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BASIC LEGAL ETHICS CHAP 1 PRELIMINARIES, PINEDA was filed after the expiration of the period of time given

of the period of time given him the said


answer was admitted. This Court could have rendered a judgment for
VICENTE SOTTO January 21, 1949 contempt after considering his answer, because he does not deny the
authenticity of the statement as it has been published. But, in order to
In re VICENTE SOTTO, for contempt of court. give the respondent ample opportunity to defend himself or justify the
publication of such libelous statement, the case was set for hearing or
Vicente Sotto in his own behalf. oral argument on January 4, the hearing being later postponed to
January 10, 1949. As the respondent did not appear at the date set for
FERIA, J.: hearing, the case was submitted for decision.

This is a proceeding for contempt of our court against the respondent In his answer, the respondent does not deny having published the
Atty. Vicente Sotto, who was required by their Court on December 7, above quoted threat, and intimidation as well as false and calumnious
1948, to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt to charges against this Supreme Court. But he therein contends that
court for having issued a written statement in connection with the under section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, which confers upon
decision of this Court in In re Angel Parazo for contempt of court, which this Supreme Court the power to promulgate rules concerning pleading,
statement, as published in the Manila Times and other daily practice, and procedure, "this Court has no power to impose
newspapers of the locality, reads as follows: correctional penalties upon the citizens, and that the Supreme Court
can only impose fines and imprisonment by virtue of a law, and has to
be promulgated by Congress with the approval of the Chief Executive."
As author of the Press Freedom Law (Republic Act No. 53.)
And he also alleges in his answer that "in the exercise of the freedom
interpreted by the Supreme Court in the case of Angel Parazo,
of speech guaranteed by the Constitution, the respondent made his
reporter of a local daily, who now has to suffer 30 days
statement in the press with the utmost good faith and with no intention
imprisonment, for his refusal to divulge the source of a news
of offending any of the majority of the honorable members of this high
published in his paper, I regret to say that our High Tribunal has
Tribunal, who, in his opinion, erroneously decided the Parazo case; but
not only erroneously interpreted said law, but that it is once
he has not attacked, or intended to attack the honesty or integrity of any
more putting in evidence the incompetency of narrow
one.' The other arguments set forth by the respondent in his defenses
mindedness o the majority of its members, In the wake of so
observe no consideration.
many mindedness of the majority deliberately committed during
these last years, I believe that the only remedy to put an end to
so much evil, is to change the members of the Supreme Court. Rules 64 of the rules promulgated by this court does not punish as for
To his effect, I announce that one of the first measures, which contempt of court an act which was not punishable as such under the
as its objects the complete reorganization of the Supreme law and the inherent powers of the court to punish for contempt. The
Court. As it is now constituted, a constant peril to liberty and provisions of section 1 and 3 of said Rule 64 are a mere reproduction
democracy. It need be said loudly, very loudly, so that even the of section 231 and 232 of the old Code of Civil Procedure, Act No. 190,
deaf may hear: the Supreme Court very of today is a far cry from amended, in connection with the doctrine laid down by this Court on the
the impregnable bulwark of Justice of those memorable times inherent power if the superior courts to punish for contempt is several
of Cayetano Arellano, Victorino Mapa, Manuel Araullo and other cases, among them In re Kelly, 35 Phil., 944. That the power to punish
learned jurists who were the honor and glory of the Philippine for contempt is inherent in all courts of superior statue, is a doctrine or
Judiciary. principle uniformly accepted and applied by the courts of last resort in
the United States, which is applicable in this jurisdiction since our
Constitution and courts of justice are patterned as expounded in
Upon his request, the respondent was granted ten days more besides
American Jurisprudence is as follows:
the five originally given him to file his answer, and although his answer
The power of inflicting punishment upon persons guilty of Mere criticism or comment on the correctness or wrongness,
contempt of court may be regarded as an essential element of soundness or unsoundness of the decision of the court in a pending
judicial authority, IT is possessed as a part of the judicial case made in good faith may be tolerated; because if well founded it
authority granted to courts created by the Constitution of the may enlighten the court and contribute to the correction of an error if
United States or by the Constitutions of the several states. It is committed; but if it is not well taken and obviously erroneous, it should,
a power said to be inherent in all courts general jurisdiction, in no way, influence the court in reversing or modifying its decision. Had
whether they are State or Federal; such power exists in courts the respondent in the present case limited himself to as statement that
of general jurisdiction independently of any special express our decision is wrong or that our construction of the intention of the law
grant of statute. In many instances the right of certain courts of is not correct, because it is different from what he, as proponent of the
tribunals to punish for contempt is expressly bestowed by original bill which became a law had intended, his criticism might in that
statue, but such statutory authorization is unnecessary, so far case be tolerated, for it could not in any way influence the final
as the courts of general jurisdiction are concerned, and in disposition of the Parazo case by the court; inasmuch as it is of judicial
general adds nothing statutory authority may be necessary as notice that the bill presented by the respondent was amended by both
concerns the inferior courts statutory authority may be Houses of Congress, and the clause "unless the court finds that such
necessary to empower them to act. (Contempt, 12 Jur., pp. 418, revelation is demanded by the interest of the State" was added or
419.) inserted; and that, as the Act was passed by Congress and not by any
particular member thereof, the intention of Congress and not that of the
In conformity with the principle enunciated in the above quotation from respondent must be the one to be determined by this Court in applying
American Jurisprudence, this Court, in In re Kelly, held the following: said act.

The publication of a criticism of a party or of the court to a But in the above-quoted written statement which he caused to be
pending cause, respecting the same, has always been published in the press, the respondent does not merely criticize or
considered as misbehavior, tending to obstruct the comment on the decision of the Parazo case, which was then and still
administration of justice, and subjects such persons to contempt is pending reconsideration by this Court upon petition of Angel Parazo.
proceedings. Parties have a constitutional right to have their He not only intends to intimidate the members of this Court with the
fairly in court, by an impartial tribunal, uninfluenced by presentation of a bill in the next Congress, of which he is one of the
publications or public clamor. Every citizen has a profound members, reorganizing the Supreme Court and reducing the members,
personal interest in the enforcement of the fundamental right to reorganizing the Supreme Court and reducing the members of Justices
have justice administered by the courts, under the protection from eleven to seven, so as to change the members of this Court which
and forms of law, free from outside coercion or interference. Any decided the Parazo case, who according to his statement, are
publication, pending a suit, reflecting upon the upon court, the incompetent and narrow minded, in order to influence the final decision
parties, the officers of the court, the counsel, etc., with reference of said case by this Court, and thus embarrass or obstruct the
to the suit, or tending to influence the decision of the administration of justice. But the respondent also attacks the honesty
controversy, is contempt of court and is punishable. The power and integrity of this Court for the apparent purpose of bringing the
to punish for contempt is inherent in all court. The summary Justices of this Court into disrepute and degrading the administration
power to commit and punish for contempt tending to obstructed of justice, for in his above-quoted statement he says:
or degrade the administration of justice, as inherent in courts as
essential to the execution of their powers and to the In the wake of so many blunders and injustices deliberately
maintenance of their authority is a part of the law of the land. (In committed during these last years, I believe that the only
reKelly, 35 Phil., 944, 945.) remedy to put an end to so much evil, is to change the members
of the Supreme Court. To this effect, I announce that one of the
first measures, which I will introduce in the coming
congressional sessions, will have as its object the complete press and the free exercise of the right of the citizen, is the maintenance
reorganization of the Supreme Court. As it is now the Supreme of the independence of the judiciary. As Judge Holmes very
Court of today constitutes a constant peril to liberty and appropriately said U. S vs Sullens (1929), 36 Fed. (2nd), 230, 238, 239:
democracy. "The administration of justice and the freedom of the press, though
separate and distinct, are equally sacred, and neither should be
To hurl the false charge that this Court has been for the last years violated by the other. The press and the courts have correlative rights
committing deliberately "so many blunders and injustices," that is to and duties and should cooperate to uphold the principles of the
say, that it has been deciding in favor of one party knowing that the law Constitution and laws, from which the former receives its prerogatives
and justice is on the part of the adverse party and not on the one in and the latter its jurisdiction. The right of legitimate publicity must be
whose favor the decision was rendered, in many cases decided during scrupulously recognized and care taken at all times to avoid impinging
the last years, would tend necessarily to undermine the confidence of upon it. In a clear case where it is necessary, in order to dispose of
the people in the honesty and integrity of the members of this Court, judicial business unhampered by publications which reasonably tend to
and consequently to lower or degrade the administration of justice by impair the impartiality of verdicts, or otherwise obstruct the
this Court. The Supreme Court of the Philippines is, under the administration of justice, this court will not hesitate to exercise its
Constitution, the last bulwark to which the Filipino people may repair to undoubted power to punish for contempt. This Court must be permitted
obtain relief for their grievances or protection of their rights when these to proceed with the disposition if its business in an orderly manner free
are trampled upon, and if the people lose their confidence in the from outside interference obstructive of its constitutional functions. This
honesty and integrity of the members of this Court and believe that they right will be insisted upon as vital to an impartial court, and, as a last
cannot expect justice therefrom, they might be driven to take the law resort, as a individual exercises the right of self-defense, it will act to
into their own hands, and disorder and perhaps chaos might be the preserve its existence as an unprejudiced tribunal. . . ."
result. As a member of the bar and an officer of the courts Atty. Vicente
Sotto, like any other, is in duty bound to uphold the dignity and authority It is also well settled that an attorney as an officer of the court is under
of this Court, to which he owes fidelity according to the oath he has special obligation to be respectful in his conduct and communication to
taken as such attorney, and not to promote distrust in the administration the courts, he may be removed from office or stricken from the roll of
of justice. Respect to the courts guarantees the stability of other attorneys as being guilty of flagrant misconduct (17 L. R. A. [N.S.], 586,
institutions, which without such guaranty would be resting on a very 594).
shaky foundation.
In view of all the foregoing, we find the respondent Atty. Vicente Sotto
Respondent's assertion in his answer that "he made his statement in guilty of contempt of this Court by virtue of the above-quoted
the press with the utmost good faith and without intention of offending publication, and he is hereby sentenced to pay, within the period of
any of the majority of the honorable members of this high Tribunal," if fifteen days from the promulgation of this judgment, a fine of P1,000,
true may mitigate but not exempt him from liability for contempt of court; with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.
but it is belied by his acts and statements during the pendency of this
proceeding. The respondent in his petition of December 11, alleges that The respondent is also hereby required to appear, within the same
Justice Gregorio Perfecto is the principal promoter of this proceeding period, and show cause to this Court why he should not be disbarred
for contempt, conveying thereby the idea that this Court acted in the form practicing as an attorney-at-law in any of the courts of this
case through the instigation of Mr. Justice Perfecto. Republic, for said publication and the following statements made by him
during the pendency of the case against Angel Parazo for contempt of
It is true that the constitutional guaranty of freedom of speech and the Court.
press must be protected to its fullest extent, but license or abuse of
liberty of the press and of the citizen should not be confused with liberty In his statement to the press as published in the Manila Times in its
in its true sense. As important as the maintenance of an unmuzzled issue of December 9, 1948, the respondent said "The Supreme Court
can send me to jail, but it cannot close my mouth; " and in his other Alleging to be suffering from myologenous leukemia, with moderately
statement published on December 10, 1948, in the same paper, he severe anemia, and that his physician had advised him to have
stated among others: "It is not the imprisonment that is degrading, but "absolute rest and to avoid any form of mental and physical strain for a
the cause of the imprisonment." In his Rizal day speech at the Abellana few weeks," respondent prayed for a 15-day extension to file his
High School in Cebu, published on January 3, 1949, in the Manila Daily answer. He was granted a 10-day extension.
Bulletin, the respondent said that "there was more freedom of speech
when American Justices sat in the Tribunal than now when it is In the resolution of December 13, 1948, granting said extension, this
composed of our countrymen;" reiterated that "even if it succeeds in Court branded as false respondent's allegations the effect that he had
placing him behind bars, the court can not close his mouth," and added: formal charges pending in this Court against Mr. Justice Perfecto and
"I would consider imprisonment a precious heritage to leave for those that the latter is the "moving spirit" of these contempt proceedings.
who would follow me because the cause is noble and lofty." And
the Manila Chronicle of January 5 published the statement of the Two days after the expiration of the 10-day extension granted to him,
respondent in Cebu to the effect that this Court "acted with malice" in respondent filed his answer. The belated filing of said answer was
citing him to appear before this Court on January 4 when "the members overlooked by this Court in order not to deprive respondent of the
of this Court know that I came here on vacation." In all said statements benefits of his answer. Filed out of time, due to his unexplained fault, it
the respondent misrepresents to the public the cause of the charge could legally have been rejected.
against him for contempt of court. He says that the cause is for
criticizing the decision of this Court in said Parazo case in defense of In said answer, dated December 24, 1948, respondent repeated one of
the freedom of the press, when in truth and in fact he is charged with his allegations which, in the resolution of December 13, 1948, this Court
intending to interfere and influence the final disposition of said case had already declared to be false.
through intimidation and false accusations against this Supreme Court.
So ordered. Respondent has not denied that he is the author of the statement for
which he has been summoned to our bar for contempt and he has not
Moran, C.J., Paras, Pablo, Perfecto, Bengzon, Briones, Tuason, denied the correctness of the text published in the Manila Chronicle and
Montemayor and Reyes, JJ., concur. other daily newspapers and which is reproduced in the resolution of this
Court of December 7, 1948.
Separate Opinions
In his statement, respondent does not limit himself to saying that this
PERFECTO, J., concurring: Tribunal has erroneously interpreted Republic Act No. 53, but alleges
that said erroneous interpretation "is once more putting in evidence the
Respondent published in the Manila newspapers of Sunday, December incompetency or narrow-mindedness of the majority of its members,"
5, 1948, a written statement in relation with the decision rendered by coupled with this sweeping and calumnious accusation:
this Court sentencing Angel Parazo to 30 days imprisonment for
contempt. In the wake of so many blunders and injustices deliberately
committed during these last years, I believe that the only
On December 7, 1948, considering the statement as "intended not only remedy to put an end to so much evil, is to change the members
to intimidate the members of this Court or influence the final disposition of the Supreme Court.
of said (Parazo) case, but also to degrade and vilify the administration
of justice," this Court adopted a resolution ordering respondent to show To fittingly crown this dastard imputation of deliberately committing
cause within five days why he should not be punished for contempt, blunders and injustice, respondent would bully the members of this
"without prejudice to taking further action against him as attorney." Court, by making the following intimidating announcement:
To this effect, I announce that one of the first measures, which democracy," to be the opposite of those who were the honor and glory
I will introduce in the coming congressional sessions, will have of the Philippines judiciary, to be needing a lesson in law, to be
as its objects the complete reorganization of the Supreme rendering an intolerable sentence, to be needing replacement by better
Court. qualified justices.

