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[G. R. Nos. 137542-43. January 20, 2004] marijuana fruiting tops weighing 911.

1 grams, knowing the same to be a


prohibited drug under the provisions of the above-cited law.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. REYNAN SANTIAGO y
CASTILLO, appellant. CONTRARY TO LAW.3

DECISION Upon arraignment, appellant assisted by counsel, pleaded not guilty.4 Trial
on the merits ensued.
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:
The evidence for the prosecution established the following facts:
This is an appeal from the Joint Decision1 of the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 127, Caloocan City, in Criminal Cases Nos. C-53125 and C-53126, At about 10:00 oclock in the evening of November 21, 1997, an informant
entitled People of the Philippines vs. Reynan Santiago y Castillo for violation arrived at the Northern Metro Narcotics District Office in Bagong Barrio East,
of Section 8, Article II and Section 15, Article III of Republic Act No. 6425, as Caloocan City. He reported to Major Jose Valencia, Officer-in-Charge, and
amended, otherwise known as The Dangerous Drugs Acts of 1991. P/Insp. Daniel Oamin the rampant trafficking of shabu by appellant at
Sawata, Maypajo, Caloocan City.
The Informations filed against appellant Reynan Santiago are quoted as
follows: Based on such information, the police formed a team led by P/Insp. Oamin,
with PO1 Joseph delos Santos, PO2 Rommel Someros, PO1 Efferson Arceo
1. Criminal Case No. C-53125 and PO1 Emerson Adavilles, as members. PO1 delos Santos was assigned
as the poseur buyer, PO2 Someros and PO1 Arceo as the back-up team,
That on or about the 21st day of November, 1997 in Caloocan City, Metro and PO1 Adavilles and P/Insp. Oamin as perimeter security. P/Insp. Oamin
Manila, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named handed PO1 delos Santos a P500.00 bill bearing serial number DH 464448
accused, without authority of law, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and as poseur money.
feloniously sell and deliver to PO1 JOSEPH DELOS SANTOS, who posed as
buyer of methylamphetamine hydrochloride weighing 0.07 gram, a regulated It was understood that when the transaction was completed, PO1 delos
drug, without the corresponding license or prescription therefore knowing the Santos would place his left hand on his nape. Then, the back-up team would
same to be such. apprehend appellant.

CONTRARY TO LAW.2 Then the team and the informant, riding in a red Toyota car and a
motorcycle, proceeded to Sawata, Maypajo, Caloocan City.
2. Criminal Case No. C-53126
Upon seeing the appellant in the area waiting for customers, the informant
That on or about the 21st day of November, 1997 in Caloocan City, Metro briefed PO1 delos Santos then left. PO1 delos Santos approached appellant
Manila, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named and asked, Pare, may dala ka? He showed appellant the P500.00 poseur
accused, without being authorized by law, did then and there willfully, money. After scrutinizing PO1 delos Santos, appellant took the money and
feloniously have in his possession, custody and control one (1) transparent handed him a small sachet containing white granules or shabu, saying, Pare,
plastic bag with markings EX-C ETA containing four (4) bricks of dried lisa na lang. He then asked PO1 delos Santos if he wanted marijuana and
pointed to a plastic bag hanging on the left handle of his hopper. Upon
hearing this, PO1 delos Santos made the pre-arranged signal. Immediately, 2. In Crim. Case No. 53126 for Violation of Sec. 8, Art. II of the above-
the back-up team apprehended appellant, at the same time informing him of mentioned Act, this court, in the absence of any aggravating or mitigating
his constitutional rights. They recovered from him the poseur money and four circumstance, hereby sentences said Accused to suffer the penalty of
bricks of marijuana fruiting tops. Reclusion Perpetua; to pay a fine of P10,000,000.00; and to pay the costs in
both cases.
The team brought him to the Northern Metro Narcotics District Office at
Bagong Barrio East, Caloocan City for investigation. Then the confiscated Subject drugs are hereby declared confiscated and forfeited in favor of the
drugs were submitted for laboratory examination. They were positive for government to be dealt with in accordance with law. No similar
shabu and marijuana. pronouncement was made re the seized Hopper motorcycle it appearing that
the said property is owned by a third person, i.e., one Mrs. RODELIA
The defense presented as its witnesses appellant, Roberto de Leon, Marissa MALICLIC, not liable for the offenses charged.
Jorda and Jaime Magtalas. Appellant and de Leon testified that at around
10:00 o'clock in the evening of November 21, 1997, they were traveling along Incidentally the Urgent Motion to Order the Release of the Illegally Seized
Sawata St., Maypajo, Caloocan City going to the house of appellant's Hopper filed by the Accused, to which the special prosecutor handling this
girlfriend on board a hopper or scooter, when two motorcycle riders chased case was to submit his comment/recommendation thereon will be treated in a
and overtook them. They identified themselves as policemen, then separate order/resolution of this Court.
handcuffed and frisked them. They found chocolates in their possession. The
policemen brought them to the Caloocan City General Hospital and The preventive imprisonment suffered by the Accused shall be credited in full
introduced them as drug addicts. in the service of his sentence in accordance with Art. 29 of the Revised Penal
Code.
Both Marissa Jorda and Jaime Magtalas testified that on the night of
November 21, 1997, they saw appellant and his companion being frisked by SO ORDERED.5
two policemen.
In this appeal, appellant ascribes to the trial court the following assignments
After hearing, the trial court issued a Joint Decision finding appellant guilty of of error:
the crimes charged, the dispositive portion of which reads:
I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN REQUIRING APPELLANT TO PROVE
WHEREFORE, premises considered and the prosecution having established HIS INNOCENCE WITH STRONG AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE
beyond an iota of doubt the guilt of the Accused of the offenses charged, this INSTEAD OF APPLYING THE RULE THAT CRIMINAL CASES RISE AND
Court hereby renders judgment re above captioned cases as follows: FALL ON THE STRENGTH OF THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED BY THE
PROSECUTION AND NOT ON THE WEAKNESS OF THE DEFENSE.
1. In Grim. Case No. 53125 for Violation of Sec. 15, Art. Ill of RA 6425, as
amended by RA 7659, this Court, in the absence of any modifying II. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ACTIVELY INTERFERING IN THE
circumstance, hereby sentences Accused REYNAN SANTIAGO y PROCEEDINGS OF THE CASE BY CONDUCTING ITS OWN DIRECT
CASTILLO to an indeterminate prison term of six (6) months of Arresto EXAMINATION AND CROSS-EXAMINATION OF WITNESSES INSTEAD
Mayor as minimum, to four (4) years and two (2) months of Prision OF LEAVING THIS MATTER TO THE PROSECUTION.
Correccional, as maximum;
III. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE PROSECUTION presumptions operate against plaintiff who has burden of proof, he cannot
EVIDENCE HAS PROVEN THE GUILT OF APPELLANT BEYOND prevail.
REASONABLE DOUBLT."6
Relative to the second assigned error, appellant laments the trial judge's
On the first assigned error, records show that after the prosecution had active participation in the proceedings by conducting cross-examination, in
adduced its evidence, appellant filed a motion to dismiss by way of a violation of his constitutional right to due process as enunciated in Tabuena
demurrer to evidence.7 The trial court denied the demurrer, holding that the vs. Sandiganbayan.10
prosecution has sufficiently established a prima facie case to warrant the
conviction of appellant.8 In its Decision, the trial court mentioned the issue of We carefully perused the stenographic notes of this case and found the
whether the defense by its evidence was able to overcome the prima facie questions propounded by the trial judge to be merely clarificatory, intended to
case established by the prosecution which tends to establish the guilt of satisfy his mind upon material points arising during the witnesses'
appellant. Appellant bewails the fact that the trial court shifted the burden of examination. The judge, being the arbiter, may properly intervene in the
proof from the prosecution to the defense. Our ruling in Bautista vs. presentation of evidence to expedite the trial and prevent unnecessary waste
Sarmiento,9 is squarely in point, thus: of time.11 In Barbers vs. Laguio, Jr.12 citing United States vs. Hudieres,13
we held:
There is no denying that in a criminal case, unless the guilt of the accused is
established beyond reasonable doubt, he is entitled to acquittal. But when The right of a trial judge to question the witnesses with a view to satisfying
the trial court denies petitioners' motion to dismiss by way of demurrer to his mind upon any material point which presents itself during the trial of a
evidence on the ground that the prosecution had established a prima facie case over which he presides is too well established to need discussion. The
case against them, they assume a definite burden. It becomes incumbent trial judges in this jurisdiction are judges of both the law and the facts, and
upon petitioners to adduce evidence to meet and nullify, if not overthrow, the they would be negligent in the performance of their duties if they permitted a
prima facie case against them. This is due to the shift in the burden of miscarriage of justice as a result of a failure to propound a proper question to
evidence, and not of the burden of proof as petitioners would seem to a witness which might develop some material facts upon which the judgment
believe. in the case should turn. So in a case where a trial judge sees that the degree
of credit which he is to give the testimony of a given witness may have an
When a prima facie case is established by the prosecution in a criminal case, important bearing upon the outcome, there can be no question that in the
as in the case at bar, the burden of proof does not shift to the defense. It exercise of a sound discretion he may put such questions to the witness as
remains throughout the trial with the party upon whom it is imposed-the will enable him to formulate a sound opinion as to the ability or the
prosecution. It is the burden of evidence which shifts from party to party willingness of the witness to tell the truth, x x x
depending upon the exigencies of the case in the course of the trial. This
burden of going forward with the evidence is met by evidence which As to the third assigned error, appellant insists that the trial court overlooked
balances that introduced by the prosecution. Then the burden shifts back. inconsistencies in the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses. He pointed
out that they have different versions on: (1) the initial stages of the formation
A prima facie case need not be countered by a preponderance of evidence of the buy-bust team; (2) how the buy-bust team reached the target area; and
nor by evidence of greater weight. Defendant's evidence which equalizes the (3) the initial encounter with appellant. Moreover, he assails the version of
weight of plaintiff's evidence or puts the case in equipoise is sufficient. As a the prosecution that there were no preliminary discussions between the
result, plaintiff will have to go forward with the proof. Should it happen that at poseur-buyer and the appellant prior to the transaction, contrary to ordinary
the trial the weight of evidence is equally balanced or at equilibrium and human experience.
fails. We have consistently held that courts invariably view with disfavor
Appellant's contentions must fail. The inconsistencies adverted to by the denials and allegations of frame-up for these are easily concocted. They are
appellant are trivial and insignificant and refer only to minor details. Time and the usual and standard defenses in prosecutions involving violation of the
again, we have steadfastly ruled that inconsistencies on minor and trivial dangerous drugs law.18
matters only serve to strengthen rather than weaken the credibility of
witnesses for they erase the suspicion of rehearsed testimony.14 We therefore uphold the trial court's judgment finding appellant guilty beyond
Furthermore, we cannot expect the testimonies of different witnesses to be reasonable doubt of the crimes charged.
completely identical and to coincide with each other since they have different
impressions and recollections of the incident. Pursuant to R.A. 6425, as amended, and in line with People vs. Simon,19 the
penalty for the sale of 0.07 gram of shabu is prision correctional. Applying the
Hence, it is only natural that their testimonies are at variance on some minor Indeterminate Sentence Law and there being no qualifying circumstance that
details. attended the commission of the crime, the trial court properly imposed the
penalty of six (6) months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to four (4) years and
Appellant likewise calls our attention to the discrepancy between the two (2) months of prision correctional, as maximum, in Criminal Case No. C-
testimony and the affidavit of PO1 delos Santos. He testified on cross- 53125. Under the same law (R.A. 6425, as amended), possession of 911.1
examination that when the team arrived at the target area, appellant was grams of marijuana is punishable by reclusion perpetua to death. There
already there. However, in his affidavit, he stated that he and the informant being no mitigating or aggravating circumstance, and applying Sec. 63(2) of
waited for several minutes at the place before they saw appellant and his the Revised Penal Code,20 the trial court's imposition of reclusion perpetua
companion. We are not swayed. Discrepancies and/or inconsistencies in Criminal Case No. C-53126 is in order.
between a witness' affidavit and testimony do not necessarily impair his
credibility as affidavits are taken ex parte and are often incomplete or As to the fine imposed, it is settled that courts may fix any amount within the
inaccurate for lack of or absence of searching inquiries by the investigating limits established by law.21 Under Section 8, Article II of the same law (R.A.
officer.15 Besides, it appears that the affidavit was executed by PO1 delos 6425, as amended), in relation to Section 20, Article IV of R.A. 7659, as
Santos jointly with the other members of the buy-bust team. amended,22 if the marijuana involved is 750 grams or more, the imposable
fine is P500,000.00 to P10,000,000.00. Thus, in Criminal Case No. C-53126
At this point it is apt to stress that the findings of the trial court, having had where 911.11 grams of marijuana were confiscated from appellant, the fine
the opportunity to personally observe the demeanor of the witnesses, are often million pesos fixed by the trial court may be equitably reduced to five
entitled to great weight and respect, absent any showing that the trial court hundred thousand pesos.
overlooked facts or circumstances which would substantially affect the result
of the case.16 In the present case, the trial court found the evidence for the WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed Joint Decision of the
prosecution worthy of credence and we see no cogent reason to deviate from Regional Trial Court, Branch 127, Caloocan City in Criminal Cases Nos. C-
such finding. The witnesses for the prosecution are law enforcement officers 53125 and C-53126, finding appellant Reynan Santiago guilty beyond
who, unless shown that they were inspired by an improper motive or were reasonable doubt of violation of Sec. 8, Art. II and Sec. 15, Art. Ill of R.A.
not properly performing their duty, have in their favor the legal presumption 6425, as amended, is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION in the sense that
that official duty has been regularly performed.17 in Criminal Case No. C-53126, he is fined P500.000.00.

Thus, pitted against the categorical and positive testimonies of the SO ORDERED
prosecution witnesses, appellant's defense of denial and frame-up miserably
Vitug, (Chairman), Corona and Carpio-Morales, JJ., concur.
At the hearing of the case Francisco Dato pleaded guilty. The other two
G.R. No. L-11676 October 17, 1916 accused, Maximo Malicsi and Antonio Rodrigo, pleaded not guilty; therefore,
during the trial the chief of police presented the memorandum exhibited by
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee, the policeman Andres Pablo, who testified under oath that on the date
vs. mentioned he and Tomas de Leon went to the said barrio to raid a jueteng
ANDRES PABLO, defendant-appellant. game, but that before they arrived there they saw from afar that some
persons started to run toward the hills; that when witness and his companion
Alfonso E. Mendoza for appellant. arrived at a vacant lot they saw Francisco Dato and a low table there, and
Attorney-General Avanceña for appellee. the table caused them to suspect that a jueteng game was being carried on;
that in fact they did find on one side of the lot a tambiolo and 37 bolas, but
that they did not see the accused Rodrigo and Malicsi on the said lot, nor did
TORRES, J.: they see them run; and that only afterwards did the witness learn that these
latter were the cabecillas or ringleaders in the jueteng game, from
At about noon of the 21st of October, 1915, Andres Pablo, a policeman of the information given him by an unknown person. In view of this testimony by the
municipality of Balanga, went by order of his chief to the barrio of Tuyo to police officer who made the arrest and of the other evidence adduced at the
raid a jueteng game which, according to the information lodged, was being trial the court acquitted the defendants Antonio Rodrigo and Maximo Malicsi
conducted in that place; but before the said officer arrived there the players, and sentenced only Francisco Dato, as a gambler.
perhaps advised of his approach by a spy, left and ran away; however, on his
arrival at a vacant lot the defendant there found Francisco Dato and, at a Before the case came to trial in the justice of the peace court the policeman
short distance away, a low table. After a search of the premises he also Andres Pablo had an interview and conference with the accused Malicsi and
found thereon a tambiolo (receptacle) and 37 bolas (balls). Notwithstanding ROdrigo in the house of Valentin Sioson. On this occasion he was instructed
that the officer had seen the men Maximo Malicsi and Antonio Rodrigo leave not to testify against Malicsi and Rodrigo, and in fact received through
the said lot, yet, as at first he had seen no material proof that the game was Gregorio Ganzon the sum of P5.
being played, he refrained from arresting them, and on leaving the place only
arrested Francisco Daro, who had remained there. By reason of the foregoing and after making a preliminary investigation the
provincial fiscal, on December 1, 1915, filed an information in the Court of
In reporting to his chief what had occurred, the policeman presented a First Instance of Bataan charging Andres Pablo with the crime of perjury,
memorandum containing the following statement: "In the barrio of Tuyo I under the provisions of section 3 of Act No. 1697. The following is an extract
raided a jueteng na bilat game, seized a tambiolo and bolas, and saw the from the complaint:
cabecillas Maximo MAlicsi and Antonio Rodrigo and the gambler Francisco
Dato. I saw the two cabecillas escape." That on or about November 6, 1915, in the municipality of Balanga, Bataan,
P.I., and within the jurisdiction of this court, the said accused, Andres Pablo,
In consequence, chief of police Jose D. Reyes, on October 22, 1915, filed a during the hearing in the justice of the peace court of Balanga of the criminal
complaint in the court of justice of the peace charging the said Rodrigo, cause No. 787, entitled the United States vs. Antonio Rodrigo and Maximo
Malicsi, and Dato with having gambled at jueteng, in violation of municipal Malicsi, for violation of Municipal Ordinance No. 5 of the municipality of
ordinance No. 5. As a result of this complaint the accused were arrested, but Balanga, did, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously affirm and swear in legal
were afterwards admitted to bail. form before the justice of the peace court as follow: `We did not there
overtake the accused Antonio Rodrigo and Maximo Malicsi, nor did we even by the latter, though he said nothing about what amount of money he
see them run,' the said statement being utterly false, as the accused well delivered to the policeman Pablo.
knew that it was, and material to the decision of the said criminal cause No.
787, United States vs. Antonio Rodrigo and Maximo Malicsi. An act The defendant Andres Pablo testified under oath that, on his being asked by
committed with violation of law. the justice of the peace how he could have seen Maximo Malicsi and Antonio
Rodrigo, he replied that he did not see them at the place where the game
The case came to trial and on December 28, 1915, the court rendered was being conducted nor did he see them run away from there, for he only
judgment therein sentencing the defendant to the penalty of two years' found the table, the tambiolo, the bolas, and Francisco Dato; that he did not
imprisonment, to pay a fine of P100 and, in case of insolvency, to the surprise the game because the players ran away before he arrived on the lot
corresponding subsidiary imprisonment, and to pay the costs. The defendant where, after fifteen minutes' search, he found only the tambiolo and the
was also disqualified from thereafter holding any public office and from bolas; that on arriving at the place where the game was played, they found
testifying in the courts of the Philippine Islands until the said disqualification only Francisco Dato and some women in the Street, and as Dato had already
should be removed. From this judgment he appealed. gone away, witness' companion, the policeman Tomas de Leon, got on his
bicycle and went after him; and that he found the tambiolo at a distance of
Francisco Dato, on testifying as a witness, said that when the policemen about 6 meters from a low table standing on the lot.
Andres Pablo and Tomas de Leon arrived at the place where the jueteng
was being played, they found the defendant gamblers, Malicsi and Rodrigo; From the facts above related, it is concluded that the defendant Andres
that, prior to the hearing of the case in the justice of the peace court, Malicsi Pablo, who pleaded not guilty, falsely testified under oath in the justice of the
and Rodrigo ordered him to call Andres Pablo, who, together with witness, peace court of Balanga, Bataan, in saying he had not seen the alleged
went to the house of Valentin Sioson, where they held a conference; that gamblers Maximo Malicsi and Antonio Rodrigo in the place where, according
witness pleaded guilty in the justice of the peace court, in fulfillment of his to the complaint filed, the game of jueteng was being played and where the
part of an agreement made between himself and his two coaccused, Malicsi defendant and his companion, the policeman Tomas de Leon, had found a
and Rodrigo, who promised him that they would support his family during the table, tambiolo and bolas, used in the game of jueteng, while it was proved at
time he might be a prisoner in jail; that Andres Pablo did not know that they the trial that he did not them and did overtake them while they were still in the
were gamblers, because he did not find them in the place where the game place where the game was being played. But notwithstanding his having
was in progress, but that when witness was being taken to the municipal seen them there, upon testifying in the cause prosecuted against these men
building by the policemen he told them who the gamblers were who had run and another for gambling, he stated that he had not seen them there,
away and whom Andres Pablo could have seen. knowing that he was not telling the truth and was false to the oath he had
taken, and he did so willfully and deliberately on account of his agreement
Maximo Malicsi corroborated the foregoing testimony and further stated that, with the men, Malicsi and Rodrigo, and in consideration of a bribe of P15
on the arrival of the policemen who made the arrest and while they were which he had received in payment for his false testimony he afterwards gave.
looking for the tambiolo, he succeeded in escaping; that Andres Pablo had
known him for a long time and could have arrested him had he wished to do Francisco Dato and Gregorio Ganzon corroborated the assertion that the
so; that prior to the hearing he and his codefendants, ROdrigo and Dato, did policeman Andres Pablo undertook to exclude the gamblers, Malicsi and
in fact meet in the house of Valentin Sioson, on which occasion they agreed Rodrigo, from the charge and from his testimony in consideration for P15
that they would give the policemen Andres Pablo P20, provided witness and which he received through Gregorio Ganzon.
Rodrigo were excluded from the charge; and that only P15 was delivered to
the said Pablo, through Gregorio Ganzon. This statement was corroborated
Andres Pablo was charged with the crime of perjury and was afterwards
convicted under Act No. 1697, which (according to the principle laid down by Notwithstanding that the said Act No. 1697 (which, as interpreted by this
this court in various decisions that are already well-settled rules of law) court in its decisions, was deemed to have repealed the aforementioned
repealed the provisions contained in articles 318 to 324 of the Penal Code article of the Penal Code relating to false testimony, comprised within the
relative to false testimony. term of perjury) did not expressly repeal the said articles of the Penal Code;
and as the said final article of the Administrative Code, in totally repealing Act
By the second paragraph of the final section of the last article of the No. 1697, does not explicitly provide that the mentioned articles of the Penal
Administrative Code, or Act No. 2657, there was repealed, among the other Code are also repealed, the will of the legislation not being expressly and
statutes therein mentioned, the said Act No. 1697 relating to perjury, and the clearly stated with respect to the complete or partial repeal of the said articles
repealing clause of the said Administrative Code does not say under what of the Penal Code, in the manner that it has totally repealed the said Act No.
other penal law in force the crime of false testimony, at least, if not that of 1697 relating its perjury; and, furthermore, as it is imperative that society
perjury, shall be punished. punish those of its members who are guilty of perjury or false testimony, and
it cannot be conceived that these crimes should go unpunished or be freely
Under these circumstances, may the crime of perjury or of false testimony go committed without punishment of any kind, it must be conceded that there
unpunished, and is there no penal sanction whatever in this country for this must be in this country some prior, preexistent law that punishes perjury or
crime? May the truth be freely perverted in testimony given under oath and false testimony.
which, for the very reason that it may save a guilty person from punishment,
may also result in the conviction and punishment of an innocent person? If all There certainly are laws which deal with perjury or false testimony, like Law 7
this is not possible and is not right before the law and good morals in a et seq. of Title 2, third Partida.
society of even mediocre culture, it must be acknowledged that it is
imperatively necessary to punish the crime of perjury or of false testimony — However, since the Penal Code went into force, the crime of false testimony
a crime which can produce incalculable and far-reaching harm to society and has been punished under the said articles of the said Code, which as we
cause infinite disturbance of social order. have already said, have not been specifically repealed by the said Act No.
1697, but since its enactment, have not been applied, by the mere
The right of prosecution and punishment for a crime is one of the attributes interpretation given to them by this court in its decisions; yet, from the
that by a natural law belongs to the sovereign power instinctively charged by moment that Act was repealed by the Administrative Code, the needs of
the common will of the members of society to look after, guard and defend society have made it necessary that the said articles 318 to 324 should be
the interests of the community, the individual and social rights and the deemed to be in force, inasmuch as the Administrative Code, in repealing the
liberties of every citizen and the guaranty of the exercise of his rights. said Act relating to perjury, has not explicitly provided that the said articles of
the Penal Code have likewise been repealed.
The power to punish evildoers has never been attacked or challenged, as the
necessity for its existence has been recognized even by the most backward This manner of understanding and construing the statutes applicable to the
peoples. At times the criticism has been made that certain penalties are crime of false testimony or perjury is in harmony with the provision of Law 11,
cruel, barbarous, and atrocious; at other, that they are light and inadequate Title 2, Book 3, of the Novisima Recopilacion which says::
to the nature and gravity of the offense, but the imposition of punishment is
admitted to be just by the whole human race, and even barbarians and All the laws of the kingdom, not expressly repealed by other subsequent
savages themselves, who are ignorant of all civilization, are no laws, must be literally obeyed and the excuse that they are not in use cannot
exception.lawphil.net avail; for the Catholic kings and their successors so ordered in numerous
laws, and so also have I ordered on different occasions, and even though HON. ROLANDO R. VILLARAZA (as City Judge of Cagayan de Oro City),
they were repealed, it is seen that they have been revived by the decree and CAESAR PUERTO, respondents.
which I issued in conformity with them although they were not expressly
designated. The council will be informed thereof and will take account of the Francisco P. Rabanes, Edgardo Y. Raagas, Casiano A. Gamotin, Jr., Office
importance of the matter. of the City Fiscal of Cagayan de Oro City for petitioner.

It is, then, assumed that the said articles of the Penal Code are in force and Eric Menchavez for respondent Caesar Puerto.
are properly applicable to crimes of false testimony. Therefore, in
consideration of the fact that in the case at bar the evidence shows it to have
been duly proven that the defendant, Andres Pablo, in testifying in the cause AQUINO, J.:
prosecuted for gambling at jueteng, perverted the truth, for the purpose of
favoring the alleged gamblers, Maximo Malicsi and Antonio Rodrigo, with the This case is about the jurisdiction of a city court in estafa cases.
aggravating circumstance of the crime being committed through bribery, for it
was also proved that the defendant Pablo received P15 in order that he On December 3, 1975 an assistant city fiscal charged Caesar Puerto with
should make no mention of the said two gamblers in his sworn testimony, estafa in the city court of Cagayan de Oro City for having issued on October
whereby he knowingly perverted the truth, we hold that, in the commission of 16, 1974 two bouncing checks for the total sum of P4, 966. 63 (Criminal
the crime of false testimony, there concurred the aggravating circumstance of Case No. 32140).
price or reward, No. 3 of article 10 of the Code, with no mitigating
circumstance to offset the effects of the said aggravating one; wherefore the City Judge Rolando R. Villaraza in his order March 31, 1976 noted that the
defendant has incurred the maximum period of the penalty of arresto mayor accused had waived the second stage of the preliminary investigation. He
in its maximum degree to prision correccional in its medium degree, and a directed that the case be elevated, for trial, to the court of First Instance or
fine. the Circuit Criminal Court.

For the foregoing reasons, we hereby reverse the judgment appealed from Upon petition of the prosecution, the Court of first Instance of Misamis
and sentence Andres Pablo to the penalty of two years four months and one Oriental, Cagayan de Oro Branch VIII, in its order of February 3, 1977
day of prision correccional, to pay a fine of 1,000 pesetas, and, in case of returned the case to the city court because in its opinion the case falls within
insolvency, to suffer the corresponding subsidiary imprisonment, which shall the concurrent jurisdiction of the two courts and, the city court, as the first
not exceed one-third of the principal penalty. He shall also pay the costs of court which took cognizance of the case, should try it.
both instances. So ordered.
Disagreeing with the Court of First Instance, respondent city judge in his
Johnson, Carson, Trent and Araullo, JJ., concur. order of April 21, 1977 directed the re-elevation of the case. His view is that
Moreland, J., concurs in the result . the case falls within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Court of First
Instance because estafa committed by the accused is punishable by prision
G.R. No. L-46228 January 17, 1978 mayor medium under Presidential Decree No. 818 which took effect on
October 22, 1975 and which amended article 315 of the Revised Penal
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, Code.
vs.
That order of respondent judge is assailed in the petition for certiorari filed in pursuant to Rule 112 of the Rules of Court and Republic Act No. 5180, as
this Court on May 27, 1977 by the office of the city fiscal of Cagayan de Oro amended by Presidential Decree No. 77.
City.
WHEREFORE, the order of the Court of First Instance, returning the case to
We hold that the case was properly filed with the city court which has original the city court, is affirmed and the two orders of the respondent city judge,
jurisdiction over it. The estafa imputed to Caesar Puerto is punishable under elevating the case to the Court of First Instance, are set aside. The city court
article 315 of the Revised Penal Code by arresto mayor maximum to prision is directed to try the case. No costs.
correccional minimum or four months and one day to two years and four
months. SO ORDERED.

The penalty of prision mayor medium, or eight years and one day to ten Fernando (Chairman), Barredo, Antonio and Concepcion Jr., JJ., concur.
years, imposed by Presidential Decree No. 818, applies only to swindling by
means of issuing bouncing checks which was committed or after October 22, Santos, J., is on leave.
1975.
G.R. No. L-64279 April 30, 1984
That increased penalty does not apply to the estafa committed by Puerto on
October 16, 1974. To apply it to Puerto would make the decree an ex post ANSELMO L. PESIGAN and MARCELINO L. PESIGAN, petitioners,
facto law. Its retroactive application is prohibited by articles 21 and 22 of the vs.
Revised Penal Code and section 12, Article IV of the Constitution. JUDGE DOMINGO MEDINA ANGELES, Regional Trial Court, Caloocan City
Branch 129, acting for REGIONAL TRIAL COURT of Camarines Norte, now
The city court has original jurisdiction over the case because the penultimate presided over by JUDGE NICANOR ORIÑO, Daet Branch 40; DRA. BELLA
paragraph or section 87 of the Judiciary Law, as amended by Republic Acts S. MIRANDA, ARNULFO V. ZENAROSA, ET AL., respondents.
Nos. 2613 and 3828, provides that "judges of city courts shall have like
jurisdiction as the Court of First Instance to try parties charged with an Quiazon, De Guzman Makalintal and Barot for petitioners.
offense committed within their respective jurisdictions, in which the penalty
provided by law does not exceed prision correccional or imprisonment for not The Solicitor General for respondents.
more than six years or fine not exceeding six thousand pesos or both."

As section 87 itself shows, that jurisdiction is concurrent with the court of AQUINO, J.:ñé+.£ªwph!1
First Instance which is empowered to try "all criminal cases in which the
penalty provided by law is imprisonment for more than six months, or a fine At issue in this case is the enforceability, before publication in the Official
of more than two hundred pesos" (Sec. 44[f], Judiciary Law. See People vs. Gazette of June 14, 1982, of Presidential Executive Order No. 626-A dated
Nazareno, L-40037, April 30, 1976, 70 SCRA 531). October 25, 1980, providing for the confiscation and forfeiture by the
government of carabaos transported from one province to another.
It was not necessary for the city court to have conducted the preliminary
investigation of the case. The filing of the information by the fiscal Anselmo L. Pesigan and Marcelo L. Pesigan, carabao dealers, transported in
presupposes that he had conducted the requisite preliminary investigation an Isuzu ten-wheeler truck in the evening of April 2, 1982 twenty-six
carabaos and a calf from Sipocot, Camarines Sur with Padre Garcia,
Batangas, as the destination. We hold that the said executive order should not be enforced against the
Pesigans on April 2, 1982 because, as already noted, it is a penal regulation
They were provided with (1) a health certificate from the provincial published more than two months later in the Official Gazette dated June 14,
veterinarian of Camarines Sur, issued under the Revised Administrative 1982. It became effective only fifteen days thereafter as provided in article 2
Code and Presidential Decree No. 533, the Anti-Cattle Rustling Law of 1974; of the Civil Code and section 11 of the Revised Administrative Code.
(2) a permit to transport large cattle issued under the authority of the
provincial commander; and (3) three certificates of inspection, one from the The word "laws" in article 2 (article 1 of the old Civil Code) includes circulars
Constabulary command attesting that the carabaos were not included in the and regulations which prescribe penalties. Publication is necessary to
list of lost, stolen and questionable animals; one from the LIvestock apprise the public of the contents of the regulations and make the said
inspector, Bureau of Animal Industry of Libmanan, Camarines Sur and one penalties binding on the persons affected thereby. (People vs. Que Po Lay,
from the mayor of Sipocot. 94 Phil. 640; Lim Hoa Ting vs. Central Bank of the Phils., 104 Phil. 573;
Balbuna vs. Secretary of Education, 110 Phil. 150.)
In spite of the permit to transport and the said four certificates, the carabaos,
while passing at Basud, Camarines Norte, were confiscated by Lieutenant The Spanish Supreme Court ruled that "bajo la denominacion generica de
Arnulfo V. Zenarosa, the town's police station commander, and by Doctor leyes, se comprenden tambien los reglamentos, Reales decretos,
Bella S. Miranda, provincial veterinarian. The confiscation was basis on the Instrucciones, Circulares y Reales ordenes dictadas de conformidad con las
aforementioned Executive Order No. 626-A which provides "that henceforth, mismas por el Gobierno en uso de su potestad (1 Manresa, Codigo Civil, 7th
no carabao, regardless of age, sex, physical condition or purpose and no Ed., p. 146.)
carabeef shall be transported from one province to another. The carabaos or
carabeef transported in violation of this Executive Order as amended shall be Thus, in the Que Po Lay case, a person, convicted by the trial court of having
subject to confiscation and forfeiture by the government to be distributed ... to violated Central Bank Circular No. 20 and sentenced to six months'
deserving farmers through dispersal as the Director of Animal Industry may imprisonment and to pay a fine of P1,000, was acquitted by this Court
see fit, in the case of carabaos" (78 OG 3144). because the circular was published in the Official Gazette three months after
his conviction. He was not bound by the circular.
Doctor Miranda distributed the carabaos among twenty-five farmers of
Basud, and to a farmer from the Vinzons municipal nursery (Annex 1). That ruling applies to a violation of Executive Order No. 626-A because its
confiscation and forfeiture provision or sanction makes it a penal statute.
The Pesigans filed against Zenarosa and Doctor Miranda an action for Justice and fairness dictate that the public must be informed of that provision
replevin for the recovery of the carabaos allegedly valued at P70,000 and by means of publication in the Gazette before violators of the executive order
damages of P92,000. The replevin order could not be executed by the can be bound thereby.
sheriff. In his order of April 25, 1983 Judge Domingo Medina Angeles, who
heard the case at Daet and who was later transferred to Caloocan City, The cases of Police Commission vs. Bello, L-29960, January 30, 1971, 37
dismissed the case for lack of cause of action. SCRA 230 and Philippine Blooming Mills vs. Social Security System, 124
Phil. 499, cited by the respondents, do not involve the enforcement of any
The Pesigans appealed to this Court under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court and penal regulation.
section 25 of the Interim Rules and pursuant to Republic Act No. 5440, a
1968 law which superseded Rule 42 of the Rules of Court.
Commonwealth Act No. 638 requires that all Presidential executive orders
having general applicability should be published in the Official Gazette. It
provides that "every order or document which shag prescribe a penalty shall
be deemed to have general applicability and legal effect." Separate Opinions

Indeed, the practice has always been to publish executive orders in the
Gazette. Section 551 of the Revised Administrative Code provides that even
bureau "regulations and orders shall become effective only when approved ABAD SANTOS, J., concurring:
by the Department Head and published in the Official Gazette or otherwise
publicly promulgated". (See Commissioner of Civil Service vs. Cruz, 122 Phil. The Pesigans are entitled to the return of their carabaos or the value of each
1015.) carabao which is not returned for any reason. The Pesigans are also entitled
to a reasonable rental for each carabao from the twenty six farmers who
In the instant case, the livestock inspector and the provincial veterinarian of used them. The farmers should not enrich themselves at the expense of the
Camarines Norte and the head of the Public Affairs Office of the Ministry of Pesigans.
Agriculture were unaware of Executive Order No. 626-A. The Pesigans could
not have been expected to be cognizant of such an executive order.

It results that they have a cause of action for the recovery of the carabaos.
The summary confiscation was not in order. The recipients of the carabaos
should return them to the Pesigans. However, they cannot transport the Separate Opinions
carabaos to Batangas because they are now bound by the said executive
order. Neither can they recover damages. Doctor Miranda and Zenarosa ABAD SANTOS, J., concurring:
acted in good faith in ordering the forfeiture and dispersal of the carabaos.
The Pesigans are entitled to the return of their carabaos or the value of each
WHEREFORE, the trial court's order of dismissal and the confiscation and carabao which is not returned for any reason. The Pesigans are also entitled
dispersal of the carabaos are reversed and set aside. Respondents Miranda to a reasonable rental for each carabao from the twenty six farmers who
and Zenarosa are ordered to restore the carabaos, with the requisite used them. The farmers should not enrich themselves at the expense of the
documents, to the petitioners, who as owners are entitled to possess the Pesigans.
same, with the right to dispose of them in Basud or Sipocot, Camarines Sur.
No costs. G.R. No. L-63915 April 24, 1985

SO ORDERED.1äwphï1.ñët LORENZO M. TAÑADA, ABRAHAM F. SARMIENTO, and MOVEMENT OF


ATTORNEYS FOR BROTHERHOOD, INTEGRITY AND NATIONALISM,
Makasiar, (Chairman), Concepcion, Jr., Guerrero, and Escolin, JJ., concur. INC. [MABINI], petitioners,
vs.
De Castro, J., took no part. HON. JUAN C. TUVERA, in his capacity as Executive Assistant to the
President, HON. JOAQUIN VENUS, in his capacity as Deputy Executive
Assistant to the President , MELQUIADES P. DE LA CRUZ, in his capacity
as Director, Malacañang Records Office, and FLORENDO S. PABLO, in his 1590-1595, 1594-1600, 1606-1609, 1612-1628, 1630-1649, 1694-1695,
capacity as Director, Bureau of Printing, respondents. 1697-1701, 1705-1723, 1731-1734, 1737-1742, 1744, 1746-1751, 1752,
1754, 1762, 1764-1787, 1789-1795, 1797, 1800, 1802-1804, 1806-1807,
1812-1814, 1816, 1825-1826, 1829, 1831-1832, 1835-1836, 1839-1840,
ESCOLIN, J.: 1843-1844, 1846-1847, 1849, 1853-1858, 1860, 1866, 1868, 1870, 1876-
1889, 1892, 1900, 1918, 1923, 1933, 1952, 1963, 1965-1966, 1968-1984,
Invoking the people's right to be informed on matters of public concern, a 1986-2028, 2030-2044, 2046-2145, 2147-2161, 2163-2244.
right recognized in Section 6, Article IV of the 1973 Philippine Constitution, 1
as well as the principle that laws to be valid and enforceable must be e] Executive Orders Nos.: 411, 413, 414, 427, 429-454, 457- 471, 474-
published in the Official Gazette or otherwise effectively promulgated, 492, 494-507, 509-510, 522, 524-528, 531-532, 536, 538, 543-544, 549,
petitioners seek a writ of mandamus to compel respondent public officials to 551-553, 560, 563, 567-568, 570, 574, 593, 594, 598-604, 609, 611- 647,
publish, and/or cause the publication in the Official Gazette of various 649-677, 679-703, 705-707, 712-786, 788-852, 854-857.
presidential decrees, letters of instructions, general orders, proclamations,
executive orders, letter of implementation and administrative orders. f] Letters of Implementation Nos.: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11-22, 25-27, 39, 50, 51,
59, 76, 80-81, 92, 94, 95, 107, 120, 122, 123.
Specifically, the publication of the following presidential issuances is sought:
g] Administrative Orders Nos.: 347, 348, 352-354, 360- 378, 380-433,
a] Presidential Decrees Nos. 12, 22, 37, 38, 59, 64, 103, 171, 179, 184, 436-439.
197, 200, 234, 265, 286, 298, 303, 312, 324, 325, 326, 337, 355, 358, 359,
360, 361, 368, 404, 406, 415, 427, 429, 445, 447, 473, 486, 491, 503, 504, The respondents, through the Solicitor General, would have this case
521, 528, 551, 566, 573, 574, 594, 599, 644, 658, 661, 718, 731, 733, 793, dismissed outright on the ground that petitioners have no legal personality or
800, 802, 835, 836, 923, 935, 961, 1017-1030, 1050, 1060-1061, 1085, standing to bring the instant petition. The view is submitted that in the
1143, 1165, 1166, 1242, 1246, 1250, 1278, 1279, 1300, 1644, 1772, 1808, absence of any showing that petitioners are personally and directly affected
1810, 1813-1817, 1819-1826, 1829-1840, 1842-1847. or prejudiced by the alleged non-publication of the presidential issuances in
question 2 said petitioners are without the requisite legal personality to
b] Letter of Instructions Nos.: 10, 39, 49, 72, 107, 108, 116, 130, 136, institute this mandamus proceeding, they are not being "aggrieved parties"
141, 150, 153, 155, 161, 173, 180, 187, 188, 192, 193, 199, 202, 204, 205, within the meaning of Section 3, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, which we
209, 211-213, 215-224, 226-228, 231-239, 241-245, 248, 251, 253-261, 263- quote:
269, 271-273, 275-283, 285-289, 291, 293, 297-299, 301-303, 309, 312-315,
325, 327, 343, 346, 349, 357, 358, 362, 367, 370, 382, 385, 386, 396-397, SEC. 3. Petition for Mandamus.—When any tribunal, corporation, board or
405, 438-440, 444- 445, 473, 486, 488, 498, 501, 399, 527, 561, 576, 587, person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the law
594, 599, 600, 602, 609, 610, 611, 612, 615, 641, 642, 665, 702, 712-713, specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust, or station, or
726, 837-839, 878-879, 881, 882, 939-940, 964,997,1149-1178,1180-1278. unlawfully excludes another from the use a rd enjoyment of a right or office to
which such other is entitled, and there is no other plain, speedy and
c] General Orders Nos.: 14, 52, 58, 59, 60, 62, 63, 64 & 65. adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, the person aggrieved thereby
may file a verified petition in the proper court alleging the facts with certainty
d] Proclamation Nos.: 1126, 1144, 1147, 1151, 1196, 1270, 1281, and praying that judgment be rendered commanding the defendant,
1319-1526, 1529, 1532, 1535, 1538, 1540-1547, 1550-1558, 1561-1588, immediately or at some other specified time, to do the act required to be
done to Protect the rights of the petitioner, and to pay the damages sustained No reason exists in the case at bar for applying the general rule insisted
by the petitioner by reason of the wrongful acts of the defendant. upon by counsel for the respondent. The circumstances which surround this
case are different from those in the United States, inasmuch as if the relator
Upon the other hand, petitioners maintain that since the subject of the is not a proper party to these proceedings no other person could be, as we
petition concerns a public right and its object is to compel the performance of have seen that it is not the duty of the law officer of the Government to
a public duty, they need not show any specific interest for their petition to be appear and represent the people in cases of this character.
given due course.
The reasons given by the Court in recognizing a private citizen's legal
The issue posed is not one of first impression. As early as the 1910 case of personality in the aforementioned case apply squarely to the present petition.
Severino vs. Governor General, 3 this Court held that while the general rule Clearly, the right sought to be enforced by petitioners herein is a public right
is that "a writ of mandamus would be granted to a private individual only in recognized by no less than the fundamental law of the land. If petitioners
those cases where he has some private or particular interest to be were not allowed to institute this proceeding, it would indeed be difficult to
subserved, or some particular right to be protected, independent of that conceive of any other person to initiate the same, considering that the
which he holds with the public at large," and "it is for the public officers Solicitor General, the government officer generally empowered to represent
exclusively to apply for the writ when public rights are to be subserved the people, has entered his appearance for respondents in this case.
[Mithchell vs. Boardmen, 79 M.e., 469]," nevertheless, "when the question is
one of public right and the object of the mandamus is to procure the Respondents further contend that publication in the Official Gazette is not a
enforcement of a public duty, the people are regarded as the real party in sine qua non requirement for the effectivity of laws where the laws
interest and the relator at whose instigation the proceedings are instituted themselves provide for their own effectivity dates. It is thus submitted that
need not show that he has any legal or special interest in the result, it being since the presidential issuances in question contain special provisions as to
sufficient to show that he is a citizen and as such interested in the execution the date they are to take effect, publication in the Official Gazette is not
of the laws [High, Extraordinary Legal Remedies, 3rd ed., sec. 431]. indispensable for their effectivity. The point stressed is anchored on Article 2
of the Civil Code:
Thus, in said case, this Court recognized the relator Lope Severino, a private
individual, as a proper party to the mandamus proceedings brought to Art. 2. Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of
compel the Governor General to call a special election for the position of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided, ...
municipal president in the town of Silay, Negros Occidental. Speaking for this
Court, Mr. Justice Grant T. Trent said: The interpretation given by respondent is in accord with this Court's
construction of said article. In a long line of decisions,4 this Court has ruled
We are therefore of the opinion that the weight of authority supports the that publication in the Official Gazette is necessary in those cases where the
proposition that the relator is a proper party to proceedings of this character legislation itself does not provide for its effectivity date-for then the date of
when a public right is sought to be enforced. If the general rule in America publication is material for determining its date of effectivity, which is the
were otherwise, we think that it would not be applicable to the case at bar for fifteenth day following its publication-but not when the law itself provides for
the reason 'that it is always dangerous to apply a general rule to a particular the date when it goes into effect.
case without keeping in mind the reason for the rule, because, if under the
particular circumstances the reason for the rule does not exist, the rule itself Respondents' argument, however, is logically correct only insofar as it
is not applicable and reliance upon the rule may well lead to error' equates the effectivity of laws with the fact of publication. Considered in the
light of other statutes applicable to the issue at hand, the conclusion is easily
reached that said Article 2 does not preclude the requirement of publication
in the Official Gazette, even if the law itself provides for the date of its The very first clause of Section I of Commonwealth Act 638 reads: "There
effectivity. Thus, Section 1 of Commonwealth Act 638 provides as follows: shall be published in the Official Gazette ... ." The word "shall" used therein
imposes upon respondent officials an imperative duty. That duty must be
Section 1. There shall be published in the Official Gazette [1] all enforced if the Constitutional right of the people to be informed on matters of
important legisiative acts and resolutions of a public nature of the, Congress public concern is to be given substance and reality. The law itself makes a
of the Philippines; [2] all executive and administrative orders and list of what should be published in the Official Gazette. Such listing, to our
proclamations, except such as have no general applicability; [3] decisions or mind, leaves respondents with no discretion whatsoever as to what must be
abstracts of decisions of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals as included or excluded from such publication.
may be deemed by said courts of sufficient importance to be so published;
[4] such documents or classes of documents as may be required so to be The publication of all presidential issuances "of a public nature" or "of general
published by law; and [5] such documents or classes of documents as the applicability" is mandated by law. Obviously, presidential decrees that
President of the Philippines shall determine from time to time to have general provide for fines, forfeitures or penalties for their violation or otherwise
applicability and legal effect, or which he may authorize so to be published. impose a burden or. the people, such as tax and revenue measures, fall
... within this category. Other presidential issuances which apply only to
particular persons or class of persons such as administrative and executive
The clear object of the above-quoted provision is to give the general public orders need not be published on the assumption that they have been
adequate notice of the various laws which are to regulate their actions and circularized to all concerned. 6
conduct as citizens. Without such notice and publication, there would be no
basis for the application of the maxim "ignorantia legis non excusat." It would It is needless to add that the publication of presidential issuances "of a public
be the height of injustice to punish or otherwise burden a citizen for the nature" or "of general applicability" is a requirement of due process. It is a
transgression of a law of which he had no notice whatsoever, not even a rule of law that before a person may be bound by law, he must first be
constructive one. officially and specifically informed of its contents. As Justice Claudio
Teehankee said in Peralta vs. COMELEC 7:
Perhaps at no time since the establishment of the Philippine Republic has
the publication of laws taken so vital significance that at this time when the In a time of proliferating decrees, orders and letters of instructions which all
people have bestowed upon the President a power heretofore enjoyed solely form part of the law of the land, the requirement of due process and the Rule
by the legislature. While the people are kept abreast by the mass media of of Law demand that the Official Gazette as the official government repository
the debates and deliberations in the Batasan Pambansa—and for the diligent promulgate and publish the texts of all such decrees, orders and instructions
ones, ready access to the legislative records—no such publicity so that the people may know where to obtain their official and specific
accompanies the law-making process of the President. Thus, without contents.
publication, the people have no means of knowing what presidential decrees
have actually been promulgated, much less a definite way of informing The Court therefore declares that presidential issuances of general
themselves of the specific contents and texts of such decrees. As the application, which have not been published, shall have no force and effect.
Supreme Court of Spain ruled: "Bajo la denominacion generica de leyes, se Some members of the Court, quite apprehensive about the possible
comprenden tambien los reglamentos, Reales decretos, Instrucciones, unsettling effect this decision might have on acts done in reliance of the
Circulares y Reales ordines dictadas de conformidad con las mismas por el validity of those presidential decrees which were published only during the
Gobierno en uso de su potestad.5 pendency of this petition, have put the question as to whether the Court's
declaration of invalidity apply to P.D.s which had been enforced or Official Gazette, only Presidential Decrees Nos. 1019 to 1030, inclusive,
implemented prior to their publication. The answer is all too familiar. In similar 1278, and 1937 to 1939, inclusive, have not been so published. 10 Neither
situations in the past this Court had taken the pragmatic and realistic course the subject matters nor the texts of these PDs can be ascertained since no
set forth in Chicot County Drainage District vs. Baxter Bank 8 to wit: copies thereof are available. But whatever their subject matter may be, it is
undisputed that none of these unpublished PDs has ever been implemented
The courts below have proceeded on the theory that the Act of Congress, or enforced by the government. In Pesigan vs. Angeles, 11 the Court,
having been found to be unconstitutional, was not a law; that it was through Justice Ramon Aquino, ruled that "publication is necessary to
inoperative, conferring no rights and imposing no duties, and hence affording apprise the public of the contents of [penal] regulations and make the said
no basis for the challenged decree. Norton v. Shelby County, 118 U.S. 425, penalties binding on the persons affected thereby. " The cogency of this
442; Chicago, 1. & L. Ry. Co. v. Hackett, 228 U.S. 559, 566. It is quite clear, holding is apparently recognized by respondent officials considering the
however, that such broad statements as to the effect of a determination of manifestation in their comment that "the government, as a matter of policy,
unconstitutionality must be taken with qualifications. The actual existence of refrains from prosecuting violations of criminal laws until the same shall have
a statute, prior to such a determination, is an operative fact and may have been published in the Official Gazette or in some other publication, even
consequences which cannot justly be ignored. The past cannot always be though some criminal laws provide that they shall take effect immediately.
erased by a new judicial declaration. The effect of the subsequent ruling as
to invalidity may have to be considered in various aspects-with respect to WHEREFORE, the Court hereby orders respondents to publish in the Official
particular conduct, private and official. Questions of rights claimed to have Gazette all unpublished presidential issuances which are of general
become vested, of status, of prior determinations deemed to have finality and application, and unless so published, they shall have no binding force and
acted upon accordingly, of public policy in the light of the nature both of the effect.
statute and of its previous application, demand examination. These questions
are among the most difficult of those which have engaged the attention of SO ORDERED.
courts, state and federal and it is manifest from numerous decisions that an
all-inclusive statement of a principle of absolute retroactive invalidity cannot Relova, J., concurs.
be justified.
Aquino, J., took no part.
Consistently with the above principle, this Court in Rutter vs. Esteban 9
sustained the right of a party under the Moratorium Law, albeit said right had Concepcion, Jr., J., is on leave.
accrued in his favor before said law was declared unconstitutional by this
Court.

Similarly, the implementation/enforcement of presidential decrees prior to


their publication in the Official Gazette is "an operative fact which may have
consequences which cannot be justly ignored. The past cannot always be Separate Opinions
erased by a new judicial declaration ... that an all-inclusive statement of a
principle of absolute retroactive invalidity cannot be justified."

From the report submitted to the Court by the Clerk of Court, it appears that FERNANDO, C.J., concurring (with qualification):
of the presidential decrees sought by petitioners to be published in the
There is on the whole acceptance on my part of the views expressed in the fairness. However, I beg to disagree insofar as it holds that such notice shall
ably written opinion of Justice Escolin. I am unable, however, to concur be by publication in the Official Gazette. 2
insofar as it would unqualifiedly impose the requirement of publication in the
Official Gazette for unpublished "presidential issuances" to have binding 3. It suffices, as was stated by Judge Learned Hand, that law as the
force and effect. command of the government "must be ascertainable in some form if it is to
be enforced at all. 3 It would indeed be to reduce it to the level of mere
I shall explain why. futility, as pointed out by Justice Cardozo, "if it is unknown and unknowable.
4 Publication, to repeat, is thus essential. What I am not prepared to
1. It is of course true that without the requisite publication, a due subscribe to is the doctrine that it must be in the Official Gazette. To be sure
process question would arise if made to apply adversely to a party who is not once published therein there is the ascertainable mode of determining the
even aware of the existence of any legislative or executive act having the exact date of its effectivity. Still for me that does not dispose of the question
force and effect of law. My point is that such publication required need not be of what is the jural effect of past presidential decrees or executive acts not so
confined to the Official Gazette. From the pragmatic standpoint, there is an published. For prior thereto, it could be that parties aware of their existence
advantage to be gained. It conduces to certainty. That is too be admitted. It could have conducted themselves in accordance with their provisions. If no
does not follow, however, that failure to do so would in all cases and under legal consequences could attach due to lack of publication in the Official
all circumstances result in a statute, presidential decree or any other Gazette, then serious problems could arise. Previous transactions based on
executive act of the same category being bereft of any binding force and such "Presidential Issuances" could be open to question. Matters deemed
effect. To so hold would, for me, raise a constitutional question. Such a settled could still be inquired into. I am not prepared to hold that such an
pronouncement would lend itself to the interpretation that such a legislative effect is contemplated by our decision. Where such presidential decree or
or presidential act is bereft of the attribute of effectivity unless published in executive act is made the basis of a criminal prosecution, then, of course, its
the Official Gazette. There is no such requirement in the Constitution as ex post facto character becomes evident. 5 In civil cases though, retroactivity
Justice Plana so aptly pointed out. It is true that what is decided now applies as such is not conclusive on the due process aspect. There must still be a
only to past "presidential issuances". Nonetheless, this clarification is, to my showing of arbitrariness. Moreover, where the challenged presidential decree
mind, needed to avoid any possible misconception as to what is required for or executive act was issued under the police power, the non-impairment
any statute or presidential act to be impressed with binding force or clause of the Constitution may not always be successfully invoked. There
effectivity. must still be that process of balancing to determine whether or not it could in
such a case be tainted by infirmity. 6 In traditional terminology, there could
2. It is quite understandable then why I concur in the separate opinion arise then a question of unconstitutional application. That is as far as it goes.
of Justice Plana. Its first paragraph sets forth what to me is the constitutional
doctrine applicable to this case. Thus: "The Philippine Constitution does not 4. Let me make therefore that my qualified concurrence goes no further
require the publication of laws as a prerequisite for their effectivity, unlike than to affirm that publication is essential to the effectivity of a legislative or
some Constitutions elsewhere. It may be said though that the guarantee of executive act of a general application. I am not in agreement with the view
due process requires notice of laws to affected Parties before they can be that such publication must be in the Official Gazette. The Civil Code itself in
bound thereby; but such notice is not necessarily by publication in the Official its Article 2 expressly recognizes that the rule as to laws taking effect after
Gazette. The due process clause is not that precise. 1 I am likewise in fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the Official
agreement with its closing paragraph: "In fine, I concur in the majority Gazette is subject to this exception, "unless it is otherwise provided."
decision to the extent that it requires notice before laws become effective, for Moreover, the Civil Code is itself only a legislative enactment, Republic Act
no person should be bound by a law without notice. This is elementary No. 386. It does not and cannot have the juridical force of a constitutional
command. A later legislative or executive act which has the force and effect
of law can legally provide for a different rule. Respondents' contention based on a misreading of Article 2 of the Civil Code
that "only laws which are silent as to their effectivity [date] need be published
5. Nor can I agree with the rather sweeping conclusion in the opinion of in the Official Gazette for their effectivity" is manifestly untenable. The plain
Justice Escolin that presidential decrees and executive acts not thus text and meaning of the Civil Code is that "laws shall take effect after fifteen
previously published in the Official Gazette would be devoid of any legal days following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette,
character. That would be, in my opinion, to go too far. It may be fraught, as unless it is otherwise provided, " i.e. a different effectivity date is provided by
earlier noted, with undesirable consequences. I find myself therefore unable the law itself. This proviso perforce refers to a law that has been duly
to yield assent to such a pronouncement. published pursuant to the basic constitutional requirements of due process.
The best example of this is the Civil Code itself: the same Article 2 provides
I am authorized to state that Justices Makasiar, Abad Santos, Cuevas, and otherwise that it "shall take effect [only] one year [not 15 days] after such
Alampay concur in this separate opinion. publication. 2 To sustain respondents' misreading that "most laws or decrees
specify the date of their effectivity and for this reason, publication in the
Makasiar, Abad Santos, Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur. Official Gazette is not necessary for their effectivity 3 would be to nullify and
render nugatory the Civil Code's indispensable and essential requirement of
prior publication in the Official Gazette by the simple expedient of providing
for immediate effectivity or an earlier effectivity date in the law itself before
TEEHANKEE, J., concurring: the completion of 15 days following its publication which is the period
generally fixed by the Civil Code for its proper dissemination.
I concur with the main opinion of Mr. Justice Escolin and the concurring
opinion of Mme. Justice Herrera. The Rule of Law connotes a body of norms
and laws published and ascertainable and of equal application to all similarly
circumstances and not subject to arbitrary change but only under certain set MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., concurring:
procedures. The Court has consistently stressed that "it is an elementary rule
of fair play and justice that a reasonable opportunity to be informed must be I agree. There cannot be any question but that even if a decree provides for
afforded to the people who are commanded to obey before they can be a date of effectivity, it has to be published. What I would like to state in
punished for its violation,1 citing the settled principle based on due process connection with that proposition is that when a date of effectivity is mentioned
enunciated in earlier cases that "before the public is bound by its contents, in the decree but the decree becomes effective only fifteen (15) days after its
especially its penal provisions, a law, regulation or circular must first be publication in the Official Gazette, it will not mean that the decree can have
published and the people officially and specially informed of said contents retroactive effect to the date of effectivity mentioned in the decree itself.
and its penalties. There should be no retroactivity if the retroactivity will run counter to
constitutional rights or shall destroy vested rights.
Without official publication in the Official Gazette as required by Article 2 of
the Civil Code and the Revised Administrative Code, there would be no basis
nor justification for the corollary rule of Article 3 of the Civil Code (based on
constructive notice that the provisions of the law are ascertainable from the PLANA, J., concurring (with qualification):
public and official repository where they are duly published) that "Ignorance
of the law excuses no one from compliance therewith.
The Philippine Constitution does not require the publication of laws as a In fine, I concur in the majority decision to the extent that it requires notice
prerequisite for their effectivity, unlike some Constitutions elsewhere. * It may before laws become effective, for no person should be bound by a law
be said though that the guarantee of due process requires notice of laws to without notice. This is elementary fairness. However, I beg to disagree
affected parties before they can be bound thereby; but such notice is not insofar as it holds that such notice shall be by publication in the Official
necessarily by publication in the Official Gazette. The due process clause is Gazette.
not that precise. Neither is the publication of laws in the Official Gazette
required by any statute as a prerequisite for their effectivity, if said laws Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur.
already provide for their effectivity date.

Article 2 of the Civil Code provides that "laws shall take effect after fifteen
days following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, GUTIERREZ, Jr., J., concurring:
unless it is otherwise provided " Two things may be said of this provision:
Firstly, it obviously does not apply to a law with a built-in provision as to when I concur insofar as publication is necessary but reserve my vote as to the
it will take effect. Secondly, it clearly recognizes that each law may provide necessity of such publication being in the Official Gazette.
not only a different period for reckoning its effectivity date but also a different
mode of notice. Thus, a law may prescribe that it shall be published
elsewhere than in the Official Gazette.
DE LA FUENTE, J., concurring:
Commonwealth Act No. 638, in my opinion, does not support the proposition
that for their effectivity, laws must be published in the Official Gazette. The I concur insofar as the opinion declares the unpublished decrees and
said law is simply "An Act to Provide for the Uniform Publication and issuances of a public nature or general applicability ineffective, until due
Distribution of the Official Gazette." Conformably therewith, it authorizes the publication thereof.
publication of the Official Gazette, determines its frequency, provides for its
sale and distribution, and defines the authority of the Director of Printing in
relation thereto. It also enumerates what shall be published in the Official
Gazette, among them, "important legislative acts and resolutions of a public
nature of the Congress of the Philippines" and "all executive and
administrative orders and proclamations, except such as have no general
applicability." It is noteworthy that not all legislative acts are required to be
published in the Official Gazette but only "important" ones "of a public Separate Opinions
nature." Moreover, the said law does not provide that publication in the
Official Gazette is essential for the effectivity of laws. This is as it should be, FERNANDO, C.J., concurring (with qualification):
for all statutes are equal and stand on the same footing. A law, especially an
earlier one of general application such as Commonwealth Act No. 638, There is on the whole acceptance on my part of the views expressed in the
cannot nullify or restrict the operation of a subsequent statute that has a ably written opinion of Justice Escolin. I am unable, however, to concur
provision of its own as to when and how it will take effect. Only a higher law, insofar as it would unqualifiedly impose the requirement of publication in the
which is the Constitution, can assume that role. Official Gazette for unpublished "presidential issuances" to have binding
force and effect.
be enforced at all. 3 It would indeed be to reduce it to the level of mere
I shall explain why. futility, as pointed out by Justice Cardozo, "if it is unknown and unknowable.
4 Publication, to repeat, is thus essential. What I am not prepared to
1. It is of course true that without the requisite publication, a due subscribe to is the doctrine that it must be in the Official Gazette. To be sure
process question would arise if made to apply adversely to a party who is not once published therein there is the ascertainable mode of determining the
even aware of the existence of any legislative or executive act having the exact date of its effectivity. Still for me that does not dispose of the question
force and effect of law. My point is that such publication required need not be of what is the jural effect of past presidential decrees or executive acts not so
confined to the Official Gazette. From the pragmatic standpoint, there is an published. For prior thereto, it could be that parties aware of their existence
advantage to be gained. It conduces to certainty. That is too be admitted. It could have conducted themselves in accordance with their provisions. If no
does not follow, however, that failure to do so would in all cases and under legal consequences could attach due to lack of publication in the Official
all circumstances result in a statute, presidential decree or any other Gazette, then serious problems could arise. Previous transactions based on
executive act of the same category being bereft of any binding force and such "Presidential Issuances" could be open to question. Matters deemed
effect. To so hold would, for me, raise a constitutional question. Such a settled could still be inquired into. I am not prepared to hold that such an
pronouncement would lend itself to the interpretation that such a legislative effect is contemplated by our decision. Where such presidential decree or
or presidential act is bereft of the attribute of effectivity unless published in executive act is made the basis of a criminal prosecution, then, of course, its
the Official Gazette. There is no such requirement in the Constitution as ex post facto character becomes evident. 5 In civil cases though, retroactivity
Justice Plana so aptly pointed out. It is true that what is decided now applies as such is not conclusive on the due process aspect. There must still be a
only to past "presidential issuances". Nonetheless, this clarification is, to my showing of arbitrariness. Moreover, where the challenged presidential decree
mind, needed to avoid any possible misconception as to what is required for or executive act was issued under the police power, the non-impairment
any statute or presidential act to be impressed with binding force or clause of the Constitution may not always be successfully invoked. There
effectivity. must still be that process of balancing to determine whether or not it could in
such a case be tainted by infirmity. 6 In traditional terminology, there could
2. It is quite understandable then why I concur in the separate opinion arise then a question of unconstitutional application. That is as far as it goes.
of Justice Plana. Its first paragraph sets forth what to me is the constitutional
doctrine applicable to this case. Thus: "The Philippine Constitution does not 4. Let me make therefore that my qualified concurrence goes no further
require the publication of laws as a prerequisite for their effectivity, unlike than to affirm that publication is essential to the effectivity of a legislative or
some Constitutions elsewhere. It may be said though that the guarantee of executive act of a general application. I am not in agreement with the view
due process requires notice of laws to affected Parties before they can be that such publication must be in the Official Gazette. The Civil Code itself in
bound thereby; but such notice is not necessarily by publication in the Official its Article 2 expressly recognizes that the rule as to laws taking effect after
Gazette. The due process clause is not that precise. 1 I am likewise in fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the Official
agreement with its closing paragraph: "In fine, I concur in the majority Gazette is subject to this exception, "unless it is otherwise provided."
decision to the extent that it requires notice before laws become effective, for Moreover, the Civil Code is itself only a legislative enactment, Republic Act
no person should be bound by a law without notice. This is elementary No. 386. It does not and cannot have the juridical force of a constitutional
fairness. However, I beg to disagree insofar as it holds that such notice shall command. A later legislative or executive act which has the force and effect
be by publication in the Official Gazette. 2 of law can legally provide for a different rule.

