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G.R. No.

123340

August 29, 2002

LUTGARDA CRUZ, petitioner,


vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS, PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and the HEIRS OF ESTANISLAWA
C. REYES, represented by MIGUEL C. REYES, respondents.
DECISION
CARPIO, J.:
The Case
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court to reverse the Decision
of the Court of Appeals dated March 31, 19951 and its Resolution dated December 1, 1995.2 The
Court of Appeals dismissed for being insufficient in substance the Petition for Certiorari and
Mandamus, which sought to nullify two orders of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 53,
dated April 18, 1994 and May 6, 1994.
The Antecedent Facts
The City Prosecutor of Manila charged petitioner with the crime of "Estafa thru Falsification of Public
Document" before the Manila Regional Trial Court.3 Petitioner executed before a Notary Public in the
City of Manila an Affidavit of Self-Adjudication of a parcel of land stating that she was the sole
surviving heir of the registered owner when in fact she knew there were other surviving heirs. Since
the offended party did not reserve the right to file a separate civil action arising from the criminal
offense, the civil action was deemed instituted in the criminal case.
After trial on the merits, the trial court rendered its decision dated January 17, 1994 acquitting
petitioner on the ground of reasonable doubt. In the same decision, the trial court rendered judgment
on the civil aspect of the case, ordering the return to the surviving heirs of the parcel of land located
in Bulacan.4
On January 28, 1994, petitioner received a copy of the decision.
On February 10, 1994, petitioner filed by registered mail a motion for reconsideration dated February
7, 1994, assailing the trial courts ruling on the civil aspect of the criminal case. Petitioner furnished
the City Prosecutor a copy of the motion by registered mail.
On April 18, 1994, the trial court denied petitioners motion for reconsideration stating:
"Acting on the Motion for Reconsideration dated February 7, 1994, filed by the accused through
counsel and considering that there is nothing to show that the Office of the City Prosecutor was
actually furnished or served with a copy of the said Motion for Reconsideration within the
reglementary period of fifteen (15) days from receipt by the accused on January 28, 1994 of a copy
of the Courts decision dated January 17, 1994, so that the same is already final and executory, let
the Motion for Reconsideration be Denied for lack of merit."5

Petitioner moved for a reconsideration of the trial courts order of April 18, 1994. The trial court
denied the same in an order dated May 6, 1994, to wit:
"Under the Interim Rules, no party shall be allowed a second motion for reconsideration of a final
order or judgment (Sec. 4). The motion of accused dated 22 April 1994 is a violation of this rule.
WHEREFORE, said motion is DENIED."6
Left with no recourse, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari and mandamus with the Court of
Appeals to nullify the two assailed orders of the trial court. Petitioner also asked the Court of Appeals
to compel the trial court to resolve her motion for reconsideration of the decision dated February 7,
1994.
The Ruling of the Court of Appeals
On March 31, 1995, the Court of Appeals denied due course to the petition and dismissed the case
for being insufficient in substance.
The Court of Appeals sustained the trial courts order of April 18, 1994 denying petitioners motion for
reconsideration. The Court of Appeals declared in part:
"Section 10, Rule 13, Rules of Court, provides as follows:
"SEC. 10. Proof of Service. Proof of personal service shall consist of a written admission of the
party served, or the affidavit of the party serving, containing a full statement of the date, place and
manner of service. If the service is by ordinary mail, proof thereof shall consist of an affidavit of the
person mailing of facts showing compliance with Section 5 of this rule. If service is made by
registered mail, proof shall be made by such affidavit and the registry receipt issued by the mailing
office. The registry return card shall be filed immediately upon receipt thereof by the sender, or in lieu
thereof the letter unclaimed together with the certified or sworn copy of the notice given by the
postmaster to the addressee."
Patent from the language of the said section is that in case service is made by registered mail, proof
of service shall be made by (a) affidavit of the person mailing and (b) the registry receipt issued by
the mailing office. Both must concur. In the case at bench, there was no such affidavit or registry
receipt when the motion was considered. Thus, respondent Judge cannot be said to have acted with
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction, in ruling in the manner he did." 7
The Court of Appeals also affirmed the trial courts order of May 6, 1994 denying the subsequent
motion for reconsideration, as follows:
"xxx, while there is merit in petitioners submission that the motion for reconsideration dated April 22,
1994 was not a second motion for reconsideration of a final order or judgment, as contemplated in
the Interim Rules because the motion sought to impugn the order dated 18 April 1994 not on the
basis of the issues raised in the motion for reconsideration dated 07 February 1994 but on the
erroneous legal conclusion of the order dated May 6, 1994,8 this is already academic. The decision
dated January 7, 1994 had long become final when the second motion for reconsideration was filed

on 03 May 1994. Hence, the pairing Judge who issued the order on 06 May 1994 had no more legal
competence to promulgate the same."9
Finally, the Court of Appeals upheld the assailed decision of the trial court on the civil aspect of the
case, to wit:
"x x x, the institution of a criminal action carries with it the civil action for the recovery of the civil
liability arising from the offense charged. There was neither reservation nor waiver of the right to file
the civil action separately nor has one been instituted to the criminal action. Hence, the civil action
for the civil liability has been impliedly instituted with the filing of the criminal case before respondent
Judge. This is the law on the matter. The proposition submitted by petitioner that the court presided
by respondent Judge had no jurisdiction over the property because it is located in Bulacan - outside
the territorial jurisdiction of said court -does not hold water. Being a civil liability arising from the
offense charged, the governing law is the Rules of Criminal Procedure, not the civil procedure rules
which pertain to civil action arising from the initiatory pleading that gives rise to the suit." 10
In the dispositive portion of its assailed decision, the Court of Appeals declared:
"WHEREFORE, the instant petition not being sufficient in substance is hereby DENIED DUE
COURSE and the case DISMISSED."11
In a resolution dated December 1, 1995, the Court of Appeals denied petitioners motion for
reconsideration.12
Hence, this petition.
The Issues
In her Memorandum, petitioner raises the following issues:
1. "WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE
PROSECUTION WAS DULY FURNISHED WITH COPY OF THE PETITIONERS MOTION
FOR RECONSIDERATION WITH RESPECT TO THE DECISION ON THE CIVIL ASPECT
OF CRIMINAL CASE NO. 87-54773 (SIC) OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MANILA,
BRANCH 53."
2. "WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE REGIONAL
TRIAL COURT OF MANILA HAD JURISDICTION TO RENDER JUDGMENT ON THE CIVIL
ASPECT OF CRIMINAL CASE NO. 87-57743 FOR FALSIFICATION OF PUBLIC
DOCUMENT, INVOLVING A PROPERTY LOCATED IN BULACAN."
3. "WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE
PETITIONER WAS DENIED DUE PROCESS WHEN THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF
MANILA, BRANCH 53, RENDERED DECISION ON THE CIVIL ASPECT OF CRIMINAL
CASE NO. 87-57743."13
The Ruling of the Court

We grant the petition.


When the accused is acquitted on reasonable doubt but is adjudged civilly liable, his motion for
reconsideration of the civil aspect must be served not only on the prosecution, also on the offended
party if the latter is not represented by a private counsel. Moreover, if the trial court has jurisdiction
over the subject matter and over the accused, and the crime was committed within its territorial
jurisdiction, it necessarily exercises jurisdiction over all matters that the law requires the court to
resolve. This includes the power to order the restitution to the offended party of real property located
in another province.
Absence of Proof of Service
The first issue is whether petitioners motion for reconsideration dated February 7, 1994 complied
with the mandatory requirements of Section 6, Rule 15 on proof of service. Petitioner submits that
the Court of Appeals erred in sustaining the trial courts finding that the City Prosecutor was not duly
and timely furnished with petitioners motion for reconsideration of February 7, 1994.
Petitioner asserts that both copies of the motion for reconsideration were sent to the trial court and
the City Prosecutor by registered mail on February 10, 1994. Petitioner relies on jurisprudence that
the date of mailing is the date of filing, arguing that the date of mailing of both motions was on
February 10, 1994. Petitioner maintains that the motion was properly filed within the 15-day period,
citing the registry return card which shows actual receipt on February 22, 1994 by the City
Prosecutor of a copy of the motion.
The Court of Appeals, noting that petitioner received a copy of the decision on January 28, 1994,
stated that petitioner had until February 12, 1994 to appeal the decision or file a motion for
reconsideration. The Court of Appeals ruled that petitioner, by filing a motion for reconsideration
without any proof of service, merely filed a scrap of paper and not a motion for reconsideration.
Hence, the reglementary period of petitioner to appeal continued to run and lapsed after the 15-day
period, making the trial courts decision final and executory.
We agree with the Court of Appeals that petitioner patently failed to comply with the mandatory
requirements on proof of service insofar as the public prosecutor is concerned. The Court has
stressed time and again that non-compliance with Sections 4, 5 and 6 of Rule 15 is a fatal defect.
The well-settled rule is that a motion which fails to comply with Sections 4, 5, and 6 of Rule 15 is a
useless piece of paper. If filed, such motion is not entitled to judicial cognizance and does not stop
the running of the reglementary period for filing the requisite pleading. 14
Section 6 of Rule 15 reads:
"SEC. 6. - Proof of service to be filed with motions. No motion shall be acted upon by the
court, without proof of service of the notice thereof."15 (Emphasis supplied)
From the language of the rule, proof of service is mandatory. Without such proof of service to the
adverse party, a motion is nothing but an empty formality deserving no judicial cognizance.
Section 13 of Rule 13 further requires that:

"SEC. 13. Proof of Service. x x x. If service is made by registered mail, proof shall be made by
such affidavit and the registry receipt issued by the mailing office. The registry return card shall be
filed immediately upon its receipt by the sender, or in lieu thereof the unclaimed letter together with
the certified or sworn copy of the notice given by the postmaster to the addressee." 16 (Emphasis
supplied)
If service is by registered mail, proof of service consists of the affidavit of the person mailing and
the registry receipt, both of which must be appended to the motion. Absent one or the other, or
worse both, there is no proof of service.
In the instant case, an examination of the record shows that petitioner received a copy of the trial
courts decision of January 17, 1994 on January 28, 1994. Within the reglementary period to appeal,
petitioner filed on February 10, 1994, by registered mail, a motion for reconsideration. However,
petitioner failed to attach both the affidavit and the registry receipt to the motion for reconsideration
as required by the Rules.
The defect of the motion is apparent on its face. Petitioners motion for reconsideration was a mere
scrap of paper as it did not contain the required proof of service.
However, petitioner is contesting that part of the decision of the trial court finding him civilly liable
even as he is acquitted from the criminal charge on reasonable doubt. This raises the issue of
whether the public prosecutor is the only proper party to be served with petitioners motion for
reconsideration. The present Rules do not require the accused to serve a copy of his motion for
reconsideration on the offended party who may not be represented by a private counsel. The Rules
require service only on the public prosecutor if the offended party is not represented by a private
counsel.
A judgment of acquittal is immediately final and executory and the prosecution cannot appeal the
acquittal because of the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy. However, either the
offended party or the accused may appeal the civil aspect of the judgment despite the acquittal of
the accused. The public prosecutor has generally no interest in appealing the civil aspect of a
decision acquitting the accused.
The acquittal ends the work of the public prosecutor and the case is terminated as far as he is
concerned.
The real parties in interest in the civil aspect of a decision are the offended party and the accused.
Thus, any appeal or motion for reconsideration of the civil aspect of a decision in a criminal case
must be served on the other real party in interest. If the offended party appeals or moves for
reconsideration, the accused is necessarily served a copy of the pleading through his counsel.
If the accused appeals or moves for reconsideration, a lacuna arises if the offended party is not
represented by a private counsel. In such a situation, under the present Rules only the public
prosecutor is served the notice of appeal or a copy of the motion for reconsideration. To fill in this
lacuna in the present Rules, we require that henceforth if the accused appeals or moves for
reconsideration, he should serve a copy of his pleading on the offended party himself if the latter is
not represented by a private counsel. This is in addition to service on the public prosecutor who is
the counsel of record of the State.

In the instant case, the Court notes that petitioner did not serve a copy of her motion for
reconsideration on the offended party who was not represented by a private counsel in the trial
court. In the interest of justice, and considering that the present Rules are silent on the matter, it is
only fair to give petitioner a period of five days from receipt of this decision within which to serve a
copy of her motion for reconsideration on the offended party.
Trial courts jurisdiction over the civil aspect.
Petitioner maintains that the Court of Appeals erred in finding that the trial court had jurisdiction to
render judgment on the civil aspect of the criminal case. Petitioner asserts that the Manila trial court
had no jurisdiction over the parcel of land in Bulacan which is outside the trial courts territorial
jurisdiction.
In upholding the trial courts jurisdiction, the Court of Appeals held:
"Being a civil liability arising from the offense charged, the governing law is the Rules of Criminal
Procedure, not the civil procedure rules which pertain to civil action arising from the initiatory
pleading that gives rise to the suit."17
We agree with the ruling of the Court of Appeals.
Petitioner asserts that the location of the subject property outside the courts territorial jurisdiction
deprived the trial court of jurisdiction over the civil aspect of the criminal case. This argument is
contrary to the law and the rules.
There are three important requisites which must be present before a court can acquire criminal
jurisdiction. First, the court must have jurisdiction over the subject matter. Second, the court must
have jurisdiction over the territory where the offense was committed. Third, the court must have
jurisdiction over the person of the accused.18 In the instant case, the trial court had jurisdiction over
the subject matter as the law has conferred on the court the power to hear and decide cases
involving estafa through falsification of a public document. The trial court also had jurisdiction over
the offense charged since the crime was committed within its territorial jurisdiction. The trial court
also acquired jurisdiction over the person of accused-petitioner because she voluntarily submitted to
the courts authority.
1wphi1

Where the court has jurisdiction over the subject matter and over the person of the accused, and the
crime was committed within its territorial jurisdiction, the court necessarily exercises jurisdiction over
all issues that the law requires the court to resolve. One of the issues in a criminal case is the civil
liability of the accused arising from the crime. Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code provides that
"[E]very person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable." Article 104 of the same Code states
that "civil liability x x x includes restitution."
The action for recovery of civil liability is deemed instituted in the criminal action unless reserved by
the offended party.19 In the instant case, the offended party did not reserve the civil action and the
civil action was deemed instituted in the criminal action. Although the trial court acquitted petitioner
of the crime charged, the acquittal, grounded on reasonable doubt, did not extinguish the civil
liability.20 Thus, the Manila trial court had jurisdiction to decide the civil aspect of the instant case ordering restitution even if the parcel of land is located in Bulacan.

Consequently, while we find no reversible error in the decision of the Court of Appeals as to proof of
service and the trial courts jurisdiction on the civil aspect, we remand this case for further
proceedings in the interest of justice.
WHEREFORE, petitioner is given five (5) days from receipt of this decision within which to serve a
copy of her motion for reconsideration on the offended party. Let this case be remanded to the trial
court for further proceedings.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 165027

October 12, 2006

PROTON PILIPINAS CORPORATION, petitioner,


vs.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the BUREAU OF CUSTOMS, respondent.

DECISION

CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
This case 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 Court of Appeals Decision 1 in CA-G.R. SP No. 77684
entitled, Proton Pilipinas Corporation v. Hon. Juan C. Nabong, dated 29 April 2004 and its
Resolution2 dated 2 August 2004, which respectively dismissed the Petition for Certiorari filed by
petitioner and denied its Motion for Reconsideration, thereby affirming the Orders issued by the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila dated 24 January 20033 and 15 April 2003.4
The controversy arose from the following facts:
Herein petitioner Proton Pilipinas Corporation (Proton) is a corporation duly organized and existing
under Philippine laws and duly registered5 with the Board of Investments (BOI). It is engaged in the
business of importing, manufacturing, and selling vehicles.
Sometime in 1997, Devmark Textile Industries, Inc. (Devmark), a corporation duly registered with the
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and with the BOI, and engaged in the business of
spinning, knitting, weaving, dyeing, and finishing all types of textile, yarns, and fabrics, together with
Texasia, Inc. (Texasia), expressed the intention to purchase the various vehicles distributed and
marketed by petitioner. In payment thereof, the above named companies offered petitioner their Tax
Credit Certificates (TCCs) worth P30,817,191.00. The companies, through their officers, guaranteed
petitioner that the TCCs were valid, genuine, and subsisting. They further assured petitioner that
said TCCs were a safe and a valid mode of payment for import duties and taxes as they were issued
by the Department of Finance (DOF) and duly honored and accepted by the Bureau of Customs
(BOC).

Persuaded by the representations and assurances made by the two companies as to the legality of
the transaction, Paul Y. Rodriguez, in his capacity as Executive Vice-President of Proton, signed a
Deed of Assignment6 with Eulogio L. Reyes, General Manager of Devmark. The terms and
conditions of the Deed of Assignment are as follows:
1. That the acceptance by the ASSIGNEE of the above duty/taxes credit certificate being
assigned by ASSIGNOR shall be subject to condition that the [DOF] approves the proposed
assignment.
2. For the purpose of this assignment, the above duty/taxes certificates being assigned
hereby to ASSIGNEE shall not be credited as payment of ASSIGNORs account unless and
until ASSIGNEE has in turn utilized/applied the same with the [BOC] or Bureau of Internal
Revenue [BIR] for payment of each duty/tax obligations.
3. ASSIGNEE undertakes to issue to ASSIGNOR the Tax Credit corresponding credit notes,
as when the above duty/taxes credit certificates was (sic) use[d]/applied, either partially or
fully by the ASSIGNEE, in payment of ASSIGNEEs duty/taxes obligation with the [BOC] or
[BIR], respectively.
4. Withstanding the above-stated arrangement, such Tax Credit assigned and transferred by
the ASSIGNOR to ASSIGNEE shall be subject to post-audit by the Government and shall be
credited to the ASSIGNOR only upon actual availment thereof by ASSIGNEE.
5. If the whole or any portion of the Tax Credit assigned and transferred by ASSIGNOR to the
ASSIGNEE is disallowed by the Government upon post-audit or cannot be utilized for any
cause or reason not attributable to the fault negligence of the ASSIGNEE, the whole amount
corresponding such Tax Credit or such portion thereof as is disallowed by the Government or
cannot be utilized by ASSIGNEE shall be paid in cash to ASSIGNEE by the ASSIGNOR
immediately upon receipt of written notice of such event. 7
Consequently, the TCCs, as well as their transfers to petitioner, were submitted to the DOF for
evaluation and approval. Thereafter, the DOF, through its Undersecretary Antonio P. Belicena,
cleared said TCCs for transaction and approved them for transfer. For that reason, petitioner
delivered 13 vehicles with a total value ofP10,778,500.00 and post-dated checks
worth P10,592,618.00, in exchange for the said TCCs, to Devmark and Texasia in accordance with
their agreement. In turn, petitioner used the TCCs for payment of its customs duties and taxes to the
BOC.
In the interim, the Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) under Hon. Aniano Desierto began
conducting an investigation on the alleged "P60 Billion DOF Tax Credit Scam" in July 1998. On 30
March 1999, Silverio T. Manuel, Jr., as Graft Investigator II, was given the assignment to look into the
alleged irregular issuances of four TCCs to Devmark and its subsequent transfer to and utilization by
petitioner. Based on the Fact-Finding Report8dated 29 October 1999 of the Fact Finding and
Investigation Bureau, Ombudsman, the TCCs were found to be irregularly and fraudulently issued by
several officers of the DOF, including its Department Undersecretary Belicena, to Devmark. As
revealed in the said Report, all the pertinent documents submitted by Devmark in support of its
application for the TCCs were fake and spurious. As a consequence thereof, the transfers of the
subject TCCs to petitioner and their subsequent use of the same was declared invalid and illegal.
The Report recommended among other things, that the directors of the petitioner and Devmark,
along with several DOF officers, be criminally charged with violation of Section 3(e) and (j) of
Republic Act No. 3019,9 otherwise known as The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

On the weight of the Fact-Finding Report, the Ombudsman filed with the Sandiganbayan, Criminal
Cases No. 26168 to 7110 charging DOF Undersecretary Belicena together with Reyes, General
Manager of Devmark, Peter Y. Rodriguez and Paul Y. Rodriguez, in their capacity as Director and
Executive Vice-President/Chief Operating Officer of the petitioner, respectively, for violation of
Section 3(e) and (j) of Republic Act No. 3019.
In turn, petitioner filed a criminal case for Estafa against the officers of Devmark with the City
Prosecutor of Mandaluyong, docketed as I.S. No. 00-42921-K, entitled, Proton Pilipinas, Inc. v.
Robert Liang. The BOC on the other hand, filed Civil Case No. 02-10265011 against petitioner before
the RTC for the collection of taxes and customs duties, which remain unpaid because the subject
TCCs had been cancelled brought about by petitioners use of fraudulent TCCs in paying its
obligations.
Petitioner then filed a Motion to Dismiss12 the aforesaid civil case filed against it by BOC on the
grounds of lack of jurisdiction, prematurity of action, and litis pendentia. The said Motion, however,
was denied by the trial court in its Order dated 24 January 2003. Petitioner sought reconsideration of
the above-mentioned Order, but the same was likewise denied in another Order dated 15 April 2003.
Feeling aggrieved, petitioner filed before the Court of Appeals a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65
of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure seeking to annul the Orders of the trial court.
On 29 April 2004, the Court of Appeals rendered a Decision dismissing the Petition for lack of merit
and affirming the RTC Orders. On 7 June 2004, petitioner moved for reconsideration but the same
was denied in the Court of Appeals Resolution dated 2 August 2004.
Hence, this Petition.
In the petitioners Memorandum,13 it ascribes the following errors committed by the Court of Appeals:
I.
The Honorable Court of Appeals erred in affirming the RTC Orders and, consequently, in not
dismissing the Civil Case because, per Section 4, RA 8249, the Sandiganbayan has sole
and exclusive jurisdiction over the subject matter thereof.
1. Per Section 4, RA 8249, the Sandiganbayan has sole and exclusive jurisdiction over the
subject matter of the Civil Case to the exclusion of the RTC.
a. The expanded jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan under RA 8249 covers the
subject matter of the Civil Case.
i. Before, the exclusive jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over civil actions
was limited only to "civil liability arising from the offense charged" per
[Presidential Decree] PD 1861 and RA 7975. But now under RA 8249,
Sandiganbayan has the exclusive expanded jurisdiction over all civil actions
for recovery of civil liability regardless of whether or not they arise from the
offense charged.
ii. In fact, the language of the law is clear and extant that this expanded
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan supersedes "any provision of law or the
rules of court."

iii. The subject matter of the Civil Case, being the civil aspect of the Criminal
Cases, is deemed simultaneously instituted in the latter.
II.
The Honorable Court of Appeals erred in holding that the litis pendentia rule is inapplicable
and that the civil case is not premature.
1. The requisites of litis pendentia are present in the Criminal Cases and the Civil Case.
a. There is identity of parties or at least such as representing the same interest in
both actionsb. There is identity of rights asserted and relief prayed for, the relief being founded on
the same factsc. The identity in the two (2) cases is such that the judgment that may be rendered in
the pending case would, regardless of which party is successful, amount to res
judicata in the otherd. Even assuming that not all the requisites of litis pendentia under the Rules of
Court are present, the pendency of the Criminal Cases constitute some form of litis
pendentia by express provision of Section 4, RA 8249.
2. In any event, the Civil Case is premature since the validity or invalidity of the TCCs is a
prejudicial issue that has yet to be resolved with finality by the Sandiganbayan in the
Criminal Cases.
Given the foregoing, this Court restates the issues for resolution in the Petition at bar, as follows:
I. Whether or not the jurisdiction over Civil Case No. 02-102650, involving collection of
unpaid customs duties and taxes of petitioner, belongs to the Sandiganbayan and not to the
RTC, as it can be considered the civil aspect of the Criminal Cases filed before the
Sandiganbayan, hence, deemed instituted in the latter.
II. Whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in holding that, the rule on litis pendentia is
inapplicable in the present case.
III. Whether or not the institution of the aforesaid Civil Case is premature as the
determination of the validity or invalidity of the TCCs is a prejudicial issue that must first be
resolved with finality in the Criminal Cases filed before the Sandiganbayan.
The Petition is bereft of merit.
In the instant case, petitioner argues that since the filing of the criminal cases was anchored on the
alleged conspiracy among accused public officials, including the corporate officers, regarding the
anomalous and illegal transfer of four TCCs from Devmark to petitioner and the latters subsequent
use of three TCCs in paying their customs duties and taxes to the detriment of the government, the
civil case regarding collection of unpaid customs duties and taxes was deemed impliedly instituted
with the criminal cases before the Sandiganbayan, being the civil aspect of the criminal cases. To

buttress its assertion, petitioner quoted the last paragraph of Section 4, Republic Act No. 8249,
which states that:
Any provision of law or Rules of Court to the contrary notwithstanding, the criminal action
and the corresponding civil action for the recovery of civil liability shall at all times be
simultaneously instituted with, and jointly determined in, the same proceeding by
the Sandiganbayan or the appropriate courts, the filing of the criminal action being deemed
to necessarily carry with it the filing of the civil action, and no right to reserve the filing of
such civil action separately from the criminal action shall be recognized: x x x.
It is a truism beyond doubt that the jurisdiction of the court over a subject matter is conferred only by
the Constitution or by law.14 In addition, it is settled that jurisdiction is determined by the allegations in
the complaint.15
Accordingly, as can be gleaned from the Complaint for Collection of Money with Damages 16 filed by
the Government against petitioner, what the former seeks is the payment of customs duties and
taxes due from petitioner, which remain unpaid by reason of the cancellation of the subject TCCs for
being fake and spurious. Said Complaint has nothing to do with the criminal liability of the accused,
which the Government wants to enforce in the criminal cases filed before the Sandiganbayan. This
can be clearly inferred from the fact that only petitioner was impleaded in the said Complaint.
While it is true that according to the aforesaid Section 4, of Republic Act No. 8249, the institution of
the criminal action automatically carries with it the institution of the civil action for the recovery of civil
liability, however, in the case at bar, the civil case for the collection of unpaid customs duties and
taxes cannot be simultaneously instituted and determined in the same proceedings as the criminal
cases before the Sandiganbayan, as it cannot be made the civil aspect of the criminal cases filed
before it. It should be borne in mind that the tax and the obligation to pay the same are all created by
statute; so are its collection and payment governed by statute. 17The payment of taxes is a duty which
the law requires to be paid. Said obligation is not a consequence of the felonious acts charged in the
criminal proceeding nor is it a mere civil liability arising from crime that could be wiped out by the
judicial declaration of non-existence of the criminal acts charged. 18 Hence, the payment and
collection of customs duties and taxes in itself creates civil liability on the part of the taxpayer. Such
civil liability to pay taxes arises from the fact, for instance, that one has engaged himself in business,
and not because of any criminal act committed by him.19
Undoubtedly, Republic Act No. 3019 is a special law but since it is silent as to the definition of civil
liability, hence, it is only proper to make use of the Revised Penal Code provisions relating to civil
liability as a supplement. This is in accordance with the provision of Article 10 of the Revised Penal
Code, which make the said Code supplementary to special laws unless the latter should especially
provide the contrary.20 Article 104 of the Revised Penal Code enumerates the matters covered by the
civil liability arising from crimes, to wit:
Article 104. What is included in civil liability. The civil liability established in articles 100,
101, 102 and 103 of this Code includes:
1. Restitution;21
2. Reparation of the damage caused;22
3. Indemnification for consequential damages.23

With the above provision of the Revised Penal Code, it is far-fetched that the civil case for the
collection of unpaid customs duties and taxes can be simultaneously instituted with the criminal
cases for violation of Section 3(e) and (j) of Republic Act No. 3019 filed before the Sandiganbayan
nor can it be made the civil aspect of such criminal cases. All the matters covered by the civil liability
in the aforesaid article have something to do with the crimes committed by the wrongdoer. Clearly,
the civil liability for violation of any criminal statute, like Republic Act No. 3019, exists because of the
criminal act done by the offender. In other words, the civil obligation flows from and is created by the
criminal liability,24 thus, the civil liability arising from crimes is different from the civil liability
contemplated in the case of taxation.
Since the present case took place at the time when Republic Act No. 1125, 25 otherwise known as, An
Act Creating the Court of Tax Appeals, was still in effect and when the Court of Tax Appeals had no
jurisdiction yet over tax collection cases, this case therefore, still falls under the general jurisdiction
of the RTC. Section 19(6) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended, provides that:
Section 19. Jurisdictional in civil cases. Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive
original jurisdiction:
xxx
(6) In all cases not within the exclusive jurisdiction of any court, tribunal, person or body
exercising jurisdiction of any court, tribunal, person or body exercising judicial or quasijudicial functions; x x x.
Consequently, the RTC, not the Sandiganbayan, has jurisdiction over Civil Case No. 02-102650. The
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan is only with respect, among other things, to the criminal cases for
violation of Republic Act No. 3019, particularly in this case, Section 3(e) and (j) thereof, but it has no
authority to take cognizance of the civil case to collect the unpaid customs duties and taxes of the
petitioner.
On the second and third issues. Petitioner avers that the Court of Appeals erred in not applying the
rule on litis pendentia despite the fact that all its requisites are present in both criminal and civil
cases. Petitioner also avows that the institution of the civil case for collection of unpaid customs
duties and taxes was premature since the validity or invalidity of the TCCs was a prejudicial issue
that has yet to be resolved with finality by the Sandiganbayan in the Criminal Cases before it.
Conversely, the Government claims that in Criminal Cases No. 26168 to 71 filed before the
Sandiganbayan, the petitioner was not the party accused, but its corporate officers, whereas in Civil
Case No. 02-102650 the party sued is not the corporate officers, but the corporation. Accordingly,
there can be no litis pendentia as the requisite of identity of parties was absent.
Litis pendentia is a Latin term, which literally means "a pending suit." Litis pendentia as a ground for
the dismissal of a civil action refers to that situation wherein another action is pending between the
same parties for the same cause of action, such that the second action becomes unnecessary and
vexatious. For litis pendentia to be invoked, the concurrence of the following requisites is necessary:
(a) identity of parties or at least such as represent the same interest in both actions;
(b) identity of rights asserted and reliefs prayed for, the reliefs being founded on the same
facts; and

(c) the identity in the two cases should be such that the judgment that may be rendered in
one would, regardless of which party is successful, amount to res judicata in the other.26
In the case at bar, in Criminal Cases No. 26168 to 71 only the responsible officers of the petitioner
are charged in the Information, while in Civil Case No. 02-102650, it is only the corporation that is
impleaded, holding it liable for the unpaid customs duties and taxes as a corporate taxpayer. Taxes
being personal to the taxpayer, it can only be enforced against herein petitioner because the
payment of unpaid customs duties and taxes are the personal obligation of the petitioner as a
corporate taxpayer, thus, it cannot be imposed on its corporate officers, much so on its individual
stockholders, for this will violate the principle that a corporation has personality separate and distinct
from the persons constituting it.27 Having said that, the parties in the two actions are entirely different,
hence, petitioner failed to establish the first requisite of litis pendentia as to identity of parties.
Going to the second requisite of litis pendentia, this Court finds that the causes of action, as well as
the reliefs prayed for in the criminal and civil actions are considerably different. In the criminal cases,
the cause of action of the Government, as the Court of Appeals mentioned in its Decision, was
founded on the fact that it was defrauded as a result of the alleged conspiracy among the corporate
officers of the petitioner and some public officials in the procurement and use of the spurious TCCs,
amounting to violation of Section 3(e) and (j) of Republic Act No. 3019. Therefore, the primordial
relief sought by the Government is the conviction of the accused for their fraudulent acts. On the
contrary, the cause of action in the civil case was established on the basis that since the TCCs were
not honored, the customs duties and taxes remain unpaid so the civil action was filed in order to
collect the unpaid taxes due to petitioner. The relief sought by the Government in the civil case is the
collection of unpaid customs duties and taxes. Thus, the conviction of the accused in the criminal
cases and the collection of unpaid taxes in the civil case are totally unrelated causes of action that
will not justify the application of the rule on litis pendentia.
As regards the third requisite of litis pendentia, again, the petitioner failed to meet the same. This
Court deems it necessary to quote the very wordings of the Court of Appeals in its Decision dated 29
April 2004, as follows:
Moreover, a judgment in the criminal cases, to our mind, will not be determinative of the civil
case upon which the principle of res judicata will operate. A judgment in the criminal cases
will only lead to either conviction or acquittal of the accused officers of the petitioner as the
crime only attaches to them but will not in anyway affect the liability of the petitioner as it is a
distinct and separate juridical person. Nor do we believe that a finding on the efficacy of the
TCCs will change the dire situation in which the Government finds itself in as the tax and the
customs duties remain unpaid. The fate of the TCCs for whatever its worth is already fait
accompli. It is not disputed by the parties concerned that the subject TCCs have already
been cancelled by the [DOF] for which reason the twin suits have been brought. It is on this
basis too, that petitioner filed a [C]omplaint for [E]stafa against Devmarks officers before the
City Prosecutor of Mandaluyong City. Hence, it is absurd for the petitioner to anchor its
complaint on the alleged worthlessness of the TCCs only to argue in the present action that
the same must await final determination in the criminal cases before the Sandiganbayan. 28
Attention must be given to the fact that taxes are the lifeblood of the nation through which the
government agencies continue to operate and with which the State effects its functions for the
welfare of its constituents.29 It is also settled that taxes are the lifeblood of the government and their
prompt and certain availability is an imperious need. 30 So then, the determination of the validity or
invalidity of the TCCs cannot be regarded as a prejudicial issue that must first be resolved with
finality in the Criminal Cases filed before the Sandiganbayan. The Government should not and must
not await the result of the criminal proceedings in the Sandiganbayan before it can collect the

outstanding customs duties and taxes of the petitioner for such will unduly restrain the Government
in doing its functions. The machineries of the Government will not be able to function well if the
collection of taxes will be delayed so much so if its collection will depend on the outcome of any
criminal proceedings on the guise that the issue of collection of taxes is a prejudicial issue that need
to be first resolved before enforcing its collection.
Therefore, it is the obligation of the petitioner to make good its obligation by paying the customs
duties and taxes, which remain unpaid by reason of the cancellation of the subject TCCs for having
been found as fake and spurious. It should not make the Government suffer for its own misfortune.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the instant Petition is hereby DENIED. The Decision as well as the Resolution
of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 77684 dated 29 April 2004 and 2 August 2004,
respectively, affirming the Orders of the RTC are hereby AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 147703

April 14, 2004

PHILIPPINE RABBIT BUS LINES, INC., petitioner,


vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.
DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:
When the accused-employee absconds or jumps bail, the judgment meted out becomes final and
executory. The employer cannot defeat the finality of the judgment by filing a notice of appeal on its
own behalf in the guise of asking for a review of its subsidiary civil liability. Both the primary civil
liability of the accused-employee and the subsidiary civil liability of the employer are carried in one
single decision that has become final and executory.
The Case
Before this Court is a Petition for Review1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the March
29, 20002 and the March 27, 20013 Resolutions of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR CV No.
59390. Petitioners appeal from the judgment of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of San Fernando, La
Union in Criminal Case No. 2535 was dismissed in the first Resolution as follows:
"WHEREFORE, for all the foregoing, the motion to dismiss is GRANTED and the appeal is
orderedDISMISSED."4
The second Resolution denied petitioners Motion for Reconsideration. 5
The Facts
The facts of the case are summarized by the CA in this wise:

"On July 27, 1994, accused [Napoleon Roman y Macadangdang] was found guilty and
convicted of the crime of reckless imprudence resulting to triple homicide, multiple physical
injuries and damage to property and was sentenced to suffer the penalty of four (4) years,
nine (9) months and eleven (11) days to six (6) years, and to pay damages as follows:
a. to pay the heirs of JUSTINO TORRES the sum of P50,000.00 as indemnity for his
death, plus the sum of P25,383.00, for funeral expenses, his unearned income for
one year at P2,500.00 a month,P50,000.00 as indemnity for the support of Renato
Torres, and the further sum of P300,000.00 as moral damages;
b. to the heirs of ESTRELLA VELERO, the sum of P50,000.00 as indemnity for her
death, the sum ofP237,323.75 for funeral expenses, her unearned income for three
years at P45,000.00 per annum, and the further sum of P1,000,000.00 as moral
damages and P200,000.00 as attorneys fees[;]
c. to the heirs of LORNA ANCHETA, the sum of P50,000.00 as indemnity for her
death, the sum ofP22,838.00 as funeral expenses, the sum of P20,544.94 as
medical expenses and her loss of income for 30 years at P1,000.00 per month, and
the further sum of P100,000.00 for moral damages;
d. to MAUREEN BRENNAN, the sum of P229,654.00 as hospital expenses, doctors
fees ofP170,000.00 for the orthopedic surgeon, P22,500.00 for the [n]eurologist, an
additional indemnity [of] at least P150,000.00 to cover future correction of deformity
of her limbs, and moral damages in the amount of P1,000,000.00;
e. to ROSIE BALAJO, the sum of P3,561.46 as medical expenses, P2,000.00 as
loss of income, andP25,000.00 as moral damages;
f. to TERESITA TAMONDONG, the sum of P19,800.47 as medical
expenses, P800.00 for loss of income, and P25,000.00 as moral damages;
g. to JULIANA TABTAB, the amount of P580.81 as medical expenses, P4,600.00 as
actual damages and her loss earnings of P1,400.00 as well as moral damages in the
amount of P10,000.00;
h. to MIGUEL ARQUITOLA, the sum of P12,473.82 as hospital
expenses, P14,530.00 as doctors fees, P1,000.00 for medicines and P50,000.00 as
moral damages;
i. to CLARITA CABANBAN, the sum of P155.00 for medical expenses, P87.00 for
medicines,P1,710.00 as actual damages and P5,000.00 as moral damages;
j. to MARIANO CABANBAN, the sum of P1,395.00 for hospital bills, P500.00 for
medicine, P2,100.00 as actual damages, P1,200.00 for loss of income
and P5,000.00 as moral damages;

k. to La Union Electric Company as the registered owner of the Toyota Hi-Ace Van,
the amount ofP250,000.00 as actual damages for the cost of the totally wrecked
vehicle; to the owner of the jeepney, the amount of P22,698.38 as actual damages;
"The court further ruled that [petitioner], in the event of the insolvency of accused, shall be
liable for the civil liabilities of the accused. Evidently, the judgment against accused had
become final and executory.
"Admittedly, accused had jumped bail and remained at-large. It is worth mention[ing] that
Section 8, Rule 124 of the Rules of Court authorizes the dismissal of appeal when appellant
jumps bail. Counsel for accused, also admittedly hired and provided by [petitioner], filed a
notice of appeal which was denied by the trial court. We affirmed the denial of the notice of
appeal filed in behalf of accused.
"Simultaneously, on August 6, 1994, [petitioner] filed its notice of appeal from the judgment of
the trial court. On April 29, 1997, the trial court gave due course to [petitioners] notice of
appeal. On December 8, 1998, [petitioner] filed its brief. On December 9, 1998, the Office of
the Solicitor General received [a] copy of [petitioners] brief. On January 8, 1999, the OSG
moved to be excused from filing [respondents] brief on the ground that the OSGs authority
to represent People is confined to criminal cases on appeal. The motion was however denied
per Our resolution of May 31, 1999. On March 2, 1999, [respondent]/private prosecutor filed
the instant motion to dismiss."6 (Citations omitted)
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
The CA ruled that the institution of a criminal case implied the institution also of the civil action
arising from the offense. Thus, once determined in the criminal case against the accused-employee,
the employers subsidiary civil liability as set forth in Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code becomes
conclusive and enforceable.
The appellate court further held that to allow an employer to dispute independently the civil liability
fixed in the criminal case against the accused-employee would be to amend, nullify or defeat a final
judgment. Since the notice of appeal filed by the accused had already been dismissed by the CA,
then the judgment of conviction and the award of civil liability became final and executory. Included
in the civil liability of the accused was the employers subsidiary liability.
Hence, this Petition.7
The Issues
Petitioner states the issues of this case as follows:
"A. Whether or not an employer, who dutifully participated in the defense of its accusedemployee, may appeal the judgment of conviction independently of the accused.
"B. Whether or not the doctrines of Alvarez v. Court of Appeals (158 SCRA 57) and Yusay v.
Adil (164 SCRA 494) apply to the instant case."8

There is really only one issue. Item B above is merely an adjunct to Item A.
The Court's Ruling
The Petition has no merit.
Main Issue:
Propriety of Appeal by the Employer
Pointing out that it had seasonably filed a notice of appeal from the RTC Decision, petitioner
contends that the judgment of conviction against the accused-employee has not attained finality. The
former insists that its appeal stayed the finality, notwithstanding the fact that the latter had jumped
bail. In effect, petitioner argues that its appeal takes the place of that of the accused-employee.
We are not persuaded.
Appeals in Criminal Cases
Section 1 of Rule 122 of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure states thus:
"Any party may appeal from a judgment or final order, unless the accused will be placed in
double jeopardy."
Clearly, both the accused and the prosecution may appeal a criminal case, but the government may
do so only if the accused would not thereby be placed in double jeopardy.9 Furthermore, the
prosecution cannot appeal on the ground that the accused should have been given a more severe
penalty.10 On the other hand, the offended parties may also appeal the judgment with respect to their
right to civil liability. If the accused has the right to appeal the judgment of conviction, the offended
parties should have the same right to appeal as much of the judgment as is prejudicial to them. 11
Appeal by the Accused Who Jumps Bail
Well-established in our jurisdiction is the principle that the appellate court may, upon motion or motu
proprio, dismiss an appeal during its pendency if the accused jumps bail. The second paragraph of
Section 8 of Rule 124 of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides:
"The Court of Appeals may also, upon motion of the appellee or motu proprio, dismiss the
appeal if the appellant escapes from prison or confinement, jumps bail or flees to a foreign
country during the pendency of the appeal."12
This rule is based on the rationale that appellants lose their standing in court when they abscond.
Unless they surrender or submit to the courts jurisdiction, they are deemed to have waived their
right to seek judicial relief.13
Moreover, this doctrine applies not only to the accused who jumps bail during the appeal, but also to
one who does so during the trial. Justice Florenz D. Regalado succinctly explains the principle in this
wise:

"x x x. When, as in this case, the accused escaped after his arraignment and during the trial,
but the trial in absentia proceeded resulting in the promulgation of a judgment against him
and his counsel appealed, since he nonetheless remained at large his appeal must be
dismissed by analogy with the aforesaid provision of this Rule [Rule 124, 8 of the Rules on
Criminal Procedure]. x x x"14
The accused cannot be accorded the right to appeal unless they voluntarily submit to the jurisdiction
of the court or are otherwise arrested within 15 days from notice of the judgment against
them.15 While at large, they cannot seek relief from the court, as they are deemed to have waived the
appeal.16
Finality of a Decision in a Criminal Case
As to when a judgment of conviction attains finality is explained in Section 7 of Rule 120 of the 2000
Rules of Criminal Procedure, which we quote:
"A judgment of conviction may, upon motion of the accused, be modified or set aside before
it becomes final or before appeal is perfected. Except where the death penalty is imposed, a
judgment becomes final after the lapse of the period for perfecting an appeal, or when the
sentence has been partially or totally satisfied or served, or when the accused has waived in
writing his right to appeal, or has applied for probation."
In the case before us, the accused-employee has escaped and refused to surrender to the proper
authorities; thus, he is deemed to have abandoned his appeal. Consequently, the judgment against
him has become final and executory.17
Liability of an Employer in a Finding of Guilt
Article 102 of the Revised Penal Code states the subsidiary civil liabilities of innkeepers, as follows:
"In default of the persons criminally liable, innkeepers, tavernkeepers, and any other persons
or corporations shall be civilly liable for crimes committed in their establishments, in all cases
where a violation of municipal ordinances or some general or special police regulation shall
have been committed by them or their employees.
"Innkeepers are also subsidiary liable for restitution of goods taken by robbery or theft within
their houses from guests lodging therein, or for payment of the value thereof, provided that
such guests shall have notified in advance the innkeeper himself, or the person representing
him, of the deposit of such goods within the inn; and shall furthermore have followed the
directions which such innkeeper or his representative may have given them with respect to
the care and vigilance over such goods. No liability shall attach in case of robbery with
violence against or intimidation of persons unless committed by the innkeepers employees."
Moreover, the foregoing subsidiary liability applies to employers, according to Article 103 which
reads:
"The subsidiary liability established in the next preceding article shall also apply to
employers, teachers, persons, and corporations engaged in any kind of industry for felonies

committed by their servants, pupils, workmen, apprentices, or employees in the discharge of


their duties."
Having laid all these basic rules and principles, we now address the main issue raised by petitioner.
Civil Liability Deemed Instituted in the Criminal Prosecution
At the outset, we must explain that the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure has clarified what civil
actions are deemed instituted in a criminal prosecution.
Section 1 of Rule 111 of the current Rules of Criminal Procedure provides:
"When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery of civil liability arising
from the offense charged shall be deemed instituted with the criminal action unless the
offended party waives the civil action, reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes
the civil action prior to the criminal action.
"x x x

xxx

x x x"

Only the civil liability of the accused arising from the crime charged is deemed impliedly instituted in
a criminal action; that is, unless the offended party waives the civil action, reserves the right to
institute it separately, or institutes it prior to the criminal action. 18 Hence, the subsidiary civil liability of
the employer under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code may be enforced by execution on the
basis of the judgment of conviction meted out to the employee. 19
It is clear that the 2000 Rules deleted the requirement of reserving independent civil actions and
allowed these to proceed separately from criminal actions. Thus, the civil actions referred to in
Articles 32,20 33,21 3422 and 217623 of the Civil Code shall remain "separate, distinct and independent"
of any criminal prosecution based on the same act. Here are some direct consequences of such
revision and omission:
1. The right to bring the foregoing actions based on the Civil Code need not be reserved in
the criminal prosecution, since they are not deemed included therein.
2. The institution or the waiver of the right to file a separate civil action arising from the crime
charged does not extinguish the right to bring such action.
3. The only limitation is that the offended party cannot recover more than once for the same
act or omission.24
What is deemed instituted in every criminal prosecution is the civil liability arising from the crime or
delict per se (civil liability ex delicto), but not those liabilities arising from quasi-delicts, contracts or
quasi-contracts. In fact, even if a civil action is filed separately, the ex delicto civil liability in the
criminal prosecution remains, and the offended party may -- subject to the control of the prosecutor
-- still intervene in the criminal action, in order to protect the remaining civil interest therein. 25
This discussion is completely in accord with the Revised Penal Code, which states that "[e]very
person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable." 26

Petitioner argues that, as an employer, it is considered a party to the criminal case and is
conclusively bound by the outcome thereof. Consequently, petitioner must be accorded the right to
pursue the case to its logical conclusion -- including the appeal.
The argument has no merit. Undisputedly, petitioner is not a direct party to the criminal case, which
was filed solely against Napoleon M. Roman, its employee.
In its Memorandum, petitioner cited a comprehensive list of cases dealing with the subsidiary liability
of employers. Thereafter, it noted that none can be applied to it, because "in all th[o]se cases, the
accuseds employer did not interpose an appeal."27 Indeed, petitioner cannot cite any single case in
which the employer appealed, precisely because an appeal in such circumstances is not possible.
The cases dealing with the subsidiary liability of employers uniformly declare that, strictly speaking,
they are not parties to the criminal cases instituted against their employees. 28 Although in substance
and in effect, they have an interest therein, this fact should be viewed in the light of their subsidiary
liability. While they may assist their employees to the extent of supplying the latters lawyers, as in
the present case, the former cannot act independently on their own behalf, but can only defend the
accused.
Waiver of Constitutional Safeguard Against Double Jeopardy
Petitioners appeal obviously aims to have the accused-employee absolved of his criminal
responsibility and the judgment reviewed as a whole. These intentions are apparent from its
Appellants Brief29 filed with the CA and from its Petition30 before us, both of which claim that the trial
courts finding of guilt "is not supported by competent evidence." 31
An appeal from the sentence of the trial court implies a waiver of the constitutional safeguard against
double jeopardy and throws the whole case open to a review by the appellate court. The latter is
then called upon to render judgment as law and justice dictate, whether favorable or unfavorable to
the appellant.32 This is the risk involved when the accused decides to appeal a sentence of
conviction.33 Indeed, appellate courts have the power to reverse, affirm or modify the judgment of the
lower court and to increase or reduce the penalty it imposed.34
If the present appeal is given course, the whole case against the accused-employee becomes open
to review. It thus follows that a penalty higher than that which has already been imposed by the trial
court may be meted out to him. Petitioners appeal would thus violate his right against double
jeopardy, since the judgment against him could become subject to modification without his consent.
We are not in a position to second-guess the reason why the accused effectively waived his right to
appeal by jumping bail. It is clear, though, that petitioner may not appeal without violating his right
against double jeopardy.
Effect of Absconding on the Appeal Process
Moreover, within the meaning of the principles governing the prevailing criminal procedure, the
accused impliedly withdrew his appeal by jumping bail and thereby made the judgment of the court
below final.35 Having been a fugitive from justice for a long period of time, he is deemed to have
waived his right to appeal. Thus, his conviction is now final and executory. The Court in People v.
Ang Gioc36 ruled:

"There are certain fundamental rights which cannot be waived even by the accused himself,
but the right of appeal is not one of them. This right is granted solely for the benefit of the
accused. He may avail of it or not, as he pleases. He may waive it either expressly or by
implication. When the accused flees after the case has been submitted to the court for
decision, he will be deemed to have waived his right to appeal from the judgment rendered
against him. x x x."37
By fleeing, the herein accused exhibited contempt of the authority of the court and placed himself in
a position to speculate on his chances for a reversal. In the process, he kept himself out of the reach
of justice, but hoped to render the judgment nugatory at his option.38 Such conduct is intolerable and
does not invite leniency on the part of the appellate court. 39
Consequently, the judgment against an appellant who escapes and who refuses to surrender to the
proper authorities becomes final and executory.40
Thus far, we have clarified that petitioner has no right to appeal the criminal case against the
accused-employee; that by jumping bail, he has waived his right to appeal; and that the judgment in
the criminal case against him is now final.
Subsidiary Liability Upon Finality of Judgment
As a matter of law, the subsidiary liability of petitioner now accrues. Petitioner argues that the rulings
of this Court in Miranda v. Malate Garage & Taxicab, Inc.,41 Alvarez v. CA42 and Yusay v. Adil43 do not
apply to the present case, because it has followed the Courts directive to the employers in these
cases to take part in the criminal cases against their employees. By participating in the defense of its
employee, herein petitioner tries to shield itself from the undisputed rulings laid down in these
leading cases.
Such posturing is untenable. In dissecting these cases on subsidiary liability, petitioner lost track of
the most basic tenet they have laid down -- that an employers liability in a finding of guilt against its
accused-employee is subsidiary.
Under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code, employers are subsidiarily liable for the adjudicated
civil liabilities of their employees in the event of the latters insolvency.44 The provisions of the
Revised Penal Code on subsidiary liability -- Articles 102 and 103 -- are deemed written into the
judgments in the cases to which they are applicable.45 Thus, in the dispositive portion of its decision,
the trial court need not expressly pronounce the subsidiary liability of the employer.
In the absence of any collusion between the accused-employee and the offended party, the
judgment of conviction should bind the person who is subsidiarily liable. 46 In effect and implication,
the stigma of a criminal conviction surpasses mere civil liability.47
To allow employers to dispute the civil liability fixed in a criminal case would enable them to amend,
nullify or defeat a final judgment rendered by a competent court.48 By the same token, to allow them
to appeal the final criminal conviction of their employees without the latters consent would also
result in improperly amending, nullifying or defeating the judgment.

The decision convicting an employee in a criminal case is binding and conclusive upon the employer
not only with regard to the formers civil liability, but also with regard to its amount. The liability of an
employer cannot be separated from that of the employee. 49
Before the employers subsidiary liability is exacted, however, there must be adequate evidence
establishing that (1) they are indeed the employers of the convicted employees; (2) that the former
are engaged in some kind of industry; (3) that the crime was committed by the employees in the
discharge of their duties; and (4) that the execution against the latter has not been satisfied due to
insolvency.50
The resolution of these issues need not be done in a separate civil action. But the determination
must be based on the evidence that the offended party and the employer may fully and freely
present. Such determination may be done in the same criminal action in which the employees
liability, criminal and civil, has been pronounced;51and in a hearing set for that precise purpose, with
due notice to the employer, as part of the proceedings for the execution of the judgment.
Just because the present petitioner participated in the defense of its accused-employee does not
mean that its liability has transformed its nature; its liability remains subsidiary. Neither will its
participation erase its subsidiary liability. The fact remains that since the accused-employees
conviction has attained finality, then the subsidiary liability of the employer ipso facto attaches.
According to the argument of petitioner, fairness dictates that while the finality of conviction could be
the proper sanction to be imposed upon the accused for jumping bail, the same sanction should not
affect it. In effect, petitioner-employer splits this case into two: first, for itself; and second, for its
accused-employee.
The untenability of this argument is clearly evident. There is only one criminal case against the
accused-employee. A finding of guilt has both criminal and civil aspects. It is the height of absurdity
for this single case to be final as to the accused who jumped bail, but not as to an entity whose
liability is dependent upon the conviction of the former.
The subsidiary liability of petitioner is incidental to and dependent on the pecuniary civil liability of the
accused-employee. Since the civil liability of the latter has become final and enforceable by reason
of his flight, then the formers subsidiary civil liability has also become immediately enforceable.
Respondent is correct in arguing that the concept of subsidiary liability is highly contingent on the
imposition of the primary civil liability.
No Deprivation of Due Process
As to the argument that petitioner was deprived of due process, we reiterate that what is sought to
be enforced is the subsidiary civil liability incident to and dependent upon the employees criminal
negligence. In other words, the employer becomes ipso facto subsidiarily liable upon the conviction
of the employee and upon proof of the latters insolvency, in the same way that acquittal wipes out
not only his primary civil liability, but also his employers subsidiary liability for his criminal
negligence.52
It should be stressed that the right to appeal is neither a natural right nor a part of due process. 53 It is
merely a procedural remedy of statutory origin, a remedy that may be exercised only in the manner

prescribed by the provisions of law authorizing such exercise. 54 Hence, the legal requirements must
be strictly complied with.55
It would be incorrect to consider the requirements of the rules on appeal as merely harmless and
trivial technicalities that can be discarded.56 Indeed, deviations from the rules cannot be
tolerated.57 In these times when court dockets are clogged with numerous litigations, such rules have
to be followed by parties with greater fidelity, so as to facilitate the orderly disposition of those
cases.58
After a judgment has become final, vested rights are acquired by the winning party. If the proper
losing party has the right to file an appeal within the prescribed period, then the former has the
correlative right to enjoy the finality of the resolution of the case.59
In fact, petitioner admits that by helping the accused-employee, it participated in the proceedings
before the RTC; thus, it cannot be said that the employer was deprived of due process. It might have
lost its right to appeal, but it was not denied its day in court. 60 In fact, it can be said that by jumping
bail, the accused-employee, not the court, deprived petitioner of the right to appeal.
All told, what is left to be done is to execute the RTC Decision against the accused. It should be
clear that only after proof of his insolvency may the subsidiary liability of petitioner be enforced. It
has been sufficiently proven that there exists an employer-employee relationship; that the employer
is engaged in some kind of industry; and that the employee has been adjudged guilty of the wrongful
act and found to have committed the offense in the discharge of his duties. The proof is clear from
the admissions of petitioner that "[o]n 26 August 1990, while on its regular trip from Laoag to Manila,
a passenger bus owned by petitioner, being then operated by petitioners driver, Napoleon
Roman, figured in an accident in San Juan, La Union x x x."61 Neither does petitioner dispute that
there was already a finding of guilt against the accused while he was in the discharge of his duties.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby DENIED, and the assailed Resolutions AFFIRMED. Costs
against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 151452. July 29, 2005
SPS. ANTONIO C. SANTOS and ESPERANZA C. SANTOS, NORA BARNALO, BELINDA
LUMACTAD, MARIENELA DY, NIKKA SANTOS and LEONARDO FERRER, Petitioners,
vs.
HON. NORMANDIE B. PIZARDO, as Presiding Judge, RTC of Quezon City, Branch 101,
DIONISIO M SIBAYAN, and VIRON TRANSPORTATION COMPANY, INC., represented by
VIRGILIO Q. RONDARIS, President/Chairman, Respondent.
DECISION
TINGA, J.:
In this Petition for Review on Certiorari1 dated March 1, 2002, petitioners assail the Resolutions of
the Court of Appeals dated September 10, 2001 and January 9, 2002, respectively dismissing their

petition for certiorari and denying their motion for reconsideration, arising from the dismissal of their
complaint to recover civil indemnity for the death and physical injuries of their kin.
The following facts are matters of record.
In an Information dated April 25, 1994, Dionisio M. Sibayan (Sibayan) was charged with Reckless
Imprudence Resulting to Multiple Homicide and Multiple Physical Injuries in connection with a
vehicle collision between a southbound Viron Transit bus driven by Sibayan and a northbound Lite
Ace Van, which claimed the lives of the vans driver and three (3) of its passengers, including a twomonth old baby, and caused physical injuries to five (5) of the vans passengers. After trial, Sibayan
was convicted and sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment for two (2) years, four (4) months
and one (1) day to four (4) years and two (2) months. However, as there was a reservation to file a
separate civil action, no pronouncement of civil liability was made by the municipal circuit trial court
in its decision promulgated on December 17, 1998. 2
On October 20, 2000, petitioners filed a complaint for damages against Sibayan, Viron Transit and
its President/Chairman, Virgilio Q. Rondaris, with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, pursuant
to their reservation to file a separate civil action. 3 They cited therein the judgment convicting
Sibayan.
Viron Transit moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds of improper service of summons,
prescription and laches, and defective certification of non-forum shopping. It also sought the
dropping of Virgilio Q. Rondaris as defendant in view of the separate personality of Viron Transit
from its officers.4
Petitioners opposed the motion to dismiss contending, among others, that the right to file a separate
action in this case prescribes in ten (10) years reckoned from the finality of the judgment in the
criminal action. As there was no appeal of the decision convicting Sibayan, the complaint which was
filed barely two (2) years thence was clearly filed within the prescriptive period.
The trial court dismissed the complaint on the principal ground that the cause of action had already
prescribed. According to the trial court, actions based on quasi delict, as it construed petitioners
cause of action to be, prescribe four (4) years from the accrual of the cause of action. Hence,
notwithstanding the fact that petitioners reserved the right to file a separate civil action, the complaint
ought to be dismissed on the ground of prescription.5
Improper service of summons was likewise cited as a ground for dismissal of the complaint as
summons was served through a certain Jessica Ubalde of the legal department without mentioning
her designation or position.
Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration pointing out yet again that the complaint is not based
on quasi delictbut on the final judgment of conviction in the criminal case which prescribes ten (10)
years from the finality of the judgment.6 The trial court denied petitioners motion for reconsideration
reiterating that petitioners cause of action was based on quasi delict and had prescribed under
Article 1146 of the Civil Code because the complaint was filed more than four (4) years after the
vehicular accident.7 As regards the improper service of summons, the trial court reconsidered its
ruling that the complaint ought to be dismissed on this ground.

Petitioners filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals which dismissed the same for error
in the choice or mode of appeal.8 The appellate court also denied petitioners motion for
reconsideration reasoning that even if the respondent trial court judge committed grave abuse of
discretion in issuing the order of dismissal, certiorari is still not the permissible remedy as appeal
was available to petitioners and they failed to allege that the petition was brought within the
recognized exceptions for the allowance of certiorari in lieu of appeal. 9
In this petition, petitioners argue that a rigid application of the rule that certiorari cannot be a
substitute for appeal will result in a judicial rejection of an existing obligation arising from the criminal
liability of private respondents. Petitioners insist that the liability sought to be enforced in the
complaint arose ex delicto and is not based on quasi delict. The trial court allegedly committed grave
abuse of discretion when it insisted that the cause of action invoked by petitioners is based on quasi
delict and concluded that the action had prescribed. Since the action is based on the criminal liability
of private respondents, the cause of action accrued from the finality of the judgment of conviction.
Assuming that their petition with the appellate court was procedurally flawed, petitioners implore the
Court to exempt this case from the rigid operation of the rules as they allegedly have a legitimate
grievance to vindicate,i.e., damages for the deaths and physical injuries caused by private
respondents for which no civil liability had been adjudged by reason of their reservation of the right
to file a separate civil action.
In their Comment10 dated June 13, 2002, private respondents insist that the dismissal of the
complaint on the ground of prescription was in order. They point out that the averments in the
complaint make out a cause of action for quasi delict under Articles 2176 and 2180 of the Civil Code.
As such, the prescriptive period of four (4) years should be reckoned from the time the accident took
place.
Viron Transit also alleges that its subsidiary liability cannot be enforced since Sibayan was not
ordered to pay damages in the criminal case. It is Viron Transits contention that the subsidiary
liability of the employer contemplated in Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code presupposes a
situation where the civil aspect of the case was instituted in the criminal case and no reservation to
file a separate civil case was made.
Private respondents likewise allege that the recourse to the Court of Appeals via certiorari was
improper as petitioners should have appealed the adverse order of the trial court. Moreover, they
point out several other procedural lapses allegedly committed by petitioners, such as lack of
certification against forum-shopping; lack of duplicate original or certified true copy of the assailed
order of the trial court; and non-indication of the full names and addresses of petitioners in the
petition.
Petitioners filed a Reply11 dated September 14, 2002, while private respondents filed
a Rejoinder12 dated October 14, 2002, both in reiteration of their arguments.
We grant the petition.
Our Revised Penal Code provides that every person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly
liable.13 Such civil liability may consist of restitution, reparation of the damage caused and
indemnification of consequential damages.14 When a criminal action is instituted, the civil liability
arising from the offense is impliedly instituted with the criminal action, subject to three notable

exceptions: first, when the injured party expressly waives the right to recover damages from the
accused; second, when the offended party reserves his right to have the civil damages determined
in a separate action in order to take full control and direction of the prosecution of his cause;
andthird, when the injured party actually exercises the right to maintain a private suit against the
offender by instituting a civil action prior to the filing of the criminal case.
Notably, it was the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, as amended in 1988, which governed the
institution of the criminal action, as well as the reservation of the right to file a separate civil action.
Section 1, Rule 111 thereof states:
Section 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions.When a criminal action is instituted, the civil
action for the recovery of civil liability is impliedly instituted with the criminal action, unless the
offended party waives the civil action, reserves his right to institute it separately, or institutes the civil
action prior to the criminal action.
Such civil action includes recovery of indemnity under the Revised Penal Code, and damages under
Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines arising from the same act or
omission of the accused.
A waiver of any of the civil actions extinguishes the others. The institution of, or the reservation of the
right to file, any of said civil actions separately waives the others.
The reservation of the right to institute the separate civil actions shall be made before the
prosecution starts to present its evidence and under circumstances affording the offended party a
reasonable opportunity to make such reservation.
In no case may the offended party recover damages twice for the same act or omission of the
accused.
When the offended party seeks to enforce civil liability against the accused by way of moral,
nominal, temperate or exemplary damages, the filing fees for such action as provided in these Rules
shall constitute a first lien on the judgment except in an award for actual damages.
In cases wherein the amount of damages, other than actual, is alleged in the complaint or
information, the corresponding filing fees shall be paid by the offended party upon filing thereof in
court for trial.
Petitioners expressly made a reservation of their right to file a separate civil action as a result of the
crime committed by Sibayan. On account of this reservation, the municipal circuit trial court, in its
decision convicting Sibayan, did not make any pronouncement as to the latters civil liability.
Predicating their claim on the judgment of conviction and their reservation to file a separate civil
action made in the criminal case, petitioners filed a complaint for damages against Sibayan, Viron
Transit and its President/Chairman. Petitioners assert that by the institution of the complaint, they
seek to recover private respondents civil liability arising from crime. Unfortunately, based on its
misreading of the allegations in the complaint, the trial court dismissed the same, declaring that
petitioners cause of action was based on quasi delictand should have been brought within four (4)
years from the time the cause of action accrued, i.e., from the time of the accident.

