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G.R. No. L-63277. November 29, 1983.

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PETRA VDA. DE BORROMEO, Petitioner, v. HON. JULIAN B. POGOY, Municipality/City
Trial Court of Cebu City, and ATTY. RICARDO REYES, Respondents.

Petitioner herein seeks to stop respondent Judge Julian B. Pogoy of the Municipal Trial Court of Cebu
City from taking cognizance of an ejectment suit for failure of the plaintiff to refer the dispute to the
Barangay Lupon for conciliation.
The intestate estate of the late Vito Borromeo is the owner of a building bearing the deceaseds name,
located at F. Ramos St., Cebu City. Said building has been leased and occupied by petitioner Petra
Vda. de Borromeo at a monthly rental of P500.00 payable in advance within the first five days of the
month.
On August 28, 1982, private respondent Atty. Ricardo Reyes, administrator of the estate and a
resident of Cebu City, served upon petitioner a letter demanding that she pay the overdue rentals
corresponding to the period from March to September 1982, and thereafter to vacate the premises. As
petitioner failed to do so, Atty. Reyes instituted on September 16, 1982 an ejectment case against the
former in the Municipal Trial Court of Cebu City. The complaint was docketed as Civil Case No. R23915 and assigned to the sala of respondent judge.
On November 12, 1982, petitioner moved to dismiss the case, advancing, among others, the want of
jurisdiction of the trial court. Pointing out that the parties are residents of the same city, as alleged in
the complaint, petitioner contended that the court could not exercise jurisdiction over the case for
failure of respondent Atty. Reyes to refer the dispute to the Barangay Court, as required by PD No.
1508, otherwise known as Katarungang Pambarangay Law.
Respondent judge denied the motion to dismiss. He justified the order in this wise:
"The Clerk of Court when this case was filed accepted for filing same. That from the acceptance from
(sic) filing, with the plaintiff having paid the docket fee to show that the case was docketed in the civil
division of this court could be considered as meeting the requirement or precondition for were it not so,
the Clerk of Court would not have accepted the filing of the case especially that there is a standing
circular from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court without even mentioning the Letter of Instruction
of the President of the Philippines that civil cases and criminal cases with certain exceptions must not
be filed without passing the barangay court." (Order dated December 14, 1982, Annex "c", P. 13,
Rollo).
Unable to secure a reconsideration of said order, petitioner came to this Court through this petition
for certiorari. In both his comment and memorandum, private respondent admitted not having availed
himself of the barangay conciliation process, but justified such omission by citing paragraph 4, section
6 of PD 1508 which allows the direct filing of an action in court where the same may otherwise be
barred by the Statute of Limitations, as applying to the case at bar.

case before the proper court should conciliation efforts fail. Thus, it cannot be truthfully asserted, as
private respondent would want Us to believe, that his case would be barred by the Statute of
Limitations if he had to course his action to the Barangay Lupon.
With certain exceptions, PD 1508 makes the conciliation process at the Barangay level a condition
precedent for filing of actions in those instances where said law applies. For this reason, Circular No.
22 addressed to "ALL JUDGES OF THE COURTS OF FIRST INSTANCE, CIRCUIT CRIMINAL
COURTS, JUVENILE AND DOMESTIC RELATIONS COURT, COURTS OF AGRARIAN RELATIONS,
CITY COURTS, MUNICIPAL COURTS AND THEIR CLERKS OF COURT" was issued by Chief
Justice Enrique M. Fernando on November 9, 1979. Said Circular reads:
"Effective upon your receipt of the certification by the Minister of Local Government and Community
Development that all the barangays within your respective jurisdictions have organized their Lupons
provided for in Presidential Decree No. 1508, otherwise known as the Katarungang Pambarangay
Law, in implementation of the barangay system of settlement of disputes, you are hereby directed to
desist from receiving complaints, petitions, actions or proceedings in cases falling within the authority
of said Lupons."
While respondent acknowledged said Circular in his order of December 14, 1982, he nevertheless
chose to overlook the failure of the complaint in Civil Case No. R-23915 to allege compliance with the
requirement of PD 1508. Neither did he cite any circumstance as would place the suit outside the
operation of said law. Instead, he insisted on relying upon the pro tanto presumption of regularity in the
performance by the clerk of court of his official duty, which to Our mind has been sufficiently overcome
by the disclosure by the Clerk of Court that there was no certification to file action from the Lupon or
Pangkat secretary attached to the complaint. 4
Be that as it may, the instant petition should be dismissed. Under Section 4(a) of PD No. 1508, referral
of a dispute to the Barangay Lupon is required only where the parties thereto are "individuals." An
"individual" means "a single human being as contrasted with a social group or institution." 5 Obviously,
the law applies only to cases involving natural persons, and not where any of the parties is a juridical
person such as a corporation, partnership, corporation sole, testate or intestate, estate, etc.
In Civil Case No. R-23915, plaintiff Ricardo Reyes is a mere nominal party who is suing in behalf of
the Intestate Estate of Vito Borromeo. While it is true that Section 3, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court
allows the administrator of an estate to sue or be sued without joining the party for whose benefit the
action is presented or defended, it is indisputable that the real party in interest in Civil Case No. R23915 is the intestate estate under administration. Since the said estate is a juridical person 6 plaintiff
administrator may file the complaint directly in court, without the same being coursed to the Barangay
Lupon for arbitration.
ACCORDINGLY, the petition is hereby dismissed. Respondent judge is ordered to try and decide Civil
Case No. R-23915 without unnecessary delay. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

The excuse advanced by private respondent is unsatisfactory. Under Article 1147 of the Civil Code, the
period for filing actions for forcible entry and detainer is one year, 1 and this period is counted from
demand to vacate the premises. 2
In the case at bar, the letter-demand was dated August 28, 1982, while the complaint for ejectment
was filed in court on September 16, 1982. Between these two dates, less than a month had elapsed,
thereby leaving at least eleven (11) full months of the prescriptive period provided for in Article 1147 of
the Civil Code. Under the procedure outlined in Section 4 of PD 1508, 3 the time needed for the
conciliation proceeding before the Barangay Chairman and the Pangkat should take no more than 60
days. Giving private respondent nine (9) months ample time indeed within which to bring his

[G.R. NO. 169129 : March 28, 2007]


SPS. VIRGILIO F. SANTOS & ESPERANZA LATI SANTOS, SPS.VICTORINO F. SANTOS, &
LAGRIMAS SANTOS, ERNESTO F. SANTOS, and TADEO F. SANTOS, Petitioners, v. SPS.
JOSE LUMBAO and PROSERFINA LUMBAO, Respondents.
Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Revised Rules
of Civil Procedure seeking to annul and set aside the Decision1 and Resolution2 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 60450 entitled, Spouses Jose Lumbao and Proserfina Lumbao v.
Spouses Virgilio F. Santos and Esperanza Lati, Spouses Victorino F. Santos and Lagrimas F.
Santos, Ernesto F. Santos and Tadeo F. Santos, dated 8 June 2005 and 29 July 2005,
respectively, which granted the appeal filed by herein respondents Spouses Jose Lumbao and
Proserfina Lumbao (Spouses Lumbao) and ordered herein petitioners Spouses Virgilio F. Santos
and Esperanza Lati, Spouses Victorino F. Santos and Lagrimas F. Santos, Ernesto F. Santos and
Tadeo F. Santos to reconvey to respondents Spouses Lumbao the subject property and to pay
the latter attorney's fees and litigation expenses, thus, reversing the Decision3 of the Regional
Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig City, dated 17 June 1998 which dismissed the Complaint for
Reconveyance with Damages filed by respondents Spouses Lumbao for lack of merit.
Herein petitioners Virgilio, Victorino, Ernesto and Tadeo, all surnamed Santos, are the legitimate
and surviving heirs of the late Rita Catoc Santos (Rita), who died on 20 October 1985. The other
petitioners Esperanza Lati and Lagrimas Santos are the daughters-in-law of Rita.
Herein respondents Spouses Jose Lumbao and Proserfina Lumbao are the alleged owners of
the 107-square meter lot (subject property), which they purportedly bought from Rita during her
lifetime.
The facts of the present case are as follows:
On two separate occasions during her lifetime, Rita sold to respondents Spouses Lumbao the
subject property which is a part of her share in the estate of her deceased mother, Maria Catoc
(Maria), who died intestate on 19 September 1978. On the first occasion, Rita sold 100 square
meters of her inchoate share in her mother's estate through a document denominated as "Bilihan
ng Lupa," dated 17 August 1979.4 Respondents Spouses Lumbao claimed the execution of the
aforesaid document was witnessed by petitioners Virgilio and Tadeo, as shown by their
signatures affixed therein. On the second occasion, an additional seven square meters was
added to the land as evidenced by a document also denominated as "Bilihan ng Lupa," dated 9
January 1981.5
After acquiring the subject property, respondents Spouses Lumbao took actual possession
thereof and erected thereon a house which they have been occupying as exclusive owners up to
the present. As the exclusive owners of the subject property, respondents Spouses Lumbao
made several verbal demands upon Rita, during her lifetime, and thereafter upon herein
petitioners, for them to execute the necessary documents to effect the issuance of a separate
title in favor of respondents Spouses Lumbao insofar as the subject property is concerned.
Respondents Spouses Lumbao alleged that prior to her death, Rita informed respondent
Proserfina Lumbao she could not deliver the title to the subject property because the entire
property inherited by her and her co-heirs from Maria had not yet been partitioned.

On 2 May 1986, the Spouses Lumbao claimed that petitioners, acting fraudulently and in
conspiracy with one another, executed a Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement, 6 adjudicating and
partitioning among themselves and the other heirs, the estate left by Maria, which included the
subject property already sold to respondents Spouses Lumbao and now covered by TCT No.
817297 of the Registry of Deeds of Pasig City.
On 15 June 1992, respondents Spouses Lumbao, through counsel, sent a formal demand
letter8 to petitioners but despite receipt of such demand letter, petitioners still failed and refused
to reconvey the subject property to the respondents Spouses Lumbao. Consequently, the latter
filed a Complaint for Reconveyance with Damages9 before the RTC of Pasig City.
Petitioners filed their Answer denying the allegations that the subject property had been sold to
the respondents Spouses Lumbao. They likewise denied that the Deed of Extrajudicial
Settlement had been fraudulently executed because the same was duly published as required by
law. On the contrary, they prayed for the dismissal of the Complaint for lack of cause of action
because respondents Spouses Lumbao failed to comply with the Revised Katarungang
Pambarangay Law under Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government
Code of 1991, which repealed Presidential Decree No. 150810 requiring first resort to barangay
conciliation.
Respondents Spouses Lumbao, with leave of court, amended their Complaint because they
discovered that on 16 February 1990, without their knowledge, petitioners executed a Deed of
Real Estate Mortgage in favor of Julieta S. Esplana for the sum of P30,000.00. The said Deed of
Real Estate Mortgage was annotated at the back of TCT No. PT-81729 on 26 April 1991. Also, in
answer to the allegation of the petitioners that they failed to comply with the mandate of the
Revised Katarungang Pambarangay Law, respondents Spouses Lumbao said that the Complaint
was filed directly in court in order that prescription or the Statute of Limitations may not set in.
During the trial, respondents Spouses Lumbao presented Proserfina Lumbao and Carolina
Morales as their witnesses, while the petitioners presented only the testimony of petitioner
Virgilio.
The trial court rendered a Decision on 17 June 1998, the dispositive portion of which reads as
follows:
Premises considered, the instant complaint is hereby denied for lack of merit.
Considering that petitioners have incurred expenses in order to protect their interest,
respondents spouses Lumbao are hereby directed to pay [petitioners], to wit: 1) the amount
of P30,000.00 as attorney's fees and litigation expenses, and 2) costs of the suit.11
Aggrieved, respondents Spouses Lumbao appealed to the Court of Appeals. On 8 June 2005,
the appellate court rendered a Decision, thus:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the present appeal is hereby GRANTED. The appealed
Decision dated June 17, 1998 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 69 in Civil Case
No. 62175 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. A new judgment is hereby entered ordering
[petitioners] to reconvey 107 square meters of the subject [property] covered by TCT No. PT81729 of the Registry of Deeds of Pasig City, Metro Manila, and to pay to [respondents spouses
Lumbao] the sum ofP30,000.00 for attorney's fees and litigation expenses.

No pronouncement as to costs.12
Dissatisfied, petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the aforesaid Decision but it was
denied in the Resolution of the appellate court dated 29 July 2005 for lack of merit.
Hence, this Petition.
The grounds relied upon by the petitioners are the following:
I. THE APPELLATE COURT COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR IN REVERSING THE
DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT, THEREBY CREATING A VARIANCE ON THE FINDINGS
OF FACTS OF TWO COURTS.
II. THE APPELLATE COURT COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR IN ORDERING THE
PETITIONERS TO RECONVEY THE SUBJECT [PROPERTY] TO THE RESPONDENTS
[SPOUSES LUMBAO] AND IN NOT RULING THAT THEY ARE GUILTY OF LACHES, HENCE
THEY CANNOT RECOVER THE LOT ALLEGEDLY SOLD TO THEM.
III. THE APPELLATE COURT COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR IN NOT FINDING HEREIN
PETITIONER[S] TO BE IN GOOD FAITH IN EXECUTING THE "DEED OF EXTRAJUDICIAL
SETTLEMENT" DATED [2 MAY 1986].
IV. THE APPELLATE COURT COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR IN NOT FINDING THAT
PETITIONERS ARE NOT LEGALLY BOUND TO COMPLY WITH THE SUPPOSED BILIHAN NG
LUPA DATED [17 AUGUST 1979] AND [9 JANUARY 1981] THAT WERE SUPPOSEDLY
EXECUTED BY THE LATE RITA CATOC.
V. THE APPELLATE COURT COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR IN NOT FINDING THAT
RESPONDENTS [SPOUSES LUMBAO'S] ACTION FOR RECONVEYANCE WITH DAMAGES
CANNOT BE SUPPORTED WITH AN UNENFORCEABLE DOCUMENTS, SUCH AS THE
BILIHAN NG LUPA DATED [17 AUGUST 1979] AND [9 JANUARY 1981].
VI. THE APPELLATE COURT COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR IN NOT FINDING THAT
RESPONDENTS [SPOUSES LUMBAO'S] COMPLAINT FOR RECONVEYANCE IS
DISMISSABLE (SIC) FOR NON COMPLIANCE OF THE MANDATE OF [P.D. NO.] 1508, AS
AMENDED BY Republic Act No. 7160.
VII. THE APPELLATE COURT COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR IN NOT FINDING THAT
RESPONDENTS [SPOUSES LUMBAO] SHOULD BE HELD LIABLE FOR PETITIONERS'
CLAIM FOR DAMAGES AND ATTORNEY[']S FEES.
Petitioners ask this Court to scrutinize the evidence presented in this case, because they claim
that the factual findings of the trial court and the appellate court are conflicting. They allege that
the findings of fact by the trial court revealed that petitioners Virgilio and Tadeo did not witness
the execution of the documents known as "Bilihan ng Lupa"; hence, this finding runs counter to
the conclusion made by the appellate court. And even assuming that they were witnesses to the
aforesaid documents, still, respondents Spouses Lumbao were not entitled to the reconveyance
of the subject property because they were guilty of laches for their failure to assert their rights for
an unreasonable length of time. Since respondents Spouses Lumbao had slept on their rights for

a period of more than 12 years reckoned from the date of execution of the second "Bilihan ng
Lupa," it would be unjust and unfair to the petitioners if the respondents will be allowed to
recover the subject property.
Petitioners allege they are in good faith in executing the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement
because even respondents Spouses Lumbao's witness, Carolina Morales, testified that neither
petitioner Virgilio nor petitioner Tadeo was present during the execution of the "Bilihan ng Lupa,"
dated 17 August 1979 and 9 January 1981. Petitioners affirm that the Deed of Extrajudicial
Settlement was published in a newspaper of general circulation to give notice to all creditors of
the estate subject of partition to contest the same within the period prescribed by law. Since no
claimant appeared to interpose a claim within the period allowed by law, a title to the subject
property was then issued in favor of the petitioners; hence, they are considered as holders in
good faith and therefore cannot be barred from entering into any subsequent transactions
involving the subject property.
Petitioners also contend that they are not bound by the documents denominated as "Bilihan ng
Lupa" because the same were null and void for the following reasons: 1) for being falsified
documents because one of those documents made it appear that petitioners Virgilio and Tadeo
were witnesses to its execution and that they appeared personally before the notary public,
when in truth and in fact they did not; 2) the identities of the properties in the "Bilihan ng Lupa,"
dated 17 August 1979 and 9 January 1981 in relation to the subject property in litigation were not
established by the evidence presented by the respondents Spouses Lumbao; 3) the right of the
respondents Spouses Lumbao to lay their claim over the subject property had already been
barred through estoppel by laches; and 4) the respondents Spouses Lumbao's claim over the
subject property had already prescribed.
Finally, petitioners claim that the Complaint for Reconveyance with Damages filed by
respondents Spouses Lumbao was dismissible because they failed to comply with the mandate
of Presidential Decree No. 1508, as amended by Republic Act No. 7160, particularly Section 412
of Republic Act No. 7160.
Given the foregoing, the issues presented by the petitioners may be restated as follows:
I. Whether or not the Complaint for Reconveyance with Damages filed by respondents spouses
Lumbao is dismissible for their failure to comply with the mandate of the Revised Katarungang
Pambarangay Law under R.A. No. 7160.
II. Whether or not the documents known as "Bilihan ng Lupa" are valid and enforceable, thus,
they can be the bases of the respondents spouses Lumbao's action for reconveyance with
damages.
III. Whether or not herein petitioners are legally bound to comply with the "Bilihan ng Lupa" dated
17 August 1979 and 9 January 1981 and consequently, reconvey the subject property to herein
respondents spouses Lumbao.
It is well-settled that in the exercise of the Supreme Court's power of review, the court is not a
trier of facts and does not normally undertake the re-examination of the evidence presented by
the contending parties during the trial of the case considering that the findings of fact of the
Court of Appeals are conclusive and binding on the Court.13 But, the rule is not without
exceptions. There are several recognized exceptions14 in which factual issues may be resolved

by this Court. One of these exceptions is when the findings of the appellate court are contrary to
those of the trial court. This exception is present in the case at bar.

been established by the evidence of the respondents Spouses Lumbao. Petitioners also claim
that the enforceability of those documents is barred by prescription of action and laches.

Going to the first issue presented in this case, it is the argument of the petitioners that the
Complaint for Reconveyance with Damages filed by respondents Spouses Lumbao should be
dismissed for failure to comply with the barangay conciliation proceedings as mandated by the
Revised Katarungang Pambarangay Law under Republic Act No. 7160. This argument cannot be
sustained.

It is the petitioners' incessant barking that the "Bilihan ng Lupa" documents dated 17 August
1979 and 9 January 1981 were falsified because it was made to appear that petitioners Virgilio
and Tadeo were present in the executions thereof, and their allegation that even respondents
Spouses Lumbao's witness Carolina Morales proved that said petitioners were not present
during the execution of the aforementioned documents. This is specious.

Section 408 of the aforesaid law and Administrative Circular No. 14-9315 provide that all disputes
between parties actually residing in the same city or municipality are subject to barangay
conciliation. A prior recourse thereto is a pre-condition before filing a complaint in court or any
government offices. Non-compliance with the said condition precedent could affect the
sufficiency of the plaintiff's cause of action and make his complaint vulnerable to dismissal on
ground of lack of cause of action or prematurity; but the same would not prevent a court of
competent jurisdiction from exercising its power of adjudication over the case before it, where
the defendants failed to object to such exercise of jurisdiction.16

Upon examination of the aforesaid documents, this Court finds that in the "Bilihan ng Lupa,"
dated 17 August 1979, the signatures of petitioners Virgilio and Tadeo appeared thereon.
Moreover, in petitioners' Answer and Amended Answer to the Complaint for Reconveyance with
Damages, both petitioners Virgilio and Tadeo made an admission that indeed they acted as
witnesses in the execution of the "Bilihan ng Lupa," dated 17 August 1979.19 However, in order to
avoid their obligations in the said "Bilihan ng Lupa," petitioner Virgilio, in his cross-examination,
denied having knowledge of the sale transaction and claimed that he could not remember the
same as well as his appearance before the notary public due to the length of time that had
passed. Noticeably, petitioner Virgilio did not categorically deny having signed the "Bilihan ng
Lupa," dated 17 August 1979 and in support thereof, his testimony in the cross-examination
propounded by the counsel of the respondents Spouses Lumbao is quoted hereunder:

While it is true that the present case should first be referred to the Barangay Lupon for
conciliation because the parties involved herein actually reside in the same city (Pasig City) and
the dispute between them involves a real property, hence, the said dispute should have been
brought in the city in which the real property, subject matter of the controversy, is located, which
happens to be the same city where the contending parties reside. In the event that respondents
Spouses Lumbao failed to comply with the said condition precedent, their Complaint for
Reconveyance with Damages can be dismissed. In this case, however, respondents Spouses
Lumbao's non-compliance with the aforesaid condition precedent cannot be considered fatal.
Although petitioners alleged in their answer that the Complaint for Reconveyance with Damages
filed by respondents spouses Lumbao should be dismissed for their failure to comply with the
condition precedent, which in effect, made the complaint prematurely instituted and the trial court
acquired no jurisdiction to hear the case, yet, they did not file a Motion to Dismiss the said
complaint.
Emphasis must be given to the fact that the petitioners could have prevented the trial court from
exercising jurisdiction over the case had they filed a Motion to Dismiss. However, instead of
doing so, they invoked the very same jurisdiction by filing an answer seeking an affirmative relief
from it. Worse, petitioners actively participated in the trial of the case by presenting their own
witness and by cross-examining the witnesses presented by the respondents Spouses Lumbao.
It is elementary that the active participation of a party in a case pending against him before a
court is tantamount to recognition of that court's jurisdiction and a willingness to abide by the
resolution of the case which will bar said party from later on impugning the court's jurisdiction. 17 It
is also well-settled that the non-referral of a case for barangay conciliation when so required
under the law is not jurisdictional in nature and may therefore be deemed waived if not raised
seasonably in a motion to dismiss.18Hence, herein petitioners can no longer raise the defense of
non-compliance with the barangay conciliation proceedings to seek the dismissal of the
complaint filed by the respondents Spouses Lumbao, because they already waived the said
defense when they failed to file a Motion to Dismiss.
As regards the second issue, petitioners maintain that the "Bilihan ng Lupa," dated 17 August
1979 and 9 January 1981 are null and void for being falsified documents as it is made to appear
that petitioners Virgilio and Tadeo were present in the execution of the said documents and that
the identities of the properties in those documents in relation to the subject property has not

ATTY. CHIU:Q. Now, you said, Mr. Witness'Virgilio Santos, that you don't know about this
document which was marked as Exhibit "A" for the [respondents spouses Lumbao]?
ATTY. BUGARING:The question is misleading, your Honor. Counsel premised the question that
he does not have any knowledge but not that he does not know.
ATTY. CHIU:Q. Being' you are one of the witnesses of this document? [I]s it not?
WITNESS:A. No, sir.
Q. I am showing to you this document, there is a signature at the left hand margin of this
document Virgilio Santos, will you please go over the same and tell the court whose signature is
this?
A. I don't remember, sir, because of the length of time that had passed.
Q. But that is your signature?
A. I don't have eyeglasses' My signature is different.
Q. You never appeared before this notary public Apolinario Mangahas?
A. I don't remember.

As a general rule, facts alleged in a party's pleading are deemed admissions of that party and
are binding upon him, but this is not an absolute and inflexible rule. An answer is a mere
statement of fact which the party filing it expects to prove, but it is not evidence.21 And in spite of
the presence of judicial admissions in a party's pleading, the trial court is still given leeway to
consider other evidence presented.22 However, in the case at bar, as the Court of Appeals
mentioned in its Decision, "[herein petitioners] had not adduced any other evidence to override
the admission made in their [A]nswer that [petitioners Virgilio and Tadeo] actually signed the
[Bilihan ng Lupa dated 17 August 1979] except that they were just misled as to the purpose of
the document, x x x."23 Virgilio's answers were unsure and quibbled. Hence, the general rule that
the admissions made by a party in a pleading are binding and conclusive upon him applies in
this case.
On the testimony of respondents Spouses Lumbao's witness Carolina Morales, this Court adopts
the findings made by the appellate court. Thus -

[T]he trial court gave singular focus on her reply to a question during cross-examination if the
[petitioners Virgilio and Tadeo] were not with her and the vendor [Rita] during the transaction. It
must be pointed out that earlier in the direct examination of said witness, she confirmed that
[respondents spouses Lumbao] actually bought the lot from [Rita] ("nagkabilihan"). Said witness
positively identified and confirmed the two (2) documents evidencing the sale in favor of
[respondents spouse Lumbao]. Thus, her subsequent statement that the [petitioners Virgilio and
Tadeo] were not with them during the transaction does not automatically imply that [petitioners
Virgilio and Tadeo] did not at any time sign as witnesses as to the deed of sale attesting to their
mother's voluntary act of selling a portion of her share in her deceased mother's property. The
rule is that testimony of a witness must be considered and calibrated in its entirety and not by
truncated portions thereof or isolated passages therein.24
Furthermore, both "Bilihan ng Lupa" documents dated 17 August 1979 and 9 January 1981 were
duly notarized before a notary public. It is well-settled that a document acknowledged before a
notary public is a public document25 that enjoys the presumption of regularity. It is a prima
facie evidence of the truth of the facts stated therein and a conclusive presumption of its
existence and due execution.26 To overcome this presumption, there must be presented
evidence that is clear and convincing. Absent such evidence, the presumption must be
upheld.27 In addition, one who denies the due execution of a deed where one's signature
appears has the burden of proving that contrary to the recital in the jurat, one never appeared
before the notary public and acknowledged the deed to be a voluntary act. Nonetheless, in the
present case petitioners' denials without clear and convincing evidence to support their claim of
fraud and falsity were not sufficient to overthrow the above-mentioned presumption; hence, the
authenticity, due execution and the truth of the facts stated in the aforesaid "Bilihan ng Lupa" are
upheld.
The defense of petitioners that the identities of the properties described in the "Bilihan ng Lupa,"
dated 17 August 1979 and 9 January 1981 in relation to the subject property were not
established by respondents Spouses Lumbao's evidence is likewise not acceptable.
It is noteworthy that at the time of the execution of the documents denominated as "Bilihan ng
Lupa," the entire property owned by Maria, the mother of Rita, was not yet divided among her
and her co-heirs and so the description of the entire estate is the only description that can be
placed in the "Bilihan ng Lupa, dated 17 August 1979 and 9 January 1981" because the exact
metes and bounds of the subject property sold to respondents Spouses Lumbao could not be
possibly determined at that time. Nevertheless, that does not make the contract of sale between
Rita and respondents Spouses Lumbao invalid because both the law and jurisprudence have
categorically held that even while an estate remains undivided, co-owners have each full
ownership of their respective aliquots or undivided shares and may therefore alienate, assign or
mortgage them.28 The co-owner, however, has no right to sell or alienate a specific or
determinate part of the thing owned in common, because such right over the thing is represented
by an aliquot or ideal portion without any physical division. In any case, the mere fact that the
deed purports to transfer a concrete portion does not per se render the sale void. The sale is
valid, but only with respect to the aliquot share of the selling co-owner. Furthermore, the sale is
subject to the results of the partition upon the termination of the co-ownership.29
In the case at bar, when the estate left by Maria had been partitioned on 2 May 1986 by virtue of
a Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement, the 107 - square meter lot sold by the mother of the
petitioners to respondents Spouses Lumbao should be deducted from the total lot, inherited by
them in representation of their deceased mother, which in this case measures 467 square
meters. The 107-square meter lot already sold to respondents Spouses Lumbao can no longer

be inherited by the petitioners because the same was no longer part of their inheritance as it was
already sold during the lifetime of their mother.
Likewise, the fact that the property mentioned in the two "Bilihan ng Lupa" documents was
described as "a portion of a parcel of land covered in Tax Declarations No. A-018-01674," while
the subject matter of the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement was the property described in Transfer
Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 3216 of the Registry of Deeds of the Province of Rizal in the name
of Maria is of no moment because in the "Bilihan ng Lupa," dated 17 August 1979 and 9 January
1981, it is clear that there was only one estate left by Maria upon her death. And this fact was not
refuted by the petitioners. Besides, the property described in Tax Declaration No. A-018-01674
and the property mentioned in TCT No. 3216 are both located in Barrio Rosario, Municipality of
Pasig, Province of Rizal, and almost have the same boundaries. It is, thus, safe to state that the
property mentioned in Tax Declaration No. A-018-01674 and in TCT No. 3216 are one and the
same.
The defense of prescription of action and laches is likewise unjustifiable. In an action for
reconveyance, the decree of registration is respected as incontrovertible. What is sought instead
is the transfer of the property or its title which has been wrongfully or erroneously registered in
another person's name to its rightful or legal owner, or to the one with a better right. It is, indeed,
true that the right to seek reconveyance of registered property is not absolute because it is
subject to extinctive prescription. However, when the plaintiff is in possession of the land to be
reconveyed, prescription cannot set in. Such an exception is based on the theory that
registration proceedings could not be used as a shield for fraud or for enriching a person at the
expense of another.30
In the case at bar, the right of the respondents Spouses Lumbao to seek reconveyance does not
prescribe because the latter have been and are still in actual possession and occupation as
owners of the property sought to be reconveyed, which fact has not been refuted nor denied by
the petitioners. Furthermore, respondents Spouses Lumbao cannot be held guilty of laches
because from the very start that they bought the 107-square meter lot from the mother of the
petitioners, they have constantly asked for the transfer of the certificate of title into their names
but Rita, during her lifetime, and the petitioners, after the death of Rita, failed to do so on the
flimsy excuse that the lot had not been partitioned yet. Inexplicably, after the partition of the
entire estate of Maria, petitioners still included the 107-square meter lot in their inheritance which
they divided among themselves despite their knowledge of the contracts of sale between their
mother and the respondents Spouses Lumbao.
Under the above premises, this Court holds that the "Bilihan ng Lupa" documents dated 17
August 1979 and 9 January 1981 are valid and enforceable and can be made the basis of the
respondents Spouses Lumbao's action for reconveyance. The failure of respondents Spouses
Lumbao to have the said documents registered does not affect its validity and enforceability. It
must be remembered that registration is not a requirement for validity of the contract as between
the parties, for the effect of registration serves chiefly to bind third persons. The principal
purpose of registration is merely to notify other persons not parties to a contract that a
transaction involving the property had been entered into. Where the party has knowledge of a
prior existing interest which is unregistered at the time he acquired a right to the same land, his
knowledge of that prior unregistered interest has the effect of registration as to him.31 Hence, the
"Bilihan ng Lupa" documents dated 17 August 1979 and 9 January 1981, being valid and
enforceable, herein petitioners are bound to comply with their provisions. In short, such
documents are absolutely valid between and among the parties thereto.

