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G.R. No.

L-66469 July 29, 1986 the instant case, since all the requisites are present, there is
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and ALFREDO QUIJANO, petitioners, absolutely no reason why the respondent judge should refuse to try
vs. the accused, who had already been arraigned at the time he was
HON. BERNARDO SALAS (In his capacity as Presiding Judge of RTC, released on the illegal bail bond. Abong should be prepared to bear
Cebu, Branch VIII), MARIO ABONG, ALFREDO DE LEON, ERIWADWIN the consequences of his escape, including forfeiture of the right to
MONTEBON, ROMEO DE GUZMAN, & EDUARDO be notified of the subsequent proceedings and of the right to
MABUHAY, respondents. adduce evidence on his behalf and refute the evidence of the
Basilio E. Duaban for accused. prosecution, not to mention a possible or even probable conviction.
CRUZ, J.: We admonish against a too-literal reading of the law as this is apt to
Mario Abong was originally charged with homicide in the Court of constrict rather than fulfill its purpose and defeat the intention of its
First Instance of Cebu but before he could be arraigned the case was authors. That intention is usually found not in "the letter that killeth
reinvestigated on motion of the prosecution. 1 As a result of the but in the spirit that vivifieth," which is not really that evanescent or
reinvestigation, an amended information was filed, with no bail elusive. As judges, we must look beyond and not be bound by the
recommended, to which he pleaded not guilty. 2 Trial commenced, language of the law, seeking to discover, by our own lights, the
but while it was in progress, the prisoner, taking advantage of the reason and the rhyme for its enactment. That we may properly
first information for homicide, succeeded in deceiving the city court apply it according to its ends, we need and must use not only
of Cebu into granting him bail and ordering his release; and so he learning but also vision.
escaped. 3 The respondent judge, learning later of the trickery, The trial judge is directed to investigate the lawyer who assisted
cancelled the illegal bail bond and ordered Abong's re-arrest. 4 But Mario Abong in securing bail from the city court of Cebu on the basis
he was gone. Nonetheless, the prosecution moved that the hearing of the withdrawn information for homicide and to report to us the
continue in accordance with the constitutional provision authorizing result of his investigation within sixty days.
trial in absentia under certain circumstances. 5 The respondent WHEREFORE, the order of the trial court dated December 22, 1983,
judge denied the motion, however, and suspended all proceedings denying the motion for the trial in absentia of the accused is set
until the return of the accused. 6 The order of the trial court is now aside. The respondent judge is directed to continue hearing the case
before us on certiorari and mandamus. 7 against the respondent Mario Abong in absentia as long as he has
The judge erred. He did not see the woods for the trees. He not reappeared, until it is terminated. No costs
mistakenly allowed himself to be tethered by the literal reading of FISCAL CELSO M. GIMENEZ and FEDERICO B. MERCADO, petitioners,
the rule when he should have viewed it from the broader vs.
perspective of its intendment. HON. RAMON E. NAZARENO, Presiding Judge, Court of First Instance
The rule is found in the last sentence of Article IV, Section 19, of the of Cebu and TEODORO DE LA VEGA, JR., respondents.
1973 Constitution, reading in full as follows: The Solicitor General for petitioners.
Section 19. In all criminal prosecution, the accused shall be Victor de la Serna for respondents.
presumed innocent until the contrary is proved and shall enjoy the
right to be heard by himself and counsel, to he informed of the GANCAYCO, J.:
nature and cause of the accusation against him, to have a speedy, Two basic issues are raised for Our resolution in this petition for
impartial, and public trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and to certiorari and mandamus. The first is whether or not a court loses
have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and jurisdiction over an accused who after being arraigned, escapes from
the production of evidence in his behalf. However, after the custody of the law. The other issue is whether or not under
arraignment, trial may proceed notwithstanding the absence of the Section 19, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution, an accused who has
accused provided that he has been duly notified and his failure to been duly tried in absentia retains his right to present evidence on
appear is unjustified. his own behalf and to confront and cross-examine witnesses who
The purpose of this rule is to speed up the disposition of criminal testified against him.
cases, trial of which could in the past be indefinitely deferred, and The following facts are not in dispute:
many times completely abandoned, because of the defendant's On August 3, 1973, Samson Suan, Alex Potot, Rogelio Mula,
escape. The old case of People v. Avancea 8 required his presence Fernando Cargando, Rogelio Baguio and the herein private
at certain stages of the trial which as a result, had to be discontinued respondent Teodoro de la Vega Jr., were charged with the crime of
as long as the defendant had not re-appeared or remained at large. murder.
As his right to be present at these stages was then held not waivable On August 22, 1973 all the above-named. accused were arraigned
even by his escape, such escape thus operated to the fugitive's and each of them pleaded not guilty to the crime charged. Following
advantage, and in mockery of the authorities, insofar as the trial the arraignment, the respondent judge, Hon. Ramon E. Nazareno,
could not proceed as long as he had not been recaptured. set the hearing of the case for September 18, 1973 at 1:00 o'clock in
The doctrine laid down in that case has been modified by Section 19, the afternoon. All the acused including private respondent, were
which now allows trial in absentia, Now, the prisoner cannot by duly informed of this.
simply escaping thwart his continued prosecution and possibly Before the scheduled date of the first hearing the private
eventual conviction provided only that: a) he has been arraigned; b) respondent escaped from his detention center and on the said date,
he has been duly notified of the trial; and c) his failure to appear is failed to appear in court. This prompted the fiscals handling the case
unjustified. (the petitioners herein) to file a motion with the lower court to
The respondent judge was probably still thinking of the old doctrine proceed with the hearing of the case against all the accused praying
when he ruled that trial in absentia of the escapee could not be held that private respondent de la Vega, Jr. be tried in absentia invoking
because he could not be duly notified under Section 19. He forgets the application of Section 19, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution
that the fugitive is now deemed to have waived such notice precisely which provides:
because he has escaped, and it is also this escape that makes his SEC. 19. In all criminal prosecution, the accused shall be presumed
failure to appear at his trial unjustified. Escape can never be a legal innocent until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be
justification. In the past, his escape "rewarded" him by postponing heard by himself and counsel, to be informed of the nature and
all further proceedings against him and in effect ultimately absolving cause of the accusation against him, to have a speedy, impartial, and
him of the charge he was facing. Under the present rule, his escape public trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have
will, legally speaking, operate to Ms disadvantage by preventing him compulsory process to the attendance of witnesses and the
from attending his trial, which will continue even in his absence and production of evidence in his behalf. However, after arraignment
most likely result in his conviction. trial may proceed notwithstanding the absence of the accused
The right to be present at one's trial may now be waived except only provided that he has been duly notified and his failure to appear is
at that stage where the prosecution intends to present witnesses unjustified. (Emphasis supplied.) *
who will Identify the accused. 9 Under Section 19, the defendant's Pursuant to the above-written provision, the lower court proceeded
escape will be considered a waiver of this right and the inability of with the trial of the case but nevertheless gave the private
the court to notify him of the subsequent hearings will not prevent it respondent the opportunity to take the witness stand the moment
from continuing with his trial. He will be deemed to have received he shows up in court. 1
due notice. The same fact of his escape will make his failure to After due trial, or on November 6,1973, the lower court rendered a
appear unjustified because he has, by escaping, placed himself decision dismissing the case against the five accused while holding in
beyond the pale, and protection, of the law. abeyance the proceedings against the private respondent. The
Trial in absentia was not allowed in Borja v. Mendoza 10 because it dispositive portion is as follows:
was held notwithstanding that the accused had not been previously WHEREFORE, insofar as the accused Samson Suan Alex Potot,
arraigned. His subsequent conviction was properly set aside. But in Rogelio Mula Fernando Cargando and Rogelio Baguio are concerned,
this case is hereby dismissed. The City Warden of Lapu-Lapu City is such an abuse could be remedied. That is the way it should be, for
hereby ordered to release these accused if they are no longer both society and the offended party have a legitimate interest in
serving sentence of conviction involving other crimes. seeing to it that crime should not go unpunished. 9
The proceedings in this case against the accused Teodoro de la Vega, The contention of the respondent judge that the right of the accused
Jr. who has escaped on August 30,1973 shall remain pending, to be presumed innocent will be violated if a judgment is rendered
without prejudice on the part of the said accused to cross-examine as to him is untenable. He is still presumed innocent. A judgment of
the witnesses for the prosecution and to present his defense conviction must still be based upon the evidence presented in court.
whenever the court acquires back the jurisdiction over his person. 2 Such evidence must prove him guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
On November 16,1973 the petitioners filed a Motion for Also, there can be no violation of due process since the accused was
Reconsideration questioning the above-quoted dispositive portion given the opportunity to be heard.
on the ground that it will render nugatory the constitutional Nor can it be said that an escapee who has been tried in
provision on "trial in absentia" cited earlier. However, this was absentia retains his rights to cross-examine and to present evidence
denied by the lower court in an Order dated November 22, 1973. on his behalf. By his failure to appear during the trial of which he
Hence, this petition. had notice, he virtually waived these rights. This Court has
The respondent court, in its Order denying the Motion for consistently held that the right of the accused to confrontation and
Reconsideration filed by the herein petitioners, expressed the cross-examination of witnesses is a personal right and may be
opinion that under Section 19, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution, waived. 10 In the same vein, his right to present evidence on his
the private respondent, who was tried in absentia, did not lose his behalf, a right given to him for his own benefit and protection, may
right to cross-examine the witnesses for the prosecution and be waived by him.
present his evidence. 3 The reasoning of the said court is that under Finally, at this point, We note that Our pronouncement in this case is
the same provision, all accused should be presumed buttressed by the provisions of the 1985 Rules on Criminal
innocent. 4 Furthermore the lower court maintains that jurisdiction Procedure, particularly Section 1 (c) of Rule 115 which clearly
over private respondent de la Vega, Jr. was lost when he escaped reflects the intention of the framers of our Constitution, to wit:
and that his right to cross-examine and present evidence must not ... The absence of the accused without any justifiable cause at the
be denied him once jurisdiction over his person is reacquired. 5 trial on a particular date of which he had notice shall be considered
We disagree. a waiver of his right to be present during that trial. When an accused
First of all, it is not disputed that the lower court acquired under custody had been notified of the date of the trail and escapes,
jurisdiction over the person of the accused-private respondent when he shall be deemed to have waived his right to be present on said
he appeared during the arraignment on August 22,1973 and pleaded date and on all subsequent trial dates until custody in regained....
not guilty to the crime charged. In cases criminal, jurisdiction over Accordingly, it is Our considered opinion, and We so hold, that an
the person of the accused is acquired either by his arrest for escapee who has been duly tried in absentiawaives his right to
voluntary appearance in court. Such voluntary appearance is present evidence on his own behalf and to confront and cross-
accomplished by appearing for arraignment as what accused-private examine witnesses who testified against him. 11
respondent did in this case. WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the judgment of the trial
But the question is this was that jurisdiction lost when the court in Criminal Case No. 112-L in so far as it suspends the
accused escaped from the custody of the law and failed to appear proceedings against the herein private respondent Teodoro de la
during the trial? We answer this question in the negative. As We Vega, Jr. is reversed and set aside. The respondent judge is hereby
have consistently ruled in several earlier cases,6 jurisdiction once directed to render judgment upon the innocence or guilt of the
acquired is not lost upon the instance of parties but continues until herein private respondent Teodoro de la Vega, Jr. in accordance
the case is terminated. with the evidence adduced and the applicable law.
To capsulize the foregoing discussion, suffice it to say that where the No pronouncement as to costs
accused appears at the arraignment and pleads not guilty to the ARNOLD ALVA,
crime charged, jurisdiction is acquired by the court over his person Petitioner,
and this continues until the termination of the case, notwithstanding
his escape from the custody of the law. vs.
Going to the second part of Section 19, Article IV of the 1973
Constitution aforecited a "trial in absentia"may be had when the HON. COURT OF APPEALS,
following requisites are present: (1) that there has been an Respondent. (
arraignment; (2) that the accused has been notified; and (3) that he G.R. No. 157331, April 12, 2006
fails to appear and his failure to do so is unjustified. )
In this case, all the above conditions were attendant calling for a trial Facts:
in absentia. As the facts show, the private respondent was arraigned The present petition stemmed from an Information
on August 22, 1973 and in the said arraignment he pleaded not
guilty. He was also informed of the scheduled hearings set on charging petitioner with having committed the crime of estafa. It
September 18 and 19, 1973 and this is evidenced by his signature on was allegedtherein that Arnold Alva, by means of false manifestation
the notice issued by the lower Court. 7 It was also proved by a and fraudulent representation which he made to Yumi Veranga
certified copy of the Police Blotter 8 that private respondent yHervera
escaped from his detention center. No explanation for his failure to to the effect that he could process the latters application for U.S.
appear in court in any of the scheduled hearings was given. Even the Visa provided she would give the amount of
trial court considered his absence unjustified. P120,000.00. He succeeded in inducing her to give and deliver the
The lower court in accordance with the aforestated provisions of the amount of P120,000.00 on the strength of said manifestationand
1973 Constitution, correctly proceeded with the reception of the representation, well knowing that the same were false and untrue
evidence of the prosecution and the other accused in the absence of for the reason that the U.S. Visa is not genuine and weremade solely
private respondent, but it erred when it suspended the proceedings to obtain the amount of P120,000.00.On 5 September 1995, the RTC
as to the private respondent and rendered a decision as to the other issued a Recall Order
accused only.Upon the termination of a trial in absentia, the court of the Warrant of Arrest against petitioner in view of the approval
has the duty to rule upon the evidence presented in court. The court of his bailbond. Upon arraignment, petitioner pleaded not guilty to
need not wait for the time until the accused who who escape from the crime charged. After the trial on the merits, the RTC considered
custody finally decides to appear in court to present his evidence thecase submitted for decision.
and moss e the witnesses against him. To allow the delay of On 4 May 1999, petitioners counsel filed an Urgent Motion to
proceedings for this purpose is to render ineffective the Cancel Promulgation
constitutional provision on trial in absentia. As it has been aptly praying for the
explained: resetting of the 5 May 1999 schedule of promulgation of the RTCs
. . . The Constitutional Convention felt the need for such a provision decision to 17 June 1999 in vie
as there were quite a number of reported instances where the w of the fact that said counselalready had a prior commitment on
proceedings against a defendant had to be stayed indefinitely subject date. The RTC granted the motion. The promulgation,
because of his non- appearance. What the Constitution guarantees however, was deferred onlyuntil 19 May 1999. O
him is a fair trial, not continued enjoyment of his freedom even if his n 18 May 1999, petitioners counsel again moved for the deferment
guilt could be proved. With the categorical statement in the of the promulgat
fundamental law that his absence cannot justify a delay provided
that he has been duly notified and his failure to appear is unjustified,
ion, due to prior"undertakings of similar importance." On 19 May jumping bail and thereby made the judgment of the RTC final and
1999, petitioner and counsel both failed to appear in court despite executory.
due notice. Petitioners alleged failure to post a bail bond on ap
In his stead, claiming to be petitioners representative, a certain peal is unimportant because underthe circumstances, he is
Joey Perez disallowed by law to be admitted to bail on appeal. At the time
personally delivered to the RTC a hand writtenmedical certificate petitioner filed his notice of appeal andduring the pendency of
his appeal
expressing petitioners inability to attend the days hearing due
to hypertension. even until now
In response to the aforestatedacts of petitioner and counsel, the
RTC issued an Order he remains at large, placing himself beyond the pale, and protection
of thelaw.Section 5 of Rule 114 provides that the RTC is given the
directing the promulgation of its decision in absentia and the discretion to admit to bail an accused even after the latter has
issuance of abench warrant of arrest against petitioner for his failure beenconvicted to suffer the penalty of imprisonment for a term of
to appear before it despite due notice. In its decision dated 25 more than 6 years but less than 20 years. However, the same
March1999, alsoprovides for the cancellation of bail bonds already granted or
the denial of a bail bond application upon the concurrence of
the RTC found petitioner guilty of the crime of estafa.Meanwhile, as twopoints:
appearing in the records of the RTC, a document entitled 1)
Personal Bail Bond if the judgment of the Regional Trial Court exceeds six (6) years but
dated 21 May 1999 issued by MegaPacific Insurance Corporation, not more than twenty (20) years;
seemed to have been filed before and approved by the RTC as and 2)
evidenced by the signature of JudgeMuro on the face of said bail upon ashowing by the prosecution, with notice to the accused, of
bond. the presence of any of the five circumstances: (a) That the accused
For such reason, petitioner appeared to have been admitted to bail isa recidivist, quasi-recidivist, or habitual delinquent, or has
anew after his conviction.Incompatible to the above inference, committed the crime aggravated by the circumstances of
however, in an Order reiteration;(b) That the accused is found to have previously escaped
dated 25 May 1999, judgment was rendered against Eastern from legal confinement, evaded sentence, or has violated the
Insuranceand Surety Corporation, the bonding conditionsof his bail without valid justification; (c) That the accused
company that issued petitioners original bail bond, in the amount committed the offense while on probation, parole, or under
of conditionalpardon; (d) That the circumstances of the accused or his
P17,000.00, for failureto produce the person of petitioner within the case indicate the probability of flight if released on bail; or (e) Tha
10 day period earlier provided and to explain why the amount of its ELIAS CARREDO, petitioner,
undertakingshould not be forfeited. Police Superintendent Ramon vs.