3. It suffices, as was stated by Judge Learned Hand, that law as the 5. Nor can I agree with the rather sweeping conclusion in the opinion of
command of the government "must be ascertainable in some form if it is to Justice Escolin that presidential decrees and executive acts not thus
previously published in the Official Gazette would be devoid of any legal unless it is otherwise provided, " i.e. a different effectivity date is provided by
character. That would be, in my opinion, to go too far. It may be fraught, as the law itself. This proviso perforce refers to a law that has been duly
earlier noted, with undesirable consequences. I find myself therefore unable published pursuant to the basic constitutional requirements of due process.
to yield assent to such a pronouncement. The best example of this is the Civil Code itself: the same Article 2 provides
otherwise that it "shall take effect [only] one year [not 15 days] after such
I am authorized to state that Justices Makasiar, Abad Santos, Cuevas, and publication. 2 To sustain respondents' misreading that "most laws or decrees
Alampay concur in this separate opinion. specify the date of their effectivity and for this reason, publication in the
Official Gazette is not necessary for their effectivity 3 would be to nullify and
Makasiar, Abad Santos, Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur. render nugatory the Civil Code's indispensable and essential requirement of
prior publication in the Official Gazette by the simple expedient of providing
for immediate effectivity or an earlier effectivity date in the law itself before
TEEHANKEE, J., concurring: the completion of 15 days following its publication which is the period
generally fixed by the Civil Code for its proper dissemination.
I concur with the main opinion of Mr. Justice Escolin and the concurring
opinion of Mme. Justice Herrera. The Rule of Law connotes a body of norms
and laws published and ascertainable and of equal application to all similarly MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., concurring:
circumstances and not subject to arbitrary change but only under certain set
procedures. The Court has consistently stressed that "it is an elementary rule I agree. There cannot be any question but that even if a decree provides for
of fair play and justice that a reasonable opportunity to be informed must be a date of effectivity, it has to be published. What I would like to state in
afforded to the people who are commanded to obey before they can be connection with that proposition is that when a date of effectivity is mentioned
punished for its violation,1 citing the settled principle based on due process in the decree but the decree becomes effective only fifteen (15) days after its
enunciated in earlier cases that "before the public is bound by its contents, publication in the Official Gazette, it will not mean that the decree can have
especially its penal provisions, a law, regulation or circular must first be retroactive effect to the date of effectivity mentioned in the decree itself.
published and the people officially and specially informed of said contents There should be no retroactivity if the retroactivity will run counter to
and its penalties. constitutional rights or shall destroy vested rights.

Without official publication in the Official Gazette as required by Article 2 of


the Civil Code and the Revised Administrative Code, there would be no basis PLANA, J., concurring (with qualification):
nor justification for the corollary rule of Article 3 of the Civil Code (based on
constructive notice that the provisions of the law are ascertainable from the The Philippine Constitution does not require the publication of laws as a
public and official repository where they are duly published) that "Ignorance prerequisite for their effectivity, unlike some Constitutions elsewhere. * It may
of the law excuses no one from compliance therewith. be said though that the guarantee of due process requires notice of laws to
affected parties before they can be bound thereby; but such notice is not
Respondents' contention based on a misreading of Article 2 of the Civil Code necessarily by publication in the Official Gazette. The due process clause is
that "only laws which are silent as to their effectivity [date] need be published not that precise. Neither is the publication of laws in the Official Gazette
in the Official Gazette for their effectivity" is manifestly untenable. The plain required by any statute as a prerequisite for their effectivity, if said laws
text and meaning of the Civil Code is that "laws shall take effect after fifteen already provide for their effectivity date.
days following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette,
Article 2 of the Civil Code provides that "laws shall take effect after fifteen GUTIERREZ, Jr., J., concurring:
days following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette,
unless it is otherwise provided " Two things may be said of this provision: I concur insofar as publication is necessary but reserve my vote as to the
Firstly, it obviously does not apply to a law with a built-in provision as to when necessity of such publication being in the Official Gazette.
it will take effect. Secondly, it clearly recognizes that each law may provide
not only a different period for reckoning its effectivity date but also a different
mode of notice. Thus, a law may prescribe that it shall be published DE LA FUENTE, J., concurring:
elsewhere than in the Official Gazette.
I concur insofar as the opinion declares the unpublished decrees and
Commonwealth Act No. 638, in my opinion, does not support the proposition issuances of a public nature or general applicability ineffective, until due
that for their effectivity, laws must be published in the Official Gazette. The publication thereof.
said law is simply "An Act to Provide for the Uniform Publication and
Distribution of the Official Gazette." Conformably therewith, it authorizes the Footnotes
publication of the Official Gazette, determines its frequency, provides for its
sale and distribution, and defines the authority of the Director of Printing in 1 Section 6. The right of the people to information on matters of public
relation thereto. It also enumerates what shall be published in the Official concern shag be recognized, access to official records, and to documents
Gazette, among them, "important legislative acts and resolutions of a public and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, shag be
nature of the Congress of the Philippines" and "all executive and afforded the citizens subject to such limitation as may be provided by law.
administrative orders and proclamations, except such as have no general
applicability." It is noteworthy that not all legislative acts are required to be 2 Anti-Chinese League vs. Felix, 77 Phil. 1012; Costas vs. Aidanese,
published in the Official Gazette but only "important" ones "of a public 45 Phil. 345; Almario vs. City Mayor, 16 SCRA 151;Parting vs. San Jose
nature." Moreover, the said law does not provide that publication in the Petroleum, 18 SCRA 924; Dumlao vs. Comelec, 95 SCRA 392.
Official Gazette is essential for the effectivity of laws. This is as it should be,
for all statutes are equal and stand on the same footing. A law, especially an 3 16 Phil. 366, 378.
earlier one of general application such as Commonwealth Act No. 638,
cannot nullify or restrict the operation of a subsequent statute that has a 4 Camacho vs. Court of Industrial Relations, 80 Phil 848; Mejia vs.
provision of its own as to when and how it will take effect. Only a higher law, Balolong, 81 Phil. 486; Republic of the Philippines vs. Encamacion, 87 Phil.
which is the Constitution, can assume that role. 843; Philippine Blooming Mills, Inc. vs. Social Security System, 17 SCRA
1077; Askay vs. Cosalan, 46 Phil. 179.
In fine, I concur in the majority decision to the extent that it requires notice
before laws become effective, for no person should be bound by a law 5 1 Manresa, Codigo Civil 7th Ed., p. 146.
without notice. This is elementary fairness. However, I beg to disagree
insofar as it holds that such notice shall be by publication in the Official 6 People vs. Que Po Lay, 94 Phil. 640; Balbuena et al. vs. Secretary of
Gazette. Education, et al., 110 Phil. 150.

Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur. 7 82 SCRA 30, dissenting opinion.

8 308 U.S. 371, 374.


3 Respondents: comment, pp. 14-15.
9 93 Phil.. 68,.
Plana, J.:
10 The report was prepared by the Clerk of Court after Acting Director
Florendo S. Pablo Jr. of the Government Printing Office, failed to respond to * See e.g., Wisconsin Constitution, Art. 7, Sec. 21: "The legislature
her letter-request regarding the respective dates of publication in the Official shall provide publication of all statute laws ... and no general law shall be in
Gazette of the presidential issuances listed therein. No report has been force until published." See also S ate ex rel. White vs. Grand Superior Ct., 71
submitted by the Clerk of Court as to the publication or non-publication of ALR 1354, citing Constitution of Indiana, U.S.A.
other presidential issuances.
G.R. No. 448 September 20, 1901
11 129 SCRA 174.
THE UNITED STATES, complainant-appellee,
Fernando, CJ.: vs.
PHILIP K. SWEET, defendant-appellant.
1 Separate Opinion of Justice Plana, first paragraph. He mentioned in
tills connection Article 7, Sec. 21 of the Wisconsin Constitution and State ex Theofilus B. Steele, for appellant.
rel. White v. Grand Superior Ct., 71 ALR 1354, citing the Constitution of Office of the Solicitor-General Araneta, for appellee.
Indiana, U.S.A
LADD, J.:
2 Ibid, closing paragraph.
The offense charged in the complaint is punishable under the Penal Code
3 Learned Hand, The Spirit of Liberty 104 (1960). now in force by arresto mayor and a fine of from 325 to 3,250 pesetas. (Art.
418.) By Act No. 136 of the United States Philippine Commission, section 56
4 Cardozo, The Growth of the Law, 3 (1924). (6), Courts of First Instance are given original jurisdiction "in all criminal
cases in which a penalty of more than six months' imprisonment or a fine
5 Cf. Nunez v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 50581-50617, January 30, exceeding one hundred dollars may be imposed." The offense was therefore
1982, 111 SCRA 433. cognizable by the court below unless the fact that the appellant was at the
time of its alleged commission an employee of the United States military
6 Cf. Alalayan v. National Power Corporation, L-24396, July 29, 1968, authorities in the Philippine Islands, and the further fact that the person upon
24 SCRA 172. whom it is alleged to have been committed was a prisoner of war in the
custody of such authorities, are sufficient to deprive it of jurisdiction. We must
Teehankee, J.: assume that both these facts are true, as found, either upon sufficient
evidence or upon the admissions of the prosecuting attorney, by the court
1 People vs. de Dios, G.R. No. 11003, Aug. 3l, 1959, per the late Chief below.
Justice Paras.
Setting aside the claim that the appellant was "acting in the line of duty" at
2 Notes in brackets supplied. the time the alleged offense was committed, which is not supported by the
findings or by any evidence which appears in the record, the contention that
the court was without jurisdiction, as we understand it, is reducible to two aware of the existence of any such provision. The case is therefore open to
propositions: First, that an assault committed by a soldier or military the application of the general principle that the jurisdiction of the civil
employee upon a prisoner of war is not an offense under the Penal Code; tribunals is unaffected by the military or other special character of the person
and second, that if it is an offense under the Code, nevertheless the military brought before them for trial, a principle firmly established in the law of
character sustained by the person charged with the offense at the time of its England and America and which must, we think, prevail under any system of
commission exempts him from the ordinary jurisdiction of the civil tribunals. jurisprudence unless controlled by express legislation to the contrary. (United
States vs. Clark, 31 Fed. Rep., 710.) The appellant's claim that the acts
As to the first proposition, it is true, as pointed out by counsel, that an assault alleged to constitute the offense were performed by him in the execution of
of the character charged in the complaint committed in time of war by a the orders of his military superiors may, if true, be available by way of
military person upon a prisoner of war is punishable as an offense under the defense upon the merits in the trial in the court below, but can not under this
Spanish Code of Military Justice (art. 232), and it is also true that under the principle affect the right of that court to take jurisdiction of the case.
provisions of the same Code (arts. 4, 5) the military tribunals have, with
certain exceptions which it is not material to state, exclusive cognizance of all Whether under a similar state of facts to that which appears in this case a
offenses, whether of a purely military nature or otherwise, committed by court of one of the United States would have jurisdiction to try the offender
military persons. But the fact that the acts charged in the complaint would be against the State laws (see In re Fair, 100 Fed. Rep., 149), it is not
punishable as an offense under the Spanish military legislation does not necessary to consider. The present is not a case where the courts of one
render them any less an offense under the article of the Penal Code above government are attempting to exercise jurisdiction over the military agents or
cited. There is nothing in the language of that article to indicate that it does employees of another and distinct government, because the court asserting
not apply to all persons within the territorial jurisdiction of the law. Under jurisdiction here derives its existence and powers from the same Government
articles 4 and 5 of the Code of Military Justice above cited a military person under the authority of which the acts alleged to constitute the offense are
could not be brought to trial before a civil tribunal for an assault upon a claimed to have been performed.
prisoner of war, but by the commission of that offense he incurred a criminal
responsibility for which he was amenable only to the military jurisdiction. That It may be proper to add that there is no actual conflict between the two
criminal responsibility, however, arose from an infraction of the general penal jurisdictions in the present case nor any claim of jurisdiction on the part of the
laws, although the same acts, viewed in another aspect, might also, if military tribunals. On the contrary it appears from the findings of the court
committed in time of war, constitute an infraction of the military code. We are below that the complaint was entered by order of the commanding general of
unable to see how these provisions of the Spanish Military Code, no longer in the Division of the Philippines, a fact not important, perhaps, as regards the
force here and which indeed never had any application to the Army of the technical question of jurisdiction, but which relieves the case from any
United States, can in any possible view have the effect claimed for them by practical embarrassment which might result from a claim on the part of the
counsel for the appellant. military tribunals to exclusive cognizance of the offense.

The second question is, Does the fact that the alleged offense was The order of the court below is affirmed with costs to the appellant.
committed by an employee of the United States military authorities deprive
the court of jurisdiction? We have been cited to no provision in the legislation Arellano, C.J., Torres, Willard, and Mapa, JJ., concur.
of Congress, and to none in the local legislation, which has the effect of
limiting, as respects employees of the United States military establishment,
the general jurisdiction conferred upon the Courts of First Instance by Act No. Separate Opinions
136 of the United States Philippine Commission above cited, and we are not
COOPER, J., concurring: Agreement between the ADB and the Philippine Government regarding the
Headquarters of the ADB (hereinafter Agreement) in the country. Based on
I concur in the result of the decision of the court, but am not prepared to the said protocol communication that petitioner is immune from suit, the
assent to all that is said in the opinion. An offense charged against a military MeTC judge without notice to the prosecution dismissed the two criminal
officer, acting under the order of his superior, unless the illegality of the order cases. The latter filed a motion for reconsideration which was opposed by the
is so clearly shown on its face that a man of ordinary sense and DFA. When its motion was denied, the prosecution filed a petition for
understanding would know when he heard it read or given that the order was certiorari and mandamus with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig City
illegal, and when the alleged criminal act was done within the scope of his which set aside the MeTC rulings and ordered the latter court to enforce the
authority as such officer, in good faith and without malice, and where the warrant of arrest it earlier issued. After the motion for reconsideration was
offense is against the military law — that is, such law as relates to the denied, petitioner elevated the case to this Court via a petition for review
discipline and efficiency of the Army, or rules and orders promulgated by the arguing that he is covered by immunity under the Agreement and that no
Secretary of War to aid military officers in the proper enforcement of the preliminary investigation was held before the criminal cases were filed in
custody of prisoners — is not within the jurisdiction of the courts of the Civil court.
Government. (In re Fair, 100 Fed. Rep., 149.) The civil courts, however, may
examine the evidence for the purpose of determining whether the act alleged The petition is not impressed with merit.
to be criminal was done in the performance of duty under the circumstances
above indicated, but should cease to exercise jurisdiction upon such facts First, courts cannot blindly adhere and take on its face the communication
appearing. from the DFA that petitioner is covered by any immunity. The DFAs
determination that a certain person is covered by immunity is only preliminary
[G.R. No. 125865. January 28, 2000] which has no binding effect in courts. In receiving ex-parte the DFAs advice
and in motu proprio dismissing the two criminal cases without notice to the
JEFFREY LIANG (HUEFENG), petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE prosecution, the latters right to due process was violated. It should be noted
PHILIPPINES, respondent. that due process is a right of the accused as much as it is of the prosecution.
The needed inquiry in what capacity petitioner was acting at the time of the
DECISION alleged utterances requires for its resolution evidentiary basis that has yet to
be presented at the proper time.[1] At any rate, it has been ruled that the
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: mere invocation of the immunity clause does not ipso facto result in the
dropping of the charges.[2]
Petitioner is an economist working with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Sometime in 1994, for allegedly uttering defamatory words against fellow Second, under Section 45 of the Agreement which provides: Jksm
ADB worker Joyce Cabal, he was charged before the Metropolitan Trial
Court (MeTC) of Mandaluyong City with two counts of grave oral defamation "Officers and staff of the Bank including for the purpose of this Article experts
docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 53170 and 53171. Petitioner was arrested and consultants performing missions for the Bank shall enjoy the following
by virtue of a warrant issued by the MeTC. After fixing petitioners bail at privileges and immunities:
P2,400.00 per criminal charge, the MeTC released him to the custody of the
Security Officer of ADB. The next day, the MeTC judge received an "office of a.).......immunity from legal process with respect to acts performed by them in
protocol" from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) stating that petitioner their official capacity except when the Bank waives the immunity."
is covered by immunity from legal process under Section 45 of the
the immunity mentioned therein is not absolute, but subject to the exception Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Puno, Kapunan, and Pardo, JJ.,
that the act was done in "official capacity." It is therefore necessary to concur.2/22/00 9:47 AM
determine if petitioners case falls within the ambit of Section 45(a). Thus, the
prosecution should have been given the chance to rebut the DFA protocol G.R. No. L-13005 October 10, 1917
and it must be accorded the opportunity to present its controverting evidence,
should it so desire. THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
Third, slandering a person could not possibly be covered by the immunity AH SING, defendant-appellant.
agreement because our laws do not allow the commission of a crime, such
as defamation, in the name of official duty.[3] The imputation of theft is ultra Antonio Sanz for appellant.
vires and cannot be part of official functions. It is well-settled principle of law Acting Attorney-General Paredes for appellee.
that a public official may be liable in his personal private capacity for
whatever damage he may have caused by his act done with malice or in bad
faith or beyond the scope of his authority or jurisdiction.[4] It appears that MALCOLM, J.:
even the governments chief legal counsel, the Solicitor General, does not
support the stand taken by petitioner and that of the DFA. This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Cebu
finding the defendant guilty of a violation of section 4 of Act No. 2381 (the
Fourth, under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, a diplomatic Opium Law), and sentencing him to two years imprisonment, to pay a fine of
agent, assuming petitioner is such, enjoys immunity from criminal jurisdiction P300 or to suffer subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay
of the receiving state except in the case of an action relating to any the costs.
professional or commercial activity exercised by the diplomatic agent in the
receiving state outside his official functions.[5] As already mentioned above, The following facts are fully proven: The defendant is a subject of China
the commission of a crime is not part of official duty. employed as a fireman on the steamship Shun Chang. The Shun Chang is a
foreign steamer which arrived at the port of Cebu on April 25, 1917, after a
Finally, on the contention that there was no preliminary investigation voyage direct from the port of Saigon. The defendant bought eight cans of
conducted, suffice it to say that preliminary investigation is not a matter of opium in Saigon, brought them on board the steamship Shun Chang, and
right in cases cognizable by the MeTC such as the one at bar.[6] Being had them in his possession during the trip from Saigon to Cebu. When the
purely a statutory right, preliminary investigation may be invoked only when steamer anchored in the port of Cebu on April 25, 1917, the authorities on
specifically granted by law.[7] The rule on criminal procedure is clear that no making a search found the eight cans of opium above mentioned hidden in
preliminary investigation is required in cases falling within the jurisdiction of the ashes below the boiler of the steamer's engine. The defendant confessed
the MeTC.[8] Besides, the absence of preliminary investigation does not that he was the owner of this opium, and that he had purchased it in Saigon.
affect the courts jurisdiction nor does it impair the validity of the information He did not confess, however, as to his purpose in buying the opium. He did
or otherwise render it defective.[9] not say that it was his intention to import the prohibited drug into the
Philippine Islands. No other evidence direct or indirect, to show that the
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. intention of the accused was to import illegally this opium into the Philippine
Islands, was introduced.
SO ORDERED.
Has the crime of illegal importation of opium into the Philippine Islands been opinion in the Jose case, we find the following which may be obiter dicta, but
proven? which at least is interesting as showing the view of the writer of the opinion:

Two decisions of this Court are cited in the judgment of the trial court, but The importation was complete, to say the least, when the ship carrying it
with the intimation that there exists inconsistently between the doctrines laid anchored in Subic Bay. It was not necessary that the opium discharged or
down in the two cases. However, neither decision is directly a precedent on that it be taken from the ship. It was sufficient that the opium was brought
the facts before us. into the waters of the Philippine Islands on a boat destined for a Philippine
port and which subsequently anchored in a port of the Philippine Islands with
In the case of United States vs. Look Chaw ([1910], 18 Phil., 573), in the intent to discharge its cargo.
opinion handed down by the Chief Justice, it is found —
Resolving whatever doubt was exist as to the authority of the views just
That, although the mere possession of a thing of prohibited use in these quoted, we return to an examination of the applicable provisions of the law. It
Islands, aboard a foreign vessel in transit, in any of their ports, does not, as a is to be noted that section 4 of Act No. 2381 begins, "Any person who shall
general rule, constitute a crime triable by the courts of this country, on unlawfully import or bring any prohibited drug into the Philippine Islands."
account of such vessel being considered as an extension of its own "Import" and "bring" are synonymous terms. The Federal Courts of the
nationality, the same rule does no apply when the article, whose use is United States have held that the mere act of going into a port, without
prohibited within the Philippine Islands, in the present case a can of opium, is breaking bulk, is prima facie evidence of importation. (The Mary [U. S.], 16
landed from the vessel upon Philippine soil, thus committing an open Fed. Cas., 932, 933.) And again, the importation is not the making entry of
violation of the laws of the land, with respect to which, as it is a violation of goods at the custom house, but merely the bringing them into port; and the
the penal law in force at the place of the commission of the crime, only the importation is complete before entry of the Custom House. (U. S. vs. Lyman
court established in the said place itself has competent jurisdiction, in the [U. S.], 26, Fed. Cas., 1024, 1028; Perots vs. U. S., 19 Fed. Cas., 258.) As
absence of an agreement under an international treaty.1awphil.net applied to the Opium Law, we expressly hold that any person unlawfully
imports or brings any prohibited drug into the Philippine Islands, when the
A marked difference between the facts in the Look Chaw case and the facts prohibited drug is found under this person's control on a vessel which has
in the present instance is readily observable. In the Look Chaw case, the come direct from a foreign country and is within the jurisdictional limits of the
charge case the illegal possession and sale of opium — in the present case Philippine Islands. In such case, a person is guilty of illegal importation of the
the charge as illegal importation of opium; in the Look Chaw case the foreign drug unless contrary circumstances exist or the defense proves otherwise.
vessel was in transit — in the present case the foreign vessel was not in Applied to the facts herein, it would be absurb to think that the accused was
transit; in the Look Chaw case the opium was landed from the vessel upon merely carrying opium back and forth between Saigon and Cebu for the mere
Philippine soil — in the present case of United States vs. Jose ([1916], 34 pleasure of so doing. It would likewise be impossible to conceive that the
Phil., 840), the main point, and the one on which resolution turned, was that accused needed so large an amount of opium for his personal use. No better
in a prosecution based on the illegal importation of opium or other prohibited explanation being possible, the logical deduction is that the defendant
drug, the Government must prove, or offer evidence sufficient to raise a intended this opium to be brought into the Philippine Islands. We accordingly
presumption, that the vessel from which the drug is discharged came into find that there was illegal importation of opium from a foreign country into the
Philippine waters from a foreign country with the drug on board. In the Jose Philippine Islands. To anticipate any possible misunderstanding, let it be said
case, the defendants were acquitted because it was not proved that the that these statements do not relate to foreign vessels in transit, a situation
opium was imported from a foreign country; in the present case there is no not present.
question but what the opium came from Saigon to Cebu. However, in the
The defendant and appellant, having been proved guilty beyond a Philippines and the Government of the United States of America, entered into
reasonable doubt as charged and the sentence of the trial court being within an agreement concerning military bases, and Article XIII thereof is as follows:
the limits provided by law, it results that the judgment must be affirmed with
the costs of this instance against the appellant. So ordered. JURISDICTION

Arellano, C.J., Johnson, Carson, Araullo and Street, JJ., concur. 1. The Philippines consents that the United States shall have the right to
G.R. No. L-1988 February 24, 1948 exercise jurisdiction over the following offenses:

JESUS MIQUIABAS, petitioner, (a) Any offense committed by any person within any base except where the
vs. offender and offended parties are both Philippine citizens (not members of
COMMANDING GENERAL, PHILIPPINE-RYUKYUS COMMAND, UNITED the armed forces of the United States on active duty) or the offense is
STATES ARMY, respondents. against the security of the Philippines;

Lorenzo Sumulong and Esteban P. Garcia for petitioner. (b) Any offense committed outside the bases by any member of the armed
J. A. Wolfson for respondent. forces of the United States in which the offended party is also a member of
the armed forces of the United States; and
MORAN, C.J.:
(c) Any offense committed outside the bases by any member of the armed
This is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed by Jesus Miquiabas against forces of the United States against the security of the United States.
the Commanding General Philippine-Ryukyus Command, United States
Army, who is alleged to have petitioner under custody and to have appointed 2. The Philippines shall have the right to exercise jurisdiction over all other
a General Court-Martial to try petitioner in connection with an offense over offenses committed outside the bases by any member of the armed forces of
which the said court has no jurisdiction. the United States.

Petitioner is a Filipino citizen and a civilian employee of the United States 3. Whenever for special reasons the United States may desire not to
Army in the Philippines, who has been charged with disposing in the Port of exercise the jurisdiction reserved to it in paragraphs 1 and 6 of this Article,
Manila Area of things belonging to the United States Army, in violation of the the officer holding the offender in custody shall so notify the fiscal
94th Article of War of the United States. He has been arrested for that reason (prosecuting attorney) of the city or province in which the offense has been
and a General Court-Martial appointed by respondent tried and found him committed within ten days after his arrest, and in such case the Philippines
guilty and sentenced him to 15 years imprisonment. This sentence, however, shall exercise jurisdiction.
is not yet final for it is still subject to review.
4. Whenever for special reasons the Philippines may desire not to exercise
It may be stated as a rule that the Philippines, being a sovereign nation, has the jurisdiction reserved to it in paragraph 2 of this Article, the fiscal
jurisdiction over all offenses committed within its territory, but it may, by (prosecuting attorney) of the city or province where the offense has been
treaty or by agreement, consent that the United States or any other foreign committed shall so notify the officer holding the offender in custody within ten
nation, shall exercise jurisdiction over certain offenses committed within days after his arrest, and in such a case the United States shall be free to
certain portions of said territory. On March 11, 1947, the Republic of the exercise jurisdiction. If any offense falling under paragraph 2 of this article is
committed by any member of the armed forces of the United States.
Under paragraph 1 (a), the General Court-Martial would have jurisdiction
(a) While engaged in the actual performance of a specific military duty, or over the criminal case against petitioner if the offense had been committed
within a base. Under paragraph 1 (b), if the offense had been committed
(b) during a period of national emergency declared by either Government outside a base, still the General Court-Martial would have jurisdiction if the
and the fiscal (prosecuting attorney) so finds from the evidence, he shall offense had been committed by a "member of the armed forces of the United
immediately notify the officer holding the offender in custody that the United States" there being no question that the offended party in this case is the
States is free to exercise jurisdiction. In the event the fiscal (prosecuting United States. It is not necessary therefore, to consider whether the offense
attorney) finds that the offense was not committed in the actual performance is against "the security of the United States" under paragraph 1 (c), or
of a specific military duty, the offender's commanding officer shall have the whether petitioner committed it in "the actual performance of a specific
right to appeal from such finding to the Secretary of Justice within ten days military duty" or in time of a declared "national emergency" under paragraph
from the receipt of the decision of the fiscal and the decision of the Secretary 4, or whether we are still in a state of war under paragraph 6, for in all these
of Justice shall be final. instances the military jurisdiction depends also upon whether the offender is
a member of the armed forces of the United States. We shall then determine
5. In all cases over which the Philippines exercises jurisdiction the custody of in this case (1) whether the offense has been committed within or without a
the accused, pending trial and final judgment, shall be entrusted without base, and, in the second instance, (2) whether the offender is or is not a
delay to the commanding officer of the nearest base, who shall acknowledge member of the armed forces of the United States.
in writing that such accused has been delivered to him for custody pending
trial in a competent court of the Philippines and that he will be held ready to As to the first question, Article XXVI of the Agreement provides that "bases
appear and will be produced before said court when required by it. The are those area named in Annex A and Annex B and such additional areas as
commanding officer shall be furnished by the fiscal (prosecuting attorney) may be acquired for military purposes pursuant to the terms of this
with a copy of the information against the accused upon the filing of the Agreement." Among the areas specified in Annexes A and B, there is none
original in the competent court. that has reference to the Port Area of Manila where the offense has allegedly
been committed. On the contrary, it appears in Annex A that "army
6. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, it is naturally agreed that in time communications system" is included, but with "the deletion of all stations in
of war the United States shall have the right to exercise exclusive jurisdiction the Port of Manila Area."
over any offenses which may be committed by members of the armed forces
of the United States in the Philippines. Paragraph 2 of Article XXI is invoked by respondent. The whole article is as
follows:
7. The United States agrees that it will not grant asylum in any of the bases
to any person fleeing from the lawful jurisdiction of the Philippines. Should TEMPORARY INSTALLATIONS
such person be found in any base, he will be surrendered on demand to the
competent authorities of the Philippines. 1. It is mutually agreed that the United States shall retain the right to occupy
temporary quarters and installations now existing outside the bases
8. In every case in which jurisdiction over an offense is exercised by the mentioned in Annex A and Annex B, for such reasonable time, not exceeding
United States, the offended party may institute a separate civil action against two years, as may be necessary to develop adequate facilities within the
the offender in the proper court of the Philippines to enforce the civil liability bases for the United States armed forces. If circumstances require an
which under the laws of the Philippines may arise from the offense. extension of time, such a period will be fixed by mutual agreement of the two
Governments; but such extension shall not apply to the existing temporary
quarters and installations within the limits of the City of Manila and shall in no
case exceed a period of three years. Paragraph 3, of Article XXI, provides "that offenses committed within the
temporary quarters and installations located within the present limits of the
2. Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding paragraph, the Port of City of Manila shall not be considered as offenses within the bases but shall
Manila reservation with boundaries as of 1941 will be available for use to the be governed by the provisions of Article XIII, paragraphs 2 and 4." Therefore,
United States armed forces until such time as other arrangements can be the offense at bar cannot be considered as committed within, but without, a
made for the supply of the bases by mutual agreement of the two base, since it has been committed in the Port of Manila Area, which is not
Governments. one of the bases mentioned in Annexes A and B to the Agreement, and is
merely temporary quarters located within the present limits of the City of
3. The terms of this agreement pertaining to bases shall be applicable to Manila.
temporary quarters and installations referred to in paragraph 1 of this article
while they are so occupied by the armed forces of the United States; The next inquiry is whether or not the offender may be considered as a
provided, that offenses committed within the temporary quarters and member of the armed forces of the United States under Article XIII,
installations located within the present limits of the City of Manila shall not be paragraph 1 (b). As above stated, petitioner is a Filipino citizen and a civilian
considered as offenses within the bases but shall be governed by the employee of the United States Army in the Philippines. Under the terms of
provisions of Article XIII, paragraphs 2 and 4, except that the election not to the Agreement, a civilian employee cannot be considered as a member of
exercise the jurisdiction reserved to the Philippines shall be made by the the armed forces of the United States. Articles XI, XVI and XVIII of the
Secretary of Justice. It is agreed that the United States shall have full use Agreement make mention of civilian employees separately from members of
and full control of all these quarters and installations while they are occupied the armed forces of the United States, which is a conclusive indication that
by the armed forces of the United States, including the exercise of such under said Agreement armed forces do not include civilian employees.
measures as may be necessary to police said quarters for the security of the
personnel and property therein. Respondent invokes Articles II of the Articles of War of the United States,
which enumerates, among the persons subject to military law, persons
The subject matter of this article, as indicated by its heading, is "Temporary accompanying or serving with the armies of the United States. But this case
Installations." Paragraph 1 refers to temporary quarters and installations should be decided not under the Articles of War, but under the terms of the
existing outside the bases specified in Annex A and Annex B, which may be Base Agreement between the United States and the Philippines. And not
retained by the United States armed forces for such reasonable time as may because a person is subject to military law under the Articles of War does he
be necessary not exceeding two years in duration, extendible fro not more become, for that reason alone, a member of the armed forces under the
than three years, the extension not being applicable to existing temporary Base Agreement. And even under the Articles of War, the mere fact that a
quarters and installations within the limits of the City of Manila. civilian employee is in the service of the United States Army does not make
him a member of the armed forces of the United States. Otherwise, it would
Paragraph 2, of Article XXI, refers to the Port of Manila Reservation, which have been necessary for said Article to enumerate civilian employees
will be available for use to the United States armed forces, also as a separately from members of the armed forces of the United States.
temporary quarters and installations, its temporariness not being for a
definite period of time, but "until such time as other arrangements can be Respondent maintains that petitioner has no cause of action because the
made for supply of the bases by mutual agreement of the two Governments." Secretary of Justice had not notified the officer holding the petitioner in
There is in paragraph 2 absolutely nothing that may be construed as placing custody whether or not the Philippines desired to retain jurisdiction under
the Port of Manila Reservation in the category of a permanent base. Article XXI, paragraph 3, of the Military Base Agreement. It is sufficient to
state in this connection that in cases like the present where the offender is a If petitioner is liable for a criminal offense, according to our laws, the
civilian employee and not a member of the Unites States armed forces, no jurisdiction to try him belongs to a justice of the peace or municipal court or to
waiver can be made either by the prosecuting attorney of by the Secretary of a court of first instance.
Justice, under paragraphs 2 and 4 of Article XIII in connection with paragraph
3 of Article XXI, of the Agreement. The jurisdiction can be transferred to other courts by virtue of a law that may
be enacted to said effect. The law, to be effective, must not violate the
We are, therefore, of the opinion and so hold, that the General Court-Martial constitutional Bill of Rights, among them the guarantee of fair trial in favor of
appointed by respondent has no jurisdiction to try petitioner for the offense an accused, the equal protection of the law, the due process of law, the
allegedly committed by him and, consequently, the judgment rendered by guarantees against illegal detentions and searches, and others.
said court sentencing the petitioner to 15 years' imprisonment is null and void
for lack of jurisdiction. Petitioner is a Filipino citizen and a civilian employee of the U. S. Army,
rendering services in the Philippines. He attacks the power of the
It is ordered that petitioner be released immediately by respondent without Commanding General, Philippine Ryukus Command, U.S. Army, to have him
prejudice to any criminal action which may be instituted in the proper court of under military custody and tried by a general court-martial of said army.
the Philippines. Respondent invokes, in opposing the petition, the provisions of the
agreement on military Bases entered into by the Republic of the Philippines
Let a copy of this decision be sent immediately to the Honorable, Secretary and the government of the United States of America on March 14, 1947.
of Justice.
The agreement appears to be a concession to two weaknesses: the
Paras, Feria, Pablo, Hilado, Bengzon, Briones, Padilla, and Tuason, JJ, American distrust in Philippine tribunals and Filipino yielding to much distrust;
concur. on one hand, undisguised prejudice, — national, racial, or otherwise, — on
the other, meek submission to the natural consequences of an unreasonable
prejudice; on one side, the haughtiness of a powerful nation, proud in the
Separate Opinions consciousness of its power, on the other, the moral surrender of a new
nation, not yet so sure in the exercise to their fullness of sovereign
PERFECTO, J., concurring: prerogatives. Extra-territoriality is wrong per se.

One of the attributes of national sovereignty is the power to try and punish It is, therefore, assailable on two opposing fronts. On constitutional ground, it
offenses, criminal and otherwise. The exercise of that power is, by virtue of is hardly defensible.
express provision of our Constitution, vested in the Supreme Court and in
inferior courts established by law. (Sec. 1, Art. VIII) The fundamental law The Bill of Rights has been embodied in the Constitution for the protection of
refers to inferior courts created by an enactment of a national legislature, all human beings within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines. All
Assembly or Congress, not to foreign courts martial, created by foreign persons covered by the waivers made in the agreement, whether Americans
countries. or Filipinos, whether citizens or aliens, are denied the constitutional
guarantee of the equal protection of the law. Their fundamental rights are
All this is in accordance with elemental principles of political law. safeguarded by the Constitution, and the agreement places them outside the
Constitution.
Our conclusion is, therefore, that the agreement in question, so far as it
stipulates waiver of the jurisdiction of our courts of justice on the class of We concur in the decision, ordering the immediate release of the petitioner.
persons mentioned therein, is null and void, being in open conflict with clear
provisions of our fundamental law. G.R. Nos. L-32921-40 June 10, 1971

Upon this ground, petitioner is entitled to be released by respondent and by ANDRES M. SENERES in his capacity as Collector of Customs for the Port
the court martial which tried him. of Iloilo, GIL B. ARMADA, in his capacity as Acting Deputy Collector of
Customs for the Port of Iloilo, and IRENEO HORTILLOSA, in his capacity as
Even in the erroneous hypothesis that the waiver clauses of the agreement Wharfinger for the Port of Iloilo, petitioners,
are valid, we concur in the reasoning of the Chief Justice in support of the vs.
position that petitioner is not comprehended in said waiver clauses. With HON. VICENTE O. FRIAS, in his capacity as Judge of the Court of First
more reason, respondent has no power nor jurisdiction to hold petitioner in Instance of Iloilo, Branch 11, VICTOR JAVIER and EDUARDO ROQUE,
confinement, nor to have him tried by a U.S. army court-martial. represented by their Attorney-in-Fact ALBERTO BELARDO, ALFREDO
LOCSIN and MARTHA YUMUL, represented by their Attorney-in-Fact
Notice must be served to the whole world that, in rendering the decision in ELPIDIO APUAN, EFREN MANULAT and FORTUNATO QUITSON,
this case, the Supreme Court, in the fullness of judicial maturity, acted not as represented by their Attorney-in-Fact JOSE ARCHANGEL, NORMA LOPEZ
a mere agency of national sovereignty, but in the consciousness that the and ANTONIO HIDALGO represented by their Attorney-in-Fact VICENTE
administration of justice, more than national, is a human function, untethered CARO, DANIEL, DOMINGO and GILDA DULALIA, represented by their
by the narrow provincialism of the points of view of a country, but founded on Attorney-in-Fact ROBERTO SALAPANTAN, EDGAR LAZO and GREGORIO
the universal and permanent interests of mankind, as expressed in principles LANTIN, represented by their Attorney-in-Fact RICARDO CORDERO,
with equal value regardless of the hemisphere of the latitude where a person IRENE WAGAN and OSCAR VITO, represented by their Attorney-in-Fact,
may be placed. RENATO NABLE, SIMEON MONTELINO and WILLIAM TAN, represented
by their Attorney-in-Fact RUSTICO AGUSTIN, YOLANDO SINGSON and
There is a suggestion that, because it has not found articulate expression in QUINTIN JAVELLANO, represented by their Attorney-in-Fact MANUEL
this case, it should be ignored, when it is boiling in many minds, and it is that PALACIO, JOAQUIN RODRIGUEZ and JUAN REYES, represented by their
respondent, shielded by his military power and the overwhelming national Attorney-in-Fact ROMEO BAUTISTA, GREGORIA SANTIAGO and
power of his country, may ignore our decision, and we will be powerless to FRANCISCA SINGSON, represented by their Attorney-in-Fact EDMUNDU
enforce it. The fact that respondent appeared before us, through counsel, GUMARU, ROBERTO ROMELDAN and LUIS ORTIGA, represented by their
without any reservation, answers the suggestion, and gives full justice to the Attorney-in-Fact VICTOR AVISO, MANUEL INFANTE and PEDRO
sense of moral values of the respondent. BUENVIAJE, represented by their Attorney-in-Fact RUBEN SEQUITIN,
TONY VELILIA and HERNANI GARCIA, represented by their Attorney-in-
Besides, in the present state of international affairs, when America is Fact MANUEL LINSANGAN, JUANA SANTOS and PABLO CASTILLO,
engaged in the noble task of making a reality the ideal of one world, it can represented by their Attorney-in-Fact AUSBERTO ROSALES, LUISA
not compromise its moral leadership by any showing of reckless disregard to PERALOSA and QUINTIN JAVELLANO, represented by their Attorney-in-
the decision of a court of justice. The cry that there must be one world or Fact JOSE JACINTO, ROMEO SOMERA and PAUL FERMIN, represented
none can receive but one satisfactory answer; the reality of world justice. by their Attorney-in-Fact TOMAS CANTOS, BENJAMIN ISIDRO and
Only in justice hinges the salvation of humanity. Only justice can give real CARLOTA VELOSO represented by their Attorney-in-Fact EDUARDO
peace and provide the basis for contentment and happiness. RAMILA, NORBERTO USON and Jose CLEMENTE, represented by their
Attorney-in-Fact CAYETANO DIMACALE, and TEODORO ENRIQUE and without due notice to them and were found to contain parts of slot machines,
ZOSIMO QUIAMRAO, represented by their Attorney-in-Fact AGUSTIN which are of prohibited importation under section 102 submitting to
REVILLA, respondents. respondent court for "judicial interpretation" the proposition that the cited
provision "does not prohibit parts only thereof, but only those complete and
Office of the Solicitor General Felix Q. Antonio, Assistant Solicitor General assembled units so that the same can be utilized for gambling purposes,
Crispin V. Bautista and Solicitor Pedro A. Ramirez for petitioners. which the law prohibits."

Romeo F. Zamora for private respondents. Respondents prayed respondent judge for the immediate issuance of a
preliminary mandatory injunction for the release under bond of the shipments
alleging that otherwise "upon notice to respondent [collector] of instant
TEEHANKEE, J.: petition, the respondent [collector] will immediately institute seizure
proceedings over subject shipments thereby divesting and/or abeitting (sic)
Original action of certiorari and prohibition challenging the jurisdiction of this Court from acquiring jurisdiction over the subject matter and making the
respondent judge of the Court of First Instance of Iloilo to take cognizance of petition at bar academic and moot to the irreparable and great damage of
twenty separate petitions for mandamus with preliminary mandatory your petitioners." Respondents, without any appraisal of the collector or his
injunction filed by private respondents and to issue orders for the release examiners, unilaterally computed by themselves the specific amounts
from customs custody of forty crates of imported articles described to be allegedly due by way of "total lawful taxes, duties and other charges due on
used sheet containers and used sample wood panels and other similar the shipments" and prayed respondent judge to issue a writ of mandamus
articles but reported upon customs examination to be parts of slot and "commanding the respondent (collector] to accept (their) payment" therefor.
jackpot machines.
Late in the afternoon of December 11, 1970, without summons having been
The twenty pairs of respondents, totalling forty of them all with given issued by respondent court, respondents' counsel served upon petitioner
addresses at Manila, Quezon City and Rizal, are concededly the consignees deputy collector Armada a notice addressed to petitioner collector Seneres
of the forty crates which arrived at the port of Manila on board the M/S that he would submit his petitions for preliminary mandatory injunction for the
"Tagaytay" and were trans-shipped to the port of Iloilo arriving there on respondent court's resolution at 8:30 a.m., the next day, December 12, 1970.
November 5, 1970 on board the M/B "Don Camilo". Armada refused to receive the notice since it was address to the collector
who was in Manila on official business and since no court summons had
Claiming that petitioners customs authorities of Iloilo had refused to act on been issued in the said cases as to place him under the jurisdiction of
the informal entries filed for the release of the forty crates, without requiring respondent court.3
them either to submit additional documents but refusing to accept payment of
the taxes, duties and other charges allegedly due on the shipments and On December 12, 1970, respondent judge nevertheless issued ex-parte his
without instituting seizure proceedings against the shipments, the forty order of the same date granting the writs of preliminary mandatory injunction
respondents, through their respective designed attorney-in-fact (twenty of prayed for by the forty respondents in the twenty cases below, upon the filing
them representing the twenty pairs of consignees, at one crate per of bonds amounting to double the amounts unilaterally computed by
consignee)filed on December 10, 1970, through common counsel, Atty. respondents as the amounts of taxes, duties and charges payable by them,4
Romeo F. Zamora,1 the twenty separate petitions for mandamus with and directing the release unto petitioners of the questioned articles.
respondent court.2 Respondents allegedly uniformly in their petitions that Respondent judge premised his ex-parte mandatory injunction order inter alia
they had been opened, examined and inventoried by the customs authorities "that said provision (sec. 102 [e] of the Tariff and Customs Code) relied upon
by the respondent does not prohibit importation of parts thereof but only Respondent judge denied dissolution of his mandatory injunction per his
those complete and assembled units, thereby requiring the interpretation of order of December 15, 1970, summarily disregarding the statutes and
the same which is a proper function of this Court; that it is the sense of this jurisprudence cited by petitioner and peremptorily ruling that "(T)here can
Court that the instant importation does not fall as a prohibited importation hardly be any question that since the nature of the cause of action in this
within the purview of the provisions of law aforequoted as they are merely proceedings is mandamus, this Court is vested with jurisdiction to entertain
spare parts and not machines and not jackpot machines and pinball the same more so because the cause involves a justiciable controversy
machines or similar contrivances that the petitioners have established their between the parties in the interpretation of a provision of the Tariff and
clear legal right to claim the subject shipment ...; that respondent's Customs Code of the Philippines (Sec. 102, par. 'e'), which calls for the
unwarranted and unjust refusal to act on the corresponding entry without exercise of the interpretative power of the Court."8
instituting any seizure proceedings against subject shipments and in not
allowing the petitioners to pay the lawful taxes due thereon, thereby On the next day, December 16, 1970, respondent filed an urgent motion to
hindering the ultimate release of said shipment to the petitioners has caused cite petitioner Armada and Hortillosa for contempt and to authorize the sheriff
great and irreparable damage and injury to the herein petitioners ...". to break open the bodega under the custody of wharfinger Hortillosa to effect
release of the forty crates.
The required bonds were filed on the same day, December 12, 1970, and the
order and writ of preliminary mandatory injunction were served in the Respondent judge overruled petitioners' opposition per his order of
afternoon of the same day on petitioner wharfinger Hortillosa. It was also on December 17, 1970, took the wharfinger's manifestation that he could not
the same day, December 12, 1970, only that respondent judge issued his release the articles pursuant to the mandatory writ except after proper
order of the same date finding "the instant petitions for mandamus ... identification of respondent-consignees and completion of the documents
sufficient in form and substance" and requiring petitioner collector Senares necessary and requirements of all importers for release from customs of
as therein respondent to answer the petition within ten days.5 articles imported into the country as "a deliberate move to delay if not render
the writ ineffective" and ordered wharfinger Hortillosa "to open the customs
Petitioner collector filed on December 14, 1970 at urgent motion to dissolve bodega, release and deliver the subject articles to the Provincial Sheriff of
the writ of preliminary mandatory injunction for the release of the slot Iloilo or his authorized deputy, and in the event of the failure and/or refusal of
machine parts, on the ground, inter alia of respondent court's lack of the former, the Provincial Sheriff or his Deputy is hereby authorized, as
jurisdiction over the subject matter, respondents' lack of cause of action, the prayed for, to break open the padlock of the bodega where subject goods are
grave and irreparable damage that would be caused to the Government and contained for him to effect delivery to the petitioners herein." 9 Respondent
grave abuse of discretion and violation of the Rules in the issuance of the judge further set the contempt hearing for December 23, 1970 at 8:30 a.m.
writ.6 Petitioner movant attached to the petition the very letter of December
4, 1970 of Eduardo Ramila as representative of the forty respondents- Hence, the present action. The Court per its resolution of December 28, 1970
consignees asking for a 10-day extension at least to file entries for the forty required respondents to answer the petition and issued a writ of preliminary
shipments on the ground that the complete shipping documents are not, as injunction enjoining the enforcement of respondent judge's orders and writ of
yet received for complete not presently known to the above consignees"7 mandatory injunction and restraining respondent judge from taking any
and informed respondent judge that as of then, respondents had not yet filed further cognizance of the twenty cases before him.
the necessary documents but had nevertheless filed their premature petitions
with the court for mandamus to order the release of the articles. 1. It is the settled law and jurisprudence in this jurisdiction that the
customs authorities acquire exclusive jurisdiction over goods sought to be
imported into the Philippines, for the purpose of enforcement of Philippine
customs laws, from the moment the goods are actually under their smuggling — by virtue of the enactment of the Tariff and Customs Code
possession and control, even if no warrant for seizure or detention thereof (Rep. Act 1937) as well as the Court of Tax Appeals Law (Rep. Act 1125),
has previously been issued by the port collector of customs. The port "on grounds of public policy, it is more reasonable to conclude that the
collector is called upon to "cause all such articles to be appraised and legislators intended to divest the Court of First Instance of the prerogative to
classified, and shall assess and collect the duties, taxes and other charges replevin a property which is a subject of a seizure and forfeiture proceedings
thereon, and shall hold possession of all imported articles upon which duties, for violation of the Tariff and Customs Code. Otherwise, actions for forfeiture
taxes, and other charges have not been paid or secured to be, paid of property violation of Customs laws could easily be undetermined by the
disposing of the same accordingly to law." 10 When the goods are simple device of replevin.
challenged as being of prohibited importation and the collector questions the
legality of the importation, as in the case of the jackpot machine parts at bar, Furthermore, Section 2303 of the Tariff and Customs Code requires the
the law expressly imposes upon the collector the obligation "to exercise such Collector of Customs to give to the owner of the property sought to be
jurisdiction in respect thereto us will prevent importation". 11 forfeited written notice of the seizure and to give him the opportunity to be
heard in his defense. This provision clearly indicates the intension of the law
The collector's decision may be appealed to the commissioner of customs, to confine in the Bureau of Customs the determination of all questions
whose decision, inter alia, in cases involving seizure, detention or release of affecting the disposal of property proceeded against in a seizure and
property affected, may in turn be reviewed only by the Court of Tax Appeals forfeiture case. The judicial recourse of the property owner is not in the Court
under the exclusive appellate jurisdiction conferred on said court under of First Instance but in the Court of Tax Appeals, and only after exhausting
section 7 of Republic Act 1125. 12 administrative remedies in the Bureau of Customs. 17

2. Respondent court manifestly had no jurisdiction to interfere with the 3. In the early 1967 case of Commissioner of Customs vs. Cloribel, 18
Iloilo port customs authorities' custody over the forty crates of alleged slot respondent judge's fallacious concepts that his court may assume and
machine and jackpot machine parts sought to be imported under exercise jurisdiction in mandamus cases involving the exercise of its
respondents' misdeclaration of their being merely used sheet and metal "interpretative power" over disputed provisions of the Tariff and Customs
containers and panels, much less to order their forcible release Code were long laid to rest. The Court, in no uncertain terms, there pointed
notwithstanding their entry not yet having been covered by the required entry out that in cases of illegal importation, as in the case at bar, the
documents nor the collector having directed their appraisal, since he was Commissioner of Customs must first review the collector's ruling and "by a
preparing seizure and forfeiture proceedings against the forty crates for being formal decision" rule on the legality of the importation. It is only after a
of prohibited importation and unmanifested in violation of section 2530 (f) and decision adverse to the importer is rendered that the importer may then
(g) of the Tariff and Customs Code and Central Bank Circular No. 265. In "summon the aid of the corresponding court." But such disposition of the
fact, the collector did issue the corresponding warrant of seizure and customs commissioner, the Court stressed, will not come under the court of
detention under date of December 17, 1970 13 and notices dated January first instance on appeal. Such appeal shall be addressed to the court of tax
27, 1971 were sent in Seizure, identification Case No. 13-70 14 advising appeals. Because, at bottom, the problem is: Was the importation authorized
respondents of the hearings to be held on February 15 to 17, 1971 by the by law?"
collector's hearing officer for the forfeiture of the forty crates. 15
The Court then cited the early 1955 jurisprudence 19 that "... Section 7 of
As held by the Court in the 1966 leading case of Pacis vs. Averia 16 — Republic Act No. 1125 has taken away the power of courts of first instance to
where the Court emphasized the need of the cooperation of all branches of review the actuations of the customs authorities in a case involving seizure,
the Government for the success of the law enforcement agencies in curbing detention or release of property, or other matters arising under the Customs
Law or other law administered by the Bureau of Customs. And this, between the existence of the power and the regularity of the proceeding
notwithstanding the fact that complaints may be styled 'mandamus', taken under it. The governmental agency concerned, the Bureau of Customs,
'prohibition' and 'certiorari.' For, in reality these are but expression in varying is vested with exclusive authority. Even if it be assumed that in the exercise
forms of a petition to review the actuations of the customs authorities. of such exclusive competence a taint of illegality may be correctly imputed,
Expressive of the rule is opinion in the Millarez case, viz: the most that can be said is than under certain circumstances the grave
abuse of discretion conferred may oust it of such jurisdiction. It does not
"Republic Act No. 1125, section 7, effective June 16, 1954 gave the Court of mean however that correspondingly a court of first instance is vested with
Tax Appeals decisions of the Commissioner of Customs, involving "seizure, competence when clearly in the light of the above decisions the law has not
detention or release of property affected ... or other matters arising under the seen fit to do so. The proceeding before the Collector of Customs is not final.
Customs Law other law administered by the Bureau of Customs." In our An appeal lies to the Commissioner of Customs and thereafter to the Court of
provision necessarily has taken away the power of the Manila court of first Tax Appeals. It may even reach this Court through the appropriate petition
instance to "review" decisions of the Customs authorities, "in any case of for review. The proper ventilation of the legal issues raised is thus indicated.
seizure" — as in this case — under section 1383 et seq. of the Revised Certainly a court of first instance is not therein included. It is devoid of
Administrative Code." jurisdiction.

It matters not that no seizure proceedings were had. Section 7 of the charter 5. The doctrine was last reaffirmed anew in Luna vs. Pacis, 22 where
of the Court of Tax Appeals does not limit the appellate jurisdiction of said the Court, per Mr. Justice Zaldivar, affirmed the court of first instance's 1964
court of seizure proceedings. The law employs the term "seizure, detention order dismissing and disclaiming jurisdiction over a mandamus action
or release." instituted by therein appellant to seek release of forfeited property from the
Manila customs authorities, in the settled doctrine of the 1955 case of
4. Papa vs. Mago 20 reiterated the doctrine of the lack of jurisdiction of Millarez, maintaining the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Tax
the regular courts of first instance over customs authorities in the Appeals over decisions of the customs commissioner, as subsequently
enforcement of customs laws, thus: "It is the settled rule, therefore, that the reiterated by the Court in a long line of decisions 23 and from which the
Bureau of Customs acquires exclusive jurisdiction over imported goods, for Court has found no plausible reason to depart.
the purpose of enforcement of the customs laws, from the moment the goods
are actually in its possession or control even if no warrant of seizure or 6. Indeed, prescinding from the patent lack of jurisdiction of respondent
detention had previously been issued by the Collector of Customs in court over the mandamus cases filed in the court below, the Court finds that
connection with seizure and forfeiture proceedings." respondent judge proceeded in gross disregard of the Rules of Court in
hearing the petitions on December 12, 1970 and peremptorily issuing on the
In the recent case of Ponce Enrile vs. Vinuya, 21 re affirming anew the same date his mandatory order and writ for the release upon bond of the
settled doctrine of Papa and Pacis vs. Averia, supra, the Court, per Mr. forty crates, even before he had found, as required by the Rules 24 the
Justice Fernando, emphasized a new that the regular courts of first instance petitions to be sufficient in form and substance, and caused the issuance of
are "devoid of jurisdiction" to issue replevin or release orders for goods under summons to petitioner collector (as respondent therein). Petitioner deputy
customs custody: "(R)espondents, however, notwithstanding the compelling collector Armada was wholly justified in refusing to receive on the preceding
force of the above doctrines, would assert that respondent Judge could afternoon respondents' counsel's notice the petitioner collector that he would
entertain the replevin suit as the seizure is illegal, allegedly because the submit the next morning to respondent judge his "urgent" petitions for
warrant issued is invalid and the seizing officer likewise was devoid of preliminary mandatory injunction, since no summons had then as yet been
authority. This is to lose sight of the distinction, as earlier made mention of, issued to said petitioner as to place him under the respondent court's
jurisdiction and respondents' counsel had no authority whatsoever under the (e) of the customs code, "as they are merely spare parts and not machines
Rules to serve any binding notice with regard to his petitions, which had not and not jackpot machines and pinball machines or similar contrivances." As
yet been given due course by respondent court, such as to respondent court. in the case of Cloribel, "to proceed with the case below on the merits would
then be a useless ceremony" because respondents would have been already
7. Respondent judge likewise appears to have cast aside the basic what they wanted in their suits below, i.e. release of the forty crates, and the
postulates governing the issuance of preliminary mandatory injunction government would have lost its lawful hold on he controverted shipments of
orders, as restated by Mr. Justice Sanchez for the Court in Cloribel, 25 slot machine parts and "literally shall have been left `holding the bag'". The
supra: "(B)y Section 1, Rule 58, 1964 Rules of Court, it is now expressly questioned illegal articles would then have been release from customs,
provided — though — already long generally recognized that a court, at any despite the Tariff and Customs Code's prohibition, by virtue of respondent
stage of an action prior to final judgment, may 'require the performance of a judge's orders peremptorily and hastily issued without jurisdiction, and would
particular act, in which case it shall be known as a preliminary mandatory have been quickly disposed of by respondents-consignees, presumably at
injunction.' But, stock must be taken of the truism that, like preventive great profit to service the various illegal jackpot machines in the country or to
injunctions, it is but a provisional remedy to which parties may resort 'for the be assembled as complete units — and no subsequent corrective order of
preservation or protection of their rights or interests, and for no other any court would have availed to recover the articles and bring them back to
purpose, during the pendency of the principal action.' More than this, as a the custody of the customs authorities, for forfeiture and eventual destruction,
mandatory injunction usually tends to do more than to maintain the status if ultimately ruled by proper competent authorities to be of prohibited
quo, it is generally improper to issue such an injunction prior to the final importation.
hearing. Per contra it may issue 'in cases of extreme urgency; where the
right is clear; where considerations of relative inconvenience bear strongly in
complainant's favor; where there is a willful and unlawful invasion of plaintiff's 8. The government attorneys thus appear to have valid ground for
right against his protest and remonstrance, the injury being a continuing complaining of respondent judge's orders of December 12, 15 and 17, 1970,
relation where the effect of the mandatory injunction is rather to reestablish having been precipitously granted, to the extent of authorizing the destruction
and maintain a preexisting continuing relation between the parties, recently of the customs warehouse padlock to enable respondents to forcibly realize
and arbitrarily interrupted by the defendant, than to establish a new relation.' "their scheme to obtain possession of the imported articles" before this Court
Indeed 'the writ should not be denied the complainant when he makes out a could act on the petition filed on December 21, 1970, expecting that the
clear case, free from doubt and dispute.'" Court could not hold sessions until after the long Christmas holidays and thus
render moot and academic the petition with its prayer for a restraining order
In the case at bar, respondent judge's mandatory writ obviously was not against enforcement of the challenged orders, with grave and irreparable
designed to maintain the status quo. Neither had respondents made out "a damage to the public interest. 26
clear case free from doubt and dispute." To paraphrase Cloribel, the most
convincing argument, of course, is that to enforce respondent judge's writ for Respondent judge, notwithstanding his attention having been timely called,
the release of the forty crates of slot and jackpot machine parts, would have by petitioners in their urgent motion to December 14, 1970 for dissolution of
been practically to decide the in favor of respondents. In just one ex-parte the mandatory injunction, to the settled law and jurisprudence on his court's
hearing and without any evidence of his having reflected on his court's lack lack of jurisdiction and this Court's admonition against the precipitous
of jurisdiction over the subject-matter, respondent judge had indeed issuance of injunctive writs, appears to have failed to pay due heed thereto.
prejudged the petitions before him and already expressed his itself in his Mr. Justice Reyes' injunction for the Court in Palanan Lumber & Plywood,
order of December 12, 1970 that the importation of the forty crates were not Inc. vs. Arranz 27 is apropos: "(I)t is not amiss to recall here that time and
of prohibited importation and could not be deemed covered by Section 102 again this Court has had occasion to deplore the read of some judges to
grant and issue injunctions ex parte against acts of public functionaries, designated attorneys-in-fact duly authorized to clear their shipments as well
ignoring the presumption of regularity and validity of official actuations, in as to engage verbally the services of common counsel for the pure the Court
disregard of the deference and courtesy due to a coordinate branch of the therefore directs the Solicitor-General to investigate the matter further with
government, and with no other guide than the far from impartial assertions in the assistance of the appropriate governmental investigative agency and to
pleadings of interested parties, which a summary hearing would have shown ascertain the true facts of the transaction, and the identity and participation of
to be either dubious or unfounded. The result has been that authority too private respondents and their attorneys-in-fact, as well as the full facts of how
often, the public interest has been prejudiced through unnecessary delays. It they came to engage the services of their common counsel, Atty. Zamora,
bears repeating here that preliminary injunctions remain extraordinary and to inform the Court in due course of the results of such investigation and
remedies that should be dispensed with circumspection, and that both sides the appropriate action taken thereon, if any.
should be first heard whenever possible."
ACCORDINGLY, the writs of prohibition and certiorari prayed for are granted,
9. Finally, per its resolution of March 18, 1971, the Court required respondent court being clearly without jurisdiction over the subject of Civil
counsel for respondents, Atty. Zamora, "considering the fact of record that all Cases Nos. 8449 to 8468 filed before it, which cases respondent judge is
the shipments were consigned to the port of Iloilo while all the consignees hereby ordered to dismiss. The order and writ of preliminary mandatory
are residents of Manila, Quezon City and Rizal, to submit with his injunction of December 12, 1970, as well as the other orders of December
memorandum the name(s) of the person or persons who employed him as 15, 1970 and December 17, 1970 (Annexes C, C-1, G and J, petition) issued
well as copies of any written contracts for his legal services executed by him by respondent judge are declared null and void, and the writ of preliminary
with the twenty pairs of respondents and/or with their respective attorneys-in- injunction herefore issued by this Court is made permanent. With costs
fact." In his compliance dated April 12, 1971, Atty. Zamora manifested that against private respondents.
"his legal services (sic) for said cases was verbally engaged first by
respondents' attorneys-in fact Messrs. Alberto Belardo, Ricardo Cordero, The Clerk of Court is directed to furnish copy of this decision to the
Renato Nable, Romeo Bautista and Agustin Revilla for the respective Honorable, the Secretary of Justice, particularly with reference to the matters
shipments of consignees-respondents that they represent. Subsequently, the dealt with in paragraphs 6 to 8 thereof. He is likewise directed to furnish copy
other above-named attorneys-in-fact followed in verbally employing my hereof to the Honorable, the Solicitor General, with particular reference to the
professional services, likewise, for respective consignees-respondents that matters dealt with in paragraph 9 thereof.
they represent. Hence, being the attorney of record of the above-named
respondents whose respective shipments are similarly situated, I deemed it So ordered.
wise to file similar or identical petition with the court below (respondent
court)." Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Fernando,
Barredo, Villamor and Makasiar, JJ., concur.
The Court is intrigued by the fact of record that 40 individuals — private
respondents — all with given addresses in Manila, Quezon City and Rizal Castro, J., is on leave.
would be the consignee each of a crate of 40 shipments apparently
misdeclared as used metal containers and other articles of similar nature but
actually consisting of slot or jackpot machine parts; that the entire forty crates
would he shipped on the same vessel from Singapore for Manila with Footnotes
instructions to trans-ship to the port of Iloilo; and that said forty respondents
"consignees" have apparently not acted on their own account but through
1 With address at 15-C Road 6, Project 6, Quezon City (his former "(2) Decisions of the Commissioner of Customs in cases involving liability for
address as given to respondent court was Rm. 706, Katigbak Bldg., Manila) customs duties, fees or other money charges; seizure, detention or release
of property affected fines forfeitures or other penalties imposed in thereto; or
2 Docketed as Civil Cases Nos. 8449 to 8468 of respondent court. other matters arising under the customs Law or part of law administered by
the Bureau of Customs.
3 Annex E-3, Petition.
13 Respondents memorandum, p. 9.
4 Annex C. Petition. The bonds fixed by respondent judge ranged from
P900.00 to P3,000.00 per case (each case covering two crates and totalled 14 Entitled "Republic of the Philippines Forty (40) crates jackpot
P35,900.00 for all twenty cases. machine parts which arrived at the port of Iloilo on November 5, 1970."

