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G.R.No.205015.November19,2014.

*

MA. MIMIE CRESCENCIO, petitioner,vs.PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
respondent.

Attorneys;AttorneyClientRelationship;Asageneralrule,theinadvertenceofcounsel
cannotbeconsideredasanadequateexcuse
_______________

*THIRDDIVISION.

320
320 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Crescencio vs. People
astocallfortheappellatecourts indulgenceexcept:(a)wherethereckless orgross
negligenceofcounseldeprivestheclientofdueprocessoflaw;(b)whenapplicationofthe
rulewillresultinoutrightdeprivationoftheclientslibertyorproperty;or(c)wherethe
interestsof justiceso require.Asageneral rule,theinadvertenceof counselcannot be
consideredasanadequateexcuseastocallfortheappellatecourtsindulgenceexcept:(a)
wheretherecklessorgrossnegligenceofcounseldeprivestheclientofdueprocessoflaw;
(b)whenapplicationoftherulewillresultinoutrightdeprivationoftheclientslibertyor
property;or(c)wheretheinterestsofjusticesorequire.Here,thepetitionersubmitsthat
theinadvertenceofhercounseltoserveacopyoftheAppellantsBrieftotheOSGisa
persuasive reason or a compelling justification to forego the Rules of Procedure as the
wantonrecklessnessorgrossnegligenceofhercounselhasdeprivedherofdueprocessof
lawwhichwillresultintheoutrightdeprivationofherliberty.Inthisregard,theCourt
agreesthattheCAshouldhavetakenaliberalviewoftherulesandruledonthemeritsof
theappeal,especiallywhenwhatisinvolvedisnolessthanthepetitionersliberty.
ConstitutionalLaw;CriminalProcedure;PlainviewDoctrine;SearchesandSeizures;
Undertheplainviewdoctrine,objectsfallingintheplainviewofanofficer,whohasa
righttobeinthepositiontohavethatview,aresubjecttoseizureandmaybepresentedas
evidence.The Constitution recognizes the right of the people to be secured in their
persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Nonetheless, the constitutional prohibition against warrantless searches and seizures
admitsofcertainexceptions,oneofwhichisseizureofevidenceinplainview.Underthe
plainviewdoctrine,objectsfallingintheplainviewofanofficer,whohasarighttobein
thepositiontohavethatview,aresubjecttoseizureandmaybepresentedasevidence.
ThereisnoquestionthattheDENRpersonnelwerenotarmedwithasearchwarrantwhen
they went to the house of the petitioner. When the DENR personnel arrived at the
petitionershouse,thelumberswerelyingunderthelattershouseandattheshoreline
abouttwometersawayfromthehouseofthepetitioner.Itisclear,therefore,thatthesaid
lumberisplainlyexposedtosight.Hence,theseizureofthelumberoutsidethepetitioners
housefallswithinthepurviewoftheplainviewdoctrine.
321
VOL. 741, NOVEMBER 19, 2014 321
Crescencio vs. People
Same;Same;Same;WarrantlessArrests;ForestryCode;Section80oftheForestryCode
authorizestheforestryofficeroremployeeoftheDepartmentofEnvironmentandNatural
Resources(DENR)oranypersonnelofthePhilippineNationalPolice(PNP)toarrest,even
withoutawarrant,anypersonwhohascommittedoriscommittinginhispresenceanyof
theoffensesdefinedbytheForestryCodeandtoseizeandconfiscatethetoolsandequipment
usedincommittingtheoffenseortheforestproductsgatheredortakenbytheoffender.The
DENRpersonnelhadtheauthoritytoarrestthepetitioner,evenwithoutawarrant.Section
80oftheForestryCodeauthorizestheforestryofficeroremployeeoftheDENRorany
personnelofthePhilippineNationalPolicetoarrest,evenwithoutawarrant,anyperson
whohascommittedoriscommitting inhispresenceanyoftheoffenses definedbythe
ForestryCodeandtoseizeandconfiscatethetoolsandequipmentusedincommittingthe
offenseortheforestproductsgatheredortakenbytheoffender.Clearly,inthecourseof
such lawful intrusion, the DENR personnel had inadvertently come across the lumber
whichevidentlyincriminatedthepetitioner.Thefactofpossessionbythepetitionerofthe
24 pieces ofmagsihagonlumber, as well as her subsequent failure to produce the legal
documents as required under existing forest laws and regulations constitute criminal
liabilityforviolationoftheForestryCode.UnderSection68oftheForestryCode,thereare
twodistinctandseparateoffensespunished,namely:(1)cutting,gathering,collectingand
removingtimberorotherforestproductsfromanyforestland,ortimberfromalienableor
disposablepublicland,orfromprivatelandwithoutanyauthority;and(2)possessionof
timberorotherforestproductswithoutthelegaldocumentsrequiredunderexistingforest
lawsandregulations.
CriminalLaw;ForestryCode;Penalties;ViolationofSection68oftheForestryCodeis
punished as Qualified Theft under Article 310in relation to Article 309 of the Revised
PenalCode(RPC).Accordingly,theCourtimposesonthepetitionertheminimumpenalty
under Article 309(6) of the RPC, which isarresto mayorin its minimum and medium
periods.However,consideringthatviolationofSection68oftheForestryCodeispunished
asQualifiedTheftunderArticle310inrelationtoArticle309oftheRPC,thestatutory
penaltyshallbeincreasedbytwodegrees,thatis,toprisincorreccionalinitsmediumand
maximumperiodsorwithintherangeofthree(3)years,six(6)monthsandtwentyone(21)
daystofour(4)
322
322 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Crescencio vs. People

