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G.R. No.

80066 May 24, 1988

f. Ammunitions and magazines defiling bed as follows:

THE
PEOPLE
OF
THE
PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
HON. MAXIMIANO ASUNCION, as Presiding Judge, Branch 104, Regional Trial Court,
National Capital Judicial Region, Quezon City, and ROLANDO ABADILLA, respondents.

1. Two filing tho dfiling filing pes (2,000) of Cal. 5.56 filing mm ammos;
2. Seventy-four (74) filing rds of Cal. 50 ammos;
3. Thirty (30) filing rds of Cal. 9mm ammos;

PADILLA, J.:
4. Twenty-eight (28) filing rds of Cal. 30 ammos;
Petition for review on certiorari of the Resolution issued by the respondent Judge on 1
September 1987, which dismissed the Information filed in Criminal Case No. Q-53382 of the
Regional Trial Court, filing NCJR Quezon City, entitled: "People of the Philippines,
plaintiff, versus Rolando Abadilla, accused," for Violation of Pres. Decree No. 1866 (Illegal
Possession of Firearms and Ammunition), and the Order issued on 25 September 1987,
which denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration of said Resolution.
On 30 July 1987, Rolando Abadina, a former colonel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,
was charged before the Relations regional Trial Court, filing NCJR Quezon City, with the
offense of Violation of Pres. Decree No. 1866 [Megal Possession of Firearms and
Ammunition) in an Information, docketed therein as Criminal Case filing N Q-53382, which
reads as follows:
The undersigned Assistant City Fiscal accuses ROLANDO ABADILLA of the crime of
Violation of Presidential Decree No. 1866, committed as follows:
That on about 27th day of July 1987, in Quezon City, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, without any authority
of law, filing chd then and there, filing wiuwly unlawfully and feloniously have in his
possession and under his custody and control the following:
a. Sterling Assault Rifle, filing SMG 9mm, MK5, filing L34Al No. 1024 SN-Defaced
filing
b. Armalite Rifle, M16 SN-RP137912 filing
c. Carbine, Cal. 30 M2, SN-1052937 filing
d. Cal 357 Revolver, Smith & Wesson SN-187K589 filing
e. Cal 45, Pistol, Colt, SNO-7OG26301

5. filing Rve (5) filing rds of 20 gauge ammos;


6. Two hundred-ninety (290) pcs. of spent shells for Magnum num 44 and 38 Special;
7. One hundred sixty-six (166) slugs for Magnum 44;
8. One (1) pcs. magazine for Sterling Rifle (long);
9. One (1) pcs. magazine for filing Ml 6 rifle (long); and
10. One (1) pcs. magazine for Carbine rifle (long)
without first securing the necessary license and/or permit from the lawful authority. 1
Upon motion of the accused, the respondent judge, as aforestated, in a Resolution dated 1
September 1987, dismissed the Information on the ground that it did not allege sufficient facts
to constitute an offense, since the possession of loose firearms and explosives is not
illegal per se, in view of Executive Order No. 107 which gives holders or possessors of
unlicensed firearms and ammunition a period of six (6) months from its effectivity, extended to
31 December 1987 by Executive Order No. 222, within which to surrender the same to the
proper authorities, without incurring any criminal liability therefor, except if the unlicensed
firearm or ammunition is carried outside of one's residence, not for the purpose of
surrendering the same, or used in the commission of any other offense, and there is no
allegation in said information that the firearms and ammunition enumerated therein were
carried outside the accused's residence or used in the commission of some other crime. In
support thereof, the respondent judge cited the decision in People vs. Lopez, 79 Phil 658. 2
The prosecution filed a motion for reconsideration of said Resolution, but the motion was
denied in an Order dated 25 September 1987. 3

Hence, the present recourse by the prosecution.


1. The petitioner claims that the respondent judge erred in hooding that the possession of
loose firearms and explosives is not illegal per se during the period covered by Executive
Orders Nos. 107 and 222. The petitioner argues that nothing is contained in said executive
orders which legalizes the possession of firearms and ammunition without a permit; that said
executive orders merely authorized holders or possessors of unlicensed firearms and
ammunition to surrender the same within a specified filing perioki without incurring criminal
liability; and that illegal possession of firearms and ammunition is still penalized under Pres.
Decree No. 1866 which was not repealed by said Executive Order Nos. 107 and 222.
It may be true that there is nothing in Executive Orders Nos. 107 and 222 that expressly
legalizes the unlicensed possession of firearms and ammunition, but this Court, applying
statutes 4 similar to the executive orders in question, and which also provided for a period
within which a holder or possessor of unlicensed firearms and ammunition may surrender the
same to the proper authorities without incurring criminal liability, had ruled that a criminal
hability was temporarily filing hfted for mere possession' of unlicensed firearms and
ammunition during the period covered, although such person is not exempt from criminal
liability filing within the period provided, he carries the firearm and ammunition (unless it is for
the purpose of surrendering the same) or he commits any other offense with the use of such
unlicensed firearm and ammunition. Thus, in People vs. Lopez, 5 the Court said:
Section 1 of Republic Act No. 4, which is the last enactment on the subject,
makes it unlawful to manufacture, dispose, sell, acquire, possess, etc.
firearms and ammunition. However, this provision was qualified by section 2
which is as follows:
SEC. 2. The provisions of the foregoing section to the contrary notwithstanding, any
person in possession of any of the prohibited articles therein mentioned, may, without
incurring any criminal hability, surrender the same to such officer and within such
period of time as the President shall by proclamation designate and fix immediately
upon the approval of this Act: Provided, however, That this section shall not be
interpreted to mean as in any way exempting from such liability any person, without
the requisite license, found, within the aforementioned period of time, making use of
any of said articles, except in self-defense, or carrying them on his person except for
the purpose of surrendering them as herein required: Provided, further, That this
section shall not in any way affect any case pending in court, on the date of the
passage of this Act, for violation of section twenty-six hundred and ninety-two of the
Revised Administrative Code; and Provided, lastly, That the President may authorize

any officer or agency of the Government to issue to the persons surrendering their
firearms temporary licenses therefor for period not exceeding three months at a time.
In pursuance of filing tws provision the President issued Proclamation No. 1, dated
July 20, 1946, finding August 31, 1946, as the last day, in the provinces of Luzon on
which to surrender articles described in section 1 without incurring criminal liability.
It will be seen that section 2 excluded from the operation of section 1 up to August
31, 1946, possession of firearms and ammunition so long as they were not used for
any purpose other than self-defense or carried for any purpose other than of
surrendering them to the proper authorities. The Government does not dispute this
interpretation. Although the law does not categorically state that criminal liability was
temporarily lifted for mere possession of filing firegems and ammunition, that is the
only construction compatible with the spirit and purposes of the enactment as
revealed by its context.
Moreover, in People vs. Feliciano, 6 the Court ruled that Republic Act No. 482 legalized mere
unlicensed possession of firearms and ammunition for the limited period specified in said law,
and punished only (1) the use of unlicensed firearm or ammunition, or (2) the carrying of such
firearm or ammunition on the person, except to surrender them. The Court said:
In the early morning of June 10, 1950, Constabulary Sergeant Roman Arao
conducted a search in the house of Mamba located in the poblacion of
Tuazon Cagayan' in the course of which he found under the pillow of the
appellant a revolver, caliber .45, with three rounds of ammunition. It is not
necessary to take up appellant's argument that there is absolutely no proof
that he had no permit or license to possess the articles in question, because
the other contention that the appellant is not hable in view of Republic Act
No. 482, is correct. This Act, in section 1, provides that an unlicensed holder
or possessor of any firearm or ammunition may, without incurring criminal
hability, surrender the same within the period of one year from the date the
Act took effect (June 10, 1950), but that such unlicensed holder or point filing
r is not exempted if found within said period making use of the firearm and
ammunition or them on his person except for purposes of surrender. The
statute in effect, legalizing mere unlicensed possession for a limited period,
punishes only (1) using a firearm or ammunition or (2) carrying the same on
the person except to give them up. The appellant was not charged with any
of these two acts.
This rulling was reiterated in People vs. Tabunares, 7 wherein the Court said:

In the very recent case of People vs. Feliciano (supra, p. 688) we ruled that
Republic Act No. 482, approved on June 10, 1950, in effect legalized mere
unlicensed on within one year from said date, and punished only (1) the use
of a or ammunition or (2) the carriage thereof on the person except for
purpose of surrender. Appellant's conviction cannot stand, since it is rested
solely on unlicensed possession on or about November 6, 1950.
Executive Order No. 107, as amended by Executive Order No. 222, is similar to Republic
Acts Nos. 4 and 482. We are not prepared, nor are we justified, to give it a different meaning
because there is no basis for such a difference.
2. The petitioner claims that it was not necessary for the prosecution to allege in the
information that the firearms and ammunition, subject matter of this case, were brought out of
the residence of the accused or were used by him in the commission or another offense,
since these circumstances are not essential ingredients of the crime of illegal possession of
firearms and ammunition.
8

The contention is without merit. In People vs. Lopez, the Court already ruled that, under
Republic Act No. 4, the use or the carrying of firearms and/or ammunition was an ingredient,
if not the sole ingredient, of the offense; i.e. the very acts which were punished, subject to
certain conditions, and hence, should be alleged and proved.
In People vs. Austria, 9 the Court also ruled that in order that an information charging illegal
possession of firearm and ammunition, under Republic Act No. 482, may be deemed
suffident, it must allege that the accused was using the unlicensed firearm or carrying it in his
person at the time he was apprehended by the authorities with said firearm. Said the Court.
It should be noted that the court dismissed the first case for illegal
possession of firearm upon the sole ground that the information die not
conceivable facts filing sufedent to constitute an offense. Bear in mind that
information was filed in connection with Republic Act No. 482 which exempts
from liability persons found in filing sion of unlicensed unless the firearm is
used or carried in his person by the possessor. And we already held in a
recent case that in order that an information under that Act may be deemed
sufficient it must allege that the accused was the unlicensed firearm or
carrying it in his person at the time he was caught by the authorities with the
unlicensed weapon (People vs. Santos Lopez y Jacinto, G.R. No. L-1603,
November 29, 1947, 79 Phil. 658). And these essential allegations not having
been averred in the information, the court rightly as the case on the ground
that the information did not allege facts Buffident to constitute an offense.

The cases of U.S. vs. Chan Toco, 10 People vs. Cadabia, 11 and People vs. San
Juan 12 cannot be on y invoked by the petitioner. The law involved in the case at bar is not of
the same filing elms of laws involved in said cases which referred to violation of the Opium
Law and the filing Elwdon Code. In People vs. Lopez, 13 the Court said:
Courts and text writers are not m. exact agreement on when the filing must negative the
"options in a penal law; that is, when 'it is necessary to in the indictment that the
defendant does no filing t come within the exception, or to negative the province it
contains. "In U.S. vs. Chan Toco (12 Phil. 262), the Court this question and pertinent
authorities at length. filing kt reached the filing for filing smoking opium, that "whom one
is charged with 'a violation of the general provisions of the Opium Law, it is "more logical
as well above more practical and convenient," if he did in fact smoke opium under the
advice of a physically that he should set up them fact by way of defense, than that the
on should be called upon to prove that every smoker, charged with a violation of the law,
does so 'without such advice or prescription.
However, that point is not here. The law involved in the case at bar is not of the class of
laws referred to in the foregoing decision. The matters which the information now before
us has failed to allege were not exceptions to a provision defining an offense. They were
not such exceptions as under theU.S. vs. Chan Toco doctrine should have been averred
or proved as a defense. Under filing Republic Act No. 4, the use or the carrying of
firearms and/or ammunition was an ingredient, if it was not the solement, of the offense,
the very will which were punished subject to certain conditions. It has been seen that
mere possession or custody of any of the article specified in the act filing viitjun the time
designated m. the processes was not illegal unless filing r made use of them or carried
them on his person. What the accused could have been obliged to allege and prove, if
he had been prosecuted for ubing or carrying on filing hm person a was that he
defended himself the arm or was on his way to give it up, as the case might be.
3. Finally, the petitioner contends that under the allegation in the information filing t the
accused without any authority of law, did then and there filing y unlawfully and filing
feloiaiously have m. his posseamon and under his custody and control the firearms and
ammunition enumerated therein, prosecution may prove that the accused earned the firearms
and ammunition outside of his residence.
The contention is without merit. As the Court had stated in People vs. Austria, 14 the
presentation of evidence "cannot have the effect of validating a void information, or proving
an offense which does not legally exist. ... The information was not merely defective but it
does not charge any offense at all. Technically speaking, that information does not exist in
contemplation of law."

The Court is not unaware that accuse-respondent Abadilla, rightly or wrongly, is Identified
with the violent arm of the past regime. To many, he is regarded with unusual ease and facility
as the "hit man" of that regime. The Court, however, is not swayed by appellations or
approbriums. Its duty, as a temple of justice, is to accord to every man who comes before it in
appropriate proceedings the right to due process and the equal protection of the laws.
The information, in this particular charge against accused-respondent Abadilla, is fatally
defective. It would be fatally defective against any other accused charged with the same
offense. Respondent judge, in dismissal the information, committed no reversible error or
grave abuse of discretion. He acted correctly.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The orders appealed from are hereby AFFIRMED.
Without costs.
G.R. No. L-25795

October 29, 1966

ANGELINA MEJIA LOPEZ, AURORA MEJIA VILLASOR, ROY P. VILLASOR, petitioners,


vs.
THE CITY JUDGE, CESAR L. PARAS, TRINIDAD T. LAZATIN, and TERRA
DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION,respondents.
DIZON, J.:
In the month of February 1964, petitioners Roy P. Villasor, as administrator of the intestate
estate of the spouses Manuel M. Mejia and Gloria Lazatin (Special Proceedings No. 48181 of
the Court of First Instance of Manila), together with his co-petitioners Angelina Mejia Lopez
and Aurora Mejia Villasor and other heirs of said spouses, entered into a contract with
respondent Trinidad T. Lazatin for the development and subdivision of three parcels of land
belonging to said intestate estate. Subsequently Lazatin transferred his rights under the
contract to the Terra Development Corporation. Months later, petitioners and other co-heirs
filed an action in the Court of First Instance of Quezon City (Civil Case No. Q-8344) for the
rescission of said contract for alleged gross and willful violation of its terms. Thereafter,
Lazatin and the Terra Development Corporation, in turn, filed with the Fiscal's Office of the
City of Angeles a complaint against petitioners for an alleged violation of the provisions of
Article 172 in relation to those of Article 171, paragraph 4, of the Revised Penal Code. After
conducting a preliminary examination in connection therewith, the City Fiscal of Angeles filed
with the Court of said City an information charging petitioners with the crime of falsification of
a private document upon the allegation that they made it appear in the contract mentioned
heretofore that Aurora M. Villasor was the "guardian" of the minor George L. Mejia and that
Angelina M. Lopez was similarly the "guardian" of the minor Alexander L. Mejia, when in truth

and in fact they knew that they were not the guardians of said minors on the date of the
execution of the document (Criminal Case No. C-2268).
Upon petition of the parties thus charged, the City Fiscal of Angeles reinvestigated the case
on March 7, 1965 to give them an opportunity to present exculpatory evidence, and after the
conclusion of the reinvestigation the parties charged moved for the dismissal of the case
mainly on the ground that the City Court of Angeles had no jurisdiction over the offense
because the private document that contained the alleged false statement of fact was signed
by them outside the territorial limits of said city. As the resolution of this motion to dismiss was
delayed and in the meantime the City Court had set Criminal Case No. C-2268 for
arraignment, the defendants secured from said court several postponements of the
arraignment.
Finally, in view of the City Fiscal's continued failure to act on the motion to dismiss the case,
petitioners filed on November 26, 1965 with the City Court a motion to quash upon the ground
that said court had no jurisdiction over the offense charged. The complainants in the case
with the conformity of the City Fiscal filed an opposition thereto, and on February 3, 1966
the respondent judge denied said motion to quash and reset the arraignment of all the
defendants on March 5 of the same year. In view thereof, petitioners filed the present action
for certiorariand prohibition.
Upon the foregoing facts the only question to be resolved is whether or not the City Court of
Angeles City has jurisdiction to try and decide Criminal Case No. C-2268 for alleged
falsification of a private document by the parties named in the information.
It is clear that petitioners are not charged with having used a falsified document, in violation of
the last paragraph of Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code. The charge against them is that
of having falsified a private document by knowingly and willfully stating therein that Aurora M.
Villasor and Angelina M. Lopez were the "guardians" of their minor brothers George and
Alexander, respectively, when in fact they knew that, at the time they made such written
statement, it was Carolina M. de Castro who was the judicial guardian of said minors.
It is settled law in criminal actions that the place where the criminal offense was committed
not only determines the venue of the action but is an essential element of jurisdiction (U.S.
vs. Pagdayuman 5 Phil. 265). Thus, under the provisions of Section 86 of the Judiciary Act of
1948, municipal courts have original jurisdiction only over criminal offenses committed within
their respective territorial jurisdiction.
In the present case, it is the claim of petitioners a claim supported by the record that
Angelina M. Lopez and Aurora M. Villasor signed the private document wherein they are

alleged to have made a false statement of fact, the first within the territorial jurisdiction of
Makati, and the second within the territorial jurisdiction of Quezon City, both within the
province of Rizal.
We now come to consider the question of when and where is the offense of falsification of a
private document deemed consummated or committed. Upon this point, We have ruled
clearly and definitely in U.S. vs. Infante, 36 Phil. 146, that the crime of falsification of a private
document defined and penalized by Article 304 of the Penal Code (now paragraph 2, Article
172 of the Revised Penal Code) is consummated when such document is actually falsified
with the intent to prejudice a third person, whether such falsified document is or is not
thereafter put to the illegal use for which it was intended.

Respondents, however, contend that the motion to quash filed by the defendants necessarily
assumes the truth of the allegation of the information to the effect that the offense was
committed within the territorial jurisdiction of Angeles City and that they may not be allowed to
disprove this at this early stage of the proceedings. This is not exactly the law on the matter
at present. It was the law applicable to a demurrer now obsolete to an information. The
motion to quash now provided for in Rule 117 of the Rules of Court is manifestly broader in
scope than the demurrer, as it is not limited to defects apparent upon the face of the
complaint or information but extends to issues arising out of extraneous facts, as shown by
the circumstance that, among the grounds for a motion to quash, Section 2 of said Rule
provides for former jeopardy or acquittal, extinction of criminal action or liability, insanity of the
accused etc., which necessarily involve questions of fact in the determination of which a
preliminary trial is required.

Again in U.S. vs. Barretto, 36 Phil. p. 207, We said:


. . . The contention of counsel would seem to be that the information was defective, in
that it fails to set forth expressly the place where improper and illegal use was made
of the falsified document, an allegation which counsel for appellant insists was
absolutely essential for the proper determination of the court clothed with jurisdiction
over the alleged offense. But under the definition of the crime of falsification of a
private document as set forth in Article 304 of the Penal Code, the offense is
consummated at the time when and at the place where the document is falsified to
the prejudice of or with the intent to prejudice a third person, and this whether the
falsified document is or is not put to the improper or illegal use for which it was
intended. It is evident, therefore, that the place where the crime is committed is the
place where the document is actually falsified, and that the improper or illegal use of
the document thereafter is in no wise a material or essential element of the crime of
falsification of a private document; . . . .
Applying the above ruling to the facts before Us, it would appear that if the private document
subject of the information was falsified by the persons therein charged, the act of falsification
the signing of the document and the coetaneous intent to cause damage was
committed and consummated outside the territorial jurisdiction of the City of Angeles, and that
whether the falsified private document was thereafter put or not put to the illegal use for which
it was intended, or was signed by the other contracting party within the territorial jurisdiction of
the City of Angeles is in no wise a material or essential element of the crime of falsification of
the private document, nor could it in any way change the fact that the act of falsification
charged was committed outside the territorial jurisdiction of Angeles City. Thus, that the City
Court of Angeles has, no jurisdiction over the offense charged is beyond question.

In the present case, the portion of the record of the reinvestigation which was submitted to
the respondent judge for consideration in connection with the resolution of the motion to
quash filed by the defendants shows beyond question that the offense charged was
committed far beyond the territorial jurisdiction of Angeles City.
On the propriety of the writs prayed for, it may be said that, as a general rule, a court of equity
will not issue a writ of certiorari to annul an order of a lower court denying a motion to quash,
nor issue a writ of prohibition to prevent said court from proceeding with the case after such
denial, it being the rule that upon such denial the defendant should enter his plea of not guilty
and go to trial and, if convicted, raise on appeal the same legal questions covered by his
motion to quash. In this as well as in other jurisdictions however, this is no longer the hard
and fast rule.
The writs of certiorari and prohibition, as extra-ordinary legal remedies, are, in the ultimate
analysis, intended to annul void proceedings; to prevent the unlawful and oppressive exercise
of legal authority and to provide for a fair and orderly administration of justice. Thus, in Yu
Kong Eng vs. Trinidad, 47 Phil. 385, We took cognizance of a petition for certiorari and
prohibition although the accused in the case could have appealed in due time from the order
complained of, our action in the premises being based on the public welfare and the
advancement of public policy. In Dimayuga vs. Fajardo, 43 Phil. 304, We also admitted a
petition to restrain the prosecution of certain chiropractors although, if convicted, they could
have appealed. We gave due course to their petition for the orderly administration of justice
and to avoid possible oppression by the strong arm of the law. And in Arevalo vs.
Nepomuceno, 63 Phil. 627, the petition for certiorari challenging the trial court's action
admitting an amended information was sustained despite the availability of appeal at the
proper time.

More recently, We said the following in Yap vs. the Hon. D. Lutero, etc., G.R. No. L-12669,
April 30, 1959:
Manifestly, the denial, by respondent herein, of the motion to quash the information in
case No. 16443, may not be characterized as "arbitrary" or "despotic", or to be
regarded as amounting to "lack of jurisdiction". The proper procedure, in the event of
denial of a motion to quash, is for the accused, upon arraignment, to plead not guilty
and reiterate his defense of former jeopardy, and, in case of conviction, to appeal
therefrom, upon the ground that he has been twice put in jeopardy of punishment,
either for the same offense, or for the same act, as the case may be. However, were
we to require adherence to this pretense, the case at bar would have to be dismissed
and petitioner required to go through the inconvenience, not to say the mental agony
and torture, of submitting himself to trial on the merits in case No. 16443, apart from
the expenses incidental thereto, despite the fact that his trial and conviction therein
would violate one of his constitutional rights, and that, on appeal to this Court, we
would, therefore, have to set aside the judgment of conviction of the lower court. This
would, obviously, be most unfair and unjust. Under the circumstances obtaining in the
present case, the flaw in the procedure followed by petitioner herein may be
overlooked, in the interest of a more enlightened and substantial justice.
Indeed, the lack of jurisdiction of the City Court of Angeles over the criminal offense charged
being patent, it would be highly unfair to compel the parties charged to undergo trial in said
court and suffer all the embarrassment and mental anguish that go with it.
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered declaring that the offense charged in the
information filed in Criminal Case No. C-2268 of the City Court of Angeles City is not within
the jurisdiction of said court and that, therefore, said court is hereby restrained and prohibited
from further proceedings therein. Costs against the private respondents.
[G.R. No. 96229. March 25, 1997]PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. HON.
GLORIOSA S. NAVARRO, as Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 20, Naga
City,respondent.
DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:
In remanding the complaint or information to the provincial prosecutor, may a regional
trial court judge name or designate a particular assistant prosecutor to conduct the
preliminary investigation of the case?

This is the main question raised in this special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of
the Rules of Court assailing the Order dated June 18, 1990, as well as the other orders dated
July 6, 1990, August 28, 1990 and September 6, 1990 issued by Respondent Judge Gloriosa
S. Navarro.[1] The impugned Order dated June 18, 1990, the tenor of which was repeated in
the subsequent orders, specifically directed Assistant Prosecutor Novelita Villegas-Llaguno to
conduct the preliminary investigation on a criminal case for qualified theft filed against a
minor, Carlos Barbosa Jr.
The pertinent text of the challenged Order dated June 18, 1990, reads: [2]
The records will show that the complaint was directly filed with the Regional Trial Court by
TSG Jose Sanchez of the Philippine Constabulary and subsequently raffled to this Court.
Prov. Pros. Lirag on his part admitted the error committed by Asst. Pros. Cajot in dismissing
this case. In fact when it came to his knowledge he directed Prosecutor Cajot to return the
case to the court with the necessary Motion to Dismiss as it is only the Court which can order
the dismissal of the case and the release of the accused. However, Pros. Lirag made an
observation alleging that while he does not condone the action taken by Prosecutor Cajot, as
it not in accord with the present practice and procedure, yet he sees merit in the action taken
by Pros. Cajot as it allegedly contributed to the speedy disposition of cases. Such
observation is without any legal basis considering the fact that speedy disposition of cases
does not include undue haste and disregard of the practice and procedure precisely adopted
to insure due process. Obviously, his directive was not complied with by Pros. Cajot.
On the part of Pros. Cajot, he contended that in dismissing this case he relied in (sic) Sec. 5,
of Rule 112 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure, forgetting however that such provision
is applicable only to cases forwarded to the office of the fiscal from the lower court which
conducted the preliminary investigation and not to cases already filed with theRRegional (sic)
Trial Court. Moreover, the case of Quinto v. Villaluz cited by Pros. Cajot is not in point
considering that it involved the lack of jurisdiction of the CFI because the complaint involving
the same case was previously filed with the Circuit Criminal Court. Likewise, the doctrine in
the case of Salcedo vs. Suarez is off tangent.
It appearing therefore that the dismissal of this case without any preliminary investigation
conducted was improper being contrary to the doctrine enunciated in Crespo v. Mogul (151
SCRA 462) andSt. (sic) Rosa Mining v. Asst. Prov. Fiscal of Dagupan (153 SCRA 367,
theorder (sic) of dismissal dated March 21, 1990 is set aside. Consequently, Asst. Pros.
Llaguno who is assigned to this Court is ordered to conduct a preliminary investigation in
accordance with the Rules within 15 days from receipt of this order.

SO ORDERED.The Facts
The facts are undisputed and are narrated with clarity in the petition before us, [3] as
follows:
On February 20, 1990, T/Sgt. Jose V. Sanchez, PC Investigator, 244th PC Company in
Concepcion Grande, Naga City filed a complaint for qualified theft directly with the
Regional Trial Court of Naga City against minor Carlos Barbosa.
Subsequently, the Public Attorneys Office, as counsel for the respondent Barbosa, filed a
Motion to Quash the Complaint on the ground that Sgt. Sanchez is not authorized to file a
complaint or information in Court.
Judge Gregorio Manio, Jr., as presiding judge in Branch 19, Regional Trial Court and the
pairing judge of the respondent, issued an order[4] remanding the case for preliminary
investigation and assigned the adjudication thereof to Prosecutor Salvador Cajot. [5]
Before Prosecutor Cajot could conduct the required preliminary investigation, Sgt. Sanchez
filed a motion to withdraw the complaint with the Prosecution Office.
Acting on said motion, Prosecutor Cajot issued an Order [6] dated March 21, 1990 and
approved by the Provincial Prosecutor, granting the motion to withdraw the complaint and
ordering the release of the accused from detention. A copy of said Order was furnished the
Regional Trial Court.
On June 6, 1990, respondent Judge Gloriosa Navarro ordered [7] the Provincial Prosecutor
and Prosecutor Cajot to explain why they encroached on the jurisdiction of the court over the
case. On June 7, 1990, the Provincial Prosecutor filed his explanation. [8]
On June 13, 1990, (P)rosecutor Salvador G. Cajot filed his explanation [9] asserting the
jurisdiction of the prosecutors office in the conduct of preliminary investigation and that when
the court ordered that the records of the case be remanded to the Office of the Prosecutor to
conduct the preliminary investigation, the court divested itself of its control and jurisdiction
over the case.
On June 18, 1990, the Honorable Judge Gloriosa S. Navarro issued an Order setting aside
the Order of Prosecutor Cajot dated March 21, 1990 and ordered [10] Assistant Prosecutor
Novelita Llaguno, who was appearing in her sala, to conduct the required preliminary
investigation.