There are other rhetorical passages in respondent's statement, aimed Respondent has not presented any evidence or offered any to support
to emphasize the nuclear ideas of the statement, to the effect that the his slanderous imputations, and no single word can be found in his
majority of the members of the Supreme Court are incompetent and answer showing that he ever believed that the imputations are based
narrow-minded and guilty of "so many blunders and injustices on fact.
deliberately committed" and that the author will introduce in the coming
congressional sessions a measure "to change the members of the Respondent appears to belong to the class of individuals who have no
Supreme Court" and to effect a "complete reorganization of the compunction to resort to falsehood of falsehoods. The record of this
Supreme Court. case indicates that the practice of falsehoods seems to be habitual in
respondent, and this is proved when he reiterated in his answer one of
Among such maximizing expressions intended to stress the main ideas his allegations in a previous petition which were pronounced by this
and purposes of the statement are the following: Court to be false in its resolution in its resolution of December 3, 1948.

1. As it is now constituted, the Supreme Court of today More than thirty years ago, using the words of respondent himself, in
constitutes a constant peril to liberty and democracy. "those memorable times of Cayetano Arellano, Victorino Mapa, and
Manual Araullo and other learned jurists who were the glory of the
2. It need be said loudly, very loudly so that even the deaf may Philippines judiciary" and when it was the "impregnable bulwark of
hear: The Supreme Court if today is far cry from the Justice," the Supreme Court pronounced respondent guilty of
impregnable bulwark of Justice of those memorable times of falsehoods three times: first, in case in which he was sentenced to 4
Cayetano Arellano, Victoriano Mapa, Manuel Araullo and other years and 2 months of prision correccionalfor criminally abducting
learned jurists who were the glory of the Philippine judiciary. Aquilina Vasquez, a girl less then 18 years of age, and to pay her a
dowry of P500 and to support the offspring of his relations with her (U.
3. The reporter, who is erroneously convicted of contempt and S. vs. Sotto, 9 Phil., 231); second, in a sentence of disbarment as a
unjustly sentenced to 30 days imprisonment by the Supreme blackmailer (In re Sotto, 38 Phil., 532); and third, in prison sentence for
Court, should be immediately and spontaneously pardoned by false libel (U. S. vs. Sotto, 38 Phil., 666). The first and the last
the Executive Power, to serve as lesson in law to the majority sentences bear the signature of Chief Justice Cayetano Arellano
of the members of that High Tribunal. himself.

4. That sentence is intolerable, and should be protested by all In the first case the Supreme Court found that only on July 29, 1906,
newspapers throughout the country, under the cry of "The press Vicente Sotto wrote a letter to Aquilina Vasquez, protesting his love for
demands better qualified justices for the Supreme Court." her and urging her to leave her house and go with him; on the afternoon
of August 1, 1906, Sotto made an arrangement with Luis Crisologo for
There can be no question that respondent knowingly published false the renting of his house since that night when Sotto went with Aquilina
imputations against the members of this Court. He accused them of into the room of the house, where she passed the night; Sotto had told
such depravity as to have committed "blunders and injustices Crisologo that he wanted the house for a forestry ranger who was just
deliberately." He has maliciously branded them to be incompetent, arriving from Bohol; Sotto did not leave the room until the middle of the
narrow-minded, perpetrators of evil, "a constant peril to liberty and night; Aquilina transferred to a house in Sambag where Sotto brought
various housekeeping utensils; during the following days and nights As first defense, respondent alleges that he made the written press
Aquilina was visited by respondent. statement, not as a lawyer or as a private citizen, but as a senator. He
avers a senator should have ample liberty to discuss public affairs and
On August 10, 1906, a complaint was filed against Vicente Sotto and should not be annoyed with contempt proceedings.
Pio Datan, charging them with the crime ofrapto. As a defense,
respondent offered evidence to show that on August 5, 1906, a legal Now law or valid authority has been invoked in support of the theory,
marriage was celebrated between Aquilina and the accused Pio Datan, unless we could countenance a fictitious maxim that respondent is the
Sotto's washerman and accomplice in crime. Upon the evidence, the sovereign. The theory lacks even the merit of novelty. Long before the
Supreme Court pronounced the celebration of the alleged marriage to claim of respondent that, because he is a senator, he is above the law,
be false. The certificate of marriage offered as evidence in support of Mussolini, Hitler and all the tyrants and dictators who preceded them
the claim that the marriage took place had been declared a forgery. since the dawn of history had always claimed that they were above they
law and acted as if they were really so. Unfortunately for respondent,
It is not necessary to give the details of the whole disgusting affair, senators are creatures of the Constitution and the Constitution makes
wherein the revolting and sinister nature of an individual is pictured in them amenable to law.
bold relief with some of its ugliest features. The more that 4 years of
imprisonment imposed upon the accused did not reform him. It only As a second defense, respondent alleges that, not having appeared
served to emphasize the beginning of along career of falsehoods and either as attorney or a witness in the Parazo case, he cannot be held
slanders already spanning more than 40 years, soon nearing half of a either for direct or for indirect contempt.
century.
The defense is based on stark ignorance of the law on the subject.
Respondent also chose not to deny his intimidating announcement to
introduce in the coming sessions of Congress, among the first Respondent alleges, as third defense, that he made his statement with
measures, one for the change of the members of the Supreme Court "utmost good faith," with "no intention of offending any of the majority
and for the latter's complete reorganization. of the honorable members of the High Tribunal," and that he has not
attacked nor intended to attack the honesty or integrity of any one.
He has not explained or justified why he has to intimidate the members
of the Supreme Court with change and reorganization, and why, to This allegation lacks sincerity in view of his imputation, among several
make the intimidation more dreadful, he had to announce the horrible others equally false and calumnious, that the majority members of the
course of subverting and trampling down the Constitution, as all who Supreme Court have committed many blunders and injustices
can read and understand the fundamental law know that it is beyond deliberately." The slanderous imputation can only be attributed to bad
the powers of Congress to reorganize and change the membership of faith.
the Supreme Court.
As another defense, respondent questions the validity of the penal
Because the announcement is highly subversive, being aimed at provisions of Rule 64, implying that said penalties are not procedural in
shaking the very foundations of this Republic, it could have been no nature, and invoking the provisions of section 13 of Article VIII of the
less terrible than for the respondent to have announced an intention to Constitution, limiting the rule-making power of the Supreme Court to
attain his purposes by resorting to open rebellion. The fact that matters of pleading, practice, and procedure in courts, and to the
respondent is a lawyer and a senator aggravates his flaunted purpose admission to the practice of law.
to assault the very Constitution he has sworn to obey and defend.
Respondent's contention can be easily disposed of by quoting the
We have devoted considerable time to respondent's answer. following provisions of Act No. 190:
SEC. 231. What Contempts of Court may be Punished not exceeding one thousand pesos, or imprisoned not more
Summarily. A court of First Instance or a judge of such court than six months, or both. If the contempt consist in the violation
at chambers, may punish summarily, by fine not exceeding two of an injunction, the person guilty of such contempt may also be
hundred pesos, or by imprisonment not exceeding ten days, or ordered to make complete restitution to the party injured by
both, a person guilty of misbehavior in the presence of or so such violation.
near the court or judge as to obstruct administration of justice,
including the refusal of a person present in court to be sworn as Therefore, even on the false hypothesis that penalties for contempt are
a witness or to answer as a witness when lawfully required. not procedural in nature, courts of justice may impose said penalties, if
not under Rule 64, under the provisions of Act No. 190.
SEC. 232. What Other Acts are Contempts of Court. A
person guilty of any of the following act any be punished as for The power to punish for contempt is inherent in courts of justice. It
contempt: springs from the very nature of their functions. Without such power,
courts of justice would be unable to perform effectively their functions.
1. Disobedience of or resistance to a lawful writ, process, order, They function by orders. Every decision is a command. The power to
judgment of command of a court, or injunction granted by a punish disobedience to command is essential to make the commands
court or judge; effective.

2. Misbehavior of an officer of the court in the performance of Respondent is in error in maintaining that the Supreme Court has no
his official duties, or in his official transactions; power to enact Rule 64, He is correct in calling it judicial legislation
although he fails to remember that judicial legislation in matters of
3. A failure to obey a subpoena duly served; judicial practice and procedure is expressly authorized by section 13 of
Article VIII of the Constitution.
4. The rescue, or attempted rescue, of a person or property in
the custody of an officer by virtue of an order or process of the As a last defense, respondent invokes the constitutional freedom of the
court held by him. press, which includes the right to criticize judges in court proceedings.

5. The persons defeated in a civil action concerning the Respondent, undoubtedly, misses the point, and his citations about
ownership or possession of real estate who, after being evicted said freedom, with which we fully agree, have absolutely no bearing on
by the sheriff from the realty under litigation in compliance with the question involved in these proceedings.
judgment rendered, shall enter or attempt to enter upon the
same for the purpose of executing acts of ownership or No one, and the members of the Supreme Court would be the last to
possession or who shall in any manner disturb possession by do so, has ever denied respondent the freedom of the press and his
the person who the sheriff placed in possession of said reality. freedom to criticize our proceedings, this Court and its members.
Respondent's statement goes much further than mere criticism of our
SEC. 235. Trial of the Charge. Upon the day fixed for the trial, decision and the majority members of this Court. The statement is an
the court shall proceed to investigate the charge and shall hear attempt to interfere with the administration of justice, to miscarry and
any answer or testimony which the accused may make or offer. defeat justice, by trammelling the freedom of action of the members of
the Supreme Court, by bullying them with the menace of change,
SEC. 236. Punishment if Found Guilty. The court shall then reorganization, and removal, upon the false accusation that they have
determine whether the accused is guilty off the contempt been committing "blunders and injustices deliberately," and the
charged; and, if it be adjudged that he is guilty, he may be fined menacing action constitutes a flagrant violation of the Constitution.
Such a thing is not covered by the freedom of the press or by the
freedom to criticize judges and court proceedings, as no one in his (c) Publication of malicious and unjustifiable insinuations against the
senses has ever conceived that such freedom include any form of integrity of a judge who had fined him for the crime of libel;
expressed gangterism, whether oral or written.
(d) Giving false testimony or perjury. (38 Phil., 532.)
The freedom of the press is not involved in these proceedings. To
assert otherwise is to mislead. What is at stake in these proceedings is 2. On September 24, 1918, the Supreme Court sentenced respondent
the integrity of our system of administration of justice and the to imprisonment for libel, for besmirching the honesty of three private
independence of the Supreme Court and its freedom from any outside individuals, Lope K. Santos, Jose Turiano Santiago and Hermenegildo
interference intended to obstruct it or to unduly sway it one way or Cruz with false charges. (38 Phil., 666.)
another.
3. After having been cited for contempt in these proceedings,
The freedom of the press is one of the causes which we have always respondent, in order to pose as a martyr for the freedom of the press,
endeared. The repeated prosecution and persecutions we have waged a campaign of viturperation against the Supreme Court. He
endured in the past for its sake we have been hailed to court eight made repeated press statements and delivered speeches in his home
times, are conclusive evidence of the firm stand we have taken as province to show that he cannot expect justice from the Supreme Court,
defender of such freedom. It can be seen from official records that every that the Supreme Court will imprison him, that he will be imprisoned for
acquittal handed down to us by the Supreme Court had been a new the sake of the freedom of the press, thereby posing as a false martyr
step forward and new triumph for the freedom of the press. (U. S. vs. for it.
Perfecto, 42 Phil., 113 Sept. 9, 1921; U.S. vs. Perfecto, 43 Phil., 58,
March 4, 1922; U. S. vs. Perfecto, 43 Phil., 887, March 4, 1922.) That 4. In his persecutory obsession, respondent would make all believe
stand has remained the same, as can be shown in our written opinion that, contrary to fact, the writer of this opinion is the moving spirit behind
in another contempt proceedings in the Ben Brillantes case, which these contempt proceedings and that the Supreme Court is acting
failed to attract public attention at the time. merely as a tool. Apparently, respondent was irked by his failure to sit
even for a single moment in the Senate Electoral Tribunal, because of
Among the facts which we cannot ignore in deciding this case, are the our objection. The publicity given to our objection has exposed the
following: illegality of respondent's designation made by the Senate President as,
under section 11 of Article VI of the Constitution, the power to choose
1. That this is not the first time respondent has been brought to a court Senators for the Electoral Tribunal belongs to the Senate, and not to its
of justice, for a grave misbehavior and for perpetrating stark presiding officer. At the bar of public opinion, the Senate President and
falsehoods. In a decision by the Supreme Court of September 6, 1918, respondent appeared either to be ignorant of the Constitution or to be
respondent was removed from the office of attorney-at-law and bent on flagrantly violating it.
incapacitated from exercising the legal profession. He was found guilty
of: 5. Respondent is the number of the bill which was enacted into Republic
Act No. 53, but the purposes of his bill were thwarted by an amendment
(a) Lack of fidelity to clients; introduced by the Senate, denying the privilege granted therein when
in conflict with the interest of the Senate. Respondent's bill was for an
(b) Blackmailing, by abusing his position as director of a newspaper absolute privilege. Because the majority decision of the Supreme Court
whose columns he used to blacken the reputation of those who refused had made his failure patent, respondent took occasion to give vent to
to yield to demands made by him in his business as lawyer; his grudge against the Supreme Court, wherein, of the 15 cases he had
since liberation, he lost all except three, as can be seen in the records
of the following cases:
L-23, Filomena Domiit Cabiling vs. The Prison Officer Aghast at the baseness of his character, we felt, at first blush, the
of the Military Prison of Quezon City LOST impulse of acquitting him, as his contemptible conduct, culminating in
the press statement in question, seemed compatible only with the
L-212, Narcisa de la Fuente vs Fernando Jugo, etc. et complete irresponsibility of schizophrenics, idiots, or those suffering
al. WON from doddery.
L-247, Monsig. Canilo Diel vs. Felix Martinez, etc. et
al. WON His repeated press releases in which he tried to focus public attention
to the most harmless part of his statement, wherein he accuses the
LOST majority of the Supreme Court of incompetency or narrow-mindedness,
L-301, In the matter of the petition of Carlos Palanca
(As amicus have shown, however, that respondent is not completely devoid of
to be admitted a Citizen of the Philippines
curiae personal responsibility, as he is aware that he has no possible defense
for alleging that the members of the Supreme Court have committed
L-307, Eufemia Evangelista et al. vs. Rafael Maninang LOST "blunders and injustices deliberately," for which reason he has widely
L-599, Amalia Rodriguez vs. Pio E. Valencia et al. LOST publicized his expectation that he will be sentenced in this case to
imprisonment, a penalty that, by his repeated public utterances, he
L-1201, Vicente Sotto vs. Tribunal del Pueblo et al. LOST himself gives the impression that he is convinced he deserves.
L-1287, Ong Sit vs. Edmundo Piccio et al. LOST
Verily he deserves to be sentenced to six months imprisonment, the
L-1365, Vitaliano Jurado vs. Marcelo Flores LOST maximum allowed by Rule 64, and such penalty would not be heavy
L- 1509, Tagakotta Sotto vs. Francisco Enage LOST enough because of the attendance of several aggravating
circumstances, namely, the falsehoods he resorted to in this case, his
L-1510, Bernarda Ybaez de Sabido et al. vs. Juan V. insolence after he was cited for contempt, the fact that he is a lawyer
Borromeo et al. LOST and a Senator, the fact that he has already been sentenced to
imprisonment for falsely libeling three private individuals, the fact that
L-1938, Vicente Sotto vs. Crisanto Aragon et al. WON more than 30 years ago he had been disbarred as a blackmailer, the
L-1961, The People of the Philippines vs. Antonio de fact that more than 40 years ago he was sentenced to be jailed for more
los Reyes LOST than 4 years as an abductor. The majority of this Court has sentenced
a young and humble newspaperman to 30 days imprisonment only for
L-2041, Quirico Abeto vs. Sotero Rodas LOST refusing to answer a question. The offense committed by respondent is
L-2370, Voltaire Sotto vs. Rafael Dinglasan et al. LOST much graver than a mere refusal to answer a question.