5 Annex D, Petition. 15 Respondents' memorandum, 7 and Annex "1".

6 Annexes E, E-1 to E-3, Petition. 16 18 SCRA 907 (Nov. 29, 1966).

7 Annex E-1. Petition. 17 Emphasis supplied.

8 Annex G, Petition. 18 19 SCRA 234 (Jan. 31, 1967).

9 Annex J. Petition. 20 Millarez etc. vs. Amparo, 97 Phil. 282 June 30, 1955), emphasis
furnished.
10 Sec. 1206, Tariff and Customs Code (Rep. Act 1937).
20 22 SCRA 857 (Feb. 28, 1968).
11 Sec. 1207, idem. provides: "Jurisdiction of Collector over articles of
prohibited importation. — Where articles are of prohibited importation or 21 37 SCRA 381 (Jan. 30, 1971), cited in Lopez vs. Comm. of Customs,
subject to importation only upon conditions prescribed by law it shall be the 37 SCRA 327 (Jan. 30, 1971).
duty of the Collector to exercise such jurisdiction in respect thereto as will
prevent importation or otherwise secure compliance with all legal 22 L-24237, Mar. 31, 1971.
requirements.
23 Citing "Southwest Agricultural Marketing Corp. vs. Secretary of
12 Its pertinent provision: Finance, G.R. No. L-24797, October 8, 1968, citing: NAMARCO v.
Macadaeg, 98 Phil. 185, 190; Sampaguita Shoe & Slipper Factory v. Comm.
"Jurisdiction. — The Court of Tax Appeals shall exist appellate jurisdiction to of Customs, 102 Phil. 850; Pepsi Cola Bottling Co. v. Manahan, L-12096,
review by appeal as herein provided — April 30, 1959, 105 Phil. 1299, 1300; Acting Collector of Customs v. De la
Rama Steamship,
xxx xxx xxx L-20676, Feb. 26, 1965, (13 SCRA 298); Auyong Hian v. Court of Tax
Appeals, L-25181, Jan. 11, 1967, (19 SCRA 10); De Joya v. Lantin, L-24037,
April 27, 1967, (19 SCRA 893); Acting Collector of Customs v. Caluag, L-
23925, May 24, 1967, (20 SCRA 204), Romualdez v. Arca, L-20516, Nov. information in Criminal Case No. 6398 for violation of P.D. No. 772
15, 1967, (21 SCRA 856)." (penalizing squatting and similar acts), as well as the Order dated May 31,
1976, denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration.
24 Rule 65, sec. 6; see 3 Moran's Rules 1970 Ed. 203.
Private respondents were charged in the court a quo, then presided over by
25 See also Namareo vs. Cloribel, 22 SCRA 1033 (Mar. 13, 1968). respondent Judge with violation of P.D. No. 772 which penalizes squatting in
an information which reads:
26 Petitioner's Ex-parte Motion to Resolve Motion for Issuance of Writ of
Preliminary Injunction or for Issuance of Restraining Order, dated Dec. 28, That on or about the 2nd week of October, 1975 and for sometime
1970, Rollo, p. 136. subsequent thereto at Bo. Bagongbayan, Puerto Princess City, Philippines,
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused,
27 22 SCRA 1186 (Mar. 20, 1968). conspiring and confederating together and mutually helping one another and
taking advantage of the absence and/or tolerance of the landowner, did then
28 Citing "Suarez" vs. Hon. Andres Reyes, et al., L-19828, Feb. 28, and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously occupy and build a house on the
1963; Commissioner of Immigration vs. Hon. Gaudencio Cloribel, et al., L- land owned by Felix Yara for residential and/or commercial purpose and
23838, Dec. 28, 1964; The Chief of the Philippine Constabulary vs. The refuses (sic) to vacate said land despite repeated demands to vacate made
Judge of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, L-22308, L-22343, March 31, by Felix Yara, which act is a violation of Presidential Decree No. 772. (Annex
1964; Hon. Martiniano P. Vivo v. Hon. Gaudencio Cloribel, G.R. No. L-23239, 'A' to the Petition for Review, p. 11, Rollo).
Nov. 23, 1966; Vda. de Villanueva vs. Ortiz, No. L-11412, May 28, 1958; and
Coloso vs. Board of Accountancy, L-5750, April 20, 1953 and the cases cited The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 6398 of the court a quo.
therein."
Upon a motion to quash filed by private respondents, alleging that the facts
G.R. No. L-44095 April 24, 1989 charged do not constitute an offense, respondent Judge dismissed the case
in an Order dated May 17, 1976. In dismissing the information, respondent
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, Judge opined:
vs.
HON. OSCAR P. SIAT AGUSTIN VIGONTE and EDGARDO MAGBANUA, From the purpose clause of Presidential Decree No. 772 it is very evident
respondents. that what is penalized are acts of squatting only in urban communities and
not just any community. In the absence therefore of a recital in the
The Solicitor General for petitioner. information that Barrio Bagongbayan, Puerto Princess City where the
squatting was allegedly committed is an urban community, the court is of the
Teotimo P. Timones for private respondents. opinion and so holds that the facts charged do not constitute an offense.
(Annex 'F' to Petition for Review, p. 25, Rollo).

BIDIN, J.: The prosecution moved for reconsideration of the said Order, but was denied
in the Order dated May 31, 1976.
This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to set aside the Order dated
May 17, 1976 of the then City Court of Puerto Princess City, dismissing the Hence, this petition.
WHEREAS, it came to my knowledge that despite the issuance of Letter of
The petition is premised on the sole assignment of error, to wit: Instruction No. 19 dated October 2, 1972, directing the Secretaries of
National Defense, Public Works and Communications, Social Welfare and
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT PRESIDENTIAL the Director of Public Works, the PHHC General Manager, the Presidential
DECREE NO. 772 PENALIZES SQUATTING IN BOTH URBAN AND Assistant on Housing and Rehabilitation Agency, Governors, City and
RURAL COMMUNITIES. Municipal Mayors, and City and District Engineers, to remove all illegal
constructions including buildings on and along esteros and river banks, those
Section 1 P.D. 772 provides, as follows: along railroad tracks and those built without permits on public and private
property,' squatting is still a major problem in urban communities all over the
SECTION 1. Any person who, with the use of force, intimidation or threat, country;
or taking advantage of the absence or tolerance of the landowner, succeeds
in occupying or possessing the property of the latter against his will for WHEREAS, many persons or entities found to have been unlawfully
residential, commercial or any other purposes, shall be punished by an occupying public and private lands belong to the affluent class;
imprisonment ranging from six months to one year or a fine of not less than
that one thousand nor more than five thousand pesos at the discretion of the WHEREAS, there is a need to further intensify the government's drive
court, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. (2nd paragraph is against this illegal and nefarious practice. (Emphasis supplied).
omitted).
Considering that PD 772 applies only to urban communities and the
The question as to which community or communities P.D. 772 applies has information filed in the case at bar does not allege that barrio Bagongbayan,
long been resolved by this Court in People vs. Echaves, 95 SCRA 663 Puerto Princesa City where the squatting was allegedly committed is an
(1980) where it was held: urban community, the respondent Judge did not commit any reversible error
in holding that the facts charged do not constitute an offense.
We hold that the lower court correctly ruled that the decree does not apply to
pasture lands because its preamble shows that it was intended to apply to ACCORDINGLY, the petition is Dismissed and the orders of the court a quo
squatting in urban communities or more particularly to illegal constructions in dated May 17 and 31, 1976 are Affirmed. No costs.
squatter areas made by well - to - do individuals. The squatting complained
of involves pasture lands in rural areas. SO ORDERED,

The aforesaid ruling was restated in Bernardo vs. People, 123 SCRA 365 Fernan, C.J., Gutierrez, Jr., Feliciano and Cortes, JJ., concur.
(1983) as follows:
[G.R. No. 100210. April 1, 1998]
The intent of the decree (referring to P.D. No. 772) is unmistakable. It is
intended to apply only to urban communities, particularly to illegal THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. HON. OSCAR B.
constructions. PIMENTEL, as Judge, RTC of Makati, Metro Manila, Branch 148 and
ANTONIO A. TUJAN, respondents.
The unmistakable intent of P.D. No. 772 may be gleaned from its preamble,
thus: DECISION
MARTINEZ, J.: Presidential Decree No. 1866, as amended, before the Regional Trial Court
of Makati (Branch 148), docketed as Criminal Case No. 1789. The
Is the Court of Appeals, in affirming the order of the Regional Trial Court, Information reads:
correct in ruling that Subversion is the main offense in a charge of Illegal
Possession of Firearm and Ammunition in Furtherance of Subversion under That on or about the 5th day of June, 1990, in the Municipality of Paraaque,
P.D. No. 1866, as amended, and that, therefore, the said charge should be Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
quashed in view of a previous charge of Subversion under R.A. No. 1700, as the above-named accused, being a member of a communist party of the
amended by P.D. No. 885, against the same accused pending in another Philippines, and its front organization, did then and there willfully, unlawfully
court? and feloniously have in his possession, control and custody, in furtherance of
or incident to, or in connection with the crime of subversion, a special edition
Stated differently, is the accused charged with the same offense in both ARMSCOR PHILS. caliber .38 special revolver with Serial No. 1026387 and
cases, which would justify the dismissal of the second charge on the ground with six (6) live ammunitions, without first securing the necessary license or
of double jeopardy? permit thereof from competent government authority.[6]

This is the pith issue presented before us in this appeal by certiorari The above Information recommended no bail for Antonio Tujan, which
interposed by the People under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court, recommendation was approved by the trial court in an Order dated June 19,
seeking a review of the decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (Sixteenth 1990.[7] The same order also directed the continued detention of Antonio
Division) dated May 27, 1991, in CA-G.R. SP No. 24273, entitled THE Tujan at MIG 15 of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, versus HON. OSCAR B. Philippines (ISAFP), Bago Bantay, Quezon City, while his case is pending.
PIMENTEL, as Judge, RTC of Makati, Metro Manila, Branch 148 and
ANTONIO A. TUJAN, Respondents. On June 26, 1990, Antonio Tujan, through counsel, filed a motion[8] invoking
his right to a preliminary investigation pursuant to Section 7, Rule 112 of the
The record discloses the following antecedent facts: Revised Rules of Court and praying that his arraignment be held in abeyance
until the preliminary investigation is terminated.
As early as 1983, private respondent Antonio Tujan was charged with
Subversion under Republic Act No. 1700 (the Anti-Subversion Law), as However, on June 27, 1990, during the hearing of Antonio Tujans motion for
amended, before the Regional Trial Court of Manila (Branch 45), National preliminary investigation, his counsel withdrew the motion since he would file
Capital Region, docketed as Criminal Case No. 64079.[2] As a consequence a motion to quash the Information, for which reason counsel requested a
thereof, a warrant for his arrest was issued on July 29, 1983,[3] but it period of twenty (20) days to do so. This was granted by the trial court on
remained unserved as he could not be found. that same day.[9]

Almost seven (7) years thereafter, or on June 5, 1990, Antonio Tujan was On July 16, 1990, Antonio Tujan did file the motion to quash[10] the
arrested on the basis of the warrant of arrest in the subversion case.[4] When Information in Criminal Case No. 1789 on the ground that he has been
arrested, an unlicensed .38 caliber special revolver and six (6) rounds of live previously in jeopardy of being convicted of the offense charged in Criminal
ammunition were found in his possession.[5] Case No. 64079 (for subversion) of the Regional Trial Court of Manila
(Branch 45). The said ground is based on Sections 3 (h) and 7, Rule 117 of
Consequently, on June 14, 1990, Antonio Tujan was charged with Illegal the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure. In support of the motion, Antonio
Possession of Firearm and Ammunition in Furtherance of Subversion under Tujan contends that common crimes such as illegal possession of firearms
and ammunition should actually be deemed absorbed in subversion,[11]
citing the cases of Misolas vs. Panga, et al. (G. R. No. 83341, January 30, xxxxxxxxx
1990, 181 SCRA 648) and Enrile vs. Salazar, et al. (G. R. No. 92163, June 5,
1990, 186 SCRA 217). Antonio Tujan then avers that the present case is the In other words, the main offense the accused is being charged in this case is
twin prosecution of the earlier subversion case and, therefore, he is entitled also Subversion considering that the alleged Illegal Possession of the
to invoke the constitutional protection against double jeopardy.[12] Firearm and Ammunition is only in furtherance thereof.

The petitioner opposed[13] the motion to quash, arguing that Antonio Tujan Now, subversion being a continuing offense as has been previously held by
does not stand in jeopardy of being convicted a second time because: (a) he the Supreme Court, the fact that the accused has been previously charged of
has not even been arraigned in the subversion case, and (b) the offense Subversion before another court before the institution of this instant case is
charged against him in Criminal Case No. 64079 is for Subversion, just a continuing offense of his former charge or that his acts constituting
punishable under Republic Act No. 1700; while the present case is for Illegal subversion is a continuation of the acts he committed before.
Possession of Firearm and Ammunition in Furtherance of Subversion,
punishable under a different law (Presidential Decree No. 1866). Moreover, The court therefore cannot subscribe to the position taken by the prosecution
petitioner contends that Antonio Tujans reliance on the Misolas and Enrile that this case is very different from the other case and that double jeopardy
cases is misplaced.[14] Tujan merely relies on the dissenting opinions in the will attach in this particular case.
Misolas case. Also, the Enrile case which involved a complex crime of
rebellion with murder is inapplicable to the instant case which is not a This court agrees with the position taken by the defense that double jeopardy
complex offense. Thus, the absorption rule as held applicable in the Enrile will attach to the accusation of subversion, punishable now under Republic
ruling has no room for application in the present case because (illegal) Act 1700, as Rule 117 of the Rules of Court particularly Section 1 thereof,
possession of firearm and ammunition is not a necessary means of provides:
committing the offense of subversion, nor is subversion a necessary means
of committing the crime of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.[15] Time to move to quash- At any time before entering his plea, the accused
may move to quash the complaint or information.(1a)
The trial court, in an order dated October 12, 1990, granted the motion to
quash the Information in Criminal Case No. 1789, the dispositive portion of In other words, there is no necessity that the accused should be arraigned
the order reading: first before he can move to quash the information. It is before he pleads
which the accused did in this case.
WHEREFORE, the motion to quash the information is hereby GRANTED, but
only in so far as the accused may be placed in jeopardy or in danger of being On the other submissions by the prosecution, that the possession of firearms
convicted or acquitted of the crime of Subversion and as a consequence the and ammunitions is not a necessary means of committing the offense of
Information is hereby quashed and the case dismissed without prejudice to subversion or vice versa, then if the court follows such argument, there could
the filing of Illegal Possession of Firearm. be no offense of Illegal Possession of Firearm and Ammunition in furtherance
of Subversion, for even the prosecution admits also that in subversion which
SO ORDERED.[16] is an offense involving propaganda, counter propaganda, a battle of the
hearts and mind of the people does not need the possession or use of
It is best to quote the disquisition of the respondent court in quashing the firearms and ammunitions.
information and dismissing the case:
The prosecution even admits and to quote: We agree with the petitioner.

The defense of double jeopardy, while unquestionably available to the The Court of Appeals considered as duplicitous the Information for violation
accused, had not been clearly shown to be invokable(sic) at this point in of P.D. No. 1866 filed against private respondent Antonio Tujan. It ruled:
time.
The foregoing information (for Illegal Possession of Firearm and Ammunition
But the rule says otherwise as previously stated as provided for under in Furtherance of Subversion) filed before the Makati court shows that the
Section 1 of Rule 117 of the Rules of Court. main case is subversion considering that there is an allegation that the
alleged illegal possession of firearms was made in furtherance of or incident
Thus, if ever the accused is caught in possession of a firearm and to, or in connection with the crime of subversion. Also, the information
ammunition which is separate and distinct from the crime of subversion and alleged likewise that the accused is a member of a communist party of the
is not a necessary ingredient thereof and the court believed so, the Philippines and its front organization. Basically, the information refers to the
prosecution will have to file another information as they may wish. The court crime of Subversion qualified by Illegal Possession of Firearms. x x x.[20]
therefore has to grant the motion to quash on the aforestated grounds,
subject to Section 5 of Rule 117, considering that the only offense to which The ruling of the Court of Appeals is erroneous.
the accused in this case may be placed in jeopardy is Subversion and not
Illegal Possession of Firearms and Ammunitions. Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1866, under which Antonio Tujan is
charged in Criminal Case No. 1789 before the Regional Trial Court of Makati
The prosecution may file any information as warranted within ten (10) days (Branch 148), provides as follows:
from receipt of this order otherwise the court will order the release of the
accused, unless he is in custody for some other offense.[17] (Emphasis ours) Section 1. Unlawful Manufacture, Sales, Acquisition, Disposition or
Possession of Firearms or Ammunition or Instruments Used or Intended to
Petitioners motion for reconsideration[18] was also denied in an order dated be Used in the Manufacture of Firearms or Ammunition. The penalty of
December 28, 1990.[19] reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua shall be
imposed upon any person who shall unlawfully manufacture, deal in, acquire,
The petitioner elevated the case to the Court of Appeals through a petition for dispose, or possess any firearms, part of firearm, ammunition, or machinery,
certiorari, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 24273. However, the appellate court tool or instrument used or intended to be used in the manufacture of any
found that the trial court did not commit any grave abuse of discretion firearm or ammunition.
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in quashing the questioned
Information. In dismissing the petition, the appellate court, in its decision If homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearms,
dated May 27, 1991, basically reiterated the aforequoted ruling of the trial the penalty of death shall be imposed.
court.
If the violation of this Section is in furtherance of, or incident to, or in
Petitioner now comes to this Court, claiming that: (1) the decision of the connection with the crimes of rebellion, insurrection or subversion, the
Court of Appeals is not in accord with the law and applicable jurisprudence; penalty of death shall be imposed.
and (2) it was deprived of due process to prosecute and prove its case
against private respondent Antonio Tujan in Criminal Case No. 1789. The penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion
perpetua shall be imposed upon the owner, president, manager, director or
other responsible officer of any public or private firm, company, corporation AND IMPOSING STIFFER PENALTIES FOR CERTAIN VIOLATIONS
or entity, who shall willfully or knowingly allow any of the firearms owned by THEREOF AND FOR RELEVANT PURPOSES. (Emphasis ours)
such firm, company, corporation or entity to be used by any person or
persons found guilty of violating the provisions of the preceding paragraphs. On the other hand, the previous subversion charge against Antonio Tujan in
Criminal Case No. 64079, before the Regional Trial Court of Manila (Branch
The penalty of prision mayor shall be imposed upon any person who shall 45), is based on a different law, that is, Republic Act No. 1700, as amended.
carry any licensed firearm outside his residence without legal authority Section 3 thereof penalizes any person who knowingly, wilfully and by overt
therefor. (Emphasis ours) act affiliates with, becomes or remains a member of a subversive association
or organization x x x. Section 4 of said law further penalizes such member [of
The above-quoted provisions of P.D. No. 1866 are plain and simple. Under the Communist Party of the Philippines and/or its successor or of any
the first paragraph of Section 1, the mere possession of an unlicensed subversive association] (who) takes up arms against the Government. Thus,
firearm or ammunition is the crime itself which carries the penalty of reclusion in the present case, private respondent Antonio Tujan could be charged
temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua. The third paragraph of either under P.D. No. 1866 or R.A. No. 1700,[23] or both.
the same Section makes the use of said firearm and ammunition in
furtherance of, or incident to, or in connection with the crimes of rebellion, This leads us to the issue of whether or not private respondent Antonio Tujan
insurrection or subversion a circumstance to increase the penalty to death. was placed in double jeopardy with the filing of the second Information for
Thus, the allegation in the Information in Criminal Case No. 1789 that the Illegal Possession of Firearm and Ammunition in Furtherance of Subversion.
unlicensed firearm found in the possession of Antonio Tujan, a member of
the communist party of the Philippines and its front organization, was used in We rule in the negative.
furtherance of or incident to, or in connection with the crime of subversion
does not charge him with the separate and distinct crime of Subversion in the Article III of the Constitution provides:
same Information, but simply describes the mode or manner by which the
violation of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866 was committed[21] so as to qualify the Sec. 21. No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same
penalty to death. offense. If an act is punished by a law and an ordinance, conviction or
acquittal under either shall constitute a bar to another prosecution for the
There is, therefore, only one offense charged in the questioned information, same act. (Emphasis ours)
that is, the illegal possession of firearm and ammunition, qualified by its
being used in furtherance of subversion.[22] There is nothing in P.D. No. Complementing the above constitutional provision, Rule 117 of the Revised
1866, specifically Section 1 thereof, which decrees categorically or by Rules of Court states:
implication that the crimes of rebellion, insurrection or subversion are the
very acts that are being penalized. This is clear from the title of the law itself SEC. 7. Former conviction or acquittal; double jeopardy. When an accused
which boldly indicates the specific acts penalized under it: has been convicted or acquitted, or the case against him dismissed or
otherwise terminated without his express consent by a court of competent
CODIFYING THE LAWS ON ILLEGAL/UNLAWFUL POSSESSION, jurisdiction, upon a valid complaint or information or other formal charge
MANUFACTURE, DEALING IN, ACQUISITION OR DISPOSITION, OF sufficient in form and substance to sustain a conviction and after the accused
FIREARMS, AMMUNITION OR EXPLOSIVES OR INSTRUMENTS USED IN had pleaded to the charge, the conviction or acquittal of the accused or the
THE MANUFACTURE OF FIREARMS, AMMUNITION OR EXPLOSIVES, dismissal of the case shall be a bar to another prosecution for the offense
charged, or for any attempt to commit the same or frustration thereof, or for
any offense which necessarily includes or is necessarily included in the While we hold that both the subversion charge under R.A. No. 1700, as
offense charged in the former complaint or information. amended, and the one for illegal possession of firearm and ammunition in
furtherance of subversion under P.D. No. 1866, as amended, can co-exist,
x x x x x x x x x. the subsequent enactment of Republic Act No. 7636 on September 22, 1992,
totally repealing R.A. No. 1700, as amended, has substantially changed the
The right of an accused against double jeopardy is a matter which he may complexion of the present case, inasmuch as the said repealing law being
raise in a motion to quash to defeat a subsequent prosecution for the same favorable to the accused-private respondent, who is not a habitual
offense. The pertinent provision of Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Court delinquent, should be given retroactive effect.[26]
provides:
Although this legal effect of R.A. No. 7636 on private-respondents case has
SEC. 3. Grounds. The accused may move to quash the complaint or never been raised as an issue by the parties obviously because the said law
information on any of the following grounds: came out only several months after the questioned decision of the Court of
Appeals was promulgated and while the present petition is pending with this
xxxxxxxxx Court we should nonetheless fulfill our duty as a court of justice by applying
the law to whomsoever is benefited by it regardless of whether or not the
(h) That the accused has been previously convicted or in jeopardy of being accused or any party has sought the application of the beneficent provisions
convicted, or acquitted of the offense charged. (2a) (Emphasis ours) of the repealing law.[27]

In order that the protection against double jeopardy may inure to the benefit That R.A. No. 7636 should apply retroactively to accused-private respondent
of an accused, the following requisites must have obtained in the first is beyond question. The repeal by said law of R.A. No. 1700, as amended,
criminal action: (a) a valid complaint or information; (b) a competent court; (c) was categorical, definite and absolute. There was no saving clause in the
the defendant had pleaded to the charge;[24] and (d) the defendant was repeal. The legislative intent of totally abrogating the old anti-subversion law
acquitted, or convicted, or the case against him was dismissed or otherwise is clear. Thus, it would be illogical for the trial courts to try and sentence the
terminated without his express consent.[25] accused-private respondent for an offense that no longer exists.[28]

Suffice it to say that in the present case, private respondents motion to quash As early as 1935, we ruled in People vs. Tamayo:[29]
filed in the trial court did not actually raise the issue of double jeopardy
simply because it had not arisen yet. It is noteworthy that the private There is no question that at common law and in America a much more
respondent has not even been arraigned in the first criminal action for favorable attitude towards the accused exists relative to statutes that have
subversion. Besides, as earlier discussed, the two criminal charges against been repealed than has been adopted here. Our rule is more in conformity
private respondent are not of the same offense as required by Section 21, with the Spanish doctrine, but even in Spain, where the offense ceases to be
Article III of the Constitution. criminal, prosecution cannot be had. (1 Pacheco Commentaries, 296)
(Emphasis ours)
It is clear from the foregoing, that the assailed decision of the Court of
Appeals is not in accordance with the law and jurisprudence and thus should Where, as here, the repeal of a penal law is total and absolute and the act
be reversed. which was penalized by a prior law ceases to be criminal under the new law,
the previous offense is obliterated.[30] It is a recognized rule in this
jurisdiction that a total repeal deprives the courts of jurisdiction to try, convict
and sentence persons charged with violation of the old law prior to the The subversion charge against accused-private respondent Antonio A. Tujan
repeal.[31] in Criminal Case No. 64079 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 45,
is hereby DISMISSED.
With the enactment of R.A. No. 7636, the charge of subversion against the
accused-private respondent has no more legal basis and should be The other Information for illegal possession of firearm and ammunition in
dismissed. furtherance of subversion against the same accused in Criminal Case No.
1789 of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 148, is DEEMED
As regards the other charge of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition, AMENDED to Simple Illegal Possession of Firearm and Ammunition. The
qualified by subversion, this charge should be amended to simple illegal accused-appellant is hereby ordered RELEASED IMMEDIATELY from
possession of firearm and ammunition since, as earlier discussed, detention for the reason stated above, unless he is being detained for any
subversion is no longer a crime. other offense.

Moreover, the offense of simple illegal possession of firearm and ammunition This decision is IMMEDIATELY EXECUTORY.
is now bailable under Republic Act No. 8294 which was enacted on June 6,
1997. R.A. No. 8294 has amended Presidential Decree No. 1866, as No pronouncement as to costs.
amended, by eliminating the provision in said P.D. that if the unlicensed
firearm is used in furtherance of subversion, the penalty of death shall be SO ORDERED.
imposed.[32] Under the new law (R.A. No. 8294), the penalty prescribed for
simple illegal possession of firearm (.38 caliber) is now reduced to prision Narvasa, C.J., Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug,
correccional in its maximum period and a fine of not less than Fifteen Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing. and Purisima, JJ., concur.
thousand pesos (P15,000.00).[33] The reduced penalty of imprisonment -
which is four (4) years, two (2) months and one (1) day to six (6) years - EN BANC
entitles the accused-private respondent to bail. Considering, however, that
the accused-private respondent has been detained since his arrest on June
5, 1990 up to the present (as far as our record has shown), or more than
seven (7) years now, his immediate release is in order. This is so because
even if he were convicted for illegal possession of firearm and ammunition, PROF. RANDOLF S. DAVID, LORENZO TA�ADA III, RONALD LLAMAS,
the length of his detention while his case is pending has already exceeded H. HARRY L. ROQUE, JR., JOEL RUIZ BUTUYAN, ROGER R. RAYEL,
the penalty prescribed by the new law. GARY S. MALLARI, ROMEL REGALADO BAGARES,
CHRISTOPHER F.C. BOLASTIG,
WHEREFORE, the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals dated May 27,
1991, in CA-G.R. SP No. 24273, including the orders dated October 12, 1990 Petitioners,
and December 28, 1990 of the Regional Trial Court of Makati (Branch 148),
National Capital Region, in Criminal Case No. 1789, are hereby REVERSED
and SET ASIDE.
- versus -
GUINGONA III, EMMANUEL JOSEL J. VILLANUEVA, LIZA L. MAZA, IMEE
R. MARCOS, RENATO B. MAGTUBO, JUSTIN MARC SB. CHIPECO,
ROILO GOLEZ, DARLENE ANTONINO-CUSTODIO, LORETTA ANN P.
GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, AS PRESIDENT AND ROSALES, JOSEL G. VIRADOR, RAFAEL V. MARIANO, GILBERT C.
COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA, REMULLA, FLORENCIO G. NOEL, ANA THERESIA HONTIVEROS-
HON. AVELINO CRUZ II, SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, BARAQUEL, IMELDA C. NICOLAS, MARVIC M.V.F. LEONEN, NERI
GENERAL GENEROSO SENGA, CHIEF OF STAFF, ARMED FORCES OF JAVIER COLMENARES, MOVEMENT OF CONCERNED CITIZENS FOR
THE PHILIPPINES, DIRECTOR GENERAL ARTURO LOMIBAO, CHIEF, CIVIL LIBERTIES REPRESENTED BY AMADO GAT INCIONG,
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE,
Petitioners,
Respondents.

x-------------------------------------------------x
- versus -
NI�EZ CACHO-OLIVARES AND TRIBUNE PUBLISHING CO., INC.,

Petitioners,

EDUARDO R. ERMITA, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, AVELINO J. CRUZ,


JR., SECRETARY, DND RONALDO V. PUNO, SECRETARY, DILG,
GENEROSO SENGA, AFP CHIEF OF STAFF, ARTURO LOMIBAO, CHIEF
- versus - PNP,

Respondents.

x-------------------------------------------------x

HONORABLE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA AND HONORABLE KILUSANG MAYO UNO, REPRESENTED BY ITS CHAIRPERSON ELMER
DIRECTOR GENERAL ARTURO C. LOMIBAO, C. LABOG AND SECRETARY GENERAL JOEL MAGLUNSOD, NATIONAL
FEDERATION OF LABOR UNIONS � KILUSANG MAYO UNO (NAFLU-
Respondents. KMU), REPRESENTED BY ITS NATIONAL PRESIDENT, JOSELITO V.
USTAREZ, ANTONIO C. PASCUAL, SALVADOR T. CARRANZA, EMILIA P.
x-------------------------------------------------x DAPULANG, MARTIN CUSTODIO, JR., AND ROQUE M. TAN,

FRANCIS JOSEPH G. ESCUDERO, JOSEPH A. SANTIAGO, TEODORO A. Petitioners,


CASINO, AGAPITO A. AQUINO, MARIO J. AGUJA, SATUR C. OCAMPO,
MUJIV S. HATAMAN, JUAN EDGARDO ANGARA, TEOFISTO DL.
Respondents.

x-------------------------------------------------x

JOSE ANSELMO I. CADIZ, FELICIANO M. BAUTISTA, ROMULO R.


RIVERA, JOSE AMOR M. AMORADO, ALICIA A. RISOS-VIDAL, FELIMON
- versus - C. ABELITA III, MANUEL P. LEGASPI, J.B. JOVY C. BERNABE, BERNARD
L. DAGCUTA, ROGELIO V. GARCIA AND INTEGRATED BAR OF THE
PHILIPPINES (IBP),

Petitioners,

- versus -

HER EXCELLENCY, PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, THE


HONORABLE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, EDUARDO ERMITA, THE CHIEF
OF STAFF, ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES, GENEROSO
SENGA, AND THE PNP DIRECTOR GENERAL, ARTURO LOMIBAO,
HON. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA, GENERAL
Respondents. GENEROSO SENGA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS AFP CHIEF OF STAFF, AND
DIRECTOR GENERAL ARTURO LOMIBAO, IN HIS CAPACITY AS PNP
x-------------------------------------------------x CHIEF,

ALTERNATIVE LAW GROUPS, INC. (ALG), Respondents.

Petitioner, x-------------------------------------------------x

- versus - LOREN B. LEGARDA,

Petitioner,

EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO R. ERMITA, LT. GEN. GENEROSO


SENGA, AND DIRECTOR GENERAL ARTURO LOMIBAO,
- versus -
CORONA,

CARPIO MORALES,

CALLEJO, SR.,
GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, IN HER CAPACITY AS PRESIDENT AND
COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF; ARTURO LOMIBAO, IN HIS CAPACITY AS AZCUNA,
DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE (PNP);
GENEROSO SENGA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE TINGA,
ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES (AFP); AND EDUARDO ERMITA,
IN HIS CAPACITY AS EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, CHICO-NAZARIO,

Respondents. GARCIA, and

VELASCO, JJ.

G.R. No. 171396

Promulgated:

Present:

May 3, 2006

PANGANIBAN, C.J.,

*PUNO,

QUISUMBING, G.R. No. 171409

YNARES-SANTIAGO,

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ,

CARPIO,

AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
G.R. No. 171485
G.R. No. 171483

G.R. No. 171400


G.R. No. 171489
restrict fundamental rights come to the courts �with a heavy presumption
G.R. No. 171424 against their constitutional validity.�[2]

These seven (7) consolidated petitions for certiorari and prohibition


allege that in issuing Presidential Proclamation No. 1017 (PP 1017) and
General Order No. 5 (G.O. No. 5), President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
committed grave abuse of discretion. Petitioners contend that respondent
x---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x officials of the Government, in their professed efforts to defend and preserve
democratic institutions, are actually trampling upon the very freedom
guaranteed and protected by the Constitution. Hence, such issuances are
void for being unconstitutional.

DECISION
Once again, the Court is faced with an age-old but persistently modern
problem. How does the Constitution of a free people combine the degree of
liberty, without which, law becomes tyranny, with the degree of law, without
which, liberty becomes license?[3]
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:
On February 24, 2006, as the nation celebrated the 20th Anniversary of
the Edsa People Power I, President Arroyo issued PP 1017 declaring a state
of national emergency, thus:

All powers need some restraint; practical adjustments rather than rigid
formula are necessary.[1] Superior strength � the use of force � cannot NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Republic
make wrongs into rights. In this regard, the courts should be vigilant in of the Philippines and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the
safeguarding the constitutional rights of the citizens, specifically their liberty. Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested upon me by Section 18, Article 7
of the Philippine Constitution which states that: �The President. . . whenever
it becomes necessary, . . . may call out (the) armed forces to prevent or
suppress. . .rebellion. . .,� and in my capacity as their Commander-in-Chief,
Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban�s philosophy of liberty is thus most do hereby command the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to maintain law
relevant. He said: �In cases involving liberty, the scales of justice should and order throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms of
weigh heavily against government and in favor of the poor, the oppressed, lawless violence as well as any act of insurrection or rebellion and to enforce
the marginalized, the dispossessed and the weak.� Laws and actions that obedience to all the laws and to all decrees, orders and regulations
promulgated by me personally or upon my direction; and as provided in
Section 17, Article 12 of the Constitution do hereby declare a State of
National Emergency.
WHEREAS, these activities give totalitarian forces of both the extreme Left
and extreme Right the opening to intensify their avowed aims to bring down
the democratic Philippine State;
She cited the following facts as bases:

WHEREAS, Article 2, Section 4 of the our Constitution makes the defense


WHEREAS, over these past months, elements in the political opposition and preservation of the democratic institutions and the State the primary duty
have conspired with authoritarians of the extreme Left represented by the of Government;
NDF-CPP-NPA and the extreme Right, represented by military adventurists
� the historical enemies of the democratic Philippine State � who are now
in a tactical alliance and engaged in a concerted and systematic conspiracy,
over a broad front, to bring down the duly constituted Government elected in WHEREAS, the activities above-described, their consequences, ramifications
May 2004; and collateral effects constitute a clear and present danger to the safety and
the integrity of the Philippine State and of the Filipino people;

WHEREAS, these conspirators have repeatedly tried to bring down the


President;

On the same day, the President issued G. O. No. 5 implementing PP 1017,


thus:
WHEREAS, the claims of these elements have been recklessly magnified by
certain segments of the national media;

WHEREAS, over these past months, elements in the political


opposition have conspired with authoritarians of the extreme Left,
WHEREAS, this series of actions is hurting the Philippine State � by represented by the NDF-CPP-NPA and the extreme Right, represented by
obstructing governance including hindering the growth of the economy and military adventurists - the historical enemies of the democratic Philippine
sabotaging the people�s confidence in government and their faith in the State � and who are now in a tactical alliance and engaged in a concerted
future of this country; and systematic conspiracy, over a broad front, to bring down the duly-
constituted Government elected in May 2004;

WHEREAS, these conspirators have repeatedly tried to bring down


WHEREAS, these actions are adversely affecting the economy; our republican government;
WHEREAS, the claims of these elements have been recklessly magnified by
certain segments of the national media; NOW, THEREFORE, I GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, by virtue of the
powers vested in me under the Constitution as President of the Republic of
the Philippines, and Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of the Philippines,
and pursuant to Proclamation No. 1017 dated February 24, 2006, do hereby
WHEREAS, these series of actions is hurting the Philippine State by call upon the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine
obstructing governance, including hindering the growth of the economy and National Police (PNP), to prevent and suppress acts of terrorism and lawless
sabotaging the people�s confidence in the government and their faith in the violence in the country;
future of this country;

I hereby direct the Chief of Staff of the AFP and the Chief of the PNP,
WHEREAS, these actions are adversely affecting the economy; as well as the officers and men of the AFP and PNP, to immediately carry out
the necessary and appropriate actions and measures to suppress and
prevent acts of terrorism and lawless violence.

WHEREAS, these activities give totalitarian forces; of both the extreme Left
and extreme Right the opening to intensify their avowed aims to bring down
the democratic Philippine State;

On March 3, 2006, exactly one week after the declaration of a state of


national emergency and after all these petitions had been filed, the President
WHEREAS, Article 2, Section 4 of our Constitution makes the defense and lifted PP 1017. She issued Proclamation No. 1021 which reads:
preservation of the democratic institutions and the State the primary duty of
Government; WHEREAS, pursuant to Section 18, Article VII and Section 17, Article XII of
the Constitution, Proclamation No. 1017 dated February 24, 2006, was
issued declaring a state of national emergency;

WHEREAS, the activities above-described, their consequences, ramifications


and collateral effects constitute a clear and present danger to the safety and
the integrity of the Philippine State and of the Filipino people; WHEREAS, by virtue of General Order No.5 and No.6 dated
February 24, 2006, which were issued on the basis of Proclamation No.
1017, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National
Police (PNP), were directed to maintain law and order throughout the
WHEREAS, Proclamation 1017 date February 24, 2006 has been issued Philippines, prevent and suppress all form of lawless violence as well as any
declaring a State of National Emergency; act of rebellion and to undertake such action as may be necessary;
members of the Magdalo Group indicted in the Oakwood mutiny, escaped
their detention cell in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. In a public statement, they
vowed to remain defiant and to elude arrest at all costs. They called upon
WHEREAS, the AFP and PNP have effectively prevented, the people to �show and proclaim our displeasure at the sham regime. Let
suppressed and quelled the acts lawless violence and rebellion; us demonstrate our disgust, not only by going to the streets in protest, but
also by wearing red bands on our left arms.� [5]

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, President


of the Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by On February 17, 2006, the authorities got hold of a document entitled
law, hereby declare that the state of national emergency has ceased to exist. �Oplan Hackle I � which detailed plans for bombings and attacks during
the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Homecoming in Baguio City. The
plot was to assassinate selected targets including some cabinet members
and President Arroyo herself.[6] Upon the advice of her security, President
Arroyo decided not to attend the Alumni Homecoming. The next day, at the
height of the celebration, a bomb was found and detonated at the PMA
In their presentation of the factual bases of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5, parade ground.
respondents stated that the proximate cause behind the executive issuances
was the conspiracy among some military officers, leftist insurgents of the On February 21, 2006, Lt. San Juan was recaptured in a communist
New People�s Army (NPA), and some members of the political opposition in safehouse in Batangas province. Found in his possession were two (2)
a plot to unseat or assassinate President Arroyo.[4] They considered the aim flash disks containing minutes of the meetings between members of the
to oust or assassinate the President and take-over the reigns of government Magdalo Group and the National People�s Army (NPA), a tape recorder,
as a clear and present danger. audio cassette cartridges, diskettes, and copies of subversive documents.[7]
Prior to his arrest, Lt. San Juan announced through DZRH that the
During the oral arguments held on March 7, 2006, the Solicitor General �Magdalo�s D-Day would be on February 24, 2006, the 20th Anniversary
specified the facts leading to the issuance of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5. of Edsa I.�
Significantly, there was no refutation from petitioners� counsels.
On February 23, 2006, PNP Chief Arturo Lomibao intercepted information
The Solicitor General argued that the intent of the Constitution is to give full that members of the PNP- Special Action Force were planning to defect.
discretionary powers to the President in determining the necessity of calling Thus, he immediately ordered SAF Commanding General Marcelino Franco,
out the armed forces. He emphasized that none of the petitioners has Jr. to �disavow� any defection. The latter promptly obeyed and issued a
shown that PP 1017 was without factual bases. While he explained that it is public statement: �All SAF units are under the effective control of
not respondents� task to state the facts behind the questioned responsible and trustworthy officers with proven integrity and unquestionable
Proclamation, however, they are presenting the same, narrated hereunder, loyalty.�
for the elucidation of the issues.
On the same day, at the house of former Congressman Peping Cojuangco,
On January 17, 2006, Captain Nathaniel Rabonza and First President Cory Aquino�s brother, businessmen and mid-level government
Lieutenants Sonny Sarmiento, Lawrence San Juan and Patricio Bumidang, officials plotted moves to bring down the Arroyo administration. Nelly
Sindayen of TIME Magazine reported that Pastor Saycon, longtime Arroyo Respondents further claimed that the bombing of telecommunication towers
critic, called a U.S. government official about his group�s plans if President and cell sites in Bulacan and Bataan was also considered as additional
Arroyo is ousted. Saycon also phoned a man code-named Delta. Saycon factual basis for the issuance of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5. So is the raid of
identified him as B/Gen. Danilo Lim, Commander of the Army�s elite Scout an army outpost in Benguet resulting in the death of three (3) soldiers. And
Ranger. Lim said �it was all systems go for the planned movement against also the directive of the Communist Party of the Philippines ordering its front
Arroyo.�[8] organizations to join 5,000 Metro Manila radicals and 25,000 more from the
provinces in mass protests.[10]
B/Gen. Danilo Lim and Brigade Commander Col. Ariel Querubin confided to
Gen. Generoso Senga, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines By midnight of February 23, 2006, the President convened her security
(AFP), that a huge number of soldiers would join the rallies to provide a advisers and several cabinet members to assess the gravity of the
critical mass and armed component to the Anti-Arroyo protests to be held on fermenting peace and order situation. She directed both the AFP and the
February 24, 2005. According to these two (2) officers, there was no way PNP to account for all their men and ensure that the chain of command
they could possibly stop the soldiers because they too, were breaking the remains solid and undivided. To protect the young students from any
chain of command to join the forces foist to unseat the President. However, possible trouble that might break loose on the streets, the President
Gen. Senga has remained faithful to his Commander-in-Chief and to the suspended classes in all levels in the entire National Capital Region.
chain of command. He immediately took custody of B/Gen. Lim and directed
Col. Querubin to return to the Philippine Marines Headquarters in Fort For their part, petitioners cited the events that followed after the issuance of
Bonifacio. PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5.

Earlier, the CPP-NPA called for intensification of political and revolutionary Immediately, the Office of the President announced the cancellation of all
work within the military and the police establishments in order to forge programs and activities related to the 20th anniversary celebration of Edsa
alliances with its members and key officials. NPA spokesman Gregorio People Power I; and revoked the permits to hold rallies issued earlier by the
�Ka Roger� Rosal declared: �The Communist Party and revolutionary local governments. Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales stated that political
movement and the entire people look forward to the possibility in the coming rallies, which to the President�s mind were organized for purposes of
year of accomplishing its immediate task of bringing down the Arroyo regime; destabilization, are cancelled. Presidential Chief of Staff Michael Defensor
of rendering it to weaken and unable to rule that it will not take much longer announced that �warrantless arrests and take-over of facilities, including
to end it.�[9] media, can already be implemented.�[11]

On the other hand, Cesar Renerio, spokesman for the National Democratic Undeterred by the announcements that rallies and public assemblies would
Front (NDF) at North Central Mindanao, publicly announced: �Anti-Arroyo not be allowed, groups of protesters (members of Kilusang Mayo Uno [KMU]
groups within the military and police are growing rapidly, hastened by the and National Federation of Labor Unions-Kilusang Mayo Uno [NAFLU-
economic difficulties suffered by the families of AFP officers and enlisted KMU]), marched from various parts of Metro Manila with the intention of
personnel who undertake counter-insurgency operations in the field.� He converging at the EDSA shrine. Those who were already near the EDSA
claimed that with the forces of the national democratic movement, the anti- site were violently dispersed by huge clusters of anti-riot police. The well-
Arroyo conservative political parties, coalitions, plus the groups that have trained policemen used truncheons, big fiber glass shields, water cannons,
been reinforcing since June 2005, it is probable that the President�s ouster and tear gas to stop and break up the marching groups, and scatter the
is nearing its concluding stage in the first half of 2006. massed participants. The same police action was used against the protesters
marching forward to Cubao, Quezon City and to the corner of Santolan
Street and EDSA. That same evening, hundreds of riot policemen broke up surrounding the coup attempt foiled by the government. He warned that his
an EDSA celebration rally held along Ayala Avenue and Paseo de Roxas agency will not hesitate to recommend the closure of any broadcast outfit
Street in Makati City.[12] that violates rules set out for media coverage when the national security is
threatened.[14]
According to petitioner Kilusang Mayo Uno, the police cited PP 1017 as the
ground for the dispersal of their assemblies. Also, on February 25, 2006, the police arrested Congressman Crispin
Beltran, representing the Anakpawis Party and Chairman of Kilusang Mayo
During the dispersal of the rallyists along EDSA, police arrested (without Uno (KMU), while leaving his farmhouse in Bulacan. The police showed a
warrant) petitioner Randolf S. David, a professor at the University of the warrant for his arrest dated 1985. Beltran�s lawyer explained that the
Philippines and newspaper columnist. Also arrested was his companion, warrant, which stemmed from a case of inciting to rebellion filed during the
Ronald Llamas, president of party-list Akbayan. Marcos regime, had long been quashed. Beltran, however, is not a party in
any of these petitions.
At around 12:20 in the early morning of February 25, 2006, operatives of the
Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the PNP, on the basis When members of petitioner KMU went to Camp Crame to visit Beltran, they
of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5, raided the Daily Tribune offices in Manila. The were told they could not be admitted because of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5.
raiding team confiscated news stories by reporters, documents, pictures, and Two members were arrested and detained, while the rest were dispersed by
mock-ups of the Saturday issue. Policemen from Camp Crame in Quezon the police.
City were stationed inside the editorial and business offices of the
newspaper; while policemen from the Manila Police District were stationed Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo eluded arrest when the police
outside the building.[13] went after him during a public forum at the Sulo Hotel in Quezon City. But
his two drivers, identified as Roel and Art, were taken into custody.
A few minutes after the search and seizure at the Daily Tribune offices, the
police surrounded the premises of another pro-opposition paper, Malaya, and Retired Major General Ramon Monta�o, former head of the Philippine
its sister publication, the tabloid Abante. Constabulary, was arrested while with his wife and golfmates at the Orchard
Golf and Country Club in Dasmari�as, Cavite.
The raid, according to Presidential Chief of Staff Michael Defensor, is
�meant to show a �strong presence,� to tell media outlets not to connive Attempts were made to arrest Anakpawis Representative Satur Ocampo,
or do anything that would help the rebels in bringing down this Representative Rafael Mariano, Bayan Muna Representative Teodoro
government.� The PNP warned that it would take over any media Casi�o and Gabriela Representative Liza Maza. Bayan Muna
organization that would not follow �standards set by the government during Representative Josel Virador was arrested at the PAL Ticket Office in Davao
the state of national emergency.� Director General Lomibao stated that �if City. Later, he was turned over to the custody of the House of
they do not follow the standards � and the standards are - if they would Representatives where the �Batasan 5� decided to stay indefinitely.
contribute to instability in the government, or if they do not subscribe to what
is in General Order No. 5 and Proc. No. 1017 � we will recommend a Let it be stressed at this point that the alleged violations of the rights of
�takeover.�� National Telecommunications� Commissioner Ronald Representatives Beltran, Satur Ocampo, et al., are not being raised in these
Solis urged television and radio networks to �cooperate� with the petitions.
government for the duration of the state of national emergency. He asked
for �balanced reporting� from broadcasters when covering the events
On March 3, 2006, President Arroyo issued PP 1021 declaring that the state
of national emergency has ceased to exist. In G.R. No. 171400, petitioner Alternative Law Groups, Inc. (ALGI) alleged
that PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 are unconstitutional because they violate (a)
In the interim, these seven (7) petitions challenging the constitutionality of PP Section 4[15] of Article II, (b) Sections 1,[16] 2,[17] and 4[18] of Article III, (c)
1017 and G.O. No. 5 were filed with this Court against the above-named Section 23[19] of Article VI, and (d) Section 17[20] of Article XII of the
respondents. Three (3) of these petitions impleaded President Arroyo as Constitution.
respondent.
In G.R. No. 171489, petitioners Jose Anselmo I. Cadiz et al., alleged that PP
In G.R. No. 171396, petitioners Randolf S. David, et al. assailed PP 1017 is an �arbitrary and unlawful exercise by the President of her Martial
1017 on the grounds that (1) it encroaches on the emergency powers of Law powers.� And assuming that PP 1017 is not really a declaration of
Congress; (2) it is a subterfuge to avoid the constitutional requirements for Martial Law, petitioners argued that �it amounts to an exercise by the
the imposition of martial law; and (3) it violates the constitutional guarantees President of emergency powers without congressional approval.� In
of freedom of the press, of speech and of assembly. addition, petitioners asserted that PP 1017 �goes beyond the nature and
function of a proclamation as defined under the Revised Administrative
In G.R. No. 171409, petitioners Ninez Cacho-Olivares and Tribune Code.�
Publishing Co., Inc. challenged the CIDG�s act of raiding the Daily Tribune
offices as a clear case of �censorship� or �prior restraint.� They also And lastly, in G.R. No. 171424, petitioner Loren B. Legarda maintained that
claimed that the term �emergency� refers only to tsunami, typhoon, PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 are �unconstitutional for being violative of the
hurricane and similar occurrences, hence, there is �absolutely no freedom of expression, including its cognate rights such as freedom of the
emergency� that warrants the issuance of PP 1017. press and the right to access to information on matters of public concern, all
guaranteed under Article III, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution.� In this
In G.R. No. 171485, petitioners herein are Representative Francis Joseph regard, she stated that these issuances prevented her from fully prosecuting
G. Escudero, and twenty one (21) other members of the House of her election protest pending before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
Representatives, including Representatives Satur Ocampo, Rafael Mariano,
Teodoro Casi�o, Liza Maza, and Josel Virador. They asserted that PP In respondents� Consolidated Comment, the Solicitor General
1017 and G.O. No. 5 constitute �usurpation of legislative powers�; countered that: first, the petitions should be dismissed for being moot;
�violation of freedom of expression� and �a declaration of martial law.� second, petitioners in G.R. Nos. 171400 (ALGI), 171424 (Legarda), 171483
They alleged that President Arroyo �gravely abused her discretion in calling (KMU et al.), 171485 (Escudero et al.) and 171489 (Cadiz et al.) have no
out the armed forces without clear and verifiable factual basis of the legal standing; third, it is not necessary for petitioners to implead President
possibility of lawless violence and a showing that there is necessity to do Arroyo as respondent; fourth, PP 1017 has constitutional and legal basis;
so.� and fifth, PP 1017 does not violate the people�s right to free expression and
redress of grievances.
In G.R. No. 171483, petitioners KMU, NAFLU-KMU, and their members
averred that PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 are unconstitutional because (1) they On March 7, 2006, the Court conducted oral arguments and heard the
arrogate unto President Arroyo the power to enact laws and decrees; (2) parties on the above interlocking issues which may be summarized as
their issuance was without factual basis; and (3) they violate freedom of follows:
expression and the right of the people to peaceably assemble to redress their
grievances. A. PROCEDURAL:
in control, to thwart its unconstitutional attempt, and thus to vindicate and
1) Whether the issuance of PP 1021 renders the petitions moot and preserve inviolate the will of the people as expressed in the Constitution. This
academic. power the courts exercise. This is the beginning and the end of the theory of
judicial review.[22]
2) Whether petitioners in 171485 (Escudero et al.), G.R. Nos. 171400
(ALGI), 171483 (KMU et al.), 171489 (Cadiz et al.), and 171424 (Legarda)
have legal standing.
But the power of judicial review does not repose upon the courts a
B. SUBSTANTIVE: �self-starting capacity.�[23] Courts may exercise such power only when
the following requisites are present: first, there must be an actual case or
1) Whether the Supreme Court can review the factual bases of PP 1017. controversy; second, petitioners have to raise a question of constitutionality;
third, the constitutional question must be raised at the earliest opportunity;
2) Whether PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 are unconstitutional. and fourth, the decision of the constitutional question must be necessary to
the determination of the case itself.[24]
a. Facial Challenge
Respondents maintain that the first and second requisites are absent, hence,
b. Constitutional Basis we shall limit our discussion thereon.

c. As Applied Challenge An actual case or controversy involves a conflict of legal right, an opposite
legal claims susceptible of judicial resolution. It is �definite and concrete,
touching the legal relations of parties having adverse legal interest;� a real
and substantial controversy admitting of specific relief.[25] The Solicitor
A. PROCEDURAL General refutes the existence of such actual case or controversy, contending
that the present petitions were rendered �moot and academic� by
President Arroyo�s issuance of PP 1021.

First, we must resolve the procedural roadblocks. Such contention lacks merit.

I- Moot and Academic Principle A moot and academic case is one that ceases to present a justiciable
controversy by virtue of supervening events,[26] so that a declaration thereon
One of the greatest contributions of the American system to this would be of no practical use or value.[27] Generally, courts decline
country is the concept of judicial review enunciated in Marbury v. jurisdiction over such case[28] or dismiss it on ground of mootness.[29]
Madison.[21] This concept rests on the extraordinary simple foundation --
The Court holds that President Arroyo�s issuance of PP 1021 did not render
The Constitution is the supreme law. It was ordained by the people, the the present petitions moot and academic. During the eight (8) days that PP
ultimate source of all political authority. It confers limited powers on the 1017 was operative, the police officers, according to petitioners, committed
national government. x x x If the government consciously or unconsciously illegal acts in implementing it. Are PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 constitutional or
oversteps these limitations there must be some authority competent to hold it valid? Do they justify these alleged illegal acts? These are the vital issues
that must be resolved in the present petitions. It must be stressed that �an In view of the number of petitioners suing in various personalities, the Court
unconstitutional act is not a law, it confers no rights, it imposes no duties, it deems it imperative to have a more than passing discussion on legal
affords no protection; it is in legal contemplation, inoperative.�[30] standing or locus standi.

The �moot and academic� principle is not a magical formula that can
automatically dissuade the courts in resolving a case. Courts will decide
cases, otherwise moot and academic, if: first, there is a grave violation of the Locus standi is defined as �a right of appearance in a court of justice
Constitution;[31] second, the exceptional character of the situation and the on a given question.�[37] In private suits, standing is governed by the
paramount public interest is involved;[32] third, when constitutional issue �real-parties-in interest� rule as contained in Section 2, Rule 3 of the 1997
raised requires formulation of controlling principles to guide the bench, the Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended. It provides that �every action must
bar, and the public;[33] and fourth, the case is capable of repetition yet be prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party in interest.�
evading review.[34] Accordingly, the �real-party-in interest� is �the party who stands to be
benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit or the party entitled to the
All the foregoing exceptions are present here and justify this Court�s avails of the suit.�[38] Succinctly put, the plaintiff�s standing is based on
assumption of jurisdiction over the instant petitions. Petitioners alleged that his own right to the relief sought.
the issuance of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 violates the Constitution. There is
no question that the issues being raised affect the public�s interest,
involving as they do the people�s basic rights to freedom of expression, of
assembly and of the press. Moreover, the Court has the duty to formulate
guiding and controlling constitutional precepts, doctrines or rules. It has the
symbolic function of educating the bench and the bar, and in the present The difficulty of determining locus standi arises in public suits.
petitions, the military and the police, on the extent of the protection given by Here, the plaintiff who asserts a �public right� in assailing an allegedly
constitutional guarantees.[35] And lastly, respondents� contested actions illegal official action, does so as a representative of the general public. He
are capable of repetition. Certainly, the petitions are subject to judicial may be a person who is affected no differently from any other person. He
review. could be suing as a �stranger,� or in the category of a �citizen,� or
�taxpayer.� In either case, he has to adequately show that he is entitled to
In their attempt to prove the alleged mootness of this case, respondents cited seek judicial protection. In other words, he has to make out a sufficient
Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban�s Separate Opinion in Sanlakas v. interest in the vindication of the public order and the securing of relief as a
Executive Secretary.[36] However, they failed to take into account the Chief �citizen� or �taxpayer.
Justice�s very statement that an otherwise �moot� case may still be
decided �provided the party raising it in a proper case has been and/or Case law in most jurisdictions now allows both �citizen� and
continues to be prejudiced or damaged as a direct result of its issuance.� �taxpayer� standing in public actions. The distinction was first laid down
The present case falls right within this exception to the mootness rule pointed in Beauchamp v. Silk,[39] where it was held that the plaintiff in a taxpayer�s
out by the Chief Justice. suit is in a different category from the plaintiff in a citizen�s suit. In the
former, the plaintiff is affected by the expenditure of public funds, while in the
II- Legal Standing latter, he is but the mere instrument of the public concern. As held by the
New York Supreme Court in People ex rel Case v. Collins:[40] �In matter
of mere public right, however�the people are the real parties�It is at least
the right, if not the duty, of every citizen to interfere and see that a public
offence be properly pursued and punished, and that a public grievance be Thus, the Court has adopted a rule that even where the petitioners
remedied.� With respect to taxpayer�s suits, Terr v. Jordan[41] held that have failed to show direct injury, they have been allowed to sue under the
�the right of a citizen and a taxpayer to maintain an action in courts to principle of �transcendental importance.� Pertinent are the following cases:
restrain the unlawful use of public funds to his injury cannot be denied.�
(1) Chavez v. Public Estates Authority,[52] where the Court ruled that the
However, to prevent just about any person from seeking judicial enforcement of the constitutional right to information and the equitable
interference in any official policy or act with which he disagreed with, and diffusion of natural resources are matters of transcendental importance which
thus hinders the activities of governmental agencies engaged in public clothe the petitioner with locus standi;
service, the United State Supreme Court laid down the more stringent
�direct injury� test in Ex Parte Levitt,[42] later reaffirmed in Tileston v.
Ullman.[43] The same Court ruled that for a private individual to invoke the
judicial power to determine the validity of an executive or legislative action, (2) Bagong Alyansang Makabayan v. Zamora,[53] wherein the Court held
he must show that he has sustained a direct injury as a result of that action, that �given the transcendental importance of the issues involved, the Court
and it is not sufficient that he has a general interest common to all members may relax the standing requirements and allow the suit to prosper despite the
of the public. lack of direct injury to the parties seeking judicial review� of the Visiting
Forces Agreement;
This Court adopted the �direct injury� test in our jurisdiction. In People v.
Vera,[44] it held that the person who impugns the validity of a statute must
have �a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has
sustained, or will sustain direct injury as a result.� The Vera doctrine was (3) Lim v. Executive Secretary,[54] while the Court noted that the petitioners
upheld in a litany of cases, such as, Custodio v. President of the Senate,[45] may not file suit in their capacity as taxpayers absent a showing that
Manila Race Horse Trainers� Association v. De la Fuente,[46] Pascual v. �Balikatan 02-01� involves the exercise of Congress� taxing or spending
Secretary of Public Works[47] and Anti-Chinese League of the Philippines v. powers, it reiterated its ruling in Bagong Alyansang Makabayan v.
Felix.[48] Zamora,[55] that in cases of transcendental importance, the cases must be
settled promptly and definitely and standing requirements may be relaxed.
However, being a mere procedural technicality, the requirement of locus
standi may be waived by the Court in the exercise of its discretion. This was
done in the 1949 Emergency Powers Cases, Araneta v. Dinglasan,[49]
where the �transcendental importance� of the cases prompted the Court to By way of summary, the following rules may be culled from the cases
act liberally. Such liberality was neither a rarity nor accidental. In Aquino v. decided by this Court. Taxpayers, voters, concerned citizens, and
Comelec,[50] this Court resolved to pass upon the issues raised due to the legislators may be accorded standing to sue, provided that the following
�far-reaching implications� of the petition notwithstanding its categorical requirements are met:
statement that petitioner therein had no personality to file the suit. Indeed,
there is a chain of cases where this liberal policy has been observed, (1) the cases involve constitutional issues;
allowing ordinary citizens, members of Congress, and civic organizations to
prosecute actions involving the constitutionality or validity of laws, regulations (2) for taxpayers, there must be a claim of illegal disbursement of
and rulings.[51] public funds or that the tax measure is unconstitutional;
Society, the Court declared them to be devoid of standing, equating them
(3) for voters, there must be a showing of obvious interest in the with the LDP in Lacson.
validity of the election law in question;
Now, the application of the above principles to the present petitions.
(4) for concerned citizens, there must be a showing that the
issues raised are of transcendental importance which must be settled early; The locus standi of petitioners in G.R. No. 171396, particularly David and
and Llamas, is beyond doubt. The same holds true with petitioners in G.R. No.
171409, Cacho-Olivares and Tribune Publishing Co. Inc. They alleged
(5) for legislators, there must be a claim that the official action �direct injury� resulting from �illegal arrest� and �unlawful search�
complained of infringes upon their prerogatives as legislators. committed by police operatives pursuant to PP 1017. Rightly so, the Solicitor
General does not question their legal standing.
Significantly, recent decisions show a certain toughening in the Court�s
attitude toward legal standing. In G.R. No. 171485, the opposition Congressmen alleged there was
usurpation of legislative powers. They also raised the issue of whether or
In Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Morato,[56] the Court ruled that the status of not the concurrence of Congress is necessary whenever the alarming
Kilosbayan as a people�s organization does not give it the requisite powers incident to Martial Law are used. Moreover, it is in the interest of
personality to question the validity of the on-line lottery contract, more so justice that those affected by PP 1017 can be represented by their
where it does not raise any issue of constitutionality. Moreover, it cannot sue Congressmen in bringing to the attention of the Court the alleged violations
as a taxpayer absent any allegation that public funds are being misused. Nor of their basic rights.
can it sue as a concerned citizen as it does not allege any specific injury it
has suffered. In G.R. No. 171400, (ALGI), this Court applied the liberality rule in
Philconsa v. Enriquez,[60] Kapatiran Ng Mga Naglilingkod sa Pamahalaan
In Telecommunications and Broadcast Attorneys of the Philippines, Inc. ng Pilipinas, Inc. v. Tan,[61] Association of Small Landowners in the
v. Comelec,[57] the Court reiterated the �direct injury� test with respect to Philippines, Inc. v. Secretary of Agrarian Reform,[62] Basco v. Philippine
concerned citizens� cases involving constitutional issues. It held that Amusement and Gaming Corporation,[63] and Ta�ada v. Tuvera,[64] that
�there must be a showing that the citizen personally suffered some actual or when the issue concerns a public right, it is sufficient that the petitioner is a
threatened injury arising from the alleged illegal official act.� citizen and has an interest in the execution of the laws.