years, nine (9) months and ten (10) days, considering that there are no attending
mitigatingoraggravatingcircumstanceinthecommissionoftheoffense.

PETITIONforreviewoncertiorariofadecisionoftheCourtofAppeals.
ThefactsarestatedintheopinionoftheCourt.
Austral&DelantarLawOfficesforpetitioner.
OfficeoftheSolicitorGeneralforrespondent.

REYES,J.:

This case stemmed from Ma. Mimie Crescencios (petitioner) conviction for
violationofSection681ofPresidentialDecree(P.D.)No.705, 2otherwiseknownas
theRevisedFor
_______________

1Sec.68.Cutting,Gatheringand/orcollectingTimber,orOtherForestProductswithout
License.Anypersonwhoshallcut,gather,collect,removedtimberorotherforestproductsfromany
forest land, or timber from alienable or disposable public land, or from private land, without any
authority, or possess timber or other forest products without the legal documents as required under
existingforestlawsandregulations,shallbepunishedwiththepenaltiesimposedunderArticles309and
310oftheRevisedPenalCode:Provided,Thatinthecaseofpartnerships,associations,orcorporations,
theofficerswhoorderedthecutting,gathering,collectionorpossessionshallbeliable,andifsuchofficers
arealiens,theyshall,inadditiontothepenalty,bedeportedwithoutfurtherproceedingsonthepartof
theCommissiononImmigrationandDeportation.
Thecourtshallfurtherordertheconfiscationinfavorofthegovernmentofthetimberoranyforest
productscut,gathered,collected,removed,orpossessedaswellasthemachinery,equipment,implements
andtoolsillegallyusedintheareawherethetimberorforestproductsarefound.
2Revising Presidential Decree No. 389, otherwise known as The Forestry Reform Code of the
Philippines.

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Crescencio vs. People
estryCodeofthePhilippines(ForestryCode),asamendedbyExecutiveOrder
(E.O.) No. 277,3rendered by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Talibon, Bohol,
Branch52,inCriminalCaseNo.9627,onAugust12,2008. 4TheCourtofAppeals
(CA),inC.A.G.R.CRNo.01162,dismissedtheappealinitsResolution 5datedApril
15, 2011 for failure to serve a copy of the Appellants Brief to the Office of the
SolicitorGeneral(OSG).TheCA,initsResolution 6datedNovember19,2012,also
deniedthepetitionersmotionforreconsiderationofthesaidresolution.

