Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 56

that actual knowledge of the sales by the co-heirs satisfied the requirement of the

VOL. 150, MAY 28, 1987 261


law.7
Alonzo vs. Intermediate Appellate Court In truth, such actual notice as acquired by the co-heirs cannot be plausibly
denied. The other co-heirs, including Tecla Padua, lived on the same lot, which
PETITION to review the decision of the Intermediate Appellate Court. consisted of only 604 square meters, including the portions sold to the
petitioners.8 Eustaquia herself, who had sold her portion, was staying in the same
house with her sister Tecla, who later claimed redemp-
The f acts are stated in the opinion of the Court. _______________
Perpetuo L.B. Alonzo for petitioners.
Luis R. Reyes for private respondent.
263
CRUZ, J.: VOL. 150, MAY 28, 1987 263
Alonzo vs. Intermediate Appellate Court
The question is sometimes asked, in serious inquiry or in curious conjecture, tion.9 Moreover, the petitioners and the private respondents were close friends and
whether we are a court of law or a court of justice. Do we apply the law even if it is neighbors whose children went to school together.10
unjust or do we administer justice even against the law? Thus queried, we do not It is highly improbable that the other co-heirs were unaware of the sales and
equivocate. The answer is that we do neither because we are a court both of law and that they thought, as they alleged, that the area occupied by the petitioners had
of justice. We apply the law with justice for that is our mission and purpose in the merely been mortgaged by Celestino and Eustaquia. In the circumstances just
scheme of our Republic. This case is an illustration. narrated, it was impossible for Tecla not to know that the area occupied by the
Five brothers and sisters inherited in equal pro indiviso shares a parcel of land petitioners had been purchased by them from the other co-heirs. Especially
registered in the name of their deceased parents under OCT No. 10977 of the significant was the erection thereon of the permanent semi-concrete structure by
Registry of Deeds of Tarlac.1 the petitioners' son, which was done without objection on her part or of any of the
_______________ other co-heirs.
The only real question in this case, therefore, is the correct interpretation and
1Rollo, p. 5. application of the pertinent law as invoked, interestingly enough, by both the
262 petitioners and the private respondents. This is Article 1088 of the Civil Code,
providing as follows:
262 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
"Art. 1088. Should any of the heirs sell his hereditary rights to a stranger before the
Alonzo vs. Intermediate Appellate Court partition, any or all of the co-heirs may be subrogated to the rights of the purchaser
On March 15, 1963, one of them, Celestino Padua, transferred his undivided share by reimbursing him for the price of the sale, provided they do so within the period
of the herein petitioners for the sum of P550.00 by way of absolute sale. 2 One year of one month from the time they were notified in writing of the sale by the vendor."
later, on April 22, 1964, Eustaquia Padua, his sister, sold her own share to the same In reversing the trial court, the respondent court*** declared that the notice required
vendees, in an instrument denominated "Con Pacto de Retro Sale," for the sum of by the said article was written notice and that actual notice would not suffice as a
P440.00.3 substitute. Citing the same case of De Conejero v. Court of Appeals11 applied by the
By virtue of such agreements, the petitioners occupied, after the said sales, an trial court, the respondent court held that that decision, interpreting a like rule in
area corresponding to two-fifths of the said lot, representing the portions sold to Article 1623, stressed the need for written notice although no particular form was
them. The vendees subsequently enclosed the same with a fence. In 1975, with their required.
consent, their son Eduardo Alonzo and his wife built a semi-concrete house on a Thus, according to Justice J.B.L. Reyes, who was the
part of the enclosed area.4 _______________
On February 25, 1976, Mariano Padua, one of the five coheirs, sought to redeem
the area sold to the spouses Alonzo, but his complaint was dismissed when it 264
appeared that he was an American citizen.5 On May 27, 1977, however, Tecla
Padua, another co-heir, filed her own complaint invoking the same right of 264 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
redemption claimed by her brother.6 Alonzo vs. Intermediate Appellate Court
The trial court ** also dismiss this complaint, now on the ground that the right ponente of the Court, furnishing the co-heirs with a copy of the deed of sale of the
had lapsed, not having been exercised within thirty days from notice of the sales in property subject to redemption would satisfy the requirement for written notice. "So
1963 and 1964. Although there was no written notice, it was held long, therefore, as the latter (i.e.,the redemptioner) is informed in writing of the sale

1
and the particulars thereof," he declared, "the thirty days for redemption start import a policy that goes beyond them."13 While we admittedly may not legislate,
running." we nevertheless have the power to interpret the law in such a way as to reflect the
In the earlier decision of Butte v. Uy,12 the Court, speaking through the same will of the legislature. While we may not read into the law a purpose that is not
learned jurist, emphasized that the written notice should be given by there, we nevertheless have the right to read out of it the reason for its enactment.
the vendor and not the vendees, conformably to a similar requirement under Article In doing so, we defer not to "the letter that killeth" but to "the spirit that vivifieth,"
1623, reading as follows: to give effect to the lawmaker's will.'
" Art. 1623. The right of legal pre-emption or redemption shall not be exercised "The spirit, rather than the letter of a statute determines its construction, hence, a
except within thirty days from the notice in writing by the prospective vendor, or by statute must be read according to its spirit or intent. For what is within the spirit
the vendors, as the case may be. The deed of sale shall not be recorded in the is within the statute although it is not within the letter thereof, and that which is
Registry of Property, unless accompanied by an affidavit of the vendor that he has within the letter but not within the spirit is not within the statute. Stated
given written notice thereof to all possible redemptioners. differently, a thing which is within the intent of the lawmaker is as much within
"The right of redemption of co-owners excludes that of the adjoining owners." the statute as if within the letter; and a thing which is within the letter of the
As "it is thus apparent that the Philippine legislature in Article 1623 deliberately statute is not within the statute unless within the intent of
selected a particular method of giving notice, and that notice must be deemed _______________
exclusive," the Court held that notice given by the vendees and not the vendor would
not toll the running of the 30-day period.
The petition before us appears to be an illustration of the Holmes dictum that 266 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
"hard cases make bad laws" as the petitioners obviously cannot argue against the Alonzo vs. Intermediate Appellate Court
fact that there was really no written notice given by the vendors to their co-heirs. the law makers."14
Strictly applied and interpreted, Article 1088 can lead to only one conclusion, to wit, In requiring written notice, Article 1088 seeks to ensure that the redemptioner is
that in view of such deficiency, the 30day period for redemption had not begun to properly notified of the sale and to indicate the date of such notice as the starting
run, much less expired in 1977. time of the 30-day period of redemption. Considering the shortness of the period, it
But as has also been aptly observed, we test a law by its results; and likewise, is really necessary, as a general rule, to pinpoint the precise date it is supposed to
we may add, by its purposes. It is a cardinal rule that, in seeking the meaning of begin, to obviate any problem of alleged delays, sometimes consisting of only a day
the law, the first concern of the judge should be to discover in its provisions the in- or two.
_______________ The instant case presents no such problem because the right of redemption was
invoked not days but years after the sales were made in 1963 and 1964. The
124 SCRA 527. complaint was filed by Tecla Padua in 1977, thirteen years after the first sale and
265 fourteen years after the second sale. The delay invoked by the petitioners extends
VOL. 150, MAY 28, 1987 265 to more than a decade, assuming of course that there was a valid notice that tolled
the running of the period of redemption.
Alonzo vs. Intermediate Appellate Court Was there a valid notice? Granting that the law requires the notice to be
tent of the lawmaker. Unquestionably, the law should never be interpreted in such written, would such notice be necessary in this case? Assuming there was a valid
a way as to cause injustice as this is never within the legislative intent. An notice although it was not in writing, would there be any question that the 30-day
indispensable part of that intent, in fact, for we presume the good motives of the period for redemption had expired long before the complaint was filed in 1977?
legislature, is to render justice. In the face of the established facts, we cannot accept the private respondents'
Thus, we interpret and apply the law not independently of but in consonance pretense that they were unaware of the sales made by their brother and sister in
with justice. Law and justice are inseparable, and we must keep them so. To be 1963 and 1964. By requiring written proof of such notice, we would be closing our
sure, there are some laws that, while generally valid, may seem arbitrary when eyes to the obvious truth in favor of their palpably false claim of ignorance, thus
applied in a particular case because of its peculiar circumstances. In such a exalting the letter of the law over its purpose. The purpose is clear enough: to make
situation, we are not bound, because only of our nature and functions, to apply them sure that the redemptioners are duly notified. We are satisfied that in this case the
just the same, in slavish obedience to their language. What we do instead is find a other brothers and sisters were actually informed, although not in writing, of the
balance between the word and the will, that justice may be done even as the law is sales made in 1963 and 1964,
obeyed. _______________
As judges, we are not automatons. We do not and must not unfeelingly apply
the law as it is worded, yielding like robots to the literal command without regard 14 Statutory Construction, Ruben E. Agpalo, pp. 64-65, 1986, citing Manila Race
to its cause and consequence. "Courts are apt to err by sticking too closely to the Horse Trainers' Assn. v. De la Fuente, 88 Phil. 60; Go Chi v. Go Cho, 96 Phil.
words of a law," so we are warned, by Justice Holmes again, "where these words 622; Hidalgo v. Hidalgo, 33 SCRA 105; Roa v. Collector of Customs, 23 Phil.

2
315; Villanueva v. City of Iloilo, 26 SCRA 578; People v. Purisima, 86 SCRA The co-heirs in this case were undeniably informed of the sales although no
542; US v. Go Chico, 14 Phil. 128. notice in writing was given them. And there is no doubt either that the 30-day
267 period began and ended during the 14 years between the sales in question and the
filing of the complaint for redemption in 1977, without the co-heirs exercising their
VOL. 150, MAY 28, 1987 267
right ofredemption. These are the justifications for this exception.
Alonzo vs. Intermediate Appellate Court More than twenty centuries ago, Justinian defined justice "as the constant and
and that such notice was sufficient. perpetual wish to render every one his due."16 That wish continues to motivate this
Now, when did the 30-day period of redemption begin? Court when it assesses the facts and the law in every case brought to it for decision.
While we do not here declare that this period started from the dates of such Justice is always an essential ingredient of its decisions. Thus when the facts
sales in 1963 and 1964, we do say that sometime between those years and 1976, warrants, we interpret the law in a way that will render justice, presuming that it
when the first complaint for redemption was filed, the other co-heirs were actually was the intention of the lawmaker, to begin with, that the law be dispensed with
informed of the sale and that thereafter the 30-day period started running and justice. So we have done in this case.
ultimately expired. This could have happened any time during the interval of WHEREFORE, the petition is granted. The decision of the respondent court is
thirteen years, when none of the co-heirs made a move to redeem the properties REVERSED and that of the trial court is reinstated, without any pronouncement
sold. By 1977, in other words, when Tecla Padua filed her complaint, the right of as to costs. It is so ordered.
redemption had already been extinguished because the period f or its exercise had Teehankee, C.J., Yap, Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez,
already expired. Jr., Paras, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin, Sarmiento and Cortes, JJ., concur.
The f ollowing doctrine is also worth noting: Fernan and Feliciano, JJ., on leave.
"While the general rule is, that to charge a party with laches in the assertion of an Petition granted.
alleged right it is essential that he should have knowledge of the facts upon which
he bases his claim, yet if the circumstances were such as should have induced SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
inquiry, and the means of ascertaining the truth were readily available upon
inquiry, but the party neglects to make it, he will be chargeable with laches, the Philippines Today, Inc. us. NLRC
same as if he had known the facts. "15
It was the perfectly natural thing for the co-heirs to wonder why the spouses Alonzo, PANGANIBAN, J.:
who were not among them, should enclose a portion of the inherited lot and build
thereon a house of strong materials. This definitely was not the act of a temporary
May a “Memorandum for File” which did not mention the words “resign” and/or
possessor or a mere mortgagee. This certainly looked like an act of ownership. Yet,
“resignation” nonetheless juridically constitute voluntary resignation? In
given this unseemly situation, none of the co-heirs saw fit to object or at least
answering this question, the Court took into account not merely the literal meaning
inquire, to ascertain the facts, which were readily available. It took all
of the words and phrases used but, more importantly, the peculiar circumstances
of thirteen years before one of them chose to claim the right of redemption, but then
attendant to its writing as well as antecedent, contemporaneous and subsequent
it was already too late.
actions, which were
We realize that in arriving at our conclusion today, we are deviating from the
207
strict letter of the law, which the respondent court understandably applied
pursuant to existing jurisprudence. The said court acted properly as it had no VOL. 267, JANUARY 30, 1997 207
competence to reverse the doctrines laid down by this Court in the
Philippines Today, Inc. vs. NLRC
_______________
inconsistent with the desire for continued employment of the writer, an intelligent
executive occupying a position of trust in the Philippine Star and gifted with an
15Ater v. Smith 245 111. 57, 19 Am. Cases 105.
unusual writing ability.
268 These circumstances and actions are explained by this Court in resolving this
268 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED petition for certiorari assailing the Decision1 of the National Labor Relations
Commission (Second Division)2 in NLRC NCR CA 001863–91 entitled “Felix R.
Alonzo vs. Intermediate Appellate Court Alegre, Jr. vs. Philippines Today, Inc” promulgated on September 30, 1993, which
above-cited cases. In fact, and this should be clearly stressed, we ourselves reversed the decision of Labor Arbiter Pablo C. Espiritu, Jr., dated May 15, 1991.
are not abandoning the De Conejero and Buttle doctrines. What we are doing simply In a Resolution dated November 16, 1993, petitioners’ motion for reconsideration
is adopting an exception to the general rule, in view of the peculiar circumstances was denied.3
of this case.
The Facts

3
The undisputed facts are as follows: Petitioner Philippines Today, Inc. (PTI) is the Group of Publications, I was unwittingly signing my own death warrant as well.
owner of the Philippine Star, a daily newspaper of national and international The insults he had later on hurled at my person, the malicious innuendoes he had
circulation, while the individual petitioners are officers and members of the board spread around, casting doubts on my personal and professional integrity, had
of directors of PTI, namely, Betty Go-Belmonte, chairman of the board; Arturo A. mercilessly torn at my soul, causing metaphysical death.
Borjal, president; Maximo V. Soliven, publisher and chairman, editorial board; and _______________
Isaac G. Belmonte, treasurer. Private Respondent Felix R. Alegre, Jr. was employed
by PTI in July 1986 as a senior investigative reporter of the Philippine Star with a 209
monthly salary of eight thousand pesos (P8,000.00). He later became chief
investigative writer and then assistant to the publisher. His monthly compensation VOL. 267, JANUARY 30, 1997 209
was correspondingly increased to ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00). Philippines Today, Inc. vs. NLRC
On October 20,1988, Respondent Alegre filed a request for a thirty-day leave of My credentials as a working journalist, I’d like to believe, got me this job at the
absence effective on the same date, citing the advice of his personal physician for STAR in the first place. And my bylines in the series of articles in the STAR From
him to undergo fur- Day One of my official affiliation with the Company, should establish that fact.
________________ I was an investigative reporter at the Manila Times when the publisher offered
me to work with him at the STAR in 1986. I was given the assignment as senior
investigative reporter, then chief investigative writer, until I was given a fancy title
208 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED of assistant to the publisher.
As a corporate guy assisting the publisher in his day-to-day official function—
Philippines Today, Inc. vs. NLRC and this is where I feel very strongly about citing some specifics of the things I did
ther medical consultations abroad.4 Four days later, on October 24, 1988, he wrote in this area, to wit:
a “Memorandum for File"5 addressed to Petitioner Betty Go-Belmonte with copies ... (omitted are said “specifics” of Respondent Alegre’s accomplishments as
furnished to members of the board of directors of PTI, the text of which. is assistant to the publisher deemed by this Court as not relevant to the appreciation
reproduced below: of this memorandum in relation to the consideration of the petition.)
As can be gleaned from this recital of some of the “things done” (despite my
“MEMORANDUM FOR FILE
distaste for trumpeting one’s deeds, but has to be said, to set the record straight, in
FOR : BETTY GO-BELMONTE this instance), one can see that I obviously don different hats at any one time, doing
administration and operations functions, apart from my journalistic duties. That I
Chairman & CEO, The STAR Group of Publications
work as a teamplayer, and trying hard to be goodat (sic) it, cannot be denied.
FROM : FELIX R. ALEGRE, JR. FOR DOING ALL THESE in the best spirit of corporate teamupmanship, what
did I get in RETURN?
DATE : 24 October 1988
SUBJECT : HAVING IT ALL
1. 1.A pittance, salary/compensation-wise
Truth like medicine hurts. But it cures.
2. 2.Being conveniently bypassed in promotions, pay hikes, and other perks
The nice little chat we had last Thursday was most revealing. And certainly
3. 3.Hindered from active participation in corporate affairs, by shooting at
disconcerting.
my ideas that otherwise would have been workable and profitable for
What you had to tell me pained me, or course. But it has helped me just as
the Company and its people (CF. Item 2 of my memo dtd 06 September
much. It enabled me to see things clearly in their right perspectives. More
88 which had you interested in and supportive of).
importantly, it provided me with the answers to the questions that had long nagged
4. 4.Personally and professionally maligned, and accused of being an NPA
me in my wakeful state.
(non-performing asshole, pardon my French).
For quite a time, I got this sinking feeling of being treated like a pariah of sorts
by most of the senior executives around here. The frustration at my inability to put
a finger at such a feeling somehow enhanced the angst within me. Until our chat. By and large, all that I got are the twin demons of a civilized, unconscionable
Now all the demons of my anxiety have been exorcised. And I am left alone to lick society: ECONOMIC INJUSTICE and PROFESSIONAL SABOTAGE.
the wounds of my betrayal. lt isn’t easy, I know. But I shall pull through. Your When push comes to a shove .... anything or everything comes crashing down.
candor and demonstrated faith in my person have been most assuaging. And for I’M HAVING IT ALL!
that alone, I am most grateful. 210
It has never occurred to me that, in my acceptance of the invitation from no less 210 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
than the publisher himself, to join him at the Philippines Today, Inc., and the STAR

4
I am writing this letter not, certainly, to make any appeal, but simply to go on
Philippines Today, Inc. vs. NLRC
record that I did not resign. I filed a leave of absence. Yes. And that was
Since I am on leave, I guess I won’t be able to see you for a while. I wish to take this
dully (sic) approved. Then I sent you a memorandum for file expressing my
opportunity to express my profound appreciation and sincere thanks for your
sentiments on certain things, candid statements that came to b4 (sic)expressed
genuine concren (sic) and honest initiatives to do a good turn on my behalf. You
inspired by your candor and sincerity in our last little chat. Now, if you read that
have been most candid and forthright with me. I can’t be any less.
memo to mean resignation, that is your responsibility. And I am not just about to
Thank you for everything. God bless.
contest it. x x x”
Very sincerely,
This was followed by another letter on January 2, 1989, wherein Alegre through
(Sgd.) FELIX R. ALEGRE, JR.
counsel,8 reiterated that he never resigned. He accused petitioners of illegal
dismissal as can be perceived allegedly from the discrimination against him in
copy furnished: promotions, benefits and the ploy to oust him by considering his memorandum as a
resignation. He claimed that as a result, he suffered mental anguish, social
Members of the Board, Phils. Today, Inc. humiliation, besmirched reputation and moral shock. He thus demanded
Dr. Ronaldo G. Asuncion indemnification for “the material and moral losses he has incurred.” He further
Mr. Antonio Roces” wrote that he was not insisting to be taken back after being shown that he was no
On December 6, 1988, Respondent Alegre received from Petitioner Belmonte a longer wanted in the company.
letter,6 as follows: Counsel9 for petitioners, in a reply on January 19, 1989, explained that the
“November 9, 1988 acceptance of Alegre’s resignation was a Collective decision of the board of directors
MR. FELIX ALEGRE since “nobody in his right mind would write a memorandum of the sort he wrote
and still not resign. To them, the memorandum was tantamount to a resignation
Dear Jun, even if Mr. Alegre did not say so
_______________
During our board meeting yesterday, we discussed your letter dated October 24,
1988, and the Board decided to accept your resignation and that it would take effect
on November 22, 1988 upon expiration of your one-month leave. 212 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
I would like to take this opportunity to say that we were happy to have had you
with the STAR Group of Publications and that we would like to wish you the best Philippines Today, Inc. vs. NLRC
of luck. in so much words.” With respect to his claim for damages, petitioners’ counsel said,
God bless. Thank you. “he has not shown any specific fact or circumstance that would justify his claim,
Very truly yours, even remotely.” Hence, “the Star cannot accede to the same”
BETTY GO BELMONTE On May 17, 1989, Respondent Alegre filed a complaint for illegal dismissal and
Chairman of the Board damages against herein petitioners.10 The labor arbiter dismissed said complaint in
The Philippine Star” his decision of May 15, 1991. We quote significant portions of said decision:
The following day, Respondent Alegre wrote Petitioner Belmonte expressing “This office has minutely disected (sic) the letter and while it be said that nothing
surprise over the acceptance of his therein mentions about resigning from his position as Assistant to the Publisher, a
________________ perusal of the letter as a whole shows that the intention of the complainant was to
resign from his post. The subject as—“Having it all” together with his frustrations
and disappointment in the office coupled with his statement that “when push comes
6Records, p. 28.
to a shove, everything comes crushing (sic) down” and that: he is “having it all” and
211
with his concluding sentence of “Thank you for everything” are (sic) clear
VOL. 267, JANUARY 30, 1997 211 indications that he was in fact resigning.
As a journalist and a writer, complainant need not write his letter of resignation
Philippines Today, Inc. vs. NLRC
in black and white. He can do so in many other ways, words and actions to show his
“resignation” as stated in the above-quoted letter. His letter 7 partly stated:
real intention of leaving his job.
“It certainly beats me to be told that my ‘resignation’ has been accepted, when in
xxx xxx xxx
truth and in fact, no such move, however implicit it may be, and no such letter has
Complainant’s subsequent overt acts particularly his failure to report to his job
ever been made from my end.
after the expiration of his leave of absence, his being gainfully employed with the
xxx xxx xxx
Office of Senator Laurel (as Chief of Staff) and his act of clearing and removing his

5
personal files, things and belongings from his desk prior to his (complainant)
Philippines Today, Inc. vs. NLRC
knowledge or receipt of the letter accepting his resignation(,) clearly indicates that
complainant was not terminated from his job but rather he resigned from his job ...
xxx xxx xxx 1. vision)13 by erroneously computing backwages, as it did not deduct the
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered dismissing amounts earned by Respondent Alegre while he was admittedly
the complaint for illegal dismissal and damages for lack of merit, and ordering employed in the office of Senator Sotero H. Laurel.
respondent, Philippines Today, Inc., to pay complainant the amount of THIRTY
THOUSAND (P30,000.00) PESOS by way of separation pay in the interest of
The pivotal question is whether the Memorandum for File of Respondent Alegre
compassionate
addressed to Petitioner Belmonte constitutes a letter of resignation.
_______________
In construing it so, petitioners advance these arguments: (1) Respondent Alegre
had spoken openly to Petitioner Belmonte of his desire to leave the Philippine
10NLRC Case No. 00–05–02317–89. Star\ (2) the contents of his memorandum indicate an intention on his part not to
213 return to his job even if he did not categorically mention resignation; (3) he never
VOL. 267, JANUARY 30, 1997 213 returned to work after his authorized leave expired and even cleared his desk of his
personal belongings; and, (4) he obtained employment as chief of staff of the office
Philippines Today, Inc. vs. NLRC of Senator Sotero Laurel for which he was paid a higher salary. Having been led to
labor justice; and dismissing Respondents (sic) counterclaim for damages for lack of believe that Alegre wanted to resign and in honestly perceiving his memorandum
merit.11 as a resignation letter, petitioners cannot be held liable for moral and exemplary
On appeal by Alegre, the above decision was set aside by the NLRC. Adopting the damages because they believe their action was in accordance with law. Lastly,
definition in Black’s Law Dictionary (5th Edition) of resignation as a “formal petitioners contend that, even assuming they were liable for illegal dismissal, the
renouncement or relinquishment of an office,” it held that herein Respondent Alegre NLRC, in granting backwages, should have deducted the amount earned by Alegre
did not resign as there was no actual act of relinquishment to constitute complete from his subsequent employment.
and operative resignation. According to the NLRC, the request for a leave of absence Private respondent, on the other hand, maintains that he had no intention of
by Respondent Alegre meant that he intended to return after the period of his resigning from PTI. He insists that: (1) in writing the memorandum, he was merely
absence. Such intent was bolstered by his filing of a request for an extension of his lamenting the work environment at PTI and apprising Petitioner Belmonte of the
leave. Further, when he received the letter of Petitioner Belmonte dated November situation; (2) a resignation should be unequivocal in nature; (3) his non-return to
9, 1988 informing him of the acceptance by the Board of his resignation, he work after his original leave expired is explained by his subsequent request for an
immediately wrote a letter to Petitioner Belmonte, expressing in no uncertain terms extension thereof due to medical reasons; (4) and the letter of Petitioner Belmonte
that he did not resign. These circumstances led the NLRC to hold that Respondent obviated any desire for him to return to his work since petitioners practically
Alegre was constructively dismissed without just cause and to order petitioners to terminated his employment. He further contends that petitioners’ tenacious
pay him full backwages for three years from the time of dismissal, separation pay resistance in admitting
in lieu of reinstatement, moral and exemplary damages and attorney’s fees. 12 ________________
Issues
Petitioners argue that the NLRC committed grave abuse of discretion: 13224 SCRA 410, July 05, 1993 (not August 13, 1993 as stated in the petition).
215
1. 1.in finding them guilty of illegally dismissing Respondent Alegre; VOL. 267, JANUARY 30, 1997 215
2. 2.in awarding Respondent Alegre moral and exemplary damages and
Philippines Today, Inc. vs. NLRC
attorney’s fees without any factual and legal basis; and,
their mistake bespeaks of bad faith and shows their real intention to end his
3. 3.even assuming that Respondent Alegre was illegally dismissed, in
services, which entitles him to moral and exemplary damages. In representation of
contravening and disregarding this Court’s ruling in Alex Ferrer, et al.
public respondent, the Solicitor General supported private respondent’s position.
vs. NLRC (Second Di
The Court’s Ruling
The petition is meritorious.
________________
Pivotal Issue: Did the Memorandum for File
214 Constitute Voluntary Resignation?
214 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED

6
After a thorough scrutiny of the Memorandum for File of Respondent Alegre and a demons of my anxiety have been exorcised. And I am left alone to lick the wounds
careful deliberation on the peculiar circumstances attendant to its writing and the of my betrayal. x x x
antecedent, contemporaneous and subsequent actions of private respondent, we _______________
hold that said memorandum juridically constituted a letter of resignation.
We see merit in the findings and conclusions drawn by the labor arbiter. They 14 Homeowners Savings and Loan Association vs. NLRC, G.R. No. 97067,
are more in accord with prudence, common sense and sound judgment. The labor September 26, 1996, Justice Regino C. Hermosisima, Jr., ponente.
arbiter correctly deduced from Alegre’s memorandum and attendant actuations 217
that he resigned. In contrast, the NLRC was too strict in its interpretation of what
constitutes “resignation.” It adhered literally to the dictionary meaning of the word VOL. 267, JANUARY 30, 1997 217
without relating it to the peculiarity of the factual circumstances surrounding the Philippines Today, Inc. vs. NLRC
case. Courts and quasi-judicial bodies, in the exercise of their functions and in It has never occurred to me that, in my acceptance of the invitation from no less
making decisions, must not be too dogmatic as to restrict themselves to literal than the publisher himself, to join him x x x, I was unwittingly signing my own
interpretations of words, phrases and sentences. A complete and wholistic new must death warrant as well. The insults he had later on hurled at my person, the
must be taken in order to render a just and equitable judgment. malicious innuendoes he had spread around, casting doubts on my personal and
Incendiary words and sarcastic remarks professional integrity, had mercilessly torn at my soul, causing metaphysical
death.”
negate alleged desire to improve relations
negate any desire to improve work relations with Petitioner Soliven and other PTI
Alegre’s choice of words and way of expression betray his allegation that the executives. Such strongly worded letter constituted an act of “burning his bridges”
memorandum was simply an “opportunity to open the eyes of (Petitioner) Belmonte with the officers of the company.
to the work environment in petitioners’ newspaper with the end in view of
216 Seeking relief incompatible with writing offensive letter
Any management officer, much so an immediate superior, would be offended, if not
216 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
enraged, with the insults and innuendoes stated in said memorandum; more so
Philippines Today, Inc. vs. NLRC because the memorandum was not directly addressed to him but to the chairman
persuading (her) to take a hand at improving said environment.” Apprising his and CEO and copy furnished all other officers and members of the board of directors.
employer (or top-level management) of his frustrations in his job and differences Any discerning mind can perceive that the letter is not simply a recitation of
with his immediate superior is certainly not done in an abrasive, offensive and respondent Alegre’s gripes, disappointments, frustrations and heartaches against
disrespectful manner. A cordial or, at the very least, civil attitude, according due the company and its officers particularly Petitioner Soliven, as postulated by the
deference to one’s superiors, is still observed, especially among high-ranking Solicitor General in his comment.15 If it were so, why was it not addressed directly
management officers. The Court takes judicial notice of the Filipino values to the person concerned? His memorandum clearly indicated that his problems
of pakikisama and paggalang which are not only prevalent among members of a involved, or were supposedly caused by only one person, Mr. Soliven, his immediate
family and community but within organizations as well, including work sites. An superior. But it was not even addressed to him! How can he expect amends in their
employee is expected to extend due respect to management, the employer being the relations if that was all he wanted? The Solicitor General was simply turning a
“proverbial hen that lays the golden egg,"14 so to speak. An aggrieved employee who blind eye to the obvious fact that said memorandum, for all intents and purposes,
wants to unburden himself of his disappointments and frustrations in his job or was in-, tended, wittingly or unwittingly, to end employment relations.
relations with his immediate superior would normally approach said superior ________________
directly or otherwise ask some other officer possibly to mediate and discuss the
problem with the end in view of settling their differences without causing ferocious 15Comment of the Solicitor General, p. 6; rollo, pp. 89–103.
conflicts. No matter how the employee dislikes his employer professionally, and 218
even if he is in a confrontational disposition, he cannot afford to be disrespectful
218 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
and dare to talk with an unguarded tongue and/or with a bileful pen. Here,
respondent Alegre was anything but respectful and polite. His memorandum is too Philippines Today, Inc. vs. NLRC
affrontive, combative and confrontational. It certainly causes resentment, even
when read by an objective reader. His incendiary words and sarcastic remarks, to Respondent Alegre a well-educated journalist
quote some: It should not escape our attention that respondent Alegre is a professional
“For quite a time, I got this sinking feeling of being treated like a pariah of sorts by journalist and persuasive writer, On top of that, he was a law graduate. He must
most of the senior executives around here. The frustration at my inability to put a have known the drilling effect of his bitter and sarcastic remarks upon the
finger at such a feeling somehow enhanced the angst within me. x x x Now all the petitioners and must have intended the same. Ordinary words are to be construed

7
in their ordinary meaning. Common sense dictates that Alegre meant to resign
Antecedent, Contemporaneous and Subsequent
when he wrote the memorandum. Otherwise, he should have used a more tempered
language and a less confrontational tone. Moreover, he held a position of evident Actions Affirming Resignation
responsibility requiring the utmost confidence of his immediate superior. As In addition to his memorandum and the circumstances attendant thereto which
assistant to the publisher doing, in his very own words, “administration and were just discussed, the Court notes some peculiar actions confirming Alegre’s
operations functions, apart from (my) journalistic duties,” it is apparent that Alegre intention to terminate his employment with the Star.
was not employed simply for his writing skills. Top management certainly reposed
(1) Medical reasons for leave of absence not proved
full trust and confidence in him and placed him in a position of considerable
First, he claims that his leave of absence was due to medical reasons, for which he
management influence.
was supposed to seek relief abroad.
PTI officers of uncommon 220
intelligence and perception 220 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Furthermore, his memorandum was addressed to the chairman and chief executive
Philippines Today, Inc. vs. NLRC
officer of PTI and furnished all members of the board of directors. These officers
which include the likes of the late Betty Go-Belmonte, Maximo V. Soliven and However, the Court scoured the records but found nothing to show that he actually
Arturo A. Borjal, long-time and well-respected journalists acclaimed locally and underwent any medical check-up. Much less, medical examination abroad. Nothing
internationally, are themselves people of uncommon perception and intellect. They really backs up such claim except his bare statements which, evidentially, are at
will not miscomprehend the meaning and intent of Alegre’s memorandum, which best self-serving.
was not by any means a simple way of seeking relief but well a way to get out of the (2) Cleared desk of personal belongings
company. What else could he have meant with these concluding remarks: Second, respondent Alegre cleared his desk of his personal belongings even before
“By and large, all that I got are the twin demons of a civilized, unconscionable he knew of the acceptance of his resignation. 16 Such act certainly bares his intent
society: ECONOMIC INJUSTICE and PROFESSIONAL SABOTAGE. to leave his job. Respondent Alegre has not refuted nor offered any sufficient
When push comes to a shove ... anything or everything comes crashing down. explanation for this action. We cannot but give due credit to the petitioners’
I’M HAVING IT ALL!" contention that such act was expressive of his intent to resign.
219
(3) Did d not report back to work
VOL. 267, JANUARY 30, 1997 219 Third, respondent Alegre did not return to his job after his authorized leave of
Philippines Today, Inc. us. NLRC absence expired in November 1988. Although he sent another letter17 requesting for
an extension of his leave, there is no showing on record that the same was approved
Respondent Alegre, being a journalist himself and having worked with them for
by petitioners. It is standard office procedure that applications for leave of absence
sometime, knew how his letter would be perceived and received. Besides, as
are subject to the approval of the employer. These are not automatically granted
discussed earlier, Alegre is likewise a well-educated man of more than average
upon filing. Except to cite in his request “travel log (sic) coupled with advice of my
intelligence. The conclusion is inevitable that he had more than enough sense to
physician,” respondent Alegre has not proven the emergency nature of the cause/s
anticipate the consequences and effects of his words and actions. Indeed, what a
of his extended leave. Again, we cannot but give due credence to petitioners’
man sows, he reaps.
contention that this was another operative evidence of Alegre’s intent to resign.
Trust and confidence breached His non-return to work, though, is not equivalent to abandonment of work. For
In addition, respondent Alegre is a highly confidential employee who holds his job in the latter, it is necessary to prove “clear and deliberate intent” coupled with
at the pleasure of his employer or, stated otherwise, for as long as he enjoys the unjustified absence
trust and confidence of his employer. Corollarily, he likewise must repose trust and ________________
confidence in his employer or, at the very least, his immediate superior. But any
superior hurled with invectives from a confidential employee, much more one 221
occupying a managerial position at the same time, will definitely lose trust and
confidence in the latter. And there can be no way to interpret such letter other than VOL. 267, JANUARY 30, 1997 221
as a withering of trust and confidence by the employee in his boss. The use of Philippines Today, Inc. vs. NLRC
offensive language can only mean expression of disloyalty and disrespect. It renders and overt acts unerringly pointing to the fact that the employee simply does not
the writer unworthy of the trust and confidence demanded by his position. It is want to work anymore.18 In the case at bench, Alegre voluntarily resigned through
beyond human nature to expect two persons with underlying mistrust in each other his memorandum albeit written in the guise of a grievance letter. The law and
to continue to work together effectively, not to say, harmoniously. jurisprudence on abandonment have thus no application in the present case.

