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G.R. No.

92163 June 5, 1990


IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS. JUAN PONCE ENRILE,
petitioner
vs.
JUDGE JAIME SALAZAR (Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon
City [Br. 103], SENIOR STATE PROSECUTOR AURELIO TRAMPE, PROSECUTOR
FERDINAND R. ABESAMIS, AND CITY ASSISTANT CITY PROSECUTOR EULOGIO
MANANQUIL, NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION DIRECTOR ALFREDO LIM,
BRIG. GEN. EDGAR DULA TORRES (Superintendent of the Northern Police District)
AND/ OR ANY AND ALL PERSONS WHO MAY HAVE ACTUAL CUSTODY OVER THE
PERSON OF JUAN PONCE ENRILE, respondents.
G.R. No. 92164 June 5, 1990
SPS. REBECCO E. PANLILIO AND ERLINDA E. PANLILIO, petitioners,
vs.
PROSECUTORS FERNANDO DE LEON, AURELIO C. TRAMPE, FFRDINAND R.
ABESAMIS, AND EULOGIO C. MANANQUIL, and HON. JAIME W. SALAZAR, JR., in
his capacity as Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Quezon City, Branch 103,
respondents.
NARVASA, J.:
Thirty-four years after it wrote history into our criminal jurisprudence, People vs.
Hernandez 1 once more takes center stage as the focus of a confrontation at
law that would re-examine, if not the validity of its doctrine, the limits of its
applicability. To be sure, the intervening period saw a number of similar cases 2
that took issue with the ruling-all with a marked lack of success-but none, it
would Beem, where season and circumstance had more effectively
conspired to attract wide public attention and excite impassioned debate,
even among laymen; none, certainly, which has seen quite the kind and
range of arguments that are now brought to bear on the same question.
The facts are not in dispute. In the afternoon of February 27, 1990, Senate
Minority Floor Leader Juan Ponce Enrile was arrested by law enforcement
officers led by Director Alfredo Lim of the National Bureau of Investigation on
the strength of a warrant issued by Hon. Jaime Salazar of the Regional Trial
Court of Quezon City Branch 103, in Criminal Case No. 9010941. The warrant
had issued on an information signed and earlier that day filed by a panel of
prosecutors composed of Senior State Prosecutor Aurelio C. Trampe, State
Prosecutor Ferdinand R. Abesamis and Assistant City Prosecutor Eulogio
Mananquil, Jr., charging Senator Enrile, the spouses Rebecco and Erlinda
Panlilio, and Gregorio Honasan with the crime of rebellion with murder and
multiple frustrated murder allegedly committed during the period of the failed
coup attempt from November 29 to December 10, 1990. Senator Enrile was
taken to and held overnight at the NBI headquarters on Taft Avenue, Manila,
without bail, none having been recommended in the information and none
fixed in the arrest warrant. The following morning, February 28, 1990, he was
brought to Camp Tomas Karingal in Quezon City where he was given over to
the custody of the Superintendent of the Northern Police District, Brig. Gen.
Edgardo Dula Torres. 3

On the same date of February 28, 1990, Senator Enrile, through counsel, filed
the petition for habeas corpus herein (which was followed by a supplemental
petition filed on March 2, 1990), alleging that he was deprived of his
constitutional rights in being, or having been:
(a) held to answer for criminal offense which does not exist in the statute
books;
(b) charged with a criminal offense in an information for which no complaint
was initially filed or preliminary investigation was conducted, hence was
denied due process;
(c) denied his right to bail; and
(d) arrested and detained on the strength of a warrant issued without the
judge who issued it first having personally determined the existence of
probable cause. 4
The Court issued the writ prayed for, returnable March 5, 1990 and set the plea
for hearing on March 6, 1990. 5 On March 5, 1990, the Solicitor General filed a
consolidated return 6 for the respondents in this case and in G.R. No. 92164 7
Which had been contemporaneously but separately filed by two of Senator
Enrile's co-accused, the spouses Rebecco and Erlinda Panlilio, and raised
similar questions. Said return urged that the petitioners' case does not fall
within the Hernandez ruling because-and this is putting it very simply-the
information in Hernandez charged murders and other common crimes
committed as a necessary means for the commission of rebellion, whereas the
information against Sen. Enrile et al. charged murder and frustrated murder
committed on the occasion, but not in furtherance, of rebellion. Stated
otherwise, the Solicitor General would distinguish between the complex crime
("delito complejo") arising from an offense being a necessary means for
committing another, which is referred to in the second clause of Article 48,
Revised Penal Code, and is the subject of the Hernandez ruling, and the
compound crime ("delito compuesto") arising from a single act constituting
two or more grave or less grave offenses referred to in the first clause of the
same paragraph, with which Hernandez was not concerned and to which,
therefore, it should not apply.
The parties were heard in oral argument, as scheduled, on March 6, 1990,
after which the Court issued its Resolution of the same date 8 granting Senator
Enrile and the Panlilio spouses provisional liberty conditioned upon their filing,
within 24 hours from notice, cash or surety bonds of P100,000.00 (for Senator
Enrile) and P200,000.00 (for the Panlilios), respectively. The Resolution stated
that it was issued without prejudice to a more extended resolution on the
matter of the provisional liberty of the petitioners and stressed that it was not
passing upon the legal issues raised in both cases. Four Members of the Court 9
voted against granting bail to Senator Enrile, and two 10 against granting bail
to the Panlilios.
The Court now addresses those issues insofar as they are raised and litigated in
Senator Enrile's petition, G.R. No. 92163.
The parties' oral and written pleas presented the Court with the following
options:
(a) abandon Hernandez and adopt the minority view expressed in the main

dissent of Justice Montemayor in said case that rebellion cannot absorb more
serious crimes, and that under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code rebellion
may properly be complexed with common offenses, so-called; this option was
suggested by the Solicitor General in oral argument although it is not offered
in his written pleadings;
(b) hold Hernandez applicable only to offenses committed in furtherance, or
as a necessary means for the commission, of rebellion, but not to acts
committed in the course of a rebellion which also constitute "common" crimes
of grave or less grave character;
(c) maintain Hernandez as applying to make rebellion absorb all other
offenses committed in its course, whether or not necessary to its commission or
in furtherance thereof.
On the first option, eleven (11) Members of the Court voted against
abandoning Hernandez. Two (2) Members felt that the doctrine should be reexamined. 10-A In the view of the majority, the ruling remains good law, its
substantive and logical bases have withstood all subsequent challenges and
no new ones are presented here persuasive enough to warrant a complete
reversal. This view is reinforced by the fact that not too long ago, the
incumbent President, exercising her powers under the 1986 Freedom
Constitution, saw fit to repeal, among others, Presidential Decree No. 942 of
the former regime which precisely sought to nullify or neutralize Hernandez by
enacting a new provision (Art. 142-A) into the Revised Penal Code to the
effect that "(w)hen by reason, or on the occasion, of any of the crimes
penalized in this Chapter (Chapter I of Title 3, which includes rebellion), acts
which constitute offenses upon which graver penalties are imposed by law
are committed, the penalty for the most serious offense in its maximum period
shall be imposed upon the offender."' 11 In thus acting, the President in effect
by legislative flat reinstated Hernandez as binding doctrine with the effect of
law. The Court can do no less than accord it the same recognition, absent
any sufficiently powerful reason against so doing.
On the second option, the Court unanimously voted to reject the theory that
Hernandez is, or should be, limited in its application to offenses committed as
a necessary means for the commission of rebellion and that the ruling should
not be interpreted as prohibiting the complexing of rebellion with other
common crimes committed on the occasion, but not in furtherance, thereof.
While four Members of the Court felt that the proponents' arguments were not
entirely devoid of merit, the consensus was that they were not sufficient to
overcome what appears to be the real thrust of Hernandez to rule out the
complexing of rebellion with any other offense committed in its course under
either of the aforecited clauses of Article 48, as is made clear by the following
excerpt from the majority opinion in that case:
There is one other reason-and a fundamental one at that-why Article 48 of our
Penal Code cannot be applied in the case at bar. If murder were not
complexed with rebellion, and the two crimes were punished separately
(assuming that this could be done), the following penalties would be
imposable upon the movant, namely: (1) for the crime of rebellion, a fine not
exceeding P20,000 and prision mayor, in the corresponding period,

depending upon the modifying circumstances present, but never exceeding


12 years of prision mayor, and (2) for the crime of murder, reclusion temporal
in its maximum period to death, depending upon the modifying
circumstances present. in other words, in the absence of aggravating
circumstances, the extreme penalty could not be imposed upon him.
However, under Article 48 said penalty would have to be meted out to him,
even in the absence of a single aggravating circumstance. Thus, said
provision, if construed in conformity with the theory of the prosecution, would
be unfavorable to the movant.
Upon the other hand, said Article 48 was enacted for the purpose of favoring
the culprit, not of sentencing him to a penalty more severe than that which
would be proper if the several acts performed by him were punished
separately. In the words of Rodriguez Navarro:
La unificacion de penas en los casos de concurso de delitos a que hace
referencia este articulo (75 del Codigo de 1932), esta basado francamente
en el principio pro reo.' (II Doctrina Penal del Tribunal Supremo de Espana, p.
2168.)
We are aware of the fact that this observation refers to Article 71 (later 75) of
the Spanish Penal Code (the counterpart of our Article 48), as amended in
1908 and then in 1932, reading:
Las disposiciones del articulo anterior no son aplicables en el caso de que un
solo hecho constituya dos o mas delitos, o cuando el uno de ellos sea medio
necesario para cometer el otro.
En estos casos solo se impondra la pena correspondiente al delito mas grave
en su grado maximo, hasta el limite que represents la suma de las que
pudieran imponerse, penando separadamente los delitos.
Cuando la pena asi computada exceda de este limite, se sancionaran los
delitos por separado. (Rodriguez Navarro, Doctrina Penal del Tribunal
Supremo, Vol. II, p. 2163)
and that our Article 48 does not contain the qualification inserted in said
amendment, restricting the imposition of the penalty for the graver offense in
its maximum period to the case when it does not exceed the sum total of the
penalties imposable if the acts charged were dealt with separately. The
absence of said limitation in our Penal Code does not, to our mind, affect
substantially the spirit of said Article 48. Indeed, if one act constitutes two or
more offenses, there can be no reason to inflict a punishment graver than that
prescribed for each one of said offenses put together. In directing that the
penalty for the graver offense be, in such case, imposed in its maximum
period, Article 48 could have had no other purpose than to prescribe a
penalty lower than the aggregate of the penalties for each offense, if
imposed separately. The reason for this benevolent spirit of article 48 is readily
discernible. When two or more crimes are the result of a single act, the
offender is deemed less perverse than when he commits said crimes thru
separate and distinct acts. Instead of sentencing him for each crime
independently from the other, he must suffer the maximum of the penalty for
the more serious one, on the assumption that it is less grave than the sum total
of the separate penalties for each offense. 12

The rejection of both options shapes and determines the primary ruling of the
Court, which is that Hernandez remains binding doctrine operating to prohibit
the complexing of rebellion with any other offense committed on the
occasion thereof, either as a means necessary to its commission or as an
unintended effect of an activity that constitutes rebellion.
This, however, does not write finis to the case. Petitioner's guilt or innocence is
not here inquired into, much less adjudged. That is for the trial court to do at
the proper time. The Court's ruling merely provides a take-off point for the
disposition of other questions relevant to the petitioner's complaints about the
denial of his rights and to the propriety of the recourse he has taken.
The Court rules further (by a vote of 11 to 3) that the information filed against
the petitioner does in fact charge an offense. Disregarding the objectionable
phrasing that would complex rebellion with murder and multiple frustrated
murder, that indictment is to be read as charging simple rebellion. Thus, in
Hernandez, the Court said:
In conclusion, we hold that, under the allegations of the amended information
against defendant-appellant Amado V. Hernandez, the murders, arsons and
robberies described therein are mere ingredients of the crime of rebellion
allegedly committed by said defendants, as means "necessary" (4) for the
perpetration of said offense of rebellion; that the crime charged in the
aforementioned amended information is, therefore, simple rebellion, not the
complex crime of rebellion with multiple murder, arsons and robberies; that
the maximum penalty imposable under such charge cannot exceed twelve
(12) years of prision mayor and a fine of P2H,HHH; and that, in conformity with
the policy of this court in dealing with accused persons amenable to a similar
punishment, said defendant may be allowed bail. 13
The plaint of petitioner's counsel that he is charged with a crime that does not
exist in the statute books, while technically correct so far as the Court has
ruled that rebellion may not be complexed with other offenses committed on
the occasion thereof, must therefore be dismissed as a mere flight of rhetoric.
Read in the context of Hernandez, the information does indeed charge the
petitioner with a crime defined and punished by the Revised Penal Code:
simple rebellion.
Was the petitioner charged without a complaint having been initially filed
and/or preliminary investigation conducted? The record shows otherwise, that
a complaint against petitioner for simple rebellion was filed by the Director of
the National Bureau of Investigation, and that on the strength of said
complaint a preliminary investigation was conducted by the respondent
prosecutors, culminating in the filing of the questioned information. 14 There is
nothing inherently irregular or contrary to law in filing against a respondent an
indictment for an offense different from what is charged in the initiatory
complaint, if warranted by the evidence developed during the preliminary
investigation.
It is also contended that the respondent Judge issued the warrant for
petitioner's arrest without first personally determining the existence of probable
cause by examining under oath or affirmation the complainant and his
witnesses, in violation of Art. III, sec. 2, of the Constitution. 15 This Court has

already ruled, however, that it is not the unavoidable duty of the judge to
make such a personal examination, it being sufficient that he follows
established procedure by personally evaluating the report and the supporting
documents submitted by the prosecutor. 16 Petitioner claims that the warrant
of arrest issued barely one hour and twenty minutes after the case was raffled
off to the respondent Judge, which hardly gave the latter sufficient time to
personally go over the voluminous records of the preliminary investigation. 17
Merely because said respondent had what some might consider only a
relatively brief period within which to comply with that duty, gives no reason to
assume that he had not, or could not have, so complied; nor does that single
circumstance suffice to overcome the legal presumption that official duty has
been regularly performed.
Petitioner finally claims that he was denied the right to bail. In the light of the
Court's reaffirmation of Hernandez as applicable to petitioner's case, and of
the logical and necessary corollary that the information against him should be
considered as charging only the crime of simple rebellion, which is bailable
before conviction, that must now be accepted as a correct proposition. But
the question remains: Given the facts from which this case arose, was a
petition for habeas corpus in this Court the appropriate vehicle for asserting a
right to bail or vindicating its denial?
The criminal case before the respondent Judge was the normal venue for
invoking the petitioner's right to have provisional liberty pending trial and
judgment. The original jurisdiction to grant or deny bail rested with said
respondent. The correct course was for petitioner to invoke that jurisdiction by
filing a petition to be admitted to bail, claiming a right to bail per se by reason
of the weakness of the evidence against him. Only after that remedy was
denied by the trial court should the review jurisdiction of this Court have been
invoked, and even then, not without first applying to the Court of Appeals if
appropriate relief was also available there.
Even acceptance of petitioner's premise that going by the Hernandez ruling,
the information charges a non-existent crime or, contrarily, theorizing on the
same basis that it charges more than one offense, would not excuse or justify
his improper choice of remedies. Under either hypothesis, the obvious
recourse would have been a motion to quash brought in the criminal action
before the respondent Judge. 18
There thus seems to be no question that All the grounds upon which petitioner
has founded the present petition, whether these went into the substance of
what is charged in the information or imputed error or omission on the part of
the prosecuting panel or of the respondent Judge in dealing with the charges
against him, were originally justiciable in the criminal case before said Judge
and should have been brought up there instead of directly to this Court.
There was and is no reason to assume that the resolution of any of these
questions was beyond the ability or competence of the respondent Judgeindeed such an assumption would be demeaning and less than fair to our trial
courts; none whatever to hold them to be of such complexity or
transcendental importance as to disqualify every court, except this Court,
from deciding them; none, in short that would justify by passing established

judicial processes designed to orderly move litigation through the hierarchy of


our courts. Parenthentically, this is the reason behind the vote of four Members
of the Court against the grant of bail to petitioner: the view that the trial court
should not thus be precipitately ousted of its original jurisdiction to grant or
deny bail, and if it erred in that matter, denied an opportunity to correct its
error. It makes no difference that the respondent Judge here issued a warrant
of arrest fixing no bail. Immemorial practice sanctions simply following the
prosecutor's recommendation regarding bail, though it may be perceived as
the better course for the judge motu proprio to set a bail hearing where a
capital offense is charged. 19 It is, in any event, incumbent on the accused as
to whom no bail has been recommended or fixed to claim the right to a bail
hearing and thereby put to proof the strength or weakness of the evidence
against him.
It is apropos to point out that the present petition has triggered a rush to this
Court of other parties in a similar situation, all apparently taking their cue from
it, distrustful or contemptuous of the efficacy of seeking recourse in the regular
manner just outlined. The proliferation of such pleas has only contributed to
the delay that the petitioner may have hoped to avoid by coming directly to
this Court.
Not only because popular interest seems focused on the outcome of the
present petition, but also because to wash the Court's hand off it on
jurisdictional grounds would only compound the delay that it has already
gone through, the Court now decides the same on the merits. But in so doing,
the Court cannot express too strongly the view that said petition interdicted
the ordered and orderly progression of proceedings that should have started
with the trial court and reached this Court only if the relief appealed for was
denied by the former and, in a proper case, by the Court of Appeals on
review.
Let it be made very clear that hereafter the Court will no longer countenance,
but will give short shrift to, pleas like the present, that clearly short-circuit the
judicial process and burden it with the resolution of issues properly within the
original competence of the lower courts. What has thus far been stated is
equally applicable to and decisive of the petition of the Panlilio spouses (G.R.
No. 92164) which is virtually Identical to that of petitioner Enrile in factual milieu
and is therefore determinable on the same principles already set forth. Said
spouses have uncontestedly pleaded 20 that warrants of arrest issued against
them as co-accused of petitioner Enrile in Criminal Case No. 90-10941, that
when they appeared before NBI Director Alfredo Lim in the afternoon of
March 1, 1990, they were taken into custody and detained without bail on the
strength of said warrants in violation-they claim-of their constitutional rights.
It may be that in the light of contemporary events, the act of rebellion has lost
that quitessentiany quixotic quality that justifies the relative leniency with
which it is regarded and punished by law, that present-day rebels are less
impelled by love of country than by lust for power and have become no
better than mere terrorists to whom nothing, not even the sanctity of human
life, is allowed to stand in the way of their ambitions. Nothing so underscores
this aberration as the rash of seemingly senseless killings, bombings,

kidnappings and assorted mayhem so much in the news these days, as often
perpetrated against innocent civilians as against the military, but by and large
attributable to, or even claimed by so-called rebels to be part of, an ongoing
rebellion.
It is enough to give anyone pause-and the Court is no exception-that not
even the crowded streets of our capital City seem safe from such unsettling
violence that is disruptive of the public peace and stymies every effort at
national economic recovery. There is an apparent need to restructure the law
on rebellion, either to raise the penalty therefor or to clearly define and delimit
the other offenses to be considered as absorbed thereby, so that it cannot be
conveniently utilized as the umbrella for every sort of illegal activity
undertaken in its name. The Court has no power to effect such change, for it
can only interpret the law as it stands at any given time, and what is needed
lies beyond interpretation. Hopefully, Congress will perceive the need for
promptly seizing the initiative in this matter, which is properly within its
province.
WHEREFORE, the Court reiterates that based on the doctrine enunciated in
People vs. Hernandez, the questioned information filed against petitioners
Juan Ponce Enrile and the spouses Rebecco and Erlinda Panlilio must be read
as charging simple rebellion only, hence said petitioners are entitled to bail,
before final conviction, as a matter of right. The Court's earlier grant of bail to
petitioners being merely provisional in character, the proceedings in both
cases are ordered REMANDED to the respondent Judge to fix the amount of
bail to be posted by the petitioners. Once bail is fixed by said respondent for
any of the petitioners, the corresponding bail bond flied with this Court shall
become functus oficio. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 81567 July 9, 1990


IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF ROBERTO UMIL,
ROLANDO DURAL and RENATO VILLANUEVA. MANOLITA O. UMIL, and NICANOR
P. DURAL, FELICITAS V. SESE, petitioners,
vs.
FIDEL V. RAMOS, MAJ. GEN. RENATO DE VILLA, BRIG. GEN. RAMON MONTANO,
BRIG. GEN. ALEXANDER AGUIRRE, respondents.
G.R. Nos. 84581-82 July 9, 1990
AMELIA ROQUE and WILFREDO BUENAOBRA, petitioners,
vs.
GEN. RENATO DE VILLA and GEN. RAMON MONTANO, respondents.
G.R. Nos. 84583-84 July 9, 1990
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF ATTY. DOMINGO T.
ANONUEVO and RAMON CASIPLE. DOMINGO T. ANONUEVO and RAMON
CASIPLE, petitioners,
vs.
HON. FIDEL V. RAMOS, GEN. RENATO S. DE VILLA, COL. EVARISTO CARINO, LT.
COL. REX D. PIAD, T/SGT. CONRADO DE TORRES, S/SGT. ARNOLD DURIAN, and
Commanding Officer, PC-INP Detention Center, Camp Crame, Quezon City,
respondents.
G.R. No. 83162 July 9, 1990
IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF VICKY A. OCAYA
AND DANNY RIVERA. VIRGILIO A. OCAYA, petitioner,
vs.
BRIG. GEN. ALEXANDER AGUIRRE, COL. HERCULES CATALUNA, COL. NESTOR
MARIANO, respondents.
G.R. No. 85727 July 9, 1990
IN THE MATTER OF APPLICATION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF: DEOGRACIAS
ESPIRITU, petitioner,
vs.
BRIG. GEN. ALFREDO S. LIM, COL. RICARDO REYES, respondents.
G.R. No. 86332 July 9, 1990
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF NARCISO B.
NAZARENO. ALFREDO NAZARENO, petitioner,
vs.
THE STATION COMMANDER OF THE MUNTINGLUPA POLICE STATION,
Muntinglupa, Metro Manila, P/SGT. JACINTO MEDINA, P/SGT. ELADIO TAGLE,
P/SGT. LEVI SOLEDAD, and P/SGT. MAURO AROJADO, respondents.
Efren H. Mercado for petitioners in G.R. No. 81567.
Ricardo C. Valmonte for petitioners in G.R. Nos. 84581-82.
Ramon S. Esguerra, Barbara Anne C. Migallos and Agripino G. Morga for
petitioners in G.R. Nos. 84583-84.
Efren H. Mercado for petitioner in G.R. No. 83162.
Banzuela, Flores, Miralles, Raneses, Sy, Taquio & Association for petitioner in
G.R. No. 85727.
Josefina G. Campbell-Castillo for petitioners in G.R. No. 86332.
The Solicitor General for the respondents.

PER CURIAM:
The are eight (8) petitioners for habeas corpus filed before the Court, which
have been consolidated because of the similarity of issues raised, praying for
the issuance of the writ of habeas corpus, ordering the respective respondents
to produce the bodies of the persons named therein and to explain why they
should not be set at liberty without further delay.
In their respective Returns, the respondents uniformly assert that the privilege
of the writ of habeas corpus is not available to the petitioners as they have
been legally arrested and are detained by virtue of valid informations filed in
court against them.
The petitioners counter that their detention is unlawful as their arrests were
made without warrant and, that no preliminary investigation was first
conducted, so that the informations filed against them are null and void.
The Court has carefully reviewed the contentions of the parties in their
respective pleadings, and it finds that the persons detained have not been
illegally arrested nor arbitrarily deprived of their constitutional right to liberty,
and that the circumstances attending these cases do not warrant their
release on habeas corpus.
The arrest of a person without a warrant of arrest or previous complaint is
recognized in law. The occasions or instances when such an arrest may be
effected are clearly spelled out in Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, as
amended, which provides:
Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A peace officer or a private
person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is
actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal
knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed
it; and
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a
penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily
confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred
from one confinement to another.
In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) hereof, the person arrested
without a warrant shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest police station or
jail, and he shall be proceeded against in accordance with Rule 112, Section
7.
An arrest without a warrant of arrest, under Section 5 paragraphs (a) and (b)
of Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, as amended, is justified when the person
arrested is caught in flagranti delicto, viz., in the act of committing an offense;
or when an offense has just been committed and the person making the
arrest has personal knowledge of the facts indicating that the person arrested
has committed it. The rationale behind lawful arrests, without warrant, was
stated by this Court in the case of People vs. Kagui Malasugui 1 thus:
To hold that no criminal can, in any case, be arrested and searched for the
evidence and tokens of his crime without a warrant, would be to leave

society, to a large extent, at the mercy of the shrewdest, the most expert, and
the most depraved of criminals, facilitating their escape in many instances.
The record of the instant cases would show that the persons in whose behalf
these petitions for habeas corpus have been filed, had freshly committed or
were actually committing an offense, when apprehended, so that their arrests
without a warrant were clearly justified, and that they are, further, detained by
virtue of valid informations filed against them in court.
A brief narration of the facts and events surrounding each of the eight (8)
petitions is in order.
I
In G.R. No. 81567 (Umil vs. Ramos), the record shows that, on 1 February 1988,
the Regional Intelligence Operations Unit of the Capital Command (RIOUCAPCOM) received confidential information about a member of the NPA
Sparrow Unit (liquidation squad) being treated for a gunshot wound at the St.
Agnes Hospital in Roosevelt Avenue, Quezon City. Upon verification, it was
found that the wounded person, who was listed in the hospital records as
Ronnie Javelon, is actually Rolando Dural, a member of the NPA liquidation
squad, responsible for the killing of two (2) CAPCOM soldiers the day before,
or on 31 January 1988, in Macanining Street, Bagong Barrio, Caloocan City. In
view of this verification, Rolando Dural was transferred to the Regional
Medical Services of the CAPCOM, for security reasons. While confined thereat,
or on 4 February 1988, Rolando Dural was positively identified by eyewitnesses
as the gunman who went on top of the hood of the CAPCOM mobile patrol
car, and fired at the two (2) CAPCOM soldiers seated inside the car identified
as T/Sgt. Carlos Pabon and CIC Renato Manligot.
As a consequence of this positive identification, Rolando Dural was referred to
the Caloocan City Fiscal who conducted an inquest and thereafter filed with
the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City an information charging Rolando
Dural alias Ronnie Javelon with the crime of "Double Murder with Assault Upon
Agents of Persons in Authority." The case was docketed therein as Criminal
Case No. C-30112 and no bail was recommended. On 15 February 1988, the
information was amended to include, as defendant, Bernardo Itucal, Jr. who,
at the filing of the original information, was still unidentified.
Meanwhile, on 6 February 1988, a petition for habeas corpus was filed with this
Court on behalf of Roberto Umil, Rolando Dural, and Renato Villanueva. The
Court issued the writ of habeas corpus on 9 February 1988 and the
respondents filed a Return of the Writ on 12 February 1988. Thereafter, the
parties were heard on 15 February 1988.
On 26 February 1988, however, Roberto Umil and Renato Villanueva posted
bail before the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City where charges for violation
of the Anti-Subversion Act had been filed against them, and they were
accordingly released. The petition for habeas corpus, insofar as Umil and
Villanueva are concerned, is now moot and academic and is accordingly
dismissed, since the writ of habeas corpus does not lie in favor of an accused
in a criminal case who has been released on bail. 2
As to Rolando Dural, it clearly appears that he was not arrested while in the
act of shooting the two (2) CAPCOM soldiers aforementioned. Nor was he

arrested just after the commission of the said offense for his arrest came a day
after the said shooting incident. Seemingly, his arrest without warrant is
unjustified.
However, Rolando Dural was arrested for being a member of the New Peoples
Army (NPA), an outlawed subversive organization. Subversion being a
continuing offense, the arrest of Rolando Dural without warrant is justified as it
can be said that he was committing an offense when arrested. The crimes of
rebellion, subversion, conspiracy or proposal to commit such crimes, and
crimes or offenses committed in furtherance thereof or in connection
therewith constitute direct assaults against the State and are in the nature of
continuing crimes. As stated by the Court in an earlier case:
From the facts as above-narrated, the claim of the petitioners that they were
initially arrested illegally is, therefore, without basis in law and in fact. The
crimes of insurrection or rebellion, subversion, conspiracy or proposal to
commit such crimes, and other crimes and offenses committed in the
furtherance, on the occasion thereof, or incident thereto, or in connection
therewith under Presidential Proclamation No. 2045, are all in the nature of
continuing offenses which set them apart from the common offenses, aside
from their essentially involving a massive conspiracy of nationwide magnitude.
Clearly then, the arrest of the herein detainees was well within the bounds of
the law and existing jurisprudence in our jurisdiction.
2. The arrest of persons involved in the rebellion whether as its fighting armed
elements, or for committing non-violent acts but in furtherance of the
rebellion, is more an act of capturing them in the course of an armed conflict,
to quell the rebellion, than for the purpose of immediately prosecuting them in
court for a statutory offense. The arrest, therefore, need not follow the usual
procedure in the prosecution of offenses which requires the determination by
a judge of the existence of probable cause before the issuance of a judicial
warrant of arrest and the granting of bail if the offense is bailable. Obviously,
the absence of a judicial warrant is no legal impediment to arresting or
capturing persons committing overt acts of violence against government
forces, or any other milder acts but equally in pursuance of the rebellious
movement. The arrest or capture is thus impelled by the exigencies of the
situation that involves the very survival of society and its government and duly
constituted authorities. If killing and other acts of violence against the rebels
find justification in the exigencies of armed hostilities which is of the essence of
waging a rebellion or insurrection, most assuredly so in case of invasion, merely
seizing their persons and detaining them while any of these contingencies
continues cannot be less justified. . . . 3
The record, moreover, shows that the criminal case filed against Rolando
Dural and Bernardo Itucal, Jr. for "Double Murder, etc." was tried in the court
below and at the conclusion thereof, or on 17 August 1988, Rolando Dural
and Bernardo Itucal, Jr. were found guilty of the charge and sentenced
accordingly. Rolando Dural is now serving the sentence imposed upon him by
the trial court. Thus, the writ of habeas corpus is no longer available to him.
For, as held in the early case of U.S. vs. Wilson: 4
In this case, whatever may be said about the manner of his arrest, the fact

remains that the defendant was actually in court in the custody of the law on
March 29, when a complaint sufficient in form and substance was read to him.
To this he pleaded not guilty. The trial followed, in which, and in the judgment
of guilty pronounced by the court, we find no error. Whether, if there were
irregularities in bringing him personally before the court, he could have been
released on a writ of habeas corpus or now has a civil action for damages
against the person who arrested him we need not inquire. It is enough to say
that such irregularities are not sufficient to set aside a valid judgment rendered
upon a sufficient complaint and after a trial free from error.
II
In G.R. Nos. 84581-82 (Roque vs. De Villa), the arrest of Amelia Roque and
Wilfredo Buenaobra, without warrant, is also justified. When apprehended at
the house of Renato Constantino in Marikina Heights, Marikina, Metro Manila,
Wilfredo Buenaobra admitted that he was an NPA courier and he had with
him letters to Renato Constantino and other members of the rebel group.
Amelia Roque, upon the other hand, was a member of the National United
Front Commission, in charge of finance, and admitted ownership of subversive
documents found in the house of her sister in Caloocan City. She was also in
possession of ammunition and a fragmentation grenade for which she had no
permit or authority to possess.
The record of these two (2) cases shows that on 27 June 1988, one Rogelio
Ramos y Ibanes, a member of the NPA, who had surrendered to the military
authorities, told military agents about the operations of the Communist Party
of the Philippines (CPP) and the New Peoples Army (NPA) in Metro Manila. He
identified some of his former comrades as "Ka Mong", a staff member of the
Communications and Transportation Bureau; "Ka Nelia", a staff member in
charge of finance; "Ka Miller", an NPA courier from Sorsogon and Lopez,
Quezon; "Ka Ted", and "Ka Totoy". He also pointed to a certain house
occupied by Renato Constantino located in the Villaluz Compound, Molave
St., Marikina Heights, Marikina, Metro Manila, which is used as a safehouse of
the National United Front Commission (NUFC) of the CPP-NPA.
In view of these revelations, the Constantino house was placed under military
surveillance and on 12 August 1988, pursuant to a search warrant issued by
Judge Eutropio Migrino of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, a search of the
house was conducted at about 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon, by a combined
team of the Criminal Investigation Service, National Capital District (CIS-NCD)
and the Constabulary Security Group (CSG). In the course of the search, the
following articles were found and taken under proper receipt:
a) One (1) Colt M16A1 long rifle with defaced serial number;
b) One (1) Cal. .380 ACT/9mm Model PPK/8 SN: 260577 & 2605778;
c) Two (2) fragmentation hand grenades;
d) Fifty-six (56) live ammunition for Cal. 5.56 mm;
e) Five (5) live ammunition for Cal. .380;
f) One (1) ICOM VHF FM Radio Transciever SN: 14903
g) One (1) Regulated power supply 220V AC;
h) One (1) Antennae (adjustable);
i) One (1) Speaker with cord ALEXAR;

j) Voluminous Subversive documents.


When confronted, Renato Constatino could not produce any permit or
authority to possess the firearms, ammunition, radio and other
communications equipment. Hence, he was brought to the CIS Headquarters
for investigation. When questioned, he refused to give a written statement,
although he admitted that he was a staff member of the executive
committee of the NUFC and a ranking member of the International
Department of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
At about 8:00 o'clock in the evening of the same day (12 August 1988),
Wilfredo Buenaobra arrived at the house of Renato Constantino in the Villaluz
Compound. When accosted, he readily admitted to the military agents that
he is a regular member of the CPP/NPA and that he went to the place to
deliver letters to "Ka Mong", referring to Renato Constatino, and other
members of the rebel group. On further questioning, he also admitted that he
is known as "Ka Miller" and that he was from Barangay San Pedro, Lopez,
Quezon. Among the items taken from him were the following:
(1) Handwritten letter addressed to "Ka Bing & Co. from A & Co." dated August
11, 1988;
(2) Handwritten letter addressed to "ROD from VIC (Schell datre)" dated
August 11, 1988;
(3) Handwritten letter addressed to "Suzie" from "Vic", dated August 11, 1988.
Also found Buenaobra's possession was a piece of paper containing a written
but jumbled telephone number of Florida M. Roque, sister of Amelia Roque
alias "Ka Nelia", at 69 Geronimo St., Caloocan City. Acting on the lead
provided as to the whereabouts of Amelia Roque, the military agents went to
the given address the next day (13 August 1988). They arrived at the place at
about 11:00 o'clock in the morning. After identifying themselves as military
agents and after seeking permission to search the place, which was granted,
the military agents conducted a search in the presence of the occupants of
the house and the barangay captain of the place, one Jesus D. Olba.
The military agents found the place to be another safehouse of the
NUFC/CPP. They found ledgers, journals, vouchers, bank deposit books,
folders, computer diskettes, and subversive documents as well as live
ammunition for a .38 SPL Winchester, 11 rounds of live ammunition for a cal.
.45, 19 rounds of live ammunition for an M16 Rifle, and a fragmentation
grenade. As a result, Amelia Roque and the other occupants of the house
were brought to the PC-CIS Headquarters at Camp Crame, Quezon City, for
investigation. Amelia Roque admitted to the investigators that the voluminous
documents belonged to her and that the other occupants of the house had
no knowledge of them. As a result, the said other occupants of the house
were released from custody.
On 15 August 1988, Amelia Roque was brought to the Caloocan City Fiscal for
inquest after which an information charging her with violation of PD 1866 was
filed with the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City. The case is docketed
therein as Criminal Case No. C-1196. Another information for violation of the
Anti-Subversion Act was filed against Amelia Roque before the Metropolitan
Trial Court of Caloocan City, which is docketed therein as Criminal Case No.

C-150458.
An information for violation of the Anti-Subversion Act was filed against
Wilfredo Buenaobra before the Metropolitan Trial Court of Marikina, Metro
Manila. The case is docketed therein as Criminal Case No. 23715. Bail was set
at P4,000.00.
On 24 August 1988, a petition for habeas corpus was filed before this Court on
behalf of Amelia Roque and Wilfredo Buenaobra. At the hearing of the case,
however, Wilfredo Buenaobra manifested his desire to stay in the PC-INP
Stockade at Camp Crame, Quezon City. According, the petition for habeas
corpus filed on his behalf is now moot and academic. Only the petition of
Amelia Roque remains for resolution.
The contention of respondents that petitioners Roque and Buenaobra are
officers and/or members of the National United Front Commission (NUFC) of
the CPP was not controverted or traversed by said petitioners. The contention
must be deemed admitted. 5 As officers and/or members of the NUFC-CPP,
their arrest, without warrant, was justified for the same reasons earlier stated
vis-a-vis Rolando Dural. The arrest without warrant of Roque was additionally
justified as she was, at the time of apprehension, in possession of ammunitions
without license to possess them.
III
In G.R. Nos. 84583-84 (Anonuevo vs. Ramos), the arrest of Domingo Anonuevo
and Ramon Casiple, without warrant, is also justified under the rules. Both are
admittedly members of the standing committee of the NUFC and, when
apprehended in the house of Renato Constatino, they had a bag containing
subversive materials, and both carried firearms and ammunition for which they
had no license to possess or carry.
The record of these two (2) cases shows that at about 7:30 o'clock in the
evening of 13 August 1988, Domingo T. Anonuevo and Ramon Casiple arrived
at the house of Renato Constatino at Marikina Heights, Marikina, which was
still under surveillance by military agents. The military agents noticed bulging
objects on their waist lines. When frisked, the agents found them to be loaded
guns. Anonuevo and Casiple were asked to show their permit or license to
possess or carry firearms and ammunition, but they could not produce any.
Hence, they were brought to PC Headquarters for investigation. Found in their
possession were the following articles:
a) Voluminous subversive documents
b) One (1) Cal. 7.65 MOD 83 2C Pistol SN: 001412 with one (1) magazine for
Cal. 7.65 containing ten (10) live ammunition of same caliber;
c) One (1) Cal. 7.65 Pietro Barreta SN; A18868 last digit tampered with one (1)
magazine containing five (5) live ammunition of same caliber.
At the PC Stockade, Domingo Anonuevo was identified as "Ka Ted", and
Ramon Casiple as "Ka Totoy" of the CPP, by their comrades who had
previously surrendered to the military.
On 15 August 1988, the record of the investigation and other documentary
evidence were forwarded to the Provincial Fiscal at Pasig, Metro Manila, who
conducted an inquest, after which Domingo Anonuevo and Ramon Casiple
were charged with violation of Presidential Decree No. 1866 before the

Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Metro Manila. The cases are docketed therein as
Criminal Cases Nos. 74386 ad 74387, respectively. No bail was recommended.
On 24 August 1988, a petition for habeas corpus was filed with this Court on
behalf of Domingo Anonuevo and Ramon Casiple, alleging that the said
Anonuevo and Casiple were unlawfully arrested without a warrant and that
the informations filed against them are null and void for having been filed
without prior hearing and preliminary investigation. On 30 August 1988, the
Court issued the writ of habeas corpus, and after the respondents had filed a
Return of the Writ, the parties were heard.
The petitioners' (Anonuevo and Casiple) claim that they were unlawfully
arrested because there was no previous warrant of arrest, is without merit The
record shows that Domingo Anonuevo and Ramon Casiple were carrying
unlicensed firearms and ammunition in their person when they were
apprehended.
There is also no merit in the contention that the informations filed against them
are null and void for want of a preliminary investigation. The filing of an
information, without a preliminary investigation having been first conducted, is
sanctioned by the Rules. Sec. 7, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court, as amended,
reads:
Sec. 7. When accused lawfully arrested without a warrant. When a person is
lawfully arrested without a warrant for an offense cognizable by the Regional
Trial Court the complaint or information may be filed by the offended party,
peace officer or fiscal without a preliminary investigation having been first
conducted, on the basis of the affidavit of the offended party or arresting
officer or person.
However, before the filing of such complaint or information, the person
arrested may ask for a preliminary investigation by a proper officer in
accordance with this Rule, but he must sign a waiver of the provisions of
Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, with the assistance of a
lawyer and in case of non-availability of a lawyer, a responsible person of his
choice. Notwithstanding such waiver, he may apply for bail as provided in the
corresponding rule and the investigation must be terminated within fifteen (15)
days from its inception.
If the case has been filed in court without a preliminary investigation having
been first conducted, the accused may within five (5) days from the time he
learns of the filing of the information, ask for a preliminary investigation with
the same right to adduced evidence in his favor in the manner prescribed in
this Rule.
The petitioners Domingo Anonuevo and Ramon Casiple, however, refused to
sign a waiver of the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended. In the informations filed against them, the prosecutor made
identical certifications, as follows:
This is to certify that the accused has been charged in accordance with Sec.
7, Rule 112 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, that no preliminary
investigation was conducted because the accused has not made and signed
a waiver of the provisions of Art. 125 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended;
that based on the evidence presented, there is reasonable ground to believe

that the crime has been committed, and that the accused is probably guilty
thereof.
Nor did petitioners ask for a preliminary investigation after the informations
had been filed against them in court. Petitioners cannot now claim that they
have been deprived of their constitutional right to due process.
IV
In G.R. No. 83162 (Ocaya vs. Aguirre), the arrest without warrant, of Vicky
Ocaya is justified under the Rules, since she had with her unlicensed
ammunition when she was arrested. The record of this case shows that on 12
May 1988, agents of the PC Intelligence and Investigation of the Rizal PC-INP
Command, armed with a search warrant issued by Judge Eutropio Migrino of
the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Metro Manila, conducted a search of a
house located at Block 19, Phase II, Marikina Green Heights, Marikina, Metro
Manila, believed to be occupied by Benito Tiamson, head of the CPP-NPA. In
the course of the search, Vicky Ocaya arrived in a car driven by Danny
Rivera. Subversive documents and several rounds of ammunition for a .45 cal.
pistol were found in the car of Vicky Ocaya. As a result, Vicky Ocaya and
Danny Rivera were brought to the PC Headquarters for investigation. When
Vicky Ocaya could not produce any permit or authorization to possess the
ammunition, an information charging her with violation of PD 1866 was filed
with the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Metro Manila. The case is docketed
therein as Criminal Case No. 73447. Danny Rivera, on the other hand, was
released from custody.
On 17 May 1988, a petition for habeas corpus was filed, with this Court on
behalf of Vicky Ocaya and Danny Rivera. It was alleged therein that Vicky
Ocaya was illegally arrested and detained, and denied the right to a
preliminary investigation.
It would appear, however, that Vicky Ocaya was arrested in flagranti delicto
so that her arrest without a warrant is justified. No preliminary investigation was
conducted because she was arrested without a warrant and she refused to
waive the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, pursuant to Sec.
7, Rule 112 of the Rule of Court, as amended.
V
The petitioners Vicky Ocaya, Domingo Anonuevo, Ramon Casiple, and
Amelia Roque claim that the firearms, ammunition and subversive documents
alleged to have been found in their possession when they were arrested, did
not belong to them, but were "planted" by the military agents to justify their
illegal arrest.
The petitioners, however, have not introduced any evidence to support their
aforesaid claim. On the other hand, no evil motive or ill-will on the part of the
arresting officers that would cause the said arresting officers in these cases to
accuse the petitioners falsely, has been shown. Besides, the arresting officers
in these cases do not appear to be seekers of glory and bounty hunters for, as
counsel for the petitioners Anonuevo and Casiple say, "there is absolutely
nothing in the evidence submitted during the inquest that petitioners are on
the 'AFP Order of Battle with a reward of P150,000.00 each on their heads.'" 6
On the other hand, as pointed out by the Solicitor General, the arrest of the

petitioners is not a product of a witch hunt or a fishing expedition, but the


result of an in-depth surveillance of NPA safehouses pointed to by no less than
former comrades of the petitioners in the rebel movement.
The Solicitor General, in his Consolidated Memorandum, aptly observes:
. . . . To reiterate, the focal point in the case of petitioners Roque, Buenaobra,
Anonuevo and Casiple, was the lawful search and seizure conducted by the
military at the residence of Renato Constantino at Villaluz Compound, Molave
St., Marikina Heights, Marikina, Metro Manila. The raid at Constantino's
residence, was not a witch hunting or fishing expedition on the part of the
military. It was a result of an in-depth military surveillance coupled with the
leads provided by former members of the underground subversive
organizations. That raid produced positive results. to date, nobody has
disputed the fact that the residence of Constantino when raided yielded
communication equipment, firearms and ammunitions, as well as subversive
documents.
The military agents working on the information provided by Constantino that
other members of his group were coming to his place, reasonably conducted
a "stake-out" operation whereby some members of the raiding team were left
behind the place. True enough, barely two hours after the raid and
Constantino's arrest, petitioner Buenaobra arrived at Constantino's residence.
He acted suspiciously and when frisked and searched by the military
authorities, found in his person were letters. They are no ordinary letters, as
even a cursory reading would show. Not only that, Buenaobra admitted that
he is a NPA courier and was there to deliver the letters to Constantino.
Subsequently, less than twenty four hours after the arrest of Constantino and
Buenaobra, petitioners Anonuevo and Casiple arrived at Constantino's place.
Would it be unreasonable for the military agents to believe that petitioners
Anonuevo and Casiple are among those expected to visit Constantino's
residence considering that Constatino's information was true, in that
Buenaobra did come to that place? Was it unreasonable under the
circumstances, on the part of the military agents, not to frisk and search
anyone who should visit the residence of Constantino, such as petitioners
Anonuevo and Casiple? Must this Honorable Court yield to Anonuevo and
Casiple's flimsy and bare assertion that they went to visit Constantino, who was
to leave for Saudi Arabia on the day they were arrested thereat?
As to petitioner Roque, was it unreasonable for the military authorities to effect
her arrest without warrant considering that it was Buenaobra who provided
the leads on her identity? It cannot be denied that Buenaobra had
connection with Roque. Because the former has the phone number of the
latter. Why the necessity of jumbling Roque's telephone number as written on
a piece of paper taken from Buenaobra's possession? Petitioners Roque and
Buenaobra have not offered any plausible reason so far.
In all the above incidents, respondents maintain that they acted reasonably,
under the time, place and circumstances of the events in question, especially
considering that at the time of petitioner's arrest, incriminatory evidence, i.e,
firearms, ammunitions and/or subversive documents were found in their
possession.