Finally, the general rule that heirs are bound by contracts entered into by their predecessors-ininterest applies in the present case. Article 131132 of the NCC is the basis of this rule. It is clear
from the said provision that whatever rights and obligations the decedent have over the property
were transmitted to the heirs by way of succession, a mode of acquiring the property, rights and
obligations of the decedent to the extent of the value of the inheritance of the heirs.33 Thus, the
heirs cannot escape the legal consequence of a transaction entered into by their predecessor-ininterest because they have inherited the property subject to the liability affecting their common
ancestor. Being heirs, there is privity of interest between them and their deceased mother. They
only succeed to what rights their mother had and what is valid and binding against her is also
valid and binding as against them. The death of a party does not excuse nonperformance of a
contract which involves a property right and the rights and obligations thereunder pass to the
personal representatives of the deceased. Similarly, nonperformance is not excused by the
death of the party when the other party has a property interest in the subject matter of the
contract.34
In the end, despite the death of the petitioners' mother, they are still bound to comply with the
provisions of the "Bilihan ng Lupa," dated 17 August 1979 and 9 January 1981. Consequently,
they must reconvey to herein respondents Spouses Lumbao the 107-square meter lot which
they bought from Rita, petitioners' mother. And as correctly ruled by the appellate court,
petitioners must pay respondents Spouses Lumbao attorney's fees and litigation expenses for
having been compelled to litigate and incur expenses to protect their interest.35 On this matter,
we do not find reasons to reverse the said findings.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition is hereby DENIED. The Decision and
Resolution of the Court of Appeals dated 8 June 2005 and 29 July 2005, respectively, are hereby
AFFIRMED. Herein petitioners are ordered to reconvey to respondents Spouses Lumbao the
subject property and to pay the latter attorney's fees and litigation expenses. Costs against
petitioners.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 113630. May 5, 1994.]


DIOSDADO JOSE ALLADO and ROBERTO L. MENDOZA, Petitioners, v. HON. ROBERTO
C. DIOKNO, Presiding Judge, Br. 62, Regional Trial Court, Makati, Metro Manila, and
PRESIDENTIAL ANTI-CRIME COMMISSION, Respondents.
DECISION
BELLOSILLO, J.:
On balance at the fulcrum once again are the intrinsic right of the State to prosecute perceived
transgressors of the law, which can be regulated, and the innate value of human liberty, which
can hardly be weighed.chanrobles.com.ph : virtual law library
Some twelve years ago we are confronted with a similar problem when former Senator Jovito R.
Salonga invoked before this Court his "right to life and liberty guaranteed by the due process
clause, alleging that no prima facie case has been established to warrant the filing of an
information for subversion against him." 1 We resolved the issue then and sustained him. He is
now back before us, this time as counsel pleading the cause of petitioners herein who, he
claims, are in a situation far worse than his predicament twelve (12) years ago. He postulates
that no probable cause likewise exists in this case, and what is worse is that no bail is
recommended.
This petition gives us an opportunity to revisit the concept and implication of probable cause, the
existence of which is necessary for the prosecutor to have an accused held for trial and for a trial
judge to issue a warrant for his arrest. It is mandatory therefore that there be probable cause
before an information is filed and a warrant of arrest issued. Unfortunately, however, at times a
criminal case is filed, a warrant of arrest issued and a person consequently incarcerated on
unsubstantiated allegations that only feign probable cause.
Petitioners Diosdado Jose Allado and Roberto L. Mendoza, alumni of the College of Law,
University of the Philippines, are partners of the Law Firm of Salonga, Hernandez and Allado. In
the practice of their profession, and on the basis of an alleged extrajudicial confession of a
security guard, they have been accused of the heinous crime of kidnapping with murder by the
Presidential Anti-Crime Commission (PACC) and ordered arrested without bail by respondent
judge.
The focal source of the information against petitioners is the sworn statement dated 16
September 1993 of Security Guard Escolastico Umbal, a dischargee of the Philippine
Constabulary, implicating them as the brains behind the alleged kidnapping and slaying of one
Eugen Alexander Van Twest, a German national. 2 In that extrajudicial confession, Umbal
claimed that he and his companions were met by petitioners at Silahis Hotel and in exchange for
P2.5M the former undertook to apprehend Van Twest who allegedly had an international warrant
of arrest against him. Thus, on 16 June 1992, after placing him under surveillance for nearly a
month, Umbal, Ex-policeman Rolando Gamatero, AFPCIG Agent Roberto Santiago and SPO2
Sergio Antonino abducted Van Twest. They blocked his blue Nissan Pathfinder under the
Alabang overpass and forced him into their car. They brought him to a "safe house" just behind
the New Bilibid Prisons. Umbal was tasked to watch over their quarry. After four (4) days,
Gamatero, Santiago and Antonino returned to the "safe house" together with petitioners and
SPO2 Roger Bato, known to Umbal also as "Batok." SPO2 Bato faked the interrogation of Van
Twest, pretending it was official, and then made him sign certain documents. The following day,
Gamatero shot Van Twest in the chest with a baby armalite, after which Antonio stabbed him
repeatedly, cut off his private part, and later burned his cadaver into fine ashes using gasoline
and rubber tires. Umbal could not recall the exact date when the incident happened, but he was
certain it was about a year ago. A day after Umbal executed his extrajudicial confession, the
operatives of the PACC, armed with a search warrant issued by Judge Roberto A. Barrios of the

Regional Trial Court of Manila, Br. 11, 3 separately raided the two (2) dwellings of Santiago, one
located at No. 7 Sangley Street, and the other, along Amalingan Street, both in Green Heights
Subdivision, Paraaque. The raiders recovered a blue Nissan Pathfinder and assorted firearms
and ammunition and placed Santiago and his trusted aide, Efren Madolid, under arrest. Also
arrested later that day were Antonino and Bato who where found to have in their possession
several firearms and ammunition and Van Twests Cartier sunglasses.
After evaluating the pieces of evidence gathered by PACC operatives, Sr. Supt. Panfilo Lacson,
Chief of PACC Task Force Habagat, referred the case to the Department of Justice for the
institution of criminal proceedings against AFPCIG Agent Roberto Santiago, SPO1 Sergio
Antonino, SPO2 Roger Bato, Ex-policeman Rolando Gamatero, Efren Madolid, and petitioners
herein, Atty. Diosdado Jose Allado and Atty. Roberto L. Mendoza, for illegal possession of
firearms and ammunition, carnapping, kidnapping for ransom with murder, and usurpation of
authority. 4 In his letter to the State Prosecutor dated 17 September 1993, Sr. Supt. Lacson
charged that
Atty. Roberto L. Mendoza and Atty. Allado of Salonga, Hernandez and Allado Law Offices . . .
planned and conspired with other suspects to abduct and kill the German national Alexander Van
Twest in order to eliminate him after forcing the victim to sign several documents transferring
ownership of several properties amounting to several million pesos and caused the withdrawal of
P5M deposit from the victims bank account.
Thereafter, Senior State Prosecutor Ferdinand R. Abesamis issued a subpoena to petitioners
informing them that a complaint was filed against them by PACC TF-Habagat, directing them to
appear on 30 September 1993 at the Multi-Purpose Hall of the Department of Justice and to
submit their counter-affidavits. Attached to the subpoena were copies of the affidavits executed
by Umbal and members of the team who raided the two (2) dwellings of Santiago. 5
Not satisfied merely with the affidavits attached to the subpoena, petitioner Mendoza moved for
the production of other documents for examination and copying to enable him to fully prepare for
his defense and to submit an intelligible counter-affidavit. 6 Specifically, petitioner Mendoza was
interested in (a) the "several documents transferring ownership of several properties amounting
to several million pesos and the withdrawal of P5M deposits from the victims bank account," as
stated in the complaint; (b) the complete records of the PACCs investigation, including
investigations on other suspects and their disposition, PACCs Order of Battle for 1992 and early
1993; and, (c) such other written statements issued in the above-entitled case, and all other
documents intended to be used in this case. 7 Petitioners likewise sought the inhibition of the
members of the panel of prosecutors, which was created to conduct the preliminary
investigation, on the ground that they were members of the legal staff assigned to PACC and
thus could not act with impartiality.
In its Order of 11 October 1993, 8 the new panel of prosecutors composed of Senior State
Prosecutor Bernelito R. Fernandez as Chairman, with Rogelio F. Vista and Purita M. Deynata as
Members, confirmed that the motion for inhibition of the members of the old panel as well as the
appeal to the Secretary of Justice was resolved on 8 October 1993 resulting in the creation of a
new panel. Thereafter, the new panel granted the prayer of petitioner Mendoza for the production
of additional documents used or intended to be used against him. Meanwhile, Task Force
Habagat, in compliance with the order, submitted only copies of the request for verification of the
firearms seized from the accused, the result of the request for verification, and a Philippine
Times Journal article on the case with a marginal note of President Fidel V. Ramos addressed to
the Chief of the Philippine National Police directing the submission of a report and summary of
actions taken thereon.
Not having been provided with the requested documents, petitioners nevertheless submitted
their respective counter-affidavits denying the accusations against them. After a preliminary
hearing where clarificatory questions were additionally propounded, the case was deemed
submitted for resolution. But before the new panel could resolve the case, SPO2 Bato filed a
manifestation stating that he was reconsidering the earlier waiver of his right to file counter-

affidavit, 10 and "in the greater interest of truth, justice and fair play" moved for the admission of
his counter-affidavit 11 confessing participation in the abduction and slaying of Van Twest and
implicating petitioners Allado and Mendoza. Sometime in January 1994, however, before
petitioners could refute Batos counter-affidavit, he moved to suppress it on the ground that it
was extracted through intimidation and duress.
On 3 February 1994, with the new panel failing to act on the twin motions of SPO2 Bato,
petitioners heard over the radio that the panel had issued a resolution finding a prima facie case
against them and that an information had already been filed in court. Upon verification with the
Department of Justice, however, petitioners were informed that the resolution was not yet ready
for release, but later that afternoon they were able to secure a copy of the information for
kidnapping with murder against them 12 and the 15-page undated resolution under the
letterhead of PACC, signed by the panel of prosecutors, with the Head of the PACC Task Force
recommending approval thereof. 13 That same day, the information was filed before the
Regional Trial Court of Makati and raffled off to Branch 62 presided by respondent Judge
Roberto C. Diokno.
On 4 February 1994, respondent judge, in response to petitioners request, gave them until 8
February 1994 to submit their opposition to the issuance of a warrant of arrest against all the
accused. 14 On 7 February 1994, petitioners complied with the order of respondent judge. 15
The following day, 8 February 1994, petitioner Allado filed an appeal with the Secretary of Justice
seeking review and reversal of the undated resolution on the panel of prosecutors, 16 which
appeal was adopted by petitioner Mendoza. 17 On 11 February 1994, petitioner Allado moved to
defer the proceedings before the trial court pending resolution of his appeal before the Secretary
of Justice. 18 However, on even date, respondent judge issued the assailed warrant of arrest
against petitioners. 19 Hence, on 15 February 1994, petitioners filed with us the instant petition
for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for a temporary restraining order.
On 16 February 1994, we required respondents to comment on the petition and set the case for
hearing on 28 February 1994. After the hearing, we issued a temporary restraining order
enjoining PACC from enforcing the warrant of arrest and respondent judge from conducting
further proceedings on the case and, instead, to elevate the records to us. Meanwhile, on 27
February 1994, petitioners voluntarily surrendered at the Headquarters of the Capital Command
(CAPCOM), Philippine National Police (PNP), Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Metro Manila, and
on 29 February 1994, they were released on the basis of our temporary restraining order.
Petitioners, in their 335-page petition, inclusive of annexes, principally contend that respondent
judge acted with grave abuse of discretion and in excess of jurisdiction in "whimsically holding
that there is probable cause against petitioners without determining the admissibility of the
evidence against petitioners and without even stating the basis of his findings," 20 and in "relying
on the Resolution of the Panel and their certification that probable cause exists when the
certification is flawed." 21 Petitioners maintain that the records of the preliminary investigation
which respondent judge solely relied upon failed to establish probable cause against them to
justify the issuance of the warrant of arrest. Petitioners likewise assail the prosecutors "clear
sign of bias and impartiality (sic)." 22
On the other hand, the Office of the Solicitor General argues that the determination of probable
cause is a function of the judge who is merely required to personally appreciate certain facts to
convince him that the accused probably committed the crime charged.
Section 2, Art. III, of the 1987 Constitution, lays down the requirements for the issuance of a
warrant of arrest, i.e., a warrant of arrest shall issue only upon probable cause to be determined
personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the
witnesses he may produce.
As early as 1915, in Buchanan v. Viuda de Esteban, 23 this Court speaking through Associate
Justice Sherman Moreland defined probable cause as "the existence of such facts and
circumstances as would excite the belief, in a reasonable mind, acting on the facts within the

knowledge of the prosecutor, that the person charged was guilty of the crime for which he was
prosecuted." This definition is still relevant today as we continue to cite it in recent cases. 24
Hence, probable cause for an arrest or for the issuance of a warrant of arrest has been defined
as such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to
believe that an offense has been committed by the person sought to be arrested. 25 And as a
protection against false prosecution and arrest, it is the knowledge of facts, actual or apparent,
strong enough to justify a reasonable man in the belief that he has lawful grounds for arresting
the accused. 26
Pilapil v. Sandiganbayan 27 sets a standard for determining the existence of probable cause.
While it appears in that case that we have granted the prosecutor and the trial judge seemingly
unlimited latitude in determining the existence or absence of probable cause by affirming the
long-standing procedure that they can base their findings merely on their personal opinion and
reasonable belief, yet, this permissiveness should not be interpreted as giving them arbitrary
powers and letting them loose in the determination of the existence of probable cause, a delicate
legal question which can result in the harassment and deprivation of liberty of the person sought
to be charged or arrested. There we said
Probable cause is a reasonable ground of presumption that a matter is, or may be, well founded,
such a state of facts in the mind of the prosecutor as would lead a person of ordinary caution
and prudence to believe, or entertain an honest or strong suspicion, that a thing is so. The term
does not mean "actual and positive cause" nor does it import absolute certainty. It is merely
based on opinion and reasonable belief. Thus, a finding of probable cause does not require an
inquiry into whether there is sufficient evidence to procure a conviction. It is enough that it is
believed that the act or omission complained of constitutes the offense charged. Precisely, there
is a trial for the reception of evidence of the prosecution in support of the charge.
Whether an act was done causing undue injury to the government and whether the same was
done with manifest partiality or evident bad faith can only be made out by proper and sufficient
testimony. Necessarily, a conclusion can be arrived at when the case has already proceeded on
sufficient proof. 28
Accordingly, before issuing a warrant of arrest, the judge must satisfy himself that based on the
evidence submitted there is sufficient proof that a crime has been committed and that the person
to be arrested is probably guilty thereof. In the Order of respondent judge dated 11 February
1994, it is expressly stated that" [t]his court after careful evaluation of the evidence on record,
believes and rules that probable cause exists; and therefore, a warrant of arrest should be
issued." However, we are unable to see how respondent judge arrived at such ruling. We have
painstakingly examined the records and we cannot find any support for his conclusion. On the
contrary, we discern a number of reasons why we consider the evidence submitted to be
insufficient for a finding of probable cause against petitioners.
The Presidential Anti-Crime Commission relies heavily on the sworn statement of Security Guard
Umbal who supposedly confessed his participation in the alleged kidnapping and murder of Van
Twest. For one, there is serious doubt on Van Twests reported death since the corpus delicti has
not been established, nor have his remains been recovered. Umbal claims that Van Twest was
completely burned into ashes with the use of gasoline and rubber tires from around ten oclock in
the evening to six oclock the next morning. 29 This is highly improbable, if not ridiculous. A
human body cannot be pulverized into ashes by simply burning it with the use of gasoline and
rubber tires in an open field. Even crematoria use entirely closed incinerators where the corpse
is subjected to intense heat. 30 Thereafter, the remains undergo a process where the bones are
completely ground to dust.
In the case of Van Twest, there is not even any insinuation that earnest efforts were exerted to
recover traces of his remains from the scene of the alleged cremation. 31 Could it be that the
government investigators did go to the place of cremation but could not find any? Or could it be
that they did not go at all because they knew that there would not be any as no burning ever took
place? To allege then that the body of Van Twest was completely burned to ashes in an open

field with the use merely of tires and gasoline is a tale too tall to gulp.
Strangely, if not awkwardly, after Van Twests reported abduction on 16 June 1992 which
culminated in his decimation by cremation, his counsel continued to represent him before judicial
and quasi-judicial proceedings. Thus on 31 July 1992, his counsel filed in his behalf a petition for
review before this Court, docketed as G.R. No. 106253, and on 18 March 1993, a memorandum
before the Securities and Exchange Commission in SEC Case No. 3896. On 26 November
1993, during the preliminary investigation conducted by the panel of prosecutors, counsel again
manifested that "even then and even as of this time, I stated in my counter-affidavit that until the
matter of death is to be established in the proper proceedings, I shall continue to pursue my
duties and responsibilities as counsel for Mr. Van Twest." 32 Hence, even Asst. Solicitor General
Estoesta believes that counsel of Van Twest doubted the laters death. 33 Obviously, counsel
himself does not believe that his client is in fact already dead otherwise his obligation to his client
would have ceased except to comply with his duty "to inform the court promptly of such
death . . . and to give the name and residence of his executor, administrator, guardian or other
legal representative," 34 which he did not.
Under the circumstances, we cannot discount petitioners theory that the supposed death of Van
Twest who is reportedly an international fugitive from justice, a fact substantiated by petitioners
and never refuted by PACC, is a likely story to stop the international manhunt for his arrest. In
this regard, we are reminded of the leading case of U.S. v. Samarin 35 decided ninety-two years
ago where this Court ruled that when the supposed victim is wholly unknown, his body not found,
and there is but one witness who testifies to the killing, the corpus delicti is not sufficiently
proved.
Then, the extrajudicial statement of Umbal suffers from material inconsistencies. In his sworn
statement, he said that he together with his cohorts was met by petitioners in Silahis Hotel where
they hatched the plan to abduct Van Twest. 36 However, during the preliminary investigation, he
stated that he was not part of the actual meeting as he only waited outside in the car for his
companions who supposedly discussed the plan inside Silahis Hotel. 37
Umbal also said that petitioners arrived with Bato and conducted a mock interrogation of Van
Twest who thereafter signed various documents upon being compelled to do so. 38 During the
clarificatory questioning, however, Umbal changed his story and said that he was asked to go
outside of the "safe house" at the time Van Twest was interrogated and thus did not see if Van
Twest indeed signed certain documents. Why Umbal had to be sent out of the "safe house," no
explanation was offered. Did these documents really exist? Or could the non-existence of these
documents be the reason why PACC was not able to comply with the order of his prosecutors to
produce them during the preliminary investigation? And then, what happened to the P2.5M that
was supposedly offered by petitioners in exchange for the abduction of Van Twest? These and
more remain unanswered.
Most perplexing however is that while the whole investigation was supposedly triggered off by
Umbals confession of 16 September 1993, the application of the PACC operatives for a search
warrant to be served in the two (2) dwellings of Santiago was filed and granted by the Regional
Trial Court of Manila on 15 September 1993, a day before Umbal executed his sworn statement.
In support of the application, the PACC agents claimed that Umbal had been in their custody
since 10 September 1993. Significantly, although he was said to be already under their custody,
Umbal claims he was never interrogated until 16 September 1993 and only at the security
barracks of Valle Verde V, Pasig, where he was a security guard. 39
The alleged counter-affidavit of SPO2 Bato, which the panel of prosecutors also considered in
filing the charges against petitioners, can hardly be credited as its probative value has
tremendously waned. The records show that the alleged counter-affidavit, which is selfincriminating, was filed after the panel had considered the case submitted for resolution. And
before petitioners could refute this counter-affidavit, Bato moved to suppress the same on the
ground that it was extracted through duress and intimidation.