Flores De Jesus, Chief of Warrant and Subpoena Section, THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, VICTORIA CATOSTOS, and HON.
manifested to theRTC the return of the unexecuted Warrant of GENEROSO A. JUABAN (Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu,
Arrest issued on 19 May 1999 for the reason that the address of the Branch VII), respondents.
accused is notwithin their area of responsibility. Nevertheless, De Amado G. Olis for petitioner.
Jesus reassured the RTC that the name of the accused will be Pedro L. Albino for private respondent.
included in theirlist of wanted persons for our future
reference. Examination of the records of the case revealed that GANCAYCO, J.:
petitioner already moved outof his address on record without The issue in this case is whether or not an accused who, after
informing the RTC.On 26 July 1999, arraignment, waives his further appearance during the trial can be
petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration before the RTC, which ordered arrested by the court for non-appearance upon summons to
was denied for lack of merit. On appealbefore the Court of Appeals, appear for purposes of identification.
the appellate court required petitioner to show cause why his On February 3, 1983, petitioner was charged with malicious mischief
appeal should not be dismissed itappearing that no new bail bond before the Municipal Trial Court of Malabuyoc, Cebu City. He
for his provisional liberty on appeal had been posted. Petitioner filed deposited a cash bond for his provisional liberty. Upon arraignment,
a Compliance essentiallystating therein that he immediately posted he entered a plea of not guilty and thereafter he filed a written
a new bond for his provisional liberty and that the presiding judge of waiver of appearance dated May 14, 1984 which reads as follows:
the lower court,which issued the questioned decision, duly IN COMPLIANCE with the Letter of Institution No. 40, dated
approved the new bond. A certified true copy of the bond November 10, 1972, the undersigned accused hereby waives his
was submitted together withthe Compliance. The Court of Appeals, appearance during the trial or any stage thereof and he agrees that
nonetheless dismissed the appeal filed b in case he fails to appear for trial despite due notice, his absence will
y petitioner for "appellants failure to post a new be deemed as express waiver of his right to be present, and the
bond for his provisional liberty on appeal despite our directive, and Honorable Court may proceed with the trial of his case as if he were
in view of the fact that his personal bail bond posted in thelower present. In this connection, he admits that he could be identified by
court had already expired." Undaunted, petitioner filed a Motion for witnesses who are testifying at the time that said accused was not
Reconsideration present. (Emphasis supplied)
thereto seeking its reversal. On 19February 2003, the Court of SO ORDERED.
Appeals denied the MR stating that At the hearing on August 14, 1985 the prosecution moved for the
recall of its principal witness for the purpose of identifying the
the appellant has failed to submit himself under the jurisdiction accused-petitioner who was not then present. Hence, the hearing
of the court or under the custody of the law since his conviction in was re-scheduled on October 9, 1985 and a subpoena was issued to
1999 and that there was no valid bail bond in place whenappellant petitioner who failed to appear on said date. The defense counsel
took his appeal. Hence, this petition. justified petitioner's absence in that the latter's presence can no
Issues: longer be required as he already filed a written waiver of
1. appearance. Nevertheless, the municipal judge issued an order
Whether or not the CA dated May 27, 1986 ordering the arrest of petitioner, the
committed reversible error in dismissing the appeal in view confiscation of the cash bond, and at the same time ordering the
of petitioners alleged failure to post a bondsman, who is the petitioner himself, to show cause why no
valid bail bond to secure his provisional liberty on appeal2. judgment should be rendered against the bondsman.
Whether or not petitioner failed to submit himself to the A motion for reconsideration thereof having been denied, petitioner
jurisdiction of the court or to the custody of the law despite elevated the matter to the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City through
theposting of the subject bail bond. a petition for certiorari and prohibition. In an order dated January
Held:1. NO. 28, 1987, the said trial court denied the same. Hence, the herein
The Court of Appeals committed no reversible error in dismissing petition for review on certiorari questioning the dismissal of the
petitioners appeal. petition by the trial court and submitting for determination the issue
Within the meaning of the principlesgoverning the prevailing of whether or not petitioner can be compelled, on pain of being
criminal procedure, petitioner impliedly withdrew his appeal by arrested and his cash bond getting confiscated, to be present during
the trial for purposes of his identification by the prosecution
witnesses in a complaint for malicious mischief despite his written accused "unqualifiedly admits in open court after his arraingment
waiver of appearance. The issue is not new. the he is the person named as defendant in the case on trial," no
Section 19, Article 4 of the 1973 Constitution which was then in more no less. In the present case petitioner only admits that he can
force provides as follows: be identified by the prosecution witnesses in his absence. He did not
Sec. 19. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed admit that he is the very person named as defendant in the case on
innocent until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be trial. His admission is vague and far from unqualified. He cannot
heard by himself and counsel, to be informed of the nature and therefore seek the benefit of the exception recognized in Presiding
cause of the accusation against him to have a speedy, impartial and Judge.
public trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have It is important to state that the provision of the Constitution
compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the authorizing the trial in absentia of the accused in case of his non-
production of evidence in his behalf. However, after arraignment, appearance after arraignment despite due notice simply means that
trial may proceed notwithstanding the absence of the accused he thereby waives his right to meet the witnesses face to face
provided that he has been duly notified and his failure to appear is among others. An express waiver of appearance after arraignment,
unjustified. 1 as in this case, is of the same effect. However, such waiver of
It is the proper interpretation and application of this constitutional appearance and trial in absentia does not mean that the prosecution
provision on which the resolution of this petition depends. is thereby deprived of its right to require the presence of the
In Aquino, Jr. vs. Military Commission No. 2 2 where a similar issue accused for purposes of identification by its witnesses which is vital
was presented, six justices were of the view that petitioner may for the conviction of the accused. Such waiver of a right of the
waive his right to be present at all stages of the proceedings, while accused does not mean a release of the accused from his obligation
five justices were in agreement that he may so waive such right, under the bond to appear in court whenever so required. 7 The
except when he is to be identified. The result was that the order of accused may waive his right but not his duty or obligation to the
the respondent military commission requiring his presence at all court.
times during the proceedings before it should be modified in the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee,
sense that petitioner's presence shall be required only in the vs.
instance just indicated. 3 ROLANDO DEDUYO Y PIRYO alias "BATMAN" AND ISAGANI MAAGO
In People vs. Presiding Judge, 4 the accused was charged with (ACQUITTED), accused.
murder before the Regional Trial Court of Pangasinan. Upon his ROLANDO DEDUYO Y PIRYO alias "BATMAN," appellant.
arraignment he manifested orally in open court that he is waiving his DECISION
right to be present during the trial. The prosecuting fiscal moved PER CURIAM:
that the accused be compelled to appear and be present at the trial This is an appeal from the decision,1 dated February 20, 1998, of the
so that he can be identified by the prosecution witnesses. This court Regional Trial Court of Antipolo, Rizal, Branch 71, in Criminal Case
sustained the position of the accused on the strength of the ruling of No. 94-10874 finding the appellant, Rolando Deduyo alias Batman,
this Court in Aquino. However, this Court made the following guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of kidnapping for
disquisition: ransom and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion
In the case of People vs. Prieto, Sr., 84 SCRA 198, it was held that perpetua.
"[r]espondent Judge unfortunately assumed that thereby a The information charged the appellant, Rolando Deduyo, and his co-
defendant was thus conferred a fundamental right to ignore the accused, Isagani Maago, with the crime of kidnapping for ransom,
terms of the bond posted by him in accordance with his as follows:
constitutional right to bail. The present Constitution certainly has That on or about the 30th day of January 1994, in the Municipality of
not made a dent on the traditional and correct concept of a bail as Antipolo, Province of Rizal, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of
given to allow the release of a person in the custody of the law on this Honorable Court, said accused, including one alias "Bayani" who
condition that he would appear before any court whenever so is still at large, conspiring, confederating together and mutually
required. Upon failure to do so, the warrant of arrest previously helping one another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
issued can be a sufficient justification for his confinement." Further, feloniously kidnap and detain thereby restraining the liberty of one
in Aquino, Jr. vs. Military Commission No. 2, et al., 63 SCRA 546, the Johnny Mauricio y Patasin, a minor 16 years of age, with threats to
late Chief Justice Fred Ruiz Castro, in his concurring and dissenting kill him while carrying knives, for the purpose of extorting ransom in
opinion, clearly stated that "the accused may waive his presence in the amount of P100,000 or P50,000 from his parents.
the criminal proceedings except at the stages where identification of CONTRARY TO LAW.2
his person by the prosecution witnesses is necessary. I might agree Upon arraignment on June 7, 1994, the appellant, Rolando Deduyo,
to the proposition of "total" waiver in any case where the accused and his co-accused, Isagani Maago, with the assistance of counsel,
agrees explicitly and unequivocally in writing signed by him or pleaded not guilty to the crime charged.3 Before the trial proper
personally manifests clearly and indubitably in open court and such which was scheduled to start on September 20, 1994, the appellant
manifestation is recorded, that whenever a prosecution witness escaped from the Rizal Provincial Jail in a mass jailbreak at dawn on
mentions a name by which the accused is known, the witness is July 29, 1994.4 As he had already been arraigned, trial on the merits
referring to him and to no one else." Stated differently, the 1973 ensued (trial in absentia). On February 19, 1998, the warden of the
Constitution now unqualifiedly permits trial in absentia even of Rizal Provincial Jail informed the court of appellants re-arrest and
capital offenses, provided that after arraignment he may be detention. On March 30, 1998, in the presence of the appellant and
compelled to appear for the purpose of identification by the his counsel, the court promulgated its decision dated February 20,
witnesses of the prosecution, or provided he unqualifiedly admits in 1998:
open court after his arraignment that he is the person named as the WHEREFORE, the Court finds that the guilt of the accused Isagani
defendant in the case on trial. The reason for requiring the presence Maago has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt and he is
of the accused, despite his waiver, is, if allowed to be absent in all hereby ACQUITTED from the charge.
the stages of the proceedings without giving the People's witnesses However, the Court finds the accused Rolando Deduyo GUILTY
the opportunity to identify him in court, he may in his defense say beyond reasonable doubt as principal, and he is hereby sentenced to
that he was never identified as the person charged in the suffer and undergo imprisonment of reclusion perpertua, and to pay
information and, therefore, is entitled to an acquittal. the costs.
Furthermore, it is possible that a witness may not know the name of Let alias warrants of his arrest be issued furnishing with copies
the culprit but can identify him if he sees him again, in which case thereof the NBI Director, Manila; the Chief, CIG, Camp Crame,
the latter's presence in court is necessary. 5 Quezon City; the PNP Provincial Director, Hilltop, Taytay, Rizal; the
Thus, in People vs. Presiding Judge, 6 this Court reiterated the rule PNP Station Commander, Sariaya, Quezon and the Station
in Aquino that the accused may waive his presence at the trial of the Commander, Antipolo PNP Station, Antipolo, Rizal.
case his presence may be compelled when he is to be identified. SO ORDERED.5
Petitioner, however, argues that he should not be ordered arrested The facts of the case follow.
for non-appearance since he filed a written waiver that "he admits At about 4:00 p.m. on January 30, 1994, Johnny Mauricio, a sixteen-
that he could be identified by witnesses who have testified at the year-old boy, was on board his tricycle waiting for passengers beside
time that said accused was not present" following the ruling of this Mercury Drug Store, Sumulong St., Antipolo, Rizal. Appellant
Court in People vs. Presiding Judge. The aforestated statement in Rolando Deduyo alias Batman approached and asked Johnny to
the waiver of appearance of petitioner that he admits he could be accompany him to the airport "to get a baggage" which they would
identified by the witnesses for the prosecution even in his absence is bring back to Johnnys house.6 Johnny refused because he had not
not such unqualified admission contemplated in Presiding Judge. asked permission from his mother. Appellant told him that he
What is stated in Presiding Judge as an exception is when the already did on his behalf. Since Johnny knew the appellant, a former
lessee of their other house at General Luna St., Antipolo, Rizal for PO3 Eduardo Salabit testified that he was a member of the
more than a year, he trustingly went with the appellant and left his surveillance team which monitored the kidnapping. He positioned
tricycle with an acquaintance named Baby.7 himself in front of the Antipolo Church at about 11:00 a.m. on
Appellant and Johnny boarded a passenger jeep and alighted at January 31, 1994. He saw Salvacion Mauricio enter the church and
Barangay Bagong Ilog, Pasig City. They proceeded to a house where when she came out two hours later, a man followed her closely and
two persons were drinking gin. The two persons were appellants co- talked to her. As the man was acting suspiciously, he called his
accused, Isagani Maago, and a certain Bayani. Appellant joined the attention but he immediately ran away. He gave chase and, together
drinking session. An hour after, appellant told Johnny that he and with Police Officer Dominador Demdam, he caught the man later
Isagani would be the ones to get the baggage at the airport. Johnny identified as Isagani Maago. He handcuffed and frisked the man,
asked permission to go home but appellant told him to stay behind and retrieved a fan knife from him. He turned over the knife to their
and wait for the baggage. Johnny was left with Bayani who investigator, SPO2 Delfin Grutta. At the station, lsagani Maago told
continued drinking alone. While drinking, Bayani took out his fan them that he had companions and the mastermind was the
knife, played with it and threatened Johnny that "ang puma pasok appellant. He told them they could find the appellant in Barangay
dito ay hindi na nakakalabas ng buhay" ("whoever enters this house Bagong Ilog, Pasig. Upon proceeding there, they caught the
will never come out alive"). Johnny was afraid of what he heard but appellant in the act of escaping on board a tricycle. His team was
he did not run away because Bayani might do what he had just able to identify the appellant as one of them knew him.16
said.8 SPO3 Dominador Demdam corroborated the testimony of PO3
An hour after, appellant and Isagani returned. They resumed Eduardo Salabit. Their surveillance team positioned themselves near
drinking with Bayani and some people in the neighborhood. the church. After a short while, he noticed PO3 Salabit running after
Appellant introduced Johnny as his nephew. Around 10:00 p.m., a man. He joined the chase and together they caught the man who
they went to sleep. There was no partition or bed in the small house was later identified as Isagani Maago. They recovered a fan knife
which measured only about 3 x 4 square meters. They slept on the from him which they turned over to the custodian of Rizal Provincial
floor with Johnny between appellant and Isagani, and Bayani beside Prosecutors Office in Pasig City. During investigation at the police
the door. Johnny noticed that Bayanis knife was tucked in his waist. station, Maago told them he had other companions who were in
When Johnny woke up the next day, Isagani, Bayani and the Barangay Bagong Ilog, Pasig. With this information, they
appellant were already awake, talking to each other. Johnny again immediately conducted a follow-up operation in Bagong Ilog where
asked permission from the appellant to go home but the appellant they caught the appellant while trying to escape. He frisked the
assured him that they would go back together to Antipolo with the appellant and recovered a fan knife which his team turned over to
baggage.9 the custodian of the Prosecutors Office.17
Johnny wanted to go home but he did not have any money. While SPO2 Delfin Grutta testified that he was the one who took the sworn
Bayani was preparing their meal, he noticed that the door was statements of the victim, his mother Salvacion Mauricio, and Police
closed. When he asked permission to urinate, Bayani accompanied Officers Salabit and Demdam. He identified in court the statements
him outside the house. He was afraid of Bayani because of what he took. He presented in court the ransom note and the knife turned
latter had told him the night before.10 over to him by the apprehending officers. He kept the note and the
Around noontime, appellant and Isagani again left "to get the knife in a locked filing cabinet to which only himself and their chief
baggage at the airport." Around 3:00 p.m., appellant returned investigator had access.18
without Isagani. He first talked to Bayani alone and thereafter called Appellant was at large during the trial so he was not presented to
Johnny and gave him P12 as his fare to go back to Antipolo. He testify. The defense presented appellants co-accused, Isagani
accompanied Johnny to where he could take a ride home.11 Maago, and Romulo Amargo.
Once home, Johnny was surprised to know that the appellant Romulo Amargo testified that he was a resident of Muntingbayan,
demanded ransom from his family. In his anger, Johnny went wild Sariaya, Quezon for about ten years. He had known lsagani Maago
and threw all his clothes. The victim did not even know he had been for the same period of time as the latter was also a resident of
kidnapped. The police fetched Johnny and brought him to the police Sariaya, Quezon. In the afternoon of January 29, 1994, he was with
station where they took his statement. During trial, Johnny Isagani on their way home from work. Isaganis house was along his
identified and affirmed his sworn statement.12 route in going to and from work. When they arrived at Isaganis
Johnnys mother, Salvacion Mauricio testified that around 5:00 p.m. house at around 6:00 p.m., appellant was there waiting. He heard
on January 30, 1994, she was tending her clothing store at the appellant ask Isagani to accompany him to pick up a package at the
second floor of the Antipolo public market when her co-vendor airport in Manila. After a short while, Amargo went home and did
handed her a handwritten letter. The letter demanded a ransom of not see either Isagani or the appellant anymore the following day.
