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Special penal law

United States vs. Go Chico. 14 Phil. 128 , September 15, 1909

Case Title : THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. Go CHICO, defendant
and appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First
Instance of Manila. Smith, J.

Syllabi Class : THE FLAG LAW|

Syllabi:

1. THE FLAG LAW; INTERPRETATION OF SECTION 1 OF ACT No.


1696.-

"Any person who shall expose, or cause or permit to be exposed, to


public view on his own premises, or who shall expose, or cause to be
exposed, to public view, either on his own premises or elsewhere, any
flag, banner, emblem, or device used during the late insurrection in the
Philippine Islands to designate or identify those in armed rebellion
against the United States, or any flag, banner, emblem, or device used
or adopted at any time by the public enemies of the United States in
the Philippine Islands for the purposes of public disorder or of rebellion
or insurrection against the authority of the United States in the
Philippine Islands, or any flag, banner, emblem, or device of the
Katipunan Society, or which is commonly known as such, shall be
punished by a fine of not less than five hundred pesos nor more than
five thousand pesos, or by imprisonment for not less 'than three
months nor more than five years, or by both , such fine and
imprisonment, in the discretion of the court:" Held first, that a specific
criminal intent, apart from the act of displaying, is not necessary to a
violation of said statute; held, second, that said statute includes not
only the identical flags, etc., actually used in the insurrection referred
to but also every flag, etc., of that type.

Docket Number: No. 4963

Counsel: Gibbs & Gale, Solicitor-General Harvey

Ponente: MORELAND
Padilla vs. Dizon 158 SCRA 127 , February 23, 1988

Case Title : ALEXANDER PADILLA, complainant, vs. THE HON. BALTAZAR R.


DIZON, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, Branch 113,
respondent.Case Nature : ADMINISTRATIVE COMPLAINT in the Supreme Court.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Administrative Law|Intent|Central Bank

Syllabi:

1. Criminal Law; Intent; Proof of malice or deliberate intent not


essential in offenses punished by special law which are mala prohibita.-

The respondent judge has shown gross incompetence or gross


ignorance of the law in holding that to convict the accused for violation
of Central Bank Circular No. 960, the prosecution must establish that
the accused had the criminal intent to violate the law. The respondent
ought to know that proof of malice or deliberate intent (mens rea) is
not essential in offenses punished by special laws, which are mala
prohibita. In requiring proof of malice, the respondent has by his gross
ignorance allowed the accused to go scot free. The accused at the time
of his apprehension at the Manila International Airport had in his
possession the amount of US$355,349.57 in assorted foreign currencies
and foreign exchange instruments (380 pieces), without any specific
authority from the Central Bank as required by law. At the time of his
apprehension, he was able to exhibit only two foreign currency
declarations in his possession. These were old declarations made by
him on the occasion of his previous trips to the Philippines.

2. Administrative Law; Circumstances negating respondent's claim


that he rendered the decision in good faith.-

Although lack of malice or wilfull intent is not a valid defense in a case


for violation of Central Bank Circular No. 960, the respondent
nonetheless chose to exonerate the accused based on his defense that
the foreign currency he was bringing out of the country at the time he
was apprehended by the customs authorities were brought into the
Philippines by him and his alleged business associates on several
previous occasions when they came to the Philippines, supposedly to be
used for the purpose of investing in some unspecified or undetermined
business ventures; that this money was kept in the Philippines and he
precisely came to the Philippines to take the money out as he and his
alleged business associates were afraid that the "attempted revolution"
which occurred on July 6, 1986 might spread. Such fantastic tale,
although totally irrelevant to the matter of the criminal liability of the
accused under the information, was swallowed by the respondent judge
"hook, line and sinker." It did not matter to the respondent that the
foreign currency and foreign currency instruments found in the
possession of the accused when he was apprehended at the airport—
380 pieces in all—and the amounts of such foreign exchange did not
correspond to the foreign currency declarations presented by the
accused at the trial. It did not matter to the respondent that the
accused by his own story admitted, in effect, that he was a "carrier" of
foreign currency for other people. The respondent closed his eyes to
the fact that the very substantial amounts of foreign exchange found in
the possession of the accused at the time of his apprehension consisted
of personal checks of other people, as well as cash in various currency
denominations (12 kinds of currency in all), which clearly belied the
claim of the accused that they were part of the funds which he and his
supposed associates had brought to and kept in the Philippines for the
purpose of investing in some business ventures. The respondent
ignored the fact that most of the CB Currency declarations presented
by the defense at the trial were declarations belonging to other peeple
which could not be utilized by the accused to justify his having the
foreign exchange in his possession. Although contrary to ordinary
human experience and behavior, the respondent judge chose to give
credence to the fantastic tale of the accused that he and his alleged
business associates had brought in from time to time and accumulated
and kept in the Philippines foreign exchange (of very substantial
amounts in cash and checks in various foreign currency denominations)
for the purpose of investing in business even before they knew and had
come to an agreement as to the specific business venture in which they
were going to invest. These and other circumstances which make the
story concocted by the accused so palpably unbelievable as to render
the findings of the respondent judge obviously contrived to favor the
acquittal of the accused, thereby clearly negating his claim that he
rendered the decision "in good faith." His actuations in this case
amount to grave misconduct prejudicial to the interest of sound and fair
administration of justice.

3. Administrative Law; Central Bank; Circular No. 960 of the Central


Bank does not provide authority for the trial court to release
US$3,000.00 to the accused.-

He not only acquitted the accused Lo Chi Fai, but directed in his
decision the release to the accused of at least the amount of
US$3,000.00, allowed, according to respondent, under Central Bank
Circular No. 960. This, in spite of the fact that forfeiture proceedings
had already been instituted by the Bureau of Customs over the
currency listed in the information, which according to the respondent
should be respected since the Bureau of Customs "has the exclusive
jurisdiction in the matter of seizure and forfeiture of the property
involved in the alleged infringements of the aforesaid Central Bank
Circular." In invoking the provisions of CB Circular No. 960 to justify the
release of US$3,000.00 to the accused, the respondent judge again
displayed gross incompetence and gross ignorance of the law. There is
nothing in the said CB Circular which could be taken as authority for the
tri al court to release the said amount of U.S. Currency to the accused.
According to the above-cited CB Circular, tourists may take out or send
out from the Philippines foreign exchange in amounts not exceeding
such amounts of foreign exchange brought in by them; for the purpose
of establishing such amount, tourists or non-resident temporary visitors
bringing with them more than US$3,000.00 or its equivalent in other
foreign currencies must declare their foreign exchange at points of
entries upon arrival in the Philippines. In other words, CB Circular No.
960 merely provides that for the purpose of establishing the amount of
foreign currency brought in or out of the Philippines, a tourist upon
arrival is required to declare any foreign exchange he is bringing in at
the time of his arrival, if the same exceeds the amount of US$3,000.00
or its equivalent in other foreign currencies. There is nothing in said
circular that would justify returning to him the amount of at least
US$3,000.00, if he is caught attempting to bring out foreign exchange
in excess of said amount without specific authority from the Central
Bank.

4. Administrative Law; Respondent guilty of gross incompetence,


gross ignorance of the law and grave and serious misconduct;
Respondent ordered dismissed from the service and all leave and
retirement benefits and privileges forfeited.-

Accordingly, the Court finds the respondent Regional Trial Court Judge,
Baltazar R. Dizon, guilty of gross incompetence, gross ignorance of the
law and grave and serious misconduct affecting his integrity and
efficiency, and consistent with the responsibility of this Court for the
just and proper administration of justice and for the attainment of the
objective of maintaining the people's faith in the judiciary (People vs.
Valenzuela, 135 SCRA 712), it is hereby ordered that the Respondent
Judge be DISMISSED from the service, All leave and retirement
benefits and privileges to which he may be entitled are hereby forfeited
with prejudice to his being reinstated in any branch of government
service, including government-owned and/or controlled agencies or
corporations.

Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: Adm. Case No. 3086

Ponente: PER CURIAM

Dispositive Portion:

This resolution is immediately executory.

Estrada vs. Sandiganbayan 369 SCRA 394 , November 19, 2001

Case Title : JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA, vs. SANDIGANBAYAN (Third Division)


and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.Case Nature : PETITION to declare
Republic Act No. 7080 (An Act Defining and Penalizing the Crime of Plunder) as
amended by RA No. 7659 unconstitutional.

Syllabi Class : Constitutional Law|Criminal Law|Anti-Plunder Law|Pleadings and


Practice|Criminal Procedure|Due Process|Anti-Plunder Law (R.A.
7080)|Statutes|Statutory Construction|Criminal Law|“Void for Vagueness”
Doctrine|Words and Phrases|Due Process|Overbreadth Doctrine|Facial
Challenges|Presumption of Innocence|“Reasonable Doubt” Standard|Constitutional
Law|Death Penalty Law (R.A. 7659)|Public Officers|Graft and Corruption|Judicial
Review|Crimes Mala In Se and Mala Prohibita|Complex Crimes|Transcripts of
Stenographic Notes|Conspiracy|Judicial Legislation|Crimes Mala in Se and Mala
Prohibita|Crimes “Mala in Se” and “Mala Prohibita|”
Distinguished|Estoppel|Multiplicity of Offenses|Bill of Rights

Syllabi:

1. Constitutional Law; Anti-Plunder Law (R.A.


7080);Statutes; Statutory Construction; The whole gamut of legal
concepts pertaining to the validity of legislation is predicated on the
basic principle that a legislative measure is presumed to be in harmony
with the Constitution.-

Preliminarily, the whole gamut of legal concepts pertaining to the


validity of legislation is predicated on the basic principle that a
legislative measure is presumed to be in harmony with the Constitution.
Courts invariably train their sights on this fundamental rule whenever a
legislative act is under a constitutional attack, for it is the postulate of
constitutional adjudication. This strong predilection for constitutionality
takes its bearings on the idea that it is forbidden for one branch of the
government to encroach upon the duties and powers of another. Thus it
has been said that the presumption is based on the deference the
judicial branch accords to its coordinate branch—the legislature. If
there is any reasonable basis upon which the legislation may firmly
rest, the courts must assume that the legislature is ever conscious of
the borders and edges of its plenary powers, and has passed the law
with full knowledge of the facts and for the purpose of promoting what
is right and advancing the welfare of the majority. Hence, in
determining whether the acts of the legislature are in tune with the
fundamental law, courts should proceed with judicial restraint and act
with caution and forbearance. Every intendment of the law must be
adjudged by the courts in favor of its constitutionality, invalidity being a
measure of last resort. In construing therefore the provisions of a
statute, courts must first ascertain whether an interpretation is fairly
possible to sidestep the question of constitutionality.

2. Constitutional Law; Anti-Plunder Law (R.A.


7080);Statutes; Statutory Construction; Criminal Law; As it is
written, the Plunder Law contains ascertainable standards and well-
defined parameters which would enable the accused to determine the
nature of his violation; As long as the law affords some comprehensible
guide or rule that would inform those who are subject to it what
conduct would render them liable to its penalties, its validity will be
sustained.-

As it is written, the Plunder Law contains ascertainable standards and


well-defined parameters which would enable the accused to determine
the nature of his violation. Section 2 is sufficiently explicit in its
description of the acts, conduct and condi- tions required or forbidden,
and prescribes the elements of the crime with reasonable certainty and
particularity. x x x As long as the law affords some comprehensible
guide or rule that would inform those who are subject to it what
conduct would render them liable to its penalties, its validity will be
sustained. It must sufficiently guide the judge in its application; the
counsel, in defending one charged with its violation; and more
importantly, the accused, in identifying the realm of the proscribed
conduct. Indeed, it can be understood with little difficulty that what the
assailed statute punishes is the act of a public officer in amassing or
accumulating ill-gotten wealth of at least P50,000,000.00 through a
series or combination of acts enumerated in Sec. 1, par. (d), of the
Plunder Law.

3. Constitutional Law; Anti-Plunder Law (R.A.


7080);Statutes; Statutory Construction; “Void for Vagueness”
Doctrine; A statute is not rendered uncertain and void merely because
general terms are used therein, or because of the employment of terms
without defining them; much less do we have to define every word we
use.-

Petitioner, however, bewails the failure of the law to provide for the
statutory definition of the terms “combination” and “series” in the key
phrase “a combination or series of overt or criminal acts”
foundinSec.1,par.(d),andSec.2,and the word “pattern” in Sec. 4. These
omissions, according to petitioner, render the Plunder Law
unconstitutional for being impermissibly vague and overbroad and deny
him the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation
against him, hence, violative of his fundamental right to due process.
The rationalization seems to us to be pure sophistry. A statute is not
rendered uncertain and void merely because general terms are used
therein, or because of the employment of terms without defining them;
much less do we have to define every word we use. Besides, there is no
positive constitutional or statutory command requiring the legislature to
define each and every word in an enactment. Congress is not restricted
in the form of expression of its will, and its inability to so define the
words employed in a statute will not necessarily result in the vagueness
or ambiguity of the law so long as the legislative will is clear, or at
least, can be gathered from the whole act, which is distinctly expressed
in the Plunder Law.

4. Constitutional Law; Anti-Plunder Law (R.A.


7080);Statutes; Statutory Construction; It is a well-settled principle
of legal hermeneutics that words of a statute will be interpreted in their
natural, plain and ordinary acceptation and signification, unless it is
evident that the legislature intended a technical or special legal
meaning to those words.-
It is a well-settled principle of legal hermeneutics that words of a
statute will be interpreted in their natural, plain and ordinary
acceptation and signification, unless it is evident that the legislature
intended a technical or special legal meaning to those words. The
intention of the lawmakers— who are, ordinarily, untrained philologists
and lexicographers—to use statutory phraseology in such a manner is
always presumed. Thus, Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary contains
the following commonly accepted definition of the words “combination”
and “series:” Combination—the result or product of combining; the act
or process of combining. To combine is to bring into such close
relationship as to obscure individual characters. Series—a number of
things or events of the same class coming one after another in spatial
and temporal succession.

5. Constitutional Law; Anti-Plunder Law (R.A.


7080);Statutes; Statutory Construction; Words and
Phrases;“Combination,” Explained.-

Thus when the Plunder Law speaks of “combination,” it is referring to at


least two (2) acts falling under different categories of enumeration
provided in Sec. 1, par. (d), e.g., raids on the public treasury in Sec. 1,
par. (d), subpar. (1), and fraudulent conveyance of assets belonging to
the National Government under Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (3).

6. Constitutional Law; Anti-Plunder Law (R.A.


7080);Statutes; Statutory Construction; Words and
Phrases;“Series,” Explained.-

On the other hand, to constitute a “series” there must be two (2) or


more overt or criminal acts falling under the same category of
enumeration found in Sec. 1, par. (d), say, misappropriation,
malversation and raids on the public treasury, all of which fall under
Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (1). Verily, had the legislature intended a
technical or distinctive meaning for “combination” and “series,” it would
have taken greater pains in specifically providing for it in the law.

7. Constitutional Law; Anti-Plunder Law (R.A.


7080);Statutes; Statutory Construction; Words and
Phrases;“Pattern,” Explained.-

As for “pat-tern,” we agree with the observations of the Sandiganbayan


that this term
issufficientlydefinedinSec.4,inrelationtoSec.1,par.(d),andSec.2.—As for
“pattern,” we agree with the observations of the Sandiganbayan that
this term is sufficiently defined in Sec. 4, in relation to Sec. 1, par. (d),
and Sec. 2—xxxx under Sec. 1 (d) of the law, a ‘pattern’ consists of at
least a combination or series of overt or criminal acts enumerated in
subsections (1) to (6) of Sec. 1 (d). Secondly, pursuant to Sec. 2 of the
law, the pattern of overt or criminal acts is directed towards a common
purpose or goal which is to enable the public officer to amass,
accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth. And thirdly, there must either
be an ‘overall unlawful scheme’ or ‘conspiracy’ to achieve said common
goal. As commonly understood, the term ‘overall unlawful scheme’
indicates a ‘general plan of action or method’ which the principal
accused and public officer and others conniving with him follow to
achieve the aforesaid common goal. In the alternative, if there is no
such overall scheme or where the schemes or methods used by
multiple accused vary, the overt or criminal acts must form part of a
conspiracy to attain a common goal.

8. Constitutional Law; Anti-Plunder Law (R.A. 7080);Criminal


Law; “Void for Vagueness” Doctrine; Words and Phrases; The
“void-for-vagueness” doctrine has been formulated in various ways, but
is most commonly stated to the effect that a statute establishing a
criminal offense must define the offense with sufficient definiteness that
persons of ordinary intelligence can understand what conduct is
prohibited by the statute—it can only be invoked against that specie of
legislation that is utterly vague on its face, i.e., that which cannot be
clarified either by a saving clause or by construction.-

It cannot plausibly be contended that the law does not give a fair
warning and sufficient notice of what it seeks to penalize. Under the
circumstances, petitioner ’s reliance on the “void-for-vagueness”
doctrine is manifestly misplaced. The doctrine has been formulated in
various ways, but is most commonly stated to the effect that a statute
establishing a criminal offense must define the offense with sufficient
definiteness that persons of ordinary intelligence can understand what
conduct is prohibited by the statute. It can only be invoked against that
specie of legislation that is utterly vague on its face, i.e., that which
cannot be clarified either by a saving clause or by construction.

9. Constitutional Law; Anti-Plunder Law (R.A. 7080);Criminal


Law; “Void for Vagueness” Doctrine; Due Process; When a statute
lacks comprehensible standards that men of common intelligence must
necessarily guess at its meaning and differ in its application, the statute
is repugnant to the Constitution in two (2) respects—it violates due
process for failure to accord persons, especially the parties targeted by
it, fair notice of what conduct to avoid, and, it leaves law enforcers
unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes an
arbitrary flexing of the Government muscle.-

A statute or act may be said to be vague when it lacks comprehensible


standards that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at
its meaning and differ in its application. In such instance, the statute is
repugnant to the Constitution in two (2) respects—it violates due
process for failure to accord persons, especially the parties targeted by
it, fair notice of what conduct to avoid; and, it leaves law enforcers
unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes an
arbitrary flexing of the Government muscle. But the doctrine does not
apply as against legislations that are merely couched in imprecise
language but which nonetheless specify a standard though defectively
phrased; or to those that are apparently ambiguous yet fairly applicable
to certain types of activities. The first may be “saved” by proper
construction, while no challenge may be mounted as against the second
whenever directed against such activities. With more reason, the
doctrine cannot be invoked where the assailed statute is clear and free
from ambiguity, as in this case.

10. Constitutional Law; Anti-Plunder Law (R.A. 7080);Criminal


Law; “Void for Vagueness” Doctrine; The test in determining
whether a criminal statute is void for uncertainty is whether the
language conveys a sufficiently definite warning as to the proscribed
conduct when measured by common understanding and practice; The
“vagueness” doctrine merely requires a reasonable degree of certainty
for the statute to be upheld—not absolute precision or mathematical
exactitude.-

The test in determining whether a criminal statute is void for


uncertainty is whether the language conveys a sufficiently definite
warning as to the proscribed conduct when measured by common
understanding and practice. It must be stressed, however, that the
“vagueness” doctrine merely requires a reasonable degree of certainty
for the statute to be upheld—not absolute precision or mathematical
exactitude, as petitioner seems to suggest. Flexibility, rather than
meticulous specificity, is permissible as long as the metes and bounds
of the statute are clearly delineated. An act will not be held invalid
merely because it might have been more explicit in its wordings or
detailed in its provisions, especially where, because of the nature of the
act, it would be impossible to provide all the details in advance as in all
other statutes.
11. Constitutional Law; Anti-Plunder Law (R.A. 7080);Criminal
Law; “Void for Vagueness” Doctrine;Overbreadth
Doctrine; Facial Challenges; The allegations that the Plunder Law is
vague and overbroad do not justify a facial review of its validity.-

Moreover, we agree with, hence we adopt, the observations of Mr.


Justice Vicente V. Mendoza during the deliberations of the Court that
the allegations that the Plunder Law is vague and overbroad do not
justify a facial review of its validity—The void-forvagueness doctrine
states that “a statute which either forbids or requires the doing of an
act in terms so vague that men of common intelligence must
necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application, violates
the first essential of due process of law.” The overbreadth doctrine, on
the other hand, decrees that “a governmental purpose may not be
achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby
invade the area of protected freedoms.” A facial challenge is allowed to
be made to a vague statute and to one which is overbroad because of
possible “chilling effect” upon protected speech. The theory is that
“[w]hen statutes regulate or proscribe speech and no readily apparent
construction suggests itself as a vehicle for rehabilitating the statutes in
a single prosecution, the transcendent value to all society of
constitutionally protected expression is deemed to justify allowing
attacks on overly broad statutes with no requirement that the person
making the attack demonstrate that his own conduct could not be
regulated by a statute drawn with narrow specificity.” The possible
harm to society in permitting some unprotected speech to go
unpunished is outweighed by the possibility that the protected speech
of others may be deterred and perceived grievances left to fester
because of possible inhibitory effects of overly broad statutes. This
rationale does not apply to penal statutes. Criminal statutes have
general in terrorem effect resulting from their very existence, and, if
facial challenge is allowed for this reason alone, the State may well be
prevented from enacting laws against socially harmful conduct. In the
area of criminal law, the law cannot take chances as in the area of free
speech. The overbreadth and vagueness doctrines then have special
application only to free speech cases. They are inapt for testing the
validity of penal statutes.

12. Constitutional Law; Anti-Plunder Law (R.A. 7080);Criminal


Law; “Void for Vagueness” Doctrine;Overbreadth
Doctrine; Statutory Construction;Ambiguity, where none exists,
cannot be created by dissecting parts and words in the statute to
furnish support to critics who cavil at the want of scientific precision in
the law; It will take more than nitpicking to overturn the wellentrenched
presumption of constitutionality and validity of the Plunder Law.-

In light of the foregoing disquisition, it is evident that the purported


ambiguity of the Plunder Law, so tenaciously claimed and argued at
length by petitioner, is more imagined than real. Ambiguity, where
none exists, cannot be created by dissecting parts and words in the
statute to furnish support to critics who cavil at the want of scientific
precision in the law. Every provision of the law should be construed in
relation and with reference to every other part. To be sure, it will take
more than nitpicking to overturn the well-entrenched presumption of
constitutionality and validity of the Plunder Law. A fortiori, petitioner
cannot feign ignorance of what the Plunder Law is all about. Being one
of the Senators who voted for its passage, petitioner must be aware
that the law was extensively deliberated upon by the Senate and its
appropriate committees by reason of which he even registered his
affirmative vote with full knowledge of its legal implications and sound
constitutional anchorage.

13. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Presumption of


Innocence; “Reasonable Doubt” Standard; In a criminal
prosecution for plunder, as in all other crimes, the accused always has
in his favor the presumption of innocence which is guaranteed by the
Bill of Rights, and unless the State succeeds in demonstrating by proof
beyond reasonable doubt that culpability lies, the accused is entitled to
an acquittal—the use of the “reasonable doubt” standard is
indispensable to command the respect and confidence of the
community in the application of criminal law.-

The running fault in this reasoning is obvious even to the simplistic


mind. In a criminal prosecution for plunder, as in all other crimes, the
accused always has in his favor the presumption of innocence which is
guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and unless the State succeeds in
demonstrating by proof beyond reasonable doubt that culpability lies,
the accused is entitled to an acquittal. The use of the “reasonable
doubt” standard is indispensable to com- mand the respect and
confidence of the community in the application of criminal law. It is
critical that the moral force of criminal law be not diluted by a standard
of proof that leaves people in doubt whether innocent men are being
condemned. It is also important in our free society that every individual
going about his ordinary affairs has confidence that his government
cannot adjudge him guilty of a criminal offense without convincing a
proper factfinder of his guilt with utmost certainty. This “reasonable
doubt” standard has acquired such exalted stature in the realm of
constitutional law as it gives life to the Due Process Clause which
protects the accused against conviction except upon proof beyond
reasonable doubt of every fact necessary to constitute the crime with
which he is charged.

14. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Under Sec. 4 of the Plunder


Law, what the prosecution needs to prove beyond reasonable doubt is
only a number of acts sufficient to form a combination or series which
would constitute a pattern and involving an amount of at least
P50,000,000.00.-

The thesis that Sec. 4 does away with proof of each and every
component of the crime suffers from a dismal misconception of the
import of that provision. What the prosecution needs to prove beyond
reasonable doubt is only a number of acts sufficient to form a
combination or series which would constitute a pattern and involving an
amount of at least P50,000,000.00. There is no need to prove each and
every other act alleged in the Information to have been committed by
the accused in furtherance of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy
to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth. To illustrate,
supposing that the accused is charged in an Information for plunder
with having committed fifty (50) raids on the public treasury. The
prosecution need not prove all these fifty (50) raids, it being sufficient
to prove by pattern at least two (2) of the raids beyond reasonable
doubt provided only that they amounted to at least P50,000,000.00.

15. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; A reading of Sec. 2 in


conjunction with Sec. 4 of the Plunder Law brings the logical conclusion
that “pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful
scheme or conspiracy” inheres in the very acts of accumulating,
acquiring or amassing hidden wealth—such pattern arises where the
prosecution is able to prove beyond reasonable doubt the predicate acts
as defined in Sec. 1, par. (d).-

AreadingofSec.2 in conjunction with Sec. 4, brings us to the logical


conclusion that “pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the
overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy” inheres in the very acts of
accumulating, acquiring or amassing hidden wealth. Stated otherwise,
such pattern arises where the prosecution is able to prove beyond
reasonable doubt the predicate acts as defined in Sec. 1, par. (d).
Pattern is merely a by-product of the proof of the predicate acts. This
conclusion is consistent with reason and common sense. There would
be no other explanation for a combination or series of overt or criminal
acts to stash P50,000,000.00 or more, than “a scheme or conspiracy to
amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth.” The prosecution is
therefore not required to make a deliberate and conscious effort to
prove pattern as it necessarily follows with the establishment of a
series or combination of the predicate acts.

16. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; All the essential elements of


plunder can be culled and understood from its definition in Sec. 2, in
relation to Sec. 1, par. (d), and “pattern” is not one of them; Being a
purely procedural measure, Sec. 4 does not define or establish any
substantive right in favor of the accused but only operates in
furtherance of a remedy, it is only a means to an end, an aid to
substantive law.-

We do not subscribe to petitioner’s stand. Primarily, all the essential


elements of plunder can be culled and understood from its definition in
Sec. 2, in relation to Sec. 1, par. (d), and “pattern” is not one of them.
Moreover, the epigraph and opening clause of Sec. 4 is clear and
unequivocal: SEC. 4. Rule of Evidence.—For purposes of establishing
the crime of plunder xxxx It purports to do no more than prescribe a
rule of procedure for the prosecution of a criminal case for plunder.
Being a purely procedural measure, Sec. 4 does not define or establish
any substantive right in favor of the accused but only operates in
furtherance of a remedy. It is only a means to an end, an aid to
substantive law. Indubitably, even without invoking Sec. 4, a conviction
for plunder may be had, for what is crucial for the prosecution is to
present sufficient evidence to engender that moral certitude exacted by
the fundamental law to prove the guilt of the accused beyond
reasonable doubt. Thus, even granting for the sake of argument that
Sec. 4 is flawed and vitiated for the reasons advanced by petitioner, it
may simply be severed from the rest of the provisions without
necessarily resulting in the demise of the law; after all, the existing
rules on evidence can supplant Sec. 4 more than enough.

17. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Plunder is a malum in se which


requires proof of criminal intent.-

As regards the third issue, again we agree with Justice Mendoza that
plunder is a malum in se which requires proof of criminal intent. Thus,
he says, in his Concurring Opinion—x x x Precisely because the
constitutive crimes are mala in se the element of mens rea must be
proven in a prosecution for plunder. It is noteworthy that the amended
information alleges that the crime of plunder was committed “willfully,
unlawfully and criminally.” It thus alleges guilty knowledge on the part
of petitioner.
18. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Constitutional Law; Death
Penalty Law (R.A. 7659); It is now too late in the day to resurrect
the issue of the constitutionality of R.A. 7659, the same having been
eternally consigned by People v. Echega-ray, 267 SCRA 682 (1997), to
the archives of jurisprudential history.-

To clinch, petitioner likewise assails the validity of RA 7659, the


amendatory law of RA 7080, on constitutional grounds. Suffice it to say,
however, that it is now too late in the day for him to resurrect this long
dead issue, the same having been eternally consigned by People vs.
Echegaray to the archives of jurisprudential history. The declaration of
this Court therein that RA 7659 is constitutionally valid stands as a
declaration of the State, and becomes, by necessary effect, assimilated
in the Constitution now as an integral part of it.

19. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Public Officers;Graft and


Corruption; The Plunder Law is especially designed to disentangle
those ghastly tissues of grandscale corruption which, if left unchecked,
will spread like a malignant tumor and ultimately consume the moral
and institutional fiber of our nation.-

Our nation has been racked by scandals of corruption and obscene


profligacy of officials in high places which have shaken its very
foundation. The anatomy of graft and corruption has become more
elaborate in the corridors of time as unscrupulous people relentlessly
contrive more and more ingenious ways to bilk the coffers of the
government. Drastic and radical measures are imperative to fight the
increasingly sophisticated, extraordinarily methodical and economically
catastrophic looting of the national treasury. Such is the Plunder Law,
especially designed to disentangle those ghastly tissues of grand-scale
corruption which, if left unchecked, will spread like a malignant tumor
and ultimately consume the moral and institutional fiber of our nation.
The Plunder Law, indeed, is a living testament to the will of the
legislature to ultimately eradicate this scourge and thus secure society
against the avarice and other venalities in public office.

20. Constitutional Law; Judicial Review; What footnote 4 of U.S. v.


Carolene Products Co., 304 U.S. 144, 152, 82 L. Ed. 1234, 1241
(1938), posits is a double standard of judicial review—strict scrutiny for
laws dealing with freedom of the mind or restricting the political
process, and deferential or rational basis standard of review for
economic legislation.-

What footnote 4oftheCarolene Products case posits is a double standard


of judicial review: strict scrutiny for laws dealing with freedom of the
mind or restricting the political process, and deferential or rational basis
standard of review for economic legislation. As Justice (later Chief
Justice) Fernando explained in Malate Hotel and Motel Operators Ass’n
v. The City Mayor, this simply means that “if the liberty involved were
freedom of the mind or the person, the standard for the validity of
governmental acts is much more rigorous and exacting, but where the
liberty curtailed affects what are at the most rights of property, the
permissible scope of regulatory measures is wider.”

21. Constitutional Law; Judicial Review; Strict scrutiny is used


today to test the validity of laws dealing with the regulation of speech,
gender, or race and facial challenges are allowed for this purpose.-

Hence, strict scrutiny is used today to test the validity of laws dealing
with the regulation of speech, gender, or race and facial challenges are
allowed for this purpose. But criminal statutes, like the Anti-Plunder
Law, while subject to strict construction, are not subject to strict
scrutiny. The two (i.e., strict construction and strict scrutiny) are not
the same. The rule of strict construction is a rule of legal hermeneutics
which deals with the parsing of statutes to determine the intent of the
legislature. On the other hand, strict scrutiny is a standard of judicial
review for determining the quality and the amount of governmental
interest brought to justify the regulation of fundamental freedoms. It is
set opposite such terms as “deferential review” and “intermediate
review.”

22. Constitutional Law; Judicial Review; Under deferential review,


laws are upheld if they rationally further a legitimate governmental
interest, without courts seriously inquiring into the substantiality of
such interest and examining the alternative means by which the
objectives could be achieved.-

Thus, under deferential review, laws are upheld if they rationally further
a legitimate governmental interest, without courts seriously inquiring
into the substantiality of such interest and examining the alternative
means by which the objectives could be achieved. Under intermediate
review, the substantiality of the governmental interest is seriously
looked into and the availability of less restrictive alternatives are
considered. Under strict scrutiny, the focus is on the presence of
compelling, rather than substantial, governmental interest and on the
absence of less restrictive means for achieving that interest.

23. Constitutional Law; Judicial Review; “Void for Vagueness”


Doctrine; Overbreadth Doctrine; Facial Challenges; Words and
Phrases; The void-for-vagueness doctrine states that “a statute which
either forbids or requires the doing of an act in terms so vague that
men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and
differ as to its application, violates the first essential of due process of
law”; The overbreadth doctrine decrees that “a governmental purpose
may not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and
thereby invade the area of protected freedoms.-

Nor do allegations that the Anti-Plunder Law is vague and overbroad


justify a facial review of its validity. The void-for-vagueness doctrine
states that “a statute which either forbids or requires the doing of an
act in terms so vague that men of common intelligence must
necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application, violates
the first essential of due process of law.” The over-breadth doctrine, on
the other hand, decrees that “a governmental purpose may not be
achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby
invade the area of protected freedoms.”

24. Constitutional Law; Judicial Review; “Void for Vagueness”


Doctrine; Overbreadth Doctrine; Facial Challenges; Words and
Phrases; A facial challenge is allowed to be made to a vague statute
and to one which is overbroad because of possible “chilling effect” upon
protected speech, the theory being that “[w]hen statutes regulate or
proscribe speech and no readily apparent construction suggests itself as
a vehicle for rehabilitating the statutes in a single prosecution, the
transcendent value to all society of constitutionally protected expression
is deemed to justify allowing attacks on overly broad statutes with no
requirement that the person making the attack demonstrate that his
own conduct could not be regulated by a statute drawn with narrow
specificity.-

Afacialchallengeisallowedtobemadetoavague statute and to one which is


overbroad because of possible “chilling effect” upon protected speech.
The theory is that “[w]hen statutes regulate or proscribe speech and no
readily apparent construction suggests itself as a vehicle for
rehabilitating the statutes in a single prosecution, the transcendent
value to all society of constitutionally protected expression is deemed to
justify allowing attacks on overly broad statutes with no requirement
that the person making the attack demonstrate that his own conduct
could not be regulated by a statute drawn with narrow specificity.” The
possible harm to society in permitting some unprotected speech to go
unpunished is outweighed by the possibility that the protected speech
of others may be deterred and perceived grievances left to fester
because of possible inhibitory effects of overly broad statutes.
25. Constitutional Law; Judicial Review; “Void for Vagueness”
Doctrine; Overbreadth Doctrine; Facial Challenges; Words and
Phrases; The overbreadth and vagueness doctrines have special
application only to free speech cases—they are inapt for testing the
validity of penal statutes.-

This rationale does not apply to penal statutes. Criminal statutes have
general in terrorem effect resulting from their very existence, and, if
facial challenge is allowed for this reason alone, the State may well be
prevented from enacting laws against socially harmful conduct. In the
area of criminal law, the law cannot take chances as in the area of free
speech. The overbreadth and vagueness doctrines then have special
application only to free speech cases. They are inapt for testing the
validity of penal statutes. As the U.S. Supreme Court put it, in an
opinion by Chief Justice Rehnquist, “we have not recognized an
‘overbreadth’ doctrine outside the limited context of the First
Amendment.” In Broadrick v. Oklahoma, the Court ruled that “claims of
facial overbreadth have been entertained in cases involving statutes
which, by their terms, seek to regulate only spoken words” and, again,
that “overbreadth claims, if entertained at all, have been curtailed when
invoked against ordinary criminal laws that are sought to be applied to
protected conduct.” For this reason, it has been held that “a facial
challenge to a legislative act is the most difficult challenge to mount
successfully, since the challenger must establish that no set of
circumstances exists under which the Act would be valid.” As for the
vagueness doctrine, it is said that a litigant may challenge a statute on
its face only if it is vague in all its possible applications. “A plaintiff who
engages in some conduct that is clearly proscribed cannot complain of
the vagueness of the law as applied to the conduct of others.”

26. Constitutional Law; Judicial Review; “Void for Vagueness”


Doctrine; Overbreadth Doctrine; Facial Challenges; Words and
Phrases; The doctrines of strict scrutiny, overbreadth, and vagueness
are analytical tools developed for testing “on their faces” statutes in
free speech cases or, as they are called in American law, First
Amendment Cases.-

In sum, the doctrines of strict scrutiny, overbreadth, and vagueness are


analytical tools developed for testing “on their faces” statutes in free
speech cases or, as they are called in American law, First Amendment
cases. They cannot be made to do service when what is involved is a
criminal statute. With respect to such statute, the established rule is
that “one to whom application of a statute is constitutional will not be
heard to attack the statute on the ground that impliedly it might also be
taken as applying to other persons or other situations in which its
application might be unconstitutional.” As has been pointed out,
“vagueness challenges in the First Amendment context, like
overbreadth challenges typically produce facial invalidation, while
statutes found vague as a matter of due process typically are
invalidated [only] ‘as applied’ to a particular defendant.” Consequently,
there is no basis for petitioner’s claim that this Court review the Anti-
Plunder Law on its face and in its entirety.

27. Anti-Plunder Law; Statutory Construction; Words and


Phrases; Resort to the deliberations in Congress will readily reveal that
the word “combination” includes at least two different overt or criminal
acts listed in R.A. No. 7080, such as misappropriation (§1(d)(1)) and
taking undue advantage of official position (§1(d)(6)), while on the
other hand, “series” is used when the offender commits the same overt
or criminal act more than once.-

Thus, resort to the deliberations in Congress will readily reveal that the
word “combination” includes at least two different overt or criminal acts
listed in R.A. No. 7080, such as misappropriation (§1(d)(1)) and taking
undue advantage of official position (§1(d)(6)). On the other hand,
“series” is used when the offender commits the same overt or criminal
act more than once. There is no plunder if only one act is proven, even
if the ill-gotten wealth acquired thereby amounts to or exceeds the
figure fixed by the law for the offense (now P50,000,000.00). The overt
or criminal acts need not be joined or separated in space or time, since
the law does not make such a qualification. It is enough that the
prosecution proves that a public officer, by himself or in connivance
with others, amasses wealth amounting to at least P50 million by
committing two or more overt or criminal acts.

28. Anti-Plunder Law; Statutory Construction; Words and


Phrases; A “pattern of overt or criminal acts” is required in §4 to prove
“an unlawful scheme or conspiracy,” and in such a case, it is not
necessary to prove each and every criminal act done in furtherance of
the scheme or conspiracy so long as those proven show a pattern
indicating the scheme or conspiracy.-

A “pattern of overt or criminal acts” is required in §4toprove“an


unlawful scheme or conspiracy.” In such a case, it is not necessary to
prove each and every criminal act done in furtherance of the scheme or
conspiracy so long as those proven show a pattern indicating the
scheme or conspiracy. In other words, when conspiracy is charged,
there must be more than a combination or series of two or more acts.
There must be several acts showing a pattern which is “indicative of the
overall scheme or conspiracy.” As Senate President Salonga explained,
if there are 150 constitutive crimes charged, it is not necessary to
prove beyond reasonable doubt all of them. If a pattern can be shown
by proving, for example, 10 criminal acts, then that would be sufficient
to secure conviction. The State is thereby enabled by this device to deal
with several acts constituting separate crimes as just one crime of
plunder by allowing their prosecution by means of a single information
because there is a common purpose for committing them, namely, that
of “amassing, accumulating or acquiring wealth through such overt or
criminal acts.” The pattern is the organizing principle that defines what
otherwise would be discreet criminal acts into the single crime of
plunder.

29. Anti-Plunder Law; Statutory Construction; Words and


Phrases; As applied to petitioner, the Anti-Plunder Law presents only
problems of statutory construction, not vagueness or overbreadth.-

As thus applied to petitioner, the Anti-Plunder Law presents only


problems of statutory construction, not vagueness or overbreadth. In
Primicias v. Fugoso, an ordinance of the City of Manila, prohibiting the
holding of parades and assemblies in streets and public places unless a
permit was first secured from the city mayor and penalizing its
violation, was construed to mean that it gave the city mayor only the
power to specify the streets and public places which can be used for the
purpose but not the power to ban absolutely the use of such places. A
constitutional doubt was thus resolved through a limiting construction
given to the ordinance.

30. Anti-Plunder Law; Statutory Construction; Words and


Phrases; “Void for Vagueness” Doctrine; Where the ambiguity is
not latent and the legislative intention is discoverable with the aid of
the canons of construction, the “void for vagueness” doctrine has no
application.-

Where, therefore, the ambiguity is not latent and the legislative


intention is discoverable with the aid of the canons of construction, the
“void for vagueness” doctrine has no application.

31. Anti-Plunder Law; Criminal Law; Crimes Mala In Se and Mala


Prohibita; Plunder is a malum in se, requiring proof of mens rea.-

Plunder is a malum in se, requiring proof of criminal intent. Precisely


because the constitutive crimes are mala in se, the element of mens
rea must be proven in a prosecution for plunder. It is noteworthy that
the amended information alleges that the crime of plunder was
committed “willfully, unlawfully and criminally.” It thus alleges guilty
knowledge on the part of petitioner.

32. Anti-Plunder Law; Criminal Law; Crimes Mala In Se and Mala


Prohibita; The application of mitigating and extenuating circumstances
in the Revised Penal Code to prosecutions under the Anti-Plunder Law
indicates quite clearly that mens rea is an element of plunder since the
degree of responsibility of the offender is determined by his criminal
intent.-

The application of mitigating and extenuating circumstances in the


Revised Penal Code to prosecutions under the Anti-Plunder Law
indicates quite clearly that mens rea is an element of plunder since the
degree of responsibility of the offender is determined by his criminal
intent. It is true that §2 refers to “any person who participates with the
said public officer in the commission of an offense contributing to the
crime of plunder.” There is no reason to believe, however, that it does
not apply as well to the public officer as principal in the crime. As
Justice Holmes said: “We agree to all the generalities about not
supplying criminal laws with what they omit, but there is no canon
against using common sense in construing laws as saying what they
obviously mean.”

33. Anti-Plunder Law; Criminal Law; Crimes Mala In Se and Mala


Prohibita; Any doubt as to whether the crime of plunder is a malum in
se must be deemed to have been resolved in the affirmative by the
decision of Congress in 1993 to include it among the heinous crimes
punishable by reclusion perpetua to death, the legislative declaration in
R.A. No. 7659 that plunder is a heinous offense implies that it is a
malum in se.-

Finally, any doubt as to whether the crime of plunder is a malum in se


must be deemed to have been resolved in the affirmative by the
decision of Congress in 1993 to include it among the heinous crimes
punishable by reclusion perpetua to death. Other heinous crimes are
punished with death as a straight penalty in R.A. No. 7659. Referring to
these groups of heinous crimes, this Court held in People v. Echegaray:
x x x The legislative declaration in R.A. No. 7659 that plunder is a
heinous offense implies that it is a malum in se. For when the acts
punished are inherently immoral or inherently wrong, they are mala in
se and it does not matter that such acts are punished in a special law,
especially since in the case of plunder the predicate crimes are mainly
mala in se. Indeed, it would be absurd to treat prosecutions for plunder
as though they are mere prosecutions for violations of the Bouncing
Check Law (B.P. Blg. 22) or of an ordinance against jaywalking, without
regard to the inherent wrongness of the acts.

34. Anti-Plunder Law; Criminal Law; Complex Crimes;Obviously,


the legislature views plunder as a crime as serious as robbery with
homicide or rape with homicide by punishing it with the same penalty.-

But this is also the case whenever other special complex crimes are
created out of two or more existing crimes. For example, robbery with
violence against or intimidation of persons under Art. 294, par. 5 of the
Revised Penal Code is punished with prision correccional in its
maximum period (4 years, 2 months, and 1 day) to prision mayor in its
medium period (6 years and 1 day to 8 years). Homicide under Art. 249
of the same Code is punished with reclusion temporal (12 years and 1
day to 20 years). But when the two crimes are committed on the same
occasion, the law treats them as a special complex crime of robbery
with homicide and provides the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death
for its commission. Again, the penalty for simple rape under Art. 266-B
of the Revised Penal Code is reclusion perpetua, while that for homicide
under Art. 249 it is reclusion temporal (12 years and 1 day to 20
years). Yet, when committed on the same occasion, the two are treated
as one special complex crime of rape with homicide and punished with
a heavier penalty of reclusion perpetua to death. Obviously, the
legislature views plunder as a crime as serious as robbery with
homicide or rape with homicide by punishing it with the same penalty.

35. Constitutional Law; Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder


Law; Statutory Construction; Simple statutory construction, not a
declaration of unconstitutionality, is the key to the allegedly vague
words of the Anti-Plunder Law.-

Indeed, simple statutory construction, not a declaration of


unconstitutionality, is the key to the allegedly vague words of the Anti-
Plunder Law. And the most basic rule in statutory construction is to
ascertain the meaning of a term from the legislative proceedings.
Verily, in the judicial review of a law’s meaning, the legislative intent is
paramount.

36. Pleadings and Practice; Transcripts of Stenographic


Notes; Most of us in the legal profession are all too familiar with the
vagaries of stenographic note-taking, especially in courtrooms and
legislative halls—often, transcripts of stenographic notes have portrayed
lawyers, witnesses, legislators and judges as blithering idiots, spouting
utterly nonsensical jargon and plain inanities in the course of a
proceeding.-

Most of us in the legal profession are all too familiar with the vagaries
of stenographic note-taking, especially in courtrooms and legislative
halls. Too often, lawyers, parties-litigants and even judges find
themselves at the mercy of stenographers who are unfamiliar with
certain legal terms; or who cannot hear well enough or take notes fast
enough; or who simply get confused, particularly when two or more
persons happen to be speaking at the same time. Often, transcripts of
stenographic notes have portrayed lawyers, witnesses, legislators and
judges as blithering idiots, spouting utterly nonsensical jargon and plain
inanities in the course of a proceeding. The Record in question is no
exception.

37. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; It goes without saying that the
legislature is well within its powers to provide higher penalties in view
of the grave evils sought to be prevented by R.A. 7080.-

Here, Mr. Justice Mendoza is referring to special complex crimes like


rape with homicide or robbery with homicide. During the Oral
Argument, he asked whether petitioner’s counsel was in fact suggesting
that such special complex crimes—a very important part of the Revised
Penal Code and well-entrenched in our penal system—were violative of
due process and the constitutional guarantees against cruel and
unusual punishment and should also be struck down. It goes without
saying that the legislature is well within its powers to provide higher
penalties in view of the grave evils sought to be prevented by RA 7080.

38. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Constitutional


Law; Overbreadth Doctrine; A statute may be said to be overbroad
where it operates to inhibit the exercise of individual freedoms
affirmatively guaranteed by the Constitution, such as the freedom of
speech or religion.-

In connection with the foregoing discussion, petitioner also charges that


RA 7080 suffers from “overbreadth.” I believe petitioner misconstrues
the concept. In the very recent case People v. Dela Piedra, this Court
held: “A statute may be said to be overbroad where it operates to
inhibit the exercise of individual freedoms affirmatively guaranteed by
the Constitution, such as the freedom of speech or religion. A generally
worded statute, when construed to punish conduct which cannot be
constitutionally punished, is unconstitutionally vague to the extent that
it fails to give adequate warning of the boundary between the
constitutionally permissible and the constitutionally impermissible
applications of the statute.

39. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Constitutional


Law; Statutory Construction; Judicial Review; The power to
construe law is essentially judicial—to declare what the law shall be is a
legislative power, but to declare what the law is or has been is judicial.-

At all events, let me stress that the power to construe law is essentially
judicial. To declare what the law shall be is a legislative power, but to
declare what the law is or has been is judicial. Statutes enacted by
Congress cannot be expected to spell out with mathematical precision
how the law should be interpreted under any an all given situations.
The application of the law will depend on the facts and circumstances
as adduced by evidence which will then be considered, weighed and
evaluated by the courts. Indeed, it is the constitutionally mandated
function of the courts to interpret, construe and apply the law as would
give flesh and blood to the true meaning of legislative enactments.

40. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Constitutional


Law; Statutory Construction; A law is not a mere composition, but
an end to be achieved; and its general purpose is a more important aid
to its meaning than any rule that grammar may lay down.-

A statute should be construed in the light of the objective to be


achieved and the evil or mischief to be suppressed and should be given
such construction as will advance the purpose, suppress the mischief or
evil, and secure the benefits intended. A law is not a mere composition,
but an end to be achieved; and its general purpose is a more important
aid to its meaning than any rule that grammar may lay down. A
construction should be rejected if it gives to the language used in a
statute a meaning that does not accomplish the purpose for which the
statute was enacted and that tends to defeat the ends that are sought
to be attained by its enactment.

41. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Constitutional Law; “Void


for Vagueness” Doctrine; To this date, the Supreme Court has not
declared any penal law unconstitutional on the ground of ambiguity.-

Against the foregoing backdrop, I believe petitioner’s heavy reliance on


the void-for-vagueness concept cannot prevail, considering that such
concept, while mentioned in passing in Nazario and other cases, has yet
to find direct application in our jurisdiction. To this date, the Court has
not declared any penal law unconstitutional on the ground of ambiguity.
On the other hand, the constitutionality of certain penal statutes has
been upheld in several cases, notwithstanding allegations of ambiguity
in the provisions of law. In Caram Resources Corp. v. Contreras and
People v. Morato, the Court upheld the validity of BP 22 (Bouncing
Checks Law) and PD 1866 (Illegal Possession of Firearms), respectively,
despite constitutional challenges grounded on alleged ambiguity.

42. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; The prosecution’s burden of


proving the crime of plunder is, in actuality, much greater than in an
ordinary criminal case—the prosecution, in establishing a pattern of
overt or criminal acts, must necessarily show a combination or series of
acts within the purview of Section I (d) of the law, and these acts must
still be proven beyond reasonable doubt.-

Nevertheless, it should be emphasized that the indicative pattern must


be proven beyond reasonable doubt. To my mind, this means that the
prosecution’s burden of proving the crime of plunder is, in actuality,
much greater than in an ordinary criminal case. The prosecution, in
establishing a pattern of overt or criminal acts, must necessarily show a
combination or series of acts within the purview of Section 1(d) of the
law. These acts which constitute the combination or series must still be
proven beyond reasonable doubt. On top of that, the prosecution must
establish beyond reasonable doubt such pattern of overt or criminal
acts indicative of the overall scheme or conspiracy, as well as all the
other elements thereof.

43. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Regardless of whether plunder


is classified as mala prohibita or in se, it is the prerogative of the
legislature—which is undeniably vested with the authority—to
determine whether certain acts are criminal irrespective of the actual
intent of the perpetrator.-

While I simply cannot agree that the Anti-Plunder Law eliminated mens
rea from the component crimes of plunder, my bottom-line position still
is: regardless of whether plunder is classified as mala prohibita or in se,
it is the prerogative of the legislature—which is undeniably vested with
the authority—to determine whether certain acts are criminal
irrespective of the actual intent of the perpetrator.

44. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; I join the view that when we
speak of plunder, we are referring essentially to two or more instances
of mala in se constituting one malum prohibitum.-

Without being facetious, may I say that, unlike the act of discharging a
gun, the acts mentioned in Section 1(d)—bribery, conversion,
fraudulent conveyance, unjust enrichment and the like—cannot be
committed sans criminal intent. And thus, I finally arrive at a point of
agreement with petitioner: that the acts enumerated in Section l(d) are
by their nature mala in se, and most of them are in fact defined and
penalized as such by the Revised Penal Code. Having said that, I join
the view that when we speak of plunder, we are referring essentially to
two or more instances of mala in se constituting one malum
prohibitum. Thus, there should be no difficulty if each of the predicate
acts be proven beyond reasonable doubt as mala in
se,evenifthedefenseoflackofintentbe taken away as the solicitor general
has suggested. In brief, the matter of classification is not really
significant, contrary to what petitioner would have us believe. The key,
obviously, is whether the same burden of proof—proof beyond
reasonable doubt—would apply.

45. Constitutional Law; Statutory Construction; While every law


enacted by Congress enjoys a presumption of constitutionality, and the
presumption prevails in the absence of contrary evidence, when a
constitutionally protected right of an individual is in danger of being
trampled upon by a criminal statute, such law must be struck down for
being void.-

Every law enacted by Congress enjoys a presumption of


constitutionality, and the presumption prevails in the absence of
contrary evidence. A criminal statute is generally valid if it does not
violate constitutional guarantees of individual rights. Conversely, when
a constitutionally protected right of an individual is in danger of being
trampled upon by a criminal statute, such
lawmustbestruckdownforbeingvoid.

46. Constitutional Law; Statutory Construction; “Void for


Vagueness” Doctrine; Due Process; The “void-for-vagueness”
doctrine is rooted in the basic concept of fairness as well as the due
process clause of the Constitution.-

One of the fundamental requirements imposed by the Constitution upon


criminal statutes is that pertaining to clarity and definiteness. Statutes,
particularly penal laws, that fall short of this requirement have been
declared unconstitutional for being vague. This “void-for-vagueness”
doctrine is rooted in the basic concept of fairness as well as the due
process clause of the Constitution. The Constitution guarantees both
substantive and procedural due process as well as the right of the
accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation
against him. A criminal statute should not be so vague and uncertain
that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess as to its
meaning and differ as to its application.

47. Constitutional Law; Statutory Construction; “Void for


Vagueness” Doctrine; Three distinct considerations for the Vagueness
Doctrine.-

There are three distinct considerations for the vagueness doctrine.


First, the doctrine is designed to ensure that individuals are properly
warned ex ante of the criminal consequences of their conduct. This “fair
notice” rationale was articulated in United States v. Harriss: The
constitutional requirement of definiteness is violated by a criminal
statute that fails to give a person of ordinary intelligence fair notice that
his contemplated conduct is forbidden by the statute. The underlying
principle is that no man shall be held criminally responsible for conduct
which he could not reasonably understand to be proscribed. Second,
and viewed as more important, the doctrine is intended to prevent
arbitrary and discriminatory law enforcement. Vague laws are invariably
“standardless” and as such, they afford too great an opportunity for
criminal enforcement to be left to the unfettered discretion of police
officers and prosecutors. Third, vague laws fail to provide sufficient
guidance to judges who are charged with interpreting statutes. Where a
statute is too vague to provide sufficient guidance, the judiciary is
arguably placed in the position of usurping the proper function of the
legislature by “making the law” rather than interpreting it.

48. Constitutional Law; Statutory Construction; “Void for


Vagueness” Doctrine; Overbreadth Doctrine; The doctrine of over-
breadth applies generally to statutes that infringe upon freedom of
speech while the “void-for-vagueness” doctrine applies to criminal laws,
not merely those that regulate speech or other fundamental
constitutional rights.-

A view has been proffered that “vagueness and overbreadth doctrines


are not applicable to penal laws.” These two concepts, while related,
are distinct from each other. On one hand, the doctrine of overbreadth
applies generally to statutes that infringe upon freedom of speech. On
the other hand, the “void-for-vagueness” doctrine applies to criminal
laws, not merely those that regulate speech or other fundamental
constitutional rights. The fact that a particular criminal statute does not
infringe upon free speech does not mean that a facial challenge to the
statute on vagueness grounds cannot succeed.

49. Constitutional Law; Statutory Construction; “Void for


Vagueness” Doctrine; Anti-Plunder Law; Words and
Phrases; Even men steeped in the knowledge of the law are in a
quandary as to what constitutes plunder.-

I respectfully disagree with the majority that “ascertainable standards


and well-defined parameters” are provided in the law to resolve these
basic questions. Even men steeped in the knowledge of the law are in a
quandary as to what constitutes plunder. The Presiding Justice of the
Sandiganbayan, Justice Francis Garchitorena, admitted that the justices
of said court “have been quarrelling with each other in finding ways to
determine what [they] understand by plunder.” Senator Neptali
Gonzales also noted during the deliberations of Senate Bill No. 733 that
the definition of plunder under the law is vague. He bluntly declared: “I
am afraid that it might be faulted for being violative of the due process
clause and the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the
accusation of an accused. Fr. Bernas, for his part, pointed to several
problematical portions of the law that were left unclarified. He posed
the question: “How can you have a ‘series’ of criminal acts if the
elements that are supposed to constitute the series are not proved to
be criminal?”

50. Constitutional Law; Statutory Construction; “Void for


Vagueness” Doctrine; Anti-Plunder Law; Words and Phrases; To
my mind, resort to the dictionary meaning of the terms “combination”
and “series” as well as recourse to the deliberations of the lawmakers
only serve to prove that R.A. No. 7080 failed to satisfy the strict
requirements of the Constitution on clarity and definiteness.-

To my mind, resort to the dictionary meaning of the terms


“combination” and “series” as well as recourse to the deliberations of
the lawmakers only serve to prove that R.A. No. 7080 failed to satisfy
the strict requirements of the Constitution on clarity and definiteness.
Note that the key element to the crime of plunder is that the public
officer, by himself or in conspiracy with others, amasses, accumulates,
or acquires “ill-gotten wealth” through a “combination or series of overt
or criminal acts” as described in Section 1(d) of the law. Senator
Gonzales, during the deliberations in the Senate, already raised serious
concern over the lack of a statutory definition of what constitutes
“combination” or “series,” consequently, expressing his fears that
Section 2 of R.A. No. 7080 might be violative of due process.

51. Constitutional Law;The deliberations of the Bicameral Conference


Committee and of the Senate cited by the majority,9 consisting mostly
of unfinished sentences, offer very little help in clarifying the nebulous
concept of plunder.-
The deliberations of the Bicameral Conference Committee and of the
Senate cited by the majority, consisting mostly of unfinished sentences,
offer very little help in clarifying the nebulous concept of plunder. All
that they indicate is that Congress seemingly intended to hold liable for
plunder a person who: (1) commits at least two counts of any one of
the acts mentioned in Section 1(d) of R.A. No. 7080, in which case,
such person commits plunder by a series of overt criminal acts; or (2)
commits at least one count of at least two of the acts mentioned in
Section 1(d), in which case, such person commits plunder by a
combination of overt criminal acts. Said discussions hardly provide a
window as to the exact nature of this crime.

52. Anti-Plunder Law; Complex Crimes; The argument that higher


penalties may be imposed where two or more distinct criminal acts are
combined and are regarded as special complex crimes, i.e., rape with
homicide, does not justify the imposition of the penalty of reclusion
perpetua to death in case plunder is committed.-

The argument that higher penalties may be imposed where two or more
distinct criminal acts are combined and are regarded as special complex
crimes, i.e., rape with homicide, does not justify the imposition of the
penalty of reclusion perpetua todeathincase plunder is committed.
Taken singly, rape is punishable by reclusion perpetua; and homicide,
by reclusion temporal. Hence, the increase in the penalty imposed
when these two are considered together as a special complex crime is
not too far from the penalties imposed for each of the single offenses.
In contrast, as shown by the examples above, there are instances
where the component crimes of plunder, if taken separately, would
result in the imposition of correctional penalties only; but when
considered as forming part of a series or combination of acts
constituting plunder, could be punishable by reclusion perpetua to
death. The disproportionate increase in the penalty is certainly violative
of substantive due process and constitute a cruel and inhuman
punishment.

53. Anti-Plunder Law; Section 1 taken in relation to Section 4


suggests that there is something to plunder beyond simply the number
of acts involved and that a grand scheme to amass, accumulate or
acquire ill-gotten wealth is contemplated by R.A. No. 7080.-

Granting arguendo that, as asserted by the majority, “combination” and


“series” simplistically mean the commission of two or more of the acts
enumerated in Section 1(d), still, this interpretation does not cure the
vagueness of R.A. No. 7080. In construing the definition of “plunder,”
Section 2 of R.A. No. 7080 must not be read in isolation but rather,
must be interpreted in relation to the other provisions of said law. It is
a basic rule of statutory construction that to ascertain the meaning of a
law, the same must be read in its entirety. Section 1 taken in relation
to Section 4 suggests that there is something to plunder beyond simply
the number of acts involved and that a grand scheme to amass,
accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth is contemplated by R.A. No.
7080. Sections 1 and 2 pertain only to the nature and quantitative
means or acts by which a public officer, by himself or in connivance
with other persons, “amasses, accumulates or acquires ill-gotten
wealth.” Section 4, on the other hand, requires the presence of
elements other than those enumerated in Section 2 to establish that
the crime of plunder has been committed because it speaks of the
necessity to establish beyond reasonable doubt a “pattern of overt or
criminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy.”

54. Anti-Plunder Law; That pattern is an essential element of the


crime of plunder is evident from a reading of the assailed law in its
entirety—without the existence of a “pattern of overt or criminal acts
indicative of the overall scheme or conspiracy” to acquire ill-gotten
wealth, a person committing several or even all of the acts enumerated
in Section 1(d) cannot be convicted for plunder, but may be convicted
only for the specific crimes committed under the pertinent provisions of
the Revised Penal Code or other laws.-

That pattern is an essential element of the crime of plunder is evident


from a reading of the assailed law in its entirety. It is that which would
distinguish plunder from isolated criminal acts punishable under the
Revised Penal Code and other laws, for without the existence a “pattern
of overt or criminal acts indicative of the overall scheme or conspiracy”
to acquire ill-gotten wealth, a person committing several or even all of
the acts enumerated in Section 1(d) cannot be convicted for plunder,
but may be convicted only for the specific crimes committed under the
pertinent provisions of the Revised Penal Code or other laws.

55. Anti-Plunder Law; Section 4 is not merely a rule of evidence or a


rule of procedure—it is of substantive character because it spells out a
distinctive element of the crime which has to be established.-

For this reason, I do not agree that Section 4 is merely a rule of


evidence or a rule of procedure. It does not become such simply
because its caption states that it is, although its wording indicates
otherwise. On the contrary, it is of substantive character because it
spells out a distinctive element of the crime which has to be
established, i.e., an overall unlawful “scheme or conspiracy” indicated
by a “pattern of overt or criminal acts” or means or similar schemes “to
amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth.”

56. Anti-Plunder Law; A careful reading of the law would unavoidably


compel a conclusion that there should be a connecting link among the
“means or schemes” comprising a “series or combination” for the
purpose of acquiring or amassing “ill-gotten wealth.”+

57. Anti-Plunder Law; Conspiracy; A person who conspires with the


accused in the commission of only one of the component crimes may be
prosecuted as co-principal for the component crime, or as co-principal
for the crime of plunder, depending on the interpretation of the
prosecutor; The unfettered discretion effectively bestowed on law
enforcers by Section 2 of R.A. 7080 in determining the liability of the
participants in the commission of one or more of the component crimes
for plunder undeniably poses the danger of arbitrary enforcement of the
law.-

Section 2 of R.A. No. 7080 states that “[a]ny person who participated
with the said public officer in the commission of an offense contributing
to the crime of plunder shall likewise be punished for such offense. In
the imposition of penalties, the degree of participation and the
attendance of mitigating and extenuating circumstances, as provided
by the Revised Penal Code, shall be considered by the court.” Both
parties share the view that the law as it is worded makes it possible for
a person who participates in the commission of only one of the
component crimes constituting plunder to be liable as co-conspirator for
plunder, not merely the component crime in which he participated.
While petitioner concedes that it is easy to ascertain the penalty for an
accomplice or accessory under R.A. No. 7080, such is not the case with
respect to a co-principal of the accused. In other words, a person who
conspires with the accused in the commission of only one of the
component crimes may be prosecuted as co-principal for the
component crime, or as co-principal for the crime of plunder, depending
on the interpretation of the prosecutor. The unfettered discretion
effectively bestowed on law enforcers by the aforequoted clause in
determining the liability of the participants in the commission of one or
more of the component crimes of a charge for plunder undeniably
poses the danger of arbitrary enforcement of the law.

58. Anti-Plunder Law; Statutory Construction; Judicial


Legislation; It certainly would not be feasible for the Court to interpret
each and every ambiguous provision without falling into the trap of
judicial legislation.-

The Solicitor General enjoins the Court to rectify the deficiencies in the
law by judicial construction. However, it certainly would not be feasible
for the Court to interpret each and every ambiguous provision without
falling into the trap of judicial legislation. A statute should be construed
to avoid constitutional question only when an alternative interpretation
is possible from its language. Borrowing from the opinion of the court in
Northwestern, the law “may be a poorly drafted statute; but rewriting it
is a job for Congress, if it so inclined, and not for this Court.” But where
the law as the one in question is void on its face for its patent
ambiguity in that it lacks comprehensible standards that men of
common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ
as to its application, the Court cannot breathe life to it through the
guise of construction.

59. Anti-Plunder Law; Criminal Law; The law, in effect, penalizes


the accused on the basis of a proven scheme or conspiracy to commit
plunder without the necessity of establishing beyond reasonable doubt
each and every criminal act done by the accused in the crime of
plunder.-

By its language, Section 4 eliminates proof of each and every


component criminal act of plunder by the accused and limits itself to
establishing just the pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of
unlawful scheme or conspiracy. The law, in effect, penalizes the
accused on the basis of a proven scheme or conspiracy to commit
plunder without the necessity of establishing beyond reasonable doubt
each and every criminal act done by the accused in the crime of
plunder.ToquoteFr.Bernasagain:“How can you have a ‘series’ of criminal
acts if the elements that are supposed to constitute the series are not
proved to be criminal?”

60. Anti-Plunder Law; Criminal Law; Crimes Mala in Se and Mala


Prohibita; Since the acts enumerated in Section 1(d) are mostly
defined and penalized by the Revised Penal Code, and as such, they are
by nature mala in se crime, of which intent is an essential element,
accordingly, with more reason that criminal intent must be established
in plunder.-

The acts enumerated in Section 1(d) are mostly defined and penalized
by the Revised Penal Code, e.g. malversation, estafa, bribery and other
crimes committed by public officers. As such, they are by nature mala
in se crimes. Since intent is an essential element of these crimes, then,
with more reason that criminal intent be established in plunder which,
under R.A. No. 7659, is one of the heinous crimes as pronounced in one
of its whereas clauses.

61. Anti-Plunder Law; Criminal Law; Crimes Mala in Se and Mala


Prohibita; Words and Phrases; Crimes “Mala in Se” and “Mala
Prohibita,” Distinguished; The fact that the acts enumerated in
Section 1(d) of R.A. 7080 were made criminal by special law does not
necessarily make the same mala prohibita where criminal intent is not
essential, although the term refers generally to acts made criminal by
special laws.-

The fact that the acts enumerated in Section 1(d) of R.A. 7080 were
made criminal by special law does not necessarily make the same mala
prohibita where criminal intent is not essential, although the term
refers generally to acts made criminal by special laws. For there is a
marked difference between the two. According to a well-known author
on criminal law: There is a distinction between crimes which are mala in
se, or wrongful from their nature, such as theft, rape, homicide, etc.,
and those that are mala prohibita, or wrong merely because prohibited
by statute, such as illegal possession of firearms. Crimes mala in se are
those so serious in their effects on society as to call for almost
unanimous condemnation of its members; while crimes mala prohibita
are violations of mere rules of convenience designed to secure a more
orderly regulation of the affairs of society. (Bouvier’s Law Dictionary,
Rawle’s3rdRevision)(1)Inactsmala in se, the intent governs; but in
those mala prohibit the only inquiry is, has the law been violated?
(People vs. Kibler, 106 N.Y., 321, cited in the case of U.S. vs. Go Chico,
14 Phil. 132) Criminal intent is not necessary where the acts are
prohibited for reasons of public policy, as in illegal possession of
firearms. (People vs. Conosa, C.A., 45 O.G. 3953)

62. Anti-Plunder Law; Criminal Law; Mens rea is a substantive due


process requirement under the Constitution, and this is a limitation on
police power.-

Mens rea is a substantive due process requirement under the


Constitution, and this is a limitation on police power. Additionally, lack
of mens rea or a clarifying scienter requirement aggravates the
vagueness of a statute.

63. Anti-Plunder Law; Estoppel; The rule on estoppel applies to


questions of fact, not of law.-
The case at bar has been subject to controversy principally due to the
personalities involved herein. The fact that one of petitioner’scounsels
was a co-sponsor of the Plunder Law and petitioner himself voted for its
passage when he was still a Senator would not in any put him in
estoppel to question its constitutionality. The rule on estoppel applies to
questions of fact, not of law. Moreover, estoppel should be resorted to
only as a means of preventing injustice. To hold that petitioner is
estopped from questioning the validity of R.A. No. 7080 because he had
earlier voted for its passage would result in injustice not only to him,
but to all others who may be held liable under this statute.

64. Anti-Plunder Law; Due Process; “Void for Vagueness”


Doctrine; Where the law, such as R.A. 7080, is so indefinite that the
line between innocent and condemned conduct becomes a matter of
guesswork, the indefiniteness runs afoul of due process concepts which
require that persons be given full notice of what to avoid, and that the
discretion of law enforcement officials, with the attendant dangers of
arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement, be limited by explicit
legislative standards.-

Undoubtedly, the reason behind the enactment of R.A. 7080 is


commendable. It was a response to the felt need at the time that
existing laws were inadequate to penalize the nature and magnitude of
corruption that characterized a “previous regime.” However, where the
law, such as R.A. 7080, is so indefinite that the line between innocent
and condemned conduct becomes a matter of guesswork, the
indefiniteness runs afoul of due process concepts which require that
persons be given full notice of what to avoid, and that the discretion of
law enforcement officials, with the attendant dangers of arbitrary and
discriminatory enforcement, be limited by explicit legislative standards.
It obfuscates the mind to ponder that such an ambiguous law as R.A.
No. 7080 would put on the balance the life and liberty of the accused
against whom all the resources of the State are arrayed. It could be
used as a tool against political enemies and a weapon of hate and
revenge by whoever wields the levers of power.

65. Criminal Procedure; Multiplicity of Offenses; I vote to grant


the petition on the second ground raised therein, that is, multiplicity of
offenses charged in the amended information.-

With due respect, I vote to grant the petition on the second ground
raised therein, that is, multiplicity of offenses charged in the amended
information. Consequently, the resolution of the Sandiganbayan must
be set aside, and the case remanded to the Ombudsman for the
amendment of the information to charge only a single offense.

66. Due Process; “Void for Vagueness” Doctrine;Substantive due


process requires that a criminal statute should not be vague and
uncertain; The doctrine of constitutional uncertainty is also based on
the right of the accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the
accusation.-

Substantive due process dictates that there should be no arbitrariness,


unreasonableness or ambiguity in any law which deprives a person of
his life or liberty. The trial and other procedures leading to conviction
may be fair and proper. But if the law itself is not reasonable
legislation, due process is violated. Thus, an accused may not be
sentenced to suffer the lethal injection or life imprisonment for an
offense understood only after judicial construction takes over where
Congress left off, and interpretation supplies its meaning. The
Constitution guarantees both substantive and procedural due process
as well as the right of the accused to be informed of the nature and
cause of the accusation against him. Substantive due process requires
that a criminal statute should not be vague and uncertain. More
explicitly—That the terms of a penal statute . . . must be sufficiently
explicit to inform those who are subject to it what conduct on their part
will render them liable to penalties, is a well-recognized requirement,
consonant alike with ordinary notions of fair play and the settled rules
of law. And a statute which either forbids or requires the doing of an
act in terms so vague that men of common intelligence must
necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application, violates
the first essential of due process. The doctrine of constitutional
uncertainty is also based on the right of the accused to be informed of
the nature and cause of the accusation. Fundamental fairness dictates
that a person cannot be sent to jail for a crime that he cannot with
reasonable certainty know he was committing. Statutes defining crimes
run afoul of the due process clause if they fail to give adequate
guidance to those who would be law-abiding, to advise defendants of
the nature of the offense with which they are charged or to guide
courts trying those who are accused. In short, laws which create crime
ought to be so explicit that all men subject to their penalties may know
what acts it is their duty to avoid.

67. Due Process; “Void for Vagueness” Doctrine;Overbreadth


Doctrine; The doctrines of overbreadth and void-for-vagueness in
Constitutional Law were developed in the context of freedom of speech
and of the press but they apply equally, if not more so, to capital
offenses.-

The doctrines of overbreadth and void-for-vagueness in Constitutional


Law were developed in the context of freedom of speech and of the
press. However, they apply equally, if not more so, to capital offenses.
In the present case, what the law seeks to protect or regulate involves
the deprivation of life itself and not merely the regulation of expression.

68. Due Process; “Void for Vagueness” Doctrine;Overbreadth


Doctrine; A statute is vague or overbroad, in violation of the due
process clause, where its language does not convey sufficiently definite
warning to the average person as to the prohibited conduct.-

In its early formulation, the overbreadth doctrine states that a


governmental purpose to control or prevent activities constitutionally
subject to regulation may not be achieved by means which sweep
unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of protected
freedoms. A statute, especially one involving criminal prosecution, must
be definite to be valid. A statute is vague or overbroad, in violation of
the due process clause, where its language does not convey sufficiently
definite warning to the average person as to the prohibited conduct. A
statute is unconstitutionally vague if people of common intelligence
must necessarily guess at its meaning.

69. Due Process; Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law;Crimes Mala in


Se and Mala Prohibita; In malversation or bribery under the Revised
Penal Code, the criminal intent is an important element of the criminal
acts, but under the Plunder Law, it is enough that the acts are
committed, thus, even if the accused can prove lack of criminal intent
with respect to crimes mala in se, this will not exonerate him under the
crime mala prohibita, a violation of substantive due process and the
standards of fair play because mens rea is a constitutional guarantee
under the due process clause.-

In the crime of plunder, it is enough that the acts defining malversation


or bribery are described. The court then proceeds to determine whether
the acts fall under the prohibitory terms of the law. Criminal intent no
longer has to be proved. The criminal intent to commit the crime is not
required to be proved. The desire to benefit particular persons does not
have to spring from criminal intent under the special law creating the
crime of plunder. In malversation or bribery under the Revised Penal
Code, the criminal intent is an important element of the criminal acts.
Under the Plunder Law, it is enough that the acts are committed. Thus,
even if the accused can prove lack of criminal intent with respect to
crimes mala in se, this will not exonerate him under the crime mala
prohibita. This violates substantive due process and the standards of
fair play because mens rea is a constitutional guarantee under the due
process clause.

70. Due Process; Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; I agree with


petitioner’s concern over the danger that the trial court may allow the
specifications of details in an information to validate a statute inherently
void for vagueness—an information cannot rise higher than the statute
upon which it is based; It is the statute, not the accusation under it,
that prescribes the rule to govern conduct and warns against
transgression.-

I agree with petitioner’s concern over the danger that the trial court
may allow the specifications of details in an information to validate a
statute inherently void for vagueness. An information cannot rise higher
than the statute upon which it is based. Not even the construction by
the Sandiganbayan of a vague or ambiguous provision can supply the
missing ingredients of the Plunder Law. The right of an accused to be
informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him is most
often exemplified in the care with which a complaint or information
should be drafted. However, the clarity and particularity required of an
information should also be present in the law upon which the charges
are based. If the penal law is vague, any particularity in the information
will come from the prosecutor. The prosecution takes over the role of
Congress. The fact that the details of the charges are specified in the
Information will not cure the statute of its constitutional infirmity. If on
its face the challenged provision is repugnant to the due process clause,
specification of details of the offense intended to be charged would not
serve to validate it. In other words, it is the statute, not the accusation
under it, that prescribes the rule to govern conduct and warns against
transgression. No one may be required at peril of life, liberty or
property to speculate as to the meaning of penal statutes. All are
entitled to be informed as to what the State commands or forbids.

71. Constitutional Law; Bill of Rights; As a basic premise, we have


to accept that even a person accused of a crime possesses inviolable
rights founded on the Constitution which even the welfare of the society
as a whole cannot override—the rights guaranteed to him by the
Constitution are not subject to political bargaining or to the calculus of
social interest.-

As a basic premise, we have to accept that even a person accused of a


crime possesses inviolable rights founded on the Constitution which
even the welfare of the society as a whole cannot override. The rights
guaranteed to him by the Constitution are not subject to political
bargaining or to the calculus of social interest. Thus, no matter how
socially-relevant the purpose of a law is, it must be nullified if it
tramples upon the basic rights of the accused. Enshrined in our
Constitution is the ultimate guaranty that “no person shall be deprived
of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” This provision in
the Bill of Rights serves as a protection of the Filipino people against
any form of arbitrariness on the part of the government, whether
committed by the legislature, the executive or the judiciary. Any
government act that militates against the ordinary norms of justice and
fair play is considered an infraction of the due process; and this is true
whether the denial involves violation merely of the procedure
prescribed by law or affects the very validity of the law itself.

72. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Albeit the legislature did not
directly lower the degree of proof required in the crime of plunder, it
nevertheless lessened the burden of the prosecution by dispensing with
proof of the essential elements of plunder.-

.A. No. 7080, as amended, is unconstitutional. Albeit the legislature did


not directly lower the degree of proof required in the crime of plunder
from proof beyond reasonable doubt to mere preponderance of or
substantial evidence, it nevertheless lessened the burden of the
prosecution by dispensing with proof of the essential elements of
plunder.

73. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; When Section 4 of R.A. No.


7080 mandates that it shall not be necessary for the prosecution to
prove each and every criminal act done by the accused, the legislature,
in effect, rendered the enumerated “criminal acts” under Section 1(d)
merely as means and not as essential elements of plunder.-

When Section 4 of R.A. No. 7080 mandates that it shall not be


necessary for the prosecution to prove each and every criminal act
done by the accused, the legislature, in effect, rendered the
enumerated “criminal acts” under Section 1 (d) merely as means and
not as essential elements of plunder. This is constitutionally infirmed
and repugnant to the basic idea of justice and fair play. As a matter of
due process, the prosecution is required to prove beyond reasonable
doubt every fact necessary to constitute the crime with which the
defendant is charged. The State may not specify a lesser burden of
proof for an element of a crime. With more reason, it should not be
allowed to go around the principle by characterizing an essential
element of plunder merely as a “means” of committing the crime. For
the result is the reduction of the burden of the prosecution to prove the
guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.

74. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Due Process;Providing a rule


of evidence which does not require proof beyond reasonable doubt to
establish every fact necessary to constitute the crime is a clear
infringement of due process.-

Providing a rule of evidence which does not require proof beyond


reasonable doubt to establish every fact necessary to constitute the
crime is a clear infringement of due process. While the principles of the
law of evidence are the same whether applied on civil or criminal trials,
they are more strictly observed in criminal cases. Thus, while the
legislature of a state has the power to prescribe new or alter existing
rules of evidence, or to prescribe methods of proof, the same must not
violate constitutional requirements or deprive any person of his
constitutional rights. Unfortunately, under R.A. No. 7080, the State did
not only specify a lesser burden of proof to sustain an element of the
crime; it even dispensed with proof by not considering the specific
“criminal acts” as essential elements. That it was the clear intention of
the legislature is evident from the Senate deliberation.

75. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; I believe that R.A. No. 7080
should have provided a cutoff period after which a succeeding act may
no longer be attached to the prior act for the purpose of establishing a
pattern.-

Indeed, Congress left much to be desired. I am at a quandary on how


many delictual acts are necessarytogiverisetoa“pattern of overt or
criminal acts” in the crime of plunder. If there is no numerical standard,
then, how should the existence of “pattern” be ascertained? Should it
be by proximity of time or of relationship? May an act committed two
decades after the prior criminal act be linked with the latter for the
purpose of establishing a pattern? It must be remembered that
plunder, being a continuous offense, the “pattern of overt or criminal
acts” can extend indefinitely, i.e., as long as the succeeding criminal
acts may be linked to the initial criminal act. This will expose the person
concerned to criminal prosecution ad infinitum. Surely, it will undermine
the purpose of the statute of limitations, i.e., to discourage prosecution
based on facts obscured by the passage of time, and to encourage law
enforcement officials to investigate suspected criminal activity
promptly. All these undesirable consequences arise from the fact that
the plunder law fails to provide a period within which the next criminal
act must be committed for the purpose of establishing a pattern. I
believe R.A. No. 7080 should have provided a cut-off period after which
a succeeding act may no longer be attached to the prior act for the
purpose of establishing a pattern. In reiteration, the RICO law defines
“pattern” as requiring at least two acts of racketeering activity... the
last of which occurred within ten years . . . after the commission of the
prior act of racket-eering activity. Such limitation prevents a
subsequent racketeering activity, separated by more than a decade
from the prior act of racketeering, from being appended to the latter for
the purpose of coming up with a pattern. We do not have the same
safeguard under our law.

76. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; A statute that does not provide
adequate standards for adjudication, by which guilt or innocence may
be determined, should be struck down.-

Lastly, the terms “combination” and “series” are likewise vague. Hence,
on the basis of the law, a conviction of an accused cannot be sustained.
A statute that does not provide adequate standards for adjudication, by
which guilt or innocence may be determined, should be struck down.
Crimes must be defined in a statute with appropriate certainty and
definiteness. The standards of certainty in a statute prescribing
punishment for offenses are higher than in those depending primarily
on civil sanctions for their enforcement. A penal statute should
therefore be clear and unambiguous. It should explicitly establish the
elements of the crime which it creates and provide some reasonably
ascertainable standards of guilt. It should not admit of such a double
meaning that a citizen may act on one conception of its requirements
and the courts on another.

77. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Considering that without


plurality of overt or criminal acts, there can be no crime of plunder, due
process of law demands that the terms “combination” and “series” be
defined with exactitude in the law itself—no one may be required, at the
peril of life, liberty or property to guess at, or speculate as to, the
meaning of a penal statute.-

Considering that without plurality of overt or criminal acts, there can be


no crime of plunder, due process of law demands that the terms
“combination” and “series” be defined with exactitude in the law itself.
Equating these terms with mere “plurality” or “two or more,” is
inaccurate and speculative. For one, a “series” is a group of usually
three or more things or events standing or succeeding in order and
having like relationship to each other. The Special Prosecution Division
Panel defines it as “at least three of the acts enumerated under Section
1(d) thereof.” But it can very well be interpreted as only one act
repeated at least three times. And the Office of the Solicitor General,
invoking the deliberations of the House of Representatives, contends
differently. It defines the term series as a “repetition” or pertaining to
“two or more.” The disparity in the Prosecution and OSG’s positions
clearly shows how imprecise the term “series” is. This should not be
countenanced. Crimes are not to be created by inference. No one may
be required, at the peril of life, liberty or property to guess at, or
speculate as to, the meaning of a penal statute. An accused, regardless
of who he is, is entitled to be tried only under a clear and valid law.

78. Criminal Law; Anti-Plunder Law; Judicial


Legislation; Precision must be the characteristic of penal legislation—
for the Court to define what is a crime is to go beyond the so-called
positive role in the protection of civil liberties or promotion of public
interests; A statute which is so vague as to permit the infliction of
capital punishment on acts already punished with lesser penal-ties by
clearly formulated law is unconstitutional.-

On the argument that this Court may clarify the vague terms or explain
the limits of the over-broad provisions of R.A. No. 7080, I should
emphasize that this Court has no power to legislate. Precision must be
the characteristic of penal legislation. For the Court to define what is a
crime is to go beyond the so-called positive role in the protection of civil
liberties or promotion of public interests. As stated by Justice
Frankfurter, the Court should be wary of judicial attempts to impose
justice on the community; to deprive it of the wisdom that comes from
self-inflicted wounds and the strengths that grow with the burden of
responsibility. A statute which is so vague as to permit the infliction of
capital punishment on acts already punished with lesser penalties by
clearly formulated law is unconstitutional. The vagueness cannot be
cured by judicial construction.

Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: G.R. No. 148560

Counsel: Agabin, Verzola, Hermoso & Layaoen Law Offices, Jose B. Flaminiano,
Saguisag, Carao & Associates, Fortun, Narvasa & Salazar, The Solicitor General
Ponente: BELLOSILLO

Dispositive Portion:

PREMISES CONSIDERED, this Court holds that RA 7080


otherwise known as the Plunder Law, as amended by RA
7659, is CONSTITUTIONAL. Consequently, the petition to
declare the law unconstitutional is DISMISSED for lack of
merit.

Go vs. Fifth Division, Sandiganbayan 532 SCRA 130 , September 03,


2007

Case Title : HENRY T. GO, petitioner, vs. THE FIFTH DIVISION, SANDIGANBAYAN
and THE OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR, OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN,
respondents.Case Nature : MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION of a decision of the
Supreme Court.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Judgments|Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (R.A.


No. 3019)|Public Officers|Words and Phrases|Conspiracy|Right to be
Informed|Pleadings and Practice

Division: SPECIAL THIRD DIVISION

1. Criminal Law; Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (R.A. No. 3019); Public
Officers;The first element of the crime punished by Section 3(g) of R.A. No. 3019 is
that the accused must be a public officer who enters into a contract on behalf of the
government.—Petitioner, a private individual, stands charged with violation of
Section 3(g) of Republic Act No. 3019, the clear terms of which punishes public
officers who, on behalf of the government, enter into contracts or transactions
manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government, whether or not the public
officer profited or will profit thereby. The first element of the crime is that the
accused must be a public officer who enters into a contract on behalf of the
government. The philosophy behind this is that the public officer is duty bound to
see to it that the interest of the government is duly protected. Thus, should the
contract or transaction entered into by such public officer is manifestly or grossly
disadvantageous to the government’s interests, the public officer is held liable for
violation of Section 3(g), whether or not this public officer profited or will
profit thereby.

2. _______________

3. * SPECIAL THIRD DIVISION.

4. 131

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31
Go vs. Fifth Division, Sandiganbayan

5. Same; Same; Same; Words and Phrases;An act which is declared malum prohibitum,
malice or criminal intent is completely immaterial; Section 3(g), R.A. No. 3019,
applies restrictively only to public officers entering into a contract on behalf of the
government manifestly or grossly disadvantageous to the government.—InLuciano v.
Estrella, 34 SCRA 769 (1970), Justice J.B.L. Reyes opines that the act treated in
Section 3(g) partakes of the nature of malum prohibitum; it is the commission of
that act as defined by the law, and not the character or effect thereof, that
determines whether or not the provision has been violated. An act which is
declared malum prohibitum, malice or criminal intent is completely immaterial.
Section 3(g), however, applies restrictively only to public officers entering into a
contract on behalf of the government manifestly or grossly disadvantageous to the
government.

6. Same; Same; Same; Conspiracy;Notwithstanding the allegation of conspiracy to


violate Section 3(g), the liability of private individuals who participated in the
transaction must be established under the appropriate provision which is Section
4(b), for knowingly inducing or causing the public officers to commit Section 3(g)
where criminal intent must necessarily be proved.—InLuciano v. Estrella, 34 SCRA
769 (1970), the private persons who were charged with “conspiring and
confederating together” with the accused public officers to have unlawfully and
feloniously, on behalf of the municipal government of Makati, Rizal, entered into a
contract or transaction with the JEP Enterprises, were also charged with violation of
Section 4(b) of Republic Act No. 3019, for knowingly inducing or causing the above-
mentioned public officials and officers to enter into the aforementioned contract or
transaction. These private individuals were acquitted for insufficiency of evidence,
which simply means that the criminal liability of the public officers for violation of
Section 3(g) is separate and distinct from the liability of private persons under
Section 4(b) of Republic Act No. 3019. In other words, notwithstanding the allegation
of conspiracy to violate Section 3(g), the liability of private individuals who
participated in the transaction must be established under the appropriate provision
which is Section 4(b), for knowingly inducing or causing the public officers to commit
Section 3(g) where criminal intent must necessarily be proved. This is in clear
recognition that Section 3(g), a malum prohibitum, specifically applies to public
officers only.

7. 132

1 SUPREME COURT REPORTS


32 ANNOTATED
Go vs. Fifth Division, Sandiganbayan

8. Same; Same; Same; Same; It is well-settled that penal statutes are strictly construed
against the State and liberally for the accused, so much so that the scope of a penal
statute cannot be extended by good intention or by implication; Section 3(g), R.A. No.
3019, can only be violated by a public officer.—It is well-settled that penal statutes
are strictly construed against the State and liberally for the accused, so much so
that the scope of a penal statute cannot be extended by good intention or by
implication. The Information lumping petitioner with a public official for conspiracy
to violate Section 3(g), is totally infirm. Section 3(g) can only be violated by a public
officer. The acts for which private persons can be charged together with the public
officials are enumerated in the last paragraph of Section 3 and Section 4,
paragraphs (a) and (b) of Republic Act No. 3019. If warranted, petitioner Go should
be charged for violation of Section 4(b) in relation to Section 3(g).

9. AZCUNA, J., Separate Opinion:

10. Criminal Law; Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; Conspiracy; Right to be
Informed; There is a need to distinguish where the conspiracy is an element of the
offense itself and not merely a circumstance that increases the penalty; Where the
conspiracy is constitutive of the offense, it should be alleged with more specifics than
where it merely increases the penalty to that of the most guilty.—I agree that there is
no difference between Sec. 3 (h) and Sec. 3 (g) in this respect. If a private individual
can be charged for conspiracy with a public official in Sec. 3 (h)—directly or
indirectly having a financial or pecuniary interest in any contract, business or
transaction in connection with which he intervenes or takes part in his official
capacity, or in which he is prohibited by the Constitution or by any law from having
an interest, so can a private individual be charged with conspiracy with a public
official under Sec. 3 (g) for entering into a contract under terms and conditions
manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government. Petitioner, however,
rightly claims that in the Domingo case, the information allegedsufficient
specifics as to what constituted the conspiracy, namely, by acting as a dummy for the
public official and allowing his business to be used by him. Normally, an allegation
of conspiracy is sufficient, leaving the details to be established by the evidence at the
trial. There is, however, a need to distinguish the instance, as in this case, where the
conspiracy is an element of the offense itself and not merely a circumstance
11. 133

VOL. 532, SEPTEMBER 3, 2007 1


33
Go vs. Fifth Division, Sandiganbayan

12. that increases the penalty. For the only way a private individual can be liable under
Sec. 3 (g) is if he acted in conspiracy with the public official. Where the conspiracy
isconstitutive of the offense, it should be alleged with more specifics than where it
merely increases the penalty to that of the most guilty. Otherwise, there would be a
failure to accord the accused his constitutional right to be informed of the nature of
the offense of which he stands charged. The allegation in this case against petitioner
simply stated that he acted “in conspiracy with” the accused public official. I find
this insufficient.

13. GARCIA, J., Concurring Opinion:

14. Criminal Law; Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; Conspiracy; There can be no
denying that there are certain offenses which are limited to or can be committed only
by a certain class of persons, meaning only they can be successfully prosecuted and
punished for acts punishable as such offense, and Section 3(g) of RA 3019 is such
offense.—Justice Santiago’s dissent is correct or at least defensible. Section 3(g) of
the Anti-Graft Law (RA 3019) which punishes the act of entering, on behalf of the
government, into a contract or transaction grossly and manifestly disadvantageous
to the government may, as the dissent stressed, be committed only by public officers.
As may be gathered from settled jurisprudence, the first element of the crime of
violating Sec. 3(g) of RA 3019 is that the accused is a public officer, irresistibly
implying that only a public officer can be adjudged guilty for the offense, implying,
in turn, that a private individual cannot be held liable under Sec. 3(g), applying the
conspiracy principle. There can be no denying that there are certain offenses which
are limited to or can be committed only by a certain class of persons, meaning only
they can be successfully prosecuted and punished for acts punishable as such
offense. Section 3(g) of RA 3019, where only one authorized to sign and conclude
government contracts may be proceeded against, as only he can enter into contract
on behalf of the government, is such offense. Mention may also be made of felonies
punishable under Articles 204 to 207 of the Revised Penal Code and falling under
the category of “Malfeasance and Misfeasance in Office,” which only judges, in the
exercise of judicial functions, can be held liable of.
15. 134

1 SUPREME COURT REPORTS


34 ANNOTATED
Go vs. Fifth Division, Sandiganbayan

16. Same; Same; Same; If at all then, a private individual, if charged in conspiracy with
a public officer, can be prosecuted and convicted under Sec. 3(e) of RA 3019, but such
private individual cannot plausibly be charged either directly or in conspiracy with a
public officer, and be convicted for violation of Sec. 3(g).—The conclusion negating
the conspiracy scenario under Sec. 3(g) becomes all the more compelling if we
consider Sec. 3(g) side by side with the preceding Sec. 3(e). Section 3(e) punishes the
act of causing undue injury to any party or giving such party undue benefits thru
evident bad faith, manifest partiality or gross inexcusable negligence. By case law,
one of the elements to be proven in order to constitute a violation of Sec. 3(e) is that
the accused is a public officer or a private person charged in conspiracy with the
former. The conspiracy angle under Sec. 3(e) is not present in the enumeration of the
essential elements of the crime penalized under Sec. 3(g). The absence must have
some legal and logical basis. What comes immediately to mind is what is adverted to
earlier, i.e., that a private person cannot plausibly agree with a public officer to
enter into a contract manifestly disadvantageous to the government and then act on
that agreement by conclud-ing/signing one. Surely, the private person cannot, for
want of authority, agree in the first place to execute/sign a government contract. If
at all then, a private individual, if charged in conspiracy with a public officer, can be
prosecuted and convicted under Sec. 3(e) of RA 3019. But such private individual
cannot plausibly be charged either directly or in conspiracy with a public officer, and
be convicted for violation of Sec. 3(g) of RA 3019.

17. AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J., Dissenting Opinion:

18. Judgments; The Court does not sanction the piecemeal interpretation of a decision to
advance one’s case.—The Court does not sanction the piecemeal interpretation of a
decision to advance one’s case. To get the true intent and meaning of a decision, no
specific portion thereof should be isolated and resorted to, but the decision must be
considered in its entirety.

19. Criminal Law; Conspiracy; Pleadings and Practice; The allegation of conspiracy in
the information must not be confused with the adequacy of evidence that may be
required to prove it.—It bears stressing that the allegation of conspiracy in
the information must not be confused with the adequacy of evidence that
20. 135
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35
Go vs. Fifth Division, Sandiganbayan

21. may be required to prove it. A conspiracy is proved by evidence of actual


cooperation; of acts indicative of an agreement, a common purpose or design, a
concerted action or concurrence of sentiments to commit the felony and actually
pursue it. A statement of this evidence is not necessary in the information.

22.

Docket Number: G.R. No. 172602

Counsel: Quasha, Ancheta, Peña & Nolasco, The Solicitor General

Ponente: YNARES-SANTIAGO, AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ

Dispositive Portion:

ACCORDINGLY, the Motion for Reconsideration is


GRANTED and the Decision dated April 13, 2007 is RE-
VERSED and SET ASIDE. The Resolutions of the
Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 28092 dated
December 6, 2005 denying petitioner’s Motion to Quash
and its March 24, 2006 Resolution denying petitioner’s
Motion for Reconsideration are REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
The Sandiganbayan is DIRECTED to DISMISS Criminal
Case No. 28092 in so far as petitioner Henry T. Go is
concerned.

Teves vs. Commission on Elections 587 SCRA 1 , April 28, 2009

Case Title : EDGAR Y. TEVES, petitioner, vs. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS


and HERMINIO G. TEVES, respondents.Case Nature : SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION in
the Supreme Court. Certiorari.

Syllabi Class : Moral Turpitude|Legal Research|Depravity Standard

Syllabi:

1. Election Law; Moral Turpitude; The fact that a candidate lost in


the congressional race in the May 14, 2007 elections did not effectively
moot the issue of whether he was disqualified from running for public
office on the ground that the crime he was convicted of involved moral
turpitude.-

—The fact that petitioner lost in the congressional race in the May 14,
2007 elections did not effectively moot the issue of whether he was
disqualified from running for public office on the ground that the crime
he was convicted of involved moral turpitude. It is still a justiciable
issue which the COMELEC should have resolved instead of merely
declaring that the disqualification case has become moot in view of
petitioner’s defeat. Further, there is no basis in the COMELEC’s findings
that petitioner is eligible to run again in the 2010 elections because his
disqualification shall be deemed removed after the expiration of a
period of five years from service of the sentence. Assuming that the
elections would be held on May 14, 2010, the records show that it was
only on May 24, 2005 when petitioner paid the fine of P10,000.00 he
was sentenced to pay in Teves v. Sandiganbayan, 447 SCRA 309
(2004). Such being the reckoning point, thus, the five-year
disqualification period will end only on May 25, 2010. Therefore he
would still be ineligible to run for public office during the May 14, 2010
elections. Hence, it behooves the Court to resolve the issue of whether
or not petitioner’s violation of Section 3(h), R.A. No. 3019 involves
moral turpitude.

2. Same; Same; Depravity Standard; Three Perspectives or


Approaches from Which the Application of the Depravity
Standard Can Be Made;Even a cursory examination of the lists of
crimes categorized as crimes involving or not involving moral turpitude
readily reveals that while the concept of “moral turpitude” does not
have one specific definition that lends itself to easy and ready
application, the Court has been fairly consistent in its understanding
and application of the term and has not significantly deviated from what
it laid down in In re Basa-

—the key element, directly derived from the word “turpitude,” is the
standard of depravity viewed from a scale of right and wrong.—Even a
cursory examination of the above-listed readily reveals that while the
concept of “moral turpitude” does not have one specific definition that
lends itself to easy and ready application, the Court has been fairly
consistent in its understanding and application of the term and has not
significantly deviated from what it laid down in In re Basa. The key
element, directly derived from the word “turpitude,” is the standard of
depravity viewed from a scale of right and wrong. The application of
this depravity standard can be made from at least three perspectives or
approaches, namely: from the objective perspective of the act itself,
irrespective of whether or not the act is a crime; from the perspective
of the crime itself, as defined through its elements; and from the
subjective perspective that takes into account the perpetrator’s level of
depravity when he committed the crime.

3. Same; Same; In Re Basa, 41 Phil. 275 (1920), provided the first


instance for the Court to define the term moral turpitude in the context
of Section 21 of the Code of Civil Procedure on the disbarment of a
lawyer for conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude.-

—In Re Basa, 41 Phil. 275 (1920), a 1920 case, provided the first
instance for the Court to define the term moral turpitude in the context
of Section 21 of the Code of Civil Procedure on the disbarment of a
lawyer for conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude. Carlos S.
Basa, a lawyer, was convicted of the crime of abduction with consent.
The sole question presented was whether the crime of abduction with
consent, as punished by Article 446 of the Penal Code of 1887, involved
moral turpitude. The Court, finding no exact definition in the statutes,
turned to Bouvier’s Law Dictionary for guidance and held: “Moral
turpitude,” it has been said, “includes everything which is done contrary
to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals.” (Bouvier’s Law
Dictionary, cited by numerous courts.) Although no decision can be
found which has decided the exact question, it cannot admit of doubt
that crimes of this character involve moral turpitude. The inherent
nature of the act is such that it is against good morals and the accepted
rule of right conduct.

4. Same; Same; In the Philippines, the term moral turpitude was first
introduced in 1901 in Act No. 190, otherwise known as the Code of Civil
Actions and Special Proceedings.-

—In the Philippines, the term moral turpitude was first introduced in
1901 in Act No. 190, otherwise known as the Code of Civil Actions and
Special Proceedings. The Act provided that a member of the bar may be
removed or suspended from his office as lawyer by the Supreme Court
upon conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude. Subsequently, the
term “moral turpitude” has been employed in statutes governing
disqualifications of notaries public, priests and ministers in solemnizing
marriages, registration to military service, exclusion and naturalization
of aliens, discharge of the accused to be a state witness, admission to
the bar, suspension and removal of elective local officials, and
disqualification of persons from running for any elective local position.
5. BRION, J., Concurring Opinion:; The term “moral turpitude” first
took root under the United States (U.S.) immigration laws-

—its history can be traced back as far as the 17th century when the
States of Virginia and Pennsylvania enacted the earliest immigration
resolutions excluding criminals from America, in response to the British
government’s policy of sending convicts to the colonies.—The term
“moral turpitude” first took root under the United States (U.S.)
immigration laws. Its history can be traced back as far as the 17th
century when the States of Virginia and Pennsylvania enacted the
earliest immigration resolutions excluding criminals from America, in
response to the British government’s policy of sending convicts to the
colonies. State legislators at that time strongly suspected that Europe
was deliberately exporting its human liabilities. In the U.S., the term
“moral turpitude” first appeared in the Immigration Act of March 3,
1891, which directed the exclusion of persons who have been convicted
of a felony or other infamous crime or misdemeanor involving moral
turpitude; this marked the first time the U.S. Congress used the term
“moral turpitude” in immigration laws. Since then, the presence of
moral turpitude has been used as a test in a variety of situations,
including legislation governing the disbarment of attorneys and the
revocation of medical licenses. Moral turpitude also has been judicially
used as a criterion in disqualifying and impeaching witnesses, in
determining the measure of contribution between joint tortfeasors, and
in deciding whether a certain language is slanderous.