For sure, the credibility of Umbal is badly battered. Certainly, his bare allegations, even if the
State invokes its inherent right to prosecute, are insufficient to justify sending two lawyers to jail,
or anybody for that matter. More importantly, the PACC operatives who applied for a warrant to
search the dwellings of Santiago never implicated petitioners. In fact they claimed that according
to Umbal, it was Santiago, and not petitioners, who masterminded the whole affair. 40 While
there may be bits of evidence against petitioners co-accused, i.e., referring to those seized from
the dwellings of Santiago, these do not in the least prove petitioners complicity in the crime
charged. Based on the evidence thus far submitted there is nothing indeed, much less is there
probable cause, to incriminate petitioners. For them to stand trial and be deprived in the
meantime of their liberty, however brief, the law appropriately exacts much more to sustain a
warrant for their arrest facts and circumstances strong enough in themselves to support the
belief that they are guilty of a crime that in fact happened. Quite obviously, this has not been
met.
Verily, respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing the warrant for the arrest
of petitioners it appearing that he did not personally examine the evidence nor did he call for the
complainant and his witnesses in the face of their incredible accounts. Instead, he merely relied
on the certification of the prosecutors that probable cause existed. For, otherwise, he would have
found out that the evidence thus far presented was utterly insufficient to warrant the arrest of
petitioners. In this regard, we restate the procedure we outlined in various cases we have
already decided.
In Soliven v. Makasiar, 41 we said that the judge (a) shall personally evaluate the report and the
supporting documents submitted by the fiscal regarding the existence of probable cause and, on
the basis thereof, issue a warrant of arrest; or, (b) if on the basis thereof he finds no probable
cause, may disregard the fiscals report and require the submission of supporting affidavits of
witnesses to aid him in arriving at a conclusion on the existence of probable cause.
In People v. Inting, 42 we emphasized the important features of the constitutional mandate: (a)
The determination of probable cause is a function of the judge; it is not for the provincial fiscal or
prosecutor to ascertain. Only the judge and the judge alone makes this determination; (b) The
preliminary inquiry made by a prosecutor does not bind the judge. It merely assists him in
making the determination of probable cause. The judge does not have to follow what the
prosecutor presents to him. By itself, the prosecutors certification of probable cause is
ineffectual. It is the report, the affidavits, the transcript of stenographic notes (if any), and all
other supporting documents behind the prosecutors certification which are material in assisting
the judge in his determination of probable cause; and, (c) Judges and prosecutors alike should
distinguish the preliminary inquiry which determines probable cause for the issuance of a
warrant of arrest from the preliminary investigation proper which ascertains whether the offender
should be held for trial or released. Even if the two inquiries be conducted in the course of one
and the same proceeding, there should be no confusion about their objectives. The
determination of probable cause for the warrant is made by the judge. 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 a function of the prosecutor.
In Lim v. Felix, 43 where we reiterated Soliven v. Makasiar and People v. Inting, we said
[T]he Judge does not have to personally examine the complainant and his witnesses. The
Prosecutor can perform the same functions as a commissioner for the taking of the evidence.
However, there should be a report and necessary documents supporting the Fiscals bare
certification. All these should be before the Judge.
The extent of the Judges personal examination of the report and its annexes depends on the
circumstances of each case. We cannot determine beforehand how cursory or exhaustive the
Judges examination should be. The Judge has to exercise sound discretion for, after all, the
personal determination is vested in the Judge by the Constitution. It can be as brief or as
detailed as the circumstances of each case require. To be sure, the judge must go beyond the

Prosecutors certification and investigation report whenever necessary. He should call for the
complainant and witnesses themselves to answer the courts probing questions when the
circumstances of the case so require.
Clearly, probable cause may not be established simply by showing that a trial judge subjectively
believes that he has good grounds for his action. Good faith is not enough. If subjective good
faith alone were the test, the constitutional protection would be demeaned and the people would
be "secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects" only in the fallible discretion of the
judge. 44 On the contrary, the probable cause test is an objective one, for in order that there be
probable cause the facts and circumstances must be such as would warrant a belief by a
reasonably discreet and prudent man that the accused is guilty of the crime which has just been
committed. 45 This, as we said, is the standard. Hence, if upon the filing of the information in
court the trial judge, after reviewing the information and the documents attached thereto, finds
that no probable cause exists must either call for the complainant and the witnesses themselves
or simply dismiss the case. There is no reason to hold the accused for trial and further expose
him to an open and public accusation of the crime when no probable cause
exists.chanrobles.com.ph : virtual law library
But then, it appears in the instant case that the prosecutors have similarly misappropriated, if not
abused, their discretion. If they really believed that petitioners were probably guilty, they should
have armed themselves with facts and circumstances in support of that belief; for mere belief is
not enough. They should have presented sufficient and credible evidence to demonstrate the
existence of probable cause. For the prosecuting officer "is the representative not of an ordinary
party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty whose obligation to govern impartially is as
compelling as its obligation to govern all; and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution
is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done. As such, he is in a peculiar and very
definite sense the servant of the law, the twofold aim of which is that guilt shall not escape or
innocence suffer. He may prosecute with earnestness and vigor indeed, he should do so. But,
while he may strike hard blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones. It is as much his duty to
refrain from improper methods calculated to produce a wrongful conviction as it is to use every
legitimate means to bring about a just one." 46
In the case at bench, the undue haste in the filing of the information and the inordinate interest of
the government cannot be ignored. From the gathering of evidence until the termination of the
preliminary investigation, it appears that the state prosecutors were overly eager to file the case
and secure a warrant for the arrest of the accused without bail and their consequent detention.
Umbals sworn statement is laden with inconsistencies and improbabilities. Batos counteraffidavit was considered without giving petitioners the opportunity to refute the same. The PACC
which gathered the evidence appears to have had a hand in the determination of probable cause
in the preliminary inquiry as the undated resolution of the panel not only bears the letterhead of
PACC but was also recommended for approval by the head of the PACC Task Force. Then
petitioners were given the runaround in securing a copy of the resolution and the information
against them.
Indeed, the task of ridding society of criminals and misfits and sending them to jail in the hope
that they will in the future reform and be productive members of the community rests both on the
judiciousness of judges and the prudence of prosecutors. And, whether it is preliminary
investigation by the prosecutor, which ascertains if the respondent should be held for trial, or a
preliminary inquiry by the trial judge which determines if an arrest warrant should issue, the
bottomline is that there is a standard in the determination of the existence of probable cause,
i.e., there should be facts and circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a
prudent and cautious man to believe that the accused is guilty of the crime with which he is
charged. Judges and prosecutors are not off on a frolic of their own, but rather engaged in a
delicate legal duty defined by law and jurisprudence.
In this instance, Salonga v. Pao 47 finds application The purpose of a preliminary
investigation is to secure the innocent against hasty, malicious and oppressive prosecution, and
to protect him from an open and public accusation of crime, from the trouble, expense and
anxiety of a public trial, and also to protect the state from useless and expensive trial (Trocio v.
Manta, 118 SCRA 241, citing Hashim v. Boncan, 71 Phil. 216). The right to a preliminary
investigation is a statutory grant, and to withhold it would be to transgress constitutional due
process (see People v. Oandasa, 25 SCRA 277). However, in order to satisfy the due process

clause it is not enough that the preliminary investigation is conducted in the sense of making
sure that the transgressor shall not escape with impunity. A preliminary investigation serves not
only for the purposes of the State. More importantly, it is a part of the guarantees of freedom and
fair play which are birthrights of all who live in the country. It is therefore imperative upon the
fiscal or the judge as the case may be, to relieve the accused from the pain of going thru a trial
once it is ascertained that the evidence is insufficient to sustain a prima facie case or that no
probable cause exists to form a sufficient belief as to the guilt of the accused (Emphasis
supplied).
The facts of this case are fatefully distressing as they showcase the seeming immensity of
government power which when unchecked becomes tyrannical and oppressive. Hence the
Constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights, defines the limits beyond which lie unsanctioned state
actions. But on occasion, for one reason or another, the State transcends this parameter. In
consequence, individual liberty unnecessarily suffers. The case before us, if uncurbed, can be
illustrative of a dismal trend. Needless injury of the sort inflicted by government agents is not
reflective of responsible government. Judges and law enforcers are not, by reason of their high
and prestigious office, relieved of the common obligation to avoid deliberately inflicting
unnecessary injury.
The sovereign power has the inherent right to protect itself and its people from vicious acts
which endanger the proper administration of justice; hence, the State has every right to
prosecute and punish violators of the law. This is essential for its self-preservation, nay, its very
existence. But this does not confer a license for pointless assaults on its citizens. The right of the
State to prosecute is not a carte blanche for government agents to defy and disregard the rights
of its citizens under the Constitution. Confinement, regardless of duration, is too high a price to
pay for reckless and impulsive prosecution. Hence, even if we apply in this case the "multifactor
balancing test" which requires the officer to weigh the manner and intensity of the interference
on the right of the people, the gravity of the crime committed and the circumstances attending
the incident, still we cannot see probable cause to order the detention of petitioners. 48
The purpose of the Bill of Rights is to protect the people against arbitrary and discriminatory use
of political power. This bundle of rights guarantees the preservation of our natural rights which
include personal liberty and security against invasion by the government or any of its branches
or instrumentalities. Certainly, in the hierarchy of rights, the Bill of Rights takes precedence over
the right of the State to prosecute, and when weighed against each other, the scales of justice tilt
towards the former. Thus, relief may be availed of to stop the purported enforcement of criminal
law where it is necessary to provide for an orderly administration of justice, to prevent the use of
the strong arm of the law in an oppressive and vindictive manner, and to afford adequate
protection to constitutional rights. 49
Perhaps, this case would not have reached this Court if petitioners were ordinary people
submissive to the dictates of government. They would have been illegally arrested and detained
without bail. Then we would not have the opportunity to rectify the injustice. Fortunately, the
victims of injustice are lawyers who are vigilant of their rights, who fight for their liberty and
freedom not otherwise available to those who cover in fear and subjection.
Let this then be a constant reminder to judges, prosecutors and other government agents tasked
with the enforcement of the law that in the performance of their duties they must act with
circumspection, lest their thoughtless ways, methods and practices cause a disservice to their
office and aim their countrymen they are sworn to serve and protest. We thus caution
government agents, particularly the law enforcers, to be more prudent in the prosecution of
cases and not to be oblivious of human rights protected by the fundamental law. While we
greatly applaud their determined efforts to weed society of felons, let not their impetuous
eagerness violate constitutional precepts which circumscribe the structure of a civilized
community.
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari and prohibition is GRANTED. The temporary restraining
order we issued on 28 February 1994 in favor of petitioners, Atty. Diosdado Jose Allado and Atty.
Roberto L. Mendoza, is made permanent. The warrant of arrest issued against them is SET
ASIDE and respondent Judge Roberto C. Diokno is ENJOINED from proceeding any further
against herein petitioners in Crim. Case No. 94-1757 of the Regional Trial Court of Makati.

10

SO ORDERED.

11

[G.R. No. 82760. August 30, 1990.]


FELIMON MANANGAN, Petitioner, v. COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF NUEVA VIZCAYA,
BRANCH 28, Respondent.

ordering his dismissal from the service; and (2) "require respondent CFI of Nueva Ecija to
dismiss Criminal Case No. 639 pending in its Court." In a Decision, promulgated on 27 February
1981, the Appellate Court dismissed the Petition for "absolute lack of legal and factual basis" and
holding, among others, that "the non-withdrawal of the Information for execution of deeds by
intimidation . . . is not covered by mandamus" (hereinafter, the German Decision). 1

DECISION
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:

For abuse of Court processes, hopping from one forum to another, filing a labyrinth of cases and
pleadings, thwarting the smooth prosecution of Criminal Case No. 639 against him for no less
than twelve (12) years, and for masquerading as Filemon Manangan when his real name is
Andres Culauag, petitioner has brought upon himself the severest censure and a punishment for
contempt. The Petition for Certiorari he has filed likewise calls for dismissal.
The Petition, Amended Petition, and Second Amended Petition seek the annulment of the entire
proceedings in Criminal Case No. 639 of respondent Court, including the Alias Warrant of Arrest
issued by it, dated 19 July 1979, "for being stale/functus officio." It is claimed, inter alia, that
respondent Court committed grave abuse of discretion in making it appear that petitioner was
duly tried and convicted when the contrary was true, and that the Alias Warrant of Arrest was
irregularly issued because respondent Court had already accepted a property bond.
In the Amended Petition, petitioner further alleges that respondent Court had irregularly assumed
jurisdiction as it is the Sandiganbayan that has exclusive original jurisdiction over the case
considering that he was Legal Officer I of the Bureau of Lands, Region II, and that he had
supposedly committed the offense in relation to that office.
Piecing together the facts from the hodgepodge of quotations from the Decisions in the different
cases filed by petitioner, we recite the relevant ones below.
On 7 November 1977, Petitioner, representing himself as a lawyer, was appointed Legal Officer I
of the Bureau of Lands in Region II (p. 98, Rollo).
On 30 June 1978, Criminal Case No. 639 entitled "People v. Filemon Manangan alias Andres
Culanag" (Annex D, Petition, Rollo, UDK 3906, p. 20) was filed before the then Court of First
Instance of Nueva Vizcaya, First Judicial District, Bayombong, charging petitioner with
"Execution of Deeds by Intimidation" under Article 298 of the Revised Penal Code (the Criminal
Case, for short). Apparently, the Director of Lands had given his imprimatur to the charge.
On the same date, an Order of Arrest was issued by than Judge Gabriel Dunuan of respondent
Court (Rollo, UDK 3906, p. 21).
On 18 April 1979, petitioner filed before this Court a Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and
Mandamus with Writ of Preliminary Injunction entitled `Filemon de Asis Manangan v. Court of
First Instance, Et Al.," in UDK No. 3906, assailing the jurisdiction of respondent Court to try the
criminal case and seeking to stay the Order of Arrest of 30 June 1978. The petition was
dismissed on 7 May 1979 for non-payment of legal fees (p. 99, Rollo).
On 10 and 18 July 1978, the dates set for preliminary investigation, petitioner did not show up
and, in fact, disappeared for about a year.
On 31 July 1973, a Second Amended Information was filed (Comment, Solicitor General, p. 61,
Rollo), this time identifying the accused as "Andres Culanag (alias Andres M. Culanag, Filemon
Manangan, Atty. Filemon A. Manangan and Atty. Ross V. Pangilinan)."
On 8 July 1979, petitioner surfaced and, through alleged counsel posted a bailbond with the
Municipal Circuit Court of San Miguel, Zamboanga del Sur (Resolution of the RTC, Nueva
Vizcaya, 25 March 1983, Annex B, Petition, p. 2).
On 19 July 1979, an Alias Warrant of Arrest was issued by Judge Gabriel Dunuan. It is this Alias
Warrant that is challenged herein.
On 12 September 1979, petitioner filed an ex-parte Motion to Dismiss the Criminal Case, which
was denied by respondent Court (see CA-G.R. No. 11588-SP, p. 2).
Petitioner then resorted to a Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus before the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. No. 11588-SP entitled "Filemon Manangan v. Director of Lands and CFI of Nueva
Vizcaya." The Petition sought to (1) nullify the decision of the Director of Lands, dated 27 March
1980, finding petitioner, guilty of extortion, impersonation and abandonment of office and

On 30 October 1981, before respondent Court, a Motion for Reconsideration was filed by
petitioner, ostensibly through counsel, Atty. Benjamin Facun, asking that the Criminal Case be
dismissed on the ground that the accused had already died on 29 September 1971 such that
respondent Court had not acquired jurisdiction over his person. The Motion was denied.
On 22 February 1982, erroneously construing the German Decision as a final judgment of
conviction, respondent Court reset the promulgation to 19 April 1982 and ordered the bondsmen
to produce the body of the accused on said date (Annex A, Petition). Realizing the mistake, on 9
July 1982, respondent Court vacated said order and ruled that "the warrant of arrest issued by
this Court through Judge Gabriel Dunuan on 19 July 1979, shall remain in full force and effect"
(Annex F, Petition).
On 25 June 1982, petitioner again resorted to the Court of Appeals in another Petition
for Certiorari(CA-G.R. No. SP-14428) filed by one Atty. Benjamin Facun as counsel for petitioner,
this time praying for the annulment of the proceedings in the Criminal Case "on the ground that
the accused was already dead when the decision finding him guilty of the crime . . . was
rendered." The pleading alleged "that petitioner is of age, Filipino, deceased, but has come to
this Honorable Court through counsel . . . ." In a Decision promulgated on 29 November
1982, Certiorari was denied for being devoid of merit inasmuch as "there is nothing on record to
show that such dismissal had been sought before the decision was rendered" (briefly, the
Kapunan Decision). 2 (Actually, no judgment has been rendered by respondent Court).
Unfazed by the adverse Kapunan Decision, the supposed heirs of the accused, on 10 February
1983, filed a Manifestation before respondent Court asking for the dismissal and termination of
the Criminal Case on the same ground that the accused had allegedly died.
On 25 March 1983, Judge Quirino A. Catral of respondent Court refused to declare the case
closed and terminated inasmuch as the accused was alive on 8 July 1979 when he posted his
bailbond (citing the Kapunan Decision) and reiterated that the "alias warrant issued by the Court
on July 19, 1979 which up to the present has not yet been served upon the accused as in full
force and effect."cralaw virtua1aw library
For the third time, the case was elevated to the then Intermediate Appellate Court in AC-G.R.
No. SP-00707, entitled "Heirs of the Deceased Filemon Manangan v. Hon. Quirino A. Catral,
etc." The Petition sought to annul the Order of Judge Catral of 25 March 1983 denying the
closure and termination of the Criminal Case.
On 28 May 1983, the then IAC, after quoting at length from the Kapunan Decision and the Catral
Order, dismissed the Petition (hereinafter, the Aquino Decision), 3 holding, inter alia, that
"whether or not its denial of the motion to dismiss that case constitutes a grave abuse of
discretion, was already passed upon by this Court in CA-G.R. No. SP-14428 (Kapunan
Decision), hence, it is res adjudicata. It may not be litigated anew, no matter what form the action
for that purpose may take."
On 28 June 1984, before the respondent Court, petitioner accused filed an Omnibus Motion with
Motion for New Trial, which was denied for lack of merit in the Order of 19 November 1984. In
the same Order, respondent Court ordered the case archived until such time that the accused is
brought to the Court.
On 19 June 1986, counsel for petitioner-accused filed a Motion to Quash on the grounds that:"
(1) the court trying the case has no jurisdiction over the offense charged or the person of the
accused; and (2) the accused has been previously convicted or in jeopardy of being convicted of
the offense charged."
It was at that stage of the case below, without awaiting disposition on the Motion to Quash, that
the present Petition was instituted.

12

The obvious conclusion from the recital of facts given is that the Petition is without merit.
Petitioner-accused had a pending Motion to Quash before respondent Court and should have
awaited resolution thereon. The had a plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course
of law and resort to this Petition is decidedly premature.
Contrary to petitioners pretensions, the Alias Warrant of Arrest is valid. Petitioner had evaded
arrest by disappearing from the jurisdiction of respondent Court. Neither is there any indication in
the records that the property bond, filed by petitioner accused in the Municipal Circuit Court of
San Miguel, Zamboanga del Sur, had been accepted by respondent Court and petitioner
discharged on the basis thereof. The Alias Warrant is not "stale or functus officio," as alleged.
Unlike a search warrant, which is valid for only ten (10) days from date (Rule 126, Sec. 9), a
Warrant of Arrest remains valid until arrest is effected or the Warrant lifted. Respondent Court,
therefore, cannot be faulted with grave abuse of discretion for holding that said Warrant is in full
force and effect.
Although there may have been some initial confusion on the part of respondent Court arising
from the Kapunan Decision, that was timely rectified. In the final analysis, respondent Court has
not made it appear that petitioner-accused has already been arraigned and tried, let alone
convicted. No jeopardy has attached, as alleged. Again, therefore, no grave abuse of discretion
can be attributed to respondent Court.
Petitioners argument in his Amended Petition and Second Amended Petition that it is the
Sandiganbayan that has exclusive jurisdiction over the Criminal Case neither holds water
considering that not only is he ineligible for the position of Legal Officer I in the Bureau of Lands,
Region II, for not being a lawyer, but also because he was dismissed from the service on 27
March 1980 by the Director of lands, who found him, with the approval of the Minister of Natural
Resources, guilty of extortion, impersonation and abandonment of office (CA-GR No. 11588-SP,
p. 2).
The foregoing conclusions could dispose of the case. However, on 8 June 1989, the Solicitor
General filed a "Manifestation/ Motion to Strike Out" the present petition for being fictitious and
that by reason thereof petitioner should be cited for contempt of Court. The Solicitor General has
also prayed that he be excused from filing a Comment on petitioners Second Amended Petition,
which we resolve to grant.
The Solicitor General maintains that a re-examination of the records in the Criminal shows that:
"a. Filemon A. Manangan is only an alias of Andres M. Culanag, the person charged in Criminal
Case No. 639;
"b. Filemon A. Manangan was a lawyer from San Marcelino, Zambales, who died on September
29, 1971 in the vicinity of his residence where he and his driver died on the spot; and

and that he is the same person as Andres Culanag, the latter being his real name. The
impersonation was carried to the extreme when, in petitioners Manifestation, dated 10 February
1983, before respondent Court, his supposed heirs alleged that accused had died before the
filing of the Information on 29 September 1971, the exact date of death of the real Filemon
Manangan. More, petitioner also masquerades under the name of Atty. Benjamin M. Facun in the
several pleadings filed in connection with the Criminal Case.
In the German Decision, it was additionally pointed out that petitioner had also committed
impersonation when, representing himself as Atty. Ross V. Pangilinan, he filed a petition with this
Court praying that his right to practice law be affirmed (Misc. Bar-I and Misc. Bar-2). In those
cases, we ruled that petitioner Filemon Manangan is "really Andres Culanag, an impostor;"
dismissed the petitions; and directed Andres Culanag to show cause why he should not be
punished for contempt for filing the two false petitions (In re: Andres Culanag, September 30,
1971, 41 SCRA 26). He explained that "he thought this Court would not discover that he is a
poseur, for which reason he apologizes to the Court promising that he would not commit the
same act if he is excused and given another chance." On 12 November 1971, after finding his
explanation unsatisfactory, we adjudged him guilty of indirect contempt of Court under Rule 71,
Section 3(e) of the Rules of Court 4 and sentenced him to suffer imprisonment for six (6) months.
Parenthetically, we also take judicial notice of Bar Matter No. 190, entitled "In Re Andres
Culanag alias Atty. Ross V. Pangilinan" and Bar Matter No. 206, entitled "Eriberto H. Decena v.
Andres Culanag" wherein, on 9 October 1984, this Court Resolved "to direct that petitioner be
subjected to mental examination by a doctor from the National Mental Hospital" after noting that
petitioner was suffering from some kind of mental alienation. This mitigates somewhat
petitioners present liability for contempt.
It is the height of chicanery, indeed, that despite the foregoing antecedents, petitioner still has
the gall to claim that he is, in truth and in fact, Filemon Manangan. The evidence on hand,
without need for more, and with petitioner having been sufficiently heard, amply establishes that
petitioner Filemon Manangan, is an impostor. He is guilty of continued fraudulent
misrepresentation and highly improper conduct tending directly to impede, obstruct, degrade,
and make a mockery of the administration of justice (Rule 71, Sec. 3 [d]).
While it may be that some pronouncements in the pertinent decisions allude to Filemon
Manangan and that Andres Culanag is just an alias of Filemon Manangan, those statements
actually refer to the person of Andres Culanag and not to the real Filemon Manangan, long since
dead.
The action for contempt has not prescribed since it is apparent that the contumacious acts
continue to this day.

"c. [Andres M. Culanag] knew the real Filemon Manangan and knowing about the latters death,
assumed the name, qualifications and other personal circumstances of Filemon Manangan. By
means thereof, he was able to pass himself off as a lawyer and to actually practice law, using
even the Certificate of Admission to the Philippine Bar of Filemon Manangan which states that
he was admitted to the Bar on March 6, 1964. By this guise, [Andres M. Culanag] succeeded in
obtaining a position as Legal Officer I in the Bureau of Lands."

WHEREFORE, (1) the Petition, Amended Petition, and the Second Amended Petition are hereby
dismissed for utter lack of merit; (2) petitioner is adjudged in contempt of Court, severely
censured, and sentenced to suffer three (3) months imprisonment, the same to be served at the
Provincial Jail of Nueva Vizcaya to ensure his appearance during the trial of the subject criminal
case; (3) respondent Court is hereby directed to retrieve Criminal Case No. 639 from its archives
and to proceed to its determination with deliberate dispatch; (4) all Courts are directed not to
recognize any person representing himself as Filemon Manangan, Atty. Filemon Manangan, or
Atty. Benjamin M. Facun; and (5) petitioners real name is declared to be Andres Culanag.

In opposition, petitioner maintains that he is not a fictitious person, having been born out of the
lawful wedlock of Segundino Manangan and Felipa Asis; and that assuming that there is
sufficient basis to charge him for contempt, it will no longer prosper on the ground of prescription.

Treble costs against petitioner. SO ORDERED.

Petitioners posturings are completely bereft of basis. As the Solicitor General had also disclosed
in the German Decision, petitioner [Andres Culanag] had, on 23 February 1977, filed Sp. Procs.
No. 23 with the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija, San Jose City Branch, for the change of
his name from Andres Culanag to Filemon Manangan. In that petition, he claimed that his real
name is Andres Culanag; that his entire school records carry his name as Filemon Manangan:

13

[G.R. No. 110569. December 9, 1996.]


DIOSDADO MALLARI, Petitioner, v. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS and THE PEOPLE OF
THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.
DECISION
FRANCISCO, J.:
Given credence by respondent Court of Appeals is the following narration of the factual
antecedents of this case by the People.
"Sometime on December 27, 1990, at around 2:30 p.m., Pat. Manipon and Pfc. Esguerra, who
were both then assigned at the Capas Police Station, received reliable information that appellant
Diosdado Mallari, who has a standing warrant of arrest in connection with Criminal Case No 471
for Homicide in 1989, was seen at Sitio 14, Sta. Rita, Capas, Tarlac (tsn, April 18, 1991, pp. 3-4;
June 27, 1991, p. 3).
Immediately upon receipt of such information, Pfc. Manipon, accompanied by Pat. Esguerra and
Pat. Narciso Simbulan, with personal knowledge of the existence of a standing warrant of arrest
against appellant in connection with Criminal Case No. 471 for Homicide, immediately
proceeded to Sitio 14, Sta. Rita, Capas, Tarlac. Upon reaching the place, the arresting officers
surrounded the house of appellant, arrested him and told him to remain stationary. Thereupon,
the arresting officers searched him and found a homemade gun (paltik) with one M-16 live
ammunition (tsn, April 18, 1991, pp. 5-6, 8; June 27, 1991, pp. 3-5, 7).
Appellant was handcuffed and brought to the Capas Police Station where he was endorsed to
the chief investigator while the homemade gun and live ammunition were endorsed to the
property custodian. The incident was then entered in the police blotter after which the spot and
investigation reports were prepared (tsn, June, April 18, 1991, p. 5, 10; June 27, 1991, p. 6)." 1
After investigation, the petitioner was charged with the crime of Illegal Possession of Firearms
and Ammunition, and pleaded not guilty on arraignment. Trial on the merits ensued, after which,
the Regional Trial Court of Capas, Tarlac convicted petitioner of the crime charged, as follows:
"WHEREFORE, Accused Diosdado Mallari is hereby found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
the crime of Illegal Possession of Firearms and Ammunitions and hereby sentences him to suffer
an indeterminate penalty of seventeen years, four months and one day as minimum to eighteen
years and eight months as maximum.
"Accused, who is a detention prisoner is given full credit for the period of his preventive
imprisonment, after compliance with Article 29 of the Revised Penal Code.
"SO ORDERED." 2
Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari is the decision of respondent Court of Appeals
affirming in toto the abovequoted decision of the trial court. In its decision, the Court of Appeals
held that the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, Pfc. Manipon and Pat. Esguerra
"unequivocally proved that the handgun (paltik) and the live M-16 ammunition were recovered
from the person of the appellant (herein petitioner)." 3 The Court of Appeals further held that the
search conducted on the petitioner and the seizure of the subject firearm and ammunition were
done on the occasion of a lawful arrest as there was then an outstanding warrant for petitioners
arrest in Criminal Case No. 471. 4 It likewise found that petitioner was arrested while committing
the crime of illegal possession of firearms in the presence of the police authorities. Thus, anent
petitioners insistence that there was no standing warrant for his arrest, thereby making the
search and seizure invalid, the Court of Appeals stated that, "under the prevailing factual milieu,
even in the absence of a warrant, still appellants arrest would fall squarely within the context of

Rule 113, Sec. 5 (b), Rules of Court . . ." 5 which cites the instances when a warrantless arrest
may be valid.
In seeking the reversal of his conviction, petitioner questions the factual finding of the Court of
Appeals that at the time of his arrest, there was a standing warrant against him in Criminal Case
No. 471. Petitioner posits that the absence of the requisite warrant is fatal and renders the
search and seizure unlawful. Corollarily, the handling and ammunition seized from him are
inadmissible in evidence. Petitioner also contends that it was error for the Court of Appeals to
conclude that the search and seizure could be validly effected as it was done on the occasion of
a lawful warrantless arrest, particularly, while in the act of committing the crime of illegal
possession of firearms in the presence of the arresting officers. Finally, petitioner claims that
even assuming that the handgun and ammunition had in fact been found in his possession, the
prosecution failed to prove that he had no license therefor and absent this essential element of
the crime of illegal possession of firearms, it was manifest error for the Court of Appeals to
uphold his conviction.
The threshold issue is factual: whether or not there indeed existed a standing warrant for the
arrest of the petitioner. At the outset, this Court reiterates the general rule that when supported
by substantial evidence, factual findings of the Court of Appeals are final and conclusive and
may not be reviewed on appeal. 6 A careful scrutiny of the records of the case at bench leads
this Court to concur with the Court of Appeals in its finding that when the petitioner was attested,
there was then a standing warrant of arrest against him in connection with Criminal Case No.
471. This fact is manifest from the testimonies of the arresting officers which the defense failed
to rebut during trial.
"Q When you arrested Diosdado Mallari Mr. witness, were you carrying a warrant of arrest then?
A No, sir.
Q Neither you did not have with you a seize and search warrant and despite the fact that you
have no search and seize warrant you have still pursued in getting the ammunition you have just
mentioned, the home made gun and the live bullet?
A Yes, sir.
COURT:You are referring to what case?
A Homicide, maam, Criminal Case No. 471.
COURT:Alright.
Q Was the seizure of the home made gun related to the warrant of arrest being issued by this
honorable court with respect to criminal case No. 471?
COURT:Will you clarify, I heard him saying that he did not have a warrant of arrest, is that
correct?
A Yes. maam.
COURT:What about with respect to Criminal Case No. 471 you do not have a warrant of arrest
issued by this court?
A There was. maam. I know that there was a warrant of arrest issued, that is why we proceeded
to Sitio 14, maam.
COURT:Alright you proceeded to Sitio 14 because of the warrant of arrest issued by this court to
apprehend Diosdado Mallari in Criminal Case No. 471. is that correct?