8
(4) Not deprived of chance to return to work that was his feeling. That is my way of trying to tell him that your sons are very hardworking
Fourth, if Respondent Alegre had really no intention to resign, he could have
because he said when I leave I am going to ask them to leave too. Maybe because of that he
reported back to work. His contention that he was effectively deprived of any chance
to return to his work because of the acceptance of his purported resignation cannot gave me the impression that he wanted to leave.
be sustained. He claims that he received the notice dated November 9, 1988 only on
ATTY. BORRETA:
December 6, 1988. But this means that for about two weeks after his leave expired,
he had all chances to return to his work. Yet he chose not to. The obvious reason is And this happened before he wrote this memo for file on October 24, 1988?
that he had actually no intention of doing so.
WITNESS:
(5) Alegre expressly manifested intention to resign
Yes, sir.
Prior to sending his memorandum, Respondent Alegre informed Petitioner
Belmonte of his intention to resign from the Philippine Star. This is shown by the ATTY. BORRETA:
testimony (cross examination) of the late Mrs. Belmonte before the labor arbiter on
And because of that you got the impression that he had the intention to resign?
January 13, 1990, as follows:
WITNESS:
‘ATTY. BORRETA:
Yes, sir.” “19
And you took that action, meaning the Board acted on this Memo or File which you
(6) Assumed job in another office
considered as his letter of resignation without consulting or talking with the complainant
Finally, the most telling of the actions undertaken by Respondent Alegre which
first? evidently demonstrate his intent to resign was his immediate employment as chief
________________ of staff of the
________________
18 Kingsize vs. NLRC 238 SCRA 349, November 24, 1994; Nueva Ecija vs.

Minister of Labor, 184 SCRA 25, April 3, 1990, citing Flexo Manufacturing vs. 19TSN, January 13, 1990, pp. 90–94.
NLRC, 135 SCRA 145, February 28, 1985; Peñaflor vs. NLRC, 120 SCRA 68, 223
January 17, 1983.
VOL. 267, JANUARY 30, 1997 223
222
Philippines Today, Inc. vs. NLRC
222 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
office of then Senator Sotero H. Laurel, with a much higher compensation at
Philippines Today, Inc. vs. NLRC P14,600.00 per month plus P2,000.00 per month driver’s allowance. He admitted in
his testimony before the labor arbiter on November 6, 1989 that he was employed
WITNESS:
therein about a year before (the date of his testimony) or sometime in November
The complainant had also applied for leave of absence and he talked with me that he was 1988.20 The date coincided with the period of his leave of absence or immediately
thereafter. If he had no intention of resigning and was on leave for medical reasons
leaving for the United States. Actually I remember he requested a conversation but he did not
as he alleged, why then did he commence a new job in another office at about the
specify what the conversation was about, Your Honor. He was telling me that he wanted to same period? His assumption of a new job prior to receiving Mrs. Belmonte’s letter
on December 6, 1988 is clearly inconsistent with any desire to remain in
leave[has signed another job. And I told him that that is not my prerogative and I am only
employment with PTI. This is particularly evident because both jobs required full-
Chairman of the Board; and he came upon the recommendation of our Publisher and he was time work. Moreover, working in a newspaper which prides in its independence
from partisan activities is incompatible with a concurrent political office held by
at that time Assistant to the Publisher; that he should talk to the Publisher first and I even
respondent.
advised him to patch up whatever differences he might have. In that conversation, he said
Side Issue: May a Resignation Be Unilaterally Withdrawn?
something about leaving and he even said to me that when he leaves, he would ask his two Having established that Respondent Alegre resigned, we now tackle the corollary
issue of whether he can unilaterally withdraw his resignation. We hold that he
(2) sons who were working with us to leave too. And I think I made a comment, and that
cannot do so.
must be what he was referring to. I said; oh, but your sons are very hardw orking. In fact I The case of lntertrod Maritime, Inc. vs. NLRC21 is in point. The employee
therein who was a ship engineer, while at Port Pylus, Greece, requested for relief
said the Publisher, Max Soliven, told me that ‘sana you were as good as your sons’ maybe

9
due to “personal reasons.” The master of the ship, who had authority to “sign off”
Philippines Today, Inc. vs. NLRC
an employee requesting relief, approved his request but informed the employee that
hiring.23 The law, in protecting the rights of the laborer, impels neither the
repatriation expenses were for his account and that he had to give thirty days notice
oppression nor self-destruction of the employer.24
in view of clause 5 of the employment contract. When the vessel was at Port Said,
Consistent with our ruling in Intertrod, the resignation of respondent Alegre
Egypt four days later, the master “signed him off” and paid him in cash all amounts
after its acceptance by petitioners can no longer be withdrawn without the consent
due him less repatriation expenses. On his return to the Philippines, the employee
of the latter. In fairness to the employer, an employee cannot backtrack on his
filed a complaint charging his employer with breach of employment
resignation at his whim and without the conformity of the former.
________________
The instant case is unlike Molave Tours Corporation vs. NLRC25and People’s
Security, Inc. vs. NLRC,26 In Molave, acting on reports that the employee was on
20TSN, November 6, 1989, pp. 5–7. several occasions found drunk within work premises, the employer required him to
21198 SCRA 318, June 19, 1991. explain in writing said charges. Notwithstanding his explanation and request for a
224 confrontation with his accusers, the employee was made to sign a resignation letter,
224 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED Two months after, he filed a complaint for illegal dismissal. The labor arbiter,
affirmed by the NLRC, found that the employee was merely forced and intimidated
Philippines Today, Inc. vs. NLRC into resigning. The Court reiterated that resignation must be voluntary on the part
contract and violation of the National Seamen Board rules and regulations. He of the employee. It thus ordered the employer to reinstate the employee and award
claimed that his request for relief was only for the sole purpose of enabling him to backwages and other benefits due him since there was no effective resignation.
take care of a fellow member of the crew who was hospitalized in Greece, Hence, Likewise in People’s Security, there was a finding of involuntary resignation.
after he was disallowed from disembarking thereat, the reason no longer existed The employees therein who were security guards were not given assignments by
and, consequently, he was illegally dismissed when he was forced to “sign off” in their employer after the latter’s security services .contract with Meralco expired.
Egypt even as he signified his intention of continuing his work. The employees requested for loans to be deducted from their security bond deposits,
The Court ruled against the employee. It held that resignations, once accepted, which requests were denied by the employer who insisted that they must turn in
may not be withdrawn without the consent of the employer. If the employer accepts their resignations first before their security bond deposits could be re-
the withdrawal, the employee retains his job. If the employer does not, the employee ________________
cannot claim illegal dismissal. To say that an employee who has resigned is illegally
dismissed, is to encroach upon the right of employers to hire persons who will be of 23 See San Miguel Brewery Sales Force Union (PTGWO) vs. Ople, 170 SCRA 25,
service to them. February 8,1989; Homeowners, supra note 14.
Obviously, this is a recognition of the contractual nature of employment which 24 Supra note 21 citing Philippine Airlines, Inc. vs. PAL Employees
requires mutuality of consent between the parties. An employment contract is Association, 57 SCRA 489, June 28, 1974.
consensual and voluntary. Hence, if the employee “finds himself in a situation 25 250 SCRA 326, November 24, 1995.
where he believes that personal reasons cannot be sacrificed in favor of the exigency 26 226 SCRA 146, September 8, 1993.
of the service, then he has no other choice but to disassociate himself from his
226
employment."22 If accepted by the employer, the consequent effect of resignation is
severance of the contract of employment. 226 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
A resigned employee who desires to take his job back has to reapply therefor,
Philippines Today, Inc. vs. NLRC
and he shall have the status of a stranger who cannot unilaterally demand an
leased. Not having been given new work assignments and being in dire financial
appointment. He cannot arrogate unto himself the same position which he earlier
need, the employees submitted their resignation letters. Three months later, they
decided to leave. To allow him to do so would be to deprive the employer of his basic
filed money claims which were later amended to include illegal dismissal. The
right to choose whom to employ. Such is tantamount to undue oppression of the
employer. It has been held that an employer is free to regulate, according to his own employer contended that the employees voluntarily severed their employment
because they turned in their resignation letters and assumed jobs with another
discretion and judgment, all aspects of employment including
security agency. Again, the Court held that resignation is a voluntary act of the
_______________
employee. When the employees were told that they would not be granted loans
unless they resigned, they had no choice since they desperately needed money to
22Ibid., citing Dosch vs. NLRC, 123 SCRA 296, July 5, 1983. meet their respective families’ needs. They were also forced to accept jobs at another
225 agency as a practical solution to their employment problems which were caused by
VOL. 267, JANUARY 30, 1997 225 the employer’s refusal and failure to provide them with new assignments.

10
In the case of Indophil vs. NLRC,27 on the other hand, the employee voluntarily leave of absence, his clearing of his own desk of personal belongings, his failure to
submitted a resignation letter but later tried to retrieve the same. He contended report back to work after the expiration of his approved leave, his verbal expression
though, that he was thereafter prevented by the company guard from entering the of his intent to resign, and most notably, his assumption of a higher paying job in a
work premises because of his resignation. He sued for illegal dismissal. His political office which was incompatible with his work at the Star.
employer claimed abandonment of work since he was required to report and to 228
explain his unauthorized absences but did not. In holding that there was no
228 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
dismissal, the Court regarded the employer’s act of requiring the employee to report
and explain his unauthorized absences as non-acceptance of the previous Philippines Today, Inc. vs. NLRC
resignation of the employee. Thus, the employer still considered him as its employee In deciding cases, this Court does not matter-of-factly apply and interpret laws in a
in spite of the filed resignation letter. With respect to the latter’s allegation that he vacuum. General principles do not decide specific cases. Rather, laws are
was prevented by the company guard from entering the premises, the Court chided interpreted always in the context of the peculiar factual situation of each case, Each
him for not having inquired into its veracity and for simply relying on the bare case has its own flesh and blood and cannot be decided simply on the basis of
statement of the guard. It said that the employee should be more vigilant of his isolated clinical classroom principles. The circumstances of time, place, event,
rights. person, and particularly attendant circumstances and actions before, during and
The above three cases are dissimilar to the case at bar. In the first two cases, after the operative fact should all be taken in their totality so that justice can be
there were involuntary resignations while in the third there was an unaccepted rationally and fairly dispensed.
resignation. In the in- WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed
________________ Decision and Resolution of the NLRC are SET ASIDE. The temporary restraining
order issued by this Court is made PERMANENT. No costs.
27226 SCRA 723, September 27, 1993. SO ORDERED.
227
VOL. 267, JANUARY 30, 1997 227 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED

Philippines Today, Inc. vs. NLRC Salvacion vs. Central Bank of the Philippines
stant case, however, the resignation was voluntary and it was accepted by the
employer. Thus, our grant of the petition. TORRES, JR., J.:
Since we find no case of illegal dismissal, we will no longer pass upon the two
other issues raised by petitioners which are mere consequences of the contrary In our predisposition to discover the “original intent” of a statute, courts become the
finding made by the NLRC. Necessarily, there can be no award of any moral or unfeeling pillars of the status quo. Little do we realize that statutes or even
exemplary damages, backwages and separation pay. constitutions are bundles of compromises thrown our way by their framers. Unless
Epilogue we exercise vigilance, the statute may already be out of tune and irrelevant to our
Both the Constitution and the Labor Code mandate a bias in favor of labor. Hence, day.
this Court, as a matter of judicial policy, leans backwards to protect labor and the The petition is for declaratory relief. It prays for the following reliefs:
working class against the machinations and incursions of their more financially
entrenched employers. In the present case, however, it is obvious to us that private 1. a.)Immediately upon the filing of this petition, an Order be issued
respondent’s memorandum could not have been intended merely to persuade restraining the respondents from applying and enforcing Section 113 of
management to improve the work environment at the Philippine Star. Rather, it Central Bank Circular No. 960;
was evidently a recitation of the facts and reasons why respondent Alegre could no 2. b.)After hearing, judgment be rendered:
longer continue working under what he believed were unbearable conditions in the
work place. The offensive language used by a well-educated man endowed with
unusual writing skill could not have been intended merely for the “suggestion box.” 1. 1.)Declaring the respective rights and duties of petitioners and
That it was addressed and given to persons of uncommon perception themselves respondents;
takes the letter out of ordinary employer-employee communications. It is true that 2. 2.)Adjudging Section 113 of Central Bank Circular No. 960 as contrary to
there was no direct mention of the word “resignation.” However, the incendiary the provisions of the Constitution, hence void; because its provision that
words employed denote a clear intent to end the writer’s association of trust and “Foreign currency deposits shall be exempt from attachment,
confidence with his superiors and employer. This intent becomes even more garnishment, or any other order or process of any court, legislative body,
manifest when viewed in light of attendant acts of Alegre, particularly his prolonged government agency or any administrative body whatsoever”

11
1. i.)has taken away the right of petitioners to have the bank deposit of Meanwhile, in Civil Case No. 89-3214, the Judge issued an Order dated
defendant Greg Bartelli y Northcott garnished to satisfy the judgment February 22, 1989 granting the application of herein petitioners, for the issuance of
rendered in petitioners’ favor in viola- the writ of preliminary attachment. After petitioners gave Bond No. JCL (4) 1981
by FGU Insurance Corporation in the amount of P100,000.00, a Writ of Preliminary
Attachment was issued by the trial court on February 28, 1989.
29
On March 1, 1989, the Deputy Sheriff of Makati served a Notice of Garnishment
VOL. 278, AUGUST 21, 1997 29 on China Banking Corporation. In a letter dated March 13, 1989 to the Deputy
Sheriff of Makati, China Banking Corporation invoked Republic Act No. 1405 as its
Salvacion vs. Central Bank of the Philippines
answer to the notice of garnishment served on it. On March 15, 1989, Deputy Sheriff
of Makati Armando de Guzman sent his reply to China Banking Corporation saying
1. tion of substantive due process guaranteed by the Constitution; that the garnishment did not violate the secrecy of bank deposits since the
2. ii.)has given foreign currency depositors an undue favor or a class disclosure is merely incidental to a garnishment properly and legally made by virtue
privilege in violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution; of a court order which has placed the subject deposits in custodia legis. In answer
3. iii.)has provided a safe haven for criminals like the herein respondent to this letter of the Deputy Sheriff of Makati, China Banking Corporation, in a letter
Greg Bartelli y Northcott since criminals could escape civil liability for dated March 20, 1989, invoked Section 113 of Central Bank Circular No. 960 to the
their wrongful acts by merely converting their money to a foreign effect that the dollar deposits of defendant Greg Bartelli are exempt from
currency and depositing it in a foreign currency deposit account with an attachment, garnishment, or any other order or process of any court, legislative
authorized bank. body, government agency or any administrative body, whatsoever.
This prompted the counsel for petitioners to make an inquiry with the Central
Bank in a letter dated April 25, 1989 on whether Section 113 of CB Circular No. 960
The antecedent facts:
has any exception or whether said section has been repealed or amended since said
On February 4, 1989, Greg Bartelli y Northcott, an American tourist, coaxed
section has rendered nugatory the substantive right of the plaintiff to have the
and lured petitioner Karen Salvacion, then 12 years old to go with him to his
claim sought to be enforced by the civil action secured by way of the writ of
apartment. Therein, Greg Bartelli detained Karen Salvacion for four days, or up to
preliminary attachment as granted to the plaintiff under Rule 57 of the Revised
February 7, 1989 and was able to rape the child once on February 4, and three times
Rules of Court. The Central Bank responded as follows:
each day on February 5, 6, and 7, 1989. On February 7, 1989, after policemen and
31
people living nearby, rescued Karen, Greg Bartelli was arrested and detained at the
Makati Municipal Jail. The policemen recovered from Bartelli the following items: VOL. 278, AUGUST 21, 1997 31
1.) Dollar Check No. 368, Control No. 021000678-1166111303, US 3,903.20; 2.)
Salvacion vs. Central Bank of the Philippines
COCOBANK Bank Book No. 104-108758-8 (Peso Acct.); 3.) Dollar Account—China
Banking Corp., US$/A#54105028-2; 4.) ID-122-30-8877; 5.) Philippine Money May 26, 1989
(P234.00) cash; 6.) Door Keys 6 pieces; 7.) Stuffed Doll (Teddy Bear) used in “Ms. Erlinda S. Carolino
seducing the complainant. 12 Pres. Osmena Avenue
On February 16, 1989, Makati Investigating Fiscal Edwin G. Condaya filed South Admiral Village
against Greg Bartelli, Criminal Case No. 801 for Serious Illegal Detention and Parañaque, Metro Manila
Criminal Cases Nos. 802, 803, 804, and 805 for four (4) counts of Rape. On the same “Dear Ms. Carolino:
day, petitioners filed with the Regional Trial Court of Makati Civil Case No. 89- “This is in reply to your letter dated April 25, 1989 regarding your inquiry on
3214 for damages with preliminary attachment against Greg Bartelli. On February Section 113, CB Circular No. 960 (1983).
24, 1989, the day there was a scheduled hearing for Bartelli’s petition for bail the “The cited provision is absolute in application. It does not admit of any
latter escaped from jail. exception, nor has the same been repealed nor amended.
On February 28, 1989, the court granted the fiscal’s Urgent Ex-Parte Motion “The purpose of the law is to encourage dollar accounts within the country’s
for the Issuance of Warrant of Arrest and banking system which would help in the development of the economy. There is no
30 intention to render futile the basic rights of a person as was suggested in your
subject letter. The law may be harsh as some perceive it, but it is still the law.
30 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED Compliance is, therefore, enjoined.
“Very truly yours,
Salvacion vs. Central Bank of the Philippines
(SGD) AGAPITO S. FAJARDO
Hold Departure Order. Pending the arrest of the accused Greg Bartelli y Northcott,
Director”1
the criminal cases were archived in an Order dated February 28, 1989.

12
Meanwhile, on April 10, 1989, the trial court granted petitioners’ motion for leave “In support of the complaint, plaintiffs presented as witnesses the minor Karen
to serve summons by publication in the Civil Case No. 89-3214 entitled “Karen E. Salvacion, her father, Federico N. Salvacion, Jr., a certain Joseph Aguilar and a
Salvacion, et al. vs. Greg Bartelli y Northcott.” Summons with the complaint was certain Liberato Madulio, who gave the following testimony:
published in the Manila Times once a week for three consecutive weeks. Greg “Karen took her first year high school in St. Mary’s Academy in Pasay City but
Bartelli failed to file his answer to the complaint and was declared in default on has recently transferred to Arellano University for her second year.
August 7, 1989. After hearing the case ex-parte, the court rendered judgment in “In the afternoon of February 4, 1989, Karen was at the Plaza Fair Makati
favor of petitioners on March 29, 1990, the dispositive portion of which reads: Cinema Square, with her friend Edna Tangile whiling away her free time. At about
“WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiffs and against 3:30 p.m. while she was finishing her snack on a concrete bench in front of Plaza
defendant, ordering the latter: Fair, an American ap-
33
1. “1.To pay plaintiff Karen E. Salvacion the amount of P500,000.00 as moral VOL. 278, AUGUST 21, 1997 33
damages;
Salvacion vs. Central Bank of the Philippines
proached her. She was then alone because Edna Tangile had already left, and she
_______________ was about to go home. (TSN, Aug. 15, 1989, pp. 2 to 5)
“The American asked her name and introduced himself as Greg Bartelli. He sat
1Annex “R,” Petition. beside her when he talked to her. He said he was a Math teacher and told her that
32 he has a sister who is a nurse in New York. His sister allegedly has a daughter who
is about Karen’s age and who was with him in his house along Kalayaan Avenue.
32 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
(TSN, Aug. 15, 1989, pp. 4-5)
Salvacion vs. Central Bank of the Philippines “The American asked Karen what was her favorite subject and she told him it’s
Pilipino. He then invited her to go with him to his house where she could teach
Pilipino to his niece. He even gave her a stuffed toy to persuade her to teach his
1. “2.To pay her parents, plaintiffs spouses Federico N. Salvacion, Jr., and niece. (Id., pp. 5-6) “They walked from Plaza Fair along Pasong Tamo, turning right
Evelina E. Salvacion the amount of P150,000.00 each or a total of to reach the defendant’s house along Kalayaan Avenue. (Id., p. 6)
P300,000.00 for both of them; “When they reached the apartment house, Karen noticed that defendant’s
2. “3.To pay plaintiffs exemplary damages of P100,000.00; and alleged niece was not outside the house but defendant told her maybe his niece was
3. “4.To pay attorney’s fees in an amount equivalent to 25% ofthe total inside. When Karen did not see the alleged niece inside the house, defendant told
amount of damages herein awarded; her maybe his niece was upstairs, and invited Karen to go upstairs. (Id., p. 7)
4. “5.To pay litigation expenses of P10,000.00; plus “Upon entering the bedroom defendant suddenly locked the door. Karen became
5. “6.Costs of the suit. nervous because his niece was not there. Defendant got a piece of cotton cord and
tied Karen’s hands with it, and then he undressed her. Karen cried for help but
“SO ORDERED.” defendant strangled her. He took a packing tape and he covered her mouth with it
The heinous acts of respondent Greg Bartelli which gave rise to the award were and he circled it around her head. (Id., p. 7)
related in graphic detail by the trial court in its decision as follows: “Then, defendant suddenly pushed Karen towards the bed which was just near
“The defendant in this case was originally detained in the municipal jail of Makati the door. He tied her feet and hands spread apart to the bed posts. He knelt in front
but was able to escape therefrom on February 24, 1989 as per report of the Jail of her and inserted his finger in her sex organ. She felt severe pain. She tried to
Warden of Makati to the Presiding Judge, Honorable Manuel M. Cosico of the shout but no sound could come out because there were tapes on her mouth. When
Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 136, where he was charged with four counts defendant withdrew his finger it was full of blood and Karen felt more pain after
of Rape and Serious Illegal Detention (Crim. Cases Nos. 802 to 805). Accordingly, the withdrawal of the finger. (Id., p. 8)
upon motion of plaintiffs, through counsel, summons was served upon defendant by “He then got a Johnson’s Baby Oil and he applied it to his sex organ as well as
publication in the Manila Times, a newspaper of general circulation as attested by to her sex organ. After that he forced his sex organ into her but he was not able to
the Advertising Manager of the Metro Media Times, Inc., the publisher of the said do so. While he was doing it, Karen found it difficult to breathe and she perspired a
newspaper. Defendant, however, failed to file his answer to the complaint despite lot while feeling severe pain. She merely presumed that he was able to insert his
the lapse of the period of sixty (60) days from the last publication; hence, upon sex organ a little, because she could not see. Karen could not recall how long the
motion of the plaintiffs, through counsel, defendant was declared in default and defendant was in that position. (Id. pp. 8-9).
plaintiffs were authorized to present their evidence ex parte. 34

13
“She woke up at 6:00 o’clock the following morning, and she saw defendant in
34 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
bed, this time sleeping. She waited for him to wake up. When he woke up, he again
Salvacion vs. Central Bank of the Philippines got some food but he always kept the door locked. As usual, she was merely fed with
“After that, he stood up and went to the bathroom to wash. He also told Karen to biscuit and coke. On that day, February 7, 1989, she was again raped three times.
take a shower and he untied her hands. Karen could only hear the sound of the The first at about 6:30 to 7:00 a.m., the second at about 8:30-9:00, and the third was
water while the defendant, she presumed, was in the bathroom washing his sex after lunch at 12:00 noon. After he had raped her for the second time he left but
organ. When she took a shower more blood came out from her. In the meantime, only for a short while. Upon his return, he caught her shouting for help but he did
defendant changed the mattress because it was full of blood. After the shower, not understand what she was shouting about. After she was raped the third time,
Karen was allowed by defendant to sleep. She fell asleep because she got tired he left the house. (TSN, Aug. 15, 1989, pp. 16-17) She again went to the bathroom
crying. The incident happened at about 4:00 p.m. Karen had no way of determining and shouted for help. After shouting for about five minutes, she heard many voices.
the exact time because defendant removed her watch. Defendant did not care to give The voices were asking for her name and she gave her name as Karen Salvacion.
her food before she went to sleep. Karen woke up at about 8:00 o’clock the following After a while, she heard a voice of a woman saying they will just call the police.
morning. (Id., pp. 9-10) They were also telling her to change her clothes. She went from the bathroom to the
“The following day, February 5, 1989, a Sunday, after a breakfast of biscuit and room but she did not change her clothes being afraid that should the neighbors call
coke at about 8:30 to 9:00 a.m. defendant raped Karen while she was still bleeding. for the police and the defendant see her in different clothes, he might kill her. At
For lunch, they also took biscuit and coke. She was raped for the second time at that time she was wearing a T-shirt of the American because the latter washed her
about 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. In the evening, they had rice for dinner which defendant dress. (Id., p. 16)
had stored downstairs; it was he who cooked the rice that is why it looks like “Afterwards, defendant arrived and he opened the door. He asked her if she had
“lugaw.” For the third time, Karen was raped again during the night. During those asked for help because there were many policemen outside and she denied it. He
three times defendant succeeded in inserting his sex organ but she could not say told her to change her clothes, and she did change to the one she was wearing on
whether the organ was inserted wholly. Saturday. He instructed her to tell the police that she left home and willingly; then
“Karen did not see any firearm or any bladed weapon. The defendant did not he went downstairs but he locked the door. She could hear people conversing but
tie her hands and feet nor put a tape on her mouth anymore but she did not cry for she could not understand what they were saying. (Id., p. 19)
help for fear that she might be killed; besides, all the windows and doors were “When she heard the voices of many people who were conversing downstairs,
closed. And even if she shouted for help, nobody would hear her. She was so afraid she knocked repeatedly at the door as hard as she could. She heard somebody going
that if somebody would hear her and would be able to call the police, it was still upstairs and when the door was opened, she saw a policeman. The policeman asked
possible that as she was still inside the house, defendant might kill her. Besides, her name
the defendant did not leave that Sunday, ruling out her chance to call for help. At 36
nighttime he slept with her again. (TSN, Aug. 15, 1989, pp. 12-14) 36 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
“On February 6, 1989, Monday, Karen was raped three times, once in the
morning for thirty minutes after a breakfast of biscuits; again in the afternoon; and Salvacion vs. Central Bank of the Philippines
again in the evening. At first, Karen did not know that there was a window because and the reason why she was there. She told him she was kidnapped. Downstairs,
everything was covered by a carpet, until defendant opened the window for around he saw about five policemen in uniform and the defendant was talking to
fifteen minutes or less to let some air in, and she found that the window was covered them. ‘Nakikipag-areglo po sa mga pulis,’ Karen added. “The policeman told him to
by styrofoam and plywood. After that, he again closed the window with a hammer just explain at the precinct. (Id., p. 20)
and he put the styrofoam, plywood, and carpet back. (Id., pp. 14-15) “They went out of the house and she saw some of her neighbors in front of the
35 house. They rode the car of a certain person she called Kuya Boy together with
defendant, the policeman, and two of her neighbors whom she called Kuya Bong
VOL. 278, AUGUST 21, 1997 35
Lacson and one Ate Nita. They were brought to Sub-Station I and there she was
Salvacion vs. Central Bank of the Philippines investigated by a policeman. At about 2:00 a.m., her father arrived, followed by her
“That Monday evening, Karen had a chance to call for help, although defendant left mother together with some of their neighbors. Then they were brought to the second
but kept the door closed. She went to the bathroom and saw a small window covered floor of the police headquarters. (Id., p. 21)
by styrofoam and she also spotted a small hole. She stepped on the bowl and she “At the headquarters, she was asked several questions by the investigator. The
cried for help through the hole. She cried: ‘Maawa na po kayo sa akin. Tulungan written statement she gave to the police was marked as Exhibit A. Then they
n’yo akong makalabas dito. Kinidnap ako!’ Somebody heard her. It was a woman, proceeded to the National Bureau of Investigation together with the investigator
probably a neighbor, but she got angry and said she was ‘istorbo.’ Karen pleaded for and her parents. At the NBI, a doctor, a medico-legal officer, examined her private
help and the woman told her to sleep and she will call the police. She finally fell parts. It was already 3:00 in the early morning of the following day when they
asleep but no policeman came. (TSN, Aug. 15, 1989, pp. 15-16).