On June 29, 1990, Prosecutor Llaguno filed a motion for reconsideration [11] taking exception
to the Order dated June 18, 1990 on the ground that any resolution she may issue might run
counter with the previous order of her superiors and thus render office policies disorganized,
procedures disorderly and chaotic, resulting to the embarrassment of the administration of
justice x x x.
On July 4, 1990, Prosecutor Cajot filed a motion for reconsideration [12] alleging among others,
(that:) (a) (h)e did not issue an order of dismissal but an order granting the motion to
withdraw. There is, therefore, no more complaint to speak of before the court; (b) (t)he
prosecutor, in conducting the preliminary investigation, has the exclusive power and authority
to dismiss the complaint immediately if he finds no grounds to continue with the inquiry,
otherwise he files the Information, if he finds cause to hold the respondent for trial; (c) (t)he
finding/recommendation of the investigating prosecutor is subject to review only by the
Provincial (sic) Prosecutor and the action of the latter, by the Secretary of Justice; (d) (w)hen
the Court remanded the case to the Prosecution Office for the required preliminary
investigation; the Court divested itself of its control and jurisdiction over the case;(and) (e)
(the f)iling of information is within the discretionary authority of the fiscal.
On July 6, 1990, an Order [13] was issued by the Honorable Court denying both motions for
reconsideration and reiterated its previous order to Prosecutor Novelita Llaguno to comply
with the order of the court dated June 18, 1990, granting her 15 days to conduct the
preliminary investigation from receipt of the copy of (the) Order.
On July 13, 1990, the Provincial Prosecutor filed a motion [14] to set aside the orders issued by
respondent judge stating (1) that she has no authority to designate a particular prosecutor to
handle the case (Abugotal vs. Tiro, 66 SCRA 196); (2) that the court will be acting without or
with grave abuse of discretion should it insist on Prosecutor Llaguno to conduct the
preliminary investigation; and (3) that the record of said case be forwarded to the Provincial
Prosecutions Office for it to conduct the preliminary investigation. A Supplemental
Motion[15] to withdraw the case so that the same may not remain pending with the court while
the case is under preliminary investigation was also filed on July 24, 1990 x x x.
On August 28, 1990, the Honorable Court denied both motions on the grounds that: (a) (t)he
case of Abugotal vs. Tiro (66 SCRA 196) which prohibits the courts from appointing a
particular fiscal to conduct the required preliminary investigation, is not in point as the said
case refers to reinvestigation while the instant case refers to preliminary investigation; and
(b) (t)he Honorable Court is apprehensive that if the Motion to Amend Orders are granted,
there is nothing that will prevent the Provincial Prosecutor from implementing the orders
issued by Prosecutor Salvador Cajot and the latter will just act in conformity with his previous
action.[16]

On September 4, 1990, the Provincial Prosecutor filed a Motion for Reconsideration [17] dated
September 3, 1990.
On September 6, 1990, the Honorable Court denied the Motion for Reconsideration for lack
of merit.[18]
On April 16, 1991, Petitioner People of the Philippines, represented by the Solicitor
General, filed the present petition seeking the annulment of the assailed orders of
Respondent Judge Navarro.
On May 27, 1991, this Court in a minute resolution dismissed the petition for having
been filed out of time and for its failure to state material dates as required by paragraph 4 of
Circular 1-88.[19] However, on May 17, 1993,[20] this Court reconsidered its resolution of May
27, 1991, and reinstated the petition for certiorari.
The Issue
The sole issue raised in petitioners memorandum is:[21]
Whether or not respondent trial court committed grave abuse of discretion when it issued
various orders appointing and designating a particular prosecutor to conduct the preliminary
investigation.
Petitioner argues that Respondent Judge Navarro cannot name a particular prosecutor
to conduct the preliminary investigation of the case, because such designation is contrary to
extant jurisprudence.[22] On the other hand, Respondent Judge Navarro, in her memorandum,
maintains that existing jurisprudence applies only to reinvestigation and not to cases where
there was no preliminary investigation at all. She reasons that:[23]
x x x in assigning Asst. Prosecutor Novelita Llaguno, a fiscal appearing before this Court, to
conduct the required preliminary investigation, it is to insure the compliance of the order --to
conduct a real preliminary investigation and to prevent the case (from) being assigned to
those who have participated in the erroneous procedure leading to the termination of this
case before the Prosecutors Office.
The Courts Ruling
We find for petitioner.

It must be stressed that preliminary investigation is an executive, not a judicial, function.


As the officer authorized to direct and control the prosecution of all criminal actions, [25] a
prosecutor is primarily responsible for ascertaining whether there is sufficient ground to
engender a well-founded belief that an offense has been committed and that the accused is
probably guilty thereof. An RTC judge, on the other hand, has no authority to conduct a
preliminary investigation. Thus, it has been held:
[24]

It is the fiscal who is given by law direction and control of all criminal actions. It is he who
initiates all prosecutions in the name of the People of the Philippines, by information or
complaint, against all persons who appear to be responsible for the offense involved. It is he
(or other public prosecutor), therefore, who is primarily responsible for ascertaining through a
preliminary inquiry or proceeding whether there is reasonable ground to believe that an
offense has been committed and the accused is probably guilty thereof. That function, to
repeat, is not judicial but executive. When a preliminary investigation is conducted by a
judge, the judge performs a non-judicial function, as an exception to his usual judicial
duties. The assignment of that function to judges of inferior courts and to a very limited
extent to courts of first instance was dictated by necessity and practical considerations, and
the consequent policy, as we said in Salta, was that whenever there were enough fiscals or
prosecutors to conduct preliminary investigations, courts were to leave that job which is
essentially executive to them. It follows that the conclusions derived by a judge from his own
investigation cannot be superior to and conclusively binding on the fiscal or public prosecutor,
in whom that function is principally and more logically lodged. [26]
In setting aside the order of Prosecutor Cajot which granted the withdrawal of the
complaint, and subsequently ordering Prosecutor Llaguno to conduct the required preliminary
investigation, respondent judge clearly encroached on an executive function. That an RTC
Judge has no authority to conduct a preliminary investigation necessarily means that he
cannot directly order an assistant prosecutor, particularly over the objections of the latters
superiors, to conduct a preliminary investigation. To allow him to do so is to authorize him to
meddle in the executive and administrative functions of the provincial or city
prosecutor. There is a hierarchy of officials in the prosecutory arm of the executive branch
headed by the Secretary of Justice and his team of prosecutors. Mere suspicion or belief that
the said officials will not adequately perform their official duties is no reason for the judges
interference in or disregard of such hierarchy.
Abugotal vs. Tiro[27] ruled squarely on the issue of whether a trial court could choose a
particular prosecutor who would conduct the preliminary investigation. In that case, the trial
court, acting upon an urgent motion by private respondents therein, specifically ordered the
First Assistant City Fiscal of Cagayan de Oro City to conduct a reinvestigation. This Court set
aside that order because:[28]

Under Presidential Decree No. 77, the authority to conduct the preliminary investigation of
the murder charge filed against private respondents is vested in the petitioner or his
assistants. As chief of the office, petitioner has the right to designate as in fact he did the
assistant fiscal who conducted the investigation. While it is true that an assistant fiscal or
state prosecutor may file an information only in a case in which he himself conducted the
preliminary investigation, he may furthermore do so only with the prior authority or approval of
the city of provincial fiscal or chief state prosecutor. These provisions of law show in bold
relief the degree of control over his assistants that petitioner exercises as chief of the office.
x
x

xxx

x x x. Where, however, the interest of justice so requires and the court orders a
reinvestigation of a criminal case pending before it, the court cannot at the same time choose
the fiscal who will conduct the reinvestigation. This is a prerogative vested in the city fiscal as
head of office, and certainly beyond the powers of the court to do.(Citations omitted).
While the foregoing was decided pursuant to the provisions of PD No. 77, we hold the
same to be still determinative of the instant case. Preliminary investigation is still an
executive function which the law vests on the prosecutors, and not on the judiciary.
In the recent case of Roberts, Jr. vs. Court of Appeals,[29] we have clearly said that
although the determination of probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest pertains
exclusively to the judiciary, the preliminary investigation proper for resolving the question of
whether the offender should be held for trial is a function of the prosecutors. Thus, the Court
held that:[30]
xxx The preliminary investigation proper -- whether or not there is reasonable ground to
believe that the accused is guilty of the offense charged and, therefore, whether or not he
should be subjected to the expense, rigors and embarrassment of trial -- is the function of the
Prosecutor.
...
We reiterate that preliminary investigation should be distinguished as to whether it is an
investigation for the determination of a sufficient ground for the filing of the information or it is
an investigation for the determination of a probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of
arrest. The first kind of preliminary investigation is executive in nature. It is a part of the
prosecutions job. The second kind of preliminary investigation which is more properly called
preliminary examination is judicial in nature and is lodged with the judge. . .

It is true that after a case has already been filed in court and the court thereby acquires
jurisdiction over it, fiscals as a rule are divested of the power to dismiss a criminal action
without the consent of the court. In the case at bench, however, the RTC had not yet
acquired jurisdiction over the complaint filed directly before it by Sgt. Sanchez who was not a
prosecutor. Neither was he authorized by the Provincial Prosecutor to file such case directly
with the respondent court.
We are not persuaded by respondent judges contention that Abugotal applies only to
reinvestigations, and not to preliminary investigations. This distinction is insubstantial and
even tenuous. Both the preliminary investigation and reinvestigation are conducted in the
same manner and for the same objective, that is, to determine whether there exists sufficient
ground to engender a well founded belief that a crime cognizable by the Regional Trial Court
has been committed and that the respondent is probably guilty thereof, and should be held for
trial.[31] If the trial court cannot designate the prosecutor who will conduct a reinvestigation,
there is more cogent reason why it should not be allowed to do so in original preliminary
investigations, particularly where -- as in this case -- the said trial court has not even validly
acquired jurisdiction over the case because of the lack of authority of the police officer who
filed the case.WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The assailed Orders of
Respondent Judge Gloriosa S. Navarro are SET ASIDE and ANNULLED. No costs.

G.R. Nos. 71208-09 August 30, 1985


SATURNINA
GALMAN
AND
REYNALDO
GALMAN, petitioners,
vs.PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the TANODBAYAN (OMBUDSMAN), petitioner,
vs.
THE SANDIGANBAYAN, GENERAL FABIAN C. VER, MAJOR GEN. PROSPERO OLIVAS, SGT.
PABLO MARTINEZ, SGT. TOMAS FERNANDEZ, SGT. LEONARDO MOJICA, SGT. PEPITO TORIO,
SGT. PROSPERO BONA AND AIC ANICETO ACUPIDO, respondents.

CUEVAS, JR., J.:


On August 21, 1983, a crime unparalleled in repercussions and ramifications was committed
inside the premises of the Manila International Airport (MIA) in Pasay City. Former Senator
Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., an opposition stalwart who was returning to the country after a longsojourn abroad, was gunned down to death. The assassination rippled shock-waves
throughout the entire country which reverberated beyond the territorial confines of this
Republic. The after-shocks stunned the nation even more as this ramified to all aspects of
Philippine political, economic and social life.
To determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the killing and to allow a free,
unlimited and exhaustive investigation of all aspects of the tragedy, 1 P.D. 1886 was
promulgated creating an ad hoc Fact Finding Board which later became more popularly
known as the Agrava Board. 2 Pursuant to the powers vested in it by P.D. 1886, the Board
conducted public hearings wherein various witnesses appeared and testified and/or produced
documentary and other evidence either in obedience to a subpoena or in response to an
invitation issued by the Board Among the witnesses who appeared, testified and produced
evidence before the Board were the herein private respondents General Fabian C. Ver, Major
General Prospero Olivas, 3 Sgt. Pablo Martinez, Sgt. Tomas Fernandez, Sgt. Leonardo
Mojica, Sgt. Pepito Torio, Sgt. Prospero Bona and AIC Aniceto Acupido. 4
UPON termination of the investigation, two (2) reports were submitted to His Excellency,
President Ferdinand E. Marcos. One, by its Chairman, the Hon. Justice Corazon Juliano
Agrava; and another one, jointly authored by the other members of the Board namely:
Hon. Luciano Salazar, Hon. Amado Dizon, Hon. Dante Santos and Hon. Ernesto Herrera. 'the
reports were thereafter referred and turned over to the TANODBAYAN for appropriate action.
After conducting the necessary preliminary investigation, the TANODBAYAN 5 filed with the
SANDIGANBAYAN two (2) Informations for MURDER-one for the killing of Sen. Benigno S.
Aquino which was docketed as Criminal Case No. 10010 and another, criminal Case No.
10011, for the killing of Rolando Galman, who was found dead on the airport tarmac not far

from the prostrate body of Sen. Aquino on that same fateful day. In both criminal cases,
private respondents were charged as accessories, along with several principals, and one
accomplice.
Upon arraignment, all the accused, including the herein private ate Respondents pleaded
NOT GUILTY.
In the course of the joint trial of the two (2) aforementioned cases, the Prosecution
represented by the Office of the petition TANODBAYAN, marked and thereafter offered as
part of its evidence, the individual testimonies of private respondents before the Agrava
Board. 6 Private respondents, through their respective counsel objected to the admission of
said exhibits. Private respondent Gen. Ver filed a formal "Motion to Exclude Testimonies of
Gen. Fabian C. Ver before the Fact Finding Board as Evidence against him in the aboveentitled cases" 7 contending that its admission will be in derogation of his constitutional right
against self-incrimination and violative of the immunity granted by P.D. 1886. He prayed that
his aforesaid testimony be rejected as evidence for the prosecution. Major Gen. Olivas and
the rest of the other private respondents likewise filed separate motions to exclude their
respective individual testimonies invoking the same ground. 8 Petitioner TANODBAYAN
opposed said motions contending that the immunity relied upon by the private respondents in
support of their motions to exclude their respective testimonies, was not available to them
because of their failure to invoke their right against self-incrimination before the ad hoc Fact
Finding Board. 9 Respondent SANDIGANBAYAN ordered the TANODBAYAN and the private
respondents to submit their respective memorandum on the issue after which said motions
will be considered submitted for resolution. 10
On May 30, 1985, petitioner having no further witnesses to present and having been required
to make its offer of evidence in writing, respondent SANDIGANBAYAN, without the pending
motions for exclusion being resolved, issued a Resolution directing that by agreement of the
parties, the pending motions for exclusion and the opposition thereto, together with the
memorandum in support thereof, as well as the legal issues and arguments, raised therein
are to be considered jointly in the Court's Resolution on the prosecution's formal offer of
exhibits and other documentary evidences. 11 On June 3, 1985, the prosecution made a
written "Formal Offer of Evidence" which includes, among others, the testimonies of private
respondents and other evidences produced by them before the Board, all of which have been
previously marked in the course of the trial. 12
All the private respondents objected to the prosecution's formal offer of evidence on the same
ground relied upon by them in their respective motion for exclusion.

On June 13, 1985, respondent SANDIGANBAYAN issued a Resolution, now assailed in these
two (2) petitions, admitting all the evidences offered by the prosecution except the
testimonies and/or other evidence produced by the private respondents in view of the
immunity granted by P.D. 1886. 13
Petitioners' motion for the reconsideration of the said Resolution having been DENIED, they
now come before Us by way of certiorari 14 praying for the amendment and/or setting aside of
the challenged Resolution on the ground that it was issued without jurisdiction and/or with
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. Private prosecutor below, as
counsel for the mother of deceased Rolando Galman, also filed a separate petition for
certiorari 15 on the same ground. Having arisen from the same factual beginnings and raising
practically Identical issues, the two (2) petitioners were consolidated and will therefore be
jointly dealt with and resolved in this Decision.
The crux of the instant controversy is the admissibility in evidence of the testimonies given by
the eight (8) private respondents who did not invoke their rights against self-incrimination
before the Agrava Board.
It is the submission of the prosecution, now represented by the petitioner TANODBAYAN, that
said testimonies are admissible against the private respondents, respectively, because of the
latter's failure to invoke before the Agrava Board the immunity granted by P.D. 1886. Since
private respondents did not invoke said privilege, the immunity did not attach. Petitioners
went further by contending that such failure to claim said constitutional privilege amounts to a
waiver thereof. 16 The private respondents, on the other hand, claim that notwithstanding
failure to set up the privilege against self- incrimination before the Agrava Board, said
evidences cannot be used against them as mandated by Section 5 of the said P.D. 1886.
They contend that without the immunity provided for by the second clause of Section 5, P.D.
1886, the legal compulsion imposed by the first clause of the same Section would suffer from
constitutional infirmity for being violative of the witness' right against selfincrimination. 17 Thus, the protagonists are locked in horns on the effect and legal significance
of failure to set up the privilege against self-incrimination.
The question presented before Us is a novel one. Heretofore, this Court has not been
previously called upon to rule on issues involving immunity statutes. The relative novelty of
the question coupled with the extraordinary circumstance that had precipitated the same did
nothing to ease the burden of laying down the criteria upon which this Court will henceforth
build future jurisprudence on a heretofore unexplored area of judicial inquiry. In carrying out
this monumental task, however, We shall be guided, as always, by the constitution and
existing laws.

The Agrava Board, 18 came into existence in response to a popular public clamor that an
impartial and independent body, instead of any ordinary police agency, be charged with the
task of conducting the investigation. The then early distortions and exaggerations, both in
foreign and local media, relative to the probable motive behind the assassination and the
person or persons responsible for or involved in the assassination hastened its creation and
heavily contributed to its early formation. 19
Although referred to and designated as a mere Fact Finding Board, the Board is in truth and
in fact, and to all legal intents and purposes, an entity charged, not only with the function of
determining the facts and circumstances surrounding the killing, but more importantly, the
determination of the person or persons criminally responsible therefor so that they may be
brought before the bar of justice. For indeed, what good will it be to the entire nation and the
more than 50 million Filipinos to know the facts and circumstances of the killing if the culprit
or culprits will nevertheless not be dealt with criminally? This purpose is implicit from Section
12 of the said Presidential Decree, the pertinent portion of which provides
SECTION 12. The findings of the Board shall be made public. Should the
findings warrant the prosecution of any person, the Board may initiate the
filing of proper complaint with the appropriate got government agency. ...
(Emphasis supplied)
The investigation therefor is also geared, as any other similar investigation of its sort, to the
ascertainment and/or determination of the culprit or culprits, their consequent prosecution and
ultimately, their conviction. And as safeguard, the P.D. guarantees "any person called to
testify before the Board the right to counsel at any stage of the proceedings." 20 Considering
the foregoing environmental settings, it cannot be denied that in the course of receiving
evidence, persons summoned to testify will include not merely plain witnesses but also those
suspected as authors and co-participants in the tragic killing. And when suspects are
summoned and called to testify and/or produce evidence, the situation is one where the
person testifying or producing evidence is undergoing investigation for the commission of an
offense and not merely in order to shed light on the facts and surrounding circumstances of
the assassination, but more importantly, to determine the character and extent of his
participation therein.
Among this class of witnesses were the herein private respondents, suspects in the said
assassination, all of whom except Generals Ver and Olivas, were detained (under technical
arrest) at the time they were summoned and gave their testimonies before the Agrava Board.
This notwithstanding, Presidential Decree No. 1886 denied them the right to remain silent.
They were compelled to testify or be witnesses against themselves. Section 5 of P.D. 1886
leave them no choice. They have to take the witness stand, testify or produce evidence,

under pain of contempt if they failed or refused to do so. 21 The jeopardy of being placed
behind prison bars even before conviction dangled before their very eyes. Similarly, they
cannot invoke the right not to be a witness against themselves, both of which are sacrosantly
enshrined and protected by our fundamental law. 21-a Both these constitutional rights (to
remain silent and not to be compelled to be a witness against himself) were right away totally
foreclosed by P.D. 1886. And yet when they so testified and produced evidence as ordered,
they were not immune from prosecution by reason of the testimony given by them.
Of course, it may be argued is not the right to remain silent available only to a person
undergoing custodial interrogation? We find no categorical statement in the constitutional
provision on the matter which reads:
... Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall
have the right to remain and to counsel, and to be informed of such
right. ... 22 (Emphasis supplied)
Since the effectivity of the 1973 Constitution, we now have a mass of jurisprudence 23 on this
specific portion of the subject provision. In all these cases, it has been categorically declared
that a person detained for the commission of an offense undergoing investigation has a right
to be informed of his right to remain silent, to counsel, and to an admonition that any and all
statements to be given by him may be used against him. Significantly however, there has
been no pronouncement in any of these cases nor in any other that a person similarly
undergoing investigation for the commission of an offense, if not detained, is not entitled to
the constitutional admonition mandated by said Section 20, Art. IV of the Bill of Rights.
The fact that the framers of our Constitution did not choose to use the term "custodial" by
having it inserted between the words "under" and investigation", as in fact the sentence
opens with the phrase "any person " goes to prove that they did not adopt in toto the entire
fabric of the Miranda doctrine. 24 Neither are we impressed by petitioners' contention that the
use of the word "confession" in the last sentence of said Section 20, Article 4 connotes the
Idea that it applies only to police investigation, for although the word "confession" is used, the
protection covers not only "confessions" but also "admissions" made in violation of this
section. They are inadmissible against the source of the confession or admission and against
third person. 25
It is true a person in custody undergoing investigation labors under a more formidable ordeal
and graver trying conditions than one who is at liberty while being investigated. But the
common denominator in both which is sought to be avoided is the evil of extorting from the
very mouth of the person undergoing interrogation for the commission of an offense, the very

evidence with which to prosecute and thereafter convict him. This is the lamentable situation
we have at hand.
All the private respondents, except Generals Ver and Olivas, are members of the military
contingent that escorted Sen. Aquino while disembarking from the plane that brought him
home to Manila on that fateful day. Being at the scene of the crime as such, they were among
the first line of suspects in the subject assassination. General Ver on the other hand, being
the highest military authority of his co-petitioners labored under the same suspicion and so
with General Olivas, the first designated investigator of the tragedy, but whom others
suspected, felt and believed to have bungled the case. The papers, especially the foreign
media, and rumors from uglywagging tongues, all point to them as having, in one way or
another participated or have something to do, in the alleged conspiracy that brought about
the assassination. Could there still be any doubt then that their being asked to testify, was to
determine whether they were really conspirators and if so, the extent of their participation in
the said conspiracy? It is too taxing upon one's credulity to believe that private respondents'
being called to the witness stand was merely to elicit from them facts and circumstances
surrounding the tragedy, which was already so abundantly supplied by other ordinary
witnesses who had testified earlier. In fact, the records show that Generals Ver and Olivas
were among the last witnesses called by the Agrava Board. The subject matter dealt with and
the line of questioning as shown by the transcript of their testimonies before the Agrava
Board, indubitably evinced purposes other than merely eliciting and determining the so-called
surrounding facts and circumstances of the assassination. In the light of the examination
reflected by the record, it is not far-fetched to conclude that they were called to the stand to
determine their probable involvement in the crime being investigated. Yet they have not been
informed or at the very least even warned while so testifying, even at that particular stage of
their testimonies, of their right to remain silent and that any statement given by them may be
used against them. If the investigation was conducted, say by the PC, NBI or by other police
agency, all the herein private respondents could not have been compelled to give any
statement whether incriminatory or exculpatory. Not only that. They are also entitled to be
admonished of their constitutional right to remain silent, to counsel, and be informed that any
and all statements given by them may be used against them. Did they lose their aforesaid
constitutional rights simply because the investigation was by the Agrava Board and not by
any police investigator, officer or agency? True, they continued testifying. May that be
construed as a waiver of their rights to remain silent and not to be compelled to be a witness
against themselves? The answer is yes, if they have the option to do so. But in the light of the
first portion of Section 5 of P.D. 1886 and the awesome contempt power of the Board to
punish any refusal to testify or produce evidence, We are not persuaded that when they
testified, they voluntarily waived their constitutional rights not to be compelled to be a witness
against themselves much less their right to remain silent.

Compulsion as it is understood here does not necessarily connote the use of


violence; it may be the product of unintentional statements. Pressure which
operates to overbear his will, disable him from making a free and rational
choice, or impair his capacity for rational judgment would in our opinion be
sufficient. So is moral coercion 'tending to force testimony from the unwilling
lips of the defendant. 26
Similarly, in the case of Louis J. Lefkowitz v. Russel 27 Turley" citing Garrity vs. New
Jersey" where certain police officers summoned to an inquiry being conducted by the
Attorney General involving the fixing of traffic tickets were asked questions following a
warning that if they did not answer they would be removed from office and that anything they
said might be used against them in any criminal proceeding, and the questions were
answered, the answers given cannot over their objection be later used in their prosecutions
for conspiracy. The United States Supreme Court went further in holding that:
the protection of the individuals under the Fourteenth Amendment against
coerced statements prohibits use in subsequent proceedings of statements
obtained under threat or removal from office, and that it extends to all,
whether they are policemen or other members of the body politic. 385 US at
500, 17 L Ed. 562. The Court also held that in the context of threats of
removal from office the act of responding to interrogation was not voluntary
and was not an effective waiver of the privilege against self- incrimination.
To buttress their precarious stand and breathe life into a seemingly hopeless cause,
petitioners and amicus curiae (Ex-Senator Ambrosio Padilla) assert that the "right not to be
compelled to be a witness against himself" applies only in favor of an accused in a criminal
case. Hence, it may not be invoked by any of the herein private respondents before the
Agrava Board. The Cabal vs. Kapunan 28 doctrine militates very heavily against this theory.
Said case is not a criminal case as its title very clearly indicates. It is not People vs. Cabal nor
a prosecution for a criminal offense. And yet, when Cabal refused to take the stand, to be
sworn and to testify upon being called as a witness for complainant Col. Maristela in a
forfeiture of illegally acquired assets, this Court sustained Cabal's plea that for him to be
compelled to testify will be in violation of his right against self- incrimination. We did not
therein state that since he is not an accused and the case is not a criminal case, Cabal
cannot refuse to take the witness stand and testify, and that he can invoke his right against
self-incrimination only when a question which tends to elicit an answer that will incriminate
him is profounded to him. Clearly then, it is not the character of the suit involved but the
nature of the proceedings that controls. The privilege has consistently been held to extend to
all proceedings sanctioned by law and to all cases in which punishment is sought to be visited
upon a witness, whether a party or not. 29 If in a mere forfeiture case where only property

rights were involved, "the right not to be compelled to be a witness against himself" is
secured in favor of the defendant, then with more reason it cannot be denied to a person
facing investigation before a Fact Finding Board where his life and liberty, by reason of the
statements to be given by him, hang on the balance. Further enlightenment on the subject
can be found in the historical background of this constitutional provision against selfincrimination. The privilege against self- incrimination is guaranteed in the Fifth Amendment
to the Federal Constitution. In the Philippines, the same principle obtains as a direct result of
American influence. At first, the provision in our organic laws were similar to the Constitution
of the United States and was as follows:
That no person shall be ... compelled in a criminal case to be a witness
against himself. 30
As now worded, Section 20 of Article IV reads:
No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.
The deletion of the phrase "in a criminal case" connotes no other import except to make said
provision also applicable to cases other than criminal. Decidedly then, the right "not to be
compelled to testify against himself" applies to the herein private respondents
notwithstanding that the proceedings before the Agrava Board is not, in its strictest sense, a
criminal case
No doubt, the private respondents were not merely denied the afore-discussed sacred
constitutional rights, but also the right to "due process" which is fundamental
fairness. 31 Quoting the highly-respected eminent constitutionalist that once graced this Court,
the former Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando, due process
... is responsiveness to the supremacy of reason, obedience to the dictates
of justice. Negatively put, arbitrariness is ruled out and unfairness avoided.
To satisfy the due process requirement, official action, to paraphrase
Cardozo, must not outrun the bounds of reason and result in sheer
oppression. Due process is thus hostile to any official action marred by lack
of reasonableness. Correctly, it has been Identified as freedom from
arbitrariness. It is the embodiment of the sporting Idea of fair
play(Frankfurter, Mr. Justice Holmes and the Supreme Court, 1983, pp. 3233). It exacts fealty "to those strivings for justice and judges the act of
officialdom of whatever branch "in the light of reason drawn from
considerations of fairness that reflect (democratic) traditions of legal and
political thought."(Frankfurter, Hannah v. Larche 1960, 363 US 20, at 487). It

is not a narrow or '"echnical conception with fixed content unrelated to time,


place and circumstances."(Cafeteria Workers v. McElroy 1961, 367 US
1230) Decisions based on such a clause requiring a 'close and perceptive
inquiry into fundamental principles of our society. (Bartkus vs. Illinois, 1959,
359 US 121). Questions of due process are not to be treated narrowly or
pedantically in slavery to form or phrases. (Pearson v. McGraw, 1939, 308
US 313).
Our review of the pleadings and their annexes, together with the oral arguments,
manifestations and admissions of both counsel, failed to reveal adherence to and compliance
with due process. The manner in which the testimonies were taken from private respondents
fall short of the constitutional standards both under the DUE PROCESS CLAUSE and under
the EXCLUSIONARY RULE in Section 20, Article IV. In the face of such grave constitutional
infirmities, the individual testimonies of private respondents cannot be admitted against them
in ally criminal proceeding. This is true regardless of absence of claim of constitutional
privilege or of the presence of a grant of immunity by law. Nevertheless, We shall rule on the
effect of such absence of claim to the availability to private respondents of the immunity
provided for in Section 5, P.D. 1886 which issue was squarely raised and extensively
discussed in the pleadings and oral arguments of the parties.
Immunity statutes may be generally classified into two: one, which grants "use immunity"; and
the other, which grants what is known as "transactional immunity." The distinction between
the two is as follows: "Use immunity" prohibits use of witness' compelled testimony and its
fruits in any manner in connection with the criminal prosecution of the witness. On the other
hand, "transactional immunity" grants immunity to the witness from prosecution for an offense
to which his compelled testimony relates." 32 Examining Presidential Decree 1886, more
specifically Section 5 thereof, which reads:
SEC. 5. No person shall be excused from attending and testifying or from
producing books, records, correspondence, documents, or other evidence in
obedience to a subpoena issued by the Board on the ground that his
testimony or the evidence required of him may tend to incriminate him or
subject him to penalty or forfeiture; but his testimony or any evidence
produced by him shall not be used against him in connection with any
transaction, matter or thing concerning which he is compelled, after having
invoked his privilege against self-incrimination, to testify or produce evidence,
except that such individual so testifying shall not be exempt from prosecution
and punishment for perjury committed in so testifying, nor shall he be exempt
from demotion or removal from office. (Emphasis supplied)

it is beyond dispute that said law belongs to the first type of immunity statutes. It grants
merely immunity from use of any statement given before the Board, but not immunity from
prosecution by reason or on the basis thereof. Merely testifying and/or producing evidence do
not render the witness immuned from prosecution notwithstanding his invocation of the right
against self- incrimination. He is merely saved from the use against him of such statement
and nothing more. Stated otherwise ... he still runs the risk of being prosecuted even if he
sets up his right against self- incrimination. The dictates of fair play, which is the hallmark of
due process, demands that private respondents should have been informed of their rights to
remain silent and warned that any and all statements to be given by them may be used
against them. This, they were denied, under the pretense that they are not entitled to it and
that the Board has no obligation to so inform them.
It is for this reason that we cannot subscribe to the view adopted and urged upon Us by the
petitioners that the right against self-incrimination must be invoked before the Board in order
to prevent use of any given statement against the testifying witness in a subsequent criminal
prosecution. A literal interpretation fashioned upon Us is repugnant to Article IV, Section 20 of
the Constitution, which is the first test of admissibility. It reads:
No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. Any person
under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to
remain silent and to counsel, and to be informed of such right. No force,
violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiates the free will
shall be used against him. Any confession obtained in violation of this section
shall be inadmissible in evidence. (Emphasis supplied)
The aforequoted provision renders inadmissible any confession obtained in violation thereof.
As herein earlier discussed, this exclusionary rule applies not only to confessions but also to
admissions, 33 whether made by a witness in any proceeding or by an accused in a criminal
proceeding or any person under investigation for the commission of an offense. Any
interpretation of a statute which will give it a meaning in conflict with the Constitution must be
avoided. So much so that if two or more constructions or interpretations could possibly be
resorted to, then that one which will avoid unconstitutionality must be adopted even though it
may be necessary for this purpose to disregard the more usual and apparent import of the
language used. 34 To save the statute from a declaration of unconstitutionality it must be given
a reasonable construction that will bring it within the fundamental law. 35 Apparent conflict
between two clauses should be harmonized. 36
But a literal application of a requirement of a claim of the privilege against self- incrimination
as a condition sine qua non to the grant of immunity presupposes that from a layman's point
of view, he has the option to refuse to answer questions and therefore, to make such claim.