A reading of the complaint reveals that the allegations therein are consistent with petitioners claim
that the action was brought to recover civil liability arising from crime. Although there are allegations
of negligence on the part of Sibayan and Viron Transit, such does not necessarily mean that
petitioners were pursuing a cause of action based on quasi delict, considering that at the time of the
filing of the complaint, the cause of action ex quasi delicto had already prescribed. Besides, in cases
of negligence, the offended party has the choice between an action to enforce civil liability arising
from crime under the Revised Penal Code and an action for quasi delictunder the Civil Code.
An act or omission causing damage to another may give rise to two separate civil liabilities on the
part of the offender, i.e., (1) civil liability ex delicto, under Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code; and
(2) independent civil liabilities, such as those (a) not arising from an act or omission complained of
as a felony, e.g., culpa contractualor obligations arising from law under Article 31 of the Civil Code,
intentional torts under Articles 32 and 34, andculpa aquiliana under Article 2176 of the Civil Code; or
(b) where the injured party is granted a right to file an action independent and distinct from the
criminal action under Article 33 of the Civil Code.15 Either of these liabilities may be enforced against
the offender subject to the caveat under Article 2177 of the Civil Code that the plaintiff cannot
recover damages twice for the same act or omission of the defendant and the similar proscription
against double recovery under the Rules above-quoted.
At the time of the filing of the complaint for damages in this case, the cause of action ex quasi
delicto had already prescribed. Nonetheless, petitioners can pursue the remaining avenue opened
for them by their reservation, i.e.,the surviving cause of action ex delicto. This is so because the
prescription of the action ex quasi delicto does not operate as a bar to an action to enforce the civil
liability arising from crime especially as the latter action had been expressly reserved.
The case of Mendoza v. La Mallorca Bus Company16 was decided upon a similar set of facts.
Therein, the driver of La Mallorca Bus Company was charged with reckless imprudence resulting to
damage to property. The plaintiff made an express reservation for the filing of a separate civil action.
The driver was convicted which conviction was affirmed by this Court. Later, plaintiff filed a separate
civil action for damages based on quasi delict which was ordered dismissed by the trial court upon
finding that the action was instituted more than six (6) years from the date of the accident and thus,
had already prescribed. Subsequently, plaintiff instituted another action, this time based on the
subsidiary liability of the bus company. The trial court dismissed the action holding that the dismissal
of the earlier civil case operated as a bar to the filing of the action to enforce the bus companys
subsidiary liability.
We held that the dismissal of the action based on culpa aquiliana is not a bar to the enforcement of
the subsidiary liability of the employer. Once there is a conviction for a felony, final in character, the
employer becomes subsidiarily liable if the commission of the crime was in the discharge of the
duties of the employees. This is so because Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code operates with
controlling force to obviate the possibility of the aggrieved party being deprived of indemnity even
after the rendition of a final judgment convicting the employee.
Seen in this light, the trial court should not have dismissed the complaint on the ground of
prescription, but instead allowed the complaint for damages ex delicto to be prosecuted on the
merits, considering petitioners allegations in their complaint, opposition to the motion to
dismiss17 and motion for reconsideration18 of the order of dismissal, insisting that the action was to
recover civil liability arising from crime.

This does not offend the policy that the reservation or institution of a separate civil action waives the
other civil actions. The rationale behind this rule is the avoidance of multiple suits between the same
litigants arising out of the same act or omission of the offender.19 However, since the stale action for
damages based on quasi delictshould be considered waived, there is no more occasion for
petitioners to file multiple suits against private respondents as the only recourse available to them is
to pursue damages ex delicto. This interpretation is also consistent with the bar against double
recovery for obvious reasons.
Now the procedural issue. Admittedly, petitioners should have appealed the order of dismissal of the
trial court instead of filing a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals. Such procedural misstep,
however, should be exempted from the strict application of the rules in order to promote their
fundamental objective of securing substantial justice.20 We are loathe to deprive petitioners of the
indemnity to which they are entitled by law and by a final judgment of conviction based solely on a
technicality. It is our duty to prevent such an injustice. 21
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered SETTING ASIDE the resolutions of the Court of
Appeals dated September 10, 2001 and January 9, 2002, respectively dismissing the present action
and denying petitioners motion for reconsideration, as well as the orders of the lower court dated
February 26, 2001 and July 16, 2001. Let the case be REMANDED to the trial court for further
proceedings.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-12030

September 30, 1960

JOSE J. ROTEA, plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
FORTUNATO F. HALILI, defendant-appellee.
Marcos R. Rotea for appellant.
Jose A. Simpao for appellee.
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.:
On August 17, 1952, while Angel Bascon was driving a bus belonging to Fortunato F. Halili along the
national road of Makati, Rizal, it collided with a Rosado bus as a result of which Jose Rotea, a
passenger of the Halili bus, was injured. As a consequence, a criminal complaint for serious physical
injuries thru reckless imprudence was filed in the Justice of the Peace Court of Makati against
Bascon, and the offended party having reserved his right to file a separate civil action, after trial,
Bascon was found guilty of the lesser crime of serious physical injuries thru simple imprudence and
sentenced to a penalty of 3 months and 10 days of arresto mayor.
Within the reglementary period Bascon appealed to the Court of First Instance of Rizal. After trial,
said court found him also guilty of the crime charged sentencing him to 4 months and 1 day
imprisonment. In addition, the court ordered him to indemnify the offended party in the amount of
P513.00, with subsidiary imprisonment in the case of insolvency, to pay P3,000.00 as liquidated
damages, P10,000.00 by way of exemplary or corrective damages, and the costs. From this decision

Bascon took steps to appeal to the Court of Appeals, but he later withdrew his appeal and served the
sentence imposed upon him.
The decision having become final, a writ of execution was issued upon Rotea's request to enforce
the civil liability awarded in his favor, but the writ was returned unsatisifed because Bascon was
insolvent. Rotea made several demands upon Halili to make good his subsidiary liability, he being
the employer of Bascon, and having ignored said demands, Rotea filed on March 19, 1955 against
Halili the present action in the court of first instance of Manila praying that Halili be declared
subsidiarily liable for the indemnity awarded in his favor in the criminal case consisting in the sum of
P13,513.00 as liquidated and exemplary damages, and that he be awarded P2,000.00 as attorney's
fees and the costs. After trial, the court found for plaintiff ordering defendant to pay an indemnity in
the amount of P3,513.00, with legal interest thereon from the filing of the complaint until its payment,
to pay P500.00 as attorney's fees, and the costs. The court denied plaintiff's claim for P10,000.00 as
exemplary damages. Plaintiff appealed directly to this court assigning several errors.
After stating that this action was brought to enforce the indemnity fixed in the criminal case taken
against appellee's driver based upon the subsidiary liability of appellee under articles 102 and 103 of
the Revised Penal Code, which indemnity amounts to P13,513.00 including the sum of P10,000.00
as exemplary damages, appellant contends that the trial court erred in modifying said indemnity by
reducing it to P3,513.00 as actual and liquidated damages, eliminating therefrom the sum of
P10,000.00 as exemplary damages. He contends that the trial court cannot make such diminution
for that would be tantamount to an amendment or modification of the decision rendered in the
criminal case insofar as the indemnity is concerned which has long become final and executory.
Appellant avers that in the absence of collusion between the offended party and the accused in the
criminal case, or unless it is claimed that the court had no jurisdiction to act on the matter, the
employer is liable for the whole amount of indemnity awarded to the offended party in a subsequent
civil action filed to enforce it.
We have no quarrel with the contention that when a civil action is based upon the subsidiary liability
of an employer under Articles 102 and 103 of the Revised Penal Code resulting from the indemnity
awarded to the offended party in a criminal action the court has no other function than to render
decision based upon the indemnity awarded in the criminal case and has no power to amend or
modify if even if in its opinion an error has been committed in the decision. For, as this court has
aptly said: "To allow an employer to dispute the civil liability fixed in the criminal case would be to
amend, nullify or defeat a final judgment rendered by a competent court" (Miranda vs. Malate
Garage and Taxicab, Inc., 99 Phil., 670; 52 Off. Gaz. [11] 5145). But the situation differs when the
court in the criminal case has acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction, in which case the decision
should be ignored because being null and void it never existed in contemplation of law. This is the
situation herein obtained. The decision rendered in the criminal case insofar as the indemnity is
concerned is null and void for having been rendered without or in excess of jurisdiction of the court
of first instance, and this is so because the offended party has made an express reservation of his
right to institute a separate civil action to recover the indemnity and the amount awarded is far
beyond the jurisdiction of the justice of the peace court where the case originated. The trial court,
therefore, was justified in ignoring the decision in the criminal case and in rendering judgment
according to its discretion based upon the evidence on hand.
1awphl.nt

On the other hand, the trial court was justified in not requiring appellee to pay exemplary damages
there being no evidence whatever that he had any participation in the wrongful act committed by his
employee. The rule is that exemplary damages are imposed primarily upon the wrongdoer as a

deterrent in the commission of similar acts in the future. Such punitive damages cannot be applied to
his master or employer except only to the extent of his participation or ratification of the act because
they are penal in character. Moreover, in this jurisdiction, exemplary damages may only be imposed
when the crime is committed with one or more aggravating circumstances (Article 2230, new 3m 3
Civil Code), and here the crime being only qualified by negligence is not accompanied by an
aggravating circumstance.
According to the rule adopted by many courts, a principal or master can be held liable for
exemplary or punitive damages based upon the wrongful act of his agent or servant only
where he participated in the doing of such wrongful act or has previously authorized or
subsequently ratified it with full knowledge of the facts. Reasons given for this rule are that
since such damages are penal in character, the motive authorizing their infliction will not be
imputed by presumption to the principal when the act is committed by an agent or servant,
and that since they are awarded not by way of compensation, but as a punishment to the
offender and as a warning to others, they can only be awarded against one who has
participated in the offense, and the principal therefore cannot be held liable for them merely
by reason of wanton, oppressive, or malicious intent on the part of the agent. (15 Am. Jur.,
730).
With regard to the claim that the trial court erred in awarding to appellant only the amount of P500.00
as attorney's fees and not the amount of P2,000.00 as claimed by him considering that appellee paid
no heed to his repeated overtures for payment thus forcing him to institute the present action, suffice
it to say that this is a matter addressed to the discretion of the trial court. Considering that the
principal amount involved in small and appellee's liability is merely subsidiary, we find no abuse of
discretion committed by the trial court.
Wherefore, the decision appealed from is affirmed, without pronouncement as to costs.
G.R. No. 182210, October 05, 2015
PAZ T. BERNARDO, SUBSTITUTED BY HEIRS, MAPALAD G. BERNARDO, EMILIE B. KO, MARILOU B.
VALDEZ, EDWIN T. BERNARDO AND GERVY B. SANTOS, Petitioners, v. PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
DECISION
BRION, J.:
We resolve the Petition for Review on Certiorari filed by accused petitioner Paz T. Bernardo (Bernardo) under
Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the Court of Appeals (CA) August 31, 2007 decision1 and the March
14, 2008 resolution2 in CA-G.R. CR 28721, entitled "People of the Philippines v. Paz T. Bernardo." The
appellate court affirmed the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 56, Makati City, finding
Bernardo guilty beyond reasonable doubt of five (5) counts of violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 (B.P. 22).
The Factual Antecedents
In June 1991, Bernardo obtained a loan from the private complainant Carmencita C. Bumanglag
(Bumanglag) in the amount of P460,000.00 payable on or before its maturity on November 30, 1991. That
loan was evidenced by a promissory note3 Bernardo and her husband had executed, whereby the couple
solidarity bound themselves to pay the loan with corresponding interest at 12% per annum payable upon
default.4 As additional security, Bernardo gave Bumanglag the owner's duplicate copy of Transfer Certificate
of Title No. (T-1034) 151841.

Prior to the loan's maturity, Bernardo took back the title from Bumanglag to use as a collateral in another
transaction. In place of the title, Bernardo issued to Bumanglag the following five (5) Far East Bank and
Trust Company (FEBTC) checks,5 posted on different dates in June 1992, covering the loan's aggregate
amount:
cralawla wlibrary

Check
FEBTC No.
FEBTC No.
FEBTC No.
FEBTC No.
FEBTC No.

No.
391033
391034
391035
391036
391037

Amount
Php 100,000.00
Php 100,000.00
Php 100,000.00
Php 100,000.00
Php 60,000.00

Date
June 1, 1992
June 8, 1992
June 15, 1992
June 22, 1992
June 29, 1992

In September 1992, Bumanglag deposited these checks to Bernardo's account but they were dishonored;
the reason given was "Account Closed." Bumanglag thus sent Bernardo a notice informing her of the
dishonor of the checks. The demand went unheeded, prompting Bumanglag to initiate a criminal complaint
against Bernardo with the Office of the City Prosecutor of Makati for five (5) counts of violation of B.P. 22.
After the requisite preliminary investigation, the Office of the City Prosecutor of Makati City found probable
cause to indict Bernardo for the offenses charged. Bernardo entered a not guilty plea on arraignment.
The prosecution rested its case on September 21, 1994. Bernardo took the witness stand only on May 9,
1996, to present her defense evidence.
In her testimony, Bernardo argued that she could not be held liable for violation of B.P. 22 because the
questioned checks were presented beyond the 90-day period provided under the law. She also denied
having received any notice of dishonor, which she insisted was essential to prove the material element of
knowledge of insufficiency of funds.
In any case, she maintained that the checks were never meant to be presented as she had always paid her
loans in cash, which she claimed to have done in the aggregate amount of P717,000.00. According to
Bernardo, although Bumanglag returned to her the title to the property after payment, Bumanglag never
bothered to issue her receipts. Bumanglag did not return the checks either.
Following Bernardo's cross-examination, the RTC reset the hearing for redirect examination to September 4,
1996.6 That hearing, however, was again reset to April 3, 1997, in view of the absence of Bernardo's
counsel. When Bernardo and her counsel again failed to appear during the April 3, 1997 hearing, and in view
of the numerous previous postponements the defense had asked for, the RTC considered her right to present
additional evidence waived.
Bernardo moved for reconsideration but the RTC denied her motion. The RTC, however, gave her ten (10)
days within which to submit her formal offer of evidence, which she failed to do. As a result, the RTC
declared that Bernardo had waived her right to submit her formal offer of evidence.
RTC Ruling
On May 28, 2003, the RTC issued its ruling finding Bernardo guilty of five counts of violation of B.P. 22. 7 The
RTC held that Bernardo failed to substantiate her claim of payment. The RTC further ruled that it is not the
nonpayment of the obligation but the issuance of a worthless check that B.P. 22 punishes.
The RTC sentenced Bernardo to one (1) year imprisonment for each count of the offense charged and
ordered her to indemnify Bumanglag the amount of P460,000.00, plus 12% interest and 5% penalty
charges, from December 1, 1991, until full payment.8
CA Ruling
On appeal, the CA affirmed Bernardo's conviction but deleted the penalty of imprisonment and in lieu
thereof, imposed a P460,000.00 fine.9 The CA also retained the civil indemnity of P460,000.00 that the lower
court imposed, plus 12% interest from the time of the institution of the criminal charges until full payment. 10
In denying Bernardo's appeal, the CA noted that Bernardo failed to adduce sufficient evidence of payment.

The CA further held that the 90-day period within which to present a check under B.P. 22 is not an element
of the crime.
The CA also did not recognize any merit in Bernardo's claim that she had been denied due process, in view
of the RTC's order waiving her right to present additional evidence. 11 To the CA, Bernardo had sufficient
opportunity to present her defense but did not avail of these opportunities. Instead, she and her counsel
moved for postponement at least nine (9) times, not to mention their subsequent failure to appear four (4)
times despite due notice of the scheduled hearings. These developments led the RTC to consider Bernardo's
right to present additional evidence waived. 12
Bernardo moved for reconsideration but the CA denied her motion; 13 hence, the present petition.14
The Petition and Comment
Bernardo insists in her present petition15 that the CA erred in finding that she had been accorded due
process; she was denied the full opportunity to present her defense and was thus deprived of the chance to
prove her innocence of the crime charged.
She likewise avers that the CA erred in affirming her criminal and civil liabilities because the prosecution
failed to prove her knowledge of insufficiency of funds. According to Bernardo, there was no violation of B.P.
22 because the checks were presented beyond the mandatory 90-day period. Moreover, Bernardo claimed
that these subject checks were issued without consideration as she had already paid the loan.
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) posits in its Comment that Bernardo was given the opportunity to
present her defense evidence.16 Citing Wong v. CA,17 the OSG further points out that the 90-day period
provided in the law is not an element of the offense; 18 it is simply one of the conditions to establish a prima
facie presumption of knowledge of lack of funds. 19
The OSG also claims that Bumanglag failed to substantiate her claim that she had settled the obligation. 20 In
any event, the OSG asserted B.P. 22 penalizes the act of making and issuing a worthless check, not the
nonpayment of the obligation.21
Subsequent Developments
On March 14, 2011, Bernardo's counsel informed the Court of the petitioner's death on February 3, 2011,
and provided, as well, the names of her heirs (her widower, Mapalad Bernardo, and children: Emilie B. Ko,
Marilou B. Valdez, Edwin T. Bernardo, and Gervy B. Santos), and their address (26 Magdiwang St., Real
Village 2, Tandang Sora, Quezon City). In due course, in our March 7, 2012 Resolution, 22 we required
Bernardo's heirs to appear as substitutes for the deceased Bernardo in the present petition for purposes of
Bernardo's civil liability.
Bernardo's heirs moved to reconsider our March 7, 2012 resolution. They argued that Bernardo's death
extinguished her civil liability. In the alternative, they contended that any civil liability should be settled in a
separate civil case.
We denied the heirs' motion in our June 27, 2012 resolution. We explained that Bernardo's civil liability
survived her death as it is based on contract. Moreover, we observed that it would be costly, burdensome,
and time-consuming to dismiss the present case and require the Bumanglags to file a separate civil action.
The Court's Ruling
We deny the petition for lack of merit. Preliminary Matters
Classes of Civil Liabilities
An act or omission causing damage to another may give rise to several distinct civil liabilities on the part of
the offender.23 If the conduct constitutes a felony, the accused may be held civilly liable under Article 100 of
the Revised Penal Code (ex delicto).24 This particular civil liability due the offended party is rooted on facts
that constitute a crime.25 Otherwise stated, civil liability arises from the offense charged.26 It is not
required that the accused be convicted to be entitled to civil liability based on delict. As long as the facts
constituting the offense charged are established by preponderance of evidence, civil liability may be
awarded.27 Moreover, the civil liability based ondelict is deemed instituted with the criminal action unless the

offended party waives the civil action, reserves the right to institute it separately, or institutes the civil action
prior to the criminal action.28
The same act or omission, however, may also give rise to independent civil liabilities based on other
sources of obligation. Article 1157 of the Civil Code enumerates these other sources of obligation from which
the civil liability may arise as a result of the same act or omission: (a) law (b) contracts; (c) quasi-contracts,
and (d) quasi-delicts. Among these are the civil liabilities for intentional torts under Articles 32 29 and 3430 of
the Civil Code and for quasi-delicts under Article 2176 of Civil Code.31 For conduct constituting defamation,
fraud, and physical injuries, the Civil Code likewise grants the offended party the right to institute a civil
action independently of the criminal action under Article-33 of the Civil Code.
Thus, it is entirely possible for one to be free from civil ability directly arising from a violation of the penal
law and to still be liable civilly based on contract or by laws other than the criminal law.32 Such civil actions
may proceed independently of the criminal proceedings and regardless of the result of the criminal
action,33 subject however, to the caveat that the offended party cannot recover damages twice for the same
act or omission.34
Bernardo's civil liability may be enforced in the present case despite her death.
As a general rule, the death of an accused pending appeal extinguishes her criminal liability and the
corresponding civil liability based solely on the offense (delict). The death amounts to an acquittal of the
accused based on the constitutionally mandated presumption of innocence in her favor, which can be
overcome only by a finding of guilt - something that death prevents the court from making. 35 In a sense,
death absolves the accused from any earthly responsibility arising from the offense a divine act
that no human court can reverse, qualify, much less disregard. 36 The intervention of death of the accused in
any case is an injunction by fate itself so that no criminal liability and the corresponding civil liability arising
from the offense should be imposed on him.37
The independent civil liabilities, however, survive death and an action for recovery therefore may
begenerally pursued but only by filing a separate civil action and subject to Section 1, Rule 111 of the
Rules on Criminal Procedure as amended.38 This separate civil action may be enforced against the estate of
the accused.39
In B.P. 22 cases, the criminal action shall be deemed to include the corresponding civil actions. Instead of
instituting two separate cases, only a single suit is filed and tried. 40 This rule was enacted to help declog
court dockets, which had been packed with B.P. 22 because creditors used the courts as collectors. As we
observed in Hyatt v. Asia Dynamic Electrix Corp.:41
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Because ordinarily no filing fee is charged in criminal cases for actual damages, the payee uses the
intimidating effect of a criminal charge to collect his credit gratis and sometimes, upon being paid, the trial
court is not even informed thereof. The inclusion of the civil action in the criminal case is expected to
significantly lower the number of cases filed before the courts for collection based on dishonored checks. It
is also expected to expedite the disposition of these cases. Instead of instituting two separate cases, one for
criminal and another for civil, only a single suit shall be filed and tried. It should be stressed that the policy
laid down by the Rules is to discourage the separate filing of the civil action.
chanrobleslaw

As a necessary consequence of this special rule, the civil liabilities arising from the issuance of a worthless
check are deemed instituted in a case for violation of B.P. 22; the death of Bernardo did not automatically
extinguish the action. The independent civil liability based on contract, which was deemed instituted in the
criminal action for B.P. 22, may still be enforced against her estate in the present case. We thus rule on the
present action to determine Bumanglag's civil liability.
Substantive Aspect
Bernardo was not denied due process.
We meticulously went over the entire record, and confirmed that Bernardo had not at all been deprived of
her day in court. She was afforded ample opportunity to present evidence in her defense but she did not
give this case the serious attention it deserved. For good reason - i.e., the repeated absences of Bernardo
and her counsel - the trial court eventually considered her right to present defense evidence waived.

To be sure, the postponement of the trial of a case to allow the presentation of evidence is a matter that lies
with the discretion of the trial court; but it is a discretion that must be exercised wisely, considering the
peculiar circumstances of each case and with a view to doing substantial justice. 42 In the present case, the
records show that the RTC took all the steps necessary to safeguard Bernardo's rights and to accord her the
opportunity to present whatever evidence she had in her defense.
In particular, the prosecution formally rested its case on September 21, 1994. Bernardo, through counsel,
thereupon moved for leave to file a demurrer to evidence prompting the RTC to reset the hearing for initial
presentation of defense evidence to December 15 and 20, 1994. 43 Bernardo filed her demurrer to evidence
on November 10, 1994,44 after previously requesting the RTC for a 10-day extension.
The pendency of the demurrer to evidence prompted several resettings until the RTC finally denied it on
March 30, 1995.45 The RTC then set the initial presentation of defense evidence on April 11, 18, and 25,
1995,46 but these were reset to May 9, 18, and 25, 1995,47 at the motion of Bernardo's counsel who
expressed his desire to seek relief from the CA for the denial of the demurrer.
Despite the RTC's accommodation, Bernardo's counsel failed to appear during the May 9, 1995
hearing as he was busy attending to the canvassing of votes in Quezon City.48 Eventually, the initial
presentation of defense evidence was reset to July 20, 1995, and August 3, 1995. 49
Notably, during the July 20, 1995 hearing, Bernardo's counsel again moved for another resetting as he was
not prepared to conduct a direct examination.50 Despite this flimsy ground, the RTC granted the
request and allowed Bernardo to testify on August 3, 1995.
Bernardo and her counsel, however, failed to appear during the August 3, 1995 hearing despite due
notice, prompting the RTC to waive their right to present defense evidence. 51 Bernardo moved for
reconsideration and the RTC granted her motion in the interest of substantial justice. 52 Thus, the hearing for
the presentation of defense evidence was reset to November 28, 1995. 53
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Bernardo and her counsel again failed to appear during the November 28, 1995 hearing, despite
due notice, prompting the RTC again to consider that Bernardo had waived her right to present defense
evidence.54
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Bernardo again moved for reconsideration on the ground that it was the first time she and her
counsel were absent at the same time.55 Despite this hollow excuse, the RTC granted the motion in the
spirit of compassionate justice and gave Bernardo the final opportunity to present her defense
evidence.56 The parties mutually agreed to set the hearing for initial presentation of defense evidence on
April 18, 1996.57
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Bernardo again failed to appear during the scheduled April 18, 1996 hearing.58 Although Bernardo did
not offer any excuse for this absence,59 RTC exercised compassion and permitted Bernardo to testify, as she
did in fact testify, on May 9, 1996,60 - one (1) year and eight (8) months after the prosecution had rested its
case. At the conclusion of the cross-examination, the parties mutually agreed to adjourn the hearing for
September 4, 1996, for redirect examination.61
Bernardo's counsel, however, failed to appear during the scheduled September 4, 1996 hearing, prompting
the RTC to consider her failure as a waiver on her part to present additional evidence. 62Bernardo moved for
reconsideration; she claimed that her counsel had to attend another hearing in a different sala. Why
Bernardo's counsel accepted another engagement on the same day, which was in conflict with the RTC's
hearing dates, was never properly explained. Nonetheless, the RTC granted the motion to give her
the last chance to complete the presentation of evidence on April 3, 17, and 22, 1997.63
chanroble svirtuallawlibrary

Despite the RTC's warning, Bernardo and her counsel again failed to appear at the April 3,1997
hearing.64 Instead, they filed a motion to reset because Bernardo's counsel was to attend a wedding in the
United States of America.65 This time, the RTC, mindful that there should be a limit to postponements,
ordered the case submitted for decision sans the presentation of evidence from the defense. 66
Under these facts, the RTC was clearly driven by Bernardo and her counsel's repeated failure, without
justifiable reason, to appear at the scheduled hearing dates. 67 The order considering Bernardo's right to
present evidence waived, followed as a necessary and unavoidable consequence. As we held in People v.
Angco:68
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His failure to appear with counsel of his choice at the hearing of the case, notwithstanding repeated
postponements and warnings that failure to so appear would be deemed a waiver to present evidence in his
defense, and that the case would be deemed submitted for judgment upon the evidence presented by the
prosecution, was sufficient legal justification for the trial court to proceed and render judgment upon the
evidence before it.
chanrobleslaw

The records show that the RTC leniently granted repeated continuances to safeguard Bernardo's rights as an
accused. But Bernardo obviously did not recognize the need for expeditious handling of her case and was
already trifling with judicial process.69
Bernardo failed to adduce sufficient
evidence of payment; thus she is civilly
liable.
Bernardo's death pending appeal converted the present action to purely an enforcement of the civil liability
incurred. In particular, the focal issue in the present petition is no longer Bernardo's criminal
liability for violation of B.P. 22 but her civil liability, which is principally based on contract and
the corresponding damage Bumanglag suffered due to Bernardo's failure to pay. Under these
circumstances, Bernardo's B.P. 22 defense (that the checks were presented beyond the 90-day period and
that she never received a notice of dishonor) were no longer relevant.
Jurisprudence tells us that one who pleads payment carries the burden of proving it. 70 Indeed, once the
existence of an indebtedness is established by evidence, the burden of showing with legal certainty that the
obligation has been discharged by payment rests with the debtor.71 After the debtor introduces evidence of
payment, the burden of going forward with the evidence - as distinct from the general burden of proof again shifts to the creditor, who then labors under a duty to produce evidence to show nonpayment. 72
In the present case, the existence of the obligation to pay has sufficiently been established through the
promissory note73 and the checks74 submitted in evidence. Notably, Bernardo even confirmed due execution
of these instruments during her testimony. During the offer of Bernardo's testimony, her counsel stated:
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ATTY. MIRAVITE:

chanRoble svirtualLawlibrary

With the court's permission. Your Honor, we are presenting the witness for the following purposes: to x x x
show that she borrowed money from [Bumanglag] x x x and that in 1991 her total obligation reached
Php460,000.000; x x x that all the checks issued by the accused were only as proof of her
obligation to the private complainant x x x.75 [emphasis supplied]
chanrobleslaw

In the course of Bernardo's testimony, she even confirmed the issuance of the checks and promissory note.
In particular, she stated:
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ATTY. MIRAVITE:

chanRoble svirtualLawlibrary

Q: I am showing to you this promissory note marked as Exhibit H for the prosecution and Exhibit 2 for the
defense. There appears a signature over the name Paz T. Bernardo at the middle portion thereof, do you
know whose signature is that?
A: It is mine sir.
xxxx
Q: This document, Madame Witness, mentions of your loan obligations of Php 460,000.00. Can you tell us,
Madame Witness, what is covered by this promissory note?
xxxx
A: The promissory note covers the principal loan, plus interest and penalties, sir.
Q: So, are you saying that this promissory note of Php 460,000.00 was your total obligation as of June 1991
and includes all other charges?

A: Yes, sir.
x xxx
Q: Madam Witness, can you remember when you issued the checks subject of these cases?
A: It was on June 20, 1991, sir.76

chanroble slaw

Bernardo's principal defense rests on the supposition that she had settled the obligation, which settlement
led Bumanglag to return to her the title to the property.77 A meticulous review, of the records, however,
firmly dissuades us from believing Bernardo's bare allegation.
At the outset, the handwritten note78 evidencing that transaction, which was submitted by the prosecution in
evidence, states that:
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10/28/91
Received original copy of Title No. T-151841 in the name of Mapalad Bernardo for loan purposes to pay Mrs.
Carmencita Bumanglag
Sgd
Paz T. Bernardo
10/28/91
chanrobleslaw

The document evidencing this transaction strongly suggests that she asked for the title from Bumanglag to
obtain another loan whose proceeds she would use to pay Bumanglag. Notably, the defense even admitted
the genuineness of Bernardo's signature in this document. 79 When Bernardo therefore failed to fulfill her
promise to pay, Bumanglag had to request for checks to secure the obligation, which checks were eventually
dishonored upon presentment.
Under the circumstances, we find that Bernardo's claim of payment was nothing more than an allegation
unsupported by adequate proof. If indeed there had been payment, she should have redeemed or taken
back the checks and the promissory note, in the ordinary course of business. 80Instead, the checks and the
promissory note remained in the possession of Bumanglag, who had to demand the satisfaction of
Bernardo's obligation when the checks became due and were subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank.
Bumanglag's possession of the promissory note, coupled with the dishonored checks, strongly buttresses her
claim that Bernardo's obligation had not been extinguished. 81
We thus find that the weight of evidence preponderates in favor of Bumanglag's position that Bernardo has
not yet settled her obligation.82
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WHEREFORE, premises considered, the August 31, 2007 decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.' CR
No. 28721 is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. The heirs of Paz T. Bernardo are ordered to pay the amount
of P460,000.00, with interest at 12% per annum from the time of the institution of criminal charges in court.
The total amount adjudged shall earn interest at the rate of 6% per annum on the balance and interest due,
from the finality of this Decision until fully paid.
The fine in the amount of P460,000.00 is DELETED.
SO ORDERED.

chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

[G.R. No. L-8238. May 25, 1955.]


CESAR M. CARANDANG, Petitioner, v. VICENTE SANTIAGO, in his capacity as Judge of the Court of
First Instance of Manila and TOMAS VALENTON, Sr. and TOMAS VALENTON, Jr.,Respondents.
S. Mejia-Panganiban for Petitioner.
Evangelista & Valenton for Respondents.

SYLLABUS

1. CRIMINAL LAW; TERM "PHYSICAL INJURIES" EXPLAINED. Articles 33 of the new Civil Code uses the
words "defamation", "fraud" and "physical injuries." Defamation and fraud are used in their ordinary sense
because there are no specific provisions in the Revised Penal Code using these terms as names of offenses
defined therein. With this apparent circumstances in mind, it is evident that the term "physical injuries"
could not have been used in its specific sense as a crime defined in the Revised Penal Code, for it is difficult
to believe that the Code Commission would have used terms in the same article some in their general and
another in its technical sense. In other words, the term "physical injuries" should be understood to mean
bodily injury, not the crime of physical injuries as defined in the Revised Penal Code.
2. ID.; ID.; CIVIL ACTION FOR DAMAGES WILL LIE WHETHER BODILY INJURY WAS INFLICTED WITH TO
KILL OR NOT. The Code Commission recommended that the civil action for physical injuries be similar to
the civil action for assault and battery in American Law, and his recommendation must have been accepted
by the Legislation when it approved the article intact as recommended. If the intent has been to establish a
civil action for the bodily harm received by the complainant similar to be civil action for assault and battery
as the Code Commission states, the civil action should lie whether the offense committed is that of physical
injuries, or frustrated homicide, or attempted homicide, or even death.
3. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; SUSPENSION OF CIVIL ACTION PENDING CRIMINAL PROSECUTION; EXCEPTION.
The civil action for damages founded on injury to the person may be brought by the injured party and the
trial court may proceed with the trial of the case without awaiting the result of the pending criminal case.
(Article 33 of the new Civil Code.)

DECISION

LABRADOR, J.:

This is a petition for certiorari against Honorable Vicente Santiago, Judge of the Court of First Instance of
Manila, to annul his order in Civil Case No. 21173, entitled Cesar M. Carandang v. Tomas Valenton, Sr. Et.
Al., suspending the trial of said civil case to await the result of the criminal Case No. 534, Court of First
Instance of Batangas. In this criminal case, Tomas Valenton, Jr. was found guilty of the crime of frustrated
homicide committed against the person of Cesar Carandang, petitioner herein. Tomas Valenton, Jr. appealed
the decision to the Court of Appeals where the case is now pending.
The decision of the Court of First Instance of Batangas in the criminal case was rendered on September 1,
1953 and petitioner herein filed a complaint in the Court of First Instance of Manila to recover from the
defendant Tomas Valenton, Jr. and his parents, damages, both actual and moral, for the bodily injuries
received by him on occasion of the commission of the crime of frustrated homicide by said accused Tomas
Valenton, Jr. After the defendants submitted their answer, they presented a motion to suspend the trial of
the civil case, pending the termination of the criminal case against Tomas Valenton, Jr. in the Court of
Appeals. The judge ruled that the trial of the civil action must await the result of the criminal case on appeal.
A motion for reconsideration was submitted, but the court denied the same; hence this petition
for certiorari.
Petitioner invokes Article 33 of the new Civil Code, which is as follows:

jgc:chanroble s.com.ph

"In cases of defamation, fraud, and physical injuries, a civil action for damages, entirely separate and
distinct from the criminal action, may be brought by the injured party. Such civil action shall proceed
independently of the criminal prosecution, and shall require only a preponderance of evidence."
cralaw virtua1aw library

The Code Commission itself states that the civil action allowed (under Article 33) is similar to the action in
tort for libel or slander and assault and battery under American law (Report of the Code Commission, pp.
46-47). But respondents argue that the term "physical injuries" is used to designate a specific crime defined
in the Revised Penal Code, and therefore said term should be understood in its peculiar and technical sense,

in accordance with the rules statutory construction (Sec. 578, 59 C. J. 979).


In the case at bar, the accused was charged with and convicted of the crime of frustrated homicide, and
while it was found in the criminal case that a wound was inflicted by the defendant on the body of the
petitioner herein Cesar Carandang, which wound is a bodily injury, the crime committed is not physical
injuries but frustrated homicide, for the reason that the infliction of the wound is attended by the intent to
kill. So the question arises whether the term "physical injuries" used in Article 33 means physical injuries in
the Revised Penal Code only, or any physical injury or bodily injury, whether inflicted with intent to kill or
not.
The Article in question uses the words "defamation", "fraud" and "physical injuries." Defamation and fraud
are used in their ordinary sense because there are no specific provisions in the Revised Penal Code using
these terms as means of offenses defined therein, so that these two terms defamation and fraud must have
been used not to impart to them any technical meaning in the laws of the Philippines, but in their generic
sense. With this apparent circumstance in mind, it is evident that the term "physical injuries" could not have
been used in its specific sense as a crime defined in the Revised Penal Code, for it is difficult to believe that
the Code Commission would have used terms in the same article some in their general and another in its
technical sense. In other words, the term "physical injuries" should be understood to mean bodily injury, not
the crime of physical injuries, because the terms used with the latter are general terms. In any case the
Code Commission recommended that the civil action for physical injuries be similar to the civil action for
assault and battery in American Law, and this recommendation must have been accepted by the Legislature
when it approved the article intact as recommended. If the intent has been to establish a civil action for the
bodily harm received by the complainant similar to the civil action for assault and battery, as the Code
Commission states, the civil action should lie whether the offense committed is that of physical injuries, or
frustrated homicide, or attempted homicide, or even death.
A parallel case arose in that of Bixby v. Sioux City, 164 N.W. 641, 643. In that case, the appellant sought to
take his case from the scope of the statute by pointing out that inasmuch as notice is required where the
cause of action is founded on injury to the person, it has no application when the damages sought are for
the death of the person. The court ruled that a claim to recover for death resulting from personal injury is as
certainly "founded on injury to the person" as would be a claim to recover damages for a non-fatal injury
resulting in a crippled body.
For the foregoing considerations, we find that the respondent judge committed an error in suspending the
trial of the civil case, and his order to that effect is hereby revoked, and he is hereby ordered to proceed
with the trial of said civil case without awaiting the result of the pending criminal case. With costs against
the Defendant-Appellees.

G.R. No. 127934

August 23, 2000

ACE HAULERS CORPORATION, petitioner,


vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS AND EDERLINDA ABIVA, respondents.
DECISION
PARDO, J.:
The case is an appeal via certiorari seeking to set aside the decision of the Court of
Appeals1 affirming that of the Regional Trial Court, Quezon City, Branch 106, except for the award of
thirty thousand pesos (P30,000.00) as exemplary damages, which was deleted. The dispositive
portion of the trial court's decision reads as follows:
"WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the defendant to pay plaintiff:
"1. the amount of Two Hundred Thousand (P200,000.00) as actual damages;

"2. the amount of Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) as moral damages;


"3. the amount of Thirty Thousand (P30,000.00) as exemplary damages;
"4. the amount of Thirty Thousand (P30,000.00) as attorneys fees;
"5. Costs of suit.
"SO ORDERED."2
The facts, culled from the findings of the Court of Appeals, are as follows:
"The case was an action for damages arising from a vehicular mishap which took place on June 1,
1984, involving a truck owned by petitioner Ace Haulers Corporation and driven by its employee,
Jesus dela Cruz, and a jeepney owned by Isabelito Rivera, driven by Rodolfo Parma. A third vehicle,
a motorcycle, was bumped and dragged by the jeepney, and its rider, Fidel Abiva, was run over by
the truck owned by petitioner Ace Haulers Corporation, causing his death. Upon his untimely
demise, Fidel Abiva left behind a wife, respondent Erderlinda Abiva and their three (3) children.
"On July 27, 1984, a criminal information for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide was filed
against the two drivers, Dela Cruz and Parma, docketed as Criminal Case No. Q-37248 before the
RTC of Quezon City, Branch 103.
"While the criminal action was pending, on March 11, 1985, respondent Ederlinda Abiva filed with the
Regional Trial Court, Quezon City, Branch 93, a separate civil action for damages against the two
accused in the criminal case, as well as against Isabelito Rivera and petitioner Ace Haulers Corp.,
the owners of the vehicles involved in the accident and employers of the accused.
"In her complaint, respondent Abiva prayed that:
"1. A Writ of Preliminary Attachment be immediately issued against the properties of the defendants
as security for the satisfaction of any judgment that may be recovered;
"2. Defendants in solidum, to pay plaintiff the amount of P200,000.00 as actual damage;
"3. Defendants, in solidum, to pay plaintiff the sum of P50,000.00 as attorneys fees;
"4. Defendants, in solidum, to pay plaintiff the amount of moral and exemplary damages which this
Court may reasonably assess."
"On January 31, 1986, petitioner Ace Haulers Corp. and Jesus dela Cruz filed a motion to dismiss
bringing to the trial courts attention the fact that a criminal action was pending before another
branch of the same court, and that under the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, the filing of an
independent civil action arising from a quasi-delict is no longer allowed. Furthermore, said
defendants alleged that respondents private counsel actively participated in the criminal
proceedings, showing that the respondent was in fact pursuing the civil aspect automatically
instituted with the criminal case.

"On February 21, 1986, respondent filed an opposition to the motion arguing that she was not
pursuing the civil aspect in the criminal case as she, in fact, manifested in open court in the criminal
proceedings that she was filing a separate and independent civil action for damages against the
accused and their employers, as allowed under Articles 2177 and 2180 of the Civil Code.
"On February 28, 1986, the trial court dismissed the action for damages on the ground that "no civil
action shall proceed independently of the criminal prosecution in a case for reckless imprudence
resulting in homicide". Respondent Abivas motion for reconsideration of the order of dismissal was
also denied by the trial court. She then elevated the case before the Intermediate Appellate Court
(IAC) by way of a petition for certiorari, docketed as Civil Case No. 09644. The appellate court
reversed the dismissal order of the trial court. It was then petitioner Ace Haulers Corporation and
Jesus dela Cruzs turn to appeal the judgment of the IAC before the Supreme Court. On August 3,
1988, the Supreme Court issued a resolution denying the petition for review of Ace Haulers Corp.
and Jesus dela Cruz for failure "to sufficiently show that the Court of Appeals had committed any
reversible error in the questioned error". The case was remanded to the trial court for further
proceedings.
"In the meantime that the petition for review was pending before the Supreme Court, fire razed the
portion of the Quezon City Hall building which housed the trial courts and the records of the case
were among those that the fire reduced to ashes. It was not until March 26, 1992 that the records of
the case was reconstituted by the trial court.
"While the pre-trial proceedings in the civil action for damages was still being set and reset upon
motion of the opposing parties, on July 6, 1992, the RTC, Quezon City, Branch 83 rendered
judgment in the criminal case, finding as follows:
"WHEREFORE, the prosecution having established beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of both
accused Rodolfo Parma and Jesus dela Cruz for the offense of Reckless Imprudence Resulting in
Homicide, this Court finds them guilty of said offense charged and hereby sentences each of them to
suffer and undergo imprisonment of ONE (1) YEAR AND ONE (1) DAY of prision correccional as
minimum to FOUR (4) YEARS, NINE (9) MONTHS and TEN (10) DAYS also of prision
correccional as maximum, and to pay the costs.
"Accused Rodolfo Parma and Jesus dela Cruz are hereby ordered to pay the heirs of the deceased
Fidel O. Abiva, jointly or pro rata, the amount of FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) as
indemnification for his death and the amount of FOUR THOUSAND PESOS (P4,000.00) by way of
actual damages.
"SO ORDERED."
"On March 9, 1993, the pre-trial conference of the civil case was finally set on April 6, 1993, and
notices thereof were sent to the parties and their respective counsel. On the appointed date,
however, no representative nor counsel for petitioner Ace Haulers Corporation appeared.
Consequently, upon motion of respondent Abiva, the petitioner was declared as in default.
Furthermore, defendants Jesus dela Cruz, Isabelito Rivera and Rodolfo Parma were discharged as
defendants, and the case against them dismissed.
"On June 30, 1993, the trial court rendered a decision, ruling against petitioner Ace Haulers
Corporation. The trial court summarized its findings thus:

"Hence, Mrs. Ederlinda Abiva as part of plaintiffs evidence, testified that she is 43 years old, a
widow and housekeeper, residing at Cefels Subdivision, Deparo, Novaliches, Quezon City. She told
the Court that she is the widow of Fidel Abiva, who died on June 1, 1984 after he was ran over by
Isuzu Cargo Truck Plate No. NWY-T Phil 93 owned and operated by the defendant Ace Haulers
Corporation, then driven by Jesus dela Cruz and that because of the death of her husband, she
suffered damages, among which, moral, exemplary and actual damages for her expenses and
attorneys fees. She claimed that she is lawfully married to the late Fidel Abiva as evidenced by their
Marriage Contract (Exhibits A and A-1). Out of their wedlock, (sic) they begot three (3) children,
namely: Noel, Gina and Argentina with ages 25, 21 and 15, respectively. Her husband died on June
1, 1984 at around 11:45 p.m. (Exhibits B, B-1 and B-2), because of the vehicular accident which
involved the wheeler truck of Ace Haulers Corporation driven by Jesus dela Cruz, a jeepney owned
by Isabelito Rivera, then driven by Rodolfo Parma and a motorcycle driven by her husband. Her
husband, after his death, was autopsied, as reflected in an Autopsy Report (Exhibit C) and by the
Postmortem Finding (Exhibit C-1). This was also covered by a police report (Exhibit D) which
shows that Jesus dela Cruz is the driver of the defendant (Exhibit D-1). This fact is reiterated in a
sworn statement which she executed relative to this vehicular accident (Exhibit E) wherein the said
driver mentioned and confirmed the name of his employer (Exhibit E-1). A criminal case was lodged
against the drivers of the two vehicles and a Decision was rendered thereon in Criminal Case No. Q37248 entitled People of the Philippines versus Jesus dela Cruz and Rodolfo Parma finding both of
them guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged. (Exhibits F, F-1, F-2, F-3, F-4 and
F-5). This decision has now acquired finality as no appeal was taken by the accused. It is
established, however, that prior to the filing of the instant case, Mrs. Abiva pleaded to Ace Haulers to
compensate her for the death of her husband. But her plea went (sic) to deaf ears. She was thus
constrained to file this case for damages.
"Further testimony of Mrs. Abiva revealed that before the death of her husband, he was employed
with Philippine Airlines (PAL) earning P4,600.00.00 a month, as evidenced by the Pay Statement
covering the period of 4-15-84 in the amount of P2,065.00 (Exhibits G, G-1, G-2 and G-3); that
when he died, he was only 40 years old and healthy, and that based on the life history and pedigree
of his family where some of its members lived up to 100 years, she expects her husband to live for
no less than 15 years more and could have earned no less than P828,000.00 for the family. But this,
her family was deprived, because his life was snatched away by this accident while her husband
was riding in a motorcycle which he bought for P11,850.00 (Exhibits H and H-1) which was also
totally wrecked.
"Resulting from her husbands death, Mrs. Abiva told the Court that she incurred expenses for his
burial and funeral in the total amount of no less than P30,000.00 and for his wake of six days, in the
amount of about P40,600.00 (Exhibits J, J-1, J-2, J-3, J-4, J-5, and J-6). She also spent
around P80,000.00 as litigation expenses, in her quest for justice since she has to engage the
services of four (4) counsels from the time of the filing of this case before the Hon. Miriam DefensorSantiago, then Presiding Judge of this Court who once dismissed this case, and which led eventually
to an appeal by certiorari which was later elevated up to the Supreme Court. (Exhibits K, K-1, K2, K-3, K-4, K-5 and K-6). Blaming the defendant, Mrs. Abiva claimed that had Ace Haulers
exercised diligence, care and prudence in the selection and supervision of its employees, her
husband would have been spared from this accident. Hence, her prayer for the award of
P200,000.00 for the death of her husband, who by now, could have risen in the promotional ladder to
a senior Executive of PAL and could be earning about P30,000.00 salary per month by now. She
further prays for award of moral damages in the amount of P200,000.00 exemplary damages of
P100,000.00, attorneys fees of P50,000.00 and litigation expenses of P50,000.00.

"After the testimony of Mrs. Abiva as the lone witness for the plaintiff, counsel formally offered his
exhibits and rested his case.
"Gathered from the evidence presented, testimonial and documentary, the Court finds enough legal
and factual basis to grant the claim for damages by the plaintiff. The insinuations of negligence on
the part of defendants driver is amply shown as one, who drove his vehicle fast, impervious to the
safety of life and property of others, his utter lack of care and caution and his unmitigated
imprudence, rolled into one, all these predicated the occurrence of this accident which took away a
precious human life.
"Whoever by act or omission causes damages to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged
to pay for the damages done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation
between the parties, is called a quasi-delict x x x (Article 2176, New Civil Code).
"Corollary to this, is the civil law concept that:
"The obligations imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only for ones own acts or omissions,
but also for those persons for whom one is responsible (Art. 2180, 1st paragraph, New Civil Code)
x x x x x x
"Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and household helpers
acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, x x x (Article 2180 paragraph 5, New Civil Code).
"Taken in their appropriate context, and predicated on the evidence adduced which has not been
evidentiarily traversed by the defendant, this Court is left to (sic) no other recourse but to grant the
remedies and reliefs which in her complaint plaintiff prays for, all of them having been by her
adduced evidence, preponderantly shown and established and out of which, she has shown herself
to be completely deserving."3
On September 13, 1993, petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals.4
On January 17, 1997, the Court of Appeals promulgated its decision, the dispositive portion of which
reads as follows:
"WHEREFORE, except for the award of thirty thousand (P30,000.00) as exemplary damages, which
is hereby set aside, the Decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED in all other respect.
"SO ORDERED."
Hence, this appeal.5
The issues raised are whether or not in an action for damages arising from a vehicular accident
plaintiff may recover damages against the employer of the accused driver both in the criminal case
(delict) and the civil case for damages based on quasi delict, but not recover twice for the same act;
(2) whether the Court of Appeals erred in not lifting the order declaring petitioner as in default for
failure to appear at the pre-trial conference; and (3) whether the damages awarded in the civil case
were excessive, much more than the previous award in the criminal case.

In Padua v. Robles,5 we held that "Civil liability coexists with criminal responsibility. In negligence
cases, the offended party (or his heirs) has the option between an action for enforcement of civil
liability based on culpacriminal under Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code and an action for
recovery of damages based on culpa aquiliana under Article 2176 of the Civil Code. x x x Article
2177 of the Civil Code, however, precludes recovery of damages twice for the same negligent act or
omission."6
Consequently, a separate civil action for damages lies against the offender in a criminal act, whether
or not he is criminally prosecuted and found guilty or acquitted, provided that the offended party is
not allowed, if he is actually charged also criminally, to recover damages on both scores, and would
be entitled in such eventuality only to the bigger award of the two, assuming the awards made in the
two cases vary.7
Hence, in this case, respondent Abiva shall have the choice which of the awards to take, naturally
expecting that she would opt to recover the greater amount. It has not been shown that she has
recovered on the award in the criminal case, consequently, she can unquestionably recover from
petitioner in the civil case.
As to the second issue raised, we find that petitioner was rightly declared as in default for its failure
to appear during the pre-trial conference despite due notice. This is a factual question resolved by
the Court of Appeals which we cannot review.8
As to the third issue regarding the award of damages to respondent Abiva, we find the award of
actual damages to be supported by preponderant evidence. "Basic is the rule that to recover actual
damages, the amount of loss must not only be capable of proof but must actually be proven with
reasonable degree of certainty, premised upon competent proof or best evidence obtainable of the
actual amount thereof."9 However, there is no basis for the award of moral damages, which is hereby
deleted. The person claiming moral damages must prove the existence of bad faith by clear and
convincing evidence for the law always presumes good faith. It is not enough that one merely
suffered sleepless nights, mental anguish, serious anxiety as the result of the actuations of the other
party. Invariably such action must be shown to have been willfully done in bad faith or with ill
motive.10
The attorney's fees awarded is reduced to P20,000.00 which is ten (10%) percent of the amount of
actual damages.
1wphi1

WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES the petition for review on certiorari and AFFIRMS the decision of
the Court of Appeals,11 with modification. The Court deletes the award of fifty thousand pesos
(P50,000.00) as moral damages, and reduces the attorney fees to twenty thousand pesos
(P20,000.00).
No costs.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-51183 December 21, 1983

CARMEN L. MADEJA, petitioner,


vs.
HON. FELIX T. CARO and EVA ARELLANO-JAPZON, respondents.
Ernesto P. Miel for petitioner.
Gorgonio T. Alvarez for respondents.

ABAD SANTOS, J.:

+.wph!1

In Criminal Case No. 75-88 of the defunct Court of First Instance of Eastern Samar, DR. EVA A.
JAPZON is accused of homicide through reckless imprudence for the death of Cleto Madeja after an
appendectomy. The complaining witness is the widow of the deceased, Carmen L. Madeja. The
information states that: "The offended party Carmen L. Madeja reserving her right to file a separate
civil action for damages." (Rollo, p. 36.)
The criminal case still pending, Carmen L. Madeja sued Dr. Eva A. Japzon for damages in Civil Case
No. 141 of the same court. She alleged that her husband died because of the gross negligence of
Dr. Japzon. The respondent judge granted the defendant's motion to dismiss which motion invoked
Section 3(a) of Rule 111 of the Rules of Court which reads:
t.hqw

Sec. 3. Other civil actions arising from offenses. In all cases not included in the
preceding section the following rules shall be observed:
(a) Criminal and civil actions arising from the same offense may be instituted
separately, but after the criminal action has been commenced the civil action can not
be instituted until final judgment has been rendered in the criminal action. ...
According to the respondent judge, "under the foregoing Sec. 3 (a), Rule 111, New Rules of Court,
the instant civil action may be instituted only after final judgment has been rendered in the criminal
action." (Rollo, p. 33.)
The instant petition which seeks to set aside the order of the respondent judge granting the
defendant's motion to dismiss Civil Case No. 141 is highly impressed with merit.
Section 2, Rule 111 of the Rules of Court in relation to Article 33 of the Civil Code is the applicable
provision. The two enactments are quoted hereinbelow:
t.hqw

Sec. 2. Independent civil action. In the cases provided for in Articles 31,32, 33, 34
and 2177 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, an independent civil action entirely
separate and distinct from the criminal action, may be brought by the injured party
during the pendency of the criminal case, provided the right is reserved as required
in the preceding section. Such civil action shall proceed independently of the criminal
prosecution, and shall require only a preponderance of evidence." (Rule 111, Rules
of Court.)

Art. 33. In cases of defamation, fraud, and physical injuries, a civil action for
damages, entirely separate and distinct from the criminal action, may be brought by
the injured party. Such civil action shall proceed independently of the criminal
prosecution, and shall require only a preponderance of evidence. (Civil Code,)
There are at least two things about Art. 33 of the Civil Code which are worth noting, namely:
1. The civil action for damages which it allows to be instituted is ex-delicto. This is manifest from the
provision which uses the expressions "criminal action" and "criminal prosecution." This conclusion is
supported by the comment of the Code Commission, thus:
t.hqw

The underlying purpose of the principle under consideration is to allow the citizen to
enforce his rights in a private action brought by him, regardless of the action of the
State attorney. It is not conducive to civic spirit and to individual self-reliance and
initiative to habituate the citizens to depend upon the government for the vindication
of their own private rights. It is true that in many of the cases referred to in the
provision cited, a criminal prosecution is proper, but it should be remembered that
while the State is the complainant in the criminal case, the injured individual is the
one most concerned because it is he who has suffered directly. He should be
permitted to demand reparation for the wrong which peculiarly affects him. (Report,
p. 46.)
And Tolentino says:

t.hqw

The general rule is that when a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for
recovery of civil liability arising from the offense charged is impliedly instituted with
the criminal action, unless the offended party reserves his right to institute it
separately; and after a criminal action has been commenced, no civil action arising
from the same offense can be prosecuted. The present articles creates an exception
to this rule when the offense is defamation, fraud, or physical injuries, In these cases,
a civil action may be filed independently of the criminal action, even if there has been
no reservation made by the injured party; the law itself in this article makes such
reservation; but the claimant is not given the right to determine whether the civil
action should be scheduled or suspended until the criminal action has been
terminated. The result of the civil action is thus independent of the result of the civil
action." (I Civil Code, p. 144 [1974.])
2. The term "physical injuries" is used in a generic sense. It is not the crime of physical injuries
defined in the Revised Penal Code. It includes not only physical injuries but consummated,
frustrated and attempted homicide.
t.hqw

The Article in question uses the words 'defamation', 'fraud' and 'physical injuries.'
Defamation and fraud are used in their ordinary sense because there are no specific
provisions in the Revised Penal Code using these terms as means of offenses
defined therein, so that these two terms defamation and fraud must have been used
not to impart to them any technical meaning in the laws of the Philippines, but in their
generic sense. With this apparent circumstance in mind, it is evident that the terms
'physical injuries' could not have been used in its specific sense as a crime defined in
the Revised Penal Code, for it is difficult to believe that the Code Commission would

have used terms in the same article-some in their general and another in its technical
sense. In other words, the term 'physical injuries' should be understood to mean
bodily injury, not the crime of physical injuries, bacause the terms used with the latter
are general terms. In any case the Code Commission recommended that the civil
action for physical injuries be similar to the civil action for assault and battery in
American Law, and this recommendation must hove been accepted by the
Legislature when it approved the article intact as recommended. If the intent has
been to establish a civil action for the bodily harm received by the complainant
similar to the civil action for assault and battery, as the Code Commission states, the
civil action should lie whether the offense committed is that of physical injuries, or
frustrated homicide, or attempted homicide, or even death," (Carandang vs.
Santiago, 97 Phil. 94, 96-97 [1955].)
Corpus vs. Paje, L-26737, July 31, 1969, 28 SCRA 1062, which states that reckless imprudence or
criminal negligence is not included in Article 33 of the Civil Code is not authoritative. Of eleven
justices only nine took part in the decision and four of them merely concurred in the result.
In the light of the foregoing, it is apparent that the civil action against Dr. Japzon may proceed
independently of the criminal action against her.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby granted; the order dismissing Civil Case No. 141 is hereby set
aside; no special pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

1wph1.t

Makasiar (Chairman), Concepcion, Jr., Guerrero, De Castro and Escolin, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions

AQUINO, J., concurring:


I concur. Death due to a negligent act may be a delict or quasi-delict. It may create a civil action
based on article 100 of the Penal Code or an action based on culpa aquiliana under article 2176 of
the Civil Code. These alternatives are assumed in article 2177 of the Civil Code "but the plaintiff
cannot recover twice for the same act or omission of the defendant" (Barredo vs. Garcia, 73 Phil.
607 and Sudario vs. Acro Taxi and Yuson, 86 Phil. 1. See Formento vs. CA, L-26442, August
29,1969,29 SCRA 437).
The term "physical injuries" in article 33 of the Civil Code includes death and may give rise to an
independent civil action (Dyogi vs. Yatco, 100 Phil. 1095).

The rule in Corpus vs. Paje, L-26737, July 31, 1969, 28 SCRA 1062, that reckless imprudence is not
included in article 33 of the Civil Code, is not authoritative doctrine because it was concurred in by
only five Justices. Four Justices concurred in the result.

