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Criminal Law I Cases Digests: Part 1

Sycip vs Court of Appeals


G.R. No. 12059
March 17, 2000
Facts:
On August 24, 1989, Francisco T. Sycip, Jr., agreed to buy, on installment, from Francel Realty
Corporation (FRC), a townhouse unit in the latters project at Bacoor, Cavite. Upon execution of
the contract to sell, as required, issued to FRC, forty-eight (48) postdated checks, each in the
amount of P9,304.00, covering 48 monthly installments.
After moving in his unit, Sycip complained, to FRC regarding defects in the unit and incomplete
features of the townhouse project. FRC ignored the complaint. Dissatisfied, Sycip served on
FRC two (2) notorial notices to the effect that he was suspending his installment payments on
the unit pending compliance with the project plans and specifications, as approved by the
Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB). Sycip and twelve (12) out of fourteen (14)
unit buyers then filed a complaint with the HLURB. The complaint was dismissed as to the
defect, but FRC was ordered by the HLURB to finish all incomplete features of its townhouse
project. Sycip appealed the dismissal of the complaint as to the alleged defects.
Notwithstanding the notorial notices, FRC continued to present for encashment Sycips
postdated checks in its possession. Sycip sent stop payment orders to the bank. When FRC
continued to present the other postdated checks to the bank as the due date fell, the bank
advised Sycip to close his checking account to avoid paying bank charges every time he made
a stop payment order on the forthcoming checks. Due to the closure of petitioners checking
account, the drawee bank dishonored six postdated checks. FRC file a complaint against
petitioner for violations of B.P. Blg. 22 involving said dishonored checks.
Issues:
(a) Whether or not the accused is criminally liable of the B.P. Blg. 22?
(b) Whether or not the trial court erred in affirming the conviction of petitioner for violation of the
Bouncing Checks Law?
Held:
The trial court finds accused Francisco T. Sycip guilty beyond reasonable doubt of a violation of
Sec. 1 of the Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 and, accordingly, he is hereby sentenced ordered to pay
the offended party, FRC, as and for actual damages with interest thereon at the legal rate from
date of commencement of these actions, until full payment thereof.

Dissastied, Sycip appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals. The Appellate Court erred in
affirming the decision of the lower court finding that the accused-appellant did not have any
justifiable cause to stop or otherwise prevent the payment of the subject checks by the drawee
bank. The CA also erred that the accused-appellant did not have sufficient funds with the
drawee to cover the subject checks upon resentment for payment thereof.
However, while B.P. Blg. 22 was enacted to safeguard the interest of the banking system. It is
difficult to see how conviction of the accused in this case will protect the sanctity of the financial
system.
Given the findings of the HLURB as to incomplete features in the construction of petitioners and
other units of the subject condominium bought on installment from FRC, the Court of Appeals
held that the petitioner had a valid cause to order his bank to stop payment. Hence, it said that
offenses punished by a special law, like the Bouncing Checks Law, are not subject to the
Revised Penal Code, the Code is supplementary to such law. The petitioner, Francisco T. Sycip,
Jr., is acquitted of the charges against him under B.P. Blg. 22, for lack of sufficient evidence to
prove the offenses charged beyond reasonable doubt. No pronouncement as to costs.
Case Digest by: cbcabalza2009

People vs PO3 Fallorina


G.R. No. 137347
March 4, 2004
Facts:
At about 2:30 p.m. of September 26, 1998, Vincent Jorojoro, an eleven-year old minor and the
third child of Vicente and Felicisima Jorojoro, residing at Sitio Militar, Brgy. Bahay Toro, Project
8, Quezon City, asked permission from his mother Felicisima if he could play outside. She
agreed. Together with his playmate Whilcon Buddha Rodriguez, Vincent played with his kite on
top of the roof of an abandoned carinderia beside the road.
Beside the carinderia was a basketball court, where a fourteen-year old witness Ricardo Salvo
and his three friends, were playing basketball. Ricardo heard the familiar sound of a motorcycle
coming from the main road across the basketball court. Cognizant to Ricardo of the appellant,
PO3 Ferdinand Fallorina, a Philippine National Police (PNP) officer, detailed in the Traffic
Management Group (TMG), knew that he abhorred kids playing on the roof, since one of his
friends was previously been scolded by the appellant before.
Ricardo called on Vincent and Whilcon to come down from the roof. When PO3 Fallorina saw

