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HEIRS OF JOSE LIM, represented by ELENITO LIM, On May 18, 1995, Elfledo died, leaving respondent as his sole

leaving respondent as his sole surviving

Petitioners, vs JULIET VILLA LIM, Respondent. (Nachura, J.) heir. Petitioners claimed that respondent took over the
administration of the properties, which belonged to the estate of
Facts: Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45. Jose, without their consent and approval. Claiming that they are co-
owners of the properties, petitioners required respondent to
submit an accounting of all income, profits and rentals received
Petitioners are the heirs of the late Jose Lim, namely: Jose's widow from the estate of Elfledo, and to surrender the administration
Cresencia Palad; and their children Elenito, Evelia, Imelda, Edelyna and thereof. Respondent refused; thus, the filing of this case.
Edison, represented by Elenito. They filed a Complaint for Partition,
Accounting and Damages against Juliet Villa Lim, widow of the late
Elfledo Lim, who was the eldest son of Jose and Cresencia. Respondents Side:

Petitioners Side: Respondent claimed that Elfledo was himself a partner of Norberto and
Jimmy. Respondent also claimed that per testimony of Cresencia,
Petitioners alleged that Jose was the liaison officer of Interwood Sawmill sometime in 1980, Jose gave Elfledo 50k as the latter's capital in an
in Mauban, Quezon. Sometime in 1980, Jose, together with his friends informal partnership with Jimmy and Norberto. When Elfledo and
Jimmy Yu and Norberto Uy, formed a partnership to engage in the respondent got married, the partnership only had one truck; but
trucking business. Initially, with a contribution of 50k each, they through the efforts of Elfledo, the business flourished. Other than this
purchased a truck to be used in the hauling and transport of lumber of trucking business, Elfledo, together with respondent, engaged in other
the sawmill. Jose managed the operations of this trucking business until business ventures. Thus, they were able to buy real properties and to
his death on August 15, 1981. Thereafter, Jose's heirs, including put up their own car assembly and repair business. When Norberto was
Elfledo, and partners agreed to continue the business under the ambushed and killed in 1993, the trucking business started to falter.
management of Elfledo. The shares in the partnership profits and When Elfledo died due to a heart attack, respondent talked to Jimmy and
income that formed part of the estate of Jose were held in trust by to the heirs of Norberto, as she could no longer run the business. Jimmy
Elfledo, with petitioners' authority for Elfledo to use, purchase or suggested that three out of the nine trucks be given to him as his share,
acquire properties using said funds. while the other three trucks be given to the heirs of Norberto. However,
Norberto's wife, Paquita, was not interested in the vehicles. Thus, she
Petitioners also alleged that, at that time, Elfledo was a fresh commerce sold the same to respondent, who paid for them in installments.
graduate serving as his fathers driver in the trucking business. He was
never a partner or an investor in the business and merely Respondent also alleged that when Jose died in 1981, he left no
supervised the purchase of additional trucks using the income known assets, and the partnership with Jimmy and Norberto
from the trucking business of the partners. By the time the ceased upon his demise. Respondent also stressed that Jose left no
partnership ceased, it had nine trucks, which were all registered in properties that Elfledo could have held in trust. Respondent
Elfledo's name. Petitioners asseverated that it was also through maintained that all the properties involved in this case were
Elfledos management of the partnership that he was able to purchased and acquired through her and her husbands joint
purchase numerous real properties by using the profits derived efforts and hard work, and without any participation or
therefrom, all of which were registered in his name and that of contribution from petitioners or from Jose. Respondent submitted
respondent. In addition to the nine trucks, Elfledo also acquired that these are conjugal partnership properties; and thus, she had the
five other motor vehicles. right to refuse to render an accounting for the income or profits of their
own business.
Trial on the merits ensued. RTC rendered its decision in favor of (2) When the inference made is manifestly mistaken,
petitioners. Respondent appealed to the CA. CA reversed and set aside absurd or impossible;
the RTC's decision, dismissing petitioners' complaint for lack of merit.
Petitioners MR denied. (3) Where there is a grave abuse of discretion;

Issue: In the appreciation by the court of the evidence submitted by the (4) When the judgment is based on a misapprehension of
parties, can the testimony of one of the petitioners be given greater facts;
weight than that by a former partner on the issue of the identity of the
other partners in the partnership? YES, CA affirmed. (5) When the findings of fact are conflicting;

Ratio: (6) When the CA, in making its findings, went beyond the
issues of the case and the same is contrary to the
In essence, petitioners argue that according to the testimony of admissions of both appellant and appellee;
Jimmy, the sole surviving partner, Elfledo was not a partner; and
that he and Norberto entered into a partnership with Jose. Thus, (7) When the findings are contrary to those of the trial
the CA erred in not giving that testimony greater weight than court;
that of Cresencia, who was merely the spouse of Jose and not a
party to the partnership. (8) When the findings of fact are conclusions without
citation of specific evidence on which they are based;
Respondent counters that the issue raised by petitioners is not
proper in a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45, as it (9) When the facts set forth in the petition as well as in
would entail the review, evaluation, calibration, and re-weighing the petitioners' main and reply briefs are not disputed by
of the factual findings of the CA. Moreover, respondent invokes the respondents; and
the rationale of the CA decision that, in light of the admissions of
Cresencia and Edison and the testimony of respondent, the (10) When the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are
testimony of Jimmy was effectively refuted. premised on the supposed absence of evidence and
contradicted by the evidence on record.
Procedural: Verily, the evaluation and calibration of the
evidence necessarily involves consideration of factual issues We note, however, that the findings of fact of the RTC are
an exercise that is not appropriate for a petition for review contrary to those of the CA. Thus, our review of such findings is
on certiorari under Rule 45. This rule provides that the parties warranted.
may raise only questions of law, because the SC is not a trier of
facts. When supported by substantial evidence, the findings of Substantive: A partnership exists when two or more persons agree to
fact of the CA are conclusive and binding on the parties and are place their money, effects, labor, and skill in lawful commerce or
not reviewable by this Court, unless the case falls under any of business, with the understanding that there shall be a proportionate
the following recognized exceptions: sharing of the profits and losses among them. A contract of partnership
is defined by the Civil Code as one where two or more persons bind
(1) When the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely themselves to contribute money, property, or industry to a common
on speculation, surmises and conjectures; fund, with the intention of dividing the profits among themselves.
Undoubtedly, the best evidence would have been the contract of also consider the number of witnesses, though the
partnership or the articles of partnership. Unfortunately, there is preponderance is not necessarily with the greater number.
none in this case, because the alleged partnership was never
formally organized. Nonetheless, we are asked to determine who In Heirs of Tan Eng Kee v. CA, we cited Article 1769 CC, which
between Jose and Elfledo was the partner in the trucking provides:
Art. 1769. In determining whether a partnership exists,
A careful review of the records persuades us to affirm the CA these rules shall apply:
decision. The evidence presented by petitioners falls short of the
quantum of proof required to establish that: (1) Jose was the partner (1) Except as provided by Article 1825, persons who are
and not Elfledo; and (2) all the properties acquired by Elfledo and not partners as to each other are not partners as to third
respondent form part of the estate of Jose, having been derived from the persons;
alleged partnership.
(2) Co-ownership or co-possession does not of itself
Petitioners heavily rely on Jimmy's testimony. But that testimony is establish a partnership, whether such co-owners or co-
just one piece of evidence against respondent. It must be possessors do or do not share any profits made by the use
considered and weighed along with petitioners' other evidence vis- of the property;
-vis respondent's contrary evidence. In civil cases, the party
having the burden of proof must establish his case by a (3) The sharing of gross returns does not of itself
preponderance of evidence. "Preponderance of evidence" is the establish a partnership, whether or not the persons sharing
weight, credit, and value of the aggregate evidence on either side and is them have a joint or common right or interest in any
usually considered synonymous with the term "greater weight of the property from which the returns are derived;
evidence" or "greater weight of the credible evidence." "Preponderance
of evidence" is a phrase that means probability of the truth. It is (4) The receipt by a person of a share of the profits of a
evidence that is more convincing to the court as worthy of belief business is a prima facie evidence that he is a partner in the
than that which is offered in opposition thereto. Rule 133, Section 1 business, but no such inference shall be drawn if such
of the Rules of Court provides the guidelines in determining profits were received in payment:
preponderance of evidence, thus:
(a) As a debt by installments or otherwise;
(b) As wages of an employee or rent to a
SECTION I. Preponderance of evidence, how determined. In landlord;
civil cases, the party having burden of proof must establish (c) As an annuity to a widow or representative of a
his case by a preponderance of evidence. In determining deceased partner;
where the preponderance or superior weight of evidence (d) As interest on a loan, though the amount of
on the issues involved lies, the court may consider all the payment vary with the profits of the business;
facts and circumstances of the case, the witnesses' manner (e) As the consideration for the sale of a goodwill of a
of testifying, their intelligence, their means and opportunity business or other property by installments or
of knowing the facts to which they are testifying, the nature otherwise.
of the facts to which they testify, the probability or
improbability of their testimony, their interest or want of Applying the legal provision to the facts of this case, the following
interest, and also their personal credibility so far as the circumstances tend to prove that Elfledo was himself the partner of
same may legitimately appear upon the trial. The court may
Jimmy and Norberto: 1) Cresencia testified that Jose gave was able to acquire more trucks and otherwise
Elfledo P50,000, as share in the partnership, on a date that prosper. Even the appellant participated in the affairs of the
coincided with the payment of the initial capital in the partnership by acting as the bookkeeper sans salary.
partnership; (2) Elfledo ran the affairs of the partnership, wielding
absolute control, power and authority, without any intervention or It is notable too that Jose Lim died when the partnership
opposition whatsoever from any of petitioners; (3) all of the was barely a year old, and the partnership and its business
properties, particularly the nine trucks of the partnership, were not only continued but also flourished. If it were true that it
registered in the name of Elfledo; (4) Jimmy testified that Elfledo was Jose Lim and not Elfledo who was the partner,
did not receive wages or salaries from the partnership, indicating then upon his death the partnership should have been
that what he actually received were shares of the profits of the dissolved and its assets liquidated. On the contrary, these
business; and (5) none of the petitioners, as heirs of Jose, the were not done but instead its operation continued under
alleged partner, demanded periodic accounting from Elfledo during the helm of Elfledo and without any participation from the
his lifetime. As repeatedly stressed in Heirs of Tan Eng Kee, a heirs of Jose Lim.
demand for periodic accounting is evidence of a partnership.
Whatever properties appellant and her husband had
Furthermore, petitioners failed to adduce any evidence to show acquired, this was through their own concerted efforts and
that the real and personal properties acquired and registered in hard work. Elfledo did not limit himself to the business of
the names of Elfledo and respondent formed part of the estate of their partnership but engaged in other lines of businesses as
Jose, having been derived from Jose's alleged partnership with well.
Jimmy and Norberto. They failed to refute respondent's claim that
Elfledo and respondent engaged in other businesses. Edison even
admitted that Elfledo also sold Interwood lumber as a
sideline. Petitioners could not offer any credible evidence other
than their bare assertions. Thus, we apply the basic rule of
evidence that between documentary and oral evidence, the former
carries more weight.

Finally, we agree with the judicious findings of the CA, to wit:

The above testimonies prove that Elfledo was not just a hired
help but one of the partners in the trucking business, active
and visible in the running of its affairs from day one until this
ceased operations upon his demise. The extent of his control,
administration and management of the partnership and its
business, the fact that its properties were placed in his name,
and that he was not paid salary or other compensation by the
partners, are indicative of the fact that Elfledo was a partner
and a controlling one at that. It is apparent that the other
partners only contributed in the initial capital but had no say
thereafter on how the business was run. Evidently it was
through Elfredos efforts and hard work that the partnership
NISSAN NORTH EDSA operating under the name MOTOR CARRIAGE, abandoned his post. Although the GM of United directed the immediate
INC., Petitioner, -versus- UNITED PHILIPPINE SCOUT VETERANS replacement of its security supervisor, Nissan nevertheless claimed that
DETECTIVE AND PROTECTIVE AGENCY, Respondent. (PEREZ, J.) its premises had been exposed to threats in security, which allegedly
constitutes a clear violation of the provisions of the service contract.
Facts: Petition for review under Rule 45.
On 6 April 2001, Nissans counsel withdrew his appearance in the case
United is a domestic corp engaged in the business of providing security with Nissans conformity. Despite the directive of the trial court for
services. In 1993, it entered into a contract for security services with Nissan to hire another lawyer, no new counsel was engaged by
Nissan, and beginning 23 April, it was able to post 18 security guards it. Accordingly, the case was submitted for decision on the basis of the
within Nissans compound located in EDSA Balintawak. evidence adduced by United.

In the morning of 31 January 1996, Nissan informed United, through the The Ruling of the MTC, RTC and CA:
latters General Manager, Mr. Ricarte Galope, that its services were being
terminated beginning 5:00 p.m. of that day. Galope personally pleaded MTC ruled in favor of United. The trial court pronounced that Nissan has
with the personnel manager of Nissan to reconsider its decision. When not adduced any evidence to substantiate its claim that the terms of their
Nissan failed to act on this verbal request, Galope wrote a Letter dated 5 contract were violated by United; and that absent any showing that
February 1996, addressed to Nissans GM, formally seeking a violations were committed, the 30-day prior written notice should have
reconsideration of its action. As this was likewise ignored, Uniteds been observed. It ordered Nissan to pay the ff: P108,651 plus legal
President and Chairman of the Board wrote a Letter dated 27 February interest from February 1, 1996 until fully paid as actual damages;
1996, addressed to Nissans President and GM, demanding payment of P20,000 as exemplary damages; P30,000 as attorneys fees and other
the amount equivalent to 30 days of service in view of Nissans act of litigation expenses; and costs of suit.
terminating Uniteds services without observing the required 30-day
prior written notice as stipulated under paragraph 17 of their service Nissan appealed to the RTC, questioning the award of actual and
contract. exemplary damages, as well as the directive to pay attorneys fees and
litigation expenses. It alleged that there was no evidence to support the
As a result of Nissans continued failure to comply with Uniteds award of actual damages, as the service contract, upon which the
demands, the latter filed a case for Sum of Money with damages before amount of the award was based, was never presented nor offered as
the MTC of Las Pias. evidence in the trial. Furthermore, no evidence was adduced to show
bad faith on the part of Nissan in unilaterally terminating the contract,
In its Answer, Nissan maintained that paragraph 17 of the service making the award of exemplary damages improper.
contract expressly confers upon either party the power to terminate the
contract, without the necessity of a prior written notice, in cases of RTC declared the appeal without merit as there appears no cogent
violations of the provisions thereof. Nissan alleged that United violated reason to reverse the findings and rulings of the lower court. It denied
the terms of their contract, thereby allowing Nissan to unilaterally the appeal and affirmed the decision of the Metropolitan Trial Court. MR
terminate the services of United without prior notice. denied.

It appears that on 3 November 1995, Uniteds night supervisor and night Nissan appealed to the CA, citing the same assignment of errors. CA
security guard did not report for duty. This incident was the subject of a affirmed RTC, with the modification that the award for exemplary
Memorandum issued by Nissans security officer to Uniteds OIC damages was deleted. The CA held that the breach of contract was not
stationed at its security detachment. Then, on 16 January 1996, at done by Nissan in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive or
noontime, the security supervisor assigned at Nissans premises malevolent manner. MR denied.
The Issue: As the MTC of Las Pias City stated in its decision, Nissan did
not adduce any evidence to substantiate its claim that the
Nissan insists that no judgment can properly be rendered against it, as terms of the contract were violated by United.
United failed, during the trial of the case, to offer in evidence the service
contract upon which it based its claim for sum of money and What Nissan failed to do is to point out or indicate the specific
damages. As a result, the decisions of the lower courts were mere provisions of the service contract which were violated by United
postulations. Nissan asserts that the resolution of this case calls for the as a result of the latters lapses in security. In so failing, Nissans
application of the best evidence rule. act of unilaterally terminating the contract constitutes a breach
thereof, entitling United to collect actual damages.
The Ruling of the Court: The petition is without merit.

Nissans reliance on the best evidence rule is misplaced. The best

evidence rule is the rule which requires the highest grade of
evidence to prove a disputed fact. However, the same applies only
when the contents of a document are the subject of the inquiry. In
this case, the contents of the service contract between Nissan and
United have not been put in issue. Neither United nor Nissan
disputes the contents of the service contract; as in fact, both parties
quoted and relied on the same provision of the contract (paragraph
17) to support their respective claims and defenses. Thus, the best
evidence rule finds no application here.

The real issue in this case is W/N Nissan committed a breach of contract,
thereby entitling United to damages in the amount equivalent to 30 days
service. We rule in the affirmative.

Paragraph 17 of the service contract reads:

However, violations committed by either party on the

provisions of this Contract shall be sufficient ground for the
termination of this contract, without the necessity of prior
notice, otherwise a thirty (30) days prior written notice shall
be observed.

Nissan argues that the failure of Uniteds security guards to

report for duty on two occasions, without justifiable cause,
constitutes a violation of the provisions of the service contract,
sufficient to entitle Nissan to terminate the same without the
necessity of a 30-day prior notice. We hold otherwise.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. MARIO The arresting officers brought Tandoy to the Office of the ANU, Makati
TANDOY y LIM, Defendant-Appellant. (CRUZ, J.) Police Station, for investigation by Detective Pajilan. Tandoy chose to
remain silent after having been informed of his constitutional rights.
Facts: Appeal from the decision of the RTC of Makati, Branch 133.
These events were narrated under oath by De la Cruz, Singayan and
The information against the accused-appellant read as follows: Pajilan. Microscopic, chemical and chromotographic examination was
performed on the confiscated marijuana by Angeles, forensic chemist of
That on or about the 27th day of May 1986, the accused sold 8 pieces of the NBI, who later testified that the findings were positive. The
dried marijuana flowering tops, 2 pieces of dried marijuana flowering marijuana was offered as an exhibit.
tops and crushed dried marijuana flowering tops, which are prohibited
drug, for and in consideration of P20. Defenses Story:

Upon arraignment, Tandoy entered a plea of not guilty. After trial, Judge Tandoys testimony was that from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. of the day in
Guerrero rendered a decision finding Tandoy guilty in violation of Sec.4, question, he was playing "cara y cruz" with 15 other persons along
Art. II, RA 6425 (DDA of 1972), and sentenced him to life imprisonment Solchuaga St. when somebody suddenly said that policemen were
and a fine of P20,000. The marijuana confiscated is declared confiscated making arrests. The players grabbed the bet money and scampered.
and forfeited and ordered turned over to the Dangerous Drugs Board for However, he and a certain Danny (another "cara y cruz" player) were
proper disposal. caught and taken to the Narcotics Command headquarters in Makati.
There they were mauled and warned that if they did not point to their
Prosecutions Evidence: fellow pushers, they would rot in jail. Tandoy denied he had sold
marijuana to Singayan and insisted the bills taken from him were the bet
On May 27, 1986, at about 3:30 p.m. Lt. Salido, Jr. of the Makati Police money he had grabbed at the "cara y cruz" game.
Station dispatched Pfc. de la Cruz, and Detectives Singayan, Candolesas,
de la Cruz, Dalumpines, Manalastas and Padua to conduct a buy-bust Issue: W/N RTC erred in admitting in evidence against Tandoy Exh. E-
operation at Solchuaga St., Brgy. Singkamas, Makati. 2-A which is merely a Xerox copy of the P10 bill allegedly used as buy-
bust money.
The target area was a store along the said street, and Singayan was to
pose as the buyer. He stood alone near the store waiting for any pusher Ratio:
to approach. The other members of the team strategically positioned
themselves. Soon, three men approached Singayan. One of them was the The trial court, which had the opportunity to observe the demeanor of
Tandoy, who said without preamble: "Pare, gusto mo bang umiskor?" the witnesses and to listen to their respective testimonies, gave more
Singayan said yes. The exchange was made then and there two credence to the statements of the arresting officers. Applying the
rolls/pieces of marijuana for one P10 and two P5 bills marked ANU presumption that they had performed their duties in a regular manner, it
(meaning Anti-Narcotics Unit). rejected Tandoy's uncorroborated allegation that he had been
manhandled and framed. Tandoy had not submitted sufficient evidence
The team then moved in and arrested Tandoy. Manalastas and of his charges, let alone his admission that he had no quarrel with the
Candolesas made a body search of him and took from him the marked peace officers whom he had met only on the day of his arrest.
money, as well as eight more rolls/foils of marijuana and crushed leaves.
In People v. Patog, this Court held: When there is no evidence and
nothing to indicate the principal witness for the prosecution was
actuated by improper motives, the presumption is that he was not so The best evidence rule applies only when the contents of the
actuated and his testimony is entitled to full faith and credit. document are the subject of inquiry. Where the issue is only as to
whether or not such document was actually executed, or exists, or
Tandoy submits that "one will not sell this prohibited drug to another in the circumstances relevant to or surrounding its execution, the
who is a total stranger until the seller is certain of the identity of the best evidence rule does not apply and testimonial evidence is
buyer." The conjecture must be rejected. admissible.