Separate Opinions
AQUINO, J., concurring:
I concur. Death due to a negligent act may be a delict or quasi-delict. It may create a civil action
based on article 100 of the Penal Code or an action based on culpa aquiliana under article 2176 of
the Civil Code. These alternatives are assumed in article 2177 of the Civil Code "but the plaintiff
cannot recover twice for the same act or omission of the defendant" (Barredo vs. Garcia, 73 Phil.
607 and Sudario vs. Acro Taxi and Yuson, 86 Phil. 1. See Formento vs. CA, L-26442, August
29,1969,29 SCRA 437).
The term "physical injuries" in article 33 of the Civil Code includes death and may give rise to an
independent civil action (Dyogi vs. Yatco, 100 Phil. 1095).
The rule in Corpus vs. Paje, L-26737, July 31, 1969, 28 SCRA 1062, that reckless imprudence is not
included in article 33 of the Civil Code, is not authoritative doctrine because it was concurred in by
only five Justices. Four Justices concurred in the result.
G.R. No. 172505

October 1, 2014

ANTONIO M. GARCIA, Petitioner,


vs.
FERRO CHEMICALS, INC., Respondent.
DECISION
LEONEN, J.:
Before this court is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the decision of the Court of Appeals
dated August 11, 2005 and its resolution dated April 27, 2006, denying petitioner Antonio Garcia's
motion for reconsideration.
1

Antonio Garcia, as seller, and Ferro Chemicals, Inc., through Ramon Garcia, as buyer, entered into a
deed of absolute sale and purchase of shares of stock on July 15, 1988. The deed was for the sale
and purchase of shares of stock from various corporations, including one class "A" share in Alabang
Country Club, Inc. and one proprietary membership in the Manila Polo Club, Inc. These shares of
stock were in the name of Antonio Garcia. The contract was allegedly entered into to prevent these
shares of stock from being sold at public auction to pay the outstanding obligations of Antonio
Garcia.
4

On March 3, 1989, a deed of right of repurchase over the same shares of stock subject of the deed
of absolute sale and purchase of shares of stock was entered into between Antonio Garcia and
Ferro Chemicals, Inc. Under the deed of right of repurchase, Antonio Garcia can redeem the
properties sold within 180 days from the signing of the agreement.
7

Before the end of the 180-day period, Antonio Garcia exercised his right to repurchase the
properties. However, Ferro Chemicals, Inc. did not agree to the repurchase ofthe shares of
stock. Thus, Antonio Garcia filed an action for specific performance and annulment of transfer of
shares.
8

10

On September 6, 1989, the class "A" share in Alabang Country Club, Inc. and proprietary
membership in the Manila Polo Club, Inc., which were included in the contracts entered intobetween
Antonio Garcia and Ferro Chemicals, Inc., were sold at public auction to Philippine Investment
System Organization.
11

On September 3, 1990, the information based on the complaint of Ferro Chemicals, Inc. was filed
against Antonio Garcia before the Regional Trial Court. He was charged with estafaunder Article
318 (Other Deceits) of the Revised Penal Code for allegedly misrepresenting to Ferro Chemicals,
Inc. that the shares subject of the contracts entered into were free from all liens and encumbrances.
The information reads:
12

The undersigned Assistant Prosecutor accuses Antonio M. Garcia of the felony of Estafa as defined
and penalized under Art. 318 of the Revised Penal Code as amended, committed as follows:
THAT on or about 15 July 1988, in Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines, a place within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with evident bad faith and deceit, did, then and
there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, misrepresent to FERRO CHEMICALS, INC. (FCI)
represented by Ramon M. Garcia, that his share of stock/proprietary share with Ayala Alabang
Country Club, Inc. and Manila Polo Club, Inc. collectively valued at about P10.00 Million Pesos,
being part of other shares of stock subject matter of a Deed of Absolute Sale and Purchase of
Shares of Stock between the accused and FCI, were free from all liens, encumbrances and claims
by third persons, when in truth and in fact, accused well knew that aforesaid share of
stock/proprietary share had already been garnished in July 1985 and subsequently sold at public
auction in September 1989, and which misrepresentation and assurance FCI relied upon and paid
the consideration in accordance with the stipulated condition/manner of payment, all to the damage
and prejudice of FCI in the aforestated amount of P10.00 Million Pesos.
Contrary to law.

13

In the decision dated December 12, 1996 of the Regional Trial Court, Antonio Garcia was acquitted
for insufficiency of evidence. The Regional Trial Court held:
14

From the foregoing, it is very clear that private complainant was aware of the status of the subject
CLUB SHARES. Thus, the element of false pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means which
constitute the very cause or the only motive which induced the private complainant to enter into the
questioned deed of sale (Exh. "A") is wanting in the case at bar. (Underscoring in the original)
15

Ferro Chemicals, Inc. filed a motion for reconsideration, which was denied by the Regional Trial
Court in the order dated July 29, 1997.
16

On August 25, 1997, Ferro Chemicals, Inc. appealed to the Court of Appeals the July 29, 1997 order
of the Regional Trial Court as to the civil aspect of the case. The notice of appeal filed was entitled
"Notice of Appeal Ex Gratia Abudantia Ad Cautelam (Of The Civil Aspect of the Case)." It alleged:
17

18

4. Herein private complainant hereby gives notice, out of extreme caution, that it is appealing the
Decision dated 12 December 1996 and the Order dated 29 July 1997 on the civil aspect of the case
to the Court of Appeals on the ground that it is notin accordance with the law and the facts of the
case.
5. This notice of appeal is without prejudice to the filing of an appropriate petition for certiorari under
Rule 65 of the Rules of Court on the criminal aspect, upon the giving of due course thereto, private
complainant shall endeavor to seek the consolidation of this appeal with the said petition.
19

On October 15, 1997, the Makati City Prosecutors Office and Ferro Chemicals, Inc. also filed a
petition for certiorari with this court, assailing the Regional Trial Courts December 12, 1996
decision and July 29, 1997 order acquitting Antonio Garcia.
20

21

The petition for certiorari filed before this court sought to annul the decision of the trial court
acquitting Antonio Garcia. People of the Philippines and Ferro Chemicals, Inc. argued that the trial
court "acted in grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it rendered
the judgment of acquittal based on affidavits not at all introduced in evidence by either of the parties
thereby depriving the people of their substantive right to due process of law." The
verification/certification against forum shopping, signed by Ramon Garcia as president of Ferro
Chemicals, Inc., disclosed that the notice of appeal was filed "with respect to the civil aspect of the
case."
22

23

24

In the resolution dated November 16, 1998, this court dismissed the petition for certiorari filed, and
entry of judgment was made on December 24, 1998.
25

26

On the other hand, the Court of Appeals, in its decision dated August 11, 2005, granted the appeal
and awarded Ferro Chemicals, Inc. the amount of P1,000,000.00 as actual loss with legal interest
and attorneys fees in the amount of P20,000.00. The appellate court found that Antonio Garcia
failed to disclose the Philippine Investment and Savings Organizations lien over the club
shares. Thus:
27

28

29

30

The issue in this case is whether or not Antonio Garcia disclosed to Ferro-Chemicals, during the
negotiation stage of the impending sale of the imputed club shares, the third attachment lien in favor
of Philippine Investment and Savings Organization (PISO) which, ultimately, became the basis of the
auction sale of said club shares. We have scrutinized the records of the case but found no evidence
that Antonio Garcia intimated to his brother the third attachment lien of PISO over the said club
shares. While it is true that Antonio Garcia divulged the two liens of Security Bank and Insular Bank
of Asia and America, the lien of PISO was clearly not discussed. The affidavits executed by the two
lawyers to the effect that the lien of PISO was considered but deliberately left out in the deed cannot
be given much weight as they were never placed on the witness stand and cross-examined by
Ferro-Chemicals. If their affidavits, although not offered, were considered inthe criminal aspect and
placed a cloud on the prosecutions thrust, theycannot be given the same probative value in this civil
aspect as only a preponderance of evidence is necessary to carry the day for the plaintiff, Ferro
Chemicals.

While Antonio Garcia insists that no consideration was ever made over the club shares as the same
were merely given for safekeeping, the document denominated as Deed of Absolute Sale states
otherwise. It is a basic rule of evidence that between documentary evidence and oral evidence, the
former carries more weight.
Also, We have observed that in Antonio Garcias letter of redemption addressed to Ferro Chemicals,
he mentioned his interest in redeeming the company shares only. That he did not include the club
shares only meant that said club shares no longer had any much redeemable value as there was a
lienover them. To redeem them would be pointless.
If they had no redeemable value to Antonio Garcia, to Ferro Chemical they were certainly
marketable assets. The non-disclosure of the third lien in favor of PISO materially affected Ferro
Chemicals since it was not able to act on time to protect its interest when the auction sale over the
club shares actually took place. As a result, Ferro Chemicals suffered losses due to the unfortunate
public auction sale. It is but just and fair that Antonio Garcia be made to compensate the loss
pursuant to Articles 21 and 2199 of the Civil Code.
The actual loss suffered by Ferro Chemicals amounted to P1,000,000.00 which correspondents to
the bid value of the club shares at the time of the auction as evidenced by the Sheriffs Certificate of
Sale. (Citations omitted)
31

Antonio Garcia filed a motion for reconsideration and Ferro Chemicals, Inc. filed a partial motion for
reconsideration of the decision of the Court of Appeals. These motions were denied in the
resolution dated April 27, 2006. Thus, Antonio Garcia filed this petition for review on
certiorari, assailing the decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals.
32

33

34

Antonio Garcia argues that the factual findings of the Court of Appeals were erroneous and insists
that "[Ferro Chemicals, Inc.] was fully aware that the shares covered by the Deed of Absolute Sale,
including the Subject Club Shares, were not free from liens and encumbrances and that the Deed
[of] Sale was executed [to] warehouse [Antonio Garcias] assets based on, among other evidence,
the affidavits executed by Jaime Gonzales . . . and Rolando Navarro. . . ."
35

36

Antonio Garcia faults the Court of Appeals in disregarding the affidavits executed by Jaime Gonzales
and Rolando Navarro. Antonio Garcia argues that even thiscourt in G.R. No. 130880 entitled People
of the Philippines and Ferro Chemicals, Inc. v. Hon. Dennis Villa Ignacio and Antonio Garcia where
the admissibility of the affidavits was put in issue held that the trial court did not commit any grave
abuse of discretion in the challenged decision. He then reasoned that "pursuant to the law of the
case, [the affidavits of Gonzalez and Navarro] are admissible and should be given weight."
37

38

Finally, Antonio Garcia claims thatboth he and and Ferro Chemicals, Inc. acted in bad faith when
they entered into the deed of absolute sale as a scheme to defraud Antonio Garcias creditors. Thus,
they are in pari delicto and Ferro Chemicals, Inc. should not be allowed to recover from Antonio
Garcia.
39

In its comment, Ferro Chemicals, Inc. points out that Antonio Garcia raised factual issues not proper
ina Rule 45 petition and reiterates the findings of the Court of Appeals.
40

41

There are pertinent and important issues that the parties failed to raise before the trial court, Court of
Appeals, and this court. Nonetheless, we resolve to rule on these issues.

As a general rule, this court through its appellate jurisdiction can only decide on matters or issues
raised by the parties. However, the rule admits of exceptions. When the unassigned error affects
jurisdiction over the subject matter or when the consideration of the error is necessary for a
complete resolution of the case, this court can still decide on these issues.
42

43

44

45

We cannot turn a blind eye on glaring misapplications of the law or patently erroneous decisions or
resolutions simply because the parties failed to raise these errors before the court. Otherwise, we
will be allowing injustice by reason of the mistakes of the parties counsel and condoning reckless
and negligent acts of lawyers to the prejudice of the litigants. Failure to rule on these issues amounts
to an abdication of our duty to dispense justice to all parties.
The issues are:
I. Whether the Regional Trial Court had jurisdiction over the case
II. Whether the act of FerroChemicals, Inc. in filing the notice of appeal before the Court of
Appeals and the petition for certiorari assailing the same trial court decision amounted to
forum shopping
III. Whether Ferro Chemicals, Inc. was entitled to the awards given as civil liability ex delicto
The Regional Trial Court did not have jurisdiction
Jurisdiction of a court over the subject matter is vested by law. In criminal cases, the imposable
penalty of the crime charged in the information determines the court that has jurisdiction over the
case.
46

47

The information charged Antonio Garcia with violation of Article 318 of the Revised Penal Code,
which is punishable by arresto mayor, or imprisonment for a period of one (1) month and one (1) day
to six (6) months. Article 318 states:
ART. 318: Other deceits. The penalty of arresto mayor and a fine of not less than the amount of the
damage caused and not more than twice such amount shall be imposed upon any person who shall
defraud or damage another by any other deceit not mentioned in the preceding articles of this
chapter.
Any person who, for profit or gain, shall interpret dreams, make forecasts, tell fortunes, or take
advantage of the credulity of the public in any other similar manner, shall suffer the penalty of arresto
mayoror a fine not exceeding 200 pesos.
When the information was filed on September 3, 1990, the law in force was Batas Pambansa Blg.
129 before it was amended by Republic Act No. 7691. Under Section 32 of Batas Pambansa Blg.
129, the Metropolitan Trial Court had jurisdiction over the case:
SEC. 32. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial
Courts in criminal cases.
....

2. Exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses punishable with imprisonment of not exceeding four
years and two months, or a fine of not more than four thousand pesos, or both such fine and
imprisonment, regardless of other imposable accessory or other penalties, including the civil liability
arising from such offenses or predicated thereon, irrespective of kind, nature, value, or amount
thereof: Provided, however, That in offenses involving damage to property through criminal
negligence they shall have exclusive original jurisdiction where the imposable fine does not exceed
twenty thousand pesos. (Emphasis supplied)
The Regional Trial Court did not have jurisdiction to hear and decide the case. This lack of
jurisdiction resulted in voiding all of the trial courts proceedings and the judgment
rendered. Although the trial courts lack of jurisdiction was never raised as an issue in any part of
the proceedings and even until it reached this court, we proceed with resolving the matter.
48

In Pangilinan v. Court of Appeals, this court held:


49

Thus, we apply the general rule thatjurisdiction is vested by law and cannot be conferred or waived
by the parties. Even on appeal and even if the reviewing parties did not raise the issue of jurisdiction,
the reviewing court is not precluded fromruling that the lower court had no jurisdiction over the
case[.]
....
Having arrived at the conclusion that the Regional Trial Court did not have jurisdiction to try the case
against the appellant, it is no longer necessary to consider the other issues raised as the decision of
the Regional Trial Court is null and void.
50

The trial courts lack of jurisdiction cannot be cured by the parties silence on the matter. The failure
of the parties to raise the matter of jurisdiction also cannot be construed as a waiver of the parties.
Jurisdiction is conferred by law and cannot be waived by the parties.
51

The assailed decision is void, considering that it originates from a void decision of the Regional Trial
Court for lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter.
Ferro Chemicals, Inc. committed forum shopping
Forum shopping is defined as "theact of a litigant who repetitively availed of several judicial
remedies in different courts, simultaneously or successively, all substantially founded on the same
transactions and the same essential facts and circumstances, and all raising substantially the same
issues either pending in, or already resolved adversely by some other court . . . to increase his
chances of obtaining a favorable decision if not in one court, then in another." Once clearly
established that forum shopping was committed willfully and deliberately by a party or his or her
counsel, the case may be summarily dismissed with prejudice, and the act shall constitute direct
contempt and a cause for administrative sanctions.
52

53

Forum shopping is prohibited, and sanctions are imposed on those who commit forum shopping as
"it trifles with the courts, abuses their processes, degrades the administration of justice and adds to
the already congested court dockets." This court has said:
54

What is critical is the vexation brought upon the courts and the litigants by a party who asks different
courts to rule on the same or related causes and grant the same or substantially the same reliefs
and in the process creates the possibility of conflicting decisions being rendered by the different fora
upon the same issues, regardless of whether the court in which one of the suits was brought has no
jurisdiction over the action. (Citation omitted)
55

The test and requisites that must concur to establish when a litigant commits forum shopping are the
following:
The test for determining the existence of forum shopping is whether the elements of litis
pendentiaare present, or whether a final judgment in one case amounts to res judicatain another.
Thus, there is forum shopping when the following elements are present: (a) identity of parties, or at
least such parties asrepresent the same interests in both actions; (b) identity of rights asserted and
relief prayed for, the relief being founded on the same facts; and (c) the identity of the two preceding
particulars, such that any judgment rendered in the other action will, regardless of which party is
successful, amount to res judicatain the action under consideration; said requisites are also
constitutive of the requisites for auter action pendant or lis pendens. (Citation omitted)
56

There is no question that Ferro Chemicals, Inc. committed forum shopping when it filed an appeal
before the Court of Appeals and a petition for certiorari before this court assailing the same trial court
decision. This is true even if Ferro Chemicals, Inc.s notice of appeal to the Court of Appeals was
entitled "Notice of Appeal Ex Gratia Abudantia Ad Cautelam (Of The Civil Aspect of the Case)." The
"civil aspect of the case" referred to by Ferro Chemicals, Inc. is for the recovery of civil liability ex
delicto. However, it failed to make a reservation before the trial court to institute the civil action for
the recovery of civil liability ex delictoor institute a separate civil action prior to the filing of the
criminal case.
57

There is identity of parties. Petitioner, Antonio Garcia, and respondent, Ferro Chemicals, Inc., are
both parties in the appeal filed before the Court of Appeals and the petition for certiorari before this
court.
There is identity of the rights asserted and reliefs prayed for in both actions. At a glance, it may
appear that Ferro Chemicals, Inc. asserted different rights: The appeal before the Court of Appeals is
purely on the civil aspect of the trial courts decision while the petition for certiorari before this court is
allegedly only onthe criminal aspect of the case. However, the civil liability asserted by Ferro
Chemicals, Inc. before the Court of Appeals arose from the criminal act. It is in the nature of civil
liability ex delicto. Ferro Chemicals, Inc. did not reserve the right to institute the civil action for the
recovery of civil liability ex delictoor institute a separate civil action prior to the filing of the criminal
case. Thus, it is an adjunct of the criminalaspect of the case. As held in Lim v. Kou Co Ping:
58

59

1wphi1

The civil liability arising from the offense or ex delictois based on the acts or omissions that
constitute the criminal offense; hence, its trial is inherently intertwined with the criminal action.For
this reason, the civil liability ex delictois impliedly instituted with the criminal offense. If the action for
the civil liability ex delictois instituted prior to or subsequent to the filing of the criminal action, its
proceedings are suspended until the final outcome of the criminal action. The civil liability based on
delict is extinguished when the court hearing the criminal action declares that the act or omission
from which the civil liability may arise did not exist." (Emphasis supplied, citations omitted).
60

When the trial courts decision was appealed as to its criminal aspect in the petition for certiorari
before thiscourt, the civil aspect thereof is deemed included in the appeal. Thus, the relief prayed for
by Ferro Chemicals, Inc., that is, recovery of civil liability ex delicto, is asserted in both actions before
this court and the Court of Appeals.
Even the allegations in the notice of appeal readily show that Ferro Chemicals, Inc. committedforum
shopping, to wit:
5. This notice of appeal is without prejudice to the filing of an appropriate petition for certiorari under
Rule 65 of the Rules of Court on the criminal aspect, upon the giving of due course thereto, private
complainant shall endeavor to seek the consolidation of this appeal with the said petition.
61

As to the third requisite, on the assumption that the trial court had jurisdiction over the case, this
courts decision in G.R. No. 130880 affirming the trial courts decision acquitting the accused for lack
of an essential element of the crime charged amounts to res judicatato assert the recovery of civil
liability arising from the offense. This courts resolution dismissing the petition for certiorari filed by
Ferro Chemicals, Inc. states:
In any event, petitioners failed to sufficiently show that any grave abuse of discretion was committed
by the Regional Trial Court in rendering the challenged decision and order which, on the contrary,
appear to be in accord with the facts and the applicable law and jurisprudence.
62

Litigants cannot avail themselves of two separate remedies for the same relief in the hope that in
one forum, the relief prayed for will be granted. This is the evil sought tobe averted by the doctrine of
non-forum shopping, and this is the problem that has happened in this case. This court denied the
petition for certiorari filed byFerro Chemicals, Inc. resulting in finality of the trial courts decision. The
decision found Antonio Garcia not guilty of the offense charged, and no civil liability was awarded to
Ferro Chemicals, Inc. However, at present,there is a conflicting decision from the Court of Appeals
awarding Ferro Chemicals, Inc. civil indemnity arising from the offense charged.
1awp++i1

When the civil action for the recovery of civil liability ex delicto is instituted with the criminal action,
whether by choice of private complainant (i.e., no reservation is made or no prior filing of a separate
civil action) or as required by the law or rules, the case will be prosecuted under the direction and
control of the public prosecutor. The civil action cannot proceed independently of the criminal case.
This includes subsequent proceedings on the criminal action such as an appeal. In any case, Ferro
Chemicals, Inc. joined the public prosecutor in filing the petition for certiorari before this court.
Ramon Garcia, President of Ferro Chemicals, Inc., signed the verification and certification of nonforum shopping of the petition for certiorari.
63

64

We must clarify, however, that private complainants in criminal cases are not precluded from filing a
motion for reconsideration and subsequently an appeal on the civil aspect of a decision acquitting
the accused. An exception to the rule that only the Solicitor General can bring actions in criminal
proceedings before the Court of Appeals or this court is "when the private offended party questions
the civil aspect of a decision of a lower court." As discussed in Mobilia Products, Inc. v. Hajime
Umezawa:
65

66

In a criminal case in which the offended party is the State, the interest of the private complainant or
the offended party is limited to the civil liability arising there from. Hence, if a criminal case is
dismissed by the trial court or if there is an acquittal, a reconsideration of the order of dismissal or

acquittal may be undertaken, whenever legally feasible, insofar as the criminal aspect there of is
concerned and may be made only by the public prosecutor; or in the case of an appeal, by the State
only, through the OSG. The private complainant or offended party may not undertake such motion
for reconsideration or appeal on the criminal aspect of the case.However, the offended party or
private complainant may file a motion for reconsideration of such dismissal or acquittal or appeal
therefrom but only insofar as the civil aspect thereof is concerned. In so doing, the private
complainant or offended party need not secure the conformity of the public prosecutor. If the court
denies his motion for reconsideration, the private complainant or offended party may appeal or file a
petition for certiorarior mandamus,if grave abuse amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction is shown
and the aggrieved party has no right of appeal or given an adequate remedy in the ordinary course
of law. (Citations omitted)
67

This is in consonance with the doctrine that:


[T]he extinction of the penal action does not necessarily carry with it the extinction ofthe civil action,
whether the latter is instituted with or separately from the criminal action. The offended party may still
claim civil liability ex delictoif there is a finding in the final judgment in the criminal action that the act
or omission from which the liability may arise exists. Jurisprudence has enumerated three instances
when, notwithstanding the accuseds acquittal, the offended party may still claim civil liability ex
delicto: (a) if the acquittal is based on reasonable doubt as only preponderance of evidence is
required; (b) if the court declared that the liability of the accused is only civil;and (c) if the civil liability
of the accused does not arise from or is not based upon the crime of which the accused is
acquitted.
68

However, if the state pursues an appeal on the criminal aspect of a decision of the trial court
acquitting the accused and private complainant/s failed to reserve the right to institute a separate
civil action,the civil liability ex delictothat is inherently attached to the offense is likewise appealed.
The appeal of the civil liability ex delictois impliedly instituted with the petition for certiorari assailing
the acquittal of the accused. Private complainant cannot anymore pursue a separate appeal from
that of the state without violating the doctrine of non-forum shopping.
On the other hand, the conclusion isdifferent if private complainant reserved the right to institute the
civil action for the recovery of civil liability ex delicto before the Regional Trial Court orinstitute a
separate civil action prior to the filing of the criminal case in accordance with Rule 111 of the Rules of
Court. In these situations, the filing of an appealas to the civil aspect of the case cannot be
considered as forum shopping. This is not the situation here.
1wphi1

We see no more reason to discuss the issues presented by the parties in light of the foregoing
discussion.
Entry of judgment having been made on the resolution of the court in G.R. No. 130880 involving the
same parties and issues and by virtue of the doctrine of finality of judgment, we reiterate the
resolution of this court.
WHEREFORE, the resolution in G.R. No. 130880 is reiterated. We grant the petition insofar as it
prays for the setting aside of the Court of Appeals' decision d~ted August 11, 2005 and resolution
dated April 27, 2006 as a final decision over the assailed Regional Trial Court decision that was
rendered on November 16, 1998 in G.R. No. 130880.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 145823. March 31, 2005
OSCAR MACCAY and ADELAIDA POTENCIANO, Petitioners,
vs.
SPOUSES PRUDENCIO NOBELA and SERLINA NOBELA, Respondents.
DECISION
CARPIO, J.:
The Case
This petition for review1 seeks to reverse the Court of Appeals Decision dated 25 September 2000
and its Resolution dated 7 November 2000 in CA-G.R. CV No. 49822. The Court of Appeals affirmed
the Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Pasig, Branch 70 ("trial court"), dated 26 January 1995,
dismissing the case for Estafa through Falsification of Public Documents filed by petitioner Oscar
Maccay ("Maccay") against respondent spouses Prudencio Nobela ("Prudencio") and Serlina Nobela
("Serlina") in Criminal Case No. 85961.
Antecedent Facts
The facts, as found by the trial court and affirmed by the appellate court, are as follows:
In the first week of May, 1990, Adelaida E. Potenciano went to the public market of Pasig, Metro
Manila, to look for a prospective buyer or mortgagee of a parcel of land belonging to Oscar Maccay.
She was introduced by a vendor, Lydia Reyes, to the spouses Prudencio and Serlina Nobela who
were engaged in lending money to market vendors on a daily basis.
Potenciano introduced herself as Angelita N. Barba, wife of Oscar Maccay, who desired to sell or
mortgage any of his two parcels of land, one in Guadalupe and one in Antipolo. She went to the
Nobelas at 145 Buayang Bato at Mandaluyong, Metro Manila. She brought with her many titles. She
became friendly with the spouses. Potenciano went on to brag about her connections, that she is
related to the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos; and that the PCGG is after her so she has to
dispose of her properties.
After two (2) days, she called Oscar Maccay, who came. They comported themselves as husband
and wife. Maccay was in uniform. He is a police colonel who had jurisdiction over Mandaluyong,
according to Potenciano. The Nobelas were impressed. They were pleased when the couple
became very close to them. They confided their family problems. They even went to the office of
Maccay in Fort Bonifacio.
In this setting, the relationship flourished. Potenciano persuaded the spouses that they should be the
ones to buy the property because it will only cost P300,000.00. They would be able to make a profit
because the current price was P1,500.00 per square meter.

Potenciano used to call Maccay to join her in the Nobela residence. They partook of the hospitality of
the accused spouses almost two to three times a week. Potenciano was treated like a queen. She
was fanned and massaged. She was served her meals in the sala.
After pooling together their savings, the Nobelas decided to purchase the property. They advised
Maccay and Potenciano that they were ready to buy the property.
On May 17, 1990, Potenciano with Serlina went to Barbas lawyer, Atty. Alfonso Jimenez, at Las
Pias where she had the Deed of Sale (Exh. "1") prepared and notarized. She signed it there. They
were riding in the jeep of the Nobelas and passed by the office of Maccay ar (sic) Fort Bonifacio.
Potenciano went alone to his office and returned with him. They then proceeded to the house of both
accused at Buayang Bato, Mandaluyong. Serlina paid the P300,000.00 to the couple and in turn she
was given the Deed of Sale, TCT No. 473584, the tax declaration, the tax receipt and other
documents. When she offered to take them, they declined saying they were going home to their
Magallanes house.
Maccay and Potenciano continued to frequent the house of the accused spouses where they were
given VIP treatment. Potenciano slept, bathed and was allowed to use the phone for her
transactions and to drive the couples jeep.
xxx
On June 19, 1990, the taxes to the purchased property had to be paid. The title had not been
transferred to the names of the Nobelas. Serlina and Potenciano with the latter driving, rode the
Nobela jeep to Antipolo. On the way to town, the jeep broke down. The engine fell off. Potenciano
volunteered to go to Antipolo herself, pay the taxes and bring a mechanic to repair the jeep. The
taxes had been paid.
The good relationship continued until June 30, 1990, Prudencio Nobela suffered a stroke. He was
brought to the Polymedic Hospital. That same afternoon, Potenciano called and talked to
Prudencios doctor. She had Prudencio transferred to a suite and confided to Serlina that she is also
known as Adelaida Potenciano; that the owners of the hospital are her mother and father. Serlina
need not worry about the bill. Potenciano started sleeping in the hospital.
After one week, Prudencio was to be discharged, Potenciano went to the accounting department.
She tried to pay with her dollars and yens but the hospital would not accept. She asked Serlina to go
with her to a money changer at Kalentong to change the money to pesos but the foreign exchange
dealer refused saying the foreign currency was fake.
Serlina had to go back to the house to borrow from the son of her husband by his first marriage.
Maccay drove the sick man and two women home in the Nobela jeep.
At this time, the trust and confidence on the Maccay couple by the Nobelas was beginning to slip off.
The Polymedic Hospital incident was a letdown. It was then that Potenciano, who has boasted of
being not only wealthy but also influential, invited Serlina to engage in the buy and sell of appliances
which she claimed were brought by her nephew from Japan. To Serlinas dismay, she was only
brought to a store in the pier where she had to pay for the appliances herself. She had receipts from
De Lara Merchandising (Exhs. "15" to "15-C") showing her payments. The last receipt is dated July

29, 1990. Serlina brought the appliances home. Naturally, when Potenciano saw Serlina selling the
appliances herself, her pretensions having been exposed, the relationship began to sour.
Before the last purchase of appliances, without the knowledge of the accused couple, Potenciano
executed an Affidavit of Loss (Exh. "3-B"). She related that when she went to Antipolo on June 19,
1990 in her stainless steel jeep, the jeep broke down. She got a mechanic and when she returned
the jeep was gone or carnapped.
In the meantime, Serlina was beginning to doubt Potenciano. She heard that Potenciano was trying
to sell their jeep. She inquired at the NBI and was told that Potenciano had a string of cases against
her.
On July 30, 1993, Potenciano went to the Eastern Police District Headquarters and executed an
affidavit-complaint (Exh. 4) against the accused spouses before P/Lt. Col. Nestor E. Cruz relating
that she was fooled by Prudencio and Serlina Nobela on July 14, 1990. She related how the
accused spouses cheated her by stealing TCT No. 473584 and her appliances. Her affidavit related
how she was prayed over and mesmerized by Serlina. She stated that ginawa panloloko sa akin at
pagnanakaw ng Transfer Certificate of [T]itle (par. 12, p. 1, Exh. 4) and the TCT ho ay maaring
nawala noong pecha 25 ng Hunyo, 1990 natuklasan ko nawala ito noong 27 ng Hunyo, nang itong
nasabing TCT, ay aking ipa-seserox (par. 16, p. 1. Exh. 4).
xxx
In the meantime, Prudencio and Serlina, who had not been able to register the sale to them because
of the ailment of Prudencio asked a real estate agent, Anita de la Vega, to help them in the
registration of Deed of Sale (Exh. 1, Exh. B.). They knew de la Vega as she used to frequent a real
estate agent living in their place. When they were told that for the P300,000.00 consideration, they
would need around P20,000.00 to include capital gains taxes, she gave P21,000.00. The mother of
de la Vega was supposed to know many people in the Register of Deeds. The new title (Exh. "C")
was delivered on August 10, 1990 to Serlina. She had to give an additional "2,000.00 to de la Vega
for other expenses.
Prudencio and Serlina Nobela were surprised to receive an invitation from Col. Nestor E. Cruz (Exh.
"5") on August 17, 1990, to go to his office regarding the complaint of Potenciano for Estafa and
Theft.
When they went to Col. Cruz nothing happened but they were shocked to receive a subpoena from
the Fiscals Office. Maccay was not there and Prudencio was quite sick.
Serlina went to the Register of Deeds of Marikina to find out why they were accused and she was
astonished to discover (Exh. "6") as the Deed of Sale registered by de la Vega under the name of
Linda Cruz. She also found the payments of the capital gains tax as only P1,000.00 plus. Then she
realized the reason for the alleged falsification charge of Potenciano alias Angelita Barba and Oscar
Maccay. The deed of sale given to them (Exh. "1") for P300,000.00 which they paid the Maccays
was not the one registered but one which obviously was forged by de la Vega and her mother
Juanita Magcaling in order to make more money from the registration transaction. They filed a
complaint against de la Vega and Juanita Magcaling which is still pending in court at Judge Alfredo
Flores sala.2

Petitioner Maccay filed the criminal complaint against respondent spouses for Estafa through
Falsification of Public Document before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Rizal. The
Provincial Prosecutor of Rizal filed the Information for Estafa with the Regional Trial Court, Pasig,
Branch 70, docketed as Criminal Case No. 85961.
After trial, the trial court found respondent spouses innocent and ordered petitioners to reimburse
respondent spouses P300,000 and to pay damages and attorneys fees. Petitioners appealed the
civil aspect of the case to the Court of Appeals. The appellate court denied petitioners appeal and
affirmed the trial courts Decision. The appellate court also denied petitioners Motion for
Reconsideration.
Hence, this petition.
The Rulings of the Trial and Appellate Courts
The trial court acquitted respondent spouses and found that petitioners swindled respondent
spouses. The trial court declared that petitioner Maccay filed the Estafa charge against respondent
spouses to turn the tables on respondent spouses, the victims of the swindling. The trial court
ordered petitioners to pay respondent spousesP390,000 as damages, to wit:
In view of the foregoing, this court finds that the prosecution has not proven the Accused Prudencio
Nobela and Serlina Nobela guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged and hereby acquits
them. The complainants Oscar Maccay and Adelaida E. Potenciano are hereby ordered to reimburse
Prudencio Nobela and Serlina Nobela the amount of Three Hundred Thousand Pesos (P300,000.00)
paid to them by the accused spouses in the sale of the litigated property. Further the complainants
Oscar Maccay and Adelaida Potenciano are hereby ordered to pay P50,000.00 to Prudencio Nobela
and Serlina Nobela as moral damages and P40,000.00 as attorneys fees.
SO ORDERED.3
The Court of Appeals upheld the ruling of the trial court. The appellate court reasoned that the award
of damages was justified because it was "in the nature of a counterclaim and as the very defense put
up by the accused [respondents] in the criminal proceedings x x x." 4
The Issues
Petitioners seek a reversal and raise the following issues for resolution:
1. WHETHER THE TRIAL COURT MAY RULE ON THE CIVIL LIABILITY OF COMPLAINANT IN A
CRIMINAL CASE WHERE THE CIVIL ACTION WAS NOT RESERVED OR FILED SEPARATELY;
2. WHETHER A WITNESS, WHO IS NOT A PARTY TO THE CASE, MAY BE HELD LIABLE FOR
DAMAGES.
The third issue raised by the petitioners, assailing the appellate courts affirmation of the trial courts
factual findings, deserves no consideration. A Rule 45 petition is limited to questions of law.5 Findings
of fact are not reviewable, except in clearly meritorious instances.6 This Court is not a trier of facts.

The Ruling of the Court


We grant the petition.
A court trying a criminal case cannot award damages in favor of the accused. The task of the trial
court is limited to determining the guilt of the accused and if proper, to determine his civil liability. A
criminal case is not the proper proceedings to determine the private complainants civil liability, if any.
The trial court erred in ordering complainant petitioner Maccay and prosecution witness Potenciano,
as part of the judgment in the criminal case, to reimburse the P300,000 and pay damages to the
accused respondent spouses. This Court ruled in Cabaero v. Hon. Cantos7 that a court trying a
criminal case should limit itself to the criminal and civil liability of the accused, thus:
[Thus,] the trial court should confine itself to the criminal aspect and the possible civil liability of the
accused arising out of the crime. The counterclaim (and cross-claim or third-party complaint, if any)
should be set aside or refused cognizance without prejudice to their filing in separate proceedings at
the proper time.
The Court recently reiterated this ruling in Casupanan v. Laroya8 and Republic v. Court of
Appeals.9
The appellate court erred in affirming the trial courts award of damages by justifying it as a
counterclaim. Nothing in the records shows that respondent spouses filed or attempted to file a
counterclaim. The 2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure prohibit counterclaims in criminal cases.
Section 1 of Rule 111 provides:
SECTION 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions.
(a) x x x
No counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint may be filed by the accused in the criminal
case, but any cause of action which could have been the subject thereof may be litigated in a
separate civil action.
This paragraph addresses the lacuna mentioned in Cabaero on the "absence of clear-cut rules
governing the prosecution of impliedly instituted civil action and the necessary consequences and
implications thereof." In the present case, the civil liability of petitioners for swindling respondent
spouses and for maliciously filing a baseless suit must be litigated in a separate proceeding.
The trial court also erred in holding prosecution witness petitioner Potenciano, together with
complainant petitioner Maccay, liable for damages to respondent spouses. A judgment cannot bind
persons who are not parties to the action.10 A decision of a court cannot operate to divest the rights
of a person who is not a party to the case.11 The records clearly show that petitioner Potenciano is
not a party to this case. The Information filed by the prosecutor had only petitioner Maccay as its
complainant.12 The Verification attached to the Information had only petitioner Maccay signing as
complainant. Nothing in the records shows that petitioner Potenciano played a role other than being
a witness for the prosecution. To rule otherwise would violate petitioner Potencianos constitutional
right to due process.

Petitioners admit that title to the lot is now in the name of respondent spouses. Petitioners admit the
validity of the cancellation of TCT No. 473584 and the issuance of TCT No. 188289 in favor of
respondent spouses. Petitioners argue that since respondent spouses already acquired the lot in
exchange for P300,000, there is no basis for the order requiring petitioners to reimburse respondent
spouses the P300,000.13
However, petitioners also argue that respondent spouses acquired their title through fraud.
Petitioners must decide which version they want to advance. Petitioners cannot argue that the title of
respondent spouses is valid to avoid reimbursing respondent spouses, at the same time claim that
respondent spouses acquired their title through fraud to turn the tables on respondent spouses who
might sue petitioners for swindling. Petitioners inconsistent arguments reveal their dishonesty even
to the courts. Petitioners should not forget that the trial and appellate courts found that petitioners
perpetrated a vicious scam on respondent spouses who are clearly the hapless victims here.
Respondent spouses have suffered enough. Respondent Prudencio died while trying to defend their
property. Respondent Serlina is ailing and suffering from severe complications due to the strain of
litigation. While this Court is constrained to grant the instant petition due to the trial courts
procedural error, we stress that the trial court adjudicated correctly the substantive matter of the
case. Petitioners unconscionably used their intelligence and position to swindle the respondent
spouses of their life savings, abusing their hospitality and kindness in the process. Petitioners have
the temerity to turn the tables on the poor couple by abusing the legal processes. This Court will not
allow the legal processes to serve as tool for swindlers. We promulgate this Decision without
prejudice to the filing by respondent Serlina of a claim for damages against petitioners.
WHEREFORE, we GRANT the instant petition. The Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Pasig,
Branch 70 dated 26 January 1995 in Criminal Case No. 85961 is AFFIRMED with the following
MODIFICATIONS:
1. The order to reimburse the P300,000 to respondent spouses Prudencio and Serlina Nobela is
deleted;
2. The award of P50,000 as moral damages and the award of P40,000 as attorneys fees are
likewise deleted.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 116463

June 10, 2003

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES thru the DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS and HIGHWAYS
(DPWH),Petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, HON. AMANDA VALERA-CABIGAO in her capacity as Presiding Judge
of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 73, Malabon, Metro Manila, and NAVOTAS INDUSTRIAL
CORPORATION,Respondents.
DECISION
CARPIO, J.:

The Case
Before this Court is a Petition for Review of the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals dated 18 July
1994, in CA-G.R. CV No. 33094.2 The Court of Appeals affirmed the Order of the Regional Trial
Court of Malabon ("Malabon trial court") which denied the motion of petitioner to consolidate Civil
Case No. 1153-MN pending before it with Criminal Cases Nos. 16889-16900 filed with the
Sandiganbayan. This petition seeks to restrain permanently the Malabon trial court from further
hearing Civil Case No. 1153-MN and to dismiss the case.
The Antecedent Facts
Private respondent Navotas Industrial Corporation ("NIC") is a corporation engaged in dredging
operations throughout the Philippines. On 27 November 1985, then Public Works and Highways
Minister Jesus Hipolito requested former President Ferdinand E. Marcos to release P800 million to
finance the immediate implementation of dredging, flood control and related projects in Metro
Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga and Leyte. Of the total funds approved for release, P615 million went to
the National Capital Region of the Ministry3 of Public Works and Highways ("DPWH").
The DPWH allocated the P615 million to several projects covered by twenty-one contracts. The
DPWH awarded one of the contractors, NIC, P194,454,000.00 worth of dredging work in four
contracts for completion within 350 calendar days.
NIC alleges that the dredging work proceeded pursuant to specific work schedules and plan
approved by DPWH. NIC contends that it accomplished 95.06 percent of the required total volume of
work or P184,847,970.00 worth of services based on an alleged evaluation by DPWH. However, NIC
maintains that DPWH paid only 79.22 percent of the accomplished work, leaving a balance
of P30,799,676.00.
On 20 September 1988, NIC filed a complaint for sum of money with the Malabon trial court against
the Republic of the Philippines, thru the DPWH. The case, docketed as Civil Case No. 1153-MN,
was raffled to Branch 73 of the court, presided by Judge Amanda Valera-Cabigao.
In its Answer, petitioner contends that NIC is not entitled to the amount claimed. Soon after the
February 1986 Revolution, DPWH created a fact-finding committee to audit the flood control projects
in the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Pampanga and Leyte. Then DPWH Minister Rogaciano
Mercado, who replaced Minister Jesus Hipolito, ordered the suspension of all projects funded by
special budget released or issued before the snap elections on February 1986, pending inventory
and evaluation of these projects.
Petitioner contends that upon verification and investigation, the DPWH fact-finding committee
discovered that the dredging contracts of NIC with DPWH were null and void. Petitioner claims that
NIC worked on the project five or six months before the award of the dredging contracts to NIC. The
contracts of NIC were awarded without any public bidding. Moreover, DPWH discovered that NIC,
through its corporate officers, connived with some DPWH officials in falsifying certain public
documents to make it appear that NIC had completed a major portion of the project, when no
dredging work was actually performed. The scheme enabled NIC to collect from
DPWHP146,962,072.47 as payment for work allegedly accomplished. Petitioner thus filed a
counterclaim for the return of the P146,962,072.47 plus interest and exemplary damages of P100
million.

On 14 July 1986, the DPWH fact-finding committee filed with the Office of the Tanodbayan 4 a case
for estafa thru falsification of public documents and for violation of Republic Act No. 3019 against
former Minister Hipolito. Other DPWH officials5 involved in awarding the dredging contracts to NIC,
as well as Cipriano Bautista,6 president of NIC, were also named respondents. The charges 7 were for
four counts corresponding to the four contracts that DPWH entered into with NIC. The case was
docketed as TBP Case No. 86-01163.
However, it was only on 17 June 1991 that former Ombudsman Conrado Vasquez approved the
resolution of the Office of the Special Prosecutor finding probable cause for estafa thru falsification of
public documents and for violation of Section 3 (e) and (g) 8 of RA No. 3019. Subsequently, the
Ombudsman filed the corresponding Informations with the First Division of the Sandiganbayan
against all the respondents in TBP Case No. 86-01163. The cases were docketed as Criminal Cases
Nos. 16889-16900.
On 14 April 1993, petitioner filed before the Malabon trial court a Motion to Consolidate Civil Case
No. 1153-MN with Criminal Cases Nos. 16889-16900 in the Sandiganbayan. Petitioner argued that
the civil case for collection and the criminal cases arose from the same incidents and involve the
same facts. Thus, these cases should be consolidated as mandated by Section 4(b) of Presidential
Decree No. 1606, as amended.
On 18 June 1993, the Malabon trial court issued a Resolution denying petitioners Motion for
Consolidation. Thereafter, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration which the Malabon trial court
denied on 7 November 1993.
On 19 January 1994, petitioner filed a Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus with the
Court of Appeals docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 33094. In a Decision dated 18 July 1994, the Court of
Appeals dismissed the petition. On 12 September 1994, petitioner filed with the Court this petition for
review.
On 26 September 1994, the Court resolved to issue the temporary restraining order prayed for by
petitioner. Consequently, the Malabon trial court desisted from hearing further Civil Case No. 1153MN.
The Ruling of the Court of Appeals
In dismissing the petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus filed by petitioner, the Court of
Appeals ruled as follows:
It is clear that in the same manner that the RTC would have no jurisdiction relative to violations of
Republic Act Nos. 3019, as amended, and 1379, neither could the Sandiganbayan acquire
jurisdiction over collection of sum of money, the latter not involving recovery of civil liability arising
from the offense charged. More specifically, the said Sandiganbayan would have no power
whatsoever to order the defendant in the civil case (the Republic of the Philippines thru the DPWH)
to pay the private respondent the amount of P30,799,676.00 claimed by the latter. One of the
averred purposes then of consolidation (to avoid multiplicity of suits) could not be realized. A civil
action would still have to be instituted by the private respondent to recover the amount allegedly due.
The Issues

I.
WHETHER THE PETITION WAS FILED ON TIME.
II.
WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT ORDERING THE CONSOLIDATION OF
CIVIL CASE NO. 1153-MN WITH CRIMINAL CASES NOS. 16889-16900 WITH THE
SANDIGANBAYAN AS REQUIRED BY SECTION 4(B) OF P.D. 1606. 9
The Ruling of the Court
The petition is devoid of merit.
First Issue: Timeliness of the filing of the petition
We first resolve a minor issue raised by NIC regarding the timeliness of the filing of this petition.
In its Comment, NIC seeks the dismissal of the petition on the ground that it was not served on time.
Petitioner admittedly filed two motions for extension of time, each for fifteen days. The last day for
filing the second motion for extension was on 11 September 1994. NIC, however, asserts that a copy
of the petition was sent by registered mail to its counsel only on 12 September 1994 or a day after
the last day for filing.
NIC, believing that this petition was filed out of time, now asks the Court to consider the instant
petition as not having been filed, making the Resolution of the Court of Appeals final and executory.
We do not agree.
NIC harps on the fact that the petition was sent by registered mail only on 12 September 1994, when
the last day for filing was on 11 September 1994. NIC, however, overlooked one significant fact. The
last day for filing, 11 September 1994, fell on a Sunday.
Based on Section 1,10 Rule 22 of the Rules of Court, and as applied in several cases, 11 "where the
last day for doing any act required or permitted by law falls on a Saturday, a Sunday, or a legal
holiday in the place where the court sits, the time shall not run until the next working day." Thus,
petitioner filed on time its petition on 12 September 1994, the next working day, following the last day
for filing which fell on a Sunday.
Second Issue: Consolidation of the Cases
The main issue before us is whether Civil Case No. 1153-MN pending with the Malabon trial court
should be consolidated with Criminal Cases Nos. 16889-16900 filed with the Sandiganbayan.
Petitioner argues that the civil case for collection of sum of money and the criminal cases for estafa
thru falsification of public documents and for violation of RA No. 3019 arose from the same
transaction and involve similar questions of fact and law. Petitioner claims that all these cases
pertain to only one issue, that is, whether NIC performed dredging work. Petitioner argues that a

determination in the civil case that NIC performed dredging work will entitle NIC to the balance of the
contract price. Similarly, petitioner claims that the criminal cases also involve the same issue since
petitioner charges that the accused connived in falsifying documents and in fraudulently collecting
payments for non-existing dredging work. In sum, petitioner asserts that since the issues in all these
cases are the same, the parties will have to present the same evidence. Therefore, the consolidation
of these cases is in order.
We do not agree.
Consolidation is a matter of discretion with the court. Consolidation becomes a matter of right only
when the cases sought to be consolidated involve similar questions of fact and law, provided certain
requirements are met. The purpose of consolidation is to avoid multiplicity of suits, prevent delay,
clear congested dockets, simplify the work of the trial court, and save unnecessary expense. 12
We cannot order the consolidation of the civil case for collection with the criminal cases for two
reasons. First, the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over the collection case. Second, the Rules of
Court do not allow the filing of a counterclaim or a third-party complaint in a criminal case.
First, the Sandiganbayan was created as a special court to hear graft cases against government
officials of a particular salary grade for violations of specific laws. 13 Presidential Decree No.
1606,14 as amended by Republic
Act No. 8249,15 outlines the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction as follows:
Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases
involving:
A. 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, Book II of
the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the accused are officials occupying the
following positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at
the time of the commission of the offense:
(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher,
otherwise classified as Grade '27' and higher, of the Compensation and Position
Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including:
xxx
B. Other offenses or felonies whether simple or complexed with other crimes committed by
the public officials and employees mentioned in subsection a of this section in relation to
their office.
C. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos. 1,
2, 14 and 14-A, issued in 1986.
In cases where none of the accused are occupying positions corresponding to Salary Grade '27' or
higher, as prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or military and PNP officers mentioned

above, exclusive original jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper regional trial court,
metropolitan trial court, municipal trial court, and municipal circuit trial court, as the case may be,
pursuant to their respective jurisdictions as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended.
The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction over final judgments, resolutions
or order of regional trial courts whether in the exercise of their own original jurisdiction or of their
appellate jurisdiction as herein provided.
xxx
In case private individuals are charged as co-principals, accomplices or accessories with the public
officers or employees, including those employed in government-owned or controlled corporations,
they shall be tried jointly with said public officers and employees in the proper courts which shall
exercise exclusive jurisdiction over them.
x x x.
The law does not include civil cases for collection of sum of money among the cases falling under
the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. If we consolidate the collection case in the Malabon trial court
with the criminal cases, the Sandiganbayan will have no jurisdiction to hear and decide the collection
case. Even if NIC proves it is entitled to payment, the Sandiganbayan will have no jurisdiction to
award any money judgment to NIC. NIC will still have to file a separate case in the regular court for
the collection of its claim. Thus, the avowed purpose of consolidation which is to avoid multiplicity of
suits will not be achieved.
Petitioner invokes Naguiat v. Intermediate Appellate Court16 in claiming that a civil action not
arising from the offense charged may be consolidated with the criminal action.
Indeed, Naguiat allowed the consolidation of the criminal case with a civil case arising ex contractu.
In consolidating the two cases, Naguiat relied on Canos v. Peralta17 where the Court consolidated a
civil action for the recovery of wage differential with a criminal action for violation of the Minimum
Wage Law. Canos, however, made an important qualification before a court may order the
consolidation of cases. Canos held that:
A court may order several actions pending before it to be tried together where they arise from the
same act, event or transaction, involve the same or like issues, and depend largely or substantially
on the same evidence,provided that the court has jurisdiction over the cases to be
consolidated x x x. (Emphasis supplied)
Thus, an essential requisite of consolidation is that the court must have jurisdiction over all the cases
consolidated before it. Since the Sandiganbayan does not have jurisdiction over the collection case,
the same cannot be consolidated with the criminal cases even if these cases involve similar
questions of fact and law. Obviously, consolidation of the collection case with the criminal cases will
be a useless and empty formality since the Sandiganbayan, being devoid of jurisdiction over the
collection case, cannot act on it.
Second, we cannot order the consolidation of the civil action filed by NIC with the criminal cases in
the Sandiganbayan because the civil case amounts to a counterclaim or a third-party complaint in a
criminal case. While NIC, as a corporate entity, is not an accused in the criminal cases, a
consolidation of NICs collection case with the criminal cases will have the same effect of a

counterclaim or a third-party complaint against petitioner and DPWH. In such case, the rule against
counterclaims and third-party complaints in criminal cases may be applied by analogy.
Section 1, Rule 111 of the 2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure expressly requires the accused to
litigate his counterclaim separately from the criminal action.
SECTION 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions.(a) xxx
No counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint may be filed by the accused in the
criminal case, but any cause of action which could have been the subject thereof may be
litigated in a separate civil action. (Emphasis supplied)
This paragraph was incorporated in the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure to address the lacuna
mentioned inCabaero v. Cantos18 where the Court noted the "absence of clear-cut rules governing
the prosecution of impliedly instituted civil action and the necessary consequences and implications
thereof."19 In the same vein, the Court in Cabaero clarified that:
[T]he counterclaim of the accused cannot be tried together with the criminal case because, as
already discussed, it will unnecessarily complicate and confuse the criminal proceedings. Thus, the
trial court should confine itself to the criminal aspect and the possible civil liability of the accused
arising out of the crime. The counterclaim (and cross-claim or third party complaint, if any) should be
set aside or refused cognizance without prejudice to their filing in separate proceedings at the proper
time.
Thus, a counterclaim in a criminal case must be litigated separately to avoid complication and
confusion in the resolution of the criminal cases. This is the rationale behind Section 1 of Rule
111. The same rationale applies to NICs collection case against petitioner and DPWH. Thus, NICs
collection case must be litigated separately before the Malabon trial court to avoid confusion in
resolving the criminal cases with the Sandiganbayan.
1wphi1

Petitioner lodged its own counterclaim to the collection case filed with the Malabon trial court,
praying for the return of the payment DPWH made to NIC arising from the dredging contracts.
However, petitioners counterclaim is deemed abandoned by virtue of Section 4 of PD No. 1606, as
amended.20 The last paragraph of Section 4 of PD No. 1606, as amended, provides that:
Any provision of law or Rules of Court to the contrary notwithstanding, the criminal action and the
corresponding civil action for the recovery of civil liability shall at all times be simultaneously
instituted with, and jointly determined in, the same proceeding by the Sandiganbayan or the
appropriate courts, the filing of the criminal action being deemed to necessarily carry with it the filing
of the civil action, and no right to reserve the filing of such civil action separately from the criminal
action shall be recognized: Provided, however, That where the civil action had heretofore been
filed separately but judgment therein has not yet been rendered, and the criminal case is
hereafter filed with the Sandiganbayan or the appropriate court, said civil action shall be
transferred to the Sandiganbayan or the appropriate court, as the case may be, for
consolidation and joint determination with the criminal action, otherwise the separate civil
action shall be deemed abandoned. (Emphasis supplied)

Petitioners counterclaim in the civil case pending with the Malabon trial court for the return of the
amount DPWH paid NIC is an action to recover civil liability ex delicto. However, this action to
recover civil liability ex delicto is by operation of law included in the criminal cases filed with the
Sandiganbayan. By mandate of RA No. 8249, the counterclaim filed earlier in the separate civil
action with the Malabon trial court "shall be deemed abandoned."
The only question left is whether NICs civil case before the Malabon trial court for collection of sum
of money can proceed independently of the criminal cases filed with the Sandiganbayan. NICs
collection case for unpaid services from its dredging contracts with DPWH obviously does not fall
under Articles 32, 33 or 34 (on Human Relations) of the Civil Code. Neither does it fall under Article
2176 (on quasi-delict) of the Civil Code. Under Section 3 of Rule 111, civil actions falling under
Articles 32, 33, 34 or 2176 may proceed independently and separately from the criminal case.
However, NIC cannot invoke any of these articles.
The only other possibility is for NICs civil action to fall under Article 31 of the Civil Code which
provides:
Art. 31. When the civil action is based on an obligation not arising from the act or omission
complained of as a felony, such civil action may proceed independently of the criminal proceedings
and regardless of the result of the latter.
An example of a case falling under Article 31 is a civil action to recover the proceeds of sale of
goods covered by a trust receipt. Such civil action can proceed independently of the criminal action
for violation of the trust receipt law.21 In such a case, the validity of the contract, on which the civil
action is based, is not at issue. What is at issue is the violation of an obligation arising from a valid
contract - the trust receipt.
However, when the civil action is based on a purported contract that is assailed as illegal per se, as
when the execution of the contract is alleged to violate the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,
Article 31 does not apply. In such a situation, the contract if proven illegal cannot create any valid
obligation that can be the basis of a cause of action in a civil case. Under Article 1409 22 of the Civil
Code, a contract "whose cause, object or purpose is contrary to law," or a contract that is "expressly
prohibited or declared void by law," is void from the very beginning. No party to such void contract
can claim any right under such contract or enforce any of its provisions.
Under Section 3 (g) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, entering into a contract that is
manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government is "declared to be unlawful." If the act of
entering into the contract is assailed as a crime in itself, then the issue of whether the contract is
illegal must first be resolved before any civil action based on the contract can proceed. Only the
Sandiganbayan has the jurisdiction to decide whether the act of entering into such contract is a
crime, where the salary grade of one of the accused is grade 27 or higher,23 as in Criminal Cases
Nos. 16889-16900 filed with the Sandiganbayan.
1wphi1

Article 31 speaks of a civil action "based on an obligation not arising from the act x x x complained of
as a felony."This clearly means that the obligation must arise from an act not constituting a
crime. In the instant case, the act purporting to create the obligation is assailed as a crime in itself.
That act, which is prohibited by law, is the entering into dredging contracts that are manifestly and
grossly disadvantageous to the government.24 A contract executed against the provisions of
prohibitory laws is void.25 If the dredging contracts are declared illegal, then no valid obligation can

arise from such contracts. Consequently, no civil action based on such contracts can proceed
independently of the criminal action.
In contrast, where the civil action is based on a contract that can remain valid even if its violation
may constitute a crime, the civil action can proceed independently. Thus, in estafa thru violation of
the trust receipt law, the violation of the trust receipt constitutes a crime. However, the trust receipt
itself remains valid, allowing a civil action based on the trust receipt to proceed independently of the
criminal case.
Clearly, NICs civil case before the Malabon trial court does not fall under Article 31 of the Civil Code.
This calls then for the application of the second paragraph of Section 2 of Rule 111 which states that
"if the criminal action is filed after the said civil action has already been instituted, the latter shall be
suspended in whatever stage it may be found before judgment on the merits." Consequently, the civil
case for collection pending in the Malabon trial court must be suspended until after the termination of
the criminal cases filed with the Sandiganbayan.
The suspension of the civil case for collection of sum of money will avoid the possibility of conflicting
decisions between the Sandiganbayan and the Malabon trial court on the validity of NICs dredging
contracts. If the Sandiganbayan declares the dredging contracts illegal and void ab initio, and such
declaration becomes final, then NICs civil case for collection of sum of money will have no legal leg
to stand on. However, if the Sandiganbayan finds the dredging contracts valid, then NICs collection
case before the Malabon trial court can then proceed to trial.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 18 July 1994
is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. The counterclaim of petitioner in Civil Case No. 1153-MN
pending with the Regional Trial Court of Malabon, Branch 73, is deemed abandoned. The Regional
Trial Court of Malabon, Branch 73, is ordered to suspend the trial of Civil Case No. 1153-MN until the
termination of Criminal Cases Nos. 16889-16900 filed with the Sandiganbayan.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 73836 August 18, 1988
ANTOLIN T. NAGUIAT, petitioner,
vs.
HONORABLE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, THIRD SPECIAL CASES DIVISION, TIMOG
SILANGAN DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION RATION AND MANUEL P. LAZATIN, respondents.
Ricardo B. Bermudo for petitioner.
Angara, Abello, Concepcion, Regala & Cruz Law Offices for private respondents.

PADILLA, J.:
Petition to review on certiorari the decision * of the Intermediate Appellate Court, dated 9 October 1985, in AC-G.R. SP No.
06521 and AC-G.R. SP No. 06522, entitled "Manuel P. Lazatin and Timog Silangan Development Corporation versus The Honorable
Lourdes K. Tayao-Jaguros, in her capacity as Presiding Judge, Branch IX Regional Trial Court, Angeles City, and Antolin T. Naguiat," which

set aside the Orders ** of the Regional Trial Court of Angeles City, Branch LX, dated 20 March 1985 and 29 May 1985, issued in Criminal
Case No. 6727 and Civil Case No. 4224.

