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SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 125948. December 29, 1998]


INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, HONORABLE FIRST
PHILIPPINE PATERNO V. TAC-AN, BATANGAS CITY and ADORACION C. ARELLANO, in
her official capacity as City Treasurer of Batangas, respondents.
D E C I S I O N
MARTINEZ, J.:
This petition for review on certiorari assails the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated
November 29, 1995, in CA-G.R. SP No. 36801, affirming the decision of the Regional Trial
Court of Batangas City, Branch 84, in Civil Case No. 4293, which dismissed petitioners'
complaint for a business tax refund imposed by the City of Batangas.
Petitioner is a grantee of a pipeline concession under Republic Act No. 387, as
amended, to contract, install and operate oil pipelines. The original pipeline concession was
granted in 1967
[1]
and renewed by the Energy Regulatory Board in 1992.
[2]

Sometime in January 1995, petitioner applied for a mayor's permit with the Office of
the Mayor of Batangas City. However, before the mayor's permit could be issued, the
respondent City Treasurer required petitioner to pay a local tax based on its gross receipts
for the fiscal year 1993 pursuant to the Local Government Code.
[3]
The respondent City
Treasurer assessed a business tax on the petitioner amounting toP956,076.04 payable in
four installments based on the gross receipts for products pumped at GPS-1 for the fiscal
year 1993 which amounted to P181,681,151.00. In order not to hamper its operations,
petitioner paid the tax under protest in the amount of P239,019.01 for the first quarter of
1993.
On January 20, 1994, petitioner filed a letter-protest addressed to the respondent City
Treasurer, the pertinent portion of which reads:
"Please note that our Company (FPIC) is a pipeline operator with a government concession
granted under the Petroleum Act. It is engaged in the business of transporting petroleum
products from the Batangas refineries, via pipeline, to Sucat and JTF Pandacan
Terminals. As such, our Company is exempt from paying tax on gross receipts under Section
133 of the Local Government Code of 1991 x x x x
"Moreover, Transportation contractors are not included in the enumeration of contractors
under Section 131, Paragraph (h) of the Local Government Code. Therefore, the authority
to impose tax 'on contractors and other independent contractors' under Section 143,
Paragraph (e) of the Local Government Code does not include the power to levy on
transportation contractors.
"The imposition and assessment cannot be categorized as a mere fee authorized under
Section 147 of the Local Government Code. The said section limits the imposition of fees
and charges on business to such amounts as may be commensurate to the cost of
regulation, inspection, and licensing. Hence, assuming arguendo that FPIC is liable for the
license fee, the imposition thereof based on gross receipts is violative of the aforecited
provision. The amount of P956,076.04 (P239,019.01 per quarter) is not commensurate to
the cost of regulation, inspection and licensing. The fee is already a revenue raising
measure, and not a mere regulatory imposition."
[4]

On March 8, 1994, the respondent City Treasurer denied the protest contending that
petitioner cannot be considered engaged in transportation business, thus it cannot claim
exemption under Section 133 (j) of the Local Government Code.
[5]

On June 15, 1994, petitioner filed with the Regional Trial Court of Batangas City a
complaint
[6]
for tax refund with prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction against
respondents City of Batangas and Adoracion Arellano in her capacity as City Treasurer. In its
complaint, petitioner alleged, inter alia, that: (1) the imposition and collection of the
business tax on its gross receipts violates Section 133 of the Local Government Code; (2) the
authority of cities to impose and collect a tax on the gross receipts of "contractors and
independent contractors" under Sec. 141 (e) and 151 does not include the authority to
collect such taxes on transportation contractors for, as defined under Sec. 131 (h), the term
"contractors" excludes transportation contractors; and, (3) the City Treasurer illegally and
erroneously imposed and collected the said tax, thus meriting the immediate refund of the
tax paid.
[7]

Traversing the complaint, the respondents argued that petitioner cannot be exempt
from taxes under Section 133 (j) of the Local Government Code as said exemption applies
only to "transportation contractors and persons engaged in the transportation by hire and
common carriers by air, land and water." Respondents assert that pipelines are not
included in the term "common carrier" which refers solely to ordinary carriers such as
trucks, trains, ships and the like. Respondents further posit that the term "common carrier"
under the said code pertains to the mode or manner by which a product is delivered to its
destination.
On October 3, 1994, the trial court rendered a decision dismissing the complaint, ruling
in this wise:
"xxx Plaintiff is either a contractor or other independent contractor.
xxx the exemption to tax claimed by the plaintiff has become unclear. It is a rule that tax
exemptions are to be strictly construed against the taxpayer, taxes being the lifeblood of the
government. Exemption may therefore be granted only by clear and unequivocal provisions
of law.
"Plaintiff claims that it is a grantee of a pipeline concession under Republic Act 387, (Exhibit
A) whose concession was lately renewed by the Energy Regulatory Board (Exhibit B). Yet
neither said law nor the deed of concession grant any tax exemption upon the plaintiff.
"Even the Local Government Code imposes a tax on franchise holders under Sec. 137 of the
Local Tax Code. Such being the situation obtained in this case (exemption being unclear and
equivocal) resort to distinctions or other considerations may be of help:
1. That the exemption granted under Sec. 133 (j) encompasses
only common carriers so as not to overburden the riding public or
commuters with taxes. Plaintiff is not a common carrier, but a special
carrier extending its services and facilities to a single specific or
"special customer" under a "special contract."
2. The Local Tax Code of 1992 was basically enacted to give more and
effective local autonomy to local governments than the previous
enactments, to make them economically and financially viable to
serve the people and discharge their functions with a concomitant
obligation to accept certain devolution of powers, x x x So, consistent
with this policy even franchise grantees are taxed (Sec. 137) and
contractors are also taxed under Sec. 143 (e) and 151 of the Code."
[9]

Petitioner assailed the aforesaid decision before this Court via a petition for review. On
February 27, 1995, we referred the case to the respondent Court of Appeals for
consideration and adjudication. On November 29, 1995, the respondent court rendered a
decision
[11]
affirming the trial court's dismissal of petitioner's complaint. Petitioner's motion
for reconsideration was denied on July 18, 1996.
[12]

Hence, this petition. At first, the petition was denied due course in a Resolution dated
November 11, 1996.
[13]
Petitioner moved for a reconsideration which was granted by this
Court in a Resolution
[14]
of January 20, 1997. Thus, the petition was reinstated.
Petitioner claims that the respondent Court of Appeals erred in holding that (1) the
petitioner is not a common carrier or a transportation contractor, and (2) the exemption
sought for by petitioner is not clear under the law.
There is merit in the petition.
A "common carrier" may be defined, broadly, as one who holds himself out to the
public as engaged in the business of transporting persons or property from place to place,
for compensation, offering his services to the public generally.
Article 1732 of the Civil Code defines a "common carrier" as "any person, corporation,
firm or association engaged in the business of carrying or transporting passengers or goods
or both, by land, water, or air, for compensation, offering their services to the public."
The test for determining whether a party is a common carrier of goods is:
1. He must be engaged in the business of carrying goods for others as a public
employment, and must hold himself out as ready to engage in the
transportation of goods for person generally as a business and not as a casual
occupation;
2. He must undertake to carry goods of the kind to which his business is
confined;
3. He must undertake to carry by the method by which his business is
conducted and over his established roads; and
4. The transportation must be for hire.
[15]

Based on the above definitions and requirements, there is no doubt that petitioner is a
common carrier. It is engaged in the business of transporting or carrying
goods, i.e. petroleum products, for hire as a public employment. It undertakes to carry for
all persons indifferently, that is, to all persons who choose to employ its services, and
transports the goods by land and for compensation. The fact that petitioner has a limited
clientele does not exclude it from the definition of a common carrier. In De Guzman vs.
Court of Appeals
[16]
we ruled that:
"The above article (Art. 1732, Civil Code) makes no distinction between one whose principal
business activity is the carrying of persons or goods or both, and one who does such carrying
only as an ancillary activity (in local idiom, as a 'sideline'). Article 1732 x x x avoids making
any distinction between a person or enterprise offering transportation service on a regular
or scheduled basis and one offering such service on an occasional, episodic or unscheduled
basis. Neither does Article 1732 distinguish between a carrier offering its services to the
'general public,' i.e., the general community or population, and one who offers services or
solicits business only from a narrow segment of the general population. We think that
Article 1877 deliberately refrained from making such distinctions.
So understood, the concept of 'common carrier' under Article 1732 may be seen to coincide
neatly with the notion of 'public service,' under the Public Service Act (Commonwealth Act
No. 1416, as amended) which at least partially supplements the law on common carriers set
forth in the Civil Code. Under Section 13, paragraph (b) of the Public Service Act, 'public
service' includes:
'every person that now or hereafter may own, operate, manage, or control in the
Philippines, for hire or compensation, with general or limited clientele, whether permanent,
occasional or accidental, and done for general business purposes, any common carrier,
railroad, street railway, traction railway, subway motor vehicle, either for freight or
passenger, or both, with or without fixed route and whatever may be its classification,
freight or carrier service of any class, express service, steamboat, or steamship line,
pontines, ferries and water craft, engaged in the transportation of passengers or freight or
both, shipyard, marine repair shop, wharf or dock, ice plant, ice-refrigeration plant, canal,
irrigation system gas, electric light heat and power, water supply and power petroleum,
sewerage system, wire or wireless communications systems, wire or wireless broadcasting
stations and other similar public services.' "(Underscoring Supplied)
Also, respondent's argument that the term "common carrier" as used in Section 133 (j)
of the Local Government Code refers only to common carriers transporting goods and
passengers through moving vehicles or vessels either by land, sea or water, is erroneous.
As correctly pointed out by petitioner, the definition of "common carriers" in the Civil
Code makes no distinction as to the means of transporting, as long as it is by land, water or
air. It does not provide that the transportation of the passengers or goods should be by
motor vehicle. In fact, in the United States, oil pipe line operators are considered common
carriers.
[17]

Under the Petroleum Act of the Philippines (Republic Act 387), petitioner is considered
a "common carrier." Thus, Article 86 thereof provides that:
"Art. 86. Pipe line concessionaire as a common carrier. - A pipe line shall have the
preferential right to utilize installations for the transportation of petroleum owned by him,
but is obligated to utilize the remaining transportation capacity pro rata for the
transportation of such other petroleum as may be offered by others for transport, and to
charge without discrimination such rates as may have been approved by the Secretary of
Agriculture and Natural Resources."
Republic Act 387 also regards petroleum operation as a public utility. Pertinent portion
of Article 7 thereof provides:
"that everything relating to the exploration for and exploitation of petroleum x x and
everything relating to the manufacture, refining, storage, or transportation by special
methods of petroleum, is hereby declared to be apublic utility." (Underscoring Supplied)
The Bureau of Internal Revenue likewise considers the petitioner a "common
carrier." In BIR Ruling No. 069-83, it declared:
"x x x since [petitioner] is a pipeline concessionaire that is engaged only in transporting
petroleum products, it is considered a common carrier under Republic Act No. 387 x x
x. Such being the case, it is not subject to withholding tax prescribed by Revenue
Regulations No. 13-78, as amended."
From the foregoing disquisition, there is no doubt that petitioner is a "common carrier"
and, therefore, exempt from the business tax as provided for in Section 133 (j), of the Local
Government Code, to wit:
"Section 133. Common Limitations on the Taxing Powers of Local Government Units. - Unless
otherwise provided herein, the exercise of the taxing powers of provinces, cities,
municipalities, and barangays shall not extend to the levy of the following :
x x x x x x x x x
(j) Taxes on the gross receipts of transportation contractors and persons
engaged in the transportation of passengers or freight by hire and common
carriers by air, land or water, except as provided in this Code."
The deliberations conducted in the House of Representatives on the Local Government
Code of 1991 are illuminating:
"MR. AQUINO (A). Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, we would like to proceed to page 95, line 1. It states : "SEC.121 [now Sec. 131].
Common Limitations on the Taxing Powers of Local Government Units." x x x
MR. AQUINO (A.). Thank you Mr. Speaker.
Still on page 95, subparagraph 5, on taxes on the business of transportation. This appears to
be one of those being deemed to be exempted from the taxing powers of the local
government units. May we know the reason why the transportation business is being
excluded from the taxing powers of the local government units?
MR. JAVIER (E.). Mr. Speaker, there is an exception contained in Section 121 (now Sec. 131),
line 16, paragraph 5. It states that local government units may not impose taxes on the
business of transportation, except as otherwise provided in this code.
Now, Mr. Speaker, if the Gentleman would care to go to page 98 of Book II, one can see
there that provinces have the power to impose a tax on business enjoying a franchise at the
rate of not more than one-half of 1 percent of the gross annual receipts. So, transportation
contractors who are enjoying a franchise would be subject to tax by the province. That is
the exception, Mr. Speaker.
What we want to guard against here, Mr. Speaker, is the imposition of taxes by local
government units on the carrier business. Local government units may impose taxes on top
of what is already being imposed by the National Internal Revenue Code which is the so-
called "common carriers tax." We do not want a duplication of this tax, so we just provided
for an exception under Section 125 [now Sec. 137] that a province may impose this tax at a
specific rate.
MR. AQUINO (A.). Thank you for that clarification, Mr. Speaker. x x x
[18]

It is clear that the legislative intent in excluding from the taxing power of the local
government unit the imposition of business tax against common carriers is to prevent a
duplication of the so-called "common carrier's tax."
Petitioner is already paying three (3%) percent common carrier's tax on its gross
sales/earnings under the National Internal Revenue Code.
[19]
To tax petitioner again on its
gross receipts in its transportation of petroleum business would defeat the purpose of the
Local Government Code.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The decision of the respondent Court of
Appeals dated November 29, 1995 in CA-G.R. SP No. 36801 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo, (Chairman), Puno, and Mendoza, JJ., concur.