14

A Yes maam. 7 [Emphasis supplied]

the accused for robbery and not for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, this Court
held that the unlicensed firearms may be seized without the necessity of obtaining a search
warrant. Expounding thereon, it stated that:

Pat. Jose Esguerra:


"Q Do you have with you at the time when you arrested or when you seized the gun and the live
ammunition, a search and seize warrant?
A None, your honor.
COURT:Q Did you have with you the warrant of arrest you mentioned with respect to CR. No.
471?
A When we went to him, we did not have a warrant of arrest because we were in a hurry but
when we returned, we reached the warrant officer, your honor.
Q Where did you return?
A When we returned to the Capas Police Station there was the warrant officer already, your
Honor.
Proceed.
ATTY. DULDULAO:Q You said you did not bring the warrant of arrest when you arrested the
accused how did you come to know that Diosdado Mallari was indeed the accused despite the
fact that you did not bring with you the warrant of arrest then?
A When we went there. sir we did not have a warrant of arrest because we were in a hurry if we
will wait our warrant officer, we may not reach Diosdado Mallari but we know that he has a
standing warrant of arrest." 8 [Emphasis provided]
Further bolstering the arresting officers testimonies is the absence of any motive on their part to
falsely testify against the petitioner. And it has been repeatedly held that without proof of such
motive, law enforcers are, presumed to have regularly performed their duties. 9 Thus, absent
strong and convincing proof to the contrary, this Court is bound by the presumption that the
arresting officers were aware of the legal mandates in effecting an arrest and strictly complied
with the same.
At this juncture, the Court would like to stress that this is not a case of a warrantless arrest but
merely an instance of an arrest effected by the police authorities without having the warrant in
their possession at that precise moment. Finding as it does, this Court deems it unnecessary to
delve into the applicability of Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court and on the merits of both
the petitioners and the Office of the Solicitor Generals arguments with respect thereto. The
applicable provision is not Section 5, Rule 118 of the Rules of Court on warrantless arrests, but
Section 7, Rule 113 which provides as follows:
"Sec. 8. Method of Arrest by officer by virtue of warrant. When making an arrest by virtue of a
warrant the officer shall inform the person to be arrested of the cause of the arrest and the fact
that a warrant has been issued for his arrest, except when he flees or forcibly resists before the
officer has opportunity so to inform him or when the giving of such information will imperil the
arrest. The officer need not have the warrant in his possession at the time of the arrest but after
the arrest, if the person arrested so requires, the warrant shall be shown to him as soon as
practicable." [Emphasis supplied]
The abovequoted rule clearly allows a police officer to effect arrest without the warrant in his
possession at the time of the arrest. Thus, appellants arrest being lawful, the search and seizure
made incidental thereto is likewise valid, albeit conducted without a warrant. 10 In the case of
People v. Acol, 11 where the unlicensed firearms were found when the police team apprehended

". . . The illegality of the search is independent from the illegal possession of prohibited arms.
The illegality of the search did not make legal an illegal possession of firearms. When, in
pursuing an illegal action or in the commission of a criminal offense, the offending police officers
should happen to discover a criminal offense being committed by any person, they are not
precluded from performing their duties as police officers for the apprehension of the guilty and
the taking of the corpus delicti." 12
Finally, petitioner contends that the prosecution failed to discharge its burden of proving that he
did not have the requisite license for the firearm and ammunition found in his possession. Anent
this contention, the Office of the Solicitor General does not even attempt to point out any
evidence on record of petitioners non-possession of a license or permit for there really is no
such evidence. It relies on the theory that as the firearm involved is a homemade gun or "paltik"
and is illegal per se, it could not have been the subject of license. 13 This, according to the
Solicitor General, dispenses with the necessity of proving that petitioner had no license to
possess the firearm. This is where the prosecutions case fails and miserably so. This Court has
ruled that:
"We do not agree with the contention of the Solicitor General that since a paltik is a homemade
gun, is illegally manufactured as recognized in People v. Fajardo, and cannot be issued a license
or permit, it is no longer necessary to prove that it is unlicensed. This appears to be at first blush,
a very logical proposition. We cannot, however, yield to it because Fajardo did not say that
paltiks can in no case be issued a license or permit and that proof that a firearm is a paltik
dispenses with proof that it is unlicensed. 14
In crimes involving illegal possession of firearm, the prosecution has the burden of proving the
elements thereof, viz: (a) the existence of the subject firearm and (b) the fact that the accused
who owned or possessed it does not have the corresponding license or permit to possess the
same. 15 The latter is a negative fact which constitutes an essential ingredient of the offense of
illegal possession, and it is the duty of the prosecution not only to allege it but also to prove it
beyond reasonable doubt. 16 In the case at bench the testimony of a representative of, or a
certification from the PNP (FEU) that petitioner was not a licensee of the said firearm would have
sufficed for the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt the second element of the crime
of illegal possession. 17 The absence of the foregoing is fatal to the prosecutions case and
renders petitioners conviction erroneous.
True that in the case of People v. Mesal 18 , this Court dispensed with a certification from the
Firearms and Explosives Unit (FEU) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to establish the
alleged lack of license or permit on the part of the accused-appellant to possess the M-14 rifle
found in his possession. This was, however, premised on the fact that:
"The records reveal that the allegation was successfully substantiated by other evidence which
firmly and undisputably established that accused-appellant did not have and could not possibly
have, the requisite license or authority to possess the M-14 rifle concerned. Technical Sgt.
Alfredo Romasanta, Supply Officer of the PC-INP 253rd PC Company, testified that the rifle
concerned is the type of weapon which only military men are authorized to possess . . ." 19
The above enunciated doctrine is not applicable to this case. The records are bereft of any
evidence similar to that offered by the prosecution in Mesal to prove that the petitioner "did not
have and could not possibly have" the requisite license or authority to possess the "paltik" and
the M-16 live ammunition
In view of the foregoing, the petition is hereby GRANTED and the assailed decision is
REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner Diosdado Mallari is hereby ACQUITTED for
insufficiency of evidence and ordered immediately released unless there are other legal grounds

15

for his continued detention.

[G.R. No. L-3241. March 16, 1907. ]

[G.R. No. L-3971. February 3, 1908. ]

THE UNITED STATES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. TOMAS CABANAG, Defendant-Appellant.

THE UNITED STATES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. HILARIO BRAGANZA AND MARTIN


SALIBIO,Defendants-Appellants.

J.F. Boomer, for Appellant.

Felipe Buencamino, for Appellants.

Attorney-General Araneta, for Appellee.


DECISION

Attorney-General Araneta, for Appellee.

TRACEY, J. :

SYLLABUS
1. ARBITRARY DETENTION; PENAL CODE. A public functionary who, except by reason of a
crime, detains a person without authority of law or of general regulations in force in the Islands,
is punishable under article 200 of the Penal Code as for an act of arbitrary detention.
DECISION
We take the same view of this case as to the guilt of the defendants as that taken by the
Attorney-General. He says in his brief:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Article 200 of the Penal Code reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"The public official who, unless it be by reason of a crime, should detain a person without being
authorized to do so by a law, or by regulations of a general character in force in the Philippines,
shall incur the penalty of a fine of from 325 to 3,250 pesetas if the detention should not have
exceeded three (3) days; . . ."cralaw virtua1aw library
"At the time when the crime herein was committed the accused were municipal officials, Hilario
Braganza being then a councilor of the municipality of Sagay and Martin Salibio a lieutenant of
the barrio of Vito in said municipality; therefore, they were public officers . . .
"There is no doubt as to the accused having detained Father Feliciano Gomez, inasmuch as,
according to the evidence, they themselves seized him within the church and took him out of it,
telling him that he was under arrest; they made him pass through the door of the vestry and
afterwards took him to the municipal building and there told him that he was under arrest . . . he
accused detained Father Gomez, not by reason of a crime but arbitrarily. He had committed no
crime, rather on the contrary, he was the victim of coercion and other outrages. As a priest of the
Roman Church, and the question herein referring also to a Roman church which he is alleged to
be in possession of, he went there to say mass, but a group of Aglipayano women violently
prevented him from carrying out his purpose. No law or regulation of a general character in force
authorizes the accused to commit the act which they committed . . ."cralaw virtua1aw library
The judgment of the court below is affirmed, without taking into consideration, however article 11
of the Penal Code as an extenuating circumstance. So ordered.

The accused, an Igorot, was convicted in the Court of First Instance of Nueva Vizcaya of the
crime of unlawful detention, under article 481 of the Penal Code, which punishes "any private
person who shall lock up or detain another or in any way deprive him of his liberty."cralaw
virtua1aw library
An Igorot orphan girl called Gamaya, 13 years of age was taken from the possession of her
grandmother, Ultagon, in the rancheria of Anao, in the Province of Nueva Vizcaya, by one
Buyag, also an Igorot; whether this was done with or against the will of the grandmother is not
altogether clear in the evidence. We accept the version least favorable to the accused that of
the child who testified that in the daytime Buyag came to the house and took her away,
although the grandmother objected, saying "Do not take off that little girl," but not speaking when
she went away. The man brought her to his house, about a half mile distant, where she was not
confined, but on the contrary was allowed to go back alone to her grandmother, with whom she
would spend a little while, returning the same day. She testified that on last evening, the
grandmother was angry and did not wish her to go, but did not prevent her. According to her
recollection she remained with Buyag, in the vicinity of her grandmothers residence, some two
or three months.
Buyag testified that more than two years before, in order to help the family after the fathers
death and for the purpose of keeping the child at home, he had bought her for three pigs, twentyfive hens, two measures of rice, and a cloak worth two pigs, from her mother, with whom she
remained until the third year, when (her mother presumably having died) she was brought away
by one Eusebio, at the instance of himself and another Igorot named YogYog, who had furnished
part of the purchase price. Together they instructed Eusebio to sell her for a carabao and 50
pesos. Eusebio, in the Province of Nueva Vizcaya, and sold her to the accused, Tomas
Cabanag, for 100 pesos.
In respect to this last sale, the stories of Tomas, Antonia, and the girl substantially agree.
Cabanag had previously been instructed to buy a girl by one Mariano Lopez of Caoayan, to
whom after a few days Gamaya was delivered in return for the price, which appears to have
been 200 pesos. In his hands she remained for about two months until she was taken away by
an officer of Constabulary. Afterwards this prosecution was instituted. Although Gamaya made
objection to leaving the house of Cabanag she appears to have gone without actual constraint
and at no time in any of these places was she physically restrained of her liberty; she was not
under lock or key or guard, went into the street to play, returned at will, and was not punished or
ill used in any way, but was employed about the household tasks; in short, she appears to have
been treated by Mariano Lopez as a household servant and to have been well earned for while
in the custody of the accused.
It is proved in the case that it is an Igorot custom to dispose of children to pay the debts of their
fathers, the transaction in the native language being termed a sale, and the defendant appears
to have engaged in the business of buying in Nueva Vizcaya children to sell in the lowlands of
Isabela.
In his sentence, the judge below said:

16

"However much may be said in extension of the alleged custom among the ignorant Igorots of
seizing and abducting children for the sale and even in selling their own children voluntarily,
there is nothing in all this to palliate or extenuate the conduct of the accused in this case.
"The Congress of the United States has declared that human slavery shall not exist in these
Islands and while no law, so far as I can discover, has yet been passed either defining slavery in
these Island of fixing a punishment for those who engage in this inhuman practice as dealers,
buyers, sellers, or derivers, the facts established in this case show conclusively that the child
Gamaya was by the defendant forcibly and by fraud, deceit, and threats unlawfully deprived of
her liberty and that his object and purpose was an unlawful and illegal one, to wit, the sale of the
child, for money, into human slavery. This constitutes the crime of detencion ilegal, defined and
penalized by article 481 of the Penal Code and this court finds the defendant guilty and charged
in the information.
"There are neither extenuating nor aggravating circumstances found in the case.
"The court therefore sentence the accused, Tomas Cabanag, to eight years and one day of
prision mayor and to pay the costs of this instance with the accessories of the law."
This sentence can not be sustained. There can be no unlawful detention under article 481 of the
Penal Code without confinement of or restraint of person, such as did not exist in the present
case. (U.S. v. Herrera, March 28, 1904, 3 Phil. Rep., 515.)
Under the complaint for this crime it is possible to convict for coaccion upon proof of the
requisites of that offense (U.S. v. Quevengco, 2 Phil. Rep., 412), but among those requisites is
that of the violence through force or intimidation, even under the liberal rule of our jurisprudence
(U.S. v. Quevengco, supra; U.S. v. Vega, 2 Phil. Rep., 167; U.S. v. Ventosa, 1 4 Off. Gaz, 573);
consequently the charge of coaccion against the accused can not be sustained upon the
evidence.
The Penal Code, chapters 2 and 3, title articles 484 to 490, provides punishment for those who
carry off children under 7 years of age or those who devote children under 16 years of age to
certain hazardous occupations; but none of these articles can apply to the case before us,
except article 486, which punishes him who induces a child over 7 years of age to abandon the
house of its parent or guardian. Under this article it is possible that on full proof of the facts,
Buyag might be held, but not the accused. It was not design of the law to prevent parents or
grandparents from devoting their children to customary work, nor from receiving compensation
for such work in wages or otherwise. Such agreements binding out minors are sanctioned in
most countries, usually however, subject to stipulations for their welfare expressly prescribed by
statute. In the absence of proof of what the agreement of the parties or the custom of the people
called for in respect of the use, treatment, and care of the child, the term of her service and her
final disposition, and particularly in respect of the maintenance of her relations with her
grandmother and the prospect of an ultimate return to her, it is not possible to hold that the
arrangement was a criminal or even an illicit one. The name applied to it by the custom of the
Igorots is not enough to establish that in truth and in effect it was a sale, or anything more than a
contract for services. While there is thing more than a contract for services. While there is much
in this practice to condemn, we do not feel it to be our province to strain the law in order to bring
this local custom of this mountain people to an end. This condition may present matter for the
consideration of the legislature but not for action by the criminal courts. Not even the abhorrent
species of traffic apparently carried on by the accused justifies a sentence not authorized by
law.

First. The employment or custody of a minor with the consent or sufferance of the parents or
guardian, although against the childs own will, can not be considered involuntary servitude.
Second. We are dealing not with a civil remedy but with a criminal charge, in relation to which
the Bill of Rights defines no crime and provides no punishment. Its effects can not be carried into
the realm of criminal law without an act of the legislature.
It is not unnatural that existing penal laws furnish no punishment for involuntary servitude as a
specific crime. In the Kingdoms of the Spanish Peninsula, even in remote times, slavery appears
to have taken but a surface root and to have been speedily cast out, the institution not having
been known therein for centuries. It is only in relation to Spains possessions in the American
Indies that we find regulations in respect to slavery. In general they do not apply in their terms to
the Philippine Islands where the ownership of man by his fellow-man, wherever it existed,
steadily disappeared as Christianity advanced. Among the savage tribes in remote parts, such
customs as flourished-were not the subject of legislation but were left to be dealt with by
religious and civilizing influences. Such of the Spanish laws as touched the subject were ever
humane and radical. In defining slavery, law 1, title 21 of the fourth Partida, calls it "a thing
against the law of nature;" and rule 2, title 34 of the seventh Partida says: "It is a thing which all
men naturally abhor." These were the sentiments of the thirteenth century.
To sum up this case, there is no proof of slavery or even of involuntary servitude, inasmuch as it
has not been clearly shown that the child has been disposed of against the will of her
grandmother or has been taken altogether out of her control. If the facts in this respect be
interpreted otherwise, there is no law applicable here, either of the United States or of the
Archipelago, punishing slavery as a crime. The child was not physically confined or restrained so
as to sustain a conviction for illegal detention, nor are the acts of the accused brought within any
of the provisions of the law for the punishment of offenses against minors; consequently the
conviction in this case must be reversed, in accordance with the recommendation of the
Attorney-General, with costs de oficio, and the prisoner is acquitted.
After the expiration of ten days let judgment be entered in accordance herewith and ten days
thereafter let the case be remained to the court from whence it came for proper action. So
ordered.

The judge below quotes the Bill of Rights of the Philippines contained in the act of Congress of
July 1, 1902, declaring that "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for
crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist in said Islands." This
constitutional provision is self-acting whenever the nature of a case permits and any law or
contract providing for servitude of a person against his will is forbidden and is void. For two
obvious reasons, however, it fails to reach the facts before us:

17

[G.R. NO. 181546 : September 3, 2008]


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. RICARDO ALUNDAY, AccusedAppellant.
Before Us is the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 01164 dated 9
October 2007 which affirmed the Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bontoc, Mountain
Province, Branch 35, in Criminal Case No. 1528, finding accused-appellant Ricardo Alunday
guilty of violation of Section 9, Republic Act No. 6425, otherwise known as "The Dangerous
Drugs Act of 1972."
On 7 August 2000, two information were filed against accused-appellant before the RTC of
Bontoc, Mountain Province, for violating the provisions of Section 9 of Republic Act No. 6425,
otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972,2 and Section 1 of Presidential Decree No.
1866. In Criminal Case No. 1528, accused-appellant was charged with violation of Section 9 of
Republic Act No. 6425, committed in the following manner:
That on or about August 3, 2000, in the morning thereof at a marijuana plantation with an area of
TEN (10) hectares, more or less, and which form part of the public domain at Mount Churyon,
Betwagan, Sadanga, Mountain Province, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
above-named accused, without being authorized by law, and with intent to plant and cultivate,
did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously plant, cultivate and culture marijuana
fruiting tops weighing more than 750 grams, with an estimated value of TEN MILLION
(P10,000,000.00) Pesos, Philippine Currency, knowing fully well that the same is a prohibited
drug or from which a dangerous drug maybe manufactured or derived.3
On the other hand, in Criminal Case No. 1529, accused-appellant was additionally charged with
violation of Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1866,4 committed as follows:
That on or about August 3, 2000, in the morning therof at a marijuana plantation situated at
Mount Churyon, Betwagan, Sadanga, Mountain Province, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, without any license or permit thereof, did then and
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in his possession an M16 Rifle, a high powered
firearm, bearing Serial No. 108639, with engraved marks of "COREY BOKZ" on the left side of
the gun butt and six (6) letter "x" on the handgrip which he carried outside his residence without
any written authority or permit previously acquired from the authorities to carry or transport the
same.5
On 22 November 2000, accused-appellant assisted by a counsel de oficio pleaded not guilty6 to
both charges. Thereafter, a joint trial ensued.During the trial, the prosecution presented the
following witnesses: (a) Senior Police Officer (SPO) 1 George Saipen; (b) SPO1 Felix Angitag;
(c) Police Officer (PO) 2 Joseph Aspilan; (d) Police Senior Inspector Andrew Cayad, Chief,
Intelligence Section, Police Provincial Office, Mountain Province; (e) PO2 Roland Ateo-an; (f)
Edward Sacgaca, Philippine Information Agency; (g) SPO1 Celestino Victor Matias; and (h)
Emilia Gracia Montes, Forensic Analyst, Philippine National Police (PNP), Crime Laboratory,
Camp MBAdo Dangwa, La Trinidad, Benguet.
The defense, on the other hand, presented accused-appellant Ricardo Alunday, Wayto Alunday
and Linda Dalasnac, aunt and daughter respectively, of accused-appellant.The prosecution's
version of the case is as follows: Sometime in May 2000, the Intelligence Section of the Police

18

Provincial Office of Mountain Province received a report from a confidential informant of an


existing marijuana plantation within the vicinity of Mount Churyon, Sadanga, Mountain Province.
Acting on the confidential information, Chief of the Intelligence Section of Mountain Province,
Police Senior Inspector Andrew Cayad (Cayad), engaged the services of another confidential
informant to validate said report. After a series of validations, the confidential informant
confirmed the existence of the subject plantation.7
Cayad reported the matter to the Provincial Director, who immediately directed Cayad to lead a
70-men police contingent to make an operation plan. A joint operation from the whole Mountain
Province Police Force was formed.8 The police operation was termed Operation Banana. On 2
August 2000, a contingent composed of policemen from Bauko, Sabangan, Tadian, Sadanga,
Provincial Headquarters and Bontoc Municipal Headquarters proceeded to Mount Churyon.
Edward Sacgaca of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) was invited to videotape the
operation.9 The team left Bontoc for Betwagan, Sadanga, in the afternoon of 2 August
2000.10 They reached Betwagan at about 6 o'clock in the afternoon and slept there up to
midnight. Thereafter, they proceeded to Mount Churyon where they arrived at around 6 o'clock in
the morning of the following day or on 3 August 2000.11 A group of policemen, one of whom was
SPO1 George Saipen (Saipen) of the Bontoc PNP, was dispatched to scout the area ahead of
the others, while the rest stayed behind as back-up security. At a distance of 30 meters, Saipen,
together with the members of his group, saw Ricardo Alunday (Alunday) herein accusedappellant, cutting and gathering marijuana plants. SPO1 Saipen and others approached Alunday
and introduced themselves as members of the PNP.12 SPO1 Saipen, together with the other
policemen, brought said accused-appellant to a nearby hut.
Inside the hut, the operatives saw an old woman, an M16 rifle and some dried marijuana leaves.
The other members of the raiding team uprooted and thereafter burned the marijuana plants,
while the team from the Provincial Headquarters got some samples of the marijuana plants and
brought the same to their headquarters. The samples were turned over by Police Superintendent
Rodolfo Anagaran to the PNP Crime Laboratory for examination. Emilia Gracia Montes, Forensic
Analyst, PNP Crime Laboratory, Camp MBAdo Dangwa, La Trinidad, Benguet, received 17
pieces of fully grown suspected marijuana plants for laboratory examination and analyses. She
tested the subject specimens and found all to be positive for marijuana.13Accused-appellant
presented a disparate narration of the incident.He vehemently denied the accusations. He
maintained that on 2 August 2000, he went to Mount Churyon to haul the lumber that he had cut
and left by the river. He spent the night at the hut of an old woman named Ligka Baydon.At
around 6:00 o'clock in the morning of the following day or on 3 August 2000, he went out of the
hut to search for squash to cook for breakfast. A group of policemen suddenly came. Two of
them approached him and asked if he owned the marijuana plants growing around the premises
and the land on which these were planted. He answered in the negative and further stated that
he did not even know how a marijuana plant looked like. The policemen then proceeded to
uproot and burn the supposed marijuana plants. Subsequently, the policemen took him with
them to the PNP Headquarters in Bontoc despite his refusal to go with them.Wayto Alunday and
Linda Dalasnac, the aunt and daughter of Ricardo Alunday, respectively, corroborated the latter's
testimony that he was indeed at Mount Churyon on 3 August 2000 to get some lumber.14After
trial, the court a quo found accused-appellant guilty in Crim. Case No. 1528 but was acquitted in
Crim. Case No. 1529. The dispositive portion of the trial court's Decision, dated 8 May 2003
reads:
WHEREFORE, a Joint Judgment is hereby rendered -

1. Sentencing Ricardo Alunday alias "Kayad" in Criminal Case 1528, to suffer the penalty
of reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos-the land involved in the
commission of the offense not having been shown to be part of the public domain;
2. Acquitting the above-named accused in Criminal Case 1529 on reasonable doubt.15
From the decision of conviction, accused-appellant filed a Notice of Appeal.16
On 11 November 2004, accused-appellant filed an appellant's brief17 before the Supreme Court.
On 4 March 2005, the Office of the Solicitor General filed the People's Brief.18
Since the penalty imposed by the trial court was reclusion perpetua, the case was remanded to
the Court of Appeals for appropriate action and disposition pursuant to our ruling in People v.
Mateo.19 On 9 October 2007, the Court of Appeals affirmed the findings and conclusion of the
RTC, the fallo of which reads: WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision dated 8 May 2003 of the
Regional Trial Court, First Judicial Region, Branch 35, Bontoc, Mountain Province is hereby
AFFIRMED.20
Accused-appellant filed a Notice of Appeal21 on 5 November 2007. Thus, the Court of Appeals
forwarded the records of the case to us for further review. In our Resolution22 dated 19 March
2008, the parties were notified that they may file their respective supplemental briefs, if they so
desired, within 30 days from notice. People23 opted not to file a supplemental brief on the ground
that it had exhaustively argued all the relevant issues in its brief, and the filing of a supplemental
brief would only entail a repetition of the arguments already discussed therein. Accusedappellant submitted his supplemental brief on 12 June 2008.
In the beginning, accused-appellant raised a lone error, thus:THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN
FINDING THAT THE GUILT OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT HAS BEEN PROVEN BEYOND
REASONABLE DOUBT.24 Later, in his supplemental brief dated 11 June 2008, he added another
alleged error, thus: THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING CREDENCE TO
THE PROSECUTION'S EVIDENCE DESPITE ITS INADMISSIBILITY FOR BEING THE RESULT
OF AN UNLAWFUL ARREST.25
As regards the guilt of accused-appellant, we find the expostulations of the Court of Appeals
worth reiterating:
It is jurisprudential that factual findings of trial courts especially those which revolve on matters of
credibility of witnesses deserve to be respected when no glaring errors bordering on a gross
misapprehension of the facts, or where no speculative, arbitrary and unsupported conclusions,
can be gleaned from such findings. The evaluation of the credibility of witnesses and their
testimonies are best undertaken by the trial court because of its unique opportunity to observe
the witnesses' deportment, demeanor, conduct and attitude under grilling examination.We have
carefully scrutinized the record and found no cogent reason to depart from this rule.Indeed, in
the case at bench, the prosecution was able to establish the following with conviction:
(1) On 3 August 2000, a police continent raided a marijuana plantation located in Mount
Churyon, Sadanga, Mountain Province. (2) In the course thereof, appellant was seen cutting and
gathering marijuana plants from the premises. (3) There were no other plants except marijuana
which were growing in the said area. (4) There was a hut apparently used by appellant and an
old woman as a camp or temporary dwelling which existed alone within the area of the subject

19

plantation. (5) The samples taken from the said plantation were all found to be positive for
marijuana.
On the face of these positive testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, appellant's bare denials
must necessarily fail. Moreover, it is interesting to note that appellant never mentioned his aunt,
Wayto Alunday, in his testimony. In fact, she contradicted appellant's testimony when she said
that he ate and slept in her hut. This only bolsters the conclusion that Wayto Alunday was not
present when appellant was captured by the police.26
Needless to state, the defense of denial cannot prevail over the positive identification of the
accused.27
Contrarily, we find accused-appellant's posturings tenuous. Again, we cannot deviate from the
Court of Appeals' valid observation:
Aside from appellant's preposterous claim that he was looking for squash in the subject area
where only marijuana plants were planted, he did not advance any explanation for his presence
thereat. Besides, prosecution witness Saipen categorically stated that he caught appellant redhanded harvesting marijuana plants. Thus, We find it facetious that appellant did not even know
what a marijuana plant looked like.
Appellant asserts that the plantation in question was maintained by the Cordillera People's
Liberation Army which witness Cayad confirmed likewise. Thus, appellant theorizes that he could
not have been the perpetrator of the crime charged.
We find appellant's assertion specious. A perusal of Section 9, Art. II of R.A. No. 6425 shows that
a violation exists when a person shall cultivate, plant or culture on any medium Indian hemp,
opium poppy (papaver somniferum) or any other plant which may hereafter be classified as
dangerous drug. Indeed, ownership of the land where the marijuana seedlings are planted,
cultivated and cultured is not a requisite of the offense.28
Accused-appellant further assails his conviction for being improper and illegal asserting that the
courta quo never acquired jurisdiction over his person because he was arrested without a
warrant and that his warrantless arrest was not done under any of the circumstances
enumerated in Section 5, Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules of Court. He insists that the arresting
officers had three months within which to secure a warrant from the time they received the
information about an existing marijuana plantation in Mount Churyon, Sadanga, in May 2000,
until they effected accused-appellant's arrest on 3 August 2000. Also, accused maintains that the
arresting officers' failure to secure a warrant can never be justified by the urgency of the
situation. Accused-appellant's claim of irregularity in his arrest is, at the most, limp. Section 5,
Rule 113 of the Rules of Court provides: Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. - A peace
officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is
attempting to commit an offense; (b) When an offense has just been committed and he has
probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the
person to be arrested has committed it; (c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who
has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or is
temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one
confinement to another.

