vs. Manz [1922], 206 Pac., 403; Oshkosh Waterworks Co. vs. Oshkosh [1903], 187
U.S., 437; W.B. Worthen Co. vs. Kavanaugh [1935], 79 U.S. Supreme Court Advance Opinions, 638.)
In the Philippines, the Chattel Mortgage Law did not expressly provide for a deficiency judgment upon the foreclosure of a
mortgage. Indeed, it required decisions of this court to authorize such a procedure. (Bank of the Philippine Islands vs. Olutanga
Lumber Co. [1924], 47 Phil., 20; Manila Trading & Supply Co. vs. Tamaraw Plantation Co., supra.) But the practice became
universal enough to acquire the force of direct legislative enactment regarding procedure. To a certain extent the Legislature
has now disauthorized this practice, but bas left a sufficient remedy remaining.
Three remedies are available to the vendor who has sold personal property on the installment plan. (1) He may elect to exact
the fulfillment of the obligation. (Bachrach Motor Co. vs. Millan, supra.) (2) If the vendee shall have failed to pay two or more
installments, the vendor may cancel the sale. (3) If the vendee shall have failed to pay two or more installments, the vendor may
foreclose the mortgage, if one has been given on the property. The basis of the first option is the Civil Code. The basis of the last
two options is Act No. 4112, amendatory of the Civil Code. And the proviso to the right to foreclose is, that if the vendor has
chosen this remedy, he shall have no further action against the purchaser for the recovery of any unpaid balance owing by the
same. In other words, as we see it, the Act does no no more than qualify the remedy.
Most constitutional issues are determined by the court's approach to them. The proper approach in cases of this character
should be to resolve all presumptions in favor of the validity of an act in the absence of a clear conflict between it and the
constitution. All doubts should be resolved in its favor.
The controlling purpose of Act No. 4122 is revealed to be to close the door to abuses committed in connection with the
foreclosure of chattel mortgages when sales were payable in installments. That public policy, obvious from the statute, was
defined and established by legislative authority. It is for the courts to perpetuate it.
We are of the opinion that the Legislature may change judicial methods and remedies for the enforcement of contracts, as it
has done by the enactment of Act No. 4122, without unduly interfering with the obligation of the contracts, without sanctioning
class legislation, and without a denial of the equal protection of the laws. We rule thatAct No. 4122 is valid and enforceable. As
a consequence, the errors assigned by the appellant are overruled, and the judgment affirmed, the costs of this instance to be
taxed against the losing party.
Avancea, C.J., Villa-Real, Abad Santos, Hull, Vickers, Goddard, Diaz, and Recto, JJ., concur.


G.R. No. L-20479 February 6, 1925
YU CONG ENG, ET AL., petitioners,
vs.
W. TRINIDAD, Collector of Internal Revenue, ET AL., respondents.
Gabriel La O, Palma and Leuterio and Gibbs and McDonough for petitioners.
The City Fiscals Revilla, Guevara and Felix for respondents.
MALCOLM, J.:
The issue in these proceedings is the validity of Act No. 2972 of the Philippine Legislature, popularly known as the Chinese
Bookkeeping Law. It is a question of paramount importance which the record shows, has been laid before this court following
the failure of diplomatic negotiations and executive pressure to secure from the local law-making body either the repeal of the
law or a modification of its provisions. It is, moreover, a question which, extensive argument and original investigation disclose,
stands in the shadowland betwixt constitutionality and unconstitutionality, to the solution of which we propose to give careful
consideration.
The petitioners are Chinese merchants claiming to represent themselves and all other persons similarly situated and affected,
particularly twelve thousand Chinese merchants. The respondents, against whom the petition for prohibition and injunction is
directed, are the Collector of Internal Revenue, the Fiscal of the City of Manila, and Honorable Pedro Concepcion, Judge of First
Instance of Manila. The allegations of the petition center on the unconstitutionality of Act No. 2972 above-mentioned.
To the petition (later amended), a demurrer was interposed by the respondents which met squarely the main issue of
constitutionality, while raising, in addition, the preliminary question of jurisdiction. Following oral argument, the court overruled
respondents' demurrer and required them to answer. To respondents' answer to the amended petition, petitioners presented a
demurrer.
In order that the court might be assisted by having before it all possible facts and circumstances which might aid it in arri ving at
a correct conclusion, the parties were permitted to offer evidence to substantiate their claims. Nearly one thousand pages of
testimony, more or less relevant to the issue, have resulted. While all of this testimony has been gone over with painstaking care, it
is not feasible for the court to encumber the decision with rulings on the multitudinous objections which have perfunctorily been
raised before the commissioner.
Before passing to our principal task, it is necessary to say something about the preliminary point of jurisdiction argued by counsel,
relating to the propriety of the constitutional question being decided in original proceedings in prohibition.
The Supreme Court is granted both concurrent jurisdiction in prohibition with Courts of First Instance over inferior tribunal s or
persons, and original jurisdiction over Courts of First Instance when such courts are exerci sing functions without or in excess of
their jurisdiction. (Code of Civil Procedure, sec. 516.) It is a jurisdiction, however, which must be exercised circumspectly, for
otherwise, the court would usurp the powers of judges of First Instance. The law having given to judges of First Instance jurisdiction
to try criminal cases, the appellate court should not meddle with the initiation or trial of such cases, except for good reasons,
and should not permit the substitution of extraordinary proceedings for appeal.
As before held by this court, and by the Federal courts, equity has power, to be exercised in power cases, to restrain criminal
prosecutions under unconstitutional statutes, and to grant preliminary injunctions where the constitutionality of a given penal law
is doubtful and fairly debatable, and permanent injunctions where the laws are held invalid. The remedy by injunction to restrain
the enforcement of unconstitutional statutes or abuse of authority under a valid statute, seems to be limited to cases where
property rights are threatened with irreparable injury or where persons would be subjected to a multiplicity of suits.
A more complicated question arises, with reference to what stage of a threatened criminal prosecution, an accused person
shall have the right to test the validity of a criminal statute by means of original proceedings presented in the appellate court.
We believe the correct principle was announced in Cadwallader-Gibson Lumber Co. vs. Del Rosario ( [1913], 26 Phil., 192). In
other words, as a general rule, the question of constitutionality must be raised in the lower court and that court must be given an
opportunity to pass upon the question before it may be presented to the appellate court for resolution. Yet occasionally, under a
recently enacted statute affecting numerous persons and extensive property rights, liable to give rise to a multiplicity of actions
and numerous prosecutions, it is proper, right at the threshold of a prosecution, to have the validity of a given law determi ned in
the interest of the accused and of the public, so as to permit of the orderly administration of justice. (Ex parte Young [1908], 209
U.S., 123; Truax vs. Raich [1915], 239 U. S., 33; Wilson vs. New and Ferris [1917], 243 U. S., 332; Hammer vs. Dagenhart [1918], 247
U.S., 251; International News Service vs. Associated Press [1918], 248 U.S., 215; C. A. Weed & Co. vs. Lockwood [1920], 255 U.S.,
104; Terrace vs. Thompson [1923], 263 U.S., 197; Young vs. Rafferty [1916], 33 Phil., 556; Kwong Sing vs. City of Manila [1920], 41
Phil., 103; Dimayuga and Fajardo vs. Fernandez [1922], 43 Phil., 304; and Fleischmann, Injunctions Restraining Prosecution Under
Unconstitutional Statutes, 9 American Bar Associations Journal, March, 1923, p. 169.)
Inasmuch as the property and personal rights of nearly twelve thousand merchants are affected by these proceedings, and
inasmuch as Act No. 2972 is a new law not yet interpreted by the courts, in the interest of the public welfare and for the
advancement of public policy, we have determined to overrule the defense of want of jurisdiction in order that we may decide
the main issue. We have here an extraordinary situation which calls for a relaxation of the general rule.
We come then to take up the question of the validity of Act No. 2972. Said Act reads as follows:
No. 2972. AN ACT TO PROVIDE IN WHAT LANGUAGE ACCOUNT BOOKS SHALL BE KEPT, AND TO ESTABLISH PENALTIES FOR ITS
VIOLATION.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Legislature assembled and by the authority of the
same:
SECTION 1. It shall be unlawful for any person, company, partnership or corporation engaged in commerce, industry or any other
activity for the purpose of profit in the Philippine Islands, in accordance with existing law, to keep its account books in any
language other than English, Spanish or any local dialect.
SEC. 2. Any person violating the provisions of this Act shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not more than ten thousand
pesos, or by imprisonment for not more than two years or both.
SEC. 3. This Act shall take effect on November first, nineteen hundred and twenty-one.
Approved, February 21, 1921.
Subsequently, pursuant to the provisions of Act No. 2998, Act No. 2972 was made to take effect on January 1, 1923. But due to
the unavailing efforts of the Secretary of War, the present Governor-General, and the Chinese Community to have Act No. 2972
repealed, so counsel for the petitioners intimates, its enforcement was suspended until the adjournment of the Legislature in
February, 1923.
On March 2, 1923, the agents of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, in the exercise of their legitimate functions, inspected the books
of account of the Chinese merchant Yu Cong Eng. Upon finding that said books were not kept i n accordance with their
understanding of the provisions of Act No. 2972, they took possession of the merchant's books and referred the matter to the city
fiscal of Manila for appropriate action.
The city fiscal, considering that Yu Cong Eng had committed a violation of the law, on March 7, 1923, caused an information to
be filed, subscribed, and sworn to before Judge of First Instance Concepcion, thereby giving rise to criminal case No. 25551 of
the Court of First Instance of Manila. This information alleged in substance that the accused merchant had kept his books of
account "only in Chinese, instead of keeping or causing them to be kept in English, Spanish, or any local dialect, thus rendering it
difficult for the agents and authorized representatives of the Government of the Philippine Islands and of the City of Manila, to
examine and inspect the aforementioned books of account, thereby preventing and hindering the investigation and
determination of all the amount that said accused was, is, or will be under obligation to pay for licenses, permits, and taxes." A
warrant of arrest was issued by the Judge of First Instance before whom the information was filed, and in compliance therewith,
the accused merchant, now become the instant petitioner, was arrested.
The antecedents of these proceedings, therefore, do not affect directly any other person except the petitioner Yu Cong Eng
who says that he neither reads, writes, nor understands the English or Spanish language or any local dialect, although inferentially
affecting all other merchants in a like situation.
To properly appreciate the situation, we must go back a little further into the history of the case and must have before us the
applicable provisions of Philippine law.
The sales tax has been in force in the Philippines for a number of years. Our law provides for privilege taxes to be levied on
certain businesses and occupations. These percentage taxes on business are payable at the end of each calendar quarter in
the amount lawfully due on the business transacted during the past quarter. It is made the duty of every person conducting a
business subject to such tax, within the same period as is allowed for the payment of the quarterly installments of the fixed taxes
without penalty, to make a true and complete return of the amount of the receipts or earnings of his business during the
preceding quarter and pay the tax due thereon. All merchants not specifically exempted must pay a tax of one and one-half
per cent on the gross value in money of the commodities, goods, wares, merchandise sold, bartered, exchanged, or consigned
abroad by them, such tax to be based on the actual selling price or value of the things in question at the time they are disposed
of or consigned. (Administrative Code, secs. 1453 et seq.; Act No. 3065.)
The income tax has also been established here for sometime, first pursuant to an Act of Congress and later pursuant to an Act of
the Philippine Legislature (Act No. 2833, as amended by Act No. 2926). The customary returns are required from individuals and
corporations. The tax is computed and the assessments are made by the Collector of Internal Revenue and his agents.
The sales tax and the income tax furnish a substantial part of the revenue. Roughly speaking, about P10,000,000 from the sal es
tax and about P2,000,000 from the income tax are secured annually. (Exhibit 13.) Any appreciable leaks in these sources of
governmental revenue would be highly undesirable.
At the time the Internal Revenue Law of the Philippine Islands was originally enacted, the Spanish Code of Commerce was in
force, and this Code still remains the centerpiece of our commercial system, although considerably battered by amendatory
laws. The Code of Commerce provides that merchants shall keep: (1) A book of inventories and balances; (2) a daybook; (3) a
ledger; (4) a copying book for letters and telegrams; and (5) the other books required by special laws. These books are supposed
to be presented by merchants to a justice of the peace for authentication. Merchants may furthermore keep other books that
they consider advisable, according to the system of bookkeeping adopted. (Code of Commerce, arts. 33 et seq.; Administrative
Code, sec. 214; Blanco, Derecho Mercantil, Tomo 1, pp. 561, 562.)
The Spanish Code of Commerce, it is thus seen, is silent as are all the codes which follow the French system, regarding the
language in which books of account must be kept.
Under the provisions of the Code of Commerce and of the Internal Revenue Law, the Collector of Internal Revenue had
authority "to require the keeping of a daily record of sales. No one could say with any certainty what the amount of the tax
would be without such data." (Young vs. Rafferty, supra.) The collector of Internal Revenue was also granted the power to make
regulations prescribing the manner in which the proper books, invoices, and other papers shall be kept, and entries therein
made by the persons subject to the merchant's tax. (Act No. 2339, secs. 5, 6 [j]; Administrative Code, sec. 1424 [j].)
Taking advantage of his supposed authority, pursuant to the above cited provisions of law, the Collector of Internal Revenue
issued a circular letter on October 8, 1914, approved by the Secretary of Finance and Justice, requiring every merchant and the
manufacturer with certain specified exceptions, who was subject to the merchant's tax, to keep a record of their daily sales
either in the English or the Spanish language. The validity of this regulation was challenged in the case of Young vs.
Rafferty, supra. The defense of the Collector of Internal Revenue was that the regulation issued by him had for its object the
protection of the Government and to prevent the non-payment of the merchant's and the percentage taxes. Following trial in
the lower court and appeal, the Supreme Court held that sections 5 and 6 of Act No. 2339 did not empower the Collector of
Internal Revenue to designate the language in which the entries in such books are made by merchants subject to the
percentage tax. Omitting portions of the opinion handed down by Mr. Justice Trent, some of which will be noticed in other
connections, it is only necessary for us to quote the portion which deals with the subject at hand, namely:
It is also urge that the regulation is designed to protect the Government against evasion of the percentage tax. If it be necessary
to impose such a burden upon so large a number of the business community in order that the Government may protect itself
from such losses, we apprehend that it was never intended that the initiative should be taken by the Collector of Internal
Revenue. The condition complained of by the Collector has confronted the Government ever since the present system of
internal revenue taxes was inaugurated in 1904. It is not for the administrative head of a Government bureau to say that such an
obstacle to the collection of taxes shall be removed by imposing burdens not specifically authorized in the law itself.