SECOND DIVISION
[G.R. No. 119190. January 16, 1997]
CHI MING TSOI, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and GINA LAO-TSOI, respondents.
D E C I S I O N
TORRES, JR., J.:
Man has not invented a reliable compass by which to steer a marriage in its journey
over troubled waters. Laws are seemingly inadequate. Over time, much reliance has been
placed in the works of the unseen hand of Him who created all things.
Who is to blame when a marriage fails?
This case was originally commenced by a distraught wife against her uncaring husband
in the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City (Branch 89) which decreed the annulment of the
marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity. Petitioner appealed the decision of the
trial court to respondent Court of Appeals (CA-G.R. CV No. 42758) which affirmed the Trial
Court's decision on November 29, 1994 and correspondingly denied the motion for
reconsideration in a resolution dated February 14, 1995.
The statement of the case and of the facts made by the trial court and reproduced by
the Court of Appeals
[1]
in its decision are as follows:
"From the evidence adduced, the following facts were preponderantly established:
"Sometime on May 22, 1988, the plaintiff married the defendant at the Manila Cathedral,
xxx Intramuros Manila, as evidenced by their Marriage Contract. (Exh. "A")
"After the celebration of their marriage and wedding reception at the South Villa, Makati,
they went and proceeded to the house of defendant's mother.
"There, they slept together on the same bed in the same room for the first night of their
married life.
"It is the version of the plaintiff, that contrary to her expectations, that as newlyweds they
were supposed to enjoy making love, or having sexual intercourse, with each other, the
defendant just went to bed, slept on one side thereof, then turned his back and went to
sleep. There was no sexual intercourse between them during the first night. The same thing
happened on the second, third and fourth nights.
"In an effort to have their honeymoon in a private place where they can enjoy together
during their first week as husband and wife, they went to Baguio City. But, they did so
together with her mother, an uncle, his mother and his nephew. They were all invited by the
defendant to join them. [T]hey stayed in Baguio City for four (4) days. But, during this
period, there was no sexual intercourse between them, since the defendant avoided her by
taking a long walk during siesta time or by just sleeping on a rocking chair located at the
living room. They slept together in the same room and on the same bed since May 22, 1988
until March 15, 1989. But during this period, there was no attempt of sexual intercourse
between them. [S]he claims, that she did not even see her husband's private parts nor did
he see hers.
"Because of this, they submitted themselves for medical examinations to Dr. Eufemio
Macalalag, a urologist at the Chinese General Hospital, on January 20, 1989.
The results of their physical examinations were that she is healthy, normal and still a virgin,
while that of her husbands examination was kept confidential up to this time. While no
medicine was prescribed for her, the doctor prescribed medications for her husband which
was also kept confidential. No treatment was given to her. For her husband, he was asked
by the doctor to return but he never did.
"The plaintiff claims, that the defendant is impotent, a closet homosexual as he did not
show his penis. She said, that she had observed the defendant using an eyebrow pencil and
sometimes the cleansing cream of his mother. And that, according to her, the defendant
married her, a Filipino citizen, to acquire or maintain his residency status here in the country
and to publicly maintain the appearance of a normal man.
"The plaintiff is not willing to reconcile with her husband.
"On the other hand, it is the claim of the defendant that if their marriage shall be annulled
by reason of psychological incapacity, the fault lies with his wife.
"But, he said that he does not want his marriage with his wife annulled for several
reasons, viz: (1) that he loves her very much; (2) that he has no defect on his part and he is
physically and psychologically capable; and, (3) since the relationship is still very young and
if there is any differences between the two of them, it can still be reconciled and that,
according to him, if either one of them has some incapabilities, there is no certainty that this
will not be cured. He further claims, that if there is any defect, it can be cured by the

"The defendant admitted that since their marriage on May 22, 1988, until their separation
on March 15, 1989, there was no sexual contact between them. But, the reason for this,
according to the defendant, was that everytime he wants to have sexual intercourse with his
wife, she always avoided him and whenever he caresses her private parts, she always
removed his hands. The defendant claims, that he forced his wife to have sex with him only
once but he did not continue because she was shaking and she did not like it. So he stopped.
"There are two (2) reasons, according to the defendant, why the plaintiff filed this case
against him, and these are: (1) that she is afraid that she will be forced to return the pieces
of jewelry of his mother, and, (2) that her husband, the defendant, will consummate their
marriage.
"The defendant insisted that their marriage will remain valid because they are still very
young and there is still a chance to overcome their differences.
"The defendant submitted himself to a physical examination. His penis was examined by Dr.
Sergio Alteza, Jr., for the purpose of finding out whether he is impotent. As a result thereof,
Dr. Alteza submitted his Doctor's Medical Report. (Exh. "2"). It is stated there, that there is
no evidence of impotency (Exh. "2-B"), and he is capable of erection. (Exh. "2-C")
"The doctor said, that he asked the defendant to masturbate to find out whether or not he
has an erection and he found out that from the original size of two (2) inches, or five (5)
centimeters, the penis of the defendant lengthened by one (1) inch and one centimeter. Dr.
Alteza said, that the defendant had only a soft erection which is why his penis is not in its
full length. But, still is capable of further erection, in that with his soft erection, the
defendant is capable of having sexual intercourse with a woman.
"In open Court, the Trial Prosecutor manifested that there is no collusion between the
parties and that the evidence is not fabricated.
[2]

After trial, the court rendered judgment, the dispositive portion of which reads:
"ACCORDINGLY, judgment is hereby rendered declaring as VOID the marriage entered into
by the plaintiff with the defendant on May 22, 1988 at the Manila Cathedral, Basilica of the
Immaculate Conception, Intramuros, Manila, before the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Melencio de Vera.
Without costs. Let a copy of this decision be furnished the Local Civil Registrar of Quezon
City. Let another copy be furnished the Local Civil Registrar of Manila.
"SO ORDERED. "
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision.
Hence, the instant petition.
Petitioner alleges that the respondent Court of Appeals erred:
I
in affirming the conclusions of the lower court that there was no sexual intercourse
between the parties without making any findings of fact.
II
in holding that the refusal of private respondent to have sexual communion with petitioner
is a psychological incapacity inasmuch as proof thereof is totally absent.
III
in holding that the alleged refusal of both the petitioner and the private respondent to have
sex with each other constitutes psychological incapacity of both.
IV
in affirming the annulment of the marriage between the parties decreed by the lower court
without fully satisfying itself that there was no collusion between them.
We find the petition to be bereft of merit.
Petitioner contends that being the plaintiff in Civil Case No. Q-89-3141, private
respondent has the burden of proving the allegations in her complaint; that since there was
no independent evidence to prove the alleged non-coitus between the parties, there
remains no other basis for the court's conclusion except the admission of petitioner; that
public policy should aid acts intended to validate marriage and should retard acts intended
to invalidate them; that the conclusion drawn by the trial court on the admissions and
confessions of the parties in their pleadings and in the course of the trial is misplaced since
it could have been a product of collusion; and that in actions for annulment of marriage, the
material facts alleged in the complaint shall always be proved.
[3]

Section 1, Rule 19 of the Rules of Court reads:
"Section 1. Judgment on the pleadings. - Where an answer fails to tender an issue, or
otherwise admits the material allegations of the adverse party's pleading, the court may, on
motion of that party, direct judgment on such pleading. But in actions for annulment of
marriage or for legal separation the material facts alleged in the complaint shall always be
proved."
The foregoing provision pertains to a judgment on the pleadings. What said provision
seeks to prevent is annulment of marriage without trial. The assailed decision was not based
on such a judgment on the pleadings. When private respondent testified under oath before
the trial court and was cross-examined by oath before the trial court and was cross-
examined by the adverse party, she thereby presented evidence in the form of a testimony.
After such evidence was presented, it became incumbent upon petitioner to present his
side. He admitted that since their marriage on May 22, 1988, until their separation on
March 15, 1989, there was no sexual intercourse between them.
To prevent collusion between the parties is the reason why, as stated by the petitioner,
the Civil Code provides that no judgment annulling a marriage shall be promulgated upon a
stipulation of facts or by confession of judgment (Arts. 88 and 101[par. 2]) and the Rules of
Court prohibit such annulment without trial (Sec. 1, Rule 19).
The case has reached this Court because petitioner does not want their marriage to be
annulled. This only shows that there is no collusion between the parties. When petitioner
admitted that he and his wife (private respondent) have never had sexual contact with each
other, he must have been only telling the truth. We are reproducing the relevant portion of
the challenged resolution denying petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration, penned with
magisterial lucidity by Associate Justice Minerva Gonzaga-Reyes, viz:
"The judgment of the trial court which was affirmed by this Court is not based on a
stipulation of facts. The issue of whether or not the appellant is psychologically
incapacitated to discharge a basic marital obligation was resolved upon a review of both the
documentary and testimonial evidence on record. Appellant admitted that he did not have
sexual relations with his wife after almost ten months of cohabitation, and it appears that
he is not suffering from any physical disability. Such abnormal reluctance or unwillingness to
consummate his marriage is strongly indicative of a serious personality disorder which to
the mind of this Court clearly demonstrates an 'utter insensitivity or inability to give
meaning and significance to the marriage' within the meaning of Article 36 of the Family
Code (See Santos vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 112019, January 4, 1995)."
[4]

Petitioner further contends that respondent court erred in holding that the alleged
refusal of both the petitioner and the private respondent to have sex with each other
constitutes psychological incapacity of both. He points out as error the failure of the trial
court to make "a categorical finding about the alleged psychological incapacity and an in-
depth analysis of the reasons for such refusal which may not be necessarily due to
psychological disorders" because there might have been other reasons, - i.e., physical
disorders, such as aches, pains or other discomforts, - why private respondent would not
want to have sexual intercourse from May 22, 1988 to March 15, 1989, in a short span of 10
months.
First, it must be stated that neither the trial court nor the respondent court made a
finding on who between petitioner and private respondent refuses to have sexual contact
with the other. The fact remains, however, that there has never been coitus between them.
At any rate, since the action to declare the marriage void may be filed by either party, i.e.,
even the psychologically incapacitated, the question of who refuses to have sex with the
other becomes immaterial.
Petitioner claims that there is no independent evidence on record to show that any of
the parties is suffering from psychological incapacity. Petitioner also claims that he wanted
to have sex with private respondent; that the reason for private respondent's refusal may
not be psychological but physical disorder as stated above.
We do not agree. Assuming it to be so, petitioner could have discussed with private
respondent or asked her what is ailing her, and why she balks and avoids him everytime he
wanted to have sexual intercourse with her. He never did. At least, there is nothing in the
record to show that he had tried to find out or discover what the problem with his wife
could be. What he presented in evidence is his doctor's Medical Report that there is no
evidence of his impotency and he is capable of erection.
[5]
Since it is petitioner's claim that
the reason is not psychological but perhaps physical disorder on the part of private
respondent, it became incumbent upon him to prove such a claim.
"If a spouse, although physically capable but simply refuses to perform his or her essential
marriage obligations, and the refusal is senseless and constant, Catholic marriage tribunals
attribute the causes to psychological incapacity than to stubborn refusal. Senseless and
protracted refusal is equivalent to psychological incapacity. Thus, the prolonged refusal of a
spouse to have sexual intercourse with his or her spouse is considered a sign of
psychological incapacity."
[6]

Evidently, one of the essential marital obligations under the Family Code is "To
procreate children based on the universal principle that procreation of children through
sexual cooperation is the basic end of marriage." Constant non-fulfillment of this obligation
will finally destroy the integrity or wholeness of the marriage. In the case at bar, the
senseless and protracted refusal of one of the parties to fulfill the above marital obligation is
equivalent to psychological incapacity.
As aptly stated by the respondent court,
"An examination of the evidence convinces Us that the husband's plea that the wife did not
want carnal intercourse with him does not inspire belief. Since he was not physically
impotent, but he refrained from sexual intercourse during the entire time (from May 22,
1988 to March 15, 1989) that he occupied the same bed with his wife, purely out of
sympathy for her feelings, he deserves to be doubted for not having asserted his rights even
though she balked (Tompkins vs. Tompkins, 111 Atl. 599, cited in I Paras, Civil Code, at p.
330). Besides, if it were true that it is the wife who was suffering from incapacity, the fact
that defendant did not go to court and seek the declaration of nullity weakens his claim.
This case was instituted by the wife whose normal expectations of her marriage were
frustrated by her husband's inadequacy. Considering the innate modesty of the Filipino
woman, it is hard to believe that she would expose her private life to public scrutiny and
fabricate testimony against her husband if it were not necessary to put her life in order and
put to rest her marital status.
"We are not impressed by defendant's claim that what the evidence proved is the
unwillingness or lack of intention to perform the sexual act, which is
not psychological incapacity, and which can be achieved "through proper motivation."
After almost ten months of cohabitation, the admission that the husband is reluctant or
unwilling to perform the sexual act with his wife whom he professes to love very dearly, and
who has not posed any insurmountable resistance to his alleged approaches, is indicative of
a hopeless situation, and of a serious personality disorder that constitutes psychological
incapacity to discharge the basic marital covenants within the contemplation of the Family
Code.
[7]

While the law provides that the husband and the wife are obliged to live together,
observe mutual love, respect and fidelity (Art. 68, Family Code), the sanction therefor is
actually the "spontaneous, mutual affection between husband and wife and not any legal
mandate or court order" (Cuaderno vs. Cuaderno, 120 Phil. 1298). Love is useless unless it is
shared with another. Indeed, no man is an island, the cruelest act of a partner in marriage is
to say "I could not have cared less." This is so because an ungiven self is an unfulfilled self.
The egoist has nothing but himself. In the natural order, it is sexual intimacy which brings
spouses wholeness and oneness. Sexual intimacy is a gift and a participation in the mystery
of creation. It is a function which enlivens the hope of procreation and ensures the
continuation of family relations.
It appears that there is absence of empathy between petitioner and private
respondent. That is - a shared feeling which between husband and wife must be
experienced not only by having spontaneous sexual intimacy but a deep sense of spiritual
communion. Marital union is a two-way process. An expressive interest in each other's
feelings at a time it is needed by the other can go a long way in deepening the marital
relationship. Marriage is definitely not for children but for two consenting adults who view
the relationship with love amor gignit amorem, respect, sacrifice and a continuing
commitment to compromise, conscious of its value as a sublime social institution.
This Court, finding the gravity of the failed relationship in which the parties found
themselves trapped in its mire of unfulfilled vows and unconsummated marital obligations,
can do no less but sustain the studied judgment of respondent appellate court.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING PREMISES, the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals
dated November 29, 1994 is hereby AFFIRMED in all respects and the petition is hereby
DENIED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.
Regalado, (Chairman), Romero, Puno, and Mendoza, JJ., concur.