In People v. Paco, this Court observed: Since the aforesaid marked money was presented by the
prosecution solely for the purpose of establishing its existence and
Drug-pushing when done on a small level as in this case belongs to that not its contents, other substitutionary evidence, like a xerox copy
class of crimes that may be committed at anytime and at any place. After thereof, is therefore admissible without the need of accounting for
the offer to buy is accepted and the exchange is made, the illegal the original.
transaction is completed in a few minutes. The fact that the parties are in
a public place and in the presence of other people may not always Moreover, the presentation at the trial of the "buy-bust money" was
discourage them from pursuing their illegal trade as these factors may not indispensable to the conviction of the accused-appellant
even serve to camouflage the same. Hence, the Court has sustained the because the sale of the marijuana had been adequately proved by
conviction of drug pushers caught selling illegal drugs in a billiard hall the testimony of the police officers. So long as the marijuana
(People v. Rubio; People v. Sarmiento), in front of a store (People actually sold by the accused-appellant had been submitted as an
vs. Khan) along a street at 1:45 p.m. (People v. Toledo), and in front of a exhibit, the failure to produce the marked money itself would not
house (People v. Policarpio). constitute a fatal omission.

As the Court has also held, "What matters is not an existing familiarity
between the buyer and the seller but their agreement and the acts
constituting the sale and delivery of the marijuana leaves."

On the Best Evidence Rule:

The Solicitor General, in his Comment, correctly refuted that contention


This assigned error centers on the trial court's admission of the P10.00
bill marked money (Exh. E-2-A) which, according to the appellant, is
excluded under the best evidence rule for being a mere xerox copy.

Appellant erroneously thinks that said marked money is an

ordinary document falling under Sec. 2, Rule 130 which excludes
the introduction of secondary evidence except in the 5 instances
mentioned therein.
AIR FRANCE, petitioner, vs. RAFAEL CARRASCOSO and the Coming into focus is the constitutional mandate that "No decision shall
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, respondents. (SANCHEZ, J.) be rendered by any court of record without expressing therein clearly
and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based". This is echoed
Facts: Review on certiorari. in the statutory demand that a judgment determining the merits of the
case shall state "clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is
The CFI of Manila sentenced petitioner to pay Carrascoso P25,000 by based"; and that "Every decision of the CA shall contain complete
way of moral damages; P10,000 as exemplary damages; P393.20 findings of fact on all issues properly raised before it".
representing the difference in fare between first class and tourist class
for the portion of the trip Bangkok-Rome, these various amounts with A decision with absolutely nothing to support it is a nullity. It is open to
interest at the legal rate, from the date of the filing of the complaint until direct attack. The law, however, solely insists that a decision state the
paid; plus P3,000 for attorneys' fees; and the costs of suit. "essential ultimate facts" upon which the court's conclusion is drawn. A
court of justice is not hidebound to write in its decision every bit and
CA slightly reduced the amount of refund on Carrascoso's plane ticket piece of evidence presented by one party and the other upon the issues
from P393.20 to P383.10, and voted to affirm the appealed decision "in raised. Neither is it to be burdened with the obligation "to specify in the
all other respects", with costs against petitioner. sentence the facts"which a party "considered as proved". This is but a
part of the mental process from which the Court draws the essential
Plaintiff, a civil engineer, was a member of a group of 48 Filipino ultimate facts. A decision is not to be so clogged with details such that
pilgrims that left Manila for Lourdes on March 30, 1958. prolixity, if not confusion, may result. So long as the decision of the CA
contains the necessary facts to warrant its conclusions, it is no error for
On March 28, 1958, Air France, through its authorized agent, PAL, issued said court to withhold therefrom "any specific finding of facts with
to plaintiff a "first class" round trip airplane ticket from Manila to Rome. respect to the evidence for the defense". Because as this Court well
From Manila to Bangkok, plaintiff travelled in "first class", but at observed, "There is no law that so requires". Indeed, "the mere failure to
Bangkok, the Manager of the airline forced plaintiff to vacate the "first specify (in the decision) the contentions of the appellant and the reasons
class" seat that he was occupying because, in the words of the witness for refusing to believe them is not sufficient to hold the same contrary to
Ernesto Cuento, there was a "white man", who, the Manager alleged, had the requirements of the provisions of law and the Constitution". It is in
a "better right" to the seat. When asked to vacate his "first class" seat, the this setting that in Manigque, it was held that the mere fact that the
plaintiff refused, and told the airlines Manager that his seat would be findings "were based entirely on the evidence for the prosecution
taken over his dead body. A commotion ensued, and, according to said without taking into consideration or even mentioning the appellant's
witness, "many of the Filipino passengers got nervous in the tourist side in the controversy as shown by his own testimony", would not
class. When they found out that Mr. Carrascoso was having a hot vitiate the judgment. If the court did not recite in the decision the
discussion with the white man, they came all across to Mr. Carrascoso testimony of each witness for, or each item of evidence presented by, the
and pacified Mr. Carrascoso to give his seat to the white man; and defeated party, it does not mean that the court has overlooked such
plaintiff reluctantly gave his "first class" seat in the plane. testimony or such item of evidence. At any rate, the legal presumptions
are that official duty has been regularly performed, and that all the
As to Findings of Fact Made by CA: matters within an issue in a case were laid before the court and passed
upon by it.
Petitioner now seeks that we review "all the findings" of CA. Petitioner
charges that CA failed to make complete findings of fact on all the issues Findings of fact, which the CA is required to make, maybe defined as "the
properly laid before it. We are asked to consider facts favorable to written statement of the ultimate facts as found by the court and
petitioner, and then, to overturn the appellate court's decision. essential to support the decision and judgment rendered thereon". They
consist of the court's "conclusions" with respect to the determinative facts
in issue". A question of law, upon the other hand, has been declared as and yet it allowed the passenger to be at the mercy of its employees. It
"one which does not call for an examination of the probative value of the is more in keeping with the ordinary course of business that the
evidence presented by the parties." company should know whether or not the tickets it issues are to be
honored or not.
By statute, "only questions of law may be raised" in an appeal by
certiorari from a judgment of the CA. That judgment is conclusive as to The trial court similarly disposed of petitioner's contention, thus:
the facts. It is not appropriately the business of this Court to alter the
facts or to review the questions of fact. On the fact that plaintiff paid for, and was issued a "First class" ticket,
there can be no question. Apart from his testimony, see plaintiff's
Issue: W/N the findings of fact of the CA support its judgment. Exhibits "A", "A-1", "B", "B-1," "B-2", "C" and "C-1", and defendant's
own witness, Rafael Altonaga, confirmed plaintiff's testimony and
Ratio: testified as follows:
Q. In these tickets there are marks "O.K." From what you know,
Was Carrascoso entitled to the first class seat he claims? what does this OK mean?
A. That the space is confirmed.
It is conceded in all quarters that on March 28, 1958 he paid to and Q. Confirmed for first class?
received from petitioner a first class ticket. But petitioner asserts that A. Yes, "first class".
said ticket did not represent the true and complete intent and agreement xxx xxx xxx
of the parties; that said respondent knew that he did not have confirmed
reservations for first class on any specific flight, although he had tourist Defendant tried to prove by the testimony of its witnesses Luis
class protection; that, accordingly, the issuance of a first class ticket was Zaldariaga and Rafael Altonaga that although plaintiff paid for, and was
no guarantee that he would have a first class ride, but that such would issued a "first class" airplane ticket, the ticket was subject to
depend upon the availability of first class seats. confirmation in Hongkong. The court cannot give credit to the testimony
of said witnesses. Oral evidence cannot prevail over written evidence,
These are matters which petitioner has thoroughly presented and and plaintiff's Exhibits "A", "A-l", "B", "B-l", "C" and "C-1" belie the
discussed in its brief before the CA under its third assignment of error, testimony of said witnesses, and clearly show that the plaintiff was
which reads: "The trial court erred in finding that plaintiff had confirmed issued, and paid for, a first class ticket without any reservation
reservations for, and a right to, first class seats on the "definite" whatever.
segments of his journey, particularly that from Saigon to Beirut".
Furthermore, defendant's own witness Rafael Altonaga testified that the
CA disposed of this contention thus: reservation for a "first class" accommodation for the plaintiff was
confirmed. The court cannot believe that after such confirmation,
Defendant seems to capitalize on the argument that the issuance of a defendant had a verbal understanding with plaintiff that the "first class"
first-class ticket was no guarantee that the passenger to whom the ticket issued to him by defendant would be subject to confirmation in
same had been issued, would be accommodated in the first-class Hongkong.
compartment, for as in the case of plaintiff he had yet to make
arrangements upon arrival at every station for the necessary first- We have heretofore adverted to the fact that except for a slight
class reservation. We are not impressed by such a reasoning. We difference of a few pesos in the amount refunded on Carrascoso's ticket,
cannot understand how a reputable firm like defendant could have the decision of the Court of First Instance was affirmed by the Court of
the indiscretion to give out tickets it never meant to honor at all. It Appeals in all other respects. We hold the view that such a judgment of
received the corresponding amount in payment of first-class tickets affirmance has merged the judgment of the lower court. Implicit in that
affirmance is a determination by the CA that the proceeding in the CFI 5. That finally, defendant failed to provide First Class passage, but
was free from prejudicial error and "all questions raised by the instead furnished plaintiff only Tourist Class accommodations
assignments of error and all questions that might have been raised are to from Bangkok to Teheran and/or Casablanca, the plaintiff has
be regarded as finally adjudicated against the appellant". been compelled by defendant's employees to leave the First Class
accommodation berths at Bangkok after he was already seated.
If, as petitioner underscores, a first-class-ticket holder is not entitled to a
first class seat, notwithstanding the fact that seat availability in specific 6. That consequently, the plaintiff, desiring no repetition of the
flights is therein confirmed, then an air passenger is placed in the hollow inconvenience and embarrassments brought by defendant's
of the hands of an airline. What security then can a passenger have? It breach of contract was forced to take a Pan American World
will always be an easy matter for an airline aided by its employees, to Airways plane on his return trip from Madrid to Manila.
strike out the very stipulations in the ticket, and say that there was a xxx xxx xxx
verbal agreement to the contrary. We have long learned that, as a rule, 2. That likewise, as a result of defendant's failure to furnish First
a written document speaks a uniform language; that spoken word Class accommodations, plaintiff suffered inconveniences,
could be notoriously unreliable. If only to achieve stability in the embarrassments, and humiliations, thereby causing plaintiff
relations between passenger and air carrier, adherence to the mental anguish, serious anxiety, wounded feelings, social
ticket so issued is desirable. Such is the case here. The lower courts humiliation, and the like injury, resulting in moral damages in
refused to believe the oral evidence intended to defeat the the amount of P30,000.
covenants in the ticket. xxx xxx xxx

As to Moral Damages: The foregoing, in our opinion, substantially aver: First, That there
was a contract to furnish plaintiff a first class passage covering,
Petitioner's claim is that Carrascoso's action is planted upon breach of amongst others, the Bangkok-Teheran leg; Second, That said
contract; that to authorize an award for moral damages there must be an contract was breached when petitioner failed to furnish first class
averment of fraud or bad faith; and that the decision of the CA fails to transportation at Bangkok; and Third, that there was bad faith
make a finding of bad faith. The pivotal allegations in the complaint when petitioner's employee compelled Carrascoso to leave his first
bearing on this issue are: class accommodation berth "after he was already, seated" and to
take a seat in the tourist class, by reason of which he suffered
3. That plaintiff entered into a contract of air carriage with PAL inconvenience, embarrassments and humiliations, thereby causing
for a valuable consideration, the latter acting as general agents him mental anguish, serious anxiety, wounded feelings and social
for the defendant, under which said contract, plaintiff was humiliation, resulting in moral damages. It is true that there is no
entitled to, as defendant agreed to furnish plaintiff, First Class specific mention of the term bad faith in the complaint. But, the
passage on defendant's plane during the entire duration of inference of bad faith is there, it may be drawn from the facts and
plaintiff's tour of Europe with Hongkong as starting point up to circumstances set forth therein.
and until plaintiff's return trip to Manila
Quite apart from the foregoing is that (a) right the start of the trial,
4. That, during the first two legs of the trip from Hongkong to respondent's counsel placed petitioner on guard on what Carrascoso
Saigon and from Saigon to Bangkok, defendant furnished to the intended to prove: That while sitting in the plane in Bangkok, Carrascoso
plaintiff First Class accommodation but only after protestations, was ousted by petitioner's manager who gave his seat to a white
arguments and/or insistence were made by the plaintiff with man; and (b) evidence of bad faith in the fulfillment of the contract was
defendant's employees. presented without objection on the part of the petitioner. It is, therefore,
unnecessary to inquire as to whether or not there is sufficient averment
in the complaint to justify an award for moral damages. Deficiency in the meaning of the letters "O.K." appearing on the tickets of plaintiff,
complaint, if any, was cured by the evidence. An amendment thereof to said "that the space is confirmed for first class. Likewise, Zenaida
conform to the evidence is not even required. On the question of bad Faustino, another witness for defendant, who was the chief of the
faith, the CA declared: Reservation Office of defendant, testified as follows:

That the plaintiff was forced out of his seat in the first class "Q How does the person in the ticket-issuing office know
compartment of the plane belonging to Air France while at what reservation the passenger has arranged with you?
Bangkok, and was transferred to the tourist class not only A They call us up by phone and ask for the confirmation."
without his consent but against his will, has been sufficiently
established by plaintiff in his testimony before the court, In this connection, we quote with approval what the trial Judge
corroborated by the corresponding entry made by the purser of has said on this point:
the plane in his notebook which notation reads as follows:
Why did the "white man" have a "better right" to the seat
"First-class passenger was forced to go to the tourist occupied by Mr. Carrascoso? The record is silent. The
class against his will, and that the captain refused to defendant airline did not prove "any better", nay, any
intervene", right on the part of the "white man" to the "First class"
seat that the plaintiff was occupying and for which he
and by the testimony of an eye-witness, Ernesto Cuento, who paid and was issued a corresponding "first class" ticket.
was a co-passenger. The captain of the plane who was asked by
the manager of defendant at Bangkok to intervene even refused If there was a justified reason for the action of the
to do so. It is noteworthy that no one on behalf of defendant ever defendant's Manager in Bangkok, the defendant could
contradicted or denied this evidence for the plaintiff. It could have easily proven it by having taken the testimony of
have been easy for defendant to present its manager at Bangkok the said Manager by deposition, but defendant did not do
to testify at the trial of the case, or yet to secure his disposition; so; the presumption is that evidence willfully suppressed
but defendant did neither. would be adverse if produced [Sec. 69, par (e), Rules of
Court]; and, under the circumstances, the Court is
The Court of Appeals further stated constrained to find, as it does find, that the Manager of
the defendant airline in Bangkok not merely asked but
Neither is there evidence as to whether or not a prior threatened the plaintiff to throw him out of the plane if
reservation was made by the white man. Hence, if the employees he did not give up his "first class" seat because the said
of the defendant at Bangkok sold a first-class ticket to him when Manager wanted to accommodate the "white man".
all the seats had already been taken, surely the plaintiff should
not have been picked out as the one to suffer the consequences It is really correct to say that the CA in the quoted portion first
and to be subjected to the humiliation and indignity of being transcribed did not use the term "bad faith". But can it be doubted that
ejected from his seat in the presence of others. Instead of the recital of facts therein points to bad faith? Certainly, this is bad faith.
explaining to the white man the improvidence committed by Unless, of course, bad faith has assumed a meaning different from what
defendant's employees, the manager adopted the more drastic is understood in law. For, "bad faith" contemplates a "state of mind
step of ousting the plaintiff who was then safely ensconsced in affirmatively operating with furtive design or with some motive of self-
his rightful seat. We are strengthened in our belief that this interest or will or for ulterior purpose."
probably was what happened there, by the testimony of
defendant's witness Altonaga who, when asked to explain the
And if the foregoing were not yet sufficient, there is the express finding part of employees towards a passenger gives the latter an action for
of bad faith in the judgment of the CFI, thus: damages against the carrier.

The evidence shows that the defendant violated its contract of Although the relation of passenger and carrier is "contractual both in
transportation with plaintiff in bad faith, with the aggravating origin and nature" nevertheless "the act that breaks the contract may be
circumstances that defendant's Manager in Bangkok went to the also a tort".
extent of threatening the plaintiff in the presence of many
passengers to have him thrown out of the airplane to give the Petitioner's contract with Carrascoso is one attended with public duty.
"first class" seat that he was occupying to a "white man" whom The stress of Carrascoso's action as we have said, is placed upon his
he wished to accommodate, and the defendant has not proven wrongful expulsion. This is a violation of public duty by the petitioner air
that this "white man" had any "better right" to occupy the "first carrier a case of quasi-delict. Damages are proper.
class" seat that the plaintiff was occupying, duly paid for, and for
which the corresponding "first class" ticket was issued by the As to Best Evidence Rule:
defendant to him.
Petitioner draws our attention to Carrascoso's testimony, thus
The responsibility of an employer for the tortious act of its employees is
well settled in law. For the willful malevolent act of petitioner's manager, Q You mentioned about an attendant. Who is that attendant and
petitioner, his employer, must answer. Article 21 of the Civil Code says: purser (an officer on a plane who handles financial accounts and
various documents relating to the plane and who keeps money and
ART. 21. Any person who willfully causes loss or injury to valuables for passengers)?
another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or
public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage. A When we left already that was already in the trip I could not
help it. So one of the flight attendants approached me and requested
In parallel circumstances, we applied the foregoing legal precept; and, from me my ticket and I said, What for? and she said, "We will note
we held that upon the provisions of Article 2219 (10), Civil Code, moral that you transferred to the tourist class". I said, "Nothing of that kind.
damages are recoverable. That is tantamount to accepting my transfer." And I also said, "You
are not going to note anything there because I am protesting to this
A contract to transport passengers is quite different in kind and degree transfer".
from any other contractual relation. And this is because of the relation
which an air-carrier sustains with the public. It invites people to avail of Q Was she able to note it?
the comforts and advantages it offers. The contract of air carriage, A No, because I did not give my ticket.
therefore, generates a relation attended with a public duty. Neglect or
malfeasance of the carrier's employees, naturally, could give ground for Q About that purser?
an action for damages. A Well, the seats there are so close that you feel uncomfortable and
you don't have enough leg room, I stood up and I went to the pantry
Passengers do not contract merely for transportation. They have a right that was next to me and the purser was there. He told me, "I have
to be treated by the carrier's employees with kindness, respect, courtesy recorded the incident in my notebook." He read it and translated it to
and due consideration. They are entitled to be protected against me because it was recorded in French "First class passenger
personal misconduct, injurious language, indignities and abuses from was forced to go to the tourist class against his will, and that the
such employees. So it is, that any rule or discourteous conduct on the captain refused to intervene."
Mr. VALTE I move to strike out the last part of the testimony of The right to attorney's fees is fully established. The grant of exemplary
the witness because the best evidence would be the notes. damages justifies a similar judgment for attorneys' fees.

COURT I will allow that as part of his testimony. Questioned as excessive are the amounts decreed by both the trial court
and the CA. The task of fixing these amounts is primarily with the trial
Petitioner charges that the finding of the CA that the purser made court. The CA did not interfere with the same. The dictates of good sense
an entry in his notebook reading "First class passenger was forced suggest that we give our imprimatur thereto. Because, the facts and
to go to the tourist class against his will, and that the captain circumstances point to the reasonableness thereof.
refused to intervene" is predicated upon evidence [Carrascoso's
testimony above] which is incompetent. We do not think so. The
subject of inquiry is not the entry, but the ouster incident.
Testimony on the entry does not come within the proscription of
the best evidence rule. Such testimony is admissible.

