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Republic of the Philippines must evaluate it before proceeding with the trial.

While the ruling of the


SUPREME COURT Justice Secretary is persuasive, it is not binding on courts.
Manila

THIRD DIVISION
In sum, prosecutors control and direct the prosecution of criminal offenses,
including the conduct of preliminary investigation, subject to review by the
G.R. No. L-65192 April 27, 1988 Secretary of Justice. While his resolution is persuasive, it is not binding on
the courts. The trial court must at all times make its own independent
RODOLFO DELA CRUZ, petitioner, assessment of the merits of each case.
vs.
Hon. FELIX L. MOYA, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of Branch
II of the Court of First Instance of Davao, and PEOPLE OF THE Thus, it is only where the decision of the Justice Secretary, or the trial court,
PHILIPPINES, respondents.
as the case may be, is tainted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to
Rolando C. Rama for petitioner.
lack or excess of jurisdiction that the Court of Appeals may take cognizance
of the case in a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of
The Solicitor General for respondents. Civil Procedure whose decision may then be appealed to this Court by way
of a petition for review on certiorari.
CORTES, J.: The Court of Appeals held that the Justice Secretary committed grave abuse
of discretion because he based his findings on the lack of probable cause on
Involving as it does a purely legal question, the present petition for the 1991 Deed of Sale when what was assailed was the 1979 Deed of
certiorari and mandamus was certified to this Court by the then Sale.[30] It ruled that the defenses raised by Torres should not have been
Intermediate Appellate Court in its resolution dated August 30, 1983.
considered during the preliminary investigation but should be threshed out
only during trial.[31] Only the evidence presented by the complainant
On February 23, 1979, Rodolfo Dela Cruz, a member of the Armed Forces
of the Philippines assigned to the Intelligence and Operations Section of should be considered in determining probable cause or the lack thereof.
the 432nd PC Company, together with other PC men, received a mission
order to proceed to Barangay Pangi, Maco, Sto. Tomas, Davao for the
purpose of verifying and apprehending persons who were allegedly We are not persuaded.
engaged in illegal cockfighting. In compliance with said mission order, Dela The Court of Appeals erred in relying solely on the affidavit-complaint and
Cruz and company proceeded to Maco, Davao del Norte and caught in
the NBI report[32] and disregarding totally the counter-affidavit and
flagrante the operators of said illegal cockfighting, but said operators
resisted arrest. The soldiers left the place but they brought with them to documentary evidence of petitioner.
the PC Headquarters the evidence of the crime, such as gaffs and fighting
cocks. The operators of the illegal cockfights, including the deceased It is well to note that Section 3, Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
Eusebio Cabilto, followed the soldiers on their way back to the PC Procedure not only requires the submission of the complaint and the
Headquarters, catching up with them on the Tagum-Mati National
Highway. Fighting ensued and in the scuffle, Dela Cruz shot Cabilto. affidavits of the complainant and his witnesses, as well as other supporting
documents, but also directs the respondent to submit his counter-affidavit
On August 2, 1979, Dela Cruz was charged with homicide in the Court of and that of his witnesses and other supporting documents relied upon for
First Instance of Davao, in an information filed by the Provincial Fiscal. The his defense. Section 4 thereof also mandates the investigating prosecutor to
case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 40080. certify under oath in the information that the accused was informed of the
complaint and the evidence against him, and that he was given an
While the case was pending trial, Presidential Decree Nos. 1822 and 1822-A opportunity to submit controverting evidence.
were promulgated by the President of the Philippines on January 16, 1981,
Thus, in determining the existence or absence of probable cause, the m not to move and handcuffed him.[53] Bolong asked why he was
investigating officer shall examine the complaint and documents in support being arrested but the man just told him to go with them.[54]
thereof as well as the controverting evidence presented by the defense. The suspects were then taken to the police station where, they would
While the validity and merits of a partys defense or accusation and the later claim, they met each other for the first time.[55]
admissibility of the testimonies and evidence are best ventilated in a full Assailing the credibility of informant Bobong Solier, the defense
blown trial, still, in a preliminary investigation, a proper consideration of the offered the testimonies of Felicia Julaton,[56] Branch 3 Clerk of Court,
complaint and supporting evidence as well as the controverting evidence, is Claudio Bohevia,[57] Branch 7 Clerk of Court, and Mercedita
warranted to determine the persons who may be reasonably charged with Abunda, [58] Branch 9 Utility Clerk, all of the Davao City Municipal Trial
Circuit Court. They testified and presented court documents showing that
the crime. The determination must be based on the totality of evidence one Bobo or Bobong Ramirez was charged in their respective branches
presented by both parties. with various crimes, specifically, light threats, less serious physical injuries
and robbery. The defense asserted that the Bobo or Bobong Ramirez
accused in these cases is the same person as the informant Bobong
Prescinding from these premises, we find that the Justice Secretary did not Solier.[59]
abuse his discretion in examining both the evidence presented by the
Swayed by the prosecutions evidence beyond reasonable doubt, the
complainant and the accused in determining the existence or the lack of RTC rendered judgment convicting both accused as charged and
probable cause. sentencing them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay a
fine of P500,000.00.[60]
There is basis in his finding that no probable cause exists. The complaint and On appeal, Noel Tudtud and Dindo Bolong assign, among other errors,
the 1979 Deed of Sale do not connect petitioner with the crime of the admission in evidence of the marijuana leaves, which they claim were
falsification. While the NBI report showed that the 1979 Deed of Sale was seized in violation of their right against unreasonable searches and
seizures.
falsified, there is no showing that petitioner was the author thereof. We
cannot discern direct and personal participation by the petitioner in the The right against unreasonable searches and seizures is secured by
Section 2, Article III of the Constitution, which states:
alleged forged deed. While a finding of probable cause rests on evidence
showing that, more likely than not, a crime has been committed and was
SEC. 2. The right of the people to be secured in their persons, houses,
committed by the accused, the existence of such facts and circumstance papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of
must be strong enough to create a rational and logical nexus between the whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search
acts and omissions and the accused. warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be
determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or
affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and
The allegation that petitioner effectuated the illicit transfer of the disputed particularly describing the places to be searched and the persons or things
properties in his name is without factual basis. He was not in possession of to be seized.
the alleged forged deed which does not even bore his signature. We find
merit in his contention that the subject properties were sold to him on The rule is that a search and seizure must be carried out through or
with a judicial warrant; otherwise, such search and seizure
March 10, 1991 considering that the new TCTs were issued in his name only becomes unreasonable within the meaning of the above-quoted
on March 26, 1991. His address mentioned in the 1979 Deed of Sale was constitutional provision, and any evidence secured thereby, will be
non-existent yet in 1979, thus giving the impression that it was executed on inadmissible in evidence for any purpose in any proceeding.[61] Section 3
a later date. It would be absurd for petitioner to use the 1979 Deed of Sale (2), Article III of the Constitution explicitly provides:
to facilitate the transfer on March 26, 1991 considering his possession of
(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of the preceding section shall be
the March 10, 1991 Deed of Sale.
inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.
The proscription in Section 2, Article III, however, covers only SEC. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A peace officer or a private
unreasonable searches and seizures. The following instances are not person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
deemed unreasonable even in the absence of a warrant:
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is
1. Warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest. (Sec. 12, Rule 126 of actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
the Rules of Court and prevailing jurisprudence);
.
2. Search of evidence in plain view. The elements are: (a) a prior valid
intrusion based on the valid warrantless arrest in which the police are It is significant to note that the search in question preceded the
legally present in the pursuit of their official duties; (b) the evidence was arrest. Recent jurisprudence holds that the arrest must precede the
inadvertently discovered by the police who have the right to be where they search; the process cannot be reversed.[71] Nevertheless, a search
are; (c) the evidence must be immediately apparent; (d) plain view substantially contemporaneous with an arrest can precede the arrest if the
justified mere seizure of evidence without further search; police have probable cause to make the arrest at the outset of the
search.[72] The question, therefore, is whether the police in this case had
3. Search of a moving vehicle. Highly regulated by the government, the probable cause to arrest appellants. Probable cause has been defined as:
vehicles inherent mobility reduces expectation of privacy especially when
its transit in public thoroughfares furnishes a highly reasonable suspicion an actual belief or reasonable grounds of suspicion. The grounds of
amounting to probable cause that the occupant committed a criminal suspicion are reasonable when, in the absence of actual belief of the
activity; arresting officers, the suspicion that the person to be arrested is probably
guilty of committing the offense, is based on actual facts, i.e., supported
4. Consented warrantless search; by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to create the probable
cause of guilt of the person to be arrested. A reasonable suspicion
5. Customs search; therefore must be founded on probable cause, coupled with good faith of
the peace officers making the arrest.[73]
6. Stop and Frisk; and
The long-standing rule in this jurisdiction, applied with a great degree
of consistency, is that reliable information alone is not sufficient to justify
7. Exigent and emergency circumstances.[62]
a warrantless arrest under Section 5 (a), Rule 113. The rule requires, in
addition, that the accused perform some overt act that would indicate that
The RTC justified the warrantless search of appellants belongings he has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an
under the first exception, as a search incident to a lawful arrest. It cited as offense.
authorities this Courts rulings in People v. Claudio,[63] People v.
Tangliben,[64]People v. Montilla,[65] and People v. Valdez.[66] The Office of In the leading case of People v. Burgos,[74] this Court held that the
the Solicitor General (OSG), in arguing for the affirmance of the appealed officer arresting a person who has just committed, is committing, or is
decision, invokes the cases of People v. Maspil, Jr.,[67] People v. about to commit an offense must have personal knowledge of that
Malmstedt,[68] and People v. Bagista.[69] fact. The offense must also be committed in his presence or within his
view.[75] In Burgos, the authorities obtained information that the accused
A search incidental to a lawful arrest is sanctioned by the Rules of had forcibly recruited one Cesar Masamlok as member of the New Peoples
Court. Prior to its revision in 2000, Section 12,[70] Rule 126 of said Rules Army, threatening the latter with a firearm. Upon finding the accused, the
read as follows: arresting team searched his house and discovered a gun as well as
purportedly subversive documents. This Court, in declaring then Section 6
SEC. 12. Search incident to lawful arrest. A person lawfully arrested may (a), Rule 113 of the Rules of Court inapplicable, ruled that:
be searched for dangerous weapons or anything which may be used as
proof of the commission of an offense, without a search warrant. There is no such personal knowledge in this case. Whatever knowledge
was possessed by the arresting officers, it came in its entirety from the
Section 5 (a), Rule 113 of the Rules, in turn, allows warrantless arrests: information furnished by Cesar Masamlok. The location of the firearm was
given by the appellants wife.
At the time of the appellants arrest, he was not in actual possession of any invalid the arrest of the accused, who was walking towards a hotel
firearm or subversive document. Neither was he committing any act which clutching a sealed Zest-O juice box. For the exception in Section 5 (a),
could be described as subversive. He was, in fact, plowing his field at the Rule 113 to apply, this Court ruled, two elements must concur: (1) the
time of the arrest. person to be arrested must execute an overt act indicating he has just
committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit a crime;
The right of a person to be secure against any unreasonable seizure of his and (2) such overt act is done in the presence or within the view of the
body and any deprivation of his liberty is a most basic and fundamental arresting officer. Reliable information alone is insufficient.
one. The statute or rule which allows exceptions to the requirement of In the following cases, the search was held to be incidental to a lawful
warrants of arrest is strictly construed. Any exception must clearly fall arrest because of suspicious circumstances: People v.
within the situations when securing a warrant would be absurd or is Tangliben[88] (accused was acting suspiciously), People v. Malmstedt[89] (a
manifestly unnecessary as provided by the Rule. We cannot liberally bulge on the accuseds waist), and People v. de Guzman[90] (likewise a
construe the rule on arrests without warrant or extend its application bulge on the waist of the accused, who was wearing tight-fitting clothes).
beyond the cases specifically provided by law. To do so would infringe
upon personal liberty and set back a basic right so often violated and so There is, however, another set of jurisprudence that deems reliable
deserving of full protection.[76] information sufficient to justify a search incident to a warrantless arrest
under Section 5 (a), Rule 113, thus deviating from Burgos. To this class of
Consequently, the items seized were held inadmissible, having been cases belong People v. Maspil, Jr.,[91] People v. Bagista,[92] People v.
obtained in violation of the accuseds constitutional rights against Balingan,[93] People v. Lising,[94] People v. Montilla,[95] People v.
unreasonable searches and seizures. Valdez,[96] and People v. Gonzales. [97] In these cases, the arresting
authorities were acting on information regarding an offense but there were
In People v. Aminnudin,[77] this Court likewise held the warrantless no overt acts or suspicious circumstances that would indicate that the
arrest and subsequent search of appellant therein illegal, given the accused has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit
following circumstances: the same. Significantly, these cases, except the last two, come under
some other exception to the rule against warrantless
the accused-appellant was not, at the moment of his arrest, committing a searches. Thus, Maspil, Jr. involved a checkpoint search, Balingan was a
crime nor was it shown that he was about to do so or that he had just search of a moving vehicle, Bagista was both, and Lising and Montilla were
done so. What he was doing was descending the gangplank of the M/V consented searches.
Wilcon 9 and there was no outward indication that he called for his
Nevertheless, the great majority of cases conforms to the rule
arrest. To all appearances, he was like any of the other passengers
in Burgos, which, in turn, more faithfully adheres to the letter of Section
innocently disembarking from the vessel. It was only when the informer
5(a), Rule 113. Note the phrase in his presence therein, connoting
pointed to him as the carrier of the marijuana that he suddenly became
personal knowledge on the part of the arresting officer. The right of the
suspect and so subject to apprehension. It was the furtive finger that
accused to be secure against any unreasonable searches on and seizure of
triggered his arrest. The identification by the informer was the probable
his own body and any deprivation of his liberty being a most basic and
cause as determined by the officers (and not a judge) that authorized
fundamental one, the statute or rule that allows exception to the
them to pounce upon Aminnudin and immediately arrest him.[78]
requirement of a warrant of arrest is strictly construed. Its application
cannot be extended beyond the cases specifically provided by law.[98]
Thus, notwithstanding tips from confidential informants and
regardless of the fact that the search yielded contraband, the mere act of The cases invoked by the RTC and the OSG are, therefore, gravely
looking from side to side while holding ones abdomen, [79] or of standing on misplaced. In Claudio,[99] the accused, who was seated aboard a bus in
a corner with ones eyes moving very fast, looking at every person who front of the arresting officer, put her bag behind the latter, thus arousing
came near,[80] does not justify a warrantless arrest under said Section 5 the latters suspicion. In Tangliben and Malmstedt, the accused had also
(a). Neither does putting something in ones pocket,[81] handing over ones acted suspiciously.
baggage,[82]riding a motorcycle,[83] nor does holding a bag on board
As noted earlier, Maspil, Jr., Bagista and Montilla were justified by
a trisikad[84]sanction State intrusion. The same rule applies to crossing the
other exceptions to the rule against warrantless searches. Montilla,
street per se.[85]
moreover, was not without its critics. There, majority of the Court held:
Personal knowledge was also required in the case of People v.
Doria.[86] Recently, in People v. Binad Sy Chua,[87] this Court declared
Appellant insists that the mere fact of seeing a person carrying a traveling To say that reliable tips constitute probable cause for a warrantless arrest
bag and a carton box should not elicit the slightest suspicion of the or search is in my opinion, a dangerous precedent and places in great
commission of any crime since that is normal. But precisely, it is in the jeopardy the doctrines laid down in many decisions made by this Court, in
ordinary nature of things that drugs being illegally transported are its effort to zealously guard and protect the sacred constitutional right
necessarily hidden in containers and concealed from view. Thus, the against unreasonable arrests, searches and seizures. Everyone would be
officers could reasonably assume, and not merely on a hollow suspicion practically at the mercy of so-called informants, reminiscent of the
since the informant was by their side and had so informed them, that the makapilis during the Japanese occupation. Any one whom they point out to
drugs were in appellants luggage. It would obviously have been a police officer as a possible violator of the law could then be subject to
irresponsible, if now downright absurd under the circumstances, to require search and possible arrest. This is placing limitless power upon informants
the constable to adopt a wait and see attitude at the risk of eventually who will no longer be required to affirm under oath their accusations, for
losing the quarry. they can always delay their giving of tips in order to justify warrantless
arrests and searches. Even law enforcers can use this as an oppressive
Here, there were sufficient facts antecedent to the search and seizure that, tool to conduct searches without warrants, for they can always claim that
at the point prior to the search were already constitutive of probable they received raw intelligence information only on the day or afternoon
cause, and which by themselves could properly create in the minds of the before. This would clearly be a circumvention of the legal requisites for
officers a well-grounded and reasonable belief that appellant was in the act validly effecting an arrest or conducting a search and seizure. Indeed the
of violating the law. The search yielded affirmance both of that probable majoritys ruling would open loopholes that would allow unreasonable
cause and the actuality that appellant was then actually committing a arrests, searches and seizures.[101]
crime by illegally transporting prohibited drugs.With these attendant facts,
it is ineluctable that appellant was caught in flagrante delicto, hence his Montilla would shortly find mention in Justice Panganibans concurring
arrest and the search of his belongings without the requisite warrant were opinion in People v. Doria, supra, where this Court ruled:
both justified.[100]
Accused-Appellant Gaddao was arrested solely on the basis of the alleged
While concurring with the majority, Mr. Justice Vitug reserved his vote identification made by her co-accused. PO3 Manlangit, however, declared
on the discussion on the warrantless search being incidental to a lawful in his direct examination that appellant Doria named his co-accused in
arrest. Mr. Justice Panganiban, joined by Messrs. Justices Melo and Puno, response to his (PO3 Manlangits) query as to where the
filed a Separate Opinion. marked money was. Appellant Doria did not point to appellant Gaddao as
his associate in the drug business, but as the person with whom he left the
Although likewise concurring in the majoritys ruling that appellant marked bills. This identification does not necessarily lead to the conclusion
consented to the inspection of his baggage, Justice Panganiban disagreed that appellant Gaddao conspired with her co-accused in pushing drugs.
with the conclusion that the warrantless search was incidental to a lawful Appellant Doria may have left the money in her house, with or without any
arrest. He argued that jurisprudence required personal knowledge on the conspiracy. Save for accused-appellant Dorias word, the Narcom agents
part of the officers making the in flagrante delicto arrest. In Montilla, the had no showing that the person who affected the warantless arrest had, in
appellant did not exhibit any overt act or strange conduct that would his own right, knowledge of facts implicating the person arrested to the
reasonably arouse in their minds suspicion that he was embarking on perpetration of a criminal offense, the arrest is legally
some felonious enterprise. objectionable.[102] [Italics in the original.]

Law and jurisprudence in fact require stricter grounds for valid arrests and Expressing his accord with Mr. Justice Punos ponencia, Justice
searches without warrant than for the issuance of warrants therefore. In Panganiban said that Doria rightfully brings the Court back to well-settled
the former, the arresting person must have actually witnessed the crime doctrines on warrantless arrests and searches, which have seemingly been
being committed or attempted by the person sought to be arrested; or he modified through an obiter in People v. Ruben Montilla.[103]
must have personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be
arrested perpetrated the crime that had just occurred. In the latter case, Montilla, therefore, has been seemingly discredited insofar as it
the judge simply determines personally from testimonies of witnesses that sanctions searches incidental to lawful arrest under similar
there exists reasonable grounds to believe that a crime was committed by circumstances. At any rate, Montilla was a consented search. As will be
the accused. demonstrated later, the same could not be said of this case.

That leaves the prosecution with People v. Valdez, which, however,


. involved an on-the-spot information. The urgency of the circumstances, an
element not present in this case, prevented the arresting officer therein Indeed, it appears that PO1 Floreta himself doubted the reliablility of
from obtaining a warrant. their informant. He testified on cross-examination:

Appellants in this case were neither performing any overt act or Q You mean to say that Bobot Solier, is not reliable?
acting in a suspicious manner that would hint that a crime has been, was
being, or was about to be, committed. If the arresting officers testimonies A He is trustworthy.
are to be believed, appellants were merely helping each other carry a Q Why [did] you not consider his information not reliable if he is
carton box. Although appellant Tudtud did appear afraid and reliable?
perspiring,[104] pale[105] and trembling,[106] this was only after, not before,
he was asked to open the said box. A (witness did not answer).

In no sense can the knowledge of the herein arresting officers that ATTY. CAETE:
appellant Tudtud was in possession of marijuana be described as personal,
having learned the same only from their informant Solier. Solier, for his Never mind, do not answer anymore. Thats all.[108]
part, testified that he obtained his information only from his neighbors and The prosecution, on re-direct examination, did not attempt to extract any
the friends of appellant Tudtud: explanation from PO1 Floreta for his telling silence.
Q What was your basis in your report to the police that Tudtud is Confronted with such a dubious informant, the police perhaps felt it
going to Cotabato and get stocks of marijuana? necessary to conduct their own surveillance. This surveillance, it turns out,
A Because of the protest of my neighbors who were saying who did not actually consist of staking out appellant Tudtud to catch him in the
will be the person whou [sic] would point to him because he act of plying his illegal trade, but of a mere gather[ing] of information
had been giving trouble to the neighborhood because from the assets there.[109] The police officers who conducted such
according to them there are [sic] proliferation of marijuana surveillance did not identify who these assets were or the basis of the
in our place. That was the complained [sic] of our neighbors. latters information. Clearly, such information is also hearsay, not of
personal knowledge.
Q Insofar as the accused Tudtud is concerned what was your
basis in reporting him particularly? Neither were the arresting officers impelled by any urgency that
would allow them to do away with the requisite warrant, PO1 Desiertos
A His friends were the once who told me about it. assertions of lack of time[110] notwithstanding. Records show that the
police had ample opportunity to apply for a warrant, having received
Q For how long have you know [sic] this fact of alleged activity of Soliers information at around 9:00 in the morning; Tudtud, however, was
Tudtud in proliferation of marijuana? expected to arrive at around 6:00 in the evening of the same
A About a month. day.[111] In People v. Encinada, supra, the Court ruled that there was
sufficient time to procure a warrant where the police officers received at
. 4:00 in the afternoon an intelligence report that the accused, who was
supposedly carrying marijuana, would arrive the next morning at 7:00
Q Regarding the report that Tudtud went to Cotabato to get a.m.:
stocks of marijuana which led to his apprehension sometime
in the evening of August 1 and according to the report
[which] is based on your report my question is, how did you Even if the information was received by Bolonia about 4:00 p.m. of May
know that Tudtud will be bringing along with him marijuana 20, 1992 at his house, there was sufficient time to secure a warrant of
stocks on August 1, 1999? arrest, as the M/V Sweet Pearl was not expected to dock until 7:00 a.m.
the following day.Administrative Circular No. 13 allows application for
. search warrants even after office hours:

A Because of the information of his neighbor.[107]


3. Raffling shall be strictly enforced, except only in case where an
In other words, Soliers information itself is hearsay. He did not even application for search warrant may be filed directly with any judge whose
elaborate on how his neighbors or Tudtuds friends acquired their jurisdiction the place to be searched is located, after office hours, or during
information that Tudtud was responsible for the proliferation of drugs in Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, in which case the applicant is
their neighborhood.
required to certify under oath the urgency of the issuance thereof after Q When Solier reported to you that fact, that Tudtud will be
office hours, or during Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays; . . .. coming from Cotabato to get that (sic) stocks, you did not
go to court to get a search warrant on the basis of the
The same procedural dispatch finds validation and reiteration in Circular report of Bobot Solier?
No. 19, series of 1987, entitled Amended Guidelines and Procedures on A No.
Application for search warrants for Illegal Possession of Firearms and
Other Serious Crimes Filed in Metro Manila Courts and Other Courts with Q Why?
Multiple Salas:
A Because we have no real basis to secure the search warrant.
This Court has received reports of delay while awaiting raffle, in acting on Q When you have no real basis to secure a search warrant, you
applications for search warrants in the campaign against loose firearms have also no real basis to search Tudtud and Bulong at that
and other serious crimes affecting peace and order. There is a need for time?
prompt action on such applications for search warrant. Accordingly, these
amended guidelines in the issuance of a search warrant are issued: A Yes, sir.

.
1. All applications for search warrants relating to violation of the Anti-
subversion Act, crimes against public order as defined in the Revised Penal Q And Bobot Solier told you that Tudtud, that he would already
Code, as amended, illegal possession of firearms and/or ammunition and bring marijuana?
violations of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as amended, shall no
A Yes, sir.
longer be raffled and shall immediately be taken cognizance of and acted
upon by the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Q And this was 9:00 a.m.?
Court, and Municipal Trial Court under whose jurisdiction the place to be
searched is located. A Yes, sir.

Q The arrival of Tudtud was expected at 6:00 p.m.?