===========================================================================
=====
EN BANC
[G.R. No. 135981. September 29, 2000]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. MARIVIC GENOSA, appellant.
R E S O L U T I O N
PANGANIBAN, J.:
It is a hornbook rule that an appeal in criminal cases opens the entire records to
review. The Court may pass upon all relevant issues, including those factual in nature and
those that may not have been brought before the trial court. This is true especially in cases
involving the imposition of the death penalty, in which the accused must be allowed to avail
themselves of all possible avenues for their defense. Even novel theories such as the
"battered woman syndrome," which is alleged to be equivalent to self-defense, should be
heard, given due consideration and ruled upon on the merits, not rejected merely on
technical or procedural grounds. Criminal conviction must rest on proof of guilt beyond
reasonable doubt.
The Case

For resolution by the Court is an Urgent Omnibus Motion filed by Appellant Marivic
Genosa y Isidro in connection with the automatic review of the September 25, 1998
"Judgment"
[1]
of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Ormoc City
[2]
in Criminal Case No. 5016-
0. The RTC found her guilty of parricide aggravated by treachery and sentenced her to
death.
In an Information
[3]
dated November 14, 1996, Provincial Prosecutor I Rosario D. Beleta
charged appellant-movant with parricide allegedly committed as follows:
"That on or about the 15th day of November 1995, at Barangay Bilwang, Municipality of
Isabel, Province of Leyte, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
above-named accused, with intent to kill, with treachery and evident premeditation, did
then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault, hit and wound one BEN
GENOSA, her legitimate husband, with the use of a hard deadly weapon, which the accused
had provided herself for the purpose, [causing] the following wounds, to wit:
'Cadaveric spasm.
'Body on the 2nd stage of decomposition.
'Face, black, blown[ ]up & swollen w/ evident post- mortem lividity. Eyes protruding from its
sockets and tongue slightly protrudes out of the mouth.
'Fracture, open, depressed, circular located at the occipital bone of the head, resulting [in]
laceration of the brain, spontaneous rupture of the blood vessels on the posterior surface of
the brain, laceration of the dura and meningeal vessels producing severe intracranial
hemorrhage.
'Blisters at both extrem[i]ties, anterior chest, posterior chest, trunk w/ shedding of the
epidermis.
'Abdomen distended w/ gas. Trunk bloated.'
which caused his death."
After arraignment and trial, the court a quo promulgated its Judgment, the dispositive
portion of which reads:
"WHEREFORE, after all the foregoing being duly considered, the Court finds the accused,
Marivic Genosa y Isidro, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of parricide as
provided under Article 246 of the Revised Penal Code as restored by Sec. 5, RA No. 7659,
and after finding treachery as a generic aggravating circumstance and none of mitigating
circumstance, hereby sentences the accused with the penalty of DEATH.
The Court likewise penalizes the accused to pay the heirs of the deceased the sum of fifty
thousand pesos (P50,000.00), Philippine currency as indemnity and another sum of fifty
thousand pesos (P50,000.00), Philippine currency as moral damages."
The Antecedents

Prior to the filing of her Appeal Brief, appellant submitted an Urgent Omnibus
Motion,
[4]
to bring "to the attention of the x x x Court certain facts and circumstances which,
if found valid, could warrant the setting aside of [her] conviction and the imposition of the
death penalty."
Appellant alleges that the trial court grievously erred in concluding that she had lied
about the means she employed in killing her husband. On the contrary, she had consistently
claimed that she had shot her husband. Yet the trial judge simply ruled that the cause of his
death was "cardiopulmonary arrest secondary to severe intracranial hemorrhage due to a
depressed fracture of the occipital bone," which resulted from her admitted act of
"smashing" him with a pipe. Such conclusion was allegedly unsupported by the evidence on
record, which bore no forensic autopsy report on the body of the victim.
Appellant further alleges that despite the evidence on record of repeated and severe
beatings she had suffered at the hands of her husband, the trial court failed to appreciate
her self-defense theory. She claims that under the surrounding circumstances, her act of
killing her husband was equivalent to self-defense. Furthermore, she argues that if she "did
not lie about how she killed her husband, then she did not lie about the abuse she suffered
at his hands."
She thus prays for the following reliefs:
[5]

"1. The Honorable Court allow an exhumation of the body of the victim, Ben M.
Genosa, and a re-examination of the cause of death.
2. The Honorable Court submit accused-appellant for examination by qualified
psychologists and psychiatrists of the Court to determine her state of mind at
the time of the killing of her spouse, Ben M. Genosa.
3. Thereafter, the Honorable Court allow the reports of the psychologists and
psychiatrists to form part of the records of the case for purposes of the
automatic review or, in the alternative, to allow a partial re-opening of the case
before a lower court in Metro Manila to admit the testimony of said
psychologists and psychiatrists."
On August 22, 2000, the solicitor general, on behalf of the State, filed his
Comment,
[6]
which substantially objected to the Motion on the ground that appellant had
not been "deprived of her right to due process, substantial or procedural."
The Issues

In brief, the issues for our resolution are (1) whether the body of the victim should be
exhumed and reexamined in order to ascertain the cause of his death, and (2) whether the
appellant should be examined by qualified psychologists or psychiatrists in order to
determine her state of mind at the time of the killing.
The Court's Ruling

The Court grants in part the Motion of appellant. We remand the case to the RTC for
the reception of evidence from qualified psychologists or psychiatrists whom the parties
may present to establish her state of mind at the time of the killing.
First Issue: No Need for a Reexamination of Cause of Death

Accused-appellant seeks the exhumation of the victim's body to be able to determine
his exact cause of death, assailing the court a quo's conclusion that he was "smashed or
beaten at the back of his head" rather than shot, as claimed by appellant.
Considering that the appellant has admitted the fact of killing her husband and the acts
of hitting his nape with a metal pipe and of shooting him at the back of his head, the Court
believes that exhumation is unnecessary, if not immaterial, to determine which of said acts
actually caused the victim's death. There is no need to exhume the body at this time and
conduct an autopsy thereon for the purpose.
Moreover, the matter of proving the cause of death should have been made before the
trial court. Time and again, we have said that this Court is not a trier of facts. Neither will it
authorize the firsthand reception of evidence, where the opportunity to offer the same was
available to the party during the trial stage. Consistent with this principle alone, the prayer
sought by appellant for the exhumation of the victim's body cannot be granted.
Second Issue: The Need to Determine Appellant's State of Mind at the Time of the Killing

In seeking to be "examined and evaluated by psychologists and psychiatrists to bring
into evidence the abuse inflicted upon her; [and] to determine whether such abuse will
support the 'battered woman syndrome'," the appellant brings to the fore a novel defense
theory. Through Counsel Katrina Legarda, she asks the Court to "re-evaluate the traditional
elements" used in determining self-defense and to consider the "battered woman
syndrome" as a viable plea within the concept of self-defense.
Allegedly, there are four characteristics of the syndrome: (1) the woman believes that
the violence was her fault; (2) she has an inability to place the responsibility for the violence
elsewhere; (3) she fears for her life and/or her children's lives; and (4) she has an irrational
belief that the abuser is omnipresent and omniscient.
[7]
Living in constant danger of harm or
death, she knows that future beatings are almost certain to occur and will escalate over
time. Her intimate knowledge of the violent nature of her batterer makes her alert to when
a particular attack is forthcoming, and when it will seriously threaten her survival. Trapped
in a cycle of violence and constant fear, it is not unlikely that she would succumb to her
helplessness and fail to perceive possible solutions to the problem other than to injure or kill
her batterer. She is seized by fear of an existing or impending lethal aggression and thus
would have no opportunity beforehand to deliberate on her acts and to choose a less fatal
means of eliminating her sufferings.
Appellant further alleges that the syndrome is already a recognized form of self-defense
in the United States and in Europe. In the US particularly, it is classified as a post-traumatic
stress disorder, rather than a form of mental illness.
[8]
It has been held admissible in order
to assess a defendant's perception of the danger posed by the abuser.
[9]

In view of the foregoing, Appellant Genosa pleads that she be allowed to present
evidence to prove that her relationship with her spouse-victim had afflicted her with the
syndrome. Allegedly, an expert can explain how her experiences as a battered woman had
affected her perception of danger and her honest belief in its imminence, and why she had
resorted to force against her batterer.
The records of the case already bear some evidence on domestic violence between
appellant and her deceased husband. A defense witness, Dr. Dino Caing, testified that she
had consulted him at least six (6) times due to injuries related to domestic violence and
twenty-three (23) times for severe hypertension due to emotional stress.
[10]
Even the
victim's brother and mother attested to the spouses' quarrels every now and then. The
court a quo, however, simplistically ruled that since violence had not immediately preceded
the killing, self-defense could not be appreciated.
Indeed, there is legal and jurisprudential lacuna with respect to the so-called "battered
woman syndrome" as a possible modifying circumstance that could affect the criminal
liability or penalty of the accused. The discourse of appellant on the subject in her Omnibus
Motion has convinced the Court that the syndrome deserves serious consideration,
especially in the light of its possible effect on her very life. It could be that very thin line
between death and life or even acquittal. The Court cannot, for mere technical or
procedural objections, deny appellant the opportunity to offer this defense, for any criminal
conviction must be based on proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Accused persons
facing the possibility of the death penalty must be given fair opportunities to proffer all
defenses possible that could save them from capital punishment.
In People v. Parazo,
[11]
after final conviction of appellant therein, this Court granted his
Urgent Omnibus Motion and allowed him to undergo mental, neurologic and
otolaryngologic examination and evaluation to determine whether he was a deaf-
mute. Based on findings that he really was deaf and mute, yet unaided during the trial by an
expert witness who could professionally understand and interpret his actions and
mutterings, the Court granted him re-arraignment and retrial. It justified its action on the
principle that "only upon proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt may [the accused] be
consigned to the lethal injection chamber."
More recently in People v. Estrada,
[12]
we likewise nullified the trial proceedings and
remanded the case "to the court a quo for a conduct of a proper mental examination on
accused-appellant, a determination of his competency to stand trial, and for further
proceedings." In that case, the defense counsel had moved to suspend the arraignment of
the accused, who could not properly and intelligently enter a plea because of his mental
defect, and to confine him instead in a psychiatric ward. But the trial court denied the
Motion, after simply propounding questions to the accused and determining for itself that
he could understand and answer them "intelligently." After trial, he was convicted of
murder aggravated by cruelty and thus sentenced to death.
In nullifying the trial proceedings, this Court noted:
[13]

"The trial court took it solely upon itself to determine the sanity of accused-appellant. The
trial judge is not a psychiatrist or psychologist or some other expert equipped with the
specialized knowledge of determining the state of a person's mental health. To determine
the accused-appellant's competency to stand trial, the court, in the instant case, should
have at least ordered the examination of accused-appellant, especially in the light of the
latter's history of mental illness."
It was held that in denying appellant an examination by a competent medical expert,
the trial court practically denied him a fair trial prior to conviction, in violation of his
constitutional rights.
Moreover, proof of insanity could have exempted appellant from criminal liability. If the
accused had not performed the act voluntarily, then he could not have been criminally
liable. The Court, through Mr. Justice Reynato S. Puno, emphasized:
"The basic principle in our criminal law is that a person is criminally liable for a felony
committed by him. Under the classical theory on which our penal code is mainly based, the
basis of criminal liability is human free will.Man is essentially a moral creature with an
absolutely free will to choose between good and evil. When he commits a felonious or
criminal act (delito doloso), the act is presumed to have been done voluntarily, i.e., with
freedom, intelligence and intent. Man, therefore, should be adjudged or held accountable
for wrongful acts so long as free will appears unimpaired."
[14]

In the instant case, it is equally important to determine whether Appellant Genosa had
acted freely, intelligently and voluntarily when she killed her spouse. The Court, however,
cannot properly evaluate her battered-woman-syndrome defense, absent expert testimony
on her mental and emotional state at the time of the killing and the possible psychological
cause and effect of her fatal act. Unlike in Parazo, we cannot simply refer her for proper
psychological or psychiatric examination and thereafter admit the findings and evaluation as
part of the records of the cases for purposes of automatic review. The prosecution has
likewise the right to a fair trial, which includes the opportunity to cross-examine the defense
witnesses and to refute the expert opinion given.Thus, consistent with the principle of due
process, a partial reopening of the case is apropos, so as to allow the defense the
opportunity to present expert evidence consistent with our foregoing disquisition, as well as
the prosecution the opportunity to cross examine and refute the same.
WHEREFORE, the Urgent Omnibus Motion of Appellant Marivic Genosa is PARTLY
GRANTED. The case is hereby REMANDED to the trial court for the reception of expert
psychological and/or psychiatric opinion on the "battered woman syndrome" plea, within
ninety (90) days from notice, and, thereafter to forthwith report to this Court the
proceedings taken, together with the copies of the TSN and relevant documentary evidence,
if any, submitted.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Quisumbing, Purisima,
Pardo, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes, Ynares-Santiago, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.