In Lacson v. Perez,[58] the Court ruled that one of the petitioners, Laban ng In G.R. No. 171483, KMU�s assertion that PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5
Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP), is not a real party-in-interest as it had not violated its right to peaceful assembly may be deemed sufficient to give it
demonstrated any injury to itself or to its leaders, members or supporters. legal standing. Organizations may be granted standing to assert the rights of
their members.[65] We take judicial notice of the announcement by the
In Sanlakas v. Executive Secretary,[59] the Court ruled that only the Office of the President banning all rallies and canceling all permits for public
petitioners who are members of Congress have standing to sue, as they assemblies following the issuance of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5.
claim that the President�s declaration of a state of rebellion is a usurpation
of the emergency powers of Congress, thus impairing their legislative In G.R. No. 171489, petitioners, Cadiz et al., who are national officers of the
powers. As to petitioners Sanlakas, Partido Manggagawa, and Social Justice Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) have no legal standing, having failed
to allege any direct or potential injury which the IBP as an institution or its
members may suffer as a consequence of the issuance of PP No. 1017 and Incidentally, it is not proper to implead President Arroyo as respondent.
G.O. No. 5. In Integrated Bar of the Philippines v. Zamora,[66] the Court Settled is the doctrine that the President, during his tenure of office or actual
held that the mere invocation by the IBP of its duty to preserve the rule of law incumbency,[67] may not be sued in any civil or criminal case, and there is
and nothing more, while undoubtedly true, is not sufficient to clothe it with no need to provide for it in the Constitution or law. It will degrade the dignity
standing in this case. This is too general an interest which is shared by of the high office of the President, the Head of State, if he can be dragged
other groups and the whole citizenry. However, in view of the transcendental into court litigations while serving as such. Furthermore, it is important that
importance of the issue, this Court declares that petitioner have locus standi. he be freed from any form of harassment, hindrance or distraction to enable
him to fully attend to the performance of his official duties and functions.
In G.R. No. 171424, Loren Legarda has no personality as a taxpayer to file Unlike the legislative and judicial branch, only one constitutes the executive
the instant petition as there are no allegations of illegal disbursement of branch and anything which impairs his usefulness in the discharge of the
public funds. The fact that she is a former Senator is of no consequence. many great and important duties imposed upon him by the Constitution
She can no longer sue as a legislator on the allegation that her prerogatives necessarily impairs the operation of the Government. However, this does not
as a lawmaker have been impaired by PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5. Her claim mean that the President is not accountable to anyone. Like any other official,
that she is a media personality will not likewise aid her because there was no he remains accountable to the people[68] but he may be removed from office
showing that the enforcement of these issuances prevented her from only in the mode provided by law and that is by impeachment.[69]
pursuing her occupation. Her submission that she has pending electoral
protest before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal is likewise of no relevance.
She has not sufficiently shown that PP 1017 will affect the proceedings or
result of her case. But considering once more the transcendental importance B. SUBSTANTIVE
of the issue involved, this Court may relax the standing rules.
I. Review of Factual Bases
It must always be borne in mind that the question of locus standi is but
corollary to the bigger question of proper exercise of judicial power. This is
the underlying legal tenet of the �liberality doctrine� on legal standing. It
cannot be doubted that the validity of PP No. 1017 and G.O. No. 5 is a Petitioners maintain that PP 1017 has no factual basis. Hence, it was not
judicial question which is of paramount importance to the Filipino people. To �necessary� for President Arroyo to issue such Proclamation.
paraphrase Justice Laurel, the whole of Philippine society now waits with
bated breath the ruling of this Court on this very critical matter. The petitions The issue of whether the Court may review the factual bases of the
thus call for the application of the �transcendental importance� doctrine, a President�s exercise of his Commander-in-Chief power has reached its
relaxation of the standing requirements for the petitioners in the �PP 1017 distilled point - from the indulgent days of Barcelon v. Baker[70]
cases.� and Montenegro v. Castaneda[71] to the volatile era of Lansang v.
Garcia,[72] Aquino, Jr. v. Enrile,[73] and Garcia-Padilla v. Enrile.[74] The
tug-of-war always cuts across the line defining �political questions,�
particularly those questions �in regard to which full discretionary authority
This Court holds that all the petitioners herein have locus standi. has been delegated to the legislative or executive branch of the
government.�[75] Barcelon and Montenegro were in unison in declaring
that the authority to decide whether an exigency has arisen belongs to the
President and his decision is final and conclusive on the courts. Lansang
took the opposite view. There, the members of the Court were unanimous in
the conviction that the Court has the authority to inquire into the existence of
factual bases in order to determine their constitutional sufficiency. From the As to how the Court may inquire into the President�s exercise of power,
principle of separation of powers, it shifted the focus to the system of checks Lansang adopted the test that �judicial inquiry can go no further than to
and balances, �under which the President is supreme, x x x only if and satisfy the Court not that the President�s decision is correct,� but that
when he acts within the sphere allotted to him by the Basic Law, and �the President did not act arbitrarily.� Thus, the standard laid down is not
the authority to determine whether or not he has so acted is vested in correctness, but arbitrariness.[83] In Integrated Bar of the Philippines, this
the Judicial Department, which in this respect, is, in turn, Court further ruled that �it is incumbent upon the petitioner to show that the
constitutionally supreme.�[76] In 1973, the unanimous Court of Lansang President�s decision is totally bereft of factual basis� and that if he fails, by
was divided in Aquino v. Enrile.[77] There, the Court was way of proof, to support his assertion, then �this Court cannot undertake an
almost evenly divided on the issue of whether the validity of the independent investigation beyond the pleadings.�
imposition of Martial Law is a political or justiciable question.[78] Then came
Garcia-Padilla v. Enrile which greatly diluted Lansang. It declared that there
is a need to re-examine the latter case, ratiocinating that �in times of war or
national emergency, the President must be given absolute control for the Petitioners failed to show that President Arroyo�s exercise of the calling-out
very life of the nation and the government is in great peril. The President, it power, by issuing PP 1017, is totally bereft of factual basis. A reading of the
intoned, is answerable only to his conscience, the People, and God.�[79] Solicitor General�s Consolidated Comment and Memorandum shows a
detailed narration of the events leading to the issuance of PP 1017, with
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines v. Zamora[80] -- a recent case most supporting reports forming part of the records. Mentioned are the escape of
pertinent to these cases at bar -- echoed a principle similar to Lansang. the Magdalo Group, their audacious threat of the Magdalo D-Day, the
While the Court considered the President�s �calling-out� power as a defections in the military, particularly in the Philippine Marines, and the
discretionary power solely vested in his wisdom, it stressed that �this does reproving statements from the communist leaders. There was also the
not prevent an examination of whether such power was exercised within Minutes of the Intelligence Report and Security Group of the Philippine Army
permissible constitutional limits or whether it was exercised in a manner showing the growing alliance between the NPA and the military. Petitioners
constituting grave abuse of discretion.� This ruling is mainly a result of the presented nothing to refute such events. Thus, absent any contrary
Court�s reliance on Section 1, Article VIII of 1987 Constitution which fortifies allegations, the Court is convinced that the President was justified in issuing
the authority of the courts to determine in an appropriate action the validity of PP 1017 calling for military aid.
the acts of the political departments. Under the new definition of judicial
power, the courts are authorized not only �to settle actual controversies
involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable,� but also
�to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or
instrumentality of the government.� The latter part of the authority
represents a broadening of judicial power to enable the courts of justice to
review what was before a forbidden territory, to wit, the discretion of the Indeed, judging the seriousness of the incidents, President Arroyo was not
political departments of the government.[81] It speaks of judicial prerogative expected to simply fold her arms and do nothing to prevent or suppress what
not only in terms of power but also of duty.[82] she believed was lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. However, the
exercise of such power or duty must not stifle liberty.
II. Constitutionality of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5

Jean-Jacques Rousseau also assumed the need for temporary suspension


of democratic processes of government in time of emergency. According to
Doctrines of Several Political Theorists him:

on the Power of the President The inflexibility of the laws, which prevents them from adopting themselves to
circumstances, may, in certain cases, render them disastrous and make
in Times of Emergency them bring about, at a time of crisis, the ruin of the State�

It is wrong therefore to wish to make political institutions as strong as to


render it impossible to suspend their operation. Even Sparta allowed its law
This case brings to fore a contentious subject -- the power of the President in to lapse...
times of emergency. A glimpse at the various political theories relating to
this subject provides an adequate backdrop for our ensuing discussion.

If the peril is of such a kind that the paraphernalia of the laws are an obstacle
to their preservation, the method is to nominate a supreme lawyer, who shall
silence all the laws and suspend for a moment the sovereign authority. In
such a case, there is no doubt about the general will, and it clear that the
John Locke, describing the architecture of civil government, called upon the people�s first intention is that the State shall not perish.[86]
English doctrine of prerogative to cope with the problem of emergency. In
times of danger to the nation, positive law enacted by the legislature might be
inadequate or even a fatal obstacle to the promptness of action necessary to
avert catastrophe. In these situations, the Crown retained a prerogative
�power to act according to discretion for the public good, without the
proscription of the law and sometimes even against it.�[84] But Locke Rosseau did not fear the abuse of the emergency dictatorship or �supreme
recognized that this moral restraint might not suffice to avoid abuse of magistracy� as he termed it. For him, it would more likely be cheapened by
prerogative powers. Who shall judge the need for resorting to the �indiscreet use.� He was unwilling to rely upon an �appeal to heaven.�
prerogative and how may its abuse be avoided? Here, Locke readily Instead, he relied upon a tenure of office of prescribed duration to avoid
admitted defeat, suggesting that �the people have no other remedy in this, perpetuation of the dictatorship.[87]
as in all other cases where they have no judge on earth, but to appeal to
Heaven.�[85]
reason why absolutism should not be used as a means for the defense of
liberal institutions,� provided it �serves to protect established institutions
from the danger of permanent injury in a period of temporary emergency and
John Stuart Mill concluded his ardent defense of representative government: is followed by a prompt return to the previous forms of political life.�[92] He
�I am far from condemning, in cases of extreme necessity, the assumption recognized the two (2) key elements of the problem of emergency
of absolute power in the form of a temporary dictatorship.�[88] governance, as well as all constitutional governance: increasing
administrative powers of the executive, while at the same time �imposing
limitation upon that power.�[93] Watkins placed his real faith in a scheme
of constitutional dictatorship. These are the conditions of success of such a
Nicollo Machiavelli�s view of emergency powers, as one element in the dictatorship: �The period of dictatorship must be relatively
whole scheme of limited government, furnished an ironic contrast to the short�Dictatorship should always be strictly legitimate in character�Final
Lockean theory of prerogative. He recognized and attempted to bridge this authority to determine the need for dictatorship in any given case must never
chasm in democratic political theory, thus: rest with the dictator himself��[94] and the objective of such an emergency
dictatorship should be �strict political conservatism.�
Now, in a well-ordered society, it should never be necessary to resort
to extra �constitutional measures; for although they may for a time be
beneficial, yet the precedent is pernicious, for if the practice is once
established for good objects, they will in a little while be disregarded under Carl J. Friedrich cast his analysis in terms similar to those of Watkins.[95]
that pretext but for evil purposes. Thus, no republic will ever be perfect if she �It is a problem of concentrating power � in a government where power
has not by law provided for everything, having a remedy for every emergency has consciously been divided � to cope with� situations of unprecedented
and fixed rules for applying it.[89] magnitude and gravity. There must be a broad grant of powers, subject to
equally strong limitations as to who shall exercise such powers, when, for
how long, and to what end.�[96] Friedrich, too, offered criteria for judging
the adequacy of any of scheme of emergency powers, to wit: �The
emergency executive must be appointed by constitutional means � i.e., he
must be legitimate; he should not enjoy power to determine the existence of
Machiavelli � in contrast to Locke, Rosseau and Mill � sought to
an emergency; emergency powers should be exercised under a strict time
incorporate into the constitution a regularized system of standby emergency
limitation; and last, the objective of emergency action must be the defense of
powers to be invoked with suitable checks and controls in time of national
the constitutional order.�[97]
danger. He attempted forthrightly to meet the problem of combining a
capacious reserve of power and speed and vigor in its application in time of
emergency, with effective constitutional restraints.[90]
Clinton L. Rossiter, after surveying the history of the employment of
emergency powers in Great Britain, France, Weimar, Germany and the
United States, reverted to a description of a scheme of �constitutional
Contemporary political theorists, addressing themselves to the problem of
dictatorship� as solution to the vexing problems presented by
response to emergency by constitutional democracies, have employed the
emergency.[98] Like Watkins and Friedrich, he stated a priori the conditions
doctrine of constitutional dictatorship.[91] Frederick M. Watkins saw �no
of success of the �constitutional dictatorship,� thus:
1) No general regime or particular institution of constitutional dictatorship
should be initiated unless it is necessary or even indispensable to the 8) Ultimate responsibility should be maintained for every action taken under
preservation of the State and its constitutional order� a constitutional dictatorship. . .

2) �the decision to institute a constitutional dictatorship should never be in 9) The decision to terminate a constitutional dictatorship, like the decision to
the hands of the man or men who will constitute the dictator� institute one should never be in the hands of the man or men who constitute
the dictator. . .

3) No government should initiate a constitutional dictatorship without


making specific provisions for its termination� 10) No constitutional dictatorship should extend beyond the termination of
the crisis for which it was instituted�

4) �all uses of emergency powers and all readjustments in the organization


of the government should be effected in pursuit of constitutional or legal 11) �the termination of the crisis must be followed by a complete return as
requirements� possible to the political and governmental conditions existing prior to the
initiation of the constitutional dictatorship�[99]

5) � no dictatorial institution should be adopted, no right invaded, no


regular procedure altered any more than is absolutely necessary for the
conquest of the particular crisis . . .
Rossiter accorded to legislature a far greater role in the oversight exercise of
emergency powers than did Watkins. He would secure to Congress final
responsibility for declaring the existence or termination of an emergency, and
6) The measures adopted in the prosecution of the a constitutional he places great faith in the effectiveness of congressional investigating
dictatorship should never be permanent in character or effect� committees.[100]

Scott and Cotter, in analyzing the above contemporary theories in light


of recent experience, were one in saying that, �the suggestion that
7) The dictatorship should be carried on by persons representative of every democracies surrender the control of government to an authoritarian ruler in
part of the citizenry interested in the defense of the existing constitutional time of grave danger to the nation is not based upon sound constitutional
order. . . theory.� To appraise emergency power in terms of constitutional
dictatorship serves merely to distort the problem and hinder realistic analysis.
It matters not whether the term �dictator� is used in its normal sense (as discretionary power to the Chief Executive, while insuring that such powers
applied to authoritarian rulers) or is employed to embrace all chief executives will be exercised with a sense of political responsibility and under effective
administering emergency powers. However used, �constitutional limitations and checks.
dictatorship� cannot be divorced from the implication of suspension of the
processes of constitutionalism. Thus, they favored instead the �concept of
constitutionalism� articulated by Charles H. McIlwain:
Our Constitution has fairly coped with this problem. Fresh from the fetters of
a repressive regime, the 1986 Constitutional Commission, in drafting the
1987 Constitution, endeavored to create a government in the concept of
A concept of constitutionalism which is less misleading in the analysis of Justice Jackson�s �balanced power structure.�[102] Executive,
problems of emergency powers, and which is consistent with the findings of legislative, and judicial powers are dispersed to the President, the Congress,
this study, is that formulated by Charles H. McIlwain. While it does not by any and the Supreme Court, respectively. Each is supreme within its own
means necessarily exclude some indeterminate limitations upon the sphere. But none has the monopoly of power in times of emergency. Each
substantive powers of government, full emphasis is placed upon procedural branch is given a role to serve as limitation or check upon the other. This
limitations, and political responsibility. McIlwain clearly recognized the need system does not weaken the President, it just limits his power, using
to repose adequate power in government. And in discussing the meaning of the language of McIlwain. In other words, in times of emergency, our
constitutionalism, he insisted that the historical and proper test of Constitution reasonably demands that we repose a certain amount of faith in
constitutionalism was the existence of adequate processes for keeping the basic integrity and wisdom of the Chief Executive but, at the same time, it
government responsible. He refused to equate constitutionalism with the obliges him to operate within carefully prescribed procedural limitations.
enfeebling of government by an exaggerated emphasis upon separation of
powers and substantive limitations on governmental power. He found that the
really effective checks on despotism have consisted not in the weakening of
government but, but rather in the limiting of it; between which there is a great a. �Facial Challenge�
and very significant difference. In associating constitutionalism with
�limited� as distinguished from �weak� government, McIlwain meant
government limited to the orderly procedure of law as opposed to the
processes of force. The two fundamental correlative elements of
constitutionalism for which all lovers of liberty must yet fight are the legal
limits to arbitrary power and a complete political responsibility of government Petitioners contend that PP 1017 is void on its face because of its
to the governed.[101] �overbreadth.� They claim that its enforcement encroached on both
unprotected and protected rights under Section 4, Article III of the
Constitution and sent a �chilling effect� to the citizens.

In the final analysis, the various approaches to emergency of the above


political theorists �- from Lock�s �theory of prerogative,� to Watkins�
doctrine of �constitutional dictatorship� and, eventually, to McIlwain�s A facial review of PP 1017, using the overbreadth doctrine, is uncalled for.
�principle of constitutionalism� --- ultimately aim to solve one real problem
in emergency governance, i.e., that of allotting increasing areas of
� falls within the scope of otherwise valid criminal laws that reflect legitimate
state interests in maintaining comprehensive controls over harmful,
constitutionally unprotected conduct.
First and foremost, the overbreadth doctrine is an analytical tool developed
for testing �on their faces� statutes in free speech cases, also known
under the American Law as First Amendment cases.[103]

Thus, claims of facial overbreadth are 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
A plain reading of PP 1017 shows that it is not primarily directed to speech or when invoked against ordinary criminal laws that are sought to be applied to
even speech-related conduct. It is actually a call upon the AFP to prevent or protected conduct.�[106] Here, the incontrovertible fact remains that PP
suppress all forms of lawless violence. In United States v. Salerno,[104] the 1017 pertains to a spectrum of conduct, not free speech, which is manifestly
US Supreme Court held that �we have not recognized an �overbreadth� subject to state regulation.
doctrine outside the limited context of the First Amendment� (freedom of
speech).

Second, facial invalidation of laws is considered as �manifestly strong


medicine,� to be used �sparingly and only as a last resort,� and is
Moreover, the overbreadth doctrine is not intended for testing the validity of a �generally disfavored;�[107] The reason for this is obvious. Embedded in
law that �reflects legitimate state interest in maintaining comprehensive the traditional rules governing constitutional adjudication is the principle that
control over harmful, constitutionally unprotected conduct.� Undoubtedly, a person to whom a law may be applied will not be heard to challenge a law
lawless violence, insurrection and rebellion are considered �harmful� and on the ground that it may conceivably be applied unconstitutionally to others,
�constitutionally unprotected conduct.� In Broadrick v. Oklahoma,[105] it i.e., in other situations not before the Court.[108] A writer and scholar in
was held: Constitutional Law explains further:

It remains a �matter of no little difficulty� to determine when a law may The most distinctive feature of the overbreadth technique is that it marks an
properly be held void on its face and when �such summary action� is exception to some of the usual rules of constitutional litigation. Ordinarily, a
inappropriate. But the plain import of our cases is, at the very least, that particular litigant claims that a statute is unconstitutional as applied to him or
facial overbreadth adjudication is an exception to our traditional rules of her; if the litigant prevails, the courts carve away the unconstitutional aspects
practice and that its function, a limited one at the outset, attenuates as the of the law by invalidating its improper applications on a case to case basis.
otherwise unprotected behavior that it forbids the State to sanction moves Moreover, challengers to a law are not permitted to raise the rights of third
from �pure speech� toward conduct and that conduct �even if expressive parties and can only assert their own interests. In overbreadth analysis,
those rules give way; challenges are permitted to raise the rights of third there can be no instance when the assailed law may be valid. Here,
parties; and the court invalidates the entire statute �on its face,� not merely petitioners did not even attempt to show whether this situation exists.
�as applied for� so that the overbroad law becomes unenforceable until a
properly authorized court construes it more narrowly. The factor that
motivates courts to depart from the normal adjudicatory rules is the concern
with the �chilling;� deterrent effect of the overbroad statute on third parties Petitioners likewise seek a facial review of PP 1017 on the ground of
not courageous enough to bring suit. The Court assumes that an overbroad vagueness. This, too, is unwarranted.
law�s �very existence may cause others not before the court to refrain
from constitutionally protected speech or expression.� An overbreadth
ruling is designed to remove that deterrent effect on the speech of those third
parties. Related to the �overbreadth� doctrine is the �void for vagueness
doctrine� which holds that �a law is facially invalid if men of common
intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its
application.�[110] It is subject to the same principles governing overbreadth
doctrine. For one, it is also an analytical tool for testing �on their faces�
statutes in free speech cases. And like overbreadth, it is said that a litigant
In other words, a facial challenge using the overbreadth doctrine will require may challenge a statute on its face only if it is vague in all its possible
the Court to examine PP 1017 and pinpoint its flaws and defects, not on the applications. Again, petitioners did not even attempt to show that PP 1017 is
basis of its actual operation to petitioners, but on the assumption or vague in all its application. They also failed to establish that men of common
prediction that its very existence may cause others not before the Court to intelligence cannot understand the meaning and application of PP 1017.
refrain from constitutionally protected speech or expression. In Younger v.
Harris,[109] it was held that:

[T]he task of analyzing a proposed statute, pinpointing its deficiencies, and b. Constitutional Basis of PP 1017
requiring correction of these deficiencies before the statute is put into effect,
is rarely if ever an appropriate task for the judiciary. The combination of the
relative remoteness of the controversy, the impact on the legislative process
of the relief sought, and above all the speculative and amorphous nature of
the required line-by-line analysis of detailed statutes,...ordinarily results in a
kind of case that is wholly unsatisfactory for deciding constitutional questions, Now on the constitutional foundation of PP 1017.
whichever way they might be decided.

The operative portion of PP 1017 may be divided into three important


And third, a facial challenge on the ground of overbreadth is the most difficult provisions, thus:
challenge to mount successfully, since the challenger must establish that
First provision:

�by virtue of the power vested upon me by Section 18, Artilce VII � do �as provided in Section 17, Article XII of the Constitution do hereby declare
hereby command the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to maintain law and a State of National Emergency.�
order throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms of lawless
violence as well any act of insurrection or rebellion�

Second provision:

First Provision: Calling-out Power

The first provision pertains to the President�s calling-out power. In


Sanlakas v. Executive Secretary,[111] this Court, through Mr. Justice Dante
�and to enforce obedience to all the laws and to all decrees, orders and O. Tinga, held that Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution reproduced as
regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction;� follows:

Sec. 18. The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed


forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call
out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or
rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it,
he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the
writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under
Third provision: martial law. Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or
the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President
shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, During the suspension of the privilege of the writ, any
voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or person thus arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within three days,
special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which otherwise he shall be released.
revocation shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the
President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such
proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if
the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.

grants the President, as Commander-in-Chief, a �sequence� of graduated


powers. From the most to the least benign, these are: the calling-out power,
The Congress, if not in session, shall within twenty- the power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, and the
four hours following such proclamation or suspension, convene in power to declare Martial Law. Citing Integrated Bar of the Philippines v.
accordance with its rules without need of a call. Zamora,[112] the Court ruled that the only criterion for the exercise of the
calling-out power is that �whenever it becomes necessary,� the President
may call the armed forces �to prevent or suppress lawless violence,
invasion or rebellion.� Are these conditions present in the instant cases?
The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by As stated earlier, considering the circumstances then prevailing, President
any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual bases of the proclamation of martial Arroyo found it necessary to issue PP 1017. Owing to her Office�s vast
law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ or the extension thereof, and intelligence network, she is in the best position to determine the actual
must promulgate its decision thereon within thirty days from its filing. condition of the country.

A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Under the calling-out power, the President may summon the armed
Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative forces to aid him in suppressing lawless violence, invasion and rebellion.
assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts This involves ordinary police action. But every act that goes beyond the
and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to function, nor President�s calling-out power is considered illegal or ultra vires. For this
automatically suspend the privilege of the writ. reason, a President must be careful in the exercise of his powers. He
cannot invoke a greater power when he wishes to act under a lesser power.
There lies the wisdom of our Constitution, the greater the power, the greater
are the limitations.
The suspension of the privilege of the writ shall apply
only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or
directly connected with invasion.
It is pertinent to state, however, that there is a distinction between the
President�s authority to declare a �state of rebellion� (in Sanlakas) and
the authority to proclaim a state of national emergency. While President
Arroyo�s authority to declare a �state of rebellion� emanates from her
powers as Chief Executive, the statutory authority cited in Sanlakas was
Section 4, Chapter 2, Book II of the Revised Administrative Code of 1987, The declaration of Martial Law is a �warn[ing] to citizens that the
which provides: military power has been called upon by the executive to assist in the
maintenance of law and order, and that, while the emergency lasts, they
must, upon pain of arrest and punishment, not commit any acts which will in
any way render more difficult the restoration of order and the enforcement of
SEC. 4. � Proclamations. � Acts of the President fixing a date or law.�[113]
declaring a status or condition of public moment or interest, upon the
existence of which the operation of a specific law or regulation is made to
depend, shall be promulgated in proclamations which shall have the force of
an executive order. In his �Statement before the Senate Committee on Justice� on March 13,
2006, Mr. Justice Vicente V. Mendoza,[114] an authority in constitutional law,
said that of the three powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief, the
power to declare Martial Law poses the most severe threat to civil liberties. It
is a strong medicine which should not be resorted to lightly. It cannot be
used to stifle or persecute critics of the government. It is placed in the
President Arroyo�s declaration of a �state of rebellion� was merely keeping of the President for the purpose of enabling him to secure the people
an act declaring a status or condition of public moment or interest, a from harm and to restore order so that they can enjoy their individual
declaration allowed under Section 4 cited above. Such declaration, in the freedoms. In fact, Section 18, Art. VII, provides:
words of Sanlakas, is harmless, without legal significance, and deemed not
written. In these cases, PP 1017 is more than that. In declaring a state of
national emergency, President Arroyo did not only rely on Section 18, Article
VII of the Constitution, a provision calling on the AFP to prevent or suppress A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor
lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. She also relied on Section 17, Article supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies, nor
XII, a provision on the State�s extraordinary power to take over privately- authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over
owned public utility and business affected with public interest. Indeed, PP civilians where civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the
1017 calls for the exercise of an awesome power. Obviously, such privilege of the writ.
Proclamation cannot be deemed harmless, without legal significance, or not
written, as in the case of Sanlakas.

Some of the petitioners vehemently maintain that PP 1017 is actually a Justice Mendoza also stated that PP 1017 is not a declaration of
declaration of Martial Law. It is no so. What defines the character of PP Martial Law. It is no more than a call by the President to the armed forces to
1017 are its wordings. It is plain therein that what the President invoked was prevent or suppress lawless violence. As such, it cannot be used to justify
her calling-out power. acts that only under a valid declaration of Martial Law can be done. Its use
for any other purpose is a perversion of its nature and scope, and any act
done contrary to its command is ultra vires.
SEC. 17. The President shall have control of all the executive departments,
bureaus, and offices. He shall ensure that the laws be faithfully executed.

Justice Mendoza further stated that specifically, (a) arrests and


seizures without judicial warrants; (b) ban on public assemblies; (c) take-over
of news media and agencies and press censorship; and (d) issuance of
Presidential Decrees, are powers which can be exercised by the President
as Commander-in-Chief only where there is a valid declaration of Martial Law
or suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.

As the Executive in whom the executive power is vested,[115] the primary


Based on the above disquisition, it is clear that PP 1017 is not a declaration function of the President is to enforce the laws as well as to formulate
of Martial Law. It is merely an exercise of President Arroyo�s calling-out policies to be embodied in existing laws. He sees to it that all laws are
power for the armed forces to assist her in preventing or suppressing lawless enforced by the officials and employees of his department. Before assuming
violence. office, he is required to take an oath or affirmation to the effect that as
President of the Philippines, he will, among others, �execute its laws.�[116]
In the exercise of such function, the President, if needed, may employ the
powers attached to his office as the Commander-in-Chief of all the armed
forces of the country,[117] including the Philippine National Police[118] under
the Department of Interior and Local Government.[119]

Second Provision: �Take Care� Power


Petitioners, especially Representatives Francis Joseph G. Escudero, Satur
Ocampo, Rafael Mariano, Teodoro Casi�o, Liza Maza, and Josel Virador
argue that PP 1017 is unconstitutional as it arrogated upon President Arroyo
The second provision pertains to the power of the President to ensure that the power to enact laws and decrees in violation of Section 1, Article VI of the
the laws be faithfully executed. This is based on Section 17, Article VII which Constitution, which vests the power to enact laws in Congress. They assail
reads: the clause �to enforce obedience to all the laws and to all decrees, orders
and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction.�

\
Petitioners� contention is understandable. A reading of PP 1017 operative
clause shows that it was lifted[120] from Former President Marcos� PP 1017 states in part: �to enforce obedience to all the laws and
Proclamation No. 1081, which partly reads: decrees x x x promulgated by me personally or upon my direction.�

The President is granted an Ordinance Power under Chapter 2, Book III of


Executive Order No. 292 (Administrative Code of 1987). She may issue any
NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the of the following:
Philippines by virtue of the powers vested upon me by Article VII, Section 10,
Paragraph (2) of the Constitution, do hereby place the entire Philippines as
defined in Article 1, Section 1 of the Constitution under martial law and, in my
capacity as their Commander-in-Chief, do hereby command the Armed Sec. 2. Executive Orders. � Acts of the President providing for rules of a
Forces of the Philippines, to maintain law and order throughout the general or permanent character in implementation or execution of
Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms of lawless violence as well as any constitutional or statutory powers shall be promulgated in executive orders.
act of insurrection or rebellion and to enforce obedience to all the laws and
decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my Sec. 3. Administrative Orders. � Acts of the President which relate to
direction. particular aspect of governmental operations in pursuance of his duties as
administrative head shall be promulgated in administrative orders.

Sec. 4. Proclamations. � Acts of the President fixing a date or declaring a


status or condition of public moment or interest, upon the existence of which
the operation of a specific law or regulation is made to depend, shall be
promulgated in proclamations which shall have the force of an executive
order.
We all know that it was PP 1081 which granted President Marcos legislative
power. Its enabling clause states: �to enforce obedience to all the laws Sec. 5. Memorandum Orders. � Acts of the President on matters of
and decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon administrative detail or of subordinate or temporary interest which only
my direction.� Upon the other hand, the enabling clause of PP 1017 issued concern a particular officer or office of the Government shall be embodied in
by President Arroyo is: to enforce obedience to all the laws and to all memorandum orders.
decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my
direction.� Sec. 6. Memorandum Circulars. � Acts of the President on matters relating
to internal administration, which the President desires to bring to the attention
of all or some of the departments, agencies, bureaus or offices of the
Government, for information or compliance, shall be embodied in
Is it within the domain of President Arroyo to promulgate �decrees�? memorandum circulars.
enforced. With respect to �laws,� she cannot call the military to enforce or
Sec. 7. General or Special Orders. � Acts and commands of the President implement certain laws, such as customs laws, laws governing family and
in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the property relations, laws on obligations and contracts and the like. She can
Philippines shall be issued as general or special orders. only order the military, under PP 1017, to enforce laws pertinent to its duty to
suppress lawless violence.

President Arroyo�s ordinance power is limited to the foregoing issuances.


She cannot issue decrees similar to those issued by Former President
Marcos under PP 1081. Presidential Decrees are laws which are of the
same category and binding force as statutes because they were issued by
the President in the exercise of his legislative power during the period of
Martial Law under the 1973 Constitution.[121] Third Provision: Power to Take Over

This Court rules that the assailed PP 1017 is unconstitutional insofar as it


grants President Arroyo the authority to promulgate �decrees.� Legislative
power is peculiarly within the province of the Legislature. Section 1, Article The pertinent provision of PP 1017 states:
VI categorically states that �[t]he legislative power shall be vested in the
Congress of the Philippines which shall consist of a Senate and a House of
Representatives.� To be sure, neither Martial Law nor a state of rebellion
nor a state of emergency can justify President Arroyo�s exercise of x x x and to enforce obedience to all the laws and to all decrees, orders, and
legislative power by issuing decrees. regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction; and as
provided in Section 17, Article XII of the Constitution do hereby declare a
state of national emergency.

Can President Arroyo enforce obedience to all decrees and laws


through the military?

The import of this provision is that President Arroyo, during the state of
national emergency under PP 1017, can call the military not only to enforce
obedience �to all the laws and to all decrees x x x� but also to act pursuant
As this Court stated earlier, President Arroyo has no authority to enact to the provision of Section 17, Article XII which reads:
decrees. It follows that these decrees are void and, therefore, cannot be
Petitioners, particularly the members of the House of Representatives,
claim that President Arroyo�s inclusion of Section 17, Article XII in PP 1017
Sec. 17. In times of national emergency, when the public interest so is an encroachment on the legislature�s emergency powers.
requires, the State may, during the emergency and under reasonable terms
prescribed by it, temporarily take over or direct the operation of any privately-
owned public utility or business affected with public interest.
This is an area that needs delineation.

A distinction must be drawn between the President�s authority to


declare �a state of national emergency� and to exercise emergency
powers. To the first, as elucidated by the Court, Section 18, Article VII grants
What could be the reason of President Arroyo in invoking the above provision the President such power, hence, no legitimate constitutional objection can
when she issued PP 1017? be raised. But to the second, manifold constitutional issues arise.

The answer is simple. During the existence of the state of national Section 23, Article VI of the Constitution reads:
emergency, PP 1017 purports to grant the President, without any authority or
delegation from Congress, to take over or direct the operation of any
privately-owned public utility or business affected with public interest.
SEC. 23. (1) The Congress, by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses in joint
session assembled, voting separately, shall have the sole power to declare
the existence of a state of war.
This provision was first introduced in the 1973 Constitution, as a product of
the �martial law� thinking of the 1971 Constitutional Convention.[122] In (2) In times of war or other national emergency, the Congress may, by law,
effect at the time of its approval was President Marcos� Letter of Instruction authorize the President, for a limited period and subject to such restrictions
No. 2 dated September 22, 1972 instructing the Secretary of National as it may prescribe, to exercise powers necessary and proper to carry out a
Defense to take over �the management, control and operation of the declared national policy. Unless sooner withdrawn by resolution of the
Manila Electric Company, the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Congress, such powers shall cease upon the next adjournment thereof.
Company, the National Waterworks and Sewerage Authority, the Philippine
National Railways, the Philippine Air Lines, Air Manila (and) Filipinas Orient
Airways . . . for the successful prosecution by the Government of its effort to
contain, solve and end the present national emergency.� It may be pointed out that the second paragraph of the above provision
refers not only to war but also to �other national emergency.� If the
intention of the Framers of our Constitution was to withhold from the
President the authority to declare a �state of national emergency� pursuant
to Section 18, Article VII (calling-out power) and grant it to Congress (like the (1) There must be a war or other emergency.
declaration of the existence of a state of war), then the Framers could have
provided so. Clearly, they did not intend that Congress should first authorize
the President before he can declare a �state of national emergency.� The
logical conclusion then is that President Arroyo could validly declare the (2) The delegation must be for a limited period only.
existence of a state of national emergency even in the absence of a
Congressional enactment.

(3) The delegation must be subject to such restrictions as the Congress may
prescribe.
But the exercise of emergency powers, such as the taking over of privately
owned public utility or business affected with public interest, is a (4) The emergency powers must be exercised to carry out a national policy
different matter. This requires a delegation from Congress. declared by Congress.[124]

Courts have often said that constitutional provisions in pari materia are to be
construed together. Otherwise stated, different clauses, sections, and
provisions of a constitution which relate to the same subject matter will be
construed together and considered in the light of each other.[123]
Considering that Section 17 of Article XII and Section 23 of Article VI, Section 17, Article XII must be understood as an aspect of the
previously quoted, relate to national emergencies, they must be read emergency powers clause. The taking over of private business affected with
together to determine the limitation of the exercise of emergency powers. public interest is just another facet of the emergency powers generally
reposed upon Congress. Thus, when Section 17 states that the �the State
may, during the emergency and under reasonable terms prescribed by it,
temporarily take over or direct the operation of any privately owned public
Generally, Congress is the repository of emergency powers. This is evident utility or business affected with public interest,� it refers to Congress, not
in the tenor of Section 23 (2), Article VI authorizing it to delegate such the President. Now, whether or not the President may exercise such power
powers to the President. Certainly, a body cannot delegate a power not is dependent on whether Congress may delegate it to him pursuant to a law
reposed upon it. However, knowing that during grave emergencies, it may prescribing the reasonable terms thereof. Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. et
not be possible or practicable for Congress to meet and exercise its powers, al. v. Sawyer,[125] held:
the Framers of our Constitution deemed it wise to allow Congress to grant
emergency powers to the President, subject to certain conditions, thus:

It is clear that if the President had authority to issue the order he did, it must
be found in some provision of the Constitution. And it is not claimed that
express constitutional language grants this power to the President. The
contention is that presidential power should be implied from the aggregate of
his powers under the Constitution. Particular reliance is placed on provisions Petitioner Cacho-Olivares, et al. contends that the term �emergency�
in Article II which say that �The executive Power shall be vested in a under Section 17, Article XII refers to
President . . . .;� that �he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully �tsunami,��typhoon,��hurricane� and �similar occurrences.� This is
executed;� and that he �shall be Commander-in-Chief of the Army and a limited view of �emergency.�
Navy of the United States.

The order cannot properly be sustained as an exercise of the President�s


military power as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The
Government attempts to do so by citing a number of cases upholding broad
powers in military commanders engaged in day-to-day fighting in a theater of Emergency, as a generic term, connotes the existence of conditions
war. Such cases need not concern us here. Even though �theater of war� suddenly intensifying the degree of existing danger to life or well-being
be an expanding concept, we cannot with faithfulness to our constitutional beyond that which is accepted as normal. Implicit in this definitions are the
system hold that the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces has the elements of intensity, variety, and perception.[127] Emergencies, as
ultimate power as such to take possession of private property in order to perceived by legislature or executive in the United Sates since 1933, have
keep labor disputes from stopping production. This is a job for the nation�s been occasioned by a wide range of situations, classifiable under three (3)
lawmakers, not for its military authorities. principal heads: a) economic,[128] b) natural disaster,[129] and c) national
security.[130]

Nor can the seizure order be sustained because of the several constitutional
provisions that grant executive power to the President. In the framework of
our Constitution, the President�s power to see that the laws are faithfully
executed refutes the idea that he is to be a lawmaker. The Constitution limits
his functions in the lawmaking process to the recommending of laws he
thinks wise and the vetoing of laws he thinks bad. And the Constitution is
neither silent nor equivocal about who shall make laws which the President is
to execute. The first section of the first article says that �All legislative
Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States. .
.�[126] �Emergency,� as contemplated in our Constitution, is of the same breadth.
It may include rebellion, economic crisis, pestilence or epidemic, typhoon,
flood, or other similar catastrophe of nationwide proportions or effect.[131]
This is evident in the Records of the Constitutional Commission, thus:
MR. GASCON. Yes. What is the Committee�s definition of �national
emergency� which appears in Section 13, page 5? It reads: In Araneta v. Dinglasan,[134] this Court emphasized that legislative
power, through which extraordinary measures are exercised, remains in
Congress even in times of crisis.

When the common good so requires, the State may temporarily take over or
direct the operation of any privately owned public utility or business affected
with public interest. �x x x

MR. VILLEGAS. What I mean is threat from external aggression, for


example, calamities or natural disasters.
After all the criticisms that have been made against the efficiency of
MR. GASCON. There is a question by Commissioner de los Reyes. What the system of the separation of powers, the fact remains that the Constitution
about strikes and riots? has set up this form of government, with all its defects and shortcomings, in
preference to the commingling of powers in one man or group of men. The
MR. VILLEGAS. Strikes, no; those would not be covered by the term Filipino people by adopting parliamentary government have given notice that
�national emergency.� they share the faith of other democracy-loving peoples in this system, with all
its faults, as the ideal. The point is, under this framework of government,
MR. BENGZON. Unless they are of such proportions such that they would legislation is preserved for Congress all the time, not excepting periods of
paralyze government service.[132] crisis no matter how serious. Never in the history of the United States, the
basic features of whose Constitution have been copied in ours, have specific
x x x x x x functions of the legislative branch of enacting laws been surrendered to
another department � unless we regard as legislating the carrying out of a
MR. TINGSON. May I ask the committee if �national emergency� refers to legislative policy according to prescribed standards; no, not even when that
military national emergency or could this be economic emergency?� Republic was fighting a total war, or when it was engaged in a life-and-death
struggle to preserve the Union. The truth is that under our concept of
MR. VILLEGAS. Yes, it could refer to both military or economic dislocations. constitutional government, in times of extreme perils more than in normal
circumstances �the various branches, executive, legislative, and judicial,�
MR. TINGSON. Thank you very much.[133] given the ability to act, are called upon �to perform the duties and
discharge the responsibilities committed to them respectively.�

It may be argued that when there is national emergency, Congress may


not be able to convene and, therefore, unable to delegate to the President
the power to take over privately-owned public utility or business affected with
public interest. Following our interpretation of Section 17, Article XII, invoked by President
Arroyo in issuing PP 1017, this Court rules that such Proclamation does not
authorize her during the emergency to temporarily take over or direct the
operation of any privately owned public utility or business affected with public
interest without authority from Congress. In G.R. No. 171396, petitioners David and Llamas alleged that, on February
24, 2006, they were arrested without warrants on their way to EDSA to
celebrate the 20th Anniversary of People Power I. The arresting officers
cited PP 1017 as basis of the arrest.
Let it be emphasized that while the President alone can declare a state of
national emergency, however, without legislation, he has no power to take
over privately-owned public utility or business affected with public interest.
The President cannot decide whether exceptional circumstances exist In G.R. No. 171409, petitioners Cacho-Olivares and Tribune Publishing Co.,
warranting the take over of privately-owned public utility or business Inc. claimed that on February 25, 2006, the CIDG operatives �raided and
affected with public interest. Nor can he determine when such exceptional ransacked without warrant� their office. Three policemen were assigned to
circumstances have ceased. Likewise, without legislation, the President has guard their office as a possible �source of destabilization.� Again, the
no power to point out the types of businesses affected with public interest basis was PP 1017.
that should be taken over. In short, the President has no absolute authority
to exercise all the powers of the State under Section 17, Article VII in the
absence of an emergency powers act passed by Congress.
And in G.R. No. 171483, petitioners KMU and NAFLU-KMU et al. alleged
that their members were �turned away and dispersed� when they went to
EDSA and later, to Ayala Avenue, to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of
People Power I.

c. �AS APPLIED CHALLENGE�

A perusal of the �direct injuries� allegedly suffered by the said


petitioners shows that they resulted from the implementation, pursuant to
One of the misfortunes of an emergency, particularly, that which pertains to G.O. No. 5, of PP 1017.
security, is that military necessity and the guaranteed rights of the individual
are often not compatible. Our history reveals that in the crucible of conflict,
many rights are curtailed and trampled upon. Here, the right against
unreasonable search and seizure; the right against warrantless arrest; and Can this Court adjudge as unconstitutional PP 1017 and G.O. No 5 on the
the freedom of speech, of expression, of the press, and of assembly under basis of these illegal acts? In general, does the illegal implementation of a
the Bill of Rights suffered the greatest blow. law render it unconstitutional?

Of the seven (7) petitions, three (3) indicate �direct injury.� Settled is the rule that courts are not at liberty to declare statutes invalid
although they may be abused and misabused[135] and may afford an
opportunity for abuse in the manner of application.[136] The validity of a
statute or ordinance is to be determined from its general purpose and its and the official who receives them.[139] They are based on and are the
efficiency to accomplish the end desired, not from its effects in a particular product of, a relationship in which power is their source, and obedience, their
case.[137] PP 1017 is merely an invocation of the President�s calling-out object.[140] For these reasons, one requirement for these rules to be valid is
power. Its general purpose is to command the AFP to suppress all forms of that they must be reasonable, not arbitrary or capricious.
lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. It had accomplished the end desired
which prompted President Arroyo to issue PP 1021. But there is nothing in
PP 1017 allowing the police, expressly or impliedly, to conduct illegal arrest,
search or violate the citizens� constitutional rights. G.O. No. 5 mandates the AFP and the PNP to immediately carry out the
�necessary and appropriate actions and measures to suppress and prevent
acts of terrorism and lawless violence.�

Unlike the term �lawless violence� which is unarguably extant in our


statutes and the Constitution, and which is invariably associated with
�invasion, insurrection or rebellion,� the phrase �acts of terrorism� is still
an amorphous and vague concept. Congress has yet to enact a law defining
Now, may this Court adjudge a law or ordinance unconstitutional on the and punishing acts of terrorism.
ground that its implementor committed illegal acts? The answer is no. The
criterion by which the validity of the statute or ordinance is to be measured is
the essential basis for the exercise of power, and not a mere incidental result
arising from its exertion.[138] This is logical. Just imagine the absurdity of
situations when laws maybe declared unconstitutional just because the
officers implementing them have acted arbitrarily. If this were so, judging
from the blunders committed by policemen in the cases passed upon by the
Court, majority of the provisions of the Revised Penal Code would have been In fact, this �definitional predicament� or the �absence of an agreed
declared unconstitutional a long time ago. definition of terrorism� confronts not only our country, but the international
community as well. The following observations are quite apropos:

In the actual unipolar context of international relations, the �fight against


President Arroyo issued G.O. No. 5 to carry into effect the provisions of PP terrorism� has become one of the basic slogans when it comes to the
1017. General orders are �acts and commands of the President in his justification of the use of force against certain states and against groups
capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.� operating internationally. Lists of states �sponsoring terrorism� and of
They are internal rules issued by the executive officer to his subordinates terrorist organizations are set up and constantly being updated according to
precisely for the proper and efficient administration of law. Such rules and criteria that are not always known to the public, but are clearly determined by
regulations create no relation except between the official who issues them strategic interests.
use of force when resistance against foreign occupation or against
systematic oppression of ethnic and/or religious groups within a state is
concerned.
The basic problem underlying all these military actions � or threats of the
use of force as the most recent by the United States against Iraq � consists
in the absence of an agreed definition of terrorism.
The dilemma facing the international community can best be illustrated by
reference to the contradicting categorization of organizations and movements
such as Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) � which is a terrorist group
Remarkable confusion persists in regard to the legal categorization of acts of for Israel and a liberation movement for Arabs and Muslims � the Kashmiri
violence either by states, by armed groups such as liberation movements, or resistance groups � who are terrorists in the perception of India, liberation
by individuals. fighters in that of Pakistan � the earlier Contras in Nicaragua � freedom
fighters for the United States, terrorists for the Socialist camp � or, most
drastically, the Afghani Mujahedeen (later to become the Taliban movement):
during the Cold War period they were a group of freedom fighters for the
The dilemma can by summarized in the saying �One country�s terrorist is West, nurtured by the United States, and a terrorist gang for the Soviet
another country�s freedom fighter.� The apparent contradiction or lack of Union. One could go on and on in enumerating examples of conflicting
consistency in the use of the term �terrorism� may further be demonstrated categorizations that cannot be reconciled in any way � because of opposing
by the historical fact that leaders of national liberation movements such as political interests that are at the roots of those perceptions.
Nelson Mandela in South Africa, Habib Bourgouiba in Tunisia, or Ahmed Ben
Bella in Algeria, to mention only a few, were originally labeled as terrorists by
those who controlled the territory at the time, but later became internationally
respected statesmen. How, then, can those contradicting definitions and conflicting perceptions and
evaluations of one and the same group and its actions be explained? In our
analysis, the basic reason for these striking inconsistencies lies in the
divergent interest of states. Depending on whether a state is in the position
What, then, is the defining criterion for terrorist acts � the differentia of an occupying power or in that of a rival, or adversary, of an occupying
specifica distinguishing those acts from eventually legitimate acts of national power in a given territory, the definition of terrorism will �fluctuate�
resistance or self-defense? accordingly. A state may eventually see itself as protector of the rights of a
certain ethnic group outside its territory and will therefore speak of a
�liberation struggle,� not of �terrorism� when acts of violence by this
group are concerned, and vice-versa.
Since the times of the Cold War the United Nations Organization has been
trying in vain to reach a consensus on the basic issue of definition. The
organization has intensified its efforts recently, but has been unable to bridge
the gap between those who associate �terrorism� with any violent act by The United Nations Organization has been unable to reach a decision on the
non-state groups against civilians, state functionaries or infrastructure or definition of terrorism exactly because of these conflicting interests of
military installations, and those who believe in the concept of the legitimate sovereign states that determine in each and every instance how a particular
armed movement (i.e. a non-state actor) is labeled in regard to the terrorists-
freedom fighter dichotomy. A �policy of double standards� on this vital
issue of international affairs has been the unavoidable consequence.

This �definitional predicament� of an organization consisting of sovereign


states � and not of peoples, in spite of the emphasis in the Preamble to the P.D. No. 1835 was repealed by E.O. No. 167 (which outlaws the Communist
United Nations Charter! � has become even more serious in the present Party of the Philippines) enacted by President Corazon Aquino on May 5,
global power constellation: one superpower exercises the decisive role in the 1985. These two (2) laws, however, do not define �acts of terrorism.�
Security Council, former great powers of the Cold War era as well as medium Since there is no law defining �acts of terrorism,� it is President Arroyo
powers are increasingly being marginalized; and the problem has become alone, under G.O. No. 5, who has the discretion to determine what acts
even more acute since the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 I the constitute terrorism. Her judgment on this aspect is absolute, without
United States.[141] restrictions. Consequently, there can be indiscriminate arrest without
warrants, breaking into offices and residences, taking over the media
enterprises, prohibition and dispersal of all assemblies and gatherings
unfriendly to the administration. All these can be effected in the name of
The absence of a law defining �acts of terrorism� may result in abuse and G.O. No. 5. These acts go far beyond the calling-out power of the President.
oppression on the part of the police or military. An illustration is when a Certainly, they violate the due process clause of the Constitution. Thus, this
group of persons are merely engaged in a drinking spree. Yet the military or Court declares that the �acts of terrorism� portion of G.O. No. 5 is
the police may consider the act as an act of terrorism and immediately arrest unconstitutional.
them pursuant to G.O. No. 5. Obviously, this is abuse and oppression on
their part. It must be remembered that an act can only be considered a crime
if there is a law defining the same as such and imposing the corresponding
penalty thereon.

So far, the word �terrorism� appears only once in our criminal laws, i.e., in Significantly, there is nothing in G.O. No. 5 authorizing the military or police
P.D. No. 1835 dated January 16, 1981 enacted by President Marcos during to commit acts beyond what are necessary and appropriate to suppress and
the Martial Law regime. This decree is entitled �Codifying The Various prevent lawless violence, the limitation of their authority in pursuing the
Laws on Anti-Subversion and Increasing The Penalties for Membership in Order. Otherwise, such acts are considered illegal.
Subversive Organizations.� The word �terrorism� is mentioned in the
following provision: �That one who conspires with any other person for the
purpose of overthrowing the Government of the Philippines x x x by force,
violence, terrorism, x x x shall be punished by reclusion temporal x x x.�
policemen who �held his head and tried to push him� inside an unmarked
car; fifth, he was charged with Violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang No.
880[145] and Inciting to Sedition; sixth, he was detained for seven (7)
hours; and seventh, he was eventually released for insufficiency of
evidence.

We first examine G.R. No. 171396 (David et al.)

The Constitution provides that �the right of the people to be secured in their
persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable search and Section 5, Rule 113 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure provides:
seizure of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no
search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause
to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or
affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. - A peace officer or a private
particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
be seized.�[142] The plain import of the language of the Constitution is
that searches, seizures and arrests are normally unreasonable unless
authorized by a validly issued search warrant or warrant of arrest. Thus, the
fundamental protection given by this provision is that between person and (a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is
police must stand the protective authority of a magistrate clothed with power actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense.
to issue or refuse to issue search warrants or warrants of arrest.[143]

(b) When an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to
believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the
person to be arrested has committed it; and
In the Brief Account[144] submitted by petitioner David, certain facts
are established: first, he was arrested without warrant; second, the PNP
operatives arrested him on the basis of PP 1017; third, he was brought at
Camp Karingal, Quezon City where he was fingerprinted, photographed and x x x.
booked like a criminal suspect; fourth, he was treated brusquely by
Section 4 of Article III guarantees:
Neither of the two (2) exceptions mentioned above justifies petitioner
David�s warrantless arrest. During the inquest for the charges of inciting
to sedition and violation of BP 880, all that the arresting officers could
invoke was their observation that some rallyists were wearing t-shirts No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of
with the invective �Oust Gloria Now� and their erroneous assumption the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the
that petitioner David was the leader of the rally.[146] Consequently, the government for redress of grievances.
Inquest Prosecutor ordered his immediate release on the ground of
insufficiency of evidence. He noted that petitioner David was not wearing the
subject t-shirt and even if he was wearing it, such fact is insufficient to charge
him with inciting to sedition. Further, he also stated that there is insufficient
evidence for the charge of violation of BP 880 as it was not even known
whether petitioner David was the leader of the rally.[147] �Assembly� means a right on the part of the citizens to meet peaceably for
consultation in respect to public affairs. It is a necessary consequence of our
republican institution and complements the right of speech. As in the case of
freedom of expression, this right is not to be limited, much less denied,
except on a showing of a clear and present danger of a substantive evil that
Congress has a right to prevent. In other words, like other rights embraced
in the freedom of expression, the right to assemble is not subject to previous
restraint or censorship. It may not be conditioned upon the prior issuance of
a permit or authorization from the government authorities except, of course, if
the assembly is intended to be held in a public place, a permit for the use of
But what made it doubly worse for petitioners David et al. is that not only was such place, and not for the assembly itself, may be validly required.
their right against warrantless arrest violated, but also their right to peaceably
assemble.
government units. This is arbitrary. The wholesale cancellation of all permits
The ringing truth here is that petitioner David, et al. were arrested while they to rally is a blatant disregard of the principle that �freedom of assembly is
were exercising their right to peaceful assembly. They were not committing not to be limited, much less denied, except on a showing of a clear and
any crime, neither was there a showing of a clear and present danger that present danger of a substantive evil that the State has a right to
warranted the limitation of that right. As can be gleaned from prevent.�[149] Tolerance is the rule and limitation is the exception. Only
circumstances, the charges of inciting to sedition and violation of BP 880 upon a showing that an assembly presents a clear and present danger that
were mere afterthought. Even the Solicitor General, during the oral the State may deny the citizens� right to exercise it. Indeed, respondents
argument, failed to justify the arresting officers� conduct. In De Jonge v. failed to show or convince the Court that the rallyists committed acts
Oregon,[148] it was held that peaceable assembly cannot be made a crime, amounting to lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. With the blanket
thus: revocation of permits, the distinction between protected and unprotected
assemblies was eliminated.

Peaceable assembly for lawful discussion cannot be made a crime. The


holding of meetings for peaceable political action cannot be proscribed.
Those who assist in the conduct of such meetings cannot be branded as
criminals on that score. The question, if the rights of free speech and Moreover, under BP 880, the authority to regulate assemblies and rallies is
peaceful assembly are not to be preserved, is not as to the auspices under lodged with the local government units. They have the power to issue
which the meeting was held but as to its purpose; not as to the relations of permits and to revoke such permits after due notice and hearing on the
the speakers, but whether their utterances transcend the bounds of the determination of the presence of clear and present danger. Here, petitioners
freedom of speech which the Constitution protects. If the persons were not even notified and heard on the revocation of their permits.[150] The
assembling have committed crimes elsewhere, if they have formed or are first time they learned of it was at the time of the dispersal. Such absence of
engaged in a conspiracy against the public peace and order, they may be notice is a fatal defect. When a person�s right is restricted by government
prosecuted for their conspiracy or other violations of valid laws. But it is a action, it behooves a democratic government to see to it that the restriction is
different matter when the State, instead of prosecuting them for such fair, reasonable, and according to procedure.
offenses, seizes upon mere participation in a peaceable assembly and a
lawful public discussion as the basis for a criminal charge.

G.R. No. 171409, (Cacho-Olivares, et al.) presents another facet of freedom


of speech i.e., the freedom of the press. Petitioners� narration of facts,
On the basis of the above principles, the Court likewise considers the which the Solicitor General failed to refute, established the following: first, the
dispersal and arrest of the members of KMU et al. (G.R. No. 171483) Daily Tribune�s offices were searched without warrant; second, the police
unwarranted. Apparently, their dispersal was done merely on the basis of operatives seized several materials for publication; third, the search was
Malaca�ang�s directive canceling all permits previously issued by local conducted at about 1:00 o� clock in the morning of February 25, 2006;
fourth, the search was conducted in the absence of any official of the Daily time of the day or night. All these rules were violated by the CIDG
Tribune except the security guard of the building; and fifth, policemen operatives.
stationed themselves at the vicinity of the Daily Tribune offices.

Thereafter, a wave of warning came from government officials.


Presidential Chief of Staff Michael Defensor was quoted as saying that such Not only that, the search violated petitioners� freedom of the press. The
raid was �meant to show a �strong presence,� to tell media outlets not to best gauge of a free and democratic society rests in the degree of freedom
connive or do anything that would help the rebels in bringing down this enjoyed by its media. In the Burgos v. Chief of Staff[152] this Court held that
government.� Director General Lomibao further stated that �if they do not --
follow the standards �and the standards are if they would contribute to
instability in the government, or if they do not subscribe to what is in General As heretofore stated, the premises searched were the business and printing
Order No. 5 and Proc. No. 1017 � we will recommend a �takeover.�� offices of the "Metropolitan Mail" and the "We Forum� newspapers. As a
National Telecommunications Commissioner Ronald Solis urged television consequence of the search and seizure, these premises were padlocked and
and radio networks to �cooperate� with the government for the duration of sealed, with the further result that the printing and publication of said
the state of national emergency. He warned that his agency will not hesitate newspapers were discontinued.
to recommend the closure of any broadcast outfit that violates rules set out
for media coverage during times when the national security is
threatened.[151]
Such closure is in the nature of previous restraint or censorship abhorrent to
the freedom of the press guaranteed under the fundamental law, and
constitutes a virtual denial of petitioners' freedom to express themselves in
print. This state of being is patently anathematic to a democratic framework
where a free, alert and even militant press is essential for the political
The search is illegal. Rule 126 of The Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure enlightenment and growth of the citizenry.
lays down the steps in the conduct of search and seizure. Section 4 requires
that a search warrant be issued upon probable cause in connection with one
specific offence to be determined personally by the judge after examination
under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may
produce. Section 8 mandates that the search of a house, room, or any other
premise be made in the presence of the lawful occupant thereof or any
member of his family or in the absence of the latter, in the presence of two
(2) witnesses of sufficient age and discretion residing in the same locality. While admittedly, the Daily Tribune was not padlocked and sealed like the
And Section 9 states that the warrant must direct that it be served in the �Metropolitan Mail� and �We Forum� newspapers in the above case, yet
daytime, unless the property is on the person or in the place ordered to be it cannot be denied that the CIDG operatives exceeded their enforcement
searched, in which case a direction may be inserted that it be served at any duties. The search and seizure of materials for publication, the stationing of
policemen in the vicinity of the The Daily Tribune offices, and the arrogant
warning of government officials to media, are plain censorship. It is that
officious functionary of the repressive government who tells the citizen that
he may speak only if allowed to do so, and no more and no less than what he Under the law they would seem to be, if they were illegally seized, I
is permitted to say on pain of punishment should he be so rash as to think and I know, Your Honor, and these are inadmissible for any
disobey.[153] Undoubtedly, the The Daily Tribune was subjected to these purpose.[155]
arbitrary intrusions because of its anti-government sentiments. This Court
cannot tolerate the blatant disregard of a constitutional right even if it involves
the most defiant of our citizens. Freedom to comment on public affairs is
essential to the vitality of a representative democracy. It is the duty of the xxx xxx xxx
courts to be watchful for the constitutional rights of the citizen, and against
any stealthy encroachments thereon. The motto should always be obsta
principiis.[154]
SR. ASSO. JUSTICE PUNO:

These have been published in the past issues of the Daily Tribune; all
Incidentally, during the oral arguments, the Solicitor General admitted that you have to do is to get those past issues. So why do you have to go there
the search of the Tribune�s offices and the seizure of its materials for at 1 o�clock in the morning and without any search warrant? Did they
publication and other papers are illegal; and that the same are inadmissible become suddenly part of the evidence of rebellion or inciting to sedition or
�for any purpose,� thus: what?

JUSTICE CALLEJO: SOLGEN BENIPAYO:

You made quite a mouthful of admission when you said that the Well, it was the police that did that, Your Honor. Not upon my
policemen, when inspected the Tribune for the purpose of gathering instructions.
evidence and you admitted that the policemen were able to get the clippings.
Is that not in admission of the admissibility of these clippings that were taken
from the Tribune?
SR. ASSO. JUSTICE PUNO:

SOLICITOR GENERAL BENIPAYO:


Are you saying that the act of the policeman is illegal, it is not based
on any law, and it is not based on Proclamation 1017.

SOLGEN BENIPAYO:

SOLGEN BENIPAYO:

Maybe so, Your Honor. Maybe so, that is why I said, I don�t know if
it is premature to say this, we do not condone this. If the people who have
It is not based on Proclamation 1017, Your Honor, because there is been injured by this would want to sue them, they can sue and there are
nothing in 1017 which says that the police could go and inspect and gather remedies for this.[156]
clippings from Daily Tribune or any other newspaper.

Likewise, the warrantless arrests and seizures executed by the police were,
SR. ASSO. JUSTICE PUNO: according to the Solicitor General, illegal and cannot be condoned, thus:

Is it based on any law? CHIEF JUSTICE PANGANIBAN:

SOLGEN BENIPAYO: There seems to be some confusions if not contradiction in your theory.

As far as I know, no, Your Honor, from the facts, no. SOLICITOR GENERAL BENIPAYO:

SR. ASSO. JUSTICE PUNO: I don�t know whether this will clarify. The acts, the supposed illegal
or unlawful acts committed on the occasion of 1017, as I said, it cannot be
condoned. You cannot blame the President for, as you said, a
misapplication of the law. These are acts of the police officers, that is their
So, it has no basis, no legal basis whatsoever? responsibility.[157]
violence. The proclamation is sustained by Section 18, Article VII of the
The Dissenting Opinion states that PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 are Constitution and the relevant jurisprudence discussed earlier. However, PP
constitutional in every aspect and �should result in no constitutional or 1017�s extraneous provisions giving the President express or implied power
statutory breaches if applied according to their letter.� (1) to issue decrees; (2) to direct the AFP to enforce obedience to all laws
even those not related to lawless violence as well as decrees promulgated by
the President; and (3) to impose standards on media or any form of prior
restraint on the press, are ultra vires and unconstitutional. The Court also
The Court has passed upon the constitutionality of these issuances. Its rules that under Section 17, Article XII of the Constitution, the President, in
ratiocination has been exhaustively presented. At this point, suffice it to the absence of a legislation, cannot take over privately-owned public utility
reiterate that PP 1017 is limited to the calling out by the President of the and private business affected with public interest.
military to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. When
in implementing its provisions, pursuant to G.O. No. 5, the military and the
police committed acts which violate the citizens� rights under the
Constitution, this Court has to declare such acts unconstitutional and illegal. In the same vein, the Court finds G.O. No. 5 valid. It is an Order issued by
the President � acting as Commander-in-Chief � addressed to subalterns
in the AFP to carry out the provisions of PP 1017. Significantly, it also
provides a valid standard � that the military and the police should take only
In this connection, Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban�s concurring the �necessary and appropriate actions and measures to suppress and
opinion, attached hereto, is considered an integral part of this ponencia. prevent acts of lawless violence.� But the words �acts of terrorism�
found in G.O. No. 5 have not been legally defined and made punishable by
SUMMATION Congress and should thus be deemed deleted from the said G.O. While
�terrorism� has been denounced generally in media, no law has been
enacted to guide the military, and eventually the courts, to determine the
In sum, the lifting of PP 1017 through the issuance of PP 1021 � a limits of the AFP�s authority in carrying out this portion of G.O. No. 5.
supervening event � would have normally rendered this case moot and
academic. However, while PP 1017 was still operative, illegal acts were
committed allegedly in pursuance thereof. Besides, there is no guarantee
that PP 1017, or one similar to it, may not again be issued. Already, there
have been media reports on April 30, 2006 that allegedly PP 1017 would be
reimposed �if the May 1 rallies� become �unruly and violent.�
Consequently, the transcendental issues raised by the parties should not be On the basis of the relevant and uncontested facts narrated earlier, it is also
�evaded;� they must now be resolved to prevent future constitutional pristine clear that (1) the warrantless arrest of petitioners Randolf S. David
aberration. and Ronald Llamas; (2) the dispersal of the rallies and warrantless arrest of
the KMU and NAFLU-KMU members; (3) the imposition of standards on
media or any prior restraint on the press; and (4) the warrantless search of
the Tribune offices and the whimsical seizures of some articles for
The Court finds and so holds that PP 1017 is constitutional insofar as it publication and other materials, are not authorized by the Constitution, the
constitutes a call by the President for the AFP to prevent or suppress lawless
law and jurisprudence. Not even by the valid provisions of PP 1017 and President, are declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL. In addition, the provision in
G.O. No. 5. PP 1017 declaring national emergency under Section 17, Article VII of the
Constitution is CONSTITUTIONAL, but such declaration does not authorize
the President to take over privately-owned public utility or business affected
with public interest without prior legislation.
Other than this declaration of invalidity, this Court cannot impose any civil,
criminal or administrative sanctions on the individual police officers
concerned. They have not been individually identified and given their day in
court. The civil complaints or causes of action and/or relevant criminal G.O. No. 5 is CONSTITUTIONAL since it provides a standard by which the
Informations have not been presented before this Court. Elementary due AFP and the PNP should implement PP 1017, i.e. whatever is �necessary
process bars this Court from making any specific pronouncement of civil, and appropriate actions and measures to suppress and prevent acts of
criminal or administrative liabilities. lawless violence.� Considering that �acts of terrorism� have not yet been
defined and made punishable by the Legislature, such portion of G.O. No. 5
is declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

It is well to remember that military power is a means to an end and


substantive civil rights are ends in themselves. How to give the military the
power it needs to protect the Republic without unnecessarily trampling The warrantless arrest of Randolf S. David and Ronald Llamas; the dispersal
individual rights is one of the eternal balancing tasks of a democratic state. and warrantless arrest of the KMU and NAFLU-KMU members during their
During emergency, governmental action may vary in breadth and intensity rallies, in the absence of proof that these petitioners were committing acts
from normal times, yet they should not be arbitrary as to unduly restrain our constituting lawless violence, invasion or rebellion and violating BP 880; the
people�s liberty. imposition of standards on media or any form of prior restraint on the press,
as well as the warrantless search of the Tribune offices and whimsical
seizure of its articles for publication and other materials, are declared
UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
Perhaps, the vital lesson that we must learn from the theorists who studied
the various competing political philosophies is that, it is possible to grant
government the authority to cope with crises without surrendering the two No costs.
vital principles of constitutionalism: the maintenance of legal limits to arbitrary
power, and political responsibility of the government to the governed.[158]
SO ORDERED.

