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Topic: Non-detention by reason of political beliefs or aspirations/Involuntary Servitude 1.

Aclaracion vs Gatmaitan 64 SCRA 131, 135 (May 26 1975)

Facts: Petitioner was assigned as a temporary stenographer in the Gapan branch of the CFI Nueva Ecija. After said appointment, he was employed in the Public Assistance and Claims Adjudication Division of the Insurance Commission. After he had ceased to be a court stenographer, the CA required him to transcribe his stenographic notes in two cases decided by Gapan Court which had been appealed. Because of his failure to comply with the resolutions of the CA, he was declared in contempt of the court. Arrested and incarcerated until he could submit a complete transcript of his noted in the said cases. Petitioner contends that to compel him to transcribe his stenographic notes after he ceased to be a court stenographer would transgress the rule against involuntary servitude in any form shall exist except as a punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted" (Sec. 14, Art. IV, Bill of Rights, 1972 Constitution). He was averse to being subjected "to involuntary servitude sans compensation". He desired to be released from the obligation of transcribing his notes. (He filed his petition in forma pauperis). Issue: Whether or not petitioners contention is tenable? Held: No. Involuntary Servitude denotes a condition of enforced, compulsory service of one to another or the condition of one who is compelled by force, coercion, or imprisonment and against his will, to labor for another, whether he is paid or not. That situation does not obtain in this case. The traditional mode of exercising the court's coercive power is to hold the recalcitrant or negligent stenographer in contempt of court if he does not comply with the order for the transcription of his notes and imprison him until he obeys the order (Sec. 7, Rule 71, Rules of Court). Another sanction to compel the transcription is to hold in abeyance the transfer, promotion, resignation or clearance of a stenographer until he completes the transcription of his notes. This is provided for in Circular No. 63 of the Secretary of Justice. In the instant case, Aclaracion transcribed his notes in the Muncal and Paderes cases while he was an employee of the Insurance Commission. During the time that he made the transcription, he received his salary as such employee. 2. People vs Dionisio Facts: Rosauro Dionisio accused, a person who is not duly authorized in any capacity by the Games and Amusement Board to conduct a horse race, did then and there wilfully and unlawfully offer, arrange and collect bets for the Special Daily Double Race being then conducted at the Sta. Ana Racing Club at Makati, Rizal, and for that purpose has in possession the following, to wit: cash money in the amount of P8.50, one Nueva Era Racing Program, dated Aug. 19, 1962, one list of bets, one ballpen and one booklet of Daily Double receipt. However, when the case was finally called for trial, accused voluntarily waive his right to be assisted by counsel, withdrew his former plea of not guilty and pleaded guilty to the information charging him with violation of Rep. Act No. 3063. The Court a quo found him guilty beyond reasonable doubt and, accordingly, sentenced him to suffer one month imprisonment. Violation of the Act is sanctioned by a fine

of not less than one thousand pesos nor more than two thousand pesos or by imprisonment for not less than one month or more than six months, or both, in the discretion of the Court. Issue: Whether or not the penalty as applied to his offense infringes the constitutional provision that excessive fines shall not be imposed nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted. (Art. III, Sec. 1, clause 19, of the Constitution of the Philippines). Held: No. Neither fines nor imprisonment constitute in themselves cruel and unusual punishment, for the constitutional stricture has been interpreted as referring to penalties that are inhuman and barbarous, or shocking to the conscience (Weems vs. U.S. 217 U. S. 349) and fines or imprisonment are definitely not in this category. Nor does mere severity constitute cruel and unusual punishment. In People vs. Estoista, 93 Phil. 655, this Court ruled: It takes more than merely being harsh, excessive, out of proportion, or severe for a penalty to be obnoxious to the Constitution. The fact that the punishment authorized by the statute, is severe does not make it cruel and unusual. (24 C.J.S. 1187-1188.) Expressed in other terms, it has been held that to come under the ban, the punishment must be flagrantly and plainly oppressive, wholly disproportionate to the nature of the offense as to shock the moral sense of the community. (Idem.) Having in mind the necessity for a radical measure and the public interest at stake, we do not believe that: five years confinement for possessing firearms, even as applied to appellants and similar cases, can be said to be cruel and unusual, barbarous, or excessive to the extent of being shocking to public conscience. It is of interest to note that the validity on constitutional grounds of the Act in question was contested neither at the trial nor in the elaborate printed brief for the appellant; it was raised for the first time in the course of the oral argument in the Court of Appeals. It is also noteworthy, as possible gauge of popular and judicial reaction the duration of the imprisonment stipulated in the statute, that some members of the court at first expressed opposition to any recommendation for executive clemency for the appellant, believing that he deserved imprisonment within the prescribed range. What evils should be corrected as pernicious to the body politic, and how correction should be done, is a matter primarily addressed to the discretion of the legislative department, not of the courts; and the view that unsupervised gambling is definitely detrimental to the nation and its citizens counts with respectable support. The hope of large or easy gain, obtained without special effort, turns the head of the workman, and habitual gambling is a cause of laziness and ruin. (Planiol, Droit Civil, Vol. 2, No. 2110). The social scourge of gambling must be stamped out. The laws against gambling must be enforced to the limit. 3. Del Rosario vs Bengzon 180 SCRA 521 Facts: Philippine Medical Association is the national organization of medical doctors in the Philippines. They assail the constitutionality of some of the provisions of Generics Act of 1988 (Rep. Act 6675) and the implementation of Administrative Order No. 62. The law specifically provides that All government health agencies shall use generic terminology or generic names in all transactions related to purchasing, prescribing, dispensing, and administering of drugs and medicines. It also includes medical, dental and veterinary, private practitioners shall write prescriptions using the generic name. Petitioners have also assailed Section 12, paragraphs b, c and d, of the Generics Act prescribing graduated penalties (ranging from a reprimand to a fine of not less that P10,000 and the suspension of the physician's license to practice his profession for one [1]) year or longer, at the discretion of the court) for violations of its provisions.