Petitioners, when arrested, were neither taking their snacks nor innocently
visiting a camp, but were arrested in such time, place and circumstances,
from which one can reasonably conclude tat they were up to a sinister plot,
involving utmost secrecy and comprehensive conspiracy.
IV
In. G.R. No. 85727 (Espiritu vs. Lim), the release on habeas corpus of the
petitioner Deogracias Espiritu, who is detained by virtue of an Information for
Violation of Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code (Inciting to Sedition) filed
with the Regional Trial Court of Manila, is similarly not warranted.
The record of the case shows that the said petitioner is the General Secretary
of the Pinagkaisahang Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON),
an association of drivers and operators of public service vehicles in the
Philippines, organized for their mutual aid and protection.
Petitioner claims that at about 5:00 o'clock in the morning of 23 November
1988, while he was sleeping in his home located at 363 Valencia St., Sta. Mesa,
Manila, he was awakened by his sister Maria Paz Lalic who told him that a
group of persons wanted to hire his jeepney. When he went down to talk to
them, he was immediately put under arrest. When he asked for the warrant of
arrest, the men, headed by Col. Ricardo Reyes, bodily lifted him and placed
him in their owner-type jeepney. He demanded that his sister, Maria Paz Lalic,
be allowed to accompany him, but the men did not accede to his request
and hurriedly sped away.
He was brought to Police Station No. 8 of the Western Police District at
Blumentritt, Manila where he was interrogated and detained. Then, at about
9:00 o'clock of the same morning, he was brought before the respondent Lim
and, there and then, the said respondent ordered his arrest and detention. He
was thereafter brought to the General Assignment Section, Investigation
Division of the Western Police District under Police Capt. Cresenciano A.
Cabasal where he was detained, restrained and deprived of his liberty. 7
The respondents claim however, that the detention of the petitioner is justified
in view of the Information filed against him before the Regional Trial Court of
Manila, docketed therein as Criminal Case No. 88-683-85, charging him with
violation of Art. 142 of the Revised Penal Code (Inciting to Sedition).
The respondents also claim that the petitioner was lawfully arrested without a
judicial warrant of arrest since petitioner when arrested had in fact just
committed an offense in that in the afternoon of 22 November 1988, during a
press conference at the National Press Club.
Deogracias Espiritu through tri-media was heard urging all drivers and
operators to go on nationwide strike on November 23, 1988, to force the
government to give into their demands to lower the prices of spare parts,
commodities, water and the immediate release from detention of the
president of the PISTON (Pinag-isang Samahan ng Tsuper Operators
Nationwide). Further, we heard Deogracias Espiritu taking the place of PISTON
president Medardo Roda and also announced the formation of the Alliance
Drivers Association to go on nationwide strike on November 23, 1988. 8
Policemen waited for petitioner outside the National Pres Club in order to
investigate him, but he gave the lawmen the slip. 9 He was next seen at about

5:00 o'clock that afternoon at a gathering of drivers and symphatizers at the


corner of Magsaysay Blvd. and Valencia Street, Sta. Mesa, Manila where he
was heard to say:
Bukas tuloy ang welga natin, sumagot na ang Cebu at Bicol na kasali sila, at
hindi tayo titigil hanggang hindi binibigay ng gobyerno ni Cory ang gusto
nating pagbaba ng halaga ng spare parts, bilihin at and pagpapalaya sa
ating pinuno na si Ka Roda hanggang sa magkagulo na. 10 (emphasis
supplied)
The police finally caught up with the petitioner on 23 November 1988. He was
invited for questioning and brought to police headquarters after which an
Information for violation of Art. 142 of the Revised Penal Code was filed
against him before the Regional Trial Court of Manila. 11
Since the arrest of the petitioner without a warrant was in accordance with
the provisions of Rule 113, Sec. 5(b) of the Rules of Court and that the
petitioner is detained by virtue of a valid information filed with the competent
court, he may not be released on habeas corpus. He may, however be
released upon posting bail as recommended. However, we find the amount
of the recommended bail (P60,000.00) excessive and we reduce it to
P10,000.00 only.
VII
In G.R. No. 86332 (Nazareno vs. Station Commander), we also find no merit in
the submission of Narciso Nazareno that he was illegally arrested and is
unlawfully detained. The record of this case shows that at about 8:30 o'clock
in the morning of 14 December 1988, one Romulo Bunye II was killed by a
group of men near the corner of T. Molina and Mendiola Streets in Alabang,
Muntinglupa, Metro Manila. One of the suspects in the killing was Ramil Regal
who was arrested by the police on 28 December 1988. Upon questioning,
Regal pointed to Narciso Nazareno as on of his companions in the killing of the
said Romulo Bunye II. In view thereof, the police officers, without warrant,
picked up Narciso Nazareno and brought him to the police headquarters for
questioning. Obviously, the evidence of petitioner's guilt is strong because on
3 January 1989, an information charging Narciso Nazareno, Ramil Regala, and
two (2) others, with the killing of Romulo Bunye II was filed with the Regional
Trial Court of Makati, Metro Manila. The case is docketed therein as Criminal
Case No. 731.
On 7 January 1989, Narciso Nazareno filed a motion to post bail, but the
motion was denied by the trial court in an order dated 10 January 1989, even
as the motion to post bail, earlier filed by his co-accused, Manuel Laureaga,
was granted by the same trial court.
On 13 January 1989, a petition for habeas corpus was filed with this Court on
behalf of Narciso Nazareno and on 13 January 1989, the Court issued the writ
of habeas corpus, returnable to the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court
of Bian, Laguna, Branch 24, ordering said court to hear the case on 30
January 1989 and thereafter resolve the petition.
At the conclusion of the hearing, or on 1 February 1989, the Presiding Judge of
the Regional Trial Court of Bian, Laguna issued a resolution denying the
petition for habeas corpus, it appearing that the said Narciso Nazareno is in

the custody of the respondents by reason of an information filed against him


with the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Metro Manila which had taken
cognizance of said case and had, in fact, denied the motion for bail filed by
said Narciso Nazareno (presumably because of the strength of the evidence
against him).
The findings of the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Bian, Laguna
are based upon the facts and the law. Consequently, we will not disturb the
same. Evidently, the arrest of Nazareno was effected by the police without
warrant pursuant to Sec. 5(b), Rule 113, Rules of Court after he was positively
implicated by his co-accused Ramil Regala in the killing of Romulo Bunye
II; and after investigation by the police authorities. As held in People vs.
Ancheta: 12
The obligation of an agent of authority to make an arrest by reason of a
crime, does not presuppose as a necessary requisite for the fulfillment thereof,
the indubitable existence of a crime. For the detention to be perfectly legal, it
is sufficient that the agent or person in authority making the arrest has
reasonably sufficient grounds to believe the existence of an act having the
characteristics of a crime and that the same grounds exist to believe that the
person sought to be detained participated therein.
VIII
It is to be noted that, in all the petitions here considered, criminal charges
have been filed in the proper courts against the petitioners. The rule is, that if a
person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an officer
under process issued by a court judge, and that the court or judge had
jurisdiction to issue the process or make the order, of if such person is charged
before any court, the writ of habeas corpus will not be allowed. Section 4,
Rule 102, Rules of Court, as amended is quite explicit in providing that:
Sec. 4. When writ is allowed or discharge authorized. If it appears that the
person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an officer
under process issued by a court or judge or by virtue of a judgment or order of
a court of record, and that the court or judge had jurisdiction to issue the
process, render the judgment, or make the order, the writ shall not be
allowed; or if the jurisdiction appears after the writ is allowed, the person shall
not be discharged by reason of any informality or defect in the process,
judgment, or order. Nor shall anything in this rule be held to authorize the
discharge of a person charged with a convicted of an offense in the
Philippines or of a person suffering imprisonment under lawful judgment.
(emphasis supplied)
At this point, we refer to petitioner's plea for the Court of re-examine and,
thereafter, abandon its pronouncement in Ilagan vs. Enrile, 13 that a writ of
habeas corpus is no longer available after an information is filed against the
person detained and a warrant of arrest or an order of commitment, is issued
by the court where said information has been filed. 14 The petitioners claim
that the said ruling, which was handed down during the past dictatorial
regime to enforce and strengthen said regime, has no place under the
present democratic dispensation and collides with the basic, fundamental,
and constitutional rights of the people. Petitioners point out that the said

doctrine makes possible the arrest and detention of innocent persons despite
lack of evidence against them, and, most often, it is only after a petition for
habeas corpus is filed before the court that the military authorities file the
criminal information in the courts of law to be able to hide behind the
protective mantle of the said doctrine. This, petitioners assert, stands as an
obstacle to the freedom and liberty of the people and permits lawless and
arbitrary State action.
We find, however, no compelling reason to abandon the said doctrine. It is
based upon express provision of the Rules of Court and the exigencies served
by the law. The fears expressed by the petitioners are not really unremediable.
As the Court sees it, re-examination or reappraisal, with a view to its
abandonment, of the Ilagan case doctrine is not the answer. The answer and
the better practice would be, not to limit the function of the habeas corpus to
a mere inquiry as to whether or not the court which issued the process,
judgment or order of commitment or before whom the detained person is
charged, had jurisdiction or not to issue the process, judgment or order or to
take cognizance of the case, but rather, as the Court itself states in Morales,
Jr. vs. Enrile, 15 "in all petitions for habeas corpus the court must inquire into
every phase and aspect of petitioner's detention-from the moment petition
was taken into custody up to the moment the court passes upon the merits of
the petition;" and "only after such a scrutiny can the court satisfy itself that the
due process clause of our Constitution has in fact been satisfied." This is exactly
what the Court has done in the petitions at bar. This is what should henceforth
be done in all future cases of habeas corpus. In Short, all cases involving
deprivation of individual liberty should be promptly brought to the courts for
their immediate scrutiny and disposition.
WHEREFORE, the petitions are hereby DISMISSED, except that in G.R. No. 85727
(Espiritu vs. Lim), the bail bond for petitioner's provisional liberty is hereby
ordered reduced from P60,000.00 to P10,000.00. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 93335 September 13, 1990


JUAN PONCE ENRILE, petitioner,
vs.
HON. OMAR U. AMIN, Presiding Judge of Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch
135, HON. IGNACIO M. CAPULONG, Presiding Judge of Regional Trial Court of
Makati, Branch 134, Pairing Judge, SPECIAL COMPOSITE TEAM of: Senior State
Prosecutor AURELIO TRAMPE, State Prosecutor FERDINAND ABESAMIS and Asst.
City Prosecutor EULOGIO MANANQUIL; and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
respondents.
Ponce Enrile, Cayetano, Reyes & Manalastas Law Offices for petitioner.
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:
Together with the filing of an information charging Senator Juan Ponce Enrile
as having committed rebellion complexed with murder 1 with the Regional
Trial Court of Quezon City, government prosecutors filed another information
charging him for violation of Presidential Decree No. 1829 with the Regional
Trial Court of Makati. The second information reads:
That on or about the 1st day of December 1989, at Dasmarias Village,
Makati, Metro Manila and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
above-named accused, having reasonable ground to believe or suspect that
Ex-Col. Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan has committed a crime, did then and there
unlawfully, feloniously, willfully and knowingly obstruct, impede, frustrate or
delay the apprehension of said Ex. Lt. Col. Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan by
harboring or concealing him in his house.
On March 2, 1990, the petitioner filed an Omnibus Motion (a) to hold in
abeyance the issuance of a warrant of arrest pending personal determination
by the court of probable cause, and (b) to dismiss the case and expunge the
information from the record.
On March 16, 1990, respondent Judge Ignacio Capulong, as pairing judge of
respondent Judge Omar Amin, denied Senator Enrile's Omnibus motion on the
basis of a finding that "there (was) probable cause to hold the accused Juan
Ponce Enrile liable for violation of PD No. 1829."
On March 21, 1990, the petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration and to
Quash/Dismiss the Information on the grounds that:
(a) The facts charged do not constitute an offense;
(b) The respondent court's finding of probable cause was devoid of factual
and legal basis; and
(c) The pending charge of rebellion complexed with murder and frustrated
murder against Senator Enrile as alleged co-conspirator of Col. Honasan, on
the basis of their alleged meeting on December 1, 1989 preclude the
prosecution of the Senator for harboring or concealing the Colonel on the
same occasion under PD 1829.
On May 10, 1990, the respondent court issued an order denying the motion for
reconsideration for alleged lack of merit and setting Senator Enrile's
arraignment to May 30, 1990.
The petitioner comes to this Court on certiorari imputing grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction committed by the

respondent court in refusing to quash/ dismiss the information on the following


grounds, to wit:
I. The facts charged do not constitute an offense;
II. The alleged harboring or concealing by Sen. Enrile of Col. Honasan in a
supposed meeting on 1 December 1989 is absorbed in, or is a component
element of, the "complexed" rebellion presently charged against Sen. Enrile as
alleged co-conspirator of Col. Honasan on the basis of the same meeting on 1
December 1989;
III. The orderly administration of Justice requires that there be only one
prosecution for all the component acts of rebellion;
IV. There is no probable cause to hold Sen. Enrile for trial for alleged violation
of Presidential Decree No. 1829;
V. No preliminary investigation was conducted for alleged violation of
Presidential Decree No. 1829. The preliminary investigation, held only for
rebellion, was marred by patent irregularities resulting in denial of due process.
On May 20, 1990 we issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the
respondents from conducting further proceedings in Criminal Case No. 90-777
until otherwise directed by this Court.
The pivotal issue in this case is whether or not the petitioner could be
separately charged for violation of PD No. 1829 notwithstanding the rebellion
case earlier filed against him.
Respondent Judge Amin sustained the charge of violation of PD No. 1829
notwithstanding the rebellion case filed against the petitioner on the theory
that the former involves a special law while the latter is based on the Revised
Penal Code or a general law.
The resolution of the above issue brings us anew to the case of People v.
Hernandez (99 Phil. 515 [1956]) the rulings of which were recently repeated in
the petition for habeas corpus of Juan Ponce Enrile v. Judge Salazar, (G.R.
Nos. 92163 and 92164, June 5, 1990). The Enrile case gave this Court the
occasion to reiterate the long standing proscription against splitting the
component offenses of rebellion and subjecting them to separate
prosecutions, a procedure reprobated in the Hernandez case. This Court
recently declared:
The rejection of both options shapes and determines the primary ruling of the
Court, which that Hernandez remains binding doctrine operating to prohibit
the complexing of rebellion with any other offense committed on the
occasion thereof, either as a means to its commission or as an unintended
effect of an activity that commutes rebellion. (Emphasis supplied)
This doctrine is applicable in the case at bar. If a person can not be charged
with the complex crime of rebellion for the greater penalty to be applied,
neither can he be charged separately for two (2) different offenses where one
is a constitutive or component element or committed in furtherance of
rebellion.
The petitioner is presently charged with having violated PD No. 1829
particularly Section 1 (c) which states:
SECTION 1. The penalty of prison correccional in its maximum period, or a fine
ranging from 1,000 to 6,000 pesos or both, shall be imposed upon any person

who knowingly or wilfully obstructs, impedes, frustrates or delays the


apprehension of suspects and the investigation and prosecution of criminal
cases by committing any of the following acts:
xxx xxx xxx
(c) harboring or concealing, or facilitating the escape of, any person he
knows, or has reasonable ground to believe or suspect has committed any
offense under existing penal laws in order to prevent his arrest, prosecution
and conviction.
xxx xxx xxx
The prosecution in this Makati case alleges that the petitioner entertained and
accommodated Col. Honasan by giving him food and comfort on December
1, 1989 in his house. Knowing that Colonel Honasan is a fugitive from justice,
Sen. Enrile allegedly did not do anything to have Honasan arrested or
apprehended. And because of such failure the petitioner prevented Col.
Honasan's arrest and conviction in violation of Section 1 (c) of PD No. 1829.
The rebellion charges filed against the petitioner in Quezon City were based
on the affidavits executed by three (3) employees of the Silahis International
Hotel who stated that the fugitive Col. Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan and some
100 rebel soldiers attended the mass and birthday party held at the residence
of the petitioner in the evening of December 1, 1989. The information (Annex
"C", p. 3) particularly reads that on "or about 6:30 p.m., 1 December, 1989, Col.
Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan conferred with accused Senator Juan Ponce Enrile
accompanied by about 100 fully armed rebel soldiers wearing white armed
patches". The prosecution thereby concluded that:
In such a situation, Sen. Enrile's talking with rebel leader Col. Gregorio "Gringo"
Honasan in his house in the presence of about 100 uniformed soldiers who
were fully armed, can be inferred that they were co-conspirators in the failed
December coup. (Annex A, Rollo, p. 65; Emphasis supplied)
As can be readily seen, the factual allegations supporting the rebellion
charge constitute or include the very incident which gave rise to the charge
of the violation under Presidential Decree No. 1829. Under the Department of
Justice resolution (Annex A, Rollo, p. 49) there is only one crime of rebellion
complexed with murder and multiple frustrated murder but there could be 101
separate and independent prosecutions for harboring and concealing"
Honasan and 100 other armed rebels under PD No. 1829. The splitting of
component elements is readily apparent.
The petitioner is now facing charges of rebellion in conspiracy with the fugitive
Col. Gringo Honasan. Necessarily, being in conspiracy with Honasan,
petitioners alleged act of harboring or concealing was for no other purpose
but in furtherance of the crime of rebellion thus constitute a component
thereof. it was motivated by the single intent or resolution to commit the crime
of rebellion. As held in People v. Hernandez, supra:
In short, political crimes are those directly aimed against the political order, as
well as such common crimes as may be committed to achieve a political
purpose. The decisive factor is the intent or motive. (p. 536)
The crime of rebellion consists of many acts. It is described as a vast
movement of men and a complex net of intrigues and plots. (People v.

Almasan [CA] O.G. 1932). Jurisprudence tells us that acts committed in


furtherance of the rebellion though crimes in themselves are deemed
absorbed in the one single crime of rebellion. (People v. Geronimo, 100 Phil. 90
[1956]; People v. Santos, 104 Phil. 551 [1958]; People v. Rodriguez, 107 Phil. 659
[1960]; People v. Lava, 28 SCRA 72 [1969]). In this case, the act of harboring or
concealing Col. Honasan is clearly a mere component or ingredient of
rebellion or an act done in furtherance of the rebellion. It cannot therefore be
made the basis of a separate charge. The case of People v. Prieto 2 (80 Phil.,
138 [1948]) is instructive:
In the nature of things, the giving of aid and comfort can only be
accomplished by some kind of action. Its very nature partakes of a deed or
physical activity as opposed to a mental operation. (Cramer v. U.S., ante) This
deed or physical activity may be, and often is, in itself a criminal offense under
another penal statute or provision. Even so, when the deed is charged as an
element of treason it becomes Identified with the latter crime and can not be
the subject of a separate punishment, or used in combination with treason to
increase the penalty as article 48 of the Revised Penal Code provides. Just as
one can not be punished for possessing opium in a prosecution for smoking
the Identical drug, and a robber cannot be held guilty of coercion or trespass
to a dwelling in a prosecution for robbery, because possession of opium and
force and trespass are inherent in smoking and in robbery respectively, so may
not a defendant be made liable for murder as a separate crime or in
conjunction with another offense where, as in this case, it is averred as a
constitutive ingredient of treason.
The prosecution tries to distinguish by contending that harboring or
concealing a fugitive is punishable under a special law while the rebellion
case is based on the Revised Penal Code; hence, prosecution under one law
will not bar a prosecution under the other. This argument is specious in
rebellion cases.
In the light of the Hernandez doctrine the prosecution's theory must fail. The
rationale remains the same. All crimes, whether punishable under a special
law or general law, which are mere components or ingredients, or committed
in furtherance thereof, become absorbed in the crime of rebellion and can
not be isolated and charged as separate crimes in themselves. Thus:
This does not detract, however, from the rule that the ingredients of a crime
form part and parcel thereof, and hence, are absorbed by the same and
cannot be punished either separately therefrom or by the application of
Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code. ... (People v. Hernandez, supra, at p.
528)
The Hernandez and other related cases mention common crimes as absorbed
in the crime of rebellion. These common crimes refer to all acts of violence
such as murder, arson, robbery, kidnapping etc. as provided in the Revised
Penal Code. The attendant circumstances in the instant case, however,
constrain us to rule that the theory of absorption in rebellion cases must not
confine itself to common crimes but also to offenses under special laws which
are perpetrated in furtherance of the political offense.
The conversation and, therefore, alleged conspiring of Senator Ponce Enrile

with Colonel Honasan is too intimately tied up with his allegedly harboring and
concealing Honasan for practically the same act to form two separate crimes
of rebellion and violation of PD No. 1829.
Clearly, the petitioner's alleged act of harboring or concealing which was
based on his acts of conspiring with Honasan was committed in connection
with or in furtherance of rebellion and must now be deemed as absorbed by,
merged in, and Identified with the crime of rebellion punished in Articles 134
and 135 of the RPC.
Thus, national, as well as international, laws and jurisprudence overwhelmingly
favor the proposition that common crimes, perpetrated in furtherance of a
political offense, are divested of their character as "common" offenses, and
assume the political complexion of the main crime of which they are mere
ingredients, and consequently, cannot be punished separately from the
principal offense, or complexed with the same, to justify the imposition of a
graver penalty. (People v. Hernandez, supra, p. 541)
In People v. Elias Rodriguez, 107 Phil. 659 [1960], the accused, after having
pleaded guilty and convicted of the crime of rebellion, faced an
independent prosecution for illegal possession of firearms. The Court ruled:
An examination of the record, however, discloses that the crime with which
the accused is charged in the present case which is that of illegal possession
of firearm and ammunition is already absorbed as a necessary element or
ingredient in the crime of rebellion with which the same accused is charged
with other persons in a separate case and wherein he pleaded guilty and was
convicted. (at page 662)
xxx xxx xxx
[T]he conclusion is inescapable that the crime with which the accused is
charged in the present case is already absorbed in the rebellion case and so
to press it further now would be to place him in double jeopardy. (at page
663)
Noteworthy is the recent case of Misolas v. Panga, (G.R. No. 83341, January
30, 1990) where the Court had the occasion to pass upon a nearly similar
issue. In this case, the petitioner Misolas, an alleged member of the New
Peoples Army (NPA), was charged with illegal possession of firearms and
ammunitions in furtherance of subversion under Section 1 of PD 1866. In his
motion to quash the information, the petitioner based his arguments on the
Hernandez and Geronimo rulings on the doctrine of absorption of common in
rebellion. The Court, however, clarified, to wit:
... in the present case, petitioner is being charged specifically for the qualified
offense of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition under PD 1866. HE IS
NOT BEING CHARGED WITH THE COMPLEX CRIME OF SUBVERSION WITH ILLEGAL
POSSESSION OF FIREARMS. NEITHER IS HE BEING SEPARATELY CHARGED FOR
SUBVERSION AND FOR ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF FIREARMS. Thus, the rulings of
the Court in Hernandez, Geronimo and Rodriguez find no application in this
case.
The Court in the above case upheld the prosecution for illegal possession of
firearms under PD 1866 because no separate prosecution for subversion or
rebellion had been filed. 3 The prosecution must make up its mind whether to

charge Senator Ponce Enrile with rebellion alone or to drop the rebellion case
and charge him with murder and multiple frustrated murder and also violation
of P.D. 1829. It cannot complex the rebellion with murder and multiple
frustrated murder. Neither can it prosecute him for rebellion in Quezon City
and violation of PD 1829 in Makati. It should be noted that there is in fact a
separate prosecution for rebellion already filed with the Regional Trial Court of
Quezon City. In such a case, the independent prosecution under PD 1829 can
not prosper.
As we have earlier mentioned, the intent or motive is a decisive factor. If
Senator Ponce Enrile is not charged with rebellion and he harbored or
concealed Colonel Honasan simply because the latter is a friend and former
associate, the motive for the act is completely different. But if the act is
committed with political or social motives, that is in furtherance of rebellion,
then it should be deemed to form part of the crime of rebellion instead of
being punished separately.
In view of the foregoing, the petitioner can not be tried separately under PD
1829 in addition to his being prosecuted in the rebellion case. With this ruling,
there is no need for the Court to pass upon the other issues raised by the
petitioner.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Information in Criminal Case No. 90777 is QUASHED. The writ of preliminary injunction, enjoining respondent
Judges and their successors in Criminal Case No. 90-777, Regional Trial Court
of Makati, from holding the arraignment of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and from
conducting further proceedings therein is made permanent.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 100231. April 28, 1993.


THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
RODRIGO DASIG @ KA RUBIN DAKU @ ARMAND; EDWIN NUEZ Y TABANAS @
MABI; ALVIN DOE @ AL @ KA ALVIN; ROGER DOE @ KA JAMES @ KA PEPE;
TUDING ANDRINO @ KA ERMI @ KA ROEL @ KA GRINGO MONTAYRE; RUBEN
DOE @ KA RUBEN @ KA JOJI @ INO ECHAVEZ; ANASTACIO BANGKAL @ KA
JUNIOR; AND CARLITO MAGASIN @ BOBBY, accused, RODRIGO DASIG,
accused-appellant.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Kinaadman and Archival for accused-appellant.
SYLLABUS
1. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; CONFESSION, AS A RULE, ADMISSIBLE;
EXCEPTION; NOT APPLICABLE IN CASE AT BAR. The settled jurisprudence on
the matter is that a confession is admissible until the accused successfully
proves that it was given as a result of violence, intimidation, threat or promise
of reward or leniency. Appellant relies on the much abused claim that his
extra-judicial confession was legally defective and hence, should not have
been admitted and considered by the trial judge. This accusation is whimsical
and obviously a mere refuge for appellant's turnabout. In an attempt to avoid
criminal liability, he now questions the integrity of the police authorities and
the reputation of the lawyer who stood by him during the investigation.
Indubitably established and now a matter of record is the fact that appellant
was assisted by Atty. Parawan who even signed the former's sworn
declarations. It is likewise a matter of record that before appellant made his
extra-judicial confession, he was first asked if he was amenable to the services
of Atty. Parawan to which query he answered affirmatively. Finally, the
alleged use of force and intimidation has not been substantiated by evidence
other than his self-serving testimony. as has been pointed out, such allegation
is another naive effort of appellant to back track from his prior voluntary
admission of guilt. Evidently, the taking of his extra-judicial confession was
done with regularity and legality.
2. CRIMINAL LAW; REBELLION; ABSORBS THE CRIME OF DIRECT ASSAULT WHEN
DONE IN FURTHERANCE THEREOF. The crime of rebellion consists of may
acts. It is a vast movement of men and a complex net of intrigues and plots.
Acts committed in furtherance of rebellion though crimes in themselves are
deemed absorbed in one single crime of rebellion. The act of killing a police
officer, knowing too well that the victim is a person in authority is a mere
component or ingredient of rebellion or an act done in furtherance of the
rebellion. It cannot be made a basis of a separate charge.
3. ID.; ID.; NOT COVERED BY INDETERMINATE SENTENCE LAW (R.A. 4203). The
Indeterminate Sentence Law is not applicable to persons convicted of
rebellion (Sec. 2, R.A. 4203), contrary to the insinuation of the Solicitor General.
Article 135 of the Revised Penal Code imposes the penalty of prision mayor
and a fine not exceeding P20,000.00 to any person who promotes, maintains,
or heads a rebellion.
DECISION

NOCON, J p:
Appellant, Rodrigo Dasig is now before Us to plead the reversal of his
conviction by the Regional Trial Court, Branch 28, Mandaue City finding him
guilty of Murder with Direct Assault.
He was charged together with Edwin Nuez and 6 others who are still at large,
in an information which reads:
"That on or about the 4th day of August, 1987, in the city of Mandaue, of this
Honorable Court, the aforenamed accused, conspiring and confederating
together and helping one another, with intent to kill, treachery, evident
premeditation, abuse of superior strength and use of motor vehicle, all armed
with unlicensed firearms, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously
attack, assault and shoot one Redempto Manatad, a police officer on traffic
duty, at his vital portion which caused his death soon thereafter, knowing
beforehand that the victim was a policeman who was then in the
performance of his official duties."
Upon arraignment, appellant and Edwin Nues entered a plea of "not guilty."
However, after the prosecution had presented its first witness, accused Nues
changed his plea of "not guilty" to "guilty." Hence, the lower court held in
abeyance the promulgation of a judgment against said accused until the
prosecution had finished presenting its evidence. While trial was still ongoing,
Nuez died on March 10, 1989, thereby extinguishing his criminal liability.
The facts surrounding this case show that in the afternoon of August 4, 1987,
Pfc. Redempto Manatad, Pfc. Ninah Tizon and Pfc. Rene Catamora were
tasked by their commanding officer to assist in canning the traffic at M.N.
Briones and Bonifacio Streets in Mandaue City. Pfc. Tizon controlled the traffic
lighting facility; Pfc. Manatad manned the traffic; while Pfc. Catamora acted
as back-up and posted himself at Norkis Trading building.
At about 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon, Pfc. Catamora noticed eight (8)
persons, one of whom he identified as Edwin Nuez, acting suspiciously. He
noticed one of them giving instructions to two of the men to approach Pfc.
Manatad. He followed the two, but sensing that they were being followed,
they immediately proceeded to the middle of the road and engaged Pfc.
Catamora to a gun battle. At that instant, Pfc. Catamora heard a series of
shots from the other group and thereafter saw Pfc. Manatad sprawled on the
ground. Being out-numbered and to save his own life, Pat. Catamora sought
refuge at the nearby BIR Office from where he saw two (2) persons take Pfc.
Manatad's gun and again fired at him to make sure that he is dead while the
rest of the group including Nues acted as back up. Thereafter, the Nues
group commandeered a vehicle and fled from the scene of the shooting. Pfc.
Rene Catamora testified that he can identify accused-appellant Nues
because of a mole at the bridge of his nose near the left eye which he
noticed when the accused passed 2 or 3 meters in front of him together with
his companions.
On August 16, 1987, two teams of police officers were tasked to conduct
surveillance on a suspected safehouse of members of the sparrow unit
located in Peace Valley, Cebu City. Upon reaching the place, the group saw
Rodrigo Dasig and Edwin Nues trying to escape. The team of Capt. Antonio

Gorre captured Nues and confiscated a .45 caliber revolver with 3


magazines and ammunitions, while the group of Sgt. Ronald Arnejo pursued
Dasig, who threw a grenade at his pursuers, but was shot on his left upper arm
and subsequently apprehended. A .38 caliber revolver with 17 live
ammunitions were confiscated from him.
Thereafter, Dasig was brought to the hospital for treatment, while Nues was
turned over to the Metrodiscom for investigation. Meanwhile, Dasig was
interrogated by M/Sgt. Ariston Ira of the PC Criminal Investigation Service on
August 19, 1987 at his hospital bed at the Lapulapu Army Hospital in Cebu
City. Assisting Dasig during the interrogation was Atty. Fortunato Parawan of
the Creer Law Office, who was requested by the military to represent
appellant who did not have a lawyer. Before the start of the interrogation,
Atty. Parawan asked appellant whether he was willing to avail of his services,
to which appellant agreed. M/Sgt. Ira then appraised Dasig of his
constitutional rights. The interrogation was conducted in Cebuano upon
appellant's request.
Dasig confessed that he and the group of Edwin Nues killed Pfc. Manatad.
He likewise admitted that he and Nues were members of the sparrow unit
and the their aliases were "Armand" and "Mabi," respectively. The extra-judicial
confession of appellant marked as Exhibit "J" 2 was signed by him on every
page thereof with the first page containing a certification likewise signed by
him, which states: "I hereby certify that the herein statement is free and
voluntary, and that I am assisted by my counsel in the course of this
investigation" followed by the signed conformity of Atty. Parawan. The extrajudicial confession was subscribed and sworn to before Cebu City Asst. Fiscal
Salvador Solima.
In the present appeal, Dasig contends that the procedure by which his extrajudicial confession was taken was legally defective, and contrary to his
Constitutional rights. He further contends that assuming he conspired in the
killing of Pfc. Manatad, he should be convicted at most of simple rebellion
and not murder with direct assault.
Appellant also claims that the custodial interrogation was done while he was
still very sick and consequently, he could not have fully appreciated the
wisdom of admitting such a serious offense. That even with the presence of
counsel, his extra-judicial confession is inadmissible in evidence as said counsel
did not actively assist him and advise him of his rights. In effect, his presence
was merely to give a semblance of legality to the proceedings and not to
protect appellant against possible abuses of the investigator. Dasig, likewise
questions the sincerity of Atty. Parawan in protecting his rights considering that
the latter is a known anti-Communist advocate and that the law firm to which
he belongs has represented high ranking officers of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines.
We find the argument specious. Fiscal Salvador Solima in his certification,
Exhibit "J-7-B," stated that he had personally examined the affiant and that he
is convinced that the latter's statement was free and voluntary and that the
affiant signed the same in his presence and swore under oath as to the
veracity of everything therein. Atty. Fortunato L. Parawan also testified that he

assisted the affiant from the start of the investigation up to its termination. Atty.
Parawan testified thus:
"Q Who introduced Rodrigo Dasig to you?
A I inquired from the personnel of the hospital the whereabout of Rodrigo
Dasig and I introduced myself as a lawyer. So they informed me the room of
Rodrigo Dasig. At that time I introduced myself as a lawyer who came to assist
the person of Rodrigo Dasig. Once we had a confrontation with Rodrigo
Dasig, I asked him whether he was willing to get me as his lawyer in that
investigation. Then he told me yes.
Q Did he tell you whether he as a counsel of his own choice?
A No.
xxx xxx xxx
Q In other words he accepted your services as counsel in connection with
that investigation which was about to be made?
A Yes.
Q Who are the persons present at that time?
A There were guards outside and inside. There was a man from the CIS in the
person of Sgt. Ira, myself and Dasig.
Q What happened after that?
A The CIS started the investigation.
Q You mean this Ariston Ira?
A Yes.
Q Before Ariston Ira conducted the investigation was Dasig informed of his
constitutional rights to remain silent, to counsel and if he chooses to testify or
say something, that statement of his will be used against or in his favor in the
court of justice?
A Yes. He was willing to get me as counsel in that investigation.
Q After he was informed of his constitutional rights what transpired next?
A The investigation started.
Q Were you present at the very start of that investigation?
A Yes. I was present from the start until it was finished.
Q Was that reduced to writing?
A Yes.
xxx xxx xxx
Q You said you were present during the entire investigation. Were the answers
of the accused, Rodrigo Dasig, to the questions propounded by the
investigator voluntary?
A Yes, they voluntary.
Q After the investigation was finished what transpired next?
A After the investigation, I think that was already past 3:00 or 4:00, we
proceeded to the office of the City Fiscal at F. Ramos St., Cebu City and then
we proceeded to the Office of Fiscal Solema (sic) and then it was subscribed
there before Fiscal Solema (sic).
Q Were you present during the proceeding?
A I was also present."
We do not find any reason to doubt the factual findings and conclusions of
the trial court that the extra-judicial confession of the appellant was voluntarily

made. Said the trial court:


"The prosecution's evidence clearly shows that herein accused during his
investigation was properly informed and appraised of his constitutional right to
remain silent and to have a competent and independent counsel preferably
of his own choice but since at that time he did not signify his intention to retain
a lawyer of his own choice, so he was provided with a lawyer in the person of
Atty. Fortunato Parawan of the Creer Law Office who was available at that
time, to assist him during the custodial investigation conducted by T/Sgt.
Ariston L. Ira at his hospital bed at Camp Lapulapu Army Station Hospital,
Cebu City where he was confined after being hit on his upper left arm and in
fact, Atty. Parawan only consented to assist herein accused after the latter
has answered in the affirmative to his question as to whether he would be
amenable to be assisted by him as his counsel of his own choice.
"The prosecution's evidence further show that Atty. Fortunato Parawan after
consenting to be his counsel was with him when his extra-judicial confession or
sworn statement was subscribed and sworn to by him before Assistant City
Fiscal Salvador O. Solima of the Cebu City Fiscal's Office who, before accused
has actually affixed his signature on each and every pages of his extra-judicial
confession, has informed him (accused) of his constitutional rights and has
explained the contents of his extra-judicial confession.
"Moreover, per certification made by Assistant City Fiscal Salvador O. Solima
of the Cebu City Fiscal's Office, clearly shows that accused in executing the
same has done so voluntarily and after having understood the contents
thereof which is in the visayan language, a language known to him, found on
the last page thereof now marked as Exhibit "J-7-B."
"Furthermore, this sworn statement of accused Dasig is collaborated by the
sworn statement of his co-accused Edwin Nues dated August 18, 1987 which
is sworn and subscribed to before City Fiscal Jopelinito Pareja of the city
Fiscal's Office of Cebu City."
The settled jurisprudence on the matter is that a confession is admissible until
the accused successfully proves that it was given as a result of violence,
intimidation, threat or promise of reward or leniency. 5 The case of People of
the Philippines v. Parojinog is four square to the case at bar. In Parojinog this
court had this to say:
"Anent his claim that Atty. Fuentes was not his choice, Section 12 (1) of Article
III of the 1987 Constitution provides:
'Sec. 12(1). Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense
shall have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have
competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the
person cannot afford the services of counsel he must provided with one.
These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of
counsel.'
"It is very clear from the aforequoted provision that a person under
investigation for the commission of an offense may choose his own counsel
but if he cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided with one.
While the initial choice of the lawyer in the latter case is naturally lodged in the
police investigators, the accused really has the final choice as he may reject

the counsel chosen for him and ask for another one. In the instant case, the
records show that no objection was voiced by the accused throughout the
entire proceedings of the investigation and afterwards when he subscribed to
its veracity before City Prosecutor Luzminda V. Uy. Thus, he apparently
acquiesced to the choice of the investigators. He complained for the first time
that Atty. Fuentes was not his choice only during trial. Thus it was too late."
Appellant relies on the much abused claim that his extra-judicial confession
was legally defective and hence, should not have been admitted and
considered by the trial judge. This accusation is whimsical and obviously a
mere refuge for appellant's turnabout. In an attempt to avoid criminal liability,
he now questions the integrity of the police authorities and the reputation of
the lawyer who stood by him during the investigation. Indubitably established
and now a matter of record is the fact that appellant was assisted by Atty.
Parawan who even signed the former's sworn declarations. It is likewise a
matter of record that before appellant made his extra-judicial confession, he
was first asked if he was amenable to the services of Atty. Parawan to which
query he answered affirmatively. Finally, the alleged use of fore and
intimidation has not been substantiated by evidence other than his selfserving testimony. As has been pointed out, such allegation is another naive
effort of appellant to back track from his prior voluntary admission of guilt.
Evidently, the taking of his extra-judicial confession was done with regularity
and legality.
Nevertheless, there is merit in appellant's argument that granting he is guilty,
what he committed was a political crime of simple rebellion, and hence he
should not be convicted of murder with direct assault.
The Solicitor General agrees with the accused-appellant on this point as
manifested in the People's brief, which We quote:
"However, as correctly pointed by appellant, the lower court erroneously
convicted him of Murder with Assault Upon a Person in Authority, instead of
Rebellion.
"Rebellion is committed by taking up arms against the government, among
other means. (Article 135, Revised Penal Code). In this case, appellant not
only confessed voluntarily his membership with the sparrow unit but also his
participation and that of his group in the killing of Pfc. Manatad while
manning the traffic in Mandaue City in the afternoon of August 4, 1987. It is of
judicial notice that the sparrow unit is the liquidation squad of the New
People's Army with the objective of overthrowing the duly constituted
government. It is therefore not hard to comprehend that the killing of Pfc.
Manatad was committed as a means to or in furtherance of the subversive
ends of the NPA. Consequently, appellant is liable for the crime of rebellion,
not murder with direct assault upon a person in authority."
The crime of rebellion consists of many acts. It is a vast movement of men and
a complex net of intrigues and plots. Acts committed in furtherance of
rebellion though crimes in themselves are deemed absorbed in one single
crime of rebellion. 9 The act of killing a police officer, knowing too well that the
victim is a person in authority is a mere component or ingredient of rebellion or
an act done in furtherance of the rebellion. It cannot be made a basis of a

separate charge.
Moreover, in the case of People v. Mangallan 10 We held that where the
accused who was charged with murder admitted his membership with the
NPA and the killing of a suspected PC informer, the crime committed is not
murder but rebellion punishable under Articles 134 and 135 of the Revised
Penal Code.
As to the proper imposable penalty, the Indeterminate Sentence Law is not
applicable to persons convicted of rebellion (Sec. 2, R.A. 4203), contrary to
the insinuation of the Solicitor General. Article 135 of the Revised Penal Code
imposes the penalty of prision mayor and a fine not exceeding P20,000.00 to
any person who promotes, maintains, or heads a rebellion. However, in the
case at bar, there is no evidence to prove that appellant Dasig headed the
crime committed. As a matter of fact he was not specifically pinpointed by
Pfc. Catamora as the person giving instructions to the group which attacked
Pfc. Manatad.
Appellant merely participated in committing the act, or just executed the
command of an unknown leader. Hence, he should be made to suffer the
penalty of imprisonment of eight (8) years of prision mayor. For the resulting
death, appellant is likewise ordered to pay the heirs of Pfc. Manatad FIFTY
THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) as civil indemnity.
Premises considered, We uphold the findings of the trial court that the extrajudicial confession was legally obtained. However, appellant being a
confessed member of the sparrow unit, the liquidation squad of the New
People's Army whose objective is to overthrow the duly constituted
government, the crime committed is simple rebellion and not murder with
direct assault.
WHEREFORE, accused Rogelio Dasig is found guilty of participating in an act
of rebellion beyond reasonable doubt and is hereby sentenced to suffer the
penalty of imprisonment of eight (8) years of prision mayor, and to pay the
heirs of Pfc. Redempto Manatad, P50,000.00 as civil indemnity.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 112235 November 29, 1995