P100,000, or at least P50,000, otherwise she would not see her son He remembered the day he saw the appellant with Isagani Maago
again. The letter instructed her to be ready with the money the next because it was the day he paid for the installment of his pants and t-
day and bring it to the Antipolo Church around noontime. The letter shirt.19
warned her not to tell the police otherwise "itutumba namin kayong Isagani Maago denied participation in the kidnapping. He testified
lahat" ("we will kill all of you"). The kidnap group claimed that they that, on January 30, 1994, he was with the appellant in the house of
were members of the New Peoples Army (NPA) and warned Bayani at Bagong Ilog, Pasig. He arrived there with the appellant at
Salvacion that her house and store were being watched by them. around 8:00 a.m. from his hometown in Quezon Province. Appellant
Salvacion was too frightened to report the incident to the police. left and returned in the afternoon with Johnny Mauricio whom he
However, after conferring with her family, they secretly alerted the introduced as his nephew. The next day, appellant asked lsagani to
police.13 accompany him to Antipolo to get a package. They arrived in
The next day, as instructed in the ransom letter, Salvacion Antipolo around lunchtime. Appellant told Isagani to wait for him in
proceeded to the Antipolo Church around noontime. She brought front of the Antipolo Church. When appellant failed to return, he
money with her but only in the amount of P5,100 because that was decided to go back to Bagong Ilog, Pasig but, on his way to the
all she was able to borrow. She waited inside the Church but nobody jeepney terminal, he heard somebody shouting at him. When he
approached her. On her way out at around 1:30 p.m., a man wearing looked, a man was running towards him holding a gun. He ran but
a green shirt walked beside her and asked "lnang, dala mo bang the man caught up with him and boxed him. He told the man he did
pera?" She answered yes but asked to see her son first. But the man not do anything wrong but they still brought him to the PNP
immediately ran away. He was chased by a police officer in plain headquarters at Hilltop, Taytay, Rizal. Upon investigation by the
clothes. The man was later identified as Isagani Maago.14 police, he told them the appellant could be found in Pasig. He was
When asked by Salvacion who kidnapped her son, Isagani told her made to go to Pasig with the policemen and, once there, he saw
that it was Batman (the appellant). Thereafter, Salvacion and the appellant inside a mobile car lying face down with his mouth
police officers proceeded to Bagong Ilog, Pasig to look for Johnny. bleeding.20
They did not find him there but they were able to catch and arrest After weighing the evidence presented, the trial court found the
the appellant who was about to escape on board a tricycle. appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of kidnapping
Appellant told Salvacion that Johnny was already in Antipolo. for ransom but acquitted appellants co-accused, Isagani Maago:
Salvacion knew the appellant since he used to rent their other house The court believes that the conspiracy of accused Deduyo and
in Gen. Luna St., Antipolo, Rizal from 1991 to 1992 and he was the Maago as alleged in the Information was not convincingly
husband of her store helper. Appellant and Johnny were close established. The only damaging circumstance against accused
friends. At about 1:00 p.m. on January 30, 1994, Salvacion recalled Maago was that he accompanied Deduyo from Sariaya, Quezon to
that she saw the appellant at the second floor of the Antipolo Public Pasig, Metro Manila and that he was apprehended near the Antipolo
Market. He even went to her store and asked about the Church after asking Salvacion Mauricio if she had the money. What
whereabouts of her brother.15 bothers the mind of the court was the manner Maago testified. He
appeared so frank and confident in denying the charge against him. S Hindi ho ako makaalis dahil binabantayan ako ni Bayani at isa pa ay
He did not stammer during his entire testimony, and the court did wala akong perang pamasahe dahil kinuha lahat ni Batman ang aking
not observe any mannerism that would betray his innocence. He pera pati na ang aking singsing.
claimed that he did not do anything wrong - that he did not know xxx xxx xxx
anything about the whole incident. T Ng ikaw ay magising hindi ka ba nagsabi sa kanila na ikaw ay uuwi
However, with regard to the prosecution evidence against accused na?
Rolando Deduyo who was tried in absentia the court is convinced S Nagsabi ako sa kanila na uuwi na, subalit ang sabi nila ay isasabay
that he masterminded the crime charged - and he alone appears to ako pauwi sa Antipolo kapag nakuha na nila ang bagahe sa airport.
be criminally liable. The court is moreover convinced of his guilt, T Ang ibig mong sabihin ay umalis uli sila papuntang airport?
because of his escape from Rizal Provincial jail during the pendency S Oho, si Batman at si Isagani.
of this case. His flight is clearly indicative of his guilt. The ransom T Bumalik ba silang dalawa?
note (Exh. C) demanding for the sum of P100,000 for the safety of S Si Batman lang ho ang bumalik.
Johnny Mauricio characterizes the crime as one of kidnapping for T Ng makabalik si Batman, anong oras ito?
ransom. S Mga magaalas-3:00 :00 ng hapon.
Aggrieved, appellant Rolando Deduyo filed the instant appeal with a T Sinabi ba niya kung bakit hindi niya kasama si Isagani?
lone assigned error: S Sangayon sa kanya ay iniwan siya ni Isagani at tinawag niya si
THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED GUILTY Bayani subalit hindi nila ako pinapalapit at nag-usap sila ng mga ilang
BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME OF KIDNAPPING FOR sandali at narinig kong sinabi ni Bayani na pupunta siya sa Makati at
RANSOM. si Batman naman ay tinawag ako at binigyan ako ng P12.00
The appeal has no merit. pamasahe pauwi sa Antipolo at di umano ay pupunta siya ng
The crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention is defined and Olongapo.
penalized under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended xxx xxx xxx
by RA 7659. The elements are: (1) that the offender is a private T Ng ikaw ay makauwi, ano ang nalaman mo?
individual; (2) that he kidnaps or detains another, or in any manner S Nalaman ko na lang ng makauwi ako na ako pala ay ipinatutubos
deprives the latter of his liberty; (3) that the act of detention or ng isandaang libong piso."23
kidnapping must be illegal and (4) in the commission of the offense, DIRECT TESTIMONY:
any of the following circumstances is present: (a) that the "ATTY. CORNAGO:
kidnapping or detention lasts for more than three days or (b) that it Q: What time was it when you arrived at that house in Bagong Ilog?
is committed simulating public authority or (c) that any serious A: At about six oclock in the evening.
physical injuries are inflicted upon the person kidnapped or detained Q: You were referring at the same day January 30, 1994?
or threats to kill him are made or (d) that the person kidnapped or A: Yes sir.
detained is a minor, female or public officer. It is not necessary that Q: How long did the drinking last?
any of the foregoing circumstances (letters a to d) be present if the A: About an hour, sir.
kidnapping is committed for the purpose of extorting ransom.21 xxx xxx xxx
The primary element of the crime of kidnapping is the actual Q: After that what happened then, if any?
confinement or restraint of the victim, or the deprivation of his A: Batman and Isagani left.
liberty. It is not necessary for the victim to be locked up or placed in Q: Did you know where they leave for (sic)?
an enclosure; it is sufficient for him to be detained or deprived of his A: According to them, they were going to get the baggage.
liberty in any manner.22 In the present case, the testimony and Q: Did you go with them to get the baggage?
sworn statement of the victim showed that he was effectively A: They did not let me go with them.
restrained of his liberty. He candidly testified that he went with the Q: Why?
appellant in the belief that, with his mothers permission, they were A: According to them they will be the ones to get the baggage.
going to get a baggage from the airport and bring it back to their xxx xxx xxx
house in Antipolo. When they proceeded instead to Pasig, the victim Q: And when Rolando Deduyo and Isagani Maago left to get the
thought they would just be dropping by. When the appellant told baggage purpotedly (sic) who was left with you in that house?
him to stay in the house in Pasig while he and his friend, Isagani A: Bayani, sir.
Maago, instead "got the baggage," the victim immediately asked Q: When you were left with Bayani what did Bayani do?
permission to go home. To make him stay, the appellant assured A: He put out a knife and told me that "Ang pumapasok dito ay hindi
him twice that they would return to Antipolo together with the na nakakalabas ng buhay."
baggage - first, on the night of January 30, 1994 and second, in the xxx xxx xxx
morning of January 31, 1994. In addition to being tricked by the Q: Was Batman or Rolando Deduyo and Isagani able to return that
appellant to stay in Bayanis house in Pasig, the victim was also so same day?
afraid of Bayani that he could not leave the place even if he wanted A: Yes sir.
to. Bayani had a knife in his waist even while sleeping and even xxx xxx xxx
threatened the victim "ang pumapasok dito ay di na nakakalabas ng Q: At about ten oclock in the evening what happened then?
buhay." Bayani guarded him on the two occasions that appellant A: Bayani invited us to go to sleep.
left, even accompanying the victim to urinate outside the house. xxx xxx xxx
Given all these circumstances, the victim was effectively restrained Q: Where?
of his liberty - the primary element of the offense of kidnapping and A: We slept together and I was surrounded by them when we sleep
serious illegal detention. Pertinent portions of his sworn statement (Sic).
and testimony follow. Q: What do you mean you were cornered?
SWORN STATEMENT: A: I was placed in the middle when we went to sleep.
"Tanong Ng ikaw ay mapilitang sumama kay Batman, siya ba ay may xxx xxx xxx
hawak na anumang uri ng patalim? Q: How about the three, Batman, Bayani, and Isagani where did they
Sagot Wala po. lie down to sleep also?
T Bakit ka sumama sa kanya (Batman)? A: Isagani and Batman were beside me, I was in the middle while
S Dahil sa nagpapasama siya na may kukuning baggage sa airport at Bayani was near the door.
di umano ay dadalhin sa bahay namin sa Carigma St., Antipolo, Rizal. Q: At the time you lied (sic) down did you notice where the knife of
xxx xxx xxx Bayani, which you was (sic) shown earlier was (sic)?
T Kayo ba ay nakarating sa airport? A: It was still stuck to his waist.
S Hindi ho, dahil niloko lang nila ako na pupunta sa airport pero sa xxx xxx xxx
Pasig lang pala ang punta namin. Q: And how far was Bayani in relation to the door of the house
T Ng nalaman mong sa Pasig lang pala ang punta ninyo, ano ang where you slept?
ginawa mo? A: Bayani was beside the door.
S Ang ginawa ko ho ng sabihin ko sa kanilang uuwi na ako ng xxx xxx xxx
Antipolo ay hindi ako pinaalis at ang sabi nila Batman at Isagani ay Q: When did you wake up?
hindi ako pwedeng makaalis at sila ang pupunta sa airport. A: About seven oclock of the following morning.
T Nakaalis ba naman sila Batman? Q: When you woke up where were the three, Batman, Isagani, and
S Oho. Bayani?
T Ng makaalis sila Batman, bakit hindi ka umalis din para makauwi? A: We were still beside each other.
Q: What were they doing if they were doing anything?
A: They were talking with each other. 2. instead of going to the airport, appellant brought Johnny to his
xxx xxx xxx friends house in Pasig where his co-accused Isagani Maago was
COURT: waiting;
Why? Did you not try to go home in Antipolo at that time? 3. at the same time that appellant enticed Johnny to go with him,
A: Because Bayani told me not to and I felt threatened when Bayani Johnnys mother received a ransom letter demanding P100,000, or
uttered "ang pumapasok dito ay hindi na lumalabas ng buhay." Also, at least P50,000, for Johnnys release;
I did not have the money for my fare. 4. before the mother received the ransom letter, she saw appellant
ATTY. CORNAGO: at the public market; he even talked to her, looking for her brother;
That morning of January 31, what did Bayani, Isagani and Batman do 5. around noon the next day, appellant and his co-accused Isagani
if they did anything? Maago, left allegedly to go to the airport leaving Johnny behind in
xxx xxx xxx the house of Bayani;
A: Batman and Isagani leave (sic) again and Bayani was left with me. 6. at around the same time, Johnnys mother, as instructed in the
Q: When you were left alone with Bayani what happened if any? ransom letter, went to the Antipolo church;
A: We stayed inside the house, sir. 7. after she had waited for two hours inside the church, she went
Q: For how long was (sic) Isagani and Batman away? out and Isagani approached her asking if she brought the money;
A: Batman arrived at about three oclock in the afternoon. 8. Isagani ran away when a police officer shouted at him;
xxx xxx xxx 9. when apprehended, Isagani pleaded innocence and pointed at the
Q: You said that you were brought to a house at Bagong Ilog in the appellant as the mastermind, revealing where he could be found,
evening of January 30, 1994, for how long did you stay in that and
house? 10. the police went to Bagong Ilog, Pasig where they caught the
A: Up to January 31, in the afternoon. appellant as he was about to escape on board a tricycle.
Q: You stayed there up to the afternoon of January 31 why did you While appellant was not the one who approached Johnnys mother
not leave that house earlier? at the Antipolo Church to get the ransom, there was enough
A: I was afraid because of the threat of Bayani. circumstantial evidence that it was the appellant who planned the
CROSS-EXAMINATION: entire kidnapping for the purpose of extorting ransom from the
ATTY. MENDOZA: victims parents. The defense evidence itself showed that the
xxx xxx xxx appellant went to Sariaya, Quezon Province, the day before the
Q: You said Bayani pulled out a small knife? kidnapping to persuade his co-accused, Isagani Maago, to help him
A: Yes sir. carry out the kidnapping. This the appellant did not controvert nor
Q: He did not open the said knife in front of you? deny in his appeal before us. And, as aptly observed by the trial
A: He opened the knife and he also played with it. court, appellant was in a position to know the financial capacity of
Q: At that time Bayani in your opinion was drinking, is that correct? the victims family since he was the husband of their store helper
A: Yes sir. and he stayed in their other house for more than a year. All these
Q: And when he uttered the statement "ang pumapasok dito ay circumstances, coupled with the victims positive testimony that it
hindi nakakalabas ng buhay" He did it jokingly, is that correct? was the appellant who kidnapped him, lead us to no other
A: He was serious when he uttered those remarks. reasonable conclusion than that it was the appellant who planned
xxx xxx xxx and executed the kidnapping for ransom.
Q: From the time you arrived in that house up to the time you left It is well settled that direct evidence of the commission of the crime
you did not urinate? is not the only matrix from which the court may draw its conclusion
A: I did. and make a finding of guilt. Conviction can just as well be had on the
Q: Where did you urinate? basis of circumstantial evidence if the established circumstances
A: Just outside the door. constitute an unbroken chain leading to the fair and reasonable
Q: While you were urinating where were Bayani, lsagani Maago conclusion that the accused is the author of the crime, to the
and Rolando Deduyo? exclusion of all others.28 Such is the situation here.
A: Bayani was following me. Moreover, the flight of the appellant only served to strengthen the
xxx xxx xxx finding of guilt. He escaped from jail and was able to evade arrest for
Q: While Bayani was cooking lunch in the kitchen you remained in nearly three years (July 29, 1994 to March 26, 1997). His flight
the sala? clearly evinced a consciousness of guilt and a silent admission of
A: Yes sir. culpability. Indeed, "the wicked flee, when no man pursueth, but the
Q: Why did you not ran away from Bayani and shouted that you innocent are as bold as a lion."29
were being kidnapped? Because the appellant escaped, trial in absentia proceeded against
A: I could not ran (sic) because the door was closed."24 (emphasis him. Sec. 14 (2) of the Constitution allows trial in absentia provided
ours) the accused has been arraigned and his failure to appear after due
The appellant contends that there was no kidnapping because the notice is unjustifiable. In the present case, trial in absentia was
victim voluntarily went with him. This contention holds no water. In properly conducted by the trial court inasmuch as the appellant had
the case of People vs. Santos,25 we ruled that the fact that the already been arraigned when he escaped. By escaping, the appellant
victim voluntarily went with the accused did not remove the waived his right to be present on all subsequent trial dates until his
element of deprivation of liberty because the victim went with the custody was regained.30
accused on a false inducement without which the victim would not The crime was committed after the death penalty was reimposed by
have done so. Such is the situation in the present case - the victim, a RA 7659 on December 31, 1993. Since kidnapping for ransom carries
boy 16 years of age, would not have voluntarily left with the the penalty of death under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, as
appellant if not for the false assurance that his mother had amended by RA 7659, no other penalty can be imposed on the
supposedly permitted him to accompany the appellant to the airport appellant. Thus, we modify the penalty imposed by the trial court
"to get the baggage" and bring it back to the victims house. from reclusion perpetua to death.
Moreover, it is important to emphasize that, in kidnapping, the Lastly, the trial court correctly did not award any damages. Article
victim need not be taken by the accused forcibly or against his will. 2219, paragraph 5, of the Civil Code provides that moral damages
What is controlling is the act of the accused in detaining the victim may be granted in cases of illegal or arbitrary detention. Nothing in
against his or her will after the offender is able to take the victim in the records, however, shows that the victim or his family suffered
his custody. In short, the carrying away of the victim in the crime of sleepless nights, serious anxiety or other similar injury. Inasmuch as
kidnapping and serious illegal detention can either be made forcibly moral damages are granted not to enrich but rather to compensate
or fraudulently.26 the victim for the injury suffered, proof of moral suffering must be
Since the crime charged is kidnapping in its qualified form, that is, introduced, failing in which such an award is not proper.31
committed for the purpose of exacting ransom, the abduction must Three members of the Court maintain their position that RA 7659,
in addition be shown to have been committed for such purpose. insofar as it prescribes the death penalty, is unconstitutional.