Timog Silangan Development Corporation (TSDC, for short) is a domestic corporation engaged in
the business of developing and selling subdivision lots in Timog Park," located in Angeles City, with
Manuel P. Lazatin (Lazatin, for short) as its President.
On 7 February 1983, petitioner Antolin T. Naguiat purchased, on installment basis, four (4) lots from
TSDC, identified as Lots Nos. 13, 14, 15 and 16, of Block 26 of Timog Park. Each lot consists of 300
square meters. The four (4) lots have a total area of 1,200 square meters, with a price of P60.00 per
square meter, as alledged by petitioner. On the same date above-mentioned, 7 February 1983,
petitioner made a down payment of P7,200.00, representing 10% of the alleged total price of
P72,000.00 for the four (4) lots. A corresponding receipt for the downpayment was issued by TSDC
to the petitioner. 1
While the Contract to Sell between TSDC and the petitioner stipulated a two-year period within which
to pay the total contract price, the latter made substantial payments in the months of June to August
1983. Then on 10 August 1983, he paid the sum of P 12,529.30 as his alleged full payment for Lot.
No. 16, after which, TSDC caused to be issued in the name of the petitioner the title to said lot. 2
On 7 November 1983, petitioner paid TSDC the amount of P 36,067.97, which was allegedly his full
payment for the remaining three (3) Lots, namely, Lots Nos. 13, 14 and 15. A corresponding receipt
for said amount was also issued by TSDC to the petitioner. 3
Thereafter, from December 1983 up to June 1984, petitioner demanded from TSDC the issuance in
his favor of the certificates of title for the three (3) lots, last paid for, but the private respondents
(TSDC and Lazatin) refused on the ground that the petitioner had not fully paid for said three (3) lots.
According to private respondents, sometime in January, 1983, TSDC's Board of Directors approved
the petitioner's contemplated purchase of the aforesaid lots. To confirm the agreement, respondent
Lazatin wrote petitioner a letter reiterating standard conditions of the sale, which the petitioner
allegedly accepted by affixing his conformity to said letter. The conditions for the sale of the lots were
among others, "(i) 10% down payment with a commitment to commence construction therefrom
(thereon) in one month's time; (ii) said construction to be finished within a period of six (6) months;
and, (iii) the effective price was P 70 per square meter with a rebate of P 10.00 per square meter
upon completion of the house in six (6) months." 4
But, as alleged by the private respondents, petitioner commenced the construction of a house on
one lot but failed to finish it within the stipulated period of six (6) months. And as to the other lots,
petitioner allegedly failed altogether to construct houses on them. 5
Hence, private respondents contend that since petitioner did not comply with the agreement, he was
not entitled to the 10% rebate in price, and as a consequence, the previous payments made by
petitioner did not amount to full payment as required for all the lots and which would have entitled
petitioner to the issuance and delivery of the certificates of title to all the lots.
Thereafter, on 26 July 1984, petitioner, filed a complaint for specific performance with damages, with
the Regional Trial Court of Angeles City, Branch LX docketed as Civil Case No. 4224. In his
complaint, petitioner prayed, among others, that judgment be rendered ordering private respondents

to deliver to him the transfer certificates of title covering the three (3) lots which he had allegedly fully
paid for, and which private respondents had refused to do so.
Moreover, the complaint prayed that judgment be rendered ordering the private respondents to
jointly and severally pay the petitioner, actual damages equal to P320,000.00, representing
unrealized gross profits; moral damages at the discretion of the court; and, attorney's fees equal to
P15,000.00, plus the costs of the action. 6
Before the civil action was filed, petitioner also filed on 5 June 1984 with the City Fiscal of Angeles
City a criminal complaint against herein respondent Manuel Lazatin, for violation of Presidential
Decree No. 957, specifically Section 25 thereof, which provides:
PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 957
REGULATING THE SALE OF SUBDIVISIONS LOTS AND CONDOMINIUMS,
PROVIDING PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS THEREOF.
SEC. 25. Issuance of Title. The owner or developer shall deliver the title of the lot
or unit to the buyer upon full payment of the lot or unit. No fee, except those required
for the registration of the deed of sale in the Registry of Deeds shall be collected for
the issuance of such title. In the event a mortgage over the lot or unit is outstanding
at the time of the issuance of the title to the buyer, the owner or developer shall
redeem the mortgage or the corresponding portion thereof within six months such
issuance in order that the title over any fully paid lot or unit may be secured and
delivered to the buyer in accordance herewith.
xxx xxx xxx
SEC. 39. Penalties. Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this
Decree and/or any rule or regulation that may be issued pursuant to this Decree,
shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not more than twenty thousand
(P20,000.00) pesos and/or imprisonment of not more than ten years: Provided, that
in the case of corporations, partnership, cooperatives, or associations, the President,
Manager or Administrator or the person who has charge of the administration of the
business shall be criminally responsible for any violation of this Decree andlor the
rules and regulations promulgated pursuant thereto. (Emphasis supplied)
On 13 September 1984, an information was filed against respondent Lazatin, docketed as Criminal
Case No. 6727, and was raffled to Branch LX where Civil Case No. 4224 was docketed earlier.
On the basis of Rule 111, Section 3(a) of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, the petitioner filed on 23
February 1985 a motion to consolidate Civil Case No. 4224 and Criminal Case No. 6727. Despite
the objection and opposition of the private respondents, in an Order dated 20 March 1985, the trial
court granted the motion and ordered consolidation of the two (2) cases.
On 14 May 1985, at the pre-trial hearing of both cases, petitioners's counsel appeared as counsel for
the plaintiff in Civil Case No. 4224, and as private prosecutor in Criminal Case No. 6727, Private
respondents objected, and filed their Motion and Opposition to Appearance of Plaintiff as Private

Prosecutor with respect to the trial of the Criminal Case; the opposition was overruled by the trial
court, in its Order dated 29 May 1985.
Hence, private respondents filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with the respondent appellate
court, seeking the annulment of the orders of the trial court, dated 20 March 1985 and 29 May 1985.
In due course, the respondent appellate court rendered a decision favorable to herein private
respondents, the dispositive part of which is quoted hereunder:
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari and probihition is hereby GRANTED, and
the questioned orders dated March 20, 1985 and May 29, 1985 are set aside. The
respondent Court is ordered to suspend trial of the civil action until final
determination of the criminal case, in line with the spirit of Section 3, Rule 111 (Rules
of Court) and not (to) allow the intervention of the private-respondent in the active
prosecution of Criminal Case No. 6727. No costs. 7
The decision of the respondent appellate court was received by petitioner's counsel on 16 October
1985. On 30 October 1985, petitioner's counsel filed with the respondent appellate court a Motion for
Extension of Time to file a motion for reconsideration of aforesaid decision, praying for fifteen (15)
days from 31 October 1985, within which to file said motion.
On 15 November 1985, petitioner's counsel filed a Second Motion for Extension of Time to file a
motion for reconsideration, praying for another fifteen (15) days from 15 November 1985, within
which to file said motion for reconsideration.
On 18 November 1985, petitioner's counsel received the resolution of the respondent appellate court
dated 12 November 1985, denying the first motion for extension of time, stating among others that
the fifteen (15) day period to file a motion for reconsideration is non-extendible.
On 2 December 1985, petitioner's counsel still filed his motion for reconsideration.
On 16 December 1985, petitioner's counsel received the resolution of the respondent appellate
court, dated 12 December 1985, denying petitioner's second motion for extension of time to file a
motion for reconsideration, thus reiterating its Resolution of 12 November 1985.
On 21 February 1986, petitioner's counsel received the resolution of the respondent appellate court
dated 14 February 1986, denying the motion for reconsideration filed on 2 December 1985.
Hence, this petition for certiorari.
Before going into the merits of the petition, the procedural aspect should first be threshed out and
settled.
As admitted by petitioner himself, he filed with the respondent appellate court two (2) motions for
extension of time to file motion for reconsideration of the latter court's decision, with the justification
that the two (2) motions were timely and properly presented, since they were filed before the
expiration of the respective periods sought to be extended. 8
The case of Habaluyas Enterprises, Inc. v. Japzon, 9 has ruled that:

Beginning one month after the promulgation of this Resolution, the rule shall be
strictly enforced that no motion for extension of time to file a motion for new trial or
reconsideration may be filed with the Metropolitan or Municipal Trial Courts, the
Regional Trial Courts, and the Intermediate Appellate Court.
Based on the aforequoted ruling of the Habaluyas case, motions for extension of time to file a motion
for new trial or reconsideration may no longer be filed before all courts, lower than the Supreme
Court. 10 The rule in Habaluyas applies even if the motion is filed before the expiration of the period
sought to be extended, because the fifteen (15) day period for filing a motion for new trial or
reconsideration with said courts, is non-extendible.
But as resolved also in the Habaluyas case, the rule that no motion for extension of time to file a
motion for new trial or reconsideration may be filed with the Metropolitan or Municipal Trial Courts,
the Regional Trial Courts, and the Intermediate Appellate Court, shall be strictly enforced "beginning
one month after the promulgation of this Resolution." The Court promulgated
the Habaluyas resolution on 30 May 1986. Thus, the Habaluyas ruling became effective, and strictly
enforced, only beginning 1 July 1986.
In the case at bar, the petitioner filed his motions for extension of time to file a motion for
reconsideration on 30 October 1985 and 15 November 1985, both within the periods sought to be
extended. Hence the Habaluyas ruling did not yet apply to bar said motions for extension.
Coming now to the merits of the case, petitioner prays for the reversal of the decision of the
respondent appellate court, and the reinstatement of the orders of the trial court, allowing the
consolidation of the civil and criminal case before said trial court, and the intervention of the
petitioners's counsel as private prosecutor in the criminal case.
As a ground for the consolidation of the criminal and civil cases, petitioner invokes Rule 111, Sec. 3
(a), Rules of Court, which provides:
Sec. 3. Other civil actions arising from offenses. Whenever the offended party shall
have instituted the civil action to enforce the civil liability arising from the offense, as
contemplated in the first paragraph of Section 1 hereof, the following rules shall be
observed:
(a) "After a criminal action has been commenced, the pending civil action arising
from the same offense shad be suspended, in whatever stage it may be found until
final judgment in the criminal proceeding has been rendered. However, if no final
judgment has been rendered by the trial court in the civil action, the same may be
consolidated with the criminal action upon application with the court trying the
criminal action. If the application is granted, the evidence presented and admitted in
the civil action shall be deemed automatically reproduced in the criminal action,
without prejudice to the admission of additional evidence that any party may wish to
present. (Emphasis supplied)"
xxx xxx xxx
Under the aforequoted provision, the civil action that may be consolidated with a criminal action, is
one for the recovery of civil liability arising from the criminal offense, or ex delicto. In the case at bar,

the civil action filed by the petitioner was for specific performance with damages. The main relief
sought in the latter case, i.e., the delivery of the certificates of title to the lots which petitioner had
allegedly fully paid for, was grounded on the Contract to Sell between the petitioner and the private
respondent. Hence the civil action filed by the petitioner was for the enforcement of an obligation
arising from a contract, or ex contractu and not one for the recovery of civil liability arising from an
offense; hence, the law invoked by the petitioner is inapplicable.
But, as held in Canos v. Peralta, 11 the consolidation of a criminal action with a civil action arising not ex
delicto, may still be done, based upon the express authority of Section 1, Rule 31 of the Rules of Court,
which provides:
Section 1. Consolidation. When actions involving a common question of law or fact
are pending before the court, it may order a joint hearing or trial of any or all the
matters in issue in the actions; it may order all the actions consolidated; and it may
make such orders concerning proceedings therein as may tend to avoid unnecessary
costs or delay.
In Canos v. Peralta, where the Court sustained the order of a trial court to consolidate a civil action
(an action for the recovery of wage differential, overtime and termination pay, plus damages) with a
criminal action (for violation of the Minimum Wage Law), it was held that:
A Court may order several actions pending before it to be tried together where they
arise from the same act, event or transaction, involve the same or like issues, and
depend largely or substantially on the same evidence, provided that the court has
jurisdiction over the cases to be consolidated and that a joint trial will not give one
party an undue advantage or prejudice the substantial rights of any of the parties. ...
The obvious purpose of the above rule is to avoid multiplicity of suits to guard against
oppression and abuse, to prevent delays, to clear congested dockets, to simplify the
work of the trial court; in short the attainment of justice with the least expense and
vexation to the parties litigants. 12
In the cases at bar, the nature of the issues involved, at least, the factual issues in the civil and
criminal actions are almost identical, i.e., whether or not petitioner had fully paid for the lots he
purchased from the private respondents, so as to entitle him to the delivery of the certificates of title
to said lots. The evidence in both cases, likewise would virtually be the same, which are, the
Contract to Sell, the letter which contains the conditions for the purchase of the lots and, to which
petitioner allegedly affixed his conformity, the official receipts for the alleged payments made by the
petitioner, and other related documents.
Based on the foregoing, and considering that the criminal action filed is one for violation of a special
law where, irrespective of the motives, mere commission of the act prohibited by said special law,
constitutes the offense, then the intervention of the petitioner's counsel, as private prosecutor in the
criminal action, will not prejudice the substantial rights of the accused.
The consolidation of the two (2) cases in question, where petitioner's counsel may act as counsel for
the plaintiff in the civil case and private prosecutor in the criminal case, will instead be conducive to
the early termination of the two (2) cases, and will redound to the benefit and convenience of the
parties; as well as to the speedy administration of justice.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision of the respondent appellate court, dated 9
October 1985, is SET ASIDE. The Orders of the trial court, in Civil Case No. 4224 and Criminal Case
No. 6727, dated 20 March 1985 and 29 May 1985 are REINSTATED.
G.R. No. 150157

January 25, 2007

MAURICIO MANLICLIC and PHILIPPINE RABBIT BUS LINES, INC., Petitioners,


vs.
MODESTO CALAUNAN, Respondent.
DECISION
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
Assailed before Us is the decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 55909 which affirmed
in toto the decision2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Dagupan City, Branch 42, in Civil Case No.
D-10086, finding petitioners Mauricio Manliclic and Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. (PRBLI)
solidarily liable to pay damages and attorneys fees to respondent Modesto Calaunan.
The factual antecedents are as follows:
The vehicles involved in this case are: (1) Philippine Rabbit Bus No. 353 with plate number CVD478, owned by petitioner PRBLI and driven by petitioner Mauricio Manliclic; and (2) owner-type jeep
with plate number PER-290, owned by respondent Modesto Calaunan and driven by Marcelo
Mendoza.
At around 6:00 to 7:00 oclock in the morning of 12 July 1988, respondent Calaunan, together with
Marcelo Mendoza, was on his way to Manila from Pangasinan on board his owner-type jeep. The
Philippine Rabbit Bus was likewise bound for Manila from Concepcion, Tarlac. At approximately
Kilometer 40 of the North Luzon Expressway in Barangay Lalangan, Plaridel, Bulacan, the two
vehicles collided. The front right side of the Philippine Rabbit Bus hit the rear left side of the jeep
causing the latter to move to the shoulder on the right and then fall on a ditch with water resulting to
further extensive damage. The bus veered to the left and stopped 7 to 8 meters from point of
collision.
Respondent suffered minor injuries while his driver was unhurt. He was first brought for treatment to
the Manila Central University Hospital in Kalookan City by Oscar Buan, the conductor of the
Philippine Rabbit Bus, and was later transferred to the Veterans Memorial Medical Center.
By reason of such collision, a criminal case was filed before the RTC of Malolos, Bulacan, charging
petitioner Manliclic with Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Damage to Property with Physical
Injuries, docketed as Crim. Case No. 684-M-89. Subsequently on 2 December 1991, respondent
filed a complaint for damages against petitioners Manliclic and PRBLI before the RTC of Dagupan
City, docketed as Civil Case No. D-10086. The criminal case was tried ahead of the civil case.
Among those who testified in the criminal case were respondent Calaunan, Marcelo Mendoza and
Fernando Ramos.
In the civil case (now before this Court), the parties admitted the following:

1. The parties agreed on the capacity of the parties to sue and be sued as well as the venue
and the identities of the vehicles involved;
2. The identity of the drivers and the fact that they are duly licensed;
3. The date and place of the vehicular collision;
4. The extent of the injuries suffered by plaintiff Modesto Calaunan and the existence of the
medical certificate;
5. That both vehicles were going towards the south; the private jeep being ahead of the bus;
6. That the weather was fair and the road was well paved and straight, although there was a
ditch on the right side where the jeep fell into.3
When the civil case was heard, counsel for respondent prayed that the transcripts of stenographic
notes (TSNs)4of the testimonies of respondent Calaunan, Marcelo Mendoza and Fernando Ramos in
the criminal case be received in evidence in the civil case in as much as these witnesses are not
available to testify in the civil case.
Francisco Tuliao testified that his brother-in-law, respondent Calaunan, left for abroad sometime in
November, 1989 and has not returned since then. Rogelio Ramos took the stand and said that his
brother, Fernando Ramos, left for Amman, Jordan, to work. Rosalia Mendoza testified that her
husband, Marcelo Mendoza, left their residence to look for a job. She narrated that she thought her
husband went to his hometown in Panique, Tarlac, when he did not return after one month. She went
to her husbands hometown to look for him but she was informed that he did not go there.
1awphil.net

The trial court subpoenaed the Clerk of Court of Branch 8, RTC, Malolos, Bulacan, the court where
Criminal Case No. 684-M-89 was tried, to bring the TSNs of the testimonies of respondent
Calaunan,5 Marcelo Mendoza6 and Fernando Ramos7 in said case, together with other documentary
evidence marked therein. Instead of the Branch Clerk of Court, it was Enrique Santos Guevara,
Court Interpreter, who appeared before the court and identified the TSNs of the three afore-named
witnesses and other pertinent documents he had brought.8 Counsel for respondent wanted to mark
other TSNs and documents from the said criminal case to be adopted in the instant case, but since
the same were not brought to the trial court, counsel for petitioners compromised that said TSNs and
documents could be offered by counsel for respondent as rebuttal evidence.
For the defendants, petitioner Manliclic and bus conductor Oscar Buan testified. The TSN 9 of the
testimony of Donato Ganiban, investigator of the PRBLI, in Criminal Case No. 684-M-89 was marked
and allowed to be adopted in the civil case on the ground that he was already dead.
Respondent further marked, among other documents, as rebuttal evidence, the TSNs 10 of the
testimonies of Donato Ganiban, Oscar Buan and petitioner Manliclic in Criminal Case No. 684-M-89.
The disagreement arises from the question: Who is to be held liable for the collision?
Respondent insists it was petitioner Manliclic who should be liable while the latter is resolute in
saying it was the former who caused the smash up.

The versions of the parties are summarized by the trial court as follows:
The parties differed only on the manner the collision between the two (2) vehicles took place.
According to the plaintiff and his driver, the jeep was cruising at the speed of 60 to 70 kilometers per
hour on the slow lane of the expressway when the Philippine Rabbit Bus overtook the jeep and in
the process of overtaking the jeep, the Philippine Rabbit Bus hit the rear of the jeep on the left side.
At the time the Philippine Rabbit Bus hit the jeep, it was about to overtake the jeep. In other words,
the Philippine Rabbit Bus was still at the back of the jeep when the jeep was hit. Fernando Ramos
corroborated the testimony of the plaintiff and Marcelo Mendoza. He said that he was on another
jeep following the Philippine Rabbit Bus and the jeep of plaintiff when the incident took place. He
said, the jeep of the plaintiff overtook them and the said jeep of the plaintiff was followed by the
Philippine Rabbit Bus which was running very fast. The bus also overtook the jeep in which he was
riding. After that, he heard a loud sound. He saw the jeep of the plaintiff swerved to the right on a
grassy portion of the road. The Philippine Rabbit Bus stopped and they overtook the Philippine
Rabbit Bus so that it could not moved (sic), meaning they stopped in front of the Philippine Rabbit
Bus. He testified that the jeep of plaintiff swerved to the right because it was bumped by the
Philippine Rabbit bus from behind.
Both Mauricio Manliclic and his driver, Oscar Buan admitted that the Philippine Rabbit Bus bumped
the jeep in question. However, they explained that when the Philippine Rabbit bus was about to go to
the left lane to overtake the jeep, the latter jeep swerved to the left because it was to overtake
another jeep in front of it. Such was their testimony before the RTC in Malolos in the criminal case
and before this Court in the instant case. [Thus, which of the two versions of the manner how the
collision took place was correct, would be determinative of who between the two drivers was
negligent in the operation of their respective vehicles.]11
Petitioner PRBLI maintained that it observed and exercised the diligence of a good father of a family
in the selection and supervision of its employee, specifically petitioner Manliclic.
On 22 July 1996, the trial court rendered its decision in favor of respondent Calaunan and against
petitioners Manliclic and PRBLI. The dispositive portion of its decision reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendants ordering the
said defendants to pay plaintiff jointly and solidarily the amount of P40,838.00 as actual damages for
the towing as well as the repair and the materials used for the repair of the jeep in
question; P100,000.00 as moral damages and another P100,000.00 as exemplary damages
and P15,000.00 as attorneys fees, including appearance fees of the lawyer. In addition, the
defendants are also to pay costs.12
Petitioners appealed the decision via Notice of Appeal to the Court of Appeals. 13
In a decision dated 28 September 2001, the Court of Appeals, finding no reversible error in the
decision of the trial court, affirmed it in all respects. 14
Petitioners are now before us by way of petition for review assailing the decision of the Court of
Appeals. They assign as errors the following:
I

THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN AFFIRMING THE TRIAL


COURTS QUESTIONABLE ADMISSION IN EVIDENCE OF THE TSNs AND OTHER
DOCUMENTS PRESENTED IN THE CRIMINAL CASE.
II
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN AFFIRMING THE TRIAL
COURTS RELIANCE ON THE VERSION OF THE RESPONDENT ON HOW THE ACCIDENT
SUPPOSEDLY OCCURRED.
III
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN AFFIRMING THE TRIAL
COURTS UNFAIR DISREGARD OF HEREIN PETITIONER PRBLs DEFENSE OF EXERCISE OF
DUE DILIGENCE IN THE SELECTION AND SUPERVISION OF ITS EMPLOYEES.
IV
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN AFFIRMING THE TRIAL
COURTS QUESTIONABLE AWARD OF DAMAGES AND ATTORNEYS FEE.
With the passing away of respondent Calaunan during the pendency of this appeal with this Court,
we granted the Motion for the Substitution of Respondent filed by his wife, Mrs. Precila Zarate Vda.
De Calaunan, and children, Virgilio Calaunan, Carmelita Honeycomb, Evelyn Calaunan, Marko
Calaunan and Liwayway Calaunan.15
In their Reply to respondents Comment, petitioners informed this Court of a Decision 16 of the Court
of Appeals acquitting petitioner Manliclic of the charge17 of Reckless Imprudence Resulting in
Damage to Property with Physical Injuries attaching thereto a photocopy thereof.
On the first assigned error, petitioners argue that the TSNs containing the testimonies of respondent
Calaunan,18Marcelo Mendoza19 and Fernando Ramos20 should not be admitted in evidence for failure
of respondent to comply with the requisites of Section 47, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.
For Section 47, Rule 13021 to apply, the following requisites must be satisfied: (a) the witness is dead
or unable to testify; (b) his testimony or deposition was given in a former case or proceeding, judicial
or administrative, between the same parties or those representing the same interests; (c) the former
case involved the same subject as that in the present case, although on different causes of action;
(d) the issue testified to by the witness in the former trial is the same issue involved in the present
case; and (e) the adverse party had an opportunity to cross-examine the witness in the former
case.22
Admittedly, respondent failed to show the concurrence of all the requisites set forth by the Rules for
a testimony given in a former case or proceeding to be admissible as an exception to the hearsay
rule. Petitioner PRBLI, not being a party in Criminal Case No. 684-M-89, had no opportunity to
cross-examine the three witnesses in said case. The criminal case was filed exclusively against
petitioner Manliclic, petitioner PRBLIs employee. The cases dealing with the subsidiary liability of

employers uniformly declare that, strictly speaking, they are not parties to the criminal cases
instituted against their employees.23
Notwithstanding the fact that petitioner PRBLI was not a party in said criminal case, the testimonies
of the three witnesses are still admissible on the ground that petitioner PRBLI failed to object on their
admissibility.
It is elementary that an objection shall be made at the time when an alleged inadmissible document
is offered in evidence; otherwise, the objection shall be treated as waived, since the right to object is
merely a privilege which the party may waive. Thus, a failure to except to the evidence because it
does not conform to the statute is a waiver of the provisions of the law. Even assuming ex gratia
argumenti that these documents are inadmissible for being hearsay, but on account of failure to
object thereto, the same may be admitted and considered as sufficient to prove the facts therein
asserted.24 Hearsay evidence alone may be insufficient to establish a fact in a suit but, when no
objection is made thereto, it is, like any other evidence, to be considered and given the importance it
deserves.25
In the case at bar, petitioner PRBLI did not object to the TSNs containing the testimonies of
respondent Calaunan, Marcelo Mendoza and Fernando Ramos in the criminal case when the same
were offered in evidence in the trial court. In fact, the TSNs of the testimonies of Calaunan and
Mendoza were admitted by both petitioners.26Moreover, petitioner PRBLI even offered in evidence
the TSN containing the testimony of Donato Ganiban in the criminal case. If petitioner PRBLI argues
that the TSNs of the testimonies of plaintiffs witnesses in the criminal case should not be admitted in
the instant case, why then did it offer the TSN of the testimony of Ganiban which was given in the
criminal case? It appears that petitioner PRBLI wants to have its cake and eat it too. It cannot argue
that the TSNs of the testimonies of the witnesses of the adverse party in the criminal case should not
be admitted and at the same time insist that the TSN of the testimony of the witness for the accused
be admitted in its favor. To disallow admission in evidence of the TSNs of the testimonies of
Calaunan, Marcelo Mendoza and Fernando Ramos in the criminal case and to admit the TSN of the
testimony of Ganiban would be unfair.
We do not subscribe to petitioner PRBLIs argument that it will be denied due process when the
TSNs of the testimonies of Calaunan, Marcelo Mendoza and Fernando Ramos in the criminal case
are to be admitted in the civil case. It is too late for petitioner PRBLI to raise denial of due process in
relation to Section 47, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, as a ground for objecting to the admissibility of
the TSNs. For failure to object at the proper time, it waived its right to object that the TSNs did not
comply with Section 47.
In Mangio v. Court of Appeals,27 this Court, through Associate Justice Reynato S. Puno,28 admitted in
evidence a TSN of the testimony of a witness in another case despite therein petitioners assertion
that he would be denied due process. In admitting the TSN, the Court ruled that the raising of denial
of due process in relation to Section 47, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, as a ground for objecting to
the admissibility of the TSN was belatedly done. In so doing, therein petitioner waived his right to
object based on said ground.
Petitioners contend that the documents in the criminal case should not have been admitted in the
instant civil case because Section 47 of Rule 130 refers only to "testimony or deposition." We find
such contention to be untenable. Though said section speaks only of testimony and deposition, it
does not mean that documents from a former case or proceeding cannot be admitted. Said

documents can be admitted they being part of the testimonies of witnesses that have been admitted.
Accordingly, they shall be given the same weight as that to which the testimony may be entitled. 29
On the second assigned error, petitioners contend that the version of petitioner Manliclic as to how
the accident occurred is more credible than respondents version. They anchor their contention on
the fact that petitioner Manliclic was acquitted by the Court of Appeals of the charge of Reckless
Imprudence Resulting in Damage to Property with Physical Injuries.
To be resolved by the Court is the effect of petitioner Manliclics acquittal in the civil case.
From the complaint, it can be gathered that the civil case for damages was one arising from, or
based on, quasi-delict.30 Petitioner Manliclic was sued for his negligence or reckless imprudence in
causing the collision, while petitioner PRBLI was sued for its failure to exercise the diligence of a
good father in the selection and supervision of its employees, particularly petitioner Manliclic. The
allegations read:
"4. That sometime on July 12, 1988 at around 6:20 A.M. plaintiff was on board the abovedescribed motor vehicle travelling at a moderate speed along the North Luzon Expressway
heading South towards Manila together with MARCELO MENDOZA, who was then driving
the same;
"5. That approximately at kilometer 40 of the North Luzon Express Way, the above-described
motor vehicle was suddenly bumped from behind by a Philippine Rabbit Bus with Body No.
353 and with plate No. CVD 478 then being driven by one Mauricio Manliclic of San Jose,
Concepcion, Tarlac, who was then travelling recklessly at a very fast speed and had
apparently lost control of his vehicle;
"6. That as a result of the impact of the collision the above-described motor vehicle was
forced off the North Luzon Express Way towards the rightside where it fell on its drivers side
on a ditch, and that as a consequence, the above-described motor vehicle which maybe
valued at EIGHTY THOUSAND PESOS (P80,000) was rendered a total wreck as shown by
pictures to be presented during the pre-trial and trial of this case;
"7. That also as a result of said incident, plaintiff sustained bodily injuries which compounded
plaintiffs frail physical condition and required his hospitalization from July 12, 1988 up to and
until July 22, 1988, copy of the medical certificate is hereto attached as Annex "A" and made
an integral part hereof;
"8. That the vehicular collision resulting in the total wreckage of the above-described motor
vehicle as well as bodily (sic) sustained by plaintiff, was solely due to the reckless
imprudence of the defendant driver Mauricio Manliclic who drove his Philippine Rabbit Bus
No. 353 at a fast speed without due regard or observance of existing traffic rules and
regulations;
"9. That defendant Philippine Rabbit Bus Line Corporation failed to exercise the diligence of
a good father of (sic) family in the selection and supervision of its drivers; x x x" 31
Can Manliclic still be held liable for the collision and be found negligent notwithstanding the
declaration of the Court of Appeals that there was an absence of negligence on his part?

In exonerating petitioner Manliclic in the criminal case, the Court of Appeals said:
To the following findings of the court a quo, to wit: that accused-appellant was negligent "when the
bus he was driving bumped the jeep from behind"; that "the proximate cause of the accident was his
having driven the bus at a great speed while closely following the jeep"; x x x
We do not agree.
The swerving of Calaunans jeep when it tried to overtake the vehicle in front of it was beyond the
control of accused-appellant.
xxxx
Absent evidence of negligence, therefore, accused-appellant cannot be held liable for Reckless
Imprudence Resulting in Damage to Property with Physical Injuries as defined in Article 365 of the
Revised Penal Code.32
From the foregoing declaration of the Court of Appeals, it appears that petitioner Manliclic was
acquitted not on reasonable doubt, but on the ground that he is not the author of the act complained
of which is based on Section 2(b) of Rule 111 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure which reads:
(b) Extinction of the penal action does not carry with it extinction of the civil, unless the extinction
proceeds from a declaration in a final judgment that the fact from which the civil might arise did not
exist.
In spite of said ruling, petitioner Manliclic can still be held liable for the mishap. The afore-quoted
section applies only to a civil action arising from crime or ex delicto and not to a civil action arising
from quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana. The extinction of civil liability referred to in Par. (e) of Section 3,
Rule 111 [now Section 2 (b) of Rule 111], refers exclusively to civil liability founded on Article 100 of
the Revised Penal Code, whereas the civil liability for the same act considered as a quasi-delict only
and not as a crime is not extinguished even by a declaration in the criminal case that the criminal act
charged has not happened or has not been committed by the accused. 33
A quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana is a separate legal institution under the Civil Code with a
substantivity all its own, and individuality that is entirely apart and independent from a delict or crime
a distinction exists between the civil liability arising from a crime and the responsibility for quasidelicts or culpa extra-contractual. The same negligence causing damages may produce civil liability
arising from a crime under the Penal Code, or create an action for quasi-delicts or culpa extracontractual under the Civil Code.34 It is now settled that acquittal of the accused, even if based on a
finding that he is not guilty, does not carry with it the extinction of the civil liability based on quasi
delict.35
In other words, if an accused is acquitted based on reasonable doubt on his guilt, his civil liability
arising from the crime may be proved by preponderance of evidence only. However, if an accused is
acquitted on the basis that he was not the author of the act or omission complained of (or that there
is declaration in a final judgment that the fact from which the civil might arise did not exist), said
acquittal closes the door to civil liability based on the crime or ex delicto. In this second instance,
there being no crime or delict to speak of, civil liability based thereon or ex delicto is not possible. In
this case, a civil action, if any, may be instituted on grounds other than the delict complained of.

As regards civil liability arising from quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana, same will not be extinguished by
an acquittal, whether it be on ground of reasonable doubt or that accused was not the author of the
act or omission complained of (or that there is declaration in a final judgment that the fact from which
the civil liability might arise did not exist). The responsibility arising from fault or negligence in
a quasi-delict is entirely separate and distinct from the civil liability arising from negligence under the
Penal Code.36 An acquittal or conviction in the criminal case is entirely irrelevant in the civil
case37 based on quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana.
Petitioners ask us to give credence to their version of how the collision occurred and to disregard
that of respondents. Petitioners insist that while the PRBLI bus was in the process of overtaking
respondents jeep, the latter, without warning, suddenly swerved to the left (fast) lane in order to
overtake another jeep ahead of it, thus causing the collision.
As a general rule, questions of fact may not be raised in a petition for review. The factual findings of
the trial court, especially when affirmed by the appellate court, are binding and conclusive on the
Supreme Court.38 Not being a trier of facts, this Court will not allow a review thereof unless:
(1) the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmise and conjecture; (2) the
inference made is manifestly mistaken; (3) there is grave abuse of discretion; (4) the judgment is
based on a misapprehension of facts; (5) the findings of fact are conflicting; (6) the Court of Appeals
went beyond the issues of the case and its findings are contrary to the admissions of both appellant
and appellees; (7) the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are contrary to those of the trial court;
(8) said findings of fact are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are
based; (9) the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioner's main and reply briefs are not
disputed by the respondents; and (10) the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are premised on
the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the evidence on record. 39
After going over the evidence on record, we do not find any of the exceptions that would warrant our
departure from the general rule. We fully agree in the finding of the trial court, as affirmed by the
Court of Appeals, that it was petitioner Manliclic who was negligent in driving the PRBLI bus which
was the cause of the collision. In giving credence to the version of the respondent, the trial court has
this say:
x x x Thus, which of the two versions of the manner how the collision took place was correct, would
be determinative of who between the two drivers was negligent in the operation of their respective
vehicle.
In this regard, it should be noted that in the statement of Mauricio Manliclic (Exh. 15) given to the
Philippine Rabbit Investigator CV Cabading no mention was made by him about the fact that the
driver of the jeep was overtaking another jeep when the collision took place. The allegation that
another jeep was being overtaken by the jeep of Calaunan was testified to by him only in Crim. Case
No. 684-M-89 before the Regional Trial Court in Malolos, Bulacan and before this Court. Evidently, it
was a product of an afterthought on the part of Mauricio Manliclic so that he could explain why he
should not be held responsible for the incident. His attempt to veer away from the truth was also
apparent when it would be considered that in his statement given to the Philippine Rabbit
Investigator CV Cabading (Exh. 15), he alleged that the Philippine Rabbit Bus bumped the jeep of
Calaunan while the Philippine Rabbit Bus was behind the said jeep. In his testimony before the
Regional Trial Court in Malolos, Bulacan as well as in this Court, he alleged that the Philippine
Rabbit Bus was already on the left side of the jeep when the collision took place. For this

inconsistency between his statement and testimony, his explanation regarding the manner of how
the collision between the jeep and the bus took place should be taken with caution. It might be true
that in the statement of Oscar Buan given to the Philippine Rabbit Investigator CV Cabading, it was
mentioned by the former that the jeep of plaintiff was in the act of overtaking another jeep when the
collision between the latter jeep and the Philippine Rabbit Bus took place. But the fact, however, that
his statement was given on July 15, 1988, one day after Mauricio Manliclic gave his statement
should not escape attention. The one-day difference between the giving of the two statements would
be significant enough to entertain the possibility of Oscar Buan having received legal advise before
giving his statement. Apart from that, as between his statement and the statement of Manliclic
himself, the statement of the latter should prevail. Besides, in his Affidavit of March 10, 1989, (Exh.
14), the unreliability of the statement of Oscar Buan (Exh. 13) given to CV Cabading rear its "ugly
head" when he did not mention in said affidavit that the jeep of Calaunan was trying to overtake
another jeep when the collision between the jeep in question and the Philippine Rabbit bus took
place.
xxxx
If one would believe the testimony of the defendant, Mauricio Manliclic, and his conductor, Oscar
Buan, that the Philippine Rabbit Bus was already somewhat parallel to the jeep when the collision
took place, the point of collision on the jeep should have been somewhat on the left side thereof
rather than on its rear. Furthermore, the jeep should have fallen on the road itself rather than having
been forced off the road. Useless, likewise to emphasize that the Philippine Rabbit was running very
fast as testified to by Ramos which was not controverted by the defendants. 40
Having ruled that it was petitioner Manliclics negligence that caused the smash up, there arises the
juris tantum presumption that the employer is negligent, rebuttable only by proof of observance of
the diligence of a good father of a family.41 Under Article 218042 of the New Civil Code, when an injury
is caused by the negligence of the employee, there instantly arises a presumption of law that there
was negligence on the part of the master or employer either in the selection of the servant or
employee, or in supervision over him after selection or both. The liability of the employer under
Article 2180 is direct and immediate; it is not conditioned upon prior recourse against the negligent
employee and a prior showing of the insolvency of such employee. Therefore, it is incumbent upon
the private respondents to prove that they exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the
selection and supervision of their employee.43
In the case at bar, petitioner PRBLI maintains that it had shown that it exercised the required
diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees, particularly petitioner Manliclic. In the
matter of selection, it showed the screening process that petitioner Manliclic underwent before he
became a regular driver. As to the exercise of due diligence in the supervision of its employees, it
argues that presence of ready investigators (Ganiban and Cabading) is sufficient proof that it
exercised the required due diligence in the supervision of its employees.
In the selection of prospective employees, employers are required to examine them as to their
qualifications, experience and service records. In the supervision of employees, the employer must
formulate standard operating procedures, monitor their implementation and impose disciplinary
measures for the breach thereof. To fend off vicarious liability, employers must submit concrete
proof, including documentary evidence, that they complied with everything that was incumbent on
them.44

In Metro Manila Transit Corporation v. Court of Appeals,45 it was explained that:


Due diligence in the supervision of employees on the other hand, includes the formulation of suitable
rules and regulations for the guidance of employees and the issuance of proper instructions intended
for the protection of the public and persons with whom the employer has relations through his or its
employees and the imposition of necessary disciplinary measures upon employees in case of
breach or as may be warranted to ensure the performance of acts indispensable to the business of
and beneficial to their employer. To this, we add that actual implementation and monitoring of
consistent compliance with said rules should be the constant concern of the employer, acting
through dependable supervisors who should regularly report on their supervisory functions.
In order that the defense of due diligence in the selection and supervision of employees may be
deemed sufficient and plausible, it is not enough to emptily invoke the existence of said company
guidelines and policies on hiring and supervision. As the negligence of the employee gives rise to
the presumption of negligence on the part of the employer, the latter has the burden of proving that it
has been diligent not only in the selection of employees but also in the actual supervision of their
work. The mere allegation of the existence of hiring procedures and supervisory policies, without
anything more, is decidedly not sufficient to overcome such presumption.
We emphatically reiterate our holding, as a warning to all employers, that "the formulation of various
company policies on safety without showing that they were being complied with is not sufficient to
exempt petitioner from liability arising from negligence of its employees. It is incumbent upon
petitioner to show that in recruiting and employing the erring driver the recruitment procedures and
company policies on efficiency and safety were followed." x x x.
The trial court found that petitioner PRBLI exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the
selection but not in the supervision of its employees. It expounded as follows:
From the evidence of the defendants, it seems that the Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines has a very good
procedure of recruiting its driver as well as in the maintenance of its vehicles. There is no evidence
though that it is as good in the supervision of its personnel. There has been no iota of evidence
introduced by it that there are rules promulgated by the bus company regarding the safe operation of
its vehicle and in the way its driver should manage and operate the vehicles assigned to them. There
is no showing that somebody in the bus company has been employed to oversee how its driver
should behave while operating their vehicles without courting incidents similar to the herein case. In
regard to supervision, it is not difficult to observe that the Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. has been
negligent as an employer and it should be made responsible for the acts of its employees,
particularly the driver involved in this case.
We agree. The presence of ready investigators after the occurrence of the accident is not enough to
exempt petitioner PRBLI from liability arising from the negligence of petitioner Manliclic. Same does
not comply with the guidelines set forth in the cases above-mentioned. The presence of the
investigators after the accident is not enough supervision. Regular supervision of employees, that is,
prior to any accident, should have been shown and established. This, petitioner failed to do. The lack
of supervision can further be seen by the fact that there is only one set of manual containing the
rules and regulations for all the drivers of PRBLI. 46 How then can all the drivers of petitioner PRBLI
know and be continually informed of the rules and regulations when only one manual is being lent to
all the drivers?

For failure to adduce proof that it exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection
and supervision of its employees, petitioner PRBLI is held solidarily responsible for the damages
caused by petitioner Manliclics negligence.
We now go to the award of damages. The trial court correctly awarded the amount of P40,838.00 as
actual damages representing the amount paid by respondent for the towing and repair of his
jeep.47 As regards the awards for moral and exemplary damages, same, under the circumstances,
must be modified. The P100,000.00 awarded by the trial court as moral damages must be reduced
to P50,000.00.48 Exemplary damages are imposed by way of example or correction for the public
good.49 The amount awarded by the trial court must, likewise, be lowered to P50,000.00.50 The award
of P15,000.00 for attorneys fees and expenses of litigation is in order and authorized by law.51
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition for review is DENIED. The decision of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 55909 is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that (1) the
award of moral damages shall be reduced to P50,000.00; and (2) the award of exemplary damages
shall be lowered to P50,000.00. Costs against petitioners.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 150785

September 15, 2006

EMMA P. NUGUID, petitioner,


vs.
CLARITA S. NICDAO,1 respondent.
DECISION
CORONA, J.:
In this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, Emma P. Nuguid assails
the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated October 30, 2001 in CA-G.R. No. 23054:
WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review is hereby GRANTED and the Assailed Decision
dated May 10, 1999 of the Regional Trial Court [RTC], Branch 5, Bataan, affirming the
Decision dated January 11, 1999 of the First Municipal Circuit Trial Court of DinalupihanHermosa, Bataan is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
The petitioner CLARITA S. NICDAO is hereby ACQUITTED of the offense charged. NO
COSTS.
SO ORDERED.2
Petitioner seeks a review of the decision with respect to the alleged lack of civil liability of respondent
Clarita S. Nicdao. Stemming from two cases of violation of BP 22,3 this petition involves the following
facts:
xxx

xxx

xxx

Accused Clarita S. Nicdao is charged with having committed the crime of Violation of BP 22
in fourteen (14) counts. The criminal complaints allege that sometime in 1996, from April to
August thereof, [respondent] and her husband [,] of Vignette Superstore [,] approached
[petitioner] and asked her if they [could] borrow money to settle some obligations. Having
been convinced by them and because of the close relationship of [respondent] to [petitioner],
the latter lent the former her money. Thus, every month, she was persuaded to release
P100,000.00 to the accused until the total amount reached P1,150,000.00.
As security for the P1,150,000.00, [respondent] gave [petitioner] the following open dated
Hermosa Savings Bank (HSLB) (sic) with the assurance that if the entire amount is not paid
within one (1) year, [petitioner] can deposit the check:

Check No.

Amount

7277

P100,000.00 (Exhibit "A")

7348

150,000.00 (Exhibit "A")

12118

100,000.00 (Exhibit "A")

8812

50,000.00 (Exhibit "A")

12102

100,000.00 (Exhibit "A")

7255

100,000.00 (Exhibit "A")

2286

50,000.00 (Exhibit "A")

8128

100,000.00 (Exhibit "A")

7254

50,000.00 (Exhibit "A")

7278

100,000.00 (Exhibit "A")

4540

50,000.00 (Exhibit "A")

4523

50,000.00 (Exhibit "A")

12103

50,000.00 (Exhibit "A")

7294

100,000.00 (Exhibit "A")

P1,150,000.00

In June 1997, [petitioner] together with Samson Ching demanded payment of the sums
[above-mentioned], but [respondent] refused to acknowledge the indebtedness. Thus, on
October 6, 1977, [petitioner] deposited all aforementioned checks in the bank of Samson
Ching totaling P1,150,000.00 since all the money given by her to [respondent] came from
Samson Ching. The checks were all returned for having been drawn against insufficient
funds (DAIF).
A verbal and written demand was made upon [respondent] to pay the amount represented by
the bounced checks, but [to] no avail. Hence, a complaint for violation of BP 22 was filed
against the [respondent].4(Citation omitted)
After petitioner instituted 14 criminal cases5 (docketed as Criminal Case Nos. 9458-9471) for
violation of BP 22 involving the sum of P1,150,000, corresponding warrants of arrest were issued
against respondent. On November 12, 1997, respondent was arraigned. She pleaded not guilty and
trial ensued.
In a decision dated January 11, 1999, Judge Manuel M. Tan of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of
Dinalupihan, Bataan found respondent guilty of the charges against her. Respondent was sentenced
to pay P1,150,000, plus interest, and to suffer imprisonment equivalent to one year for each violation
of BP 22, or a total of 14 years of imprisonment.
On appeal, the decision was affirmed in toto by the Regional Trial Court of Dinalupihan, Bataan.
Respondent elevated the case to the CA. On October 30, 2001, the CA reversed the decision of the
lower courts and acquitted respondent. According to the CA, certain substantial facts were
overlooked by the trial court. These circumstances, if properly considered, justified a different
conclusion on the case.6
Petitioner now comes to us, raising this main issue: whether respondent remains civilly liable to her
for the sum ofP1,150,000. In this connection, she asserts that respondent obtained loans from her in
the aggregate amount ofP1,150,000 and that these loans have not been paid.
From the standpoint of its effects, a crime has a dual character: (1) as an offense against the State
because of the disturbance of the social order and (2) as an offense against the private person
injured by the crime unless it involves the crime of treason, rebellion, espionage, contempt and

others (wherein no civil liability arises on the part of the offender either because there are no
damages to be compensated or there is no private person injured by the crime 7). What gives rise to
the civil liability is really the obligation of everyone to repair or to make whole the damage caused to
another by reason of his act or omission, whether done intentionally or negligently and whether or
not punishable by law.8
Extinction of penal action does not carry with it the eradication of civil liability, unless the extinction
proceeds from a declaration in the final judgment that the fact from which the civil liability might arise
did not exist.9
On one hand, as regards the criminal aspect of a violation of BP 22, suffice it to say that:
[t]he gravamen of BP 22 is the act of making and issuing a worthless check or one that is
dishonored upon its presentment for payment [and] the accused failed to satisfy the amount
of the check or make arrangement for its payment within 5 banking days from notice of
dishonor. The act is
malum prohibitum, pernicious and inimical to public welfare. Laws are created to achieve a
goal intended to guide and prevent against an evil or mischief. Why and to whom the check
was issued is irrelevant in determining culpability. The terms and conditions surrounding the
issuance of the checks are also irrelevant.10
On the other hand, the basic principle in civil liability ex delicto is that every person criminally liable is
also civilly liable, crime being one of the five sources of obligations under the Civil Code. 11 A person
acquitted of a criminal charge, however, is not necessarily civilly free because the quantum of proof
required in criminal prosecution (proof beyond reasonable doubt) is greater than that required for
civil liability (mere preponderance of evidence12). In order to be completely free from civil liability, a
person's acquittal must be based on the fact that he did not commit the offense. 13 If the acquittal is
based merely on reasonable doubt, the accused may still be held civilly liable since this does not
mean he did not commit the act complained of.14 It may only be that the facts proved did not
constitute the offense charged.15
Acquittal will not bar a civil action in the following cases: (1) where the acquittal is based on
reasonable doubt as only preponderance of evidence is required in civil cases; (2) where the court
declared the accused's liability is not criminal but only civil in nature and (3) where the civil liability
does not arise from or is not based upon the criminal act of which the accused was acquitted. 16
In this petition, we find no reason to ascribe any civil liability to respondent. As found by the CA, her
supposed civil liability had already been fully satisfied and extinguished by payment. The statements
of the appellate court leave no doubt that respondent, who was acquitted from the charges against
her, had already been completely relieved of civil liability:
[Petitioner] does not dispute the fact that payments have already been made by petitioner in
[the stated] amounts but argues that the Demand Draft represented payment of a previous
obligation. However, no evidence of whatever nature was presented by the prosecution
to substantiate their claim that there was indeed a previous obligation involving the
same amount for which the demand draft was given. Except for this bare allegation,
which is self-serving, no documentary evidence was ever adduced that there were
previous transactions involving the subject amount.
Likewise, [petitioner] admitted having received the cash payments from petitioner on a daily
basis but argues that the same were applied to interest payments only. It however appears

that [petitioner] was charging [respondent] with an exorbitant rate of intereston a daily
basis. xxx In any event, the cash payments [made] were recorded at the back of the
cigarette cartons by [petitioner] in her own handwriting as testified to by [respondent]
and her employees, Melanie Tolentino and Jocelyn Nicdao. Indeed, the daily cash
payments marked in evidence as Exhibits 7 to 15 reveal that [respondent] had already
paid her obligation to [petitioner] in the amount of P5,780,000.00 as of July 21, 1997
and that she stopped making further payments when she realized that she had already
paid such amount.
From the foregoing, it would appear that [respondent] made a total payment of
P6,980,000.00, inclusive of the P1,200,000.00 Demand Draft, which is definitely much
more than P1,150,000.00, the amount she actually borrowed from [petitioner]. These
facts were never rebutted by [petitioner].
Moreover, we find no evidence was presented by the prosecution to prove that there was a
stipulation in writing that interest will be paid by [respondent] on her loan obligations [as
required under Article 1956 of the Civil Code].
xxx

xxx

xxx

By and large, the obligation of [respondent] has already been extinguished long before the
encashment of the subject checks. A check is said to apply for account only when there is
still a pre-existing obligation. In the case at bench, the pre-existing obligation was
extinguished after full payment was made by [respondent]. We therefore find the clear and
convincing documentary evidence of payment presented by [respondent] worthy of
credence.17 (emphasis supplied)
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED. The October 30, 2001 decision of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 23054 is AFFIRMED.
Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 148193

January 16, 2003

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,


vs.
RAFAEL JOSE CONSING, JR., respondent.
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
Before us is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, seeking to set aside the May
31, 2001 decision 1 of the Court of Appeals 2 in CA-G.R. SP No. 63712, which reversed and set aside
the January 23, 2001 order 3 of the Regional Trial Court of Imus, Cavite, Branch 21, in Criminal Case
No. 7668-00 denying respondent's motion for deferment of arraignment.
Sometime in February 1997, respondent Rafael Jose Consing, Jr. and his mother, Cecilia de la
Cruz, 4represented to Plus Builders, Inc. (PBI) that they are the true and lawful owners of a 42,443
square meter lot situated in Imus, Cavite and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 687599 in

the name of Cecilia de la Cruz. They further represented that they acquired said lot, which was
previously covered by TCT No. 191408 from Juanito Tan Teng and Po Willie Yu. Relying on the
representations of respondent and his mother, PBI purchased the questioned lot.
In April 1999, PBI discovered that respondent and his mother did not have a valid title over the
subject lot. PBI came to know that Juanito Tan Teng and Po Willie Yu never sold said lot to
respondent and his mother and that TCT No. 191408 upon which TCT No. 687599 was based is not
on file with the Register of Deeds.
In August 1999, PBI was ousted from the possession of the disputed lot by Juanito Tan Teng and Po
Willie Yu. Despite written and verbal demands, respondent and his mother refused to return the
amount of P13,369,641.79 alleged to have been initially paid by PBI.
On July 22, 1999, respondent filed with the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 68, an action
for "Injunctive Relief" docketed as Civil Case No. SCA 1759, against PBI, Unicapital Inc, Unicapital
Realty Inc., Jaime Martires, Mariano D. Martinez, Cecilia de la Cruz and 20 other John
Does. 5 Respondent sought a declaration that he was merely an agent of his mother, Cecilia de la
Cruz, and therefore was not under any obligation to PBI and to the other defendants on the various
transactions involving TCT No. 687599.
On October 13, 1999, PBI filed against respondent and his mother a complaint for "Damages and
Attachment," docketed as Civil Case No. 99-95381, with Branch 12 of the Regional Trial Court of
Manila. 6 Respondent filed a motion to dismiss on the ground of forum shopping and pendency of
Civil Case No. SCA 1759. 7
On January 21, 2000, a criminal case for estafa through falsification of public document was filed
against respondent Rafael Jose Consing, Jr. and his mother with the RTC of Imus, Cavite. 8
On April 7, 2000, respondent filed a motion to defer arraignment on the ground of prejudicial
question, i. e., the pendency of Civil Case Nos. SCA 1759 and 99-95381. 9 On January 27, 2000, the
trial court denied respondent's motion.
A motion for reconsideration thereof was likewise denied on February 27, 2001.

10

Respondent filed a petition for certiorari with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order
and/or writ of preliminary injunction with the Court of Appeals seeking to enjoin the arraignment and
trial of the estafa through falsification case. 11 The Court of Appeals granted respondent's prayer for
the issuance of a temporary restraining order in a resolution dated March 19, 2001. 12
On May 31, 2001, a decision was rendered setting aside the January 27, 2000 order of the, trial
court and permanently enjoining it from proceeding with the arraignment and trial of the criminal
case until the civil cases for Injunctive Relief and for Damages and Attachment shall have been
finally decided.
Hence, the People of the Philippines, represented by the Solicitor General, filed the instant petition
seeking the reversal of the May 31, 2001 decision of the Court of Appeals.

The issue to be resolved in this petition is whether or not the pendency of Civil Case Nos. SCA 1759
and 99-95381, for Injunctive Relief and for Damages and Attachment, is a prejudicial question
justifying the suspension of the proceedings in the criminal case for estafa through falsification of
public document, filed against the respondent.
A prejudicial question is defined as that which arises in a case, the resolution of which is a logical
antecedent of the issue involved therein, and the cognizance of which pertains to another tribunal.
The prejudicial question must be determinative of the case before the court but the jurisdiction to try
and resolve the question must be lodged in another court or tribunal. It is a question based on a fact
distinct and separate from the crime but so intimately connected with it that it determines the guilt or
innocence of the accused. For a civil action to be considered prejudicial to a criminal case as to
cause the suspension of the criminal proceedings until the final resolution of the civil action, the
following requisites must be present: (1) the civil case involves facts intimately related to those upon
which the criminal prosecution would be based; (2) in the resolution of the issue or issues raised in
the civil action, the guilt or innocence of the accused would necessarily be determined; and (3)
jurisdiction to try said question must be lodged in another tribunal. 13
If both civil and criminal cases have similar issues or the issue in one is intimately related to the
issues raised in the other, then a prejudicial question would likely exist, provided the other element
or characteristic is satisfied. It must appear not only that the civil case involves the same facts upon
which the criminal prosecution would be based, but also that the resolution of the issues raised in
the civil action would be necessarily determinative of the guilt or innocence of the accused. If the
resolution of the issue in the civil action will not determine the criminal responsibility of the accused
in the criminal action based on the same facts, or there is no necessity that the civil case be
determined first before taking up the criminal case, therefore, the civil case does not involve a
prejudicial question. 14
In the case at bar, we find no prejudicial question that would justify the suspension of the
proceedings in the criminal case. The issue in Civil Case No. SCA 1759 for Injunctive Relief is
whether or not respondent merely acted as an agent of his mother, Cecilia de la Cruz; while in Civil
Case No. 99-95381, for Damages and Attachment, the question is whether respondent and his
mother are liable to pay damages and to return the amount paid by PBI for the purchase of the
disputed lot. Even if respondent is declared merely an agent of his mother in the transaction
involving the sale of the questioned lot, he cannot be adjudged free from criminal liability. An agent
or any person may be held liable for conspiring to falsify public documents. Hence, the determination
of the issue involved in Civil Case No. SCA 1759 for Injunctive Relief is irrelevant to the guilt or
innocence of the respondent in the criminal case for estafa through falsification of public document.
Likewise, the resolution of PBI's right to be paid damages and the purchase price of the lot in
question will not be determinative of the culpability of the respondent in the criminal case for even if
PBI is held entitled to the return of the purchase price plus damages, it does not ipso facto follow
that respondent should be held guilty of estafa through falsification of public document. Stated
differently, a ruling of the court in the civil case that PBI should not be paid the purchase price plus
damages will not necessarily absolve respondent of liability in the criminal case where his guilt may
still be established under penal laws as determined by other evidence.
Moreover, neither is there a prejudicial question if the civil and the criminal action can, according to
law, proceed independently of each other. 15 Under Rule 111, Section 3 of the Revised Rules on
Criminal Procedure, in the cases provided in Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code, the

independent civil action may be brought by the offended party. It shall proceed independently of the
criminal action and shall require only a preponderance of evidence. In no case, however, may the
offended party recover damages twice for the same act or omission charged in the criminal action.
Thus, in Rojas v. People, 16 the petitioner was accused in a criminal case for violation of Article 319 of
the Revised Penal Code, for executing a new chattel mortgage on personal property in favor of
another party without consent of the previous mortgagee. Thereafter, the offended party filed a civil
case for termination of management contract, one of the causes of action of which consisted of
petitioner having executed a chattel mortgage while the previous chattel mortgage was still valid and
subsisting. Petitioner moved that the arraignment and trial of the criminal case be held in abeyance
on the ground that the civil case was a prejudicial question, the resolution of which was necessary
before the criminal proceedings could proceed. The trial court denied the suspension of the criminal
case on the ground that no prejudicial question exist. We affirmed the order of the trial court and
ruled that:
. . . the resolution of the liability of the defendant in the civil case on the eleventh cause of
action based on the fraudulent misrepresentation that the chattel mortgage the defendant
executed in favor of the said CMS Estate, Inc. on February 20, 1957, that his D-6
"Caterpillar" Tractor with Serial No. 9-U-6565 was "free from all liens and encumbrances" will
not determine the criminal liability of the accused in the said Criminal Case No. 56042 for
violation of paragraph 2 of Article 319 of the Revised Penal Code . . . (i) That, even granting
for the sake of argument, a prejudicial question is involved in this case, the fact remains that
both the crime charged in the information in the criminal case and the eleventh cause of
action in the civil case are based upon fraud, hence both the civil and criminal cases could
proceed independently of the other pursuant to Article 33 of the new Civil Code which
provides: "In cases of defamation, fraud and physical injuries, a civil action for damages,
entirely separate and distinct from the criminal action shall proceed independently of the
criminal prosecution, and shall require only a preponderance of evidence." (j) That, therefore,
the act of respondent judge in issuing the orders referred to in the instant petition was not
made with "grave abuse of discretion."
In the instant case, Civil Case No. 99-95381, for Damages and Attachment on account of the alleged
fraud committed by respondent and his mother in selling the disputed lot to PBI is an independent
civil action under Article 33 of the Civil Code. As such, it will not operate as a prejudicial question that
will justify the suspension of the criminal case at bar.
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the instant petition is GRANTED. The May 31, 2001
decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 63712 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The
permanent injunction issued by the Court of Appeals is LIFTED and the Regional Trial Court of Imus,
Cavite, Branch 21 is ORDERED to proceed with the arraignment and trial in Criminal Case No.
7668-00.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 166836

September 4, 2013

SAN MIGUEL PROPERTIES, INC., PETITIONER,


vs.
SEC. HERNANDO B. PEREZ, ALBERT C. AGUIRRE, TEODORO B. ARCENAS, JR., MAXY S.

ABAD, JAMES G. BARBERS, STEPHEN N. SARINO, ENRIQUE N. ZALAMEA, JR., MARIANO M.


MARTIN, ORLANDO O. SAMSON, CATHERINE R. AGUIRRE, AND ANTONIO V.
AGCAOILI, RESPONDENTS.
DECISION
BERSAMIN, J.:
The pendency of an administrative case for specific performance brought by the buyer of residential
subdivision lots in the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) to compel the seller to
deliver the transfer certificates of title (TCTs) of the fully paid lots is properly considered a ground to
suspend a criminal prosecution for violation of Section 25 of Presidential Decree No. 957 1 on the
ground of a prejudicial question. The administrative determination is a logical antecedent of the
resolution of the criminal charges based on non-delivery of the TCTs.
Antecedents
Petitioner San Miguel Properties Inc. (San Miguel Properties), a domestic corporation engaged in
the real estate business, purchased in 1992, 1993 and April 1993 from B.F. Homes, Inc. (BF
Homes), then represented by Atty. Florencio B. Orendain (Orendain) as its duly authorized
rehabilitation receiver appointed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), 2 130
residential lots situated in its subdivision BF Homes Paraaque, containing a total area of 44,345
square meters for the aggregate price of P106,248,000.00. The transactions were embodied in three
separate deeds of sale.3 The TCTs covering the lots bought under the first and second deeds were
fully delivered to San Miguel Properties, but 20 TCTs covering 20 of the 41 parcels of land with a
total area of 15,565 square meters purchased under the third deed of sale, executed in April 1993
and for which San Miguel Properties paid the full price of P39,122,627.00, were not delivered to San
Miguel Properties.
On its part, BF Homes claimed that it withheld the delivery of the 20 TCTs for parcels of land
purchased under the third deed of sale because Atty. Orendain had ceased to be its rehabilitation
receiver at the time of the transactions after being meanwhile replaced as receiver by FBO Network
Management, Inc. on May 17, 1989 pursuant to an order from the SEC.4
BF Homes refused to deliver the 20 TCTs despite demands. Thus, on August 15, 2000, San Miguel
Properties filed a complaint-affidavit in the Office of the City Prosecutor of Las Pias City (OCP Las
Pias) charging respondent directors and officers of BF Homes with non-delivery of titles in violation
of Section 25, in relation to Section 39, both of Presidential Decree No. 957 (I.S. No. 00-2256). 5
At the same time, San Miguel Properties sued BF Homes for specific performance in the HLURB
(HLURB Case No. REM-082400-11183),6 praying to compel BF Homes to release the 20 TCTs in its
favor.
In their joint counter-affidavit submitted in I.S. No. 00-2256,7 respondent directors and officers of BF
Homes refuted San Miguel Properties assertions by contending that: (a) San Miguel Properties
claim was not legally demandable because Atty. Orendain did not have the authority to sell the 130
lots in 1992 and 1993 due to his having been replaced as BF Homes rehabilitation receiver by the
SEC on May 17, 1989; (b) the deeds of sale conveying the lots were irregular for being undated and
unnotarized; (c) the claim should have been brought to the SEC because BF Homes was under

receivership; (d) in receivership cases, it was essential to suspend all claims against a distressed
corporation in order to enable the receiver to effectively exercise its powers free from judicial and
extra-judicial interference that could unduly hinder the rescue of the distressed company; and (e) the
lots involved were under custodia legis in view of the pending receivership proceedings, necessarily
stripping the OCP Las Pias of the jurisdiction to proceed in the action.
On October 10, 2000, San Miguel Properties filed a motion to suspend proceedings in the OCP Las
Pias,8 citing the pendency of BF Homes receivership case in the SEC. In its comment/opposition,
BF Homes opposed the motion to suspend. In the meantime, however, the SEC terminated BF
Homes receivership on September 12, 2000, prompting San Miguel Properties to file on October 27,
2000 a reply to BF Homes comment/opposition coupled with a motion to withdraw the sought
suspension of proceedings due to the intervening termination of the receivership. 9
On October 23, 2000, the OCP Las Pias rendered its resolution,10 dismissing San Miguel
Properties criminal complaint for violation of Presidential Decree No. 957 on the ground that no
action could be filed by or against a receiver without leave from the SEC that had appointed him;
that the implementation of the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 957 exclusively pertained under
the jurisdiction of the HLURB; that there existed a prejudicial question necessitating the suspension
of the criminal action until after the issue on the liability of the distressed BF Homes was first
determined by the SEC en banc or by the HLURB; and that no prior resort to administrative
jurisdiction had been made; that there appeared to be no probable cause to indict respondents for
not being the actual signatories in the three deeds of sale.
On February 20, 2001, the OCP Las Pias denied San Miguel Properties motion for reconsideration
filed on November 28, 2000, holding that BF Homes directors and officers could not be held liable
for the non-delivery of the TCTs under Presidential Decree No. 957 without a definite ruling on the
legality of Atty. Orendains actions; and that the criminal liability would attach only after BF Homes
did not comply with a directive of the HLURB directing it to deliver the titles. 11
San Miguel Properties appealed the resolutions of the OCP Las Pias to the Department of Justice
(DOJ), but the DOJ Secretary denied the appeal on October 15, 2001, holding:
After a careful review of the evidence on record, we find no cogent reason to disturb the ruling of the
City Prosecutor of Las Pias City. Established jurisprudence supports the position taken by the City
Prosecutor concerned.
There is no dispute that aside from the instant complaint for violation of PD 957, there is still pending
with the Housing and Land Use Resulatory Board (HLURB, for short) a complaint for specific
performance where the HLURB is called upon to inquire into, and rule on, the validity of the sales
transactions involving the lots in question and entered into by Atty. Orendain for and in behalf of BF
Homes.
As early as in the case of Solid Homes, Inc. vs. Payawal, 177 SCRA 72, the Supreme Court had
ruled that the HLURB has exclusive jurisdiction over cases involving real estate business and
practices under PD 957. This is reiterated in the subsequent cases of Union Bank of the Philippines
versus HLURB, G.R. [No.] 953364, June 29, 1992 and C.T. Torres Enterprises vs. Hilionada, 191
SCRA 286.