We concur, however, in the decision imposing upon respondent a fine


Upon the records of his previous cases in 1918 and of these of P1,000 with subsidiary imprisonment and ordering him to show
proceedings, it is inevitable to conclude that we have before us the case cause why he should not be completely deprived of the privilege of
of an individual who has lowered himself to unfathomable depths of practicing the profession of a lawyer. High reasons of humanity
moral depravity, a despicable habitual liar, unscrupulous vilifier and restrained us from sending respondent to prison, unless he should
slanderer, unrepented blackguard and blackmailer, shameful and voluntarily choose to enter therein, instead of paying the fine. He is old
shameless libeler, unmindful of the principles of decency as all and, according to his physician, suffering from myologenous leukemia
hardened criminals. He is a disgrace to the human species. He is a with moderately severe anemia, requiring absolute and avoidance of
shame to the Senate. any from of mental and physical strain, and we do not wish to endanger
respondent's life by sending him to prison, and thus causing him the
mental and physical strains which his physician advised him to avoid.
Although the continued existence of respondents is more harmful than justice, starting as far back as 1901. (Julia vs. Sotto, 2 Phil., 247; U.
beneficial to our Republic and to human society, we have to be S. vs. Sotto, 9 Phil., 231; In re Sotto, 38 Phil., 532; U. S. vs. Sotto, 38
consistent with our abidance by the injunction of the Sermon on the Phil., 666; R.G. No. 201; U. S. vs. Sotto, R.G. No. 11067; U. S. vs.
Mount: "Thou shalt not kill." (Matth., Chapter 5, paragraph 21.) Although Sotto, R.G. No. 14284; U. S. vs. Vicente Sotto, R.G. No. 16004;
their segregation from the society of decent men is advisable because People vs. Vicente Sotto, R.G. No. 23643.)
of the dangers of corruptive contamination, even the lives of moral
lepers have to be spared. After all, the heaviest punishment for an Respondent belongs to that gang of unprincipled politicians headed by
evildoer is the inherent stigma of shame of his evildoings. a Senate President who trampled down the popular will by the arbitrary
and unconstitutional suspension of Senators Vera, Diokno and Romero
Let it be clear that we are not punishing respondent because we want (Vera vs. Avelino, 77 Phil., 192), who issued the false certification as to
to curtail his freedom of the press, but because of his wanton the voting of the congressional resolution regarding the infamous Parity
interference in the independence of the Supreme Court his overt Amendment, thus perpetrating falsification of public document
attempt to deprive us of our freedom of judgment in a pending case, his (Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito, 78 Phil., 1), who muzzled the people by
swashbuckling bravado to intimidate the members of this Court to sway ordering, in usurpation of executive powers mayors all over the country
their decision in favor of a litigant. not to allow the holding of public meetings which the opposition had
organized to denounce the frauds in the elections of November 11,
The freedom of the press is not in the least involved in these 1947 (Cipriano C. Primicias, as General Campaign Manager of the
proceedings. The offensive statements has not been published by Coalesced Minority Partiesvs. Valeriano E. Fugoso, as Mayor of the
respondent as a newspaperman, editor or journalist. He does not City of Manila, 80 Phil., 71) who wantonly violated the Constitution by
appear to be a member of the staff of any one of the newspapers which interfering with the management of the funds of the Senate Electoral
published his statement. We did not even molest said newspapers. Tribunal (Suanes vs. The Chief Accountant of the Senate, 81 Phil.,
Their editors have not been cited for contempt. We did not interfere with 819), who, again in violation of the fundamental law, usurped the
their freedom to publish the scurrilous statement. exclusive powers of the Senate when he designated respondent to sit
in the Senate Electoral Tribunal, and who crowned his misdeeds by
If respondent has not attempted by his browbeating to undermine and enunciating on Saturday, January 15, 1949, the most immoral political
overthrow the very foundations of our judicial system and actually philosophy that of open toleration of rackets, graft and corruption in
sought to defeat and miscarry the administration of justification in a public office.
pending litigation, we would certainly have abstained from summoning
him merely for criticizing, insulting and slandering the members of the According to Rizal, the victims immolated in the altar of great ideals, to
Court. After all his reputation for lack of veracity, malice and be acceptable, have to be noble, spotless and pure. They should,
unscrupulosity is well-known in official records branding him with the therefore, be as noble and pure as Socrates, Christ, Joan of Arc,
indelible stigma of infamy. Lincoln, Bonifacio, Mabini, Gandhi and Rizal himself. Then and only
then will martyrdom be hallowed and glorified because it is will worthy
His blatant posing, therefore, in this case as a martyr for the freedom of the effulgent grandeur of sacred ideals. "Hate never produces
of the press, as part of his systematic campaign of falsehoods and anything but monsters and crime criminals!" Love alone realizes
slanders directed against the Supreme Court, is an imposture that only wonderful works, virtue alone can save! Redemption presupposes
ignorants, blockheads and other mental pachyderms can swallow. virtue, virtue sacrifice, and sacrifice love! Pure and spotless must the
victim be that the sacrifice may be acceptable!" (El Filibusterismo.)
It takes too much effrontery for such a character as respondent to pose
as a martyr and no less than for the sake of a sacred cause, the Respondent complains in his answer that he is not accorded fair dealing
freedom of the press, which no one has no much dishonored with his because the writer of this opinion has not abstained from taking part in
blackmailing practices and by his long list of cases in the courts of this case. The complaint is absolutely groundless. It is based on two
false premises, concocted by respondent to make it appear that he is a what is unconstitutional, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
victim of persecution, and on a conclusion, also false, because based has made clear his stand to uphold the Constitution by stating it in black
on the two false premises. and white in the decision he penned in the Suanes case L-2460.
Respondent's failure was so obvious for us to mind his move.
Respondent alleges that there are pending in the Supreme Court
certain charges he filed against the writer and that the undersigned is After all, should we waste time and energy by entertaining any kind of
the "moving spirit" behind these proceedings. Both trump-up prejudice against respondent, when there are so many great minds,
allegations are false, and the Supreme Court has declared it to be so beautiful characters, and wonderful personalities that are demanding
in its resolution of December 13, 1948. our attention and whose spiritual companionship makes life enjoyable?

The records of the Supreme Court show that no such charges have If we had entertained any prejudice against respondent, we would have
been filed. Respondent ought to know, if he can read and understand meted out to him the penalty of imprisonment which he well deserves
the Constitution, that if he has any charge to file against a justice of the ,without minding the ill consequences it may entail to his health and life
Supreme Court to seek his ouster, he has to file it with the House of and without heeding the promptings of our pity and sense of humanity.
Representatives, the only agency authorized by the fundamental law to Fortunately, very many years have already elapsed since we acquired
institute impeachment proceedings. the state of mind with which we can judge things and persons with an
open and free conscience, truly emancipated from the shackles of any
If the House of Representatives should institute it, the respondent will prejudice. The hateful events during the Japanese occupation were the
have the opportunity to sit in judgment as a senator as, under the best mycelium for spawning and the choicest fertilizers for growing
Constitution, the Senate is the sole tribunal on cases of impeachment. prejudices against Generals Yamashita and Homma, to the extent of
justifying any measure or action that would spell their doom. Immediate
No justice with full sense of responsibility should commit a dereliction members of our family and ourselves endured agonizing sufferings and
of official duty by inhibiting himself in a case upon imaginary or some of our near relatives were liquidated under their regime. But when
fabricated grounds. The members of the Supreme Court are not such Yamashita and Homma came to this Supreme Court, seeking remedy
moral weaklings as to easily yield to dishonest appeals to a false sense against the absurdly iniquitous procedure followed by the military
of delicacy. A cowardly surrender to groundless challenges of commissions which tried them, so iniquitous that it closed to the
unscrupulous parties is unbecoming to a judge, and much more to a Japanese generals all chances of fair trial, no scintilla of prejudice
Justice of the Highest Tribunal of the Republic. precluded us from casting the lone vote intended to give them the
remedy and justice they sought for, notwithstanding the fact that
It is true that, after respondent had failed to sit in the Senate Electoral Yamashita and Homma, appeared, in the general consent of our
Tribunal, because we objected to the designation issued to him by people, to be veritable monsters of cruelty and murder. Certainly,
Senate President Avelino on constitutional grounds, he requested the respondent would not pretend having given us, if ever, stronger
Chief Justice to relieve us one of the members of the Senate Electoral grounds for prejudice than Yamashita and Homma, or that he is worse
Tribunal, and respondent would make it appear that for his move we than both of them.
are prejudiced against him.
We are not to end this opinion without expressing our steadfast
He is absolutely wrong. His request to the Chief Justice did not disturb addiction to the following propositions:
us the least. The Constitution does not grant anyone the power to oust,
replace, or dismiss any member of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, 1. The independence of the judiciary from outside interference or
judicial or senatorial, during his term of office in the Tribunal. Although obstruction is essential to the effectively of its functions so that it can
an illegal substitution has been made once in the case of Senators afford protection to fundamental rights including the freedom of the
Sebastian and Cuenco, such precedent did not make constitutional press, against encroachments and illegal assaults.
2. The freedom of the press includes the right to comment on pending petitioner, a member of the Bar, is one of the defendants and cross-
judicial cases and the right to criticize the public and private life of all defendants. And this, because petitioner's original petition for the same
public officers, without any exception. purpose was thwarted by the Court of Appeals.