them, the former stopped his motorcycle, he shouted and badmouthed at them. After hearing
the shouts of the appellant, Whilcon rushed to jump off from the roof while Vincent was lying on
his stomach on the roof flying his kite. When he heard the appellants shouts, Vincent stood up
and looked at the latter. As soon as Vincent turned his back, ready to get down from the roof,
suddenly, the appellant pointed the .45 caliber pistol towards the direction of Vincent and fired a
shot. Vincent fell from the roof, lying prostrate near the canal beside the abandoned carinderia
and the basketball court.
The appellant approached Vincent and carried the latters hapless body in a waiting tricycle and
brought him to the Quezon City General Hospital. Vincent was pronounced dead on arrival
caused by a single gunshot wound in the head.
Issues:
(a) Whether or not the appellant is exempt from criminal liability?
(b) Whether or not the appellant can offset the aggravating circumstance of taking advantage of
public position from a mitigating circumstance of his voluntary surrender?
Held:
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) cites that the basis for exemption from a criminal
liability under Article 12, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), is the complete
absence of intent and negligence on the part of the accused. For the accused to be guilty for a
felony, it must be committed either with criminal intent or with fault or negligence.
Thusly, the elements of exempting circumstances are (1) a person is performing a lawful act; (2)
with due care; (3) he causes an injury to another by mere accident; and (4) without any fault or
intention of causing it.
In the case at bar, the Court a quo erred in inequitably appreciating exculpatory and inculpatory
facts and circumstances which should have been considered in favor of the accused. The court
also failed to appreciate the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender in favor of the
accused since it was only after three days that the appellant gave himself up and surrendered
his service firearm. And lastly, the court considered the aggravating circumstance of taking
advantage of his position by the accused.
On January 19, 1999, the trial court rendered judgment convicting the appellant-accused of
murder, qualified by treachery and aggravated by abuse of public position. The trial court did not
appreciate in favor of the appellant the mitigating circumstances of voluntary surrender.
The Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 95, found the accused PO3 Ferdinand

Fallorina y Fernando GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder defined and
penalized by Article 248 of the RPC, as amended by the Republic Act No. 7659, and in view of
the presence of the aggravating circumstance of taking advantage by the accused of his public
position (par. 1, Art. 14, RPC). Hence, the accused is hereby ordered to indemnify the heirs of
late Vincent Jorojoro, Jr. the amounts of actual damages of P49,174.00 (paid for funeral
services); P50,000.00 for moral damages; P25,000.00 as exemplary damages; and P50,000.00
as death indemnity. The court a quo sentenced the appellant to suffer the Death Penalty.
Case Digest by: cbcabalza2009

People vs Jaime Jose y Gomez, et al.


G.R. No. L-28232
February 6, 1971
Facts:
On June 26, 1967, four (4) principal-accused Jaime Jose, Basilio Pineda Jr., alias Boy,
Eduardo Aquino Alias Eddie and Rogelio Caal; together with Wong Lay Pueng, Silverio
Guanzon and Jessie Guion as accomplices, conspired together, confederated with and mutually
helped one another, then and there, to willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with lewd design to
forcibly abduct Magdalena Maggie de la Riva, 25 years old and single, a movie actress by
profession at the time of the incident, where the four principal accused, by means of force and
intimidation using a deadly weapon, have carnal knowledge of the complainant against her will,
and brought her to the Swanky Hotel in Pasay City, and hence committed the crime of Forcible
Abduction with Rape.
Wherefore, the court finds that the accomplices Pueng, Guanzon and Guion, on the ground that
the prosecution has failed to establish a prima facie case against them, the Motion to Dismiss
filed for and in their behalf is hereby granted, and the case dismissed against them.
(Facts of this case are too descriptive. Id rather not include much details on the scene of the
crime to protect the complainants repute).
Issue:
(a) What kind of rape was committed?
Held:
Undoubtedly, rape is that which is punishable by the penalty reclusion perpetua to death, under
paragraph 3, Article 335, as amended by Republic Act 4111 which took effect on June 20, 1964.