6. Same; Same; Cockfighting; Cockfighting, or sabong in the local


parlance, has a long and storied tradition in our culture and was
prevalent even during the Spanish occupation-

—while it is a form of gambling, the morality thereof or the wisdom in


legalizing it is not a justiciable issue.—Suffice it to state that
cockfighting, or sabong in the local parlance, has a long and storied
tradition in our culture and was prevalent even during the Spanish
occupation. While it is a form of gambling, the morality thereof or the
wisdom in legalizing it is not a justiciable issue. In Magtajas v. Pryce
Properties Corporation, Inc., 234 SCRA 255 (1994), it was held that:
The morality of gambling is not a justiciable issue. Gambling is not
illegal per se. While it is generally considered inimical to the interests of
the people, there is nothing in the Constitution categorically proscribing
or penalizing gambling or, for that matter, even mentioning it at all. It
is left to Congress to deal with the activity as it sees fit. In the exercise
of its own discretion, the legislature may prohibit gambling altogether
or allow it without limitation or it may prohibit some forms of gambling
and allow others for whatever reasons it may consider sufficient. Thus,
it has prohibited jueteng and monte but permits lotteries, cockfighting
and horse-racing. In making such choices, Congress has consulted its
own wisdom, which this Court has no authority to review, much less
reverse. Well has it been said that courts do no sit to resolve the merits
of conflicting theories. That is the prerogative of the political
departments. It is settled that questions regarding the wisdom,
morality, or practicability of statutes are not addressed to the judiciary
but may be resolved only by the legislative and executive departments,
to which the function belongs in our scheme of government. That
function is exclusive. Whichever way these branches decide, they are
answerable only to their own conscience and the constituents who will
ultimately judge their acts, and not to the courts of justice.

7. Same; Same; Conviction under the second mode does not


automatically mean that the same involved moral turpitude-

—a determination of all surrounding circumstances of the violation of


the statute must be considered.—Conviction under the second mode
does not automatically mean that the same involved moral turpitude. A
determination of all surrounding circumstances of the violation of the
statute must be considered. Besides, moral turpitude does not include
such acts as are not of themselves immoral but whose illegality lies in
their being positively prohibited, as in the instant case.

8. Same; Same; Two modes by which a public officer who has a direct
or indirect financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract, or
transaction may violate Section 3(h) of Republic Act No. 3019.-

—There are two modes by which a public officer who has a direct or
indirect financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract, or
transaction may violate Section 3(h) of R.A. 3019. The first mode is
when the public officer intervenes or takes part in his official capacity in
connection with his financial or pecuniary interest in any business,
contract, or transaction. The second mode is when he is prohibited from
having such an interest by the Constitution or by law. In Teves v.
Sandiganbayan, 447 SCRA 309 (2004), petitioner was convicted under
the second mode for having pecuniary or financial interest in a cockpit
which is prohibited under Sec. 89(2) of the Local Government Code of
1991.

9. Criminal Law; Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (R.A. No.


3019); Violation of Sec. 3(h) of R.A. 3019;Elements.-
—Section 3(h) of R.A. 3019 of which petitioner was convicted, reads:
Sec. 3. Corrupt practices of public officers.—In addition to acts or
omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law, the
following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are
hereby declared to be unlawful: x x x x (h) Directly or indirectly having
financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction
in connection with which he intervenes or takes part in his official
capacity, or in which he is prohibited by the Constitution or by any law
from having any interest. The essential elements of the violation of said
provision are as follows: 1) The accused is a public officer; 2) he has a
direct or indirect financial or pecuniary interest in any business,
contract or transaction; 3) he either: a) intervenes or takes part in his
official capacity in connection with such interest, or b) is prohibited
from having such interest by the Constitution or by law.

10. Same; Same; Words and Phrases; “Moral Turpitude,” Defined.-

—Moral turpitude has been defined as everything which is done


contrary to justice, modesty, or good morals; an act of baseness,
vileness or depravity in the private and social duties which a man owes
his fellowmen, or to society in general.

Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: G.R. No. 180363

Counsel: Quasha, Ancheta, Peña and Nolasco

Ponente: YNARES-SANTIAGO

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed


Resolutions of the Commission on Elections dated May 11,
2007 and October 9, 2007 disqualifying petitioner Edgar Y.
Teves from running for the position of Representative of
the 3rd District of Negros Oriental, are REVERSED and SET
ASIDE and a new one is entered declaring that the crime
committed by petitioner (violation of Section 3(h) of R.A.
3019) did not involve moral turpitude

Sanchez vs. People 588 SCRA 747 , June 05, 2009

Case Title : LEONILO SANCHEZ alias NILO, appellant, vs. PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES and COURT OF APPEALS, appelleesCase Nature : PETITION for
review on certiorari of a decision of the Court of Appeals.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Procedure|Information

Syllabi:

1. Criminal Law; Republic Act No. 7610 (Child Abuse


Law); Definition of Child Abuse.-

—Under Subsection (b), Section 3 of R.A. No. 7610, child abuse refers
to the maltreatment of a child, whether habitual or not, which includes
any of the following: (1) Psychological and physical abuse, neglect,
cruelty, sexual abuse and emotional maltreatment; (2) Any act by
deeds or words which debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic
worth and dignity of a child as a human being; (3) Unreasonable
deprivation of his basic needs for survival, such as food and shelter; or
(4) Failure to immediately give medical treatment to an injured child
resulting in serious impairment of his growth and development or in his
permanent incapacity or death.

2. Criminal Procedure; Information; What controls is not the title of


the information or the designation of the offense but the actual facts
recited therein.-

—We reject appellant’s claim that the Information filed against him was
defective. In Resty Jumaquio v. Hon. Joselito C. Villarosa, 576 SCRA
204 (2009), we held that what controls is not the title of the
information or the designation of the offense but the actual facts recited
therein. Without doubt, the averments in the Information clearly make
out the offense of child abuse under Section 10(a) of R.A. No. 7610.
The following were alleged: (1) the minority of VVV; (2) the acts
constituting physical abuse, committed by appellant against VVV; and
(3) said acts are clearly punishable under R.A. No. 7610 in relation to
P.D. No. 603. Indeed, as argued by the OSG, the commission of the
offense is clearly recited in the Information, and appellant cannot now
feign ignorance of this.

3. Same; Same; Penalties; Indeterminate Sentence


Law; Although Republic Act No. 7610 is a special law, the rules
in the Revised Penal Code for graduating penalties by degrees or
determining the proper period should be applied; Where the
special law adopted penalties from the Revised Penal Code, the
Indeterminate Sentence Law will apply just as it would in felonies.-

—The penalty for Other Acts of Child Abuse is prision mayor in its
minimum period. This penalty is derived from, and defined in, the
Revised Penal Code. Although R.A. No. 7610 is a special law, the rules
in the Revised Penal Code for graduating penalties by degrees or
determining the proper period should be applied. Thus, where the
special law adopted penalties from the Revised Penal Code, the
Indeterminate Sentence Law will apply just as it would in felonies.

4. Same; Same; Evidence; Appeals; Witnesses; Full weight and


respect are usually accorded by the appellate court to the findings of
the trial court on the credibility of witnesses since the trial judge had
the opportunity to observe the demeanor of the witnesses.-

—Appellant could only proffer the defense of denial. Notably, the RTC
found VVV and MMM to be credible witnesses, whose testimonies
deserve full credence. It bears stressing that full weight and respect are
usually accorded by the appellate court to the findings of the trial court
on the credibility of witnesses, since the trial judge had the opportunity
to observe the demeanor of the witnesses. Equally noteworthy is the
fact that the CA did not disturb the RTC’s appreciation of the witnesses’
credibility. Thus, we apply the cardinal rule that factual findings of the
trial court, its calibration of the testimonies of the witnesses, and its
conclusions anchored on such findings, are accorded respect, if not
conclusive effect, especially when affirmed by the CA. The exception is
when it is established that the trial court ignored, overlooked,
misconstrued, or misinterpreted cogent facts and circumstances which,
if considered, will change the outcome of the case.

5. Same; Same; As defined in the law, child abuse includes physical


abuse of the child, whether the same is habitual or not.-

—Appellant contends that, after proof, the act should not be considered
as child abuse but merely as slight physical injuries defined and
punishable under Article 266 of the Revised Penal Code. Appellant
conveniently forgets that when the incident happened, VVV was a child
entitled to the protection extended by R.A. No. 7610, as mandated by
the Constitution. As defined in the law, child abuse includes physical
abuse of the child, whether the same is habitual or not. The act of
appellant falls squarely within this definition. We, therefore, cannot
accept appellant’s contention.
Division: THIRD DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 179090

Counsel: Gonzalo D. Malig-on, Jr.

Ponente: NACHURA

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The Court of Appeals


Decision dated February 20, 2007 in CA-G.R. CR No.
27817 is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION that appellant
Leonilo Sanchez is hereby sentenced to four (4) years,
nine (9) months and eleven (11) days of prision
correccional, as minimum, to six (6) years, eight (8)
months and one (1) day of prision mayor, as maximum.
Costs against appellant.

People vs. Saley 291 SCRA 715 , July 02, 1998

Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ANTONINE B.


SALEY a.k.a. ANNIE B. SALEY, accused-appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a
decision of the Regional Trial Court of La Trinidad, Benguet, Br. 10.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Illegal Recruitment|Criminal Procedure;


Appeals|Words and Phrases|Evidence|Witnesses|Aggravating and Mitigating
Circumstances|Illegal Recruitment in Large Scale|Estafa|Double
Jeopardy|Penalties|Indeterminate Sentence Law

Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 121179

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Integrated Bar of the Philippines


Ponente: VITUG

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, the Decision finding appellant guilty beyond


reasonable doubt of the crimes of illegal recruitment,
illegal recruitment in large scale and estafa is hereby
AFFIRMED subject to the modifications hereunder
specified, and only to the extent thereof, in the following
cases:The awards of damages in Criminal Cases No. 92-
CR-1396, No. 92-CR-1413, No. 92-CR-1416, No. 92-CR-
1425, and No. 92-CR-1427, all for illegal recruitment, as
well as No. 93-CR-1645 for illegal recruitment in large
scale, except for the award of P25,000.00 by way of actual
damages to Dember Leon (no estafa case having been
instituted), are DELETED, either because similar awards
have already been provided for by the trial court, or for
insufficiency of proof, in the estafa cases aforenumbered.

People vs. Simon 234 SCRA 555 , July 29, 1994

Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. MARTIN SIMON y


SUNGA, respondent.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Dangerous Drugs


Act|Evidence|Witnesses|Constitutional Law|Penalties

Syllabi:

1. Criminal Law; Dangerous Drugs Act; Evidence; To sustain a


conviction for selling prohibited drugs, the sale must be clearly and
unmistakably established.-

To sustain a conviction for selling prohibited drugs, the sale must be


clearly and unmistakably established. To sell means to give, whether
for money or any other material consideration. It must, therefore, be
established beyond doubt that appellant actually sold and delivered two
tea bags of marijuana dried leaves to Sgt. Lopez, who acted as the
poseur-buyer, in exchange for two twenty-peso bills.

2. Criminal Law; Dangerous Drugs Act; Evidence; The practice of


entrapping drug traffickers through the utilization of poseur-buyers is
susceptible to mistake, harassment, extortion and abuse.-

We are aware that the practice of entrapping drug traffickers through


the utilization of poseur-buyers is susceptible to mistake, harassment,
extortion and abuse. Nonetheless, such causes for judicial apprehension
and doubt do not obtain in the case at bar. Appellant’s entrapment and
arrest were not effected in a haphazard way, for a surveillance was
conducted by the team before the buy-bust operation was effected. No
ill motive was or could be attributed to them, aside from the fact that
they are presumed to have regularly performed their official duty. Such
lack of dubious motive coupled with the presumption of regularity in the
performance of official duty, as well as the findings of the trial court on
the credibility of witnesses, should prevail over the self-serving and
uncorroborated claim of appellant of having been framed, erected as it
is upon the mere shifting sands of an alibi.

3. Criminal Law; Dangerous Drugs Act; Evidence; The corpus


delicti of the crime has been fully proved with certainty and
conclusiveness.-

When the drug seized was submitted to the Crime Laboratory Service of
the then Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police (PC-INP) at
Camp Olivas for examination, P/Cpl. Marlyn Salangad, a forensic
chemist therein, confirmed in her Technical Report No. NB-448-88 that
the contents of the four tea bags confiscated from appellant were
positive for and had a total weight of 3.8 grams of marijuana. Thus, the
corpus delicti of the crime had been fully proved with certainty and
conclusiveness.

4. Criminal Law; Dangerous Drugs


Act; Evidence;Witnesses; Minor error or discrepancy neither impairs
the essential integrity of the prosecution evidence as a whole nor
reflects on the witness’ honesty.-

Even, assuming arguendo that the prosecution committed an error on


who actually seized the marijuana from appellant, such an error or
discrepancy refers only to a minor matter and, as such, neither impairs
the essential integrity of the prosecution evidence as a whole nor
reflects on the witnesses’ honesty.

5. Criminal Law; Dangerous Drugs Act; Evidence; No law or


jurisprudence requires that an arrest or seizure, to be valid, be
witnessed by a relative, a barangay official or any other civilian or be
accompanied by the taking of pictures.-

Again, appellant contends that there was neither a relative of his nor
any barangay official or civilian to witness the seizure. He decries the
lack of pictures taken before, during and after his arrest. Moreover, he
was not reported to or booked in the custody of any barangay official or
police authorities. These are absurd disputations. No law or
jurisprudence requires that an arrest or seizure, to be valid, be
witnessed by a relative, a barangay official or any other civilian, or be
accompanied by the taking of pictures.

6. Criminal Law; Dangerous Drugs Act; Evidence;Constitutional


Law; Court finds and declares the exhibits inadmissible in evidence.-

However, we find and hereby declare the aforementioned exhibits


inadmissible in evidence. Appellant’s conformance to these documents
are declarations against interest and tacit admissions of the crime
charged. They were obtained in violation of his right as a person under
custodial investigation for the commission of an offense, there being
nothing in the records to show that he was assisted by counsel.
Although appellant manifested during the custodial investigation that he
waived his right to counsel, the waiver was not made in writing and in
the presence of counsel, hence whatever incriminatory admission or
confession may be extracted from him, either verbally or in writing, is
not allowable in evidence.

7. Criminal Law; Dangerous Drugs Act; Evidence;Constitutional


Law; The commission of the offense of illegal sale of prohibited drugs
requires merely the consummation of the selling transaction.-

Notwithstanding the objectionability of the aforesaid exhibits, appellant


cannot thereby be extricated from his predicament since his criminal
participation in the illegal sale of marijuana has been sufficiently
proven. The commission of the offense of illegal sale of prohibited drugs
requires merely the consummation of the selling transaction which
happens the moment the buyer receives the drug from the seller. In
the present case, and in light of the preceding discussion, this sale has
been ascertained beyond any peradventure of doubt.

8. Criminal Law; Dangerous Drugs Act; Evidence;Drug-pushing


when done on a small scale belongs to that class of crimes that may be
committed at any time, and in any place.-

Appellant then asseverates that it is improbable that he would sell


marijuana to a total stranger. We take this opportunity to once again
reiterate the doctrinal rule that drug-pushing, when done on a small
scale as in this case, belongs to that class of crimes that may be
committed at any time and in any place. It is not contrary to human
experience for a drug pusher to sell to a total stranger, for what
matters is not an existing familiarity between the buyer and seller but
their agreement and the acts constituting the sale and delivery of the
marijuana leaves.

9. Criminal Law; Dangerous Drugs Act; Penalties;Court holds that


in the instant case the imposable penalty under Republic Act No. 6425
as amended by Republic Act No. 7659 is prision correccional.-

For the nonce, we hold that in the instant case the imposable penalty
under Republic Act No. 6425, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, is
prision correccional, to be taken from the medium period thereof
pursuant to Article 64 of the Revised Penal Code, there being no
attendant mitigating or aggravating circumstance.

10. Criminal Law; Dangerous Drugs Act; Evidence;The mere use


by a special law of a penalty found in the Revised Penal Code can by no
means make an offense thereunder an offense “punished or punishable”
by the Revised Penal Code.-

It is thus clear that an offense is punished by the Revised Penal Code if


both its definition and the penalty therefor are found in the said Code,
and it is deemed punished by a special law if its definition and the
penalty therefor are found in the special law. That the latter imports or
borrows from the Revised Penal Code its nomenclature of penalties
does not make an offense in the special law punished by or punishable
under the Revised Penal Code. The reason is quite simple. It is still the
special law that defines the offense and imposes a penalty therefor,
although it adopts the Code’s nomenclature of penalties. In short, the
mere use by a special law of a penalty found in the Revised Penal Code
can by no means make an offense thereunder an offense “punished or
punishable” by the Revised Penal Code. APPEAL from a judgment of the
Regional Trial Court of Guagua, Pampanga, Br. 51.

Docket Number: G.R. No. 93028

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Ricardo M. Sampang

Ponente: REGALADO

Dispositive Portion:
ACCORDINGLY, under all the foregoing premises, the
judgment of conviction rendered by the court a quo
against accused-appellant Martin Simon y Sunga is
AFFIRMED, but with the MODIFICATION that he should be,
as he hereby is, sentenced to serve an indeterminate
penalty of six (6) months of arresto mayor, as the
minimum, to four (4) years and two (2) months of prision
correccional, as the maximum thereof.

Ladonga vs. People 451 SCRA 673 , February 17, 2005

Case Title : EVANGELINE LADONGA, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


respondent.Case Nature : PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the
Court of Appeals.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Bouncing Checks Law (B.P. Blg. 22)|Conspiracy

Syllabi:

1. Criminal Law; Bouncing Checks Law (B.P. Blg. 22);Article 10 of


the RPC is composed of two clauses—the first providing that offenses
which in the future are made punishable under special laws are not
subject to the provisions of the RPC, while the second makes the RPC
supplementary to such laws; The first clause should be understood to
mean only that the special penal laws are controlling with regard to
offenses therein specifically punished, and the second clause contains
the soul of the article, the main idea and purpose of the article being
embodied in the provision that the “code shall be supplementary” to
special laws, unless the latter should specifically provide the contrary.—
Article 10 of the RPC reads as follows: ART. 10. Offenses not subject to
the provisions of this Code.-

Offenses which are or in the future may be punishable under special


laws are not subject to the provisions of this Code. This Code shall be
supplementary to such laws, unless the latter should specially provide
the contrary. The article is composed of two clauses. The first provides
that offenses which in the future are made punishable under special
laws are not subject to the provisions of the RPC, while the second
makes the RPC supplementary to such laws. While it seems that the
two clauses are contradictory, a sensible interpretation will show that
they can perfectly be reconciled. The first clause should be understood
to mean only that the special penal laws are controlling with regard to
offenses therein specifically punished. Said clause only restates the
elemental rule of statutory construction that special legal provisions
prevail over general ones. Lex specialis derogant generali. In fact, the
clause can be considered as a superfluity, and could have been
eliminated altogether. The second clause contains the soul of the
article. The main idea and purpose of the article is embodied in the
provision that the “code shall be supplementary” to special laws, unless
the latter should specifically provide the contrary.

2. Criminal Law; Bouncing Checks Law (B.P. Blg.


22);Conspiracy; In the absence of contrary provision in B.P. Blg. 22,
the general provisions of the RPC which, by their nature, are necessarily
applicable, may be applied suppletorily, including the provisions on
conspiracy.-

B.P. Blg. 22 does not expressly proscribe the suppletory application of


the provisions of the RPC. Thus, in the absence of contrary provision in
B.P. Blg. 22, the general provisions of the RPC which, by their nature,
are necessarily applicable, may be applied suppletorily. Indeed, in the
recent case of Yu vs. People, the Court applied suppletorily the
provisions on subsidiary imprisonment under Article 39 of the RPC to
B.P. Blg. 22. The suppletory application of the principle of conspiracy in
this case is analogous to the application of the provision on principals
under Article 17 in U.S. vs. Ponte. For once conspiracy or action in
concert to achieve a criminal design is shown, the act of one is the act
of all the conspirators, and the precise extent or modality of
participation of each of them becomes secondary, since all the
conspirators are principals.

3. Criminal Law; Bouncing Checks Law (B.P. Blg.


22);Conspiracy; To be held guilty as a co-principal by reason of
conspiracy, the accused must be shown to have performed an overt act
in pursuance or furtherance of the complicity; Mere presence when the
check was issued does not necessarily lead to an inference of
concurrence with the criminal design to issue a bad check.-

Article 8 of the RPC provides that “a conspiracy exists when two or


more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a
felony and decide to commit it.” To be held guilty as a co-principal by
reason of conspiracy, the accused must be shown to have performed an
overt act in pursuance or furtherance of the complicity. The overt act or
acts of the accused may consist of active participation in the actual
commission of the crime itself or may consist of moral assistance to his
co-conspirators by moving them to execute or implement the criminal
plan. In the present case, the prosecution failed to prove that petitioner
performed any overt act in furtherance of the alleged conspiracy. As
testified to by the lone prosecution witness, complainant Alfredo
Oculam, petitioner was merely present when her husband, Adronico,
signed the check subject of Criminal Case No. 7068. With respect to
Criminal Case Nos. 7069-7070, Oculam also did not describe the details
of petitioner’s participation. He did not specify the nature of petitioner’s
involvement in the commission of the crime, either by a direct act of
participation, a direct inducement of her co-conspirator, or cooperating
in the commission of the offense by another act without which it would
not have been accomplished. Apparently, the only semblance of overt
act that may be attributed to petitioner is that she was present when
the first check was issued. However, this inference cannot be stretched
to mean concurrence with the criminal design.

4. Criminal Law; Bouncing Checks Law (B.P. Blg.


22);Conspiracy; Even knowledge, acquiescence in or agreement to
cooperate, is not enough to constitute one as a party to a conspiracy,
absent any active participation in the commission of the crime with a
view to the furtherance of the common design and purpose.-

Conspiracy must be established, not by conjectures, but by positive and


conclusive evidence. Conspiracy transcends mere companionship and
mere presence at the scene of the crime does not in itself amount to
conspiracy. Even knowledge, acquiescence in or agreement to
cooperate, is not enough to constitute one as a party to a conspiracy,
absent any active participation in the commission of the crime with a
view to the furtherance of the common design and purpose.

Division: SECOND DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 141066

Counsel: Singco & Cagara Law Offices, The Solicitor General

Ponente: AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The


assailed Decision, dated May 17, 1999, of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 20443 affirming the Decision,
dated August 24, 1996, of the Regional Trial Court
(Branch 3), Bohol, in Criminal Case Nos. 7068, 7069 and
7070 convicting the petitioner of violation of B.P. Blg. 22 is
hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner Evangeline
Ladonga is ACQUITTED of the charges against her under
B.P. Blg. 22 for failure of the prosecution to prove her guilt
beyond reasonable doubt. No pronouncement as to costs.

People vs. Bustinera 431 SCRA 284 , June 08, 2004

Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. LUISITO D. BUSTINERA,


appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the Regional Trial Court of
Quezon City, Br. 217.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Criminal


Procedure|Appeals|Theft|Evidence|Carnapping|Elements of Carnapping

Syllabi:

1. Criminal Law; Criminal Procedure; Appeals; An appeal in a


criminal proceeding throws the whole case open for review, and it
becomes the duty of the appellate court to correct such errors as may
be found in the judgment even if they have not been specifically
assigned.-

It is settled that an appeal in a criminal proceeding throws the whole


case open for review, and it becomes the duty of the appellate court to
correct such errors as may be found in the judgment even if they have
not been specifically assigned.

2. Criminal Law; Theft; Evidence; Elements of the Crime of Theft


under Article 308 of the Revised Penal Code; Circumstances which
Qualifies the Crime of Theft or Robbery.-

The elements of the crime of theft as provided for in Article 308 of the
Revised Penal Code are: (1) that there be taking of personal property;
(2) that said property belongs to another; (3) that the taking be done
with intent to gain; (4) that the taking be done without the consent of
the owner; and (5) that the taking be accomplished without the use of
violence against or intimidation of persons or force upon things. Theft is
qualified when any of the following circumstances is present: (1) the
theft is committed by a domestic servant; (2) the theft is committed
with grave abuse of confidence; (3) the property stolen is either a
motor vehicle, mail matter or large cattle; (4) the property stolen
consists of coconuts taken from the premises of a plantation; (5) the
property stolen is fish taken from a fishpond or fishery; and (6) the
property was taken on the occasion of fire, earthquake, typhoon,
volcanic eruption, or any other calamity, vehicular accident or civil
disturbance.

3. Criminal Law; Theft; Evidence; Carnapping;Elements of


Carnapping; Carnapping is essentially the robbery or theft of a
motorized vehicle, the concept of unlawful taking in theft, robbery and
carnapping being the same.-

On the other hand, Section 2 of Republic Act No. 6539, as amended


defines “carnapping” as “the taking, with intent to gain, of a motor
vehicle belonging to another without the latter’s consent, or by means
of violence against or intimidation of persons, or by using force upon
things.” The elements of carnapping are thus: (1) the taking of a motor
vehicle which belongs to another; (2) the taking is without the consent
of the owner or by means of violence against or intimidation of persons
or by using force upon things; and (3) the taking is done with intent to
gain. Carnapping is essentially the robbery or theft of a motorized
vehicle, the concept of unlawful taking in theft, robbery and carnapping
being the same.

4. Criminal Law; Theft; Evidence; The unlawful taking of motor


vehicles is now covered by the anti-carnapping law and not by the
provisions on qualified theft or robbery.-

In the 2000 case of People v. Tan where the accused took a Mitsubishi
Gallant and in the later case of People v. Lobitania which involved the
taking of a Yamaha motorized tricycle, this Court held that the unlawful
taking of motor vehicles is now covered by the anti-carnapping law and
not by the provisions on qualified theft or robbery.

5. Criminal Law; Theft; Evidence; Intent to gain or animus lucrandi


is an internal act, presumed from the unlawful taking of the motor
vehicle; Actual gain is irrelevant as the important consideration is the
intent to gain; The mere use of the thing which was taken without the
owner’s consent constitutes gain.-

Intent to gain or animus lucrandi is an internal act, presumed from the


unlawful taking of the motor vehicle. Actual gain is irrelevant as the
important consideration is the intent to gain. The term “gain” is not
merely limited to pecuniary benefit but also includes the benefit which
in any other sense may be derived or expected from the act which is
performed. Thus, the mere use of the thing which was taken without
the owner’s consent constitutes gain.
Division: THIRD DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 148233

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Public Attorney’s Office

Ponente: CARPIO-MORALES

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of


Quezon City, Branch 217, in Crim Case No. Q-97-71956,
finding appellant Luisito D. Bustinera guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of qualified theft, is REVERSED and SET
ASIDE, and another judgment entered in its place, finding
him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
carnapping under Republic Act No. 6539, as amended and
sentencing him to an indeterminate penalty of Fourteen
(14) Years and Eight (8) Months, as minimum, to
Seventeen (17) Years and Four (4) Months, as maximum.

Go-Tan vs. Tan 567 SCRA 231 , September 30, 2008

Case Title : SHARICA MARI L. GO-TAN, petitioner, vs. SPOUSES PERFECTO C. TAN
and JUANITA L. TAN, respondentsCase Nature : PETITION for review on certiorari
of the resolutions of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Br. 94.

Syllabi Class : Anti-Violence against Women and Their Children Act of 2004 (R.A.
No. 9262) ; Conspiracy ; Statutory Construction ; Words and Phrases ;

Division: THIRD DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 168852

Anti-Violence against Women and Their Children Act of 2004 (R.A. No. 9262); Conspiracy;
Words and Phrases; “Violence against Women and Their Children,” Defined;While Section 3
of R.A. No. 9262 provides that the offender be related or connected to the victim by marriage,
former marriage, or a sexual or dating relationship, it
_______________

* THIRD DIVISION.
** The present petition impleaded the Court of Appeals as respondent. Pursuant to Section 4, Rule
45 of the Rules of Court, the name of the Court of Appeals is deleted from the title.

232

2 SUPREME COURT REPORTS


32 ANNOTATED
Go-Tan vs. Tan

does not preclude the application of the principle of conspiracy under the Revised
Penal Code (RPC).—Section 3 of R.A. No. 9262 defines ‘‘[v]iolence against women
and their children’’ as “any act or a series of acts committed by any person against a
woman who is his wife, former wife, or against a woman with whom the person has
or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom he has a common child, or
against her child whether legitimate or illegitimate, within or without the family
abode, which result in or is likely to result in physical, sexual, psychological harm or
suffering, or economic abuse including threats of such acts, battery, assault,
coercion, harassment or arbitrary deprivation of liberty.” While the said provision
provides that the offender be related or connected to the victim by marriage, former
marriage, or a sexual or dating relationship, it does not preclude the application of
the principle of conspiracy under the RPC.
Same; Same; If the principle of conspiracy under Article 8 of the Revised Penal
Code (RPC) is applied to B.P. 22 in the absence of a contrary provision therein, with
more reason could the same principle be applied suppletorily to R.A. No. 9262
because of the express provision of Section 47 that the Revised Penal Code (RPC)
shall be supplementary to said law.—Most recently, inLadonga v. People, 451 SCRA
673 (2005), the Court applied suppletorily the principle of conspiracy under Article
8 of the RPC to B.P.Blg. 22 in the absence of a contrary provision therein. With
more reason, therefore, the principle of conspiracy under Article 8 of the RPC may
be applied suppletorily to R.A. No. 9262 because of the express provision of Section
47 that the RPC shall be supplementary to said law. Thus, general provisions of the
RPC, which by their nature, are necessarily applicable, may be applied suppletorily.
Thus, the principle of conspiracy may be applied to R.A. No. 9262. For once
conspiracy or action in concert to achieve a criminal design is shown, the act of one
is the act of all the conspirators, and the precise extent or modality of participation
of each of them becomes secondary, since all the conspirators are principals.
Same; Same; Section 5 of R.A. No. 9262 expressly recognizes that the acts of violence against
women and their children may be committed by an offender through another.—It must be
further noted that Section 5 of R.A. No. 9262 expressly recognizes that the acts of violence
against women and their children may be committed by an offender through another, thus:
SEC. 5. Acts of Violence against233
VOL. 567, SEPTEMBER 30, 2008 2
33
Go-Tan vs. Tan

Women and Their Children.—The crime of violence against women and their
children is committed through any of the following acts: x x x (h) Engaging in
purposeful, knowing, or reckless conduct, personally or through another, that
alarms or causes substantial emotional or psychological distress to the woman or
her child. This shall include, but not be limited to, the following acts: x x x
Same; Same; Statutory Construction; The intent of the statute is the law.—It
bears mention that the intent of the statute is the law and that this intent must be
effectuated by the courts. In the present case, the express language of R.A. No. 9262
reflects the intent of the legislature for liberal construction as will best ensure the
attainment of the object of the law according to its true intent, meaning and spirit—
the protection and safety of victims of violence against women and children.
Same; Same; Same; Words and Phrases; The maxim “expressio unios est
exclusio alterius” is only an ancillary rule of statutory construction which should be
applied only as a means of discovering legislative intent which is not otherwise
manifest and should not be permitted to defeat the plainly indicated purpose of the
legislature.—Contrary to the RTC’s pronouncement, the maxim “expressio unios est
exclusio alterius” finds no application here. It must be remembered that this maxim
is only an “ancillary rule of statutory construction.” It is not of universal
application. Neither is it conclusive. It should be applied only as a means of
discovering legislative intent which is not otherwise manifest and should not be
permitted to defeat the plainly indicated purpose of the legislature.
Counsel: Alfred Joseph T. Jamora

Ponente: AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The assailed Resolutions dated


March 7, 2005 and July 11, 2005 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 94, Quezon
City in Civil Case No. Q-05-54536 are hereby PARTLY REVERSED and SET ASIDE
insofar as the dismissal of the petition against respondents is concerned.

Citibank N.A. vs. Tanco-Gabalbon 705 SCRA 172 , September 04,


2013

Case Title : CITIBANK N.A. AND THE CITIGROUP PRIVATE BANK, petitioners, vs.
ESTER H. TANCO-GABALDON, ARSENIO TANCO & THE HEIRS OF KU TIONG LAM,
respondents.Case Nature : PETITIONS for review on certiorari of a resolution of
the Court of Appeals.

Syllabi Class : Administrative Law|Laches|Words and Phrases

Syllabi:

1. Criminal Law; Prescription of Offenses; In Panaguiton, Jr. v.


Department of Justice, 571 SCRA 540 (2008), the Supreme Court
expressly ruled that Act No. 3326 is the law applicable to offenses
under special laws which do not provide their own prescriptive periods.-

—Given the absence of a prescriptive period for the enforcement of the


criminal liability in violations of the SRC, Act No. 3326 now comes into
play. Panaguiton, Jr. v. Department of Justice, 571 SCRA 549 (2008),
expressly ruled that Act No. 3326 is the law applicable to offenses
under special laws which do not provide their own prescriptive periods.
Section 1 of Act No. 3326 provides: Violations penalized by special acts
shall, unless otherwise provided in such acts, prescribe in accordance
with the following rules: (a) after a year for offenses punished only by a
fine or by imprisonment for not more than one month, or both; (b)
after four years for those punished by imprisonment for more than one
month, but less than two years; (c) after eight years for those punished
by imprisonment for two years or more, but less than six years; and
(d) after twelve years for any other offense punished by imprisonment
for six years or more, except the crime of treason, which shall prescribe
after twenty years. Violations penalized by municipal ordinances shall
prescribe after two months.

2. Same; Same; Prescription shall begin to run from the day of the
commission of the violation of the law, and if the same be not known at
the time, from the discovery thereof and the institution of judicial
proceedings for its investigation and punishment.-

—Hand in hand with Section 1, Section 2 of Act No. 3326 states that
“prescription shall begin to run from the day of the commission of the
violation of the law, and if the same be not known at the time, from the
discovery thereof and the institution of judicial proceedings for its
investigation and punishment.” In Republic v. Cojuangco, Jr., 674 SCRA
492 (2012), the Court ruled that Section 2 provides two rules for
determining when the prescriptive period shall begin to run: first, from
the day of the commission of the violation of the law, if such
commission is known; and second, from its discovery, if not then
known, and the institution of judicial proceedings for its investigation
and punishment.
3. Administrative Law; Laches; Words and Phrases;Laches has
been defined as the failure or neglect for an unreasonable and
unexplained length of time to do that which, by exercising due
diligence, could or should have been done earlier, thus, giving rise to a
presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has abandoned or
declined to assert it.-

—Laches has been defined as the failure or neglect for an unreasonable


and unexplained length of time to do that which, by exercising due
diligence, could or should have been done earlier, thus, giving rise to a
presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has abandoned or
declined to assert it.

4. Same; Same; It is a well-settled principle of law that laches is a


recourse in equity, which is, applied only in the absence of statutory
law.-

—Section 54 of the SRC provides for the administrative sanctions to be


imposed against persons or entities violating the Code, its rules or SEC
orders. Just as the SRC did not provide a prescriptive period for the
filing of criminal actions, it likewise omitted to provide for the period
until when complaints for administrative liability under the law should
be initiated. On this score, it is a well-settled principle of law that
laches is a recourse in equity, which is, applied only in the absence of
statutory law. And though laches applies even to imprescriptible
actions, its elements must be proved positively. Ultimately, the
question of laches is addressed to the sound discretion of the court and,
being an equitable doctrine, its application is controlled by equitable
considerations.

Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 198444

Counsel: Angara, Abello, Concepcion, Regala & Cruz

Ponente: REYES, J.

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the petitions are DENIED for lack of merit.

People vs. Pangilinan 672 SCRA 105 , June 13, 2012

Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. MA. THERESA


PANGILINAN, respondent.Case Nature : PETITION for review on certiorari of a
decision of the Court of Appeals.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Prescription of Offenses

Syllabi:

1. Criminal Law; Prescription of Offenses; Since BP Blg. 22 is a


special law that imposes a penalty of imprisonment of not less than
thirty (30) days but not more than one year or by a fine for its
violation, it therefore prescribes in four (4) years in accordance with the
aforecited law.-

—Since BP Blg. 22 is a special law that imposes a penalty of


imprisonment of not less than thirty (30) days but not more than one
year or by a fine for its violation, it therefor prescribes in four (4) years
in accordance with the aforecited law. The running of the prescriptive
period, however, should be tolled upon the institution of proceedings
against the guilty person.

2. Same; Same; Aggrieved parties, especially those who do not sleep


on their rights and actively pursue their causes, should not be allowed
to suffer unnecessarily further simply because of circumstances beyond
their control, like the accused’s delaying tactics or the delay and
inefficiency of the investigating agencies.-

—In the case of Panaguiton, Jr. v. Department of Justice, 571 SCRA


549 (2008), which is in all fours with the instant case, this Court
categorically ruled that commencement of the proceedings for the
prosecution of the accused before the Office of the City Prosecutor
effectively interrupted the prescriptive period for the offenses they had
been charged under BP Blg. 22. Aggrieved parties, especially those who
do not sleep on their rights and actively pursue their causes, should not
be allowed to suffer unnecessarily further simply because of
circumstances beyond their control, like the accused’s delaying tactics
or the delay and inefficiency of the investigating agencies.

3. Same; Same; There is no more distinction between cases under the


Revised Penal Code (RPC) and those covered by special laws with
respect to the interruption of the period of prescription.-
—There is no more distinction between cases under the RPC and those
covered by special laws with respect to the interruption of the period of
prescription. The ruling in Zaldivia v. Reyes, Jr., 211 SCRA 277 (1992),
is not controlling in special laws. In Llenes v. Dicdican, 260 SCRA 207
(1996), Ingco, et al. v. Sandiganbayan, 272 SCRA 563 (1997), Brillante
v. CA, 440 SCRA 541 (2004), and Sanrio Company Limited v. Lim, 546
SCRA 303 (2008), cases involving special laws, this Court held that the
institution of proceedings for preliminary investigation against the
accused interrupts the period of prescription. In Securities and
Exchange Commission v. Interport Resources Corporation, et al., 567
SCRA 354 (2008), the Court even ruled that investigations conducted
by the Securities and Exchange Commission for violations of the
Revised Securities Act and the Securities Regulations Code effectively
interrupts the prescription period because it is equivalent to the
preliminary investigation conducted by the DOJ in criminal cases.

4. Same; Same; The filing of the complaint with the Fiscal’s Office
suspends the running of the prescriptive period of a criminal offense.-

—In the old but oft-cited case of People v. Olarte, 19 SCRA 494 (1967),
this Court ruled that the filing of the complaint in the Municipal Court
even if it be merely for purposes of preliminary examination or
investigation, should, and thus, interrupt the period of prescription of
the criminal responsibility, even if the court where the complaint or
information is filed cannot try the case on the merits. This ruling was
broadened by the Court in the case of Francisco, et al. v. Court of
Appeals, et al., 122 SCRA 538 (1983), when it held that the filing of the
complaint with the Fiscal’s Office also suspends the running of the
prescriptive period of a criminal offense.

Division: SECOND DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 152662

Counsel: Office of the Solicitor General

Ponente: PEREZ, J.
Dispositive Portion:

IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the instant petition is


GRANTED. The 12 March 2002 Decision of the Court of
Appeals is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The
Department of Justice is ORDERED to re-file the
informations for violation of BP Blg. 22 against the
respondent.

People vs. Genosa 419 SCRA 537 , January 15, 2004

Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. MARIVIC GENOSA,


appellant.Case Nature : AUTOMATIC REVIEW of a decision of the Regional Trial
Court of Ormoc, Leyte, Br. 35.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Criminal


law|Parricide|Evidence|Witnesses|Appeals|Relationship|Admission|Exceptions|Justif
ying Circumstances|Self-defense|Battered Woman Syndrome (BWS)|“Battered
Woman”|defined|“Cycle of Violence”|Phases|Tension-Building Phase|Acute
Battering Incident|Tranquil Period|Elements|Unlawful aggression|Mitigating
Circumstances|Passion and Obfuscation|Requisites|Qualifying
Circumstances|Treachery

Syllabi:

1. Criminal Law; Parricide; Evidence; Witnesses;Appeals; The


findings of the trial court on the credibility of witnesses and their
testimonies are entitled to a high degree of respect and will not be
disturbed on appeal in the absence of any showing that the trial judge
gravely abused his discretion.-

The first six assigned errors raised by appellant are factual in nature, if
not collateral to the resolution of the principal issues. As consistently
held by this Court, the findings of the trial court on the credibility of
witnesses and their testimonies are entitled to a high degree of respect
and will not be disturbed on appeal in the absence of any showing that
the trial judge gravely abused his discretion or overlooked,
misunderstood or misapplied material facts or circumstances of weight
and substance that could affect the outcome of the case.

2. Criminal Law; Parricide; Evidence; Relationship;The key


element in parricide is the relationship of the offender with the victim.-

The key element in parricide is the relationship of the offender with the
victim. In the case of parricide of a spouse, the best proof of the
relationship between the accused and the deceased is the marriage
certificate. In the absence of a marriage certificate, however, oral
evidence of the fact of marriage may be considered by the trial court if
such proof is not objected to.

3. Criminal
Law; Parricide; Evidence; Admission;Exceptions; Axiomatic is the
rule that a judicial admission is conclusive upon the party making it,
with exceptions.-

Axiomatic is the rule that a judicial admission is conclusive upon the


party making it, except only when there is a showing that (1) the
admission was made through a palpable mistake, or (2) no admission
was in fact made.

4. Criminal Law; Parricide; Justifying Circumstances;Self-


defense; In criminal cases, self-defense shifts the burden of proof from
the prosecution to the defense.-

When the accused admits killing the victim, it is incumbent upon her to
prove any claimed justifying circumstance by clear and convincing
evidence. Well-settled is the rule that in criminal cases, self-defense
(and similarly, defense of a stranger or third person) shifts the burden
of proof from the prosecution to the defense.

5. Criminal Law; Parricide; Justifying Circumstances;Self-


defense; Battered Woman Syndrome (BWS); The concept has been
recognized in foreign jurisdictions as a form of self-defense or, at the
least, incomplete self-defense.-

In claiming self-defense, appellant raises the novel theory of the


battered woman syndrome. While new in Philippine jurisprudence, the
concept has been recognized in foreign jurisdictions as a form of self-
defense or, at the least, incomplete self-defense. By appreciating
evidence that a victim or defendant is afflicted with the syndrome,
foreign courts convey their “understanding of the justifiably fearful
state of mind of a person who has been cyclically abused and controlled
over a period of time.”

6. Criminal Law; Parricide; Justifying Circumstances;Self-


defense; Battered Woman Syndrome (BWS);“Battered Woman”,
defined; In order to be classified as a battered woman, the couple
must go through the battering cycle at least twice.-

A battered woman has been defined as a woman “who is repeatedly


subjected to any forceful physical or psychological behavior by a man in
order to coerce her to do something he wants her to do without concern
for her rights. Battered women include wives or women in any form of
intimate relationship with men. Furthermore, in order to be classified as
a battered woman, the couple must go through the battering cycle at
least twice. Any woman may find herself in an abusive relationship with
a man once. If it occurs a second time, and she remains in the
situation, she is defined as a battered woman.”

7. Criminal Law; Parricide; Justifying Circumstances;Self-


defense; Battered Woman Syndrome (BWS);Battered women
exhibit common personality traits.-

Battered women exhibit common personality traits, such as low self-


esteem, traditional beliefs about the home, the family and the female
sex role; emotional dependence upon the dominant male; the tendency
to accept responsibility for the batterer’s actions; and false hopes that
the relationship will improve.

8. Criminal Law; Parricide; Justifying Circumstances;Self-


defense; Battered Woman Syndrome (BWS);“Cycle of
Violence”; Phases; Tension-Building Phase;During the tension-
building phase, minor battering occurs—it could be verbal or slight
physical abuse or another form of hostile behavior.-

During the tension-building phase,minor battering occurs—it could be


verbal or slight physical abuse or another form of hostile behavior. The
woman usually tries to pacify the batterer through a show of kind,
nurturing behavior; or by simply staying out of his way. What actually
happens is that she allows herself to be abused in ways that, to her,
are comparatively minor. All she wants is to prevent the escalation of
the violence exhibited by the batterer. This wish, however, proves to be
double-edged, because her “placatory” and passive behavior legitimizes
his belief that he has the right to abuse her in the first place. However,
the techniques adopted by the woman in her effort to placate him are
not usually successful, and the verbal and/or physical abuse worsens.
Each partner senses the imminent loss of control and the growing
tension and despair. Exhausted from the persistent stress, the battered
woman soon withdraws emotionally. But the more she becomes
emotionally unavailable, the more the batterer becomes angry,
oppressive and abusive. Often, at some unpredictable point, the
violence “spirals out of control” and leads to an acute battering
incident.

9. Criminal Law; Parricide; Justifying Circumstances;Self-


defense; Battered Woman Syndrome (BWS);Acute Battering
Incident; The acute battering incident is said to be characterized by
brutality, destructiveness and, sometimes, death.-
The acute battering incidentis said to be characterized by brutality,
destructiveness and, sometimes, death. The battered woman deems
this incident as unpredictable, yet also inevitable. During this phase,
she has no control; only the batterer may put an end to the violence.
Its nature can be as unpredictable as the time of its explosion, and so
are his reasons for ending it. The battered woman usually realizes that
she cannot reason with him, and that resistance would only exacerbate
her condition. At this stage, she has a sense of detachment from the
attack and the terrible pain, although she may later clearly remember
every detail. Her apparent passivity in the face of acute violence may
be rationalized thus: the batterer is almost always much stronger
physically, and she knows from her past painful experience that it is
futile to fight back. Acute battering incidents are often very savage and
out of control, such that innocent bystanders or intervenors are likely to
get hurt.

10. Criminal Law; Parricide; Justifying Circumstances; Self-


defense; Battered Woman Syndrome (BWS); Acute Battering
Incident; Tranquil Period; The final phase of the cycle of violence
begins when the acute battering incident ends—during this tranquil
period, the couple experience profound relief.-

The final phase of the cycle of violence begins when the acute battering
incident ends. During this tranquil period, the couple experience
profound relief. On the one hand, the batterer may show a tender and
nurturing behavior towards his partner. He knows that he has been
viciously cruel and tries to make up for it, begging for her forgiveness
and promising never to beat her again. On the other hand, the battered
woman also tries to convince herself that the battery will never happen
again; that her partner will change for the better; and that this “good,
gentle and caring man” is the real person whom she loves. A battered
woman usually believes that she is the sole anchor of the emotional
stability of the batterer. Sensing his isolation and despair, she feels
responsible for his well-being. The truth, though, is that the chances of
his reforming, or seeking or receiving professional help, are very slim,
especially if she remains with him. Generally, only after she leaves him
does he seek professional help as a way of getting her back. Yet, it is in
this phase of remorseful reconciliation that she is most thoroughly
tormented psychologically. The illusion of absolute inter dependency is
well-entrenched in a battered woman’s psyche. In this phase, she and
her batterer are indeed emotionally dependent on each other—she for
his nurturant behavior, he for her forgiveness. Underneath this
miserable cycle of ‘‘tension, violence and forgiveness,” each partner
may believe that it is better to die than to be separated. Neither one
may really feel independent, capable of functioning without the other.

11. Criminal Law; Parricide; Justifying Circumstances; Self-


defense; Elements; One who resorts to self-defense must face a real
threat on one’s life, not merely imaginary.-

Settled in our jurisprudence, however, is the rule that the one who
resorts to self-defense must face a real threat on one’s life; and the
peril sought to be avoided must be imminent and actual, not merely
imaginary. Thus, the Revised Penal Code provides the following
requisites and effect of self-defense: “Art. 11. Justifying
circumstances.—The following do not incur any criminal liability: “1.
Anyone who acts in defense of his person or rights, provided that the
following circumstances concur; First. Unlawful aggression; Second.
Reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it;
Third. Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending
himself.”

12. Criminal Law; Parricide; Justifying Circumstances; Self-


defense; Elements; Unlawful aggression; Unlawful aggression is the
most essential element of self-defense.-

Unlawful aggression is the most essential element of self-defense. It


presupposes actual, sudden and unexpected attack—or an imminent
danger thereof—on the life or safety of a person.

13. Criminal Law; Parricide; Justifying Circumstances; Self-


defense; Elements; Unlawful aggression; Aggression, if not
continuous, does not warrant self-defense.-

Aggression, if not continuous, does not warrant self-defense. In the


absence of such aggression, there can be no self-defense—complete or
incomplete—on the part of the victim.

14. Criminal Law; Parricide; Mitigating Circumstances; Passion


and Obfuscation; Requisites;To appreciate this circumstance, the
following requisites should concur.-

In addition, we also find in favor of appellant the extenuating


circumstance of having acted upon an impulse so powerful as to have
naturally produced passion and obfuscation. It has been held that this
state of mind is present when a crime is committed as a result of an
uncontrollable burst of passion provoked by prior unjust or improper
acts or by a legitimate stimulus so powerful as to overcome reason. To
appreciate this circumstance, the following requisites should concur:
(1) there is an act, both unlawful and sufficient to produce such a
condition of mind; and (2) this act is not far removed from the
commission of the crime by a considerable length of time, during which
the accused might recover her normal equanimity.

15. Criminal Law; Parricide; Qualifying


Circumstances; Treachery; Because of the gravity of the resulting
offense, treachery must be proved as conclusively as the killing itself.-

There is treachery when one commits any of the crimes against persons
by employing means, methods or forms in the execution thereof
without risk to oneself arising from the defense that the offended party
might make. In order to qualify an act as treacherous, the
circumstances invoked must be proven as indubitably as the killing
itself; they cannot be deduced from mere inferences, or conjectures,
which have no place in the appreciation of evidence. Because of the
gravity of the resulting offense, treachery must be proved as
conclusively as the killing itself.

16. Criminal law; Parricide; Justifying Circumstances;Self-


defense; Battered Woman Syndrome; Phases;The Battered Woman
Syndrome has three (3) phases.-

As exhaustively discussed in the ponencia, the “Battered Woman


Syndrome” has three phases, to wit: (1) the tension-building phase,
where minor batterings in the form of verbal or slight physical abuse
occurs. Here, the woman tries to pacify the batterer through a show of
kind, nurturing behavior; or by simply staying out of his way; (2) the
acute battering incident phase which is characterized by brutality,
destructiveness and sometimes, death. The battered woman usually
realizes that she cannot reason with him and that resistance would only
exacerbate her condition; and (3) the tranquil period, where the couple
experience a compound relief and the batterer may show a tender and
nurturing behavior towards his partner.