Besides, from a reading of the transcript just quoted, when the dialogue
happened, the impact of the startling occurrence was still fresh and
continued to be felt. The excitement had not as yet died down.
Statements then, in this environment, are admissible as part of the res
gestae. For, they grow "out of the nervous excitement and mental and
physical condition of the declarant". The utterance of the purser
regarding his entry in the notebook was spontaneous, and related to the
circumstances of the ouster incident. Its trustworthiness has been
guaranteed. It thus escapes the operation of the hearsay rule.

At all events, the entry was made outside the Philippines. And, by an
employee of petitioner. It would have been an easy matter for petitioner
to have contradicted Carrascoso's testimony. If it were really true that no
such entry was made, the deposition of the purser could have cleared up
the matter.

We, therefore, hold that the transcribed testimony of Carrascoso is

admissible in evidence.

As to Exemplary Damages and Attys Fees:

Exemplary damages are well awarded. The Civil Code gives the court
ample power to grant exemplary damages in contracts and quasi-
contracts. The only condition is that defendant should have "acted in a
wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive, or malevolent manner." The
manner of ejectment of Carrascoso from his first class seat fits into this
legal precept. And this, in addition to moral damages.
ROGELIO DANTIS, Petitioner, vs. JULIO MAGHINANG, JR., Respondent. by copy of Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-125918, issued by the
(MENDOZA, J.) Register of Deeds of Bulacan on September 29, 1998, declared for
taxation purposes as Tax Declaration with ARP No. C20-22-043-07-046.
Facts: Petition for review on certiorari. According to him, defendant and his predecessor-in-interest built the
house located on said lot. When he first saw it, it was only a small hut but
The case draws its origin from a complaint for quieting of title and when he was about 60 years old, he told defendant not to build a bigger
recovery of possession with damages filed by Dantis against Maghinang, house thereon because he would need the land and defendant would
before the RTC. Rogelio alleged that he was the registered owner of a have to vacate the land. Plaintiff, however, has not been in physical
parcel of land covered by a TCT in San Miguel, Bulacan; that Maghinang possession of the premises.
occupied and built a house on a portion of his property without any right
at all; that demands were made upon Maghinang that he vacate the Julio, presented by plaintiff as adverse witness, testified that he has no
premises but the same fell on deaf ears; and that the acts of Julio had title over the property he is occupying. He has not paid realty taxes
created a cloud of doubt over his title and right of possession of his thereon. He has not paid any rental to anybody. He is occupying about
property. He, thus, prayed that judgment be rendered declaring him to 352 square meters of the lot. He presented an affidavit executed on
be the true and real owner of the parcel of land; ordering Julio to deliver September 3, 1953 by Ignacio Dantis, grandfather of Rogelio and the
the possession of that portion of the land he was occupying; and father of Emilio. The affidavit, according to affiant Ignacio, alleged that
directing Julio to pay rentals from October 2000 and attorneys fees. Emilio agreed to sell 352 square meters of the lot to Julio Maghinang on
installment. Defendant was then 11 years old in 1952.
He added that he was constrained to institute an ejectment suit against
Julio before the MTC of San Miguel, Bulacan, but the complaint was Defendants Testimonies in the RTC:
dismissed for lack of jurisdiction and lack of cause of action.
Defendant testified as follows: He owns that house located at Sta. Rita,
In his Answer, Julio denied the material allegations of the complaint. By San Miguel, Bulacan, on a 352 square meter lot. He could not say that he
way of an affirmative defense, he claimed that he was the actual owner is the owner because there is still question about the lot. He claimed that
of the 352 square meters (subject lot) of the land covered by TCT No. T- his father bought the said lot from the parents of Dantis. He admitted
125918 where he was living; that he had been in open and continuous that the affidavit was not signed by the alleged vendor, Emilio Dantis.
possession of the property for almost 30 years; the subject lot was once The receipt he presented was admittedly a mere photocopy. He
tenanted by his ancestral relatives until it was sold by Rogelios father to spent P50,000 as attorneys fees. Since 1953, he has not declared the
his father, Julio, Sr.; that later, he succeeded to the ownership of the property as his nor paid the taxes thereon because there is a problem.
subject lot after his father died in 1968; and that he was entitled to a
separate registration of the subject lot on the basis of the documentary RTCs Ruling:
evidence of sale and his open and uninterrupted possession of the
property. RTC rendered its decision declaring Rogelio as the true owner of the
entire 5,657-square meter lot, as evidenced by his TCT over the same.
Petitioners Testimonies in the RTC: The RTC did not lend any probative value on the documentary
evidence of sale adduced by Julio consisting of: 1) an affidavit
Dantis testified that he inherited 5,657 square meters of land, identified allegedly executed by Ignacio, Rogelios grandfather, whereby said
as Lot 6-D-1 of subdivision plan Psd-031421-054315, located at Sta. Rita, affiant attested, among others, to the sale of the subject lot made by
San Miguel, Bulacan, through an Extrajudicial Partition of Estate of his son, Emilio, to Julio, Sr. (Exhibit "3"); and 2) an undated
Emilio Dantis, executed in December 1993 which land was titled later on handwritten receipt of initial downpayment in the amount of 100
under his name, Rogelio Dantis, married to Victoria Payawal, as shown supposedly issued by Emilio to Julio, Sr. in connection with the sale
of the subject lot (Exhibit "4"). The RTC ruled that even if these action for reconveyance on the ground of implied trust had already
documents were adjudged as competent evidence, still, they would only prescribed since more than 10 years had lapsed since the execution of
serve as proofs that the purchase price for the subject lot had not yet Exhibit "4" in 1953. It is the petitioners stance that Julio, Jr. did not
been completely paid and, hence, Rogelio was not duty-bound to deliver acquire ownership over the subject lot by acquisitive prescription
the property to Julio, Jr. The RTC found Julio, Jr. to be a mere possessor contending that prescription does not lie against a real property covered
by tolerance. MR denied. by a Torrens title. He opines that his certificate of title to the subject lot
cannot be collaterally attacked because a Torrens title is indefeasible
CAs Ruling: and must be respected unless challenged in a direct proceeding.

CA rendered the assailed decision, finding the appeal to be impressed The Courts Ruling
with merit. It held that Exhibit "4" was an indubitable proof of the sale of
the 352-square meter lot between Emilio and Julio, Sr. It also ruled that The determination of whether there existed an oral contract of sale is
the partial payment of the purchase price, coupled with the delivery of essentially a question of fact.
the res, gave efficacy to the oral sale and brought it outside the operation
of the statute of frauds. Finally, the court a quo declared that Julio, Jr. and In petitions for review under Rule 45, the Court, as a general rule, does
his predecessors-in-interest had an equitable claim over the subject lot not venture to re-examine the evidence presented by the contending
which imposed on Rogelio and his predecessors-in-interest a personal parties during the trial of the case considering that it is not a trier of
duty to convey what had been sold after full payment of the selling price. facts and the findings of fact of the CA are conclusive and binding upon
MR denied. this Court. The rule, however, admits of several exceptions. One of which
is when the findings of the CA are contrary to those of the trial court.
Issue: W/N there is a perfected contract of sale between Emilio and
Julio, Sr. NONE The petition is meritorious.

Ratio: It is an age-old rule in civil cases that he who alleges a fact has the
burden of proving it and a mere allegation is not evidence. The Court
Rogelio submits that Exhibit "3" and "4" are devoid of evidentiary value finds that Rogelio was able to establish a prima facie case (a case in
and, hence, deserve scant consideration. He stresses that Exhibit "4" is which the evidence presented is sufficient for a judgment to be made
inadmissible in evidence being a mere photocopy, and the existence and unless the evidence is contested) in his favor tending to show his
due execution thereof had not been established. He argues that even if exclusive ownership of the parcel of land which included the 352-square
Exhibit "4" would be considered as competent and admissible evidence, meter subject lot. From the records, it appears that TCT No. T-125918 is
still, it would not be an adequate proof of the existence of the alleged a derivative of TCT No. T-256228, which covered a bigger area of land
oral contract of sale because it failed to provide a description of the measuring 30,000 square meters registered in the name of Emilio
subject lot, including its metes and bounds, as well as its full price or Dantis; that Emilio died intestate in 1952; that Emilios five heirs,
consideration. including Rogelio, executed an extra-judicial partition of estate on
December 22, 1993 and divided among themselves specific portions of
Rogelio argues that while reconveyance may be availed of by the owner the property covered by TCT No. T-256228, which were already set
of a real property wrongfully included in the certificate of title of apart by metes and bounds; that the land known as Lot 6-D-1 of the
another, the remedy is not obtainable herein since he is a transferee in subdivision plan Psd-031421-054315 with an area of 5,657 sq. m. went
good faith, having acquired the land through a Deed of Extrajudicial to Rogelio, the property now covered by TCT No. T-125918; and that the
Partition of Estate. He asserts that he could not be considered a trustee property was declared for realty tax purpose in the name of Rogelio for
as he was not privy to Exhibit "4." In any event, he theorizes that the
which a tax declaration was issued in his name; and that the same had A secondary evidence is admissible only upon compliance with
not been transferred to anyone else since its issuance. Rule 130, Section 5, which states that: when the original has been
lost or destroyed, or cannot be produced in court, the offeror, upon
In light of Rogelios outright denial of the oral sale together with his proof of its execution or existence and the cause of its unavailability
insistence of ownership over the subject lot, it behooved upon Julio, Jr. to without bad faith on his part, may prove its contents by a copy, or
contravene the formers claim and convince the court that he had a valid by a recital of its contents in some authentic document, or by the
defense. The burden of evidence shifted to Julio, Jr. to prove that his testimony of witnesses in the order stated. Proof of the due execution
father bought the subject lot from Emilio Dantis. of the document and its subsequent loss would constitute the basis for
the introduction of secondary evidence.
Julio, Jr. failed to discharge this burden. His pieces of evidence,
Exhibit "3" and Exhibit "4," cannot prevail over the array of Guided by these norms, the Court holds that Julio, Jr. failed to prove the
documentary and testimonial evidence that were adduced by due execution of the original of Exhibit "4" as well as its subsequent loss.
Rogelio. The totality of Julio, Jr.s evidence leaves much to be desired. Also, his testimony was riddled with improbabilities and contradictions
which tend to erode his credibility and raise doubt on the veracity of his
To begin with, Exhibit "3," the affidavit of Ignacio, is hearsay evidence.
evidence and, thus, cannot be accorded any evidentiary weight.
Evidence is hearsay when its probative force depends on the First, the claim of Julio, Jr. that Emilio affixed his signature on the
competency and credibility of some persons other than the witness original of Exhibit "4" in 1953 is highly improbable because record
by whom it is sought to be produced. The exclusion of hearsay shows that Emilio died even before that year. Excerpts from Julio, Jr.s
evidence is anchored on three reasons: 1) absence of cross-examination; testimony relative to this matter are as follows:
2) absence of demeanor evidence; and 3) absence of oath.
(On Cross-examination)
Jurisprudence dictates that an affidavit is merely hearsay evidence Q: You were 11 years old?
where its affiant/maker did not take the witness stand. The sworn A: Yes, Sir.
statement of Ignacio is of this kind. The affidavit was not identified Q: And you mean to say that you witnessed the signing allegedly of the
and its averments were not affirmed by affiant Ignacio. It cannot be original of Exhibit "4" when you were 11 years old?
deemed a declaration against interest for the matter to be considered as A: Yes, Sir.
an exception to the hearsay rule because the declarant was not the Q: And you remember what was signed in this receipt. From your
seller, but his father. memory can you tell the title of this Exhibit "4"?
A: What I can say that it is a Sale, Sir.
On Best Evidence Rule: Q: So, when you said that you witnessed an alleged sale you are referring
to Exhibit "4"?
Exhibit "4," on the other hand, is considered secondary evidence A: Yes, Sir.
being a mere photocopy which, in this case, cannot be admitted to
prove the contents of the purported undated handwritten receipt. Second, Julio, Jr.s testimony pertinent to the alleged loss of the original
The best evidence rule requires that the highest available degree of of Exhibit "4" is laden with inconsistencies that detract from his
proof must be produced. For documentary evidence, the contents of credibility. Julio, Jr. testified in this wise:
a document are best proved by the production of the document
itself to the exclusion of secondary or substitutionary evidence. (On Direct examination)
Q: Mr. Witness, I noticed that this document marked as Exhibit "4" is
only a photocopy, where is the original of this document?
A: The original was with the safekeeping of my parents because of the A: I asked that xerox copy because I have lost the original and I could not
lapse of time the original was misplaced, Sir. find the same, Sir.
Q: So, from the safe of your mother after her interment, you found and
The above testimony of Julio, Jr. tends to give the impression that the got this Exhibit "4"?
original of the document was lost while it was in the possession of his A: Yes, Sir, from my sister.
parents. During cross-examination, however, he testified that it was lost Q: So, not from your mother safe?
while it was in his possession. A: The original was taken from the safe of my mother, Sir.
Q: So after your mothers death you never saw the original?
(On Cross-examination) A: I did not see it anymore because the original was lost before she died.
Q: Where did you keep that document?
A: I was the one keeping that document because I live in different places, Third, it is quite strange that two receipts were prepared for the
it was lost or misplaced, Sir. initial payment of 100 in connection with the sale of the subject
Q: In other words, it was lost while the same was in your possession?? lot. The Court notes that the contents of Exhibit "4" were similar to
A: Yes, Sir. those of Annex "A" of Julio, Jr.s Answer. Annex "A," however, was
typewritten and the name of the recipient indicated therein was a
Still, later, Julio, Jr. claimed that his sister was the one responsible for the certain Cornelio Dantis, whose identity and participation in the
loss of the original of Exhibit "4" after borrowing the same from him. alleged sale was never explained.

(On Cross-examination) Fourth, apart from the lone testimony of Julio, Jr., no other witness
Q: In other words now, you did not lost the document or the original of who knew or read Exhibit "4," much less saw it executed, was
Exhibit "4" but you gave it to your sister, am I correct? presented. In the absence of any shred of corroborative evidence,
A: I just lent to her the original copy, Sir. the Court cannot help but entertain doubts on the truthfulness of
Q: So, you lent this original of Exhibit "4" to your sister and your sister Julio, Jr.s naked assertion.
never returned the same to you?
A: Yes, Sir, because it was lost, that was the only one left in her custody. Assuming that Exhibit "4" is admissible in evidence, there will still be no
valid and perfected oral contract for failure of Julio, Jr. to prove the
The Court also notes the confused narration of Julio, Jr. regarding the last concurrence of the essential requisites of a contract of sale by adequate
time he saw the original of Exhibit "4." and competent evidence.

(On Cross-examination) By the contract of sale, one of the contracting parties obligates himself to
transfer the ownership of, and to deliver, a determinate thing, and the
Q: And when did you last see the original? other to pay therefor a price certain in money or its equivalent. A
A: When my mother died in 1993 that was the last time I tried to see the contract of sale is a consensual contract and, thus, is perfected by mere
original of the document after her interment, Sir. consent which is manifested by the meeting of the offer and the
Q: Where did you see this document? acceptance upon the thing and the cause which are to constitute the
A: From the safekeeping of my mother, Sir. contract. Until the contract of sale is perfected, it cannot, as an
Q: When did you get this Exhibit "4" now, the photocopy from your independent source of obligation, serve as a binding juridical relation
sister? between the parties. The essential elements of a contract of sale are: a)
A: When the interment of my mother in September 1993, Sir. consent or meeting of the minds, that is, consent to transfer ownership
Q: Now, let us reform. Which one did you get after the interment of your in exchange for the price; b) determinate subject matter; and c) price
mother, this Exhibit "4" or the original?
certain in money or its equivalent. The absence of any of the essential
elements shall negate the existence of a perfected contract of sale.

Seemingly, Julio, Jr. wanted to prove the sale by a receipt when it

should be the receipt that should further corroborate the existence
of the sale. At best, his testimony only alleges but does not prove
the existence of the verbal agreement. Julio, Jr. miserably failed to
establish by preponderance of evidence that there was a meeting of
the minds of the parties as to the subject matter and the purchase

The chief evidence of Julio, Jr. to substantiate the existence of the oral
contract of sale is Exhibit "4." A perusal of the said document would
readily show that it does not specify a determinate subject matter.
Nowhere does it provide a description of the property subject of the
sale, including its metes and bounds, as well as its total area. The
Court notes that while Julio, Jr. testified that the land subject of the
sale consisted of 352 square meters, Exhibit "4," however, states
that its more than 400 square meters. Moreover, Exhibit "4" does
not categorically declare the price certain in money. Neither does it
state the mode of payment of the purchase price and the period for
its payment.

In Swedish Match, AB v. Court of Appeals, the Court ruled that the

manner of payment of the purchase price was an essential element
before a valid and binding contract of sale could exist. Albeit the Civil
Code does not explicitly provide that the minds of the contracting parties
must also meet on the terms or manner of payment of the price, the
same is needed, otherwise, there is no sale.

The CA held that partial performance of the contract of sale- giving of a

downpayment coupled with the delivery of the res - took the oral
contract out of the scope of the Statute of Frauds. This conclusion arose
from its erroneous finding that there was a perfected contract of sale.
The above disquisition, however, shows that there was none. There is,
therefore, no basis for the application of the Statute of Frauds. The
application of the Statute of Frauds presupposes the existence of a
perfected contract. As to the delivery of the res, it does not appear to be
a voluntary one pursuant to the purported sale. If Julio, Jr. happened to
be there, it was because his ancestors tenanted the land. It must be noted
that when Julio, Jr. built his house, Rogelio protested.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee, vs. GENARO CAYABYAB y Airbase, he reached home at around 7:30 p.m and went to sleep after
FERNANDEZ, Appellant. eating dinner. At around 9:30 p.m., he woke up to urinate at the back of
their house when 3 policemen arrested and mauled him. At the
Facts: Review of CA decision certified and elevated by CA to SC. headquarters, he was forced to admit the rape while the victim's
father asked for money in exchange for his release, which he
Cayabyab was sentenced to death by the RTC of Pasay, Branch 109, for refused.
rape committed against six-year-old Alpha Jane Bertiz.
The trial court gave credence to the testimonies of the prosecution
Alpha Jane was born in November 1994, and the eldest among the six witnesses. It found the victim's testimony consistent with the medical
children of Conrado and Metchie Bertiz. She was six years and nine findings of the doctors from the PNP Crime Laboratory and CPU, UP-
months old when the rape was committed on August 7, 2001. PGH. Moreover, it applied the rule that an unsubstantiated defense of
denial and alibi cannot prevail over a positive and categorical testimony
On that day, at around 6:00 p.m., Alpha Jane was at home in of a minor victim. Finally, it appreciated the qualifying circumstance of
Manlunas St, Villamor Airbase, taking care of her younger siblings. minority and imposed the penalty of death.
Her mother went to buy kerosene, while her father was out. On the
guise of teaching arithmetic, appellant went to the victim's house The case was directly elevated to this Court for automatic review.
and asked her to lie down on her father's bed. When she refused, However, pursuant to our decision in People v. Mateo modifying the
appellant removed her clothes and his own clothes, then forced her to lie pertinent provisions of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure insofar
down on the bed and laid on top of her and inserted his penis into her as direct appeals from the RTC to the Supreme Court in cases where the
vagina. Alpha Jane shouted in pain which startled the appellant who penalty imposed is death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, this
sprayed her with tear gas and left. case was transferred to the CA, which affirmed in toto the RTC.