Issue: Whether or not the penalties imposed violates the constitutional guarantee against excessive fines and cruel and degrading punishment? Held: No. Penal sanctions are indispensable if the law is to be obeyed. They are the "teeth" of the law. Without them, the law would be toothless, not worth the paper it is printed on, for physicians, dentists and veterinarians may freely ignore its prescriptions and prohibitions. The penalty of suspension or cancellation of the physician's license is neither cruel, inhuman, nor degrading. It is no different from the penalty of suspension or disbarment that this Court inflicts on lawyers and judges who misbehave or violate the laws and the Codes of Professional and Judicial Conduct. 4. Serafin vs Lindayag 67 SCRA 166

Facts: The criminal complaint for estafa against complainant. That on or about the 20th day of July 1971, accused Mrs Avelina Serafin with intent of gain did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously owe the sum of ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED (P1,500.00) PESOS, Philippine Currency, that said amount has long been due since January 28, 1971 and Mrs. Avelina N. Serafin failed to pay her account in spite of due notice sent by registered mail and up to the present she failed to settle her obligation. The supporting statements 4 executed and sworn to by the Mendoza spouses as offended parties before respondent judge likewise show on their very face that their complaint was about a simple debt of P1,500.00 borrowed by complainant from Mrs. Mendoza and which she had failed to repay despite her promise to do so by January and February, 1971. Judge Lindayag nevertheless, after preliminary investigation recklessly issued the warrant of arrest and further enabled police chief Estrella as "private prosecutor" of complainant's creditors, the Mendozas, to avail of the despicable practice of some police officers to use the warrant as a means of harassment and serve it on Saturdays when the person arrested cannot raise bail, as in fact complainant was arrested on a Saturday at a time when the bonding companies were closed for business and she consequently had to undergo the humiliation of being detained for three days when she finally succeeded in putting up the P1,000.-bail bond fixed for her release. Issue: Whether or not the complaint charged violated accused constitutional right to non-impairment of debt?

Held: Yes. In admitting such a "criminal complaint" that was plainly civil in aspects from the very face of the complaint and the "evidence" presented, and issuing on the same day the warrant of arrest upon his utterly baseless finding "that the accused is probably guilty of the crime charged," respondent grossly failed to perform his duties properly which in this instance was to dismiss the complaint outright since it is elementary that non-payment of an indebtedness is not a criminal act, much less estafa; and that no one may be criminally charged and punished for non-payment of a loan of a sum of money.

It is self-evident from the very face of the "criminal complaint" for estafa, and the supporting sworn statements filed with and sworn to before him as well as the very notes of preliminary examination taken by him that the "criminal" charge against complainant showed no vestige of the essential elements of estafa but simply recited complainant's failure to pay the creditors as alleged offended parties a simple indebtedness.

5. Icasiano vs Sandiganbayan 209 SCRA 1299 Facts: Romana Magbago filed an administrative complaint with the SC against then acting Municipal Trial Court Judge of Naic, Cavite, herein petitioner Aurelio G. Icasiano, Jr. for grave abuse of authority, manifest partiality and incompetence. 1 The administrative complaint arose from two (2) orders of detention issued by the said acting judge against complainant (Magbago) for contempt of court because of her continued refusal to comply with a fifth alias writ of execution. Meanwhile, complainant also filed with the Office of the Ombudsman the same letter-complaint earlier filed with the SC, she claimed violation by Judge Icasiano, Jr. of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Issue: Whether or not there is double jeopardy? Held: No. It is, therefore, correct for the Sandiganbayan to hold that double jeopardy does not apply in the present controversy because the Supreme Court case (against the herein petitioner) was administrative in character while the Sandiganbayan case also against said petitioner is criminal in nature. The charge against petitioner Judge Icasiano before the Sandiganbayan is for grave abuse of authority, manifest partiality and incompetence in having issued two (2) orders of detention against complaining witness Magbago. To avail of the protection against double jeopardy, it is fundamental that the following requisites must have obtained in the original prosecution: (a) a valid complaint or information; (b) a competent court; (c) a valid arraignment; (d) the defendant had pleaded to the charge; and (e) the defendant was acquitted, or convicted, or the case against him was dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent. 6 All these elements do not apply vis-a-vis the administrative case, which should take care of petitioner's contention that said administrative case against him before the Supreme Court, which was, as aforestated, dismissed, entitles him to raise the defense of double jeopardy in the criminal case in the Sandiganbayan. 7 Ordinarily, complainant's available remedy was to appeal said orders of detention in accordance with the Rules. It is only when in appellate court reverses the lower court issuing the questioned orders can abuse, partiality or incompetence be imputed to the judge. 8 Here no appeal from the questioned orders of the issuing judge (petitioner Icasiano) was taken: instead, administrative and criminal cases were filed against the judge for issuing the orders.