Section 5(a) provides that a peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a
person when, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing,
or is attempting to commit, an offense. Section 5(a) refers to arrest in flagrante
delicto.29 In flagrante delicto means caught in the act of committing a crime. This rule, which
warrants the arrest of a person without warrant, requires that the person arrested has just
committed a crime, or is committing it, or is about to commit an offense, in the presence or within
view of the arresting officer.30It must be recalled that the Intelligence Section of the Provincial
Office of the Mountain Province received the information sometime in May 2000, and accusedappellant was arrested by SPO1 Saipen during the police raid at the plantation at Mount
Churyon, Sadanga, only on 3 August 2000. This is so because the arrest was effected only after
a series of validations31 conducted by the team to verify or confirm the report that indeed a
marijuana plantation existed at the area and after an operation plan was formed. As admitted by
the accused in his supplemental brief, the information about the existing marijuana plantation
was finally confirmed only on 2 August 2000.32 On 3 August 2000, the arresting team of SPO1
Saipen proceeded to the marijuana plantation. SPO1 Saipen saw accused-appellant personally
cutting and gathering marijuana plants. Thus, accused-appellant's arrest on 3 August 2000 was
legal, because he was caught in flagrante delicto; that is, the persons arrested were committing
a crime in the presence of the arresting officers.33In People v. Sucro34 we held that when a
police officer sees the offense, although at a distance, or hears the disturbances created thereby,
and proceeds at once to the scene thereof, he may effect an arrest without a warrant on the
basis of Section 5, par. (a), Rule 113 of the Rules of Court as the offense is deemed committed
in his presence or within his view. In essence, Section 5, par. (a), Rule 113, requires that the
accused be caught in flagrante delicto or caught in the act of committing a crime.
SPO1 George Saipen testified on direct examination, thus:
Q.
When you reached that Mount Churyon at about 6:00 o'clock in the morning of August 3,
2000, what did you see there Mr. Witness, if any?cralawred
A.
We were able to see a man cutting plants which we came to know as marijuana
plants.
Q.
You said we, who were you companions when you saw a man cutting marijuana?
A.
The Bontoc Operatives.
Q.
All of you?
A.
Yes, sir.
Q.
You mentioned a while back about marijuana plantation, will you describe to us why you
say that [it] is a marijuana plantation?
A.
That is marijuana plantation because I think, more or less four (4) hectares were planted
with marijuana plants.
Q.
And how tall were these marijuana plants in that marijuana plantation Mr. Witness?
A.
Some are fully grown around 4 to 5 feet while some are still young about 2 feet while
some are still seedling.
Q.
And you said that you saw a man gathering marijuana plants, how far were you when you
saw this man? Could you give us an estimate?
A.
From this witness stand up to there.
COURT:You stipulate counsel.
PROS. DOMINGUEZ:About 30 meters, Your Honor.
PROS. DOMINGUEZ:And how was the terrain of that Mount Churyon, is it flat?
A.
Where the plantation is located it is somewhat slope and a little bit flat.
Q.
You mean rolling hills?
A.
Yes, sir.
Q.
What did you do when you saw a man cutting or gathering marijuana plants?

20

A.
Upon seeing that man cutting marijuana plants, I cautioned my companions at my back
telling them that there is a man down cutting marijuana which prompted them to move; that
others proceeded to the camp while me and my one companion went to the man and cautioned
him not to make unnecessary movements.35

All told, the cultivation of marijuana fruiting tops by accused-appellant having been established
beyond reasonable doubt, we are constrained to uphold appellant's conviction. The penalty
imposed by the RTC, as affirmed by the Court of Appeals, being in accord with law, is likewise
affirmed.

The Court has consistently ruled that any objection involving a warrant of arrest or the procedure
for the acquisition by the court of jurisdiction over the person of the accused must be made
before he enters his plea; otherwise, the objection is deemed waived.36 We have also ruled that
an accused may be estopped from assailing the illegality of his arrest if he fails to move for the
quashing of the information against him before his arraignment.37 And since the legality of an
arrest affects only the jurisdiction of the court over the person of the accused, any defect in the
arrest of the accused may be deemed cured when he voluntarily submits to the jurisdiction of the
trial court.38 We have also held in a number of cases that the illegal arrest of an accused is not a
sufficient cause for setting aside a valid judgment rendered upon a sufficient complaint after a
trial free from error; such arrest does not negate the validity of the conviction of the accused.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision dated 9 October 2007 of the Court of Appeals
in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 01164, affirming in toto the Decision of the Regional Trial Court, First
Judicial Region, Branch 35, Bontoc, Mountain Province, in Criminal Case No. 1528, is
hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

Herein, accused-appellant went into arraignment and entered a plea of not guilty. Thereafter, he
actively participated in his trial. He raised the additional issue of irregularity of his arrest only
during his appeal to this Court. He is, therefore, deemed to have waived such alleged defect by
submitting himself to the jurisdiction of the court by his counsel-assisted plea during his
arraignment; by his actively participating in the trial and by not raising the objection before his
arraignment.It is much too late in the day to complain about the warrantless arrest after a valid
information has been filed, the accused arraigned, trial commenced and completed, and a
judgment of conviction rendered against him.39Accused-appellant was not even denied due
process by virtue of his alleged illegal arrest, because of his voluntary submission to the
jurisdiction of the trial court, as manifested by the voluntary and counsel-assisted plea he
entered during arraignment and by his active participation in the trial thereafter.40In challenging
the existence of a legitimate buy-bust operation, appellant casts questionable, if not improper,
motive on the part of the police officers. Unfortunately for appellant, jurisprudence instructs us
that in cases involving illegal drugs, credence is given to prosecution witnesses who are police
officers, for they are presumed to have performed their duties in a regular manner, unless there
is evidence to the contrary.41 Where there is nothing to indicate that the witnesses for the
prosecution were moved by improper motives, the presumption is that they were not so moved
and their testimony, therefore, is entitled to full faith and credit. 42 In this case, the records are
bereft of any indication which even remotely suggests ill motive on the part of the police officers.
The following observations of the trial court are, indeed, appropriate, thus:
Absent as it is in the record indications of personal interest or improper motive on their part to
testify against the accused, the witnesses for the prosecution being government law enforcers
and/or officials, actually present during the incident in question in the performance of their duties,
are trustworthy sources. And the recollections in open court of such witnesses of the events that
transpired on the occasion, given in clear and direct manner, corroborating and complimenting
each other on material points, and highly probable in the natural order of things, are easy to
believe and thus accorded full credence.In contrast, the accused himself, his aunt, and his
daughter who testified in behalf of the former are obviously biased and unreliable witnesses on
account of self-interest and blood kinship. Situated as they are, their inclination to be truthful is
highly suspect. And quite aside from being self-serving and dubious, their testimonies are
inconsistent, and manifestly concocted or improbable to be seriously considered.43

21

[G.R. No. 178039 : January 19, 2011]


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ERNESTO UYBOCO Y
RAMOS, Defendant-Appellant.
Subject of this appeal is the 27 September 2006 Decision[1] promulgated by the Court of Appeals,
affirming the Regional Trial Court's (RTC) Judgment[2] in Criminal Case Nos. 93-130980, 93132606, and 93-132607, finding Ernesto Uyboco y Ramos (appellant) guilty of three (3) counts
of kidnapping for ransom.
Appellant, along with now deceased Colonel Wilfredo Macias (Macias) and several John Does
were charged in three separate Informations, which read as follow:
In Criminal Case No. 93-130980:That in the morning of December 20, 1993 and for sometime
subsequent thereto in Manila and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another, did then and there
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously kidnap, carry away and detain the minor, JESON KEVIN
DICHAVES, five (5) years old, against his will and consent, thus depriving him of his liberty, for
the purpose of extorting ransom for his release, which after payment thereof in the amount of
P1,320,000.00 in cash and P175,000.00 worth of assorted jewelry, including a Colt .45 Caliber
Pistol with SN 14836 or a total of ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS
(P1,500,000.00) was divided by said accused between and/or among themselves to the damage
and prejudice of the aforementioned victim/or his parents.[3]

In Criminal Case No. 93-132606:That in the morning of December 20, 1993 and for sometime
subsequent thereto in Manila and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another, did then and there
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously kidnap, carry away and detain the minor, JESON KIRBY
DICHAVES, two (2) years old, against his will and consent, thus depriving him of his liberty, for
the purpose of extorting ransom for his release, which after payment thereof in the amount of
P1,320,000.00 in cash and P175,000.00 worth of assorted jewelry, including a Colt .45 Caliber
Pistol with SN 14836 or a total of ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS
(P1,500,000.00) was divided by said accused between and/or among themselves to the damage
and prejudice of the aforementioned victim/or his parents.[4]

In Criminal Case No. 93-132607:That in the morning of December 20, 1993 and for sometime
subsequent thereto in Manila and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another, did then and there
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously kidnap, carry away and detain NIMFA CELIZ, against her will
and consent, thus depriving her of liberty, for the purpose of extorting ransom for her release,
which after payment thereof in the amount of P1,320,000.00 in cash and P175,000.00 worth of
assorted jewelry, including a Colt .45 Caliber Pistol with SN 14836 or a total of ONE MILLION
FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P1,500,000.00) was divided by said accused between
and/or among themselves to the damage and prejudice of the aforementioned victim. [5]
The arraignment was held in abeyance twice.[6] Finally, the arraignment was set on 22 October
1996. Appellant and Macias, with the assistance of their counsels, however refused to enter a
plea. This prompted the RTC to enter a plea of "Not Guilty" for each of them. Trial on the merits
ensued. The prosecution presented the following witnesses: Nimfa Celiz (Nimfa), Jepson
Dichaves (Jepson), Police Superintendent Gilbert Cruz (P/Supt. Cruz), Police Superintendent
Mario Chan (P/Supt. Chan), Police Inspector Cesar Escandor (P/Insp. Escandor) and Carolina
Alejo, whose version of facts are summarized as follows:
At around 10:30 a.m. on 20 December 1993, Nimfa and her wards, siblings Jeson Kevin and
Jeson Kirby Dichaves were riding in the Isuzu car of the Dichaves family, together with Yusan

Dichaves (Yusan). Driver Pepito Acon (Acon) dropped off Yusan at Metrobank in Claro M. Recto
Avenue, Manila. While waiting for Yusan, Acon drove along Bilibid Viejo, Sampaloc. When the
vehicle passed by in front of San Sebastian Church, a stainless jeep with two men and one
woman described as a tomboyon board, suddenly blocked its way. One of the men, who was in
police uniform accosted Acon and accused him of hitting the son of a Presidential Security
Group (PSG) General apparently with a stone when the vehicle ran over it. Acon denied the
charges but he was transferred to the stainless jeep while the man in police uniform drove the
Isuzu car. The tomboy sat next to Nimfa who then had Jeson Kirby sit on her lap while Jeson
Kevin was sitting on the tomboy's lap. They were brought to a house in Merville Subdivision,
Paraaque.[7]
While still in garage of the house, Nimfa was able to sneak out of the car and place a call to the
secretary of her employer to inform the latter that they were in Merville Subdivision. She came
back to the car undetected and after a while, she and her wards were asked to alight from the
car and they were locked inside the comfort room.[8]
Jepson was at his office at 10:00 a.m. of 20 December 1993. He received a call from his wife
asking him if Nimfa or Acon called up, as she had been waiting for them at Metrobank where she
was dropped off earlier. After 15 minutes, Yusan called again and was already hysterical
because she could not find the car when she roamed around the area. Jepson immediately
called up his brother Jaime and some police officers to inform them that his sons were missing.
When Jepson arrived at Metrobank at around 11:30 a.m., he received a call from his secretary
informing him that Nimfa called about their whereabouts. When Jepson got back to his office,
his secretary informed him that an unidentified man called to inform them that he has custody of
the children and demanded P26 Million.[9]
Meanwhile in Merville Subdivision, the man in police uniform introduced himself to Nimfa as
Sarge. He asked Nimfa for information regarding her name and her employer's telephone
number. She feigned ignorance of those information. She even claimed that she was merely a
new employee.[10] Sarge informed Nimfa that they were in Fairview and that she was asked if
she knew how to go home. Nimfa chose to stay with her wards. When the phone rang, Sarge
went out of the house and Nimfa again sneaked a phone call to her employer informing them
that they were being held up in Merville Subdivision.[11]
Jepson, through Jaime's help, went to the house of then Vice-President Joseph Estrada (VicePresident Estrada) at 8:00 p.m. Thereat, he met General Jewel Canson (Gen. Canson), General
Panfilo Lacson (Gen. Lacson) and Major Ray Aquino (Major Aquino). Vice-President Estrada
ordered the police generals to rescue Jepson's sons and arrest the kidnappers.[12]
At 6:00 p.m., the kidnappers called Jepson and reduced the ransom to P10 Million.[13] That night,
Nimfa was able to speak to Jepson when two men handed the telephone to her. She recognized
one of them as appellant, because she had seen the latter in her employer's office sometime in
the first week of December 1993.[14]
On the following noon of 21 December 1993, the kidnappers called up Jepson numerous times
to negotiate for the ransom. In one of those calls, Jepson was able to recognize the voice of
appellant because he had several business transactions with the latter and they have talked for
at least a hundred times during a span of two to four years.[15]
On 22 December 1993, the parties finally agreed to a ransom of P1.5 Million. Jepson offered
P1.3 Million in cash and the balance to be paid in kind, such as jewelry and a pistol. [16] Appellant
asked Jepson to bring the ransom alone at Pancake House in Magallanes Commercial Center.
Jepson called up Gen. Canson and Gen. Lacson to inform them of the pay-off.[17]
At around 1:00 p.m. of even date, Nimfa was able to talk to Jepson and the latter informed her
that they would be released that afternoon.[18] At 3:00 p.m., Jepson drove his white Toyota
Corolla car and proceeded to Pancake House in Magallanes Commercial Center. He placed the
money inside a gray bag and put it on the backseat. Jepson received a call from appellant at
4:00 p.m. who ordered him to put the bag in the trunk, leave the trunk unlocked, and walk away
for ten (10) minutes without turning back. Later, appellant checked on his trunk and the bag was
already gone. Appellant then apprised him that his sons and helper were already at the Shell

22

Gasoline Station along South Luzon Expressway. He immediately went to the place and found
his sons and helper seated at the corner of the gas station.[19]
P/Insp. Escandor was assigned to proceed to Magallanes Commercial Center, together with two
other police officers. They reached the place at 3:30 p.m. and positioned themselves in front of
the Maranao Arcade located at Magallanes Commercial Center. He brought a camera to cover
the supposed pay-off. He took a total of 24 shots.[20] He identified Macias together with
appellant in Magallanes Commercial Center and the latter as the one who took the ransom.[21]
P/Supt. Chan was one of the team leaders dispatched also at Magallanes Commercial Center in
Makati on 22 December 1993 to take a video coverage on the supposed pay-off. He witnessed
the pay-off and identified appellant as the one who took the bag containing the ransom money
from the car trunk of Jepson.[22]
P/Supt. Cruz is assigned to the now defunct Presidential Anti-Crime Commission Task Force
Habagat and one of the team leaders of Special Project Task Force organized on 22 December
1993 with the primary task of apprehending the kidnappers of Dichaves' children and helper. His
group was assigned at Fort Bonifacio to await instructions from the overall Field Command
Officer Gen. Lacson. They had been waiting from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. when they received
information that the kidnap victims were released unharmed. They were further asked to
maintain their position in Fort Bonifacio. At around 7:45 p.m., they heard on their radio that the
suspect's vehicle, a red Nissan Sentra was heading in their direction. A few minutes later, they
saw the red car and tailed it until it reached Dasmarias Village in Makati. They continuously
followed the car inside the village. When said car slowed down, they blocked it and immediately
approached the vehicle.[23]
They introduced themselves as police officers and accosted the suspect, who turned out to be
appellant. Appellant suddenly pulled a .38 caliber revolver and a scuffle took place. They
managed to subdue appellant and handcuffed him. Appellant was requested to open the
compartment and a gray bag was found inside. P/Supt. Cruz saw money, jewelry and a gun
inside the bag. Appellant was then brought to Camp Crame for questioning. [24]
At 8:00 p.m., Jepson received a call from Gen. Lacson asking him to go to Camp Crame. He
and Nimfa went to Camp Crame where he saw appellant alone in the office of Gen. Canson. He
then saw the bag containing the ransom money, pieces of jewelry and his gun on the table.
Photographs were taken and Jepson was asked to identify them.[25]
A written inventory was prepared on the contents of the bag.[26] It was found out that a portion of
the ransom money was missing. It was then that appellant revealed that the missing money was
in the possession of Macias. Appellant accompanied P/Supt. Cruz and his team to the residence
of Macias in Camp Aguinaldo. P/Supt. Cruz waited for Macias until 4:00 a.m. on the following
day and placed him under arrest. Macias was asked where the rest of the ransom money was
and Macias went inside the house and retrieved a red bag inside a small cabinet. P/Supt. Cruz
prepared a receipt of the seized property from Macias. Macias placed his signature on the
receipt.[27]
Carolina Alejo was the owner of the house in Merville Subdivision where the kidnap victims were
detained. She stated that she leased the house to appellant. On 23 December 1993, it came to
her knowledge that said house was used in the kidnapping. She noticed that the lock of the
comfort room was reversed so that it could only be locked from the outside. She considered this
unusual because she personally caused the door knob to be installed. [28]
The defense, on its part, presented appellant, Florinda Sese Barcelona (Ms. Sese), Dr. Jaime
Leal (Dr. Leal), and retired Colonel Ramon Navarro (Col. Navarro).
Appellant testified that he came to know Jepson when he was introduced to him by Col. Navarro
in 1989 as the importer of police equipment and accessories. Jepson wanted to buy revolving
lights, police sirens and paging system. Through Navarro, appellant also met Macias who was

then selling his security agency in July 1993. He admitted that Jepson had been lending him
money since 1990 and his total borrowings amounted to P8.5 Million in December 1993.
Appellant also knew Nimfa since 1990 and had met her five (5) times in the office of Jepson
where Nimfa usually served him coffee.[29]
In December 1993, he rented a house in Merville Subdivision for his mother. He was given the
key to the house in 15 December 1993 but he denied going to said place on 20, 21, 22, 23 of
December 1993.
At 3:00 p.m. of 20 December 1993, he received a call from Jepson asking for P1 Million, as
partial payment of his loan. Jepson informed appellant that his sons were kidnapped and he
requested appellant to negotiate with the kidnappers for the release of his children. Out of pity,
appellant agreed. He actively participated in the negotiations between 20 to 22 of December
1993, where he successfully negotiated a lower ransom of P1.5 Million.
On 11:30 a.m. of 22 December 1993, Jepson again requested appellant to deliver the ransom
money to the kidnappers. Appellant acceded to the request. He asked Macias, who was in his
office that day, to accompany him. The kidnappers asked appellant to proceed to the Makati
area and wait for further instructions. Appellant called up Jepson who told him that he would
deliver the money to appellant once instructions were given by the kidnappers. The kidnappers
finally called and asked appellant to proceed to Shell Gasoline Station-Magallanes. He informed
Jepson of this fact and the latter asked appellant to meet him in Magallanes Commercial Center
where he would just put the money inside the car trunk and leave it unlocked. Appellant took the
money from Jepson's car and put it inside his car trunk and proceeded to Shell Gasoline station.
[30]
Appellant and Macias did not see the kidnappers and Jepson's children at the station. He
tried calling Jepson but failed to communicate with him. They then decided to go back to the
office in Cubao, Quezon City. At 7:00 p.m., he received a call from the kidnappers who were
cursing him because they apparently went to the Shell Gasoline Station and noticed that there
were many policemen stationed in the area, which prompted them to release the victims.
Appellant left his office at around 7:20 p.m. to go home in Dasmarias Village, Makati. When
he was about ten (10) meters away from the gate of his house, a car blocked his path. He saw
P/Supt. Cruz, a certain Lt. Rodica and two other men alight from the car and were heavily
armed. They pulled him out of the car and hit him with their firearms. [31]
Ms. Sese was at the office of appellant on 22 December 1993 when she was told by the
secretary, who appeared shaken, that a caller was looking for appellant. She saw appellant
arrive at the office with Macias.[32]
Dr. Leal, the medico-legal officer at Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory,
presented the medico-legal certificate of appellant and testified that the injuries of appellant
could have been sustained during the scuffle.[33]
Col. Navarro introduced appellant to Jepson. He was privy to the loan transactions between
appellant and Jepson where the former asked loans from the latter. He even served as
guarantor of some of the obligations of appellant. When the checks issued by appellant were
dishonored by the bank, Jepson filed a case against Navarro for violation of Batas
Pambansa Blg. 22, wherein the latter was eventually acquitted.[34]
While the criminal cases were undergoing trial, Macias died. Consequently, his criminal liability
is totally extinguished under Article 89, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code.[35]
On 30 August 2002, the RTC rendered judgment finding appellant guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of kidnapping for ransom. The dispositive portion reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered herein accused Ernesto Ramos Uyboco is hereby found
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Kidnapping for Ransom penalized by Article 267
of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. 1084. He is hereby ordered to suffer the prison

23

term of reclusion perpetua for three (3) counts together with the accessory penalties provided by
law. He should pay private complainant Jepson Dichaves the amount of P150,000.00 as moral
damages.
The above-described .45 Caliber Colt Pistol and 12-gauge Remington shotgun as well as the
Nissan Sentra 4-Door Sedan are hereby confiscated in favor of the government.
The Warden of Metro Manila Rehabilitation Center, Camp Ricardo R. Papa, Bicutan, Taguig,
Metro Manila is hereby ordered to immediately transfer the said accused to the Bureau of
Corrections, National Bilibid Prison, Muntinlupa City. The Jail Director of said bureau is ordered
to inform this court in writing soonest as to when the said official took custody of the accused.[36]
The trial court held that the prosecution had established with the required quantum of evidence
that the elements of kidnapping for ransom were present and that appellant was the author of
said crime.
Appellant filed a notice of appeal to the Supreme Court. Conformably to People v. Mateo,[37] this
Court in a Resolution dated 6 September 2004, referred the case to the Court of Appeals for
appropriate action and disposition.[38]
On 27 September 2006, the Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the Decision of the RTC, the
dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, the August 30, 2002 Decision of the Regional Trial Court, national Capital
Judicial Region, Br. 18, Manila, in Criminal Cases Nos. 93-130980, 93-132606, and 93-132607,
in convicting Ernesto Uyboco of three (3) counts of Kidnapping for Ransom is hereby
AFFIRMED in toto. No costs.[39]
A motion for reconsideration was filed by appellant but the same was denied in a Resolution
dated 22 December 2006. Hence, this appeal.
On 3 September 2007, this Court required the parties to file their respective supplemental briefs.
On 25 October 2007, appellant's counsel filed a withdrawal of appearance. Appellee manifested
that it is no longer filing a Supplemental Brief.[40] Meanwhile, this Court appointed the Public
Attorney's Office as counsel de oficio for appellant. Appellee also filed a manifestation that it is
merely adopting all the arguments in the appellant's brief submitted before the Court of Appeals.
[41]

I.

V.

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING MOST OF THE OBJECT EVIDENCE


PRESENTED AGAINST THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT SINCE THEY WERE PROCURED IN
VIOLATION OF HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

VI.

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING OF FACT THAT THE MERVILLE PROPERTY
LEASED BY ACCUSED-APPELLANT FROM MS. CAROLINA ALEJO WAS THE VERY SAME
HOUSE WHERE NIMFA CELIZ AND HER WARDS WERE ALLEGEDLY DETAINED.

VII.

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT ACCUSED UYBOCO AS HAVING


PARTICIPATED IN THE ABDUCTION OF JESON KEVIN, JESON KIRBY, AND NIMFA CELIZ AS
NOT A SINGLE EVIDENCE ON RECORD SUPPORTS THE SAME.

VIII.

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT ACQUITTING THE ACCUSED CONSIDERING THAT
ABDUCTION, AN IMPORTANT ELEMENT OF THE CRIME, WAS NEVER ESTABLISHED
AGAINST HIM

IX.

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THE ACCUSED GUILTY OF KIDNAPPING FOR
RANSOM WITHOUT DISCUSSING THE PARTICIPATION OF ACCUSED MACIAS
CONSIDERING THAT THE CHARGE WAS FOR CONSPIRACY.[42]

The ultimate issue in every criminal case is whether appellant's guilt has been proven beyond
reasonable doubt. Guided by the law and jurisprudential precepts, this Court is unerringly led to
resolve this issue in the affirmative, as we shall hereinafter discuss.
In order for the accused to be convicted of kidnapping and serious illegal detention under Article
267 of the Revised Penal Code, the prosecution is burdened to prove beyond reasonable doubt
all the elements of the crime, namely: (1) the offender is a private individual; (2) he kidnaps or
detains another, or in any manner deprives the latter of his liberty; (3) the act of detention or
kidnapping must be illegal; and (4) in the commission of the offense any of the following
circumstances is present: (a) the kidnapping or detention lasts for more than three days; (b) it is
committed by simulating public authority; (c) serious physical injuries are inflicted upon the
person kidnapped or detained or threats to kill him are made; or (d) the person kidnapped and
kept in detained is a minor, the duration of his detention is immaterial. Likewise, if the victim is
kidnapped and illegally detained for the purpose of extorting ransom, the duration of his
detention is immaterial.[43]

Appellant prays for a reversal of his conviction on three (3) counts of kidnapping for ransom
based on the following assignment of errors:

We are in full accord with the findings of the trial court that these elements were proven by the
prosecution, thus:

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT DESPITE


THE DISTURBING WHISPERS OF DOUBT REPLETE IN THE PROSECUTION'S THEORY.

1) Accused Uyboco is a private individual;

II.

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GIVING CREDENCE TO NIMFA CELIZ' TESTIMONY


NOTWITHSTANDING THE INCREDIBILITY OF HER STORY.

III.

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN PRESUMING REGULARITY IN THE PERFORMANCE OF


OFFICIAL FUNCTIONS OVER THE CONSTITUTIONAL PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE OF
THE ACCUSED UYBOCO.

IV.