17. Criminal law; Parricide; Justifying Circumstances;Self-


defense; Battered Woman Syndrome; Once BWS and an impending
danger based on the conduct of the deceased in previous battering
episodes are established, actual occurrence of an assault is no longer a
condition sine qua non before self-defense may be upheld.-

Traditionally, in order that self-defense may be appreciated, the


unlawful aggression or the attack must be imminent and actually in
existence. This interpretation must, however, be re-evaluated vis-à-
visthe recognized inherent characteristic of the psyche of a person
afflicted with the “Battered Woman Syndrome.” As previously
discussed, women afflicted by this syndrome live in constant fear for
their life and thus respond in self-defense. Once BWS and an impending
danger based on the conduct of the deceased in previous battering
episodes are established, actual occurrence of an assault is no longer a
condition sine qua non before self defense may be upheld. Threatening
behavior or communication can satisfy the required imminence of
danger. As stated in the ponencia, to require the battered person to
await an obvious deadly attack before she can defend her life would
amount to sentencing her to murder by installment.

Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: G.R. No. 135981

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Katrina Legarda, Dulce T. Asensi

Ponente: PANGANIBAN

Dispositive Portion:

IN VIEW WHEREOF, I vote to ACQUIT Marivic Genosa.

Ortega vs. People 562 SCRA 450 , August 20, 2008

Case Title : JOEMAR ORTEGA, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


respondentCase Nature : PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the
Court of Appeals.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Law ; Rape ; Damages ;

Syllabi:

1. Criminal Law; Rape; In rape, actual penetration of the victim’s


organ or rupture of the hymen is not required-

—the slightest touching of the lips of the female organ or of the labia of
the pudendum constitutes rape.—In sum, we are convinced that
petitioner committed the crime of rape against AAA. In a prosecution
for rape, the complainant’s candor is the single most important factor.
If the complainant’s testimony meets the test of credibility, the accused
can be convicted solely on that basis. The RTC, as affirmed by the CA,
did not doubt AAA’s credibility, and found no ill motive for her to charge
petitioner of the heinous crime of rape and to positively identify him as
the malefactor. Both courts also accorded respect to BBB’s testimony
that he saw petitioner having sexual intercourse with his younger
sister. While petitioner asserts that AAA’s poverty is enough motive for
the imputation of the crime, we discard such assertion for no mother or
father like MMM and FFF would stoop so low as to subject their
daughter to the tribulations and the embarrassment of a public trial
knowing that such a traumatic experience would damage their
daughter’s psyche and mar her life if the charge is not true. We find
petitioner’s claim that MMM inflicted the abrasions found by Dr. Jocson
in the genitalia of AAA, in order to extort money from petitioner’s
parents, highly incredible. Lastly, it must be noted that in most cases of
rape committed against young girls like AAA who was only 6 years old
then, total penetration of the victim’s organ is improbable due to the
small vaginal opening. Thus, it has been held that actual penetration of
the victim’s organ or rupture of the hymen is not required. Therefore, it
is not necessary for conviction that the petitioner succeeded in having
full penetration, because the slightest touching of the lips of the female
organ or of the labia of the pudendum constitutes rape.

2. Same; Statutory Construction; Courts; The Court has no


discretion to give statutes a meaning detached from the manifest
intendment and language of the law-

—its task is constitutionally confined only to applying the law and


jurisprudence to the proven facts.—The Court is fully cognizant that our
decision in the instant case effectively exonerates petitioner of rape, a
heinous crime committed against AAA who was only a child at the
tender age of six (6) when she was raped by the petitioner, and one
who deserves the law’s greater protection. However, this consequence
is inevitable because of the language of R.A. No. 9344, the wisdom of
which is not subject to review by this Court. Any perception that the
result reached herein appears unjust or unwise should be addressed to
Congress. Indeed, the Court has no discretion to give statutes a
meaning detached from the manifest intendment and language of the
law. Our task is constitutionally confined only to applying the law and
jurisprudence to the proven facts, and we have done so in this case.

3. Same; Rape; Damages; Moral damages are granted in recognition


of the victim’s injury necessarily resulting from the odious crime of
rape.-
—The RTC erred in not separately awarding moral damages, distinct
from the civil indemnity awarded to the rape victim. AAA is entitled to
moral damages in the amount of P50,000.00 for each count of rape,
pursuant to Article 2219 of the Civil Code, without the necessity of
additional pleading or proof other than the fact of rape. Moral damages
are granted in recognition of the victim’s injury necessarily resulting
from the odious crime of rape.

4. Same; Same; Same; Same; While R.A. No. 9344 exempts children
15 years old and below from criminal liability, Section 6 thereof
expressly provides that there is no concomitant exemption from civil
liability.-

—While the law exempts petitioner from criminal liability for the two (2)
counts of rape committed against AAA, Section 6 thereof expressly
provides that there is no concomitant exemption from civil liability.
Accordingly, this Court sustains the ruling of the RTC, duly affirmed by
the CA, that petitioner and/or his parents are liable to pay AAA
P100,000.00 as civil indemnity. This award is inthe nature of actual or
compensatory damages, and is mandatory upon a conviction for rape.

5. Same; Same; Same; Same; Penal laws are construed liberally in


favor of the accused.-

—Penal laws are construed liberally in favor of the accused. In this


case, the plain meaning of R.A. No. 9344’s unambiguous language,
coupled with clear lawmakers’ intent, is most favorable to herein
petitioner. No other interpretation is justified, for the simple language
of the new law itself demonstrates the legislative intent to favor the
CICL.

6. Same; Same; Same; Statutory Construction; Intent is the soul of


the law.-

—The Court is bound to enforce this legislative intent, which is the


dominant factor in interpreting a statute. Significantly, this Court has
declared in a number of cases, that intent is the soul of the law, viz.:
The intent of a statute is the law. If a statute is valid it is to have effect
according to the purpose and intent of the lawmaker. The intent is the
vital part, the essence of the law, and the primary rule of construction
is to ascertain and give effect to the intent. The intention of the
legislature in enacting a law is the law itself, and must be enforced
when ascertained, although it may not be consistent with the strict
letter of the statute. Courts will not follow the letter of a statute when it
leads away from the true intent and purpose of the legislature and to
conclusions inconsistent with the general purpose of the act. Intent is
the spirit which gives life to a legislative enactment. In construing
statutes the proper course is to start out and follow the true intent of
the legislature and to adopt that sense which harmonizes best with the
context and promotes in the fullest manner the apparent policy and
objects of the legislature.

7. Same; Exempting Circumstances; Juvenile Justice and


Welfare Act of 2006 (R.A. 9344); By virtue of R.A. No. 9344, the
age of criminal irresponsibility has been raised from 9 to 15
years old; Penal laws which are favorable to the accused are given
retroactive effect.-

—Section 64 of the law categorically provides that cases of children 15


years old and below, at the time of the commission of the crime, shall
immediately be dismissed and the child shall be referred to the
appropriate local social welfare and development officer (LSWDO).
What is controlling, therefore, with respect to the exemption from
criminal liability of the CICL, is not the CICL’s age at the time of the
promulgation of judgment but the CICL’s age at the time of the
commission of the offense. In short, by virtue of R.A. No. 9344, the age
of criminal irresponsibility has been raised from 9 to 15 years old.
Given this precise statutory declaration, it is imperative that this Court
accord retroactive application to the aforequoted provisions of R.A. No.
9344 pursuant to the well-entrenched principle in criminal law—
favorabilia sunt amplianda adiosa restrigenda. Penal laws which are
favorable to the accused are given retroactive effect. This principle is
embodied in Article 22 of the Revised Penal Code, which provides: Art.
22. Retroactive effect of penal laws.—Penal laws shall have a
retroactive effect insofar as they favor the personsguilty of a felony,
who is not a habitual criminal, as this term is defined in Rule 5 of Article
62 of this Code, although at the time of the publication of such laws, a
final sentence has been pronounced and the convict is serving the
same.

8. Same; Same; Exempting Circumstances; One who acts by virtue


of any of the exempting circumstances, although he commits a crime,
by the complete absence of any of the conditions which constitute free
will or voluntariness of the act, no criminal liability arises-

—while there is a crime committed, no criminal liability attaches.—For


one who acts by virtue of any of the exempting circumstances,
although he commits a crime, by the complete absence of any of the
conditions which constitute free will or voluntariness of the act, no
criminal liability arises. Therefore, while there is a crime committed, no
criminal liability attaches. Thus, in Guevarra v. Almodovar, 169 SCRA
476 (1989), we held: [I]t is worthy to note the basic reason behind the
enactment of the exempting circumstances embodied in Article 12 of
the RPC; the complete absence of intelligence, freedom of action, or
intent, or on the absence of negligence on the part of the accused. In
expounding on intelligence as the second element of dolus, Albert has
stated: “The second element of dolus is intelligence; without this
power, necessary to determine the morality of human acts to
distinguish a licit from an illicit act, no crime can exist, and because . . .
the infant (has) no intelligence, the law exempts (him) from criminal
liability.” It is for this reason, therefore, why minors nine years of age
and below are not capable of performing a criminal act.

Division: THIRD DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 151085

Counsel: Valencia, Ciocon, Babao, Valencia, De La Paz, Dionela, Ravina and


Pandan Law Offices

Ponente: NACHURA

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, Criminal Case Nos.


98-19083 and 98-19084 filed against petitioner Joemar F.
Ortega are hereby DISMISSED. Petitioner is hereby
referred to the local social welfare and development officer
of the locality for the appropriate intervention program.
Nevertheless, the petitioner is hereby ordered to pay
private complainant AAA, civil indemnity in the amount of
One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00) and moral
damages in the amount of One Hundred Thousand Pesos
(P100,000.00). No costs. Let a copy of this Decision be
furnished the two Houses of Congress and the Juvenile
Justice and Welfare Council (JJWC).
Guevarra vs. Almodovar 169 SCRA 476 , January 26, 1989

Case Title : JOHN PHILIP GUEVARRA, petitioner, vs. HONORABLE IGNACIO


ALMODOVAR, respondent.Case Nature : SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION for certiorari to
review the order of the City Court of Legaspi, Br. I Almodovar, J.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Homicide through reckless imprudence|Discernment


and intent are different concepts|P.D. 1508|Jurisdiction

Syllabi:

1. Criminal Law; Homicide through reckless


imprudence; Discernment and intent are different
concepts; Definition of discernment and intent.-

On the contrary, the Solicitor General insists that discernment and


intent are two different concepts. We agree with the Solicitor General’s
view; the two terms should not be confused. The word “intent” has
been defined as "(a) design; a determination to do a certain thing; an
aim; the purpose of the mind, including such knowledge as is essential
to such intent;. . .; the design resolve, or determination with which a
person acts. (46 CJS Intent p. 1103.) It is this intent which comprises
the third element of dolo as a means of committing a felony, freedom
and intelligence being the other two. On the other hand, We have
defined the term “discernment,” as used in Article 12(3) of the PRC, in
the old case of People vs. Doquena, 68 Phil. 580 (1939), in this wise:
“The discernment that constitutes an exception to the exemption from
criminal liability of a minor under fifteen years of age but over nine,
who commits an act prohibited by law, is his mental capacity to
understand the difference between right and wrong . . ." From the
foregoing, it is clear that the terms “intent” and “discernment” convey
two distinct thoughts. While both are products of the mental processes
within a person, the former refers to the desired effect of one’s act
while the latter relates to the moral significance that person ascribes to
the said act.

2. Criminal Law; Homicide through reckless


imprudence; Discernment and intent are different
concepts; Basic reason behind the enactment of the exempting
circumstances embodied in Art. 12 of the Revised Penal Code.-

ln further outlining the distinction between the words “in- tent” and
“discernment,” it is worthy to note the basic reason behind the
enactment of the exempting circumstances embodied in Article 12 of
the RPC; the complete absence of intelligence, freedom of action, or
intent, or on the absence of negligence on the part of the accused. In
expounding on intelligence as the second element of dolus, Albert has
stated: “The second element of dolus is intelligence; without this
power, necessary to determine the morality of human acts to
distinguish a licit from an illicit act, no crime can exist, and because...
the infant (has) no intelligence, the law exempts (him) from criminal
liability.”

3. Criminal Law; Homicide through reckless


imprudence; Discernment and intent are different
concepts; Minors nine years of age and below are not capable of
performing a criminal act, while minors above nine years of age but
below 15 are not absolutely exempt; They are presumed to be without
criminal capacity but it could be proven that they acted with
discernment.-

It is for this reason, therefore, why minors nine years of age and below
are not capable of performing a criminal act. On the other hand, minors
above nine years of age but below fifteen are not absolutely exempt.
However, they are presumed to be without criminal capacity, but which
presumption may be rebutted if it could be proven that they were
“capable of appreciating the nature and criminality of the act, that is,
that (they) acted with discernment,” The preceding discussion shows
that “intelligence” as an element of dolo actually embraces the concept
of discernment as used in Article 12 of the RPC and as defined in the
aforecited case of People vs. Doquenca, supra, It could not therefore be
argued that discernment is equivalent or connotes “intent” for they
refer to two different concepts. Intelligence, which includes
descernment, is a distinct element of dolo as a means of committing an
offense.

4. Criminal Law; Homicide through reckless


imprudence; Discernment and intent are different
concepts; Indispensable elements of felonies committed by means of
culpa; Intent is wanting is such felonies but intelligence remains an
essential element.-

In evaluating felonies committed by means of culpa, three (3) elements


are indispensable, namely, intelligence, freedom of action, and
negligence, Obviously, intent is wanting in such felonies. However,
intelligence remains as an essential element, hence, it is necessary that
a minor above nine but below fifteen years of age be possessed with
intelligence in committing a negligent act which results in a quasi-
offense. For him to be criminally liable, he must discern the rightness or
wrongness of the effects of his negligent act. Indeed, a minor over nine
years of age but below fifteen may be held liable for a quasioffense
under Article 365 of the RPC. A reading of the said Article would reveal
such fact as it starts off with the phrase “Any person . . ." without any
distinction or exception made. Ubi lex non distinquit nec nos distinguere
debemos.

5. Criminal Law; Homicide through reckless imprudence; P.D.


1508; Jurisdiction; Jurisdiction of a court over a criminal case is
determined by the penalty imposable under the law for the offense and
not the penalty ultimately imposed.-

The jurisdiction of a court over a criminal case is determined by the


penalty imposable under the law for the offense and not the penalty
ultimately imposed (People vs. Caldito, 72 Phil. 263; People vs.
Purisima, 69 SCRA 341; Dioquino vs. Cruz and People vs. Savellano,
116 SCRA 451). The same principle applies in construing Section 2(3)
of P.D. 1508.

6. Criminal Law; Homicide through reckless imprudence; P.D.


1508; Jurisdiction; Sec. 2(3) of PD 1508 construed to mean that the
penalty which the law defining the offense attaches to the latter should
be considered, and any circumstance which affects criminal liability
must not be considered.-

We therefore rule that, in construing Section 2(3) of P.D. 1508, the


penalty which the law defining the offense attaches to the latter should
be considered. Hence, any circumstance which may affect criminal
liability must not be considered.

7. Criminal Law; Homicide through reckless imprudence; P.D.


1508; Jurisdiction; P.D. 1508 is not jurisdictional.-

The petitioner, in his arguments, asserts that since P.D. 1508 has not
been complied with, the trial court has no jurisdiction over the case.
This erroneous perception has been corrected long before. As intimated
in the case of Royales vs. IAC, 127 SCRA 470, and categorically stated
in Ebol vs. Amin, 135 SCRA 438, P.D. 1508 is not jurisdictional.

Division: SECOND DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 75256


Counsel: Teresita Dy-Liacco, Roberto Madrid

Ponente: PARAS

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, this petition is


hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit and the Temporary
Restraining Order effective 17 September 1986 is LIFTED.
Let this case be REMANDED to the lower court for trial on
the merits. No cost.

People vs. Doqueña 68 Phil. 580 , September 27, 1939

Case Title : THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. VALENTIN
DOQUEÑA, defendant and appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from an order of the
Court of First Instance of Pangasinan. Bejasa, J.

Syllabi Class : CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE|HOMICIDE

Syllabi:

1. CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE; HOMICIDE;MINOR WHO


ACTED WITH DISCERNMENT.-

Counsel for the appellant argues that to determine whether or not a


minor acted with discernment, we must take into consideration not only
the facts and circumstances which gave rise to the act committed by
the minor, but also his state of mind at the time the crime was
committed, the time he might have had at his disposal for the purpose
of meditating on the consequences of his act, and the degree of
reasoning he could have had at that moment. He mistakes the
discernment referred to in article 12, subsection 3, of the Revised Penal
Code, for premeditation, or at least for lack of intention which, as a
mitigating circumstance, is included among other mitigating
circumstances in article 13 of said Code. The discernment that
constitutes an exception to the exemption f rom criminal liability of a
minor under fifteen years of age but over nine, who commits an act
prohibited by law, is his mental capacity to understand the difference
between right and wrong; and such capacity may be known and should
be determined by taking into consideration all the facts and
circumstances afforded by the records in each case, the very
appearance, the very attitude, the very comportment and behaviour of
said minor, not only before and during the commission of the act, but
also after and even during the trial (U. S. vs. Maralit, 36 Phil., 155).
This was done by the trial court, and the conclusion arrived at by it is
correct.

Docket Number: No. 46539

Counsel: Primicias, Abad, Mencias & Castillo, Assistant Solicitor-General


Concepcion, Assistant Attorney Paredes, jr.

Ponente: DIAZ

Dispositive Portion:

Wherefore, the appealed order is affirmed, with the costs


to the appellant. So ordered.

People vs. Arpon 662 SCRA 506 , December 14, 2011

Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. HENRY ARPON y


JUNTILLA, accused-appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the Court of
Appeals.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Statutory Rape|Minority|Relationship

Syllabi:

1. Criminal Law; Statutory Rape; Elements of the Crime of Statutory


Rape.-

—In particular, “Article 266-A(1)(d) spells out the definition of the


crime of statutory rape, the elements of which are: (1) that the
offender had carnal knowledge of a woman; and (2) that such a woman
is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented.”

2. Same; Same; Same; Discernment is that mental capacity of a


minor to fully appreciate the consequences of his unlawful act.-

—For the second and third counts of rape that were committed in the
year 1999, the accused-appellant was already 17 years old. We likewise
find that in the said instances, the accused-appellant acted with
discernment. In Madali v. People, 595 SCRA 274 (2009), the Court had
the occasion to reiterate that “[d]iscernment is that mental capacity of
a minor to fully appreciate the consequences of his unlawful act. Such
capacity may be known and should be determined by taking into
consideration all the facts and circumstances afforded by the records in
each case.”

3. Same; Same; Same; Section 6 of R.A. No. 9344 effectively


modified the minimum age limit of criminal responsibility in paragraphs
2 and 3 of the Revised Penal Code.-

—As held in Sierra, the above provision effectively modified the


minimum age limit of criminal irresponsibility in paragraphs 2 and 3 of
the Revised Penal Code, as amended, “i.e., from ‘under nine years of
age’ and ‘above nine years of age and under fifteen’ (who acted without
discernment)—to ‘fifteen years old or under’ and ‘above fifteen but
below 18’ (who acted without discernment) in determining exemption
from criminal liability.”

4. Same; Same; Same; Relationship; As a special qualifying


circumstance of the crime of rape, the concurrence of the victim’s
minority and her relationship to the accused must be both alleged and
proven beyond reasonable doubt.-

—The Court finds that the circumstances of minority and relationship


qualify the three (3) counts of rape committed by the accused-
appellant. “As a special qualifying circumstance of the crime of rape,
the concurrence of the victim’s minority and her relationship to the
accused must be both alleged and proven beyond reasonable doubt.” In
the instant case, the informations alleged that AAA was less than
eighteen (18) years of age when the incidents of rape occurred and the
accused-appellant is her uncle, a relative by consanguinity within the
third civil degree. The said circumstances were also admitted by the
accused-appellant during the pre-trial conference of the case and again
admitted by him during his testimony.

5. Same; Same; Minority; Guidelines in appreciating age either as an


element of the crime or as a qualifying circumstance.-

—In People v. Pruna, 390 SCRA 577 (2002), the Court established the
guidelines in appreciating age, either as an element of the crime or as a
qualifying circumstance, as follows: 1. The best evidence to prove the
age of the offended party is an original or certified true copy of the
certificate of live birth of such party. 2. In the absence of a certificate of
live birth, similar authentic documents such as baptismal certificate and
school records which show the date of birth of the victim would suffice
to prove age. 3. If the certificate of live birth or authentic document is
shown to have been lost or destroyed or otherwise unavailable, the
testimony, if clear and credible, of the victim’s mother or a member of
the family either by affinity or consanguinity who is qualified to testify
on matters respecting pedigree such as the exact age or date of birth of
the offended party pursuant to Section 40, Rule 130 of the Rules on
Evidence shall be sufficient under the following circumstances: a. If the
victim is alleged to be below 3 years of age and what is sought to be
proved is that she is less than 7 years old; b. If the victim is alleged to
be below 7 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is
less than 12 years old; c. If the victim is alleged to be below 12 years
of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is less than 18 years
old; 4. In the absence of a certificate of live birth, authentic document,
or the testimony of the victim’s mother or relatives concerning the
victim’s age, the complainant’s testimony will suffice provided that it is
expressly and clearly admitted by the accused. 5. It is the prosecution
that has the burden of proving the age of the offended party. The
failure of the accused to object to the testimonial evidence regarding
age shall not be taken against him. (Emphases ours.)

6. Same; Same; Evidence; Moral influence or ascendency takes the


place of violence and intimidation.-

—That the carnal knowledge in this case was committed through force,
threat or intimidation need no longer be belabored upon. “[I]n rape
committed by close kin, such as the victim’s father, step-father, uncle,
or the common-law spouse of her mother, it is not necessary that
actual force or intimidation be employed. Moral influence or ascendancy
takes the place of violence and intimidation.”

7. Same; Same; Alibi; Alibi is an inherently weak defense because it is


easy to fabricate and highly unreliable.-

—We uphold the ruling of the RTC that the accused-appellant’s defense
of alibi deserves scant consideration. “Alibi is an inherently weak
defense because it is easy to fabricate and highly unreliable. To merit
approbation, the accused must adduce clear and convincing evidence
that he was in a place other than the situs criminis at the time the
crime was committed, such that it was physically impossible for him to
have been at the scene of the crime when it was committed.” “[S]ince
alibi is a weak defense for being easily fabricated, it cannot prevail over
and is worthless in the face of the positive identification by a credible
witness that an accused perpetrated the crime.”

8. Same; Same; Same; Etched in our jurisprudence is the doctrine


that a victim of a savage crime cannot be expected to mechanically
retain and then give an accurate account of every lurid detail of a
frightening experience.-

—The allegation of the accused-appellant that the testimony of AAA


described the incidents of rape in a uniform manner does not convince
this Court. To our mind, AAA’s narration of the sexual abuses
committed by the accused-appellant contained an adequate recital of
the evidentiary facts constituting the crime of rape, i.e., that he placed
his organ in her private part. “Etched in our jurisprudence is the
doctrine that a victim of a savage crime cannot be expected to
mechanically retain and then give an accurate account of every lurid
detail of a frightening experience—a verity born[e] out of human nature
and experience.”

9. Same; Same; Same; It is settled that each and every charge of


rape is a separate and distinct crime that the law requires to be proven
beyond reasonable doubt.-

—It is settled that each and every charge of rape is a separate and
distinct crime that the law requires to be proven beyond reasonable
doubt. The prosecution’s evidence must pass the exacting test of moral
certainty that the law demands to satisfy the burden of overcoming the
appellant’s presumption of innocence.” Thus, including the first incident
of rape, the testimony of AAA was only able to establish three instances
when the accused-appellant had carnal knowledge of her.

10. Same; Same; Same; When the testimony of a rape victim is


consistent with the medical findings, there is sufficient basis to conclude
that there has been carnal knowledge.-

—The testimony of AAA was also corroborated by the Medico-Legal


Report of Dr. Capungcol and Dr. Gagala, who found “old, healed,
incomplete” hymenal lacerations on the private part of AAA. “[W]hen
the testimony of a rape victim is consistent with the medical findings,
there is sufficient basis to conclude that there has been carnal
knowledge.”

11. Same; Same; Evidence; The date of the commission of the rape
is not an essential element of the crime of rape.-

—Contrary to the posturing of the accused-appellant, “the date of the


commission of the rape is not an essential element of the crime of rape,
for the gravamen of the offense is carnal knowledge of a woman.”
“Inconsistencies and discrepancies in details which are irrelevant to the
elements of the crime are not grounds for acquittal.”
12. Same; Same; Concept of Statutory Rape.-

—In People v. Macafe, 636 SCRA 221 (2010), we explained the concept
of statutory rape under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code in this
wise: “Rape under paragraph 3 of [Article 335] is termed statutory rape
as it departs from the usual modes of committing rape. What the law
punishes in statutory rape is carnal knowledge of a woman below
twelve years old. Hence, force and intimidation are immaterial; the only
subject of inquiry is the age of the woman and whether carnal
knowledge took place. The law presumes that the victim does not and
cannot have a will of her own on account of her tender years; the
child’s consent is immaterial because of her presumed incapacity to
discern evil from good.”

Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 183563

Counsel: The Solicitor General

Ponente: LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, in light of the foregoing, the appeal is


DENIED. The Decision dated February 8, 2008 of the Court
of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 00560 is hereby
AFFIRMED with the following MODIFICATIONS: (1) For
the first count of rape herein established, the accused-
appellant Henry Arpon y Juntilla is hereby EXEMPTED from
criminal liability. (2) For the second and third counts of
rape, the accused-appellant is found GUILTY beyond
reasonable doubt of two (2) counts of QUALIFIED RAPE
and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion
perpetua for each count. (3) As to the civil liability, the
accused-appellant is ORDERED to pay AAA for each of the
three (3) counts of rape P75,000.00 as civil indemnity,
P75,000.00 as moral damages and P30,000.00 as
exemplary damages, plus legal interest on all damages
awarded at the legal rate of 6% from the date of finality of
this Decision. (4) The case is hereby REMANDED to the
court of origin for its appropriate action in accordance with
Section 51 of Republic Act No. 9344. No costs.

Madali vs. People 595 SCRA 274 , August 04, 2009

Case Title : RAYMUND MADALI AND RODEL MADALI, petitioners, vs. PEOPLE OF
THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Evidence|Exempting Circumstances|Minority|Republic


Act No. 9344

Division: THIRD DIVISION

1. Criminal Law; Witnesses; Well-entrenched is the rule that the matter of assigning
values to declarations on the witness stand is best and most competently performed
by the trial judge who, unlike appellate magistrates, can weigh such testimonies in
light of the declarant’s demeanor, conduct and position to discriminate between truth
and falsehood.—Well-entrenched is the rule that the matter of assigning values to
declarations on the witness stand is best and most competently performed by the
trial judge who, unlike appellate magistrates, can weigh such testimonies in light of
the declarant’s demeanor, conduct and position to discriminate between truth and
falsehood. This is especially true when the trial court’s findings have been affirmed
by the appellate court, because said findings are generally conclusive and binding
upon this Court, unless it be manifestly shown that the lower courts had overlooked
or disregarded arbitrarily the facts and circumstances of significance in the case.
2. Same; Evidence; Denials; Denial, if unsubstantiated by clear and convincing
evidence, is a negative and self-serving evidence that deserves no weight in law—it
cannot be given greater evidentiary value than the testimony of a credible witness
who testifies on affirmative matters.—Against the damning evidence adduced by the
prosecution, petitioners Raymund and Rodel could only muster mere denial.
Unfortunately for them, their defense was much too flaccid to stay firm against the
weighty evidence for the prosecution. Denial, if unsubstantiated by clear and
convincing evidence, is a negative and self-serving evidence that deserves no weight
in law. It cannot be given greater evidentiary value than the testimony of a credible
witness who testifies on affirmative matters. Between the self-serving testimonies of
petitioners and the positive identification by the eyewitness, the latter deserves
greater credence.
3. Same; Same; Alibis; Elements; Testimonies of relatives and friends corroborative of
an accused’s alibi are viewed with suspicion

4. _______________

5. * THIRD DIVISION.

6. 275

VOL. 595, AUGUST 4, 2009 2


75
Madali vs. People

7. and skepticism by the Court.—Petitioners’ alibi, which was supported by the


testimonies of close relatives and friends, cannot overcome the convincing evidence
adduced by the prosecution. Such corroborative testimonies of relatives and friends
are viewed with suspicion and skepticism by the Court. Furthermore, for alibi to
prosper, two elements must concur: (a) the accused was in another place at the time
the crime was committed; and (b) it was physically impossible for him to be at the
scene of the crime at the time it was committed. In the case under consideration,
Raymund was within a 5-kilometer distance from the scene, while Rodel was within
a 14-kilometer distance. Even assuming arguendothat Raymund and Rodel’s defense
were true, still, it was not physically impossible for them to be at the crime scene
and to be participants in the gruesome crime. It was not difficult for them to travel
from where they allegedly were and arrive at the scene during the killing episode.
8. Same; Same; Affidavits of Desistance; An affidavit of recantation executed by a
witness prior to the trial cannot prevail over his testimony made during the trial—a
recantation is exceedingly unreliable, inasmuch as it is easily secured from a poor
and ignorant witness, usually through intimidation or for monetary consideration.—
Petitioners made an issue of the affidavit of recantation repudiating the earlier one
laying the blame on them. The affidavit of recantation executed by a witness prior to
the trial cannot prevail over the testimony made during the trial. Jovencio
effectively repudiated the contents of the affidavit of recantation. The recantation
would hardly suffice to overturn the trial court’s finding of guilt, which was based on
a clear and convincing testimony given during a full-blown trial. As held by this
Court, an affidavit of recantation, being usually takenex parte, would be considered
inferior to the testimony given in open court. A recantation is exceedingly unreliable,
inasmuch as it is easily secured from a poor and ignorant witness, usually through
intimidation or for monetary consideration. Considering the age, the social standing
and the economic status of witness Jovencio, it is not far-fetched that the
combination of these factors impelled him to affix his signature to the recanting
affidavit. Besides, Jovencio explained why he executed the second affidavit or the
affidavit of recantation, which supposedly exonerated petitioners. He had been
threatened by a certain Wilson, who was a relative of petitioners.276

2 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


76
Madali vs. People

9. Same; Same; Given the natural frailties of the human mind and its incapacity to
assimilate all material details of a given incident, slight inconsistencies and
variances in the declarations of a witness hardly weaken their probative value.—
Petitioners also place much premium on the alleged contradiction between
Jovencio’s narrative—which claimed that Emerson de Asis and Michael Manasan
saw the victim in the company of the malefactors immediately prior to the killing—
and the testimonies of these two witnesses denying such allegation. Unfortunately,
this is just a minor inconsistency. The common narration of Emerson de Asis and
Michael Manasan that they did not see the perpetrators with the victim prior to the
killing are too insignificant, since their narration did not directly relate to the act of
killing itself. Said inconsistency does not dilute the declarations of Jovencio. Given
the natural frailties of the human mind and its incapacity to assimilate all material
details of a given incident, slight inconsistencies and variances in the declarations of
a witness hardly weaken their probative value. It is well settled that immaterial and
insignificant details do not discredit a testimony on the very material and significant
point bearing on the very act of accused-appellants. As long as the testimonies of the
witnesses corroborate one another on material points, minor inconsistencies therein
cannot destroy their credibility. Inconsistencies on minor details do not undermine
the integrity of a prosecution witness. The minor inconsistencies and contradictions
only serve to attest to the truthfulness of the witnesses and the fact that they had
not been coached or rehearsed.
10. Same; Same; Exempting Circumstances; Minority; Republic Act No. 9344; An
accused who was only 14 years of age at the time he committed the crime is exempt
from criminal liability and should be released to the custody of his parents or
guardian pursuant to Sections 6 and 20 of Republic Act No. 9344.—As to the
criminal liability, Raymond is exempt. As correctly ruled by the Court of Appeals,
Raymund, who was only 14 years of age at the time he committed the crime, should
be exempt from criminal liability and should be released to the custody of his
parents or guardian pursuant to Sections 6 and 20 of Republic Act No. 9344, to wit:
SEC. 6. Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility.—A child fifteen (15) years of age
or under at the time of the commission of the offense shall be exempt from criminal
liability. However, the child shall be subjected to an intervention program pursuant
to Section 20 of this Act. x x x x The
11. 277

VOL. 595, AUGUST 4, 2009 2


77
Madali vs. People

12. exemption from criminal liability herein established does not include exemption
from civil liability, which shall be enforced in accordance with existing laws.
13. Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Republic Act No. 9344 is given retroactive effect in
favor of the accused who is not a habitual criminal.—Although the crime was
committed on 13 April 1999 and Republic Act No. 9344 took effect only on 20 May
2006, the said law should be given retroactive effect in favor of Raymund who was
not shown to be a habitual criminal. This is based on Article 22 of the Revised Penal
Code which provides: Retroactive effect of penal laws.—Penal laws shall have a
retroactive effect insofar as they favor the person guilty of a felony, who is not a
habitual criminal, as this term is defined in Rule 5 of Article 62 of this Code,
although at the time of the publication of such laws a final sentence has been
pronounced and the convict is serving the same. While Raymund is exempt from
criminal liability, his civil liability is not extinguished pursuant to the second
paragraph of Section 6, Republic Act No. 9344.
14. Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Discernment is that mental capacity of a minor to
fully appreciate the consequences of his unlawful act, which capacity may be known
and should be determined by taking into consideration all the facts and
circumstances afforded by the records in each case.—As to Rodel’s situation, it must
be borne in mind that he was 16 years old at the time of the commission of the
crime. A determination of whether he acted with or without discernment is
necessary pursuant to Section 6 of Republic Act No. 9344, viz.: SEC. 6. Minimum
Age of Criminal Responsibility.—x x x. A child above fifteen (15) years but below
eighteen (18) years of age shall likewise be exempt from criminal liability and be
subjected to an intervention program, unless he/she has acted with discernment, in
which case, such child shall be subjected to the appropriate proceedings in
accordance with this Act. Discernment is that mental capacity of a minor to fully
appreciate the consequences of his unlawful act. Such capacity may be known and
should be determined by taking into consideration all the facts and circumstances
afforded by the records in each case.
15.

Docket Number: G.R. No. 180380

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision of the


Court of Appeals dated 29 August 2007 in CA-G.R. No.
27757, exempting Raymund Madali from criminal liability
is hereby AFFIRMED. With respect to Rodel Madali, being a
child in conflict with the law, this Court suspends the
pronouncement of his sentence and REMANDS his case to
the court a quo for further proceedings in accordance with
Section 38 of Republic Act No. 9344. However, with
respect to the civil liabilities, Rodel Madali and Raymund
Madali are solidarily liable to pay the heirs of the victim
the amount of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00
as moral dam

Llave vs. People 488 SCRA 376 , April 26, 2006

Case Title : NIEL F. LLAVE, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


respondent.Case Nature : PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the
Court of Appeals.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Rape|Witnesses|Exempting Circumstances; Minority

Syllabi:

1. Criminal Law; Rape; The absence of abrasions and lacerations does


not disprove sexual abuses, especially when the victim is a young girl
as in this case.-

While it is true that Dr. Castillo did not find any abrasion or laceration
in the private complainant’s genitalia, such fact does not negate the
latter’s testimony that the petitioner had carnal knowledge of her. The
absence of abrasions and lacerations does not disprove sexual abuses,
especially when the victim is a young girl as in this case. According to
Dr. Castillo, the hymen is elastic and is capable of stretching and
reverting to its original form. The doctor testified that her report is
compatible with the victim’s testimony that she was sexually assaulted
by petitioner.

2. Criminal Law; Rape; Witnesses; When the offended party is


young and immature, from the age of thirteen to sixteen, courts are
inclined to give credit to their account of what transpired, considering
not only their relative vulnerability but also the shame and
embarrassment to which they would be exposed if the matter to which
they testified is not true.-

Case law is that the calibration by the trial court of the evidence on
record and its assessment of the credibility of witnesses, as well as its
findings of facts and the conclusions anchored on said findings, are
accorded conclusive effect by this Court unless facts and circumstances
of substance were overlooked, misconstrued or misinterpreted, which,
if considered would merit a nullification or reversal of the decision. We
have held that when the offended party is young and immature, from
the age of thirteen to sixteen, courts are inclined to give credence to
their account of what transpired, considering not only their relative
vulnerability but also the shame and embarrassment to which they
would be exposed if the matter to which they testified is not true.

3. Criminal Law; Rape; Witnesses; There is no evidence that the


parents of the offended party coached their daughter before she
testified.-

There is no evidence that the parents of the offended party coached


their daughter before she testified. No mother or father would stoop so
low as to subject their daughter to the tribulations and the
embarrassment of a public trial knowing that such a traumatic
experience would damage their daughter’s psyche and mar her life if
the charge is not true.

4. Criminal Law; Rape; Witnesses; Rape is not a respecter of time


and place.-

That petitioner ravished the victim not far from the street where
residents passed by does not negate the act of rape committed by
petitioner. Rape is not a respecter of time and place. The crime may be
committed by the roadside and even in occupied premises. The
presence of people nearby does not deter rapists from committing the
odious act. In this case, petitioner was so daring that he ravished the
private complainant near the house of Teofisto even as commuters
passed by, impervious to the fact that a crime was being committed in
their midst.

5. Criminal Law; Rape; Witnesses; Corroborative testimony is not


essential to warrant a conviction of the perpetrator.-

Case law has it that in view of the intrinsic nature of rape, the only
evidence that can be offered to prove the guilt of the offender is the
testimony of the offended party. Even absent a medical certificate, her
testimony, standing alone, can be made the basis of conviction if such
testimony is credible. Corroborative testimony is not essential to
warrant a conviction of the perpetrator. Thus, even without the
testimony of Teofisto Bucud, the testimonies of the offended party and
Dr. Castillo constitute evidence beyond reasonable doubt warranting
the conviction of petitioner.

6. Criminal Law; Rape; Exempting Circumstances;Minority; The


surrounding circumstances must demonstrate that the minor knew what
he was doing and that it was wrong.-
Article 12, paragraph 3 of the Revised Penal Code provides that a
person over nine years of age and under fifteen is exempt from criminal
liability, unless he acted with discernment. The basic reason behind the
exempting circumstance is complete absence of intelligence, freedom of
action of the offender which is an essential element of a felony either
by dolus or by culpa. Intelligence is the power necessary to determine
the morality of human acts to distinguish a licit from an illicit act. On
the other hand, discernment is the mental capacity to understand the
difference between right and wrong. The prosecution is burdened to
prove that the accused acted with discernment by evidence of physical
appearance, attitude or deportment not only before and during the
commission of the act, but also after and during the trial. The
surrounding circumstances must demonstrate that the minor knew
what he was doing and that it was wrong. Such circumstance includes
the gruesome nature of the crime and the minor’s cunning and
shrewdness.

Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 166040

Counsel: Carlo Bonifacio C. Alentajan, The Solicitor General

Ponente: CALLEJO, SR.

Dispositive Portion:

IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is DENIED


for lack of merit. The decision of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. CR No. 26962 is AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION
that the award of exemplary damages is DELETED

People vs. Ladjaalam 340 SCRA 617 , September 19, 2000

Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. WALPAN LAD-JAALAM y


MIHAJIL alias “WARPAN,” appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the
Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga City, Br. 16.
Syllabi Class : Evidence|Witnesses|Criminal Law|Ocular Inspections|Illegal
Possession of Firearms|Frame-Up|Dangerous Drugs Act|Maintenance of a Drug
Den|Direct Assault|Statutory Construction

Division: THIRD DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. Nos. 136149-51

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Jose E. Fernandez

Ponente: PANGANIBAN

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, the appealed Decision is hereby AFFIRMED


with the MODIFICATION that appellant is found guilty only
of two offenses: (1) direct assault and multiple attempted
homicide with the use of a weapon, for which he is
sentenced to 2 years and 4 months to 6 years of prision
correccional; and (2) maintaining a drug den, for which he
was correctly sentenced by the trial court to reclusion
perpetua. Costs against appellant.Let a copy of this
Decision be furnished the Congress of the Philippines for a
possible review, at its sound discretion, of RA 8294.

Sison vs. People 666 SCRA 645 , February 22, 2012

Case Title : ARNEL SISON y ESCUADRO, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE


PHILIPPINES, respondent.Case Nature : PETITION for review on certiorari of a
decision of the Court of Appeals.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Rape|Penalties

Syllabi:

1. Remedial Law; Evidence; Witnesses; When the decision hinges


on the credibility of witnesses and their respective testimonies, the trial
court’s observations and conclusions deserve great respect and are
often accorded finality, unless there appears in the record some fact or
circumstance of weight which the lower court may have overlooked,
misunderstood or misappreciated and which, if properly considered,
would alter the result of the case.-

—In People v. Espino, Jr., 554 SCRA 682 (2008), we said: “Time and
again, we have held that when the decision hinges on the credibility of
witnesses and their respective testimonies, the trial court’s
observations and conclusions deserve great respect and are often
accorded finality, unless there appears in the record some fact or
circumstance of weight which the lower court may have overlooked,
misunderstood or misappreciated and which, if properly considered,
would alter the result of the case. The trial judge enjoys the advantage
of observing the witness’ deportment and manner of testifying, her
“furtive glance, blush of conscious shame, hesitation, flippant or
sneering tone, calmness, sigh, or the scant or full realization of an
oath”—all of which are useful aids for an accurate determination of a
witness’ honesty and sincerity. The trial judge, therefore, can better
determine if such witnesses were telling the truth, being in the ideal
position to weigh conflicting testimonies. Unless certain facts of
substance and value were overlooked which, if considered, might affect
the result of the case, its assessment must be respected for it had the
opportunity to observe the conduct and demeanor of the witnesses
while testifying and detect if they were lying. The rule finds an even
more stringent application where said findings are sustained by the
Court of Appeals.”

2. Same; Same; Penalties; Whenever the crime of rape is committed


with the use of a deadly weapon or by two or more persons, the penalty
shall be reclusion perpetua to death.-

—Under Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code, whenever the crime of
rape is committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by two or more
persons, the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death. The
prosecution was able to sufficiently allege in the Information, and
establish during trial, that a gun was used in the commission of rape.
Since no aggravating or mitigating circumstance was established in the
commission of the crime, the lesser penalty shall be imposed. Thus, we
affirm the penalty of reclusion perpetua meted by the courts below.

3. Same; Same; Illegal Possession of Firearms;Accused in a rape


case can no longer be held liable for illegal possession of firearms if
another crime was committed.-
—However, as to petitioner’s conviction for illegal possession of
firearms, such judgment must be set aside. We find that he can no
longer be held liable for such offense since another crime was
committed, i.e., rape. In People v. Ladjaalam, 340 SCRA 617 (2000),
we laid down the correct interpretation of the law and ruled: “x x x A
simple reading thereof shows that if an unlicensed firearm is used in
the commission of any crime, there can be no separate offense of
simple illegal possession of firearms. Hence, if the “other crime” is
murder or homicide, illegal possession of firearms becomes merely an
aggravating circumstance, not a separate offense. Since direct assault
with multiple attempted homicide was committed in this case, appellant
can no longer be held liable for illegal possession of firearms. Moreover,
penal laws are construed liberally in favor of the accused. In this case,
the plain meaning of RA 8294’s simple language is most favorable to
herein appellant. Verily, no other interpretation is justified, for the
language of the new law demonstrates the legislative intent to favor the
accused. Accordingly, appellant cannot be convicted of two separate
offenses of illegal possession of firearms and direct assault with
attempted homicide. Moreover, since the crime committed was direct
assault and not homicide or murder, illegal possession of firearms
cannot be deemed an aggravating circumstance. x x x x x x x The law
is clear: the accused can be convicted of simple illegal possession of
firearms, provided that “no other crime was committed by the person
arrested.” If the intention of the law in the second paragraph were to
refer only to homicide and murder, it should have expressly said so, as
it did in the third paragraph. Verily, where the law does not distinguish,
neither should we.”

4. Same; Same; The victim’s moral character in rape is immaterial


where it is shown that intimidation was used for the victim to have sex
with the accused.-

—While petitioner, in his direct testimony, was portraying AAA as a


prostitute, the latter cried. AAA’s crying shows how she might have felt
after being raped by the petitioner and yet be accused of a woman of
loose morals. The victim’s moral character in rape is immaterial where
it is shown that intimidation was used for the victim to have sex with
the accused. The truthfulness of AAA’s charge for rape was further
bolstered by her conduct immediately after the rape incident. After
petitioner dropped her off in Cubao, AAA immediately went to her office
and narrated her ordeal to her officemates. Accompanied by them, she
went to the police station to report the incident and submitted herself
to medical examination.
5. Same; Same; Physical resistance need not be established in rape
when intimidation is exercised upon a victim and the latter submits
herself, against her will, to the rapist’s advances because of fear for her
life and personal safety.-

—Even assuming that AAA failed to put up a strong resistance to repel


petitioner’s physical aggression, such failure does not mean that she
was not raped. Petitioner had a gun which was sufficient to intimidate
her and to submit to his lustful desire. It is well settled that physical
resistance need not be established in rape when intimidation is
exercised upon a victim and the latter submits herself, against her will,
to the rapist’s advances because of fear for her life and personal safety.

6. Same; Same; Same; Same; There is no standard form of behavior


when one is confronted by a shocking incident, especially if the
assailant is physically near.-

—People react differently under emotional stress. There is no standard


form of behavior when one is confronted by a shocking incident,
especially if the assailant is physically near. The workings of the human
mind when placed under emotional stress are unpredictable. In a given
situation, some may shout, others may faint, and still others may be
frozen into silence. Consequently, the failure of complainant to run
away or shout for help at the very first opportunity cannot be construed
consent to the sexual intercourse.

7. Same; Same; Evidence; Witnesses; The accused may be


convicted on the sole testimony of the victim in a rape case, provided
that such testimony is credible, natural, convincing, and consistent with
human nature and the normal course of things.-

—The fact that not one of AAA’s textmates was presented as witness
would not detract from her credibility. Jurisprudence has steadfastly
been already repetitious that the accused may be convicted on the sole
testimony of the victim in a rape case, provided that such testimony is
credible, natural, convincing, and consistent with human nature and the
normal course of things. AAA repeatedly stated that petitioner sexually
abused her against her will. The straightforward narration by AAA of
what transpired, accompanied by her categorical identification of
petitioner as the malefactor, sealed the case for the prosecution.

8. Criminal Law; Rape; The gravamen of the crime of rape is sexual


congress with a woman by force or intimidation and without consent.-

—In rape cases, the essential element that the prosecution must prove
is the absence of the victim’s consent to the sexual congress. The
gravamen of the crime of rape is sexual congress with a woman by
force or intimidation and without consent. Force in rape is relative,
depending on the age, size and strength of the parties. In the same
manner, intimidation must be viewed in the light of the victim’s
perception and judgment at the time of the commission of the crime
and not by any hard and fast rule. Petitioner’s act of holding a gun and
threatening AAA with the same showed force or at least intimidation
which was sufficient for her to submit to petitioner’s bestial desire for
fear of her life.

Division: THIRD DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 187229

Counsel: Ester Tuy Azurin

Ponente: PERALTA, J.

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, the Decision dated March 17, 2009 of the


Court of Appeals, sentencing petitioner Arnel Sison y
Escuadro to reclusion perpetua for the crime of qualified
rape, is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION that he is
ORDERED to pay AAA the reduced amounts of P50,000.00
as civil indemnity and P50,000.00 as moral damages.
Petitioner is also ORDERED to pay P30,000.00 as
exemplary damages and interest at the rate of six percent
(6%) per annum is imposed on all the damages awarded
from the date of finality of this judgment until fully paid.
Petitioner’s conviction of Illegal Possession of Firearms is
hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

People vs. Mantalaba 654 SCRA 188 , July 20, 2011


Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ALLEN UDTOJAN
MANTALABA, accused-appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the
Court of Appeals.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Dangerous Drugs Act|Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act
of 2006 (R.A. No. 9344)|Penalties|Suspension of Sentence

Syllabi:

1. Criminal Law; Dangerous Drugs Act; Buy-Bust


Operations; Elements.-

—What determines if there was, indeed, a sale of dangerous drugs in a


buy-bust operation is proof of the concurrence of all the elements of
the offense, to wit: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the
object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and
the payment therefor. From the above testimony of the prosecution
witness, it was well established that the elements have been
satisfactorily met. The seller and the poseur-buyer were properly
identified. The subject dangerous drug, as well as the marked money
used, were also satisfactorily presented. The testimony was also clear
as to the manner in which the buy-bust operation was conducted.

2. Same; Same; Same; Same; Section 98 of RA 9344, in providing


that, where the offender is a minor, the penalty for acts punishable by
life imprisonment to death provided in the same law shall be reclusion
perpetua to death, the same basically means that the penalty can now
be graduated as it has adopted the technical nomenclature of penalties
provided for in the Revised Penal Code.-

—In finding the guilt beyond reasonable doubt of the appellant for
violation of Section 5 of RA 9165, the RTC imposed the penalty of
reclusion perpetua as mandated in Section 98 of the same law. A
violation of Section 5 of RA 9165 merits the penalty of life
imprisonment to death; however, in Section 98, it is provided that,
where the offender is a minor, the penalty for acts punishable by life
imprisonment to death provided in the same law shall be reclusion
perpetua to death. Basically, this means that the penalty can now be
graduated as it has adopted the technical nomenclature of penalties
provided for in the Revised Penal Code.

3. Same; Same; Same; Same; A child in conflict with the law may,
after conviction and upon order of the court, be made to serve his/her
sentence, in lieu of confinement in a regular penal institution, in an
agricultural camp and other training facilities that may be established,
maintained, supervised and controlled by the Bureau of Corrections
(BUCOR), in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and
Development (DSWD).-

—The appellant shall be entitled to appropriate disposition under


Section 51 of RA No. 9344, which provides for the confinement of
convicted children as follows: SEC. 51. Confinement of Convicted
Children in Agricultural Camps and other Training Facilities.—A child in
conflict with the law may, after conviction and upon order of the court,
be made to serve his/her sentence, in lieu of confinement in a regular
penal institution, in an agricultural camp and other training facilities
that may be established, maintained, supervised and controlled by the
BUCOR, in coordination with the DSWD.