14
reached the NBI. (TSN, Aug. 15, 1989, p. 22) The findings of the medico-legal officer depositing it in a foreign currency deposit account with an authorized bank; and 4.)
has been marked as Exhibit B. the Monetary Board, in issuing Section 113 of Central Bank Circular No. 960 has
“She was studying at the St. Mary’s Academy in Pasay City at the time of the exceeded its delegated quasi-legislative power when it took away: a.) the plaintiff’s
incident but she subsequently transferred to Apolinario Mabini, Arellano substantive right to have the claim sought to be
University, situated along Taft Avenue, because she was ashamed to be the subject 38
of conversation in the school. She first applied for transfer to Jose Abad Santos,
38 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Arellano University along Taft Avenue near the Light Rail Transit Station but she
was denied admission after she told the school the true reason for her transfer. The Salvacion vs. Central Bank of the Philippines
reason for their denial was that they might be implicated in the case. (TSN, Aug. enforced by the civil action secured by way of the writ of preliminary attachment as
15, 1989, p. 46) granted by Rule 57 of the Revised Rules of Court; b.) the plaintiff’s substantive right
xxx xxx xxx to have the judgment credit satisfied by way of the writ of execution out of the bank
“After the incident, Karen has changed a lot. She does not play with her brother deposit of the judgment debtor as granted to the judgment creditor by Rule 39 of
and sister anymore, and she is always in a state of shock; she has been absent- the Revised Rules of Court, which is beyond its power to do so.
minded and is ashamed even to go out of the house. (TSN, Sept. 12, 1989, p. 10) She On the other hand, respondent Central Bank, in its Comment alleges that the
appears to be restless or sad. (Id., p. 11) The father prays for P500,000.00 moral Monetary Board in issuing Section 113 of CB Circular No. 960 did not exceed its
damages for Karen for this shocking experience which probably, she would always power or authority because the subject Section is copied verbatim from a portion of
recall until she reaches old age, and he is not sure if she could ever recover from R.A. No. 6426 as amended by P.D. 1246. Hence, it was not the Monetary Board that
this experience.” (TSN, Sept. 24, 1989, pp. 10-11) grants exemption from attachment or garnishment to foreign currency deposits, but
37 the law (R.A. 6426 as amended) itself; that it does not violate the substantive due
VOL. 278, AUGUST 21, 1997 37 process guaranteed by the Constitution because a.) it was based on a law; b.) the
law seems to be reasonable; c.) it is enforced according to regular methods of
Salvacion vs. Central Bank of the Philippines procedure; and d.) it applies to all members of a class.
Pursuant to an Order granting leave to publish notice of decision, said notice was Expanding, the Central Bank said: that one reason for ex-empting the foreign
published in the Manila Bulletin once a week for three consecutive weeks. After the currency deposits from attachment, garnishment or any other order or process of
lapse of fifteen (15) days from the date of the last publication of the notice of any court, is to assure the development and speedy growth of the Foreign Currency
judgment and the decision of the trial court had become final, petitioners tried to Deposit System and the Offshore Banking System in the Philippines; that another
execute on Bartelli’s dollar deposit with China Banking Corporation. Likewise, the reason is to encourage the inflow of foreign currency deposits into the banking
bank invoked Section 113 of Central Bank Circular No. 960. institutions thereby placing such institutions more in a position to properly channel
Thus, petitioners decided to seek relief from this Court. the same to loans and investments in the Philippines, thus directly contributing to
The issues raised and the arguments articulated by the parties boil down to the economic development of the country; that the subject section is being enforced
two: according to the regular methods of procedure; and that it applies to all foreign
May this Court entertain the instant petition despite the fact that original currency deposits made by any person and therefore does not violate the equal
jurisdiction in petitions for declaratory relief rests with the lower court? Should protection clause of the Constitution.
Section 113 of Central Bank Circular No. 960 and Section 8 of R.A. 6426, as Respondent Central Bank further avers that the questioned provision is needed
amended by P.D. 1246, otherwise known as the Foreign Currency Deposit Act be to promote the public interest and the general welfare; that the State cannot just
made applicable to a foreign transient? stand idly by while a considerable segment of the society suffers from eco-
Petitioners aver as heretofore stated that Section 113 of Central Bank Circular 39
No. 960 providing that “Foreign currency deposits shall be exempt from attachment,
VOL. 278, AUGUST 21, 1997 39
garnishment, or any other order or process of any court, legislative body,
government agency or any administrative body whatsoever,” should be adjudged as Salvacion vs. Central Bank of the Philippines
unconstitutional on the grounds that: 1.) it has taken away the right of petitioners nomic distress; that the State had to take some measures to encourage economic
to have the bank deposit of defendant Greg Bartelli y Northcott garnished to satisfy development; and that in so doing persons and property may be subjected to some
the judgment rendered in petitioners’ favor in violation of substantive due process kinds of restraints or burdens to secure the general welfare or public interest.
guaranteed by the Constitution; 2.) it has given foreign currency depositors an Respondent Central Bank also alleges that Rule 39 and Rule 57 of the Revised Rules
undue favor or a class privilege in violation of the equal protection clause of the of Court provide that some properties are exempted from execution attachment
Constitution; 3.) it has provided a safe haven for criminals like the herein especially provided by law and R.A. No. 6426 as amended is such a law, in that it
respondent Greg Bartelli y Northcott since criminals could escape civil liability for specifically provides, among others, that foreign currency deposits shall be
their wrongful acts by merely converting their money to a foreign currency and

15
exempted from attachment, garnishment, or any other order or process of any court, sought to transfer from another school simply because the school authorities of the
legislative body, government agency or any administrative body whatsoever. said High School learned about what happened to her and allegedly feared that they
For its part, respondent China Banking Corporation, aside from giving reasons might be implicated in the case.
similar to that of respondent Central Bank, also stated that respondent China Bank xxx
is not unmind-ful of the inhuman sufferings experienced by the minor Karen E. The reason for imposing exemplary or corrective damages is due to the wanton
Salvacion from the beastly hands of Greg Bartelli; that it is only too willing to and bestial manner defendant had committed the acts of rape during a period of
release the dollar deposit of Bartelli which may perhaps partly mitigate the serious illegal detention of his hapless vic-
sufferings petitioner has undergone; but it is restrained from doing so in view of _______________
R.A. No. 6426 and Section 113 of Central Bank Circular No. 960; and that despite
the harsh effect of these laws on petitioners, CBC has no other alternative but to 3 Nationalista Party vs. Angelo Bautista, 85 Phil. 101; Aquino vs. Comelec, 62
follow the same. SCRA 275; |and Alliance of Government Workers vs. Minister of Labor and
This Court finds the petition to be partly meritorious. Petitioner deserves to Employment, supra.
receive the damages awarded to her by the court. But this petition for declaratory 41
relief can only be entertained and treated as a petition for mandamus to require
respondents to honor and comply with the writ of execution in Civil Case No. 89- VOL. 278, AUGUST 21, 1997 41
3214. Salvacion vs. Central Bank of the Philippines
This Court has no original and exclusive jurisdiction over a petition for tim, the minor Karen Salvacion whose only fault was in her being so naïve and
declaratory relief.2 However, exceptions to this rule have been recognized. Thus, credulous to believe easily that defendant, an American national, could not have
where the petition has far- such a bestial desire on her nor capable of committing such a heinous crime. Being
_______________ only 12 years old when that unfortunate incident happened, she has never heard of
an old Filipino adage that in every forest there is a snake, x x x.”4
2 Alliance of Government Workers (AGW) v. Ministry of Labor and
If Karen’s sad fate had happened to anybody’s own kin, it would be difficult for him
Employment, 124 SCRA 1. to fathom how the incentive for foreign currency deposit could be more important
40 than his child’s rights to said award of damages; in this case, the victim’s claim for
40 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED damages from this alien who had the gall to wrong a child of tender years of a
country where he is a mere visitor. This further illustrates the flaw in the
Salvacion vs. Central Bank of the Philippines questioned provisions.
reaching implications and raises questions that should be resolved, it may be It is worth mentioning that R.A. No. 6426 was enacted in 1983 or at a time
treated as one for mandamus.3 when the country’s economy was in a shambles; when foreign investments were
Here is a child, a 12-year old girl, who in her belief that all Americans are good minimal and presumably, this was the reason why said statute was enacted. But
and in her gesture of kindness by teaching his alleged niece the Filipino language the realities of the present times show that the country has recovered economically;
as requested by the American, trustingly went with said stranger to his apartment, and even if not, the questioned law still denies those entitled to due process of law
and there she was raped by said American tourist Greg Bartelli. Not once, but ten for being unreasonable and oppressive. The intention of the questioned law may be
times. She was detained therein for four (4) days. This American tourist was able good when enacted. The law failed to anticipate the iniquitous effects producing
to escape from the jail and avoid punishment. On the other hand, the child, having outright injustice and inequality such as the case before us.
received a favorable judgment in the Civil Case for damages in the amount of more It has thus been said that—
than P1,000,000.00, which amount could alleviate the humiliation, anxiety, and “But I also know,5 that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the
besmirched reputation she had suffered and may continue to suffer for a long, long progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened,
time; and knowing that this person who had wronged her has the money, could not, as new discoveries are made, new truths are disclosed and manners and opinions
however get the award of damages because of this unreasonable law. This change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep
questioned law, therefore, makes futile the favorable judgment and award of pace with the times . . . We might as well require a man to wear still
damages that she and her parents fully deserve. As stated by the trial court in its _______________
decision,
“Indeed, after hearing the testimony of Karen, the Court believes that it was 4 Decision, Regional Trial Court, Civil Case No. 89-3214, pp. 9 & 12; Rollo, pp.
undoubtedly a shocking and traumatic experience she had undergone which could 66 & 69.
haunt her mind for a long, long time, the mere recall of which could make her feel 5 Thomas Jefferson, Democracy, ed. Saul K. Padover. (New York, Penguin,
so humiliated, as in fact she had been actually humiliated once when she was 1946) p. 171.
refused admission at the Abad Santos High School, Arellano University, where she

16
42 of any court, legislative body, government agency or any administrative body
whatsoever.’
42 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
“The purpose of PD 1246 in according protection against attachment,
Salvacion vs. Central Bank of the Philippines garnishment and other court process to foreign currency deposits is stated in its
the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the whereases, viz.:
regimen of their barbarous ancestors.” ‘WHEREAS, under Republic Act No. 6426, as amended by Presidential Decree No.
In his Comment, the Solicitor General correctly opined, thus: 1035, certain Philippine banking institutions and branches of foreign banks are
“The present petition has far-reaching implications on the right of a national to authorized to accept deposits in foreign currency;
obtain redress for a wrong committed by an alien who takes refuge under a law and ‘WHEREAS, under the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1034 authorizing
regulation promulgated for a purpose which does not contemplate the application the establishment of an offshore banking system in the Philippines, offshore
thereof envisaged by the alien. More specifically, the petition raises the question banking units are also authorized to receive foreign currency deposits in certain
whether the protection against attachment, garnishment or other court process cases;
accorded to foreign currency deposits by PD No. 1246 and CB Circular No. 960 “WHEREAS, in order to assure the development and speedy growth of the Foreign
applies when the deposit does not come from a lender or investor but from a mere Currency Deposit System and the Offshore Banking System in the Philippines,
transient or tourist who is not expected to maintain the deposit in the bank for long. certain incentives were provided for under the two Systems such as confidentiality
“The resolution of this question is important for the protection of nationals who of deposits subject to certain exceptions and tax exemptions on the interest income
are victimized in the forum by foreigners who are merely passing through. of depositors who are nonresidents and are not engaged in trade or business in the
xxx Philippines;
“x x x Respondents China Banking Corporation and Central Bank of the ‘WHEREAS, making absolute the protective cloak of confidentiality over such
Philippines refused to honor the writ of execution issued in Civil Case No. 89- foreign currency deposits, exempting such deposits from tax, and guaranteeing the
3214 on the strength of the following provision of Central Bank Circular No. 960: vested rights of depositors would better encourage the inflow of foreign currency
‘Sec. 113. Exemption from attachment.—Foreign currency deposits shall be exempt deposits into the banking institutions authorized to accept such deposits in the
from attachment, garnishment, or any other order or process of any court, Philippines thereby placing such in-
legislative body, government agency or any administrative body whatsoever.’ 44
“Central Bank Circular No. 960 was issued pursuant to Section 7 of Republic Act 44 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
No. 6426:
‘Sec. 7. Rules and Regulations. The Monetary Board of the Central Bank shall Salvacion vs. Central Bank of the Philippines
promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the stitutions more in a position to properly channel the same to loans and investments
provisions of this Act which shall take effect after the publication of such rules and in the Philippines, thus directly contributing to the economic development of the
regulations in the Official Gazette and in a newspaper of national circulation for at country;’
least once a week for three consecutive weeks. In case the Central Bank “Thus, one of the principal purposes of the protection accorded to foreign
promulgates new rules and regulations decreasing the rights of depositors, the rules currency deposits is ‘to assure the development and speedy growth of the Foreign
and regulations at the time the deposit was made shall govern.’ Currency Deposit system and the Offshore Banking in the Philippines’ (3rd
43 Whereas). “The Offshore Banking System was established by PD No. 1034. In turn,
the purposes of PD No. 1034 are as follows:
VOL. 278, AUGUST 21, 1997 43
‘WHEREAS, conditions conducive to the establishment of an offshore banking
Salvacion vs. Central Bank of the Philippines system, such as political stability, a growing economy and adequate communication
“The aforecited Section 113 was copied from Section 8 of Republic Act No. 6426, as facilities, among others, exist in the Philippines;
amended by P.D. 1246, thus: ‘WHEREAS, it is in the interest of developing countries to have as wide access
‘Sec. 8. Secrecy of Foreign Currency Deposits.—All foreign currency deposits as possible to the sources of capital funds for economic development;
authorized under this Act, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1035, as well as ‘WHEREAS, an offshore banking system based in the Philippines will be
foreign currency deposits authorized under Presidential Decree No. 1034, are advantageous and beneficial to the country by increasing our links with foreign
hereby declared as and considered of an absolutely confidential nature and, except lenders, facilitating the flow of desired investments into the Philippines, creating
upon the written permission of the depositor, in no instance shall such foreign employment opportunities and expertise in international finance, and contributing
currency deposits be examined, inquired or looked into by any person, government to the national development effort.
official, bureau or office whether judicial or administrative or legislative or any ‘WHEREAS, the geographical location, physical and human resources, and
other entity whether public or private: Provided, however, that said foreign currency other positive factors provide the Philippines with the clear potential to develop as
deposits shall be exempt from attachment, garnishment, or any other order or process another financial center in Asia;’

17
“On the other hand, the Foreign Currency Deposit system was created by PD
Salvacion vs. Central Bank of the Philippines
No. 1035. Its purposes are as follows:
ambiguous, this is one of those fundamental solutions that would respond to the
‘WHEREAS, the establishment of an offshore banking system in the Philippines
vehement urge of conscience. (Padilla vs. Padilla, 74 Phil. 377).
has been authorized under a separate decree;
It would be unthinkable, that the questioned Section 113 of Central Bank No.
‘WHEREAS, a number of local commercial banks, as depository bank under the
960 would be used as a device by accused Greg Bartelli for wrongdoing, and in so
Foreign Currency Deposit Act (RA No. 6426), have the resources and managerial
doing, acquitting the guilty at the expense of the innocent.
competence to more actively engage in foreign exchange transactions and
Call it what it may—but is there no conflict of legal policy here? Dollar against
participate in the grant of foreign currency loans to resident corporations and firms;
Peso? Upholding the final and executory judgment of the lower court against the
‘WHEREAS, it is timely to expand the foreign currency lending authority of the
Central Bank Circular protecting the foreign depositor? Shielding or protecting the
said depository banks under RA 6426
dollar deposit of a transient alien depositor against injustice to a national and
45
victim of a crime? This situation calls for fairness against legal tyranny.
VOL. 278, AUGUST 21, 1997 45 We definitely cannot have both ways and rest in the belief that we have served
the ends of justice.
Salvacion vs. Central Bank of the Philippines
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the provisions of Section 113 of CB Circular No. 960 and
and apply to their transactions the same taxes as would be applicable to transaction PD No. 1246, insofar as it amends Section 8 of R.A. No. 6426 are hereby held to be
of the proposed offshore banking units;’ INAPPLICABLE to this case because of its peculiar circumstances. Respondents
“It is evident from the above [Whereas clauses] that the Offshore Banking are hereby REQUIRED to COMPLY with the writ of execution issued in Civil Case
System and the Foreign Currency Deposit System were designed to draw deposits
No. 89-3214, Karen Salvacion, et al. vs. Greg Bartelli y Northcott, by Branch
from foreign lenders and investors (Vide second Whereas of PD No. 1034; third CXLIV, RTC Makati and to RELEASE to petitioners the dollar deposit of
Whereas of PD No. 1035). It is these deposits that are induced by the two laws and respondent Greg Bartelli y Northcott in such amount as would satisfy the judgment.
given protection and incentives by them. SO ORDERED.
“Obviously, the foreign currency deposit made by a transient or a tourist is not Narvasa (C.J.), Regalado, Davide,
the kind of deposit encouraged by PD Nos. 1034 and 1035 and given incentives and Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Francisco and Panganiban,
protection by said laws because such depositor stays only for a few days in the JJ.,concur.
country and, therefore, will maintain his deposit in the bank only for a short time.
Padilla, J., No part.
“Respondent Greg Bartelli, as stated, is just a tourist or a transient. He Mendoza and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ., On leave.
deposited his dollars with respondent China Banking Corporation only for Private Respondents required to comply writ of execution.
safekeeping during his temporary stay in the Philippines.
“For the reasons stated above, the Solicitor General thus submits that the
dollar deposit of respondent Greg Bartelli is not entitled to the protection of Section ——o0o——
113 of Central Bank Circular No. 960 and PD No. 1246 against attachment,
garnishment or other court processes.”6
In fine, the application of the law depends on the extent of its justice. Eventually, if SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
we rule that the questioned Section 113 of Central Bank Circular No. 960 which
exempts from attachment, garnishment, or any other order or process of any court, Villareal vs. People
legislative body, government agency or any administrative body whatsoever, is
applicable to a foreign transient, injustice would result especially to a citizen SERENO, J.:
aggrieved by a foreign guest like accused Greg Bartelli. This would negate Article The public outrage over the death of Leonardo “Lenny” Villa—the victim in this
10 of the New Civil Code which provides that “in case of doubt in the interpretation case—on 10 February 1991 led to a very strong clamor to put an end to hazing.1 Due
or application of laws, it is presumed that the lawmaking body intended right and in large part to the brave efforts of his mother, petitioner Gerarda Villa, groups
justice to prevail. “Ninguno non deue enriquecerse tortizeramente con dano de were organized, condemning his senseless and tragic death. This widespread
otro.” Simply stated, when the statute is silent or condemnation prompted Congress to enact a special law, which became effective in
________________ 1995, that would criminalize hazing.2 The intent of the law was to discourage
members from making hazing a requirement for joining their sorority, fraternity,
6Comment of the Solicitor General, Rollo, pp. 128-129; 135-136. organization, or association.3 Moreover, the law was meant to counteract the
46 exculpatory implications of “consent” and “initial innocent act” in the conduct of
initiation rites by making the mere act of hazing punishable or mala prohibita.4
46 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED _______________

18
1 Sponsorship Speech of former Senator Joey Lina, Senate Transcript of On the night of 8 February 1991, the neophytes were met by some members of
Session Proceedings No. 34 (08 October 1992) 9th Congress, 1st Regular Sess. at the Aquila Fraternity (Aquilans) at the lobby of the Ateneo Law School. They all
21-22 [hereinafter Senate TSP No. 34]. proceeded to Rufo’s Restaurant to have dinner. Afterwards, they went to the house
2 Id. of Michael Musngi, also an Aquilan, who briefed the neophytes on what to expect
3 Senate Transcript of Session Proceedings No. 47 (10 November 1992) 9th during the initiation rites. The latter were informed that there would be physical
Congress, 1st Regular Sess. at 20-21, 24-27 [hereinafter Senate TSP No. 47]. beatings, and that they could quit at any time. Their initiation rites were scheduled
4 Id.; Senate Transcript of Session Proceedings No. 62 (14 December 1992) 9th to last for three days. After their “briefing,” they were brought to the Almeda
Congress, 1st Regular Sess. at 15 [hereinafter Senate TSP No. 62]. Compound in Caloocan City for the commencement of their initiation.
529 Even before the neophytes got off the van, they had already received threats
and insults from the Aquilans. As soon as the neophytes alighted from the van and
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 529
walked towards the pelotacourt of the Almeda compound, some of the Aquilans
Villareal vs. People delivered physical blows to them. The neophytes were then subjected to traditional
Sadly, the Lenny Villa tragedy did not discourage hazing activities in the forms of Aquilan “initiation rites.” These rites included the “Indian Run,” which
country.5 Within a year of his death, six more cases of hazing-related deaths required the neophytes to run a gauntlet of two parallel rows of Aquilans, each row
emerged—those of Frederick Cahiyang of the University of Visayas in Cebu; Raul delivering blows to the neophytes; the “Bicol Express,” which obliged the neophytes
Camaligan of San Beda College; Felipe Narne of Pamantasan ng Araullo in to sit on the floor with their backs against the wall and their legs outstretched while
Cabanatuan City; Dennis Cenedoza of the Cavite Naval Training Center; Joselito the Aquilans walked, jumped, or ran over their legs; the “Rounds,” in which the
Mangga of the Philippine Merchant Marine Institute; and Joselito Hernandez of the neophytes were held at the back of their pants by the “auxiliaries” (the Aquilans
University of the Philippines in Baguio City.6 charged with the duty of lending assistance to neophytes during initiation rites),
Although courts must not remain indifferent to public sentiments, in this case while the latter were being hit with fist blows on their arms or with knee blows on
the general condemnation of a hazing-related death, they are still bound to observe their thighs by two Aquilans; and the “Auxies’ Privilege Round,” in which the
a fundamental principle in our criminal justice system—“[N]o act constitutes a auxiliaries were given the opportunity to inflict physical pain on the neophytes.
crime… unless it is made so by law.”7 Nullum crimen, nulla poena sine lege. Even if During this time, the neophytes were also indoctrinated with the fraternity
an act is viewed by a large section of the populace as immoral or injurious, it cannot principles. They survived their first day of initiation.531
be considered a crime, absent any law prohibiting its commission. As interpreters VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 531
of the law, judges are called upon to set aside emotion, to resist being swayed by
strong public sentiments, and to rule strictly based on the elements of the offense Villareal vs. People
and the facts allowed in evidence. On the morning of their second day—9 February 1991—the neophytes were
Before the Court are the consolidated cases docketed as G.R. No. 151258 made to present comic plays and to play rough basketball. They were also required
(Villareal v. People), G.R. No. 154954 (People v. Court of Appeals), G.R. No. 155101 to memorize and recite the Aquila Fraternity’s principles. Whenever they would
(Dizon v. People), and G.R. Nos. 178057 and 178080 (Villa v. Escalona). give a wrong answer, they would be hit on their arms or legs. Late in the afternoon,
the Aquilans revived the initiation rites proper and proceeded to torment them
Facts physically and psychologically. The neophytes were subjected to the same manner
of hazing that they endured on the first day of initiation. After a few hours, the
initiation for the day officially ended.
The pertinent facts, as determined by the Court of Appeals (CA) 8and the trial
After a while, accused non-resident or alumni fraternity members10 Fidelito
court,9 are as follows:
Dizon (Dizon) and Artemio Villareal (Villareal) demanded that the rites be
_______________
reopened. The head of initiation rites, Nelson Victorino (Victorino), initially refused.
530
Upon the insistence of Dizon and Villareal, however, he reopened the initiation
530 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED rites. The fraternity members, including Dizon and Villareal, then subjected the
neophytes to “paddling” and to additional rounds of physical pain. Lenny received
Villareal vs. People
several paddle blows, one of which was so strong it sent him sprawling to the
In February 1991, seven freshmen law students of the Ateneo de Manila ground. The neophytes heard him complaining of intense pain and difficulty in
University School of Law signified their intention to join the Aquila Legis Juris breathing. After their last session of physical beatings, Lenny could no longer walk.
Fraternity (Aquila Fraternity). They were Caesar “Bogs” Asuncion, Samuel “Sam” He had to be carried by the auxiliaries to the carport. Again, the initiation for the
Belleza, Bienvenido “Bien” Marquez III, Roberto Francis “Bert” Navera, Geronimo day was officially ended, and the neophytes started eating dinner. They then slept
“Randy” Recinto, Felix Sy, Jr., and Leonardo “Lenny” Villa (neophytes). at the carport.

19
After an hour of sleep, the neophytes were suddenly roused by Lenny’s
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 533
shivering and incoherent mumblings. Initially, Villareal and Dizon dismissed these
rumblings, as they thought he was just overacting. When they realized, though, that Villareal vs. People
Lenny was really feeling cold, some of the Aquilans started helping him. They 6. Florentino Ampil (Ampil)
removed his clothes and helped him through a sleeping bag to keep him warm. 7. Enrico de Vera III (De Vera)
When his condition worsened, the Aquilans rushed him to the hospital. Lenny was 8. Stanley Fernandez (S. Fernandez)
pronounced dead on arrival. 9. Noel Cabangon (Cabangon)
_______________ Twenty-six of the accused Aquilans in Criminal Case No. C-38340(91) were
532 jointly tried.11 On the other hand, the trial against the remaining nine accused in
532 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED Criminal Case No. C-38340 was held in abeyance due to certain matters that had
to be resolved first.12
Villareal vs. People On 8 November 1993, the trial court rendered judgment in Criminal Case No.
Consequently, a criminal case for homicide was filed against the following 35 C-38340(91), holding the 26 accused guiltybeyond reasonable doubt of the crime
Aquilans: of homicide, penalized with reclusion temporal under Article 249 of the Revised
In Criminal Case No. C-38340(91) Penal Code.13A few weeks after the trial court rendered its judgment, or on 29
1. Fidelito Dizon (Dizon) November 1993, Criminal Case No. C-38340 against the remaining nine accused
2. Artemio Villareal (Villareal) commenced anew.14
3. Efren de Leon (De Leon) On 10 January 2002, the CA in (CA-G.R. No. 15520)15 set aside the finding
4. Vincent Tecson (Tecson) of conspiracy by the trial court in Criminal Case No. C-38340(91)
5. Junel Anthony Ama (Ama) and modified the criminal liability of each of the accused according to
6. Antonio Mariano Almeda (Almeda) individual participation. Accused De Leon had by then passed away, so the
7. Renato Bantug, Jr. (Bantug) following Decision applied only to the remaining 25 accused, viz.:
8. Nelson Victorino (Victorino) 1. Nineteen of the accused-appellants—Victorino, Sabban, Lledo,
9. Eulogio Sabban (Sabban) Guerrero, Musngi, Perez, De Guzman, Santos, General, Flores, Lim,
10. Joseph Lledo (Lledo) Montecillo, Ranada, Mendoza, Verdadero, Purisima, Fernandez, Abas, and
11. Etienne Guerrero (Guerrero) Brigola (Victorino et al.)—were
12. Michael Musngi (Musngi) _______________
13. Jonas Karl Perez (Perez) 534
14. Paul Angelo Santos (Santos)
534 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
15. Ronan de Guzman (De Guzman)
16. Antonio General (General) Villareal vs. People
17. Jaime Maria Flores II (Flores) acquitted, as their individual guilt was not established by proof beyond
18. Dalmacio Lim, Jr. (Lim) reasonable doubt.
19. Ernesto Jose Montecillo (Montecillo) 2. Four of the accused-appellants—Vincent Tecson, Junel Anthony Ama,
20. Santiago Ranada III (Ranada) Antonio Mariano Almeda, and Renato Bantug, Jr. (Tecson et al.)—were
21. Zosimo Mendoza (Mendoza) found guilty of the crime of slight physical injuries and sentenced to 20
22. Vicente Verdadero (Verdadero) days of arresto menor. They were also ordered to jointly pay the heirs of the
23. Amante Purisima II (Purisima) victim the sum of P30,000 as indemnity.
24. Jude Fernandez (J. Fernandez) 3. Two of the accused-appellants—Fidelito Dizon and Artemio
25. Adel Abas (Abas) Villareal—were found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
26. Percival Brigola (Brigola) of homicide under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code. Having found no
In Criminal Case No. C-38340 mitigating or aggravating circumstance, the CA sentenced them to an
1. Manuel Escalona II (Escalona) indeterminate sentence of 10 years of prision mayor to 17 years of reclusion
2. Crisanto Saruca, Jr. (Saruca) temporal. They were also ordered to indemnify, jointly and severally, the
3. Anselmo Adriano (Adriano) heirs of Lenny Villa in the sum of P50,000 and to pay the additional amount
4. Marcus Joel Ramos (Ramos) of P1,000,000 by way of moral damages.
5. Reynaldo Concepcion (Concepcion)533 On 5 August 2002, the trial court in Criminal Case No. 38340 dismissed the
charge against accused Concepcion on the ground of violation of his right to speedy

20
trial.16 Meanwhile, on different dates between the years 2003 and 2005, the trial initiation rites and were not tainted by evil motives.23 He claims that the additional
court denied the respective Motions to Dismiss of accused Escalona, Ramos, Saruca, paddling session was part of the official activity of the fraternity. He also points out
and Adriano.17 On 25 October 2006, the CA in CA-G.R. SP Nos. 89060 & that one of the neophytes admitted that the chairperson of the initiation rites
9015318 reversed the trial court’s Orders and dismissed the criminal case against “decided that [Lenny] was fit enough to undergo the initiation so Mr. Villareal
Escalona, Ramos, Saruca, and Adriano on the basis of violation of their right to proceeded to do the paddling….”24 Further, petitioner echoes the argument of the
speedy trial.19 Solicitor General that “the individual blows inflicted by Dizon and Villareal could
_______________ not have resulted in Lenny’s death.”25 The Solicitor General purportedly averred
that, “on the contrary, Dr. Arizala testified that the injuries suffered by Lenny could
not be considered fatal if taken individually, but if taken collectively, the result is
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 535
the violent death of the victim.”26
Villareal vs. People Petitioner then counters the finding of the CA that he was motivated by ill will.
From the aforementioned Decisions, the five (5) consolidated Petitions were He claims that Lenny’s father could not have stolen the parking space of Dizon’s
individually brought before this Court. father, since the latter did not have a car, and their fathers did not work in the same
G.R. No. 151258—Villareal v. People place or office. Revenge for the loss of the parking space was the alleged ill motive
The instant case refers to accused Villareal’s Petition for Review of Dizon. According to petitioner, his utterances regarding a stolen parking space
on Certiorari under Rule 45. The Petition raises two reversible errors allegedly were only part of the “psychological initiation.” He then cites the testimony of
committed by the CA in its Decision dated 10 January 2002 in CA-G.R. No. 15520— Lenny’s co-neophyte—witness Marquez—who admitted knowing “it was not true
first, denial of due process; and, second, conviction absent proof beyond reasonable and that he was just making it up….”27
doubt.20 _______________
While the Petition was pending before this Court, counsel for petitioner
Villareal filed a Notice of Death of Party on 10 August 2011. According to the Notice, VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 537
petitioner Villareal died on 13 March 2011. Counsel thus asserts that the subject
matter of the Petition previously filed by petitioner does not survive the death of Villareal vs. People
the accused. Further, petitioner argues that his alleged motivation of ill will was negated by
G.R. No. 155101—Dizon v. People his show of concern for Villa after the initiation rites. Dizon alludes to the testimony
Accused Dizon filed a Rule 45 Petition for Review on Certiorari, questioning the of one of the neophytes, who mentioned that the former had kicked the leg of the
CA’s Decision dated 10 January 2002 and Resolution dated 30 August 2002 in CA- neophyte and told him to switch places with Lenny to prevent the latter’s chills.
G.R. No. 15520.21Petitioner sets forth two main issues—first, that he was denied When the chills did not stop, Dizon, together with Victorino, helped Lenny through
due process when the CA sustained the trial court’s forfeiture of his right to present a sleeping bag and made him sit on a chair. According to petitioner, his alleged ill
evidence; and, second, that he was deprived of due process when the CA did not motivation is contradicted by his manifestation of compassion and concern for the
apply to him the same “ratio decidendithat served as basis of acquittal of the other victim’s well-being.
accused.”22 G.R. No. 154954—People v. Court of Appeals
As regards the first issue, the trial court made a ruling, which forfeited Dizon’s This Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 seeks the reversal of the CA’s
right to present evidence during trial. The trial court expected Dizon to present Decision dated 10 January 2002 and Resolution dated 30 August 2002 in CA-G.R.
evidence on an earlier date since a co-accused, Antonio General, no longer presented No. 15520, insofar as it acquitted 19 (Victorino et al.) and convicted 4 (Tecson et al.)
separate evidence during trial. According to Dizon, his right should not have been of the accused Aquilans of the lesser crime of slight physical injuries.28 According to
con- the Solicitor General, the CA erred in holding that there could have been no
_______________ conspiracy to commit hazing, as hazing or fraternity initiation had not yet been
536 criminalized at the time Lenny died.
In the alternative, petitioner claims that the ruling of the trial court should
536 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
have been upheld, inasmuch as it found that there was conspiracy to inflict physical
Villareal vs. People injuries on Lenny. Since the injuries led to the victim’s death, petitioner posits that
sidered as waived because he was justified in asking for a postponement. He argues the accused Aquilans are criminally liable for the resulting crime of homicide,
that he did not ask for a resetting of any of the hearing dates and in fact insisted pursuant to Article 4 of the Revised Penal Code.29 The said article provides:
that he was ready to present evidence on the original pre-assigned schedule, and “Criminal liability shall be incurred… [b]y any person committing a felony (delito)
not on an earlier hearing date. although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended.”
Regarding the second issue, petitioner contends that he should have likewise Petitioner also argues that the rule on double jeopardy is inapplicable.
been acquitted, like the other accused, since his acts were also part of the traditional According to the Solicitor General, the CA acted with grave abuse of discretion,