Her mother, Metchie arrived shortly thereafter and Alpha Jane told her Issue: W/N photocopy of the birth certificate of the rape victim qualifies
what had happened. She immediately reported the incident to the as a competent evidence in proving the age of the victim. YES
barangay officials and brought Alpha Jane to the Philippine Air Force
General Hospital for medical examination. She also sought assistance Ratio:
from the police at the 521st Air Police Squadron who, after gathering
information from the victim, arrested the appellant at his house. Alpha We have painstakingly reviewed the evidence on record and found no
Jane was brought to the PNP Crime Laboratory at Camp Crame the cogent reason to disturb the findings of the RTC and CA. There is no
following day, and on August 10, 2001, to the Child Protection Unit doubt that appellant raped Alpha Jane on August 7, 2001 inside their
(CPU) at UP-PGH for further medical examinations, which both found house at Villamor Airbase. This credibility given by the trial court to the
hymenal abrasions and lacerations on the victim's genitalia. rape victim is an important aspect of evidence which appellate courts
can rely on because of its unique opportunity to observe the witnesses,
On August 10, 2001, appellant was charged with rape in an Information particularly their demeanor, conduct, and attitude, during the direct and
before the RTC of Pasay. When arraigned, appellant pleaded not guilty to cross-examination by counsel.
the charge. Trial then ensued.
On direct examination, Alpha Jane narrated the incident and positively
Appellant raised the defenses of denial and alibi. He testified that on identified appellant as her assailant.
August 7, 2001, he was plying his normal route inside the Villamor
Airbase as a tricycle driver from 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. After returning Despite grueling cross-examination by the defense suggesting extortion
the tricycle to its owner at the corner of 14th and 15th Sts., Villamor by the victim's father, Alpha Jane remained steadfast and consistent that
it was appellant who raped her. The victim's testimony was supported To paraphrase Pruna, the best evidence to prove the age of a person
by the medico-legal report of the medico-legal experts from the PNP is the original birth certificate or certified true copy thereof; in
Crime Laboratory and CPU, UP-PGH, to wit: their absence, similar authentic documents may be presented such
as baptismal certificates and school records. If the original or
ANO-GENITAL EXAMINATION certified true copy of the birth certificate is not available, credible
Hymen: Tanner Stage 2, hymenal transection at 5 oclock, Type of testimonies of the victim's mother or a member of the family may
Hymen: Annular be sufficient under certain circumstances. In the event that both the
IMPRESSIONS birth certificate or other authentic documents and the testimonies
Evidence of blunt force or penetrating trauma. of the victim's mother or other qualified relative are unavailable,
(Exh. 'L', p. 8, Records) the testimony of the victim may be admitted in evidence provided
that it is expressly and clearly admitted by the accused.
Dr. Baluyut explained that in her findings, the terms hymenal transection
at 5 oclock and laceration at 5 oclock are synonymous. Dr. Baluyut In Pruna, no birth certificate or any similar authentic document, such as
further explained that there was prior injury to the victim's hymen the baptismal certificate of the victim was presented to prove her age.
which might have been caused by the insertion of a blunt object such as The trial court based its finding that Lizette was 3 years old when she
an erected penis which was compatible with the victim's claim that she was raped on the Medico-Legal Report, and the fact that the defense did
had been raped. not contest her age and questioned her qualification to testify because of
her tender age. It was however noted that the Medico-Legal Report
The trial court correctly imposed the death penalty. Rape, such as never mentioned her age and only the testimony of her mother was
committed against a 'child below seven (7) years old', is a dastardly and presented to establish Lizette's age. The Court found that there was
repulsive crime which merit no less than the penalty of death pursuant uncertainty as to the victim's exact age, hence, it required that
to Article 266-B of the RPC. This special qualifying circumstance of age corroborative evidence, such as her birth certificate, baptismal
must be specifically pleaded or alleged with certainty in the information certificate or any other authentic document should be introduced in
and proven during the trial; otherwise the penalty of death cannot be evidence in order that the qualifying circumstance of 'below seven (7)
imposed. years old is appreciated.

On Best Evidence Rule: Unlike in Pruna, the trial court in this case made a categorical
finding that Alpha Jane was only 6 years old at the time she was
In the case of People v. Pruna, this Court took note of conflicting raped, based not only on the testimonies of the complainant and
pronouncements concerning the appreciation of minority, either as an her mother, but also on the strength of the photocopy of Alpha
element of the crime or as a qualifying circumstance. There were a Jane's birth certificate. It is well to note that the defense did not
number of cases where no birth certificate was presented where the object to the presentation of the birth certificate; on the contrary it
Court ruled that the age of the victim was not duly proved. On the other admitted the same as to fact of birth.
hand, there were also several cases where we ruled that the age of the
rape victim was sufficiently established despite the failure of the We are not unaware of our ruling in People v. Mantis that a mere
prosecution to present the birth certificate of the offended party to photocopy of the birth certificate, in the absence of any showing
prove her age. Thus, in order to remove any confusion, we set that the original copy was lost or destroyed, or was unavailable,
in Pruna the following guidelines in appreciating age, either as an without the fault of the prosecution, does not prove the victim's
element of the crime or as a qualifying circumstance. minority, for said photocopy does not qualify as competent
evidence for that purpose.
However, there are other exceptions to the 'best evidence rule as
expressly provided under Section 3, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court,
which reads:

Sec. 3. Original document must be produced; exceptions. When the

subject of inquiry is the contents of a document, no evidence shall be
admissible other than the original document itself, except in the
following cases:

(d) When the original is a public record in the custody of a public

officer or is recorded in a public office.

Without doubt, a certificate of live birth is a public record in the

custody of the local civil registrar who is a public officer. Clearly,
therefore, the presentation of the photocopy of the birth certificate
of Alpha Jane is admissible as secondary evidence to prove its
contents. Production of the original may be dispensed with, in the
trial court's discretion, whenever in the case at hand the opponent
does not bona fide dispute the contents of the document and no
other useful purpose will be served by requiring production.

In the case at bar, the defense did not dispute the contents of the
photocopied birth certificate; in fact it admitted the same. Having
failed to raise a valid and timely objection against the presentation
of this secondary evidence the same became a primary evidence,
and deemed admitted and the other party is bound thereby.

In fine, we find that the prosecution sufficiently proved that Alpha Jane
was only six-years-old, being born on November 26, 1994, when the
rape incident happened on August 7, 2001.
EDEN TAN, petitioner, vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE OF baggages were brought to the office of airport customs collector Dario
THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. (CUEVAS, J.) for inventory and appraisal.

Facts: Appeal by way of certiorari. A thorough examination of the baggages of Tan yielded cash consisting
of dollars, Philippine pesos and Taiwan money, assorted jewelries,
At about 8:15pm of November 17, 1974, Cathay Pacific Airways Flight precious stones, calculator, camera lens, cooking utensils, clothing and
No. 903 from Hongkong landed at the MIA. Eden Tan, one of the, various items, with a total appraised value of $6,498.20, and an
passengers of this flight, appeared to be restless, and as if she was estimated customs duties, taxes and other charges totalling P235,530.
looking for somebody. When she was assigned to a particular customs (Exhs. "G", "G-2", "G-3", "G-4" and "G-5")
examiner, she refused to be examined, and she moved around the
examination room of the arrival area of the airport, as if she was looking Seizure proceedings was instituted in the Bureau of Customs in
for someone. The chief of the customs agents, after observing her connection with the articles brought in by Tan with the latter as claimant
behavior, assigned her to customs examiner Macud. and the case was heard by Fidel Camaniag Legal Officer of the MIA
Customs House. Pending the hearing of the seizure proceedings, Eden
While her baggages were being examined by examiner Macud, she Tan filed with the customs authorities a request for a reappraisal of the
appeared uneasy and restless. The airport collector of customs seized articles. The hearing officer of the legal division of the airport
approached her and advised the examiner to make a thorough Customs House recommended a favorable action on the request for re-
examination of her baggages. As the examiner started the examination of appraisal. The Chief Appraiser of the MIA Customs House disagreed with
her baggages, he found a plastic bag (Exh. "B") containing fruits and the recommendation of the legal division. Because of this disagreement,
underneath, fancy jewelries and stones. Because of the large quantity of the airport customs collector referred the matter to the customs
the fancy jewelries found at the initial examination of her baggages, the commissioner.
collector ordered the customs examiner to make a thorough search of all
her luggages. The collector also instructed that her handbag be searched. The commissioner of customs created a committee to conduct a re-
A search of her handbag (Exh. "B-1") yielded precious stones sewed appraisal of the seized articles, and after the committee had rendered a
along the lining and at the bottom of the handbag, precious stones were report of their re-appraisal, the record of the case together with the
also found sewed along the four corners of a blanket (Exh. "H") committee's re-appraisal report was returned to the MIA Legal Division.
belonging to Tan and among her clothings. When these items were The report of the re-appraisal committee appraising the seized articles
discovered, Tan became hysterical and she cried saying that those things at P47,993 was thereafter approved by the customs authorities.
were not hers but were only given to her.
Defenses Evidence:
The articles found in Eden Tan's possession were contained in 5 plastic
bags, 1 carton, 1 bed cover (blanket) and a travelling bag. Before starting The evidence for the defense seeks to establish that the alleged precious
with the examination of her luggages, customs examiner Macud asked stones and assorted jewelries were nothing but synthetic or imitation
Tan to produce her baggage declaration which the latter did. The stones called "yag" and fancy jewelry; that upon a request for re-
baggage declaration shown to Macud merely mentions personal effects, appraisal by appellant, in the seizure proceedings in the MIA
and it contained the signature of Tan. The examiner asked her if she had Customhouse, the re-appraisal committee created by the Acting
anything more to declare. Eden told the examiner that she had nothing Commissioner of Customs reported the appraisal of the seized articles at
more to declare except personal effects as stated in her baggage P47,993 (Exh. 10, 10-A, 10-B, 10-C, 10-C-1, 10-C-2 and 10-C-3); that
declaration. The initial examination of Tan's baggages by examiner appellant testified that she accomplished a baggage declaration
Macud yielded necklaces and pendants concealed among fruits. All her presented to her by the stewardess aboard the plane; that she
declared in her baggage declaration all the baggage including one
leather bag and bed cover, personal effects, synthetic stones, fancy examined petitioner's baggage declaration and noticed the entry therein
jewelries, medicine, clothing and so forth; that this baggage reading "Personal Effects" only and nothing more, And that when
declaration was not presented as evidence in court and, instead the questioned by customs examiner Macud as to whether she had anything
prosecution just manifested in court that the baggage declaration more to declare, heard petitioner answered "nothing more, personal
could not be found; that the prosecution did not prove first the loss effects only". He also witnessed examiner Macud going over and
of the baggage declaration before proving the contents thereof by inspecting petitioner's baggages. He actually saw one of the plastic bags
secondary evidence through the recollection of witnesses and that brought in by Tan containing fancy jewelries hidden among fruits; that
even admitting that the prosecution has proved the contents to be he was ordered by Airport Customs Collector to help in the examination
such that appellant stated only "personal effect" in her baggage of the petitioner's baggages and together with examiner Macud, found
declaration still the evidence is insufficient to sustain the upon further examination, precious stones sewed along the 4 corners of
conviction of appellant beyond reasonable doubt. a blanket found in petitioner's baggage and also other precious stones
and jewelries sewed in the lining of petitioner's handbag.
After trial following a plea of not guilty upon arraignment, accused was
convicted by the Circuit Criminal Court for violation of Section 3602 of Tingagun Macud, the examiner assigned to examine petitioner, declared
the Tariff and Customs Code, and thereafter sentenced to 12 years that he examined petitioner's baggage; that he was shown petitioner's
imprisonment. Upon MR, the penalty was reduced merely to 4 years baggage declaration wherein no entry appears except "personal effects";
imprisonment. The articles seized by the customs authorities were that before he started to examine petitioner's baggage, he asked
ordered forfeited in favor of the government. CA affirmed in toto. petitioner whether she had anything more to declare and that
petitioner's answer was "nothing except personal effects"; that he then
Issue: W/N trial court erred in admitting secondary evidence of the started examining petitioner's baggages thereby opening one of the
baggage declaration despite absence of sufficient proof of its loss in plastic bags in the process and found assorted necklaces and pendants
violation of Section 2(a) and Section 4 of Rule 130. NO concealed underneath the fruits; that proceeding further with his
examination of petitioner's baggages, he discovered a bundle of pearl
Ratio: earrings in a plastic wrapper; that when he continued to examine
another baggage of the petitioner, the latter told him "Huwag mong
It is conceded that petitioner's baggage declaration is the best evidence buksan ito; that further examination made by him of the petitioner's
of the contents thereof. So much so that if her conviction lies solely on baggage yielded precious stones sewed along the 4 corners of a bed
the said declaration and nothing more, there may be doubt as to her cover blanket; and that thereafter, he informed Collector Dario of his
culpability. Hence, her acquittal may be warranted under the premises. findings and was later instructed by the latter to bring all the petitioner's
Such however, is not the situation in the case at bar. The guilt of Tan baggages to his room for inventory.
has been sufficiently proven by Enrique Manansala, Ruben Diaz and
Tingagun Macud. The collective weight of the foregoing testimonies strongly and
convincingly established that petitioner attempted to smuggle into
Enrique Manansala is a customs police assigned at the MIA. Among his the country jewelries and other precious stones which she failed to
duties were to maintain peace and order within the customs area, declare in violation of Section 3602 of the Customs and Tariff Code.
investigate violation of the customs and tariff code, watch for goods
illegally brought into the country, watch flights coming in particularly Anent petitioner's baggage declaration, there is no controversy as
from Hongkong which are considered critical, and to conduct to its existence which had been sufficiently established not only by
surveillance on passengers acting suspiciously. It was he who at about the prosecution's evidence but likewise by that of the defense. It
8:15 pm of November 17, 1974 spotted Tan, a passenger of Flight No. was also clearly shown that said baggage declaration forms part of the
903 from Hongkong. He posted himself near Tan, actually saw and various documents forwarded by the customs authorities to the Fiscal's
Office upon the filing of the case against the petitioner. Unfortunately (a) When the original has been lost, destroyed, or cannot be
however, it can no longer be found among the papers making up the produced in court.
record of the case.
Section 4. Secondary evidence when original is lost or destroyed.
The said documents together with petitioner's baggage declaration were When the original writing has been lost or destroyed or cannot be
handed to and/or turned over to the trial fiscal. The place, therefore, produced in court, upon proof of its execution and loss or
where the baggage declaration was last known to be would be the office destruction or unavailability its contents may be proved by a copy or
of the trial fiscal who was the last custodian of said document. Being a by a recital of its contents in some authentic document, or by the
vital evidence in the prosecution of the case, it is safe to assume recollection of witnesses.
that the fiscal necessarily undertook and conducted a thorough
search for the missing document. And failing to locate it, he was the It is now beyond dispute that petitioner did bring into the country
only person who could knowledgeably inform the court of its loss. highly dutiable goods which she hid beneath the linings of her bag
and the corners of the bed cover she was carrying. It is hard to
The general rule concerning proof of a lost instrument is that imagine that an incoming passenger who had all the intentions of
reasonable search shall be made for it in the place where it was last declaring a large quantity of fancy jewelries and stones (3,000
known to have been, and if such search does not discover it, then pieces) would undertake the trouble of painstakinly and
inquiry should be made of the person most likely to have its meticulously sewing said articles one by one beneath the linings of
custody, or who have some reasons to know of its whereabouts. No her bag and the corners of a blanket only to tear open the linings
fixed rule as to the necessary proof to establish loss, or what and detach the articles one by one for inspection. Her tenuous
constitutes reasonable search, can be formulated. The terms explanation that she did it for security reasons is too flimsy a
"reasonable search" and "in good faith," applied to proof of lost pretense to be admitted as the Records show that she did not
instruments, must be construed and defined under the facts in each immediately disclose the hiding places of the stones and
particular case; there is no inflexible definition under which they can be persistently told the examiner that she was not hiding anything. She
applied to all cases. only talked of the hidden pieces of jewelries and stones when examiner
Macud had discovered them under the fruits inside a plastic bag; thereby
The loss may be shown by any person who knew the fact of its loss, or by telling the examiner, "Sir, my fancy jewelries and stones are hidden."
and one who has made, in the judgment of the court, a sufficient
examination of the place or places where the documents or papers of The mere fact that the prosecution failed to introduce any copy of the
similar character are kept by the person in whose custody the document baggage declaration filed by accused, does not entitle her to an acquittal.
lost was, and has been unable to find it. It has been established that accused cleverly hid the assorted jewelries,
appraised at P47,993, beneath the lining of her handbag. It has also been
The loss of the baggage declaration having been duly established, established thru the testimonies of customs authorities that accused
resort to secondary evidence is warranted under our rules of declared that she was carrying personal effects only. Although, according
evidence which provides: to accused, she actually declared that she was carrying assorted
jewelries, this is doubtful considering that she would not have hidden
Section 2. Original Writing must be produced, exceptions.There can the jewelries cleverly beneath the lining of her handbag if she had really
be no evidence of a writing the contents of which is the subject declared them.
inquiry, other than the original writing itself, except in the following
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES Petitioner, vs. MA. IMELDA "IMEE" R. thereto, in order to prevent their destruction, concealment or
MARCOS-MANOTOC, FERDINAND "BONGBONG" R. MARCOS, JR., disappearance which would frustrate or hamper the
GREGORIO MA. ARANETA III, IRENE R. MARCOS-ARANETA, YEUNG investigation or otherwise prevent the Commission from
CHUN FAN, YEUNG CHUN HO, YEUNG CHUN KAM, and PANTRANCO accomplishing its task.
(c) To provisionally take over in the public interest or to prevent
Facts: Petition for Review. its disposal or dissipation, business enterprises and properties
taken over by the government of the Marcos Administration or
This case involves P200 billion of the Marcoses alleged accumulated ill- by entities or persons close to former President Marcos, until the
gotten wealth. It also includes the alleged use of the media networks transactions leading to such acquisition by the latter can be
IBC-13, BBC-2 and RPN-9 for the Marcos familys personal benefit; the disposed of by the appropriate authorities.
alleged use of De Soleil Apparel for dollar salting (dollars are removed
from the Philippines without approval from the Central Bank and Thus, numerous civil and criminal cases were subsequently filed. One of
transferred to an account outside the county); and the alleged illegal the civil cases filed before the Sandiganbayan to recover the Marcoses
acquisition and operation of the bus company Pantranco North Express, alleged ill-gotten wealth is now subject of this Petition.
On 16 July 1987, the PCGG, acting on behalf of the Republic and assisted
After the EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986, the first executive act by the OSG, filed a Complaint for Reversion, Reconveyance, Restitution,
of then President Aquino was to create the PCGG. Pursuant to Executive Accounting and Damages against Marcos, who was later substituted by
Order No. 1, the PCGG was given the following mandate: his estate upon his death; Imelda R. Marcos; and respondents Imee
Marcos-Manotoc, Irene Marcos-Araneta, Bongbong Marcos, Tomas
Sec. 2. The Commission shall be charged with the task of assisting the Manotoc, and Gregorio Araneta III.
President in regard to the following matters:
On 1 October 1987, the PCGG filed an amended Complaint to add
(a) The recovery of all ill-gotten wealth accumulated by former Constante Rubio as defendant. Again on 9 February 1988, it amended
Pres. Marcos, his immediate family, relatives, subordinates and the Complaint, this time to include as defendants Nemesio Co and
close associates, whether located in the Philippines or abroad, respondents Yeung Chun Kam, Yeung Chun Ho, and Yeung Chun Fan. For
including the takeover or sequestration of all business the third time, on 23 April 1990, the PCGG amended its Complaint,
enterprises and entities owned or controlled by them, during his adding to its growing list of defendants Imelda Cojuangco, the estate of
administration, directly or through nominees, by taking undue Ramon Cojuangco, and Prime Holdings, Inc. The PCGG filed a fourth
advantage of their public office and/or using their powers, amended Complaint, which was later denied by the Sandiganbayan.
authority, influence, connections or relationship.
The allegations contained in the Complaint specific to herein
Sec. 3. The Commission shall have the power and authority: respondents are the following:

(a) To conduct investigation as may be necessary in order to 29. Defendants Imee Marcos, Tomas Manotoc, Irene Manotoc, Gregorio
accomplish and carry out the purposes of this order. Ma. Araneta III, and Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., actively collaborated, with
Defendants Ferdinand Marcos and Imelda Marcos among others, in
(b) To sequester or place or cause to be placed under its control confiscating and/or unlawfully appropriating funds and other property,
or possession any building or office wherein any ill-gotten and in concealing the same as described above. In addition, each of the
wealth or properties may be found, and any records pertaining said Defendants, either by taking undue advantage of their relationship
with Defendants Ferdinand E. Marcos and Imelda R. Marcos, or by (b) As a result of the foregoing acts, Defendants acquired the title
reason of the above-described active collaboration, unlawfully acquired to the beneficial interest in funds and other property and
or received property, shares of stocks in corporations, illegal payments concealed such title, funds and interest through the use of
such as commissions, bribes or kickbacks, and other forms of improper relatives, business associates, nominees, agents, or dummies.
privileges, income, revenues and benefits. Defendant Araneta in
particular made use of Asialand Development Corp which is included in 34. Third Cause of Action: UNJUST ENRICHMENT
Annex "A" hereof as corporate vehicle to benefit in the manner stated
above. Defendants illegally accumulated funds and other property whose
estimated value is P 200 billion in violation of the laws of the Philippines
31. Defendants Nemesio Co, Yeung Chun Kam, Yeung Chun Ho and Yeung and in breach of their official functions and fiduciary obligations.
Chun Fan are the controlling stockholders of Glorious Sun Fashion Defendants, therefore, have unjustly enriched themselves to the grave
Manufacturing Corp (Phils.). Through Glorious Sun (Phils.), they acted as and irreparable damage and prejudice of Plaintiff.
fronts or dummies, cronies or otherwise willing tools of spouses
Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos and/or the family, particularly of 35. Fourth Cause of Action: ACCOUNTING
Defendant Imelda (Imee) Marcos-Manotoc, in the illegal salting of
foreign exchange4 by importing denim fabrics from only one supplier a The Commission believes that Defendants, acting singly or collectively,
Hong Kong based corporation which was also owned and controlled by in unlawful concert with one another, and with the active collaboration
defendant Hong Kong investors, at prices much higher than those being of third persons, subject of separate suits, acquired funds, assets and
paid by other users of similar materials to the grave and irreparable property during the incumbency of Defendant public officers, manifestly
damage of Plaintiff. out of proportion to their salaries, to their other lawful income and
income from legitimately acquired property. Consequently, they are
Thus, petitioner set forth the following causes of action in its Complaint:5 required to show to the satisfaction of this Honorable Court that they
have lawfully acquired all such funds, assets and property which are in
32. First Cause of Action: BREACH OF PUBLIC TRUST A public office is excess of their legal net income, and for this Honorable Court to decree
a public trust. By committing all the acts described above, Defendants that the Defendants are under obligation to account to Plaintiff with
repeatedly breached public trust and the law, making them liable respect to all legal or beneficial interests in funds, properties and assets
solidarily to Plaintiff. The funds and other property acquired by of whatever kind and wherever located in excess of the lawful earnings
Defendants following, or as a result of, their breach of public trust, some or lawful income from legitimately acquired property.
of which are mentioned or described above, estimated to amount
to P 200 billion are deemed to have been acquired for the benefit of 36. Fifth Cause of Action LIABILITY FOR DAMAGES
Plaintiff and are, therefore, impressed with constructive trust in favor of
Plaintiff and the Filipino people. (a) By reason of the unlawful acts set forth above, Plaintiff and
the Filipino people have suffered actual damages in an amount
33. Second Cause of Action: ABUSE OF RIGHT AND POWER representing the pecuniary loss sustained by the latter as a result
of the Defendants unlawful acts, the approximate value and
(a) Defendants, in perpetrating the unlawful acts described interest of which, from the time of their wrongful acquisition, are
above, committed abuse of right and power which caused untold estimated at P 200 billion plus expenses which Plaintiff has been
misery, sufferings and damages to Plaintiff. Defendants violated, compelled to incur and shall continue to incur in its effort to
among others Articles 19, 20, and 21 of the Civil Code ; recover Defendants ill-gotten wealth all over the world, which
expenses are reasonably estimated at P 250 million.
(b) As a result of Defendants acts described above, Plaintiff and The Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution admitting the pieces of evidence
the Filipino people had painfully endured and suffered moral while expressing some reservation that their evidentiary value shall be
damages for more than twenty long years, anguish, fright, left to the determination of the Court. Respondents subsequently filed
sleepless nights, serious anxiety, wounded feelings and moral their respective Demurrers to Evidence.
shock as well as besmirched reputation and social humiliation
before the international community. Sandiganbayan granted all the Demurrers to Evidence except the one
filed by Imelda. The Sandiganbayan denied her Demurrer primarily
(c) In addition, Plaintiff and the Filipino people are entitled to because she had categorically admitted that she and her husband owned
temperate damages for their sufferings which, by their very properties enumerated in the Complaint, while stating that these
nature are incapable of pecuniary estimation, but which this properties had been lawfully acquired. The court held that the evidence
Honorable Court may determine presented by petitioner constituted a prima facie case against her,
considering that the value of the properties involved was grossly
(d) Defendants, by reason of the above described unlawful acts, disproportionate to the Marcos spouses lawful income. Thus, this
have violated and invaded the inalienable right of Plaintiff and admission and the fact that Imelda was the compulsory heir and
the Filipino people to a fair and decent way of life befitting a administratrix of the Marcos estate were the primary reasons why the
Nation with rich natural and human resources. This basic and court held that she was responsible for accounting for the funds and
fundamental right of Plaintiff and the Filipino people should be properties alleged to be ill-gotten.
recognized and vindicated by awarding nominal damages in an
amount to be determined by the Honorable Court Secondly, the court pointed out that Rolando Gapud, whose deposition
was taken in Hong Kong, referred to her as one directly involved in
(e) By way of example and correction for the public good and in amassing ill-gotten wealth. The court also considered the compromise
order to ensure that Defendants unlawful, malicious, immoral agreement between petitioner and Antonio Floirendo, who disclosed
and wanton acts are not repeated, said Defendants are solidarily that he had performed several business transactions upon the
liable to Plaintiff for exemplary damages. instructions of the Marcos spouses.

In the meantime, the Pantranco Employees Association-PTGWO (PEA- With regard to the siblings Imee Marcos-Manotoc and Bongbong Marcos,
PTGWO), a union of Pantranco employees, moved to intervene before Jr., the court noted that their involvement in the alleged illegal activities
the Sandiganbayan. The former alleged that the trust funds in the was never established. In fact, they were never mentioned by any of the
account of Pantranco amounting to P 55 million rightfully belonged to witnesses presented. Neither did the documentary evidence pinpoint
the Pantranco employees, pursuant to the money judgment the NLRC any specific involvement of the Marcos children.
awarded in favor of the employees and against Pantranco. Thus, PEA-
PTGWO contested the allegation of petitioner that the assets of Moreover, the court held that the evidence, in particular, exhibits
Pantranco were ill-gotten because, otherwise, these assets would be "P,"8 "Q,"9 "R,"10 "S,"11 and "T,"12 were considered hearsay, because
returned to the government and not to the employees. their originals were not presented in court, nor were they
authenticated by the persons who executed them. Furthermore, the
Thereafter, petitioner presented and formally offered its evidence court pointed out that petitioner failed to provide any valid reason
against herein respondents. However, the latter objected to the why it did not present the originals in court. These exhibits were
offer primarily on the ground that the documents violated the best supposed to show the interests of Imee Marcos-Manotok in the
evidence rule of the Rules of Court, as these documents were media networks IBC-13, BBC-2 and RPN-9, all three of which she
unauthenticated; moreover, petitioner had not provided any had allegedly acquired illegally. These exhibits also sought to prove
reason for its failure to present the originals.
her alleged participation in dollar salting through De Soleil Finally, petitioner questioned the courts ruling that the evidence
Apparel. previously admitted was later held to be inadmissible in evidence
against respondents, thus, depriving the former of due process.
Finally, the court held that the relationship of respondents to the Marcos
spouses was not enough reason to hold the former liable. The court denied petitioners Motion. The court pointed out its
reservation in its Resolution dated 12 March 2002, wherein it said that it
In the matter of the spouses Irene Marcos and Gregorio Araneta III, would still assess and weigh the evidentiary value of the admitted
the court similarly held that there was no testimonial or evidence. Furthermore, it said that even if it included the testimonies of
documentary evidence that supported petitioners allegations petitioners witnesses, these were not substantial to hold respondents
against the couple. Again, petitioner failed to present the original liable.
documents that supposedly supported the allegations against them.
Instead, it merely presented photocopies of documents that sought Issue: Petitioner raises the same issues it raised in its Motion for
to prove how the Marcoses used the Potencianos13 as dummies in Reconsideration filed before the Sandiganbayan.
acquiring and operating the bus company Pantranco.
Held: There is some merit in petitioners contention.
Meanwhile, as far as the Yeungs were concerned, the court found
the allegations against them baseless. Petitioner failed to The Marcos Siblings and
demonstrate how their business, Glorious Sun, was used as a Gregorio Araneta III
vehicle for dollar salting; or to show that they themselves were
dummies of the Marcoses. Again, the court held that the The Marcos siblings are being sued in two capacities: first, as co-
documentary evidence relevant to this allegation was inadmissible conspirators in the alleged accumulation of ill-gotten wealth; and
for being mere photocopies, and that the affiants had not been second, as the compulsory heirs of their father, Ferdinand Marcos.
presented as witnesses.
With regard to the first allegation, as contained in paragraph 29 of its
Finally, the court also granted the Demurrer filed by PEA-PTGWO. While Third Amended Complaint quoted above, petitioner accused the Marcos
the court held that there was no evidence to show that Pantranco was siblings of having collaborated with, participated in, and/or benefitted
illegally acquired, the former nevertheless held that there was a need to from their parents alleged accumulation of ill-gotten wealth. In
first determine the ownership of the disputed funds before they could be particular, as far as Imee Marcos-Manotoc was concerned, she was
ordered released to the rightful owner. accused of dollar salting by using Glorious Sun to import denim fabrics
from one supplier at prices much higher than those paid by other users
Petitioner filed its Motion for Partial Reconsideration, insisting that of similar materials. It was also alleged that the Marcoses personally
there was a preponderance of evidence to show that respondents benefitted from the sequestered media networks IBC-13, BBC-2, and
Marcos siblings and Gregorio Araneta III had connived with their RPN-9, in which Imee Marcos had a substantial interest.
parents in acquiring ill-gotten wealth. It pointed out that respondents
were compulsory heirs to the deposed President and were thus obliged Irene Marcos-Araneta, on the other hand, was accused of having
to render an accounting and to return the ill-gotten wealth. Moreover, conspired with her husband, respondent Gregorio Araneta III, in his
petitioner asserted that the evidence established that the Yeungs were being President Marcos conduit to Pantranco, thereby paving the way
dummies of the Marcoses, and that the Pantranco assets were part of the for the Presidents ownership of the company in violation of Article VII,
Marcoses alleged ill-gotten wealth. Section 4, paragraph 2 of the 1973 Constitution.17
To prove the general allegations against the Marcos siblings, evidence. Should petitioner fail to discharge this burden, the Court is
petitioner primarily relied on the Sworn Statementand the constrained and is left with no choice but to uphold the Demurrer to
Deposition of one of the financial advisors of President Marcos, Evidence filed by respondents.
Rolando Gapud, taken in Hong Kong on various dates.
First, petitioner does not deny that what should be proved are the
Meanwhile, to prove the participation and interests of Imee contents of the documents themselves. It is imperative, therefore,
Marcos-Manotoc in De Soleil Apparel and the media networks, to submit the original documents that could prove petitioners
petitioner relied on the Affidavits of Ramon S. Monzon, Yeung Kwok allegations.
Ying, and Rodolfo V. Puno; and the TSN taken during the PCGG
hearing held on 8 June 1987. Thus, the photocopied documents are in violation Rule 130, Sec. 3
of the Rules of Court, otherwise known as the best evidence rule,
As to spouses Irene Marcos-Araneta and Gregorio Araneta III, which mandates that the evidence must be the original document
petitioner submitted the Articles of Incorporation of Northern itself. The origin of the best evidence rule can be found and traced to as
Express Transport, Inc.; the Memorandum of Agreement and the early as the 18th century in Omychund v. Barker, wherein the Court of
Purchase Agreement between Pantranco and Batangas Laguna Chancery said:
Tayabas Bus Company, Inc. (BLTBCo.); the Confidential
Memorandum regarding the sale of the Pantranco assets; the The judges and sages of the law have laid it down that there is but one
Affidavit and the letter to the PCGG of Dolores A. Potenciano, owner general rule of evidence, the best that the nature of the case will
of BLTBCo.; the Affidavit and the Memorandum of Eduardo Fajardo, admit.
who was then the Senior Vice-President of the Account
Management Group of PNB, which was in turn the creditor for the The rule is, that if the writings have subscribing witnesses to them,
Pantranco sale; and the Affidavit of Florencio P. Lucio, who was the they must be proved by those witnesses.
Senior Account Specialist of the National Investment and
Development Corporation. Petitioner did not even attempt to provide a plausible reason why
the originals were not presented, or any compelling ground why
Petitioner contends that these documents fall under the Rules the court should admit these documents as secondary evidence
third exception, that is, these documents are public records in the absent the testimony of the witnesses who had executed them.
custody of a public officer or are recorded in a public office. It is its
theory that since these documents were collected by the PCGG, In particular, it may not insist that the photocopies of the
then, necessarily, the conditions for the exception to apply had documents fall under Sec. 7 of Rule 130, which states:
been met. Alternatively, it asserts that the "documents were offered
to prove not only the truth of the recitals of the documents, but also Evidence admissible when original document is a public record.
of other external or collateral facts." When the original of a document is in the custody of a public officer
or is recorded in a public office, its contents may be proved be a
Petitioner failed to observe the certified copy issued by the public officer in custody thereof.
best evidence rule.
Secs. 19 and 20 of Rule 132 provide:
It is petitioners burden to prove the allegations in its Complaint. For
relief to be granted, the operative act on how and in what manner the SECTION 19. Classes of documents. For the purpose of their
Marcos siblings participated in and/or benefitted from the acts of the presentation in evidence, documents are either public or private.
Marcos couple must be clearly shown through a preponderance of
Public documents are: custody of these documents, but not as to the contents of the
documents themselves.
(a) The written official acts, or records of the official acts of the
sovereign authority, official bodies and tribunals, and public Neither did petitioner present as witnesses the affiants of these
officers, whether of the Philippines, or of a foreign country; Affidavits or Memoranda submitted to the court. Basic is the rule
that, while affidavits may be considered as public documents if they
(b) Documents acknowledged before a notary public except last are acknowledged before a notary public, these Affidavits are still
wills and testaments; and classified as hearsay evidence. The reason for this rule is that they
are not generally prepared by the affiant, but by another one who
(c) Public records, kept in the Philippines, of private documents uses his or her own language in writing the affiant's statements,
required by law to be entered therein. parts of which may thus be either omitted or misunderstood by the
one writing them. Moreover, the adverse party is deprived of the
All other writings are private. opportunity to cross-examine the affiants. For this reason,
affidavits are generally rejected for being hearsay, unless the
SECTION 20. Proof of private document. Before any private document affiants themselves are placed on the witness stand to testify
offered as authentic is received in evidence, its due execution and thereon.
authenticity must be proved either:
As to the copy of the TSN of the proceedings before the PCGG, while
(a) By anyone who saw the document executed or written; or it may be considered as a public document since it was taken in the
course of the PCGGs exercise of its mandate, it was not attested to
by the legal custodian to be a correct copy of the original. This
(b) By evidence of the genuineness of the signature or
omission falls short of the requirement of Rule 132, Secs. 24 and 25
handwriting of the maker.
of the Rules of Court.
Any other private document need only be identified as that which it is
claimed to be. In summary, we adopt the ruling of the Sandiganbayan, to wit:

The fact that these documents were collected by the PCGG in the Further, again contrary to the theory of the plaintiff, the presentation of
the originals of the aforesaid exhibits is not validly excepted under Rule
course of its investigations does not make them per se public
records referred to in the quoted rule. 130, Section 3 (a), (b), and (d) of the Rules of Court. Under paragraph
(d), when the original document is a public record in the custody of a
public officer or is recorded in a public office, presentation of the
Petitioner presented as witness its records officer, Maria Lourdes
original thereof is excepted. However, as earlier observed, all except one
Magno, who testified that these public and private documents had
of the exhibits introduced by the plaintiff were not necessarily public
been gathered by and taken into the custody of the PCGG in the
documents. The transcript of stenographic notes (TSN) of the
course of the Commissions investigation of the alleged ill-gotten
proceedings purportedly before the PCGG, the plaintiffs exhibit "Q", may
wealth of the Marcoses. However, given the purposes for which
be a public document, but what was presented by the plaintiff was a
these documents were submitted, Magno was not a credible witness
mere photocopy of the purported TSN. The Rules provide that when the
who could testify as to their contents. To reiterate, "[i]f the writings
original document is in the custody of a public officer or is recorded in a
have subscribing witnesses to them, they must be proved by those
public office, its contents may be proved by a certified copy issued by the
witnesses." Witnesses can testify only to those facts which are of
public officer in custody thereof. Exhibit "Q" was not a certified copy and
their personal knowledge; that is, those derived from their own
perception. Thus, Magno could only testify as to how she obtained
it was not even signed by the stenographer who supposedly took down nominal damages, as well as attorneys fees and litigation expenses in an
the proceedings. amount to be proven during the trial; (6) pay exemplary damages in the
amount of P1 billion; and (7) pay treble judicial costs.39
The rest of the above-mentioned exhibits cannot likewise be excepted
under paragraphs (a) and (b) of Section 3. Section 5 of the same Rule It must be stressed that we are faced with exceptional circumstances,
provides that when the original documents has been lost or destroyed, given the nature and the extent of the properties involved in the case
or cannot be produced in court, the offeror, upon proof of its execution pending with the Sandiganbayan. It bears emphasis that the Complaint is
or existence and the cause of its unavailability without bad faith on his one for the reversion, the reconveyance, the restitution and the
part, may prove its contents by a copy, or by a recital of its contents in accounting of alleged ill-gotten wealth and the payment of damages.
some authentic document, or by the testimony of witnesses in the order Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the court is charged with the
stated. Thus, in order that secondary evidence may be admissible, there task of (1) determining the properties in the Marcos estate that
must be proof by satisfactory evidence of (1) due execution of the constitute the alleged ill-gotten wealth; (2) tracing where these
original; (2) loss, destruction or unavailability of all such originals and properties are; (3) issuing the appropriate orders for the accounting, the
(3) reasonable diligence and good faith in the search for or attempt to recovery, and the payment of these properties; and, finally, (4)
produce the original. None of these requirements were complied with by determining if the award of damages is proper.
the plaintiff. Similar to exhibit Q, exhibits P, R, S, and T were all
photocopies. P, R, and T were affidavits of persons who did not testify Since the pending case before the Sandiganbayan survives the death of
before the Court. Exhibit S is a letter which is clearly a private Ferdinand E. Marcos, it is imperative therefore that the estate be duly
document. Not only does it not fall within the exceptions of Section 3, it represented. The purpose behind this rule is the protection of the right
is also a mere photocopy. As We previously emphasized, even if originals to due process of every party to a litigation who may be affected by the
of these affidavits were presented, they would still be considered intervening death. The deceased litigant is himself protected, as he
hearsay evidence if the affiants do not testify and identify them.38 continues to be properly represented in the suit through the duly
appointed legal representative of his estate.40 On that note, we take
Thus, absent any convincing evidence to hold otherwise, it follows that judicial notice of the probate proceedings regarding the will of
petitioner failed to prove that the Marcos siblings and Gregorio Araneta Ferdinand E. Marcos. In Republic of the Philippines v. Marcos II,41 we
III collaborated with former President Marcos and Imelda R. Marcos and upheld the grant by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of letters
participated in the first couples alleged accumulation of ill-gotten testamentary in solidum to Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. and Imelda
wealth insofar as the specific allegations herein were concerned. Romualdez-Marcos as executors of the last will and testament of the late
Ferdinand E. Marcos.
The Marcos siblings are compulsory heirs.
Unless the executors of the Marcos estate or the heirs are ready to waive
To reiterate, in its third Amended Complaint, petitioner prays that the in favor of the state their right to defend or protect the estate or those
Marcos respondents be made to (1) pay for the value of the alleged ill- properties found to be ill-gotten in their possession, control or
gotten wealth with interest from the date of acquisition; (2) render a ownership, then they may not be dropped as defendants in the civil case
complete accounting and inventory of all funds and other pieces of pending before the Sandiganbayan.
property legally or beneficially held and/or controlled by them, as well
as their legal and beneficial interest therein; (3) pay actual damages Rule 3, Sec. 7 of the Rules of Court defines indispensable parties as those
estimated at P200 billion and additional actual damages to reimburse parties-in-interest without whom there can be no final determination of
expenses for the recovery of the alleged ill-gotten wealth estimated an action. They are those parties who possess such an interest in the
at P250 million or in such amount as may be proven during trial; (4) pay controversy that a final decree would necessarily affect their rights, so
moral damages amounting to P50 billion; (5) pay temperate and that the courts cannot proceed without their presence. Parties are
indispensable if their interest in the subject matter of the suit and in the without interruption from the instant of the death of the decedent,
relief sought is inextricably intertwined with that of the other parties.42 in case the inheritance be accepted." And Manresa with reason states
that upon the death of a person, each of his heirs "becomes the
In order to reach a final determination of the matters concerning the undivided owner of the whole estate left with respect to the part or
estate of Ferdinand E. Marcos that is, the accounting and the recovery portion which might be adjudicated to him, a community of
of ill-gotten wealth the present case must be maintained against ownership being thus formed among the coowners of the estate
Imelda Marcos and herein respondent Ferdinand "Bongbong" R. Marcos, while it remains undivided." (3 Manresa, 357; Alcala vs. Alcala, 35 Phil.
Jr., as executors of the Marcos estate pursuant to Sec. 1 of Rule 87 of the 679.) And according to article 399 of the Civil Code, every part owner
Rules of Court. According to this provision, actions may be commenced may assign or mortgage his part in the common property, and the
to recover from the estate, real or personal property, or an interest effect of such assignment or mortgage shall be limited to the portion
therein, or to enforce a lien thereon; and actions to recover damages for which may be allotted him in the partition upon the dissolution of the
an injury to person or property, real or personal, may be commenced community. Hence, in the case of Ramirez vs. Bautista, 14 Phil. 528,
against the executors. where some of the heirs, without the concurrence of the others,
sold a property left by their deceased father, this Court, speaking
We also hold that the action must likewise be maintained against Imee thru its then Chief Justice Cayetano Arellano, said that the sale was
Marcos-Manotoc and Irene Marcos-Araneta on the basis of the non- valid, but that the effect thereof was limited to the share which may
exhaustive list attached as Annex "A" to the Third Amended Complaint, be allotted to the vendors upon the partition of the estate.
which states that the listed properties therein were owned by Ferdinand (Emphasis supplied)
and Imelda Marcos and their immediate family.43 It is only during the
trial of Civil Case No. 0002 before the Sandiganbayan that there could be Lastly, petitioners prayer in its Third Amended Complaint directly
a determination of whether these properties are indeed ill-gotten or refers to herein respondents, to wit:
were legitimately acquired by respondents and their predecessors. Thus,
while it was not proven that respondents conspired in accumulating ill- 1. AS TO THE FIRST SECOND AND THIRD CAUSES OF ACTION
gotten wealth, they may be in possession, ownership or control of such To return and reconvey to Plaintiff all funds and other
ill-gotten properties or the proceeds thereof as heirs of the Marcos property acquired by Defendants during their incumbency as
couple. Thus, their lack of participation in any illegal act does not public officers,
remove the character of the property as ill-gotten and, therefore, as
rightfully belonging to the State. 2. AS TO THE FOURTH CAUSE OF ACTION to individually
render to this Honorable Court a complete accounting and
Secondly, under the rules of succession, the heirs instantaneously inventory,
became co-owners of the Marcos properties upon the death of the
President. The property rights and obligations to the extent of the value In sum, the Marcos siblings are maintained as respondents, because (1)
of the inheritance of a person are transmitted to another through the the action pending before the Sandiganbayan is one that survives death,
decedents death.44 In this concept, nothing prevents the heirs from and, therefore, the rights to the estate must be duly protected; (2) they
exercising their right to transfer or dispose of the properties that allegedly control, possess or own ill-gotten wealth, though their direct
constitute their legitimes, even absent their declaration or absent the involvement in accumulating or acquiring such wealth may not have
partition or the distribution of the estate. In Jakosalem v. Rafols,45 we been proven.
Yeung Chun Kam, Yeung Chun
Article 440 of the Civil Code provides that "the possession of Ho And Yeung Chun Fan
hereditary property is deemed to be transmitted to the heir
It is worthy to note that respondents draw our attention to American that Imee Marcos-Manotoc is the owner of 67% equity of De Soleil
Inter-Fashion Corporation v. Office of the President in which they Apparel. The letter dated July 17, 1984 signed by seven (7)
contend that this Court considered the allegation of dollar salting as incorporators of De Soleil Apparel, addressed to Hongkong investors
baseless. The cited case, however, finds no application herein as the which was presented as Exhibit S confirmed that the signatories hold or
former merely ruled that Glorious Sun was denied due process when it own 67% equity of the corporation in behalf of the beneficial owners
was not furnished by the Garments and Textile Export Board (GTEB) any previously disclosed to the addressees. In addition to the foregoing
basis for the cancellation of the export quota because of allegations of documents, petitioner presented the Affidavit of Rodolfo V. Puno,
dollar salting. That Decision did not prevent petitioner from adducing Chairman of the Garments and Textile Export Group (GTEB) as Exhibit
evidence to support its allegation in Civil Case No. 0002 before the T wherein he categorically declared that the majority of De Soleil
Sandiganbayan under a different cause of action. Apparel was actually owned by respondent Imee Marcos-Manotoc.47