TheFacts

Actingonaninformationthattherewasastockpileoflumberorforestproducts
inthevicinityofthehouseofthepetitioner,EufemioAbaniel(Abaniel),theChiefof
theForestProtectionUnitofDepartmentofEnvironmentandNaturalResources
(DENR)Community Environment and Natural Resources Office, Talibon, Bohol,
together with Forest Rangers Urcino Butal (Butal), Alfredo Bastasa and Celso
Ramos(Ramos)wenttothepetitionershouseatBalico,Talibon,BoholonMarch
15,1994at3:00p.m.Uponarrivingthereat,theysawforestproductslyingunder
thehouseofthepetitionerandattheshorelineabouttwometersawayfromthe
_______________

3AmendingSection68ofPresidentialDecreeNo.705,asamended,otherwiseknownastheRevised
Forestry Code of the Philippines, for the purpose of penalizing possession of timber or other forest
productswithoutthelegaldocumentsrequiredbyexistingforestlaws,authorizingtheconfiscationof
illegally cut, gathered, removed and possessed forest products, and granting rewards to informers of
violationsofforestrylaws,rulesandregulations.
4IssuedbyPresidingJudgeIrmaZitaV.Masamayor;Rollo,pp.4556.
5Penned by Associate Justice Myra V. GarciaFernandez, with Associate Justices Portia Alio
HormachuelosandGabrielT.Ingles,concurring;id.,atpp.3940.
6Id.,atpp.4244.

324
324 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Crescencio vs. People
petitioners house. As the DENR personnel tried to investigate from the
neighborhoodastowhowastheownerofthelumber,thepetitioneradmittedits
ownership.Thereafter,theDENRpersonnelenteredthepremisesofthepetitioners
housewithoutasearchwarrant.7
Upon inspection, 24 pieces ofmagsihagonlumber, which is equivalent to 452
board feet, were discovered. When the DENR personnel asked for documents to
support the petitioners claim of ownership, the latter showed to them Official
ReceiptNo.35053issuedbyPengavitorEnterpriseswheresheallegedlyboughtthe
saidlumber.However,whentheDENRpersonnelscaledthelumber,theyfoundout
that the dimensions and the species of the lumber did not tally with the items
mentionedinthereceipt.Thesaidreceiptshowedthat thepetitionerbought 10
piecesofredlawaanlumberwithsizes2x6x18and5pieceswithsizes2x8x16on
March13,1994.Ontheotherhand,thelumberinthepetitionershouse,onMarch
15,1994,was24piecesofmagsihagonlumberofthreedifferentsizes,towit:20
pieces2x6x18;3pieces2x8x18;and1piece2x10x12. 8
Since the petitioner could not present any other receipt, Abaniel ordered the
confiscationofthelumber,askedforpoliceassistance,andtoldthepetitionerthat
they were going to transport the confiscated lumber to the DENR office for
safekeeping. Seizure Receipt No. 004157 and a Statement Showing the
Number/PiecesandVolumeofLumberBeingConfiscated, 9whichshowedthevalue
ofthelumbertobe9,040.00,wereissuedtothepetitioner.ForestRangersButal
andRamoscorroboratedAbanielstestimony.10
SPO1 Desiderio Garcia testified that upon the request of Abaniel for police
assistance,heandPO3AntonioCrescencio
_______________

7Id.,atp.50.
8Id.,atpp.5253.
9Id.,atp.62.
10Id.,atp.52.


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Crescencio vs. People

wenttothehouseofthepetitionerwheretheysawsomelumberwhichwaslater
loadedonacargotruck.Thereafter,theyescortedthetransportofthelumbertothe
DENRofficeinSanRoque,Talibon,Bohol.11
Ontheotherhand,thelonewitnessofthedefense,LolitaCrescencio,admitted
thattheseizedlumberwereownedbythepetitionerbutclaimedthatthelatter
boughtitfromPengavitorEnterprisesofTrinidad,BoholandfromJavaMarketing
in Ubay, Bohol.12However, the defense had only the Official Receipt No. 35053
issued by Pengavitor Enterprises which, however, did not tally with the forest
productsconfiscated.
On May 17, 1994, the petitioner was charged by the Provincial Prosecutor of
TagbilaranCity,Bohol,withviolationofSection68ofP.D.No.705,asamendedby
E.O.No.277.TheInformation13alleged:
That on or about the 15 day of March, 1994, in the municipality of Talibon, Bohol,
th