21
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, in setting aside the trial court’s finding 3. Whether the CA committed grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack or
of conspiracy and in ruling that excess of jurisdiction, when it set aside the finding of conspiracy by the trial
_______________ court and adjudicated the liability of each accused according to individual
538 participation;
4. Whether accused Dizon is guilty of homicide; and
538 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
5. Whether the CA committed grave abuse of discretion when it pronounced
Villareal vs. People Tecson, Ama, Almeda, and Bantug guilty only of slight physical injuries.
the criminal liability of all the accused must be based on their individual
participation in the commission of the crime. Discussion
G.R. Nos. 178057 and 178080—Villa v. Escalona
Petitioner Villa filed the instant Petition for Review on Certiorari, praying for Resolution on Preliminary Matters
the reversal of the CA’s Decision dated 25 October 2006 and Resolution dated 17
May 2007 in CA-G.R. S.P. Nos. 89060 and 90153.30 The Petition involves the
G.R. No. 151258—Villareal v. People
dismissal of the criminal charge filed against Escalona, Ramos, Saruca, and
In a Notice dated 26 September 2011 and while the Petition was pending
Adriano.
Due to “several pending incidents,” the trial court ordered a separate trial for resolution, this Court took note of counsel for petitioner’s Notice of Death of Party.
accused Escalona, Saruca, Adriano, Ramos, Ampil, Concepcion, De Vera, S. According to Article 89(1) of the Revised Penal Code, criminal liability for
Fernandez, and Cabangon (Criminal Case No. C-38340) to commence after personal penalties is totally extinguished by the death of the convict. In contrast,
criminal liability for pecuniary penalties is extinguished if the offender dies prior to
proceedings against the 26 other accused in Criminal Case No. C-38340(91) shall
final judgment. The term “personal penalties” refers to the service of personal or
have terminated. On 8 November 1993, the trial court found the 26 accused guilty
imprisonment penalties,31 while the term “pecuniary penalties” (las pecuniarias)
beyond reasonable doubt. As a result, the proceedings in Criminal Case No. C-38340
involving the nine other co-accused recommenced on 29 November 1993. For refers to fines and costs,32 including civil liability predicated on the
“various reasons,” the initial trial of the case did not commence until 28 March 2005, _______________
or almost 12 years after the arraignment of the nine accused.
Petitioner Villa assails the CA’s dismissal of the criminal case involving 4 of the 540 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
9 accused, namely, Escalona, Ramos, Saruca, and Adriano. She argues that the
accused failed to assert their right to speedy trial within a reasonable period of time. Villareal vs. People
She also points out that the prosecution cannot be faulted for the delay, as the criminal offense complained of (i.e., civil liability ex delicto).33However, civil liability
original records and the required evidence were not at its disposal, but were still in based on a source of obligation other than the delict survives the death of the
the appellate court. accused and is recoverable through a separate civil action. 34
We resolve herein the various issues that we group into five. Thus, we hold that the death of petitioner Villareal extinguished his criminal
liability for both personal and pecuniary penalties, including his civil liability
directly arising from the delictcomplained of. Consequently, his Petition is hereby
Issues
dismissed, and the criminal case against him deemed closed and terminated.
G.R. No. 155101 (Dizon v. People)
1.
Whether the forfeiture of petitioner Dizon’s right to present evidence In an Order dated 28 July 1993, the trial court set the dates for the reception
constitutes denial of due process; of evidence for accused-petitioner Dizon on the 8th, 15th, and 22nd of September;
_______________ and the 5th and 12 of October 1993.35The Order likewise stated that “it will not
30 Villa’s Petition for Review on Certiorari (Villa v. Escalona, G.R. Nos. 178057 entertain any postponement and that all the accused who have not yet presented
and 178080), p. 1; Rollo, p. 84. their respective evidence should be ready at all times down the line, with their
539 evidence on all said dates. Failure on their part to present evidence when required
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 539 shall therefore be construed as waiver to present evidence.”36
However, on 19 August 1993, counsel for another accused manifested in open
Villareal vs. People court that his client—Antonio General—would no longer present separate evidence.
2. Whether the CA committed grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack or Instead, the counsel would adopt the testimonial evidence of the other accused who
excess of jurisdiction when it dismissed the case against Escalona, Ramos, had already testified.37 Because of this development and pursuant to the trial
Saruca, and Adriano for violation of the right of the accused to speedy trial; court’s Order that the parties “should be ready at all times down the line,” the trial
court expected Dizon to present evidence on the next trial date—25 August 1993—

22
instead of his originally assigned dates. The original dates were supposed to start failed to attend. The Sandiganbayan, on the very same day, issued an Order
two weeks later, or on 8 Sep- directing the issuance of a warrant for the arrest of Crisostomo and the confiscation
_______________ of his surety bond. The Order further declared that he had waived his right to
33 People v. Bayotas, G.R. No. 102007, 2 September 1994, 236 SCRA present evidence because of his nonappearance at “yesterday’s and today’s
239; People v. Bunay, G.R. No. 171268, 14 September 2010, 630 SCRA 445. scheduled hearings.” In ruling against the Order, we held thus:
34 People v. Bunay, supra, citing People v. Bayotas, supra. “Under Section 2(c), Rule 114 and Section 1(c), Rule 115 of the Rules of
35 CA Decision (People v. Dizon), p. 7, supra note 8; Rollo, p. 68. Court, Crisostomo’s non-appearance during the 22 June 1995 trial was
36 Id. merely a waiver of his right to be present for trial on such date only and
37 Id. not for the succeeding trial dates…
541 xxx xxx xxx
Moreover, Crisostomo’s absence on the 22 June 1995 hearing should not
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 541
have been deemed as a waiver of his right to present evidence. While
Villareal vs. People constitutional rights may be waived, such waiver must be clear and must be
tember 1993.38 Counsel for accused Dizon was not able to present evidence on the coupled with an actual intention to relinquish the right. Crisostomo did not
accelerated date. To address the situation, counsel filed a Constancia on 25 August voluntarily waive in person or even through his counsel the right to present
1993, alleging that he had to appear in a previously scheduled case, and that he evidence. The Sandiganbayan imposed the waiver due to the agreement of the
would be ready to present evidence on the dates originally assigned to his prosecution, Calingayan, and Calingayan’s counsel.
clients.39 The trial court denied the Manifestation on the same date and treated In criminal cases where the imposable penalty may be death, as in the present
the Constancia as a motion for postponement, in violation of the three-day-notice case, the court is called upon to see to it that the accused is personally made
rule under the Rules of Court.40 Consequently, the trial court ruled that the failure aware of the consequences of a waiver of the right to present evidence. In
of Dizon to present evidence amounted to a waiver of that right.41 fact, it is not enough that the accused is simply warned of the consequences
Accused-petitioner Dizon thus argues that he was deprived of due process of of another failure to attend the succeed-
law when the trial court forfeited his right to present evidence. According to him, _______________
the postponement of the 25 August 1993 hearing should have been considered
justified, since his original pre-assigned trial dates were not supposed to start until VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 543
8 September 1993, when he was scheduled to present evidence. He posits that he
was ready to present evidence on the dates assigned to him. He also points out that Villareal vs. People
he did not ask for a resetting of any of the said hearing dates; that he in fact insisted ing hearings. The court must first explain to the accused personally in clear terms
on being allowed to present evidence on the dates fixed by the trial court. Thus, he the exact nature and consequences of a waiver. Crisostomo was not even
contends that the trial court erred in accelerating the schedule of presentation of forewarned. The Sandiganbayan simply went ahead to deprive Crisostomo of his
evidence, thereby invalidating the finding of his guilt. right to present evidence without even allowing Crisostomo to explain his absence
The right of the accused to present evidence is guaranteed by no less than the on the 22 June 1995 hearing.
Constitution itself.42 Article III, Section 14(2) thereof, provides that “in all Clearly, the waiver of the right to present evidence in a criminal case
criminal prosecutions, the accused … shall enjoy the right to be heard by involving a grave penalty is not assumed and taken lightly. The presence of
himself and counsel…” This constitutional right includes the right to present the accused and his counsel is indispensable so that the court could personally
evidence in one’s conduct a searching inquiry into the waiver x x x.”46 (Emphasis supplied)
_______________ The trial court should not have deemed the failure of petitioner to present
evidence on 25 August 1993 as a waiver of his right to present evidence. On the
contrary, it should have considered the excuse of counsel justified, especially since
542 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
counsel for another accused—General—had made a last-minute adoption of
Villareal vs. People testimonial evidence that freed up the succeeding trial dates; and since Dizon was
defense,43 as well as the right to be present and defend oneself in person at every not scheduled to testify until two weeks later. At any rate, the trial court pre-
stage of the proceedings.44 assigned five hearing dates for the reception of evidence. If it really wanted to
In Crisostomo v. Sandiganbayan,45 the Sandiganbayan set the hearing of the impose its Order strictly, the most it could have done was to forfeit one out of the
defense’s presentation of evidence for 21, 22 and 23 June 1995. The 21 June 1995 five days set for Dizon’s testimonial evidence. Stripping the accused of all his pre-
hearing was cancelled due to “lack of quorum in the regular membership” of the assigned trial dates constitutes a patent denial of the constitutionally guaranteed
Sandiganbayan’s Second Division and upon the agreement of the parties. The right to due process.
hearing was reset for the next day, 22 June 1995, but Crisostomo and his counsel

23
Nevertheless, as in the case of an improvident guilty plea, an invalid waiver of
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 545
the right to present evidence and be heard does not per se work to vacate a finding
of guilt in the criminal case or to enforce an automatic remand of the case to the Villareal vs. People
trial court.47 In People v. Bodoso, we ruled that where facts have adequately been the original records and the evidence it may require were not at its disposal as these
represented in a criminal case, and no procedural unfairness or irregularity has were in the Court of Appeals.”51
prejudiced either the prosecution or the defense as a result of the invalid waiver, The right of the accused to a speedy trial has been enshrined in Sections 14(2)
the rule is that a guilty verdict may nevertheless be upheld if the judgment is and 16, Article III of the 1987 Constitution.52 This right requires that there be a
supported beyond reasonable doubt by the evidence on record.48 trial free from vexatious, capricious or oppressive delays.53 The right is deemed
_______________ violated when the proceeding is attended with unjustified postponements of trial,
46 Id. or when a long period of time is allowed to elapse without the case being tried and
47 People v. Bodoso, 446 Phil. 838; 398 SCRA 642 (2003). for no cause or justifiable motive.54 In determining the right of the accused to speedy
48 Id. trial, courts should do more than a mathematical computation of the number of
544 postponements of the scheduled hearings of the case. 55 The conduct of both the
544 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED prosecution and the defense must be weighed.56 Also to be considered are factors
such as the length of delay, the assertion or non-assertion of the right, and the
Villareal vs. People prejudice wrought upon the defendant.57
We do not see any material inadequacy in the relevant facts on record to resolve We have consistently ruled in a long line of cases that a dismissal of the case
the case at bar. Neither can we see any “procedural unfairness or irregularity” that pursuant to the right of the accused to speedy trial is tantamount to acquittal.58 As
would substantially prejudice either the prosecution or the defense as a result of a consequence, an appeal or a reconsideration of the dismissal would amount to a
the invalid waiver. In fact, the arguments set forth by accused Dizon in his Petition violation of the principle of double jeopardy.59 As we have previously discussed,
corroborate the material facts relevant to decide the matter. Instead, what he is however, where
really contesting in his Petition is the application of the law to the facts by the trial _______________
court and the CA. Petitioner Dizon admits direct participation in the hazing of
Lenny Villa by alleging in his Petition that “all actions of the petitioner were part
546 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
of the traditional rites,” and that “the alleged extension of the initiation rites was
not outside the official activity of the fraternity.”49 He even argues that “Dizon did Villareal vs. People
not request for the extension and he participated only after the activity was the dismissal of the case is capricious, certiorari lies.60 The rule on double jeopardy
sanctioned.”50 is not triggered when a petition challenges the validity of the order of dismissal
For one reason or another, the case has been passed or turned over from one instead of the correctness thereof.61Rather, grave abuse of discretion amounts to
judge or justice to another—at the trial court, at the CA, and even at the Supreme lack of jurisdiction, and lack of jurisdiction prevents double jeopardy from
Court. Remanding the case for the reception of the evidence of petitioner Dizon attaching.62
would only inflict further injustice on the parties. This case has been going on for We do not see grave abuse of discretion in the CA’s dismissal of the case against
almost two decades. Its resolution is long overdue. Since the key facts necessary to accused Escalona, Ramos, Saruca, and Adriano on the basis of the violation of their
decide the case have already been determined, we shall proceed to decide it. right to speedy trial. The court held thus:
G.R. Nos. 178057 and 178080 (Villa v. Escalona) “An examination of the procedural history of this case would reveal that the
Petitioner Villa argues that the case against Escalona, Ramos, Saruca, and following factors contributed to the slow progress of the proceedings in the case
Adriano should not have been dismissed, since they failed to assert their right to below:
speedy trial within a reasonable period of time. She points out that the accused xxx xxx xxx
failed to raise a protest during the dormancy of the criminal case against them, and 5) The fact that the records of the case were elevated to the Court of
that they asserted their right only after the trial court had dismissed the case Appeals and the prosecution’s failure to comply with the order of the court a
against their co-accused Concepcion. Petitioner also emphasizes that the trial court quo requiring them to secure certified true copies of the same.
denied the respective Motions to Dismiss filed by Saruca, Escalona, Ramos, and xxx xxx xxx
Adriano, because it found that “the prosecution could not be faulted for the delay in While we are prepared to concede that some of the foregoing factors that
the movement of this case when contributed to the delay of the trial of the petitioners are justifiable, We nonetheless
_______________ hold that their right to speedy trial has been utterly violated in this case x x x.
49 Dizon’s Petition for Review, supra note 21 at p. 20; Rollo, p. 22. xxx xxx xxx
50 Id., at p. 23; Rollo, p. 25. [T]he absence of the records in the trial court [was] due to the fact that the
545 records of the case were elevated to the Court of Appeals, and

24
the prosecution’s failure to comply with the order of the court a quo 66 Id.
requiring it to secure certified true copies of the same. What is glaring from 67 Abardo v. Sandiganbayan, 407 Phil. 985; 355 SCRA 641 (2001).
the records is the fact that as early as September 21, 1995, the court a quo already 548
issued an Order requiring the prosecution, through the Department of Justice, to
548 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
secure the complete records of the case from the Court of Appeals. The prosecution
did not comply with the said Order as in fact, the same directive was repeated by Villareal vs. People
the court a quo in an Order dated December 27, 1995. Still, there was no compliance of the Ombudsman, where the Court held that the delay of almost six years
on the part of the prosecution. It is disregarded the Ombudsman’s duty to act promptly on complaints before
_______________ him; and in Cervantes vs. Sandiganbayan, where the Court held that the
60 Id. Sandiganbayan gravely abused its discretion in not quashing the
61 Id. information which was filed six years after the initiatory complaint was
62 Id. filed and thereby depriving petitioner of his right to a speedy disposition
547 of the case. So it must be in the instant case, where the reinvestigation by
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 547 the Ombudsman has dragged on for a decade already.”68 (Emphasis supplied)
From the foregoing principles, we affirm the ruling of the CA in CA-G.R. SP No.
Villareal vs. People 89060 that accused Escalona et al.’s right to speedy trial was violated. Since there
not stated when such order was complied with. It appears, however, that even is nothing in the records that would show that the subject of this Petition includes
until August 5, 2002, the said records were still not at the disposal of the accused Ampil, S. Fernandez, Cabangon, and De Vera, the effects of this ruling shall
trial court because the lack of it was made the basis of the said court in granting be limited to accused Escalona, Ramos, Saruca, and Adriano.
the motion to dismiss filed by co-accused Concepcion x x x. G.R. No. 154954 (People v. Court of Appeals)
xxx xxx xxx The rule on double jeopardy is one of the pillars of our criminal justice system.
It is likewise noticeable that from December 27, 1995, until August 5, 2002, It dictates that when a person is charged with an offense, and the case is
or for a period of almost seven years, there was no action at all on the part terminated—either by acquittal or conviction or in any other manner without the
of the court a quo. Except for the pleadings filed by both the prosecution consent of the accused—the accused cannot again be charged with the same or an
and the petitioners, the latest of which was on January 29, 1996, followed by identical offense.69 This principle is founded upon the law of reason, justice and
petitioner Saruca’s motion to set case for trial on August 17, 1998 which the court conscience.70 It is embodied in the civil law maxim non bis in idem found in the
did not act upon, the case remained dormant for a considerable length of common law of England and undoubtedly in every system of jurisprudence. 71 It
time. This prolonged inactivity whatsoever is precisely the kind of delay that the found expression in the Spanish Law, in the Constitution of the United States, and
constitution frowns upon x x x.”63(Emphasis supplied) in our own Constitution as one of the fundamental rights of the citizen, 72 viz.:
This Court points out that on 10 January 1992, the final amended Information _______________
was filed against Escalona, Ramos, Saruca, Ampil, S. Fernandez, Adriano,
Cabangon, Concepcion, and De Vera.64 On 29 November 1993, they were all
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 549
arraigned.65 Unfortunately, the initial trial of the case did not commence until 28
March 2005 or almost 12 years after arraignment.66 Villareal vs. People
As illustrated in our ruling in Abardo v. Sandiganbayan, the unexplained Article III – Bill of Rights
interval or inactivity of the Sandiganbayan for close to five years since the Section 21. No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same
arraignment of the accused amounts to an unreasonable delay in the disposition of offense. If an act is punished by a law and an ordinance, conviction or acquittal
cases—a clear violation of the right of the accused to a speedy disposition of under either shall constitute a bar to another prosecution for the same act.
cases.67 Thus, we held:
“The delay in this case measures up to the unreasonableness of the delay in the Rule 117, Section 7 of the Rules of Court, which implements this particular
disposition of cases in Angchangco, Jr. vs. Ombudsman, where the Court found constitutional right, provides as follows:73
the delay of six years by the Ombudsman in resolving the criminal “SEC. 7. Former conviction or acquittal; double jeopardy.—When an accused has
complaints to be violative of the constitutionally guaranteed right to a been convicted or acquitted, or the case against him dismissed or otherwise
speedy disposition of cases; similarly, in Roque vs. Office terminated without his express consent by a court of competent jurisdiction, upon
_______________ a valid complaint or information or other formal charge sufficient in form and
63 CA Decision (Escalona v. RTC), pp. 24-30, supra note 14; Rollo, pp. 151-157. substance to sustain a conviction and after the accused had pleaded to the charge,
64 Id., at 4; Rollo, p. 131. the conviction or acquittal of the accused or the dismissal of the case shall be a bar
65 Id. to another prosecution for the offense charged, or for any attempt to commit the

25
same or frustration thereof, or for any offense which necessarily includes or is and hostility;82or a blatant abuse of authority to a point so grave and so severe as
necessarily included in the offense charged in the former complaint or information.” to deprive the court of its very power to dispense justice. 83 In such an event, the
The rule on double jeopardy thus prohibits the state from appealing the accused cannot be considered to be at risk of double jeopardy. 84
judgment in order to reverse the acquittal or to increase the penalty imposed either The Solicitor General filed a Rule 65 Petition for Certiorari, which seeks the
through a regular appeal under Rule 41 of the Rules of Court or through an appeal reversal of (1) the acquittal of Victorino et al. and (2) the conviction of Tecson et
by certiorari on pure questions of law under Rule 45 of the same Rules.74 The al. for the lesser crime of slight physical injuries, both on the basis of a
requisites for invoking double jeopardy are the following: (a) there is a valid misappreciation of facts and evidence. According to the Petition, “the decision of the
complaint or information; (b) it is filed before a competent court; (c) the defendant Court of Appeals is not in accordance with law because private complainant and
pleaded to the charge; and (d) the defendant was acquitted or convicted, or the case petitioner were denied due process of law when the public respondent completely
against him or her was dismissed or otherwise terminated without the defendant’s ignored the a) Position Paper x x x b) the Motion for Partial Reconsideration x x x
express consent.75 and c) the petitioner’s Comment x x x.”85 Allegedly, the CA ignored evidence when
_______________ it adopted the theory of individual responsibility; set aside the finding of conspiracy
by the trial court; and failed to apply Article 4 of the Revised Penal Code. 86 The
Solicitor General also assails the finding that the physical blows were
550 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
_______________
Villareal vs. People 552
As we have reiterated in People v. Court of Appeals and Galicia, “[a] verdict of 552 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
acquittal is immediately final and a reexamination of the merits of such acquittal,
even in the appellate courts, will put the accused in jeopardy for the same offense. Villareal vs. People
The finality-of-acquittal doctrine has several avowed purposes. Primarily, it inflicted only by Dizon and Villareal, as well as the appreciation of Lenny Villa’s
prevents the State from using its criminal processes as an instrument of consent to hazing.87
harassment to wear out the accused by a multitude of cases with accumulated trials. In our view, what the Petition seeks is that we reexamine, reassess, and
It also serves the additional purpose of precluding the State, following an acquittal, reweigh the probative value of the evidence presented by the parties. 88 In People v.
from successively retrying the defendant in the hope of securing a conviction. And Maquiling, we held that grave abuse of discretion cannot be attributed to a court
finally, it prevents the State, following conviction, from retrying the defendant simply because it allegedly misappreciated the facts and the evidence.89 Mere errors
again in the hope of securing a greater penalty.”76 We further stressed that “an of judgment are correctible by an appeal or a petition for review under Rule 45 of
acquitted defendant is entitled to the right of repose as a direct consequence of the the Rules of Court, and not by an application for a writ of certiorari.90 Therefore,
finality of his acquittal.”77 pursuant to the rule on double jeopardy, we are constrained to deny the
This prohibition, however, is not absolute. The state may challenge the lower Petition contra Victorino et al.—the 19 acquitted fraternity members.
court’s acquittal of the accused or the imposition of a lower penalty on the latter in We, however, modify the assailed judgment as regards Tecson, Ama, Almeda,
the following recognized exceptions: (1) where the prosecution is deprived of a fair and Bantug—the four fraternity members convicted of slight physical injuries.
opportunity to prosecute and prove its case, tantamount to a deprivation of due Indeed, we have ruled in a line of cases that the rule on double jeopardy
process;78 (2) where there is a finding of mistrial;79 or (3) where there has been a similarly applies when the state seeks the imposition of a higher penalty against
grave abuse of discretion.80 the accused.91 We have also recognized, however, that certiorari may be used to
_______________ correct an abusive judgment upon a clear demonstration that the lower court
. blatantly abused its authority to a point so grave as to deprive it of its very power
551 to dis-
_______________
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 551
91 De Vera v. De Vera, supra note 81; People v. Dela Torre, 430 Phil. 420; 380
Villareal vs. People SCRA 596 (2002); People v. Leones, 418 Phil. 804; 366 SCRA 535 (2001); People v.
The third instance refers to this Court’s judicial power under Rule 65 to Ruiz, 171 Phil. 400; 81 SCRA 453 (1978); People v. Pomeroy, 97 Phil. 927 (1955),
determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to citing People v. Ang Cho Kio, 95 Phil. 475 (1954).
lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the 553
government.81 Here, the party asking for the review must show the presence of a VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 553
whimsical or capricious exercise of judgment equivalent to lack of jurisdiction; a
patent and gross abuse of discretion amounting to an evasion of a positive duty or Villareal vs. People
to a virtual refusal to perform a duty imposed by law or to act in contemplation of pense justice.92 The present case is one of those instances of grave abuse of
law; an exercise of power in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion discretion.

26
In imposing the penalty of slight physical injuries on Tecson, Ama, Almeda, and nature,”101 it was patently erroneous for the court to limit the criminal liability to
Bantug, the CA reasoned thus: slight physical injuries, which is a light felony.
“Based on the medical findings, it would appear that with the exclusion of Article 4(1) of the Revised Penal Code dictates that the perpetrator shall be
the fatal wounds inflicted by the accused Dizon and Villareal, theinjuries liable for the consequences of an act, even if its result is different from that
sustained by the victim as a result of the physical punishment heaped on intended. Thus, once a person is found to have committed an initial felonious act,
him were serious in nature. However, by reason of the death of the victim, such as the unlawful infliction of physical injuries that results in the death of the
there can be no precise means to determine the duration of the incapacity victim, courts are required to automatically apply the legal framework governing
or the medical attendance required. To do so, at this stage would be merely the destruction of life. This rule is mandatory, and not subject to discretion.
speculative. In a prosecution for this crime where the category of the offense and The CA’s application of the legal framework governing physical injuries—
the severity of the penalty depend on the period of illness or incapacity for labor, punished under Articles 262 to 266 for intentional felonies and Article 365 for
the length of this period must likewise be proved beyond reasonable doubt in much culpable felonies – is therefore tantamount to a whimsical, capricious, and abusive
the same manner as the same act charged [People v. Codilla, CA-G.R. No. 4079-R, exercise of judgment amounting to lack of jurisdiction. According to the Revised
June 26, 1950]. And when proof of the said period is absent, the crime Penal Code, the manda-
committed should be deemed only as slight physical injuries [People v. De _______________
los Santos, CA, 59 O.G. 4393, citing People v. Penesa, 81 Phil. 398]. As such, this 555
Court is constrained to rule that the injuries inflicted by the appellants, Tecson,
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 555
Ama, Almeda and Bantug, Jr., are only slight and not serious, in
nature.”93(Emphasis supplied and citations included) Villareal vs. People
The appellate court relied on our ruling in People v. Penesa94 in finding that the tory and legally imposable penalty in case the victim dies should be based on the
four accused should be held guilty only of slight physical injuries. According to the framework governing the destruction of the life of a person, punished under Articles
CA, because of “the death of the victim, there can be no precise means to determine 246 to 261 for intentional felonies and Article 365 for culpable felonies, and not
the duration of the incapacity or medical attendance required.” 95 The reliance under the aforementioned provisions. We emphasize that these two types of felonies
on Penesa was utterly misplaced. A review of that case would reveal that the are distinct from and legally inconsistent with each other, in that the accused
accused therein was guilty merely of slight physical injuries, because the victim’s cannot be held criminally liable for physical injuries when actual death occurs.102
injuries neither caused incapacity for labor nor Attributing criminal liability solely to Villareal and Dizon—as if only their acts,
_______________ in and of themselves, caused the death of Lenny Villa—is contrary to the CA’s own
92 See generally People v. Court of Appeals and Galicia, supra note 76; findings. From proof that the death of the victim was the cumulative effect of the
and People v. Court of Appeals and Francisco, supra note 79. multiple injuries he suffered,103 the only logical conclusion is that criminal
93 CA Decision (People v. Dizon), pp. 21-22, supra note 8; Rollo, pp. 82-83. responsibility should redound to all those who have been proven to have directly
94 People v. Penesa, 81 Phil. 398 (1948). participated in the infliction of physical injuries on Lenny. The accumulation of
95 CA Decision (People v. Dizon), pp. 21-22, supra note 8; Rollo, pp. 82-83. bruising on his body caused him to suffer cardiac arrest. Accordingly, we find that
554 the CA committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
554 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED jurisdiction in finding Tecson, Ama, Almeda, and Bantug criminally liable for slight
physical injuries. As an allowable exception to the rule on double jeopardy, we
Villareal vs. People therefore give due course to the Petition in G.R. No. 154954.
required medical attendance.96 Furthermore, he did not die.97 His injuries were not
even serious.98 Since Penesa involved a case in which the victim allegedly suffered Resolution on Ultimate Findings
physical injuries and not death, the ruling cited by the CA was patently
inapplicable.
According to the trial court, although hazing was not (at the time) punishable
On the contrary, the CA’s ultimate conclusion that Tecson, Ama, Almeda, and
as a crime, the intentional infliction of physical injuries on Villa was nonetheless a
Bantug were liable merely for slight physical injuries grossly contradicts its own
felonious act under Articles 263 to 266 of the Revised Penal Code. Thus, in ruling
findings of fact. According to the court, the four accused “were found to
against the accused, the court a quo found that pursuant to Article 4(1) of the
have inflicted more than the usual punishment undertaken during such
Revised Penal Code, the accused fraternity members were guilty of homicide, as it
initiation rites on the person of Villa.”99 It then adopted the NBI medico-legal
was the direct, natural and logical consequence of the physical injuries they had
officer’s findings that the antecedent cause of Lenny Villa’s death was the “multiple
intentionally inflicted.104
traumatic injuries” he suffered from the initiation rites.100Considering that the CA
_______________
found that the “physical punishment heaped on [Lenny Villa was] serious in
102 See footnote 1 of Corpus v. Paje, 139 Phil. 429; 28 SCRA 1062 (1969).

27
103 RTC Decision [Crim. Case No. C-38340(91)], p. 61, supra note 9; Rollo, p. an intentional felony to exist, it is necessary that the act be committed by means
170. of dolo or “malice.”113
104 Id., at p. 58; Rollo, p. 167. The term “dolo” or “malice” is a complex idea involving the elements
556 of freedom, intelligence, and intent.114 The first element, freedom, refers to an act
done with deliberation and with power to choose between two things.115 The second
556 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
element, intelligence, concerns the ability to determine the morality of human acts,
Villareal vs. People as well as the capacity to distinguish between a licit and an illicit act. 116 The last
The CA modified the trial court’s finding of criminal liability. It ruled that there element, intent, involves an aim or a determination to do a certain act.117
could have been no conspiracy since the neophytes, including Lenny Villa, had The element of intent—on which this Court shall focus—is described as the
knowingly consented to the conduct of hazing during their initiation rites. The state of mind accompanying an act, especially a forbidden act.118 It refers to the
accused fraternity members, therefore, were liable only for the consequences of their purpose of the mind and the resolve with which a person proceeds.119 It does not
individual acts. Accordingly, 19 of the accused—Victorino et al.—were acquitted; 4 refer to mere will, for the latter
of them—Tecson et al.—were found guilty of slight physical injuries; and the _______________
remaining 2—Dizon and Villareal—were found guilty of homicide. 558
The issue at hand does not concern a typical criminal case wherein the 558 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
perpetrator clearly commits a felony in order to take revenge upon, to gain
advantage over, to harm maliciously, or to get even with, the victim. Rather, the Villareal vs. People
case involves an ex ante situation in which a man—driven by his own desire to join pertains to the act, while intent concerns the result of the act.120While motive is the
a society of men—pledged to go through physically and psychologically strenuous “moving power” that impels one to action for a definite result, intent is the “purpose”
admission rituals, just so he could enter the fraternity. Thus, in order to understand of using a particular means to produce the result.121 On the other hand, the term
how our criminal laws apply to such situation absent the Anti-Hazing Law, we deem “felonious” means, inter alia, malicious, villainous, and/or proceeding from an evil
it necessary to make a brief exposition on the underlying concepts shaping heart or purpose.122 With these elements taken together, the requirement of intent
intentional felonies, as well as on the nature of physical and psychological in intentional felony must refer to malicious intent, which is a vicious and
initiations widely known as hazing. malevolent state of mind accompanying a forbidden act. Stated otherwise,
Intentional Felony and Conspiracy intentional felony requires the existence of dolus malus—that the act or omission
Our Revised Penal Code belongs to the classical school of thought. 105 The be done “willfully,” “maliciously,” “with deliberate evil intent,” and “with malice
classical theory posits that a human person is essentially a moral creature with an aforethought.”123 The maxim is actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit rea—a crime is
absolute free will to choose between good and evil.106 It asserts that one should only not committed if the mind of the person performing the act complained of is
be adjudged or held accountable for wrongful acts so long as free will appears innocent.124 As is required of the other elements of a felony, the existence of
unimpaired.107 The basic postulate of the classical penal system is that malicious intent must be proven beyond reasonable doubt.125
_______________ In turn, the existence of malicious intent is necessary in order for conspiracy to
105 RAMON C. AQUINO, THE REVISED PENAL CODE – Volume One 3 (1961); attach. Article 8 of the Revised Penal Code—which provides that “conspiracy exists
see People v. Estrada, 389 Phil. 216; 333 SCRA 699 (2000); People v. when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of
Sandiganbayan, 341 Phil. 503; 275 SCRA 505 (1997). a felony and decide to commit it”—is to be interpreted to refer only to felonies
106 VICENTE J. FRANCISCO, THE REVISED PENAL CODE: ANNOTATED AND committed by means of dolo or malice. The phrase “coming to an agreement”
COMMENTED – BOOK ONE 4 (3rd ed. 1958); see People v. Estrada, supra. connotes the existence of a prefaced “intent” to cause injury to another, an element
107 FRANCISCO, supra at p. 4; People v. Estrada, supra. present only in intentional felonies. In culpable
557 _______________
120 ALBERT, supra note 114 at p. 23.
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 557
121 People v. Ballesteros, 349 Phil. 366; 285 SCRA 438 (1998); Bagajo v.
Villareal vs. People Marave, 176 Phil. 20; 86 SCRA 389 (1978), citing People v. Molineux, 168 N.Y. 264,
humans are rational and calculating beings who guide their actions with reference 297; 61 N.E. 286, 296; 62 L.R.A. 193.
to the principles of pleasure and pain.108 They refrain from criminal acts if 122 BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY, supra note 118 at p. 520.
threatened with punishment sufficient to cancel the hope of possible gain or 123 See FRANCISCO, supra note 106 at p. 34; ALBERT, supra note 114 at pp. 23-
advantage in committing the crime.109Here, criminal liability is thus based on the 25.
free will and moral blame of the actor.110 The identity of mens rea—defined as a 124 U.S. v. Catolico, 18 Phil. 504 (1911); U.S. v. Ah Chong, 15 Phil. 488 (1910).
guilty mind, a guilty or wrongful purpose or criminal intent—is the predominant 125 U.S. v. Barnes, 8 Phil. 59 (1907); Dado v. People, 440 Phil. 521; 392 SCRA
consideration.111 Thus, it is not enough to do what the law prohibits.112 In order for 46 (2002), citing Mondragon v. People, 17 SCRA 476, 481 (1966); People v.