4. Same; Same; Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 (R.A.


No. 9344); Penalties; Suspension of Sentence; While Section 38 of
RA 9344 provides that suspension of sentence can still be applied even
if the child in conflict with the law is already eighteen (18) years of age
or more at the time of the pronouncement of his/her guilt, Section 40 of
the same law limits the said suspension of sentence until the child
reaches the maximum age of 21.-

—This Court has already ruled in People v. Sarcia, 599 SCRA 20 (2009),
that while Section 38 of RA 9344 provides that suspension of sentence
can still be applied even if the child in conflict with the law is already
eighteen (18) years of age or more at the time of the pronouncement
of his/her guilt, Section 40 of the same law limits the said suspension
of sentence until the child reaches the maximum age of 21. The
provision states: SEC. 40. Return of the Child in Conflict with the Law
to Court.—If the court finds that the objective of the disposition
measures imposed upon the child in conflict with the law have not been
fulfilled, or if the child in conflict with the law has willfully failed to
comply with the condition of his/her disposition or rehabilitation
program, the child in conflict with the law shall be brought before the
court for execution of judgment. If said child in conflict with the law has
reached eighteen (18) years of age while under suspended sentence,
the court shall determine whether to discharge the child in accordance
with this Act, to order execution of sentence, or to extend the
suspended sentence for a certain specified period or until the child
reaches the maximum age of twenty-one (21) years.

5. Same; Same; Same; What is crucial in the chain of custody is the


marking of the confiscated item.-

—As ruled by this Court, what is crucial in the chain of custody is the
marking of the confiscated item which, in the present case, was
complied with, thus: Crucial in proving chain of custody is the marking
of the seized drugs or other related items immediately after they are
seized from the accused. Marking after seizure is the starting point in
the custodial link, thus, it is vital that the seized contraband are
immediately marked because succeeding handlers of the specimens will
use the markings as reference. The marking of the evidence serves to
separate the marked evidence from the corpus of all other similar or
related evidence from the time they are seized from the accused until
they are disposed of at the end of criminal proceedings, obviating
switching, “planting,” or contamination of evidence.

6. Same; Same; Chain of Custody Rule; Non-compliance by the


apprehending/buy-bust team with Section 21 of Republic Act (R.A.)
9165 is not fatal as long as there is justifiable ground therefor, and as
long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the confiscated/seized
items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team.-

—Non-compliance by the apprehending/buy-bust team with Section 21


is not fatal as long as there is justifiable ground therefor, and as long
as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the confiscated/seized
items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team. Its
non-compliance will not render an accused’s arrest illegal or the items
seized/confiscated from him inadmissible. What is of utmost importance
is the preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the
seized items, as the same would be utilized in the determination of the
guilt or innocence of the accused. In this particular case, it is
undisputed that police officers Pajo and Simon were members of the
buy-bust operation team. The fact that it was Inspector Ferdinand B.
Dacillo who signed the letter-request for laboratory examination does
not in any way affect the integrity of the items confiscated. All the
requirements for the proper chain of custody had been observed.

7. Same; Same; Frame-up; In order to prosper, the defenses of


denial and frame-up must be proved with strong and convincing
evidence.-

—Incidentally, the defenses of denial and frame-up have been


invariably viewed by this Court with disfavor for it can easily be
concocted and is a common and standard defense ploy in prosecutions
for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act. In order to prosper, the
defenses of denial and frame-up must be proved with strong and
convincing evidence.

8. Same; Same; Illegal Possession of Dangerous


Drugs; Elements; Searches and Seizures; Warrantless
Searches; Search Incident to Lawful Arrest; As an incident to the
lawful arrest of the accused after the consummation of the buy-bust
operation, the arresting officers had the authority to search the person
of the accused.-

—In connection therewith, the RTC, as affirmed by the CA, was also
correct in finding that the appellant is equally guilty of violation of
Section 11 of RA 9165, or the illegal possession of dangerous drug. As
an incident to the lawful arrest of the appellant after the consummation
of the buy-bust operation, the arresting officers had the authority to
search the person of the appellant. In the said search, the appellant
was caught in possession of 0.6131 grams of shabu. In illegal
possession of dangerous drugs, the elements are: (1) the accused is in
possession of an item or object which is identified to be a prohibited
drug; (2) such possession is not authorized by law; and (3) the accused
freely and consciously possessed the said drug.

9. Same; Same; Same; Same; A buy-bust operation is a legally


effective and proven procedure, sanctioned by law, for apprehending
drug peddlers and distributors.-

—The above only confirms that the buy-bust operation really occurred.
Once again, this Court stresses that a buy-bust operation is a legally
effective and proven procedure, sanctioned by law, for apprehending
drug peddlers and distributors. It is often utilized by law enforcers for
the purpose of trapping and capturing lawbreakers in the execution of
their nefarious activities. In People v. Roa, 620 SCRA 359 (2010), this
Court had the opportunity to expound on the nature and importance of
a buy-bust operation, ruling that: In the first place, coordination with
the PDEA is not an indispensable requirement before police authorities
may carry out a buy-bust operation. While it is true that Section 86 of
Republic Act No. 9165 requires the National Bureau of Investigation,
PNP and the Bureau of Customs to maintain “close coordination with
the PDEA on all drug-related matters,” the provision does not, by so
saying, make PDEA’s participation a condition sine qua non for every
buy-bust operation. After all, a buy-bust is just a form of an in
flagrante arrest sanctioned by Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of the
Court, which police authorities may rightfully resort to in apprehending
violators of Republic Act No. 9165 in support of the PDEA. A buy-bust
operation is not invalidated by mere non-coordination with the PDEA.

Division: THIRD DIVISION


Docket Number: G.R. No. 186227

Counsel: The Solicitor General

Ponente: PERALTA, J.

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, the Decision dated July 31, 2008 of the


Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 00240-MIN,
affirming the Omnibus Judgment dated September 14,
2005 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 1, Butuan City in
Criminal Case No. 10250 and Criminal Case No. 10251,
finding appellant Allen Udtojan Mantalaba, guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of violation of Sections 5 and 11, Article
II of RA 9165 is hereby AFFIRMED with the
MODIFICATION that the penalty that should be imposed
on appellant’s conviction of violation of Section 5 of RA
9165, is six (6) years and one (1) day of prision mayor, as
minimum, and fourteen (14) years, eight (8) months and
one (1) day of reclusion temporal, as maximum.

Criminal Law; Evidence; It is a fundamental rule that findings of the trial courts which
are factual in nature and which involve the credibility of witnesses are accorded respect
when no glaring errors, gross misapprehension of facts and speculative, arbitrary and
unsupported conclusions can be gathered from such findings.—It is a fundamental rule that
findings of the trial courts which are factual in nature and which involve the credibility of
witnesses are accorded respect when no glaring errors, gross misapprehension of facts and
speculative, arbitrary and unsupported conclusions can be gathered from such findings. The
reason for this, being, that the trial court is in a better position to decide the credibility of
witnesses having heard their testimonies and observed their deportment and manner of
testifying during the trial. The rule finds an even more stringent application where said
findings are sustained by the Court of Appeals as in this case.

Same; Same; Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2000 (R.A. No. 9165); What is
material to the prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs is the proof that the
transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of evidence of
corpus delicti.—In the prosecution of offenses involving this provision of the statute, it is
necessary that the following elements be established: (1) the identity of the buyer and
seller, object, and consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment
therefore. What is material to the prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs is the proof
that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of
evidence of corpus delicti.

Evidence; Frame-Ups; We view the defense of frame-up with disfavor as it can easily be
concocted and is commonly used as a standard line of defense in most prosecutions arising
from illegal sale of drugs.—Like alibi, we view the defense of frame-up with disfavor

_______________

* THIRD DIVISION.

538

5 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


38
People vs. Cabugatan

as it can easily be concocted and is commonly used as a standard line of defense in


most prosecutions arising from illegal sale of drugs. For the claim of frame-up to prosper,
the defense must present clear and convincing evidence to overcome the presumption that
the arresting policemen performed their duties in a regular and proper manner.

Same; Buy-Bust Operations; The conduct of buy-bust operation is a common and


accepted mode of apprehending those involved in illegal sale of prohibited or regulated
drugs.—The conduct of buybust operation is a common and accepted mode of apprehending
those involved in illegal sale of prohibited or regulated drugs. It has been proven to be an
effective way of unveiling the identities of drug dealers and of luring them out of obscurity.
Thus, unless the defense could persuade us otherwise, we are inclined to confer full credit
and faith to the testimonies of the members of the buy-bust team as regards the conduct of
their operation.

Arrests; The rule is settled that an arrest made after an entrapment does not require a
warrant inasmuch as it is considered a valid warrantless arrest pursuant to Rule 113,
Section 5(a) of the Rules of Court.—The rule is settled that an arrest made after an
entrapment does not require a warrant inasmuch as it is considered a valid warrantless
arrest pursuant to Rule 113, Section 5(a) of the Rules of Court which states: SEC. 5. Arrest
without warrant; when lawful.—A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant,
arrest a person: (a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is
actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense.
Criminal Law; Dangerous Drugs Act;Penalties; Article 63(2) of the Revised Penal Code
shall not be used in the determination of the penalty to be imposed on the accused—since
Section 98 of the said law contains the word “shall,” the non-applicability of the Revised
Penal Code provisions is mandatory, subject only to the exceptions in case the offender is a
minor.—Article 63(2) of the Revised Penal Code shall not be used in the determination of
the penalty to be imposed on the accused. Since Section 98 of the said law contains the word
“shall,” the non-applicability of the Revised Penal Code provisions is mandatory, subject
only to the exception in case the offender is a minor.

Quarto vs. Marcelo 658 SCRA 580 , October 05, 2011

Case Title : ERDITO QUARTO, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE OMBUDSMAN


SIMEON MARCELO, CHIEF SPECIAL PROSECUTOR DENNIS VILLA IGNACIO, LUISITO
M. TABLAN, RAUL B. BORILLO, and LUIS A. GAYYA, respondents.Case Nature :
SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION in the Supreme Court. Certiorari and Mandamus.

Syllabi Class : Immunity from Suit|Ombudsman

Syllabi:

1. Special Civil Actions; Appeals; Mandamus;Certiorari; As


extraordinary writs, both Sections 1 (certiorari) and 3 (mandamus),
Rule 65 of the Rules of Court require, as a pre-condition for these
remedies, that there be no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in
the ordinary course of law.-

—As extraordinary writs, both Sections 1 (certiorari) and 3


(mandamus), Rule 65 of the Rules of Court require, as a pre-condition
for these remedies, that there be no other plain, speedy and adequate
remedy in the ordinary course of law.

2. Immunity from Suit; Ombudsman; The Court reiterates its policy


of non-interference with the Ombudsman’s exercise of his investigatory
and prosecutory powers and respects the initiative and independence
inherent in the Ombudsman who, “beholden to no one, acts as the
champion of the people and the preserver of the integrity of the public
service.”-

—Consistent with this purpose and subject to the command of


paragraph 2, Section 1, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution, the Court
reiterates its policy of non-interference with the Ombudsman’s exercise
of his investigatory and prosecutory powers (among them, the power to
grant immunity to witnesses), and respects the initiative and
independence inherent in the Ombudsman who, “beholden to no one,
acts as the champion of the people and the preserver of the integrity of
the public service.”
3. Administrative Proceedings; An administrative case is altogether
different from a criminal case, such that the disposition in the former
does not necessarily result in the same disposition for the latter,
although both may arise from the same set of facts.-

—The fact that the respondents had previously been found


administratively liable, based on the same set of facts, does not
necessarily make them the “most guilty.” An administrative case is
altogether different from a criminal case, such that the disposition in
the former does not necessarily result in the same disposition for the
latter, although both may arise from the same set of facts. The most
that we can read from the finding of liability is that the respondents
have been found to be administratively guilty by substantial evidence—
the quantum of proof required in an administrative proceeding.

4. Same; Ombudsman; An immunity statute does not, and cannot,


rule out a review by this Court of the Ombudsman’s exercise of
discretion.-

—An immunity statute does not, and cannot, rule out a review by this
Court of the Ombudsman’s exercise of discretion. Like all other officials
under our constitutional scheme of government, all their acts must
adhere to the Constitution.

5. Same; The authority to choose the individual to whom immunity


would be granted is a constituent part of the process and is essentially
an executive function.-

—While the legislature is the source of the power to grant immunity,


the authority to implement is lodged elsewhere. The authority to
choose the individual to whom immunity would be granted is a
constituent part of the process and is essentially an executive function.

6. Immunity from Suit; The power to grant immunity from


prosecution is essentially a legislative prerogative.-

—The power to grant immunity from prosecution is essentially a


legislative prerogative. The exclusive power of Congress to define
crimes and their nature and to provide for their punishment
concomitantly carries the power to immunize certain persons from
prosecution to facilitate the attainment of state interests, among them,
the solution and prosecution of crimes with high political, social and
economic impact.

7. Same; Same; Same; Ombudsman; If, on the basis of the same


evidence, the Ombudsman arbitrarily excludes from an indictment some
individuals while impleading all others, the remedy of mandamus lies
since he is duty-bound, as a rule, to include in the information all
persons who appear responsible for the offense involved.-

—If, on the basis of the same evidence, the Ombudsman arbitrarily


excludes from an indictment some individuals while impleading all
others, the remedy of mandamus lies since he is duty-bound, as a rule,
to include in the information all persons who appear responsible for the
offense involved.

8. Same; Same; Same; In matters involving the exercise of


judgment and discretion, mandamus may only be resorted to, to
compel the respondent to take action; it cannot be used to direct
the manner or the particular way discretion is to be exercised.-

—Mandamus is the proper remedy to compel the performance of a


ministerial duty imposed by law upon the respondent. In matters
involving the exercise of judgment and discretion, mandamus may only
be resorted to, to compel the respondent to take action; it cannot be
used to direct the manner or the particular way discretion is to be
exercised.

Division: SECOND DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 169042

Counsel: Vicente D. Millora

Ponente: BRION, J.

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED. Costs


against the petitioner.

People vs. Sandiganbayan (Fourth Division) 699 SCRA 713 , June 26,
2013

Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE


SANDIGANBAYAN (FOURTH DIVISION), ANTONIO P. BELICENA, ULDARICO P.
ANDUTAN, JR., RAUL C. DE VERA, ROSANNA P. DIALA and JOSEPH A. CABOTAJE,
respondents.Case Nature : PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the
Sandiganbayan (Fourth Division).

Syllabi Class : Constitutional Law|State Witnesses|Immunity from Suit

Syllabi:

1. Constitutional Law; State Witnesses; Immunity from


Suit; Immunity statutes seek to provide a balance between the state’s
interests and the individual’s right against self-
incrimination.―Respondents De Vera and Diala, Mercado’s co-accused
who opposed the grant of immunity to him, contend that the immunity
that the Ombudsman gave Mercado does not bind the court, which in
the meantime already acquired jurisdiction over the case against him.
That immunity merely relieves Mercado from any further proceedings,
including preliminary investigation, which the state might still attempt
to initiate against him. This in a way is true. But the filing of the
criminal action against an accused in court does not prevent the
Ombudsman from exercising the power that the Congress has granted
him. Section 17 of R.A. 6770 provides: Section 17. Immunities.-

—x x x Under such terms and conditions as it may determine, taking


into account the pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court, the
Ombudsman may grant immunity from criminal prosecution to any
person whose testimony or whose possession and production of
documents or other evidence may be necessary to determine the truth
in any hearing, inquiry or proceeding being conducted by the
Ombudsman or under its authority, in the performance or in the
furtherance of its constitutional functions and statutory objectives. The
immunity granted under this and the immediately preceding paragraph
shall not exempt the witness from criminal prosecution for perjury or
false testimony nor shall he be exempt from demotion or removal from
office. His above authority enables the Ombudsman to carry out his
constitutional mandate to ensure accountability in the public service. It
gives the Ombudsman wide latitude in using an accused discharged
from the information to increase the chances of conviction of the other
accused and attain a higher prosecutorial goal. Immunity statutes seek
to provide a balance between the state’s interests and the individual’s
right against self-incrimination. To secure his testimony without
exposing him to the risk of prosecution, the law recognizes that the
witness can be given immunity from prosecution. In such a case, both
interests and rights are satisfied.
Division: THIRD DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. Nos. 185729-32

Counsel: Jose B. Flaminiano

Ponente: ABAD, J.

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition, SETS ASIDE


the Sandiganbayan’s Resolutions of April 30 and
November 6, 2008 in Criminal Cases 27511-14, and
ORDERS the discharge of accused Homero A. Mercado
from the criminal information to be used as state witness.

Mapa, Jr. vs. Sandiganbayan 231 SCRA 783 , April 26, 1994

Case Title : PLACIDO L. MAPA, JR. and J. LORENZO VERGARA, petitioners, vs.
SANDIGANBAYAN, respondent.Case Nature : PETITION for certiorari to set aside
the resolutions of the Sandiganbayan.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Procedure|Witnesses|Immunity Statutes|Presidential


Commission on Good Government|Right Against Self-Incrimination

Syllabi:

1. Criminal Procedure; Witnesses; Immunity Statutes;Origin and


kinds of immunity statutes.-

Our immunity statutes are of American origin. In the United States,


there are two types of statutory immunity granted to a witness. They
are the transactional immunity and the use-and-derivative-use
immunity. Transactional immunity is broader in the scope of its
protection. By its grant, a witness can no longer be prosecuted for any
offense whatsoever arising out of the act or transaction. In contrast, by
the grant of use-and-derivative-use immunity, a witness is only assured
that his or her particular testimony and evidence derived from it will not
be used against him or her in a subsequent prosecution.

2. Criminal Procedure; Witnesses; Immunity


Statutes;Presidential Commission on Good Government;Powers
granted the PCGG under Sections 4 and 5 of Executive Order No. 14, as
amended.-

There are obvious differences between the powers granted to the PCGG
under sections 4 and 5. Section 4 deals with the power which PCGG can
use to compel an unwilling witness to testify. On the other hand,
section 5 speaks of the power which PCGG can wield to secure
information from a friendly witness. Under section 4, the hostile witness
compelled to testify is not immunized from prosecution. He can still be
prosecuted but “no testimony or other information compelled under the
order (or any information directly or indirectly derived from such
testimony or other information) may be used against the witness in any
criminal case . . . .” In contrast, under section 5, the friendly witness is
completely immunized from prosecution.

3. Criminal Procedure; Witnesses; Immunity


Statutes;Presidential Commission on Good
Government;Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction to review immunity
granted by PCGG.-

The first issue is whether the respondent court has jurisdiction to


review the immunity granted by PCGG in favor of the petitioners. We
sustain the jurisdiction of the respondent court. To be sure, we have
grappled with this once slippery issue in the case of Republic vs.
Sandiganbayan, 173 SCRA 76, 80-81.

4. Criminal Procedure; Witnesses; Immunity


Statutes;Presidential Commission on Good Government; Where
the intent is to endow courts with the power to review and reverse
tactical moves of the prosecution, the law confers the power in clear
and certain language.-

In instances, where the intent is to endow courts of justice with the


power to review and reverse tactical moves of the prosecution, the law
confers the power in clear and certain language. Thus, under section 9
of Rule 119, the prosecution in the exercise of its discretion may
tactically decide to discharge an accused to be a state witness but its
decision is made subject to the approval of the court trying the case. It
has to file a proper motion and the motion may be denied by the court
if the prosecution fails to prove that it has satisfied the requirements of
the rule on discharge of a witness. The rule is crafted as to leave no
iota of doubt on the power of the court to interfere with the discretion
of the prosecution on the matter. In the case at bench, E.O. 14, as
amended, is eloquently silent with regard to the range and depth of the
power of the respondent court to review the exercise of discretion by
the PCGG granting a section 5 immunity. This silence argues against
the thesis that the respondent court has full and unlimited power to
reverse PCGG’s exercise of discretion granting a section 5 immunity.
Legitimate power can not arise from a vacuum.

5. Criminal Procedure; Witnesses; Immunity


Statutes;Presidential Commission on Good Government; E.O. No.
14 confers on the PCGG the power to grant immunity alone and on its
own authority, and the power of the Sandiganbayan to review the same
is limited.-

We observe that in contrast to our other laws on immunity, section 5 of


E.O. No. 14, as amended, confers on the PCGG the power to grant
immunity alone and on its own authority. The exercise of the power is
not shared with any other authority. Nor is its exercise subject to the
approval or disapproval of another agency of government. The basic
reason for vesting the power exclusively on the PCGG lies in the
principle of separation of power. The decision to grant immunity from
prosecution forms a constituent part of the prosecution process. It is
essentially a tactical decision to forego prosecution of a person for
government to achieve a higher objective. It is a deliberate
renunciation of the right of the State to prosecute all who appear to be
guilty of having committed a crime. Its justification lies in the particular
need of the State to obtain the conviction of the more guilty criminals
who, otherwise, will probably elude the long arm of the law. Whether or
not the delicate power should be exercised, who should be extended
the privilege, the timing of its grant, are questions addressed solely to
the sound judgment of the prosecution. The power to prosecute
includes the right to determine who shall be prosecuted and the
corollary right to decide whom not to prosecute. In reviewing the
exercise of prosecutorial discretion in these areas, the jurisdiction of
the respondent court is limited. For the business of a court of justice is
to be an impartial tribunal, and not to get involved with the success or
failure of the prosecution to prosecute. Every now and then, the
prosecution may err in the selection of its strategies, but such errors
are not for neutral courts to rectify, any more than courts should
correct the blunders of the defense. For fairness demands that courts
keep the scales of justice at equipoise between and among all litigants.
Due process demands that courts should strive to maintain the legal
playing field perfectly even and perpetually level.

6. Criminal Procedure; Witnesses; Immunity


Statutes;Presidential Commission on Good Government; In
reviewing the grant of immunity made by the PCGG, the power of the
Sandiganbayan can go no further than to pass upon its procedural
regularity.-

Prescinding from these baseline propositions, we hold that in reviewing


the grant of a section 5 immunity made by the PCGG to the petitioners,
the power of the respondents court can go no further than to pass upon
its procedural regularity. The respondent court should only ascertain:
(a) whether the person claiming immunity has provided information or
testimony in any investigation conducted by the PCGG in the discharge
of its functions; (b) whether in the bona fide judgment of the PCGG,
the information or testimony given would establish the unlawful manner
in which the respondent, defendant or accused has acquired or
accumulated the property or properties in question; and (c) whether in
the bona fide judgment of the PCGG, such information or testimony is
necessary to ascertain or prove the guilt or civil liability of the
respondent, defendant or accused. Respondent court cannot substitute
its judgment to the discretion of the PCGG without involving itself in
prosecution and without ceasing to be a court catering untilted justice.

7. Criminal Procedure; Witnesses; Immunity


Statutes;Presidential Commission on Good Government;Failure of
the persons granted immunity to testify due to no fault of theirs can not
nullify their immunity.-

Contrary to the ruling of the respondent court, the failure of petitioners


to testify in the RICO cases against the Marcoses in New York can not
nullify their immunity. They have satisfied the requirements both of the
law and the parties’ implementing agreements. Under section 5 of E.O.
No. 14, as amended, their duty was to give information to the
prosecution, and they did. Under their Memorandum of Agreement,
they promised to make themselves available as witnesses in the said
RICO cases, and they did. Petitioners were ready to testify but they
were not called to testify by the US prosecutors of the RICO case. Their
failure to testify was not of their own making. It was brought about by
the decision of the US prosecutors who may have thought that their
evidence was enough to convict the Marcoses. Since petitioners’ failure
to testify was not of their own choosing nor was it due to any fault of
their own, justice and equity forbid that they be penalized by the
withdrawal of their immunity. Indeed, initially, the PCGG itself adopted
the posture that the immunity of petitioners stayed and should not be
disturbed. It joined the motion to dismiss filed by petitioners in the
respondent court. When the respondent court denied the motion, PCGG
stuck to its previous position as it again joined the petitioners in their
motion for reconsideration. It is only in this petition for review on
certiorari that PCGG, after a change of Chairman, flip-flopped in its
position.

8. Criminal Procedure; Witnesses; Immunity


Statutes;Presidential Commission on Good Government; E.O. 14
does not prohibit the PCGG from granting immunity to persons already
charged in court and undergoing trial.-

We also rule that there was nothing irregular when PCGG granted a
section 5 immunity to petitioners while they were already undergoing
trial in Criminal Case No. 11960. Section 5 of E.O. 14, as amended,
does not prohibit the PCGG from granting immunity to persons already
charged in court and undergoing trial. As long as the privilege of
immunity so given will in the judgment of the PCGG assist it in attaining
its greater objectives, the PCGG is well within legal grounds to exercise
this power at any stage of the proceedings. This section 5 immunity
frees and releases one from liability, and as it inures to the benefit of
an accused, it can be invoked at any time after its acquisition and
before his final conviction. Our regard for the rights of an accused
dictates this result. Thus, we have consistently held that laws that
decriminalize an act or a grant of amnesty may be given retroactive
effect. They constitute a bar against the further prosecution of their
beneficiaries’ regardless of the appearance of their guilt.

9. Criminal Procedure; Witnesses; Immunity


Statutes;Presidential Commission on Good Government; Right
Against Self-Incrimination; Immunity statutes are to be liberally
construed in favor of the grantees since such laws tend to erode the
preeminent right against self-incrimination and right to be silent.-

Finally, we reject respondent court’s ruling that the grant of section 5


immunity must be strictly construed against the petitioners. It
simplistically characterized the grant as a special privilege, as if it was
gifted by the government, ex gratia. In taking this posture, it misread
the raison d’etre and the long pedigree of the right against self-
incrimination vis-a-vis immunity statutes. The days of inquisition
brought about the most despicable abuses against human rights. Not
the least of these abuses is the expert use of coerced confessions to
send to the guillotine even the guiltless. To guard against the
recurrence of this totalitarian method, the right against self-
incrimination was ensconced in the fundamental laws of all civilized
countries. Over the years, however, came the need to assist
government in its task of containing crime for peace and order is a
necessary matrix of public welfare. To accommodate the need, the right
against self-incrimination was stripped of its absoluteness. Immunity
statutes in varying shapes were enacted which would allow government
to compel a witness to testify despite his plea of the right against self-
incrimination. To insulate these statutes from the virus of
unconstitutionally, a witness is given what has come to be known as
transactional or a use-derivative-use immunity, as heretofore
discussed. Quite clearly, these immunity statutes are not a bonanza
from government. Those given the privilege of immunity paid a high
price for it—the surrender of their precious right to be silent. Our
hierarchy of values demands that the right against self-incrimination
and the right to be silent should be accorded greater respect and
protection. Laws that tend to erode the force of these preeminent rights
must necessarily be given a liberal interpretation in favor of the
individual. The government has a right to solve crimes but it must do it,
rightly.

Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: G.R. No. 100295

Counsel: Estelito P. Mendoza, Filemon Flores

Ponente: PUNO

Dispositive Portion:

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the resolutions of the respondent


court dated March 7, and June 3, 1991 are annulled and
set aside and the Amended Information against the
petitioners in Criminal Case No. 11960 is ordered
dismissed. No costs.

Ampatuan, Jr. vs. De Lima 695 SCRA 159 , April 03, 2013

Case Title : DATU ANDAL AMPATUAN, JR., petitioner, vs. SEC. LEILA DE LIMA, as
Secretary of the Department of Justice, CSP CLARO ARELLANO, as Chief State
Prosecutor, National Prosecution Service, and PANEL OF PROSECUTORS OF THE
MAGUINDANAO MASSACRE, headed by RSP PETER MEDALLE, respondents.Case
Nature : PETITION for review on certiorari of an order of the Regional Trial Court
of Manila, Br. 26.

Syllabi Class : Remedial Law|Special Civil Actions|Mandamus

Syllabi:

1. Remedial Law; Criminal Procedure; Prosecutors;The public


prosecutors are solely responsible for the determination of the amount
of evidence sufficient to establish probable cause to justify the filing of
appropriate criminal charges against a respondent.-

—The prosecution of crimes pertains to the Executive Department of


the Government whose principal power and responsibility are to see to
it that our laws are faithfully executed. A necessary component of the
power to execute our laws is the right to prosecute their violators. The
right to prosecute vests the public prosecutors with a wide range of
discretion―the discretion of what and whom to charge, the exercise of
which depends on a smorgasbord of factors that are best appreciated
by the public prosecutors. The public prosecutors are solely responsible
for the determination of the amount of evidence sufficient to establish
probable cause to justify the filing of appropriate criminal charges
against a respondent. Theirs is also the quasi-judicial discretion to
determine whether or not criminal cases should be filed in court.

2. Same; Same; Same; Republic Act No. 6981; The admission as a


state witness under Republic Act No. 6981 also operates as an acquittal,
and said witness cannot subsequently be included in the criminal
information except when he fails or refuses to testify.-

—There is no requirement under Republic Act No. 6981 for the


Prosecution to first charge a person in court as one of the accused in
order for him to qualify for admission into the Witness Protection
Program. The admission as a state witness under Republic Act No. 6981
also operates as an acquittal, and said witness cannot subsequently be
included in the criminal information except when he fails or refuses to
testify. The immunity for the state witness is granted by the DOJ, not
by the trial court. Should such witness be meanwhile charged in court
as an accused, the public prosecutor, upon presentation to him of the
certification of admission into the Witness Protection Program, shall
petition the trial court for the discharge of the witness. The Court shall
then order the discharge and exclusion of said accused from the
information.

3. Same; Same; Same; While it is true that, as a general rule, the


discharge or exclusion of a co-accused from the information in order
that he may be utilized as a Prosecution witness rests upon the sound
discretion of the trial court, such discretion is not absolute and may not
be exercised arbitrarily, but with due regard to the proper
administration of justice.-

—While it is true that, as a general rule, the discharge or exclusion of a


co-accused from the information in order that he may be utilized as a
Prosecution witness rests upon the sound discretion of the trial court,
such discretion is not absolute and may not be exercised arbitrarily, but
with due regard to the proper administration of justice. Anent the
requisite that there must be an absolute necessity for the testimony of
the accused whose discharge is sought, the trial court has to rely on
the suggestions of and the information provided by the public
prosecutor. The reason is obvious―the public prosecutor should know
better than the trial court, and the Defense for that matter, which of
the several accused would best qualify to be discharged in order to
become a state witness. The public prosecutor is also supposed to know
the evidence in his possession and whomever he needs to establish his
case, as well as the availability or non-availability of other direct or
corroborative evidence, which of the accused is the ‘most guilty’ one,
and the like.

4. Same; Same; Same; A participant in the commission of the crime,


to be discharged to become a state witness pursuant to Rule 119, must
be one charged as an accused in the criminal case.-

—A participant in the commission of the crime, to be discharged to


become a state witness pursuant to Rule 119, must be one charged as
an accused in the criminal case. The discharge operates as an acquittal
of the discharged accused and shall be a bar to his future prosecution
for the same offense, unless he fails or refuses to testify against his co-
accused in accordance with his sworn statement constituting the basis
for his discharge. The discharge is expressly left to the sound discretion
of the trial court, which has the exclusive responsibility to see to it that
the conditions prescribed by the rules for that purpose exist.

5. Same; Same; Same; Under Section 17, Rule 119 of the Rules of
Court, the discharge by the trial court of one or more of several accused
with their consent so that they can be witnesses for the State is made
upon motion by the Prosecution before resting its case.-

—Under Section 17, Rule 119 of the Rules of Court, the discharge by
the trial court of one or more of several accused with their consent so
that they can be witnesses for the State is made upon motion by the
Prosecution before resting its case. The trial court shall require the
Prosecution to present evidence and the sworn statements of the
proposed witnesses at a hearing in support of the discharge. The trial
court must ascertain if the following conditions fixed by Section 17 of
Rule 119 are complied with, namely: (a) there is absolute necessity for
the testimony of the accused whose discharge is requested; (b) there is
no other direct evidence available for the proper prosecution of the
offense committed, except the testimony of said accused; (c) the
testimony of said accused can be substantially corroborated in its
material points; (d) said accused does not appear to be most guilty;
and (e) said accused has not at any time been convicted of any offense
involving moral turpitude.

6. Same; Witnesses; State Witnesses; The two modes by which a


participant in the commission of a crime may become a state
witness are, namely: (a) by discharge from the criminal case
pursuant to Section 17 of Rule 119 of the Rules of Court; and (b)
by the approval of his application for admission into the Witness
Protection Program of the Department of Justice (DOJ) in accordance
with Republic Act No. 6981 (The Witness Protection, Security and
Benefit Act).-

—The two modes by which a participant in the commission of a crime


may become a state witness are, namely: (a) by discharge from the
criminal case pursuant to Section 17 of Rule 119 of the Rules of Court;
and (b) by the approval of his application for admission into the
Witness Protection Program of the DOJ in accordance with Republic Act
No. 6981 (The Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act). These
modes are intended to encourage a person who has witnessed a crime
or who has knowledge of its commission to come forward and testify in
court or quasi-judicial body, or before an investigating authority, by
protecting him from reprisals, and shielding him from economic
dislocation.

7. Same; Same; Consistent with the principle of separation of powers


enshrined in the Constitution, the Court deems it a sound judicial policy
not to interfere in the conduct of preliminary investigations, and to
allow the Executive Department, through the Department of Justice,
exclusively to determine what constitutes sufficient evidence to
establish probable cause for the prosecution of supposed offenders.-

—Consistent with the principle of separation of powers enshrined in the


Constitution, the Court deems it a sound judicial policy not to interfere
in the conduct of preliminary investigations, and to allow the Executive
Department, through the Department of Justice, exclusively to
determine what constitutes sufficient evidence to establish probable
cause for the prosecution of supposed offenders. By way of exception,
however, judicial review may be allowed where it is clearly established
that the public prosecutor committed grave abuse of discretion, that is,
when he has exercised his discretion “in an arbitrary, capricious,
whimsical or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal
hostility, patent and gross enough as to amount to an evasion of a
positive duty or virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law.”

Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 197291

Counsel: Fortun, Narvasa & Salazar

Ponente: BERSAMIN, J.

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES the petition for review on


certiorari; AFFIRMS the final order issued on June 27,
2011 in Civil Case No. 10-124777 by the Regional Trial
Court in Manila; and ORDERS petitioner to pay the costs of
suit

People vs. Bon 506 SCRA 168 , October 30, 2006

Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES appellee, vs. ALFREDO BON,


appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the Court of Appeals.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Rape|Witnesses|Attempted


Rape|Penalties|Judgments
Syllabi:

1. Criminal Law; Rape; Witnesses; Minor lapses are to be expected


when a person is recounting details of a traumatic experience too
painful to recall; Inconsistency may be attributed to the well-known fact
that a courtroom atmosphere can affect the accuracy of testimony and
the manner in which a witness answers questions.-

It must be observed though that BBB was at a tender age when she
was raped in 2001. Moreover, these inconsistencies, which the RTC and
the Court of Appeals did not consider material, were elicited while BBB
was testifying in open court. Our observations in People v. Perez, 270
SCRA 526 (1997), on the appreciation of alleged inconsistencies in the
testimony of rape victims who happen to be minors are instructive,
thus: We note that these alleged inconsistencies refer, at best, only to
trivial, minor, and insignificant details. They bear no materiality to the
commission of the crime of rape of which accused-appellant was
convicted. As pointed out by the Solicitor General in the Appellee’s
Brief, the seeming inconsistencies were brought about by confusion and
merely represent minor lapses during the rape victim’s direct
examination and cannot possibly affect her credibility. Minor lapses are
to be expected when a person is recounting details of a traumatic
experience too painful to recall. The rape victim was testifying in open
court, in the presence of strangers, on an extremely intimate matter,
which, more often than not, is talked about in hushed tones. Under
such circumstances, it is not surprising that her narration was less than
letter-perfect. “Moreover, the inconsistency may be attributed to the
well-known fact that a courtroom atmosphere can affect the accuracy of
testimony and the manner in which a witness answers questions.”

2. Criminal Law; Rape; Witnesses; Alibis and Denials; A categorical


and positive identification of an accused, without any showing of ill-
motive on the part of the eyewitness testifying on the matter, prevails
over alibi and denial.-

Well-settled is the rule that a categorical and positive identification of


an accused, without any showing of ill-motive on the part of the
eyewitness testifying on the matter, prevails over alibi and denial. The
defenses of denial and alibi deserve scant consideration when the
prosecution has strong, clear and convincing evidence identifying
appellant as the perpetrator. In this case, both BBB and AAA, minors
and relatives of appellant, positively identified him as their rapist in
open court. The lower courts found no issue detracting from the
credibility of such identification.
3. Criminal Law; Rape; Witnesses; It is outrageous to even suggest
that a mother will subject her daughters to the humiliating experience
of coming before the court and narrating their harrowing experience
just because she was tagged by her father-in-law as lazy.-

Appellant does claim that the present case was merely instituted
because of the grudge of CCC towards his deceased father. It is
outrageous to even suggest that a mother will subject her daughters to
the humiliating experience of coming before the court and narrating
their harrowing experience just because she was tagged by her father-
in-law as lazy. In addition, CCC’s father-in-law had died several years
before the criminal charges against appellant were ever instituted. If
CCC truly wanted to retaliate and damage the reputation of her father-
in-law, she could have done so when the latter was still alive. No
member of a rape victim’s family would dare encourage the victim to
publicly expose the dishonor of the family, more specifically if such
accusation is against a member of the family, unless the crime was in
fact committed.

4. Criminal Law; Rape; Witnesses; Youth and immaturity are


generally badges of truth and sincerity.-

No sane woman, least of all a child, would concoct a story of


defloration, allow an examination of her private parts and subject
herself to public trial or ridicule if she has not in truth, been a victim of
rape and impelled to seek justice for the wrong done to her.
Testimonies of child-victims are normally given full weight and credit,
since when a woman, more so if she is a minor, says that she has been
raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape has
been committed. Youth and immaturity are generally badges of truth
and sincerity. The weight of such testimonies may be countered by
physical evidence to the contrary, or indubitable proof that the accused
could not have committed the rape, but in the absence of such
countervailing proof, these testimonies shall be accorded utmost value.

5. Criminal Law; Rape; Witnesses; Delay in revealing the


commission of rape is not an indication of a fabricated charge.-

The delay in reporting the repulsive acts of appellant to BBB and AAA is
understandably justified, considering that appellant repeatedly
threatened to kill them and their family should they disclose the
incidents to anyone. It has been held time and again that delay in
revealing the commission of rape is not an indication of a fabricated
charge. Such intimidation must be viewed in light of the victim’s
perception and judgment at the time of the commission of the crime
and not by any hard and fast rule. It is enough that the intimidation
produces a fear that if the victim does not yield to the perverse
impulses of the accused, something would happen to her at the
moment, or even thereafter, as when she is threatened with death if
she would report the incident.

6. Criminal Law; Rape; Attempted Rape; There is attempt to


commit rape when the offender commences its commission directly by
overt acts but does not perform all acts of execution which should
produce the felony by reason of some cause or accident other than his
own spontaneous desistance.-

We agree with the Court of Appeals that the two counts of rape in
Criminal Case Nos. 6906-G and 6908-G were not proven beyond
reasonable doubt, but only the two separate incidents of attempted
rape. It is to be noted that there is an attempt to commit rape when
the offender commences its commission directly by overt acts but does
not perform all acts of execution which should produce the felony by
reason of some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous
desistance. In Criminal Case No. 6906-G, the records show that there
was no penetration or any indication that the penis of appellant touched
the labia of the pudendum of AAA. This was evident in AAA’s testimony
at the hearing on 17 October 2001.

7. Criminal Law; Rape; Penalties; Indeterminate Sentence Law; The


purpose of the prescription of minimum and maximum periods under
the Indeterminate Sentence Law is to effect the privilege granted under
the same law, for prisoners who have served the minimum penalty to
be eligible for parole per the discretion of the Board of Indeterminate
Sentence.-

The Indeterminate Sentence Law prescribes that “the court shall


sentence the accused to an indeterminate sentence, the maximum term
of which shall be that which, in view of the attending circumstances,
could be properly imposed under the rules of the said Code, and the
minimum which shall be within the range of the penalty next lower to
that prescribed by the Code for the offense.” The purpose of the
prescription of minimum and maximum periods under the
Indeterminate Sentence Law is to effect the privilege granted under the
same law, for prisoners who have served the minimum penalty to be
eligible for parole per the discretion of the Board of Indiscriminate
Sentence. Thus, convicts sentenced to suffer death penalty or life
imprisonment are ineligible under that law, as are persons sentenced to
reclusion perpetua, an indivisible penalty without minimum or
maximum periods.

8. Criminal Law; Rape; Penalties; R.A. No. 9346; Death Penalty;


Section 1 of R.A. No. 9346 specifically repeals all laws, executive orders
and decrees insofar as they impose the death penalty, and not merely
such enactments which are inconsistent with R.A. No. 9346.-

If the penalties for attempted rape of a minor, among others, were


deemed to have been amended by virtue of Rep. Act No. 9346, such
amendment can be justified under the ambit of the repealing clause,
which reads, “all other laws, executive orders and decrees, insofar as
they impose the death penalty are hereby repealed or amended
accordingly.” While this clause may, given its breadth, initially impress
as the nature of a general repealing clause, it is in actuality an express
repealing clause. Section 1 specifically repeals all laws, executive
orders and decrees insofar as they impose the death penalty, and not
merely such enactments which are inconsistent with Rep. Act No. 9346.

9. Criminal Law; Rape; Penalties; Statutory Construction; There can


be no harmony between R.A. No. 9346 and the Revised Penal Code
unless the later statute is construed as having downgraded those
penalties attached to death by reason of the graduated scale under
Article 71 of the Revised Penal Code.-

The harmonization that would result if Rep. Act No. 9346 were
construed as having eliminated the reference to “death” in Article 71
would run across the board in our penal laws. Consistent with Article 51
of the Revised Penal Code, those convicted of attempted qualified rape
would receive the penalty two degrees lower than that prescribed by
law, now Rep. Act No. 9346, for qualified rape. There are principles in
statutory construction that will sanction, even mandate, this
“expansive” interpretation of Rep. Act No. 9346. The maxim
interpretare et concordare legibus est optimus interpretandi embodies
the principle that a statute should be so construed not only to be
consistent with itself, but also to harmonize with other laws on the
same subject matter, as to form a complete, coherent and intelligible
system—a uniform system of jurisprudence. “Interpreting and
harmonizing laws with laws is the best method of interpretation. x x x x
This manner of construction would provide a complete, consistent and
intelligible system to secure the rights of all persons affected by
different legislative and quasi-legislative acts.” There can be no
harmony between Rep. Act No. 9346 and the Revised Penal Code
unless the later statute is construed as having downgraded those
penalties attached to death by reason of the graduated scale under
Article 71. Only in that manner will a clear and consistent rule emerge
as to the application of penalties for frustrated and attempted felonies,
and for accessories and accomplices.

10. Criminal Law; Rape; Penalties; It does not speak well of


Congress to be deliberately inconsistent with, or ignorant of its own
prior enactments.-

Resort to the aforementioned principles in statutory construction would


not have been necessary had Rep. Act No. 9346 ineluctably stated that
the repeal of all laws imposing the death penalty did not engender the
corresponding modification of penalties other than death, dependent as
these are on “death” as a measure under the graduated scale of
penalties under Article 71. Admittedly, if this were indeed the intent of
Congress, and such intent were unequivocally expressed in Rep. Act
No. 9346, the resulting inequities and inconsistencies we had earlier
pointed out would have remained. If that were to be the case, we
would have acknowledged, perhaps tacitly, that such inequities and
inconsistencies fell part of the legislative intent. It does not speak well
of a Congress to be deliberately inconsistent with, or ignorant of its own
prior enactments. Yet ultimately, Section 1 of Rep. Act No. 9346 is not
expressive of such rash or injudicious notions, as it is susceptible to a
reading that would harmonize its effects with the precepts and practices
that pervade our general penal laws, and in a manner that does not
defy the clear will of Congress.

11. Criminal Law; Rape; Penalties; Due Process; The Court can
tolerate to a certain degree the deliberate vagueness sometimes
employed in legislation, yet constitutional due process demands a
higher degree of clarity when infringements on life or liberty are
intended.-

The impression left by Muñoz was that the use of the word “imposition”
in the Constitution evinced the framer’s intent to retain the operation of
penalties under the Revised Penal Code. In the same vein, one might
try to construe the use of “imposition” in Rep. Act No. 9346 as a means
employed by Congress to ensure that the “death penalty,” as applied in
Article 71, remain extant. If the use of “imposition” was implemented
as a means of retaining “death” under Article 71, it would have been a
most curious, roundabout means indeed. The Court can tolerate to a
certain degree the deliberate vagueness sometimes employed in
legislation, yet constitutional due process demands a higher degree of
clarity when infringements on life or liberty are intended. We have
ruled, on due process grounds, as arbitrary and oppressive a tax
assessed on a standard characterized as “nothing but blather in search
of meaning.” In the matter of statutes that deprive a person of physical
liberty, the demand for a clear standard in sentencing is even more
exacting.

12. Criminal Law; Rape; Penalties; Since R.A. No. 9346


unequivocally bars the application of the death penalty, as well as
expressly repeals all such statutory provisions requiring the application
of the death penalty, such effect necessarily extends to its relevance to
the graduated scale of penalties under Article 71—the Court cannot find
basis to conclude that R.A. No. 9346 intended to retain the operative
effects of the death penalty in the graduation of the other penalties in
the penal laws.-

In truth, there is no material difference between “imposition” and


“application,” for both terms embody the operation in law of the death
penalty. Since Article 71 denominates “death” as an element in the
graduated scale of penalties, there is no question that the operation of
Article 71 involves the actual application of the death penalty as a
means of determining the extent which a person’s liberty is to be
deprived. Since Rep. Act No. 9346 unequivocally bars the application of
the death penalty, as well as expressly repeals all such statutory
provisions requiring the application of the death penalty, such effect
necessarily extends to its relevance to the graduated scale of penalties
under Article 71. We cannot find basis to conclude that Rep. Act No.
9346 intended to retain the operative effects of the death penalty in the
graduation of the other penalties in our penal laws.

13. Criminal Law; Rape; Penalties; Heinous Crimes; Damages; The


amendatory effects of R.A. No. 9346 extend only to the application of
the death penalty but not to the definition or classification of crimes—
R.A. No. 9346 does not serve as basis for the reduction of civil
indemnity and other damages that adhere to heinous crimes.-

Rep. Act No. 7659, in the course of reintroducing the death penalty in
the Philippines, also effectively classified the crimes listed therein as
“heinous,” within constitutional contemplation. Such reclassification
under Rep. Act No. 7659 was accompanied by certain legal effects
other than the imposition of the death penalty, such as the increase in
imposable fines attached to certain heinous crimes. The categorization
of certain crimes as “heinous,” constituting as it does official recognition
that some crimes are more odious than others, has also influenced this
Court in adjudging the proper pecuniary indemnities awarded to the
victims of these crimes. Hence, a general inclination persists in levying
a greater amount of damages on accused found guilty of heinous
crimes. It should be understood that the debarring of the death penalty
through Rep. Act No. 9346 did not correspondingly declassify those
crimes previously catalogued as “heinous.” The amendatory effects of
Rep. Act No. 9346 extend only to the application of the death penalty
but not to the definition or classification of crimes. True, the penalties
for heinous crimes have been downgraded under the aegis of the new
law. Still, what remains extant is the recognition by law that such
crimes, by their abhorrent nature, constitute a special category by
themselves. Accordingly, Rep. Act No. 9346 does not serve as basis for
the reduction of civil indemnity and other damages that adhere to
heinous crimes.

14. Criminal Law; Rape; Penalties; Words and Phrases; Henceforth,


“death,” as utilized in Article 71 of the Revised Penal Code, shall no
longer form part of the equation in the graduation of penal-ties.-

As to sentences not yet handed down, or affirmed with finality, the


application is immediate. Henceforth, “death,” as utilized in Article 71 of
the Revised Penal Code, shall no longer form part of the equation in the
graduation of penalties. For example, in the case of appellant, the
determination of his penalty for attempted rape shall be reckoned not
from two degrees lower than death, but two degrees lower than
reclusion perpetua. Hence, the maximum term of his penalty shall no
longer be reclusion temporal, as ruled by the Court of Appeals, but
instead, prision mayor.

15. Criminal Law; Rape; Penalties; Judgments;Retroactive Effect;


The new ruling, favorable as it is to persons previously convicted of
crimes which, if consummated or participated in as a principal, would
have warranted the solitary penalty of death, is given retroactive
effect.-

Then there is the matter of whether retroactive effect should be


extended to this new ruling, favorable as it is to persons previously
convicted of crimes which, if consummated or participated in as a
principal, would have warranted the solitary penalty of death. We see
no choice but to extend the retroactive benefit. Article 22 of the
Revised Penal Code states that “[p]enal laws shall have a retroactive
effect insofar as they favor the person guilty of a felony, who is not a
habitual criminal x x x x although at the time of the publication of such
laws a final sentence has been pronounced and the convict is serving
the same.” Given that we have ruled that Rep. Act No. 9346
downgraded the penalties for such crimes, the benefit of Article 22 has
to apply, except as to those persons defined as “habitual criminal[s].”
Indeed, Rep. Act No. 9346 expressly recognized that its enactment
would have retroactive beneficial effects, referring as it did to “persons
x x x whose sentences were reduced to reclusion perpetua by reason of
this Act.”

Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: G.R. No. 166401

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Public Attorney’s Office

Ponente: TINGA

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, in light of the foregoing, the Decision of the


Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED WITH
MODIFICATION. The Court sentences appellant Alfredo J.
Bon to the penalty of reclusion perpetua with no possibility
of parole for each of the six (6) counts of consummated
rape committed against AAA in Criminal Case Nos. 6699,
6902, and against BBB in Criminal Case Nos. 6689, 6903,
6905, and 6907. Appellant is further ORDERED to
indemnify AAA and BBB for the crime of consummated
rape, in the amounts of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity,
P50,000.00 as moral damages and P25,000.00 as
exemplary damages for each of them.For the two (2)
counts of attempted rape of AAA in Criminal Cases No.
6906 and 6908, appellant is hereby SENTENCED to an
indeterminate penalty of two (2) years, four (4) months
and one (1) day of prision correccional as minimum, to
eight (8) years and one (1) of prision mayor as maximum
for each count of attempted rape. In addition, appellant is
ORDERED to indemnify AAA for each of the two (2) counts
of attempted rape in the amounts of P30,000.00 as civil
indemnity, P25,000.00 as moral damages and P10,000.00
as exemplary damages.

Batistis vs. People 608 SCRA 335 , December 16, 2009

Case Title : JUNO BATISTIS, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


respondent.Case Nature : PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the
Court of Appeals.

Syllabi Class :

Syllabi:

1. Criminal Procedure; Appeals; The review on appeal of a decision


in a criminal case, wherein the Court of Appeals (CA) imposes a penalty
other than death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment, is by
petition for review on certiorari.-

—Pursuant to Section 3, Rule 122, and Section 9, Rule 45, of the Rules
of Court, the review on appeal of a decision in a criminal case, wherein
the CA imposes a penalty other than death, reclusion perpetua, or life
imprisonment, is by petition for review on certiorari. A petition for
review on certiorari raises only questions of law. Sec. 1, Rule 45, Rules
of Court, explicitly so provides, viz.: Section 1. Filing of petition with
Supreme Court.—A party desiring to appeal by certiorari from a
judgment, final order or resolution of the Court of Appeals, the
Sandiganbayan, the Court of Tax Appeals, the Regional Trial Court or
other courts, whenever authorized by law, may file with the Supreme
Court a verified petition for review on certiorari. The petition may
include an application for a writ of preliminary injunction or other
provisional remedies and shall raise only questions of law, which must
be distinctly set forth. The petitioner may seek the same provisional
remedies by verified motion filed in the same action or proceeding at
any time during its pendency.

2. Criminal Law; Penalties; Indeterminate Sentence Law; The


imposition of an indeterminate sentence with maximum and minimum
periods in criminal cases not excepted from the coverage of the
Indeterminate Sentence Law pursuant to its Section 2 is mandatory.-

—The straight penalty the CA imposed was contrary to the


Indeterminate Sentence Law, whose Section 1 requires that the penalty
of imprisonment should be an indeterminate sentence. According to
Spouses Bacar v. Judge de Guzman, Jr., 271 SCRA 328 (1997) the
imposition of an indeterminate sentence with maximum and minimum
periods in criminal cases not excepted from the coverage of the
Indeterminate Sentence Law pursuant to its Section 2 is mandatory,
viz.: The need for specifying the minimum and maximum periods of the
indeterminate sentence is to prevent the unnecessary and excessive
deprivation of liberty and to enhance the economic usefulness of the
accused, since he may be exempted from serving the entire sentence,
depending upon his behavior and his physical, mental, and moral
record. The requirement of imposing an indeterminate sentence in all
criminal offenses whether punishable by the Revised Penal Code or by
special laws, with definite minimum and maximum terms, as the Court
deems proper within the legal range of the penalty specified by the law
must, therefore, be deemed mandatory.

3. Intellectual Property Code; Trademarks and Trade


Names; Trademark Infringement; Where there is no question that
the accused exerted the effort to make the counterfeit products look
genuine to deceive the unwary public into regarding the products as
genuine, he thereby committed acts constituting infringement of
trademark as set out in Section 155 of the Intellectual Property Code.-

—Harvey Tan, Operations Manager of Pedro Domecq, S.A. whose task


involved the detection of counterfeit products in the Philippines,
testified that the seized Fundador brandy, when compared with the
genuine product, revealed several characteristics of counterfeiting,
namely: (a) the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) seal label attached to
the confiscated products did not reflect the word tunay when he flashed
a black light against the BIR label; (b) the “tamper evident ring” on the
confiscated item did not contain the word Fundador; and (c) the word
Fundador on the label was printed flat with sharper edges, unlike the
raised, actually embossed, and finely printed genuine Fundador
trademark. There is no question, therefore, that Batistis exerted the
effort to make the counterfeit products look genuine to deceive the
unwary public into regarding the products as genuine. The buying
public would be easy to fall for the counterfeit products due to their
having been given the appearance of the genuine products, particularly
with the difficulty of detecting whether the products were fake or real if
the buyers had no experience and the tools for detection, like black
light. He thereby infringed the registered Fundador trademark by the
colorable imitation of it through applying the dominant features of the
trademark on the fake products, particularly the two bottles filled with
Fundador brandy. His acts constituted infringement of trademark as set
forth in Section 155.

4. Words and Phrases; “Questions of Law” and “Questions of Fact,”


Distinguished.-

—Whether a question of law or a question of fact is involved is


explained in Belgica v. Belgica, 531 SCRA 331 (2007): xxx [t]here
exists a question of law when there is doubt on what the law applicable
to a certain set of facts is. Questions of fact, on the other hand, arise
when there is an issue regarding the truth or falsity of the statement of
facts. Questions on whether certain pieces of evidence should be
accorded probative value or whether the proofs presented by one party
are clear, convincing and adequate to establish a proposition are issues
of fact. Such questions are not subject to review by this Court. As a
general rule, we review cases decided by the CA only if they involve
questions of law raised and distinctly set forth in the petition.

5. Same; Same; The appellant’s petition for review on certiorari should


raise only the errors committed by the Court of Appeals as the appellate
court, not the errors of the Regional Trial Court (RTC).-

— The petition for review replicates Batistis’ appellant’s brief filed in the
CA, a true indication that the errors he submits for our review and
reversal are those he had attributed to the RTC. He thereby rests his
appeal on his rehashed arguments that the CA already discarded. His
appeal is, therefore, improper, considering that his petition for review
on certiorari should raise only the errors committed by the CA as the
appellate court, not the errors of the RTC.

Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 181571

Counsel: Edgardo Puertollano Law Offices

Ponente: BERSAMIN

Dispositive Portion:
ACCORDINGLY, we affirm the decision dated September
13, 2007 rendered in CA-G.R. CR No. 30392 entitled
People of the Philippines v. Juno Batistis, but modify the
penalty to imprisonment ranging from two years, as
minimum, to three years, as maximum, and a fine of
P50,000.00. The accused shall pay the costs of suit.

Llamado vs. Court of Appeals 174 SCRA 566 , June 29, 1989

Case Title : RICARDO A. LLAMADO, petitioner, vs. HONORABLE COURT OF


APPEALS and LEON GAW, respondents.Case Nature : PETITION to review the
decision of the Court of Appeals.

Syllabi Class : Remedial Law|Criminal Procedure|Probation|Appeal|Interpretation

Syllabi:

1. Remedial Law; Criminal Procedure; Probation;Under Section 4


of PD 968, trial court could grant an application for probation at any
time after it shall have convicted and sentenced a defendant.-

It will be noted that under Section 4 of P.D. No. 968, the trial court
could grant an application for probation “at any time” “after it shall
have convicted and sentenced a defendant” and certainly after “an
appeal has been taken from the sentence of conviction.” Thus, the filing
of the application for probation was “deemed—[to constitute] automatic
withdrawal of a pending appeal.”

2. Remedial Law; Criminal Procedure; Probation; As amended by


PD No. 1257, Section 4 now provides the period during which an
application for probation may be granted and that is after the trial court
shall have convicted and sentenced a defendant but before he begins to
serve his sentence.-

Examination of Section 4, after its amendment by P.D. No. 1257,


reveals that it had established a prolonged but definite period during
which an application for probation may be granted by the trial court.
That period was: “After [the trial court] shall have convicted and
sentenced a defendant but before he begins to serve his sentence.”
Clearly, the cut-off time—commencement of service of sentence—takes
place not only after an appeal has been taken from the sentence of
conviction, but even after judgment has been rendered by the appellate
court and after judgment has become final.

3. Remedial Law; Criminal Procedure; Probation; As further


amended by PD No. 1990, the period established under Section 4 for
the filing of an application for probation is after the trial court shall have
convicted and sentenced a defendant and within the period for
perfecting an appeal-

On 5 October 1985, however, Section 4 of the Probation Law of 1976


was once again amended, this time by P.D. No. 1990. In sharp contrast
with Section 4 as amended by PD No. 1257, in its present form, Section
4 establishes a much narrower period during which an application for
probation may be filed with the trial court: “after [the trial court] shall
have convicted and sentenced a defendant and—within the period for
perfecting an appeal.”

4. Remedial Law; Criminal Procedure; Probation;Section 4 in its


present form expressly prohibits the grant of an application for
probation if the defendant has perfected an appeal from the judgment
of conviction.-

As if to provide emphasis, a new proviso was appended to the first


paragraph of Section 4 that expressly prohibits the grant of an
application for probation “if the defendant has perfected an appeal from
the judgment of conviction.” It is worthy of note too that Section 4 in
its present form has dropped the phrase which said that the filing of an
application for probation means “the automatic withdrawal of a pending
appeal.” The deletion is quite logical since an application for probation
can no longer be filed once an appeal is perfected; there can, therefore,
be no pending appeal that would have to be withdrawn.

5. Remedial Law; Criminal Procedure; Probation;Appeal; The


period for perfecting an appeal from a judgment rendered by the
Regional Trial Court is fifteen (15) days from the promulgation or notice
of the judgment appealed from.-

-The period for perfecting an appeal from a judgment rendered by the


Regional Trial Court, under Section 39 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129,
Section 19 of the Interim Rules and Guidelines for the Implementation
of B.P. Blg. 129 and under the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, as
amended, or more specifically Section 5 of Rule 122 of the Revised
Rules of Court, is fifteen (15) days from the promulgation or notice of
the judgment appealed from. It is also clear from Section 3 (a) of Rule
122 that such appeal is taken or perfected by simply filing a notice of
appeal with the Regional Trial Court which rendered the judgment
appealed from and by serving a copy thereof upon the People of the
Philippines. As noted earlier, petitioner Llamado had manifested orally
and in open court his intention to appeal at the time of promulgation of
the judgment of conviction, a manifestation at least equivalent to a
written notice of appeal and treated as such by the Regional Trial Court.
6. Remedial Law; Criminal
Procedure; Probation;Appeal; Argument that the phrase ‘within the
period for perfecting an appeal” did not really mean to refer to the
fifteen day period established by BP Blg. 129, the Interim Rules and
Guidelines Implementing BP Blg. 129 and the 1985 Rules on Criminal
Procedure but rather to some vague and undefined time, not
persuasive.-

We find ourselves unable to accept the eloquently stated arguments of


petitioner’s counsel and the dissenting opinion. We are unable to
persuade ourselves that Section 4 as it now stands, in authorizing the
trial court to grant probation “upon application by [the] defendant
within the period for perfecting an appeal” and in reiterating in the
proviso that no application for probation shall be entertained or granted
if the defendant has perfected an appeal from the judgment of
conviction,” did not really mean to refer to the fifteen-day period
established, as indicated above, by B.P. Blg. 129, the Interim Rules and
Guidelines Implementing B.P. Blg. 129 and the 1985 Rules on Criminal
Procedure, but rather to some vague and undefined time, i.e., “the
earliest opportunity” to withdraw the defendant’s appeal.

7. Remedial Law; Criminal


Procedure; Probation;Interpretation; Whereas clauses invoked by
petitioner did not refer to the fifteen-day period neither do they form
part of a statute.-

The whereas clauses invoked by petitioner did not, of course, refer to


the fifteen-day period. There was absolutely no reason why they should
have so referred to that period for the operative words of Section 4
already do refer, in our view, to such fifteen-day period. Whereas
clauses do not form part of a statute, strictly speaking; they are not
part of the operative language of the statute. Nonetheless, whereas
clauses may be helpful to the extent they articulate the general
purpose or reason underlying a new enactment, in the present case, an
enactment which drastically but clearly changed the substantive
content of Section 4 existing before the promulgation of P.D. No. 1990.
Whereas clauses, however, cannot control the specific terms of the
statute; in the instant case, the whereas clauses of P.D. No. 1990 do
not purport to control or modify the terms of Section 4 as amended.

8. Remedial Law; Criminal


Procedure; Probation;Interpretation; Probation Law is not a penal
statute; Courts have no authority to invoke liberal interpretation or the
spirit of the law where the words of the statute themselves leave no
room for doubt on interpretation.-

Turning to petitioner’s invocation of “liberal interpretation” of penal


statutes, we note at the outset that the Probation Law is not a penal
statute. We, however, understand petitioner’s argument to be really
that any statutory language that appears to favor the accused in a
criminal case should be given a “liberal interpretation.” Courts,
however, have no authority to invoke “liberal interpretation” or “the
spirit of the law” where the words of the statute themselves, and as
illuminated by the history of that statute, leave no room for doubt or
interpretation. We do not believe that “the spirit of law” may
legitimately be invoked to set at naught words which have a clear and
definite meaning imparted to them by our procedural law. The “true
legislative intent” must obviously be given effect by judges and all
others who are charged with the application and implementation of a
statute. It is absolutely essential to bear in mind, however, that the
spirit of the law and the intent that is to be given effect are to be
derived from the words actually used by the law-maker, and not from
some external, mystical or metajuridical source independent of and
transcending the words of the legislature.

9. Remedial Law; Criminal Procedure; Probation;Argument that


the Court of Appeals had no jurisdiction to entertain the application for
probation and should have remanded instead the records to the lower
court, not persuasive.-

Petitioner finally argues that since under Section 4 of Probation Law as


amended has vested in the trial court the authority to grant the
application for probation, the Court of Appeals had no jurisdiction to
entertain the same and should have (as he had prayed in the
alternative) remanded instead the records to the lower court. Once
more, we are not persuaded. The trial court lost jurisdiction over the
case when petitioner perfected his appeal. The Court of Appeals was
not, therefore, in a position to remand the case except for execution of
judgment. Moreover, having invoked the jurisdiction of the Court of
Appeals, petitioner is not at liberty casually to attack that jurisdiction
when exercised adversely to him. In any case, the argument is mooted
by the conclusion that we have reached, that is, that petitioner’s right
to apply for probation was lost when he perfected his appeal from the
judgment of conviction.

Division: THIRD DIVISION


Docket Number: G.R. No. 84850

Counsel: Ambrosio Padilla, Mempin & Reyes Law

Ponente: FELICIANO

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in C.A.-


G.R. No. 04678 is hereby AFFIRMED. No pronouncement
as to costs.

Citation Ref:

129 SCRA 148 |

Salgado vs. Court of Appeals 189 SCRA 304 , August 30, 1990

Case Title : AGUSTIN SALGADO, petitioner, vs. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS,
(Fourteenth Division) and HON. ANTONIO SOLANO, in his capacity as Presiding
Judge of the RTC-Quezon City (Branch 86) and FRANCISCO LUKBAN, respondents.

Syllabi Class : Probation|Appeals|Judgment|Execution

Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 89606

Counsel: Ernesto L. Pineda, Lukban, Vega, Lozada & Associates

Ponente: MEDIALDEA

Dispositive Portion:

ACCORDINGLY, the petition is GRANTED. The decision


dated March 16, 1989 of respondent Court of Appeals
affirming the order of the trial court granting the motion
for the issuance of a writ of execution as well as the
resolution dated August 3, 1989 of the same court are
hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

Probation; Appeals; Judgment; Filing by the respondent of an application for probation


is deemed a waiver of his right to appeal; Case at bar.—There is no question that the
decision of October 16, 1986 in Criminal Case No. Q-33798 finding petitioner guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of serious physical injuries had become final and executory
because the filing by respondent of an application for probation is deemed a waiver of his
right to appeal (See Section 4 of P.D. 968). Likewise, the judgment finding petitioner liable
to private respondent for P126,633.50 as actual damages and P50,000.00 as consequential
damages had also become final because no appeal was taken therefrom. Hence, it is beyond
the power of the trial court to alter or modify.
Same; Same; Same; The pronouncement in Apalisok case that probation affects only the
criminal aspect of the case should not be given a literal meaning; Penalties; Civil liability
arising from criminal offense; The offender shall continue to be obliged to satisfy the civil
liability resulting from the crime, notwithstanding the fact that he has served his sentence.—
The pronouncement inApalisok that “probation affects only the criminal aspect of the case”
should not be given a literal meaning. Interpreting the phrase within the context of that
case, it means that although the execution of sentence is suspended by the grant of
probation, it does not follow that the civil liability of the offender, if any, is extinguished.
This can be inferred from a reading of the text of the Apalisok case where the issue that
was involved therein was whether a grant of probation carries with it the extinction of the
civil liability of the offender. The reason for ruling that the grant of probation does not
extinguish the civil liability of the offender is clear,” (T)he extinction or survival of civil
liability are governed by Chapter III, Title V, Book I of the Revised Penal Code where under
Article 113 thereof provides that: ‘x x x, the offender shall continue to be obliged to satisfy
the civil liability resulting from the crime committed by him, notwithstanding the fact that
he has served his sentence

_______________

* FIRST DIVISION.

305

VOL. 189,AUGUST 30, 1990 3


05
Salgado vs. Court of Appeals
consisting of deprivation of liberty or other rights, or has not been required to serve the
same by reason of amnesty, pardon, commutation of sentence, or any other reason.’” In the
instant case, the issue is not the survival or extinction of the civil liability of a probationer
but, whether or not the trial court may impose as a condition of probation the manner in
which a probationer may settle his civil liability against the offended party during the
period of probation.
Same; Same; Same; Conditions that may be imposed in probation; Limitation not to
jeopardize the rights of the accused.—In the case of Florentino L. Baclayon v. Hon. Pacito G.
Mutia, et al., G.R. No. 59298, April 30, 1984, 129 SCRA 148, We ruled that the conditions
listed under Section 10 of the Probation Law are not exclusive. Courts are allowed to
impose practically any term it chooses, the only limitation being that it does not jeopardize
the constitutional rights of the accused. Courts may impose conditions with the end that
these conditions would help the probationer develop into a law-abiding individual. Thus,
“The conditions which trial courts may impose on a probationer may be classified into
general or mandatory and special or discretionary. The mandatory conditions, enumerated
in Section 10 of the Probation Law, require that probationer should a) present himself to
the probation officer designated to undertake his supervision at such place as may be
specified in the order within 72 hours from receipt of said order, and b) report to the
probation officer at least once a month at such time and place as specified by said officer.
Special or discretionary conditions are those additional conditions, listed in the same
Section 10 of the Probation Law, which the courts may additionally impose on the
probationer towards his correction and rehabilitation outside of prison. The enumeration,
however, is not inclusive. Probation statutes are liberal in character and enable courts to
designate practically any term it chooses as long as the probationer’s constitutional rights
are not jeopardized.There are innumerable conditions which may be relevant to the
rehabilitation of the probationer when viewed in their specific individual context. It should,
however, be borne in mind that the special or discretionary conditions of probation should be
realistic, purposive and geared to help the probationer develop into a law-abiding and self-
respecting individual. Conditions should be interpreted with flexibility in their application,
and each case should be judged on its own merits—on the basis of the problems, needs and
capacity of the probationer. x x x.”
Same; Same; Same; Same; Primary consideration in granting probation.—The primary
consideration in granting probation is the reformation of the probationer. That is why,
under the law, a post
306

3 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


06
Salgado vs. Court of Appeals

sentence investigation, which is mandatory, has to be conducted before a person can be


granted probation to help the court in determining whether the ends of justice and the best
interest of the public as well as the defendant will be served by the granting of the
probation (Alvin Lee Koenig, Post Sentence Investigation, Its Importance and Utility, IBP
Journal, Special Issue on Probation, Vol. 5, No. 5, pp. 381-387).

CRUZ, J., separate opinion:

Probation; Execution; Appeal; Considering that the decision was never appealed, the
trial judge had no authority to defer the immediate enforcement of the civil award.—I
submit that the trial judge had no authority to in effect defer the immediate enforcement of
the civil award of P176,633.50 by requiring the probationer to pay it at the rate of only
P2,000.00 a month, a paltry amount, indeed, considering the total obligation. The fact that
the victim accepted the payments did not validate the condition, which was void ab initio as
far as he was concerned. At any time he saw fit, he could have disregarded that condition as
an invalid amendment of the decision and demanded the immediateissuance of a writ of
execution for the fullamount of the civil award.

Francisco vs. Court of Appeals 243 SCRA 384 , April 06, 1995

Case Title : PABLO C. FRANCISCO, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS AND THE
HONORABLE MAXIMO C. CONTRERAS, respondents.Case Nature : PETITION for
review of a decision of the Court of Appeals.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Procedure|Probation Law

Syllabi:

1. Criminal Procedure; Probation Law; Probation should be availed


of at the first opportunity by convicts who are willing to be reformed
and rehabilitated who manifest spontaneity, contrition and remorse.-

The law expressly requires that an accused must not have appealed his
conviction before he can avail of probation. This outlaws the element of
speculation on the part of the accused—to wager on the result of his
appeal—that when his conviction is finally affirmed on appeal, the
moment of truth well-nigh at hand, and the service of his sentence
inevitable, he now applies for probation as an “escape hatch” thus
rendering nugatory the appellate court’s affirmance of his conviction.
Consequently, probation should be availed of at the first opportunity by
convicts who are willing to be reformed and rehabilitated, who manifest
spontaneity, contrition and remorse.

2. Criminal Procedure; Probation Law; Probation is a mere


privilege, not a right.-

Probation is a mere privilege, not a right. Its benefits cannot extend to


those not expressly included. Probation is not a right of an accused, but
rather an act of grace and clemency or immunity conferred by the state
which may be granted by the court to a seemingly deserving defendant
who thereby escapes the extreme rigors of the penalty imposed by law
for the offense of which he stands convicted. It is a special prerogative
granted by law to a person or group of persons not enjoyed by others
or by all.

3. Criminal Procedure; Probation Law; The grant of probation rests


solely upon the discretion of the court which is to be exercised primarily
for the benefit of organized society, and only incidentally for the benefit
of the accused.-

Accordingly, the grant of probation rests solely upon the discretion of


the court which is to be exercised primarily for the benefit of organized
society, and only incidentally for the benefit of the accused. The
Probation Law should not therefore be permitted to divest the state or
its government of any of the latter’s prerogatives, rights or remedies,
unless the intention of the legislature to this end is clearly expressed,
and no person should benefit from the terms of the law who is not
clearly within them.

4. Criminal Procedure; Probation Law; An appeal should not bar the


accused from applying for probation if the appeal is taken solely to
reduce the penalty is simply contrary to the clear and express mandate
of Sec. 4 of the Probation Law.-

Therefore, that an appeal should not bar the accused from applying for
probation if the appeal is taken solely to reduce the penalty is simply
contrary to the clear and express mandate of Sec. 4 of the Probation
Law, as amended, which opens with a negative clause, “no application
for probation shall be entertained or granted if the defendant has
perfected the appeal from the judgment of conviction.”

5. Criminal Procedure; Probation Law; The multiple prison terms


are distinct from each other and if none of the terms exceeds the limit
set out in the Probation Law, i.e., not more than six (6) years, then he
is entitled to probation, unless he is otherwise specifically disqualified.-

At the outset, the penalties imposed by the MeTC were already


probationable. Hence, there was no need to appeal if only to reduce the
penalties to within the probationable period. Multiple prison terms
imposed against an accused found guilty of several offenses in one
decision are not, and should not be, added up. And, the sum of the
multiple prison terms imposed against an applicant should not be
determinative of his eligibility for, nay his disqualification from,
probation. The multiple prison terms are distinct from each other, and if
none of the terms exceeds the limit set out in the Probation Law, i.e.,
not more than six (6) years, then he is entitled to probation, unless he
is otherwise specifically disqualified. The number of offenses is
immaterial as long as all the penalties imposed, taken separately, are
within the probationable period. For, Sec. 9, par. (a), P.D. 968, as
amended, uses the word maximum, not total, when it says that “[t]he
benefits of this Decree shall not be extended to those x x x x sentenced
to serve a maximum term of imprisonment of more than six years.”
Evidently, the law does not intend to sum up the penalties imposed but
to take each penalty separately and distinctly with the others.

6. Criminal Procedure; Probation Law; The basis of the


disqualification is principally the gravity of the offense committed and
the concomitant degree of penalty imposed.-

Fixing the cut-off point at a maximum term of six (6) years


imprisonment for probation is based on the assumption that those
sentenced to higher penalties pose too great a risk to society, not just
because of their demonstrated capability for serious wrongdoing but
because of the gravity and serious consequences of the offense they
might further commit. The Probation Law, as amended, disqualifies only
those who have been convicted of grave felonies as defined in Art. 9 in
relation to Art. 25 of The Revised Penal Code, and not necessarily those
who have been convicted of multiple offenses in a single proceeding
who are deemed to be less perverse. Hence, the basis of the
disqualification is principally the gravity of the offense committed and
the concomitant degree of penalty imposed. Those sentenced to a
maximum term not exceeding six (6) years are not generally
considered callous, hard core criminals, and thus may avail of
probation.

7. Criminal Procedure; Probation Law; The law considers appeal


and probation mutually exclusive remedies.-

In fine, considering that the multiple prison terms should not be


summed up but taken separately as the totality of all the penalties is
not the test, petitioner should have immediately filed an application for
probation as he was already qualified after being convicted by the
MeTC, if indeed thereafter he felt humbled, was ready to
unconditionally accept the verdict of the court and admit his liability.
Consequently, in appealing the Decision of the MeTC to the RTC,
petitioner lost his right to probation. For, plainly, the law considers
appeal and probation mutually exclusive remedies.
Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: G.R. No. 108747

Counsel: Carlo L. Cruz

Ponente: BELLOSILLO

Dispositive Portion:

Accordingly, considering that prevailing jurisprudence


treats appeal and probation as mutually exclusive
remedies, and petitioner appealed from his conviction by
the MeTC although the imposed penalties were already
probationable, and in his appeal, he asserted only his
innocence and did not even raise the issue of the propriety
of the penalties imposed on him, and finally, he filed an
application for probation outside the period for perfecting
an appeal granting he was otherwise eligible for probation,
the instant petition for review should be as it is hereby
DENIED.The decision of the Court of Appeals should be
REVERSED and respondent judge of the Metropolitan Trial
Court of Makati, Metro Manila should be ORDERED to
GRANT petitioner’s application for probation.

Colinares vs. People 662 SCRA 266 , December 13, 2011

Case Title : ARNEL COLINARES, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


respondent.Case Nature : PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the
Court of Appeals.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Self-Defense

Syllabi:

1. Criminal Law; Self-defense; Evidence; Where the accused


invokes self-defense, he bears the burden of showing that he was
legally justified in killing the victim or inflicting injury to him.-
—When the accused invokes self-defense, he bears the burden of
showing that he was legally justified in killing the victim or inflicting
injury to him. The accused must establish the elements of self-defense
by clear and convincing evidence. When successful, the otherwise
felonious deed would be excused, mainly predicated on the lack of
criminal intent of the accused.

2. Same; Same; The Court’s grant of relief to herein accused


whose sentence was reduced by this court to within the
probationable limit, with a declaration that accused may now
apply for probation, would diminish the seriousness of that
privilege because in questioning his conviction accused never
admitted this guilt; it is of no moment that the trial court’s conviction
of petitioner for frustrated homicide is now corrected by this Court to
only attempted homicide.-

—And in prohibiting the trial court from entertaining an application for


probation if the accused has perfected his appeal, the State ensures
that the accused takes seriously the privilege or clemency extended to
him, that at the very least he disavows criminal tendencies.
Consequently, this Court’s grant of relief to herein accused whose
sentence was reduced by this Court to within the probationable limit,
with a declaration that accused may now apply for probation, would
diminish the seriousness of that privilege because in questioning his
conviction accused never admitted his guilt. It is of no moment that the
trial court’s conviction of petitioner for frustrated homicide is now
corrected by this Court to only attempted homicide. Petitioner’s
physical assault on the victim with intent to kill is unlawful or criminal
regardless of whether the stage of commission was frustrated or
attempted only. Allowing the petitioner the right to apply for probation
under the reduced penalty glosses over the fact that accused’s
availment of appeal with such expectation amounts to the same thing:
speculation and opportunism on the part of the accused in violation of
the rule that appeal and probation are mutually exclusive remedies.

3. Criminal Law; Self-defense; The rule that if the accused appeals


his conviction solely to reduce the penalty, such penalty already
probationable, and appellate court grants his appeal he may still apply
for probation, had already been abandoned.-

—With the enactment of P.D. No. 968 (Probation Law of 1976), this
Court held that the rule that if the accused appeals his conviction solely
to reduce the penalty, such penalty already probationable, and the
appellate court grants his appeal he may still apply for probation, had
already been abandoned. We explained that the intention of the new
law is to make appeal and probation mutually exclusive remedies. Thus,
where the penalty imposed by the trial court is not probationable, and
the appellate court modifies the penalty by reducing it to within the
probationable limit, the same prohibition should still apply and he is not
entitled to avail of probation.

4. Same; Same; Instances where Probation should not be Granted to


the Accused.-

—On the other hand, probation should not be granted to the accused in
the following instances: 1. When the accused is convicted by the trial
court of a crime where the penalty imposed is within the probationable
period or a fine, and the accused files a notice of appeal; and 2. When
the accused files a notice of appeal which puts the merits of his
conviction in issue, even if there is an alternative prayer for the
correction of the penalty imposed by the trial court or for a conviction
to a lesser crime, which is necessarily included in the crime in which he
was convicted where the penalty is within the probationable period.

5. Same; Same; Under the recommended grounds for appeal, the


purpose of the appeal is not to question the judgment of conviction but
to question only the propriety of the sentence particularly the penalty
imposed as the accused intends to apply for probation.-

—An appeal from the judgment of conviction involves a review of the


merits of the case and the determination of whether or not the accused
is entitled to acquittal. However, under the recommended grounds for
appeal which were enumerated earlier, the purpose of the appeal is not
to question the judgment of conviction, but to question only the
propriety of the sentence, particularly the penalty imposed, as the
accused intends to apply for probation. If the appellate court finds it
proper to modify the sentence, and the penalty finally imposed by the
appellate court is within the probationable period, the accused should
be allowed to apply for probation after the case is remanded to the trial
court for execution.

6. Same; Same; Recommended grounds where an accused may be


allowed to apply for probation even if he has filed a notice of appeal.-

—In this regard, an accused may be allowed to apply for probation


even if he has filed a notice of appeal, provided that his appeal is
limited to the following grounds: 1. When the appeal is merely intended
for the correction of the penalty imposed by the lower court, which
when corrected would entitle the accused to apply for probation; and 2.
When the appeal is merely intended to review the crime for which the
accused was convicted and that the accused should only be liable to the
lesser offense which is necessarily included in the crime for which he
was originally convicted and the proper penalty imposable is within the
probationable period.

7. Same; Same; Prevailing jurisprudence treats appeal and probation


as mutually exclusive remedies because the law is unmistakable about
it.-

—In view of the provision in Section 4 of the Probation Law that “no
application for probation shall be entertained or granted if the
defendant has perfected an appeal from the judgment of conviction,”
prevailing jurisprudence treats appeal and probation as mutually
exclusive remedies because the law is unmistakable about it.

8. Same; Same; Section 4 of the Probation Law provides that the


application for probation must be filed with the trial court within the 15-
day period for perfecting an appeal.-

—Section 4 of the Probation Law provides that the application for


probation must be filed with the trial court within the 15-day period for
perfecting an appeal. The need to file it within such period is intended
to encourage offenders, who are willing to be reformed and
rehabilitated, to avail themselves of probation at the first opportunity.
If the application for probation is filed beyond the 15-day period, then
the judgment becomes final and executory and the lower court can no
longer act on the application for probation. On the other hand, if a
notice of appeal is perfected, the trial court that rendered the judgment
of conviction is divested of any jurisdiction to act on the case, except
the execution of the judgment when it has become final and executory.

9. Same; Same; Section 4 of the Probation Law was amended to put a


stop to the practice of appealing from judgment of conviction even if
the sentence is probationable, for the purpose of securing an acquittal
and applying for the probation only if the accused fails in his bid.-

—In Sable v. People, 584 SCRA 619 (2009), the Court stated that
“[Section 4 of] the Probation Law was amended to put a stop to the
practice of appealing from judgments of conviction even if the sentence
is probationable, for the purpose of securing an acquittal and applying
for the probation only if the accused fails in his bid.” Thus, probation
should be availed of at the first opportunity by convicts who are willing
to be reformed and rehabilitated; who manifest spontaneity, contrition
and remorse.
10. Same; Same; Originally, P.D. No. 968 allowed the filing of an
application for probation even if an appeal had been perfected
by the convicted offender under Section 4; With the subsequent
amendment of Section 4 of P.D. No. 968 by P.D. No. 1990, the
application for the probation is no longer allowed if the accused has
perfected an appeal from the judgment of conviction.-

—Originally, P.D. No. 968 allowed the filing of an application for


probation even if an appeal had been perfected by the convicted
offender under Section 4, x x x. Thereafter, the filing of an application
for probation pending appeal was still allowed when Section 4 of P.D.
No. 968 was amended by P.D. No. 1257. However, with the subsequent
amendment of Section 4 of P.D. No. 968 by P.D. No. 1990, the
application for probation is no longer allowed if the accused has
perfected an appeal from the judgment of conviction.

11. Same; Same; Wisdom Behind the Enactment of Our Own Probation
Law.-

—In this jurisdiction, the wisdom behind the enactment of our own
Probation Law, as outlined in the said law, reads: (a) promote the
correction and rehabilitation of an offender by providing him with
individualized treatment; (b) provide an opportunity for the reformation
of a penitent offender which might be less probable if he were to serve
a prison sentence; and (c) prevent the commission of offenses.

12. Criminal Law; Probation Law; Probation is not a right


granted to a convicted offender; the Probation Law is not a penal
law for it to be liberally construed to favor the accused.-

—Probation is not a right granted to a convicted offender. Probation is a


special privilege granted by the State to a penitent qualified offender,
who does not possess the disqualifications under Section 9 of
Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 968, otherwise known as the Probation
Law of 1976. Likewise, the Probation Law is not a penal law for it to be
liberally construed to favor the accused.

13. Same; Same; The Court’s finding that Arnel was guilty not of
frustrated homicide but only of attempted homicide is an original
conviction that for the first time imposes on him a probationable
penalty.-

—In a real sense, the Court’s finding that Arnel was guilty, not of
frustrated homicide, but only of attempted homicide, is an original
conviction that for the first time imposes on him a probationable
penalty. Had the RTC done him right from the start, it would have
found him guilty of the correct offense and imposed on him the right
penalty of two years and four months maximum. This would have
afforded Arnel the right to apply for probation.

14. Same; The Probation Law; The Probation Law, said the Court in
Francisco, requires that an accused must not have appealed his
conviction before he can avail himself of probation.-

—The Probation Law, said the Court in Francisco, requires that an


accused must not have appealed his conviction before he can avail
himself of probation. This requirement “outlaws the element of
speculation on the part of the accused—to wager on the result of his
appeal—that when his conviction is finally affirmed on appeal, the
moment of truth well-nigh at hand, and the service of his sentence
inevitable, he now applies for probation as an ‘escape hatch’ thus
rendering nugatory the appellate court’s affirmance of his conviction.”

15. Same; Same; When the accused intended to kill his victims as a
shown by his use of a deadly weapon and the wounds he inflicted but
the victim did not die because of timely medical assistance, the crime is
frustrated murder or frustrated homicide, if the victim’s wounds are not
fatal, the crime is only attempted murder or attempted homicide.-

—The Court is inclined, however, to hold Arnel guilty only of attempted,


not frustrated, homicide. In Palaganas v. People, 501 SCRA 533
(2006), we ruled that when the accused intended to kill his victim, as
shown by his use of a deadly weapon and the wounds he inflicted, but
the victim did not die because of timely medical assistance, the crime is
frustrated murder or frustrated homicide. If the victim’s wounds are not
fatal, the crime is only attempted murder or attempted homicide.

16. Same; Attempted or Frustrated Homicide; The main element


of attempted or frustrated homicide is the accused’s intent to
take his victim’s life; The intent to kill is often inferred from, among
other things, the means the offender used and the nature, location and
number of wounds he inflicted on his victims.-

—The main element of attempted or frustrated homicide is the


accused’s intent to take his victim’s life. The prosecution has to prove
this clearly and convincingly to exclude every possible doubt regarding
homicidal intent. And the intent to kill is often inferred from, among
other things, the means the offender used and the nature, location, and
number of wounds he inflicted on his victim.

17. Same; Same; Requisites of Self-defense; Unlawful


aggression contemplates an actual, sudden and unexpected
attack or an imminent danger of such attack; A mere
threatening or intimidating attitude is not enough; the victim
must attack the accused with actual physical force or with a weapon.-

—In homicide, whether consummated, frustrated, or attempted, self-


defense requires (1) that the person whom the offender killed or
injured committed unlawful aggression; (2) that the offender employed
means that is reasonably necessary to prevent or repel the unlawful
aggression; and (3) that the person defending himself did not act with
sufficient provocation. If the victim did not commit unlawful aggression
against the accused, the latter has nothing to prevent or repel and the
other two requisites of self-defense would have no basis for being
appreciated. Unlawful aggression contemplates an actual, sudden, and
unexpected attack or an imminent danger of such attack. A mere
threatening or intimidating attitude is not enough. The victim must
attack the accused with actual physical force or with a weapon.

Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: G.R. No. 182748

Counsel: The Solicitor General

Ponente: ABAD, J.

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, the Court PARTIALLY GRANTS the petition,


MODIFIES the Decision dated July 31, 2007 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CR 29639, FINDS petitioner Arnel
Colinares GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of attempted
homicide, and SENTENCES him to suffer an indeterminate
penalty from four months of arresto mayor, as minimum,
to two years and four months of prision correccional, as
maximum, and to pay Rufino P. Buena the amount of
P20,000.00 as moral damages, without prejudice to
petitioner applying for probation within 15 days from
notice that the record of the case has been remanded for
execution to the Regional Trial Court of San Jose,
Camarines Sur, in Criminal Case T-2213.

Bala vs. Martinez 181 SCRA 459 , January 29, 1990

Case Title : MANUEL V. BALA, petitioner, vs. THE HON. JUDGE ANTONIO M.
MARTINEZ, THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, and PAUL AYANG-ANG, Probation
Officer, Manila Probation Office No. 4, respondents.Case Nature : PETITION for
certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction to review the order of the
Court of First Instance of Manila, Br. 20, Martinez, J.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Probation|Presidential Decree 1990|Criminal


Procedure|Probation Law|Revocation of Probation|Courts|Jurisdiction

Syllabi:

1. Criminal Law; Probation; Presidential Decree 1990;No


application for probation shall be granted if defendant has perfected the
appeal from the judgment of conviction; Presidential Decree 1990, not
to be given retroactive effect.-

The present law on probation, Presidential Decree (P.D.) 1990, which


amends section 4 of P.D. 968, clearly states that “no application for
probation shall be entertained or granted if the defendant has perfected
the appeal from the judgment of conviction.” However, in the case at
bar, P.D. 1990 is inapplicable. P.D. 1990 which went in force on
January 15, 1985 can not be given retroactive effect because it would
be prejudicial to the accused.

2. Criminal Law; Criminal Procedure; Probation Law;Expiration of


proba-tion period alone does not automatically terminate probation, a
final order of discharge from the court is required.-

Probation is revocable before the final discharge of the probationer by


the court, contrary to the petitioner’s submission. Section 16 of PD 968
is clear on this score: Sec. 16. Termination of Probation.—After the
period of probation and upon consideration of the report and
recommendation of the probation officer, the court may order the final
discharge of the probationer upon finding that he has fulfilled the terms
and conditions of his probation and thereupon the case is deemed
terminated. Thus the expiration of the probation period alone does not
automatically terminate proba-tion. Nowhere is the ipso facto
termination of probation found in the provisions of the probation law.
Probation is not co-terminous with its period. There must first be issued
by the court of an order of final discharge based on the report and
recommendation of the probation officer. Only from such issuance can
the case of the probationer be deemed terminated.

3. Criminal Law; Criminal Procedure; Probation Law;Probation


period may be shortened or made longer but not to exceed the period
set in the law.-

The period of probation may either be shortened or made longer, but


not to exceed the period set in the law. This is so because the period of
probation, like the period of incarceration, is deemed the appropriate
period for the rehabilitation of the probationer. In the instant case, a
review of the records compels a revocation of the probation without the
need of further proceedings in the trial court which, after all, would only
be an exercise in futility. If we render justice now, why should we allow
the petitioner to further delay it. Probationer Manuel Bala failed to
reunite with responsible society. Precisely he was granted probation in
order to give him a chance to return to the main stream, to give him
hope___hope for self-respect and a better life. Unfortunately, he has
continued to shun the straight and narrow path. He thus wrecked his
chance. He has not reformed.

4. Criminal Law; Criminal Procedure; Probation Law;Revocation


of Probation; An order revoking probation or modifying the terms
thereof is unappealable.-

At any time during the probation, the court may issue a warrant for the
arrest of a probationer for violation of any of the conditions of proba-
tion. The probationer, once arrested and detained, shall immediately be
brought before the court for a hearing which may be informal and
summary, of the violation charged. x x x If the violation is established,
the court may revoke or continue his probation and modify the
conditions thereof. If revoked, the court shall order the probationer to
serve the sentence originally imposed. An order revoking the grant of
proba- tion or modifying the terms and conditions thereof shall not be
appealable.

5. Criminal Law; Criminal Procedure; Probation Law;Probation is a


mere privilege and rests on the court’s sound discretion.-

Lastly, probation is a mere privilege. Privilege is a peculiar benefit or


immunity conferred by law on a person or group of persons, not
enjoyed by others or by all; special enjoyment of a good or exemption
from an evil; it is a special prerogative granted by law to some persons.
Accordingly, the grant of probation rests solely upon the discretion of
the court. This discretion is to be exercised primarily for the benefit of
organized society, and only incidentally for the benefit of the accused.
If the probationer has proven to be unrepentant, as in the case of the
petitioner, the State is not barred from revoking such a privilege.
Otherwise, the seriousness of the offense is lessened if probation is not
revoked.

6. Criminal Law; Criminal Procedure; Probation


Law;Courts; Jurisdiction; Jurisdiction is vested in the court, not in
the judges; Probationer’s change of residence did not divest the RTC of
Manila of jurisdiction over the probation case.-

In criminal cases, venue is an element of jurisdiction. Such being the


case, the Manila RTC would not be deprived of its jurisdiction over the
probation case. To uphold the petitioner’s contention would mean a
depreciation of the Manila court’s power to grant probation in the first
place. It is to be remembered that when the petitioner-accused applied
for probation in the then CFI of Manila, he was a resident of Las Piñas,
as he is up to now, although in a different subdivision. As pointed out
earlier, he merely moved from BF Homes to Philam Life Subdivision, 33
Jingco Street, also in Las Piñas. On the other hand, pursuing the
petitioner’s argument on this score to the limits of its logic would mean
that his probation was null and void in the first place, because then the
Manila CFI was without jurisdiction to grant him probation as he was a
resident of Las Piñas. x x x It is therefore incorrect to assume that the
petitioner’s change of abode compels change of venue, and necessarily,
control over the petitioner, to the Executive Judge of the RTC of his
new residence. Thus, in the apportionment of the regional trial courts
under Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, otherwise known as the Judiciary
Reorganization Act of 1980, Las Piñas is one among the municipalities
included in the National Capital Judicial Region (Metro Manila) with a
seat at Makati. Needless to say, the Regional Trial Court in Makati, like
the Manila Regional Trial Court, forms part of the Regional Trial Court of
the National Capital Region. Accordingly, the various branches of the
regional trial courts of Makati or Manila under the National Capital
Region, are coordinate and co-equal courts, the totality of which is only
one Regional Trial Court. Jurisdiction is vested in the court, not in the
judges. In other words, the case does not attach to the branch or
judge. Therefore, in this case, RTC Branch XX of Manila, which granted
the probation, has not lost control and supervision over the probation of
the petitioner.
Division: SECOND DIVISION.

Docket Number: G.R. No. 67301

Counsel: Coronel Law Office

Ponente: SARMIENTO

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DISMISSED and the probation


of the petitioner is hereby REVOKED. Further, the trial
court is ORDERED to issue a warrant for the arrest of the
petitioner and for him to serve the sentence originally
imposed without any deduction. Costs against the
petitioner.

People vs. Sarcia 599 SCRA 20 , September 10, 2009

Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. RICHARD O.


SARCIA, accused-appellant.Case Nature : AUTOMATIC REVIEW of a decision of the
Court of Appeals.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Children in Conflict with the Law

Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: G.R. No. 169641

Criminal Law; Evidence; As it is oft-repeated, inconsistencies in the testimonies of the


witnesses, which refer only to minor details and collateral matters, do not affect the veracity
and weight of their testimonies where there is consistency in relating the principal
occurrence and positive identification of the accused.—Inconsistencies in the testimonies of
witnesses, which refer only to minor details and collateral matters, do not affect the
veracity and weight of their testimonies where there is consistency in relating the principal
occurrence and the positive identification of the accused. Slight contradictions in fact even
serve to strengthen the credibility of the witnesses and prove that their testimonies are not
rehearsed. Nor are such inconsistencies, and even improbabilities, unusual, for there is no
person with perfect faculties or senses. The alleged inconsistencies in this case are too
inconsequential to overturn the findings of the court a quo. It is important that the two
prosecution witnesses were one in saying that it was accused-appellant who sexually
abused AAA. Their positive, candid and straightforward narrations of how AAA was
sexually abused by accused-appellant evidently deserve fulll faith and credence. When the
rape incident happened, AAA was only five (5) years old; and when she and her cousin
testified, they were barely 9 and 11 years old, respectively. This Court has had occasion

_______________

* EN BANC.