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
ELIAS LOVEDIORO y CASTRO, defendant-appellant.
KAPUNAN, J.:
Off-duty policeman SPO3 Jesus Lucilo was walking along Burgos St., away
from the Daraga, Albay Public Market when a man suddenly walked beside
him, pulled a .45 caliber gun from his waist, aimed the gun at the policeman's
right ear and fired. The man who shot Lucilo had three other companions with
him, one of whom shot the fallen policeman four times as he lay on the
ground. After taking the latter's gun, the man and his companions boarded a
tricycle and fled. 1
The incident was witnessed from a distance of about nine meters by Nestor
Armenta, a 25 year old welder from Pilar, Sorsogon, who claimed that he
knew both the victim and the man who fired the fatal shot. Armenta identified
the man who fired at the deceased as Elias Lovedioro y Castro, his nephew
(appellant's father was his first cousin) and alleged that he knew the victim
from the fact that the latter was a resident of Bagumbayan.
Lucilo died on the same day of massive blood loss from multiple gunshot
wounds on the face, the chest, and other parts of the body. 2 On autopsy, the
municipal health officer established the cause of death as hypovolemic
shock. 3
As a result of the killing, the office of the provincial prosecutor of Albay, on
November 6, 1992 filed an Information charging accused-appellant Elias
Lovedioro y Castro of the crime of Murder under Article 248 of the Revised
Penal Code. The Information reads:
That on or about the 27th day of July, 1992, at more or less 5:30 o'clock in the
afternoon, at Burgos Street, Municipality of Daraga, Province of Albay,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, together with Gilberto Longasa, who is already charged in
Crim. Case No. 5931 before RTC, Branch I, and three (3) others whose true
identities are at present unknown and remain at large, conniving, conspiring,
confederating and helping one another for a common purpose, armed with
firearms, with intent to kill and with treachery and evident premeditation, did
then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously fire and shoot one SPO3
JESUS LUCILO, a member of the Daraga Police Station, inflicting upon the
latter multiple gunshot wounds causing his death, to the damage and
prejudice of his legal heirs.
After trial, the court a quo found accused-appellant guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder. The dispositive portion of said
decision, dated September 24, 1993 states:
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing considerations, this Court finds the
accused ELIAS LOVEDIORO guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principal,
acting in conspiracy with his co-accused who are still at large, of the crime of
murder, defined and penalized under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code,
and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua with all

the accessories provided by law; to pay the heirs of the deceased SPO3 Jesus
Lucilo through the widow, Mrs. Remeline Lucilo, the amount of Fifty Thousand
(P50,000.00) Pesos representing the civil indemnity for death; to pay the said
widow the sum of Thirty Thousand (P30,000.00) Pesos representing reasonable
moral damages; and to pay the said widow the sum of Eighteen Thousand
Five Hundred Eighty-Eight (P18,588.00) Pesos, representing actual damages,
without subsidiary imprisonment however, in case of insolvency on the part of
the said accused.
With costs against the accused.
SO ORDERED.
Hence, the instant appeal, in which the sole issue interposed is that portion of
trial court decision finding him guilty of the crime of murder and not rebellion.
Appellant cites the testimony of the prosecution's principal witness, Nestor
Armenta, as supporting his claim that he should have been charged with the
crime of rebellion, not murder. In his Brief, he asseverates that Armenta, a
police informer, identified him as a member of the New People's Army.
Additionally, he contends that because the killing of Lucilo was "a means to or
in furtherance of subversive ends," 4 (said killing) should have been deemed
absorbed in the crime of rebellion under Arts. 134 and 135 of the Revised
Penal Code. Finally, claiming that he did not fire the fatal shot but merely
acted as a look-out in the liquidation of Lucilo, he avers that he should have
been charged merely as a participant in the commission of the crime of
rebellion under paragraph 2 of Article 135 of the Revised Penal Code and
should therefore have been meted only the penalty of prison mayor by the
lower court.
Asserting that the trial court correctly convicted appellant of the crime of
murder, the Solicitor General avers that the crime committed by appellant
may be considered as rebellion only if the defense itself had conclusively
proven that the motive or intent for the killing of the policeman was for
"political and subversive ends." 5 Moreover, the Solicitor General contends that
even if appellant were to be convicted of rebellion, and even if the trial court
had found appellant guilty merely of being a participant in a rebellion, the
proper imposable penalty is not prision mayor as appellant contends, but
reclusion temporal, because Executive Order No. 187 as amended by
Republic Act
No. 6968, the Coup D'etat Law, prescribes reclusion temporal as the penalty
imposable for individuals found guilty as participants in a rebellion.
We agree with the Solicitor General that the crime committed was murder
and not rebellion.
Under Art. 134 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No.
6968, rebellion is committed in the following manner:
[B]y rising publicly and taking arms against the Government for the purpose of
removing from the allegiance to said Government or its laws, the territory of
the Republic of the Philippines or any part thereof, of any body of land, naval
or other armed forces, or depriving the Chief Executive or the Legislature
wholly or partially, of any of their powers or prerogatives. 6
The gravamen of the crime of rebellion is an armed public uprising against the

government. 7 By its very nature, rebellion is essentially a crime of masses or


multitudes involving crowd action, which cannot be confined a priori within
predetermined bounds. 8 One aspect noteworthy in the commission of
rebellion is that other acts committed in its pursuance are, by law, absorbed in
the crime itself because they acquire a political character. This peculiarity was
underscored in the case of People v. Hernandez, 9 thus:
In short, political crimes are those directly aimed against the political order, as
well as such common crimes as may be committed to achieve a political
purpose. The decisive factor is the intent or motive. If a crime usually regarded
as common, like homicide, is perpetrated for the purpose of removing from
the allegiance "to the Government the territory of the Philippine Islands or any
part thereof," then it becomes stripped of its "common" complexion, inasmuch
as, being part and parcel of the crime of rebellion, the former acquires the
political character of the latter.
Divested of its common complexion therefore, any ordinary act, however
grave, assumes a different color by being absorbed in the crime of rebellion,
which carries a lighter penalty than the crime of murder. In deciding if the
crime committed is rebellion, not murder, it becomes imperative for our courts
to ascertain whether or not the act was done in furtherance of a political end.
The political motive of the act should be conclusively demonstrated.
In such cases, the burden of demonstrating political motive falls on the
defense, motive, being a state of mind which the accused, better than any
individual, knows. Thus, in People v. Gempes, 10 this court stressed that:
Since this is a matter that lies peculiarly with (the accused's) knowledge and
since moreover this is an affirmative defense, the burden is on them to prove,
or at least to state, which they could easily do personally or through witnesses,
that they killed the deceased in furtherance of the resistance movement.
From the foregoing, it is plainly obvious that it is not enough that the overt acts
of rebellion are duly proven. Both purpose and overt acts are essential
components of the crime. With either of these elements wanting, the crime of
rebellion legally does not exist. In fact, even in cases where the act
complained of were committed simultaneously with or in the course of the
rebellion, if the killing, robbing, or etc., were accomplished for private
purposes or profit, without any political motivation, it has been held that the
crime would be separately punishable as a common crime and would not be
absorbed by the crime rebellion. 11
Clearly, political motive should be established before a person charged with a
common crime alleging rebellion in order to lessen the possible imposable
penalty could benefit from the law's relatively benign attitude towards
political crimes. Instructive in this regard is the case of Enrile v.
Amin, 12 where the prosecution sought to charge Senator Juan Ponce Enrile
with violation of P.D. No. 1829, 13 for allegedly harboring or concealing in his
home Col. Gregorio Honasan in spite of the senator's knowledge that
Honasan might have committed a crime. This Court held, against the
prosecution's contention, that rebellion and violation of P.D 1829 could be
tried separately 14 (on the principle that rebellion is based on the Revised
Penal Code while P.D. 1829 is a special law), that the act for which the

senator was being charged, though punishable under a special law, was
absorbed in the crime of rebellion being motivated by, and related to the
acts for which he was charged in Enrile vs. Salazar (G.R. Nos. 92163 and 92164)
a case decided on June 5, 1990. Ruling in favor of Senator Enrile and holding
that the prosecution for violation of P.D. No. 1829 cannot prosper because a
separate prosecution for rebellion had already been filed and in fact
decided, the Court said:
The attendant circumstances in the instant case, however constrain us to rule
that the theory of absorption in rebellion cases must not confine itself to
common crimes but also to offenses under special laws which are
perpetrated in furtherance of the political offense. 15
Noting the importance of purpose in cases of rebellion the court in Enrile vs.
Amin further underscored that:
[I]ntent or motive is a decisive factor. If Senator Ponce Enrile is not charged
with rebellion and he harbored or concealed Colonel Honasan simply
because the latter is a friend and former associate, the motive for the act is
completely different. But if the act is committed with political or social motives,
that is in furtherance of rebellion, then it should be deemed to form part of the
crime of rebellion instead of being punished separately.
It follows, therefore, that if no political motive is established and proved, the
accused should be convicted of the common crime and not of rebellion. In
cases of rebellion, motive relates to the act, and mere membership in an
organization dedicated to the furtherance of rebellion would not, by and of
itself, suffice.
The similarity of some of the factual circumstances of People v. Ompad, Jr., 16
to the instant case is striking. Two witnesses, both former NPA recruits identified
the accused Ompad, alias "Commander Brando," a known hitman of the
NPA, as having led three other members of the NPA in the liquidation of
Dionilo Barlaan, a military informer, also in a rebel infested area. In spite of his
notoriety as an NPA hitman, Ompad was merely charged with and convicted
of murder, not rebellion because political motive was neither alleged nor
proved.
As stated hereinabove, the burden of proof that the act committed was
impelled by a political motive lies on the accused. Political motive must be
alleged in the information. 17 It must be established by clear and satisfactory
evidence. In People v. Paz and Tica we held:
That the killing was in pursuance of the Huk rebellion is a matter of mitigation
or defense that the accused has the burden of proving clearly and
satisfactorily. The lone uncorroborated assertion of appellant that his superiors
told him of Dayrit being an informer, and his suspicion that he was one such, is
neither sufficient or adequate to establish that the motivation for the killing
was political, considering appellant's obvious interest in testifying to that
effect. 18
Similarly, in People v. Buco, 19 the Court stressed that accused in that case
failed to establish that the reason for the killing of their victim was to further or
carry out rebellion. The evidence adduced by the defense therein simply
showed that appellant Francisco Buco was ordered by Tomas Calma, alias

"Commander Sol" to kill municipal mayor Conrado G. Dizon. However, the


evidence likewise showed that Calma was induced by an acquaintance, a
civilian, to order the killing on account of private differences over a ninety (90)
hectare piece of land. The court attributed no political motive for the killing,
though committed by known members of the Hukbalahap movement. 20
People v. Dasig 21 has a factual milieu almost similar to the instant case. There,
the Court held that "the act of killing a police officer, knowing too well that the
victim is a person in authority is a mere component or ingredient of rebellion or
an act done in furtherance of a rebellion." In Dasig the Court however noted
that the accused, who was charged with murder, not only admitted his
membership with the NPA but also executed an extrajudicial confession to the
effect that he was a member of an NPA "sparrow unit," a fact to which even
the Solicitor General, in his brief therein was in agreement. The Solicitor
General's brief in Dasig which this Court favorably quoted, noted that:
[T]he sparrow unit is the liquidation squad of the New People's Army with the
objective of overthrowing the duly constituted government. It is therefore not
hard to comprehend that the killing of Pfc. Manatad was committed as a
means to or in furtherance of the subversive ends of the NPA. 22
By contrast, the Solicitor General vigorously argues for a different result in the
case at bench. He states that accused-appellant's belated claims to
membership in the NPA were not only insubstantial but also self serving 23 an
averment to which, given a thorough review of the circumstances of the
case, we fully agree. He states:
[In the case cited] the appellants, admittedly members of the NPA, clearly
overcame the burden of proving motive or intent. It was shown that the
political motivation for the killing of the victim was the fact that Ragaul was
suspected as an informer for the PC. The perpetrators even left a letter card, a
drawing on the body of Ragaul as a warning to others not to follow his
example. It is entirely different in the case at bar where the evidence for the
appellant merely contains self-serving assertions and denials not substantial
enough as an indicia of political motivation in the killing of victim SPO3 Jesus
Lucilo. 24
In the case at bench, the appellant, assisted by counsel, admitted in his
extrajudicial confession to having participated in the killing of Lucilo as follows:
Q What was that incident if any, please narrate?
A July 27, 1992 at more or less 12:00 noon. I am at home, three male person a
certain alias ALWIN, ALIAS SAMUEL and the other one unknown to me,
fetched me and told me to go with them, so I asked them where, Alwin
handed me a hand gun and same he stopped/call a passenger jeepney and
told me board on said jeepney. (sic)
Q Please continue.
A Upon reaching Daraga, Albay fronting Petron Gasoline Station, we alighted
on said jeep, so we walk towards Daraga Bakery we stopped walking due to it
is raining, when the rain stopped we continue walking by using the road near
the bakery. (sic)
Q When you reached Daraga bakery, as you have said in Q. 7 you used the
road near the bakery where did you proceed?

A I am not familiar with that place, but I and my companion continue walking,
at more less 4:30 P.M. July 27, 1992 one of my companion told us as to quote
in Bicol dialect, to wit: "AMO NA YADI AN TINAMPO PALUWAS" (This is the place
towards the poblacion), so, I placed myself just ahead of a small store, my
three (3) companions continue walking towards poblacion, later on a
policeman sporting white T-shirt and a khaki pant was walking towards me,
while the said policeman is nearly approaching me, ALWIN shot the said
policeman in front of the small store, when the said policeman fell on the
asphalted road, ALWIN took the service firearm of the said policeman, then
we ran towards the subdivision, then my two (2) companions commanded a
tricycle then we fled until we reached a hill wherein there is a small bridge,
thereafter Ka Samuel took the handgun that was handed to me by them at
Pilar, Sorsogon. (sic)
Q Do you know the policeman that was killed by your companion?
A I just came to know his name when I reached home and heard it radio, that
he is JESUS LUCILO. (sic)
Q What is your participation in the group?
A Look-out sir.
Q I have nothing more to asked you what else, if there is any? (sic)
A No more sir. 25
It bears emphasis that nowhere in his entire extrajudicial confession did
appellant ever mention that he was a member of the New People's Army. A
thorough reading of the same reveals nothing which would suggest that the
killing in which he was a participant was motivated by a political purpose.
Moreover, the information filed against appellant, based on sworn statements,
did not contain any mention or allusion as to the involvement of the NPA in
the death of SPO3 Lucilo. 26 Even prosecution eyewitness Nestor Armenta did
not mention the NPA in his sworn statement of October 19, 1992. 27
As the record would show, allegations relating to appellant's membership in
the NPA surfaced almost merely as an afterthought, something which the
defense merely picked up and followed through upon prosecution eyewitness
Armenta's testimony on cross-examination that he knew appellant to be a
member of the NPA. Interestingly, however, in the same testimony, Armenta
admitted that he was "forced" to pinpoint appellant as an NPA member. 28
The logical result, of course, was that the trial court did not give any weight
and credence to said testimony. The trial court, after all, had the prerogative
of rejecting only a part of a witness' testimony while upholding the rest of it. 29
While disbelieving the portion of Armenta's testimony on appellant's alleged
membership in the NPA, the trial court correctly gave credence to his
unflawed narration about how the crime was committed. 30 Such narration is
even corroborated in its pertinent portions, except as to the identity of the gun
wielder, by the testimony of the appellant himself.
In any case, appellant's claim regarding the political color attending the
commission of the crime being a matter of defense, its viability depends on his
sole and unsupported testimony. He testified that, upon the prodding of alias
Alwin and alias Samuel, he joined the NPA because of the organization's
goals. 31 He claimed that his two companions shot Lucilo because he "had

offended our organization," 32 without, however, specifying what the "offense"


was. Appellant claimed that he had been a member of the NPA for five
months before the shooting incident. 33
As correctly observed by the Solicitor General, appellant's contentions are
couched in terms so general and non-specific 34 that they offer no
explanation as to what contribution the killing would have made towards the
achievement of the NPA's subversive aims. SPO3 Jesus Lucilo, a mere
policeman, was never alleged to be an informer. No acts of his were
specifically shown to have offended the NPA. Against appellant's attempts to
shade his participation in the killing with a political color, the evidence on
record leaves the impression that appellant's bare allegations of membership
in the NPA was conveniently infused to mitigate the penalty imposable upon
him. It is of judicial notice that in many NPA infested areas, crimes have been
all-too-quickly attributed to the furtherance of an ideology or under the cloak
of political color for the purpose of mitigating the imposable penalty when in
fact they are no more than ordinary crimes perpetrated by common
criminals. In Baylosis v. Chavez, Jr., Chief Justice Narvasa aptly observed:
The existence of rebellious groups in our society today, and of numerous
bandits, or irresponsible or deranged individuals, is a reality that cannot be
ignored or belittled. Their activities, the killings and acts of destruction and
terrorism that they perpetrate, unfortunately continue unabated despite the
best efforts that the Government authorities are exerting, although it may be
true that the insurrectionist groups of the right or the left no longer pose a
genuine threat to the security of the state. The need for more stringent laws
and more rigorous law-enforcement, cannot be gainsaid. 35
In the absence of clear and satisfactory evidence pointing to a political
motive for the killing of SPO3 Jesus Lucilo, we are satisfied that the trial court
correctly convicted appellant of the crime of murder. 36 It is of no moment
that a single eyewitness, Nestor Armenta, sealed his fate, for it is settled that
the testimony of one witness, if credible and positive, is sufficient to convict. 37
Against appellant's claims that he acted merely as a look-out, the testimony
of one witness, his blood relative, free from any signs of impropriety or
falsehood, was sufficient to convict the accused. 38 Moreover, neither may
lack of motive be availing to exculpate the appellant. Lack or absence of
motive for committing a crime does not preclude conviction, there being a
reliable eyewitness who fully and satisfactorily identified appellant as the
perpetrator of the felony. 39 In the case at bench, the strength of the
prosecution's case was furthermore bolstered by accused-appellant's
admission in open court that he and the eyewitness, his own uncle, bore no
grudges against each other. 40
Finally, treachery was adequately proved in the court below. The attack
delivered by appellant was sudden, and without warning of any kind. 41 The
killing having been qualified by treachery, the crime committed is murder
under Art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code. In the absence of any mitigating
and aggravating circumstances, the trial court was correct in imposing the
penalty of reclusion perpetua together with all the accessories provided by
law.

WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, the trial court's decision dated


September 14, 1993, sentencing the accused of Murder is hereby AFFIRMED, in
toto.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 17748


March 4, 1922
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
GRACIANO L. CABRERA, ET AL., defendants-appellants.
Vicente Sotto for appellants. Acting Attorney-General Tuason for appellee
MALCOLM, J.:
As one outcome of the tumultous uprising of certain members of the Philippine
Constabulary to inflict revenge upon the police of the city of Manila, charges
of sedition were filed in the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila against
the participants in the public disturbance. Convicted in the trial court of a
violation of Act No. 292 of the Philippine Commission, and sentenced either to
the maximum penalty or a near approach to the maximum penalty provided
by the punitive provisions of that law, all of the defendants have perfected an
appeal to this court. A statement of the case and of the facts, an opinion on
the pertinent issues, and a judgement, if no reversible error be found,
regarding the appropriate penalty, will be taken up in the order named.
STATEMENT OF THE CASE AND OF THE FACTS
On December 13, 1920, policemen of the city of Manila arrested a woman
who was a member of the household of a Constabulary soldier stationed at
the Santa Lucia Barracks in this city. The arrest of the woman was considered
by some of the Constabulary soldiers as an outrage committed by the
policemen, and it instantly gave rise to friction between members of Manila
police department and member of the Philippine Constabulary.
The next day, December 14, at about sunset, a policemen named Artemio
Mojica, posted on Calle Real, in the District of Intramuros, city of Manila, had
an encounter with various Constabulary soldiers which resulted in the shooting
of private Macasinag of the Constabulary. Private Macasinag was seriously,
and as afterwards appeared, mortally wounded.
The encounter between policemen Mojica and other companions of the
Manila force and private Macasinag and other companions of the
Constabulary, with its grave consequences for a Constabulary soldier
endangered a deep feeling of resentment on the part of the soldiers at Santa
Lucia Barracks. This resentment was soon converted into a desire for revenge
against the police force of the city of Manila. The officers of the Constabulary
appear to have been aware of the state of excitement among the soldiers
the shooting of private Macasinag, Captain Page, the commanding officer of
the Barracks, increased the number of guards, and confined all the soldiers in
the Barracks.
During the afternoon of the next day, December 15, 1920, a rumor spread
among the soldiers in Santa Lucia Barracks to the effect that policeman
Mojica was allowed to continue on duty on the streets of Intramuros and that
private Macasinag had died as a consequence of the shot he received the
night before. This rumor contributed in no small degree in precipitating a
movement for reprisal by the Constabulary soldiers against the policemen.
At about 7 o'clock in the evening of the same day, December 15, 1920,
corporal Ingles of the Fourth Company approached private Nicolas Torio who
was then the man in charge of quarters, and asked him to let the soldiers out

through the window of the quarters of the Fourth Company. Private Torio was
easily persuaded to permit private Francisco Garcia of the Second Company
to saw out the window bars of the quarters, in his charge, and to allow soldiers
to escape through the window with rifles and ammunition under the
command of their sergeants and corporals. When outside of the quarters,
these soldiers divided into groups for attack upon the city police force.
One platoon of Constabulary soldiers apparently numbering about ten or
twelve, on Calle Real, Intramuros, fired in the direction of the intersection of
Calles Real and Cabildo where an American policeman named Driskill was
stationed, and was taking with a friend named Jacumin, a field clerk in the
United States Army. These two men were shot and died soon afterwards. To
the credit of policeman Driskill be it said, that although in a dying condition
and in the face of overwhelming odds, her valiantly returned the fire with his
revolver. Jacumin was killed notwithstanding that in response to the
command of Constabulary, "Hands up!," he elevated both arms.
A street car happened to stop at this time at the corner of Calles Real and
Cabildo. Without considering that the passengers in the car were innocent
passersby, the Constabulary squad fired a volley into the car, killing instantly
the passenger named Victor de Torres and gravely wounding three other
civilian passengers, Gregorio Cailes, Vicente Antonio, and Mariano Cortes.
Father Jose Tahon, a priest of the Cathedral of Manila, proved himself a hero
on this occasion for, against the command of the Constabulary, he persisted
in persuading them to cease firing and advanced in order that he might
administer spiritual aid to those who had been wounded.
The firing on Calle Real did not end at that time. Some minutes later, Captain
William E. Wichman, assistant chief of police of the city of Manila, riding in a
motorcycle driven by policeman Saplala, arrived at the corner of Calles Real
and Magallanes in Intramuros, and a volley of shorts by Constabulary soldiers
resulted in the instantaneous death of Captain Wichman and the death
shortly afterwards of patrolman Saplala.
About the same time, a police patrol came from the Meisic police station.
When it was on Calle Real near Cabildo, in Intramuros, it was fired upon by
Constabulary soldiers who had stationed themselves in the courtyard of the
San Agustin Church. This attack resulted in the death of patrolmen Trogue and
Sison.
Another platoon of the Constabulary, between thirty and forty in number, had
in the meantime, arranged themselves in a firing line on the Sunken Gradens
on the east side of Calle General Luna opposite the Aquarium. From this
advantageous position the Constabulary fired upon the motorcycle occupied
by Sergeant Armada and driven by policeman Policarpio who with
companions were passing along Calle General Luna in front of the Aquarium
going in the direction, of Calle Real, Intramuros. As a result of the shooting, the
driver of the motorcycle, policeman Policarpio, was mortally wounded. This
same platoon of Constabulary soldiers fired several volleys indiscriminately into
the Luneta police station, and the office of the secret service of the city of
Manila across Calles General Luna and Padre Burgos, but fortunately no one
was injured.

General Rafael Crame, Chief of the Constabulary, and Captain Page,


commanding officer of the Santa Lucia Barracks, and other soldiers in the
streets of Manila, and other soldiers one after another returned to the Barracks
where they were disarmed. No list of the names of these soldiers was,
however, made.
In the morning of the next day, December 16, 1920, Colonel, Lucien R. Sweet
of the Constabulary officers, and later by the fiscals of the city of Manila,
commenced an investigation of the events of the night before. He first
ordered that all the soldiers in Santa Lucia Barracks at that time, numbering
some one hundred and eighty, be assembled on the parade ground and
when this was done, the soldiers were separated into their respective
companies. Then Colonel Sweet, speaking in English with the assistance of
Captain Silvino Gallardo, who interpreted his remarks into Tagalog, made to
all of the soldiers two statements.
What occurred on the occasion above described can best be told in the
exact language of Colonel Sweet: "I assembled all four companies in Santa
Lucia Barracks and asked them to tell me which ones had been out the night
before and which ones had participated in the shooting, which they did, and
to tell me the names of those who were with them and who were not then
present, which they did. I think there were seventy-two (seventy-three) present
and they named five (four) others." Again the witness said: "At first I asked all
those who went out on the previous night for any purpose whatever to signify
the fact by stepping forward and gave them five minutes to think it over
before doing so. To those who stepped forward that had gone out for any
purpose whatever I asked those who took part in the shooting the night
before that in justice to themselves and to the other men who had not taken
part in it, and for the good of all concerned, that they step forward and they
did." The names of the four who took part (not five as stated by Colonel
Sweet), but ho were taken to present, were noted by Captain Gallardo.
The statements of the seventy-seven soldiers were taken in writing during the
afternoon of the same day, December 16. The questionnaire prepared by the
fiscal of the city of Manila was in English or Spanish. The questions and answers
were, however, when requested by the soldiers, translated not their dialects.
Each statement was signed by the soldier making it in the presence of either
two or three witnesses.
Although the answers to the questions contained these statements vary in
phraseology, in substance they are the same. One of them, the first in
numerical order, that of Sergeant Graciano L. Cabrera, taken in Spanish and
interpreted into Tagalog, may be selected into Tagalog, may be selected as
typical of the rest, and is here literally transcribed:
1. Give your name, age, status, occupation, and residence. Graciano I.
Cabrera, 254 years of age, single, sergeant of the first company of the
General Service of the Constabulary, residing in Santa Lucia Barracks.
2. To what company of the Philippine Constabulary do you belong? First
Company, General Service of the Constabulary.]
3. Where were you garrisoned yesterday afternoon December 15,
1920? In the Santa Lucia Barracks.

4. Did you leave the barracks at about 7 o'clock yesterday evening? Yes,
sir.
5. For what reason, and where did you go? We went in search of the
policemen and secret service men of Manila. It has been sometime now since
we have been having standing grudge against now since we have been
having a standing grudge against the police of Manila. The wife of one of our
comrades was first arrested by the policemen and then abused by the same;
and not content with having abused her, they gave this woman to an
American; after this incident, they arrested two soldiers of the Constabulary,
falsely accusing them of keeping women of bad reputation; after this
incident, came the shooting of Macasinag, a shooting not justified, because
we have come to know that Macasinag did nothing and the policemen
could have arrested him if they desired. Moreover, the rumor spread among
us that the police department of Manila had given orders to the policemen to
fire upon any Constabulary soldier they found in the streets, and we believe
that the rumor was not without foundation since we noticed that after the
Macasinag affair, the policemen of Manila, Contrary to the usual practice,
were armed with carbines or shotguns. For this reason we believe that if we
did not put an end to these abuses of the policemen and secret service men,
they would continue abusing the constabulary. And as an act of vengeance
we did what we had done last night.
6. How did you come to join your companions who rioted last night? I saw
that almost all the soldiers were jumping through the window and I was to be
left alone in the barracks and so I followed.
7. Who asked you to join it? Nobody.
8. Do you know private Crispin Macasinag, the one who was shot by the
Manila police the night before last on Calle Real? Yes, Sir, I know him
because he was our comrade.
9. Were you offended at the aggression made on the person of said soldier?
Indeed, yes, not only was I offended, but my companions also were.
10. State how many shots you fired, if nay, during the riot last night. I cannot
tell precisely the number of shots I fired because I was somewhat obfuscated;
all I can assure you is that I fired more than once.
11. Do you know if you hit any policeman or any other person?-If so state
whether the victim was a policeman or a civilian. I cannot tell whether I hit
any policeman or any civilian.
12. State the streets of the city where you fired shots. I cannot given an
exact account of the streets where I fired my gun. I had full possession of my
faculties until I reached Calle Victoria; afterwards, I became aware that I was
bathed with perspiration only upon reaching the barracks.
13. What arms were you carrying and how much ammunition or how many
cartidge did you use? I Carried a carbine; I cannot tell precisely the
number of cartridges I used; however, I placed in my pocket the twenty
cartridges belonging to me and I must have lost.
14. How did you manage to leave the barracks? By the window of the
quarter of the Fourth Company, through the grating which I found cut off.
15. Are the above statements made by you, voluntarily, freely, and

spontaneously given? Yes, sir.


16. Do you swear to said statements although no promise of immunity is made
to you? Yes, sir; I confirm them, being true.
(Sgd.) G. L. CABRERA.
Witnesses:
S. GALLARDO.
LAURO C. MARQUEZ.
The defendants were charged in one information filed in the Court of First
Instance of the City of Manila with the crime of sedition, and in another
information filed in the same, court, with the crimes of murder and serious
physical injuries. The two cases were tried separately before different judges of
first instance.
All of the accused, with the exception of eight, namely, Francisco Ingles, Juan
Noromor, P. E. Vallado., Dionisio Verdadero, and Paciano Caa, first pleased
guilty to the charge of sedition, but later, after the first witness for the
prosecution had testified, the accused who had pleaded guilty were
permitted, with the consent of the court, to substitute therefor the plea of not
guilty. the prosecution, in making out it case, presented the seventy-seven
confession of the defendants, introduced in evidence as Exhibits C to C-76,
conclusive, and with the exception of those made by Daniel Coralde,
Nemesio Gamus, and Venancio Mira, all were identified by the respective
Constabulary officers, interpreters, and typists who intervened in taking them.
The prosecution further relied on oral testimony, including eyewitness to the
uprising.
The attorneys for the accused presented two defenses. The first defense was in
favor of all the defendants and was based on the contention that the written
statements Exhibits C to C-76 were not freely and voluntarily made by them.
The second defense was in favor of the defendants Vicente Casimiro,
Salvador Gregorio, Roberto Palabay, Cipriano Lizardo, Ildefonso de la Cruz,
Roque Ebol, Francisco Garcia, Benigno Tagavilla, Paciano Caa, Juan
Abarques, Genaro Elayda, Hilario Hibabar, P. E. Vallado, Patricio Bello, Felix
Liron, Bonifacio Eugenio, Nemesio Decea, Venancio Mira, Baldomero
Rodriguez, Juan Noromor, Maximo Perlas, and Victor Atuel, and was to the
effect these men did not take part in the riot.
The court overruled the special defenses and found that the guilt of the
accused had been proved beyond a reasonable doubt. All of the
defendants were sentenced to serve the maximum imprisonment of ten years
provided by section 6 of Act No. 292. The court, however, distinguished fines
from that of a defendants Francisco Garcia, a private and the eight corporals
E. E. Agbulos, Francisco Ingles, Clemente Manigdeg, Juan Abarques, Pedro V.
Matero, Juan Regalado, Hilario Hibalar and Genaro Elayda, upon each of
whom a fine of P5,000 was imposed, and of the three sergeants Graciano L.
Cabrera, Pascual Magno, and Bonifacio Eugenio, upon each of whom a fine
of P10,000 was imposed. The costs were divided proportionately among the
defendants.
For the statement of the cases and the facts which has just been made, we
are indebted in large measure to the conspicuously fair and thoughtful

decisions of the Honorable George R. Harvey who presided in the sedition


case and of the Honorable Carlos Imperial who presided in the murder case.
As stipulated by the Attorney-General and counsel for the defendants, the
proof is substantially the same in both cases.
In all material respects we agree with the findings of fact as made by the trial
court in this case. The rule is again applied that the Supreme Court will not
interfere with the judgement of the trial court in passing upon the credibility of
the opposing witnesses, unless there appears in the record some fact or
circumstances of weight and influence which has been overlooked or the
significance of which has been misinterpreted. (U. S. vs. Ambrosio and Falsario
[1910], 17 Phil., 295; U. S. vs. Remegio [1918], 37 Phil., 599.) In the record of the
case at bar, no such fact or circumstance appears.
OPINION
An assignment of five errors is made by counsel for the defendants and
appellants. Two the assignment of error merit little or no consideration.
Assignment of error No. 2 (finding its counterpart in assignments of error 5 and
6 in the murder case), in which it is attempted to establish that Vicente
Casimiro, Salvador Gregorio, Paciano Caa, Juan Abarquez, Mariano Garcia,
Felix Liron, Bonifacio Eugenio, Patricio Bello, Baldomero Rodriguez, Roberto
Palabay, Juan Noromor, Roque Ebol, Ildefonso de la Cruz, Cipriano Lizardo,
Francisco Garcia, Genaro Elayda, Hilario Hibalar, P. M. Vallado, Maximo
Perlas, and Benigno Tagavilla, did not leave the Santa Lucia Barracks in the
night of the tragedy, is predicated on the special defense raised in the lower
court for these defendants and three other and which was found untenable
by the trial court. Any further discussion of this question falls more
appropriately under consideration of assignment of error No. 4, relating to the
conspiracy between the accused.
Assignment of error No. 3, relating to the finding of the trial court that it had
not been shown that the policemen were not aware of the armed attack of
the Constabulary, However, we find that the evidence supports this
conclusion of the trial court.
The three pertinent issues in this case relate to: (1) the Admission of Exhibits C
to C-76 of the prosecution (assignment of error No. 2, murder case); (2) the
conspiracy between the accused (assignment of error No. 4, sedition case;
assignment of error No. 3, murder case); and (3) the conviction of the
accused of a violation of the Treason and Sedition Law (assignment of error
No. 5, sedition case).
1. The admission of exhibits C to C-76
Appellants claim that fraud and deceit marked the preparation of the
seventy seven confessions. It is alleged that some of the defendants signed
the confessions under the impression that those who had taken part in the
affray would be transferred to Mindanao, and that although they did not in
fact so participate, affirmed that they because of a desire to leave Manila;
that other stepped forward "for the good of the service" in response to
appeals from Colonel Sweet and other officers; while still others simply didn't
understand what they were doing, for the remarks of Colonel Sweet were
made in English and only translated into Tagalog, and their declarations were

sometime taken in al language which was unintelligible to them. Counsel for


the accused entered timely objection to the admission in evidence of Exhibits
C to C-76, and the Attorney-General is worn in stating otherwise.
Section 4 of Act No. 619, entitle "An Act to promote good order and discipline
in the Philippines Constabulary," and reading: "No confession of any person
charged with crime shall be received as evidence against him by any court of
justice unless be first shown to the satisfaction of the court that it was freely
and voluntarily made and not the result of violence, intimidation, threat,
menace or of promises or offers of reward or leniency," was repealed by the
first Administrative Code. But the same rule of jurisprudence continues without
the law. As he been repeatedly announced by this and other courts, "the true
test of admissibility is that the confession is made freely, voluntarily, and
without compulsion or inducement of any sort". If the confession is freely and
voluntarily made, it constitutes one of the most effectual proofs in the law
against the party making it. (Wilson vs. U. S.[1896], 162 U. S. 613.)The burden of
proof that he confession was not voluntarily made or was obtained by undue
pressure is on the accused. (U. S. vs Zara [1912, 42 Phil., 308.)
What actually occurred when the confessions were prepared is clearly
explained in the records. The source of the rumor that the defendant would
be transferred to Mindanao if they signed the confession is not established.
One the contrary it is established that before the declaration were taken,
Lieutenant Gatuslao in response to a query had shown the improbability of
such a transfer. With military orders given in English and living in the city of
Manila where the dialect is tagalog, all of the defendants must have
understood the substantial part of Colonel Sweet's remarks. What is more
important, there could be no misunderstanding as to the contents of the
confessions as written down. In open court, sixty-nine of the defendants
reiterated their guilt. The officers who assisted in the investigation were of the
same service as the defendants in their own men.
It must also be remembered that each and everyone of the defendants was
a member of the Insular Police force. Because of the very nature of their
duties and because of their practical experience, these Constabulary soldiers
must have been aware of the penalties meted out for criminal offenses. Every
man on such a momentous occasion would be more careful of his actions
than ordinarily and whatever of credulity there is in him, would for the moment
be laid aside. Over and above all desire for a more exciting life, over and
above the so called esprit de corps, is the instinct of self preservation which
could not but be fully aroused by such stirring incidents too recent to be
forgotten as had occurred in this case, and which would counsel prudence
rather than rashness; secretiveness rather than garrulity.
These confessions contain the statements that they were made freely and
voluntarily without any promise of immunity. That such was the case was
corroborated by the attesting witnesses whose credibility has not been
successfully impeached.
We rule that the trial court did not err in admitting Exhibits C to C-76 of the
prosecution.
2. The conspiracy between the accused

The contention of the appellants is that evidence is lacking of any supposed


connivance between the accused. Counsel emphasizes that in answer to the
question in the confession, "who asked you to join the riot," each of the
accused answered, "Nobody." The argument is then advanced that the
appellants cannot be held criminally responsible because of the so called
psychology of crowds theory. In other words, it is claimed that at the time of
the commission of the crime the accused were mere automatons obeying the
insistent call of their companions and of their uniform. From both the negative
failure of evidence and the positive evidence, counsel could deduce the
absence of conspiracy between the accused.
The attorney-General answers the argument of counsel by saying that
conspiracy under section 5 of Act No. 292 is not an essential element of the
crime of sedition. In this law officer for the people may be on solid ground.
However, this may be, there is a broader conception of the case which
reaches the same result.
It is a primary rule that if two or more persons combine to perform a criminal
act, each is responsible for all the acts of the other done in furtherance of the
common design; and " the result is the same if the act is divided into parts and
each person proceed with his part unaided." (U. S. vs Maza [1905], 5 Phils., 346;
U. S. vs. Remegio [1918] 37 Phil., 599; decision of supreme court of Spain of
September 29, 1883; People vs. Mather [1830], 4 Wendell, 229.)
Conspiracies are generally proved by a number of indefinite acts, conditions,
and circumstances which vary according to the purposes to be
accomplished. It be proved that the defendants pursued by their acts the
same object, one performing one part and another part of the same, so as to
complete it, with a view to the attainment of that same object, one will be
justified in the conclusion that they were engaged in a conspiracy to effect
that object. (5 R. C. L., 1088.) Applied to the facts before us, it is incontestable
that all of the defendants were imbued with the same purpose, which was to
avenge themselves on the police force of the city of Manila. A common
feeling of resentment animated all. A common plan evolved from their military
training was followed.
The effort to lead the court into the realm of psychology and metaphysics is
unavailing in the face of actualities. The existence of a joint assent may be
reasonably inferred from the facts proved. Not along are the men who fired
the fatal shots responsible, not along are the men who admit firing their
carbines responsible, but all, having united to further a common design of
hate and vengeance, are responsible for the legal consequences therefor.
We rule that the trail court did not err in declaring that there a c conspiracy
between the accused.
3. The conviction of the accused of a violation of the Treason and Sediton
Law
Sedition, in its more general sense, is the raising of commotions or disturbances
in the State. The Philippine law on the subject (Act No. 292) makes all persons
guilty of sedition who rise publicly and tumultuously in order to obtain by force
or outside of legal methods any one of vie objects, including that of inflicting
any act of hate or revenge upon the person or property of any official or

agent of the Insular Government or of Provincial or Municipal Government.


The trial court found that the crime of sedition, as defined and punished by
the law, had been committed, and we believe that such finding is correct.
Counsel's contention that in order for there to be a violation of subdivision 3 of
section 5 of Act No. 292 it is and necessary that the offender should be a
private citizen and the offended party a public functionary, and that what
really happened in this instance was a fight between two armed bodies of the
Philippine Government, is absolutely without foundation. Subdivison 3 of
section 5 of the Treason and Sedition Law makes no distinction between the
persons to which it applies. In one scene there was a fights between two
armed bodies of the Philippine Government, but it was an unequal fight
brought on by the actions of the accused.
We rule that the trial court did not err in convicting the accused of the
violation of section 5, paragraph 3, of Act No. 292 of the Philippine
Commission.
JUDGEMENT
The Treason and Sedition Law provides as a penalty for any person guilty of
sedition as defined in section 5 of the law, punishment by fine of not
exceeding P10,000 or by imprisonment not exceeding ten years, or both. In
this connection, it will be recalled that the court sentenced each of the
private soldiers Salvador Gregorio, Juan Noromor, Patricio Bello, Nemesio
Decea, Baldomero Rodriguez, P. E. Vallado, Pedro Layola, Felix Liron
(Cenon), Dionisio Verdadero, Lorenzo Tumboc, Casiano Guinto, Victor Atuel,
Venancio Mira, Benigno Tagavilla, Masaway, Quintin Desierto, Teofilo Llana,
Timoteo Opermaria, Maximo Perlas, Cornelio Elizaga, Roberto Palabay, Roque
Ebol, Benito Garcia, Honorio Bautista, Crisanto Salgo, Francisco Lusano,
Marcelino Silos, Nicanor Perlas, Patricio Rubio, Mariano Aragon, Silvino
Ayngco, Guillermo Inis, Julian Andaya, Crispin Mesalucha, Prudencio Tasis,
Silvino Bacani, Petronilo Antonio, Domingo Peroche, Florentino Jacob,
Paciano Caa, Domingo Canapi, Arcadio San Pedro, Daniel Coralde,
Nemesio Camas, Luis Borja, Severino Elefane, Vicente Tabien, Marcos
Marquez, Victorino Merto, Bernabe Sison, Eusebio Cerrudo, Julian Acantilado,
Ignacio Lechoncito, Pascual Dionio, Marcial Pelicia, Rafael Nafrada, Zacarias
Bayle, Cipriano Lizardo, Ildefonso de la Cruz, Juan Miranda, Graciano Zapata,
Felisardo Favinal, Gaspar Andrade, Felix Lamsing, and Vicente Casimiro, to
suffer imprisonment for ten years, and to pay one seventy-seventh part of the
costs; the private Francisco Garcia, who sawed the bars of the window
through which the defendants passed from Santa Lucia Barracks and each of
the corporals E. E. Agbulos, Francisco Ingles, Clemente Manigdeg, Juan
Abarquez, Pedro V. Mateo, Juan Regalado, Hilario Hibalar and Genaro
Elayda, to suffer imprisonment for ten years and to pay a fine of P5,000 and
one seventy-seventy of the costs; and each of the sergeants Graciano L.
Cabrera, Pascual Magno, and Bonifacio Eugenio, to suffer imprisonment for
ten years and to pay a fine of P10,000 and one seventy-seventy of the costs.
The trial judge appears to have made a reasonable exercise of the discretion
which the law reposes in him.
We cannot bring to a close this disagreeable duty without making our own

the pertinent observations found in the decision of the trial court in this case.
Therein, along toward the closed of his learned opinion, Judge Harvey said:
Rarely in the history of criminality in this country has there been registered a
crime so villainous as that committed by these defendants. The court is only
concerned in this case with crime of sedition. The maximum penalty
prescribed by Act No. 292, imprisonment for ten year and a fine P10,000, is not
really commensurate with the enormity of the offense. Impelled by hatred,
employing their knowledge of military sciences which is worthy of a better
cause, and in disregard of the consequences to themselves and their
innocent loved ones, and using the means furnished to them by the
Government for the protection of life and property, they sought by force and
violence and outside of legal methods to avenge a fancied wrong by an
armed and tumultuous attack upon officials and agents of the government of
the city of Manila.
Although in view of the sentence which is being handed down in the murder
case, affecting these same defendants and appellants, it would seem to be a
useless formality to impose penalties in this case, yet it is obviously our duty to
render judgement appealed from, with one seventy-seventh of the costs of
this instance against each appellant. So ordered.