2. In the absence of the Executive Judge, the Vice-Executive Judge shall
take cognizance of and personally act on the same. In the absence of the A Yes, sir.
Executive Judge or Vice-Executive Judge, the application may be taken
Q Toril is just 16 kilometers from Davao City?
cognizance of and acted upon by any judge of the Court where application
is filed. A Yes, sir.

Q And the Office of the Regional Trial Court is only about 16


3. Applications filed after office hours, during Saturdays, Sundays and
kilometers, is that correct?
holidays, shall likewise be taken cognizance of and acted upon by any
judge of the Court having jurisdiction of the place to be searched, but in A Yes, sir.
such cases the applicant shall certify and state the facts under oath, to the
satisfaction of the judge, that its issuance is urgent. Q And it can be negotiated by thirty minutes by a jeep ride?

A Yes, sir.
4. Any judge acting on such application shall immediately and without
delay personally conduct the examination of the applicant and his Q And you can asked [sic] the assistance of any prosecutor to
witnesses to prevent the possible leakage of information. He shall observe apply for the search warrant or the prosecutor do [sic] not
the procedures, safeguards, and guidelines for the issuance of search assist?
warrants provided for in this Courts Administrative Circular No. 13, dated
A They help.
October 1, 1985.[112] [Italics in the original.]
Q But you did not come to Davao City, to asked [sic] for a search
Given that the police had adequate time to obtain the warrant, PO1 warrant?
Floretas testimony that the real reason for their omission was their belief
A As I said, we do not have sufficient basis.[113]
that they lacked sufficient basis to obtain the same assumes greater
significance. This was PO1 Floretas familiar refrain:
It may be conceded that the mere subjective conclusions of a police in the performance of official functions and shift to the accused the burden
officer concerning the existence of probable cause is not binding on [the of proving that the search was unconsented.[120]
courts] which must independently scrutinize the objective facts to
determine the existence of probable cause and that a court may also find In any case, any presumption in favor of regularity would be severely
probable cause in spite of an officers judgment that none diminished by the allegation of appellants in this case that the arresting
exists.[114] However, the fact that the arresting officers felt that they did officers pointed a gun at them before asking them to open the subject
not have sufficient basis to obtain a warrant, despite their own box.Appellant Tudtud testified as follows:
information-gathering efforts, raises serious questions whether such Q This person who approached you according to you pointed
surveillance actually yielded any pertinent information and even whether something at you[.] [What] was that something?
they actually conducted any information-gathering at all, thereby eroding
any claim to personal knowledge. A A 38 cal. Revolver.

Finally, there is an effective waiver of rights against unreasonable Q How did he point it at you?
searches and seizures if the following requisites are present:
A Like this (Witness demonstrating as if pointing with his two
1. It must appear that the rights exist; arms holding something towards somebody).

2. The person involved had knowledge, actual or constructive, of the Q This man[,] what did he tell you when he pointed a gun at
existence of such right; you?

3. Said person had an actual intention to relinquish the right.[115] A He said do not run.

Here, the prosecution failed to establish the second and third Q What did you do?
requisites. Records disclose that when the police officers introduced
themselves as such and requested appellant that they see the contents of A I raised my hands and said Sir, what is this about?
the carton box supposedly containing the marijuana, appellant Tudtud said Q Why did you call him Sir?
it was alright. He did not resist and opened the box himself.
A I was afraid because when somebody is holding a gun, I am
The fundamental law and jurisprudence require more than the afraid.
presence of these circumstances to constitute a valid waiver of the
constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures. Courts Q Precisely, why did you address him as Sir?
indulge every reasonable presumption against waiver of fundamental
constitutional rights; acquiescence in the loss of fundamental rights is not A Because he was holding a gun and I believed that somebody
to be presumed.[116] The fact that a person failed to object to a search who is carrying a gun is a policeman.
does not amount to permission thereto. Q When you asked him what is this? What did he say?

. As the constitutional guaranty is not dependent upon any affirmative act A He said I would like to inspect what you are carrying.[]
of the citizen, the courts do not place the citizen in the position of either Q What did you say when you were asked to open that carton
contesting an officers authority by force, or waiving his constitutional box?
rights; but instead they hold that a peaceful submission to a search or
seizure is not a consent or an invitation thereto, but is merely a A I told him that is not mine.
demonstration of regard for the supremacy of the law.[117] [Underscoring
supplied.] Q What did this man say?

A He again pointed to me his revolver and again said to open.


Thus, even in cases where the accused voluntarily handed her
bag[118] or the chairs[119] containing marijuana to the arresting officer, this Q What did you do?
Court held there was no valid consent to the search. A So I proceeded to open for fear of being shot.[121]
On the other hand, because a warrantless search is in derogation of a Appellants implied acquiescence, if at all, could not have been more
constitutional right, peace officers who conduct it cannot invoke regularity than mere passive conformity given under coercive or intimidating
circumstances and is, thus, considered no consent at all within the purview WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Davao City
of the constitutional guarantee.[122] Consequently, appellants lack of is REVERSED. Appellants Noel Tudtud y Paypa and Dindo Bolong y Naret
objection to the search and seizure is not tantamount to a waiver of his are hereby ACQUITTED for insufficiency of evidence. The Director of the
constitutional right or a voluntary submission to the warrantless search Bureau of Prisons is ordered to cause the immediate release of appellants
and seizure.[123] from confinement, unless they are being held for some other lawful cause,
and to report to this Court compliance herewith within five (5) days from
As the search of appellants box does not come under the recognized receipt hereof.
exceptions to a valid warrantless search, the marijuana leaves obtained
thereby are inadmissible in evidence. And as there is no evidence other SO ORDERED.
than the hearsay testimony of the arresting officers and their informant,
the conviction of appellants cannot be sustained. FIRST DIVISION

The Bill of Rights is the bedrock of constitutional government. If


people are stripped naked of their rights as human beings, democracy
cannot survive and government becomes meaningless. This explains why [G.R. No. 147703. April 14, 2004]
the Bill of Rights, contained as it is in Article III of the Constitution,
occupies a position of primacy in the fundamental law way above the
articles on governmental power.[124]

The right against unreasonable search and seizure in turn is at the top PHILIPPINE RABBIT BUS LINES, INC., petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF
of the hierarchy of rights,[125] next only to, if not on the same plane as, the THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.
right to life, liberty and property, which is protected by the due process
clause.[126] This is as it should be for, as stressed by a couple of noted DECISION
freedom advocates,[127] the right to personal security which, along with the
right to privacy, is the foundation of the right against unreasonable search PANGANIBAN, J.:
and seizure includes the right to exist, and the right to enjoyment of life
while existing. Emphasizing such right, this Court declared in People v. When the accused-employee absconds or jumps bail, the judgment
Aruta: meted out becomes final and executory. The employer cannot defeat the
finality of the judgment by filing a notice of appeal on its own behalf in the
Unreasonable searches and seizures are the menace against which the guise of asking for a review of its subsidiary civil liability. Both the primary
constitutional guarantees afford full protection. While the power to search civil liability of the accused-employee and the subsidiary civil liability of the
and seize may at times be necessary to the public welfare, still it may be employer are carried in one single decision that has become final and
exercised and the law enforced without transgressing the constitutional executory.
rights of the citizens, for the enforcement of no statute is of sufficient
importance to justify indifference to the basic principles of government.
The Case
Those who are supposed to enforce the law are not justified in
disregarding the rights of the individual in the name of order. Order is too
high a price to pay for the loss of liberty. As Justice Holmes declared: I Before this Court is a Petition for Review[1] under Rule 45 of the Rules
think it is less evil that some criminals escape than that the government of Court, assailing the March 29, 2000[2] and the March 27,
should play an ignoble part. It is simply not allowed in free society to 2001[3] Resolutions of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR CV No.
violate a law to enforce another, especially if the law violated is the 59390. Petitioners appeal from the judgment of the Regional Trial Court
Constitution itself.[128] (RTC) of San Fernando, La Union in Criminal Case No. 2535 was dismissed
in the first Resolution as follows:
Thus, given a choice between letting suspected criminals escape or
letting the government play an ignoble part, the answer, to this Court, is WHEREFORE, for all the foregoing, the motion to dismiss is GRANTED and
clear and ineluctable. the appeal is ordered DISMISSED.[4]
The second Resolution denied petitioners Motion for f. to TERESITA TAMONDONG, the sum of P19,800.47 as medical
Reconsideration.[5] expenses, P800.00 for loss of income, and P25,000.00 as
moral damages;

The Facts g. to JULIANA TABTAB, the amount of P580.81 as medical


expenses, P4,600.00 as actual damages and her loss
earnings of P1,400.00 as well as moral damages in the
The facts of the case are summarized by the CA in this wise: amount of P10,000.00;

On July 27, 1994, accused [Napoleon Roman y Macadangdang] was found h. to MIGUEL ARQUITOLA, the sum of P12,473.82 as hospital
guilty and convicted of the crime of reckless imprudence resulting to triple expenses, P14,530.00 as doctors fees, P1,000.00 for
homicide, multiple physical injuries and damage to property and was medicines and P50,000.00 as moral damages;
sentenced to suffer the penalty of four (4) years, nine (9) months and
eleven (11) days to six (6) years, and to pay damages as follows: i. to CLARITA CABANBAN, the sum of P155.00 for medical
expenses, P87.00 for medicines, P1,710.00 as actual
a. to pay the heirs of JUSTINO TORRES the sum of P50,000.00 as damages and P5,000.00 as moral damages;
indemnity for his death, plus the sum of P25,383.00, for
funeral expenses, his unearned income for one year j. to MARIANO CABANBAN, the sum of P1,395.00 for hospital
at P2,500.00 a month, P50,000.00 as indemnity for the bills, P500.00 for medicine, P2,100.00 as actual
support of Renato Torres, and the further sum damages, P1,200.00 for loss of income and P5,000.00 as
of P300,000.00 as moral damages; moral damages;

b. to the heirs of ESTRELLA VELERO, the sum of P50,000.00 as k. to La Union Electric Company as the registered owner of the
indemnity for her death, the sum of P237,323.75 for Toyota Hi-Ace Van, the amount of P250,000.00 as actual
funeral expenses, her unearned income for three years damages for the cost of the totally wrecked vehicle; to the
at P45,000.00 per annum, and the further sum owner of the jeepney, the amount of P22,698.38 as actual
of P1,000,000.00 as moral damages and P200,000.00 as damages;
attorneys fees[;]
The court further ruled that [petitioner], in the event of the insolvency of
c. to the heirs of LORNA ANCHETA, the sum of P50,000.00 as accused, shall be liable for the civil liabilities of the accused. Evidently, the
indemnity for her death, the sum of P22,838.00 as funeral judgment against accused had become final and executory.
expenses, the sum of P20,544.94 as medical expenses and
her loss of income for 30 years at P1,000.00 per month, Admittedly, accused had jumped bail and remained at-large. It is worth
and the further sum of P100,000.00 for moral damages; mention[ing] that Section 8, Rule 124 of the Rules of Court authorizes the
dismissal of appeal when appellant jumps bail. Counsel for accused, also
d. to MAUREEN BRENNAN, the sum of P229,654.00 as hospital admittedly hired and provided by [petitioner], filed a notice of appeal
expenses, doctors fees of P170,000.00 for the orthopedic which was denied by the trial court. We affirmed the denial of the notice of
surgeon, P22,500.00 for the [n]eurologist, an additional appeal filed in behalf of accused.
indemnity [of] at least P150,000.00 to cover future
correction of deformity of her limbs, and moral damages in Simultaneously, on August 6, 1994, [petitioner] filed its notice of appeal
the amount of P1,000,000.00; from the judgment of the trial court. On April 29, 1997, the trial court
gave due course to [petitioners] notice of appeal. On December 8, 1998,
e. to ROSIE BALAJO, the sum of P3,561.46 as medical [petitioner] filed its brief.On December 9, 1998, the Office of the Solicitor
expenses, P2,000.00 as loss of income, and P25,000.00 as General received [a] copy of [petitioners] brief. On January 8, 1999, the
moral damages; OSG moved to be excused from filing [respondents] brief on the ground
that the OSGs authority to represent People is confined to criminal cases
on appeal. The motion was however denied per Our resolution of May 31,
1999. On March 2, 1999, [respondent]/private prosecutor filed the instant Main Issue:
motion to dismiss.[6] (Citations omitted) Propriety of Appeal by the Employer

Pointing out that it had seasonably filed a notice of appeal from the
Ruling of the Court of Appeals RTC Decision, petitioner contends that the judgment of conviction against
the accused-employee has not attained finality. The former insists that its
appeal stayed the finality, notwithstanding the fact that the latter had
The CA ruled that the institution of a criminal case implied the jumped bail. In effect, petitioner argues that its appeal takes the place of
institution also of the civil action arising from the offense. Thus, once that of the accused-employee.
determined in the criminal case against the accused-employee, the
employers subsidiary civil liability as set forth in Article 103 of the Revised We are not persuaded.
Penal Code becomes conclusive and enforceable.

The appellate court further held that to allow an employer to dispute


independently the civil liability fixed in the criminal case against the Appeals in Criminal Cases
accused-employee would be to amend, nullify or defeat a final
judgment. Since the notice of appeal filed by the accused had already
been dismissed by the CA, then the judgment of conviction and the award Section 1 of Rule 122 of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure
of civil liability became final and executory. Included in the civil liability of states thus:
the accused was the employers subsidiary liability.

Hence, this Petition.[7] Any party may appeal from a judgment or final order, unless the accused
will be placed in double jeopardy.

Clearly, both the accused and the prosecution may appeal a criminal
The Issues case, but the government may do so only if the accused would not thereby
be placed in double jeopardy.[9] Furthermore, the prosecution cannot
appeal on the ground that the accused should have been given a more
Petitioner states the issues of this case as follows: severe penalty.[10] On the other hand, the offended parties may also
appeal the judgment with respect to their right to civil liability. If the
A. Whether or not an employer, who dutifully participated in the defense accused has the right to appeal the judgment of conviction, the offended
of its accused-employee, may appeal the judgment of conviction parties should have the same right to appeal as much of the judgment as
independently of the accused. is prejudicial to them.[11]

B. Whether or not the doctrines of Alvarez v. Court of Appeals (158 SCRA


57) and Yusay v. Adil (164 SCRA 494) apply to the instant case.[8] Appeal by the Accused
Who Jumps Bail
There is really only one issue. Item B above is merely an adjunct to
Item A.
Well-established in our jurisdiction is the principle that the appellate
court may, upon motion or motu proprio, dismiss an appeal during its
pendency if the accused jumps bail. The second paragraph of Section 8 of
The Courts Ruling Rule 124 of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides:

The Petition has no merit. The Court of Appeals may also, upon motion of the appellee or motu
proprio, dismiss the appeal if the appellant escapes from prison or
confinement, jumps bail or flees to a foreign country during the pendency
of the appeal.[12]
This rule is based on the rationale that appellants lose their standing Article 102 of the Revised Penal Code states the subsidiary civil
in court when they abscond. Unless they surrender or submit to the courts liabilities of innkeepers, as follows:
jurisdiction, they are deemed to have waived their right to seek judicial
relief.[13] In default of the persons criminally liable, innkeepers, tavernkeepers, and
Moreover, this doctrine applies not only to the accused who jumps any other persons or corporations shall be civilly liable for crimes
bail during the appeal, but also to one who does so during the trial. Justice committed in their establishments, in all cases where a violation of
Florenz D. Regalado succinctly explains the principle in this wise: municipal ordinances or some general or special police regulation shall
have been committed by them or their employees.

x x x. When, as in this case, the accused escaped after his arraignment


and during the trial, but the trial in absentia proceeded resulting in the Innkeepers are also subsidiary liable for restitution of goods taken by
promulgation of a judgment against him and his counsel appealed, since robbery or theft within their houses from guests lodging therein, or for
he nonetheless remained at large his appeal must be dismissed by analogy payment of the value thereof, provided that such guests shall have notified
with the aforesaid provision of this Rule [Rule 124, 8 of the Rules on in advance the innkeeper himself, or the person representing him, of the
Criminal Procedure]. x x x[14] deposit of such goods within the inn; and shall furthermore have followed
the directions which such innkeeper or his representative may have given
them with respect to the care and vigilance over such goods. No liability
The accused cannot be accorded the right to appeal unless they shall attach in case of robbery with violence against or intimidation of
voluntarily submit to the jurisdiction of the court or are otherwise arrested persons unless committed by the innkeepers employees.
within 15 days from notice of the judgment against them.[15] While at
large, they cannot seek relief from the court, as they are deemed to have
waived the appeal.[16] Moreover, the foregoing subsidiary liability applies to employers,
according to Article 103 which reads:

The subsidiary liability established in the next preceding article shall also
Finality of a Decision apply to employers, teachers, persons, and corporations engaged in any
in a Criminal Case kind of industry for felonies committed by their servants, pupils, workmen,
apprentices, or employees in the discharge of their duties.

As to when a judgment of conviction attains finality is explained in


Having laid all these basic rules and principles, we now address the
Section 7 of Rule 120 of the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure, which we
main issue raised by petitioner.
quote:

A judgment of conviction may, upon motion of the accused, be modified or


set aside before it becomes final or before appeal is perfected. Except Civil Liability Deemed Instituted
where the death penalty is imposed, a judgment becomes final after the in the Criminal Prosecution
lapse of the period for perfecting an appeal, or when the sentence has
been partially or totally satisfied or served, or when the accused has
waived in writing his right to appeal, or has applied for probation. At the outset, we must explain that the 2000 Rules of Criminal
Procedure has clarified what civil actions are deemed instituted in a
In the case before us, the accused-employee has escaped and refused criminal prosecution.
to surrender to the proper authorities; thus, he is deemed to have Section 1 of Rule 111 of the current Rules of Criminal Procedure
abandoned his appeal. Consequently, the judgment against him has provides:
become final and executory.[17]
When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery of civil
liability arising from the offense charged shall be deemed instituted with
Liability of an Employer the criminal action unless the offended party waives the civil action,
in a Finding of Guilt reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes the civil action
prior to the criminal action.
xxxxxxxxx none can be applied to it, because in all th[o]se cases, the accuseds
employer did not interpose an appeal.[27] Indeed, petitioner cannot cite
Only the civil liability of the accused arising from the crime charged is any single case in which the employer appealed, precisely because an
deemed impliedly instituted in a criminal action, that is, unless the appeal in such circumstances is not possible.
offended party waives the civil action, reserves the right to institute it The cases dealing with the subsidiary liability of employers uniformly
separately, or institutes it prior to the criminal action.[18] Hence, the declare that, strictly speaking, they are not parties to the criminal cases
subsidiary civil liability of the employer under Article 103 of the Revised instituted against their employees.[28] Although in substance and in effect,
Penal Code may be enforced by execution on the basis of the judgment of they have an interest therein, this fact should be viewed in the light of
conviction meted out to the employee.[19] their subsidiary liability. While they may assist their employees to the
It is clear that the 2000 Rules deleted the requirement of reserving extent of supplying the latters lawyers, as in the present case, the former
independent civil actions and allowed these to proceed separately from cannot act independently on their own behalf, but can only defend the
criminal actions. Thus, the civil actions referred to in Articles accused.
32,[20] 33,[21]34[22]and 2176[23] of the Civil Code shall remain separate,
distinct and independent of any criminal prosecution based on the same
act. Here are some direct consequences of such revision and omission: Waiver of Constitutional Safeguard
1. The right to bring the foregoing actions based on the Civil Code Against Double Jeopardy
need not be reserved in the criminal prosecution, since they are not
deemed included therein.
Petitioners appeal obviously aims to have the accused-employee
2. The institution or the waiver of the right to file a separate civil absolved of his criminal responsibility and the judgment reviewed as a
action arising from the crime charged does not extinguish the right to whole. These intentions are apparent from its Appellants Brief[29] filed with
bring such action. the CA and from its Petition[30] before us, both of which claim that the trial
courts finding of guilt is not supported by competent evidence.[31]
3. The only limitation is that the offended party cannot recover more
than once for the same act or omission.[24] An appeal from the sentence of the trial court implies a waiver of the
constitutional safeguard against double jeopardy and throws the whole
What is deemed instituted in every criminal prosecution is the civil case open to a review by the appellate court. The latter is then called upon
liability arising from the crime or delict per se (civil liability ex delicto), but to render judgment as law and justice dictate, whether favorable or
not those liabilities arising from quasi-delicts, contracts or quasi- unfavorable to the appellant.[32] This is the risk involved when the accused
contracts. In fact, even if a civil action is filed separately, the ex decides to appeal a sentence of conviction.[33] Indeed, appellate courts
delicto civil liability in the criminal prosecution remains, and the offended have the power to reverse, affirm or modify the judgment of the lower
party may -- subject to the control of the prosecutor -- still intervene in court and to increase or reduce the penalty it imposed.[34]
the criminal action, in order to protect the remaining civil interest
therein.[25] If the present appeal is given course, the whole case against the
accused-employee becomes open to review. It thus follows that a penalty
This discussion is completely in accord with the Revised Penal Code, higher than that which has already been imposed by the trial court may be
which states that [e]very person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly meted out to him. Petitioners appeal would thus violate his right against
liable.[26] double jeopardy, since the judgment against him could become subject to
Petitioner argues that, as an employer, it is considered a party to the modification without his consent.
criminal case and is conclusively bound by the outcome We are not in a position to second-guess the reason why the accused
thereof. Consequently, petitioner must be accorded the right to pursue the effectively waived his right to appeal by jumping bail. It is clear, though,
case to its logical conclusion -- including the appeal. that petitioner may not appeal without violating his right against double
The argument has no merit. Undisputedly, petitioner is not a direct jeopardy.
party to the criminal case, which was filed solely against Napoleon M.
Roman, its employee.