Philippines,andwithinthejurisdictionofthisHonorableCourt,theabovenamedaccused
with intent to possess and to gain for her own benefit, without any legal document as
required under existing jurisprudence, laws and regulations, and without any lawful
authority under existing rules and regulation of DENR Forest Management Sector,
willfully,unlawfullyandillegallypossessandhaveunderhercustodyandcontrolforest
productsconsistingoftwentyfour(24)piecesofmagsihagonlumberwithavolumeof452
board feet and a total value of Nine Thousand Forty (P9,040.00) Pesos, Philippine
Currency;tothedamageandprejudiceoftheRepublicofthePhilippines. 14

_______________

11Id.,atpp.52,65.
12Id.,atpp.5051.
13Id.,atpp.5758.
14Id.,atp.57.

326
326 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Crescencio vs. People
DuringthearraignmentonJuly15,1997,thepetitionerpleadednotguiltytothe
offensecharged.Thereafter,trialensued.15
OnAugust12,2008,theRTCrenderedjudgment 16convictingthepetitionerofthe
offensechargedandsentencedhertoimprisonmentofsix(6)yearsandone(1)day
ofprisinmayorasminimumtoeleven(11)yearsandsix(6)monthsandtwenty
one(21)daysofprisinmayorasmaximum.TheRTCalsoorderedtheconfiscation
oftheseizedlumberownedbythepetitioner.17
As expected, the petitioner appealed the decision to the CA. However, in its
Resolution18datedApril15,2011,theCAdismissedtheappealoutrightbecausethe
petitionerfailedtofurnishtheOSGacopyoftheAppellantsBriefinviolationof
theRulesofCourt.Thepetitionermovedforreconsiderationbutitwasdeniedby
theCA,initsResolution19datedNovember19,2012.Hence,thispetitionforreview
oncertiorari.

TheIssue

ThecoreissuetoberesolvediswhetherornottheCAsdismissaloftheappeal
duetothepetitionersfailuretoserveacopyoftheAppellantsBrieftotheOSGis
proper, in view of the attendant factual circumstances and in the interest of
substantialjustice.

RulingoftheCourt

Inthiscase,thepetitionerasksforarelaxationoftherigidrulesoftechnical
procedureandsubmitsthattheCAerredin
_______________

15Id.,atp.45.
16Id.,atpp.4556.
17Id.,atp.55.
18Id.,atpp.3940.
19Id.,atpp.4244.

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Crescencio vs. People
dismissingherappealpurelyonthebasisofmeretechnicalities.
Confronted with issues of this nature, this Court is mindful of the policy of
affordinglitigantstheamplestopportunityforthedeterminationoftheircaseson
themeritsandofdispensingwithtechnicalities whenevercompellingreasonsso
warrantorwhenthepurposeofjusticerequiresit.20
TheCourthasconstantlypronouncedthat[t]herulesofprocedureoughtnotto
beappliedinaveryrigid,technicalsense,fortheyhavebeenadoptedtohelpsecure
notoverridesubstantialjustice.Forthisreason,courtsmustproceedwith
cautionsoasnottodepriveapartyofstatutoryappeal;rather,theymustensure
that all litigants are granted the amplest opportunity for the proper and just
ventilationoftheircauses,freefromtheconstraintoftechnicalities. 21
It is clear that without at all touching on the substantive aspects of the
petitionerscause,theappellatecourtoptednottodecidethecaseonthemerits.
ThesubjectoftheappealwasthedecisionoftheRTCconvictingthepetitionerof
violationoftheForestryCodeandsentencinghertosufferanimprisonmentofno
lessthansix(6)yearstoeleven(11)years.
Inthiscase,thereisnothingintherecordthatshowsanydeliberateintenton
thepartofthepetitionertosubvertanddelaythefinaldispositionofthecase.In
fact, when the petitioner learned that her appeal was dismissed by the CA for
failure to serve a copy of her Appellants Brief to the OSG, she immediately
confronted her previous counsel who denied having filed such brief. As the
petitioner was very much worried of being incarcerated, she asked her previous
counseltowithdrawfromthecase.Thus,thepetitionersubmitsthatthe
_______________