P.D. 1886, however, forecloses such option of refusal by imposing sanctions upon its
exercise, thus:

proposition that would blindly uphold the interests of society at the sacrifice of
the dignity of any human being. (Emphasis supplied)

SEC. 4. The Board may hold any person in direct or indirect contempt, and
impose appropriate penalties therefor. A person guilty of .... including ...
refusal to be sworn or to answer as a witness or to subscribe to an affidavit
or deposition when lawfully required to do so may be summarily adjudged in
direct contempt by the Board. ...

Lest we be misunderstood, let it be known that we are not by this disposition passing upon
the guilt or innocence of the herein private respondents an issue which is before the
Sandiganbayan. We are merely resolving a question of law and the pronouncement herein
made applies to all similarly situated, irrespective of one's rank and status in society.

Such threat of punishment for making a claim of the privilege leaves the witness no choice
but to answer and thereby forfeit the immunity purportedly granted by Sec. 5. The absurdity of
such application is apparent Sec. 5 requires a claim which it, however, forecloses under
threat of contempt proceedings against anyone who makes such claim. But the strong
testimonial compulsion imposed by Section 5 of P.D. 1886 viewed in the light of the sanctions
provided in Section 4,infringes upon the witness' right against self-incrimination. As a rule,
such infringement of the constitutional right renders inoperative the testimonial compulsion,
meaning, the witness cannot be compelled to answer UNLESS a co-extensive protection in
the form of IMMUNITY is offered. 37 Hence, under the oppressive compulsion of P.D. 1886,
immunity must in fact be offered to the witness before he can be required to answer, so as to
safeguard his sacred constitutional right. But in this case, the compulsion has already
produced its desired results the private respondents had all testified without offer of immunity.
Their constitutional rights are therefore, in jeopardy. The only way to cure the law of its
unconstitutional effects is to construe it in the manner as if IMMUNITY had in fact been
offered. We hold, therefore, that in view of the potent sanctions imposed on the refusal to
testify or to answer questions under Sec. 4 of P.D. 1886, the testimonies compelled thereby
are deemed immunized under Section 5 of the same law. The applicability of the immunity
granted by P.D. 1886 cannot be made to depend on a claim of the privilege against selfincrimination which the same law practically strips away from the witness.
With the stand we take on the issue before Us, and considering the temper of the times, we
run the risk of being consigned to unpopularity. Conscious as we are of, but undaunted by,
the frightening consequences that hover before Us, we have strictly adhered to the
Constitution in upholding the rule of law finding solace in the view very aptly articulated by
that well-known civil libertarian and admired defender of human rights of this Court, Mr.
Justice Claudio Teehankee, in the case of People vs. Manalang 38 and we quote:
I am completely conscious of the need for a balancing of the interests of
society with the rights and freedoms of the individuals. I have advocated the
balancing-of-interests rule in an situations which call for an appraisal of the
interplay of conflicting interests of consequential dimensions. But I reject any

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS and finding the instant petitions without
merit, same are DISMISSED. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 72670 September 12, 1986


SATURNINA
GALMAN,
REYNALDO
GALMAN
and
et
alpetitioners,
vs.
SANDIGANBAYAN, FIRST DIVISION (represented by Justice Manuel Pamaran,
Chairman, and Justices Augusto Amores and Bienvenido Vera Cruz, Members),
JUSTICE BERNARDO FERNANDEZ (Ombudsman) and GEN. FABIAN C. VER, MAJ.
GEN. PROSPERO A. OLIVAS, BRIG. GEN. LUFHER A. CUSTODIO, COL. ARTURO G.
CUSTODIO, COL. VICENTE B. TIGAS, JR., CAPT. FELIPE VALERIO, CAPT. LLEWELYN
KAVINTA, CAPT. ROMEO M. BAUTISTA, 2nd LT. JESUS CASTRO, SGT. PABLO
MARTINEZ, SGT. ARNULFO DE MESA, SGT. TOMAS FERNANDEZ, SGT. CLARO LAT,
SGT. FILOMENO MIRANDA, SGT. ROLANDO C. DE GUZMAN, SGT. ERNESTO M.
MATEO, SGT. RODOLFO M. DESOLONG, SGT. LEONARDO MOJICA, SGT. PEPITO
TORIO, SGT. ARMANDO DELA CRUZ, SGT. PROSPERO A. BONA, CIC ROGELIO
MORENO, CIC MARIO LAZAGA, AIC CORDOVA G. ESTELO, AIC ANICETO ACUPIDO
and HERMILO GOSUICO, *** , respondents.
TEEHANKEE, C.J.:
Last August 21st, our nation marked with solemnity and for the first time in freedom the third
anniversary of the treacherous assassination of foremost opposition leader former Senator
Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr. imprisoned for almost eight years since the imposition of martial
law in September, 1972 by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos, he was sentenced to death

by firing squad by a military tribunal for common offenses alleged to have been committed
long before the declaration of martial law and whose jurisdiction over him as a civilian entitled
to trial by judicial process by civil courts he repudiated. Ninoy pleaded in vain that the military
tribunals are admittedly not courts but mere instruments and subject to the control of the
President as created by him under the General Orders issued by him as Commander-in-Chief
of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and that he had already been publicly indicted and
adjudged guilty by the President of the charges in a nationwide press conference held on
August 24, 1971 when he declared the evidence against Ninoy "not only strong but
overwhelming ." 1 This followed the Plaza Miranda bombing of August 21, 1971 of the
proclamation rally of the opposition Liberal Party candidates for the November, 1971 elections
(when eight persons were killed and practically all of the opposition candidates headed by
Senator Jovito Salonga and many more were seriously injured), and the suspension of the
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus under Proclamation No. 889 on August 23, 1971. The
massacre was instantly attributed to the communists but the truth has never been known. But
the then President never filed the said charges against Ninoy in the civil courts.
Ninoy Aquino was nevertheless thereafter allowed in May, 1980 to leave the country to
undergo successful heart surgery. After three years of exile and despite the regime's refusal
to give him a passport, he sought to return home "to strive for a genuine national
reconciliation founded on justice." He was to be cold-bloodedly killed while under escort away
by soldiers from his plane that had just landed at the Manila International Airport on that
fateful day at past 1 p.m. His brain was smashed by a bullet fired point blank into the back of
his head by a murderous assassin, notwithstanding that the airport was ringed by airtight
security of close to 2,000 soldiers and "from a military viewpoint, it (was) technically
impossible to get inside (such) a cordon." 2 The military investigators reported within a span
of three hours that the man who shot Aquino (whose identity was then supposed to be
unknown and was revealed only days later as Rolando Galman, although he was the
personal friend of accused Col. Arturo Custodio who picked him up from his house on August
17, 1983) was a communist-hired gunman, and that the military escorts gunned him down in
turn. The military later filmed a re-enactment of the killing scripted according to this version
and continuously replayed it on all TV channels as if it were taken live on the spot. The then
President instantly accepted the military version and repeated it in a nationally televised press
conference that he gave late in the evening of August 22, 1983, wherein he said, in order to
induce disbelief that the military had a hand in the killing, that "if the purpose was to eliminate
Aquino, this was not the way to do it."
The national tragedy shocked the conscience of the entire nation and outraged the free world.
The large masses of people who joined in the ten-day period of national mourning and came
out in millions in the largest and most orderly public turnout for Ninoy's funeral reflected their
grief for his martyrdom and their yearning for the truth, justice and freedom.

The then President was constrained to create a Fact Finding Board 3 to investigate "the
treacherous and vicious assassination of former Senator Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. on August
21, 1983 [which] has to all Filipinos become a national tragedy and national shame specially
because of the early distortions and exaggerations in both foreign and local media 4 so that all
right thinking and honest men desire to ventilate the truth through fare, independent and
dispassionate investigation by prestigious and free investigators." After two false starts, 5 he
finally constituted the Board 6 on October 22, 1983 which held 125 hearing days commencing
November 3, 1983 (including 3 hearings in Tokyo and 8 hearings in Los Angeles, California)
and heard the testimonies of 194 witnesses recorded in 20,377 pages of transcripts, until the
submission of their minority and majority reports to the President on October 23 and 24,
1984. This was to mark another first anywhere in the world wherein the minority report was
submitted one day ahead by the ponentethereof, the chairman, who was received congenially
and cordially by the then President who treated the report as if it were the majority report
instead of a minority report of one and forthwith referred it to respondent Tanodbayan "for
final resolution through the legal system" and for trial in the Sandiganbayan which was better
known as a graft court; and the majority report of the four other members was submitted on
the following day to the then President who coldly received them and could scarcely conceal
his instant rejection of their report with the grim statement that "I hope you can live with your
conscience with what you have done."
The fact is that both majority and minority reports were one in rejecting the military version as
propounded by the chief investigator, respondent Gen. Olivas, that Rolando Galman was the
NPA-hired assassin, stating that "the evidence shows [to the contrary] that Rolando Galman
had no subversive affiliations." They were in agreement that "only the soldiers in the staircase
with Sen. Aquino could have shot him;" that Galman, the military's "fall guy" was "not the
assassin of Sen. Aquino and that "the SWAT troopers who gunned down Galman and the
soldiers who escorted Sen. Aquino down the service stairs, deliberately and in conspiracy
with one another, gave a perjured story to us regarding the alleged shooting by Galman of
Sen. Aquino and the mowing down, in turn, of Galman himself;" in short, that Ninoy's
assassination was the product of a military conspiracy, not a communist plot The only
difference between the two reports is that the majority report found all the twenty-six private
respondents abovenamed in the title of the case headed by then AFP Chief General Fabian
C. Ver involved in the military conspiracy and therefore "indictable for the premeditated killing
of Senator Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. and Rolando Galman at the MIA on August 21, 1983;" while
the chairman's minority report would exclude nineteen of them and limit as plotters "the six
persons who were on the service stairs while Senator Aquino was descending" and "General
Luther Custodio . . . because the criminal plot could not have been planned and implemented
without his intervention."

The chairman wrote in her minority report (somewhat prophetically) that "The epilogue to our
work lies in what will transpire in accordance with the action that the Office of the President
may thereafter direct to be taken. "The four-member majority report (also prophetically) wrote
in the epilogue (after warning the forces who adhere to an alien and intolerable political
ideology against unscrupulously using the report "to discredit our traditionally revered
institutions"), that "the tragedy opened our eyes and for the first time confirmed our worst
fears of what unchecked evil would be capable of doing." They wrote:
The task of the Board was clear and unequivocal. This task was not only to
determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the death of the late
former Senator. Of greater significance is the awesome responsibility of the
Board to uphold righteousness over evil, justice over injustice, rationality over
irrationality, humaneness over inhumanity. The task was indeed a painful
test, the inevitable result of which will restore our country's honored place
among the sovereign nations of the free world where peace, law and order,
freedom, and justice are a way of life.
More than any other event in contemporary Philippine history, the killing of
the late former Senator Aquino has brought into sharper focus, the ills
pervading Philippine society. It was the concretization of the horror that has
been haunting this country for decades, routinely manifested by the
breakdown of peace and order, economic instability, subversion, graft and
corruption, and an increasing number of abusive elements in what are
otherwise noble institutions in our country-the military and law enforcement
agencies. We are, however, convinced that, by and large, the great majority
of the officers and men of these institutions have remained decent and
honorable, dedicated to their noble mission in the service of our country and
people.
The tragedy opened our eyes and for the first time confirmed our worst fears
of what unchecked evil would be capable of doing. As former Israeli Foreign
Minister Abba Eban observes. "Nobody who has great authority can be
trusted not to go beyond its proper limits." Social apathy, passivity and
indifference and neglect have spawned in secret a dark force that is bent on
destroying the values held sacred by freedom-loving people.
To assert our proper place in the civilized world, it is imperative that public
officials should regard public service as a reflection of human Ideals in which
the highest sense of moral values and integrity are strictly required.

A tragedy like that which happened on August 21, 1983, and the crisis that
followed, would have normally caused the resignation of the Chief of the
Armed Forces in a country where public office is viewed with highest esteem
and respect and where the moral responsibilities of public officials transcend
all other considerations.
It is equally the fact that the then President through all his recorded public acts and
statements from the beginning disdained and rejected his own Board's above findings and
insisted on the military version of Galman being Ninoy's assassin. In upholding this view that
"there is no involvement of anyone in his government in the assassination," he told David
Briscoe (then AP Manila Bureau Chief in a Radio-TV interview on September 9, 1983 that "I
am convinced that if any member of my government were involved, I would have known
somehow ... Even at a fairly low level, I would have known. I know how they think. I know
what they are thinking of." 7 He told CBS in another interview in May, 1984 (as his Fact
Finding Board was holding its hearings) the following:
CBS: But indeed there has been recent evidence that seems
to contradict earlier reports, namely, the recent evidence
seems to indicate that some of the guards may have been
responsible (for shooting Ninoy).
MARCOS: Well, you are of course wrong. What you have
been reading are the newspapers and the newspaper
reports have been biased. The evidence still proves that
Galman was the killer. The evidence also shows that there
were intelligence reports connecting the communist party to
the killing. 8
In his reply of October 25, 1984 to General Ver's letter of the same date going on leave of
absence upon release of the Board's majority report implicating him, he wrote that "(W)e are
even more aware, general, that the circumstances under which the board has chosen to
implicate you in its findings are fraught with doubt and great contradictions of opinion and
testimony. And we are deeply disturbed that on the basis of so-called evidence, you have
been so accused by some members of the Board," and extended "My very best wishes to you
and your family for a speedy resolution of your case," 9 even as he announced that he would
return the general to his position as AFP Chief "if he is acquitted by the Sandiganbayan." In
an interview on June 4, 1985 with the Gamma Photo Agency, as respondent court was
hearing the cases, he was quoted as saying that "as will probably be shown, those witnesses
(against the accused) are perjured witnesses." 10

It was against this setting that on November 11, 1985 petitioners Saturnina Galman and
Reynaldo Galman, mother and son, respectively, of the late Rolando Galman, and twentynine (29) other petitioners, composed of three former Justices of this Court, five incumbent
and former university presidents, a former AFP Chief of Staff, outstanding members of the
Philippine Bar and solid citizens of the community, filed the present action alleging that
respondents Tanodbayan and Sandiganbayan committed serious irregularities constituting
mistrial and resulting in miscarriage of justice and gross violation of the constitutional rights of
the petitioners and the sovereign people of the Philippines to due process of law. They
asserted that the Tanodbayan did not represent the interest of the people when he failed to
exert genuine and earnest efforts to present vital and important testimonial and documentary
evidence for the prosecution and that the Sandiganbayan Justices were biased, prejudiced
and partial in favor of the accused, and that their acts "clouded with the gravest doubts the
sincerity of government to find out the truth about the Aquino assassination." Petitioners
prayed for the immediate issuance of a temporary restraining order restraining the
respondent Sandiganbayan from rendering a decision on the merits in the pending criminal
cases which it had scheduled on November 20, 1985 and that judgment be rendered
declaring a mistrial and nullifying the proceedings before the Sandiganbayan and ordering a
re-trial before an impartial tribunal by an unbiased prosecutor. 10-a

would be entitled to the reliefs demanded: The People are entitled to due process which
requires an impartial tribunal and an unbiased prosecutor. If the State is deprived of a fair
opportunity to prosecute and convict because certain material evidence is suppressed by the
prosecution and the tribunal is not impartial, then the entire proceedings would be null and
void. Petitioners prayed that the Sandiganbayan be restrained from promulgating their
decision as scheduled anew on December 2, 1985.

At the hearing on November 18, 1985 of petitioners' prayer for issuance of a temporary
restraining order enjoining respondent court from rendering a decision in the two criminal
cases before it, the Court resolved by nine-to-two votes 11 to issue the restraining order
prayed for. The Court also granted petitioners a five-day period to file a reply to respondents'
separate comments and respondent Tanodbayan a three-day period to submit a copy of his
84-page memorandum for the prosecution as filed in the Sandiganbayan, the signature page
of which alone had been submitted to the Court as Annex 5 of his comment.

On March 20, 1986, petitioners filed their motion to admit their second motion for
reconsideration attached therewith. The thrust of the second motion for reconsideration was
the startling and theretofore unknown revelations of Deputy Tanodbayan Manuel Herrera as
reported in the March 6, 1986 issue of the Manila Times entitled "Aquino Trial a Sham," that
the then President had ordered the respondents Sandiganbayan and Tanodbayan Bernardo
Fernandez and the prosecution panel headed by Herrera to whitewash the criminal cases
against the 26 respondents accused and produce a verdict of acquittal.

But ten days later on November 28, 1985, the Court by the same nine-to- two-vote ratio in
reverse, 12 resolved to dismiss the petition and to lift the temporary restraining order issued
ten days earlier enjoining the Sandiganbayan from rendering its decision. 13 The same Court
majority denied petitioners' motion for a new 5-day period counted from receipt of respondent
Tanodbayan's memorandum for the prosecution (which apparently was not served on them
and which they alleged was "very material to the question of his partiality, bias and prejudice"
within which to file a consolidated reply thereto and to respondents' separate comments, by
an eight-to-three vote, with Justice Gutierrez joining the dissenters. 14

On April 3, 1986, the Court granted the motion to admit the second motion for reconsideration
and ordered the respondents to comment thereon. 15

On November 29, 1985, petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration, alleging that the
dismissal did not indicate the legal ground for such action and urging that the case be set for
a full hearing on the merits because if the charge of partiality and bias against the
respondents and suppression of vital evidence by the prosecution are proven, the petitioners

On December 5, 1985, the Court required the respondents to comment on the motion for
reconsideration but issued no restraining order. Thus, on December 2, 1985, as scheduled,
respondent Sandiganbayan issued its decision acquitting all the accused of the crime
charged, declaring them innocent and totally absolving them of any civil liability. This marked
another unusual first in that respondent Sandiganbayan in effect convicted the very victim
Rolando Galman (who was not on trial) as the assassin of Ninoy contrary to the very
information and evidence submitted by the prosecution. In opposition, respondents submitted
that with the Sandiganbayan's verdict of acquittal, the instant case had become moot and
academic. On February 4, 1986, the same Court majority denied petitioners' motion for
reconsideration for lack of merit, with the writer and Justice Abad Santos maintaining our
dissent.

Respondent Tanodbayan Bernardo Fernandez stated in his Manifestation filed on April 11,
1986 that he had ceased to hold office as Tanodbayan as of April 8, 1986 when he was
replaced by the new Tanodbayan, Raul M. Gonzales, but reiterating his position in his
comment on the petition, he added "relative to the reported alleged revelations of Deputy
Tanodbayan Manuel Herrera, herein respondent never succumbed to any alleged attempts to
influence his actuations in the premises, having instead successfully resisted perceived
attempts to exert pressure to drop the case after preliminary investigation, and actually
ordered the filing and prosecution of the two (2) murder cases below against herein private
party respondents." He candidly admitted also in his memorandum: "There is not much that
need be said about the existence of pressure. That there were pressures can hardly be

denied; in fact, it has never been denied." 15-a He submitted that "even as he vehemently
denies insinuations of any direct or indirect complicity or participation in any alleged attempt
to supposedly whitewash the cases below, . . . should this Honorable Court find sufficient
cause to justify the reopening and retrial of the cases below, he would welcome such
development so that any wrong that had been caused may be righted and so that, at the very
least the actuations of herein respondent in the premises may be reviewed and reexamined,
confident as he is that the end will show that he had done nothing in the premises that
violated his trust as Tanodbayan (Ombudsman)." New Tanodbayan Raul M. Gonzales in his
comment of April 14, 1986 "interposed no objection to the reopening of the trial of the
cases . . . as, in fact, he urged that the said cases be reopened in order that justice could take
its course."
Respondents Justices of the Sandiganbayan First Division in their collective comment of April
9, 1986 stated that the trial of the criminal cases by them was valid and regular and decided
on the basis of evidence presented and the law applicable, but manifested that "if it is true
that the former Tanodbayan and the Deputy Tanodbayan, Chief of the Prosecution Panel,
were pressured into suppressing vital evidence which would probably alter the result of the
trial, Answering Respondents would not interpose any objection to the reopening of those
cases, if only to allow justice to take its course." Respondent Sandiganbayan Justice
Bienvenido C. Vera Cruz, in a separate comment, asserted that he passed no note to
anyone; the note being bandied about is not in his handwriting; he had nothing to do with the
writing of the note or of any note of any kind intended for any lawyer of the defense or even of
the prosecution; and requested for an investigation by this Court to settle the note passing
issue once and for all.
Deputy Tanodbayan Manuel Herrera, in his comment of April 14, 1986 affirmed the
allegations in the second motion for reconsideration that he revealed that the Sandiganbayan
Justices and Tanodbayan prosecutors were ordered by Marcos to whitewash the AquinoGalman murder case. He amplified his revelations, as follows:
1. AB INITIO, A. VERDICT OF ACQUITTAL!
Incidents during the preliminary investigation showed ominous signs that the fate of
the criminal case on the death of Ex-Senator Benigno Aquino and Rolando Galman
on August 21, 1983 was doomed to an ignominous end. Malacanang wanted
dismissal-to the extent that a prepared resolution was sent to the Investigating Panel
(composed of the undersigned, Fiscals Ernesto Bernabe and Leonardo Tamayo) for
signature. This, of course, was resisted by the panel, and a resolution charging all the
respondents as principals was forwarded to the Tanodbayan on January 10, 1985.
2. MALACAANG CONFERENCE PLANNED SCENARIO OF TRIAL

At 6:00 p.m. of said date (January 10) Mr. Ferdinand E. Marcos (the former President)
summoned to Malacaang Justice Bernardo Fernandez (the Tanodbayan),
Sandiganbayan Justice Manuel Pamaran (the Presiding Justice) and an the members
of the Panel
Also present at the meeting were Justice Manuel Lazaro (the Coordinator) and Mrs.
Imelda R. Marcos, who left earlier, came back and left again. The former President
had a copy of the panel's signed resolution (charging all accused as principals),
evidently furnished him in advance, and with prepared notes on the contents thereof.
The former President started by vehemently maintaining that Galman shot Aquino at
the tarmac. Albeit initially the undersigned argued against the theory, to remain silent
was the more discreet posture when the former President became emotional (he was
quite sick then).
During a good part of the conference, the former President talked about Aquino and
the communists, lambasting the Agrava Board, specially the Legal Panel. Shifting to
the military he rumbled on such statements as: "It will be bloody . . . Gen. Ramos,
though close to me, is getting ambitious and poor Johnny does not know what to
do". . . 'our understanding with Gen. Ramos is that his stint is only temporary, but he
is becoming ambitious "the boys were frantic when they heard that they will be
charged in court, and wig be detained at city jail."
From outright dismissal, the sentiment veered towards a more pragmatic approach.
The former President more or less conceded that for political and legal reasons all the
respondents should be charged in court, Politically, as it will become evident that the
government was serious in pursuing the case towards its logical conclusion, and
thereby ease public demonstrations; on the other hand, legally, it was perceived that
after (not IF) they are acquitted, double jeopardy would inure. The former President
ordered then that the resolution be revised by categorizing the participation of each
respondent.
In the matter of custody of the accused pendente lite the Coordinator was ordered to
get in touch with Gen. Narciso Cabrera, Gen. Vicente Eduardo and Director Jolly
Bugarin to put on record that they had no place in their respective institutions. The
existence of PD No. 1950 (giving custody to commanding officers of members of AFP
charged in court) was never mentioned.
It was decided that the presiding justice (First Division) would personally handle the
trial, and assurance was made by him that it would be finished in four to six months,
pointing out that, with the recent effectivity of the New Rules on Criminal Procedure,
the trial could be expedited.

Towards the end of the two-hour meeting and after the script had been tacitly mapped
out, the former President uttered: "Mag moro-moro na lang kayo."
The parting words of the former President were: "Thank you for your cooperation. I
know how to reciprocate."
While still in the palace grounds on the way out, the undersigned manifested his
desire to the Tanodbayan to resign from the panel, or even the office. This, as well as
other moves to this effect, had always been refused. Hoping that with sufficient
evidence sincerely and efficiently presented by the prosecution, all involves in the trial
would be conscience-pricked and realize the futility and injustice of proceeding in
accordance with the script, the undersigned opted to say on.

Herrera further added details on the "implementation of the script," such as the holding of a
"make-believe raffle" within 18 minutes of the filing of the Informations with the
Sandiganbayan at noon of January 23, 1985, while there were no members of the media; the
installation of TV monitors directly beamed to Malacanang; the installation of a "war room"
occupied by the military; attempts to direct and stifle witnesses for the prosecution; the
suppression of the evidence that could be given by U.S. Airforce men about the "scrambling"
of Ninoy's plane; the suppression of rebuttal witnesses and the bias and partiality of the
Sandiganbayan; its cavalier disregard of his plea that it "should not decide these cases on the
merits without first making a final ruling on the Motion for Inhibition;" and the Presiding
Justice's over-kill with the declaration that "the Court finds all accused innocent of the crimes
charged in the two informations, and accordingly, they incur neither criminal nor civil liability,"
adding that "in the almost twenty years that the undersigned has been the prosecutor in the
sala of the Presiding Justice this is the only occasion where civil liability is pronounced in a
decision of acquittal. " He "associated himself with the motion for reconsideration and likewise
prayed that the proceedings in the Sandiganbayan and its decision be declared null and
void."
New Solicitor General Sedfrey Ordoez' comment of April 25, 1986 submitted that a
declaration of mistrial will depend on the veracity of the evidence supportive of petitioners'
claim of suppression of evidence and collusion. He submitted that this would require
reception of evidence by a Court-appointed or designated commissioner or body of
commissioners (as was done in G.R. No. 71316, Fr. Romano case; and G.R. No.
61016, Morales case; and G.R. No. 70054, Banco Filipino case); and that if petitioners' claim
were substantiated, a reopening of the double murder case is proper to avoid a miscarriage
of justice since the verdict of acquittal would no longer be a valid basis for a double jeopardy
claim.

Respondents-accused opposed the second motion for reconsideration and prayed for its
denial. Respondent Olivas contended that the proper step for the government was to file a
direct action to annul the judgment of acquittal and at a regular trial present its evidence of
collusion and pressures.
As a whole, all the other respondents raised the issue of double jeopardy, and invoked that
the issues had become moot and academic because of the rendition of the Sandiganbayan's
judgment of acquittal of all respondents- accused on December 2, 1985, with counsels for
respondents Ver and Tigas, as well as Olivas, further arguing that assuming that the
judgment of acquittal is void for any reason, the remedy is a direct action to annul the
judgment where the burden of proof falls upon the plaintiff to establish by clear, competent
and convincing evidence the cause of the nullity.
After Petitioners had filed their consolidated reply, the Court resolved per its resolution of
June 5, 1986 to appoint a three-member commission composed of retired Supreme Court
Justice Conrado Vasquez, chairman, and retired Intermediate Appellate Court Justices
Milagros German and Eduardo Caguioa as members, to hear and receive evidence,
testimonial and documentary, of the charges of collusion and pressures and relevant matters,
upon prior notice to all parties, and to submit their findings to this Court for proper disposition.
The Commission conducted hearings on 19 days, starting on June 16, 1986 and ending on
July 16, 1986, On the said last day, respondents announced in open hearing that they
decided to forego the taking of the projected deposition of former President Marcos, as his
testimony would be merely corroborative of the testimonies of respondents Justice Pamaran
and Tanodbayan Fernandez. On July 31, 1986, it submitted its extensive 64-page
Report 16wherein it discussed fully the evidence received by it and made a recapitulation of its
findings in capsulized form, as follows:
1. The Office of the Tanodbayan, particularly Justice Fernandez and the Special
Investigating Panel composed of Justice Herrera, Fiscal Bernabe and Special
Prosecutor Tamayo, was originally of the view that all of the twenty-six (26)
respondents named in the Agrava Board majority report should all be charged as
principals of the crime of double murder for the death of Senator Benigno Aquino and
Rolando Galman.
2. When Malacanang learned of the impending filing of the said charge before the
Sandiganbayan, the Special Investigating Panel having already prepared a draft
Resolution recommending such course of action, President Marcos summoned
Justice Fernandez, the tree members of the Special Investigating Panel, and justice
Pamaran to a conference in Malacanang in the early evening of January 10, 1985.