In its Memorandum, petitioner cited a comprehensive list of cases Effect of Absconding


dealing with the subsidiary liability of employers. Thereafter, it noted that on the Appeal Process
Moreover, within the meaning of the principles governing the Under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code, employers are
prevailing criminal procedure, the accused impliedly withdrew his appeal subsidiarily liable for the adjudicated civil liabilities of their employees in
by jumping bail and thereby made the judgment of the court below the event of the latters insolvency.[44] The provisions of the Revised Penal
final.[35] Having been a fugitive from justice for a long period of time, he is Code on subsidiary liability -- Articles 102 and 103 -- are deemed written
deemed to have waived his right to appeal. Thus, his conviction is now into the judgments in the cases to which they are applicable.[45] Thus, in
final and executory. The Court in People v. Ang Gioc[36] ruled: the dispositive portion of its decision, the trial court need not expressly
pronounce the subsidiary liability of the employer.
There are certain fundamental rights which cannot be waived even by the In the absence of any collusion between the accused-employee and
accused himself, but the right of appeal is not one of them. This right is the offended party, the judgment of conviction should bind the person who
granted solely for the benefit of the accused. He may avail of it or not, as is subsidiarily liable.[46] In effect and implication, the stigma of a criminal
he pleases. He may waive it either expressly or by implication. When the conviction surpasses mere civil liability.[47]
accused flees after the case has been submitted to the court for decision,
he will be deemed to have waived his right to appeal from the judgment To allow employers to dispute the civil liability fixed in a criminal case
rendered against him. x x x.[37] would enable them to amend, nullify or defeat a final judgment rendered
by a competent court.[48] By the same token, to allow them to appeal the
By fleeing, the herein accused exhibited contempt of the authority of final criminal conviction of their employees without the latters consent
the court and placed himself in a position to speculate on his chances for a would also result in improperly amending, nullifying or defeating the
reversal. In the process, he kept himself out of the reach of justice, but judgment.
hoped to render the judgment nugatory at his option.[38] Such conduct is
The decision convicting an employee in a criminal case is binding and
intolerable and does not invite leniency on the part of the appellate
conclusive upon the employer not only with regard to the formers civil
court.[39]
liability, but also with regard to its amount. The liability of an employer
Consequently, the judgment against an appellant who escapes and cannot be separated from that of the employee.[49]
who refuses to surrender to the proper authorities becomes final and
Before the employers subsidiary liability is exacted, however, there
executory.[40]
must be adequate evidence establishing that (1) they are indeed the
Thus far, we have clarified that petitioner has no right to appeal the employers of the convicted employees; (2) that the former are engaged in
criminal case against the accused-employee; that by jumping bail, he has some kind of industry; (3) that the crime was committed by the
waived his right to appeal; and that the judgment in the criminal case employees in the discharge of their duties; and (4) that the execution
against him is now final. against the latter has not been satisfied due to insolvency.[50]

The resolution of these issues need not be done in a separate civil


action. But the determination must be based on the evidence that the
Subsidiary Liability offended party and the employer may fully and freely present. Such
Upon Finality of Judgment determination may be done in the same criminal action in which the
employees liability, criminal and civil, has been pronounced; [51] and in a
hearing set for that precise purpose, with due notice to the employer, as
As a matter of law, the subsidiary liability of petitioner now part of the proceedings for the execution of the judgment.
accrues. Petitioner argues that the rulings of this Court in Miranda v.
Just because the present petitioner participated in the defense of its
Malate Garage & Taxicab, Inc.,[41] Alvarez v. CA[42] and Yusay v. Adil[43] do
accused-employee does not mean that its liability has transformed its
not apply to the present case, because it has followed the Courts directive
nature; its liability remains subsidiary. Neither will its participation erase
to the employers in these cases to take part in the criminal cases against
its subsidiary liability. The fact remains that since the accused-employees
their employees. By participating in the defense of its employee, herein
conviction has attained finality, then the subsidiary liability of the
petitioner tries to shield itself from the undisputed rulings laid down in
employer ipso facto attaches.
these leading cases.
According to the argument of petitioner, fairness dictates that while
Such posturing is untenable. In dissecting these cases on subsidiary
the finality of conviction could be the proper sanction to be imposed upon
liability, petitioner lost track of the most basic tenet they have laid down --
the accused for jumping bail, the same sanction should not affect it. In
that an employers liability in a finding of guilt against its accused-
employee is subsidiary.
effect, petitioner-employer splits this case into two: first, for itself; the employer was deprived of due process. It might have lost its right to
and second, for its accused-employee. appeal, but it was not denied its day in court.[60] In fact, it can be said that
by jumping bail, the accused-employee, not the court, deprived petitioner
The untenability of this argument is clearly evident. There is only one of the right to appeal.
criminal case against the accused-employee. A finding of guilt has both
criminal and civil aspects. It is the height of absurdity for this single case All told, what is left to be done is to execute the RTC Decision against
to be final as to the accused who jumped bail, but not as to an entity the accused. It should be clear that only after proof of his insolvency may
whose liability is dependent upon the conviction of the former. the subsidiary liability of petitioner be enforced. It has been sufficiently
proven that there exists an employer-employee relationship; that the
The subsidiary liability of petitioner is incidental to and dependent on employer is engaged in some kind of industry; and that the employee has
the pecuniary civil liability of the accused-employee. Since the civil liability been adjudged guilty of the wrongful act and found to have committed the
of the latter has become final and enforceable by reason of his flight, then offense in the discharge of his duties. The proof is clear from the
the formers subsidiary civil liability has also become immediately admissions of petitioner that [o]n 26 August 1990, while on its regular trip
enforceable. Respondent is correct in arguing that the concept of from Laoag to Manila, a passenger bus owned by petitioner, being then
subsidiary liability is highly contingent on the imposition of the primary operated by petitioners driver, Napoleon Roman, figured in an accident in
civil liability. San Juan, La Union x x x.[61] Neither does petitioner dispute that there was
already a finding of guilt against the accused while he was in the discharge
of his duties.
No Deprivation WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby DENIED, and the assailed
of Due Process Resolutions AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.
As to the argument that petitioner was deprived of due process, we
reiterate that what is sought to be enforced is the subsidiary civil liability FIRST DIVISION
incident to and dependent upon the employees criminal negligence. In
other words, the employer becomes ipso facto subsidiarily liable upon the
conviction of the employee and upon proof of the latters insolvency, in the A. RAFAEL C. DINGLASAN JR., G. R. No. 145420
same way that acquittal wipes out not only his primary civil liability, but Petitioner, Present:
also his employers subsidiary liability for his criminal negligence.[52]

It should be stressed that the right to appeal is neither a natural right PANGANIBAN, C.J.
nor a part of due process.[53] It is merely a procedural remedy of statutory Chairperson,
origin, a remedy that may be exercised only in the manner prescribed by YNARES-SANTIAGO,
the provisions of law authorizing such exercise.[54] Hence, the legal
requirements must be strictly complied with.[55]
- versus - AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
CALLEJO, SR., and
It would be incorrect to consider the requirements of the rules on CHICO-NAZARIO, JJ.
appeal as merely harmless and trivial technicalities that can be
discarded.[56] Indeed, deviations from the rules cannot be tolerated.[57] In
these times when court dockets are clogged with numerous litigations, Promulgated:
such rules have to be followed by parties with greater fidelity, so as to HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.,
facilitate the orderly disposition of those cases.[58] Respondents. September 19, 2006
After a judgment has become final, vested rights are acquired by the x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
winning party. If the proper losing party has the right to file an appeal - - - - -x
within the prescribed period, then the former has the correlative right to
enjoy the finality of the resolution of the case.[59]

In fact, petitioner admits that by helping the accused-employee, it


participated in the proceedings before the RTC; thus, it cannot be said that
DECISION feloniously make out and issue Commercial Bank of Manila Check No.
H0207451 dated October 3, 1985 in the amount of P515,000.00 in payment
of his obligation to Antrom Inc., represented by Rosanna E. Velasco, but
when said check was presented to the bank for payment, the same was
dishonored and/or refused payment for reason Drawn Against Insufficient
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
Funds and accused, despite repeated demands and lapse of five (5) banking
Before this Court is a Petition for New Trial and, in the alternative, for the days from notice thereof, failed and refused to make good the said check
Reopening of the Case[1] on the ground of newly discovered evidence filed and/or to deposit with the drawee bank the necessary amount to cover the
by A. Rafael C. Dinglasan, Jr. (Dinglasan) who was found guilty[2] of violating aforesaid check, to the damage and prejudice of the herein complainant in
Batas Pambansa Blg. 22, otherwise known as The Bouncing Checks Law, by the aforementioned amount of P515,000.00
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati, Branch 62, in Criminal Case No.
21238.

On 17 August 1985, Elmyra Trading Corporation (Elmyra), represented by its


President, Dinglasan, and Antrom, Inc. (Antrom), also represented by its On 16 December 1991, the trial court convicted Dinglasan for having
President, Antonio Garcia Jr., entered into a Memorandum of Agreement committed the crime charged. In a Decision[4] promulgated on the same
whereby the parties agreed that Antrom will extend credit accommodation date, the court a quo found him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating
in favor of Elmyra to finance its prawn business. The latter, in turn, will issue Batas Pambansa Blg. 22. The dispositive portion reads this wise:
checks to guarantee the payment of its obligations.

WHEREFORE, finding accused A. Rafael C. Dinglasan, Jr. guilty beyond


A few months after a number of financing transactions were reasonable doubt of violating B.P. Blg. 22, he is hereby sentenced to suffer
made, Elmyras indebtedness to Antrom reached the amount an imprisonment of one year and to pay a fine of Two Hundred Thousand
of P1,476,000.58. As initial payment, Dinglasan issued a Commercial Bank Pesos (P200,000.00); and, to indemnify ANTROM, INC., the sum of Five
(drawee bank) Check No. HO270451 with Antrom as payee, but postdated Hundred Fifteen (sic) (P515,000.00) Pesos, at [the] legal rate of interest
on 3 October 1985 in the amount of P515,000.00. Upon presentment for from October 3, 1985, until the full amount of P515,000.0 is fully paid.
payment with the drawee bank, however, the said check was dishonored for
insufficiency of funds.
Dinglasan, thereafter, filed a Motion for Reconsideration[5] which was

Consequently, on 16 December 1985, an denied by the same court for lack of merit in an Order[6] issued on 4
Information[3] charging Dinglasan with Violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 September 1992.
was filed before the RTC of Makati, Branch 62, docketed as Criminal Case
No. 21238, People of the Philippines v. A. Rafael C. Dinglasan, Jr. The
On 25 September 1992, Dinglasan appealed to the Court of Appeals the
Information reads:
adverse RTC Decision dated 16 December 1991, finding him guilty of
violating Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 and the RTC Order dated 4 September
That on or about the 3rd day of October, 1985, in the Municipality of Makati,
1992, denying his Motion for Reconsideration.[7]
Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the above-named accused, well knowing that he has no sufficient
funds in or credit with the bank, did there and then willfully, unlawfully and
On 26 October 1998, the appellate court in CA-G.R. CR No. 14138, People of the RTC for the issuance of the warrant of arrest and writ of execution in
the Philippines v. A. Rafael. C. Dinglasan, handed down a order to satisfy the judgment. The prosecution likewise prayed that a hold-
Decision,[8] dismissing the appeal, thereby, affirming in toto the Decision of departure order be issued in order to prevent Dinglasan from leaving the
the RTC finding Dinglasan guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating country until he has fully served his sentence.
Batas Pambansa Blg. 22. The dispositive portion reads:

In an Order[15] issued on 21 September 2000, the trial court, acting on the


WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error therefrom, the Decision now on said motion, issued a warrant for the arrest of Dinglasan and a writ of
appeal is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. Costs against accused-appellant. execution for the enforcement of his civil liability and, at the same time,
enjoining him from leaving the country.

Aggrieved, the accused filed before this Court a Petition for Review
on Certiorari[9] questioning the 26 October 1998 Decision of the Court of Alarmed, Dinglasan on 30 October 2000, filed the instant Petition for New
Appeals. The petition was docketed as G.R. No. 137800, A. Rafael Trial and, in the alternative, for the Reopening of the Case[16] based on
C. Dinglasan v. Court of Appeals, and was raffled to the Third Division of this newly discovered evidence, which was docketed as G.R. No. 145420,
Court. In a Resolution[10] dated 28 June 1999, this Court resolved to deny entitled, A. Rafael C. Dinglasan Jr. v. Court of Appeals. He urges this Court to
the petition for failure to show that a reversible error had been committed uphold substantial justice, emphasizing that the newly discovered evidence
by the appellate court. he seeks to introduce in this case is so material and of such weight that, if,
admitted would probably change the judgment, hence, suspension of
procedural rules is warranted.
A Motion for Reconsideration[11] was then filed by Dinglasan on 26 August
1999, but the same was again denied by this Court in a Resolution dated 13
September 1999 for failure to raise substantial arguments that would The alleged newly discovered evidence claimed by Dinglasan are the
warrant reconsideration of the Resolution dated 28 June 1999 with affidavits of Ma. Elena Dinglasan, in her capacity as Executive Vice-
an ad cautelam that such denial is final.[12] President and Treasurer of Elmyra, and Ma. Encarnacion Vda.
De Dinglasan, the wife of Mariano Dinglasan, who, during his lifetime,
was the Cashier and Liaison Officer of the same company. These affidavits,
Undaunted, Dinglasan filed a Second Motion for Reconsideration but the together with the transmittal letter dated 8 October 1985attached
same was merely noted without action by this Court in view of the En to Solidbank Managers Check No. 002969 dated 3 October 1985 sent by
Banc Resolution dated 7 April 1987 that no motion for leave to file a second Ma. Elena Dinglasan to Antrom, tends to prove that Dinglasan made
motion for reconsideration of a judgment or a final resolution by the same good of the check within five banking days from notice of dishonor. He
party shall be entertained. In a Resolution dated 16 December 1999, this could not, therefore, be validly convicted of violating Batas Pambansa Blg.
Court directed that no further pleadings shall be entertained in this case. 22 for one of the essential elements of the offense, that is, the drawer failed
and refused to make good the said check within five banking days from the
The Resolution of this Court dated 28 June 1999 denying Dinglasans Petition notice of dishonor, is absent.
for Review became final and executory on 14 October 1999 as evidenced by
the Entry of Judgment.[13]
In her affidavit,[17] Ma. Elena Dinglasan attested that she was the Executive

By virtue of the final and executory judgment rendered by this Court in G.R. Vice-President and Treasurer of Elmyra for the period of 1985-1986. As
such, she was in-charge of disbursing and sourcing of corporation funds
No. 137800, the prosecution, on 19 September 2000, filed a motion[14] with
including the preparation of checks and approval of vouchers supporting the
disbursements. In the course of its business, the affiant caused the issuance G.R. No. 137800 dated 28 June 1999 became final and executory on 14
of Commercial Bank Check No. 270451 on 27 September 1985 in the October 1999 as evidenced by the Entry of Judgment. The present petition,
amount of P515,000.00, but postdated on 3 October 1985, which was on the other hand, was filed only on 30 October 2000 or a year after the
dishonored by the bank for insufficiency of funds and which eventually finality of the decision in G.R. No. 137800. The filing of the instant action,
caused Dinglasans conviction for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22. Upon therefore, has already prescribed.[20]
receiving the notice of dishonor, she caused the preparation Moreover, Antrom continues, considering for the sake of argument that the
of Solidbank Managers Check No. 002969 dated 3 October 1985 in the instant action was filed within the reglementary period, still, the petition
amount of P150,000.00intended to cover a part of the amount of the must fail for the requisites for newly discovered evidence as ground for new
bounced check. The Solidbank check, together with its transmittal trial were not satisfactorily complied with. Let it be noted that the
letter dated 8 October 1985, stating the purpose of the said check, was sent transmittal letter dated 8 October 1995 was previously attached as evidence
to Antrom and was received by its representative as evidenced by the in a Petition for Review filed by Dinglasan before the Ministry of Justice
signature appearing on the receiving copy thereof. (now the Department of Justice) on 15 December 1986, assailing the
Resolution of the Fiscal dated 11 December 1986 recommending the filing
Explaining why the said transmittal letter dated 8 October 1985 was of Information against him. The same letter was also introduced as evidence
belatedly offered as evidence on this case, Ma. Elena Dinglasan reasoned before the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 14138
that that she was not aware that the said letter has any significance when Dinglasan assailed the RTC decision dated 16 December 1991. Hence,
on Dinglasans liability. She explained further that in 1993 she was the claim that the alleged evidence was not available during the trial in the
diagnosed of breast cancer and had to undergo surgical operation and courts below, and is thus, newly discovered is erroneous, if not
chemotherapy. misleading.[21]

To corroborate the statements of Ma. Elena Dinglasan, Encarnacion Vda. Finally, Antrom stresses that, granting for the sake of argument, that the
De Dinglasan on her part, narrated under oath that her late husband used petition at bar was filed on time and the alleged evidence is newly
to bring some of Elmyras documents home to work on at night and after her discovered within the purview of the law, such evidence introduced and
husbands death in 1994, such documents were kept inside a box and left admitted, nevertheless, would not exculpate Dinglasan from
somewhere in one corner of their house. It was only when a minor liability. The gravamen of the offense is the act of the drawer in making or
renovation was made therein several years after her husband passed away issuing a check with the full knowledge that he does not have sufficient
that she was able to chance upon the said documents again. The said funds to cover the amount. Such awareness was admitted
documents were turned over to Dinglasan on 21 October 2000. It was later by Dinglasan when he expressly requested Antrom not to deposit the check
discovered that the said documents include the transmittal letter dated 8 without his explicit conformity in anticipation that such check will be
October 1985 sent by Ma. Elena Dinglasan to Antrom.[18] dishonored if presented for payment. The mere act of issuing a worthless
check and not the nonpayment of the obligation is punished by law because
In contrast, private respondent Antrom contends that the Petition for New of its deleterious effect on public interest.
Trial and/or Reopening of the Case based on newly discovered evidence
should be dismissed on the ground that the same is procedurally and
substantially defective.[19] The Solicitor General, representing the People of the Philippines, on their
part, submitted that the instant petition should be dismissed because it was
Elaborating, Antrom claims that under the Revised Rules of Court, the filed out of time and Dinglasans evidence sought to be admitted is neither
Motion for New Trial should be filed at any time after the appeal from the material nor newly discovered so as to warrant new trial or reopening of the
lower court has been perfected and before the judgment of the appellate
case. The alleged evidence if introduced and admitted, would not in any
court convicting the accused becomes final. The judgment of this Court in
way alter the judgment. Upon perusal of the transmittal letter dated 8 Let it be recalled that Dinglasans Motion for Leave to File Second Motion
for Reconsideration was denied by this Court as the subject matter thereof
October 1985, it was nowhere stated therein that Solidbank Managers is a prohibited pleading and that the Motion for Reconsideration was
Check No. 002969 dated 3 October 1985 was intended as partial payment of merely noted without action. This order is issued pursuant to En
Commercial Bank Check No. 270451 dated 3 October 1985 that bounced. Banc Resolution dated 7 April 1999 which prohibits any motion for leave to
file a second motion for reconsideration and was further emphasized by
The said letter was a mere proposal wherein a payment in kind the provision of the Revised Rules of Court which provides that:
or dacion en pago was offered by Elmyra. The Solicitor General likewise
noted that the letter dated 8 October 1986 was already introduced as
Rule 52. Motion for Reconsideration.
evidence in the Petition for Review with the Ministry of Justice filed
by Dinglasan.[22] Section 2. Second Motion for
Reconsideration. No second motion for reconsideration of a
judgment or a final resolution by the same party shall be
entertained.
For the resolution of this Court are the following issues:
This prohibition is justified by public policy which demands that at the risk of
I. occasional errors, judgments of courts must become final at some definitive
date fixed by law.[23]
WHETHER OR NOT THE INSTANT PETITION WAS FILED ON TIME.
II.
WHETHER OR NOT A NEW TRIAL OR REOPENING OF THE CASE BASED ON To rule that finality of judgment shall be reckoned from the receipt of the
NEWLY DISCOVERED EVIDENCE SHOULD BE ALLOWED. resolution or order denying the second motion for reconsideration would
The pertinent provision of the Revised Rules of Court reads: result to an absurd situation whereby courts will be obliged to issue orders
Rule 124 Procedure in the Court of Appeals. or resolutions denying what is a prohibited motion in the first place, in order
Section 14. Motion for New Trial. At any time after the appeal from the that the period for the finality of judgments shall run, thereby, prolonging
lower court has been perfected and before the judgment of the Court of the disposition of cases. Moreover, such a ruling would allow a party to
Appeals convicting the accused becomes final, the latter may move for a forestall the running of the period of finality of judgments by virtue of filing
new trial on the ground of newly discovered evidence material to his a prohibited pleading; such a situation is not only illogical but also unjust to
defense. The motion shall conform to the provisions of section 4 Rule 121. the winning party.
(Emphasis supplied.)

Explicit from the above stated rule that a Motion for New Trial should be It bears stressing further that on 14 October 1999, the Resolution of this
filed before the judgment of the appellate court convicting the accused Court in G.R. No. 137800 dated 28 June 1999 became final and executory as
becomes final. evidenced by the Entry of Judgment according to the pertinent provision of
the Revised Rules of Court, which reads:
While Dinglasan agrees with the above stated rules that the instant petition
should be filed before the finality of the judgment convicting the appellant,
Rule 51. - Judgment.
he, however argues that judgment attains finality only upon the receipt of
the order or resolution denying his second motion for reconsideration. Sec. 10. Entry of judgments and final
resolutions. If no appeal or motion for new trial or
Dinglasans argument is without merit.
reconsideration is filed within the time provided in these
Rules, the judgment or final resolution shall forthwith be Sec. 2. Grounds for a new trial. The court shall grant a new trial on any of
entered by the clerk in the book of entries of the following grounds:
judgments. The date when the judgment or final resolution
becomes executory shall be deemed as the date of its (a) That errors of law or irregularities prejudicial to the substantial rights
entry. The record shall contain the dispositive part of the
of the accused have been committed during the trial;
judgment or final resolution and shall be signed by the (b) That new and material evidence has been discovered which the
clerk, with a certificate that such judgment or final accused could not with reasonable diligence have discovered and produced
resolution has become final and executory. at the trial and which if introduced and admitted would probably change
the judgment.
After the judgment or final resolution is entered in the entries of judgment,
the case shall be laid to rest. A decision that acquired finality becomes
immutable and unalterable and it may no longer be modified in any respect The requisites for newly discovered evidence under Section 2, Rule 121 of
even if the modification is meant to correct erroneous conclusions of fact or the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure are: (a) the evidence was
law and whether it will be made by the court that rendered it or by the discovered after the trial; (b) such evidence could not have been discovered
highest court of the land.[24] and produced at the trial with reasonable diligence; and (c) that it is
material, not merely cumulative, corroborative or impeaching, and is of
Very clearly, the filing of the instant Petition for New Trial and/or Reopening such weight that, if admitted, will probably change the judgment.[26]
of the Case on 30 October 2000 was made way beyond the prescriptive
period for doing so. The claim of Dinglasan that he honestly believed that
These standards, also known as the Berry Rule, trace their origin to the 1851
this Court will appreciate his defense of payment as reiterated in his Second
case of Berry v. State of Georgia[27] where the Supreme Court of Georgia
Motion for Reconsideration which was why he deemed it pre-mature to file
held:
the instant petition before receiving the Courts ruling on the said motion,
could not be given credence.
Applications for new trial on account of newly
discovered evidence, are not favored by the Courts. x x x Upon
The finality of decision is a jurisdictional event which cannot be made to the following points there seems to be a pretty general
depend on the convenience of the party. To rule otherwise would concurrence of authority, viz; that it is incumbent on a party who
completely negate the purpose of the rule on completeness of service, asks for a new trial, on the ground of newly discovered evidence,
which is to place the date of receipt of pleadings, judgment and processes to satisfy the Court, 1st. That the evidence has come to his
beyond the power of the party being served to determine at his pleasure.[25] knowledge since the trial. 2d. That it was not owing to the want
of due diligence that it did not come sooner. 3d. That it is so
material that it would produce a different verdict, if the new trial
Dinglasan further asseverates that this petition was belatedly made because were granted. 4th. That it is not cumulative only - viz; speaking
the evidence sought to be admitted were not available at the time the to facts, in relation to which there was evidence on the trial.
instant petition should have been filed. Accordingly, he claims that this 5th. That the affidavit of the witness himself should be produced,
evidence falls within the purview of newly discovered evidence as or its absence accounted for. And 6th, a new trial will not be
contemplated by law. granted, if the only object of the testimony is to impeach the
character or credit of a witness.
The pertinent provision of the Revised Rules of Court reads:
Rule 121 New Trial or Reconsideration.
These guidelines have since been followed by our courts in determining the without any supporting document. (p. 8, Decision, Criminal
propriety of motions for new trial based on newly discovered evidence. Case No. 21238).

It should be emphasized that the applicant for new trial has the burden of We are in accord with the findings of the
showing that the new evidence he seeks to present has complied with the lower court that there is no evidence establishing
requisites to justify the holding of a new trial.[28] that accused-appellant asked for the return of
the Combank Check in the same way that the PTB
Check had been returned, other than stating in his
The threshold question in resolving a motion for new trial based on newly letter of October 8, 1985 that said check had been
discovered evidence is whether the proferred evidence is in fact a newly considered cancelled (p. 69, Records), and after
discovered evidence which could not have been discovered by due the Combank Check had already bounced. (p. 10, Brief
diligence. The question of whether evidence is newly discovered has two for Accused-Appellant). Its quite absurd that accused-
aspects: a temporal one, i.e., when was the evidence discovered, and appellant would replace the Combank Check with an
a predictive one, i.e., when should or could it have been discovered.[29] amount more than the P515,000.00, if the whole
indebtedness was still subject to final liquidation. As
evidenced by the voucher (Exhibit 5) accused-appellant
Applying the foregoing test, Dinglasan insists, and the affidavits of issued Combank Check in exchange for PTB Check. Hence,
Ma. Elena Dinglasan and Encarnacion Vda. De Dinglasan attest, that the it is quite quizzical why accused-appellant did not ask for
the return of the Combank check after having issued two
transmittal letter dated 8 October 1985 was discovered recently or just
(2) managers check.[30] (Emphasis supplied.)
before the time the affidavits were executed on 23 October 2000. The
records, however, show otherwise. Verily, the claim of Dinglasan that the alleged evidence sought to be
presented in this case was recently discovered is a falsity. It is a desperate
attempt to mislead this Court to give due course to a cause that has long
In CA-G.R. CR No. 14138, it appears that the appellate court already
been lost. Dinglasan appeals for the compassion of this Court but never did
considered that transmittal letter dated 8 October 1985 in rendering its
so in good faith. It is contrary to human experience to have overlooked an
Decision dated 26 October 1998. The pertinent portion of the Decision
evidence which was decisively claimed to have such significance that might
reads:
probably change the judgment.

It appears, however, that in accused-appellants


letter dated October 10, 1986, (Exhibit B) no mention was The records are very clear. The transmittal letter dated 8 October 1985 was
made of the two (2) managers checks, considering that at already offered as evidence in CA-G.R. CR No. 14138 and was even annexed
least one of the two (2), both dated October 8, 1988 (pp. to the Petition for Review filed before the Court of Appeals as Annex
2-3, Records) was allegedly given to private complainant B. Irrefragably, the letter dated 8 October 1985 is not newly discovered. It is
on the said date (pp. 69-70, Ibid.). Instead a proposal an attempt to raise again a defense which was already weighed by the
wherein payment in kind or dacion en pago was offered by appellate court. A contrary ruling may open the floodgates to an endless
accused-appellant. Also, the trial court correctly noted review of decisions, where losing litigants, in delaying the disposition of
that, x x x accused is a lawyer and a businessman. He will cases, invoke evidence already presented, whether through a motion for
not part of more than one million pesos, in the form of reconsideration or for a new trial, in guise of newly discovered evidence.
managers checks, as replacement of a check that bounced,
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition public funds involving the sums of P3,293.00, P1,869.00,
and P13,528.00, respectively, which they purportedly tried to
is DISMISSED. Costs against the petitioner. conceal by falsifying the time book and payrolls for given period
making it appear that some laborers worked on the construction
of the new municipal hall building of Bato, Leyte and collected
their respective salaries thereon when, in truth and in fact, they
SO ORDERED. did not.Thus, in addition to the charge for malversation, the
accused were also indicted before this Court for three counts of
falsification of public document by a public officer or employee.