G.R. No. L-1451


March 6, 1906
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
AURELIO TOLENTINO, defendant-appellant.
Rafael Palma and Gibbs and Kincaid for appellant. Office of the SolicitorGeneral Araneta for appellee.
CARSON, J.:
Aurelio Tolentino, the appellant in this case, was convicted upon an
information charging him with the crime of "uttering seditious words and
writings, publishing and circulating scurrilous libels against the Government of
the United States and the Insular Government of the Philippine Islands,
committed as follows: That said Aurelio Tolentino, on or about the 14th day of
May, 1903, in the city of Manila, Philippine Islands, did unlawfully utter seditious
words and speeches and did write, publish, and circulate scurrilous libels
against the Government of the United States and the Insular Government of
the Philippine Islands, which tend to obstruct the lawful officers of the United
States and the Insular Government of the Philippine Islands in the execution of
their offices, and which tend to instigate others to cabal and meet together
for unlawful purposes, and which suggest and incite rebellious conspiracies
and riots, and which tend to stir up the people against the lawful authorities
and to disturb the peace of the community and the safety and order of the
Government of the United States and the Insular Government of the Philippine
Islands, which said seditious words and speeches are false and inflammatory,
and tend to incite and move the people to hatred and dislike of the
government established by law within the Philippine Islands, and tend to
incite, move, and persuade great numbers of the people of said Philippine
Islands to insurrection, riots, tumults, and breaches of the public peace; which
said false, seditious, and inflammatory words and scurrilous libels are in
Tagalog language in a theatrical work written by said Aurelio Tolentino, and
which was presented by him and others on the said 14th day of May, 1903, at
the "Teatro Libertad," in the city of Manila, Philippine Islands, entitled 'Kahapon
gayon at Bukas' (Yesterday, To-day, and To-morrow). An exact translation of
the said drama is included in the information, and various parts thereof are
specially assigned, which, in the opinion of the prosecution, were more
especially in violation of the statute in such cases made and provided.
It was proven at the trial beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused did in
fact write the drama and the announcement thereof, substantially as set out
in the information, and did, with other members of a theatrical company, of
which he was director, utter and publish the same substantially in manner and
form as charged, and as we understand it, the only question for decision is
whether, in writing, publishing, and uttering the drama, the accused was in
fact guilty of a violation of section 8 of Act No. 292 of the Philippine
Commission, upon which the information was based.
This section is as follows:
Every person who shall utter seditious words or speeches, write, publish, or
circulate scurrilous libels against the Government of the United States or the
Insular Government of the Philippine Islands, or which tend to disturb or

obstruct any lawful officer in executing his office, or which tend to instigate
others to cabal or meet together for unlawful purposes, or which suggest or
incite rebellious conspiracies or riots, or which tend to stir up the people
against the lawful authorities or to disturb the peace of the community, the
safety and order of the Government, or who shall knowingly conceal such evil
practices, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars or
by imprisonment not exceeding two years, or both, in the discretion of the
court.
Counsel discussed at some length the question whether the drama or any
part of it was of a "scurrilous" nature in the legal acceptation of the word, but
for the purposes of this decision we do not deem it necessary to make a
finding on this point. In the case of the United States vs. Fred L. Dorr and
Edward F. O'Brien,1 decided May 19, 1903, this court said:
The complaint appears to be framed upon the theory that a writing, in order
to be punishable as a libel under this section, must be of a scurrilous nature
and directed against the Government of the United States or the Insular
Government of the Philippine Islands, and must, in addition, tend to some one
of the results enumerated in the section, the article in question being
described in the complaint as "a scurrilous libel against the Government of the
United States and the Insular Government of the Philippine Islands, which
tends to obstruct the lawful officers of the United States and the Insular
Government of the Philippine Islands in the execution of their offices, and
which tends to instigate others to cabal and meet together for unlawful
purposes, and which suggests and incites rebellious conspiracies, and which
tends to stir up the people against the lawful authorities, and which disturbs
the safety and order of the Government of the United States and the Insular
Government of the Philippine Islands." But it is a "a well-settled rule in
considering indictments that where an offense may be committed in any of
several different modes, and the offense, in any particular instance, is alleged
to have been committed in two or more modes specified, it is sufficient to
prove the offense committed in any one of them, provide that it be such as to
constitute the substantive offense." (Com. vs. Kneeland, 20 Pick. Mass. 206,
215), and the defendants may, therefore, be convicted if any one of the
substantive charges into which the complaint may be separated has been
made out.
Several allied offenses or modes of committing the same offense are define in
that section, viz: (1) The uttering of seditious words or speeches; (2) the writing,
publishing, or circulating of scurrilous libels against the Government of the
United States or the Insular Government of the Philippine Islands; (3) the
writing, publishing, or circulating of libels which tend to disturb or obstruct any
lawful officer in executing his office; (4) or which tend to instigate others to
cabal or meet together for unlawful purposes; (5) or which suggest or incite
rebellious conspiracies or riots; (6) or which tend to stir up the people against
the lawful authorities or to disturb the peace of the community, the safety and
order of the Government; (7) knowingly concealing such evil practices.
In accordance with the principles laid down in the preceding paragraph the
judgment of conviction in this case must be sustained, if it appears from the

evidence in the record that the accused was guilty as charged of any one of
those offenses. We are all agreed that the publication and presentation of the
drama directly and necessarily tend to instigate others to cabal and meet
together for unlawful purposes, and to suggest and incite rebellious
conspiracies and riots and to stir up the people against the lawful authorities
and to disturb the peace of the community and the safety and order of the
Government.
The manifest, unmistakable tendency of the play, in view of the time, place,
and manner of its presentation, was to inculcate a spirit of hatred and enmity
against the American people and the Government of the United States in the
Philippines, and we are satisfied that the principal object and intent of its
author was to incite the people of the Philippine Islands to open and armed
resistance to the constituted authorities, and to induce them to conspire
together for the secret organization of armed forces, to be used when the
opportunity presented itself, for the purpose of overthrowing the present
Government and setting up another in its stead.
Counsel for the appellant insists that the intent of the accused to commit the
crime with which he is charged does not appear from the evidence of record,
and that the drama is, in itself, a purely literary and artistic production wherein
the legendary history of these Islands and their future, as imagined by the
author, are presented merely for the instruction and entertainment of the
public.
This contention can not be maintained. The public presentation of the drama
took place in the month of May, 1903, less than two years after the
establishment of the Civil Government. The smouldering embers of a widespread and dangerous insurrection were not yet entirely extinguished, and
here and there throughout the Islands occasional outbreaks still required the
use of the armed forces of the Government for their suppression. A junta in the
city of Hongkong, composed of persons whose announced purpose and
object in organizing was the overthrow of the present Government, was
actively engaged in the endeavor to keep the people of these Islands from
peaceably accepting the authority of that Government, and this junta, acting
with confederates in the Philippines, was still able to keep alive a certain spirit
of unrest and uncertainty which it hoped to fan into open revolt and rebellion
at the first favorable opportunity.
The manner and form in which the drama was presented at such a time and
under such conditions, renders absurd the pretense that it was merely or even
principally a literary or artistic production, and the clumsy devices, the
allegorical figures, the apparent remoteness, past and future, of the events
portrayed, could not and in fact were not intended to leave the audience in
doubt as to its present and immediate application, nor should they blind this
court to the true purpose and intent of the author and director of the play.
It is further contended that even though the accused were in fact guilty as
charged, the court erred in imposing an excessive and unjust penalty, and in
fixing the amount of the fine in dollars instead of Philippine currency. As to the
latter objection it is sufficient to say that the use of the word "dollars" was in
strict conformance with the words of the statute, and that the equivalent of

that word in Philippine currency is fixed by law. The penalty was within the
limits prescribed by law, and we are not prepared to hold that the trial court
erred in the exercise of its discretion in imposing it.
The judgment and sentence appealed from is affirmed, with the costs against
the appellant. So ordered.

G.R. No. L-2990


December 17, 1951
OSCAR ESPUELAS Y MENDOZA, petitioner,
vs.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.
Carlos P. Garcia, Cosme P. Garcia and B.E. Enerio for petitioner. Office of the
Solicitor Jesus A. Avancea for respondent.
BENGZON, J.:
Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code punishes those who shall write, publish
or circulate scurrilous libels against the Government of the Philippines or any of
the duly constituted authorities thereof or which suggest or incite rebellious
conspiracies or riots or which tend to stir up the people againts the lawful
authorities or to disturb the peace of the community.
The appellant Oscar Espuelas y Mendoza was, after trial, convicted in the
Court of First Instance of Bohol of a violation of the above article. The
conviction was affirmed by the Court of Appeals, because according to said
court.
"About the time compromised between June 9 and June 24, 1947, both dates
inclusive, in the town of Tagbilaran, Bohol, Oscar Espuelas y Mendoza had his
picture taken, making it to appear as if he were hanging lifeless at the end of
a piece of rope suspended form the limb of the tree, when in truth and in fact,
he was merely standing on a barrel (Exhibit A, C-I). After securing copies of his
photograph, Espuelas sent copies of same to several newspapers and
weeklies of general circulation (Exhibit C, F, G, H, I), not only in the Province of
Bohol but also throughout the Philippines and abroad, for their publication
with a suicide note or letter, wherein he made to appear that it was written by
a fictitious suicide, Alberto Reveniera and addressed to the latter's supposed
wife translation of which letter or note in hereunder reproduced:
Dearest wife and children, bury me five meters deep. Over my grave don't
plant a cross or put floral wreaths, for I don't need them.
Please don't bury me in the lonely place. Bury me in the Catholic cemetery.
Although I have committed suicide, I still have the right to burried among
Christians.
But don't pray for me. Don't remember me, and don't feel sorry. Wipe me out
of your lives.
My dear wife, if someone asks to you why I committed suicide, tell them I did it
because I was not pleased with the administration of Roxas. Tell the whole
world about this.
And if they ask why I did not like the administration of Roxas, point out to them
the situation in Central Luzon, the Leyte.
Dear wife, write to President Truman and Churchill. Tell them that here in the
Philippines our government is infested with many Hitlers and
Mussolinis.lawphil.net
Teach our children to burn pictures of Roxas if and when they come across
one.
I committed suicide because I am ashamed of our government under Roxas. I
cannot hold high my brows to the world with this dirty government.

I committed suicide because I have no power to put under Juez de Cuchillo


all the Roxas people now in power. So, I sacrificed my own self.
The accused admitted the fact that he wrote the note or letter above quoted
and caused its publication in the Free Press, the Evening News, the Bisayas,
Lamdang and other local periodicals and that he had impersonated one
Alberto Reveniera by signing said pseudonymous name in said note or letter
and posed himself as Alberto Reveniera in a picture taken wherein he was
shown hanging by the end of a rope tied to a limb of a tree."
The latter is a scurrilous libel against the Government. 1 It calls our government
one of crooks and dishonest persons (dirty) infested with Nazis and a Fascistis
i.e. dictators.
And the communication reveals a tendency to produce dissatisfaction or a
feeling incompatible with the disposition to remain loyal to the government. 2
Writings which tend to overthrow or undermine the security of the government
or to weaken the confidence of the people in the government are against
the public peace, and are criminal not only because they tend to incite to a
breach of the peace but because they are conducive to the destruction of
the very government itself (See 19 Am. Law Rep. 1511). Regarded as seditious
libels they were the subject of criminal proceedings since early times in
England. (V op. cit.).
As explained by Paterson, 3 ". . . the great factors of government, consisting of
the Sovereign, the Parliament, the ministers of state, the courts of justice, must
be recognized as holding functions founded on sound principles and to be
defended and treated with an established and well-nigh unalterable respect.
Each of these great institutions has peculiar virtues and peculiar weaknesses,
but whether at any one time the virtue or the weakness predominates, there
must be a certain standard of decorum reserved for all. Each guarded
remonstrance, each fiery invective, each burst of indignation must rest on
some basis of respect and deference towards the depository, for the time
being, of every great constitutional function. Hence another limit of free
speech and writing is sedition. And yet within there is ample room and verge
enough for the freest use of the tongue and pen in passing strictures in the
judgment and conduct of every constituted authority."
Naturally, when the people's share in the government was restricted, there
was a disposition to punish even mild criticism of the ruler or the departments
of government. But as governments grew to be more representative, the laws
of sedition became less drastic and freedom of expression strife continue to
be prohibited.
The United States punished seditious utterances in the act of July 14, 1798
containing provisions parallel to our own article 142. Analogous prohibitions
are found in the Espionage Act of June 1917 and the seditious libel
amendment thereto in May, 1918.
Of course such legislation despite its general merit is liable to become a
weapon of intolerance constraining the free expression of opinion, or mere
agitation for reform. But so long as there is a sufficient safeguard by requiring
intent on the part of the defendant to produce illegal action-such legislation
aimed at anarchy and radicalism presents largely a question of policy. Our

Legislature has spoken in article 142 and the law must be applied.
In disposing of this appeal, careful thought had to be given to the
fundamental right to freedom of speech. Yet the freedom of speech secured
by the Constitution "does not confer an absolute right to speak or publish
without responsibility whatever one may choose." It is not "unbridled license
that gives immunity for every possible use of language and prevents the
punishment of those who abuse this freedom. 4" So statutes against sedition
have guaranty, although they should not be interpreted so as to agitate for
institutional changes. 5
Not to be restrained is the privilege of any citizen to criticize his government
officials and to submit his criticism to the "free trade of ideas" and to plead for
its acceptance in "the competition of the market." However, let such criticism
be specific and therefore constructive, reasoned or tempered, and not a
contemptuous condemnation of the entire government set-up. Such
wholesale attack is nothing less than an invitation to disloyalty to the
government. In the article now under examination one will find no particular
objectionable actuation of the government. It is called dirty, it is called a
dictatorship, it is called shameful, but no particular omissions or commissions
are set forth. Instead the article drip with male-violence and hate towards the
constituted authorities. It tries to arouse animosity towards all public servants
headed by President Roxas whose pictures this appellant would burn and
would teach the younger generation to destroy.
Analyzed for meaning and weighed in its consequences the article cannot fail
to impress thinking persons that it seeks to sow the seeds of sedition and strife.
The infuriating language is not a sincere effort to persuade, what with the
writer's simulated suicide and false claim to martyrdom and what with is failure
to particularize. When the use irritating language centers not on persuading
the readers but on creating disturbances, the rationable of free speech
cannot apply and the speaker or writer is removed from the protection of the
constitutional guaranty.
If it be argued that the article does not discredit the entire governmental
structure but only President Roxas and his men, the reply is that article 142
punishes not only all libels against the Government but also "libels against any
of the duly constituted authorities thereof." The "Roxas people" in the
Government obviously refer of least to the President, his Cabinet and the
majority of legislators to whom the adjectives dirty, Hitlers and Mussolinis were
naturally directed. On this score alone the conviction could be upheld. 6
As heretofore stated publication suggest or incites rebellious conspiracies or
riots and tends to stir up people against the constituted authorities, or to
provoke violence from opposition who may seek to silence the writer. 7 Which
is the sum and substance of the offense under consideration.
The essence of seditious libel may be said to its immediate tendency to stir up
general discontent to the pitch of illegal courses; that is to say to induce
people to resort to illegal methods other than those provided by the
Constitution, in order to repress the evils which press upon their minds. 8
"The idea of violence prevades the whole letter" says Justice Paredes of the
Court of Appeals. "The mere fact that a person was so disgusted with his "dirty

government" to the point of taking his own life, is not merely a sign of
disillusionment; it is a clear act to arouse its readers a sense of dissatisfaction
against its duly constituted authorities. The mention made in said letter of the
situation in Central Luzon, the Hukbalahaps, Julio Guillen and the banditry in
Leyte, which are instances of flagrant and armed attacks against the law and
the duly constituted authorities cannot but be interpreted by the reading
public as an indirect justification of the open defiance by the Hukbalahaps
against the constituted government, the attempt against the life of President
Roxas and the ruthless depredations committed by the bandits of Leyte, thus
insinuating that a state on lawlessness, rebellion and anarchy would be very
much better than the maladministration of said President and his men.
To top it all, the appellant proclaimed to his readers that he committed
suicide because he had "no power to put under juez de cuchillo all the Roxas
people now in power." Knowing, that the expression Juez de Cuchillo means
to the ordinary layman as the Law of the Knife, a "summary and arbitrary
execution by the knife", the idea intended by the appellant to be conveyed
was no other than bloody, violent and unpeaceful methods to free the
government from the administration of Roxas and his men.
The meaning, intent and effect of the article involves maybe a question of
fact, making the findings of the court of appeals conclusive upon us. 9
Anyway, it is clear that the letter suggested the decapitation or assassination
of all Roxas officials (at least members of the Cabinet and a majority of
Legislators including the Chief Executive himself). And such suggestion
clinches the case against appellant.
In 1922 Isaac Perez of Sorsogon while discussing political matter with several
persons in a public place uttered theses words: "Filipinos must use bolos for
cutting off Wood's head" referring to the them Governor-General, Leonard
Wood. Perez was found guilty of inciting to sedition in a judgment of this court
published in Volume 45 of the Philippine Reports. That precedent is undeniably
opposite. Note that the opinion was penned by Mr. Justice Malcolm probably
of speech. Adopting his own words we could say, "Here the person maligned
by the accused is the Chief Executive of the Philippine Islands. His official
position, like the President of the United States and other high office, under
form of government, instead of affording immunity from promiscuous
comment, seems rather to invite abusive attacks. But in this instance, the
attack on the President passes the furthest bounds of free speech and
common decency. More than a figure of speech was intended. There is a
seditious tendency in the words used, which could easily produce disaffection
among the people and a state of feeling incompatible with a disposition to
remain loyal to the Government and obedient to the laws."
The accused must therefore be found guilty as charged. And there being no
question as to the legality of the penalty imposed on him, the decision will be
affirmed with costs.

G.R. No. L-34022 March 24, 1972


MANUEL MARTINEZ Y FESTIN petitioner,
vs.
THE HONORABLE JESUS P. MORFE OF THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF MANILA,
and THE CITY WARDEN OF MANILA, respondents.
G.R. Nos. L-34046-7 March 24, 1972
FERNANDO BAUTISTA, SR., petitioner,
vs.
HON. FRANCISCO MA. CHANCO, Presiding Judge, Court of First Instance of
Baguio and Benguet, Second Judicial District, Branch III, et al., respondents.
Estanislao A. Fernandez, Amelito Mutuc, Reynaldo Villar, Alberto K. Jamir
Anacleto Badoy, Jr., Emmanuel Santos, Sedfrey Ordoez, Antonio Tupaz,
Arturo Pacificador, Dominador F. Carillo, Antonio Borromeo, Augusto Cesar
Espiritu, Dandy K. Tupaz and Eugene A. Tan for petitioner Manuel Martinez Y
Festin.
Remulla, Perez and Estrella, Fernando P. Cabato and Gaudencio N. Floresca
for petitioner Fernando Bautista Sr.
Office of the Solicitor General Felix Q. Antonio, Assistant Solicitor General
Bernardo P. Pardo, Assistant Solicitor General Rosalio A. de Leon and Solicitor
Vicente V. Mendoza for respondents Judges.
Kaulayao V. Faylona, Manuel Imbong, Jacobo Gonzales, Fernando P.
Camaya, Jose Tablizo, Romeo Kahayon and Tomas P. Matic, Jr. for
respondents Pulido and Tamayo.
FERNANDO, J.:p
The question raised in these certiorari proceedings, one to which no
authoritative answer has been yielded by past decisions, is the scope to be
accorded the constitutional immunity of senators and representatives from
arrest during their attendance at the sessions of Congress and in going to and
returning from the same except in cases of treason, felony and breach of the
peace. 1 Petitioners Manuel Martinez y Festin 2 and Fernando Bautista, Sr., 3 as
delegate of the present Constitutional Convention would invoke what they
consider to be the protection of the above constitutional provision, if
considered in connection with Article 145 of the Revised Penal Code
penalizing a public officer or employee who shall, during the sessions of
Congress, "arrest or search any member thereof, except in case such member
has committed a crime punishable under [such] Code by a penalty higher
than prision mayor." 4 For under the Constitutional Convention Act, 5 delegates
are entitled to the parliamentary immunities of a senator or a representative. 6
Both petitioners are facing criminal prosecutions, the information filed against
petitioner Manuel Martinez y Festin for falsification of a public document and
two informations against petitioner Fernando Bautista, Sr. for violation of the
Revised Election Code. The Solicitor General, on behalf of the respondent
Judges in the above proceedings, 7 would dispute such a contention on the
ground that the constitutional provision does not cover any criminal
prosecution being merely an exemption from arrest in civil cases, the logical
inference being that insofar as a provision of the Revised Penal Code would

expand such an immunity, it would be unconstitutional or at the very least


inoperative. A careful study of the above constitutional provision, in the light
of the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention, adopting the then wellsettled principle under American law and of the purposes to be served by
such an immunity, persuade us that the stand taken by the Solicitor General is
correct. These certiorari proceedings cannot prosper.
The facts in both petitions for certiorari are not in dispute. Petitioner Martinez y
Festin 8 alleged that on June 10, 1971, an information against him for
falsification a public document was filed. Its basis was his stating under oath in
his certificate of candidacy for delegate to that Constitutional Convention
that he was born on June 20, 1945, when in truth and in fact he knew that he
was born on June 20, 1946. There was on July 9, 1971, a special appearance
on his part questioning the power of respondent Judge to issue a warrant of
arrest and seeking that the information be quashed. On the same day, there
was an order from the lower court suspending the release of the warrant of
arrest until it could act on such motion to quash. Then came on July 22, 1971
an omnibus motion from him, with previous leave of court, to quash the
information, to quash the warrant of arrest, or to hold in abeyance further
proceeding in the case. It was not favorably acted on. On August 21, 1971,
respondent Judge rendered an order denying the petitioner omnibus motion
to quash. In his belief that the information and the warrant of arrest in this case
are null and void, the petitioner did not post the required bond. He was
arrested by the City Sheriff in the afternoon of September 6, 1971. At the time
of the filing of the petition he was confined at the City Jail in the custody of
respondent City Warden of Manila. He was on his way to attend the plenary
session of the Constitutional Convention. Such arrest was against his will and
over his protest. He was arraigned on September 9, 1971. There was at such a
time a motion by petitioner to reconsider the court's order of August 21, 1971.
It was denied in open court. On the very same day, he filed the petition for
certiorari and habeas corpus, but having been released thereafter on bail on
September 11, 1971, the petition is now in the nature solely of a certiorari
proceeding. 9
As for petitioner Fernando Bautista, Sr., 10 it was alleged that he is a duly
elected and proclaimed delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention. He
took his oath of office and assumed the functions of such office on June 1,
1971. He has continued since then to perform the duties and discharge the
responsibilities of a delegate. Two criminal complaints, docketed as Criminal
Cases Nos. 146(57) and 148(58), were directly filed with the Court of First
lnstance of Baguio and Benguet by a certain Moises Maspil, a defeated
delegate-aspirant who placed 15th in the order of votes garnered against the
petitioner, and his co-accused for alleged violation of Section 51 of the
Revised Penal Code in that they gave and distributed free of charge food,
drinks and cigarettes at two public meetings, one held in Sablan and the
other in Tuba, both towns being in Province of Benguet. Respondent Presiding
Judge conducted the preliminary investigation of said criminal complaints.
Thereafter on August 7, 1971, he issued an order for the filing of the
corresponding informations. Before a warrant of arrest in said criminal cases

could be issued, petitioner in a motion of August 14, 1971 invoked the privilege
of immunity from arrest and search, pursuant to Section 15 of Republic Act No.
6132, otherwise known as the 1971 Constitutional Convention Act, in relation
to Sec. 15, Article VI of the Constitution and Article 145 of the Revised Penal
Code. Respondent Judge, on the very same day, issued an order, holding in
abeyance the issuance of a warrant of arrest and setting the hearing of said
Motion on August 23, 1971. As scheduled on August 23, 1971, there was a
hearing on such motion. Petitioner however did not prevail notwithstanding his
vigorous insistence on his claim for immunity, a warrant of arrest being ordered
on the same day. On September 11, 1971, there was a motion to quash such
order of arrest filed by petitioner. He was unsuccessful, respondent Judge, in
an order of said date, ordering his immediate arrest. His petition for certiorari
and prohibition was filed with this Court on September 15, 1971. 11
What is thus sought by petitioners Martinez y Festin and Bautista, Sr. is that the
respective warrants of arrest issued against them be quashed on the claim
that by virtue of the parliamentary immunity they enjoy as delegates,
ultimately traceable to Section 15 of Article VI of the Constitution as construed
together with Article 145 of the Revised Penal Code, they are immune from
arrest. In the case of petitioner Martinez y Festin, he is proceeded against for
falsification of a public document punishable by prision mayor. 12 As for
petitioner Bautista, Sr., the penalty that could be imposed for each of the
Revised Election Code offense, of which he is charged, is not higher than
prision mayor. 13
The respondents in the above petitions were required to answer by resolutions
of this Court issued on September 10 and September 20, 1971, respectively. An
answer on behalf of respondent Judge Jesus P. Morfe in the case of petitioner
Martinez y Festin was filed on September 20, 1971 with an answer in
intervention filed by respondent Executive Sheriff of Manila and the Chief of
Warrant Division likewise filed on the same date. His petition was duly heard on
September 14, 1971, Delegate Estanislao A. Fernandez vehemently pressing his
claim to immunity. Thereafter on October 29, 1971, a memorandum,
comprehensive in scope and persuasive in its analysis of the constitutional
question presented, was filed on behalf of respondent Judge Morfe by
Solicitor General Felix Q. Antonio, two Assistants Solicitors General Bernardo P.
Pardo and Rosalio A. de Leon as well as Solicitor Vicente V. Mendoza. A
memorandum on behalf of President Diosdado Macapagal of the
Constitutional Convention, who was given permission to submit such a
pleading, was submitted on March 8, 1972 by the Committee on Legal Affairs
of the Constitutional Convention. 14
As for the petitions of Bautista, Sr., the answer on behalf of respondent Judge
was filed on September 29, 1971. When the matter was heard on October 14,
1971, he appeared through counsel, Delegate Juanito R. Remulla, while
respondent Judge was represented by Assistant Solicitor General Rosalio A. de
Leon and Solicitor Vicente V. Mendoza. With the submission, on October 30,
1971, of an able memorandum on behalf of respondent judge, again, by the
same counsel from the Office of the Solicitor General as well as a carefullyprepared memorandum of petitioner Bautista, Sr., on December 1, 1971, the

matter was deemed submitted for adjudication.


As noted at the outset, certiorari does not lie to quash the warrants of arrest
issued against petitioner Martinez y Festin as well as petitioner Bautista, Sr. Their
reliance on the constitutional provision which for them should be
supplemented by what was provided for in the Revised Penal Code is futile.
There is no justification then for granting their respective pleas.
No other conclusion is allowable consistently with the plain and explicit
command of the Constitution. As is made clear in Section 15 of Article VI, the
immunity from arrest does not cover any prosecution for treason, felony and
breach of the peace. Treason exists when the accused levies war against the
Republic or adheres to its enemies giving them aid and comfort. 15 A felony is
act or omission punishable by law. 16 Breach of the peace covers any offense
whether defined by the Revised Penal Code or any special statute. It is a wellsettled principle in public law that the public peace must be maintained and
any breach thereof renders one susceptible to prosecution. Certainly then
from the explicit language of the Constitution, even without its controlling
interpretation as shown by the debates of the Constitutional Convention to be
hereinafter discussed, petitioners cannot justify their claim to immunity. Nor
does Article 145 of the Revised Penal Code come to their rescue. Such a
provision that took effect in 1932 could not survive after the Constitution
became operative on November 15, 1935. As will be shown, the repugnancy
between such an expansion of the congressional immunity and the plain
command of the Constitution is too great to be overcome, even on the
assumption that the penalty to which a public officer will be subjected in the
event that he did arrest one entitled thereto for an offense punishable by less
than reclusion temporal suffices to widen its scope. This is so considering not
only the history of such a Constitutional grant of immunity but also its basic
purpose and objective.
1. Even if the provision granting the legislative immunity of freedom from arrest
were clothed in language less clear, its history precludes any other
interpretation. As submitted to the Constitutional Convention of 1934, the draft
proposal was worded as follows: "The Members of the National Assembly shall
in all cases except treason, open disturbance of public order, or other offense
punishable by death or imprisonment of not less than six years, be privileged
from arrest during their attendance at the sessions of the National Assembly,
and in going to and returning from the same." On December 4, 1934, upon its
being considered by the Convention, an amendment was proposed by
Delegate Aldeguer so that it would read: "The Members of the National
Assembly shall in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace,
be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the sessions of the
National Assembly, and in going and returning from the same." What was
sought by him was to retain the provision of the Philippine Autonomy Act of
1916, with phraseology identical to that found in the American Constitution.
He defended his proposal thus: "My amendment is not new. It is the same
phrase granting parliamentary immunity to the members of the Parliament of
England. It is the same phrase granting parliamentary immunity to members of
Congress. It is the same phrase granting parliamentary immunity to members

of the various state legislators of the Union. Now, in reading the draft proposed
by the Sub-Committee of Seven, I found out that it is a broad rule. Mr.
President, the question is not whether we should grant privilege of immunity to
the members of the National Assembly ... " 17 He was interrupted by a point of
order raised, but he was allowed to continue. He went on: "As I was saying, Mr.
President and Gentlemen of the Convention, the draft gives to the member of
the National Assembly more privileges than what the nature of the office
demands. My question is that if the members of the Congress of the United
States, if the members of the Parliament, if the members of the various State
Legislatures were able to perform their functions as members of law-making
bodies with the privileges and immunities granted by the phrase "breach of
peace." I wonder why the members of the future National Assembly cannot
perform their duties with the same limitations and with the same privileges. Mr.
President and members the Convention, the history of parliamentary immunity
shows that it was never intended to exempt members of the National
Assembly from criminal arrest. When American sovereignty was implanted into
these Islands, a new theory of government was implanted too. This theory of
government places every man equal before the eyes of the law. The grant of
certain privileges to any set of persons means the abrogation of this principle
of equality before the eyes of the law. Another reason, Mr. President and
Members of the Convention, is this: The State Legislature is the agent of the
State. The power or the right of the Legislature to claim privileges is based on
the right of self-preservation. The right of the State to claim privileges is due to
the fact that it has the right to carry its function without obstacle. But we must
also remember that any Legislature is but the agent of the State. The State is
the principal. Any crime committed, whether such crime is committed by a
colorum or by a gangster, endangers the State. Giving more privileges to an
agent, which is the Legislature, at the expense of the principal, which is the
State, is not a sound policy. So that, Mr. President, and Members of the
Convention, believing that under the phrase "breach of peace", our future
members of the Assembly can very well perform the duties incumbent upon
them. I submit my amendment for the consideration of this Convention." 18
Delegate Manuel Roxas on behalf of the sub-committee of seven did not
object. As a matter of fact, he was for such amendment. He considered it
"well-founded" and was for such immunity complying "with the wording of the
[Philippine Autonomy Act] in this particular." 19 The Convention readily
approved the amendment by acclamation.
It does not admit of doubt therefore that the immunity from arrest is granted
by the Constitution was understood in the same sense it has in American law,
there being a similar provision in the American Constitution. 20 Its authoritative
interpretation in the United States was supplied by the Williamson case, a 1908
decision. 21
According to the then Justice, later Chief Justice, White who penned the
opinion, "the term "treason, felony and breach of the peace," as used in the
constitutional provision relied upon, excepts from the operation of the
privilege all criminal offenses, ... " 22 He traced its historical background thus: "A
brief consideration of the subject of parliamentary privilege in England will, we

think, show the source whence the expression "treason felony, and breach of
the peace" was drawn, and leave no doubt that the words were used in
England for the very purpose of excluding all crimes from the operation of the
parliamentary privilege, and therefore to leave that privilege to apply only to
prosecutions of a civil nature." 23 Story's treatise on the Constitution was
likewise cited, his view on the matter being quite emphatic: "Now, as all crimes
are offenses against the peace, the phrase "breach of the peace" would
seem to extend to all indictable offenses, as well those which are in fact
attended with force and violence, as those which are only constructive
breaches of the peace of the government, inasmuch as they violate its good
order." 24
As far as American constitutional law is concerned, both Burdick 25 and
Willoughby 26 could use practically identical appraising such immunity, the
former stating that it "is not now of great importance" and the latter affirming
that it "is of little importance as arrest of the person is now almost never
authorized except for crimes which fall within the classes exempt from the
priviledge." The state of the American law on this point is aptly summarizedby
Cooley: "By common parliamentary law, the members of the legislature are
privileged from arrest on civil process during the session of that body, and for a
reasonable time before and after, to enable them to go to and return from
the same." 27 A prosecution for a criminal offense, is thus excluded from this
grant of immunity. So it should be Philippine law, if deference were to be paid
to what was explicitly agreed upon in the Constitutional Convention.
2. Would it make a difference however in the availability of the writs of
certiorari sought by petitioners considering that Article 145 of the Revised
Penal Code would impose upon any public officer or employee who shall,
while the Congress is in regular or special session, arrest or charge any
member thereof except in case such member has committed a crime
punishable by penalty higher than prision mayor? 28 The assumption here
indulged is that the effect of the above in the Revised Penal Code was to
expand the grant of parliamentary immunity under the Philippine Autonomy
Act, although its literal language does not go that far. It is to be remembered,
however, that it took effect on January 1, 1932 before the enforcement of the
present Constitution in 1935. Considering that both under the then organic
law, the Philippine Autonomy Act and equally so under the present
Constitution, such a more generous treatment accorded legislators exempting
them from arrest even if warranted under a penal law, the question as to
whether it did survive becomes unavoidable. It is our opinion that the answer
must be in the negative.
The Constitution is equally explicit on the following point: "All laws of the
Philippine Islands shall continue in force until the inauguration of the
Commonwealth of the Philippines; thereafter, such laws shall remain
operative, unless inconsistent with this Constitution until amended, altered,
modified, or repealed by the Congress of the Philippines, and all references in
such laws to the government or officials of the Philippines shall be construed,
in so far as applicable, to refer to the Government and corresponding officials
under this Constitution." 29 In People v. Linsangan 30 decided in December,

1935, barely a month after the Constitution took effect, the continued
applicability of Section 2718 of the Revised Administrative Code that would
allow the prosecution of a person who remains delinquent in the payment of
cedula tax, 31 this Court, in its opinion thru the pen of the then Justice, later
Chief Justice, Abad Santos, after setting forth that the Constitution prohibits
the imprisonment for debt on non-payment of poll tax, 32 held: "It seems too
clear to require demonstration that section 2718 of the Revised Administrative
Code is inconsistent with section 1, clause 12, of Article III of the Constitution in
that, while the former authorizes imprisonment for non-payment of the poll or
cedula tax, the latter forbids it. It follows that upon the inauguration of the
Government of the Commonwealth, said section 2718 of the Revised
Administrative Code became inoperative, and no judgment of conviction
can be based thereon." 33
So it was in De los Santos v. Mallare. 34 Again under the provision of the
Revised Administrative Code the President could remove at pleasure any of
the appointive officials under the Charter of the City of Baguio. 35 Relying on
such a provision, the then President Quirino removed petitioner De los Santos
who was appointed City Engineer Baguio of on July 16, 1946, and chose in his
place respondent Gil R. Mallare. The Revised Administrative Code was a
legislation that dates back to 1917, 36 eighteen years before the Constitution
prohibited any officer or employee in the civil service being removed or
suspended except for cause as provided by law. 37 Again this Court, in the
light of aforecited provision in an opinion of Justice Tuason, held: "So, unlike
legislation that is passed in defiance of the Constitution, assertive and
menacing, the questioned part of section 2545 of the Revised Administrative
Code does not need a positive declaration of nullity by the court to put it out
of the way. To all intents and purposes, it is non-existent, outlawed and
eliminated from the statute book by the Constitution itself by express mandate
before the petitioner was appointed." 38 In the language of the constitutional
provision then that portion of Article 145 penalizing a public official or
employee who shall while the Congress is in regular or special session arrest or
search any member thereof except in case he has committed a crime
punishable under the Revised Penal Code by a penalty higher than prision
mayor is declared inoperative.
The above conclusion reached by this Court is bolstered and fortified by
policy considerations. There is, to be sure, a full recognition of the necessity to
have members of Congress, and likewise delegates to the Constitutional
Convention, entitled to the utmost freedom to enable them to discharge their
vital responsibilities, bowing to no other force except the dictates of their
conscience. Necessarily the utmost latitude in free speech should be
accorded them. When it comes to freedom from arrest, however, it would
amount to the creation of a privileged class, without justification in reason, if
notwithstanding their liability for a criminal offense, they would be considered
immune during their attendance in Congress and in going to and returning
from the same. There is likely to be no dissent from the proposition that a
legislator or a delegate can perform his functions efficiently and well, without
the need for any transgression of the criminal law. Should such an unfortunate

event come to pass, he is to be treated like any other citizen considering that
there is a strong public interest in seeing to it that crime should not go
unpunished. To the fear that may be expressed that the prosecuting arm of
the government might unjustly go after legislators belonging to the minority, it
suffices to answer that precisely all the safeguards thrown around an accused
by the Constitution, solicitous of the rights of an individual, would constitute an
obstacle to such an attempt at abuse of power. The presumption of course is
that the judiciary would main independent. It is trite to say that in each and
every manifestation of judicial endeavor, such a virtue is of the essence.
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari and habeas corpus by Delegate
Manuel Martinez by Festin in L-34022 and the petitions for certiorari and
prohibition by Delegate Fernando Bautista, Sr. in L-34046 and L-34047 are
hereby dismissed. Without pronouncement as to costs.

Republic of the Philippines Congress of the Philippines


Metro Manila
Tenth Congress
Republic Act No. 8294
June 6, 1997
AN ACT AMENDING THE PROVISIONS OF PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1866, AS
AMENDED, ENTITLED "CODIFYING THE LAWS ON ILLEGAL/UNLAWFUL
POSSESSION, MANUFACTURE, DEALING IN, ACQUISITION OR DISPOSITION OF
FIREARMS, AMMUNITION OR EXPLOSIVES OR INSTRUMENTS USED IN THE
MANUFACTURE OF FIREARMS, AMMUNITION OR EXPLOSIVES, AND IMPOSING
STIFFER PENALTIES FOR CERTAIN VIOLATIONS THEREOF, AND FOR RELEVANT
PURPOSES."
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in
Congress assembled::
Section 1. Sec. 1 Presidential Decree No. 1866, as amended, is hereby further
amended to read as follows:
"Sec. 1. Unlawful manufacture, sale, acquisition, disposition or possession of
firearms or ammunition or instruments used or intended to be used in the
manufacture of firearms or ammunition. The penalty of prision correccional
in its maximum period and a fine of not less than Fifteen thousand pesos
(P15,000) shall be imposed upon any person who shall unlawfully
manufacture, deal in, acquire, dispose, or possess any low powered firearm,
such as rimfire handgun, .380 or .32 and other firearm of similar firepower, part
of firearm, ammunition, or machinery, tool or instrument used or intended to
be used in the manufacture of any firearm or ammunition: Provided, That no
other crime was committed.
"The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period and a fine of Thirty
thousand pesos (P30,000) shall be imposed if the firearm is classified as high
powered firearm which includes those with bores bigger in diameter than .38
caliber and 9 millimeter such as caliber .40, .41, .44, .45 and also lesser
calibered firearms but considered powerful such as caliber .357 and caliber
.22 center-fire magnum and other firearms with firing capability of full
automatic and by burst of two or three: Provided, however, That no other
crime was committed by the person arrested.
"If homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm,
such use of an unlicensed firearm shall be considered as an aggravating
circumstance.
"If the violation of this Sec. is in furtherance of or incident to, or in connection
with the crime of rebellion or insurrection, sedition, or attempted coup d'etat,
such violation shall be absorbed as an element of the crime of rebellion, or
insurrection, sedition, or attempted coup d'etat.
"The same penalty shall be imposed upon the owner, president, manager,
director or other responsible officer of any public or private firm, company,
corporation or entity, who shall willfully or knowingly allow any of the firearms
owned by such firm, company, corporation or entity to be used by any person
or persons found guilty of violating the provisions of the preceding paragraphs
or willfully or knowingly allow any of them to use unlicensed firearms or firearms

without any legal authority to be carried outside of their residence in the


course of their employment.
"The penalty of arresto mayor shall be imposed upon any person who shall
carry any licensed firearm outside his residence without legal authority
therefor."
Section 2. Sec. 3 of Presidential Decree No. 1866, as amended, is hereby
further amended to read as follows:
"Sec. 3. Unlawful manufacture, sale, acquisition, disposition or possession of
explosives. The penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period to reclusion
temporal and a fine of not less than Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000) shall be
imposed upon any person who shall unlawfully manufacture, assemble, deal
in, acquire, dispose or possess hand grenade(s), rifle grenade(s), and other
explosives, including but not limited to 'pillbox,' 'molotov cocktail bombs,' 'fire
bombs,' or other incendiary devices capable of producing destructive effect
on contiguous objects or causing injury or death to any person.
"When a person commits any of the crimes defined in the Revised Penal Code
or special laws with the use of the aforementioned explosives, detonation
agents or incendiary devices, which results in the death of any person or
persons, the use of such explosives, detonation agents or incendiary devices
shall be considered as an aggravating circumstance.
"If the violation of this Sec. is in furtherance of, or incident to, or in connection
with the crime of rebellion, insurrection, sedition or attempted coup d'etat,
such violation shall be absorbed as an element of the crimes of rebellion,
insurrection, sedition or attempted coup d'etat.
"The same penalty shall be imposed upon the owner, president, manager,
director or other responsible officer of any public or private firm, company,
corporation or entity, who shall willfully or knowingly allow any of the
explosives owned by such firm, company, corporation or entity, to be used by
any person or persons found guilty of violating the provisions of the preceding
paragraphs."
Section 3. Sec. 5 of Presidential Decree No. 1866, as amended, is hereby
further amended to read as follows:
"Sec. 5. Tampering of firearm's serial number. The penalty of prision
correccional shall be imposed upon any person who shall unlawfully tamper,
change, deface or erase the serial number of any firearm."
Section 4. Sec. 6 of Presidential Decree No. 1866, as amended, is hereby
further amended to read as follows:
"Sec. 6. Repacking or altering the composition of lawfully manufactured
explosives. The penalty of prision correccional shall be imposed upon any
person who shall unlawfully repack, alter or modify the composition of any
lawfully manufactured explosives."
Section 5. Coverage of the Term Unlicensed Firearm. The term unlicensed
firearm shall include:
1) firearms with expired license; or
2) unauthorized use of licensed firearm in the commission of the crime.
Section 6. Rules and regulations. The Department of Justice and the
Department of the Interior and Local Government shall jointly issue, within

ninety (90) days after the approval of this Act, the necessary rules and
regulations pertaining to the administrative aspect of the provisions hereof,
furnishing the Committee on Public Order and Security and the Committee on
Justice and Human Rights of both Houses of Congress copies of such rules and
regulations within thirty (30) days from the promulgation hereof.
Section 7. Separability clause. If, for any reason, any Sec. or provision of this
Act is declared to be unconstitutional or invalid, the other Sec.s or provisions
thereof which are not affected thereby shall continue to be in full force and
effect.
Section 8. Repealing clause. All laws, decrees, orders, rules and regulations
or parts thereof inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby
repealed, amended, or modified accordingly.
Section 9. Effectivity. This Act shall take effect after fifteen (15) days following
its publication in the Official Gazette or in two (2) newspapers of general
circulation.