3. The freedom of the press does not, however, safeguard any The better to understand this case, it is necessary to narrate in some
publication intended to bully courts and judges in order to sway their detail the events that transpired between petitioner Baldomero S.
judgment on pending cases, and such interference and obstruction Luque and respondent Judge Union C. Kayanan that spawned the legal
should be promptly and drastically checked for the sake of an effective controversy now before us.
administration of justice.
Judge Union C. Kayanan's oath of office described his position as
4. Tribunal should be prompt in stopping the threatening and "Judge, CFI of Quezon Prov. and Lucena City Branch IV, with
browbeating tactics of swaggering political ruffians and cutthroats bend Station at Calauag." On August 13, 1965, by Administrative Order 268,
on thwarting the scale of justice, as the opposing alternative to such a he was authorized "in addition to his regular duties, to hold court in
stern judicial attitude is surrendered to judicial anarchy. Lucena City, effective September 1, 1965, or as soon thereafter as
practicable, for the purpose of trying all kinds of cases and to enter
5. Courts of justice annealed to face and ever ready to deal vigorously judgments therein." By virtue of this order, Judge Kayanan proceeded
with attempts to turn them into puppets of domineering would-be to hold court sessions in Lucena City on September 21, 1965 in addition
dictators are essential in maintaining the reign of law and guaranteeing to his duty to attend to case filed at Calauag, Quezon. On December 1,
the existence of an orderly society. 1965, Administrative Order 425 came out with the same authority, i.e.,
"to hold court in Lucena City, effective December 1, 1965, or as soon
This opinion has been written to modify and clarify our stand in thereafter as practicable, for the purpose of trying all kinds of cases and
concurring in the decision. to enter judgments therein." All these administrative orders had for their
source of authority Section 56 of the Judiciary Act of 1948. 2
G.R. No. L-26826 August 29, 1969
Turning back to the case before us, on April 15, 1948, Civil Case 4871
BALDOMERO S. LUQUE, petitioner, was commenced in the Court of First Instance of Quezon by Bibiano
vs. Ilao, Natalio A. Enriquez and Susana Enriquez against Florencio Ona,
JUDGE UNION C. KAYANAN, in his capacity as Presiding Judge Baldomero Luque (petitioner herein), Andrea Africano, Enriqueta
of Branch IV of the Court of First Instance of Quezon Province Castillo, and Romeo, Adelaida, Clarito, all surnamed Baldeo. Plaintiffs
and Lucena City, respondent. therein sought to set aside the April 17, 1944 decision in Civil Cases 6
and 26 of the Court of First Instance of Quezon approving the parties'
Baldomero S. Luque in his own behalf as petitioner. April 15, 1944 compromise agreement which allegedly was procured
Judge Union C. Kayanan in his own behalf as respondent. thru duress and intimidation, and questioned Luque's attorneys' fees as
counsel for Sinforoso Ona in said cases. Enriqueta Castillo, in the same
Civil Case 4871, filed a cross-claim against petitioner Baldomero Luque
SANCHEZ, J.:
and others.
Upon the averment that respondent judge is without authority and is
By notice of hearing dated October 7, 1965, Civil Case 4871 was set
disqualified to act, petitioner comes to this Court on prohibition and
for trial on November 5, 1965 before Branch I of the Court of First
mandamus to stop the judge, presiding over Branch IV, Court of First
Instance of Quezon at Lucena City, presided over by Judge Gabriel
Instance of Quezon, from taking cognizance of, and to require him to
Valero. It was on November 5, 1965 that Judge Kayanan first took
return to Branch I of the same court, Civil Case 4871, 1in which
cognizance of said Civil Case 4871. According to plaintiffs' attorney in
the case below, 3 on November 5, 1965, at 8:30 in the morning, he postponement; and that furthermore since his motion for postponement
found that Civil Case 4871 "wasnot included in the calendar of was dated May 3, not May 7 as stated in the order, said motion was not
cases scheduled for Branch I"; that "he looked up the calendar of the in violation of the three-day rule. Be that as may, the explanation in
other sala," and finding his case there, he thus appeared therein. The writing thereafter made by petitioner was considered satisfactory by
"other sala" is that of Judge Kayanan. Defendant and cross-defendant respondent judge.
Baldomero S. Luque (petitioner herein) was absent therein. Going by
petitioner's version, he was at Branch I "where he should be"; after he On March 18, 1966, petitioner lodged a motion to dismiss the case upon
was informed by Judge Gabriel Valero hearing cases at Branch I that the ground of estoppel. Respondent judge on April 12, 1966 denied this
Civil Case 4871 was in Branch IV, he proceeded to said branch but was motion for the reason that estoppel is not one of the rounds for a motion
informed by a clerk that respondent Judge Kayanan had already left for to dismiss under the Rules of Court.
Manila.
On April 11, 1966, petitioner moved to disqualify respondent judge from
Respondent judge's order of November 5 was prefaced by the following the case, alleging that:
words: "When this case was called today for hearing, neither the
counsel for the defendants and cross-claimant as well as counsel for Judge Union C. Kayanan doctored the records of this case in
the cross-defendant appeared." That order reset the hearing for that he suppressed the TRUE and GENUINE proceedings had
December 1, 1965 at 8:30 in the morning. Petitioner submits to be in open Court of February 28, 1966 (1) that the undersigned
inaccurate that part of the order that says that he did not appear. defendant moved to dismiss this case; (2) that this case was set
Because, so he says, he was there in court, although at Branch I. for hearing on March 21, 1966; and (3) that the undersigned
defendant was ordered to make his motion to dismiss in writing
The next pertinent order by respondent judge was made on January and to set it for hearing also on March 21, 1966.
31, 1966, which set the case for hearing on February 28, 1966. This
last mentioned date was admittedly erroneous because the parties He also doctored the records by issuing an Order defending the
agreed on January 31, 1966 to reset the hearing for March 8. plaintiffs, and in which it is stated that it was given in open Court
although it can no longer be legally done, because after the
At the start of the hearing on February 28, 1966, petitioner was present, case was called and the parties have left, as this case was
the other parties absent. Counsel for plaintiffs came 20 minutes late; he already called and I had already left, the Court can no longer
got wind of the hearing on that date after he left the other sala attending legally issue any order in open Court.
to another case. He thought all along that the case was to be heard on
March 8. Another order of the same date (February 28) reset the case The said doctorings of the records of this case are serious. If
for March 8, as originally scheduled. they were done in the past days, then they may be done again
in the coming days, unless Judge Kayanan is disqualified to
Before the March 8 hearing, petitioner sent by registered mail on March continue to hear and to act on this case.
3 (received by the court on March 7) a motion for postponment. He did
not appear on March 8. This prompted the court to order the resetting The Order about those TRUE and GENUINE proceedings was
of the hearing to March 23; but the court also directed petitioner not issued by Judge Kayanan. In other words, they were
Baldomero S. Luque and another attorney for defendants in "twenty- doctored by suppressing them. When I was in Court on March
four (24) hours upon receipt hereof, to explain why they should not be 23, 1966, for a hearing of this case, I looked at the records, and
cited for contempt." I found that there was none.

Petitioner again decries that this order is wrong because his


explanation on in writing was already made in his motion for
But the records were again doctored, by the issuance of an later than May 3, 1966," the next scheduled hearing of the case, or
UNTRUE and an UNGENUINE Order dated February 28, 1966, upon failure or refusal to pay, to five (5) days' imprisonment in the
copy of which I received on March 15, 1966, in which the provincial jail. A copy of this order does not appear to have been
plaintiffs were defended and which stated it was given in open received by petitioner before May 3, 1966.
Court, although after a case was already called and the parties
had left, the Court can no longer legally issue an order in open On April 30, 1966, petitioner registered with this Court a petition for
Court. In this case, on the date, this case had already been impeachment of respondent judge. 4 On June 27, 1966, this Court
called and I had already left after a TRUE and GENUINE order dismissed the same for lack of merit.
was issued in open Court.
In the meantime, at the hearing of May 3, 1966, respondent judge
Why? Instead, Judge Kayanan issued the aforequoted asked petitioner to withdraw his pleading moving for respondent judge's
UNTRUE and UNGENUINE Order of February 28, 1966 in disqualification. Petitioner refused. Thereupon, the judge asked if
defense of the plaintiffs and their attorney. petitioner was going to pay the fine or not. Petitioner informed the court
that he had not received copy of any order sentencing him for contempt
So it is conclusive that there are gross ERRORS in the Order of and that he had a right to move for reconsideration after receipt of a
March 8, 1966. Probably they were due either to gross copy of such order. It was at this juncture that the judge verbally ordered
incompetence or that they were deliberately made so that there a guard to commit petitioner to jail (according to respondent judge, he
could be a basis for requiring me to explain within 24 hours why instructed the guard to detain petitioner merely at the Office of the
I should not be cited for contempt. Warden). Petitioner was restrained of his liberty for two hours from
10:00 o'clock a.m. to 12:00 o'clock p.m., at which time the judge
But considering that more anomalies followed, there is now reconsidered his verbal order of commitment and set petitioner free
reason to believe that the anomalies committed are with the following order: "Acting on the oral manifestation of defendant
intentional.1wph1.t Atty. Baldomero S. Luque to the effect that up to this date he has not
received the Order of this Court dated April 26, 1966, the Order of his
The foregoing series of anomalies show the evident bias and Commitment to the Provincial Jail at Lucena City is hereby held in
partiality of Judge Union C. Kayanan in favor of the plaintiffs and abeyance until after said defendant shall have received a copy thereof
against me, which will prevent him from resolving the questions and given a chance to explain why the said Order shall not be carried
in this case with impartiality and solely on the merits. out."

On April 12, 1966, petitioner was again ordered by respondent judge to The petition to disqualify respondent judge was denied by the latter on
explain why he should not be cited for contempt of court for "using the same day, May 3, 1966, as follows: "It appearing that there is
clearly insolent, disrespectful, and contemptuous language therein, neither a legal nor moral ground to disqualify the Presiding Judge of
which insinuations or imputations are highly derogatory and served this Court in hearing this case, the Petition to disqualify the trial Judge
nothing but to discredit the judge presiding this Court in an attempt to by defendant Baldomero S. Luque is hereby denied. Reset the hearing
secure his disqualification, considering that they have no basis in truth of this case on June 7, 1966."
and in fact and palpably unwarranted, in violation of the Canons of
Professional Ethics and Rule 71 of the Rules of Court." Petitioner's On July 26, 1966, following a series of pleadings, respondent judge
explanation was filed on April 21, 1966. signed an order which in part reads:

On April 26, 1966, respondent judge declared the explanation to be The defendant, Atty. Baldomero Luque insists that the Presiding
unsatisfactory, adjudged petitioner in direct contempt, and sentenced Judge of this Court should not try this case for which he
the latter to pay a fine of P100 "to be remitted to the Clerk of Court not requests that he be given one (1) month from today within which
to file his Petition of either Certiorari or Prohibition, so that he 1. This case presents an unedifying picture of animosity, hostility and
again requests for postponement, which is not objected to by bad blood between petitioner, a lawyer and party defendant and cross-
the other counsel, if only to settle this issue once and for all and defendant, and respondent, a judge. From the events that occurred in
to afford said defendant all conceivable remedies he may the court below, we gather the impression that the courtroom had been
choose to take advantage of. Unless said defendant secures a converted into an arena of recriminations between the two.
restraining order from the Supreme Court, the trial shall proceed Opprobrious language has been employed by both.
definitely on September 6 and 9, 1966, at 9 a.m. and the Court
will not countenance any further postponement. ... . It is the duty of both counsel and judge to maintain, not to destroy, the
high esteem and regard for courts. Any act on the part of one or the
Petitioner next went to the Court of Appeals with a petition for other that tends to undermine the people's respect for, and confidence
prohibition and mandamus with preliminary injunction, 5 praying, inter in, the administration of justice is to be avoided. And this, even if both
alia, for the return of Civil Case 4871 to Branch I of the Quezon Court may have to restrain pride from taking the better part of their system.
of First Instance. On September 9, 1966, the Court of Appeals To be expected then of petitioner and respondent is a sense of shared
dismissed the petition. Petitioner's move to reconsider was thwarted by responsibility, a crucial factor in the administration of justice. And yet
the Court of Appeals' resolution of October 10, 1966. The Court of lack thereof is painfully apparent in the record of this case. It would
Appeals, through a reasoned resolution of October 26, 1966, denied appear that both petitioner and respondent were seized by a kind of
petitioner's second motion for reconsideration. ennui which immobilizes the sense of proportion of men trapped in
situations where emotion runs loose.
Petitioner then came to this Court on November 14, 1966 on appeal
by certiorari with a prayer for preliminary injunction. We gave due 2. A lawyer is an officer of court. Canon I of the Canons of Professional
course on November 17, 1966 and directed the issuance of a Ethics enjoins him "to maintain towards the Courts a respectful attitude,
preliminary injunction upon a P1,000-bond. not for the sake of the temporary incumbent of the judicial office, but for
the maintenance of its supreme importance." When a lawyer goes past
Having received the foregoing resolution on November 22, 1966, respectful disagreement with the judge and enters into the forbidden
petitioner on the same day telegraphed respondent judge asking that area of uncontrolled criticism, he trenches upon this canon.
the case be held in abeyance because this Court gave due course to
his petition and that he was filing the injunction bond the day following. Let us look into the language employed by petitioner. Petitioner, in his
motion to disqualify respondent judge, charged that the latter had
Notwithstanding the receipt of the foregoing telegram, on November 23, "suppressed the true and genuine proceedings" and had "doctored the
1966 respondent judge denied postponement and directed that trial on records" in reference to what took place in court on February 28, 1966;
the merits proceed. that the other order of March 8, 1966 was either due to gross
incompetence or deliberately made as a basis for requiring him to
As it turned out, respondent judge cancelled the succeeding hearings explain within 24 hours why he should not be cited for contempt.
he set for the case after receiving the preliminary injunction of this
Court.1wph1.t Suppression of the true and genuine proceedings is a charge serious
enough. Doctoring is no less grave. The word "doctored" connotes a
We treat the case before us as an original petition for certiorari, deliberate act to conceal the truth. But then, the mere omission in the
prohibition and mandamus. Enough averments there are in the petition order of February 28 of the facts that petitioner moved to dismiss the
and the return to do so. 6 case, that petitioner was ordered to make his motion to dismiss in
writing, and that the motion was set for hearing on March 21, 1966, in
our opinion, are not serious enough to warrant the use of the word
"doctored." As thus explained by respondent judge, there was a mere
mistake; there was no purpose to mislead. Petitioner could have Judge is expected to measure his words. The following from page 5 of
suffered exasperation at respondent's order to show cause why he respondent's answer before this Court is quite revealing:
should not be held in contempt of court for failure to appear at the trial
of March 8. We do say that a lawyer may be under a trying ordeal; he ... . For the poor taste of Petitioner to deduce that we have
may have a grievance. But he should not give vent to his feelings by "doctored" the records just for a simple mistake in the date of
employing in a pleading language which is crude. Refinement in hearing, which is sometimes inevitable and not our own making,
language is a trait ideal in the relations between man and man, between is sheer deviltry and plain cussedness, 12 nay a display of little,
lawyer and judge. Undignified language rarely escapes reproof from if not lack of, respect to the authority on the bench. ... .
courts of justice. It would accordingly be but a demonstration of lack of
discipline and self-restraint for a lawyer to characterize a judge's Timely to be recalled here is the following from Ysasi vs. Hon. Jose F.
actions with some such words as "doctored," "fabrications" or Fernandez, viz.: "We prefer to think that restraint still is a trait desirable
"distortion of truth." 7 in those who dispense justice." 13