The Facts
Version of the Prosecution
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) summarizes the prosecutions version of the
facts in this wise:
Appellant and Ben Genosa were united in marriage on November 19, 1983 in Ormoc City.
Thereafter, they lived with the parents of Ben in their house at Isabel, Leyte. For a time,
Bens younger brother, Alex, and his wife lived with them too. Sometime in 1995, however,
appellant and Ben rented from Steban Matiga a house at Barangay Bilwang, Isabel, Leyte
where they lived with their two children, namely: John Marben and Earl Pierre.
On November 15, 1995, Ben and Arturo Basobas went to a cockfight after receiving their
salary. They each had two (2) bottles of beer before heading home. Arturo would pass Bens
house before reaching his. When they arrived at the house of Ben, he found out that
appellant had gone to Isabel, Leyte to look for him. Ben went inside his house, while Arturo
went to a store across it, waiting until 9:00 in the evening for the masiao runner to place a
bet. Arturo did not see appellant arrive but on his way home passing the side of the
Genosas rented house, he heard her say I wont hesitate to kill you to which Ben replied
Why kill me when I am innocent? That was the last time Arturo saw Ben alive. Arturo also
noticed that since then, the Genosas rented house appeared uninhabited and was always
closed.
On November 16, 1995, appellant asked Erlinda Paderog, her close friend and neighbor
living about fifty (50) meters from her house, to look after her pig because she was going to
Cebu for a pregnancy check-up. Appellant likewise asked Erlinda to sell her motorcycle to
their neighbor Ronnie Dayandayan who unfortunately had no money to buy it.
That same day, about 12:15 in the afternoon, Joseph Valida was waiting for a bus going to
Ormoc when he saw appellant going out of their house with her two kids in tow, each one
carrying a bag, locking the gate and taking her children to the waiting area where he was.
Joseph lived about fifty (50) meters behind the Genosas rented house. Joseph, appellant
and her children rode the same bus to Ormoc. They had no conversation as Joseph noticed
that appellant did not want to talk to him.
On November 18, 1995, the neighbors of Steban Matiga told him about the foul odor
emanating from his house being rented by Ben and appellant. Steban went there to find out
the cause of the stench but the house was locked from the inside. Since he did not have a
duplicate key with him, Steban destroyed the gate padlock with a borrowed steel saw. He
was able to get inside through the kitchen door but only after destroying a window to reach
a hook that locked it. Alone, Steban went inside the unlocked bedroom where the offensive
smell was coming from. There, he saw the lifeless body of Ben lying on his side on the bed
covered with a blanket. He was only in his briefs with injuries at the back of his head. Seeing
this, Steban went out of the house and sent word to the mother of Ben about his sons
misfortune. Later that day, Iluminada Genosa, the mother of Ben, identified the dead body
as that of [her] son.
Meanwhile, in the morning of the same day, SPO3 Leo Acodesin, then assigned at the
police station at Isabel, Leyte, received a report regarding the foul smell at the Genosas
rented house. Together with SPO1 Millares, SPO1 Colon, and Dr. Refelina Cerillo, SPO3
Acodesin proceeded to the house and went inside the bedroom where they found the dead
body of Ben lying on his side wrapped with a bedsheet. There was blood at the nape of Ben
who only had his briefs on. SPO3 Acodesin found in one corner at the side of an aparador a
metal pipe about two (2) meters from where Ben was, leaning against a wall. The metal pipe
measured three (3) feet and six (6) inches long with a diameter of one and half (1 1/2)
inches. It had an open end without a stop valve with a red stain at one end. The bedroom
was not in disarray.
About 10:00 that same morning, the cadaver of Ben, because of its stench, had to be taken
outside at the back of the house before the postmortem examination was conducted by Dr.
Cerillo in the presence of the police. A municipal health officer at Isabel, Leyte responsible
for medico-legal cases, Dr. Cerillo found that Ben had been dead for two to three days and
his body was already decomposing. The postmortem examination of Dr. Cerillo yielded the
findings quoted in the Information for parricide later filed against appellant. She concluded
that the cause of Bens death was cardiopulmonary arrest secondary to severe intracranial
hemorrhage due to a depressed fracture of the occipital *bone+.
Appellant admitted killing Ben. She testified that going home after work on November 15,
1995, she got worried that her husband who was not home yet might have gone gambling
since it was a payday. With her cousin Ecel Arao, appellant went to look for Ben at the
marketplace and taverns at Isabel, Leyte but did not find him there. They found Ben drunk
upon their return at the Genosas house. Ecel went home despite appellants request for her
to sleep in their house.
Then, Ben purportedly nagged appellant for following him, even challenging her to a fight.
She allegedly ignored him and instead attended to their children who were doing their
homework. Apparently disappointed with her reaction, Ben switched off the light and, with
the use of a chopping knife, cut the television antenna or wire to keep her from watching
television. According to appellant, Ben was about to attack her so she ran to the bedroom,
but he got hold of her hands and whirled her around. She fell on the side of the bed and
screamed for help. Ben left. At this point, appellant packed his clothes because she wanted
him to leave. Seeing his packed clothes upon his return home, Ben allegedly flew into a rage,
dragged appellant outside of the bedroom towards a drawer holding her by the neck, and
told her You might as well be killed so nobody would nag me. Appellant testified that she
was aware that there was a gun inside the drawer but since Ben did not have the key to it,
he got a three-inch long blade cutter from his wallet. She however, smashed the arm of
Ben with a pipe, causing him to drop the blade and his wallet. Appellant then smashed Ben
at his nape with the pipe as he was about to pick up the blade and his wallet. She thereafter
ran inside the bedroom.
Appellant, however, insisted that she ended the life of her husband by shooting him. She
supposedly distorted the drawer where the gun was and shot Ben. He did not die on the
spot, though, but in the bedroom.
[7]
(Citations omitted)
Version of the Defense
Appellant relates her version of the facts in this manner:
1. Marivic and Ben Genosa were allegedly married on November 19, 1983. Prior to her
marriage, Marivic had graduated from San Carlos, Cebu City, obtaining a degree of Bachelor
of Science in Business Administration, and was working, at the time of her husbands death,
as a Secretary to the Port Managers in Ormoc City. The couple had three (3) children: John
Marben, Earl Pierre and Marie Bianca.
2. Marivic and Ben had known each other since elementary school; they were neighbors in
Bilwang; they were classmates; and they were third degree cousins. Both sets of parents
were against their relationship, but Ben was persistent and tried to stop other suitors from
courting her. Their closeness developed as he was her constant partner at fiestas.
3. After their marriage, they lived first in the home of Bens parents, together with Bens
brother, Alex, in Isabel, Leyte. In the first year of marriage, Marivic and Ben lived happily.
But apparently, soon thereafter, the couple would quarrel often and their fights would
become violent.
4. Bens brother, Alex, testified for the prosecution that he could not remember when Ben
and Marivic married. He said that when Ben and Marivic quarreled, generally when Ben
would come home drunk, Marivic would inflict injuries on him. He said that in one incident
in 1993 he saw Marivic holding a kitchen knife after Ben had shouted for help as his left
hand was covered with blood. Marivic left the house but after a week, she returned
apparently having asked for Bens forgiveness. In another incident in May 22, 1994, early
morning, Alex and his father apparently rushed to Bens aid again and saw blood from Bens
forehead and Marivic holding an empty bottle. Ben and Marivic reconciled after Marivic had
apparently again asked for Bens forgiveness.
Mrs. Iluminada Genosa, Marivics mother-in-law, testified too, saying that Ben and Marivic
married in 1986 or 1985 more or less here in Fatima, Ormoc City. She said as the marriage
went along, Marivic became already very demanding. Mrs. Iluminada Genosa said that after
the birth of Marivics two sons, there were three (3) misunderstandings. The first was
when Marivic stabbed Ben with a table knife through his left arm; the second incident was
on November 15, 1994, when Marivic struck Ben on the forehead using a sharp instrument
until the eye was also affected. It was wounded and also the ear and her husband went to
Ben to help; and the third incident was in 1995 when the couple had already transferred to
the house in Bilwang and she saw that Bens hand was plastered as the bone cracked.
Both mother and son claimed they brought Ben to a Pasar clinic for medical intervention.
5. Arturo Basobas, a co-worker of Ben, testified that on November 15, 1995 After we
collected our salary, we went to the cock-fighting place of ISCO. They stayed there for three
(3) hours, after which they went to Uniloks and drank beer allegedly only two (2) bottles
each. After drinking they bought barbeque and went to the Genosa residence. Marivic was
not there. He stayed a while talking with Ben, after which he went across the road to wait
for the runner and the usher of the masiao game because during that time, the hearing on
masiao numbers was rampant. I was waiting for the ushers and runners so that I can place
my bet. On his way home at about 9:00 in the evening, he heard the Genosas arguing. They
were quarreling loudly. Outside their house was one Fredo who is used by Ben to feed his
fighting cocks. Basobas testimony on the root of the quarrel, conveniently overheard by
him was Marivic saying I will never hesitate to kill you, whilst Ben replied Why kill me
when I am innocent. Basobas thought they were joking.
He did not hear them quarreling while he was across the road from the Genosa residence.
Basobas admitted that he and Ben were always at the cockpits every Saturday and Sunday.
He claims that he once told Ben before when he was stricken with a bottle by Marivic
Genosa that he should leave her and that Ben would always take her back after she would
leave him so many times.
Basobas could not remember when Marivic had hit Ben, but it was a long time that they
had been quarreling. He said Ben even had a wound on the right forehead. He had known
the couple for only one (1) year.
6. Marivic testified that after the first year of marriage, Ben became cruel to her and was a
habitual drinker. She said he provoked her, he would slap her, sometimes he would pin her
down on the bed, and sometimes beat her.
These incidents happened several times and she would often run home to her parents, but
Ben would follow her and seek her out, promising to change and would ask for her
forgiveness. She said after she would be beaten, she would seek medical help from Dr. Dino
Caing, Dr. Lucero and Dra. Cerillo. These doctors would enter the injuries inflicted upon her
by Ben into their reports. Marivic said Ben would beat her or quarrel with her every time he
was drunk, at least three times a week.
7. In her defense, witnesses who were not so closely related to Marivic, testified as to the
abuse and violence she received at the hands of Ben.
7.1. Mr. Joe Barrientos, a fisherman, who was a *neighbor+ of the Genosas, testified that on
November 15, 1995, he overheard a quarrel between Ben and Marivic. Marivic was shouting
for help and through the open jalousies, he saw the spouses grappling with each other.
Ben had Marivic in a choke hold. He did not do anything, but had come voluntarily to testify.
(Please note this was the same night as that testified to by Arturo Busabos.
[8]
)
7.2. Mr. Junnie Barrientos, also a fisherman, and the brother of Mr. Joe Barrientos, testified
that he heard his neighbor Marivic shouting on the night of November 15, 1995. He peeped
through the window of his hut which is located beside the Genosa house and saw the
spouses grappling with each other then Ben Genosa was holding with his both hands the
neck of the accused, Marivic Genosa. He said after a while, Marivic was able to extricate
he[r]self and enter the room of the children. After that, he went back to work as he was to
go fishing that evening. He returned at 8:00 the next morning. (Again, please note that this
was the same night as that testified to by Arturo Basobas).
7.3. Mr. Teodoro Sarabia was a former neighbor of the Genosas while they were living in
Isabel, Leyte. His house was located about fifty (50) meters from theirs. Marivic is his niece
and he knew them to be living together for 13 or 14 years. He said the couple was always
quarreling. Marivic confided in him that Ben would pawn items and then would use the
money to gamble. One time, he went to their house and they were quarreling. Ben was so
angry, but would be pacified if somebody would come. He testified that while Ben was
alive he used to gamble and when he became drunk, he would go to our house and he will
say, Teody because that was what he used to call me, mokimas ta, which means lets go
and look for a whore. Mr. Sarabia further testified that Ben would box his wife and I would
see bruises and one time she ran to me, I noticed a wound (the witness pointed to his right
breast) as according to her a knife was stricken to her. Mr. Sarabia also said that once he
saw Ben had been injured too. He said he voluntarily testified only that morning.
7.4. Miss Ecel Arano, an 18-year old student, who is a cousin of Marivic, testified that in the
afternoon of November 15, 1995, Marivic went to her house and asked her help to look for
Ben. They searched in the market place, several taverns and some other places, but could
not find him. She accompanied Marivic home. Marivic wanted her to sleep with her in the
Genosa house because she might be battered by her husband. When they got to the
Genosa house at about 7:00 in the evening, Miss Arano said that her husband was already
there and was drunk. Miss Arano knew he was drunk because of his staggering walking and
I can also detect his face. Marivic entered the house and she heard them quarrel noisily.
(Again, please note that this is the same night as that testified to by Arturo Basobas) Miss
Arano testified that this was not the first time Marivic had asked her to sleep in the house as
Marivic would be afraid every time her husband would come home drunk. At one time
when she did sleep over, she was awakened at 10:00 in the evening when Ben arrived
because the couple were very noisy in the sala and I had heard something was broken like a
vase. She said Marivic ran into her room and they locked the door. When Ben couldnt get
in he got a chair and a knife and showed us the knife through the window grill and he
scared us. She said that Marivic shouted for help, but no one came. On cross-examination,
she said that when she left Marivics house on November 15, 1995, the couple were still
quarreling.
7.5. Dr. Dino Caing, a physician testified that he and Marivic were co-employees at
PHILPHOS, Isabel, Leyte. Marivic was his patient many times and had also received
treatment from other doctors. Dr. Caing testified that from July 6, 1989 until November 9,
1995, there were six (6) episodes of physical injuries inflicted upon Marivic. These injuries
were reported in his Out-Patient Chart at the PHILPHOS Hospital. The prosecution admitted
the qualifications of Dr. Caing and considered him an expert witness.
x x x x x x x x x
Dr. Caings clinical history of the tension headache and hypertention of Marivic on twenty-
three (23) separate occasions was marked at Exhibits 2 and 2-B. The OPD Chart of Marivic
at the Philphos Clinic which reflected all the consultations made by Marivic and the six (6)
incidents of physical injuries reported was marked as Exhibit 3.
On cross-examination, Dr. Caing said that he is not a psychiatrist, he could not say whether
the injuries were directly related to the crime committed. He said it is only a psychiatrist
who is qualified to examine the psychological make-up of the patient, whether she is
capable of committing a crime or not.
7.6 Mr. Panfilo Tero, the barangay captain in the place where the Genosas resided, testified
that about two (2) months before Ben died, Marivic went to his office past 8:00 in the
evening. She sought his help to settle or confront the Genosa couple who were experiencing
family troubles. He told Marivic to return in the morning, but he did not hear from her
again and assumed that they might have settled with each other or they might have
forgiven with each other.
x x x x x x x x x
Marivic said she did not provoke her husband when she got home that night it was her
husband who began the provocation. Marivic said she was frightened that her husband
would hurt her and she wanted to make sure she would deliver her baby safely. In fact,
Marivic had to be admitted later at the Rizal Medical Centre as she was suffering from
eclampsia and hypertension, and the baby was born prematurely on December 1, 1995.
Marivic testified that during her marriage she had tried to leave her husband at least five
(5) times, but that Ben would always follow her and they would reconcile. Marivic said that
the reason why Ben was violent and abusive towards her that night was because he was
crazy about his recent girlfriend, Lulu x x x Rubillos.
On cross-examination, Marivic insisted she shot Ben with a gun; she said that he died in the
bedroom; that their quarrels could be heard by anyone passing their house; that Basobas
lied in his testimony; that she left for Manila the next day, November 16, 1995; that she did
not bother anyone in Manila, rented herself a room, and got herself a job as a field
researcher under the alias Marvelous Isidro; she did not tell anyone that she was leaving
Leyte, she just wanted to have a safe delivery of her baby; and that she was arrested in San
Pablo, Laguna.
Answering questions from the Court, Marivic said that she threw the gun away; that she did
not know what happened to the pipe she used to smash him once; that she was wounded
by Ben on her wrist with the bolo; and that two (2) hours after she was whirled by Ben, he
kicked her ass and dragged her towards the drawer when he saw that she had packed his
things.
9. The body of Ben Genosa was found on November 18, 1995 after an investigation was
made of the foul odor emitting from the Genosa residence. This fact was testified to by all
the prosecution witnesses and some defense witnesses during the trial.
10. Dra. Refelina Y. Cerillo, a physician, was the Municipal Health Officer of Isabel, Leyte at
the time of the incident, and among her responsibilities as such was to take charge of all
medico-legal cases, such as the examination of cadavers and the autopsy of cadavers. Dra.
Cerillo is not a forensic pathologist. She merely took the medical board exams and passed in
1986. She was called by the police to go to the Genosa residence and when she got there,
she saw some police officer and neighbor around. She saw Ben Genosa, covered by a
blanket, lying in a semi-prone position with his back to the door. He was wearing only a
brief.
x x x x x x x x x
Dra. Cerillo said that there is only one injury and that is the injury involving the skeletal
area of the head which she described as a fracture. And that based on her examination,
Ben had been dead 2 or 3 days. Dra. Cerillo did not testify as to what caused his death.
Dra. Cerillo was not cross-examined by defense counsel.
11. The Information, dated November 14, 1996, filed against Marivic Genosa charged her
with the crime of PARRICIDE committed with intent to kill, with treachery and evidence
premeditation, x x x wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault, hit and wound x x x
her legitimate husband, with the use of a hard deadly weapon x x x which caused his death.
12. Trial took place on 7 and 14 April 1997, 14 May 1997, 21 July 1997, 17, 22 and 23
September 1997, 12 November 1997, 15 and 16 December 1997, 22 May 1998, and 5 and 6
August 1998.
13. On 23 September 1998, or only fifty (50) days from the day of the last trial date, the
Hon. Fortunito L. Madrona, Presiding Judge, RTC-Branch 35, Ormoc City, rendered a
JUDGMENT finding Marivic guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of parricide, and
further found treachery as an aggravating circumstance, thus sentencing her to the ultimate
penalty of DEATH.
14. The case was elevated to this Honorable Court upon automatic review and, under date
of 24 January 2000, Marivics trial lawyer, Atty. Gil Marvel P. Tabucanon, filed a Motion to
Withdraw as counsel, attaching thereto, as a precautionary measure, two (2) drafts of
Appellants Briefs he had prepared for Marivic which, for reasons of her own, were not
conformed to by her.
The Honorable Court allowed the withdrawal of Atty. Tabucanon and permitted the entry
of appearance of undersigned counsel.
15. Without the knowledge of counsel, Marivic Genosa wrote a letter dated 20 January
2000, to the Chief Justice, coursing the same through Atty. Teresita G. Dimaisip, Deputy
Clerk of Court of Chief Judicial Records Office, wherein she submitted her Brief without
counsels to the Court.
This letter was stamp-received by the Honorable Court on 4 February 2000.
16. In the meantime, under date of 17 February 2000, and stamp-received by the
Honorable Court on 19 February 2000, undersigned counsel filed an URGENT OMNIBUS
MOTION praying that the Honorable Court allow the exhumation of Ben Genosa and the re-
examination of the cause of his death; allow the examination of Marivic Genosa by qualified
psychologists and psychiatrists to determine her state of mind at the time she killed her
husband; and finally, to allow a partial re-opening of the case a quo to take the testimony of
said psychologists and psychiatrists.
Attached to the URGENT OMNIBUS MOTION was a letter of Dr. Raquel Fortun, then the
only qualified forensic pathologist in the country, who opined that the description of the
death wound (as culled from the post-mortem findings, Exhibit A) is more akin to a
gunshot wound than a beating with a lead pipe.
17. In a RESOLUTION dated 29 September 2000, the Honorable Court partly granted
Marivics URGENT OMNIBUS MOTION and remanded the case to the trial court for the
reception of expert psychological and/or psychiatric opinion on the battered woman
syndrome plea, within ninety (90) days from notice, and, thereafter to forthwith report to
this Court the proceedings taken, together with the copies of the TSN and relevant
documentary evidence, if any, submitted.
18. On 15 January 2001, Dra. Natividad A. Dayan appeared and testified before the Hon.
Fortunito L. Madrona, RTC-Branch 35, Ormoc City.
Immediately before Dra. Dayan was sworn, the Court a quo asked if she had interviewed
Marivic Genosa. Dra. Dayan informed the Court that interviews were done at the Penal
Institution in 1999, but that the clinical interviews and psychological assessment were done
at her clinic.
Dra. Dayan testified that she has been a clinical psychologist for twenty (20) years with her
own private clinic and connected presently to the De La Salle University as a professor.
Before this, she was the Head of the Psychology Department of the Assumption College; a
member of the faculty of Psychology at the Ateneo de Manila University and St. Josephs
College; and was the counseling psychologist of the National Defense College. She has an AB
in Psychology from the University of the Philippines, a Master of Arts in Clinical [Counseling],
Psychology from the Ateneo, and a PhD from the U.P. She was the past president of the
Psychological Association of the Philippines and is a member of the American Psychological
Association. She is the secretary of the International Council of Psychologists from about 68
countries; a member of the Forensic Psychology Association; and a member of the ASEAN
[Counseling] Association. She is actively involved with the Philippine Judicial Academy,
recently lecturing on the socio-demographic and psychological profile of families involved in
domestic violence and nullity cases. She was with the Davide Commission doing research
about Military Psychology. She has written a book entitled Energy Global Psychology
(together with Drs. Allan Tan and Allan Bernardo). The Genosa case is the first time she has
testified as an expert on battered women as this is the first case of that nature.
Dra. Dayan testified that for the research she conducted, on the socio-demographic and
psychological profile of families involved in domestic violence, and nullity cases, she looked
at about 500 cases over a period of ten (10) years and discovered that there are lots of
variables that cause all of this marital conflicts, from domestic violence to infidelity, to
psychiatric disorder.
Dra. Dayan described domestic violence to comprise of a lot of incidents of psychological
abuse, verbal abuse, and emotional abuse to physical abuse and also sexual abuse.
x x x x x x x x x
Dra. Dayan testified that in her studies, the battered woman usually has a very low opinion
of herself. She has a self-defeating and self-sacrificing characteristics. x x x they usually think
very lowly of themselves and so when the violence would happen, they usually think that
they provoke it, that they were the one who precipitated the violence, they provoke their
spouse to be physically, verbally and even sexually abusive to them. Dra. Dayan said that
usually a battered x x x comes from a dysfunctional family or from broken homes.
Dra. Dayan said that the batterer, just like the battered woman, also has a very low
opinion of himself. But then emerges to have superiority complex and it comes out as being
very arrogant, very hostile, very aggressive and very angry. They also had (sic) a very low
tolerance for frustrations. A lot of times they are involved in vices like gambling, drinking
and drugs. And they become violent. The batterer also usually comes from a dysfunctional
family which over-pampers them and makes them feel entitled to do anything. Also, they
see often how their parents abused each other so there is a lot of modeling of aggression in
the family.
Dra. Dayan testified that there are a lot of reasons why a battered woman does not leave
her husband: poverty, self-blame and guilt that she provoked the violence, the cycle itself
which makes her hope her husband will change, the belief in her obligations to keep the
family intact at all costs for the sake of the children.
x x x x x x x x x
Dra. Dayan said that abused wives react differently to the violence: some leave the house,
or lock themselves in another room, or sometimes try to fight back triggering physical
violence on both of them. She said that in a normal marital relationship, abuses also
happen, but these are not consistent, not chronic, are not happening day in *and+ day out.
In an abnormal marital relationship, the abuse occurs day in and day out, is long lasting
and even would cause hospitalization on the victim and even death on the victim.
x x x x x x x x x
Dra. Dayan said that as a result of the battery of psychological tests she administered, it
was her opinion that Marivic fits the profile of a battered woman because inspite of her
feeling of self-confidence which we can see at times there are really feeling (sic) of loss, such
feelings of humiliation which she sees herself as damaged and as a broken person. And at
the same time she still has the imprint of all the abuses that she had experienced in the
past.
x x x x x x x x x
Dra. Dayan said Marivic thought of herself as a loving wife and did not even consider filing
for nullity or legal separation inspite of the abuses. It was at the time of the tragedy that
Marivic then thought of herself as a victim.
x x x x x x x x x
19. On 9 February 2001, Dr. Alfredo Pajarillo, a physician, who has since passed away,
appeared and testified before RTC-Branch 35, Ormoc City.
Dr. Pajarillo was a Diplomate of the Philippine Board of Psychiatry; a Fellow of the
Philippine Board of Psychiatry and a Fellow of the Philippine Psychiatry Association. He was
in the practice of psychiatry for thirty-eight (38) years. Prior to being in private practice, he
was connected with the Veterans Memorial Medical Centre where he gained his training on
psychiatry and neurology. After that, he was called to active duty in the Armed Forces of the
Philippines, assigned to the V. Luna Medical Center for twenty six (26) years. Prior to his
retirement from government service, he obtained the rank of Brigadier General. He
obtained his medical degree from the University of Santo Tomas. He was also a member of
the World Association of Military Surgeons; the Quezon City Medical Society; the Cagayan
Medical Society; and the Philippine Association of Military Surgeons.
He authored The Comparative Analysis of Nervous Breakdown in the Philippine Military
Academy from the Period 1954 1978 which was presented twice in international
congresses. He also authored The Mental Health of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
2000, which was likewise published internationally and locally. He had a medical textbook
published on the use of Prasepam on a Parke-Davis grant; was the first to use Enanthate
(siquiline), on an E.R. Squibb grant; and he published the use of the drug Zopiclom in 1985-
86.
Dr. Pajarillo explained that psychiatry deals with the functional disorder of the mind and
neurology deals with the ailment of the brain and spinal cord enlarged. Psychology, on the
other hand, is a bachelor degree and a doctorate degree; while one has to finish medicine to
become a specialist in psychiatry.
Even only in his 7th year as a resident in V. Luna Medical Centre, Dr. Pajarillo had already
encountered a suit involving violent family relations, and testified in a case in 1964. In the
Armed Forces of the Philippines, violent family disputes abound, and he has seen probably
ten to twenty thousand cases. In those days, the primordial intention of therapy was
reconciliation. As a result of his experience with domestic violence cases, he became a
consultant of the Battered Woman Office in Quezon City under Atty. Nenita Deproza.
As such consultant, he had seen around forty (40) cases of severe domestic violence, where
there is physical abuse: such as slapping, pushing, verbal abuse, battering and boxing a
woman even to an unconscious state such that the woman is sometimes confined. The
affliction of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder depends on the vulnerability of the victim. Dr.
Pajarillo said that if the victim is not very healthy, perhaps one episode of violence may
induce the disorder; if the psychological stamina and physiologic constitutional stamina of
the victim is stronger, it will take more repetitive trauma to precipitate the post-traumatic
stress disorder and this x x x is very dangerous.
In psychiatry, the post-traumatic stress disorder is incorporated under the anxiety neurosis
or neurologic anxcietism. It is produced by overwhelming brutality, trauma.
x x x x x x x x x
Dr. Pajarillo explained that with neurotic anxiety, the victim relives the beating or trauma
as if it were real, although she is not actually being beaten at that time. She thinks of
nothing but the suffering.
x x x x x x x x x
A woman who suffers battery has a tendency to become neurotic, her emotional tone is
unstable, and she is irritable and restless. She tends to become hard-headed and persistent.
She has higher sensitivity and her self-world is damaged.
Dr. Pajarillo said that an abnormal family background relates to an individuals illness, such
as the deprivation of the continuous care and love of the parents. As to the batterer, he
normally internalizes what is around him within the environment. And it becomes his own
personality. He is very competitive; he is aiming high all the time; he is so macho; he shows
his strong faade but in it there are doubts in himself and prone to act without thinking.
x x x x x x x x x
Dr. Pajarillo emphasized that even though without the presence of the precipator (sic) or
the one who administered the battering, that re-experiencing of the trauma occurred (sic)
because the individual cannot control it. It will just come up in her mind or in his mind.
x x x x x x x x x
Dr. Pajarillo said that a woman suffering post traumatic stress disorder try to defend
themselves, and primarily with knives. Usually pointed weapons or any weapon that is
available in the immediate surrounding or in a hospital x x x because that abound in the
household. He said a victim resorts to weapons when she has reached the lowest rock
bottom of her life and there is no other recourse left on her but to act decisively.
x x x x x x x x x
Dr. Pajarillo testified that he met Marivic Genosa in his office in an interview he conducted
for two (2) hours and seventeen (17) minutes. He used the psychological evaluation and
social case studies as a help in forming his diagnosis. He came out with a Psychiatric Report,
dated 22 January 2001.
x x x x x x x x x
On cross-examination by the private prosecutor, Dr. Pajarillo said that at the time she killed
her husband Marivicc mental condition was that she was re-experiencing the trauma. He
said that we are trying to explain scientifically that the re-experiencing of the trauma is not
controlled by Marivic. It will just come in flashes and probably at that point in time that
things happened when the re-experiencing of the trauma flashed in her mind. At the time
he interviewed Marivic she was more subdued, she was not super alert anymore x x x she is
mentally stress (sic) because of the predicament she is involved.
x x x x x x x x x
20. No rebuttal evidence or testimony was presented by either the private or the public
prosecutor. Thus, in accord with the Resolution of this Honorable Court, the records of the
partially re-opened trial a quowere elevated.
[9]