In view of the fact that a particular language is not essential to the recording of the information desired by the Collector and the
enforcement of the objectionable provisions of his circular would be a very important step in the solution of the language
problem in this country, amounting, we believe, to a question of public policy which should not be dictated by any
administrative authority, we must conclude that the Collector has exceeded his authority in this particular. In reaching this
conclusion, we have carefully avoided using any language which would indicate our views upon the plaintiffs' second
proposition to the effect that if the regulation were an Act of the Legislature itself, it would be invalid as being in conflict with the
paramount law of the land and the treaties regulating certain relations with foreigners. (Emphasis ours.)
Mr. Justice Carson, in a concurring opinion of some importance as will hereafter be emphasize, said:
I concur, on the ground that under the order of the Collector, if strictly enforced, the tens of thousand of merchants, petty
storekeepers and others affected by its terms, both native and foreign, who have no adequate knowledge of either English or
Spanish, would be required in effect not only to keep a record of the results of their business transactions in English or Spanish, but
also to conduct such transactions in one or other of those languages.
I do not question the authority of the Collector to prescribe rules for the keeping of such records or transcripts of records of
the results of mercantile transactions as may be reasonably necessary in order to eliminate fraud or concealment, and to
expedite the labors of those charged with the collection of taxes: but I do not think that he was any authority to require the
keeping of the original record of the vast number of these transactions in a tongue unknown to the parties; and I think
furthermore that his authority to prescribe regulations intended to expedite the collection of taxes of this nature, is necessarily
limited to the promulgation of regulations reasonably necessary to the end.
As will at once be noticed, the Supreme Court limited its decision to the annulment of the circular of the Collector of Internal
Revenue. It left for the Legislature to determine if a law on the subject should be enacted, without expressing any opinion as to
the validity of such a law.
Following some agitation on the subject, the then Governor-General, in a message to the Legislature on October 16, 1920,
recommended for consideration "Legislation as already approved by the Senate should require that all business houses keep
their books in English or Spanish, or in any one of the local Philippine dialects, in order to avoid wholesale frauds upon the Public
revenues." The bill was presented in the House of Representatives by Representative Urgello with the following explanatory note:
As all of the merchants doing business in the Philippines are not of the same nationality, some of them keep their books of
account in their native language. The examination of these books by the agents of the Government for their proper verification,
is made with some difficulty, inasmuch as in many cases it requires the help of a translator which constitutes an expense to the
public treasury.
Uniformity and facility in the examination and investigation of these books require that the same be kept by the merchants,
whether individuals or corporations, in English or Spanish.
This is the object of the attached bill.
After the Philippine Legislature had passed Act No. 2972, the present Governor-General in a message asked for either the repeal
or a modification of the law. Hearings before committees of the Legislature were permitted. According to the report prepared
and submitted by the Chairman of the Committee on Revision of Laws of the House of Representatives, which we feel at liberty
to take into consideration, at the hearing before his committee the representatives of the Chinese community advocated the
repeal of Act No. 2972, but this was strongly opposed by the representatives of the Bureau of Audits, and the Bureau of Internal
Revenue. The representative of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Mr. Posadas, "gave repeated assurances before the Committee
that due to the unintelligibility of the books of Chinese merchants, because of the language in which the same was written, the
public treasury was being defrauded annually in several millions of pesos, and that in order to protect the Government it is
necessary to uphold Act No. 2972." (Exhibit 3.) Eventually, the Philippine Legislature, with the exception that it postponed the
taking effect of the law, refused otherwise to modify it.
There has next followed the instant proceedings, by means of which an expression of opinion is sought to settle the conflict of
views as to the constitutionality of Act No. 2972. The law is attacked by the petitioners as in violation of treaty and constitutional
rights of Chinese merchants, domiciled in the Philippine Islands. It is contended with marked earnestness, that the law is
unreasonable and oppressive in nature, and repugnant to the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the
United States and of the corresponding provisions of the Jones Law, the Act of Congress of August 29, 1916, guaranteeing to all
persons the equal protection of the laws. The law is defended by the city fiscal of Manila as a proper and reasonable exercise of
the police power of the Philippine Government, and of its power of taxation.
Four questions suggest themselves for discussion. What would be the probable effect, if Act No. 2972 was put in operation? What
was the purpose of the Legislature in enacting Act No. 2972? What are the respective legal rights of the Chinese and of the
Government? What is a logical construction of Act No. 2972? In connection with the first question, it is, of course, undeniable that
we cannot declare a legislative Act void because it conflicts with our opinion of what is just or expedient. Nevertheless, the
effects and consequences enter with more or less force into consideration, whenever the validity of any law is in issue. (See 2
Lewis' Sutherland Statutory Construction, pp. 908 et seq.)
The pleadings, the evidence, and the decision in Young vs. Rafferty, supra, disclose with regard to the mercantile life of the
Philippines, the following facts:
There are approximately 85,000 merchants of all nationalities in the Philippines, to whom Act No. 2972 applies. Of this number,
71,000 are Filipinos who may use their own dialects, they prefer English or Spanish. Approximately 1,500 are American, British, or
Spanish subjects, who are permitted to use their native languages. Possibly 500 are foreign nationalities most of whom know the
English or Spanish language. Of the remainder, between 10,000 and 12,000 are Chinese. The aggregate commercial business
transacted by the Chinese merchants represents about sixty per cent of the total business done by all the merchants in the
Philippine Islands. According to Mr. H.B. Pond, vice-president and general manager of the Pacific Commercial Company, the
Chinese "are the principal distributing factors in the Philippine Islands of imported goods, and the principal gatherers of goods for
exportation in the more remote places," and if the Chinese were driven out of the business, "there would be no other system of
distribution available throughout the Islands." It is further claimed, on the one hand, that not to exceed one per cent of the
Chinese merchants in the Philippine Islands understand English, Spanish, or a local dialect sufficiently well to be able to keep or
revise their own books of account in any one of these languages, and that not to exceed ten per cent have even a working
knowledge of either English, Spanish, or a local dialect, and on the other hand, that at least two-thirds of the Chinese
businessmen can easily comply with the law.
Counsel for the petitioners is sponsor for the sweeping statement that "the enforcement of Act 2972 would probably cause more
damage and less good than any other law which has been enacted in the world." This strong stand is to a certain extent
corroborated by resolutions adopted and signed by the principal business house in the City of Manila and by a number of
chambers of commerce (Exhibits C, D, E, F, G, H, I, and J, attached to the petition); by the vigorous protest of the Chinese
foreign office (Exhibit K); by the opinions expressed by high officials in the War Department "that the law is fundamentally unwise"
(Exhibit L), and "is obstructive of good understanding with our neighbors" (Exhibit M); and by the testimony of a large number of
Chinese merchants and of other well qualified persons to the effect that sufficient bookkeepers are not available, that it would
not be possible for many Chinese merchants, especially the smaller ones, to comply with the law, and that if the Chinese
merchants were compelled to keep their books in any language other than the Chinese language, it would bring serious
embarrassment to the great majority and might even drive many of them out of business.
Mr. Dee C. Chuan, the President of the China Banking Corporation and of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, and Honorable
Chow Kwo Hsien, Chinese Consul General for the Philippine Islands, testified that they, in collaboration with Chinese merchants,
had conducted an investigation from which they made the following estimate of the distribution of sales among the Chinese:
Of the wholesale merchants, 50 had average amount of sales of over P1,000,000; 150, over P500,000; 400, over P100,000, and
2,735, over P40,000. Of the 8,445 retail merchants, the average amount of sales was P5,446.40. Basing their calculations on the
above, it was found that the annual net income of the 8,445 Chinese retail merchants would not exceed P500 each, and of
2,000 of the 3,335 wholesale merchants, not to exceed P1,000. (Exhibit G.) The same investigation disclosed that not to exceed
12 Chinese firms are actually keeping their books in a language other than Chinese. The Chinese Consul General further testified
that from his inquiries, he had found that the great majority of the Chinese merchants are utterly unable to comply with Act No.
2972.
Mr. William T. Nolting, President of the Bank of the Philippine Islands and formerly Collector of Internal Revenue, testified to the
following salient facts: 1. Not over one per cent of the Chinese merchants are qualified to transact their business in English,
Spanish, or a native dialect; 2. It would be impossible to obtain accounts to assist them in keeping their books in English, Spanish,
or a local dialect, although this deficiency might be overcome in the future; 3. If the merchant is unable to understand his
accounts and cannot impose extreme confidence; in his bookkeeper, he is in a precarious position at all times; 4. An attempt to
enforce Act No. 2972 would not facilitate the collection of taxes from the Chinese merchants but on the other hand might prove
prejudicial both to the interests of the Government and of the Chinese; 5. When he was in charge of the Bureau of Internal
Revenue, he never experienced any difficulty in finding and employing a sufficient number of competent and honest Chinese
accountants to make the necessary inspection of the books of Chinese merchants; 6. The honesty of the Chinese merchants in
making the declarations of their sales compares favorably with other nationalities in that respect; and 7. To permit the Chinese
merchants to keep two sets of books, one in Chinese and the other in English, Spanish, or some local dialect, would be a most
dangerous practice because entries might be made in one set that would not be made in the other.
The reply of the fiscal is to the effect that the oppressiveness of the law has been considerably exaggerated, that it applies as
well to Japanese and other foreign merchants who do not complain, that only a relatively small per cent of the Chinese
merchants seek to obstruct the enforcement of the law, that bookkeepers are available if the Chinese wish to employ them, and
that the new law will facilitate governmental inspection of merchants' books. Numerous witnesses have been called and
numerous documents have been offered to substantiate the stand taken by the Government. We will here notice only an
indorsement by Wenceslao Trinidad, former Collector of Internal Revenue, and the testimony of Juan Posadas, the present
Collector of Internal Revenue.
Former Collector Trinidad, in a communication addressed to the Secretary to the Governor-General on September 22, 1921, said:
During the year 1920, internal revenue tax receipts were issued to 95,363 merchants and manufacturers, 183 printers and
publishers, 10,424 common carriers, 10,967 contractors and warehousemen, 58,942 peddlers of merchandise and 1,001 brokers.
All of the above-mentioned persons are required to pay percentage taxes on their gross sales or receipts. On account of the
nature of this tax, these persons are required to keep books of accounts wherein they can enter the amounts of business done
by them.
This Bureau has no statistics to show the number of Chinese engaged in different businesses subject to percentage taxes but i t is
safe to say that they represent fully sixty per cent of the numbers stated above. All of these Chinese merchants keep their
accounts in Chinese, with the exception of a very few large business houses which keep two sets of books of accounts, one in
Chinese and the other in Spanish. There are also other businessmen who do not keep their books of accounts either in English or
Spanish. These are Germans, Japanese, Syrians and Hindus. Their number cannot be ascertained due to the lack of statistics but
there are many of them in the Islands, especially the Japanese.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue had up to this time employed 17 Chinese accountants, two Hindus and one Japanese. All of
these accountants have been separated from the service with the exception of four Chinese accountants who are at present
still employed in the Bureau. Out of the seventeen Chinese accountants employed, five were discharge for graft, seven resigned
or were forced to resign for their unsatisfactory services rendered or for suspicion of graft, and one deceased. In spite of this
number of accountants employed, only very little number of Chinese books have been investigated and audited, and in the
majority of them under-declarations of sales or receipts have been found.
There are also a number of Chinese who are not subject to percentage taxes, but who have books of accounts that need to be
audited for income-tax purposes.
It can be seen from the foregoing statements that the law requiring merchants to keep their books in English, Spanish or any of
the local dialects, is necessary in order to protect the revenues of the Government.
Collector Juan Posadas, in reply to question, and corroborated by other witnesses, made among others the following interesting
statements:
Mr. FELIX. If the books of account, not only of the Chinese merchants but of the other foreign merchants, were kept in their own
languages and not in English, Spanish, or some local dialect, would it be possible to have the books of accounts of these
merchants audited by the agents or employees of the Bureau of Internal Revenue? ... Mr. POSADAS. It would be impossible,
unless our office had a personnel sufficiently numerous and competent to make the audits of the books of account in the
different languages in which they were kept.
Mr. FELIX. Has the Bureau of Internal Revenue that sufficient and competent personnel to audit the books of account of
merchants who do not keep their books in Spanish, English, or some local dialect? Mr. POSADAS. No, sir, we have only an
insignificant number of Chinese accountants to make examinations of the books of the Chinese merchants.
x x x x x x x x x
Mr. FELIX. If the Bureau of Internal Revenue were not able as according to you it is not able to examine properly the books
of accounts of merchants who do not keep their books in English, Spanish, or some local dialect, may the case arise wherein
those merchants who do not keep their books in the languages permitted by Act No. 2972 would fail to pay the full amount of
taxes due to the internal revenue, even though they were acting in good faith? ... Mr. POSADAS. Yes, sir, because judging
from the audits even of those books of accounts which are intelligible to the office personnel, the office has found many
differences, or items not declared for the purpose of taxation.
x x x x x x x x x
Mr. FELIX. Do you know how many returns of merchants were examined in 1922 by the Chinese accountants of the income tax
division of your Bureau? ... Mr. POSADAS. During that year, the Chinese accountants in the income tax division inspected 477
returns of Chinese.
x x x x x x x x x
Mr. FELIX. Do you know whether there were any undeclarations in those cases, that were inspected that you have referred to? . ..
Mr. POSADAS. In the comparison of these returns with the books of account of the interested parties, differences were found
which amount to more than P600,000 which was not declared.
x x x x x x x x x
Mr. GIBBS. And, therefore, assuming that it would be possible to employ a sufficient number of competent Chinese inspectors of
books of account, there would be no advantage in the enforcement of Act No. 2972 except in so far as it might aid the directors
of the Bureau and the chiefs of division in making the inspections incident to deciding disputes between the inspectors and the
merchants that you have mentioned? Mr. POSADAS. The advantage of the Accounting Law, which compels merchants to keep
their books in English, Spanish, or some local dialect, lies precisely in the fact that it would facilitate the inspection of these books
of account by the employees of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and enable them to check up the taxes which have been paid
the merchants and ascertain whether or not they agree with the transactions actually had. This work is at present being done so
far as concerns the merchants who keep their books in languages comprehensible to the Bureau, and to a certain extent it
means that these merchants are penalized. On the other hand, it has been almost impossible to do this with regard to those
merchants who keep their books entirely in languages not comprehensible to the office, and the net result therefore is that while
we can collect differences in taxes due from part of the merchants, it is almost impossible to do so with regard to the other part.
x x x x x x x x x
Mr. GIBBS. But supposing that you had also Chinese accountants competent to act as supervising agents in the provinces, then
what advantage would there be in enforcing Act No. 2972? Mr. POSADAS. The advantage would consist precisely in the fact
that we would avoid the duplication of personnel, because otherwise we would have to duplicate the personnel in each district
by employing Filipinos and Chinese.