28
Villanueva, 51 Phil. 488 (1928); U.S. v. Reyes, 30 Phil. 551 (1915); U.S. v. Mendoza, organizations ranging from military groups to indigenous tribes.136 Some say that
38 Phil. 691 (1918); People v. Montes, 53 Phil. 323 (1929); People v. Pacusbas, 64 elements of hazing can be traced back to the Middle Ages, during which new
Phil. 614 (1937); and People v. Penesa, supra note 94. students who enrolled in European universities worked as servants for
559 upperclassmen.137 It is believed that the concept of hazing is rooted in ancient
Greece,138 where young men recruited into the military were tested with pain or
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 559
challenged to demonstrate the limits of their loyalty and to prepare the recruits for
Villareal vs. People battle.139Modern fraternities and sororities espouse some connection to these values
felonies or criminal negligence, the injury inflicted on another is unintentional, the of ancient Greek civilization.140 According to a scholar, this concept lends historical
wrong done being simply the result of an act performed without malice or criminal legitimacy to a “tradition” or “ritual” whereby prospective members are asked to
design.126 Here, a person performs an initial lawful deed; however, due to prove their worthiness and loyalty to the organization in which they seek to attain
negligence, imprudence, lack of foresight, or lack of skill, the deed results in a membership through hazing.141
wrongful act.127 Verily, a deliberate intent to do an unlawful act, which is a requisite Thus, it is said that in the Greek fraternity system, custom requires a student
in conspiracy, is inconsistent with the idea of a felony committed by means wishing to join an organization to receive an invita-
of culpa.128 _______________
The presence of an initial malicious intent to commit a felony is thus a vital Tayongtong, 21 Phil. 476 (1912); see generally U.S. v. Maleza, 14 Phil. 468
ingredient in establishing the commission of the intentional felony of (1909).
homicide.129 Being mala in se, the felony of homicide requires the existence of malice 135 A. Catherine Kendrick, Ex Parte Barran: In Search of Standard Legislation
or dolo130 immediately before or simultaneously with the infliction of for Fraternity Hazing Liability, 24 AM. J. TRIAL ADVOC. 407 (2000).
injuries.131 Intent to kill—or animus interficendi—cannot and should not be 136 Id.
inferred, unless there is proof beyond reasonable doubt of such 137 In re Khalil H., No. 08110, 2010 WL 4540458 (N.Y. App. Div. Nov. 9, 2010)
intent.132Furthermore, the victim’s death must not have been the product of (U.S.) [citing Kuzmich, Comment, In Vino Mortuus: Fraternal Hazing and Alcohol-
accident, natural cause, or suicide.133 If death resulted from an act executed without Related Deaths, 31 MCGEORGE L REV. 1087, 1088-1089 (2000); and SYMPOSIUM,
malice or criminal intent—but with lack of foresight, carelessness, or negligence— THE WORKS OF PLATO (THE MODERN LIBRARY 1956)]; Gregory E. Rutledge, Hell
the act must be qualified as reckless or simple negligence or imprudence resulting Night Hath No Fury Like a Pledge Scorned ... and Injured: Hazing Litigation in U.S.
in homicide.134 Colleges and Universities, 25 J.C. & U.L. 361, 368-9 (1998); Kendrick, 24 AM. J.
_______________ TRIAL ADVOC.
126 People v. Fallorina, 468 Phil. 816; 424 SCRA 655 (2004), citing People v. 138 In re Khalil H., supra; Rutledge, supra.
Oanis, 74 Phil. 257 (1943); FRANCISCO, supra note 106 at pp. 51-52, citing People v. 139 Jamie Ball, This Will Go Down on Your Permanent Record (But We’ll Never
Sara, 55 Phil. 939 (1931). Tell): How the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act May Help Colleges and
127 See generally FRANCISCO, supra note 106 at p. 51. Universities Keep Hazing a Secret, 33 Sw. U. L. Rev. 477, 480
128 Id., at p. 52; People v. Oanis, 74 Phil. 257 (1943), citing People v. Nanquil, (2004), citingRutledge, supra.
43 Phil. 232 (1922); People v. Bindoy, 56 Phil. 15 (1931). 140 Id.
129 Mahawan v. People, G.R. No. 176609, 18 December 2008, 574 SCRA 737, 141 Id.
citing Rivera v. People, G.R. No. 166326, 25 January 2006, 480 SCRA 188, 196-197. 561
130 People v. Quijada, 328 Phil. 505; 259 SCRA 191 (1996). VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 561
131 Mahawan v. People, supra note 129, citing Rivera v. People, supra note 129.
132 Dado v. People, supra note 125. Villareal vs. People
133 People v. Delim, 444 Phil. 430, 450; 396 SCRA 386 (2003), citing WHARTON, tion in order to be a neophyte for a particular chapter. 142 The neophyte period is
CRIMINAL LAW—Vol. 1, 473-474 (12th ed., 1932). usually one to two semesters long.143 During the “program,” neophytes are required
134 See People v. Garcia, 467 Phil. 1102; 425 SCRA 221 (2004), citing PEOPLE to interview and to get to know the active members of the chapter; to learn chapter
V. CARMEN, G.R. No. 137268, 26 March 2001, 355 SCRA 267; U.S. v. history; to understand the principles of the organization; to maintain a specified
560 grade point average; to participate in the organization’s activities; and to show
dignity and respect for their fellow neophytes, the organization, and its active and
560 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
alumni members.144 Some chapters require the initiation activities for a recruit to
Villareal vs. People involve hazing acts during the entire neophyte stage.145
Hazing and other forms of initiation rites Hazing, as commonly understood, involves an initiation rite or ritual that
The notion of hazing is not a recent development in our society.135 It is said that, serves as prerequisite for admission to an organization. 146In hazing, the “recruit,”
throughout history, hazing in some form or another has been associated with “pledge,” “neophyte,” “initiate,” “applicant”—or any other term by which the

29
organization may refer to such a person—is generally placed in embarrassing or _______________
humiliating situations, like being forced to do menial, silly, foolish, or other similar 150 REYNALDO C. ILETO, THE DIORAMA EXPERIENCE: A VISUAL HISTORY OF THE
tasks or activities.147 It encompasses different forms of conduct that humiliate, PHILIPPINES 84 (2004).
degrade, abuse, or physically endanger those who desire membership in the 151 Id.
organization.148 These acts usually involve physical or psychological suffering or 152 Id.
injury.149 153 Id.; see Philippine Insurrection Records, Reel 31, Folder 514/10—Cartilla
_______________ del Katipunan, quoted in LUIS CAMARA DERY, ALAY SA INANG BAYAN: PANIBAGONG
142 Kendrick, supra note 135, citing Scott Patrick McBride, PAGBIBIGAY KAHULUGAN SA KASAYSAYAN NG HIMAGSIKAN NG 1896, 16-24 (1999).
Comment, Freedom of Association in the Public University Setting: How Broad is 154 Philippine Insurrection Records, supra, quoted in DERY, supra at 17.
the Right to Freely Participate in Greek Life?, 23 U. DAYTON L. REV. 133, 147-8 155 Philippine Insurrection Records, supra, quoted in DERY, supra at 18.
(1997). 156 Ileto, supra note 150.
143 Id. 563
144 Id.
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 563
145 Id., citing Ex parte Barran, 730 So.2d 203 (Ala. 1998) (U.S.).
146 See generally Sec. 1, Republic Act No. 8049 (1995), otherwise known as the Villareal vs. People
Anti-Hazing Law. resulted in permanent physical damage; to eat or drink unpalatable foods; and in
147 Id. various ways to humiliate themselves.157 In 1901, General Douglas MacArthur got
148 In re Khalil H., supra note 137, citing WEBSTER’S THIRD INTERNATIONAL involved in a congressional investigation of hazing at the academy during his second
DICTIONARY, 1041 (1986); and People v. Lenti, 44 Misc.2d 118, 253 N.Y.S.2d 9 (N.Y. year at West Point.158
Nassau County Ct. 1964) (U.S.). In Easler v. Hejaz Temple of Greenville, decided in 1985, the candidate-victim
149 See generally Republic Act No. 8049 (1995), Sec. 1, otherwise known as the was injured during the shriner’s hazing event, which was part of the initiation
Anti-Hazing Law; Susan Lipkins, Hazing: Defining and Understanding ceremonies for Hejaz membership.159 The ritual involved what was known as the
Psychological Damages, 2 Ann.2007 AAJ-CLE 2481 (2007). “mattress-rotating barrel trick.”160 It required each candidate to slide down an eight
562 to nine-foot-high metal board onto connected mattresses leading to a barrel, over
562 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED which the candidate was required to climb.161 Members of Hejaz would stand on
each side of the mattresses and barrel and fun-paddle candidates en route to the
Villareal vs. People barrel.162
The concept of initiation rites in the country is nothing new. In fact, more than In a video footage taken in 1991, U.S. Marine paratroopers in Camp Lejeune,
a century ago, our national hero—Andres Bonifacio—organized a secret society North Carolina, were seen performing a ceremony in which they pinned paratrooper
named Kataastaasan Kagalanggalangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (The jump wings directly onto the neophyte paratroopers’ chests.163 The victims were
Highest and Most Venerable Association of the Sons and Daughters of the shown writhing and crying
Nation).150 The Katipunan, or KKK, started as a small confraternity believed to be _______________
inspired by European Freemasonry, as well as by confraternities or sodalities 157 STEPHEN E. AMBROSE, DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY: A HISTORY OF WEST
approved by the Catholic Church.151 The Katipunan’s ideology was brought home to POINT 222 (1999).
each member through the society’s initiation ritual. 152 It is said that initiates were 158 Id.
brought to a dark room, lit by a single point of illumination, and were asked a series 159 Easler v. Hejaz Temple of Greenville, 285 S.C. 348, 329 S.E.2d 753 (S.C.
of questions to determine their fitness, loyalty, courage, and resolve. 153 They were 1985) (U.S.). (The South Carolina Supreme Court held, inter alia, that (1) evidence
made to go through vigorous trials such as “pagsuot sa isang lungga” or supported the jury finding that the manner in which the association carried out
“[pagtalon] sa balon.”154 It would seem that they were also made to withstand the “mattress-rotating barrel trick,” a hazing event, was hazardous and constituted
blow of “pangherong bakal sa pisngi” and to endure a “matalas na punyal.”155 As a actionable negligence; and (2) the candidate was not barred from recovery by the
final step in the ritual, the neophyte Katipunero was made to sign membership doctrine of assumption of risk. Id.)
papers with his own blood.156 160 Id.
It is believed that the Greek fraternity system was transported by the 161 Id.
Americans to the Philippines in the late 19th century. As can be seen in the 162 Id.
following instances, the manner of hazing in the United States was jarringly similar 163 CNN U.S., Pentagon Brass Disgusted by Marine Hazing Ceremony,
to that inflicted by the Aquila Fraternity on Lenny Villa. January 31, 1997, available at<http://articles.cnn.com/1997-01-
Early in 1865, upperclassmen at West Point Academy forced the fourth 31/us/9701_31_hazing_1_hazing-incident-camp-lejeune-marines?_s=PM:US>
classmen to do exhausting physical exercises that sometimes (visited 3 December 2010); see also Gregory E. Rutledge, Hell Night Hath No Fury

30
Like a Pledge Scorned ... and Injured: Hazing Litigation in U.S. Colleges and which the pledges were pushed, kicked, and hit as they ran down a hallway and
Universities, 25 J.C. & U.L. 361, 364 (1998). descended down a flight of stairs.169
564 In Lloyd v. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, decided in 1999, the victim—Sylvester
Lloyd—was accepted to pledge at the Cornell University chapter of the Alpha Phi
564 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Alpha Fraternity.170 He participated in initiation activities, which included various
Villareal vs. People forms of physical beatings and torture, psychological coercion and
out in pain as others pounded the spiked medals through the shirts and into the embarrassment.171
chests of the victims.164 In Kenner v. Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, decided in 2002, the initiate-victim
In State v. Allen, decided in 1995, the Southeast Missouri State University suffered injuries from hazing activities during the fraternity’s initiation
chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi invited male students to enter into a pledgeship rites.172 Kenner and the other initiates went through psychological and physical
program.165 The fraternity members subjected the pledges to repeated physical hazing, including being paddled on the buttocks for more than 200 times.173
abuse including repeated, open-hand strikes at the nape, the chest, and the back; In Morton v. State, Marcus Jones—a university student in Florida—sought
caning of the bare soles of the feet and buttocks; blows to the back with the use of a initiation into the campus chapter of the Kappa Alpha
heavy book and a cookie sheet while the pledges were on their hands and knees; _______________
various kicks and punches to the body; and “body slamming,” an activity in which 169 Id.
active members of the fraternity lifted pledges up in the air and dropped them to 170 Lloyd v. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, No. 96-CV-348, 97-CV-565, 1999 WL
the ground.166 The fraternity members then put the pledges through a seven-station 47153 (Dist. Ct., N.D. N.Y., 1999) (U.S.). (The plaintiff filed a law suit against
circle of physical abuse.167 Cornell University for the latter’s liability resulting from the injuries the former
In Ex Parte Barran, decided in 1998, the pledge-victim went through hazing by sustained during the alleged hazing by the fraternity. The New York district court
fraternity members of the Kappa Alpha Order at the Auburn University in granted defendant Cornell’s motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint. Id.)
Alabama.168 The hazing included the following: (1) having to dig a ditch and jump 171 Id.
into it after it had been filled with water, urine, feces, dinner leftovers, and vomit; 172 Kenner v. Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., 808 A.2d 178 (Pa. Super.Ct.
(2) receiving paddlings on the buttocks; (3) being pushed and kicked, often onto 2002). (The Pennsylvania Superior Court held that: (1) the fraternity owed the duty
walls or into pits and trash cans; (4) eating foods like peppers, hot sauce, butter, to protect the initiate from harm; (2) breach of duty by fraternity was not
and “yerks” (a mixture of hot sauce, mayonnaise, but- established; (3) individual fraternity members owed the duty to protect the initiate
_______________ from harm; and (4) the evidence raised the genuine issue of material fact as to
164 CNN U.S., supra; see also Rutledge, supra. whether the fraternity's chapter advisor breached the duty of care to initiate. Id.)
165 State v. Allen, 905 S.W.2d 874, 875 (Mo. 1995) (U.S.). (One of the pledges – 173 Id.
Michael Davis – blacked out and never regained consciousness. He died the 566
following afternoon. The Supreme Court of Missouri affirmed the trial court’s 566 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
conviction of hazing. Id.)
166 Id. Villareal vs. People
167 Id. Psi Fraternity during the 2005-06 academic year.174 The pledge’s efforts to join the
168 Ex parte Barran, 730 So.2d 203 (Ala. 1998) (U.S.). (The Alabama Supreme fraternity culminated in a series of initiation rituals conducted in four nights. Jones,
Court ruled that the (1) pledge knew and appreciated the risks inherent in hazing; together with other candidates, was blindfolded, verbally harassed, and caned on
and (2) pledge voluntarily exposed himself to hazing, supporting the fraternity’s his face and buttocks.175 In these rituals described as “preliminaries,” which lasted
assumption of the risk defense. Consequently, the Court reversed the judgment of for two evenings, he received approximately 60 canings on his buttocks.176 During
the Court of Civil Appeals and reinstated the ruling of the trial court, which entered the last two days of the hazing, the rituals intensified.177 The pledges sustained
the summary judgment in favor of the defendants with respect to the victim’s roughly 210 cane strikes during the four-night initiation.178 Jones and several other
negligence claims. The case was remanded as to the other matters. Id.) candidates passed out.179
565 The purported raison d’être behind hazing practices is the proverbial “birth by
fire,” through which the pledge who has successfully withstood the hazing proves
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 565
his or her worth.180 Some organizations even believe that hazing is the path to
Villareal vs. People enlightenment. It is said that this process enables the organization to establish
ter, beans, and other items); (5) doing chores for the fraternity and its members, unity among the pledges and, hence, reinforces and ensures the future of the
such as cleaning the fraternity house and yard, being designated as driver, and organization.181 Alleged benefits of joining include leadership opportunities;
running errands; (6) appearing regularly at 2 a.m. “meetings,” during which the improved academic performance; higher self-esteem; professional networking
pledges would be hazed for a couple of hours; and (7) “running the gauntlet,” during

31
opportunities; and the esprit d’corpassociated with close, almost filial, friendship 184 Gregory L. Acquaviva, Protecting Students from the Wrongs of Hazing
and common cause.182 Rites: A Proposal for Strengthening New Jersey’s Anti-Hazing Act, 26 Quinnipiac L.
_______________ Rev. 305, 311 (2008), citing Lewis, supra note Error: Reference source not found at
174 Morton v. State, 988 So.2d 698 (Flo. Dist. Ct. App. 2008) (U.S.). (The p. 118.
District Court of Appeal of Florida reversed the conviction for felony hazing and 185 Acquaviva, supra, citing Lewis, supra note Error: Reference source not
remanded the case for a new trial because of erroneous jury instruction. Id.) found at pp. 118-119.
175 Id. 186 Acquaviva, supra, citing Lewis, supra note Error: Reference source not
176 Id. found at p. 119.
177 Id. 187 Acquaviva, supra at p. 313.
178 Id. 188 Amie Pelletier, Note, Regulation of Rites: The Effect and Enforcement of
179 Id. Current Anti-Hazing Statutes, 28 NEW ENG. J. ON CRIM. & CIV. CONFINEMENT 377,
180 Rutledge, supra note 137. 377 (2002).
181 Rutledge, supra note 137, citing Fraternity Hazing: Is that Anyway to Treat 189 Id.
a Brother?, TRIAL, September 1991, at p. 63. 568
182 Rutledge, supra note 137, [citing Robert D. Bickel & Peter F.
568 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Lake, Reconceptualizing the University’s Duty to Provide A Safe Learning
Environment: A Criticism of the Doctrine of In Loco Parentis and the Restatement Villareal vs. People
(Second) of Torts, 20 J.C. & U.L. 261 (1994); Jennifer L. Spaziano, It’s All Fun and Under the laws of Illinois, hazing is a Class A misdemeanor, except hazing that
Games Until Someone Loses an Eye: An Analysis of University Liability for Actions results in death or great bodily harm, which is a Class 4 felony. 190 In a Class 4
of Student Organizations, 22 Pepp. L. Rev. 213 (1994); felony, a sentence of imprisonment shall be for a term of not less than one year and
567 not more than three years.191 Indiana criminal law provides that a person who
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 567 recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally performs hazing that result in serious bodily
injury to a person commits criminal recklessness, a Class D felony.192
Villareal vs. People The offense becomes a Class C felony if committed by means of a deadly
Anti-Hazing laws in the U.S. weapon.193 As an element of a Class C felony—criminal recklessness—resulting in
The first hazing statute in the U.S. appeared in 1874 in response to hazing in serious bodily injury, death falls under the category of “serious bodily injury.” 194 A
the military.183 The hazing of recruits and plebes in the armed services was so person who commits a Class C felony is imprisoned for a fixed term of between two
prevalent that Congress prohibited all forms of military hazing, harmful or not.184 It (2) and eight (8) years, with the advisory sentence being four (4) years. 195Pursuant
was not until 1901 that Illinois passed the first state anti-hazing law, criminalizing to Missouri law, hazing is a Class A misdemeanor, unless the act creates a
conduct “whereby any one sustains an injury to his [or her] person therefrom.” 185 substantial risk to the life of the student or prospective member, in which case it
However, it was not until the 1980s and 1990s, due in large part to the efforts becomes a Class C felony.196A Class C felony provides for an imprisonment term not
of the Committee to Halt Useless College Killings and other similar organizations, to exceed seven years.197
that states increasingly began to enact legislation prohibiting and/or criminalizing In Texas, hazing that causes the death of another is a state jail felony. 198 An
hazing.186 As of 2008, all but six states had enacted criminal or civil statutes individual adjudged guilty of a state jail felony is punished by confinement in a state
proscribing hazing.187 Most anti-hazing laws in the U.S. treat hazing as a jail for any term of not more than two years
misdemeanor and carry relatively light consequences for even the most severe _______________
situations.188 Only a few states with anti-hazing laws consider hazing as a felony in
case death or great bodily harm occurs.189 190 Id., citing 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 120/10 (1992) (U.S.).
_______________ 191 730 ILCS 5/5-8-2 (West, Westlaw through P.A. 96-1482 of the 2010 Sess.)
Fraternity Hazing: Is that Anyway to Treat a Brother?, TRIAL, Sept. 1991, at p. (U.S.).
63; and Byron L. Leflore, Jr., Alcohol and Hazing Risks in College Fraternities: Re- 192 Pelletier, supra note 188, citing Ind. Code Ann. § 35-42-2-2 (U.S.).
evaluating Vicarious and Custodial Liability of National Fraternities, 7 Rev. Litig. 193 Pelletier, supra note 188, citing Ind. Code Ann. § 35-42-2-2 (U.S.).
191, 210 (1988)]. 194 Ind. Code Ann. § 35-42-2-2 (West, Westlaw through 2010 Sess.) (U.S.)
183 Darryll M. Halcomb Lewis, The Criminalization of Fraternity, Non- citing State v. Lewis, 883 N.E.2d 847 (Ind. App. 2008) (U.S.).
Fraternity and Non-Collegiate Hazing, 61 Miss. L.J. 111, 117 195 Ind. Code Ann. § 35-50-2-6 (West, Westlaw through 2010 Sess.) (U.S.).
(1991), citing Benjamin, The Trouble at the Naval Academy, 60 The Independent 196 Pelletier, supra note 188, citing Mo. Rev. Stat. § 578.365 (2001) (U.S.).
154, 155 (1906). According to Lewis, the 1874 statute outlawing hazing was directed 197 Mo. Stat. Ann. § 558.011 (West, Westlaw through 2010 First Extraordinary
specifically at the United States Naval Academy. Gen. Ass. Sess.).

32
198 Pelletier, supra note 188, citing Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 37.152 (Vernon while beating up Villa. Dizon kept repeating that his father’s parking space had
1996) (U.S.). been stolen by the victim’s father.207 As to Villareal, the court said that the accused
569 suspected the family of Bienvenido Marquez, one of the neophytes, to have had a
hand in the death of Villareal’s brother.208 The CA then ruled as follows:
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 569
The two had their own axes to grind against Villa and Marquez. It was very
Villareal vs. People clear that they acted with evil and criminal intent. The evidence on this matter is
or not less than 180 days.199 Under Utah law, if hazing results in serious bodily unrebutted and so for the death of Villa, appellants Dizon and Villareal must
injury, the hazer is guilty of a third-degree felony.200A person who has been and should face the consequence of their acts, that is, to be held liable for
convicted of a third-degree felony may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not the crime of homicide.209 (Emphasis supplied)
to exceed five years.201West Virginia law provides that if the act of hazing would We cannot subscribe to this conclusion.
otherwise be deemed a felony, the hazer may be found guilty thereof and subject to The appellate court relied mainly on the testimony of Bienvenido Marquez to
penalties provided therefor.202 In Wisconsin, a person is guilty of a Class G felony if determine the existence of animus interficendi. For a full appreciation of the context
hazing results in the death of another.203A Class G felony carries a fine not to exceed in which the supposed utterances were made, the Court deems it necessary to
$25,000 or imprisonment not to exceed 10 years, or both.204 reproduce the relevant portions of witness Marquez’s testimony:
In certain states in the U.S., victims of hazing were left with limited remedies, Witness We were brought up into [Michael Musngi’s] room
as there was no hazing statute.205 This situation was exemplified in Ballou v. Sigma and we were briefed as to what to expect during the next
Nu General Fraternity, wherein Barry Ballou’s family resorted to a civil action for three days and we were told the members of the fraternity
wrongful death, since there was no anti-hazing statute in South Carolina until and their batch and we were also told about the
1994.206 fraternity song, sir.
The existence of animus interficendi or intent _______________
to kill not proven beyond reasonable doubt 207 CA Decision (People v. Dizon), p. 15, supra Rollo, p. 76.
The presence of an ex ante situation—in this case, fraternity initiation rites— 208 Id.
does not automatically amount to the absence of malicious intent or dolus malus. If 209 Id.
it is proven beyond reasonable doubt that the perpetrators were equipped with a 571
guilty mind—whether or not there is a contextual background or factual premise— VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 571
they are still criminally liable for intentional felony.
_______________ Villareal vs. People
199 Tex. Stat. Code Ann., Penal Code § 12.35 (Vernon, Westlaw through 2009 xxx xxx xxx
Legis. Sess.) (U.S.). Witness We were escorted out of [Michael Musngi’s] house and we
200 Pelletier, supra note 188, citing Utah Code Ann. § 76-5-107.5 (1999) (U.S.). were made to ride a van and we were brought to another
201 Utah Code Ann. 1953 § 76-3-203 (Westlaw through 2010 Gen. Sess.) (U.S.). place in Kalookan City which I later found to be the place
202 Pelletier, supra note 188, citing W. Va. Code § 18-16-3 (1999) (U.S.). of Mariano Almeda, sir.
203 See Pelletier, supra note 188, citing Wis. Stat. § 948.51 (1996) (U.S.). xxx xxx xxx
204 Wis. Stat. Ann. § 939.50 (Westlaw through 2009 Act 406) (U.S.). Witness Upon arrival, we were instructed to bow our head down
205 Pelletier, supra note 188 at p. 381. and to link our arms and then the driver of the van and
206 Id. other members of the Aquilans who were inside left us
570 inside the van, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
570 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Witnes We heard voices shouted outside the van to the
Villareal vs. People effect, “Villa akin ka,” “Asuncion Patay ka” and the
The trial court, the CA, and the Solicitor General are all in agreement that— people outside pound the van, rock the van, sir.
with the exception of Villareal and Dizon—accused Tecson, Ama, Almeda, and Atty. Tadiar Will you please recall in what tone of voice and how
Bantug did not have the animus interficendi or intent to kill Lenny Villa or the strong a voice these remarks uttered upon your arrival?
other neophytes. We shall no longer disturb this finding. Witness Some were almost shouting, you could feel the sense of
As regards Villareal and Dizon, the CA modified the Decision of the trial court excitement in their voices, sir.
and found that the two accused had the animus interficendi or intent to kill Lenny xxx xxx xxx
Villa, not merely to inflict physical injuries on him. It justified its finding of
homicide against Dizon by holding that he had apparently been motivated by ill will

33
Atty. Tadiar During all these times that the van was being rocked father,” sir. So, that’s why he inflicted more pain on Villa
through and through, what were the voices or and that went on, sir.
utterances that you heard? Atty. Tadiar And you were referring to which particular accused?
Witness “Villa akin ka,” “Asuncion patay ka,” “Recinto Witness Boyet Dizon, sir.
patay ka sa amin,” etc., sir. Atty. Tadiar When Boyet Dizon at that particular time was
Atty. Tadiar And those utterances and threats, how long did they accusing you of having your family have his brother
continue during the rocking of the van which lasted killed, what was your response?
for 5 minutes? Witness Of course, I knew sir that it was not true and that
xxx xxx xxx he was just making it up sir. So he said that I knew
Witness Even after they rocked the van, we still kept on nothing of that incident. However, he just in fact after
hearing voices, sir. the Bicol Express, he kept on uttering those words/
xxx xxx xxx statements so that it would in turn justify him and to
Atty. Tadiar During the time that this rounds [of physical give me harder blows, sir.573
beating] were being inflicted, was there any
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 573
utterances by anybody?
Witness Yes sir. Some were piercing, some were Villareal vs. People
discouraging, and some were encouraging others xxx xxx xxx
who were pounding and beating us, it was just like Atty. Tadiar You mentioned about Dizon in particular
a fiesta mentioning that Lenny Villa’s father stole the
572 parking space allotted for his father, do you recall
572 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED who were within hearing distance when that
utterance was made?
Villareal vs. People Witness Yes, sir. All of the neophytes heard that utterance, sir.
atmosphere, actually some of them enjoyed xxx xxx xxx
looking us being pounded, sir. Witness There were different times made this accusation so there
Atty. Tadiar Do you recall what were those voices that you heard? were different people who heard from time to time, sir.
Witness One particular utterance always said was, they asked xxx xxx xxx
us whether “matigas pa yan, kayang-kaya pa niyan.” Atty. Tadiar Can you tell the Honorable Court when was the next
Atty. Tadiar Do you know who in particular uttered those particular accusation against Lenny Villa’s father was made?
words that you quote? Witness When we were line up against the wall, Boyet Dizon
Witness I cannot particularly point to because there were came near to us and when Lenny Villa’s turn, I
utterances simultaneously, I could not really pin point who heard him uttered those statements, sir.
uttered those words, sir. Atty. Tadiar What happened after he made this accusation to
xxx xxx xxx Lenny Villa’s father?
Atty. Tadiar Were there any utterances that you heard during the Witness He continued to inflict blows on Lenny Villa.
conduct of this Bicol Express? Atty. Tadiar How were those blows inflicted?
Witness Yes, sir I heard utterances. Witness There were slaps and he knelt on Lenny Villa’s thighs
Atty. Tadiar Will you please recall to this Honorable Court what and sometime he stand up and he kicked his thighs and
were the utterances that you remember? sometimes jumped at it, sir.
Witness For example, one person particularly Boyet Dizon xxx xxx xxx
stepped on my thigh, he would say that and I quote Atty. Tadiar We would go on to the second day but not right now.
“ito, yung pamilya nito ay pinapatay yung kapatid You mentioned also that accusations made by
ko,” so that would in turn sort of justifying him in Dizon “you or your family had his brother
inflicting more serious pain on me. So instead of just killed,” can you inform this Honorable Court
walking, he would jump on my thighs and then after on what exactly were the accusations that were
was Lenny Villa. He was saying to the effect that charged against you while inflicting blows upon
“this guy, his father stole the parking space of my you in particular?