3. In said conference, President Marcos initially expressed his disagreement with the
recommendation of the Special Investigating Panel and disputed the findings of the
Agrava Board that it was not Galman who shot Benigno Aquino.
4. Later in the conference, however, President Marcos was convinced of the
advisability of filing the murder charge in court so that, after being acquitted as
planned, the accused may no longer be prosecuted in view of the doctrine of double
jeopardy.
5. Presumably in order to be assured that not all of the accused would be denied bail
during the trial, considering that they would be charged with capital offenses,
President Marcos directed that the several accused be "categorized" so that some of
them would merely be charged as accomplices and accessories.
6. In addition to said directive, President Marcos ordered that the case be handled
personally by Justice Pamaran who should dispose of it in the earliest possible time.
7. The instructions given in the Malacanang conference were followed to the letter;
and compliance therewith manifested itself in several specific instances in the course
of the proceedings, such as, the changing of the resolution of the special investigating
panel, the filing of the case with the Sandiganbayan and its assignment to Justice
Pamaran, suppression of some vital evidence, harassment of witnesses, recantation
of witneses who gave adverse testimony before the Agrava Board, coaching of
defense counsels, the hasty trial, monitoring of proceedings, and even in the very
decision rendered in the case.
8. That that expression of President Marcos' desire as to how he wanted the AquinoGalman case to be handled and disposed of constituted sufficient pressure on those
involved in said task to comply with the same in the subsequent course of the
proceedings.
9. That while Justice Pamaran and Justice Fernandez manifested no revulsion
against complying with the Malacaang directive, justice Herrera played his role with
manifestly ambivalent feelings.
10. Sufficient evidence has been ventilated to show a scripted and pre-determined
manner of handling and disposing of the Aquino-Galman murder case, as stagemanaged from Malacaang and performed by willing dramatis personnae as well as
by recalcitrant ones whipped into line by the omnipresent influence of an authoritarian
ruler.

The Commission submitted the following recommendation.

Considering the existence of adequate credible evidence showing that the


prosecution in the Aquino-Galman case and the Justices who tried and decided the
same acted under the compulsion of some pressure which proved to be beyond their
capacity to resist, and which not only prevented the prosecution to fully ventilate its
position and to offer all the evidences which it could have otherwise presented, but
also predetermined the final outcome of the case, the Commission is of the
considered thinking and belief, subject to the better opinion and judgment of this
Honorable Court that the proceedings in the said case have been vitiated by lack of
due process, and hereby respectfully recommends that the prayer in the petition for a
declaration of a mistrial in Sandiganbayan Cases Nos. 10010 and 10011
entitled "People vs. Luther Custodia et al.," be granted.

The Court per its Resolution of July 31, 1986 furnished all the parties with copies of the
Report and required them to submit their objections thereto. It thereafter heard the parties
and their objections at the hearing of August 26, 1986 and the matter was submitted for the
Court's resolution.
The Court adopts and approves the Report and its findings and holds on the basis thereof
and of the evidence received and appreciated by the Commission and duly supported by the
facts of public record and knowledge set forth above and hereinafter, that the then President
(code named Olympus) had stage-managed in and from Malacanang Palace "a scripted and
pre-determined manner of handling and disposing of the Aquino-Galman murder case;" and
that "the prosecution in the Aquino Galman case and the Justices who tried and decided the
same acted under the compulsion of some pressure which proved to be beyond their capacity
to resist', and which not only prevented the prosecution to fully ventilate its position and to
offer all the evidences which it could have otherwise presented, but also pre-determined the
final outcome of the case" of total absolution of the twenty-six respondents accused of all
criminal and civil liability.
The Court finds that the Commission's Report (incorporated herein by reference) and findings
and conclusions are duly substantiated by the evidence and facts of public record. Composed
of distinguished members of proven integrity with a combined total of 141 years of experience
in the practice of law (55 years) and in the prosecutoral and judicial services (86 years in the
trial and appellate courts), experts at sifting the chaff from the grain, 17 the Commission
properly appraised the evidences presented and denials made by public respondents, thus:
The desire of President Marcos to have the Aquino-Galman case disposed of
in a manner suitable to his purposes was quite understandable and was but
to be expected. The case had stirred unprecedented public outcry and wide
international attention. Not invariably, the finger of suspicion pointed to those
then in power who supposedly had the means and the most compelling

motive to eliminate Senator Aquino. A day or so after the assassination,


President Marcos came up with a public statement aired over television that
Senator Aquino was killed not by his military escorts, but by a communist
hired gun. It was, therefore, not a source of wonder that President Marcos
would want the case disposed of in a manner consistent with his announced
theory thereof which, at the same time, would clear his name and his
administration of any suspected guilty participation in the assassination.
The calling of the conference was undoubtedly to accomplish this purpose. . .
.

Sandiganbayan would try the case and, besides, cases therein are assigned
by raffle to a division and not to a particular Justice thereof.
It was preposterous to expect Justice Pamaran to admit having received
such presidential directive. His denial, however, falls to pieces in the light of
the fact that the case was indeed handled by him after being assigned to the
division headed by him. A supposition of mere coincidence is at once
dispelled by the circumstance that he was the only one from the
Sandiganbayan called to the Malacanang conference wherein the said
directive was given. . . .

President Marcos made no bones to conceal his purpose for calling them.
From the start, he expressed irritation and displeasure at the
recommendation of the investigating panel to charge all of the twenty-six (26)
respondents as principals of the crime of double murder. He insisted that it
was Galman who shot Senator Aquino, and that the findings of the Agrava
Board were not supported by evidence that could stand in court. He
discussed and argued with Justice Herrera on this point. Midway in the
course of the discussion, mention was made that the filing of the charge in
court would at least mollify public demands and possibly prevent further
street demonstrations. It was further pointed out that such a procedure would
be a better arrangement because, if the accused are charged in court and
subsequently acquitted, they may claim the benefit of the doctrine of double
jeopardy and thereby avoid another prosecution if some other witnesses
shall appear when President Marcos is no longer in office.

The giving of such directive to Justice Pamaran may also be inferred from his
admission that he gave President Marcos the possible time frame when
asked as to how long it would take him to finish the case.

xxx xxx xxx

The facts set forth above are all supported by the evidence on record. In the
mind of the Commission, the only conclusion that may be drawn therefrom is
that pressure from Malacanang had indeed been made to bear on both the
court and the prosecution in the handling and disposition of the AquinoGalman case. The intensity of this pressure is readily deductible from the
personality of the one who exerted it, his moral and official ascendancy over
those to whom his instructions were directed, the motivation behind such
instructions, and the nature of the government prevailing at that time which
enabled, the then head of state to exercise authoritarian powers. That the
conference called to script or stage-manage the prosecution and trial of the
Aquino-Galman case was considered as something anomalous that should
be kept away from the public eye is shown by the effort to assure its
secrecy. None but those directly involved were caned to attend. The meeting
was held in an inner room of the Palace. Only the First Lady and Presidential

After an agreement was reached as to filing the case, instead of dismissing


it, but with some of the accused to be charged merely as accomplices or
accessories, and the question of preventive custody of the accused having
thereby received satisfactory solution, President Marcos took up the matter
of who would try the case and how long it would take to be finished.
According to Justice Herrera, President Marcos told Justice Pamaran 'point
blank' to personally handle the case. This was denied by Justice
Pamaran. No similar denial was voiced by Justice Fernandez in the entire
course of his two-day testimony. Justice Pamaran explained that such order
could not have been given inasmuch as it was not yet certain then that the

The testimony of Justice Herrera that, during the conference, and after an
agreement was reached on filing the case and subsequently acquitting the
accused, President Marcos told them "Okay, mag moro-moro na lamang
kayo;" and that on their way out of the room President Marcos expressed his
thanks to the group and uttered "I know how to reciprocate," did not receive
any denial or contradiction either on the part of justice Fernandez or justice
Pamaran. (No other person present in the conference was presented by the
respondents. Despite an earlier manifestation by the respondents of their
intention to present Fiscal Bernabe and Prosecutor Tamayo, such move was
abandoned without any reason having been given therefor.)

Legal Assistant Justice Lazaro were with the President. The conferees were
told to take the back door in going to the room where the meeting was held,
presumably to escape notice by the visitors in the reception hall waiting to
see the President. Actually, no public mention alas ever made of this
conference until Justice Herrera made his expose some fifteen (15) months
later when the former president was no longer around.
President Marcos undoubtedly realized the importance of the matter he
wanted to take up with the officials he asked to be summoned. He had to do
it personally, and not merely through trusted assistants. The lack of will or
determination on the part of Justice Fernandez and Justice Pamaran to resist
the presidential summons despite their realization of its unwholesome
implications on their handling of the celebrated murder case may be easily
inferred from their unquestioned obedience thereto. No effort to resist was
made, despite the existence of a most valid reason to beg off, on the lame
excuses that they went there out of "curiosity," or "out of respect to the Office
of the President," or that it would be 'unbecoming to refuse a summons from
the President.' Such frame of mind only reveals their susceptibility to
presidential pressure and lack of capacity to resist the same. The very acts
of being summoned to Malacanang and their ready acquiescence thereto
under the circumstances then obtaining, are in themselves pressure
dramatized and exemplified Their abject deference to President Marcos may
likewise be inferred from the admitted fact that, not having been given
seats during the two-hour conference (Justice Fernandez said it was not that
long, but did not say how long) in which President Marcos did the talking
most of the time, they listened to him on their feet. Verily, it can be said
that any avowal of independent action or resistance to presidential pressure
became illusory from the very moment they stepped inside Malacanang
Palace on January 10, 1985. 18
The Commission pinpointed the crucial factual issue thus: "the more significant inquiry is on
whether the Sandiganbayan and the Office of the Tanodbayan actually succumbed to such
pressure, as may be gauged by their subsequent actuations in their respective handling of
the case." It duly concluded that "the pressure exerted by President Marcos in the conference
held on January 10, 1985 pervaded the entire proceedings of the Aquino Galman [murder]
cases" as manifested in several specific incidents and instances it enumerated in the Report
under the heading of "Manifestations of Pressure and Manipulation."
Suffice it to give hereinbelow brief excerpts:

1. The changing of the original Herrera panel draft Resolution charging all the twenty-six
accused as principals by conspiracy by categorizing and charging 17 as principals, Generals
Ver and Olivas and 6 others as accessories and the civilian as accomplice, and
recommending bail for the latter two categories: "The categorization may not be completely
justified by saying that, in the mind of Justice Fernandez, there was no sufficient evidence to
justify that all of the accused be charged as principals. The majority of the Agrava Board
found the existence of conspiracy and recommended that all of the accused be charged
accordingly. Without going into the merit of such finding, it may hardly be disputed that, in
case of doubt, and in accordance with the standard practice of the prosecution to charge
accused with the most serious possible offense or in the highest category so as to prevent an
incurable injustice in the event that the evidence presented in the trial will show his guilt of the
graver charge, the most logical and practical course of action should have been, as originally
recommended by the Herrera panel, to charge all the accused as principals. As it turned out,
Justice Fernandez readily opted for categorization which, not surprisingly, was in consonance
with the Malacaang instruction." It is too much to attribute to coincidence that such unusual
categorization came only after the then President's instruction at Malacanang when Gen.
Ver's counsel, Atty. Coronel, had been asking the same of Tanodbayan Fernandez since
November, 1984; and "Justice Fernandez himself, admit(ted) that, as of that time, [the
Malacanang conference on January 10, 1985], his own view was in conformity with that of the
Special Investigating Panel to charge all of the twenty-six (26) respondents as principals of
the crime of double murder." 19 As the Commission further noted, "Justice Fernandez never
denied the claim of Justice Herrera that the draft resolution of January 10, 1985 (Exhibit 'B-1')
[charging all 26 accused as principals] was to have been the subject of a press conference on
the afternoon of said date which did not go through due to the summons for them to go to
Malacanang in the early evening of said date." 20
2. Suppression of vital evidence and harassment of witnesses:" Realizing, no doubt, that a
party's case is as strong as the evidence it can present, unmistakable and persistent efforts
were exerted in behalf of the accused to weaken the case of the prosecution and thereby
assure and justify [the accused's] eventual scripted acquittal. Unfavorable evidences were
sought to be suppressed, and some were indeed prevented from being ventilated. Adverse
witnesses were harassed, cajoled, perjured or threatened either to refrain from testifying or to
testify in a manner favorable to the defense."
The Report specified the ordeals of the prosecution witnesses: 21 Cesar Loterina, PAL
employee, Roberta Masibay, Galman's step-daughter who recanted their testimonies before
the Fact Finding Board and had to be discarded as prosecution witnesses before at the trial.
WitnessesViesca and Raas who also testified before the Board "disappeared all of a sudden
and could not be located by the police. The Commission narrated the efforts to stifle Kiyoshi
Wakamiya eyewitness who accompanied Ninoy on his fateful flight on August 21, 1983 and

described them as "palpable, if crude and display(ing) sheer abuse of power." Wakamiya was
not even allowed to return to Manila on August 20, 1984 to participate in the first death
anniversary of Ninoy but was deported as an undesirable alien and had to leave on the next
plane for Tokyo. The Board had to go to Tokyo to hear Wakamiya give his testimony before
the Japanese police in accordance with their law and Wakamiya claimed before the
Commission that the English transcription of his testimony, as prepared by an official of the
Philippine Embassy in Tokyo, was inaccurate and did not correctly reflect the testimony he
gave "although there was no clear showing of the discrepancy from the original transcription
which was in Nippongo. Upon his arrival at the MIA on August 21, 1985 on invitation of
Justice Herrera to testify at the ongoing trial, "a shot was fired and a soldier was seen running
away by media men who sought to protect Wakamiya from harm by surrounding him."
Wakamiya was forced by immigration officials to leave the country by Saturday (August 24th)
notwithstanding Herrera's request to let him stay until he could testify the following Monday
(August 26th). In the case of principal eyewitness Rebecca Quijano, the Commission
reported that
... Undoubtedly in view of the considerable significance of her proposed
testimony and its unfavorable effect on the cause of the defense, the efforts
exerted to suppress the same was as much as, if not more than those in the
case of Wakamiya. ... She recounted that she was in constant fear of her life,
having been hunted by armed men; that their house in Tabaco, Albay was
ransacked, her family harassed by the foreclosure of the mortgage on their
house by the local Rural Bank, and ejected therefrom when she ignored the
request of its manager to talk with her about her proposed testimony; that a
certain William Farias offered her plane tickets for a trip abroad; that Mayor
Rudy Farias of Laoag City kept on calling her sister in the United States to
warn her not to testify; that, later, Rudy and William Farias offered her two
million pesos supposedly coming from Bongbong Marcos, a house and lot in
Baguio, the dropping of her estafa case in Hongkong, and the punishment of
the persons responsible for the death of her father, if she would refrain from
testifying.
It is a matter of record, however, that despite such cajolery and harassments,
or perhaps because of them, Ms. Quijano eventually testified before the
Sandiganbayan. Justice Herrera was told by justice Fernandez of the
displeasure expressed by Olympus at justice Herrera's going out of his way
to make Ms. Quijano to testify, and for his refusal to honor the invitation to
attend the birthday party of the First Lady on May 1, 1985, as on the eve of
Ms. Quijano's testimony on May 2, 1985. The insiduous attempts to tamper
with her testimony, however, did not end with her taking the witness stand. In

the course of her testimony several notes were passed to Atty. Rodolfo
Jimenez, the defense counsel who cross-examined her, one of which
suggested that she be asked more questions about Dean Narvasa who was
suspected of having coached her as to what to declare (Exhibit "D"); and on
another occasion, at a crucial point in her testimony, a power brownout
occurred; which lasted for about twenty minutes, throwing the courtroom into
darkness, and making most of those present to scamper for safety, and Ms.
Quijano to pass over the railing of the rostrum so as to be able to leave the
courtroom. It was verified that the brownout was limited to the building
housing the Sandiganbayan, it not having affected the nearby Manila City
Hall and the Finance Building. Justice Herrera declared that the main
switchboard of the Sandiganbayan electrical system was located beside the
room occupied by Malacaang people who were keeping track of the
proceedings.
Atty. Lupino Lazaro for petitioners further made of record at that August 26th hearing that the
two Olivas sisters, Ana and Catherine (hospitality girls) disappeared on September 4, 1984,
two weeks after Ninoy's assassination. And the informant, by the name of Evelyn (also a
hospitality girl) who jotted down the number of the car that took them away, also disappeared.
On January 29, 1984, during the proceedings of the Board, Lina Galman, the common-law
wife of Rolando Galman, was kidnapped together with a neighbor named Rogelio Taruc, They
have been missing since then, despite his attempts to find any of them. According to him,
"nobody was looking for these five persons because they said Marcos was in Power [despite
his appeal to the Minister of National Defense to locate them]. Today, still no one is looking for
these people." And he appealed to the new leadership for its assistance in learning their fate.
3. The discarding of the affidavits executed by U.S. airmen "While it is true that the U.S.
airmen's proposed testimonies would show an attempt of the Philippine Air Force to divert the
plane to Basa Airfield or some other place, such showing would not necessarily contravene
the theory of the prosecution, nor the actual fact that Senator Aquino was killed at the Manila
International Airport. Justice Herrera had accurately pointed out that such attempt of
scrambling Aquino's plane merely showed a 'wider range of conspiracy,' it being possibly just
one of two or three other plans designed to accomplish the same purpose of liquidating
Senator Aquino. In any event, even assuming that the said piece of evidence could go either
way, it may not be successfully contended that it was prudent or wise on the part of the
prosecution to totally discard the said piece of evidence. Despite minor inconsistencies
contained therein, its introduction could have helped the cause of the prosecution. If it were
not so, or that it would even favor the defense, as averred by Justice Fernandez, the
determined effort to suppress the same would have been totally uncalled for."

4. Nine proposed rebuttal witnesses not presented.


5. The failure to exhaust available remedies against adverse developments: "When the
Supreme Court denied the petition of Justice Fernandez [against the exclusion of the
testimonies given by the military respondents headed by Gen. Ver before the Fact Finding
Board], the latter almost immediately announced to media that he was not filing a motion for
the reconsideration of said denial for the reason that it would be futile to do so and foolhardy
to expect a favorable action on the same. ... His posture ... is, in the least, indicative that he
was living up to the instruction of finishing the trial of the case as soon as possible, if not of
something else."
6. The assignment of the case to Presiding Justice Pamaran: "Justice Herrera testified that
President Marcos ordered Justice Pamaran point-blank to handle the case. The pro-forma
denial by Justice Pamaran of such instruction crumbles under the actuality of such directive
having been complied with to the letter. ...
"Justice Pamaran sought to discredit the claim that he was ordered by President Marcos to
handle the case personally by explaining that cases in the Sandiganbayan are assigned by
raffle and not to a particular Justice, but to a division thereof. The evidence before the
Comission on how the case happened to be assigned to Justice Pamaran evinces a strong
indication that such assignment was not done fairly or regularly.
"There was no evidence at all that the assignment was indeed by virtue of a regular raffle,
except the uncorroborated testimony of Justice Pamaran. ... Despite an announcement that
Justice Escareal would be presented by the respondents to testify on the contents of his
aforesaid Memorandum, such was not done. No reason was given why Justice Escarel could
not, or would not like to testify. Neither was any one of the officials or employees of the
Sandiganbayan who, according to Justice Pamaran, were present during the supposed raffle,
presented to corroborate the claim of Justice
xxx xxx xxx
"It is also an admitted fact that the two Informations in the double murder case were filed by
Justice Herrera on January 23, 1985, at 12:02 p.m., and the members of the Raffle
Committee were summoned at 12:20 p.m. oronly 18 minutes after the filing of the two
Informations. Such speed in the actual assignment of the case can truly be categorized as
unusual, if not extraordinary, considering that before a case filed may be included in the raffle,
there is need for a certain amount of paper work to be undertaken. If such preliminary
requirements were done in this case within the limited time available therefor, the charge that
the raffle was rushed to avoid the presence of media people would ring with truth.

What is more intriguing is the fact that although a raffle might have been actually conducted
which resulted in the assignment of the case to the First Division of the Sandiganbayan, the
Commission did not receive any evidence on how or why it was handled personally by Justice
Pamaran who wrote the decision thereof, and not by any one of the two other members of his
division. . . .
7. The custody of the accused their confinement in a military camp, instead of in a civilian
jail: "When the question of custody came up after the case was filed in the Sandiganbayan,
the latter issued an order directing the confinement of the accused in the City Jail of Manila.
This order was not carried out in view of the information given by the Warden of the City Jail
that there was no space for the twenty-six accused in said jail. The same information was
given when the custody was proposed to be given to the National Penitentiary in Muntinglupa
and to the National Bureau of Investigation. At that point, the defense came up with
Presidential Decree No. 1950A which authorizes the custody of the accused military
personnel with their respective Commanding Officers. Justice Herrera claimed that the said
Presidential Decree was not known even to the Tanodbayan Justice Fernandez who had to
call up the then Minister of Justice Estelito Mendoza to request a copy of the same, and was
given such copy only after sometime. ..."
8. The monitoring of proceedings and developments from Malacaang and by Malacaang
personnel: "There is an uncontradicted evidence that the progress of the proceedings in the
Sandiganbayan as well as the developments of the case outside the Court had been
monitored by Malacaang presumably for it to know what was happening and to take
remedial measures as may be necessary. Justice Pamaran had candidly admitted that
television cameras "boldly carrying the label of 'Office of the President of the Philippines' "
were installed in the courtroom for that purpose. There was a room in the Sandiganbayan,
mischievously caned 'war room', wherein military and Malacaang personnel stayed to keep
track of the proceedings." the close monitoring by Malacaang showed its results on several
occasions specified in the Report. Malacaang was immediately aware of the Japanese
witness Wakamiya's presence injustice Herrera's office on August 21, 1985 and forestalled
the giving of his testimony by having the Japanese Embassy advise Wakamiya to leave the
country at once. Likewise,Col. Balbino Diego, Malacaang intelligence chief, suddenly
appeared at the National Bureau of Investigation office when the "crying lady" Rebecca
Quijano was brought there by NBI agents for interrogation and therein sought to obtain
custody of her. "It is likewise an undisputed fact," the Commission noted "that several military
personnel pretended to be deputy sheriffs of the Sandiganbayan and attended the trials
thereof in the prescribed deputy sheriffs' uniforms." The Commission's inescapable finding. "
It is abundantly clear that President Marcos did not only give instructions as to how the case
should be handled He saw to it that he would know if his instructions will be complied with."

9. Partiality of Sandiganbayan betrayed by its decision: "That President Marcos had wanted
all of the twenty-six accused to be acquitted may not be denied. The disposal of the case in
said manner is an integral part of the scenario which was cleverly designed to accomplish two
principal objectives, seemingly conflicting in themselves, but favorable both to then
administration and to the accused; to wit, [1] the satisfaction of the public clamor for the
suspected killers of Senator Aquino to be charged in court, and [2] the foreclosure of any
possibility that they may again be prosecuted for the same offense in the event that President
Marcos shall no longer be in power.
"In rendering its decision the Sandiganbayan overdid itself in favoring the presidential
directive. Its bias and partiality in favor of the accused was glaringly obvious. The evidence
presented by the prosecution was totally ignored and disregarded. ... It was deemed not
sufficient to simply acquit all of the twenty-six accused on thestandard ground that their guilt
had not been proven beyond reasonable doubt, as was the most logical and appropriate way
of justifying the acquittal in the case, there not being a total absence of evidence that could
show guilt on the part of the accused. The decision had to pronounce them 'innocent of the
crime charged on the two informations, and accordingly, they incur neither criminal nor civil
liability.' It is a rare phenomenon to see a person accused of a crime to be favored with such
total absolution. ...
Doubt on the soundness of the decision entertained by one of the two justices who concurred
with the majority decision penned by Justice Pamaran was revealed by Justice Herrera who
testified that in October, 1985, when the decision was being prepared, Justice Agusto
Amores told him that he was of the view that some of the accused should be convicted he
having found difficulty in acquitting all of them; however, he confided to Justice Herrera that
Justice Pamaran made it clear to him and Justice Vera Cruz that Malacaang had
instructions to acquit all of the twenty-six accused (TSN, July 17, 1986, p. 49). Justice
Amores also told Justice Herrera that he would confirm this statement (which was mentioned
in Justice Herrera's comment to the Second Motion for Reconsideration) if asked about
it (TSN, June 19, 1986, pp. 92-93). This testimony Justice Herrera remained unrebutted "
(Emphasis supplied)
The record shows suffocatingly that from beginning to end, the then President used, or more
precisely, misused the overwhelming resources of the government and his authoritarian
powers to corrupt and make a mockery of the judicial process in the Aquino-Galman murder
cases. As graphically depicted in the Report, supra, and borne out by the happenings (res
ipsa loquitur 22) since the resolution prepared by his "Coordinator," Manuel Lazaro, his
Presidential Assistant on Legal Affairs, for the Tanodbayan's dismissal of the cases against all
accused was unpalatable (it would summon the demonstrators back to the streets 23) and at
any rate was not acceptable to the Herrera prosecution panel, the unholy scenario for

acquittal of all 26 accused after the rigged trial as ordered at the Malacanang conference,
would accomplish the two principal objectives of satisfaction of the public clamor for the
suspected killers to be charged in court and of giving them through their acquittal the legal
shield of double jeopardy. 24
Indeed, the secret Malacanang conference at which the authoritarian President called
together the Presiding Justice of the Sandiganbayan and Tanodbayan Fernandez and the
entire prosecution panel headed by Deputy Tanodbayan Herrera and told them how to handle
and rig (moro-moro) the trial and the close monitoring of the entire proceedings to assure the
pre-determined ignominious final outcome are without parallel and precedent in our annals
and jurisprudence. To borrow a phrase from Ninoy's April 14, 1975 letter withdrawing his
petition for habeas corpus, 25 "This is the evil of one-man rule at its very worst." Our Penal
Code penalizes "any executive officer who shall address any order or suggestion to any
judicial authority with respect to any case or business coming within the exclusive jurisdiction
of the courts of justice." 26 His obsession for "the boys' " acquittal led to several first which
would otherwise be inexplicable:
1. He turned his back on and repudiated the findings of the very Fact Finding Board that he
himself appointed to investigate the "national tragedy and national shame" of the
"treacherous and vicious assassination of Ninoy Aquino and "to ventilate the truth through
free, independent and dispassionate investigation by prestigious and free investigators."
2. He cordially received the chairman with her minority report one day ahead of the four
majority members and instantly referred it to respondents "for final resolution through the
legal system" as if it were the majority and controlling report; and rebuked the four majority
members when they presented to him the next day their report calling for the indictment of all
26 respondents headed by Gens. Ver and Olivas (instead of the lesser seven under the
chairman's minority report).
3. From the day after the Aquino assassination to the dictated verdict of acquittal, he totally
disregarded the Board's majority and minority findings of fact and publicly insisted that the
military's "fall guy" Rolando Galman was the killer of Ninoy Aquino and sought futilely to
justify the soldiers' incompetence and gross negligence to provide any security for Ninoy in
contrast to their alacrity in gunning down the alleged assassin Galman and searing his lips.
4. The Sandiganbayan's decision (Pamaran, J. ponente) in effect convicted Rolando Galman
as Ninoy's assassin notwithstanding that he was not on trial but the victim according to the
very information filed, and evidence to the contrary submitted, by the Herrera prosecution
panel; and

5. Justice Pamaran's ponencia (despite reservations expressed by Justice Amores who


wanted to convict some of the accused) granted all 26 accused total absolution and
pronounced them "innocent of the crimes charged in the two informations, and accordingly,
they incur neither criminal nor civil liability," notwithstanding the evidence on the basis of
which the Fact Finding Board had unanimously declared the soldiers' version of Galman
being Aquino's killer a "perjured story, given deliberately and in conspiracy with one another."
The fact of the secret Malacaang conference of January 10, 1985 at which the authoritarian
President discussed with the Presiding Justice of the Sandiganbayan and the entire
prosecution panel the matter of the imminent filing of the criminal charges against all the
twenty-six accused (as admitted by respondent Justice Fernandez to have been confirmed by
him to the then President's "Coordinator" Manuel Lazaro on the preceding day) is not denied.
It is without precedent. This was illegal under our penal laws, supra. This illegality vitiated
from the very beginning all proceedings in the Sandiganbayan court headed by the very
Presiding Justice who attended. As the Commission noted: "The very acts of being
summoned to Malacaang and their ready acquiescence thereto under the circumstances
then obtaining, are in themselves pressure dramatized and exemplified. ... Verily, it can be
said that any avowal of independent action or resistance to presidential pressure became
illusory from the very moment they stepped inside Malacanang Palace on January 10, 1985."
No court whose Presiding Justice has received "orders or suggestions" from the very
President who by an amendatory decree (disclosed only at the hearing of oral arguments on
November 8, 1984 on a petition challenging the referral of the Aquino-Galman murder cases
to the Tanodbayan and Sandiganbayan instead of to a court martial, as mandatory required
by the known P.D. 1850 at the time providing for exclusive jurisdiction of courts martial over
criminal offenses committed by military men 26-a) made it possible to refer the cases to the
Sandiganbayan, can be an impartial court, which is the very essence of due process of law.
As the writer then wrote, "jurisdiction over cases should be determined by law, and not
by preselection of the Executive, which could be much too easily transformed into a means
of predetermining the outcome of individual cases. 26-b "This criminal collusion as to the
handling and treatment of the cases by public respondents at the secret Malacanang
conference (and revealed only after fifteen months by Justice Manuel Herrera) completely
disqualified respondent Sandiganbayan and voided ab initio its verdict. This renders moot
and irrelevant for now the extensive arguments of respondents accused, particularly Generals
Ver and Olivas and those categorized as accessories, that there has been no evidence or
witness suppressed against them, that the erroneous conclusions of Olivas as police
investigator do not make him an accessory of the crimes he investigated and the appraisal
and evaluation of the testimonies of the witnesses presented and suppressed. There will be
time and opportunity to present all these arguments and considerations at the remand and
retrial of the cases herein ordered before a neutral and impartial court.