Under the law, rape is committed by having canal knowledge of a woman under any of the
following circumstances: (1) by using force and intimidation; (2) when the woman is deprived of
reason and otherwise unconscious; and (3) when the woman is under twelve years of age, even
though neither of the circumstances mentioned in the two next preceding paragraphs shall be
present. The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion perpetua. Whenever the rape is
committed the use of a deadly weapon or by two or more persons, the penalty shall be reclusion
perpetua to death.
As regards, therefore, the complex crime of forcible abduction with rape, the first of the crimes
committed, and the latter is the more serious; hence, pursuant to the provision of Art 48 of the
RPC, the penalty prescribed shall be imposed in its maximum period. Consequently, the
appellants should suffer the extreme penalty of death. In this regard, there is hardly any
necessity to consider the attendance of aggravating circumstances, for the same would not alter
the nature of the penalty to be imposed.
However, said crime as attended with the following aggravating circumstances: (a) nighttime,
appellants having purposely sought such circumstance to facilitate the commission of these
crimes; (b) abuse of superior strength, the crime having been committed by the four appellants
in conspiracy with one another; (c) ignominy, since the appellants in ordering the complaint to
exhibit to them her complete nakedness for ten minutes before raping her, brought about a
circumstance which tended to make the effects of the crime more humiliating; and (d) the use of
motor vehicle.
Of the three principal-appellants (Jose, Aquino and Caal), none of them may claim aggravating
circumstances has been offset by the mitigating circumstance. Appellant Pineda should,
however, be credited with the mitigating circumstance of voluntary plea of guilty, a factor which
does not in the least affect the nature of the proper penalties to be imposed, for the reason that
there would still be three aggravating circumstances remaining.
Insofar as the car used in the commission of the crime is concerned, the order of the court a quo
for its confiscation is hereby set aside; and whoever is in custody thereof is hereby ordered to
deliver its possession to intervenor Filipinas Investment & Finance Corporation in accordance
with the judgment of the First Instance of Manila in Civil Case No. 69993 thereof.
Before the actual promulgation of the decision, the Court received a formal manifestation on the
part of the Solicitor general to the effect that Rogelio Caal, one of the herein appellants, died in
prison on December 28, 1970. As a result, the case is dismissed as to him alone, and only
insofar as his criminal liability is concerned, with one-fourth (1/4) of the costs declared de officio.
Wherefore, the judgment under review is hereby modified as follows: Jaime G. Jose, Basilio
Pineda, Jr., and Eduardo P. Aquino are pronounced GUILTY of the complex crime of forcible
abduction with rape, and each and every one of them likewise convicted of three (3) of the

crimes of rape. As a consequence thereof, each of them is hereby sentenced to four (4) death
penalties; all of them shall jointly and severally, indemnify the complainant of the sum of
P10,000.00 in each of the four crimes, or a total of 40,000.00; and each shall pay one-fourth of
the costs.
Case Digest by: cbcabalza2009

People vs Amadeo Peralta, et al.


G.R. No. L-19069
October 29, 1968
Facts:
On February 16, 1958, in the municipality of Muntinglupa, province of Rizal, two known warring
gangs inside the New Bilibid Prison as Sigue-Sigue and OXO were preparing to attend a
mass at 7 a.m. However, a fight between the two rival gangs caused a big commotion in the
plaza where the prisoners were currently assembled. The fight was quelled and those involved
where led away to the investigation while the rest of the prisoners were ordered to return to their
respective quarters.
In the investigation, it was found out that the accused, OXO members, Amadeo Peralta,
Andres Factora, Leonardo Dosal, Angel Paramog, Gervasio Larita and Florencio Luna (six
among the twenty-two defendants charged therein with multiple murder), are also convicts
confined in the said prisons by virtue of final judgments.
They conspired, confederated and mutually helped and aided each other, with evident
premeditation and treachery, all armed with deadly weapons, did, then and there, willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously killed Sigue-Sigue sympathizers Jose Carriego, Eugenio Barbosa
and Santos Cruz, also convicts confined in the same institution, by hitting, stabbing, and striking
them with ice picks, clubs and other improvised weapons, pointed and/or sharpened, thereby
inflicting upon the victims multiple serious injuries which directly caused their deaths.
Issues
(a) Whether or not there was conspiracy in the commission of the multiple murder?
(b) Whether or not an aggravating circumstance of quasi-recidivism is present in the
commission of the crime?
Held:

A conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the
commission of a felony and decide to commit it. Generally, conspiracy is not a crime unless
when the law specifically provides a penalty thereof as in treason, rebellion and sedition.
However, when in resolute execution of a common scheme, a felony is committed by two or
more malefactors, the existence of a conspiracy assumes a pivotal importance in the
determination of the liability of the perpetrators. Once an express or implied conspiracy is
proved, all of the conspirators are liable as co-principals regardless of the extent and character
of their respective active participation in the commission of the crime/s perpetrated in
furtherance of the conspiracy because in contemplation of law the act of one is the act of all.
The collective criminal liability emanates from the ensnaring nature of conspiracy. The concerted
action of the conspirators in consummating their common purpose is a patent display of their
evil partnership, and for the consequences of such criminal enterprise they must be held
solidarity liable. However, in order to hold an accused guilty as co-principal by reason of
conspiracy, it must be established that he performed an overt act in furtherance of the
conspiracy, either by actively participating in the actual commission of the crime, or by lending
moral assistance to his co-conspirators by being present at the scene of the crime, or by
exerting moral ascendancy over the rest of the conspirators as to move them to executing the
conspiracy.
Conspiracy alone, without execution of its purpose, is not a crime punishable by law, except in
special instances (Article 8, Revised Penal Code) which, do not include robbery.
Reverting now to the case at bar, the trial court correctly ruled that conspiracy attended the
commission of the murders. To wit, although there is no direct evidence of conspiracy, the court
can safely say that there are several circumstances to show that the crime committed by the
accused was planned. First, all the deceased were Tagalogs and members of sympathizers of
Sigue-Sigue gang (OXO members were from either Visayas or Mindanao), singled out and
killed thereby, showing that their killing has been planned. Second, the accused were all armed
with improvised weapons showing that they really prepared for the occasion. Third, the accused
accomplished the killing with team work precision going from one brigade to another and
attacking the same men whom they have previously marked for liquidation and lastly, almost the
same people took part in the killing of the Carriego, Barbosa and Cruz.
In view of the attendance of the special aggravating circumstances of quasi-recidivism, as all of
the six accused at the time of the commission of the offenses were serving sentences in the
New Bilibid Prison by virtue of convictions by final judgments that penalty for each offense must
be imposed in its maximum period, which is the mandate of the first paragraph of article 160 of
the RPC. Hence, severe penalty imposed on a quasi-recidivist is justified because of the
perversity and incorrigibility of the crime.
Accordingly, the judgment a quo is hereby modified as follows: Amadeo Peralta, Andres

Factora, Leonardo Dosal, Angel Paramog, Gervasio Larita and Florencio Luna are each
pronounced guilty of three separate and distinct crimes of murder, and are each sentenced to
three death penalties; all of them shall, jointly and severally, indemnify the heirs of each of the
three deceased victims in the sum of P12,000; each will pay one-sixth of the costs.
Case Digest by: cbcabalza2009

People vs Regala
G.R. No. 130508
April 5, 2000
Facts:
On the night of September 11, 1995, at Barangay Bangon in Aroroy, Masbate, then 16-year old
victim Nerissa Tagala and her grandmother, Counselo Arevalo, were sleeping, when appellant
Armando Regala and his two other companions entered the formers house.
Appellant and his companions entered the house through the kitchen and went to the room of
the victims and poked at 8-inch gun on them, one after the other, and hogtied both of them.
Armando raped Nerissa in bed while her grandmother was hogtied on the floor. Later, she saw
her grandmothers aparador being opened where two rings, two wrist watches, and money were
taken from the aparador. After raping her in bed, Nerissa saw accused-appellant counting the
money taken from the aparador. Thereafter, she was brought to the kitchen, still hogtied and
was raped again by the accused.
He was convicted in the lower court but accused-appellant appealed his criminal case at the
Regional Trial Court in Masbate. He questioned the sufficiency of the prosecutions evidence in
identifying him as one of the perpetrators of the crime charged. And based on medico-legal, Dr.
Conchita Ulanday, a health officer of Aroroy, testified herself that the complaining witness
either voluntarily submitted to a sexual act or was forced into one.
Issue:
(a) Whether additional rape committed in a crime of robbery be considered as an aggravating
circumstance?
Held:
On cross-examination, both Nerissa Tagala and Consuelo Arevalo, separately testified that they
saw the face of Regala, despite of no electricity at the commission of the crime, because he
used a flashlight and took off the mask he was wearing, and thus, they remembered him