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING THE TESTIMONY OF JEPSON DICHAVEZ


NOTWITHSTANDING HIS DISPLAYED PROPENSITY FOR UNTRUTHFULNESS

2) Accused Uyboco together with the unidentified persons/companions of accused Uyboco,


referred to as John Does, forcibly abducted the two sons of private complainant Jepson
Dichaves, namely: then five-year-old Jeson Kevin and two-year old Jeson Kirby as well as their
maid or "yaya" Nimfa Celiz. Their abduction occurred at about 10:30 in the morning of
December 20, 1993. The three victims were on board Jepson's Isuzu pick-up driven by Jepson's
driver Pepito Acon. The moving pick-up was in front of San Sebastian Church, Legarda, Manila
when its path was blocked by a stainless jeep. A man in white t-shirt and brown vest accosted
driver Pepito for having allegedly ran over a stone that hit a son of a general working at the
Presidential Security Group. Pepito was made to ride in a jeep. The same man drove the pickup to a house in Merville Subdivision, Paranaque, Metro Manila, where the victims were illegally
detained from December 20 to 23, 1993.chanrobleslawlibrary
xxxx

24

3) The act of the detention or kidnapping of the three victims was indubitably illegal. Their
detention was not ordered by any competent authority but by the private individual whose mind
and heart were focused to illegally amassed huge amount of money thru force and coercion for
personal gain;
xxxx
5) Both accused Uyboco and Macias had successfully extorted ransom by compelling the
parents of the minors to give in to their unreasonable demands to get the huge amount of
money, a gun, and pieces of jewelry x x x.[44]
These facts were based on the narrations of the prosecution's witnesses, particularly that of
Nimfa, the victim herself and Jepson, the father of the two children abducted and the person
from whom ransom was extorted. Nimfa recounted how she and her wards were abducted in the
morning of 20 December 2003 and detained in a house in Merville Subdivision, Paraaque,
thus:
A: When we arrived at the office after awhile we boarded the pick-up and then we left, Sir.
A: Those who boarded the pick-up, the driver Pepito Acon, Mrs. Yusan Dichavez, the two (2)
children and myself, Sir.
A: We proceeded to Metrobank Recto, Sir.
Q: And when you stopped there, what happened?
A: Mrs. Yusan Dichavez alighted in order to cross the street to go to Metrobank, Sir.
Q: And then what followed next?
A: The driver, Jeson Kirvy, Jeson Kervin and myself made a right turn and we entered an alley,
Sir.
Q: Before reaching Legarda, do you know of any untowards incident that happened?
A: Yes, sir.
ATTY. PAMARAN: Q: What?
A: When we were already in front of the San Sebastian Church and Sta. Rita College there was
a stainless jeep that block our path, Sir.
Q: How many persons were inside that stainless jeep, if you know?
A: I have not notice, but there were many, Sir
Q: How did that stainless jeep stop your vehicle?
A: Our driver Pepito Acon was signaled by the persons on the stainless jeep to stay on the side,
sir.
Q: What did your driver Pepito Acon do when the sign was made to him?
A: The driver stopped the pick-up and set on the side, Sir.
Q: And then what followed next after he stopped?
A: The man told us that we will be brought to the precinct because when we then make a turn at
Kentucky a stone was ran and hit the son of the General of PSG from Malacaang, Sir
Q: What did Pepito Acon do? When told to alight?
A: Pepito Acon alighted, Sir.
Q: Then what followed next?
A: After that Pepito alighted and the man who came from the stainless jeep boarded and he was
the one who drove, Sir.
A: When that man boarded the pick-up there was a T-bird who also boarded on the passenger's
side, Sir.
Q: When you entered the gate of Merville Subdivision, where did you proceed?
A: When we entered the gate there was a street which I do not know and when we went straight
as to my estimate we were going back to the main gate, Sir
A: The pick-up stopped in front of a low house near the gate, Sir.
Q: When you stopped in front of the gate, that house which is low, what happened?
A: The tomboy alighted and opened the gate of that low house, Sir

Q: What followed next after the tomboy opened the gate?


A: After the tomboy opened the gate, the driver entered the pick-up inside, Sir.
Q: And when you entered the house, what happened?
A: When we entered the house we were confined at the comfort room, Sir.[45]
Jepson gave an account how appellant demanded ransom from him and eventually got hold of
the money, thus:
A: Then Macias offered the release of the two (2) boys for 1.5 Million each, Sir.
A: Then I started begging and bargaining with them and then suddenly Uyboco was again the
one continuing the conversation, Sir.
Q: What did you say?
A: After some bargaining and beggings he reduced the demand to 1.7 million, and he asked for
my wife to talk to because according to him I was very hard to talk too, Sir.
ATTY. PAMARAN:
Q: You said he, to whom are you referring?
A: To Mr. Uyboco, Sir.
Q: What followed?
A: After some more bargaining and begins he further reduced their demand to1.5 million x x x.
Q: And after that what followed?
A: I offered them to fill up the different (sic) in kind, Sir.
Q: Why to offer the different (sic) in kind?
A: To fill up the different (sic) between 1.3 million to 1.5 million, Sir
Q: So in short, how much cash did you offer?
A: I offered it for 1.3 million, Sir.
Q: How about the different (sic), what will it be?
A: At this point, he asked me to include my gun, Sir.
Q: How about the other balance?
A: My jewelry, Sir.[46]
Q: And what did you do after you were in possession of the money, the jewelries, the gun and
the bag?
A: I returned to my office and put the cash in the bag.chanrobleslawlibrary
Q: In short, what were those inside the bag?
A: The P1.325 million money, the gun and the assorted jewelries.chanrobleslawlibrary
Q: And after placing them inside the bag, what happened?
A: I left my office at 3:00 PM to proceed to the Pancake House at the
Magallanes Commercial Center.chanrobleslawlibrary
Q: Where did you place that bag?
A: That bag, at that time, was placed at the back seat when I was going to the Pancake House.
Q: What else did he tell you?
A: He told me to put the ransom bag x x x inside my trunk compartment, leave it and lock the car,
and walk away without looking back for ten (10) minutes.
Q: After that instruction, what happened, or what did you do?
A: After few minutes, he called again. He told me to drive and park the car beside the car
Mitsubishi Colt Mirage with Plate NO. NRZ-863.chanrobleslawlibrary
Q: Did he tell you where was that Colt Mirage car parked?
A: Yes, in front of the Mercury Drug Store.
Q: And then, what did you do?
A: I followed his instruction.
Q: And what followed next?
A: After few more minutes, he called again and asked if I am in front of the Mercury Drug Store
already.
Q: And what was your answer?
A: I told him yes and he again gave me the final arrangement, but he uttered I walk back towards
the Pancake House without looking back for ten (10) minutes.
Q: And?

25

A: And informing me the whereabouts of my sons.


ATTY. PAMARAN:Q: Did you comply with that instruction?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What did you do?
A: I walked towards the Pancake House without looking back for more than ten (10) minutes.
Q: That car that you parked near the Mitsubishi Colt, how far was your car the parked form that
Colt Mirage?
A: Beside the Colt Mirage, Sir.chanrobleslawlibrary
Q: And after you parked the car, what followed?
A: I walked towards the Pancake House without looking back and then I turned to the back of the
supermarket and I checked my trunk and saw that the bag is gone already.
Q: And what followed thereafter?
A: A few minutes, Uyboco called up and told me that my sons were at the shell station after the
Magallanes Commercial Center inside the Bibingkahan.[47]
Now, appellant seeks to destroy the credibility of these witnesses by imputing inconsistencies,
untruthfulness and incredibility in their testimonies. Appellant harps on the supposed
inconsistencies in the testimony of Nimfa, namely: First, Nimfa stated that on the day they were
to be released, they, together with Macias, left Merville Subdivision at 4:00 p.m. while appellant
stayed behind. However, P/Insp. Escandor testified that at around 4:00 p.m., he saw Macias
and appellant at Magallanes Commercial Center. Second, Nimfa could not properly identify the
number of kidnappers. Third, Nimfa failed to state in her affidavit and during the direct
examination that Sarge had a gun, but later on cross-examination, she intimated that Sarge had
a gun. Fourth, it was incredible that Nimfa was able to identify the route taken by the kidnappers
to the safe house because she was not allegedly blindfolded. Fifth, it was strange for Nimfa to
say that two persons, Macias and appellant, were holding the receiver and the dialing
mechanism whenever they hand the phone to her. Sixth, it was impossible for Nimfa to have
access to an operational telephone while in captivity.[48] The Court of Appeals correctly
dismissed these inconsistencies as immaterial, in this wise:
The purported inconsistencies and discrepancies involve estimations of time or number; hence,
the reference thereto would understandably vary. The rule is that inconsistencies in the
testimonies of prosecution witnesses on minor details and collateral matters do not affect the
substance of their declaration, their veracity or the weight of their testimonies. The
inconsistencies and discrepancies of the testimonies, in the case at bar, are not of such nature
as would warrant the reversal of the decision appealed from. On the contrary, such trivial
inconsistencies strengthen, rather than diminish, Celiz' testimony as they erase suspicion that
the same was rehearsed. The fact that Uyboco and his companions neither donned masks to
hide their faces nor blindfolded or tied up their victims goes to show their brazenness in
perpetrating the crime. Besides, familiarity with the victims or their families has never rendered
the commission of the crime improbable, but has in fact at times even facilitated its commission.
Moreover, the fact that there was a usable phone in the house where Celiz and the kids were
held captive only proves that, in this real world, mistakes or blunders are made and there is no
such thing as a perfect crime. On a different view, it may even be posited that the incredible
happenings narrated by Celiz only highlights the brilliance of Uyboco and his companions. Verily,
in committing the crime of kidnapping with ransom, they adopted and pursued unfamiliar
strategies to confuse the police authorities, the victim, and the family of the victims.[49]Appellant
then zeroes in on Jepson and accuses him of lying under oath when he claimed that appellant
owed him only P2.3 Million when in fact, appellant owed him P8.5 Million. Appellant charges
Jepson of downplaying his closeness to him when in fact they had several business deals and
Jepson would address appellant as "Ernie." Moreover, it was unbelievable for Jepson to be able
to identify with utmost certainty that the kidnapper he was supposedly talking to was appellant.
Finally, appellant claims that Jepson's motive to maliciously impute a false kidnapping charge
against him boils down to money. Among the businesses that Jepson owns was along the same

line of business as that of appellant, which is the supply of police equipment to the PNP. To
eliminate competition and possibly procure all contracts from the PNP and considering his
brother's close association to then Vice-President Estrada, Jepson crafted and executed a frame
up of appellant.
And the Court of Appeals had this to say: For one, the strategy used, which is the use of
unconventional or not so commonly used strategy, to apprehend the kidnappers of Celiz and the
Dichaves' children is, by reason of their special knowledge and expertise, the police operatives'
call or prerogative. Accordingly, in the absence of any evidence that said agents falsely testified
against Uyboco, We shall presume regularity in their performance of official duties and disregard
Uyboco's unsubstantiated claim that he was framed up. Secondly, matters of presentation of
witnesses by the prosecution and the determination of which evidence to present are not for
Uyboco or even the trial court to decide, but the same rests upon the prosecution. This is so
since Section 5, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Court expressly vests in the prosecution the
direction and control over the prosecution of a case. As the prosecution had other witnesses who
it believes could sufficiently prove the case against Uyboco, its non-presentation of other
witnesses cannot be taken against the same.[50]
Time and again, this court has invariably viewed the defense of frame-up with disfavor. Like the
defense of alibi, it can be just as easily concocted.[51]
We are inclined to accord due weight and respect to the ruling of the lower courts in giving
credence to the positive testimonies of Nimfa and Jepson, both pointing to appellant as one of
the kidnappers. Both witnesses testified in a clear and categorical manner, unfazed by efforts of
the defense to discredit them. As a rule, the assessment of the credibility of witnesses and their
testimonies is a matter best undertaken by the trial court, which had a unique opportunity to
observe the witnesses firsthand and to note their demeanor, conduct and attitude.[52] While it is
true that the trial judge who conducted the hearing would be in a better position to ascertain the
truth or falsity of the testimonies of the witnesses, it does not necessarily follow that a judge who
was not present during the trial, as in this case, cannot render a valid and just decision, since the
latter can very well rely on the transcribed stenographic notes taken during the trial as the basis
of his decision.[53] Appellant raises questions which purportedly tend to instill doubt on the
prosecution's theory, thus: If Uyboco is really the mastermind of the kidnapping syndicate, why
would he demand only P1.325M x x x as ransom? Why would he be the one to personally pickup the ransom money using his own car registered in his son's name? Why did he not open the
bag containing the ransom to check its contents? Why would he be the one to personally hand
the phone to Nimfa Celiz without any mask covering his face x x x. Why would he go back to his
family residence x x x with the ransom money still intact in the trunk of his car? If Nimfa Celiz and
her wards were indeed kidnapped, why were they not blindfolded x x x? Why were they not tied?
If it is true that the house at Merville, Paraaque was used by accused-appellant Uyboco as the
place of the alleged detention x x x how come Uyboco signed the lease contract under his own
name? x x x Certainly, any person with the education attainment of at least high school degree,
much more so an established businessman like accused-appellant would know that the lease
contract and the post-dated checks are incriminating evidence.How come no effort was exerted
in apprehending Uyboco during day 1 of the kidnapping? Why is their story focused only on the
day of the ransom payment? Why did they not apply for a warrant of arrest against accusedappellant Uyboco when they supposedly knew that from day 1, he was the kidnapper?
Why were there no tapes presented in evidence which recorded the conversations between the
kidnappers. Furthermore, appellant stresses that his financial status as an established and welloff businessman negates any motive on his part to resort to kidnapping.
If we indulge appellant's speculations, we could readily provide for the answers to all these
questions - that appellant originally demanded P26 Million but this had been substantially
reduced due to aggressive bargaining and negotiations; that appellant personally picked up the
ransom money because he could not trust anybody to do the work for him; that appellant did not

26

open the bag containing the money because he trusted Jepson, who then out of fear, would
deliver as instructed; that appellant did not cover his face in front of Nimfa because he thought
Nimfa would not recognize him; that appellant went back to his family residence because he
never thought that Jepson would recognize him as the voice behind one of the kidnappers; that
the victims were not blindfolded or tied because Nimfa, who appeared to be ignorant to the
kidnappers and the two children barely 5 years old would be emboldened to escape; that
appellant never thought that the police would discover the place of detention; that the police
employed a different strategy, which is to first secure the victims before they apprehend the
kidnappers; that to secure a warrant would be futile as the police then did not have sufficient
evidence to pin down appellant to the crime of kidnapping; that there were no actual record of
the telephone conversations between Jepson and the kidnappers.
However, to individually address each and every question would be tantamount to engaging in a
battle of endless speculations, which do not have a place in a court of law where proof or hard
evidence takes precedence. On the other hand, the prosecution presented testimonies and
evidence to prove that kidnapping occurred and that appellant is the author thereof.
Appellant seeks to pierce the presumption of regularity enjoyed by police officers to anchor his
argument that he has been framed up. He belittles the efforts of the police officers who
participated in the operation. Appellant claims that despite knowledge of the place of alleged
detention, the police did not try to rescue the kidnap victims. Appellant also notes that while
P/Supt. Chan denies installing any listening device to record the conversations of the kidnappers
and Jepson, the interview made by a reporter for a television network shows that Major Aquino
admitted to taped conversations of appellant's alleged negotiations for the ransom with Jepson.
Appellant insists that these taped conversations do exist.
Appellant cannot rely on a vague mention of an interview, if it indeed exists, to discredit the
testimony of P/Supt. Chan. The truth of the matter is appellant failed to prove the existence of
the alleged taped conversations. The matters of failure of the police officer to properly document
the alleged pay-off, the non-production of the master copy of the video tape, and the chain of
custody supposedly broken are not semblance of neglect so as to debunk the presumption of
regularity. In the absence of proof of motive on the part of the police officers to falsely ascribe a
serious crime against the accused, the presumption of regularity in the performance of official
duty, as well as the trial court's assessment on the credibility of the apprehending officers, shall
prevail over the accused's self-serving and uncorroborated claim of frame-up.[55]
Appellant then questions the validity of his arrest and the search conducted inside his car in
absence of a warrant. The arrest was validly executed pursuant to Section 5, paragraph (b) of
Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, which provides:
SEC. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. -- A peace officer or a private person may, without a
warrant, arrest a person: (a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is
actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;(b) When an offense has in fact
been committed and he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be
arrested has committed it; and, (c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has
escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily
confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one
confinement to another. (Emphasis supplied) The second instance of lawful warrantless arrest
covered by paragraph (b) cited above necessitates two stringent requirements before a
warrantless arrest can be effected: (1) an offense has just been committed; and (2) the person
making the arrest has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has
committed it.[56]
Records show that both requirements are present in the instant case. The police officers present
in Magallanes Commercial Center were able to witness the pay-off which effectively
consummates the crime of kidnapping. They all saw appellant take the money from the car trunk
of Jepson. Such knowledge was then relayed to the other police officers stationed in Fort
Bonifacio where appellant was expected to pass by.

Personal knowledge of facts must be based on probable cause, which means an actual belief or
reasonable grounds of suspicion. The grounds of suspicion are reasonable when, in the
absence of actual belief of the arresting officers, the suspicion that the person to be arrested is
probably guilty of committing the offense is based on actual facts, i.e., supported by
circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to create the probable cause of guilt of the
person to be arrested. A reasonable suspicion, therefore, must be founded on probable cause,
coupled with good faith on the part of the peace officers making the arrest. Section 5, Rule 113
of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure does not require the arresting officers to personally
witness the commission of the offense with their own eyes.[57]
It is sufficient for the arresting team that they were monitoring the pay-off for a number of hours
long enough for them to be informed that it was indeed appellant, who was the kidnapper. This
is equivalent to personal knowledge based on probable cause.
Likewise, the search conducted inside the car of appellant was legal because the latter
consented to such search as testified by P/Supt. Cruz. Even assuming that appellant did not
give his consent for the police to search the car, they can still validly do so by virtue of a search
incident to a lawful arrest under Section 13, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court which states:
SEC. 13. Search incident to lawful arrest. -- A person lawfully arrested may be searched for
dangerous weapons or anything which may have been used or constitute proof in the
commission of an offense without a search warrant.
In lawful arrests, it becomes both the duty and the right of the apprehending officers to conduct a
warrantless search not only on the person of the suspect, but also in the permissible area within
the latter's reach. Otherwise stated, a valid arrest allows the seizure of evidence or dangerous
weapons either on the person of the one arrested or within the area of his immediate control.
The phrase "within the area of his immediate control" means the area from within which he might
gain possession of a weapon or destructible evidence.[58] Therefore, it is only but expected and
legally so for the police to search his car as he was driving it when he was arrested.
Appellant avers that it was not proven that appellant was present and in fact participated in the
abduction of the victims. Lacking this element, appellant should have been acquitted. In a
related argument, appellant contends that conspiracy was not proven in the execution of the
crime, therefore, appellant's participation was not sufficiently established.
The Court of Appeal effectively addressed these issues, to wit: The prosecution was able to
prove that: 1) At the time of the kidnapping, the house where Celiz and the Dichaves' children
were kept was being leased by Uyboco; 2) Uyboco was present in the said house at the time
when Celiz and the Dichaves' children were being kept thereat; 3) there being no evidence to the
contrary, Uyboco's presence in the same is voluntary; 4) that Uyboco has in his possession
some of the ransom payment; and, 5) that Uyboco was the one who told them that the balance
of the ransom payment is with Macias. All these circumstances clearly point out that Uyboco,
together with several unidentified persons, agreed or decided and conspired, to commit
kidnapping for ransom.
Uyboco's claim, that since it was not proven that he was one of the passengers of the jeep which
waylaid the Dichaves' vehicle on December 20, 1993, he could not be convicted of kidnapping
for ransom considering that his participation, if any, was merely to provide the house where the
victims were kept, is misplaced.
Moreover, to Our mind, it is inconceivable that members of a kidnapping syndicate would entrust
the performance of an essential and sensitive phase of their criminal scheme, i.e. possession of
the ransom payment, to people not in cahoots with them, and who had no knowledge
whatsoever of the details of their nefarious plan.The testimonies of Nimfa and Jepson sufficiently
point to the participation of appellant. While he was not present during the abduction, he was
present in the house where the victims were detained, oftentimes giving the phone to Nimfa to
talk to Jepson. He also actively demanded ransom from Jepson. The conspiracy was likewise
proven by the above testimonies. Appellant conspired with Macias and other John Does in

27

committing the crime. Therefore, even with the absence of appellant in the abduction stage, he is
still liable for kidnapping for ransom because in conspiracy, the act of one is the act of all.[60]
Based on the foregoing, we sustain appellant's conviction.
WHEREFORE, the Decision dated 30 August 2002 in Criminal Case Nos. 93-130980, 93132606, and 93-132607 RTC, Branch 18, Manila, finding Ernesto Uyboco y Ramos guilty of
kidnapping for ransom, and the Decision dated 27 September 2006 of the Court of Appeals,
affirming in toto the Decision of the RTC, are AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

28

[G.R. No. 101837. February 11, 1992.]


ROLITO GO y TAMBUNTING, Petitioner, v. THE COURT OF APPEALS; THE HON.
BENJAMIN V. PELAYO, Presiding Judge, Branch 168, Regional Trial Court, NCJR Pasig,
M.M.; and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.
According to the findings of the San Juan Police in their Investigation Report, 1 on 2 July 1991,
Eldon Maguan was driving his car along Wilson St., San Juan, Metro Manila, heading towards P.
Guevarra St. Petitioner entered Wilson St., where it is a one-way street and started traveling in
the opposite or "wrong" direction. At the corner of Wilson and J. Abad Santos Sts., petitioners
and Maguans cars nearly bumped each other. Petitioner alighted from his car, walked over and
shot Maguan inside his car. Petitioner then boarded his car and left the scene. A security guard
at a nearby restaurant was able to take down petitioners car plate number. The police arrived
shortly thereafter at the scene of the shooting and there retrieved an empty shell and one round
of live ammunition for a 9mm caliber pistol. Verification at the Land Transportation Office showed
that the car was registered to one Elsa Ang Go. The following day, the police returned to the
scene of the shooting to find out where the suspect had come from; they were informed that
petitioner had dined at Cravings Bake Shop shortly before the shooting. The police obtained a
facsimile or impression of the credit card used by petitioner from the cashier of the bake shop.
The security guard of the bake shop was shown a picture of petitioner and he positively identified
him as the same person who had shot Maguan. Having established that the assailant was
probably the petitioner, the police launched a manhunt for Petitioner.
On 8 July 1991, petitioner presented himself before the San Juan Police Station to verify news
reports that he was being hunted by the police; he was accompanied by two (2) lawyers. The
police forthwith detained him. An eyewitness to the shooting, who was at the police station at
that time, positively identified petitioner as the gunman. That same day, the police promptly filed
a complaint for frustrated homicide 2 against petitioner with the Office of the Provincial
Prosecutor of Rizal. First Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Dennis Villa Ignacio ("Prosecutor")
informed petitioner, in the Presence of his lawyers. that he could avail himself of his right to
preliminary investigation but that he must first sign a waiver of the provisions of Article 125 of the
Revised Penal Code. Petitioner refused to execute any such waiver.
On 9 July 1991, while the complaint was still with the Prosecutor, and before an information
could be filed in court, the victim, Eldon Maguan, died of his gunshot wound(s).chanrobles.com :
virtual law library
Accordingly, on 11 July 1991, the Prosecutor, instead of filing an information for frustrated
homicide, filed an information for murder 3 before the Regional Trial Court. No bail was
recommended. At the bottom of the information, the Prosecutor certified that no preliminary
investigation had been conducted because the accused did not execute and sign a waiver of the
provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code.
In the afternoon of the same day, 11 July 1991, counsel for petitioner filed with the prosecutor an
omnibus motion for immediate release and proper preliminary investigation, 4 alleging that the
warrantless arrest of petitioner was unlawful and that no preliminary investigation had been
conducted before the information was filed. Petitioner also prayed that he be released on
recognizance or on bail. Provincial Prosecutor Mauro Castro, acting on the omnibus motion,
wrote on the last page of the motion itself that he interposed no objection to petitioner being
granted provisional liberty on a cash bond of P100,000.00.
On 12 July 1991, petitioner filed an urgent ex-parte motion for special raffle 5 in order to expedite
action on the Prosecutors bail recommendation. The case was raffled to the sala of respondent
Judge, who, on the same date, approved the cash bond 6 posted by petitioner and ordered his
release. 7 Petitioner was in fact released that same day.
On 16 July 1991, the Prosecutor filed with the Regional Trial Court a motion for leave to conduct
preliminary investigation 8 and prayed that in the meantime all proceedings in the court be
suspended. He stated that petitioner had filed before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of
Rizal an omnibus motion for immediate release and preliminary investigation, which motion had
been granted by Provincial Prosecutor Mauro Castro, who also agreed to recommend cash bail
of P100,000.00. The Prosecutor attached to the motion for leave a copy of petitioners omnibus
motion of 11 July 1991.