In the falsification cases, the accused offered to withdraw their


plea of not guilty and substitute the same with a plea of guilty,
JOSELITO RANIERO J. DAAN, provided, the mitigating circumstances of confession or plea of
G.R. Nos. 163972-77 guilt and voluntary surrender will be appreciated in their favor. In
Petitioner, the alternative, if such proposal is not acceptable, said accused
Present: proposed instead to substitute their plea of not guilty to the crime
of falsification of public document by a public officer or employee
with a plea of guilty, but to the lesser crime of falsification of a
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.,
public document by a private individual. On the other hand, in
- versus - Acting Chairperson, the malversation cases, the accused offered to substitute their
TINGA,* plea of not guilty thereto with a plea of guilty, but to the lesser
CHICO-NAZARIO, crime of failure of an accountable officer to render accounts.
NACHURA, and Insofar as the falsification cases are concerned, the prosecution
REYES, JJ. found as acceptable the proposal of the accused to plead guilty to
THE HON. SANDIGANBAYAN the lesser crime of falsification of public document by a private
(Fourth Division), Promulgated: individual. The prosecution explained:
Respondent. March 28, 2008 With respect to the falsification cases
x----------------------------------------------------- earlier mentioned, it appears that the act of the
----x accused in pleading guilty for a lesser offense of
falsification by a private individual defined and
penalized under Article 172 of the Revised Penal
DECISION code will strengthen our cases against the
principal accused, Municipal
Mayor Benedicto Kuizon, who appears to be the
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: master mind of these criminal acts.

Insofar as the malversation cases are concerned, the prosecution


was likewise amenable to the offer of said accused to plead guilty
Joselito Raniero J. Daan (petitioner), one of the accused in Criminal Cases
to the lesser crime of failure of an accountable officer to render
Nos. 24167-24170, 24195-24196,[1] questions the denial by accounts because:
the Sandiganbayan of his plea bargaining proposal.
x x x JOSELITO RANIERO J. DAAN has already
restituted the total amount of P18,860.00 as per
The antecedents facts are laid down by Sandiganbayan in its Resolution official receipt issued by the provincial
government of Leyte dated February 26,
dated March 25, 2004, as follows: 2002. In short, the damage caused to the
government has already been restituted x x x.[3]
Said accused,[2] together with accused Benedicto E. Kuizon, were
charged before this Court for three counts of malversation of
The Sandiganbayan, in the herein assailed Resolution,[4] dated March 25, Ordinarily, plea bargaining is made during the pre-trial stage of the
2004, denied petitioners Motion to Plea Bargain, despite favorable proceedings. Sections 1 and 2, Rule 118 of the Rules of Court, require plea
recommendation by the prosecution, on the main ground that no cogent bargaining to be considered by the trial court at the pre-trial
reason was presented to justify its approval.[5] conference,[8] viz:

The Sandiganbayan likewise denied petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration SEC. 1. Pre-trial; mandatory in criminal cases. In all criminal cases
cognizable by the Sandiganbayan, Regional Trial Court,
in a Resolution dated May 31, 2004. Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Municipal
Trial Court and Municipal Circuit Trial Court, the court shall, after
arraignment and within thirty (30) days from the date the court
This compelled petitioner to file the present case for certiorari and acquires jurisdiction over the person of the accused, unless a
prohibition with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order shorter period is provided for in special laws or circulars of the
and/ or writ of preliminary injunction under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. Supreme Court, order a pre-trial conference to consider the
following:
Petitioner argues that the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of (a) plea bargaining;
discretion in denying his plea bargaining offer on the following grounds:
(b) stipulation of facts;
first, petitioner is not an accountable officer and he merely affixed his
signature on the payrolls on a routinary basis, negating any criminal intent; (c) marking for identification of evidence of the parties;
and that the amount involved is only P18,860.00, which he already (d) waiver of objections to admissibility of evidence;
restituted.[6]
(e) modification of the order of trial if the accused admits
the charge but interposes a lawful defense; and
The petition is meritorious. (f) such matters as will promote a fair and expeditious
trial of the criminal and civil aspects of the case.

Plea bargaining in criminal cases is a process whereby the accused and the SEC. 2. Pre-trial agreement. All agreements or
prosecution work out a mutually satisfactory disposition of the case subject admissions made or entered during the pre-trial conference shall
be reduced in writing and signed by the accused
to court approval. It usually involves the defendant's pleading guilty to a and counsel, otherwise, they cannot be used against the
lesser offense or to only one or some of the counts of a multi-count accused. The agreements covering the matters referred to in
indictment in return for a lighter sentence than that for the graver charge.[7] section 1 of this Rule shall be approved by the court. (Emphasis
supplied)

Plea bargaining is authorized under Section 2, Rule 116 of the Revised Rules
of Criminal Procedure, to wit: But it may also be made during the trial proper and even after the
prosecution has finished presenting its evidence and rested its case. Thus,
the Court has held that it is immaterial that plea bargaining was not made
SEC. 2. Plea of guilty to a lesser offense. At arraignment, the during the pre-trial stage or that it was made only after the prosecution
accused, with the consent of the offended party and the
prosecutor, may be allowed by the trial court to plead guilty to a
already presented several witnesses.[9]
lesser offense which is necessarily included in the offense charged.
After arraignment but before trial, the accused may still be Section 2, Rule 116 of the Rules of Court presents the basic requisites upon
allowed to plead guilty to said lesser offense after withdrawing his which plea bargaining may be made, i.e., that it should be with the consent
plea of not guilty. No amendment of the complaint or information
of the offended party and the prosecutor,[10] and that the plea of guilt
is necessary. (sec. 4, cir. 38-98)
should be to a lesser offense which is necessarily included in the offense
charged. The rules however use word may in the second sentence of exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction or, in other
Section 2, denoting an exercise of discretion upon the trial court on whether words, where the power is exercised in an arbitrary manner by reason of
to allow the accused to make such plea.[11] Trial courts are exhorted to keep passion, prejudice, or personal hostility; and it must be so patent or gross as
in mind that a plea of guilty for a lighter offense than that actually charged to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform
is not supposed to be allowed as a matter of bargaining or compromise for the duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law.[16]
the convenience of the accused.[12]
In the present case, the Sandiganbayan rejected petitioner's plea offer on
the ground that petitioner and the prosecution failed to demonstrate that
In People of the Philippines v. Villarama,[13] the Court ruled that the acceptance of
the proposal would redound to the benefit of the
an offer to plead guilty to a lesser offense is not demandable by the accused as a public. The Sandiganbayan believes that approving the proposal would only
serve to trivialize the seriousness of the charges against them and send the
matter of right but is a matter that is addressed entirely to the sound discretion of wrong signal to potential grafters in public office that the penalties they are
the trial court,[14] viz:
likely to face would be lighter than what their criminal acts would have
merited or that the economic benefits they are likely to derive from their
criminal activities far outweigh the risks they face in committing them; thus,
x x x In such situation, jurisprudence has provided the trial court setting to naught the deterrent value of the laws intended to curb graft and
and the Office of the Prosecutor with a yardstick within which their
discretion may be properly exercised. Thus, in People
corruption in government.[17]
v. Kayanan (L-39355, May 31, 1978, 83 SCRA 437,
450), We held that the rules allow such a plea only when the Apparently, the Sandiganbayan has proffered valid reasons in rejecting
prosecution does not have sufficient evidence to establish the guilt petitioner's plea offer. However, subsequent events and higher interests of
of the crime charged. In his concurring opinion in People
justice and fair play dictate that petitioner's plea offer should be
v. Parohinog (G.R. No. L-47462, February 28, 1980, 96 SCRA
373, 377), then Justice Antonio Barredo explained clearly and accepted. The present case calls for the judicious exercise of this Court's
tersely the rationale or the law: equity jurisdiction -
x x x (A)fter the prosecution had already rested, the only
basis on which the fiscal and the court could rightfully act in
Equity as the complement of legal jurisdiction seeks to reach and do
allowing the appellant to change his former plea of not guilty to
murder to guilty to the lesser crime of homicide could be nothing complete justice where courts of law, through the inflexibility of their rules
more nothing less than the evidence already in the record. The and want of power to adapt their judgments to the special circumstances of
reason for this being that Section 4 of Rule 118 (now Section 2, cases, are incompetent so to do. Equity regards the spirit of and not the
Rule 116) under which a plea for a lesser offense is allowed was letter, the intent and not the form, the substance rather than the
not and could not have been intended as a procedure for
compromise, much less bargaining.[15] (Emphasis supplied)
circumstance, as it is variously expressed by different courts.[18]

However, Villarama involved plea bargaining after the prosecution had


and of its power of control and supervision over the proceedings of lower
already rested its case.
courts,[19] in order to afford equal justice to petitioner.
As regards plea bargaining during the pre-trial stage, as in the present case,
the trial court's exercise of its discretion should neither be arbitrary nor
should it amount to a capricious and whimsical exercise of In People of the Philippines v. Estrada,[20] the Sandiganbayan, in its
discretion. Grave abuse of discretion implies such capricious and whimsical Resolution dated March 14, 2007, approved the Plea Bargaining Agreement
entered into by the prosecution and one of the accused, Moreover, the lesser offenses of Falsification by Private Individuals and
Charlie Atong Ang. The agreement provided that the accused undertakes to Failure to Render Account by an Accountable Officer are necessarily
assist in the prosecution of the case and promises to return the amount included in the crimes of Falsification of Public Documents
of P25,000,000.00. In approving the Plea Bargaining Agreement, and Malversation of Public Funds, respectively, with which petitioner was
the Sandiganbayan took into consideration the timeliness of the plea originally charged.
bargaining and whether the agreement complied with the requirements of
Section 2, Rule 116 of the Rules of Court. The Sandigabayan noted that the
Under Article 171, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code, for the crime of
accused had already withdrawn his earlier plea of not guilty; and that the
Falsification of Public Documents through an untruthful narration of facts to
prosecution consented to the plea of guilt to a lesser offense; and the lesser
be established, the following elements must concur: (a) the offender makes
offense, which is Corruption of Public Officials in relation to Indirect Bribery,
in a document untruthful statements in a narration of facts; (b) the offender
is necessarily included in the offense charged, which is Plunder.[21]
has a legal obligation to disclose the truth of the facts narrated; (c) the facts
narrated by the offender are absolutely false; and (d) the perversion of truth
The Court sees no reason why the standards applied by
in the narration of facts was made with the wrongful intent of injuring a
the Sandiganbayan to Estrada should not be applied to the present
third person.[23]
case. Records show that there was a favorable recommendation by the
Office of the Special Prosecutor to approve petitioner's motion to plea
bargain. Thus, in its Memorandum dated August 16, 2002, the Office of the On the other hand, Falsification by Private Individuals penalized under
Special Prosecutor rationalized: Article 172, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code has the following
elements: (a) the offender is a private individual or a public officer or
In the cases at bar, there is no dispute that JOSELITO RANIERO J. DAAN has employee who did not take advantage of his official position; (b) the
already restituted the total amount of P18,860.00 as per official receipt offender committed any of the acts of falsification enumerated under
issued by the provincial government of Leyte dated February 26, 2002. In Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code; and (c) the falsification was
short, the damage caused to the government has already been restituted by committed in a public or official or commercial document.[24]
the accused.

There is also no dispute that accused DAAN voluntarily surrendered in the As regards the crime of Malversation of Public Funds defined and penalized
instant cases. Moreover, the accused is also willing to plead guilty to a lesser under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code, with which petitioner was also
offense which to our mind, merits consideration. charged, the elements are as follows: (a) the offender is a public officer; (b)
he has custody or control of funds or property by reason of the duties of his
office; (c) the funds or property involved are public funds or property for
With respect to the falsification cases earlier mentioned, it appears that the which he is accountable; and (d) he has appropriated, taken or
act of the accused in pleading guilty for a lesser offense of falsification by misappropriated, or has consented to, or through abandonment or
private individual defined and penalized under Article 172 of the Revised negligence permitted, the taking by another person of such funds or
Penal Code will strengthen our cases against the principal accused, the property.[25] Article 217 also provides that the failure of the public officer to
Municipal Mayor Benedicto Kuizon, who appears to be the master mind of have duly forthcoming such publicfunds or property, upon demand by a
these criminal acts. After all, the movants herein JOSELITO RANIERO J. DAAN duly authorized officer, shall be prima facie evidence that he has put such
was merely designated as draftsman detailed as foreman/timekeeper of missing funds or property to personal use. In this regard, it has been ruled
the Municipality of Bato, Leyte.[22] that once such presumption is rebutted, thenit is completely destroyed; in
fact, the presumption is never deemed to have existed at all.[26]
render account was in violation of a law or regulation that requires him to
render such an accounting within the prescribed period.
Meanwhile, under Article 218 of the Revised Penal Code, Failure to Render
Account by an Accountable Officer, the lesser offense which petitioner
Given, therefore, that some of the essential elements of offenses charged in
seeks to plead guilty of, the following elements must concur: (a) the
this case likewise constitute the lesser offenses, then petitioner may plead
offender is a public officer; (b) the offender must be an accountable officer
guilty to such lesser offenses.
for public funds or property; (c) the offender is required by law or regulation
to render accounts to the COA or to a provincial auditor; and (d) the
Finally, as propounded by petitioner, indeed, he is not an accountable
offender fails torender an account for a period of two months after such
officer in that the nature of his duty as foreman/timekeeper does not
accounts should be rendered.[27]
permit or require possession or custody of local government funds,[29] not to
mention that petitioner has already restituted the amount
of P18,860.00 involved in this case. Unlike Estrada which involves a crime
Section 5, Rule 120 of the Rules of Court states when an offense includes or is punishable by reclusion perpetua to death,[30] and a
included in the other, to wit:
whopping P25,000,000.00 taken from the public coffers, this case
tremendously pales in comparison.
SEC. 5. When an offense includes or is included in another. An
offense charged necessarily includes the offense proved when
some of the essential elements or ingredients of the former, as Under the peculiar circumstances of the present case, where gross inequity
alleged in the complaint or information, constitute the latter. And will result in a discriminatory dispensation of justice, the Court will not
an offense charged is necessarily included in the offense proved, hesitate to intervene in order to equalize the imbalance.
when the essential ingredients of the former constitute or form
part of those constituting the latter.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Resolutions dated March 25,
An offense may be said to necessarily include another when some of the 2004 and May 31, 2004 are SET ASIDE. The Sandiganbayan is
essential elements or ingredients of the former as alleged in the complaint hereby ORDERED to grant petitioner's Motion to Plea Bargain. Let records
or information constitute the latter. And vice versa, an offense may be said of this case be REMANDED to the Sandiganbayan for further proceedings in
to be necessarily included in another when the essential ingredients of the accordance with this Decision.
former constitute or form part of those constituting the latter.[28]

In this case, the allegations in the Informations filed against petitioner are SO ORDERED.
sufficient to hold petitioner liable for the lesser offenses. Thus, in the charge
for Falsification of Public Documents, petitioner may plead guilty to the
lesser offense of Falsification by Private Individuals inasmuch as it does not G.R. No. 179611 March 12, 2013
appear that petitioner took advantage of his official position in allegedly
EFREN S. ALMUETE, Petitioner,
falsifying the timebook and payroll of the Municipality of Bato, Leyte. In the
vs.
same vein, with regard to the crime of Malversation of Public Funds, while PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
the Informations contain allegations which make out a case
for Malversation against petitioner, nevertheless, absent the element of DECISION
conversion, theoretically, petitioner may still be held liable for Failure to
Render Account by an Accountable Officer if it is shown that the failure to DEL CASTILLO, J.:
Section 6,1 Rule 120 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure allows On October 12, 1998, the RTC denied their motion for lack of merit.16
promulgation of judgment in absentia and gives the accused a period of
fifteen (15) days from notice to him or his counsel within which to appeal; Instead of filing an appeal, petitioner and his co-accused filed a Petition for
Certiorari, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 49953, with the CA.17
otherwise, the decision becomes final.2
On May 19, 2000, the CA granted the Petition and disposed of the case in
This Petition for Review on Certiorari3 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court this wise:
assails the May 4, 2007 Resolution4 and the September 4, 2007
Resolution5 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 98502. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the present petition is hereby
GRANTED. On the basis of the evidence on record, accused Efren S.
Factual Antecedents Almuete should be, as he is hereby ACQUITTED of the charge against him.

This case is an offshoot of People v. Court of Appeals,6 docketed as G.R. The court a quo is ORDERED to re-promulgate the decision in the presence
No. 144332 and promulgated on June 10, 2004. of the accused Ila and Lloren, duly assisted by counsel of their own choice,
after notice and allow them to appeal. Let the complete records of this case
Efren D. Almuete (petitioner), Johnny Ila (Ila) and Joel Lloren (Lloren) were be remanded to the court a quo.
charged before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Nueva Vizcaya, Branch 27,
with violation of Section 687 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 705, otherwise SO ORDERED.18
known as the "Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines," as amended by
Executive Order (E.O.) No. 277,8docketed as Criminal Case No. 2672.9 The acquittal of petitioner prompted the People of the Philippines to
elevate the case to this Court via a Petition for Review on Certiorari under
On the scheduled date of promulgation of judgment, petitioners counsel Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, docketed as G.R. No. 144332.
informed the trial court that petitioner and Lloren were ill while Ila was not
notified of the scheduled promulgation.10 The RTC, however, found their On June 10, 2004, this Court reversed petitioners acquittal and reinstated
absence inexcusable and proceeded to promulgate its Decision as the RTCs September 8, 1998 Decision and its October 12, 1998 Order, to
scheduled.11 The dispositive portion of the September 8, 1998 Decision wit:
reads:
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed
WHEREFORE, finding the accused, namely, Efren S. Almuete, Johnny Ila y decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals are REVERSED AND SET
Ramel and Joel Lloren y dela Cruz GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of ASIDE. The Decision of the Regional Trial Court dated September 8, 1998
violation of Section 68, P.D. No. 705, as amended, they are each sentenced and its Order dated October 12, 1998 are REINSTATED. No costs.
to suffer the penalty of 18 years, 2 months and 21 days of reclusion
temporal, as minimum period to 40 years of reclusion perpetua as SO ORDERED.19
maximum period. Costs against the said accused.
SO ORDERED.12 Aggrieved, petitioner moved for reconsideration but his motion was denied
by this Court in a Resolution dated January 17, 2005.20
Accordingly, the RTC cancelled the bail bonds of petitioner, Ila and
Lloren13 and issued warrants of arrest against them.14 On February 15, 2005, this Court issued an Entry of Judgment.21

Petitioner and his co-accused moved for reconsideration, questioning the Unfazed, petitioner filed a second and a third Motion for Reconsideration,
validity of the promulgation, the factual and legal bases of their conviction, which were denied by this Court in its March 28, 2005 and November 9,
and the correctness of the penalty imposed.15 2005 Resolutions, respectively.22
Petitioner then filed a Motion for Clarification23 on whether he could still 5. Whether x x x the denial of the RTC of petitioners motion for
appeal the RTCs September 8, 1998 Decision. This Court noted without re-promulgation is in order, the denial being based on an
action his Motion for Clarification in its July 26, 2006 Resolution.24 inappropriate

On December 13, 2006, petitioner filed with the RTC a Motion for Administrative Order of this Honorable Supreme Court (Administrative
Repromulgation25 of the September 8, 1998 Decision. Order No. 16-93).32

Ruling of the Regional Trial Court Petitioners Arguments

The RTC, in its January 17, 2007 Order,26 denied the Motion for Petitioner maintains his innocence and asserts that he was wrongly
Repromulgation. convicted by the RTC because his guilt was not proven beyond reasonable
doubt.33 He argues that his conviction was based on circumstantial and
Petitioner sought reconsideration but the RTC denied the same in its hearsay evidence as he was convicted only because he owns the truck
February 20, 2007 Order.27 containing the lumber.34 Thus, he contends that his earlier acquittal by the
CA was proper,35 and that his acquittal can no longer be assailed without
violating the principle of double jeopardy.36
Ruling of the Court of Appeals

Petitioner likewise assails the validity of the promulgation of the judgment


Imputing grave abuse of discretion on the part of the RTC, petitioner filed
against him since it was made in his absence.37 He insists that he had a
a Petition for Certiorari28 with the CA. On May 4, 2007, the CA rendered its
valid reason for not attending the promulgation of the judgment as he was
Resolution29 which dismissed the Petition for lack of merit.
suffering from stress, anxiety, and some physiological disturbance, and
thus, was advised to rest.38 He also claims that the RTCs denial of his
Petitioners Motion for Reconsideration30 was likewise denied by the CA in Motion for Repromulgation was not proper.39 Hence, a repromulgation of
its September 4, 2007 Resolution.31 the judgment should be made to allow him to avail of his right to appeal.40

Issues Respondents Arguments

Hence, this recourse, with petitioner raising the following issues: The Solicitor General, on behalf of the People, contends that the issues
and arguments raised by petitioner may no longer be entertained as these
1. Whether x x x the Decision of the RTC convicting petitioner have been addressed in People v. Court of Appeals,41 which is already the
Almuete of the charge against him passed the requisite conviction "law of the case."42 He likewise points out that the promulgation of
beyond reasonable doubt. judgment in absentia is allowed under Section 643 of Rule 120 of the 1985
Rules of Criminal Procedure,44 and that the denial of petitioners Motion for
2. Whether x x x the promulgation of the Decision of the RTC Repromulgation of the September 8, 1998 Decision is proper as the same
is in accordance with Administrative Circular No. 16-93.45
convicting the petitioner was valid despite the absence of the
petitioner and regardless of petitioners intention to be present at
the promulgation of the Decision. As to petitioners right to appeal, respondent opines that petitioners right
has prescribed,46 as the same should have been filed within 15 days from
3. Whether x x x the Honorable CA committed grave abuse of the time he or his counsel received a copy of the September 8, 1998
Decision instead of filing a Petition for Certiorari with the CA.47
discretion when it acquitted petitioner Almuete in a Petition for
Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.
However, notwithstanding the finality of petitioners conviction, respondent
4. Whether x x x the judgment of acquittal by the Honorable CA recommends that the penalty be modified by reducing the same to six (6)
bars further proceedings and that to do so would constitute a years and one (1) day to ten (10) years in accordance with the
violation of petitioners constitutional right against double Indeterminate Sentence Law (ISL).48
jeopardy.
Our Ruling their nature the intervention of the court of first instance is necessary to
that end.
The petition lacks merit.
The denial of the Motion for 2. The practice of requiring the convict to appear before the trial court for
Repromulgation is in accordance with "promulgation" of the judgment of the appellate court should, therefore,
Administrative Circular No. 16-93 be immediately discontinued. It is not only an unauthorized surplusage
entailing unnecessary expense, but it could also create security problems
Administrative Circular No. 16-93, issued on September 9, 1993, provides where the convict was already under detention during the pendency of the
that: appeal, and the place of confinement is at some distance from the station
of the court. Upon receipt of the certified copy of the judgment of the
appellate court if the convict is under detention, the trial court should
TO: ALL JUDGES OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURTS, METROPOLITAN
issue forthwith the corresponding mittimus or commitment order so that
TRIAL COURTS, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS, AND MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT
the prisoner may be considered remitted or may be transferred to the
TRIAL COURTS
corresponding prison facility for confinement and service of sentence.
When the convict is out on bail, the trial court shall immediately order the
RE: PROCEDURE AFTER AFFIRMANCE OR MODIFICATION BY SUPREME bondsman to surrender the convict to it within ten (10) days from notice
COURT OR COURT OF APPEALS OF JUDGMENTS OF CONVICTION IN and thereafter issue the corresponding mittimus. In both cases, the trial
CRIMINAL CASES court shall submit to this Court proof of the execution of judgment within
fifteen (15) days from date of such execution. (Emphasis supplied)
To ensure uniformity in the procedure to be observed by the trial courts in
criminal cases after their judgments of conviction shall have been affirmed xxxx
or modified by the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals, attention is
invited to the decisional and statutory guidelines set out hereunder.
It is clear from the foregoing that the practice of requiring convicts to
appear before the trial courts for promulgation of the affirmance or
1. The procedure for the promulgation of judgments in the trial courts in modification by this Court or the CA of judgments of conviction in criminal
criminal cases, differs from that prescribed for the Supreme Court and the cases is no longer allowed. Hence, we find no error on the part of the RTC
Court of Appeals where promulgation is effected by filing the signed copy in denying the Motion for Repromulgation of the RTCs September 8, 1998
of the judgment with the Clerk of Court who causes true copies thereof to Decision which was reinstated in People v. Court of Appeals.49
be served upon the parties. The procedural consequence of this distinction
was reiterated in Jesus Alvarado, etc. vs. The Director of Prisons, to wit:
The promulgation of judgment is valid.