Mr. GIBBS. Could you not easily put in a Chinese district inspector and a Filipino district inspector, leaving it to the Chinese district
inspector to inspect the books of the Chinese and to the Filipino district inspector the books of the Filipinos and others? Mr.
POSADAS. It is physically impossible to employ Chinese supervisors, in view of the fact that up to this time I have never known of a
Chinese who has qualified himself in the civil service to occupy the position.
x x x x x x x x x
Mr. GIBBS. Is it not true, Mr. POSADAS, that the practice of inspecting the books of the account of the Chinese by means of
Chinese accountants has been followed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue in the Philippines for the past twenty years or more?
Mr. POSADAS. To judge from the results of the inspections made by my Bureau during my incumbency therein, I am led to
believe that the inspections which were formerly made were superficial, in view of the fact that the Bureau during these latter
years, he discovered large differences which were never declared for the purposes of taxation.
x x x x x x x x x
Mr. GIBBS. Let's put the question in another form, Mr. Posadas: Is it not a fact that the only possible benefit which the Bureau of
Internal Revenue would derive from the enforcement of Act No. 2972 would be in so far as it might assist the Bureau in checking
up the information required by its regulations? Mr. POSADAS. Yes, sir, and to determine whether any items subject to taxation
had been omitted.
Mr. GIBBS. Another question, Mr. Posadas: Don't you think that by means of Chinese accountants, much more satisfactory kept in
Chinese than from books kept abominably in English or Spanish? Mr. POSADAS. Even though the books which are kept in a
language other than Chinese were abominably kept, as long as they contain the entries of all the transactions are carried out by
a merchant or by a person subject to taxation, it would always be better than a book which is incomprehensible to the
administrators of the Bureau.
Some slight consideration of the language question in general and of the language question in the Philippines in particular, will
assist us in determining if the effect of enforcing Act No. 2972 will cause as much hardship and will be so oppressive on one
particular nationality as to nullify the law, or whether the judiciary can constitutionally enforce the law.
Language is the medium by which thoughts are conveyed from one person to another. The law before us recognizes as
permissible mediums for business and taxation purposes, English the language of the people of the British Empire and the
Republic of the United States; Spanish the language of the people of Spain; and local dialects the language of the home in
the Philippines. Of these native dialects, as disclosed in a statement prepared by Dr. T.H. Pardo de Tavera, Director of the
Philippine Library and Museum, there are a grand total of eighty-seven, six with extensive literature, and the others with little or no
literature. (Exhibit F.) The law fails to take cognizance of the Chinese language, one of the oldest and one of the most extensively
used languages in the world.
The Philippine Organic Act of Congress of August 29, 1916, recognizes for electoral purposes, "Spanish, English, or a native
language." (Sec. 15.) It enumerates as a qualification for an elective member of the Senate and the House of the Philippine
Legislature, ability "to read and write either the English or Spanish language." (Sec. 13, 14.) The Municipal Law requires as a
qualification for an elective municipal officer, ability to read and write intelligently either Spanish, English, or the local dialect.
(Administrative Code, sec. 2174.) The official language of the courts and their records is at present either English or Spani sh,
although in practice, Spanish is used more extensively in the lower courts, and English in the appellate court. (Code of Civil
Procedure, sec. 12, as amended by Act No. 2830. ) The official language of the legislative branch of the Government is either
English or Spanish, although in practice Spanish is more extensively used, while exactly the reverse is true of the executive branch
of the Government. In compliance with the President's Instructions to the Commission of April 7, 1900, full opportunity has been
given to all the people of the Island to acquire the use of the English language, with the result that English is made the basis of
public and private school instruction. (Administrative Code, sec. 922.) In the customs service, the law provides that the cargo
manifest and each copy thereof shall be accompanied by a translation into English, if originally written in a language other than
English. (Administrative Code, sec. 1226.)
The above brief description of the language situation at least discloses some of the difficulties which have beset the attempt to
hasten the adoption of a common language in the Philippines. Yet it is evident, that the Filipino people have cheerfully imposed
upon themselves the burden of acquiring one more languages other than their native languages and have now, through their
elective representatives, sought to require conformity with governmental policy by a large class of foreign residents.
In the United States during the months immediately following the conclusion of the World War, a number of States passed
statutes in substantially the same form forbidding the teaching of any modern language except English, to children below the
eight grade in any school. The United States Supreme Court held the statutes unconstitutional on account of having no
reasonable relation to some purpose within the competency of the State to effect, and on account of violating the
constitutional guarantee of liberty in the Federal Constitution. "The protection of the Constitution extends to all," it was said, "to
those who speak other languages as well as to those born with English on the tongue." (Meyer vs. Nebraska, Bartels vs. Iowa,
Pohl vs. Ohio, Nebraska District of Evangelical Lutheran Synod vs. Mckelvie [1923], 262 U.S., 390, 404; XII Michigan Law Review,
Jan., 1924, p. 248.)
In other countries, however, notably in the Republics in the Americas, which have had their institutional law greatly influenced by
the United States Constitution, laws are on the statute books which permit only Spanish to be used in commercial transactions.
This is the system found in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Salvador, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
(Commercial Laws of the World, vols. 1, 2 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, and 20; Manzano, Bonilla y Miana, Codigos de Comercio, Tomos II y III;
Wheless, Compendium of the Laws of Mexico, vol. I; Exhibit 12.)
The purpose of the Legislature in enacting Act No. 2972 is disclosed by the decision of this court in Young vs. Rafferty, supra, by
the messages of the Governor-General, by the hearings before the committees of the Philippine Legislature, and by other
sources. All these indicate that the Act is a fiscal measure intended to facilitate the work of the government agents and to
prevent fraud in the returns of merchants, in conformity with the sales tax and the income tax. For instance, in the decision in
Young vs. Rafferty, supra, it was stated: "... It need hardly be said that the record which merchants are required to keep of their
daily sales under the provisions of the circular letter of the Collector set out in the complaint is simplicity itself, and that it will, if
honestly and faithfully kept, enable the Government to collect the percentage tax exactly due it. ..."
Conceded that the Chinese handle sixty per cent of the aggregate business of the Philippines, approximate equality in taxation
demands that they pay something like the same proportion in taxes for the support of the State.
In enacting Act No. 2972, the Philippine Legislature did so pursuant to the wide authority which is delegated to it by Organic law.
The Organic Act, the Act of Congress of August 29, 1916, provides "That general legislative power, except as otherwise herein
provided, is hereby granted the Philippine Legislature, authorized by this Act." (Sec. 8, 12.)
The police power exists in the Philippine Islands in about the same form and to the same extent as in a State of the American
Union. Under the general police power, persons and property in the Philippines have been subjected to various kinds of
restrictions and burdens, in order to secure the general health, comfort, and prosperity of all. As indicated by a quotation of
petitioners, the police power is not limited to regulations necessary for the preservation of good order or the public health and
safety, but the prevention of fraud, cheating, and imposition is equally within its scope.
The rule to follow in the application of the police power is that announced in the leading case of Lawton vs. Steele ( [1894], 152
U.S., 133), oft quoted with approval by our Supreme Court, namely:
. . . Large discretion is necessarily vested in the legislature to determine, not only what the interests of the public requi re, but what
measures are necessary for the protection of such interests. To justify the state in thus interposing its authority in behalf of the
public, it must appear, first, that the interests of the public generally, as distinguished from those of a particular class, require such
interference; and, second, that the means are reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of the purpose, and not unduly
oppressive upon individuals. The legislature may not, under the guise of protecting the public interests, arbitrarily interfere with
private business, or impose unusual and unnecessary restrictions upon lawful occupations. . . . (See further, U.S. vs. Toribio [1910],
15 Phil., 85; Case vs. Board of Health and Heiser [1913], 24 Phil., 250; U.S. vs. Gomez Jesus [1915], 31 Phil., 218; Churchill and Tait vs.
Rafferty [1915], 32 Phil., 580; and Rubi vs. Provincial Board of Mindoro [1919], 39 Phil., 660.)
The power of taxation is, likewise, in the Philippines as in the United States, the strongest of all the powers of government,
practically absolute and unlimited. The familiar maxim early announced by Mr. Chief Justice Marshall for the United States
Supreme Court and since frequently invoked by the courts is that "the power to tax involves the power to destroy." (M'Culloch vs.
Maryland [1819], 4 Wheat., 316.) It is a legislative power. All its incidents are within the control of the legislature. It is the Legislature
which must questions of state necessarily involved in ordering a tax, which must make all the necessary rules and regulations
which are to be observed in order to produce the desired results, and which must decide upon the agencies by means of which
collections shall be made. (1 Cooley on Taxation, pp. 7, 43, 46, 54; Cowles vs. Brittain [1822], 2 Hawks, 204; Genet vs. City of
Brooklyn {1885], 99 N.Y., 296; Felsenheld vs. U. S. [1902], 186 U.S., Muoz & Co. vs. Hord [1909], 12 Phil., 624.)
It is equally manifest that the power to tax is not judicial power and that a strong case is required for the judiciary to declare a
law relating to taxation invalid. If, of course, so great an abuse is manifest as to destroy natural and fundamental rights, it is the
duty of the judiciary to hold such an Act unconstitutional. Nevertheless, certain of the limitations are such that they must address
themselves exclusively to the legislative department, and be subject only to review by the people who elect the members of this
department.
To use the language of Judge Cooley:
In order to bring taxation imposed by a state, or under its authority, within the scope of the provision of the fourteenth
amendment which prohibits the deprivation of property without due process of law, the case should be so clearly and probably
an illegal encroachment upon private rights as to leave no doubt that such taxation by its necessary operation is really spol iation
under the power to tax. ... The inhibition of the amendment was designed to prevent any person or class of persons from being
singled out as a special subject for discriminating and hostile legislation ... In the construction of the revenue laws, special
consideration is of course to be had of the purpose for which they are enacted. That purpose is to supply the government with
revenue. But in the proceedings to obtain this it is also intended that no unnecessary injury shall be inflicted upon the individual
taxed. While this is secondary to the main object the impelling occasion of the law it is none the less a sacred duty. Care is
taken in constitutions to insert provisions to secure the citizen against injustice in taxation, and all legislative action i s entitled to
the presumption that this has been intended. . . . (1 Cooley on Taxation, pp. 55, 56, 75, 452.)
The petitioners are Chinese subjects. The treaty rights accorded the Chinese are those of the most favored nation. Their
constitutional rights are those accorded all aliens, which means that the life, liberty, or property of these persons cannot be
taken without due process of law, and that they are entitled to the equal protection of the laws, without regard to their race.
(Yick Wo vs. Hopkins [1885], 118 U.S., 356; Kwong Sing vs. City of Manila, supra.) Our Code of Commerce and our Corporation
Law permit foreigners, and companies created in a foreign country, to engage in commerce in the Philippine Islands. (Code of
Commerce, art. 15; Act No. 1459, sec. 73.) The rights of these Chinese aliens are not less than the rights of American and
Philippine citizens. Nor more.
Six decisions bearing particularly on the rights of the Chinese, three coming from the United States Supreme Court, two from the
Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands, and one from the Supreme Court of Hawaii have at least persuasive application to the
instant proceedings. Two of the decisions of the United States Supreme Court that we have in mind, Barbier vs. Connolly ( [1884],
113 U.S., 27) and Yick Wo vs. Hopkins ( [1885], 118 U.S., 356), are so well known as merely require citation, while a recent series of
cases on the language question have already been mentioned. We only stop to quote one significant sentence taken from Mr.
Justice Field's opinion, pertaining to the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, in the first cited case, namely:
. . .Class legislation, discriminating against some and favoring others, is prohibited; but legislation which, in carrying out a public
purpose, is limited in its application, if within the sphere of its operation it affects alike all persons similarly situated, is not within the
Amendment.
The case of Young vs. Rafferty, supra, of Philippine origin we have heretofore noticed. But later in point of time, a question was
raised in the Philippine courts relative to the power of the Municipal Board of the City of Manila to enact Ordinance No. 532,
requiring receipts in duplicate in English and Spanish duly signed, showing the kind and number of articles delivered by laundries
and dyeing and cleaning establishments. (Kwong Sing vs. City of Manila, supra.) It was held that as said ordinance was neither
oppressive, nor unequal, nor unjust, it was valid. It was said:
The purpose of the municipal authorities in adopting the ordinance is fairly evident. Ordinance No. 532 was enacted, it is said, to
avoid disputes between laundrymen and their patrons and to protect customers of laundries who are not able to decipher
Chinese characters from being defrauded. The object of the ordinance was, accordingly, the promotion of peace and good
order and the prevention of fraud, deceit, cheating, and imposition. The convenience of the public would also presumably be
served in a community where there is a Babel of tongues by having receipts made out in the two official languages. Reasonable
restraints of a lawful business for such purposes are permissible under the police power. The legislative body is the best judge of
whether or not the means adopted are adequate to accomplish the ends in view.
x x x x x x x x x
Our view, after most thoughtful consideration, is, that the ordinance invades no fundamental right, and impairs no personal
privilege. Under the guise of police regulation, an attempt is not made to violate personal or property rights. The ordinance is
neither discriminatory nor unreasonable in its operation. It applies to all public laundries without distinction, whether they belong
to Americans, Filipinos, Chinese, or any other nationality. All, without exception, and each and everyone of them without
distinction, must comply with the ordinance. There is no privilege, no discrimination, no distinction. Equally and uniformly the
ordinance applies to all engaged in the laundry business, and, as nearly as may be, the same burdens are cast upon them.
x x x x x x x x x
There is no analogy between the instant case and the former one of Young vs. Rafferty ( [1916], 33 Phil., 556). The holding there
was that the Internal Revenue Law did not empower the Collector of Internal Revenue to designate the language in which the
entries in books shall be made by merchants subject to the percentage tax. ... There, the action was taken by means of
administrative regulation; here, by legislative enactment. There, authority was rested on specific delegated powers; here, on
both specific power and the all-pervading police power. There, governmental convenience was the aim; here, the public
welfare. We are convinced that the same justices who participated in the decision in Young vs. Rafferty (supra) would now
agree with the conclusion toward which we are tending.
The case most directly in line with the facts before us, is that of the King vs. Lau Kiu ( [1888], 7 Hawaii, 489), decided by the
Supreme Court of the Hawaii Islands during the period of the monarchial regime in those Islands. An Act of the Hawaii Legislature
prescribed, that no wholesale or retail license should be granted to any person except upon the express condition that the
licensee shall at all times keep full, true, and correct books of account of all business transacted by him in connection with such
license, in the English, Hawaii, or some European language. It was contended among other things that this was legislation
against one certain class of subjects in the Kingdom, to wit, against such subjects (and particularly the Chinese) as do not speak
or write the Hawaiian, English, or any European language, and was not applicable to all citizens alike. It was held by the
Supreme Court that this Act was contrary to articles 1 and 14 of the Constitution, which secure to all persons the enjoyment of life
and liberty and the right of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property according to law. It was held, further, that the Act
could not be sustained as an exercise of the police power of the state, as it had no relation to the health, comfort, safety, or
welfare of the public.