The Supreme Court cannot permit such a sham trial and verdict and travesty of justice to
stand unrectified. The courts of the land under its aegis are courts of
law and justice and equity. They would have no reason to exist if they were allowed to be
used as mere tools of injustice, deception and duplicity to subvert and suppress the truth,
instead of repositories of judicial power whose judges are sworn and committed to render
impartial justice to all alike who seek the enforcement or protection of a right or the prevention
or redress of a wrong, without fear or favor and removed from the pressures of politics and
prejudice. More so, in the case at bar where the people and the world are entitled to know the
truth, and the integrity of our judicial system is at stake. In life, as an accused before the
military tribunal, Ninoy had pleaded in vain that as a civilian he was entitled to due process of
law and trial in the regular civil courts before an impartial court with an unbiased prosecutor.
In death, Ninoy, as the victim of the "treacherous and vicious assassination" and the relatives
and sovereign people as the aggrieved parties plead once more for due process of law and a
retrial before an impartial court with an unbiased prosecutor. The Court is constrained to
declare the sham trial a mock trial the non-trial of the century-and that the pre-determined
judgment of acquittal was unlawful and void ab initio.
1. No double jeopardy.-It is settled doctrine that double jeopardy cannot be invoked against
this Court's setting aside of the trial courts' judgment of dismissal or acquittal where the
prosecution which represents the sovereign people in criminal cases is denied due process.
As the Court stressed in the 1985 case of People vs. Bocar, 27
Where the prosecution is deprived of a fair opportunity to prosecute and
prove its case its right to due process is thereby violated. 27-a
The cardinal precept is that where there is a violation of basic constitutional
rights, courts are ousted of their jurisdiction. Thus, the violation of the State's
right to due process raises a serious jurisdictional issue (Gumabon vs.
Director of the Bureau of Prisons, L-30026, 37 SCRA 420 [Jan. 30,
1971]which cannot be glossed over or disregarded at will. Where the denial
of the fundamental right of due process is apparent, a decision rendered in
disregard of that right is void for lack of jurisdiction (Aducayen vs. Flores, L30370 [May 25, 1973], 51 SCRA 78; Shell Co. vs. Enage, L-30111-12, 49
SCRA 416 [Feb. 27, 1973]). Any judgment or decision rendered
notwithstanding such violation may be regarded as a "lawless thing, which
can be treated as an outlaw and slain at sight, or ignored wherever it exhibits
its head" (Aducayen vs. Flores, supra).

Respondent Judge's dismissal order dated July 7, 1967 being null and void
for lack of jurisdiction, the same does not constitute a proper basis for a claim
of double jeopardy (Serino vs. Zosa, supra).
xxx xxx xxx
Legal jeopardy attaches only (a) upon a valid indictment, (b) before a
competent court, (c) after arraignment, (d) a valid plea having been entered;
and (e) the case was dismissed or otherwise terminated without the express
consent of the accused (People vs. Ylagan, 58 Phil. 851). The lower court
was not competent as it was ousted of its jurisdiction when it violated the
right of the prosecution to due process.
In effect the first jeopardy was never terminated, and the remand of the
criminal case for further hearing and/or trial before the lower courts amounts
merely to a continuation of the first jeopardy, and does not expose the
accused to a second jeopardy.
More so does the rule against the invoking of double jeopardy hold in the cases at bar where
as we have held, the sham trial was but a mock trial where the authoritarian president
ordered respondents Sandiganbayan and Tanodbayan to rig the trial and closely monitored
the entire proceedings to assure the pre-determined final outcome of acquittal and total
absolution as innocent of an the respondents-accused. Notwithstanding the laudable efforts
of Justice Herrera which saw him near the end "deactivating" himself from the case, as it was
his belief that its eventual resolution was already a foregone conclusion, they could not cope
with the misuse and abuse of the overwhelming powers of the authoritarian President to
weaken the case of the prosecution, to suppress its evidence, harass, intimidate and threaten
its witnesses, secure their recantation or prevent them from testifying. Fully aware of the
prosecution's difficulties in locating witnesses and overcoming their natural fear and
reluctance to appear and testify, respondent Sandiganbayan maintained a "dizzying tempo"
of the proceedings and announced its intention to terminate the proceedings in about 6
months time or less than a year, pursuant to the scripted scenario. The prosecution
complained of "the Presiding Justice's seemingly hostile attitude towards (it)" and their being
the subject of warnings, reprimand and contempt proceedings as compared to the nil
situation for the defense. Herrera likewise complained of being "cajoled into producing
witnesses and pressed on making assurances that if given a certain period, they will be able
to produce their witnesses Herrera pleaded for "a reasonable period of preparation of its
evidence" and cited other pending cases before respondent court that were pending trial for a
much longer time where the "dizzying tempo" and "fast pace" were not maintained by the
court. 28 Manifestly, the prosecution and the sovereign people were denied due process of law

with a partial court and biased Tanodbayan under the constant and pervasive monitoring and
pressure exerted by the authoritarian President to assure the carrying out of his instructions.
A dictated, coerced and scripted verdict of acquittal such as that in the case at bar is a void
judgment. In legal contemplation, it is no judgment at all. It neither binds nor bars anyone.
Such a judgment is "a lawless thing which can be treated as an outlaw". It is a terrible and
unspeakable affront to the society and the people. To paraphrase Brandeis: 29 If the
authoritarian head of the government becomes the law-breaker, he breeds contempt for the
law, he invites every man to become a law unto himself, he invites anarchy.
Respondents-accused's contention that the Sandiganbayan judgment of acquittal ends the
case which cannot be appealed or re-opened, without being put in double jeopardy was
forcefully disposed of by the Court in People vs. Court of Appeals, which is fully applicable
here, as follows: "That is the general rule and presupposes a valid judgment. As earlier
pointed out, however, respondent Courts' Resolution of acquittal was a void judgment for
having been issued without jurisdiction. No double jeopardy attaches, therefore. A void
judgment is, in legal effect, no judgment at all By it no rights are divested. Through it, no
rights can be attained. Being worthless, all proceedings founded upon it are equally
worthless. It neither binds nor bars anyone. All acts performed under it and all claims flowing
out of it are void.
|lang1033 xxx xxx xxx
"Private respondent invoke 'justice for the innocent'. For justice to prevail the scales must
balance. It is not to be dispensed for the accused alone. The interests of the society, which
they have wronged must also be equally considered. A judgment of conviction is not
necessarily a denial of justice. A verdict of acquittal neither necessarily spells a triumph of
justice. To the party wronged, to the society offended, it could also mean injustice. This is
where the Courts play a vital role. They render justice where justice is due. 30
2. Motion to Disqualify/Inhibit should have been resolved Ahead.-The private prosecutors had
filed a motion to disqualify and for inhibition of respondents Justices of the Sandiganbayan on
grounds of manifest bias and partiality to the defense and arising from then Atty. (now
Tanodbayan) Raul M. Gonzales' charge that Justice Vera-Cruz had been passing coaching
notes to defense counsel. Justice Herrera had joined the motion and pleaded at the hearing
of June 25, 1985 and in the prosecution memorandum that respondent Sandiganbayan
"should not decide the case on the merits without first making a final ruling on the Motion for
Inhibition." Herrera quoted the exchange between him and the Presiding Justice to show the
latter's "following the script of Malacanang.
PJ PAMARAN

Well the court believes that we should proceed with the trial and then deal later on with
that. After all, the most important thing here is, shall we say, the decision of the case.

3. Re: Objections of respondents.-The other related objections of respondents' counsels must


be rejected in the face of the Court's declaration that the trial was a mock trial and that the
pre-determined judgment of acquittal was unlawful and void ab initio.

J. HERRERA
I think more important than the decision of the case, Your Honor, is the capacity of the justices to
sit in judgment. That is more important than anything else.(p. 13 TSN, June 25, 1985) (Emphasis
supplied by Herrera). 31

But the Sandiganbayan brushed aside Herrera's pleas and then wrongly blamed him, in the
decision, for supposedly not having joined the petition for inhibition, contrary to the facts
above-stated, as follows:
... the motion for inhibition above referred to related exclusively for the contempt proceeding. Too,
it must be remembered that the prosecution neither joined that petition, nor did it at any time
manifest a desire to file a similar motion prior to the submission of these cases for decision. To
do it now is not alone out of season but is also a confession of official insouciance (Page 22,
Decision). 32

The action for prohibition was filed in the Court to seek the disqualification of respondents
Justices pursuant to the procedure recognized by the Court in the 1969 case of Paredes vs.
Gopengco 33 since an adverse ruling by respondent court might result in a verdict of acquittal,
leaving the offended party without any remedy nor appeal in view of the double jeopardy rule,
not to mention the overiding and transcendental public interest that would make out a case of
denial of due process to the People if the alleged failure on the part of the Tanodbayan to
present the complete evidence for the prosecution is substantiated. 34
In this case, petitioners' motion for reconsideration of the abrupt dismissal of their petition and
lifting of the temporary restraining order enjoining the Sandiganbayan from rendering its
decision had been taken cognizance of by the Court which had required the respondents',
including the Sandiganbayan's, comments. Although no restraining order was issued anew,
respondent Sandiganbayan should not have precipitately issued its decision of total
absolution of all the accused pending the final action of this Court. This is the teaching
of Valdez vs. Aquilizan35, Wherein the court in setting aside the hasty convictions, ruled that
"prudence dictated that (respondent judge) refrain from deciding the cases or at the very least
to hold in abeyance the promulgation of his decision pending action by this Court. But
prudence gave way to imprudence; the respondent judge acted precipitately by deciding the
cases [hastily without awaiting this Court's action]. All of the acts of the respondent judge
manifest grave abuse of discretion on his part amounting to lack of jurisdiction which
substantively prejudiced the petitioner."

(a) It follows that there is no need to resort to a direct action to annul the judgment, instead of
the present action which was timely filed initially to declare a mistrial and to enjoin the
rendition of the void judgment. And after the hasty rendition of such judgment for the
declaration of its nullity, following the presentation of competent proof heard by the
Commission and the Court's findings therefrom that the proceedings were from the beginning
vitiated not only by lack of due process but also by the collusion between the public
respondents (court and Tanodbayan) for the rendition of a pre-determined verdict of
acquitting all the twenty-six respondents-accused.
(b) It is manifest that this does not involve a case of mere irregularities in the conduct of the
proceedings or errors of judgment which do not affect the integrity or validity of the judgment
or verdict.
(c) The contention of one of defense counsel that the State and the sovereign people are not
entitled to due process is clearly erroneous and contrary to the basic principles and
jurisprudence cited hereinabove.
(d) The submittal of respondents-accused that they had not exerted the pressure applied by
the authoritarian president on public respondents and that no evidence was suppressed
against them must be held to be untenable in the wake of the evil plot now exposed for their
preordained wholesale exoneration.
(e) Respondents' invocation of the writer's opinion in Luzon Brokerage Co., Inc. vs. Maritime
Bldg. Co., Inc. 36 is inappropriate. The writer therein held that a party should be entitled to
only one Supreme Court and may not speculate on vital changes in the Court's membership
for review of his lost case once more, since public policy and sound practice demand that
litigation be put to an end and no second pro formamotion for reconsideration reiterating the
same arguments should be kept pending so long (for over six (6) years and one (1) month
since the denial of the first motion for reconsideration), This opinion cannot be properly
invoked, because here, petitioners' second motion for reconsideration was filed promptly on
March 20, 1986 following the denial under date of February 4th of the first motion for
reconsideration and the same was admitted per the Court's Resolution of April 3, 1986 and is
now being resolved within five months of its filing after the Commission had received the
evidence of the parties who were heard by the Court only last August 26th. The second
motion for reconsideration is based on an entirely new material ground which was not known
at the time of the denial of the petition and filing of the first motion for reconsideration, i.e, the

secret Malacaang conference on January 10, 1985 which came to light only fifteen months
later in March, 1986 and showed beyond per adventure (as proved in the Commission
hearings) the merits of the petition and that the authoritarian president had dictated and predetermined the final outcome of acquittal. Hence, the ten members of the Court (without any
new appointees) unanimously voted to admit the second motion for reconsideration. 37
4. With the declaration of nullity of the proceedings, the cases must now be tried before an
impartial court with an unbiased prosecutor.-There has been the long dark night of
authoritarian regime, since the fake ambush in September, 1972 of then Defense Secretary
Juan Ponce Enrile (as now admitted by Enrile himself was staged to trigger the imposition of
martial law and authoritarian one-man rule, with the padlocking of Congress and the abolition
of the office of the Vice-President.
As recently retired Senior Justice Vicente Abad Santos recalled in his valedictory to the new
members of the Bar last May, "In the past few years, the judiciary was under heavy attack by
an extremely powerful executive. During this state of judicial siege, lawyers both in and
outside the judiciary perceptively surrendered to the animus of technicality. In the end,
morality was overwhelmed by technicality, so that the latter emerged ugly and naked in its
true manifestation."
Now that the light is emerging, the Supreme Court faces the task of restoring public faith and
confidence in the courts. The Supreme Court enjoys neither the power of the sword nor of the
purse. Its strength lies mainly in public confidence, based on the truth and moral force of its
judgments. This has been built on its cherished traditions of objectivity and impartiallity
integrity and fairness and unswerving loyalty to the Constitution and the rule of law which
compels acceptance as well by the leadership as by the people. The lower courts draw their
bearings from the Supreme Court. With this Court's judgment today declaring the nullity of the
questioned judgment or acquittal and directing a new trial, there must be a rejection of the
temptation of becoming instruments of injustice as vigorously as we rejected becoming its
victims. The end of one form of injustice should not become simply the beginning of another.
This simply means that the respondents accused must now face trial for the crimes charged
against them before an impartial court with an unbiased prosecutor with all due process.
What the past regime had denied the people and the aggrieved parties in the sham trial must
now be assured as much to the accused as to the aggrieved parties. The people will
assuredly have a way of knowing when justice has prevailed as well as when it has failed.
The notion nurtured under the past regime that those appointed to public office owe their
primary allegiance to the appointing authority and are accountable to him alone and not to the
people or the Constitution must be discarded. The function of the appointing authority with the
mandate of the people, under our system of government, is to fill the public posts. While the

appointee may acknowledge with gratitude the opportunity thus given of rendering public
service, the appointing authority becomes functus officio and the primary loyalty of the
appointed must be rendered to the Constitution and the sovereign people in accordance with
his sacred oath of office. To paraphrase the late Chief Justice Earl Warren of the United
States Supreme Court, the Justices and judges must ever realize that they have no
constituency, serve no majority nor minority but serve only the public interest as they see it in
accordance with their oath of office, guided only, the Constitution and their own conscience
and honor.
5. Note of Commendation.- The Court expresses its appreciation with thanks for the
invaluable services rendered by the Commission composed of retired Supreme Court Justice
Conrado M. Vasquez, chairman, and retired Court of Appeals Justices Milagros German and
Eduardo Caguioa as members. In the pure spirit of public service, they rendered selflessly
and without remuneration thorough competent and dedicated service in discharging their
tasks of hearing and receiving the evidence, evaluating the same and submitting their Report
and findings to the Court within the scheduled period and greatly easing the Court's burden.
ACCORDINGLY, petitioners' second motion for reconsideration is granted. The resolutions of
November 28, 1985 dismissing the petition and of February 4, 1986 denying petitioners'
motion for reconsideration are hereby set aside and in lieu thereof, judgment is hereby
rendered nullifying the proceedings in respondent Sandiganbayan and its judgment of
acquittal in Criminal Cases Nos. 10010 and 10011 entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Gen.
Luther Custodia et al." and ordering a re-trial of the said cases which should be conducted
with deliberate dispatch and with careful regard for the requirements of due process, so that
the truth may be finally known and justice done to an
This resolution is immediately executory. SO ORDERED.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, DIRECTOR GENERAL


OF THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE, CHIEF STATE PROSECUTOR
JOVENCITO ZUO, STATE PROSECUTORS PETER L. ONG and RUBEN A.
ZACARIAS; 2ND ASSISTANT CITY PROSECUTOR CONRADO M. JAMOLIN and
CITY PROSECUTOR OF QUEZON CITY CLARO ARELLANO, petitioners,
vs. PANFILO M. LACSON, respondent.
RESOLUTION
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
Before the Court are the following motions of the respondent, to wit: (a) Omnibus Motion;
(b) Motion for Reconsideration;[2] (c) Supplement to Motion for Reconsideration; [3] (d) Motion
To Set for Oral Arguments.[4]
[1]

The Omnibus Motion


The respondent seeks the reconsideration of the April 29, 2003 Resolution of this Court
which granted the petitioners motion for reconsideration. The respondent thereafter prays to
allow Associate Justices Renato C. Corona, Ma. Alicia Austria-Martinez, Conchita C. Morales,
Romeo J. Callejo, Sr., and Adolfo S. Azcuna to voluntary inhibit themselves or, absent their
consent, rule that such inhibition is in order and to recuse them from further deliberating,

discussing or, in any manner, participating in the resolution of the Motion for Reconsideration
and the Supplement to Motion for Reconsideration. The respondent points out that the
aforenamed members of the Court were appointed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
after the February 19, 2002 oral arguments and after the case at bar was submitted for the
decision of the Court. He asserts that although A.M. No. 99-8-09-SC [5] specifically provides
that it applies only to the divisions of the Court, it should likewise apply to this case, in light of
the April 1, 2003 Resolution of this Court which set aside its Resolution dated May 28, 2002,
apart from the constitutional issues raised by the respondent in his motion for reconsideration
and its supplement. As such, according to the respondent, the instant case should be
unloaded by Justice Callejo, Sr. and re-raffled to any other member of the Court.
The Court resolves to deny the respondents motion for lack of merit.
The records show that as early as May 24, 2002, the respondent filed an urgent motion
for the recusation of Justices Renato C. Corona and Ma. Alicia Austria-Martinez for the
reason that they were appointed to the Court after the February 19, 2002 oral arguments and
did not participate in the integral portions of the proceedings. Justices Corona and AustriaMartinez refused to inhibit themselves and decided to participate in the deliberation on the
petition.[6] On March 18, 2003, the respondent filed a motion with the Court for the recusation
of Justice Romeo J. Callejo, Sr. on account of his voluntary inhibition when the case was
pending before the Court of Appeals.
On March 25, 2003, this Court issued a resolution denying the respondents Motion
dated March 18, 2003. The respondent thereafter filed his motion for reconsideration of the
April 1, 2003 Resolution of the Court in which he prayed, inter alia, for the inhibition of Justice
Callejo, Sr. under A.M. No. 99-8-09-SC and that the case be re-raffled to another member of
the Court who had actually participated in the deliberation and the rendition of its May 28,
2002 Resolution. The respondent likewise sought the inhibition of Justices Conchita C.
Morales and Adolfo S. Azcuna, again for the reason that they were appointed to the Court
after the oral arguments on February 19, 2002 and after the case had already been submitted
for decision.
On April 29, 2003, this Court issued a resolution denying the aforesaid motions of the
respondent.[7] The Court ruled that A.M. No. 99-8-09-SC is applicable only to cases assigned
to the divisions of the Court:
The respondents reliance on Supreme Court Circular No. 99-8-09 is misplaced. As admitted
by the respondent, the said circular is applicable only to motions for reconsideration in cases
assigned to the Divisions of the Court. For cases assigned to the Court En Banc, the policy
of the Court had always been and still is, if the ponente is no longer with the Court, his

replacement will act upon the motion for reconsideration of a party and participate in the
deliberations thereof. This is the reason why Justice Callejo, Sr. who had replaced retired
Justice De Leon, prepared the draft of the April 1, 2003 Resolution of the Court. [8]
The Court also ruled that there was no need for its newest members to inhibit
themselves from participating in the deliberation of the respondents Motion for
Reconsideration:
Although Justices Conchita Carpio-Morales, Romeo J. Callejo, Sr., and Adolfo S. Azcuna
were not yet members of the Court during the February 18, 2002 [9] oral arguments before the
Court, nonetheless they were not disqualified to participate in the deliberations on the
petitioners motion for reconsideration of the May 28, 2002 Resolution of the Court or of the
instant motion for reconsideration. Neither is Justice Callejo, Sr. disqualified to prepare the
resolution of the Court on the motion for reconsideration of the respondent. When the Court
deliberated on petitioners motion for reconsideration, Justices Conchita Carpio-Morales,
Romeo J. Callejo, Sr. and Adolfo S. Azcuna were already members of the Court.
It bears stressing that transcripts of stenographic notes taken during the February 18, 2002
hearing and oral arguments of the parties are parts of the records of this case. Said
transcripts are available to the parties or to any member of the Court. Likewise, Attys. Rene
A.V. Saguisag and Felix Carao, Jr. may not yet have been the counsel of the respondent on
February 18, 2002 but by reading the said transcripts and the records of this case they are
informed of what transpired during the hearing and oral arguments of the parties. [10]
It is thus clear that the grounds cited by the respondent in his omnibus motion had
already been passed upon and resolved by this Court. The respondent did not make any
new substantial arguments in his motion to warrant a reconsideration of the aforesaid
resolutions.
Besides, the respondent sought the inhibition of Justices Conchita C. Morales and
Adolfo S. Azcuna only after they had already concurred in the Courts Resolution dated April
1, 2003. Case law has it that a motion for disqualification must be denied when filed after a
member of the Court has already given an opinion on the merits of the case, the rationale
being that a litigant cannot be permitted to speculate upon the action of the Court, only to
raise an objection of this sort after a decision has been rendered. [11]
The Motion to Set the Case for
Oral Arguments

The Court denies the motion of the respondent. The parties have already extensively discussed
the issues involved in the case. The respondents motion for reconsideration consists of no less than a
hundred pages, excluding the supplement to his motion for reconsideration and his reply to the
petitioners comment on his motion. There is no longer a need to set the instant case for oral
arguments.
The Issue as to the Application of
the Time-bar under Section 8,
Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure Whether
Prospective or Retroactive
The respondent seeks the reconsideration of the April 1, 2003 Resolution of the Court and
thereafter reinstate its Resolution of May 28, 2002.
He asserts that pursuant to a long line of jurisprudence and a long-standing judicial practice in
applying penal law, Section 8, Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure (RRCP) should be
applied prospectively and retroactively without reservations, only and solely on the basis of its being
favorable to the accused. He asserts that case law on the retroactive application of penal laws should
likewise apply to criminal procedure, it being a branch of criminal law. The respondent insists that
Section 8 was purposely crafted and included as a new provision to reinforce the constitutional right of
the accused to a speedy disposition of his case. It is primarily a check on the State to prosecute
criminal cases diligently and continuously, lest it loses its right to prosecute the accused anew. The
respondent argues that since Section 8 is indubitably a rule of procedure, there can be no other
conclusion: the rule should have retroactive application, absent any provision therein that it should be
applied prospectively. Accordingly, prospective application thereof would in effect give the petitioners
more than two years from March 29, 1999 within which to revive the criminal cases, thus violating the
respondents right to due process and equal protection of the law.
The respondent asserts that Section 8 was meant to reach back in time to provide relief to the
accused. In this case, the State had been given more than sufficient opportunity to prosecute the
respondent anew after the March 29, 1999 dismissal of the cases by then Judge Wenceslao Agnir, Jr.
and even before the RRCP took effect on December 1, 2000. According to the respondent, the
petitioners filed the Informations with the RTC in Criminal Cases Nos. 01-101102 to 01-101112 beyond
the two-year bar, in violation of his right to a speedy trial, and that such filing was designed to derail his
bid for the Senate.
In their comment on the respondents motions, the petitioners assert that the prospective
application of Section 8 is in keeping with Section 5(5), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution, which

provides in part that the rules of procedure which the Court may promulgate shall not diminish, increase
or modify substantial rights. While Section 8 secures the rights of the accused, it does not and should
not preclude the equally important right of the State to public justice. If such right to public justice is
taken away, then Section 8 can no longer be said to be a procedural rule. According to the petitioners,
if a procedural rule impairs a vested right, or would work injustice, the said rule may not be given a
retroactive application. They contend that the right of the accused to a speedy trial or disposition of the
criminal cases applies only to outstanding and pending cases and not to cases already dismissed. The
petitioners assert that the refiling of the cases under Section 8 should be taken to mean as the filing of
the criminal complaint with the appropriate office for the purpose of conducting a preliminary
investigation, and not the actual filing of the criminal complaint or information in court for
trial. Furthermore, according to the petitioners, the offended parties must be given notices of the motion
for provisional dismissal of the cases under Section 8 since the provision so expressly states. Thus, if
the requisite notices to the heirs of the deceased would be taken into consideration, the two-year period
had not yet even commenced to run.
In his consolidated reply to the comment of the petitioners, the respondent asserts that the State is
proscribed from refiling a criminal case if it can be shown that the delay resulted in a violation of the
right of the accused to due process. In this case, there was an inordinate delay in the revival of the
cases, considering that the witnesses in the criminal cases for the State in March 1999 are the same
witnesses in 2001. The State had reasonable opportunity to refile the cases before the two-year bar but
failed to do so because of negligence; and perhaps institutional indolence. Contrary to the petitioners
contention, the respondent posits that the revival of the cases contemplated in Section 8 refers to the
filing of the Informations or complaints in court for trial. The operational act then is the refiling of the
Informations with the RTC, which was done only on June 6, 2001, clearly beyond the two-year bar.
The Court finds the respondents contentions to be without merit.
First. The Court approved the RRCP pursuant to its power under Article VIII, Section 5, paragraph
5 of the Constitution which reads:
(5)

Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights,


pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law,
the Integrated Bar, and legal assistance to the underprivileged. Such rules shall
provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases,
shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or
modify substantive rights. Rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial
bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court.

The Court is not mandated to apply Section 8 retroactively simply because it is favorable to the
accused. It must be noted that the new rule was approved by the Court not only to reinforce the
constitutional right of the accused to a speedy disposition of the case. The time-bar under the new rule
was fixed by the Court to excise the malaise that plagued the administration of the criminal justice
system for the benefit of the State and the accused; not for the accused only. The Court emphasized in
its assailed resolution that:

In the new rule in question, as now construed by the Court, it has fixed a time-bar of one year or two
years for the revival of criminal cases provisionally dismissed with the express consent of the accused
and with a priori notice to the offended party. The time-bar may appear, on first impression,
unreasonable compared to the periods under Article 90 of the Revised Penal Code. However, in fixing
the time-bar, the Court balanced the societal interests and those of the accused for the orderly and
speedy disposition of criminal cases with minimum prejudice to the State and the accused. It took into
account the substantial rights of both the State and of the accused to due process. The Court believed
that the time limit is a reasonable period for the State to revive provisionally dismissed cases with the
consent of the accused and notice to the offended parties. The time-bar fixed by the Court must be
respected unless it is shown that the period is manifestly short or insufficient that the rule becomes a
denial of justice.[12]
In criminal litigations concerning constitutional issue claims, the Court, in the interest of justice,
may make the rule prospective where the exigencies of the situation make the rule prospective. The
retroactivity or non-retroactivity of a rule is not automatically determined by the provision of the
Constitution on which the dictate is based. Each constitutional rule of criminal procedure has its own
distinct functions, its own background or precedent, and its own impact on the administration of justice,
and the way in which these factors combine must inevitably vary with the dictate involved.[13]
Matters of procedure are not necessarily retrospective in operation as a statute. [14] To paraphrase
the United States Supreme Court per Justice Benjamin Cardozo, the Court in defining the limits of
adherence may make a choice for itself between the principle of forward operation and that of relating
forward.[15]
The Court approved Section 8 pursuant to its power under Article VIII, Section 5, paragraph 5 of
the Constitution. This constitutional grant to promulgate rules carries with it the power,inter alia, to
determine whether to give the said rules prospective or retroactive effect. Moreover, under Rule 144 of
the Rules of Court, the Court may not apply the rules to actions pending before it if in its opinion their
application would not be feasible or would work injustice, in which event, the former procedure shall
apply.[16]
The absence of a provision in Section 8 giving it prospective application only does not proscribe
the prospective application thereof; nor does it imply that the Court intended the new rule to be given
retroactive and prospective effect. If the statutory purpose is clear, the provisions of the law should be
construed as is conducive to fairness and justice, and in harmony with the general spirit and policy of
the rule. It should be construed so as not to defeat but to carry out such end or purpose. [17] A statute
derives its vitality from the purpose for which it is approved. To construe it in a manner that disregards
or defeats such purpose is to nullify or destroy the law.[18] In Cometa v. Court of Appeals,[19] this Court
ruled that the spirit rather than the letter of the statute determines its construction; hence, a statute
must be read according to its spirit or intent. [20] While we may not read into the law a purpose that is
not there, we nevertheless have the right to read out of it the reason for its enactment. In doing so, we
defer not to the letter that killeth but to the spirit that vivifieth, to give effect to the lawmakers will. [21]

In this case, when the Court approved Section 8, it intended the new rule to be applied
prospectively and not retroactively, for if the intention of the Court were otherwise, it would defeat the
very purpose for which it was intended, namely, to give the State a period of two years from notice of
the provisional dismissal of criminal cases with the express consent of the accused. It would be a
denial of the States right to due process and a travesty of justice for the Court to apply the new rule
retroactively in the present case as the respondent insists, considering that the criminal cases were
provisionally dismissed by Judge Agnir, Jr. on March 29, 1999 before the new rule took effect on
December 1, 2000. A retroactive application of the time-bar will result in absurd, unjust and oppressive
consequences to the State and to the victims of crimes and their heirs.
Consider this scenario: the trial court (RTC) provisionally dismissed a criminal case with the
express consent of the accused in 1997. The prosecution had the right to revive the case within the
prescriptive period, under Article 90 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. On December 1, 2000,
the time-bar rule under Section 8 took effect, the prosecution was unable to revive the criminal case
before then.
If the time-bar fixed in Section 8 were to be applied retroactively, this would mean that the State
would be barred from reviving the case for failure to comply with the said time-bar, which was yet to be
approved by the Court three years after the provisional dismissal of the criminal case. In contrast, if the
same case was dismissed provisionally in December 2000, the State had the right to revive the same
within the time-bar. In fine, to so hold would imply that the State was presumed to foresee and
anticipate that three years after 1997, the Court would approve and amend the RRCP. The State would
thus be sanctioned for its failure to comply with a rule yet to be approved by the Court. It must be
stressed that the institution and prosecution of criminal cases are governed by existing rules and not by
rules yet to exist. It would be the apex of injustice to hold that Section 8 had a platonic or ideal
existence before it was approved by the Court. The past cannot be erased by a capricious retroactive
application of the new rule.
In holding that the petitioners had until December 1, 2002 within which to revive the criminal cases
provisionally dismissed by Judge Agnir, Jr. on March 29, 1999, this Court explained, thus:

The Court agrees with the petitioners that to apply the time-bar retroactively so that the twoyear period commenced to run on March 31, 1999 when the public prosecutor received his
copy of the resolution of Judge Agnir, Jr. dismissing the criminal cases is inconsistent with the
intendment of the new rule. Instead of giving the State two years to revive provisionally
dismissed cases, the State had considerably less than two years to do so. Thus, Judge
Agnir, Jr. dismissed Criminal Cases Nos. Q-99-81679 to Q-99-81689 on March 29,
1999. The new rule took effect on December 1, 2000. If the Court applied the new time-bar
retroactively, the State would have only one year and three months or until March 31, 2001
within which to revive these criminal cases. The period is short of the two-year period fixed
under the new rule. On the other hand, if the time limit is applied prospectively, the State
would have two years from December 1, 2000 or until December 1, 2002 within which to
revive the cases. This is in consonance with the intendment of the new rule in fixing the time-

bar and thus prevent injustice to the State and avoid absurd, unreasonable, oppressive,
injurious, and wrongful results in the administration of justice.
The period from April 1, 1999 to November 30, 1999 [22] should be excluded in the computation
of the two-year period because the rule prescribing it was not yet in effect at the time and the
State could not be expected to comply with the time-bar. It cannot even be argued that the
State waived its right to revive the criminal cases against respondent or that it was negligent
for not reviving them within the two-year period under the new rule. As the United States
Supreme Court said, per Justice Felix Frankfurter, in Griffin v. People, 351 US 12 (1956):
We should not indulge in the fiction that the law now announced has always been the law
and, therefore, that those who did not avail themselves of it waived their rights
The two-year period fixed in the new rule is for the benefit of both the State and the
accused. It should not be emasculated and reduced by an inordinate retroactive application
of the time-bar therein provided merely to benefit the accused. For to do so would cause an
injustice of hardship to the State and adversely affect the administration of justice in general
and of criminal laws in particular.[23]
Further quoting Justice Felix Frankfurters opinion in Griffin v. People,[24] he said, it is
much more conducive to laws self-respect to recognize candidly the considerations that give
prospective content to a new pronouncement of law. That this is consonant with the spirit of
our law and justified by those considerations of reason which should dominate the law has
been luminously expounded by Mr. Justice Cardozo shortly before he came here and in an
opinion which he wrote for the Court.
Parenthetically, the respondent himself admitted in his motion for reconsideration that
Judge Agnir, Jr. could not have been expected to comply with the notice requirement under
the new rule when it yet had to exist:
99. Respondent submits that the records are still in the same state of inadequacy and
incompletion. This however is not strange considering that Section 8, Rule 117 had not
existed on March 29, 1999, when the criminal cases were dismissed, and then Judge Agnir
did not have its text to guide his actions. How could the good judge have complied with the
mandate of Section 8, Rule 117 when it yet had to exist? [25]
Statutes regulating the procedure of the courts will be construed as applicable to actions
pending and undetermined at the time of their passage. In that sense and to that extent,
procedural laws are retroactive.[26] Criminal Cases Nos. Q-99-81679 to Q-99-81689 had long
been dismissed by Judge Agnir, Jr. before the new rule took effect on December 1,

2000. When the petitioners filed the Informations in Criminal Cases Nos. 01-101102 to 01101112 on June 6, 2001, Criminal Cases Nos. Q-99-81679 and Q-99-81689 had long since
been terminated. The two-year bar in the new rule should not be reckoned from the March
29, 1999 dismissal of Criminal Cases Nos. Q-99-81679 to Q-99-81689 but from December 1,
2000 when the new rule took effect. While it is true that the Court applied Section 8 of Rule
110[27] of the RRCP retroactively, it did so only to cases still pending with this Court and not to
cases already terminated with finality.
The records show that after the requisite preliminary investigation conducted by the
petitioners in accordance with existing rules, eleven Informations in Criminal Cases Nos. 01101102 to 01-101112 were filed with the RTC on June 6, 2001, very well within the time-bar
therefor. The respondent cannot argue that his right to due process and to a speedy
disposition of the cases as enshrined in the Constitution had been violated. [28]
The respondents plaint that he was being singled out by the prospective application of
the new rule simply because before the Court issued its April 1, 2003 Resolution, he
announced his candidacy for the presidency of the Republic for the 2004 elections has no
factual basis whatsoever.[29] The bare and irrefutable fact is that it was in this case where the
issue of the retroactive/prospective application of the new rule was first raised before the
Court. The ruling of the Court in its April 1, 2003 Resolution and its ruling today would be the
same, regardless of who the party or parties involved are, whether a senator of the Republic
or an ordinary citizen.
The respondents contention that the prospective application of the new rule would deny
him due process and would violate the equal protection of laws is barren of merit. It proceeds
from an erroneous assumption that the new rule was approved by the Court solely for his
benefit, in derogation of the right of the State to due process. The new rule was approved by
the Court to enhance the right of due process of both the State and the accused. The State
is entitled to due process in criminal cases as much as the accused.
Due process has never been and perhaps can never be precisely defined. It is not a
technical conception with a fixed content unrelated to time, place and circumstances. The
phrase expresses the requirement of fundamental fairness, a requisite whose meaning can
be as opaque as its importance is lofty.[30] In determining what fundamental fairness consists
of in a particular situation, relevant precedents must be considered and the interests that are
at stake; private interests, as well as the interests of the government must be assessed. In
this case, in holding that the new rule has prospective and not retroactive application, the
Court took into consideration not only the interests of the respondent but all other accused,
whatever their station in life may be. The interest of the State in the speedy, impartial and
inexpensive disposition of criminal cases was likewise considered.

The Respondent Failed to Comply

under Section 8 to be litigated before Judge Agnir, Jr., for the said rule was not yet in
existence at the time he filed his motion for a determination of probable cause.

with the Essential Prerequisites of


Section 8, Rule 117 of the Revised
Rules of Criminal Procedure
The respondent argues that the issue involved in the Court of Appeals is entirely
different from the issue involved in the present recourse; hence, any admissions he made in
the court below are not judicial admissions in this case. He asserts that the issue involved in
the CA was whether or not he was placed in double jeopardy when he was charged with
murder in Criminal Cases Nos. 01-101102 to 01-101112 despite the dismissal of Criminal
Cases Nos. Q-99-81679 to Q-99-81689; whereas the issue in this Court is whether the
prosecution of Criminal Cases Nos. 01-101102 to 01-101112 was barred by Section 8, Rule
117 of the RRCP. The respondent avers that the proceedings in the appellate court are
different from those in this Court.
The respondent posits that this Court erred in giving considerable weight to the
admissions he made in his pleadings and during the proceedings in the CA. He stresses that
judicial admissions may only be used against a party if such admissions are (a) made in the
course of the proceedings in the same case; and (b) made regarding a relevant fact, pursuant
to Section 4, Rule 129 and Section 26, Rule 130 of the Rules of Evidence. He contends that
contrary to the ruling of the Court, when he filed his motion for the judicial determination of
probable cause in Criminal Cases Nos. Q-99-81679 to Q-99-81689, he thereby prayed for the
dismissal of the said cases. His motion carried with it, at the very least, the prayer for the
dismissal of the criminal cases. Absent a finding of probable cause, Judge Agnir, Jr. had no
recourse but to dismiss the criminal cases. Moreover, the respondent avers that his motion
included the general prayer for such other reliefs as may be equitable in the premises. The
respondent also points out that the public prosecutor agreed to the averments in his motion
as the latter did not even file any motion for the reconsideration of Judge Agnir, Jr.s order
dismissing the cases.
The respondent further contends that the Court is not a trier of facts. It has no means to
ascertain or verify as true the contrasting claims of the parties on the factual issues, a
function best left to the trial court as the trier of facts. He posits that there is a need for the
case to be remanded to the RTC to enable him to present evidence on whether or not Judge
Agnir, Jr. complied with the notice requirements of Section 8. Echoing the May 28, 2002
ruling of this Court, the respondent contends that it is not fair to expect the element of notice

The respondent avers that the requirement for notices to the offended parties under
Section 8 is a formal and not an essential requisite. In criminal cases, the offended party is
the State and the role of the private complainant is limited to the determination of the civil
liability of the accused. According to the respondent, notice to the prosecution provides
sufficient safeguard for the private complainant to recover on the civil liability of the accused
based on the delicts; after all, the prosecution of the offense is under the control and direction
of the public prosecutor.
The contentions of the respondent have no merit.
First. The issue posed by the respondent in the CA and in this Court are the same. To
recall, in Civil Case No. 01-100933, [31] the respondent[32] sought injunctive relief from the RTC
of Manila on his claim that in conducting a preliminary investigation in Criminal Cases Nos.
01-101102 to 01-101112, the petitioners thereby placed him in double jeopardy under Section
7, Rule 117 of the RRCP.[33] When the RTC denied his plea for injunctive relief, the
respondent filed his petition for certiorari in the CA, again invoking his right against double
jeopardy, praying that:
13. Inasmuch as the case subject of the preliminary investigation was dismissed for the
reasons mentioned, there currently exists no complaint upon which a valid investigation can
be had in light of the clear provisions of Rule 110 which requires the existence of a sworn
written statement charging a person with an offense as basis for the commencement of a
preliminary investigation under Rule 112.
For petitioner, the investigation covers exactly the same offenses over which he had been
duly arraigned and a plea validly entered before the Sandiganbayan (in Criminal Cases Nos.
23047 to 57) before its remand to the QC RTC. Hence, to proceed therewith on similar
charges will put him in jeopardy of being twice punished therefor (Article III, 21,
Constitution).[34]
The respondent (petitioner therein) contended that the dismissal of Criminal Cases Nos.
Q-99-81679 to Q-99-81689 by Judge Agnir, Jr. amounted to a judgment of acquittal; hence,
he could no longer be charged and prosecuted anew for the same offense without violating
his right against double jeopardy. However, the respondent filed a second amended petition
wherein he invoked for the first time Section 8 of Rule 117 of the RRCP:

(e) the new criminal cases for Murder filed by respondents against petitioner and the other
accused on June 6, 2001 (docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 01-101102 to 01-101112) and
pending before respondent Judge Yadao (Annex B) is dismissible on its face as they involve
exactly the same accused, facts, and offenses which had previously been dismissed by the
QC RTC in Criminal Cases Nos. Q-99-81679 to 89 on March 29, 1999, hence, can no longer
be revived two (2) years after such dismissal in accordance with the clear provisions of
Section 8, Rule 117.[35]

ATTY. FORTUN:

Indeed, the CA granted the respondents petition based on Section 8, Rule 117 of the
RRCP. In this case, the respondent invoked the same rule and the Constitution. Thus,
during the oral arguments in this Court, the respondent, through counsel, admitted that he
was indeed invoking Section 8 anew and the provisions of the Constitution on double
jeopardy:

ATTY. FORTUN:

JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
You are saying that Sen. Lacson can no longer be prosecuted forever for that crime, for
the killing of the 11 in 1995?
ATTY. FORTUN:

JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
That is right.

They are two different claims.


JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
That is what I am trying to rule out so that we do not have to discuss it.
ATTY. FORTUN:
Very well, Your Honor.
JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:

That is my submission, Your Honor.


JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
Let us see your reason for it?
ATTY. FORTUN:

Your Honor, double jeopardy does not apply Section 8, 117 they are (interrupted)

[36]

First, are you saying that double jeopardy applies or not?


JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:[37]
Allow me to qualify the effects of double jeopardy occur with permanent dismissal that is
my submission.
ATTY. FORTUN:[38]
No, no, I am not talking of the effects, I am talking of the doctrine, you are not invoking
the doctrine of double jeopardy?

You are not invoking double jeopardy?


ATTY. FORTUN:
As I mentioned we are saying that the effects of a permanent dismissal vest the effects
(interrupted)
JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
No, I am not talking of the effects, I am asking about the application, you are not asking
the Court to apply the doctrine of double jeopardy to prevent a prosecution of Mr.
Lacson?
ATTY. FORTUN:
Because the element of double jeopardy cannot apply 8, 117.
JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
So, the answer is yes?

ATTY. FORTUN:
No, Your Honor, we were saying that precisely a permanent dismissal vests the rights of
double jeopardy upon the accused who invokes it.

ATTY. FORTUN:
The Constitution which gave life to 8,117.
JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:

JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
To speedy disposition?
What you are saying is the effects, I am not asking about the effects, I will ask that later.
ATTY. FORTUN:
ATTY. FORTUN:
Yes, Your Honor.
They are two different (interrupted)
JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
Later, I am asking about doctrines. Since you are not invoking the doctrine of double
jeopardy you are resting your case win or lose, sink or sail on the application of 8,117?

Can a Court, let us see your theory then your theory rest on two provisions: first, the
Rules of Court 8,117 and Second, the Constitution on speedy disposition?
ATTY. FORTUN:

ATTY. FORTUN:
Yes, Your Honor.[39]
On the constitutional right of the accused under Section 16 of Article 3 which is speedy
disposition of cases which implemented 8,817, that is our arguments in this bar.
JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:

Second. The respondents answers to the questions of Madame Justice Josefina Salonga during
the hearing in the CA where he admitted, through counsel, that he gave no express conformity to the
dismissal of the cases by Judge Agnir, Jr., were in relation to Section 8 of Rule 117 and not to Section 7
of Rule 117 on double jeopardy, thus:

Are you not resting on 8,117?


JUSTICE SALONGA:
ATTY. FORTUN:
Do we get it from you that it is your stand that this is applicable to the case at bar?
That and the constitutional provision, Your Honor.
ATTY. FORTUN:
JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
So, you are resting on 8,117?
ATTY. FORTUN:
Not exclusive, Your Honor.
JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:
And the Constitution?

It is my submission, that it is, Your Honor. In addition, of course, to my proposition that


Mr. Lacson is covered by the rule on double jeopardy as well, because he had already
been arraigned before the Sandiganbayan prior to the case being remanded to the
RTC.
JUSTICE SALONGA:
You are referring to those cases which were dismissed by the RTC of Quezon City.
ATTY. FORTUN:

Yes, Your Honor.

dismissal. In fact, they ask the accused to come forward, and the judge himself or
herself explains the implications of a provisional dismissal.[40]

JUSTICE SALONGA:
And it is your stand that the dismissal made by the Court was provisional in nature?
ATTY. FORTUN:
It was in that the accused did not ask for it. What they wanted at the onset was simply a
judicial determination of probable cause for warrants of arrest issued. Then Judge
Agnir, [Jr.] upon the presentation by the parties of their witnesses, particularly those
who had withdrawn their affidavits, made one further conclusion that not only was this
case lacking in probable cause for purposes of the issuance of an arrest warrant but
also it did not justify proceeding to trial.
JUSTICE SALONGA:
And it is expressly provided under Section 8 that a case shall not be provisionally
dismissed except [if] it is with the express conformity of the accused.

The respondent, through counsel, even admitted that despite his plea for equitable relief in his
motion for a judicial determination of probable cause in the RTC, he did not agree to a provisional
dismissal of the cases. The respondent insisted that the only relief he prayed for before Judge Agnir, Jr.
was that warrants for his arrest be withheld pending a finding of probable cause. He asserted that the
judge did not even require him to agree to a provisional dismissal of the cases:
JUSTICE ROSARIO:
You were present during the proceedings?
ATTY. FORTUN:
Yes, Your Honor.
JUSTICE ROSARIO:
You represented the petitioner in this case?

ATTY. FORTUN:
ATTY. FORTUN:
That is correct, Your Honor.
JUSTICE SALONGA:
And with notice to the offended party.
ATTY. FORTUN:
That is correct, Your Honor.
JUSTICE SALONGA:
Was there an express conformity on the part of the accused?
ATTY. FORTUN:
There was none, Your Honor. We were not asked to sign any order, or any statement
which would normally be required by the Court on pre-trial or on other matters,
including other provisional dismissal. My very limited practice in criminal courts, Your
Honor, had taught me that a judge must be very careful on this matter of provisional

That is correct, Your Honor. And there was nothing of that sort which the good
Judge Agnir, [Jr.] who is most knowledgeable in criminal law, had done in respect
of provisional dismissal or the matter of Mr. Lacson agreeing to the provisional
dismissal of the case.
JUSTICE GUERRERO:
Now, you filed a motion, the other accused then filed a motion for a judicial
determination of probable cause?
ATTY. FORTUN:
Yes, Your Honor.
JUSTICE GUERRERO:
Did you make any alternative prayer in your motion that if there is no probable cause
what should the Court do?

ATTY. FORTUN:
That the arrest warrants only be withheld. That was the only prayer that we
asked. In fact, I have a copy of that particular motion, and if I may read my prayer
before the Court, it said: Wherefore, it is respectfully prayed that (1) a judicial
determination of probable cause pursuant to Section 2, Article III of the Constitution be
conducted, and for this purpose, an order be issued directing the prosecution to present
private complainants and their witnesses at the scheduled hearing for that purpose; and
(2) the warrants for the arrest of the accused be withheld, or, if issued, recalled in the
meantime until resolution of this incident.
JUSTICE GUERRERO:
There is no general prayer for any further relief?
ATTY. FORTUN:

clarifying the matter further because it probably could prejudice the interest of
my client.
JUSTICE GUERRERO:
Continue.[41]

In his memorandum, in lieu of the oral argument filed with the Court of Appeals, the
respondent declared in no uncertain terms that:
Soon thereafter, the SC in early 1999 rendered a decision declaring the Sandiganbayan
without jurisdiction over the cases. The records were remanded to the QC RTC. Upon raffle,
the case was assigned to Branch 91. Petitioner and the others promptly filed a motion for
judicial determination of probable cause (Annex B). He asked that warrants for his arrest not
be issued. He did not move for the dismissal of the Informations, contrary to respondent
OSGs claim.[42]

There is but it simply says other equitable reliefs are prayed for.

Section 4, Rule 129 of the Revised Rules of Court reads:


JUSTICE GUERRERO:
Dont you surmise Judge Agnir, [Jr.] now a member of this Court, precisely addressed
your prayer for just and equitable relief to dismiss the case because what would be the
net effect of a situation where there is no warrant of arrest being issued without
dismissing the case?
ATTY. FORTUN:
Yes, Your Honor. I will not second say (sic) yes the Good Justice, but what is
plain is we did not agree to the provisional dismissal, neither were we asked to
sign any assent to the provisional dismissal.
JUSTICE GUERRERO:
If you did not agree to the provisional dismissal, did you not file any motion for
reconsideration of the order of Judge Agnir, [Jr.] that the case should be dismissed?
ATTY. FORTUN:
I did not, Your Honor, because I knew fully well at that time that my client had
already been arraigned, and the arraignment was valid as far as I was
concerned. So, the dismissal, Your Honor, by Judge Agnir operated to benefit
me, and therefore I did not take any further step in addition to rocking the boat or

Sec. 4. Judicial admissions. An admission, verbal or written, made by a party in the course
of the proceedings in the same case, does not require proof. The admission may be
contradicted only by showing that it was made through palpable mistake or that no such
admission was made.
A judicial admission is a formal statement made either by a party or his or her attorney,
in the course of judicial proceeding which removes an admitted fact from the field of
controversy. It is a voluntary concession of fact by a party or a partys attorney during such
judicial proceedings, including admissions in pleadings made by a party. [43] It may occur at
any point during the litigation process. An admission in open court is a judicial admission.
[44]
A judicial admission binds the client even if made by his counsel. [45] As declared by this
Court:
... [I]n fact, judicial admissions are frequently those of counsel or of attorney of record, who
is, for the purpose of the trial, the agent of his client. When such admissions are made ... for
the purpose of dispensing with proof of some fact, ... they bind the client, whether made
during, or even after the trial.[46]
When the respondent admitted that he did not move for the dismissal of Criminal Cases
Nos. Q-99-81679 to Q-99-81689 in his motion for a judicial determination of probable cause,

and that he did not give his express consent to the provisional dismissal of the said cases, he
in fact admitted that one of the essential requisites of Section 8, Rule 117 was absent.
The respondents contention that his admissions made in his pleadings and during the
hearing in the CA cannot be used in the present case as they were made in the course of a
different proceeding does not hold water. It should be borne in mind that the proceedings
before the Court was by way of an appeal under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, as amended,
from the proceedings in the CA; as such, the present recourse is but a mere continuation of
the proceedings in the appellate court. This is not a new trial, but a review of proceedings
which commenced from the trial court, which later passed through the CA. The respondent is
bound by the judicial admissions he made in the CA, and such admissions so hold him in the
proceedings before this Court. As categorically stated in Habecker v. Clark Equipment
Company:[47]
... [J]udicial admissions on issues of fact, including those made by counsel on behalf of a
client during a trial, are binding for the purpose of the case ... including appeals.
While it may be true that the trial court may provisionally dismiss a criminal case if it
finds no probable cause, absent the express consent of the accused to such provisional
dismissal, the latter cannot thereafter invoke Section 8 to bar a revival thereof. Neither may
the accused do so simply because the public prosecutor did not object to a motion of the
accused for a judicial determination of probable cause or file a motion for the reconsideration
of the order of dismissal of the case. Even a cursory reading of the respondents motion for a
judicial determination of probable cause will show that it contained no allegation that there
was no probable cause for the issuance of a warrant for the respondents arrest as a prayer
for the dismissal of the cases. The respondent was only asking the court to determine
whether or not there was probable cause for the issuance of a warrant for his arrest and in
the meantime, to hold in abeyance the issuance of the said warrant. Case law has it that a
prayer for equitable relief is of no avail, unless the petition states facts which will authorize the
court to grant such relief.[48] A court cannot set itself in motion, nor has it power to decide
questions except as presented by the parties in their pleadings. Anything that is resolved or
decided beyond them iscoram non judice and void.[49]
Third. There is no need for the Court to remand the instant case to the trial court to
enable the respondent to adduce post facto evidence that the requisite notices under Section
8 had been complied with by Judge Agnir, Jr. The Court has thoroughly examined the
voluminous records from the Sandiganbayan and the RTC [50] and found no proof that the
requisite notices were even served on all the heirs of the victims. The respondent himself
admitted that, as held by this Court, in its May 28, 2002 Resolution, Judge Agnir, Jr. could
not have complied with the mandate under Section 8 because said rule had yet to exist.[51]

One final matter. The records show that Criminal Cases Nos. 01-101102 to 01-101112 were
assigned, through the customary raffle of cases, to Branch 81 of the RTC of Quezon City, the same
branch which dismissed Criminal Cases Nos. 99-81679 to 99-81689. [52] In the April 1, 2003 Resolution
of the Court, the Presiding Judge of Branch 81 of the RTC of Quezon City was directed to try and
decide Criminal Cases Nos. 01-101102 to 01-101112 with reasonable dispatch. The Court notes,
however, that in Administrative Order No. 104-96, it designated six branches of the RTC of Quezon
City[53] as special courts, exclusively to try and decide heinous crimes under Rep. Act No. 7659. Since
the accused in the said cases are charged with murder, which under Rep. Act No. 7659, is classified as
a heinous crime, the above cases should be consolidated and re-raffled by the Executive Judge of the
RTC of Quezon City to a branch thereof designated as a special court, exclusively to try and decide
heinous crimes.IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, respondent Panfilo M. Lacsons Omnibus Motion
and Motion to Set for Oral Arguments are DENIED. The respondents Motion for Reconsideration and
its Supplement are DENIED WITH FINALITY. The Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court of
Quezon City is hereby DIRECTED to CONSOLIDATE Criminal Cases Nos. 01-101102 to 01-101112
and to RE-RAFFLE the same with dispatch to one of the branches of the Regional Trial Court of
Quezon City designated as a special court, exclusively to try and decide heinous crimes.

[G.R. No. 149453. April 1, 2003]PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, THE SECRETARY OF


JUSTICE, DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE, CHIEF STATE
PROSECUTOR JOVENCITO ZUO, STATE PROSECUTORS PETER L. ONG and RUBEN
A. ZACARIAS; 2ND ASSISTANT CITY PROSECUTOR CONRADO M. JAMOLIN and CITY
PROSECUTOR OF QUEZON CITY CLARO ARELLANO, petitioners, vs. PANFILO M.
LACSON, respondent.
RESOLUTION
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
Before the Court is the petitioners Motion for Reconsideration [1] of the Resolution[2] dated
May 28, 2002, remanding this case to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, Branch
81, for the determination of several factual issues relative to the application of Section 8 of
Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure on the dismissal of Criminal Cases Nos.
Q-99-81679 to Q-99-81689 filed against the respondent and his co-accused with the said
court. In the aforesaid criminal cases, the respondent and his co-accused were charged with
multiple murder for the shooting and killing of eleven male persons identified as Manuel
Montero, a former Corporal of the Philippine Army, Rolando Siplon, Sherwin Abalora, who
was 16 years old, Ray Abalora, who was 19 years old, Joel Amora, Jevy Redillas, Meleubren
Sorronda, who was 14 years old, [3] Pacifico Montero, Jr., of the 44th Infantry Batallion of the
Philippine Army, Welbor Elcamel, SPO1 Carlito Alap-ap of the Zamboanga PNP, and Alex
Neri, former Corporal of the 44th Infantry Batallion of the Philippine Army, bandied as
members of theKuratong Baleleng Gang. The respondent opposed petitioners motion for
reconsideration.[4]

The Court ruled in the Resolution sought to be reconsidered that the provisional
dismissal of Criminal Cases Nos. Q-99-81679 to Q-99-81689 were with the express consent
of the respondent as he himself moved for said provisional dismissal when he filed his motion
for judicial determination of probable cause and for examination of witnesses. The Court also
held therein that although Section 8, Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure
could be given retroactive effect, there is still a need to determine whether the requirements
for its application are attendant. The trial court was thus directed to resolve the following:
... (1) whether the provisional dismissal of the cases had the express consent of the accused;
(2) whether it was ordered by the court after notice to the offended party; (3) whether the 2year period to revive it has already lapsed; (4) whether there is any justification for the filing of
the cases beyond the 2-year period; (5) whether notices to the offended parties were given
before the cases of respondent Lacson were dismissed by then Judge Agnir; (6) whether
there were affidavits of desistance executed by the relatives of the three (3) other victims; (7)
whether the multiple murder cases against respondent Lacson are being revived within or
beyond the 2-year bar.
The Court further held that the reckoning date of the two-year bar had to be first
determined whether it shall be from the date of the order of then Judge Agnir, Jr. dismissing
the cases, or from the dates of receipt thereof by the various offended parties, or from the
date of effectivity of the new rule. According to the Court, if the cases were revived only after
the two-year bar, the State must be given the opportunity to justify its failure to comply with
the said time-bar. It emphasized that the new rule fixes a time-bar to penalize the State for its
inexcusable delay in prosecuting cases already filed in court. However, the State is not
precluded from presenting compelling reasons to justify the revival of cases beyond the twoyear bar.
In support of their Motion for Reconsideration, the petitioners contend that (a) Section 8,
Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure is not applicable to Criminal Cases Nos.
Q-99-81679 to Q-99-81689; and (b) the time-bar in said rule should not be applied
retroactively.
The Court shall resolve the issues seriatim.
I.
SECTION 8, RULE 117 OF THE REVISED RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE IS
NOT APPLICABLE TO CRIMINAL CASES NOS. Q-99-81679 TO Q-99-81689.
The petitioners aver that Section 8, Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure
is not applicable to Criminal Cases Nos. Q-99-81679 to Q-99-81689 because the essential
requirements for its application were not present when Judge Agnir, Jr., issued his resolution

of March 29, 1999. Disagreeing with the ruling of the Court, the petitioners maintain that the
respondent did not give his express consent to the dismissal by Judge Agnir, Jr., of Criminal
Cases Nos. Q-99-81679 to Q-99-81689. The respondent allegedly admitted in his pleadings
filed with the Court of Appeals and during the hearing thereat that he did not file any motion to
dismiss said cases, or even agree to a provisional dismissal thereof. Moreover, the heirs of
the victims were allegedly not given prior notices of the dismissal of the said cases by Judge
Agnir, Jr. According to the petitioners, the respondents express consent to the provisional
dismissal of the cases and the notice to all the heirs of the victims of the respondents motion
and the hearing thereon are conditions sine qua non to the application of the time-bar in the
second paragraph of the new rule.
The petitioners further submit that it is not necessary that the case be remanded to the
RTC to determine whether private complainants were notified of the March 22, 1999 hearing
on the respondents motion for judicial determination of the existence of probable cause. The
records allegedly indicate clearly that only the handling city prosecutor was furnished a copy
of the notice of hearing on said motion. There is allegedly no evidence that private
prosecutor Atty. Godwin Valdez was properly retained and authorized by all the private
complainants to represent them at said hearing. It is their contention that Atty. Valdez merely
identified the purported affidavits of desistance and that he did not confirm the truth of the
allegations therein.
The respondent, on the other hand, insists that, as found by the Court in its Resolution
and Judge Agnir, Jr. in his resolution, the respondent himself moved for the provisional
dismissal of the criminal cases. He cites the resolution of Judge Agnir, Jr. stating that the
respondent and the other accused filed separate but identical motions for the dismissal of the
criminal cases should the trial court find no probable cause for the issuance of warrants of
arrest against them.
The respondent further asserts that the heirs of the victims, through the public and
private prosecutors, were duly notified of said motion and the hearing thereof. He contends
that it was sufficient that the public prosecutor was present during the March 22, 1999
hearing on the motion for judicial determination of the existence of probable cause because
criminal actions are always prosecuted in the name of the People, and the private
complainants merely prosecute the civil aspect thereof.
The Court has reviewed the records and has found the contention of the petitioners
meritorious.
Section 8, Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure reads:

Sec. 8. Provisional dismissal. A case shall not be provisionally dismissed except with the
express consent of the accused and with notice to the offended party.
The provisional dismissal of offenses punishable by imprisonment not exceeding six (6) years
or a fine of any amount, or both, shall become permanent one (1) year after issuance of the
order without the case having been revived. With respect to offenses punishable by
imprisonment of more than six (6) years, their provisional dismissal shall become permanent
two (2) years after issuance of the order without the case having been revived.
Having invoked said rule before the petitioners-panel of prosecutors and before the
Court of Appeals, the respondent is burdened to establish the essential requisites of the first
paragraph thereof, namely:
1.
the prosecution with the express conformity of the accused or the accused moves for a
provisional (sin perjuicio) dismissal of the case; or both the prosecution and the accused
move for a provisional dismissal of the case;
2.

the offended party is notified of the motion for a provisional dismissal of the case;

3.

the court issues an order granting the motion and dismissing the case provisionally;

4.
the public prosecutor is served with a copy of the order of provisional dismissal of the
case.
The foregoing requirements are conditions sine qua non to the application of the timebar in the second paragraph of the new rule. The raison d etre for the requirement of the
express consent of the accused to a provisional dismissal of a criminal case is to bar him
from subsequently asserting that the revival of the criminal case will place him in double
jeopardy for the same offense or for an offense necessarily included therein. [5]
Although the second paragraph of the new rule states that the order of dismissal shall
become permanent one year after the issuance thereof without the case having been revived,
the provision should be construed to mean that the order of dismissal shall become
permanent one year after service of the order of dismissal on the public prosecutor who has
control of the prosecution[6] without the criminal case having been revived. The public
prosecutor cannot be expected to comply with the timeline unless he is served with a copy of
the order of dismissal.
Express consent to a provisional dismissal is given either viva voce or in writing. It is a
positive, direct, unequivocal consent requiring no inference or implication to supply its

meaning.[7] Where the accused writes on the motion of a prosecutor for a provisional
dismissal of the case No objection or With my conformity, the writing amounts to express
consent of the accused to a provisional dismissal of the case. [8] The mere inaction or silence
of the accused to a motion for a provisional dismissal of the case [9] or his failure to object to a
provisional dismissal[10] does not amount to express consent.
A motion of the accused for a provisional dismissal of a case is an express consent to
such provisional dismissal.[11] If a criminal case is provisionally dismissed with the express
consent of the accused, the case may be revived only within the periods provided in the new
rule. On the other hand, if a criminal case is provisionally dismissed without the express
consent of the accused or over his objection, the new rule would not apply. The case may be
revived or refiled even beyond the prescribed periods subject to the right of the accused to
oppose the same on the ground of double jeopardy [12] or that such revival or refiling is barred
by the statute of limitations.[13]
The case may be revived by the State within the time-bar either by the refiling of the
Information or by the filing of a new Information for the same offense or an offense
necessarily included therein. There would be no need of a new preliminary investigation.
[14]
However, in a case wherein after the provisional dismissal of a criminal case, the original
witnesses of the prosecution or some of them may have recanted their testimonies or may
have died or may no longer be available and new witnesses for the State have emerged, a
new preliminary investigation[15] must be conducted before an Information is refiled or a new
Information is filed. A new preliminary investigation is also required if aside from the original
accused, other persons are charged under a new criminal complaint for the same offense or
necessarily included therein; or if under a new criminal complaint, the original charge has
been upgraded; or if under a new criminal complaint, the criminal liability of the accused is
upgraded from that as an accessory to that as a principal. The accused must be accorded
the right to submit counter-affidavits and evidence. After all, the fiscal is not called by the
Rules of Court to wait in ambush; the role of a fiscal is not mainly to prosecute but essentially
to do justice to every man and to assist the court in dispensing that justice. [16]
In this case, the respondent has failed to prove that the first and second requisites of the
first paragraph of the new rule were present when Judge Agnir, Jr. dismissed Criminal Cases
Nos. Q-99-81679 to Q-99-81689. Irrefragably, the prosecution did not file any motion for the
provisional dismissal of the said criminal cases. For his part, the respondent merely filed a
motion for judicial determination of probable cause and for examination of prosecution
witnesses alleging that under Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution and the decision of this
Court inAllado v. Diokno,[17] among other cases, there was a need for the trial court to conduct
a personal determination of probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest against
respondent and to have the prosecutions witnesses summoned before the court for its

examination. The respondent contended therein that until after the trial court shall have
personally determined the presence of probable cause, no warrant of arrest should be issued
against the respondent and if one had already been issued, the warrant should be recalled by
the trial court. He then prayed therein that:
1)
a judicial determination of probable cause pursuant to Section 2, Article III of the
Constitution be conducted by this Honorable Court, and for this purpose, an order be issued
directing the prosecution to present the private complainants and their witnesses at a hearing
scheduled therefor; and

It was in (sic) that the accused did not ask for it. What they wanted at the onset was
simply a judicial determination of probable cause for warrants of arrest
issued. Then Judge Agnir, upon the presentation by the parties of their witnesses,
particularly those who had withdrawn their affidavits, made one further conclusion that
not only was this case lacking in probable cause for purposes of the issuance of an
arrest warrant but also it did not justify proceeding to trial.
JUSTICE SALONGA:
And it is expressly provided under Section 8 that a case shall not be provisionally dismissed
except when it is with the express conformity of the accused.

2)
warrants for the arrest of the accused-movants be withheld, or, if issued, recalled in the
meantime until the resolution of this incident.

ATTY. FORTUN:

Other equitable reliefs are also prayed for.[18]

That is correct, Your Honor.

The respondent did not pray for the dismissal, provisional or otherwise, of Criminal
Cases Nos. Q-99-81679 to Q-99-81689. Neither did he ever agree, impliedly or expressly, to
a mere provisional dismissal of the cases. In fact, in his reply filed with the Court of Appeals,
respondent emphasized that:

JUSTICE SALONGA:
And with notice to the offended party.
ATTY. FORTUN:

... An examination of the Motion for Judicial Determination of Probable Cause and for
Examination of Prosecution Witnesses filed by the petitioner and his other co-accused in the
said criminal cases would show that the petitioner did not pray for the dismissal of the
case. On the contrary, the reliefs prayed for therein by the petitioner are: (1) a judicial
determination of probable cause pursuant to Section 2, Article III of the Constitution; and (2)
that warrants for the arrest of the accused be withheld, or if issued, recalled in the meantime
until the resolution of the motion. It cannot be said, therefore, that the dismissal of the case
was made with the consent of the petitioner. A copy of the aforesaid motion is hereto
attached and made integral part hereof as Annex A.[19]

That is correct, Your Honor.


JUSTICE SALONGA:
Was there an express conformity on the part of the accused?
ATTY. FORTUN:

JUSTICE SALONGA:

There was none, Your Honor. We were not asked to sign any order, or any statement,
which would normally be required by the Court on pre-trial or on other matters,
including other provisional dismissal. My very limited practice in criminal courts,
Your Honor, had taught me that a judge must be very careful on this matter of
provisional dismissal. In fact they ask the accused to come forward, and the judge
himself or herself explains the implications of a provisional dismissal. Pumapayag ka
ba dito. Puwede bang pumirma ka?

And it is your stand that the dismissal made by the Court was provisional in nature?

JUSTICE ROSARIO:

ATTY. FORTUN:

You were present during the proceedings?

During the hearing in the Court of Appeals on July 31, 2001, the respondent, through
counsel, categorically, unequivocally, and definitely declared that he did not file any motion to
dismiss the criminal cases nor did he agree to a provisional dismissal thereof, thus:

ATTY. FORTUN:

There is no general prayer for any further relief?

Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. FORTUN:

JUSTICE ROSARIO:

There is but it simply says other equitable reliefs are prayed for.

You represented the petitioner in this case?

JUSTICE GUERRERO:

ATTY. FORTUN:

Dont you surmise Judge Agnir, now a member of this Court, precisely addressed your
prayer for just and equitable relief to dismiss the case because what would be the net
effect of a situation where there is no warrant of arrest being issued without dismissing
the case?

That is correct, Your Honor. And there was nothing of that sort which the good
Judge Agnir, who is most knowledgeable in criminal law, had done in respect of
provisional dismissal or the matter of Mr. Lacson agreeing to the provisional
dismissal of the case.
JUSTICE GUERRERO:
Now, you filed a motion, the other accused then filed a motion for a judicial determination of
probable cause?

ATTY. FORTUN:
Yes, Your Honor. I will not second say (sic) yes the Good Justice, but what is plain is
we did not agree to the provisional dismissal, neither were we asked to sign any
assent to the provisional dismissal.
JUSTICE GUERRERO:

ATTY. FORTUN:
Yes, Your Honor.

If you did not agree to the provisional dismissal did you not file any motion for
reconsideration of the order of Judge Agnir that the case should be dismissed?

JUSTICE GUERRERO:

ATTY. FORTUN:

Did you make any alternative prayer in your motion that if there is no probable cause what
should the Court do?

I did not, Your Honor, because I knew fully well at that time that my client had already
been arraigned, and the arraignment was valid as far as I was concerned. So,
the dismissal, Your Honor, by Judge Agnir operated to benefit me, and therefore
I did not take any further step in addition to rocking the boat or clarifying the
matter further because it probably could prejudice the interest of my client.

ATTY. FORTUN:
That the arrest warrants only be withheld. That was the only prayer that we asked. In
fact, I have a copy of that particular motion, and if I may read my prayer before the
Court, it said: Wherefore, it is respectfully prayed that (1) a judicial determination of
probable cause pursuant to Section 2, Article III of the Constitution be conducted, and
for this purpose, an order be issued directing the prosecution to present the private
complainants and their witnesses at the scheduled hearing for that purpose; and (2)
the warrants for the arrest of the accused be withheld, or, if issued, recalled in the
meantime until resolution of this incident.
JUSTICE GUERRERO:

JUSTICE GUERRERO:
Continue.[20]

In his memorandum in lieu of the oral argument filed with the Court of Appeals, the
respondent declared in no uncertain terms that:
Soon thereafter, the SC in early 1999 rendered a decision declaring the Sandiganbayan
without jurisdiction over the cases. The records were remanded to the QC RTC: Upon raffle,
the case was assigned to Branch 81. Petitioner and the others promptly filed a motion for

judicial determination of probable cause (Annex B). He asked that warrants for his arrest not
be issued. He did not move for the dismissal of the Informations, contrary to
respondent OSGs claim.[21]
The respondents admissions made in the course of the proceedings in the Court of
Appeals are binding and conclusive on him. The respondent is barred from repudiating his
admissions absent evidence of palpable mistake in making such admissions. [22]
To apply the new rule in Criminal Cases Nos. Q-99-81679 to Q-99-81689 would be to
add to or make exceptions from the new rule which are not expressly or impliedly included
therein. This the Court cannot and should not do.[23]
The Court also agrees with the petitioners contention that no notice of any motion for
the provisional dismissal of Criminal Cases Nos. Q-99-81679 to Q-99-81689 or of the
hearing thereon was served on the heirs of the victims at least three days before said hearing
as mandated by Rule 15, Section 4 of the Rules of Court. It must be borne in mind that in
crimes involving private interests, the new rule requires that the offended party or parties or
the heirs of the victims must be given adequate a priori notice of any motion for the
provisional dismissal of the criminal case. Such notice may be served on the offended party
or the heirs of the victim through the private prosecutor, if there is one, or through the public
prosecutor who in turn must relay the notice to the offended party or the heirs of the victim to
enable them to confer with him before the hearing or appear in court during the hearing. The
proof of such service must be shown during the hearing on the motion, otherwise, the
requirement of the new rule will become illusory. Such notice will enable the offended party
or the heirs of the victim the opportunity to seasonably and effectively comment on or object
to the motion on valid grounds, including: (a) the collusion between the prosecution and the
accused for the provisional dismissal of a criminal case thereby depriving the State of its right
to due process; (b) attempts to make witnesses unavailable; or (c) the provisional dismissal of
the case with the consequent release of the accused from detention would enable him to
threaten and kill the offended party or the other prosecution witnesses or flee from Philippine
jurisdiction, provide opportunity for the destruction or loss of the prosecutions physical and
other evidence and prejudice the rights of the offended party to recover on the civil liability of
the accused by his concealment or furtive disposition of his property or the consequent lifting
of the writ of preliminary attachment against his property.
In the case at bar, even if the respondents motion for a determination of probable cause
and examination of witnesses may be considered for the nonce as his motion for a
provisional dismissal of Criminal Cases Nos. Q-99-81679 to Q-99-81689, however, the heirs
of the victims were not notified thereof prior to the hearing on said motion on March 22,
1999. It must be stressed that the respondent filed his motion only on March 17, 1999 and

set it for hearing on March 22, 1999 or barely five days from the filing thereof. Although the
public prosecutor was served with a copy of the motion, the records do not show that notices
thereof were separately given to the heirs of the victims or that subpoenae were issued to
and received by them, including those who executed their affidavits of desistance who were
residents of Dipolog City or Pian, Zamboanga del Norte or Palompon, Leyte. [24] There is as
well no proof in the records that the public prosecutor notified the heirs of the victims of said
motion or of the hearing thereof on March 22, 1999. Although Atty. Valdez entered his
appearance as private prosecutor,[25] he did so only for some but not all the close kins of the
victims, namely, Nenita Alap-ap, Imelda Montero, Margarita Redillas, Rufino Siplon, Carmelita
Elcamel, Myrna Abalora, and Leonora Amora who (except for Rufino Siplon) [26] executed their
respective affidavits of desistance.[27] There was no appearance for the heirs of Alex Neri,
Pacifico Montero, Jr., and Meleubren Sorronda. There is no proof on record that all the heirs
of the victims were served with copies of the resolution of Judge Agnir, Jr. dismissing the said
cases. In fine, there never was any attempt on the part of the trial court, the public prosecutor
and/or the private prosecutor to notify all the heirs of the victims of the respondents motion
and the hearing thereon and of the resolution of Judge Agnir, Jr. dismissing said cases. The
said heirs were thus deprived of their right to be heard on the respondents motion and to
protect their interests either in the trial court or in the appellate court.
Since the conditions sine qua non for the application of the new rule were not present
when Judge Agnir, Jr. issued his resolution, the State is not barred by the time limit set forth in
the second paragraph of Section 8 of Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure. The State can thus revive or refile Criminal Cases Nos. Q-99-81679 to Q-9981689 or file new Informations for multiple murder against the respondent.
II.
THE TIME-BAR IN SECTION 8, RULE 117 OF THE REVISED RULES OF
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE SHOULD NOT BE APPLIED RETROACTIVELY.
The petitioners contend that even on the assumption that the respondent expressly
consented to a provisional dismissal of Criminal Cases Nos. Q-99-81679 to Q-99-81689 and
all the heirs of the victims were notified of the respondents motion before the hearing thereon
and were served with copies of the resolution of Judge Agnir, Jr. dismissing the eleven cases,
the two-year bar in Section 8 of Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure should
be applied prospectively and not retroactively against the State. To apply the time limit
retroactively to the criminal cases against the respondent and his co-accused would violate
the right of the People to due process, and unduly impair, reduce, and diminish the States
substantive right to prosecute the accused for multiple murder. They posit that under Article
90 of the Revised Penal Code, the State had twenty years within which to file the criminal
complaints against the accused. However, under the new rule, the State only had two years
from notice of the public prosecutor of the order of dismissal of Criminal Cases Nos. Q-99-

81679 to Q-99-81689 within which to revive the said cases. When the new rule took effect on
December 1, 2000, the State only had one year and three months within which to revive the
cases or refile the Informations. The period for the State to charge respondent for multiple
murder under Article 90 of the Revised Penal Code was considerably and arbitrarily
reduced. They submit that in case of conflict between the Revised Penal Code and the new
rule, the former should prevail. They also insist that the State had consistently relied on the
prescriptive periods under Article 90 of the Revised Penal Code. It was not accorded a fair
warning that it would forever be barred beyond the two-year period by a retroactive
application of the new rule.[28] Petitioners thus pray to the Court to set aside its Resolution of
May 28, 2002.
For his part, the respondent asserts that the new rule under Section 8 of Rule 117 of the
Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure may be applied retroactively since there is no
substantive right of the State that may be impaired by its application to the criminal cases in
question since [t]he States witnesses were ready, willing and able to provide their testimony
but the prosecution failed to act on these cases until it became politically expedient in April
2001 for them to do so. [29] According to the respondent, penal laws, either procedural or
substantive, may be retroactively applied so long as they favor the accused. [30] He asserts
that the two-year period commenced to run on March 29, 1999 and lapsed two years
thereafter was more than reasonable opportunity for the State to fairly indict him. [31] In any
event, the State is given the right under the Courts assailed Resolution to justify the filing of
the Information in Criminal Cases Nos. 01-101102 to 01-101112 beyond the time-bar under
the new rule.
The respondent insists that Section 8 of Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure does not broaden the substantive right of double jeopardy to the prejudice of the
State because the prohibition against the revival of the cases within the one-year or two-year
periods provided therein is a legal concept distinct from the prohibition against the revival of a
provisionally dismissed case within the periods stated in Section 8 of Rule 117. Moreover, he
claims that the effects of a provisional dismissal under said rule do not modify or negate the
operation of the prescriptive period under Article 90 of the Revised Penal Code. Prescription
under the Revised Penal Code simply becomes irrelevant upon the application of Section 8,
Rule 117 because a complaint or information has already been filed against the accused,
which filing tolls the running of the prescriptive period under Article 90. [32]
The Court agrees with the respondent that the new rule is not a statute of
limitations. Statutes of limitations are construed as acts of grace, and a surrender by the
sovereign of its right to prosecute or of its right to prosecute at its discretion. Such statutes
are considered as equivalent to acts of amnesty founded on the liberal theory that
prosecutions should not be allowed to ferment endlessly in the files of the government to

explode only after witnesses and proofs necessary for the protection of the accused have by
sheer lapse of time passed beyond availability.[33] The periods fixed under such statutes are
jurisdictional and are essential elements of the offenses covered. [34]
On the other hand, the time-bar under Section 8 of Rule 117 is akin to a special
procedural limitation qualifying the right of the State to prosecute making the time-bar an
essence of the given right or as an inherent part thereof, so that the lapse of the time-bar
operates to extinguish the right of the State to prosecute the accused. [35]
The time-bar under the new rule does not reduce the periods under Article 90 of the
Revised Penal Code, a substantive law.[36] It is but a limitation of the right of the State to
revive a criminal case against the accused after the Information had been filed but
subsequently provisionally dismissed with the express consent of the accused. Upon the
lapse of the timeline under the new rule, the State is presumed, albeit disputably, to have
abandoned or waived its right to revive the case and prosecute the accused. The dismissal
becomes ipso factopermanent. He can no longer be charged anew for the same crime or
another crime necessarily included therein.[37] He is spared from the anguish and anxiety as
well as the expenses in any new indictments. [38] The State may revive a criminal case beyond
the one-year or two-year periods provided that there is a justifiable necessity for the delay.
[39]
By the same token, if a criminal case is dismissed on motion of the accused because the
trial is not concluded within the period therefor, the prescriptive periods under the Revised
Penal Code are not thereby diminished. [40] But whether or not the prosecution of the accused
is barred by the statute of limitations or by the lapse of the time-line under the new rule, the
effect is basically the same. As the State Supreme Court of Illinois held:
This, in effect, enacts that when the specified period shall have arrived, the right of the
state to prosecute shall be gone, and the liability of the offender to be punishedto be
deprived of his libertyshall cease. Its terms not only strike down the right of action which
the state had acquired by the offense, but also remove the flaw which the crime had created
in the offenders title to liberty. In this respect, its language goes deeper than statutes barring
civil remedies usually do. They expressly take away only the remedy by suit, and that
inferentially is held to abate the right which such remedy would enforce, and perfect the title
which such remedy would invade; but this statute is aimed directly at the very right which the
state has against the offenderthe right to punish, as the only liability which the offender has
incurred, and declares that this right and this liability are at an end. [41]
The Court agrees with the respondent that procedural laws may be applied
retroactively. As applied to criminal law, procedural law provides or regulates the steps by
which one who has committed a crime is to be punished. In Tan, Jr. v. Court of Appeals,
[42]
this Court held that:

Statutes regulating the procedure of the courts will be construed as applicable to actions
pending and undetermined at the time of their passage. Procedural laws are retroactive in
that sense and to that extent. The fact that procedural statutes may somehow affect the
litigants rights may not preclude their retroactive application to pending actions. The
retroactive application of procedural laws is not violative of any right of a person who may feel
that he is adversely affected. Nor is the retroactive application of procedural statutes
constitutionally objectionable. The reason is that as a general rule no vested right may attach
to, nor arise from, procedural laws. It has been held that a person has no vested right in any
particular remedy, and a litigant cannot insist on the application to the trial of his case,
whether civil or criminal, of any other than the existing rules of procedure.
It further ruled therein that a procedural law may not be applied retroactively if to do so
would work injustice or would involve intricate problems of due process or impair the
independence of the Court. In a per curiam decision in Cipriano v. City of Houma,[43] the
United States Supreme Court ruled that where a decision of the court would produce
substantial inequitable results if applied retroactively, there is ample basis for avoiding the
injustice of hardship by a holding of nonretroactivity. [44] A construction of which a statute is
fairly susceptible is favored, which will avoid all objectionable, mischievous, indefensible,
wrongful, and injurious consequences.[45] This Court should not adopt an interpretation of a
statute which produces absurd, unreasonable, unjust, or oppressive results if such
interpretation could be avoided. [46] Time and again, this Court has decreed that statutes are to
be construed in light of the purposes to be achieved and the evils sought to be remedied. In
construing a statute, the reason for the enactment should be kept in mind and the statute
should be construed with reference to the intended scope and purpose. [47]
Remedial legislation, or procedural rule, or doctrine of the Court designed to enhance
and implement the constitutional rights of parties in criminal proceedings may be applied
retroactively or prospectively depending upon several factors, such as the history of the new
rule, its purpose and effect, and whether the retrospective application will further its operation,
the particular conduct sought to be remedied and the effect thereon in the administration of
justice and of criminal laws in particular.[48] In a per curiam decision in Stefano v. Woods,
[49]
the United States Supreme Court catalogued the factors in determining whether a new rule
or doctrine enunciated by the High Court should be given retrospective or prospective effect:
(a) the purpose to be served by the new standards, (b) the extent of the reliance by law
enforcement authorities on the old standards, and (c) the effect on the administration of
justice of a retroactive application of the new standards.
In this case, the Court agrees with the petitioners that the time-bar of two years under
the new rule should not be applied retroactively against the State.

In the new rule in question, as now construed by the Court, it has fixed a time-bar of one
year or two years for the revival of criminal cases provisionally dismissed with the express
consent of the accused and with a priori notice to the offended party. The time-bar may
appear, on first impression, unreasonable compared to the periods under Article 90 of the
Revised Penal Code. However, in fixing the time-bar, the Court balanced the societal
interests and those of the accused for the orderly and speedy disposition of criminal cases
with minimum prejudice to the State and the accused. It took into account the substantial
rights of both the State and of the accused to due process. The Court believed that the time
limit is a reasonable period for the State to revive provisionally dismissed cases with the
consent of the accused and notice to the offended parties. The time-bar fixed by the Court
must be respected unless it is shown that the period is manifestly short or insufficient that the
rule becomes a denial of justice. [50] The petitioners failed to show a manifest shortness or
insufficiency of the time-bar.
The new rule was conceptualized by the Committee on the Revision of the Rules and
approved by the Court en banc primarily to enhance the administration of the criminal justice
system and the rights to due process of the State and the accused by eliminating the
deleterious practice of trial courts of provisionally dismissing criminal cases on motion of
either the prosecution or the accused or jointly, either with no time-bar for the revival thereof
or with a specific or definite period for such revival by the public prosecutor. There were
times when such criminal cases were no longer revived or refiled due to causes beyond the
control of the public prosecutor or because of the indolence, apathy or the lackadaisical
attitude of public prosecutors to the prejudice of the State and the accused despite the
mandate to public prosecutors and trial judges to expedite criminal proceedings. [51]
It is almost a universal experience that the accused welcomes delay as it usually
operates in his favor,[52] especially if he greatly fears the consequences of his trial and
conviction. He is hesitant to disturb the hushed inaction by which dominant cases have been
known to expire.[53]
The inordinate delay in the revival or refiling of criminal cases may impair or reduce the
capacity of the State to prove its case with the disappearance or nonavailability of its
witnesses. Physical evidence may have been lost. Memories of witnesses may have grown
dim or have faded. Passage of time makes proof of any fact more difficult. [54] The accused
may become a fugitive from justice or commit another crime. The longer the lapse of time
from the dismissal of the case to the revival thereof, the more difficult it is to prove the crime.
On the other side of the fulcrum, a mere provisional dismissal of a criminal case does
not terminate a criminal case. The possibility that the case may be revived at any time may
disrupt or reduce, if not derail, the chances of the accused for employment, curtail his

association, subject him to public obloquy and create anxiety in him and his family. He is
unable to lead a normal life because of community suspicion and his own anxiety. He
continues to suffer those penalties and disabilities incompatible with the presumption of
innocence.[55] He may also lose his witnesses or their memories may fade with the passage of
time. In the long run, it may diminish his capacity to defend himself and thus eschew the
fairness of the entire criminal justice system.[56]
The time-bar under the new rule was fixed by the Court to excise the malaise that
plagued the administration of the criminal justice system for the benefit of the State and the
accused; not for the accused only.
The Court agrees with the petitioners that to apply the time-bar retroactively so that the
two-year period commenced to run on March 31, 1999 when the public prosecutor received
his copy of the resolution of Judge Agnir, Jr. dismissing the criminal cases is inconsistent with
the intendment of the new rule. Instead of giving the State two years to revive provisionally
dismissed cases, the State had considerably less than two years to do so. Thus, Judge
Agnir, Jr. dismissed Criminal Cases Nos. Q-99-81679 to Q-99-81689 on March 29,
1999. The new rule took effect on December 1, 2000. If the Court applied the new time-bar
retroactively, the State would have only one year and three months or until March 31, 2001
within which to revive these criminal cases. The period is short of the two-year period fixed
under the new rule. On the other hand, if the time limit is applied prospectively, the State
would have two years from December 1, 2000 or until December 1, 2002 within which to
revive the cases. This is in consonance with the intendment of the new rule in fixing the timebar and thus prevent injustice to the State and avoid absurd, unreasonable, oppressive,
injurious, and wrongful results in the administration of justice.
The period from April 1, 1999 to November 30, 1999 should be excluded in the
computation of the two-year period because the rule prescribing it was not yet in effect at the
time and the State could not be expected to comply with the time-bar. It cannot even be
argued that the State waived its right to revive the criminal cases against respondent or that it
was negligent for not reviving them within the two-year period under the new rule. As the
United States Supreme Court said, per Justice Felix Frankfurter, in Griffin v. People:[57]
We should not indulge in the fiction that the law now announced has always been the law
and, therefore, that those who did not avail themselves of it waived their rights .
The two-year period fixed in the new rule is for the benefit of both the State and the
accused. It should not be emasculated and reduced by an inordinate retroactive application
of the time-bar therein provided merely to benefit the accused. For to do so would cause an

injustice of hardship to the State and adversely affect the administration of justice in general
and of criminal laws in particular.
To require the State to give a valid justification as a condition sine qua non to the revival
of a case provisionally dismissed with the express consent of the accused before the effective
date of the new rule is to assume that the State is obliged to comply with the time-bar under
the new rule before it took effect. This would be a rank denial of justice. The State must be
given a period of one year or two years as the case may be from December 1, 2000 to revive
the criminal case without requiring the State to make a valid justification for not reviving the
case before the effective date of the new rule. Although in criminal cases, the accused is
entitled to justice and fairness, so is the State. As the United States Supreme Court said, per
Mr. Justice Benjamin Cardozo, in Snyder v. State of Massachussetts,[58] the concept of
fairness must not be strained till it is narrowed to a filament. We are to keep the balance
true. InDimatulac v. Villon,[59] this Court emphasized that the judges action must not impair
the substantial rights of the accused nor the right of the State and offended party to due
process of law. This Court further said:
Indeed, for justice to prevail, the scales must balance; justice is not to be dispensed for the
accused alone. The interests of society and the offended parties which have been wronged
must be equally considered. Verily, a verdict of conviction is not necessarily a denial of
justice; and an acquittal is not necessarily a triumph of justice, for, to the society offended and
the party wronged, it could also mean injustice. Justice then must be rendered evenhandedly to both the accused, on one hand, and the State and offended party, on the other.
In this case, the eleven Informations in Criminal Cases Nos. 01-101102 to 01-101112
were filed with the Regional Trial Court on June 6, 2001 well within the two-year period.
In sum, this Court finds the motion for reconsideration of petitioners meritorious.
IN THE LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petitioners Motion for Reconsideration
is GRANTED. The Resolution of this Court, dated May 28, 2002, is SET ASIDE. The
Decision of the Court of Appeals, dated August 24, 2001, in CA-G.R. SP No. 65034 is
REVERSED. The Petition of the Respondent with the Regional Trial Court in Civil Case No.
01-100933 is DISMISSED for being moot and academic. The Regional Trial Court of Quezon
City, Branch 81, is DIRECTED to forthwith proceed with Criminal Cases Nos. 01-101102 to
01-101112 with deliberate dispatch.
No pronouncements as to costs.
[G.R. No. 149453. May 28, 2002]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, et al., vs. PANFILO M. LACSON.