By sections 8 and 9 of Rule 53 (now Sections 10 and 11 of Rule 51) in


Petitioners attempt to assail the validity of the promulgation of the RTCs
relation to section 17 of Rule 120 (now Section 17 of Rule 124), a
September 8, 1998 Decision must likewise fail as this has already been
judgment is entered 15 days after its promulgation, and 10 days
addressed by this Court in People v. Court of Appeals.50 As this Court has
thereafter, the records are remanded to the court below including a
explained, there was no reason to postpone the promulgation because
certified copy of the judgment for execution.
petitioners absence was unjustifiable.51 Hence, no abuse of discretion
could be attributed to the RTC in promulgating its Decision despite the
In the case of People vs. Sumilang (44 Off. Gaz., 881, 883; 77 Phil. 764), absence of petitioner.52
it was explained that "the certified copy of the judgment is sent by the
clerk of the appellate court to the lower court under section 9 of rule 53,
It bears stressing that the June 10, 2004 Decision of this Court has
not for the promulgation or reading thereof to the defendant, but for the
attained finality. In fact, an Entry of Judgment was made by this Court on
execution of the judgment against him," it "not being necessary to
February 15, 2005.
promulgate or read it to the defendant, because it is to be presumed that
accused or his attorney had already been notified thereof in accordance
with sections 7 and 8, as amended, of the same Rules 53 (now sections 9 Petitioners right to appeal has prescribed.
and 10 of Rule 51)," and that the duty of the court of first instance in
respect to such judgment is merely to see that it is duly executed when in As to whether petitioner may still appeal the RTCs September 8, 1998
Decision, we rule in the negative.
In People v. Court of Appeals,53 this Court reversed petitioners acquittal only, and undertakes to exercise the jurisdiction conferred in a case to
by the CA as it was made with grave abuse of discretion. This Court which the statute has no application, the judgment rendered is void. The
explained that an acquittal via a Petition for Certiorari is not allowed lack of statutory authority to make a particular judgment is akin to lack of
because "the authority to review perceived errors of the trial court in the subject-matter jurisdiction. In this case, the CA is authorized to entertain
exercise of its judgment and discretion x x x are correctible only by appeal and resolve only errors of jurisdiction and not errors of judgment.
by writ of error."54 Thus, in filing a Petition for Certiorari instead of an
appeal, petitioner availed of the wrong remedy. Thus: A void judgment has no legal and binding effect, force or efficacy for any
purpose. In contemplation of law, it is non-existent. It cannot impair or
In this case, the RTC rendered judgment finding all the accused, create rights; nor can any right be based on it. Thus, respondent Almuete
respondents herein, guilty of the crime charged based on the evidence on cannot base his claim of double jeopardy on the appellate courts
record and the law involved, and sentenced them to suffer the penalty of decision.55 (Emphasis supplied)
imprisonment as provided for in P.D. No. 705, in relation to Articles 304
and 305 of the Revised Penal Code. They had a plain, speedy and Clearly, petitioners right to appeal the RTCs September 8, 1998 Decision
adequate remedy at law to overturn the decision as, in fact, they even has long prescribed. Consequently, the said Decision is no longer open to
filed a motion for reconsideration of the decision on its merits, and for the an appeal.
nullification of the promulgation of the said decision. Upon the trial courts
denial of their motion for reconsideration, the petitioners had the right to
The penalty imposed must be modified.
appeal, by writ of error, from the decision on its merits on questions of
facts and of law. The appeal of the petitioners in due course was a plain,
speedy and adequate remedy. In such appeal, the petitioners could Nonetheless, we agree with the suggestion of the Office of the Solicitor
question the findings of facts of the trial court, its conclusions based on General that the penalty imposed by the RTC in its September 8, 1998
the said findings, as well as the penalty imposed by the court. It bears Decision must be modified. Concededly, this case is an offshoot of G.R.
stressing that an appeal in a criminal case throws the whole case open for No. 144332 which the Court decided on June 10, 2004 which found grave
review and that the appellate court can reverse any errors of the trial abuse of discretion on the part of the CA in acquitting Almuete.
court, whether assigned or unassigned, found in its judgment. However,
instead of appealing the decision by writ of error, the respondents filed Section 68 of P.D. No. 705, as amended by E.O. No. 277, provides that:
their petition for certiorari with the CA assailing the decision of the trial
court on its merits. They questioned their conviction and the penalty Sec. 68. Cutting, Gathering and/or collecting Timber, or Other Forest
imposed on them, alleging that the prosecution failed to prove their guilt Products Without License. Any person who shall cut, gather, collect,
for the crime charged, the evidence against them being merely hearsay remove timber or other forest products from any forest land, or timber
and based on mere inferences. In fine, the respondents alleged mere from alienable or disposable public land, or from private land, without any
errors of judgment of the trial court in their petition. It behooved the authority, or possess timber or other forest products without the legal
appellate court to have dismissed the petition, instead of giving it due documents as required under existing forest laws and regulations, shall be
course and granting it.
punished with the penalties imposed under Articles 309 and 310 of the
Revised Penal Code: Provided, That in the case of partnerships,
The CA reviewed the trial courts assessment of the evidence on record, its associations, or corporations, the officers who ordered the cutting,
findings of facts, and its conclusions based on the said findings. The CA gathering, collection or possession shall be liable, and if such officers are
forthwith concluded that the said evidence was utterly insufficient on which aliens, they shall, in addition to the penalty, be deported without further
to anchor a judgment of conviction, and acquitted respondent Almuete of proceedings on the part of the Commission on Immigration and
the crime charged. Deportation.

The appellate court acted with grave abuse of its discretion when it The court shall further order the confiscation in favor of the government of
ventured beyond the sphere of its authority and arrogated unto itself, in the timber or any forest products cut, gathered, collected, removed, or
the certiorari proceedings, the authority to review perceived errors of the possessed as well as the machinery, equipment, implements and tools
trial court in the exercise of its judgment and discretion, which are illegally used in the area where the timber or forest products are found.
correctible only by appeal by writ of error. Consequently, the decision of (Emphasis supplied)
the CA acquitting respondent Almuete of the crime charged is a nullity. If a
court is authorized by statute to entertain jurisdiction in a particular case
On the other hand, Articles 309 and 310 of the Revised Penal Code state penalty is anywhere between eleven (11) years, eight (8) months and one
that: (1) day of prision mayor to thirteen (13) years of reclusion temporal.

Art. 309. Penalties. Any person guilty of theft shall be punished by: Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the minimum penalty is one
degree lower than that prescribed by the law. In this case, the minimum
1. The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum and medium periods, if the penalty should be prision correccional in its medium and maximum
value of the thing stolen is more than 12,000 pesos but does not exceed periods, which is anywhere between two (2) years, four (4) months and
22,000 pesos; but if the value of the thing stolen exceed[s] the latter one (1) day to six (6) years.
amount, the penalty shall be the maximum period of the one prescribed in
this paragraph, and one year for each additional ten thousand pesos, but This Court is not unaware of the rule that "a final judgment may no longer
the total of the penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed twenty be altered, amended or modified, even if the alteration, amendment or
years. In such cases, and in connection with the accessory penalties which modification is meant to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous
may be imposed and for the purpose of the other provisions of this Code, conclusion of fact or law and regardless of what court, be it the highest
the penalty shall be termed prision mayor or reclusion temporal, as the court of the land, rendered it."60 However, this Court has suspended the
case may be. (Emphasis supplied) application of this rule based on certain recognized exceptions, viz:

xxxx Aside from matters of life, liberty, honor or property which would warrant
the suspension of the Rules of the most mandatory character and an
Art. 310. Qualified theft. The crime of theft shall be punished by the examination and review by the appellate court of the lower courts findings
penalties next higher by two degrees than those respectively specified in of fact, the other elements that should be considered are the following: (a)
the next preceding articles, if committed by a domestic servant, or with the existence of special or compelling circumstances, (b) the merits of the
grave abuse of confidence, or if the property stolen is motor vehicle, mail case, (c) a cause not entirely attributable to the fault or negligence of the
matter or large cattle or consists of coconuts taken from the premises of party favored by the suspension of the rules, (d) a lack of any showing
the plantation or fish taken from a fishpond or fishery, or if property is that the review sought is merely frivolous and dilatory, and (e) the other
taken on the occasion of fire, earthquake, typhoon, volcanic eruption, or party will not be unjustly prejudiced thereby.61
any other calamity, vehicular accident or civil disturbance. (Emphasis
supplied) In this case, it cannot be gainsaid that what is involved is the life and
liberty of petitioner. If his penalty of imprisonment remains uncorrected, it
Perusal of the records would show that the trial court imposed the penalty would be not conformable with law and he would be made to suffer the
as prescribed in Article 310 which is two degrees higher than those penalty of imprisonment of 18 years, 2 months and 21 days of reclusion
specified in Article 309.56 This is erroneous considering that the penalty temporal as minimum, to 40 years of reclusion perpetua, as maximum,
prescribed in Article 310 would apply only if the theft was committed which is outside the range of the penalty prescribed by law. Contrast this
under any the following circumstances: a) by a domestic servant, or with to the proper imposable penalty the minimum of which should only be
grave abuse of confidence, or b) if the stolen property is motor vehicle, within the range of 2 years, 4 months and 1 day to 6 years of prision
mail matter or large cattle, or consists of coconuts taken from the correccional, while the maximum should only be anywhere between 11
premises of the plantation or fish taken from a fishpond or fishery, or c) if years, 8 months and 1 day of prision mayor to 13 years of reclusion
the property is taken on the occasion of fire, earthquake, typhoon, temporal. Substantial justice demands that we suspend our Rules in this
volcanic eruption, or any other calamity, vehicular accident or civil case. "It is always within the power of the court to suspend its own Rules
disturbance. None of these circumstances is present in the instant case. or except a particular case from its operation, whenever the purposes of
Thus, the proper imposable penalty should be that which is prescribed justice require. x x x Indeed, when there is a strong showing that a grave
under Article 309. miscarriage of justice would result from the strict application of the Rules,
this Court will not hesitate to relax the same in the interest of substantial
justice."62 Suspending the Rules is justified "where there exist strong
In this case, the amount of the timber involved is 57,012.00. Since the
compelling reasons, such as serving the ends of justice and preventing a
amount exceeds 22,000.00, the penalty of prision mayor in its minimum
miscarriage thereof."63 After all, the Courts "primordial and most
and medium periods57 should be imposed in its maximum period58 plus an
important duty is to render justice x x x."64
additional one (1) year for each additional 10,000 pesos in excess of
22,000.00 or three more years.59 Thus, the correct imposable maximum
Surely, this is not the first time that the Court modified the penalty minimum imposable penalty should only be within the range of "6 months,
imposed notwithstanding the finality of the assailed decision. and 1 day of prision correccional in its minimum period and 4 years and 2
months of prision correccional in its medium period"69while the proper
In People v. Barro,65 Benigno Barro (Benigno), Joel Florin (Florin) and Joel maximum imposable penalty should only be within the range of "10 years,
Barro (Joel) were charged with murder. After trial, the trial court convicted 8 months and 21 days and 12 years of prision mayor in its maximum
them as charged. Only Benigno and Florin filed their notice of appeal. Joel period."70 Hence, notwithstanding the finality of the trial courts Decision,
failed to appeal as he escaped from confinement. Hence, the trial courts the Court modified the penalty imposed, as the same was outside the
Decision insofar as Joel is concerned had become final and executory. In range prescribed by law.
the Courts Decision of August 17, 2000, the appeal filed by Benigno and
Florin was found without merit. However, the Court noted that as regards In Rigor v. The Superintendent, New Bilibid Prison,71 this Court also
Joel, the penalty imposed by the trial court was "outside the range"66 of modified the penalty imposed on the petitioner notwithstanding the finality
the penalty prescribed for the offense. Consequently, the Court modified of the trial courts Decision based on the observation that the penalty
the penalty imposed on him notwithstanding that the same had already imposed by the trial court was erroneous because it was outside the range
become final and executory. The Court ratiocinated that: prescribed by law. The Court ruled thus:

Joel Barro, below 15 years old at the time of the commission of the However, the Court noted a palpable error apparent in the Joint Decision
offense, is entitled to the privileged mitigating circumstance of minority of the trial court that must be rectified in order to avoid its repetition. The
pursuant to Article 68, par. 1 of the Revised Penal Code. The penalty for trial court erroneously included an additional one day on the maximum
murder is reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death. Two degrees period of arresto mayor imposed on petitioner, which is incorrect, as it is
lower is prision correccional maximum to prision mayor medium. Joel outside the range of said penalty. The duration of arresto mayor is only
Barro escaped from jail, hence, he is disqualified from the benefits of the from one month and one day to six months. Adding one day to the
Indeterminate Sentence Law. He should, therefore, be meted the straight maximum penalty will place it within the range of prision correccional.
penalty of eight years which is within the medium period (6 years 1 month
and 11 days to 8 years and 20 days) of the said penalty. The trial court Moreover, imposing the maximum penalty of imprisonment of four years,
erred in imposing the penalty of imprisonment of 8 years and 8 months four months and one day of prision correccional is also incorrect as it is
because it is outside the range of said penalty. The records show that Joel outside the range of the penalty imposable in this case. x x x
Barro did not appeal. However, where the penalty imposed on the co-
accused who did not appeal was a nullity because it was never authorized
xxxx
by law, that penalty imposed on the accused can be corrected to make it
conform to the penalty prescribed by law, the reason being that, said
penalty can never become final and executory and it is within the duty and The error of the trial court in the present case can be corrected to make it
inherent power of the Court to have it conformable with law.67 conform to the penalty prescribed by law as it is within the Courts duty
and inherent power. x x x
In Estrada v. People,68 petitioner was charged with the crime of estafa.
While the trial was pending, petitioner jumped bail. Understandably, xxxx
during the promulgation of judgment in 1997, petitioner was absent. Two
years later, or in 1999, petitioner was arrested. She then moved for Thus, the correction to be made by this Court is meant only for the penalty
reconsideration of the trial courts Decision. The same was denied for imposed against petitioner to be in accordance with the law and nothing
having been filed out of time. Thus, petitioner filed a Petition for Certiorari else. It is not tantamount to a reduction in order to be favorable to the
before the CA which was denied. Hence, petitioner brought the case before petitioner nor an increase so as to be prejudicial to him.72
this Court. In its Decision dated August 25, 2005, the Court ruled that
petitioners trial in absentia was proper; that she was not denied due In People v. Gatward73 the Court explicitly stated that by merely modifying
process; and that the denial by the trial court of her motion for the penalty imposed, it is not reopening the case; neither is it saying that
reconsideration was proper as the same was filed beyond the there was error in judgment. In the same manner, in this case, we are not
reglementary period. However, the Court noted that the penalty imposed reopening G.R. No. 144332, much more reversing it. Thus:
by the trial court (which is 12 years of prision mayor to 24 years as
maximum) on petitioner was erroneous. As computed by the Court,
considering that the amount defrauded is only 68,700.00, the proper
x x x In the case of U Aung Win, and the same hold true with respect to Finally, pursuant to Section 11(a),76Rule 122 of the Revised Rules on
Gatward, the penalty inflicted by the court a quo was a nullity because it Criminal Procedure, the favorable modification of the penalty should
was never authorized by law as a valid punishment. The penalties which likewise apply to petitioner's co-accused who failed to appeal.77
consisted of aliquot one-third portions of an indivisible penalty are self-
contradictory in terms and unknown in penal law. Without intending to WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby DENIED. The May 4, 2007 and the
sound sardonic or facetious, it was akin to imposing the indivisible September 4, 2007 Resolutions of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No.
penalties of public censure, or perpetual absolute or special 98502 are hereby AFFIRMED. In addition, for reasons stated above, the
disqualification, or death in their minimum or maximum periods. September 8, 1998 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Nueva Vizcaya,
Branch 27, docketed as Criminal Case No. 2672, is hereby MODIFIED
This was not a case of a court rendering an erroneous judgment by insofar as the penalty of imprisonment is concerned. The accused, namely,
inflicting a penalty higher or lower than the one imposable under the law Efren S. Almuete, Johnny Ila y Ramel and Joel Lloren y dela Cruz are each
but with both penalties being legally recognized and authorized as valid sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of six ( 6) years of prision
punishments. An erroneous judgment, as thus understood, is a valid correccional, as minimum, to thirteen (13) years of reclusion temporal, as
judgment. But a judgment which ordains a penalty which does not exist in maximum.
the catalogue of penalties or which is an impossible version of that in the
roster of lawful penalties is necessarily void, since the error goes into the SO ORDERED.
very essence of the penalty and does not merely arise from the
misapplication thereof. Corollarily, such a judgment can never become
final and executory.1wphi1

Nor can it be said that, despite the failure of the accused to appeal, his Republic of the Philippines
case was reopened in order that a higher penalty may be imposed on him. SUPREME COURT
There is here no reopening of the case, as in fact the judgment is being Manila
affirmed but with a correction of the very substance of the penalty to
make it conformable to law, pursuant to a duty and power inherent in this EN BANC
Court. The penalty has not been changed since what was decreed by the
trial court and is now being likewise affirmed by this Court is the same G.R. No. 179267 June 25, 2013
penalty of reclusion perpetua which, unfortunately, was imposed by the
lower court in an elemental form which is non-existent in and not
JESUS C. GARCIA, Petitioner,
authorized by law. Just as the penalty has not been reduced in order to be
vs.
favorable to the accused, neither has it been increased so as to be
THE HONORABLE RAY ALAN T. DRILON, Presiding Judge, Regional
prejudicial to him.
Trial Court-Branch 41, Bacolod City, and ROSALIE JAYPE-GARCIA,
for herself and in behalf of minor children, namely: JO-ANN,
Finally, no constitutional or legal right of this accused is violated by the JOSEPH EDUARD, JESSE ANTHONE, all surnamed
imposition upon him of the corrected duration, inherent in the essence and GARCIA, Respondents.
concept, of the penalty. Otherwise, he would be serving a void sentence
with an illegitimate penalty born out of a figurative liaison between judicial
DECISION
legislation and unequal protection of law. He would thus be the victim of
an inadvertence which could result in the nullification, not only of the
judgment and the penalty meted therein, but also of the sentence he may PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:
actually have served. Far from violating any right of U Aung Win,
therefore, the remedial and corrective measures interposed by this opinion Hailed as the bastion of Christianity in Asia, the Philippines boasts of 86.8
protect him against the risk of another trial and review aimed at
million Filipinos- or 93 percent of a total population of 93.3 million
determining the correct period of imprisonment.74
adhering to the teachings of Jesus Christ.1 Yet, the admonition for husbands
Also, it would not be amiss to mention that the Office of the Solicitor to love their wives as their own bodies just as Christ loved the church and
General prayed for the modification of the imposable penalty.75 gave himself up for her2 failed to prevent, or even to curb, the
pervasiveness of violence against Filipino women. The National Commission
on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW) reported that, for the years 2000- Private respondent described herself as a dutiful and faithful wife, whose
2003, "female violence comprised more than 90o/o of all forms of abuse life revolved around her husband. On the other hand, petitioner, who is of
Filipino-Chinese descent, is dominant, controlling, and demands absolute
and violence and more than 90% of these reported cases were committed obedience from his wife and children. He forbade private respondent to
by the women's intimate partners such as their husbands and live-in pray, and deliberately isolated her from her friends. When she took up
partners."3 law, and even when she was already working part time at a law office,
petitioner trivialized her ambitions and prevailed upon her to just stay at
Thus, on March 8, 2004, after nine (9) years of spirited advocacy by home. He was often jealous of the fact that his attractive wife still catches
the eye of some men, at one point threatening that he would have any
women's groups, Congress enacted Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9262, entitled
man eyeing her killed.9
"An Act Defining Violence Against Women and Their Children, Providing for
Protective Measures for Victims, Prescribing Penalties Therefor, and for
Other Purposes." It took effect on March 27, 2004.4 Things turned for the worse when petitioner took up an affair with a bank
manager of Robinson's Bank, Bacolod City, who is the godmother of one of
their sons. Petitioner admitted to the affair when private respondent
R.A. 9262 is a landmark legislation that defines and criminalizes acts of
confronted him about it in 2004. He even boasted to the household help
violence against women and their children (VAWC) perpetrated by
about his sexual relations with said bank manager. Petitioner told private
women's intimate partners, i.e, husband; former husband; or any person
respondent, though, that he was just using the woman because of their
who has or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom the woman
accounts with the bank.10
has a common child.5 The law provides for protection orders from the
barangay and the courts to prevent the commission of further acts of
VAWC; and outlines the duties and responsibilities of barangay officials, Petitioner's infidelity spawned a series of fights that left private respondent
law enforcers, prosecutors and court personnel, social workers, health care physically and emotionally wounded. In one of their quarrels, petitioner
providers, and other local government officials in responding to complaints grabbed private respondent on both arms and shook her with such force
of VAWC or requests for assistance. that caused bruises and hematoma. At another time, petitioner hit private
respondent forcefully on the lips that caused some bleeding. Petitioner
sometimes turned his ire on their daughter, Jo-Ann, who had seen the text
A husband is now before the Court assailing the constitutionality of R.A.
messages he sent to his paramour and whom he blamed for squealing on
9262 as being violative of the equal protection and due process clauses,
and an undue delegation of judicial power to barangay officials. him. He beat Jo-Ann on the chest and slapped her many times. When
private respondent decided to leave petitioner, Jo-Ann begged her mother
to stay for fear that if the latter leaves, petitioner would beat her up. Even
The Factual Antecedents the small boys are aware of private respondent's sufferings. Their 6-year-
old son said that when he grows up, he would beat up his father because
On March 23, 2006, Rosalie Jaype-Garcia (private respondent) filed, for of his cruelty to private respondent.11
herself and in behalf of her minor children, a verified petition6 (Civil Case
No. 06-797) before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bacolod City for the All the emotional and psychological turmoil drove private respondent to
issuance of a Temporary Protection Order (TPO) against her husband, the brink of despair. On December 17, 2005, while at home, she
Jesus C. Garcia (petitioner), pursuant to R.A. 9262. She claimed to be a attempted suicide by cutting her wrist. She was found by her son bleeding
victim of physical abuse; emotional, psychological, and economic violence on the floor. Petitioner simply fled the house instead of taking her to the
as a result of marital infidelity on the part of petitioner, with threats of hospital. Private respondent was hospitalized for about seven (7) days in
deprivation of custody of her children and of financial support.7 which time petitioner never bothered to visit, nor apologized or showed
pity on her. Since then, private respondent has been undergoing therapy
Private respondent's claims almost every week and is taking anti-depressant medications.12

Private respondent married petitioner in 2002 when she was 34 years old When private respondent informed the management of Robinson's Bank
and the former was eleven years her senior. They have three (3) children, that she intends to file charges against the bank manager, petitioner got
namely: Jo-Ann J. Garcia, 17 years old, who is the natural child of angry with her for jeopardizing the manager's job. He then packed his
petitioner but whom private respondent adopted; Jessie Anthone J. Garcia, things and told private respondent that he was leaving her for good. He
6 years old; and Joseph Eduard J. Garcia, 3 years old.8 even told private respondent's mother, who lives with them in the family
home, that private respondent should just accept his extramarital affair
since he is not cohabiting with his paramour and has not sired a child with herein) to enter the conjugal dwelling without any danger from the
her.13 Respondent.

Private respondent is determined to separate from petitioner but she is After the Respondent leaves or is removed from the conjugal
afraid that he would take her children from her and deprive her of financial dwelling, or anytime the Petitioner decides to return to the
support. Petitioner had previously warned her that if she goes on a legal conjugal dwelling to remove things, the Petitioner shall be assisted
battle with him, she would not get a single centavo.14 by police officers when re-entering the family home.