WHEREFORE, the Petitions are partly granted. The Court rules that PP
1017 is CONSTITUTIONAL insofar as it constitutes a call by President Gloria ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN
Macapagal-Arroyo on the AFP to prevent or suppress lawless violence.
However, the provisions of PP 1017 commanding the AFP to enforce laws Chief Justice
not related to lawless violence, as well as decrees promulgated by the
preliminary injunction against the Board of Medical Examiners, now
respondent-appellant. It was alleged therein that at the initial hearing of an
G.R. No. L-25018 May 26, 1969 administrative case7 for alleged immorality, counsel for complainants
announced that he would present as his first witness herein petitioner-
ARSENIO PASCUAL, JR., petitioner-appellee, appellee, who was the respondent in such malpractice charge. Thereupon,
vs. petitioner-appellee, through counsel, made of record his objection, relying on
BOARD OF MEDICAL EXAMINERS, respondent-appellant, SALVADOR the constitutional right to be exempt from being a witness against himself.
GATBONTON and ENRIQUETA GATBONTON, intervenors-appellants. Respondent-appellant, the Board of Examiners, took note of such a plea, at
the same time stating that at the next scheduled hearing, on February 12,
Conrado B. Enriquez for petitioner-appellee. 1965, petitioner-appellee would be called upon to testify as such witness,
Office of the Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor General unless in the meantime he could secure a restraining order from a competent
Antonio A. Torres and Solicitor Pedro A. Ramirez for respondent-appellant. authority.
Bausa, Ampil and Suarez for intervenors-appellants.
Petitioner-appellee then alleged that in thus ruling to compel him to take the
FERNANDO, J.: witness stand, the Board of Examiners was guilty, at the very least, of grave
abuse of discretion for failure to respect the constitutional right against self-
The broad, all-embracing sweep of the self-incrimination clause,1 whenever incrimination, the administrative proceeding against him, which could result in
appropriately invoked, has been accorded due recognition by this Court ever forfeiture or loss of a privilege, being quasi-criminal in character. With his
since the adoption of the Constitution.2 Bermudez v. Castillo,3 decided in assertion that he was entitled to the relief demanded consisting of perpetually
1937, was quite categorical. As we there stated: "This Court is of the opinion restraining the respondent Board from compelling him to testify as witness for
that in order that the constitutional provision under consideration may prove his adversary and his readiness or his willingness to put a bond, he prayed
to be a real protection and not a dead letter, it must be given a liberal and for a writ of preliminary injunction and after a hearing or trial, for a writ of
broad interpretation favorable to the person invoking it." As phrased by prohibition.
Justice Laurel in his concurring opinion: "The provision, as doubtless it was
designed, would be construed with the utmost liberality in favor of the right of On February 9, 1965, the lower court ordered that a writ of preliminary
the individual intended to be served." 4 injunction issue against the respondent Board commanding it to refrain from
hearing or further proceeding with such an administrative case, to await the
Even more relevant, considering the precise point at issue, is the recent case judicial disposition of the matter upon petitioner-appellee posting a bond in
of Cabal v. Kapunan,5where it was held that a respondent in an the amount of P500.00.
administrative proceeding under the Anti-Graft Law 6 cannot be required to
take the witness stand at the instance of the complainant. So it must be in The answer of respondent Board, while admitting the facts stressed that it
this case, where petitioner was sustained by the lower court in his plea that could call petitioner-appellee to the witness stand and interrogate him, the
he could not be compelled to be the first witness of the complainants, he right against self-incrimination being available only when a question calling
being the party proceeded against in an administrative charge for for an incriminating answer is asked of a witness. It further elaborated the
malpractice. That was a correct decision; we affirm it on appeal. matter in the affirmative defenses interposed, stating that petitioner-
appellee's remedy is to object once he is in the witness stand, for respondent
Arsenio Pascual, Jr., petitioner-appellee, filed on February 1, 1965 with the "a plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law,"
Court of First Instance of Manila an action for prohibition with prayer for
precluding the issuance of the relief sought. Respondent Board, therefore, proceeding for forfeiture while administrative in character thus possesses a
denied that it acted with grave abuse of discretion. criminal or penal aspect. The case before us is not dissimilar; petitioner
would be similarly disadvantaged. He could suffer not the forfeiture of
There was a motion for intervention by Salvador Gatbonton and Enriqueta property but the revocation of his license as a medical practitioner, for some
Gatbonton, the complainants in the administrative case for malpractice an even greater deprivation.
against petitioner-appellee, asking that they be allowed to file an answer as
intervenors. Such a motion was granted and an answer in intervention was To the argument that Cabal v. Kapunan could thus distinguished, it suffices
duly filed by them on March 23, 1965 sustaining the power of respondent to refer to an American Supreme Court opinion highly persuasive in
Board, which for them is limited to compelling the witness to take the stand, character. 10 In the language of Justice Douglas: "We conclude ... that the
to be distinguished, in their opinion, from the power to compel a witness to Self-Incrimination Clause of the Fifth Amendment has been absorbed in the
incriminate himself. They likewise alleged that the right against self- Fourteenth, that it extends its protection to lawyers as well as to other
incrimination cannot be availed of in an administrative hearing. individuals, and that it should not be watered down by imposing the dishonor
of disbarment and the deprivation of a livelihood as a price for asserting it."
A decision was rendered by the lower court on August 2, 1965, finding the We reiterate that such a principle is equally applicable to a proceeding that
claim of petitioner-appellee to be well-founded and prohibiting respondent could possibly result in the loss of the privilege to practice the medical
Board "from compelling the petitioner to act and testify as a witness for the profession.
complainant in said investigation without his consent and against himself."
Hence this appeal both by respondent Board and intervenors, the 2. The appeal apparently proceeds on the mistaken assumption by
Gatbontons. As noted at the outset, we find for the petitioner-appellee. respondent Board and intervenors-appellants that the constitutional
guarantee against self-incrimination should be limited to allowing a witness to
1. We affirm the lower court decision on appeal as it does manifest fealty to object to questions the answers to which could lead to a penal liability being
the principle announced by us in Cabal v. Kapunan. 8 In that proceeding for subsequently incurred. It is true that one aspect of such a right, to follow the
certiorari and prohibition to annul an order of Judge Kapunan, it appeared language of another American decision, 11 is the protection against "any
that an administrative charge for unexplained wealth having been filed disclosures which the witness may reasonably apprehend could be used in a
against petitioner under the Anti-Graft Act,9the complainant requested the criminal prosecution or which could lead to other evidence that might be so
investigating committee that petitioner be ordered to take the witness stand, used." If that were all there is then it becomes diluted.lawphi1.ñet
which request was granted. Upon petitioner's refusal to be sworn as such
witness, a charge for contempt was filed against him in the sala of The constitutional guarantee protects as well the right to silence. As far back
respondent Judge. He filed a motion to quash and upon its denial, he as 1905, we had occasion to declare: "The accused has a perfect right to
initiated this proceeding. We found for the petitioner in accordance with the remain silent and his silence cannot be used as a presumption of his guilt."
well-settled principle that "the accused in a criminal case may refuse, not 12 Only last year, in Chavez v. Court of Appeals, 13 speaking through
only to answer incriminatory questions, but, also, to take the witness stand." Justice Sanchez, we reaffirmed the doctrine anew that it is the right of a
defendant "to forego testimony, to remain silent, unless he chooses to take
It was noted in the opinion penned by the present Chief Justice that while the the witness stand — with undiluted, unfettered exercise of his own free
matter referred to an a administrative charge of unexplained wealth, with the genuine will."
Anti-Graft Act authorizing the forfeiture of whatever property a public officer
or employee may acquire, manifestly out proportion to his salary and his Why it should be thus is not difficult to discern. The constitutional guarantee,
other lawful income, there is clearly the imposition of a penalty. The along with other rights granted an accused, stands for a belief that while
crime should not go unpunished and that the truth must be revealed, such MANOLITA GONZALES VDA.
desirable objectives should not be accomplished according to means or
methods offensive to the high sense of respect accorded the human DE CARUNGCONG, represented
personality. More and more in line with the democratic creed, the deference
accorded an individual even those suspected of the most heinous crimes is by MEDIATRIX CARUNGCONG, Present:
given due weight. To quote from Chief Justice Warren, "the constitutional
foundation underlying the privilege is the respect a government ... must as Administratrix,
accord to the dignity and integrity of its citizens." 14
Petitioner, CORONA, J., Chairperson,
It is likewise of interest to note that while earlier decisions stressed the
principle of humanity on which this right is predicated, precluding as it does VELASCO, JR.,
all resort to force or compulsion, whether physical or mental, current judicial
opinion places equal emphasis on its identification with the right to privacy. NACHURA,
Thus according to Justice Douglas: "The Fifth Amendment in its Self-
Incrimination clause enables the citizen to create a zone of privacy which - v e r s u s - PERALTA and
government may not force to surrender to his detriment." 15 So also with the
observation of the late Judge Frank who spoke of "a right to a private MENDOZA, JJ.
enclave where he may lead a private life. That right is the hallmark of our
democracy." 16 In the light of the above, it could thus clearly appear that no
possible objection could be legitimately raised against the correctness of the
decision now on appeal. We hold that in an administrative hearing against a
medical practitioner for alleged malpractice, respondent Board of Medical
Examiners cannot, consistently with the self-incrimination clause, compel the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES
person proceeded against to take the witness stand without his consent.
and WILLIAM SATO,
WHEREFORE, the decision of the lower court of August 2, 1965 is affirmed.
Without pronouncement as to costs. Respondents. Promulgated:

Reyes, Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Sanchez and Capistrano, JJ., concur.


Teehankee and Barredo, JJ., took no part.
Concepcion, C.J., and Castro, J., are on leave. February 11, 2010

THIRD DIVISION

x--------------------------------------------------x

INTESTATE ESTATE OF G.R. No. 181409


DECISION

CORONA, J.: For purposes of the aforementioned provision, is the relationship by affinity
created between the husband and the blood relatives of his wife (as well as
between the wife and the blood relatives of her husband) dissolved by the
death of one spouse, thus ending the marriage which created such
relationship by affinity? Does the beneficial application of Article 332 cover
the complex crime of estafa thru falsification?
Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code provides:

Mediatrix G. Carungcong, in her capacity as the duly appointed


ART. 332. Persons exempt from criminal liability. No criminal, but only civil administratrix[1] of petitioner intestate estate of her deceased mother
liability shall result from the commission of the crime of theft, swindling, or Manolita Gonzales vda. de Carungcong, filed a complaint-affidavit[2] for
malicious mischief committed or caused mutually by the following persons: estafa against her brother-in-law, William Sato, a Japanese national. Her
complaint-affidavit read:

1. Spouses, ascendants and descendants, or relatives by affinity in the same


line; I, MEDIATRIX CARUNGCONG Y GONZALE[S], Filipino, of legal age, single,
and resident of Unit 1111, Prince Gregory Condominium, 105 12th Avenue,
Cubao, Quezon City, after being duly sworn, depose and state that:

2. The widowed spouse with respect to the property which belonged to the 1. I am the duly appointed Administratrix of the Intestate Estate of Manolita
deceased spouse before the same shall have passed into the possession of Carungcong Y Gonzale[s], docketed as Spec. Procs. No. [Q]-95-23621[,]
another; and Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 104, being one (1) of her
surviving daughters. Copy of the Letters of Administration dated June 22,
3. Brothers and sisters and brothers-in-law and sisters- 1995 is hereto attached as Annex A to form an integral part hereof.

in-law, if living together.

2. As such Administratrix, I am duty bound not only to preserve the properties


of the Intestate Estate of Manolita Carungcong Y Gonzale[s], but also to
The exemption established by this article shall not be applicable to strangers recover such funds and/or properties as property belonging to the estate but
participating in the commission of the crime. (emphasis supplied) are presently in the possession or control of other parties.
7. On the basis of the aforesaid Special Power of Attorney, William Sato
found buyers for the property and made my niece Wendy Mitsuko Sato sign
3. After my appointment as Administratrix, I was able to confer with some of three (3) deeds of absolute sale in favor of (a) Anita Ng (Doc. 2194, Page
the children of my sister Zenaida Carungcong Sato[,] who predeceased our No. 41, Book No. V, Series of 1992 of Notary Public Vicente B. Custodio), (b)
mother Manolita Carungcong Y Gonzales, having died in Japan in 1991. Anita Ng (Doc. No. 2331, Page No. 68, Book No. V, Series of 1992 of Notary
Public Vicente B. Custodio) and (c) Ruby Lee Tsai (Doc. No. II, Page No. 65,
Book No. II, Series of 1993 of Notary Public Toribio D. Labid). x x x

4. In my conference with my nieces Karen Rose Sato and Wendy Mitsuko


Sato, age[d] 27 and 24 respectively, I was able to learn that prior to the death
of my mother Manolita Carungcong Y Gonzale[s], [s]pecifically on o[r] about 8. Per the statement of Wendy Mitsuko C. Sato, the considerations
November 24, 1992, their father William Sato, through fraudulent appearing on the deeds of absolute sale were not the true and actual
misrepresentations, was able to secure the signature and thumbmark of my considerations received by her father William Sato from the buyers of her
mother on a Special Power of Attorney whereby my niece Wendy Mitsuko grandmothers properties. She attests that Anita Ng actually paid
Sato, who was then only twenty (20) years old, was made her attorney-in- P7,000,000.00 for the property covered by TCT No. 3148 and P7,034,000.00
fact, to sell and dispose four (4) valuable pieces of land in Tagaytay City. for the property covered by TCT No. 3149. All the aforesaid proceeds were
Said Special Power of Attorney, copy of which is attached as ANNEX A of turned over to William Sato who undertook to make the proper accounting
the Affidavit of Wendy Mitsuko Sato, was signed and thumbmark[ed] by my thereof to my mother, Manolita Carungcong Gonzale[s].
mother because William Sato told her that the documents she was being
made to sign involved her taxes. At that time, my mother was completely
blind, having gone blind almost ten (10) years prior to November, 1992.
9. Again, per the statement of Wendy Mitsuko C. Sato, Ruby Lee Tsai paid
P8,000,000.00 for the property covered by Tax Declaration No. GR-016-
0735, and the proceeds thereof were likewise turned over to William Sato.
5. The aforesaid Special Power of Attorney was signed by my mother in the
presence of Wendy, my other niece Belinda Kiku Sato, our maid Mana
Tingzon, and Governor Josephine Ramirez who later became the second
wife of my sisters widower William Sato. 10. The considerations appearing on the deeds of sale were falsified as
Wendy Mitsuko C. Sato has actual knowledge of the true amounts paid by
the buyers, as stated in her Affidavit, since she was the signatory thereto as
the attorney-in-fact of Manolita Carungcong Y Gonzale[s].
6. Wendy Mitsuko Sato attests to the fact that my mother signed the
document in the belief that they were in connection with her taxes, not
knowing, since she was blind, that the same was in fact a Special Power of
Attorney to sell her Tagaytay properties. 11. Wendy was only 20 years old at the time and was not in any position to
oppose or to refuse her fathers orders.
12. After receiving the total considerations for the properties sold under the
power of attorney fraudulently secured from my mother, which total
P22,034,000.00, William Sato failed to account for the same and never That on or about the 24th day of November, 1992, in Quezon City,
delivered the proceeds to Manolita Carungcong Y Gonzale[s] until the latter Philippines, the above-named accused, by means of deceit, did, then and
died on June 8, 1994. there, wil[l]fully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud MANOLITA GONZALES
VDA. DE CARUNGCONG in the following manner, to wit: the said accused
induced said Manolita Gonzales Vda. De Carungcong[,] who was already
then blind and 79 years old[,] to sign and thumbmark a special power of
13. Demands have been made for William Sato to make an accounting and attorney dated November 24, 1992 in favor of Wendy Mitsuko C. Sato,
to deliver the proceeds of the sales to me as Administratrix of my mothers daughter of said accused, making her believe that said document involved
estate, but he refused and failed, and continues to refuse and to fail to do so, only her taxes, accused knowing fully well that said document authorizes
to the damage and prejudice of the estate of the deceased Manolita Wendy Mitsuko C. Sato, then a minor, to sell, assign, transfer or otherwise
Carungcong Y Gonzale[s] and of the heirs which include his six (6) children dispose of to any person or entity of her properties all located at Tagaytay
with my sister Zenaida Carungcong Sato. x x x[3] City, as follows:

Wendy Mitsuko Satos supporting affidavit and the special power of attorney 1. One Thousand Eight Hundred Seven(ty) One (1,871) square meters more
allegedly issued by the deceased Manolita Gonzales vda. de Carungcong in or less and covered by T.C.T. No. 3147;
favor of Wendy were attached to the complaint-affidavit of Mediatrix.

In a resolution dated March 25, 1997, the City Prosecutor of Quezon City 2. Five Hundred Forty (540) square meters more or less and covered by
dismissed the complaint.[4] On appeal, however, the Secretary of Justice T.C.T. No. 3148 with Tax Declaration No. GR-016-0722, Cadastral Lot No.
reversed and set aside the resolution dated March 25, 1997 and directed the 7106;
City Prosecutor of Quezon City to file an Information against Sato for
violation of Article 315, paragraph 3(a) of the Revised Penal Code.[5] Thus,
the following Information was filed against Sato in the Regional Trial Court of
Quezon City, Branch 87:[6] 3. Five Hundred Forty (540) square meters more or less and covered by
T.C.T. No. 3149 with Tax Declaration No. GR-016-0721, Cadastral Lot No.
7104;

INFORMATION

4. Eight Hundred Eighty Eight (888) square meters more or less with Tax
The undersigned accuses WILLIAM SATO of the crime of ESTAFA under Declaration No. GR-016-1735, Cadastral Lot No. 7062;
Article 315[,] par. 3(a) of the Revised Penal Code, committed as follows:
In an order dated April 17, 2006,[8] the trial court granted Satos motion and
ordered the dismissal of the criminal case:
registered in the name of Manolita Gonzales Vda. De Carungcong, and once
in the possession of the said special power of attorney and other pertinent
documents, said accused made Wendy Mitsuko Sato sign the three (3)
Deeds of Absolute Sale covering Transfer Certificate of Title [TCT] No. 3148 The Trial Prosecutors contention is that the death of the wife of the accused
for P250,000.00, [TCT] No. 3149 for P250,000.00 and [Tax Declaration] GR- severed the relationship of affinity between accused and his mother-in-law.
016-0735 for P650,000.00 and once in possession of the proceeds of the Therefore, the mantle of protection provided to the accused by the
sale of the above properties, said accused, misapplied, misappropriated and relationship is no longer obtaining.
converted the same to his own personal use and benefit, to the damage and
prejudice of the heirs of Manolita Gonzales Vda. De Carungcong who died in
1994.
A judicious and thorough examination of Article 332 of the Revised Penal
Code convinces this Court of the correctness of the contention of the
[d]efense. While it is true that the death of Zenaida Carungcong-Sato has
Contrary to law.[7] extinguished the marriage of accused with her, it does not erase the fact that
accused and Zenaidas mother, herein complainant, are still son[-in-law] and
mother-in-law and they remained son[-in-law] and mother-in-law even
beyond the death of Zenaida.

Subsequently, the prosecution moved for the amendment of the Information


so as to increase the amount of damages from P1,150,000, the total amount Article 332(1) of the Revised Penal Code, is very explicit and states no
stated in the deeds of sale, to P22,034,000, the actual amount received by proviso. No criminal, but only civil liability[,] shall result from the commission
Sato. of the crime of theft, swindling or malicious mischief committed or caused
mutually by xxx 1) spouses, ascendants and descendants, or relatives by
affinity in the same line.
Sato moved for the quashal of the Information, claiming that under Article
332 of the Revised Penal Code, his relationship to the person allegedly
defrauded, the deceased Manolita who was his mother-in-law, was an
exempting circumstance. Article 332, according to Aquino, in his Commentaries [to] Revised Penal
Code, preserves family harmony and obviates scandal, hence even in cases
of theft and malicious mischief, where the crime is committed by a stepfather
against his stepson, by a grandson against his grandfather, by a son against
The prosecution disputed Satos motion in an opposition dated March 29, his mother, no criminal liability is incurred by the accused only civil (Vicente
2006. Alavare, 52 Phil. 65; Adame, CA 40 OG 12th Supp. 63; Cristobal, 84 Phil.
473).
We further agree with the submission of the [Office of the Solicitor General
(OSG)] that nothing in the law and/or existing jurisprudence supports the
Such exempting circumstance is applicable herein. argument of petitioner that the fact of death of Zenaida dissolved the
relationship by affinity between Manolita and private respondent Sato, and
thus removed the protective mantle of Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code
from said private respondent; and that notwithstanding the death of Zenaida,
WHEREFORE, finding the Motion to Quash Original Information meritorious, private respondent Sato remains to be the son-in-law of Manolita, and a
the same is GRANTED and, as prayed for, case is hereby DISMISSED. brother-in-law of petitioner administratrix. As further pointed out by the OSG,
the filing of the criminal case for estafa against private respondent Sato
already created havoc among members of the Carungcong and Sato families
as private respondents daughter Wendy Mitsuko Sato joined cause with her
SO ORDERED.[9] (underlining supplied in the original) aunt [Mediatrix] Carungcong y Gonzales, while two (2) other children of
private respondent, William Francis and Belinda Sato, took the side of their
father.

The prosecutions motion for reconsideration[10] was denied in an order There is a dearth of jurisprudence and/or commentaries elaborating on the
dated June 2, 2006.[11] provision of Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code. However, from the plain
language of the law, it is clear that the exemption from criminal liability for the
crime of swindling (estafa) under Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code
applies to private respondent Sato, as son-in-law of Manolita, they being
Dissatisfied with the trial courts rulings, the intestate estate of Manolita, relatives by affinity in the same line under Article 332(1) of the same Code.
represented by Mediatrix, filed a petition for certiorari in the Court of We cannot draw the distinction that following the death of Zenaida in 1991,
Appeals[12] which, however, in a decision[13] dated August 9, 2007, private respondent Sato is no longer the son-in-law of Manolita, so as to
dismissed it. It ruled: exclude the former from the exempting circumstance provided for in Article
332 (1) of the Revised Penal Code.

[W]e sustain the finding of [the trial court] that the death of Zenaida did not
extinguish the relationship by affinity between her husband, private Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos distinguere debemos. Basic is the rule in
respondent Sato, and her mother Manolita, and does not bar the application statutory construction that where the law does not distinguish, the courts
of the exempting circumstance under Article 332(1) of the Revised Penal should not distinguish. There should be no distinction in the application of law
Code in favor of private respondent Sato. where none is indicated. The courts could only distinguish where there are
facts or circumstances showing that the lawgiver intended a distinction or
qualification. In such a case, the courts would merely give effect to the
lawgivers intent. The solemn power and duty of the Court to interpret and
apply the law does not include the power to correct by reading into the law marriage with Sato, it did not dissolve the son-in-law and mother-in-law
what is not written therein. relationship between Sato and Zenaidas mother, Manolita.

Further, it is an established principle of statutory construction that penal laws For his part, the Solicitor General maintains that Sato is covered by the
are strictly construed against the State and liberally in favor of the accused. exemption from criminal liability provided under Article 332. Nothing in the
Any reasonable doubt must be resolved in favor of the accused. In this case, law and jurisprudence supports petitioners claim that Zenaidas death
the plain meaning of Article 332 (1) of the Revised Penal Codes simple dissolved the relationship by affinity between Sato and Manolita. As it is, the
language is most favorable to Sato.[14] criminal case against Sato created havoc among the members of the
Carungcong and Sato families, a situation sought to be particularly avoided
by Article 332s provision exempting a family member committing theft, estafa
or malicious mischief from criminal liability and reducing his/her liability to the
civil aspect only.

The appellate court denied reconsideration.[15] Hence, this petition.

The petition has merit.

Petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals erred in not reversing the
orders of the trial court. It cites the commentary of Justice Luis B. Reyes in
his book on criminal law that the rationale of Article 332 of the Revised Penal The resolution of this case rests on the interpretation of Article 332 of the
Code exempting the persons mentioned therein from criminal liability is that Revised Penal Code. In particular, it calls for the determination of the
the law recognizes the presumed co-ownership of the property between the following: (1) the effect of death on the relationship by affinity created
offender and the offended party. Here, the properties subject of the estafa between a surviving spouse and the blood relatives of the deceased spouse
case were owned by Manolita whose daughter, Zenaida Carungcong-Sato and (2) the extent of the coverage of Article 332.
(Satos wife), died on January 28, 1991. Hence, Zenaida never became a co-
owner because, under the law, her right to the three parcels of land could
have arisen only after her mothers death. Since Zenaida predeceased her
mother, Manolita, no such right came about and the mantle of protection
provided to Sato by the relationship no longer existed.
EFFECT OF DEATH ON RELATIONSHIP

BY AFFINITY AS ABSOLUTORY CAUSE


Sato counters that Article 332 makes no distinction that the relationship may
not be invoked in case of death of the spouse at the time the crime was
allegedly committed. Thus, while the death of Zenaida extinguished her
Article 332 provides for an absolutory cause[16] in the

crimes of theft, estafa (or swindling) and malicious mischief. It limits the In case a marriage is terminated by the death of one of the spouses, there
responsibility of the offender to civil liability and frees him from criminal are conflicting views. There are some who believe that relationship by affinity
liability by virtue of his relationship to the offended party. is not terminated whether there are children or not in the marriage (Carman
vs. Newell, N.Y. 1 [Denio] 25, 26). However, the better view supported by
most judicial authorities in other jurisdictions is that, if the spouses have no
living issues or children and one of the spouses dies, the relationship by
In connection with the relatives mentioned in the first paragraph, it has been affinity is dissolved. It follows the rule that relationship by affinity ceases with
held that included in the exemptions are parents-in-law, stepparents and the dissolution of the marriage which produces it (Kelly v. Neely, 12 Ark. 657,
adopted children.[17] By virtue thereof, no criminal liability is incurred by the 659, 56 Am Dec. 288). On the other hand, the relationship by affinity is
stepfather who commits malicious mischief against his stepson;[18] by the continued despite the death of one of the spouses where there are living
stepmother who commits theft against her stepson;[19] by the stepfather who issues or children of the marriage in whose veins the blood of the parties are
steals something from his stepson;[20] by the grandson who steals from his commingled, since the relationship of affinity was continued through the
grandfather;[21] by the accused who swindles his sister-in-law living with medium of the issue of the marriage (Paddock vs. Wells, 2 Barb. Ch. 331,
him;[22] and by the son who steals a ring from his mother.[23] 333).[25]

Affinity is the relation that one spouse has to the blood relatives of the other
spouse. It is a relationship by marriage or
The first view (the terminated affinity view) holds that relationship by affinity
a familial relation resulting from marriage.[24] It is a fictive kinship, a fiction terminates with the dissolution of the marriage either by death or divorce
created by law in connection with the institution of marriage and family which gave rise to the relationship of affinity between the parties.[26] Under
relations. this view, the relationship by affinity is simply coextensive and coexistent with
the marriage that produced it. Its duration is indispensably and necessarily
determined by the marriage that created it. Thus, it exists only for so long as
If marriage gives rise to ones relationship by affinity to the blood relatives of the marriage subsists, such that the death of a spouse ipso facto ends the
ones spouse, does the extinguishment of marriage by the death of the relationship by affinity of the surviving spouse to the deceased spouses
spouse dissolve the relationship by affinity? blood relatives.

Philippine jurisprudence has no previous encounter with the issue that The first view admits of an exception. The relationship by affinity continues
confronts us in this case. That is why the trial and appellate courts even after the death of one spouse when there is a surviving issue.[27] The
acknowledged the dearth of jurisprudence and/or commentaries on the rationale is that the relationship is preserved because of the living issue of
matter. In contrast, in the American legal system, there are two views on the the marriage in whose veins the blood of both parties is commingled.[28]
subject. As one Filipino author observed:
The second view (the continuing affinity view) maintains that relationship by Third, the Constitution declares that the protection and strengthening of the
affinity between the surviving spouse and the kindred of the deceased family as a basic autonomous social institution are policies of the State and
spouse continues even after the death of the deceased spouse, regardless of that it is the duty of the State to strengthen the solidarity of the family.[33]
whether the marriage produced children or not.[29] Under this view, the Congress has also affirmed as a State and national policy that courts shall
relationship by affinity endures even after the dissolution of the marriage that preserve the solidarity of the family.[34] In this connection, the spirit of Article
produced it as a result of the death of one of the parties to the said marriage. 332 is to preserve family harmony and obviate scandal.[35] The view that
This view considers that, where statutes have indicated an intent to benefit relationship by affinity is not affected by the death of one of the parties to the
step-relatives or in-laws, the tie of affinity between these people and their marriage that created it is more in accord with family solidarity and harmony.
relatives-by-marriage is not to be regarded as terminated upon the death of
one of the married parties.[30]

Fourth, the fundamental principle in applying and in interpreting criminal laws


is to resolve all doubts in favor of the accused. In dubio pro reo. When in
After due consideration and evaluation of the relative merits of the two views, doubt, rule for the accused.[36] This is in consonance with the constitutional
we hold that the second view is more consistent with the language and spirit guarantee that the accused shall be presumed innocent unless and until his
of Article 332(1) of the Revised Penal Code. guilt is established beyond reasonable doubt.[37]

First, the terminated affinity view is generally applied in cases of jury Intimately related to the in dubio pro reo principle is the rule of lenity.[38] The
disqualification and incest.[31] On the other hand, the continuing affinity view rule applies when the court is faced with two possible interpretations of a
has been applied in the interpretation of laws that intend to benefit step- penal statute, one that is prejudicial to the accused and another that is
relatives or in-laws. Since the purpose of the absolutory cause in Article favorable to him. The rule calls for the adoption of an interpretation which is
332(1) is meant to be beneficial to relatives by affinity within the degree more lenient to the accused.
covered under the said provision, the continuing affinity view is more
appropriate.

Lenity becomes all the more appropriate when this case is viewed through
the lens of the basic purpose of Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code to
Second, the language of Article 332(1) which speaks of relatives by affinity in preserve family harmony by providing an absolutory cause. Since the goal of
the same line is couched in general language. The legislative intent to make Article 332(1) is to benefit the accused, the Court should adopt an application
no distinction between the spouse of ones living child and the surviving or interpretation that is more favorable to the accused. In this case, that
spouse of ones deceased child (in case of a son-in-law or daughter-in-law interpretation is the continuing affinity view.
with respect to his or her parents-in-law)[32] can be drawn from Article
332(1) of the Revised Penal Code without doing violence to its language.
Thus, for purposes of Article 332(1) of the Revised Penal Code, we hold that not by the designation of the offense.[40] What controls is not the title of the
the relationship by affinity created between the surviving spouse and the Information or the designation of the offense but the actual facts recited in
blood relatives of the deceased spouse survives the death of either party to the Information.[41] In other words, it is the recital of facts of the commission
the marriage which created the affinity. (The same principle applies to the of the offense, not the nomenclature of the offense, that determines the crime
justifying circumstance of defense of ones relatives under Article 11[2] of the being charged in the Information.[42] It is the exclusive province of the court
Revised Penal Code, the mitigating circumstance of immediate vindication of to say what the crime is or what it is named.[43] The determination by the
grave offense committed against ones relatives under Article 13[5] of the prosecutor who signs the Information of the crime committed is merely an
same Code and the absolutory cause of relationship in favor of accessories opinion which is not binding on the court.[44]
under Article 20 also of the same Code.)

A reading of the facts alleged in the Information reveals that Sato is being
SCOPE OF ARTICLE 332 OF charged not with simple estafa but with the complex crime of estafa through
falsification of public documents. In particular, the Information states that
THE REVISED PENAL CODE Sato, by means of deceit, intentionally defrauded Manolita committed as
follows:

The absolutory cause under Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code only
applies to the felonies of theft, swindling and malicious mischief. Under the (a) Sato presented a document to Manolita (who was already blind at that
said provision, the State condones the criminal responsibility of the offender time) and induced her to sign and thumbmark the same;
in cases of theft, swindling and malicious mischief. As an act of grace, the
State waives its right to prosecute the offender for the said crimes but leaves (b) he made Manolita believe that the said document was in connection with
the private offended party with the option to hold the offender civilly liable. her taxes when it was in fact a special power of attorney (SPA) authorizing
his minor daughter Wendy to sell, assign, transfer or otherwise dispose of
Manolitas properties in Tagaytay City;

However, the coverage of Article 332 is strictly limited to the felonies (c) relying on Satos inducement and representation, Manolita signed and
mentioned therein. The plain, categorical and unmistakable language of the thumbmarked the SPA in favor of Wendy Mitsuko Sato, daughter of Sato;
provision shows that it applies exclusively to the simple crimes of theft,
swindling and malicious mischief. It does not apply where any of the crimes (d) using the document, he sold the properties to third parties but he neither
mentioned under Article 332 is complexed with another crime, such as theft delivered the proceeds to Manolita nor accounted for the same and
through falsification or estafa through falsification.[39]
(d) despite repeated demands, he failed and refused to deliver the proceeds,
to the damage and prejudice of the estate of Manolita.

The Information against Sato charges him with estafa. However, the real
nature of the offense is determined by the facts alleged in the Information,
The above averments in the Information show that the estafa was committed
by attributing to Manolita (who participated in the execution of the document)
statements other than those in fact made by her. Manolitas acts of signing
the SPA and affixing her thumbmark to that document were the very
expression of her specific intention that something be done about her taxes.
Her signature and thumbmark were the affirmation of her statement on such raise the presumption that Sato, as the possessor of the falsified document
intention as she only signed and thumbmarked the SPA (a document which and the one who benefited therefrom, was the author thereof.
she could not have read) because of Satos representation that the document
pertained to her taxes. In signing and thumbmarking the document, Manolita
showed that she believed and adopted the representations of Sato as to
what the document was all about, i.e., that it involved her taxes. Her Furthermore, it should be noted that the prosecution moved for the
signature and thumbmark, therefore, served as her conformity to Satos amendment of the Information so as to increase the amount of damages
proposal that she execute a document to settle her taxes. from P1,150,000 to P22,034,000. This was granted by the trial court and was
affirmed by the Court of Appeals on certiorari. This meant that the amended
Information would now state that, while the total amount of consideration
stated in the deeds of absolute sale was only P1,150,000, Sato actually
Thus, by inducing Manolita to sign the SPA, Sato made it appear that received the total amount of P22,034,000 as proceeds of the sale of
Manolita granted his daughter Wendy a special power of attorney for the Manolitas properties.[45] This also meant that the deeds of sale (which were
purpose of selling, assigning, transferring or otherwise disposing of Manolitas public documents) were also falsified by making untruthful statements as to
Tagaytay properties when the fact was that Manolita signed and the amounts of consideration stated in the deeds.
thumbmarked the document presented by Sato in the belief that it pertained
to her taxes. Indeed, the document itself, the SPA, and everything that it
contained were falsely attributed to Manolita when she was made to sign the
SPA. Therefore, the allegations in the Information essentially charged a crime that
was not simple estafa. Sato resorted to falsification of public documents
(particularly, the special power of attorney and the deeds of sale) as a
necessary means to commit the estafa.
Moreover, the allegations in the Information that

(1) once in the possession of the said special power of attorney and other
pertinent documents, [Sato] made Wendy Mitsuko Sato sign the three (3) Since the crime with which respondent was charged was not simple estafa
Deeds of Absolute Sale and but the complex crime of estafa through falsification of public documents,
Sato cannot avail himself of the absolutory cause provided under Article 332
of the Revised Penal Code in his favor.

(2) once in possession of the proceeds of the sale of the above properties,
said accused, misapplied, misappropriated and converted the same to his
own personal use and benefit
falsification of public documents, simply because the accused may not be
held criminally liable for simple estafa by virtue of the absolutory cause under
Article 332.

The absolutory cause under Article 332 is meant to address specific crimes
EFFECT OF ABSOLUTORY CAUSE UNDER against property, namely, the simple crimes of theft, swindling and malicious
mischief. Thus, all other crimes, whether simple or complex, are not affected
ARTICLE 332 ON CRIMINAL LIABILITY by the absolutory cause provided by the said provision. To apply the
absolutory cause under Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code to one of the
FOR THE COMPLEX CRIME OF ESTAFA component crimes of a complex crime for the purpose of negating the
existence of that complex crime is to unduly expand the scope of Article 332.
THROUGH FALSIFICATION OF PUBLIC In other words, to apply Article 332 to the complex crime of estafa through
falsification of public document would be to mistakenly treat the crime of
DOCUMENTS estafa as a separate simple crime, not as the component crime that it is in
that situation. It would wrongly consider the indictment as separate charges
of estafa and falsification of public document, not as a single charge for the
single (complex) crime of estafa through falsification of public document.
The question may be asked: if the accused may not be held criminally liable
for simple estafa by virtue of the absolutory cause under Article 332 of the
Revised Penal Code, should he not be absolved also from criminal liability for
the complex crime of estafa through falsification of public documents? No. Under Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code, the State waives its right to
hold the offender criminally liable for the simple crimes of theft, swindling and
malicious mischief and considers the violation of the juridical right to property
committed by the offender against certain family members as a private
True, the concurrence of all the elements of the two crimes of estafa and matter and therefore subject only to civil liability. The waiver does not apply
falsification of public document is required for a proper conviction for the when the violation of the right to property is achieved through (and therefore
complex crime of estafa through falsification of public document. That is the inseparably intertwined with) a breach of the public interest in the integrity
ruling in Gonzaludo v. People.[46] It means that the prosecution must and presumed authenticity of public documents. For, in the latter instance,
establish that the accused resorted to the falsification of a public document what is involved is no longer simply the property right of a family relation but
as a necessary means to commit the crime of estafa. a paramount public interest.

However, a proper appreciation of the scope and application of Article 332 of The purpose of Article 332 is to preserve family harmony and obviate
the Revised Penal Code and of the nature of a complex crime would negate scandal.[47] Thus, the action provided under the said provision simply
exemption from criminal liability for the complex crime of estafa through concerns the private relations of the parties as family members and is limited
to the civil aspect between the offender and the offended party. When estafa plurality of crimes where different criminal intents result in two or more
is committed through falsification of a public document, however, the matter crimes, for each of which the accused incurs criminal liability.[52] The latter
acquires a very serious public dimension and goes beyond the respective category is covered neither by the concept of complex crimes nor by Article
rights and liabilities of family members among themselves. Effectively, when 48.
the offender resorts to an act that breaches public interest in the integrity of
public documents as a means to violate the property rights of a family
member, he is removed from the protective mantle of the absolutory cause
under Article 332.

In considering whether the accused is liable for the complex crime of estafa Under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code, the formal plurality of crimes
through falsification of public documents, it would be wrong to consider the (concursus delictuorum or concurso de delitos) gives rise to a single criminal
component crimes separately from each other. While there may be two liability and requires the imposition of a single penalty:
component crimes (estafa and falsification of documents), both felonies are
animated by and result from one and the same criminal intent for which there
is only one criminal liability.[48] That is the concept of a complex crime. In
other words, while there are two crimes, they are treated only as one, subject Although [a] complex crime quantitatively consists of two or more crimes, it is
to a single criminal liability. only one crime in law on which a single penalty is imposed and the two or
more crimes constituting the same are more conveniently termed as
component crimes.[53] (emphasis supplied)

As opposed to a simple crime where only one juridical right or interest is


violated (e.g., homicide which violates the right to life, theft which violates the
right to property),[49] a complex crime constitutes a violation of diverse ∞∞∞
juridical rights or interests by means of diverse acts, each of which is a
simple crime in itself.[50] Since only a single criminal intent underlies the
diverse acts, however, the component crimes are considered as elements of
a single crime, the complex crime. This is the correct interpretation of a In [a] complex crime, although two or more crimes are actually committed,
complex crime as treated under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code. they constitute only one crime in the eyes of the law as well as in the
conscience of the offender. The offender has only one criminal intent. Even
in the case where an offense is a necessary means for committing the other,
the evil intent of the offender is only one.[54]
In the case of a complex crime, therefore, there is a formal (or ideal) plurality
of crimes where the same criminal intent results in two or more component
crimes constituting a complex crime for which there is only one criminal
liability.[51] (The complex crime of estafa through falsification of public
document falls under this category.) This is different from a material (or real)
For this reason, while a conviction for estafa through falsification of public
document requires that the elements of both estafa and falsification exist, it (2) deceit was employed to make the offended party sign the document;
does not mean that the criminal liability for estafa may be determined and
considered independently of that for falsification. The two crimes of estafa
and falsification of public documents are not separate crimes but component
crimes of the single complex crime of estafa and falsification of public (3) the offended party personally signed the document and
documents.

(4) prejudice is caused to the offended party.


Therefore, it would be incorrect to claim that, to be criminally liable for the
complex crime of estafa through falsification of public document, the liability
for estafa should be considered separately from the liability for falsification of
public document. Such approach would disregard the nature of a complex
crime and contradict the letter and spirit of Article 48 of the Revised Penal
Code. It would wrongly disregard the distinction between formal plurality and While in estafa under Article 315(a) of the Revised Penal Code, the law does
material plurality, as it improperly treats the plurality of crimes in the complex not require that the document be falsified for the consummation thereof, it
crime of estafa through falsification of public document as a mere material does not mean that the falsification of the document cannot be considered as
plurality where the felonies are considered as separate crimes to be a necessary means to commit the estafa under that provision.
punished individually.

The phrase necessary means does not connote indispensable means for if it
FALSIFICATION OF PUBLIC DOCUMENTS MAY BE A NECESSARY did, then the offense as a necessary means to commit another would be an
MEANS FOR COMMITTING ESTAFA EVEN UNDER ARTICLE 315 (3[A]) indispensable element of the latter and would be an ingredient thereof.[55] In
People v. Salvilla,[56] the phrase necessary means merely signifies that one
crime is committed to facilitate and insure the commission of the other.[57] In
this case, the crime of falsification of public document, the SPA, was such a
necessary means as it was resorted to by Sato to facilitate and carry out
more effectively his evil design to swindle his mother-in-law. In particular, he
The elements of the offense of estafa punished under Article 315 (3[a]) of the used the SPA to sell the Tagaytay properties of Manolita to unsuspecting
Revised Penal Code are as follows: third persons.

(1) the offender induced the offended party to sign a document; When the offender commits in a public document any of the acts of
falsification enumerated in Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code as a
necessary means to commit another crime, like estafa, theft or malversation,
the two crimes form a complex crime under Article 48 of the same Code.[58] her signature was an SPA), the crime would have only been the simple crime
The falsification of a public, official or commercial document may be a means of falsification.[64]
of committing estafa because, before the falsified document is actually
utilized to defraud another, the crime of falsification has already been
consummated, damage or intent to cause damage not being an element of
the crime of falsification of a public, official or commercial document.[59] In WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The decision dated August
other words, the crime of falsification was committed prior to the 9, 2007 and the resolution dated January 23, 2008 of the Court of Appeals in
consummation of the crime of estafa.[60] Actually utilizing the falsified public, CA-G.R. S.P. No. 95260 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The case is
official or commercial document to defraud another is estafa.[61] The remanded to the trial court which is directed to try the accused with dispatch
damage to another is caused by the commission of estafa, not by the for the complex crime of estafa through falsification of public documents.
falsification of the document.[62]

SO ORDERED.
Applying the above principles to this case, the allegations in the Information
show that the falsification of public document was consummated when Sato
presented a ready-made SPA to Manolita who signed the same as a
statement of her intention in connection with her taxes. While the falsification RENATO C. CORONA
was consummated upon the execution of the SPA, the consummation of the Associate Justice
estafa occurred only when Sato later utilized the SPA. He did so particularly
when he had the properties sold and thereafter pocketed the proceeds of the Chairperson
sale. Damage or prejudice to Manolita was caused not by the falsification of
the SPA (as no damage was yet caused to the property rights of Manolita at FIRST DIVISION
the time she was made to sign the document) but by the subsequent use of
the said document. That is why the falsification of the public document was
used to facilitate and ensure (that is, as a necessary means for) the
commission of the estafa.
JULIUS AMANQUITON, G.R. No. 186080

Petitioner,
The situation would have been different if Sato, using the same inducement,
had made Manolita sign a deed of sale of the properties either in his favor or Present:
in favor of third parties. In that case, the damage would have been caused
by, and at exactly the same time as, the execution of the document, not prior
thereto. Therefore, the crime committed would only have been the simple
crime of estafa.[63] On the other hand, absent any inducement (such as if PUNO, C.J., Chairperson,
Manolita herself had been the one who asked that a document pertaining to
her taxes be prepared for her signature, but what was presented to her for CARPIO,
Thereafter, they saw complainant Leoselie John Baaga being chased by a
- v e r s u s - CORONA, certain Gil Gepulane. Upon learning that Baaga was the one who threw the
pillbox[2] that caused the explosion, petitioner and his companions also went
DE CASTRO and after him.
BERSAMIN, JJ.

On reaching Baagas house, petitioner, Cabisudo and Amante knocked on


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, the door. When no one answered, they decided to hide some distance away.
After five minutes, Baaga came out of the house. At this juncture, petitioner
Respondent. Promulgated: and his companions immediately apprehended him. Baaga's aunt, Marilyn
Alimpuyo, followed them to the barangay hall.

August 14, 2009


Baaga was later brought to the police station. On the way to the police
station, Gepulane suddenly appeared from nowhere and boxed Baaga in the
face. This caused petitioner to order Gepulanes apprehension along with
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x Baaga. An incident report was made.[3]

DECISION During the investigation, petitioner learned Baaga had been previously
mauled by a group made up of a certain Raul, Boyet and Cris but failed to
CORONA, J.: identify two others. The mauling was the result of gang trouble in a certain
residental compound in Taguig City. Baagas mauling was recorded in a
barangay blotter which read:

Petitioner Julius Amanquiton was a purok leader of Barangay Western


Bicutan, Taguig, Metro Manila. As a purok leader and barangay tanod, he
was responsible for the maintenance of cleanliness, peace and order of the 10-30-201
community.
Time: 10-15 p.m.

RECORD purposes
At 10:45 p.m. on October 30, 2001, petitioner heard an explosion. He,
together with two auxiliary tanod, Dominador Amante[1] and a certain
Cabisudo, proceeded to Sambong Street where the explosion took place.
Dumating dito sa Barangay Head Quarters si Dossen[4] Baaga is Alimpuyo That on the 30th day of October, 2001, in the Municipality of Taguig, Metro
16 years old student nakatira sa 10 B Kalachuchi St. M.B.T. M.M. Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
above-named accused in conspiracy with one another, armed with nightstick,
did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and use
personal violence, a form of physical abuse, upon the person of Leoselie
Upang ireklamo yong sumapak sa akin sina Raul[,] Boyet [at] Cris at yong John A. [Baaga], seventeen (17) years old, a minor, by then and there
dalawang sumapak ay hindi ko kilala. Nang yari ito kaninang 10:p.m. araw ng manhandling him and hitting him with their nightsticks, thus, constituting
[M]artes taong kasalukuyan at yong labi ko pumutok at yong kabilang mata other acts of child abuse, which is inimical or prejudicial to childs
ko ay namaga sa bandang kanan. Ang iyong kaliwang mukha at pati yong development, in violation of the above-mentioned law.
likod ko ay may tama sa sapak.

CONTRARY TO LAW.
Patunay dito ang aking lagda.

On arraignment, petitioner and Amante both pleaded not guilty. Gepulane


remains at-large.

Dossen Banaga (sgd.)

During the trial, the prosecution presented the following witnesses: Dr.
Paulito Cruz, medico-legal officer of the Taguig-Pateros District Hospital who
attended to Baaga on October 30, 2001, Baaga himself, Alimpuyo and
Thereafter, an Information for violation of Section 10 (a), Article VI, RA[5] Rachelle Baaga (complainants mother).
7160[6] in relation to Section 5 (j) of R.A. 8369 was filed against petitioner,
Amante and Gepulane. The Information read:

The defense presented the testimonies of petitioner, Amante and Briccio


Cuyos, then deputy chief barangay tanod of the same barangay. Cuyos
The undersigned 2nd Assistant Provincial Prosecutor accuses Julius testified that the blotter notation entered by Gepulane and Baaga was signed
Amanquiton, Dominador Amante and Gil Gepulane of the crime of Violations in his presence and that they read the contents thereof before affixing their
of Section 10 (a) Article VI, Republic Act No. 7610 in relation to Section 5 (j) signatures.
of R.A. No. 8369 committed as follows:
On May 10, 2005, the RTC found petitioner and Amante guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime charged.[7] The dispositive portion of the RTC
decision read: Amanquitons motion for reconsideration was denied.[8]

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, this Court finds the accused JULIUS Petitioner filed a notice of appeal which was given due course. On August
AMANQUITON and DOMINADOR AMANTE GUILTY beyond reasonable 28, 2008, the CA rendered a decision[9] which affirmed the conviction but
doubt for violation of Article VI Sec. 10 (a) of Republic Act 7610 in relation to increased the penalty. The dispositive portion of the assailed CA decision
Section 3 (j) of Republic Act 8369, hereby sentences accused JULIUS read:
AMANQUITON and DOMINADOR AMANTE a straight penalty of thirty (30)
days of Arresto Menor.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing the Decision appealed from is


AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. The accused-appellant is sentenced to
Both accused Julius Amanquiton and Dominador Amante are hereby suffer the penalty of four (4) years, two (2) months and one (1) day of prision
directed to pay Leoselie John A. Banaga the following: correccional maximum up to eight (8) years of prision mayor minimum as
maximum. In addition to the damages already awarded, a fine of thirty
thousand pesos (P30,000.00) is hereby solidarily imposed the proceeds of
which shall be administered as a cash fund by the DSWD.
1. Actual damages in the amount of P5,000.00;

2. Moral Damages in the amount of P 30,000.00; and


IT IS SO ORDERED.
3. Exemplary damages in the amount of P 20,000.00.

The case against the accused Gil Gepulane is hereby sent to the ARCHIVES
to be revived upon the arrest of the accused. Let [a] warrant of arrest be Petitioners motion for reconsideration was denied.[10]
issued against him.

Hence, this petition. Petitioner principally argues that the facts of the case as
SO ORDERED. established did not constitute a violation of Section 10 (a), Article VI of RA
7160 and definitely did not prove the guilt of petitioner beyond reasonable
doubt.
We note Baagas statement that, when he was apprehended by petitioner
and Amante, there were many people around.[15] Yet, the prosecution
The Constitution itself provides that in all criminal prosecutions, the accused presented only Baaga and his aunt, Alimpuyo, as witnesses to the mauling
shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved.[11] An accused is incident itself. Where were the other people who could have testified, in an
entitled to an acquittal unless his guilt is shown beyond reasonable unbiased manner, on the alleged mauling of Baaga by petitioner and
doubt.[12] It is the primordial duty of the prosecution to present its side with Amante, as supposedly witnessed by Alimpuyo?[16] The testimonies of the
clarity and persuasion, so that conviction becomes the only logical and two other prosecution witnesses, Dr. Paulito Cruz and Rachelle Baaga, did
inevitable conclusion, with moral certainty.[13] not fortify Baagas claim that petitioner mauled him, for the following reasons:
Dr. Cruz merely attended to Baagas injuries, while Rachelle testified that she
saw Baaga only after the injuries have been inflicted on him.

The necessity for proof beyond reasonable doubt was discussed in People v.
Berroya:[14]
We note furthermore that, Baaga failed to controvert the validity of the
barangay blotter he signed regarding the mauling incident which happened
[Proof beyond reasonable doubt] lies in the fact that in a criminal prosecution, prior to his apprehension by petitioner. Neither did he ever deny the
the State is arrayed against the subject; it enters the contest with a prior allegation that he figured in a prior battery by gang members.
inculpatory finding in its hands; with unlimited means of command; with
counsel usually of authority and capacity, who are regarded as public
officers, as therefore as speaking semi-judicially, and with an attitude of
tranquil majesty often in striking contrast to that of defendant engaged in a All this raises serious doubt on whether Baagas injuries were really inflicted
perturbed and distracting struggle for liberty if not for life. These inequalities by petitioner, et al., to the exclusion of other people. In fact, petitioner
of position, the law strives to meet by the rule that there is to be no conviction testified clearly that Gepulane, who had been harboring a grudge against
where there is reasonable doubt of guilt. However, proof beyond reasonable Baaga, came out of nowhere and punched Baaga while the latter was being
doubt requires only moral certainty or that degree of proof which produces brought to the police station. Gepulane, not petitioner, could very well have
conviction in an unprejudiced mind. caused Baaga's injuries.

Alimpuyo admitted that she did not see who actually caused the bloodied
The RTC and CA hinged their finding of petitioners guilt beyond reasonable condition of Baagas face because she had to first put down the baby she
doubt (of the crime of child abuse) solely on the supposed positive was then carrying when the melee started.[17] More importantly, Alimpuyo
identification by the complainant and his witness (Alimpuyo) of petitioner and stated that she was told by Baaga that, while he was allegedly being held by
his co-accused as the perpetrators of the crime. the neck by petitioner, others were hitting him. Alimpuyo was obviously
testifying not on what she personally saw but on what Baaga told her.
While we ordinarily do not interfere with the findings of the lower courts on However, this noble statute should not be used as a sharp sword, ready to
the trustworthiness of witnesses, when there appear in the records facts and be brandished against an accused even if there is a patent lack of proof to
circumstances of real weight which might have been overlooked or convict him of the crime. The right of an accused to liberty is as important as
misapprehended, this Court cannot shirk from its duty to sift fact from fiction. a minors right not to be subjected to any form of abuse. Both are enshrined
in the Constitution. One need not be sacrificed for the other.

We apply the pro reo principle and the equipoise rule in this case. Where the There is no dearth of law, rules and regulations protecting a child from any
evidence on an issue of fact is in question or there is doubt on which side the and all forms of abuse. While unfortunately, incidents of maltreatment of
evidence weighs, the doubt should be resolved in favor of the accused.[18] If children abound amidst social ills, care has to be likewise taken that wayward
inculpatory facts and circumstances are capable of two or more explanations, youths should not be cuddled by a misapplication of the law. Society, through
one consistent with the innocence of the accused and the other consistent its laws, should correct the deviant conduct of the youth rather than take the
with his guilt, then the evidence does not fulfill the test of moral certainty and cudgels for them. Lest we regress to a culture of juvenile delinquency and
will not justify a conviction.[19] errant behavior, laws for the protection of children against abuse should be
applied only and strictly to actual abusers.

Time and again, we have held that:

The objective of this seemingly catch-all provision on abuses against children


Republic Act No. 7610 is a measure geared towards the implementation of a will be best achieved if parameters are set in the law itself, if only to prevent
national comprehensive program for the survival of the most vulnerable baseless accusations against innocent individuals. Perhaps the time has
members of the population, the Filipino children, in keeping with the come for Congress to review this matter and institute the safeguards
Constitutional mandate under Article XV, Section 3, paragraph 2, that The necessary for the attainment of its laudable ends.
State shall defend the right of the children to assistance, including proper
care and nutrition, and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse,
cruelty, exploitation, and other conditions prejudicial to their development.
This piece of legislation supplies the inadequacies of existing laws treating We reiterate our ruling in People v. Mamalias:[21]
crimes committed against children, namely, the Revised Penal Code and
Presidential Decree No. 603 or the Child and Youth Welfare Code. As a
statute that provides for a mechanism for strong deterrence against the We emphasize that the great goal of our criminal law and procedure is not to
commission of child abuse and exploitation, the law has stiffer penalties for send people to the gaol but to do justice. The prosecutions job is to prove
their commission, and a means by which child traffickers could easily be that the accused is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Conviction must be
prosecuted and penalized. Also, the definition of child abuse is expanded to based on the strength of the prosecution and not on the weakness of the
encompass not only those specific acts of child abuse under existing laws defense. Thus, when the evidence of the prosecution is not enough to
but includes also other acts of neglect, abuse, cruelty or exploitation and sustain a conviction, it must be rejected and the accused absolved and
other conditions prejudicial to the childs development.[20] released at once.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The August 28, 2008
decision and January 15, 2009 resolution of Court of Appeals are Wilfred D. Asis for defendant-appellant.
REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner Julius Amanquiton is hereby
ACQUITTED of violation of Section 10 (a), Article VI of RA 7160.
GRIÑO-AQUINO, J.:

The accused-appellant Vicente Temblor alias "Ronald" was charged with the
crime of murder in Criminal Case No. 1809 of the Court of First Instance
SO ORDERED. (now Regional Trial Court) of Agusan del Norte and Butuan City for shooting
to death Julius Cagampang. The information alleged:

That on or about the evening of December 30, 1980 at Talo-ao, Buenavista,


Agusan del Norte, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
RENATO C. CORONA Court, the said accused conspiring, and confederating with one another with
Associate Justice Anecito Ellevera who is at large, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and
feloniously, with treachery and with intent to kill, attack, assault and shoot
with firearms one Julius Cagampang, hitting the latter on the vital parts of the
body thereby inflicting mortal wounds, causing the direct and instantaneous
WE CONCUR: death of the said Julius Cagampang.

CONTRARY TO LAW: Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code.

Upon arraignment on June 8, 1982, he entered a plea of not guilty. After trial,
he was convicted and sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua,
with the accessory penalties thereof under Articles 41 and 42 of the Revised
Penal Code, and to indemnify the heirs of the victim in the amount of
REYNATO S. PUNO P12,000 without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. He
Chief Justice appealed.

Chairperson The evidence of the prosecution showed that at about 7:30 in the evening of
December 30, 1980, while Cagampang, his wife and their two children, were
G.R. No. L-66884 May 28, 1988 conversing in the store adjacent to their house in Barangay Talo-ao,
Buenavista, Province of Agusan del Norte, the accused Vicente Temblor
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, alias Ronald, arrived and asked to buy a half-pack of Hope cigarettes. While
vs. Cagampang was opening a pack of cigarettes, there was a sudden burst of
VICENTE TEMBLOR alias "RONALD," defendant-appellant. gunfire and Cagampang instantly fell on the floor, wounded and bleeding on
the head. His wife Victorina, upon seeing that her husband had been shot,
shouted her husband's name "Jul" Two persons, one of whom she later evening of December 30, 1980. He heard the gunshots coming from inside
Identified as the accused, barged into the interior of the store through the the store, and saw the people scampering away.
main door and demanded that she brings out her husband's firearm. "Igawas
mo ang iyang armas!" ("You let out his firearm!") they shouted. The accused Dr. Alfredo Salonga who issued the post-mortem examination report certified
fired two more shots at the fallen victim. Terrified, Victorina hurried to get the that the victim sustained three (3) gunshot wounds.
"maleta" (suitcase) where her husband's firearm was hidden. She gave the
suitcase to the accused who, after inspecting its contents, took her Rebutting the accused's alibi, the prosecution presented a Certification of the
husband's .38 caliber revolver, and fled. Nasipit Lumber Company's Personnel Officer, Jose F. Tinga (Exh. D), and
the NALCO Daily Time Record of Silverio Perol (Exh. D), showing that Perol
In 1981, some months after the incident, Victorina was summoned to the was not at home drinking with the accused and his father, but was at work on
Buenavista police station by the Station Commander Milan, where she saw December 30, 1980 from 10:50 o'clock in the evening up to 7:00 o'clock in
and Identified the accused as the man who killed her husband. the morning of December 31, 1980. The accused did not bother to overcome
this piece of rebuttal evidence.
The accused's defense was an alibi. He alleged that from 4:00 o'clock in the
afternoon of December 30, 1980, he and his father had been in the house of In this appeal, the appellant alleges that the court a quo erred:
Silverio Perol in Barangay Camagong, Nasipit, Agusan del Norte, where they
spent the night drinking over a slaughtered dog as "pulutan," until 8:00 1. in finding that he was positively identified by the prosecution witness
o'clock in the morning of the following day, December 31, 1980. as the killer of the deceased Julius Cagampang; and

The accused and his companion, admittedly members of the dreaded NPA 2. in rejecting his defense of allbi.
(New People's Army) were not apprehended earlier because they hid in the
mountains of Malapong with other members- followers of the New People's The appeal deserves no merit. Was the accused positively Identified as the
Army. Temblor surrendered to Mayor Dick Carmona of Nasipit during the killer of Cagampang? The settled rule is that the trial court's assessment of
mass surrender of dissidents in August, 1981. He was arrested by the the credibility of witnesses while testifying is generally binding on the
Buenavista Police at the Buenavista public market on November 26, 1981 appellate court because of its superior advantage in observing their conduct
and detained at the Buenavista municipal jail. and demeanor and its findings, when supported by convincingly credible
evidence as in the case at bar, shall not be disturbed on appeal (People vs.
The accused capitalized the fact that the victim's widow, Victorina, did not Dava, 149 SCRA, 582).<äre||anº•1àw>
know him by name. That circumstance allegedly renders the Identification of
the accused, as the perpetrator of her husband's killing, insufficient. The minor inconsistencies in the testimony of the eyewitness Victorina Vda.
However, during the trial, the accused was positively identified by the widow de Cagampang did not diminish her credibility, especially because she had
who recognized him because she was less than a meter away from him positively Identified the accused as her husband's assailant, and her
inside the store which was well lighted inside by a 40-watt flourescent lamp testimony is corroborated by the other witnesses. Her testimony is credible,
and by an incandescent lamp outside. Her testimony was corroborated by probable and entirely in accord with human experience.
another prosecution witness — a tricycle driver, Claudio Sabanal — who was
a long-time acquaintance of the accused and who knew him as "Ronald." He Appellant's self-serving and uncorroborated alibi cannot prevail over the
saw the accused in the store of Cagampang at about 7:30 o'clock in the positive Identification made by the prosecution witnesses who had no base
motives to falsely accuse him of the crime. Furthermore, the rule is that in
order for an alibi to be acceptable as a defense, it is not enough that the
appellant was somewhere else when the crime was committed; it must be SARMIENTO, J.:
demonstrated beyond doubt that it was physically impossible for him to be at
the scene of the crime. Here it was admitted that Perol's house in barrio This is a pauper's appeal of the decision 1 of the Regional Trial Court of
Camagong, Nasipit is accessible to barrio Talo-ao in Buenavista by jeep or Zamboanga City, Ninth Judicial Region Branch XIII, dated January 25, 1984,
tricycle via a well-paved road in a matter of 15 to 20 minutes. The testimony which "finds the accused USMAN HASSAN y AYUN guilty beyond
of the witnesses who had positively Identified him could not be overcome by reasonable doubt as principal of the Crime of MURDER, and there being
the defendant's alibi. (People vs. Mercado, 97 SCRA 232; People vs. neither aggravating nor mitigating circumstance attending the commission of
Venancio Ramilo, 146 SCRA 258.) the crime, and pursuant to Paragraph No. 1 of Article 64 of the Revised
Penal Code, hereby imposes upon the said accused the penalty of
Appellant's alleged lack of motive for killing Cagampang was rejected by the RECLUSION PERPETUA and all its accessory penalties; to indemnify the
trial court which opined that the defendant's knowledge that Cagampang heirs of the deceased victim Ramon Pichel, Jr. y Uro the amount of
possessed a firearm was motive enough to kill him as killings perpetrated by P12,000.00 and to pay the costs." 2
members of the New People's Army for the sole purpose of acquiring more
arms and ammunition for their group are prevalent not only in Agusan del Usman Hassan was accused of murder for stabbing to death Ramon Pichel,
Norte but elsewhere in the country. It is known as the NPA's "agaw armas" Jr. y Uro, 24, single, and a resident of Zamboanga City. 3 At the time of his
campaign. Moreover, proof of motive is not essential when the culprit has death on July 23,1981, the deceased was employed as manager of the sand
been positively Identified (People vs. Tan, Jr., 145 SCRA 615). and gravel business of his father. On the other hand, Hassan was an
illiterate, 15-year-old pushcart cargador. 4
The records further show that the accused and his companion fled after
killing Cagampang and taking his firearm. They hid in the mountains of The quality of justice and the majesty of the law shine ever brightest when
Agusan del Norte. Their flight was an implied admission of guilt (People vs. they are applied with more jealousy to the poor, the marginalized, and the
Dante Astor, 149 SCRA 325; People vs. Realon, 99 SCRA 422). disadvantaged. Usman Hassan, the herein accused-appellant, belongs to
this class. At the time of the alleged commission of the crime, he was poor,
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is affirmed in all respects, marginalized, and disadvantaged. He was a flotsam in a sea of violence,
except as to the civil indemnity payable to the heirs of the Julius Cagampang following the odyssey of his widowed mother from one poverty-stricken area
which is increased to P30,000.00. to another in order to escape the ravages of internicine war and rebellion in
Zamboanga del Sur. In the 15 years of Hassan's existence, he and his family
SO ORDERED. had to evacuate to other places for fear of their lives, six times. His existence
in this world has not even been officially recorded; his birth has not been
Narvasa, Cruz, Gancayco and Medialdea, JJ., concur. registered in the Registry of Births because the Samal tribe, to which he
belongs, does not see the importance of registering births and deaths.
G.R. No. L-68969 January 22, 1988
Usman was convicted on the bases of the testimony of a lone eyewitness for
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, the prosecution and the sloppiness of the investigation conducted by the
vs. police investigator, Police Corporal Rogelio Carpio of the Homicide and
USMAN HASSAN y AYUN, respondent. Arson Section of the Zamboanga City Police Station, who also testified for
the prosecution.
xxx xxx xxx
We rule that Usman Hassan's guilt was not proved beyond reasonable doubt
and that Usman Hassan must, therefore, be set free. Q When you rushed Ramon Pichel, Jr. to the hospital you came to know that
he was already dead, is that correct?
The lone eyewitness for the prosecution is Jose Samson, 24 years old when
he testified, married, and a resident of Zamboanga City. On the day of the A Yes, sir, I learned that he was already dead.
killing, he was employed at the sand and gravel business of the father of the
deceased but was jobless at the time of his examination-in-chief on February Q In the hospital, were you investigated by the police?
3, 1982.
A They just asked the description of that person as to his attire and his
He testified that he was with Ramon Pichel, Jr. at about 7:00 o'clock in the appearance.
evening of July 23, 1981; that he was a backrider in the motorcycle of Ramon
when they went to buy mangoes at Fruit Paradise near the Barter Trade Q And it was while in the hospital that you told them the description of the
Zone in Zamboanga City that while he was selecting mangoes, he saw a one who stabbed Ramon Pichel, Jr.?
person stab Ramon who was seated at his red Honda motorcycle which was
parked about two or three meters from the fruit stand where he Samson) was A Yes, Sir.
selecting mangoes; that he saw the assailant stab Ramon "only once" and
that after the stabbing, the assailant ran towards the PNB Building. When Q And the body of Ramon Pichel, Jr., was brought to the Funeraria La
asked at the cross-examination if he knew the assailant, Samson said, "I Merced?
know him by face but I do not know his name." 5
A Yes, sir,
This sole eyewitness recounted the stabbing thus: "While Ramoncito Pichel,
Jr. was holding the motorcycle with both of his hands, the assailant come Q Can you recall what time was that?
from behind, held his left hand and stabbed him from behind on his chest
while the victim was sitting on the motorcycle." He claimed that he was able A I do not know what time was that.
to see the assailant because it was very bright there that Ramon was facing
the light of a petromax lamp, and that all these happened in front of the fruit Q And it was all La Merced Funeraria that the police brought to you the
stand a — distance of about 6 to 7 meters from the side of the road. accused?