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People vs. Sarcia

to rule that the alleged inconsistencies in the testimonies of the witnesses can be explained
by their age and their inexperience with court proceedings, and that even the most candid
of witnesses commit mistakes and make confused and inconsistent statements. This is
especially true of young witnesses, who could be overwhelmed by the atmosphere of the
courtroom. Hence, there is more reason to accord them ample space for inaccuracy.
Same; Rape; The rape victim’s delay or hesitation in reporting the crime does not
destroy the truth of the charge nor it is an indication of deceit.—The rape victim’s delay or
hesitation in reporting the crime does not destroy the truth of the charge nor is it an
indication of deceit. It is common for a rape victim to prefer silence for fear of her aggressor
and the lack of courage to face the public stigma of having been sexually abused. In People
v. Coloma, 222 SCRA 255 (1993) we even considered an 8-year delay in reporting the long
history of rape by the victim’s father as understandable and not enough to render incredible
the complaint of a 13-year-old daughter. Thus, in the absence of other circumstances that
show that the charge was a mere concoction and impelled by some ill motive, delay in the
filing of the complainant is not sufficient to defeat the charge. Here, the failure of AAA’s
parents to immediately file this case was sufficiently justified by the complainant’s father
in the latter’s testimony.
Same; Same; Where the girl is below 12 years old, as in this case, the only subject of
inquiry is whether “carnal knowledge” took place.—Accused-appellant also contends that he
could not be liable for rape because there is no proof that he employed force, threats or
intimidation in having carnal knowledge of AAA. Where the girl is below 12 years old, as in
this case, the only subject of inquiry is whether “carnal knowledge” took place. Proof of
force, intimidation or consent is unnecessary, since none of these is an element of statutory
rape. There is a conclusive presumption of absence of free consent when the rape victim is
below the age of twelve.
Same; Same; The Court has consistently ruled that the presence of lacerations in the
victim’s sexual organ is not necessary to prove the crime of rape and its absence does not
negate the fact of rape.—Accused-appellant harps on the medical report, particularly the
conclusion quoted as follows: “negative for introital bulvar laceration nor scars, which
means, in layman language, that there was no
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2 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


2
People vs. Sarcia

showing of any scar or wound.” The Court has consistently ruled that the presence of
lacerations in the victim’s sexual organ is not necessary to prove the crime of rape and its
absence does not negate the fact of rape. A medical report is not indispensable in a
prosecution for rape. What is important is that AAA’s testimony meets the test of
credibility, and that is sufficient to convict the accused.
Same; Rape; Evidence; Alibi; Denials; Categorical and consistent positive identification,
absent any showing of ill motive on the part of the eyewitness testifying on the matter,
prevails over the appellant’s defense of denial and alibi.—Categorical and consistent
positive identification, absent any showing of ill motive on the part of the eyewitness
testifying on the matter, prevails over the appellants’ defense of denial and alibi. The
shallow hypothesis put forward by accused-appellant that he was accused of raping AAA
due to the instigation of Salvacion Bobier hardly convinces this Court. On this score, the
trial court aptly reached the following conclusion: ...True, Salvacion Bobier actively assisted
AAA’s family file the instant case against the accused, but the Court believes [AAA’s]
parents finally decided to file the rape case because after they have come to realize after
what happened to Mae Christine Camu that what previously [AAA and her cousin] told her
mother and which the latter had continually ignored is after all true. AAA was barely 9
years of age when she testified. It has been stressed often enough that the testimony of rape
victims who are young and immature deserve foil credence. It is improbable for a girl of
complainant’s age to fabricate a charge so humiliating to herself and her family had she not
been truly subjected to the painfol experience of sexual abuse. At any rate, a girl of tender
years, innocent and guileless, cannot be expected to brazenly impute a crime so serious as
rape to any man if it were not true. Parents would not sacrifice their own daughter, a child
of tender years at that, and subject her to the rigors and humiliation of public trial for rape,
if they were not motivated by an honest desire to have their daughter’s transgressor
punished accordingly. Hence, the logical conclusion is that no such improper motive exists
and that her testimony is worthy of full faith and credence.
Same; Rape; Penalties; The penalty of death shall be imposed when the victim of rape is
a child below seven years of age.—Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by
Republic Act No. 7659, was the governing law at the time the accused-appellant committed
the rape in question. Under the said law, the penalty of death
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People vs. Sarcia

shall be imposed when the victim of rape is a child below seven years of age. In this ease, as
the age of AAA, who was five (5) years old at the time the rape was committed, was alleged
in the information and proven during trial by the presentation of her birth certificate,
which showed her date of birth as January 16, 1991, the death penalty should be imposed.
Same; Same; Same; In assessing the attendance of the mitigating circumstance of
minority, all doubts should be resolved in favor of the accused.—This Court finds ground for
modifying the penalty imposed by the CA. We cannot agree with the CA’s conclusion that
the accused-appellant cannot be deemed a minor at the time of the commission of the
offense to entitle him to the privileged mitigating circumstance of minority pursuant to
Article 68(2) of the Revised Penal Code. When accused appellant testified on March 14,
2002, he admitted that he was 24 years old, which means that in 1996, he was 18 years of
age. As found by the trial court, the rape incident could have taken place “in any month and
date in the year 1996.” Since the prosecution was not able to prove the exact date and time
when the rape was committed, it is not certain that the crime of rape was committed on or
after he reached 18 years of age in 1996. In assessing the attendance of the mitigating
circumstance of minority, all doubts should be resolved in favor of the accused, it being
more beneficial to the latter. In fact, in several cases, this Court has appreciated this
circumstance on the basis of a lone declaration of the accused regarding his age.
Damages; The Court has had the occasion to rule that moral damages are likewise
compensatory in nature.—The Court has had the occasion to rule that moral damages are
likewise compensatory in nature. In San Andres v. Court of Appeals, 116 SCRA 81 (1982)
we held: xxx Moral damages, though incapable of pecuniary estimation, are in the category
of an award designed to compensate the claimant for actual injury suffered and not to
impose a penalty on the wrongdoer. In another case, this Court also explained: What we
call moral damages are treated in American jurisprudence as compensatory
damagesawarded for mental pain and suffering or mental anguish resulting from a wrong
(25 C.J.S. 815).
Same; The fact of minority of the offender at the time of the commission of the offense
has no bearing on the gravity and extent of injury caused to victim and her family,
particularly considering the
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2 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


4
People vs. Sarcia

circumstances attending this case.—According to law and jurisprudence, civil indemnity is


in the nature of actual and compensatory damages for the injury caused to the offended
party and that suffered by her family, and moral damages are likewise compensatory in
nature. The fact of minority of the offender at the time of the commission of the offense has
no bearing on the gravity and extent of injury caused to the victim and her family,
particularly considering the circumstances attending this case. Here, the accused-appelant
could have been eighteen at the time of the commission of the rape. He was accorded the
benefit of the privileged mitigating circumstance of minority because of a lack of proof
regarding his actual age and the date of the rape rather than a moral or evidentiary
certainty of his minority.
Same; Since the compensatory damages, such as the civil indemnity and moral
damages, are increased when the qualified rape is committed, the exemplary damages
should likewise be increased in accordance with the prevailing jurisprudence.—As to the
award of exemplary damages, Article 2229 of the Civil Code provides that exemplary or
corrective damages are imposed in addition to the moral, temperate, liquidated or
compensatory damages. Exemplary damages are not recoverable as a matter of right. The
requirements of an award of exemplary damages are: (1) they may be imposed by way of
example in addition to compensatory damages, and only after the claimant’s right to them
has been established; (2) they cannot be recovered as a matter of right, their determination
depending upon the amount of compensatory damages that may be awarded to the
claimant; (3) the act must be accompanied by bad faith or done in a wanton, fraudulent,
oppressive or malevolent manner. Since the compensatory damages, such as the civil
indemnity and moral damages, are increased when qualified rape is committed, the
exemplary damages should likewise be increased in accordance with prevailing
jurisprudence.
Criminal Law; Children in Conflict with the Law; Since Republic Act No. 9344 does not
distinguish between a minor who has been convicted of a capital offense and another who
has been convicted of a lesser offense, the Court should also not distinguish and should
apply the automatic suspension of sentence to a child in conflict with the law who has been
found guilty of a heinous crime.—Sec. 38 of R.A. No. 9344 provides for the automatic
suspension of sentence of a child in conflict with the law, even if he/she is already 18 years
of age or
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VOL. 599, SEPTEMBER 10, 2009 2


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People vs. Sarcia

more at the time he/she is found guilty of the offense charged. It reads: Sec. 38. Automatic
Suspension of Sentence.—Once the child who is under eighteen (18) years of age at the time
of the commission of the offense is found guilty of the offense charged, the court shall
determine and ascertain any civil liability which may have resulted from the offense
committed. However, instead of pronouncing the judgment of conviction, the court shall
place the child in conflict with the law under suspended sentence, without need of
application: Provided, however, That suspension of sentence shall still be applied even if the
juvenile is already eighteen (18) of age or more at the time of the pronouncement of his/her
guilt. Upon suspension of sentence and after considering the various circumstances of the
child, the court shall impose the appropriate disposition measures as provided in the,
Supreme Court on Juvenile in Conflict with the Law. The above-quoted provision makes no
distinction as to the nature of the offense committed by the child in conflict with the law,
unlike P.D. No. 603 and A.M. No. 02-1-18-SC. The said P.D. and Supreme Court (SC) Rule
provide that the benefit of suspended sentence would not apply to a child in conflict with
the law if, among others, he/she has been convicted of an offense punishable by
death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment. In construing Sec. 38 of R.A. No. 9344, the
Court is guided by the basic principle of statutory construction that when the law does not
distinguish, we should not distinguish. Since R.A. No. 9344 does not distinguish between a
minor who has been convicted of a capital offense and another who has been convicted of a
lesser offense, the Court should also not distinguish and should apply the automatic
suspension of sentence to a child in conflict with the law who has been found guilty of a
heinous crime.
Same; Same; If said child in conflict with the law has reached eighteen (18) years of age
while under suspended sentence, the court shall determine whether to discharge the child in
accordance with this Act, to order execution of sentence or to extend the suspended sentence
for a certain specified period or until the child reaches the maximum age of twenty-one (21)
years.—While Sec. 38 of R.A. No. 9344 provides that suspension of sentence can still be
applied even if the child in conflict with the law is already eighteen (18) years of age or
more at the time of the pronouncement of his/her guilt, Sec. 40 of the same law limits the
said suspension of sentence until the said child reaches the maximum age of 21, thus: Sec.
40. Return of the
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2 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


6
People vs. Sarcia

Child in Conflict with the Law to Court.—If the court finds that the objective of the
disposition measures imposed upon the child in conflict with the law have not been fulfilled,
or if the child in conflict with the law has willfully failed to comply with the condition of
his/her disposition or rehabilitation program, the child in conflict with the law shall be
brought before the court for execution of judgment. If said child in conflict with the law has
reached eighteen (18) years of age while under suspended sentence, the court shall
determine whether to discharge the child in accordance with this Act, to order, execution of
sentence, or to extend the suspended sentence for a certain specified period or until the
child reaches the maximum age of twenty-one (21) years.
Same; Same; A child in conflict with the law may, after conviction and upon order of
the court, be made to serve his/her sentence, in lieu of confinement in a regular penal
institution, in an agricultural camp and other training facilities that may be established,
maintained, supervised and controlled by the Bureau of Corrections
(BUCOR), in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development.—To
date, accused-appellant is about 31 years of age, and the judgment of the RTC had been
promulgated, even before the effectivity of R.A. No. 9344. Thus, the application of Secs. 38
and 40 to the suspension of sentence is now moot and academic. However, accused-
appellant shall be entitled to appropriate disposition under Sec. 51 of R.A. No. 9344, which
provides for the confinement of convicted children as follows: Sec. 51. Confinement of
Convicted Children in Agricultural Camps and Other Training Facilities.—A child in
conflict with the law may, after conviction and upon order of the court, be made to serve
his/her sentence, in lieu of confinement in a regular penal institution, in an agricultural
camp and other training facilities that may be established, maintained, supervised and
controlled by the BUCOR, in coordination with the DSWD. The civil liability resulting from
the commission of the offense is not affected by the appropriate disposition measures and
shall be enforced in accordance with law.
Counsel: The Solicitor General

Ponente: LEONARDO-DE CASTRO

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, the decision of the CA dated July 14, 2005 in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No.
00717 is hereby AFFIRMED with the following MODIFICATIONS: (1) the penalty of
death imposed on accused-appellant is reduced to reclusion perpetua; and (2)
accused-appellant is ordered to pay the victim the amount of P75,000.00 and
P30,000.00 as moral damages and exemplary damages, respectively. The award of
civil indemnity in the amount of P75,000.00 is maintained. However, the case shall
be REMANDED to the court a quo for appropriate disposition in accordance with
Sec. 51 of R.A. 9344

People vs. Jacinto 645 SCRA 590 , March 16, 2011

Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. HERMIE M.


JACINTO, accused-appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the Court of
Appeals.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006|Statutory


Construction

Syllabi:
1. Criminal Law; Rape; Witnesses; The credible, natural, and
convincing testimony of the victim may be sufficient to convict the
accused, more so, when the testimony is supported by the medico-legal
findings of the examining physician.-

—In the determination of the innocence or guilt of a person accused of


rape, we consider the three well-entrenched principles: (1) an
accusation for rape can be made with facility; it is difficult to prove but
more difficult for the accused, though innocent, to disprove; (2) in view
of the intrinsic nature of the crime of rape in which only two persons
are usually involved, the testimony of the complainant must be
scrutinized with extreme caution; and (3) the evidence for the
prosecution must stand or fall on its own merits, and cannot be allowed
to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense.
Necessarily, the credible, natural, and convincing testimony of the
victim may be sufficient to convict the accused. More so, when the
testimony is supported by the medico-legal findings of the examining
physician.

2. Same; Same; While the suspension of sentence lasts only until the
child in conflict with the law reaches the maximum age of twenty-one
(21) years, to give meaning to the legislative intent of the Act, the
promotion of the welfare of a child in conflict with the law should extend
even to one who has exceeded the age limit of twenty-one (21) years,
so long as he/she committed the crime when he/she was still a child.-

—These developments notwithstanding, we find that the benefits of a


suspended sentence can no longer apply to appellant. The suspension
of sentence lasts only until the child in conflict with the law reaches the
maximum age of twenty-one (21) years. Section 40 of the law and
Section 48 of the Rule are clear on the matter. Unfortunately, appellant
is now twenty-five (25) years old. Be that as it may, to give meaning to
the legislative intent of the Act, the promotion of the welfare of a child
in conflict with the law should extend even to one who has exceeded
the age limit of twenty-one (21) years, so long as he/she committed
the crime when he/she was still a child. The offender shall be entitled to
the right to restoration, rehabilitation and reintegration in accordance
with the Act in order that he/she is given the chance to live a normal
life and become a productive member of the community. The age of the
child in conflict with the law at the time of the promulgation of the
judgment of conviction is not material. What matters is that the
offender committed the offense when he/she was still of tender age.
Thus, appellant may be confined in an agricultural camp or any other
training facility in accordance with Sec. 51 of Republic Act No. 9344.
3. Same; Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006;Statutory
Construction; Since R.A. No. 9344 does not distinguish between a
minor who has been convicted of a capital offense and another who has
been convicted of a lesser offense, the Court should also not distinguish
and should apply the automatic suspension of sentence to a child in
conflict with the law who has been found guilty of a heinous crime.-

—Applying Declarador v. Gubaton, 499 SCRA 341 (2006), which was


promulgated on 18 August 2006, the Court of Appeals held that,
consistent with Article 192 of Presidential Decree No. 603, as amended,
the aforestated provision does not apply to one who has been convicted
of an offense punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life
imprisonment. Meanwhile, on 10 September 2009, this Court
promulgated the decision in Sarcia, overturning the ruling in Gubaton.
Thus: The xxx provision makes no distinction as to the nature of the
offense committed by the child in conflict with the law, unlike P.D. No.
603 and A.M. No. 02-1-18-SC. The said P.D. and Supreme Court (SC)
Rule provide that the benefit of suspended sentence would not apply to
a child in conflict with the law if, among others, he/she has been
convicted of an offense punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life
imprisonment. In construing Sec. 38 of R.A. No. 9344, the Court is
guided by the basic principle of statutory construction that when the
law does not distinguish, we should not distinguish. Since R.A. No.
9344 does not distinguish between a minor who has been convicted of
a capital offense and another who has been convicted of a lesser
offense, the Court should also not distinguish and should apply the
automatic suspension of sentence to a child in conflict with the law who
has been found guilty of a heinous crime. The legislative intent
reflected in the Senate deliberations on Senate Bill No. 1402 (Juvenile
Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 2005) further strengthened
the new position of this Court to cover heinous crimes in the application
of the provision on the automatic suspension of sentence of a child in
conflict with the law.

4. Same; Same; Civil Liability; The fact that the offender was still a
minor at the time he committed the crime has no bearing on the gravity
and extent of injury suffered by the victim and her family.-

—We have consistently ruled that: The litmus test x x x in the


determination of the civil indemnity is the heinous character of the
crime committed, which would have warranted the imposition of the
death penalty, regardless of whether the penalty actually imposed is
reduced to reclusion perpetua. Likewise, the fact that the offender was
still a minor at the time he committed the crime has no bearing on the
gravity and extent of injury suffered by the victim and her family. The
respective awards of civil indemnity and moral damages in the amount
of P75,000.00 each are, therefore, proper. Accordingly, despite the
presence of the privileged mitigating circumstance of minority which
effectively lowered the penalty by one degree, we affirm the damages
awarded by the Court of Appeals in the amount of P75,000.00 as civil
indemnity and P75,000.00 as moral damages. And, consistent with
prevailing jurisprudence, the amount of exemplary damages should be
increased from P25,000.00 to P30,000.00.

5. Same; Mitigating Circumstances; Minority;Penalties; While


under Article 68 of the Revised Penal Code, when the offender is a
minor under 18 years, the penalty next lower than that prescribed by
law shall be imposed, but always in the proper period, for purposes of
determining the proper penalty because of the privileged mitigating
circumstance of minority, the penalty of death is still the penalty to be
reckoned with.-

—In a more recent case, the Court En Banc, through the Honorable
Justice Teresita J. Leonardo-de Castro, clarified: Under Article 68 of the
Revised Penal Code, when the offender is a minor under 18 years, the
penalty next lower than that prescribed by law shall be imposed, but
always in the proper period. However, for purposes of determining the
proper penalty because of the privileged mitigating circumstance of
minority, the penalty of death is still the penalty to be reckoned with.
Thus, the proper imposable penalty for the accused-appellant is
reclusion perpetua. (Emphasis supplied.) Accordingly, appellant should
be meted the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

6. Same; Same; Words and Phrases; Discernment is that mental


capacity of a minor to fully appreciate the consequences of his unlawful
act, which capacity may be known and should be determined by taking
into consideration all the facts and circumstances afforded by the
records in each case.-

—Sec. 6 of Republic Act No. 9344 exempts a child above fifteen (15)
years but below eighteen (18) years of age from criminal liability,
unless the child is found to have acted with discernment, in which case,
“the appropriate proceedings” in accordance with the Act shall be
observed. We determine discernment in this wise: Discernment is that
mental capacity of a minor to fully appreciate the consequences of his
unlawful act. Such capacity may be known and should be determined
by taking into consideration all the facts and circumstances afforded by
the records in each case. x x x The surrounding circumstances must
demonstrate that the minor knew what he was doing and that it was
wrong. Such circumstance includes the gruesome nature of the crime
and the minor’s cunning and shrewdness. In the present case, we agree
with the Court of Appeals that: “(1) choosing an isolated and dark place
to perpetrate the crime, to prevent detection[;] and (2) boxing the
victim x x x, to weaken her defense” are indicative of then seventeen
(17) year-old appellant’s mental capacity to fully understand the
consequences of his unlawful action.

7. Same; Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 (Republic Act


No. 9344); Sec. 68 of Republic Act No. 9344 allows the retroactive
application of the law to those who have been convicted and are serving
sentence at the time of the effectivity of said law, and who were below
the age of 18 years at the time of the commission of the offense-

—with more reason, the law should apply where the conviction by the
lower court is still under review.—In the determination of the imposable
penalty, the Court of Appeals correctly considered Republic Act No.
9344 (Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006) despite the commission
of the crime three (3) years before it was enacted on 28 April 2006. We
recognize its retroactive application following the rationale elucidated in
People v. Sarcia, 599 SCRA 20 (2009): [Sec. 68 of Republic Act No.
9344] allows the retroactive application of the Act to those who have
been convicted and are serving sentence at the time of the effectivity of
this said Act, and who were below the age of 18 years at the time of
the commission of the offense. With more reason, the Act should apply
to this case wherein the conviction by the lower court is still under
review.

8. Same; Same; The court must be convinced that it would be


physically impossible for the accused to have been at the locus criminis
at the time of the commission of the crime.-

—Time and again, that the court must be convinced that it would be
physically impossible for the accused to have been at the locus criminis
at the time of the commission of the crime. Physical impossibility refers
to distance and the facility of access between the situs criminis and the
location of the accused when the crime was committed. He must
demonstrate that he was so far away and could not have been
physically present at the scene of the crime and its immediate vicinity
when the crime was committed.

9. Same; Alibi; For alibi to prosper, it is necessary that the


corroboration is credible, the same having been offered preferably by
disinterested witnesses.-
—For alibi to prosper, it is necessary that the corroboration is credible,
the same having been offered preferably by disinterested witnesses.
The defense failed thuswise. Its witnesses cannot qualify as such, “they
being related or were one way or another linked to each other.”

10. Same; Same; Same; A victim of rape could readily identify her
assailant, especially when he is not a stranger to her, considering that
she could have a good look at him during the commission of the crime.-

—The real identity of the assailant and the whereabouts of the


appellant at the time of the commission of the crime are now in
dispute. The defense would want us to believe that it was Julito who
defiled AAA, and that appellant was elsewhere when the crime was
committed. We should not, however, overlook the fact that a victim of
rape could readily identify her assailant, especially when he is not a
stranger to her, considering that she could have a good look at him
during the commission of the crime. AAA had known appellant all her
life. Moreover, appellant and AAA even walked together from the road
near the store to the situs criminus that it would be impossible for the
child not to recognize the man who held her hand and led her all the
way to the rice field.

11. Same; Same; Statutory Rape; Elements.-

—A man commits rape by having carnal knowledge of a child under


twelve (12) years of age even in the absence of any of the following
circumstances: (a) through force, threat or intimidation; (b) when the
offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; or (c)
by means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority.

12. Same; Same; Same; Alibi; The defense of alibi cannot prevail
over the victim’s positive identification of the perpetrator of the crime,
except when it is established that it was physically impossible for the
accused to have been at the locus criminis at the time of the
commission of the crime.-

—Further, the defense of alibi cannot prevail over the victim’s positive
identification of the perpetrator of the crime, except when it is
established that it was physically impossible for the accused to have
been at the locus criminis at the time of the commission of the crime.

Division: FIRST DIVISION


Docket Number: G.R. No. 182239

Counsel: The Solicitor General

Ponente: PEREZ, J.

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, the Decision dated 29 August 2007 of the


Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR HC No. 00213 finding
appellant Hermie M. Jacinto guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of qualified rape is AFFIRMED with the following
MODIFICATIONS: (1) the death penalty imposed on the
appellant is reduced to reclusion perpetua; and (2)
appellant is ordered to pay the victim P75,000.00 as civil
indemnity, P75,000.00 as moral damages, and
P30,000.00 as exemplary damages. The case is hereby
REMANDED to the court of origin for its appropriate action
in accordance with Section 51 of Republic Act No. 9344.

People vs. Catantan 278 SCRA 761 , September 05, 1997

Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. EMILIANO


CATANTAN y TAYONG, accused-appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of
the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City, Br. 14.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Piracy|Grave Coercion|Statutes|P.D. No. 532

Division: FIRST DIVISION

1. Criminal Law; Piracy; Grave Coercion;There is piracy, not grave coercion, where, as
part of the act of seizing their boat, the occupants of the vessel were compelled to go
elsewhere other than their place of destination.—Under the definition of piracy in PD
No. 532 as well as grave coercion as penalized in Art. 286 of the Revised Penal Code,
this case falls squarely within the purview of piracy. While it may be true that
Eugene and Juan, Jr. were compelled to go elsewhere other than their place of
destination, such compulsion was obviously part of the act of seizing their boat. The
testimony of Eugene, one of the victims, shows that the appellant actually seized the
vessel through force and intimidation.

2. Same; Same; Same; To sustain the defense and convert the instant case of piracy into
one of grave coercion would be to ignore the fact that a fishing vessel cruising in
Philippine waters was seized by the accused by means of violence against or
intimidation of persons.—To sustain the defense and convert this case of piracy into
one of grave coercion would be to ignore the fact that a fishing vessel cruising in
Philippine waters was seized by the accused by means of violence against or
intimidation of persons. As Eugene Pilapil testified, the accused suddenly
approached them and boarded their pumpboat and Catantan aimed his revolver at
them as he ordered

3. _________________

4. * FIRST DIVISION.

5. 762

7 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


62
People vs. Catantan

6. complaining witness Eugene Pilapil to “dapa” or lie down with face downwards, and
then struck his face with a revolver, hitting the lower portion of his left eye, after
which, Catantan told his victims at gun point to take them to Daan Tabogon.

7. Same; Same; Same; Statutes; P.D. No. 532;The issuance of PD No. 532 was designed
to avert situations like the case at bar and discourage and prevent piracy in
Philippine waters.—The incident happened at 3:00 o’clock in the morning. The
sudden appearance of another pumpboat with four passengers, all strangers to
them, easily intimidated the Pilapil brothers that they were impelled to submit in
complete surrender to the marauders. The moment Catantan jumped into the other
pumpboat he had full control of his victims. The sight of a drawn revolver in his
hand drove them to submission. Hence the issuance of PD No. 532 designed to avert
situations like the case at bar and discourage and prevent piracy in Philippine
waters.

8. Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; To impede the livelihood of small fishermen would
be to deprive them of their very subsistence, and the likes of the accused within the
purview of P.D. No. 532 are the obstacle to the “economic, social, educational and
community progress of the people.”—The Pilapil brothers are mere fisherfolk whose
only means of livelihood is fishing in sea waters. They brave the natural elements
and contend with the unknown forces of the sea to bring home a bountiful harvest. It
is on these small fishermen that the townspeople depend for the daily bread. To
impede their livelihood would be to deprive them of their very subsistence, and the
likes of the accused within the purview of PD No. 532 are the obstacle to
the “economic, social, educational and community progress of the people.” Had it not
been for the chance passing of another pumpboat, the fate of the Pilapil brothers,
left alone helpless in a floundering, meandering outrigger with a broken prow and a
conked-out engine in open sea, could not be ascertained.

9. Same; Same; Same; The fact that the revolver used by the accused to seize the boat
was not produced in evidence cannot exculpate them from the crime.—The fact that
the revolver used by the appellant to seize the boat was not produced in evidence
cannot exculpate him from the crime. The fact remains, and we state it again, that
Catantan and his co-accused Ursal seized through force and intimidation the
pumpboat of the Pilapils while the latter were fishing in Philippine waters.

10.

Docket Number: G.R. No. 118075

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Public Attorney’s Office

Ponente: BELLOSILLO

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the decision


appealed from, the conviction of accused-appellant
EMILIANO CATANTAN y TAYONG for the crime of piracy
penalized under PD No. 532 and sentencing him
accordingly to reclusion perpetua, is AFFIRMED. Costs
against accused-appellant

People vs. Tulin 364 SCRA 10 , August 30, 2001

Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ROGER P. TULIN,


VIRGILIO I. LOYOLA, CECILIO O. CHANGCO, ANDRES C. INFANTE, CHEONG SAN
HIONG, and JOHN DOES, accused-appellants.Case Nature : APPEAL from a
decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Br. 49.

Syllabi Class : Right to Counsel|Witnesses|Alibi|Criminal Law|Waiver|Miranda


Rights|Conspiracy|Piracy|Statutes|International Law|Jurisdiction|Right to be
Informed|Justifying Circumstances
Syllabi:

1. Right to Counsel; Waiver; Waiver of the right to sufficient


representation during the trial as covered by the due process clauses
shall only be valid if made with the full assistance of a bona fide
lawyer.-

On the first issue, the record reveals that a manifestation (Exhibit “20”,
Record) was executed by accused-appellants Tulin, Loyola, Changco,
and Infante, Jr. on February 11, 1991, stating that they were adopting
the evidence adduced when they were represented by a non-lawyer.
Such waiver of the right to sufficient representation during the trial as
covered by the due process clause shall only be valid if made with the
full assistance of a bona fide lawyer. During the trial, accused-
appellants, as represented by Atty. Abdul Basar, made a categorical
manifestation that said accused-appellants were apprised of the nature
and legal consequences of the subject manifestation, and that they
voluntarily and intelligently executed the same. They also affirmed the
truthfulness of its contents when asked in open court (tsn, February 11,
1992, pp. 7-59).

2. Right to Counsel; Waiver; There is a valid waiver of the right to


sufficient representation during the trial where such waiver is
unequivocally, knowingly, and intelligently made and with the full
assistance of a bona fide lawyer.-

It is true that an accused person shall be entitled to be present and to


defend himself in person and by counsel at every stage of the
proceedings, from arraignment to promulgation of judgment (Section 1,
Rule 115, Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure). This is hinged on the
fact that a layman is not versed on the technicalities of trial. However,
it is also provided by law that “[r]ights may be waived, unless the
waiver is contrary to law, public order, public policy, morals, or good
customs or prejudicial to a third person with right recognized by law.”
(Article 6, Civil Code of the Philippines). Thus, the same section of Rule
115 adds that “[u]pon motion, the accused may be allowed to defend
himself in person when it sufficiently appears to the court that he can
properly protect his rights without the assistance of counsel.” By
analogy, but without prejudice to the sanctions imposed by law for the
illegal practice of law, it is amply shown that the rights of accused-
appellants were sufficiently and properly protected by the appearance
of Mr. Tomas Posadas. An examination of the record will show that he
knew the technical rules of procedure. Hence, we rule that there was a
valid waiver of the right to sufficient representation during the trial,
considering that it was unequivocally, knowingly, and intelligently made
and with the full assistance of a bona fide lawyer, Atty. Abdul Basar.
Accordingly, denial of due process cannot be successfully invoked
where a valid waiver of rights has been made (People vs. Serzo, 274
SCRA 553 [1997]; Sayson vs. People, 166 SCRA 680 [1988]).

3. Right to Counsel; Waiver; Miranda Rights; The right to counsel


during custodial investigation may not be waived except in writing and
in the presence of counsel.-

However, we must quickly add that the right to counsel during custodial
investigation may not be waived except in writing and in the presence
of counsel, x x x Such rights originated from Miranda v. Arizona (384
U.S. 436 [1966]) which gave birth to the so-called Miranda doctrine
which is to the effect that prior to any questioning during custodial
investigation, the person must be warned that he has a right to remain
silent, that any statement he gives may be used as evidence against
him, and that he has the right to the presence of an attorney, either
retained or appointed. The defendant may waive effectuation of these
rights, provided the waiver is made voluntarily, knowingly, and
intelligently. The Constitution even adds the more stringent
requirement that the waiver must be in writing and made in the
presence of counsel.

4. Right to Counsel; Waiver; Miranda Rights; The absence of


counsel during the execution of the so-called confessions of the accused
make them invalid.-

Saliently, the absence of counsel during the execution of the so-called


confessions of the accused-appellants make them invalid. In fact, the
very basic reading of the Miranda rights was not even shown in the
case at bar. Paragraph [3] of the aforestated Section 12 sets forth the
so-called “fruit from the poisonous tree doctrine,” a phrase minted by
Mr. Justice Felix Frankfurter in the celebrated case of Nardone vs.
United States (308 U.S. 388 [1939]). According to this rule, once the
primary source (the “tree”) is shown to have been unlawfully obtained,
any secondary or derivative evidence (the “fruit”) derived from it is also
inadmissible. The rule is based on the principle that evidence illegally
obtained by the State should not be used to gain other evidence
because the originally illegally obtained evidence taints all evidence
subsequently obtained (People vs. Alicando, 251 SCRA 293 [1995]).
Thus, in this case, the uncounselled extrajudicial confessions of
accused-appellants, without a valid waiver of the right to counsel, are
inadmissible and whatever information is derived therefrom shall be
regarded as likewise inadmissible in evidence against them.

5. Witnesses; Greater weight is given to the categorical identification


of the accused by the prosecution witnesses than to the accused’s plain
denial of participation in the commission of the crime.-

We also agree with the trial court’s finding that accused-appellants’


defense of denial is not supported by any hard evidence but their bare
testimony. Greater weight is given to the categorical identification of
the accused by the prosecution witnesses than to the accused’s plain
denial of participation in the commission of the crime (People v.
Baccay, 284 SCRA 296 [1998]). Instead, accused-appellants Tulin,
Loyola, and Infante, Jr. narrated a patently desperate tale that they
were hired by three complete strangers (allegedly Captain Edilberto
Liboon, Second Mate Christian Torralba, and their companion) while
said accused-appellants were conversing with one another along the
seashore at Apkaya, Balibago, Calatagan, Batangas, to work on board
the “M/T Tabangao” which was then anchored off-shore. And readily,
said accused-appellants agreed to work as cooks and handymen for an
indefinite period of time without even saying goodbye to their families,
without even knowing their destination or the details of their voyage,
without the personal effects needed for a long voyage at sea. Such
evidence is incredible and clearly not in accord with human experience.
As pointed out by the trial court, it is incredible that Captain Liboon,
Second Mate Torralba, and their companion “had to leave the vessel at
9:30 o’clock in the evening and venture in a completely unfamiliar place
merely to recruit five (5) cooks or handymen (p. 113, Rollo).”

6. Alibi; Alibi is fundamentally and inherently a weak defense, much


more so when uncorroborated by other witnesses.-

Anent accused-appellant Changco’s defense of denial with the alibi that


on May 14 and 17, he was at his place of work and that on April 10,
1991, he was in his house in Bacoor, Cavite, sleeping, suffice it to state
that alibi is fundamentally and inherently a weak defense, much more
so when uncorroborated by other witnesses (People v. Adora, 275
SCRA 441 [1997]) considering that it is easy to fabricate and concoct,
and difficult to disprove. Accused-appellant must adduce clear and
convincing evidence that, at about midnight on April 10, 1991, it was
physically impossible for him to have been in Calatagan, Batangas.
Changco not only failed to do this, he was likewise unable to prove that
he was in his place of work on the dates aforestated.
7. Criminal Law; Conspiracy; To be a conspirator, one need not
participate in every detail of execution—he need not even take part in
every act or need not even know the exact part to be performed by the
others in the execution of the conspiracy.-

We likewise uphold the trial court’s finding of conspiracy. A conspiracy


exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the
commission of a felony and decide to commit it (Article 8, Revised
Penal Code). To be a conspirator, one need not participate in every
detail of execution; he need not even take part in every act or need not
even know the exact part to be performed by the others in the
execution of the conspiracy. As noted by the trial court, there are times
when conspirators are assigned separate and different tasks which may
appear unrelated to one another, but in fact, constitute a whole and
collective effort to achieve a common criminal design.

8. Criminal Law; Piracy; Statutes; Republic Act No. 7659 neither


superseded nor amended the provisions on piracy under Presidential
Decree No. 532—piracy under Article 122 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended, and piracy under Presidential Decree No. 532 exist
harmoniously as separate laws.-

Republic Act No. 7659 neither superseded nor amended the provisions
on piracy under Presidential Decree No. 532. There is no contradiction
between the two laws. There is likewise no ambiguity and hence, there
is no need to construe or interpret the law. All the presidential decree
did was to widen the coverage of the law, in keeping with the intent to
protect the citizenry as well as neighboring states from crimes against
the law of nations. As expressed in one of the “whereas” clauses of
Presidential Decree No. 532, piracy is “among the highest forms of
lawlessness condemned by the penal statutes of all countries.” For this
reason, piracy under the Article 122, as amended, and piracy under
Presidential Decree No. 532 exist harmoniously as separate laws.

9. Criminal Law; Piracy; International Law;Jurisdiction; Although


Presidential Decree No. 532 requires that the attack and seizure of the
vessel and its cargo be committed in Philippine waters, the disposition
by the pirates of the vessel and its cargo is still deemed part of the act
of piracy, hence, the same need not be committed in Philippine waters.-

As regards the contention that the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction
over the person of accused-appellant Hiong since the crime was
committed outside Philippine waters, suffice it to state that
unquestionably, the attack on and seizure of “M/T Tabangao” (renamed
“M/T Galilee” by the pirates) and its cargo were committed in Philippine
waters, although the captive vessel was later brought by the pirates to
Singapore where its cargo was off loaded, transferred, and sold. And
such transfer was done under accused-appellant Hiong’s direct
supervision. Although Presidential Decree No. 532 requires that the
attack and seizure of the vessel and its cargo be committed in
Philippine waters, the disposition by the pirates of the vessel and its
cargo is still deemed part of the act of piracy, hence, the same need
not be committed in Philippine waters.

10. Criminal Law; Piracy; International Law;Jurisdiction; Piracy


falls under Title One of Book Two of the Revised Penal Code, and, as
such, is an exception to the rule on territoriality in criminal law; It is
likewise well-settled that regardless of the law penalizing the same,
piracy is a reprehensible crime against the whole world.-

Moreover, piracy falls under Title One of Book Two of the Revised Penal
Code. As such, it is an exception to the rule on territoriality in criminal
law. The same principle applies even if Hiong, in the instant case, were
charged, not with a violation of qualified piracy under the penal code
but under a special law, Presidential Decree No. 532 which penalizes
piracy in Philippine waters. Verily, Presidential Decree No. 532 should
be applied with more force here since its purpose is precisely to
discourage and prevent piracy in Philippine waters (People v. Catantan,
278 SCRA 761 [1997]). It is likewise, well-settled that regardless of the
law penalizing the same, piracy is a reprehensible crime against the
whole world (People v. Lol-lo, 43 Phil. 19 [1922]).

11. Criminal Law; Piracy; Conspiracy; Right to be Informed; One


charged as a principal by direct participation under Section 2 of
Presidential Decree No. 532 may be validly convicted as an accomplice
under Section 4 of said law; If there is lack of complete evidence of
conspiracy, the liability is that of an accomplice and not as principal.-

However, does this constitute a violation of accused-appellant’s


constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of the
accusation against him on the ground that he was convicted as an
accomplice under Section 4 of Presidential Decree No. 532 even though
he was charged as a principal by direct participation under Section 2 of
said law? x x x The ruling of the trial court is within well-settled
jurisprudence that if there is lack of complete evidence of conspiracy,
the liability is that of an accomplice and not as principal (People v.
Tolentino, 40 SCRA 514 [1971]). Any doubt as to the participation of an
individual in the commission of the crime is always resolved in favor of
lesser responsibility (People v. Corbes, 270 SCRA 465 [1997]; People
vs. Elfano, Jr., 125 SCRA 792 [1983]; People v. Pastores, 40 SCRA 498
[1971]).

12. Criminal Law; Piracy; Justifying Circumstances;Obedience to


Lawful Order of Superior; An individual is justified in performing an act
in obedience to an order issued by a superior if such order, is for some
lawful purpose and that the means used by the subordinate to carry out
said order is lawful.-

It cannot be correctly said that accused-appellant was “merely following


the orders of his superiors.” An individual is justified in performing an
act in obedience to an order issued by a superior if such order, is for
some lawful purpose and that the means used by the subordinate to
carry out said order is lawful (Reyes, Revised Penal Code, Vol. 1, 1981
ed., p. 212). Notably, the alleged order of Hiong’s superior Chua Kim
Leng Timothy, is a patent violation not only of Philippine, but of
international law. Such violation was committed on board a Philippine-
operated vessel. Moreover, the means used by Hiong in carrying out
said order was equally unlawful. He misled port and immigration
authorities, falsified records, using a mere clerk, Frankie Loh, to
consummate said acts. During the trial, Hiong presented himself, and
the trial court was convinced, that he was an intelligent and articulate
Port Captain. These circumstances show that he must have realized the
nature and the implications of the order of Chua Kim Leng Timothy.
Thereafter, he could have refused to follow orders to conclude the deal
and to effect the transfer of the cargo to the “Navi Pride.” He did not do
so, for which reason, he must now suffer the consequences of his
actions.

Docket Number: G.R. No. 111709

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Rodrigo, Berenguer & Guno, Britanico, Consunji &
Sarmiento Law Offices

Ponente: MELO

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, finding the conviction of accused-appellants
justified by the evidence on record, the Court hereby
AFFIRMS the judgment of the trial court in toto.

People vs. Olivarez, Jr. 299 SCRA 635 , December 04, 1998

Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. RAFAEL


OLIVAREZ, JR. and DANILO ARELLANO, accused-appellants.Case Nature : APPEAL
from a decision of the Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela, Metro Manila, Br. 172.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Criminal Procedure|Complex


Crimes|Evidence|Constitutional Law|Confessions

Division: SECOND DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 77865

1. Criminal Law; Complex Crimes; The categorization by the prosecution of the crime of
robbery with double homicide is erroneous; Essential elements of robbery with
homicide.—The categorization by the prosecution of the crime of robbery with double
homicide is erroneous because the word “homicide” in Article 294 of the Revised
Penal Code (RPC) should be taken in its generic sense, absorbing not only acts which
results in death (such as murder) but also all other acts producing anything short of
death (such as physical injuries) committed during the robbery, and regardless of
the multiplicity of the victims which is only considered as an aggravating
circumstance. The indictable offense is still the complex crime of robbery with
homicide (which is its proper nomenclature), the essential elements of which are: a.)
the taking of personal property with the

2. __________________

3. * SECOND DIVISION.

4. 636

6 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


36
People vs. Olivarez, Jr.

5. use of violence or intimidation against a person; b.) the property thus taken belongs
to another; c.) the taking is characterized by intent to gain or animus lucrandi; d.)
on the occasion of the robbery or by reason thereof, the crime of homicide which is
therein used in a generic sense, was committed.
6. Criminal Procedure; Evidence; The evidence adduced against appellants are
inadmissible to sustain a criminal conviction.—In this case, there were no
eyewitnesses to the killing and robbery and thus, no direct evidence points to
appellants’ criminal liability. The prosecution’s principal evidence against them is
based solely on the testimony of the police officers who arrested, investigated and
subsequently took their confession. Such evidence when juxtaposed with appellants’
constitutional rights concerning arrests and the taking of confessions leads to a
conclusion that they cannot be held liable for the offense charged despite the
inherent weakness of their defenses of denial and alibi, not because they are not
guilty but because the evidence adduced against them are inadmissible to sustain a
criminal conviction.

7. Same; Same; Constitutional Law;Confessions; Mere invitation is covered by the


proscription on a warrantless arrest because it is intended for no other reason than to
conduct an investigation.—Probably aware of the illegality of the arrest they made,
the arresting officers testified that appellants were merely invited to the police
precinct. Such invitation, however, when construed in the light of the circumstances
is actually in the nature of an arrest designed for the purpose of conducting an
interrogation. Mere invitation is covered by the proscription on a warrantless arrest
because it is intended for no other reason than to conduct an investigation. Thus,
pursuant to Section 4(2), Article IV of the 1973 Constitution which was in effect at
that time, “any evidence” obtained in violation of their right under Section 3, Article
IV (pertaining to invalid warrantless arrests) “shall be inadmissible for any purpose
in any proceeding.”

8. Same; Same; Same; Same; The constitutional protection on the inadmissibility of


evidence known as the exclusionary rule, applies not only to criminal cases but even
extends to civil, administrative and any other form of proceedings.—In the same
manner, all the products of those illegal arrests cannot be utilized to sustain any
civil liability that they may have incurred by reason of their acts.
9. 637

VOL. 299, DECEMBER 4, 1998 6


37
People vs. Olivarez, Jr.

10. This is the clear mandate of the Constitution when it provides that those illegally
obtained evidence being “the fruits of the poisonous tree” are “inadmissible for any
purpose in any proceeding.” The foregoing constitutional protection on the
inadmissibility of evidence (which are the product of an illegal search and arrest)
known as the exclusionary rule, applies not only to criminal cases but even extends
to civil, administrative and any other form of proceedings. No distinction is made by
the Constitution; this Court ought not to distinguish.

11. Same; Same; Same; Same; The invalid waiver of the right to counsel during
custodial investigation makes the uncounselled confession, whether verbal or non-
verbal, obtained in violation thereof as also “inadmissible in evidence.”—Under the
Constitution, any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall
have the right, among others, to have a counsel, which right can be validly waived.
In this case, the said confession was obtained during custodial investigation but the
confessant was not assisted by counsel. His manifestation to the investigating officer
that he did not need the assistance of counsel does not constitute a valid waiver of
his right within the contemplation of our criminal justice system, this
notwithstanding the fact that the 1973 Constitution does not state that a waiver of
the right to counsel to be valid must be made with the assistance or in the presence
of counsel. Although this requisite concerning the presence of counsel before a
waiver of the right to counsel can be validly made is enshrined only in the 1987
Constitution, which further requires that the waiver must also be in writing, yet
jurisprudence is replete even during the time of appellants’ arrest where it has been
categorically ruled that a waiver of the constitutional right to counsel shall not be
valid when the same is made without the presence or assistance of counsel.
Consequently, the invalid waiver of the right to counsel during custodial
investigation makes the uncounselled confession, whether verbal or non-verbal,
obtained in violation thereof as also “inadmissible in evidence” under Section 20,
Article IV of the 1973 Constitution.

12. Same; Same; Same; Same; Requisites in order for a confession to be admissible.—
Under the present laws, a confession to be admissible must be: 1.) express and
categorical; 2.) given voluntarily, and intelligently where the accused realizes the
legal significance of his act; 3.) with assistance of competent and independent
counsel; 4.) in writing, and in the language known to and understood by the con-
13. 638

6 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


38
People vs. Olivarez, Jr.

14. fessant; and 5.) signed, or if the confessant does not know how to read and write,
thumbmarked by him.

15. Same; Same; Same; Same; The purpose of providing counsel to a person under
custodial investigation is to curb the uncivilized practice of extracting confession even
by the slightest coercion as would lead the accused to admit something false;
Extrajudicial confession of one accused may not be utilized against a co-accused
unless they are repeated in open court or unless there is an opportunity to cross-
examine the other on his extrajudicial statements.—The purpose of providing counsel
to a person under custodial investigation is to curb the uncivilized practice of
extracting confession even by the slightest coercion as would lead the accused to
admit something false. What is sought to be avoided is the “evil of extorting from the
very mouth of the person undergoing interrogation for the commission of an offense,
the very evidence with which to prosecute and thereafter convict him.” These
constitutional guarantees have been made available to protect him from the
inherently coercive psychological, if not physical, atmosphere of such investigation.
In any case, said extra-judicial confession of one accused may not be utilized against
a coaccused unless they are repeated in open court or when there is an opportunity
to cross-examine the other on his extrajudicial statements. It is considered hearsay
as against said accused under the rule on res inter alios acta, which ordains that the
rights of a party cannot be prejudiced by an act, declaration, or omission of another.

16. Same; Same; Essential elements to sustain a conviction based on circumstantial


evidence.—In order to sustain a conviction based on circumstantial evidence, it is
necessary that the same satisfies the following elements: 1. there is more than one
circumstance; 2. the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and 3.
the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond
reasonable doubt.

17.

Counsel: The Solicitor General

Ponente: MARTINEZ

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, appellants’ conviction is herein REVERSED


and both are ACQUITTED for the crime charged. The
person detaining them is ordered to IMMEDIATELY
RELEASE appellants UNLESS they are held for some other
lawful cause.

People vs. Lalli 659 SCRA 105 , October 12, 2011

Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. HADJA JARMA


LALLI y PURIH, RONNIE ARINGOY y MASION, and NESTOR RELAMPAGOS (at large),
accused. HADJA JARMA LALLI y PURIH and RONNIE ARINGOY y MASION, accused-
appellants.Case Nature : APPEALS from a decision of the Court of Appeals.
Syllabi Class : Labor Law|Syndicated Illegal Recruitment|Elements

Syllabi:

1. Evidence; Witnesses; The Court has ruled that inconsistencies


pointed out by the accused in the testimony of prosecution witnesses
relating to minor details do not destroy the credibility of witnesses. On
the contrary, they indicate that the witnesses were telling the truth and
not previously rehearsed.-

—Both Aringoy and Lalli, in their respective Appeal Briefs, assail the
testimony of Lolita due to its alleged inconsistency on immaterial facts,
such as the status of Lolita’s grandfather, the name of the village she
was in, the date she was brought to Labuan, Malaysia, and the like. In
a long line of cases, the Court has ruled that inconsistencies pointed out
by the accused in the testimony of prosecution witnesses relating to
minor details do not destroy the credibility of witnesses. On the
contrary, they indicate that the witnesses were telling the truth and not
previously rehearsed.

2. Same; Syndicated Illegal Recruitment; Elements;(1) the


accused have no valid license or authority required by law to
enable them to lawfully engage in the recruitment and
placement of workers; (2) the accused engaged in this activity
of recruitment and placement by actually recruiting, deploying
and transporting; (3) illegal recruitment was committed by three
persons, conspiring and confederating with one another.-

—In this case, the trial court, as affirmed by the appellate court, found
Lalli, Aringoy and Relampagos to have conspired and confederated with
one another to recruit and place Lolita for work in Malaysia, without a
POEA license. The three elements of syndicated illegal recruitment are
present in this case, in particular: (1) the accused have no valid license
or authority required by law to enable them to lawfully engage in the
recruitment and placement of workers; (2) the accused engaged in this
activity of recruitment and placement by actually recruiting, deploying
and transporting Lolita to Malaysia; and (3) illegal recruitment was
committed by three persons (Aringoy, Lalli and Relampagos),
conspiring and confederating with one another.

3. Labor Law; Illegal Recruitment; Illegal Recruitment is commited


by persons who, without authority from the government, give the
impression that they have the power to send workers abroad for
employment purposes.-
—Given the broad definition of recruitment and placement, even the
mere act of referring someone for placement abroad can be considered
recruitment. Such act of referral, in connivance with someone without
the requisite authority or POEA license, constitutes illegal recruitment.
In its simplest terms, illegal recruitment is committed by persons who,
without authority from the government, give the impression that they
have the power to send workers abroad for employment purposes.

Division: SECOND DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 195419

Counsel: Office of the Solicitor General

Ponente: CARPIO, J.

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, we AFFIRM the Decision of the Court of


Appeals dated 26 February 2010, affirming the Decision of
the Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga City dated 29
November 2005, finding accused Lalli and Aringoy guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crimes of Illegal
Recruitment and Trafficking in Persons committed by a
syndicate, with the following MODIFICATIONS: 1. In
Criminal Case No. 21908, each of the accused is
sentenced to suffer the penalty of LIFE IMPRISONMENT
and to pay a fine of P2,000,000; 2. In Criminal Case No.
21930, each of the accused is sentenced to suffer the
penalty of LIFE IMPRISONMENT and to pay a fine of
P500,000; 3. Each of the accused is ordered to pay the
offended party Lolita Plando y Sagadsad, jointly and
severally, the sum of P500,000 as moral damages, and
P100,000 as exemplary damages for the crime of
Trafficking in Persons; and to pay the costs. The Court
cannot pronounce the liability of accused-at-large Nestor
Relampagos as jurisdiction over his person has not been
acquired.
People vs. Ladjaalam 340 SCRA 617 , September 19, 2000

Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. WALPAN LAD-JAALAM y


MIHAJIL alias “WARPAN,” appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the
Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga City, Br. 16.

Syllabi Class : Evidence|Witnesses|Criminal Law|Ocular Inspections|Illegal


Possession of Firearms|Frame-Up|Dangerous Drugs Act|Maintenance of a Drug
Den|Direct Assault|Statutory Construction

Division: THIRD DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. Nos. 136149-51

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Jose E. Fernandez

Ponente: PANGANIBAN

1.

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, the appealed Decision is hereby AFFIRMED


with the MODIFICATION that appellant is found guilty only
of two offenses: (1) direct assault and multiple attempted
homicide with the use of a weapon, for which he is
sentenced to 2 years and 4 months to 6 years of prision
correccional; and (2) maintaining a drug den, for which he
was correctly sentenced by the trial court to reclusion
perpetua. Costs against appellant.Let a copy of this
Decision be furnished the Congress of the Philippines for a
possible review, at its sound discretion, of RA 8294.

Evidence; Ocular Inspections; There is no need for an ocular inspection where


testimonies of the prosecution witnesses are clear. The question whether to view the setting of
a relevant event has long been recognized to be within the discretion of the trial judge.—We
fail to see the need for an ocular inspection in this case, especially in the light of the clear
testimonies of the prosecution witnesses. We note in particular that the defense had even
requested SPO1 Amado Mirasol, Jr. to sketch the subject premises to give the lower court a
fairly good idea of appellant’s house. Viewing the site of the raid would have only delayed
the proceedings. Moreover, the question whether to view the setting of a relevant event has
long been recognized to be within the discretion of the trial judge. Here, there is no reason
to disturb the exercise of that discretion.

Witnesses; The trial court’s assessment of the credibility of witnesses is generally


accorded respect, even finality.—Appellant, in essence, questions the credibility of the
prosecution witnesses. Suffice it to state that the trial court’s assessment of their credibility
is generally accorded respect, even finality. After carefully examining the records and
finding no material inconsistencies to support appellant’s claim, we cannot exempt this case
from the general rule. Quite the contrary, the testimonies of these witnesses positively
showed that appellant had fired upon the ap-

_______________

* THIRD DIVISION.

618

6 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


18
People vs. Ladjaalam

proaching police elements, and that he had subsequently attempted to escape.

Criminal Law; Illegal Possession of Firearms; An M-14 rifle could not be licensed in
favor of, or carried by, a private individual.—Duly proven from the foregoing were the two
elements of the crime of illegal possession of firearms. Undoubtedly, the established fact
that appellant had fired an M-14 rifle upon the approaching police officers clearly showed
the existence of the firearm or weapon and his possession thereof. Suffic-ing to satisfy the
second element was the prosecution’s Certification stating that he had not filed any
application for license to possess a firearm, and that he had not been given authority to
carry any outside his residence. Further, it should be pointed out that his possession and
use of an M-14 rifle were obviously unauthorized because this weapon could not be licensed
in favor of, or carried by, a private individual.