Nevertheless, the allegations against Yeung Chun Kam, Yeung Chun Ho The foregoing quotation from the Petition is bereft of any factual matter
and Yeung Chun Fan in the case at bar were also proved to be baseless. that warrants a consideration by the Court. Straight from the horses
Again, petitioner failed to illustrate how respondents herein acted as mouth, these documents are only meant to show the ownership and
dummies of the Marcoses in acquiring ill-gotten wealth. This Court notes interest of Imee Marcos Manotoc in De Soleil and not how respondent
that the Complaint against the Yeungs alleges that the Marcoses used supposedly participated in dollar salting or in the accumulation of ill-
Glorious Sun the garment company in which the Yeungs are controlling gotten wealth.
stockholders for illegal dollar salting through the companys
importation of denim fabrics from only one supplier at prices much PEA-PTGWO
higher than those being paid by other users of similar materials. Notably,
no mention of De Soleil Apparel was made. The PEA-PTGWO Demurrer to Evidence was granted primarily as a
consequence of the prosecutions failure to establish that the assets of
To prove its allegations, petitioner submitted the controverted Exhibits Pantranco were ill-gotten, as discussed earlier. Thus, we find no error in
"P," "Q," "R," "S," and "T." As earlier discussed in detail, these pieces of the assailed Order of the Sandiganbayan.
evidence were mere photocopies of the originals and were
unauthenticated by the persons who executed them; thus, they have no A Final Note
probative value. Even the allegations of petitioner itself in its Petition for
Review are bereft of any factual basis for holding that these documents As earlier adverted to, the best evidence rule has been recognized as an
undoubtedly show respondents participation in the alleged dollar evidentiary standard since the 18th century. For three centuries, it has
salting. The pertinent portion of the Petition reads: been practiced as one of the most basic rules in law. It is difficult to
conceive that one could have finished law school and passed the bar
To illustrate, the Affidavit dated May 29, 1987 executed by Mr. Ramon examinations without knowing such elementary rule. Thus, it is deeply
Monzon which was submitted as Exhibit P, showed that respondent disturbing that the PCGG and the (OSG the very agencies sworn to
Imee Marcos-Manotoc owns and controls IBC-13, BBC-2 and (R)PN-9, protect the interest of the state and its people could conduct their
and has interest in the De Soleil Apparel. The testimony of Mr. Ramon prosecution in the manner that they did. To emphasize, the PCGG is a
Monzon during the hearing on June 8, 1987 before the Presidential highly specialized office focused on the recovery of ill-gotten wealth,
Commission on Good Government as shown in the Transcript of while the OSG is the principal legal defender of the government. The
Stenographic Notes also affirmed his declarations in the Affidavit dated lawyers of these government agencies are expected to be the best in the
May 29, 1987. The Transcript of Stenographic Notes dated June 8, 1987 legal profession.
was presented as Exhibit Q. Moreover, the Affidavit dated March 21,
1986 of Yeung Kwok Ying which was presented asExhibit R disclosed
However, despite having the expansive resources of government, the we likewise found that the trial court was gravely remiss in its duty to
members of the prosecution did not even bother to provide any reason ferret out the truth and, instead, just "passively watched as the public
whatsoever for their failure to present the original documents or the prosecutor bungled the case."
witnesses to support the governments claims. Even worse was
presenting in evidence a photocopy of the TSN of the PCGG proceedings However, it must be emphasized that Merciales was filed exactly to
instead of the original, or a certified true copy of the original, which the determine whether the prosecution and the trial court gravely abused
prosecutors themselves should have had in their custody. Such manner their discretion in the proceedings of the case, thus resulting in the
of legal practice deserves the reproof of this Court. We are constrained denial of the offended partys due process. Meanwhile, the present case
to call attention to this apparently serious failure to follow a most basic merely alleges that there was an error in the Sandiganbayans
rule in law, given the special circumstances surrounding this case. consideration of the probative value of evidence. We also note that in
Merciales, both the prosecution and the trial court were found to be
The public prosecutors should employ and use all government resources equally guilty of serious nonfeasance, which prompted us to remand the
and powers efficiently, effectively, honestly and economically, case to the trial court for further proceedings and reception of evidence.
particularly to avoid wastage of public funds and revenues. They should Merciales is thus inapplicable to the case at bar.
perform and discharge their duties with the highest degree of excellence,
professionalism, intelligence and skill. Nevertheless, given the particular context of this case, the failure of the
prosecution to adhere to something as basic as the best evidence rule
The basic ideal of the legal profession is to render service and secure raises serious doubts on the level and quality of effort given to the
justice for those seeking its aid.49 In order to do this, lawyers are governments cause. Thus, we highly encourage the Office of the
required to observe and adhere to the highest ethical and professional President, the OSG, and the PCGG to conduct the appropriate
standards. The legal profession is so imbued with public interest that its investigation and consequent action on this matter.
practitioners are accountable not only to their clients, but to the public
as well.

The public prosecutors, aside from being representatives of the Presidential Decree No. 1883, Sec. 2 defines salting of foreign

government and the state, are, first and foremost, officers of the court. exchange as when any person engaged in the business of exporting
They took the oath to exert every effort and to consider it their duty to underdeclares or undervalues his exports, either as to price or quantity,
assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice.50 Lawyers or any person engaged in the business of importation overvalues or
owe fidelity to the cause of the client and should be mindful of the trust overdeclares his importations, either as to price or quantity, for the
and confidence reposed in them.51 Hence, should serve with competence purpose of salting and retaining foreign exchange abroad in violation of
and diligence.52 existing laws and Central Bank rules and regulations.

We note that there are instances when this Court may overturn the [8] Affidavit of Ramon S. Monzon.
dismissal of the lower courts in instances when it is shown that the
prosecution has deprived the parties their due process of law. In [9] TSN taken during the hearing held before the PCGG on the 6th Floor,
Merciales v. Court of Appeals,53we reversed the Decision of the RTC in Philcomcen Building, Ortigas Avenue, on 8 June 1987.
dismissing the criminal case for rape with homicide. In that case, it was
very apparent that the public prosecutor violated the due process rights [10] Affidavit of Yeung Kwok Ying.
of the private complainant owing to its blatant disregard of procedural
rules and the failure to present available crucial evidence, which would [11] Letter of Paulino Petralba to Yeung Chun Kam, Yeung Chun Ho, and
tend to prove the guilt or innocence of the accused therein. Moreover, Arcie Chan.
[12] Affidavit of Rodolfo V. Puno.

[13] Max B. Potenciano, Max Joseph A. Potenciano, and Dolores A.

Potenciano were owners of Batangas Laguna Tayabas Bus Company
(BLTBCo.). In line with the governments privatization program, the
assets of Pantranco were sold to the BLTBCo. in 1985. The Potencianos
thereafter incorporated Pantranco as a private corporation

[17] (2) The President and the Vice-President shall not, during their
tenure, hold any other office, except when otherwise provided in this
Constitution, nor may they practice any profession, participate directly
or indirectly in any business, or be financially interested directly or
indirectly in any contract with, or in any franchise or special privilege
granted by the Government or any subdivision, agency, or
instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled
LITO CORPUZ, Petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE Pesos (P98,000.00), Philippine currency, under expressed obligation on
PHILIPPINES, Respondent. (PERALTA, J.) the part of said accused to remit the proceeds of the sale of the said
items or to return the same, if not sold, said accused, once in possession
This is to resolve the Petition for Review on Certiorari, under Rule 45 of of the said items, with intent to defraud, and with unfaithfulness and
the Rules of Court, dated November 5, 2007, of petitioner Lito Corpuz abuse of confidence, and far from complying with his aforestated
(petitioner), seeking to reverse and set aside the Decision1 dated March obligation, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously
22, 2007 and Resolution2 dated September 5, 2007 of the Court of misappropriate, misapply and convert to his own personal use and
Appeals (CA), which affirmed with modification the Decision3 dated July benefit the aforesaid jewelries (sic) or the proceeds of the sale thereof,
30, 2004 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 46, San Fernando and despite repeated demands, the accused failed and refused to return
City, finding the petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime the said items or to remit the amount of Ninety- Eight Thousand Pesos
of Estafa under Article 315, paragraph (1), sub-paragraph (b) of the (P98,000.00), Philippine currency, to the damage and prejudice of said
Revised Penal Code. Danilo Tangcoy in the aforementioned amount.

The antecedent facts follow. CONTRARY TO LAW.

Private complainant Danilo Tangcoy and petitioner met at the Admiral On January 28, 1992, petitioner, with the assistance of his counsel,
Royale Casino in Olongapo City sometime in 1990. Private complainant entered a plea of not guilty. Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued.
was then engaged in the business of lending money to casino players
and, upon hearing that the former had some pieces of jewelry for sale, The prosecution, to prove the above-stated facts, presented the lone
petitioner approached him on May 2, 1991 at the same casino and testimony of Danilo Tangcoy. On the other hand, the defense presented
offered to sell the said pieces of jewelry on commission basis. Private the lone testimony of petitioner, which can be summarized, as follows:
complainant agreed, and as a consequence, he turned over to petitioner
the following items: an 18k diamond ring for men; a woman's bracelet; Petitioner and private complainant were collecting agents of Antonio
one (1) men's necklace and another men's bracelet, with an aggregate Balajadia, who is engaged in the financing business of extending loans to
value of P98,000.00, as evidenced by a receipt of even date. They both Base employees. For every collection made, they earn a commission.
agreed that petitioner shall remit the proceeds of the sale, and/or, if Petitioner denied having transacted any business with private
unsold, to return the same items, within a period of 60 days. The period complainant.
expired without petitioner remitting the proceeds of the sale or
returning the pieces of jewelry. When private complainant was able to However, he admitted obtaining a loan from Balajadia sometime in 1989
meet petitioner, the latter promised the former that he will pay the value for which he was made to sign a blank receipt. He claimed that the same
of the said items entrusted to him, but to no avail. receipt was then dated May 2, 1991 and used as evidence against him for
the supposed agreement to sell the subject pieces of jewelry, which he
Thus, an Information was filed against petitioner for the crime of estafa, did not even see.
which reads as follows:
After trial, the RTC found petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
That on or about the fifth (5th) day of July 1991, in the City of Olongapo, the crime charged in the Information. The dispositive portion of the
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the decision states:
above-named accused, after having received from one Danilo Tangcoy,
one (1) men's diamond ring, 18k, worth P45,000.00; one (1) three-baht WHEREFORE, finding accused LITO CORPUZ GUILTY beyond reasonable
men's bracelet, 22k, worth P25,000.00; one (1) two-baht ladies' bracelet, doubt of the felony of Estafa under Article 315, paragraph one (1),
22k, worth P12,000.00, or in the total amount of Ninety-Eight Thousand subparagraph (b) of the Revised Penal Code;
there being no offsetting generic aggravating nor ordinary mitigating 1. THE INFORMATION DID NOT FIX A PERIOD WITHIN
circumstance/s to vary the penalty imposable; WHICH THE SUBJECT [PIECES OF] JEWELRY SHOULD BE
accordingly, the accused is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of REMITTED, IF SOLD;
deprivation of liberty consisting of an imprisonment under the
of Prision Correccional in its medium period AS MINIMUM, to ALLEGED IN THE INFORMATION AS OF 05 JULY 1991
in its minimum period AS MAXIMUM; to indemnify private complainant TESTIFIED TO BY THE PRIVATE COMPLAINANT WHICH
Danilo Tangcoy the amount of P98,000.00 as actual damages, and to pay WAS 02 MAY 1991;
the costs of suit.
The case was elevated to the CA, however, the latter denied the appeal of AN ELEMENT OF THE OFFENSE WAS PROVED;
petitioner and affirmed the decision of the RTC, thus:
dated July 30, 2004 of the RTC of San Fernando City (P), Branch 46, is PROVEN BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT ALTHOUGH -
hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION on the imposable prison term,
such that accused-appellant shall suffer the indeterminate penalty of 4 1. THE PRIVATE COMPLAINANT TESTIFIED ON TWO (2)
years and 2 months of prision correccional, as minimum, to 8 years of VERSIONS OF THE INCIDENT;
prision mayor, as maximum, plus 1 year for each additional P10,000.00,
or a total of 7 years. The rest of the decision stands. 2. THE VERSION OF THE PETITIONER ACCUSED IS

Petitioner, after the CA denied his motion for reconsideration, filed with 3. THE EQUIPOISE RULE WAS NOT APPRECIATED IN
this Court the present petition stating the following grounds: AND APPLIED TO THIS CASE;

MERE MACHINE COPIES, AS THIS VIOLATES THE BEST EVIDENCE In its Comment dated May 5, 2008, the Office of the Solicitor General
RULE; (OSG) stated the following counter-arguments:

B. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE The exhibits were properly admitted inasmuch as petitioner failed to
NOT CHARGE THE OFFENSE UNDER ARTICLE 315 (1) (B) OF THE The information was not defective inasmuch as it sufficiently established
REVISED PENAL CODE IN THAT - the designation of the offense and the acts complained of.
The prosecution sufficiently established all the elements of the crime x x x An information is legally viable as long as it distinctly states the
charged. statutory designation of the offense and the acts or omissions
constitutive thereof. Then Section 6, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court
This Court finds the present petition devoid of any merit. provides that a complaint or information is sufficient if it states the name
of the accused;
The factual findings of the appellate court generally are conclusive, and
carry even more weight when said court affirms the findings of the trial the designation of the offense by the statute; the acts or omissions
court, absent any showing that the findings are totally devoid of support complained of as constituting the offense; the name of the offended
in the records, or that they are so glaringly erroneous as to constitute party; the approximate time of the commission of the offense, and the
grave abuse of discretion.4 Petitioner is of the opinion that the CA erred place wherein the offense was committed. In the case at bar, a reading of
in affirming the factual findings of the trial court. He now comes to this the subject Information shows compliance with the foregoing rule. That
Court raising both procedural and substantive issues. the time of the commission of the offense was stated as " on or about the
fifth (5th) day of July, 1991" is not likewise fatal to the prosecution's
According to petitioner, the CA erred in affirming the ruling of the trial cause considering that Section 11 of the same Rule requires a statement
court, admitting in evidence a receipt dated May 2, 1991 marked as of the precise time only when the same is a material ingredient of the
Exhibit "A" and its submarkings, although the same was merely a offense. The gravamen of the crime of estafa under Article 315,
photocopy, thus, violating the best evidence rule. However, the records paragraph 1 (b) of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) is the appropriation or
show that petitioner never objected to the admissibility of the said conversion of money or property received to the prejudice of the
evidence at the time it was identified, marked and testified upon in court offender. Thus, aside from the fact that the date of the commission
by private complainant. The CA also correctly pointed out that petitioner thereof is not an essential element of the crime herein charged, the
also failed to raise an objection in his Comment to the prosecution's failure of the prosecution to specify the exact date does not render the
formal offer of evidence and even admitted having signed the said Information ipso facto defective. Moreover, the said date is also near the
receipt. The established doctrine is that when a party failed to interpose due date within which accused-appellant should have delivered the
a timely objection to evidence at the time they were offered in evidence, proceeds or returned the said [pieces of jewelry] as testified upon by
such objection shall be considered as waived.5 Tangkoy, hence, there was sufficient compliance with the rules. Accused-
appellant, therefore, cannot now be allowed to claim that he was not
Another procedural issue raised is, as claimed by petitioner, the formally properly apprised of the charges proferred against him.7
defective Information filed against him. He contends that the
Information does not contain the period when the pieces of jewelry were It must be remembered that petitioner was convicted of the crime of
supposed to be returned and that the date when the crime occurred was Estafa under Article 315, paragraph 1 (b) of the RPC, which reads:
different from the one testified to by private complainant. This argument
is untenable. The CA did not err in finding that the Information was ART. 315. Swindling (estafa). Any person who shall defraud another by
substantially complete and in reiterating that objections as to the any of the means mentioned hereinbelow.
matters of form and substance in the Information cannot be made for the
first time on appeal. It is true that the gravamen of the crime of estafa 1. With unfaithfulness or abuse of confidence, namely:
under Article 315, paragraph 1, subparagraph (b) of the RPC is the
appropriation or conversion of money or property received to the xxxx
prejudice of the owner6 and that the time of occurrence is not a material
ingredient of the crime, hence, the exclusion of the period and the wrong (b) By misappropriating or converting, to the prejudice of another,
date of the occurrence of the crime, as reflected in the Information, do money, goods, or any other personal property received by the offender
not make the latter fatally defective. The CA ruled: in trust or on commission, or for administration, or under any other
obligation involving the duty to make delivery of or to return the same, a Yes, sir.
even though such obligation be totally or partially guaranteed by a bond;
or by denying having received such money, goods, or other property; x x q Did you go there?
a Yes, sir.
The elements of estafa with abuse of confidence are as follows: (a) that
money, goods or other personal property is received by the offender in q Did you find him?
trust, or on commission, or for administration, or under any other
obligation involving the duty to make delivery of, or to return the same; a No, sir.
(b) that there be misappropriation or conversion of such money or
property by the offender or denial on his part of such receipt; (c) that q Were you able to talk to him since 5 July 1991?
such misappropriation or conversion or denial is to the prejudice of
another; and (d) that there is a demand made by the offended party on a I talked to him, sir.
the offender.8
q How many times?
Petitioner argues that the last element, which is, that there is a demand
by the offended party on the offender, was not proved. This Court
a Two times, sir.
disagrees. In his testimony, private complainant narrated how he was
able to locate petitioner after almost two (2) months from the time he
gave the pieces of jewelry and asked petitioner about the same items q What did you talk (sic) to him?
with the latter promising to pay them. Thus:
a About the items I gave to (sic) him, sir.
q Referring to Exhibit A-2?
q Now, Mr. Witness, this was executed on 2 May 1991, and this
transaction could have been finished on 5 July 1991, the question is what a Yes, sir, and according to him he will take his obligation and I asked
happens (sic) when the deadline came? him where the items are and he promised me that he will pay these
amount, sir.
a I went looking for him, sir.
q Up to this time that you were here, were you able to collect from him
q For whom? partially or full?