wearing an earring of his left ear, which he was still wearing at the time of the police line-up
inside the police station.
The trial court held that contradiction referred to a minor detail, cannot detract from the fact, that
both Nerissa and Consuelo positively identified the accused-appellant. As correctly pointed out
by the appellee, the victim was a 16-year old barrio lass, not exposed to the ways of the world
and was not shown to have any ill-motive to falsely implicate accused-appellant, who was a
stranger. Hence, Dr. Ulandays testimony does not support the contention of accused-appellant
that the victim voluntarily submitted to sexual advances of Regala.
The crime of robbery with rape was committed in 1995 when RA 7659 was already in force.
Under Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code as amended, now provides, under paragraph 1
thereof: (1) The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death, when for any reason of or on occasion of
the robbery, the crime of homicide shall have been committed, or when the robbery shall have
been accompanied by rape or intentional mutilation or arson.
In this case, the additional rape committed by herein accused-appellant should not be
considered as aggravating. The penalty of reclusion perpetua imposed by the trial court is
proper. The judgment convicting Armando Regala y Abriol guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of Robbery with Rape, where the victim is entitled to an additional award of P50,000.00 as
civil indemnity.
Case Digest by: cbcabalza2009

People vs Gregorio
G.R. Nos. 109614-15
March 29, 1996
Facts:
On the eve of May 7, 1986, Carlos Catorse together with his 15-year old son Romeo Catorse,
arrived at the two-storey house of appellant Adronico Gregorio, at Sitio Bug-as, Brgy. Sta. Cruz
in Murcia, Negros Occidental, to attend the wake of the latters grandson.
When Carlos and his son arrived, there were already people attending the wake. Downstairs,
Adronico Gregorio, et. al. were conversing, while upstairs, Tunggak (son of Adronico), Ricardo
Gregorio (brother of Adronico), et. al. were playing pusoy (Russian poker).
Persons attending the wake were requested by appellant Adronico to deposit with him any
weapon in their possession for safekeeping to avoid any trouble. Complying therewith, Carlos
handed over his samurai while John Villarosa and Remolito Calalas, surrendered their knives,

to Adronico.
However, around 1:00 a.m. of May 8, 1986, while playing the Russian poker, appellant Ricardo
Gregorio in a very loud voice, reprimanded Tunggak from peeping at the cards of other
players, but the son of Adronico, shouted also in a very loud voice and wanted the game be
stopped. When his father overheard it, he summoned his son and boxed him several times.
In order to pacify the father and son from further aggravation, Carlos Catorse intervened and
begged Adronico to stop hurting his son and not to put him into shame before the crowd. When
suddenly, co-appellant Ricardo stealthily stabbed Carlos from behind using the latters own
samurai and thereafter hacked and stabbed him several times more in different parts of his
body. Right after the deceased fell to the ground, Adronico for his part, repeatedly hacked the
victim with bolo.
Romeo Catorse, son of the deceased, terrified of what he saw and ran out of the house. Later,
when Romeo returned to the house of Adronico Gregorio, he was joined by his sister and
younger brothers, together they found their father lying prostrate and dead. When the police
authorities arrived to the scene of the crime, to investigate, the appellants already fled to
another Sitio, but authorities pursued and succeeded in apprehending them.
Upon arraignment, both accused entered separate pleas of not guilty for murdering Carlos
Catorse. Hence, another criminal case was instituted against Adronico Gregorio for the murder
of Marcelo Lo.
Issue:
(a) Whether or not appellants can invoke self-defense in their criminal liabilities?
Held:
Appellant Adronico Gregorio interposed self-defense to exculpate himself from criminal liability,
however, the trial court skeptic of the said plea, rejected the same. The futility of invoking selfdefense is likewise revealed in the testimonies of accused Ricardo Gregorio and co-appellant
brother. Ricardos testimony affirmed that it was Carlos Catorse who aggravated them initially,
supported by Adronicos claim, that the deceased first attacked his son and brother. The court
held that not only are the foregoing declarations incredible and incredulous but are innately false
and fatuous.
It is axiomatic that for self-defense to prosper, the following requisites must concur: (1) there
must be unlawful aggression by the victim; (2) that the means employed to prevent or repel
such aggression were reasonable; and (3) that there was luck of sufficient provocation on the
part of the person defending himself.