Petitioner controls the family businesses involving mostly the construction The Chief of Police shall also give the Petitioner police assistance
of deep wells. He is the President of three corporations 326 Realty on Sunday, 26 March 2006 because of the danger that the
Holdings, Inc., Negros Rotadrill Corporation, and J-Bros Trading Respondent will attempt to take her children from her when he
Corporation of which he and private respondent are both stockholders. arrives from Manila and finds out about this suit.
In contrast to the absolute control of petitioner over said corporations,
private respondent merely draws a monthly salary of 20,000.00 from one b) To stay away from the petitioner and her children, mother and
corporation only, the Negros Rotadrill Corporation. Household expenses all her household help and driver from a distance of 1,000 meters,
amounting to not less than 200,000.00 a month are paid for by private and shall not enter the gate of the subdivision where the Petitioner
respondent through the use of credit cards, which, in turn, are paid by the may be temporarily residing.
same corporation together with the bills for utilities.15
c) Not to harass, annoy, telephone, contact or otherwise
On the other hand, petitioner receives a monthly salary of 60,000.00 communicate with the Petitioner, directly or indirectly, or through
from Negros Rotadrill Corporation, and enjoys unlimited cash advances other persons, or contact directly or indirectly her children, mother
and other benefits in hundreds of thousands of pesos from the and household help, nor send gifts, cards, flowers, letters and the
corporations.16 After private respondent confronted him about the affair, like. Visitation rights to the children may be subject of a modified
petitioner forbade her to hold office at JBTC Building, Mandalagan, where TPO in the future.
all the businesses of the corporations are conducted, thereby depriving her
of access to full information about said businesses. Until the filing of the
d) To surrender all his firearms including a .9MM caliber firearm
petition a quo, petitioner has not given private respondent an accounting
and a Walther PPK and ordering the Philippine National Police
of the businesses the value of which she had helped raise to millions of
Firearms and Explosives Unit and the Provincial Director of the PNP
pesos.17
to cancel all the Respondent's firearm licenses. He should also be
ordered to surrender any unlicensed firearms in his possession or
Action of the RTC of Bacolod City control.

Finding reasonable ground to believe that an imminent danger of violence e) To pay full financial support for the Petitioner and the children,
against the private respondent and her children exists or is about to recur, including rental of a house for them, and educational and medical
the RTC issued a TPO18 on March 24, 2006 effective for thirty (30) days, expenses.
which is quoted hereunder:
f) Not to dissipate the conjugal business.
Respondent (petitioner herein), Jesus Chua Garcia, is hereby:
g) To render an accounting of all advances, benefits, bonuses and
a) Ordered to remove all his personal belongings from the conjugal other cash he received from all the corporations from 1 January
dwelling or family home within 24 hours from receipt of the 2006 up to 31 March 2006, which himself and as President of the
Temporary Restraining Order and if he refuses, ordering that he be corporations and his Comptroller, must submit to the Court not
removed by police officers from the conjugal dwelling; this order is later than 2 April 2006. Thereafter, an accounting of all these
enforceable notwithstanding that the house is under the name of funds shall be reported to the court by the Comptroller, copy
236 Realty Holdings Inc. (Republic Act No. 9262 states "regardless furnished to the Petitioner, every 15 days of the month, under pain
of ownership"), this is to allow the Petitioner (private respondent of Indirect Contempt of Court.
h) To ensure compliance especially with the order granting support Ramos, co-counsel for Petitioner, within 24 hours from receipt of
pendente lite, and considering the financial resources of the the Temporary Protection Order by his counsel, otherwise be
Respondent and his threat that if the Petitioner sues she will not declared in Indirect Contempt of Court;
get a single centavo, the Respondent is ordered to put up a BOND
TO KEEP THE PEACE in the amount of FIVE MILLION PESOS, in two b) Respondent shall make an accounting or list of furniture and
sufficient sureties. equipment in the conjugal house in Pitimini St., Capitolville
Subdivision, Bacolod City within 24 hours from receipt of the
On April 24, 2006, upon motion19 of private respondent, the trial Temporary Protection Order by his counsel;
court issued an amended TPO,20 effective for thirty (30) days,
which included the following additional provisions: c) Ordering the Chief of the Women's Desk of the Bacolod City
Police Headquarters to remove Respondent from the conjugal
i) The petitioners (private respondents herein) are given the dwelling within eight (8) hours from receipt of the Temporary
continued use of the Nissan Patrol and the Starex Van which they Protection Order by his counsel, and that he cannot return until 48
are using in Negros Occidental. hours after the petitioners have left, so that the petitioner Rosalie
and her representatives can remove things from the conjugal
j) The petitioners are given the continued use and occupation of home and make an inventory of the household furniture,
the house in Paraaque, the continued use of the Starex van in equipment and other things in the conjugal home, which shall be
Metro Manila, whenever they go to Manila. submitted to the Court.

k) Respondent is ordered to immediately post a bond to keep the d) Deliver full financial support of Php200,000.00 and
peace, in two sufficient sureties. Php50,000.00 for rental and Php25,000.00 for clothes of the three
petitioners (sic) children within 24 hours from receipt of the
Temporary Protection Order by his counsel, otherwise be declared
l) To give monthly support to the petitioner provisionally fixed in
in indirect contempt of Court;
the sum of One Hundred Fifty Thousand Pesos (Php 150,000.00)
per month plus rental expenses of Fifty Thousand Pesos (Php
50,000.00) per month until the matter of support could be finally e) That respondent surrender his two firearms and all unlicensed
resolved. firearms to the Clerk of Court within 24 hours from receipt of the
Temporary Protection Order by his counsel;
Two days later, or on April 26, 2006, petitioner filed an Opposition to the
Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for Renewal of the TPO21 seeking the denial of the f) That respondent shall pay petitioner educational expenses of the
renewal of the TPO on the grounds that it did not (1) comply with the children upon presentation of proof of payment of such
three-day notice rule, and (2) contain a notice of hearing. He further asked expenses.23
that the TPO be modified by (1) removing one vehicle used by private
respondent and returning the same to its rightful owner, the J-Bros Claiming that petitioner continued to deprive them of financial support;
Trading Corporation, and (2) cancelling or reducing the amount of the failed to faithfully comply with the TPO; and committed new acts of
bond from 5,000,000.00 to a more manageable level at 100,000.00. harassment against her and their children, private respondent filed
another application24 for the issuance of a TPO ex parte. She alleged inter
Subsequently, on May 23, 2006, petitioner moved 22 for the modification of
the TPO to allow him visitation rights to his children. alia that petitioner contrived a replevin suit against himself by J-Bros
Trading, Inc., of which the latter was purportedly no longer president, with
On May 24, 2006, the TPO was renewed and extended yet again, but the end in view of recovering the Nissan Patrol and Starex Van used by
subject only to the following modifications prayed for by private private respondent and the children. A writ of replevin was served upon
respondent: private respondent by a group of six or seven policemen with long firearms
that scared the two small boys, Jessie Anthone and Joseph Eduard.25
a) That respondent (petitioner herein) return the clothes and other
personal belongings of Rosalie and her children to Judge Jesus While Joseph Eduard, then three years old, was driven to school, two men
allegedly attempted to kidnap him, which incident traumatized the boy
resulting in his refusal to go back to school. On another occasion, 5) Directed to deliver in full financial support of Php200,000.00 a
petitioner allegedly grabbed their daughter, Jo-Ann, by the arm and month and Php50,000.00 for rental for the period from August 6 to
threatened her.26 The incident was reported to the police, and Jo-Ann September 6, 2006; and support in arrears from March 2006 to
subsequently filed a criminal complaint against her father for violation of August 2006 the total amount of Php1,312,000.00;
R.A. 7610, also known as the "Special Protection of Children Against Child
Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act." 6) Directed to deliver educational expenses for 2006-2007 the
amount of Php75,000.00 and Php25,000.00;
Aside from the replevin suit, petitioner's lawyers initiated the filing by the
housemaids working at the conjugal home of a complaint for kidnapping 7) Directed to allow the continued use of a Nissan Patrol with Plate
and illegal detention against private respondent. This came about after No. FEW 508 and a Starex van with Plate No. FFD 991 and should
private respondent, armed with a TPO, went to said home to get her and the respondent fail to deliver said vehicles, respondent is ordered
her children's belongings. Finding some of her things inside a housemaid's to provide the petitioner another vehicle which is the one taken by
(Sheryl Jamola) bag in the maids' room, private respondent filed a case for J Bros Tading;
qualified theft against Jamola.27
8) Ordered not to dissipate, encumber, alienate, sell, lease or
On August 23, 2006, the RTC issued a TPO,28 effective for thirty (30) days, otherwise dispose of the conjugal assets, or those real properties
which reads as follows: in the name of Jesus Chua Garcia only and those in which the
conjugal partnership of gains of the Petitioner Rosalie J. Garcia and
Respondent (petitioner herein), Jesus Chua Garcia, is hereby: respondent have an interest in, especially the conjugal home
located in No. 14, Pitimini St., Capitolville Subdivision, Bacolod
1) Prohibited from threatening to commit or committing, City, and other properties which are conjugal assets or those in
personally or through another, acts of violence against the which the conjugal partnership of gains of Petitioner Rosalie J.
offended party; Garcia and the respondent have an interest in and listed in
Annexes "I," "I-1," and "I-2," including properties covered by TCT
Nos. T-186325 and T-168814;
2) Prohibited from harassing, annoying, telephoning, contacting or
otherwise communicating in any form with the offended party,
either directly or indirectly; 9) Ordered that the Register of Deeds of Bacolod City and E.B.
Magalona shall be served a copy of this TEMPORARY PROTECTION
ORDER and are ordered not to allow the transfer, sale,
3) Required to stay away, personally or through his friends,
encumbrance or disposition of these above-cited properties to any
relatives, employees or agents, from all the Petitioners Rosalie J.
person, entity or corporation without the personal presence of
Garcia and her children, Rosalie J. Garcia's three brothers, her
petitioner Rosalie J. Garcia, who shall affix her signature in the
mother Primitiva Jaype, cook Novelita Caranzo, driver Romeo
presence of the Register of Deeds, due to the fear of petitioner
Hontiveros, laundrywoman Mercedita Bornales, security guard
Rosalie that her signature will be forged in order to effect the
Darwin Gayona and the petitioner's other household helpers from a
encumbrance or sale of these properties to defraud her or the
distance of 1,000 meters, and shall not enter the gate of the
conjugal partnership of gains.
subdivision where the Petitioners are temporarily residing, as well
as from the schools of the three children; Furthermore, that
respondent shall not contact the schools of the children directly or In its Order29 dated September 26, 2006, the trial court extended the
indirectly in any manner including, ostensibly to pay for their aforequoted TPO for another ten (10) days, and gave petitioner a period of
tuition or other fees directly, otherwise he will have access to the five (5) days within which to show cause why the TPO should not be
children through the schools and the TPO will be rendered renewed, extended, or modified. Upon petitioner's
nugatory; manifestation,30 however, that he has not received a copy of private
respondent's motion to modify/renew the TPO, the trial court directed in
its Order31 dated October 6, 2006 that petitioner be furnished a copy of
4) Directed to surrender all his firearms including .9MM caliber
said motion. Nonetheless, an Order32 dated a day earlier, October 5, had
firearm and a Walther PPK to the Court;
already been issued renewing the TPO dated August 23, 2006. The
pertinent portion is quoted hereunder:
xxxx THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DISMISSING THE PETITION ON THE
THEORY THAT THE ISSUE OF CONSTITUTIONALITY WAS NOT RAISED AT
x x x it appearing further that the hearing could not yet be finally THE EARLIEST OPPORTUNITY AND THAT, THE PETITION CONSTITUTES A
terminated, the Temporary Protection Order issued on August 23, 2006 is COLLATERAL ATTACK ON THE VALIDITY OF THE LAW.
hereby renewed and extended for thirty (30) days and continuously
extended and renewed for thirty (30) days, after each expiration, until II.
further orders, and subject to such modifications as may be ordered by the
court. THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR IN FAILING TO
CONCLUDE THAT R.A. 9262 IS DISCRIMINATORY, UNJUST, AND
After having received a copy of the foregoing Order, petitioner no longer VIOLATIVE OF THE EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE.
submitted the required comment to private respondent's motion for
renewal of the TPO arguing that it would only be an "exercise in futility."33 III.

Proceedings before the CA THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE MISTAKE IN NOT FINDING
THAT R.A. 9262 RUNS COUNTER TO THE DUE PROCESS CLAUSE OF THE
During the pendency of Civil Case No. 06-797, petitioner filed before the CONSTITUTION.
Court of Appeals (CA) a petition34 for prohibition (CA-G.R. CEB-SP. No.
01698), with prayer for injunction and temporary restraining order, IV.
challenging (1) the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 for being violative of the
due process and the equal protection clauses, and (2) the validity of the
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE LAW DOES
modified TPO issued in the civil case for being "an unwanted product of an
VIOLENCE TO THE POLICY OF THE STATE TO PROTECT THE FAMILY AS A
invalid law."
BASIC SOCIAL INSTITUTION.

On May 26, 2006, the appellate court issued a 60-day Temporary


V.
Restraining Order36 (TRO) against the enforcement of the TPO, the
amended TPOs and other orders pursuant thereto.
THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN NOT DECLARING R.A. No.
9262 AS INVALID AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL BECAUSE IT ALLOWS AN
Subsequently, however, on January 24, 2007, the appellate court
UNDUE DELEGATION OF JUDICIAL POWER TO THE BARANGAY
dismissed36 the petition for failure of petitioner to raise the constitutional
OFFICIALS.38
issue in his pleadings before the trial court in the civil case, which is
clothed with jurisdiction to resolve the same. Secondly, the challenge to
the validity The Ruling of the Court

of R.A. 9262 through a petition for prohibition seeking to annul the Before delving into the arguments propounded by petitioner against the
protection orders issued by the trial court constituted a collateral attack on constitutionality of R.A. 9262, we shall first tackle the propriety of the
said law. dismissal by the appellate court of the petition for prohibition (CA-G.R.
CEB-SP. No. 01698) filed by petitioner.
His motion for reconsideration of the foregoing Decision having been
denied in the Resolution37 dated August 14, 2007, petitioner is now before As a general rule, the question of constitutionality must be raised at the
us alleging that earliest opportunity so that if not raised in the pleadings, ordinarily it may
not be raised in the trial, and if not raised in the trial court, it will not be
considered on appeal.39 Courts will not anticipate a question of
The Issues
constitutional law in advance of the necessity of deciding it.40

I.
In defending his failure to attack the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 before
the RTC of Bacolod City, petitioner argues that the Family Court has
limited authority and jurisdiction that is "inadequate to tackle the complex 2. Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the
issue of constitutionality."41 law or the Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and orders of lower
courts in:
We disagree.
a. All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty,
Family Courts have authority and jurisdiction to consider the international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree,
constitutionality of a statute. proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question.

At the outset, it must be stressed that Family Courts are special courts, of xxxx
the same level as Regional Trial Courts. Under R.A. 8369, otherwise known
as the "Family Courts Act of 1997," family courts have exclusive original Thus, contrary to the posturing of petitioner, the issue of constitutionality
jurisdiction to hear and decide cases of domestic violence against women of R.A. 9262 could have been raised at the earliest opportunity in his
and children.42 In accordance with said law, the Supreme Court designated Opposition to the petition for protection order before the RTC of Bacolod
from among the branches of the Regional Trial Courts at least one Family City, which had jurisdiction to determine the same, subject to the review
Court in each of several key cities identified.43 To achieve harmony with of this Court.
the first mentioned law, Section 7 of R.A. 9262 now provides that Regional
Trial Courts designated as Family Courts shall have original and exclusive Section 20 of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC, the Rule on Violence Against Women
jurisdiction over cases of VAWC defined under the latter law, viz: and Their Children, lays down a new kind of procedure requiring the
respondent to file an opposition to the petition and not an answer.49 Thus:
SEC. 7. Venue. The Regional Trial Court designated as a Family Court
shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over cases of violence against SEC. 20. Opposition to petition. (a) The respondent may file an
women and their children under this law. In the absence of such court in opposition to the petition which he himself shall verify. It must be
the place where the offense was committed, the case shall be filed in the accompanied by the affidavits of witnesses and shall show cause why a
Regional Trial Court where the crime or any of its elements was committed temporary or permanent protection order should not be issued.
at the option of the complainant. (Emphasis supplied)
(b) Respondent shall not include in the opposition any counterclaim, cross-
Inspite of its designation as a family court, the RTC of Bacolod City claim or third-party complaint, but any cause of action which could be the
remains possessed of authority as a court of general original jurisdiction to subject thereof may be litigated in a separate civil action. (Emphasis
pass upon all kinds of cases whether civil, criminal, special proceedings, supplied)
land registration, guardianship, naturalization, admiralty or insolvency. 44 It
is settled that RTCs have jurisdiction to resolve the constitutionality of a
We cannot subscribe to the theory espoused by petitioner that, since a
statute,45 "this authority being embraced in the general definition of the
counterclaim, cross-claim and third-party complaint are to be excluded
judicial power to determine what are the valid and binding laws by the
from the opposition, the issue of constitutionality cannot likewise be raised
criterion of their conformity to the fundamental law."46The Constitution
therein. A counterclaim is defined as any claim for money or other relief
vests the power of judicial review or the power to declare the
which a defending party may have against an opposing party.50 A cross-
constitutionality or validity of a law, treaty, international or executive
claim, on the other hand, is any claim by one party against a co-party
agreement, presidential decree, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation
arising out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter
not only in this Court, but in all RTCs.47 We said in J.M. Tuason and Co.,
either of the original action or of a counterclaim therein. 51Finally, a third-
Inc. v. CA48 that, "plainly the Constitution contemplates that the inferior
party complaint is a claim that a defending party may, with leave of court,
courts should have jurisdiction in cases involving constitutionality of any
file against a person not a party to the action for contribution, indemnity,
treaty or law, for it speaks of appellate review of final judgments of inferior
subrogation or any other relief, in respect of his opponent's claim.52As
courts in cases where such constitutionality happens to be in issue."
pointed out by Justice Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro, the
Section 5, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution reads in part as follows:
unconstitutionality of a statute is not a cause of action that could be the
subject of a counterclaim, cross-claim or a third-party complaint.
SEC. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers: Therefore, it is not prohibited from being raised in the opposition in view of
the familiar maxim expressio unius est exclusio alterius.
xxx
Moreover, it cannot be denied that this issue affects the resolution of the order (CA-G.R. CEB - SP. No. 01698). Petitioner may have proceeded upon
case a quo because the right of private respondent to a protection order is an honest belief that if he finds succor in a superior court, he could be
founded solely on the very statute the validity of which is being granted an injunctive relief. However, Section 22(j) of A.M. No. 04-10-11-
attacked53 by petitioner who has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as SC expressly disallows the filing of a petition for certiorari, mandamus or
a result of its enforcement. The alleged unconstitutionality of R.A. 9262 is, prohibition against any interlocutory order issued by the trial court. Hence,
for all intents and purposes, a valid cause for the non-issuance of a the 60-day TRO issued by the appellate court in this case against the
protection order. enforcement of the TPO, the amended TPOs and other orders pursuant
thereto was improper, and it effectively hindered the case from taking its
That the proceedings in Civil Case No. 06-797 are summary in nature normal course in an expeditious and summary manner.
should not have deterred petitioner from raising the same in his
Opposition. The question relative to the constitutionality of a statute is one As the rules stand, a review of the case by appeal or certiorari before
of law which does not need to be supported by evidence. 54 Be that as it judgment is prohibited. Moreover, if the appeal of a judgment granting
may, Section 25 of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC nonetheless allows the conduct permanent protection shall not stay its enforcement,55 with more reason
of a hearing to determine legal issues, among others, viz: that a TPO, which is valid only for thirty (30) days at a time, 56 should not
be enjoined.
SEC. 25. Order for further hearing. - In case the court determines the
need for further hearing, it may issue an order containing the following: The mere fact that a statute is alleged to be unconstitutional or invalid,
does not of itself entitle a litigant to have the same enjoined.57 In Younger
(a) Facts undisputed and admitted; v. Harris, Jr.,58 the Supreme Court of the United States declared, thus:

(b) Factual and legal issues to be resolved; Federal injunctions against state criminal statutes, either in their entirety
or with respect to their separate and distinct prohibitions, are not to be
granted as a matter of course, even if such statutes are unconstitutional.
(c) Evidence, including objects and documents that have been
No citizen or member of the community is immune from prosecution, in
marked and will be presented;
good faith, for his alleged criminal acts. The imminence of such a
prosecution even though alleged to be unauthorized and, hence, unlawful
(d) Names of witnesses who will be ordered to present their direct is not alone ground for relief in equity which exerts its extraordinary
testimonies in the form of affidavits; and powers only to prevent irreparable injury to the plaintiff who seeks its aid.
(Citations omitted)
(e) Schedule of the presentation of evidence by both parties which
shall be done in one day, to the extent possible, within the 30-day The sole objective of injunctions is to preserve the status quo until the trial
period of the effectivity of the temporary protection order issued. court hears fully the merits of the case. It bears stressing, however, that
(Emphasis supplied) protection orders are granted ex parte so as to protect women and their
children from acts of violence. To issue an injunction against such orders
To obviate potential dangers that may arise concomitant to the conduct of will defeat the very purpose of the law against VAWC.
a hearing when necessary, Section 26 (b) of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC
provides that if a temporary protection order issued is due to expire, the Notwithstanding all these procedural flaws, we shall not shirk from our
trial court may extend or renew the said order for a period of thirty (30) obligation to determine novel issues, or issues of first impression, with far-
days each time until final judgment is rendered. It may likewise modify the reaching implications. We have, time and again, discharged our solemn
extended or renewed temporary protection order as may be necessary to duty as final arbiter of constitutional issues, and with more reason now, in
meet the needs of the parties. With the private respondent given ample view of private respondent's plea in her Comment 59 to the instant Petition
protection, petitioner could proceed to litigate the constitutional issues, that we should put the challenge to the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 to
without necessarily running afoul of the very purpose for the adoption of rest. And so we shall.
the rules on summary procedure.
Intent of Congress in enacting R.A. 9262.
In view of all the foregoing, the appellate court correctly dismissed the
petition for prohibition with prayer for injunction and temporary restraining
Petitioner claims that since R.A. 9262 is intended to prevent and Also, may the Chair remind the group that there was the discussion
criminalize spousal and child abuse, which could very well be committed whether to limit this to women and not to families which was the issue of
by either the husband or the wife, gender alone is not enough basis to the AWIR group. The understanding that I have is that we would be having
deprive the husband/father of the remedies under the law.60 a broader scope rather than just women, if I remember correctly, Madam
sponsor.
A perusal of the deliberations of Congress on Senate Bill No. 2723, 61 which
became R.A. 9262, reveals that while the sponsor, Senator Luisa Pimentel- Senator Estrada. Yes, Mr. President.
Ejercito (better known as Senator Loi Estrada), had originally proposed
what she called a "synthesized measure"62 an amalgamation of two As a matter of fact, that was brought up by Senator Pangilinan during the
measures, namely, the "Anti-Domestic Violence Act" and the "Anti-Abuse interpellation period.
of Women in Intimate Relationships Act"63 providing protection to "all
family members, leaving no one in isolation" but at the same time giving
I think Senator Sotto has something to say to that.
special attention to women as the "usual victims" of violence and
abuse,64 nonetheless, it was eventually agreed that men be denied
protection under the same measure. We quote pertinent portions of the Senator Legarda. Mr. President, the reason I am in support of the
deliberations: measure. Do not get me wrong. However, I believe that there is a need to
protect women's rights especially in the domestic environment.
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
As I said earlier, there are nameless, countless, voiceless women who
have not had the opportunity to file a case against their spouses, their
Senator Pangilinan. I just wanted to place this on record, Mr. President.
live-in partners after years, if not decade, of battery and abuse. If we
Some women's groups have expressed concerns and relayed these
broaden the scope to include even the men, assuming they can at all be
concerns to me that if we are to include domestic violence apart from
abused by the women or their spouses, then it would not equalize the
against women as well as other members of the household, including
already difficult situation for women, Mr. President.
children or the husband, they fear that this would weaken the efforts to
address domestic violence of which the main victims or the bulk of the
victims really are the wives, the spouses or the female partners in a I think that the sponsor, based on our earlier conversations, concurs with
relationship. We would like to place that on record. How does the good this position. I am sure that the men in this Chamber who love their
Senator respond to this kind of observation? women in their lives so dearly will agree with this representation. Whether
we like it or not, it is an unequal world. Whether we like it or not, no
matter how empowered the women are, we are not given equal
Senator Estrada. Yes, Mr. President, there is this group of women who call
opportunities especially in the domestic environment where the macho
themselves "WIIR" Women in Intimate Relationship. They do not want to
Filipino man would always feel that he is stronger, more superior to the
include men in this domestic violence. But plenty of men are also being
Filipino woman.
abused by women. I am playing safe so I placed here members of the
family, prescribing penalties therefor and providing protective measures
for victims. This includes the men, children, live-in, common-law wives, xxxx
and those related with the family.65
The President Pro Tempore. What does the sponsor say?
xxx
Senator Estrada. Mr. President, before accepting this, the committee came
Wednesday, January 14, 2004 up with this bill because the family members have been included in this
proposed measure since the other members of the family other than
women are also possible victims of violence. While women are most likely
xxxx
the intended victims, one reason incidentally why the measure focuses on
women, the fact remains that in some relatively few cases, men also stand
The President Pro Tempore. x x x to be victimized and that children are almost always the helpless victims of
violence. I am worried that there may not be enough protection extended
to other family members particularly children who are excluded. Although
Republic Act No. 7610, for instance, more or less, addresses the special Senator Estrada. The amendment is accepted, Mr. President.
needs of abused children. The same law is inadequate. Protection orders
for one are not available in said law. The President Pro Tempore. Is there any objection?