The said ruling simply means that unless and until the HLURB rules on the validity of the
transactions involving the lands in question with specific reference to the capacity of Atty. Orendain
to bind BF Homes in the said transactions, there is as yet no basis to charge criminally respondents
for non-delivery of the subject land titles. In other words, complainant cannot invoke the penal
provision of PD 957 until such time that the HLURB shall have ruled and decided on the validity of
the transactions involving the lots in question.
WHEREFORE, the appeal is hereby DENIED.
SO ORDERED.12 (Emphasis supplied)
The DOJ eventually denied San Miguel Properties motion for reconsideration. 13
Ruling of the CA
Undaunted, San Miguel Properties elevated the DOJs resolutions to the CA on certiorari and
mandamus (C.A.-G.R. SP No. 73008), contending that respondent DOJ Secretary had acted with
grave abuse in denying their appeal and in refusing to charge the directors and officers of BF Homes
with the violation of Presidential Decree No. 957. San Miguel Properties submitted the issue of
whether or not HLURB Case No. REM-082400-11183 presented a prejudicial question that called for
the suspension of the criminal action for violation of Presidential Decree No. 957.
In its assailed decision promulgated on February 24, 2004 in C.A.-G.R. SP No. 73008, 14 the CA
dismissed San Miguel Properties petition, holding and ruling as follows:
From the foregoing, the conclusion that may be drawn is that the rule on prejudicial question
generally applies to civil and criminal actions only.
However, an exception to this rule is provided in Quiambao vs. Osorio cited by the respondents. In
this case, an issue in an administrative case was considered a prejudicial question to the resolution
of a civil case which, consequently, warranted the suspension of the latter until after termination of
the administrative proceedings.
Quiambao vs. Osorio is not the only instance when the Supreme Court relaxed the application of the
rule on prejudicial question.
In Tamin vs. CA involving two (2) civil actions, the Highest Court similarly applied the rule on
prejudicial question when it directed petitioner therein to put up a bond for just compensation should
the demolition of private respondents building proved to be illegal as a result of a pending cadastral
suit in another tribunal.
City of Pasig vs. COMELEC is yet another exception where a civil action involving a boundary
dispute was considered a prejudicial question which must be resolved prior to an administrative
proceeding for the holding of a plebiscite on the affected areas.
In fact, in Vidad vs. RTC of Negros Oriental, Br. 42, it was ruled that in the interest of good order,
courts can suspend action in one case pending determination of another case closely interrelated or
interlinked with it.

It thus appears that public respondent did not act with grave abuse of discretion x x x when he
applied the rule on prejudicial question to the instant proceedings considering that the issue on the
validity of the sale transactions x x x by x x x Orendain in behalf of BF Homes, Inc., is closely
intertwined with the purported criminal culpability of private respondents, as officers/directors of BF
Homes, Inc., arising from their failure to deliver the titles of the parcels of land included in the
questioned conveyance.
All told, to sustain the petitioners theory that the result of the HLURB proceedings is not
determinative of the criminal liability of private respondents under PD 957 would be to espouse an
absurdity. If we were to assume that the HLURB finds BFHI under no obligation to delve the subject
titles, it would be highly irregular and contrary to the ends of justice to pursue a criminal case against
private respondents for the non-delivery of certificates of title which they are not under any legal
obligation to turn over in the first place. (Bold emphasis supplied)
On a final note, absent grave abuse of discretion on the part of the prosecutorial arm of the
government as represented by herein public respondent, courts will not interfere with the discretion
of a public prosecutor in prosecuting or dismissing a complaint filed before him. A public prosecutor,
by the nature of his office, is under no compulsion to file a criminal information where no clear legal
justification has been shown, and no sufficient evidence of guilt nor prima facie case has been
established by the complaining party.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus is hereby
DENIED. The Resolutions dated 15 October 2001 and 12 July 2002 of the Department of Justice are
AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED. 15
The CA denied San Miguel Properties motion for reconsideration on January 18, 2005. 16
Issues
Aggrieved, San Miguel Properties is now on appeal, raising the following for consideration and
resolution, to wit:
THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE, SERIOUS AND REVERSIBLE ERRORS WHEN
IT DISMISSED PETITIONERS CERTIORARI AND MANDAMUS PETITION TO ORDER AND
DIRECT RESPONDENT SECRETARY TO INDICT RESPONDENTS FOR VIOLATION OF
SECTION 25, PD. 957 IN THAT:
THE OBLIGATION OF PRIVATE RESPONDENTS TO DELIVER TO PETITIONER THE TITLES TO
20 FULLY-PAID LOTS IS MANDATED BY SECTION 25, PD 957. IN FACT, THE OFFICE OF THE
PRESIDENT HAD DULY CONFIRMED THE SAME PER ITS DECISION DATED 27 JANUARY 2005
IN O.P. CASE NO. 03-E-203, ENTITLED "SMPI V. BF HOMES, INC.".
A FORTIORI, PRIVATE RESPONDENTS FAILURE AND/OR REFUSAL TO DELIVER TO
PETITIONER THE SUBJECT TITLES CONSTITUTES CRIMINAL OFFENSE PER SECTIONS 25
AND 39, PD 957 FOR WHICH IT IS THE MINISTERIAL DUTY OF RESPONDENT SECRETARY TO
INDICT PRIVATE RESPONDENTS THEREFOR.

IN ANY EVENT, THE HLURB CASE DOES NOT PRESENT A "PREJUDICIAL QUESTION" TO THE
SUBJECT CRIMINAL CASE SINCE THE FORMER INVOLVES AN ISSUE SEPARATE AND
DISTINCT FROM THE ISSUE INVOLVED IN THE LATTER. CONSEQUENTLY, THE HLURB CASE
HAS NO CORRELATION, TIE NOR LINKAGE TO THE PRESENT CRIMINAL CASE WHICH CAN
PROCEED INDEPENDENTLY THEREOF.
IN FACT, THE CRIMINAL CULPABILITY OF PRIVATE RESPONDENTS EMANATE FROM THEIR
MALA PROHIBITA NON-DELIVERY OF THE TITLES TO TWENTY (20) FULLY-PAID PARCELS OF
LAND TO PETITIONER, AND NOT FROM THEIR NON-COMPLIANCE WITH THE HLURBS
RULING IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE CASE.
NONETHELESS, BY DECREEING THAT PETITIONERS CRIMINAL COMPLAINT IS PREMATURE,
BOTH THE COURT OF APPEALS AND RESPONDENT SECRETARY HAD IMPLIEDLY ADMITTED
THE EXISTENCE OF SUFFICIENT PROBABLE CAUSE AGAINST PRIVATE RESPONDENTS FOR
THE CRIME CHARGED.17
It is relevant at this juncture to mention the outcome of the action for specific performance and
damages that San Miguel Properties instituted in the HLURB simultaneously with its filing of the
complaint for violation of Presidential Decree No. 957. On January 25, 2002, the HLURB Arbiter
ruled that the HLURB was inclined to suspend the proceedings until the SEC resolved the issue of
Atty. Orendains authority to enter into the transactions in BF Homes behalf, because the final
resolution by the SEC was a logical antecedent to the determination of the issue involved in the
complaint before the HLURB. Upon appeal, the HLURB Board of Commissioners (HLURB Board),
citing the doctrine of primary jurisdiction, affirmed the HLURB Arbiters decision, holding that
although no prejudicial question could arise, strictly speaking, if one case was civil and the other
administrative, it nonetheless opted to suspend its action on the cases pending the final outcome of
the administrative proceeding in the interest of good order.18
Not content with the outcome, San Miguel Properties appealed to the Office of the President (OP),
arguing that the HLURB erred in suspending the proceedings. On January 27, 2004, the OP
reversed the HLURB Boards ruling, holding thusly:
The basic complaint in this case is one for specific performance under Section 25 of the Presidential
Decree (PD) 957 "The Subdivision and Condominium Buyers Protective."
As early as August 1987, the Supreme Court already recognized the authority of the HLURB, as
successor agency of the National Housing Authority (NHA), to regulate, pursuant to PD 957, in
relation to PD 1344, the real estate trade, with exclusive original jurisdiction to hear and decide
cases "involving specific performance of contractual and statutory obligation filed by buyers of
subdivision lots against the owner, developer, dealer, broker or salesman," the HLURB, in the
exercise of its adjudicatory powers and functions, "must interpret and apply contracts, determine the
rights of the parties under these contracts and award[s] damages whenever appropriate."
Given its clear statutory mandate, the HLURBs decision to await for some forum to decide if ever
one is forthcoming the issue on the authority of Orendain to dispose of subject lots before it
peremptorily resolves the basic complaint is unwarranted, the issues thereon having been joined and
the respective position papers and the evidence of the parties having been submitted. To us, it
behooved the HLURB to adjudicate, with the usual dispatch, the right and obligation of the parties in
line with its own appreciation of the obtaining facts and applicable law. To borrow from Mabubha

Textile Mills Corporation vs. Ongpin, it does not have to rely on the finding of others to discharge this
adjudicatory functions.19
After its motion for reconsideration was denied, BF Homes appealed to the CA (C.A.-G.R. SP No.
83631), raising as issues: (a) whether or not the HLURB had the jurisdiction to decide with finality
the question of Atty. Orendains authority to enter into the transaction with San Miguel Properties in
BF Homes behalf, and rule on the rights and obligations of the parties to the contract; and (b)
whether or not the HLURB properly suspended the proceedings until the SEC resolved with finality
the matter regarding such authority of Atty. Orendain.
The CA promulgated its decision in C.A.-G.R. SP No. 83631, 20 decreeing that the HLURB, not the
SEC, had jurisdiction over San Miguel Properties complaint. It affirmed the OPs decision and
ordered the remand of the case to the HLURB for further proceedings on the ground that the case
involved matters within the HLURBs competence and expertise pursuant to the doctrine of primary
jurisdiction, viz:
[T]he High Court has consistently ruled that the NHA or the HLURB has jurisdiction over complaints
arising from contracts between the subdivision developer and the lot buyer or those aimed at
compelling the subdivision developer to comply with its contractual and statutory obligations.
Hence, the HLURB should take jurisdiction over respondents complaint because it pertains to
matters within the HLURBs competence and expertise. The proceedings before the HLURB should
not be suspended.
While We sustain the Office of the President, the case must be remanded to the HLURB. This is in
recognition of the doctrine of primary jurisdiction. The fairest and most equitable course to take
under the circumstances is to remand the case to the HLURB for the proper presentation of
evidence.21
Did the Secretary of Justice commit grave abuse of discretion in upholding the dismissal of San
Miguel Properties criminal complaint for violation of Presidential Decree No. 957 for lack of probable
cause and for reason of a prejudicial question?
The question boils down to whether the HLURB administrative case brought to compel the delivery
of the TCTs could be a reason to suspend the proceedings on the criminal complaint for the violation
of Section 25 of Presidential Decree No. 957 on the ground of a prejudicial question.
Ruling of the Court
The petition has no merit.
1.
Action for specific performance, even if pending in the HLURB, an administrative agency, raises a
prejudicial question BF Homes posture that the administrative case for specific performance in the
HLURB posed a prejudicial question that must first be determined before the criminal case for
violation of Section 25 of Presidential Decree No. 957 could be resolved is correct.

A prejudicial question is understood in law to be that which arises in a case the resolution of which is
a logical antecedent of the issue involved in the criminal case, and the cognizance of which pertains
to another tribunal. It is determinative of the criminal case, but the jurisdiction to try and resolve it is
lodged in another court or tribunal. It is based on a fact distinct and separate from the crime but is so
intimately connected with the crime that it determines the guilt or innocence of the accused. 22 The
rationale behind the principle of prejudicial question is to avoid conflicting decisions. 23 The essential
elements of a prejudicial question are provided in Section 7, Rule 111 of the Rules of Court, to wit:
(a) the previously instituted civil action involves an issue similar or intimately related to the issue
raised in the subsequent criminal action, and (b) the resolution of such issue determines whether or
not the criminal action may proceed.
The concept of a prejudicial question involves a civil action and a criminal case. Yet, contrary to San
Miguel Properties submission that there could be no prejudicial question to speak of because no
civil action where the prejudicial question arose was pending, the action for specific performance in
the HLURB raises a prejudicial question that sufficed to suspend the proceedings determining the
charge for the criminal violation of Section 2524 of Presidential Decree No. 957. This is true simply
because the action for specific performance was an action civil in nature but could not be instituted
elsewhere except in the HLURB, whose jurisdiction over the action was exclusive and original. 25
The determination of whether the proceedings ought to be suspended because of a prejudicial
question rested on whether the facts and issues raised in the pleadings in the specific performance
case were so related with the issues raised in the criminal complaint for the violation of Presidential
Decree No. 957, such that the resolution of the issues in the former would be determinative of the
question of guilt in the criminal case. An examination of the nature of the two cases involved is thus
necessary.
An action for specific performance is the remedy to demand the exact performance of a contract in
the specific form in which it was made, or according to the precise terms agreed upon by a party
bound to fulfill it.26 Evidently, before the remedy of specific performance is availed of, there must first
be a breach of the contract.27 The remedy has its roots in Article 1191 of the Civil Code, which reads:
Article 1191. The power to rescind obligations is implied in reciprocal ones, in case one of the
obligors should not comply with what is incumbent upon him.
The injured party may choose between the fulfillment and the rescission of the obligation, with the
payment of damages in either case. He may also seek rescission, even after he has chosen
fulfillment, if the latter should become impossible. x x x (Emphasis supplied)
Accordingly, the injured party may choose between specific performance or rescission with
damages. As presently worded, Article 1191 speaks of the remedy of rescission in reciprocal
obligations within the context of Article 1124 of the former Civil Code which used the term resolution.
The remedy of resolution applied only to reciprocal obligations, such that a partys breach of the
contract equated to a tacit resolutory condition that entitled the injured party to rescission. The
present article, as in the former one, contemplates alternative remedies for the injured party who is
granted the option to pursue, as principal actions, either the rescission or the specific performance of
the obligation, with payment of damages in either case.28
On the other hand, Presidential Decree No. 957 is a law that regulates the sale of subdivision lots
and condominiums in view of the increasing number of incidents wherein "real estate subdivision

owners, developers, operators, and/or sellers have reneged on their representations and obligations
to provide and maintain properly" the basic requirements and amenities, as well as of reports of
alarming magnitude of swindling and fraudulent manipulations perpetrated by unscrupulous
subdivision and condominium sellers and operators, 29 such as failure to deliver titles to the buyers or
titles free from liens and encumbrances. Presidential Decree No. 957 authorizes the suspension and
revocation of the registration and license of the real estate subdivision owners, developers,
operators, and/or sellers in certain instances, as well as provides the procedure to be observed in
such instances; it prescribes administrative fines and other penalties in case of violation of, or noncompliance with its provisions.
Conformably with the foregoing, the action for specific performance in the HLURB would determine
whether or not San Miguel Properties was legally entitled to demand the delivery of the remaining 20
TCTs, while the criminal action would decide whether or not BF Homes directors and officers were
criminally liable for withholding the 20 TCTs. The resolution of the former must obviously precede
that of the latter, for should the HLURB hold San Miguel Properties to be not entitled to the delivery
of the 20 TCTs because Atty. Orendain did not have the authority to represent BF Homes in the sale
due to his receivership having been terminated by the SEC, the basis for the criminal liability for the
violation of Section 25 of Presidential Decree No. 957 would evaporate, thereby negating the need
to proceed with the criminal case.
Worthy to note at this juncture is that a prejudicial question need not conclusively resolve the guilt or
innocence of the accused. It is enough for the prejudicial question to simply test the sufficiency of the
allegations in the information in order to sustain the further prosecution of the criminal case. A party
who raises a prejudicial question is deemed to have hypothetically admitted that all the essential
elements of the crime have been adequately alleged in the information, considering that the
Prosecution has not yet presented a single piece of evidence on the indictment or may not have
rested its case. A challenge to the allegations in the information on the ground of prejudicial question
is in effect a question on the merits of the criminal charge through a non-criminal suit. 30
2.
Doctrine of primary jurisdiction is applicable
That the action for specific performance was an administrative case pending in the HLURB, instead
of in a court of law, was of no consequence at all. As earlier mentioned, the action for specific
performance, although civil in nature, could be brought only in the HLURB. This situation conforms
to the doctrine of primary jurisdiction. There has been of late a proliferation of administrative
agencies, mostly regulatory in function. It is in favor of these agencies that the doctrine of primary
jurisdiction is frequently invoked, not to defeat the resort to the judicial adjudication of controversies
but to rely on the expertise, specialized skills, and knowledge of such agencies in their resolution.
The Court has observed that one thrust of the proliferation is that the interpretation of contracts and
the determination of private rights under contracts are no longer a uniquely judicial function
exercisable only by the regular courts.31
The doctrine of primary jurisdiction has been increasingly called into play on matters demanding the
special competence of administrative agencies even if such matters are at the same time within the
jurisdiction of the courts. A case that requires for its determination the expertise, specialized skills,
and knowledge of some administrative board or commission because it involves technical matters or
intricate questions of fact, relief must first be obtained in an appropriate administrative proceeding

before a remedy will be supplied by the courts although the matter comes within the jurisdiction of
the courts. The application of the doctrine does not call for the dismissal of the case in the court but
only for its suspension until after the matters within the competence of the administrative body are
threshed out and determined.32
To accord with the doctrine of primary jurisdiction, the courts cannot and will not determine a
controversy involving a question within the competence of an administrative tribunal, the controversy
having been so placed within the special competence of the administrative tribunal under a
regulatory scheme. In that instance, the judicial process is suspended pending referral to the
administrative body for its view on the matter in dispute. Consequently, if the courts cannot resolve a
question that is within the legal competence of an administrative body prior to the resolution of that
question by the latter, especially where the question demands the exercise of sound administrative
discretion requiring the special knowledge, experience, and services of the administrative agency to
ascertain technical and intricate matters of fact, and a uniformity of ruling is essential to comply with
the purposes of the regulatory statute administered, suspension or dismissal of the action is proper.33
3.
Other submissions of petitioner are unwarranted
It is not tenable for San Miguel Properties to argue that the character of a violation of Section 25 of
Presidential Decree No. 957 as malum prohibitum, by which criminal liability attached to BF Homes
directors and officers by the mere failure to deliver the TCTs, already rendered the suspension
unsustainable.34 The mere fact that an act or omission was malum prohibitum did not do away with
the initiative inherent in every court to avoid an absurd result by means of rendering a reasonable
interpretation and application of the procedural law. Indeed, the procedural law must always be given
a reasonable construction to preclude absurdity in its application. 35 Hence, a literal application of the
principle governing prejudicial questions is to be eschewed if such application would produce unjust
and absurd results or unreasonable consequences.
San Miguel Properties further submits that respondents could not validly raise the prejudicial
question as a reason to suspend the criminal proceedings because respondents had not themselves
initiated either the action for specific performance or the criminal action. It contends that the defense
of a prejudicial question arising from the filing of a related case could only be raised by the party who
filed or initiated said related case.
1wphi1

The submission is unfounded. The rule on prejudicial question makes no distinction as to who is
allowed to raise the defense. Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos distinguere debemos. When the law
makes no distinction, we ought not to distinguish. 36
WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS the decision promulgated on February 24, 2004 by the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP NO. 73008; and ORDERS petitioner to pay the costs of suit.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 138509

July 31, 2000

IMELDA MARBELLA-BOBIS, petitioner,


vs.
ISAGANI D. BOBIS, respondent.
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
On October 21, 1985, respondent contracted a first marriage with one Maria Dulce B. Javier. Without
said marriage having been annulled, nullified or terminated, the same respondent contracted a
second marriage with petitioner Imelda Marbella-Bobis on January 25, 1996 and allegedly a third
marriage with a certain Julia Sally Hernandez. Based on petitioner's complaint-affidavit, an
information for bigamy was filed against respondent on February 25, 1998, which was docketed as
Criminal Case No. Q98-75611 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 226, Quezon City. Sometime
thereafter, respondent initiated a civil action for the judicial declaration of absolute nullity of his first
marriage on the ground that it was celebrated without a marriage license. Respondent then filed a
motion to suspend the proceedings in the criminal case for bigamy invoking the pending civil case
for nullity of the first marriage as a prejudicial question to the criminal case. The trial judge granted
the motion to suspend the criminal case in an Order dated December 29, 1998. 1 Petitioner filed a
motion for reconsideration, but the same was denied.
Hence, this petition for review on certiorari. Petitioner argues that respondent should have first
obtained a judicial declaration of nullity of his first marriage before entering into the second marriage,
inasmuch as the alleged prejudicial question justifying suspension of the bigamy case is no longer a
legal truism pursuant to Article 40 of the Family Code.2
The issue to be resolved in this petition is whether the subsequent filing of a civil action for
declaration of nullity of a previous marriage constitutes a prejudicial question to a criminal case for
bigamy.
A prejudicial question is one which arises in a case the resolution of which is a logical antecedent of
the issue involved therein.3It is a question based on a fact distinct and separate from the crime but
so intimately connected with it that it determines the guilt or innocence of the accused. 4 It must
appear not only that the civil case involves facts upon which the criminal action is based, but also
that the resolution of the issues raised in the civil action would necessarily be determinative of the
criminal case.5 Consequently, the defense must involve an issue similar or intimately related to the
same issue raised in the criminal action and its resolution determinative of whether or not the latter
action may proceed.6 Its two essential elements are:7
(a) the civil action involves an issue similar or intimately related to the issue raised in the
criminal action; and
(b) the resolution of such issue determines whether or not the criminal action may proceed.
A prejudicial question does not conclusively resolve the guilt or innocence of the accused but simply
tests the sufficiency of the allegations in the information in order to sustain the further prosecution of
the criminal case. A party who raises a prejudicial question is deemed to have hypothetically
admitted that all the essential elements of a crime have been adequately alleged in the information,
considering that the prosecution has not yet presented a single evidence on the indictment or may
not yet have rested its case. A challenge of the allegations in the information on the ground of

prejudicial question is in effect a question on the merits of the criminal charge through a non-criminal
suit.
Article 40 of the Family Code, which was effective at the time of celebration of the second marriage,
requires a prior judicial declaration of nullity of a previous marriage before a party may remarry. The
clear implication of this is that it is not for the parties, particularly the accused, to determine the
validity or invalidity of the marriage.8Whether or not the first marriage was void for lack of a license is
a matter of defense because there is still no judicial declaration of its nullity at the time the second
marriage was contracted. It should be remembered that bigamy can successfully be prosecuted
provided all its elements concur two of which are a previous marriage and a subsequent marriage
which would have been valid had it not been for the existence at the material time of the first
marriage.9
In the case at bar, respondent's clear intent is to obtain a judicial declaration of nullity of his first
marriage and thereafter to invoke that very same judgment to prevent his prosecution for bigamy. He
cannot have his cake and eat it too. Otherwise, all that an adventurous bigamist has to do is to
disregard Article 40 of the Family Code, contract a subsequent marriage and escape a bigamy
charge by simply claiming that the first marriage is void and that the subsequent marriage is equally
void for lack of a prior judicial declaration of nullity of the first. A party may even enter into a marriage
aware of the absence of a requisite - usually the marriage license - and thereafter contract a
subsequent marriage without obtaining a declaration of nullity of the first on the assumption that the
first marriage is void. Such scenario would render nugatory the provisions on bigamy. As succinctly
held inLandicho v. Relova:10
(P)arties to a marriage should not be permitted to judge for themselves its nullity, only
competent courts having such authority. Prior to such declaration of nullity, the validity of the
first marriage is beyond question. A party who contracts a second marriage then assumes
the risk of being prosecuted for bigamy.
Respondent alleges that the first marriage in the case before us was void for lack of a marriage
license. Petitioner, on the other hand, argues that her marriage to respondent was exempt from the
requirement of a marriage license. More specifically, petitioner claims that prior to their marriage,
they had already attained the age of majority and had been living together as husband and wife for
at least five years.11 The issue in this case is limited to the existence of a prejudicial question, and we
are not called upon to resolve the validity of the first marriage. Be that as it may, suffice it to state
that the Civil Code, under which the first marriage was celebrated, provides that "every intendment
of law or fact leans toward the validity of marriage, the indissolubility of the marriage bonds." 12 []
Hence, parties should not be permitted to judge for themselves the nullity of their marriage, for the
same must be submitted to the determination of competent courts. Only when the nullity of the
marriage is so declared can it be held as void, and so long as there is no such declaration the
presumption is that the marriage exists.13 No matter how obvious, manifest or patent the absence of
an element is, the intervention of the courts must always be resorted to. That is why Article 40 of the
Family Code requires a "final judgment," which only the courts can render. Thus, as ruled
in Landicho v. Relova,14 he who contracts a second marriage before the judicial declaration of nullity
of the first marriage assumes the risk of being prosecuted for bigamy, and in such a case the
criminal case may not be suspended on the ground of the pendency of a civil case for declaration of
nullity. In a recent case for concubinage, we held that the pendency of a civil case for declaration of
nullity of marriage is not a prejudicial question.15 This ruling applies here by analogy since both
crimes presuppose the subsistence of a marriage.

Ignorance of the existence of Article 40 of the Family Code cannot even be successfully invoked as
an excuse.16The contracting of a marriage knowing that the requirements of the law have not been
complied with or that the marriage is in disregard of a legal impediment is an act penalized by the
Revised Penal Code.17 The legality of a marriage is a matter of law and every person is presumed to
know the law. As respondent did not obtain the judicial declaration of nullity when he entered into the
second marriage, why should he be allowed to belatedly obtain that judicial declaration in order to
delay his criminal prosecution and subsequently defeat it by his own disobedience of the law? If he
wants to raise the nullity of the previous marriage, he can do it as a matter of defense when he
presents his evidence during the trial proper in the criminal case.
The burden of proof to show the dissolution of the first marriage before the second marriage was
contracted rests upon the defense,18 but that is a matter that can be raised in the trial of the bigamy
case. In the meantime, it should be stressed that not every defense raised in the civil action may be
used as a prejudicial question to obtain the suspension of the criminal action. The lower court,
therefore, erred in suspending the criminal case for bigamy. Moreover, when respondent was
indicted for bigamy, the fact that he entered into two marriage ceremonies appeared indubitable. It
was only after he was sued by petitioner for bigamy that he thought of seeking a judicial declaration
of nullity of his first marriage. The obvious intent, therefore, is that respondent merely resorted to the
civil action as a potential prejudicial question for the purpose of frustrating or delaying his criminal
prosecution. As has been discussed above, this cannot be done.
1awphi1

In the light of Article 40 of the Family Code, respondent, without first having obtained the judicial
declaration of nullity of the first marriage, can not be said to have validly entered into the second
marriage. Per current jurisprudence, a marriage though void still needs a judicial declaration of such
fact before any party can marry again; otherwise the second marriage will also be void. 19 The reason
is that, without a judicial declaration of its nullity, the first marriage is presumed to be subsisting. In
the case at bar, respondent was for all legal intents and purposes regarded as a married man at the
time he contracted his second marriage with petitioner.20 Against this legal backdrop, any decision in
the civil action for nullity would not erase the fact that respondent entered into a second marriage
during the subsistence of a first marriage. Thus, a decision in the civil case is not essential to the
determination of the criminal charge. It is, therefore, not a prejudicial question. As stated above,
respondent cannot be permitted to use his own malfeasance to defeat the criminal action against
him.21
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The order dated December 29, 1998 of the Regional Trial
Court, Branch 226 of Quezon City is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the trial court is ordered to
IMMEDIATELY proceed with Criminal Case No. Q98-75611.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 134887

July 27, 2006

PHILIPPINE AGILA SATELLITE, INC. represented by MICHAEL C. U. DE GUZMAN, petitioner,


vs.
SEC. JOSEFINA TRINIDAD LICHAUCO and the HON. OMBUDSMAN, respondents.
DECISION

CARPIO MORALES, J.:


On June 6, 1994, a Memorandum of Understanding1 (MOU) was entered into by a consortium of
private telecommunications carriers and the Department of Transportation and Communications
(DOTC) represented by then Secretary Jesus B. Garcia, Jr. relative to the launching, ownership,
operation and management of a Philippine satellite by a Filipino-owned or controlled private
consortium or corporation.
Pursuant to Article IV of the MOU, the consortium of private telecommunications carriers formed a
corporation and adopted the corporate name Philippine Agila Satellite, Inc. (PASI), herein petitioner.
By letter2 dated June 28, 1996, PASI president Rodrigo A. Silverio (Silverio) requested the then
DOTC Secretary Amado S. Lagdameo, Jr. for official government confirmation of the assignment of
Philippine orbital slots 161E and 153E to PASI for its AGILA satellites.
In response to Silverios letter, Secretary Lagdameo, by letter 3 dated July 3, 1996, confirmed the
governments assignment of Philippine orbital slots 161E and 153E to PASI for its AGILA satellites.
PASI thereupon undertook preparations for the launching, operation and management of its
satellites by, among other things, obtaining loans, increasing its capital, conducting negotiations with
its business partners, and making an initial payment of US$ 3.5 million to Aerospatiale, a French
satellite manufacturer.
Michael de Guzman (de Guzman), PASI President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), later informed
Jesli Lapuz (Lapuz), President and CEO of the Landbank of the Philippines, by letter 4 of December
3, 1996, of the governments assignment to PASI of orbital slots 161E and 153E and requested the
banks confirmation of its participation in a club loan in the amount of US$ 11 million, the proceeds of
which would be applied to PASIs interim satellite.
It appears that Lapuz sent a copy of De Guzmans letter to then DOTC Undersecretary Josefina T.
Lichauco, (Lichauco) who, by letter5 of December 5, 1996, wrote Lapuz as follows:
1. Kindly be informed that there is simply no basis for Michael de Guzman to allege that the
DOTC has assigned two (2) slots to PASI. He conveniently neglected to attach as another
annex, in addition to Sec. Lagdameos letter of 3 July 1996 (Annex "A") the letter of 28 June
(Annex "B") in response to which the July 3rd letter had been sent to PASI. Annex "B"
precisely provides that one slot (153 E, to which the interim satellite was supposed to
migrate) was to be used for the migration of the Russian satellite in time for the APEC
Leaders Summit. This particular endeavor was not successful. The interim satellite
"Gorizont" never moved from its orbital location of 130E Longitude. Annex "C" is a letter
from an official of the Subic Bay Satellite Systems Inc., with its attachments, addressed to
me stating that as of the 13th of November, no such voyage to 153E orbital slot had been
commenced. In fact DHI hid this fact from me, and in fact stated that Gorizont had already
moved and was on its way to 153E.
Since this timely migration did not happen in time for the APEC Leaders Meeting on 24
November, this 153E Longitude slot can no longer be assigned to PASI.

The other slot 161E Longitude is the one that can be made available for PASIs eventual
launch, in 1998 most likely, in exchange for one free satellite transponder unit utilization, for
all requirements of Government. These have yet to be embodied in a contract between PASI
and the DOTC.
2. I understand from my meeting with DHI/PASI this morning, and from the de Guzman letter
you sent to me, that the latter are still interested in pursuing their "interim satellite project"
and are applying for a loan with your bank. Of course they can always pursue this as a
business venture of DHI/PASI which is their own corporate business decision. The DOTC
supports this venture but they will be getting only one orbital slotfor both the Interim Satellite
Project and for the Launch Project. I understand from todays meeting with them that this is
technically feasible.
3. As regards the use of the name "Agila", Mr. de Guzmans allegation that DHI/PASI has
registered "Agila" as a "corporate alias/trademark" is FALSE. There is no such thing as
registration of a "corporate alias". Nor for that matter can the trade name of a satellite be
registered for just any satellite, where it was the President who chose the name for the first
Philippine satellite in orbit. No one else coined that name but he. He has therefore given the
name "Agila I" to the Mabuhay satellite now in orbit at 144E, being the first Philippine
satellite in orbit. He made this announcement in the presence of all the APEC Heads of State
just before the presentation to him of the Manila Action Plan for APEC. (Underscoring
supplied)
Lichauco subsequently issued, in December 1997, a Notice of Offer 6 for several orbital slots
including 153E.
PASI, claiming that the offer was without its knowledge and that it subsequently came to learn that
another company whose identity had not been disclosed had submitted a bid and won the award for
orbital slot 153E, filed on January 23, 1998 a complaint 7 before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Mandaluyong City against Lichauco and the "Unknown Awardee," for injunction to enjoin the award
of orbital slot 153E, declare its nullity, and for damages.
PASI also filed on February 23, 1998 a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against
Secretary Josefina Trinidad Lichauco. In his affidavit-complaint, de Guzman charged Lichauco with
gross violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and
Corrupt Practices Act, as amended, reading:
(e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private
party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official,
administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross
inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of officers or
government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions.
The complaint was docketed as OMB Case No. 0-98-0416. The Evaluation and Preliminary
Investigation Bureau (EPIB) of the Office of the Ombudsman, by Evaluation Report 8 dated April 15,
1998, found the existence of a prejudicial question after considering that "the case filed with the RTC
involves facts intimately related to those upon which the criminal prosecution would be based and
that the guilt or the innocence of the accused would necessarily be determined in the resolution of
the issues raised in the civil case." It thus concluded that the filing of the complaint before the

Ombudsman "is premature since the issues involved herein are now subject of litigation in the case
filed with the RTC," and accordingly recommended its dismissal. Then Ombudsman Aniano A.
Desierto approved on April 24, 1998 the recommendation of the EPIB.
PASI moved to reconsider9 the dismissal of the complaint, but was denied by Order10 dated July 17,
1998.
In the meantime, a motion to dismiss the civil case against respondent was denied by the trial court.
On elevation of the order of denial to the Court of Appeals, said court, by Decision dated February
21, 2000, ordered the dismissal of the case. This Court, by Decision dated May 3, 2006, ordered the
reinstatement of the case, however.11
PASI is now before this Court via petition for review on certiorari, arguing that the Ombudsman erred
in dismissing the complaint.
In issue are 1) whether there exists a prejudicial question and, if in the affirmative, 2) whether the
dismissal of the complaint on that account is in order.
Section 7, Rule 111 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure provides:
Section 7. Elements of prejudicial question. The elements of a prejudicial question are: (a)
the previously instituted civil action involves an issue similar or intimately related to the issue
raised in the subsequent criminal action, and (b) the resolution of such issue determines
whether or not the criminal action may proceed.
The rationale for the principle of prejudicial question is that although it does not conclusively resolve
the guilt or innocence of the accused, it tests the sufficiency of the allegations in the complaint or
information in order to sustain the further prosecution of the criminal case. 12 Hence, the need for its
prior resolution before further proceedings in the criminal action may be had.
PASI concedes that the issues in the civil case are similar or intimately related to the issue raised in
the criminal case. It contends, however, that the resolution of the issues in the civil case is not
determinative of the guilt or innocence of Lichauco, it arguing that even if she is adjudged liable for
damages, it does not necessarily follow that she would be convicted of the crime charged.
To determine the existence of a prejudicial question in the case before the Ombudsman, it is
necessary to examine the elements of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 for which Lichauco was charged
and the causes of action in the civil case.
Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 which was earlier quoted has the following elements:
1. The accused is a public officer discharging administrative or official functions or private
persons charged in conspiracy with them;
2. The public officer committed the prohibited act during the performance of his official duty
or in relation to his public position;

3. The public officer acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross, inexcusable
negligence; and
4. His action caused undue injury to the Government or any private party, or gave any party
any unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference to such parties. 13
The civil case against Lichauco on the other hand involves three causes of action. The first, for
injunction, seeks to enjoin the award of orbital slot 153E, the DOTC having previously assigned the
same to PASI; the second, for declaration of nullity of award, seeks to nullify the award given to the
undisclosed bidder for being beyond Lichaucos authority; and the third, for damages arising from
Lichaucos questioned acts.
If the award to the undisclosed bidder of orbital slot 153E is, in the civil case, declared valid for
being within Lichaucos scope of authority to thus free her from liability for damages, there would be
no prohibited act to speak of nor would there be basis for undue injury claimed to have been
suffered by petitioner. The finding by the Ombudsman of the existence of a prejudicial question is
thus well-taken.
Respecting the propriety of the dismissal by the Ombudsman of the complaint due to the pendency
of a prejudicial question, PASI argues that since the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the
Ombudsman is silent on the matter, the Rules of Court, specifically Section 6, Rule 111 of the Rules
of Court, which now reads:
SECTION 6. Suspension by reason of prejudicial question. A petition for suspension of the
criminal action based upon the pendency of a prejudicial question in a civil action may be
filed in the office of the prosecutor or the court conducting the preliminary investigation.
When the criminal action has been filed in court for trial, the petition to suspend shall be filed
in the same criminal action at any time before the prosecution rests. (Underscoring
supplied),
applies in a suppletory character.
The Ombudsman, on the other hand, argues that the above-quoted provision of the Rules of Court
applies to cases which are at the preliminary or trial stage and not to those, like the case subject of
the present petition, at the evaluation stage.
The Ombudsman goes on to proffer that at the evaluation stage, the investigating officer may
recommend any of several causes of action including dismissal of the complaint for want of palpable
merit or subjecting the complaint to preliminary investigation, and the evaluation of the complaint
involves the discretion of the investigating officer which this Court cannot interfere with.
While the evaluation of a complaint involves the discretion of the investigating officer, its exercise
should not be abused14 or wanting in legal basis.
Rule II, Section 2 of the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman reads:
SECTION 2. Evaluation. Upon evaluating the complaint, the investigating officer shall
recommend whether it may be:

a) dismissed outright for want of palpable merit;


b) referred to respondent for comment;
c) indorsed to the proper government office or agency which has jurisdiction over the case;
d) forwarded to the appropriate office or official for fact-finding investigation;
e) referred for administrative adjudication; or
f) subjected to a preliminary investigation. (Underscoring supplied)
From the above-quoted provision, a complaint at the evaluation stage may be dismissed outright
only for want of palpable merit. Want of palpable merit obviously means that there is no basis for the
charge or charges. If the complaint has prima facie merit, however, the investigating officer shall
recommend the adoption of any of the actions enumerated above from (b) to (f). 15
When, in the course of the actions taken by those to whom the complaint is endorsed or forwarded,
a prejudicial question is found to be pending, Section 6, Rule 111 of the Rules of Court should be
applied in a suppletory character.16 As laid down in Yap v. Paras,17 said rule directs that the
proceedings may only be suspended, not dismissed, and that it may be made only upon
petition,and not at the instance of the judge alone or as in this case, the investigating officer.
To give imprimatur to the Ombudsmans dismissal of petitioners criminal complaint due to prejudicial
question would not only run counter to the provision of Section 6 of Rule 111 of the Rules of Court. It
would sanction the extinguishment of criminal liability, if there be any, through prescription under
Article 89 vis a vis Articles 90 and 91 of the Revised Penal Code which respectively read:
ART. 89. How criminal liability is totally extinguished. Criminal liability is totally
extinguished:
1. By the death of the convict, as to the personal penalties; and as to pecuniary
penalties, liability therefore is extinguished only when the death of the offender
occurs before final judgment;
2. By service of the sentence;
3. By amnesty, which completely extinguishes the penalty and all its effects;
4. By absolute pardon;
5. By prescription of the crime;
6. By prescription of the penalty;
7. By the marriage of the offended woman, as provided in Article 344 of this Code.
(Underscoring supplied)

ART. 90. Prescription of crimes. Crimes punishable by death, reclusion


perpetua or reclusion temporalshall prescribe in twenty years.
Crimes punishable by other afflictive penalties shall prescribe in fifteen years.
Those punishable by a correctional penalty shall prescribe in ten years; with the exception of
those punishable by arresto mayor, which shall prescribe in five years.
The crime of libel or other similar offenses shall prescribe in one year.
The offenses of oral defamation and slander by deed shall prescribe in six months.
Light offenses prescribe in two months.
When the penalty fixed by law is a compound one, the highest penalty shall be made the
basis of the application of the rules contained in the first, second, and third paragraphs of
this article. x x x
ART. 91. Computation of prescription of offenses. The period of prescription shall
commence to run from the day on which the crime is discovered by the offended party, the
authorities, or their agents, and shall be interrupted by the filing of the complaint or
information, and shall commence to run again when suchproceedings terminate without the
accused being convicted or acquitted, or are unjustifiably stopped for any reason not
imputable to him.
x x x x (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
WHEREFORE, the Order dated July 17, 1998 of respondent Ombudsman dismissing OMB Case
No. 0-98-0416 against respondent then Secretary Josefina Trinidad Lichauco is SET ASIDE.
The Ombudsman is ORDERED to REINSTATE to its docket for further proceedings, in line with the
foregoing ratiocination, OMB Case No. 0-98-0416.
SO ORDERED
G.R. No. 137010

August 29, 2003

ARK TRAVEL EXPRESS, INC., Petitioner,


vs.
The Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 150, HON. ZEUS
ABROGAR, VIOLETA BAGUIO and LORELEI IRA, Respondents.
DECISION
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
Before us is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court seeking to nullify the Order
dated October 2, 1998 issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City (Branch 150) in Civil

Case No. 98-21251 which considered Criminal Cases Nos. 200894 and 200895 pending before the
Metropolitan Trial Court (MTC) of Makati (Branch 67) as withdrawn; and, the Order dated November
23, 1998 which denied petitioners Motion for Reconsideration.
The facts of the case:
Herein petitioner Ark Travel Express, Inc. (Ark Travel for brevity) filed with the City Prosecutor of
Makati a criminal complaint for False Testimony in a Civil Case under Article 182 of the Revised
Penal Code against herein private respondents Violeta Baguio and Lorelei Ira. In a resolution dated
November 20, 1996, the City Prosecutor found probable cause to indict private respondents for
violation of said law and accordingly filed the respective Informations against each of them before
the MTC, docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 200894 and 200895, which, except for the names of the
accused, uniformly read as follows:
The undersigned 2nd Assistant Prosecutor accuses VIOLETA S. BAGUIO of the crime of Violation of
Article 182 of the Revised Penal Code (False Testimony), committed as follows:
That on or about the 19th day of February, 1996, in the City of Makati, Philippines and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously give false testimony upon a material fact in Civil Case No. 95-1542,
relative to a complaint for Collection of sum of money, torts and damages filed by Ark Travel
Express, Inc. (Ark Inc. for short) against New Filipino Maritime Agencies, Inc. (NFMA, Inc. for short)
in the following manner, to wit: during the trial of the aforesaid civil case on aforestated date before
Branch 137 of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Metro Manila, in which one of the principal
issues was whether or not payment of the claim of ARK, Inc. has been made by NFMA, Inc., the said
accused while testifying for NFMA, Inc., with malicious intent, did, then and there willfully, unlawfully
and feloniously and knowingly testified on direct testimony, by way of a sworn statement, and while
under oath on the witness stand, that the claims of ARK, Inc. supported by a statements of accounts
(Exhibit "E" to "GG") sent to and received by defendant-corporation NFMA, Inc. is baseless and/or
been paid, which testimony as accused very well knew and ought to know, by reason of accuseds
position as cashier, was false inasmuch as the claim based on the statement of accounts of ARK,
Inc. (Exhibits "E" to "GG" are, in truth and in fact, valid, legal and unpaid accounts of NFMA, Inc. with
ARK Travel Inc., herein represented by private complainant MA. PAZ ALBERTO, to the damage and
prejudice of the latter.
CONTRARY TO LAW.2
Private respondents filed a petition for review of the City Prosecutors resolution dated November 20,
1996 with the Department of Justice (DOJ). In a resolution dated March 9, 1998, 3 Chief State
Prosecutor Jovencito P. Zuo reversed the City Prosecutors resolution dated November 20, 1996.
The prosecution office of Makati then filed with the MTC a Motion to Withdraw Information. 4
However, on May 15, 1998, Ark Travel filed an "Urgent Petition for Automatic Review" with the DOJ.
In a letter dated May 27, 1998, Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III resolved to treat the urgent petition as
a motion for reconsideration, reversed its resolution dated March 9, 1998 and directed the City
Prosecutor to proceed with the prosecution of Criminal Cases Nos. 200894 and 200895. 5 For this
reason, the MTC issued an Order dated June 10, 1998, denying the aforesaid Motion to Withdraw
Information filed by the prosecution, to wit:

It appearing that the Department of Justice had reconsidered its previous ruling directing the City
Prosecutor of Makati City to withdraw the information filed against the accused in the above-entitled
cases, the Motion to Withdraw Information filed by the prosecution is hereby DENIED.
Set these cases therefore for arraignment on July 30, 1998 at 8:30 in the morning.
SO ORDERED.6
In the meanwhile, private respondents Baguio and Ira filed a Motion for Reconsideration 7 of the May
27, 1998 resolution of then Secretary Bello III, alleging that: (1) the March 9, 1998 resolution of Chief
State Prosecutor Zuo finding no probable cause to indict them has become final and executory
because the Urgent Petition for Automatic Review was filed way beyond the 10-day reglementary
period; and (2) the said resolution of May 27, 1998 did not reverse the finding of the March 9, 1998
resolution that respondents did not really act with malice/criminal intent because the resolution of the
Secretary merely stated that there was false testimony.
DOJ Undersecretary Jesus A. Zozobrado, Jr., signing "For the Secretary", granted the Motion for
Reconsideration in a resolution dated June 26, 1998, disposing thus:
WHEREFORE, our resolution dated May 27, 1998 is reconsidered and set aside; and consequently,
our resolution dated March 9, 1998 is reinstated. You are accordingly, directed to immediately cause,
with leave of court, the withdrawal of the informations for false testimony in a civil case filed against
Violeta S. Baguio and Lorelei Ira. Report to us the action taken within ten (10) days from receipt
hereof.
Consequently, private respondents filed with the MTC a Motion for Reconsideration of its June 10,
1998 Order alleging that there is no longer any obstacle, legal or otherwise, to the granting of the
Motion to Withdraw Information previously filed by the prosecution. The MTC denied the motion in an
Order, dated July 21, 1998, which we quote verbatim, as follows:
Submitted for resolution is a Motion for Reconsideration filed by the accused through counsel which
seeks a reversal of the courts order denying the Motion to Withdraw filed by the prosecution.
In the Crespo Mogul case, it was held by the Supreme Court that once an information is filed in
court, such filing sets in motion the criminal action against the accused before the court, and any
motion to dismiss or withdraw information is always addressed to the discretion of the court. The
denial or grant of any motion is done by the court not out of subservience to the secretary of justice
but in faithful exercise of its judicial prerogative. This is the ruling in the case of Robert Jr. et al. vs.
CH et al. vs. CA G.R. No. 113930 promulgated on March 5, 1996.
A reading of the information sufficiently alleges the facts which make out the offense charged and in
keeping with the above ruling of the Supreme Court, this court hereby denies the Motion for
Reconsideration.
Set this case for arraignment of both accused on July 30, 1998 at 8:30 in the morning.
SO ORDERED.8

Private respondents questioned the MTC Orders dated June 10, 1998 and July 21, 1998 via a
petition for certiorari under Rule 65 with the respondent RTC of Makati.
The RTC issued herein assailed Order dated October 2, 1998, portions of which read:
...
As aptly stated in Ledesma vs. CA (Supra) and Marcelo vs. CA (Aug. 4, 1994) the trial Court
nonetheless should make its own study and evaluation of the said motion and not reply merely on
the awaited action of the secretary.
No such evaluation was ever conducted by the respondent Court before it issued the two (2)
questioned orders.
In view hereof, it is this Courts opinion and stand that the respondent Court may have indeed acted
with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it denied the Motion
to Withdraw and the motion for reconsideration based solely on its bare and ambiguous reliance on
the Crespo Doctrine, since an independent evaluation and assessment of the existence of a
probable cause is necessary before such orders denying the said motions could be issued.
Foregoing Premises Considered, the petition for Certiorari is hereby granted. The questioned orders
dated June 10 and July 21, 1998 are hereby set aside and the Informations in Criminal Cases
Nos. 200894 and 200895 are hereby considered withdrawn.9 (Emphasis ours)
SO ORDERED.
The RTC denied Ark Travels motion for reconsideration in its Order dated November 23, 1998, 10 to
wit:
This resolves the motion for reconsideration filed by private respondent which was temporarily held
in abeyance on account of the manifestation of movants counsel that they intend to file a motion to
inhibit; however, despite the lapse of the 10-day period given to them to do so, the intended motion
has not been filed.
After an extensive study of the motion as well as the opposition thereto, and with careful
consideration and assessment of the circumstances which led to its earlier order, the Court finds no
compelling reason to alter, amend and/or reconsider its order dated October 2, 1998.
Wherefore, the above-mentioned motion is hereby DENIED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.
Hence, the present petition for certiorari which raises the following issue:
WHETHER OR NOT THE RESPONDENT COURT COMMITTED A GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OF OR IN EXCESS OF JURISDICTION, WHEN IT
NULLIFIED THE ORDERS OF THE COURT A QUO, ENJOINED THE SAID COURT A QUO FROM

HEARING CRIMINAL CASES NOS. 200894 AND 200895, AND THEREAFTER, ORDERED THE
OUTRIGHT DISMISSAL OF SAID CRIMINAL CASES.11
Ark Travel argues that the ruling of the RTC contravenes the doctrine laid down by this Court in the
case ofCrespo vs. Mogul12 which enunciated 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 in the
sound discretion of the court. Ark Travel likewise insists that criminal prosecutions cannot be
enjoined.
In their Comment, private respondents counter: (1) Appeal and not certiorari under Rule 65 of the
Rules of Court is the appropriate remedy. But even if the petition at bar is treated as an appeal, the
filing thereof way beyond the 15-day reglementary period within which to appeal, renders the instant
petition outrightly dismissable; (2) Assuming arguendo that petition for certiorari under Rule 65 is the
correct remedy, the petition should still be denied and/or dismissed outright for having been filed
beyond the 60-day reglementary period provided by Rule 65 of the Rules of Court; (3) The RTCs
Orders have become final and executory, and consequently may no longer be disturbed; (4) The
filing of the petition with this Court is grossly violative of the principle of hierarchy of courts; (5) There
is no ground to reverse public respondent RTCs Orders which considered the criminal cases as
withdrawn because the petition does not rebut the validity of the ruling of the DOJ that there is no
probable cause to charge herein private respondents with the crime of false testimony.
In its Reply, Ark Travel argues that herein petition for certiorari is the proper remedy and not appeal
because what is being questioned is not the correctness of the subject Orders but the jurisdiction of
the RTC in considering the criminal cases as withdrawn when said cases are not pending with it but
the MTC; that appeal is not a speedy and/or adequate remedy; and that herein petition does not
violate the principle of hierarchy of court because it presents a question of law.
We shall first address the procedural aspect.
The issue raised in the present petition concerns the jurisdiction of the RTC in ordering the dismissal
of the criminal cases pending before the MTC and therefore, the proper remedy is certiorari. As
such, the present petition for certiorari ought to have been dismissed for late filing. The assailed
Order dated October 2, 1998 was received by Ark Travel on October 16, 1998. Ark Travel filed the
Motion for Reconsideration fourteen days later or on October 30, 1998. On November 27, 1998, Ark
Travel received the Order of the denial of the Motion for Reconsideration. Pursuant to Rule 65 of the
1997 Rules on Civil Procedure, then prevailing, the petition should have been filed on the forty-sixth
day (60 days minus 14 days) from November 27, 1998 or on January 12, 1999, the last day of the
60-day reglementary period; instead, the petition was filed on January 26, 1999.
However, during the pendency of herein petition, the Court promulgated A.M. No. 00-2-03, amending
Section 4, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules on Civil Procedure, effective September 1, 2000, to wit:
SEC. 4. When and where petition filed. The petition shall be filed not later than sixty (60) days from
notice of judgment, order or resolution. In case a motion for reconsideration or new trial is timely
filed, whether such motion is required or not, the sixty (60) day period shall be counted from notice of
the denial of said motion.

in which case, the filing of the petition on January 26, 1999 was filed on the 60th day from November
27, 1998, Ark Travels date of receipt of notice of the order denying Ark Travels motion for
reconsideration.
We have consistently held that statutes regulating the procedure of the courts will be construed as
applicable to actions pending and undetermined at the time of their passage procedural laws are
retroactive in that sense and to that extent.13 In view of such retroactive application of procedural
laws, the instant petition should be considered as timely filed.14
Further, herein case is a clear exception to the principle of hierarchy of courts. The Court has full
discretionary power to take cognizance of the petition filed directly to it for compelling reasons or if
warranted by the nature of the issues raised.15 This case commenced in the MTC way back 1996
and still pends. We therefore set aside such principle for this particular case, in the interest of
speedy justice.16
Anent the substantive aspect.
The general rule is that the denial of a motion to withdraw information, just like a motion to dismiss a
complaint, is an interlocutory order and therefore it cannot be the proper subject of an appeal or
certiorari until a final judgment on the merits of the case is rendered. 17 However, there are certain
situations where recourse to certiorari ormandamus is considered appropriate, to wit:
a) when the trial court issued the order without or in excess of jurisdiction; (b) where there is patent
grave abuse of discretion by the trial court; or, (c) appeal would not prove to be a speedy and
adequate remedy as when an appeal would not promptly relieve a defendant from the injurious
effects of the patently mistaken order maintaining the plaintiffs baseless action and compelling the
defendant needlessly to go through a protracted trial and clogging the court dockets by another futile
case.18
All three situations are present in this case. Thus, the petition for certiorari filed with this Court is the
proper remedy.
In the petition for certiorari filed with the RTC, Ark Travel claims that the MTC committed grave
abuse of discretion in denying the Motion to Withdraw Informations on the ground that the MTC
disregarded the DOJs finding of lack of probable cause without making an independent evaluation
of the same.
Indeed, the MTC Order dated June 10, 1998 shows that the Motion to Withdraw Informations was
denied by the MTC solely on the basis of the ruling of the DOJ that there exists a probable cause;
while the MTC Order dated July 21, 1998 denied the motion for reconsideration of the June 10, 1998
order on the basis of the principle laid down in the Crespo vs. Mogul case that once an Information
was filed in court, its disposition rests in the discretion of the court and that the allegations of facts in
the Information make out the offense charged.
It is settled that when confronted with a motion to withdraw an Information on the ground of
lack of probable cause based on a resolution of the Secretary of the Department of Justice,
the bounden duty of the trial court is to make an independent assessment of the merits of
such motion.19 Having acquired jurisdiction over the case, the trial court is not bound by such

resolution but is required to evaluate it before proceeding further with the trial 20 and should
embody such assessment in the order disposing the motion.21
The subject MTC Orders do not show that the MTC made an independent assessment of the merits
of the Motion to Withdraw Informations. The MTC merely based its first order on the ruling of the
DOJ that probable cause existed. In the second order, the MTC merely stated that from its reading of
the Informations, and in keeping with the Crespo ruling, it is denying the motion for reconsideration.
1wphi1

The MTC should have made an independent evaluation and embodied its assessment in at least
one of its assailed orders, especially considering that the DOJ had issued contradicting rulings on
the existence of probable cause. Hence, on this point, we agree with the RTC that the MTC
committed grave abuse of discretion.
But the RTC, acting on the petition for certiorari before it, not only committed grave abuse of
discretion but acted in excess of or beyond its jurisdiction in considering the criminal cases pending
in the MTC as withdrawn, which in effect, causes the dismissal of the two criminal cases. First, the
subject cases are not within the jurisdiction of the RTC to dismiss. The only issue brought to it is
whether or not the MTC committed grave abuse of discretion in denying the motion to withdraw
without making any independent evaluation as to whether or not there is a probable cause. Second,
while ruling that the MTC should have made an independent assessment on the merits of the Motion
to Withdraw Informations, the RTC itself omitted to do the very thing that it prescribed the MTC to do.
It unceremoniously considered the criminal cases as withdrawn, without evaluation or determination
of the existence of the probable cause.
The RTC should have only nullified the subject MTC Order and remanded the case to the MTC for
its determination of the existence of probable cause pursuant to the
aforementioned Crespo and Ledesma cases.
However, inasmuch as we have taken cognizance of this case in the interest of speedy justice and
considering that the entire records have been forwarded to us, it is befitting that we determine the
existence of probable cause to put an end to this issue which had been unresolved since 1998, not
to mention the fact that the subject Informations were initially filed in 1996. A remand of the case to
the MTC for an independent evaluation of the existence of probable cause will only delay the
disposition of the case and contribute in the clogging of the dockets.
To constitute the crime of False Testimony in a Civil Case under Article 182 of the Revised Penal
Code, the following requisites must concur:
1. the testimony must be given in a civil case;
2. the testimony must relate to the issues presented in the case;
3. the testimony is false;
4. the false testimony must be given by the defendant knowing the same to be false; and
5. such testimony must be malicious and given with and intent to affect the issues presented
in the case.22

There is no doubt that the first two requisites are extant in this case. The records show that Ark
Travel filed a complaint for collection of sum of money, torts and damages against New Filipino
Maritime Agencies, Inc. (NFMAI) and Angelina T. Rivera with the Regional Trial Court of Makati
(Branch 137), docketed as Civil Case No. 95-1542. In said civil case, private respondents were
presented by NFMAI as witnesses. They executed their respective sworn statements and testified
before the trial court that NFMAI has no outstanding obligation with Ark Travel as the same had been
paid in full.
The existence of the last three requisites is quite dubious. The falsity of the subject testimonies of
private respondents is yet to be established. It is noted that at the time of the filing of the criminal
complaints, the civil case filed by Ark Travel is still pending decision.23 Ark Travel has yet to prove the
validity of its monetary claims and damages against NFMAI. It is only after trial that the RTC can
assess the veracity or falsity of the testimony and correspondingly render a decision. Thus, the civil
case is so intimately connected with the subject crime that it is determinative of the guilt or
innocence of the respondents in the criminal cases. In other words, whether or not the testimonies of
private respondents in the civil cases are false is a prejudicial question. It is clear that the elements
of a prejudicial question are present as provided in Section 7, Rule 111 of the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure, to wit:
SEC. 7 Elements of Prejudicial question. The elements of a prejudicial question are: (a) the
previously instituted civil action involves an issue similar or intimately related to the issue raised in
the subsequent criminal action; and (b) the resolution of such issue determines whether or not the
criminal action may proceed.
Section 6, Rule 111 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedures provides:
SEC. 6. Suspension by reason of prejudicial question. A petition for suspension of the criminal
action based upon the pendency of a prejudicial question in a civil action may be filed in the office of
the prosecutor or the court conducting the preliminary investigation. When the criminal action has
been filed in court for trial, the petition to suspend shall be filed in the same criminal action at
any time before the prosecution rests. (Emphasis supplied)
Hence, pending determination of the falsity of the subject testimonies of private respondents in the
civil case, the criminal action for false testimony must perforce be suspended. As such, under the
attendant circumstances, although there is no motion to suspend proceedings on the part of the
private respondents, orderly administration of justice dictates that the criminal cases should be
suspended.
WHEREFORE, the assailed Orders dated October 2, 1998 and November 23, 1998 of the Regional
Trial Court are NULLIFIED and SET ASIDE insofar only as said court, acting as an appellate
court, considered Criminal Cases Nos. 200894 and 200895 as withdrawn.
The Orders dated June 10, 1998 and July 21, 1998 of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Makati (Branch
67) in Criminal Cases Nos. 200894 and 200895 are likewise NULLIFIED and SET ASIDE for having
been issued with grave abuse of discretion. In lieu thereof, the said Metropolitan Trial Court is
directed to SUSPEND the criminal proceedings until after the final decision in Civil Case No. 951542 of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City (Branch 137).
No costs.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 181089

October 22, 2012

MERLINDA CIPRIANO MONTAES, Complainant,


vs.
LOURDES TAJOLOSA CIPRIANO, Respondent.
DECISION
PERALTA, J.:
For our resolution is a petition for review on certiorari which seeks to annul the Order 1 dated
September 24, 2007 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of San Pedro, Laguna, Branch 31, issued in
Criminal Case No. 4990-SPL which dismissed the lnformation for Bigamy filed against respondent
Lourdes Tajolosa Cipriano. Also assailed is the RTC Resolution 2 dated January 2, 2008 denying the
motion for reconsideration.
On April 8, 1976, respondent married Socrates Flores (Socrates) in Lezo, Aklan. 3 On January 24,
1983, during the subsistence of the said marriage, respondent married Silverio V. Cipriano (Silverio)
in San Pedro, Laguna.4 In 2001, respondent filed with the RTC of Muntinlupa, Branch
256, a Petition for the Annulment of her marriage with Socrates on the ground of the latters
psychological incapacity as defined under Article 36 of the Family Code, which was docketed as Civil
Case No. 01-204. On July 18, 2003, the RTC of Muntinlupa, Branch 256, rendered an Amended
Decision5 declaring the marriage of respondent with Socrates null and void. Said decision became
final and executory on October 13, 2003.6
On May 14, 2004, petitioner Merlinda Cipriano Montaez, Silverios daughter from the first marriage,
filed with the Municipal Trial Court of San Pedro, Laguna, a Complaint7 for Bigamy against
respondent, which was docketed as Criminal Case No. 41972. Attached to the complaint was an
Affidavit8 (Malayang Sinumpaang Salaysay) dated August 23, 2004, thumb-marked and signed by
Silverio,9 which alleged, among others, that respondent failed to reveal to Silverio that she was still
married to Socrates. On November 17, 2004, an Information 10 for Bigamy was filed against
respondent with the RTC of San Pedro, Laguna, Branch 31. The case was docketed as Criminal
Case No. 4990-SPL. The Information reads:
That on or about January 24, 1983, in the Municipality of San Pedro, Province of Laguna,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused did then and there
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously contract a second or subsequent marriage with one SILVERIO
CIPRIANO VINALON while her first marriage with SOCRATES FLORES has not been judicially
dissolved by proper judicial authorities.11
On July 24, 2007 and before her arraignment, respondent, through counsel, filed a Motion to Quash
Information (and Dismissal of the Criminal Complaint)12 alleging that her marriage with Socrates had
already been declared void ab initio in 2003, thus, there was no more marriage to speak of prior to
her marriage to Silverio on January 24, 1983; that the basic element of the crime of bigamy, i.e., two
valid marriages, is therefore wanting. She also claimed that since the second marriage was held in

1983, the crime of bigamy had already prescribed. The prosecution filed its Comment 13 arguing that
the crime of bigamy had already been consummated when respondent filed her petition for
declaration of nullity; that the law punishes the act of contracting a second marriage which appears
to be valid, while the first marriage is still subsisting and has not yet been annulled or declared void
by the court.
In its Order14 dated August 3, 2007, the RTC denied the motion. It found respondent's argument that
with the declaration of nullity of her first marriage, there was no more first marriage to speak of and
thus the element of two valid marriages in bigamy was absent, to have been laid to rest by our ruling
in Mercado v. Tan15 where we held:
In the instant case, petitioner contracted a second marriage although there was yet no judicial
declaration of nullity of his first marriage. In fact, he instituted the Petition to have the first marriage
declared void only after complainant had filed a letter-complaint charging him with bigamy. For
contracting a second marriage while the first is still subsisting, he committed the acts punishable
under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code.
That he subsequently obtained a judicial declaration of the nullity of the first marriage was
immaterial. To repeat, the crime had already been consummated by then. x x x16
As to respondent's claim that the action had already prescribed, the RTC found that while the
second marriage indeed took place in 1983, or more than the 15-year prescriptive period for the
crime of bigamy, the commission of the crime was only discovered on November 17, 2004, which
should be the reckoning period, hence, prescription has not yet set in.
Respondent filed a Motion for Reconsideration17 claiming that the Mercado ruling was not applicable,
since respondent contracted her first marriage in 1976, i.e., before the Family Code; that the petition
for annulment was granted and became final before the criminal complaint for bigamy was filed; and,
that Article 40 of the Family Code cannot be given any retroactive effect because this will impair her
right to remarry without need of securing a declaration of nullity of a completely void prior marriage.
On September 24, 2007, the RTC issued its assailed Order,18 the dispositive portion of which reads:
Wherefore, the Order of August 3, 2007 is reconsidered and set aside. Let a new one be entered
quashing the information. Accordingly, let the instant case be DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.
In so ruling, the RTC said that at the time the accused had contracted a second marriage on January
24, 1983, i.e., before the effectivity of the Family Code, the existing law did not require a judicial
declaration of absolute nullity as a condition precedent to contracting a subsequent marriage; that
jurisprudence before the Family Code was ambivalent on the issue of the need of prior judicial
declaration of absolute nullity of the first marriage. The RTC found that both marriages of respondent
took place before the effectivity of the Family Code, thus, considering the unsettled state of
jurisprudence on the need for a prior declaration of absolute nullity of marriage before commencing a
second marriage and the principle that laws should be interpreted liberally in favor of the accused, it
declared that the absence of a judicial declaration of nullity should not prejudice the accused whose
second marriage was declared once and for all valid with the annulment of her first marriage by the
RTC of Muntinlupa City in 2003.