Ruling of the Trial Court
Finding the proffered theory of self-defense untenable, the RTC gave credence to the
prosecution evidence that appellant had killed the deceased while he was in bed sleeping.
Further, the trial court appreciated the generic aggravating circumstance of treachery,
because Ben Genosa was supposedly defenseless when he was killed -- lying in bed asleep
when Marivic smashed him with a pipe at the back of his head.
The capital penalty having been imposed, the case was elevated to this Court for
automatic review.
Supervening Circumstances
On February 19, 2000, appellant filed an Urgent Omnibus Motion praying that this
Court allow (1) the exhumation of Ben Genosa and the reexamination of the cause of his
death; (2) the examination of appellant by qualified psychologists and psychiatrists to
determine her state of mind at the time she had killed her spouse; and (3) the inclusion of
the said experts reports in the records of the case for purposes of the automatic review or,
in the alternative, a partial reopening of the case for the lower court to admit the experts
testimonies.
On September 29, 2000, this Court issued a Resolution granting in part appellants
Motion, remanding the case to the trial court for the reception of expert psychological
and/or psychiatric opinion on the battered woman syndrome plea; and requiring the
lower court to report thereafter to this Court the proceedings taken as well as to submit
copies of the TSN and additional evidence, if any.
Acting on the Courts Resolution, the trial judge authorized the examination of Marivic
by two clinical psychologists, Drs. Natividad Dayan
[10]
and Alfredo Pajarillo,
[11]
supposedly
experts on domestic violence. Their testimonies, along with their documentary evidence,
were then presented to and admitted by the lower court before finally being submitted to
this Court to form part of the records of the case.
[12]