Samson described the assailant as wearing a white, short-sleeved t-shirt and A...
maong pants, but "he did not see if the aggressor was wearing shoes," that
the assailant stabbed Ramon with a knife but "he did not exactly see what Q For Identification?
kind of knife it was, and he did not see how long the knife was He said he
brought the wounded Ramon to the Zamboanga City General Hospital in a A Yes, sir.
tricycle.
Q And he was alone when you Identified him?
On cross-examination, Samson testified:
A Yes he was alone.
Q-15. Was tills unidentified person was with companion when he attack
Q Aside from working with the Pichel family in their sand and gravel (sic) Ramon Pitcher Jr.?
business, do you have any blood relationship with them?
A-15. He was alone Sir.
A Yes. sir. 6
Q-16. Can you really Identified (sic) this person who attacked and stabbed
(Emphasis supplied) your companion, Ramon Pitcher, Jr., that evening in question?

xxx xxx xxx A-16. Yes, Sir,

What comes as a surprise is that Samson's statement 7 which was taken Q-17. Do you still remember that confrontation we made at the Office of La
only on July 25, 1981, two days after the stabbing, and sworn to only on July Merced Funeral Homes, wherein you were confronted with one Usman
27, 1981, also two days after it was taken, or four days after the killing, was Hassan, whom this Officer brought along?
never presented or mentioned by the prosecution at all. The information was
practically forced out of Police Corporal Rogelio P. Carpio, a witness for the A-17. Yes, Sir.
People, during his cross-examination. 8 The sworn statement contained the
following questions and answers: Q-18. Was he the very person, who attacked and stabbed your companion,
Ramon Pitcher, Jr.?
xxx xxx xxx
A-18. Yes, Sir, he was the very person who attacked and stabbed my
Q-14. What and please narrate it to me briefly in your own words, the companion, Ramon Pitcher, Jr., that evening in question.
incident you are referring?
Q-19. Why?
A-14. While I was busy selecting some mangoes, I saw unidentified person
whom I can recognize by face if seen again embraced my companion Ramon A-19. Because his face and other physical appearance were fully noted by
Pitcher Jr. while the latter was aboard his motorcycle parked within the area. me and this I cannot forget for the rest of my life.
That this person without much ado, and armed with a knife suddenly stabbed
him (Ramon). That by coincidence to this incident, our eye met each other Q-20. Before this incident, was there any altercation that had ensued while
and immediately thereafter, he fled the area toward the Philippine National in the process of buying some mangoes in that area?
Bank (PNB). That this unidentified person was sporting a semi-long hair,
dressed in White Polo-Shirt (Short sleeve), maong pants height to more or A-20. None Sir.
less 5'5, Dark Complexion. That as this unidentified person fled the area I
immediately came to aid my companion, Ramon Pitcher, Jr., and rushed him Q-21. Were you able to note what kind of knife used by said Usman
to Zamboanga General Hospital, on board a Tricycle. That may companion Hassan in stabbing your companion, Ramon Pitcher Jr.?
(Ramon) did not whispered (sic) any words to me for he was in serious
condition and few minutes later, he expired. A-21: None Sir,
Q-22. Well, I have nothing more to ask of you, do you have anything more
to say, add or alter in this statement? Usman Hassan, on the other hand, denied the charges levelled against hub
and admitted ownership of said knife; claiming among other things that he
A-22. No more Sir. used said knife for slicing mangoes. 11

Q-23. Are you willing to give a supplemental statement if needed in the xxx xxx xxx
future?
We hold that the evidence for the prosecution in its entirety does not satisfy
A-23. Yes, Sir. 9 the quantum of proof — beyond reasonable doubt — required by the
Constitution, the law, and applicable jurisprudence to convict an accused
(Emphasis supplied) person. The said evidence denies us the moral certainty which would allow
us to pronounce, without uneasiness of conscience. Usman Hassan y Ayun
xxx xxx xxx guilty of the killing of the deceased Ramon Pichel, Jr. y Uro, and condemn
him to life imprisonment and in effect turning him into a flotsam again in a
The version of the sole eyewitness appearing in his statement 10 is sea of convicted felons in which he would be a very young stranger.
substantially the same as that embodied in the "Case Report," Exhibit it "C",
by Police Corporal Carpio, also admitted a s Exhibit "2." This exhibit for the In evaluating the worth of the testimony of the lone eyewitness for the
prosecution confirms the sworn statement of witness Samson that an prosecution against the denial and alibi of the accused, value judgment must
unidentified person, whom he recognized only by face, appeared and without not be separated from the constitutionally guaranteed presumption of
any provocation, the latter embraced the victim and stabbed the same innocence.
allegedly with a knife." The rest of the Case Report: is also significant in that
it confirms the confrontation between the accused and Jose Samson in the When the evidence for the prosecution and the evidence for the accused are
funeral parlor arranged by the police Investigator and prosecution witness, weighed, the scales must be tipped in favor of the latter. This is because of
Corporal Carpio. the constitutional presumtion of innocence the accused enjoys as a counter-
foil to the awesome authority of the State that is prosecuting him.
xxx xxx xxx
The element of doubt, if reasonable in this case, must operate against the
From this end, a follow-up was made within the premises of the Old Barter inference of guilt the prosecution would draw from its evidence. That
Trade, wherein the person of USMAN HASSAN Y AYUN, of Paso Bolong, evidence, as it happens, consists only of the uncorroborated statement of the
this City, was arrested in connection with the above stated incident. That this two policemen which, as previously observed, is flawed and therefore
Officer and companions arrested this person Usman due to his physical suspect. 12
appearance, which was fully described by victim's companion. Jose Samson.
During his arrest, a knife, measuring to more or less seven (7) inches in The testimony of Jose Samson, the lone eyewitness, is weak and
blade was confiscated in his possession. The person of Usman Hassan was unconvincing. And so with the evidence sought to be introduced by Police
brought along at the La Merced Funeral Homes for a confrontation with Corporal Carpio. We discover, for example, that the expert testimony of the
victims companion, Jose Samson and in this confrontation, Jose Samson medico-legal officer of the National Bureau of Investigation, Dr. Valentin
positively Identified said Usman Hassan as the very person who stabbed the Bernalez, presented by the prosecution, contradicted, on material points, the
victim. testimony of the one eyewitness, Jose Samson. While Samson averred on
the witness stand that he saw the assailant stab the deceased "from behind none, activated visual imagination, and, all told, subserted his reliability as
on his chest" 13 only once, the NBI medico-legal officer Identified two stab eyewitness. This unusual, coarse, and highly singular method of
wounds, one at the front portion of the chest at the level and third rib, (sic) Identification, which revolts against the accepted principles of scientific crime
and another stab wound located at the left arm posterior aspect." 14 The detection, alienates the esteem of every just man, and commands neither our
same medical expert also concluded from the nature and location of the respect nor acceptance." 20
chest wound, which was the cause of death, that the same was inflicted on
the victim while the alleged accused was in front of him." 15 Moreover, the confrontation arranged by the police investigator between the
self-proclaimed eyewitness and the accused did violence to the right of the
The investigation of this case by the Homicide/Arson Section of the latter to counsel in all stages of the investigation into the commission of a
Zamboanga Southern Police Sector, 16 at Zamboanga City, particularly by crime especially at its most crucial stage — the Identification of the accused.
Police Corporal Rogelio P. Carpio, leaves much to be desired. For one, we
are not satisfied with the procedure adopted by the police investigators in the As it turned out, the method of Identification became just a confrontation. At
Identification of the accused as the assailant. We have no doubt that Usman that critical and decisive moment, the scales of justice tipped unevenly
Hassan was "presented" alone 17 to Jose Samson by the police investigator against the young, poor, and disadvantaged accused. The police procedure
and prosecution witness, Police Corporal Carpio, and his police companions, adopted in this case in which only the accused was presented to witness
at the office of the La Merced Funeral Homes in Zamboanga City. As Samson, in the funeral parlor, and in the presence of the grieving relatives of
correctly termed by the very evidence 18 of the prosecution, the procedure the victim, is as tainted as an uncounselled confession and thus falls within
adopted by the police investigators was a confrontation" between Jose the same ambit of the constitutionally entrenched protection. For this
Samson, Jr. and Usman. Earlier, on direct examination, Corporal Carpio infringement alone, the accused-appellant should be acquitted.
testified that Usman was alone when he was brought to Samson for
confrontation in the funeral parlor. However, on cross-examination, Carpio Moreover, aside from this slipshod Identification procedure, the rest of the
made a turnabout by saying that the accused was Identified by Samson in a investigation of the crime and the preparation of the evidence for prosecution
"police line-up;" this tergiversation we dare say, was an afterthought, more were done haphazardly, perfunctorily, and superficially. Samson was not
the result of an over or careless cross-examination, augmented by the investigated thoroughly and immediately after the incident. As previously
leading questions 19 of the trial judge rather than a fastidiousness if not mentioned, his statement was taken by the investigator only two days after
sincerity, on the part of the police investigator, to honestly correct erroneous the murder of Ramon Pichel, Jr. and sworn only two days after it had been
statements in his examination-in-chief. The fact remains that both Samson taken. Similarly, there is nothing in the record to show that the fruit vendor—
and the accused testified clearly and unequivocably that Usman was alone from whom Samson and the deceased were buying mangoes that fateful
when presented to Samson by Carpio. There was no such police line-up as evening and who certainly must have witnessed the fatal stabbing—was
the police investigator, to honestly correct erreoneous statements in his investigated, or why he was not investigated. Nor is any explanation given as
examination-in-chief. The fact remains that both Samson and the accused to why the companion 21 of the accused at the time Corporal Carpio arrested
testified clearly and unequivocably that Usman was alone when presented to him (accused) 'sitting on a pushcart " 22 at about 8:00 P.M. (around 7:00
Samson by Carpio. There was no such police investigator claimed on second P.M., according to Usman) of that same evening near the scene of the crime,
thought. was not also investigated when he could have been a material witness of the
killing or of the innocence of the accused. In addition, the knife and its
The manner by which Jose Samson, Jr. was made to confront and Identify scabbard, 23 Confiscated by Carpio from Usman (tucked on the right side of
the accused alone at the funeral parlor, without being placed in the police his waist") at the time of his arrest, were not even subjected to any testing at
line-up, was "pointedly suggsestive, generated confidence where there was all to determine the presence of human blood which could be typed and
compared with the blood type of the deceased. A crime laboratory test — to prove his innocence. And he is so marginalized as to claim and deserve
had Carpio or the prosecuting fiscal, or even the trial judge, insisted on it — an honest-to-goodness, thorough, and fair police investigation with all angles
would have revealed whether or not the knife in question (confiscated from and leads pursued to their logical, if not scientific, conclusions. Sadly
the accused by Carpio one hour after the alleged commission of the crime) circumstanced as he is, the authority of the State was too awesome for him
had indeed been the weapon used to kill Ramon. The police investigator to counteract.
instead nonchalantly dismissed this sin of omission by saying that the knife
could have been cleaned or the bloodstain could have been taken away. 24 The appealed decision made much ado of the admission by Usman "that he
This presumption of the deadly weapon's having been "cleaned" of was arrested at the former barter trade, which is a place just across the place
bloodstains is tantamount to pronouncing the accused of being guilty. of the stabbing at the Fruit Paradise." 30 The trial judge found it "therefore
strange that on the very evening of the stabbing incident he was still at the
Our doubt about the guilt of the accused is further deepened by a resolution, barter trade area by 8:00 o'clock in the evening when he usually comes to
25 in a separate case, 26 of Assistant City Fiscal of Zamboanga City and the city proper at about 6:00 o'clock in the morning and goes home at past
deputized Tanod bayan Prosecutor Pablo Murillo, which clearly reveals that 5:00 o'clock and sometimes 6:00 o'clock in the afternoon." 31 Usman's
on July 24, 1981, a day after the killing of Ramon Pichel, Jr., a similar explanation — that, at around 7:00 o'clock P.M., he was waiting for
stabbing took place at Plaza Pershing near the place of the earlier incident, transportation to take him home — was found by the trial court as 'flimsy and
with the suspect in that frustrated homicide case being a certain Benhar Isa, weak since he did not explain why he had to go home late that evening." 32
'a notorious and a deadly police character" in Zamboanga City, with a long But the whole trouble is nobody asked him. The trial judge did not propound
record of arrests. In that resolution, Fiscal Murillo said the same Benhar Isa any single question to the accused, and only three to his mother on
was tagged as 'also a suspect in the stabbing of Ramon Pichel, Jr. to death innocuous matters, by way of clarification, if only to put on record what the
and the stabbing of Pastor Henry Villagracia at the Fruit Paradise, this City." mother and son could articulate with clarity. Taking into account their poverty
The said resolution further states that "with regards to this incident or and illiteracy, the mother and son needed as much, if not more, help, than
witnesses ever testified for fear of possible reprisals." 27 the trial judge extended to the prosecution witnesses during their
examination by asking them clarificatory and mostly leading questions. In
The trial of Usman Hassan began on October 27, 1981. Benhar Isa himself that sense and to that extent, the accused was disadvantaged.
was killed by a policeman on August 28, 1981, while he (Isa) "was apparently
under the influence of liquor armed with a knife (was) molesting and extorting A fact that looms large, though mutely to testify on the innocence of the
money from innocent civilians' and "making trouble." 28 The records of the accused but the importance of which was brushed away by the trial judge
case at bar do not show any attempt on the part of Corporal Carpio, or any was the presence of the accused near the scene (about 100 to 150 meters
other police officer, to investigate or question Benhar Isa in connection with away) soon after the stabbing (he testified at around 7:00 P.M. although
the killing of Pichel, Jr. Was it fear of the notorious police character that Police Corporal Carpio stated it was 8:00 P.M.) where he was found sitting
made the police officers disregard the possible connection between the on his pushcart with a companion. If he were the assailant, he would have
slaying of Ramon and that of the person (Harun Acan y Arang of the Ministry fled. But the trial court instead indulged in conjecture, foisting the probability
of National Defense) 29 who was allegedly stabbed by Benhar Isa a day after that the accused 'was lulled by a false sense of security in returning to the
the killing of Ramon Jr.? And yet questioning Isa might have provided that place (of the stabbing), when no police officers immediately responded and
vital link to the resolution of Usman's guilt or innocence. But why should the appeared at the scene of the crime," adding 'there are numerous cases in the
police officers investigate Isa when Usman Hassan was already in custody past where criminals return to the scene of their crimes, for reasons only
and could be an available fall guy? Usman Hassan, instead, became a victim psychologist can explain." 33 It must have escaped the trial court's attention
of a grave injustice. Indeed, Usman Hassan is too poor to wage a legal fight that Usman has no criminal record, and, therefore, he could not be generally
classed with criminals. In the second place, the trial court's rationalization committed this crime and this observation is based on his personal
ignores the biblical truism recognized by human nature and endorsed with appearance, his size and facial features and other personal characteristics,
approval by this Court that "(T)he wicked flee when no man pursueth but the hence he can not be classified as a youthful offender under Article. 189 of
righteous are as bold as a lion." 34 Presendential Decree No. 603, as ammended by Presedential Decree No.
1179. In the case of U.S. vs. Mallari, 29 Phil. 13 and People vs. Reyes and
And now as a penultimate observation, we could not help but note the total Panganiban, CA 48 O.G. 1022, cited in the Edition, Page 680, it was ruled by
absence of motive ascribed to Usman for stabbing Ramon, a complete the Supreme Court that "In cases where the age of the culprit is at issue as a
stranger to him. While, as a general rule, motive is not essential in order to basis for claiming an exempting mitigating circumstance, it is incumbent upon
arrive at a conviction, because, after all, motive is a state of mind, 35 the accused to establish that circumstance ad any other elements of
procedurally, however, for purposes of complying with the requirement that a defense. 38
judgment of guilty must stem from proof beyond reasonable doubt, the lack
of motive on the part of the accused plays a pivotal role towards his acquittal. Considering that the age of the accused could exempt him from punishment
This is especially true where there is doubt as to the Identity of the culprit 36 or cause the suspension of his sentence under Articles 12 and 80,
as when 'the Identification is extremely tenuous," 37 as in this case. respectively of the Revised Penal Code, if found guilty, more meticulousness
and care should have been demanded of medical or scientific sources, and
We can not end this travail without adverting to the cavalier manner in which less reliance on the observation of the judge as had happened in this case.
the trial court disregarded the claimed young age of Usman Hassan. The preliminary findings of the dentist that the accused could be anywhere
between fourteen to twenty one years, despite the difficulty of arriving at an
The defense claims that the accused Usman Hassan is a minor, basing such accurate determination due to Hassan's mouth condition, would have placed
claim on the testimony of Lahunay Hassan, the mother of said accused, who the trial judge on notice that there is the probability that the accused might be
declared that her son Usman Hassan, who is one of her four (4) children, exempted from criminal liability due to his young age. All the foregoing
was born in the year 1967. She testified that she was just told by a person indicates that the accused had not been granted the concern and
coming from their place about the year of the birth of her son Usman. compassion with which the poor, marginalized, and disadvantaged so
However on cross-examination, Lahunay Hassan cannot even remember the critically deserve. It is when judicial and police processes and procedures are
date or year of birth of her other children. The failure of Lahunay Hassan to thoughtlessly and haphazardly observed that cries of the law and justice
remember the date or year of birth of her children is of course being denied the poor are heard. In any event, all this would not be of any
understandable, considering that she is unschooled and she belongs to a moment now, considering the acquittal of the accused herein ordered.
tribe that does not register births, deaths or marriages, however, it is strange
that she only took pains to find out the year of birth of her son Usman. For WHEREFORE, the decision is hereby REVERSED, and the accused Usman
this reason, the Court granted a motion of the defense on September 13, Hassan y Ayun is ACQUITTED of the crime charged. His release from
1982, to have the herein accused examined by a competent dentist to confinement is hereby Ordered, unless he is held for another legal cause.
determine his age. However, the findings of the dentist of Zamboanga With costs de oficio.
General Hospital which is marked as Exhibit "5" shows the following: "age
cannot be determined accurately under present mouth conditions. SO ORDERED.
Approximately, he can be from 14 to 21 years of age." This simply means
that the herein accused could either be 14 years of age or 21 years of age, or Yap (Chairman), Paras and Padilla, JJ., concur.
any age in between those aforestated years. From the observation of this
court, the accused Usman Hassan was about 18 years of age at the time he [G.R. No. 135919. May 9, 2003]
knife,[7] making an upward and downward thrust.[8] Flores ran after he was
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. DANNY DELOS SANTOS Y stabbed twice.[9] Appellant pursued him and stabbed him many times.[10] As
FERNANDEZ, appellant. a result, Flores intestines bulged out of his stomach.[11] Appellant ceased
stabbing Flores only after he saw him dead. Thereafter, he turned his ire
DECISION against Jayvee Rainier and chased him. Fearful for his life, witness De Leon
hid himself and later on reported the incident to the police.[12]
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:
Marvin Tablate corroborated De Leons testimony. On cross-examination,
For automatic review is the Decision[1] dated October 2, 1998 of the Tablate testified that he tried to help Flores by separating him from the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 21, Malolos, Bulacan, in Criminal Case No. appellant who ran away.[13] He also testified that the latter joined his group
3551798, finding appellant Danny delos Santos guilty of the crime of murder at about 11:00 a.m. and kept on coming back and forth.
and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of death.
Dr. Caballero declared on the witness stand that Flores suffered twenty-one
In the Information[2] dated February 23, 1998, appellant was charged with (21) stab wounds in the frontal, posterior and lateral side of his body, eleven
murder, thus: (11) of which were fatal. Dr. Caballero said it was possible that appellant was
behind Flores considering the stab wounds inflicted at his back.[14]
That on or about the 6th day of November 1997, in the Municipality of San According to the doctor, Flores died because of massive external/internal
Jose, Del Monte, Province of Bulacan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction hemorrhages due to multiple stab wounds in the thorax and abdomen
of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, armed with a kitchen penetrating both lungs, heart, stomach, liver, spleen and intestines.[15]
knife, with intent to kill one Rod Flores y Juanitas, with evident premeditation,
treachery and taking advantage of superior strength, did then and there Romeo Flores testified that his son Rod Flores was then working at Vitarich,
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and stab with the said Marilao, Bulacan, earning P600.00 every 15th day of the month;[16] that he
kitchen knife said Rod Flores y Juanitas, hitting him on the different parts of spent P100,000.00 for his sons burial and wake; that he has receipts in the
his body, thereby inflicting upon him mortal wounds which directly caused his amount of P19,110.00 spent for the funeral services and the cost of the
death. cemetery lot[17] and a list of other expenses in the amount of
P35,960.00;[18] and that his family has been grieving for the loss of a loved
Upon arraignment, appellant pleaded not guilty.[3] Thereafter, trial on the one.
merits ensued. The prosecution presented Marcelino de Leon, Marvin
Tablate, Dr. Benito Caballero and Romeo Flores as its witnesses. Appellant Appellant had a different version of the events. He denied the accusation and
and Sonny Bautista took the witness stand for the defense. declared that on November 6, 1997 at 8:00 p.m., he was in his aunties house
in Muson, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan,[19] forty (40) meters away from the
Marcelino De Leon testified that at around 8:00 p.m. of November 6, 1997, scene of the crime. He was then fetching water.[20] Earlier, at about 5:30
he saw Rod Flores drinking gin with Narciso Salvador, Marvin Tablate and p.m., he and Flores met but they did not greet each other. There was no
Jayvee Rainier at the latters house in Sarmiento Homes, San Jose del altercation between them. Hence, he could not understand why De Leon and
Monte, Bulacan.[4] As he was about to fetch water from a nearby faucet, he Tablate testified against him.
approached them and borrowed Flores cart.[5] While waiting for the cart, he
stood across Flores who was then seated and conversing with the group.[6] Sonny Bautista testified that on that particular date and time, he and
Suddenly, appellant emerged from the back of Flores and stabbed him with a appellant were in their aunties house in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.[21]
They watched television up to 8:30 p.m. and then went home. At about 10:00 SO ORDERED.
p.m., appellant was arrested. Bautista did not inform the policemen that they
were watching television in their aunties house at the time the crime took In his Appellants brief, appellant ascribes to the trial court the following
place. Neither did he accompany appellant to the police station.[22] errors:

On October 2, 1998, the trial court rendered a Decision, the dispositive I


portion of which reads:
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING FULL FAITH AND
All premises considered, this Court resolves and so holds that the CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONY OF THE ALLEGED EYEWITNESSES,
prosecution has been able to establish the criminal culpability of the accused AND IN NOT ACQUITTING ACCUSED-APPELANT ON GROUND OF
beyond reasonable doubt. Accordingly, Danny delos Santos is hereby found REASONABLE DOUBT.
guilty of the crime of Murder with the qualifying circumstance of treachery.
II
In the imposition of the penalty, the Court hereby takes into account the
brutality in the manner by which the life of the victim was taken, and if only to THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN ORDERING ACCUSED-APPELLANT TO
serve as deterrent to others who might be similarly obsessed, it is believed INDEMNIFY THE HEIRS OF VICTIM THE AMOUNT OF P50,000.00 FOR
that the higher of the two penalties provided should be meted to the accused VICTIMS DEATH; P264,000.00 FOR LOSS OF EARNING CAPACITY;
herein. Absent any circumstance that would mitigate the severity of his P55,070.00 FOR ACTUAL AND COMPENSATORY DAMAGES; P50,000.00
criminal act and pursuant to Articles 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as FOR MORAL DAMAGES; AND P50,000.00 FOR EXEMPLARY
amended by Section 6, Republic Act no. 7659, the accused Danny delos DAMAGES.[23]
Santos y Fernandez is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of Death by
lethal injection. Appellant contends that there are some inconsistencies between the
testimonies of De Leon and Tablate, the prosecution witnesses. Also, there is
Further, the accused is condemned to indemnify the heirs of the deceased no evidence that he has a motive to kill Flores. In fact, there was no previous
the amount of P50,000.00 for the victims death. Moreover, accused delos heated argument or altercation between them. That the prosecution
Santos is ordered to pay the said heirs of the deceased Rod Flores the witnesses executed their sworn statements only after two months from the
following sums of money: commission of the crime raises doubt as to their credibility. Finally, the
evidence for the prosecution failed to meet the exacting test of moral
1. P264,000.00 for loss of earning capacity; certainty, hence, the trial court should not have ordered him to indemnify the
heirs of Flores.
2. P55,070.00 for actual and compensatory damages;
The Solicitor General, in the Appellees brief, counters that: (a) the
3. P50,000.00 for moral damages; inconsistencies pointed out by appellant are minor and do not vitiate the fact
that he was the one who killed Flores; (b) appellants defenses of alibi and
4. P50,000.00 for exemplary damages. denial are worthless since he was positively identified by the prosecution
witnesses; (c) he failed to proffer any explanation why the prosecution
With costs against the accused. witnesses implicated him; (d) the crime was aggravated by cruelty because
he butchered Flores until his intestines bulged out of his stomach; and (e) the
heirs of Flores are entitled to indemnification as it has been shown beyond incident by De Leon and Tablate. During cross-examination, De Leon
reasonable doubt that appellant killed him. testified as follows:

The first assigned error involves a determination of the credibility of the Atty. De la Cruz:
prosecution witnesses. Settled is the rule that when it comes to credibility of
witnesses, appellate courts generally do not overturn the findings of trial Q You did not see the accused because it was dark in that place, is it not?
courts. The latter are in a best position to ascertain and measure the sincerity
and spontaneity of witnesses through their actual observation of the A No, sir, he suddenly appeared from the back of Rod Flores and started
witnesses manner of testifying, demeanor and behavior in court.[24] stabbing Rod that is why we were surprised.

We see no reason to deviate from this rule. Court:

Appellant maintains that there are inconsistencies in the testimonies of De Q How did the accused thrust the weapon to the victim?
Leon and Tablate. While De Leon testified that appellant did not join Flores
group, however, Tablate declared that he was drinking gin with them at about A (Witness demonstrating by making upward, downward thrust at the back of
11:00 a.m. De Leon testified that no one assisted Flores when he was being the victim)
attacked by appellant. However, Tablate stated that he attempted to separate
Flores from appellant after the former had sustained two stab wounds. Atty. De la Cruz

The first alleged inconsistency is understandable. Unlike Tablate who was Q Where was Rod Flores hit, if you know?
with the group in a drinking spree, De Leon approached Flores only when he
borrowed the cart from the latter at about 8:00 p.m. He stayed with Flores A At the back, sir.
group only for about thirty minutes,[25] or up to 8:30 p.m. Thus, he could not
have observed that appellant joined the group earlier, or at about 11:00 a.m. Q How many times?

The second alleged inconsistency is a minor one that does not enfeeble the A At first, twice, sir.
prosecutions theory that appellant killed Flores. Evident from De Leons
testimony is the fact that he was so shocked in witnessing the gruesome Court:
killing of his companion. With such a state of mind, it would be too much to
demand from him a full recollection of the details surrounding the event. Q That was the time when Rod Flores ran away after having been stabbed
Many times we have ruled that inconsistencies in the testimony of witnesses twice.
when referring only to minor details and collateral matters do not affect the
substance of their declaration, their veracity, or the weight of their A Yes, Your Honor.
testimony.[26] They only serve to strengthen rather than weaken the
credibility of witnesses for they erase the suspicion of a rehearsed xxxxxx
testimony.[27] What we find important in the case at bar is that the two
prosecution witnesses were one in saying that it was appellant who stabbed Court:
Flores with a knife. We quote the clear and straightforward account of the
Q How did the accused thrust for the second time the weapon at the back of
the victim. Q What do you mean?

A Both at the back, sir. A Danny delos Santos stabbed Rod Flores at the back, sir.

xxxxxx Q When you said Danny delos Santos stabbed Rod Flores at the back, are
you saying that Danny delos Santos was at the back of Rod Flores at the
Atty. De la Cruz: time?

Q Was Rod Flores able to ran away? A Yes, sir.

A Yes, sir. Q How many times did the accused stab Rod Flores?

Q Where were you when Rod Flores was running away? A I saw him stabbed the victim twice, sir. (Witness demonstrated in
downward position as if he was holding something).
A We were left behind, sir. I was not able to move anymore.
Q What was he holding?
Q And was the accused able to reach Flores?
A A knife, sir.
A Yes, sir.
xxxxxx
Q What did the accused do?
Court:
A Again, he started stabbing at the back, sir.
xxxxxx
Q So the stabbing was inflicted at the back of the victim?
Q Are you sure that when Rod Flores fell to the ground, he was not able to
A Not all, sir, because he turned him face up and stabbed him again, sir.[28] rise nor was he able to run away?

Tablates direct testimony reads: A He was able to run but then he was drunk and the accused was able to
catch and stab him again, sir.
Fiscal Vicente:
xxxxxx
xxxxxx
Q Are you positive to the identity of Danny delos Santos that he was the one
Q How did Danny delos Santos stab Rod Flores? who stabbed Rod Flores?

A Patalikod, sir. A Yes, sir.[29]


locus criminis at the time of the incident.[35] Certainly, the required
Appellant argues that since the prosecution witnesses testified that there was impossibility does not exist here.
no altercation between him and Flores, it follows that no motive to kill can be
attributed to him. This is an inconsequential argument. Proof of motive is not Weighing the evidence of the prosecution vis--vis that of the defense, the
indispensable for a conviction, particularly where the accused is positively scale of justice must tilt in favor of the former. Time and again, we ruled that
identified by an eyewitness and his participation is adequately positive identification, where categorical and consistent and without any
established.[30] In People vs. Galano,[31] we ruled that in the crime of showing of ill-motive on the part of the eyewitnesses testifying on the matter,
murder, motive is not an element of the offense, it becomes material only prevails over alibi and denial which, if not substantiated by clear and
when the evidence is circumstantial or inconclusive and there is some doubt convincing proof, are negative and self-serving evidence undeserving of
on whether the accused had committed it. In the case before us, no such weight in law.[36] With marked relevance is the fact that appellant did not
doubt exits as De Leon and Tablate positively identified appellant. present any evidence to show that the prosecution witnesses, in testifying
against him, have improper motive.
In a last-ditch attempt to cast doubt on the testimonies of the prosecution
witnesses, appellant questions why their statements were taken only on The prosecution was able to establish that appellants attack on Flores was
January 29, 1998 when the incident happened on November 6, 1997. The from behind without any slightest provocation on his part[37] and that it was
two-month delay is hardly an indicium of a concocted story. It is but natural sudden and unexpected. This is a clear case of treachery. Where the victim
for witnesses to avoid being involved in a criminal proceeding particularly was totally unprepared for the unexpected attack from behind with no
when the crime committed is of such gravity as to show the cruelty of the weapon to resist it, the stabbing could only be described as treacherous.[38]
perpetrator. Born of human experience, the fear of retaliation can have a There being treachery, appellants conviction for murder is in order.
paralyzing effect to the witnesses.[32] Thus, in People vs. Dacibar,[33] we
held that the initial reluctance of witnesses to volunteer information about a However, in the imposition of penalty, we cannot appreciate the aggravating
criminal case is of common knowledge and has been judicially declared as circumstance of cruelty considered by the trial court. Pursuant to the 2000
insufficient to affect credibility, especially when a valid reason exists for such Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, every Information must state not only
hesitance. the qualifying but also the aggravating circumstances.[39] This rule may be
given retroactive effect in the light of the well-established rule that statutes
Anent the second error, appellant contends that the trial court erred in regulating the procedure of the courts will be construed as applicable to
indemnifying the heirs of Flores since his guilt was not proved beyond actions pending and undetermined at the time of their passage.[40] The
reasonable doubt. Suffice it to state at this point that the evidence for the aggravating circumstance of cruelty, not having been alleged in the
prosecution produces moral certainty that appellant is guilty of the crime Information, may not be appreciated to enhance the liability of appellant.
charged, hence, should be answerable for all its consequences.
Under Article 248[41] of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty for the
As earlier mentioned, appellants defenses are mere alibi and denial. He consummated crime of murder is reclusion perpetua to death. In this case,
testified that at the time the crime took place, he was in his aunties house in the lesser of the two indivisible penalties shall be imposed, there being
Muson, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan. When probed by the trial court, he neither mitigating nor aggravating circumstances attending the crime.[42]
categorically stated that the house is only 40 meters away from the scene of
the crime and may be traveled in about three or five minutes.[34] For the In keeping with the current jurisprudence, the heirs of Flores are entitled to
defense of alibi to prosper, it must be convincing enough to preclude any the amount of P50,000.00 by way of civil indemnity ex delicto.[43] As regards
doubt on the physical impossibility of the presence of the accused at the the actual damages, it appears that out of the P55,070.00 awarded by the
trial court, only P19,170.00[44] was actually supported by receipts. The other
amounts were based solely on a list prepared by Romeo Flores. To be Loss of earning capacity
entitled to actual damages, it is necessary to prove the actual amount of loss
with a reasonable degree of certainty, premised upon competent proof and net annual income x life expectancy
on the best evidence obtainable to the injured party.[45] In the case at bar,
the prosecution failed to present receipts for the other expenses incurred. P7,200 x 37
Thus, in light of the recent case of People vs. Abrazaldo,[46] we grant the
award of P25,000.00 as temperate damages inasmuch as the proven actual = P266,400.00 [49]
damages is less than P25,000.00. The moral damages awarded in the
amount of P50,000.00 is affirmed, there being proofs that because of Flores WHEREFORE, the Decision dated October 2, 1998 of the Regional Trial
death, his heirs suffered wounded feelings, mental anguish, anxiety and Court, Branch 21, Malolos, Bulacan, in Criminal Case No. 3551798, finding
similar injury.[47] However, we reduce to P25,000.00 only the trial courts appellant Danny delos Santos y Fernandez guilty of the crime of murder is
award of P50,000.00 as exemplary damages.[48] AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in the sense that he is sentenced to suffer
the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay the heirs of the late Rod Flores y
The amount of indemnity for loss of earning capacity is based on the income Juanitas the amounts of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, P25,0000.00 as
at the time of death and the probable life expectancy of the victim. In the temperate damages, P50,000.00 as moral damages, P25,000.00 as
case at bar, the trial court found that Flores annual gross income is exemplary damages, and P266,400.00 for loss of earning capacity.
P14,400.00 computed at the rate of P1,200.00 a month for twelve (12)
months. From this amount is deducted the necessary and incidental Costs de oficio.
expenses, estimated at 50%, leaving a balance of P7,200.00. His net income
would then be multiplied by his life expectancy, using the following formula: SO ORDERED.
2/3 x 80 25 (age of the victim at time of death). Considering that he was 25
years old when he died, his life expectancy would be 37. Multiplying the net Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-
balance of his annual income by his life expectancy, the loss of his earning is Santiago, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, Callejo, Sr., and
P266,400.00, thus: Azcuna, JJ., concur.

In computing the life expectancy and loss of earning capacity of a person the G.R. No. L-5272 March 19, 1910
following formula is used:
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,
Life expectancy vs.
AH CHONG, defendant-appellant.
2/3 x (80-the age of the victim at the time of death)
Gibb & Gale, for appellant.
2/3 x (80-25) Attorney-General Villamor, for appellee.

2/3 x 55 CARSON, J.:

= 36.66 or 37
The evidence as to many of the essential and vital facts in this case is limited forced the door open, whom he supposed to be a burglar, though in the light
to the testimony of the accused himself, because from the very nature of of after events, it is probable that the chair was merely thrown back into the
these facts and from the circumstances surrounding the incident upon which room by the sudden opening of the door against which it rested. Seizing a
these proceedings rest, no other evidence as to these facts was available common kitchen knife which he kept under his pillow, the defendant struck
either to the prosecution or to the defense. We think, however, that, giving out wildly at the intruder who, it afterwards turned out, was his roommate,
the accused the benefit of the doubt as to the weight of the evidence Pascual. Pascual ran out upon the porch and fell down on the steps in a
touching those details of the incident as to which there can be said to be any desperately wounded condition, followed by the defendant, who immediately
doubt, the following statement of the material facts disclose by the record recognized him in the moonlight. Seeing that Pascual was wounded, he
may be taken to be substantially correct: called to his employers who slept in the next house, No. 28, and ran back to
his room to secure bandages to bind up Pascual's wounds.
The defendant, Ah Chong, was employed as a cook at "Officers' quarters,
No. 27," Fort Mc Kinley, Rizal Province, and at the same place Pascual There had been several robberies in Fort McKinley not long prior to the date
Gualberto, deceased, was employed as a house boy or muchacho. "Officers' of the incident just described, one of which took place in a house in which the
quarters No. 27" as a detached house situates some 40 meters from the defendant was employed as cook; and as defendant alleges, it was because
nearest building, and in August, 19087, was occupied solely as an officers' of these repeated robberies he kept a knife under his pillow for his personal
mess or club. No one slept in the house except the two servants, who jointly protection.
occupied a small room toward the rear of the building, the door of which
opened upon a narrow porch running along the side of the building, by which The deceased and the accused, who roomed together and who appear to
communication was had with the other part of the house. This porch was have on friendly and amicable terms prior to the fatal incident, had an
covered by a heavy growth of vines for its entire length and height. The door understanding that when either returned at night, he should knock at the door
of the room was not furnished with a permanent bolt or lock, and occupants, and acquiant his companion with his identity. Pascual had left the house
as a measure of security, had attached a small hook or catch on the inside of early in the evening and gone for a walk with his friends, Celestino Quiambao
the door, and were in the habit of reinforcing this somewhat insecure means and Mariano Ibañez, servants employed at officers' quarters No. 28, the
of fastening the door by placing against it a chair. In the room there was but nearest house to the mess hall. The three returned from their walk at about
one small window, which, like the door, opened on the porch. Aside from the 10 o'clock, and Celestino and Mariano stopped at their room at No. 28,
door and window, there were no other openings of any kind in the room. Pascual going on to his room at No. 27. A few moments after the party
separated, Celestino and Mariano heard cries for assistance and upon
On the night of August 14, 1908, at about 10 o'clock, the defendant, who had returning to No. 27 found Pascual sitting on the back steps fatally wounded in
received for the night, was suddenly awakened by some trying to force open the stomach, whereupon one of them ran back to No. 28 and called
the door of the room. He sat up in bed and called out twice, "Who is there?" Liuetenants Jacobs and Healy, who immediately went to the aid of the
He heard no answer and was convinced by the noise at the door that it was wounded man.
being pushed open by someone bent upon forcing his way into the room.
Due to the heavy growth of vines along the front of the porch, the room was The defendant then and there admitted that he had stabbed his roommate,
very dark, and the defendant, fearing that the intruder was a robber or a thief, but said that he did it under the impression that Pascual was "a ladron"
leaped to his feet and called out. "If you enter the room, I will kill you." At that because he forced open the door of their sleeping room, despite defendant's
moment he was struck just above the knee by the edge of the chair which warnings.
had been placed against the door. In the darkness and confusion the
defendant thought that the blow had been inflicted by the person who had
No reasonable explanation of the remarkable conduct on the part of the victim of his fatal blow, if the intruder who forced open the door of his
Pascuals suggests itself, unless it be that the boy in a spirit of mischief was room had been in fact a dangerous thief or "ladron," as the defendant
playing a trick on his Chinese roommate, and sought to frightened him by believed him to be. No one, under such circumstances, would doubt the right
forcing his way into the room, refusing to give his name or say who he was, of the defendant to resist and repel such an intrusion, and the thief having
in order to make Ah Chong believe that he was being attacked by a robber. forced open the door notwithstanding defendant's thrice-repeated warning to
desist, and his threat that he would kill the intruder if he persisted in his
Defendant was placed under arrest forthwith, and Pascual was conveyed to attempt, it will not be questioned that in the darkness of the night, in a small
the military hospital, where he died from the effects of the wound on the room, with no means of escape, with the thief advancing upon him despite
following day. his warnings defendant would have been wholly justified in using any
available weapon to defend himself from such an assault, and in striking
The defendant was charged with the crime of assassination, tried, and found promptly, without waiting for the thief to discover his whereabouts and deliver
guilty by the trial court of simple homicide, with extenuating circumstances, the first blow.
and sentenced to six years and one day presidio mayor, the minimum
penalty prescribed by law. But the evidence clearly discloses that the intruder was not a thief or a
"ladron." That neither the defendant nor his property nor any of the property
At the trial in the court below the defendant admitted that he killed his under his charge was in real danger at the time when he struck the fatal
roommate, Pascual Gualberto, but insisted that he struck the fatal blow blow. That there was no such "unlawful aggression" on the part of a thief or
without any intent to do a wrongful act, in the exercise of his lawful right of "ladron" as defendant believed he was repelling and resisting, and that there
self-defense. was no real "necessity" for the use of the knife to defend his person or his
property or the property under his charge.
Article 8 of the Penal Code provides that —
The question then squarely presents it self, whether in this jurisdiction one
The following are not delinquent and are therefore exempt from criminal can be held criminally responsible who, by reason of a mistake as to the
liability: facts, does an act for which he would be exempt from criminal liability if the
facts were as he supposed them to be, but which would constitute the crime
xxx xxx xxx of homicide or assassination if the actor had known the true state of the facts
at the time when he committed the act. To this question we think there can
4 He who acts in defense of his person or rights, provided there are the be but one answer, and we hold that under such circumstances there is no
following attendant circumstances: criminal liability, provided always that the alleged ignorance or mistake or fact
was not due to negligence or bad faith.
(1) Illegal aggression.
In broader terms, ignorance or mistake of fact, if such ignorance or mistake
(2) Reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it. of fact is sufficient to negative a particular intent which under the law is a
necessary ingredient of the offense charged (e.g., in larcerny, animus
(3) Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself. furendi; in murder, malice; in crimes intent) "cancels the presumption of
intent," and works an acquittal; except in those cases where the
Under these provisions we think that there can be no doubt that defendant circumstances demand a conviction under the penal provisions touching
would be entitle to complete exception from criminal liability for the death of criminal negligence; and in cases where, under the provisions of article 1 of
the Penal Code one voluntarily committing a crime or misdeamor incurs shows by committing it, and since this disposition is greater or less in
criminal liability for any wrongful act committed by him, even though it be proportion to the harm which is done by the crime, the consequence is that
different from that which he intended to commit. (Wharton's Criminal Law, the guilt of the crime follows the same proportion; it is greater or less
sec. 87 and cases cited; McClain's Crim. Law, sec. 133 and cases cited; according as the crime in its own nature does greater or less harm" (Ruth.
Pettit vs. S., 28 Tex. Ap., 240; Commonwealth vs. Power, 7 Met., 596; Yates Ints. C. 18, p. 11); or, as it has been otherwise stated, the thing done, having
vs. People, 32 N.Y., 509; Isham vs. State, 38 Ala., 213; Commonwealth vs. proceeded from a corrupt mid, is to be viewed the same whether the
Rogers, 7 Met., 500.) corruption was of one particular form or another.

The general proposition thus stated hardly admits of discussion, and the only Article 1 of the Penal Code is as follows:
question worthy of consideration is whether malice or criminal intent is an
essential element or ingredient of the crimes of homicide and assassination Crimes or misdemeanors are voluntary acts and ommissions punished by
as defined and penalized in the Penal Code. It has been said that since the law.
definitions there given of these as well as most other crimes and offense
therein defined, do not specifically and expressly declare that the acts Acts and omissions punished by law are always presumed to be voluntarily
constituting the crime or offense must be committed with malice or with unless the contrary shall appear.
criminal intent in order that the actor may be held criminally liable, the
commission of the acts set out in the various definitions subjects the actor to An person voluntarily committing a crime or misdemeanor shall incur criminal
the penalties described therein, unless it appears that he is exempted from liability, even though the wrongful act committed be different from that which
liability under one or other of the express provisions of article 8 of the code, he had intended to commit.
which treats of exemption. But while it is true that contrary to the general rule
of legislative enactment in the United States, the definitions of crimes and The celebrated Spanish jurist Pacheco, discussing the meaning of the word
offenses as set out in the Penal Code rarely contain provisions expressly "voluntary" as used in this article, say that a voluntary act is a free, intelligent,
declaring that malice or criminal intent is an essential ingredient of the crime, and intentional act, and roundly asserts that without intention (intention to do
nevertheless, the general provisions of article 1 of the code clearly indicate wrong or criminal intention) there can be no crime; and that the word
that malice, or criminal intent in some form, is an essential requisite of all "voluntary" implies and includes the words "con malicia," which were
crimes and offense therein defined, in the absence of express provisions expressly set out in the definition of the word "crime" in the code of 1822, but
modifying the general rule, such as are those touching liability resulting from omitted from the code of 1870, because, as Pacheco insists, their use in the
acts negligently or imprudently committed, and acts done by one voluntarily former code was redundant, being implied and included in the word
committing a crime or misdemeanor, where the act committed is different "voluntary." (Pacheco, Codigo Penal, vol. 1, p. 74.)
from that which he intended to commit. And it is to be observed that even
these exceptions are more apparent than real, for "There is little distinction, Viada, while insisting that the absence of intention to commit the crime can
except in degree, between a will to do a wrongful thing and indifference only be said to exempt from criminal responsibility when the act which was
whether it is done or not. Therefore carelessness is criminal, and within limits actually intended to be done was in itself a lawful one, and in the absence of
supplies the place of the affirmative criminal intent" (Bishop's New Criminal negligence or imprudence, nevertheless admits and recognizes in his
Law, vol. 1, s. 313); and, again, "There is so little difference between a discussion of the provisions of this article of the code that in general without
disposition to do a great harm and a disposition to do harm that one of them intention there can be no crime. (Viada, vol. 1, p. 16.) And, as we have
may very well be looked upon as the measure of the other. Since, therefore, shown above, the exceptions insisted upon by Viada are more apparent than
the guilt of a crime consists in the disposition to do harm, which the criminal real.
He who shall execute through reckless negligence an act that, if done with
Silvela, in discussing the doctrine herein laid down, says: malice, would constitute a grave crime, shall be punished with the penalty of
arresto mayor in its maximum degree, to prision correccional in its minimum
In fact, it is sufficient to remember the first article, which declared that where degrees if it shall constitute a less grave crime.
there is no intention there is no crime . . . in order to affirm, without fear of
mistake, that under our code there can be no crime if there is no act, an act He who in violation of the regulations shall commit a crime through simple
which must fall within the sphere of ethics if there is no moral injury. (Vol. 2, imprudence or negligence shall incur the penalty of arresto mayor in its
the Criminal Law, folio 169.) medium and maximum degrees.

And to the same effect are various decisions of the supreme court of Spain, In the application of these penalties the courts shall proceed according to
as, for example in its sentence of May 31, 1882, in which it made use of the their discretion, without being subject to the rules prescribed in article 81.
following language:
The provisions of this article shall not be applicable if the penalty prescribed
It is necessary that this act, in order to constitute a crime, involve all the for the crime is equal to or less than those contained in the first paragraph
malice which is supposed from the operation of the will and an intent to thereof, in which case the courts shall apply the next one thereto in the
cause the injury which may be the object of the crime. degree which they may consider proper.