Actual demand for, or payment of, ransom is not necessary; it is Nevertheless, they submit to the ruling of the Court, by a majority
enough if the crime is committed "for the purpose of extorting vote, that the law is constitutional and that the death penalty should
ransom."27 In the present case, there was sufficient circumstantial be accordingly imposed.
evidence on record to prove that appellant abducted the victim for WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo,
ransom, thus: Rizal, Branch 71, in Criminal Case No. 94-1 0874 is hereby AFFIRMED
1. in the afternoon of January 30, 1994, appellant tricked Johnny with MODIFICATION in the penalty imposed. The appellant, Rolando
into accompanying him to the airport allegedly to get a baggage;
Deduyo alias Batman, is hereby sentenced to suffer the supreme sexual abuses from appellant. Around 2:00 p.m., appellant called
penalty of death. Mary Grace to go upstairs at their house. With appellants previous
In accordance with Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended lascivious acts etched in her mind, Mary Grace hesitated but she had
by Section 25 of RA 7659, upon finality of this decision, let the no choice except to obey because appellant had placed a scythe on
records of these case be forwarded to the Office of the President for her neck. Against Mary Graces pleas of dont kill me daddy,
possible exercise of executive clemency. appellant ordered her to undress. Mary Grace did not remove her
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. JERRY clothes. Furious by her disobedience, appellant pulled down her
FERRER, appellant. shorts and panty. She resisted and covered her private parts with
DECISION her hands. Her efforts, however, proved futile. Still threatening her
DAVIDE, JR., C.J.: with the scythe, appellant pushed her to lie down, pulled out his
Before us for automatic review[1] is the decision[2] of 28 November penis, placed himself on top of her and then inserted his penis into
2000 of the Regional Trial Court of Lanao del Sur, Branch 9, Marawi her vagina. Thereafter, he released her. She felt pain in her vagina
City, in Criminal Case No. 2969-98, finding appellant Jerry Ferrer when she was dressing up.[13]
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape committed Friday night of the same week, while Felipa Belonio was visiting her
against Mary Grace Belonio and sentencing him to suffer the penalty sister Glorita Tugade, appellant again had carnal knowledge of Mary
of death and to pay the sum of P100,000 as moral damages Grace. She felt excruciating pain in her vagina.
and P30,000 as attorneys fees, as well as the costs. Thus, from October 1995 to 11 December 1997, appellant sexually
Appellant was tried under an information[3] for rape which was filed abused Mary Grace, repeatedly and continuously. He imposed his
on 17 February 1998. Its accusatory portion reads: lechery on her three to four times a week whenever her mother was
That on or sometime in October 1995 and continuously thereafter in out of the house.[14]
the Municipality of Wao, Province of Lanao del Sur, Philippines and Mary Grace initially kept to herself the sexual abuses as she was
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused with afraid that appellant might make good his threat to kill her
lewd design, did then and there willfully and feloniously and by mother.[15] But Mary Grace finally found the courage to reveal to
means of force, violence and intimidation and taking advantage of her Aunt Glorita Tugade what appellant had done to her. It was on
his ascendancy as stepfather of an eleven (11) years [sic] old and 14 December 1997 when Glorita Tugade and her brother-in-law
studying Grade V [sic] at the Katutungan Elementary School by the Pablito Malagamba confronted Felipa Belonio about Mary Graces
name of Mary Grace Pataksil Belonio by pointing [to] her a scythe revelation. Thereafter, they reported the incident to the Wao Police
(garab) and ordering her to remove her clothes and then to lay Headquarters as a result of which appellant was immediately
down, remove her panty and successfully have [sic] sexual arrested.[16]
intercourse with her against her will and consent and continuously On 17 December 1997, Dr. Benjamin Bajarla, Medical Officer IV of
repeated the same thereafter when she is alone at home and while the Wao District Hospital, Lanao del Sur, physically examined Mary
her mother is out. Grace He found in Mary Graces hymen old and healed lacerations at
CONTRARY to and in violation of Article 335, par. 3 of the Revised 3, 6 and 9 oclock positions[17] which he opined could have been
Penal Code. caused by sexual intercourse. He said that Mary Grace told him that
When arraigned on 16 June 1998, appellant pleaded not guilty.[4] the last sexual abuse took place on 11 December 1997.[18]
Subsequently, appellant, through counsel Atty. Mohd Hassan On 23 August 1999, the prosecution made its formal offer of
Macabanding of the Public Attorneys Office (PAO), filed an undated evidence.[19] Thereafter, the trial court set the dates for the
Urgent Motion for Medical Treatment. He alleged that he was presentation by the defense of its evidence. Notices were sent for
suffering from an unknown internal sickness which had already the following scheduled hearing dates: 23 September 1999,[20] 21
claimed the life of another detention prisoner. Afraid that he would October 1999,[21] 29 November 1999,[22] 31 January 2000,[23] 7
suffer the same fate, appellant prayed for his immediate medical April 2000,[24] 24 April 2000,[25] 23 May 2000,[26] 26 June
treatment at the Provincial or City Hospital.[5] 2000,[27] and 24 July 2000.[28] However, neither appellant nor his
On 22 June 1998, the trial court granted appellants Urgent Motion counsel appeared on said dates. Thus, at the hearing of 24 July
for Medical Treatment and ordered his temporary release to the 2000, the trial court granted the prosecutions motion to submit the
custody of Ustadj Sinoding Langcoa, a trusted member of the case for decision, since the prosecution had long rested its case and
society, who has the responsibility of bringing the former to any the defense had no witnesses to present. The trial court also
government physician or to the clinic of Dr. Saprola Dipatuan. The considered appellant as having jumped bail since he did not show up
court also ordered appellant to submit to the court the findings and in court.[29]
record of his treatment by Dr. Dipatuan. It likewise set the pre-trial Thus, the trial court rendered on 28 November 2000, a decision
and the trial of the case on 21 and 22 July 1998,[6] respectively. which consisted of a five-page summary of the testimonial and
On the scheduled 21 July 1998 pre-trial hearing, appellant and his documentary evidence and which abruptly concluded, that based on
PAO counsel, Atty. Mohd Hassan Macabanding, failed to appear in said evidence, the prosecution proved the guilt of appellant beyond
court. Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Abubakar Barambangan reasonable doubt requiring the imposition of the death penalty.
vigorously opposed the motion for postponement[7] which was filed In his Appellant's Brief,[30] appellant assails the decision of the trial
by Atty. Macabanding the previous day, 20 July 1998. In denying the court as res ipsa loquitor violative of Section 14, Article VIII of the
motion for postponement, the trial court took into consideration of Constitution. He argues that the decision failed to distinctly point
the fact that Prosecutor Barambangan was not notified of the out the applicable law on which it is based and that there is nothing
motion, the failure of appellant and Atty. Macabanding to appear at in the decision that would show how the trial court arrived at its
the pre-trial despite due notice and appellants blatant disregard of conclusion convicting him of the crime charged.
its order dated 22 June 1998, requiring him to submit the medical Appellant also asserts that granting without admitting that he
findings of Dr. Dipatuan. The trial court then ordered the immediate committed the alleged rape, the trial court erred in imposing the
issuance of a warrant to arrest appellant and allowed the death penalty. He claims that while the prosecution may have
prosecution to present evidence in absentia.[8] proved that Mary Grace was 11 years old at the time of the rape, it
Trial in absentia followed. The prosecution presented as witnesses failed to prove that he was her stepfather as alleged in the
Glorita Tugade, Mary Grace Belonio, Felipa Pataksil Belonio and Dr. information.
Benjamin B. Bajarla. Their testimonies tended to establish the facts In the Appellees Brief,[31] the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG)
we now narrate. contends that the evidence on record support appellants conviction
Mary Grace was born on 6 July 1984 to spouses Felix Belonio and for statutory rape. It maintains that the prosecution successfully
Felipa Pataksil Belonio at Banisilan, North Cotabato.[9] The Belonio proved that in October 1995, appellant had carnal knowledge of
spouses were lawfully married sometime in 1978[10] and out of Mary Grace who was then 11 years old.
such union, four (4) children were born, one of whom is Mary The OSG submits, however, that the trial court erred in imposing the
Grace. The couple, however, separated. When Mary Grace was death penalty. While the information alleged that appellant was
barely one (1) year and six (6) months old, Felipa Belonio started to Mary Grace's stepfather, the evidence adduced however showed
live-in with appellant at Mother Catutungan, Wao, Lanao del that he was merely the common-law spouse of Mary Grace's
Sur.[11] She brought her children with her. mother. Under these circumstances, the penalty of reclusion
From then on, life for Felipa Belonio started at 3:00 a.m. to peddle perpetua and not the death penalty should be imposed upon him.
her sari-sari items and ended at 7:00 p.m. when she returned Similarly, the OSG asserts that the trial court failed to award civil
home. In contrast, appellant was a freelance blacksmith who usually indemnity in the amount of P50,000 and exemplary damages in the
stayed home.[12] amount of P20,000. The OSG insists that exemplary damages should
Sometime in October 1995, a Monday, when Mary Grace was be awarded considering that the generic aggravating circumstance
already 11 years old, she was to experience the first of a series of of abuse of confidence is present as seen in the relation of trust and
confidence between Mary Grace and appellant. While abuse of and the further sum of Thirty thousand (P30,000) Pesos as
confidence could not have been properly appreciated in the Attorneys fee and the costs.[32]
determination of the appropriate penalty, it was nonetheless proven Violating the Constitutional requirements, the five-page decision
at the trial. As such, it should be the basis of the award for failed to express therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law
exemplary damages. As to the award of P100,000 as moral on which it is based. After a summation of the evidence presented,
damages, the OSG proposes its reduction to P50,000. which consisted only of the prosecutions considering that the
Upon careful examination of the records of the case, we find that defense failed to adduce evidence in its behalf, the trial court
the decision of the trial court failed to comply with the rudimentary immediately declared, in a most sweeping manner, the guilt of
requirements of due process and the constitutional provisions that appellant.
vouchsafe the same. In Yao v. Court of Appeals,[33] we had occasion to caution
Let us first quote in full the trial courts decision. magistrates to be more circumspect and diligent in heeding the
Accused Jerry Ferrer is charged of the commission of the crime of demand of Section 14, Article VIII of the Constitution which states:
Rape committed as follows: Section 14. No decision shall be rendered by any court without
xxx [Information is quoted] xxx expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on
On arraignment, the accused assisted by his counsel pleaded not which it is based.
guilty. and its statutory expression in Section 1, Rule 120 of the Rules of
In the trial after the termination of the pre-trial, the prosecution Court, viz.:
presented both testimonial and documentary evidences consisting Section 1. Judgment; definition and form. Judgment is the
of the testimonies of Mrs. Glorieta Tugade, Mary Grace Belonio, adjudication by the court that the accused is guilty or not guilty of
Felipa Belonio and Dr. Benjamin Bajarla as well as Exhibits A the offense charged and the imposition on him of the proper penalty
(Certificate of Live Birth of the victim; B (Baptismal Certificate); C and civil liability, if any. It must be written in the official language,
(Medical Certificate showing laceration of hymen; D personally and directly prepared by the judge and signed by him and
(Microbiological result of such examination; and E (Sketch of the shall contain clearly and distinctly a statement of the facts and the
Female External Genetalia). law upon which it is based.
Trial was conducted in absentia in view of the escape from We reiterate our ruling in Yao v. Court of Appeals,[34] thus:
confinement of the accused. We have sustained decisions of lower courts as having substantially
From the evidence, it appears that Mary Grace Belonio was born on or sufficiently complied with the constitutional injunction
July 6, 1984, at Banisilan, North Cotabato. Her father is Felix Belonio notwithstanding the laconic and terse manner in which they were
while her mother is Felipa Pataksil Belonio. Said spouses were written and even if there (was left) much to be desired in terms of
lawfully married to each other in 1978 and out of such union, four (their) clarity, coherence and comprehensibility provided that they
(4) children were born one of whom is Mary Grace (the victim in this eventually set out the facts and the law on which they were based,
case). The couple were however separated and when Mary Grace as when they stated the legal qualifications of the offense
was barely one (1) year and six (6) months old, Felipa started living constituted by the facts proved, the modifying circumstances, the
as a common law wife of the accused Jerry Ferrer together with participation of the accused, the penalty imposed and the civil
Mary Grace and her other children in one house at Mother liability; or discussed the facts comprising the elements of the
Catutungan, Wao, Lanao del Sur. Felipa was a sari-sari item offense that was charged in the information, and accordingly
vendor and normally left home as early as 3:00 oclock in the rendered a verdict and imposed the corresponding penalty; or
morning for said business and return home at 7:00 oclock in the quoted the facts narrated in the prosecutions memorandum but
evening. Jerry Ferrer (common law husband) is a blacksmith and made their own findings and assessment of evidence, before finally
stay home with the child victim Mary Grace. agreeing with the prosecutions evaluation of the case.
In October of 1995 while the mother (Felipa) was away attending to We therefore reiterate our admonition in Nicos Industrial
her business, the accused Jerry started his criminal design to have Corporation v. Court of Appeals, in that while we conceded that
carnal knowledge by committing rape on Mary Grace. It was brevity in the writing of decisions is an admirable trait, it should not
Monday afternoon at 2:00 oclock in October 1995 that Jerry called and cannot be substituted for substance; and again in Francisco v.
his step-daughter Mary Grace [to] go upstairs of their house at Permskul, where we cautioned that expediency alone, no matter
Catutungan, Wao, Lanao del Sur. With the use of his scythe in how compelling, cannot excuse non-compliance with the
intimidating the girl, Jerry started touching the girl who was resisting constitutional requirements.
but was no match to the strength of her step-father who was at the xxx
same time placing his scythe at the neck of the girl to prevent This is not to discourage the lower courts to write abbreviated and
resistance. The accused undressed the girl by pulling the latters concise decisions, but never at the expense of scholarly analysis, and
short pant[s] down and her panty. The accused pushed the girl to lie more significantly, of justice and fair play, lest the fears expressed by
down. The accused, then pulled down his short pant[s] and took out Justice Feria as the ponente in Romero v. Court of Appeals come
his penis into the girls vagina. The girl felt the pain that day. On true, i.e., if an appellate court failed to provide the appeal the
Friday of that same week in the evening while his common law wife attention it rightfully deserved, said court deprived the appellant of
Felipa (mother of the victim) was away, the accused succeeded in due process since he was not accorded a fair opportunity to be
consummating the crime of rape upon Mary Grace. The accused heard by a fair and responsible magistrate. This situation becomes
repeatedly did the sexual assault upon Mary Grace until in 1977, the more ominous in criminal cases, as in this case, where not only
victim got the courage to reveal the said rape to her mother that property rights are at stake but also the liberty if not the life of a
resulted in the filing of this case. The Medical Certificate issued by human being.
Dr. Benjamin Bajarla following [the] medical and physical Faithful adherence to the requirements of Section 14, Article VIII of
examination on the victim on December 17, 1997 showed laceration the Constitution is indisputably a paramount component of due
of the girls hymen at 3:00 oclock; 6 oclock and 9 oclock positions. process and fair play. It is likewise demanded by the due process
It further appears from the evidence that Mary Grace was born on clause of the Constitution. The parties to a litigation should be
July 6, 1984 and [that] the crime of rape was committed upon her by informed of how it was decided, with an explanation of the factual
the accused in 1995 and [the] subsequent year. The victim was and legal reasons that led to the conclusions of the court. The court
therefore 11 years old at the time of the commission of rape upon cannot simply say that judgment is rendered in favor of X and
her. against Y and just leave it at that without any justification
This Court was constrained to decide this case after trial in absentia whatsoever for its action. The losing party is entitled to know why
for reason of the accused escaping from imprisonment after he lost, so he may appeal to the higher court, if permitted, should he
arraignment. From all the foregoing evidences, the prosecution believe that the decision should be reversed. A decision that does
proved the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. not clearly and distinctly state the facts and the law on which it is
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered: based leaves the parties in the dark as to how it was reached and is
1. Convicting the accused JERRY FERRER of the crime of Rape precisely prejudicial to the losing party, who is unable to pinpoint
committed upon the person of his stepdaughter Mary Grace Belonio the possible errors of the court for review by a higher tribunal. More
who was only 11 years old at the time of the commission of said than that, the requirement is an assurance to the parties that, in
crime. reaching judgment, the judge did so through the processes of legal
2. Sentencing the said accused JERRY FERRER of the supreme reasoning. It is, thus, a safeguard against the impetuosity of the
penalty of death under Art. 335 of the Revised Penal Code. judge, preventing him from deciding ipse dixit. Vouchsafed neither
3. Ordering the accused JERRY FERRER to pay to the victim the the sword nor the purse by the Constitution but nonetheless vested
sum of One hundred thousand (P100,000) Pesos in moral damages; with the sovereign prerogative of passing judgment on the life,
liberty or property of his fellowmen, the judge must ultimately
depend on the power of reason for sustained public confidence in the motion for re-investigation, on the arraignment, on the pre-trial
the justness of his decision. and all the subsequent hearings of the case against appellant. He did
Thus the Court has struck down as void, decisions of lower courts not inform the court of his whereabouts. For all intents, purposes
and even of the Court of Appeals whose careless disregard of the and appearances, Atty. Macabanding abandoned his client, an
constitutional behest exposed their sometimes cavalier attitude not accused who stands to face the death penalty.
only to their magisterial responsibilities but likewise to their avowed True, Atty. Macabanding was substituted by Atty. Avecina Alonto at
fealty to the Constitution. the hearings when the prosecution presented its witnesses. But
Thus, we nullified or deemed to have failed to comply with Section Atty. Alonto professed that she was merely representing Atty.