a Lito Corpuz, sir. a No, sir.9

q Were you able to look (sic) for him? No specific type of proof is required to show that there was
demand.10 Demand need not even be formal; it may be verbal.11 The
specific word "demand" need not even be used to show that it has
a I looked for him for a week, sir.
indeed been made upon the person charged, since even a mere query as
to the whereabouts of the money [in this case, property], would be
q Did you know his residence?
tantamount to a demand.12 As expounded in Asejo v. People:13
With regard to the necessity of demand, we agree with the CA that oversight of some fact or circumstance of weight and influence,
demand under this kind of estafa need not be formal or written. The especially when such finding is affirmed by the CA.16 Truth is established
appellate court observed that the law is silent with regard to the form of not by the number of witnesses, but by the quality of their testimonies,
demand in estafa under Art. 315 1(b), thus: for in determining the value and credibility of evidence, the witnesses
are to be weighed not numbered.17
When the law does not qualify, We should not qualify. Should a written
demand be necessary, the law would have stated so. Otherwise, the word As regards the penalty, while this Court's Third Division was
"demand" should be interpreted in its general meaning as to include deliberating on this case, the question of the continued validity of
both written and oral demand. Thus, the failure of the prosecution to imposing on persons convicted of crimes involving property came up.
present a written demand as evidence is not fatal. The legislature apparently pegged these penalties to the value of the
money and property in 1930 when it enacted the Revised Penal Code.
In Tubb v. People, where the complainant merely verbally inquired Since the members of the division reached no unanimity on this question
about the money entrusted to the accused, we held that the query was and since the issues are of first impression, they decided to refer the case
tantamount to a demand, thus: to the Court en banc for consideration and resolution. Thus, several
amici curiae were invited at the behest of the Court to give their
x x x [T]he law does not require a demand as a condition precedent to academic opinions on the matter. Among those that graciously complied
the existence of the crime of embezzlement. It so happens only that were Dean Jose Manuel Diokno, Dean Sedfrey M. Candelaria, Professor
failure to account, upon demand for funds or property held in trust, is Alfredo F. Tadiar, the Senate President, and the Speaker of the House of
circumstantial evidence of misappropriation. The same way, however, Representatives. The parties were later heard on oral arguments before
be established by other proof, such as that introduced in the case at the Court en banc, with Atty. Mario L. Bautista appearing as counsel de
bar.14 oficio of the petitioner.

In view of the foregoing and based on the records, the prosecution was After a thorough consideration of the arguments presented on the
able to prove the existence of all the elements of the crime. Private matter, this Court finds the following:
complainant gave petitioner the pieces of jewelry in trust, or on
commission basis, as shown in the receipt dated May 2, 1991 with an There seems to be a perceived injustice brought about by the range of
obligation to sell or return the same within sixty (60) days, if unsold. penalties that the courts continue to impose on crimes against property
There was misappropriation when petitioner failed to remit the committed today, based on the amount of damage measured by the
proceeds of those pieces of jewelry sold, or if no sale took place, failed to value of money eighty years ago in 1932. However, this Court cannot
return the same pieces of jewelry within or after the agreed period modify the said range of penalties because that would constitute judicial
despite demand from the private complainant, to the prejudice of the legislation. What the legislature's perceived failure in amending the
latter. penalties provided for in the said crimes cannot be remedied through
this Court's decisions, as that would be encroaching upon the power of
Anent the credibility of the prosecution's sole witness, which is another branch of the government. This, however, does not render the
questioned by petitioner, the same is unmeritorious. Settled is the rule whole situation without any remedy. It can be appropriately presumed
that in assessing the credibility of witnesses, this Court gives great that the framers of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) had anticipated this
respect to the evaluation of the trial court for it had the unique matter by including Article 5, which reads:
opportunity to observe the demeanor of witnesses and their deportment
on the witness stand, an opportunity denied the appellate courts, which ART. 5. Duty of the court in connection with acts which should be
merely rely on the records of the case.15 The assessment by the trial repressed but which are not covered by the law, and in cases of
court is even conclusive and binding if not tainted with arbitrariness or excessive penalties. - Whenever a court has knowledge of any act which
it may deem proper to repress and which is not punishable by law, it Under the provisions of this article the Court cannot suspend the
shall render the proper decision, and shall report to the Chief Executive, execution of a sentence on the ground that the strict enforcement of the
through the Department of Justice, the reasons which induce the court to provisions of this Code would cause excessive or harsh penalty. All that
believe that said act should be made the subject of penal legislation. the Court could do in such eventuality is to report the matter to the Chief
Executive with a recommendation for an amendment or modification of
In the same way, the court shall submit to the Chief Executive, through the legal provisions which it believes to be harsh.20
the Department of Justice, such statement as may be deemed proper,
without suspending the execution of the sentence, when a strict Anent the non-suspension of the execution of the sentence, retired Chief
enforcement of the provisions of this Code would result in the Justice Ramon C. Aquino and retired Associate Justice Carolina C. Grio-
imposition of a clearly excessive penalty, taking into consideration the Aquino, in their book, The Revised Penal Code,21 echoed the above-cited
degree of malice and the injury caused by the offense.18 commentary, thus:

The first paragraph of the above provision clearly states that for acts The second paragraph of Art. 5 is an application of the humanitarian
bourne out of a case which is not punishable by law and the court finds it principle that justice must be tempered with mercy. Generally, the
proper to repress, the remedy is to render the proper decision and courts have nothing to do with the wisdom or justness of the penalties
thereafter, report to the Chief Executive, through the Department of fixed by law. "Whether or not the penalties prescribed by law upon
Justice, the reasons why the same act should be the subject of penal conviction of violations of particular statutes are too severe or are not
legislation. The premise here is that a deplorable act is present but is not severe enough, are questions as to which commentators on the law may
the subject of any penal legislation, thus, the court is tasked to inform fairly differ; but it is the duty of the courts to enforce the will of the
the Chief Executive of the need to make that act punishable by law legislator in all cases unless it clearly appears that a given penalty falls
through legislation. The second paragraph is similar to the first except within the prohibited class of excessive fines or cruel and unusual
for the situation wherein the act is already punishable by law but the punishment." A petition for clemency should be addressed to the Chief
corresponding penalty is deemed by the court as excessive. The remedy Executive.22
therefore, as in the first paragraph is not to suspend the execution of the
sentence but to submit to the Chief Executive the reasons why the court There is an opinion that the penalties provided for in crimes against
considers the said penalty to be non-commensurate with the act property be based on the current inflation rate or at the ratio of P1.00 is
committed. Again, the court is tasked to inform the Chief Executive, this equal to P100.00 . However, it would be dangerous as this would result
time, of the need for a legislation to provide the proper penalty. in uncertainties, as opposed to the definite imposition of the penalties. It
must be remembered that the economy fluctuates and if the proposed
In his book, Commentaries on the Revised Penal Code,19 Guillermo B. imposition of the penalties in crimes against property be adopted, the
Guevara opined that in Article 5, the duty of the court is merely to report penalties will not cease to change, thus, making the RPC, a self-amending
to the Chief Executive, with a recommendation for an amendment or law. Had the framers of the RPC intended that to be so, it should have
modification of the legal provisions which it believes to be harsh. Thus: provided the same, instead, it included the earlier cited Article 5 as a
remedy. It is also improper to presume why the present legislature has
This provision is based under the legal maxim "nullum crimen, nulla not made any moves to amend the subject penalties in order to conform
poena sige lege," that is, that there can exist no punishable act except with the present times. For all we know, the legislature intends to retain
those previously and specifically provided for by penal statute. the same penalties in order to deter the further commission of those
punishable acts which have increased tremendously through the years.
No matter how reprehensible an act is, if the law-making body does not In fact, in recent moves of the legislature, it is apparent that it aims to
deem it necessary to prohibit its perpetration with penal sanction, the broaden the coverage of those who violate penal laws. In the crime of
Court of justice will be entirely powerless to punish such act. Plunder, from its original minimum amount of P100,000,000.00
plundered, the legislature lowered it toP50,000,000.00. In the same way, 7. Arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos, if the theft is
the legislature lowered the threshold amount upon which the Anti- committed under the circumstances enumerated in paragraph 3
Money Laundering Act may apply, from P1,000,000.00 to P500,000.00. of the next preceding article and the value of the thing stolen
does not exceed 5 pesos. If such value exceeds said amount, the
It is also worth noting that in the crimes of Theft and Estafa, the present provision of any of the five preceding subdivisions shall be made
penalties do not seem to be excessive compared to the proposed applicable.
imposition of their corresponding penalties. In Theft, the provisions
state that: 8. Arresto menor in its minimum period or a fine not exceeding
50 pesos, when the value of the thing stolen is not over 5 pesos,
Art. 309. Penalties. Any person guilty of theft shall be punished by: and the offender shall have acted under the impulse of hunger,
poverty, or the difficulty of earning a livelihood for the support of
1. The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum and medium himself or his family.
periods, if the value of the thing stolen is more than 12,000 pesos
but does not exceed 22,000 pesos, but if the value of the thing In a case wherein the value of the thing stolen is P6,000.00, the above-
stolen exceeds the latter amount the penalty shall be the provision states that the penalty is prision correccional in its minimum
maximum period of the one prescribed in this paragraph, and and medium periods (6 months and 1 day to 4 years and 2 months).
one year for each additional ten thousand pesos, but the total of Applying the proposal, if the value of the thing stolen is P6,000.00, the
the penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed twenty penalty is imprisonment of arresto mayor in its medium period to
years. In such cases, and in connection with the accessory prision correccional minimum period (2 months and 1 day to 2 years
penalties which may be imposed and for the purpose of the other and 4 months). It would seem that under the present law, the penalty
provisions of this Code, the penalty shall be termed prision imposed is almost the same as the penalty proposed. In fact, after the
mayor or reclusion temporal, as the case may be. application of the Indeterminate Sentence Law under the existing law,
the minimum penalty is still lowered by one degree; hence, the minimum
2. The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and penalty is arresto mayor in its medium period to maximum period (2
maximum periods, if the value of the thing stolen is more than months and 1 day to 6 months), making the offender qualified for
6,000 pesos but does not exceed 12,000 pesos. pardon or parole after serving the said minimum period and may even
apply for probation. Moreover, under the proposal, the minimum
3. The penalty of prision correccional in its minimum and penalty after applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law is arresto menor
medium periods, if the value of the property stolen is more than in its maximum period to arresto mayor in its minimum period (21 days
200 pesos but does not exceed 6,000 pesos. to 2 months) is not too far from the minimum period under the existing
law. Thus, it would seem that the present penalty imposed under the law
4. Arresto mayor in its medium period to prision correccional in is not at all excessive. The same is also true in the crime of Estafa.23
its minimum period, if the value of the property stolen is over 50
pesos but does not exceed 200 pesos. Moreover, if we apply the ratio of 1:100, as suggested to the value of the
thing stolen in the crime of Theft and the damage caused in the crime of
5. Arresto mayor to its full extent, if such value is over 5 pesos Estafa, the gap between the minimum and the maximum amounts, which
but does not exceed 50 pesos. is the basis of determining the proper penalty to be imposed, would be
too wide and the penalty imposable would no longer be commensurate
6. Arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods, if such to the act committed and the value of the thing stolen or the damage
value does not exceed 5 pesos. caused:
I. Article 309, or the penalties for the crime of Theft, the value would be 3rd. P200.00 to P6,000.00 will become P20,000.00
modified but the penalties are not changed: to P600,000.00, punishable by arresto mayor maximum to
prision correccional minimum (4 months and 1 day to 2 years
1. P12,000.00 to P22,000.00 will become P1,200,000.00 and 4 months).
to P2,200,000.00, punished by prision mayor minimum to
prision mayor medium (6 years and 1 day to 10 years). 4th. P200.00 will become P20,000.00, punishable by arresto
mayor maximum (4 months and 1 day to 6 months).
2. P6,000.00 to P12,000.00 will become P600,000.00
to P1,200,000.00, punished by prision correccional medium and An argument raised by Dean Jose Manuel I. Diokno, one of our esteemed
to prision correccional maximum (2 years, 4 months and 1 day to amici curiae, is that the incremental penalty provided under Article 315
6 years).24 of the RPC violates the Equal Protection Clause.

3. P200.00 to P6,000.00 will become P20,000.00 to P600,000.00, The equal protection clause requires equality among equals, which is
punishable by prision correccional minimum to prision determined according to a valid classification. The test developed by
correccional medium (6 months and 1 day to 4 years and 2 jurisprudence here and yonder is that of reasonableness,27 which has
months). four requisites:

4. P50.00 to P200.00 will become P5,000.00 to P20,000.00, (1) The classification rests on substantial distinctions;
punishable by arresto mayor medium to prision correccional
minimum (2 months and 1 day to 2 years and 4 months). (2) It is germane to the purposes of the law;

5. P5.00 to P50.00 will become P500.00 to P5,000.00, punishable (3) It is not limited to existing conditions only; and
by arresto mayor (1 month and 1 day to 6 months).
(4) It applies equally to all members of the same class.28
6. P5.00 will become P500.00, punishable by arresto mayor
minimum to arresto mayor medium. According to Dean Diokno, the Incremental Penalty Rule (IPR) does not
rest on substantial distinctions asP10,000.00 may have been substantial
x x x x. in the past, but it is not so today, which violates the first requisite; the
IPR was devised so that those who commit estafa involving higher
II. Article 315, or the penalties for the crime of Estafa, the value would amounts would receive heavier penalties; however, this is no longer
also be modified but the penalties are not changed, as follows: achieved, because a person who steals P142,000.00 would receive the
same penalty as someone who steals hundreds of millions, which
1st. P12,000.00 to P22,000.00, will become P1,200,000.00 violates the second requisite; and, the IPR violates requisite no. 3,
to P2,200,000.00, punishable by prision correccional maximum considering that the IPR is limited to existing conditions at the time the
to prision mayor minimum (4 years, 2 months and 1 day to 8 law was promulgated, conditions that no longer exist today.
Assuming that the Court submits to the argument of Dean Diokno and
2nd. P6,000.00 to P12,000.00 will become P600,000.00 declares the incremental penalty in Article 315 unconstitutional for
to P1,200,000.00, punishable by prision correccional minimum violating the equal protection clause, what then is the penalty that
to prision correccional medium (6 months and 1 day to 4 years should be applied in case the amount of the thing subject matter of the
and 2 months).26 crime exceeds P22,000.00? It seems that the proposition poses more
questions than answers, which leads us even more to conclude that the For every One Hundred Thousand (P100,000.00) Pesos in excess of
appropriate remedy is to refer these matters to Congress for them to Twenty-Two Thousand (P22,000.00) Pesos you were suggesting an
exercise their inherent power to legislate laws. additional penalty of one (1) year, did I get you right?

Even Dean Diokno was of the opinion that if the Court declares the IPR DEAN DIOKNO:
unconstitutional, the remedy is to go to Congress. Thus:
Yes, Your Honor, that is, if the court will take the route of statutory
xxxx interpretation.


Now, your position is to declare that the incremental penalty should be Ah ...
struck down as unconstitutional because it is absurd.
If the Court will say that they can go beyond the literal wording of the
Absurd, it violates equal protection, Your Honor, and cruel and unusual law...
But if we de ... (interrupted)
Then what will be the penalty that we are going to impose if the amount
is more than Twenty-Two Thousand (P22,000.00) Pesos. DEAN DIOKNO:

DEAN DIOKNO: ....then....

Well, that would be for Congress to ... if this Court will declare the JUSTICE PERALTA:
incremental penalty rule unconstitutional, then that would ... the void
should be filled by Congress. Ah, yeah. But if we declare the incremental penalty as unsconstitutional,
the court cannot fix the amount ...
But in your presentation, you were fixing the amount at One Hundred
Thousand (P100,000.00) Pesos ... No, Your Honor.


Well, my presen ... (interrupted) ... as the equivalent of one, as an incremental penalty in excess of
Twenty-Two Thousand (P22,000.00) Pesos.
DEAN DIOKNO: Thank you, Dean.

No, Your Honor. DEAN DIOKNO:


The Court cannot do that. x x x x29

DEAN DIOKNO: Dean Diokno also contends that Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code
constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Citing Solem v. Helm,30 Dean
Could not be. Diokno avers that the United States Federal Supreme Court has
expanded the application of a similar Constitutional provision
JUSTICE PERALTA: prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment, to the duration of the
penalty, and not just its form. The court therein ruled that three things
The only remedy is to go to Congress... must be done to decide whether a sentence is proportional to a specific
crime, viz.; (1) Compare the nature and gravity of the offense, and the
DEAN DIOKNO: harshness of the penalty; (2) Compare the sentences imposed on other
criminals in the same jurisdiction, i.e., whether more serious crimes are
Yes, Your Honor. subject to the same penalty or to less serious penalties; and (3) Compare
the sentences imposed for commission of the same crime in other
However, the case of Solem v. Helm cannot be applied in the present
... and determine the value or the amount.
case, because in Solem what respondent therein deemed cruel was the
penalty imposed by the state court of South Dakota after it took into
DEAN DIOKNO: account the latters recidivist statute and not the original penalty for
uttering a "no account" check. Normally, the maximum punishment for
Yes, Your Honor. the crime would have been five years imprisonment and a $5,000.00
fine. Nonetheless, respondent was sentenced to life imprisonment
JUSTICE PERALTA: without the possibility of parole under South Dakotas recidivist statute
because of his six prior felony convictions. Surely, the factual
That will be equivalent to the incremental penalty of one (1) year in antecedents of Solem are different from the present controversy.
excess of Twenty-Two Thousand (P22,000.00) Pesos.
With respect to the crime of Qualified Theft, however, it is true that the
DEAN DIOKNO: imposable penalty for the offense is high. Nevertheless, the rationale for
the imposition of a higher penalty against a domestic servant is the fact
Yes, Your Honor. that in the commission of the crime, the helper will essentially gravely
abuse the trust and confidence reposed upon her by her employer. After
JUSTICE PERALTA: accepting and allowing the helper to be a member of the household, thus
entrusting upon such person the protection and safekeeping of the
The amount in excess of Twenty-Two Thousand (P22,000.00) Pesos. employers loved ones and properties, a subsequent betrayal of that
trust is so repulsive as to warrant the necessity of imposing a higher The failure of a public officer to have duly forthcoming any public funds
penalty to deter the commission of such wrongful acts. or property with which he is chargeable, upon demand by any duly
authorized officer, shall be prima facie evidence that he has put such
There are other crimes where the penalty of fine and/or imprisonment missing funds or property to personal use.
are dependent on the subject matter of the crime and which, by adopting
the proposal, may create serious implications. For example, in the crime The above-provisions contemplate a situation wherein the Government
of Malversation, the penalty imposed depends on the amount of the loses money due to the unlawful acts of the offender. Thus, following the
money malversed by the public official, thus: proposal, if the amount malversed is P200.00 (under the existing law),
the amount now becomes P20,000.00 and the penalty is prision
Art. 217. Malversation of public funds or property; Presumption of correccional in its medium and maximum periods (2 years 4 months and
malversation. Any public officer who, by reason of the duties of his 1 day to 6 years). The penalty may not be commensurate to the act of
office, is accountable for public funds or property, shall appropriate the embezzlement of P20,000.00 compared to the acts committed by public
same or shall take or misappropriate or shall consent, through officials punishable by a special law, i.e., Republic Act No. 3019 or the
abandonment or negligence, shall permit any other person to take such Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, specifically Section 3,31 wherein the
public funds, or property, wholly or partially, or shall otherwise be guilty injury caused to the government is not generally defined by any
of the misappropriation or malversation of such funds or property, shall monetary amount, the penalty (6 years and 1 month to 15 years)32 under
suffer: the Anti-Graft Law will now become higher. This should not be the case,
because in the crime of malversation, the public official takes advantage
1. The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and of his public position to embezzle the fund or property of the
maximum periods, if the amount involved in the government entrusted to him.
misappropriation or malversation does not exceed two hundred
pesos. The said inequity is also apparent in the crime of Robbery with force
upon things (inhabited or uninhabited) where the value of the thing
2. The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum and medium unlawfully taken and the act of unlawful entry are the bases of the
periods, if the amount involved is more than two hundred pesos penalty imposable, and also, in Malicious Mischief, where the penalty of
but does not exceed six thousand pesos. imprisonment or fine is dependent on the cost of the damage caused.