The presumption is always in favor of constitutionality. As the United States Supreme Court in a case of Philippine origin said: "...
The function of the legislature is primary, its exercise fortified by presumption of right and legality, and is not to be interfered with
lightly, nor by any judicial conception of its wisdom or propriety. ..." (Weems vs. United States [1910], 217 U.S., 349.) This
presumption is especially strong in the case of statutes enacted to promote a public purpose, such as statutes relating to
taxation. To doubt is to sustain.
Only the other day, the United States Supreme Court, speaking through Mr. Justice Sutherland, said:
The judicial duty of passing upon the constitutionality of an act of Congress is one of great gravity and delicacy. The statute here
in question has successfully borne the scrutiny of the legislative branch of the government, which, by enacti ng it, has affirmed its
validity; and that determination must be given great weight. This court, by an unbroken line of decisions from Chief Justice
Marshall to the present day, has steadily adhered to the rule that every possible presumption is in favor of the validity of an act of
Congress until overcome beyond rational doubt. But if, by clear and indubitable demonstration, a statute be opposed to the
Constitution, we have no choice but to say so. . . . (Adkins vs. Children's Hospital of the District of Columbia [1923], 261 U.S., 525;
67 Law. ed., 785.)
That the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands has consistently followed these rules is disclosed by the few laws held invalid.
During the twenty-three years of the Supreme Court's existence, it has never held invalid one complete law, while portions of law
have been nullified on but few occasions. (Casanovas vs. Hord [1907], 8 Phil., 125; Omo vs. Insular Government [1908], 11 Phil., 67;
Weigall vs. Morgan Shuster [1908], 11 Phil., 340; Barrameda vs. Moir [1913], 25 Phil., 44; McGirr vs. Hamilton and Abreu [1915], 30
Phil., 563; Central Capiz vs. Ramirez [1920], 40 Phil., 883; Concepcion vs. Paredes [1921], 42 Phil., 599; McDaniel vs. Apacible and
Cuisia [1922], 44 Phil., 248.)
It may be said to be an elementary, a fundamental, and a universal rule of construction, applied when considering
constitutional questions, that when a law is susceptible of two constructions one of which will maintain and the other destroy it,
the courts will always adopt the former. Whenever a law can be so construed as to uphold it, it will be so construed although the
construction which is adopted does not appear to be as natural as another construction. But where the meaning of the Act is
plain, words cannot be read into it or out of it in order to save the law. (1 Lewis' Sutherland Statutory Construction, pp. 135, 136;
Cooley's Constitutional Limitations, 184; 6 R.C.L., 78.)
In the early case of United States vs. Coombs ( [1838], 12 Peters, 72), Mr. Justice Story, speaking for the United States Supreme
Court, said:
Before we proceed to the direct consideration of the true import and interpretation of this section, it seems highly important, if
not indispensable, to say a few words as to the constitutional authority of Congress to pass the same. For it, upon a just
interpretation of the terms thereof, Congress have exceeded their constitutional authority, it will become our duty to say so, and
to certify our opinion on this points submitted to us in favor of the defendant. On the other hand, if the section admits of two
interpretations, each of which is within the constitutional authority of Congress, that ought to be adopted which best conforms
to the terms and the objects manifested in the enactment, and the mischiefs which it was i ntended to remedy. And again, if the
section admits of two interpretations, one of which brings it within, and the other presses it beyond the constitutional authority of
Congress, it will become our duty to adopt the former construction; because a presumption never ought to be indulged that
Congress meant to exercise or usurp any constitutional authority, unless that conclusion is forced upon the court by language
altogether unambiguous. . . .
In the later case of Board of Supervisors of Grenada County vs. Brown ( [1884], 112 U.S., 261), Mr. Justice Harlan, speaking for the
United States Supreme Court, said:
It certainly cannot be said that a different construction is required by the obvious import of the words of the statute. But if there
were room for two constructions, both equally obvious and reasonable, the court must, in deference to the Legislature of the
State, assume that it did not overlook the provisions of the Constitution and designed the Act of 1871 to take effect. Our duty,
therefore, is to adopt that construction which, without doing violence to the fair meaning of the words used, brings the statute
into harmony with the provisions of the Constitution, Cooley Constitutional Law, 184-5; Newland vs. Marsh, 19 Ill., 384; People vs.
Supervisors, 17 N.Y., 241; Colwell vs. Water Power Co., 4 C.E. Green (19 N.J. Eq.), 249. And such is the rule recognized by the
Supreme Court of Mississippi in Marshall vs. Grimes, 41 Miss., 31, in which it was said: "General words in the Act should not be so
construed as to give an effect to it beyond the legislative power, and thereby render the Act unconstitutional. But, if possible, a
construction should be given to it that will render it free from constitutional objection; and the presumption must be that the
Legislature intended to grant such rights as are legitimately within its power." Again, in Sykes vs. Mayor, 55 Mississippi, 143: "It ought
never to be assumed that the lawmaking department of the government intended to usurp or assume power prohibited to it.
And such construction, if the words will admit of it, ought to be put on its legislation as will make it consistent with the supreme
law."
Identical canons of statutory construction have often been invoked in the Philippines to enable the courts to avoid declaring a
law unconstitutional. For instance, the decision in the well known case of In re Guaria ( [1913], 24 Phil., 37, 46), citing Black on
Interpretation of Laws, pp. 87, 93, and 94, is authority for this statement of the rule: "It is the duty of the courts in construing a
statute enacted by the Philippine Commission (Legislature), not to give it a construction which would be repugnant to an Act of
Congress, if the language of the statute is fairly susceptible of another construction not in conflict with the higher law; and in
doing so, contentions touching the apparent intention of the legislator will be disregarded which would lead to the conclusion
that the Commission intended to enact a law in violation of an Act of Congress." Not long since, this court, in the case of Fuentes
vs. Director of Prisons, No. 22449,1 saved Act No. 3104 relating to the death penalty, from a fate similar to its subject by refusing to
give a literal meaning to the phraseology of the law.
We have been enveigled into a much more elaborate discussion of this case than is at all essential, for two reasons: Firstly,
because of the earnestness of counsel who have impressed on the court with marked ability the merits of their respective cases
and the dangers which lurk in a contrary holding; and secondly, because of the effectiveness of the background as indicative of
executive purpose and legislative intent. Speaking frankly, however, a majority of the court has all the time had a well defined
opinion which we will now state. We come to the last question suggested, a construction of Act No. 2972 which allows the court
legally to approve it.
A literal application of the law would make it unlawful for any Chinese merchant to keep his account books in any language
other than English, Spanish, or a local dialect. The petitioners say the law is susceptible of that interpretation. But such
interpretation might, and probably would, cause us to hold the law unconstitutional.
A second interpretation is that the Chinese merchant, while permitted to keep his books of account in Chinese, must also keep
another set of books in either English, Spanish, or a native dialect. The respondents claim the law is susceptible of such
construction. It occurs to us, however, that this construction might prove as unsatisfactory as the first. Fraud is possible in any
language. An approximation to governmental convenience and an approximation to equality in taxation is the most which may
be expected.
A third construction which is permissible in view of the history of the legislation and the wording of the statute, is, that the law only
intended to require the keeping of such books as were necessary in order to facilitate governmental inspection for tax purposes.
It has not escaped our notice that the law does not specify what books shall be kept. It is stated by competent witnesses that a
cash book, a journal, and a ledger are indispensable books of account for an efficient system of accounting, and that, in the
smaller shops, even simpler entries showing merely the daily record of sales and record of purchases of merchandise would be
sufficient. The keeping of records of sales and possibly further records of purchases, in English Spanish, or native dialect, and the
filling out of the necessary forms would serve the purpose of the Government while not being oppressive. Actually, notations in
English, Spanish, or a dialect of all sales in sales books, and of data in other specified forms are insisted upon by the Bureau of
Internal Revenue, although as appears from Exhibit 2, it is doubtful is all Chinese merchants have complied with these
regulations. The faithful observance of such rules by the Chinese is not far removed from the offer of cooperation oft made for
them by the petitioners or the "translation of the account books" oft mentioned and explained by the respondents.
The law, in speaking of any person, company, partnership, or corporation, makes use of the expression "its account books." Does
the phrase "its account books" mean that all the account books of the person, company, partnership, or corporation must be
kept exclusively in English, Spanish, or any local dialect? The petitioners argue that the law has this meaning. Or does the phrase
"its account books" mean that the persons, company, partnership, or corporation shall keep duplicate sets of account books,
one set in Chinese and the other a translation into English, Spanish, or any local dialect? Counsel for the respondents urge this
construction of the law upon the court. Or does the phrase "its account books" mean that the person, company, partnership, or
corporation must keep such account books as are necessary for taxation purposes? Thi s latter interpretation occurs to us as a
reasonable one and as best safeguarding the rights of the accused. And lastly, what effect has Act No. 2972 had upon the
provisions of the Code of Commerce on the subject of merchants? Has the Act repealed or modified any article of the Code of
Commerce?
The interrogatories above made at least lead to the deduction that the law is more or less ambiguous and that it will bear two or
more constructions.
Let us repeat: Act No. 2972 is a fiscal measure. It should be so construed if possible as to effectuate legislative intent, as collected
from the occasion for the law, the circumstance under which it was enacted, the mischief to be remedied, and the policy which
dictated its passage. It should be so construed if possible as to avoid conflict with the constitution, although such construction
may not be the most obvious or natural one. Giving, therefore, to the law a meaning which will carry out the main governmental
purpose and which will permit us to sanction its constitutionality, it seeks to prohibit not only the Chinese but all merchants of
whatever nationality from making entries in the books of account or forms subject to inspection for taxation purposes in any
other language than either the English or Spanish language or a local dialect, although permitting all merchants to execute their
commercial transactions or operations in any language or dialect they may prefer, and although permitting them to keep such
other books of account as their personal convenience may dictate and in a language which will come most easily to them. We
would go so far as to hold that circular No. 467 of the Bureau of Internal Revenue which this court once held beyond the power
of the Collector of Internal Revenue to promulgate, and any other reasonable regulation of a similar nature, as within the power
of the Philippine Legislature to sanction and entirely enforceable.
To any possible plaint by the Government, that this is tantamount to "judicial legislation," we would say: It is not "judicial
legislation" as this phrase is commonly used in the spirit of antagonistic fault finding. No words are written into the law. No words
are taken out of the law. It is merely a practical judicial construction of a law where the validity of this law is in issue, which gives
to the law a meaning accomplishing everything needed by the Government for tax purposes, without being unduly oppressive
on the individual, and which permits the courts to uphold the law.
To the petitioners, who by our decision do not obtain all they may wish, we append this word of advice: Under such a
construction as is above indicated, the Chinese will not be singled out as a special subject for discriminating and hostile
legislation. There will be no arbitrary deprivation of liberty or arbitrary spoliation of property. There will be no unjust and illegal
discrimination between persons in similar circumstances. The law will prove oppressive to the extent that all tax laws are
oppressive, but not oppressive to the extent of confiscation. The means to accomplish a necessary interference with private
business are no more oppressive upon individuals than is necessary to maintain the State. The law is not intended for the
convenience of the trader or the protection of the creditors, but has relation to the public welfare, to the power of taxation, to
the right of the government to exist. The Chinese must bear their just proportion of the tax burden, however unwelcome it may
be, without flinching.
A faint effort has been made by the petitioners to have the court declare Act No. 2972 void because the subject thereof is not
expressed in its title. But legislation should not be embarrassed by such strict construction as is urged by counsel. No
distinguishable variance between the title of the law and the body of the law can be discovered after microscopic examination.
The law is brief in its terms, and neither the Legislature nor the public need be misled by the title. (Government of the Phi lippine
Islands vs. Municipality of Binalonan and Roman Catholic Bishop of Nueva Segovia [1915], 32 Phil., 634.)
We construe Act No. 2972 as meaning that any person, company, partnership, or corporation, engaged in commerce, industry,
or any other activity for the purpose of profit in the Philippine Islands, shall keep its account books, consisting of sales books and
other records and returns required for taxation purposes by regulations of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, in effect when thi s
action was begun, in English, Spanish, or a local dialect. Agreeable to such construction, we hold Act No. 2972 valid and
constitutional.
The temporary injunction heretofore issued is dissolved although under the construction given to the law it may well be doubted
if the Government will care to proceed with the criminal prosecution. If the Government should not dismiss the information, this
question may be raised by demurrer in the lower court.
Petition denied without costs.
Avancea, Villamor, Ostrand, and Romualdez, JJ., concur.
Johnson, Acting Chief Justice, took no part.


Separate Opinions
STREET, J., dissenting:
The Act which has been assailed in this case looks innocent enough on its face but when examined in connection with
conditions among those for whom it was prescribed, compliance is found to be impossible, or supposing that the Act could be
complied with, the loss resulting to thousands of Chinese merchants would be so disproportionate to any possible good to be
attained, that the enforcement of the law would amount to a denial of liberty and equal protection of the law to the persons
adversely affected.
It is unnecessary for me to enlarge upon the destructive effects of the law as a ground for declaring it invalid, for it is admitted in
the majority opinion that if Act No. 2972 is taken to mean what it says, it must be considered a dead letter. But after admitting this
much, the court, in its extreme reluctance to declare the entire statute void, addresses itself to the problem of limiting its effect
by what I consider to be an illegitimate process of judicial amendment under the guise of interpretation. The first section of the
Act, as thus amended by the Supreme Court, reads as follows:
It shall be unlawful for any person, company, partnership or corporation engaged in commerce, industry or any other activity for
the purpose of profit in the Philippine Islands, in accordance with existing law, to keep its account books, (consisting of sales
books and other records and returns required for taxation purposes by regulations of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, in effect
when this action was begun) in any language other than English, Spanish or any local dialect.
The new matter which I have here inserted in parenthesis is taken verbatim from the dispositive part of the decision and defi nes
precisely the extent to which the court has decided to allow the Act to operate. Where are the rules of interpretation by which
this matter can be deduced from the language of the Act? The opinion of the court supplies no answer. Of course if the
Legislature had confined the Act to giving the Collector of Internal Revenue a power to prescribe forms and require data
convenient for the assessment of taxes, the law would not have been subject to criticism; but how can an intention to legislate in
this form be deduced from the proposition, so entirely distinct, contained in the Act, that it shall be unlawful for a merchant to
keep his account books in other languages than those mentioned? That the court is here exercising the mere role of a legislator
is very obvious, for who can say that the Philippine Legislature, conscious of the ineffectiveness of the law as written, would have
willed that the power granted to the Collector should take the precise form and extent now allowed by the court? In assuming
the functions of a legislature we are entering upon a sea that has not been charted for the guidance of courts, and if this
decision should prove fruitful as a precedent we shall find ourselves free in the future to wander pretty much at will through
legislative Acts.