14, Article VIII of the Constitution, a decision, resolution or order Macabanding. She even claimed that she has to consult Atty.
which: contained no analysis of the evidence of the parties nor Macabanding when she reserved her right to cross-examine
reference to any legal basis in reaching its conclusions; contained prosecution witnesses Mary Grace Belonio, Felipa Belonio and
nothing more than a summary of the testimonies of the witnesses of Glorita Tugade.[42] But neither Atty. Alonto nor Atty. Macabanding
both parties; convicted the accused of libel but failed to cite any cross-examined these witnesses upon whose testimonies hinged the
legal authority or principle to support conclusions that the letter in determination of whether the incidents of rape were indeed
question was libelous; consisted merely of one (1) paragraph with committed. While Atty. Alonto cross-examined the physician who
mostly sweeping generalizations and failed to support its conclusion conducted the medical examination on Mary Grace, said testimony
of parricide; consisted of five (5) pages, three (3) pages of which was at best corroborative. Further, a reading of the transcript of
were quotations from the labor arbiters decision including the stenographic notes revealed her overall lackadaisical performance as
dispositive portion and barely a page (two [2] short paragraphs of defense counsel.
two [2] sentences each) of its own discussion or reasoning; was Indeed, the right to confrontation, of cross-examination and
merely based on the findings of another court sans transcript of presentation of evidence may be waived expressly or impliedly by
stenographic notes; or failed to explain the factual and legal bases conduct amounting to a renunciation of such right; [43] the
for the award of moral damages. circumstances of the case at bar, however, highlight a transgression
Tested against these standards, we withhold approbation on the of the more fundamental right to counsel.
trial courts decision at bar for its palpable failure to comply with the The presence and participation of counsel in the defense of an
constitutional and legal mandates. Except for the narration of the accused in criminal proceedings should never be taken lightly. Chief
prosecutions evidence, there is nothing to indicate the reason for Justice Moran in People vs. Holgado,[44] explained:
the decision. There is no evaluation of the evidence and no reason In criminal cases there can be no fair hearing unless the accused be
given why it concluded that said evidence proved the guilt of the given an opportunity to be heard by counsel. The right to be heard
accused beyond reasonable doubt. The trial courts decision is brief, would be of little avail if it does not include the right to be heard by
starkly hallow, vacuous in its content and trite in its form. It counsel. Even the most intelligent or educated man may have no
achieved nothing and attempted at nothing. Its inadequacy speaks skill in the science of the law, particularly in the rules of procedure,
for itself. and, without counsel, he may be convicted not because he is guilty
Inevitably, we agree with the appellant that the trial court but because he does not know how to establish his innocence. And
decision res ipsa loquitor violates both Section 14, Article VIII of the this can happen more easily to persons who are ignorant or
Constitution and Section 1, Rule 120 of the Rules of Court. uneducated. It is for this reason that the right to be assisted by
While this transgression by itself justifies the remand of the case to counsel is deemed so important that it has become a constitutional
the trial court, there is another and equally important reason why right and it so implemented that under our rules of procedure it is
we are bent on taking that course of action. Appellant was deprived not enough for the Court to apprise an accused of his right to have
of his constitutional right to counsel as enshrined in Section 14, an attorney, it is not enough to ask him whether he desires the aid
Article III, of the 1987 Constitution, viz.: of an attorney, but it is essential that the court should assign one de
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent oficio for him if he so desires and he is poor or grant him a
until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by reasonable time to procure an attorney of his own.
himself and counsel, to be informed of the nature and cause of the In the oft-cited William v. Kaiser,[45] the United States Supreme
accusation against him, to have a speedy, impartial, and public trial, Court, through Justice Douglas, has rightly observed that the
to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process accused needs the aid of counsel lest he be the victim of overzealous
to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of prosecutors, of the laws complexity or of his own ignorance or
evidence in his behalf. However, after arraignment, trial may bewilderment. An accused must be given the right to be represented
proceed notwithstanding the absence of the accused provided that by counsel for, unless so represented, there is great danger that any
he has been duly notified and his failure to appear is unjustifiable. defense presented in his behalf would be inadequate considering
This constitutional requirement is also reflected in the Revised Rules the legal perquisites and skills needed in the court proceedings. The
of Criminal Procedure[35] particularly in Section 1(c), Rule 115 right to counsel proceeds from the fundamental principle of due
thereof, which provides that it is a right of the accused at the trial to process which basically means that a person must be heard before
be present and defend in person and by counsel at every stage of being condemned. The due process requirement is a part of a
the proceedings, from the arraignment to the promulgation of the persons basic rights; it is not a mere formality that may be
judgment. dispensed with or performed perfunctorily.[46]
We find and must hold, most regrettably, that appellant Jerry Ferrer In the end, even Atty. Alonto followed Atty. Macabanding in his
was not properly and effectively accorded the right to counsel. The uncaring, insensitive and cavalier attitude towards an accused who
records reveal that appellants counsel of record was PAOs Atty. had placed his life in their hands and whose protection and defense
Mohd Hassan Macabanding. The earliest pleading he filed and they have sworn to do. The notices sent to both Atty. Alonto and
signed as counsel was a Motion for Re-investigation for which he Atty. Macabanding on the succeeding hearings during which it
requested the Regional Trial Court of Marawi City to set the hearing should have been their turn as defense counsels to present evidence
thereof on 12 March 1998 at 9:00 p.m.[36] The hearing did take were received by the PAO as shown by the notations made by the
place on 13 April 1998 with notices to the provincial prosecutor and process server on the back of the return of service. But, the records
Atty. Macabanding. A notation was made on the back of the notice glaringly show that they neither move on for postponement of these
by the process server that Atty. Macabanding was served on 13 April hearings nor explained to the court their inability to present
1998 and that return was made on the same day.[37] He did not evidence.
appear at the scheduled hearing; hence, the trial court denied the It may be stressed that the right to counsel must be more than just
motion in its order of 13 April 1998. The trial court thereafter sent the presence of a lawyer in the courtroom or the mere propounding
Atty. Macabanding a notice for the arraignment of of standard questions and objections. The right to counsel means
appellant.[38] Again, Atty. Macabanding did not appear, but that the accused is amply accorded legal assistance extended by a
appellant was assisted by another PAO lawyer, Atty. Wenida counsel who commits himself to the cause for the defense and acts
Papandayan.[39] accordingly. The right assumes an active involvement by the lawyer
Atty. Macabanding then filed an Urgent Motion for the Medical in the proceedings, particularly at the trial of the case, his bearing
Treatment of the Accused.[40] As already narrated, the motion constantly in mind of the basic rights of the accused, his being well-
was granted by the trial court in its order of 22 June 1998 which also versed on the case, and his knowing the fundamental procedures,
set the pre-trial on 21 July 1998. But, Atty. Macabanding filed a essential laws and existing jurisprudence. The right of an accused to
motion to postpone the pre-trial because allegedly he was counsel finds substance in the performance by the lawyer of his
subpoenaed to appear on the same date before the sworn duty of fidelity to his client. Tersely put, it means an efficient
COMELEC.[41] This was the last act and appearance of Atty. and truly decisive legal assistance and not a simple perfunctory
Macabanding. He did not appear at the hearing he requested for representation.[47]
No lawyer is to be excused from this responsibility except only for Constitution and Rule 120, Section 1 of the Rules of Court (Revised
the most compelling and cogent reasons. While Atty. Alonto and Rules of Criminal Procedure as amended).
Atty. Macabanding faced the daunting task of defending an accused Atty. Mohd Hassan Macabanding and Atty. Avecina Alonto of the
who had jumped bail, this unfortunate development is not a Public Attorneys Office of Marawi City are hereby ADMONISHED for
justification to excuse themselves from giving their hearts and souls having fallen short of their responsibility as officers of the court and
to the latters defense. The exercise of their duties as counsel de as members of the Bar and WARNED that any similar infraction shall
oficio meant rendering full meaning and reality to the constitutional be dealt with most severely.
precepts protecting the rights of the accused. A counsel de oficio is
expected to do his utmost. A mere pro-forma appointment of a
counsel de oficio who fails to genuinely protect the interests of the -------CONSTI------------------------------------------------
accused merits disapprobation. The exacting demands expected of a
lawyer should be no less than stringent when one is a counsel de Petitioner:
oficio. He must take the case not as a burden but as an opportunity Robert Tobias Ramon Guzman, Terry Lim, Gregorio Gabriel and
to assist in the proper dispensation of justice.[48] Roberto R.Tobias, Jr.
In People v. Sevilleno,[49] we have made known our displeasure Respondents:
over the manner by which three PAO lawyers discharged their Hon City Mayor Benjamin Abalos,
duties. All three displayed manifest disinterest on the plight of their City Treasurer William Marcelino and theSangguniang Panlungsod,
client. We stressed that Canon 18 of the Code of Professional all of the city of Mandaluyong
Responsibility requires every lawyer to serve his client with utmost Facts:
dedication, competence and diligence. He must not neglect a legal As taxpayers and residents of mandaluyong, petitioners assail the c
matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in this regard renders onstitutionality of RA No.7675 otherwise known as An Act
him administratively liable. In said case, the defense lawyers did Converting the Municipality of Mandaluyong into a HighlyUrbanized
not protect, much less uphold, the fundamental rights of the City to be known as City of Mandaluyong. Prior to the enactment of
accused. Instead, they haphazardly performed their function as the
counsel de oficio to the detriment and prejudice of the accused, statute,Mandaluyong and San Juan belonged to one legislative distri
however guilty he might have been found to be after ct. Hon Congressionalrepresentative Hon. Ronaldo Zamora sponsore
trial. Inevitably, we advised them to adhere closely and faithfully to d the bill and signed by pres. Fidel Ramosbecoming RA No. 7675. A
the tenets espoused in the Code of Professional Responsibility; plebiscite was held on April 10, 1994. The turnout of the
otherwise, commission of any similar act in the future will be plebiscitewas only 14.41% of the voting population: 18, 621 voted
severely sanctioned. yes while 7,911 voted no. Thus, RA7675 was deemed ratified
We are making a similar advice to Atty. Alonto and Atty. and in effect.
Macabanding. Their deportment evinces an apparent disregard of Issue:
their fidelity to their oaths as lawyers and responsibility as officers of 1)
the court to aid in the administration and dispensation of RA No 7675 specifically Art VIII Sec 49 thereof is unconstitutional for
justice.[50] After all, the constitutional right of the accused to be being violative of three specific provisions of the Constitution. First
heard in his defense is inviolable. If no court of justice under our objection is that it contravenes theone-subject-one bill rule as
system of government has the power to deprive him of that right, enunciated in Art VI section 26(1) of the Constitution (everybill
then neither can lawyers appointed to defend him.[51] passed by the Congress shall embrace only one subject which shall
As we have stressed in a number of decisions, we are not espousing be expressed inthe title thereof.) this section embraces
a "soft, bended, approach" to heinous crimes. Our unyielding stance two principal subjects 1) the conversion
is dictated by the policy that the State should not be given the of Mandaluyong into a HUC and 2) the division of the congressional
license to kill without the final determination of this Highest Tribunal district of SanJuan/Mandaluyong into two separate
whose collective wisdom is the last, effective hedge against an districts.2)Second and third objection involve Art VI, Sec 5 (1) and (4)
erroneous judgment of a one-judge trial court. This enlightened of the COnsti. Petitionersargue that division of San Juan and
policy ought to continue as our beacon light for the taking of life Mandaluyong into separate congressional districtshas resulted in
ends all rights, a matter of societal value that transcends the increase in the composition of the House of representatives and that
personal interest of a convict. The importance of this societal value itpreempts the right of Congress to reapportion legislatives districts
should not be blurred by the escape of a convict which is a problem pursuant to Sec 5(4).
of law enforcement. Neither should we be moved alone by the Held:
outrage of the public in the multiplication of heinous crimes for our Contentions are devoid of merit. The petition is DISMISED for lack of
decisions should not be directed by the changing winds of the social merit.
weather. Let us not for a moment forget that an accused does not Ratio:
cease to have rights just because of his conviction. This principle is 1)The creation of separate congressional district for Mandaluyong is
implicit in our Constitution which recognizes that an accused, even if not a subjectseparate and distinct from the subject of conversion
he belongs to a minority of one has the right to be right, while the into a HUC but is a natural andlogical consequence of its conversion
majority, even if overwhelming, has no right to be wrong.[52] into a HUC. A liberal construction of the one title-one subject rule,
The requirement that we pass upon on automatic review a case in it should be given a practical rather than a technical construction.
which capital punishment has been imposed by the sentence of the Itshould be sufficient compliance with such requirement is the title
trial court is one having for its object simply and solely the expresses the generalsubject and all the provisions germane to that
protection of the accused. Having received the supreme penalty general subject
which the law imposes, he is entitled under that law to have the 2)
sentence and all the facts and circumstances upon which it is Statutory conversion of Mandaluyong into HUC with a population of
founded placed before the Highest Tribunal of the land to the end not less than 250thousand indubitably ordains compliance with the
that its justice and legality may be clearly and conclusively one city, one representative proviso inthe constitutionthe said Act
determined. Such procedure is merciful. It gives a second chance enjoys the presumption of having passed through
for life. Neither the courts nor the accused can waive it. It is a theregular congressional processes including due consideration by t
positive provision of the law that brooks no interference and he members of
tolerates no evasion.[53] Congress of the minimum requirements for the establishment of sep
Ultimately, we see no other choice but to order the remand of the arate legislativedistricts.3)The present limit of 250 members is not a
case to the court a quo for continuation of the trial. bsolute. The phrase unless otherwiseprovided by law indicates
WHEREFORE, the decision dated 28 November 2000 of the Regional that composition of Congress may be increased if
Trial Court of Lanao del Sur, Branch 9, Marawi City, in Criminal Case Congressitself so mandates through a legislative enactment
No. 2969-98, finding accused-appellant JERRY FERRER guilty beyond therefore increase is notunconstitutional
reasonable doubt of the crime of rape is hereby SET ASIDE. The 4)
records are hereby REMANDED to said court for further proceedings Congress drafted and deliberated upon and enacted the assailed
and for the proper rendition of judgment in accordance with Section law- Congress cannotpossibly preempt itself on a right which
14, Article VIII of the Constitution and Section 1, Rule 120 of the pertains to itself (reapportioning of legislativedistricts5)The principal
Rules of Court. subject involved in the plebiscite was the conversion of
Judge Abdulhakim Amer R. Ibrahim is hereby ADMONISHED to Mandaluyong into ahighly urbanized citythe inhabitants of san
observe faithfully the provisions of Article VIII, Section 14 of the juan were properly excluded from the saidplebiscite as they had
nothing to do with the change of status of mandaluyong6)On the
issue of GERRYMANDERING: (practice of creating legislative districts the petitioners is a resident of Taguig and are not the proper parties
to favor aparticular candidate or party)rep Ronald Zamora, author to raise this abstract issue.
of the law is the incumbentrepresentative of the former San Section 5(1), Article VI of the Constitution clearly provides that the
Juan/mandaluyong district-by dividing the district hisconstituency Congress may be comprised of not more than two hundred fifty
has in fact been diminished and not favorable to him members, unless otherwise provided by law. As thus worded, the
MARIANO VS COMELEC Constitution did not preclude Congress from increasing its
FACTS: membership by passing a law, other than a general reapportionment
Juanito Mariano, a resident of Makati, along with residents of Taguig of the law.
suing as taxpayers, assail Sections 2, 51 and 52 of R.A. No. 7854 (An REPUBLIC ACT No. 7941
Act Converting the Municipality of Makati into a Highly Urbanized AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE ELECTION OF PARTY-LIST
City to be known as the City of Makati). Another petition which REPRESENTATIVES THROUGH THE PARTY-LIST SYSTEM, AND
contends the unconstitutionality of R.A. No. 7854 was also filed by APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR
John H. Osmena as a senator, taxpayer and concerned citizen. Section 1. Title. This Act shall be known as the "Party-List System
ISSUES: Act."