A lawyer must at all times comport himself with respect to judicial Petitioner and respondent judge are really at loggerheads with each
officers. This is so necessary to the orderly administration of justice. other; hostility runs deep. This situation is, indeed, unfortunate. But it is
The person of the judge is immaterial. While a "lawyer possesses the in this context that we now view the position of respondent judge in this
privilege of standing up for his rights even in the face of a hostile case.
court," 8 he should not be given to intemperate outbursts which only
tend to promote distrust in the administration of justice. Failure of While it is true that upon the facts thus far recited, and under Section 1,
respect is failure of duty. Petitioner's conduct deserves reprobation. Rule 137 of the Rules of Court, 14respondent judge may not be legally
disqualified from hearing Civil Case 4871, still it may not be amiss to
3. Neither has respondent placed himself on a higher plane. repeat what we have said not so long ago in Pimentel vs.
Salanga (1967), 21 SCRA 160, 167-168, as follows:
The judge has been displaying impatience and anger at petitioner.
Petitioner claims that when he refused to pay the fine for contempt of All the foregoing notwithstanding, this should be a good
court, the judge angrily barked at a guard to commit him to jail; that at occasion as any to draw attention of all judges to appropriate
one instance, respondent judge irately told him, "I will have you guidelines in a situation where their capacity to try and decide a
disbarred"; 9 that at the July 26 hearing, respondent judge would not case fairly and judiciously comes to the fore by way of challenge
give him leeway to speak in court, interrupting him and continuing to from any one of the parties. A judge may not be legally
say things against him in a derisive tone and in a humiliating and prohibited from sitting in a litigation. But when suggestion is
abusive manner that respondent judge even said: "Why don't you want made of record that he might be induced to act in favor of one
me to hear and decide this case? Just because you are older you want party or with bias or prejudice against a litigant arising out of
to impose your will on this Court"; 10 that after the judge became tired circumstances reasonably capable of inciting such a state of
of talking, the judge told petitioner, who was not given a chance to mind, he should conduct a careful self-examination. He should
speak fully: "That is enough, sit down," and strongly, banged the exercise his discretion in a way that the people's faith in the
gavel. 11 These are not seriously disputed. courts of justice is not impaired. A salutary norm is that he reflect
on the probability that a losing party might nurture at the back
Really, from the manner respondent judge answered the petition before of his mind the thought that the judge had unmeritoriously tilted
us, it would seem that he has lost his composure, has been emotionally the scales of justice against him. That passion on the part of a
unstrung. He had not been sparing in his language either. The judge may be generated because of serious charges of
members of this Court feel that as befits his exalted position, a District misconduct against him by a suitor or his counsel is not
altogether remote. He is a man, subject to the frailties of other
men. He should, therefore, exercise great care and caution it not be said that the administration of justice in this country suffers
before making up his mind to act or withdraw from a suit where from too many human imperfections. To our mind, respondent judge
that party or counsel is involved. He could in good grace inhibit should inhibit himself since it has become apparent that his further
himself where that case could be heard by another judge and continuance in Case 4871 would not be in the best interest of justice,
where no appreciable prejudice would be occasioned to others which he is bound to serve.
involved therein. On the result of his decisions to sit or not to sit
may depend to a great extent the all-important confidence in the 4. But consideration of the petition herein does not end here. There is
impartiality of the judiciary. If after reflection he should resolve the order of respondent judge of November 23, 1966 issued after the
to voluntarily desist from sitting in a case where his motives or herein petition was lodged with this Court. Said order came about, thus:
fairness might be seriously impugned, his action is to be On November 17, 1966, this Court gave due course to the present
interpreted as giving meaning and substance to the second petition, directed that cease-and-desist order issue upon a P1,000-
paragraph of Section 1, Rule 137. He serves the cause of the bond. Notice of this resolution reached petitioner only on November 22.
law who forestalls miscarriage of justice. That same day November 22, petitioner wired respondent judge
informing the latter that the herein petition was given due course and
Very recently, on May 6, 1969, in Buenaventura vs. Benedicto, that he would file the necessary injunction bond the following day. That
Administrative Case. 137, we resolved the following: telegram reads: "Respectfully reiterate motion hold abeyance hearing
Case No. 4871, Ilaw, et al. vs. Ona, et al. Stop Supreme Court gave
Upon consideration of the motion for reconsideration praying due course petition certiorari G.R. No. L-26826 Stop injunction bond
that the resolution of this Court of January 29, 1969 be filed tomorrow. Baldomero S. Luque, Defendant." It will be recalled that
reconsidered and that respondent judge be ordered to inhibit respondent judge received the telegram on November 23.
himself from hearing Civil Case No. 300 of the Court of First
Instance of Nueva Ecija and considering that the issues, in said He held sessions on that day. When he received that telegram from
Civil Case No. 300 apparently are the same as those in Criminal petitioner, caution should have suggested to respondent to first
Case No. 420, respondent's actuations in which is the subject ascertain from this Court as to whether or not the petition herein was
of the present administrative case, and while technically, really given due course and injunction granted if he doubted the veracity
respondent judge may not be compelled to inhibit himself from of the telegram. But he did not. Right away, he disbelieved petitioner.
sitting in the trial of Civil Case No. 300 upon the provisions of
Section 1 of Rule 137 of the Rules of Court; but that nonetheless Here is what respondent judge in part said in his order of November 23,
having in mind that a litigant is entitled to nothing less than the 1966:
cold neutrality of an impartial judge and that whatever action
may be taken by the respondent judge in said Civil Case No. After hearing the views of counsel for the plaintiffs and for other
300 may be subject to interpretation not conducive to faith in defendants as well as cross-claimant in connection with the
courts of justice: the Court RESOLVED to express its view Petition for Certiorari filed by defendant Atty. Baldomero S.
that the ends of justice will better subserved if respondent judge Luque before the Supreme Court on November 14, 1966, as
should inhibit himself from hearing Civil Case No. 300 well as his pleading entitled "Special Appearance to Move for
aforesaid. 15 Holding Hearing in Abeyance," received on November 22, 1966,
coupled with the telegram he sent which we received only today
All suitors, we must say, are entitled to nothing short of the cold reiterating his motion to hold in abeyance again the hearing of
neutrality of an independent, wholly-free, disinterested and impartial this crime on the alleged ground that the Supreme Court gave
tribunal. 16 It has been said that "next in importance to the duty of due course to the petition without furnishing us a copy of the
rendering a righteous judgment is that of doing it in such a manner as order, the Court is of the considered opinion that in order to
will beget no suspicion of the fairness and integrity of the judge." 17 Let protect the interests of all concerned who are desirous to
terminate this case as soon as practicable since it has been would get a fair trial was still in the speculative stage. Here, the case
pending way back in April, 1948, and to assert the dignity of the went farther. Respondent's prejudice against a suitor has concretely
Court, we are constrained to proceed to the trial on the merits manifested itself. The animosity between respondent judge and
after several postponements at the behest of defendant Atty. petitioner a party to the case below, had developed through a long
Luque, evidently intended as dilatory tactics. We share the view period of time, became patent in the order of November 23, 1966, and
of all counsel that the petition for certiorari before the Supreme is even evident in this case before this Court. By now, it is quite difficult
Court without including the Court of Appeals as co-respondent to take out of petitioner's mind the impression that he cannot get a fair
is patently irregular, and we have grave doubts whether the trial from respondent judge.
Supreme Court, with due respect, will give this petition due
course. At any rate, since there is no restraining order from a In the circumstances presented, we are constrained to state that
higher court, as previously understood, and if only to appear respondent's taking cognizance of said case does not square with our
consistent to our repeated orders that we shall not countenance sense of justice. It is to be stressed once again that parties have a right
any further postponement, there is no course of action left for to have their cases tried fairly by an impartial tribunal.
us to take but to proceed to trial in the exercise of our discretion.
... . It is because of all of these that we rule that it would be a grave abuse
of discretion on the part of respondent judge to further take cognizance
This order of November 23 is plainly indicative of the judge's frame of of Civil Case 4871.
mind. It is evident that petitioner has not merely fallen in his disfavor;
respondent judge had by then formed a hardened idea that petitioner 5. But another reason as potent exists why respondent judge should
is incapable of telling the truth. Respondent judge should have taken not be insulated from the charge of abuse of discretion in taking
stock of the fact that petitioner, besides being an attorney,is also a party cognizance of Case 4871. It is that respondent judge got hold of that
defendant and cross-defendant in Civil Case 4871. The fate of that case case under circumstances which were far from regular.
mainly hinges upon whether or not the compromise agreement entered
into in Civil Cases Nos. 6 and 26 of the Court of First Instance of Of course, it must be conceded that respondent judge of Branch IV had
Quezon were obtained through duress and intimidation. It is quite authority to hold court in Lucena City for the purpose of trying all kinds
reasonable to assume that the petitioner as defendant in the case of cases and entering judgments therein. But the fact is that Case 4871
before respondent judge would take the stand. For, counsel had a hand had beenpreviously assigned and belonged to Branch I. Precisely, the
in that compromise agreement. Respondent, too, must meet the formal notice to the parties for the hearing scheduled for November 5,
evidence against him on the cross-complaint. Is it farfetched then to say 1965, in plain terms, states that "the above-entitled case will be heard
that if Case 4871 is to be heard before respondent judge, there is a in the 1st Branch of this Court." 20 But when the case came up for
great probability that His Honor would not give petitioner's testimony hearing on November 5, 1965, this Case 4871 no longer appeared in
the credit that nominally should be given to it? the calendar of cases corresponding to Branch I. We are confronted by
information put forward by petitioner in his reply to respondent's
The factual setting of the "present case goes beyond that in Pimentel answer, dated November 24, 1966 (which was made complete on
vs. Salanga, supra. There, petitioner, counsel in a number of cases, January 4, 1967), that on November 5, 1965 "Judge Valero did not fail
sought the judge's disqualification in said cases, because counsel was to report, but on the contrary, he reported early on November 5, 1965
complainant in an administrative case against respondent judge upon in his Branch I in Lucena City and he called up a high pile of cases that
averments of "serious misconduct, inefficiency in office, partiality, day." 21 He appended as Annex A to his printed memorandum filed on
ignorance of the law and incompetence." 18 Here, complainant is not February 8, 1967, a certification coming from Deputy Clerk Pedro B.
merely an attorney but also a defendant and cross-defendant. Zara that "Hon. Gabriel V. Valero held Court sessions on November 5,
In Pimentel, "[n]o act or conduct of his (respondent judge) would show 1965 at the City of Lucena, Capital of this province." In the face of these
arbitrariness or prejudice." 19 There, whether or not petitioner's clients averments, we find respondent judge standing mute. He has made no
effort to deny that Judge Gabriel Valero was in Lucena City On (1) the writs of certiorari, prohibition and mandamus are hereby
November 5, 1965 hearing cases for Branch I. He had two opportunities granted;
to deny the same before us, after petitioner twice once in petitioner's
said reply and then on pages 24-25 of his printed memorandum (2) the proceedings taken by respondent judge in Civil Case
represented this point of fact. The judge waived his right to oral 4871 of the Court of First Instance of Quezon are hereby
argument and to the submission of his memorandum. That he did not declared null and void;
refute the proffered fact just mentioned we consider very significant.
(3) respondent judge is hereby directed to refrain from taking
We have to give due credence to petitioner's assertion of fact not only cognizance of said Civil Case 4871;
because it is unrebutted on record and supported by an official
certification, but also because it is corroborated by the narration of facts (4) the preliminary injunction heretofore issued by this Court is
given by the attorney for the other side the plaintiffs in the case hereby made permanent;
below. It will be recalled that, as earlier stated, plaintiffs' attorney came
to court that day November 5, 1965 and found that Case 4871 (5) respondent judge is hereby, directed to return Civil Case
was not included in the list of cases to be heard by Branch I but was 4871 of the Court of First Instance of Quezon to Branch I; and
included in the calendar of the "the other sala." Implicit from the
foregoing is that on November 5 there was a list of cases for Branch I (6) we admonish petitioner, Atty. Baldomero S. Luque, for his
which did not include Case 4871, as should be the case, for Case 4871 use of improper language with a warning that repetition thereof
properly belonged to Branch I. will be dealt with accordingly; and we direct that copy of this
decision be attached to his record in this Court, as a member of
Upon the other hand, the explanation given by respondent judge does the Bar.
not appear to be reasonable. It is contrary to the facts. It surely is not
in keeping with the sound administration of justice for a judge of a No costs allowed. So ordered.1wph1.t
branch of a court to take for himself a case belonging to another branch
of the same court without justifiable reason therefor. Such a procedure
Concepcion, C.J., Dizon, Makalintal, Castro, Fernando, Capistrano,
breeds confusion. It could even be suspect. It opens up a charge such
Teehankee, and Barredo, JJ., concur.
as here presented that respondent has demonstrated "unusual interest"
Reyes, J.B.L., and Zaldivar, JJ., are on leave.
in this case and refused to return it to Branch I in spite of petitioner's
move for the purpose. 22
A.M. No. MTJ-92-655 March 8, 1993
One important judicial norm is that "[a] judge's official conduct should
be free from the appearance of impropriety." 23 A creed to which a judge LICERIO P. NIQUE, Complainant, vs. JUDGE FELIPE G.
is hidebound is, in the words of the preamble of the Canons of ZAPATOS, Respondent.
Professional Ethics, that: "The future of the Republic, to a great extent,
depends upon our maintenance of Justice pure and unsullied." Reuban B. Baldoza for complainant.