34
Witness While he was inflicting blows upon me, he told me in 210 TSN, 21 April 1992 (People v. Dizon, Crim. Case No. C-38340), pp. 68-72,
particular if I knew that his family who had his brother 90-91, 100-102, 108-109, 127-134.
killed, and he said that his brother was an NPA, sir so I 575
knew that it was just a story that he made up and I
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 575
said that I knew nothing about it and he continued
inflicting blows on me, sir. And another incident was574 Villareal vs. People
574 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED Witness Yes, sir, because they informed that we could
immediately go back to school. All the
Villareal vs. People bruises would be limited to our arms and
when a talk was being given, Dizon was on another part legs, sir. So, if we wear the regular
of the pelota court and I was sort of looking and we saw school uniforms like long sleeves, it would
that he was drinking beer, and he said and I quote: be covered actually so we have no
“Marquez, Marquez, ano ang tinitingin-tingin mo thinking that our face would be slapped, sir.
diyan, ikaw yung pamilya mo ang nagpapatay sa Judge Purisima So, you mean to say that beforehand that
aking kapatid, yari ka sa akin,” sir. you would have bruises on your body but
Atty. Tadiar What else? that will be covered?
Witness That’s all, sir. Witness Yes, sir.
Atty. Tadiar And on that first night of February 8, 1991, did ever a JudgePurisima So, what kind of physical contact or
doctor or a physician came around as promised to you implements that you expect that would
earlier? create bruises to your body?
Witness No, sir.210 (Emphasis supplied) Witness At that point I am already sure that
On cross-examination, witness Bienvenido Marquez testified thus: there would be hitting by a paddling or paddle,
Judge Purisima When you testified on direct sir.
examination Mr. Marquez, have you xxx xxx xxx
stated that there was a briefing that Judge Purisima Now, will you admit Mr. Marquez that
was conducted immediately before your much of the initiation procedures is
initiation as regards to what to psychological in nature?
expect during the initiation, did I Witness Combination, sir.211 (Emphasis
hear you right? supplied)
Witness Yes, sir. xxx xxx xxx
Judge Purisima Who did the briefing? Atty. Jimenez The initiation that was conducted did not
Witness Mr. Michael Musngi, sir and Nelson consist only of physical initiation, meaning
Victorino. body contact, is that correct?
Judge Purisima Will you kindly tell the Honorable Court Witness Yes, sir.
what they told you to expect during Atty. Jimenez Part of the initiation was the so-called
the initiation? psychological initiation, correct?
Witness They told us at the time we would be Witness Yes, sir.
brought to a particular place, we would Atty. Jimenez And this consisted of making you
be mocked at, sir. believe of things calculated to terrify
Judge Purisima So, you expected to be mocked at, you, scare you, correct?
ridiculed, humiliated etc., and the Witness Yes, sir.
likes? Atty. Jimenez In other words, the initiating masters
Witness Yes, sir. made belief situation intended to, I
Judge Purisima You were also told beforehand that there repeat, terrify you, frighten you,
would be physical contact? scare you into perhaps quitting the
Witness Yes, sir at the briefing. initiation, is this correct?
xxx xxx xxx _______________
_______________

35
211 TSN, 26 May 1992 (People v. Dizon, Crim. Case No. C-38340), pp. 29-32, Atty. Jimenez This was the regular procedure that was
43. followed by the initiating masters not
576 only on you but also on the other neophytes?
Witness Yes, sir.577
576 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 577
Villareal vs. People
Witness Sometimes sir, yes. Villareal vs. People
Atty. Jimenez You said on direct that while Mr. Dizon Atty. Jimenez In other words, it is fair to say that
was initiating you, he said or he was whatever forms of initiation was
supposed to have said according to you that administered by one master, was
your family were responsible for the also administered by one master on a
killing of his brother who was an NPA, do neophyte, was also administered by
you remember saying that? another master on the other
Witness Yes, sir. neophyte, this is correct?
Atty. Jimenez You also said in connection with that Witness Yes, sir.212 (Emphasis supplied)
statement said to you by Dizon that you According to the Solicitor General himself, the ill motives attributed by the CA
did not believe him because that is to Dizon and Villareal were “baseless,”213 since the statements of the accused were
not true, correct? “just part of the psychological initiation calculated to instill fear on the part of the
Witness Yes, sir. neophytes”; that “[t]here is no element of truth in it as testified by Bienvenido
Atty. Jimenez In other words, he was only Marquez”; and that the “harsh words uttered by Petitioner and Villareal are part of
psychologizing you perhaps, the ‘tradition’ concurred and accepted by all the fraternity members during their
purpose as I have mentioned before, initiation rites.”214
terrifying you, scaring you or We agree with the Solicitor General.
frightening you into quitting the The foregoing testimony of witness Marquez reveals a glaring mistake of
initiation, this is correct? substantial proportion on the part of the CA—it mistook the utterances of Dizon for
Witness No, sir, perhaps it is one but the main those of Villareal. Such inaccuracy cannot be tolerated, especially because it was
reason, I think, why he was saying the CA’s primary basis for finding that Villarreal had the intent to kill Lenny Villa,
those things was because he wanted thereby making Villareal guilty of the intentional felony of homicide. To repeat,
to inflict injury. according to Bienvenido Marquez’s testimony, as reproduced above, it was Dizon
Atty. Jimenez He did not tell that to you. That is your only who uttered both “accusations” against Villa and Marquez; Villareal had no
perception, correct? participation whatsoever in the specific threats referred to by the CA. It was “Boyet
Witness No, sir, because at one point, while he was Dizon [who] stepped on [Marquez’s] thigh”; and who told witness Marquez, “[I]to,
telling this to Villareal, he was hitting me. yung pamilya nito ay pinapatay yung kapatid ko.” It was also Dizon who jumped on
Atty. Jimenez But did you not say earlier that you [were] Villa’s
subjected to the same forms of initiation by _______________
all the initiating masters? You said that 212 TSN, 3 June 1992 (People v. Dizon, Crim. Case No. C-38340), pp. 24-28.
earlier, right? 213 People’s Comment (Dizon v. People, G.R. No. 155101), p. 131; Rollo, p. 626;
Witness Yes, sir. People’s Comment (Villareal v. People, G.R. No. 151258), p. 120-123; Rollo, pp. 727-
Atty. Jimenez Are you saying also that the others who 730.
jumped on you or kicked you said 214 People’s Comment (Dizon v. People, G.R. No. 155101), pp. 130-131; Rollo,
something similar as was told to you by pp. 625-626; People’s Comment (Villareal v. People, G.R. No. 151258), pp. 120-
Mr. Dizon? 123; Rollo, pp. 727-730.
Witness No, sir. 578
Atty. Jimenez But the fact remains that in the Bicol
578 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Express for instance, the masters would
run on your thighs, right? Villareal vs. People
Witness Yes, sir.

36
thighs while saying, “[T]his guy, his father stole the parking space of my father.” these organizations, sororities or fraternities. The doctors who appeared
With the testimony clarified, we find that the CA had no basis for concluding the during the public hearing testified that such acts can result in some mental
existence of intent to kill based solely thereon. aberration, that they can even lead to psychosis, neurosis or insanity. This is what
As to the existence of animus interficendi on the part of Dizon, we refer to the we want to prevent.”217 (Emphasis supplied)
entire factual milieu and contextual premise of the incident to fully appreciate and Thus, without proof beyond reasonable doubt, Dizon’s behavior must not be
understand the testimony of witness Marquez. At the outset, the neophytes were automatically viewed as evidence of a genuine, evil motivation to kill Lenny Villa.
briefed that they would be subjected to psychological pressure in order to scare Rather, it must be taken within the context of the fraternity’s psychological
them. They knew that they would be mocked, ridiculed, and intimidated. They initiation. This Court points out that it was not even established whether the
heard fraternity members shout, “Patay ka, Recinto,” “Yari ka,Recinto,” “Villa, akin fathers of Dizon and Villa really had any familiarity with each other as would lend
ka,” “Asuncion, gulpi ka,” “Putang ina mo, Asuncion,” “Putang ina nyo, patay kayo credence to the veracity of Dizon’s threats. The testimony of Lenny’s co-neophyte,
sa amin,” or some other words to that effect.215 While beating the neophytes, Dizon Marquez, only confirmed this view. According to Marquez, he “knew it was not true
accused Marquez of the death of the former’s purported NPA brother, and then and that [Dizon] was just making it up….”218 Even the trial court did not give weight
blamed Lenny Villa’s father for stealing the parking space of Dizon’s father. to the utterances of Dizon as constituting intent to kill: “[T]he cumulative acts of all
According to the Solicitor General, these statements, including those of the accused the accused were not directed toward killing Villa, but merely to inflict physical
Dizon, were all part of the psychological initiation employed by the Aquila harm as
Fraternity.216 _______________
Thus, to our understanding, accused Dizon’s way of inflicting psychological 217 Senate TSP No. 51 (17 November 1992) 9th Congress, 1st Regular Sess.,
pressure was through hurling make-believe accusations at the initiates. He pp. 12-13.
concocted the fictitious stories, so that he could “justify” giving the neophytes harder 218 TSN, 21 April 1992 (People v. Dizon, Crim. Case No. C-38340), pp. 68-72,
blows, all in the context of fraternity initiation and role playing. Even one of the 90-91, 100-102, 108-109, 127-134; see TSN, 26 May 1992 (People v. Dizon, Crim.
neophytes admitted that the accusations were untrue and made-up. Case No. C-38340), pp. 29-32, 43; and TSN, 3 June 1992 (People v. Dizon, Crim.
The infliction of psychological pressure is not unusual in the conduct of hazing. Case No. C-38340), pp. 24-28.
In fact, during the Senate deliberations on the then proposed Anti-Hazing Law, 580
former Senator Lina spoke as follows:
580 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
_______________
215 RTC Decision [Crim. Case No. C-38340(91)], pp. 18-35, supraRollo, pp. 127- Villareal vs. People
144. part of the fraternity initiation rites x x x.”219 The Solicitor General shares the same
216 People’s Comment (Dizon v. People, G.R. No. 155101), pp. 130-131; Rollo, view.
pp. 625-626; People’s Comment (Villareal v. People, G.R. No. 151258), pp. 120- Verily, we cannot sustain the CA in finding the accused Dizon guilty of homicide
123; Rollo, pp. 727-730. under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code on the basis of the existence of intent
579 to kill. Animus interficendi cannot and should not be inferred unless there is proof
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 579 beyond reasonable doubt of such intent.220 Instead, we adopt and reinstate the
finding of the trial court in part, insofar as it ruled that none of the
Villareal vs. People fraternity members had the specific intent to kill Lenny Villa.221
“Senator Lina. -- so as to capture the intent that we conveyed during the period The existence of animus iniuriandi or
of interpellations on why we included the phrase “or psychological pain and malicious intent to injure not proven
suffering.” beyond reasonable doubt
xxx xxx xxx The Solicitor General argues, instead, that there was an intent to inflict
So that if no direct physical harm is inflicted upon the neophyte or the recruit physical injuries on Lenny Villa. Echoing the Decision of the trial court, the Solicitor
but the recruit or neophyte is made to undergo certain acts which I already General then posits that since all of the accused fraternity members conspired to
described yesterday, like playing the Russian roulette extensively to test the inflict physical injuries on Lenny Villa and death ensued, all of them should be
readiness and the willingness of the neophyte or recruit to continue his liable for the crime of homicide pursuant to Article 4(1) of the Revised Penal Code.
desire to be a member of the fraternity, sorority or similar organization or In order to be found guilty of any of the felonious acts under Articles 262 to 266
playing and putting a noose on the neck of the neophyte or recruit, making the of the Revised Penal Code,222 the employment of physical injuries must be coupled
recruit or neophyte stand on the ledge of the fourth floor of the building facing with dolus malus. As an act that is mala in se, the existence of malicious intent is
outside, asking him to jump outside after making him turn around several times fundamental, since injury arises from the mental state of the wrongdoer—iniuria
but the reality is that he will be made to jump towards the inside portion of the ex affectu facientis consistat. If there is no criminal intent, the accused cannot
building—these are the mental or psychological tests that are resorted to by _______________

37
219 RTC Decision [Crim. Case No. C-38340(91)], p. 58, supra note 9; Rollo, p.
582 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
167.
220 Dado v. People, supra note 125. Villareal vs. People
221 RTC Decision [Crim. Case No. C-38340(91)], p. 58, supra note 9; Rollo, p. down” by expelling through those means the bad spirits possessing him. The
167. collective acts of the group caused the death of the victim. Since malicious intent
222 The aforementioned articles refer to the Revised Penal Code provisions on was not proven, we reversed the trial court’s finding of liability for murder under
Physical Injuries. These are the following: (a) Art. 262—Mutilation; (b) Art. 263— Article 4 of the Revised Penal Code and instead ruled that the accused should be
Serious Physical Injuries; (c) Art. 264—Administering Injurious Substances or held criminally liable for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide under Article
Beverages; (d) Art. 265—Less Serious Physical Injuries; and, (e) Art. 266—Slight 365 thereof.
Physical Injuries and Maltreatment. Indeed, the threshold question is whether the accused’s initial acts of inflicting
581 physical pain on the neophytes were attended by animus iniuriandi amounting to
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 581 a felonious act punishable under the Revised Penal Code, thereby making it subject
to Article 4(1) thereof. In People v. Regato, we ruled that malicious intent must be
Villareal vs. People judged by the action, conduct, and external acts of the accused. 227What persons do
be found guilty of an intentional felony. Thus, in case of physical injuries under the is the best index of their intention.228 We have also ruled that the method employed,
Revised Penal Code, there must be a specificanimus iniuriandi or malicious the kind of weapon used, and the parts of the body on which the injury was inflicted
intention to do wrong against the physical integrity or well-being of a person, so as may be determinative of the intent of the perpetrator. 229 The Court shall thus
to incapacitate and deprive the victim of certain bodily functions. Without proof examine the whole contextual background surrounding the death of Lenny Villa.
beyond reasonable doubt of the required animus iniuriandi, the overt act of Lenny died during Aquila’s fraternity initiation rites. The night before the
inflicting physical injuries per se merely satisfies the elements of freedom and commencement of the rites, they were briefed on what to expect. They were told
intelligence in an intentional felony. The commission of the act does not, in itself, that there would be physical beatings, that the whole event would last for three
make a man guilty unless his intentions are.223 days, and that they could quit anytime. On their first night, they were subjected to
Thus, we have ruled in a number of instances224 that the mere infliction of “traditional” initiation rites, including the “Indian Run,” “Bicol Express,” “Rounds,”
physical injuries, absent malicious intent, does not make a person automatically and the “Auxies’ Privilege Round.” The beatings were predominantly directed at the
liable for an intentional felony. In Bagajo v. Marave,225 the accused teacher, using neophytes’ arms and legs.
a bamboo stick, whipped one of her students behind her legs and thighs as a form In the morning of their second day of initiation, they were made to present
of discipline. The student suffered lesions and bruises from the corporal comic plays and to play rough basketball. They were also required to memorize and
punishment. In reversing the trial court’s finding of criminal liability for slight recite the Aquila Fraternity’s principles. Late in the afternoon, they were once again
physical injuries, this Court stated thus: “Independently of any civil or subjected to “traditional” initiation rituals. When the rituals were officially
administrative responsibility … [w]e are persuaded that she did not do what she reopened on the
had done with criminal intent … the means she actually used was moderate and _______________
that she was not motivated by ill-will, hatred or any malevolent intent.” Considering 227 People v. Regato, supra note 118.
the applicable laws, we then ruled that “as a matter of law, petitioner did not incur 228 Id.
any criminal liability for her act of whipping her pupil.” In People v. Carmen,226 the 229 Cf. People v. Penesa, supra note 94.
accused members of the religious group known as the Missionaries of Our Lady of 583
Fatima—under the guise of a “ritual or treatment”—plunged the head of the victim
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 583
into a barrel of water, banged his head against a bench, pounded his chest with
fists, and stabbed him on the side with a kitchen knife, in order to cure him of Villareal vs. People
“nervous break- insistence of Dizon and Villareal, the neophytes were subjected to another
_______________ “traditional” ritual—paddling by the fraternity.
223 Cf. United States v. Ah Chong, 15 Phil. 488 (1910); and Calimutan v. During the whole initiation rites, auxiliaries were assigned to the neophytes.
People, 517 Phil. 272; 482 SCRA 44 (2006). The auxiliaries protected the neophytes by functioning as human barriers and
224 Cf. Calimutan v. People, supra, citing People v. Carmen, 407 Phil. 564; 355 shielding them from those who were designated to inflict physical and psychological
SCRA 267 (2001); People v. Nocum, 77 Phil. 1018 (1947); People v. Sara, 55 Phil. pain on the initiates.230 It was their regular duty to stop foul or excessive physical
939 (1931); and People v. Ramirez, 48 Phil. 204 (1925). blows; to help the neophytes to “pump” their legs in order that their blood would
225 176 Phil. 20; 86 SCRA 389 (1978). circulate; to facilitate a rest interval after every physical activity or “round”; to serve
226 People v. Carmen, supra note 224. food and water; to tell jokes; to coach the initiates; and to give them whatever they
582 needed.

38
These rituals were performed with Lenny’s consent.231 A few days before the to tradition. Other than the paddle, no other “weapon” was used to inflict injuries
“rites,” he asked both his parents for permission to join the Aquila Fraternity.232 His on Lenny. The targeted body parts were predominantly the legs and the arms. The
father knew that Lenny would go through an initiation process and would be gone designation of roles, including the role of auxiliaries, which were assigned for the
for three days.233The CA found as follows: specific purpose of lending assistance to and taking care of the neophytes during
“It is worth pointing out that the neophytes willingly and voluntarily the initiation rites, further belied the presence of malicious intent. All those who
consented to undergo physical initiation and hazing. As can be gleaned from wished to join the fraternity went through the same process of “traditional”
the narration of facts, they voluntarily agreed to join the initiation rites to become initiation; there is no proof that Lenny Villa was specifically targeted or given a
members of the Aquila Legis Fraternity. Prior to the initiation, they were given different treatment. We stress that Congress itself recognized that
briefings on what to expect. It is of common knowledge that before admission in _______________
a fraternity, the neophytes will undergo a rite of passage. Thus, they were made 234 CA Decision (People v. Dizon), pp. 13-14, supra note 8; Rollo, pp. 74-75.
aware that traditional methods such as mocking, psychological tests and 585
physical punishment would take place. They knew that the initiation
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 585
would involve beatings and other forms of hazing. They were also told of
their right and opportunity to Villareal vs. People
_______________ hazing is uniquely different from common crimes.235 The totality of the
230 RTC Decision [Crim. Case No. C-38340(91)], pp. 38-44, supra note 9; Rollo, circumstances must therefore be taken into consideration.
pp. 147-153. The underlying context and motive in which the infliction of physical injuries was
231 RTC Decision [Crim. Case No. C-38340(91)], pp. 18-35, supra note 9; Rollo, rooted may also be determined by Lenny’s continued participation in the initiation
pp. 127-144. and consent to the method used even after the first day. The following discussion of
232 RTC Decision [Crim. Case No. C-38340(91)], p. 38, supra note 9; Rollo, p. the framers of the 1995 Anti-Hazing Law is enlightening:
147; TSN, 16 July 1992 (People v. Dizon, Crim. Case No. C-38340), p. 108. SENATOR GUINGONA. Most of these acts, if not all, are already punished
233 RTC Decision [Crim. Case No. C-38340(91)], p. 38, supra note 9; Rollo, p. under the Revised Penal Code.
147; TSN, 16 July 1992 (People v. Dizon, Crim. Case No. C-38340), p. 109. SENATOR LINA. That is correct, Mr. President.
584 SENATOR GUINGONA. If hazing is done at present and it results in death,
584 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED the charge would be murder or homicide.
SENATOR LINA. That is correct, Mr. President.
Villareal vs. People SENATOR GUINGONA. If it does not result in death, it may be frustrated
quit at any time they wanted to. In fact, prosecution witness Navera testified homicide or serious physical injuries.
that accused Tecson told him that “after a week, you can already play basketball.” SENATOR LINA. That is correct, Mr. President.
Prosecution witness Marquez for his part, admitted that he knew that the SENATOR GUINGONA. Or, if the person who commits sexual abuse does so
initiates would be hit “in the arms and legs,” that a wooden paddle would it can be penalized under rape or acts of lasciviousness.
be used to hit them and that he expected bruises on his arms and legs…. SENATOR LINA. That is correct, Mr. President.
Indeed, there can be no fraternity initiation without consenting SENATOR GUINGONA. So, what is the rationale for making a new offense
neophytes.”234 (Emphasis supplied) under this definition of the crime of hazing?
Even after going through Aquila’s grueling traditional rituals during the first SENATOR LINA. To discourage persons or group of persons either composing
day, Lenny continued his participation and finished the second day of initiation. a sorority, fraternity or any association from making this requirement of
Based on the foregoing contextual background, and absent further proof initiation that has already resulted in these specific acts or results, Mr.
showing clear malicious intent, we are constrained to rule that the specific animus President.
iniuriandi was not present in this case. Even if the specific acts of punching, That is the main rationale. We want to send a strong signal across the land that
kicking, paddling, and other modes of inflicting physical pain were done voluntarily, no group or association can require the act of physical initiation before a person can
freely, and with intelligence, thereby satisfying the elements become a member without being held criminally liable.
of freedom and intelligence in the felony of physical injuries, the fundamental xxx xxx xxx
ingredient of criminal intent was not proven beyond reasonable doubt. On the SENATOR GUINGONA. Yes, but what would be the rationale for that
contrary, all that was proven was that the acts were done pursuant to tradition. imposition? Because the distinguished Sponsor has said that he is not
Although the additional “rounds” on the second night were held upon the insistence punishing a mere organization, he is not seeking the punishment of an
of Villareal and Dizon, the initiations were officially reopened with the consent of initiation into a club or organization, he is seeking the
the head of the initiation rites; and the accused fraternity members still _______________
participated in the rituals, including the paddling, which were performed pursuant 235 Senate TSP No. 47, supra note 3.

39
586 If there is no intent, there is no crime. If the intent were merely to
initiate, then there is no offense. And even the distinguished Sponsor
586 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
admits that the organization, the intent to initiate, the intent to have a
Villareal vs. People new society or a new club is, per se, not punishable at all. What are
punishment of certain acts that resulted in death, et cetera as a result of hazing punishable are the acts that lead to the result. But if these results are not
which are already covered crimes. going to be proven by intent, but just because there was hazing, I am afraid
The penalty is increased in one, because we would like to discourage hazing, that it will disturb the basic concepts of the Revised Penal Code, Mr.
abusive hazing, but it may be a legitimate defense for invoking two or more charges President.
or offenses, because these very same acts are already punishable under the Revised SENATOR LINA. Mr. President, the act of hazing, precisely, is being
Penal Code. criminalized because in the context of what is happening in the
That is my difficulty, Mr. President. sororities and fraternities, when they conduct hazing, no one will
SENATOR LINA. x x x admit that their intention is to maim or to kill. So, we are already
Another point, Mr. President, is this, and this is a very telling difference: When criminalizing the fact of inflicting physical pain. Mr. President, it is a criminal
a person or group of persons resort to hazing as a requirement for gaining act and we want it stopped, deterred, discouraged.
entry into an organization, the intent to commit a wrong is not visible or If that occurs, under this law, there is no necessity to prove that the masters
is not present, Mr. President. Whereas, in these specific crimes, Mr. President, let intended to kill or the masters intended to maim. What is important is the result of
us say there is death or there is homicide, mutilation, if one files a case, then the the act of hazing. Otherwise, the masters or those who inflict the physical
intention to commit a wrong has to be proven. But if the crime of hazing pain can easily escape responsibility and say, “We did not have the
is the basis, what is important is the result from the act of hazing. intention to kill. This is part of our initiation rites. This is normal. We do
To me, that is the basic difference and that is what will prevent or deter the not have any intention to kill or maim.”
sororities or fraternities; that they should really shun this activity called This is the lusot, Mr. President. They might as well have been charged
“hazing.”Because, initially, these fraternities or sororities do not even therefore with the ordinary crime of homicide, mutilation, et cetera,
consider having a neophyte killed or maimed or that acts of lasciviousness where the prosecution will have a difficulty proving the elements if they
are even committed initially, Mr. President. are separate offenses.
So, what we want to discourage is the so-called initial innocent act. That is xxx xxx xxx
why there is need to institute this kind of hazing. Ganiyan po ang nangyari. Ang SENATOR GUINGONA. Mr. President, assuming there was a group that
fraternity o ang sorority ay magre-recruit. Wala talaga silang intensiyong initiated and a person died. The charge is murder. My question is: Under
makamatay. Hindi ko na babanggitin at buhay pa iyong kaso. Pero dito sa anim o this bill if it becomes a law, would the prosecution have to prove conspiracy
pito na namatay nitong nakaraang taon, walang intensiyong patayin talaga iyong or not anymore?588
neophyte. So, kung maghihintay pa tayo, na saka lamang natin isasakdal ng 588 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
murder kung namatay na, ay after the fact ho iyon. Pero, kung sasabihin natin sa
mga kabataan na: “Huwag ninyong gagawin iyong hazing. Iyan ay kasalanan at Villareal vs. People
kung mamatay diyan, mataas ang penalty sa inyo.” SENATOR LINA. Mr. President, if the person is present during hazing x x x
xxx xxx xxx SENATOR GUINGONA. The persons are present. First, would the
SENATOR GUINGONA. I join the lofty motives, Mr. President, of the prosecution have to prove conspiracy? Second, would the prosecution have
distinguished Sponsor. But I am again disturbed by his statement that the to prove intent to kill or not?
prosecution does not have to prove the intent that resulted in the SENATOR LINA. No more. As to the second question, Mr. President, if that
death, that resulted in the serious occurs, there is no need to prove intent to kill.
587 SENATOR GUINGONA. But the charge is murder.
SENATOR LINA. That is why I said that it should not be murder. It should
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 587
be hazing, Mr. President. 236 (Emphasis supplied)
Villareal vs. People During a discussion between Senator Biazon and Senator Lina on the issue of
physical injuries, that resulted in the acts of lasciviousness or whether to include sodomy as a punishable act under the Anti-Hazing Law, Senator
deranged mind. We do not have to prove the willful intent of the accused Lina further clarified thus:
in proving or establishing the crime of hazing. This seems, to me, a novel SENATOR BIAZON. Mr. President, this Representation has no objection to
situation where we create the special crime without having to go the inclusion of sodomy as one of the conditions resulting from hazing as
into the intent, which is one of the basic elements of any crime. necessary to be punished. However, the act of sodomy can be committed by
two persons with or without consent.

40
To make it clearer, what is being punished here is the commission of we pass this bill, because it will always be a defense that the victim allowed
sodomy forced into another individual by another individual. I move, Mr. the infliction of pain or suffering. He accepted it as part of the initiation rites.
President, that sodomy be modified by the phrase “without consent” for But precisely, Mr. President that is one thing that we would want to
purposes of this section. prohibit. That the defense of consent will not apply because the very act of
SENATOR LINA. I am afraid, Mr. President, that if we qualify sodomy with inflicting physical pain or psychological suffering is, by itself, a punishable
the concept that it is only going to aggravate the crime of hazing if it is done act. The result of the act of hazing, like death or physical injuries merely
without consent will change a lot of concepts here. Because the results aggravates the act with
from hazing aggravate the offense with or without consent. In fact, 590
when a person joins a fraternity, sorority, or any association for
590 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
that matter, it can be with or without the consent of the intended
victim. The fact that a person joins a sorority or fraternity with his Villareal vs. People
consent does not negate the crime of hazing. higher penalties. But the defense of consent is not going to nullify the
This is a proposed law intended to protect the citizens from the malpractices criminal nature of the act.
that attend initiation which may have been announced with or without physical So, if we accept the amendment that sodomy can only aggravate the offense if
infliction of pain or injury, Mr. President. Regardless of whether there is it is committed without consent of the victim, then the whole foundation
announcement that there will be of this proposed law will collapse.
_______________ SENATOR BIAZON. Thank you, Mr. President.
236 Senate TSP No. 47, supra note 3. SENATOR LINA. Thank you very much.
589 THE PRESIDENT. Is there any objection to the committee amendment?
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 589 (Silence.) The Chair hears none; the same is approved.237 (Emphasis
supplied)
Villareal vs. People Realizing the implication of removing the state’s burden to prove intent,
physical hazing or whether there is none, and therefore, the neophyte is Senator Lina, the principal author of the Senate Bill, said:
duped into joining a fraternity is of no moment. What is important is that “I am very happy that the distinguished Minority Leader brought out the idea
there is an infliction of physical pain. of intent or whether there it is mala in se or mala prohibita. There can be a radical
The bottom line of this law is that a citizen even has to be protected from amendment if that is the point that he wants to go to.
himself if he joins a fraternity, so that at a certain point in time, the State, the If we agree on the concept, then, maybe, we can just make this a special
individual, or the parents of the victim can run after the perpetrators of law on hazing. We will not include this anymore under the Revised Penal
the crime, regardless of whether or not there was consent on the part of Code. That is a possibility. I will not foreclose that suggestion, Mr.
the victim. President.”238 (Emphasis supplied)
xxx xxx xxx Thus, having in mind the potential conflict between the proposed law and the
SENATOR LINA. Mr. President, I understand the position taken by the core principle of mala in se adhered to under the Revised Penal Code, Congress did
distinguished Gentleman from Cavite and Metro Manila. It is correct that not simply enact an amendment thereto. Instead, it created a special law on hazing,
society sometimes adopts new mores, traditions, and practices. founded upon the principle of mala prohibita. This dilemma faced by Congress is
In this bill, we are not going to encroach into the private proclivities of some further proof of how the nature of hazing—unique as against typical crimes—cast a
individuals when they do their acts in private as we do not take a peek into the cloud of doubt on whether society considered the act as an inherently wrong conduct
private rooms of couples. They can do their thing if they want to make love in ways or mala in se at the time. It is safe to presume that Lenny’s parents would not have
that are not considered acceptable by the mainstream of society. That is not consented239 to his partici-
something that the State should prohibit. _______________
But sodomy in this case is connected with hazing, Mr. President. Such that the 237 Senate TSP No. 62, supra note 4 at pp. 13-15.
act may even be entered into with consent. It is not only sodomy. The infliction of 238 Senate TSP No. 47, supra note 3.
pain may be done with the consent of the neophyte. If the law is passed, 239 RTC Decision [Crim. Case No. C-38340(91)], p. 38, supra note 9; Rollo, p.
that does not make the act of hazing not punishable because the neophyte 147; TSN, 16 July 1992 (People v. Dizon, Crim. Case No. C-38340), pp. 108-109.
accepted the infliction of pain upon himself. 591
If the victim suffers from serious physical injuries, but the initiator
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 591
said, “Well, he allowed it upon himself. He consented to it.” So, if we allow
that reasoning that sodomy was done with the consent of the victim, then Villareal vs. People
we would not have passed any law at all. There will be no significance if

41
pation in Aquila Fraternity’s initiation rites if the practice of hazing were of the danger involved.247 If, on account of a certain line of conduct, the danger of
considered by them as mala in se. causing harm to another person is great, the individual who chooses to follow that
Furthermore, in Vedaña v. Valencia (1998), we noted through Associate Justice particular course of conduct is bound to be very careful, in order to prevent or avoid
(now retired Chief Justice) Hilario Davide that “in our nation’s very recent history, damage or injury.248 In contrast, if the danger is minor, not much care is
the people have spoken, through Congress, to deem conduct constitutive required.249 It is thus possible that there are countless degrees of precaution or
of … hazing, [an] act[] previously considered harmless by custom, as diligence that may be required of an individual, “from a
criminal.”240Although it may be regarded as a simple obiter dictum, the statement _______________
nonetheless shows recognition that hazing—or the conduct of initiation rites 241 Caminos v. People, 587 SCRA 348 (2009) citing LUIS B. REYES, THE
through physical and/or psychological suffering—has not been traditionally REVISED PENAL CODE: CRIMINAL LAW—BOOK ONE 995 (15th ed. 2001); People v.
criminalized. Prior to the 1995 Anti-Hazing Law, there was to some extent a lacuna Vistan, 42 Phil. 107 (1921), citing U.S. vs. Gomez, G.R. No. 14068, 17 January 1919
in the law; hazing was not clearly considered an intentional felony. And when there (unreported); U.S. v. Manabat, 28 Phil. 560 (1914).
is doubt on the interpretation of criminal laws, all must be resolved in favor of the 242 People v. Vistan, supra, citing U.S. vs. Gomez, supra.
accused. In dubio pro reo. 243 Id.
For the foregoing reasons, and as a matter of law, the Court is constrained to 244 Id.
rule against the trial court’s finding of malicious intent to inflict physical injuries 245 Gaid v. People, G.R. No. 171636, 7 April 2009, 584 SCRA 489; Gan v. Court
on Lenny Villa, there being no proof beyond reasonable doubt of the existence of of Appeals, 247-A Phil. 460; 165 SCRA 378 (1988).
malicious intent to inflict physical injuries or animus iniuriandi as required 246 Gaid v. People, supra; Gan v. Court of Appeals, supra.
in mala in se cases, considering the contextual background of his death, the unique 247 Gaid v. People, supra; People v. Vistan, supra note 241, citing U.S. vs.
nature of hazing, and absent a law prohibiting hazing. Gomez, supra note 241.
The accused fraternity members guilty of 248 Id.
reckless imprudence resulting in homicide 249 Id.
The absence of malicious intent does not automatically mean, however, that the 593
accused fraternity members are ultimately devoid of criminal liability. The Revised
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 593
Penal Code also punishes felonies that are committed by means of fault (culpa).
According to Article 3 thereof, there is fault when the wrongful act results from Villareal vs. People
imprudence, negligence, lack of foresight, or lack of skill. transitory glance of care to the most vigilant effort.”250 The duty of the person to
Reckless imprudence or negligence consists of a voluntary act done without employ more or less degree of care will depend upon the circumstances of each
malice, from which an immediate personal harm, injury or particular case.251
_______________ There was patent recklessness in the hazing of Lenny Villa.
240 Vedaña v. Valencia, 356 Phil. 317, 332; 295 SCRA 1, 18 (1998). According to the NBI medico-legal officer, Lenny died of cardiac failure
592 secondary to multiple traumatic injuries.252 The officer explained that cardiac
592 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED failure refers to the failure of the heart to work as a pump and as part of the
circulatory system due to the lack of blood.253 In the present case, the victim’s heart
Villareal vs. People could no longer work as a pumping organ, because it was deprived of its requisite
material damage results by reason of an inexcusable lack of precaution or blood and oxygen.254 The deprivation was due to the “channeling” of the blood supply
advertence on the part of the person committing it. 241In this case, the danger is from the entire circulatory system—including the heart, arteries, veins, venules,
visible and consciously appreciated by the actor. 242 In contrast, simple imprudence and capillaries—to the thigh, leg, and arm areas of Lenny, thus causing the
or negligence comprises an act done without grave fault, from which an injury or formation of multiple hematomas or blood clots.255 The multiple hematomas were
material damage ensues by reason of a mere lack of foresight or skill. 243Here, the wide, thick, and deep,256 indicating that these could have resulted mainly from
threatened harm is not immediate, and the danger is not openly visible. 244 injuries sustained by the victim from fist blows, knee blows, paddles, or the
The test245 for determining whether or not a person is negligent in doing an act like.257 Repeated blows to those areas caused the blood to gradually ooze out of the
is as follows: Would a prudent man in the position of the person to whom negligence capillaries until the circulating blood became so markedly diminished as to produce
is attributed foresee harm to the person injured as a reasonable consequence of the death.258 The officer also found that the brain, liver, kidney, pancreas, intestines,
course about to be pursued? If so, the law imposes on the doer the duty to take and all other organs seen in the abdominals, as well as the thoracic organ in the
precaution against the mischievous results of the act. Failure to do so constitutes lungs, were pale due
negligence.246 _______________
As we held in Gaid v. People, for a person to avoid being charged with 250 See Gaid v. People, supra note 245, at p. 503 (Velasco, J., dissenting).
recklessness, the degree of precaution and diligence required varies with the degree 251 Id.