Whether Section 2 of R.A. No. 7854 delineated the land areas of the Section 2. Declaration of part y. The State shall promote
proposed city of Makati violating sections 7 and 450 of the Local proportional representation in the election of representatives to the
Government Code on specifying metes and bounds with technical House of Representatives through a party-list system of registered
descriptions national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions
Whether Section 51, Article X of R.A. No. 7854 collides with Section thereof, which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized
8, Article X and Section 7, Article VI of the Constitution stressing and under-represented sectors, organizations and parties, and who
that they new citys acquisition of a new corporate existence will lack well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute
allow the incumbent mayor to extend his term to more than two to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will
executive terms as allowed by the Constitution benefit the nation as a whole, to become members of the House of
Whether the addition of another legislative district in Makati is Representatives. Towards this end, the State shall develop and
unconstitutional as the reapportionment cannot be made by a guarantee a full, free and open party system in order to attain the
special law broadcast possible representation of party, sectoral or group
HELD/RULING: interests in the House of Representatives by enhancing their
Section 2 of R.A. No. 7854 states that: chances to compete for and win seats in the legislature, and shall
Sec. 2. The City of Makati. The Municipality of Makati shall be provide the simplest scheme possible.
converted into a highly urbanized city to be known as the City of Section 3. Definition of Terms. (a) The party-list system is a
Makati, hereinafter referred to as the City, which shall comprise the mechanism of proportional representation in the election of
present territory of the Municipality of Makati in Metropolitan representatives to the House of Representatives from national,
Manila Area over which it has jurisdiction bounded on the northeast regional and sectoral parties or organizations or coalitions thereof
by Pasig River and beyond by the City of Mandaluyong and the registered with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).
Municipality of Pasig; on the southeast by the municipalities of Component parties or organizations of a coalition may participate
Pateros and Taguig; on the southwest by the City of Pasay and the independently provided the coalition of which they form part does
Municipality of Taguig; and, on the northwest, by the City of Manila. not participate in the party-list system.
Emphasis has been provided in the provision under dispute. Said (b) A party means either a political party or a sectoral party or a
delineation did not change even by an inch the land area previously coalition of parties.
covered by Makati as a municipality. It must be noted that the (c) A political party refers to an organized group of citizens
requirement of metes and bounds was meant merely as a tool in the advocating an ideology or platform, principles and policies for the
establishment of LGUs. It is not an end in itself. general conduct of government and which, as the most immediate
Furthermore, at the time of consideration or R.A. No. 7854, the means of securing their adoption, regularly nominates and supports
territorial dispute between the municipalities of Makati and Taguig certain of its leaders and members as candidates for public office.
over Fort Bonifacio was under court litigation. Out of becoming a It is a national party when its constituency is spread over the
sense of respect to co-equal department of government, legislators geographical territory of at least a majority of the regions. It is a
felt that the dispute should be left to the courts to decide. regional party when its constituency is spread over the geographical
Section 51 of R.A. No. 7854 provides that: territory of at least a majority of the cities and provinces comprising
Sec. 51. Officials of the City of Makati. The represent elective the region.
officials of the Municipality of Makati shall continue as the officials (d) A sectoral party refers to an organized group of citizens
of the City of Makati and shall exercise their powers and functions belonging to any of the sectors enumerated in Section 5 hereof
until such time that a new election is held and the duly elected whose principal advocacy pertains to the special interest and
officials shall have already qualified and assume their concerns of their sector,
offices: Provided, The new city will acquire a new corporate (e) A sectoral organization refers to a group of citizens or a coalition
existence. The appointive officials and employees of the City shall of groups of citizens who share similar physical attributes or
likewise continues exercising their functions and duties and they characteristics, employment, interests or concerns.
shall be automatically absorbed by the city government of the City (f) A coalition refers to an aggrupation of duly registered national,
of Makati. regional, sectoral parties or organizations for political and/or
Section 8, Article X and section 7, Article VI of the Constitution election purposes.
provide the following: Section 4. Manifestation to Participate in the Party-List System. Any
Sec. 8. The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay party, organization, or coalition already registered with the
officials, which shall be determined by law, shall be three years Commission need not register anew. However, such party,
and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive organization, or coalition shall file with the Commission, not later
terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time than ninety (90) days before the election, a manifestation of its
shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of his desire to participate in the party-list system.
service for the full term for which he was elected. Section 5. Registration. Any organized group of persons may register
xxx xxx xxx as a party, organization or coalition for purposes of the party-list
Sec. 7. The Members of the House of Representatives shall be system by filing with the COMELEC not later than ninety (90) days
elected for a term of three years which shall begin, unless otherwise before the election a petition verified by its president or secretary
provided by law, at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following stating its desire to participate in the party-list system as a national,
their election. regional or sectoral party or organization or a coalition of such
No Member of the House of Representatives shall serve for more parties or organizations, attaching thereto its constitution, by-laws,
than three consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office platform or program of government, list of officers, coalition
for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in agreement and other relevant information as the COMELEC may
the continuity of his service for the full term for which he was require: Provided, That the sectors shall include labor, peasant,
elected. fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly,
This challenge on the controversy cannot be entertained as the handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and
premise on the issue is on the occurrence of many contingent professionals.
events. Considering that these events may or may not happen, The COMELEC shall publish the petition in at least two (2) national
petitioners merely pose a hypothetical issue which has yet to ripen newspapers of general circulation.
to an actual case or controversy. Moreover, only Mariano among
The COMELEC shall, after due notice and hearing, resolve the In determining the allocation of seats for the second vote, the
petition within fifteen (15) days from the date it was submitted for following procedure shall be observed:
decision but in no case not later than sixty (60) days before election. (a) The parties, organizations, and coalitions shall be ranked from
Section 6. Refusal and/or Cancellation of Registration. The COMELEC the highest to the lowest based on the number of votes they
may, motu propio or upon verified complaint of any interested garnered during the elections.
party, refuse or cancel, after due notice and hearing, the registration (b) The parties, organizations, and coalitions receiving at least two
of any national, regional or sectoral party, organization or coalition percent (2%) of the total votes cast for the party-list system shall be
on any of the following grounds: entitled to one seat each: Provided, That those garnering more than
(1) It is a religious sect or denomination, organization or association, two percent (2%) of the votes shall be entitled to additional seats in
organized for religious purposes; proportion to their total number of votes : Provided, finally, That
(2) It advocates violence or unlawful means to seek its goal; each party, organization, or coalition shall be entitled to not more
(3) It is a foreign party or organization; than three (3) seats.
(4) It is receiving support from any foreign government, foreign Section 12. Procedure in Allocating Seats for Party-List
political party, foundation, organization, whether directly or through Representatives. The COMELEC shall tally all the votes for the
any of its officers or members or indirectly through third parties for parties, organizations, or coalitions on a nationwide basis, rank them
partisan election purposes; according to the number of votes received and allocate party-list
(5) It violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations representatives proportionately according to the percentage of
relating to elections; votes obtained by each party, organization, or coalition as against
(6) It declares untruthful statements in its petition; the total nationwide votes cast for the party-list system.
(7) It has ceased to exist for at least one (1) year; or Section 13. How Party-List Representatives are Chosen. Party-list
(8) It fails to participate in the last two (2) preceding elections or fails representatives shall be proclaimed by the COMELEC based on the
to obtain at least two per centum (2%) of the votes cast under the list of names submitted by the respective parties, organizations, or
party-list system in the two (2) preceding elections for the coalitions to the COMELEC according to their ranking in said list.
constituency in which it has registered. Section 14. Term of Office. Party-list representatives shall be elected
Section 7. Certified List of Registered Parties. The COMELEC shall, for a term of three (3) years which shall begin, unless otherwise
not later than sixty (60) days before election, prepare a certified list provided by law, at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following
of national, regional, or sectoral parties, organizations or coalitions their election. No party-list representatives shall serve for more than
which have applied or who have manifested their desire to three (3) consecutive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for
participate under the party-list system and distribute copies thereof any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the
to all precincts for posting in the polling places on election day. The continuity his service for the full term for which he was elected.
names of the part y-list nominees shall not be shown on the certified Section 15. Change of Affiliation; Effect. Any elected party-list
list. representative who changes his political party or sectoral affiliation
Section 8. Nomination of Party-List Representatives. Each registered during his term of office shall forfeit his seat: Provided, That if he
party, organization or coalition shall submit to the COMELEC not changes his political party or sectoral affiliation within six (6) months
later than forty-five (45) days before the election a list of names, not before an election, he shall not be eligible for nomination as party-
less than five (5), from which party-list representatives shall be list representative under his new party or organization.
chosen in case it obtains the required number of votes. Section 16. Vacancy. In case of vacancy in the seats reserved for
A person may be nominated in one (1) list only. Only persons who party-list representatives, the vacancy shall be automatically filled
have given their consent in writing may be named in the list. The list by the next representative from the list of nominees in the order
shall not include any candidate for any elective office or a person submitted to the COMELEC by the same party, organization, or
who has lost his bid for an elective office in the immediately coalition, who shall serve for the unexpired term. If the list is
preceding election. No change of names or alteration of the order of exhausted, the party, organization coalition concerned shall submit
nominees shall be allowed after the same shall have been submitted additional nominees.
to the COMELEC except in cases where the nominee dies, or Section 17. Rights of Party-List Representatives. Party-List
withdraws in writing his nomination, becomes incapacitated in Representatives shall be entitled to the same salaries and
which case the name of the substitute nominee shall be placed last emoluments as regular members of the House of Representatives.
in the list. Incumbent sectoral representatives in the House of Section 18. Rules and Regulations. The COMELEC shall promulgate
Representatives who are nominated in the party-list system shall not the necessary rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out
be considered resigned. the purposes of this Act.
Section 9. Qualifications of Party-List Nominees. No person shall be Section 19. Appropriations. The amount necessary for the
nominated as party-list representative unless he is a natural-born implementation of this Act shall be provided in the regular
citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, a resident of the appropriations for the Commission on Elections starting fiscal year
Philippines for a period of not less than one (1)year immediately 1996 under the General Appropriations Act.
preceding the day of the election, able to read and write, a bona fide Starting 1995, the COMELEC is hereby authorized to utilize savings
member of the party or organization which he seeks to represent for and other available funds for purposes of its information campaign
at least ninety (90) days preceding the day of the election, and is at on the party-list system.
least twenty-five (25) years of age on the day of the election. Section 20. Separability Clause. If any part of this Act is held invalid
In case of a nominee of the youth sector, he must at least be twenty- or unconstitutional, the other parts or provisions thereof shall
five (25) but not more than thirty (30) years of age on the day of the remain valid and effective.
election. Any youth sectoral representative who attains the age of Section 21. Repealing Clause. All laws, decrees, executive orders,
thirty (30) during his term shall be allowed to continue in office until rules and regulations, or parts thereof, inconsistent with the
the expiration of his term. provisions of this Act are hereby repealed.
Section 10. Manner of Voting. Every voter shall be entitled to two (2) Section 22. Effectivity. This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days
votes: the first is a vote for candidate for member of the House of after its publication in a newspaper of general circulation.
Representatives in his legislative district, and the second, a vote for Approved, March 3, 1995.
the party, organizations, or coalition he wants represented in the ROMUALDEZ MARCOS VS COMELEC
house of Representatives: Provided, That a vote cast for a party, FACTS:
sectoral organization, or coalition not entitled to be voted for shall
not be counted: Provided, finally, That the first election under the Imelda, a little over 8 years old, in or about 1938, established her
party-list system shall be held in May 1998. domicile in Tacloban, Leyte where she studied and graduated high
The COMELEC shall undertake the necessary information campaign school in the Holy Infant Academy from 1938 to 1949. She then
for purposes of educating the electorate on the matter of the party- pursued her college degree, education, in St. Pauls College now
list system. Divine Word University also in Tacloban. Subsequently, she taught
Section 11. Number of Party-List Representatives. The party-list in Leyte Chinese School still in Tacloban. She went to manila during
representatives shall constitute twenty per centum (20%) of the 1952 to work with her cousin, the late speaker Daniel Romualdez in
total number of the members of the House of Representatives his office in the House of Representatives. In 1954, she married late
including those under the party-list. President Ferdinand Marcos when he was still a Congressman of
For purposes of the May 1998 elections, the first five (5) major Ilocos Norte and was registered there as a voter. When Pres.
political parties on the basis of party representation in the House of Marcos was elected as Senator in 1959, they lived together in San
Representatives at the start of the Tenth Congress of the Philippines Juan, Rizal where she registered as a voter. In 1965, when Marcos
shall not be entitled to participate in the party-list system. won presidency, they lived in Malacanang Palace and registered as a
voter in San Miguel Manila. She served as member of the Batasang Move Makati, a registered political party, and Mateo Bedon,
Pambansa and Governor of Metro Manila during 1978. Chairman of LAKAS-NUCD-UMDP of Barangay Cembo, Makati City,
filed a petition to disqualify Aquino on the ground that the latter
Imelda Romualdez-Marcos was running for the position of lacked the residence qualification as a candidate for congressman
Representative of the First District of Leyte for the 1995 Elections. which under Section 6, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, should be
Cirilo Roy Montejo, the incumbent Representative of the First for a period not less than one year preceding the (May 8, 1995) day
District of Leyte and also a candidate for the same position, filed a of the election.
Petition for Cancellation and Disqualification" with the Commission Faced with a petition for disqualification, Aquino amended the entry
on Elections alleging that petitioner did not meet the constitutional on his residency in his certificate of candidacy to 1 year and 13 days.
requirement for residency. The petitioner, in an honest The Commission on Elections passed a resolution that dismissed the
misrepresentation, wrote seven months under residency, which she petition on May 6 and allowed Aquino to run in the election of 8
sought to rectify by adding the words "since childhood" in her May. Aquino, with 38,547 votes, won against Augusto Syjuco with
Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy filed on March 29, 35,910 votes.
1995 and that "she has always maintained Tacloban City as her Move Makati filed a motion of reconsideration with the Comelec, to
domicile or residence. She arrived at the seven months residency which, on May 15, the latter acted with an order suspending the
due to the fact that she became a resident of the Municipality of proclamation of Aquino until the Commission resolved the issue. On
Tolosa in said months. 2 June, the Commission on Elections found Aquino ineligible and
disqualified for the elective office for lack of
ISSUE: Whether petitioner has satisfied the 1year residency constitutional qualification of residence.
requirement to be eligible in running as representative of the First Aquino then filed a Petition of Certiorari assailing the May 15 and
District of Leyte. June 2 orders.

HELD: Issue:
1. Whether residency in the certificate of candidacy actually
Residence is used synonymously with domicile for election connotes domicile to warrant the disqualification of Aquino from
purposes. The court are in favor of a conclusion supporting the position in the electoral district.
petitoners claim of legal residence or domicile in the First District of 2. WON it is proven that Aquino has established domicile of choice
Leyte despite her own declaration of 7 months residency in the and not just residence (not in the sense of the COC)in the district he
district for the following reasons: was running in.

1. A minor follows domicile of her parents. Tacloban became Held:


Imeldas domicile of origin by operation of law when her father 1. Yes, The term residence has always been understood as
brought them to Leyte; synonymous with domicile not only under the
previous constitutions but also under the 1987 Constitution. The
2. Domicile of origin is only lost when there is actual removal or Court cited the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission
change of domicile, a bona fide intention of abandoning the former wherein this principle was applied.
residence and establishing a new one, and acts which correspond Mr. Nolledo:
with the purpose. In the absence and concurrence of all these, I remember that in the 1971 Constitutional Convention, there was
domicile of origin should be deemed to continue. an attempt to require residence in the place not less than one year
immediately preceding the day of elections.
3. A wife does not automatically gain the husbands domicile
because the term residence in Civil Law does not mean the same What is the Committees concept of residence for the legislature? Is
thing in Political Law. When Imelda married late President Marcos it actual residence or is it the concept of domicile or constructive
in 1954, she kept her domicile of origin and merely gained a new residence?
home and not domicilium necessarium. Mr. Davide:
This is in the district, for a period of not less than one year preceding
4. Assuming that Imelda gained a new domicile after her marriage the day of election. This was in effect lifted from the 1973
and acquired right to choose a new one only after the death of Pres. constituition, the interpretation given to it was domicile.
Marcos, her actions upon returning to the country clearly indicated Mrs. Braid:
that she chose Tacloban, her domicile of origin, as her domicile of On section 7, page2, Noledo has raised the same point that resident
choice. To add, petitioner even obtained her residence certificate in has been interpreted at times as a matter of intention rather than
1992 in Tacloban, Leyte while living in her brothers house, an act, actual residence.
which supports the domiciliary intention clearly manifested. She
even kept close ties by establishing residences in Tacloban, Mr. De los Reyes
celebrating her birthdays and other important milestones. So we have to stick to the original concept that it should be by
domicile and not physical and actual residence.
WHEREFORE, having determined that petitioner possesses the Therefore, the framers intended the word residence to have the
necessary residence qualifications to run for a seat in the House of same meaning of domicile.
Representatives in the First District of Leyte, the COMELEC's The place where a party actually or constructively has his
questioned Resolutions dated April 24, May 7, May 11, and May 25, permanent home, where he, no matter where he may be found at
1995 are hereby SET ASIDE. Respondent COMELEC is hereby any given time, eventually intends to return and remain, i.e., his
directed to order the Provincial Board of Canvassers to proclaim domicile, is that to which the Constitution refers when it speaks of
petitioner as the duly elected Representative of the First District of residence for the purposes of election law.
Leyte. The purpose is to exclude strangers or newcomers unfamiliar with
Relevant Provisions: the conditions and needs of the community from taking advantage
Section 6, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution of favorable circumstances existing in that community
No person shall be a Member of the House of forelectoral gain.