The trial court agree that such aggravating circumstance of treachery (alevosia) may be
appreciated against the appellants. Treachery exist when an offender commits any of the crimes
against persons, employing means, methods or forms in the execution thereof which tend to
directly and specially ensure its execution, without risks to himself arising from the defense
which the offended party might make.
Hence, before the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) could file its Appellees Brief, appellant
Ricardo Gregorio died on December 12, 1993. Consequently, his criminal liability as well as his
civil liability based solely thereon is extinguished. However, Adronico Gregorio is to suffer the
penalty of reclusion perpetua and to indemnify the heirs of Carlos Catorse and Marcelo Lo the
sum of P50,000 each, the judgment appealed from is hereby affirmed in all respects. As
aforestated, the death of Ricardo Gregorio extinguished both his criminal and civil liability arising
from said crime.
Case Digest by: cbcabalza2009

People vs Ong
G.R. No. 137348
June 21, 2004
Facts:
Based on prosecution through the testimony of SPO1 Rodolfo S. Gonzales, in the afternoon of
July 23, 1998, a confidential informant (CI) of the Special Operations Division (SOD), PNP
Narcotics Group, reported to Chief Inspector Albert Ignatius D. Ferro about the alleged illicit
drug activities of accused William Ong and Ching De Ming @ Robert Tiu. As per order of Chief
Inspector Ferro, a team of eight decided to conduct a buy-bust operation. Once, CI confirmed
the meeting time and venue with the drug dealer, and exchanges of gift-wrapped packages
rendered of one (1) sealed plastic bag with a white crystalline substance by the accused Ong
and boodle money placed in a W. Brown plastic bag by SPO1 Gonzales, thereafter, the latter
arrested Ong while the CI and the back-up agents arrested co-accused De Ming.
The two (2) accused were brought to the police office where the corresponding booking sheets
and arrest report were prepared. The plastic bag containing the illegal drug substance, was
referred to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory for examination, positive for
methyl amphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, a regulated drug.
However, the appellants denied the story of the prosecution. Accused William Ong, a Chinese
citizen from the Peoples Republic of China (PRC), claimed that he came to the Philippines in
1997 to look for a job. Initially, he worked in a pancit factory in Quezon City, but later hunted for