And again in its sentence of March 16, 1892, wherein it held that The word "malice" in this article is manifestly substantially equivalent to the
"considering that, whatever may be the civil effects of the inscription of his words "criminal intent," and the direct inference from its provisions is that the
three sons, made by the appellant in the civil registry and in the parochial commission of the acts contemplated therein, in the absence of malice
church, there can be no crime because of the lack of the necessary element (criminal intent), negligence, and imprudence, does not impose any criminal
or criminal intention, which characterizes every action or ommission liability on the actor.
punished by law; nor is he guilty of criminal negligence."
The word "voluntary" as used in article 1 of the Penal Code would seem to
And to the same effect in its sentence of December 30, 1896, it made use of approximate in meaning the word "willful" as used in English and American
the following language: statute to designate a form of criminal intent. It has been said that while the
word "willful" sometimes means little more than intentionally or designedly,
. . . Considering that the moral element of the crime, that is, intent or malice yet it is more frequently understood to extent a little further and approximate
or their absence in the commission of an act defined and punished by law as the idea of the milder kind of legal malice; that is, it signifies an evil intent
criminal, is not a necessary question of fact submitted to the exclusive without justifiable excuse. In one case it was said to mean, as employed in a
judgment and decision of the trial court. statute in contemplation, "wantonly" or "causelessly;" in another, "without
reasonable grounds to believe the thing lawful." And Shaw, C. J., once said
That the author of the Penal Code deemed criminal intent or malice to be an that ordinarily in a statute it means "not merely `voluntarily' but with a bad
essential element of the various crimes and misdemeanors therein defined purpose; in other words, corruptly." In English and the American statutes
becomes clear also from an examination of the provisions of article 568, defining crimes "malice," "malicious," "maliciously," and "malice aforethought"
which are as follows: are words indicating intent, more purely technical than "willful" or willfully,"
but "the difference between them is not great;" the word "malice" not often
being understood to require general malevolence toward a particular
individual, and signifying rather the intent from our legal justification. mankind keeps this doctrine among its jewels. In times of excitement, when
(Bishop's New Criminal Law, vol. 1, secs. 428 and 429, and cases cited.) vengeance takes the place of justice, every guard around the innocent is cast
down. But with the return of reason comes the public voice that where the
But even in the absence of express words in a statute, setting out a condition mind is pure, he who differs in act from his neighbors does not offend. And —
in the definition of a crime that it be committed "voluntarily," willfully,"
"maliciously" "with malice aforethought," or in one of the various modes In the spontaneous judgment which springs from the nature given by God to
generally construed to imply a criminal intent, we think that reasoning from man, no one deems another to deserve punishment for what he did from an
general principles it will always be found that with the rare exceptions upright mind, destitute of every form of evil. And whenever a person is made
hereinafter mentioned, to constitute a crime evil intent must combine with an to suffer a punishment which the community deems not his due, so far from
act. Mr. Bishop, who supports his position with numerous citations from the its placing an evil mark upon him, it elevates him to the seat of the martyr.
decided cases, thus forcely present this doctrine: Even infancy itself spontaneously pleads the want of bad intent in justification
of what has the appearance of wrong, with the utmost confidence that the
In no one thing does criminal jurisprudence differ more from civil than in the plea, if its truth is credited, will be accepted as good. Now these facts are
rule as to the intent. In controversies between private parties the quo animo only the voice of nature uttering one of her immutable truths. It is, then, the
with which a thing was done is sometimes important, not always; but crime doctrine of the law, superior to all other doctrines, because first in nature
proceeds only from a criminal mind. So that — from which the law itself proceeds, that no man is to be punished as a
criminal unless his intent is wrong. (Bishop's New Criminal Law, vol. 1, secs.
There can be no crime, large or small, without an evil mind. In other words, 286 to 290.)
punishment is the sentence of wickedness, without which it can not be. And
neither in philosophical speculation nor in religious or mortal sentiment would Compelled by necessity, "the great master of all things," an apparent
any people in any age allow that a man should be deemed guilty unless his departure from this doctrine of abstract justice result from the adoption of the
mind was so. It is therefore a principle of our legal system, as probably it is of arbitrary rule that Ignorantia juris non excusat ("Ignorance of the law excuses
every other, that the essence of an offense is the wrongful intent, without no man"), without which justice could not be administered in our tribunals;
which it can not exists. We find this doctrine confirmed by — and compelled also by the same doctrine of necessity, the courts have
recognized the power of the legislature to forbid, in a limited class of cases,
Legal maxims. — The ancient wisdom of the law, equally with the modern, is the doing of certain acts, and to make their commission criminal without
distinct on this subject. It consequently has supplied to us such maxims as regard to the intent of the doer. Without discussing these exceptional cases
Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea, "the act itself does not make man at length, it is sufficient here to say that the courts have always held that
guilty unless his intention were so;" Actus me incito factus non est meus unless the intention of the lawmaker to make the commission of certain acts
actus, "an act done by me against my will is not my act;" and others of the criminal without regard to the intent of the doer is clear and beyond question
like sort. In this, as just said, criminal jurisprudence differs from civil. So also the statute will not be so construed (cases cited in Cyc., vol. 12, p. 158, notes
— 76 and 77); and the rule that ignorance of the law excuses no man has been
said not to be a real departure from the law's fundamental principle that
Moral science and moral sentiment teach the same thing. "By reference to crime exists only where the mind is at fault, because "the evil purpose need
the intention, we inculpate or exculpate others or ourselves without any not be to break the law, and if suffices if it is simply to do the thing which the
respect to the happiness or misery actually produced. Let the result of an law in fact forbids." (Bishop's New Criminal Law, sec. 300, and cases cited.)
action be what it may, we hold a man guilty simply on the ground of intention;
or, on the dame ground, we hold him innocent." The calm judgment of
But, however this may be, there is no technical rule, and no pressing
necessity therefore, requiring mistake in fact to be dealt with otherwise that in The common illustration in the American and English textbooks of the
strict accord with the principles of abstract justice. On the contrary, the application of this rule is the case where a man, masked and disguised as a
maxim here is Ignorantia facti excusat ("Ignorance or mistake in point of fact footpad, at night and on a lonely road, "holds up" his friends in a spirit of
is, in all cases of supposed offense, a sufficient excuse"). (Brown's Leg. mischief, and with leveled pistol demands his money or his life, but is killed
Max., 2d ed., 190.) by his friend under the mistaken belief that the attack is a real one, that the
pistol leveled at his head is loaded, and that his life and property are in
Since evil intent is in general an inseparable element in every crime, any imminent danger at the hands of the aggressor. No one will doubt that if the
such mistake of fact as shows the act committed to have proceeded from no facts were such as the slayer believed them to be he would be innocent of
sort of evil in the mind necessarily relieves the actor from criminal liability the commission of any crime and wholly exempt from criminal liability,
provided always there is no fault or negligence on his part; and as laid down although if he knew the real state of the facts when he took the life of his
by Baron Parke, "The guilt of the accused must depend on the friend he would undoubtedly be guilty of the crime of homicide or
circumstances as they appear to him." (Reg. vs. Thurborn, 1 Den. C., 387; P. assassination. Under such circumstances, proof of his innocent mistake of
vs. Anderson, 44 Cal.., 65; P. vs. Lamb, 54 Barb., 342; Yates vs. P., 32 N. the facts overcomes the presumption of malice or criminal intent, and (since
Y., 509; Patterson vs. P., 46 Barb., 625; Reg. vs. Cohen, 8 Cox C. C., 41; P. malice or criminal intent is a necessary ingredient of the "act punished by
vs. Miles, 55 Cal., 207, 209; Nalley vs. S., 28 Tex. Ap., 387.) That is to say, law" in cases of homicide or assassination) overcomes at the same time the
the question as to whether he honestly, in good faith, and without fault or presumption established in article 1 of the code, that the "act punished by
negligence fell into the mistake is to be determined by the circumstances as law" was committed "voluntarily."
they appeared to him at the time when the mistake was made, and the effect
which the surrounding circumstances might reasonably be expected to have Parson, C.J., in the Massachusetts court, once said:
on his mind, in forming the intent, criminal or other wise, upon which he
acted. If the party killing had reasonable grounds for believing that the person slain
had a felonious design against him, and under that supposition killed him,
If, in language not uncommon in the cases, one has reasonable cause to although it should afterwards appear that there was no such design, it will not
believe the existence of facts which will justify a killing — or, in terms more be murder, but it will be either manslaughter or excusable homicide,
nicely in accord with the principles on which the rule is founded, if without according to the degree of caution used and the probable grounds of such
fault or carelessness he does believe them — he is legally guiltless of the belief. (Charge to the grand jury in Selfridge's case, Whart, Hom., 417, 418,
homicide; though he mistook the facts, and so the life of an innocent person Lloyd's report of the case, p.7.)
is unfortunately extinguished. In other words, and with reference to the right
of self-defense and the not quite harmonious authorities, it is the doctrine of In this case, Parker, J., charging the petit jury, enforced the doctrine as
reason and sufficiently sustained in adjudication, that notwithstanding some follows:
decisions apparently adverse, whenever a man undertakes self-defense, he
is justified in acting on the facts as they appear to him. If, without fault or A, in the peaceable pursuit of his affairs, sees B rushing rapidly toward him,
carelessness, he is misled concerning them, and defends himself correctly with an outstretched arms and a pistol in his hand, and using violent
according to what he thus supposes the facts to be the law will not punish menaces against his life as he advances. Having approached near enough in
him though they are in truth otherwise, and he was really no occassion for the same attitude, A, who has a club in his hand, strikes B over the head
the extreme measures. (Bishop's New Criminal Law, sec. 305, and large before or at the instant the pistol is discharged; and of the wound B dies. It
array of cases there cited.) turns out the pistol was loaded with powder only, and that the real design of
B was only to terrify A. Will any reasonable man say that A is more criminal her child, was attacked, struck, and beaten, without being able to distinguish
that he would have been if there had been a bullet in the pistol? Those who with which they might have executed their criminal intent, because of the
hold such doctrine must require that a man so attacked must, before he there was no other than fire light in the room, and considering that in such a
strikes the assailant, stop and ascertain how the pistol is loaded — a doctrine situation and when the acts executed demonstrated that they might endanger
which would entirely take away the essential right of self-defense. And when his existence, and possibly that of his wife and child, more especially
it is considered that the jury who try the cause, and not the party killing, are because his assailant was unknown, he should have defended himself, and
to judge of the reasonable grounds of his apprehension, no danger can be in doing so with the same stick with which he was attacked, he did not
supposed to flow from this principle. (Lloyd's Rep., p. 160.) exceed the limits of self-defense, nor did he use means which were not
rationally necessary, particularly because the instrument with which he killed
To the same effect are various decisions of the supreme court of Spain, cited was the one which he took from his assailant, and was capable of producing
by Viada, a few of which are here set out in full because the facts are death, and in the darkness of the house and the consteration which naturally
somewhat analogous to those in the case at bar. resulted from such strong aggression, it was not given him to known or
distinguish whether there was one or more assailants, nor the arms which
QUESTION III. When it is shown that the accused was sitting at his hearth, at they might bear, not that which they might accomplish, and considering that
night, in company only of his wife, without other light than reflected from the the lower court did not find from the accepted facts that there existed rational
fire, and that the man with his back to the door was attending to the fire, necessity for the means employed, and that it did not apply paragraph 4 of
there suddenly entered a person whom he did not see or know, who struck article 8 of the Penal Code, it erred, etc." (Sentence of supreme court of
him one or two blows, producing a contusion on the shoulder, because of Spain, February 28, 1876.) (Viada, Vol. I, p. 266.) .
which he turned, seized the person and took from his the stick with which he
had undoubtedly been struck, and gave the unknown person a blow, QUESTION XIX. A person returning, at night, to his house, which was
knocking him to the floor, and afterwards striking him another blow on the situated in a retired part of the city, upon arriving at a point where there was
head, leaving the unknown lying on the floor, and left the house. It turned out no light, heard the voice of a man, at a distance of some 8 paces, saying:
the unknown person was his father-in-law, to whom he rendered assistance "Face down, hand over you money!" because of which, and almost at the
as soon as he learned his identity, and who died in about six days in same money, he fired two shots from his pistol, distinguishing immediately
consequence of cerebral congestion resulting from the blow. The accused, the voice of one of his friends (who had before simulated a different voice)
who confessed the facts, had always sustained pleasant relations with his saying, "Oh! they have killed me," and hastening to his assistance, finding
father-in-law, whom he visited during his sickness, demonstrating great grief the body lying upon the ground, he cried, "Miguel, Miguel, speak, for God's
over the occurrence. Shall he be considered free from criminal responsibility, sake, or I am ruined," realizing that he had been the victim of a joke, and not
as having acted in self-defense, with all the circumstances related in receiving a reply, and observing that his friend was a corpse, he retired from
paragraph 4, article 8, of the Penal Code? The criminal branch of the the place. Shall he be declared exempt in toto from responsibility as the
Audiencia of Valladolid found that he was an illegal aggressor, without author of this homicide, as having acted in just self-defense under the
sufficient provocation, and that there did not exists rational necessity for the circumstances defined in paragraph 4, article 8, Penal Code? The criminal
employment of the force used, and in accordance with articles 419 and 87 of branch of the Audiencia of Malaga did not so find, but only found in favor of
the Penal Code condemned him to twenty months of imprisonment, with the accused two of the requisites of said article, but not that of the
accessory penalty and costs. Upon appeal by the accused, he was acquitted reasonableness of the means employed to repel the attack, and, therefore,
by the supreme court, under the following sentence: "Considering, from the condemned the accused to eight years and one day of prison mayor, etc.
facts found by the sentence to have been proven, that the accused was The supreme court acquitted the accused on his appeal from this sentence,
surprised from behind, at night, in his house beside his wife who was nursing holding that the accused was acting under a justifiable and excusable
mistake of fact as to the identity of the person calling to him, and that under imminent danger which he believe threatened his person and his property
the circumstances, the darkness and remoteness, etc., the means employed and the property under his charge.
were rational and the shooting justifiable. (Sentence supreme court, March
17, 1885.) (Viada, Vol. I, p. 136.) The judgment of conviction and the sentence imposed by the trial court
should be reversed, and the defendant acquitted of the crime with which he
QUESTION VI. The owner of a mill, situated in a remote spot, is awakened, is charged and his bail bond exonerated, with the costs of both instance de
at night, by a large stone thrown against his window — at this, he puts his oficio. So ordered.
head out of the window and inquires what is wanted, and is answered "the
delivery of all of his money, otherwise his house would be burned" — Johnson Moreland and Elliott, JJ., concur.
because of which, and observing in an alley adjacent to the mill four Arellano, C.J., and Mapa, J., dissent.
individuals, one of whom addressed him with blasphemy, he fired his pistol at
one the men, who, on the next morning was found dead on the same spot.
Shall this man be declared exempt from criminal responsibility as having Separate Opinions
acted in just self-defense with all of the requisites of law? The criminal
branch of the requisites of law? The criminal branch of the Audiencia of TORRES, J., dissenting:
Zaragoza finds that there existed in favor of the accused a majority of the
requisites to exempt him from criminal responsibility, but not that of The writer, with due respect to the opinion of the majority of the court,
reasonable necessity for the means, employed, and condemned the accused believes that, according to the merits of the case, the crime of homicide by
to twelve months of prision correctional for the homicide committed. Upon reckless negligence, defined and punishes in article 568 of the Penal Code,
appeal, the supreme court acquitted the condemned, finding that the was committed, inasmuch as the victim was wilfully (voluntariomente) killed,
accused, in firing at the malefactors, who attack his mill at night in a remote and while the act was done without malice or criminal intent it was, however,
spot by threatening robbery and incendiarism, was acting in just self-defense executed with real negligence, for the acts committed by the deceased could
of his person, property, and family. (Sentence of May 23, 1877). (I Viada, p. not warrant the aggression by the defendant under the erroneous belief on
128.) the part of the accused that the person who assaulted him was a malefactor;
the defendant therefore incurred responsibility in attacking with a knife the
A careful examination of the facts as disclosed in the case at bar convinces person who was accustomed to enter said room, without any justifiable
us that the defendant Chinaman struck the fatal blow alleged in the motive.
information in the firm belief that the intruder who forced open the door of his
sleeping room was a thief, from whose assault he was in imminent peril, both By reason of the nature of the crime committed, in the opinion of the
of his life and of his property and of the property committed to his charge; undersigned the accused should be sentenced to the penalty of one year and
that in view of all the circumstances, as they must have presented one month of prision correctional, to suffer the accessory penalties provided
themselves to the defendant at the time, he acted in good faith, without in article 61, and to pay an indemnify of P1,000 to the heirs of the deceased,
malice, or criminal intent, in the belief that he was doing no more than with the costs of both instances, thereby reversing the judgment appealed
exercising his legitimate right of self-defense; that had the facts been as he from.
believed them to be he would have been wholly exempt from criminal liability
on account of his act; and that he can not be said to have been guilty of G.R. No. L-47722 July 27, 1943
negligence or recklessness or even carelessness in falling into his mistake
as to the facts, or in the means adopted by him to defend himself from the THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs. house where Irene was supposedly living. When this group arrived at Irene's
ANTONIO Z. OANIS and ALBERTO GALANTA, defendants-appellants. house, Oanis approached one Brigida Mallare, who was then stripping
banana stalks, and asked her where Irene's room was. Brigida indicated the
Antonio Z. Oanis in his own behalf. place and upon further inquiry also said that Irene was sleeping with her
Maximo L. Valenzuela for appellant Galanta. paramour. Brigida trembling, immediately returned to her own room which
Acting Solicitor-General Ibañez and Assistant Attorney Torres for appellee. was very near that occupied by Irene and her paramour. Defendants Oanis
and Galanta then went to the room of Irene, and an seeing a man sleeping
MORAN, J.: with his back towards the door where they were, simultaneously or
successively fired at him with their .32 and .45 caliber revolvers. Awakened
Charged with the crime of murder of one Serapio Tecson, the accused by the gunshots, Irene saw her paramour already wounded, and looking at
Antonio Z. Oanis and Alberto Galanta, chief of police of Cabanatuan and the door where the shots came, she saw the defendants still firing at him.
corporal of the Philippine Constabulary, respectively, were, after due trial, Shocked by the entire scene. Irene fainted; it turned out later that the person
found guilty by the lower court of homicide through reckless imprudence and shot and killed was not the notorious criminal Anselmo Balagtas but a
were sentenced each to an indeterminate penalty of from one year and six peaceful and innocent citizen named Serapio Tecson, Irene's paramour. The
months to two years and two months of prison correccional and to indemnify Provincial Inspector, informed of the killing, repaired to the scene and when
jointly and severally the heirs of the deceased in the amount of P1,000. he asked as to who killed the deceased. Galanta, referring to himself and to
Defendants appealed separately from this judgment. Oanis, answered: "We two, sir." The corpse was thereafter brought to the
provincial hospital and upon autopsy by Dr. Ricardo de Castro, multiple
In the afternoon of December 24, 1938. Captain Godofredo Monsod, gunshot wounds inflicted by a .32 and a .45 caliber revolvers were found on
Constabulary Provincial Inspector at Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, received Tecson's body which caused his death.
from Major Guido a telegram of the following tenor: "Information received
escaped convict Anselmo Balagtas with bailarina and Irene in Cabanatuan These are the facts as found by the trial court and fully supported by the
get him dead or alive." Captain Monsod accordingly called for his first evidence, particularly by the testimony of Irene Requinea. Appellants gave,
sergeant and asked that he be given four men. Defendant corporal Alberto however, a different version of the tragedy. According to Appellant Galanta,
Galanta, and privates Nicomedes Oralo, Venancio Serna and D. Fernandez, when he and chief of police Oanis arrived at the house, the latter asked
upon order of their sergeant, reported at the office of the Provincial Inspector Brigida where Irene's room was. Brigida indicated the place, and upon further
where they were shown a copy of the above-quoted telegram and a inquiry as to the whereabouts of Anselmo Balagtas, she said that he too was
newspaper clipping containing a picture of Balagtas. They were instructed to sleeping in the same room. Oanis went to the room thus indicated and upon
arrest Balagtas and, if overpowered, to follow the instruction contained in the opening the curtain covering the door, he said: "If you are Balagtas, stand
telegram. The same instruction was given to the chief of police Oanis who up." Tecson, the supposed Balagtas, and Irene woke up and as the former
was likewise called by the Provincial Inspector. When the chief of police was was about to sit up in bed. Oanis fired at him. Wounded, Tecson leaned
asked whether he knew one Irene, a bailarina, he answered that he knew towards the door, and Oanis receded and shouted: "That is Balagtas."
one of loose morals of the same name. Upon request of the Provincial Galanta then fired at Tecson.
Inspector, the chief of police tried to locate some of his men to guide the
constabulary soldiers in ascertaining Balagtas' whereabouts, and failing to On the other hand, Oanis testified that after he had opened the curtain
see anyone of them he volunteered to go with the party. The Provincial covering the door and after having said, "if you are Balagtas stand up."
Inspector divided the party into two groups with defendants Oanis and Galanta at once fired at Tecson, the supposed Balagtas, while the latter was
Galanta, and private Fernandez taking the route to Rizal street leading to the still lying on bed, and continued firing until he had exhausted his bullets: that
it was only thereafter that he, Oanis, entered the door and upon seeing the And the question is whether or not they may, upon such fact, be held
supposed Balagtas, who was then apparently watching and picking up responsible for the death thus caused to Tecson. It is contended that, as
something from the floor, he fired at him. appellants acted in innocent mistake of fact in the honest performance of
their official duties, both of them believing that Tecson was Balagtas, they
The trial court refused to believe the appellants. Their testimonies are incur no criminal liability. Sustaining this theory in part, the lower court held
certainly incredible not only because they are vitiated by a natural urge to and so declared them guilty of the crime of homicide through reckless
exculpate themselves of the crime, but also because they are materially imprudence. We are of the opinion, however, that, under the circumstances
contradictory. Oasis averred that be fired at Tecson when the latter was of the case, the crime committed by appellants is murder through specially
apparently watching somebody in an attitudes of picking up something from mitigated by circumstances to be mentioned below.
the floor; on the other hand, Galanta testified that Oasis shot Tecson while
the latter was about to sit up in bed immediately after he was awakened by a In support of the theory of non-liability by reasons of honest mistake of fact,
noise. Galanta testified that he fired at Tecson, the supposed Balagtas, when appellants rely on the case of U.S. v. Ah Chong, 15 Phil., 488. The maxim is
the latter was rushing at him. But Oanis assured that when Galanta shot ignorantia facti excusat, but this applies only when the mistake is committed
Tecson, the latter was still lying on bed. It is apparent from these without fault or carelessness. In the Ah Chong case, defendant therein after
contradictions that when each of the appellants tries to exculpate himself of having gone to bed was awakened by someone trying to open the door. He
the crime charged, he is at once belied by the other; but their mutual called out twice, "who is there," but received no answer. Fearing that the
incriminating averments dovetail with and corroborate substantially, the intruder was a robber, he leaped from his bed and called out again., "If you
testimony of Irene Requinea. It should be recalled that, according to enter the room I will kill you." But at that precise moment, he was struck by a
Requinea, Tecson was still sleeping in bed when he was shot to death by chair which had been placed against the door and believing that he was then
appellants. And this, to a certain extent, is confirmed by both appellants being attacked, he seized a kitchen knife and struck and fatally wounded the
themselves in their mutual recriminations. According, to Galanta, Oanis shot intruder who turned out to be his room-mate. A common illustration of
Tecson when the latter was still in bed about to sit up just after he was innocent mistake of fact is the case of a man who was marked as a footpad
awakened by a noise. And Oanis assured that when Galanta shot Tecson, at night and in a lonely road held up a friend in a spirit of mischief, and with
the latter was still lying in bed. Thus corroborated, and considering that the leveled, pistol demanded his money or life. He was killed by his friend under
trial court had the opportunity to observe her demeanor on the stand, we the mistaken belief that the attack was real, that the pistol leveled at his head
believe and so hold that no error was committed in accepting her testimony was loaded and that his life and property were in imminent danger at the
and in rejecting the exculpatory pretensions of the two appellants. hands of the aggressor. In these instances, there is an innocent mistake of
Furthermore, a careful examination of Irene's testimony will show not only fact committed without any fault or carelessness because the accused,
that her version of the tragedy is not concocted but that it contains all indicia having no time or opportunity to make a further inquiry, and being pressed by
of veracity. In her cross-examination, even misleading questions had been circumstances to act immediately, had no alternative but to take the facts as
put which were unsuccessful, the witness having stuck to the truth in every they then appeared to him, and such facts justified his act of killing. In the
detail of the occurrence. Under these circumstances, we do not feel instant case, appellants, unlike the accused in the instances cited, found no
ourselves justified in disturbing the findings of fact made by the trial court. circumstances whatsoever which would press them to immediate action. The
person in the room being then asleep, appellants had ample time and
The true fact, therefore, of the case is that, while Tecson was sleeping in his opportunity to ascertain his identity without hazard to themselves, and could
room with his back towards the door, Oanis and Galanta, on sight, fired at even effect a bloodless arrest if any reasonable effort to that end had been
him simultaneously or successively, believing him to be Anselmo Balagtas made, as the victim was unarmed, according to Irene Requinea. This,
but without having made previously any reasonable inquiry as to his identity. indeed, is the only legitimate course of action for appellants to follow even if
the victim was really Balagtas, as they were instructed not to kill Balagtas at
sight but to arrest him, and to get him dead or alive only if resistance or The crime committed by appellants is not merely criminal negligence, the
aggression is offered by him. killing being intentional and not accidental. In criminal negligence, the injury
caused to another should be unintentional, it being simply the incident of
Although an officer in making a lawful arrest is justified in using such force as another act performed without malice. (People vs. Sara, 55 Phil., 939). In the
is reasonably necessary to secure and detain the offender, overcome his words of Viada, "para que se celifique un hecho de imprudencia es preciso
resistance, prevent his escape, recapture him if he escapes, and protect que no haya mediado en el malicia ni intencion alguna de dañar; existiendo
himself from bodily harm (People vs. Delima, 46 Phil, 738), yet he is never esa intencion, debera calificarse el hecho del delito que ha producido, por
justified in using unnecessary force or in treating him with wanton violence, mas que no haya sido la intencion del agente el causar un mal de tanta
or in resorting to dangerous means when the arrest could be effected gravedad como el que se produjo." (Tomo 7, Viada Codigo Penal
otherwise (6 C.J.S., par. 13, p. 612). The doctrine is restated in the new Comentado, 5.a ed. pag. 7). And, as once held by this Court, a deliberate
Rules of Court thus: "No unnecessary or unreasonable force shall be used in intent to do an unlawful act is essentially inconsistent with the idea of
making an arrest, and the person arrested shall not be subject to any greater reckless imprudence (People vs. Nanquil, 43 Phil., 232; People vs. Bindor,
restraint than is necessary for his detention." (Rule 109, sec. 2, par. 2). And a 56 Phil., 16), and where such unlawful act is wilfully done, a mistake in the
peace officer cannot claim exemption from criminal liability if he uses identity of the intended victim cannot be considered as reckless imprudence
unnecessary force or violence in making an arrest (5 C.J., p. 753; U.S. vs. (People vs. Gona, 54 Phil., 605) to support a plea of mitigated liability.
Mendoza, 2 Phil., 109). It may be true that Anselmo Balagtas was a
notorious criminal, a life-termer, a fugitive from justice and a menace to the As the deceased was killed while asleep, the crime committed is murder with
peace of the community, but these facts alone constitute no justification for the qualifying circumstance of alevosia. There is, however, a mitigating
killing him when in effecting his arrest, he offers no resistance or in fact no circumstance of weight consisting in the incomplete justifying circumstance
resistance can be offered, as when he is asleep. This, in effect, is the defined in article 11, No. 5, of the Revised Penal Code. According to such
principle laid down, although upon different facts, in U.S. vs. Donoso (3 Phil., legal provision, a person incurs no criminal liability when he acts in the
234, 242). fulfillment of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right or office. There are two
requisites in order that the circumstance may be taken as a justifying one: (a)
It is, however, suggested that a notorious criminal "must be taken by storm" that the offender acted in the performance of a duty or in the lawful exercise
without regard to his right to life which he has by such notoriety already of a right; and (b) that the injury or offense committed be the necessary
forfeited. We may approve of this standard of official conduct where the consequence of the due performance of such duty or the lawful exercise of
criminal offers resistance or does something which places his captors in such right or office. In the instance case, only the first requisite is present —
danger of imminent attack. Otherwise we cannot see how, as in the present appellants have acted in the performance of a duty. The second requisite is
case, the mere fact of notoriety can make the life of a criminal a mere trifle in wanting for the crime by them committed is not the necessary consequence
the hands of the officers of the law. Notoriety rightly supplies a basis for of a due performance of their duty. Their duty was to arrest Balagtas or to get
redoubled official alertness and vigilance; it never can justify precipitate him dead or alive if resistance is offered by him and they are overpowered.
action at the cost of human life. Where, as here, the precipitate action of the But through impatience or over-anxiety or in their desire to take no chances,
appellants has cost an innocent life and there exist no circumstances they have exceeded in the fulfillment of such duty by killing the person whom
whatsoever to warrant action of such character in the mind of a reasonably they believed to be Balagtas without any resistance from him and without
prudent man, condemnation — not condonation — should be the rule; making any previous inquiry as to his identity. According to article 69 of the
otherwise we should offer a premium to crime in the shelter of official Revised Penal Code, the penalty lower by one or two degrees than that
actuation. prescribed by law shall, in such case, be imposed.
Consequently, Oanis and Galanta were charged with having committed
For all the foregoing, the judgment is modified and appellants are hereby murder. The Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija, however, convicted them
declared guilty of murder with the mitigating circumstance above mentioned, only of homicide through reckless imprudence and sentenced them each to
and accordingly sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of from five (5) years suffer the indeterminate penalty of from 1 year and 6 months to 2 years and
of prision correctional to fifteen (15) years of reclusion temporal, with the 2 months of prision correctional, to jointly and severally indemnify the heirs of
accessories of the law, and to pay the heirs of the deceased Serapio Tecson Serapio Tecson in the amount of P1,000, and to pay the costs. Oanis and
jointly and severally an indemnity of P2,000, with costs. Galanta have appealed.

Yulo, C.J., Bocobo, Generoso and Lopez Vito, A., concur. In accomplishing the acts with which the appellants were charged, they
undoubtedly followed the order issued by the Constabulary authorities in
Manila requiring the Provincial Inspector in Cabanatuan to get Balagtas dead
Separate Opinions or alive, in the honest belief that Serapio Tecson was Anselmo Balagtas. As
the latter became a fugitive criminal, with revolvers in his possession and a
PARAS, J., dissenting: record that made him extremely dangerous and a public terror, the
Constabulary authorities were justified in ordering his arrest, whether dead or
Anselmo Balagtas, a life termer and notorious criminal, managed to escape alive. In view of said order and the danger faced by the appellants in carrying
and flee form Manila to the provinces. Receiving information to the effect that it out, they cannot be said to have acted feloniously in shooting the person
he was staying with one Irene in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, the office of the honestly believed by them to be the wanted man. Conscious of the fact that
Constabulary in Manila ordered the Provincial Inspector in Cabanatuan by Balagtas would rather kill than be captured, the appellants did not want to
telegram dispatched on December 25, 1938, to get Balagtas "dead or alive". take chances and should not be penalized for such prudence. On the
Among those assigned to the task of carrying out the said order, were contrary, they should be commended for their bravery and courage bordering
Antonio Z. Oanis, chief of police of Cabanatuan, and Alberto Galanta, a on recklessness because, without knowing or ascertaining whether the
Constabulary corporal, to whom the telegram received by the Provincial wanted man was in fact asleep in his room, they proceeded thereto without
Inspector and a newspaper picture of Balagtas were shown. Oanis, Galanta hesitation and thereby exposed their lives to danger.
and a Constabulary private, after being told by the Provincial Inspector to
gather information about Balagtas, "to arrest him and, if overpowered, to The Solicitor-General, however, contends that the appellants were
follow the instructions contained in the telegram," proceeded to the place authorized to use their revolvers only after being overpowered by Balagtas.
where the house of Irene was located. Upon arriving thereat, Oanis In the first place, the alleged instruction by the Provincial Inspector to that
approached Brigida Mallari, who was then gathering banana stalks in the effect, was in violation of the express order given by the Constabulary
yard, and inquired for the room of Irene. After Mallari had pointed out the authorities in Manila and which was shown to the appellants. In the second
room, she was asked by Oanis to tell where Irene's paramour, Balagtas, place, it would indeed be suicidal for the appellants or, for that matter, any
was, whereupon Mallari answered that he was sleeping with Irene. Upon agent of the authority to have waited until they have been overpowered
reaching the room indicated, Oanis and Galanta, after the former had before trying to put our such a character as Balagtas. In the third place, it is
shouted "Stand up, if you are Balagtas," started shooting the man who was immaterial whether or not the instruction given by the Provincial Inspector
found by them lying down beside a woman. The man was thereby killed, but was legitimate and proper, because the facts exist that the appellants acted
Balagtas was still alive, for it turned out that the person shot by Oanis and in conformity with the express order of superior Constabulary authorities, the
Galanta was one Serapio Tecson. legality or propriety of which is not herein questioned.
The theory of the prosecution has acquired some plausibility, though quite
psychological or sentimental, in view only of the fact that it was not Balagtas
who was actually killed, but an "innocent man . . . while he was deeply HONTIVEROS, J., dissenting:
asleep." Anybody's heart will be profoundly grieved by the trade, but in time
will be consoled by the realization that the life of Serapio Tecson was not According to the opinion of the majority, it is proper to follow the rule that a
vainly sacrificed, for the incident will always serve as a loud warning to any notorious criminal "must be taken by storm without regard to his life which he
one desiring to follow in the footsteps of Anselmo Balagtas that in due time has, by his conduct, already forfeited," whenever said criminal offers
the duly constituted authorities will, upon proper order, enforce the summary resistance or does something which places his captors in danger of imminent
forfeiture of his life. attack. Precisely, the situation which confronted the accused-appellants
Antonio Z. Oanis and Alberto Galanta in the afternoon of December 24,
In my opinion, therefore, the appellants are not criminally liable if the person 1938, was very similar to this. It must be remembered that both officers
killed by them was in fact Anselmo Balagtas for the reason that they did so in received instructions to get Balagtas "dead or alive" and according to the
the fulfillment of their duty and in obedience to an order issued by a superior attitude of not only the said appellants but also of Capt. Monsod,
for some lawful purpose (Revised Penal Code, art. 11, pars. 5 and 6). They constabulary provincial inspector of Nueva Ecija, it may be assumed that
also cannot be held criminally liable even if the person killed by them was not said instructions gave more emphasis to the first part; namely, to take him
Anselmo Balagtas, but Serapio Tecson, because they did so under an dead. It appears in the record that after the shooting, and having been
honest mistake of fact not due to negligence or bad faith. (U.S. vs. Ah informed of the case, Capt. Monsod stated that Oanis and Galanta might be
Chong, 15 Phil., 488). decorated for what they had done. That was when all parties concerned
honestly believed that the dead person was Balagtas himself, a dangerous
It is true that, under article 4 of the Revised Penal Code, criminal liability is criminal who had escaped from his guards and was supposedly armed with a
incurred by any person committing a felony although the wrongful act done .45 caliber pistol Brigida Mallari, the person whom the appellants met upon
be different from that which he intended; but said article is clearly arriving at the house of Irene Requinea, supposed mistress of Balagtas,
inapplicable since the killing of the person who was believed to be Balagtas informed them that said Balagtas was upstairs. Appellants found there
was, as already stated, not wrongful or felonious. asleep a man closely resembling the wanted criminal. Oanis said: If you are
Balagtas stand up," But the supposed criminal showed his intention to attack
The case of U.S. vs. Mendieta (34 Phil., 242), cited by the Solicitor-General, the appellants, a conduct easily explained by the fact that he should have felt
is not in point, inasmuch as the defendant therein, who intended to injure offended by the intrusion of persons in the room where he was peacefully
Hilario Lauigan with whom he had a quarrel, but killed another by mistake, lying down with his mistress. In such predicament, it was nothing but human
would not be exempted from criminal liability if he actually injured or killed on the part of the appellants to employ force and to make use of their
Hilario Lauigan, there being a malicious design on his part. The other case weapons in order to repel the imminent attack by a person who, according to
involved by the prosecution is U.S. vs. Donoso (3 Phil., 234). This is also not their belief, was Balagtas It was unfortunate, however that an innocent man
in point, as it appears that the defendants therein killed one Pedro Almasan was actually killed. But taking into consideration the facts of the case, it is,
after he had already surrendered and allowed himself to be bound and that according to my humble opinion, proper to apply herein the doctrine laid
the said defendants did not have lawful instructions from superior authorities down in the case of U.S. vs. Ah Chong (15 Phil., 488). In the instant case we
to capture Almasan dead or alive. have, as in the case supra, an innocent mistake of fact committed without
any fault or carelessness on the part of the accused, who having no time to
The appealed judgment should therefore be reversed and the appellants, make a further inquiry, had no alternative but to take the facts as they
Antonio Z. Oanis and Alberto Galanta, acquitted, with costs de oficio. appeared to them and act immediately.
The decision of the majority, in recognition of the special circumstances of Ni tratandose de la imbecilidad, ni de la locura, ni de la menor edad, ni del
this case which favored the accused-appellants, arrives at the conclusion que obra violentado por una fuerza inrresistible o impulsado por miedo
that an incomplete justifying circumstance may be invoked, and therefore, insuperable de un mal igual o mayor, o en cumplimiento de un deber, o en el
according to Article 69 of the Revised Penal Code, the imposable penalty ejercito legitimo de un derecho, oficio o cargo, o en virtud de obediencia
should be one which is lower by one or two degrees than that prescribed by debida, ni del que incurre en alguna omision hallandose impedido por causa
law. This incomplete justifying circumstance is that defined in Article 11, No. legitima o insuperable, puede tener aplicacion al articulo que comentamos. Y
5 of the Revised Penal Code, in favor of "a person who acts in the fulfillment la razon es obvia. En ninguna de estas execiones hay pluralidad de
of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right or office." I believe that the requisitos. La irrespondabilidad depende de una sola condicion. Hay o no
application of this circumstance is not proper. Article 69 of the Revised Penal perturbacion de la razon; el autor del hecho es o no menor de nueve años;
Code provides as follows: existe o no violencia material o moral irresistible, etc., etc.; tal es lo que
respectivamente hay que examinar y resolver para declarar la culpabilidad o
Art. 69. Penalty to be imposed when the crime committed is not wholly inculpabilidad. Es, por lo tanto, imposible que acontezca lo que el texto que
excusable. — A penalty lower by one or two degrees than that prescribed by va al frente de estas lineas rquiere, para que se imponga al autor del hecho
law shall be imposed if the deed is not wholly excusable by reason of the la penalidad excepcional que establece; esto es, que falten algunos
lack of some of the conditions required to justify the same or to exempt from requisitos de los que la ley exige para eximir de responsabilidad, y que
criminal liability in the several cases mentioned in articles 11 and 12, concurran el mayor numero de ellos, toda vez que, en los casos referidos, la
provided that the majority of such conditions be present. The courts shall ley no exige multiples condiciones.
impose the penalty in the period which may be deemed proper, in view of the
number and nature of the conditions of exemption present or lacking. It must be taken into account the fact according to Article 69 a penalty lower
by one or two degrees than that prescribed by law shall be imposed if the
This provision has been copied almost verbatim from Article 84 of the old deed is not wholly excusable by reason of the lack of some of the conditions
Penal Code of the Philippines, and which was also taken from Article 87 of required by the law to justify the same or exempt from criminal liability. The
the Spanish Penal Code of 1870. word "conditions" should not be confused with the word "requisites". In
dealing with justifying circumstance No. 5 Judge Guevara states: "There are
Judge Guillermo Guevara, one of the members of the Committee created by two requisites in order that this circumstance may be taken into account: (a)
Administrative Order No. 94 of the Department of Justice for the drafting of That the offender acted in the performance of his duty or in the lawful
the Revised Penal Code, in commenting on Article 69, said that the justifying exercise of a right; and (b) That the injury or offense committed be the
circumstances and circumstances exempting from liability which are the necessary consequence of the performance of a duty or the lawful exercise
subject matter of this article are the following: self-defense, defense of of a right or office." It is evident that these two requisites concur in the
relatives, defense of strangers, state of necessity and injury caused by mere present case if we consider the intimate connection between the order given
accident. Accordingly, justifying circumstance No. 5 of Article 11 dealing with to the appellant by Capt. Monsod, the showing to them of the telegram from
the fulfillment of a duty or the lawful exercise of a right, calling or office, Manila to get Balagtas who was with a bailarina named Irene, the conduct of
cannot be placed within its scope. said appellants in questioning Brigida Mallari and giving a warning to the
supposed criminal when both found him with Irene, and the statement made
The eminent treatiser of criminal law Mr. Groizard, in his commentary of by Capt. Monsod after the shooting.
Article 87 of the Spanish Penal Code of 1870 which is the source of Article
69 of our Code says:
If appellant Oanis is entitled to a reversal of the decision of the court below, autopsy appeared to have been caused by bullets of a lesser caliber. In
there are more reasons in favor of the acquittal of appellant Galanta. consequence, it can be stated that no bullet fired by Galanta did ever hit or
According to the evidence no bullet from the gun fired by this accused ever kill Serapio Tecson and therefore there is no reason why he should be
hit Serapio Tecson. Galanta was armed in the afternoon of December 24, declared criminally responsible for said death.
1938, with a .45 caliber revolver (Exhibit L). He so testified and was
corroborated by the unchallenged testimony of his superior officer Sgt. G.R. No. 207175 November 26, 2014
Valeriano Serafica. According to this witness, since Galanta was made a
corporal of the Constabulary he was given, as part of his equipment, revolver EDUARDO MAGSUMBOL, Petitioner,
Exhibit L with a serial No. 37121. This gun had been constantly used by vs.
Galanta, and, according to Sgt. Pedro Marasigan, who accompanied said PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
accused when he took it from his trunk in the barracks on the night of
December 24, 1938, upon order of Captain Monsod, it was the same revolver DECISION
which was given to the witness with five .45 caliber bullets and one empty
shell. Fourteen unused bullets were also taken from Galanta by Sergeant MENDOZA, J.:
Serafica, thus completing his regular equipment of twenty bullets which he
had on the morning of December 24, 1938, when Sergeant Serafica made This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to reverse and set aside the
the usual inspection of the firearms in the possession of the non- December 14, 2012 Decision1 and the May 6, 2013 Resolution2 of the Court
commissioned officers and privates of the constabulary post at Cabanatuan. of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 34431 filed by Eduardo Magsumbol
Galanta stated that he had fired only one shot and missed. This testimony is (Magsumbol), questioning his conviction for Theft.
corroborated by that of a ballistic expert who testified that bullets exhibits F
and O, — the first being extracted from the head of the deceased, causing The Facts
wound No. 3 of autopsy report Exhibit C and the second found at the place of
the shooting, — had not been fired from revolver Exhibit L nor from any other Petitioner Magsumbol, together with Erasmo Magsino (Mogsino). Apolonio
revolver of the constabulary station in Cabanatuan. It was impossible for the Inanoria (Jnanoria), and Bonifacio Ramirez (Ramirez). vvas charged with the
accused Galanta to have substituted his revolver because when Exhibit L crime of Theft in the Information, dated August 30, 2002, filed before the
was taken from him nobody in the barracks doubted that the deceased was Regional Trial Court of Lucena City, Branch 55 (RTC) and docketed as
none other than Balagtas. Moreover, Exhibit L was not out of order and Criminal Case No. 2002-1017. The Information indicting Magsumbol and his
therefore there was no reason why Galanta should carry along another gun, co-accused reads:
according to the natural course of things. On the other hand, aside from
wound No. 3 as above stated, no other wound may be said to have been That on or about the 1st day of February 2002, at Barangay Kinatihan I, in
caused by a .45 caliber revolver bullet. Doctor Castro's record gives the the Munipality of Candelaria, Province of Quezon, Philippines, and within the
conclusion that wound No. 2 must have been caused by a .45 caliber jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring
revolver bullet. Doctor Castro's record gives the conclusion that wound No. 2 and confederating together with seven (7) John Does whose true names and
must have been caused by a .45 caliber bullet, but inasmuch as the diameter real identities are still unknown and whose physical descriptions were not
of the wound's entrance was only 8 mm., the caliber should be .32 and not made known by available witnesses, and who are all still at large, and
.45, because according to the medico-legal expert who testified in this case, mutually helping one another, with intent togain and without the consent of
a bullet of a .45 caliber will produce a wound entrance with either 11 mm. or the owner, Menandro Avanzado, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
12 mm. diameter. All other wounds found by the surgeon who performed the feloniously cut, take, steal and carry away with them thirty three (33) coconut
trees from the coconut plantation of the said owner, valued at FORTY FOUR All the accused vehemently denied the charges against them. Ramirez and
THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED PESOS (₱44,400.00), Philippine currency, Magsumbol claimed that only the coconut trees which stood within the land
belonging to said Menandro Avanzado, to his damage and prejudice in the owned by Atanacio, a relative of the private complainant, were cut down on
aforesaid amount.3 that morning of February 1, 2002. Ramirez added that he was a coco lumber
trader and that Atanacio offered to sell the coconut trees planted on his lot.
Culled from the testimonies of prosecution witnesses Ernesto Caringal Magsumbol claimed that he took no part in the felling of the coconut trees but
(Caringal), private complainant Engr. Menandro Avanzado (Menandro), and merely supervised the same. He claimed that he did not receive any
SPO1 Florentino Manalo (SPO1 Manalo), it appears that at around 11:00 remuneration for the service he rendered or a share from the proceeds of the
o’clock in the morning of February 1, 2002, Caringal, the overseer of a one- coco lumbers sale. Inanoria likewise denied participation in the cutting down
hectare unregistered parcel of land located in Candelaria, Quezon, and co- of the coconut treesbut confirmed the presence of Magsumbol and Magsino
owned by Menandro, saw the four accused, along with seven others, cutting at the site to supervise the accomplishment of the work being done thereat.
down the coconut trees on the said property. Later, the men turned the felled Inanoria corroborated the narration of Magsumbol and Ramirez that all the
trees into coco lumber. Caringal did not attempt to stop the men from cutting felled trees were planted inside the lot owned by Atanacio. Inanoria intimated
down the coconut trees because he was outnumbered. Instead, Caringal left that Menandro included him in the complaint for theft due to his refusal to
the site and proceeded toSan Pablo City to inform Menandro about the accede to latter’s request for him to testify against his co-accused in relation
incident. to the present criminal charge.4

On February 3, 2002, Menandro and Caringal reported the incident to the Ruling of the RTC
police. Thereafter, the two, accompanied by SPO1 Manalo, went to the
coconut plantation only to discover that about thirty three (33) coconut trees On March 15, 2011, the RTC rendered its decision5 stating that the
(subject trees) had been cut down. The coco lumber were no longer in the prosecution was able to establish with certitude the guilt of all the accused for
area. They took photographs of the stumps left by the men. the crime of simple theft. The RTC rejected the defense of denial invoked by
the accused in the face of positive identification by Caringal pointing to them
The defense, on the other hand, presented Atanacio Avanzado as the perpetrators of the crime. It did not believe the testimony of Atanacio
(Atanacio),accused Ramirez, petitioner Magsumbol, Barangay Captain Pedro and even branded him as biased witness on account of his relationship with
Arguelles (Brgy. Captain Arguelles)and accused Inanoria, to substantiate its accused Magsino and Magsumbol. The trial court adjudged:
claim of innocence for all the accused.
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding all the accused Erasmo
Atanacio testified that he authorized his brothers-in-law, Magsino and Magsino, Apolonio Inanoria, Eduardo Magsumbol and Bonifacio Ramirez
Magsumbol, to cut down the coconut trees within the boundary of his guilty as charged and applying the Indeterminate sentence law, the court
property, which was adjacent to the land co-owned by Menandro. Atanacio hereby sentences them to suffer an imprisonment of 2 years, 4 months and 1
admitted that he had never set foot on his property for about 20 years day of Prision Correccional as minimum to 6 years and 1 day of Prision
already and that he was not present whenthe cutting incident happened. Mayor as maximum.

Defense witness Brgy. Captain Arguelles testified that on January 28, 2002, The accused are likewise directed to pay jointly and severally Engr.
Magsumbol, Magsino, Ramirez, and Inanoria came to his office seeking Menandro Avanzado and the other heirs of Norberto Avanzado the sum of
permission to cut down the coconut trees planted on the land of Atanacio. ₱13,200.00 representing the value of the 33 coconut trees they have cut and
sold to accused Ramirez.
SO ORDERED. SO ORDERED.7

Aggrieved, the accused appealed from the March 15, 2011 judgment of the The accused moved for reconsideration of the December 14, 2012 Decision
RTC before the CA insisting that the prosecution evidence did not meet the but their motion was denied by the CA on May 6, 2013.
quantum of proof necessary towarrant their conviction of the crime charged.
They posited that the RTC erred in failing to appreciate the lack of criminal Issues:
intent on their part to commit the crime of simple theft. They claimed that not
a scintilla of evidence was presented to prove the element of intent to gain.6 Bewailing his conviction, Magsumbolfiled the present petition before this
Court and imputes to the CA the following
Ruling of the CA
ERRORS:
In its assailed Decision, dated December 14, 2012, the CA sustained the
findings of facts and conclusions of law by the RTC and upheld the judgment THE HONORABLE COURT OFAPPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS
of conviction rendered against the accused. The CA was of the view, ERRORS OF LAW WHEN IT FOUND THE ACCUSED GUILTY OF THE
however, that the crime committed in this case would not fall under the CRIME OF THEFT UNDER ARTICLE 308 OF THE REVISED PENAL
general definition of theft under Article 308 of the Revised Penal Code CODE, IN THAT:
(RPC), but rather under paragraph (2) of the same provision which penalizes
theft of damaged property. The CA ruled that the RTC was correct in giving I
full faith and credence to the testimony of Caringal who was not shown to
have been motivated by any ill will to testify falsely against the accused. It NO COMPETENT EVIDENCEWAS ADDUCED BY THE PROSECUTION TO
agreed with the RTC that Atanacio’s testimony should not be given any PROVE THAT THE COCONUT TREES THAT WERE CUT WERE BEYOND
evidentiary weight in view of his relationship with Magsino and Magsumbol, THE PROPERTY OWNED BY ATANACIO AVANZADO; and
which provided sufficient reason for him to suppress or pervert the truth.
Anent the element of intent to gain, the CA stated that the mere fact that the II
accused cut the coconut trees on Menandro’s land and made them into coco
lumber, gave rise to the presumption that it was done with intent to gain. The MALICE AND INTENT TO GAIN, AS ELEMENTS OF THE CRIME OF
falloreads: THEFT, ARE NOT PRESENT IN THE CASE AT HAND.8

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appeal is hereby DENIED. The The Court’s Ruling
Decision dated March 15, 2011, of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 55,
Lucena City is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that the accused- The petition is impressed with merit.
appellants Erasmo Magsino, Apolonio Inanoria, Eduardo Magsumbol and
Bonifacio Ramirez are sentenced to suffer imprisonment of tw0 (2) years, It is a time-honored rule that the assessment of the trial court with regard to
four (4) months and one (1) day as minimum, to seven (7) years, four (4) the credibility of witnesses deserves the utmost respect, if not finality, for the
months and one (1) day, as maximum; and to pay jointly and severally reason that the trial judge has the prerogative, denied to appellate judges, of
private complainant Menandro Avanzado the amount of Thirteen Thousand observing the demeanor of the declarants in the course of their testimonies.
Two Hundred Pesos (₱13,200.00). Though it is true that the trial court’s evaluation of the credibility of witnesses
and their testimonies is entitled to great respect and will not be disturbed on There is no dispute that the land co-owned by Menandro is adjacent to the
appeal, this rule, however, is not a hard and fast one. The exception is land owned by Atanacio. The prosecution claimed that the thirty three (33)
observed if there is a showing that the trial judge overlooked, misunderstood, cut coconut trees were planted within the land co-owned by Menandro. The
or misapplied some factor circumstance of weight and substance that would defense, on the other hand, averred that only the coconut trees found within
have cast doubt on the guilt of the accused.9 The said exception apparently the land of Atanacio were felled by Magsumbol and his co-accused.
exists in the case at bench. Menandro testified that there were muniments that delimit the boundaries
between the adjacent lots11 while Atanacio claimed that there were none
It is the statutory definition that generally furnishes the elements of each and that "x" marks were just etched on the trunk of the trees to delineate the
crime under the RPC, while the elements in turn unravel the particular boundary of his land.12 Apart from the bare allegations of these witnesses,
requisite acts of execution and accompanying criminal intent. In the case at no concrete and competent evidence was adduced to substantiate their
bench, petitioner Magsumbol and his co-accused were convicted by the CA respective submissions. In view of such conflicting claims and considering
of the crime of theft of damaged property under paragraph (2) of Article 308 the meager evidence on hand, the Court cannot determine with certainty the
of the RPC which provides: owner of the 33 felled coconut trees. The uncertainty of the exact location of
the coconut trees negates the presenceof the criminal intent to gain.
Art. 308. Who are liable for theft.–: xxxx
At any rate, granting arguendo that the said coconut trees were within
Theft is likewise committed by: Menandro’s land, no malice or criminal intent could be rightfully attributed to
Magsumbol and his co-accused. The RTC and the CA overlooked one
1. xxxxx; important point in the present case, to wit: Magsumbol and his co-accused
went to Barangay KinatihanI, Candelaria, Quezon, to cut down the coconut
2. Any person who, after having maliciously damaged the property of trees belonging to Atanacio upon the latter’s instruction.
another, shall remove or make use of the fruits or object of the damage
caused by him; and xxx. Such fact was confirmed by Atanacio who narrated that due to financial
reversals, he sold all the coconut trees in his land to Ramirez, a coco lumber
[Emphasis Supplied] trader; that since he could not go to the site due to health reasons, he
authorized Magsumbol and Magsino to cut down his trees and to oversee the
To warrant a conviction under the aforecited provision for theft of damaged gathering of the felled trees; that he informed Menandro about this and even
property, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable that the accused offered to pay for the damages that he might have sustained as some of his
maliciously damaged the property belonging to another and, thereafter, (Menandro’s) trees could have been mistakenly cut down in the process; that
removed or used the fruits or object thereof, with intent to gain. Evidently, Menandro refused his offer of compensation and replied that a case had
theft of damaged property is an intentional felony for which criminal liability already been filed against the four accused; and that he tried to seek an
attaches only when it is shown that the malefactor acted with criminal intent audience again from Menandro, but the latter refused to talk to him
or malice. Criminal intent must be clearly established with the other elements anymore.13
of the crime; otherwise, no crime is committed.10 Was criminal intent
substantiated tojustify the conviction of Magsumbol and his co-accused? Both the RTC and the CA chose to brush aside the foregoing unrebutted
testimony of Atanacio for being unreliable and considered him a biased
It does not so appear in this case. witness simply because he is related by affinity to Magsumbol and Magsino.
Family relationship, however, does not by itself render a witness’ testimony
inadmissible or devoid of evidentiary weight.14 To warrant rejection of the effectively negated malice and criminal intent on their part. It defies reason
testimony of a relative or friend, it must be clearly shown that, independently that the accused would still approach the barangay captain if their real
of the relationship, the testimony was inherently improbable or defective, or intention was tosteal the coconut trees of Menandro. Besides, criminals
that improper or evil motives had moved the witness to incriminate the would usually execute their criminal activities clandestinely or through stealth
accused falsely.15 or strategy to avoid detection of the commission of a crime or a wrongdoing.

The relationship of Atanacio to the accused, per se, does not impair his The findings of this Court in this case should not create the mistaken
credibilty.1âwphi1 It bears stressing that while Magsumbol and Magsino are impression that the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses should always
Atanacio’s brothers-in-law, Menandro ishis cousin. Considering that both the be looked at with askance. The point is that courts should carefully scrutinize
accused and the accuser are Atanacio’s relatives, and purportedly both have the prosecution evidence to make sure that no innocent person is
bearing with regard to his decision, why would then Atanacio support one condemned. An allegation, or even a testimony, that an act was done should
over the other? The logical explanation could only be that Atanacio had never be hastily accepted as proof that it was really done. Evidence adduced
indeed ordered Magsumbol and Magsino to cut the trees on his land. The must be closely examined under the lens of a judicial microscope to ensure
Court is convinced that Atanacio was telling the truth. that conviction only flows from moral certainty that guilt has been established
by proof beyond reasonable doubt.
If, indeed, in the course of executing Atanacio’s instructions, Magsumbol and
his co-accused encroached on the land co-owned by Menandro, because Here, that quantum of proof has not been satisfied.1âwphi1 The prosecution
they missed the undetectable boundary between the two lots, and cut down miserably failed to establish proof beyond reasonable doubt that Magsumbol,
some of Menandro’s trees, such act merely constituted mistake or together with his co-accused, damaged the property or Menandro with malice
judgmental error. The following pronouncement in the case of Lecaroz vs. and deliberate intent and then removed the felled coconut trees from the
Sandiganbayan16 may serve as a guidepost, to wit: premises.

If what is proven is mere judgmental error on the part of the person Hence, we must reckon with a dictum of the law, in dubilis reus est
committing the act, no malice or criminal intent can be rightfully imputed to absolvendus. All doubts must be resolved in favor of the accused.
him. x x x. Ordinarily, evil intent must unite with an unlawful act for a crime to
exist. Actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit rea. There can be no crime when WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed December 14, 2012
the criminal mind is wanting. As a general rule, ignorance or mistake as to Decision and the May 6, 2013 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
particular facts, honest and real, will exempt the doer from felonious CR No. 34431 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner Eduardo
responsibility. The exception of course is neglect in the discharge of duty or Magsumbol is ACQUITTED on reasonable doubt.
indifference to consequences, which is equivalent to criminal intent, for in this
instance, the element of malicious intent is supplied by the element SO ORDERED.
ofnegligence and imprudence.17
JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA
[Emphasis supplied] Associate Justice

The criminal mind is indeed wanting in the situation where Magsumbol and WE CONCUR:
his co-accused even sought prior permission from Brgy. Captain Arguelles to
cut down the coconut trees which was done openly and during broad daylight ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice REYES, J.B.L., Actg. C.J.:
Chairperson
Direct appeal by the accused from an order of the Court of First
MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO Instance of Bulacan, in its Criminal Case No. 5243 (for serious physical
Associate Justice BIENVENIDO L. REYES* injuries and damage to property through reckless imprudence), overruling a
Associate Justice motion to quash on the ground of double jeopardy.
MARVIC M.V.F. LEONEN
Associate Justice Stripped to essentials, the case arose in this wise:

ATTESTATION The accused was driving a passenger bus of the La Mallorca


Company on July 23, 1962, along the MacArthur Highway in the municipality
I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in of Guiguinto, Bulacan. Allegedly because of his negligence — and
consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion or the recklessness, the vehicle driven by him struck and collided with the
Court's Division. passenger jeep of Sergio Lumidao, damaging said jeep and causing it to turn
turtle, and injuring its passengers. Six of the latter suffered slight physical
ANTONIO T. CARPIO injuries requiring medical attendance for 5 to 9 days: three other riders came
Associate Justice out with serious bodily injuries that needed medical attention for 30 to 45
Chairperson, Second Division days; while the jeep was damaged to the extent of P1,395.00.

CERTIFICATION A charge was filed against the accused-appellant, one for slight
physical injuries through reckless imprudence, in the Justice of the Peace
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Court of Guiguinto, for which he was tried and acquitted on December 16,
Chairperson's Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision 1963. Prior to this acquittal, however, the Provincial Fiscal of Bulacan filed in
had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer the Court of First Instance the information in the case now before us, for
of the opinion of the Court's Division. serious physical injuries, and damage to property through reckless
imprudence. Admittedly, both charges referred to the same highway collision.
MARIA LOURDES P.A. SERENO
Chief Justice When the accused was arraigned in the Court of First Instance, his
counsel moved to quash the charges on the ground that he had already been
G.R. No. L-25366 March 29, 1968 acquitted of the same offense by the Justice of the Peace Court. The
prosecution opposed the motion and the Court denied the motion quash.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, Unable to secure reconsideration, the accused appealed to this Court.
vs.
JOSE BUAN, accused-appellant. Sole issue before us, therefore, is whether the second case placed the
appellant twice in jeopardy for the same offense, and is barred by the
Office of the Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. previous acquittal.
Felipe C. Magat and Amado D. Dyoco for accused-appellant.
We agree with the appellant that the Court below erred in not
dismissing the information for "serious physical injuries and damage to As for the Spanish jurisprudence, Cuello Calon, in his Derecho Penal
property through reckless imprudence," in view of the appellant's previous (12th Ed.), Vol. I, p. 439, has this to say:1äwphï1.ñët
acquittal by the Justice of the Peace Court of Guiguinto, Bulacan, for the
same imprudence. Aun cuando de un solo hecho imprudente se originen males diversos,
como el hecho culposo es uno solo, existe un solo delito de imprudencia.
Reason and precedent both coincide in that once convicted or Esta es jurisprudencia constante del Tribunal Supremo. De acuerdo con esta
acquitted of a specific act of reckless imprudence, the accused may not be doctrinael automovilista imprudente que atropella y causa lesiones a dos
prosecuted again for that same act. For the essence of the quasi offense of personas y ademas daños, no respondera de dos delitos de lesiones y uno
criminal negligence under article 365 of the Revised Penal Code lies in the de daños por imprudencia, sino de un solo delito culposo.
execution of an imprudent or negligent act that, if intentionally done, would
be punishable as a felony. The law penalizes thus the negligent or careless The said author cites in support of the text the following decisions of
act, not the result thereof. The gravity of the consequence is only taken into the Supreme Court of Spain (footnotes 2 and 3).
account to determine the penalty, it does not qualify the substance of the
offense. And, as the careless act is single, whether the injurious result should 8 octubre 1887, 18 octubre 1927.
affect one person or several persons, the offense (criminal negligence)
remains one and the same, and can not be split into different crimes and Si con el hecho imprudente se causa la muerte de una persona y
prosecutions. This has been the constant ruling of the Spanish Supreme ademas se ocasionan daños, existe un solo hecho punible, pues uno solo
Court, and is also that of this Court in its most recent decisions on the matter. fue el acto, aun cuando deben apreciarse dos enorden a la responsabilidad
civil, 14 diciembre 1931 si a consecuencia de un solo acto imprudente se
Thus, in People vs. Silva, L-15974, January 30, 1962, where as the produjeron tres delitos, dos de homicidio y uno de daños, como todos son
result of the same vehicular accident one man died, two persons were consecuencia de un solo acto culposo, no cabe penarlos por separado, 2
seriously injured while another three suffered only slight physical injuries, we abril 1932.
ruled that the acquittal on a charge of slight physical injuries through reckless
imprudence, was a bar to another prosecution for homicide through reckless The Solicitor General stresses in his brief that the charge for slight
imprudence. In People vs. Diaz, L-6518, March 30, 1954, the ruling was that physical injuries through reckless imprudence could not be joined with the
the dismissal by the Municipal Court of a charge of reckless driving barred a accusation for serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence,
second information of damage to property through reckless imprudence because Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code allows only the complexing of
based on the same negligent act of the accused. In People vs, Belga, 100 grave or less grave felonies. This same argument was considered and
Phil. 996, dismissal of an information for physical injuries through needless rejected by this Court in the case of People vs. Diaz, supra:
imprudence as a result of a collision between two automobiles was declared,
to block two other prosecutions, one for damage to property through reckless ... The prosecution's contention might be true. But neither was the
imprudence and another for multiple physical injuries arising from the same prosecution obliged to first prosecute the accused for slight physical injuries
collision. The same doctrine was reasserted in Yap vs. Lutero, et al., L- through reckless imprudence before pressing the more serious charge of
12669, April 30, 1959. In none of the cases cited did the Supreme Court homicide with serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence. Having
regard as material that the various offenses charged for the same occurrence first prosecuted the defendant for the lesser offense in the Justice of the
were triable in Courts of differing category, or that the complainants were not Peace Court of Meycauayan, Bulacan, which acquitted the defendant, the
the individuals. prosecuting attorney is not now in a position to press in this case the more
serious charge of homicide with serious physical injuries through reckless Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of Cavite, under an information which
imprudence which arose out of the same alleged reckless imprudence of reads as follows:
which the defendant has been previously cleared by the inferior court.
That on or about May 19, 1982 at the town plaza of the Municipality of
In view of the foregoing, we must perforce rule that the exoneration of Rosario, Province of Cavite, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
this appellant, Jose Buan, by the Justice of the Peace (now Municipal) Court Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring, confederating and
of Guiguinto, Bulacan, of the charge of slight physical injuries through mutually helping and assisting one another, with treachery and evident
reckless imprudence, prevents his being prosecuted for serious physical premeditation, taking advantage of their superior strength, and with the
injuries through reckless imprudence in the Court of First Instance of the decided purpose to kill, poured gasoline, a combustible liquid to the body of
province, where both charges are derived from the consequences of one and Bayani Miranda and with the use of fire did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully
the same vehicular accident, because the second accusation places the and feloniously, burn the whole body of said Bayani Miranda which caused
appellant in second jeopardy for the same offense. his subsequent death, to the damage and prejudice of the heirs of the
aforenamed Bayani Miranda.
WHEREFORE, the order appealed from is reversed, and the Court of
First Instance of Bulacan is directed to quash and dismiss the charge in its That the crime was committed with the qualifying circumstance of treachery
Criminal Case No. 5243. No costs. So ordered. and the aggravating circumstances of evident premeditation and superior
strength, and the means employed was to weaken the defense; that the
Dizon, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Sanchez, Angeles and Fernando, wrong done in the commission of the crime was deliberately augmented by
JJ., concur. causing another wrong, that is the burning of the body of Bayani Miranda.
Castro, J., took no part.
CONTRARY TO LAW (p. 1, Records).
G.R. No. L-74324 November 17, 1988
Upon being arraigned, both accused pleaded not guilty to the offense
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, charged. After trial, the trial court rendered a decision finding both accused
vs. guilty on the crime of murder but crediting in favor of the accused Pugay the
FERNANDO PUGAY y BALCITA, & BENJAMIN SAMSON y MAGDALENA, mitigating circumstance of lack of intention to commit so grave a wrong, the
accused-appellants. dispositive portion of which reads as follows:

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. WHEREFORE, the accused Fernando Pugay y Balcita and Benjamin
Samson y Magdalena are pronounced guilty beyond reasonable doubt as
Citizens Legal Assistance Office for accused-appellants. principals by direct participation of the crime of murder for the death of
Bayani Miranda, and appreciating the aforestated mitigating circumstance in
favor of Pugay, he is sentenced to a prison term ranging from twelve (12)
MEDIALDEA, J.: years of prision mayor, as minimum, to twenty (20) years of reclusion
temporal, as maximum, and Samson to suffer the penalty of reclusion
For the death of Bayani Miranda, a retardate, FERNANDO PUGAY y perpetua together with the accessories of the law for both of them. The
BALCITA and BENJAMIN SAMSON y MAGDALENA were charged with the accused are solidarily held liable to indemnify the heirs of the victim in the
crime of MURDER in Criminal Case No. L-175-82 of the Court of First
amount of P13,940.00 plus moral damages of P10,000.00 and exemplary persons appeared to be drunk as they were all happy and noisy. As the
damages of P5,000.00. group saw the deceased walking nearby, they started making fun of him.
They made the deceased dance by tickling him with a piece of wood.
Let the preventive imprisonment of Pugay be deducted from the principal
penalty. Not content with what they were doing with the deceased, the accused
Pugay suddenly took a can of gasoline from under the engine of the ferns
Cost against both accused. wheel and poured its contents on the body of the former. Gabion told Pugay
not to do so while the latter was already in the process of pouring the
SO ORDERED (p. 248, Records). gasoline. Then, the accused Samson set Miranda on fire making a human
torch out of him.
Not satisfied with the decision, both accused interposed the present appeal
and assigned the following errors committed by the court a quo: The ferris wheel operator later arrived and doused with water the burning
body of the deceased. Some people around also poured sand on the burning
1. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN UTILIZING THE STATEMENTS OF body and others wrapped the same with rags to extinguish the flame.
ACCUSED-APPELLANTS IN ITS APPRECIATION OF FACTS DESPITE ITS
ADMISSION THAT THE ACCUSED-APPELLANTS WERE NOT ASSISTED The body of the deceased was still aflame when police officer Rolando
BY A COUNSEL DURING THE CUSTODIAL INVESTIGATION. Silangcruz and other police officers of the Rosario Police Force arrived at the
scene of the incident. Upon inquiring as to who were responsible for the
2. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE dastardly act, the persons around spontaneously pointed to Pugay and
SUPPRESSION BY THE PROSECUTION OF SOME EVIDENCE IS FATAL Samson as the authors thereof.
TO ITS CASE.
The deceased was later rushed to the Grace Hospital for treatment. In the
3. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN LENDING CREDENCE TO THE meantime, the police officers brought Gabion, the two accused and five other
INCREDIBLE TESTIMONY OF EDUARDO GABION WHO WAS ONE OF persons to the Rosario municipal building for interrogation. Police officer
THE MANY SUSPECTS ARRESTED BY THE POLICE (Accused-appellants' Reynaldo Canlas took the written statements of Gabion and the two accused,
Brief, p. 48, Rollo). after which Gabion was released. The two accused remained in custody.

The antecedent facts are as follows: After a careful review of the records, We find the grounds relied upon by the
accused-appellants for the reversal of the decision of the court a quo to be
The deceased Miranda, a 25-year old retardate, and the accused Pugay without merit.
were friends. Miranda used to run errands for Pugay and at times they slept
together. On the evening of May 19, 1982, a town fiesta fair was held in the It bears emphasis that barely a few hours after the incident, accused-
public plaza of Rosario, Cavite. There were different kinds of ride and one appellants gave their written statements to the police. The accused Pugay
was a ferris wheel. admitted in his statement, Exhibit F, that he poured a can of gasoline on the
deceased believing that the contents thereof was water and then the
Sometime after midnight of the same date, Eduardo Gabion was sitting in the accused Samson set the deceased on fire. The accused Samson, on the
ferris wheel and reading a comic book with his friend Henry. Later, the other hand, alleged in his statement that he saw Pugay pour gasoline on
accused Pugay and Samson with several companions arrived. These Miranda but did not see the person who set him on fire. Worthy of note is the
fact that both statements did not impute any participation of eyewitness
Gabion in the commission of the offense. Accused-appellants also attack the credibility of the eyewitness Gabion
alleging that not only was the latter requested by the mother of the deceased
While testifying on their defense, the accused-appellants repudiated their to testify for the prosecution in exchange for his absolution from liability but
written statements alleging that they were extracted by force. They claimed also because his testimony that he was reading a comic book during an
that the police maltreated them into admitting authorship of the crime. They unusual event is contrary to human behavior and experience.
also engaged in a concerted effort to lay the blame on Gabion for the
commission of the offense. Gabion testified that it was his uncle and not the mother of the deceased who
asked him to testify and state the truth about the incident. The mother of the
Thus, while it is true that the written statements of the accused-appellants deceased likewise testified that she never talked to Gabion and that she saw
were mentioned and discussed in the decision of the court a quo, the the latter for the first time when the instant case was tried. Besides, the
contents thereof were not utilized as the sole basis for the findings of facts in accused Pugay admitted that Gabion was his friend and both Pugay and the
the decision rendered. The said court categorically stated that "even without other accused Samson testified that they had no previous misunderstanding
Exhibits 'F' and 'G', there is still Gabion's straightforward, positive and with Gabion. Clearly, Gabion had no reason to testify falsely against them.
convincing testimony which remains unaffected by the uncorroborated, self-
serving and unrealiable testimonies of Pugay and Samson" (p. 247, In support of their claim that the testimony of Gabion to the effect that he saw
Records). Pugay pour gasoline on the deceased and then Samson set him on fire is
incredible, the accused-appellants quote Gabion's testimony on cross-
Accused-appellants next assert that the prosecution suppressed the examination that, after telling Pugay not to pour gasoline on the deceased,
testimonies of other eyewitnesses to the incident. They claim that despite the he (Gabion) resumed reading comics; and that it was only when the victim's
fact that there were other persons investigated by the police, only Gabion body was on fire that he noticed a commotion.
was presented as an eyewitness during the trial of the case. They argue that
the deliberate non- presentation of these persons raises the presumption that However, explaining this testimony on re-direct examination, Gabion stated:
their testimonies would be adverse to the prosecution.
Q. Mr. Gabion, you told the Court on cross-examination that you were
There is no dispute that there were other persons who witnessed the reading comics when you saw Pugay poured gasoline unto Bayani Miranda
commission of the crime. In fact there appears on record (pp. 16-17, and lighted by Samson. How could you possibly see that incident while you
Records) the written statements of one Abelardo Reyes and one Monico were reading comics?
Alimorong alleging the same facts and imputing the respective acts of
pouring of gasoline and setting the deceased on fire to the accused- A. I put down the comics which I am reading and I saw what they were
appellants as testified to by Gabion in open court. They were listed as doing.
prosecution witnesses in the information filed. Considering that their
testimonies would be merely corroborative, their non-presentation does not Q. According to you also before Bayani was poured with gasoline and
give rise to the presumption that evidence wilfully suppressed would be lighted and burned later you had a talk with Pugay, is that correct?
adverse if produced. This presumption does not apply to the suppression of
merely corroborative evidence (U.S. vs. Dinola, 37 Phil. 797).<äre||anº•1àw> A. When he was pouring gasoline on Bayani Miranda I was trying to
Besides, the matter as to whom to utilize as witness is for the prosecution to prevent him from doing so.
decide.
Q. We want to clarify. According to you a while ago you had a talk with Q. So, it is clear when you told Pugay not to pour gasoline he was
Pugay and as a matter of fact, you told him not to pour gasoline. That is what already in the process of pouring gasoline on the body of Bayani?
I want to know from you, if that is true?
A. Yes, sir (Tsn, July 30, 1983, pp. 32-33).
A. Yes, sir.
It is thus clear that prior to the incident in question, Gabion was reading a
Q. Aside from Bayani being tickled with a stick on his ass, do you mean comic book; that Gabion stopped reading when the group of Pugay started to
to say you come to know that Pugay will pour gasoline unto him? make fun of the deceased; that Gabion saw Pugay get the can of gasoline
from under the engine of the ferris wheel; that it was while Pugay was in the
A. I do not know that would be that incident. process of pouring the gasoline on the body of the deceased when Gabion
warned him not to do so; and that Gabion later saw Samson set the
Q. Why did you as(k) Pugay in the first place not to pour gasoline before deceased on fire.
he did that actually?
However, there is nothing in the records showing that there was previous
A. Because I pity Bayani, sir. conspiracy or unity of criminal purpose and intention between the two
accused-appellants immediately before the commission of the crime. There
Q. When you saw Pugay tickling Bayani with a stick on his ass you tried was no animosity between the deceased and the accused Pugay or Samson.
according to you to ask him not to and then later you said you asked not to Their meeting at the scene of the incident was accidental. It is also clear that
pour gasoline. Did Pugay tell you he was going to pour gasoline on Bayani? the accused Pugay and his group merely wanted to make fun of the
deceased. Hence, the respective criminal responsibility of Pugay and
A. I was not told, sir. Samson arising from different acts directed against the deceased is
individual and not collective, and each of them is liable only for the act
Q. Did you come to know..... how did you come to know he was going to committed by him (U.S. vs. Magcomot, et. al. 13, Phil. 386; U.S. vs. Abiog,
pour gasoline that is why you prevent him? et. al. 37 Phil. 1371).

A. Because he was holding on a container of gasoline. I thought it was The next question to be determined is the criminal responsibility of the
water but it was gasoline. accused Pugay. Having taken the can from under the engine of the ferris
wheel and holding it before pouring its contents on the body of the deceased,
Q. It is clear that while Pugay was tickling Bayani with a stick on his ass, this accused knew that the can contained gasoline. The stinging smell of this
he later got hold of a can of gasoline, is that correct? flammable liquid could not have escaped his notice even before pouring the
same. Clearly, he failed to exercise all the diligence necessary to avoid every
A. Yes, sir. undesirable consequence arising from any act that may be committed by his
companions who at the time were making fun of the deceased. We agree
Q. And when he pick up the can of gasoline, was that the time you told with the Solicitor General that the accused is only guilty of homicide through
him not to pour gasoline when he merely pick up the can of gasoline. reckless imprudence defined in Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended. In U.S. vs. Maleza, et. al. 14 Phil. 468, 470, this Court ruled as
A. I saw him pouring the gasoline on the body of Joe. follows:
A man must use common sense and exercise due reflection in all his acts; it committing a felony (delito) although the wrongful act done be different from
is his duty to be cautious, careful, and prudent, if not from instinct, then that which he intended.
through fear of incurring punishment. He is responsible for such results as
anyone might foresee and for acts which no one would have performed As no sufficient evidence appears in the record establishing any qualifying
except through culpable abandon. Otherwise his own person, rights and circumstances, the accused Samson is only guilty of the crime of homicide
property, all those of his fellow-beings, would ever be exposed to all manner defined and penalized in Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code, as
of danger and injury. amended. We are disposed to credit in his favor the ordinary mitigating
circumstance of no intention to commit so grave a wrong as that committed
The proper penalty that the accused Pugay must suffer is an indeterminate as there is evidence of a fact from which such conclusion can be drawn. The
one ranging from four (4) months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to four (4) eyewitness Gabion testified that the accused Pugay and Samson were
years and two (2) months of prision correccional, as maximum. With respect stunned when they noticed the deceased burning (Tsn, June 1, 1983, pp. 16-
to the accused Samson, the Solicitor General in his brief contends that "his 17).<äre||anº•1àw>
conviction of murder, is proper considering that his act in setting the
deceased on fire knowing that gasoline had just been poured on him is The proper penalty that the accused Samson must suffer is an indeterminate
characterized by treachery as the victim was left completely helpless to one ranging from eight (8) years of prision mayor, as minimum, to fourteen
defend and protect himself against such an outrage" (p. 57, Rollo). We do (14) years of reclusion temporal, as maximum.
not agree.
The lower court held the accused solidarily liable for P13,940.00, the amount
There is entire absence of proof in the record that the accused Samson had spent by Miranda's parents for his hospitalization, wake and interment. The
some reason to kill the deceased before the incident. On the contrary, there indemnity for death is P30,000.00. Hence, the indemnity to the heirs of the
is adequate evidence showing that his act was merely a part of their fun- deceased Miranda is increased to P43,940.00.
making that evening. For the circumstance of treachery to exist, the attack
must be deliberate and the culprit employed means, methods, or forms in the Both accused shall be jointly and severally liable for the aforesaid amount
execution thereof which tend directly and specially to insure its execution, plus the P10,000.00 as moral damages and P5,000.00 as exemplary
without risk to himself arising from any defense which the offended party damages as found by the court a quo.
might make.
Accordingly, the judgment is affirmed with the modifications above-indicated.
There can be no doubt that the accused Samson knew very well that the Costs against the accused-appellants.
liquid poured on the body of the deceased was gasoline and a flammable
substance for he would not have committed the act of setting the latter on fire SO ORDERED.
if it were otherwise. Giving him the benefit of doubt, it call be conceded that
as part of their fun-making he merely intended to set the deceased's clothes Narvasa, Cruz, Gancayco and Griño-Aquino, JJ., concur.
on fire. His act, however, does not relieve him of criminal responsibility.
Burning the clothes of the victim would cause at the very least some kind of [G.R. No. 148560. November 19, 2001]
physical injuries on his person, a felony defined in the Revised Penal Code. If
his act resulted into a graver offense, as what took place in the instant case, JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA, petitioner, vs. SANDIGANBAYAN (Third
he must be held responsible therefor. Article 4 of the aforesaid code Division) and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
provides, inter alia, that criminal liability shall be incurred by any person
DECISION Petitioner Joseph Ejercito Estrada, the highest-ranking official to be
prosecuted under RA 7080 (An Act Defining and Penalizing the Crime of
BELLOSILLO, J.: Plunder),[1] as amended by RA 7659,[2] wishes to impress upon us that the
assailed law is so defectively fashioned that it crosses that thin but distinct
JOHN STUART MILL, in his essay On Liberty, unleashes the full fury of his line which divides the valid from the constitutionally infirm. He therefore
pen in defense of the rights of the individual from the vast powers of the makes a stringent call for this Court to subject the Plunder Law to the
State and the inroads of societal pressure. But even as he draws a crucible of constitutionality mainly because, according to him, (a) it suffers
sacrosanct line demarcating the limits on individuality beyond which the State from the vice of vagueness; (b) it dispenses with the "reasonable doubt"
cannot tread - asserting that "individual spontaneity" must be allowed to standard in criminal prosecutions; and, (c) it abolishes the element of mens
flourish with very little regard to social interference - he veritably rea in crimes already punishable under The Revised Penal Code, all of which
acknowledges that the exercise of rights and liberties is imbued with a civic are purportedly clear violations of the fundamental rights of the accused to
obligation, which society is justified in enforcing at all cost, against those who due process and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation
would endeavor to withhold fulfillment. Thus he says - against him.