Also on 16 July 1991, the trial court issued an Order 9 granting leave to conduct preliminary
investigation and cancelling the arraignment set for 15 August 1991 until after the prosecution
shall have concluded its preliminary investigation.
On 17 July 1991, however, respondent Judge motu proprio issued an Order, 10 embodying the
following: (1) the 12 July 1991 Order which granted bail was recalled: petitioner was given 48
hours from receipt of the Order to surrender himself: (2) the 16 July 1991 Order which granted
leave to the Prosecutor to conduct preliminary investigation was recalled and cancelled: (3)
petitioners omnibus motion for immediate release and preliminary investigation dated 11 July
1991 was treated as a petition for bail and set for hearing on 23 July 1991.
On 19 July 1991, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari. prohibition and mandamus before the
Supreme Court assailing the 17 July 1991 Order, contending that the information was null and
void because no preliminary investigation had been previously conducted, in violation of his right
to due process. Petitioner also moved for suspension of all proceedings in the case pending
resolution by the Supreme Court of his petition: this motion was, however, denied by respondent
Judge.
On 23 July 1991, petitioner surrendered to the police. By a Resolution dated 24 July 1991, this
Court remanded the petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus to the Court of Appeals.
On 16 August 1991, respondent Judge issued an order in open court setting the arraignment of
petitioner on 23 August 1991.
On 19 August 1991, petitioner filed with the Court of Appeals a motion to restrain his
arraignment. On 23 August 1991, respondent judge issued a Commitment Order directing the
Provincial Warden of Rizal to admit petitioner into his custody at the Rizal Provincial Jail. On the
same date, petitioner was arraigned. In view, however, of his refusal to enter a plea, the trial
court entered for him a plea of not guilty. The trial court then set the criminal case for continuous
hearings on 19, 24 and 26 September; on 2, 3, 11 and 17 October; and on 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and
22 November 1991. 11 On 27 August 1991. Petitioner filed a petition for habeas corpus 12 in the
Court of Appeals. He alleged that in view of, public respondents failure to join issues in the
petition for certiorari earlier filed by him, after the lapse of more than a, month, thus prolonging
his detention, he was entitled to be released on habeas corpus.
On 30 August 1991, the Court of Appeals issued the writ of habeas corpus. 13 The petition
forcertiorari, prohibition and mandamus, on the one hand, and the petition for habeas corpus,
upon the other, were subsequently consolidated in the Court of Appeals.
The Court of Appeals, on 2 September 1991, issued a resolution denying petitioners motion to
restrain his arraignment on the ground that motion had become moot and academic.
On 19 September 1991, trial of the criminal case commenced and the prosecution presented its
first witness. On 23 September 1991, the Court of Appeals rendered a consolidated decision 14
dismissing the two (2) petitions, on the following grounds:
a. Petitioners warrantless arrest was valid because the offense for which he was arrested and
charged had been "freshly committed." His identity had been established through investigation.
At the time he showed up at the police station, there had been an existing manhunt for him.
During the confrontation at the San Juan Police Station, one witness positively identified
petitioner as the culprit. b. Petitioners act of posting bail constituted waiver of any irregularity
attending his arrest. He waived his right to preliminary investigation by not invoking it properly
and seasonably under the Rules. c. The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it issued the
17 July 1991 Order because the trial court had the inherent power to amend and control its
processes so as to make them conformable to law and justice. d. Since there was a valid
information for murder against petitioner and a valid commitment order (issued by the trial judge
after petitioner surrendered to the authorities whereby petitioner was given to the custody of the
Provincial Warden), the petition for habeas corpus could not be granted. On 3 October 1991, the
prosecution presented three (33 more witnesses at the trial. Counsel for petitioner also filed a
"Withdrawal of Appearance" 15 with the trial court, with petitioners conformity: On 4 October
1991, the present petition for Review on Certiorari was filed. On 14 October 1991, the Court
issued a Resolution directing respondent Judge to held in abeyance the hearing of the criminal
case below until further orders from this Court.
In this petition for Review, two (2) principal issues need to be addressed: first. whether or not a

29

lawful warrantless arrest had been effected by the San Juan Police in respect of petitioner Go:
and second, whether petitioner had effectively waived his right to preliminary investigation. We
consider these issues seriatim. In respect of the first issue, the Solicitor General argues that
under the facts of the case, petitioner had been validly arrested without warrant. Since
petitioners identity as the gunman who had shot Eldon Maguan on 2 July 1991 had been
sufficiently established by police work, petitioner was validly arrested six (6) days later at the San
Juan Police Station. The Solicitor General invokes Nazareno v. Station Commander, etc., et al,
16 one of the seven (7) cases consolidated with In the Matter of the Petition for Habeas Corpus
of Roberto Umil, etc. v. Ramos Et. Al., 17 where a majority of the Court upheld a warrantless
arrest as valid although effected fourteen (14) days after, the killing in connection with which
Nazareno had been arrested. Accordingly, in the view of the Solicitor General, the provisions of
Section 7, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court were applicable and because petitioner had declined to
waive the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, the Prosecutor was legally
justified in filing the information for murder even without preliminary investigation.
On the other hand, petitioner argues that he was not lawfully arrested without warrant because
he went to the police station six (6) days after the shooting which he had allegedly perpetrated.
Thus, petitioner argues, the crime had not been "just committed" at the time that he was
arrested. Moreover, none of the police officers who arrested him had been an eyewitness to the
shooting of Maguan and accordingly none had the "personal knowledge" required for the
lawfulness of a warrantless arrest. Since there had been no lawful warrantless arrest, Section 7.
Rule 112 of the Rules of Court which establishes the only exception to the right to preliminary
investigation, could not apply In respect of petitioner. The reliance of both petitioner and the
Solicitor General upon Umil v. Ramos is, in the circumstances of this case, misplaced. In Umil v.
Ramos, by an eight-to-six vote, the Court sustained the legality of the warrantless arrests of
petitioners made from one (1) to fourteen (14) days alter the actual commission of the offenses,
upon the ground that such offenses constituted "continuing crimes." Those offenses were
subversion, membership in an outlawed organization like the New Peoples Army, etc. In the
instant case, the offense for which petitioner was arrested was murder, an offense which was
obviously commenced and completed at one definite location in time and space. No one had
pretended that the fatal shooting of Maguan was a "continuing crime." Secondly, we do not
believe that the warrantless "arrest" or detention of petitioner in the instant case falls within the
terms of Section 5 of Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure which provides as
follows:
"Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A peace officer or a private person may, without a
warrant, arrest a person:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be created has committed, is actually committing, or is
attempting to commit an offense; (b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he
has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it; and
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or
place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending or has
escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another.
In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) hereof, the person arrested without a warrant shall
be forthwith delivered to the nearest police station or jail, and he shall be proceeded against in
accordance with Rule 112, Section 7." Petitioners "arrest" took place six (6) days after the
shooting of Maguan. The "arresting" officers obviously were not present, within the meaning of
Section 5(a), at the time petitioner had allegedly shot Maguan. Neither could the "arrest" effected
six (6) days after the shooting be reasonably regarded as effected "when [the shooting had] in
fact just been committed" within the meaning of Section 5 (b). Moreover, none of the "arresting"
officers had any "personal knowledge" of facts indicating that petitioner was the gunman who
had shot Maguan. The information upon which the police acted had been derived from
statements made by alleged eyewitnesses to the shooting -one stated that petitioner was the
gunman another was able to take down the alleged gunmans cars plate number which turned
out to be registered in petitioners wifes name. That information did not, however, constitute
"personal knowledge." It is thus clear to the Court that there was no lawful warrantless arrest of
petitioner within the meaning of Section 5 of Rule 113. It is clear too that Section 7 of Rule 112,

which provides:
"Sec. 7. When accused lawfully arrested without warrant. When a person is lawfully arrested
without a warrant for an offense cognizable by the Regional Trial Court the complaint or
information may be filed by the offended party, peace officer or fiscal without a preliminary
investigation having been first conducted, on the basis of the affidavit of the offended party or
arresting office or person.
However, before the filing of such complaint or information, the person arrested may ask for a
preliminary investigation by a proper officer in accordance with this Rule, but he must sign a
waiver of the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, with the
assistance of a lawyer and in case of non-availability of a lawyer, a responsible person of his
choice. Notwithstanding such waiver, he may apply for bail as provided in the corresponding rule
and the investigation must be terminated within fifteen (15) days from its inception.
If the case has been filed in court without a preliminary investigation having been first conducted,
the accused may within five (5) days from the time he learns of the filing of the information, ask
for a preliminary investigation with the same right to adduce evidence in his favor in the manner
prescribed in this Rule." (Emphasis supplied). is also not applicable. Indeed, petitioner was not
arrested at all. When he walked into the San Juan Police Station, accompanied by two (2)
lawyers, he in fact placed himself at the disposal of the police authorities. He did not state that
he was "surrendering" himself, in all probability to avoid the implication he was admitting that he
had slain Eldon Maguan or that he was otherwise guilty of a crime. When the police filed a
complaint for frustrated homicide with the Prosecutor, the latter should have immediately
scheduled a preliminary investigation to determine whether there was probable cause for
charging petitioner in court for the killing of Eldon Maguan. Instead, as noted earlier, the
Prosecutor proceeded under the erroneous supposition that Section 7 of Rule 112 was
applicable and required petitioner to waive the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal
Code as a condition for carrying out a preliminary investigation. This was substantive error, for
petitioner was entitled to a preliminary investigation and that right should have been accorded
him without any conditions. Moreover, since petitioner had not been arrested; with or without a
warrant, he was also entitled to be released forthwith subject only to his appearing at the
preliminary investigation.
Turning to the second issue of whether or not petitioner had waived his right to preliminary
investigation, we note that petitioner had from the very beginning demanded that a preliminary
investigation be conducted. As earlier pointed out, on the same day that the information for
murder was filed with the Regional Trial Court. Petitioner filed with the prosecutor an omnibus
motion for immediate release and preliminary investigation. The Solicitor General contends that
omnibus motion should have been filed with the trial court and not with the prosecutor, and that
petitioner should accordingly be held to have waived his right to preliminary investigation. We do
not believe that waiver of petitioners statutory right to preliminary investigation may be
predicated on such a slim basis. The preliminary investigation was to be conducted by the
prosecutor, not by the Regional Trial Court. It is true that at the time of filing of petitioners
omnibus motion, the information for murder had already been filed with the Regional Trial Court:
it is not clear from the record whether petitioner was aware of this fact at the time his omnibus
motion was actually filed with the Prosecutor. In Crespo v. Mogul, 19 this Court held:
"The preliminary investigation conducted by the fiscal for the purpose of determining whether a
prima facie case exists warranting the prosecution of the accused is terminated upon the filing of
the information in the proper court. In turn, as above stated, the filing of said information sets in
motion the criminal action against the accused in Court. Should the fiscal find it proper to
conduct a reinvestigation of the case, at such stage, the permission of the Court must be
secured. After such reinvestigation the finding and recommendations of the fiscal should be
submitted to the Court for appropriate action. While it is true that the fiscal has the quasi judicial
discretion to determine whether or not a criminal case should be filed in court or not, once the
case had already been brought to Court whatever disposition the fiscal may feel should be
proper in the case thereafter should be addressed for the consideration of the Court. The only
qualification is that the action of the Court must not impair the substantial rights of the accused,
or the right of the people to due process of law.
The rule therefore in this jurisdiction is that once a complaint or information is filed in Court any
disposition of the case [such] as its dismissal or the conviction or acquittal of the accused rests

30

in the sound discretion of the Court. Although the fiscal retains the direction and control of the
prosecution of criminal cases even while the case is already in Court he cannot impose his
opinion on the trial court. The Court is the best and sole judge on what to do with the case before
it. . . ." 20 (Citations omitted, Emphasis supplied).
Nonetheless, since petitioner in his omnibus motion was asking for preliminary investigation and
not for a reinvestigation (Crespo v. Mogul involved a re-investigation), and since the Prosecutor
himself did file with the trial court, on the 5th day after filing the information for murder, a motion
for leave to conduct preliminary investigation (attaching to his motion a copy of petitioners
omnibus motion), we conclude that petitioners omnibus motion was in effect filed with the trial
court. What was crystal clear was that petitioner did ask for a preliminary investigation on the
very day that the information was filed without such preliminary investigation, and that the trial
court was five (5) days later apprised of the desire of the petitioner for such preliminary
investigation. Finally, the trial court did in fact grant the Prosecutors prayer for leave to conduct
preliminary investigation. Thus, even on the (mistaken) supposition apparently made by the
Prosecutor that Section 7 of Rule 112 of the Revised Court was applicable, the 5-day
reglementary period in Section 7. Rule 112 must be held to have been substantially complied
with. We believe and so hold that petitioner did not waive his right to a preliminary investigation.
While that right is statutory rather than constitutional in its fundament. Since it has in fact been
established by statute. It is a component part of due process in criminal justice. 21 The right to
have a preliminary investigation conducted before being bound over to trial for a criminal offense
and hence formally at risk of incarceration or some other penalty, is not a mere formal or
technical right; it is a substantive right. The accused in a criminal trial is inevitably exposed to
prolonged anxiety, aggravation, humiliation, not to speak of expense; the right to an opportunity
to avoid a process painful to any one save, perhaps, to hardened criminals, is a valuable right.
To deny petitioners claim to a preliminary investigation would be to deprive him of the full
measure of his right to due process.
The question may be raised whether petitioner still retains his right to a preliminary investigation
in the instant case considering that he was already arraigned on 23 August 1991. The rule is that
the right to preliminary investigation is waived when the accused fails to invoke it before or at the
time of entering a plea at arraignment. 22 In the instant case, petitioner Go had vigorously
insisted on his right to preliminary investigation before his arraignment. At the time of his
arraignment, petitioner was already before the Court of Appeals on certiorari, prohibition and
mandamus precisely asking for a preliminary investigation before being forced to stand trial.
Again, in the circumstances of this case, we do not believe that by posting bail, petitioner had
waived his right to preliminary investigation. In People v. Selfaison, 23 we did hold that
appellants there had waived their right to preliminary investigation because immediately after
their arrest, they filed bail and proceeded to trial "without previously claiming that they did not
have the benefit of a preliminary investigation." 24 In the instant case, petitioner Go asked for
release on recognizance or on bail and for preliminary investigation in one omnibus motion. He
had thus claimed his right to preliminary investigation before respondent Judge approved the
cash bond posted by petitioner and ordered his release on 12 July 1991. Accordingly, we cannot
reasonably imply waiver of preliminary investigation on the part of petitioner. In fact, when the
Prosecutor filed a motion in court asking for leave to conduct preliminary investigation. He clearly
if impliedly recognized that petitioners claim to preliminary investigation was a legitimate one.
We would clarify, however, that contrary to petitioners contention the failure to accord
preliminary investigation, while constituting a denial of the appropriate and full measure of the
statutory process of criminal justice, did not impair the validity of the information for murder nor
affect the Jurisdiction of the trial court. It must also be recalled that the Prosecutor had actually
agreed that petitioner was entitled to bail. This was equivalent to an acknowledgment on the part
of the prosecutor that the evidence of guilt then in his hands was not strong. Accordingly, we
consider that the 17 July 1990 order of respondent Judge recalling his own order granting bail
and requiring petitioner to surrender himself within forty-eight (48) hours from notice, was plainly
arbitrary considering that no evidence at all and certainly no new or additional evidence
had been submitted to respondent Judge that could have justified the recall of his order issued
just five (5) days before. It follows that petitioner was entitled to be released on bail as a matter
of right.
The final question which the Court must face is this: how does the fact that. in the instant case,
trial on the merits has already commenced, the Prosecutor having already presented four (4)

witnesses, impact upon, firstly, petitioners right to a preliminary investigation and secondly,
petitioners right to be released on bail? Does he continue to be entitled to have a preliminary
investigation conducted in respect of the charge against him? Does petitioner remain entitled to
be released on bail?
Turning first to the matter of preliminary investigation, we consider that petitioner remains entitled
to a preliminary investigation although trial on the merits has already began. Trial on the merits
should be suspended or held in abeyance and a preliminary investigation forthwith accorded to
petitioner. 26 It is true that the prosecutor might, in view of the evidence that he may at this time
have on hand. conclude that probable cause exists: upon the other hand. the Prosecutor
conceivably could reach the conclusion that the evidence on hand does not warrant a finding of
probable cause. In any event, the constitutional point is that petitioner was not accorded what he
was entitled to by way of procedural due process. 27 Petitioner was forced to undergo
arraignment and literally pushed to trial without preliminary investigation, with extraordinary
haste. to the applause from the audience that filled the courtroom. If he submitted to arraignment
and trial, petitioner did so "kicking and screaming," in a manner of speaking. During the
proceedings held before the trial court on 23 August 1991, the date set for arraignment of
petitioner, and just before arraignment, counsel made very clear petitioners vigorous protest and
objection to the arraignment precisely because of the denial of preliminary investigation. 28 28a
28b 28c So energetic and determined were petitioner s counsels protest and objection that an
obviously angered court and Prosecutor dared him to withdraw or walkout, promising to replace
him. with counsel de oficio. During the trial, just before the prosecution called its first witness,
petitioner through counsel once again reiterated his objection to going to trial without preliminary
investigation: petitioners counsel made or record his "continuing objection." 29 Petitioner had
promptly gone to the appellate court on certiorari and prohibition to challenge the lawfulness of
the procedure he was being forced to undergo and the lawfulness of his detention. 30 If he did
not walkout on the trial, and if he cross-examined the Prosecutions witnesses, it was because
he was extremely loath to be represented by counsel de oficio selected by the trial judge, and to
run the risk of being held to have waived also his right to use what is frequently the only test of
truth in the judicial process. In respect of the matter of bail, we similarly believe and so hold that
petitioner remains entitled to be released on bail as a matter of right. Should the evidence
already of record concerning petitioners guilt be, in the reasonable belief of the Prosecutor,
strong, the Prosecutor may move in the trial court for cancellation of petitioners bail. It would
then be up to the trial court, after a careful and objective assessment of the evidence on record.
to grant or deny the motion for cancellation of bail. To reach any other conclusion here, that is, to
hold that petitioners rights to a preliminary investigation and to bail were effectively obliterated
by evidence subsequently admitted into the record would be to legitimize the deprivation of due
process and to permit the Government to benefit from its own wrong or culpable omission and
effectively to dilute important rights of accused persons well-nigh to the vanishing point. It may
be that to require the State to accord Petitioner his rights to a preliminary investigation and to
bail at this point, could turn out ultimately to be largely a ceremonial exercise. But the Court is
not compelled to speculate. And, in any case, it would not be idle ceremony; rather it would be a
celebration by the State of the rights and liberties of its own people and a re-affirmation of its
obligation and determination to respect those rights and liberties.
ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved to GRANT the Petition for Review on Certiorari. The Order
of the trial court dated 17 July 1991 is hereby SET ASIDE and NULLIFIED, and the Decision of
the, Court of Appeals dated 23 September 1991 hereby REVERSED. The Office of the Provincial
Prosecutor is hereby ORDERED to conduct forthwith a preliminary investigation of the charge of
murder against petitioner Go, and to complete such preliminary investigation within a period of
fifteen (15) days from commencement thereof. The trial on the merits of the criminal case in the
Regional Trial Court shall be SUSPENDED to await the conclusion of the preliminary
investigation. Meantime, petitioner is hereby ORDERED released forthwith upon posting of a
cash bail bond of One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00). This release shall be without
prejudice to any lawful order that the trial court may issue, should the Office of the Provincial
Prosecutor move for cancellation of bail at the conclusion of the preliminary investigation.
No pronouncement as to costs. This Decision is immediately executory.

31

[G.R. NO. 158211 : August 31, 2004]


ERNESTO J. SAN AGUSTIN, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent. This
is a Petition for Review on Certiorari filed by Ernesto J. San Agustin of the Decision1 of the Court
of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 71925 dismissing his Petition for Certiorari.
Luz Tan executed a notarized criminal complaint and filed the same with the National Bureau of
Investigation (NBI) charging the petitioner, the Barangay Chairman of Barangay La Huerta,
Paraaque City, with serious illegal detention alleging that the petitioner detained her husband
Vicente Tan, on June 19, 2002, without lawful ground therefor.2 On June 25, 2002, the petitioner
received a subpoena from Ferdinand M. Lavin, the Chief of the Anti-Organized Crime Division of
the NBI, requiring him to appear before said office the next day, on June 26, 2002, in order to
give his evidence in connection with said complaint and to bring with him the barangay logbook
for June 19, 2002. The petitioner complied with the subpoena and presented himself at the NBI
with the barangay logbook. However, the petitioner was placed under arrest and prevented from
going back home. On June 27, 2002, the NBI Director transmitted to the Department of Justice
the findings of the NBI on its investigation of the case: On June 19, 2002 at around 9:00 o'clock
in the morning while Victim RICARDO TAN and Witness ANTONIO GERONIMO were selling
their wares of kitchen utensils along the highway of La Huerta, Paraaque City, Victim TAN was
mistaken as a "snatcher" by two tricycle drivers, namely, ROMEO C. ALCANTARA and
JOSEFINO FERRER, JR. Victim was turned-over to Subject SAN AGUSTIN and other Subjects
at the Barangay Hall of La Huerta, Paraaque City; witness GERONIMO followed them.
GERONIMO witnessed that Victim was beaten by Subjects and locked-up at the Barangay jail so
he decided to inform the wife of the Victim (Complainant) who was residing in San Pedro,
Laguna. When Complainant went to the Barangay Hall on the same day and inquired on the
whereabouts of his husband, two female clerks thereat denied having seen the Victim.
Complainant was able to talk to Subject SAN AGUSTIN the following day but he also denied
having seen Victim, worst Subject SAN AGUSTIN was furious and even shouted at them and
brought out his knife. Up to date, Victim, never resurfaced nor his whereabouts located. Record
at the NBI central file of Subject SAN AGUSTIN revealed that he has several cases of homicide,
murder and multiple murder.3
The NBI Director stated that the basis for the arrest of the petitioner was: BASIS OF ARREST:
Subject SAN AGUSTIN was subpoenaed to appear before the NBI-AOCD to controvert
allegations filed against him for kidnapping by Ms. Luz Tan. He was enjoined to come with his
Counsel and bring the logbook of the Barangay. When Subject appeared at the NBI, he
presented at once the logbook of the Barangay. It was noted at the said logbook that there was
no entry on June 19, 2002 that Victim RICARDO TAN was arrested or transmitted to any law
enforcement agency or proper authority.4
State Prosecutor Elizabeth L. Berdal conducted an inquest investigation on June 27, 2002 and
came out with a Resolution, on the same day, affirmed by the Assistant Chief State Prosecutor,
finding probable cause against the petitioner for serious illegal detention under Article 267 of the
Revised Penal Code.5
On June 28, 2002, Information was filed before the Regional Trial Court of Paraaque City,
charging the petitioner with kidnapping/serious illegal detention with no bail recommended. The
case was raffled to Branch 258 of the court and docketed as Criminal Case No. 02-0759. On
July 1, 2002, the petitioner filed a Motion to Quash the Information on the ground that he was

illegally arrested and subjected to an inquest investigation; hence, he was deprived of his right to
a preliminary investigation. He also prayed that he be released from detention and that, in the
meantime, the NBI be ordered to refile the complaint against him withthe Office of the
Paraaque City Prosecutor and for the latter to conduct a preliminary investigation. On July 4,
2002, the petitioner filed a Motion to Quash the Information, this time, on the ground that the
facts alleged therein do not constitute the felony of kidnapping/serious illegal detention. He
claimed that he was a barangay chairman when the private complainant was allegedly detained;
hence, he should be charged only with arbitrary detention, the most severe penalty for which
is reclusion temporal. The prosecution opposed the petitioner's motion to quash the Information
on the ground that when he detained the private complainant, he acted in his private capacity
and not as a barangay chairman.6 On July 24, 2002, the RTC issued an Order directing the City
Prosecutor to conduct a reinvestigation within a non-extendible period of forty-five (45)
days.7 Assistant City Prosecutor Antonietta Pablo Medina was assigned to conduct the
reinvestigation. The petitioner opposed the reinvestigation contending that the prosecutor should
conduct a regular preliminary investigation since the inquest investigation was void. He refused
to submit a counter-affidavit. On July 31, 2002, the petitioner filed a petition for certiorari with the
Court of Appeals assailing the July 24, 2002 Order of the RTC. He raised in his petition the
following issues:
1. Whether or not respondent Judge De Leon acted arbitrarily and in grave abuse of discretion in
not granting petitioner's "Urgent Motion to Quash Information" dated 01 July 2002. 2. Whether or
not respondent Judge De Leon acted arbitrarily and in grave abuse of discretion in not granting
petitioner's "Urgent Motion to Quash On The Ground That The Facts Charged Do Not Constitute
An Offense" dated 04 July 2002. 3. Whether or not respondent Judge De Leon acted arbitrarily
and in grave abuse of discretion in not granting bail as a matter of right in favor of the petitioner.
4. Whether or not respondent Judge Jose S. Jacinto, Jr. of the Metropolitan Trial Court of
Paraaque, Branch 77, can validly and legally proceed with the hearing of Criminal Case No.
02-2486.8
In the meantime, on August 27, 2002, the Assistant City Prosecutor came out with a Resolution
finding probable cause of arbitrary detention against the petitioner and recommending that the
Information for arbitrary detention and the Motion to Withdraw Information appended thereto be
approved.9 The City Prosecutor opposed the said Resolution. On August 28, 2002, the Assistant
City Prosecutor filed with the trial court a "Motion to Withdraw Information."10 On August 30,
2002, the RTC issued an Order granting the motion and considered the Information withdrawn.
On the same day, an Information was filed with the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) docketed as
Criminal Case No. 02-2486, charging the petitioner with arbitrary detention, viz: That on or about
the 19th day of June 2002 and subsequent thereto, in the City of Paraaque, Philippines, and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, being a Barangay
Chairman of Brgy. La Huerta, Paraaque City, a public officer, committing the offense in relation
to office, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously detain one RICARDO TAN, an act
done as he well knew, arbitrary and without legal ground (sic).CONTRARY TO LAW.11 The case
was raffled to Branch 77 of the court. The petitioner posted a cash bond of P3,000.00 for his
provisional release without prejudice to the outcome of his petition in the Court of Appeals.12
On April 15, 2003, the Court of Appeals rendered its decision denying due course and dismissing
the petition for certiorari of the petitioner. The petitioner filed the petition at bar contending that:
4.1 THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN FINDING THAT NO GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION WAS COMMITTED BY JUDGE RAUL E. DE LEON WHEN HE DENIED
PETITIONER'S "URGENT MOTION TO QUASH INFORMATION" DATED JULY 01, 2002. 4.2.
THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN FINDING THAT NO GRAVE ABUSE OF

32

DISCRETION WAS COMMITTED BY JUDGE RAUL E. DE LEON WHEN HE DENIED


PETITIONER'S "URGENT MOTION TO QUASH ON THE GROUND THAT THE FACTS
CHARGED DO NOT CONSTITUTE AN OFFENSE" DATED 04 JULY 2002.4.3. THE COURT OF
APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN FINDING THAT NO GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION WAS
COMMITED BY JUDGE RAUL E. DE LEON WHEN HE DENIED PETITIONER OF HIS
CONSTITUTIONALLY-GUARANTEED RIGHT TO BAIL. 4.4. THE COURT OF APPEALS
SERIOUSLY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT JUDGE JOSE S. JACINTO OF THE METROPOLITAN
TRIAL COURT OF PARAAQUE, BRANCH, (sic) CAN VALIDLY AND LEGALLY PROCEED
WITH THE HEARINGS IN CRIMINAL CASE NO. 02-2486.13
The petitioner asserts that he was illegally arrested by the NBI; hence, he was entitled to a
regular preliminary investigation, not merely to an inquest investigation. He contends that since
the Information charging him with kidnapping/serious illegal detention was filed before the
Regional Trial Court without affording him a preliminary investigation, the Information is void. The
RTC, the petitioner avers, should have granted his motion to quash the Information and ordered
the NBI to refile its complaint against him with the Office of the City Prosecutor of Paraaque
for the appropriate preliminary investigation and that, in the meantime, the RTC should have
ordered his release from detention. The petitioner posits that the RTC committed a grave abuse
of its discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in denying his motion to quash the
Information and directing the City Prosecutor to conduct a reinvestigation. On the other hand,
since the Assistant City Prosecutor did not conduct a regular preliminary investigation before
filing the Information for arbitrary detention against him with the MeTC, the Information is void.
Hence, the MeTC should be ordered to quash the Information filed therein.
In its Comment to the petition, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) contends that the
petition forcertiorari of the petitioner in the Court of Appeals and in this Court had become moot
and academic by the withdrawal of the Information from the Regional Trial Court and filing of the
Information for arbitrary detention against the petitioner in the MTC. The inquest investigation
conducted by the State Prosecutor was valid because the petitioner refused to execute a waiver
under Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code. The OSG asserts that the investigation conducted
by the Assistant City Prosecutor, as directed by the RTC, was valid. The petitioner is estopped
from assailing the Resolution of the Assistant City Prosecutor finding probable cause for arbitrary
detention because of his failure to submit his counter-affidavit. The Court of Appeals ruled that
the petitioner was unlawfully arrested; hence, he was entitled to preliminary investigation and
release from detention subject to his appearance during the preliminary investigation. However,
the Court of Appeals declared that the lack of preliminary investigation did not impair the validity
of the Information filed with the RTC. Moreover, the Court of Appeals declared that the petitioner
had already been granted a reinvestigation after which the Information filed with the RTC was
withdrawn. Consequently, the appellate court further declared that the petition had been mooted
by the withdrawal of the Information from the RTC and the filing of another Information in the
MeTC for arbitrary detention. The appellate court also held that the RTC did not commit grave
abuse of its discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in issuing the assailed Order. It
ruled that even if the reinvestigation conducted by the City Prosecutor is defective, the
Information filed with the MeTC is valid because under the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure,
there is no need for a preliminary investigation for crimes cognizable by the Metropolitan Trial
Court.
The petition is partially granted. We agree with the Court of Appeals that the petitioner was
unlawfully arrested without a warrant of arrest against him for kidnapping/serious illegal
detention. As correctly ruled by the Court of Appeals:

Furthermore, warrantless arrest or the detention of petitioner in the instant case does not fall
within the provision of Section 5, Rule 113, Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, as amended,
which provides: "Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. - A peace officer or a private person
may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is
attempting to commit an offense; (b) When an offense has been committed and he has probable
cause to believe, based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances, that the person to be
arrested has committed it; andcralawlibrary (c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who
has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another.
In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) above, the person arrested without a warrant shall
be forthwith delivered to the nearest police station or jail and shall be proceeded against in
accordance with Section 7 of Rule 112."
considering that petitioner only went to the Office of the NBI to answer the subpoena it issued
which was seven (7) days after the supposed turning over of the custody of Ricardo Tan to
petitioner who was then the Barangay Chairman of La Huerta, Paraaque City, and his locking
up in the barangay jail and, thereafter, he was already arrested and detained. Certainly, the
"arresting" officers were not present within the meaning of Section 5(a) at the time when the
supposed victim, Ricardo Tan, was turned over to petitioner. Neither could the "arrest" which was
effected seven (7) days after the incident be seasonably regarded as "when the turning over and
locking up in the Barangay jail had in fact just been committed within the meaning of Section
5(b). Moreover, none of the "arresting" officers had any "personal knowledge" of facts indicating
that petitioner was the person to whom the custody of the victim Ricardo Tan was turned over
and who locked up the latter in the Barangay jail. The information upon which the "arresting"
officers acted upon had been derived from the statements made by the alleged eyewitnesses to
the incident which information did not, however, constitute personal knowledge.14 Consequently,
the petitioner is entitled to a preliminary investigation before an Information may be filed against
him for said crime. The inquest investigation conducted by the State Prosecutor is void because
under Rule 112, Section 7 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, an inquest investigation
is proper only when the suspect is lawfully arrested without a warrant:
SEC. 7. When accused lawfully arrested without warrant. - When a person is lawfully arrested
without a warrant involving an offense which requires a preliminary investigation, the complaint
or information may be filed by a prosecutor without need of such investigation provided an
inquest investigation has been conducted in accordance with existing rules. In the absence or
unavailability of an inquest prosecutor, the complaint may be filed by the offended party or a
peace officer directly with the proper court on the basis of the affidavit of the offended party or
arresting officer or person.15 We also agree with the Court of Appeals that the absence of a
preliminary investigation does not affect the jurisdiction of the trial court but merely the regularity
of the proceedings. It does not impair the validity of the Information or otherwise render it
defective.16 Neither is it a ground to quash the Information or nullify the order of arrest issued
against him or justify the release of the accused from detention.17 However, the trial court should
suspend proceedings and order a preliminary investigation18 considering that the inquest
investigation conducted by the State Prosecutor is null and void.19 In sum, then, the RTC
committed grave abuse of its discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in ordering the
City Prosecutor to conduct a reinvestigation which is merely a review by the Prosecutor of his
records and evidence instead of a preliminary investigation as provided for in Section 3, Rule
112 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure. However, we do not agree with the ruling of the
Court of Appeals that there was no need for the City Prosecutor to conduct a preliminary
investigation since the crime charged under the Information filed with the MeTC was arbitrary

33

detention under Article 124, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code punishable by arresto
mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period, which has a range of
four months and one day to two years and four months. Whether or not there is a need for a
preliminary investigation under Section 1 in relation to Section 9 of Rule 112 of the Revised
Rules on Criminal Procedure depends upon the imposable penalty for the crime charged in the
complaint filed with the City or Provincial Prosecutor's Office and not upon the imposable penalty
for the crime found to have been committed by the respondent after a preliminary investigation.
In this case, the crime charged in the complaint of the NBI filed in the Department of Justice was
kidnapping/serious illegal detention, the imposable penalty for which is reclusion perpetua to
death.
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. The Order of the
Regional Trial Court of Paraaque City, dated July 24, 2004, ordering the City Prosecutor to
conduct a reinvestigation is SET ASIDE. The Regional Trial Court is directed to ORDER the City
Prosecutor of Paraaque City to conduct a preliminary investigation as provided for in Section
3, Rule 112 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure. In the meantime, the Metropolitan Trial
Court of Paraaque City, Branch 77, is ordered to suspend the proceedings in Criminal Case
No. 02-2486 pending the outcome of said preliminary investigation.