The precise rule applicable to this case is stated in Meyer vs. Nebraska (262 U.S., 390; 67 Law. ed., 1042), where the Supreme
Court of the United States, speaking through Mr. Justice McReynolds, declared that the liberty secured by the constitutional
provision under discussion may not be interfered with, under the guise of protecting the public interest, by legislative action
which is arbitrary or without reasonable relation to some purpose within the competency of the state to effect.
The decision of the Supreme Court of Hawaii in King vs. Lau Kiu (7 Hawaiian Rep., 489), declaring invalid a statute almost exactly
like that involved in this action is also suggestive, as reflecting judicial sense in a community containing a large element of
Chinese population.
It is my opinion that Act No. 2972 of the Philippine Legislature is wholly void, and the injunction should have been made
perpetual. In addition to smashing the law the court should have removed the debris.


JOHNS, J., dissenting:
With all due respect to the well written, exhaustive majority opinion, the only question involved is the meaning and construction
which should be placed upon Act No. 2972, which is entitled "An Act to provide in what language account books shall be kept,
and to establish penalties for its violation."
SECTION 1. It shall be unlawful for any person, company, partnership or corporation engaged in commerce, industry or any other
activity for the purpose of profit in the Philippine Islands, in accordance with existing law, to keep its account books in any
language other than English, Spanish or any local dialect.
SEC. 2. Any person violating the provisions of this Act shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not more than ten thousand
pesos, or by imprisonment for not more than two years or both.
It will be noted that section 1 makes it unlawful for any of the persons specified "to keep its account books in any language other
than English, Spanish or any local dialect." Section 2 provides that any person violating the provisions of section 1 shall be
punished by a fine of not more than P10,000 or by imprisonment for not more than two years or both. In other words, you have a
law prohibiting the doing of certain things and providing a punishment for its violation. Hence, the statute in question is a criminal
law, and must be construed as such.
Sutherland on Statutory Construction is recognized as standard authority all over the world, and portions of it are quoted wi th
approval in the majority opinion.
In his second edition, section 531, the author says:
What statutes are penal. Among penal laws which must be strictly construed, those most obviously included are all such acts
as in terms impose a fine or corporal punishment under sentence in state prosecutions, or forfeitures to the state as a punitory
consequence of violating laws made for preservation of the peace and good order of society.
The majority opinion frankly says:
A literal application of the law would make it unlawful for any Chinese merchant to keep his account books in any language
other than English, Spanish, or local dialect. The petitioners say the law is susceptible of that interpretation. But such interpretation
might, and probably would, cause us to hold the law unconstitutional.
In section 363, Sutherland on Statutory Construction, it is said.
. . . If a statute is plain, certain and unambiguous, so that no doubt arises from its own terms as to its scope and meaning, a bare
reading suffices; then interpretation is needless.
SEC. 366. ... We are not at liberty to imagine an intent and bind the letter of the act to that intent; much less can we indulge in
the license of striking out and inserting, and remodeling, with the view of making the letter express an intent which the statute in
its native form does not evidence. Every construction, therefore, is vicious which requires great changes in the letter of the
statute, and, of several constructions, that is to be preferred which introduces the most general and uniform remedy.
. . . No mere omission, no mere failure to provide for contingencies, which it may seem wise to have specifically provided for,
justify any judicial addition to the language of the statute.
The legislature must be understood to mean what it has plainly expressed, and this excludes construction. The legislative intent
being plainly expressed, so that the act read by itself, or in connection with other statutes pertaining to the same subject, is clear,
certain and unambiguous, the courts have only the simple and obvious duty to enforce the law according to its terms. ... If a
legislative enactment violates no constitutional provision or principle, it must be deemed its own sufficient and conclusive
evidence of the justice, propriety and policy of its passage. Courts have, then, no power to set it aside, or evade its operation by
forced and unreasonable construction. If it has been passed improvidently, the responsibility is with the legislature and not with
the courts.
SEC. 520. Strict construction of penal statutes. The penal law is intended to regulate the conduct of people of all grades of
intelligence within the scope of responsibility. It is therefore essential to its justice and humanity that it be expressed i n language
which they can easily comprehend; that it be hold obligatory only in the sense in which all can and will understand it. And this
consideration presses with increasing weight according to the severity of the penalty. Hence every provision affecting any
element of a criminal offense involving life or liberty is subject to the strictest interpretati on; and every provision intended for the
benefit of the accused, for the same humane reason, receives the most favorable construction. The rule that penal laws are to
be construed strictly is perhaps not much less old than construction itself. It is founded on the tenderness of the law for the rights
of individuals; and on the plain principle that the power of punishment is vested in the legislature, not in the judicial department.
It is the legislature, not the court, which is to define a crime and ordain its punishment. ... The case must be a very strong one
indeed which would justify a court in departing from the plain meaning of the words, especially in a penal act, in search of an
intention which the words themselves did not suggest. . . .
. . . "The established rule is," says the court in Ex parte Bailey, "that a penal law must be construed strictly, and according to its
letter. Nothing is to be regarded as included within them that is not within their letter as well as their spirit; nothing that is not
clearly and intelligibly described in the very words of the statute, as well as manifestly intended by the legislature. . . ."
SEC. 521. A penal statute cannot be extended by implication or construction. It cannot be made to embrace cases not within
the letter, though within the reason and policy, of the law.
Applying such rules of construction to Act No. 2972, how, where or in what manner is the language of Act No. 2972 ambiguous,
indefinite or uncertain? Every word of it is intelligent English. Where is there any doubt or uncertainty as to the meaning of any
word in the act? As the majority opinion states, if the language used in the act means what it says, it must be construed as
unconstitutional. For such reason, the majority opinion holds that the act should not be construed to mean what it says, but that
it should be construed to mean what it is claimed the legislature intended it should mean. If the language in the act was
indefinite, uncertain or ambiguous that position would be tenable.
Numerous decisions are cited in the majority opinion, all of which are good law, but only two of them are in point upon the main
question here involved, and both of them are squarely against the law as laid down in the majority opinion. In legal effect, that
opinion holds that Act No. 2972, in its existing form, and as it was enacted by the Legislature, is unconstitutional and void. It then
proceeds to reconstruct, change and modify the law, and then holds that the law, as reconstructed and modified is
constitutional. No law is cited which authorizes this or any other court to reconstruct or modify the plain, simple language of a
legislative act, for the simple reason that no such a law will ever be found. But, as Sutherland says, where, as in the instant case,
the language is clear and explicit, it must be construed to mean what it says.
On legal principle, the case of Meyer vs. Nebraska, decided by the Supreme Court of the United States at the October term,
1922 (67 Law ed., 1042), cited in the majority opinion, is square in point. The Legislature of Nebraska passed a law entitled "An Act
Relating to the Teaching of Foreign Languages in the State of Nebraska," section 1 of which is as follows:
No person, individually or as a teacher, shall, in any private, denominational, parochial or public school, teach any subject to
any person in any language other than the English language.
SEC. 2. Languages, other than the English language, may be taught as languages only after a pupil shall have attained and
successfully passed the eight grade as evidenced by a certificate of graduation issued by the country superintendent of the
country in which the child resides.
SEC. 3. Any person who violates any of the provisions of this Act shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction,
shall be subject to a fine of not less than twenty-five ($25) dollars, nor more than one hundred ($100) dollars or be confined in the
county jail for any period not exceeding thirty days for each offense.
That court held the act unconstitutional and void under the Fourteenth Amendment. Notice the similarity of the legal questions
involved. Also notice that section 2 of that Act provides that English language may be taught after the pupils have passed the
eight grade. In the instant law, there is no exception whatever. That law was held void by the highest court of the land whose
decisions this court should follow and respect. By comparison of the two laws, it shall be noted that there is much stronger reason
for holding the law unconstitutional in the instant case than in the case of Meyer vs. Nebraska. It will also be noted that the
Supreme Court of the United States squarely met and decided the constitutionality of the law.
The Legislature of the Hawaiian Kingdom enacted a law section 1 of which is as follows:
"That from and after the first day of October next, no wholesale or retail license shall be granted to any person except upon the
express condition that such licensee shall at all times keep full, true and correct books of account of all business transacted by
him in connection with such licensed business, which books of account shall be kept in the English, Hawaiian or some European
language." And the Supreme Court of Hawaii, in 7 Hawaiian Reports, 489, held that the law was unconstitutional and void.
Compare the language used in the Nebraska Act and the Hawaiian Act with that of Act No. 2972. In each case, it is plain, clear
and simple, and there is no doubt as to what the legislature intended. In the Nebraska case, there was no attempt made by the
Supreme Court of the United States to reconstruct, change or modify the law as it was enacted by the legislature. The same
thing is true in the Hawaiian case.
You will look in vain to find a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States where that court has ever reconstructed or
modified the plain, clear, simple language of a legislative act, for the purpose of holding it constitutional. We frankly concede
that, for taxation purposes, the legislature has the power to enact a law requiring that a record of all sales and purchases should
be kept in a given language, and to specify and define how and in what manner such record should be kept, and that such a
law would be valid. But we are not dealing with the question of what the legislature can do. The question involved here is what
the legislature has done. Both in the title and the body of the act, the legislature has said that it shall be unlawful for any person,
firm or corporation engaged in certain lines of business to keep its account books in any language other than English, Spanish or
any local dialect, and has expressly imposed a penalty for a violation of the act. There are no exceptions or limitations in the
language, and it is not confined or limited to any specific purpose. It is broad and general and applies to any and all account
books which may be kept or used in connection with the business.
The majority opinion holds that the law should be construed to read that account books, for taxation purposes only, shall be kept
in either English, Spanish or any local dialect. With all due respect to the majority opinion, that is the very highest type of judicial
legislation. If the act is to be so construed, then the law itself should specify and define what books are required to be kept for
taxation purposes, and how they should be kept, or it should delegate that power to the tax officials.
Assuming, as the majority opinion does, that Act No. 2972 should read that account books, for taxation purposes, should be kept
in their English, Spanish or any local dialect, the act does not specify or define what books shall be kept or how and in what
manner they shall be kept. Neither does it delegate that power to anyone else. In its effort in trying to get out of one hole and
make a void law a valid law, the majority opinion runs into another hole, which is equally fatal to law. If, as it holds, Act No. 2972
should be construed to mean that account books, for taxation purposes only, should be kept in their English, Spanish or some
local dialect, and the law does not specify what books shall be kept or how and in what manner they shall be kept and that
power is not delegated to anyone else, how can the law be enforced? Under such a construction, if a defendant should be
charged with a violation of the law, what law has he violated, and upon what legal principle could a conviction be sustained?
Upon that point, the law as drafted by the legislature is definite and certain. In legal effect, it provides that all account books for
any and all purposes shall be kept in either English, Spanish or some local dialect. The law as reconstructed by the majority
opinion would be that such account books are to be confined and limited to account books for taxation purposes. Yet, the law
does not specify what books shall be kept for that purpose, or how or in what manner they shall be kept, or what the entries shall
contain. Neither is that power delegated. In the absence of such provisions, how could anyone be convicted of a violation of
the law? For what crime could he be charged and what would be his offense?
Apparently, the majority opinion realizes the legal effect of its reconstruction of the law, for on page 36 (p. 420,supra), the
opinion says:
. . . it seeks to prohibit not only the Chinese but all merchants of whatever nationality from making entries in the books of account
or forms subject to inspection for taxation purposes in any other language than either the English or Spanish language or a l ocal
dialect, . . . .
And on page 37 (p. 420, supra), it says:
. . . We would go so far as to hold that circular No. 467 of the Bureau of Internal Revenue which this court once held beyond the
power of the Collector of Internal Revenue to promulgate, and any other reasonable regulation of a similar nature, as within the
power of the Philippine Legislature to sanction and entirely enforceable.
But it will be noted that Act No. 2972 does not say anything about "entries in the books of account or forms subject to inspection
for taxation purposes." Neither does it say anything about "circular No. 467 or any other reasonable regulation of a similar nature."
Neither is there any delegation of power to anyone. Hence, it must follow that until such time as the law is amended by the
legislature covering those points, it cannot be enforced. The act in question is in no way connected with, and does not in any
manner refer to, the "Code of Commerce."
Act No. 2972 is entitled "An Act to provide in what language account books shall be kept, and to establish penalties for its
violation," and section 1 provides that it shall be unlawful for certain persons "to keep its account books in any language other
than English, Spanish or any local dialect." The act is complete within itself and is separate and distinct from, and makes no
reference whatever to, any other act.
The Code of Commerce is entitled "Merchants and Commerce in General," and deals with commercial bodies and commercial
transactions.
If, as the majority opinion holds, Act No. 2972 should read "account books for taxation purposes," then Act No. 2972 should be
confined and limited to questions of taxation, which are entirely separate and distinct from "merchants and commerce in
general." We have yet to learn that legally speaking, questions of commerce and commercial transactions are synonyms with
questions of taxation.
It is said that this court has never declared an act of the legislature unconstitutional. Assuming that to be true, it is no argument
for or against the constitutionality of any law. On legal principle, Act No. 2972 was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme
Court of the United States; an example which it would be well for this court to follow. However grave the responsibility may be, if
a given law is unconstitutional, under our oath of office, it is our duty to so declare it.
We repeat that no law is cited in the majority opinion and that none will ever be found which holds the law in question to be
constitutional. The majority opinion violates every rule above quoted of Sutherland on Statutory Construction.
For such reasons, I vigorously dissent.
Plaintiffs should have the writ prayed for in their petition



G.R. No. L-278
HAYDEE HERRAS TEEHANKEE, petitioner,
vs.
THE DIRECTOR OF PRISONS, and LEOPOLDO ROVIRA, POMPEYO DIAZ, ANTONIO QUIRINO and JOSE P. VELUZ, Judges of People's
Court, respondents.
Vicente J. Francisco for petitioner.
Assistant Solicitor General Reyes and Solicitor Kapunan, Jr. for respondent Director of Prisons.
Respondent Judges of People's Court in their own behalf.
HILADO, J.:
On February 16, 1946, we approved a minute resolution ordering that "petitioner Haydee Herras Teehankee, upon her filing in this
Court of a bond in the sum of fifty thousand pesos (P50,000) and upon said bond duly approved, be forthwith set at liberty." This is
now written to set forth at length the reason underlying such order.