3. The penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period to In Robbery with force upon things (inhabited or uninhabited), if we
reclusion temporal in its minimum period, if the amount increase the value of the thing unlawfully taken, as proposed in the
involved is more than six thousand pesos but is less than twelve ponencia, the sole basis of the penalty will now be the value of the thing
thousand pesos. unlawfully taken and no longer the element of force employed in
entering the premises. It may likewise cause an inequity between the
4. The penalty of reclusion temporal, in its medium and crime of Qualified Trespass to Dwelling under Article 280, and this kind
maximum periods, if the amount involved is more than twelve of robbery because the former is punishable by prision correccional in
thousand pesos but is less than twenty-two thousand pesos. If its medium and maximum periods (2 years, 4 months and 1 day to 6
the amount exceeds the latter, the penalty shall be reclusion years) and a fine not exceeding P1,000.00 (P100,000.00 now if the ratio
temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua. is 1:100) where entrance to the premises is with violence or
intimidation, which is the main justification of the penalty. Whereas in
In all cases, persons guilty of malversation shall also suffer the penalty of the crime of Robbery with force upon things, it is punished with a
perpetual special disqualification and a fine equal to the amount of the penalty of prision mayor (6 years and 1 day to 12 years) if the intruder is
funds malversed or equal to the total value of the property embezzled. unarmed without the penalty of Fine despite the fact that it is not merely
the illegal entry that is the basis of the penalty but likewise the unlawful In addition, the proposal will not only affect crimes under the RPC. It will
taking. also affect crimes which are punishable by special penal laws, such as
Illegal Logging or Violation of Section 68 of Presidential Decree No. 705,
Furthermore, in the crime of Other Mischiefs under Article 329, the as amended.34The law treats cutting, gathering, collecting and possessing
highest penalty that can be imposed is arresto mayor in its medium and timber or other forest products without license as an offense as grave as
maximum periods (2 months and 1 day to 6 months) if the value of the and equivalent to the felony of qualified theft.35 Under the law, the
damage caused exceeds P1,000.00, but under the proposal, the value of offender shall be punished with the penalties imposed under Articles
the damage will now become P100,000.00 (1:100), and still punishable 309 and 31036 of the Revised Penal Code, which means that the penalty
by arresto mayor (1 month and 1 day to 6 months). And, if the value of imposable for the offense is, again, based on the value of the timber or
the damaged property does not exceed P200.00, the penalty is arresto forest products involved in the offense. Now, if we accept the said
menor or a fine of not less than the value of the damage caused and not proposal in the crime of Theft, will this particular crime of Illegal
more than P200.00, if the amount involved does not exceed P200.00 or Logging be amended also in so far as the penalty is concerned because
cannot be estimated. Under the proposal,P200.00 will now the penalty is dependent on Articles 309 and 310 of the RPC? The
become P20,000.00, which simply means that the fine of P200.00 under answer is in the negative because the soundness of this particular law is
the existing law will now become P20,000.00. The amount of Fine under not in question.
this situation will now become excessive and afflictive in nature despite
the fact that the offense is categorized as a light felony penalized with a With the numerous crimes defined and penalized under the Revised
light penalty under Article 26 of the RPC.33 Unless we also amend Article Penal Code and Special Laws, and other related provisions of these laws
26 of the RPC, there will be grave implications on the penalty of Fine, but affected by the proposal, a thorough study is needed to determine its
changing the same through Court decision, either expressly or impliedly, effectivity and necessity. There may be some provisions of the law that
may not be legally and constitutionally feasible. should be amended; nevertheless, this Court is in no position to conclude
as to the intentions of the framers of the Revised Penal Code by merely
There are other crimes against property and swindling in the RPC that making a study of the applicability of the penalties imposable in the
may also be affected by the proposal, such as those that impose present times. Such is not within the competence of the Court but of the
imprisonment and/or Fine as a penalty based on the value of the damage Legislature which is empowered to conduct public hearings on the
caused, to wit: Article 311 (Theft of the property of the National Library matter, consult legal luminaries and who, after due proceedings, can
and National Museum), Article 312 (Occupation of real property or decide whether or not to amend or to revise the questioned law or other
usurpation of real rights in property), Article 313 (Altering boundaries laws, or even create a new legislation which will adopt to the times.
or landmarks), Article 316 (Other forms of swindling), Article 317
(Swindling a minor), Article 318 (Other deceits), Article 328 (Special Admittedly, Congress is aware that there is an urgent need to amend the
cases of malicious mischief) and Article 331 (Destroying or damaging Revised Penal Code. During the oral arguments, counsel for the Senate
statues, public monuments or paintings). Other crimes that impose Fine informed the Court that at present, fifty-six (56) bills are now pending in
as a penalty will also be affected, such as: Article 213 (Frauds against the the Senate seeking to amend the Revised Penal Code,37 each one
public treasury and similar offenses), Article 215 (Prohibited proposing much needed change and updates to archaic laws that were
Transactions), promulgated decades ago when the political, socio-economic, and
cultural settings were far different from todays conditions.
Article 216 (Possession of prohibited interest by a public officer), Article
218 (Failure of accountable officer to render accounts), Article 219 Verily, the primordial duty of the Court is merely to apply the law in such
(Failure of a responsible public officer to render accounts before leaving a way that it shall not usurp legislative powers by judicial legislation and
the country). that in the course of such application or construction, it should not make
or supervise legislation, or under the guise of interpretation, modify,
revise, amend, distort, remodel, or rewrite the law, or give the law a pay the victim a sum of money as restitution. Clearly, this award of civil
construction which is repugnant to its terms.38 The Court should apply indemnity due to the death of the victim could not be contemplated as
the law in a manner that would give effect to their letter and spirit, akin to the value of a thing that is unlawfully taken which is the basis in
especially when the law is clear as to its intent and purpose. Succinctly the imposition of the proper penalty in certain crimes. Thus, the
put, the Court should shy away from encroaching upon the primary reasoning in increasing the value of civil indemnity awarded in some
function of a co-equal branch of the Government; otherwise, this would offense cannot be the same reasoning that would sustain the adoption of
lead to an inexcusable breach of the doctrine of separation of powers by the suggested ratio. Also, it is apparent from Article 2206 that the law
means of judicial legislation. only imposes a minimum amount for awards of civil indemnity, which
is P3,000.00. The law did not provide for a ceiling. Thus, although the
Moreover, it is to be noted that civil indemnity is, technically, not a minimum amount for the award cannot be changed, increasing the
penalty or a Fine; hence, it can be increased by the Court when amount awarded as civil indemnity can be validly modified and
appropriate. Article 2206 of the Civil Code provides: increased when the present circumstance warrants it. Corollarily, moral
damages under Article 222039 of the Civil Code also does not fix the
Art. 2206. The amount of damages for death caused by a crime or quasi- amount of damages that can be awarded. It is discretionary upon the
delict shall be at least three thousand pesos, even though there may have court, depending on the mental anguish or the suffering of the private
been mitigating circumstances. In addition: offended party. The amount of moral damages can, in relation to civil
indemnity, be adjusted so long as it does not exceed the award of civil
(1) The defendant shall be liable for the loss of the earning indemnity.
capacity of the deceased, and the indemnity shall be paid to the
heirs of the latter; such indemnity shall in every case be assessed In addition, some may view the penalty provided by law for the offense
and awarded by the court, unless the deceased on account of committed as tantamount to cruel punishment. However, all penalties
permanent physical disability not caused by the defendant, had are generally harsh, being punitive in nature. Whether or not they are
no earning capacity at the time of his death; excessive or amount to cruel punishment is a matter that should be left
to lawmakers. It is the prerogative of the courts to apply the law,
(2) If the deceased was obliged to give support according to the especially when they are clear and not subject to any other
provisions of Article 291, the recipient who is not an heir called interpretation than that which is plainly written.
to the decedent's inheritance by the law of testate or intestate
succession, may demand support from the person causing the Similar to the argument of Dean Diokno, one of Justice Antonio Carpios
death, for a period not exceeding five years, the exact duration to opinions is that the incremental penalty provision should be declared
be fixed by the court; unconstitutional and that the courts should only impose the penalty
corresponding to the amount of P22,000.00, regardless if the actual
(3) The spouse, legitimate and illegitimate descendants and amount involved exceeds P22,000.00. As suggested, however, from now
ascendants of the deceased may demand moral damages for until the law is properly amended by Congress, all crimes of Estafa will
mental anguish by reason of the death of the deceased. no longer be punished by the appropriate penalty. A conundrum in the
regular course of criminal justice would occur when every accused
In our jurisdiction, civil indemnity is awarded to the offended party as a convicted of the crime of estafa will be meted penalties different from
kind of monetary restitution or compensation to the victim for the the proper penalty that should be imposed. Such drastic twist in the
damage or infraction that was done to the latter by the accused, which in application of the law has no legal basis and directly runs counter to
a sense only covers the civil aspect. Precisely, it is civil indemnity. Thus, what the law provides.
in a crime where a person dies, in addition to the penalty of
imprisonment imposed to the offender, the accused is also ordered to
It should be noted that the death penalty was reintroduced in the Cruel as it may be, as discussed above, it is for the Congress to amend the
dispensation of criminal justice by the Ramos Administration by virtue law and adapt it to our modern time.
of Republic Act No. 765940 in December 1993. The said law has been
questioned before this Court. There is, arguably, no punishment more The solution to the present controversy could not be solved by merely
cruel than that of death. Yet still, from the time the death penalty was re- adjusting the questioned monetary values to the present value of money
imposed until its lifting in June 2006 by Republic Act No. 9346,41 the based only on the current inflation rate. There are other factors and
Court did not impede the imposition of the death penalty on the ground variables that need to be taken into consideration, researched, and
that it is a "cruel punishment" within the purview of Section 19 deliberated upon before the said values could be accurately and properly
(1),42 Article III of the Constitution. Ultimately, it was through an act of adjusted. The effects on the society, the injured party, the accused, its
Congress suspending the imposition of the death penalty that led to its socio-economic impact, and the likes must be painstakingly evaluated
non-imposition and not via the intervention of the Court. and weighed upon in order to arrive at a wholistic change that all of us
believe should be made to our existing law. Dejectedly, the Court is ill-
Even if the imposable penalty amounts to cruel punishment, the Court equipped, has no resources, and lacks sufficient personnel to conduct
cannot declare the provision of the law from which the proper penalty public hearings and sponsor studies and surveys to validly effect these
emanates unconstitutional in the present action. Not only is it violative changes in our Revised Penal Code. This function clearly and
of due process, considering that the State and the concerned parties appropriately belongs to Congress. Even Professor Tadiar concedes to
were not given the opportunity to comment on the subject matter, it is this conclusion, to wit:
settled that the constitutionality of a statute cannot be attacked
collaterally because constitutionality issues must be pleaded directly xxxx
and not collaterally,43 more so in the present controversy wherein the
issues never touched upon the constitutionality of any of the provisions JUSTICE PERALTA:
of the Revised Penal Code.
Yeah, Just one question. You are suggesting that in order to determine
Besides, it has long been held that the prohibition of cruel and unusual the value of Peso you have to take into consideration several factors.
punishments is generally aimed at the form or character of the
punishment rather than its severity in respect of duration or amount, PROFESSOR TADIAR:
and applies to punishments which public sentiment has regarded as
cruel or obsolete, for instance, those inflicted at the whipping post, or in Yes.
the pillory, burning at the stake, breaking on the wheel, disemboweling,
and the like. Fine and imprisonment would not thus be within the JUSTICE PERALTA:
Per capita income.
It takes more than merely being harsh, excessive, out of proportion, or
severe for a penalty to be obnoxious to the Constitution. The fact that the
punishment authorized by the statute is severe does not make it cruel
and unusual. Expressed in other terms, it has been held that to come
under the ban, the punishment must be "flagrantly and plainly Per capita income.
oppressive," "wholly disproportionate to the nature of the offense as to
shock the moral sense of the community."45 JUSTICE PERALTA:

Consumer price index.

PROFESSOR TADIAR: That is legislative in nature.


JUSTICE PERALTA: That is my position that the Supreme Court ...

Inflation ... JUSTICE PERALTA:



JUSTICE PERALTA: ... has no power to utilize the power of judicial review to in order to
adjust, to make the adjustment that is a power that belongs to the
... and so on. Is the Supreme Court equipped to determine those factors? legislature.


There are many ways by which the value of the Philippine Peso can be Thank you, Professor.
determined utilizing all of those economic terms.
Thank you.46
Yeah, but ...
Finally, the opinion advanced by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno
PROFESSOR TADIAR: echoes the view that the role of the Court is not merely to dispense
justice, but also the active duty to prevent injustice. Thus, in order to
And I dont think it is within the power of the Supreme Court to pass prevent injustice in the present controversy, the Court should not
upon and peg the value to One Hundred (P100.00) Pesos to ... impose an obsolete penalty pegged eighty three years ago, but consider
the proposed ratio of 1:100 as simply compensating for inflation.
JUSTICE PERALTA: Furthermore, the Court has in the past taken into consideration
"changed conditions" or "significant changes in circumstances" in its
Yeah. decisions.

PROFESSOR TADIAR: Similarly, the Chief Justice is of the view that the Court is not delving into
the validity of the substance of a statute. The issue is no different from
... One (P1.00.00) Peso in 1930. the Courts adjustment of indemnity in crimes against persons, which the
Court had previously adjusted in light of current times, like in the case of
People v. Pantoja.47 Besides, Article 10 of the Civil Code mandates a
presumption that the lawmaking body intended right and justice to maximum period, adding one year for each additional 10,000 pesos; but
prevail. the total penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed twenty years.
In such case, and in connection with the accessory penalties which may
With due respect to the opinions and proposals advanced by the Chief be imposed and for the purpose of the other provisions of this Code, the
Justice and my Colleagues, all the proposals ultimately lead to prohibited penalty shall be termed prision mayor or reclusion temporal, as the case
judicial legislation. Short of being repetitious and as extensively may be.
discussed above, it is truly beyond the powers of the Court to legislate
laws, such immense power belongs to Congress and the Court should The penalty prescribed by Article 315 is composed of only two, not
refrain from crossing this clear-cut divide. With regard to civil three, periods, in which case, Article 65 of the same Code requires the
indemnity, as elucidated before, this refers to civil liability which is division of the time included in the penalty into three equal portions of
awarded to the offended party as a kind of monetary restitution. It is time included in the penalty prescribed, forming one period of each of
truly based on the value of money. The same cannot be said on penalties the three portions. Applying the latter provisions, the maximum,
because, as earlier stated, penalties are not only based on the value of medium and minimum periods of the penalty prescribed are:
money, but on several other factors. Further, since the law is silent as to
the maximum amount that can be awarded and only pegged the Maximum - 6 years, 8 months, 21 days to 8 years
minimum sum, increasing the amount granted as civil indemnity is not
proscribed. Thus, it can be adjusted in light of current conditions. Medium - 5 years, 5 months, 11 days to 6 years, 8 months, 20 days

Now, with regard to the penalty imposed in the present case, the CA Minimum - 4 years, 2 months, 1 day to 5 years, 5 months, 10 days49
modified the ruling of the RTC. The RTC imposed the indeterminate
penalty of four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional in To compute the maximum period of the prescribed penalty, prisin
its medium period, as minimum, to fourteen (14) years and eight (8) correccional maximum to prisin mayor minimum should be divided
months of reclusion temporal in its minimum period, as maximum. into three equal portions of time each of which portion shall be deemed
However, the CA imposed the indeterminate penalty of four (4) years to form one period in accordance with Article 6550 of the RPC.51 In the
and two (2) months of prision correccional, as minimum, to eight (8) present case, the amount involved is P98,000.00, which
years of prision mayor, as maximum, plus one (1) year for each exceedsP22,000.00, thus, the maximum penalty imposable should be
additional P10,000.00, or a total of seven (7) years. within the maximum period of 6 years, 8 months and 21 days to 8 years
of prision mayor. Article 315 also states that a period of one year shall be
In computing the penalty for this type of estafa, this Court's ruling in added to the penalty for every additional P10,000.00 defrauded in
Cosme, Jr. v. People48 is highly instructive, thus: excess of P22,000.00, but in no case shall the total penalty which may be
imposed exceed 20 years.
With respect to the imposable penalty, Article 315 of the Revised Penal
Code provides: Considering that the amount of P98,000.00 is P76,000.00 more than
the P22,000.00 ceiling set by law, then, adding one year for each
ART. 315 Swindling (estafa). - Any person who shall defraud another by additional P10,000.00, the maximum period of 6 years, 8 months and 21
any of the means mentioned hereinbelow shall be punished by: days to 8 years of prision mayor minimum would be increased by 7
years. Taking the maximum of the prescribed penalty, which is 8 years,
1st. The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period to prision plus an additional 7 years, the maximum of the indeterminate penalty is
mayor in its minimum period, if the amount of the fraud is over 12,000 15 years.
but does not exceed 22,000 pesos, and if such amount exceeds the latter
sum, the penalty provided in this paragraph shall be imposed in its
Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, since the penalty prescribed
by law for the estafa charge against petitioner is prision correccional
maximum to prision mayor minimum, the penalty next lower would
then be prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods.

Thus, the minimum term of the indeterminate sentence should be

anywhere from 6 months and 1 day to 4 years and 2 months.

One final note, the Court should give Congress a chance to perform its
primordial duty of lawmaking. The Court should not pre-empt Congress
and usurp its inherent powers of making and enacting laws. While it may
be the most expeditious approach, a short cut by judicial fiat is a
dangerous proposition, lest the Court dare trespass on prohibited
judicial legislation.

WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review on Certiorari dated November 5,

2007 of petitioner Lito Corpuz is hereby DENIED. Consequently, the
Decision dated March 22, 2007 and Resolution dated September 5, 2007
of the Court of Appeals, which affirmed with modification the Decision
dated July 30, 2004 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 46, San Fernando
City, finding petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
Estafa under Article 315, paragraph (1), sub-paragraph (b) of the
Revised Penal Code, are hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION that the
penalty imposed is the indeterminate penalty of imprisonment ranging
from THREE (3) YEARS, TWO (2) MONTHS and ELEVEN DAYS of prision
correccional, as minimum, to FIFTEEN (15) YEARS of reclusion temporal
as maximum.

Pursuant to Article 5 of the Revised Penal Code, let a Copy of this

Decision be furnished the President of the Republic of the Philippines,
through the Department of Justice.

Also, let a copy of this Decision be furnished the President of the Senate
and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.