42
252 RTC Decision [Crim. Case No. C-38340(91)], p. 37, supraRollo, p. 146. 265 TSN, 21 April 1992 (People v. Dizon, Crim. Case No.C-38340), pp. 175-
253 Id. 176.
254 Id., at p. 36; Rollo, p. 145. 266 RTC Decision [Crim. Case No. C-38340(91)], p. 61, supra note 9; Rollo, p.
255 Id.; TSN, 24 June 1992 (People v. Dizon, Crim. Case No. C-38340), pp. 52- 170.
67. 595
256 RTC Decision [Crim. Case No. C-38340(91)], p. 37, supra note 9; Rollo, p.
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 595
146.
257 Id.; TSN, 24 June 1992 (People v. Dizon, Crim. Case No. C-38340), pp. 68- Villareal vs. People
69. pound to you is what is the
258 RTC Decision [Crim. Case No. C-38340(91)], p. 37, supra note 9; Rollo, p. cumulative effect of all of these injuries
146; TSN, 24 June 1992 (People v. Dizon, Crim. Case No. C-38340), pp. 70-71. marked from Exhibit “G-1” to “G-14”?
594 Witness All together nothing in concert to cause to the
594 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED demise of the victim. So, it is not fair for us to
isolate such injuries here because we are
Villareal vs. People talking of the whole body. At the same
to the lack of blood, which was redirected to the thighs and forearms. 259 It was manner that as a car would not run minus
concluded that there was nothing in the heart that would indicate that the victim one (1) wheel. No, the more humane in human
suffered from a previous cardiac arrest or disease.260 approach is to interpret all those injuries in
The multiple hematomas or bruises found in Lenny Villa’s arms and thighs, whole and not in part.267
resulting from repeated blows to those areas, caused the loss of blood from his vital There is also evidence to show that some of the accused fraternity members
organs and led to his eventual death. These hematomas must be taken in the light were drinking during the initiation rites.268
of the hazing activities performed on him by the Aquila Fraternity. According to the Consequently, the collective acts of the fraternity members were tantamount to
testimonies of the co-neophytes of Lenny, they were punched, kicked, elbowed, recklessness, which made the resulting death of Lenny a culpable felony. It must be
kneed, stamped on; and hit with different objects on their arms, legs, and remembered that organizations owe to their initiates a duty of care not to cause
thighs.261 They were also “paddled” at the back of their thighs or legs;262 and slapped them injury in the process.269 With the foregoing facts, we rule that the accused are
on their faces.263 They were made to play rough basketball.264 Witness Marquez guilty of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide. Since the NBI medico-legal
testified on Lenny, saying: “[T]inamaan daw sya sa spine.”265 The NBI medico-legal officer found that the victim’s death was the cumulative effect of the injuries
officer explained that the death of the victim was the cumulative effect of the suffered, criminal responsibility redounds to all those who directly participated in
multiple injuries suffered by the latter.266The relevant portion of the testimony is and contributed to the infliction of physical injuries.
as follows: It appears from the aforementioned facts that the incident may have been
Atty. Tadiar Doctor, there was, rather, it was your prevented, or at least mitigated, had the alumni of Aquila Fraternity—accused
testimony on various cross examinations of Dizon and Villareal—restrained themselves from insisting on reopening the
defense counsels that the injuries that you have initiation rites. Although this point did not matter in the end, as records would show
enumerated on the body of the deceased Lenny that the other fraternity members participated in the reopened initiation rites—
Villa previously marked as Exhibit “G-1” to having in mind the concept of “seniority” in fraternities—the implication of the
“G-14” individually by themselves would not presence of alumni should be seen as a point of review in future legislation. We
cause the death of the victim. The question I further note that some of the fraternity members were
am going to pro- _______________
_______________ 267 TSN, 16 July 1992 (People v. Dizon, Crim. Case No. C-38340), pp. 92-93.
259 RTC Decision [Crim. Case No. C-38340(91)], p. 37, supra note 9; Rollo, p. 268 TSN, 21 April 1992 (People v. Dizon, Crim. Case No. C-38340), pp. 110-111.
146. 269 Ballou v. Sigma Nu General Fraternity, 291 S.C. 140, 352 S.E.2d 488 (S.C.
260 TSN, 24 June 1992 (People v. Dizon, Crim. Case No.C-38340), p. 50. App. 1986) (U.S.) citing Easler v. Hejaz Temple of Greenville, 285 S.C. 348, 329
261 RTC Decision [Crim. Case No. C-38340(91)], pp. 18-21, supraRollo, pp. S.E.2d 753 (S.C. 1985) (U.S.).
127-130. 596
262 Id., at p. 23; Rollo, p. 132.
596 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
263 Id., at p. 25; Rollo, p. 134.
264 Id., at p. 26; Rollo, p. 135. Villareal vs. People

43
intoxicated during Lenny’s initiation rites. In this light, the Court submits to Civil indemnity ex delicto is automatically awarded for the sole fact of death of
Congress, for legislative consideration, the amendment of the Anti-Hazing Law to the victim.274 In accordance with prevailing jurisprudence,275 we sustain the CA’s
include the fact of intoxication and the presence of non-resident or alumni fraternity award of indemnity in the amount of P50,000.
members during hazing as aggravating circumstances that would increase the The heirs of the victim are entitled to actual or compensatory damages,
applicable penalties. including expenses incurred in connection with the death of the victim, so long as
It is truly astonishing how men would wittingly—or unwittingly—impose the the claim is supported by tangible documents.276 Though we are prepared to award
misery of hazing and employ appalling rituals in the name of brotherhood. There actual damages, the Court is prevented from granting them, since the records are
must be a better way to establish “kinship.” A neophyte admitted that he joined the bereft of any evidence to show that actual expenses were incurred or proven during
fraternity to have more friends and to avail himself of the benefits it offered, such _______________
as tips during bar examinations.270 Another initiate did not give up, because he 274 Briñas v. People, 211 Phil. 37; 125 SCRA 687 (1983); see also People v.
feared being looked down upon as a quitter, and because he felt he did not have a Yanson, G.R. No. 179195, 3 October 2011, 658 SCRA 385, citing People v. Del
choice.271 Thus, for Lenny Villa and the other neophytes, joining the Aquila Rosario, G.R. No. 189580, 9 February 2011, 642 SCRA 625.
Fraternity entailed a leap in the dark. By giving consent under the circumstances, 275 People v. Mercado, G.R. No. 189847, 30 May 2011, 649 SCRA 499
they left their fates in the hands of the fraternity members. Unfortunately, the [citing People v. Flores, G.R. No. 188315, 25 August 2010, 629 SCRA 478; People v.
hands to which lives were entrusted were barbaric as they were reckless. Lindo, G.R. No. 189818, 9 August 2010, 627 SCRA 519; People v. Ogan, G.R. No.
Our finding of criminal liability for the felony of reckless imprudence resulting 186461, 5 July 2010, 623 SCRA 479; and People v. Cadap, G.R. No. 190633, 5 July
in homicide shall cover only accused Tecson, Ama, Almeda, Bantug, and Dizon. Had 2010, 623 SCRA 655].
the Anti-Hazing Law been in effect then, these five accused fraternity members 276 Seguritan v. People, G.R. No. 172896, 19 April 2010, 618 SCRA 406.
would have all been convicted of the crime of hazing punishable by reclusion 598
perpetua (life imprisonment).272 Since there was no law prohibiting the act of hazing
598 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
when Lenny died, we are constrained to rule according to existing laws at the time
of his death. The CA found that the prosecution failed to prove, beyond reasonable Villareal vs. People
doubt, Victorino et al.’s individual participation in the infliction of physical injuries trial. Furthermore, in the appeal, the Solicitor General does not interpose any claim
upon Lenny Villa.273 As to accused Villareal, his criminal liability was totally for actual damages.277
extinguished The heirs of the deceased may recover moral damages for the grief suffered on
_______________ account of the victim’s death.278 This penalty is pursuant to Article 2206(3) of the
270 RTC Decision [Crim. Case No. C-38340(91)], p. 34, supra note 9; Rollo, p. Civil Code, which provides that the “spouse, legitimate and illegitimate descendants
143. and the ascendants of the deceased may demand moral damages for mental anguish
271 Id., at p. 27; Rollo, p. 136. by reason of the death of the deceased.”279 Thus, we hereby affirm the CA’s award
272 Republic Act No. 8049 (1995), Sec. 4(1), otherwise known as the Anti- of moral damages in the amount of P1,000,000.
Hazing Law. WHEREFORE, the appealed Judgment in G.R. No. 155101 finding petitioner
273 CA Decision (People v. Dizon), p. 22, supraRollo, p. 83. Fidelito Dizon guilty of homicide is hereby MODIFIED and set aside IN PART.
597 The appealed Judgment in G.R. No. 154954—finding Antonio Mariano Almeda,
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 597 Junel Anthony Ama, Renato Bantug, Jr., and Vincent Tecson guilty of the crime of
slight physical injuries—is also MODIFIED and set aside in part. Instead,
Villareal vs. People Fidelito Dizon, Antonio Mariano Almeda, Junel Anthony Ama, Renato Bantug, Jr.,
by the fact of his death, pursuant to Article 89 of the Revised Penal Code. and Vincent Tecson are found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of reckless
Furthermore, our ruling herein shall be interpreted without prejudice to the imprudence resulting in homicide defined and penalized under Article 365 in
applicability of the Anti-Hazing Law to subsequent cases. Furthermore, the relation to Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code. They are hereby sentenced to
modification of criminal liability from slight physical injuries to reckless suffer an indeterminate prison term of four (4) months and one (1) day of arresto
imprudence resulting in homicideshall apply only with respect to accused mayor, as minimum, to four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional, as
Almeda, Ama, Bantug, and Tecson. maximum. In addition, accused are ORDERED jointly and severally to pay the heirs
The accused liable to pay damages of Lenny Villa civil indemnity ex delicto in the amount of P50,000, and moral
The CA awarded damages in favor of the heirs of Lenny Villa in the amounts of damages in the amount of P1,000,000, plus legal interest on all damages awarded
P50,000 as civil indemnity ex delicto and P1,000,000 as moral damages, to be jointly at the rate of 12% from the date of the finality of this Decision until
and severally paid by accused Dizon and Villareal. It also awarded the amount of satisfaction.280 Costs de oficio.
P30,000 as indemnity to be jointly and severally paid by accused Almeda, Ama, _______________
Bantug, and Tecson.

44
277 People’s Consolidated Memoranda (Dizon v. People, G.R. No. 155101), p. between them. It is axiomatic that “(i)n reciprocal obligations, neither party incurs
144; Rollo, p. 1709. in delay if the other does not comply or is not ready to comply in a proper manner
278 Heirs of Ochoa v. G & S Transport Corporation, G.R. No. 170071, 9 March with what is incumbent upon him.
2011, 645 SCRA 93 citing Victory Liner, Inc. v. Gammad, 486 Phil. 574, 592-593; Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Argument that Agcaoili breached the
444 SCRA 355, 370 (2004). agreement by failing to occupy the house must be rejected as devoid of merit.—Nor
279 Id. may the GSIS succeed in justifying its cancellation of the award to Agcaoili by the
280 Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 97412, 17 July claim that the latter had not complied with the condition of occupying the house
1994, 234 SCRA 78. within three (3) days. The record shows that Agcaoili did try to fulfill the condition;
599 he did try to occupy the house but found it to be so uninhabitable that he had to
leave it the following day. He did however leave a friend in the structure, who being
VOL. 664, FEBRUARY 1, 2012 599
homeless and hence willing to accept shelter even of the most rudimentary sort,
Villareal vs. People agreed to stay therein and look after it. Thus the argument that Agcaoili breached
The appealed Judgment in G.R. No. 154954, acquitting Victorino et al., is the agreement by failing to occupy the house, and by allowing another person to
hereby affirmed. The appealed Judgments in G.R. Nos. 178057 & 178080, stay in it without the consent of the GSIS, must be rejected as devoid of merit.
dismissing the criminal case filed against Escalona, Ramos, Saruca, and Adriano,
are likewise affirmed. Finally, pursuant to Article 89(1) of the Revised Penal Code, APPEAL from the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Manila, Br. 8.
the Petition in G.R. No. 151258 is hereby dismissed, and the criminal case against
Artemio Villareal deemed closed and TERMINATED. The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
Let copies of this Decision be furnished to the Senate President and the Speaker Artemio L. Agcaoili for plaintiff-appellee.
of the House of Representatives for possible consideration of the amendment of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel for defendant-appellant.
Anti-Hazing Law to include the fact of intoxication and the presence of non-resident
or alumni fraternity members during hazing as aggravating circumstances that
would increase the applicable penalties. NARVASA, J.:
SO ORDERED.
Carpio (Chairperson), Brion, Perez and Reyes, JJ., concur. The appellant Government Service Insurance System, (GSIS, for short) having
Judgments in G.R. No. 155101 and G.R. No. 154954 modified and set aside in approved the application of the appellee Agcaoili for the purchase of a house and lot
part; Judgments in G.R. Nos. 178057 and 178080 affirmed; and Petition in G.R. No. in the GSIS
151258 dismissed. 3
Notes.—The death of the accused during the pendency of his appeal in the VOL. 165, AUGUST 30, 1988. 3
Supreme Court totally extinguished his criminal liability based on Article 89 of the
Revised Penal Code. (People vs. Bunay, 630 SCRA 445 [2010]) Agcaoili vs. Government Service Insurance System
The action filed by the heirs for the recovery of damages arising from breach of Housing Project at Nangka, Marikina, Rizal, subject to the condition that the latter
contract of carriage is an independent civil action which is separate and distinct should forthwith occupy the house, a condition that Agacoili tried to fulfill but could
from the criminal action for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide filed by the not for the reason that the house was absolutely uninhabitable; Agcaoili, after
heirs by reason of the same incident. (Heirs of Jose Marcial K. Ochoa vs. G & S paying the first installment and other fees, having thereafter refused to make
Transport Corporation, 645 SCRA 93 [2011]) further payment of other stipulated installments until GSIS had made the house
habitable; and appellant having refused to do so, opting instead to cancel the award
SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
and demand the vacation by Agcaoili of the premises; and Agcaoili having sued the
Agcaoili vs. Government Service Insurance System GSIS in the Court of First Instance of Manila for specific performance with damages
cate an absurdity, the creation of an unfair situation. By any objective and having obtained a favorable judgment, the case was appealled to this Court by
interpretation of its terms, the contract can only be understood as imposing on the the GSIS. Its appeal must fail.
GSIS an obligation to deliver to Agcaoili a reasonably habitable dwelling in return The essential facts are not in dispute. Approval of Agcaoili’s aforementioned
for his undertaking to pay the stipulated price. application for purchase1 was contained in a letter2addressed to Agcaoili and signed
Same; Same; Same; Same; It is axiomatic that in reciprocal obligations, by GSIS Manager Archimedes Villanueva in behalf of the Chairman-General
neither party incurs in delay if the other does not comply or is not ready to comply in Manager, reading as follows:
a proper manner with what is incumbent upon him.—Since GSIS did not fulfill that “Please be informed that your application to purchase a house and lot in our GSIS
obligation, and was not willing to put the house in habitable state, it cannot invoke Housing Project at Nangka, Marikina, Rizal, has been approved by this Office. Lot
Agcaoili’s suspension of payment of amortizations as cause to cancel the contract

45
No. 26, Block No. (48) 2, together with the housing unit constructed thereon, has 3 O.R. No. 186558, Oct. 10, 1966.
been allocated to you. 4 Exh. D, Folder of Exhibits, p. 4.
“You are, therefore, advised to occupy the said house immediately. 5 Docketed as Civil Case No. 69417.

“If you fail to occupy the same within three (3) days from receipt of this notice, 6 The letter was sent thru the awardees’ “Samahang Lakas ng Mahihirap,” copy

your application shall be considered automatically disapproved and the said house having been marked at the trial as Exh. F; to the letter was attached a resolution
and lot will be awarded to another applicant.” of said Samahan adopted at its meeting of July 23, 1967 and to which, in turn, was
Agcaoili lost no time in occupying the house. He could not stay in it, however, and appended a 3-page list of uncompleted houses with a specification of items not
had to leave the very next day, because the house was nothing more than a shell, in completed.
such a state of incompleteness that civilized occupation was not possible: ceiling, 7 By Hon. Manuel P. Barcelona, presiding over Br. VIII of the CFI of Manila;

stairs, double walling, lighting facilities, water connection, bathroom, toilet kitchen, Record on Appeal, pp. 22-25, Rollo, p. 13.
drainage, were inexistent. Agcaoili did however ask a homeless friend, a certain 8 Parenthetical insertions identifying the parties, supplied.

Villanueva, to stay in the premises as some sort of watchman, pending 5


________________
VOL. 165, AUGUST 30, 1988. 5
1Dated June 24, 1964. Agcaoili vs. Government Service Insurance System
2Dated October 5, 1965 (Exh. A); Folder of Exhibits, p. 1.
4 1. 4)Ordering the defendant to pay P100.00 as damages and P300.00 as and
4 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED for attorney’s fees, and costs.”

Agcaoili vs. Government Service Insurance System


completion of the construction of the house. Agcaoili thereafter complained to the Appellant GSIS would have this Court reverse this judgment on the argument
GSIS, to no avail. that—
The GSIS asked Agcaoili to pay the monthly amortizations and other fees.
Agcaoili paid the first monthly installment and the incidental fees, 3 but refused to 1. 1)Agcaoili had no right to suspend payment of amortizations on account
make further payments until and unless the GSIS completed the housing unit. of the incompleteness of his housing unit, since said unit had been sold
What the GSIS did was to cancel the award and require Agcaoili to vacate the “in the condition and state of completion then existing x x x (and) he is
premises.4Agcaoili reacted by instituting suit in the Court of First Instance of deemed to have accepted the same in the condition he found it when he
Manila for specific performance and damages.5 Pending the action, a written protest accepted the award;” and assuming indefiniteness of the contract in this
was lodged by other awardees of housing units in the same subdivision, regarding regard, such circumstance precludes a judgment for specific
the failure of the System to complete construction of their own houses. 6 Judgment performance.9
was in due course rendered,7 on the basis of the evidence adduced by Agcaoili only, 2. 2)Perfection of the contract of sale between it and Agcaoili being
the GSIS having opted to dispense with presentation of its own proofs. The conditioned upon the latter’s immediate occupancy of the house subject
judgment was in Agcaoili’s favor and contained the following dispositions, 8 to wit: thereof, and the latter having failed to com-ply with the condition, no
contract ever came into existence between them;10
1. “1)Declaring the cancellation of the award (of a house and lot) in favor of 3. 3)Agcaoili’s act of placing his homeless friend, Villanueva, in possession,
plaintiff (Mariano Agcaoili) illegal and void; “without the prior or subsequent knowledge or consent of the defendant
2. 2)Ordering the defendant (GSIS) to respect and enforce the aforesaid (GSIS)” operated as a repudiation by Agcaoili of the award and a
award to the plaintiff relative to Lot No. 26, Block No. (48) 2 of the deprivation of the GSIS at the same time of the reasonable rental value
Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) low cost housing project of the property.11
at Nangka, Marikina, Rizal;
3. 3)Ordering the defendant to complete the house in question so as to make Agcaoili’s offer to buy from GSIS was contained in a printed form drawn up by the
the same habitable and authorizing it (defendant) to collect the monthly latter, entitled “Application to Purchase a House and/or Lot.” Agcaoili filled up the
amortization thereon only after said house shall have been completed form, signed it, and submitted it.12The acceptance of the application was also set
under the terms and conditions mentioned in Exhibit A; and out in a form (mimeographed) also prepared by the GSIS. As already mentioned,
this form sent to Agcaoili, duly filled up, advised him of the approval of his
_________________ “application to purchase a house and lot in our GSIS Housing Project at NANGKA,
MARIKINA, RIZAL,” and that “Lot No. 26, Block No. (48) 2, together with the

46
housing unit constructed thereon, has been allocated to you.” Neither the
Agcaoili vs. Government Service Insurance System
application form nor the acceptance or approval form of the GSIS—nor the notice to
a habitable house, is to advocate an absurdity, the creation of an unfair situation.
com-
By any objective interpretation of its terms, the contract can only be understood as
_________________
imposing on the GSIS an obligation to deliver to Agcaoili a reasonably habitable
dwelling in return for his undertaking to pay the stipulated price. Since GSIS did
9 Appellant’s brief, pp. 11-14. not fulfill that obligation, and was not willing to put the house in habitable state, it
10 Id., pp. 7-8. cannot invoke Agcaoili’s suspension of payment of amortizations as cause to cancel
11 Appellant’s brief, pp. 8-10.
the contract between them. It is axiomatic that “(i)n reciprocal obligations, neither
12 Exh. E.
party incurs in delay if the other does not comply or is not ready to comply in a
6 proper manner with what is incumbent upon him.”15
6 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED Nor may the GSIS succeed in justifying its cancellation of the award to Agcaoili
by the claim that the latter had not complied with the condition of occupying the
Agcaoili vs. Government Service Insurance System house within three (3) days. The record shows that Agcaoili did try to fulfill the
mence payment of monthly amortizations, which again refers to “the house and lot condition; he did try to occupy the house but found it to be so uninhabitable that he
awarded”—contained any hint that the house was incomplete, and was being sold had to leave it the following day. He did however leave a friend in the structure,
“as is,” i.e., in whatever state of completion it might be at the time. On the other who being homeless and hence willing to accept shelter even of the most
hand, the condition explicitly imposed on Agcaoili—”to occupy the said house rudimentary sort, agreed to stay therein and look after it. Thus the argument that
immediately,” or in any case within three (3) days from notice, otherwise his Agcaoili breached the agreement by failing to occupy the house, and by allowing
“application shall be considered automatically disapproved and the said house and another person to stay in it without the consent of the GSIS, must be rejected as
lot will be awarded to another applicant”—would imply that construction of the devoid of merit.
house was more or less complete, and it was by reasonable standards, habitable, Finally, the GSIS should not be heard to say that the agreement between it and
and that indeed, the awardee should stay and live in it; it could not be interpreted Agcaoili is silent, or imprecise as to its exact prestation. Blame for the imprecision
as meaning that the awardee would occupy it in the sense of a pioneer or settler in cannot be imputed to Agcaoili; it was after all the GSIS which caused the contract
a rude wilderness, making do with whatever he found available in the environment. to come into being by its written acceptance of Agcaoili’s offer to purchase, that offer
There was then a perfected contract of sale between the parties; there had been being contained in a printed form supplied by the GSIS. Said appellant having
a meeting of the minds upon the purchase by Agcaoili of a determinate house and caused the ambiguity of which it would now make capital, the question of
lot in the GSIS Housing Project at Nangka, Marikina, Rizal at a definite price interpretation arising therefrom, should be resolved against it.
payable in amortizations at P31.56 per month, and from that moment the parties It will not do, however, to dispose of the controversy by simply declaring that
acquired the right to reciprocally demand performance.13 It was, to be sure, the duty the contract between the parties had not been validly cancelled and was therefore
of the GSIS, as seller, to deliver the thing sold in a condition suitable for its still in force, and that Agcaoili could not be compelled by the GSIS to pay the stipu-
enjoyment by the buyer for the purpose contemplated, 14 in other words, to deliver ______________
the house subject of the contract in a reasonably livable state. This it failed to do.
It sold a house to Agcaoili, and required him to immediately occupy it under 15 Art. 1169, last paragraph, Civil Code.
pain of cancellation of the sale. Under the circumstances there can hardly be any
8
doubt that the house contemplated was one that could be occupied for purposes of
residence in reasonable comfort and convenience. There would be no sense to 8 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
require the awardee to immediately occupy and live in a shell of a house, a structure
Agcaoili vs. Government Service Insurance System
consisting only of four walls with openings, and a roof, and to theorize, as the GSIS
lated price of the house and lot subject of the contract until and unless it had first
does, that this was what was intended by the parties, since the contract did not
completed construction of the house. This would leave the contract hanging or in
clearly impose upon it the obligation to deliver
suspended animation, as it were, Agcaoili unwilling to pay unless the house were
__________________
first completed, and the GSIS averse to completing construction, which is precisely
what has been the state of affairs between the parties for more than twenty (20)
13 Art. 1475, Civil Code; Pacific Oxygen & Acetylene Co. v. Central Bank, 37
years now. On the other hand, assuming it to be feasible to still finish the
SCRA 685. construction of the house at this time, to compel the GSIS to do so so that Agcaoili’s
14 Lim v. de los Santos, 8 SCRA 798.
prestation to pay the price might in turn be demanded, without modifying the price
7 therefor, would not be quite fair. The cost to the GSIS of completion of construction
VOL. 165, AUGUST 30, 1988. 7 at present prices would make the stipulated price disproportionate, unrealistic.