Petitioner was one of the persons detained by the Counter Intelligence Corps Detachment of the United States Army mentioned
in the Court's decision in case ofRaquiza vs. Bradford (75 Phil., 50). As said in that decision, petitioner was apprehended by the
said Counter intelligence Corps Detachment under Security Commitment Order No. 286 wherein she was specifically charged
with (a) "active collaboration with the Japanese," and (b) "previous association with the enemy." (Ibid., p. 56.) When she, along
with her co-detainees and co-petitioners in that case, was delivered by the United States Army to the Commonwealth
Government pursuant to the proclamation of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur of December 29, 1944, she was detained
by said Government under that charge. And under that charged. And under the same charge she has remained in custody of
the Commonwealth Government during all the time herein referred to.
Until the instant case was submitted for decision, no information had been filed against the petitioner under the People's Court
Act and the correlative provisions of the penal laws. When petitioner submitted to the People's Court her petition dated October
2, 1945, seeking temporary release under bail, said court by its order dated October 4, 1945, signed by Judge Antonio Quirino,
directed the Solicitor General, as head of the Office of Special Prosecutors, "to file his comment and recommendation, as soon
as possible." In compliance with said order, the office of Special Prosecutors filed its recommendation dated October 5, 1945,
wherein it was manifested "that on the strength of the evidence at hand, the reasonable bail recommended for the provincial
release of the petitioner be fixed at fifty thousand pesos (50,000)."
Presiding Judge Leopoldo Rovira of the People's Court, in view of said recommendation, entered an order dated October 9,
1945, referring the petition for reconsideration by the Fifth Division of the Court, but adding that in his opinion "it should be denied
notwithstanding the recommendation of the Solicitor General for her provisional release under a bond of fifty thousand pesos
(50,000)." And on that same date Judge Pompeyo Diaz of the same court entered an order disposing of the petition, as well as
the recommendation of the Solicitor General, in these words:
. . . . in view of the gravity of the offense as can be deduced from the fact that the office of Special Prosecutors recommends as
high as fifty thousands pesos (P50,000) for her provisional release, it is ordered that the said petition for provinsional release be, as
it is hereby denied.
A motion to reconsider this order was denied by Judge Diaz on October 13, 1945.
Petitioner filed with this court a petition for certiorari and mandamus (Herras Teehankee vs. Rovira, 75 Phil., 634), praying that the
orders above mentioned be set aside, they having been entered with abuse of discretion and without hearing granted to
petitioner. This court, on December 20, 1945, rendered a judgment the dispositive part of which provides and decrees as follows:
Wherefore, it is the judgment of this court that (a) the order of the People's Court, dated October 9, 1945, denying petitioner's
petition for provisional release under bail, and the order of said court, dated October 13, 1945, denying petitioner's motion for
reconsideration of said order of October 9, 1945, which we declare to have been entered with grave abuse of discretion, be set
aside; and (b) that for the proper application of the pertinent constitutional, statutory, and reglementary provisions alluded to in
the body of this decision, a hearing of petitioner's application for bail be held before the People's Court with due notice to the
Solicitor General, as well as to the petitioner, as hereinabove outlined, said hearing, whether summary or otherwise, to be such as
would enable the People's Court to exercise its sound discretion in the disposal of the aforesaid petition. Without costs. So
ordered.
Pursuant to this decision, the People's Court proceeded to hear the petition for provisi onal release under bail in the presence of
the petitioner on December 27, 1945. At such hearing, notwithstanding the special prosecutor's statement that he had no
objection to the petition, Judge antonio Quirino asked him questions tending to compel disclosure of the prosecution's
evidence, to which petitioner objected upon the ground that, under the circumstances, the only thing for the court to d was to
grant the petition. The court reserved its decision, but petitioner came to this court to raise the issue in the same case (Herras
Teehankee vs. Rovira, supra) in a motion filed on January 2, 1946. This court, on January 11, 1946, resolved said motion as follows:
Considering the motion of petitioner's counsel in G.R. No. L-101, Haydee Herras Teehankee, petitioner, vs. Leopoldo Rovira et al.,
respondents, filed on January 2, 1946, and the answer thereto filed by respondent Hon. Antonio Quirino, as Associate Judge of
the People's Court, dated January 3, 1946; it appearing on page 16 of the transcript Annex D of said motion that at the heari ng
held before the People's Court on December 27, 1945, pursuant to the decision of this court, counsel for petitioner made a
verbal petition asking the People's Court to issue an order for petitioner's release on bail in the amount of P50,000, said counsel
announcing that should the People's Court deny his said petition, he will seek the corresponding extraordinary legal remedy
before this court, and its appearing that the People's Court reserved its decision on the said oral petition, which is, therefore, still
pending resolution, which fact makes petitioner's motion of January 2, 1946, premature; said motion is denied, but with
instruction for the People's Court to render its decision on the aforesaid verbal petition, taking into account that when the
Special Prosecutor in capital cases like the present, does not oppose the petition for release on bail, the court should, as a
general rule, in the proper exercise of its discretion, grant the release after approval of the bail which it should fix for the purpose;
but if the court has reason to believe that the Special Prosecutor's attitude is not justified, it may ask him questions to ascertain
the strength of the state's evidence or to judge the adequacy of the amount of bail; when, however, the Special Prosecutor
refuses to answer any particular question on the ground that the answer may involve a disclosure imperiling the success of the
prosecution or jeopardizing the public interest, the court may not compel him to do so, if and when he exhibits a statement to
that effect of the Solicitor General, who, as head of the office of Special Prosecutors, is vested with the direction and control of
the prosecution, and may not, even at the trial, be ordered by the court to present evidence which he doe not want to
introduce provided, of course, that such refusal shall not prejudice the rights of the defendant or detainee.
On the same date, January 11, 1946, at 4.05 p.m., the People's Court was served with a copy of the above-quoted resolution.
Since its receipt of said copy until this case was submitted, said court has failed to decide petitioner's verbal application for
release under bail presented on December 27, 1945, and which it was instructed to decide; but on the contrary, respondent
Judge Antonio Quirino, for the second time, called said application for hearing on January 15, 1946, and insisted on addressi ng
to the Special Prosecutor practically the same questions as those which he had addressed to him at the hearing of December
27, 1945, and upon said prosecutor's declining to answer with the presentation of a certificate, dated January 14, 1946, of the
Solicitor General to the effect "that the office of Special Prosecutors is not, for the present, in a position to disclose the strength or
nature of the evidence which it has at hand in the case of the herein petitioner as it would imperial the success of the
prosecution and jeopardize public interest," ordered the arrest of said special prosecutor (Liwag) for alleged contempt of court,
and the application for bail was left undecided. That detention of Private Prosecutor Liwag gave rise to the habeas
corpus proceedings instituted in his behalf in case G.R. No. L-237 (42 Off. Gaz., 934), on January 15, 1946, which resulted in the
release of said official pursuant to an order, of the same date, by Hon. Gregorio Perfecto, Associate Justice of this Court. The
order issued by Justice Perfecto was predicated upon"the instructions contained in our resolution of January 11, 1946, above
quoted, to the effect that even where the People's Court believes that the special prosecutor's attitude in not opposing the
petitioner for provisional release under bail is not justified, if the Solicitor General filed a statement under his official oath to the
effect that the disclosure of the evidence in the hands of the prosecutor may imperial the success of the prosecution and
jeopardize public interest, the authority of the People's Court to inquire into the prosecution's evidence ceases and, therefore,
the prosecutor cannot be held guilty of contempt for refusing to answer the questions of the court. Respondent Judge Antonio
Quirino filed before this Court on January 17, 1946, a motion to reconsider the order issued by Justice Perfecto which in truth was
a motion to reconsider our instructions aforementioned, and this court by unanimous vote denied the motion.
Based upon what had erroneously been done by the People's Court at this second hearing , petitioner filed a verified motion in
said case G.R. No. L-1011 dated January 16; 1946, asking this Court to grant her directly provisional release under bail. We denied
the motion with the qualification that "there having been unnecessary delay in the disposition by respondents of the petition for
provisional release under bail, said respondents are hereby directed to act on and dispose of said petition without any further
delay." This order of denial was founded on the circumstance that the People's Court had not yet rendered its decision on the
verbal petition, and we then believed that, with the order of release issued by Justice perfecto in the habeas corpusproceedings
instituted by Special Prosecutor Liwag and with the unanimous denial by this Court of the motion for reconsideration filed by
Judge Quirino, our instructions had become clear to the People's Court and that, therefore, they would be followed in
subsequent proceedings by said court if no new circumstances should develop. But after the People's Court had been served
with a copy of our order of denial, it held another hearing on January 28, 1946, the third on the same petition, after which,
instead of acting upon the verbal application for provisional release under bail, it entered an order dated January 31, 1946,
purporting to pass upon petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the People's Court's order of October 9, 1945, which had been
set aside by our decision of December 20, 1945. However, in the body of its order the People's Court held that, under the
circumstances, it still had absolute discretion on the matter, contrary to the instructions contained in our resolution of January 11,
1946; and upon the basis of a secret knowledge acquired in a private conference had with the special prosecutor at the back
of the petitioner, it held further that there was "a myriad points which would establish the guilt of the petitioner, contrary to our
first resolution dated December 20, 1945, above quoted, wherein we held that the hearing should be in the presence of the
petitioner or at least with due notice to her.
With the foregoing background, the instant proceedings were commenced and prosecuted. Petitioner's original petition dated
February 2, 1946, was for the writ ofhabeas corpus which, in substance, alleges the facts stated in the preceding paragraphs
except the last order of the People's Court dated January 31, 1945, of which petitioner has not yet been notified. After receiving
copy thereof, petitioner filed a supplementary petition for certiorari dated February 4, 1946, praying that she be declared
entitled to provisional liberty; that the People's Court's order of January 31 be declared null and void because it is contrary to the
Constitution and the rules of court and entered with grave abuse of discretion, and that her immediate liberty under such bai l as
the court might fix, be decreed. In paragraph 3 of said supplementary petition, counsel states that, in view of the aforesaid order
of the People's Court of January 31, he agrees that this proceedings be considered as a combined proceeding
in certiorari andhabeas corpus, the latter in aid of the former.
Under date of February 4, 1946, the Director of Prisons, who is one of the respondents herein represented by the office of the
Solicitor General, filed his return wherein it is submitted that the said petition for the writ of habeas corpus is improper. Under date
of February 6, 1946, the said Director of Prisons, by the same counsel, filed a "constancia" wherein he manifests that, in
connection with the supplementary petition, he reiterates what has been alleged in his aforesaid return or answer dated the 4th
of the same month.
It is significant that no answer to the aforesaid supplementary petition has been filed by the People's Court.
On February 8, 1946, this Court by resolution ordered as follows:
The Solicitor General having filed a "constancia" to the supplementary petition, . . ., and the time to file the People's Court's
answer to said supplementary petition having expired; it is ordered that the case be set for hearing . . .
None of the parties appeared when the case was called for oral argument.
The original petition for the writ of habeas corpus was verified. The supplementary petition was not, it is true. But this omission is
immaterial, since the facts upon which the present decision is based are those appearing of record, those within the judicial
notice of the Court, those alleged in the verified petition, and those alleged or admitted in the respondents' answer.
Section 19 of Commonwealth Act No. 682 (People's Court Act), in its pertinent part, reads as follows:
Provided, however, That existing provisions of law to the contrary notwithstanding, the aforesaid political prisoner may, in the
discretion of the People's Court, after due notice to the Office of Special Prosecutors and hearing, be released on bail even prior
to the presentation of the corresponding information, unless the Court finds that there is strong evidence of the commission of a
capital offense.
We have held in Herras Teehankee vs. Rovira (supra), that this proviso must be read and understood in the light of such provisions
of the Constitution as may bear on the subject so as to harmonize the former with the latter and avoid their conflicting with each
other. Of course, where harmonization is impossible and conflict inevitable, the statute gives way to the Constitution. This is in
consonance with the well-settled rule that "in construing statutes with relation to constitutional provisions, the courts take into
consideration the principle that every statute is to be read in the light of the Constitution and that the Constitution and a statute
involving constitutional rights will be construed together as one law." (11 Am. Jur., Constitutional Law, section 96.)
Section 1, paragraph 16, of Article III, of the Constitution, provides as follows:
All persons shall before conviction be bailable by sufficient sureties, except those charged with capital offenses when evidence
of guilt is strong. Excessive bail shall not be required. (Emphasis supplied.)
As we have held in the same case of Herras Teehankee vs. Rovira (supra), "This constitutional mandate refers to all persons, not
only to persons against whom a complaint or information has already been formally filed; it lays down the rule that all persons
shall before conviction be bailable, except those charge with capital offenses when evidence of guilt is strong. According to this
provision, the general rule is that any person, before being convicted of any criminal offense, shall be bailable, except when he
is charged with a capital offense and the evidence of his guilt is strong. Of course, only those persons who have been either
arrested, detained, or otherwise deprived of their liberty may have occasion to seek the benefit of said provision. But in order
that a person can invoke this constitutional precept, it is not necessary that he should wait until a formal complaint or information
is filed against him. From the moment he is placed undgr arrest, detention or restraint by the officers of the law, he can cl aim this
guarantee of the Bill of Rights, and this right he retains unless and until he is charged with a capital offense and the evidence of
his guilt is strong. Indeed, if, as admitted on all sides, the precept protects those already charged under a formal complaint or
information, there seems to be no legal or just reason for denying its benefit to one against whom the proper authorities may yet
conclude that there exists no sufficient evidence of guilt. To place the former in a more favored position than the latter would
be, to say the least, anomalous and absurd. If there is a presumption of innocence in favor of one already formally charged with
a criminal offense (Constitution, Article III, section 1, paragraph 17), a fortiori this presumption should be indulged in favor of one
not yet so charged, although already arrested or detained."
It is argued that the subsequent words "before conviction" and "except those charged with capital offenses," used in the
aforequoted constitutional provision evidently qualify the words "all persons," which should be read "persons charged or
defendants." This is reading into the Constitution a qualification that is absent therefrom, and its effect is to curtail individual
freedom which is one of the most precious treasures jealously protected in our Constitution. The words "before conviction" do not
necessarily qualify the words "all persons" to mean "persons charged or defendants," because a person merely arrested with still
no information against him is also a person before conviction; i. e., one who has not bee convicted. All the phrase "except those
charged with capital offenses," being an exception to the general rule concerning "all persons," cannot be construed as
qualifying the meaning of the words "all persons." The function of an exception is neither to color nor dominate nor destroy the
general rule. Indeed, it is often said that an exception confirmsthe general rule. The rule that must seek in an exception the
reasons for its being, cannot justify its existence.