Dissatisfied, a Motion for Reconsideration was filed by the prosecution, but opposed by respondent.
In a Resolution dated January 2, 2008, the RTC denied the same ruling, among others, that the
judicial declaration of nullity of respondent's marriage is tantamount to a mere declaration or
confirmation that said marriage never existed at all, and for this reason, her act in contracting a
second marriage cannot be considered criminal.
Aggrieved, petitioner directly filed the present petition with us raising the following issues:
I. Whether the judicial nullity of a first marriage prior to the enactment of the Family Code and the
pronouncement in Wiegel vs. Sempio-Diy on the ground of psychological incapacity is a valid
defense for a charge of bigamy for entering into a second marriage prior to the enactment of the
Family Code and the pronouncement in Wiegel vs. Sempio-Diy?
II. Whether the trial court erred in stating that the jurisprudence prior to the enactment of the Family
Code and the pronouncement in Wiegel vs. Sempio-Diy regarding the necessity of securing a
declaration of nullity of the first marriage before entering a second marriage ambivalent, such that a
person was allowed to enter a subsequent marriage without the annulment of the first without
incurring criminal liability.19
Preliminarily, we note that the instant petition assailing the RTC's dismissal of the Information for
bigamy was filed by private complainant and not by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) which
should represent the government in all judicial proceedings filed before us. 20
Notwithstanding, we will give due course to this petition as we had done in the past. In Antone v.
Beronilla,21 the offended party (private complainant) questioned before the Court of Appeals (CA) the
RTC's dismissal of the Information for bigamy filed against her husband, and the CA dismissed the
petition on the ground, among others, that the petition should have been filed in behalf of the People
of the Philippines by the OSG, being its statutory counsel in all appealed criminal cases. In a petition
filed with us, we said that we had given due course to a number of actions even when the respective
interests of the government were not properly represented by the OSG and said:
In Labaro v. Panay, this Court dealt with a similar defect in the following manner:
It must, however, be stressed that if the public prosecution is aggrieved by any order ruling of the
trial judge in a criminal case, the OSG, and not the prosecutor, must be the one to question the order
or ruling before us. x x x
Nevertheless, since the challenged order affects the interest of the State or the plaintiff People of the
Philippines, we opted not to dismiss the petition on this technical ground. Instead, we required the
OSG to comment on the petition, as we had done before in some cases. In light of its Comment, we
rule that the OSG has ratified and adopted as its own the instant petition for the People of the
Philippines. (Emphasis supplied)22
Considering that we also required the OSG to file a Comment on the petition, which it did, praying
that the petition be granted in effect, such Comment had ratified the petition filed with us.
As to the merit of the petition, the issue for resolution is whether or not the RTC erred in quashing
the Information for bigamy filed against respondent.

Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code defines and penalizes bigamy as follow:
Art. 349. Bigamy. The penalty of prision mayor shall be imposed upon any person who shall
contract a second or subsequent marriage before the former marriage has been legally dissolved, or
before the absent spouse has been declared presumptively dead by means of a judgment rendered
in the proper proceedings.
The elements of the crime of bigamy are: (a) the offender has been legally married; (b) the marriage
has not been legally dissolved or, in case his or her spouse is absent, the absent spouse could not
yet be presumed dead according to the Civil Code; (c) that he contracts a second or subsequent
marriage; and (d) the second or subsequent marriage has all the essential requisites for validity. The
felony is consummated on the celebration of the second marriage or subsequent marriage. 23 It is
essential in the prosecution for bigamy that the alleged second marriage, having all the essential
requirements, would be valid were it not for the subsistence of the first marriage. 24
In this case, it appears that when respondent contracted a second marriage with Silverio in 1983,
her first marriage with Socrates celebrated in 1976 was still subsisting as the same had not yet been
annulled or declared void by a competent authority. Thus, all the elements of bigamy were alleged in
the Information. In her Motion to Quash the Information, she alleged, among others, that:
xxxx
2. The records of this case would bear out that accused's marriage with said Socrates Flores
was declared void ab initio on 14 April 2003 by Branch 256 of the Regional Trial Court of
Muntinlupa City. The said decision was never appealed, and became final and executory
shortly thereafter.
3. In other words, before the filing of the Information in this case, her marriage with Mr.
Flores had already been declared void from the beginning.
4. There was therefore no marriage prior to 24 January 1983 to speak of. In other words,
there was only one marriage.
5. The basic element of the crime of bigamy, that is, two valid marriages, is therefore
wanting.25
Clearly, the annulment of respondent's first marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity was
declared only in 2003. The question now is whether the declaration of nullity of respondent's first
marriage justifies the dismissal of the Information for bigamy filed against her.
We rule in the negative.
In Mercado v. Tan,26 we ruled that the subsequent judicial declaration of the nullity of the first
marriage was immaterial, because prior to the declaration of nullity, the crime of bigamy had already
been consummated. And by contracting a second marriage while the first was still subsisting, the
accused committed the acts punishable under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code.

In Abunado v. People,27 we held that what is required for the charge of bigamy to prosper is that the
first marriage be subsisting at the time the second marriage is contracted. 28 Even if the accused
eventually obtained a declaration that his first marriage was void ab initio, the point is, both the first
and the second marriage were subsisting before the first marriage was annulled. 29
In Tenebro v. CA,30 we declared that although the judicial declaration of the nullity of a marriage on
the ground of psychological incapacity retroacts to the date of the celebration of the marriage insofar
as the vinculum between the spouses is concerned, it is significant to note that said marriage is not
without legal effects. Among these effects is that children conceived or born before the judgment of
absolute nullity of the marriage shall be considered legitimate. There is, therefore, a recognition
written into the law itself that such a marriage, although void ab initio, may still produce legal
consequences. Among these legal consequences is incurring criminal liability for bigamy. To hold
otherwise would render the States penal laws on bigamy completely nugatory, and allow individuals
to deliberately ensure that each marital contract be flawed in some manner, and to thus escape the
consequences of contracting multiple marriages, while beguiling throngs of hapless women with the
promise of futurity and commitment.31
And in Jarillo v. People,32 applying the foregoing jurisprudence, we affirmed the accused's conviction
for bigamy, ruling that the moment the accused contracted a second marriage without the previous
one having been judicially declared null and void, the crime of bigamy was already consummated
because at the time of the celebration of the second marriage, the accuseds first marriage which
had not yet been declared null and void by a court of competent jurisdiction was deemed valid and
subsisting.
Here, at the time respondent contracted the second marriage, the first marriage was still subsisting
as it had not yet been legally dissolved. As ruled in the above-mentioned jurisprudence, the
subsequent judicial declaration of nullity of the first marriage would not change the fact that she
contracted the second marriage during the subsistence of the first marriage. Thus, respondent was
properly charged of the crime of bigamy, since the essential elements of the offense charged were
sufficiently alleged.
Respondent claims that Tenebro v. CA33 is not applicable, since the declaration of nullity of the
previous marriage came after the filing of the Information, unlike in this case where the declaration
was rendered before the information was filed. We do not agree. What makes a person criminally
liable for bigamy is when he contracts a second or subsequent marriage during the subsistence of a
valid marriage.
Parties to the marriage should not be permitted to judge for themselves its nullity, for the same must
be submitted to the judgment of competent courts and only when the nullity of the marriage is so
declared can it be held as void, and so long as there is no such declaration the presumption is that
the marriage exists.34 Therefore, he who contracts a second marriage before the judicial declaration
of nullity of the first marriage assumes the risk of being prosecuted for bigamy.35
Anent respondent's contention in her Comment that since her two marriages were contracted prior to
the effectivity of the Family Code, Article 40 of the Family Code cannot be given retroactive effect
because this will impair her right to remarry without need of securing a judicial declaration of nullity
of a completely void marriage.
We are not persuaded.

In Jarillo v. People,36 where the accused, in her motion for reconsideration, argued that since her
marriages were entered into before the effectivity of the Family Code, then the applicable law is
Section 29 of the Marriage Law (Act 3613),37 instead of Article 40 of the Family Code, which requires
a final judgment declaring the previous marriage void before a person may contract a subsequent
marriage. We did not find the argument meritorious and said:
As far back as 1995, in Atienza v. Brillantes, Jr., the Court already made the declaration that Article
40, which is a rule of procedure, should be applied retroactively because Article 256 of the Family
Code itself provides that said "Code shall have retroactive effect insofar as it does not prejudice or
impair vested or acquired rights." The Court went on to explain, thus:
The fact that procedural statutes may somehow affect the litigants' rights may not preclude their
retroactive application to pending actions. The retroactive application of procedural laws is not
violative of any right of a person who may feel that he is adversely affected. The reason is that as a
general rule, no vested right may attach to, nor arise from, procedural laws.
1wphi1

In Marbella-Bobis v. Bobis, the Court pointed out the danger of not enforcing the provisions of Article
40 of the Family Code, to wit:
In the case at bar, respondents clear intent is to obtain a judicial declaration nullity of his first
marriage and thereafter to invoke that very same judgment to prevent his prosecution for bigamy. He
cannot have his cake and eat it too. Otherwise, all that an adventurous bigamist has to do is
disregard Article 40 of the Family Code, contract a subsequent marriage and escape a bigamy
charge by simply claiming that the first marriage is void and that the subsequent marriage is equally
void for lack of a prior judicial declaration of nullity of the first. A party may even enter into a marriage
license and thereafter contract a subsequent marriage without obtaining a declaration of nullity of the
first on the assumption that the first marriage is void. Such scenario would render nugatory the
provision on bigamy.38
WHEREFORE, considering the foregoing, the petition is GRANTED. The Order dated September
24, 2007 and the Resolution dated January 2, 2008 of the Regional Trial Court of San Pedro,
Laguna, Branch 31, issued in Criminal Case No. 4990-SPL, are hereby SET ASIDE. Criminal Case
No. 4990-SPL is ordered REMANDED to the trial court for further proceedings.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-13172

April 28, 1960

GILBERT RILLON and MARCELINA RILLON, plaintiffs-appellants,


vs.
FILEMON RILLON, defendant-appellee.
Hermenegildo, Gualberto for appellants.
Paulino Monongdo and Enrique D. Caloob for appellee.
LABRADOR, J.:

This is a civil action instituted by the minor Gilbert Rillon, assisted by his mother, Marcelina Rillon, as
his, guardianad litem, alleging the following facts:
3. Que en o hacia el dia 10 de Septiembre de 1953, en el municipio de San Fernando, La
Union, el demandado arriba mencionado valiendose de fuerza e intimidacion cohabito, yacio
con la demandante Marcelina Rillon en contra o sin la voluntad de esta, sujetandola, y
amenazandola; y como consecuencia de tal ayuntamiento y yacimiento carnal se concebio
el citado menor Gilbert Rillon, siendo la demandante Marcelina Rillon y el demandado
referido son de estado soltera y soltero respectivamente al tiempo de la citada concepcion
capaces de eontraer matrimonio sin ningun impedimento legal, y siguen en el mismo estado
civil hasta la fecha.
4. Que el citado menor Gilbert Rillon nacio en o hacia el dia 12 de Abril de 1954 en San
Fernando, La Union, o sea despues de 180 dias, desde el yacimiento carnal o coito y dentro
de 300 dias.
In other paragraphs of the complaint it is further alleged that the minor needs food for subsistence as
he is living with his mother who has no means to support him; that his mother has asked the
defendant to recognize the has a natural child and provide him with support, but these demands
were refused by defendant; that the illegal act of defendant has caused the mother mental anguish,
physical and mental inconvenience, degradation and shame, and has caused her moral damages in
the amount of P5,000 and a right to support for the amount of P200; that the plaintiff mother was a
student of the Normal School in Manila and needed only three months to complete her studies when
her misfortune occurred and by reason of the acts of the defendant she has been caused actual
damages in the amount of P30,000. In conclusion plaintiffs pray that the defendant be ordered to
recognize the minor as his natural child, declaring the latter entitled to the rights of a natural child
and to receive the sum of P20.00 a month for his maintenance and support, and that the defendant
be further ordered to pay the plaintiff mother P30,000 as actual damages, P5,000 as moral damages
and P200 as the expenses during the delivery and birth of the child.
In his answer the defendant denies the material allegations of the complaint and, by way of special
defense, alleges that the minor is the son of plaintiff Marcelina Rillon by another man with whom she
had carnal knowledge long before September 10, 1952; that her failure to finish her studies, was due
to her amorous relations with her "boy friend," her failure to pay her tuition fees and her poor and
unsatisfactory scholastic record. By way of counterclaim he alleges that plaintiffs' complaint is false,
fictitious and malicious, made in evident and wilfull bad faith, and has caused the defendant moral
damages in the amount of P40,000.
After the filing of a reply to defendant's counterclaim, defendant moved to dismiss the complaint or
proceeding on the ground that the action is premature as there is no final judgment in a criminal
case for rape against the defendant; and that no cause of action has accrued against him. The court,
Hon. Juan O. Reyes, presiding, dismissed the case without prejudice, in order that a decision may
first be had on the prejudicial question, that is, whether or not defendant committed the crime as
alleged in plaintiffs' complaint. Failing to obtain a reconsideration of this order, plaintiffs have
appealed to us.
The legal question squarely presented is whether or not a civil action for recognition and support and
for moral damages filed by an offended party, under allegations of facts constituting the crime of

rape, can proceed even without the institution of a criminal action for rape against the defendant and
a judgment thereon convicting him of such crime.
Under Article 135 of the Civil Code of Spain enforced in the islands prior to the adoption of the Civil
Code of the Philippines, the civil responsibility that devolves upon a man accused of rape is to be
governed by the provisions of the Penal Code. Article 135 of the former Civil Code is as follows:
ART. 135. The father is obliged to acknowledge the natural child in the following cases:
1. When there exists an indubitable, writing of his in which he expressly acknowledges his
paternity.
2. When the child is in the continuous possession of the status of a natural child of the
defendant father, justified by direct acts of the father himself or of his family.
In cases of rape, seduction the provision of the penal Code with regard to the
acknowledgment of the issue shall be observed.
The provisions of the Revised Penal Code regarding the civil liability arising from the crime of rape is
embodied in Article 345, which is as follows:
ART. 345. Civil liability of person guilty of crimes against chastity. Persons guilty of rape,
seduction or abduction shall also be sentenced:
1. To indemnify the offended woman.
2. To acknowledge the offspring, unless the law should prevent him from so doing.
3. In every case to support the offspring.
To carry out the above provisions of the civil law, when General Orders No. 58 was issued, Section
107 thereof provided that a person claiming to be injured by the commission of an offense may take
part in the prosecution thereof and may recover damages for the injury sustained by reason of the
said offense. Said Section 107 reads:
SEC. 107. The privileges now secured by law to the person claiming to be injured by the
commission of an offense to take part in the prosecution of the offense and to recover
damages for the injury sustained by reason of the same shall not be held to be abridged by
the provisions of this order; but such person may appear and shall be heard either
individually or by attorney at all stages of the case, and the court upon conviction of the
accused may enter judgement against him for the damages occasioned by his wrongful act.
It shall, however, be the duty of the promoter fiscal to direct the prosecution, subject to the
right of the person injured to appeal from any decision of the court denying him a legal right.
The rights of an offended party to take part in the criminal case, as recognized in the above-quoted
section, are defined in Article 742 and Article 114 of the Law of Criminal Procedure of Spain of 1882,
as follows:

In said judgment there shall be decided all questions arising in the trial, and the accused
shall be condemned or acquitted not only of the principal offense and offenses connected
therewith but also of any incidental misdemeanors which may have been proven in the case;
and the tribunal, at this stage of the proceedings, can not dismiss the case in respect to the
accused persons who ought not to be condemned.
All questions referring to civil liability and responsibility which in the trial shall also be decided
in the said judgement. (Art. 712).
When a criminal proceeding is instituted for the judicial investigation of a crime or
misdemeanor, no civil action arising from the same act can be prosecuted; but the same
shall be suspended, if there be one, in whatever stage or state it may be found, until final
sentence in the criminal proceeding is pronounced. (Art. 114)
Following the above provision we have held:
Instituting a criminal action only, it will be understood, brings the civil action as well, unless
the damaged or prejudiced person waives the same or expressly reserves the right to
institute the civil action after the termination of the criminal case, if there be any reason
therefor. (Art. 112 of the law of Criminal Procedure.) " (Almeida, et al. vs. Abaroa, 8 Phil. 178,
182.)
Therefore, all questions referring to civil liability and responsibility which arise in the trial (of the
criminal case) shall be decided in the judgment in the criminal case.
Interpreting the above-quoted provisions, this Court further said in the case of Almeida, et al. vs.
Abaroa, supra, that the Supreme Court of Spain had decided that in any criminal case, the civil
liability or responsibility must arise as a consequence of the criminal liability and that, therefore, if the
accused has been acquitted of the crime, the court cannot order payment of indemnity therefor. To
the same effect is the decision of this Court in U. S. vs. Heery, 25 Phil., 600:
In this jurisdiction it is well settled that the civil liability of the accused must be determined in
the criminal action, unless the injured party expressly waives such liability or reserves his
right to have the civil damages determined in a separate action. Section 107 of General
Orders No. 58 reads: . . .
The procedure under the Spanish Code of Criminal Procedure for determining the civil
liability of persons accused of crime, referred to in the above quoted section, has been
discussed by this court a number of times.
In Springer vs. Odlin (3 Phil. Rep., 344), it was said: By General Orders, No. 58, section 107,
the privileges secured by the Spanish law to persons claiming to be injured by the
commission of an offense to take part in the prosecution of the offense and to recover
damages for the injury sustained by reason of the same, are preserved and remain in force,
and it is therein expressly provided that the court, upon conviction of the accused, may enter
judgment in favor of the injured person, against the defendant in the criminal case for the
damage occasioned by the wrongful act:
xxx

xxx

xxx

Almeida vs. Abaroa (8 Phil. Rep. 178), was a civil action for damages brought by the plaintiff
against a person who had been previously acquitted on a criminal charge. It was held that
his acquittal in the criminal action was a complete bar to a civil action for damages based
upon the alleged criminal act of which the defendant had been accused. In the course of this
decision it was said:
Instituting a criminal action only, it will be understood, brings the civil action as well, unless
the damaged or prejudiced person waives the same or expressly reserves the right to
institute the civil action after the termination of the criminal case, if there be any reason
therefor. (Art. 112 of the said Law of Criminal Procedure.)
The right to bring the civil action, as reserved by the person damaged or prejudiced, after the
termination of the criminal case, is only permitted, if there be any reason therefor, and so
says the law, in the event that the judgment rendered in the criminal cause is a finding of
guilt against the accused; but if the accused be acquitted, then the complaint in the civil
action must be based on some fact and or cause district and separate from the criminal act
itself.
When the present Rules of Court was promulgated, the above provisions contained in the Spanish
Code of Criminal Procedure of 1882 and applied in the cases of Almeida, et al. vs. Abaroa, supra,
and U. S. vs. Heery,supra, and others, were recast into the provisions of Section 1 of Rule 107, as
follows:
SECTION 1. Rules governing civil actions arising from offenses. Except as otherwise
provided by law, the following rules shall be observed:
(a) When a criminal action is instituted the civil action for recovery of civil liability arising from
the offense charge is impliedly instituted with the criminal action, unless the offended party
expressly waives the civil action or reserves his right to institute it separately;
(b) Criminal and civil actions arising from the same offense may be instituted separately, but
after the criminal action has been commenced the civil action can not be instituted until final
judgment has been rendered in the criminal action;
(c) After a criminal action has been commenced, no civil action arising from the same offense
can be prosecuted; and the same shall be suspended, in whatever stage it may be found,
until final judgment in the criminal proceeding has been rendered;
(d) Extinction of the penal action does not carry with it extinction of the civil, unless the
extinction proceeds from a declaration in a final judgment that the fact from which the civil
might arise did not exist. In the other cases, the person entitled to the civil action may
institute it in the jurisdiction and in the manner provided by law against the person who may
be liable for restitution of the thing and reperation or indemnity for the damages suffered;
(e) A final judgment rendered in a civil action absolving the defendant from civil liability, is no
bar to a criminal action.
The above provisions were in force on August 30, 1950 when the Civil Code of the Philippines was
enacted. The Civil Code of the Philippines contain the following provisions:

ART. 283. In any of the following cases, the father is obliged to recognize the child as his
natural child:
(1) In cases of rape, abduction or seduction, when the period of the offense coincides more
or less with that of the conception;
(2) When the child is in continuous possession of status of a child of the alleged father by the
direct acts of the latter or of his family;
(3) When the child was conceived during the time when the mother cohabited with the
supposed father;
(4) When the child has in his favor any evidence or proof that the defendant is his father.
It will be noted that contrary to the provisions of Article 135 of the Civil Code of Spain, to the effect
that in cases of rape the provisions of the Penal Code regarding the acknowledgment of the issue is
to be observed, Article 283 of the Civil Code of the Philippines does not make the civil liability of the
offender in a case of rape determinable in a criminal action only. This is also to be inferred from
Article 30, which provides:
ART. 30. When a separate civil action is brought to demand civil liability arising from a
criminal offense, and no criminal proceedings are instituted during the pendency of the civil
case, a preponderance of evidence shall likewise be sufficient to prove the act complained
of.
This last article implies the right of an offended party to bring a separate civil action for the criminal
act without instituting the criminal proceedings for the prosecution of the offense. This is the opposite
of the provisions of the old Criminal Procedure of Spain of 1882 and of Rule 107 of the present
Rules of Court. For, whereas under Rule 107 the civil action for damages for an offense has to await
the results of the criminal action, and if civil action is first instituted, the same shall be suspended
until after the criminal action has been instituted and decided, which provisions of the present Rules
of Court are based on the old Spanish Law of Criminal Procedure, said provisions are no longer in
force because a civil action may now be instituted and prosecuted to final judgment without awaiting
the institution and termination of a criminal action, as expressly declared in Articles 30 and 283 of the
Civil Code of the Philippines. These new provisions are inconsistent with the provisions of Rule 107
of the Rules of Court and the latter must give way thereto. In consequence, it is not now necessary
that a criminal prosecution for rape be first instituted and prosecuted to final judgment before a civil
action based on said offense in favor of the offended woman and the recognition of the offspring can
be instituted and prosecuted to final judgment. The provisions of Rule 107 of the present Rules
promulgated in 1940 are, therefore, considered repealed or modifiedpro tanto by the abovementioned articles of the Civil Code and, as above stated, the offended woman in the rape and the
child born out of the crime may institute a civil action for damages and for recognition and support
without a previous action and judgment in a criminal case for rape against the offender.
For the foregoing considerations, the order of the court, dismissing the case provisionally for the
purpose of awaiting the results of the criminal action for rape against defendant, is hereby set aside
and the case is hereby remanded to the court below for further proceedings in accordance with this
decision. With costs against defendant-appellee. So ordered.

G.R. Nos. 92319-20 October 2, 1990


EDUARDO M. COJUANGCO, JR., petitioner,
vs.
PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON GOOD GOVERNMENT (PCGG) AND HON. FRANCISCO I.
CHAVEZ in his capacity as Solicitor General, and the HON. OMBUDSMAN, respondents,
MARIA CLARA L. LOBREGAT and JOSE R. ELEAZAR, JR., intervenors.
Estelito P. Mendoza and Villareal Law Offices for petitioner.
Angara, Abello, Concepcion, Regala & Cruz for intervenors.

GANCAYCO, J.:
In these petitions the issues raised are: (1) whether or not the Presidential Commission on Good
Government (PCGG) has the power to conduct a preliminary investigation of the anti-graft and
corruption cases filed by the Solicitor General against Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. and other
respondents for the alleged misuse of coconut levy funds; and (2) on the assumption that it has
jurisdiction to conduct such a preliminary investigation, whether or not its conduct constitutes a
violation of petitioner's rights to due process and equal protection of the law.
On November 28, 1989, President Corazon C. Aquino directed the Solicitor General to prosecute all
persons involved in the misuse of coconut levy funds. Pursuant to the above directive the Solicitor
General created a task force to conduct a thorough study of the possible involvement of all persons
in the anomalous use of coconut levy funds.
On January 12, 1990, the Solicitor General filed two criminal complaints with respondent PCGG
docketed under I.S. Nos. 74 and 75. 1
The PCGG assigned both complaints to prosecutor Cesario del Rosario for preliminary investigation.
The latter scheduled both cases for hearing.
Del Rosario prepared a subpoena dated January 16, 1990 setting the preliminary investigation on
January 29, 1990 at 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon as to respondents Maria Clara Lobregat, Jose
Eleazar, Felix Duenas Jr., and Salvador Escudero, III, and on January 31, 1990 at 2:00 o'clock in the
afternoon as to petitioner Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr., Rolando de la Cuesta, and Hermenegildo
Zayco.
At the scheduled preliminary investigation on January 31, 1990 petitioner appeared through counsel.
Instead of filing a counter-affidavit, as required in the subpoena, he filed two motions addressed to
the PCGG, namely; (1) a motion to disqualify/inhibit PCGG; alternatively, a motion to dismiss; and
(2) motion to have the PCGG itself hear or resolve Cojuangco's motion to disqualify/inhibit PCGG
alternatively, motion to dismiss.

Prosecutor del Rosario denied both motions and declared the proceedings closed and the cases
submitted for resolution. Thereafter, petitioner requested the PCGG to resolve directly his aforesaid
motions.
On February 27, 1990, the PCGG issued an order denying petitioner's motions and required him,
together with all the respondents in I.S. Nos. 74 and 75 to submit counter-affidavits within five (5)
days from receipt thereof. Petitioner did not submit the required counter-affidavit.
Instead, he filed in this Court on March 12, 1990 the herein petitions for prohibition with prayer for a
temporary restraining order/writ of preliminary injunction.
He alleges that the PCGG may not conduct a preliminary investigation of the complaints filed by the
Solicitor General without violating petitioner's rights to due process and equal protection of the law,
and that the PCGG has no right to conduct such preliminary investigation. It is prayed that a
temporary restraining order be issued enjoining the respondents and any or all persons acting under
their orders or in their behalf from continuing with the preliminary investigation of I.S. Nos. 74 and 75
and enjoining as well the PCGG from taking any further action on said cases; and after hearing on
the merits, to issue a writ of preliminary injunction prohibiting respondent PCGG from conducting a
preliminary investigation of said criminal complaints and to order that the records of I.S. Nos. 74 and
75 be forwarded to the Ombudsman for such action he may consider appropriate and to pay the
costs of the suits.
In a resolution dated March 13, 1990, this Court, without giving due course to the petition, resolved
to require respondents to comment thereon within ten (10) days from notice.
On the same date, the PCGG issued an order that reads as follows:
Considering that none of the respondents have filed their counter-affidavits and
supporting evidence, except respondent Hermenegildo Zayco, the complaints filed
against them may now be considered submitted for resolution by this Commission.
Since the respondents, except Hermenegildo Zayco, have not submitted counteraffidavits and controverting evidence, the evidence submitted by the complainants
stands uncontradicted. And this Commission finds the findings and conclusions of
fact of the investigating prosecutor, that a prima facie case has been established
against all the respondents, including Hermenegildo Zayco, to warrant the filing of an
information for a violation of Section 3(1) in relation to Section 3(i) thus making them
liable under Section 3(a) of RA 3019, to be well-founded.
Wherefore, let the corresponding information be filed.

On March 14, 1990, two informations 3 were filed by the PCGG with the Sandiganbayan against
petitioner and all other respondents named in I.S. Nos. 74 and 75 which were docketed as Criminal
Cases No. 14398 and 14399.
Meanwhile, the Solicitor General filed with the PCGG several other complaints against petitioner and
several others bearing on the misuse of the coconut levy funds. Two of these complaints were
docketed as I.S. Nos. 79 and 82. A panel of prosecutors designated by the PCGG issued
a subpoena to petitioner in order to compel him to appear in the investigation of said cases.

On March 20, 1990, petitioner filed a supplemental petition informing the Court of the filing of said
informations and the additional complaints aforestated. He prays that a temporary restraining order
be issued enjoining respondents and other persons acting under their orders or in their behalf from
continuing with the preliminary investigation of as well as taking further action in I.S. Nos. 79 and 82
and similar cases filed with the PCGG. Petitioner also prays that, after hearing, the PCGG be
prohibited from continuing with the preliminary investigation of I.S. Nos. 79 and 82 and that it be
ordered to forward the records of the case to the Ombudsman for appropriate action, and to pay the
costs of the suit.
On the same date, petitioner filed a motion reiterating the petition for the issuance of a temporary
restraining order/writ of preliminary injunction and alternatively seeking that the case be set for
hearing.
On March 22, 1990, the Court admitted the supplemental pleading of the petitioner; required
respondents to comment thereon within a non-extendible period of ten (10) days from notice; and
issued a status quo order prevailing at the time this petition was filed on March 12, 1990.
On April 2, 1990, a consolidated comment was submitted by the respondents attaching as annex
thereto the letters of the Executive Secretary dated February 9, 1990 and February 21, 1990,
respectively, addressed to the Chairman, PCGG, conveying the instructions of the President of the
Philippines that the complaints involving coconut levy funds be filed with the PCGG, to conduct the
necessary investigation and if warranted to file and prosecute the cases before the Sandiganbayan;
and it confirmed the earlier instructions of the President dated November 28, 1989 to the same
effect. 4
On May 4, 1990 petitioner filed a reply to the consolidated comment as required by the Court. In a
resolution dated June 5, 1990, the Solicitor General was required to file a rejoinder. On May 31,
1990, a motion for hearing of said cases was filed by petitioner and this was granted by the Court on
June 21, 1990. It was directed that the Ombudsman be impleaded as party-respondent. The Court
required the Ombudsman to comment on the petition within ten (10) days from notice. The case was
set for hearing on Tuesday, July 17, 1990 at 10:00 in the morning.
The Ombudsman submitted his comment on July 3, 1990 and the Court required petitioner to file a
reply to the same.
On July 6, 1990, Maria Clara Lobregat and Jose R. Eleazar, Jr. filed a Motion for Leave to Intervene
and a Motion to Admit Petition to Intervene wherein they ask that the PCGG desist from further
proceeding with the preliminary investigation of I.S. Nos. 74, 75, 77, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, and 84
charging the intervenors and other respondents, including petitioner, with violations of the Anti-Graft
and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019) in connection with the, coconut levy funds. The
intervenors question the authority of the PCGG to conduct a preliminary investigation of the said
cases. They maintain that even assuming that the PCGG has such authority, the same cannot be
delegated to a prosecutor or his assistants.
On July 10, 1990, the court granted the motion for leave to intervene and admitted the petition for
intervention. The PCGG was required to comment on said petition within ten (10) days from notice.

On July 13, 1990, respondents filed their rejoinder to the reply of petitioner to their consolidated
comments. The Ombudsman filed his comment to the petition for intervention, while petitioner filed
his reply to the comment of the Ombudsman on July 16, 1990.
The hearing was held as scheduled on July 17, 1990 where all the parties including the Ombudsman
appeared and/or were duly represented by counsels. After the hearing, the parties were required to
submit their simultaneous memoranda within fifteen (15) days from the date of the hearing.
On July 21, 1990, the Solicitor General asked for an extension of time within which to file his
comment to the petition for intervention. He filed said comment within the period of extension asked
for on July 31, 1990.
The memoranda of all the parties having been submitted, the petitions were deemed submitted for
resolution.
On the first issue wherein petitioner and intervenors question the authority of the PCGG to conduct a
preliminary investigation of the criminal complaints filed against them by the Solicitor General, the
Court finds and so holds the same to be devoid of merit.
Under Section 2, Rule 112 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure the officers authorized to
conduct a preliminary investigation are the following:
Sec. 2. Officers authorized to conduct preliminary investigation.
The following may conduct a preliminary investigation:
(a) Provincial or city fiscals and their assistants;
(b) Judges of the Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Court;
(c) National and Regional state prosecutors; and
(d) Such other officers as may be authorized by law.
Their authority to conduct preliminary investigation shall include all crimes cognizable
by the proper court in their respective territorial jurisdictions.
Under Section 2 likewise of Rule 112 of the Rules of Court before its present amendment, the
officers authorized to conduct preliminary investigation are as follows:
Sec. 2. Officers authorized to conduct preliminary examination: Every justice of
the peace, municipal judge, city or provincial fiscal, shall have authority to conduct
preliminary examination or investigation in accordance with these rules of all
offenses alleged to have been committed within his municipality, city or province,
cognizable by the Court of First Instance.
The justice of the peace of the provincial capital or of the municipality in which the
provincial jail is located when directed by an order of the Court of First Instance, shall

have authority to conduct such preliminary examination or investigation of any


offense committed anywhere within his province at the expense of the municipality
wherein the same was committed.
Under Section 3 thereof in case of temporary absence of the justice of the peace or his auxiliary, the
municipal mayor may conduct the preliminary investigation. For complaints filed directly with the
Court of First Instance, the judge of the said court may refer the case to the justice of the peace or
he may himself conduct both the preliminary examination and investigation simultaneously, under
Section 13 of the same rule.
Upon the enactment of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act on August 17, 1960, 5 and Republic
Act No. 1379 (covering unexplained wealth cases) on August 18, 1955, the preliminary investigation of
cases involving the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and/or unexplained wealth cases was vested on
the aforestated officers.
However, on July 17, 1979, Presidential Decree No. 1630 was promulgated whereby the
Tanodbayan was vested with the "exclusive authority to conduct preliminary investigation of all cases
cognizable by the Sandiganbayan." 6Under Presidential Decree No. 1486 which was approved on June
11, 1978, the Sandiganbayan was created and vested with exclusive jurisdiction over all offenses
committed by public officers enumerated therein. This was amended by Presidential Decree No. 1606
dated December 10, 1978 and further amended by Presidential Decree No. 1861 issued on March 23,
1983 wherein the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan was defined as follows:
Sec. 1. Section 4 of Presidential Decree No. 1606 is hereby amended to read as
follows:
Sec. 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 AntiGraft 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 correccionalor imprisonment for six (6) years,
or a fine of P6,000.00: PROVIDED, HOWEVER, that offenses or felonies mentioned
in this paragraph where the penalty prescribed by law does not exceed prision
correccional or imprisonment for six (6) years or a fine of P6,000.00 shall be tried by
the proper Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court and
Municipal Circuit Trial Court.
(b) Exclusive appellate jurisdiction:
(1) On appeal, from the final judgments, resolutions or orders of the Regional Trial
Courts in cases originally decided by them in their respective territorial jurisdiction.

(2) By petition for review, from the final judgments, resolutions or orders of the
Regional Trial Courts in the exercise of their appellate jurisdiction over cases
originally decided by the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and
Municipal Circuit Trial Courts, in their respective jurisdiction.
The procedure prescribed in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as well as the implementing
rules the Supreme Court has promulgated and may hereinafter promulgate, relative
to appeals/petitions for review to the Intermediate Appellate Court shall apply to
appeals and petition for review filed with the Sandiganbayan. In all cases elevated to
the Sandiganbayan, the Office of the Tanodbayan shall represent the People of the
Philippines.
In case private individuals are charged as co-principals, accomplices or accessories
with the public officers or employees, including those employed in governmentowned or controlled corporations, they shall be tried jointly with said public officers
and employees.
Any provision of law or the Rules of Court to the contrary notwithstanding, the
criminal action and the corresponding civil action for the recovery of civil liability
arising from the offense charged shall at all times be simultaneously instituted with
and jointly determined in the same proceeding by the Sandiganbayan or the
appropriate courts, the filing of the criminal action being deemed to necessarily carry
with it the filing of the civil action, and no right to reserve the filing of such civil action
separately from the criminal action shall be recognized: PROVIDED, HOWEVER,
that where the civil action had heretofore been filed separately but judgment therein
has not yet been rendered, and the criminal case is hereafter filed with the
Sandiganbayan or the appropriate court, said civil action shall be transferred to the
Sandiganbayan or the appropriate court, as the case maybe, for consolidation and
joint determination with the criminal action, otherwise the separate civil action shall
be considered abandoned.
Sec. 2. All cases pending in the Sandiganbayan or in the appropriate courts as of the
date of the effectivity of this Decree shall remain with and be disposed of by the
courts where they are pending.
Sec. 3. The provisions of this Decree notwithstanding, the office of the Tanodbayan
shall continue to have the exclusive authority to conduct preliminary investigation, file
the necessary information, and direct and control the prosecution of all cases
enumerated in Section 4 of Presidential Decree No.1606, whether such cases be
within the exclusive original/appellate jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan or the
appropriate courts in accordance with the provisions of Presidential Decree No.
1630. (Emphasis supplied.)
However, this exclusive jurisdiction of the Tanodbayan to conduct preliminary investigation of said
cases was modified by Executive Order No. 1 signed by President Corazon C. Aquino on February
28, 1986 creating the PCGG and constituting its membership to assist the President in the recovery
of ill gotten wealth accumulated by the former President, his relatives and cronies. Therein it is
provided, among others:

Sec. 2. The Commission shall be charged with the task of assisting the President
in regard to the following matters:
(a) The recovery of all ill-gotten wealth accumulated by former President Ferdinand
E. Marcos, his immediate family, relatives, subordinates and close associates,
whether located in the Philippines or abroad, including the takeover or sequestration
of all business enterprises and entities owned or controlled by them, during his
administration, directly or through nominees, by taking undue advantage of their
public office and/or using their powers, authority, influence, connections or
relationship.
(b) The investigation of such cases of graft and corruption as the President may
assign to the Commission from time to time.
(c) The adoption of safeguards to ensure that the above practices shall not be
repeated in any manner under the new government, and the institution of adequate
measures to prevent the occurrence of corruption.
Sec. 3. The Commission shall have the power and authority:
(a) To conduct investigations as may be necessary in order to accomplish and carry
out the purposes of this order. (Emphasis supplied.)
Under Executive Order No. 14 signed by President Aquino on May 7, 1986, it is also provided:
Sec. 1. Any provision of the law to the contrary notwithstanding, the Presidential
Commission on Good Government with the assistance of the Office of the Solicitor
General and other government agencies, is hereby empowered to file and prosecute
all cases investigated by it under Executive Order No. 1, dated February 28, 1986
and Executive Order No. 2, dated March 12, 1986, as may be warranted by its
findings.
Sec. 2. The Presidential Commission on Good Government shall file all such cases,
whether civil or criminal, with the Sandiganbayan, which shall have exclusive and
original jurisdiction thereof .
Sec. 3. Civil suits for restitution, reparation of damages, or indemnification for
consequential damages, forfeiture proceedings provided for under Republic Act No.
1379, or any other civil actions under the Civil Code or other existing laws, in
connection with Executive Order No.1 dated February 28, 1986 and Executive Order
No. 2 dated March 12, 1986, may be filed separately from and proceed
independently of any criminal proceedings and may be proved by preponderance of
evidence. (Emphasis supplied.)
From the foregoing provisions of law, particularly Sections 2(b) and 3(a) of Executive Order No. 1
and Sections 1 and 2 of Executive Order No. 14, it is clear that the PCGG has the power to
investigate and prosecute such ill-gotten wealth cases of the former President, his relatives and
associates, and graft and corrupt practices cases that may be assigned by the President to the

PCGG to be filed with the Sandiganbayan. No doubt, the authority to investigate extended to the
PCGG includes the authority to conduct a preliminary investigation. 7
Thus, the Tanodbayan lost the exclusive authority to conduct the preliminary investigation of these
types of cases by the promulgation of the said Executive Order Nos. 1 and 14 whereby the PCGG
was vested concurrent jurisdiction with the Tanodbayan to conduct such preliminary investigation
and to prosecute said cases before the Sandiganbayan. 8 The power of the PCGG to conduct a
preliminary investigation of the aforementioned types of cases has been recognized by this Court
in Bataan Shipyard and Engineering Co. Inc. (BASECO) vs. PCGG. 9
Upon the adoption of the 1987 Constitution, the Office of the Ombudsman was created under Article
XI, as follows:
Sec. 13. The Office of the Ombudsman shall have the following powers, functions,
and duties:
(1) Investigate on its own, or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any
public official, employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be
illegal, unjust, improper, or inefficient.
(2) Direct, upon complaint or at its own instance, any public official or employee of
the Government, or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, as well as of
any government-owned or controlled corporation with original charter, to perform and
expedite any act or duty required by law, or to stop, prevent, and correct any abuse
or impropriety in the performance of duties.
(3) Direct the officer concerned to take appropriate action against a public official or
employee at fault, and recommend his removal, suspension, demotion, fine, censure,
or prosecution, and ensure compliance therewith.
(4) Direct the officer concerned, in any appropriate case and subject to such
limitations as may be provided by law, to furnish it with copies of documents relating
to contracts or transactions entered into by his office involving the disbursement or
use of public funds or properties, and report any irregularity to the Commission on
Audit for appropriate action.
(5) Request any government agency for assistance and information necessary in the
discharge of its responsibilities, and to examine, if necessary, pertinent records and
documents.
(6) Publicize matters covered by its investigation when circumstances so warrant and
with due prudence.
(7) Determine the causes of inefficiency, red tape, mismanagement, fraud, and
corruption in the Government and make recommendations for their elimination and
the observance of high standards of ethics and efficiency.
(8) Promulgate its rules of procedure and exercise such other powers or perform
such functions or duties as may be provided by law. (Emphasis supplied)

This Court, in Zaldivar, 10 interpreting the aforesaid provision of the Constitution, particularly Section
13(1) thereof vesting on the Ombudsman the right and the power to investigate on its own or on
complaint, any act or omission of any public official, employee, office or agency which appears "to be
illegal, unjust, improper, or inefficient", held that the general power of investigation covers the lesser
power to conduct a preliminary investigation. Thus, as the power of investigation vested on the
Ombudsman under the Constitution includes the power to conduct a preliminary investigation, then the
special prosecutor (former Tanodbayan) may no longer conduct such a preliminary investigation unless
duly authorized by the Ombudsman. 11
A reading of the foregoing provision of the Constitution does not show that the power of investigation
including preliminary investigation vested on the Ombudsman is exclusive. Hence, the said provision
of the Constitution did not repeal or remove the power to conduct an investigation, including the
authority to conduct a preliminary investigation, vested on the PCGG by Executive Orders Nos. 1
and 14.
Although under Section 26 of Article XVIII of the Constitution the authority of the PCGG to issue
sequestration or freeze orders was maintained for not more than eighteen months after the
ratification of the Constitution, it cannot be construed thereby that its power of investigation had
thereby been revoked by the failure to reiterate said power in the Constitution.
Indeed, upon the passage of Republic Act No. 6770, otherwise known as the "Ombudsman Act of
1989," it is therein specifically provided in Section 15 as follows:
Sec. 15. Powers, Functions and Duties. The Office of the Ombudsman shall have
the following powers, functions and duties:
(1) Investigate and prosecute on its own or on complaint by any person, any act or
omission of any public officer or employee, office or agency, when such act or
omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient. It has primary
jurisdiction over cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan and, in the exercise of this
primary jurisdiction, it may take over, at any stage, from any investigatory agency of
Government, the investigation of such cases;
xxx xxx xxx
(11) Investigate and initiate the proper action for the recovery of ill-gotten and/or
unexplained wealth amassed after February 25, 1986 and the prosecution of the
parties involved therein.
The Ombudsman shall give priority to complaints filed against high ranking
government officials and/or those occupying supervisory positions, complaints
involving grave offenses as well as complaints involving large sums of money and/or
properties.
Under Section 15(l) of Republic Act No. 6770 aforecited, the Ombudsman has primary jurisdiction
over cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan so that it may take over at any stage from any
investigatory agency of the government, the investigation of such cases. The authority of the
Ombudsman to investigate offenses involving public officers or employees is not exclusive but is
concurrent with other similarly authorized agencies of the government. Such investigatory agencies

referred to include the PCGG and the provincial and city prosecutors and their assistants, the state
prosecutors and the judges of the municipal trial courts and municipal circuit trial courts. 12
In other words, the aforestated provision of the law has opened up the authority to conduct
preliminary investigation of offenses cognizable by the Sandiganbayan to all investigatory agencies
of the government duly authorized to conduct a preliminary investigation under Section 2, Rule 112
of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure with the only qualification that the Ombudsman may take
over at any stage of such investigation in the exercise of his primary jurisdiction.
It is also noted that under Section 15(11) of the aforestated Republic Act No. 6770, among the
powers vested on the Ombudsman is to investigate and to initiate the proper action for recovery of
ill-gotten wealth and/or unexplained wealth amassed after February 25, 1986 and the prosecution of
the parties involved therein. The Court agrees with the contention of the public respondent PCGG
that this provision is a tacit recognition that the authority of the PCGG to conduct preliminary
investigation of ill-gotten wealth and/or unexplained wealth amassedbefore February 25, 1986 is
maintained.
However, the Court finds and so holds that the aforesaid provision of the law cannot in any manner
dilute or diminish the primary jurisdiction of the Ombudsman over all such types of cases committed
by public officers or employees as provided in Section 13, Article XI of the Constitution. Thus,
notwithstanding the provision of Section 15(11) of Republic Act No. 6770, the primary jurisdiction of
the Ombudsman to investigate covers ill-gotten wealth and/or unexplained wealth cases that
occurred even before February 25, 1986.
The second issue raised that the preliminary investigation by the PCGG of the aforestated
complaints violates the right of petitioner to due process and to equal protection of law is impressed
with merit.
Under Section 1, Rule 112 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, preliminary investigation is
defined as "an inquiry or proceeding for the purpose of determining whether there is sufficient
ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime cognizable by the Regional Trial Court has
been committed and that the respondent is probably guilty thereof, and should be held for trial."
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 a crime, from the
trouble, expense, anxiety of a public trial, and also to protect the state from useless and expensive
trials. 13
The conduct of a preliminary investigation is the initial step towards the criminal prosecution of a
person. After such preliminary investigation, if the investigating officer finds that there is sufficient
ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and that the respondent
is probably guilty thereof and should be held for trial, then the corresponding complaint or
information shall be filed in the competent court. It is the filing of said complaint or information that
initiates the criminal prosecution of the accused when he is brought to court for trial.
Such a preliminary investigation is required for offenses cognizable by the Regional Trial Court and
the Sandiganbayan. 14 It must be undertaken in accordance with the procedure provided in Section 3,
Rule 112 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure. This procedure is to be observed in order to assure
that a person undergoing such preliminary investigation will be afforded due process.

As correctly pointed out by petitioner, an indispensable requisite of due process is that the person
who presides and decides over a proceeding, including a preliminary investigation, must possess the
cold neutrality of an impartial judge. 15
Although such a preliminary investigation is not a trial and is not intended to usurp the function of the
trial court, it is not a casual affair. The officer conducting the same investigates or inquires into the
facts concerning the commission of the crime with the end in view of determining whether or not an
information may be prepared against the accused. Indeed, a preliminary investigation is in effect a
realistic judicial appraisal of the merits of the case. Sufficient proof of the guilt of the accused must
be adduced so that when the case is tried, the trial court may not be bound as a matter of law to
order an acquittal. A preliminary investigation has then been called a judicial inquiry. It is a judicial
proceeding. An act becomes judicial when there is opportunity to be heard and for, the production
and weighing of evidence, and a decision is rendered thereon.
The authority of a prosecutor or investigating officer duly empowered to preside or to conduct a
preliminary investigation is no less than that of a municipal judge or even a regional trial court
judge. 16 While the investigating officer, strictly speaking is not a "judge," by the nature of his functions he
is and must be considered to be a quasi judicialofficer.
Soon after the creation of the PCGG under Executive Order No. 1, the PCGG sequestered and froze
all the properties of petitioner Cojuangco in accordance with the powers vested in it by law.
On July 31, 1987, said petitioner was sued by the PCGG before the Sandiganbayan by way of a
complaint entitled "Republic of the Philippines vs. Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr.," et al. docketed as
Civil Case No. 0033. Among the allegations of the complaint are as follows:
This is a civil action against Defendants Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr., Ferdinand E.
Marcos, Imelda R. Marcos and the rest of the Defendants in the above-entitled case
to recover from them ill-gotten wealth consisting of funds and other property which
they, in unlawful concert with one another, had acquired and accumulated in flagrant
breach of trust and of their fiduciary obligations as public officers with, grave abuse of
right and power and in brazen violation of the Constitution and laws of the Republic
of the Philippines, thus resulting in their unjust enrichment during Defendant
Ferdinand E. Marcos' 20 years of rule from December 30, 1965 to February 25,
1986, first as President of the Philippines under the 1935 Constitution and, thereafter,
as one man ruler under martial law and Dictator under the 1973 Marcos-promulgated
Constitution.
2. The wrongs committed by Defendant acting singly or collectively and in unlawful
concert with one another, include the misappropriation and theft of public funds,
plunder of the nation's wealth, extortion, blackmail, bribery, embezzlement and other
acts of corruption, betrayal of public trust and brazen abuse or power as more fully
described below, all at the expense and to the grave and irreparable damage of
Plaintiff and the Filipino people. (Emphasis supplied.) 17
The complaint was filed by the PCGG through its Chairman, Ramon A. Diaz, who verified the
complaint, and Solicitor General Francisco I. Chavez and Assistant Solicitor General Ramon S.
Desuasido.

Petitioner in turn filed a counterclaim against the PCGG for the sequestration of his properties and
the institution of the suit. He also questioned the acts of the PCGG in several special civil actions
before the court. 18
On November 27, 1989, the first working day after petitioner Cojuangco returned to the Philippines,
the PCGG filed with the Sandiganbayan an information against said petitioner for violation of
Republic Act No. 3019 entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr." docketed
as Criminal Case No. 14161. However, the Sandiganbayan found no probable cause for the
issuance of a warrant of arrest so a petition for certiorari was filed by the Solicitor General in this
Court docketed as G.R. No. 91741. On March 29, 1990 this Court denied the petition.
On November 28, 1989, President Aquino directed the Solicitor General to prosecute all persons
involved in the misuse of the coconut levy funds. The Solicitor General created a task force for the
purpose.
On January 12, 1990, the Solicitor General filed with the PCGG the first two criminal complaints for
violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, bearing on the anomalous use and/or misuse of
the coconut levy funds docketed as I.S. Nos. 74 and 75. Among the respondents were the petitioner
and intervenors Lobregat and Eleazar. The PCGG assigned assistant prosecutor Cesario del
Rosario to conduct the preliminary investigation.
As hereinabove related, a subpoena was issued by the said prosecutor for the preliminary
investigation on January 29, 1989 insofar as intervenors are concerned while that of petitioner, de la
Cuesta and Herminigildo Zayco was scheduled on January 31, 1990. In the same subpoena,
respondents were required to submit their counter-affidavits and other supporting documents to
controvert the complaint within ten (10) days from notice.
On the scheduled investigation dated January 29, 1990, intervenors appeared through counsel and
moved to dismiss the complaints for lack of jurisdiction of the PCGG to conduct the preliminary
investigation but this was denied by said prosecutor. They were asked by the prosecutor if they will
submit their counter-affidavits but intervenors' counsel replied that they were not yet ready to file the
same because of their pending motion. Thus, the cases were considered closed insofar as they are
concerned.
The intervenors contested the prosecutor's action before the Sandiganbayan through a petition
for certiorari and prohibition docketed as Criminal Case No. 0093. On March 13, 1990, the
Sandiganbayan promulgated its decision wherein it declared the preliminary investigation conducted
by del Rosario null and void, enjoined the PCGG from filing an information on the basis thereof and
directed the PCGG to conduct another preliminary investigation of I.S. Nos. 74 and 75 as to the
intervenors and to assign another investigating prosecutor.
Earlier however, that is, on February 27, 1990, the PCGG, overruling prosecutor del Rosario's order,
gave the intervenors in I.S. Nos. 74 and 75 another period of five (5) days from notice within which to
submit their counter-affidavits and supporting evidence. Based on this action the PCGG filed a
motion for reconsideration of the aforesaid decision of the Sandiganbayan which had not been
resolved.
As to petitioner, on the day of the preliminary investigation dated January 31, 1990, his counsel filed
a motion to disqualify or inhibit the PCGG, an alternative motion to dismiss, and a motion to have the

PCGG itself hear and/or resolve the motion to disqualify or inhibit itself alternatively a motion to
dismiss. The preliminary investigation presided by prosecutor del Rosario started at 2:00 o'clock
P.M. with eight other respondents duly represented by their counsel. The said motion was denied
and the preliminary investigation was adjourned.
Immediately thereafter petitioner brought the matter to Chairman Mateo A.T. Caparas of the PCGG
and in several communications sought resolution of the motion by the PCGG. On February 27, 1990,
the PCGG issued an order denying petitioner's motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction but did not
resolve the motion to disqualify. Therein, the PCGG directed petitioner to submit his counteraffidavits within five (5) days from receipt of notice.
On March 12, 1990, the same day this petition was filed in this Court, the petitioner, instead of filing
the counter-affidavit, filed with the PCGG an urgent motion to defer proceedings in I.S. Nos. 74 and
75 for at least until March 22, 1990 within which to seek judicial relief from the order of February 27,
1990. Upon the filing of this petition, petitioner filed a supplemental urgent motion to defer
proceedings with the PCGG informing it of the filing of this petition.
Nevertheless, on March 14, 1990, the PCGG filed two informations corresponding to the complaints
in I.S. Nos. 74 and 75 which are docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 14398 and 14399, respectively, at
the Sandiganbayan. The PCGG recommended bail as P100,000.00 for each case.
Meanwhile, the Solicitor General filed two other complaints against the petitioner with the PCGG
accusing the petitioner of violation of Republic Act No. 3019 and other penal laws in connection with
the coconut levy funds, namely, I.S. No. 79 which concerns an alleged arbitration award in favor of
Agricultural Investors Inc., and I.S. No. 82 which concerns the acquisition of coconut oil mills.
Several other complaints were filed by the Solicitor General with the PCGG against petitioner for
preliminary investigation petition, to wit:
(a) I.S. No. 80 which concerns the acquisition of the First United Bank, now United Coconut Planters'
Bank; (b) I.S. No. 81 concerning shares of the United Coconut Oil Mills Inc.; (c) I.S. No. 83 regarding
the acquisition of coconut oil mills and certain indebtedness thereof; and (d) I.S. No. 84 regarding
settlement of an Anti-Graft suit in the United States. All of these complaints were for alleged violation
of Republic Act No. 3019.
The question that arises, therefore, is whether under the circumstances of this case, it would be fair
and just for the PCGG to conduct the preliminary investigation of the said complaint instead of the
Ombudsman or any other duly authorized investigating agency.
Upon the creation of the PCGG under Executive Order No. 1 issued by President Aquino, the PCGG
was charged with the task of assisting the President not only in the recovery of ill-gotten wealth or
unexplained wealth accumulated by the former President, his immediate family, relatives,
subordinates and close associates but also in the investigation of such cases of graft and corruption
as the President may assign to the Commission from time and to prevent a repetition of the same in
the future.
Section 3 of Executive Order No. 1 provides as follows:
Sec. 3. The Commission shall have the power and authority:

(a) To conduct investigation as may be necesssary in order to accomplish and carry


out the purposes of this order.
(b) To sequester or place or cause to be placed under its control or possession any
building or office wherein any ill-gotten wealth or properties may be found, and any
records pertaining thereto, in order to prevent their destruction, concealment or
disappearance which would frustrate or hamper the investigation or otherwise
prevent the Commission from accomplishing its task.
(c) To provisionally take over in the public interest or to prevent its disposal or
dissipation, business enterprises and properties taken over by the government of the
Marcos administration or by entities or persons close to former President Marcos,
until the transactions leading to such acquisition by the latter can be disposed of by
the appropriate authorities.
(d) To enjoin or restrain any actual or threatened commission of acts by any person
or entity that may render moot and academic, or frustrate, or otherwise make
ineffectual the efforts of the Commission to carry out its tasks under this order.
(e) To administer oaths, and issue subpoenas requiring the attendance and
testimony of witnesses and/or the production of such books, papers, contracts,
records, statement of accounts and other documents as may be material to the
investigation conducted by the Commission.
(f) To hold any person in direct or indirect contempt and impose the appropriate
penalties, following the same procedures and penalties provided in the Rules of
Court.
(g) To seek and secure the assistance of any office, agency or instrumentality of the
government.
(h) To promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the
purposes of this order.
From the foregoing provisions of law, it is clear that the PCGG has the following powers and
authority:
1. To conduct an investigation including the preliminary investigation and prosecution of the ill-gotten
wealth cases of former President Marcos, relatives and associates, and graft and corruption cases
assigned by the President to it;
2. Issue sequestration orders in relation to property claimed to be ill-gotten;
3. Issue "freeze orders" prohibiting persons in possession of property alleged to be ill-gotten from
transferring or otherwise disposing of the same;
4. Issue provisional takeover orders of the said property;

5. Administer oaths and issue subpoenas in the conduct of its investigation;


6. Hold any person in direct or indirect contempt and impose the appropriate penalties as provided
by the rules.
Considering that the PCGG, like the courts, is vested with the authority to grant provisional remedies
of (1) sequestration, (2) freezing assets, and (3) provisional takeover, it is indispensable that, as in
the case of attachment and receivership, there exists a prima facie factual foundation, at least, for
the sequestration order, freeze order or takeover order, an adequate and fair opportunity to contest it
and endeavor to cause its negation or nullification. Both are assured under the foregoing executive
orders and the rules and regulations promulgated by the PCGG. 19
Thus, in Baseco, this Court held, as follows:
Executive Order No. 14 enjoins that there be "due regard to the requirements of
fairness and due process." Executive Order No. 2 declares that with respect to
claims on allegedly "ill-gotten" assets and properties, "it is the position of the new
democratic government that President Marcos . . . (and other parties affected) be
afforded fair opportunity to contest these claims before appropriate Philippine
authorities." Section 7 of the Commission's Rules and Regulations provides that
sequestration or freeze (and takeover) orders issue upon the authority of at least two
commissioners, based on the affirmation or complaint of an interested party, or motu
propio when the Commission has reasonable grounds to believe that the issuance
thereof is warranted. A similar requirement is now found in Section 26, Art. XVIII of
the 1987 Constitution, which requires that "sequestration or freeze order shall be
issued only upon showing of a prima facie case." 20
Insofar as the general power of investigation vested in the PCGG is concerned, it may be divided
into two stages. The first stage of investigation which is called the criminal investigation stage is the
fact-finding inquiring which is usually conducted by the law enforcement agents whereby they gather
evidence and interview witnesses after which they assess the evidence and if they find sufficient
basis, file the complaint for the purpose of preliminary investigation. The second stage is the
preliminary investigation stage of the said complaint. It is at this stage, as above discussed, where it
is ascertained if there is sufficient evidence to bring a person to trial.
In the petition before this Court, it is not denied that the PCGG conducted the appropriate criminal
investigation of petitioner and intervenors as a law enforcer. In the process it sequestered all the
properties of the petitioner after a prima facie finding that the same amount to ill-gotten wealth and/or
were acquired in relation to allegedly anomalous disposition or misuse of the coconut levy funds.
The PCGG then filed on July 31, 1987 a complaint docketed as Civil Case No. 0033 against
petitioner and intervenors not only for alleged ill-gotten wealth as associates of former President
Marcos but for the unlawful concert with the former President and his wife to unjustly enrich
themselves at the expense of the Filipino people through the alleged misuse, misappropriation and
dissipation of the coconut levy funds, as enumerated in the complaint. This complaint was verified
and filed by the then Chairman of the PCGG and also signed by the Solicitor General and the
Assistant Solicitor General.