47
The situation calls for the exercise by this Court of its equity jurisdiction, to the for. Thus, in an action for the specific performance of a real estate contract, it has
end that it may render complete justice to both parties. been held that where the currency in which the plaintiff had contracted to pay had
“As we x x reaffirmed in Air Manila, Inc. vs. Court of Industrial Relations(83 SCRA greatly depreciated before enforcement was sought, the relief would be denied
579, 589 [1978]). ‘(E)quity as the complement of legal jurisdiction seeks to reach and unless the complaint would undertake to pay the equitable value of the land.”
do complete justice where courts of law, through the inflexibility of their rules and (Willard & Tayloe[U.S.] 8 Wall 557, 19 L. Ed 501; Doughdrill v. Edwards, 59 Ala
want of power to adapt their judgments to the special circumstances of cases, are 424)21
incompetent so to do. Equity regards the spirit of and not the letter, the intent and ________________
not the form, the substance rather than the circumstance, as it is variously
expressed by different courts. . .’ ”16 1830C.J.S. 929.
In this case, the Court can not require specific performance of the contract in 1927 Am Jur. 2d. 818.
question according to its literal terms, as this would result in inequity. The 20 Art. 19, Civil Code: “Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in
prevailing rule is that in decreeing specific performance equity requires17— the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe
“x x not only that the contract be just and equitable in its provisions, but that the and good faith.”
consequences of specific performance likewise be equitable and just. The general 21 71 Am. Jur. 2d, 120.
rule is that this equitable relief will not be granted if, under the circumstances of 10
the case, the result of the specific enforcement of the contract would be harsh,
inequitable, oppressive, or result in an unconscionable advantage to the plaintiff x 10 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
x.” Agcaoili vs. Government Service Insurance System
________________ In determining the precise relief to give, the Court will “balance the equities” or the
respective interests of the parties, and take account of the relative hardship that
16 Cristobal vs. Melchor, 101 SCRA 857, 865. one relief or another may occasion to them.22
17 71 Am. Jur. 2d, 101. The completion of the unfinished house so that it may be put into habitable
9 condition, as one form of relief to the plaintiff Agcaoili, no longer appears to be a
VOL. 165, AUGUST 30, 1988. 9 feasible option in view of the not inconsiderable time that has already elapsed. That
would require an adjustment of the price of the subject of the sale to conform to
Agcaoili vs. Government Service Insurance System present prices of construction materials and labor. It is more in keeping with the
In the exercise of its equity jurisdiction, the Court may adjustthe rights of parties realities of the situation, and with equitable norms, to simply require payment for
in accordance with the circumstancesobtaining at the time of rendition of the land on which the house stands, and for the house itself, in its unfinished state,
judgment, when these aresignificantly different from those existing at the time of as of the time of the contract. In fact, this is an alternative relief proposed by
generation of those rights. Agcaoili himself, i.e., “that judgment issue x x (o)rdering the defendant (GSIS) to
“The Court is not restricted to an adjustment of the rights of the parties as they execute a deed of sale that would embody and provide for a reasonable amortization
existed when suit was brought, but will give relief appropriate to events occuring of payment on the basis of the present actual unfinished and uncompleted condition,
ending the suit.18 worth and value of the said house.”23
“While equitable jurisdiction is generally to be determined with reference to the WHEREFORE, the judgment of the Court a quo insofar as it invalidates and
situation existing at the time the suit is filed, the relief to be accorded by the decree sets aside the cancellation by respondent GSIS of the award in favor of petitioner
is governed by the conditions which are shown to exist at the time of making thereof, Agcaoili of Lot No. 26, Block No. (48) 2 of the GSIS low cost housing project at
and not by the circumstances attending the inception of the litigation. In making Nangka, Marikina, Rizal, and orders the former to respect the aforesaid award and
up the final decree in an equity suit the judge may rightly consider matters arising to pay damages in the amounts specified, is AFFIRMED as being in accord with the
after suit was brought. Therefore, as a general rule, equity will administer such facts and the law. Said judgments is however modified by deleting the requirement
relief as the nature, rights, facts and exigencies of the case demand at the close of for respondent GSIS “to complete the house in question so as to
the trial or at the time of the making of the decree.”19 ________________
That adjustment is entirely consistent with the Civil Law principle that in the
exercise of rights a person must act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe 22 Am. Jur. 2nd 628-629: “There is a general principle that a court of equity will
honesty and good faith.20 Adjustment of rights has been held to be particularly balance the equities’ between the parties in determining what, if any, relief to give.
applicable when there has been a depreciation of currency. x x Thus, for example, where the effect of the only relief which can be granted to
“Depreciation of the currency or other medium of payment contracted for has protect the plaintiff will be destructive of the defendants’ business, which would be
frequenty been held to justify the court in withholding specific performance or at lawful but for the harm it does to the plaintiff, relief may be refused if, on a
least conditioning it upon payment of the actual value of the property contracted

48
balancing of the respective interests, that of the defendant is found to be relatively _______________
important, and that of the plaintiff relatively insignificant. x x.”
23 Record on Appeal, p. 5; Rollo, p. 13.
1 Rollo, pp. 83-89.
11 298
VOL. 165, AUGUST 30, 1988. 11 298 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Republic vs. CFI of Manila, Branch XIII Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) vs. Pleyto
make the same habitable,” and instead it is hereby ORDERED that the contract retary Salvador A. Pleyto of extortion, illicit affairs, and manipulation of DPWH
between the parties relative to the property above described be modified by adding projects.
to the cost of the land, as of the time of perfection of the contract, the cost of the In the course of the PAGC’s investigation, Pleyto submitted his
house in its unfinished state also as of the time of perfection of the contract, and 1999,2 2000,3 and 20014 SALNs. PAGC examined these and observed that, while
correspondingly adjusting the amortizations to be paid by petitioner Agcaoili, the Pleyto said therein that his wife was a businesswoman, he did not disclose her
modification to be effected after determination by the Court a quo of the value of business interests and financial connections. Thus, on April 29, 2003 PAGC charged
said house on the basis of the agreement of the parties, or if this is not possible, by Pleyto before the Office of the President (OP) for violation of Section 8 of Republic
such commissioner or commissioners as the Court may appoint. No pronouncement Act (R.A.) 6713,5 also known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for
as to costs. Public Officials and Employees” and Section 7 of R.A. 30196 or “The Anti-Graft and
SO ORDERED. Corrupt Practices Act.”7
_______________
VOL. 646, MARCH 23, 2011 297
2 Id., at p. 92.
Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) vs. Pleyto
3 Id., at p. 90.
formation that the public officer or employee stated or failed to state in his 4 Id., at p. 91.
SALNs and remind him of it. 5 Section 8. Statements and Disclosure.—Public officials and employees
Same; Same; Same; The law expects public officials to be accountable to the have an obligation to accomplish and submit declarations under oath of, and the
people in the matter of their integrity and competence—the Court cannot interpret public has the right to know, their assets, liabilities, net worth and financial and
the Review and Compliance Procedure as transferring such accountability to the business interests including those of their spouses and of unmarried children under
Committee.—The purpose of R.A. 6713 is “to promote a high standard of ethics in eighteen (18) years of age living in their households.
public service. Public officials and employees shall at all times be accountable to the (A) Statements of Assets and Liabilities and Financial Disclosure.—
people and shall discharge their duties with utmost responsibility, integrity, All public officials and employees, except those who serve in an honorary
competence, and loyalty, act with patriotism and justice, lead modest lives, and capacity, laborers and casual or temporary workers, shall file under oath
uphold public interest over personal interest.” The law expects public officials to be their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth and a Disclosure of
accountable to the people in the matter of their integrity and competence. Thus, the Business Interests and Financial Connections and those of their spouses
Court cannot interpret the Review and Compliance Procedure as transferring such and unmarried children under eighteen (18) years of age living in their
accountability to the Committee. households.
PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the Court of Appeals. 6 Section 7. Statement of assets and liabilities.—Every public officer, within
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court. thirty days after the approval of this Act or after assuming office, and within the
Office of the Solicitor General for petitioners. month of January of every other year thereafter, as well as upon the expiration of
ABAD, J.: his term of office, or upon his resignation or separation from office, shall prepare
This case is about the dismissal of a department undersecretary for failure to and file with the office of the corresponding Department Head, or in the case of a
declare in his Sworn Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) his Head of Department or chief of an independent office, with the Office of the
wife’s business interests and financial connections. President, or in the case of members of the Congress and the officials and employees
thereof, with the Office of the Secre-
The Facts and the Case 299
VOL. 646, MARCH 23, 2011 299
On December 19, 2002 the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC)
received an anonymous letter-complaint1 from alleged employees of the Department Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) vs. Pleyto
of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). The letter accused DPWH Undersec-

49
Pleyto claimed that he and his wife had no business interests of any kind and Department of Trade and Industry of Region III–Bulacan regarding the businesses
for this reason, he wrote “NONE” under the column “Business Interests and registered in the name of Miguela Pleyto, his wife. PAGC found that she operated
Financial Connections” on his 1999 SALN and left the column blank in his 2000 and the following businesses: 1) R.S. Pawnshop, registered since May 19, 1993; 2) M.
2001 SALNs.8 Further, he attributed the mistake to the fact that his SALNs were Pleyto Pig-
merely prepared by his wife’s bookkeeper.9 _______________
On July 10, 2003 PAGC found Pleyto guilty as charged and recommended to
the OP his dismissal with forfeiture of all government financial benefits and (b) In order to carry out their responsibilities under this Act, the designated
disqualification to re-enter government service.10 Committees of both Houses of Congress shall have the power within their respective
On January 29, 2004 the OP approved the recommendation.11From this, Pleyto jurisdictions, to render any opinion interpreting this Act, in writing, to persons
filed an Urgent Motion for Reconsideration12claiming that: 1) he should first be covered by this Act, subject in each instance to the approval by affirmative vote of
allowed to avail of the review and compliance procedure in Section 10 of R.A. the majority of the particular House concerned.
671313 before he is administratively charged; 2) he indicated The individual to whom an opinion is rendered, and any other individual
_______________ involved in a similar factual situation, and who, after issuance of the opinion acts
in good faith in accordance with it shall not be subject to any sanction provided in
tary of the corresponding House, a true detailed and sworn statement of assets and this Act.
liabilities, including a statement of the amounts and sources of his income, the (c) The heads of other offices shall perform the duties stated in subsections
amounts of his personal and family expenses and the amount of income taxes paid (a) and (b) hereof insofar as their respective offices are concerned, subject to the
for the next preceding calendar year: Provided, That public officers assuming office approval of the Secretary of Justice, in the case of the Executive Department and
less than two months before the end of the calendar year, may file their statements the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, in the case of the Judicial Department.
in the following months of January. 14 Rollo, pp. 153-162.
15 Id., at p. 163.
7 Rollo, pp. 93-95. 301
8 Id., at pp. 96-101. VOL. 646, MARCH 23, 2011 301
9 Id., at pp. 108-109.
10 Id., at pp. 124-132. Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) vs. Pleyto
11 Id., at pp. 133-138. gery and Poultry Farm, registered since December 29, 1998; 3) R.S. Pawnshop–
12 Id., at pp. 139-152. Pulong Buhangin Branch, registered since July 24, 2000; and 4) RSP Laundry and
13 Section 10. Review and Compliance Procedure.—(a) The designated Dry Cleaning, registered since July 24, 2001.16
Committees of both Houses of the Congress shall establish procedures for the review The PAGC also inquired with the DPWH regarding their Review and
of statements to determine whether said statements which have been submitted on Compliance procedure. The DPWH said that, they merely reminded their officials
time, are complete, and are in proper form. In the event a determination is made of the need for them to comply with R.A. 6713 by filing their SALNs on time and
that a statement is not so filed, the appropriate Committee shall so inform the that they had no mechanism for reviewing or validating the entries in the SALNs
reporting individual and direct him to take the necessary corrective action. of their more than 19,000 permanent, casual and contractual employees.17
300 On February 21, 2006 the PAGC maintained its finding and recommendation
respecting Pleyto.18 On August 29, 2006 the OP denied Pleyto’s Motion for
300 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Reconsideration.19 Pleyto raised the matter to the Court of Appeals (CA),20 which on
Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) vs. Pleyto December 29, 2006 granted Pleyto’s petition and permanently enjoined the PAGC
“NONE” in the column for financial and business interests because he and his wife and the OP from implementing their decisions.21 This prompted the latter offices to
had no business interests related to DPWH; and 3) his failure to indicate his wife’s come to this Court on a petition for review.22
business interests is not punishable under R.A. 3019.
On March 2, 2004 PAGC filed its comment,14 contending that Pleyto’s reliance Issues Presented
on the Review and Complicance Procedure was unavailing because the mechanism
had not yet been established and, in any case, his SALN was a sworn statement, This case presents the following issues:
the contents of which were beyond the corrective guidance of the DPWH Secretary. 1. Whether or not the CA erred in not finding Pleyto’s failure to indicate his
Furthermore, his failure to declare his wife’s business interests and financial spouse’s business interests in his SALNs a violation of Section 8 of R.A. 6713.
connections was highly irregular and was a form of dishonesty. 2. Whether or not the CA erred in finding that under the Review and
On March 11, 2005 Executive Secretary Eduardo R. Ermita ordered PAGC to Compliance Procedure, Pleyto should have first been al-
conduct a reinvestigation of Pleyto’s case.15 In compliance, PAGC queried the

50
_______________
VOL. 646, MARCH 23, 2011 303

16 Id., at pp. 164-172. Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) vs. Pleyto


17 Id., at p. 173. business interests. That petitioner and/or his wife had business interests
18 Id., at p. 174. is thus readily apparent on the face of the SALN; it is just that the missing
19 Id., at pp. 175-184. particulars may be subject of an inquiry or investigation.
20 Id., at pp. 185-228. An act done in good faith, which constitutes only an error of judgment and
21 Id., at pp. 60-82. for no ulterior motives and/or purposes, does not qualify as gross
22 Id., at pp. 32-59. misconduct, and is merely simple negligence. Thus, at most, petitioner is
302 guilty of negligence for having failed to ascertain that his SALN was
accomplished properly, accurately, and in more detail.
302 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Negligence is the omission of the diligence which is required by the nature
Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) vs. Pleyto of the obligation and corresponds with the circumstances of the persons,
lowed to correct the error in his SALNs before being charged for violation of R.A. of the time and of the place. In the case of public officials, there is
6713. negligence when there is a breach of duty or failure to perform the
obligation, and there is gross negligence when a breach of duty is flagrant
and palpable. Both Section 7 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act
The Court’s Rulings
and Section 8 of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public
Officials and Employees require the accomplishment and submission of a
This is the second time Pleyto’s SALNs are before this Court. The first time was true, detailed and sworn statement of assets and liabilities. Petitioner was
in G.R. 169982, Pleyto v. Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and negligent for failing to comply with his duty to provide a detailed list of
Detection Group (PNP-CIDG).23In that case, the PNP-CIDG filed on July 28, 2003 his assets and business interests in his SALN. He was also negligent in
administrative charges against Pleyto with the Office of the Ombudsman for relying on the family bookkeeper/accountant to fill out his SALN and in
violating, among others, Section 8 of R.A. 6713 in that he failed to disclose in his signing the same without checking or verifying the entries therein.
2001 and 2002 SALNs his wife’s business interests and financial connections. Petitioner’s negligence, though, is only simple and not gross, in the
On June 28, 2004 the Office of the Ombudsman ordered Pleyto dismissed from absence of bad faith or the intent to mislead or deceive on his part, and in
the service. He appealed the order to the CA but the latter dismissed his petition consideration of the fact that his SALNs actually disclose the full extent of
and the motion for reconsideration that he subsequently filed. Pleyto then assailed his assets and the fact that he and his wife had other business interests.
the CA’s ruling before this Court raising, among others, the following issues: 1) Gross misconduct and dishonesty are serious charges which warrant the
whether or not Pleyto violated Section 8(a) of R.A. 6713; and 2) whether or not removal or dismissal from service of the erring public officer or employee,
Pleyto’s reliance on the Review and Compliance Procedure in the law was together with the accessory penalties, such as cancellation of eligibility,
unwarranted. forfeiture of retirement benefits, and perpetual disqualification from
After threshing out the other issues, this Court found that Pleyto’s failure to reemployment in government service. Hence, a finding that a
disclose his wife’s business interests and financial connections constituted simple 304
negligence, not gross misconduct or dishonesty. Thus:
“Neither can petitioner’s failure to answer the question, “Do you have 304 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
any business interest and other financial connections including those of Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) vs. Pleyto
your spouse and unmarried children living in your household?” be public officer or employee is administratively liable for such charges must
tantamount to gross misconduct or dishonesty. On the front page of be supported by substantial evidence.”24
petitioner’s 2002 SALN, it is already clearly stated that his wife is a The above concerns Pleyto’s 2001 and 2002 SALN; the present case, on the
businesswoman, and it can be logically deduced that she had business other hand, is about his 1999, 2000 and 2001 SALNs but his omissions are identical.
interests. Such a statement of his wife’s occupation would be inconsistent While he said that his wife was a businesswoman, he also did not disclose her
with the intention to conceal his and his wife’s business interests and financial connections in his 1999, 2000 and 2001 SALNs.
_______________ Since the facts and the issues in the two cases are identical, the judgment in G.R.
169982, the first case, is conclusive upon this case.
23 November 23, 2007, 538 SCRA 534. There is “conclusiveness of judgment” when any right, fact, or matter in issue,
303 directly adjudicated on the merits in a previous action by a competent court or
necessarily involved in its determination, is conclusively settled by the judgment in

51
such court and cannot again be litigated between the parties and their privies concerned, subject to the approval of the Secretary of Justice, in the case
whether or not the claim, demand, purpose, or subject matter of the two actions is of the Executive Department and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,
the same.25 in the case of the Judicial Department.”
Thus, as in G.R. 169982, Pleyto’s failure to declare his wife’s business interest 306
and financial connections does not constitute dishonesty and grave misconduct but
306 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
only simple negligence, warranting a penalty of forfeiture of the equivalent of six
months of his salary from his retirement benefits.26 Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) vs. Pleyto
With regard to the issue concerning compliance with the Review and The provision that gives an impression that the Review and Compliance
Compliance Procedure provided in R.A. 6713, this Court already held in G.R. Procedure is a prerequisite to the filing of an administrative complaint is found in
169982 that such procedure cannot limit the authority of the Ombudsman to paragraph (b) of Section 10 which states that “The individual to whom an opinion
conduct administrative investigations. R.A. 6770, otherwise known as “The is rendered, and any other individual involved in a similar factual situation, and
Ombudsman Act of 1989,” intended to vest in the Office of the Ombudsman full who, after the issuance of the opinion acts in good faith in accordance with it shall
administrative disciplinary authority.27 Here, not be subject to any sanction provided in this Act.” This provision must not,
_______________ however, be read in isolation.
Paragraph (b) concerns the power of the Review and Compliance Committee to
24 Id., at pp. 586-588. interpret the law governing SALNs. It authorizes the Committee to issue
25 Abelita III v. Doria, G.R. No. 170672, August 14, 2009, 596 SCRA 220, 230. interpretative opinions regarding the filing of SALNs. Officers and employees
26 Pleyto v. Philippine National Police-CIDG, supra note 23, at pp. 595-596. affected by such opinions “as well as” all who are similarly situated may be allowed
27 Id., at p. 593. to correct their SALNs according to that opinion. What the law prohibits is merely
305 the retroactive application of the committee’s opinions. In no way did the law say
that a public officer clearly violating R.A. 6713 must first be notified of any
VOL. 646, MARCH 23, 2011 305
concealed or false information in his SALN and allowed to correct the same before
Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) vs. Pleyto he is administratively charged.
however, it was the PAGC and the OP, respectively, that conducted the Furthermore, the only concern of the Review and Compliance Procedure, as per
investigation and meted out the penalty of dismissal against Pleyto. Consequently, paragraph (a), is to determine whether the SALNs are complete and in proper form.
the ruling in G.R. 169982 in this respect cannot apply. This means that the SALN contains all the required data, i.e., the public official
Actually, nowhere in R.A. 6713 does it say that the Review and Compliance answered all the questions and filled in all the blanks in his SALN form. If it finds
Procedure is a prerequisite to the filing of administrative charges for false that required information has been omitted, the appropriate Committee shall so
declarations or concealments in one’s SALN. Thus: inform the official who prepared the SALN and direct him to make the necessary
“Section 10. Review and Compliance Procedure.—(a) The designated correction.
Committees of both Houses of the Congress shall establish procedures for The Court cannot accept the view that the review required of the Committee
the review of statements to determine whether said statements which refers to the substance of what is stated in the SALN, i.e., the truth and accuracy of
have been submitted on time, are complete, and are in proper form. In the the answers stated in it, for the following reasons:307
event a determination is made that a statement is not so filed, the VOL. 646, MARCH 23, 2011 307
appropriate Committee shall so inform the reporting individual and direct
him to take the necessary corrective action. Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) vs. Pleyto
(b) In order to carry out their responsibilities under this Act, the First. Assuring the truth and accuracy of the answers in the SALN is the
designated Committees of both Houses of Congress shall have the power function of the filer’s oath28 that to the best of his knowledge and information, the
within their respective jurisdictions, to render any opinion interpreting data he provides in it constitutes the true statements of his assets, liabilities, net
this Act, in writing, to persons covered by this Act, subject in each instance worth, business interests, and financial connections, including those of his spouse
to the approval by affirmative vote of the majority of the particular House and unmarried children below 18 years of age.29 Any falsity in the SALN makes him
concerned. liable for falsification of public documents under Article 172 of the Revised Penal
The individual to whom an opinion is rendered, and any other Code.
individual involved in a similar factual situation, and who, after issuance Second. The law will not require the impossible, namely, that the Committee
of the opinion acts in good faith in accordance with it shall not be subject must ascertain the truth of all the information that the public officer or employee
to any sanction provided in this Act. stated or failed to state in his SALNs and remind him of it. The DPWH affirms this
(c) The heads of other offices shall perform the duties stated in fact in its certification below:
subsections (a) and (b) hereof insofar as their respective offices are

52
“This is to certify that this Department issues a memorandum every QUISUMBING, J.:
year reminding its officials and employees to submit their Statement of
Assets and Liabilities and Networth (SALN) in compliance with R.A. 6713. Given a valid marriage between two Filipino citizens, where one party is later
Considering that it has approximately 19,000 permanent employees plus a naturalized as a foreign citizen and obtains a valid divorce decree capacitating him
variable number of casual and contractual employees, the Department or her to remarry, can the Filipino spouse likewise remarry under Philippine law?
does not have the resources to review or validate the entries in all the Before us is a case of first impression that behooves the Court to make a definite
SALNs. Officials and employees are assumed to be accountable for the ruling on this apparently novel question, presented as a pure question of law.
veracity of the entries considering that the SALNs are under oath.”30 In this petition for review, the Solicitor General assails the Decision1 dated May
Indeed, if the Committee knows the truth about the assets, liabilities, and net 15, 2002, of the Regional Trial Court of Molave, Zamboanga del Sur, Branch 23 and
worth of its department’s employees, there would be no need for the law to require its Resolution2 dated July 4, 2002 denying the motion for reconsideration. The
the latter to file their sworn SALNs yearly. court a quo had declared that herein respondent Cipriano Orbecido III is
In this case, the PAGC succeeded in discovering the business interest of Pleyto’s capacitated to remarry. The fallo of the impugned Decision reads:
wife only after it subpoenaed from the Department of Trade and Industry—Bulacan “WHEREFORE, by virtue of the provision of the second paragraph of Art. 26 of the
certified copies of her business interests there. The Heads of Offices do not Family Code and by reason of the divorce decree obtained against him by his
_______________ American wife, the petitioner is given the capacity to remarry under the Philippine
Law.
28 Republic Act 6713 (1989), Sec. 8. IT IS SO ORDERED.”3
29 Pleyto’s SALN Form, Rollo, p. 113. The factual antecedents, as narrated by the trial court, are as follows.
30 Rollo, p. 173. On May 24, 1981, Cipriano Orbecido III married Lady Myros M. Villanueva at
308 the United Church of Christ in the Philippines in Lam-an, Ozamis City. Their
marriage was blessed with a son and a daughter, Kristoffer Simbortriz V. Orbecido
308 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
and Lady Kimberly V. Orbecido.
Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) vs. Pleyto In 1986, Cipriano’s wife left for the United States bringing along their son
have the means to compel production of documents in the hands of other Kristoffer. A few years later, Cipriano discov-
government agencies or third persons. _______________
The purpose of R.A. 6713 is “to promote a high standard of ethics in public
service. Public officials and employees shall at all times be accountable to the people 1 Rollo, pp. 20-22.
and shall discharge their duties with utmost responsibility, integrity, competence, 2 Id., at pp. 27-29.
and loyalty, act with patriotism and justice, lead modest lives, and uphold public 3 Id., at pp. 21-22.

interest over personal interest.”31 The law expects public officials to be accountable 117
to the people in the matter of their integrity and competence. Thus, the Court
VOL. 472, OCTOBER 5, 2005 117
cannot interpret the Review and Compliance Procedure as transferring such
accountability to the Committee. Republic vs. Orbecido III
WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition but finds petitioner Salvador ered that his wife had been naturalized as an American citizen.
A. Pleyto guilty only of simple negligence and imposes on him the penalty of Sometime in 2000, Cipriano learned from his son that his wife had obtained a
forfeiture of the equivalent of six months of his salary from his retirement benefits. divorce decree and then married a certain Innocent Stanley. She, Stanley and her
SO ORDERED. child by him currently live at 5566 A. Walnut Grove Avenue, San Gabriel,
Carpio (Chairperson), Brion,** Peralta and Bersamin,*** JJ., concur. California.
Petition granted. Cipriano thereafter filed with the trial court a petition for authority to remarry
Note.—Law of the case has been defined as the opinion delivered on a former invoking Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code. No opposition was filed.
appeal, a term applied to an established rule that when an appellate court passes Finding merit in the petition, the court granted the same. The Republic, herein
on a question and remands the case to the lower court for further proceedings, the petitioner, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), sought reconsideration
question there settled becomes the law of the case upon subsequent appeal. (Pelayo but it was denied.
vs. Perez, 459 SCRA 475 [2005]) In this petition, the OSG raises a pure question of law:
——o0o—— WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT CAN REMARRY UNDER ARTICLE 26 OF
SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED THE FAMILY CODE4
The OSG contends that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code is not
Republic vs. Orbecido III applicable to the instant case because it only applies to a valid mixed marriage; that

53
is, a marriage celebrated between a Filipino citizen and an alien. The proper
VOL. 472, OCTOBER 5, 2005 119
remedy, according to the OSG, is to file a petition for annulment or for legal
separation.5Furthermore, the OSG argues there is no law that governs respondent’s Republic vs. Orbecido III
situation. The OSG posits that this is a matter of legislation and not of judicial and remarried while in the U.S.A. The interests of the parties are also adverse, as
determination.6 petitioner representing the State asserts its duty to protect the institution of
For his part, respondent admits that Article 26 is not directly applicable to his marriage while respondent, a private citizen, insists on a declaration of his capacity
case but insists that when his naturalized alien wife obtained a divorce decree which to remarry. Respondent, praying for relief, has legal interest in the controversy. The
capacitated issue raised is also ripe for judicial determination inasmuch as when respondent
_______________ remarries, litigation ensues and puts into question the validity of his second
marriage.
Coming now to the substantive issue, does Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the
Family Code apply to the case of respondent? Necessarily, we must dwell on how
118 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
this provision had come about in the first place, and what was the intent of the
Republic vs. Orbecido III legislators in its enactment?
her to remarry, he is likewise capacitated by operation of law pursuant to Section Brief Historical Background
12, Article II of the Constitution.7 On July 6, 1987, then President Corazon Aquino signed into law Executive Order
At the outset, we note that the petition for authority to remarry filed before the No. 209, otherwise known as the “Family Code,” which took effect on August 3, 1988.
trial court actually constituted a petition for declaratory relief. In this connection, Article 26 thereof states:
Section 1, Rule 63 of the Rules of Court provides: All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in accordance with the laws in
RULE 63 DECLARATORY RELIEF AND SIMILAR REMEDIES force in the country where they were solemnized, and valid there as such, shall also
Section 1. Who may file petition—Any person interested under a deed, will, contract be valid in this country, except those prohibited under Articles 35, 37, and 38.
or other written instrument, or whose rights are affected by a statute, executive On July 17, 1987, shortly after the signing of the original Family Code, Executive
order or regulation, ordinance, or other governmental regulation may, before breach Order No. 227 was likewise signed into law, amending Articles 26, 36, and 39 of the
or violation thereof, bring an action in the appropriate Regional Trial Court to Family Code. A second paragraph was added to Article 26. As so amended, it now
determine any question of construction or validity arising, and for a declaration of provides:
his rights or duties, thereunder. ART. 26. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in accordance with the
... laws in force in the country where they were solemnized, and valid there as such,
The requisites of a petition for declaratory relief are: (1) there must be a justiciable shall also be valid in this country, except those prohibited under Articles 35(1), (4),
controversy; (2) the controversy must be between persons whose interests are (5) and (6), 36, 37 and 38.
adverse; (3) that the party seeking the relief has a legal interest in the controversy; 120
and (4) that the issue is ripe for judicial determination.8 120 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
This case concerns the applicability of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 to a marriage
between two Filipino citizens where one later acquired alien citizenship, obtained a Republic vs. Orbecido III
divorce decree, Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated
_______________ and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating
him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under
7 Sec. 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and Philippine law. (Emphasis supplied)
strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally On its face, the foregoing provision does not appear to govern the situation
protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural presented by the case at hand. It seems to apply only to cases where at the time of
and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency the celebration of the marriage, the parties are a Filipino citizen and a foreigner.
and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the The instant case is one where at the time the marriage was solemnized, the parties
Government. were two Filipino citizens, but later on, the wife was naturalized as an American
8 Office of the Ombudsman v. Ibay, G.R. No. 137538, 3 September 2001, 364 citizen and subsequently obtained a divorce granting her capacity to remarry, and
SCRA 281, 286, citing Galarosa v. Valencia, G.R. No. 109455, 11 November indeed she remarried an American citizen while residing in the U.S.A.
1993, 227 SCRA 729, 737. Noteworthy, in the Report of the Public Hearings9 on the Family Code, the
119 Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) registered the following
objections to Paragraph 2 of Article 26:

54
1. 1.The rule is discriminatory. It discriminates against those whose spouses 10No. L-68470, 8 October 1985, 139 SCRA 139.
are Filipinos who divorce them abroad. These spouses who are divorced 11G.R. No. 124862, 22 December 1998, 300 SCRA 406.
will not be able to re-marry, while the spouses of foreigners who validly 122
divorce them abroad can.
122 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
2. 2.This is the beginning of the recognition of the validity of divorce even
for Filipino citizens. For those whose foreign spouses validly divorce Republic vs. Orbecido III
them abroad will also be considered to be validly divorced here and can to its exact and literal import would lead to mischievous results or contravene the
re-marry. We propose that this be deleted and made into law only after clear purpose of the legislature, it should be construed according to its spirit and
more widespread consultation. (Emphasis supplied.) reason, disregarding as far as necessary the letter of the law. A statute may
therefore be extended to cases not within the literal meaning of its terms, so long
as they come within its spirit or intent.12
Legislative Intent If we are to give meaning to the legislative intent to avoid the absurd situation
Records of the proceedings of the Family Code deliberations showed that the intent where the Filipino spouse remains married to the alien spouse who, after obtaining
of Paragraph 2 of Article 26, according to Judge Alicia Sempio-Diy, a member of a divorce is no longer married to the Filipino spouse, then the instant case must be
the Civil deemed as coming within the contemplation of Paragraph 2 of Article 26.
_______________ In view of the foregoing, we state the twin elements for the application of
Paragraph 2 of Article 26 as follows:
9Held on January 27 and 28, 1988 and February 3, 1988.
121 1. 1.There is a valid marriage that has been celebrated between a Filipino
VOL. 472, OCTOBER 5, 2005 121 citizen and a foreigner; and
2. 2.A valid divorce is obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him
Republic vs. Orbecido III or her to remarry.
Code Revision Committee, is to avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino spouse
remains married to the alien spouse who, after obtaining a divorce, is no longer
married to the Filipino spouse. The reckoning point is not the citizenship of the parties at the time of the celebration
Interestingly, Paragraph 2 of Article 26 traces its origin to the 1985 case of Van of the marriage, but their citizenship at the time a valid divorce is obtained
Dorn v. Romillo, Jr.10 The Van Dorn case involved a marriage between a Filipino abroad by the alien spouse capacitating the latter to remarry.
citizen and a foreigner. The Court held therein that a divorce decree validly In this case, when Cipriano’s wife was naturalized as an American citizen, there
obtained by the alien spouse is valid in the Philippines, and consequently, the was still a valid marriage that has been celebrated between her and Cipriano. As
Filipino spouse is capacitated to remarry under Philippine law. fate would have it, the naturalized alien wife subsequently obtained a valid divorce
Does the same principle apply to a case where at the time of the celebration of capacitating her to remarry. Clearly, the twin requisites for the application of
the marriage, the parties were Filipino citizens, but later on, one of them obtains a Paragraph 2 of Article 26 are both present in this case. Thus Cipriano, the
foreign citizenship by naturalization? “divorced” Filipino spouse, should be allowed to remarry.
The jurisprudential answer lies latent in the 1998 case of Quita v. Court of _______________
Appeals.11 In Quita, the parties were, as in this case, Filipino citizens when they got
married. The wife became a naturalized American citizen in 1954 and obtained a 12 Lopez & Sons, Inc. v. Court of Tax Appeals, No. L-9274, 1 February 1957, 100

divorce in the same year. The Court therein hinted, by way of obiter dictum, that a Phil. 850, 855.
Filipino divorced by his naturalized foreign spouse is no longer married under 123
Philippine law and can thus remarry.
VOL. 472, OCTOBER 5, 2005 123
Thus, taking into consideration the legislative intent and applying the rule of
reason, we hold that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 should be interpreted to include cases Republic vs. Orbecido III
involving parties who, at the time of the celebration of the marriage were Filipino We are also unable to sustain the OSG’s theory that the proper remedy of the
citizens, but later on, one of them becomes naturalized as a foreign citizen and Filipino spouse is to file either a petition for annulment or a petition for legal
obtains a divorce decree. The Filipino spouse should likewise be allowed to remarry separation. Annulment would be a long and tedious process, and in this particular
as if the other party were a foreigner at the time of the solemnization of the case, not even feasible, considering that the marriage of the parties appears to have
marriage. To rule otherwise would be to sanction absurdity and injustice. Where all the badges of validity. On the other hand, legal separation would not be a
the interpretation of a statute according sufficient remedy for it would not sever the marriage tie; hence, the legally
_______________

55
separated Filipino spouse would still remain married to the naturalized alien
spouse.
However, we note that the records are bereft of competent evidence duly
submitted by respondent concerning the divorce decree and the naturalization of
respondent’s wife. It is settled rule that one who alleges a fact has the burden of
proving it and mere allegation is not evidence.13
Accordingly, for his plea to prosper, respondent herein must prove his
allegation that his wife was naturalized as an American citizen. Likewise, before a
foreign divorce decree can be recognized by our own courts, the party pleading it
must prove the divorce as a fact and demonstrate its conformity to the foreign law
allowing it.14Such foreign law must also be proved as our courts cannot take judicial
notice of foreign laws. Like any other fact, such laws must be alleged and
proved.15 Furthermore, respondent must also show that the divorce decree allows
his former wife to remarry as specifically required in Article 26. Otherwise, there
would be no evidence sufficient to declare that he is capacitated to enter into
another marriage.
Nevertheless, we are unanimous in our holding that Paragraph 2 of Article 26
of the Family Code (E.O. No. 209, as
_______________

13 Cortes v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 121772, 13 January 2003, 395 SCRA 33,
38.
14Garcia v. Recio, G.R. No. 138322, 2 October 2001, 366 SCRA 437, 447.
15Id., at p. 451.
124
124 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Republic vs. Orbecido III
amended by E.O. No. 227), should be interpreted to allow a Filipino citizen, who has
been divorced by a spouse who had acquired foreign citizenship and remarried, also
to remarry. However, considering that in the present petition there is no sufficient
evidence submitted and on record, we are unable to declare, based on respondent’s
bare allegations that his wife, who was naturalized as an American citizen, had
obtained a divorce decree and had remarried an American, that respondent is now
capacitated to remarry. Such declaration could only be made properly upon
respondent’s submission of the aforecited evidence in his favor.
ACCORDINGLY, the petition by the Republic of the Philippines is GRANTED.
The assailed Decision dated May 15, 2002, and Resolution dated July 4, 2002, of the
Regional Trial Court of Molave, Zamboanga del Sur, Branch 23, are hereby SET
ASIDE.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr. (C.J., Chairman), Ynares-Santiago, Carpio and Azcuna, JJ.,
concur.
Petition granted, assailed decision and resolution set aside.
Note.—The accused who secured a foreign divorce, and later remarried in the
Philippines, in the belief that the foreign divorce was valid, is liable for bigamy.
(Diego vs. Castillo, 436 SCRA 67[2004]).

56