34

[G.R. Nos. 111771-77. November 9, 1993.]


ANTONIO L. SANCHEZ, Petitioner, v. The Honorable HARRIET O. DEMETRIOU (in her
capacity as Presiding Judge of Regional Trial Court, NCR, Branch 70, Pasig), The
Honorable FRANKLIN DRILON (in his capacity as Secretary of Justice), JOVENCITO R.
ZUO, LEONARDO C. GUIYAB, JR., CARLOS L. DE LEON, RAMONCITO C. MISON,
REYNALDO J. LUGTU and RODRIGO P. LORENZO, (the last six respondents in their
official capacities as members of the State Prosecutors Office), Respondents.
There is probably no more notorious person in the country today than Mayor Antonio L. Sanchez
of Calauan, Laguna, who stands accused of an unspeakable crime. On him the verdict has
already been rendered by many outraged persons who would immediately impose on him an
angry sentence. Yet, for all the prejudgments against him, he is under our Constitution presumed
innocent as long as the contrary has not been proved. Like any other person accused of an
offense, he is entitled to the full and vigilant protection of the Bill of Rights.
Sanchez has brought this petition to challenge the order of the respondent judge denying his
motion to quash the informations for rape with homicide filed against him and six other persons.
We shall treat it as we would any other suit filed by any litigant hoping to obtain a just and
impartial judgment from this Court.
The pertinent facts are as follows: On July 28, 1993, the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission
requested the filing of appropriate charges against several persons, including the petitioner, in
connection with the rape-slay of Mary Eileen Sarmenta and the killing of Allan Gomez. Acting on
this request, the Panel of State Prosecutors of the Department of Justice conducted a
preliminary investigation on August 9, 1993. Petitioner Sanchez was not present but was
represented by his counsel, Atty. Marciano Brion, Jr. On August 12, 1993, PNP Commander Rex
Piad issued an "invitation" to the petitioner requesting him to appear for investigation at Camp
Vicente Lim in Canlubang, Laguna. It was served on Sanchez in the morning of August 13, 1993,
and he was immediately taken to the said camp. At a confrontation that same day, Sanchez was
positively identified by Aurelio Centeno and SPO III Vivencio Malabanan, who both executed
extrajudicial confessions implicating him as a principal in the rape-slay of Sarmenta and the
killing of Gomez. The petitioner was then placed on "arrest status" and taken to the Department
of Justice in Manila.
The respondent prosecutors immediately conducted an inquest upon his arrival, with Atty.
Salvador Panelo as his counsel. After the hearing, a warrant of arrest was served on Sanchez.
This warrant was issued on August 13, 1993, by Judge Enrico A. Lanzanas of the Regional Trial
Court of Manila, Branch 7, in connection with Criminal Cases Nos. 93-124634 to 93-124637 for
violation of Section 8, in relation to Section 11, of R.A. No. 6713. Sanchez was forthwith taken to
the CIS Detention Center, Camp Crame, where he remains confined. On August 16, 1993, the
respondent prosecutors filed with the Regional Trial Court of Calamba, Laguna, seven
informations charging Antonio L. Sanchez, Luis Corcolon, Rogelio Corcolon, Pepito Kawit,
Baldwin Brion, Jr., George Medialdea and Zoilo Ama with the rape and killing of Mary Eileen
Sarmenta. On August 26, 1993, Judge Eustaquio P. Sto. Domingo of that court issued a warrant
for the arrest of all the accused, including the petitioner, in connection with the said crime. The
respondent Secretary of Justice subsequently expressed his apprehension that the trial of the
said cases might result in a miscarriage of justice because of the tense and partisan atmosphere
in Laguna in favor of the petitioner and the relationship of an employee in the trial court with one
of the accused. This Court thereupon ordered the transfer of the venue of the seven cases to
Pasig, Metro Manila, where they were raffled to respondent Judge Harriet Demetriou. On
September 10, 1993, the seven informations were amended to include the killing of Allan Gomez
as an aggravating circumstance. On that same date, the petitioner filed a motion to quash the
informations substantially on the grounds now raised in this petition. On September 13, 1993,
after oral arguments, the respondent judge denied the motion. Sanchez then filed with this Court
the instant petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for a temporary restraining order/writ
of injunction.

The petitioner argues that the seven informations filed against him should be quashed because:
1) he was denied the right to present evidence at the preliminary investigation; 2) only the
Ombudsman had the competence to conduct the investigation; 3) his warrantless arrest is illegal
and the court has therefore not acquired jurisdiction over him; 4) he is being charged with seven
homicides arising from the death of only two persons; 5) the informations are discriminatory
because they do not include Teofilo Alqueza and Edgardo Lavadia; and 6) as a public officer, he
can be tried for the offense only by the Sandiganbayan. The respondents submitted a Comment
on the petition, to which we required a Reply from the petitioner within a non-extendible period of
five days. 1 The Reply was filed five days late. 2 The Court may consider his non-compliance an
implied admission of the respondents arguments or a loss of interest in prosecuting his petition,
which is a ground for its dismissal. Nevertheless, we shall disregard this procedural lapse and
proceed to discuss his petition on the basis of the arguments before us.
The Preliminary Investigation
The records of the hearings held on August 9 and 13, 1993, belie the petitioners contention that
he was not accorded the right to present counter-affidavits. During the preliminary investigation
on August 9, 1993, the petitioners counsel, Atty. Marciano Brion, manifested that his client was
waiving the presentation of a counter-affidavit, thus:
Atty. Brion, Jr.: [W]e manifest that after reviewing them there is nothing to rebut or countermand
all these statements as far as Mayor Sanchez is concerned. We are not going to submit any
counter-affidavit.
ACSP Zuo to Atty. Brion:
Q So far, there are no other statements.
A If there is none then, we will not submit any counter-affidavit because we believe there is
nothing to rebut or countermand with all these statements.
Q So, you are waiving your submission of counter-affidavit?
A Yes, your honor, unless there are other witnesses who will come up soon. 3
Nonetheless, the head of the Panel of Prosecutors, respondent Jovencito Zuo, told Atty. Brion
that he could still file a counter-affidavit up to August 27, 1993. No such counter-affidavit was
filed. During the hearing on August 13, 1993, respondent Zuo furnished the petitioners counsel,
this time Atty. Salvador Panelo, with copies of the sworn statements of Centeno and Malabanan,
and told him he could submit counter-affidavits on or before August 27, 1993. The following
exchange ensued:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
ACSP Zuo:For the record, we are furnishing to you the sworn statement of witness Aurelio
Centeno y Roxas and the sworn statement of SPO3 Vivencio
Malabanan y Angeles.
Do I understand from you that you are again waiving the submission of counter-affidavit?
Atty. Panelo:Yes.
ACSP Zuo:So, in so far as the respondent, Mayor Antonio Sanchez is concerned, this case is
submitted for resolution. 4 On the other hand, there is no support for the petitioners subsequent
manifestation that his counsel, Atty. Brion, was not notified of the inquest held on August 13,
1993, and that he was not furnished with the affidavits sworn to on that date by Vivencio
Malabanan and Aurelio Centeno, or with their supplemental affidavits dated August 15, 1993.
Moreover, the above-quoted excerpt shows that the petitioners counsel at the hearing held on
August 13, 1993, was not Atty. Brion but Atty. Panelo.cralawnad The petitioner was present at
that hearing and he never disowned Atty. Panelo as his counsel. During the entire proceedings,
he remained quiet and let this counsel speak and argue on his behalf. It was only in his tardy
Reply that he has suddenly bestirred himself and would now question his representation by this
lawyer as unauthorized and inofficious.
Section 3 paragraph (d), Rule 112 of the Rules of Court, provides that if the respondent cannot
be subpoenaed or, if subpoenaed, does not submit counter-affidavits, the investigating officer

35

shall base his resolution on the evidence presented by the complainant


Just as the accused may renounce the right to be present at the preliminary investigation 5 , so
may he waive the right to present counter-affidavits or any other evidence in his defense.
At any rate, it is settled that the absence of a preliminary investigation does not impair the
validity of the information or otherwise render the same defective and neither does it affect the
jurisdiction of the court over the case or constitute a ground for quashing the information. 6
If no preliminary investigation has been held, or if it is flawed, the trial court may, on motion of the
accused, order an investigation or reinvestigation and hold the proceedings in the criminal cases
in abeyance. 7 In the case at bar, however, the respondent judge saw no reason or need for
such a step. Finding no arbitrariness in her factual conclusions, we shall defer to her judgment.
Jurisdiction of the Ombudsman
Invoking the case of Deloso v. Domingo, 8 the petitioner submits that the proceedings conducted
by the Department of Justice are null and void because it had no jurisdiction over the case. His
claim is that it is the Office of the Ombudsman that is vested with the power to conduct the
investigation of all cases involving public officers like him, as the municipal mayor of Calauan,
Laguna.
The Ombudsman is indeed empowered under Section 15, paragraph (1) of R.A. 6770 to
investigate and prosecute any illegal act or omission of any public official. However, as we held
only two years ago in the case of Aguinaldo v. Domagas, 9 this authority "is not an exclusive
authority but rather a shared or concurrent authority in respect of the offense charged."cralaw
virtua1aw library
Petitioners finally assert that the information and amended information filed in this case needed
the approval of the Ombudsman. It is not disputed that the information and amended information
here did not have the approval of the Ombudsman. However, we do not believe that such
approval was necessary at all. In Deloso v. Domingo, 191 SCRA 545 (1990), the Court held that
the Ombudsman has authority to investigate charges of illegal acts or omissions on the part of
any public official, i.e., any crime imputed to a public official. It must, however, be pointed out that
the authority of the Ombudsman to investigate "any [illegal] act or omission of any public official"
(191 SCRA at 550) is not an exclusive authority but rather a shared or concurrent authority in
respect of the offense here charged, i.e., the crime of sedition. Thus, the non-involvement of the
office of the Ombudsman in the present case does not have any adverse legal consequence
upon the authority of the panel of prosecutors to file and prosecute the information or amended
information.
In fact, other investigatory agencies of the government such as the Department of Justice, in
connection with the charge of sedition, 10 and the Presidential Commission on Good
Government, in ill-gotten wealth cases, 11 may conduct the investigation.
Was petitioner Sanchez arrested on August 13, 1993? "Arrest" is defined under Section 1, Rule
113 of the Rules of Court as the taking of a person into custody in order that he may be bound to
answer for the commission of an offense. Under Section 2 of the same Rule, an arrest is effected
by an actual restraint of the person to be arrested or by his voluntary submission to the custody
of the person making the arrest.
Application of actual force, manual touching of the body, physical restraint or a formal declaration
of arrest is not required. It is enough that there be an intent on the part of one of the parties to
arrest the other and an intent on the part of the other to submit, under the belief and impression
that submission is necessary. 12 The petitioner was taken to Camp Vicente Lim, Canlubang,
Laguna, by virtue of a letter-invitation issued by PNP Commander Rex Piad requesting him to
appear at the said camp for investigation.
In Babst v. National Intelligence Board 13 this Court declared:
Be that as it may, it is not idle to note that ordinarily, an invitation to attend a hearing and answer
some questions, which the person invited may heed or refuse at his pleasure, is not illegal or
constitutionally objectionable. Under certain circumstances, however, such an invitation can
easily assume a different appearance. Thus, where the invitation comes from a powerful group
composed predominantly of ranking military officers issued at a time when the country has just
emerged from martial rule and when the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas
corpus has not entirely been lifted, and the designated interrogation site is a military camp, the
same can easily be taken, not as a strictly voluntary invitation which it purports to be, but as an
authoritative command which one can only defy at his peril . . . (Emphasis supplied)

In the case at bar, the invitation came from a high-ranking military official and the investigation
ofSanchez was to be made at a military camp. Although in the guise of a request, it was
obviously a command or an order of arrest that the petitioner could hardly be expected to defy. In
fact, apparently cowed by the "invitation," he went without protest (and in informal clothes and
slippers only) with the officers who had come to fetch him. It may not be amiss to observe that
under R.A. No. 7438, the requisites of a "custodial investigation" are applicable even to a person
not formally arrested but merely "invited" for questioning. It should likewise be noted that at
Camp Vicente Lim, the petitioner was placed on "arrest status"after he was pointed to by
Centeno and Malabanan as the person who first raped Mary Eileen Sarmenta. Respondent Zuo
himself acknowledged during the August 13, 1993 hearing that, on the basis of the sworn
statements of the two state witnesses, the petitioner had been "arrested."
We agree with the petitioner that his arrest did not come under Section 5, Rule 113 of the
Rulesof Court, providing as follows:
SECTION 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A peace officer or a private person may,
without a warrant, arrest a person:
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is
attempting to commit an offense;(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed and he has
personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it; and
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or
place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending, or
has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another.
It is not denied that the arresting officers were not present when the petitioner allegedly
participated in the killing of Allan Gomez and the rape-slay of Mary Eileen Sarmenta. Neither did
they have any personal knowledge that the petitioner was responsible therefor because the
basis of the arrest was the sworn statements of Centeno and Malabanan. Moreover, as the rape
and killing of Sarmenta allegedly took place on June 28 - June 29, 1993, or forty-six days before
the date of the arrest, it cannot be said that the offense had "in fact just been committed" when
the petitioner was arrested. The original warrantless arrest of the petitioner was doubtless illegal.
Nevertheless, the Regional Trial Court lawfully acquired jurisdiction over the person of the
petitioner by virtue of the warrant of arrest it issued on August 26, 1993 against him and the
other accused in connection with the rape-slay cases. It was belated, to be sure, but it was
nonetheless legal. Even on the assumption that no warrant was issued at all, we find that the
trial court still lawfully acquired jurisdiction over the person of the petitioner. The rule is that if the
accused objects to the jurisdiction of the court over his person, he may move to quash the
information, but only on that ground. If, as in this case, the accused raises other grounds in the
motion to quash, he is deemed to have waived that objection and to have submitted his person
to the jurisdiction of the court. 14
The Court notes that on August 13, 1993, after the petitioner was unlawfully arrested, Judge
Lanzanas issued a warrant of arrest against Antonio L. Sanchez in connection with Criminal
Cases Nos. 93-124634 to 93-124637 for violation of R.A. No. 6713. 15 Pending the issuance of
the warrant of arrest for the rape-slay cases, this first warrant served as the initial justification for
his detention.
The Court also adverts to its uniform ruling that the filing of charges, and the issuance of the
corresponding warrant of arrest, against a person invalidly detained will cure the defect of that
detention or at least deny him the right to be released because of such defect. * Applicable by
analogy to the case at bar is Rule 102 Section 4 of the Rules of Court that:
SECTION 4. When writ is not allowed or discharge authorized. If it appears that the person
alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an officer under process issued by a
court or judge or by virtue of a judgment or order of a court of record, and that the court or judge
had jurisdiction to issue the process, render the judgment, or make the order, the writ shall not
be allowed; or if the jurisdiction appears after the writ is allowed, the person shall not be
discharged by reason of any informality or defect in the process, judgment, or order. Nor shall
anything in this rule be held to authorize the discharge of a person charged with or convicted of
an offense in the Philippines or of a person suffering imprisonment under lawful judgment.

36

In one case, 16 the petitioner sued on habeas corpus on the ground that she had been arrested
by virtue of a John Doe warrant. In their return, the respondents declared that a new warrant
specifically naming her had been issued, thus validating her detention. While frowning at the
tactics of the respondents, the Court said:
The case has, indeed, become moot and academic inasmuch as the new warrant of arrest
complies with the requirements of the Constitution and the Rules of Court regarding the
particular description of the person to be arrested. While the first warrant was unquestionably
void, being a general warrant, release of the petitioner for that reason will be a futile act as it will
be followed by her immediate re-arrest pursuant to the new and valid warrant, returning her to
the same prison she will just have left. This Court will not participate in such a meaningless
charade. The same doctrine has been consistently followed by the Court, 17 more recently in the
Umil case. 18
The Information: The petitioner submits that the seven informations charging seven separate
homicides are absurd because the two victims in these cases could not have died seven times.
This argument was correctly refuted by the Solicitor General in this wise: Thus, where there are
two or more offenders who commit rape, the homicide committed on the occasion or by reason
of each rape, must be deemed as a constituent of the special complex crime of rape with
homicide. Therefore, there will be as many crimes of rape with homicide as there are rapes
committed.
In effect, the presence of homicide qualifies the crime of rape, thereby raising its penalty to the
highest degree. Thus, homicide committed on the occasion or by reason of the rape, loses its
character as an independent offense, but assumes a new character, and functions like a
qualifying circumstance. However, by fiction of law, it is merged with rape to constitute a
constituent element of a special complex crime of rape with homicide with a specific penalty
which is in the highest degree, i.e., death (reduced to reclusion perpetua with the suspension of
the application of the death penalty by the Constitution).
It is clearly provided in Rule 110 of the Rules of Court that: SECTION 13. Duplicity of offense.
A complaint or information must charge but one offense, except only in those cases in which
existing laws prescribe a simple punishment for various offenses. Rape with homicide comes
within the exception under R.A. 2632 and R.A. 4111, amending the Revise Penal Code.
The petitioner and his six co-accused are not charged with only one rape committed by him in
conspiracy with the other six. Each one of the seven accused is charged with having himself
raped Sarmenta instead of simply helping Sanchez in committing only one rape. In other words,
the allegation of the prosecution is that the girl was raped seven times, with each of the seven
accused taking turns in abusing her with the assistance of the other six. Afterwards, their lust
satisfied, all seven of them decided to kill and thus silence Sarmenta.
Every one of the seven accused is being charged separately for actually raping Sarmenta and
later killing her instead of merely assisting the petitioner in raping and then slaying her. The
separate informations filed against each of them allege that each of the seven successive rapes
is complexed by the subsequent slaying of Sarmenta and aggravated by the killing of Allan
Gomez by her seven attackers. The separate rapes were committed in succession by the seven
accused, culminating in the slaying of Sarmenta.
It is of course absurd to suggest that Mary Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez were killed seven
times, but the informations do not make such suggestion. It is the petitioner who does so and is
thus hoist by his own petard.
The Alleged Discrimination
The charge of discrimination against the petitioner because of the non-inclusion of Teofilo
Alqueza and Edgardo Lavadia in the informations must also be dismissed.While the prosecuting
officer is required by law to charge all those who, in his opinion, appear to be guilty, he
nevertheless cannot be compelled to include in the information a person against whom he
believes no sufficient evidence of guilt exists. 19 The appreciation of the evidence involves the
use of discretion on the part of the prosecutor, and we do not find in the case at bar a clear
showing by the petitioner of a grave abuse of such discretion. 20
The decision of the prosecutor may be reversed or modified by the Secretary of Justice or in
special cases by the President of the Philippines. 21 But even this Court cannot order the
prosecution of a person against whom the prosecutor does not find sufficient evidence to support
at least a prima facie case. The courts try and absolve or convict the accused but as a rule have
no part in the initial decision to prosecute him.

The possible exception is where there is an unmistakable showing of a grave abuse of discretion
that will justify judicial intrusion into the precincts of the executive. But in such a case the proper
remedy to call for such exception is a petition for mandamus, not certiorari or prohibition. 22
Moreover, before resorting to this relief, the party seeking the inclusion of another person as a
co-accused in the same case must first avail itself of other adequate remedies such as the filing
of a motion for such decision. 23
At any rate, it is a preposterous contention that because no charges have been filed against
Alqueza and Lavadia, the charges against the petitioner and his co-accused should also be
dropped.
Jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan: The petitioner argued earlier that since most of the
accused were incumbent public officials or employees at the time of the alleged commission of
the crimes, the cases against them should come under the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan
and not of the regular courts. This contention was withdrawn in his Reply but we shall discuss it
just the same for the guidance of all those concerned.
Section 4, paragraph (a) of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by P.D. No. 1861, provides:
SECTION 4. Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise:
a) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases involving: (1) Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as
amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379,
and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code; (2) Other offenses or felonies
committed by public officers and employees in relation to their office, including those employed
in government-owned or controlled corporations, whether simple or complexed with other
crimes, where the penalty prescribed by law is higher than prision correccional or imprisonment
for six (6) years, or a fine of P6,000.00
The crime of rape with homicide with which the petitioner stands charged obviously does not fall
under paragraph (1), which deals with graft and corruption cases. Neither is it covered by
paragraph (2) because it is not an offense committed in relation to the office of the petitioner.
In Montilla v. Hilario, 24 this Court described the "offense committed in relation to the office" as
follows: [T]he relation between the crime and the office contemplated by the Constitution is, in
our opinion, direct and not accidental. To fall into the intent of the Constitution, the relation has to
be such that, in the legal sense, the offense cannot exist without the office. In other words, the
office must be a constituent element of the crime as defined in the statute, such as, for instance,
the crimes defined and punished in Chapter Two to Six, Title Seven, of the Revised Penal Code.
Public office is not of the essence of murder. The taking of human life is either murder or
homicide whether done by a private citizen or public servant, and the penalty is the same except
when the perpetrator, being a public functionary, took advantage of his office, as alleged in this
case, in which event the penalty is increased.But the use or abuse of office does not adhere to
the crime as an element; and even as an aggravating circumstance, its materiality arises, not
from the allegations but on the proof, not from the fact that the criminals are public officials but
from the manner of the commission of the crime.
There is no direct relation between the commission of the crime of rape with homicide and the
petitioners office as municipal mayor because public office is not an essential element of the
crime charged. The offense can stand independently of the office. Moreover, it is not even
alleged in the information that the commission of the crime charged was intimately connected
with the performance of the petitioners official functions to make it fall under the exception laid
down in People v. Montejo. In that case, a city mayor and several detectives were charged with
murder for the death of a suspect as a result of a "third degree" investigation held at a police
substation. The appearance of a senator as their counsel was questioned by the prosecution on
the ground that he was inhibited by the Constitution from representing them because they were
accused of an offense committed in relation to their office. The Court agreed. It held that even if
their position was not an essential ingredient of the offense, there was nevertheless an intimate
connection between the office and the offense, as alleged in the information, that brought it
within the definition of an offense "committed in relation to the public office."
As Chief Justice Concepcion said: It is apparent from these allegations that, although public

37

office is not an element of the crime of murder in abstract, as committed by the main
respondents herein, according to the amended information, the offense therein charged is
intimately connected with their respective offices and was perpetrated while they were in the
performance, though improper or irregular, of their official functions. Indeed, they had no
personal motive to commit the crime and they would not have committed it had they not held
their aforesaid offices. The co-defendants of respondent Leroy S. Brown, obeyed his instructions
because he was their superior officer, as Mayor of Basilan City. (Emphasis supplied).
We have read the informations in the case at bar and find no allegation therein that the crime of
rape with homicide imputed to the petitioner was connected with the discharge of his functions
as municipal mayor or that there is an "intimate connection" between the offense and his office. It
follows that the said crime, being an ordinary offense, is triable by the regular courts and not the
Sandiganbayan.

consequence, the respondent judge, who has started the trial of the criminal cases against the
petitioner and his co-accused, may proceed therewith without further hindrance.
It remains to stress that the decision we make today is not a decision on the merits of the
criminal cases being tried below. These will have to be decided by the respondent judge in
accordance with the evidence that is still being received. At this time, there is yet no basis for
judgment, only uninformed conjecture. The Court will caution against such irrelevant public
speculations as they can be based only on imperfect knowledge if not officious ignorance.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. The respondent judge is DIRECTED to continue with
the trial of Criminal Cases Nos. 101141, 101142, 101143, 101144, 101145, 101146 and 101147
and to decide them with deliberate dispatch.
SO ORDERED.

Conclusion
As above demonstrated, all of the grounds invoked by the petitioner are not supported by the
facts and the applicable law and jurisprudence. They must, therefore, all be rejected. In

38

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