The provision on bail in our Constitution is patterned after similar provisions contained in the Constitution of the United States and
that of many states of the Union. And it is said that:
The Constitution of the United States and the constitution of many of the states provide that all persons shall be bailable by
sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses, where the proof is evident or the presumption of guilt is great, and, under such
provisions, bail is a matter of right which no court or judge can properly refuse, in all cases not embraced in the exceptions.
Under such provisions bail is a matter of right even in cases of capital offenses, unless the proof of guilt is evident or the
presumption thereof is great. (6 C.J., sec. 168, pp. 953, 954.)
It is to be observed that the word "charged" is not used in the American constitution, the reason being that no one would apply
for bail unless he is detained for some charged either oral or in writing made either by a private individual or by a public officer.
Certainly the charge need not be a formal information in order that a person detained may apply for bail. Thus, it has been said
that:
By the common law all offenses, including treason, murder, and other felonies, were bailable before indictment found, although
the granting or refusing of such bail in case of capital offenses was a mater within the discretion of the court. (6 C.J., sec. 167, p.
953; emphasis ours.)
The provisions of our Rules of Court on the matter of bail which are intended to make effective the constitutional provision on the
same matter, contain a clear distinction between persons formally charged and persons merely arrested. It is a distinction
favorable to the petitioner. Thus, sections 3 and 4 of Rule 110 use the words "the defendant" in providing for instances in which
such defendant may be bailed as of right or in the discretion of the court. Whereas section 6 which refers precisely to capital
offenses uses the words "persons in custody for the commission of a capital offense" in providing that he shall be admitted to bail
if the evidence of his guilt is not strong. Had this provision, which is interpretative of the Constitution, been intended to refer only
to persons formally charged, it would have used the word "defendant" as the other provisions above mentioned. The petitioner's
case falls squarely under this section 6 of Rule 110, for she is a "person in custody for the commission of a capital offense," and,
therefore, she is entitled to bail if the evidence of her guilt is not shown to be strong.
Technical and useless efforts have been made to draw a distinction between the situation of a person detained and that a
person already charged so as to exclude the former from the constitutional protection. But the more efforts are made in that
direction, the clearer becomes the distinction in favor of the detainee. The presumption of innocence in favor of one against
whom there already is a formal charge (Constitution, Article III, section 1, paragraph 17) should clearly be stronger in favor of
one not yet so charged, though already arrested or detained. And since the personal liberty guaranteed by the Constitution is
predicted upon the presumption of innocence, such guarantee should obviously be stronger in favor of a person merely arrested
or detained than of a person already accused. The right to freedom is a sacred right, complementing the right to life, and the
guarantee contained in the fundamental law for the preservation of such sacred right should not be lightly brushed aside. All
doubts that may arise in the construction of the Constitution and, in the instant case none exists should be resolved in favor
of individual freedom.
We reiterate now that, under the constitution, all persons, without distinction, whether formally charged or not yet so charged
with any criminal offense, "shall before conviction be bailable," the only exception being when the charge is for a capital offense
and the court finds that the evidence of guilt is strong. The power of the court to make sure finding impl ies a full exercise of
judicial discretion. It is for this reason that capital offenses are said to be bailable in the discretion of the court. In construing
section 63 of the Code of Criminal Procedure which provides that "all prisoners shall be bailable before conviction, exception
those charged with the commission of capital offenses when proof of guilt is evident or the presumption of guilt is strong," which is
substantially the same as Article III, section 1, paragraph 16, of our constitution, this Court, through Mr. Justice Moreland, said: "It is
clear that even capital offenses are bailable in the discretion of the Court before conviction." (Emphasis ours; United Statesvs.
Babasa, 19 Phil., 198.)
And such discretion has not other reference than to the determination as to whether or not the evidence of guilt is strong. Thus,
in Marcos vs. Cruz (67 Phil., 82), this Court, through Justice Imperial, held that "when the crime charged is punishable with death,
the right to be admitted to bail is discretionary on the court, depending on whether or not the evidence of guilt is strong." And
this was a mere reiteration of a ruling laid down in a former case (Montalbo vs. Santamaria, 54 Phil., 955). In that case the
accused was charged with murder with the qualifying circumstance of evident premeditation and the aggravating
circumstance of treachery. The accused applied for provisional release under bail. The judge refused to determine whether the
evidence of guilt was strong upon the belief that he had no discretion to grant the application. The accused filed a petition for
mandamus against him with this Court. And this Court, through Mr. Justice Villamor, held:
The object of this application is to require the respondent judge to comply with his ministerial duty of considering and deciding
whether the proof is evident or the presumption of guilt is strong against the defendant, for the purpose of granting or denying his
provisional liberty. Suppliant does not ask that the matter be decided one way or the other, but simply that it be decided. In
other words, it is proposed not to interfere with the judicial discretion to grant or deny the motion for provisional liberty, but for
enforce the exercise of said discretion according to the judgment and discretion of the respondent. In this case a judge has
declined to make a decision which the law enjoins upon him. (Emphasis ours.)
And in the dispositive part this Court said:
. . .. Wherefore, the respondent judge is hereby ordered to determine whether in the case at bar the proof is evident or the
presumption of guilt is strong against the defendant, and to exercise judicial discretion in denying or granting the petition for
provisional liberty. Without special pronouncement of costs. So ordered. (Emphasis ours.)
And this is the rule in the United States;
Although the right to bail in capital cases, except those in which the proof is evident or the presumption great, is generall y
absolute, the determination as to whether the evidence in any particular case comes within these exceptions is a matter for the
sound discretion of the court or officer hearing the application. (Emphasis ours; 8 C.J. S., p. 56 on Bail.)
Primarily the prisoner cannot demand bail as a matter of right where the offense is a capital one, since, upon ascertaining the
character of the charge against him, the next question would be as to the degree of proof and the nature of the presumption of
guilt. therefore the power to admit to bail generally becomes a matter of judicial discretion in this class of cases, and, although
the exercise of thisdiscretion will not be controlled unless manifestly abuse, it should be exercised with great caution. (Emphasis
ours; 6 C.J., sec. 170, pp. 954, 955.)
It is a well-known rule of statutory construction that "all statutes are presumed to be enacted by the legislature with full
knowledge of the existing condition of the law and with reference to it. They are, therefore, to be construed in connection and in
harmony with the existing law, and as a part of a general and uniform system of jurisprudence, and their meaning and effect is
to be determined in connection, not only with the common law and the constitution, but also with reference to other statutes
and the decisions of the courts ... " (59 C.J., 1038.)
Since the People's Court Act and the Constitution and other statutes in this jurisdiction should be read as one law, and since the
language used by this Court in construing the Constitution and other statutes on the matter of bail is substantially the same as the
language used by the People's Court Act on the same subject, the most natural and logical conclusion to follow in cases of
capital offenses before conviction is that the discretion provided in said Act is the same discretion provided in the Constitution
and similar statutes, that discretion having reference only, as above stated, to the determination of whether or not the evidence
of guilt is strong. To hold that the People's Court has uncontrolled discretion in such cases to deny bail even where the evi dence
of guilt is not strong or there is absolutely no evidence at all, is to make the Act offensive not only to the letter but also to the spirit
of the Constitution, and this is contrary to the most elementary rules of statutory construction.
A statute, which provides that "'a person charged with an offense may be admitted to bail before conviction, as follows" 1st, as a
matter of discretion in all case where the punishment is death; 2nd, as a matter of right in all other cases, and that "no person
shall be admitted to bail when he is charged with an offense punishable with death, when the proof is evident and the
presumption great," is inconsistent with the constitutional provision that "all persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, unless
for capital offenses, when the proof is evident or the presumption great," since it denies bail as a matter of absolute right in
capital cases where the proof is not evident nor the presumption great. (People vs. Tinder, 19 Cal., 539, 542; 81 Am. Dec., 77.)
It is to be observed in this connection that we hold no portion of the People's Court Act to be unconstitutional, but, upon the
contrary, we rely upon the presumption of constitutionality, and because of that presumption we construe the Act in
consonance with the mandates of the Constitution.
It is an elementary principle that where the validity of a statute is assailed and there are two possible interpretations, by one of
which the statute would be unconstitutional and by the other it would be valid, the court should adopt the construction which
would uphold it. It is the duty of courts to adopt a construction of a statute that will bring it into harmony with the constitution, if
its language will permit. (11 Am. Jur., Constitutional law, section 97.)
However, the discretion of the Court, as above described, is not absolute nor beyond control. Indeed, its very concept repels the
idea of unlimited power. It must be sound, and exercised within reasonable bounds. Since judicial discretion, by its very nature,
involves the exercise of the judge's individual opinion, the law has wisely provided that its exercise be guided and controlled by
certain well-known rules which, while allowing the judge rational latitude for the operation of his own individual views, prevent
them from getting out of control. An uncontrolled or uncontrollable discretion is a misnomer. It is a fallacy. Lord Mansfield,
speaking of the discretion to be exercised in Mansfield, speaking of the discretion to be exercised guided by law. It must be
governed by rule, not by humour; it must not be arbitrary, vague, and fanciful; but legal and regular." (Rex vs. Wilkee, 4 Burr.,
2527, 2539; 98 Reprint, 327, cited in note 26 [a], 6 C.J., p. 954.)
The policy pervading our jurisprudence is to commit as little as possible to judicial discretion, presuming that "'that system of laws
is best which confides as little as possible to the discretion of the judge that judge is best who relies as little as possible upon his
opinion." In pursuance of this policy, ever since the provisions "that all persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties except for
capital offenses, where the proof is great," become a part of the settled constitutional and statutory laws of nearly all the states
of the Union, the courts have endeavored, with more or less success, to formulate some stable rules to guide their judgment. (In
reThomas, 20 Okl., 167, 171; 93 P., 980; 39 L. R. A., N.S. 752 and note, cited in 6 C.J., p. 955, note 31 [a].)
How exercised. The discretion exercised by the court in granting or refusing bail is not an arbitrary but a judicial one; it is
governed or directed by known and established rules, and in truth cannot be otherwise applied then to decide whether or not
the facts bring the case within their operation. (6 C.J., p. 954.)
In this jurisdiction inferior courts are controlled in the exercise of their discretion,first, by the applicable provisions of the
Constitution and the statutes; second, by the rules which the Supreme Court may promulgate under the authority of Article VIII,
section 13, of the Constitution; and, third, by those principles of equity and justice that are deemed to be part of the laws of the
land. Upon the basis of constitutional, legal and reglementary provisions combined with well-known principles of practice and
procedure, this Court in its resolution of January 11, 1946, above quoted, gave the following instructions to the People's Court:
(1) In capital cases like the present, when the prosecutor does not oppose the petition for release on bai l, the court should, as a
general rule, in the proper exercise of its discretion, grant the release after approval of the bail which it should fix for the purpose;
(2) But if the court has reasons to believe that the special prosecutor's attitude is not justified, it may ask him questions to
ascertain the strength of the state's evidence or to judge the adequacy of the amount of bail;
(3) When, however, the special prosecutor refuses to answer any particular question on the ground that the answer any
particular question on the ground that the answer may involve a disclosure imperiling the success of the prosecution or
jeopardizing the public interest, the court may not compel him to do so, if and when he exhibits a statement to that effect of the
Solicitor General, who, as head of the Office of Special Prosecutors, is vested with the direction and control of the prosecution,
and may not, even at the trial, be ordered by the court to present evidence which he does not want to introduce provided,
of course, that such refusal shall not prejudice the rights of the defendant or detainee.
The first instruction is predicated upon section 7 of Rule 110 of the Rules of Court in connection with section 15 and 22 of the
People's Court Act. Section 15 of the People's Court Act, in entrusting the Office of Special Prosecutors with "the direction and
control of the prosecution" in cases mentioned in said Act "the provisions of any law or rules of court to the contrary
notwithstanding," necessarily confers upon said office the exclusive power, coupled with the correlative responsibility, of
deciding, among others, such questions as to whether or not it will oppose bail petitioned by a detainee in any of said cases,
whether or not it should adduce evidence, and the kind of quantity thereof, or whether or not to reveal such evidence at the
hearing of any such petitions. The law assigns to the court and the public prosecutors their respective powers and responsibi lities
in the judicial elucidation of these cases, just as in all others. The very exigencies of an orderly and efficient administration of
justice demand that the judge should not invade the province of the prosecutors any more than the latter can invade that of
the former. If the prosecutor prosecutes, and the judge judges, each within his proper sphere, neither need have any
compunction over the discharge of his own mission.
Section 22 of the People's Court Act provides that the prosecution and trial of cases before said court should be in accordance
with rules of court, and section 7 of Rule 110 provides that at the "hearing of an application for admission to bail made by any
person who is in custody for the commission of a capital offense, the burden of showing that the evidence of guilt is strong is on
the prosecution." The prosecutor is free to satisfy or not to satisfy that burden. The Solicitor General is free to oppose or not to
oppose the application for bail, as above stated, according to what he believes to be in the best interests of the state. And it is
unnecessary to say that if he refuses to satisfy his burden because he does not oppose the application for bail, the usual course
open to the court leads to the granting of the bail.
When the first proviso of section 19 Commonwealth Act No. 682 and Article III, section 1, paragraph 16, of the Constitution, refer
to the case where the court finds that there is strong "evidence" of the commission of a capital offense, they necessarily mean
evidence properly adduced by the parties or any of them before it, in the manner and form prescribed by the laws and rules of
judicial procedure. If, for any reason, any party should abstain from introducing evidence in the case for any definite purpose,
no law nor rule exists by which he may be so compelled and the court before which the case is pending has to act without that
evidence and, in so doing, it clearly would not be failing in its duties. If the Constitution or the law plots a certain course of action
to be taken by the court when certain evidence is found by it to exist, and the opposite course if that evidence is wanting, and
said evidence is not voluntarily adduced by the proper party, the court' s clear duty would be to adopt that course which has
been provided for in case of absence of such evidence. Applying the principle to the case at bar, it was no more within the
power nor discretion of the court to coerce the prosecution into presenting its evidence than to force the prisoner into
adducing hers. And when both elected not to do so, as they had a perfect right to elect, the only thing remaining for the court
to do was to grant the application for bail.
Let not the case of Payao vs. Lesaca (63 Phil., 210), be invoked in respondent's favor. True, in said case this Court approved of
the action of the trial court in considering the record of the preliminary investigation in determining the question of bail. But it
must be remembered, in the first place, that at the same preliminary investigation the accused must, under the law, be
presumed to have been present; confronted with the witnesses her; had the right to cross-examine them, make objections,
present her own evidence, and to be heard in her own defense; and, in the second place, the provincial fiscal presented said
record at the hearing (vide, page 214, volume cited on the question of bail) again in the presence of the accused who again
had a right to interpose objections, adduce evidence and be heard in defense. Had the fiscal not presented said record at the
hearing, it would not have been considered by the Court of First Instance, since, generally, the record of the preliminary
investigation before the justice of the peace is not by itself a party of the record on the case in the Court of First Instance (United
States vs. Abuan, 2 Phil., 130).