20GovernmentoftheKingdomofBelgiumv.CourtofAppeals,574Phil.380,388;551SCRA223,232
(2008).
21Calov.Villanueva,516Phil.340,349;480SCRA561,569(2006),citingRemullav.Manlongat,
484Phil.832,841;442SCRA226,236(2004).

328
328 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Crescencio vs. People
outrightdenialofherappealisduetotheincompetenceandignoranceofher
formercounselwhoevenliedaboutthefactthathehasindeedfiledanAppellants
Brief.
As a general rule, the inadvertence of counsel cannot be considered as an
adequateexcuseastocallfortheappellatecourtsindulgenceexcept:(a)wherethe
recklessorgrossnegligenceofcounseldeprivestheclientofdueprocessoflaw;(b)
whenapplicationoftherulewillresultinoutrightdeprivationoftheclientsliberty
orproperty;or(c)wheretheinterestsofjusticesorequire.22
Here,thepetitionersubmitsthattheinadvertenceofhercounseltoserveacopy
of the Appellants Brief to the OSG is a persuasive reason or a compelling
justificationtoforegotheRulesofProcedureasthewantonrecklessnessorgross
negligenceofhercounselhasdeprivedherofdueprocessoflawwhichwillresultin
theoutrightdeprivationofherliberty.
Inthisregard,theCourtagreesthattheCAshouldhavetakenaliberalviewof
therulesandruledonthemeritsoftheappeal,especiallywhenwhatisinvolvedis
nolessthanthepetitionersliberty.
Nonetheless,eveniftheCourtbrushesasidethetechnicalityissue,itwillstill
findthattheprosecutionwasabletoprovebeyondreasonabledoubtthepetitioners
culpability.
Inattemptingtoescapeliability,thepetitionercontendsthat:(a)shehadthe
supporting documents to show that she bought the questioned lumber from
legitimatesources; and(b)the warrantless search andseizure conductedby the
DENR personnel was illegal and, thus, the items seized should not have been
admittedinevidenceagainsther.
TheConstitutionrecognizestherightofthepeopletobesecuredintheirpersons,
houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and
seizures.23Nonetheless,theconsti
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22Supranote20atp.396;p.242.
23ArticleIII.BillofRights

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Crescencio vs. People
tutionalprohibitionagainstwarrantlesssearchesandseizuresadmitsofcertain
exceptions,oneofwhichisseizureofevidenceinplainview.Undertheplainview
doctrine,objectsfallingintheplainviewofanofficer,whohasarighttobeinthe
position to have that view, are subject to seizure and may be presented as
evidence.24
ThereisnoquestionthattheDENRpersonnelwerenotarmedwithasearch
warrantwhentheywenttothehouseofthepetitioner.WhentheDENRpersonnel
arrivedatthepetitionershouse,thelumberswerelyingunderthelattershouse
andattheshorelineabouttwometersawayfromthehouseofthepetitioner.Itis
clear,therefore,thatthesaidlumberisplainlyexposedtosight.Hence,theseizure
ofthelumberoutsidethepetitionershousefallswithinthepurviewoftheplain
viewdoctrine.
Besides,theDENRpersonnelhadtheauthoritytoarrestthepetitioner,even
withoutawarrant.Section8025ofthe
_______________