G.R. Nos. 115008-09 July 24, 1996


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
DANIEL QUIJADA Y CIRCULADO, accused-appellant.
DAVIDE, JR., J.:p
Accused-appellant Daniel Quijada appeals from the decision of 30
September 1993 of Branch 1 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bohol
convicting him of the two offenses separately charged in two informations,
viz., murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code and illegal possession
of firearm in its aggravated from under P.D. No. 1866, and imposing upon him
the penalty of reclusion perpetua for the first crime and an indeterminate
penalty ranging from seventeen years, four months, and one day, as
minimum, to twenty years and one day, as maximum, for the second crime. 1
The appeal was originally assigned to the Third Division of the Court but was
later referred to the Court en banc in view of the problematical issue of
whether to sustain the trial court's judgment in conformity with the doctrine
laid down in People vs. Tac-an, 2 People vs. Tiozon, 3 People vs. Caling, 4
People vs. Jumamoy, 5 People vs. Deunida, 6 People vs. Tiongco, 7 People vs.
Fernandez, 8 and People vs. Somooc 9 or to modify the judgment and convict
the appellant only of illegal possession of firearm in its aggravated form
pursuant to People vs. Barros, 10 which this Court (Second Division) decided on
27 June 1995.
The informations read as follows:
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 8178
That on or about the 30th day of December, 1992, in the municipality of Dauis,
province of Bohol, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the abovenamed accused, with intent to kill and without any justifiable
motive, with treachery and abuse of superior strength, the accused being
then armed with a .38 cal. revolver, while the victim was unarmed, suddenly
attacked the victim without giving the latter the opportunity to defend
himself, and with evident premeditation, the accused having harbored a
grudge against the victim a week prior to the incident of murder, did then and
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and shoot Diosdado
Iroy y Nesnea with the use of the said firearm, hitting the latter on his head and
causing serious injuries which resulted to his death; to the damage and
prejudice of the heirs of the deceased.
Acts committed contrary to the provision of Art. 248 of the Revised Penal
Code, with aggravating circumstance of nighttime being purposely sought for
or taken advantage of by the accused to facilitate the commission of the
crime. 11
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 8179
That on or about the 30th day of December, 1992, in the municipality of Dauis,
province of Bohol, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the abovenamed accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously keep, carry and have in his possession, custody and control a

firearm (hand gun) with ammunition, without first obtaining the necessary
permit or license to possess the said firearm from competent authorities which
firearm was carried by the said accused outside of his residence and was
used by him in committing the crime of Murder with Diosdado Iroy y Nesnea
as the victim; to the damage and prejudice of the Republic of the Philippines.
Acts committed contrary to the provisions of PD No. 1866. 12
Having arisen from the same incident, the cases were consolidated, and joint
hearings were had. The witnesses presented by the prosecution were SPO4
Felipe Nigparanon (Acting Chief of Police of Dauis, Bohol), SPO Gondalino
Inte, Dr. Gregg Julius Sodusta, Rosita Iroy, and Teodula Matalinis. The defense
presented as witnesses Alfred Aranzado, Edwin Nistal, Julius Bonao, Saturnino
Maglupay, and the appellant himself.
The evidence for the prosecution is summarized by the Office of the Solicitor
General in the Brief for the Appellee as follows:
On 25 December 1992, a benefit dance was held at the Basketball Court of
Barangay Tinago, Dauis, Bohol. On this occasion, a fist fight occurred between
Diosdado Iroy and appellant Daniel Quijada as the latter was constantly
annoying and pestering the former's sister Rosita Iroy (TSN, Crim. Cases 8178 &
1879, June 8, 1993, pp. 32-35; August 5, 1993, pp. 14-15).
In the evening of 30 December 1992, another benefit dance/disco was held in
the same place. This benefit dance was attended by Rosita Iroy, Ariel Dano,
Teodora Badayos, Ado Aranzado, Largo Iroy and Diosdado Iroy.
While Rosita Iroy and others were enjoying themselves inside the dancing
area, Diosdado Iroy, Eugene Nesnea and Largo Iroy, who were then sitting at
the plaza (the area where they positioned themselves was duly lighted and
was approximately four mete's from the dancing hall), decided to just watch
the activities in the dance hall directly from the plaza.
After dancing, Rosita Iroy decided to leave and went outside the gate of the
dance area. Subsequently, or around 11:30 of the same night, while facing
the direction of Diosdado Iroy, Rosita Iroy saw appellant surreptitiously
approach her brother Diosdado Iroy from behind. Suddenly, appellant fired his
revolver at Diosdado Iroy, hitting the latter at the back portion of the head.
This caused Rosita Iroy to spontaneously shout that appellant shot her brother;
while appellant, after shooting Diosdado Iroy, ran towards the cornfield.
Diosdado Iroy was immediately rushed by Elmer Nigparanon and Largo Iroy to
the hospital but the injury sustained was fatal. In the meantime, Rosita Iroy
went home and relayed to her parents the unfortunate incident (TSN, Crim.
Case Nos. 8178 & 8179, June 8, 1993, pp. 9-22, inclusive of the preceding
paragraphs).
At around midnight, the incident was reported to then Acting chief of Police
Felipe Nigparanon by Mrs. Alejandra Iroy and her daughter Teodula Matalinis.
The police officer made entries in the police blotter regarding the shooting
and correspondingly, ordered his men to pick up the appellant. But they were
unable to locate appellant on that occasion (TSN, Crim Case Nos. 8178 &
8179, June 9, 1993, pp. 2-6).
In the afternoon of 31 December 1992, appellant, together with his father
Teogenes Quijada went to the police station at Dauis, Bohol. There and then,

appellant was pinpointed by Elenito Nistal and Rosita Iroy as the person who
shot Diosdado Iroy. These facts were entered in the police blotter as Entry No.
1151 (TSN, Crim Case Nos. 8178 & 8179, ibid. p. 14, June 14, 1993, pp. 4-6). 13
The slug was embedded at the midbrain. 14 Diosdado Iroy died of
Cardiorespiratory arrest, secondary to tonsillar herniation, secondary to
massive intracranial hemorrhage, secondary to gunshot wound, 1 cm. left
occipital areas, transecting cerebellum up to midbrain. 15
The firearm used by the appellant in shooting Diosdado Iroy was not licensed.
Per certifications issued on 26 April 1993, the appellant was not a duly licensed
firearm holder as verified from a consolidated list of licensed firearm holders in
the province 16 and was not authorized to carry a firearm outside his
residence. 17
The appellant interposed the defense of alibi, which the trial court rejected
because he was positively identified by prosecution witness Rosita Iroy. It
summarized his testimony in this wise:
Daniel Quijada y Circulado, the accused in the instant cases, declared that in
the afternoon of December 30, 1992 he was in their house. At 6:00 o'clock in
the afternoon he went to Tagbilaran City together with Julius Bonao in a
tricycle No. 250 to solicit passengers. They transported passengers until 10:30
o'clock in the evening. They then proceeded to the Tagbilaran wharf waiting
for the passenger boat Trans Asia Taiwan. Before the arrival of Trans Asia
Taiwan they had a talk with Saturnino Maglopay. They were able to pick up
two passengers for Graham Avenue near La Roca Hotel. They then returned
to the Tagbilaran wharf for the arrival of MV Cebu City that docked at 12:10
past midnight. They had a talk with Saturnino Maglopay who was waiting for
his auntie scheduled to arrive abroad MV Cebu City. They were not able to
pick up passengers which, as a consequence, they went home. They had on
their way home passengers for the Agors Public Market. They arrived at the
house of Julian Bonao at Bil-isan, Pangalao, Bohol at 3:00 o'clock in the
morning of December 31, 1992 where he passed the night. He went home to
Mariveles, Dauis, Bohol at 9:00 o'clock in the morning. 18
The trial court gave full faith and credit to the version of the prosecution and
found the appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crimes charged
and sentenced him accordingly. It appreciated the presence of the
qualifying circumstance of treachery considering that the appellant shot the
victim at the back of the head while the latter was watching the dance. The
dispositive portion of the decision dated 30 September 1993 reads as follows:
PREMISES CONSIDERED, in Criminal Case No. 8178, the court finds the accused
Daniel Quijada guilty of the crime of murder punished under Article 248 of the
Revised Penal Code and hereby sentences him to suffer an imprisonment of
Reclusion Perpetua, with the accessories of the law and to pay the cost.
In Criminal Case No. 8179, the Court finds the accused Daniel Quijada guilty
of the crime of Qualified Illegal Possession of Firearm and Ammunition
punished under Sec. 1 of RA No. 1866 as amended, and hereby sentences
him to suffer an indeterminate sentence from Seventeen (17) years Four (4)
months and One (1) day, as minimum, to Twenty (20) years and One (1) day,
as maximum, with the accessories of the law and to pay the cost.

The slug or bullet which was extracted from the brain of the back portion of
the head of the victim Diosdado Iroy is hereby ordered forfeited in favor of the
government.
It appearing that the accused Daniel Quijada has undergone preventive
imprisonment he is entitled to the full time he has undergone preventive
imprisonment to be deducted from the term of sentence if he has executed a
waiver otherwise he will only be entitled to 4/5 of the time he has undergone
preventive imprisonment to be deducted from his term of sentence if he has
not executed a waiver. 19
On 29 October 1993, after discovering that it had inadvertently omitted in the
decision an award of civil indemnity and other damages in Criminal Case No.
8178, the trial court issued an order directing the appellant to pay the parents
of the victim the amount of P50,000.00 as indemnity for the death of their son
and P10,000.00 for funeral expenses. 20 The order was to form an integral part
of the decision.
The decision was promulgated on 29 October 1993. 21
The appellant forthwith interposed the present appeal, and in his Brief, he
contends that the trial court erred
I
. . . IN CONVICTING ACCUSED-APPELLANT AND GIVING CREDENCE TO THE
TESTIMONY OF PROSECUTION WITNESSES ROSITA IROY AND FELIPE
NIGPARANON.
II
. . . IN NOT CONSIDERING THE TESTIMONIES OF DEFENSE WITNESSES EDWIN
NISTAL AND ALFRED ARANSADO, AND IN DISREGARDING THE PICTORIAL
EXHIBITS OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT PARTICULARLY THE RELATIVE POSITIONS
OF DIOSDADO IROY, ROSITA IROY, EDWIN NISTAL, AND ALFRED ARANZADO.
III
. . . IN FAILING TO CONSIDER THAT PROSECUTION WITNESSES ROSITA IROY AND
SPO4 FELIPE NIGPARANON HAD MOTIVES IN FALSELY TESTIFYING AGAINST
ACCUSED-APPELLANT. 22
The appellant then submits that the issue in this case boils down to the identity
of the killer of Diosdado Iroy. To support his stand that the killer was not
identified, he attacks the credibility of prosecution witnesses Rosita Iroy and
SPO4 Felipe Nigparanon. He claims that the former had a motive "to put him in
a bad light" and calls our attention to her direct testimony that her brother
Diosdado, the victim, boxed him on the night of 25 December 1992 because
he allegedly "bothered her." He further asserts that Rosita could not have seen
the person who shot Diosdado considering their respective positions,
particularly Rosita who, according to defense witnesses Nistal and Aranzado,
was still inside the dancing area and ran towards the crime scene only after
Diosdado was shot. And, the appellant considers it as suppression of evidence
when the prosecution did not present as witnesses Diosdado's companions
who were allegedly seated with Diosdado when he was shot.
As to SPO4 Nigparanon, the appellant intimates improper motives in that the
said witnesses is a neighbor of the Iroys, and when he testified, a case for
arbitrary detention had already been filed against him by the appellant. The

appellant further claims of alleged omissions and unexplained entries in the


police blotter.
Finally, the appellant wants us to favorably consider his defense of alibi which,
according to him, gained strength because of the lack of evidence on the
identity of the killer. Furthermore, he stresses that his conduct in voluntarily
going to the police station after having been informed that he, among many
others, was summoned by the police is hardly the actuation of the perpetrator
of the killing of Diosdado Iroy specially so if Rosita Iroy's claim is to be
believed that moments after the shooting she shouted that Daniel Quijada
shot Diosdado Iroy.
In its Appellee's Brief, the People refutes every argument raised by the
appellant and recommends that we affirm in toto the challenged decision.
After a careful scrutiny of the records and evaluation of the evidence
adduced by the parties, we find this appeal to be absolutely without merit.
The imputation of ill-motive on the part of Rosita Iroy and the basis therefor
hardly persuade. The appellant was the one who was boxed by and lost to
Diosdado Iroy in their fight on the night of 25 December 1992. It is then logical
and consistent with human experience that it would be the appellant who
would have forthwith entertained a grudge, if not hatred, against Diosdado.
No convicting evidence was shown that Rosita had any reason to falsely
implicate the appellant in the death of her brother Diosdado.
The claim that Rosita could not have seen who shot her brother Diosdado
because, as testified to by defense witnesses Nistal and Aranzado, she was
inside the dancing hall and rushed to her brother only after the latter was shot
is equally baseless. The following testimony of Rosita shows beyond cavil that
she saw the assailant:
Q You said that you were initially dancing inside the dancing place and you
went out, about what time did you get out?
A 11:00 o'clock.
Q And you were standing about two (2) meters from Diosdado Iroy until 11:30
when the incident happened?
A Yes I was standing.
Q And where did you face, you were facing Diosdado Iroy or the dancing
area?
A I was intending to go near my brother. I was approaching and getting near
going to my brother Diosdado Iroy and while in the process I saw Daniel
Quijada shot my brother Diosdado Iroy. 23
xxx xxx xxx
Q And in your estimate, how far was your brother Diosdado Iroy while he was
sitting at the plaza to the dancing place?
A More or less four (4) meters distance.
COURT:
From the dancing hall?
A Yes, your honor.
Q And in your observation, was the place where Diosdado Iroy was sitting
lighted or illuminated?
A Yes, sir.

Q What kind of light illuminated the place?


A I do not know what kind of light but it was lighted.
Q Was it an electric light?
A It is electric light coming from a bulb.
Q Where is that electric bulb that illuminated the place located?
A It was placed at the gate of the dancing place and the light from the
house.
Q You said gate of the dancing place, you mean the dancing place was
enclosed at that time and there was a gate, an opening?
A Yes, sir.
Q What material was used to enclose the dancing place?
A Bamboo.
Q And how far was the bulb which was placed near the entrance of the
dancing place to the place where Diosdado Iroy was sitting?
A Five (5) meters.
Q You mentioned also that there was a light coming from the house, now
whose house was that?
A The house of spouses Fe and Berto, I do not know the family name.
Q Was the light coming from the house of spouses Fe and Berto an electric
light?
A Yes, sir.
Q And in your estimate, how far was the source of light of the house of Fe and
Berto to the place where Diosdado Iroy was sitting?
A About six (6) meters distance. 24
xxx xxx xxx
Q What was the color of the electric bulb in the gate of the dancing place?
A The white bulb. 25
The trial court disbelieved the testimony of Nistal and Aranzado. It explicitly
declared:
The factual findings of the Court in the instant case is anchored principally in ".
. . observing the attitude and deportment of witnesses while listening to them
speak" (People vs. Magaluna, 205, SCRA 266).
thereby indicating that on the basis of the witnesses' deportment and manner
of testifying, the declarations of Nistal and Aranzado failed to convince the
trial court that they were telling the truth. Settled is the rule that the factual
findings of the trial court, especially on the credibility of witnesses, are
accorded great weight and respect. For, the trial court has the advantage of
observing the witnesses through the different indicators of truthfulness or
falsehood, such as the angry flush of an insisted assertion or the sudden pallor
of a discovered lie or the tremulous mutter of a reluctant answer or the
forthright tone of a ready reply; 26 or the furtive glance, the blush of conscious
shame, the hesitation, the sincere of the flippant or sneering tone, the heat,
the calmness, the yarn, the sigh, the candor or lack of it, the scant or full
realization of the solemnity of an oath, the carriage and mien. 27 The
appellant has miserably failed to convince us that we must depart from this
rule.
Neither are we persuaded by the claimed suppression of evidence

occasioned by the non-presentation as prosecution witnesses any of the


companions of Diosdado who were seated with him when he was shot. In the
first place, the said companions could not have seen from their back the
person who suddenly shot Diosdado. In the second place, the testimony of
the companions would, at the most, only corroborate that of Rosita Iroy.
Besides, there is no suggestion at all that the said companions were not
available to the appellant. It is settled that the presumption in Section 3 (e),
Rule 131 of the Rules of Court that evidence willfully suppressed would be
adverse if produced does not apply when the testimony of the witness is
merely corroborative or where the witness is available to the accused. 28
The alleged improper motive on the part of SPO4 Nigparanon simply because
he is a neighbor of the Iroy's remains purely speculative, as no evidence was
offered to establish that such a relationship affected SPO4 Nigparanon's
objectivity. As a police officer, he enjoyed in his favor the presumption of
regularity in the performance of his official duty. 29 As to the alleged omissions
and unexplained entries in the police blotter, the same were sufficiently
clarified by SPO4 Nigparanon.
The defense of alibi interposed by the appellant deserves scant consideration.
He was positively identified by a credible witness. It is a fundamental judicial
dictum that the defense of alibi cannot prevail over the positive identification
of the accused. 30 Besides, for that defense to prosper it is not enough to
prove that the accused was somewhere else when the crime was committed;
he must also demonstrate that it was physically impossible for him to have
been at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission. 31 As testified to
by defense witness Julian Bonao, the Tagbilaran wharf, where the appellant
said he was, is only about eight to nine kilometers away from the crime scene
and it would take only about thirty minutes to traverse the distance with the
use of a tricycle. 32 It was, therefore, not physically impossible for the appellant
to have been at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission.
Finally, the appellant asserts that if he were the killer of Diosdado Iroy, he
would not have voluntarily proceeded to the police station. This argument is
plain sophistry. The law does not find unusual the voluntary surrender of
offenders; it even considers such act as a mitigating circumstance. 33
Moreover, non-flight is not conclusive proof of innocence. 34
The evidence for the prosecution further established with moral certainty that
the appellant had no license to possess or carry a firearm. The firearm then
that he used in shooting Diosdado Iroy was unlicensed. He, therefore,
committed the crime of aggravated illegal possession of firearm under the
second paragraph of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866, which reads:
Sec. 1. Unlawful Manufacture, Sale, Acquisition, Disposition or Possession of
Firearms, Ammunition or Instruments Used or Intended to be Used in the
Manufacture of Firearms or Ammunition The penalty of reclusion temporal in
its maximum period to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon any person
who shall unlawfully manufacture, deal in, acquire, dispose or possess any
firearm, part of firearm, ammunition or machinery, tool or instrument used or
intended to be used in the manufacture of any firearm or ammunition.
If homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm, the

penalty of death shall be imposed.


In light of the doctrine enunciated in People vs. Tac-an, 35 and reiterated in
People vs. Tiozon, 36 People vs. Caling, 37 People vs. Jumamoy, 38 People vs.
Deunida, 39 People vs. Tiongco, 40 People vs. Fernandez, 41 and People vs.
Somooc, 42 that one who kills another with the use of an unlicensed firearm
commits two separate offenses of (1) either homicide or murder under the
Revised Penal Code, and (2) aggravated illegal possession of firearm under
the second paragraph of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866, we sustain the decision of
the trial court finding the appellant guilty of two separate offenses of murder
in Criminal Case No. 8178 and of aggravated illegal possession of firearm in
Criminal Case No. 8179.
Although Tac-an and Tiozon relate more to the issue of whether there is a
violation of the constitutional proscription against double jeopardy if an
accused is prosecuted for homicide or murder and for aggravated illegal
possession of firearm, they at the same time laid down the rule that these are
separate offenses, with the first punished under the Revised Penal Code and
the second under a special law; hence, the constitutional bar against double
jeopardy will not apply. We observed in Tac-an:
It is elementary that the constitutional right against double jeopardy protects
one against a second or later prosecution for the same offense, and that
when the subsequent information charges another and different offense,
although arising from the same act or set of acts, there is no prohibited double
jeopardy. In the case at bar, it appears to us quite clear that the offense
charged in Criminal Case No. 4007 is that of unlawful possession of an
unlicensed firearm penalized under a special statute, while the offense
charged in Criminal Case No. 4012 was that of murder punished under the
Revised Penal Code. It would appear self-evident that these two (2) offenses
in themselves are quite different one from the other, such that in principle, the
subsequent filing of Criminal Case No. 4012 is not to be regarded as having
placed appellant in a prohibited second jeopardy.
And we stressed that the use of the unlicensed firearm cannot serve to
increase the penalty for homicide or murder; however, the killing of a person
with the use of an unlicensed firearm, by express provision of P.D. No. 1866,
shall increase the penalty for illegal possession of firearm.
In Tiozon, we stated:
It may be loosely said that homicide or murder qualifies the offense penalized
in said Section 1 because it is a circumstance which increases the penalty. It
does not, however, follow that the homicide or murder is absorbed in the
offense; otherwise, an anomalous absurdity results whereby a more serious
crime defined and penalized in the Revised Penal Code is absorbed by a
statutory offense, which is just a malum prohibitum. The rationale for the
qualification, as implied from the exordium of the decree, is to effectively
deter violations of the laws on firearms and to stop the "upsurge of crimes
vitally affecting public order and safety due to the proliferation of illegally
possessed and manufactured firearms, . . . " In fine then, the killing of a person
with the use of an unlicensed firearm may give rise to separate prosecutions
for (a) violation of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866 and (b) violation of either Article

248 (Murder) or Article 249 (Homicide) of the Revised Penal Code. The
accused cannot plead one as a bar to the other; or, stated otherwise, the rule
against double jeopardy cannot be invoked because the first is punished by a
special law while the second, homicide or murder, is punished by the Revised
Penal Code.
In People vs. Doriguez [24 SCRA 163, 171], We held:
It is a cardinal rule that the protection against double jeopardy may be
invoked only for the same offense or identical offenses. A simple act may
offend against two (or more entirely distinct and unrelated provisions of law,
and if one provision requires proof of an additional act or element which the
other does not, an acquittal or conviction or a dismissal of the information
under one does not bar prosecution under the other. Phrased elsewise, where
two different laws (or articles of the same code) defines two crimes, prior
jeopardy as to one of them is not obstacle to a prosecution of the other,
although both offenses arise from the same fact, if each crime involves some
important act which is not an essential element of the other.
In People vs. Bacolod, [89 Phil. 621], from the act of firing a shot from a submachine gun which caused public panic among the people present and
physical injuries to one, informations of physical injuries through reckless
imprudence and for serious public disturbance were filed. Accused pleaded
guilty and was convicted in the first and he sought to dismiss the second on
the ground of double jeopardy. We ruled:
The protection against double jeopardy is only for the same offense. A simple
act may be an offense against two different provisions of law and if one
provision requires proof of an additional fact which the other does not, an
acquittal or conviction under one does not bar prosecution under the other.
Since the informations were for separate offense[s] the first against a person
and the second against public peace and order one cannot be pleaded
as a bar to the other under the rule or double jeopardy.
In Caling, we explicitly opined that a person charged with aggravated illegal
possession of firearm under the second paragraph of Section 1 of P.D. No.
1866 can also be separately charged with and convicted of homicide or
murder under the Revised Penal Code and punished accordingly. Thus:
It seems that the Court a quo did indeed err in believing that there is such a
thing as "the special complex crime of Illegal Possession of Unlicensed Firearm
Used in Homicide as provided for and defined under the 2nd paragraph of
Sec. 1 of P.D. 1866 as amended," and declaring Caling guilty thereof. The
legal provision invoked, "Sec. 1 of P.D. 1866, as amended," reads as follows:
Sec. 1. Unlawful Manufacture, Sale, Acquisition, Disposition or Possession of
Firearms [or] Ammunition or Instruments Used or Intended to be Used in the
Manufacture of Firearms or Ammunition. The penalty of reclusion temporal
in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon any
person who shall unlawfully manufacture, deal in, acquire, dispose, or possess
any firearm, part of firearm, ammunition or machinery, tool or instrument used
or intended to be used in the manufacture of any firearm or ammunition.
If homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm, the
penalty of death shall be imposed.

What is penalized in the first paragraph, insofar as material to the present case
is the sole, simple act of a person who shall, among others, "unlawfully possess
any firearm . . (or) ammunition . . ." Obviously, possession of any firearm is
unlawful if the necessary permit and/or license therefor is not first obtained. To
that act is attached the penalty of reclusion temporal, maximum, to reclusion
perpetua. Now, if "with the use of (such) an unlicensed firearm, a "homicide or
murder is committed," the crime is aggravated and is more heavily punished,
with the capital punishment.
The gravamen of the offense in its simplest form is, basically, the fact of
possession of a firearm without license. The crime may be denominated simple
illegal possession, to distinguish it from its aggravated form. It is aggravated if
the unlicensed firearm is used in the commission of a homicide or murder
under the Revised Penal Code. But the homicide or murder is not absorbed in
the crime of possession of an unlicensed firearm; neither is the latter absorbed
in the former. There are two distinct crimes that are here spoken of . One is
unlawful possession of a firearm, which may be either simple or aggravated,
defined and punished respectively by the first and second paragraphs of
Section 1 of PD 1866. The other is homicide or murder, committed with the use
of an unlicensed firearm. The mere possession of a firearm without legal
authority consummates the crime under P.D. 1866, and the liability for illegal
possession is made heavier by the firearm's use in a killing. The killing, whether
homicide or murder, is obviously distinct from the act of possession, and is
separately punished and defined under the Revised Penal Code. (emphasis
supplied)
In Jumamoy, we reiterated Caling and amplified the rationale on why an
accused who kills another with an unlicensed firearm can be prosecuted and
punished for the two separate offenses of violation of the second paragraph
of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866 and for homicide or murder under the Revised
Penal Code. Thus:
Coming to the charge of illegal possession of firearms, Section 1 of P.D. No.
1866 penalizes, inter alia, the unlawful possession of firearms or ammunition
with reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua. However,
under the second paragraph thereof, the penalty is increased to death if
homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm. It may
thus be loosely said that homicide or murder qualifies the offense because
both are circumstances which increase the penalty. It does not, however,
follow that the homicide or murder is absorbed in the offense. If these were to
be so, an anomalous absurdity would result whereby a more serious crime
defined and penalized under the Revised Penal Code will be absorbed by a
statutory offense, one which is merely malum prohibitum. Hence, the killing of
a person with the use of an unlicensed firearm may give rise to separate
prosecutions for (a) the violation of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866 and (b) the
violation of either Article 248 (Murder) or Article 249 (Homicide) of the Revised
Penal Code. The accused cannot plead one to bar the other; stated
otherwise, the rule against double jeopardy cannot be invoked as the first is
punished by a special law while the second Murder or Homicide is
punished by the Revised Penal Code. [citing People vs. Tiozon, 198 SCRA 368,

379 (1991); People vs. Doriguez, 24 SCRA 163 (1968)]. Considering, however,
that the imposition of the death penalty is prohibited by the Constitution, the
proper imposable penalty would be the penalty next lower in degree, or
reclusion perpetua. (emphasis supplied)
In Deunida, in discussing the propriety of the Government's action in
withdrawing an information for murder and pursuing only the information for
"Qualified Illegal Possession of Firearm," this Court categorically declared:
At the outset, it must be stressed that, contrary to the prosecution's legal
position in withdrawing the information for murder, the offense defined in the
second paragraph of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866 does not absorb the crime of
homicide or murder under the Revised Penal Code and, therefore, does not
bar the simultaneous or subsequent prosecution of the latter crime. The 1982
decision in Lazaro vs. People, involving the violation of P.D. No. 9, which the
investigating prosecutor invokes to justify the withdrawal, is no longer
controlling in view of our decisions in People vs. Tac-an, People vs. Tiozon, and
People vs. Caling.
In Somooc, we once more ruled:
The offense charged by the Information is clear enough from the terms of that
document, although both the Information and the decision of the trial court
used the term "Illegal Possession of Firearm with Homicide," a phrase which has
sometimes been supposed to connote a "complex crime" as used in the
Revised Penal Code. Such nomenclature is, however, as we have ruled in
People vs. Caling, a misnomer since there is no complex crime of illegal
possession of firearm with homicide. The gravamen of the offense penalized in
P.D. No. 1866 is the fact of possession of a firearm without a license or authority
for such possession. This offense is aggravated and the imposable penalty
upgraded if the unlicensed firearm is shown to have been used in the
commission of homicide or murder, offenses penalized under the Revised
Penal Code. The killing of a human being, whether characterized as homicide
or murder, is patently distinct from the act of possession of an unlicensed
firearm and is separately punished under the provision of the Revised Penal
Code.
The foregoing doctrine suffered a setback when in our decision of 27 June
1995 in People vs. Barros, 43 we set aside that portion of the appealed decision
convicting the appellant of the offense of murder and affirmed that portion
convicting him of illegal possession of firearm in its aggravated form. We
therein made the following statement:
[A]ppellant may not in the premises be convicted of two separate offenses [of
illegal possession of firearm in its aggravated form and of murder], but only
that of illegal possession of firearm in its aggravated form, in light of the legal
principles and propositions set forth in the separate opinion of Mr. Justice
Florenz D. Regalado, to which the Members of the Division, the ponente
included, subscribe.
The pertinent portions of the separate opinion of Mr. Justice Florenz D.
Regalado referred to therein read as follows:
This premise accordingly brings up the second query as to whether or not the
crime should properly be the aggravated illegal possession of an unlicensed

firearm through the use of which a homicide or murder is committed. It is


submitted that an accused so situated should be liable only for the graver
offense of aggravated illegal possession of the firearm punished by death
under the second paragraph of Section 1, Presidential Decree No. 1866, and it
is on this point that the writer dissents from the holding which would impose a
separate penalty for the homicide in addition to that for the illegal possession
of the firearm used to commit the former.
If the possession of the unlicensed firearm is the only offense imputable to the
accused, the Court has correctly held that to be the simple possession
punished with reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua
in the first paragraph of Section 1. Where, complementarily, the unlicensed
firearm is used to commit homicide or murder, then either of these felonies will
convert the erstwhile simple illegal possession into the graver offense of
aggravated illegal possession. In other words, the homicide or murder
constitutes the essential element for integrating into existence the capital
offense of the aggravated form of illegal possession of a firearm. Legally,
therefore, it would be illogical and unjustifiable to use the very same offenses
of homicide or murder as integral elements of and to create the said capital
offense, and then treat the former all over again as independent offenses to
be separately punished further, with penalties immediately following the
death penalty to boot.
The situation contemplated in the second query is, from the punitive
standpoint, virtually of the nature of the so-called, "special complex crimes,"
which should more appropriately be called composite crimes, punished in
Article 294, Article 297 and Article 335. They are neither of the same legal basis
as nor subject to the rules on complex crimes in Article 48, since they do not
consist of a single act giving rise to two or more grave or less grave felonies
nor do they involve an offense being a necessary means to commit another.
However, just like the regular complex crimes and the present case of
aggravated illegal possession of firearms, only a single penalty is imposed for
each of such composite crimes although composed of two or more offenses.
On the other hand, even if two felonies would otherwise have been covered
by the conceptual definition of a complex crime under Article 48, but the
Code imposes a single definite penalty therefor it cannot also be punished as
a complex crime, much less as separate offense, but with only the single
penalty prescribed by law. Thus, even where a single act results in two less
grave felonies of serious physical injuries and serious slander by deed, the
offense will not be punished as a delito compuesto under Article 48 but as less
serious physical injuries with ignominy under the second paragraph of Article
265. The serious slander by deed is integrated into and produces a graver
offense, and the former is no longer separately punished.
What is, therefore, sought to be stressed by such alternative illustration, as well
as the discussion on complex and composite crimes, is that when an offense
becomes a component of another, the resultant crime being correspondingly
punished as thus aggravated by the integration of the other, the former is not
to be further separately punished as the majority would want to do with the
homicide involved in the case at bar.

With the foregoing answers to the second question, the third inquiry is more of
a question of classification for purposes of the other provisions of the Code.
The theory in Tac-an that the principal offense is the aggravated form of
illegal possession of firearm and the killing shall merely be included in the
particulars or, better still, as an element of the principal offense, may be
conceded. After all, the plurality of crimes here is actually source from the
very provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1866 which sought to "consolidate,
codify and integrate" the "various laws and presidential decrees to harmonize
their provision" which "must be updated and revised in order to more
effectively deter violators" of said laws.
This would be akin to the legislative intendment underlaying the provisions of
the Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972, wherein the principal crime to be charged is
still carnapping, although the penalty therefore is increased when the owner,
driver or occupant of the carnapped vehicle is killed. The same situation, with
escalating punitive provisions when attended by a killing, are found in the
Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery Law of 1974 and the Anti-Cattle
Rustling Law of 1974, wherein the principal crimes still are piracy, highway
robbery and cattle rustling. Also, in the matter of destructive arson, the
principal offense when, inter alia, death results as a consequences of the
commission of any of the acts punished under said article of the Code.
In the present case, the academic value of specifying whether it is a case of
illegal possession of firearm resulting in homicide or murder, or, conversely,
homicide or murder through the illegal possession and use of an unlicensed
firearm, would lie in the possible application of the provision on recidivism.
Essentially, it would be in the theoretical realm since, taken either way, the
penalty for aggravated illegal possession of a firearm is the single indivisible
penalty of death, in which case the provision on recidivism would not apply. If,
however, the illegal possession is not established but either homicide or
murder is proved, then the matter of recidivism may have some significance in
the sense that, for purposes thereof, the accused was convicted of a crime
against persons and he becomes a recidivist upon conviction of another
crime under the same title of the Code.
Lastly, on the matter of the offense or offenses to be considered and the
penalty to be imposed when the unlawful killing and the illegal possession are
charged in separate informations, from what has been said the appropriate
course of action would be to consolidate the cases and render a joint
decision thereon, imposing a single penalty for aggravated illegal possession
of firearm if such possession and the unlawful taking of life shall have been
proved, or for only the proven offense which may be either simple illegal
possession, homicide or murder per se. The same procedural rule and
substantive disposition should be adopted if one information for each offense
was drawn up and these informations were individually assigned to different
courts or branches of the same court.
Indeed, the practice of charging the offense of illegal possession separately
from the homicide or murder could be susceptible of abuse since it entails
undue concentration of prosecutorial powers and discretion. Prefatorily, the
fact that the killing was committed with a firearm will necessarily be known to

the police or prosecutorial agencies, the only probable problem being the
determination and obtention of evidence to show that the firearm is
unlicensed.
Now, if a separate information for homicide or murder is filed without alleging
therein that the same was committed by means of an unlicensed firearm, the
case would not fall under Presidential Decree No. 1866. Even if the use of a
firearm is alleged therein, but without alleging the lack of a license therefor as
where that fact has not yet been verified, the mere use of a firearm by itself,
even if proved in that case, would not affect the accused either since it is not
an aggravating or qualifying circumstance.
Conversely, if the information is only for illegal possession, with the prosecution
intending to file thereafter the charge for homicide or murder but the same is
inexplicably delayed or is not consolidated with the information for illegal
possession, then any conviction that may result from the former would only be
for simple illegal possession. If, on the other hand, the separate and
subsequent prosecution for homicide or murder prospers, the objective of
Presidential Decree No. 1866 cannot be achieved since the penalty
imposable in that second prosecution will only be for the unlawful killing and
further subject to such modifying circumstances as may be proved.
In any event, the foregoing contingencies would run counter to the
proposition that the real offense committed by the accused, and for which
sole offense he should be punished, is the aggravated form of illegal
possession of a firearm. Further, it is the writer's position that the possible
problems projected herein may be minimized or obviated if both offenses
involved are charged in only one information or that the trial thereof, if
separately charged, be invariably consolidated for joint decision. Conjointly,
this is the course necessarily indicated since only a single composite crime is
actually involved and it is palpable error to deal therewith and dispose thereof
by segregated parts in piecemeal fashion.
If we follow Barros, the conviction of the appellant for murder in Criminal Case
No. 8178 must have to be set aside. He should only suffer the penalty for the
aggravated illegal possession of firearm in Criminal Case No. 8179.
The Court en banc finds in this appeal an opportunity to reexamine the
existing conflicting doctrines applicable to prosecutions for murder or
homicide and for aggravated illegal possession of firearm in instance where
an unlicensed firearm is used in the killing of a person. After a lengthy
deliberation thereon, the Court en banc arrived at the conclusion that the
rule laid down in Tac-an, reiterated in Tiozon, Caling, Jumamoy, Deunida,
Tiongco, Fernandez, and Somooc is the better rule, for it applies the laws
concerned according to their letter and spirit, thereby steering this Court
away from a dangerous course which could have irretrievably led it to an
inexcusable breach of the doctrine of separation of powers through judicial
legislation. That rule upholds and enhances the lawmaker's intent or purpose
in aggravating the crime of illegal possession of firearm when an unlicensed
firearm is used in the commission of murder or homicide. Contrary to the view
of our esteemed brother, Mr. Justice Florenz D. Regalado, in his Concurring
and Dissenting Opinion in the case under consideration, Tac-an did not

enunciated an "unfortunate doctrine" or a "speciously camouflaged theory"


which "constitutes an affront on doctrinal concepts of penal law and assails
even the ordinary notions of common sense."
If Tac-an did in fact enunciated such an "unfortunate doctrine," which this
Court has reiterated in a convincing number of cases and for a convincing
number of years, so must the same verdict be made in our decision in People
vs. De Gracia, 44 which was promulgated on 6 July 1994. In the latter case, we
held that unlawful possession of an unlicensed firearm in furtherance of
rebellion may give rise to separate prosecution for a violation of Section 1 of
P.D. No. 1866 and also for a violation of Articles 134 and 135 of the Revised
Penal Code on rebellion. A distinction between that situation and the case
where an unlicensed firearm is used in homicide or murder would have no
basis at all. In De Gracia, this Court, speaking through Mr. Justice Florenz D.
Regalado, made the following authoritative pronouncements:
III. As earlier stated, it was stipulated and admitted by both parties that from
November 30, 1989 up to and until December 9, 1989, there was a rebellion.
Ergo, our next inquiry is whether or not appellant's possession of the firearms,
explosives and ammunition seized and recovered from him was for the
purpose and in furtherance of rebellion.
The trial court found accused guilty of illegal possession of firearms in
furtherance of rebellion pursuant to paragraph 2 of Article 135 of the Revised
Penal Code which states that "any person merely participating or executing
the command of others in a rebellion shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor
in its minimum period." The court below held that appellant De Gracia, who
had been servicing the personal needs of Col. Matillano (whose active armed
opposition against the Government, particularly at the Camelot Hotel, was
well known), is guilty of the act of guarding the explosives and "molotov"
bombs for and in behalf of the latter. We accept this finding of the lower
court.
The above provision of the law was, however, erroneously and improperly
used by the court below as a basis in determining the degree of liability of
appellant and the penalty to be imposed on him. It must be made clear that
appellant is charged with the qualified offense of illegal possession of firearms
in furtherance of rebellion under Presidential Decree No. 1866 which, in law, is
distinct from the crime of rebellion punished under Article 134 and 135 of the
Revised Penal Code. There are two separate statutes penalizing different
offenses with discrete penalties. The Revised Penal Code treats rebellion as a
crime apart from murder, homicide, arson, or other offenses, such as illegal
possession of firearms, that might conceivably be committed in the course of
a rebellion. Presidential Decree No. 1866 defines and punishes, as a specific
offense, the crime of illegal possession of firearms committed in the course or
as part of a rebellion.
Missing p. 26
conceptual changes over time," as the concurring and dissenting opinion
charges.
The majority now reiterates the doctrine in Tac-an and the subsequent cases
not because it has become hostage to the "inertia of time [which] has always

been the obstacle to the virtues of change," as the concurring and dissenting
opinion finds it to be, but rather because it honestly believes that Tac-an laid
down the correct doctrine. If P.D. No. 1866 as applied in Tac-an is an "affront
on doctrinal concepts of penal laws and assails even the ordinary notions of
common sense," the blame must not be laid at the doorsteps of this Court, but
on the lawmaker's. All that the Court did in Tac-an was to apply the law, for
there was nothing in that case that warranted an interpretation or the
application of the niceties of legal hermeneutics. It did not forget that its duty
is a merely to apply the law in such a way that shall not usurp legislative
powers by judicial legislation and that in the course of such application or
construction it should not make or supervise legislation, or under the guise of
interpretation modify, revise, amend, distort, remodel, or rewrite the law, or
give the law a construction which is repugnant to its terms. 45
Murder and homicide are defined and penalized by the Revised Penal Code
46 as crimes against persons. They are mala in se because malice or dolo is a
necessary ingredient therefor. 47 On the other hand, the offense of illegal
possession of firearm is defined and punished by a special penal law, 48 P.D.
No. 1866. It is a malum prohibitum 49 which the lawmaker, then President
Ferdinand E. Marcos, in the exercise of his martial law powers, so condemned
not only because of its nature but also because of the larger policy
consideration of containing or reducing, if not eliminating, the upsurge of
crimes vitally affecting public order and safety due to the proliferation of
illegally possessed and manufactured firearms, ammunition, and explosives. If
intent to commit the crime were required, enforcement of the decree and its
policy or purpose would be difficult to achieve. Hence, there is conceded
wisdom in punishing illegal possession of firearm without taking into account
the criminal intent of the possessor. All that is needed is intent to perpetrate
the act prohibited by law, coupled, of course, by animus possidendi.
However, it must be clearly understood that this animus possidendi is without
regard to any other criminal
or felonious intent which an accused may have harbored in possessing the
firearm. 50
A long discourse then on the concepts of malum in se and malum prohibitum
and their distinctions is an exercise in futility.
We disagree for lack of basis the following statements of Mr. Justice Regalado
in his Concurring and Dissenting Opinion, to wit:
The second paragraph of the aforestated Section 1 expressly and
unequivocally provides for such illegal possession and resultant killing as a
single integrated offense which is punished as such. The majority not only
created two offenses by dividing a single offense into two but, worse, it
resorted to the unprecedented and invalid act of treating the original offense
as a single integrated crime and then creating another offense by using a
component crime which is also an element of the former.
It would already have been a clear case of judicial legislation if the illegal
possession with murder punished with a single penalty have been divided into
two separate offenses of illegal possession and murder with distinct penalties.
It is consequently a compounded infringement of legislative powers for this