The Issues
Appellant assigns the following alleged errors of the trial court for this Courts
consideration:
1. The trial court gravely erred in promulgating an obviously hasty decision without
reflecting on the evidence adduced as to self-defense.
2. The trial court gravely erred in finding as a fact that Ben and Marivic Genosa were legally
married and that she was therefore liable for parricide.
3. The trial court gravely erred finding the cause of death to be by beating with a pipe.
4. The trial court gravely erred in ignoring and disregarding evidence adduced from
impartial and unbiased witnesses that Ben Genosa was a drunk, a gambler, a womanizer and
wife-beater; and further gravely erred in concluding that Ben Genosa was a battered
husband.
5. The trial court gravely erred in not requiring testimony from the children of Marivic
Genosa.
6. The trial court gravely erred in concluding that Marivics flight to Manila and her
subsequent apologies were indicia of guilt, instead of a clear attempt to save the life of her
unborn child.
7. The trial court gravely erred in concluding that there was an aggravating circumstance of
treachery.
8. The trial court gravely erred in refusing to re-evaluate the traditional elements in
determining the existence of self-defense and defense of foetus in this case, thereby
erroneously convicting Marivic Genosa of the crime of parricide and condemning her to the
ultimate penalty of death.
[13]

In the main, the following are the essential legal issues: (1) whether appellant acted in
self-defense and in defense of her fetus; and (2) whether treachery attended the killing of
Ben Genosa.
The Courts Ruling
The appeal is partly meritorious.
Collateral Factual Issues
The first six assigned errors raised by appellant are factual in nature, if not collateral to
the resolution of the principal issues. As consistently held by this Court, the findings of the
trial court on the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies are entitled to a high degree
of respect and will not be disturbed on appeal in the absence of any showing that the trial
judge gravely abused his discretion or overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied material
facts or circumstances of weight and substance that could affect the outcome of the case.
[14]

In appellants first six assigned items, we find no grave abuse of discretion, reversible
error or misappreciation of material facts that would reverse or modify the trial courts
disposition of the case. In any event, we will now briefly dispose of these alleged errors of
the trial court.
First, we do not agree that the lower court promulgated an obviously hasty decision
without reflecting on the evidence adduced as to self-defense. We note that in his 17-page
Decision, Judge Fortunito L. Madrona summarized the testimonies of both the prosecution
and the defense witnesses and -- on the basis of those and of the documentary evidence on
record -- made his evaluation, findings and conclusions. He wrote a 3-page discourse
assessing the testimony and the self-defense theory of the accused. While she, or even this
Court, may not agree with the trial judges conclusions, we cannot peremptorily conclude,
absent substantial evidence, that he failed to reflect on the evidence presented.
Neither do we find the appealed Decision to have been made in an obviously hasty
manner. The Information had been filed with the lower court on November 14, 1996.
Thereafter, trial began and at least 13 hearings were held for over a year. It took the trial
judge about two months from the conclusion of trial to promulgate his judgment. That he
conducted the trial and resolved the case with dispatch should not be taken against him,
much less used to condemn him for being unduly hasty. If at all, the dispatch with which he
handled the case should be lauded. In any case, we find his actions in substantial
compliance with his constitutional obligation.
[15]

Second, the lower court did not err in finding as a fact that Ben Genosa and appellant
had been legally married, despite the non-presentation of their marriage contract. In People
v. Malabago,
[16]
this Court held:
The key element in parricide is the relationship of the offender with the victim. In the case
of parricide of a spouse, the best proof of the relationship between the accused and the
deceased is the marriage certificate. In the absence of a marriage certificate, however, oral
evidence of the fact of marriage may be considered by the trial court if such proof is not
objected to.
Two of the prosecution witnesses -- namely, the mother and the brother of appellants
deceased spouse -- attested in court that Ben had been married to Marivic.
[17]
The defense
raised no objection to these testimonies. Moreover, during her direct examination,
appellant herself made a judicial admission of her marriage to Ben.
[18]
Axiomatic is the rule
that a judicial admission is conclusive upon the party making it, except only when there is a
showing that (1) the admission was made through a palpable mistake, or (2) no admission
was in fact made.
[19]
Other than merely attacking the non-presentation of the marriage
contract, the defense offered no proof that the admission made by appellant in court as to
the fact of her marriage to the deceased was made through a palpable mistake.
Third, under the circumstances of this case, the specific or direct cause of Bens death --
whether by a gunshot or by beating with a pipe -- has no legal consequence. As the Court
elucidated in its September 29, 2000 Resolution, *c+onsidering that the appellant has
admitted the fact of killing her husband and the acts of hitting his nape with a metal pipe
and of shooting him at the back of his head, the Court believes that exhumation is
unnecessary, if not immaterial, to determine which of said acts actually caused the victims
death. Determining which of these admitted acts caused the death is not dispositive of the
guilt or defense of appellant.
Fourth, we cannot fault the trial court for not fully appreciating evidence that Ben was a
drunk, gambler, womanizer and wife-beater. Until this case came to us for automatic review,
appellant had not raised the novel defense of battered woman syndrome, for which such
evidence may have been relevant. Her theory of self-defense was then the crucial issue before
the trial court. As will be discussed shortly, the legal requisites of self-defense under prevailing
jurisprudence ostensibly appear inconsistent with the surrounding facts that led to the death of
the victim. Hence, his personal character, especially his past behavior, did not constitute vital
evidence at the time.
Fifth, the trial court surely committed no error in not requiring testimony from
appellants children. As correctly elucidated by the solicitor general, all criminal actions are
prosecuted under the direction and control of the public prosecutor, in whom lies the
discretion to determine which witnesses and evidence are necessary to present.
[20]
As the
former further points out, neither the trial court nor the prosecution prevented appellant
from presenting her children as witnesses. Thus, she cannot now fault the lower court for
not requiring them to testify.
Finally, merely collateral or corroborative is the matter of whether the flight of Marivic
to Manila and her subsequent apologies to her brother-in-law are indicia of her guilt or are
attempts to save the life of her unborn child. Any reversible error as to the trial courts
appreciation of these circumstances has little bearing on the final resolution of the case.
First Legal Issue:
Self-Defense and Defense of a Fetus
Appellant admits killing Ben Genosa but, to avoid criminal liability, invokes self-defense
and/or defense of her unborn child. When the accused admits killing the victim, it is
incumbent upon her to prove any claimed justifying circumstance by clear and convincing
evidence.
[21]
Well-settled is the rule that in criminal cases, self-defense (and similarly,
defense of a stranger or third person) shifts the burden of proof from the prosecution to the
defense.
[22]

The Battered Woman Syndrome
In claiming self-defense, appellant raises the novel theory of the battered woman
syndrome. While new in Philippine jurisprudence, the concept has been recognized in
foreign jurisdictions as a form of self-defense or, at the least, incomplete self-defense.
[23]
By
appreciating evidence that a victim or defendant is afflicted with the syndrome, foreign
courts convey their understanding of the justifiably fearful state of mind of a person who
has been cyclically abused and controlled over a period of time.
[24]

A battered woman has been defined as a woman who is repeatedly subjected to any
forceful physical or psychological behavior by a man in order to coerce her to do something
he wants her to do without concern for her rights. Battered women include wives or women
in any form of intimate relationship with men. Furthermore, in order to be classified as a
battered woman, the couple must go through the battering cycle at least twice. Any woman
may find herself in an abusive relationship with a man once. If it occurs a second time, and
she remains in the situation, she is defined as a battered woman.
[25]

Battered women exhibit common personality traits, such as low self-esteem, traditional
beliefs about the home, the family and the female sex role; emotional dependence upon the
dominant male; the tendency to accept responsibility for the batterers actions; and false
hopes that the relationship will improve.
[26]

More graphically, the battered woman syndrome is characterized by the so-called
cycle of violence,
[27]
which has three phases: (1) the tension-building phase; (2) the acute
battering incident; and (3) the tranquil, loving (or, at least, nonviolent) phase.
[28]

During the tension-building phase, minor battering occurs -- it could be verbal or slight
physical abuse or another form of hostile behavior. The woman usually tries to pacify the
batterer through a show of kind, nurturing behavior; or by simply staying out of his way.
What actually happens is that she allows herself to be abused in ways that, to her, are
comparatively minor. All she wants is to prevent the escalation of the violence exhibited by
the batterer. This wish, however, proves to be double-edged, because her placatory and
passive behavior legitimizes his belief that he has the right to abuse her in the first place.
However, the techniques adopted by the woman in her effort to placate him are not
usually successful, and the verbal and/or physical abuse worsens. Each partner senses the
imminent loss of control and the growing tension and despair. Exhausted from the
persistent stress, the battered woman soon withdraws emotionally. But the more she
becomes emotionally unavailable, the more the batterer becomes angry, oppressive and
abusive. Often, at some unpredictable point, the violence spirals out of control and leads
to an acute battering incident.
[29]

The acute battering incident is said to be characterized by brutality, destructiveness
and, sometimes, death. The battered woman deems this incident as unpredictable, yet also
inevitable. During this phase, she has no control; only the batterer may put an end to the
violence. Its nature can be as unpredictable as the time of its explosion, and so are his
reasons for ending it. The battered woman usually realizes that she cannot reason with him,
and that resistance would only exacerbate her condition.
At this stage, she has a sense of detachment from the attack and the terrible pain,
although she may later clearly remember every detail. Her apparent passivity in the face of
acute violence may be rationalized thus: the batterer is almost always much stronger
physically, and she knows from her past painful experience that it is futile to fight back.
Acute battering incidents are often very savage and out of control, such that innocent
bystanders or intervenors are likely to get hurt.
[30]

The final phase of the cycle of violence begins when the acute battering incident ends.
During this tranquil period, the couple experience profound relief. On the one hand, the
batterer may show a tender and nurturing behavior towards his partner. He knows that he
has been viciously cruel and tries to make up for it, begging for her forgiveness and
promising never to beat her again. On the other hand, the battered woman also tries to
convince herself that the battery will never happen again; that her partner will change for
the better; and that this good, gentle and caring man is the real person whom she loves.
A battered woman usually believes that she is the sole anchor of the emotional stability
of the batterer. Sensing his isolation and despair, she feels responsible for his well-being.
The truth, though, is that the chances of his reforming, or seeking or receiving professional
help, are very slim, especially if she remains with him. Generally, only after she leaves him
does he seek professional help as a way of getting her back. Yet, it is in this phase of
remorseful reconciliation that she is most thoroughly tormented psychologically.
The illusion of absolute interdependency is well-entrenched in a battered womans
psyche. In this phase, she and her batterer are indeed emotionally dependent on each other
-- she for his nurturant behavior, he for her forgiveness. Underneath this miserable cycle of
tension, violence and forgiveness, each partner may believe that it is better to die than to
be separated. Neither one may really feel independent, capable of functioning without the
other.
[31]

Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 145328 March 23, 2006
EDUARDO F. HERNANDEZ, MA. ENCARBACION R. LEGASPI, JAIME BLANCO, JR., ENRIQUE
BELO, CARLOS VIAPLANA, CARL FURER, VIVENCIO TINIO, MICHAEL BRIGGS, ROSA CARAM,
FAUSTO PREYSLER, ROBERT KUA, GEORGE LEE, GUILLERMO LUCHANGCO, PETER DEE, LUISA
MARQUEZ, ANGELITA LILLES, JUAN CARLOS, HOMER GO, AMADEO VALENZUELA, EMILIO
CHING, ANTONIO CHAN, MURLI SABNANI, MARCOS ROCES, RAYMUNDO FELICIANO,
NORMA GAFFUD, ALF HOLST, LOURDES P. ROQUE, MANUEL DY, RAUL FERNANDEZ,
VICTORIA TENGCO, CHI MO CHENG, BARANGAY DASMARIAS, and HON. FRANCISCO B.
IBAY, petitioners
vs.
NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION, respondent
D E C I S I O N
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
Although Presidential Decree No. 1818 prohibits any court from issuing injunctions in cases
involving infrastructure projects, the prohibition extends only to the issuance of injunctions
or restraining orders against administrative acts in controversies involving facts or the
exercise of discretion in technical cases. On issues clearly outside this dimension and
involving questions of law, this Court declared that courts could not be prevented from
exercising their power to restrain or prohibit administrative acts.1 In such cases, let the
hammer fall and let it fall hard.
With health risks linked to exposure to electromagnetic radiation as their battle cry,
petitioners, all residents of Dasmarias Village, are clamoring for the reversal of the
decision2 dated 3 May 2000 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 57849 as well as the
resolution dated 27 September 2000, denying their motion for reconsideration.
The assailed decision3 of the Court of Appeals reversed the order of the Regional Trial Court
of Makati, issuing a writ of preliminary injunction against respondent National Power
Corporation (NAPOCOR) to stay the latter from energizing and transmitting high voltage
electric current through its cables erected from Sucat, Paraaque to Araneta Ave., Quezon
City.
But, first, the facts:
Sometime in 1996, NAPOCOR began the construction of 29 decagon-shaped steel poles or
towers with a height of 53.4 meters to support overhead high tension cables in connection
with its 230 Kilovolt Sucat-Araneta-Balintawak Power Transmission Project. Said
transmission line passes through the Sergio Osmea, Sr. Highway (South Superhighway), the
perimeter of Fort Bonifacio, and Dasmarias Village proximate to Tamarind Road, where
petitioners homes are.
Said project later proved to be petitioners bane of existence.
Alarmed by the sight of the towering steel towers, petitioners scoured the internet on the
possible adverse effects that such a structure could cause to their health and well-being.
Petitioners got hold of published articles and studies linking the incidence of a fecund of
illnesses to exposure to electromagnetic fields. These illnesses range from cancer to
leukemia.
Petitioners left no stones unturned to address their malady. They aired this growing concern
to the NAPOCOR, which conducted a series of meetings with them.
NAPOCOR received flak from Representative Francis Joseph G. Escudero, who in his Privilege
Speech dated 10 May 1999, denounced the cavalier manner with which Napocor ignored
safety and consultation requirements in the questioned project.
Petitioners brought their woes to the attention of Rep. Arnulfo Fuentebella, Chairman of the
House Committee on Energy, wherein NAPOCOR was asked to shed light on the petitioners
problem. In a letter dated 8 November 1999, Napocor President Federico Puno stated that
NAPOCOR was still in the process of coming up with a "win-win" solution to the concerns of
the Dasmarias Village and Forbes Park residents.4
In a letter dated 10 August 1999 addressed to Congressman Arnulfo P. Fuentebella,
NAPOCORs President wrote:
We have discussed the matter with the Dasmarias and Forbes residents and we have come
up with four (4) options on how to address the problem, to wit:
Option Cost
Option 1: Transfer the line to Lawton Avenue P 111.84 million
(proposal of Dasmarias/Forbes)