I am aware that some groups are apprehensive about granting the same xxxx
protection to men, fearing that they may use this law to justify their
abusive behavior against women. However, we should also recognize that
Senator Sotto. x x x May I propose an amendment to the amendment.
there are established procedures and standards in our courts which give
credence to evidentiary support and cannot just arbitrarily and whimsically
entertain baseless complaints. The President Pro Tempore. Before we act on the amendment?

Mr. President, this measure is intended to harmonize family relations and Senator Sotto. Yes, Mr. President.
to protect the family as the basic social institution. Though I recognize the
unequal power relations between men and women in our society, I believe The President Pro Tempore. Yes, please proceed.
we have an obligation to uphold inherent rights and dignity of both
husband and wife and their immediate family members, particularly Senator Sotto. Mr. President, I am inclined to believe the rationale used by
children.
the distinguished proponent of the amendment. As a matter of fact, I tend
to agree. Kung may maaabuso, mas malamang iyong babae kaysa sa
While I prefer to focus mainly on women, I was compelled to include other lalake. At saka iyong mga lalake, puwede na talagang magulpi iyan. Okey
family members as a critical input arrived at after a series of lang iyan. But I cannot agree that we remove the children from this
consultations/meetings with various NGOs, experts, sports groups and particular measure.
other affected sectors, Mr. President.
So, if I may propose an amendment
Senator Sotto. Mr. President.
The President Pro Tempore. To the amendment.
The President Pro Tempore. Yes, with the permission of the other
senators.
Senator Sotto. more than the women, the children are very much
abused. As a matter of fact, it is not limited to minors. The abuse is not
Senator Sotto. Yes, with the permission of the two ladies on the Floor. limited to seven, six, 5-year-old children. I have seen 14, 15-year-old
children being abused by their fathers, even by their mothers. And it
The President Pro Tempore. Yes, Sen. Vicente C. Sotto III is recognized. breaks my heart to find out about these things.

Senator Sotto. I presume that the effect of the proposed amendment of Because of the inadequate existing law on abuse of children, this particular
Senator Legarda would be removing the "men and children" in this measure will update that. It will enhance and hopefully prevent the abuse
particular bill and focus specifically on women alone. That will be the net of children and not only women.
effect of that proposed amendment. Hearing the rationale mentioned by
the distinguished sponsor, Sen. Luisa "Loi" Ejercito Estrada, I am not sure SOTTO-LEGARDA AMENDMENTS
now whether she is inclined to accept the proposed amendment of Senator
Legarda. Therefore, may I propose an amendment that, yes, we remove the aspect
of the men in the bill but not the children.
I am willing to wait whether she is accepting this or not because if she is
going to accept this, I will propose an amendment to the amendment Senator Legarda. I agree, Mr. President, with the Minority Leader.
rather than object to the amendment, Mr. President.

The President Pro Tempore. Effectively then, it will be women AND


xxxx CHILDREN.
Senator Sotto. Yes, Mr. President. in no manner determines the matter of constitutionality. All that is
required of a valid classification is that it be reasonable, which means that
Senator Estrada. It is accepted, Mr. President. the classification should be based on substantial distinctions which make
for real differences; that it must be germane to the purpose of the law;
that it must not be limited to existing conditions only; and that it must
The President Pro Tempore. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being
apply equally to each member of the class. This Court has held that the
none, the amendment, as amended, is approved.66
standard is satisfied if the classification or distinction is based on a
reasonable foundation or rational basis and is not palpably arbitrary.
It is settled that courts are not concerned with the wisdom, justice, policy, (Emphasis supplied)
or expediency of a statute.67 Hence, we dare not venture into the real
motivations and wisdom of the members of Congress in limiting the
Measured against the foregoing jurisprudential yardstick, we find that R.A.
protection against violence and abuse under R.A. 9262 to women and
9262 is based on a valid classification as shall hereinafter be discussed
children only. No proper challenge on said grounds may be entertained in
and, as such, did not violate the equal protection clause by favoring
this proceeding. Congress has made its choice and it is not our prerogative
women over men as victims of violence and abuse to whom the State
to supplant this judgment. The choice may be perceived as erroneous but
extends its protection.
even then, the remedy against it is to seek its amendment or repeal by the
legislative. By the principle of separation of powers, it is the legislative
that determines the necessity, adequacy, wisdom and expediency of any I. R.A. 9262 rests on substantial distinctions.
law.68 We only step in when there is a violation of the Constitution.
However, none was sufficiently shown in this case. The unequal power relationship between women and men; the fact that
women are more likely than men to be victims of violence; and the
R.A. 9262 does not violate the guaranty of equal protection of the laws. widespread gender bias and prejudice against women all make for real
differences justifying the classification under the law. As Justice McIntyre
succinctly states, "the accommodation of differences ... is the essence of
Equal protection simply requires that all persons or things similarly
true equality."70
situated should be treated alike, both as to rights conferred and
responsibilities imposed. The oft-repeated disquisition in the early case of
Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope Workers' Union69 is instructive: A. Unequal power relationship between men and women

The guaranty of equal protection of the laws is not a guaranty of equality According to the Philippine Commission on Women (the National Machinery
in the application of the laws upon all citizens of the state. It is not, for Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment), violence against women
therefore, a requirement, in order to avoid the constitutional prohibition (VAW) is deemed to be closely linked with the unequal power relationship
against inequality, that every man, woman and child should be affected between women and men otherwise known as "gender-based violence".
alike by a statute. Equality of operation of statutes does not mean Societal norms and traditions dictate people to think men are the leaders,
indiscriminate operation on persons merely as such, but on persons pursuers, providers, and take on dominant roles in society while women
according to the circumstances surrounding them. It guarantees equality, are nurturers, men's companions and supporters, and take on subordinate
not identity of rights. The Constitution does not require that things which roles in society. This perception leads to men gaining more power over
are different in fact be treated in law as though they were the same. The women. With power comes the need to control to retain that power. And
equal protection clause does not forbid discrimination as to things that are VAW is a form of men's expression of controlling women to retain power.71
different. It does not prohibit legislation which is limited either in the
object to which it is directed or by the territory within which it is to The United Nations, which has long recognized VAW as a human rights
operate. issue, passed its Resolution 48/104 on the Declaration on Elimination of
Violence Against Women on December 20, 1993 stating that "violence
The equal protection of the laws clause of the Constitution allows against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations
classification. Classification in law, as in the other departments of between men and women, which have led to domination over and
knowledge or practice, is the grouping of things in speculation or practice discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of the full
because they agree with one another in certain particulars. A law is not advancement of women, and that violence against women is one of the
invalid because of simple inequality. The very idea of classification is that crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into subordinate
of inequality, so that it goes without saying that the mere fact of inequality positions, compared with men."72
Then Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno traced the historical and social context simple focus. They considered the evils of alcoholism as the root cause of
of gender-based violence and developments in advocacies to eradicate wife abuse. Hence, they demonstrated and picketed saloons, bars and
VAW, in his remarks delivered during the Joint Launching of R.A. 9262 and their husbands' other watering holes. Soon, however, their crusade was
its Implementing Rules last October 27, 2004, the pertinent portions of joined by suffragette movements, expanding the liberation movement's
which are quoted hereunder: agenda. They fought for women's right to vote, to own property, and
more. Since then, the feminist movement was on the roll.
History reveals that most societies sanctioned the use of violence against
women. The patriarch of a family was accorded the right to use force on The feminist movement exposed the private invisibility of the domestic
members of the family under his control. I quote the early studies: violence to the public gaze. They succeeded in transforming the issue into
an important public concern. No less than the United States Supreme
Traditions subordinating women have a long history rooted in patriarchy Court, in 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, noted:
the institutional rule of men. Women were seen in virtually all societies to
be naturally inferior both physically and intellectually. In ancient Western In an average 12-month period in this country, approximately two million
societies, women whether slave, concubine or wife, were under the women are the victims of severe assaults by their male partners. In a
authority of men. In law, they were treated as property. 1985 survey, women reported that nearly one of every eight husbands had
assaulted their wives during the past year. The [American Medical
The Roman concept of patria potestas allowed the husband to beat, or Association] views these figures as "marked underestimates," because the
even kill, his wife if she endangered his property right over her. Judaism, nature of these incidents discourages women from reporting them, and
Christianity and other religions oriented towards the patriarchal family because surveys typically exclude the very poor, those who do not speak
strengthened the male dominated structure of society. English well, and women who are homeless or in institutions or hospitals
when the survey is conducted. According to the AMA, "researchers on
family violence agree that the true incidence of partner violence is
English feudal law reinforced the tradition of male control over women.
probably double the above estimates; or four million severely assaulted
Even the eminent Blackstone has been quoted in his commentaries as
women per year."
saying husband and wife were one and that one was the husband.
However, in the late 1500s and through the entire 1600s, English common
law began to limit the right of husbands to chastise their wives. Thus, Studies on prevalence suggest that from one-fifth to one-third of all
common law developed the rule of thumb, which allowed husbands to beat women will be physically assaulted by a partner or ex-partner during their
their wives with a rod or stick no thicker than their thumb. lifetime... Thus on an average day in the United States, nearly 11,000
women are severely assaulted by their male partners. Many of these
incidents involve sexual assault... In families where wife beating takes
In the later part of the 19th century, legal recognition of these rights to
place, moreover, child abuse is often present as well.
chastise wives or inflict corporeal punishment ceased. Even then, the
preservation of the family was given more importance than preventing
violence to women. Other studies fill in the rest of this troubling picture. Physical violence is
only the most visible form of abuse. Psychological abuse, particularly
forced social and economic isolation of women, is also common.
The metamorphosis of the law on violence in the United States followed
that of the English common law. In 1871, the Supreme Court of Alabama
became the first appellate court to strike down the common law right of a Many victims of domestic violence remain with their abusers, perhaps
husband to beat his wife: because they perceive no superior alternative...Many abused women who
find temporary refuge in shelters return to their husbands, in large part
because they have no other source of income... Returning to one's abuser
The privilege, ancient though it may be, to beat one's wife with a stick, to
can be dangerous. Recent Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics
pull her hair, choke her, spit in her face or kick her about the floor, or to
disclose that 8.8 percent of all homicide victims in the United States are
inflict upon her like indignities, is not now acknowledged by our law... In
killed by their spouses...Thirty percent of female homicide victims are
person, the wife is entitled to the same protection of the law that the
killed by their male partners.
husband can invoke for himself.

Finally in 1994, the United States Congress enacted the Violence Against
As time marched on, the women's advocacy movement became more
Women Act.
organized. The temperance leagues initiated it. These leagues had a
In the International front, the women's struggle for equality was no less Table 1. Annual Comparative Statistics on Violence Against Women, 2004 -
successful. The United States Charter and the Universal Declaration of 2011*
Human Rights affirmed the equality of all human beings. In 1979, the UN
General Assembly adopted the landmark Convention on the Elimination of Source: Philippine National Police Women and Children Protection Center
all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). In 1993, the UN (WCPC)
General Assembly also adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of
Violence Against Women. World conferences on the role and rights of
On the other hand, no reliable estimates may be obtained on domestic
women have been regularly held in Mexico City, Copenhagen, Nairobi and
abuse and violence against men in the Philippines because incidents
Beijing. The UN itself established a Commission on the Status of Women.
thereof are relatively low and, perhaps, because many men will not even
attempt to report the situation. In the United Kingdom, 32% of women
The Philippines has been in cadence with the half and full steps of all who had ever experienced domestic violence did so four or five (or more)
these women's movements. No less than Section 14, Article II of our 1987 times, compared with 11% of the smaller number of men who had ever
Constitution mandates the State to recognize the role of women in nation experienced domestic violence; and women constituted 89% of all those
building and to ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women who had experienced 4 or more incidents of domestic violence. 75Statistics
and men. Our Senate has ratified the CEDAW as well as the Convention on in Canada show that spousal violence by a woman against a man is less
the Rights of the Child and its two protocols. To cap it all, Congress, on likely to cause injury than the other way around (18 percent versus 44
March 8, 2004, enacted Rep. Act No. 9262, entitled "An Act Defining percent). Men, who experience violence from their spouses are much less
Violence Against Women and Their Children, Providing for Protective likely to live in fear of violence at the hands of their spouses, and much
Measures for Victims, Prescribing Penalties therefor and for other less likely to experience sexual assault. In fact, many cases of physical
Purposes." (Citations omitted) violence by a woman against a spouse are in self-defense or the result of
many years of physical or emotional abuse.76
B. Women are the "usual" and "most likely"
While there are, indeed, relatively few cases of violence and abuse
victims of violence. perpetrated against men in the Philippines, the same cannot render R.A.
9262 invalid.
At the time of the presentation of Senate Bill No. 2723, official statistics on
violence against women and children show that In a 1960 case involving the violation of a city ordinance requiring drivers
of animal-drawn vehicles to pick up, gather and deposit in receptacles the
x x x physical injuries had the highest number of cases at 5,058 in 2002 manure emitted or discharged by their vehicle-drawing animals in any
representing 55.63% of total cases reported (9,903). And for the first public highways, streets, plazas, parks or alleys, said ordinance was
semester of 2003, there were 2,381 reported cases out of 4,354 cases challenged as violative of the guaranty of equal protection of laws as its
which represent 54.31%. xxx (T)he total number of women in especially application is limited to owners and drivers of vehicle-drawing animals and
difficult circumstances served by the Department of Social Welfare and not to those animals, although not utilized, but similarly pass through the
Development (DSWD) for the year 2002, there are 1,417 physically same streets.
abused/maltreated cases out of the total of 5,608 cases. xxx (T)here are
1,091 DSWD cases out of a total number of 3,471 cases for the first The ordinance was upheld as a valid classification for the reason that,
semester of 2003. Female violence comprised more than 90% of all forms while there may be non-vehicle-drawing animals that also traverse the city
of abuse and violence and more than 90% of these reported cases were roads, "but their number must be negligible and their appearance therein
committed by the women's intimate partners such as their husbands and merely occasional, compared to the rig-drawing ones, as not to constitute
live-in partners.73 a menace to the health of the community."77 The mere fact that the
legislative classification may result in actual inequality is not violative of
Recently, the Philippine Commission on Women presented comparative the right to equal protection, for every classification of persons or things
statistics on violence against women across an eight-year period from for regulation by law produces inequality in some degree, but the law is
2004 to August of 2011 with violations under R.A. 9262 ranking first not thereby rendered invalid.78
among the different VAW categories since its implementation in
2004,74 thus: C. Gender bias and prejudices
From the initial report to the police through prosecution, trial, and distinct mindset on the part of the police, the prosecution and the
sentencing, crimes against women are often treated differently and less judges."85
seriously than other crimes. This was argued by then United States
Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr., now Vice President, chief sponsor of the II. The classification is germane to the purpose of the law.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), in defending the civil rights remedy
as a valid exercise of the U.S. Congress' authority under the Commerce
The distinction between men and women is germane to the purpose of
and Equal Protection Clauses. He stressed that the widespread gender bias
R.A. 9262, which is to address violence committed against women and
in the U.S. has institutionalized historic prejudices against victims of rape
children, spelled out in its Declaration of Policy, as follows:
or domestic violence, subjecting them to "double victimization" first at
the hands of the offender and then of the legal system.79
SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. It is hereby declared that the State values
the dignity of women and children and guarantees full respect for human
Our own Senator Loi Estrada lamented in her Sponsorship Speech for
rights. The State also recognizes the need to protect the family and its
Senate Bill No. 2723 that "(w)henever violence occurs in the family, the
members particularly women and children, from violence and threats to
police treat it as a private matter and advise the parties to settle the
their personal safety and security.
conflict themselves. Once the complainant brings the case to the
prosecutor, the latter is hesitant to file the complaint for fear that it might
later be withdrawn. This lack of response or reluctance to be involved by Towards this end, the State shall exert efforts to address violence
the police and prosecution reinforces the escalating, recurring and often committed against women and children in keeping with the fundamental
serious nature of domestic violence."80 freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution and the provisions of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Elimination
of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Convention on the Rights of
Sadly, our own courts, as well, have exhibited prejudices and biases
the Child and other international human rights instruments of which the
against our women.
Philippines is a party.

In a recent case resolved on March 9, 2011, we fined RTC Judge Venancio


In 1979, the U.N. General Assembly adopted the CEDAW, which the
J. Amila for Conduct Unbecoming of a Judge. He used derogatory and
Philippines ratified on August 5, 1981. Subsequently, the Optional Protocol
irreverent language in reference to the complainant in a petition for TPO
to the CEDAW was also ratified by the Philippines on October 6,
and PPO under R.A. 9262, calling her as "only a live-in partner" and
2003.86 This Convention mandates that State parties shall accord to
presenting her as an "opportunist" and a "mistress" in an "illegitimate
women equality with men before the law87 and shall take all appropriate
relationship." Judge Amila even called her a "prostitute," and accused her
measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all matters relating
of being motivated by "insatiable greed" and of absconding with the
to marriage and family relations on the basis of equality of men and
contested property.81 Such remarks betrayed Judge Amila's prejudices and
women.88 The Philippines likewise ratified the Convention on the Rights of
lack of gender sensitivity.
the Child and its two protocols.89 It is, thus, bound by said Conventions
and their respective protocols.
The enactment of R.A. 9262 aims to address the discrimination brought
about by biases and prejudices against women. As emphasized by the
III. The classification is not limited to existing
CEDAW Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women,
addressing or correcting discrimination through specific measures focused
on women does not discriminate against men.82Petitioner's conditions only, and apply equally to all members
contention, therefore, that R.A. 9262 is discriminatory and that it is an
83

"anti-male," "husband-bashing," and "hate-men" law deserves scant Moreover, the application of R.A. 9262 is not limited to the existing
consideration. As a State Party to the CEDAW, the Philippines bound itself conditions when it was promulgated, but to future conditions as well, for
to take all appropriate measures "to modify the social and cultural patterns as long as the safety and security of women and their children are
of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of threatened by violence and abuse.
prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the
idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on R.A. 9262 applies equally to all women and children who suffer violence
stereotyped roles for men and women."84 Justice Puno correctly pointed and abuse. Section 3 thereof defines VAWC as:
out that "(t)he paradigm shift changing the character of domestic violence
from a private affair to a public offense will require the development of a
x x x any act or a series of acts committed by any person against a woman business or activity, except in cases wherein the other
who is his wife, former wife, or against a woman with whom the person spouse/partner objects on valid, serious and moral
has or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom he has a common grounds as defined in Article 73 of the Family Code;
child, or against her child whether legitimate or illegitimate, within or
without the family abode, which result in or is likely to result in physical, 2. deprivation or threat of deprivation of financial
sexual, psychological harm or suffering, or economic abuse including resources and the right to the use and enjoyment of the
threats of such acts, battery, assault, coercion, harassment or arbitrary conjugal, community or property owned in common;
deprivation of liberty. It includes, but is not limited to, the following acts:
3. destroying household property;
A. "Physical Violence" refers to acts that include bodily or physical harm;
4. controlling the victims' own money or properties or
B. "Sexual violence" refers to an act which is sexual in nature, committed solely controlling the conjugal money or properties.
against a woman or her child. It includes, but is not limited to:
It should be stressed that the acts enumerated in the aforequoted
a) rape, sexual harassment, acts of lasciviousness, treating provision are attributable to research that has exposed the dimensions and
a woman or her child as a sex object, making demeaning dynamics of battery. The acts described here are also found in the U.N.
and sexually suggestive remarks, physically attacking the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women.90 Hence, the
sexual parts of the victim's body, forcing her/him to watch argument advanced by petitioner that the definition of what constitutes
obscene publications and indecent shows or forcing the abuse removes the difference between violent action and simple marital
woman or her child to do indecent acts and/or make films tiffs is tenuous.
thereof, forcing the wife and mistress/lover to live in the
conjugal home or sleep together in the same room with
There is nothing in the definition of VAWC that is vague and ambiguous
the abuser;
that will confuse petitioner in his defense. The acts enumerated above are
easily understood and provide adequate contrast between the innocent
b) acts causing or attempting to cause the victim to and the prohibited acts. They are worded with sufficient definiteness that
engage in any sexual activity by force, threat of force, persons of ordinary intelligence can understand what conduct is prohibited,
physical or other harm or threat of physical or other harm and need not guess at its meaning nor differ in its application. 91 Yet,
or coercion; petitioner insists92that phrases like "depriving or threatening to deprive the
woman or her child of a legal right," "solely controlling the conjugal or
c) Prostituting the woman or child. common money or properties," "marital infidelity," and "causing mental or
emotional anguish" are so vague that they make every quarrel a case of
C. "Psychological violence" refers to acts or omissions causing or likely to spousal abuse. However, we have stressed that the "vagueness" doctrine
cause mental or emotional suffering of the victim such as but not limited merely requires a reasonable degree of certainty for the statute to be
to intimidation, harassment, stalking, damage to property, public ridicule upheld not absolute precision or mathematical exactitude, as petitioner
or humiliation, repeated verbal abuse and marital infidelity. It includes seems to suggest. Flexibility, rather than meticulous specificity, is
causing or allowing the victim to witness the physical, sexual or permissible as long as the metes and bounds of the statute are clearly
psychological abuse of a member of the family to which the victim delineated. An act will not be held invalid merely because it might have
belongs, or to witness pornography in any form or to witness abusive been more explicit in its wordings or detailed in its provisions.93
injury to pets or to unlawful or unwanted deprivation of the right to
custody and/or visitation of common children. There is likewise no merit to the contention that R.A. 9262 singles out the
husband or father as the culprit. As defined above, VAWC may likewise be
D. "Economic abuse" refers to acts that make or attempt to make a committed "against a woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or
woman financially dependent which includes, but is not limited to the dating relationship." Clearly, the use of the gender-neutral word "person"
following: who has or had a sexual or dating relationship with the woman
encompasses even lesbian relationships. Moreover, while the law provides
that the offender be related or connected to the victim by marriage,
1. withdrawal of financial support or preventing the victim
former marriage, or a sexual or dating relationship, it does not preclude
from engaging in any legitimate profession, occupation,
the application of the principle of conspiracy under the Revised Penal Code allegations in the petition, but also to attach her witnesses' affidavits to
(RPC). Thus, in the case of Go-Tan v. Spouses Tan,94 the parents-in-law of the petition.101
Sharica Mari L. Go-Tan, the victim, were held to be proper respondents in
the case filed by the latter upon the allegation that they and their son (Go- The grant of a TPO ex parte cannot, therefore, be challenged as violative
Tan's husband) had community of design and purpose in tormenting her of the right to due process. Just like a writ of preliminary attachment
by giving her insufficient financial support; harassing and pressuring her to which is issued without notice and hearing because the time in which the
be ejected from the family home; and in repeatedly abusing her verbally, hearing will take could be enough to enable the defendant to abscond or
emotionally, mentally and physically. dispose of his property,102 in the same way, the victim of VAWC may
already have suffered harrowing experiences in the hands of her
R.A. 9262 is not violative of the tormentor, and possibly even death, if notice and hearing were required
due process clause of the Constitution. before such acts could be prevented. It is a constitutional commonplace
that the ordinary requirements of procedural due process must yield to the
Petitioner bewails the disregard of R.A. 9262, specifically in the issuance of necessities of protecting vital public interests,103among which is protection
POs, of all protections afforded by the due process clause of the of women and children from violence and threats to their personal safety
Constitution. Says he: "On the basis of unsubstantiated allegations, and and security.
practically no opportunity to respond, the husband is stripped of family,
property, guns, money, children, job, future employment and reputation, It should be pointed out that when the TPO is issued ex parte, the court
all in a matter of seconds, without an inkling of what happened."95 shall likewise order that notice be immediately given to the respondent
directing him to file an opposition within five (5) days from service.
A protection order is an order issued to prevent further acts of violence Moreover, the court shall order that notice, copies of the petition and TPO
against women and their children, their family or household members, and be served immediately on the respondent by the court sheriffs. The TPOs
to grant other necessary reliefs. Its purpose is to safeguard the offended are initially effective for thirty (30) days from service on the
parties from further harm, minimize any disruption in their daily life and respondent.104
facilitate the opportunity and ability to regain control of their life.96
Where no TPO is issued ex parte, the court will nonetheless order the
"The scope of reliefs in protection orders is broadened to ensure that the immediate issuance and service of the notice upon the respondent
victim or offended party is afforded all the remedies necessary to curtail requiring him to file an opposition to the petition within five (5) days from
access by a perpetrator to the victim. This serves to safeguard the victim service. The date of the preliminary conference and hearing on the merits
from greater risk of violence; to accord the victim and any designated shall likewise be indicated on the notice.105
family or household member safety in the family residence, and to prevent
the perpetrator from committing acts that jeopardize the employment and The opposition to the petition which the respondent himself shall verify,
support of the victim. It also enables the court to award temporary must be accompanied by the affidavits of witnesses and shall show cause
custody of minor children to protect the children from violence, to prevent why a temporary or permanent protection order should not be issued.106
their abduction by the perpetrator and to ensure their financial support."97
It is clear from the foregoing rules that the respondent of a petition for
The rules require that petitions for protection order be in writing, signed protection order should be apprised of the charges imputed to him and
and verified by the petitioner98 thereby undertaking full responsibility, afforded an opportunity to present his side. Thus, the fear of petitioner of
criminal or civil, for every allegation therein. Since "time is of the essence being "stripped of family, property, guns, money, children, job, future
in cases of VAWC if further violence is to be prevented,"99 the court is employment and reputation, all in a matter of seconds, without an inkling
authorized to issue ex parte a TPO after raffle but before notice and of what happened" is a mere product of an overactive imagination. The
hearing when the life, limb or property of the victim is in jeopardy and essence of due process is to be found in the reasonable opportunity to be
there is reasonable ground to believe that the order is necessary to protect heard and submit any evidence one may have in support of one's defense.
the victim from the immediate and imminent danger of VAWC or to "To be heard" does not only mean verbal arguments in court; one may be
prevent such violence, which is about to recur.100 heard also through pleadings. Where opportunity to be heard, either
through oral arguments or pleadings, is accorded, there is no denial of
There need not be any fear that the judge may have no rational basis to procedural due process.107
issue an ex parte order. The victim is required not only to verify the
It should be recalled that petitioner filed on April 26, 2006 an Opposition Petitioner argues that "by criminalizing run-of-the-mill arguments, instead
to the Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for Renewal of the TPO that was granted of encouraging mediation and counseling, the law has done violence to the
only two days earlier on April 24, 2006. Likewise, on May 23, 2006, avowed policy of the State to "protect and strengthen the family as a basic
petitioner filed a motion for the modification of the TPO to allow him autonomous social institution."109
visitation rights to his children. Still, the trial court in its Order dated
September 26, 2006, gave him five days (5) within which to show cause Under Section 23(c) of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC, the court shall not refer the
why the TPO should not be renewed or extended. Yet, he chose not to file case or any issue thereof to a mediator. The reason behind this provision
the required comment arguing that it would just be an "exercise in is well-explained by the Commentary on Section 311 of the Model Code on
futility," conveniently forgetting that the renewal of the questioned TPO Domestic and Family Violence as follows:110
was only for a limited period (30 days) each time, and that he could
prevent the continued renewal of said order if he can show sufficient cause
This section prohibits a court from ordering or referring parties to
therefor. Having failed to do so, petitioner may not now be heard to
mediation in a proceeding for an order for protection. Mediation is a
complain that he was denied due process of law.
process by which parties in equivalent bargaining positions voluntarily
reach consensual agreement about the issue at hand. Violence, however,
Petitioner next laments that the removal and exclusion of the respondent is not a subject for compromise. A process which involves parties
in the VAWC case from the residence of the victim, regardless of mediating the issue of violence implies that the victim is somehow at fault.
ownership of the residence, is virtually a "blank check" issued to the wife In addition, mediation of issues in a proceeding for an order of protection
to claim any property as her conjugal home.108 is problematic because the petitioner is frequently unable to participate
equally with the person against whom the protection order has been
The wording of the pertinent rule, however, does not by any stretch of the sought. (Emphasis supplied)
imagination suggest that this is so. It states:
There is no undue delegation of
SEC. 11. Reliefs available to the offended party. -- The protection order judicial power to barangay officials.
shall include any, some or all of the following reliefs:
Petitioner contends that protection orders involve the exercise of judicial
xxxx power which, under the Constitution, is placed upon the "Supreme Court
and such other lower courts as may be established by law" and, thus,
(c) Removing and excluding the respondent from the residence of the protests the delegation of power to barangay officials to issue protection
offended party, regardless of ownership of the residence, either orders.111 The pertinent provision reads, as follows:
temporarily for the purpose of protecting the offended party, or
permanently where no property rights are violated. If the respondent must SEC. 14. Barangay Protection Orders (BPOs); Who May Issue and How.
remove personal effects from the residence, the court shall direct a law Barangay Protection Orders (BPOs) refer to the protection order issued by
enforcement agent to accompany the respondent to the residence, remain the Punong Barangay ordering the perpetrator to desist from committing
there until the respondent has gathered his things and escort him from the acts under Section 5 (a) and (b) of this Act.1wphi1 A Punong Barangay
residence; who receives applications for a BPO shall issue the protection order to the
applicant on the date of filing after ex parte determination of the basis of
xxxx the application. If the Punong Barangay is unavailable to act on the
application for a BPO, the application shall be acted upon by any available
Barangay Kagawad. If the BPO is issued by a Barangay Kagawad, the
Indubitably, petitioner may be removed and excluded from private
order must be accompanied by an attestation by the Barangay Kagawad
respondent's residence, regardless of ownership, only temporarily for the
that the Punong Barangay was unavailable at the time of the issuance of
purpose of protecting the latter. Such removal and exclusion may be
the BPO. BPOs shall be effective for fifteen (15) days. Immediately after
permanent only where no property rights are violated. How then can the
the issuance of an ex parte BPO, the Punong Barangay or Barangay
private respondent just claim any property and appropriate it for herself,
Kagawad shall personally serve a copy of the same on the respondent, or
as petitioner seems to suggest?
direct any barangay official to effect its personal service.