In the factual environment just presented we hold that respondent judge GRIO-AQUINO, J.:
also committed a grave abuse of discretion in taking cognizance of Civil
Case No. 4871 of the Court of First Instance of Quezon. He should, The complainant, Licerio Nique, was the plaintiff in an ejectment case
therefore, be prohibited from hearing the same. in the Municipal Trial Court in Cities of Tangub City presided over by
respondent Judge Felipe G. Zapatos. Civil Case No. 300 entitled,
For the reasons given "Licerio P. Nique vs. Eugene Lim, et al.," is an action for Forcible Entry
with Restraining Order and Writ of Preliminary Injunction. The subject 3. giving undue advantage to the defendants by allowing them to earn
of the case is a fishpond belonging to the plaintiff. enormous profits from the fishpond in question.

On November l8, 1987, after due notice and hearing and upon the filing Commenting on the complaint, respondent Judge alleged:
of a bond, the MTCC of Tangub City, then presided over by Judge
Ricardo L. Salvanera, directed the defendants to vacate the fishpond in 1. that he is authorized under Sections 6 & 7, Rule 58 of the Rules of
question and restore its possession to the plaintiff. The defendants filed Court to dissolve an injunction reinstated by the RTC since it appeared
a motion to lift the restraining order, but the court maintained it. They that after the injunction was issued, there was a change in the situation
filed a second motion for reconsideration. On February 22, 1988, Judge of the parties, e.g., (a) the defendants filed a supersedeas bond or
Salvanera lifted the restraining order and delivered the possession of counter-bond of P60,000.00, or double the plaintiff's bond, and (b) the
the property to them. In his order dated April 5, 1988, Judge Salvanera defendants their witnesses submitted affidavits alleging that the
denied the plaintiff's motion for reconsideration. defendants have already invested Two Million Pesos (P2,000,000.00)
in the fishpond;
The plaintiff filed a petition for certiorari in the Court of Appeals to annul
Judge Salvanera's orders of February 22, 1988 and April 5, 1988. The 2. that a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction is an interlocutory
Court of Appeals referred the case to the Regional Trial Court (RTC), order that remains at all times within the control of the court that issued
Branch XIV, in Tangub City, which has concurrent jurisdiction over the it, before final judgment on the merits of the case;
case. On May 19, 1989, the RTC set aside Judge Salvanera's orders
and directed him to reinstate the Writ of Preliminary Mandatory 3. that the defendant's counter-bond is more than enough to
Injunction and restore the petitioner in the peaceful possession and compensate the plaintiff for his damages; and
occupation of the fishpond. After the RTC decision had become final
and executory, plaintiff Nique filed a motion for execution in the trial 4. that the dissolution of the restraining order or preliminary mandatory
court. The motion was heard by Judge Felipe G. Zapatos who, in the injunction is justified because free patent titles (OCT-P-395 dated June
meantime, had succeeded Judge Salvanera. The defendants filed a 17, 1987 and OCT-P-394 dated June 23, 1987) have been issued in
motion to lift the preliminary mandatory injunction. The plaintiff opposed the names of defendants Eugene Lim and Regino Nique (the
their motion. In an order dated December 27, 1990, Judge Zapatos defendants in Civil Case No. 300 entitled "Licerio P. Nique vs. Eugene
denied the plaintiff's motion for execution and dissolved the writ of Lim, Jimmy Chan and Regino P. Nique, Jr.), and these titles are
preliminary mandatory injunction which the RTC had ordered to be indefeasible.
reinstated.
Respondent Judge discussed the procedure for obtaining free patents
On November 19, 1992, Nique filed this administrative complaint and argued that the procedure clearly and unmistakably shows that the
against Judge Zapatos, charging him with: defendants had been in possession of the subject land before June 17,
1987 or a little thereafter.
1. gross ignorance of the law and failure to perform an act which he
had been directed to do, thereby committing a criminal act punishable Those arguments are unavailing. Respondent Judge ought to know his
under Articles 205, 206 or 207 of the Revised Penal Code (knowingly place in the judicial ladder. Occupying as he does a court that is lower
rendering an unjust decision and/or interlocutory order); in rank than the RTC, he owes respect to the latter and is bound by the
disposition or decision of said appellate court upon a petition for review
2. causing unnecessary delay in the case, and damages to the of an order/orders issued by him. His act of "reversing" the final
complainant in the form of unrealized income amounting to hundreds judgment of the RTC, instead of complying with his mandatory and
of thousands of pesos; and ministerial duty of executing the same, is the height of audacity,
arrogance and presumption on his partHabaa vs. Vamenta, 33 SCRA Narvasa, C.J., Cruz, Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Jr.,
569; Republic vs. Angeles, 20 SCRA 608; Baclayon vs. Court of Romero, Nocon, Bellosillo, Melo, Campos, Jr. and Quiason, JJ.,
Appeals, 182 SCRA 761 for if the decision of the RTC was concur.
unacceptable to the defendants, their remedy was to appeal it to a
higher court. Having failed to do that, they, as well as the lower court, Gutierrez, Jr., J., is on leave.
were bound by the judgment. There was no avoiding compliance with
it for the execution of a final judgment is a ministerial duty of the trial G.R. No. L-10500 June 30, 1959
court. The alleged "change in the situation of the parties" which
respondent Judge imagined (defendants' alleged investment of P2 USAFFE VETERANS ASSOCIATION, INC., plaintiff-appellant,
million and their filing of a P60,000.00 counterbond) did not supervene vs.
for after the RTC had rendered its decision for the alleged P2-million THE TREASURER OF THE PHILIPPINES, ET AL., defendants-
investment of the defendants in the fishpond may have been made appellees.
during their occupation of the fishpond as a result of Judge Salvanera's
order lifting the restraining order. The defendants' offer to post a Lorenzo B. Camins, Castor C. Ames and Alberto M. K. Jamir for
counterbond twice the amount of the plaintiff's bond was not a sufficient appellant.
justification for defying the decision of the appellate (RTC) court. Office of the Solicitor General Ambrosio Padilla, Assistant Solicitor
General Jose P. Alejandro and Solicitor Jorge R. Coquia for
A municipal trial judge, figuratively speaking, is "the low man in the appellees.
totem pole" of the judiciary. He should, of necessity, defer to orders of
the higher courts regardless of his personal opinion in the case. "A BENGZON, J.:
becoming modesty of inferior courts demands realization of the position
that they occupy in the interrelation and operation of the integrated
The central issue in this litigation concerns the validity of the Romulo-
judicial system of the nation (People vs. Vera, 65 Phil. 56)." (Ysasi vs.
Snyder Agreement (1950) whereby the Philippine Government
Fernandez, 26 SCRA 393, 395.) The appellate jurisdiction of a higher
undertook to return to the United States Government in ten annual
court would be meaningless if a lower court may disregard and disobey
installments, a total of about 35-million dollars advanced by the United
with impunity its final judgment or order. As we held in another case:
States to, but unexpanded by, the National Defense Forces of the
Philippines.
If each and every Court of First Instance could enjoy the privilege of
overruling decisions of the Supreme Court, there would be no end to
In October 1954, the USAFFE Veterans Associations Inc., hereafter
litigation, and judicial chaos would result. Appellate jurisdiction would
called Usaffe Veterans, for itself and for many other Filipino veterans of
be a farce if the Supreme Court did not have the power of preventing
World War II, ex-members of the United States Armed Forces in the
inferior courts from meddling with decisions when sent to them for
Far East (USAFFE) prayed in its complaint before the Manila court of
compliance. (Shioji vs. Harvey, 43 Phil. 333, 337.)
first instance that said Agreement be annulled, that payments
thereunder be declared illegal and that defendants as officers of the
WHEREFORE, the Court finds respondent MTCC Judge Felipe G. Philippine Republic be restrained from disbursing any funds in the
Zapatos GUILTY of disobedience of a final judgment of a superior court, National Treasury in pursuance of said Agreement. Said Usaffe
and of obstructing the administration of justice. He is ordered to pay a Veterans further asked that the moneys available, instead of being
fine of P1,000.00 to the Cashier of the Supreme Court and warned that remitted to the United States, should be turned over to the Finance
a repetition of this sort of misfeasance in the future will be dealt with Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for the payment of all
more severely. pending claims of the veterans represented by plaintiff.
SO ORDERED.
The complaint rested on plaintiff's three propositions: first, that the reimbursement for all or any part of the estimated or actual
funds to be "returned" under the Agreement were funds appropriated costs, as authorized by the Commanding General, United
by the American Congress for the Philippine army, actually delivered to States Army Forces in the Far East, of necessary expenses for
the Philippine Government and actually owned by said Government; the purposes aforesaid. . . . (Emphasis Ours.)
second, that U.S. Secretary Snyder of the Treasury, had no authority
to retake such funds from the P.I. Government; and third, that Philippine In subsequent Acts, the U.S. Congress appropriated moneys in
foreign Secretary Carlos P. Romulo had no authority to return or language identical to the above: S28,313,000.00 for the fiscal year
promise to return the aforesaid sums of money through the so-called ending June 30, 1943; and S100,000,000 each year, for the fiscal years
Romulo-Snyder Agreement. ending June 30, 1944, June 30, 1945, and June 30, 1946.1 The last
pertinent appropriation was Public law No. 301 (79th Congress) known
The defendants moved to dismiss, alleging Governmental immunity as the Rescission Act. It simply set aside 200 million dollars for the
from suit. But the court required an answer, and then heard the case Army for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1946.
merits. Thereafter, it dismissed the complaint, upheld the validity of the
Agreement and dissolved the preliminary injunction i had previously Now, pursuant to the power reserved to him under Public Law 353
issued. The plaintiff appealed. above-quoted, President Roosevelt issued on January 3, 1942, his
executive Order No. 9011 prescribing partly as follows:
On July 26, 1941, foreseeing the War in the Pacific, President Franklin
D. Roosevelt, called into the service of the Armed Forces of the United 2. (a) Necessary expenditures from funds in the Philippine
States, for the duration of the emergency, all the organized military Treasury for the purposes authorized by the Act of December
forces of the Philippine Commonwealth. His order was published here 17, 1941, will be made by disbursing officers of the Army of the
by Proclamation No. 740 of President Quezon on August 10, 1941. In Philippines on the approval of authority of the Commanding
October 1941, by two special orders, General Douglas MacArthur, General, United States Army Forces in the Far East, and such
Commanding General of the United States Army Forces in the Far East purposes as he may deem proper, and his determination
(known as USAFFE) placed under his command all the Philippine Army thereon shall be final and conclusive upon the accounting
units including the Philippine Constabulary, about 100,000 officers and officers of the Philippine Government, and such expenditures
soldiers. will be accounted for in accordance with procedures established
by the Philippine Commonwealth Laws and regulations.
For the expenses incident to such incorporation, mobilization and (Emphasis Ours.)
activities, the Congress of the United States provided in its
Appropriation Act of December 17, 1941 (Public Law No. 353, 77th Out of the total amounts thus appropriated by the United States
Congress) as follows: Congress as above itemized, P570,863,000.00 was transferred directly
to the Philippines Armed Forces by means of vouchers which stated
For all expenses necessary for the mobilization, operation and "Advance of Funds under Public law 353-77th Congress and Executive
maintenance of the Army of the Philippines, including expenses Order No. 9011". This amount was used (mostly) to discharge in the
connected with calling into the service of the armed forces of Philippine Islands the monetary obligations assumed by the U.S.
the United States the organized military forces of the Government as a result of the induction of the Philippine Armed Forces
Government of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, . . . but into the U.S. Army, and of its operations beginning in 1941. Part of
shall be expanded and accounted for in the manner prescribed these obligations consisted in the claims of Filipino USAFFE soldiers
by the President of the United States, S269,000.00; to remain for arrears in pay and in the charges for supplies used by them and the
available until June 30, 1943, which shall be available for guerrillas.
payment to the Government of the Commonwealth of the
Philippines upon its written request, either in advance of or in
Of the millions so transferred, there remained unexpended and Romulo-Snyder Agreement was void because it was not binding on the
uncommitted in the possession of the Philippine Armed Forces as of Philippine Government for lack of authority of the officers who
December 31, 1949 about 35 million dollars. As at that time, the concluded the same.
Philippine Government badly needed funds for its activities, President
Quirino, through Governor Miguel Cuaderno of the Central Bank With regard to the first point, it must be remembered that the first
proposed to the corresponding officials of the U.S. Government the Congressional Act of December 17, 1941 (Public Law No. 353)
retention of the 35-million dollars as a loan, and for its repayment in ten appropriating S269-million expressly said the amount "shall be
annual installments. After protracted negotiations the deal was available for payment to the Government of the Commonwealth of the
concluded, and the Romulo-Snyder Agreement was signed in Philippines upon its written request, either in advance of or in
Washington on November 6, 1950, by the then Philippine Secretary of reimbursement for all or any part of the estimated or actual costs" of
Foreign Affairs, Carlos P. Romulo, and the then American Secretary of operation, mobilization and maintenance of the Philippine Army. Note
the Treasury, John W. Snyder. carefully, the money is to handled to the Philippine Government
either in advance of expenditures or in reimbursement thereof. All the
Principal stipulation therein was this paragraph: vouchers signed upon receipt of the money state clearly, " Advance of
funds under Public law 353-7th Congress and Executive Order No.
3. The Government of the Republic of the Philippines further 9011".
agrees to pay the dollar amount payable hereunder to the
Secretary of the Treasury of the United States in ten annual In any system of accounting, advances of funds for expenditures
installments, the first nine payments to be in the amount of contemplate disbursements to be reported, and credited if approved,
S3,500,000.00 and the final residual payment to be in the against such advances, the unexpended sums to be returned later. In
amount determined by deducting the total of the previous fact, the Congressional law itself required accounting "in the manner
principal payments from the total amount of dollars to be paid to prescribed by the President of the U.S." and said President in his
the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, the latter Executive Order No. 9011, outlined the procedure whereby advanced
amount to be determined as provided in Article II hereof. . . . funds shall be accounted for. Furthermore, it requires as a
condition sine qua non that all expenditures shall first be approved by
It should be added that the agreement, made on the basis of the parties' the Commanding General, United States Army Forces Army Forces in
belief that S35-million was the outstanding balance, provided in its the Far East.
article II for an audit by appropriate officers to compute the exact
amount due. Now, these ideas of "funds advanced" to meet such expenditures of the
Philippine Army as may be approved by the USAFFE Commanding-
In compliance with the Agreement, this Government has appropriated General, in connection with the requirement of accounting therefor
by law and paid to the United States up to and including 1954, yearly evidently contradict appellant's thesis that the moneys
installments totaling of P33,187,663.24. There is no reason to doubt represented straight payments to the Philippine Government for its
that subsequent budgets failed to make the corresponding armed services, and passed into the absolute control of such
appropriations for other installments. Government.