another job, was referred by his friend Kian Ling to Ong Sin for a possible job as a technician in
a bihon factory owned by Sin. Subsequently, without any knowledge of his new job, William Ong
was later taken to the police station and there he met the other accused Ching De Ming for the
first time. He maintained innocence to the crime charged.
On his part, accused Ching De Ming testified that he is a legitimate businessman engaged in
the RTW business. On that same date of the commission of the crime, while waiting for his
girlfriend and her mother, whose mother Avenlina Cardoz, testified in De Mings favor and
corroborated with his story, that he was approached by persons unknown to him. He was
misidentified as one of the accused and dragged him out of his car and brought to the other car,
took his clutch bag, then after a few hours, at Camp Crame, they removed his blindfold. He
denied knowing Ong and the charge of conspiring with him to deliver shabu in New Manila,
Quezon City.
On November 18, 1998 the trial court convicted appellants as charged and imposed on them
the penalty of death. It likewise ordered each of them to pay a fine of P1 million pesos.
However, the case was on automatic review. Appellants insist on their innocence. They claim
that their guilt was not proven beyond reasonable doubt.
Issue:
(a) Whether or not the arraignment of appellants violates Rule 116, Section (a) of the Revised
Rules of Criminal Procedure?
Held:
The aforementioned provision on Arraignment and Plea provides that (a) The accused must be
arraigned before the court where the complaint or information was filed or assigned for trial. The
arraignment shall be made in open court by the judge of clerk by furnishing the accused with a
copy of the complaint or information, reading the same in the language or dialect known to him,
and asking him whether he pleads guilty or not guilty. The prosecution may call at the trial
witnesses other than those named in the complaint or information.
The trial court held that the arraignment of appellants violated the above rule. Appellants are
Chinese nationals. Their Certificate of Arraignment states that they were informed of the
accusations against them. It does not, however, indicate whether the information was read in
the language or dialect known to them.
Both accused Ong and De Ming were arraigned, assisted by counsel de parte, and both entered
a plea of not guilty. From the records, it was clear that appellants only knew the Chinese
language, however the appellants were arraigned on an information written in the English
language. The requirement that the information should be read in a language or dialect known

to the accused is mandatory. It must be strictly complied with as it is intended to protect the
constitutional right of the accused to be informed of the nature and cause the of the accusation
against him. The constitutional protection is part of due process. Failure to observe the rules
necessarily nullifies the arraignment. After the arraignment and in the course of the trial, the
lower court had to secure the services of a certain Richard Ng Lee as Chinese interpreter.
Hence, it is abundantly clear that it was the CI who made the initial contact, and he was likewise
the one who closed the deal with accused William Ong, and set the venue and time of the
meeting. Since only the CI had personal knowledge of the offer to purchase shabu, the court
held that SPO1 Gonzales is, in effect, not the poseur-buyer but merely the deliveryman. His
testimony therefore on material points of the sale of shabu is hearsay and standing alone
cannot be the basis of the conviction of the appellants.
The buy-bust operation is a form of entrapment, which in recent years has been accepted as a
valid means of arresting violators of the Dangerous Drugs Law. However, to determine whether
there was valid entrapment or whether proper procedures were undertaken by the police
officers, in effecting the buy-bust operation, it is incumbent upon the courts to make sure that
the details of the operation are clearly and adequately laid out through relevant, material and
competent evidence.
In the case at bar, the prosecution evidence about the buy-bust operation is incomplete. The
confidential information who had sole knowledge of how the alleged illegal sale of shabu started
and how it was perfected was not presented as a witness. His testimony was given instead by
SPO1 Gonzales who had no personal knowledge of the same and not part of the buy-bust
operation.
Although, the court is sharply aware of the compelling considerations why confidential
informants are usually not presented by the prosecution. Likewise, once the identity of the
informer has been disclosed to those who would have cause to resent the communication, the
privilege is no longer applicable.
In sum, there is no fixed rule with respect to disclosure of the identity of an informer. The
problem has to be resolved on a case to case basis and calls for balancing the state interest in
protecting the people from crimes against the individuals right to prepare his defense. The
balance must be adjusted by giving due weight to the following factors, among others: (1) the
crime charged, (2) the possible defenses, (3) the possible significance of the informers
testimony, and (4) other relevant factors.
In the present case, the crime charged against the appellants is capital in character and can
result in the imposition of the death penalty. The prosecution has to prove all the material
elements of the alleged sale of shabu and the resulting buy-bust operation. Where the testimony
of the informer is indispensable. It should be disclosed. The liberty and the life of a person enjoy

high importance in our scale of values. It cannot be diminished except by a value of higher
significance. Moreover, the mishandling and transfer of custody of the alleged confiscated
methyl amphetamine hydrochloride further shattered the case of the prosecution. There is no
crime of illegal sale of regulated drug when there is a nagging doubt on whether the substance
confiscated was the same specimen examined and established to be regulated drug.
The court decided to reverse and set aside its former decision. Appellants Ong and De Ming @
Tiu are acquitted of the crime of the violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as amended,
and are ordered immediately released from custody unless held for some other lawful cause.
Case Digest by: cbcabalza2009