Court to now, as it has done, treat that single offense as specifically described
by the law and impose reclusion perpetua therefor (since the death penalty
for that offense is still proscribed), but then proceed further by plucking out
therefrom the crime of murder in order to be able to impose the death
sentence. For indeed, on this score, it is beyond cavil that in the aggravated
form of illegal possession, the consequential murder (or homicide) is an
integrated element or integral component since without the accompanying
death, the crime would merely be simple illegal possession of a firearm under
the first paragraph of Section 1.
The second paragraph of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866 does not warrant and
support a conclusion that it intended to treat "illegal possession and resultant
killing" (emphasis supplied) "as a single and integrated offense" of illegal
possession with homicide or murder. It does not use the clause as a result or on
the occasion of to evince an intention to create a single integrated crime. By
its unequivocal and explicit language, which we quote to be clearly
understood:
If homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm, the
penalty of death shall be imposed. (emphasis supplied)
the crime of either homicide or murder is committed NOT AS A RESULT OR ON
THE OCCASION of the violation of Section 1, but WITH THE USE of an unlicensed
firearm, whose possession is penalized therein. There is a world of difference,
which is too obvious, between (a) the commission of homicide or murder as a
result or on the occasion of the violation of Section 1, and (b) the commission
of homicide or murder with the use of an unlicensed firearm. In the first,
homicide or murder is not the original purpose or primary objective of the
offender, but a secondary event or circumstance either resulting from or
perpetrated on the occasion of the commission of that originally or primarily
intended. In the second, the killing, which requires a mens rea is the primary
purpose, and to carry that out effectively the offender uses an unlicensed
firearm.
As to the question then of Mr. Justice Regalado of whether this Court should
also apply the rule enunciated here to P.D. No. 532 (Anti-Piracy and AntiHighway Robbery Law of 1974), P.D. No. 533 (Anti-Cattle Rustling Law of 1974),
and P.D. No. 534 (Defining Illegal Fishing and Prescribing Stiffer Penalties
Therefor), the answer is resoundingly in the negative. In those cases, the
lawmaker clearly intended a single integrated offense or a special complex
offense because the death therein occurs as a result or on the occasion of
the commission of the offenses therein penalized or was not the primary
purpose of the offender, unlike in the second paragraph of Section 1 of P.D.
No. 1866. Thus, (a) Section 3 of P.D. No. 532 provides:
Sec. 3. Penalties. Any person who commits piracy or highway
robbery/brigandage as herein defined, shall, upon conviction by competent
court be punished by:
a. Piracy. The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium and maximum
periods shall be imposed. If physical injuries or other crimes are committed as
a result or on the occasion thereof, the penalty of reclusion perpetua shall be
imposed. If rape, murder or homicide is committed as a result or on the

occasion of piracy, or when the offenders abandoned the victims without


means of saving themselves, or when the seizure is accomplished by firing
upon or boarding a vessel, the mandatory penalty of death shall be imposed.
b. Highway Robbery/Brigandage. The penalty of reclusion temporal in its
minimum period shall be imposed. If physical injuries or other crimes are
committed during or on the occasion of the commission of robbery or
brigandage, the penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium and maximum
periods shall be imposed. If kidnapping for ransom or extortion, or murder or
homicide, or rape is committed as a result or on the occasion thereof, the
penalty of death shall be imposed. (emphasis supplied)
(b) Section 8 of P.D. No. 533 reads in part as follows:
Sec. 8. Penal provisions. Any person convicted of cattle rustling as herein
defined shall, irrespective of the value of the large cattle involved, be
punished by prision mayor in its maximum period to reclusion temporal in its
medium period if the offense is committed without violence against or
intimidation of persons or force upon things. If the offense is committed with
violence against or intimidation of persons or force upon things, the penalty of
reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua shall be
imposed. If a person is seriously injured or killed as a result or on the occasion
of the commission of cattle rustling, the penalty of reclusion perpetua to
death shall be imposed. (emphasis supplied)
and (c) Section 3 of P.D. No. 534 reads as follows:
Sec. 3. Penalties. Violations of this Decree and the rules and regulations
mentioned in paragraph (f) of Section 1 hereof shall be punished as follows:
a. by imprisonment from 10 to 12 years, if explosives are used: Provided, that if
the explosion results (1) in physical injury to person, the penalty shall be
imprisonment from 12 to 20 years, or (2) in the loss of human life, then the
penalty shall be imprisonment from 20 years to life, or death;
b. by imprisonment from 8 to 10 years, if obnoxious or poisonous substances
are used: Provided, that if the use of such substances results (1) in physical
injury to any person, the penalty shall be imprisonment from 10 to 12 years, or
(2) in the loss of human life, then the penalty shall be imprisonment from 20
years to life, or death; . . . (emphasis supplied)
The unequivocal intent of the second paragraph of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866
is to respect and preserve homicide or murder as a distinct offense penalized
under the Revised Penal Code and to increase the penalty for illegal
possession of firearm where such a firearm is used in killing a person. Its clear
language yields no intention of the lawmaker to repeal or modify, pro tanto,
Articles 248 and 249 of the Revised Penal Code, in such a way that if an
unlicensed firearm is used in the commission of homicide or murder, either of
these crimes, as the case may be, would only serve to aggravate the offense
of illegal possession of firearm and would not anymore be separately
punished. Indeed, the words of the subject provision are palpably clear to
exclude any suggestion that either of the crimes of homicide and murder, as
crimes mala in se under the Revised Penal Code, is obliterated as such and
reduced as a mere aggravating circumstance in illegal possession of firearm
whenever the unlicensed firearm is used in killing a person. The only purpose of

the provision is to increase the penalty prescribed in the first paragraph of


Section 1 reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua
to death, seemingly because of the accused's manifest arrogant defiance
and contempt of the law in using an unlicensed weapon to kill another, but
never, at the same time, to absolve the accused from any criminal liability for
the death of the victim.
Neither is the second paragraph of Section 1 meant to punish homicide or
murder with death if either crime is committed with the use of an unlicensed
firearm, i.e., to consider such use merely as a qualifying circumstance and not
as an offense. That could not have been the intention of the lawmaker
because the term "penalty" in the subject provision is obviously meant to be
the penalty for illegal possession of firearm and not the penalty for homicide
or murder. We explicitly stated in Tac-an:
There is no law which renders the use of an unlicensed firearm as an
aggravating circumstance in homicide or murder. Under an information
charging homicide or murder, the fact that the death weapon was an
unlicensed firearm cannot be used to increase the penalty for the second
offense of homicide or murder to death. . . . The essential point is that the
unlicensed character or condition of the instrument used in destroying human
life or committing some other crime, is not included in the inventory of
aggravating circumstances set out in Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code.
A law may, of course, be enacted making the use of an unlicensed firearm as
a qualifying circumstance. This would not be without precedent. By analogy,
we can cite Section 17 of B.P. Blg. 179, which amended the Dangerous Drugs
Act of 1972 (R.A. No. 6425). The said section provides that when an offender
commits a crime under a state of addiction, such a state shall be considered
as a qualifying aggravating circumstance in the definition of the crime and
the application of the penalty under the Revised Penal Code.
In short, there is nothing in P.D. No. 1866 that manifests, even vaguely, a
legislative intent to decriminalize homicide or murder if either crime is
committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm, or to convert the offense of
illegal possession of firearm as a qualifying circumstance if the firearm so
illegally possessed is used in the commission of homicide or murder. To charge
the lawmaker with that intent is to impute an absurdity that would defeat the
clear intent to preserve the law on homicide and murder and impose a higher
penalty for illegal possession of firearm if such firearm is used in the commission
of homicide or murder.
Evidently, the majority did not, as charged in the concurring and dissenting
opinion, create two offenses by dividing a single offense into two. Neither did
it resort to the "unprecedented and invalid act of treating the original offense
as a single integrated crime and then creating another offense by using a
component crime which is also an element of the former." The majority has
always maintained that the killing of a person with the use of an illegally
possessed firearm gives rise to two separate offenses of (a) homicide or
murder under the Revised Penal Code, and (b) illegal possession of firearm in
its aggravated form.
What then would be a clear case of judicial legislation is an interpretation of

the second paragraph of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866 that would make it define
and punish a single integrated offense and give to the words WITH THE USE OF
a similar meaning as the words AS A RESULT OR ON THE OCCASION OF, a
meaning which is neither born out by the letter of the law nor supported by its
intent. Worth noting is the rule in statutory construction that if a statute is clear,
plain, and free from ambiguity, it must be given its literal meaning and applied
without attempted interpretation, 51 leaving the court no room for any
extended ratiocination or rationalization of the law. 52
Peregrinations into the field of penology such as on the concept of a single
integrated crime or composite crimes, or into the philosophical domain of
integration of the essential elements of one crime to that of another would
then be unnecessary in light of the clear language and indubitable purpose
and intent of the second paragraph of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866. The realm of
penology, the determination of what should be criminalized, the definition of
crimes, and the prescription of penalties are the exclusive prerogatives of the
legislature. As its wisdom may dictate, the legislature may even create from a
single act or transaction various offenses for different purposes subject only to
the limitations set forth by the Constitution. This Court cannot dictate upon the
legislature to respect the orthodox view concerning a single integrated crime
or composite crimes.
The only apparent obstacle to the imposition of cumulative penalties for
various acts is the rule on double jeopardy. This brings us to the proposition in
the dissenting opinion of Mr. Justice Regalado that the majority view offends
the constitutional bar against double jeopardy under the "same-evidence"
test enunciated in People vs. Diaz. 53 He then concludes:
In the cases now before us, it is difficult to assume that the evidence for the
murder in the first charge of aggravated illegal possession of firearm with
murder would be different from the evidence to be adduced in the
subsequent charge for murder alone. In the second charge, the illegal
possession is not in issue, except peripherally and inconsequentially since it is
not an element or modifying circumstance in the second charge, hence the
evidence therefor is immaterial. But, in both prosecutions, the evidence on
murder is essential, in the first charge because without it the crime is only
simple illegal possession, and, in the second charge, because murder is the
very subject of the prosecution. Assuming that all the other requirements
under Section 7, Rule 117 are present, can it be doubted that double
jeopardy is necessarily present and can be validly raised to bar the second
prosecution for murder?
In fact, we can extrapolate the constitutional and reglementary objection to
the cases of the other composite crimes for which a single penalty is imposed,
such as the complex, compound and so-called special complex crimes.
Verily, I cannot conceive of how a person convicted of estafa through
falsification under Article 48 can be validly prosecuted anew for the same
offense or either estafa or falsification; or how the accused convicted of
robbery with homicide under Article 294 can be legally charged again with
either of the same component crimes of robbery or homicide; or how the
convict who was found guilty of rape with homicide under Article 335 can be

duly haled before the court again to face charges of either the same rape or
homicide. Why, then, do we now sanction a second prosecution for murder in
the cases at bar since the very same offense was an indispensable
component for the other composite offense of illegal possession of firearm
with murder? Why would the objection of non bis in idim as a bar to a second
jeopardy lie in the preceding examples and not apply to the cases now
before us?
We are unable to agree to the proposition. For one, the issue of double
jeopardy is not raised in this case. For another, the so-called "same-evidence"
test is not a conclusive, much less exclusive, test in double jeopardy cases of
the first category under the Double Jeopardy Clause which is covered by
Section 21, Article III of the Constitution and which reads as follows:
No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense. If
an act is punished by a law and an ordinance, conviction or acquittal under
either shall constitute a bar to another prosecution for the same act.
Note that the first category speaks of the same offense. The second refers to
the same act. This was explicitly distinguished in Yap vs. Lutero, 54 from where
People vs. Relova 55 quotes the following:
Thirdly, our Bill of Rights deals with two (2) kinds of double jeopardy. The first
sentence of clause 20, section 1, Article III of the Constitution, ordains that "no
person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense."
(emphasis in the original) The second sentence of said clause provides that "if
an act is punishable by a law and an ordinance, conviction or acquittal under
either shall constitute a bar to another prosecution for the same act." Thus, the
first sentence prohibits double jeopardy of punishment for the same offense
whereas, the second contemplates double jeopardy of punishment for the
same act. Under the first sentence, one may be twice put in jeopardy of
punishment of the same act, provided that he is charged with different
offenses, or the offense charged in one case is not included in, or does not
include, the crime charged in the other case. The second sentence applies,
even if the offenses charged are not the same, owing to the fact that one
constitutes a violation of an ordinance and the other a violation of a statute. If
the two charges are based on one and the same act, conviction or acquittal
under either the law or the ordinance shall bar a prosecution under the other.
Incidentally, such conviction or acquittal is not indispensable to sustain the
plea of double jeopardy of punishment for the same offense. So long as
jeopardy has been attached under one of the informations charging said
offense, the defense may be availed of in the other case involving the same
offense, even if there has been neither conviction nor acquittal in either case.
Elsewise stated, where the offenses charged are penalized either by different
sections of the same statute or by different statutes, the important inquiry
relates to the identity of offenses charged. The constitutional protection
against double jeopardy is available only where an identity as shown to exist
between the earlier and the subsequent offenses charged. 56 The question of
identity or lack of identity of offenses is addressed by examining the essential
elements of each of the two offenses charged, as such elements are set out in
the respective legislative definitions of the offenses involved. 57

If may be noted that to determine the "same offense" under the Double
Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of the United
States of America which reads:
[N]or shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in
jeopardy of life or limb. . .
the rule applicable is the following: "where the same act or transaction
constitutes a violation of two distinct statutory provisions, the test to be applied
to determine whether there are two offenses or only one, is whether each
provision requires proof of an additional fact which the other does not." 58
The Double Jeopardy Clause of the Constitution of the United States of
America was brought to the Philippines through the Philippine Bill of 1 July
1902, whose Section 5 provided, inter alia:
[N]o person for the same offense shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment
....
This provision was carried over in identical words in Section 3 of the Jones Law
of 29 August 1916. 59 Then under the 1935 Constitution, the Jones Law provision
was recast with the addition of a provision referring to the same act. Thus,
paragraph 20, Section 1, Article III thereof provided as follows:
No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense. If
an act is punished by a law and an ordinance, conviction or acquittal under
either shall constitute a bar to another prosecution for the same act.
This was adopted verbatim in Section 22, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution
and in Section 21, Article III of the present Constitution.
This additional-element test in Lutero and Relova and in Blockburger, Gore,
and Missouri would safely bring the second paragraph of Section 1 of P.D. No.
1866 out of the proscribed double jeopardy principle. For undeniably, the
elements of illegal possession of firearm in its aggravated form are different
from the elements of homicide or murder, let alone the fact that these crimes
are defined and penalized under different laws and the former is malum
prohibitum, while both the latter are mala in se. Hence, the fear that the
majority's construction of the subject provision would violate the constitutional
bar against double jeopardy is unfounded.
The penalty which the trial court imposed in Criminal Case No. 8179 for illegal
possession of firearm in its aggravated form must, however, be modified. The
penalty prescribed by P.D. No. 1866 is death. Since Section 19(1), Article III of
the Constitution prohibits the imposition of the death penalty, the penalty next
lower in degree, reclusion perpetua, must be imposed.
WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is DISMISSED, and the challenged decision of
30 September 1993 of Branch 1 of the Regional Trial Court of Bohol finding
accused-appellant DANIEL QUIJADA y CIRCULADO guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of murder in Criminal Case No. 8178 and of illegal
possession of firearm in its aggravated form in Criminal Case No. 8179 is
AFFIRMED. The penalty imposed in the first case, as amended by the Order of
29 October 1993, is sustained; however, the penalty imposed in the second
case is changed to Reclusion Perpetua from the indeterminate penalty
ranging from Seventeen (17) years, Four (4) months, and One (1) day, as
minimum, to Twenty (20) years and One (1) day, as maximum. Costs de oficio.

[G.R. No. 128618. November 16, 1998]


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. FELICISIMO NARVASA, JIMMY
ORANIA and MATEO NARVASA, accused, FELICISIMO NARVASA and JIMMY
ORANIA appellants.
DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:
What crime or crimes are committed when a killing is perpetrated with the use
of unlicensed firearms? In the absence of the firearms themselves, may illegal
possession of firearms be proven by parol evidence?
The Case

Appellants Felicisimo Narvasa and Jimmy Orania seek the reversal of the
October 11, 1996 Decision[1] of the Regional Trial Court of Alaminos,
Pangasinan, in Criminal Case Nos. 2629-A, 2648-A and 2646-A, finding them
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of illegal possession of firearms in its
aggravated form and sentencing them to reclusion perpetua.
Assistant
Provincial
Prosecutor
Emiliano
A.
Rabina
filed
three
Informations[2] against the appellants and their co-accused, Mateo
Narvasa. In Criminal Case No. 2648-A, the Amended Information filed on
November 10, 1993 charged Felicisimo Narvasa (in conspiracy with the other
accused) with aggravated illegal possession of firearm allegedly committed
as follows:
That on or about February 6, 1992 at Sitio Bugtong, Barangay Patar,
[M]unicipality of Agno, [P]rovince of Pangasinan, New [sic] Republic of the
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have
in his possession, control and custody an M-14 Rifle without first securing the
necessary license or permit from the lawful authorities and which firearm in
conspiracy with Jimmy Orania and Mateo Narvasa was used in the killing of
one SPO3 Primo Camba, victim in Crim. Case No. 2629-A.
In Criminal Case No. 2646-A, Jimmy Orania (in conspiracy with the other
accused) was charged with aggravated illegal possession of firearm in the
Amended Information which reads:
That on or about February 6, 1992 at Sitio Bugtong, Barangay Patar,
[M]unicipality of Agno, [P]rovince of Pangasinan, New [sic] Republic of the
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have
in his possession, control and custody a .30 U.S. Carbine without first securing
the necessary license /and/or permit from the lawful authorities and which
firearm in conspiracy with Mateo Narvasa and Felicisimo Narvasa was used in
the killing of SPO3 Primo Camba, victim in Crim. Case No. 2629-A.
In Criminal Case No. 2629-A, Felicisimo Narvasa, Jimmy Orania and Mateo
Narvasa were charged with homicide allegedly committed as follows:
That on or about February 6, 1992, at Sitio Bugtong, [B]arangay Patar,
[M]unicipality of Agno, [P]rovince of Pangasinan, New [sic] Republic of the
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one
another, with intent to kill, armed with high powered guns, did then and there

willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously shoot SPO3 PRIMO CAMBA which caused
his instantaneous death as a consequence, to the damage and prejudice of
his heirs.
Felicisimo Narvasa and Jimmy Orania were arrested, but Mateo Narvasa
remained at large. When arraigned, the two appellants, assisted by their
counsel,[3] pleaded not guilty.[4] Trial proceeded in due course. Thereafter, the
court a quo rendered the assailed Decision, the dispositive portion of which
reads:
WHEREFORE, in consideration of the foregoing premises and the evidence
presented, this Court finds both accused Felicisimo Narvasa in Criminal Case
No. 2648-A and Jimmy Orania in Criminal Case No.2646-A [g]uilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of [i]llegal [p]ossession of [f]irearms in its
aggravated form in these cases and therefore, both accused are sentenced
to death penalty but for reasons that the law at that time of the commission of
the crime prohibits death sentence penalty, these two accused therefore shall
each suffer the sentence of single, indivisible penalty of reclusion
perpetua and are ordered to pay jointly and severally the heirs of the victim
the amount of P50,000.00 as death indemnity and moral damages
of P100,000.00 each, plus cost.
In Criminal Case No. 2629-A for [h]omicide, this Court has considered this case
as [a] necessary component of the crimes of [i]llegal [p]ossession in their
aggravated form, as the same is merely an element of the principal offense of
[i]llegal [p]ossession of [f]irearms in [its] aggravated form, which is the graver
offense.
With respect to accused Mateo Narvasa, since he has not been arrested and
never brought to the jurisdiction of this Court, this case in the meantime, is
ordered archived insofar as said accused Mateo Narvasa is concerned.
Let an Alias Warrant of Arrest issue as against accused Mateo Narvasa.
The [b]ailbond posted by accused Felicisimo Narvasa is hereby ordered
cancelled.
Appellants counsel then filed a Notice of Appeal to the Court of Appeals. [5] In
an Order[6] dated October 24, 1996, the trial court deemed the appeal filed
by Felicisimo Narvasa and Jimmy Orania perfected, and effected the
transmittal of the case records to the Court of Appeals. Realizing the mistake,
the Court of Appeals subsequently forwarded the records to this Court.[7]
The Facts
Evidence for the Prosecution

In his Brief, the solicitor general[8] presented the following narration of facts:
On February 6, 1992, after lunch time[,] Villamor Laderas and Ernesto Nagal,
councilmen of Quinaoayanan, Bani, Pangasinan, acting on a report that
there were missing carabaos, pigs and goats, repaired to the far-flung Sitio
Bugtong of the town of Bani and to Sitio Patar of the adjoining town of Agno
in Pangasinan, which they reached at around 5:30 that afternoon. Then
Laderas and Nagal patrolled the area. Along their way, the two chanced
upon the gang of appellants[.] [T]hey were five and three of them were
armed. Jimmy Orania was holding a caliber .30 U.S. carbine, Mateo Narvasa
was armed with [an] M-16 and Felicisimo Narvasa was carrying an M-14.

The two are familiar with those kind[s] of guns as they have seen similar ones
carried by policemen. They said, a carbine is shorter than [an] M-14 and [an]
M-16 is longer than [an] M-14 (Tsn., April 21, 1994, pp. 1-35, December 13, 1995,
pp. 1-12).
Laderas and Nagal simply stared at the five and then they proceeded to their
way home. Unluckily for the goons, the two councilmen met the two
policemen[,] SPO3 Primo Camba and PO2 Simeon Navora who were on
patrol and they reported what they saw (Ibid).
The two policemen were also responding to a report about the missing
animals and they suggested that all of them should track down the armed
goons (Ibid).
After walking some distance, the four responding men saw the house of
appellant Felicisimo Narvasa on a hilly portion around 100 meters away from
their path. They decided to investigate at the house but before they could
negotiate the distance, they were met by a volley of gunfire. The four[,] who
were ten meters apart[,] dove and sought cover (Tsn., April, 1994, p. 11). When
the firing took a halt, Laderas had the courage to raise his head and [view]
xxx the source of the gunfire. Laderas saw Felicisimo Narvasa in a squatting
position aiming at the two policemen and Jimmy Orania was seated near him
guiding him at his target. Mateo Narvasa was also aiming his gun. There was
an exchange of gunfire as the policemen were able to take proper positions.
Unfortunately, SPO3 Camba was hit. Navora summoned Laderas and Nagal
to get closer to give aid to Camba. Laderas and Nagal carried Camba as
they retreated and, Navora followed moving backwards as he kept firing at
their enemies (Ibid, tsn., July 20, 1994, pp. 1-8; tsn., August 15, 1994, pp. 2-30).
In the process of the retreat, Camba [bled] profusely and he died even
before he could be brought out from the scene of the crime.
The body of Camba was left at the scene of the crime while his companions
escaped and called for help. Several policemen arrived. Pieces of evidence
like empty shells of M-16, M-14 and caliber .30 U.S. carbine bullets were
gathered and some policemen were tasked to track down the goons (Exhs.
C, C-1 to C-4; tsn., August 16, 1994, pp. 6-10).
Shortly thereafter, Felicisimo Narvasa, Glicerio Narvasa, Rederio Narvasa and
Jimmy Orania were apprehended. Mateo Narvasa was not found. The four
were investigated and paraffin tested. Felicisimo Narvasa and Jimmy Orania
were found positive of gunpowder burns (Tsn., August 16, 1994, pp. 11-15).[9]

Glicerio Narvasa and Rederio Narvasa were in his house drinking two bottles
of gin after helping him [fix] the fence in his house. Accused-appellant
Narvasa when asked to explain the charge against him denied committing
the same. On March 17, 1992 he gave his affidavit naming Ernesto Nagal,
Villamor Laderas and Simeon Navora as the assailants of his son. (TSN, August
8, 1999, pp. 3-17)
Jimmy Orania testified that on February 6, 1992, he was in the house of his coaccused Felicisimo Narvasa because he was invited to work on the fence of
Felicisimo. After finishing their work, Jimmy[,] together with Glicerio and
Rederio Narvasa[,] drunk two bottles of gin. At about 5:00 oclock in the
afternoon he instructed Arnel Narvasa to get their carabaos grazing around
100 meters north of the house of Felicisimo, when he heard a gunshot coming
from that direction. Arnel shouted for help, so he proceeded to the place
where Arnel was shot and carried him to the house of Felicisimo. The latter was
awakened by Glicerio and when he asked his son who shot him, Arnel
answered that it was the group of Laderas.
Jimmy Orania further averred that he knew nothing and denied participation
in the killing of Primo Camba. That on the day after February 6, 1992, they
were picked up by the police. (TSN, August 20, 1996, pp. 3-13).[11]

Evidence for the Defense

Assignment of Errors

Appellants deny the charges against them. Felicisimo Narvasa even claims
that his son Arnel was shot by Ernesto Nagal, Villamor Laderas and PO2
Simeon Navora. In their Brief,[10] they state:
Felicisimo Narvasa testified that he was sleeping at his house on the afternoon
of February 6, 1992 when Glicerio Narvasa woke him up and informed him
that his son Arnel was shot. He went downstairs and saw his co-accused
Jimmy Orania embracing his son. He asked his son who shot him and the latter
told his father that it was the group of Councilman Laderas who shot him. He
instructed Orania and his wife to bring his son to the hospital but the latter
died at the hospital. He further averred that before he slept, Jimmy Orania,

In assailing the trial courts Decision, appellants interpose the following errors:
I
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING FULL WEIGHT AND CREDENCE TO
THE INCONSISTENT TESTIMONIES OF THE WITNESSES FOR THE PROSECUTION.
II
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANTS DESPITE
THE INSUFFICIENCY OF THE PROSECUTIONS EVIDENCE TO WARRANT
CONVICTION OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANTS BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF
THE CRIME OF AGGRAVATED ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF FIREARM.[15]
In the main, the resolution of this case revolves around the credibility of the

Ruling of the Trial Court

The trial court accorded credibility to the prosecution witnesses and held that
mere denial could not overcome the prosecution evidence showing that
appellants used high-powered firearms to shoot at the prosecution witnesses,
thereby resulting in the death of SPO3 Primo Camba. Further supporting said
testimonies were the results of the paraffin test conducted on appellants and
the recovery of various cartridges and shells matching the firearms
purportedly used in the crime. Though these unlicensed firearms were not
presented as evidence, the trial court, citing People v. Ferrera,[12] ruled that
appellants may still be convicted of illegal possession of firearms.
Finally, the trial court found that appellants acted in conspiracy in the killing of
Primo Camba. However, on the basis of People v. Barros,[13] it held that the
homicide was merely an element of the illegal possession of firearms in its
aggravated form; thus, homicide in the present case was taken into account
not as a separate crime but as an aggravating circumstance which increased
the penalty for the illegal possession of firearms.
Hence, this appeal.[14]

prosecution witnesses, the sufficiency of the prosecution evidence and the


characterization of the crime committed.
The Courts Ruling

The appeal is not meritorious. In light of Republic Act 8294,[16] however,


appellants should be convicted only of homicide, with the special
aggravating circumstance of the use of illegally possessed firearms.
First Issue: Credibility of Prosecution Witnesses

Appellants question the credibility of Witnesses Laderas and Nagal because of


an alleged inconsistency in their testimonies. Laderas testified that there was
an exchange of fire between appellants and PO2 Simeon Navora, while
Nagal declared that only the appellants fired. Appellants point out that
conflicting testimonies on a material and relevant point casts doubt [on] the
truthfulness or veracity[17] of such testimonies.
Appellants contention is untenable. The circumstances of the instant case
explain the seeming inconsistency in the testimonies of the two witnesses. At
the time, they were under fire and in fear of losing their lives. Moreover, they
did not take cover in the same place that Navora did.
Nonetheless, their uncertainty on whether Navora had fired back is immaterial
to the crime charged and too insignificant to impair their credibility. In any
event, the Court has ruled that a witness is not expected to remember an
occurrence with perfect recollection of minute details.[18]
Second Issue: Sufficiency of the Evidence

Appellants cite People v. Lualhati,[19] wherein this Court ruled that in crimes
involving illegal possession of firearm, the prosecution has the burden of
proving the elements thereof, viz: the existence of the subject firearm and the
fact that the accused who owned or possessed the firearm does not have the
corresponding license or permit to possess the same. Appellants contend that
the existence of the firearms was not sufficiently proven because the
prosecution had not presented the firearms as evidence. It is necessary, they
argue, that said firearms allegedly possessed by the accused-appellants and
allegedly used in the killing of Policeman Primo Camba be presented in
evidence as those firearms constitute the corpus delicti of the crime with
which they are sentenced.[20]
Appellants argument is not persuasive. In People v. Lualhati, this Court merely
stated that the existence of the firearm must be established; it did not rule that
the
firearm
itself
had
to
be
presented
as
evidence. Thus,
in People v. Orehuela,[21] the Court held that the existence of the firearm can
be established by testimony, even without the presentation of the said
firearm. In the said case, Appellant Orehuela was convicted of qualified illegal
possession of a firearm despite the fact that the firearm used was not
presented as evidence. The existence of the weapon was deemed amply
established by the testimony of an eyewitness that Orehuela was in possession
of it and had used it to kill the victim, viz.:
We consider that the certification was adequate to show that the firearm
used by Modesto Orehuela in killing Teoberto Canizares was a firearm which
Orehuela was not licensed to possess and to carry outside his residence on
the night that Teoberto Canizares was shot to death. That that firearm was a

.38 caliber pistol was shown by the testimony and report of NBI Ballistician
Bonifacio Ayag. When the above circumstances are taken together with
the testimony of the eyewitness that Modesto Orehuela was in fact in
possession of a firearm and used the same to kill Teoberto Canizares, we
believe that accused Orehuela was properly found guilty of aggravated or
qualified illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.
In the present case, the testimonies of several witnesses indubitably
demonstrate the existence of the firearms. Villamor Laderas stated that when
he went to Barangay Quinaoayanan, Bani, Pangasinan to investigate a report
regarding missing carabaos, pigs and goats, he saw the appellants carrying
long firearms. We quote hereunder the relevant portion of his testimony:
Q And when you saw the two accused together with the three others, what
have you noticed in their persons?
A They were holding long firearms, sir.
Q Who of the five persons did you see was holding long firearms?
A Jimmy Orania was holding a carbine; Mateo Narvasa was holding an M-16.
Q About Felicisimo Narvasa, what was he holding?
A Felicisimo Narvasa was holding [an] M-14.[22]
Ernesto Nagal likewise stated that he saw appellants carrying long firearms, as
his testimony indicates:
Q What did you notice in the persons of the five persons you met?
A They were carrying arms, sir.
Q What kind of firearm were the five persons, or some of them, carrying?
A Jimmy Orania is carrying a caliber .30.
Q How about Mateo Narvasa?
A Mateo Narvasa is carrying [an] M-16.
Q How about Felicisimo Narvasa?
A A long firearm was carried by Felicisimo Narvasa, sir, but I dont know the
caliber.[23]
That herein appellants were the ones who had shot at the prosecution
witnesses was confirmed by Laderas, who testified as follows:
Q How did you know that the gunfire came from the west?
A Because we were facing west.
Q And while the gunfire was going on, did you know who fired those
gunshots?
A We know sir, because we can see them.
Q Whom did you see?
A Felicisimo Narvasa, Jimmy Orania and Mateo Narvasa, sir.[24]
In addition, Primo Camba was hit by a bullet, and empty shells of M-16, M-14
and .30 caliber carbine bullets were later on recovered in the vicinity of the
place where the shooting occurred.
The above facts, duly proven and taken together, sufficiently establish the
existence of the subject firearms and the fact that appellants possessed and
used said firearms in firing at Villamor Laderas, Ernesto Nagal, and Simeon
Navora, as well as Primo Camba who succumbed to the gunshot wound he
had sustained.
The present case can be distinguished from People v. Navarro[25] wherein the

Court held that illegal possession of firearm could not be deemed an


aggravating circumstance because the existence of the said firearm was not
proven. In said case, a witness testified that he saw appellant shoot the victim
with a short firearm. No firearm, however, was presented as evidence,
although a gun was recovered from the accused when he was
arrested. Moreover, no proof was adduced to show that the firearm allegedly
seen by the witness was the same one recovered by the authorities from the
accused. Thus, the Court held:
In the case at bar, the Information alleged that on January 5, 1991, the
appellant had in his possession an unlicensed firearm which he used in killing
Ferdinand Rabadon. This firearm was allegedly recovered on January 5, 1994,
when appellant was arrested. However, said firearm was not presented in
court or offered as evidence against the appellant. Although Rabago testified
that he saw the appellant with a short firearm when the latter shot Rabadon
on January 5, 1991 no other proof was presented to show that such
gun, allegedly used on January 5, 1991, was the same one recovered on
January 5, 1994. The prosecution was not able to establish sufficiently the
existence of the subject firearm x x x.
In other words, the evidence on the existence of the firearm was beset with
doubt and conflict. Such uncertainty is not found in the present case, for the
testimonies of several witnesses indubitably established that the subject
firearms were in the possession of the appellants.
As to proof that appellants had no license or permit to possess the firearms in
question, we have held in People v. Villanueva[26] that the second element of
illegal possession of firearms can be proven by the testimony or the
certification of a representative of the PNP Firearms and Explosives Unit that
the accused was not a licensee of the firearm in question. The Court ruled:
As we have previously held, the testimony of, or a certification from the PNP
Firearms and Explosives Unit that the accused-appellant was not a licensee of
the said firearm would have sufficed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the
second element of the crime of illegal possession.
The prosecution submitted a certification showing that Appellants Felicisimo
Narvasa and Jimmy Orania were not licensed firearm holders,[27] a fact that
was attested to by SPO4 Roberto Manuel, a member of the PNP stationed at
the provincial headquarters of the Pangasinan Provincial Command as
Assistant Firearms and Explosives NCPO, who testified thus:
Q And did you bring with you the Master List of the firearm licensed holders in
Pangasinan?
A Yes, sir.
Q Will you please produce it?
A (Witness showing a folder, which is the Master List of firearm licensed holders
in Pangasinan.)
Q And with the aid of that voluminous list of firearm holders in Pangasinan, will
you please tell his Honor if Felicisimo Narvasa and Jimmy Orania appear
therein as licensed firearm holders?
A Their names do not appear, as manifested by our [Master List as licensed]
holders of any caliber, sir.[28]

Appellants did not present any evidence and neither did they even claim -that they were in fact licensed firearm holders.
Appellants Responsible
for Policemans Death

Laderas, Nagal and Navora testified that as their group, which included Primo
Camba, approached Felicisimo Narvasas house, they were suddenly fired
upon. Camba was hit and it was from that bullet wound that he died. That
appellants were responsible for his death is clear from Navoras testimony:
Q And on your way following them what happened?
A When we were about 100 meters North of the House of Ising Narvasa we
were met [by] a heavy volume of gunfire.
Q Now, if you were met according to you with heavy volume of gunfire, what
did you xxx and your companion [do]?
A We dive[d] to the ground for safety, sir.
xxxxxxxxx
Q Upon diving to the ground, what happened to Primo Camba?
A Primo Camba was hit, sir[.]
Q How did you come to know that Primo Camba was hit by the first exchange
of gunfire?
A Just after we dived to the ground, xxx Primo Camba told me that he was hit.
Q And when Primo Camba told you that he was hit, what did you do?
A I signalled the two (2) councilmen to get near me.
xxxxxxxxx
''Q After giving instruction to the two (2) councilmen, what did you do?
A They carr[ied] him while we were retreating.
Q Carried the body of Primo Camba, to what place?
A We retreated [to the] East direction, until we reach the yard of [a] certain
Prudencio.
xxxxxxxxx
Q And when you reach[ed] the premises of Prudencio, what was the
condition of Primo Camba?
A He [was] no longer breathing, sir.[29]
Laderas was able to identify their attackers as Felicisimo Narvasa, Jimmy
Orania and Mateo Narvasa. As these three directed and fired their guns at
Laderas, Nagal, Navora and Camba, there was unity in action and purpose,
and thus, conspiracy was present. Although it was not ascertained who
among them actually shot Camba, all of them are liable for his death. In
conspiracy, the act of one is the act of all.
Third Issue:
The Crime

The totality of the evidence shows that appellants possessed unlicensed


firearms, which they used in killing Primo Camba. In its Decision, the trial court
convicted appellants of [i]llegal [p]ossession of [f]irearms in its aggravated
form and considered homicide merely an element of the principal offense
of [i]llegal [p]ossession of [f]irearms in its aggravated form. Applying People v.
Barros[30] to the proven facts, the trial court imposed upon appellants the
penalty of reclusion perpetua. However, a new law has in the meanwhile

been enacted.
Republic Act No. 8294,[31] which imposes a lighter penalty for the crime,
provides:
Section 1. Unlawful Manufacture, Sale, Acquisition, Disposition or Possession of
Firearms or Ammunition or Instruments Used or Intended to be Used in the
Manufacture of Firearms or Ammunition. -- The penalty of prision
correccional in its maximum period and a fine of not less than Fifteen
Thousand pesos (P15,000) shall be imposed upon any person who shall
unlawfully manufacture, deal in, acquire, dispose, or possess any low powered
firearm, such as rimfire handgun, .380 or .32 and other firearm of similar
firepower, part of firearm, ammunition, or machinery, tool or instrument used
or intended to be used in the manufacture of any firearm or
ammunition; Provided, That no other crime was committed.
The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period and a fine of Thirty
Thousand pesos (P30,000) shall be imposed if the firearm is classified as high
powered firearm which includes those with bores bigger in diameter than .38
caliber and 9 millimeter such as caliber .40, .41, .44, .45 and also lesser
calibered firearms but considered powerful such as caliber .357 and caliber
.22 center-fire magnum and other firearms with firing capability of full
automatic and by burst of two or three; Provided, however, That no other
crime was committed by the person arrested.
If homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm, such
use of an unlicensed firearm shall be considered as an aggravating
circumstance.
In People v. Molina,[32] this Court en banc explained that RA 8294 considers
the use of an unlicensed firearm only an aggravating circumstance in murder
or homicide, viz.:
Under our ruling in People vs. Quijada, violation of PD 1866 is an offense
distinct from murder; appellants should perforce be culpable for two separate
offenses, as ruled by the trial court.
Fortunately for appellants, however, RA 8294 has now amended the said
decree and considers the use of an unlicensed firearm simply as an
aggravating circumstance in murder or homicide, and not as a separate
offense.
Under RA 8294, appellants can be held liable only for homicide [33] and
penalized with reclusion temporal. Pursuant to Article 22 of the Revised Penal
Code,[34] RA 8294 should be given retroactive effect.
Civil Liability

Consistent with prevailing jurisprudence, appellants are liable to pay, jointly


and severally, the heirs of Primo Camba the sum of fifty thousand pesos
(P50,000) as indemnity ex delicto for his death.
However, the award of two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000) representing
moral damages should be deleted since no evidence of anxiety, moral shock,
wounded feelings or similar injury was presented during the trial.
WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision is hereby MODIFIED. For the death of Primo
Camba, Appellants Felicisimo Narvasa and Jimmy Orania are
found GUILTY of HOMICIDE with the special aggravating circumstance of

using unlicensed firearms. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, they are
each sentenced to twelve (12) years of prision mayor, as minimum, to twenty
(20) years of reclusion temporal, as maximum; and ordered to pay the heirs of
Primo Camba P50,000 as death indemnity. However, the award of moral
damages is hereby DELETED.