Option 2: Maintain 12 meters distance along P 77.60 million the village
Option 3: Construct an underground line P 482.00 million
Option 4: Reroute along C-5 and South Luzon P 1,018.83 million
Expressway (combination of overhead and underground)5
Negotiations between petitioners and the NAPOCOR reached an impass, with petitioners
vying for the relocation of the transmission lines to Fort Bonifacio on one hand, and the
NAPOCOR insisting on a 12-meter easement widening, on the other.6
Thus, petitioners, on 9 March 2000 filed a Complaint7 for Damages with Prayer for the
Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or a Writ of Preliminary Injunction against
NAPOCOR. Harping on the hazardous effects of exposure to electromagnetic radiation to
the health and safety to themselves and their families, petitioners, through the instant case,
sought what they had failed to achieve through amicable means with NAPOCOR and prayed,
inter alia, for damages and the relocation of the transmission lines to Lawton Avenue, Fort
Bonifacio.
On 13 March 2000, Judge Francisco B. Ibay issued an order8 in Civil Case No. 00-352, which
temporarily restrained the respondent from energizing and transmitting high voltage
electric current through the said project. The pertinent portion of the said order reads:
Acting on the plaintiffs "Urgent Omnibus Motion," it appearing that the subject area will be
energized by midnight tonight based on a report taken from Representative Joker P. Arroyo
by plaintiffs counsel, so as not to render moot and academic the instant case, as prayed for,
defendant National Power Corporation is ordered to maintain the status quo and/or be
enjoined from energizing and transmitting high voltage electric current through its cables
for forty eight (48) hours starting 4 oclock in the afternoon today and ending 4 oclock in
the afternoon of 15 March 2000.9
By order10 of 15 March 2000, the trial court extended the restraining order for 18 more
days.
NAPOCOR filed a Petition for Certiorari with Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and
Preliminary Injunction with the Court of Appeals assailing the above order by the trial court.
Alluding to Presidential Decree No. 1818 (1981), "Prohibiting Courts from Issuing Restraining
Orders or Preliminary Injunctions in Cases Involving Infrastructure and Natural Resource
Development Projects of, and Public Utilities Operated by, the Government," particularly
Sec. 1, NAPOCOR stalwartly sought the dismissal of the case on the ground of lack
jurisdiction. Presidential Decree No. 1818 provides:

Section 1. No Court in the Philippines shall have jurisdiction to issue any restraining order,
preliminary injunction or preliminary mandatory injunction in any case, dispute, or
controversy involving an infrastructure project, or a mining, fishery, forest or other natural
resource development project of the government, or any public utility operated by the
government, including among other public utilities for transport of the goods or
commodities, stevedoring and arrastre contracts, to prohibit any person or persons, entity
or government official from proceeding with or continuing the execution or implementation
of any such project, or the operation of such public utility or pursuing any lawful activity
necessary for such execution, implementation or operation.
In the interregnum, by order dated 3 April 2000, the trial court ordered the issuance of a
writ of preliminary injunction against NAPOCOR.11 The trial court articulated that an
injunction was necessary to stay respondent NAPOCORs activation of its power lines due to
the possible health risks posed to the petitioners. Asserting its jurisdiction over the case, the
trial court was of the view that Presidential Decree No. 1818 and jurisprudence proscribing
injunctions against infrastructure projects do not find application in the case at bar because
of the health risks involved.
The trial court, thus, enjoined the NAPOCOR from further preparing and installing high
voltage cables to the steel pylons erected near petitioners homes and from energizing and
transmitting high voltage electric current through said cables while the case is pending final
adjudication, upon posting of the bond amounting to P5,000,000.00 executed to the effect
that petitioners will pay all the damages the NAPOCOR may sustain by reason of the
injunction if the Court should finally decide that the petitioners are not entitled thereto.12
In light of the foregoing order of the trial court, the petition which NAPOCOR filed with the
Court of Appeals was later amended to include the prayer for the nullification and injunction
of the Order dated 3 April 2000 of the trial court.
In the challenged decision of 3 May 2000, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial courts
order, with the following fallo:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition for certiorari is hereby GRANTED.
The assailed orders of the respondent court, dated March 13, 2000 and April 3, 2000, are
hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.13
In the Court of Appeals rationale, the proscription on injunctions against infrastructure
projects of the government is clearly mandated by the above-quoted Section 1 of
Presidential Decree No. 1818, as reiterated by the Supreme Court in its Circulars No. 2-91
and No. 13-93, dated 15 March 1991 and 5 March 1993, respectively.
As their motion for reconsideration was met with similar lack of success, petitioners, in a
last attempt at vindication, filed the present petition for review on the following arguments:
I.
Temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions were purposely designed to
address matters of extreme urgency where there is probability of grave injustice and
irreparable injury.14
II.
The rule on preliminary injunction merely requires that unless restrained, the act
complained of will probably work injustice to the applicant or probably violate his rights and
tends to render the judgment ineffectual.15 (Emphasis in the original.)
Fundamental to the resolution of the instant petition is the issue of whether or not the trial
court may issue a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to enjoin the
construction and operation of the 29 decagon-shaped steel poles or towers by the
NAPOCOR, notwithstanding Presidential Decree No. 1818.
Petitioners clutch on their stand that Presidential Decree No. 1818 could not be construed
to apply to cases of extreme urgency as in the present case when no less than the rights of
the petitioners to health and safety hangs on the balance.
We find the petition to be imbued with merit.
Presidential Decree No. 1818 was issued on 16 January 1981, prohibiting judges from issuing
restraining orders against government infrastructure projects. In part, the decree says, "No
court in the Philippines shall have jurisdiction to issue any restraining order, preliminary
injunction or preliminary order, preliminary mandatory injunction in any case, dispute or
controversy involving an infrastructure project." Realizing the importance of this decree, this
Tribunal had issued different circulars to implement this particular law.
Presidential Decree No. 181816 prohibits courts from issuing injunctions against
government infrastructure projects. In Garcia v. Burgos,17 Presidential Decree No. 1818 was
held to prohibit courts from issuing an injunction against any infrastructure project in order
not to disrupt or hamper the pursuit of essential government projects or frustrate the
economic development effort of the nation.
While its sole provision would appear to encompass all cases involving the implementation
of projects and contracts on infrastructure, natural resource development and public
utilities, this rule, however, is not absolute as there are actually instances when Presidential
Decree No. 1818 should not find application. In a spate of cases, this Court declared that
although Presidential Decree No. 1818 prohibits any court from issuing injunctions in cases
involving infrastructure projects, the prohibition extends only to the issuance of injunctions
or restraining orders against administrative acts in controversies involving facts or the
exercise of discretion in technical cases. On issues clearly outside this dimension and
involving questions of law, this Court declared that courts could not be prevented from
exercising their power to restrain or prohibit administrative acts.18
In the case at bar, petitioners sought the issuance of a preliminary injunction on the ground
that the NAPOCOR Project impinged on their right to health as enshrined in Article II,
Section 15 of the 1987 Constitution, which provides:
Sec. 15. The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill
consciousness among them.
To boot, petitioners, moreover, harp on respondents failure to conduct prior consultation
with them, as the community affected by the project, in stark violation of Section 27 of the
Local Government Code which provides: "no project or program shall be implemented by
government authorities unless the consultations mentioned are complied with, and prior
approval of the Sanggunian concerned is observed."
From the foregoing, whether there is a violation of petitioners constitutionally protected
right to health and whether respondent NAPOCOR had indeed violated the Local
Government Code provision on prior consultation with the affected communities are
veritable questions of law that invested the trial court with jurisdiction to issue a TRO and
subsequently, a preliminary injunction. As such, these questions of law divest the case from
the protective mantle of Presidential Decree No. 1818.
Moreover, the issuance by the trial court of a preliminary injunction finds legal support in
Section 3 of Rule 58 of the Rules of Court which provides:
Sec. 3. Grounds for issuance of preliminary injunction. - A preliminary injunction may be
granted when it is established:
(a) That the applicant is entitled to the relief demanded, and the whole or part of such relief
consists in restraining the commission or continuance of the act or acts complained of, or in
requiring the performance of an act or acts, either for a limited period or perpetually;
(b) That the commission, continuance or non-performance of the act or acts complained of
during the litigation would probably work injustice to the applicant; or
(c) That a party, court, agency or a person is doing, threatening, or is attempting to do, or is
procuring or suffering to be done, some act or acts probably in violation of the rights of the
applicant respecting the subject of the action or proceeding, and tending to render the
judgment ineffectual. (3a) (Emphasis supplied.)
The rule on preliminary injunction merely requires that unless restrained, the act
complained of will probably violate his rights and tend to render the judgment ineffectual.

Here, there is adequate evidence on record to justify the conclusion that the project of
NAPOCOR probably imperils the health and safety of the petitioners so as to justify the
issuance by the trial court of a writ of preliminary injunction.

Petitioners adduced in evidence copies of studies linking the incidence of illnesses such as
cancer and leukemia to exposure to electromagnetic fields. The records bear out, to boot, a
copy of a brochure of NAPOCOR regarding its Quezon Power Project from which will be
supplying NAPOCOR with the power which will pass through the towers subject of the
controversy. The NAPOCOR brochure provides that because of the danger concomitant with
high voltage power, Philippine laws mandate that the power lines should be located within
safe distances from residences. And the Quezon Power Project mandates an easement of 20
meters to the right and 20 meters to the left which falls short of the 12-meter easement
that NAPOCOR was proposing to petitioners.

Likewise on record, are copies of letters of Napocor President Federico Puno to Rep. Arnulfo
Fuentebella, Chairman of the House Committee on Energy, stating updates on the
negotiations being undertaken by the NAPOCOR and the Dasmarias Village and Forbes
Park residents. Also on file is the Privilege Speech dated 10 May 1999 of Representative
Francis Joseph G. Escudero, who denounced the cavalier manner with which Napocor
ignored safety and consultation requirements in the questioned project.

With a member of Congress denouncing the subject project of NAPOCOR because of the
very same health and safety ills that petitioners now hew to in this petition, and with
documents on record to show that NAPOCOR made representations to petitioners that they
are looking into the possibility of relocating the project, added to the fact that there had
been series of negotiations and meetings between petitioners and NAPOCOR as well as
related agencies, there is ample indicia to suggest to the mind of the court that the health
concerns of the petitioners are, at the very least, far from imaginary.

Indeed, if there is no cause for concern, NAPOCOR would not have been stirred to come up
with options to address the woes of petitioners, nor would Congressman Escudero have
fired away those strong words of censure, assailing what to Congressman Escudero smacks
of a "cavalier manner by which the NAPOCOR has responded to earnest pleas for a review of
its practice of installing massive pylons supporting high tension cables in densely populated
areas."19
True, the issue of whether or not the transmission lines are safe is essentially evidentiary in
nature, and pertains to the very merits of the action below. In fact, petitioners recognize
that the conclusiveness of their life, health and safety concerns still needs to be proved in
the main case below and they are prepared to do so especially in the light of some studies
cited by respondent that yield contrary results in a disputed subject. Despite the parties
conflicting results of studies made on the issue, the possibility that the exposure to
electromagnetic radiation causes cancer and other disorders is still, indeed, within the realm
of scientific scale of probability.
Equally important, we take judicial notice that the area alluded to as location of the
NAPOCOR project is a fragile zone being proximate to local earthquake faults, particularly
the Marikina fault, among other zones. This is not to mention the risks of falling structures
caused by killer tornadoes and super typhoons, the Philippines, especially Central Luzon,
being situated along the typhoon belt.
Moreover, the Local Government Code, requires conference with the affected communities
of a government project. NAPOCOR, palpably, made a shortcut to this requirement. In fact,
there appears a lack of exhaustive feasibility studies on NAPOCORs part before making a go
with the project on hand; otherwise, it should have anticipated the legal labyrinth it is now
caught in.
These are facts, which the trial court could not ignore, and form as sufficient basis to
engender the cloud of doubt that the NAPOCOR project could, indeed, endanger the lives of
the petitioners. A preliminary injunction is likewise justified prior to a final determination of
the issues of whether or not NAPOCOR ignored safety and consultation requirements in the
questioned project. Indeed, the court could, nay should, grant the writ of preliminary
injunction if the purpose of the other party is to shield a wrongdoing. A ruling to the
contrary would amount to an erosion of judicial discretion.