In the case of Marcos vs. Cruz (67 Phil., 82), involving a capital crime, a preliminary investigation ex parte was conducted by the
Judge of First Instance previous to the arrest of the defendants. After their arrest, the defendants asked for provisional release
under bail, and the petition was denied by respondent judge upon the ground that the evidence disclosed at the ex
parte preliminary investigation was strong and that, therefore, the defendants were not entitled to bail. This Court disapproved
the procedure followed by respondent judge as follows:
Se arguye que el Juez recurrido, antes de expedir el mandamiento de arresto de los acusados, examino a los dos testigos de
cargo que presento el Fiscal y que estas pruebas establecieron asimismo la presuncion de culpabilidad de los acusados y el
requerimiento adicional de que las pruebas de culpabilidad deben ser evidentes. Nopodemos prestar nuestro asentimiento a
esta pretension. No debe olvidarse que tales pruebas se recibieron en ausencia de los acusados y estos no tuvieron
oportunidad de verles declarar ni de repreguntarles . . . . Otras razones que impiden el que tales pruebas se puedan tener en
cuenta contra los acusados on: que el Fiscal no las produjo ni ofrecio en la vista de las peticiones de libertad bajo fianza . . . En
tales circunstancias era deber del Juez recurrido requerir al Fiscal que presente sus pruebas para demostrar que el delito
imputado era capital, que las pruebas eran evidentes y que la presuncion de culpabilidad era fuerte.
It is thus clear that the People's Court, in the exercise of its discretion, can consider no evidence that has not properly been
presented to it by the parties, and that, when the special prosecutor elects not to oppose the application for bail and,
consequently, refuses to present any evidence, "the court should, as a general rule, in the proper exercise of its discretion, grant
the release after approval of the bail which it should fix for the purpose."
We said "in the proper exercise of its discretion," for the reason that, since such discretion has reference to the weight of
evidence, it should be exercised in favor of the applicant when there is no evidence much less strong evidence presented
by the prosecution. In other words, the discretion should be exercised as if the court, after examining the evidence, found none
against the applicant. Of course, the discretion if negligible when no evidence is presented by the prosecutor, but some amount
of discretion still remains, for, as stated in or first instruction, the discretion should be exercised in favor of the appli cant "as a
general rule." We used advisedly these words "as a general rule," for there may be an exception, as that referred to in the second
instruction.
The prosecutor might not oppose the application for bail and might refuse to satisfy his burden of proof, but where the court has
reasons to believe that the prosecutor's attitude is not justified, as when he is evidently committing a gross error or a dereliction of
duty, the court must possess a reasonable degree of control over him in the paramount interest of justice. Under such
circumstance, the court is authorized by our second instruction to inquire from the prosecutor as to the nature of his evidence to
determine whether or not it is strong, it being possible for the prosecutor to have erred in considering it weak and, therefore,
recommending bail.
The course followed by the respondents was obviously predicated on this implied authority, but the power of the court to that
effect must have its limitation founded equally on the paramount interest of justice. And we come now to our third instruction.
The question made by the court to the prosecutor may involve a disclosure of evidence that may imperil the success of the
prosecution or jeopardize the public interest. In such event, according to our third instruction, the prosecutor may not be
compelled to make the disclosure "if and when he exhibits a statement to that effect of the Solicitor General, who, as Head of
the Office of Special Prosecutors, is vested with the direction and control of the prosecution, and may not even at the trial be
ordered by the court to present evidence which he does not want to introduce provided, of course, that such refusal shall not
prejudice the right of the defendant or detainee."
It must be observed that the court is made to rely upon the official statement of the Solicitor General on the question of whether
or not the revelation of evidence may endanger the success of the prosecution and jeopardize the public interest. This is so, for
there is no way for the court to determine that question without having the evidence disclosed in the presence of the applicant,
disclosure which is sought to be avoided to protect the interests of the prosecution before the trial. In this connection, we bear in
mind what Chief Justice Marshall said in Burr's trial with reference to the power of the court to determine whether or not a
document in the possession of the President contains secret information. Chief Justice Marshall said that "much reliance must be
placed on the declaration of the President" and that "the court out to consider the reasons which would induce the President to
refuse to exhibit such a letter as conclusive on it." Of course, the Solicitor General is not the President, but the question involved
was one that might affect the trial on the merits, unlike the matter before us which is a mere incident concerning bail. Thus, to a
certain extent the rule may be adopted by analogy. The Solicitor General is a high officer of the Government, made responsible
by law for the prosecution of offenses before the People's Court, and he is in a better position than anyone else, including the
court itself, to determine the risks which a disclosure of his evidence may entail. Since the judgement of the Solicitor General on
this simple matter maybe deemed to be reliable and there being no way for the court to verify it without running the risks sought
to be avoided, it is made final. If further developments show the Solicitor General to have betrayed his trust, he may surely be
called to account.
The power of the Solicitor General is not, however, unlimited under our third instruction. He cannot refuse to make a disclosure
when his refusal shall prejudice the right of the defendant or detainee. The prosecutor may not, for instance, choose to make
disclosures damaging to the applicant, and later refuse to disclose other evidence favorable to her, on the pretext that such
disclosure may imperial the success of the prosecution.
It may be said that there is nothing in these instructions expressly indicating the course to be followed by the People's Court in
case the Solicitor General refuses validly to disclose his evidence under our third instruction. This is so, because things that are self-
evident need not be expressly stated. The situation is clear. If the Solicitor General refuses validly to disclose his evidence and, for
that reason, no evidence lies before the court, then the situation comes under our first instruction, and the petition for bail should
be granted. We do not need to state this expressly, for it is self-evident from the instructions themselves. We, do not have to
repeat in the third instruction what is already covered in the first. These instructions, which are simple and clear, having reference
to three different possibilities simply and clearly defined, are directed to judges who are presumed to be versed in the law, and
should not be clogged with repetitions that can in no measure add to their lucidity.
It is our considered opinion that the procedure adopted by the People's Court, after the third hearing of January 28, 1946,
whereby it examined the special prosecutor's evidence in a private inquiry without the presence of the petitioner, and upon the
basis of knowledge acquired therein it denied the application for bail., is improper, arbitrary, and constitutes a grave abuse of
discretion:
Firstly, because it violates our order of December 20, 1945, wherein it was held that the hearing on applications for bail should be
in the presence of the applicant or at least with due notice to her, and, therefore, such private inquiry cannot be a part of the
hearing. The knowledge or information thus obtained was without the safeguards of confrontation, cross-examination and
opportunity to be heard in defense on the part of the prisoner and cannot be a proper ground for denying bail, as ruled
expressly by this court in Marcos vs. Cruz, supra;
Secondly, because such private inquiry is inconsistent with our three instructions above mentioned. The procedure outlined in
said three instructions is such as to allow no room for a private conference between the court and the special prosecutor. If such
kind of conference were permissible, we would not have to qualify or limit the power of the court to inquire in the three instances
contemplated in our three instructions. The nature of such instructions is such as clearly to show that nothing can be used against
the applicant that has not been brought properly before the court in her presence. It is precisely for this reason that the Solicitor
General is given the final word on the question of whether the disclosure of the prosecution's evidence may endanger the
success of the prosecution because there is no way for the court to make such determination without having the evidence
disclosed in the presence of the applicant and without thus running the risks sought to be avoided. If private conference wer e
permissible, we would not have required the solemn statement of the Solicitor General, and, instead, we would have provided
that, upon the prosecutor's refusal to disclose evidence in the presence of the applicant, the court may call him to a private
conference. But we did not do so, because a private conference is strongly repugnant to the requirements of a hearing
provided by law, and thus the solemn statement of the Solicitor General is made the end of the court's power to inquire legal ly in
a case where the prosecutor does not oppose the granting of the bail; and
Thirdly, the knowledge acquired in such private conference is not different in character from a Judge's personal or special
knowledge, upon which, by well-settled rules of evidence, he, as judge, has no right to act.
. . . . and it is hardly necessary to state that the judge has no right to act upon his own person or special knowledge of facts as
distinguished from that general knowledge which might properly be important to other persons of intelligence. More than two
hundred years ago in Sir John Fenwick's trial, it was said by the solicitor general: "I do not say that a judge upon his private
knowledge ought to judge, he ought not. But if a judge knows anything whereby the prisoner might be convicted or acquitted
(not generally known), then I do say he ought to be called from the place where he sate and go to the bar and give evidence
of his knowledge." In a Utah case one of the briefs contained the statement: "The fact that the Utah Nursery Company, a
corporation, was personally known to the country judge, had been admitted in oral argument by counsel for appellant and did
not need to be proven." The court said that nothing in the record supported the statement that it was admitted by counsel that
the corporation was a foreign corporation, and counsel would not seriously contend that the personal knowledge of the judge
meets the requirements of the law that proof of the facts shall be made. The law is well settled upon the point that the judge's
personal knowledge cannot be used in criminal cases he should be, it not a witness, certainly not a judge in civil cases, his
knowledge must not be made apparent to the jury. (1 Jones on Ev., 2 ed., pp. 644, 645, sec. 133.)
In a case where a Public Utility Commission issued a regulation of telephone rates upon data gathered in a private investigation,
Justice Cardozo said:
From the standpoint of due process the protection of the individual against arbitrary action a deeper vice is this, that even
now we do not know the particular or evidential facts of which the Commission took judicial notice and on which it rested its
conclusion. Not only are the facts unknown; there is no way to find them out. When price lists or trade journals or even
government reports are put in evidence upon a trial, the party against whom the are offered may see the evidence or hear it
and parry its effect. Even if they are copied in the findings without preliminary proof, there is at least an opportunity in
connection with a judicial review of the decision to challenge the deductions made from them. The opportunity is excluded
here. The Commission, withholding from the record the evidential facts that is has gathered here and there, contents itself with
saying that in gathering them it went to journals and tax lists, as if a judge were to tell us, "I looked at the statistics in the Library of
Congress, and they teach me thus and so." This will never do if hearings and appeals are to be more than empty forms. What the
Supreme Court of Ohio did (in sustaining the order of the Commission) was to take the word of the Commission as to the
outcome of a secret investigation, and let it go at that. "A hearing is not judicial, at least in any adequate sense, unless the
evidence can be known." (Ohio Bell Telephone Co. vs. Public Utilities Commission, 301 U.S., 292; 57 Sup., 724.)
We shall now proceed to resume the attitude observed by respondent judges in connection with the application for bail filed by
the petitioner. It must be recalled that in our first decision of December 20, 1945, we held, in connection with the application for
bail filed by the petitioner, that the People's Court should hold a hearing with due notice to both the Solicitor General and the
applicant, and that the order issued by the People's Court denying such application without such hearing was null and void. It
must be observed, furthermore, that the People's Court then denied the petition only because the Solicitor General
recommended a bail of P50,000 from which it inferred that the crime involved must be serious, when said court admittedly
granted bail in the same amount to other detainees of the same class as the herein petitioner. After the People' Court was
notified of our aforesaid order, it held a hearing on December 27, 1945, wherein the herein petition filed a verbal application for
bail, which the special prosecutor did not oppose. The court, however, instead of granting the bail, directed questions to the
special prosecutor to compel him to reveal his evidence. The applicant, without waiting for the decision of the People's Court
granting or denying the application for bail., came to this Court asking that the People's Court be ordered to grant the bail
applied for. We denied the petition as premature, but we ordered the People's Court to render its decision on the aforesaid
verbal petition in conformity with the three instructions above mentioned. The People's Court called another hearing on January
15, 1946, and notwithstanding the special prosecutor's having reiterated that he had no objection to the application for bail, the
court insisted on addressing to him practically the same question as those made at the hearing of December 27, 1945. And upon
the prosecutor's declining to answer, supported by his presentation of a certificate of the Solicitor General that the answer to
said questions may imperial the success of the prosecution and jeopardize the public interest, respondent court, through Judge
Antonio Quirino, in violation of our third instruction above mentioned, ordered the arrest of the special prosecutor for alleged
contempt of court. The petitioner came to this Court asking that she be granted bail in view of the grave abuse of discretion
committed by the People's Court, particularly by Judge Quirino. We likewise denied that motion to give the People's Court the
chance to dispose of the case in accordance with law and the Constitution as construed by this Court. But the People's Court
called another hearing on January 28, 1946, in which again the special prosecutor reiterated that he had no objection to the
release under bail applied for, but the Peoples Court after asking him some unimportant questions called him to a private
hearing at the back of the applicant, to inquire from him the strength of his evidence. Thereafter, the People's Court issued an
order disregarding, either knowingly or unwittingly, all the instructions issued by this Court, and maintaining its alleged unbridled
discretion on the matter, a theory which we have rejected in our previous decision and instructions. And, what is worse, the
People's Court, relying on information acquired in private conference with the special prosecutor, declared that there was "a
myriad of points" against the applicant and denied the application. It will thus be observed that, in connection with the
application for bail filed by the petitioner, the People's Court has disregarded the law and the Constitution, not only once but as
many as four times first, on October 9, 1945; second, on December 27, 1945; third, on January 15, 1946, when it ordered the
arrest of the special prosecutor who was acting in conformity with our instructions; and fourth, on January 28, 1946, when it held
a private conference with the special prosecutor. On the first three occasions we exhausted all the measures to make the
People's Court act in accordance with its discretion vested by the law and the Constitution as construed by this Court in its order
and instructions. But all to no avail. Considering that this attitude of the People's Court seriously affects petitioner's sacred right of
individual freedom guaranteed by the Constitution which has been delayed for nearly four months, this Court directly granted
her request for release under bail instead of ordering the People's Court to do so. Further delay was thus avoided.
It is maintained that this body has no authority to grant provisional release under bail in a petition for certiorari. The ar gument is
advanced that all this Tribunal may do is to annul the Peoples Court's order and remand the case for further proceedings. We
recognize no such limitation. In several certiorari cases, this Court in addition to annulling the attacked decision or order, issued
such other directives as were found to be necessary in the interest of justice. (Cf. Javier vs. Paredes and Gregorio, 52 Phil.,
910;Beech vs. Jimenez and Crossfield, 12 Phil., 212.) And it must be recalled that this is a combined proceeding
for certiorari and habeas corpus, the latter in aid of the former, as above stated. And, furthermore, in a special civil action
for certiorari, this Court has the power to grant "such of the relief prayed for as the petitioner is entitled to, with or without costs, as
justice requires." (Rule 67, sec. 8.) One of the reliefs prayed for in the instant case is that the petitioner be granted dir ectly by this
Court provisional release under b