Representatives unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines While there is nothing wrong with the purpose of establishing
and, on the day of the election, is at least twenty-five years of age, residence in a given area for meeting election law requirements, this
able to read and write, and, except the party-list representatives, a defeats the essence of representation, which is to place through
registered voter in the district in which he shall be elected, and a assent of voters those most cognizant and sensitive to the needs of a
resident thereof for a period of not less than one year immediately particular district, if a candidate falls short of the period of residency
preceding the day of the election. mandated by law for him to qualify.
Which brings us to the second issue.
Facts:
On 20 March 1995, Agapito A. Aquino, the petitioner, filed his 2. No, Aquino has not established domicile of choice in
Certificate of Candidacy for the position of Representative for the the district he was running in.
new (remember: newly created) Second Legislative District of The SC agreed with the Comelecs contention that Aquino should
Makati City. In his certificate of candidacy, Aquino stated that he prove that he established a domicile of choice and not just
was a resident of the aforementioned district (284 Amapola Cor. residence.
Adalla Sts., Palm Village, Makati) for 10 months. The Constitution requires a person running for a post in the HR one
year of residency prior to the elections in the district in which he petitioners, Sixto Balinquit and Antonio Co and the private
seeks election to . respondent, Jose Ong, Jr. RespondentOng was proclaimed the duly
Aquinos certificate of candidacy in a previous (May 11, 1992) elected representative of the second district of Northern Samar. The
election indicates that he was a resident and a registered voter of petitioners filed election protests on the grounds that Jose Ong, Jr. is
San Jose, Concepcion, Tarlac for more than 52 years prior to that not a natural born citizen of thePhilippines and not a resident of the
election. His birth certificate indicated that Conception as his second district of Northern Samar.
birthplace and his COC also showed him to be a registered voter of Issue:
the same district. Thus his domicile of origin (obviously, choice as Whether or not Jose Ong, Jr. is a citizen of the Philippines.
well) up to the filing of his COC was in Conception, Tarlac. Held:
Aquinos connection to the new Second District of Makati City is an Yes. In the year 1895, the private respondents grandfather,
alleged lease agreement of a condominium unit in the area. The Ong Te, arrived in the Philippines fromChina and established his
intention not to establish a permanent home in Makati City is residence in the municipality of Laoang, Samar. The father of
evident in his leasing a condominium unit instead of buying one. the private respondent, Jose Ong Chuan was born in China in 1905
The short length of time he claims to be a resident of Makati (and but was brought by Ong Te to Samar in the year 1915, he filed
the fact of his stated domicile in Tarlac and his claims of other withthe court an application for naturalization and was declared a
residences in Metro Manila) indicate that his sole purpose in Filipino citizen.In 1984, the private respondent married a Filipina
transferring his physical residence is not to acquire a new, residence named Desiree Lim. For the elections of 1984 and1986, Jose Ong, Jr.
or domicile but only to qualify as a candidate for Representative of registered himself as a voter of Laoang, Samar, and voted there
the Second District of Makati City. during those elections.Under the 1973 Constitution, those born of
Aquinos assertion that he has transferred his domicile from Tarlac Filipino fathers and those born of Filipino mothers with analien
to Makati is a bare assertion which is hardly supported by the facts father were placed on equal footing. They were both considered as
in the case at bench. To successfully effect a change of domicile, natural born citizens. Besides,
petitioner must prove an actual removal or an actual change of privaterespondent did more than merely exercise his
domicile, a bona fide intention of abandoning the former place of right of suffrage. He has established his life here in thePhilippines.On
residence and establishing a new one and definite acts which the issue of residence, it is not required that a person should have a
correspond with the purpose. house in order to establish hisresidence and domicile. It is enough
Aquino was thus rightfully disqualified by the Commission on that he should live in the municipality or in a rented house or in that
Elections due to his lack of one year residence in the district. of afriend or relative. To require him to own property in order to be
Decision eligible to run for Congress would be tantamountto a property
Instant petition dismissed. Order restraining respondent Comelec qualification. The Constitution only requires that the candidate meet
from proclaiming the candidate garnering the next highest number the age, citizenship, votingand residence requirements
of votes in the congressional elections of Second district of Makati LOZANILDA VS COMELEC
City made permanent. Facts:
Dicta:
I. Aquinos petition of certiorari contents were: Romeo Lonzanida was elected and had served as municipal mayor of
A. The Comelecs lack of jurisdiction to determine the San Antonio, Zambales in terms 1989-1992, 1992-1995 and 1995-
disqualification issue involving congressional candidates after the 1998. However, his proclamationrelative to the 1995 election was
May 8, 1995 elections, such determination reserved with thehouse protested and was eventually declared by the RTC and then by
of representatives electional tribunal COMELEC null and void on the ground of failure of elections.
B. Even if the Comelec has jurisdiction, the jurisdiction ceased in the
instant case after the elections and the remedy to the adverse On February 27, 1998, or about three months before the May 1998
parties lies in another forum which is the elections, Lonzanida vacated the mayoralty post in light of a
HR ElectoralTribunal consistent with Section 17, Article VI of the COMELEC order and writ of execution it issued. Juan
1987 Constitution. Alvez, Lonzanidas opponent assumed office for the remainder of
C. The COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion when it the term.
proceeded to promulagate its questioned decision despite its own
recognition that a threshold issue of jurisdiction has to be judiciously In the May 1998 elections, Lonzanida again filed his certificate of
reviewed again, assuming arguendo that the Comelec has candidacy. His opponent, Efren Muli, filed a petition for
jurisdiction disqualification on the ground that Lonzanida had already served
D. The Comelecs finding of non-compliance with the residency three consecutive terms in the same post. On May 13, 1998,
requirement of one year against the petitioner is contrary to petitioner Lonzanida was proclaimed winner.
evidence and to applicable laws and jurisprudence.
E. The Comelec erred in failing to appreciate the legal impossibility The COMELEC granted the petition for disqualification.
of enforcing the one year residency requirement of Congressional
candidates in newly created political districts which were only Petitioner Lonzanida challenged the validity of the COMELEC
existing for less than a year at the time of the election and barely resolution maintaining that he was duly elected mayor for only two
four months in the case of petitioners district in Makati. consecutive terms and that his assumption of office in 1995 cannot
F. The Comelec committed serious error amounting to lack of be counted as service of a term for the purpose of applying the
jurisdiction when it ordered the board of canvassers to determine three term limit for local government officials, because he was not
and proclaim the winner out of the remaining qualified candidates the duly elected mayor of San Antonio in the May 1995 elections. He
after the erroneous disqualification of the petitioner in disregard of also argued that the COMELEC ceased to have jurisdiction over the
the doctrine that a second place candidate or a person who was petition for disqualification after he was proclaimed winner in the
repudiated by the electorate is a loser and cannot be proclaimed as 1998 mayoral elections as the proper remedy is a petition for quo
substitute winner. warranto with the appropriate regional trial court under Rule 36 of
II. Modern day carpetbaggers cant be allowed to take advantage of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure.
the creation of new political districts by suddenly transplanting
themselves in such new districts, prejudicing their genuine residents The private respondent maintained that the petitioners assumption
in the process of taking advantage of existing conditions in these of office in 1995 should be considered as service of one full term
areas. because he discharged the duties of mayor for almost three years
III. according to COMELEC: The lease agreement was executed until March 1, 1998 or barely a few months before the next mayoral
mainly to support the one year residence requirement as a elections.
qualification for a candidate of the HR, by establishing a
commencement date of his residence. If a oerfectly valid lease Issues:
agreement cannot, by itself establish a domicile of choice, this
particular lease agreement cannot be better. 1. WON petitioners assumption of office as mayor of San Antonio
CO vs. HRETFacts: Zambales from May 1995 to 1998 may be considered as service of
The HRET declared that respondent Jose Ong, Jr. is a natural born one full term for the purpose of applying the three-term limit for
Filipino citizen and a resident of Laoang, Northern Samar for voting elective local government officials.
purposes. The congressional election for the second district of
NorthernSamar was held. Among the candidates who vied for the 2. WON COMELEC ceased to have jurisdiction over the petition for
position of representative in the second legislativedistrict are the disqualification after petitioner was proclaimed winner.
Sec. 6. Effects of disqualification Case.- any candidate who has
Held: been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted
for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any
1. NO. Two conditions for the application of the disqualification reason a candidate is not declared by final judgment before an
must concur: 1) that the official concerned has been elected for election to be disqualified and he is voted for and receives
three consecutive terms in the same local government post and 2) the winning number of votes in such election, thecourt
that he has fully served three consecutive terms. or commission shall continue with the trial and hearing of the
action,inquiry or protest and, upon motion of the complainant or
To recapitulate, the term limit for elective local officials must be any intervenor, may during the pendency thereof order the
taken to refer to the right to be elected as well as the right to serve suspension of the proclamationof such candidate whenever the
in the same elective position. Consequently, it is not enough that an evidence of his guilt is strong.
individual has served three consecutive terms in an elective local
office, he must also have been elected to the same position for the The clear legislative intent is that the COMELEC should continue the
same number of times before the disqualification can apply. trial and hearing of the disqualification case to its conclusion i.e.,
until judgment is rendered. The outright dismissal of the petition for
The two requisites for the application of the three term rule are disqualification filed before the election but which remained
absent. First, the petitioner cannot be considered as having been unresolved after the proclamation of the candidate sought to be
duly elected to the post in the May 1995 elections, and second, the disqualified will unduly reward the said candidate and may
petitioner did not fully serve the 1995-1998 mayoral term by reason encourage him to employ delaying tactics to impede the resolution
of involuntary relinquishment of office. of the petition until after he has been proclaimed.

After a re-appreciation and revision of the contested ballots the It must be emphasized that the purpose of a disqualification
COMELEC itself declared by final judgment that petitioner Lonzanida proceeding is to prevent the candidate from running or, if elected,
lost in the May 1995 mayoral elections and his from serving, or to prosecute him for violation of the election laws.
previous proclamation as winner was declared null and void. His Obviously, the fact that a candidate has been proclaimed elected
assumption of office as mayor cannot be deemed to have been by does not signify that his disqualification is deemed condoned and
reason of a valid election but by reason of a void proclamation. It may no longer be the subject of a separate investigation.(Lonzanida
has been repeatedly held by this court vs. Comelec, G.R. No. 135150. July 28, 1999)
that a proclamation subsequently declared void is no proclamationat JIMENEZ VS CABANGBANG
all and while a proclaimed candidate may assume office on the Cabangbang was a member of the House of Representatives and
strength of theproclamation of the Board of Canvassers he is only Chairman of its Committee on National Defense. On 14 Nov 1958,
a presumptive winner who assumes office subject to the final Cabangbang caused the publication of an open letter addressed to
outcome of the election protest. Lonzanida did not serve a term as the Philippines. Said letter alleged that there have been allegedly
mayor of San Antonio, Zambales from May 1995 to March 1998 three operational plans under serious study by some ambitious AFP
because he was not duly elected to the post; he merely assumed officers, with the aid of some civilian political strategists. That such
office as presumptive winner, which presumption was later strategists have had collusions with communists and that the
overturned by the COMELEC when it decided with finality that Secretary of Defense, Jesus Vargas, was planning a coup dtat to
Lonzanida lost in the May 1995 mayoral elections. place him as the president. The planners allegedly have Nicanor
Jimenez, among others, under their guise and that Jimenez et al may
Second, the petitioner cannot be deemed to have served the May or may not be aware that they are being used as a tool to meet such
1995 to 1998 term because he was ordered to vacate his post before an end. The letter was said to have been published in newspapers of
the expiration of the term. The respondents contention that the general circulation. Jimenez then filed a case against Cabangbang to
petitioner should be deemed to have served one full term from May collect a sum of damages against Cabangbang alleging that
1995-1998 because he served the greater portion of that term has Cabangbangs statement is libelous. Cabangbang petitioned for the
no legal basis to support it; it disregards the second requisite for the case to be dismissed because he said that as a member of the HOR
application of the disqualification, i.e., that he has fully served three he is immune from suit and that he is covered by the privileged
consecutive terms. The second sentence of the constitutional communication rule and that the said letter is not even libelous.
provision under scrutiny states, Voluntary renunciation of office for ISSUE: Whether or not the open letter is covered by privilege
any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the communication endowed to members of Congress. Whether or not
continuity of service for the full term for which he was elected. The the said letter is libelous.
clear intent of the framers of the constitution to bar any attempt to HELD: Article VI, Section 15 of the Constitution provides The
circumvent the three-term limit by a voluntary renunciation of office Senators and Members of the House of Representatives shall in all
and at the same time respect the peoples choice and grant cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace. Be privileged
their elected official full service of a term is evident in this provision. from arrest during their attendance at the sessions of the Congress,
Voluntary renunciation of a term does not cancel the renounced and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or
term in the computation of the three term limit; debate therein, they shall not be questioned in any other place. The
conversely, involuntary severance from office for any length of time publication of the said letter is not covered by said expression which
short of the full term provided by law amounts to an interruption of refers to utterances made by Congressmen in the performance of
continuity of service. The petitioner vacated his post a few months their official functions, such as speeches delivered, statements
before the next mayoral elections, not by voluntary renunciation but made, or votes cast in the halls of Congress, while the same is in
in compliance with the legal process of writ of execution issued by session as well as bills introduced in Congress, whether the same is
the COMELEC to that effect. Such involuntary severance from office in session or not, and other acts performed by Congressmen, either
is an interruption of continuity of service and thus, the petitioner did in Congress or outside the premises housing its offices, in the official
not fully serve the 1995-1998 mayoral term. discharge of their duties as members of Congress and of
Congressional Committees duly authorized to perform its functions
In sum, the petitioner was not the duly elected mayor and that he as such at the time of the performance of the acts in question.
did not hold office for the full term; hence, his assumption of office Congress was not in session when the letter was published and at
from May 1995 to March 1998 cannot be counted as a term for the same time he, himself, caused the publication of the said letter.
purposes of computing the three term limit. The Resolution of the It is obvious that, in thus causing the communication to be so
COMELEC finding him disqualified on this ground to run in the May published, he was not performing his official duty, either as a
1998 mayoral elections should therefore be set aside. member of Congress or as officer of any Committee thereof. Hence,
contrary to the finding made by the lower court the said
2. NO. It was held in the case of Sunga vs. communication is not absolutely privileged.
COMELEC that the proclamation or the assumption of office of a The SC is satisfied that the letter in question is not sufficient to
candidate against whom a petition for disqualification is pending support Jimenez action for damages. Although the letter says that
before the COMELEC does not divest the COMELEC of jurisdiction to plaintiffs are under the control of the persons unnamed therein
continue hearing the case and to resolve it on the merits. alluded to as planners, and that, having been handpicked by
Vargas, it should be noted that defendant, likewise, added that it is
Section 6 of RA 6646 specifically mandates that: of course possible that plaintiffs are unwitting tools of the plan of
which they may have absolutely no knowledge. In other words, th
OSMENA VS PENDATUN
He adds that it cannot be defeated by insuperable procedural
Facts: On July 14, 1960, Congressman Sergio Osmea, Jr., submitted restraints arising from pending criminal cases.
to this Court a verified petition for "declaratory relief, certiorari and
prohibition with preliminary injunction" against Congressman Jalosjos also invoked the doctrine of condonation citing Aguinaldo v.
Salipada K. Pendatun and fourteen other congressmen in their Santos, which states, inter alia, that
capacity as members of the Special Committee created by House
Resolution No. 59. The Court should never remove a public officer for acts done prior to
his present term of office. To do otherwise would be to deprive the
He asked for annulment of such Resolution on the ground of people of their right to elect their officers. When a people have
infringement of his parliamentary immunity; he also asked, elected a man to office, it must be assumed that they did this with
principally, that said members of the special committee be enjoined the knowledge of his life and character, and that they disregarded or
from proceeding in accordance with it, particularly the portion forgave his fault or misconduct, if he had been guilty of any. It is not
authorizing them to require him to substantiate his charges against for the Court, by reason of such fault or misconduct, to practically
the President, with the admonition that if he failed to do so, he must overrule the will of the people.
show cause why the House should not punish him.
Jalosjos further argues that on several occasions, the Regional Trial
"The people, Mr. President, have been hearing of ugly reports that Court of Makati granted several motions to temporarily leave his cell
under your unpopular administration the free things they used to at the Makati City Jail, for official or medical reasons.
get from the government are now for sale at premium prices. They
say that even pardons are for sale, and that regardless of the gravity Jalosjos avers that his constituents in the First District of Zamboanga
or seriousness of a criminal case, the culprit can always be bailed out del Norte want their voices to be heard and that since he is treated
forever from jail as long as he can come across with a handsome as bona fide member of the House of Representatives, the latter
dole. I am afraid, such an anomalous situation would reflect badly urges a co-equal branch of government to respect his mandate.
on the kind of justice that your administration is dispensing. . . ."

Resolved by the House of Representatives, that a special committee Issue:


of fifteen Members to be appointed by the Speaker be, and the
same hereby is, created to investigate the truth of the charges Whether or not accused-appellant should be allowed to discharge
against the President of the Philippines made by Honorable Sergio mandate as member of House of Representatives
Osmea, Jr., in his privilege speech of June 23.

Held:
Issue: Whether the Resolution violated petitioners constitutional
absolute parliamentary immunity for speeches delivered in the NO.