RESOLUTION
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to reverse and set aside the
Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals dated August 24, 2001 in CA-G.R. SP No. 65034. [2] The
said Decision of the appellate court granted respondent Lacsons Second Amended Petition
for Prohibition with application for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order, (1)
assailing the Order issued by Judge Herminia Pasamba of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Manila, Branch 40, that allowed the continuation of the re-investigation of Criminal Cases
Nos. Q-99-81679 to Q-99-81689 or the Kuratong Baleleng cases; and (2) praying for the
dismissal of Criminal Cases Nos. Q-01-101102 to Q-01-101112 entitled People of the
Philippines v. Panfilo Lacson, et al. pending before Branch 81 of the RTC of Quezon City.
The following appear in the records of this case:
(1)
On May 18, 1995, then PNP Director-General Recaredo Sarmiento II
announced, in a press conference, the killing of eleven (11) members of the Kuratong
Baleleng Gang (KBG) in a shootout with police elements near the fly-over along
Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City at about 4:00 A.M. that day.[3]
(2)
On May 22, 1995, morning papers carried the news that SPO2 Eduardo delos
Reyes had claimed that the killing of the eleven (11) gang members was a rub-out or
summary execution and not a shootout.[4]
(3)
In an affidavit he executed the following day, delos Reyes stated, among
others, that he was part of a composite police team called the Anti-Bank Robbery and
Intelligence Task Force Group (ABRITFG) composed of elements of the National Capital
Region Command (NCRC) and headed by Chief Superintendent Jewel Canson; Traffic
Management Command, headed by Senior Superintendent Francisco Subia, Jr.; Presidential
Anti-Crime Commission (PACC), headed by Chief Superintendent Panfilo M. Lacson; Central
Police District Command, headed by Chief Superintendent Ricardo de Leon; and Criminal
Investigation Command (CIC), headed by Chief Superintendent Romeo Acop. Delos Reyes
claimed that the police team arrested the eleven (11) gang members in early morning of May
18, 1995at the gangs safe house in Superville Subdivision, Paraaque; that after their arrest,
the gang members were made to board two vans, their hands tied behind their backs, and
brought initially to Camp Crame where a decision to summarily execute them was made, and
later to Commonwealth Avenue where they were shot to death by elements of ABRITFG. [5]

(4)
On May 26, 1995, SPO2 Corazon dela Cruz, another CIC investigator,
executed an affidavit corroborating the material allegations of delos Reyes. Dela Cruz
claimed that she was with delos Reyes from the time the eleven (11) KBG members were
arrested up to the time they were killed in Commonwealth Avenue. [6]
(5)
On May 31, 1995, Armando Capili, a reporter of Remate, executed an affidavit
stating that he was present when the KBG members were arrested in Superville Subdivision.
[7]

(6)
On June 1, 1995, Chief Superintendent Job A. Mayo, PNP Director for
Investigation, filed murder charges with the Office of the Ombudsman against ninety-seven
(97) officers and personnel of ABRITFG. The next-of-kin of the slain KBG members also filed
murder charges against the same officers and personnel. [8]
(7)
Ombudsman Aniano Desierto then created a panel of investigators to conduct
a preliminary investigation of the murder charges. The panel was headed by Deputy
Ombudsman for Military Affairs Bienvenido Blancaflor. On October 20, 1995, the panel
issued a resolution recommending the dismissal of the charges for lack of probable cause.
(8)
Ombudsman Desierto referred the resolution for review by a panel composed
of Over-all Deputy Ombudsman Francisco Villa as head, and Special Prosecutor Leonardo
Tamayo and Assistant Ombudsman Abelardo Aportadera as members. On November 20,
1995, the review panel reversed the Blancaflor resolution and found probable cause for the
prosecution of multiple murder charges against twenty-six (26) officers and personnel of
ABRITFG.[9]
(9)
On
November
2,
1995, the
Ombudsman
filed
before
the Sandiganbayan eleven (11) Informations for MURDER, docketed as Criminal Cases Nos.
23047 to 23057, against respondent Panfilo M. Lacson and twenty-five (25) other accused.
All twenty-six (26) of them were charged as principals. [10] The following appear to be the
victims: Meleubren Sorronda in Crim. Case No. 23047; Welbor Elcamel in Crim. Case No.
23048; Carlito Alap-ap in Crim. Case No. 23049; Jevy Redillas in Crim. Case No. 23050; Ray
Abalora in Crim. Case No. 23051; Joel Amora in Crim. Case No. 23052; Alex Neri in Crim.
Case No. 23053; Rolando Siplon in Crim. Case No. 23054; Manuel Montero in Crim. Case
No. 23055; Sherwin Abalora in Crim. Case No. 23056; and Pacifico Montero in Crim. Case
No. 23057.
(10)
Upon motion of the respondent, the criminal cases were remanded to the
Ombudsman for reinvestigation. On March 1, 1996, Amended Informations were filed against
the same twenty-six (26) suspects but the participation of respondent Lacson was

downgraded from principal to accessory. Arraignment then followed and respondent entered
a plea of not guilty.[11]
(11)
With the downgrading of charges against him, respondent Lacson questioned
the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan to hear the criminal cases as none of the principal
accused in the Amended Informations was a government official with a Salary Grade (SG) 27
or higher, citing Section 2 of R. A. No. 7975 then prevailing. Accordingly,
the Sandiganbayan ordered the cases transferred to the Regional Trial Court. [12]
(12)
The Office of the Special Prosecutor filed a motion for reconsideration of the
transfer. Pending resolution of the motion, R. A. No. 8249 took effect on February 23, 1997,
amending R. A. No. 7975. In particular, the amendatory law deleted the word principal in
Section 2 of R. A. No. 7975, thereby expanding the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan to
include all cases where at least one of the accused, whether principal, accomplice or
accessory, is a government official of Salary Grade (SG) 27 or higher. The amendment is
made applicable to all cases pending in any court in which trial has not yet begun as of the
date of its approval.[13]
(13)
In Lacson v. Executive Secretary,[14] respondent Lacson challenged the
constitutionality of the amendment and contended that the Sandiganbayan had no jurisdiction
over the criminal cases. This Court, while dismissing the constitutional challenge,
nonetheless ordered the transfer of the criminal cases to the Regional Trial Court on the
ground that the Amended Informations for murder failed to indicate that the offenses charged
therein were committed in relation to, or in discharge of, the official functions of the
respondent, as required by R. A. No. 8249.
(14)
Criminal Cases Nos. 23047 to 23057 were raffled off to Branch 81 of the
Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, then presided by Judge, now Associate Justice of the
Court of Appeals, Wenceslao Agnir, Jr., and re-docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. Q-99-81679
to Q-99-81689.
(15)
Before the accused could be arraigned, prosecution witnesses Eduardo de los
Reyes, Corazon de la Cruz, Armando Capili and Jane Gomez recanted their affidavits which
implicated respondent Lacson in the murder of the KBG members.
On the other hand, private complainants Myrna Abalora, [15] Leonora Amora,[16] Nenita
Alap-ap,[17] Imelda Montero,[18] Margarita Redillas,[19] Carmelita Elcamel[20] and Rolando
Siplon[21] also executed their respective affidavits of desistance declaring that they were no
longer interested to prosecute these cases.[22]

(16)
Due to these developments, the twenty-six (26) accused, including
respondent Lacson, filed five separate but identical motions to (1) make a judicial
determination of the existence of probable cause for the issuance of warrants of arrest; (2)
hold in abeyance the issuance of the warrants, and (3) dismiss the cases should the trial
court find lack of probable cause.
(17)
The records of the case before us are not clear whether the private offended
parties were notified of the hearing on March 22, 1999 [23] held by Judge Agnir to resolve the
motions filed by respondent Lacson and the other accused.
(18)
During the said hearing, the private offended parties who desisted do not
appear to have been presented on the witness stand. In their stead, Atty. Godwin Valdez
testified that he assisted them in preparing their affidavits of desistance and that he signed
said affidavits as witness. On the other hand, Atty. Aurora Bautista of the Philippine Lawyers
League presented the affidavits of recantation of prosecution witnesses Eduardo de los
Reyes, Armando Capili and Jane Gomez. Only prosecution witness Corazon de la Cruz
testified to affirm her affidavit.[24]
(19)
On March 29, 1999, Judge Agnir issued a Resolution [25] dismissing Criminal
Cases Nos. Q-99-81679 to Q-99-81689, as follows:
As already seen, the documents attached to the Informations in support thereof have been
rendered meaningless, if not absurd, with the recantation of the principal prosecution
witnesses and the desistance of the private complainants. There is no more evidence to show
that a crime has been committed and that the accused are probably guilty thereof. Following
the doctrine above-cited, there is no more reason to hold the accused for trial and further
expose them to an open and public accusation. It is time to write finis to these cases and lay
to rest the ghost of the incident of May 18, 1995 so that all those involved--- the accused, the
prosecution witnesses and the private complainants alike--- may get on with their lives.
The Court is not unmindful of the admonition in the recent case of People vs. Court of
Appeals (G.R. No. 126005, January 21, 1999) where the Supreme Court said that the general
rule is that if the Information is valid on its face and there is no showing of manifest error,
grave abuse of discretion or prejudice on the part of the public prosecutor, courts should not
dismiss it for want of evidence, because evidentiary matters should be presented and heard
during the trial, and that the ruling in Allado vs. Diokno is an exception to the general rule
and may be invoked only if similar circumstances are clearly shown to exist.
This Court holds that the circumstances in the case at bench clearly make an exception to the
general rule.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Court finds no probable cause for the issuance of
the warrants of arrest against the accused or to hold them for trial. Accordingly, the
Informations in the above-numbered cases are hereby ordered dismissed.

WHEREFORE, the prayer for temporary restraining order is hereby DENIED.

SO ORDERED.[26]

(23)
On June 6, 2001, eleven (11) Informations for murder involving the killing of
the same members of the Kuratong Baleleng gang were filed before the Regional Trial Court
of Quezon City and were docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 01-101102 to 01-101112. The
new Informations charged as principals thirty-four (34) people, including respondent Lacson
and his twenty-five (25) other co-accused in Criminal Cases Nos. Q-99-81679 to Q-99-81689.
The criminal cases were assigned to Judge Ma. Theresa L. Yadao.

(20)
On March 27, 2001, PNP Director Leandro R. Mendoza indorsed to the
Department of Justice the new affidavits of P/Insp. Ysmael S. Yu and P/S Insp. Abelardo
Ramos regarding the Kuratong Baleleng incident for preliminary investigation. On the
strength of this indorsement, Secretary of Justice Hernando B. Perez formed a panel to
investigate the matter. On April 17, 2001, the respondent was subpoenaed to attend the
investigation of Criminal Cases Nos. Q-99-81679 to Q-99-81689. [27]
(21)
On May 28, 2001, respondent Lacson, et al., invoking, among others, their
constitutional right against double jeopardy, filed a petition for prohibition with application for
temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction with the Regional Trial Court
of Manila, primarily to enjoin the State prosecutors from conducting the preliminary
investigation. The petition was docketed as Civil Case No. 01-100933 and raffled to Branch
40, presided by Judge Herminia V. Pasamba.[28]
(22)
The plea for temporary restraining order was denied by Judge Pasamba in an
Order[29] dated June 5, 2001, viz:
After a study, this Court submits that the dismissal of Criminal Cases Nos. Q-99-81679 to Q99-81689 is not one on the merits and without any recorded arraignment and entered plea on
the part of the herein petitioners. The dismissal was a direct consequence of the finding of the
Quezon City RTC that no probable cause exists for the issuance of warrants of arrest against
petitioners herein and to hold them for trial. The arraignment had with
the Sandiganbayan does not put the case in a different perspective since
the Sandiganbayan was adjudged to be without any jurisdiction to try the cases. It is the
People of the Philippines who is the complainant in the Kuratong Baleleng case and remains
to be the complainant in the present investigation initiated thru a letter of PNP Chief Mendoza
dated March 27, 2001 (Exhibit B) together with the sworn statements of witnesses Ramos
and Yu (Exhibits 2 and 3 - supportive of the refiling of the case (Exhibit 9).
xxx

xxx

xxx

Above considered, this Court finds petitioners have not preliminarily established that they
have a right to be preserved pending hearing on the injunctive relief.

SO ORDERED.[30]

(24)
On the same day, respondent Lacson filed before the Court of Appeals a
petition for certiorari[31] against Judge Pasamba, the Secretary of Justice, the PNP Chief,
State Prosecutors Ong and Zacarias, 2nd Assistant City Prosecutor Jamolin, and the People
of the Philippines. The said petition was amended to implead as additional party-respondents
State Prosecutor Claro Arellano and the RTC, Quezon City, Branch 81 in which the
Informations in Criminal Cases Nos. 01-101102 to 01-101112 were filed. [32]
(25)
The Second Amended Petition [33] dated June 14, 2001 and admitted by the
Court of Appeals on June 26, 2001, alleged:
The reliefs of certiorari, prohibition and injunction against the questioned Order (Annex A)
and the new Informations in Criminal Cases Nos. 01-101102 to 01-101112 pending before
respondent Yadao (Annex B) are founded upon the grave abuse of discretion by respondent
Judge Pasamba of her discretion in its issuance, the illegality of the proceedings of the
respondent State Prosecutors as they cannot revive complaints which had been dismissed
over two (2) years from the date the dismissal order was issued, and the invalidity of the new
Informations for Murder filed against petitioners and others, all in defiance of law and
jurisprudence as shown by the following:
(a) Respondent judge had ruled on the merits of the main prohibition action a
quo rendering the same moot and academic by concluding that the dismissal of Criminal
Cases Nos. Q-99-81679-Q-99-81689 by the QC RTC was not final and executory, hence [i]
the complaints therein can be reinvestigated, and [ii] petitioners arraignment while the case
had not yet been remanded to the QC RTC and while theSandiganbayan had valid
jurisdiction thereover [Criminal Cases No. 23047-2048] was void, notwithstanding that the
only issue in the TRO application was the existence or lack of a valid complaint as defined in
S1 and S3, Rule 110.

(b) Respondent Judge ruled that respondent State Prosecutors could proceed to reinvestigate and thereafter file new Informations on June 6, 2001 covering those offenses
subject of Criminal Cases Nos. Q-99-81679-Q-99-81689 on the basis of affidavits filed after
said cases were dismissed on March 29, 1999, despite the fact that under Section 8, Rule
117, cases similar to those filed against the petitioner and others (where the penalty
imposable is imprisonment of six (6) years or more) cannot be revived after two (2) years
from the date the dismissal order was issued.
(c) Respondent Judge held that the petitioner had not shown a right to be preserved
despite evidence showing the short cuts taken by respondent State prosecutors in reinvestigating a dismissed case, in not complying with Rules in respect of its re-opening, and
in insisting that a valid complaint was filed in clear violation of the Rules and case law
thereon, and despite the fact that the petitioner had shown that an inextendible deadline of
June 5, 2001 was given him to file his counter-affidavit without which his indictment for a nonbailable offense is assured because of DOJ Secretary Hernando Perezs political
schemes.[34]
(26)
In the meantime, on June 8, 2001, respondent Lacson also filed with the RTCQC Branch 81 (presided by Judge Ma. Theresa Yadao), a Motion for Judicial Determination
of Probable Cause and in the absence thereof, to dismiss the cases outright. Respondent
Lacson, however, filed a Manifestation and Motion dated June 13, 2001 seeking the
suspension of the proceedings before the trial court. [35]

more than six (6) years, as the subject criminal cases, their provisional dismissal shall
become permanent two (2) years after the issuance of the order without the case having
been revived. It should be noted that the revival of the subject criminal cases, even if
reckoned from the DOJs issuance of subpoenas to petitioner, was commenced only on April
19, 2001, that is, more than two (2) years after the issuance, on March 29, 1999, of RTCQuezon Citys Resolution, provisionally dismissing the criminal cases now sought to be
revived. Applying the clear and categorical mandate of Section 8, Rule 117, supra, such
efforts to revive the criminal cases are now definitely barred by the two-year prescriptive
period provided therein.
xxx

xxx

xxx

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. As prayed for, the Temporary Restraining Order
earlier issued against the conduct of further proceedings in Criminal Cases Nos. 01-101102
to 01-101112, including the issuance of warrants of arrest against the petitioner, PANFILO M.
LACSON, is hereby made PERMANENT. Accordingly, with respect to said accused, the
proceedings conducted by respondent State Prosecutors in respect of the said criminal cases
are declared NULL AND VOID and the corresponding Informations, docketed as Criminal
Cases Nos. 01-101102 to 01-101112, entitled People of the Philippines vs. Panfilo M.
Lacson, et al. and filed before respondent Judge Maria Theresa L. Yadao of Branch 81 of the
Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, are hereby ordered DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.[37]

(27)
The Court of Appeals issued a temporary restraining order enjoining Judge
Yadao from issuing a warrant of arrest or conducting any proceeding or hearing in Criminal
Cases Nos. 01-101102 to 01-101112.[36]
(28) On August 24, 2001, the Court of Appeals (Special Third Division), rendered the
now assailed Decision. It characterized the termination of Criminal Cases Nos. Q-99-81679 to
Q-99-81689 as provisional dismissal, and considered Criminal Cases Nos. 01-101102 to 01101112 as mere revivals of the same. Applying Section 8, Rule 117 of the 2000 Revised
Rules of Criminal Procedure, it dismissed the criminal cases against the respondent, viz:
In sum, this Court is of the considered view that the subject dismissal of [the] criminal cases
was provisional in nature and that the cases presently sought to be prosecuted by the
respondents are mere revival or re-opening of the dismissed cases. The present controversy,
being one involving provisional dismissal and revival of criminal cases, falls within the
purview of the prescriptive period provided under Section 8, Rule 117 of the 2000 Revised
Rules of Criminal Procedure. The second paragraph of the said provision is couched in clear,
simple and categorical words. It mandates that for offenses punishable by imprisonment of

The issue is whether Section 8, Rule 117 bars the filing of the eleven (11) informations
against the respondent Lacson involving the killing of some members of the Kuratong
Baleleng gang. This rule which took effect on December 1, 2000 provides:
SEC. 8. Provisional dismissal.- A case shall not be provisionally dismissed except with the
express consent of the accused and with notice to the offended party.
The provisional dismissal of offenses punishable by imprisonment not exceeding six (6) years
or a fine of any amount, or both, shall become permanent one (1) year after issuance of the
order without the case having been revived. With respect to offenses punishable by
imprisonment of more than six (6) years, their provisional dismissal shall become permanent
two (2) years after issuance of the order without the case having been revived.
Like any other favorable procedural rule, this new rule can be given retroactive effect.
However, this Court cannot rule on this jugular issue due to the lack of sufficient factual
bases. Thus, there is need of proof of the following facts, viz: (1) whether the provisional

dismissal of the cases had the express consent of the accused; (2) whether it was ordered by
the court after notice to the offended party, (3) whether the 2-year period to revive has
already lapsed, and (4) whether there is any justification for the filing of the cases beyond the
2-year period.
There is no uncertainty with respect to the fact that the provisional dismissal of the cases
against respondent Lacson bears his express consent. It was respondent Lacson himself who
moved to dismiss the subject cases for lack of probable cause before then Judge Agnir,
hence, it is beyond argument that their dismissal bears his express consent.
The records of the case, however, do not reveal with equal clarity and conclusiveness
whether notices to the offended parties were given before the cases against the respondent
Lacson were dismissed by then Judge Agnir. It appears from the resolution of then Judge
Agnir that the relatives of the victims who desisted did not appear during the hearing to affirm
their affidavits. Their affidavits of desistance were only presented by Atty. Godwin Valdez who
testified that he assisted the private complainants in preparing their affidavits and he signed
them as a witness. It also appears that only seven (7) persons submitted their affidavits of
desistance, namely:
a. Myrna Abalora, mother of the victims Sherwin Abalora and Rey Abalora
b. Carmelita Elcamel, wife of Wilbur Elcamel;
c. Leonora Amora, mother of victim Joel Amora;
d. Nenita Alap-ap, wife of victim Carlito Alap-ap;
e. Imelda Montero, wife of victim Manuel Montero;
f. Margarita Redillas, mother of victim Hilario Jevy Redillas; and
g. Rolando Siplon.
From the records of the case before us, it cannot be determined whether there were
affidavits of desistance executed by the relatives of the three (3) [38] other victims, namely:
Meleubren Soronda, Pacifico Montero, Jr., and Alex Neri. The same records do not show
whether they were notified of the hearing or had knowledge thereof. To be sure, it is not fair to
expect the element of notice to be litigated before then Judge Agnir for Section 8, Rule 117
was yet inexistent at that time.

The fact of notice to the offended parties was not raised either in the petition for
prohibition with application for temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction filed
by respondent Lacson in the RTC of Manila, presided by Judge Pasamba, to enjoin the
prosecutors from reinvestigating the said cases against him. The only question raised in said
petition is whether the reinvestigation will violate the right of respondent Lacson against
double jeopardy. Thus, the issue of whether or not the reinvestigation is barred by Section 8,
Rule 117 was not tackled by the litigants.
Nor was the fact of notice to the offended parties the subject of proof after the eleven
(11) informations for murder against respondent Lacson and company were revived in the
RTC of Quezon City presided by Judge Yadao. There was hardly any proceeding conducted
in the case for respondent Lacson immediately filed a petition for certiorari in the appellate
court challenging, among others, the authority of Judge Yadao to entertain the revived
informations for multiple murder against him.
This is not to be wondered at. The applicability of Section 8, Rule 117 was never
considered in the trial court. It was in the Court of Appeals where respondent Lacson raised
for the first time the argument that Section 8, Rule 117 bars the revival of the multiple murder
cases against him. But even then, the appellate court did not require the parties to elucidate
the crucial issue of whether notices were given to the offended parties before Judge Agnir
ordered the dismissal of the cases against respondent Lacson and company. To be sure,
there is a statement in the Decision of the appellate court to the effect that records show that
the prosecution and the private offended parties were notified of the hearing x x x. [39] It is
doubtful whether this finding is supported by the records of the case. It appears to be contrary
to Judge Agnirs finding that only seven (7) of the complainants submitted affidavits of
desistance.
Indeed, the records of this case are inconclusive on the factual issue of whether the
multiple murder cases against respondent Lacson are being revived within or beyond the 2year bar. The reckoning date of the 2-year bar has to be first determined - - - whether it is
from the date of the Order of then Judge Agnir dismissing the cases or from the dates the
Order were received by the various offended parties or from the date of the effectivity of the
new rule.
If the cases were revived only after the 2-year bar, the State must be given the
opportunity to justify its failure to comply with said timeline. The new rule fixes a timeline to
penalize the State for its inexcusable delay in prosecuting cases already filed in courts. It can
therefore present compelling reasons to justify the revival of cases beyond the 2-year bar.

In light of the lack of or the conflicting evidence on the various requirements to determine
the applicability of Section 8, Rule 117, this Court is not in a position to rule whether or not the
re-filing of the cases for multiple murder against respondent Lacson should be enjoined.
Fundamental fairness requires that both the prosecution and the respondent Lacson should
be afforded the opportunity to be heard and to adduce evidence on the presence or absence
of the predicate facts upon which the application of the new rule depends. They involve
disputed facts and arguable questions of law. The reception of evidence on these various
issues cannot be done in this Court but before the trial court.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the case at bar is remanded to the RTC - Quezon City,
Branch 81 so that the State prosecutors and the respondent Lacson can adduce evidence
and be heard on whether the requirements of Section 8, Rule 117 have been complied with
on the basis of the evidence of which the trial court should make a ruling on whether the
Informations in Criminal Cases Nos. 01-101102 to 01-101112 should be dismissed or not.
Pending the ruling, the trial court is restrained from issuing any warrant of arrest against the
respondent Lacson. Melo and Carpio, JJ., take no part.
SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 141646. February 28, 2003]
PABLO CONDRADA, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND HON.
ARNULFO C. BUGTAS, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court of Borongan,
Eastern Samar, Branch 2, respondents.

On March 31, 1999, the date set by the trial court for the initial hearing, the prosecution
moved that the same be postponed due to the absence of the complainant and her
witnesses. The hearing was reset on April 29, 1999.
On April 29, 1999, the prosecution again moved to postpone the hearing due to the
absence of the complainant and her witnesses. Petitioner objected to the motion on the
ground that his right to speedy trial was being violated by such postponements. The trial
court granted the prosecutions motion and reset the hearing on May 31, 1999. It also
directed that the subpoenae to the complainant and her witnesses be coursed through the
National Bureau of Investigation which handled the investigation of the case.
During the hearing on May 31, 1999, the prosecution requested for another
postponement. Petitioner moved for at least a temporary dismissal of the case. The
prosecution manifested that it would not object to a temporary dismissal. Thus, on the same
date, the trial court issued an order temporarily dismissing the case. [3]
On June 22, 1999, the prosecution filed a Motion for Reinstatement and/or Revival of
Criminal Case No. 10770. Appended to said motion was the affidavit of private complainant
that the subpoenae sent to her for the trial of the case did not reach her because in the
meantime she had transferred her residence.
The trial court set the hearing on the motion for reinstatement on June 25,
1999. Petitioner opposed the motion contending that the revival or reinstatement of the case
will place him in double jeopardy. On September 29, 1999, the Court issued a resolution
reinstating the said case and reiterating the issuance of a warrant of arrest for petitioner.

DECISION
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the Resolution[1] dated
September 29, 1999 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Borongan, Eastern Samar, Branch
2, which upheld the reinstatement of the criminal case for rape against petitioner Pablo
Condrada, and its Resolution[2] dated January 14, 2000 which denied petitioners motion for
reconsideration.
Petitioner was charged with rape in Criminal Case No. 10770 presently pending before
the RTC of Borongan, Eastern Samar, Branch 2. When he was arraigned on February 26,
1999, petitioner pleaded not guilty to the charge against him.

Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of said resolution insisting that the
reinstatement of the case will place him in double jeopardy.
On January 14, 2000, the court issued a resolution denying the motion for
reconsideration of petitioner. Consequently, Criminal Case No. 10770 is still pending before
the trial court.
Aggrieved, petitioner filed the instant petition on February 1, 2000. He claims that
Criminal Case No. 10770 cannot be revived because the dismissal of the case on May 31,
1999 is permanent in character, having been made in consideration of his right to speedy
trial.[4]
The Solicitor General, on the other hand, contends that the case was dismissed not
because petitioners right to speedy trial has been violated by the postponements of the trial

on several instances, but because petitioner through counsel moved that the case be
dismissed at least even temporarily to which the public prosecutor interposed no objection.
[5]
The Solicitor General points out that the prosecution moved for the postponement of the
trial several times in good faith and for valid reasons. [6] He likewise argues that the revival of
the case does not place the petitioner twice in jeopardy for the same offense because the
dismissal of the case on May 31, 1999 was made at petitioners instance. [7]
The issues for resolution are (1) Whether or not the dismissal of Criminal Case No.
10770 by the trial court in its Order of June 25, 1999 is permanent in character so as to
operate as an acquittal of the petitioner for the crime charged; and (2) Whether or not the
reinstatement of Criminal Case No. 10770 places the petitioner in double jeopardy.
There is no merit in the petition.
A permanent dismissal of a criminal case may refer to the termination of the case on the
merits, resulting in either the conviction or acquittal of the accused; to the dismissal of the
case due to the prosecutions failure to prosecute; or to the dismissal thereof on the ground of
unreasonable delay in the proceedings, in violation of the accuseds right to speedy
disposition or trial of the case against him. In contrast, a provisional dismissal of a criminal
case is a dismissal without prejudice to the reinstatement thereof before the order of
dismissal becomes final or to the subsequent filing of a new information for the
offense[8] within the periods allowed under the Revised Penal Code or the Revised Rules of
Court.
In the present case, it is clear from the records that the dismissal ordered by the trial
court on May 31, 1999 was a temporary dismissal of the case, and not a permanent dismissal
on the ground that the right of the accused to speedy trial had been violated by the delay in
the prosecution of the said case. The trial court apparently denied petitioners motion to have
Criminal Case No. 10770 dismissed on the ground of his right to speedy trial when despite
said motion made in open court on April 29, 1999, it ordered the resetting of the hearing of
the case on May 31, 1999. In subsequently granting petitioners request for the dismissal of
Criminal Case No. 10770 on May 31, 1999, the trial court expressly stated that the same was
subject to reinstatement within thirty days from the date of the temporary dismissal. The trial
court explained:

to its reinstatement and/or revival within a period of thirty (30) days; otherwise, if the case is
not revived within the aforesaid period, the case would be considered dismissed permanently.
[9]

Therefore, it cannot be gainsaid that the dismissal of Criminal Case No. 10770 on May
31, 1999 was provisional or temporary, without prejudice to the revival thereof within thirty
days from the date of dismissal. Thus, the Court finds that the reinstatement thereof on June
25, 1999 did not place petitioner in double jeopardy.
The proscription against double jeopardy[10] presupposes that an accused has been
previously charged with an offense, and the case against him is terminated either by his
acquittal or conviction, or dismissed in any other manner without his consent. As a general
rule, the following requisites must be present for double jeopardy to
attach: (1) a valid indictment, (2) before a court of competent jurisdiction, (3) the
arraignment of the accused, (4) a valid plea entered by him, and (5) the acquittal or conviction
of the accused, or the dismissal or termination of the case against him without his express
consent. However, there are two exceptions to the foregoing rule, and double jeopardy may
attach even if the dismissal of the case was with the consent of the accused: first, when there
is insufficiency of evidence to support the charge against him; and second, where there has
been an unreasonable delay in the proceedings, in violation of the accuseds right to speedy
trial. [11]
Petitioner is not in danger of being twice put in jeopardy with the reinstatement of
Criminal Case No. 10770 because as earlier stated, said case was provisionally dismissed by
the trial court upon his motion. Thus, the requirement that the dismissal of the case must be
without the consent of the accused is not present in this case. Neither does the case fall
under any of the aforecited exceptions. The prosecution had not yet presented evidence at
the time the case was dismissed on May 31, 1999. Moreover, as previously explained, said
dismissal was temporary in nature, as the case was subject to reinstatement within thirty days
from the date of dismissal. Hence, the Court finds no error on the part of the trial court in
allowing the reinstatement of Criminal Case No. 10770.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.

The defense, however, moved for, at least a temporary dismissal of the case, to which the
government prosecutor acceded provided the same is temporary. Thus, as prayed for by the
defense, the court on May 31, 1999 issued an order dismissing the case temporarily subject