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Grave Coercion

GR 140074
People vs Santos
J. Vitug

Summarized by Kharina :3

This, is a tale, of a love story gone wrong (chos XD). Joke lang guys. It’s about
two former best friends who are no longer best friends because one did not pay her
debt to the other. She was dragged from Pangasinan to Baguio by the other to file
charges against her. She claims this constituted “kidnapping.” SC says it’s only grave
coercion.

IMPORTANT PEOPLE
Josephine Santos (creditor) and Leonida dela Pena (delinquent debtor)

FACTS:
1. Dec. 10, 1996 at 6AM, dela Pena was at home in Brgy Resurreccion, Umingan,
Pampanga, with her niece, when a passenger jeepney arrived and 5 decently dressed
men stepped down and entered the house.
2. Rocky Alberto, dressed in a business suit, introduced himself and his companions as
agents of the Criminal Investigation Service (CIS). Alberto asked dela Pena about her
debt to Santos but the latter replied that she already paid to Henry Salimbay, the brgy
capt of Umingan.
3. Then, a brown car stopped in front and Salimbay, Santos, Manny Baltazar, 2 males
and 1 female, alighted. Dela Pena told Salimbay that the men came to demand
payment for the debt that she allegedly already paid. Sensing a fight, Salimbay left the
two women to settle their differences.
4. A long time ago, Santos and dela Pena used to be friends. On March 22, 1992,
Santos gave dela Pena a one-year loan. But dela Pena did not pay. Santos, a Baguio
City resident had to go all the way to Pangasinan to collect. But dela Pena refused to
see her and ignored the summons of the brgy capt. So Santos sued for estafa.
5. The Dec 10 date was the scheduled conference between the ladies and Salimbay,
and Santos decided to personally go to dela Pena’s house with Salimbay in tow.
6. But at dela Pena’s stubborn denial to pay the debt, Santos shouted incentives at her
and started throwing the things inside the house. A woodcarving hit Felizarda Saturnino,
aunt of Dela Pena.
7. Santos and Baltazar then handcuffed her and forced her to ride the jeepney. The
jeepney had two doors at either side of the driver’s seat, a door at the rear end, and a 1
foot high and 1 foot wide windows. The window was too small for her to pass through.

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8. The brown car, followed by the jeepney, then proceeded to Salimbay’s house to tell
the latter that they got dela Pena. They then went towards the direction of Carmen,
Pangasinan and stopped at the Twin Peaks, a rest stop for Baguio-bound travelers.
9. While the Santos grp was resting, an unidentified companion approached Dela Pena
and asked her to sign a document forfeiting her property in favor of Santos. Dela Pena
refused to sign it. The grp continued to Baguio.
10. In Baguio City, they proceeded to Precinct I, Baguio City Police, where the Santos
grp alighted. Baltazar then took over the driving wheel of the jeepney while Santos sat
beside dela Pena in the passenger seat. She didn’t know where they were taking her.
11. It was only much later that she realized that they were taking her to a cemetery,
when she saw the tombs. The grp decided to kill her at 8PM that evening. Alberto was
then left to guard her while the others left to eat.
12. Dela Pena begged for mercy and Alberto gave in and gave her a steel pipe to break
the jeepney windows with.
13. They then went to the Dagupan bus station, where they hitched a ride from a
Manila-bound bus, into freedom.
14. An examination by Dr. Chan showed that dela Pena sustained multiple abrasions
and hematoma in both upper extremities secondary to mauling.
15. Santos, Baltazar and 3 John Does were charged and convicted for kidnapping. They
were sentenced to death. This is an automatic appeal to the SC.

Manny Baltazar and Josephine Santos version (minerge ko na sila, kasi it’s more or less
the same):
1. Baltazar said that he and Santos and 3 others left Baguio to go to Caranglaan, Nueva
Ecija to check his 3 ½ hectare of land.
2. Since they would be passing by Umingan, Pangasinan, Santos insisted to drop by
Resurreccion to collect dela Pena’s debt, amounting to P87k. Before proceeding to dela
Pena’s house, they stopped by Salimbay’s house who accompanied the grp.
3. Once there, Baltazar and the rest remained in the car while Salimbay and Santos
alighted. Inside, she saw the 5 alleged CIS agents, and Alberto talking to dela Pena.
When Santos asked for the debt, dela Pena replied, “I already paid my indebtedness to
you. Vulva of your mother. I will have warrant against you.” And Santos countered, “You
did not even pay a cent.” Then the shouting and throwing started. Baltazar went in and
pulled Santos back to the car.
4. In the highway between Urdaneta and Binalonan, one of Alberto’s companions
flagged them down and told them that dela Pena was willing to give 50 cavans of palay
to settle the debt. But when they went back to get it, dela Pena’s husband refused to
oblige (kay Baltazar version, wla daw si hubby).
5. So they proceeded to Baguio via Kennon road. At Twin Peaks, they met with Alberto
again. Santos and Alberto then decided to go to the police to file an estafa case.

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6. They proceeded to the Central Police Station, Baguio City but they were referred to
the sub-station in Naguillan Road. According to Baltazar, they were told to file instead in
Pangasinan because the crime was consummated there.

ISSUE with HOLDING


1. W/N there really was kidnapping
- The appellants admitted that they went to dela Pena’s house and that they met with
Alberto’s grp twice. But these were “purely accidental.”
- SC says that it was hardly accidental because they arrived within minutes from each
other at dela Pena’s house and Alberto’s grp evidently knew about the debt. They even
met twice in the same day. But that’s it. Nothing else supports kidnapping.
- Dela Pena claims to have been dragged and forced inside the jeepney, but strangely
enough the scuffle did not attract the attention of his neighbors, one of which was a
kagawad.
- The grp then made a stop at Salimbay and two police stations. It was rather unusual
for would-be kidnappers to request the intervention of a brgy capt, and even brazenly go
to two police stations with her in tow.
- Dela Pena was neither gagged nor bound and jeepney where she was allegedly held
was parked just meters away from the police station.
- The testimonies of Santos and Baltazar seem more plausible when they said that with
the help of the agents, they brought dela Pena to Baguio to seek redress, but were
advised to go to file in Pangasinan instead. Alberto’s sworn statement corroborated this.
- And in dela Pena’s testimony, she identified Alberto as being one of those who
abducted her but categorically denied that Alberto kidnapped her.
- SC finds that there was instead grave coercion, when a person prevents another from
doing something not prohibited by law or compelling him to do something against his
will, whether it be right or wrong, and without any authority of the law, by means of
violence, threats or intimidation. Elements of grave coercion:
a. Offender has prevented another from doing something not prohibited by law
b. Prevention or compulsion is effected by violence, either my bacterial force or
such display of force as would produce intimidation and control over the will of
the offended party
c. Offender who has restrained the will and liberty of another did so without any
right or authority of law

DISPOSITIVE PORTION
Acquitted from kidnapping but guilty for grave coercion. Both sentenced to 6
months, arresto mayor to 3 yrs, 6 months, prision correcional