Among the allegations in the civil complaint, are the very transactions now subject of the criminal
complaints filed by the Solicitor General against petitioner to wit:
13. Defendant Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr., taking undue advantage of his association,
influence and connection, acting in unlawful concert with Defendants Ferdinand E.
Marcos and Imelda R. Marcos, embarked upon devices, schemes and stratagems to
unjustly enrich themselves at the expense of Plaintiff and the Filipino people, such
as, when he
13(a) manipulated, beginning the year 1975, with the active collaboration of
Defendants Juan Ponce Enrile, Maria Clara Lobregat Danilo Ursua, Jose R. Eleazar,
Jr. and Herminigildo C. Zayco, the purchase by Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) of
72.2% of the outstanding capital stock of the First (sic) (FUB)which was
subsequently converted into a universal bank named United Coconut Planters Bank
(UCPB) through the use of the Coconut Consumers Stabilization-Fund (CCSF) levy
initially in the amount of P85,773,100.00 in a manner contrary to law and to the
specific purposes for which said coconut levy funds were imposed and collected
under P.D. 276, and under anomalous and sinister designs and circumstances, to
wit:
xxx xxx xxx
At pp. 22 to 22-A, Expanded Complaint, Civil Case No.0033)
[I.S. No. 080]
(c) misappropriated, misused and dissipated P840 million of the Coconut Industry
Development Fund (CIDF) levy funds deposited with the National Investment
Development Corporation (NIDC) as administrator-trustee of said funds and later
with UCPB, of which Defendant Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. was the Chief Executive
Officer in connection with the (i) development, improvement, operation and
maintenance of the Bugsuk Island Seed Garden ("BUGSUK") by Agricultural
Investors, Inc. ("AII") as developer (both Bugsuk and AII are beneficially held and
controlled by Defendant Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr.) pursuant to a highly oppressive,
anomalous and one-sided memorandum agreement, dated November 20, 1974, (ii)
sale by AII to PCA of the seed nuts produced at Bugsuk Seed Garden at exorbitant
prices pursuant to a very onerous, oppressive and disadvantageous agreement,
dated August 2, 1985 and (iii) payment of liquidated damages in the amount of
P640,856,879.67 and arbitration fee of P150,000.00 pursuant to a decision rendered
by a Board of Arbitrators against UCPB for alleged breach of contract.;
xxx xxx xxx
(At pp. 26-27)
[I.S. No. 079]
(d) established and caused to be funded with coconut levy funds, with the active
collaboration of Defendant Ferdinand E. Marcos through the issuance of LOI 926,

and of defendants, Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose R. Eleazar, Jr., Maria Clara Lobregat,
Jose C. Concepcion, Inaki Mendezona, Douglas Lu Ym, Teodoro D. Regala,
Emmanuel Almeda, Eduardo Escueta, Leo Palma, and Rolando de la Cuesta, the
United Coconut Oil Mills, Inc. (UNICOM) a corporation beneficially held and
controlled by Defendant Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. and bought sixteen (16) competing
and/or non-operating oil mills at exorbitant prices in the total amount of P184,935
million, then mothballed them in order to control the prices of copra and other
coconut products, and assumed and paid the outstanding loan obligations of seven
(7) of those purchased oil mills in the total amount of P805,984 million with the
express consent and approval of Defendant Ferdinand E. Marcos, thereby
establishing a coconut monopoly for their own benefit and unjust enrichment and to
the grave damage of Plaintiff and the Filipino people;
(e) manipulated with the active collaboration of Defendants Mohammad Ali Dimaporo
and Teodoro D. Regala, the sale of the Mindanao Coconut Oil Mills (MINCOCO) to
UNICOM through the issuance of LOI 926 by Defendant Ferdinand E. Marcos, in
violation of the Guaranty Agreement dated July 23, 1976, which prohibited the sale,
among others, of the MINCOCO assets/properties without the prior written consent of
NIDC, under terms and conditions grossly disadvantageous to Plaintiff and the
Filipino people;
(f) drew up a scheme of payment to settle the accounts of MINCOCO and other
UNICOM-acquired mills with their respective creditors: namely the National
Investment Development Corporation (NIDC), Deveploment Bank of the Philippines
(DBP), Philippine Veterans Bank (PVB), under terms grossly disadvantageous to
Plaintiff;
xxx xxx xxx
(At pp. 27-28)
[I.S. Nos. 81, 82 and 83]
(g) misappropriated and dissipated the coconut levy funds by withdrawing
therefrom tens of millions of pesos in order to pay damages adjudged against
UNICOM, headed and controlled by Defendant Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr., in an antitrust suit in California, U.S.A.;
xxx xxx xxx
(At p. 29)
[I.S. No. 84]
(h) misused, dissipated and unlawfully disbursed coconut levy funds with the active
collaboration and participation of defendants Maria Clara Lobregat, Juan Ponce
Enrile, Jose Eleazar, Jr., Rolando de la Cuesta and Herminigildo Zayco as members
of the PCA governing board for projects and purposes completely alien to those for
which the fund was collected and donations made by PCA such as . . . P6 million to

COCOFED; and other similar unlawful disbursements, which all remain unaccounted
for to date;
xxx xxx xxx
(At pp 28 to 28-A Emphasis supplied)
[I.S. No. 74 and 75]
Thereafter, as aforestated, the Solicitor General filed the first two complaints against petitioner and
intervenors among others, under I.S. Nos. 74 and 75 for alleged violation of the Anti Graft and
Corrupt Practices Act for donations allegedly made out of coconut levy funds to the Philippine
Coconut Producers Federation (COCOFED).
Petitioner and intervenors questioned not only the authority of the PCGG to conduct the preliminary
investigation but asserted a denial of due process and equal protection of the law. There is cogent
basis for their plea.
The PCGG, as a law enforcer, gathered evidence as to the alleged ill-gotten wealth of petitioner and
intervenors and, after satisfying itself that there is a prima facie case, sequestered and issued a
freeze order for all the properties of petitioner. Based also on the said finding of a prima facie case,
the PCGG filed a civil complaint docketed as Civil Case No. 0033 against petitioner and intervenors
for alleged ill-gotten wealth including the alleged misuse, misappropriation, and diversion of coconut
levy funds.
As hereinabove discussed the criminal complaints under I.S. Nos. 74, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83 and 84 filed
by the Solicitor General all for alleged violation of Republic Act No. 3019, are covered and alleged in
the aforesaid civil complaint docketed as Civil Case No. 0033.
The PCGG conducted the preliminary investigation of I.S. Nos. 74 and 75 and is poised to conduct
the preliminary investigation of the other aforementioned complaints for the same alleged violations
of law subject of the civil complaint.
The Court cannot close its eyes to the glaring fact that in earlier instances, the PCGG had already
found a prima facie case against the petitioner and intervenors when, acting like a judge, it caused
the sequestration of the properties and the issuance of the freeze order of the properties of
petitioner. Thereafter, acting as a law enforcer, in collaboration with the Solicitor General, the PCGG
gathered the evidence and upon finding cogent basis therefor filed the aforestated civil complaint.
Consequently the Solicitor General filed a series of criminal complaints.
It is difficult to imagine how in the conduct of such preliminary investigation the PCGG could even
make a turn about and take a position contradictory to its earlier findings of a prima facie case
against petitioner and intervenors. This was demonstrated in the undue haste with which I.S. Nos.
74 and 75 was investigated and the informations were filed in court even as the petitioner and
intervenors questioned its authority, invoked the denial of due process and promptly informed the
PCGG of the filing of this petition.

In our criminal justice system, the law enforcer who conducted the criminal investigation, gathered
the evidence and thereafter filed the complaint for the purpose of preliminary investigation cannot be
allowed to conduct the preliminary investigation of his own complaint. It is to say the least arbitrary
and unjust.
It is in such instances that We say one cannot be "a prosecutor and judge at the same time." Having
gathered the evidence and filed the complaint as a law enforcer, he cannot be expected to handle
with impartiality the preliminary investigation of his own complaint, this time as a public prosecutor.
The circumstances of the instant petition are even worse. To repeat, the PCGG and the Solicitor
General finding aprima facie basis filed a civil complaint against petitioner and intervenors alleging
substantially the same illegal or criminal acts subject of the subsequent criminal complaints the
Solicitor General filed with the PCGG for preliminary investigation. While ostensibly, it is only the
Solicitor General who is the complainant in the criminal cases filed with the PCGG, in reality the
PCGG is an unidentified co-complainant.
Moreover, when the PCGG issued the sequestration and freeze orders against petitioner's
properties, it was on the basis of a prima facie finding that the same were ill-gotten and/or were
acquired in relation to the illegal disposition of coconut levy funds. Thus, the Court finds that the
PCGG cannot possibly conduct the preliminary investigation of said criminal complaints with the
"cold neutrality of an impartial judge," as it has prejudged the matter. Add to this the fact that there
are many suits filed by petitioner and the intervenors against the PCGG and vice versa.
For lesser grounds this Court had disqualified a fiscal or a judge from handling a case.
A fiscal was disqualified from conducting a preliminary investigation because he had appeared for
the prosecution when said case was pending in the municipal court. 21 In a case filed before the
Commission on Elections this Court held Commissioner Opinion should not have participated in the case
since he was the former lawyer of Arturo Pacificador.22 A judge was required to inhibit himself in a case
where he was a witness for the complainant. 23 A judge before whom the extrajudicial statement of one of
the accused was subscribed was disqualified from hearing the case. 24 A judge who told the complainant
is case was weak and it would be to his advantage to settle the case was disqualified. 25 A judge against
whom an administrative complaint was filed by one of the parties was also disqualified. 26 In a case where
the motion for inhibition was found to be groundless, this Court held that the judge should inhibit himself
considering the seriousness of the charges. 27 A judge was asked to inhibit himself from trying a
malversation case against the accused since he previously convicted the latter of arson. 28 In another
case, the judge was ordered to inhibit himself because of strained relationship with the defendant. 29
There are numerous other cases wherein the judges and fiscals were disqualified on similar grounds
as those aforementioned. 30
Where the circumstances do not inspire confidence in the objectivity and impartiality of the judge,
such judge should inhibit voluntarily or if he refuses, he should be prohibited from handling the case.
Judge must not only be impartial but must also appear impartial as an assurance to the parties that
his decision will be just. 31 His actuation must inspire that belief. This is an instance when appearance is
as important as reality. 32
The same rule of thumb should apply to an investigating officer conducting a preliminary
investigation. This is the reason why under Section 1679 of the former Revised Administrative Code,

the Secretary of Justice, who has supervision over the prosecution arm of the government, is given
ample power to designate another prosecutor to handle the investigation and prosecution of a case
when the prosecutor handling the same is otherwise disqualified by personal interest, or is unable or
fails to perform his duty.
The Court finds that under the circumstances of the case, the PCGG cannot inspire belief that it
could be impartial in the conduct of the preliminary investigation of the aforesaid complaints against
petitioner and intervenors. It cannot possibly preside in the said preliminary investigation with an
even hand.
The Court holds that a just and fair administration of justice can be promoted if the PCGG would be
prohibited from conducting the preliminary investigation of the complaints subject of this petition and
the petition for intervention and that the records of the same should be forwarded to the
Ombudsman, who as an independent constitutional officer has primary jurisdiction over cases of this
nature, to conduct such preliminary investigation and take appropriate action.
All violators of the law must be brought before the bar of justice. However, they must be afforded due
process and equal protection of the law, whoever they may be.
WHEREFORE, the petitions of Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr. and intervenors Maria Clara Lobregat,
and Jose Eleazar, Jr. are hereby GRANTED. The PCGG is directed to transmit the complaints and
records thereof under I.S. Nos. 74, 75, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83 and 84 to the Ombudsman for appropriate
action. All proceedings of the preliminary investigation conducted by the PCGG of said complaints
are hereby declared null and void including the informations which it filed in the Sandiganbayan
against petitioner and intervenors docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 14398 and 14399. The status
quo order which this Court issued on March 12, 1990 is hereby made permanent and the PCGG is
permanently prohibited from further conducting the preliminary investigation of the aforestated
complaints. The Court makes no pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Fernan, C.J., Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Cruz, Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Sarmiento, Cortes, GrioAquino, Medialdea and Regalado, JJ., concur.
Paras, J., took no part.

Separate Opinions

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: concurring:

I concur in the Court's decision penned by my distinguished colleague, Mr. Justice Emilio A.
Gancayco. The PCGG cannot preside over these cases with an even hand, much less inspire the
slightest belief in its impartiality and fairness.
Where the PCGG has sequestered properties, arrived at precise conclusions, and filed a CIVIL case
for the recovery or forfeiture of those properties, it is disqualified from conducting any preliminary
investigation of CRIMINAL charges pertaining to the same alleged ill gotten wealth. As an interested
party in the CIVIL case, it is incapable of acting fairly in the CRIMINAL case. This is the Court's
ruling.
I feel, however, that the Court should have gone further.
In the light of the unquestioned jurisdiction given to the Ombudsman by the Constitution and statute,
the PCGG should no longer continue conducting preliminary investigations. It should limit itself to the
preparation and filing of civil cases. Its conduct of preliminary investigations is so colored by the
basic reason for its creation, its institutional structure, and its obsession to recover everything that it
perceives and suspects to be ill gotten wealth that it cannot help but run roughshod over
fundamental requirements of fair play in criminal cases.
Nowhere is pre-judgment so evident as in this case.
In filing the civil case against Mr. Cojuangco, the PCGG has concluded with certainty that he is guilty
of "misappropriation and theft of public funds, plunder of the nation's wealth, extortion, blackmail,
bribery, embezzlement, and other acts of corruption, betrayal of public trust and brazen abuse of
power, as more fully described below, all at the expense and to the grave irreparable damage of
Plaintiff and the Filipino people." (Seecomplaint in CC 0033, Sandiganbayan, pp. 2 and 3) Mr.
Cojuangco has been asked to pay more than P100 Billion in damages. He was placed on the "hold
order" lists of PCGG and prohibited from coming home to defend himself His wife, children, and
grandchildren hold cancelled passports and are indefinitely exiled.
On January 31, 1990 when the preliminary investigation was to be conducted, a voluminous motion
to inhibit the PCGG was filed by the petitioner. It took the PCGG Prosecutor exactly ten (10) minutes
to deny the motion and pass upon the complex constitutional and jurisdictional issues. The Supreme
Court needed several months to deliberate and resolve the same issues.
Apart from its having been created for the sole purpose of recovering the ill gotten wealth of exPresident Marcos, his relatives and cronies, the make-up of the PCGG prevents it from being
independent. The Chairman and members serve at the absolute pleasure of the President. The law
prescribes no qualifications for their appointment. The law does not mention future appointments.
The record is replete with incidents of non-objectivity. The petitioner has repeatedly filed motions to
inspect the records of his former companies to enable him to defend himself. Motions which an
ordinary Fiscal, Prosecutor, or Judge would routinely grant are denied. The Supreme Court itself in,
G.R. No. 91741 has ruled that the petitioner had been singled out by the PCGG and given biased
treatment. In that same case, the Sandiganbayan found no probable cause for the arrest of Mr.
Cojuangco. We sustained the Sandiganbayan.
The other issue which the Court should have explored further is the constitutional right of all accused
persons to equal protection of the law.

As earlier stated, the appointment, tenure, functions, and objectives of the PCGG prevent it from
being fair and objective. Its actions in this case show that indeed it cannot be fair and objective. It is
a temporary office given a fixed mission. It has to accomplish that mission.
On the other hand, the Ombudsman is created by the Constitution. It is vested with "independent"
powers. It enjoys fiscal autonomy. It is insulated from interference by the political departments. The
qualifications for Ombudsman are found in the Constitution. They include "recognized probity and
independence." He must have been a practising lawyer or Judge for at least ten (10) years. The
incumbent Ombudsman has served in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Court of First Instance,
Department of Justice and high level fact finding committees. He was at the top of his class at the
U.P. College of Law and has been a distinguished Professor of Law for decades. He was nominated
and appointed Ombudsman on the record of his unquestioned competence, intellectual skills,
integrity, and independence.
In the light of the above considerations, persons who appear before the PCGG and not the
Ombudsman are clearly denied the equal protection guaranteed by the Constitution. There is no
substantial basis for some respondents to appear before the biased and less competent PCGG
while others appear before the impartial and more competent Ombudsman. The line drawn between
public officials in office before February 25, 1986 and those in public office after February 25, 1986 is
arbitrary and discriminatory. There are no substantial distinctions permitting a valid classification.
And as stressed by the petitioner, is there a substantial distinction between those who committed
graft and corruption under former President Marcos and those who are now committing (according to
media and the Roman Catholic hierarchy) graft and corruption under President Aquino? The
petitioner argues:
The violation of equal protection thus becomes clear. It is now four years after EDSA.
Three years after the ratification of the new Constitution. Must there be one kind of
justice for the "victors", another for the "vanquished"? Is there not but one Filipino
under the Constitution? There is no cogent reason why the liberty of those who were
associated with former President Marcos should lie in the hands of PCGG and not in
the Ombudsman who is independent of the President, and, of course, the Solicitor
General, and is precisely mandated by the Constitution to deal with graft and
corruption cases.
It is thus a denial of equal protection of the law that the petitioner has been subjected
to preliminary investigation for violation of R.A. No. 3019 by PCGG rather than by the
Ombudsman. (Petitioner's Memorandum, p. 41)
Impartiality and fundamental fairness are inherent rights of all persons brought before our criminal
justice system. The social justice provisions of the Constitution mandate that the State must take
special measures to protect these rights when the accused are the outcasts and the poor or belong
to a group which is ignored, disliked, or hated by those currently in power.
During the Marcos administration, a top leader of the then opposition was ordered prosecuted in
what were clearly railroaded proceedings. The Court struck down the charade of a preliminary
investigation and among, other things, stated:
The purpose of preliminary investigation is to secure the innocent against hasty,
malicious and oppressive prosecution, and to protect him from an open and public

accusation of crime, from the trouble, expense and anxiety of a public trial, and also
to protect the state from useless and expensive trials. (Trocio v. Manta, 118 SCRA
241; citing 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. Oandasan 25 SCRA 277) However, in order to satisfy the
due process clause it is not enough that the preliminary investigation is conducted in
the sense of making sure that a transgressor shall not escape with impunity. A
preliminary investigation serves not only the purposes of the State. More important, it
is a part of the guarantees of freedom and fair play which are birthrights of all who
live in our country. It is, therefore, imperative upon the fiscal or the judge as the case
may be, to relieve the accused from the pain of going through a trial once it is
ascertained that the evidence is insufficient to sustain a prima facie case or that no
probable cause exists to form a sufficient belief as to the guilt of the accused.
Although there is no general formula or fixed rule for the determination of probable
cause since the same must be decided in the light of the conditions obtaining in
given situations and its existence depends to a large degree upon the finding or
opinion of the judge conducting the examination, such a finding should not disregard
the facts before the judge nor run counter to the clear dictates of reason (See La
Chemise Lacoste, S.A. v. Fernandez, 129 SCRA 391). The judge or fiscal, therefore,
should not go on with the prosecution in the hope that some credible evidence might
later turn up during trial for this would be a flagrant violation of a basic right which the
courts are created to uphold. It bears repeating that the judiciary lives up to its
mission by vitalizing and not denigrating constitutional rights. So it has been before. It
should continue to be so. (Salonga v. Cruz Panio, 134 SCRA 438, 461-462)
The Court today can do no less. It has to apply the same yardstick to the PCGG. The same
guarantees of fairness and justice in this decision of the Court rendered during the time of Mr.
Marcos belong in equal measure to petitioner Cojuangco and all who appear before the PCGG
during the term of President Aquino.

Separate Opinions
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: concurring:
I concur in the Court's decision penned by my distinguished colleague, Mr. Justice Emilio A.
Gancayco. The PCGG cannot preside over these cases with an even hand, much less inspire the
slightest belief in its impartiality and fairness.
Where the PCGG has sequestered properties, arrived at precise conclusions, and filed a CIVIL case
for the recovery or forfeiture of those properties, it is disqualified from conducting any preliminary
investigation of CRIMINAL charges pertaining to the same alleged ill gotten wealth. As an interested
party in the CIVIL case, it is incapable of acting fairly in the CRIMINAL case. This is the Court's
ruling.
I feel, however, that the Court should have gone further.

In the light of the unquestioned jurisdiction given to the Ombudsman by the Constitution and statute,
the PCGG should no longer continue conducting preliminary investigations. It should limit itself to the
preparation and filing of civil cases. Its conduct of preliminary investigations is so colored by the
basic reason for its creation, its institutional structure, and its obsession to recover everything that it
perceives and suspects to be ill gotten wealth that it cannot help but run roughshod over
fundamental requirements of fair play in criminal cases.
Nowhere is pre-judgment so evident as in this case.
In filing the civil case against Mr. Cojuangco, the PCGG has concluded with certainty that he is guilty
of "misappropriation and theft of public funds, plunder of the nation's wealth, extortion, blackmail,
bribery, embezzlement, and other acts of corruption, betrayal of public trust and brazen abuse of
power, as more fully described below, all at the expense and to the grave irreparable damage of
Plaintiff and the Filipino people." (See complaint in CC 0033, Sandiganbayan, pp. 2 and 3) Mr.
Cojuangco has been asked to pay more than P100 Billion in damages. He was placed on the "hold
order" lists of PCGG and prohibited from coming home to defend himself His wife, children, and
grandchildren hold cancelled passports and are indefinitely exiled.
On January 31, 1990 when the preliminary investigation was to be conducted, a voluminous motion
to inhibit the PCGG was filed by the petitioner. It took the PCGG Prosecutor exactly ten (10) minutes
to deny the motion and pass upon the complex constitutional and jurisdictional issues. The Supreme
Court needed several months to deliberate and resolve the same issues.
Apart from its having been created for the sole purpose of recovering the ill gotten wealth of exPresident Marcos, his relatives and cronies, the make-up of the PCGG prevents it from being
independent. The Chairman and members serve at the absolute pleasure of the President. The law
prescribes no qualifications for their appointment. The law does not mention future appointments.
The record is replete with incidents of non-objectivity. The petitioner has repeatedly filed motions to
inspect the records of his former companies to enable him to defend himself. Motions which an
ordinary Fiscal, Prosecutor, or Judge would routinely grant are denied. The Supreme Court itself in,
G.R. No. 91741 has ruled that the petitioner had been singled out by the PCGG and given biased
treatment. In that same case, the Sandiganbayan found no probable cause for the arrest of Mr.
Cojuangco. We sustained the Sandiganbayan.
The other issue which the Court should have explored further is the constitutional right of all accused
persons to equal protection of the law.
As earlier stated, the appointment, tenure, functions, and objectives of the PCGG prevent it from
being fair and objective. Its actions in this case show that indeed it cannot be fair and objective. It is
a temporary office given a fixed mission. It has to accomplish that mission.
On the other hand, the Ombudsman is created by the Constitution. It is vested with "independent"
powers. It enjoys fiscal autonomy. It is insulated from interference by the political departments. The
qualifications for Ombudsman are found in the Constitution. They include "recognized probity and
independence." He must have been a practising lawyer or Judge for at least ten (10) years. The
incumbent Ombudsman has served in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Court of First Instance,
Department of Justice and high level fact finding committees. He was at the top of his class at the
U.P. College of Law and has been a distinguished Professor of Law for decades. He was nominated

and appointed Ombudsman on the record of his unquestioned competence, intellectual skills,
integrity, and independence.
In the light of the above considerations, persons who appear before the PCGG and not the
Ombudsman are clearly denied the equal protection guaranteed by the Constitution. There is no
substantial basis for some respondents to appear before the biased and less competent PCGG
while others appear before the impartial and more competent Ombudsman. The line drawn between
public officials in office before February 25, 1986 and those in public office after February 25, 1986 is
arbitrary and discriminatory. There are no substantial distinctions permitting a valid classification.
And as stressed by the petitioner, is there a substantial distinction between those who committed
graft and corruption under former President Marcos and those who are now committing (according to
media and the Roman Catholic hierarchy) graft and corruption under President Aquino? The
petitioner argues:
The violation of equal protection thus becomes clear. It is now four years after EDSA.
Three years after the ratification of the new Constitution. Must there be one kind of
justice for the 'victors', another for the 'vanquished'?'Is there not but one Filipino
under the Constitution? There is no cogent reason why the liberty of those who were
associated with former President Marcos should lie in the hands of PCGG and not in
the Ombudsman who is independent of the President, and, of course, the Solicitor
General, and is precisely mandated by the Constitution to deal with graft and
corruption cases.
It is thus a denial of equal protection of the law that the petitioner has been subjected
to preliminary investigation for violation of R.A. No. 3019 by PCGG rather than by the
Ombudsman. (Petitioner's Memorandum, p. 41)
Impartiality and fundamental fairness are inherent rights of all persons brought before our criminal
justice system. The social justice provisions of the Constitution mandate that the State must take
special measures to protect these rights when the accused are the outcasts and the poor or belong
to a group which is ignored, disliked, or hated by those currently in power.
During the Marcos administration, a top leader of the then opposition was ordered prosecuted in
what were clearly railroaded proceedings. The Court struck down the charade of a preliminary
investigation and among, other things, stated:
The purpose of preliminary investigation is to secure the innocent against hasty,
malicious and oppressive prosecution, and to protect him from an open and public
accusation of crime, from the trouble, expense and anxiety of a public trial, and also
to protect the state from useless and expensive trials. (Trocio v. Manta, 118 SCRA
241; citing 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. Oandasan 25 SCRA 277) However, in order to satisfy the
due process clause it is not enough that the preliminary investigation is conducted in
the sense of making sure that a transgressor shall not escape with impunity. A
preliminary investigation serves not only the purposes of the State. More important, it
is a part of the guarantees of freedom and fair play which are birthrights of all who
live in our country. It is, therefore, imperative upon the fiscal or the judge as the case
may be, to relieve the accused from the pain of going through a trial once it is

ascertained that the evidence is insufficient to sustain a prima facie case or that no
probable cause exists to form a sufficient belief as to the guilt of the accused.
Although there is no general formula or fixed rule for the determination of probable
cause since the same must be decided in the light of the conditions obtaining in
given situations and its existence depends to a large degree upon the finding or
opinion of the judge conducting the examination, such a finding should not disregard
the facts before the judge nor run counter to the clear dictates of reason (See La
Chemise Lacoste, S.A. v. Fernandez, 129 SCRA 391). The judge or fiscal, therefore,
should not go on with the prosecution in the hope that some credible evidence might
later turn up during trial for this would be a flagrant violation of a basic right which the
courts are created to uphold. It bears repeating that the judiciary lives up to its
mission by vitalizing and not denigrating constitutional rights. So it has been before. It
should continue to be so. (Salonga v. Cruz Panio, 134 SCRA 438, 461-462)
The Court today can do no less. It has to apply the same yardstick to the PCGG. The same
guarantees of fairness and justice in this decision of the Court rendered during the time of Mr.
Marcos belong in equal measure to petitioner Cojuangco and all who appear before the PCGG
during the term of President Aquino.
G.R. No. 192935

December 7, 2010

LOUIS "BAROK" C. BIRAOGO, Petitioner,


vs.
THE PHILIPPINE TRUTH COMMISSION OF 2010, Respondent.
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
G.R. No. 193036
REP. EDCEL C. LAGMAN, REP. RODOLFO B. ALBANO, JR., REP. SIMEON A.
DATUMANONG, and REP. ORLANDO B. FUA, SR., Petitioners,
vs.
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR. and DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND
MANAGEMENT SECRETARY FLORENCIO B. ABAD, Respondents.
DECISION
MENDOZA, J.:
When the judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any superiority
over the other departments; it does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the legislature, but only
asserts the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to determine conflicting
claims of authority under the Constitution and to establish for the parties in an actual controversy the
rights which that instrument secures and guarantees to them.
--- Justice Jose P. Laurel1
The role of the Constitution cannot be overlooked. It is through the Constitution that the fundamental
powers of government are established, limited and defined, and by which these powers are
distributed among the several departments.2 The Constitution is the basic and paramount law to

which all other laws must conform and to which all persons, including the highest officials of the land,
must defer.3 Constitutional doctrines must remain steadfast no matter what may be the tides of time.
It cannot be simply made to sway and accommodate the call of situations and much more tailor itself
to the whims and caprices of government and the people who run it.4
For consideration before the Court are two consolidated cases 5 both of which essentially assail the
validity and constitutionality of Executive Order No. 1, dated July 30, 2010, entitled "Creating the
Philippine Truth Commission of 2010."
The first case is G.R. No. 192935, a special civil action for prohibition instituted by petitioner Louis
Biraogo (Biraogo) in his capacity as a citizen and taxpayer. Biraogo assails Executive Order No. 1
for being violative of the legislative power of Congress under Section 1, Article VI of the
Constitution6 as it usurps the constitutional authority of the legislature to create a public office and to
appropriate funds therefor.7
The second case, G.R. No. 193036, is a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition filed by
petitioners Edcel C. Lagman, Rodolfo B. Albano Jr., Simeon A. Datumanong, and Orlando B. Fua,
Sr. (petitioners-legislators) as incumbent members of the House of Representatives.
The genesis of the foregoing cases can be traced to the events prior to the historic May 2010
elections, when then Senator Benigno Simeon Aquino III declared his staunch condemnation of graft
and corruption with his slogan, "Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap." The Filipino people,
convinced of his sincerity and of his ability to carry out this noble objective, catapulted the good
senator to the presidency.
To transform his campaign slogan into reality, President Aquino found a need for a special body to
investigate reported cases of graft and corruption allegedly committed during the previous
administration.
Thus, at the dawn of his administration, the President on July 30, 2010, signed Executive Order No.
1 establishing the Philippine Truth Commission of 2010 (Truth Commission). Pertinent provisions of
said executive order read:
EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 1
CREATING THE PHILIPPINE TRUTH COMMISSION OF 2010
WHEREAS, Article XI, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines solemnly enshrines the
principle that a public office is a public trust and mandates that public officers and employees, who
are servants of the people, must at all times be accountable to the latter, serve them with utmost
responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives;
WHEREAS, corruption is among the most despicable acts of defiance of this principle and notorious
violation of this mandate;
WHEREAS, corruption is an evil and scourge which seriously affects the political, economic, and
social life of a nation; in a very special way it inflicts untold misfortune and misery on the poor, the
marginalized and underprivileged sector of society;
WHEREAS, corruption in the Philippines has reached very alarming levels, and undermined the
peoples trust and confidence in the Government and its institutions;

WHEREAS, there is an urgent call for the determination of the truth regarding certain reports of large
scale graft and corruption in the government and to put a closure to them by the filing of the
appropriate cases against those involved, if warranted, and to deter others from committing the evil,
restore the peoples faith and confidence in the Government and in their public servants;
WHEREAS, the Presidents battlecry during his campaign for the Presidency in the last elections
"kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap" expresses a solemn pledge that if elected, he would end
corruption and the evil it breeds;
WHEREAS, there is a need for a separate body dedicated solely to investigating and finding out the
truth concerning the reported cases of graft and corruption during the previous administration, and
which will recommend the prosecution of the offenders and secure justice for all;
WHEREAS, Book III, Chapter 10, Section 31 of Executive Order No. 292, otherwise known as the
Revised Administrative Code of the Philippines, gives the President the continuing authority to
reorganize the Office of the President.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BENIGNO SIMEON AQUINO III, President of the Republic of the
Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by law, do hereby order:
SECTION 1. Creation of a Commission. There is hereby created the PHILIPPINE TRUTH
COMMISSION, hereinafter referred to as the "COMMISSION," which shall primarily seek and find
the truth on, and toward this end, investigate reports of graft and corruption of such scale and
magnitude that shock and offend the moral and ethical sensibilities of the people, committed by
public officers and employees, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories from the private
sector, if any, during the previous administration; and thereafter recommend the appropriate action
or measure to be taken thereon to ensure that the full measure of justice shall be served without fear
or favor.
The Commission shall be composed of a Chairman and four (4) members who will act as an
independent collegial body.
SECTION 2. Powers and Functions. The Commission, which shall have all the powers of an
investigative body under Section 37, Chapter 9, Book I of the Administrative Code of 1987, is
primarily tasked to conduct a thorough fact-finding investigation of reported cases of graft and
corruption referred to in Section 1, involving third level public officers and higher, their co-principals,
accomplices and accessories from the private sector, if any, during the previous administration and
thereafter submit its finding and recommendations to the President, Congress and the Ombudsman.
In particular, it shall:
a) Identify and determine the reported cases of such graft and corruption which it will
investigate;
b) Collect, receive, review and evaluate evidence related to or regarding the cases of
large scale corruption which it has chosen to investigate, and to this end require any
agency, official or employee of the Executive Branch, including government-owned or
controlled corporations, to produce documents, books, records and other papers;
c) Upon proper request or representation, obtain information and documents from the
Senate and the House of Representatives records of investigations conducted by

committees thereof relating to matters or subjects being investigated by the


Commission;
d) Upon proper request and representation, obtain information from the courts,
including the Sandiganbayan and the Office of the Court Administrator, information or
documents in respect to corruption cases filed with the Sandiganbayan or the regular
courts, as the case may be;
e) Invite or subpoena witnesses and take their testimonies and for that purpose,
administer oaths or affirmations as the case may be;
f) Recommend, in cases where there is a need to utilize any person as a state
witness to ensure that the ends of justice be fully served, that such person who
qualifies as a state witness under the Revised Rules of Court of the Philippines be
admitted for that purpose;
g) Turn over from time to time, for expeditious prosecution, to the appropriate
prosecutorial authorities, by means of a special or interim report and
recommendation, all evidence on corruption of public officers and employees and
their private sector co-principals, accomplices or accessories, if any, when in the
course of its investigation the Commission finds that there is reasonable ground to
believe that they are liable for graft and corruption under pertinent applicable laws;
h) Call upon any government investigative or prosecutorial agency such as the
Department of Justice or any of the agencies under it, and the Presidential Anti-Graft
Commission, for such assistance and cooperation as it may require in the discharge
of its functions and duties;
i) Engage or contract the services of resource persons, professionals and other
personnel determined by it as necessary to carry out its mandate;
j) Promulgate its rules and regulations or rules of procedure it deems necessary to
effectively and efficiently carry out the objectives of this Executive Order and to
ensure the orderly conduct of its investigations, proceedings and hearings, including
the presentation of evidence;
k) Exercise such other acts incident to or are appropriate and necessary in
connection with the objectives and purposes of this Order.
SECTION 3. Staffing Requirements. x x x.
SECTION 4. Detail of Employees. x x x.
SECTION 5. Engagement of Experts. x x x
SECTION 6. Conduct of Proceedings. x x x.
SECTION 7. Right to Counsel of Witnesses/Resource Persons. x x x.
SECTION 8. Protection of Witnesses/Resource Persons. x x x.

SECTION 9. Refusal to Obey Subpoena, Take Oath or Give Testimony. Any government official
or personnel who, without lawful excuse, fails to appear upon subpoena issued by the Commission
or who, appearing before the Commission refuses to take oath or affirmation, give testimony or
produce documents for inspection, when required, shall be subject to administrative disciplinary
action. Any private person who does the same may be dealt with in accordance with law.
SECTION 10. Duty to Extend Assistance to the Commission. x x x.
SECTION 11. Budget for the Commission. The Office of the President shall provide the
necessary funds for the Commission to ensure that it can exercise its powers, execute its functions,
and perform its duties and responsibilities as effectively, efficiently, and expeditiously as possible.
SECTION 12. Office. x x x.
SECTION 13. Furniture/Equipment. x x x.
SECTION 14. Term of the Commission. The Commission shall accomplish its mission on or
before December 31, 2012.
SECTION 15. Publication of Final Report. x x x.
SECTION 16. Transfer of Records and Facilities of the Commission. x x x.
SECTION 17. Special Provision Concerning Mandate. If and when in the judgment of the
President there is a need to expand the mandate of the Commission as defined in Section 1 hereof
to include the investigation of cases and instances of graft and corruption during the prior
administrations, such mandate may be so extended accordingly by way of a supplemental Executive
Order.
SECTION 18. Separability Clause. If any provision of this Order is declared unconstitutional, the
same shall not affect the validity and effectivity of the other provisions hereof.
SECTION 19. Effectivity. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.
DONE in the City of Manila, Philippines, this 30th day of July 2010.
(SGD.) BENIGNO S. AQUINO III
By the President:
(SGD.) PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR.
Executive Secretary
Nature of the Truth Commission
As can be gleaned from the above-quoted provisions, the Philippine Truth Commission (PTC) is a
mere ad hoc body formed under the Office of the President with the primary task to investigate
reports of graft and corruption committed by third-level public officers and employees, their coprincipals, accomplices and accessories during the previous administration, and thereafter to submit
its finding and recommendations to the President, Congress and the Ombudsman. Though it has
been described as an "independent collegial body," it is essentially an entity within the Office of the

President Proper and subject to his control. Doubtless, it constitutes a public office, as an ad hoc
body is one.8
To accomplish its task, the PTC shall have all the powers of an investigative body under Section 37,
Chapter 9, Book I of the Administrative Code of 1987. It is not, however, a quasi-judicial body as it
cannot adjudicate, arbitrate, resolve, settle, or render awards in disputes between contending
parties. All it can do is gather, collect and assess evidence of graft and corruption and make
recommendations. It may have subpoena powers but it has no power to cite people in contempt,
much less order their arrest. Although it is a fact-finding body, it cannot determine from such facts if
probable cause exists as to warrant the filing of an information in our courts of law. Needless to
state, it cannot impose criminal, civil or administrative penalties or sanctions.
The PTC is different from the truth commissions in other countries which have been created as
official, transitory and non-judicial fact-finding bodies "to establish the facts and context of serious
violations of human rights or of international humanitarian law in a countrys past." 9 They are usually
established by states emerging from periods of internal unrest, civil strife or authoritarianism to serve
as mechanisms for transitional justice.
Truth commissions have been described as bodies that share the following characteristics: (1) they
examine only past events; (2) they investigate patterns of abuse committed over a period of time, as
opposed to a particular event; (3) they are temporary bodies that finish their work with the
submission of a report containing conclusions and recommendations; and (4) they are officially
sanctioned, authorized or empowered by the State. 10"Commissions members are usually
empowered to conduct research, support victims, and propose policy recommendations to prevent
recurrence of crimes. Through their investigations, the commissions may aim to discover and learn
more about past abuses, or formally acknowledge them. They may aim to prepare the way for
prosecutions and recommend institutional reforms."11
Thus, their main goals range from retribution to reconciliation. The Nuremburg and Tokyo war crime
tribunals are examples of a retributory or vindicatory body set up to try and punish those responsible
for crimes against humanity. A form of a reconciliatory tribunal is the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission of South Africa, the principal function of which was to heal the wounds of past violence
and to prevent future conflict by providing a cathartic experience for victims.
The PTC is a far cry from South Africas model. The latter placed more emphasis on reconciliation
than on judicial retribution, while the marching order of the PTC is the identification and punishment
of perpetrators. As one writer12 puts it:
The order ruled out reconciliation. It translated the Draconian code spelled out by Aquino in his
inaugural speech: "To those who talk about reconciliation, if they mean that they would like us to
simply forget about the wrongs that they have committed in the past, we have this to say: There can
be no reconciliation without justice. When we allow crimes to go unpunished, we give consent to
their occurring over and over again."
The Thrusts of the Petitions
Barely a month after the issuance of Executive Order No. 1, the petitioners asked the Court to
declare it unconstitutional and to enjoin the PTC from performing its functions. A perusal of the
arguments of the petitioners in both cases shows that they are essentially the same. The petitionerslegislators summarized them in the following manner:

(a) E.O. No. 1 violates the separation of powers as it arrogates the power of the Congress to
create a public office and appropriate funds for its operation.
(b) The provision of Book III, Chapter 10, Section 31 of the Administrative Code of 1987
cannot legitimize E.O. No. 1 because the delegated authority of the President to structurally
reorganize the Office of the President to achieve economy, simplicity and efficiency does not
include the power to create an entirely new public office which was hitherto inexistent like the
"Truth Commission."
(c) E.O. No. 1 illegally amended the Constitution and pertinent statutes when it vested the
"Truth Commission" with quasi-judicial powers duplicating, if not superseding, those of the
Office of the Ombudsman created under the 1987 Constitution and the Department of
Justice created under the Administrative Code of 1987.
(d) E.O. No. 1 violates the equal protection clause as it selectively targets for investigation
and prosecution officials and personnel of the previous administration as if corruption is their
peculiar species even as it excludes those of the other administrations, past and present,
who may be indictable.
(e) The creation of the "Philippine Truth Commission of 2010" violates the consistent and
general international practice of four decades wherein States constitute truth commissions to
exclusively investigate human rights violations, which customary practice forms part of the
generally accepted principles of international law which the Philippines is mandated to
adhere to pursuant to the Declaration of Principles enshrined in the Constitution.
(f) The creation of the "Truth Commission" is an exercise in futility, an adventure in partisan
hostility, a launching pad for trial/conviction by publicity and a mere populist propaganda to
mistakenly impress the people that widespread poverty will altogether vanish if corruption is
eliminated without even addressing the other major causes of poverty.
(g) The mere fact that previous commissions were not constitutionally challenged is of no
moment because neither laches nor estoppel can bar an eventual question on the
constitutionality and validity of an executive issuance or even a statute." 13
In their Consolidated Comment,14 the respondents, through the Office of the Solicitor
General (OSG), essentially questioned the legal standing of petitioners and defended the assailed
executive order with the following arguments:
1] E.O. No. 1 does not arrogate the powers of Congress to create a public office because the
Presidents executive power and power of control necessarily include the inherent power to
conduct investigations to ensure that laws are faithfully executed and that, in any event, the
Constitution, Revised Administrative Code of 1987 (E.O. No. 292), 15 Presidential Decree
(P.D.) No. 141616 (as amended by P.D. No. 1772), R.A. No. 9970,17 and settled jurisprudence
that authorize the President to create or form such bodies.
2] E.O. No. 1 does not usurp the power of Congress to appropriate funds because there is
no appropriation but a mere allocation of funds already appropriated by Congress.
3] The Truth Commission does not duplicate or supersede the functions of the Office of the
Ombudsman (Ombudsman) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), because it is a fact-finding

body and not a quasi-judicial body and its functions do not duplicate, supplant or erode the
latters jurisdiction.
4] The Truth Commission does not violate the equal protection clause because it was validly
created for laudable purposes.
The OSG then points to the continued existence and validity of other executive orders and
presidential issuances creating similar bodies to justify the creation of the PTC such as Presidential
Complaint and Action Commission(PCAC) by President Ramon B. Magsaysay, Presidential
Committee on Administrative Performance Efficiency(PCAPE) by President Carlos P. Garcia and
Presidential Agency on Reform and Government Operations(PARGO) by President Ferdinand E.
Marcos.18
From the petitions, pleadings, transcripts, and memoranda, the following are the principal issues to
be resolved:
1. Whether or not the petitioners have the legal standing to file their respective petitions and
question Executive Order No. 1;
2. Whether or not Executive Order No. 1 violates the principle of separation of powers by
usurping the powers of Congress to create and to appropriate funds for public offices,
agencies and commissions;
3. Whether or not Executive Order No. 1 supplants the powers of the Ombudsman and the
DOJ;
4. Whether or not Executive Order No. 1 violates the equal protection clause; and
5. Whether or not petitioners are entitled to injunctive relief.
Essential requisites for judicial review
Before proceeding to resolve the issue of the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 1, the Court
needs to ascertain whether the requisites for a valid exercise of its power of judicial review are
present.
Like almost all powers conferred by the Constitution, the power of judicial review is subject to
limitations, to wit: (1) there must be an actual case or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial
power; (2) the person challenging the act must have the standing to question the validity of the
subject act or issuance; otherwise stated, he must have a personal and substantial interest in the
case such that he has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement; (3) the
question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest opportunity; and (4) the issue of
constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case.19
Among all these limitations, only the legal standing of the petitioners has been put at issue.
Legal Standing of the Petitioners
The OSG attacks the legal personality of the petitioners-legislators to file their petition for failure to
demonstrate their personal stake in the outcome of the case. It argues that the petitioners have not
shown that they have sustained or are in danger of sustaining any personal injury attributable to the

creation of the PTC. Not claiming to be the subject of the commissions investigations, petitioners will
not sustain injury in its creation or as a result of its proceedings.20
The Court disagrees with the OSG in questioning the legal standing of the petitioners-legislators to
assail Executive Order No. 1. Evidently, their petition primarily invokes usurpation of the power of the
Congress as a body to which they belong as members. This certainly justifies their resolve to take
the cudgels for Congress as an institution and present the complaints on the usurpation of their
power and rights as members of the legislature before the Court. As held in Philippine Constitution
Association v. Enriquez,21
To the extent the powers of Congress are impaired, so is the power of each member thereof, since
his office confers a right to participate in the exercise of the powers of that institution.
An act of the Executive which injures the institution of Congress causes a derivative but nonetheless
substantial injury, which can be questioned by a member of Congress. In such a case, any member
of Congress can have a resort to the courts.
Indeed, legislators have a legal standing to see to it that the prerogative, powers and privileges
vested by the Constitution in their office remain inviolate. Thus, they are allowed to question the
validity of any official action which, to their mind, infringes on their prerogatives as legislators. 22
With regard to Biraogo, the OSG argues that, as a taxpayer, he has no standing to question the
creation of the PTC and the budget for its operations.23 It emphasizes that the funds to be used for
the creation and operation of the commission are to be taken from those funds already appropriated
by Congress. Thus, the allocation and disbursement of funds for the commission will not entail
congressional action but will simply be an exercise of the Presidents power over contingent funds.
As correctly pointed out by the OSG, Biraogo has not shown that he sustained, or is in danger of
sustaining, any personal and direct injury attributable to the implementation of Executive Order No.
1. Nowhere in his petition is an assertion of a clear right that may justify his clamor for the Court to
exercise judicial power and to wield the axe over presidential issuances in defense of the
Constitution. The case of David v. Arroyo24 explained the deep-seated rules on locus standi. Thus:
Locus standi is defined as "a right of appearance in a court of justice on a given question." In private
suits, standing is governed by the "real-parties-in interest" rule as contained in Section 2, Rule 3 of
the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended. It provides that "every action must be prosecuted
or defended in the name of the real party in interest." Accordingly, the "real-party-in interest" is
"the party who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit or the party entitled to the
avails of the suit." Succinctly put, the plaintiffs standing is based on his own right to the relief sought.
The difficulty of determining locus standi arises in public suits. Here, the plaintiff who asserts a
"public right" in assailing an allegedly illegal official action, does so as a representative of the general
public. He may be a person who is affected no differently from any other person. He could be suing
as a "stranger," or in the category of a "citizen," or taxpayer." In either case, he has to adequately
show that he is entitled to seek judicial protection. In other words, he has to make out a sufficient
interest in the vindication of the public order and the securing of relief as a "citizen" or "taxpayer.
Case law in most jurisdictions now allows both "citizen" and "taxpayer" standing in public actions.
The distinction was first laid down in Beauchamp v. Silk, where it was held that the plaintiff in a
taxpayers suit is in a different category from the plaintiff in a citizens suit. In the former, the plaintiff
is affected by the expenditure of public funds, while in the latter, he is but the mere instrument of the
public concern. As held by the New York Supreme Court in People ex rel Case v. Collins: "In matter

of mere public right, howeverthe people are the real partiesIt is at least the right, if not the duty,
of every citizen to interfere and see that a public offence be properly pursued and punished, and that
a public grievance be remedied." With respect to taxpayers suits, Terr v. Jordan held that "the right
of a citizen and a taxpayer to maintain an action in courts to restrain the unlawful use of public funds
to his injury cannot be denied."
However, to prevent just about any person from seeking judicial interference in any official policy or
act with which he disagreed with, and thus hinders the activities of governmental agencies engaged
in public service, the United State Supreme Court laid down the more stringent "direct
injury" test in Ex Parte Levitt, later reaffirmed inTileston v. Ullman. The same Court ruled that for a
private individual to invoke the judicial power to determine the validity of an executive or legislative
action, he must show that he has sustained a direct injury as a result of that action, and it is
not sufficient that he has a general interest common to all members of the public.
This Court adopted the "direct injury" test in our jurisdiction. In People v. Vera, it held that the
person who impugns the validity of a statute must have "a personal and substantial interest in the
case such that he has sustained, or will sustain direct injury as a result." The Vera doctrine
was upheld in a litany of cases, such as,Custodio v. President of the Senate, Manila Race Horse
Trainers Association v. De la Fuente, Pascual v. Secretary of Public Works and Anti-Chinese
League of the Philippines v. Felix. [Emphases included. Citations omitted]
Notwithstanding, the Court leans on the doctrine that "the rule on standing is a matter of procedure,
hence, can be relaxed for nontraditional plaintiffs like ordinary citizens, taxpayers, and legislators
when the public interest so requires, such as when the matter is of transcendental importance, of
overreaching significance to society, or of paramount public interest."25
Thus, in Coconut Oil Refiners Association, Inc. v. Torres,26 the Court held that in cases of paramount
importance where serious constitutional questions are involved, the standing requirements may be
relaxed and a suit may be allowed to prosper even where there is no direct injury to the party
claiming the right of judicial review. In the first Emergency Powers Cases,27 ordinary citizens and
taxpayers were allowed to question the constitutionality of several executive orders although they
had only an indirect and general interest shared in common with the public.
The OSG claims that the determinants of transcendental importance28 laid down in CREBA v. ERC
and Meralco29are non-existent in this case. The Court, however, finds reason in Biraogos assertion
that the petition covers matters of transcendental importance to justify the exercise of jurisdiction by
the Court. There are constitutional issues in the petition which deserve the attention of this Court in
view of their seriousness, novelty and weight as precedents. Where the issues are of transcendental
and paramount importance not only to the public but also to the Bench and the Bar, they should be
resolved for the guidance of all.30 Undoubtedly, the Filipino people are more than interested to know
the status of the Presidents first effort to bring about a promised change to the country. The Court
takes cognizance of the petition not due to overwhelming political undertones that clothe the issue in
the eyes of the public, but because the Court stands firm in its oath to perform its constitutional duty
to settle legal controversies with overreaching significance to society.
Power of the President to Create the Truth Commission
In his memorandum in G.R. No. 192935, Biraogo asserts that the Truth Commission is a public office
and not merely an adjunct body of the Office of the President.31 Thus, in order that the President may
create a public office he must be empowered by the Constitution, a statute or an authorization
vested in him by law. According to petitioner, such power cannot be presumed32 since there is no
provision in the Constitution or any specific law that authorizes the President to create a truth

commission.33 He adds that Section 31 of the Administrative Code of 1987, granting the President
the continuing authority to reorganize his office, cannot serve as basis for the creation of a truth
commission considering the aforesaid provision merely uses verbs such as "reorganize," "transfer,"
"consolidate," "merge," and "abolish."34 Insofar as it vests in the President the plenary power to
reorganize the Office of the President to the extent of creating a public office, Section 31 is
inconsistent with the principle of separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution and must be
deemed repealed upon the effectivity thereof.35
Similarly, in G.R. No. 193036, petitioners-legislators argue that the creation of a public office lies
within the province of Congress and not with the executive branch of government. They maintain
that the delegated authority of the President to reorganize under Section 31 of the Revised
Administrative Code: 1) does not permit the President to create a public office, much less a truth
commission; 2) is limited to the reorganization of the administrative structure of the Office of the
President; 3) is limited to the restructuring of the internal organs of the Office of the President Proper,
transfer of functions and transfer of agencies; and 4) only to achieve simplicity, economy and
efficiency.36 Such continuing authority of the President to reorganize his office is limited, and by
issuing Executive Order No. 1, the President overstepped the limits of this delegated authority.
The OSG counters that there is nothing exclusively legislative about the creation by the President of
a fact-finding body such as a truth commission. Pointing to numerous offices created by past
presidents, it argues that the authority of the President to create public offices within the Office of the
President Proper has long been recognized.37 According to the OSG, the Executive, just like the
other two branches of government, possesses the inherent authority to create fact-finding
committees to assist it in the performance of its constitutionally mandated functions and in the
exercise of its administrative functions.38 This power, as the OSG explains it, is but an adjunct of the
plenary powers wielded by the President under Section 1 and his power of control under Section 17,
both of Article VII of the Constitution.39
It contends that the President is necessarily vested with the power to conduct fact-finding
investigations, pursuant to his duty to ensure that all laws are enforced by public officials and
employees of his department and in the exercise of his authority to assume directly the functions of
the executive department, bureau and office, or interfere with the discretion of his officials. 40 The
power of the President to investigate is not limited to the exercise of his power of control over his
subordinates in the executive branch, but extends further in the exercise of his other powers, such
as his power to discipline subordinates,41 his power for rule making, adjudication and licensing
purposes42 and in order to be informed on matters which he is entitled to know.43
The OSG also cites the recent case of Banda v. Ermita,44 where it was held that the President has
the power to reorganize the offices and agencies in the executive department in line with his
constitutionally granted power of control and by virtue of a valid delegation of the legislative power to
reorganize executive offices under existing statutes.
Thus, the OSG concludes that the power of control necessarily includes the power to create offices.
For the OSG, the President may create the PTC in order to, among others, put a closure to the
reported large scale graft and corruption in the government. 45
The question, therefore, before the Court is this: Does the creation of the PTC fall within the ambit of
the power to reorganize as expressed in Section 31 of the Revised Administrative Code? Section 31
contemplates "reorganization" as limited by the following functional and structural lines: (1)
restructuring the internal organization of the Office of the President Proper by abolishing,
consolidating or merging units thereof or transferring functions from one unit to another; (2)
transferring any function under the Office of the President to any other Department/Agency or vice

versa; or (3) transferring any agency under the Office of the President to any other
Department/Agency or vice versa. Clearly, the provision refers to reduction of personnel,
consolidation of offices, or abolition thereof by reason of economy or redundancy of functions. These
point to situations where a body or an office is already existent but a modification or alteration
thereof has to be effected. The creation of an office is nowhere mentioned, much less envisioned in
said provision. Accordingly, the answer to the question is in the negative.
To say that the PTC is borne out of a restructuring of the Office of the President under Section 31 is
a misplaced supposition, even in the plainest meaning attributable to the term "restructure" an
"alteration of an existing structure." Evidently, the PTC was not part of the structure of the Office of
the President prior to the enactment of Executive Order No. 1. As held in Buklod ng Kawaning EIIB v.
Hon. Executive Secretary,46
But of course, the list of legal basis authorizing the President to reorganize any department or
agency in the executive branch does not have to end here. We must not lose sight of the very
source of the power that which constitutes an express grant of power. Under Section 31, Book III
of Executive Order No. 292 (otherwise known as the Administrative Code of 1987), "the President,
subject to the policy in the Executive Office and in order to achieve simplicity, economy and
efficiency, shall have the continuing authority to reorganize the administrative structure of the Office
of the President." For this purpose, he may transfer the functions of other Departments or Agencies
to the Office of the President. In Canonizado v. Aguirre [323 SCRA 312 (2000)], we ruled that
reorganization "involves the reduction of personnel, consolidation of offices, or abolition thereof by
reason of economy or redundancy of functions." It takes place when there is an alteration of the
existing structure of government offices or units therein, including the lines of control, authority and
responsibility between them. The EIIB is a bureau attached to the Department of Finance. It falls
under the Office of the President. Hence, it is subject to the Presidents continuing authority to
reorganize. [Emphasis Supplied]
In the same vein, the creation of the PTC is not justified by the Presidents power of control. Control
is essentially the power to alter or modify or nullify or set aside what a subordinate officer had done
in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former with that of the
latter.47 Clearly, the power of control is entirely different from the power to create public offices. The
former is inherent in the Executive, while the latter finds basis from either a valid delegation from
Congress, or his inherent duty to faithfully execute the laws.
The question is this, is there a valid delegation of power from Congress, empowering the President
to create a public office?
According to the OSG, the power to create a truth commission pursuant to the above provision finds
statutory basis under P.D. 1416, as amended by P.D. No. 1772.48 The said law granted the President
the continuing authority to reorganize the national government, including the power to group,
consolidate bureaus and agencies, to abolish offices, to transfer functions, to create and classify
functions, services and activities, transfer appropriations, and to standardize salaries and materials.
This decree, in relation to Section 20, Title I, Book III of E.O. 292 has been invoked in several cases
such as Larin v. Executive Secretary.49
The Court, however, declines to recognize P.D. No. 1416 as a justification for the President to create
a public office. Said decree is already stale, anachronistic and inoperable. P.D. No. 1416 was a
delegation to then President Marcos of the authority to reorganize the administrative structure of the
national government including the power to create offices and transfer appropriations pursuant to
one of the purposes of the decree, embodied in its last "Whereas" clause:

WHEREAS, the transition towards the parliamentary form of government will necessitate flexibility
in the organization of the national government.
Clearly, as it was only for the purpose of providing manageability and resiliency during the interim,
P.D. No. 1416, as amended by P.D. No. 1772, became functus oficio upon the convening of the First
Congress, as expressly provided in Section 6, Article XVIII of the 1987 Constitution. In fact, even the
Solicitor General agrees with this view. Thus:
ASSOCIATE JUSTICE CARPIO: Because P.D. 1416 was enacted was the last whereas clause of
P.D. 1416 says "it was enacted to prepare the transition from presidential to parliamentary. Now, in a
parliamentary form of government, the legislative and executive powers are fused, correct?
SOLICITOR GENERAL CADIZ: Yes, Your Honor.
ASSOCIATE JUSTICE CARPIO: That is why, that P.D. 1416 was issued. Now would you agree with
me that P.D. 1416 should not be considered effective anymore upon the promulgation, adoption,
ratification of the 1987 Constitution.
SOLICITOR GENERAL CADIZ: Not the whole of P.D. [No.] 1416, Your Honor.
ASSOCIATE JUSTICE CARPIO: The power of the President to reorganize the entire National
Government is deemed repealed, at least, upon the adoption of the 1987 Constitution, correct.
SOLICITOR GENERAL CADIZ: Yes, Your Honor.50
While the power to create a truth commission cannot pass muster on the basis of P.D. No. 1416 as
amended by P.D. No. 1772, the creation of the PTC finds justification under Section 17, Article VII of
the Constitution, imposing upon the President the duty to ensure that the laws are faithfully
executed. Section 17 reads:
Section 17. The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus, and offices.
He shall ensure that the laws be faithfully executed. (Emphasis supplied).
As correctly pointed out by the respondents, the allocation of power in the three principal branches
of government is a grant of all powers inherent in them. The Presidents power to conduct
investigations to aid him in ensuring the faithful execution of laws in this case, fundamental laws on
public accountability and transparency is inherent in the Presidents powers as the Chief
Executive. That the authority of the President to conduct investigations and to create bodies to
execute this power is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution or in statutes does not mean that he
is bereft of such authority.51 As explained in the landmark case of Marcos v. Manglapus:52
x x x. The 1987 Constitution, however, brought back the presidential system of government and
restored the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers by their actual distribution
among three distinct branches of government with provision for checks and balances.
It would not be accurate, however, to state that "executive power" is the power to enforce the laws,
for the President is head of state as well as head of government and whatever powers inhere in such
positions pertain to the office unless the Constitution itself withholds it. Furthermore, the Constitution
itself provides that the execution of the laws is only one of the powers of the President. It also grants
the President other powers that do not involve the execution of any provision of law, e.g., his power
over the country's foreign relations.