xxxx
Sec. 2.Therightofthepeopletobesecureintheirpersons,houses,papers,andeffectsagainst
unreasonablesearchesandseizuresofwhatevernatureandforanypurposeshallbeinviolable,andno
searchwarrantorwarrantofarrestshallissueexceptuponprobablecausetobedeterminedpersonallyby
the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may
produce,andparticularlydescribingtheplacetobesearchedandthepersonsorthingstobeseized.
24Miclat,Jr.v.People,G.R.No.176077,August31,2011,656SCRA539,552553,citingPeoplev.
Lagman,593Phil.617,628;573SCRA224,236(2008).
25Sec.80.Arrest;InstitutionofCriminalActions.AforestofficeroremployeeoftheBureau
or any personnel of the Philippine Constabulary/Philippine National Police shall arrest even without
warrantanypersonwhohascommittedoriscommittinginhispresenceanyoftheoffensesdefinedinthis
chapter.Heshallalsoseizeandconfiscate,infavoroftheGovernment,thetoolsandequipmentusedin
committingtheoffense,andtheforestproducts
330
330 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Crescencio vs. People
ForestryCodeauthorizestheforestryofficeroremployeeoftheDENRorany
personnelofthePhilippineNationalPolicetoarrest,evenwithoutawarrant,any
person who has committed or is committing in his presence any of the offenses
definedbytheForestryCodeandtoseizeandconfiscatethetoolsandequipment
used in committing the offense or the forest products gathered or taken by the
offender.Clearly,inthecourseofsuchlawfulintrusion,theDENRpersonnelhad
inadvertentlycomeacrossthelumberwhichevidentlyincriminatedthepetitioner.
Thefactofpossessionbythepetitionerofthe24piecesofmagsihagonlumber,as
wellashersubsequentfailuretoproducethelegaldocumentsasrequiredunder
existingforestlawsandregulationsconstitutecriminalliabilityforviolationofthe
ForestryCode.UnderSection68oftheForestryCode,therearetwodistinctand
separateoffensespunished,namely:(1)cutting,gathering,collectingandremoving
timberorotherforestproductsfromanyforestland,ortimberfromalienableor
disposable public land, or from private land without any authority; and (2)
possessionoftimberorotherforestproductswithoutthelegaldocumentsrequired
underexistingforestlawsandregulations.26
Inthesecondoffense,itisimmaterialwhetherthecutting,gathering,collecting
and removal of the forest products are legal or not. Mere possession of forest
productswithouttheproperdocumentsconsummatesthecrime.Whetherornotthe
lumber comes from a legal source is immaterial because the Forestry Code is a
special law which considers mere possession of timber or other forest products
withouttheproperdocumentationasmalumprohibitum.27
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cut,gatheredortakenbytheoffenderintheprocessofcommittingtheoffense.xxx.
26Aquinov.People,611Phil.442,450;594SCRA50,58(2009).
27Id.,atp.451;p.54.