In this appeal, the Usaffe Veterans reiterated with extended arguments, In fact, the respective army officers of both nations,2 who are presumed
their basic propositions. They insists: first, the money delivered to the to know their business, have consistently regarded the money as
U.S. to the Armed Forces of the Philippine Island were straight funds advanced, to be subsequently accounted for which means
payments for military services; ownership thereof vested in the submission of expenditures, and if approved, return of unexpended
Philippine Government upon delivery, and consequently, there was balance.
nothing to return, nothing to consider as a loan; and second, the
Now then, it is undeniable that upon a final rendition of accounts by the S. 342, State of Russia vs. National City Bank of New York, 69
Philippine Government, a superabit resulted of at least 35 million F. (2d) 44; United States vs. Pink, 315 U. S. 203; Altman & Co.,
dollars in favor of the U. S. Instead of returning such amount in one vs. United States, 224 U. S. 583. See also McDougal and Lans,
lump sum, our Executive Department arranged for its repayment in ten "Treaties and Executive Agreements 54 Yale Law Journal 181,
annual installments. Prima facie such arrangement should raise no 318, et seg.; and Sinco; Op. cit. 305) "The distinction between
valid objection, given the obligation to return-which we know exists. so-called executive agreements" and "treaties" is purely a
constitutional one and has no international legal significance"
Yet plaintiff attempts to block such repayment because many alleged (Research in International Law Draft Convention on the Law of
claims of veterans have not been processed and paid, December 31, Treaties (Harvard Law School), Comment, 29 Am. J. Int.) Law
1949, having been fixed as the deadline for the presentation and/or Supp. 653, 897. See also Hackworth, op. cit. 391).
payment of such claims. Plaintiff obviously calculates that if the return
is prevented and the money kept here, it might manage to persuade There are now various forms of such pacts or agreements
the powers-that-be extend the deadline anew. Hence the two-pronged entered into by and between sovereign states which do not
attack: (a) no obligation to repay; (b) the officers who promised to repay necessarily come under the strict sense of a treaty and which
had no authority to bind this Government. do not require ratification or consent of the legislative body of
the State, but nevertheless, are considered valid international
The first ground has proved untenable. agreements. In a survey of the practice of States made by
Harvard Research in the Draft Convention in the Law of Treaties
On the second, there is no doubt that President Quirino approved the (1935, pp. 711-713) it has been shown that there had been
negotiations. And he had power to contract budgetary loans under more executive agreements entered into by States than treaties
Republic Act No. 213, amending the Republic Act No. 16. The most (Hudson, International Legislation, I, p. ixii-xcvii).
important argument, however, rests on the lack of ratification of the
Agreement by the Senate of the Philippines to make it binding on this In the leading case of Altman vs, U. S., 224, U. S. 583, it was
Government. On this matter, the defendants explain as follows: held that "an international compact negotiated between the
representatives of two sovereign nations and made in the name
That the agreement is not a "treaty" as that term is used in the and or behalf of the contracting parties and dealing with
Constitution, is conceded. The agreement was never submitted important commercial relations between the two countries, is a
to the Senate for concurrence (Art. VII, Sec. 10 (7). However, it treaty both internationally although as an executive agreement
must be noted that treaty is not the only form that an it is not technically a treaty requiring the advice and consent of
international agreement may assume. For the grant of the the Senate. (Herbert Briggs, The Law of Nations, 1947 ed., p.
treaty-making power to the Executive and the Senate does not 489).
exhaust the power of the government over international
relations. Consequently, executive agreements may be entered Nature of Executive Agreements.
with other states and are effective even without the concurrence
of the Senate (Sinco, Philippine Political Law, 10th ed., 303; Executive Agreements fall into two classes: (1) agreements
Taada and Fernando, Constitution of the Philippines, 4th ed., made purely as executive acts affecting external relations and
Vol. II, 1055). It is observed in this connection that from the point independent of or without legislative authorization, which may
of view of the international law, there is no difference between be termed as presidential agreements and (2) agreements
treaties and executive agreements in their binding effect upon entered into in pursuants of acts of Congress, which have been
states concerned as long as the negotiating functionaries have designated as Congressional-Executive Agreements
remained within their powers (Hackworth, Digest of (Sinco, supra, 304; Hackworth, supra, 390; McDougal and
International Law, Vol. 5, 395, citing U. S. vs. Belmont, 301 U.
Lans, supra, 204-205; Hyke, International Law, 2nd ed., Vol. II; G.R. No. L-11813 September 17, 1958
et seq.)
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
The Romulo-Snyder Agreement may fall under any of these two vs.
classes, for precisely on September 18, 1946, Congress of the JAIME SANTOS, alias "La Perla", alias "Velasco", alias "Santos"
Philippines specifically authorized the President of the ET AL., defendants.
Philippines to obtain such loans or incur such indebtedness with JAIME SANTOS, appellant.
the Government of the United States, its agencies or
instrumentalities (Republic Act No. 16, September 18, 1946, Maximo V. Cuesta, Jr. and Antonio R. Ramos for appellant.
amended by Republic Act No. 213, June 1, 1948). . . . Assistant Solicitor General Esmeraldo Umali and Solicitor Pacifico P.
de Castro for appellee.
Even granting, arguendo, that there was no legislative
authorization, it is hereby maintained that the Romulo-Snyder FELIX, J.:
Agreement was legally and validly entered into to conform to the
second category, namely, "agreements entered into purely as A total of 10 separate informations were filed before the Court of First
executive acts without legislative authorization." This second Instance of Pangasinan, charging the defendants therein with the
category usually includes money agreements relating to the complex crime of rebellion with murders, robberies, etc. One of those
settlement of pecuniary claims of citizens. It may be said that cases is No. 20379 of said Court entitled People of the Philippines
this method of settling such claims has come to be the usual versus Jaime Santos, alias "La Perla", alias "Velasco", alias"Santos";
way of dealing with matters of this kind (Memorandum of the Irineo
Solicitor of the Department of State (Nielson) sent to Senator Canlas, alias "Carson", alias "Dizon", alias "Arco", alias "Tuazon"; Jose
Lodge by the Under-Secretary of State (Philip), August 23, Ferrer, alias "Pepe", alias"Ferrer"; Francisco
1922, MS Dept. of State, file 711.00/98a). Inocencio, alias "Pangilinan", alias "Lioning"; Onofre
Quiambao, alias "Efren Quiambao", alias"Garson", alias "Garrison";
Such considerations seems persuasive; indeed, the Agreement was Estrellita Pangan, alias "Pangan", alias "Melensita"; Pedro
not submitted to the U.S. Senate either; but we do not stop to check the Gamboa, alias "Peter", alias"Martov", alias "Mar"; Anacleto
authorities above listed nor test the conclusions derived therefrom in Suba, alias "Letty", alias "Suba"; Epifanio Nucup, alias "Remy";
order to render a definite pronouncement, for the reason that our Paras, alias"Defin", alias "Ordoez", alias "Isay", alias "Say"; Luciano
Senate Resolution No. 153 practically admits the validity and binding Figueroa, alias "Luz"; Felicisimo Saggal, alias "Teddy"; Felix
force of such Agreement. Furthermore, the acts of Congress Vicente, alias "Bugnot", alias "Valdez"; Filomena
Appropriating funds for the yearly installments necessary to comply Canlas, alias "Mining", alias "Canlas"; and Crisostomo
with such Agreements constitute a ratification thereof, which places the Maristela, alias "Villamor" alias "Henry". The amended information filed
question the validity out of the Court's reach, no constitutional principle in this case followed a common pattern and charged the defendants
having been invoked to restrict Congress' plenary power to appropriate with the complex crime of rebellion with multiple murders, arson,
funds-loan or no loan. robberies and physical injuries. The indictment is couched as follows:

In conclusion, plaintiff, to say the least, failed to make a clear case for That on or about the period comprised between August, 1947
the relief demanded; its petition was therefore, properly denied. and November, 1953, and on different dates and places in the
Province of Pangasinan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction
Paras, C.J., Padilla, Montemayor, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, of Honorable Court, and in other parts of the Country where the
Concepcion, Endencia and Barrera, JJ., concur. accused and their companions have chosen to carry out their
rebellious activities, the above-named accused, together with
about 231 others, conspiring and confederating together, and and materials for the support and maintenance of the said
mutually one another, and providing themselves with uprising, to wit:
unregistered firearms and weapons, namely, machineguns,
submachineguns, hand grenades, carbines, pistols, rifles, (1) That on or about the 15th day of November, 1950, in the
shotguns, Springfields, and Japanese rifles, all members of the Municipality of Mangatarem, Province of Pangasinan,
Hukbong Magpapalaya Ng Bayan (HMB) (People's Liberation Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
Army), otherwise known as HUKS, an insurrectionary the above-named accused, conspiring and confederating with
organization which is the military unit of the Communist Party in their fellow-members and companions of the People's
the Philippines (CPP), organized and designed purposely to Liberation Army, mutually aiding one another in pursuance of
overthrow the present constituted Government of the Republic their aims, objectives and purposes stated above, with intent to
of the Philippines through force, violence, threats and sabotage, gain, by means of force, threats and violence, with treachery
and remove from the allegiance to said Government and/or its and evident premeditation, did, willfully, unlawfully and
laws, the territory and the people of the Philippines or any feloniously, rise publicly and with unregistered, firearms and
portion thereof, having come to an agreement with their weapons, sack, destroy, burn, rob, steal, plunder, occupy and
comrades, and decided to commit the crime of rebellion and enter by force of arms, intimidation and threats, the town and
therefore, conspiring among themselves and with the accused Government of the Municipality of Mangatarem, Province of
in Criminal Case No. 19166 of the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan, engaging in the course of said illegal and
Manila, and acting in accordance with their conspiracy and in rebellious military operations, and encounter and battle with the
the furtherance thereof, and mutually helping one another, did, Police and soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and
then and there, wilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously, help and as necessary and immediate consequence of which, Isidro
support the Hukbalahaps (HUKS) to rise publicly and take up Rosario, Teofilo Sison, Francisca Peralta, Beatriz de Vera,
arms against the Government of the Philippines or otherwise in Simplicio Albino, Ramon Bato were killed; Eugenia Martinez,
such armed uprising for the purpose of removing the territory of Irinea Martinez, Pfc. Eugenio Megis, Mrs. Bonifacio Cruz, and
the Philippines or portion thereof and/or the inhabitants of the Pfc. Silvino Trinidad were wounded, and twenty (20) private
Republic from their allegiance to the Government and laws houses were burned and destroyed.
thereof, as in fact the said Hukbong Magpapalaya Ng Bayan
(HMB or the HUKS), pursuant to such conspiracy, have risen (2) That on or about the 1st day of May, 1950, in the Municipality
publicly and taken up arms against the Government of the of Aguilar, Province of Pangasinan, Philippines, and within the
Republic of the Philippines to attain said purpose by then and jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused,
there making armed raids, sorties, ambushes, and attack conspiring together, acting jointly, and mutually aiding one
against the Philippine Constabulary, the Police patrols of the another, did, then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously,
different Battalion Combat Teams Armed Forces of the commit robbery in band, arson, and murder of Liberato
Philippines, the civilian guards and other detachments Fernandez.
constituted and organized by said Government of the Republic
of the Philippines, as well as upon ordinary civilians, and as a (3) That on or about the 2nd day of December, 1951 in the
necessary means to commit the crime of rebellion, in Municipality of Infanta, Province of Pangasinan, Philippines,
connection therewith and in furtherance thereof, have then and Flying Squad "A" Company, "B" Company and "C" Company of
there, committed wanton acts of murder, pillage, looting, PC No. 24 under Commander Velasco, raided the town of
plunder, arson, and planned destruction of private and public Infanta, burned a portion of the town proper and looted thirty
properties, to create and spread disorder, terror, confusion, (30) assorted firearms.
chaos and fear among the populace, and thus secured supplies
(4) That on or about the month of March, 1952, in the evident premeditation, kill Adriano Saure, Eugenio Saure,
Municipality of Mabini, Province of Pangasinan, Philippines, the Corazon Gusto and Eugenia Saure.
above-named accused, jointly with their companions in
People's Liberation Army, or HUKS, conspiring together and (8) That on or about 24th day of May 1951, in the Magdalena
mutually aiding one another, did, then and there, wilfully, mountains, Municipality of Mangatarem, Province of
unlawfully, and feloniously, assault, attack, and fire upon the Pangasinan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Government troops thereat whom they considered as their Honorable Court the aboved-named accused, conspiring
enemies. together, acting jointly, and mutually aiding one another did,
then and there wilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously, with
(5) That on or about the 29th day of February, 1952, in the treachery and evident premeditation, kill Pedro Rillon, Ceferino
Municipality of Urbiztondo, Province of Pangasinan, Rillon, Mariano Rillon, and Perfecto Rillon and also they
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, committed the crimes of arson and robbery in band.
the aboved-named accused, in the furtherance of their purpose
of overthrowing the Government of the Republic of the (9) That on or about the 12th day of November, 1951, in the
Philippines by force and violence, conspiring and confederating Barrio of Pogonsili, Municipality of Aguilar, Province of
together and mutually helping and aiding one another, and Pangasinan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
together with their companions in the People's Liberation Army Honorable Court, the accused acting jointly and mutually aiding
or HUKS, did then and there, with evident premeditation and one another did, then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and
treachery, wilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously attack, assault, feloniously, with treachery and evident premeditation, kill
fire, rob, steal, sack, loot, plunder, and raid Government forces Primitivo Riparip, Carloss Senense, Pascual Senense and
of Urbiztondo, Pangasinan. Candido Mondala.