On these premises, we hold the view that although the 1987 Constitution imposes limitations on the
exercise ofspecific powers of the President, it maintains intact what is traditionally considered as
within the scope of "executive power." Corollarily, the powers of the President cannot be said to be
limited only to the specific powers enumerated in the Constitution. In other words, executive power is
more than the sum of specific powers so enumerated.
It has been advanced that whatever power inherent in the government that is neither legislative nor
judicial has to be executive. x x x.
Indeed, the Executive is given much leeway in ensuring that our laws are faithfully executed. As
stated above, the powers of the President are not limited to those specific powers under the
Constitution.53 One of the recognized powers of the President granted pursuant to this
constitutionally-mandated duty is the power to create ad hoc committees. This flows from the
obvious need to ascertain facts and determine if laws have been faithfully executed. Thus,
in Department of Health v. Camposano,54 the authority of the President to issue Administrative Order
No. 298, creating an investigative committee to look into the administrative charges filed against the
employees of the Department of Health for the anomalous purchase of medicines was upheld. In
said case, it was ruled:
The Chief Executives power to create the Ad hoc Investigating Committee cannot be
doubted. Having been constitutionally granted full control of the Executive Department, to which
respondents belong, the President has the obligation to ensure that all executive officials and
employees faithfully comply with the law. With AO 298 as mandate, the legality of the investigation is
sustained. Such validity is not affected by the fact that the investigating team and the PCAGC had
the same composition, or that the former used the offices and facilities of the latter in conducting the
inquiry. [Emphasis supplied]
It should be stressed that the purpose of allowing ad hoc investigating bodies to exist is to allow an
inquiry into matters which the President is entitled to know so that he can be properly advised and
guided in the performance of his duties relative to the execution and enforcement of the laws of the
land. And if history is to be revisited, this was also the objective of the investigative bodies created in
the past like the PCAC, PCAPE, PARGO, the Feliciano Commission, the Melo Commission and the
Zenarosa Commission. There being no changes in the government structure, the Court is not
inclined to declare such executive power as non-existent just because the direction of the political
winds have changed.
On the charge that Executive Order No. 1 transgresses the power of Congress to appropriate funds
for the operation of a public office, suffice it to say that there will be no appropriation but only an
allotment or allocations of existing funds already appropriated. Accordingly, there is no usurpation on
the part of the Executive of the power of Congress to appropriate funds. Further, there is no need to
specify the amount to be earmarked for the operation of the commission because, in the words of
the Solicitor General, "whatever funds the Congress has provided for the Office of the President will
be the very source of the funds for the commission."55 Moreover, since the amount that would be
allocated to the PTC shall be subject to existing auditing rules and regulations, there is no
impropriety in the funding.
Power of the Truth Commission to Investigate
The Presidents power to conduct investigations to ensure that laws are faithfully executed is well
recognized. It flows from the faithful-execution clause of the Constitution under Article VII, Section 17
thereof.56 As the Chief Executive, the president represents the government as a whole and sees to it

that all laws are enforced by the officials and employees of his department. He has the authority to
directly assume the functions of the executive department.57
Invoking this authority, the President constituted the PTC to primarily investigate reports of graft and
corruption and to recommend the appropriate action. As previously stated, no quasi-judicial powers
have been vested in the said body as it cannot adjudicate rights of persons who come before it. It
has been said that "Quasi-judicial powers involve the power to hear and determine questions of fact
to which the legislative policy is to apply and to decide in accordance with the standards laid down
by law itself in enforcing and administering the same law."58 In simpler terms, judicial discretion is
involved in the exercise of these quasi-judicial power, such that it is exclusively vested in the
judiciary and must be clearly authorized by the legislature in the case of administrative agencies.
The distinction between the power to investigate and the power to adjudicate was delineated by the
Court in Cario v. Commission on Human Rights.59 Thus:
"Investigate," commonly understood, means to examine, explore, inquire or delve or probe into,
research on, study. The dictionary definition of "investigate" is "to observe or study closely: inquire
into systematically: "to search or inquire into: x x to subject to an official probe x x: to conduct an
official inquiry." The purpose of investigation, of course, is to discover, to find out, to learn, obtain
information. Nowhere included or intimated is the notion of settling, deciding or resolving a
controversy involved in the facts inquired into by application of the law to the facts established by the
inquiry.
The legal meaning of "investigate" is essentially the same: "(t)o follow up step by step by patient
inquiry or observation. To trace or track; to search into; to examine and inquire into with care and
accuracy; to find out by careful inquisition; examination; the taking of evidence; a legal inquiry;" "to
inquire; to make an investigation," "investigation" being in turn described as "(a)n administrative
function, the exercise of which ordinarily does not require a hearing. 2 Am J2d Adm L Sec. 257; x x
an inquiry, judicial or otherwise, for the discovery and collection of facts concerning a certain matter
or matters."
"Adjudicate," commonly or popularly understood, means to adjudge, arbitrate, judge, decide,
determine, resolve, rule on, settle. The dictionary defines the term as "to settle finally (the rights and
duties of the parties to a court case) on the merits of issues raised: x x to pass judgment on: settle
judicially: x x act as judge." And "adjudge" means "to decide or rule upon as a judge or with judicial
or quasi-judicial powers: x x to award or grant judicially in a case of controversy x x."
In the legal sense, "adjudicate" means: "To settle in the exercise of judicial authority. To determine
finally. Synonymous with adjudge in its strictest sense;" and "adjudge" means: "To pass on judicially,
to decide, settle or decree, or to sentence or condemn. x x. Implies a judicial determination of a fact,
and the entry of a judgment." [Italics included. Citations Omitted]
Fact-finding is not adjudication and it cannot be likened to the judicial function of a court of justice, or
even a quasi-judicial agency or office. The function of receiving evidence and ascertaining therefrom
the facts of a controversy is not a judicial function. To be considered as such, the act of receiving
evidence and arriving at factual conclusions in a controversy must be accompanied by the authority
of applying the law to the factual conclusions to the end that the controversy may be decided or
resolved authoritatively, finally and definitively, subject to appeals or modes of review as may be
provided by law.60 Even respondents themselves admit that the commission is bereft of any quasijudicial power.61

Contrary to petitioners apprehension, the PTC will not supplant the Ombudsman or the DOJ or
erode their respective powers. If at all, the investigative function of the commission will complement
those of the two offices. As pointed out by the Solicitor General, the recommendation to prosecute is
but a consequence of the overall task of the commission to conduct a fact-finding
investigation."62 The actual prosecution of suspected offenders, much less adjudication on the merits
of the charges against them,63 is certainly not a function given to the commission. The phrase, "when
in the course of its investigation," under Section 2(g), highlights this fact and gives credence to a
contrary interpretation from that of the petitioners. The function of determining probable cause for the
filing of the appropriate complaints before the courts remains to be with the DOJ and the
Ombudsman.64
At any rate, the Ombudsmans power to investigate under R.A. No. 6770 is not exclusive but is
shared with other similarly authorized government agencies. Thus, in the case of Ombudsman v.
Galicia,65 it was written:
This power of investigation granted to the Ombudsman by the 1987 Constitution and The
Ombudsman Act is not exclusive but is shared with other similarly authorized government agencies
such as the PCGG and judges of municipal trial courts and municipal circuit trial courts. The power
to conduct preliminary investigation on charges against public employees and officials is likewise
concurrently shared with the Department of Justice. Despite the passage of the Local Government
Code in 1991, the Ombudsman retains concurrent jurisdiction with the Office of the President and
the local Sanggunians to investigate complaints against local elective officials. [Emphasis supplied].
Also, Executive Order No. 1 cannot contravene the power of the Ombudsman to investigate criminal
cases under Section 15 (1) of R.A. No. 6770, which states:
(1) Investigate and prosecute on its own or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any
public officer or employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust,
improper or inefficient. It has primary jurisdiction over cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan and,
in the exercise of its primary jurisdiction, it may take over, at any stage, from any investigatory
agency of government, the investigation of such cases. [Emphases supplied]
The act of investigation by the Ombudsman as enunciated above contemplates the conduct of a
preliminary investigation or the determination of the existence of probable cause. This is
categorically out of the PTCs sphere of functions. Its power to investigate is limited to obtaining facts
so that it can advise and guide the President in the performance of his duties relative to the
execution and enforcement of the laws of the land. In this regard, the PTC commits no act of
usurpation of the Ombudsmans primordial duties.
The same holds true with respect to the DOJ. Its authority under Section 3 (2), Chapter 1, Title III,
Book IV in the Revised Administrative Code is by no means exclusive and, thus, can be shared with
a body likewise tasked to investigate the commission of crimes.
Finally, nowhere in Executive Order No. 1 can it be inferred that the findings of the PTC are to be
accorded conclusiveness. Much like its predecessors, the Davide Commission, the Feliciano
Commission and the Zenarosa Commission, its findings would, at best, be recommendatory in
nature. And being so, the Ombudsman and the DOJ have a wider degree of latitude to decide
whether or not to reject the recommendation. These offices, therefore, are not deprived of their
mandated duties but will instead be aided by the reports of the PTC for possible indictments for
violations of graft laws.
Violation of the Equal Protection Clause

Although the purpose of the Truth Commission falls within the investigative power of the President,
the Court finds difficulty in upholding the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 1 in view of its
apparent transgression of the equal protection clause enshrined in Section 1, Article III (Bill of
Rights) of the 1987 Constitution. Section 1 reads:
Section 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor
shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.
The petitioners assail Executive Order No. 1 because it is violative of this constitutional safeguard.
They contend that it does not apply equally to all members of the same class such that the intent of
singling out the "previous administration" as its sole object makes the PTC an "adventure in partisan
hostility."66 Thus, in order to be accorded with validity, the commission must also cover reports of
graft and corruption in virtually all administrations previous to that of former President Arroyo. 67
The petitioners argue that the search for truth behind the reported cases of graft and corruption must
encompass acts committed not only during the administration of former President Arroyo but also
during prior administrations where the "same magnitude of controversies and anomalies" 68 were
reported to have been committed against the Filipino people. They assail the classification
formulated by the respondents as it does not fall under the recognized exceptions because first,
"there is no substantial distinction between the group of officials targeted for investigation by
Executive Order No. 1 and other groups or persons who abused their public office for personal gain;
and second, the selective classification is not germane to the purpose of Executive Order No. 1 to
end corruption."69 In order to attain constitutional permission, the petitioners advocate that the
commission should deal with "graft and grafters prior and subsequent to the Arroyo administration
with the strong arm of the law with equal force."70
Position of respondents
According to respondents, while Executive Order No. 1 identifies the "previous administration" as the
initial subject of the investigation, following Section 17 thereof, the PTC will not confine itself to
cases of large scale graft and corruption solely during the said administration. 71 Assuming arguendo
that the commission would confine its proceedings to officials of the previous administration, the
petitioners argue that no offense is committed against the equal protection clause for "the
segregation of the transactions of public officers during the previous administration as possible
subjects of investigation is a valid classification based on substantial distinctions and is germane to
the evils which the Executive Order seeks to correct."72 To distinguish the Arroyo administration from
past administrations, it recited the following:
First. E.O. No. 1 was issued in view of widespread reports of large scale graft and corruption in the
previous administration which have eroded public confidence in public institutions. There is,
therefore, an urgent call for the determination of the truth regarding certain reports of large scale
graft and corruption in the government and to put a closure to them by the filing of the appropriate
cases against those involved, if warranted, and to deter others from committing the evil, restore the
peoples faith and confidence in the Government and in their public servants.
Second. The segregation of the preceding administration as the object of fact-finding is warranted by
the reality that unlike with administrations long gone, the current administration will most likely bear
the immediate consequence of the policies of the previous administration.
Third. The classification of the previous administration as a separate class for investigation lies in the
reality that the evidence of possible criminal activity, the evidence that could lead to recovery of
public monies illegally dissipated, the policy lessons to be learned to ensure that anti-corruption laws

are faithfully executed, are more easily established in the regime that immediately precede the
current administration.
Fourth. Many administrations subject the transactions of their predecessors to investigations to
provide closure to issues that are pivotal to national life or even as a routine measure of due
diligence and good housekeeping by a nascent administration like the Presidential Commission on
Good Government (PCGG), created by the late President Corazon C. Aquino under Executive Order
No. 1 to pursue the recovery of ill-gotten wealth of her predecessor former President Ferdinand
Marcos and his cronies, and the Saguisag Commission created by former President Joseph Estrada
under Administrative Order No, 53, to form an ad-hoc and independent citizens committee to
investigate all the facts and circumstances surrounding "Philippine Centennial projects" of his
predecessor, former President Fidel V. Ramos.73 [Emphases supplied]
Concept of the Equal Protection Clause
One of the basic principles on which this government was founded is that of the equality of right
which is embodied in Section 1, Article III of the 1987 Constitution. The equal protection of the laws
is embraced in the concept of due process, as every unfair discrimination offends the requirements
of justice and fair play. It has been embodied in a separate clause, however, to provide for a more
specific guaranty against any form of undue favoritism or hostility from the government. Arbitrariness
in general may be challenged on the basis of the due process clause. But if the particular act
assailed partakes of an unwarranted partiality or prejudice, the sharper weapon to cut it down is the
equal protection clause.74
"According to a long line of decisions, equal protection simply requires that all persons or things
similarly situated should be treated alike, both as to rights conferred and responsibilities
imposed."75 It "requires public bodies and institutions to treat similarly situated individuals in a similar
manner."76 "The purpose of the equal protection clause is to secure every person within a states
jurisdiction against intentional and arbitrary discrimination, whether occasioned by the express terms
of a statue or by its improper execution through the states duly constituted authorities." 77 "In other
words, the concept of equal justice under the law requires the state to govern impartially, and it may
not draw distinctions between individuals solely on differences that are irrelevant to a legitimate
governmental objective."78
The equal protection clause is aimed at all official state actions, not just those of the legislature. 79 Its
inhibitions cover all the departments of the government including the political and executive
departments, and extend to all actions of a state denying equal protection of the laws, through
whatever agency or whatever guise is taken. 80
It, however, does not require the universal application of the laws to all persons or things without
distinction. What it simply requires is equality among equals as determined according to a valid
classification. Indeed, the equal protection clause permits classification. Such classification,
however, to be valid must pass the test ofreasonableness. The test has four requisites: (1) The
classification rests on substantial distinctions; (2) It is germane to the purpose of the law; (3) It is not
limited to existing conditions only; and
(4) It applies equally to all members of the same class.81 "Superficial differences do not make for a
valid classification."82
For a classification to meet the requirements of constitutionality, it must include or embrace all
persons who naturally belong to the class.83 "The classification will be regarded as invalid if all the
members of the class are not similarly treated, both as to rights conferred and obligations imposed. It

is not necessary that the classification be made with absolute symmetry, in the sense that the
members of the class should possess the same characteristics in equal degree. Substantial
similarity will suffice; and as long as this is achieved, all those covered by the classification are to be
treated equally. The mere fact that an individual belonging to a class differs from the other members,
as long as that class is substantially distinguishable from all others, does not justify the nonapplication of the law to him."84
The classification must not be based on existing circumstances only, or so constituted as to preclude
addition to the number included in the class. It must be of such a nature as to embrace all those who
may thereafter be in similar circumstances and conditions. It must not leave out or "underinclude"
those that should otherwise fall into a certain classification. As elucidated in Victoriano v. Elizalde
Rope Workers' Union85 and reiterated in a long line of cases,86
The guaranty of equal protection of the laws is not a guaranty of equality in the application of the
laws upon all citizens of the state. It is not, therefore, a requirement, in order to avoid the
constitutional prohibition against inequality, that every man, woman and child should be affected
alike by a statute. Equality of operation of statutes does not mean indiscriminate operation on
persons merely as such, but on persons according to the circumstances surrounding them. It
guarantees equality, not identity of rights. The Constitution does not require that things which are
different in fact be treated in law as though they were the same. The equal protection clause does
not forbid discrimination as to things that are different. It does not prohibit legislation which is limited
either in the object to which it is directed or by the territory within which it is to operate.
The equal protection of the laws clause of the Constitution allows classification. Classification in law,
as in the other departments of knowledge or practice, is the grouping of things in speculation or
practice because they agree with one another in certain particulars. A law is not invalid because of
simple inequality. The very idea of classification is that of inequality, so that it goes without saying
that the mere fact of inequality in no manner determines the matter of constitutionality. All that is
required of a valid classification is that it be reasonable, which means that the classification should
be based on substantial distinctions which make for real differences, that it must be germane to the
purpose of the law; that it must not be limited to existing conditions only; and that it must apply
equally to each member of the class. This Court has held that the standard is satisfied if the
classification or distinction is based on a reasonable foundation or rational basis and is not palpably
arbitrary. [Citations omitted]
Applying these precepts to this case, Executive Order No. 1 should be struck down as violative of
the equal protection clause. The clear mandate of the envisioned truth commission is to investigate
and find out the truth "concerning the reported cases of graft and corruption during the previous
administration"87 only. The intent to single out the previous administration is plain, patent and
manifest. Mention of it has been made in at least three portions of the questioned executive order.
Specifically, these are:
WHEREAS, there is a need for a separate body dedicated solely to investigating and finding out the
truth concerning the reported cases of graft and corruption during the previous administration, and
which will recommend the prosecution of the offenders and secure justice for all;
SECTION 1. Creation of a Commission. There is hereby created the PHILIPPINE TRUTH
COMMISSION, hereinafter referred to as the "COMMISSION," which shall primarily seek and find
the truth on, and toward this end, investigate reports of graft and corruption of such scale and
magnitude that shock and offend the moral and ethical sensibilities of the people, committed by
public officers and employees, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories from the private
sector, if any, during the previous administration; and thereafter recommend the appropriate action

or measure to be taken thereon to ensure that the full measure of justice shall be served without fear
or favor.
SECTION 2. Powers and Functions. The Commission, which shall have all the powers of an
investigative body under Section 37, Chapter 9, Book I of the Administrative Code of 1987, is
primarily tasked to conduct a thorough fact-finding investigation of reported cases of graft and
corruption referred to in Section 1, involving third level public officers and higher, their co-principals,
accomplices and accessories from the private sector, if any, during the previous administration and
thereafter submit its finding and recommendations to the President, Congress and the Ombudsman.
[Emphases supplied]
In this regard, it must be borne in mind that the Arroyo administration is but just a member of a class,
that is, a class of past administrations. It is not a class of its own. Not to include past administrations
similarly situated constitutes arbitrariness which the equal protection clause cannot sanction. Such
discriminating differentiation clearly reverberates to label the commission as a vehicle for
vindictiveness and selective retribution.
Though the OSG enumerates several differences between the Arroyo administration and other past
administrations, these distinctions are not substantial enough to merit the restriction of the
investigation to the "previous administration" only. The reports of widespread corruption in the Arroyo
administration cannot be taken as basis for distinguishing said administration from earlier
administrations which were also blemished by similar widespread reports of impropriety. They are
not inherent in, and do not inure solely to, the Arroyo administration. As Justice Isagani Cruz put it,
"Superficial differences do not make for a valid classification." 88
The public needs to be enlightened why Executive Order No. 1 chooses to limit the scope of the
intended investigation to the previous administration only. The OSG ventures to opine that "to
include other past administrations, at this point, may unnecessarily overburden the commission and
lead it to lose its effectiveness."89 The reason given is specious. It is without doubt irrelevant to the
legitimate and noble objective of the PTC to stamp out or "end corruption and the evil it breeds." 90
The probability that there would be difficulty in unearthing evidence or that the earlier reports
involving the earlier administrations were already inquired into is beside the point. Obviously,
deceased presidents and cases which have already prescribed can no longer be the subjects of
inquiry by the PTC. Neither is the PTC expected to conduct simultaneous investigations of previous
administrations, given the bodys limited time and resources. "The law does not require the
impossible" (Lex non cogit ad impossibilia).91
Given the foregoing physical and legal impossibility, the Court logically recognizes the unfeasibility of
investigating almost a centurys worth of graft cases. However, the fact remains that Executive Order
No. 1 suffers from arbitrary classification. The PTC, to be true to its mandate of searching for the
truth, must not exclude the other past administrations. The PTC must, at least, have the authority to
investigate all past administrations. Whilereasonable prioritization is permitted, it should not be
arbitrary lest it be struck down for being unconstitutional. In the often quoted language of Yick Wo v.
Hopkins,92
Though the law itself be fair on its face and impartial in appearance, yet, if applied and administered
by public authority with an evil eye and an unequal hand, so as practically to make unjust and illegal
discriminations between persons in similar circumstances, material to their rights, the denial of equal
justice is still within the prohibition of the constitution. [Emphasis supplied]

It could be argued that considering that the PTC is an ad hoc body, its scope is limited. The Court,
however, is of the considered view that although its focus is restricted, the constitutional guarantee
of equal protection under the laws should not in any way be circumvented. The Constitution is the
fundamental and paramount law of the nation to which all other laws must conform and in
accordance with which all private rights determined and all public authority administered. 93 Laws that
do not conform to the Constitution should be stricken down for being unconstitutional. 94 While the
thrust of the PTC is specific, that is, for investigation of acts of graft and corruption, Executive Order
No. 1, to survive, must be read together with the provisions of the Constitution. To exclude the earlier
administrations in the guise of "substantial distinctions" would only confirm the petitioners lament
that the subject executive order is only an "adventure in partisan hostility." In the case of US v.
Cyprian,95 it was written: "A rather limited number of such classifications have routinely been held or
assumed to be arbitrary; those include: race, national origin, gender, political activity or membership
in a political party, union activity or membership in a labor union, or more generally the exercise of
first amendment rights."
To reiterate, in order for a classification to meet the requirements of constitutionality, it must include
or embrace all persons who naturally belong to the class.96 "Such a classification must not be based
on existing circumstances only, or so constituted as to preclude additions to the number included
within a class, but must be of such a nature as to embrace all those who may thereafter be in similar
circumstances and conditions. Furthermore, all who are in situations and circumstances which are
relative to the discriminatory legislation and which are indistinguishable from those of the members
of the class must be brought under the influence of the law and treated by it in the same way as are
the members of the class."97
The Court is not unaware that "mere underinclusiveness is not fatal to the validity of a law under the
equal protection clause."98 "Legislation is not unconstitutional merely because it is not all-embracing
and does not include all the evils within its reach." 99 It has been written that a regulation challenged
under the equal protection clause is not devoid of a rational predicate simply because it happens to
be incomplete.100 In several instances, the underinclusiveness was not considered a valid reason to
strike down a law or regulation where the purpose can be attained in future legislations or
regulations. These cases refer to the "step by step" process.101 "With regard to equal protection
claims, a legislature does not run the risk of losing the entire remedial scheme simply because it
fails, through inadvertence or otherwise, to cover every evil that might conceivably have been
attacked."102
In Executive Order No. 1, however, there is no inadvertence. That the previous administration was
picked out was deliberate and intentional as can be gleaned from the fact that it was underscored at
least three times in the assailed executive order. It must be noted that Executive Order No. 1 does
not even mention any particular act, event or report to be focused on unlike the investigative
commissions created in the past. "The equal protection clause is violated by purposeful and
intentional discrimination."103
To disprove petitioners contention that there is deliberate discrimination, the OSG clarifies that the
commission does not only confine itself to cases of large scale graft and corruption committed during
the previous administration.104 The OSG points to Section 17 of Executive Order No. 1, which
provides:
SECTION 17. Special Provision Concerning Mandate. If and when in the judgment of the President
there is a need to expand the mandate of the Commission as defined in Section 1 hereof to include
the investigation of cases and instances of graft and corruption during the prior administrations, such
mandate may be so extended accordingly by way of a supplemental Executive Order.

The Court is not convinced. Although Section 17 allows the President the discretion to expand the
scope of investigations of the PTC so as to include the acts of graft and corruption committed in
other past administrations, it does not guarantee that they would be covered in the future. Such
expanded mandate of the commission will still depend on the whim and caprice of the President. If
he would decide not to include them, the section would then be meaningless. This will only fortify the
fears of the petitioners that the Executive Order No. 1 was "crafted to tailor-fit the prosecution of
officials and personalities of the Arroyo administration." 105
The Court tried to seek guidance from the pronouncement in the case of Virata v.
Sandiganbayan,106 that the "PCGG Charter (composed of Executive Orders Nos. 1, 2 and 14) does
not violate the equal protection clause." The decision, however, was devoid of any discussion on
how such conclusory statement was arrived at, the principal issue in said case being only the
sufficiency of a cause of action.
A final word
The issue that seems to take center stage at present is - whether or not the Supreme Court, in the
exercise of its constitutionally mandated power of Judicial Review with respect to recent initiatives of
the legislature and the executive department, is exercising undue interference. Is the Highest
Tribunal, which is expected to be the protector of the Constitution, itself guilty of violating
fundamental tenets like the doctrine of separation of powers? Time and again, this issue has been
addressed by the Court, but it seems that the present political situation calls for it to once again
explain the legal basis of its action lest it continually be accused of being a hindrance to the nations
thrust to progress.
The Philippine Supreme Court, according to Article VIII, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution, is vested
with Judicial Power that "includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies
involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not
there has been a grave of abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part
of any branch or instrumentality of the government."
Furthermore, in Section 4(2) thereof, it is vested with the power of judicial review which is the power
to declare a treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation,
order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation unconstitutional. This power also includes the duty to rule
on the constitutionality of the application, or operation of presidential decrees, proclamations, orders,
instructions, ordinances, and other regulations. These provisions, however, have been fertile
grounds of conflict between the Supreme Court, on one hand, and the two co-equal bodies of
government, on the other. Many times the Court has been accused of asserting superiority over the
other departments.
To answer this accusation, the words of Justice Laurel would be a good source of enlightenment, to
wit: "And when the judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert any
superiority over the other departments; it does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the
legislature, but only asserts the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution to
determine conflicting claims of authority under the Constitution and to establish for the parties in an
actual controversy the rights which that instrument secures and guarantees to them." 107
Thus, the Court, in exercising its power of judicial review, is not imposing its own will upon a coequal body but rather simply making sure that any act of government is done in consonance with the
authorities and rights allocated to it by the Constitution. And, if after said review, the Court finds no
constitutional violations of any sort, then, it has no more authority of proscribing the actions under
review. Otherwise, the Court will not be deterred to pronounce said act as void and unconstitutional.

It cannot be denied that most government actions are inspired with noble intentions, all geared
towards the betterment of the nation and its people. But then again, it is important to remember this
ethical principle: "The end does not justify the means." No matter how noble and worthy of
admiration the purpose of an act, but if the means to be employed in accomplishing it is simply
irreconcilable with constitutional parameters, then it cannot still be allowed. 108 The Court cannot just
turn a blind eye and simply let it pass. It will continue to uphold the Constitution and its enshrined
principles.
"The Constitution must ever remain supreme. All must bow to the mandate of this law. Expediency
must not be allowed to sap its strength nor greed for power debase its rectitude." 109
Lest it be misunderstood, this is not the death knell for a truth commission as nobly envisioned by
the present administration. Perhaps a revision of the executive issuance so as to include the earlier
past administrations would allow it to pass the test of reasonableness and not be an affront to the
Constitution. Of all the branches of the government, it is the judiciary which is the most interested in
knowing the truth and so it will not allow itself to be a hindrance or obstacle to its attainment. It must,
however, be emphasized that the search for the truth must be within constitutional bounds for "ours
is still a government of laws and not of men."110
WHEREFORE, the petitions are GRANTED. Executive Order No. 1 is hereby declared
UNCONSTITUTIONAL insofar as it is violative of the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
As also prayed for, the respondents are hereby ordered to cease and desist from carrying out the
provisions of Executive Order No. 1.
SO ORDERED.
JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
RENATO C. CORONA
Chief Justice
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice

CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES


Associate Justice

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.


Associate Justice

ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA


Associate Justice

TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO


Associate Justice

ARTURO D. BRION
Associate Justice

DIOSDADO M. PERALTA
Associate Justice

LUCAS P. BERSAMIN
Associate Justice

MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO


Associate Justice

ROBERTO A. ABAD
Associate Justice

MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR.


Associate Justice

JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ


Associate Justice

MARIA LOURDES P.A. SERENO


Associate Justice
C E R TI F I C ATI O N
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, I certify that the conclusions in the above
Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion
of the Court.
RENATO C. CORONA
Chief Justice

Footnotes
Angara v. The Electoral Commission, 63 Phil. 139, 158 (1936).

Bernas, The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines; A Commentary, 1996 ed.,
p. xxxiv, citingMiller, Lectures on the Constitution of the United States 64 (1893); 1 Schwartz,
The Powers of Government 1 (1963).
2

Cruz, Philippine Political law, 2002 ed. p. 12.

Id.

Resolution dated August 24, 2010 consolidating G.R. No. 192935 with G.R. No.
193036, rollo, pp. 87-88.
5

Section 1. The legislative power shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines which
shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives, except to the extent reserved to
the people by the provision on initiative and referendum.
6

Biraogo Petition, p. 5, rollo, p. 7.

Salvador Laurel v. Hon. Desierto, G.R. No. 145368, April 12, 2002, citing F.R. Mechem, A
Treatise On The Law of Public Offices and Officers.
8

International Center for Transitional Justice, <http://www.ictj.org/en/tj/138.html> visited


November 20, 2010.
9

Freeman, The Truth Commission and Procedural Fairness, 2006 Ed., p. 12, citing Hayner,
UnspeakableTruths: Facing the Challenge of Truth Commissions.
10

International Center for Transitional Justice, supra note 9.

11

12

Armando Doronila, Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 2, 2010.


<http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20100802-284444/Truthbody-told-Take-no prisoners> visited November 9, 2010.

13

Lagman Petition, pp. 50-52, rollo, pp. 58-60.

14

Rollo, pp. 111-216.

15

Otherwise known as the Administrative Code of 1987.

Granting Continuing Authority To The President Of The Philippines To Reorganize The


National Government.
16

17

Otherwise known as the General Appropriations Act of 2010.

OSG Consolidated Comment, p. 33, rollo, p. 153, citing Uy v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. Nos.
105965-70, March 20, 2001, 354 SCRA 651, 660-661.
18

Senate of the Philippines v. Ermita, G.R. No. 169777, April 20, 2006, 488 SCRA 1, 35;
and Francisco v. House of Representatives, 460 Phil. 830, 842 (2003).
19

20

OSG Memorandum, p. 29, rollo, p. 348.

21

G.R. No. 113105, August 19, 1994, 235 SCRA 506, 520.

Supra note 19, citing Pimentel Jr., v. Executive Secretary, G.R. No. 158088, July 6, 2005,
462 SCRA 623, 631-632.
22

23

OSG Memorandum, p. 30, rollo, p. 349.

24

G.R. No. 171396, May 3, 2006, 489 SCRA 160, 216-218.

Social Justice Society (SJS) v. Dangerous Drugs Board and Philippine Drug Enforcement
Agency, G.R. No. 157870, November 3, 2008, 570 SCRA 410, 421; Tatad v. Secretary of the
Department of Energy, 346 Phil 321 (1997); De Guia v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 104712, May 6,
1992, 208 SCRA 420, 422.
25

26

G.R. 132527, July 29, 2005, 465 SCRA 47, 62.

27

84 Phil. 368, 373 (1949).

"(1) the character of the funds or other assets involved in the case; (2) the presence of a
clear case of disregard of a constitutional or statutory prohibition by the public respondent
agency or instrumentality of the government; and, (3) the lack of any other party with a more
direct and specific interest in the questions being raised."
28

29

G.R. No. 174697, July 8, 2010.

30

Kilosbayan,Inc. v. Guingona, Jr., G.R. No. 113375, May 5, 1994, 232 SCRA 110, 139.

31

Biraogo Memorandum, p. 7, rollo, p. 69.

32

Id. at 6, rollo, p. 68.

33

Id. at 9, rollo, p. 71.

34

Id. at 10, rollo, p. 72.

35

Id. at 10-11, rollo pp. 72-73.

36

Lagman Memorandum, G.R. No 193036, pp. 10-11, rollo, pp. 270-271.

37

OSG Memorandum, p. 32, rollo, p. 351.

38

Id. at 33, rollo, p. 352.

39

OSG Consolidated Comment, p. 24, rollo, p. 144.

40

OSG Memorandum, pp. 38-39, rollo, pp. 357-358.

Citing Department of Health v. Camposano, G.R. No. 157684, April 27, 2005, 457 SCRA
438, 450.
41

42

Citing Evangelista v. Jarencio, No. L-27274, November 27, 1975, 68 SCRA 99, 104.

43

Citing Rodriguez v. Santos Diaz, No. L-19553, February 29, 1964, 10 SCRA 441, 445.

44

G.R. No. 166620, April 20, 2010.

45

Consolidated Comment, p. 45, rollo, p. 165.

46

G.R. Nos. 142801-802, July 10, 2001, 360 SCRA 718, also cited in Banda, supra.

The Veterans Federation of the Philippines v. Reyes, G. R. No. 155027, February 28,
2006, 483 SCRA 526, 564; DOTC v. Mabalot, 428 Phil. 154, 164-165 (2002); Mondano v.
Silvosa, 97 Phil. 143 (1955).
47

48

OSG Memorandum, p. 56, rollo, p. 375.

49

G.R. No. 112745, October 16, 1997, 280 SCRA 713, 730.

50

TSN, September 28, 2010, pp. 205-207.

51

OSG Memorandum, p. 37, rollo, p.356.

52

G.R. 88211, September 15, 1989, 177 SCRA 688.

53

Id. at 691.

54

496 Phil. 886, 896-897 (2005).

55

Consolidated Comment, p. 48; rollo, p. 168.

Section 17. The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus,
and offices. He shall ensure that the laws be faithfully executed.
56

57

Ople v. Torres, 354 Phil. 948, 967 (1998).

Smart Communications, Inc. et al. v. National Telecommunications Commission, 456 Phil.


145, 156 (2003).
58

59

G.R. No. 96681, December 2, 1991, 204 SCRA 483.

60

Id. at 492.

61

TSN, September 28, 2010, pp. 39-44; and OSG Memorandum, p. 67, rollo, p. 339.

62

OSG Consolidated Comment, p. 55, rollo, p. 175.

63

Id. at 56, rollo, p. 176.

64

Id.

65

G.R. No. 167711, October 10, 2008, 568 SCRA 327, 339.

66

Lagman Petition, pp. 43, 50-52, rollo, pp. 51, 50-60.

67

Lagman Memorandum, G.R. 193036, pp. 28-29, rollo, pp. 347-348.

68

Lagman Petition, p. 31, rollo, p. 39.

69

Id. at 28-29, rollo, pp. 36-37.

70

Id. at 29, rollo, p. 37.

71

OSG Memorandum, p. 88; rollo, p. 407.

72

OSG Consolidated Comment. p. 68, rollo, p. 188.

73

OSG Memorandum, pp. 90-93, rollo, pp. 409-412.

The Philippine Judges Association v. Hon. Pardo, G.R. No. 105371, November 11, 1993,
227 SCRA 703, 711.
74

Id. at 712, citing Ichong v. Hernandez, 101 Phil. 1155 (1957); Sison, Jr. v. Ancheta, No. L59431, July 25, 1984, 130 SCRA 654; Association of Small Landowners in the Philippines v.
Secretary of Agrarian Reform, G.R. No. 7842, July 14, 1989, 175 SCRA 343, 375.
75

76

Guino v. Senkowski, 54 F 3d 1050 (2d. Cir. 1995) cited in Am. Jur, 2d, Vol. 16 (b), p. 302.

77

Edward Valves, Inc. v. Wake Country, 343 N.C. 426 cited in Am. Jur. 2d, Vol. 16 (b), p. 303.

78

Lehr v. Robertson, 463 US 248, 103 cited in Am. Jur. 2d, Vol. 16 (b), p. 303.

79

See Columbus Bd. of Ed. v. Penick, 443 US 449 cited Am. Jur. 2d, Vol. 16 (b), pp. 316-317.

80

See Lombard v. State of La., 373 US 267 cited in Am. Jur. 2d, Vol. 16 (b), p. 316.

81

Beltran v. Secretary of Health, 512 Phil 560, 583 (2005).

82

Cruz, Constitutional Law, 2003 ed., p. 128.

83

McErlain v. Taylor, 207 Ind. 240 cited in Am. Jur. 2d, Vol. 16 (b), p. 367.

84

Cruz, Constitutional Law, 2003 ed., pp. 135-136.

85

No. L-25246, 59 SCRA 54, 77-78 (September 12, 1974).

Basa v. Federacion Obrera de la Industria Tabaquera y Otros Trabajadores de Filipinas


(FOITAF), No. L-27113, November 19, 1974, 61 SCRA 93, 110-111; Anuncension v. National
Labor Union, No. L-26097, November 29, 1977, 80 SCRA 350, 372-373; Villegas v. Hiu
Chiong Tsai Pao Ho, No. L-29646, November 10, 1978, 86 SCRA 270, 275; Dumlao v.
Comelec, No. L-52245, January 22, 1980, 95 SCRA 392, 404;Ceniza v. Comelec, No. L52304, January 28, 1980, 95 SCRA 763, 772-773; Himagan v. People, G.R. No. 113811,
October 7, 1994, 237 SCRA 538; The Conference of Maritime Manning Agencies, Inc. v.
POEA, G.R. No. 114714, April 21, 1995, 243 SCRA 666, 677; JMM Promotion and
Management, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 120095, August 5, 1996, 260 SCRA 319,
331332; and Tiu v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 127410, January 20, 1999, 301 SCRA 278,
288-289. See also Ichong v. Hernandez, No. L-7995, 101 Phil. 1155 (1957); Vera v. Cuevas,
Nos. L-33693-94, May 31, 1979, 90 SCRA 379, 388; and Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance,
G.R. Nos. 115455, 115525, 115543, 115544, 115754, 115781, 115852, 115873, and 115931,
August 25, 1994, 235 SCRA 630, 684.
86

87

7th Whereas clause, Executive Order No. 1.

88

Cruz, Constitutional Law, 2003 ed., p. 128.

89

OSG, Memorandum, p. 89, rollo, p. 408.

90

6th Whereas clause, Executive Order No. 1

91

Lee, Handbook of Legal Maxims, 2002 Ed., p.

118 US 357, http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?


court=us&vol=118&invol=35 <accessed on December 4, 2010>.
92

Macalintal v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 157013, July 10, 2003, 405 SCRA 614, pp. 631632; Manila Prince Hotel vs. GSIS, 335 Phil. 82, 101 (1997).
93

94

Id. at 632.

756 F. Supp. 388, N.. D. Ind., 1991, Jan 30, 1991, Crim No. HCR 90-42;
alsohttp://in.findacase.com/research/wfrmDocViewer.aspx/xq/fac.19910130_0000002.NIN.ht
m/qx <accessed December 5, 2010>
95

96

McErlain v. Taylor, 207 Ind. 240 cited in Am. Jur. 2d, Vol. 16 (b), p. 367.

97

Martin v. Tollefson, 24 Wash. 2d 211 cited in Am. Jur. 2d, Vol. 16 (b), pp. 367-368 .

Nixon v. Administrator of General Services, 433 US 425 cited in Am. Jur. 2d, Vol. 16 (b), p.
371.
98

99

100

Hunter v. Flowers, 43 So 2d 435 cited in Am. Jur. 2d, Vol. 16 (b), p. 370.
Clements v. Fashing, 457 US 957.

See Am. Jur. 2d, Vol. 16 (b), pp. 370-371, as footnote (A state legislature may, consistently
with the Equal Protection Clause, address a problem one step at a time, or even select one
phase of one field and apply a remedy there, neglecting the others. [Jeffeson v. Hackney,
406 US 535].
101

McDonald v. Board of Election Comrs of Chicago, 394 US 802 cited in Am Jur 2d,
Footnote No. 9.
102

103

Ricketts v. City of Hardford, 74 F. 3d 1397 cited in Am. Jur. 2d, Vol. 16 (b), p. 303.

104

OSG Consolidated Comment, p. 66, rollo, p.186.

105

Lagman Memorandum, p. 30; rollo, p. 118.

106

G.R. No. 86926, October 15, 1991; 202 SCRA 680.

107

Angara v. Electoral Commission, 63 Phil. 139, 158 (1936).

108

Cruz, Philippine Political Law, 2002 ed., pp. 12-13.

109

Id.

110

Republic v. Southside Homeowners Association, G.R. No. 156951, September 22, 2006.

The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation

SEPARATE OPINION
CORONA, C.J.:
Of Truth and Truth Commissions

The fundamental base upon which a truth commission is created is the right to the truth. 1 While the
right to the truth is yet to be established as a right under customary law 2 or as a general principle of
international law,3 it has nevertheless emerged as a "legal concept at the national, regional and
international levels, and relates to the obligation of the state to provide information to victims or to
their families or even society as a whole about the circumstances surrounding serious violations of
human rights."4
A truth commission has been generally defined5 as a "body set up to investigate a past history of
violations of human rights in a particular country ...," 6 and includes four elements:
... First, a truth commission focuses on the past. Second, a truth commission is not focused on a
specific event, but attempts to paint the overall picture of certain human rights abuses, or violations
of international humanitarian law, over a period of time. Third, a truth commission usually exists
temporarily and for a pre-defined period of time, ceasing to exist with the submission of a report of its
findings. Finally, a truth commission is always vested with some sort of authority, by way of its
sponsor, that allows it greater access to information, greater security or protection to dig into
sensitive issues, and a greater impact with its report.7
As reported by Amnesty International,8 there are at least 33 truth commissions established in 28
countries from 1974 to 2007 and this includes the Philippines, which created the Presidential
Committee on Human Rights (PCHR) in 1986 under the post-Marcos administration of Pres.
Corazon C. Aquino.
The Philippine Experience
Notably, Pres. Corazon C. Aquino created not one but two truth commissions. 9 Aside from the
PCHR, which was created to address human rights violations, the Presidential Commission on Good
Government or PCGG was also established. The PCGG was tasked with assisting the President in
the "recovery of all in-gotten wealth accumulated by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, his
immediate family, relatives, subordinates and close associates, whether located in the Philippines or
abroad, including the takeover or sequestration of all business enterprises and entities owned or
controlled by them, during his administration, directly or through nominees, by taking undue
advantage of their public office and/or using their powers, authority, influence, connections or
relationship," among others.10 Unlike the present embattled and controversial Truth Commission,
however, the PCGG was created by Pres. Corazon C. Aquino pursuant to her legislative powers
under Executive Order No. 1,11 which in turn, was sanctioned by Proclamation No. 3. 12
And unlike the PCGG, the present Truth Commission suffers from both legal and constitutional
infirmities and must be struck down as unconstitutional.
Power To Create Public Offices: Inherently Legislative
The separation of powers is a fundamental principle in our system of government. 13 This principle is
one of the cornerstones of our constitutional democracy and it cannot be eroded without
endangering our government.14The 1987 Constitution divides governmental power into three coequal branches: the executive, the legislative and the judicial. It delineates the powers of the three
branches: the legislature is generally limited to the enactment of laws, the executive department to
the enforcement of laws and the judiciary to their interpretation and application to cases and
controversies.15 Each branch is independent and supreme within its own sphere and the
encroachment by one branch on another is to be avoided at all costs.

The power under scrutiny in this case is the creation of a public office. It is settled that, except for the
offices created by the Constitution, the creation of a public office is primarily a legislative function.
The legislature decides what offices are suitable, necessary or convenient for the administration of
government.16
The question is whether Congress, by law, has delegated to the Chief Executive this power to create
a public office.
In creating the Truth Commission, Executive Order No. 1 (E.O. No. 1) points to Section 31, Chapter
10, Book III of E.O. No. 292 or the Administrative Code of 1987 as its legal basis:
Section 31. Continuing Authority of the President to Reorganize his Office. The President, subject
to the policy in the Executive Office and in order to achieve simplicity, economy and efficiency, shall
have continuing authority to reorganize the administrative structure of the Office of the President. For
this purpose, he may take any of the following actions:
(1) Restructure the internal organization of the Office of the President Proper, including the
immediate Offices, the Presidential Special Assistants/Advisers System and the Common
Staff Support System, by abolishing, consolidating, or merging units thereof or transferring
functions from one unit to another;
(2) Transfer any function under the Office of the President to any other Department or
Agency as well as transfer functions to the Office of the President from other Departments
and Agencies; and
(3) Transfer any agency under the Office of the President to any other department or agency
as well as transfer agencies to the Office of the President from other departments or
agencies. (Emphasis supplied)
This provision pertains to the Presidents continuing delegated power to reorganize the Office of the
President. The well-settled principle is that the President has the power to reorganize the offices and
agencies in the executive department in line with his constitutionally granted power of control over
executive offices and by virtue of his delegated legislative power to reorganize them under existing
statutes.17 Needless to state, such power must always be in accordance with the Constitution,
relevant laws and prevailing jurisprudence.18
In creating the Truth Commission, did the President merely exercise his continuing authority to
reorganize the executive department? No.
Considering that the President was exercising a delegated power, his actions should have
conformed to the standards set by the law, that is, that the reorganization be in the interest of
"simplicity, economy and efficiency." Were such objectives met? They were not. The Truth
Commission clearly duplicates and supplants the functions and powers of the Office of the
Ombudsman and/or the Department of Justice, as will be discussed in detail later. How can the
creation of a new commission with the same duplicative functions as those of already existing offices
result in economy or a more efficient bureaucracy?19 Such a creation becomes even more
questionable considering that the 1987 Constitution itself mandates the Ombudsman to investigate
graft and corruption cases.20
The Truth Commission in the Light of The Equal Protection Clause

Equal protection is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution. Section 1, Article III of the
1987 Constitution reads:
... nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.
It is a right afforded every man. The right to equal protection does not require a universal application
of the laws to all persons or things without distinction.21 It requires simply that all persons or things
similarly situated should be treated alike, both as to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed. 22
In certain cases, however, as when things or persons are different in fact or circumstance, they may
be treated in law differently.23 In Victoriano vs. Elizalde Rope Workers Union,24 the Court declared:
The equal protection of the laws clause of the Constitution allows classification. Classification in law,
as in the other departments of knowledge or practice, is the grouping of things in speculation or
practice because they agree with one another in certain particulars. A law is not invalid because of
simple inequality. The very idea of classification is that of inequality, so that it goes without saying
that the mere fact of inequality in no manner determines the matter of constitutionality. All that is
required of a valid classification is that it be reasonable, which means that the classification should
be based on substantial distinctions which make for real differences, that it must be germane to the
purpose of the law; that it must not be limited to existing conditions only; and that it must apply
equally to each member of the class. This Court has held that the standard is satisfied if the
classification or distinction is based on a reasonable foundation or rational basis and is not palpably
arbitrary.
Thus, for a classification to be valid it must pass the test of reasonableness, 25 which requires that:
(1) it be based on substantial distinctions;
(2) it must be germane to the purpose of the law;
(3) it must not be limited to present conditions; and
(4) it must apply equally to all members of the same class.
All four requisites must be complied with for the classification to be valid and constitutional.
The constitutionality of E. O. No. 1 is being attacked on the ground that it violates the equal
protection clause.
Petitioners argue that E.O. No. 1 violates the equal protection clause as it deliberately vests the
Truth Commission with jurisdiction and authority to solely target officials and employees of the
Arroyo Administration.26Moreover, they claim that there is no substantial distinction of graft reportedly
committed under the Arroyo administration and graft committed under previous administrations to
warrant the creation of a Truth Commission which will investigate for prosecution officials and
employees of the past administration.27
Respondents, on the other hand, argue that the creation of the Truth Commission does not violate
the equal protection clause. According to them, while E.O. No. 1 names the previous administration
as the initial subject of the investigation, it does not confine itself to cases of graft and corruption
committed solely during the past administration. Section 17 of E.O. No. 1 clearly speaks of the
Presidents power to expand its coverage to previous administrations. Moreover, respondents argue

that the segregation of the transactions of public officers during the previous administration as
possible subjects of investigation is a valid classification based on substantial distinctions and is
germane to the evils which the executive order seeks to correct. 28
On its face, E.O. No. 1 clearly singles out the previous administration as the Truth Commissions
sole subject of investigation.
Section 1. Creation of a Commission There is hereby created the PHILIPPINE TRUTH
COMMISSION, hereinafter referred to as the "COMMISSION", which shall primarily seek and find
the truth on, and toward this end, investigate reports of graft and corruption of such scale and
magnitude that shock and offend the moral and ethical sensibilities of the people committed by
public officers and employees, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories from the private
sector, if any during the previous administration; and thereafter recommend the appropriate action to
be taken to ensure that the full measure of justice shall be served without fear or favor.
Section 2. Powers and Functions. The Commission, which shall have the powers of an
investigative body under Section 37, Chapter 9, Book I of the Administrative Code of 1987, is
primarily tasked to conduct a thorough fact-finding investigation of reported cases of graft and
corruption referred to in Section 1, involving third level public officers and higher, their co-principals,
accomplices and accessories from the private sector, if any during the previous administration and
thereafter submit its findings and recommendations to the President, Congress and the
Ombudsman. x x x" (Emphasis supplied)
Notwithstanding Section 17, which provides:
If and when in the judgment of the President there is a need to expand the mandate of the
Commission as defined in Section 1 hereof to include the investigation of cases and instances of
graft and corruption during the prior administration, such mandate may be so extended accordingly
by way of supplemental Executive Order." (Emphasis supplied),
such expanded mandate of the Truth Commission will still depend on the whim and caprice of the
President. If the President decides not to expand the coverage of the investigation, then the Truth
Commissions sole directive is the investigation of officials and employees of the Arroyo
administration.
Given the indubitably clear mandate of E.O. No. 1, does the identification of the Arroyo
administration as the subject of the Truth Commissions investigation pass the jurisprudential test of
reasonableness? Stated differently, does the mandate of E.O. No. 1 violate the equal protection
clause of the Constitution? Yes.
I rule in favor of petitioners.
(1) No Substantial Distinction
There is no substantial distinction between the corruption which occurred during the past
administration and the corruption of the administrations prior to it. Allegations of graft and corruption
in the government are unfortunately prevalent regardless of who the President happens to be.
Respondents claim of widespread systemic corruption is not unique only to the past administration.
(2) Not Germane to the Purpose of the Law

The purpose of E.O. No. 1 (to put an end to corruption in the government) is stated clearly in the
preamble of the aforesaid order:
WHEREAS, the Presidents battle-cry during his campaign for the Presidency in the last elections
"kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap" expresses a solemn pledge that if elected, he would end
corruption and the evil it breeds; xxx
In the light of the unmistakable purpose of E.O. No. 1, the classification of the past regime as
separate from the past administrations is not germane to the purpose of the law. Corruption did not
occur only in the past administration. To stamp out corruption, we must go beyond the faade of
each administration and investigate all public officials and employees alleged to have committed
graft in any previous administration.
(3) E.O. No. 1 does Not Apply to Future Conditions
As correctly pointed out by petitioners, the classification does not even refer to present conditions,
much more to future conditions vis-avis the commission of graft and corruption. It is limited to a
particular past administration and not to all past administrations.29
We go back to the text of the executive order in question.
xxx
Whereas, there is a need for a separate body dedicated solely to investigating and finding out the
truth concerning the reported cases if graft and corruption during the previous administration, and
which will recommend the prosecution of the offenders and secure justice for all;
xxx
Section 1. Creating of a Commission. There is hereby created the PHILIPPINE TRUTH
COMMISSION, hereinafter referred to as the "COMMISSION", which shall primarily seek and find
the truth on, and toward this end investigate reports of graft and corruption, x x x if any, during the
previous administration; xxx
Section 2. Power and Functions. Powers and Functions. The Commission, which shall have all the
powers of an investigative body under Section 37, Chapter 9, Book I of the Administrative Code of
1987, is primarily tasked to conduct a thorough fact-finding investigation of reported cases of graft
and corruption x x x, if any, during the previous administration and thereafter submit its findings and
recommendations to the President, Congress and the Ombudsman. x x x
The above-quoted provisions show that the sole subject of the investigation will be public officers
and employees of the previous administration only, that is, until such time if and when the President
decides to expand the Truth Commissions mandate to include other administrations (if he does so at
all).
(4) E.O. No. 1 Does Not Apply to the Same Class
Lastly, E.O. No. 1 does not apply to all of those belonging to the same class for it only applies to the
public officers and employees of the past administration. It excludes from its purview the graft and
the grafters of administrations prior to the last one. Graft is not exclusive to the previous presidency

alone, hence there is no justification to limit the scope of the mandate only to the previous
administration.
Fact-Finding or Investigation?
The nature of the powers and functions allocated by the President to the Truth Commission by virtue
of E.O. No. 1 is investigatory,30 with the purposes of determining probable cause of the commission
of "graft and corruption under pertinent applicable laws" and referring such finding and evidence to
the proper authorities for prosecution.31
The respondents pass off these powers and functions as merely fact-finding, short of investigatory. I
do not think so. Sugar-coating the description of the Truth Commissions processes and functions so
as to make it "sound harmless" falls short of constitutional requirements. It has in its hands the vast
arsenal of the government to intimidate, harass and humiliate its perceived political enemies outside
the lawful prosecutorial avenues provided by law in the Ombudsman or the Department of Justice.
The scope of the investigatory powers and functions assigned by the President to the Truth
Commission encompasses all "public officers and employees, their co-principals, accomplices and
accessories from the private sector, if any, during the previous administration." 32
There is no doubt in my mind that what the President granted the Truth Commission is
the authority to conduct preliminary investigation of complaints of graft and corruption against his
immediate predecessor and her associates.
The respondents see nothing wrong with that. They believe that, pursuant to his power of control
and general supervision under Article VII of the Constitution, 33 the President can create an ad-hoc
committee like the Truth Commission to investigate graft and corruption cases. And the President
can endow it with authority parallel to that of the Ombudsman to conduct preliminary investigations.
Citing Ombudsman v. Galicia34 the power of the Ombudsman to conduct preliminary investigations is
not exclusive but shared with other similarly authorized government agencies.
I take a different view. The operative word is "authorized".
Indeed, the power of control and supervision of the President includes the power to discipline which
in turn implies the power to investigate.35 No Congress or Court can derogate from that power 36 but
the Constitution itself may set certain limits.37 And the Constitution has in fact carved out the
preliminary investigatory aspect of the control power and allocated the same to the following:
(a) to Congress over presidential appointees who are impeachable officers (Article XI,
Sections 2 and 3);
(b) to the Supreme Court over members of the courts and the personnel thereof (Article VIII,
Section 6); and
(c) to the Ombudsman over any other public official, employee, office or agency (Article XI,
Section 13 (1)).
However, even as the Constitution has granted to the Ombudsman the power to investigate other
public officials and employees, such power is not absolute and exclusive. Congress has the power to
further define the powers of the Ombudsman and, impliedly, to authorize other offices to conduct
such investigation over their respective officials and personnel. 38

The Constitution has vested in Congress alone the power to grant to any office concurrent
jurisdiction with the Ombudsman to conduct preliminary investigation of cases of graft and
corruption.
In a myriad of cases, this Court has recognized the concurrent jurisdiction of other bodies vis--vis
the Ombudsman to conduct preliminary investigation of complaints of graft and corruption
as authorized by law, meaning, for any other person or agency to be able to conduct such
investigations, there must be a law authorizing him or it to do so.
In Ombudsman v. Galicia (cited in the ponencia) as well as Ombudsman v. Estandarte,39 the Court
recognized the concurrent jurisdiction of the Division School Superintendent vis--vis the
Ombudsman to conduct preliminary investigation of complaints of graft and corruption committed by
public school teachers. Such concurrent jurisdiction of the Division School Superintendent was
granted by law, specifically RA 4670 or the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers.40
Likewise, in Ombudsman v. Medrano41 the Court held that by virtue of RA 4670 the Department of
Education Investigating Committee has concurrent jurisdiction with the Ombudsman to conduct a
preliminary investigation of complaints against public school teachers.
Even the Sangguniang Panlungsod has concurrent jurisdiction with the Ombudsman to look into
complaints against the punong barangay.42 Such concurrent authority is found in RA 7160 or the
Local Government Code.
The Department of Justice is another agency with jurisdiction concurrent with the Ombudsman to
conduct preliminary investigation of public officials and employees. 43 Its concurrent jurisdiction is
based on the 1987 Administrative Code.
Certainly, there is a law, the Administrative Code, which authorized the Office of the President to
exercise jurisdiction concurrent with the Ombudsman to conduct preliminary investigation of graft
and corruption cases. However, the scope and focus of its preliminary investigation are restricted.
Under the principle that the power to appoint includes the power to remove, each President has had
his or her own version of a presidential committee to investigate graft and corruption, the last being
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyos Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) under E.O. No.
268. The PAGC exercised concurrent authority with the Ombudsman to investigate complaints of
graft and corruption against presidential appointees who are not impeachable officers and nonpresidential appointees in conspiracy with the latter. It is in this light that DOH v. Camposano, et
al.44 as cited in the ponencia should be understood. At that time, the PCAGC (now defunct) had no
investigatory power over non-presidential appointees; hence the President created an ad-hoc
committee to investigate both the principal respondent who was a presidential appointee and her coconspirators who were non-presidential appointees. The PAGC (now also defunct), however, was
authorized to investigate both presidential appointees and non-presidential appointees who were in
conspiracy with each other.
However, although pursuant to his power of control the President may supplant and directly exercise
the investigatory functions of departments and agencies within the executive department, 45 his power
of control under the Constitution and the Administrative Code is confined only to the executive
department.46 Without any law authorizing him, the President cannot legally create a committee to
extend his investigatory reach across the boundaries of the executive department to "public officers
and employees, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories from the private sector, if any,
during the previous administration" without setting apart those who are still in the executive
department from those who are not. Only the Ombudsman has the investigatory jurisdiction over

them under Article XI, Section 13. There is no law granting to the President the authority to create a
committee with concurrent investigatory jurisdiction of this nature.
The President acted in violation of the Constitution and without authority of law when he created a
Truth Commission under E.O. No. 1 to exercise concurrent jurisdiction with the Ombudsman to
conduct the preliminary investigation of complaints of graft and corruption against public officers and
employees, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories from the private sector, if any, during
the previous administration.
Investigation or Quasi-Adjudication?
Respondents argue that the Truth Commission is merely an investigative and fact-finding body
tasked to gather facts, draw conclusions therefrom and recommend the appropriate actions or
measures to be taken. Petitioners, however, argue that the Truth Commission is vested with quasijudicial powers. Offices with such awesome powers cannot be legally created by the President
through mere executive orders.
Petitioners are correct.
The definition of investigation was extensively discussed in Cario v. Commission on Human
Rights:47
"Investigate," commonly understood, means to examine, explore, inquire or delve or probe into,
research on, study. The dictionary definition of "investigate" is "to observe or study closely: inquire
into systematically: "to search or inquire into: . . . to subject to an official probe . . .: to conduct an
official inquiry." The purpose of investigation, of course, is to discover, to find out, to learn, obtain
information. Nowhere included or intimated is the notion of settling, deciding or resolving a
controversy involved in the facts inquired into by application of the law to the facts established by the
inquiry.
The legal meaning of "investigate" is essentially the same: "(t)o follow up step by step by patient
inquiry or observation. To trace or track; to search into; to examine and inquire into with care and
accuracy; to find out by careful inquisition; examination; the taking of evidence; a legal inquiry;" "to
inquire; to make an investigation," "investigation" being in turn described as "(a)n administrative
function, the exercise of which ordinarily does not require a hearing. 2 Am J2d Adm L Sec. 257; . . .
an inquiry, judicial or otherwise, for the discovery and collection of facts concerning a certain matter
or matters."48 (Italics in the original)
The exercise of quasi-judicial power goes beyond mere investigation and fact-finding. Quasi-judicial
power has been defined as
the power of the administrative agency to adjudicate the rights of persons before it. It is the power
to hear and determine questions of fact to which the legislative policy is to apply and to decide in
accordance with the standards laid down by the law itself in enforcing and administering the same
law. The administrative body exercises its quasi-judicial power when it performs in a judicial manner
an act which is essentially of an executive or administrative nature, where the power to act in such
manner is incidental to or reasonably necessary for the performance of the executive or
administrative duty entrusted to it. In carrying out their quasi-judicial functions the administrative
officers or bodies are required to investigate facts or ascertain the existence of facts, hold hearings,
weigh evidence, and draw conclusions from them as basis for their official action and exercise of
discretion in a judicial nature.49 (Emphasis supplied)

Despite respondents denial that the Truth Commission is infused with quasi-judicial powers, it is
patent from the provisions of E.O. No. 1 itself that such powers are indeed vested in the Truth
Commission, particularly in Section 2, paragraphs (b) and (g):
b) Collect, receive, review, and evaluate evidence related to or regarding the cases of large scale
corruption which it has chosen to investigate,
xxx
g) Turn over from time to time, for expeditious prosecution, to the appropriate prosecutorial
authorities, by means of a special or interim report and recommendation, all evidence on corruption
of public officers and employees and their private sector co-principals, accomplices or accessories, if
any, when in the course of its investigation the Commission finds that there is reasonable ground to
believe they are liable for graft and corruption under pertinent applicable laws;
xxx
The powers to "evaluate evidence" and "find reasonable ground to believe that someone is liable for
graft and corruption" are not merely fact-finding or investigatory. These are quasi-judicial in nature
because they actually go into the weighing of evidence, drawing up of legal conclusions from them
as basis for their official action and the exercise of discretion of a judicial or quasi-judicial nature.
The evaluation of the sufficiency of the evidence is a quasi-judicial/judicial function. It involves an
assessment of the evidence which is an exercise of judicial discretion. We have defined discretion
as the ability to make decisions which represent a responsible choice and for which an
understanding of what is lawful, right or wise may be presupposed.50
It is the "the act or the liberty to decide, according to the principles of justice and ones ideas of what
is right and proper under the circumstances, without willfulness or favor."51
Likewise, the power to establish if there is reasonable ground to believe that certain persons are
liable for graft and corruption under pertinent applicable laws is quasi-judicial in nature because it is
akin to the discretion exercised by a prosecutor in the determination of probable cause during a
preliminary investigation. It involves a judicial (or quasi-judicial) appraisal of the facts for the purpose
of determining if a violation has in fact been committed.
Although such a preliminary investigation is not a trial and is not intended to usurp the function of the
trial court, it is not a casual affair. The officer conducting the same investigates or inquires into the
facts concerning the commission of the crime with the end in view of determining whether or not an
information may be prepared against the accused. Indeed, a preliminary investigation is in effect a
realistic judicial appraisal of the merits of the case. Sufficient proof of the guilt of the accused must
be adduced so that when the case is tried, the trial court may not be bound as a matter of law to
order an acquittal. A preliminary investigation has then been called a judicial inquiry. It is a judicial
proceeding. An act becomes judicial when there is opportunity to be heard and for, the production
and weighing of evidence, and a decision is rendered thereon.
The authority of a prosecutor or investigating officer duly empowered to preside or to conduct a
preliminary investigation is no less than that of a municipal judge or even a regional trial court judge.
While the investigating officer, strictly speaking is not a "judge," by the nature of his functions he is
and must be considered to be a quasi judicial officer.52

Hence, the Truth Commission is vested with quasi-judicial discretion in the discharge of its functions.
As a mere creation of the executive and without a law granting it the power to investigate person and
agencies outside the executive department, the Truth Commission can only perform administrative
functions, not quasi-judicial functions. "Administrative agencies are not considered courts; they are
neither part of the judicial system nor are they deemed judicial tribunals." 53
Executive Order No. 1 and the Philippine Truth Commission of 2010, being contrary to the
Constitution, should be nullified.
I therefore vote that the petitions be GRANTED.