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Crescencio vs. People
In the present case, themagsihagonlumber were admittedly owned by the
petitionerbutunfortunatelynopermitevidencingauthoritytopossesssaidlumber
wasdulypresented.Thus,theInformationcorrectlychargedthepetitionerwiththe
second offense which is consummated by the mere possession of forest products
withouttheproperdocuments.Theprosecutionadducedseveraldocumentstoprove
thatthelumberwasconfiscatedfromthepetitioner,namely:aStatementShowing
theNumber/PiecesandVolumeofLumberBeingConfiscatedonMarch15,1994,
seizurereceipt,aphotographofthehouseofthepetitioner,andaphotographofthe
confiscated lumber. More so, the direct and affirmative testimony of the DENR
personnelasstatewitnessesonthecircumstancessurroundingtheapprehension
wellestablishesthepetitionersliability.
Astotheimposablepenaltyonthepetitioner,theRTCimposedanindeterminate
sentenceofsix(6)yearsandone(1)dayofprisinmayorasminimumtoeleven(11)
years,six(6)monthsandtwentyone(21)daysofprisinmayorasmaximum.
The Court does not agree. This Court notes that the estimated value of the
confiscated pieces of lumber, as appearing in the Statement Showing the
Number/Pieces and Volume of Lumber Being Confiscated is 9,040.00 which is
alleged in the Information. However, except for the testimonies of Abaniel and
Butalthatthisamountistheestimatebasedonprevailinglocalpriceasstatedin
theapprehensionreceipttheyissued,theprosecutiondidnotpresentanyproofas
tothevalueofthelumber.
Clearly,thisevidencedoesnotsuffice.TheCourthadruledthatinordertoprove
the amount of the property taken for fixing the penalty imposable against the
accusedunderArticle309oftheRevisedPenalCode(RPC),theprosecutionmust
presentmorethanamereuncorroboratedestimateofsuchfact.Intheabsenceof
independentandreliablecorroborationofsuchestimate,courtsmayeitherapply
theminimum332
332 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Crescencio vs. People
penaltyunderArticle309orfixthevalueofthepropertytakenbasedonthe
attendantcircumstancesofthecase. 28Hence,thelowercourterredinfindingthat
thevalueoftheconfiscatedlumberis9,040.00fornoevidenceofsuchvaluewas
establishedduringthetrial.
Accordingly,theCourt imposes onthepetitionertheminimum penaltyunder
Article 309(6)29of the RPC, which isarresto mayorin its minimum and medium
periods.However,consideringthatviolationofSection68oftheForestryCodeis
punishedasQualifiedTheftunderArticle310 30inrelationtoArticle309oftheRPC,
the statutory penalty shall be increased by two degrees, that is, toprisin
correccionalinitsmediumandmaximumperiodsorwithintherangeofthree(3)
years,six(6)monthsandtwentyone(21)daystofour(4)years,nine(9)monthsand
ten(10)days,consideringthattherearenoattendingmitigatingoraggravating
circumstanceinthecommissionoftheoffense.
In accordance with current jurisprudence31and taking into account the
IndeterminateSentenceLaw,theCourtfindsitpropertoimposeonthepetitioner,
inviewofthecircumstancesobtaininghere,thepenaltyoffour(4)monthsandone
(1)dayofarrestomayor,asminimum,tothree(3)years,six(6)monthsandtwenty
one(21)daysofprisincorreccional,asmaximum.
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28Meridav.People,577Phil.243,258259;554SCRA366,382(2008).
29Art.309.Penalties.Anypersonguiltyoftheftshallbepunishedby:
xxxx
6.Arrestomayorinitsminimumandmediumperiods,ifsuchvaluedoesnotexceed5pesos.
30Art.310.Qualifiedtheft.Thecrimeofqualifiedtheftshallbepunishedbythepenaltiesnext
higherbytwodegreesthanthoserespectivelyspecifiedinthenextprecedingarticlexxx.
31Meridav.People,supra.

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Crescencio vs. People
WHEREFORE,theDecisiononAugust12,2008oftheRegionalTrialCourtof
Talibon, Bohol, Branch 52, in Criminal Case No. 9627, isAFFIRMEDwith
theMODIFICATIONthatpetitionerMa.MimieCrescencioissentencedtosuffer
theindeterminatepenaltyoffour(4)monthsandone(1)dayofarrestomayor,as
minimum,tothree(3)years,six(6)monthsandtwentyone(21)daysofprisin
correccional,asmaximum.
SOORDERED.
Velasco, Jr. (Chairperson), Peralta, Del Castillo **andVillarama, Jr., JJ.,
concur.

Judgmentaffirmedwithmodification.

Notes.TherearetwodistinctandseparateoffensespunishedunderSection68
ofP.D.No.705,towit:(1)Cutting,gathering,collectingandremovingtimberor
otherforestproductsfromanyforestland,ortimberfromalienableordisposable
publicland,orfromprivatelandwithoutanyauthorization;and(2)Possessionof
timberorotherforestproductswithoutthelegaldocumentsrequiredunderexisting
forestlawsandregulations.(Villarinvs.People,656SCRA500[2011])
Violation of Sec. 68 of P.D. No. 705, as amended, ismalum prohibitum
criminalintentisnotanessentialelementbuttheprosecutionmustprovethatthe
accusedhadtheintenttopossess(animuspossidendi)thetimber.(Id.)
o0o
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**DesignatedadditionalmemberperSpecialOrderNo.1872datedNovember4,2014viceAssociate
JusticeFrancisH.Jardeleza.