The sole end for which mankind is warranted, individually or collectively, in Specifically, the provisions of the Plunder Law claimed by petitioner to have
interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. transgressed constitutional boundaries are Secs. 1, par. (d), 2 and 4 which
The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any are reproduced hereunder:
member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to
others. Section 1. x x x x (d) "Ill-gotten wealth" means any asset, property, business,
enterprise or material possession of any person within the purview of Section
Parallel to individual liberty is the natural and illimitable right of the State to Two (2) hereof, acquired by him directly or indirectly through dummies,
self-preservation. With the end of maintaining the integrity and cohesiveness nominees, agents, subordinates and/or business associates by any
of the body politic, it behooves the State to formulate a system of laws that combination or series of the following means or similar schemes:
would compel obeisance to its collective wisdom and inflict punishment for
non-observance. (1) Through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, or malversation of public
funds or raids on the public treasury;
The movement from Mill's individual liberalism to unsystematic collectivism
wrought changes in the social order, carrying with it a new formulation of (2) By receiving, directly or indirectly, any commission, gift, share,
fundamental rights and duties more attuned to the imperatives of percentage, kickbacks or any other form of pecuniary benefit from any
contemporary socio-political ideologies. In the process, the web of rights and person and/or entity in connection with any government contract or project or
State impositions became tangled and obscured, enmeshed in threads of by reason of the office or position of the public office concerned;
multiple shades and colors, the skein irregular and broken. Antagonism,
often outright collision, between the law as the expression of the will of the (3) By the illegal or fraudulent conveyance or disposition of assets belonging
State, and the zealous attempts by its members to preserve their individuality to the National Government or any of its subdivisions, agencies or
and dignity, inevitably followed. It is when individual rights are pitted against instrumentalities, or government owned or controlled corporations and their
State authority that judicial conscience is put to its severest test. subsidiaries;
(4) By obtaining, receiving or accepting directly or indirectly any shares of On 4 April 2001 the Office of the Ombudsman filed before the
stock, equity or any other form of interest or participation including the Sandiganbayan eight (8) separate Informations, docketed as: (a) Crim. Case
promise of future employment in any business enterprise or undertaking; No. 26558, for violation of RA 7080, as amended by RA 7659; (b) Crim.
Cases Nos. 26559 to 26562, inclusive, for violation of Secs. 3, par. (a), 3,
(5) By establishing agricultural, industrial or commercial monopolies or other par. (a), 3, par. (e) and 3, par. (e), of RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt
combinations and/or implementation of decrees and orders intended to Practices Act), respectively; (c) Crim. Case No. 26563, for violation of Sec. 7,
benefit particular persons or special interests; or par. (d), of RA 6713 (The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public
Officials and Employees); (d) Crim. Case No. 26564, for Perjury (Art. 183 of
(6) By taking advantage of official position, authority, relationship, connection The Revised Penal Code); and, (e) Crim. Case No. 26565, for Illegal Use Of
or influence to unjustly enrich himself or themselves at the expense and to An Alias (CA No. 142, as amended by RA 6085).
the damage and prejudice of the Filipino people and the Republic of the
Philippines. On 11 April 2001 petitioner filed an Omnibus Motion for the remand of the
case to the Ombudsman for preliminary investigation with respect to
Section 2. Definition of the Crime of Plunder, Penalties. - Any public officer specification "d" of the charges in the Information in Crim. Case No. 26558;
who, by himself or in connivance with members of his family, relatives by and, for reconsideration/reinvestigation of the offenses under specifications
affinity or consanguinity, business associates, subordinates or other persons, "a," "b," and "c" to give the accused an opportunity to file counter-affidavits
amasses, accumulates or acquires ill-gotten wealth through a combination or and other documents necessary to prove lack of probable cause. Noticeably,
series of overt or criminal acts as described in Section 1 (d) hereof, in the the grounds raised were only lack of preliminary investigation,
aggregate amount or total value of at least fifty million pesos reconsideration/reinvestigation of offenses, and opportunity to prove lack of
(P50,000,000.00) shall be guilty of the crime of plunder and shall be probable cause. The purported ambiguity of the charges and the vagueness
punished by reclusion perpetua to death. Any person who participated with of the law under which they are charged were never raised in that Omnibus
the said public officer in the commission of an offense contributing to the Motion thus indicating the explicitness and comprehensibility of the Plunder
crime of plunder shall likewise be punished for such offense. In the Law.
imposition of penalties, the degree of participation and the attendance of
mitigating and extenuating circumstances as provided by the Revised Penal On 25 April 2001 the Sandiganbayan, Third Division, issued a Resolution in
Code shall be considered by the court. The court shall declare any and all ill- Crim. Case No. 26558 finding that "a probable cause for the offense of
gotten wealth and their interests and other incomes and assets including the PLUNDER exists to justify the issuance of warrants for the arrest of the
properties and shares of stocks derived from the deposit or investment accused." On 25 June 2001 petitioner's motion for reconsideration was
thereof forfeited in favor of the State (underscoring supplied). denied by the Sandiganbayan.

Section 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the crime of On 14 June 2001 petitioner moved to quash the Information in Crim. Case
plunder, it shall not be necessary to prove each and every criminal act done No. 26558 on the ground that the facts alleged therein did not constitute an
by the accused in furtherance of the scheme or conspiracy to amass, indictable offense since the law on which it was based was unconstitutional
accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth, it being sufficient to establish beyond for vagueness, and that the Amended Information for Plunder charged more
reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the overall than one (1) offense. On 21 June 2001 the Government filed its Opposition to
unlawful scheme or conspiracy (underscoring supplied). the Motion to Quash, and five (5) days later or on 26 June 2001 petitioner
submitted his Reply to the Opposition. On 9 July 2001 the Sandiganbayan
denied petitioner's Motion to Quash.
the hallowed domain of the organic law, it must be struck down on sight lest
As concisely delineated by this Court during the oral arguments on 18 the positive commands of the fundamental law be unduly eroded.
September 2001, the issues for resolution in the instant petition for certiorari
are: (a) The Plunder Law is unconstitutional for being vague; (b) The Plunder Verily, the onerous task of rebutting the presumption weighs heavily on the
Law requires less evidence for proving the predicate crimes of plunder and party challenging the validity of the statute. He must demonstrate beyond any
therefore violates the rights of the accused to due process; and, (c) Whether tinge of doubt that there is indeed an infringement of the constitution, for
Plunder as defined in RA 7080 is a malum prohibitum, and if so, whether it is absent such a showing, there can be no finding of unconstitutionality. A
within the power of Congress to so classify it. doubt, even if well-founded, will hardly suffice. As tersely put by Justice
Malcolm, "To doubt is to sustain."[5] And petitioner has miserably failed in the
Preliminarily, the whole gamut of legal concepts pertaining to the validity of instant case to discharge his burden and overcome the presumption of
legislation is predicated on the basic principle that a legislative measure is constitutionality of the Plunder Law.
presumed to be in harmony with the Constitution.[3] Courts invariably train
their sights on this fundamental rule whenever a legislative act is under a As it is written, the Plunder Law contains ascertainable standards and well-
constitutional attack, for it is the postulate of constitutional adjudication. This defined parameters which would enable the accused to determine the nature
strong predilection for constitutionality takes its bearings on the idea that it is of his violation. Section 2 is sufficiently explicit in its description of the acts,
forbidden for one branch of the government to encroach upon the duties and conduct and conditions required or forbidden, and prescribes the elements of
powers of another. Thus it has been said that the presumption is based on the crime with reasonable certainty and particularity. Thus -
the deference the judicial branch accords to its coordinate branch - the
legislature. 1. That the offender is a public officer who acts by himself or in connivance
with members of his family, relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business
If there is any reasonable basis upon which the legislation may firmly rest, associates, subordinates or other persons;
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 2. That he amassed, accumulated or acquired ill-gotten wealth through a
of the facts and for the purpose of promoting what is right and advancing the combination or series of the following overt or criminal acts: (a) through
welfare of the majority. Hence in determining whether the acts of the misappropriation, conversion, misuse, or malversation of public funds or
legislature are in tune with the fundamental law, courts should proceed with raids on the public treasury; (b) by receiving, directly or indirectly, any
judicial restraint and act with caution and forbearance. Every intendment of commission, gift, share, percentage, kickback or any other form of pecuniary
the law must be adjudged by the courts in favor of its constitutionality, benefits from any person and/or entity in connection with any government
invalidity being a measure of last resort. In construing therefore the contract or project or by reason of the office or position of the public officer;
provisions of a statute, courts must first ascertain whether an interpretation is (c) by the illegal or fraudulent conveyance or disposition of assets belonging
fairly possible to sidestep the question of constitutionality. to the National Government or any of its subdivisions, agencies or
instrumentalities of Government owned or controlled corporations or their
In La Union Credit Cooperative, Inc. v. Yaranon[4] we held that as long as subsidiaries; (d) by obtaining, receiving or accepting directly or indirectly any
there is some basis for the decision of the court, the constitutionality of the shares of stock, equity or any other form of interest or participation including
challenged law will not be touched and the case will be decided on other the promise of future employment in any business enterprise or undertaking;
available grounds. Yet the force of the presumption is not sufficient to (e) by establishing agricultural, industrial or commercial monopolies or other
catapult a fundamentally deficient law into the safe environs of combinations and/or implementation of decrees and orders intended to
constitutionality. Of course, where the law clearly and palpably transgresses benefit particular persons or special interests; or (f) by taking advantage of
official position, authority, relationship, connection or influence to unjustly POSITION, AUTHORITY, RELATIONSHIP, CONNECTION, OR
enrich himself or themselves at the expense and to the damage and INFLUENCE, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and criminally amass,
prejudice of the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines; and, accumulate and acquire BY HIMSELF, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, ill-
gotten wealth in the aggregate amount or TOTAL VALUE of FOUR BILLION
3. That the aggregate amount or total value of the ill-gotten wealth amassed, NINETY SEVEN MILLION EIGHT HUNDRED FOUR THOUSAND ONE
accumulated or acquired is at least P50,000,000.00. HUNDRED SEVENTY THREE PESOS AND SEVENTEEN CENTAVOS
(P4,097,804,173.17), more or less, THEREBY UNJUSTLY ENRICHING
As long as the law affords some comprehensible guide or rule that would HIMSELF OR THEMSELVES AT THE EXPENSE AND TO THE DAMAGE
inform those who are subject to it what conduct would render them liable to OF THE FILIPINO PEOPLE AND THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES,
its penalties, its validity will be sustained. It must sufficiently guide the judge through ANY OR A combination OR A series of overt OR criminal acts, OR
in its application; the counsel, in defending one charged with its violation; and SIMILAR SCHEMES OR MEANS, described as follows:
more importantly, the accused, in identifying the realm of the proscribed
conduct. Indeed, it can be understood with little difficulty that what the (a) by receiving OR collecting, directly or indirectly, on SEVERAL
assailed statute punishes is the act of a public officer in amassing or INSTANCES, MONEY IN THE AGGREGATE AMOUNT OF FIVE HUNDRED
accumulating ill-gotten wealth of at least P50,000,000.00 through a series or FORTY-FIVE MILLION PESOS (P545,000,000.00), MORE OR LESS, FROM
combination of acts enumerated in Sec. 1, par. (d), of the Plunder Law. ILLEGAL GAMBLING IN THE FORM OF GIFT, SHARE, PERCENTAGE,
KICKBACK OR ANY FORM OF PECUNIARY BENEFIT, BY HIMSELF
In fact, the amended Information itself closely tracks the language of the law, AND/OR in connection with co-accused CHARLIE 'ATONG' ANG, Jose
indicating with reasonable certainty the various elements of the offense 'Jinggoy' Estrada, Yolanda T. Ricaforte, Edward Serapio, AND JOHN DOES
which petitioner is alleged to have committed: AND JANE DOES, in consideration OF TOLERATION OR PROTECTION
OF ILLEGAL GAMBLING;
"The undersigned Ombudsman, Prosecutor and OIC-Director, EPIB, Office
of the Ombudsman, hereby accuses former PRESIDENT OF THE (b) by DIVERTING, RECEIVING, misappropriating, converting OR misusing
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Joseph Ejercito Estrada, a.k.a. 'ASIONG DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, for HIS OR THEIR PERSONAL gain and
SALONGA' and a.k.a. 'JOSE VELARDE,' together with Jose 'Jinggoy' benefit, public funds in the amount of ONE HUNDRED THIRTY MILLION
Estrada, Charlie 'Atong' Ang, Edward Serapio, Yolanda T. Ricaforte, Alma PESOS (P130,000,000.00), more or less, representing a portion of the TWO
Alfaro, JOHN DOE a.k.a. Eleuterio Tan OR Eleuterio Ramos Tan or Mr. Uy, HUNDRED MILLION PESOS (P200,000,000.00) tobacco excise tax share
Jane Doe a.k.a. Delia Rajas, and John DOES & Jane Does, of the crime of allocated for the province of Ilocos Sur under R.A. No. 7171, by himself
Plunder, defined and penalized under R.A. No. 7080, as amended by Sec. and/or in connivance with co-accused Charlie 'Atong' Ang, Alma Alfaro,
12 of R.A. No. 7659, committed as follows: JOHN DOE a.k.a. Eleuterio Ramos Tan or Mr. Uy, Jane Doe a.k.a. Delia
Rajas, AND OTHER JOHN DOES & JANE DOES; (italic supplied).
That during the period from June, 1998 to January 2001, in the Philippines,
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused Joseph Ejercito (c) by directing, ordering and compelling, FOR HIS PERSONAL GAIN AND
Estrada, THEN A PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, BENEFIT, the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) TO
by himself AND/OR in CONNIVANCE/CONSPIRACY with his co-accused, PURCHASE 351,878,000 SHARES OF STOCKS, MORE OR LESS, and the
WHO ARE MEMBERS OF HIS FAMILY, RELATIVES BY AFFINITY OR Social Security System (SSS), 329,855,000 SHARES OF STOCK, MORE
CONSANGUINITY, BUSINESS ASSOCIATES, SUBORDINATES AND/OR OR LESS, OF THE BELLE CORPORATION IN THE AMOUNT OF MORE
OTHER PERSONS, BY TAKING UNDUE ADVANTAGE OF HIS OFFICIAL OR LESS ONE BILLION ONE HUNDRED TWO MILLION NINE HUNDRED
SIXTY FIVE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED SEVEN PESOS AND FIFTY vague and overbroad and deny him the right to be informed of the nature and
CENTAVOS (P1,102,965,607.50) AND MORE OR LESS SEVEN HUNDRED cause of the accusation against him, hence, violative of his fundamental right
FORTY FOUR MILLION SIX HUNDRED TWELVE THOUSAND AND FOUR to due process.
HUNDRED FIFTY PESOS (P744,612,450.00), RESPECTIVELY, OR A
TOTAL OF MORE OR LESS ONE BILLION EIGHT HUNDRED FORTY The rationalization seems to us to be pure sophistry. A statute is not
SEVEN MILLION FIVE HUNDRED SEVENTY EIGHT THOUSAND FIFTY rendered uncertain and void merely because general terms are used therein,
SEVEN PESOS AND FIFTY CENTAVOS (P1,847,578,057.50); AND BY or because of the employment of terms without defining them;[6] much less
COLLECTING OR RECEIVING, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, BY HIMSELF do we have to define every word we use. Besides, there is no positive
AND/OR IN CONNIVANCE WITH JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES, constitutional or statutory command requiring the legislature to define each
COMMISSIONS OR PERCENTAGES BY REASON OF SAID PURCHASES and every word in an enactment. Congress is not restricted in the form of
OF SHARES OF STOCK IN THE AMOUNT OF ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY expression of its will, and its inability to so define the words employed in a
NINE MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P189,700,000.00) statute will not necessarily result in the vagueness or ambiguity of the law so
MORE OR LESS, FROM THE BELLE CORPORATION WHICH BECAME long as the legislative will is clear, or at least, can be gathered from the
PART OF THE DEPOSIT IN THE EQUITABLE-PCI BANK UNDER THE whole act, which is distinctly expressed in the Plunder Law.
ACCOUNT NAME 'JOSE VELARDE;'
Moreover, it is a well-settled principle of legal hermeneutics that words of a
(d) by unjustly enriching himself FROM COMMISSIONS, GIFTS, SHARES, statute will be interpreted in their natural, plain and ordinary acceptation and
PERCENTAGES, KICKBACKS, OR ANY FORM OF PECUNIARY signification,[7] unless it is evident that the legislature intended a technical or
BENEFITS, IN CONNIVANCE WITH JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES, in the special legal meaning to those words.[8] The intention of the lawmakers -
amount of MORE OR LESS THREE BILLION TWO HUNDRED THIRTY who are, ordinarily, untrained philologists and lexicographers - to use
THREE MILLION ONE HUNDRED FOUR THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED statutory phraseology in such a manner is always presumed. Thus,
SEVENTY THREE PESOS AND SEVENTEEN CENTAVOS Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary contains the following commonly
(P3,233,104,173.17) AND DEPOSITING THE SAME UNDER HIS accepted definition of the words "combination" and "series:"
ACCOUNT NAME 'JOSE VELARDE' AT THE EQUITABLE-PCI BANK."
Combination - the result or product of combining; the act or process of
We discern nothing in the foregoing that is vague or ambiguous - as there is combining. To combine is to bring into such close relationship as to obscure
obviously none - that will confuse petitioner in his defense. Although subject individual characters.
to proof, these factual assertions clearly show that the elements of the crime
are easily understood and provide adequate contrast between the innocent Series - a number of things or events of the same class coming one after
and the prohibited acts. Upon such unequivocal assertions, petitioner is another in spatial and temporal succession.
completely informed of the accusations against him as to enable him to
prepare for an intelligent defense. That Congress intended the words "combination" and "series" to be
understood in their popular meanings is pristinely evident from the legislative
Petitioner, however, bewails the failure of the law to provide for the statutory deliberations on the bill which eventually became RA 7080 or the Plunder
definition of the terms "combination" and "series" in the key phrase "a Law:
combination or series of overt or criminal acts" found in Sec. 1, par. (d), and
Sec. 2, and the word "pattern" in Sec. 4. These omissions, according to DELIBERATIONS OF THE BICAMERAL COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE, 7 May
petitioner, render the Plunder Law unconstitutional for being impermissibly 1991
REP. ISIDRO: I am just intrigued again by our definition of plunder. We say REP. GARCIA: A series.
THROUGH A COMBINATION OR SERIES OF OVERT OR CRIMINAL
ACTS AS MENTIONED IN SECTION ONE HEREOF. Now when we say REP. ISIDRO: Thats not series. Its a combination. Because when we say
combination, we actually mean to say, if there are two or more means, we combination or series, we seem to say that two or more, di ba?
mean to say that number one and two or number one and something else
are included, how about a series of the same act? For example, through REP. GARCIA: Yes, this distinguishes it really from ordinary crimes. That is
misappropriation, conversion, misuse, will these be included also? why, I said, that is a very good suggestion because if it is only one act, it may
fall under ordinary crime but we have here a combination or series of overt or
REP. GARCIA: Yeah, because we say a series. criminal acts. So x x x x

REP. ISIDRO: Series. REP. GARCIA: Series. One after the other eh di....

REP. GARCIA: Yeah, we include series. SEN. TANADA: So that would fall under the term series?

REP. ISIDRO: But we say we begin with a combination. REP. GARCIA: Series, oo.

REP. GARCIA: Yes. REP. ISIDRO: Now, if it is a combination, ano, two misappropriations....

REP. ISIDRO: When we say combination, it seems that - REP. GARCIA: Its not... Two misappropriations will not be combination.
Series.
REP. GARCIA: Two.
REP. ISIDRO: So, it is not a combination?
REP. ISIDRO: Not only two but we seem to mean that two of the enumerated
means not twice of one enumeration. REP. GARCIA: Yes.

REP. GARCIA: No, no, not twice. REP. ISIDRO: When you say combination, two different?

REP. ISIDRO: Not twice? REP. GARCIA: Yes.

REP. GARCIA: Yes. Combination is not twice - but combination, two acts. SEN. TANADA: Two different.

REP. ISIDRO: So in other words, thats it. When we say combination, we REP. ISIDRO: Two different acts.
mean, two different acts. It cannot be a repetition of the same act.
REP. GARCIA: For example, ha...
REP. GARCIA: That be referred to series, yeah.
REP. ISIDRO: Now a series, meaning, repetition...
REP. ISIDRO: No, no. Supposing one act is repeated, so there are two.
DELIBERATIONS ON SENATE BILL NO. 733, 6 June 1989
As for "pattern," we agree with the observations of the Sandiganbayan[9] that
SENATOR MACEDA: In line with our interpellations that sometimes one or this term is sufficiently defined in Sec. 4, in relation to Sec. 1, par. (d), and
maybe even two acts may already result in such a big amount, on line 25, Sec. 2 -
would the Sponsor consider deleting the words a series of overt or, to read,
therefore: or conspiracy COMMITTED by criminal acts such as. Remove the x x x x under Sec. 1 (d) of the law, a 'pattern' consists of at least a
idea of necessitating a series. Anyway, the criminal acts are in the plural. 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
SENATOR TANADA: That would mean a combination of two or more of the overt or criminal acts is directed towards a common purpose or goal which is
acts mentioned in this. 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'
THE PRESIDENT: Probably two or more would be.... to achieve said common goal. As commonly understood, the term 'overall
unlawful scheme' indicates a 'general plan of action or method' which the
SENATOR MACEDA: Yes, because a series implies several or many; two or principal accused and public officer and others conniving with him follow to
more. 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
SENATOR TANADA: Accepted, Mr. President x x x x vary, the overt or criminal acts must form part of a conspiracy to attain a
common goal.
THE PRESIDENT: If there is only one, then he has to be prosecuted under
the particular crime. But when we say acts of plunder there should be, at Hence, it cannot plausibly be contended that the law does not give a fair
least, two or more. warning and sufficient notice of what it seeks to penalize. Under the
circumstances, petitioner's reliance on the "void-for-vagueness" doctrine is
SENATOR ROMULO: In other words, that is already covered by existing manifestly misplaced. The doctrine has been formulated in various ways, but
laws, Mr. President. is most commonly stated to the effect that a statute establishing a criminal
offense must define the offense with sufficient definiteness that persons of
Thus when the Plunder Law speaks of "combination," it is referring to at least ordinary intelligence can understand what conduct is prohibited by the
two (2) acts falling under different categories of enumeration provided in Sec. statute. It can only be invoked against that specie of legislation that is utterly
1, par. (d), e.g., raids on the public treasury in Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (1), vague on its face, i.e., that which cannot be clarified either by a saving clause
and fraudulent conveyance of assets belonging to the National Government or by construction.
under Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (3).
A statute or act may be said to be vague when it lacks comprehensible
On the other hand, to constitute a series" there must be two (2) or more overt standards that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its
or criminal acts falling under the same category of enumeration found in Sec. meaning and differ in its application. In such instance, the statute is
1, par. (d), say, misappropriation, malversation and raids on the public repugnant to the Constitution in two (2) respects - it violates due process for
treasury, all of which fall under Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (1). Verily, had the failure to accord persons, especially the parties targeted by it, fair notice of
legislature intended a technical or distinctive meaning for "combination" and what conduct to avoid; and, it leaves law enforcers unbridled discretion in
"series," it would have taken greater pains in specifically providing for it in the carrying out its provisions and becomes an arbitrary flexing of the
law. Government muscle.[10] But the doctrine does not apply as against
legislations that are merely couched in imprecise language but which statutes in a single prosecution, the transcendent value to all society of
nonetheless specify a standard though defectively phrased; or to those that constitutionally protected expression is deemed to justify allowing attacks on
are apparently ambiguous yet fairly applicable to certain types of activities. overly broad statutes with no requirement that the person making the attack
The first may be "saved" by proper construction, while no challenge may be demonstrate that his own conduct could not be regulated by a statute drawn
mounted as against the second whenever directed against such with narrow specificity."[15] The possible harm to society in permitting some
activities.[11] With more reason, the doctrine cannot be invoked where the unprotected speech to go unpunished is outweighed by the possibility that
assailed statute is clear and free from ambiguity, as in this case. the protected speech of others may be deterred and perceived grievances
left to fester because of possible inhibitory effects of overly broad statutes.
The test in determining whether a criminal statute is void for uncertainty is
whether the language conveys a sufficiently definite warning as to the This rationale does not apply to penal statutes. Criminal statutes have
proscribed conduct when measured by common understanding and general in terrorem effect resulting from their very existence, and, if facial
practice.[12] It must be stressed, however, that the "vagueness" doctrine challenge is allowed for this reason alone, the State may well be prevented
merely requires a reasonable degree of certainty for the statute to be upheld from enacting laws against socially harmful conduct. In the area of criminal
- not absolute precision or mathematical exactitude, as petitioner seems to law, the law cannot take chances as in the area of free speech.
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 The overbreadth and vagueness doctrines then have special application only
be held invalid merely because it might have been more explicit in its to free speech cases. They are inapt for testing the validity of penal statutes.
wordings or detailed in its provisions, especially where, because of the As the U.S. Supreme Court put it, in an opinion by Chief Justice Rehnquist,
nature of the act, it would be impossible to provide all the details in advance "we have not recognized an 'overbreadth' doctrine outside the limited context
as in all other statutes. of the First Amendment."[16] In Broadrick v. Oklahoma,[17] the Court ruled
that "claims of facial overbreadth have been entertained in cases involving
Moreover, we agree with, hence we adopt, the observations of Mr. Justice statutes which, by their terms, seek to regulate only spoken words" and,
Vicente V. Mendoza during the deliberations of the Court that the allegations again, that "overbreadth claims, if entertained at all, have been curtailed
that the Plunder Law is vague and overbroad do not justify a facial review of when invoked against ordinary criminal laws that are sought to be applied to
its validity - 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 void-for-vagueness doctrine states that "a statute which either forbids or the challenger must establish that no set of circumstances exists under which
requires the doing of an act in terms so vague that men of common the Act would be valid."[18] As for the vagueness doctrine, it is said that a
intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its litigant may challenge a statute on its face only if it is vague in all its possible
application, violates the first essential of due process of law."[13] The applications. "A plaintiff who engages in some conduct that is clearly
overbreadth doctrine, on the other hand, decrees that "a governmental proscribed cannot complain of the vagueness of the law as applied to the
purpose may not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly conduct of others."[19]
and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms."[14]
In sum, the doctrines of strict scrutiny, overbreadth, and vagueness are
A facial challenge is allowed to be made to a vague statute and to one which analytical tools developed for testing "on their faces" statutes in free speech
is overbroad because of possible "chilling effect" upon protected speech. The cases or, as they are called in American law, First Amendment cases. They
theory is that "[w]hen statutes regulate or proscribe speech and no readily cannot be made to do service when what is involved is a criminal statute.
apparent construction suggests itself as a vehicle for rehabilitating the 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 be created by dissecting parts and words in the statute to furnish support to
on the ground that impliedly it might also be taken as applying to other critics who cavil at the want of scientific precision in the law. Every provision
persons or other situations in which its application might be of the law should be construed in relation and with reference to every other
unconstitutional."[20] As has been pointed out, "vagueness challenges in the part. To be sure, it will take more than nitpicking to overturn the well-
First Amendment context, like overbreadth challenges typically produce facial entrenched presumption of constitutionality and validity of the Plunder Law. A
invalidation, while statutes found vague as a matter of due process typically fortiori, petitioner cannot feign ignorance of what the Plunder Law is all about.
are invalidated [only] 'as applied' to a particular defendant."[21] Being one of the Senators who voted for its passage, petitioner must be
Consequently, there is no basis for petitioner's claim that this Court review aware that the law was extensively deliberated upon by the Senate and its
the Anti-Plunder Law on its face and in its entirety. appropriate committees by reason of which he even registered his affirmative
vote with full knowledge of its legal implications and sound constitutional
anchorage.
Indeed, "on its face" invalidation of statutes results in striking them down
entirely on the ground that they might be applied to parties not before the The parallel case of Gallego v. Sandiganbayan[28] must be mentioned if only
Court whose activities are constitutionally protected.[22] It constitutes a to illustrate and emphasize the point that courts are loathed to declare a
departure from the case and controversy requirement of the Constitution and statute void for uncertainty unless the law itself is so imperfect and deficient
permits decisions to be made without concrete factual settings and in sterile in its details, and is susceptible of no reasonable construction that will
abstract contexts.[23] But, as the U.S. Supreme Court pointed out in Younger support and give it effect. In that case, petitioners Gallego and Agoncillo
v. Harris[24] challenged the constitutionality of Sec. 3, par. (e), of The Anti-Graft and
Corrupt Practices Act for being vague. Petitioners posited, among others,
[T]he task of analyzing a proposed statute, pinpointing its deficiencies, and that the term "unwarranted" is highly imprecise and elastic with no common
requiring correction of these deficiencies before the statute is put into effect, law meaning or settled definition by prior judicial or administrative
is rarely if ever an appropriate task for the judiciary. The combination of the precedents; that, for its vagueness, Sec. 3, par. (e), violates due process in
relative remoteness of the controversy, the impact on the legislative process that it does not give fair warning or sufficient notice of what it seeks to
of the relief sought, and above all the speculative and amorphous nature of penalize. Petitioners further argued that the Information charged them with
the required line-by-line analysis of detailed statutes, . . . ordinarily results in three (3) distinct offenses, to wit: (a) giving of "unwarranted" benefits through
a kind of case that is wholly unsatisfactory for deciding constitutional manifest partiality; (b) giving of "unwarranted" benefits through evident bad
questions, whichever way they might be decided. faith; and, (c) giving of "unwarranted" benefits through gross inexcusable
negligence while in the discharge of their official function and that their right
For these reasons, "on its face" invalidation of statutes has been described to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against them was
as "manifestly strong medicine," to be employed "sparingly and only as a last violated because they were left to guess which of the three (3) offenses, if
resort,"[25] and is generally disfavored.[26] In determining the not all, they were being charged and prosecuted.
constitutionality of a statute, therefore, its provisions which are alleged to
have been violated in a case must be examined in the light of the conduct In dismissing the petition, this Court held that Sec. 3, par. (e), of The Anti-
with which the defendant is charged.[27] Graft and Corrupt Practices Act does not suffer from the constitutional defect
of vagueness. The phrases "manifest partiality," "evident bad faith," and
In light of the foregoing disquisition, it is evident that the purported ambiguity "gross and inexcusable negligence" merely describe the different modes by
of the Plunder Law, so tenaciously claimed and argued at length by which the offense penalized in Sec. 3, par. (e), of the statute may be
petitioner, is more imagined than real. Ambiguity, where none exists, cannot
committed, and the use of all these phrases in the same Information does not SEC. 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the crime of
mean that the indictment charges three (3) distinct offenses. plunder, it shall not be necessary to prove each and every criminal act done
by the accused in furtherance of the scheme or conspiracy to amass,
The word 'unwarranted' is not uncertain. It seems lacking adequate or official accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth, it being sufficient to establish beyond
support; unjustified; unauthorized (Webster, Third International Dictionary, p. reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the overall
2514); or without justification or adequate reason (Philadelphia Newspapers, unlawful scheme or conspiracy.
Inc. v. US Dept. of Justice, C.D. Pa., 405 F. Supp. 8, 12, cited in Words and
Phrases, Permanent Edition, Vol. 43-A 1978, Cumulative Annual Pocket The running fault in this reasoning is obvious even to the simplistic mind. In a
Part, p. 19). 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
The assailed provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act consider of Rights, and unless the State succeeds in demonstrating by proof beyond
a corrupt practice and make unlawful the act of the public officer in: reasonable doubt that culpability lies, the accused is entitled to an
acquittal.[29] The use of the "reasonable doubt" standard is indispensable to
x x x or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or command the respect and confidence of the community in the application of
preference in the discharge of his official, administrative or judicial functions criminal law. It is critical that the moral force of criminal law be not diluted by
through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence, a standard of proof that leaves people in doubt whether innocent men are
x x x (Section 3 [e], Rep. Act 3019, as amended). being condemned. It is also important in our free society that every individual
going about his ordinary affairs has confidence that his government cannot
It is not at all difficult to comprehend that what the aforequoted penal adjudge him guilty of a criminal offense without convincing a proper factfinder
provisions penalize is the act of a public officer, in the discharge of his of his guilt with utmost certainty. This "reasonable doubt" standard has
official, administrative or judicial functions, in giving any private party acquired such exalted stature in the realm of constitutional law as it gives life
benefits, advantage or preference which is unjustified, unauthorized or to the Due Process Clause which protects the accused against conviction
without justification or adequate reason, through manifest partiality, evident except upon proof beyond reasonable doubt of every fact necessary to
bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. constitute the crime with which he is charged.[30] The following exchanges
between Rep. Rodolfo Albano and Rep. Pablo Garcia on this score during
In other words, this Court found that there was nothing vague or ambiguous the deliberations in the floor of the House of Representatives are elucidating
in the use of the term "unwarranted" in Sec. 3, par. (e), of The Anti-Graft and -
Corrupt Practices Act, which was understood in its primary and general
acceptation. Consequently, in that case, petitioners' objection thereto was DELIBERATIONS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON RA 7080,
held inadequate to declare the section unconstitutional. 9 October 1990

On the second issue, petitioner advances the highly stretched theory that MR. ALBANO: Now, Mr. Speaker, it is also elementary in our criminal law
Sec. 4 of the Plunder Law circumvents the immutable obligation of the that what is alleged in the information must be proven beyond reasonable
prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt the predicate acts constituting doubt. If we will prove only one act and find him guilty of the other acts
the crime of plunder when it requires only proof of a pattern of overt or enumerated in the information, does that not work against the right of the
criminal acts showing unlawful scheme or conspiracy - accused especially so if the amount committed, say, by falsification is less
than P100 million, but the totality of the crime committed is P100 million since
there is malversation, bribery, falsification of public document, coercion, The thesis that Sec. 4 does away with proof of each and every component of
theft? 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
MR. GARCIA: Mr. Speaker, not everything alleged in the information needs number of acts sufficient to form a combination or series which would
to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. What is required to be proved constitute a pattern and involving an amount of at least P50,000,000.00.
beyond reasonable doubt is every element of the crime charged. For There is no need to prove each and every other act alleged in the Information
example, Mr. Speaker, there is an enumeration of the things taken by the to have been committed by the accused in furtherance of the overall unlawful
robber in the information three pairs of pants, pieces of jewelry. These need scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth. To
not be proved beyond reasonable doubt, but these will not prevent the illustrate, supposing that the accused is charged in an Information for plunder
conviction of a crime for which he was charged just because, say, instead of with having committed fifty (50) raids on the public treasury. The prosecution
3 pairs of diamond earrings the prosecution proved two. Now, what is need not prove all these fifty (50) raids, it being sufficient to prove by pattern
required to be proved beyond reasonable doubt is the element of the offense. at least two (2) of the raids beyond reasonable doubt provided only that they
amounted to at least P50,000,000.00.[31]
MR. ALBANO: I am aware of that, Mr. Speaker, but considering that in the
crime of plunder the totality of the amount is very important, I feel that such a A reading of Sec. 2 in conjunction with Sec. 4, brings us to the logical
series of overt criminal acts has to be taken singly. For instance, in the act of conclusion that "pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the overall
bribery, he was able to accumulate only P50,000 and in the crime of unlawful scheme or conspiracy" inheres in the very acts of accumulating,
extortion, he was only able to accumulate P1 million. Now, when we add the acquiring or amassing hidden wealth. Stated otherwise, such pattern arises
totality of the other acts as required under this bill through the interpretation where the prosecution is able to prove beyond reasonable doubt the
on the rule of evidence, it is just one single act, so how can we now convict predicate acts as defined in Sec. 1, par. (d). Pattern is merely a by-product of
him? 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
MR. GARCIA: With due respect, Mr. Speaker, for purposes of proving an series of
essential element of the crime, there is a need to prove that element beyond
reasonable doubt. For example, one essential element of the crime is that overt or criminal acts to stash P50,000,000.00 or more, than "a scheme or
the amount involved is P100 million. Now, in a series of defalcations and conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill gotten wealth." The
other acts of corruption in the enumeration the total amount would be P110 prosecution is therefore not required to make a deliberate and conscious
or P120 million, but there are certain acts that could not be proved, so, we effort to prove pattern as it necessarily follows with the establishment of a
will sum up the amounts involved in those transactions which were proved. series or combination of the predicate acts.
Now, if the amount involved in these transactions, proved beyond reasonable
doubt, is P100 million, then there is a crime of plunder (underscoring Relative to petitioner's contentions on the purported defect of Sec. 4 is his
supplied). submission that "pattern" is "a very important element of the crime of
plunder;" and that Sec. 4 is "two pronged, (as) it contains a rule of evidence
It is thus plain from the foregoing that the legislature did not in any manner and a substantive element of the crime," such that without it the accused
refashion the standard quantum of proof in the crime of plunder. The burden cannot be convicted of plunder -
still remains with the prosecution to prove beyond any iota of doubt every fact
or element necessary to constitute the crime. JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: In other words, cannot an accused be convicted
under the Plunder Law without applying Section 4 on the Rule of Evidence if
there is proof beyond reasonable doubt of the commission of the acts
complained of? SEC. 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the crime of plunder
xxxx
ATTY. AGABIN: In that case he can be convicted of individual crimes
enumerated in the Revised Penal Code, but not plunder. 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
JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: In other words, if all the elements of the crime are measure, Sec. 4 does not define or establish any substantive right in favor of
proved beyond reasonable doubt without applying Section 4, can you not the accused but only operates in furtherance of a remedy. It is only a means
have a conviction under the Plunder Law? 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
ATTY. AGABIN: Not a conviction for plunder, your Honor. is to present sufficient evidence to engender that moral certitude exacted by
the fundamental law to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable
JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: Can you not disregard the application of Sec. 4 in doubt. Thus, even granting for the sake of argument that Sec. 4 is flawed and
convicting an accused charged for violation of the Plunder Law? 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
ATTY. AGABIN: Well, your Honor, in the first place Section 4 lays down a the law; after all, the existing rules on evidence can supplant Sec. 4 more
substantive element of the law x x x x than enough. Besides, Sec. 7 of RA 7080 provides for a separability clause -

JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: What I said is - do we have to avail of Section 4 Sec. 7. Separability of Provisions. - If any provisions of this Act or the
when there is proof beyond reasonable doubt on the acts charged application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the
constituting plunder? remaining provisions of this Act and the application of such provisions to
other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.
ATTY. AGABIN: Yes, your Honor, because Section 4 is two pronged, it
contains a rule of evidence and it contains a substantive element of the crime Implicit in the foregoing section is that to avoid the whole act from being
of plunder. So, there is no way by which we can avoid Section 4. declared invalid as a result of the nullity of some of its provisions, assuming
that to be the case although it is not really so, all the provisions thereof
JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: But there is proof beyond reasonable doubt insofar should accordingly be treated independently of each other, especially if by
as the predicate crimes charged are concerned that you do not have to go doing so, the objectives of the statute can best be achieved.
that far by applying Section 4?
As regards the third issue, again we agree with Justice Mendoza that plunder
ATTY. AGABIN: Your Honor, our thinking is that Section 4 contains a very is a malum in se which requires proof of criminal intent. Thus, he says, in his
important element of the crime of plunder and that cannot be avoided by the Concurring Opinion -
prosecution.[32]
x x x Precisely because the constitutive crimes are mala in se the element of
We do not subscribe to petitioner's stand. Primarily, all the essential mens rea must be proven in a prosecution for plunder. It is noteworthy that
elements of plunder can be culled and understood from its definition in Sec. the amended information alleges that the crime of plunder was committed
2, in relation to Sec. 1, par. (d), and "pattern" is not one of them. Moreover, "willfully, unlawfully and criminally." It thus alleges guilty knowledge on the
the epigraph and opening clause of Sec. 4 is clear and unequivocal: part of petitioner.
The application of mitigating and extenuating circumstances in the Revised
In support of his contention that the statute eliminates the requirement of Penal Code to prosecutions under the Anti-Plunder Law indicates quite
mens rea and that is the reason he claims the statute is void, petitioner cites clearly that mens rea is an element of plunder since the degree of
the following remarks of Senator Taada made during the deliberation on S.B. responsibility of the offender is determined by his criminal intent. It is true that
No. 733: 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
SENATOR TAADA . . . And the evidence that will be required to convict him reason to believe, however, that it does not apply as well to the public officer
would not be evidence for each and every individual criminal act but only as principal in the crime. As Justice Holmes said: "We agree to all the
evidence sufficient to establish the conspiracy or scheme to commit this generalities about not supplying criminal laws with what they omit, but there
crime of plunder.[33] is no canon against using common sense in construing laws as saying what
they obviously mean."[35]
However, Senator Taada was discussing 4 as shown by the succeeding
portion of the transcript quoted by petitioner: 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
SENATOR ROMULO: And, Mr. President, the Gentleman feels that it is Congress in 1993 to include it among the heinous crimes punishable by
contained in Section 4, Rule of Evidence, which, in the Gentleman's view, reclusion perpetua to death. Other heinous crimes are punished with death
would provide for a speedier and faster process of attending to this kind of as a straight penalty in R.A. No. 7659. Referring to these groups of heinous
cases? crimes, this Court held in People v. Echegaray:[36]

SENATOR TAADA: Yes, Mr. President . . .[34] The evil of a crime may take various forms. There are crimes that are, by
their very nature, despicable, either because life was callously taken or the
Senator Taada was only saying that where the charge is conspiracy to victim is treated like an animal and utterly dehumanized as to completely
commit plunder, the prosecution need not prove each and every criminal act disrupt the normal course of his or her growth as a human being . . . . Seen
done to further the scheme or conspiracy, it being enough if it proves beyond in this light, the capital crimes of kidnapping and serious illegal detention for
reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or ciminal acts indicative of the overall ransom resulting in the death of the victim or the victim is raped, tortured, or
unlawful scheme or conspiracy. As far as the acts constituting the pattern are subjected to dehumanizing acts; destructive arson resulting in death; and
concerned, however, the elements of the crime must be proved and the drug offenses involving minors or resulting in the death of the victim in the
requisite mens rea must be shown. case of other crimes; as well as murder, rape, parricide, infanticide,
kidnapping and serious illegal detention, where the victim is detained for
Indeed, 2 provides that - more than three days or serious physical injuries were inflicted on the victim
or threats to kill him were made or the victim is a minor, robbery with
Any person who participated with the said public officer in the commission of homicide, rape or intentional mutilation, destructive arson, and carnapping
an offense contributing to the crime of plunder shall likewise be punished for where the owner, driver or occupant of the carnapped vehicle is killed or
such offense. In the imposition of penalties, the degree of participation and raped, which are penalized by reclusion perpetua to death, are clearly
the attendance of mitigating and extenuating circumstances, as provided by heinous by their very nature.
the Revised Penal Code, shall be considered by the court.
There are crimes, however, in which the abomination lies in the significance
and implications of the subject criminal acts in the scheme of the larger
socio-political and economic context in which the state finds itself to be corridors of time as unscrupulous people relentlessly contrive more and more
struggling to develop and provide for its poor and underprivileged masses. ingenious ways to bilk the coffers of the government. Drastic and radical
Reeling from decades of corrupt tyrannical rule that bankrupted the measures are imperative to fight the increasingly sophisticated,
government and impoverished the population, the Philippine Government extraordinarily methodical and economically catastrophic looting of the
must muster the political will to dismantle the culture of corruption, national treasury. Such is the Plunder Law, especially designed to
dishonesty, greed and syndicated criminality that so deeply entrenched itself disentangle those ghastly tissues of grand-scale corruption which, if left
in the structures of society and the psyche of the populace. [With the unchecked, will spread like a malignant tumor and ultimately consume the
government] terribly lacking the money to provide even the most basic moral and institutional fiber of our nation. The Plunder Law, indeed, is a living
services to its people, any form of misappropriation or misapplication of testament to the will of the legislature to ultimately eradicate this scourge and
government funds translates to an actual threat to the very existence of thus secure society against the avarice and other venalities in public office.
government, and in turn, the very survival of the people it governs over.
Viewed in this context, no less heinous are the effects and repercussions of These are times that try men's souls. In the checkered history of this nation,
crimes like qualified bribery, destructive arson resulting in death, and drug few issues of national importance can equal the amount of interest and
offenses involving government officials, employees or officers, that their passion generated by petitioner's ignominious fall from the highest office, and
perpetrators must not be allowed to cause further destruction and damage to his eventual prosecution and trial under a virginal statute. This continuing
society. saga has driven a wedge of dissension among our people that may linger for
a long time. Only by responding to the clarion call for patriotism, to rise above
The legislative declaration in R.A. No. 7659 that plunder is a heinous offense factionalism and prejudices, shall we emerge triumphant in the midst of
implies that it is a malum in se. For when the acts punished are inherently ferment.
immoral or inherently wrong, they are mala in se[37] and it does not matter
that such acts are punished in a special law, especially since in the case of PREMISES CONSIDERED, this Court holds that RA 7080 otherwise known
plunder the predicate crimes are mainly mala in se. Indeed, it would be as the Plunder Law, as amended by RA 7659, is CONSTITUTIONAL.
absurd to treat prosecutions for plunder as though they are mere Consequently, the petition to declare the law unconstitutional is DISMISSED
prosecutions for violations of the Bouncing Check Law (B.P. Blg. 22) or of an for lack of merit.
ordinance against jaywalking, without regard to the inherent wrongness of
the acts. SO ORDERED.

To clinch, petitioner likewise assails the validity of RA 7659, the amendatory Buena, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.
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 Davide, Jr. C.J., Melo, Quisumbing, JJ., join concurring opinion of J.
having been eternally consigned by People v. Echegaray[38] to the archives Mendoza.
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 Puno, Vitug, JJ., concurred and joins J. Mendoza's concurring opinion.
necessary effect, assimilated in the Constitution now as an integral part of it.
Kapunan, Pardo, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Ynares-Santiago, JJ., see dissenting
Our nation has been racked by scandals of corruption and obscene opinion.
profligacy of officials in high places which have shaken its very foundation.
The anatomy of graft and corruption has become more elaborate in the Mendoza, J., please see concurring opinion.
Panganiban J., please see separate concurring opinion.

Carpio, J., no part. Was one of the complainants before Ombudsman.


DECISION
THIRD DIVISION

CARPIO, J.:

JOHN ERIC LONEY, G.R. No. 152644


STEVEN PAUL REID and
The Case
PEDRO B. HERNANDEZ,

Petitioners, Present:

This is a petition for review[1] of the Decision[2] dated 5 November 2001 and
the Resolution dated 14 March 2002 of the Court of Appeals. The 5
QUISUMBING, J., Chairperson, November 2001 Decision affirmed the ruling of the Regional Trial Court,
Boac, Marinduque, Branch 94, in a suit to quash Informations filed against
CARPIO, petitioners John Eric Loney, Steven Paul Reid, and Pedro B. Hernandez
(petitioners). The 14 March 2002 Resolution denied petitioners motion for
- versus - CARPIO MORALES, and reconsideration.

TINGA, JJ.

The Facts

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Promulgated:

Respondent. February 10, 2006

Petitioners John Eric Loney, Steven Paul Reid, and Pedro B. Hernandez are
the President and Chief Executive Officer, Senior Manager, and Resident
x--------------------------------------------------x Manager for Mining Operations, respectively, of Marcopper Mining
Corporation (Marcopper), a corporation engaged in mining in the province of
Marinduque.
The Ruling of the MTC

Marcopper had been storing tailings[3] from its operations in a pit in Mt.
Tapian, Marinduque. At the base of the pit ran a drainage tunnel leading to In its Joint Order of 16 January 1997 (Joint Order), the MTC[12] initially
the Boac and Makalupnit rivers. It appears that Marcopper had placed a deferred ruling on petitioners motion for lack of indubitable ground for the
concrete plug at the tunnels end. On 24 March 1994, tailings gushed out of quashing of the [I]nformations x x x. The MTC scheduled petitioners
or near the tunnels end. In a few days, the Mt. Tapian pit had discharged arraignment in February 1997. However, on petitioners motion, the MTC
millions of tons of tailings into the Boac and Makalupnit rivers. issued a Consolidated Order on 28 April 1997 (Consolidated Order), granting
partial reconsideration to its Joint Order and quashing the Informations for
violation of PD 1067 and PD 984. The MTC maintained the Informations for
violation of RA 7942 and Article 365 of the RPC. The MTC held:
In August 1996, the Department of Justice separately charged petitioners in
the Municipal Trial Court of Boac, Marinduque (MTC) with violation of Article
91(B),[4] sub-paragraphs 5 and 6 of Presidential Decree No. 1067 or the [T]he 12 Informations have common allegations of pollutants pointing to mine
Water Code of the Philippines (PD 1067),[5] Section 8[6] of Presidential tailings which were precipitately discharged into the Makulapnit and Boac
Decree No. 984 or the National Pollution Control Decree of 1976 (PD 984),[7] Rivers due to breach caused on the Tapian drainage/tunnel due to
Section 108[8] of Republic Act No. 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 negligence or failure to institute adequate measures to prevent pollution and
(RA 7942),[9] and Article 365[10] of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) for siltation of the Makulapnit and Boac River systems, the very term and
Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Damage to Property.[11] condition required to be undertaken under the Environmental Compliance
Certificate issued on April 1, 1990.
Petitioners moved to quash the Informations on the following grounds: (1) the
Informations were duplicitous as the Department of Justice charged more
than one offense for a single act; (2) petitioners John Eric Loney and Steven
Paul Reid were not yet officers of Marcopper when the incident subject of the The allegations in the informations point to same set [sic] of evidence
Informations took place; and (3) the Informations contain allegations which required to prove the single fact of pollution constituting violation of the Water
constitute legal excuse or justification. Code and the Pollution Law which are the same set of evidence necessary to
prove the same single fact of pollution, in proving the elements constituting
violation of the conditions of ECC, issued pursuant to the Philippine Mining
Act. In both instances, the terms and conditions of the Environmental
Compliance Certificate were allegedly violated. In other words, the same set
of evidence is required in proving violations of the three (3) special laws.
After carefully analyzing and weighing the contending arguments of the proceeded with the arraignment and ordered the entry of not guilty pleas on
parties and after taking into consideration the applicable laws and the charges for violation of RA 7942 and Article 365 of the RPC.
jurisprudence, the Court is convinced that as far as the three (3) aforesaid
laws are concerned, only the Information for [v]iolation of Philippine Mining
Act should be maintained. In other words, the Informations for [v]iolation of
Anti-Pollution Law (PD 984) and the Water Code (PD 1067) should be Petitioners subsequently filed a petition for certiorari with the Regional Trial
dismissed/quashed because the elements constituting the aforesaid Court, Boac, Marinduque, assailing that portion of the Consolidated Order
violations are absorbed by the same elements which constitute violation of maintaining the Informations for violation of RA 7942. Petitioners petition was
the Philippine Mining Act (RA 7942). raffled to Branch 94. For its part, public respondent filed an ordinary appeal
with the same court assailing that portion of the Consolidated Order quashing
the Informations for violation of PD 1067 and PD 984. Public respondents
appeal was raffled to Branch 38. On public respondents motion, Branch 38
ordered public respondents appeal consolidated with petitioners petition in
Branch 94.
Therefore, x x x Criminal Case[] Nos. 96-44, 96-45 and 96-46 for [v]iolation of
the Water Code; and Criminal Case[] Nos. 96-47, 96-48 and 96-49 for
[v]iolation of the Anti-Pollution Law x x x are hereby DISMISSED or
QUASHED and Criminal Case[] Nos. 96-50, 96-51 and 96-52 for [v]iolation of
the Philippine Mining Act are hereby retained to be tried on the merits.
The Ruling of Branch 94

The Information for [v]iolation of Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code
should also be maintained and heard in a full blown trial because the
common accusation therein is reckless imprudence resulting to [sic] damage
to property. It is the damage to property which the law punishes not the In its Resolution[14] of 20 March 1998, Branch 94 granted public
negligent act of polluting the water system. The prosecution for the [v]iolation respondents appeal but denied petitioners petition. Branch 94 set aside the
of Philippine Mining Act is not a bar to the prosecution for reckless Consolidated Order in so far as it quashed the Informations for violation of
imprudence resulting to [sic] damage to property.[13] PD 1067 and PD 984 and ordered those charges reinstated. Branch 94
affirmed the Consolidated Order in all other respects. Branch 94 held:

The MTC re-scheduled petitioners arraignment on the remaining charges on


28 and 29 May 1997. In the hearing of 28 May 1997, petitioners manifested After a careful perusal of the laws concerned, this court is of the opinion that
that they were willing to be arraigned on the charge for violation of Article 365 there can be no absorption by one offense of the three other offenses, as
of the RPC but not on the charge for violation of RA 7942 as they intended to [the] acts penalized by these laws are separate and distinct from each other.
appeal the Consolidated Order in so far as it maintained the Informations for The elements of proving each violation are not the same with each other.
that offense. After making of record petitioners manifestation, the MTC Concededly, the single act of dumping mine tailings which resulted in the
pollution of the Makulapnit and Boac rivers was the basis for the
information[s] filed against the accused each charging a distinct offense. But
it is also a well-established rule in this jurisdiction that

The Ruling of the Court of Appeals

A single act may offend against two or more entirely distinct and unrelated
provisions of law, and if one provision requires proof of an additional fact or
element which the other does not, an acquittal or conviction or a dismissal of
the information under one does not bar prosecution under the other. x x x.
In its Decision of 5 November 2001, the Court of Appeals affirmed Branch
94s ruling. The appellate court held:

xxxx

The records of the case disclose that petitioners filed a motion to quash the
aforementioned Informations for being duplicitous in nature. Section 3 of
[T]he different laws involve cannot absorb one another as the elements of Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Court specifically provides the grounds
each crime are different from one another. Each of these laws require [sic] upon which an information may be quashed. x x x
proof of an additional fact or element which the other does not although they
stemmed from a single act.[15]

xxxx

Petitioners filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals alleging that [D]uplicity of Informations is not among those included in x x x [Section 3,
Branch 94 acted with grave abuse of discretion because (1) the Informations Rule 117].
for violation of PD 1067, PD 984, RA 7942 and the Article 365 of the RPC
proceed from and are based on a single act or incident of polluting the Boac
and Makalupnit rivers thru dumping of mine tailings and (2) the duplicitous
nature of the Informations contravenes the ruling in People v. Relova.[16] xxxx
Petitioners further contended that since the acts complained of in the
charges for violation of PD 1067, PD 984, and RA 7942 are the very same
acts complained of in the charge for violation of Article 365 of the RPC, the We now go to petitioners claim that the resolution of the public respondent
latter absorbs the former. Hence, petitioners should only be prosecuted for contravened the doctrine laid down in People vs. Relova for being violative of
violation of Article 365 of the RPC.[17] their right against multiple prosecutions.
[T]his Court finds that there is not even the slightest indicia of evidence that
would give rise to any suspicion that public respondent acted with grave
In the said case, the Supreme Court found the Peoples argument with abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in reversing
respect to the variances in the mens rea of the two offenses being charged to the Municipal Trial Courts quashal of the Informations against the petitioners
be correct. The Court, however, decided the case in the context of the for violation of P.D. 1067 and P.D. 984. This Court equally finds no error in
second sentence of Article IV (22) of the 1973 Constitution (now under the trial courts denial of the petitioners motion to quash R.A. 7942 and Article
Section 21 of Article III of the 1987 Constitution), rather than the first 365 of the Revised Penal Code.[18]
sentence of the same section. x x x

Petitioners sought reconsideration but the Court of Appeals denied their


xxxx motion in its Resolution of 14 March 2002.

[T]he doctrine laid down in the Relova case does not squarely apply to the Petitioners raise the following alleged errors of the Court of Appeals:
case at Bench since the Informations filed against the petitioners are for
violation of four separate and distinct laws which are national in character.

I. THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A R[E]VERSIBLE ERROR IN


MAINTAINING THE CHARGES FOR VIOLATION OF THE PHILIPPINE
xxxx MINING ACT (R.A. 7942) AND REINSTATING THE CHARGES FOR
VIOLATION OF THE WATER CODE (P.D. 1067) AND POLLUTION
CONTROL LAW (P.D. 984), CONSIDERING THAT:

This Court firmly agrees in the public respondents understanding that the
laws by which the petitioners have been [charged] could not possibly absorb
one another as the elements of each crime are different. Each of these laws A. THE INFORMATIONS FOR VIOLATION OF THE WATER CODE (P.D.
require [sic] proof of an additional fact or element which the other does not, 1067), THE POLLUTION CONTROL LAW (P.D. 984), THE PHILIPPINE
although they stemmed from a single act. x x x MINING ACT (R.A. 7942) AND ARTICLE 365 OF THE REVISED PENAL
CODE PROCEED FROM AND ARE BASED ON A SINGLE ACT OR
INCIDENT OF POLLUTING THE BOAC AND MAKULAPNIT RIVERS THRU
DUMPING OF MINE TAILINGS.
xxxx

B. THE PROSECUTION OF PETITIONERS FOR DUPLICITOUS AND


MULTIPLE CHARGES CONTRAVENES THE DOCTRINE LAID DOWN IN
PEOPLE VS. RELOVA, 148 SCRA 292 [1986] THAT AN ACCUSED
SHOULD NOT BE HARASSED BY MULTIPLE PROSECUTIONS FOR The Ruling of the Court
OFFENSES WHICH THOUGH DIFFERENT FROM ONE ANOTHER ARE
NONETHELESS EACH CONSTITUTED BY A COMMON SET OR
OVERLAPPING SETS OF TECHNICAL ELEMENTS.
The petition has no merit.

II. THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR IN


RULING THAT THE ELEMENT OF LACK OF NECESSARY OR ADEQUATE
PRECAUTION, NEGLIGENCE, RECKLESSNESS AND IMPRUDENCE No Duplicity of Charges in the Present Case
UNDER ARTICLE 356 [sic] OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE DOES NOT
FALL WITHIN THE AMBIT OF ANY OF THE ELEMENTS OF THE
PERTINENT PROVISIONS OF THE WATER CODE, POLLUTION Duplicity of charges simply means a single complaint or information charges
CONTROL LAW AND PHILIPPINE MINING ACT CHARGED AGAINST more than one offense, as Section 13 of Rule 110[20] of the 1985 Rules of
PETITIONERS[.][19] Criminal Procedure clearly states:

Duplicity of offense. A complaint or information must charge but one offense,


except only in those cases in which existing laws prescribe a single
punishment for various offenses.

The Issues
In short, there is duplicity (or multiplicity) of charges when a single
Information charges more than one offense.[21]
The petition raises these issues:

Under Section 3(e), Rule 117[22] of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure,
(1) Whether all the charges filed against petitioners except one should be duplicity of offenses in a single information is a ground to quash the
quashed for duplicity of charges and only the charge for Reckless Information. The Rules prohibit the filing of such Information to avoid
Imprudence Resulting in Damage to Property should stand; and confusing the accused in preparing his defense.[23] Here, however, the
prosecution charged each petitioner with four offenses, with each Information
(2) Whether Branch 94s ruling, as affirmed by the Court of Appeals, charging only one offense. Thus, petitioners erroneously invoke duplicity of
contravenes People v. Relova. charges as a ground to quash the Informations. On this score alone, the
petition deserves outright denial.

The Filing of Several Charges is Proper


and Article 365 of the RPC showing that in each of these laws on which
petitioners were charged, there is one essential element not required of the
others, thus:
Petitioners contend that they should be charged with one offense only
Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Damage to Property because (1) all the
charges filed against them proceed from and are based on a single act or In P.D. 1067 (Philippines Water Code), the additional element to be
incident of polluting the Boac and Makalupnit rivers thru dumping of mine established is the dumping of mine tailings into the Makulapnit River and the
tailings and (2) the charge for violation of Article 365 of the RPC absorbs the entire Boac River System without prior permit from the authorities concerned.
other charges since the element of lack of necessary or adequate protection, The gravamen of the offense here is the absence of the proper permit to
negligence, recklessness and imprudence is common among them. dump said mine tailings. This element is not indispensable in the prosecution
for violation of PD 984 (Anti-Pollution Law), [RA] 7942 (Philippine Mining Act)
and Art. 365 of the Revised Penal Code. One can be validly prosecuted for
violating the Water Code even in the absence of actual pollution, or even [if]
The contention has no merit. it has complied with the terms of its Environmental Compliance Certificate, or
further, even [if] it did take the necessary precautions to prevent damage to
As early as the start of the last century, this Court had ruled that a single act property.
or incident might offend against two or more entirely distinct and unrelated
provisions of law thus justifying the prosecution of the accused for more than
one offense.[24] The only limit to this rule is the Constitutional prohibition that
no person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same In P.D. 984 (Anti-Pollution Law), the additional fact that must be proved is the
offense.[25] In People v. Doriquez,[26] we held that two (or more) offenses existence of actual pollution. The gravamen is the pollution itself. In the
arising from the same act are not the same absence of any pollution, the accused must be exonerated under this law
although there was unauthorized dumping of mine tailings or lack of
precaution on its part to prevent damage to property.

x x x if one provision [of law] requires proof of an additional fact or element


which the other does not, x x x. Phrased elsewise, where two different laws
(or articles of the same code) define two crimes, prior jeopardy as to one of In R.A. 7942 (Philippine Mining Act), the additional fact that must be
them is no obstacle to a prosecution of the other, although both offenses established is the willful violation and gross neglect on the part of the
arise from the same facts, if each crime involves some important act which is accused to abide by the terms and conditions of the Environmental
not an essential element of the other.[27] (Emphasis supplied) Compliance Certificate, particularly that the Marcopper should ensure the
containment of run-off and silt materials from reaching the Mogpog and Boac
Rivers. If there was no violation or neglect, and that the accused satisfactorily
proved [sic] that Marcopper had done everything to ensure containment of
Here, double jeopardy is not at issue because not all of its elements are the run-off and silt materials, they will not be liable. It does not follow,
present.[28] However, for the limited purpose of controverting petitioners however, that they cannot be prosecuted under the Water Code, Anti-
claim that they should be charged with one offense only, we quote with Pollution Law and the Revised Penal Code because violation of the
approval Branch 94s comparative analysis of PD 1067, PD 984, RA 7942,
Environmental Compliance Certificate is not an essential element of these though different from one another are nonetheless each constituted by a
laws. common set or overlapping sets of technical elements.

On the other hand, the additional element that must be established in Art. This contention is also without merit.
365 of the Revised Penal Code is the lack of necessary or adequate
precaution, negligence, recklessness and imprudence on the part of the
accused to prevent damage to property. This element is not required under
the previous laws. Unquestionably, it is different from dumping of mine The issue in Relova is whether the act of the Batangas Acting City Fiscal in
tailings without permit, or causing pollution to the Boac river system, much charging one Manuel Opulencia (Opulencia) with theft of electric power
more from violation or neglect to abide by the terms of the Environmental under the RPC, after the lat