The non-referral of a VAWC case


to a mediator is justified.
The parties may be accompanied by a non-lawyer advocate in any Before a statute or its provisions duly challenged are voided, an
proceeding before the Punong Barangay. unequivocal breach of, or a clear conflict with the Constitution, not merely
a doubtful or argumentative one, must be demonstrated in such a manner
Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual as to leave no doubt in the mind of the Court. In other words, the grounds
controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and for nullity must be beyond reasonable doubt.116 In the instant case,
enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave however, no concrete evidence and convincing arguments were presented
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part by petitioner to warrant a declaration of the unconstitutionality of R.A.
of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.112 On the other hand, 9262, which is an act of Congress and signed into law by the highest
executive power "is generally defined as the power to enforce and officer of the co-equal executive department. As we said in Estrada v.
administer the laws. It is the power of carrying the laws into practical Sandiganbayan, 117 courts must assume that the legislature is ever
operation and enforcing their due observance."113 conscious of the borders and edges of its plenary powers, and passed laws
with full knowledge of the facts and for the purpose of promoting what is
right and advancing the welfare of the majority.
As clearly delimited by the aforequoted provision, the BPO issued by the
Punong Barangay or, in his unavailability, by any available Barangay
Kagawad, merely orders the perpetrator to desist from (a) causing We reiterate here Justice Puno's observation that "the history of the
physical harm to the woman or her child; and (2) threatening to cause the women's movement against domestic violence shows that one of its most
woman or her child physical harm. Such function of the Punong Barangay difficult struggles was the fight against the violence of law itself. If we
is, thus, purely executive in nature, in pursuance of his duty under the keep that in mind, law will not again be a hindrance to the struggle of
Local Government Code to "enforce all laws and ordinances," and to women for equality but will be its fulfillment."118 Accordingly, the
"maintain public order in the barangay."114 constitutionality of R.A. 9262 is, as it should be, sustained.

We have held that "(t)he mere fact that an officer is required by law to WHEREFORE, the instant petition for review on certiorari is hereby DENIED
inquire into the existence of certain facts and to apply the law thereto in for lack of merit.
order to determine what his official conduct shall be and the fact that
these acts may affect private rights do not constitute an exercise of SO ORDERED.
judicial powers."115

In the same manner as the public prosecutor ascertains through a


preliminary inquiry or proceeding "whether there is reasonable ground to
SECOND DIVISION
believe that an offense has been committed and the accused is probably
guilty thereof," the Punong Barangay must determine reasonable ground
to believe that an imminent danger of violence against the woman and her [G.R. No. 129670. February 1, 2000]
children exists or is about to recur that would necessitate the issuance of a
BPO. The preliminary investigation conducted by the prosecutor is, MANOLET O. LAVIDES, petitioner, vs. HONORABLE COURT OF
concededly, an executive, not a judicial, function. The same holds true APPEALS; HON. ROSALINA L. LUNA PISON, Judge Presiding over
with the issuance of a BPO. Branch 107, RTC, Quezon City; and PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, respondents.
We need not even belabor the issue raised by petitioner that since
barangay officials and other law enforcement agencies are required to DECISION
extend assistance to victims of violence and abuse, it would be very
unlikely that they would remain objective and impartial, and that the MENDOZA, J.:
chances of acquittal are nil. As already stated, assistance by barangay
officials and other law enforcement agencies is consistent with their duty
Petitioner Manolet Lavides was arrested on April 3, 1997 for child abuse
to enforce the law and to maintain peace and order.
under R.A. No. 7610 (an act providing for stronger deterrence and special
protection against child abuse, exploitation and discrimination, providing
Conclusion penalties for its violation, and other purposes). His arrest was made
without a warrant as a result of an entrapment conducted by the police. It
appears that on April 3, 1997, the parents of complainant Lorelie San 2. The accused is entitled to bail in all the above-entitled case. He is
Miguel reported to the police that their daughter, then 16 years old, had hereby granted the right to post bail in the amount of P80,000.00 for each
been contacted by petitioner for an assignation that night at petitioners case or a total of P800,000.00 for all the cases under the following
room at the Metropolitan Hotel in Diliman, Quezon City. Apparently, this conditions:
was not the first time the police received reports of petitioners activities.
An entrapment operation was therefore set in motion. At around 8:20 in a) The accused shall not be entitled to a waiver of appearance during the
the evening of April 3, 1997, the police knocked at the door of Room 308 trial of these cases. He shall and must always be present at the hearings
of the Metropolitan Hotel where petitioner was staying. When petitioner of these cases;
opened the door, the police saw him with Lorelie, who was wearing only a
t-shirt and an underwear, whereupon they arrested him. Based on the
b) In the event that he shall not be able to do so, his bail bonds shall be
sworn statement of complainant and the affidavits of the arresting officers,
automatically cancelled and forfeited, warrants for his arrest shall be
which were submitted at the inquest, an information for violation of Art.
immediately issued and the cases shall proceed to trial in absentia;
III, 5(b) of R.A. No. 7610 was filed on April 7, 1997 against petitioner in
the Regional Trial Court, Quezon City, where it was docketed as Criminal
Case No. Q-97-70550. Edp c) The hold-departure Order of this Court dated April 10, 1997 stands; and

On April 10, 1997, petitioner filed an "Omnibus Motion (1) For Judicial d) Approval of the bail bonds shall be made only after the arraignment to
Determination of Probable Cause; (2) For the Immediate Release of the enable this Court to immediately acquire jurisdiction over the accused;
Accused Unlawfully Detained on an Unlawful Warrantless Arrest; and (3)
In the Event of Adverse Resolution of the A 3. Let these cases be set for arraignment on May 23, 1997 at 8:30 oclock
in the morning.[2]
bove Incident, Herein Accused be Allowed to Bail as a Matter of Right
under the Law on Which He is Charged."[1] On May 20, 1997, petitioner filed a motion to quash the informations
against him, except those filed in Criminal Case No. Q-97-70550 or Q-97-
On April 29, 1997, nine more informations for child abuse were filed 70866. Pending resolution of his motion, he asked the trial court to
against petitioner by the same complainant, Lorelie San Miguel, and by suspend the arraignment scheduled on May 23, 1997.[3] Then on May 22,
three other minor children, Mary Ann Tardesilla, Jennifer Catarman, and 1997, he filed a motion in which he prayed that the amounts of bail bonds
Annalyn Talingting. The cases were docketed as Criminal Case Nos. Q-97- be reduced to P40,000.00 for each case and that the same be done prior
70866 to Q-97-70874. In all the cases, it was alleged that, on various to his arraignment.[4] Misedp
dates mentioned in the informations, petitioner had sexual intercourse
with complainants who had been "exploited in prostitution and . . . given On May 23, 1997, the trial court, in separate orders, denied petitioners
money [by petitioner] as payment for the said [acts of] sexual motions to reduce bail bonds, to quash the informations, and to suspend
intercourse." arraignment. Accordingly, petitioner was arraigned during which he
pleaded not guilty to the charges against him and then ordered him
No bail was recommended. Nonetheless, petitioner filed separate released upon posting bail bonds in the total amount of P800,000.00,
applications for bail in the nine cases. subject to the conditions in the May 16, 1997 order and the "hold-
departure" order of April 10, 1997. The pre-trial conference was set on
June 7, 1997.
On May 16, 1997, the trial court issued an order resolving petitioners
Omnibus Motion, as follows:
On June 2, 1997, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari (CA-G.R. SP No.
44316) in the Court of Appeals, assailing the trial courts order, dated May
WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, this Court finds that:
16, 1997, and its two orders, dated May 23, 1997, denying his motion to
quash and maintaining the conditions set forth in its order of May 16,
1. In Crim. Case No. Q-97-70550, there is probable cause to hold the 1997, respectively.
accused under detention, his arrest having been made in accordance with
the Rules. He must therefore remain under detention until further order of
this Court;
While the case was pending in the Court of Appeals, two more the respondent Judges arbitrary action but also because it
informations were filed against petitioner, bringing the total number of emanated from a void Order;
cases against him to 12, which were all consolidated.
3.......In ruling that the denial of petitioners motion to
On June 30, 1997, the Court of Appeals rendered its decision, the quash may not be impugned in a petition for certiorari;
dispositive portion of which reads: and

WHEREFORE, considering that the conditions imposed 4.......In not resolving the legal issue of whether or not
under Nos. 2-a) and 2-b),[5] of the May 23 (should be May petitioner may be validly charged for violation of Section
16), 1997 Order, are separable, and would not affect the 5(b) of RA No. 7610 under several informations
cash bond which petitioner posted for his provisional corresponding to the number of alleged acts of child abuse
liberty, with the sole modification that those aforesaid allegedly committed against each private complainant by
conditions are hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE, the May the petitioner.
16, May 23 and May 23, 1997 Orders are MAINTAINED in
all other respects.[6] Misoedp We will deal with each of these contentions although not in the order in
which they are stated by petitioner.
The appellate court invalidated the first two conditions imposed in the May
16, 1997 order for the grant of bail to petitioner but ruled that the issue First. As already stated, the trial courts order, dated May 16, 1997,
concerning the validity of the condition making arraignment a prerequisite imposed four conditions for the grant of bail to petitioner:
for the approval of petitioners bail bonds to be moot and academic. It
noted "that petitioner has posted the cash bonds; that when arraigned,
a) The accused shall not be entitled to a waiver of
represented by lawyers, he pleaded not guilty to each offense; and that he
appearance during the trial of these cases. He shall and
has already been released from detention." The Court of Appeals thought
must always be present at the hearings of these cases;
that the aforesaid conditions in the May 16, 1997 order were contrary to
Art. III, 14(2) of the Constitution which provides that "[a]fter arraignment,
trial may proceed notwithstanding the absence of the accused provided b) In the event that he shall not be able to do so, his bail
that he has been duly notified and his failure to appear is unjustifiable." bonds shall be automatically cancelled and forfeited,
warrants for his arrest shall be immediately issued and the
cases shall proceed to trial in absentia;
With respect to the denial of petitioners motion to quash the informations
against him, the appellate court held that petitioner could not question the
same in a petition for certiorari before it, but what he must do was to go c) The hold-departure Order of this Court dated April 10,
to trial and to reiterate the grounds of his motion to quash on appeal 1997 stands; and Edpmis
should the decision be adverse to him.
d) Approval of the bail bonds shall be made only after the
Hence this petition. Petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals arraignment to enable this Court to immediately acquire
erred[7] __ jurisdiction over the accused;

1.......In ruling that the condition imposed by respondent The Court of Appeals declared conditions (a) and (b) invalid but declined
Judge that the approval of petitioners bail bonds "shall be to pass upon the validity of condition (d) on the ground that the issue had
made only after his arraignment" is of no moment and has become moot and academic. Petitioner takes issue with the Court of
been rendered moot and academic by the fact that he had Appeals with respect to its treatment of condition (d) of the May 16, 1997
already posted the bail bonds and had pleaded not guilty order of the trial court which makes petitioners arraignment a prerequisite
to all the offenses; to the approval of his bail bonds. His contention is that this condition is
void and that his arraignment was also invalid because it was held
pursuant to such invalid condition.
2.......In not resolving the submission that the arraignment
was void not only because it was made under compelling
circumstance which left petitioner no option to question
We agree with petitioner that the appellate court should have determined him or his bondsman shall be deemed an express waiver of his right to be
the validity of the conditions imposed in the trial courts order of May 16, present on the date specified in the notice. In such case, trial shall
1997 for the grant of bail because petitioners contention is that his proceed in absentia." Jjsc
arraignment was held in pursuance of these conditions for bail.
Art. III, 14(2) of the Constitution authorizing trials in absentia allows the
In requiring that petitioner be first arraigned before he could be granted accused to be absent at the trial but not at certain stages of the
bail, the trial court apprehended that if petitioner were released on bail he proceedings, to wit: (a) at arraignment and plea, whether of innocence or
could, by being absent, prevent his early arraignment and thereby delay of guilt,[9] (b) during trial whenever necessary for identification
his trial until the complainants got tired and lost interest in their cases. purposes,[10] and (c) at the promulgation of sentence, unless it is for a
Hence, to ensure his presence at the arraignment, approval of petitioners light offense, in which case the accused may appear by counsel or
bail bonds should be deferred until he could be arraigned. After that, even representative.[11] At such stages of the proceedings, his presence is
if petitioner does not appear, trial can proceed as long as he is notified of required and cannot be waived. As pointed out in Borja v. Mendoza,[12] in
the date of hearing and his failure to appear is unjustified, since under Art. an opinion by Justice, later Chief Justice, Enrique Fernando, there can be
III, 14(2) of the Constitution, trial in absentia is authorized. This seems to no trial in absentia unless the accused has been arraigned.
be the theory of the trial court in its May 16, 1997 order conditioning the
grant of bail to petitioner on his arraignment. Undoubtedly, the trial court knew this. Petitioner could delay the
proceedings by absenting himself from the arraignment. But once he is
This theory is mistaken. In the first place, as the trial court itself arraigned, trial could proceed even in his absence. So it thought that to
acknowledged, in cases where it is authorized, bail should be granted ensure petitioners presence at the arraignment, petitioner should be
before arraignment, otherwise the accused may be precluded from filing a denied bail in the meantime. The fly in the ointment, however, is that such
motion to quash. For if the information is quashed and the case is court strategy violates petitioners constitutional rights.
dismissed, there would then be no need for the arraignment of the
accused. In the second place, the trial court could ensure the presence of Second. Although this condition is invalid, it does not follow that the
petitioner at the arraignment precisely by granting bail and ordering his arraignment of petitioner on May 23, 1997 was also invalid. Contrary to
presence at any stage of the proceedings, such as arraignment. Under petitioners contention, the arraignment did not emanate from the invalid
Rule 114, 2(b) of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, one of the conditions of condition that "approval of the bail bonds shall be made only after the
bail is that "the accused shall appear before the proper court whenever so arraignment." Even without such a condition, the arraignment of petitioner
required by the court or these Rules," while under Rule 116, 1(b) the could not be omitted. In sum, although the condition for the grant of bail
presence of the accused at the arraignment is required. to petitioner is invalid, his arraignment and the subsequent proceedings
against him are valid.
On the other hand, to condition the grant of bail to an accused on his
arraignment would be to place him in a position where he has to choose Third. Petitioner concedes that the rule is that the remedy of an accused
between (1) filing a motion to quash and thus delay his release on bail whose motion to quash is denied is not to file a petition for certiorari but to
because until his motion to quash can be resolved, his arraignment cannot proceed to trial without prejudice to his right to reiterate the grounds
be held, and (2) foregoing the filing of a motion to quash so that he can be invoked in his motion to quash during trial on the merits or on appeal if an
arraigned at once and thereafter be released on bail. These scenarios adverse judgment is rendered against him. However, he argues that this
certainly undermine the accuseds constitutional right not to be put on trial case should be treated as an exception. He contends that the Court of
except upon valid complaint or information sufficient to charge him with a Appeals should not have evaded the issue of whether he should be
crime and his right to bail.[8] charged under several informations corresponding to the number of acts of
child abuse allegedly committed by him against each of the complainants.
It is the condition in the May 16, 1997 order of the trial court that
"approval of the bail bonds shall be made only after arraignment," which In Tano v. Salvador,[13] the Court, while holding that certiorari will not lie
the Court of Appeals should instead have declared void. The condition from a denial of a motion to quash, nevertheless recognized that there
imposed in the trial courts order of May 16, 1997 that the accused cannot may be cases where there are special circumstances clearly demonstrating
waive his appearance at the trial but that he must be present at the the inadequacy of an appeal. In such cases, the accused may resort to the
hearings of the case is valid and is in accordance with Rule 114. For appellate court to raise the issue decided against him. This is such a case.
another condition of bail under Rule 114, 2(c) is that "The failure of the Whether petitioner is liable for just one crime regardless of the number of
accused to appear at the trial without justification despite due notice to
sexual acts allegedly committed by him and the number of children with (b) Those who commit the act of sexual intercourse or
whom he had sexual intercourse, or whether each act of intercourse lascivious conduct with a child exploited in prostitution or
constitutes one crime is a question that bears on the presentation of subjected to other sexual abuse.
evidence by either party. It is important to petitioner as well as to the
prosecution how many crimes there are. For instance, if there is only one The elements of the offense are as follows: (1) the accused commits the
offense of sexual abuse regardless of the number of children involved, it act of sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct; (2) that said act is
will not matter much to the prosecution whether it is able to present only performed with a child exploited in prostitution or subjected to other
one of the complainants. On the other hand, if each act of sexual sexual abuse; and (3) the child,[14]whether male or female, is or is deemed
intercourse with a child constitutes a separate offense, it will matter under 18 years of age. Exploitation in prostitution or other sexual abuse
whether the other children are presented during the trial. Scjj occurs when the child indulges in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct
(a) for money, profit, or any other consideration; or (b) under the coercion
The issue then should have been decided by the Court of Appeals. or influence of any adult, syndicate, or group.
However, instead of remanding this case to the appellate court for a
determination of this issue, we will decide the issue now so that the trial in Each incident of sexual intercourse and lascivious act with a child under
the court below can proceed without further delay. the circumstances mentioned in Art. III, 5 of R.A. No. 7160 is thus a
separate and distinct offense. The offense is similar to rape or act of
Petitioners contention is that the 12 informations filed against him allege lasciviousness under the Revised Penal Code in which each act of rape or
only one offense of child abuse, regardless of the number of alleged lascivious conduct should be the subject of a separate information. This
victims (four) and the number of acts of sexual intercourse committed with conclusion is confirmed by Art. III, 5(b) of R.A. No. 7160, which provides:
them (twelve). He argues that the act of sexual intercourse is only a
means of committing the offense so that the acts of sexual [t]hat when the victim is under twelve (12) years of age,
intercourse/lasciviousness with minors attributed to him should not be the perpetrators shall be prosecuted under Article 335,
subject of separate informations. He cites the affidavits of the alleged paragraph 3, for rape and Article 336 of Act No. 3815, as
victims which show that their involvement with him constitutes an amended, the Revised Penal Code, for rape or lascivious
"unbroken chain of events," i.e., the first victim was the one who conduct, as the case may be: Provided, That the penalty
introduced the second to petitioner and so on. Petitioner says that child for lascivious conduct when the victim is under twelve (12)
abuse is similar to the crime of large-scale illegal recruitment where there years of age shall be reclusion temporal in its medium
is only a single offense regardless of the number of workers illegally period;
recruited on different occasions. In the alternative, he contends that, at
the most, only four informations, corresponding to the number of alleged
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is SET ASIDE and
child victims, can be filed against him.
another one is RENDERED declaring the orders dated May 16, 1997 and
May 23, 1997 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 107, Quezon City to be
Art. III, 5 of R.A. No. 7160 under which petitioner is being prosecuted, valid, with the exception of condition (d) in the second paragraph of the
provides: order of May 16, 1997 (making arraignment a prerequisite to the grant of
bail to petitioner), which is hereby declared void.
Sec. 5 Child Prostitution and Other Sexual Abuse.
__ Children, whether male or female, who for money, SO ORDERED.
profit, or any other consideration or due to the coercion or
influence of any adult, syndicate or group, indulge in
sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct, are deemed to be
children exploited in prostitution and other sexual abuse.

The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium period


to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon the following:

....