[G.R. No. 124212. June 5, 1998]


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. WILFREDO FELOTEO, accusedappellant.
DECISION
PUNO, J.:
Accused WILFREDO FELOTEO was charged with and convicted of the crimes
of Murder, as defined and penalized under Article 248 of the Revised Penal
Code, and Illegal Possession of Firearm, a violation of Section 1 of Presidential
Decree No. 1866.
The Informations against accused read:
In Criminal Case No. 11109
"That on or about the 6th day of May, 1993, in the evening, at Sitio Nagbaril,
Barangay Bintuan, Municipality of Coron, Province of Palawan, Philippines,
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, with
evident premeditation and treachery, while armed with a firearm and with
intent to kill, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously shoot with
his firearm, to wit: an armalite rifle, one SONNY SOTTO, hitting him on the vital
part of his body and inflicting upon him a gunshot wound on the left side of his
chest, thru and thru, which injury was the direct and immediate cause of his
instantaneous death. (emphasis ours)
"CONTRARY TO LAW and committed with aggravating circumstance of
treachery."
In Criminal Case No. 11644
"That on or about the 6th day of May, 1993, and prior thereto, at Sitio Nagbaril,
Barangay Bintuan, Municipality of Coron, Province of Palawan, Philippines,
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused did then
and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in his possession, custody
and control, one armalite rifle with Serial No. 9035914 and ammunitions,
without any license or permit to possess the same and that this firearm was
used in shooting to death one SONNY SOTTO in a case of Murder filed with the
RTC of Palawan and Puerto Princesa City, docketed as Criminal Case No.
11109 and that this crime have no relation or in furtherance of the crime of
rebellion or subversion. (emphasis ours)
"CONTRARY TO LAW."
When arraigned, accused pled not guilty. Trial ensued.
The records show that in the evening of May 6, 1993, the victim, SONNY SOTTO,
and his friends, ARNEL ABELEDA and JOHNNY ABREA, were walking along the
highway in Barangay Bintuan, Coron, Province of Palawan. They had a few
drinks earlier that day and were on their way home to Sitio Nagbaril. Abrea
walked ahead of the group, about thirteen meters away from Sotto, followed
by Abeleda. They were in a lively mood as Abeleda playfully walked
backwards, facing Sotto.[1]
The accused, WILFREDO FELOTEO, appeared on the opposite side of the road
and walked past Abrea and Abeleda. He was armed with an armalite rifle.
Abeleda and Abrea recognized the accused, their barriomate, as the moon
was shining brightly. They did not pay much attention to the accused as
Abeleda was playing "habulan" with Sotto. Without uttering a word, the

accused aimed the armalite at Sotto and pressed its trigger. Sotto was hit
above the left chest and fell on the ground, face down. Abeleda and Abrea
scampered away to find help, while the accused fled from the crime
scene.[2] Ten (10) minutes later, Abeleda and Abrea, accompanied
by Barangay Tanod Tito Abrina and a certain Inyong Adion, returned to
the locus criminis. They found Sotto dead.
Sotto was brought to the hospital for autopsy. The Autopsy Report showed
that he sustained a gunshot wound, with the bullet entering the left side of his
collarbone and exiting at the spinal cord. The bullet came from an M-16
armalite rifle. He also had abrasions on the knees and face. Dr. Hew G.
Curameng of the Palawan Provincial Hospital opined that Sotto fell on his
knees before he slumped on the ground, face down. There were no powder
burns on his body, indicating that the victim was shot from a distance. The
cause of death was massive blood loss secondary to gunshot wound.[3]
The firearm used in the shooting incident belongs to SPO2 Roman Adion. On
May 6, 1993, SPO2 Adion went to the house of Teofisto Alaquin in Sitio
Nagbaril. He brought with him his official service firearm, an M-16 armalite
rifle,[4] as he has been ordered to go to Jandanao the next day to investigate
a land dispute. He slept early. At around 6:30 p.m., Alaquin woke him up and
informed him that the accused stole his armalite. SPO2 Adion, together with
Nazario Adion and Frank Adion, immediately looked for the accused. They
heard a gunshot coming from a distance of about four hundred (400) meters
and rushed to the place where it emanated. They saw Sotto lying prostrate on
the road, shot on the chest. SPO2 Adion suspected that his armalite was used
in the shooting incident and he continued his hunt for the accused. The next
day, May 7, 1993, at 5:00 a.m., he nabbed the accused in Sitio Cabugao, five
(5) kilometers away from the crime scene. The accused surrendered the
armalite to him. Upon inspection, SPO2 Adion found nineteen (19) bullets left
in the armalite. There were twenty (20) bullets inside the armalite chamber
and magazine before it was stolen.[5]
SPO4 Jose Ansay, Chief of the Firearm and Explosive Unit of the Philippine
National Police (PNP) in Tiniguiban, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, affirmed
that the accused was not duly licensed to carry a firearm.[6]
The accused denied that he stole SPO2 Adion's armalite and alleged that the
shooting of Sotto was an accident. He averred that on May 6, 1993, he was in
his sister's house in Barangay Bintuan, Coron, when SPO2 Adion passed by and
invited him over to the place of Teofisto Alaquin in Nagbaril. They boarded
SPO2 Adion's tricycle and arrived at Nagbaril at about 3:00 p.m. Frank Adion
dropped by the house of Alaquin and borrowed the tricycle of SPO2
Adion. Frank Adion later returned on foot and told SPO2 Adion that the
tricycle's engine broke down so he left it along the road. SPO2 Adion checked
on his tricycle and left behind his armalite rifle. Before leaving, he instructed
the accused to wait for him at Alaquin's house.[7]
After thirty minutes, the accused decided to follow SPO2 Adion. He took the
armalite and walked the road leading to Bintuan. At about 7:00 p.m., he met
Sonny Sotto's group. They zigzagged as they walked. In jest, the accused said
to Sotto, "Boots, don't get near me, I'll shoot you." He pointed the armalite to

Sotto and pressed its trigger, allegedly unaware that it was loaded. It fired and
hit Sotto.The accused fled but was apprehended by SPO2 Adion the following
day. He told SPO2 Adion that he accidentally shot Sotto.[8]
After trial, the accused was found guilty as charged.[9] He was sentenced to
suffer the penalties of reclusion perpetua, for murder, and imprisonment of
twenty (20) years, for illegal possession of firearm. He was further ordered to
pay the heirs of Sotto the amount of fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00), as civil
indemnity.
In this appeal, appellant contends:
"THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN APPRECIATING THE QUALIFYING CIRCUMSTANCE
OF TREACHERY AS ATTENDING THE COMMISSION OF THE CRIME ALLEGED AND
IN HOLDING ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY OF MURDER IN THE KILLING OF
SONNY SOTTO."
We affirm the judgment of conviction.
We reject the argument of the appellant that he should not have been
convicted for murder as treachery was not duly established by the
prosecution. Allegedly, Sotto knew of the impending attack for it was frontal.
Moreover, Sotto was warned, albeit jokingly, that he was going to be shot.
Under par. 16, Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code, the qualifying
circumstance of treachery is present when the offender employs means,
methods, or forms in the execution of the crime which tend directly and
especially to insure its execution without risk to himself arising from any
defensive or retaliatory act which the victim might make. [10] The settled rule is
that treachery can exist even if the attack is frontal if it is sudden and
unexpected, giving the victim no opportunity to repel it or defend
himself. What is decisive is that the execution of the attack, without the
slightest provocation from a victim who is unarmed, made it impossible for the
victim to defend himself or to retaliate.[11]
In the case at bar, treachery is present for there was a sudden attack against
the unarmed Sotto. When Sotto and his friends encountered appellant on the
road, they were in a "jovial mood" as they just came from a drinking
spree. Although they saw appellant carrying an armalite, they did not suspect
anything untoward to happen. However, without any provocation, appellant
shot Sotto. The fact that the attack was frontal cannot negate treachery. The
shooting was unexpected. There is no showing that the alleged warning given
by appellant to Sotto afforded the latter sufficient time to defend
himself. Indeed, Sotto could not defend himself as he was unarmed and a bit
drunk-- as observed by the appellant himself, the victim was walking in a
zigzag manner. There was no way for Sotto to avoid the armalite bullets.
We now come to the penalty imposed on appellant for the illegal possession
of firearm in view of the recent amendments to P.D. No. 1866 by R.A. No. 8294.
Appellant was convicted under Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866, the governing law
at the time the crime was committed. It provides:
"SEC. 1. Unlawful Manufacture, Sale, Acquisition, Disposition or Possession of
Firearms, Ammunition or Instruments Used or Intended to be Used in the
Manufacture of Firearms or Ammunition.- The penalty of reclusion temporal in
its maximum period to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon any person

who shall unlawfully manufacture, deal in, acquire, dispose or possess any
firearm, part of firearm, ammunition of machinery, tool or instrument used or
intended to be used in the manufacture of any firearm or ammunition.
If homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm, the
penalty of death shall be imposed." (emphasis ours)
The penalty for the aggravated form of illegal possession of firearm under P.D.
No. 1866 is death. Since at that time, the death penalty cannot be enforced
in view of Article III (19) (1) of the 1987 Constitution, appellant should have
been sentenced to serve the penalty of reclusion perpetua,[12] not twenty (20)
years of imprisonment.
Nonetheless, Republic Act No. 8294, amended P.D. No. 1866, by reducing the
penalties for simple and aggravated forms of illegal possession of
firearms.[13] The law now provides:
"Section 1. Unlawful Manufacture, Sale, Acquisition, Disposition or Possession of
Firearms or Ammunition or Instruments Used or Intended to be Used in the
Manufacture of Firearms or Ammunition.- The penalty of prision correccional in
its maximum period and a fine of not less than Fifteen thousand pesos
(P15,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person who shall unlawfully
manufacture, deal in, acquire, dispose, or possess any low powered firearm
such as rimfire handgun, .380 or .32 and other firearm of similar firepower,
ammunition, or machinery, tool or instrument used or intended to be used in
the manufacture of any firearm or ammunition: Provided, That no other crime
was committed.
The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period and a fine of Thirty
thousand pesos (P30,000.00) shall be imposed if the firearm is classified as high
powered firearm which includes those with bores bigger in diameter than .38
caliber and 9 millimeter such as caliber .40, .41, .45 and also lesser caliber
firearms but considered powerful such as caliber .357 and caliber .22 centerfire magnum and other firearms with firing capability of full automatic and by
burst of two or three: Provided, however, That no other crime was committed
by the person arrested.
If homicide or murder is committed with the use of unlicensed firearm, such
use of an unlicensed firearm shall be considered as an aggravating
circumstance. (emphasis ours)
xxx xxx xxx
Sec. 5. Coverage of the Term Unlicensed Firearm. - The term unlicensed
firearm shall include:
1) firearms with expired license, or
2) unauthorized use of licensed firearm in the commission of the crime."
Clearly, the penalty for illegal possession of high powered firearm is prision
mayor in its minimum period and a fine of P30,000.00. In case homicide or
murder is committed with the use of unlicensed firearm, such use of
unlicensed firearm shall be merely considered as an aggravating
circumstance.
The enactment of R.A. No. 8294 can be given retroactive effect as it favors
the appellant.[14] So we held in People vs. Simon,[15] viz:
"Since obviously, the favorable provisions of Republic Act 7659 could neither

have been involved or invoked in the present case, a corollary question would
be whether this court, at the present stage, can sua sponte apply the
provisions of Article 22 to reduce the penalty to be imposed on appellant.
That issue has likewise been resolved in the cited case of People vs. Moran, et
al., ante., thus:
`x x x. The plain precept contained in article 22 of the Penal Code, declaring
the retroactivity of penal laws in so far as they are favorable to persons
accused of a felony, would be useless and nugatory if the courts of justice
were not under obligation to fulfill such duty, irrespective of whether or not the
accused has applied for it, just as would also all provisions relating to the
prescription of the crime and the penalty.'
If the judgment which could be affected and modified by the reduced
penalties provided in Republic Act No. 7659 has already become final and
executory or the accused is serving sentence thereunder, then practice,
procedure and pragmatic consideration would warrant and necessitate the
matter being brought to the judicial authorities for relief under a writ of habeas
corpus." (footnote omitted)
As mentioned above, the penalty for simple illegal possession of high powered
firearm is prision mayor in its minimum period.[16] This penalty was taken from
the Revised Penal Code, hence, although P.D. No. 1866, as amended by RA
8294, is a special law, the rules in said Code for graduating penalties by
degrees or determining the proper period should be applied.[17]
In the case at bar, an unlicensed firearm was used in committing murder, thus,
aggravating the crime and increasing the imposable penalty to the maximum
period of prision mayor minimum, the duration of which ranges from seven (7)
years, four (4) months and one (1) day to eight (8) years.[18]
We determine the minimum and maximum sentence pursuant to the first part
of Section 1 of the Indeterminate Sentence Law [19] which directs that "in
imposing a prison sentence for an offense punished by the Revised Penal
Code, or its amendments, the court shall sentence the accused to an
indeterminate sentence, the maximum term of which shall be that which, in
view of the attending circumstances, could be properly imposed under the
rules of said Code, and the minimum of which shall be within the range of the
penalty next lower to that prescribed by the Code for the offense."
Accordingly, the minimum range of the indeterminate sentence shall be
taken from any of the periods of prision correccional maximum, the penalty
next lower in degree to the penalty of prision mayor minimum. Prision
correccional maximum has a duration of four (4) years, two (2) months and
one (1) day to six (6) years. On the other hand, the maximum penalty to be
imposed, taking into consideration the aggravating circumstance attending
the commission of the crime, shall be taken from the maximum period of
prision mayor minimum which ranges from seven (7) years, four (4) months and
one (1) day to eight (8) years.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the judgment against appellant in Criminal Case Nos.
11109 (for Murder) and Criminal Case No. 11644 (for Illegal Possession of
Firearm) is AFFIRMED, with the MODIFICATION that, in Criminal Case No. 11644,
appellant should be sentenced, as he is hereby sentenced, to an

indeterminate penalty of six (6) years of prision correccional, as the minimum


term, and eight (8) years of prision mayor minimum, as the maximum term. No
costs.

G.R. Nos. L-37168-69 September 13, 1985


THE
PEOPLE
OF
THE
PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
DELFINO BELTRAN, alias Minong, DOMINGO HERNANDEZ, alias Doming;
CEFERINO BELTRAN, alias Ebing; MANUEL PUZON alias Noling; CRESENCIO
SIAZON, alias Ising; and ROGELIO BUGARIN, alias Boy,accused-appellants.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Ernesto P. Pagayatan for accused-appellants.
RELOVA, J.:
Accused-appellants Delfino Beltran, alias Minong; Rogelio Bugarin, alias Boy;
Cresencio Siazon, alias Ising; Manuel Puzon, alias Noling; Domingo Hernandez,
alias Doming; and, Ceferino Beltran, alias Ebing, were indicted for murder and
double attempted murder with direct assault in the then Court of First Instance
of Cagayan, docketed as Criminal Case No. 158- S. Likewise, Delfino Beltran
was charged with attempted murder in Criminal Case No. 160-S.
After trial they were convicted and sentenced as follows:
WHEREFORE, the Court finds all the accused DELFINO BELTRAN alias Minong,
ROGELIO BUGARIN alias Boy, CRESENCIO SIAZON alias Ising, MANUEL PUZON
alias Noling, DOMINGO HERNANDEZ alias Doming and CEFERINO BELTRAN
alias Ebing, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder for the
death of VICENTE QUIROLGICO. There being no mitigating circumstance, the
Court has no other alternative than to impose the maximum penalty provided
for by law. Accused Delfino Beltran, Rogelio Bugarin, Cresencio Siazon,
Manuel Puzon, Domingo Hernandez and Ceferino Beltran are hereby
sentenced to the maximum penalty of DEATH, to indemnify the heirs of
Vicente Quirolgico the sum of P 12,000.00 for the loss of his life; P 75,000.00 as
reimbursement for expenses covering medical funeral embalming mausoleum
and burial lot, and the further sum of P 50,000.00 for moral damages, jointly
and severally and to pay the costs, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency, taking into consideration the nature of the principal penalty
imposed.
The Court likewise finds all the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of DOUBLE ATTEMPTED MURDER WITH DIRECT ASSAULT and hereby
imposes upon an of them the penalty of RECLUSION TEMPORAL in its medium
period and orders them to undergo a prison term ranging from 14 years, 8
months and 1 day as minimum to 17 years and 4 months as maximum and to
pay the costs.
Under Crim. Case No, 160-S, accused DELFINO BELTRAN is hereby found guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of ATTEMPTED HOMICIDE and hereby
sentence him to undergo a prison term ranging from 2 years, 4 months and 1
day to 3 years, 6 months and 20 days of prision correccional and to pay the
costs. (pp. 402-403, Record)
The People's evidence shows that in the evening of January 11, 1972,
between 9:00 and 10:00, in Ballesteros, Cagayan, Ernesto Alvarado was
bringing Calixto Urbi home in a jeep. Passing by the Puzon Compound, Delfino
Beltran alias Minong, shouted at them, "Oki ni inayo" (Vulva of your mother).

They proceeded on their way and ignored Delfino. After Alvarado had
brought Urbi to his house he went to the house of Mayor Bienvenido
Quirolgico and reported the matter. The newly elected Mayor told the Chief
of Police that something should be done about it.
They decided to go to the Puzon Compound with the intention to talk to
Delfino Beltran and his companions to surrender considering that he knew
them personally as all of them were once working for Congressman David
Puzon When they came near the compound, they saw appellants Delfino
Beltran, Rogelio Bugarin and Domingo Hernandez and suddenly there was a
simultaneous discharge of gunfire, The mayor's son, Vicente, who was with
them, cried: " I am already hit, Daddy." As he fell, Vicente pushed his father
and both fell down. Mayor Quirolgico and Patrolman Rolando Tolentino also
suffered injuries. When the firing had stopped, they decided to bring Vicente
to the hospital. As the jeep left the compound three (3) men came out of the
Puzon Compound and fired at the fleeing vehicle. They were Cresencio
Siazon, Ceferino Beltran and Noling Puzon. Likewise, Domingo Hernandez and
Minong Beltran and Boy Bugarin tried to give chase. After a while, all the six
men returned inside the compound.
An hour after admission to the hospital Vicente Quirolgico died. Autopsy
examination on the deceased Vicente Quirolgico showed the following
findings:
1. Gunshot wound. inlet wound at the posterior portion of right Mid-axillary line,
at the level of the 5th costal ribs at the back, traversing the right side of the
chest, harrowing the right lung, and fracturing the four (4) postal ribs on the
right side front causing an outlet wound almost six (6) inches long over the
right side of the chest diagonally from above the right nipple downward near
the right mid-axillary line. The inlet has almost one (1) cm. diameter.
2. Gunshot, wound left knee inlet wound at the exterior and posterior side of
the left knee. almost (1) cm. diameter, directed towards the medial side of the
left knee, fracturing the left knee and inlet wound two (2) inches long.
3. Gunshot wound of the right thigh, inlet wound, anterior on front side of the
right thigh at the middle thirds, measuring almost one (1) cm. diameter.
4. Gunshot wound at the internal angle of the left eye inlet wound almost one
(1) cm. diameter, directed downwards and medially traversing the right side
of the face.
CAUSE OF DEATH: INTERNAL HEMORRHAGE secondary to Gunshot wound of
the chest and left eye. (Exh. "B", p. 10, Records).
and the examination on Mayor Quirolgico shows the following injuries:
(1)
Wound,
gunshot,
face
right;
(2)
Wound,
gunshot,
upper
lips
right;
(3)
Wound,
gunshot,
leg,
right;
(4)
Wound,
gunshot,
big
toe,
right;
(5) Wound, gunshot, 2nd toe, right (Exh. "A-1", P. 22, Record)
and on Patrolman Rolando Tolentino, the following injuries:
(1) Wound, gunshot, amper fated index, middle and ring fingers, right;
(2) Wound, lacerated, 1 cm. long, 1/3 cm. deep lumbar region, right;
(3) Wound, lacerated 1/4 cm. long, 1/3 cm. deep forearm, left.

(Exh. "A", p. 20, Record.)


On November 23, 1982, this Court, upon receipt of the information of the
death of appellant Cresencio Siazon alias Ising on February 17, 1982 due to
"Cardio Respiratory Arrest Secondary to Carcinoma Liver, Pulmonary
Tuberculosis," from Mr. Ramon J. Liwag, Officer-in-Charge, New Bilibid Prisons,
Muntinlupa, as well as the Comment filed by the Solicitor General on the
aforesaid information, Resolved to dismiss the case insofar as the criminal
liability of the deceased Cresencio Siazon alias Ising is concerned.
Appellant Rogelio Bugarin claims that between 5:00 and 5:30 in the afternoon
of January 11, 1972,, the armed men inside the passing jeep of Mayor
Quirolgico fired at Rogelio Bugarin, who was then standing at the main gate
of Puzon Compound. After the armed men had passed by, Rogelio Bugarin
proceeded to the office of Congressman Puzon where he met Ebing Beltran
and Delfino Beltran who both asked him about the gun reports. They just
dismissed the incident as no one was hurt. Rogelio Bugarin played guitar while
waiting for supper.
Around 10:30 in the evening of the same date, or after appellants had taken
their supper at Puzon Compound, they heard an unusual sound which
appeared to be a six by six truck that was bumped. Thereafter, at about 12:00
midnight of the same day, Delfino Beltran, posted himself as guard and
positioned himself in front of the gate of the Rural Bank. While at the place he
saw a group of persons, numbering more than ten, along the road in front of
the Rural Bank. Among the group of armed men, he was able to recognize
the Chief of Police of Ballesteros, Gavino Collado, holding a swinging
flashlight, Gerry, Bundok Usita and Bunti Pinzon. When the group reached the
gate of Puzon Compound, he peeped and took hold of the gate with an iron
chain. Accidentally, he dropped the chain and it created a sound which
caused the group of armed men to fire upon his direction for about half an
hour. In retaliation, he loaded his gun following which he saw a man falling
down from the fence. As the firing continued, he stealthily mounted his gun on
top of the fence and fired the same.
When the firing ceased, he proceeded to the residence of Congressman
Puzon. In the sala, he saw Boy Bugarin, Doming Hernandez, Ising Siazon, Noling
Puzon, Ebing Beltran and Floresida Amayon, conversing. Upon seeing him, his
companions asked him what was that firing all about. He told them that he
traded shots with a group of armed men. Thereafter, they hid in the basement
of the residence of the Congressman, staying there for one whole day. The
following day, Delfino Beltran surrendered to Captain Retuta, while the rest
escaped but thereafter surrendered.
The defense of appellant Delfino Beltran, alias Minong, is self- defense;
whereas appellants Rogelio Bugarin, alias Boy, Ceferino Beltran, alias Ebing,
and Manuel Puzon, alias Noling denied having anything to do with the
incident.
In this appeal, appellants contend that the trial court erred in: (1) giving
credence to the evidence for the prosecution; (2) holding that conspiracy
existed among them in the commission of the offense charged in Criminal
Case No. 158-S; (3) finding that treachery and evident premeditation

attended the commission of the crimes; (4) not finding that appellant Delfino
Beltran acted in self-defense; (5) finding appellants guilty of attempted
murder with direct assault on Mayor Quirolgico and Pat. Rolando Tolentino;
and (6) not appreciating in favor of the appellants the mitigating
circumstance of voluntary surrender.
On the first assigned error, We reiterate the established doctrine that when the
issue is one of credibility of witnesses, appellate courts will generally not disturb
the findings of the trial court, considering that it is in a better position to decide
the question, having heard the witnesses themselves and observed their
deportment and manner of testifying during the hearing, unless it had
overlooked certain facts of substance and value that, if considered, might
affect the result of the case.
The judgment of conviction is not bereft of evidence to support the same.
Hereunder are the testimonies of the prosecution's eyewitnesses, namely:
Carmelita Collado who declared the following:
Q Will you inform the Honorable Court who was that one shouting?
A Minong Beltran, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q Will you inform the Court what was that?
A I heard the voice of Mr. Minong Beltran saying, 'Cida, Cida, you bring out
the guns now I have already shot at the BRQ jeep and they are sure to come
back.
xxx xxx xxx
Q Can you tell us what you saw at that time?
A I saw these three persons, Minong Beltran, Boy Bugarin and Domingo
Hernandez, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q What else did you see if any?
A When these three persons came out, they were already
xxx xxx xxx
Q Will you inform this Court what was that?
A Upon coming out, Delfino Beltran ordered Doming Hernandez to go to the
right side of the old office of Congressman Puzon and he also instructed Boy
Bugarin to seek cover to the Rural Bank.
xxx xxx xxx
Q During all these time that these were happening, the going out of Doming
Hernandez, of Bugarin; the ordering of Minong Beltran to the two, did you see
any other persons inside the compound of Congressman Puzon aside from the
three?
A After the three had placed themselves in their respective positions, I saw
persons coming out but I was not able to recognize them. (tsn., pp. 5-7, 42-45,
Nov. 18, 1972 hearing.)
Mayor Bienvenido Quirolgico testified as follows:
Q And do you know what happened after you walked a few steps to the
south?
A When I was looking very well around the vicinity, at the southern part of the
Rural Bank about the corner of their fence, and as I tried to look intently, I

recognized the face of Minong Beltran.


xxx xxx xxx
Q At the precise moment, when you saw Minong Beltran at the corner of the
Rural Bank, what else happened if any?
A As I tried to look near them, that was the time when there was a burst of gun
fire, the direction of which was coming from the place where they were
staying.
xxx xxx xxx
Q Will you inform this Honorable Court who the other men were at that time?
A Boy Bugarin and Domingo Hernandez.
xxx xxx xxx
Q And after the shooting, there was the shout?
A At the lulling of the shooting, I heard the shout.
xxx xxx xxx
Q And what were the words?
A 'Nala na si Mayor' (The mayor is already hit). (tsn., pp. 20, 21, 31-32, 58-59,
Nov. 17, 1972 hearing)
Patrolman Rolando Usita stated that:
Q You said that as the mayor was leaving the scene of the incident, you saw
three of the accused coming out of the guardhouse, do you confirm that?
A Yes, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q And the persons who came out from this point according to you are the
accused Ising Siazon, Ebing Beltran and Noling Puzon, do you confirm that?
A Yes, sir.
Q And after that the three other accused named as Doming Hernandez, Boy
Bugarin and Minong Beltran came out of the same compound?
A No, sir. They came out from here. (tsn., pp. 84, 87, February 19, 1973 hearing)
Chief of Police Gavino Collado also pointed out the following:
Q May I see the sketch, your Honor?
A The mayor took this road in going to the hospital (witness pointing to the
Bonifacio Cortez Street), and as the jeep was going westward, and reached
this point, three men came out from this part of the compound and they fired
at the vehicle in which the mayor and his son rode on.
xxx xxx xxx
Q So that the Court would now understand from your statement that it was
only after the jeep of the mayor has left already the scene when three
persons came out from the gate of the Puzon compound, that you saw for the
first time these persons?
A Yes, sir.
Q And these persons were Identified as Ebing Beltran, Cresencio Siazon and
Noling Puzon?
A Yes, sir. (tsn., pp. 59, 80, January 9, 1973 hearing)
The denial of appellants Rogelio Bugarin, Ceferino Beltran and Manuel Puzon
cannot, therefore, prevail over their positive Identification, as the perpetrators
of the crime by the aforenamed eyewitnesses who have not been shown to
have any evil motive to testify falsely against them.

Moreover, the physical evidence, as testified to by Dr. Gregorio R. Farin,


Municipal Health Officer of Ballesteros, Cagayan, who conducted the post
mortem examination on the body of the deceased Vicente Quirolgico, shows
that several firearms could have caused his wounds:
Q Considering the nature of the injuries that were found on the body of the
deceased, could it be possible that several firearms could have caused these
injuries?
A It is possible.
xxx xxx xxx
Q It is also possible that wounds Nos. 2, 3 and 4 were caused by three different
bullets, 3 different guns, different calibers?
A Yes, sir. It is possible. (tsn., pp. 65-66, Nov. 17, 1972 hearing)
The foregoing testimony of Dr. Farin finds support from the findings of witnesses
Vicente de Vera, a Ballistician, and Lt. Col. Crispin Garcia, Chief Chemistry
Branch, both of the Philippine Constabulary Crime Laboratory, Camp Crame,
Quezon City, who conducted examinations on the empty shells and on the
firearms, respectively, recovered from the premises of the Rural Bank and the
Puzon Compound. Vicente de Vera testified on direct examination, the
following:
Q Under your findings No. 1, will you inform us your conclusion?
A My conclusion was that the 27 fired cartridges marked as CIS-1 to 27 were
fired from the firearm marked as Exhibit 'R' (SIG Natu Rifle).
Q Your other findings, please tell the Court.
A Under findings Nos. 2: Microscopic examination and comparison of the 223
Cal. fired cartridge cases marked as CIS 28 to CIS 154 revealed the noncongruency of striations with the test cartridge cases fired from the
abovementioned 223 caliber M16 Armalite rifle with Serial No. 527226. They
further revealed the following:
1.
CIS
28
to
CIS
62
were
fired
from
one
(1)
firearm;
2.
CIS
63
to
CIS
95
were
fired
from
one
(l)
firearm;
3. CIS 96 to CIS 102 were fired from one (1) firearm;
4. CIS 103 to CIS 154 were fired from one (1) firearm
Q May we know your conclusion of this findings of yours?
A My conclusion is that, the 223 Caliber fired cartridges marked as CIS 28 to
CIS 154 were fired from four different firearms but not from the aboveentioned 223 Cal. M16 Armalite with SN-527226. (tsn., pp. 29-30, January 8,
1973 hearing)
and on cross-examination declared that:
Q Supposing that there are three SIG rifles of the same Serial number and the
fired cartridges from this three guns have the same number of similar
characteristics or congruency of striations?
A They can have no similar characteristics.
Q Do you mean to say that for every SIG rifle there is its own characteristics;
that congruency of striations?
A That is correct. (tsn., p. 36, January 8, 1973 hearing)
whereas, Lt. Col. Crispin B. Garcia on the witness stand declared:
Q With this request for examination of certain articles, what articles were

actually submitted to you for examinations?


A Well one (1) rifle SIG, Switzerland made with SN-5721, the barrel group
bearing Serial Number 15721; the receiver group with SN-5720 and the barrel
link bearing SN-9641, and another firearm (Exh. 'R').
Q Colonel aside from this article, Exhibit 'R', what other articles or guns did you
receive for examination?
A One Armalite with Serial No. 527226. (Exhibit 'S')
xxx xxx xxx
Q With reference to the first rifle which you have mentioned, which is marked
as Exhibit 'R', with different serial numbers, in the barrel group, receiver group,
and the barrel link, will you inform this Honorable Court your findings?
A I found that the barrel of the Armalite is positive for the presence of
gunpowder, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q With reference to this Armalite, M15, marked as Exhibit 'S', in this particular
case, will you tell us your findings about the presence of gunpowder?
A Exhibit 'S', the barrel is positive of gunpowder. (tsn., pp. 52, 55, 57, & 58,
January 8, 1973 hearing)
The above findings further confirm the truth of the statements of eyewitnesses
Gavino Collado, Patrolman Usita, Mayor Quirolgico and Carmelita Collado
that appellants traded shots with the Mayor's group, using long or high
powered guns.
Anent the second assigned error, We agree with the trial court's finding on the
existence of conspiracy. In the case at bar, the sequence of events that
transpired in the evening of January 11, 1972, from the time Delfino Beltran first
fired upon the passing jeep of Mayor Bienvenido Quirolgico, driven by witness
Ernesto Alvarado at around 9:00, the subsequent preparations for the arrival of
the Mayor as testified to by eyewitness Carmelita Collado, the shooting on the
other passing jeepney to further provoke the Mayor, and the simultaneous
and sudden firing at the Mayor's group which had just arrived at about 12:00
midnight in the scene of the crime; the final shooting of the fleeing Mayor;
and, the simultaneous common retreat and escape of all the accused,
established the presence of conspiracy. For conspiracy to exist, it is enough
that at the time the offense was committed, the participants had the same
purpose and were united in its execution, as may be inferred from the
attendant circumstances (People vs. Manalo, 133 SCRA 626). Further,
conspiracy does not require an agreement for an appreciable period prior to
the occurrence, as conspiracy legally exists if, at the time of the offense, the
accused had the same criminal purpose and were united in its execution.
Appellants' conduct and/or actuations before, during and after the
commission of the crime charged in Criminal Case No. 158-S are
circumstances proving conspiracy.
Conspiracy having established, the act of one is the act of all. It is no longer
necessary to specifically lay out the particular participation of each
participant.
Relative to the third assigned error, the trial court properly appreciated the
existence of the aggravating circumstances of evident premeditation and

treachery. From 9:00 in the evening to 12:00 midnight of the same day,
appellants had three (3) long hours to meditate and reflect on their evil design
and they clung in their determination to kill the Mayor, which fortunately
failed.
Premeditation is present where there was a lapse of two hours from the
inception to execution.
The existence of the aggravating circumstance of treachery was shown in the
simultaneous and sudden firing by the accused on the newly arrived Mayor's
group, without warning. We are convinced that they employed means,
methods or forms which could have tended directly or insured the
accomplishment of their evil design against the Mayor, with whom they have
no personal grudge, without risk to themselves arising from the defense which
the offended party had made. No one from herein appellants sustained a
scratch as they were really prepared for the coming Mayor.
With respect to the fourth assigned error, the claim of Delfino Beltran that he
had just acted in self-defense, suffice it to say, that the one invoking this
justifying circumstance must prove beyond reasonable doubt that all the
necessary requisites of self-defense are present, namely: (1) Unlawful
aggression on the part of the offended party; (2) Reasonable necessity of the
means employed to prevent or repel it; and, (3) Lack of sufficient provocation
on the part of the person defending himself. Delfino Beltran had not proved
any one of these. Thus, his claim of self-defense was properly dismissed by the
trial court.
Regarding the fifth assigned error, considering that Mayor Quirolgico is a
person in authority and Pat. Rolando Tolentino is a policeman who at the time
was in his uniform, and both were performing their official duties to maintain
peace and order in the community, the finding of the trial court that
appellants are guilty of attempted murder with direct assault on the persons of
Mayor Quirolgico and Pat. Tolentino is correct.
Relative to the last assigned error, following Our latest ruling in People vs.
Nicolas Canamo, et al., G.R. No. 62043, promulgated on August 13, 1985, We
agree with appellants that they should be credited with the mitigating
circumstance of voluntary surrender, as they in fact presented themselves
voluntarily to the authorities. However, this mitigating circumstance is offset by
the aggravating circumstance of evident premeditation.
WHEREFORE, in Criminal Case No. 158-S, with the modifications that for lack of
necessary votes, the penalty imposed upon appellants Delfino Beltran alias
Minong, Rogelio Bugarin alias Boy, Manuel Puzon alias Noling, Domingo
Hernandez alias Doming and Ceferino Beltran alias Ebing, for the death of
Vicente Quirolgico, is reduced to Reclusion Perpetua, and that the indemnity
to the heirs of the deceased Vicente Quirolgico is increased to P30,000.00, the
appealed decision is AFFIRMED in an other respects.
For the double attempted murder with direct assault, applying the
Indeterminate Sentence Law, the penalty imposed on the aforesaid
appellants is reduced to four (4) years and two (2) months of prision
correccional, as minimum, to ten (10) years of prision mayor, as maximum.
In Criminal Case No. 160-S, applying also the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the

penalty imposed to the accused Delfino Beltran is reduced to Six (6) months of
arresto mayor, as minimum, to four (4) years and two (2) months of prision
correccional, as maximum.

June 30, 1987


G.R. No. 70639
PEOPLE
OF
THE
PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
PEDRO DOLLANTES, HAMLET DOLLANTES, ALFREDO DOLLANTES, LAURO
DOLLANTES, MONICO DOLLANTES, SIDRITO LOKESIO, MERLANDO DOLLANTES,
HUGO GRENGIA, DANNY ESTEBAN AND LEONILO VILLAESTER, accusedappellants.
PARAS, J:
This is an appeal from a decision of the Regional Trial Court of Dumaguete
City, 7th Judicial Region, Branch XL, in Criminal Case No. 5832, convicting the
nine (9) accused, Pedro Dollantes, Hamlet Dollantes, Lauro Dollantes, Monico
Dollantes, Sidrito Lokesio, Merlando Dollantes, Hugo Grengia, Danny Esteban
and Leonilo Villaester, all equally guilty of the complex crime of "Assault upon
a Person in Authority Resulting in Murder" and sentencing the
abovementioned accused to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to
indemnify the heirs of the deceased, jointly and severally, the sum of
P30,000.00 to pay attomey's fees in the amount of P3,000.00 and to pay the
costs.
All of the accused were charged as follows:
That on or about the 21st day of April 1983 at nighttime, in the Municipality of
Tayasan, Province of Negros Oriental, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring and
confederating together and helping one another with evident premeditation
and treachery, and with intent to kill did then and there, willfully, unlawfully
and feloniously attack, assault and stab one Marcos Gabutero, Barangay
Captain of Maglihe, Tayasan, Negros Oriental, an agent of a person in
authority and which fact accused had full knowledge, while the latter was in
the lawful performance of his official duty or function as Barangay Captain or
on the occasion of such function, with a bolo and hunting knives with which
the accused were then armed and provided, thereby inflicting the following
wounds in the victim, viz:
1. Stab wound measuring three and a half (3 1/2) cm. in length and half (1/2)
cm. in width, ten (10) cm. depthness located at the left anterior aspect of the
trunk at the level of the 3rd intercostal space, 5 cm. away from the anterior
mid-line. The wound was oriented horizontally and directed vertically and
slightly to the back. Ventricle and lung tissue penetrated.
2. Stab wound measuring four (4) cm. in length, 1 cm. in width, eleven and a
half (11 1/2) cm. depthness, located at the right anterior aspect of the trunk,
at the level of the 2nd intercostal space about five (5) cm. away from the
anterior and midline, the wound was oriented horizontally and directed
downward and slightly to the back.
3. Incised wound five (5) cm. in length, 1 cm. in width located at the left
anterior aspect of the trunk about 26 cm. below the left clavicle and four (4)
cm. away from the anterior mid-line. The wound was oriented obliquely.

4. Incised wound measuring two (2) cm. in length and one (1) cm. in width,
located at the right anterior aspect of the trunk about twenty-one (21) cm.
below the right clavicle and eight (8) cm. away from the anterior line. The
wound was oriented obliquely.
5. Incised wound measuring one and a half (1 1/2) cm. in length, half (1/2)
cm. in width located at the anterior aspect of the upper extremity about nine
(9) cm. above the wrist joint one and a half (1 1/2) cm. away from the anterior
mid-line and medially. The wound was oriented vertically.
6. Incised wound measuring four (4) cm. in length, 1 cm. in width located at
the lateral aspect of the right upper extreme about five (5) cm. above the
elbow joint and five (5) cm. away from the posterior midline laterally. The
wound was oriented horizontally.
7. Through and through stab wound located at the left upper extremity the
wound of entrance measuring about three and a half (3 1/2) cm. in length
and one (1) cm. in width located at the posterior aspect of the forearm
above five (5) em. below the elbow joint, three (3) cm. away from the anterior
mid-line medially. The wound was oriented vertically.
8. Incised wound measuring 3 cm. in length half (1/2) cm. in width located at
the lateral aspect of the left upper extremity about five (5) cm. below the
elbow joint and (5) cm. away from the posterior mid-line. The wound was
oriented horizontally.
9. Stab wound measuring one and one-half (1 1/2) cm. in width and four (4)
cm. depthness located at the left anterior aspect of the trunk, about seven
and a half (7 1/2) cm. above the ihac crest and twelve (12) cm. away from
the anterior mid-line. The wound was oriented obliquely and directed
downward, slightly to the right and posteriority, perforating part of the
intestine.
10. Stab wound measuring three (3) cm. in length, one (1) cm. in width and
seven and a half (7) cm. in depthness, located at the left posterior of the trunk
about three (3) cm. above the lower angle of the scapula, and seven (7) cm.
away from the posterior mid-line. The wound was oriented obliquely and
directed downward and slightly to the left.
11. Stab wound measuring three(3) cm. in length, one (l) cm. in width and
twelve (12) cm. in depthness, located at the left posterior aspect of the trunk
about thirteen (13) cm. below the lower angle of the scapula and six (6) cm.
away from the posterior mid-line. The wound was oriented obliquely and
directed anteriority to the left.
12. Hemothorax on the left pleural cavity, which wounds caused the latter's
untimely death.
Contrary to Art. 248, 148 and 48 of the Revised Penal Code.
(Information, Original Record, pp. 3-4)
The findings of facts of the trial court are as follows:
That deceased Marcos Gabutero at the time of his death was the Barangay
Captain of Barangay Maglihe, Tayasan, Negros Oriental; that due to the
approaching fiesta of barangay Maglihe, a dance was held in said barangay
in the evening of April 21, 1983; that while the Barangay Captain was
delivering a speech to start the dance, the accused Pedro Dollantes went to

the middle of the dancing floor, making a dance movement known in the
visayan as "nagkorantsa", brandishing his knife and challenging everyone as
to who was brave among the people present; the Barangay Captain
approached Pedro Dollantes and admonished him to keep quiet and not to
disturb the dance. However, the accused, instead of heeding to the advice
of the Barangay Captain, stabbed the latter on the left arm; that accused
Hugo Grengia held the left hand of accused Pedro Dollantes and Dionilo
Garol was able to get from the hand of Pedro Dollantes the hunting knife.
Immediately thereafter, accused Hamlet Dollantes, who rushed towards the
Barangay Captain, stabbed the Barangay Captain at the back and the other
co-accused also took turns in stabbing the Barangay Captain; the Barangay
Captain at that time was not armed. Except for the accused Hugo Grengia,
Danny Esteban and Leonilo Villaester who were merely holding stones, the
other co-accused participated in the stabbing incident. When the Barangay
Captain fell to the ground and died, the accused in this case took turns in
kicking the dead body of the Barangay Captain and were dancing around
said dead body; that the Barangay Captain suffered eleven (11) wounds in
the different parts of his body, two of which happened to be at the back of
his dead body. According to the attending physician, Dr. Rogelio Kho who
examined the body of the deceased, the victim died of "Severe hemorrhage
and cardiac tamponade due to stab wounds." (Decision, Crim. Case No.
5832, Rollo, p. 75).
The evidence for the prosecution consisted principally of the testimonies of
Dionilo Garol, Bonifacio Cero, Marciana Gabutero, the wife of the deceased,
Pat. Ricardo Barrera, Dr. Rogelio Kho who conducted the post mortem
examination of the deceased, Ponsimillo Balasabas, the Municipal Treasurer of
Tayasan, Negros Oriental and Pat. Jose Amis of the Integrated National Police.
On the other hand, the defense presented the following witnesses: Accused:
Hugo Grengia, Leonilo Villaester, Danny Esteban, Alfredo Dollantes, Hamlet
Dollantes, and other witnesses: Machim Dollantes and Tacio Fausto.After a
careful evaluation of the evidence, the trial court was convinced that all the
accused in this case conspired in the commission of the crime.
Thus on February 20, 1985, the trial court rendered its decision finding all the
accused guilty of the complex crime of assault upon a person in authority
resulting in murder. The dispositive portion of the decision reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, the prosecution having proven the guilt of all the accused
beyond reasonable doubt, this Court hereby finds the accused Pedro
Dollantes, Hamlet Dollantes, Alfredo Dollantes, Lauro Dollantes, Monico
Dollantes, Sidrito Lokesia, Merlando Dollantes, Hugo Grengia, Danny Esteban
and Leonilo Villaester, guilty of the complex crime of assault upon a person in
authority resulting in murder, and hereby sentences the above-mentioned
accused to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to indemnify the heirs
of Marcos Gabutero, jointly and severally, the sum of Thirty Thousand
(P30,000.00) PESOS, to pay attorney's fees in the amount of Three Thousand
(P3,000.00) Pesos, and to pay the costs of the proceedings.
SO ORDERED. (RTC Decision, Rollo, p. 79)
From the aforementioned decision, all the accused appealed. Accused Hugo

Grengia submitted a separate brief.


The appellant raised the following assignment of errors:
FIRST ERROR
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GIVING FULL WEIGHT AND CREDIT TO THE BIASED,
INCREDIBLE AND CONTRADICTORY STATEMENTS OF THE PROSECUTION
WITNESSES DIONILO GAROL, BONIFACIO CERO AND MARCIANA GABUTERO
AND IN NOT CONSIDERING AT LEAST THE UNCONTRADICTED TESTIMONY OF
INDEPENDENT WITNESSES DOLLANTES AND TACIO FAUSTO.
SECOND AND THIRD ERRORS
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT GIVING WEIGHT TO THE EXPERT PROSECUTION
WITNESS DR. ROGELIO R. KHO WHICH IN EFFECT CONTRADICTS THE THEORY OF
THE PROSECUTION AND THAT THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DECIDING THAT
CONSPIRACY EXISTS.
FOURTH ERROR
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED FROM NOT GIVING WEIGHT TO THE TESTIMONY OF
ACCUSED HUGO GRENGIA, LEONILO VILLAESTER alias "Laon," DANILO ESTEBAN,
HAMLET DOLLANTES, ALFREDO DOLLANTES AND THE TESTIMONY OF
INDEPENDENT WITNESSES TACIO FAUSTO AND MCLEAN DOLLANTES.
FIFTH ERROR
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED GUILTY OF THE COMPLEX
CRIME OF ASSAULT UPON A PERSON IN AUTHORITY RESULTING TO MURDER AND
SENTENCING THEM TO SUFFER THE PENALTY OF RECLUSION PERPETUA AND TO
INDEMNIFY THE HEIRS OF MARCOS GABUTERO, JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY, THE
SUM OF THIRTY THOUSAND (P30,000.00) PESOS, and TO PAY THE COSTS OF THE
PROCEEDINGS. (Brief for Accused-Appellant, Rollo, p. 62)
In his separate brief, accused Hugo Grengia assigns the following errors:
1. The lower court erred in not giving weight and credence to the admission of
accused-appellant Hamlet Dollantes that he was the lone perpetrator of the
alleged stabbing of victim Marcos Gabutero.
2. The lower court erred in not considering the testimonies of prosecution
witnesses, namely: Patrolman Ricardo Barrera, Dr. Rogeho Kho which in effect
buttressed the theory of the defense.
3. The lower court erred in not considering the entry in the police logbook of
the Tayasan Integrated National Police, dated April 21, 1983, as testified to by
Patrolman Jose Amis.
4. The lower court erred in holding that conspiracy exist in perpetration of the
felony.
5. The lower court erred in holding that the case of People vs. Agag (L-64951,
June 29, 1984) is applicable to the case at bar to justify the conviction of the
accused-appellants.
6. The lower court erred in not giving weight and credence to the testimony of
the defense witnesses.
7. Finally, the trial court erred in holding that the accused-appellant herein is
guilty of the crime charged. (Brief for accusedappellant Hugo Grengia, pp. 12)
The appeal is without merit.
The issue hinges on the credibility of witnesses.