(6) That on or about the 22nd day of April, 1952, in the Contrary to law.
Municipality of San Clemente, Province of Tarlac, Philippines,
the aboved-named accused, together with their companions in Of the defendants in this case only Jaime Santos, Luciano Figueroa,
the People's Liberation Army or HUKS, did, then and there, Jose Ferrer, Francisco Inocencio and Pedro Gamboa were arrested;
wilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously, assault, attack and fire upon the others remained at large. Jaime Santos filed on October 29, 1954,
the government troops and as necessary and immediate a motion to quash the information on the ground that it accused him of
consequence of which, four civilians, Julita Salgado, Regino a multiplicity of offenses, namely, simple rebellion AND other common
Estasyo, Placida Natividad, and Guillermo Larangan were crimes (such as multiple murders, robberies, arson and physical
killed; seven civilians, Fidel Pulmano, Demetria de Feliciano, injuries) in the violation of the provision of Section 12, Rule 106 of the
Andres Toledo, Macario Gualberto, Pastor Domingo, Primo Rules of Court. This motion was overruled by the Court in its order of
Onisano, and C. Salgado, and one enlisted man, Cpl. Tomas November 16, 1954, and the accused in this case as well as in 7 other
Bunaog, were seriously wounded. cases were tried jointly as per agreement between the prosecution and
the defendants therein.
(7) That on or about the 11th day of May, 1951, in the Barrio of
Bantocaling, Municipality of Mangatarem, Province of In the course of the hearing, 3 of the defendants in this case (No.
Pangasinan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this 20379),i.e., Jose Ferrer, Francisco Inocencio and Pedro Gamboa
Honorable Court, the aboved-named accused, conspiring pleaded guilty to the crime of simple rebellion after the information was
together acting jointly, and aiding one another did, then and amended by the Fiscal to charge them with only said offense, and were
there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with treachery and sentenced accordingly. Ten of the accused, namely, Ireneo Canlas,
Onofre Quiambao, Efipanio Nucup, Paras (Christian name unknown),
Felicismo Saggal, Estrelita Pangan, Anacleto Suba, Felix Vicente, From this decision, only Jaime Santos appealed to this Court and in
Filomena Canlas and Crisostomo Maristela were at large and could not instance his counsel maintains that the lower Court erred:
tried, so the case proceeded only with regard to Jaime Santos and
Luciano Figueroa. Jaime Santos also offered to plead guilty of simple (1) In not sentencing the appellant to suffer imprisonment of 1
rebellion but the Fiscal refused to amend the information with respect year, 1 month and 10 days of prision correccional.
to him. After hearing, the Court rendered judgment against these 2
defendants as follows: (2) In imposing upon the appellant the penalty of life
imprisonment; and
This Court finds the accused Jaime
Santos, alias Velasco, alias La Perla guilty beyond reasonable (3) In not following the doctrine laid down in the cases of
doubt of the complex crime of rebellion, with multiple murder, People vs. Hernandez (52 Off. Gaz. [12] 5506; 99 Phil; 515) and
arson, and robbery and pursuant to Art. 148, in relation to par. People vs. Geronimo(53 Off. Gaz., [1] 68; 100 Phil., 90).
7, Art. 13, and Art. 64, par. 4, all of the revised Penal Code, and
in accordance with the persuasive precedent set in the in the Appellant Santos does not controvert the findings of fact of the trial
Politburo case of Jose Lava, Angel Baking, and others similarly court so the case is limited to the single issue whether or not there
situated (Crim. Case No. 14071, CFI, Manila), this accused is exists a complex crime of rebellion with murders, robberies, etc.,
hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty ofreclusion perpetua; defined and punished under the Revised Penal Code.
with he corresponding accessory penalties provided by law; to
indemnify the heirs of Teofilo Sison, Beatriz de Vera, Isidro Before touching upon this point, We wish to state that according to the
Rosario, Simplicio Albino, and Francisca Peralta, in the amount trial Judge, out of the 9 other crimes or group of crimes that were
of P6,000 for each of said victims, or a total of P30,000 for all of complexed with rebellion in the information filed in this case, the
said victims; and to pay the proportional costs of this case. Let evidence produced to support the participation of appellant therein was
this accused be credited with one-half (1/2) of his preventive limited to those committed within the territorial jurisdiction of this Court
imprisonment. and more particularly referred to as the raids of Mangatarem,
Pangasinan, on November 15, 1950 (No. 1); of Aguilar, Pangasinan,
This Court finds the accused Luciano Figueroa, alias Luz, on May 1950 (No. 2); of Labrador, Pangasinan, on October 30, 1950
innocent of the complex crime of rebellion, with multiple murder, (which is not covered by the information); of Infanta, Pangasinan, on
etc., but finds him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime December 2, 1951 (No. 3); and of Urbiztondo, Pangasinan, on
of illegal association, as defined and punished in Art. 147 of the February 12, 1952 (it is to be noted that the raid of Urbiztondo referred
Revised Penal Code and is hereby sentenced to suffer the to under No. 5 of the information is said to have taken place on
penalty of (6) months of arresto mayor, with the corresponding February 29, 1952, could not appropriately be taken into account).
accessory penalty, and to pay the proportionate costs of this
case. As he has been a detention prisoner for many times more In the decision appealed from, the trial Judge further states that the
than twice the period of the penalty here imposed on him, let defendant Jaime Santos admitted in his confession that he participated
him, let him be forthwith released. in the raids of Aguilar, Labrador and Mangatarem in the province of
Pangasinan, and of Camp Macabulos in Tarlac as well as of the Acoje
The instant case is hereby provisionally dismissed as to the Mining Company in Zambales (Exh. A-Jaime Santos), which were
other ten (10)accused, namely, Ireneo Canlas, Onofre made beyond the territorial jurisdiction of the Court a quo. Appellant,
Quiambao, Estrelita Pangan, Anacleto Suba, Efipanio Nucup, however, repudiated this confession claiming that he was compelled by
Paras (Christian name not given), Felicisimo Saggal, Felix the Constabulary, by force and strategem, to sign various confessions
Vicente, Filomena Canlas, and Crisostomo Maristela, all still at without knowing the contents thereof. Whatever the case may be, We
large, with proportionate costs de oficio. find that according to the averments of the information and the weight
of the evidence produced, the acts perpetrated in the raid of November As may be noticed from the decision in the Hernandez and Geronimo
15, 1950 in the municipality of Mangatarem (No. 1) were in pursuance cases, which had already been promulgated when the decision of the
of the aims, objectives, and purposes of overthrowing by force the trial Judge in the case at bar was rendered on November 28, 1956, the
constituted Government of the Republic of he Philippines and are respective opinions of the individual Justices of this Court were fully
therefore absorbed by the crime and cannot be considered as expressed and properly outlined. In the case of People vs. Geronimo,
independent common crimes. The same thing can be said of the acts the writer of said Decision took pains to indicate, for the benefit of the
committed in the attack of Aguilar on May 11, 1950 (No. 2), in the raid Bench and Bar, how each of the members of the Court voted on the
of Infanta on December 2,1951, (No. 3), and in the raid of Urbiztondo particular points involved therein, and it was evident from the exposition
on February 12, 1952 (No. 5), even if the evidence on this latter raid of the individual opinions of the Justices of this Court, arrived at after a
could be taken into consideration. Anyway, and even if the other crimes careful, extensive and mature deliberation, that the doctrines then laid
said to have been committed in the course of the raids mentioned in down as a result thereof, were unalterable and final as long as the
Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 5 of the amended information could be considered as composition of the Court remain the same as it was, or unless, of
independent common crimes committed within the territorial jurisdiction course, the law would changed. Yet the lower Court, disagreeing with
of the court a quo, appellant could not be convicted thereof, as We did the principles laid down by this Tribunal on this matter, preferred to
in the case of People vs. Geronimo, 53 Off. Gaz.[1] 68; 100 Phil., 90 impose his own criterion on the flimsy pretext that said decisions were
and the latter case at bar, appellant has objected to the information on not yet final as the Solicitor General had filed motions for clarification
the ground of the multiplicity of offenses charged therein in violation of and that the opinion of this Court was divided. Now, if a judge of a lower
Section 2-(e) of Rule 113 of the Rules of the Court. Court feels, in the fulfillment of his mission of deciding cases, that the
application of a doctrine promulgated by this Superiority is against his
There is no question that appellant Jaime Santos committed the crime way of reasoning, or against his conscience, he may state his opinion
of rebellion, but as this Court has already held in the cases of on the matter, but rather than disposing of the case in accordance with
People vs. Amado V. Hernandez, et al., 52 Off. Gaz. [12] 5506; 99 Phil., his personal views he must first think that it is his duty to apply the law
515, and the later case of People vs. Geronimo, supra (by a voting of 7 as interpreted by the Highest Court of the Land, and that any deviation
against 4) this crime cannot be complexed with other common crimes, from a principle laid down by the latter would unavoidably cause, as a
because the latter are either absorbed by the crime of rebellion if sequel, unnecessary inconveniences, delays, and expenses to the
committed in pursuance of the aims, purposes and objectives of the litigants. And if despite of what is here said a Judge, by delicate or acute
rebels and in furtherance of their intention to overthrow the duly qualms of conscience, still believes that he cannot follow Our rulings,
constituted government by force, or are independent common crimes then he has no other alternative than to place himself in the position
which had no connection with the rebellion and must be separately that he could properly avoid the duty of having to render judgment on
prosecuted in the proper court within the territorial jurisdiction of which the case concerned (Art. 9, C.C.), and he has only one legal way to do
the same had been committed. that.

The Solicitor General in his brief recognizes and yields to the doctrines The penalty provided for the offense of rebellion is prision mayor and a
We have laid down in the above-mentioned jurisprudence and fine not to exceed P20,000. (Art. 135, par 1, Revised Penal Code).
recommends that the decision appealed from be modified holding that Considering, however, that the appellant offered to plead guilty if
the lower Court erred in finding appellant guilty of the complex crime of charged only of that offense, the mitigating circumstance of plea of guilt
rebellion with murders, arson, and robbery and that the appellant should be appreciated in his favor and there being no aggravating
should be only found guilty of simple rebellion. This attitude of the circumstance to offset this mitigating circumstance, that penalty shall
prosecution constitutes a lesson to the trial Judge on the respect and be imposed in its minimum period(Art. 64, par. 2 Revised Penal Code).
deference that decisions of this Superiority deserve.
Wherefore, and on the strength of the foregoing considerations, the
decision appealed from is hereby modified by finding appellant guilty
only of rebellion and sentencing him to the penalty guilty only of from similar opinions, doctrines or interpretations of a superior Tribunal,
rebellion and sentencing him to the penalty of 7 years, of prision mayor, for that is one and a direct way of provoking a reexamination of an
to the accessories of the law, and to pay a fine of P10,000, without important legal question, and giving the Court of last resort an
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency in view of the nature of opportunity of either reaffirming the old doctrine or abandoning it, and
the imprisonment penalty imposed upon him. Appellant is further adopting a new one.
sentenced to pay the costs. It is so ordered.
It may be mentioned, in addition, that the trial Judge in not following
Paras, C. J., Bengzon, Bautista Angelo, Concepcion and Reyes, J. B. and applying the ruling of this Tribunal (majority) would appear not to
L., JJ., concur.. have wantonly ignored said ruling, much less defied superior authority,
Reyes, A. J., concurs in the result. but on the other hand, gave his reasons, to me not bad ones, for acting
as he did.
Separate Opinions
Endencia, J., concurs.
PADILLA, J., dissenting:

I dissent from the majority opinion for the same reasons stated in my
concurring and dissenting opinion in the case of People vs. Geronimo,
53 Off. Gaz., 68, 100 Phil., 90.

MONTEMAYOR, J., dissenting:

I dissent for the same reasons given in my dissenting opinion in the


case of People vs. Hernandez, et al. (52 Off. Gaz., [12] 5506; 99 Phil.,
515), and in my concurring and dissenting opinion in the in the case of
People vs.Geronimo 53 Off. Gaz., [1] 68; 100 Phil., 90).

Incidentally, I wish to register my disagreement to that portion found on


pages 10-12, wherein the trial Judge is given a lengthy and stern
admonition, yea, a lecture, because of his failure or refusal to follow in
deciding the case, the doctrine laid down by the majority opinion in the
case of People vs. Hernandez, supra. I agree with the writer of the
majority opinion in the present case that the rule and usual procedure
is for judges of inferior courts to abide by and follow the law as
interpreted by this Tribunal, regardless of their private opinions and
convictions. However, when the interpretation or opinion of this Tribunal
is far from being unanimous, like in the Hernandez case, and
considering the fact that even the highest court of the land occasionally
reverses itself, not only due to a change in the membership thereof, but
also to a change in opinion of the Justices themselves, perchance to
attune their opinion to changing times, conditions and public policy, I
believe that inferior courts should be permitted now and then to depart