Same; Frame-Up; The defense of frame-up is inherently weak, since it is easy to


fabricate, but terribly difficult to disprove.—This Court has invariably held that the defense
of frame-up is inherently weak, since it is easy to fabricate, but terribly difficult to disprove.
Absent any showing of an improper motive on the part of the police officers, coupled with
the presumption of regularity in the performance of their duty, such defense cannot be
given much credence. Indeed, after examining the records of this case, we conclude that
appellant has failed to substantiate his claim. On the contrary, his statements in his
Counter Affidavit are inconsistent with his testimony during the trial.

Same; Dangerous Drugs Act; Maintenance of a Drug Den; The failure of the accused to
deny ownership of the house and its extension which was used as a drug den lends credence
to the prosecution’s story that he maintained it as a drug den.—We agree with the trial
court that appellant was guilty of maintenance of a drug den, an offense for which he was
correctly sentenced toreclusion perpetua. His guilt was clearly established by the testimony
of Prosecution Witness Rino Bartolome Locson, who himself had used the extension house
of appellant as a drug den on several occasions, including the time of the raid. The former’s
testimony was corroborated by all the raiding police officers who testified before the court.
That appellant did not deny ownership of the house and its extension lent credence to the
prosecution’s story.

Same; Direct Assault; The act of the accused of firing an M-14 rifle at the policemen
who were about to enter his house to serve a search warrant constitutes the complex crime of
direct assault with multiple counts of
619

VOL. 340, SEPTEMBER 19, 2000 6


19
People vs. Ladjaalam

attempted homicide.—The trial court was also correct in convicting appel-lant of direct
assault with multiple counts of attempted homicide. It found that “[t]he act of the accused
[of] firing an M-14 rifle [at] the policemen[,] who were about to enter his house to serve a
search warrant x x x” constituted such complex crime.

Same; Same; Illegal Possession of Firearms; If an unlicensed firearm is used in the


commission of any crime, there can be no separate offense of simple illegal possession of
firearms; Where direct assault with multiple attempted homicide was committed, the
accused can no longer be held liable for illegal possession of firearms.—We cannot accept
either of these interpretations because they ignore the plain language of the statute. A
simple reading thereof shows that if an unlicensed firearm is used in the commission of any
crime, there can be no separate offense of simple illegal possession of firearms. Hence, if the
“other crime” is murder or homicide, illegal possession of firearms becomes merely an
aggravating circumstance, not a separate offense. Since direct assault with multiple
attempted homicide was committed in this case, appellant can no longer be held liable for
illegal possession of firearms.
Same; Same; Same; Statutory Construction; Penal laws are construed liberally in favor
of the accused; Where the crime committed was direct assault and not homicide or murder,
illegal possession of firearms cannot be deemed an aggravating circumstance.—Moreover,
penal laws are construed liberally in favor of the accused. In this case, the plain meaning of
RA 8294’s simple language is most favorable to herein appellant. Verily, no other
interpretation is justified, for the language of the new law demonstrates the legislative
intent to favor the accused. Accordingly, appel-lant cannot be convicted of two separate
offenses of illegal possession of firearms and direct assault with attempted homicide.
Moreover, since the crime committed was direct assault and not homicide or murder, illegal
possession of firearms cannot be deemed an aggravating circumstance.

Same; Same; Same; Same; If the intention of the law in the second paragraph of Section
1 of PD 1866, as amended by RA 8294, were to refer only to homicide and murder, it should
have expressly said so, as it did in the third paragraph.—Just as unacceptable is the
interpretation of the trial court. We find no justification for limiting the proviso in the
second paragraph to murder and homicide. The law is clear: the accused can be convicted of
simple illegal possession of firearms, provided that “no other crime was committed by the
person arrested.” If the intention of the law in the second paragraph were to refer only to
homicide and murder, it should
620

6 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


20
People vs. Ladjaalam

have expressly said so, as it did in the third paragraph. Verily, where the law does not
distinguish, neither should we.

Same; Same; Same; Same; The Court is aware that the ruling in the instant case
effectively exonerates the accused of illegal possession of an M-14 rifle, an offense which
normally carries a penalty heavier than that for direct assault, as indeed, the accused may
evade conviction for illegal possession of firearms by using such weapons in committing an
even lighter offense, but this consequence, however, necessarily arises from the language of
RA 8294, whose wisdom is not subject to the Court’s review—the Court has no discretion to
give statutes a new meaning detached from the manifest intendment and language of the
legislature.—The Court is aware that this ruling effectively exonerates appellant of illegal
possession of an M-14 rifle, an offense which normally carries a penalty heavier than that
for direct assault. While the penalty for the first is prision mayor, for the second it is
onlyprision correccional. Indeed, the accused may evade conviction for illegal possession of
firearms by using such weapons in committing an even lighter offense, like alarm and
scandal or slight physical injuries, both of which are punishable by arresto menor. This
consequence, however, necessarily arises from the language of RA 8294, whose wisdom is
not subject to the Court’s review. Any perception that the result reached here appears
unwise should be addressed to Congress. Indeed, the Court has no discretion to give
statutes a new meaning detached from the manifest intendment and language of the
legislature. Our task is constitutionally confined only to applying the law and jurisprudence
to the proven facts, and we have done so in this case.

Legamia vs. Intermediate Appellate Court 131 SCRA 478 , August 28,
1984

Case Title : CORAZON LEGAMIA y RIVERA, petitioner, vs. INTERMEDIATE


APPELLATE COURT AND PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.Case Nature :
APPEAL by certiorari to review the decision of the Intermediate Appellate Court.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|

Syllabi:

1. Criminal Law; Commonwealth Act No. 142 re use of an alias, not


violated; No criminal liability of a common-law wife who use the family
name of a married man she had been living with; Acquittal.-

In the case at bar, Corazon had been living with Emilio for almost 20
years. He introduced her to the public as his wife and she assumed that
role and his name without any sinister purpose or personal material
gain in mind. She applied for benefits upon his death not for herself but
for Michael who as a boy of tender years was under her guardianship.
Surely, the lawmakers could not have meant to criminalize what
Corazon had done especially because some of them probably had their
own Corazons.

Division: SECOND DIVISION

Docket Number: No. L-63817

Counsel: Felipe O. Pascual, The Solicitor General

Ponente: ABAD SANTOS

Dispositive Portion:
WHEREFORE, the decision under review is hereby set
aside; the petitioner is acquitted of the charge. No costs.

People vs. Estrada 583 SCRA 302 , April 02, 2009

Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. JOSEPH EJERCITO


ESTRADA and THE HONORABLE SPECIAL DIVISION OF THE SANDIGANBAYAN,
respondentsCase Nature : PETITION for review on certiorari of the joint resolution
of the Sandiganbayan.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Law ; Illegal Use of Alias ;

Division: EN BANC

1. Criminal Law; Illegal Use of Alias; Definition of an Alias; There must be a sign or
indication that the user intends to be known by this name (the alias) in addition to
his real name from that day forth for the use of alias to fall within the prohibition
contained in Commonwealth Act (C.A.) No. 142 as amended.—How this law is
violated has been answered by the Ursua definition of an alias—“a name or names
used by a person or intended to be used by him publicly andhabitually usually in
business transactions in addition to his real name by which he is registered at birth
or baptized the first time or substitute name authorized by a competent authority.”
There must be, in the words ofUrsua, a “sign or indication that the user intends to be
known by this name (the alias)in addition to his real name from that day forth… [for
the use of alias to] fall within the prohibition contained in C.A. No. 142 as amended.”
2. Same; Same; The repeated use of an alias within a single day cannot be deemed
“habitual” as it does not amount to a customary

3. _______________

4. * EN BANC.

5. 303

VOL. 583, APRIL 2, 2009 30


3
People vs. Estrada

6. practice or use.—Separately from the constitutional dimension of the allegation of


time in the Information, another issue that the allegation of time and our above
conclusion raise relates to what act or acts, constituting a violation of the offense
charged, were actually alleged in the Information. The conclusion we arrived at
necessarily impacts on the People’s case, as it deals a fatal blow on the People’s
claim that Estrada habitually used the Jose Velardealias. For, to our mind, the
repeated use of an alias within a single day cannot be deemed “habitual,” as it does
not amount to a customary practice or use. This reason alone dictates the dismissal
of the petition under CA No. 142 and the terms of Ursua.
7. Same; Same; In order to be held liable for a violation of Commonwealth Act (C.A.)
No. 142, the user of the alias must have held himself out as a person who shall
publicly be known under that other name.—Albeit for a different reason, with the
Sandiganbayan position that the rule in the law of libel—that mere communication
to a third person is publicity—does not apply to violations of CA No. 142. Our close
reading of Ursua—particularly, the requirement that there be intention by the user to
be culpable and the historical reasons we cited above—tells us that the required
publicity in the use of aliasis more than mere communication to a third person; the
use of the alias, to be considered public, must be made openly, or in an open manner
or place, or to cause it to become generally known. In order to be held liable for a
violation of CA No. 142, the user of thealias must have held himself out as a person
who shall publicly be known under that other name. In other words, the intent to
publicly use the alias must be manifest.
8. Same; Same; Estrada could not be said to have intended his signing as Jose Velarde
to be for public consumption by the fact alone that Lacquian and Chua were also
inside the room at that time.—The presence of Lacquian and Chua when Estrada
signed as Jose Velarde and opened Trust Account No. C-163 does not necessarily
indicate his intention to be publicly known henceforth as Jose Velarde. In relation to
Estrada, Lacquian and Chua were not part of the public who had no access to
Estrada’s privacy and to the confidential matters that transpired in Malacañan
where he sat as President; Lacquian was the Chief of Staff with whom he shared
matters of the highest and strictest confidence, while Chua was a lawyer-friend
bound by his oath of office and ties of friendship to keep and304

3 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


04
People vs. Estrada

9. maintain the privacy and secrecy of his affairs. Thus, Estrada could not be said to
have intended his signing as Jose Velarde to be for public consumption by the fact
alone that Lacquian and Chua were also inside the room at that time. The same
holds true for Estrada’s alleged representations with Ortaliza and Dichavez,
assuming the evidence for these representations to be admissible. All of Estrada’s
representations to these people were made in privacy and in secrecy, with no iota of
intention of publicity.
10. Same; Same; Given the private nature of Estrada’s act of signing the documents as
“Jose Velarde” related to the opening of the trust account, the People cannot claim
that there was already a public use of alias when Ocampo and Curato witnessed the
signing.—We have consistently ruled that bank deposits under R.A. No. 1405 (the
Secrecy of Bank Deposits Law) are statutorily protected or recognized zones of
privacy. Given the private nature of Estrada’s act of signing the documents as “Jose
Velarde” related to the opening of the trust account, the People cannot claim that
there was already a public use of alias when Ocampo and Curato witnessed the
signing. We need not even consider here the impact of the obligations imposed by
R.A. No. 1405 on the bank officers; what is essentially significant is the privacy
situation that is necessarily implied in these kinds of transactions. This statutorily
guaranteed privacy and secrecy effectively negate a conclusion that the transaction
was done publicly or with the intent to use the alias publicly.
11.

Docket Number: G.R. Nos. 164368-69

Counsel: The Solicitor General

Ponente: BRION

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, we DENY the petition


for lack of merit.

Republic vs. Cabrini, Green & Ross, Inc. 489 SCRA 644 , May 05,
2006

Case Title : REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Represented by the ANTI-MONEY


LAUNDERING COUNCIL, petitioner, vs. CABRINI, GREEN & ROSS, INC., MICHAEL J.
FINDLAY and JANE GELBERG, respondents,, REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES,
Represented by the ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING COUNCIL, petitioner, vs. R.A.B.
REALTY, INC., MULTINATIONAL TELECOM INVESTORS CORPORATION, ROSARIO A.
BALADJAY and SATURNINO M. BALADJAY, respondents,, REPUBLIC OF THE
PHILIPPINES, Represented by the ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING COUNCIL, petitioner,
vs. MARIO N. MISA, MICHAEL Z. LAFUENTE, JESUS SILVERIO, REYNALDO
NICHOLAS and REX D. JAO, respondents,, REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES,
Represented by the ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING COUNCIL, petitioner, vs. ALBERTO
DE LOS REYES, LORENZO CASTRO, HERMIE DE VERA, EDUARDO LAZO and DANILO
LIWAG, respondents.Case Nature : PETITIONS for review on certiorari of a
decision of the Court of Appeals.

Syllabi Class : Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 (RA 9160)|Freeze Orders

Division: SECOND DIVISION


Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 (RA 9160); Freeze Orders; As the law now stands,
it is solely the Court of Appeals, which has the authority to issue a freeze
order as well as to extend its effectivity. It also has the exclusive jurisdiction
to extend freeze orders previously issued by the Anti-Money Laundering
Council (AMLC) vis-à-vis accounts and deposits related to money laundering
activities.—The amendment by RA 9194 of RA 9160 erased any doubt on the
jurisdiction of the CA over the extension of freeze orders. As the law now
stands, it is solely the CA which has the authority to issue a freeze order as
well as to extend its effectivity. It also has the exclusive jurisdiction to
extend existing freeze orders previously issued by the AMLC vis-à-
visaccounts and deposits related to money-laundering activities.Docket
Number: G.R. No. 154522, G.R. No. 154694, G.R. No. 155554, G.R. No. 155711

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Oscar C. Sahagun

Ponente: CORONA

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, G.R. No. 154694 is hereby DISMISSED for


being moot while G.R. Nos. 154522, 155554 and 155711
are REMANDED to the Court of Appeals for appropriate
action. Pending resolution by the Court of Appeals of these
cases, the April 21, 2003 temporary restraining order is
hereby MAINTAINED.

Republic vs. Glasgow Credit and Collection Services, Inc. 542 SCRA
95 , January 18, 2008

Case Title : REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the ANTI-MONEY


LAUNDERING COUNCIL, petitioner, vs. GLASGOW CREDIT AND COLLECTION
SERVICES, INC. and CITYSTATE SAVINGS BANK, INC., respondents.Case Nature :
PETITION for review on certiorari of an order of the Regional Trial Court of Manila,
Br. 47.

Syllabi Class : Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 (R.A. No. 9160)|Civil


Forfeiture|Actions|Venue|Motions to Dismiss|Dismissal of Cases

Division: FIRST DIVISION.


Docket Number: G.R. No. 170281

Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 (R.A. No. 9160); Civil


Forfeiture; Actions; Venue;Motions to Dismiss; The motu proprio dismissal of a complaint by
the trial court on the ground of improper venue is plain error.—Inasmuch as Glasgow never
questioned the venue of the Republic’s complaint for civil forfeiture against it, how could
the trial court have dismissed the complaint for improper venue? In Dacoycoy v.
Intermediate Appellate Court, 195 SCRA 641 (1991), (reiterated in Rudolf Lietz Holdings,
Inc. v. Registry of Deeds of Parañaque City, 344 SCRA 680 (2000)], this Court ruled:
Themotu proprio dismissal of petitioner’s complaint by [the] trial court on the ground
of improper venue is plain error… . (emphasis supplied)

Same; Same; Same; Same; The venue of civil forfeiture cases is any Regional Trial
Court of the judicial region where the monetary instrument, property or proceeds
representing, involving, or relating to an unlawful activity or to a money laundering offense
are located.—Under Section 3, Title II of the Rule of Procedure in Cases of Civil Forfeiture,
therefore, the venue of civil forfeiture cases is any RTC of the judicial region where the
monetary instrument, property

_______________

* FIRST DIVISION.

96

9 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


6
Republic vs. Glasgow Credit and Collection
Services, Inc.

or proceeds representing, involving, or relating to an unlawful activity or to a money


laundering offense are located. Pasig City, where the account sought to be forfeited in this
case is situated, is within the National Capital Judicial Region (NCJR). Clearly, the
complaint for civil forfeiture of the account may be filed in any RTC of the NCJR. Since the
RTC Manila is one of the RTCs of the NCJR, it was a proper venue of the Republic’s
complaint for civil forfeiture of Glasgow’s account.

Same; Same; Two Conditions When Applying for Civil Forfeiture; It is the preliminary
seizure of the property in question which brings it within the reach of judicial process.—RA
9160, as amended, and its implementing rules and regulations lay down two conditions
when applying for civil forfeiture: (1) when there is a suspicious transaction report or a
covered transaction report deemed suspicious after investigation by the AMLC and (2) the
court has, in a petition filed for the purpose, ordered the seizure of any monetary
instrument or property, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, related to said report. It
is the preliminary seizure of the property in question which brings it within the reach of the
judicial process. It is actually within the court’s possession when it is submitted to the
process of the court. The injunctive writ issued on August 8, 2003 removed account no. CA-
005-10-000121-5 from the effective control of either Glasgow or CSBI or their
representatives or agents and subjected it to the process of the court.

Same; Same; A criminal conviction for an unlawful activity is not a prerequisite for the
institution of a civil forfeiture proceeding—a finding of guilt for an unlawful activity is not
an essential element of civil forfeiture.—Whether or not there is truth in the allegation that
account no. CA-005-10-000121-5 contains the proceeds of unlawful activities is an
evidentiary matter that may be proven during trial. The complaint, however, did not even
have to show or allege that Glasgow had been implicated in a conviction for, or the
commission of, the unlawful activities of estafa and violation of the Securities Regulation
Code. A criminal conviction for an unlawful activity is not a prerequisite for the institution
of a civil forfeiture proceeding. Stated otherwise, a finding of guilt for an unlawful activity
is not an essential element of civil forfeiture.

97

VOL. 542, JANUARY 18, 2008 9


7
Republic vs. Glasgow Credit and Collection
Services, Inc.

Same; Same; Dismissal of Cases; While a court can dismiss a case on the ground of non
prosequitur, the real test for the exercise of such power is whether, under the circumstances,
plaintiff is chargeable with want of due diligence in failing to proceed with reasonable
promptitude.—In Marahay v. Melicor, 181 SCRA 811 (1990), this Court ruled: While a court
can dismiss a case on the ground of non prosequitur, the real test for the exercise of such
power is whether, under the circumstances, plaintiff is chargeable with want of due
diligence in failing to proceed with reasonable promptitude. In the absence of a pattern
or scheme to delay the disposition of the case or a wanton failure to observe the
mandatory requirement of the rules on the part of the plaintiff, as in the case at
bar, courts should decide to dispense with rather than wield their authority to
dismiss. (emphasis supplied)

Same; Same; Forfeiture proceedings are actions in rem—service may be made by


publication; The same principle in forfeiture proceedings under RA 1379 applies in cases for
civil forfeiture under RA 9160, as amended, since both cases do not terminate in the
imposition of a penalty but merely in the forfeiture of the properties either acquired illegally
or related to unlawful activities in favor of the State.—In Republic v. Sandiganbayan, 406
SCRA 190 (2003), this Court declared that the rule is settled that forfeiture proceedings are
actions in rem. While that case involved forfeiture proceedings under RA 1379, the same
principle applies in cases for civil forfeiture under RA 9160, as amended, since both cases
do not terminate in the imposition of a penalty but merely in the forfeiture of the properties
either acquired illegally or related to unlawful activities in favor of the State. As an
action in rem, it is a proceeding against the thing itself instead of against the person. In
actions in rem or quasi in rem, jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is not a
prerequisite to conferring jurisdiction on the court, provided that the court acquires
jurisdiction over the res. Nonetheless, summons must be served upon the defendant in
order to satisfy the requirements of due process. For this purpose, service may be made by
publication as such mode of service is allowed in actions in rem and quasi in rem.

Counsel: The Solicitor General, Lilian E. Elepaño, Edward G. Gan, SEDALAW

Ponente: CORONA

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The


October 27, 2005 order of the Regional Trial Court of
Manila, Branch 47, in Civil Case No. 03-107319 is SET
ASIDE. The August 11, 2005 motion to dismiss of Glasgow
Credit and Collection Services, Inc. is DENIED. And the
complaint for forfeiture of the Republic of the Philippines,
represented by the Anti-Money Laundering Council, is
REINSTATED.The case is hereby REMANDED to the
Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 47 which shall
forthwith proceed with the case pursuant to the provisions
of A.M. No. 05-11-04SC. Pending final determination of
the case, the November 23, 2005 temporary restraining
order issued by this Court is hereby MAINTAINED.

Sto. Tomas vs. Salac 685 SCRA 245 , November 13, 2012
Case Title : SPOUSES SIMPLICIO AND MILA CUARESMA (for and in behalf of
deceased daughter, Jasmin G. Cuaresma), petitioners, vs. WHITE FALCON
SERVICES, INC. and BECMEN SERVICES EXPORTER AND PROMOTION, INC.,
respondents.Case Nature : PETITION to review the constitutionality of certain
provisions of the Migrant Workers and Overseas Act of 1995 (R.A. No. 8042)

Syllabi Class : Labor Law|Recruitment|Overseas Filipino Workers


(OFWs)|Constitutional Law|Police Power|Remedial Law|Criminal
Procedure|Venue|Republic Act No. 8042|Corporation Law

Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: G.R. Nos. 184298-99

Counsel: Angelo A. Palana for White Falcon Services, Inc.

Ponente: ABAD

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, in G.R. 152642 and 152710, the Court


DISMISSES the petitions for having become moot and
academic. In G.R. 167590, the Court SETS ASIDE the
Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila dated
December 8, 2004 and DECLARES Sections 6, 7, and 9 of
Republic Act 8042 valid and constitutional. In G.R.
182978-79 and G.R. 184298-99 as well as in G.R.
167590, the Court HOLDS the last sentence of the second
paragraph of Section 10 of Republic Act 8042 valid and
constitutional. The Court, however, RECONSIDERS and
SETS ASIDE the portion of its Decision in G.R. 182978-79
and G.R. 184298-99 that held intervenors Eufrocina
Gumabay, Elvira Taguiam, Lourdes Bonifacio, and Eddie
De Guzman jointly and solidarily liable with respondent
Becmen Services Exporter and Promotion, Inc. to spouses
Simplicia and Mila Cuaresma for lack of a finding in those
cases that such intervenors had a part in the act or
omission imputed to their corporation.

People vs. Lalli 659 SCRA 105 , October 12, 2011


Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. HADJA JARMA
LALLI y PURIH, RONNIE ARINGOY y MASION, and NESTOR RELAMPAGOS (at large),
accused. HADJA JARMA LALLI y PURIH and RONNIE ARINGOY y MASION, accused-
appellants.Case Nature : APPEALS from a decision of the Court of Appeals.

Syllabi Class : Labor Law|Syndicated Illegal Recruitment|Elements

Syllabi:

1. Evidence; Witnesses; The Court has ruled that inconsistencies


pointed out by the accused in the testimony of prosecution witnesses
relating to minor details do not destroy the credibility of witnesses. On
the contrary, they indicate that the witnesses were telling the truth and
not previously rehearsed.-

—Both Aringoy and Lalli, in their respective Appeal Briefs, assail the
testimony of Lolita due to its alleged inconsistency on immaterial facts,
such as the status of Lolita’s grandfather, the name of the village she
was in, the date she was brought to Labuan, Malaysia, and the like. In
a long line of cases, the Court has ruled that inconsistencies pointed out
by the accused in the testimony of prosecution witnesses relating to
minor details do not destroy the credibility of witnesses. On the
contrary, they indicate that the witnesses were telling the truth and not
previously rehearsed.

2. Same; Syndicated Illegal Recruitment; Elements;(1) the


accused have no valid license or authority required by law to
enable them to lawfully engage in the recruitment and
placement of workers; (2) the accused engaged in this activity
of recruitment and placement by actually recruiting, deploying
and transporting; (3) illegal recruitment was committed by three
persons, conspiring and confederating with one another.-

—In this case, the trial court, as affirmed by the appellate court, found
Lalli, Aringoy and Relampagos to have conspired and confederated with
one another to recruit and place Lolita for work in Malaysia, without a
POEA license. The three elements of syndicated illegal recruitment are
present in this case, in particular: (1) the accused have no valid license
or authority required by law to enable them to lawfully engage in the
recruitment and placement of workers; (2) the accused engaged in this
activity of recruitment and placement by actually recruiting, deploying
and transporting Lolita to Malaysia; and (3) illegal recruitment was
committed by three persons (Aringoy, Lalli and Relampagos),
conspiring and confederating with one another.
3. Labor Law; Illegal Recruitment; Illegal Recruitment is commited
by persons who, without authority from the government, give the
impression that they have the power to send workers abroad for
employment purposes.-

—Given the broad definition of recruitment and placement, even the


mere act of referring someone for placement abroad can be considered
recruitment. Such act of referral, in connivance with someone without
the requisite authority or POEA license, constitutes illegal recruitment.
In its simplest terms, illegal recruitment is committed by persons who,
without authority from the government, give the impression that they
have the power to send workers abroad for employment purposes.

Division: SECOND DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 195419

Counsel: Office of the Solicitor General

Ponente: CARPIO, J.

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, we AFFIRM the Decision of the Court of


Appeals dated 26 February 2010, affirming the Decision of
the Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga City dated 29
November 2005, finding accused Lalli and Aringoy guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crimes of Illegal
Recruitment and Trafficking in Persons committed by a
syndicate, with the following MODIFICATIONS: 1. In
Criminal Case No. 21908, each of the accused is
sentenced to suffer the penalty of LIFE IMPRISONMENT
and to pay a fine of P2,000,000; 2. In Criminal Case No.
21930, each of the accused is sentenced to suffer the
penalty of LIFE IMPRISONMENT and to pay a fine of
P500,000; 3. Each of the accused is ordered to pay the
offended party Lolita Plando y Sagadsad, jointly and
severally, the sum of P500,000 as moral damages, and
P100,000 as exemplary damages for the crime of
Trafficking in Persons; and to pay the costs. The Court
cannot pronounce the liability of accused-at-large Nestor
Relampagos as jurisdiction over his person has not been
acquired.

People vs. Chu 615 SCRA 132 , March 10, 2010

Case Title : PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. MELISSA CHUA,


appellant.Case Nature : APPEAL from a decision of the Court of Appeals.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Labor Law|Estafa|Illegal Recruitment|llegal


Recruitment in Large Scale

Syllabi:

1. Criminal Law; Labor Law; Estafa; Illegal


Recruitment; Recruitment and Placement Defined.-

—The term “recruitment and placement” is defined under Article 13(b)


of the Labor Code of the Philippines as follows: (b) “Recruitment and
placement” refers to any act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting,
transporting, utilizing, hiring, or procuring workers, and includes
referrals, contract services, promising or advertising for employment,
locally or abroad, whether for profit or not. Provided, That any person
or entity which, in any manner, offers or promises for a fee
employment to two or more persons shall be deemed engaged in
recruitment and placement.

2. Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Intent is immaterial in illegal


recruitment in large scale.-

—Assuming arguendo that appellant was unaware of the illegal nature


of the recruitment business of Golden Gate, that does not free her of
liability either. Illegal Recruitment in Large Scale penalized under
Republic Act No. 8042, or “The Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos
Act of 1995,” is a special law, a violation of which is malum prohibitum,
not malum in se. Intent is thus immaterial.

3. Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Essential Elements for Illegal


Recruitment in Large Scale to Prosper.-
—Thus for illegal recruitment in large scale to prosper, the prosecution
has to prove three essential elements, to wit: (1) the accused
undertook a recruitment activity under Article 13(b) or any prohibited
practice under Article 34 of the Labor Code; (2) the accused did not
have the license or the authority to lawfully engage in the recruitment
and placement of workers; and (3) the accused committed such illegal
activity against three or more persons individually or as a group.

4. Same; Same; Same; Same; Illegal Recruitment in Large


Scale; Any recruitment activities to be undertaken by non-
licensee or non-holder of contracts, or as in the present case, an
agency with an expired license, shall be deemed illegal and
punishable under Article 39 of the Labor Code of the
Philippines; Illegal recruitment is deemed committed in large scale if
committed against three or more persons individually or as a group.-

—From the foregoing provisions, it is clear that any recruitment


activities to be undertaken by non-licensee ornon-holder of contracts,
or as in the present case, an agency with an expired license, shall be
deemed illegal and punishable under Article 39 of the Labor Code of the
Philippines. And illegal recruitment is deemed committed in large scale
if committed against three or more persons individually or as a group.

Division: FIRST DIVISION

Docket Number: G.R. No. 184058

Counsel: The Solicitor General

Ponente: CARPIO-MORALES

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, the appeal is hereby DENIED.


Disini Jr. vs. Secretary of Justice 723 SCRA 109 , April 22, 2014

Case Title : PHILIPPINE INTERNET FREEDOM ALLIANCE, composed of DAKILA-


PHILIPPINE COLLECTIVE FOR MODERN HEROISM, represented by Leni Velasco,
PARTIDO LAKAS NG MASA, represented by Cesar S. Melencio, FRANCIS EUSTON R.
ACERO, MARLON ANTHONY ROMASANTA TONSON, TEODORO A. CASIÑO, NOEMI
LARDIZABAL-DADO, IMELDA MORALES, JAMES MATTHEW B. MIRAFLOR, JUAN G.M.
RAGRAGIO, MARIA FATIMA A. VILLENA, MEDARDO M. MANRIQUE, JR., LAUREN
DADO, MARCO VITTORIA TOBIAS SUMAYAO, IRENE CHIA, ERASTUS NOEL T.
DELIZO, CRISTINA SARAH E. OSORIO, ROMEO FACTOLERIN, NAOMI L. TUPAS,
KENNETH KENG, ANA ALEXANDRA C. CASTRO, petitioners, vs. THE EXECUTIVE
SECRETARY, THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, THE SECRETARY OF INTERIOR AND
LOCAL GOVERNMENT, THE SECRETARY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, THE
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY OFFICE, THE
DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, THE CHIEF, PHILIPPINE
NATIONAL POLICE, THE HEAD OF THE DOJ OFFICE OF CYBERCRIME, and THE
OTHER MEMBERS OF THE CYBERCRIME INVESTIGATION AND COORDINATING
CENTER, respondents.Case Nature : MOTIONS FOR RECONSIDERATION of a
decision of the Supreme Court.

Syllabi Class : Criminal Law|Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012|Cyberlibel

Division: EN BANC

Docket Number: G.R. No. 203518

Criminal Law; Cybercrime Law; Penalties; Section 6 of the cybercrime law imposes
penalties that are one degree higher when the crimes defined in the Revised Penal Code and
certain special laws are committed with the use of information and communication
technologies (ICT).—Section 6 of the cybercrime law imposes penalties that are one degree
higher when the crimes defined in the Revised Penal Code and certain special laws are
committed with the use of information and communication technologies (ICT). Some of the
petitioners insist that Section 6 is invalid since it produces an unusual chilling effect on
users of cyberspace that would hinder free expression.
Same; Same; Compared to traditional crimes, cybercrimes are more perverse;
Cybercriminals enjoy the advantage of anonymity, like wearing a mask during a heist.—
Compared to traditional crimes, cybercrimes are more perverse. In traditional estafa for
example, the offender could reach his victim only at a particular place and a particular
time. It is rare that he could consummate his crime without exposing himself to detection
and prosecution. Fraud online, however, crosses national boundaries, generally depriving
its victim of the means to obtain reparation of the wrong done and seek prosecution and
punishment of the absent criminal. Cybercriminals enjoy the advantage of anonymity, like
wearing a mask during a heist.
Same; Prescription of Crimes; Prescription is not a matter of procedure over which the
Court has something to say. Rather, it is substantive law since it assumes the existence of
an authority to punish a wrong, which authority the Constitution vests in Congress
alone.—Prescription is not a matter of procedure over which the Court has something to
say. Rather, it is substantive law since it assumes the existence of an authority to punish
a wrong, which
116authority the Constitution vests in Congress alone. Thus, there is no question that
Congress may provide a variety of periods for the prescription of offenses as it sees fit.
What it cannot do is pass a law that extends the periods of prescription to impact crimes
committed before its passage.
Same; Libel; Libel, like obscenity, belongs to those forms of speeches that have never
attained Constitutional protection and are considered outside the realm of protected
freedom.—The majority of the movants believe that the Court’s decision upholding the
constitutionality of Section 4(c)(4), which penalizes online libel, effectively tramples upon
the right to free expression. But libel is not a protected speech. There is no freedom to
unjustly destroy the reputation of a decent woman by publicly claiming that she is a paid
prostitute. As early as 1912, the Court held that libel is a form of expression not protected
by the Constitution. Libel, like obscenity, belongs to those forms of speeches that have
never attained Constitutional protection and are considered outside the realm of protected
freedom.
Constitutional Law; Freedom of Speech; Freedom of the Press; As long as the
expression or speech falls within the protected sphere, it is the solemn duty of courts to
ensure that the rights of the people are protected.—The constitutional guarantee against
prior restraint and subsequent punishment, the jurisprudential requirement of “actual
malice,” and the legal protection afforded by “privilege communications” all ensure that
protected speech remains to be protected and guarded. As long as the expression or speech
falls within the protected sphere, it is the solemn duty of courts to ensure that the rights
of the people are protected.
Criminal Law; Cybercrime Law; Cyberlibel; Online libel is not a new crime. It is
essentially the old crime of libel found in the 1930 Revised Penal Code and transposed to
operate in the cyberspace. Consequently, the mass of jurisprudence that secures the freedom
of expression from its reach applies to online libel.—The movants argue that Section 4(c)(4)
is both vague and overbroad. But, again, online libel is not a new crime. It is essentially
the old crime of libel found in the 1930 Revised Penal Code and transposed to operate in
the cyberspace. Consequently, the mass of jurisprudence that secures the freedom of
expression from its reach applies to online libel. Any
117apprehended vagueness in its provisions has long been settled by precedents.

Sereno, CJ., Dissenting and Concurring Opinion:


Constitutional Law; Freedom of Speech; View that freedom of speech is the nucleus of
other rights. That is why it is the first right that is curtailed when a free society falls under
a repressive regime. That is also why the Supreme Court has acknowledged freedom of
speech as occupying a preferred position in the hierarchy of rights.—I maintain my dissent
insofar as the application of Section 6 to libel is concerned because the one degree higher
penalty it imposes creates a chilling effect on the exercise of free speech. Hence, while a
solitary sentence to that effect would have sufficed, I respectfully but vigorously reassert
my dissent, considering the far-reaching effects of Section 6 on the lives and liberty of the
Filipino people. Freedom of speech is the nucleus of other rights. That is why it is the first
right that is curtailed when a free society falls under a repressive regime. That is also why
this Court has acknowledged freedom of speech as occupying a preferred position in the
hierarchy of rights.
Criminal Law; Penalties; View that penal statutes cannot be facially invalidated on
the ground that they produce a “chilling effect,” since they are intended to have an in
terrorem effect to deter criminality. However, when a law provides for a penalty that goes
beyond the in terrorem effect needed to deter crimes and impedes the exercise of freedom of
speech, it should be quashed at once without hesitation.—As a general rule, penal statutes
cannot be facially invalidated on the ground that they produce a “chilling effect,” since
they are intended to have an in terroremeffect to deter criminality. However, when a law
provides for a penalty that goes beyond the in terrorem effect needed to deter
crimes and impedes the exercise of freedom of speech, it should be quashed at
once without hesitation. As I previously demonstrated, the increase in penalty under
this seemingly innocuous provision of Section 6, insofar as it is applied to libel, indirectly
but absolutely results in chilling the right of the people to free speech and expression.
Therefore, it is unconstitutional.
118
Same; Same; Cyberlibel; Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012; Qualifying Aggravating
Circumstances; Information and Communication Technologies (ICT); View that Section 6
of the Cybercrime Prevention Act introduces the use of ICT as a qualifying aggravating
circumstance; Section 6 doubles the maximum penalty for online libel.—Section 6 of the
Cybercrime Prevention Act introduces the use of ICT as a qualifying aggravating
circumstance, thusly: SEC. 6. All crimes defined and penalized by the Revised Penal Code,
as amended, and special laws, if committed by, through and with the use of
information and communications technologies shall be covered by the relevant
provisions of this Act: Provided, That the penalty to be imposed shall be one (1)
degree higher than that provided for by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and
special laws, as the case may be. (Emphases supplied) Article 355 of the Revised Penal
Code, provides for libel the penalty of prisión correccional in its minimum (from 6 months
and 1 day to 2 years and 4 months) and medium (from 2 years, 4 months, and 1 day to 4
years and 2 months) periods. However, with the increase in penalty by one degree under
theCybercrime Prevention Act, libel qualified by the use of ICT is now punishable by
prisión correccional in its maximum period (from 4 years, 2 months and 1 day to 6 years)
toprisión mayor in its minimum period (from 6 years and 1 day to 8 years). Therefore,
Section 6 doubles the maximum penalty for online libel.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; View that Section 6 effectively creates an
additional in terrorem effect by introducing information and communication technologies
(ICT) as a qualifying aggravating circumstance.—Section 6 effectively creates an
additional in terrorem effect by introducing ICT as a qualifying aggravating
circumstance. This burden is imposed on top of the intended in terrorem effect of the
original penalties imposed by the Revised Penal Code. Thus, the public will now have to
take this additional burden into account in their calculation of penalties. As if the need to
weigh the costs and benefits of whether to exercise freedom of speech is not burdened
enough by the possibility of a libel suit, the public will now have to additionally mull over
their use of ICT in the exercise of this freedom through ICT.
119
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; View that before the Cybercrime Prevention
Act, the imposable penalty for libel under Art. 355 of the Revised Penal Code, even if
committed by means of information and communication technologies (ICT), was prisión
correccional in its minimum and medium periods. Now, under Section 6 of the Cybercrime
Prevention Act, the imposable penalty for libel qualified by ICT has been increased to
prisión correccional in its maximum period to prisión mayor in its minimum period.—
Before the Cybercrime Prevention Act, the imposable penalty for libel under Art. 355 of the
Revised Penal Code, even if committed by means of ICT, was prisión correccional in its
minimum and medium periods. Now, under Section 6 of the Cybercrime Prevention Act,
the imposable penalty for libel qualified by ICT has been increased to prisión
correccional in its maximum period to prisión mayor in its minimum period. Consequently,
it is now possible for the harsher accessory penalties for prisión mayor to attach. These
are: the deprivation of public offices and employments even if conferred by popular
election, the deprivation of the right to vote, disqualification from offices or public
employments and the forfeiture of retirement pay. Undeniably, public office and
employment as well as the right to vote, and retirement pay are not trifling privileges that
one can easily risk losing. Hence, the public will now have to factor in these severe
consequences into their calculations. The exercise of freedom of speech through ICT is
thereby further burdened.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; View that when this very beneficial
technology is made a qualifying aggravating circumstance that guarantees imprisonment,
the in terrrorem effect of libel is further magnified and becomes unduly oppressive to the
exercise of free speech.—Given the basic postulate animating our penal laws that humans
are calculating beings who weigh the perils of their actions, it is possible that people may
risk a conviction for libel, since they may avail themselves of the privilege of probation.
They may find that the exercise of their freedom to speak and to express themselves is
worth the threat. But when this very beneficial technology is made a qualifying
aggravating circumstance that guarantees imprisonment, the in terrrorem effect
of libel is further magnified and becomes unduly oppressive to the exercise of
free speech.Furthermore, it should be noted that offenders will now lose the additional
benefit of probation — the suspension of accessory penalties.
120
Same; Cyberlibel; Prescription of Crimes; View that while a charge for ordinary libel
may be filed within the limited period of only one year from its commission, the charge for
online libel can be instituted within 15 years since under Article 90 that is the prescription
period for crimes punishable by afflictive penalties, other than reclusion perpetua and
reclusion temporal.—Before the passage of the Cybercrime Prevention Act, the State
waives its right to prosecute libel after only one year. With the increase in penalty by one
degree pursuant to Section 6 of theCybercrime Prevention Act, however, the penalty for
libel through ICT becomesafflictive under Article 25 of the Revised Penal Code.
Accordingly, while a charge for ordinary libel may be filed within the limited period of only
one year from its commission, the charge for online libel can be instituted within 15 years
since under Article 90 that is the prescription period for crimes punishable by afflictive
penalties, other than reclusion perpetua and reclusion temporal. This is not a trivial
matter since, in effect, the threat of prosecution for online libel lingers for 14 years more.
Similarly, the prescription period for the penalty of libel through ICT is increased from 10
to 15 years.
Same; Same; Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012; Freedom of Speech; View that it is
not difficult to see how Section 6 subjugates freedom of speech through its combined effects
— longer prison terms, harsher accessory penalties, loss of benefits under the Probation
Law, extended prescription periods, and ineligibility of these penalties to be offset by
mitigating circumstances.—A qualifying aggravating circumstance like the use of ICT
increases the penalty by degrees, not by period as a generic aggravating circumstance
does. Moreover, while a generic aggravating circumstance may be offset by a generic
mitigating circumstance such as voluntary surrender, a qualifying aggravating
circumstance is more onerous in that it cannot be similarly offset. Hence, since Section 6
now punishes the offender with a higher range of penalty — prisión correccional in its
maximum period (from 4 years, 2 months and 1 day to 6 years) toprisión mayor in its
minimum period (from 6 years and 1 day to 8 years) — the period of imprisonment will
remain within this higher and harsher range. It is not difficult to see how Section 6
subjugates freedom of speech through its combined effects — longer prison
terms, harsher accessory penalties, loss of benefits under the Probation Law,
extended prescription periods, and ineligibility of these penalties to be offset by
mitigating circum-
121stances. We cannot turn a blind eye to this and turn our backs on the Filipino
people. I am convinced more than ever of the unconstitutionality of Section 6, as far as
libel is concerned.
Same; Same; Same; Qualifying Aggravating Circumstances; Information and
Communication Technologies; View that the mere use of Information and Communication
Technologies (ICT) by itself should not automatically make it aggravating. It has to be
purposely sought to facilitate the crime, maximize damage or ensure impunity.—The mere
use of ICT by itself should not automatically make it aggravating. It has to be
purposely sought to facilitate the crime, maximize damage or ensure impunity.
It must be established that the otherwise beneficial nature of ICT was selected and
intentionally sought, deliberately and consciously adopted to advance the perpetration of
the crime. That is the only way to attribute greater perversity on the part of the
offender in using ICT and to justify the imposition of a penalty one degree
higher. If there is no such intent, there can be no aggravation. If the mind is
innocent as to the adoption of a particular means, there can be no aggravating
circumstance. This malicious intent, like the elements of the crimes itself, must be
proven beyond reasonable doubt. If not so proven, the ICT cannot qualify the crime, and
the criminal cannot be penalized one degree higher.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; View that it is puzzling that the Supreme Court is
willing to uphold commercial speech than the preferred right to free speech of citizens.—We
cannot be complacent. The very fabric of our democratic society is in danger of being
slowly torn apart. The Court staunchly defended the right to commercial speech of
advertisers by declaring unconstitutional Section 4(c)(3) which simply regulates the
sending of unsolicited commercial communications even as it admits that commercial
speech is not accorded the same level of protection as that given to other constitutionally
guaranteed forms of expression. On the other hand, it does not give the same steadfast
protection for freedom of speech which Section 6 clearly chills. Hence, it is puzzling that
the Court is willing to uphold commercial speech than the preferred right to free speech of
citizens.
Same; Same; Same; View that the majority’s insistence that Section 4(c)(4) of the
Cybercrime Prevention Act cannot be imple-
122mented without at the same time imposing the higher penalty provided by Section 6
— with its invidious chilling effects — constrains me to hold that Section 4(c)(4) is wholly
unconstitutional as well.—I had earlier voted with the majority to uphold Section 4(c)(4)
on cyberlibel — save for its application to those who merely react to a libelous post — on
the presumption that Section 6, which imposes a one degree higher penalty on crimes
committed using ICT, would be declared unconstitutional insofar as it is applied to
cyberlibel. However, in view of the ultimate ruling of the majority affirming the
constitutionality of Section 6, I consequently conclude that Section 4(c)(4) is wholly
unconstitutional. The invalidation of Section 6 would have removed the heavy burden on
free speech exercised online. Indeed, Section 6 is completely incompatible with free speech.
To reiterate, the majority’s insistence that Section 4(c)(4) cannot be implemented without
at the same time imposing the higher penalty provided by Section 6 — with its invidious
chilling effects discussed above — constrains me to hold that Section 4(c)(4) is wholly
unconstitutional as well. If free speech is to be truly defended as a right with
a preferredposition in the hierarchy of rights, its online exercise should also be vigorously
protected.

Brion, J., Dissenting Opinion:


Criminal Law; Libel; View that jurisprudence has long settled that libel is not
protected speech, and that Congress, in the exercise of its power to define and penalize
crimes, may validly prohibit its utterance.—At the outset, allow me to clarify that I do not
think that libel per se is unconstitutional; neither is its application in
communications made through ICT violative of the Constitution. Jurisprudence has
long settled that libel is not protected speech, and that Congress, in the exercise of its
power to define and penalize crimes, may validly prohibit its utterance. Increasing the
penalty of libel when committed through ICT, however, is another matter. I submit that
Section 6 of the Cybercrime Law, insofar as it qualifies the crime of libel, violates freedom
of speech because it unduly increases the prohibitive effect of libel law on online speech.
My reasons are twofold: first, I do not believe that there is sufficient distinction between
libelous speech committed online and speech uttered in the real, physical world to warrant
increasing the prohibitive impact of penal law in cyberlibel. Second, the increase in the
penalty of libel when committed through computer systems can have
123the effect of imposing self-censorship in the Internet and of curtailing an
otherwise robust avenue for debate and discussion on public issues. In other words, over-
penalizing online speech could overreach into matters other than libelous and can thus
prevent protected speech from being uttered.
Same; Cyberlibel; Freedom of Speech; View that increasing the penalty of cyberlibel
could curtail speech in the Internet.—The publicity element of libel in the Revised Penal
Code does not take into consideration the amount of audience reached by the defamatory
statement. Libelous speech may be penalized when, for instance, it reaches a third person
by mail, or through a television program, or through a newspaper article published
nationwide. All these defamatory imputations are punishable with the same penalty
of prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods or a fine ranging from 200 to
6,000 pesos or both. I do not see any reason why libel committed through ICT should be
treated in a harsher manner. I submit that we cannot rule on the basis of extreme,
outlying situations, especially since, as I would explain in my succeeding discussion,
increasing the penalty of cyberlibel could curtail speech in the Internet. If we must err in
this decision, we must err on the side of protecting freedom of speech, a fundamental right
ranking high in the value of constitutional freedoms, so cherished because it is crucial to
the functioning of a working democracy.
Same; Same; Electronic Violence; Words and Phrases; View that Electronic Violence
has been defined as any act involving the exploitation of data that “can cause or is likely to
cause mental, emotional and psychological distress or suffering to the victim.”—As a final
point in the matter, I note that despite the Cybercrime Law’s passage, bills punishing
cyber-bullying and electronic violence have been filed in Congress. As filed, the bills
penalize cyber-bullying, or the act of using social media to “harm or harass other people in
a deliberate, repeated and hostile manner.” Electronic Violence, on the other hand, has
been defined as any act involving the exploitation of data that “can cause or is likely to
cause mental, emotional and psychological distress or suffering to the victim.” To my
mind, these bills represent Congress’ intent to penalize the extreme situation that
theponencia contemplates; at most, these bills are a recognition that cyberlibel has not
been intended to cover such extreme situation, but only to recognize and clarify that the
crime of libel may be committed through computer systems.

124
Leonen, J., Dissenting Opinion:

Criminal Law; Libel; View that it is not enough that we proclaim, as the majority does,
that libel is unprotected speech.—It is not enough that we proclaim, as the majority does,
that libel is unprotected speech. The ponencia’s example, i.e., “[t]here is no freedom to
unjustly destroy the reputation of a decent woman by publicly claiming that she is a paid
prostitute,” fails to capture the nuances of criminalizing libel in our jurisprudence and in
reality. It is a precarious simplification of the issue inferred from one imagined case. This
obfuscation practically neuters the ability of this court to do incisive analysis in order to
provide the necessary protection to speech as it applies to the internet.
Same; Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012; Freedom of Speech; View that the text of
Section 4(c)(4) of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 is a swing towards lesser protection
of the primordial right to speech.—The majority now condones the same 1930s text
definition of libel effectively discarding the carefully crafted exception painstakingly built
from the assertion of fundamental rights in this court. This condonation reveals the
legislative blinders to the radically different context of the internet. The text of Section
4(c)(4) of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 is a swing towards lesser protection of the
primordial right to speech. The position taken by the majority deserves a second hard look,
if only to ensure the constitutional guarantee that our people truly have freedom of
expression as a means to assert their sovereignty and governmental authority in
cyberspace.
Same; Same; Cyberlibel; View that criminal libel has an in terrorem effect that is
inconsistent with the contemporary protection of the primordial and necessary right of
expression enshrined in our Constitution.—The chilling effect on various types of speech
with just the possibility of criminal libel prosecution compared with the consequences of
civil liabilities for defamation presents another dimension that have been glossed over by
the main opinion and the resolution on the various motions for reconsideration. We have
to acknowledge the real uses of criminal libel if we are to be consistent to protect speech
made to make public officers and government accountable. Criminal libel has an in
terrorem effect that is inconsistent with the contemporary protection of the primordial and
neces-
125sary right of expression enshrined in our Constitution. The history and actual use
of criminal libel should be enough for us to take a second look at the main opinion in this
case. The review should include a consideration of the nature of cyberspace as layered
communities used to evolve ideas. Such review should result in a declaration of
unconstitutionality of criminal libel in the Revised Penal Code and in the Cybercrime
Prevention Act of 2012.
Same; Same; View that the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 does not prohibit
advertising. It simply requires that whoever advertises must be accountable to the user, not
use false identities and allow for opt out mechanisms so that the user will not continue to
receive unwelcome advertising ad nauseum.—I view the current provisions as sufficiently
narrow and tailored to meet legitimate and compelling state interests. It protects the
ordinary internet user against unwarranted intrusions. Certainly, freedom of expression
should not evolve into a fundamental and protected right to badger. The Cybercrime
Prevention Act of 2012 does not prohibit advertising. It simply requires that whoever
advertises must be accountable to the user, not use false identities and allow for opt out
mechanisms so that the user will not continue to receive unwelcome advertising ad
nauseum.

Counsel: Juan Alfonso P. Torrevillas for petitioners-in-intervention Ephraim Hans


Manzano Ocampo, et al.

Ponente: ABAD, J.

Dispositive Portion:

WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES with finality the various


motions for reconsideration that both the petitioners and
the respondents, represented by the Office of the Solicitor
General, filed for lack of merit.