The accused were positively identified by three (3) prosecution eye witnesses.
They were: Dionilo Garol, Bonifacio Cero and Marciana Gabutero, the wife of
the victim. Except for the latter, the two other witnesses Garol and Cero are
not related to the victim or the accused. The testimonies of these three (3)
witnesses were subjected to a lengthy cross-examination and were found
credible and free from material contradictions by the trial court (Rollo, p. 75).
Dionilo Garol who was six (6) meters away, saw clearly what happened. He
testified that when the Barangay Captain started to deliver his speech, the
accused Pedro Dollantes brandishing a knife shouted "Who is brave here?"
(TSN, page 6, Oct. 7, 1983). The victim then approached to admonish him t
the latter stabbed the victim on the arm. Garol immediately approached the
accused Pedro Dollantes and tried to wrest the knife away from the hand of
the accused. The accused Hugo Grengia also tried to grab the knife but it
was Garol who succeeded. The accused Grengia then told him "Do not try to
intervene because you might be included in the plan." (TSN, page 8, Oct. 17,
1983). Then Grengia made some signs by nodding his head and the accused
Hamlet Dollantes and Alfredo Dollantes rushed to and attacked the victim
followed by the other co-accused in this case who also rushed at and
stabbed the victim. He specified that accused Alfredo Dollantes, Lauro
Dollantes, Monico Dollantes and Sidrito Lokesio were carrying knives while the
accused Merlando Dollantes was carrying a bolo; and that they stabbed the
victim one after another. He said that the accused Danny Esteban, Hugo
Grengia andLeonilo Villaester were all carrying stones which they threw at the
store of the victim's wife (TSN, pp. 7-10; Oct. 17, 1983).
This testimony was fully corroborated by another prosecution eyewitness
Bonifacio Cero who was about three (3) meters away and whose narration
tallied on all material ints with that of Dionilo Garol as to what transpired that
night. He stated further that when he saw the Barangay Captain being
stabbed he tried to approach the group but he was held by Danny Esteban
who said "do not try to interfere, you are not a party to this. We have already
gotten what we have been aiming for." (TSN, page 12, Oct. 18, 1983).
Thereafter, he ran away but Alfredo Dollantes, Pedro Dollantes and Danny
Esteban stoned him because they intended to kill him also. He also testified
that when he returned to the crime scene, he saw Hugo Grengia, Danny
Esteban and companions simultaneously kicking the dead body and shouting
"who is brave among here. "
Marciana Gabutero, the wife of the victim funy corroborated the testimonies
of Garol and Cero. She also added that Hugo Grengia wanted to be a
Barangay Captain and she happened to know that as a fact, because he
told the crowd not to long as Barangay Captain. She also testified that the
accused Leonilo Villaester splashed one glass of tuba on the face of the
deceased and that the victim had had a misunderstanding with the Dollantes
on a theft case involving Hamlet Dollantes (Rollo, pp. 68-69).
It will be noted that the above witnesses were categorical and straightforward
when they stated that they saw appellants stab the victim. They even
specified the type of weapon used by each of said appellants.
There is no possibility that they could have been mistaken in their Identification

for apart from being near the crime scene which was well illuminated with two
Petromax lamps (TSN, page 6, Oct. 19, 1983), these witnesses are familiar with
the appellants since they are all residents of the same locality. Furthermore,
there is no showing that the witnesses had any motive to testify falsely against
the appellants.
In fact, under similar circumstances, the Court has held that where the scene
of the stabbing was clearly lighted and no motive was shown why prosecution
witnesses would incriminate the appellants, identification would be given full
faith and credit (People v. Escoltero, 139 SCRA 218).
The theory of the defense in this case is that it was only the accused Hamlet
Dollantes who stabbed the victim while the other accused did not participate
in the stabbing incident (Rollo, pp. 75-76).
In an attempt to disprove the findings of the trial court, appellants pointed out
that there are certain inconsistencies that render the testimonies of
prosecution witnesses, incredible.
For one thing they claim that Dionilo Garol could not have een Hamlet
Dollantes stab the victim because as Garol himself stated, when said accused
rushed towards the victim, he ran away. The evidence shows however, that
Garol clearly testified that he saw au of them stab the Barrio Captain, one
after another and it was only after the Barrio Captain fell to the ground that
he ran towards the municipal hall to report the incident to the police (TSN,
page 11, Oct. 17, 1983).
Another circumstance allegedly raising grave doubts on the credibility of
Dionilo Garol was his failure to report to the police authorities the fact of
stoning (Rollo, pp. 71-72).
However, the fact of stoning was not the means used to kill the victim and the
omission of the same in the narration in the report does not detract from the
established fact that the victim was stabbed several times which caused his
death.
It was also pointed out that Dionilo Garol testified that the store of the victim's
wife was stoned while Bonifacio Cero also testified that he was the one being
stoned.
There appears to be no inconsistency between the two testimonies. The fact
that the store of the victim's wife was stoned does not preclude the possibility
that Bonifacio Cero was also stoned.
Finally, appellants maintain that Bonifacio Cero could not have seen with
precision the stabbing of the victim while he was being hugged by Danny
Esteban and he had a feeling that he would be killed by the group. Much less
could it be possiblefor accused Danny Esteban, Leonflo Villaester, Sidrito
Lokesio and Alfredo Dollantes who were at the store of Severina Cadillero, to
join in stabbing the victim, the appellants argued (Rollo, pp. 73-74).
The records show that Cero testified that he saw appellants stab the
deceased before he was embraced by appellant Danny Esteban who told
him "do not interfere you are not a party to this. We have already gotten what
we have been aiming for." (TSN, page 12, Oct. 18, 1983). Clearly, the
language is unmistakable that in that at said point, the stabbing and the killing
being described by all the witnesses had already been accomphshed.

Indeed, if there be any inconsistency or contradictions in their testimonies, the


same are trivial and merely refer to minor matters which do not affect
credibility. They do not detract from the essential facts or vital details of the
crime pinpointing their criminal responsibility (Appellee's Brief, p. 16). As held
by this Court, discrepancies in minor details are to be expected from an
uncoached witness (People v. Arbois, 138 SCRA 31). Such minor variations
would rather show the sincerity of the witnesses and the absence of
connivance between them to make their testimonies tally in every respect
(People v. Pielago, 140 SCRA 419, 423). Truth to tell, such trivial differences
constitute fail-safe reliability.
Accused Hugo Grengia claims that the trial court erred in not giving weight to
the admission of accused Hamlet Dollantes that he was the lone perpetrator
of the killing incident (Brief for Accused-Appellant Hugo Grengia, p. 7). Thus
the defense argues that the accused Pedro Dollantes, Alfredo Dollantes,
Merlando Dollantes, Lauro Dollantes, Sidrito Lokesio, Monico Dollantes and
Leonilo Villaester, did not stab the victim and were not at the scene of the
crime and that it was only accused Hamlet Dollantes who stabbed the victim.
As found by the trial court, such claim is not supported by sufficient evidence.
On the contrary, an entry in the Police Logbook (Exhibit "D") of the Integrated
National Police of Tayasan, Negros Oriental, shows that one Gloria Callao,
wife of the accused Lauro Dollantes, turned over to the police two (2) hunting
knives owned by the accused Hamlet Dollantes and Alfredo Dollantes.
Moreover, as correctly pointed out by the Solicitor General, such theory is
behed by the Identification made by the prosecution witnesses and by the
number and location of the victim's wounds which are mute evidence that
several persons comn)itted the crime (People's Brief, p. 17).
As repeatedly held by the Supreme Court, the claim of alibi by the accused
cannot prevail over positive Identification by credible witnesses (People v.
Tirol, 102 SCRA 58); more so where as in the case at bar, it was not
demonstrated that it was physically impossible for the accused to have been
at the scene of said crime at the time of its commission (People v. Mercado,
97 SCRA 232).
On the other hand, the claim of Hamlet Dollantes of self-defense when he
stabbed the victim is not sustained by the records. As found by the trial court,
the victim was not armed at the time of the incident, so that there was no
danger to the life and limb of the accused. The latter claims that he had to
stab the victim who boxed him and would not release his wounded hand
(Rollo, p. 76). Apart from the obvious disproportion of the means used to repel
the alleged attack, three witnesses of the prosecution testified that the
accused Hamlet Dollantes rushed towards the victim and stabbed the latter
at the back. Said testimonies were corroborated by the Post Mortem
Examination (Exhibit "A") and the Sketch (Exhibit "B") of the human body of the
victim which showed a stab wound at the back. Furthermore, the nature,
character, location and extent of the wound suffered by the victim, negates
the accused's claim of self-defense. (People v. Tolentino, 54 Phil. 77). In fact,
the eleven (11) wounds suffered by "he victim are indicative of aggression
(People v. Somera, 83 Phil. 548; People v. Mendoza, L-16392, Jan. 30, 1965).

Accused-appellant Hugo Grengia submits that the prosecution failed to prove


the existence of conspiracy. Among others, he pointed out that he was
unarmed at the time of the incident, that his name was not mentioned in the
report made by Dionilo Garol to Patrolman Barrera as to the perpetrators of
the crime; that his name was not included in the entry in the police logbook of
the Integrated National Police of Tayasan, Negros Oriental and that he had
no participation in the commission ofthe felony except the alleged nodding of
his head at a time when he was trying to wrest the knife from Pedro Dollantes
which is not an indication of conspiracy (Brief for Grengia, pp. 13-16).
While it is true that the accused Hugo Grengia, Danny Esteban and Leonilo
Villaester did not participate in the stabbing, the lower court finds them
equally liable as principals with the other accused in this case. They were
found to be holding stones which they threw at the store owned by the victim
and his wife; they participated in kicking and dancing around the dead body
of the Barangay Captain and although Grengia also tried to wrest the knife
from Pedro Dollantes, he clearly told Dionilo Garol when the latter succeeded
in getting the knife and was holding the hands of Pedro Dollantes, "do not try
to intervene here because you might be included in the plan." (TSN, pp. 7-10,
Octoer 17, 1983). Danny Esteban uttered the same statements to Bonifacio
Cero, saying "do not try to interfere you are not a party to this. We have
already gotten what we have been aiming or." (TSN, pp. 9-14, October
18,1983).
Furthermore, as previously stated, while the victim was delivering a speech,
Hugo Grengia was telumg people not to listen to the victim as he will not stay
long as a Barangay Captain. It is also to be noted that although he was a
compadre of the victim, he never tried to help the former while he was being
stabbed and after the incident, he never visited the victim's family.
Thus, the lower court found the existence of conspiracy as follows:
The accused Hugo Grengia, Danny Esteban and Leonilo Villaester by their
acts, aimed at the same object, and their acts, though apparently
independent, are in fact concerted and cooperative, indicating closeness of
personal association, concerted action and concurrence of sentiments. The
conduct of the defendants, before, during and after the commission of the
crime clearly shows that they acted in concert. (People v. Emilio Agag, L64951, June 29, 1984, Justice Relova) There being conspiracy, the Court finds
them guilty of Murder. (Decision, Crim. Case No. 5832, Rollo p. 77)
In one case, this Court held "that while the acts done by the petitioners herein
vary from those of their co-accused, there is no question that they were all
prompted and linked by a common desire to assault and retaliate against the
group..... Thus, they must share equal liability for all the acts done by the
participants in the felonious undertaking." (Pring v. Court of Appeals, 138 SCRA
185-186 [1985]).
Appellant Hugo Grengia lays much stress on the testimony of Dr. Rogeho Kho
that it is possible that all the stab wounds were inflicted by the same weapon,
in a desperate effort to show that only one person committed the crime and
that there is no conspiracy.
The records show however, that said Doctor merely replied to he questions

propounded by the defense lawyer as to the different possibilities on how the


wounds of the victim may have been inflicted. But testifying specifically on the
case at bar, he categorically stated that actually the wounds could be
produced by a single bladed weapon with different sizes but not necessarily
only a single bladed weapon.
Thus, the Doctor testified as follows:
Atty. Jayme:
Q Basing upon your physical findings, Doc, upon the victim Marcos Gabutero,
is it possible Doc, that in accordance with your drawing that the wounds
inflicted was caused by a single bladed weapon, is it possible, Doctor, that this
wound was caused by a single bladed weapon? Is it possible that this. I
repeat the question, your Honor.
Q According to your drawing which is labelled "BS" which according to you
"blunt and sharp bladed weapon which is practically single bladed weapon,
according to your physical findings there is similarly in the weapons used,
could we say practically, Doctor, that these stab wounds as well as those
incised wounds may be caused by one single-bladed weapon?
A Actually it could be produced by a single bladed weapon with different
sizes but not necessarily only a single bladed weapon.
Q According to you it was a single bladed weapon with different or several
sizes, now, what is your honest observation upon your physical findings, what
will be themaximum weapon used? I have here a zerox copy for your own
reference.
A With respect to the length of the wound there are two wounds that have
three em. in length, it could be possible that the same kind of weapon or
instrument has been used. This refers to Wounds Nos.10 and 11. By the way, Sir,
this refers to the stab wounds because the size of the incised wounds is difficult
to determine.
Atty. Jayme:
Yes, the stab wounds only.
A It's hard to determine Wound No. 9 because the length is not indicated
here, so it is possible that there are 3 or 4 kinds of instrument or weapons being
used. (TSN, pp. 26- 27, December 15, 1983)
Appellant Hugo Garcia also emphasizes the testimony of Dr. Kho that the
latter did not observe any contusions on the body of the deceased, obviously
to disprove that appellants danceda round and kicked the body after the
victim was slain.
As correctly observed by the Solicitor General, "although the examining
doctor failed to find any contusion or abrasion on the cadaver of the victim,
nevertheless, such absence is not conclusive proof that appellants did not kick
the deceased. It might be possible that kicks did not cause or produce
contusions or abrasions or that they were not noticed by the doctor."
(Appellee's Brief, p. 22). Moreover, the fact of dancing and kicking
complained of, is only one of the acts showing conspiracy, without which,
conspiracy cannot be said not to have been established.
The lower court also found that treachery was present in the commission of
the crime, and that the accused Alfredo Dollantes, Lauro Dollantes, Monico

Dollantes, Sidrito Lokesio and Merlando Dollantes are as equally guilty as


principals by direct participation. These accused took turns in stabbing the
victim. In fact the victim was caught by surprise and did not have time to
defend himself.
Finally, the records show that the Barangay Captain was in the act of trying to
pacify Pedro Dollantes who was making trouble in the dance hall when he
was stabbed to death. He was therefore killed while in the performance of his
duties. In the case of People v. Hecto (135 SCRA 113), this Court ruled that "As
the barangay captain, it was his duty to enforce the laws and ordinances
within the barangay. If in the enforcement thereof, he incurs, the enmity of his
people who thereafter treacherously slew him the crime committed is murder
with assault upon a person in authority."
There is no qeustion that the trial court's conclusions on credibilitY of witnesses
are entitled to great weight on appeal. (People v. Oliverio, 120 SCRA 22). After
a careful review of the records, no plausible reason could be found to disturb
the findings of fact and of law of the lower court in this case.
PREMISES CONSIDERED, the assailed decision is hereby AFFIRMED.

G.R. No. L-31839 June 30, 1980


EDMUNDO S. ALBERTO, Provincial Fiscal and BONIFACIO C. INTIA 1st Asst.
Provincial
Fiscal,
both
of
Camarines
Sur, petitioners,
vs.
HON. RAFAEL DE LA CRUZ, in his capacity as Judge of the CFI of Camarines Sur
and ELIGIO ORBITA,respondents.
CONCEPCION, J.:
Petition for certiorari, with a prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminay
injunction, to annul and set aside the order of the respondent Judge, dated
January 26, 1970, directing the petitioners, Provincial Fiscal and Assitant
Provincial Fiscal of Camarines Sur, to amend the information filed in Criminal
Case No. 9414 of the Court of First Instance of CamarinesSur, entitled: "The
People of the Philippines, plaintiff, versus Eligio Orbita, accused," so as to
include, as defendants, Governor Armando Cledera and Jose Esmeralda,
assistant provincial warden of Camarines Sur; as well as the order dated
February 18, 1970, denying the motion for the reconsideration of the said
order.
In Criminal Case No. 9414 of the Court of First Instance of Camarines Sur, Eligio
Orbita, a Provincial guard, is prosecuted for the crime of Infedelity in the
Custody of Prisoner, defined and punished under Article 224 of the Revised
Penal Code, committed, as follows:
That on or about the 12th day of September. 1968, in the barrio of Taculod,
municipality of Canaman, province of Camarines Sur, Philippines, and within
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, being then a
member of the Provincial Guard of Camarines Sur and specially charged with
the duty of keeping under custody and vigilance detention prisoner Pablo
Denaque, did then and there with great carelessness and unjustifiable
negligence leave the latter unguarded while in said barrio, thereby giving him
the opportunity to run away and escape, as in fact said detention prisoner
Pablo Denaque did run away and escape from the custody of the said
accused. 1
In the course of the trial thereof, or more particularly during the crossexamination of prosecution witness Jose Esmeralda, assistant provincial
warden of Camarines Sur, the defense brought forht and confronted the
witness with a note, marked as exhibit, purportedly written by Gov. Armando
Cledera, asking Jose Esmeralda to send five men to work in the construction
of a fence at his house at Taculod, Canaman, Camarines Sur, then leased by
the province and used as an official guest house. Jose Esmeralda, declared,
however, that he could not remember who ahnded the note for him; that he
was not sure as to genuineness of the signature appearing therein and that he
was not preszent when the note was made and signed by Gov.
Cledera. 2 Beleiving that the escape of Pablo Denaque was made possible by
the note of Gov. Cledera to Jose Esmeralda and that Cledera and Esmeralda
are equally guilty of the offense for which tha accused Eligio Orbita had been
charged, the defense cousel filed a motion in court seeking the amendment
of the information so as to include Gov. cledera and Jose Esmeralda as

defendants therein. 3
Acting upon said motion, as well as the opposition of the prosecution
officers 4 and finding that "the court cannot grant the motion or order the
inclusion of Gov. Cledera and Lt. Esmeralda at this stage unless an
investigation is made," the respondent Judge directed the Fiscals office, within
15 days from date, to cause the further investigation of the case, taking into
consideration the provisions of Article 156 in relation to Articles 223 and 224 of
the Revised Penal Code in order to determine once and for all whether the
Governor as jailer of the Province and his assistant have any criminatory
participation in the circumstances of Pablo Denaque's escape from judicial
custody. 5
In compliance with said order, the Fiscal set the reinvestigation of the case for
December 19, 1969. Summonses were issued to Gov. Cledera Jose Esmeralda,
Lorenzo Padua, the provincial warden, and the accused Eligio Orbita to be
present thereat. 6 Dr. went thereat But, on the date set for the reinvestigation
of the case, only Gov. Cledera Jose Esmeralda and Lorenzo Padua
appeared. The accused Eligio Orbita did not appear. Neither was the note
(Exhibit 2) produced. Since no additional evidence was presented, the Fiscal
manifested in Court on January 2, 1970 that "after conducting a
reinvestigation of the case and after a thorough and intelligent analysis of the
facts and law involved, no prima facie case against Governor Cledera and
Jose Esmeralda exist, hence, they cannot be charged. 7
On January 19, 1970, the accused Eligio Orbita filed a "Motion for
Reconsideration" praying "that the Order of this Honorable Court dated
December 11, 1969 be, in that instead of ordering the Fiscal to reinvestigate
this case, on the basis of the evidence already adduce during the trial of this
case, he be ordered to amend the information on to include Cledera and
Esmeralda it appearing the on record that their inclusion is warranted. 8
On January 26, 1970, the respondent Court issued the order complained of,
the dispositive portion of which reads, as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, in the light of the facts brought about by
the prosecuting fiscal let the charges be so amended by including in the
information the author or writer of Exhibit 2 and the person or persons who
carried out the said orders considering the provisions of Article 156 in relation
to Articles 223 and 224 of the Penal Code. 9
The Fiscal filed a motion for the reconsideration of said order, 10 but the motion
was denied on February 18, 1970. 11Hence, the instant recourse.
From the facts of the case, We are convinced that the respondent Judge
committed an error in ordering the fiscal to amend the information so as to
include Armando Cledera and Jose Esmeralda as defendants in Criminal
Case No. 9414 of the Court of First Instance of Camarines Sur. It is the rule that
a fiscal by the nature of his office, is under no compulsion to file a particular
criminal information where he is not convinced that he has evidence to
support the allegations thereof. 12 Although this power and prerogative of the
Fiscal, to determine whether or not the evidence at hand is sufficient to form a
reasonable belief that a person committed an offense, is not absolute and
subject to judicial review, 13 it would be embarrassing for the prosecuting

attorney to be compelled to prosecute a case when he is in no position to do


so because in his opinion, he does not have the necessary evidence to secure
a conviction, or he is not convinced of the merits of the case. The better
procedure would be to appeal the Fiscal's decision to the Ministry of Justice
and/or ask for a special prosecutor.
Besides, it cannot be said that the Fiscal had capriciously and whimsically
refused to prosecute Cledera and Esmeralda.
In his order directing the Fiscal's office to conduct a further reinvestigation of
the case, the respondent Judge candidly ad. muted that without a
reinvestigation of the case, he cannot determine once and for all whether or
not to include Gov. Cledera and Jose Esmeralda in the information. Pursuant
thereto, a reinvestigation was conducted by the fiscals office. Summonses
were issued. But, no additional fact was elicited since Eligio Orbita did not
appear thereat. Neither was the note (Exh. 2) presented and produced. Gov.
Cledera could not admit nor deny the genuineness of the signature
appearing in the note since it was not on hand. Such being the case, the
prosecuting officers had reason to refuse to amend the information filed by
them after a previous pre examination and investigation.
Moreover, there is no sufficient evidence in the record to show a prima facie
case against Gov. Cledera and Jose Esmeralda. The order to amend the
information is based upon the following facts:
1. Pablo Denaque, a detention prisoner for homicide, while working at the
Guest House of Governor Cledera on September 12, 1968;
2. The Governor's evidence at that time is being rented by the province and its
maintenance and upkeep is shouldered by the province of Camarines Sur,
3. That neither Governor Cledera nor Lt. Jose Esmeralda was charged or
entrusted with the duty of conveying and the detainee from the jail to the
residence of the governor.
4. That the de worked at the Governor Is by virtue of an order of the Governor
(Exhibit 2) which was tsn by Lt. Esmeralda; and
5. That it was the accused Orbita who himself who handpicked the group of
Prisoners to work at the Governor's on 12, 1968. 14
Article 156 of the Revised Penal Code provides:
Art. 156. Delivering prisoners from jails. The city Of arrests mayor in its
maximum period to prison correccional in its minimum Period shall be imposed
upon any person who shall remove from any jail or penal establishment t any
person confined therein or shall help the escape of such person, by means of
violence, intimidation, or bribery.
If other means are used the penalty of arresto mayor shall be imposed. If the
escape of the prisoner shall take place outside of said establishments by
taking the guards by surprise, the same penalties shall be imposed in their
minimum period.
The offenders may be committed in two ways: (1) by removing a person
confined in any jail or penal establishment; and (2) by helping such a person
to escape. To remove means to take away a person from the place of his
confinement, with or without the active compensation of the person released
To help in the escape of a Person confined in any jail or penal institution

means to furnished that person with the material means such as a file, ladder,
rope, etc. which greatly facilitate his escape. 15 The offenders under this article
is usually committed by an outsider who removes from jail any person therein
confined or helps him escape. If the offender is a public officer who has
custody or charge of the prisoner, he is liable for infidelity in the custody of
prisoner defined and penalty under Article 223 of the Revised Penal Code.
Since Gov. Cledera as governor, is the jailer of the province, 16 and Jose
Esmeralda is the assistant provincial warden, they cannot be prosecuted for
the escape Of Pablo Denaque under Article 156 of the Revised Penal Code.
There is likewise no sufficient evidence to warrant their prosecution under
Article 223 of the Revised Penal Code, which reads, as follows:
ART. 223. Conniving with or consenting to evasion. Any Public officer who
shall consent to the escape of a prisoner in his custody or charge, shall be
punished
1. By prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods and temporary
disqualification in its minimum period to perpetual special disqualification, if
the fugitive shall have been sentenced by final judgment to any penalty.
2. By prision correccional in its minimum period and temporary special
disqualification, in case the fugitive shall not have been finally convicted but
only held as a detention prisoner for any crime or violation of law or municipal
ordinance.
In order to be guilty under the aforequoted provisions of the Penal Code, it is
necessary that the public officer had consented to, or connived in, the
escape of the prisoner under his custody or charge. Connivance in the
escape of a prisoner on the part of the person in charge is an essential
condition in the commission of the crime of faithlessness in the custody of the
prisoner. If the public officer charged with the duty of guarding him does not
connive with the fugitive, then he has not violated the law and is not guilty of
the crime. 17 For sure no connivance in the escape of Pablo Denaque from
the custody of the accused Eligio Orbita can be deduced from the note of
Gov. Cledera to Jose Esmeralda asking for five men to work in the guest
house, it appearing that the notes does not mention the names of the
prisoners to be brought to the guest house; and that it was the accused Eligio
Orbita who picked the men to compose the work party.
Neither is there evidence to warrant the prosecution of Cledera and
Esmeralda under Article 224 of the Revised Penal Code. This article punishes
the public officer in whose custody or charge a prisoner has escaped by
reason of his negligence resulting in evasion is definite amounting to
deliberate non- performance of duty. 18 In the constant case, the respondent
Judge said:
We cannot, for the present be reconciled with the Idea that the escape. of
Denaque was facilitated by the Governor's or . his assistants negligence.
According to law, if there is any negligence committed it must be the officer
who is charged with the custody and guarding of the ... 19
We find no reason to set aside such findings.
WHEREFORE, the orders issued on January 26, and February 18, 1970 in
Criminal Case No. 9414 of the Court of First Instance of Camarines Sur,

entitled: "The People of the Philippines, plaintiff, versus Eligio Orbita, accused
are hereby annulled and set aside. The respondent Judge or any other judge
acting in his stead is directed to proceed with the trial of the case. Without
costs.

G.R. No. L-27191


February 28, 1967
ADELAIDA
TANEGA, petitioner,
vs.
HON. HONORATO B. MASAKAYAN, in his capacity as Judge of the Court of First
Instance of Rizal, Branch V, and the CHIEF OF POLICE OF QUEZON
CITY, respondents.
Ramon
V.
Sison
for
petitioner.
Office of the Solicitor General for respondents.
RESOLUTION
SANCHEZ, J.:
Pressed upon us in this, an original petition for certiorari and prohibition, is the
problem of when prescription of penalty should start to run. The controlling
facts are:
Convicted of slander by the City Court of Quezon City petitioner appealed.
Found guilty once again by the Court of First Instance,1 she was sentenced to
20 days of arresto menor, to indemnify the offended party, Pilar B. Julio, in the
sum of P100.00, with the corresponding subsidiary imprisonment, and to pay
the costs. The Court of Appeals affirmed.2 We declined to review
on certiorari.3 Back to the Court of First Instance of Quezon City, said court, on
January 11, 1965, directed that execution of the sentence be set for January
27, 1965. On petitioner's motion, execution was deferred to February 12, 1965,
at 8:30 a.m. At the appointed day and hour, petitioner failed to show up. This
prompted the respondent judge, on February 15, 1965, to issue a warrant for
her arrest, and on March 23, 1965 an alias warrant of arrest. Petitioner was
never arrested.1wph1.t
Then, on December 10, 1966, petitioner, by counsel, moved to quash the
warrants of arrest of February 15, 1965 and March 23, 1965. Petitioner's ground:
Penalty has prescribed.
On December 19, 1966, the respondent judge ruled that "the penalty imposed
upon the accused has to be served", rejected the plea of prescription of
penalty and, instead, directed the issuance of another alias warrant of arrest.
Hence, the present petition.
Arresto menor and a fine of P100.00 constitute a light penalty.4 By Article 92 of
the Revised Penal Code, light penalties "imposed by final sentence" prescribe
in one year. The period of prescription of penalties so the succeeding
Article 93 provides "shall commence to run from the date when the culprit
should evade the service of his sentence".5
What then is the concept of evasion of service of sentence Article 157 of the
Revised Penal Code furnishes the ready answer. Says Article 157:
ART. 157. Evasion of service of sentence. The penalty of prision correccional
in its medium and maximum periods shall be imposed upon any convict who
shall evade service of his sentence by escaping during the term of his
imprisonment 6 by reason of final judgment. However, if such evasion or
escape shall have taken place by means of unlawful entry, by breaking doors,
windows, gates, walls, roofs or floors, or by using picklocks, false keys, disguise,
deceit, violence or intimidation, or through connivance with other convicts or
employees of the penal institution, the penalty shall be prision correccional in

its maximum period.


Elements of evasion of service of sentence are: (1) the offender is a convict by
final judgment; (2) he "is servinghis sentence which consists in deprivation of
liberty"; and (3) he evades service of sentence by escaping during the term of
his sentence.7 This must be so. For, by the express terms of the statute, a
convict evades "service of his sentence", by "escaping during the term of his
imprisonment by reason of final judgment." That escape should take place
while serving sentence, is emphasized by the provisions of the second
sentence of Article 157 which provides for a higher penalty if such "evasion or
escape shall have taken by means of unlawful entry, by breaking doors,
windows, gates, walls, roofs, or floors or by using picklocks, false keys, disguise,
deceit, violence or intimidation, or through connivance with other convicts or
employees of the penal institution, ... "8 Indeed, evasion of sentence is but
another expression of the term "jail breaking".9
A dig into legal history confirms the views just expressed. The Penal Code of
Spain of 1870 in its Article 134 from whence Articles 92 and 93 of the present
Review Penal Code originated reads:
Las penas impuestas por sentencia firme prescriben:
Las de muerte y cadena perpetua, a los veinte aos.
xxx
xxx
xxx
Las leves, al ao.
El tiempo de esta prescripcion comenzara a correr desde el dia en que se
notifique personalmente al reo la sentencia firme, o desde el
quebrantamiento de la condena si hubiera esta comenzado a cumplirse. x x
x
Note that in the present Article 93 the words "desde el dia en que se notifique
personalmente al reo la sentencia firme", written in the old code, were
deleted. The omission is significant. What remains reproduced in Article 93 of
the Revised Penal Code is solely "quebrantamiento de la condena". And,
"quebrantamiento" or evasion meansescape.10 Reason dictates that one can
escape only after he has started service of sentence.
Even under the old law, Viada emphasizes, where the penalty consists of
imprisonment, prescription shall only begin to run when he escapes from
confinement. Says Viada:
El tiempo de la prescripcion empieza a contarse desde el dia en que ha
tenido lugar la notificacion personal de la sentencia firme al reo: el Codigo
de 1850 no expresaba que la notificacion hubiese de ser personal, pues en su
art. 126 se consigna que el termino de la prescripcion se cuenta desde que se
notifique la sentencia, causa de la ejecutoria en que se imponga la pena
respectiva. Luego ausente el reo ya no podra prescribir hoy la pena, pues
que la notificacion personal no puede ser suplida por la notificacion hecha
en estrados. Dada la imprescindible necesidad del requisito de la notificacion
personal, es obvio que en las penas que consisten en privacion de libertad
solo porda existir la prescripcion quebrantando el reo la condena pues que si
no se hallare ya preso preventivamente, debera siempre procederse a su
encerramiento en el acto de serle notifirada personalmente la sentencia. 11
We, therefore, rule that for prescription of penalty of imprisonment imposed by

final sentence to commence to run, the culprit should escape during the term
of such imprisonment.
Adverting to the facts, we have here the case of a convict who sentenced
to imprisonment by final judgment was thereafter never placed in
confinement. Prescription of penalty, then, does not run in her favor.
For the reasons given, the Court resolved to dismiss the petition
for certiorari and prohibition. No costs. So ordered.

G.R. No. L-1960


November 26, 1948
THE
PEOPLE
OF
THE
PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
FLORENTINO ABILONG, defendant-appellant.
Carlos
Perfecto
for
appellant.
Assistant Solicitor General Ruperto Kapunan, Jr., and Solicitor Manuel
Tomacruz for appellee.
MONTEMAYOR, J.:
Florentino Abilong was charged in the Court of First Instance of Manila with
evasion of service of sentence under the following information:
That on or about the 17th day of September, 1947, in the City of Manila,
Philippines, the said accused, being then a convict sentenced and ordered to
serve two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day of destierro during which
he should not enter any place within the radius of 100 kilometers from the City
of Manila, by virtue of final judgment rendered by the municipal court on April
5, 1946, in criminal case No. B-4795 for attempted robbery, did then and there
wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously evade the service of said sentence by going
beyond the limits made against him and commit vagrancy.
Contrary to law.
Upon arraignment he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two (2) years, four
(4) months and one (1) day ofprision correccional, with the accessory
penalties of the law and to pay the costs. He is appealing from that decision
with the following assignment of error:
1. The lower court erred in imposing a penalty on the accused under article
157 of the Revised Penal Code, which does not cover evasion of service of
"destierro."
Counsel for the appellant contends that a person like the accused evading a
sentence of destierro is not criminally liable under the provisions of the Revised
Penal Code, particularly article 157 of the said Code for the reason that said
article 157 refers only to persons who are imprisoned in a penal institution and
completely deprived of their liberty. He bases his contention on the word
"imprisonment" used in the English text of said article which in part reads as
follows:
Evasion of service of sentence. The penalty of prision correccional in its
medium and maximum periods shall be imposed upon any convict who shall
evade service of his sentence by escaping during the term of his imprisonment
by reason of final judgment.
The Solicitor General in his brief says that had the original text of the Revised
Penal Code been in the English language, then the theory of the appellant
could be uphold. However, it is the Spanish text that is controlling in case of
doubt. The Spanish text of article 157 in part reads thus:
ART. 157. Quebrantamiento de sentencia. Sera castigado con prision
correccional en sus grados medio y maximo el sentenciado que quebrantare
su condena, fugandose mientras estuviere sufriendo privacion de libertad por
sentencia firme; . . . .
We agree with the Solicitor General that inasmuch as the Revised Penal Code
was originally approved and enacted in Spanish, the Spanish text governs

(People vs. Manaba, 58 Phil., 665, 668). It is clear that the word "imprisonment"
used in the English text is a wrong or erroneous translation of the phrase
"sufriendo privacion de libertad" used in the Spanish text. It is equally clear that
although the Solicitor General impliedly admits destierro as not constituting
imprisonment, it is a deprivation of liberty, though partial, in the sense that as in
the present case, the appellant by his sentence of destierro was deprived of
the liberty to enter the City of Manila. This view has been adopted in the case
of People vs. Samonte, No. 36559 (July 26, 1932; 57 Phil., 968) wherein this
Court held, as quoted in the brief of the Solicitor General that "it is clear that a
person under sentence of destierro is suffering deprivation of his liberty and
escapes from the restrictions of the penalty when he enters the prohibited
area." Said ruling in that case was ratified by this Court, though, indirectly in
the case of People vs. Jose de Jesus, (45 Off. Gaz. Supp. to No. 9, p. 370)1,
where it was held that one evades the service of his sentence
of destierrowhen he enters the prohibited area specified in the judgment of
conviction, and he cannot invoke the provisions of the Indeterminate
Sentence Law which provides that its provisions do not apply to those who
shall have escaped from confinement or evaded sentence.
In conclusion we find and hold that the appellant is guilty of evasion of service
of sentence under article 157 of the Revised Penal Code (Spanish text), in that
during the period of his sentence of destierro by virtue of final judgment
wherein he was prohibited from entering the City of Manila, he entered said
City.
Finding no reversible error in the decision appealed from, the same is hereby
affirmed with costs against the appellant. So ordered.

G.R. Nos. L-38346-47 October 23, 1964


PEOPLE
OF
THE
PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
TEOFILO DIOSO and JACINTO ABARCA, defendants-appellants.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Vicente R. Acsay counsel de oficio for defendants-appellants.
ESCOLIN, J.:+.wph!1
Mandatory review of the death sentences imposed by the Circuit Court of
Rizal upon Teofilo Dioso and Jacinto Abarca for the crime of murder.
The crime was committed inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinglupa, Rizal
where both accused were serving sentence, Abarca having been previously
convicted by final judgment of the crime of homicide, and Dioso, of robbery.
At the time of the incident, Dioso and Abarca were members of the "Batang
Mindanao" gang, while the victims Angelito Reyno and Fernando Gomez, also
prisoners at the New Bilibid Prisons, belonged to a group known as the "Happy
Go Lucky" gang. These rival factions had been involved in intermittent, and
sometimes bloody, clashes, the latest of which resulted in the death of one
Balerio a member of the "Batang Mindanao" gang
Suspecting that Reyno and Gomez had authored the slaying of their
gangmate, the two accused set their Minds to avenge his death. They found
the occasion to execute their nefarious design when they learned that Reyno
and Gomez were sick and confined in the prison hospital. At 6:15 in the
'morning of September 12, 1972, Abarca, feigning illness, went to the hospital
to seek admission as a patient. He was accompanied by his co-accused
Dioso. Inside Ward 6 of the hospital they saw their intended victims: Reyno was
taking breakfast with Gomez was lying down on a "tarima" [wooden bed]
under a mosquito net. Dioso approached Reyno and spoke briefly to him,
while Abarca headed towards the "tarima". Then, both accused suddenly
drew out their improvised knives matalas Abarca raised the mosquito net over
the "tarima" and stabbed Gomez, as Dioso, almost simultaneously, attacked
Reyno with his knife. And after the latter had fallen, Dioso strode to the
"tarima" to help his co-accused finish off Gomez.
When the accused rushed out of Ward 6, they were met at the corridor by
Prison Guard Enriquito Aguilar Both gave themselves up and handed their
weapons to him.
Dr. Ricardo E. Baryola medico-legal officer of the NBI, who performed the
autopsy, found that both accused died of massive bleeding due to multiple
stab wounds on the chest and abdomen. 1
The accused were immediately interrogated by prison investigator
Buenaventura dela Cuesta; and they; readily executed their respective sworn
statements, wherein they admitted responsibility for the death of the victims. 2
In his sworn statement, Teofilo Dioso narrated how he delivered the death
blow on Reyno, thus: t.hqw
T Pagdating ninyo sa ward 6 ano ang inyong ginawa?
S Tumuloy ho ako kay Reyno at tinamong ko kung saan si Intsik [Gomez]
ngayon tinuro ni Reyno sa akin. Sabi ho iyong nakakulambo. Pagkatapos,

sinabi ko naman kay Abarca ang lugar ni Intsik ngayon, pinuntahan naman
niya. Pagtapat niya kay Intsik, sinipa ko si Reyno sabay bunot ng aking
matalas at sinaksak ko sa kanya. Noong sa pag-aakala kong patay na,
iniwan ko at tumulong ako kay Abarca sa pagsaksak kay Gomez. Noong
tumihaya na si Gomez, sumigaw ako kay Abarca na labas na tayo. Tumakas
ka palabas at noong nasa pasilyo kami ng hospital nasalubong namin iyong
guardiya at doon namin sinurender ang mga matalas namin. Tapos karning
makapag-surrender, dinala kami ng guardiya sa Control Gate tuloy dito.
[Exhibit "D", p. 21]
Jacinto Abarca on the other hand narrated his version of the killing as
follows: t.hqw
T Pagkatapos ninyong mapagkasunduan na manaksak sa ward 6, ano ang
inyong ginawa?
S Ang sabi pa niya na bukas na tayo titira pagkatapos ng almosalan tapos
naghiwalay na kami baka pa marinig ng iba. Kaninang umaga . pagkatapos
naming kumain lumabas na ako sa ward 2 at nakita ko siya sa pintuan ng
ward 4 na naghihintay sa akin. Ngayon, pumasok muna siya sa ward 4 at
kumuha ng sigarilyo at pagkatapos tumuloy kami sa ward 6. Pagdating namin
sa ward 6, siya ang umuna dahil sa hindi ko pa alam kung saan naka puwesto
ang mga Happy Go [gang]. Pagkatapos lumapit siya doon sa nakaupo hindi
ko alam kong kumakain o hindi at ako naman ay umupo sa isang tarima sa
tabi ni intsik iyong tinira ko tapos bigla na lang siya bumunot ng matalas niya
bago tinira iyong nakaupo sabay sabi na "tira na". Pagkatira niya, ako naman
ay lumapit doon sa tarima ni intsik [Gomez] bago ko biglang tinaas ang
kulambo dahil nakahiga siya tapos tumakbo. Hinabol ko tapos paghabol ko,
nadapa siya tapos sumuot sa silong ng tarima. Doon ko siya inabutan at
sinaksak ko. Ngayon sa pagsaksak ko sa kanya, biglang dumating itong si
Dioso at tumulong sa akin sa pagsaksak. Hindi nagtagal, sumigao si Dioso ng
'tama na' bago kami tumakbo palabas ng ward 6. Noong nasa pasilyo kami
ng hospital, nasalubong namin iyong guardiya at doon namin sinurender ang
mga matalas namin. Pagkatapos naming ma surrender ang mga matalas
nang dinala kami ng guardiya sa labas. [Exhibit "C ", p. 2].
Dioso revealed the motive for the killing as follows: t.hqw
T Bakit naman ninyo ni Abarca sinaksak sina Reyno at Gomez sa ward 6?
S Dahil po doon sa nangyari kay Balerio. Si Balerio po ay sinaksak ng mga
"Happy Go" at iyong panaksak namin kanina ay iyon ang ganti naming mga
BM sa mga "Happy Go". [Exhibit "D", p. 1]
Of similar tenor is the following statement of Abarca: t.hqw
T lbig mo bang sabihin, iyong mga sinaksak ninyo sa hospital kanina ay iyon
din ang pumatay sa sinasabi mong kakusa ninyo na si Balerio?
S Hindi ho pero katatak nila iyong pumatay kay Balerio. Pareho silang
miembro ng "Happy Go Lucky" gang. Ngayon ang pagka panaksak namin
kanina sa hospital noong dalawa na miembro ng "Happy Go" ay ganti
naming mga BM [Batang Mindanao] sa pagkapatay nila kay Balerio. [Exhibit
"C", p. 1].
When arraigned for the crime of murder, both accused voluntarily entered the
plea of guilty. Thereafter the trial court required the presentation of evidence

to determine the degree of their culpability. At the hearing, they


acknowledged the voluntary execution of their respective confessions.
The trial court correctly found that the crime was perpetrated with alevosia. As
revealed by the accused themselves, they inflicted the fatal blows while
Gomez was lying down under a mosquito net, and Reyno was taking his
breakfast. Clearly, neither of the victims was in a position to defend himself
from the sudden and unexpected assault.
It is thus noted that in their briefs, no attempt was made to impugn the lower
court's conclusion as to their guilt. Instead, they seek attenuation of the death
sentence imposed by the trial court by invoking the circumstances of
voluntary surrender and plea of guilty. We find no necessity to discuss at
length the effects of such mitigating circumstances on the penalty imposed.
Suffice it to say that the accused are quasi-recidivist, having committed the
crime charged while serving sentence for a prior offense. As such, the
maximum penalty prescribed by law for the new felony [murder] is death,
regardless of the presence or absence of mitigating or aggravating
circumstance or the complete absence thereof. 3
But for lack of the requisite votes, the Court is constrained to commute the
death sentence imposed on each of the accused to reclusion perpetua
ACCORDINGLY, accused Teofilo Dioso and Jacinto Abarca are hereby
sentenced to reclusion perpetua and to indemnify the heirs of the deceased,
jointly and severally, the sum of P30,000.00. Costs against appellants.