House;
The privilege of arrest has always been granted in a restrictive sense.
Whether petitioners words constituted actionable conduct;
True, election is the expression of the sovereign power of the
Whether petitioner is protected by Rule XVII Sec. 7 of the Rules of people. However, in spite of its importance, the privileges and rights
the House provides that if other business has intervened after the arising from having been elected may be enlarged or restricted by
Member had uttered obnoxious words in debate he shall not be held law. Privilege has to be granted by law, not inferred from the duties
to answer therefore nor be subject to censure by the House. of a position. In fact, the higher the rank, the greater is the
requirement of obedience rather than exemption.

Held: Accordingly, the petition has to be, and is hereby dismissed. So Section 11, Article VI, of the Constitution provides:
ordered.
A Senator or Member of the House of Representatives shall, in all
offenses punishable by not more than six years imprisonment, be
Ratio: On the question whether delivery of speeches attacking the privileged from arrest while the Congress is in session. xxx
Chief Executive constitutes disorderly conduct for which Osmea
may be disciplined, many arguments pro and con have been The immunity from arrest or detention of Senators and members of
advanced. We believe, however, that the House is the judge of what the House of Representatives, arises from a provision of the
constitutes disorderly behaviour, not only because the Constitution Constitution. The history of the provision shows that the privilege
has conferred jurisdiction upon it, but also because the matter has always been granted in a restrictive sense.The provision granting
depends mainly on factual circumstances of which the House knows an exemption as a special privilege cannot be extended beyond the
best but which can not be depicted in black and white for ordinary meaning of its terms. It may not be extended by
presentation to, and adjudication by the Courts. intendment, implication or equitable considerations.

Our refusal to intervene might impress some readers as The accused-appellant has not given any reason why he should be
subconscious hesitation due to discovery of impermissible course of exempted from the operation of Sec. 11, Art. VI of the Constitution.
action in the legislative chamber. Nothing of that sort: we merely The members of Congress cannot compel absent members to attend
refuse to disregard the allocation of constitutional functions which it sessions if the reason for the absence is a legitimate one. The
is our special duty to maintain confinement of a Congressman charged with a crime punishable by
PEOPLE VS JALOSJOS imprisonment of more than six years is not merely authorized by
Facts: law, it has constitutional foundations.

The accused-appellant, Romeo Jalosjos, is a full-fledged member of


Congress who is confined at the nationalpenitentiary while his Doctrine of condonation does not apply to criminal cases
conviction for statutory rapeand acts of lasciviousness is pending
appeal. The accused-appellant filed a motion asking that he be The Aguinaldo case involves the administrative removal of a public
allowed to fully discharge the duties of a Congressman, including officer for acts done prior to his present term of office. It does not
attendance at legislative sessions and committee meetings despite apply to imprisonment arising from the enforcement of criminal law.
his having been convicted in the first instance of a non-bailable Moreover, in the same way that preventive suspension is not
offense. removal, confinement pending appeal is not removal. He remains a
congressman unless expelled by Congress or, otherwise,
Jalosjos primary argument is the "mandate of sovereign will." He disqualified.
states that the sovereign electorate of the First District of One rationale behind confinement, whether pending appeal or after
Zamboanga del Norte chose him as their representative in Congress. final conviction, is public self-defense. Society must protect itself. It
Having been re-elected by his constituents, he has the duty to also serves as an example and warning to others.
perform the functions of a Congressman. He calls this a covenant Emergency or compelling temporary leaves from imprisonment are
with his constituents made possible by the intervention of the State. allowed to all prisoners.
There is no showing that the above privileges are peculiar to him or Held:
to a member of Congress. Emergency or compelling temporary No. Zandueta is estopped by his own act questioning the
leaves from imprisonment are allowed to all prisoners, at the constitutionality of C.A. No. 145. Heshould know that his ad interim
discretion of the authorities or upon court orders. appointment was subject to approval by the Commission
To allow accused-appellant to attend congressional sessions and onAppointments. If the said commission disapproved, it would
committee meetings will virtually make him a free man become ineffective and wouldcease him discharging the
office. Zandueta is free from to accept or not the ad
When the voters of his district elected the accused-appellant to interimappointment issued by the President of the Commonwealth.
Congress, they did so with full awareness of the limitations on his Nothing or nobody compelled himto do so.
freedom of action. They did so with the knowledge that he could When a public official voluntarily accepts an appointment to an
achieve only such legislative results which he could accomplish office newly created orreorganized by law qualifies for the discharge
within the confines of prison. To give a more drastic illustration, if of the functions thereof by taking the necessaryoath, enters in the
voters elect a person with full knowledge that he is suffering from performance of his duties by executing acts inherent in said newly
a terminal illness, they do so knowing that at any time, he may no created orreorganized office and receiving the corresponding
longer serve his full term in office. salary, he will be considered to haveabandoned the office he was
occupying by virtue of appointment, and
To allow accused-appellant to attend congressional sessions and he cannot question theconstitutionality of the law by which he was
committee meetings for 5 days or more in a week will virtually make last appointed.
him a free man with all the privileges appurtenant to his He is exempted from the said rule if he did not accept the new
position. Such an aberrant situation not only elevates accused- appointment or when he iscompelled to accept it by reason of legal
appellants status to that of a special class, it also would be a exigencies
mockery of the purposes of the correction system. PUYAT VS DEGUZMAN
In the ultimate analysis, the issue before us boils down to a question On 14 May 1979, Puyat and his group were elected as directors of
of constitutional equal protection. the International Pipe Industries. The election was subsequently
questioned by Acero (Puyats rival) claiming that the votes were not
The Constitution guarantees: "x x x nor shall any person be denied properly counted hence he filed a quo warranto proceeding before
the equal protection of laws." This simply means that all persons the Securities and Exchange Commission on 25 May 1979. Prior to
similarly situated shall be treated alike both in rights enjoyed and Aceros filing of the case, Estanislao Fernandez, then a member of
responsibilities imposed. The organs of government may not show the Interim Batasang Pambansa purchased ten shares of stock of IPI
any undue favoritism or hostility to any person. Neither partiality from a member of Aceros group. And during a conference held by
nor prejudice shall be displayed. SEC Commissioner de Guzman (from May 25-31 79) to have the
parties confer with each other, Estanislao Fernandez entered his
Does being an elective official result in a substantial distinction that appearance as counsel for Acero. Puyat objected arguing that it is
allows different treatment? Is being a Congressman a substantial unconstitutional for an assemblyman to appear as counsel (to
differentiation which removes the accused-appellant as a prisoner anyone) before any administrative body (such as the SEC). This being
from the same class as all persons validly confined under law? cleared, Fernandez inhibited himself from appearing as counsel for
Acero. He instead filed an Urgent Motion for Intervention in this said
The performance of legitimate and even essential duties by public SEC case for him to intervene not as a counsel but as a legal owner
officers has never been an excuse to free a person validly in prison. of IPI shares and as a person who has a legal interest in the matter in
litigation. The SEC Commissioner granted the motion in effect
The Court cannot validate badges of inequality. The necessities granting Fernandez leave to intervene. Puyat then moved to
imposed by public welfare may justify exercise of government question the Commissioners action.
authority to regulate even if thereby certain groups may plausibly ISSUE: Whether or not Fernandez, acting as a stockholder of IPI, can
assert that their interests are disregarded. appear and intervene in the SEC case without violating the
constitutional provision that an assemblyman must not appear as
We, therefore, find that election to the position of Congressman is counsel in such courts or bodies?
not a reasonable classification in criminal law enforcement. The HELD: No, Fernandez cannot appear before the SEC body under the
functions and duties of the office are not substantial distinctions guise that he is not appearing as a counsel. Even though he is a
which lift him from the class of prisoners interrupted in their stockholder and that he has a legal interest in the matter in litigation
freedom and restricted in liberty of movement. Lawful arrest and he is still barred from appearing. He bought the stocks before the
confinement are germane to the purposes of the law and apply to all litigation took place. During the conference he presented himself as
those belonging to the same class. (People vs. Jalosjos counsel but because it is clearly stated that he cannot do so under
G.R. Nos. 132875-76. February 3, 2000) the constitution he instead presented himself as a party of interest
Zandueta VS Dela CostaFacts: which is clearly a work around and is clearly an act after the fact. A
mere work around to get himself involved in the litigation. What
Francis Zandueta was presiding over a 5 could not be done directly could not likewise be done indirectly.
Th Branch of Courts of First Instance of Manila AVELINO VS CUENCO
On 18 Feb 1949, Senator Taada invoked his right to speak on the
He received a new ad interim appointment issued (Commonwealth senate floor to formulate charges against the then Senate President
Act No. 145) to dischargethe Office of Judge in the Court of First Avelino. He request to do so on the next session (21 Feb 1949). On
Instance of the 4th the next session however, Avelino delayed the opening of the
Judicial District with the authority topreside over the Court of First session for about two hours. Upon insistent demand by Taada,
Instance of Manila and Palawan Cuenco and Sanidad and others, Avelino was forced to open session.
The ad interim appointment of the petitioner was disapproved by He however, together with his allies initiated all dilatory and
the Commission onAppointments of the National Assebly. delaying tactics to forestall Taada from delivering his piece.
The President of the Philippines appointed Sixto Dela Costa Motions being raised by Taada et al were being blocked by Avelino
(respondent), judge of 4th and his allies and they even ruled Taada and Sanidad, among
JudicialDistrict, with authority to preside over the Court of First others, as being out of order. Avelinos camp then moved to
Instance of Manila and Palawan adjourn the session due to the disorder. Sanidad however countered
Dela Costas appoint and they requested the said adjournment to be placed in voting.
ment was approved by the Commission on Appointments of the Avelino just banged his gavel and he hurriedly left his chair and he
NationalAssembly was immediately followed by his followers. Senator Cabili then stood
Petitioner questioned the validity of the appointment alleging that up, and asked that it be made of record it was so made that
C.A. No. 145 isunconstitutional the deliberate abandonment of the Chair by the Avelino, made it
Issue: incumbent upon Senate President Pro-tempore Arranz and the
Whether or not Zandueta may question the constitutionality of C.A. remaining members of the Senate to continue the session in order
No. 145 by which the new adinterim appointment of judge of first not to paralyze the functions of the Senate. Tanada was
instance of the 4 subsequently recognized to deliver his speech. Later, Arranz yielded
th to Sanidads Resolution (No. 68) that Cuenco be elected as the
Judicial District, to preside over the Court of First Instance of Manila Senate President. This was unanimously approved and was even
and Palawan, was issued in his favor recognized by the President of the Philippines the following day.
Cuenco took his oath of office thereafter. Avelino then filed a quo intention of the framers of the Constitution to base the majority, not
warranto proceeding before the SC to declare him as the rightful on the number fixed or provided for in the Constitution, but on
Senate President. actual members or incumbents, and this must be limited to actual
ISSUE: Whether or not the SC can take cognizance of the case. members who are not incapacitated to discharge their duties by
HELD: By a vote of 6 to 4, the SC held that they cannot take reason of death, incapacity, or absence from the jurisdiction of the
cognizance of the case. This is in view of the separation of powers, house or for other causes which make attendance of the member
the political nature of the controversy and the constitutional grant concerned impossible, even through coercive process which each
to the Senate of the power to elect its own president, which power house is empowered to issue to compel its members to attend the
should not be interfered with, nor taken over, by the judiciary. The session in order to constitute a quorum. That the amendment was
SC should abstain in this case because the selection of the presiding intentional or made for some purpose, and not a mere oversight, or
officer affects only the Senators themselves who are at liberty at any for considering the use of the words of all the members as
time to choose their officers, change or reinstate them. Anyway, if, unnecessary, is evidenced by the fact that Sec. 5 (5) Title VI of the
as the petition must imply to be acceptable, the majority of the original Constitution which required concurrence of two-thirds of
Senators want petitioner to preside, his remedy lies in the Senate the members of the National Assembly to expel a member was
Session Hall not in the Supreme Court. amended by Sec. 10 (3) Article VI of the present Constitution, so as
Supposed the SC can take cognizance of the case, what will be the to require the concurrence of two-thirds of all the members of each
resolution? House. Therefore, as Senator Confesor was in the United States and
There is unanimity in the view that the session under Senator Arranz absent from the jurisdiction of the Senate, the actual members of
was a continuation of the morning session and that a minority of ten the Senate at its session of February 21, 1949, were twenty-three
senators (Avelino et al) may not, by leaving the Hall, prevent the (23) and therefore 12 constituted a majority.
other (Cuenco et al) twelve senators from passing a resolution that PAREDES VS ANDIGANBAYAN
met with their unanimous endorsement. The answer might be On 23 Jan 1990, Gelacio, the then vice mayor of San Francisco,
different had the resolution been approved only by ten or less. Agusan del Sur filed a case against Paredes (who was then the
**Two senators were not present that time. Sen. Soto was in a governor of the same province), Atty. Sansaet (counsel of Paredes),
hospital while Sen. Confesor was in the USA. and Honrada (the clerk of court). The three allegedly conspired to
Is the rump session (presided by Cuenco) a continuation of the falsify a copy of a Notice of Arraignment and of the Transcript of
morning session (presided by Avelino)? Are there two sessions in Stenographic Notes. Gelacio claimed that, in fact, no arraignment
one day? Was there a quorum constituting such session? has ever been issued against him in a criminal proceeding against
The second session is a continuation of the morning session as him. Gelacio was able to produce a certification from the judge
evidenced by the minutes entered into the journal. There were 23 handling the case himself that the criminal case against him never
senators considered to be in session that time (including Soto, reached the arraignment stage because the prosecution was
excluding Confesor). Hence, twelve senators constitute a majority of dismissed. Atty. Sansaet on his part maintained that there was
the Senate of twenty three senators. When the Constitution indeed a Notice of Arraignment but he later retracted his
declares that a majority of each House shall constitute a quorum, testimonies. Paredes claimed that Sansaet only changed his side
the House does not mean all the members. Even a majority of all because of political realignment. Subsequently, the Office of the
the members constitute the House. There is a difference between Ombudsman recommended that Paredes et al be charged with
a majority of all the members of the House and a majority of the Falsification of Public Documents. Paredes appealed but was
House, the latter requiring less number than the first. Therefore an eventually denied by the Sandiganbayan.
absolute majority (12) of all the members of the Senate less one ISSUE: Whether or not Paredes, now a member of Congress, be
(23), constitutes constitutional majority of the Senate for the suspended by order of the Sandiganbayan.
purpose of a quorum. Furthermore, even if the twelve did not HELD: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of suspension of
constitute a quorum, they could have ordered the arrest of one, at Congressman Paredes by the Sandiganbayan, despite his
least, of the absent members; if one had been so arrested, there protestations on the encroachment by the court on the prerogatives
would be no doubt Quorum then, and Senator Cuenco would have of congress. The SC ruled:
been elected just the same inasmuch as there would be eleven for x x x. Petitioners invocation of Section 16 (3), Article VI of the
Cuenco, one against and one abstained. Constitution which deals with the power of each House of
MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION (filed by Avelino on March 14, Congress inter alia to punish its Members for disorderly behavior,
1949) and suspend or expel a Member by a vote of two-thirds of all its
Avelino and his group (11 senators in all) insist that the SC take Members subject to the qualification that the penalty of suspension,
cognizance of the case and that they are willing to bind themselves when imposed, should not exceed sixty days is unavailing, as it
to the decision of the SC whether it be right or wrong. Avelino appears to be quite distinct from the suspension spoken of in
contends that there is no constitutional quorum when Cuenco was Section 13 of RA 3019, which is not a penalty but a preliminary,
elected president. There are 24 senators in all. Two are absentee preventive measure, prescinding from the fact that the latter is not
senators; one being confined and the other abroad but this does not being imposed on petitioner for misbehavior as a Member of the
change the number of senators nor does it change the majority House of Representatives.
which if mathematically construed is + 1; in this case 12 (half of
24) plus 1 or 13 NOT 12. There being only 12 senators when Cuenco
was elected unanimously there was no quorum.
The Supreme Court, by a vote of seven resolved to assume
jurisdiction over the case in the light of subsequent events which
justify its intervention. The Chief Justice agrees with the result of the
majoritys pronouncement on the quorum upon the ground that,
under the peculiar circumstances of the case, the constitutional
requirement in that regard has become a mere formalism, it
appearing from the evidence that any new session with a quorum
would result in Cuencos election as Senate President, and that the
Cuenco group, taking cue from the dissenting opinions, has been
trying to satisfy such formalism by issuing compulsory processes
against senators of the Avelino group, but to no avail, because of the
Avelinos persistent efforts to block all avenues to constitutional
processes. For this reason, the SC believes that the Cuenco group
has done enough to satisfy the requirements of the Constitution and
that the majoritys ruling is in conformity with substantial justice and
with the requirements of public interest. Therefore Cuenco has been
legally elected as Senate President and the petition is dismissed.
Justice Feria: (Concurring)
Art. 3 (4) Title VI of the Constitution of 1935 provided that the
majority of all the members of the National Assembly constitute a
quorum to do business and the fact that said provision was
amended in the Constitution of 1939, so as to read a majority of
each House shall constitute a quorum to do business, shows the