After all, for a writ of preliminary injunction to be issued, the Rules do not require that the
act complained of be in violation of the rights of the applicant. Indeed, what the Rules
require is that the act complained of be probably in violation of the rights of the applicant.
Under the Rules of Court, probability is enough basis for injunction to issue as a provisional
remedy, which is different from injunction as a main action where one needs to establish
absolute certainty as basis for a final and permanent injunction.
Pending the final determination of the trial court on the main case for damages, of whether
or not the NAPOCOR Project infringes on petitioners substantive right to health and
pending determination of the question of whether there was non-observance of the prior-
consultation proviso under the Local Government Code, it is prudent to preserve the status
quo. In Phil. Ports Authority v. Cipres Stevedoring & Arrastre, Inc.,20 we held:
A preliminary injunction is an order granted at any stage of an action prior to judgment of
final order, requiring a party, court, agency, or person to refrain from a particular act or
acts. It is a preservative remedy to ensure the protection of a partys substantive rights or
interests pending the final judgment in the principal action. A plea for an injunctive writ lies
upon the existence of a claimed emergency or extraordinary situation which should be
avoided for otherwise, the outcome of a litigation would be useless as far as the party
applying for the writ is concerned.
At times referred to as the "Strong Arm of Equity," we have consistently ruled that there is
no power the exercise of which is more delicate and which calls for greater circumspection
than the issuance of an injunction. It should only be extended in cases of great injury where
courts of law cannot afford an adequate or commensurate remedy in damages; "in cases of
extreme urgency; where the right is very clear; where considerations of relative
inconvenience bear strongly in complainants favor; where there is a willful and unlawful
invasion of plaintiffs right against his protest and remonstrance, the injury being a
continuing one, and where the effect of the mandatory injunction is rather to reestablish
and maintain a preexisting continuing relation between the parties, recently and arbitrarily
interrupted by the defendant, than to establish a new relation." (Emphasis supplied.)
What is more, contrary to respondents assertion, there is not a single syllable in the
circulars issued by this Court enjoining the observance of Presidential Decree No. 1818,
which altogether and absolutely, ties the hands of the courts from issuing a writ of
preliminary injunction. What Circular 2-9121 dated 15 March 1991 seeks to enjoin is the
indiscriminate issuance of court injunctions. The same holds for Circular 13-9322 dated 5
March 1993 and Circular 68-94.23 And, in Circular No. 7-99, judges are enjoined to observe
utmost caution, prudence and judiciousness in the issuance of temporary restraining order
and in the grant of writs of preliminary injunction to avoid any suspicion that its issuance or
grant was for consideration other than the strict merits of the case.24
There is not a hint from the foregoing circulars suggesting an unbridled prohibition against
the issuance of temporary restraining orders or preliminary injunctions.
In sum, what Presidential Decree No. 1818 aims to avert is the untimely frustration of
government infrastructure projects, particularly by provisional remedies, to the detriment
of the greater good by disrupting the pursuit of essential government projects or frustrate
the economic development effort of the nation. Presidential Decree No. 1818, however, was
not meant to be a blanket prohibition so as to disregard the fundamental right to health,
safety and well-being of a community guaranteed by the fundamental law of the land.25
Lest we be misconstrued, this decision does not undermine the purpose of the NAPOCOR
project which is aimed towards the common good of the people. But, is the promotion of
the general welfare at loggerheads with the preservation of the rule of law? We submit that
it is not.26
In the present case, the far-reaching irreversible effects to human safety should be the
primordial concerns over presumed economic benefits per se as alleged by the NAPOCOR.
Not too long ago, the Court, in Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) v. Bel-
Air Village Association, Inc.,27 upheld the validity of the writ of preliminary injunction issued
by the Court of Appeals enjoining the implementation of the Metropolitan Manila
Development Authoritys proposed action of opening of the Neptune Street to public
vehicular traffic. We were categorical -
Not infrequently, the government is tempted to take legal shortcuts to solve urgent
problems of the people. But even when government is armed with the best of intention, we
cannot allow it to run roughshod over the rule of law. Again, we let the hammer fall and fall
hard on the illegal attempt of the MMDA to open for public use a private road in a private
subdivision. While we hold that the general welfare should be promoted, we stress that it
should not be achieved at the expense of the rule of law.28
In hindsight, if, after trial, it turns out that the health-related fears that petitioners cleave on
to have adequate confirmation in fact and in law, the questioned project of NAPOCOR then
suffers from a paucity of purpose, no matter how noble the purpose may be. For what use
will modernization serve if it proves to be a scourge on an individuals fundamental right,
not just to health and safety, but, ostensibly, to life preservation itself, in all of its desired
quality?
WHEREFORE, the petition is granted. The decision dated 3 May 2000 of the Court of Appeals
in CA-G.R. SP No. 57849 is REVERSED as well as the resolution dated 27 September 2000.
The Order dated 3 April 2000 of the Regional Trial Court of Makati in Civil Case No. 00-352 is
hereby REINSTATED. No pronouncement as to costs

SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
A.M. No. P-08-2447 April 10, 2008
[Formerly A.M. OCA I.P.I. No. 06-2447-P]
ELVISA ROSALES, complainant,
vs.
DOMINADOR MONESIT, SR., Court Interpreter, Municipal Trial Court, Tandag, Surigao del
Sur, respondent.
R E S O L U T I O N
CARPIO MORALES, J.:
By a sworn Afffidavit-Complaint dated June 2, 2006,1 Elvisa Rosales (complainant) charged
Dominador Monesit, Sr. (respondent), Court Interpreter of the Municipal Trial Court of
Tandag, Surigao del Sur, with oppression, deceit, misconduct and violation of Republic Act
(RA) No. 6713,2 RA No. 92623 and Article 19, Civil Code.4
The Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Tandag, Surigao del Sur to whom the
complaint was referred for investigation, report and recommendation after respondent had
filed his Comment, gave the following account reflecting the facts that gave rise to the filing
of the complaint:
Sometime in the early part of March, 2005, respondent's wife, a Tupperware dealer sold to
Complainant two (2) items for P2,358.00 on installment basis. Because Complainant found
difficulty paying the items in cash, respondent's wife accepted the former's two (2) pigs as
full payment thereof.
In the same month, Complainant sold to respondent's wife the former's motorcycle sidecar
for P20,000.00, also on installment basis. The agreement was verbal. The sidecar used to be
attached to the motorcycle of Complainant's live-in partner, Mario Clavero. She happened
to own the [s]idecar as part of the amicable settlement of the Physical Injury Case she
lodged before the Office of the Chief of Police of Tandag, Surigao del Sur, against her live-in
partner (Exhibits "2" and "2-A").
Respondent's wife made a downpayment of P4,000.00 (Exhibit "3") and paid subsequent
instal[l]ments in the total amount of only P5,200.00 (Exhibits "3-A", "3-B" and "3-C").
Because of respondent's wife's failure to pay the balance of the purchase price of the
Sidecar, differences between her and respondent, on one hand, and Complainant and her
live-in partner, on the other hand, ensued. The latter demanded full payment of the balance
of the price in the amount of P10,200.00. In turn, the former stopped further payment.5
The Executive Judge noted that complainant did not present evidence. Respondent
presented, however, complainant's AFFIDAVIT OF DESISTANCE, subscribed and sworn to
before her counsel, Atty. Limuel L. Auza.
The Executive Judge went on to note as follows:
Apparently, Atty. Auza was able to arrange an out-of-court meeting between Complainant
and Respondent and the latter's wife, during which, Respondent agreed to pay Complainant
the amount of P25[,]000.00 as full settlement of the Sidecar account of Respondent and his
wife (Exhibit "1"). By and large, therefore, the allegations of the Complain[an]t, except those
admitted, expressly or impliedly, by Respondent, are not deemed proved.
However, the following are either expressly or impliedly admitted by the Respondent:
1. There was, indeed, a transaction by and between Complainant and Respondent's wife
involving the sale by the former to the latter of a Motorcycle Sidecar for P20[,]000.00,
payable [i]n instalments. There was no written contract.
2. Of the P20[,]000.00 consideration of the sale, only P9[,]200.00 was paid, leaving a balance
of P10[,]800.00.
3. When conflict ensued due to the non-payment of the balance of the purchase price, both
Respondent and Complainant's live-in partner, who reconciled with the former, intervened
and thenceforth decided the respective courses of action to take in the conflict.
4. Respondent stopped payment, claiming that Complainant's live-in partner demanded not
only the immediate full payment of the balance of the purchase price but also P75.00 per
day multiplied by the number of days delay in the payment.
The Undersigned believes that it was improper (not necessarily misconduct, which signifies
"intentional wrong doing") for Respondent to intervene in the above transaction and take
the cudgel, so to speak, for his wife, creating, in the process, the impression that he was
emboldened to act in the manner that he did because of his exalted position in the
Municipal Trial Court of Tandag. Indeed, it is not entirely remote that, as alleged by the
Complainant in her AFFIDAVIT-COMPLAINT, at one time or another Respondent bragged
about his connection with the Court, thus impress[ing] upon the Complainant that he
wielded authority and influence that could prejudice the Complainant in her pending Grave
Threat Case.
Likewise, it was improper for Respondent to stop payment of the balance of the purchase
price of the Sidecar, just because Complain[ant's] live-in partner charged the penalty of
P75.00 per day of delay in the payment. He could have paid the balance of the purchase
price as a manifestation of fairness in the deal. Indeed, he was in a position to pay as he did
ultimately pay the penalty charges, but only after he was apparently persuaded by
Complainant's counsel, as shown in the Affidavit of Desistance of the Complainant, which he
submitted as his own evidence before the undersigned Investigator (Exhibit "1").
Respondent's non-payment of just obligation, which is submitted to be wil[l]ful, is
considered a light offense under the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil
Service. The corresponding penalty for the first offense is reprimand, for the second,
suspension for one (1) to thirty (30) days, and for the third, dismissal.6 (Emphasis and
underscoring supplied)
The Executive Judge thus recommended that respondent be reprimanded for willful failure
to pay just debt, and warned against involving himself, directly or indirectly, in transactions,
wherein he could be perceived to have used or taken advantage of his position as court
personnel.
By Resolution of August 29, 2007,8 this Court required the parties to manifest whether they
were willing to submit the case for resolution on the basis of the pleadings already filed and
submitted. Only respondent complied.9
The Court finds the OCA recommendation well-taken.
This Court's jurisdiction to proceed with an administrative case despite the desistance of the
complainant is settled. In Vilar v. Angeles, 10 the Court stressed:
. . . [T]he withdrawal of the complaint or the desistance of a complainant does not warrant
the dismissal of an administrative complaint. This Court has an interest in the conduct and
behavior of all officials and employees of the judiciary and in ensuring at all times the
proper delivery of justice to the people. No affidavit of desistance can divest this Court of its
jurisdiction under Section 6, Article VII[I] of the Constitution to investigate and decide
complaints against erring employees of the judiciary. The issue in an administrative case is
not whether the complain[ant] has a cause of action against the respondent, but whether
the employees have breached the norms and standards of the courts.11 (Underscoring
supplied)
That respondent settled his obligation with complainant during the pendency of the present
complaint does not exculpate him from administrative liability.12 Willful failure to pay just
debt amounts to conduct unbecoming a court employee.13
Under the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service,14 willful failure to pay
just debt is classified as a light offense, punishable by reprimand for the first infraction,
suspension for 1 to 30 days for the second, and dismissal for the third offense.15
This appears to be respondent's first infraction.
WHEREFORE, respondent Dominador Monesit, Sr., Court Interpreter, Municipal Trial Court
of Tandag, Surigao del Sur is, for willful failure to pay a just debt, REPRIMANDED. He is
further WARNED to be more circumspect and to avoid acts, official or otherwise, which may
be perceived by the public to be taking advantage of his position as an employee of the
Judiciary.
SO ORDERED.
Quisumbing,Chairperson, Tinga, Velasco, Jr., Brion, JJ., concur.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-40411 August 7, 1935
DAVAO SAW MILL CO., INC., plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
APRONIANO G. CASTILLO and DAVAO LIGHT & POWER CO., INC., defendants-appellees.
Arsenio Suazo and Jose L. Palma Gil and Pablo Lorenzo and Delfin Joven for appellant.
J.W. Ferrier for appellees.
MALCOLM, J.:
The issue in this case, as announced in the opening sentence of the decision in the trial
court and as set forth by counsel for the parties on appeal, involves the determination of
the nature of the properties described in the complaint. The trial judge found that those
properties were personal in nature, and as a consequence absolved the defendants from
the complaint, with costs against the plaintiff.
The Davao Saw Mill Co., Inc., is the holder of a lumber concession from the Government of
the Philippine Islands. It has operated a sawmill in the sitio of Maa, barrio of Tigatu,
municipality of Davao, Province of Davao. However, the land upon which the business was
conducted belonged to another person. On the land the sawmill company erected a building
which housed the machinery used by it. Some of the implements thus used were clearly
personal property, the conflict concerning machines which were placed and mounted on
foundations of cement. In the contract of lease between the sawmill company and the
owner of the land there appeared the following provision:
That on the expiration of the period agreed upon, all the improvements and buildings
introduced and erected by the party of the second part shall pass to the exclusive ownership
of the party of the first part without any obligation on its part to pay any amount for said
improvements and buildings; also, in the event the party of the second part should leave or
abandon the land leased before the time herein stipulated, the improvements and buildings
shall likewise pass to the ownership of the party of the first part as though the time agreed
upon had expired: Provided, however, That the machineries and accessories are not
included in the improvements which will pass to the party of the first part on the expiration
or abandonment of the land leased.
In another action, wherein the Davao Light & Power Co., Inc., was the plaintiff and the
Davao, Saw, Mill Co., Inc., was the defendant, a judgment was rendered in favor of the
plaintiff in that action against the defendant in that action; a writ of execution issued
thereon, and the properties now in question were levied upon as personalty by the sheriff.
No third party claim was filed for such properties at the time of the sales thereof as is borne
out by the record made by the plaintiff herein. Indeed the bidder, which was the plaintiff in
that action, and the defendant herein having consummated the sale, proceeded to take
possession of the machinery and other properties described in the corresponding
certificates of sale executed in its favor by the sheriff of Davao.
As connecting up with the facts, it should further be explained that the Davao Saw Mill Co.,
Inc., has on a number of occasions treated the machinery as personal property by executing
chattel mortgages in favor of third persons. One of such persons is the appellee by
assignment from the original mortgages.
Article 334, paragraphs 1 and 5, of the Civil Code, is in point. According to the Code, real
property consists of
1. Land, buildings, roads and constructions of all kinds adhering to the soil;
x x x x x x x x x
5. Machinery, liquid containers, instruments or implements intended by the owner of any
building or land for use in connection with any industry or trade being carried on therein
and which are expressly adapted to meet the requirements of such trade of industry.
Appellant emphasizes the first paragraph, and appellees the last mentioned paragraph. We
entertain no doubt that the trial judge and appellees are right in their appreciation of the
legal doctrines flowing from the facts.
In the first place, it must again be pointed out that the appellant should have registered its
protest before or at the time of the sale of this property. It must further be pointed out that
while not conclusive, the characterization of the property as chattels by the appellant is
indicative of intention and impresses upon the property the character determined by the
parties. In this connection the decision of this court in the case of Standard Oil Co. of New
York vs. Jaramillo ( [1923], 44 Phil., 630), whether obiter dicta or not, furnishes the key to
such a situation.
It is, however not necessary to spend overly must time in the resolution of this appeal on
side issues. It is machinery which is involved; moreover, machinery not intended by the
owner of any building or land for use in connection therewith, but intended by a lessee for
use in a building erected on the land by the latter to be returned to the lessee on the
expiration or abandonment of the lease.
A similar question arose in Puerto Rico, and on appeal being taken to the United States
Supreme Court, it was held that machinery which is movable in its nature only becomes
immobilized when placed in a plant by the owner of the property or plant, but not when so
placed by a tenant, a usufructuary, or any person having only a temporary right, unless such
person acted as the agent of the owner. In the opinion written by Chief Justice White,
whose knowledge of the Civil Law is well known, it was in part said:
To determine this question involves fixing the nature and character of the property from the
point of view of the rights of Valdes and its nature and character from the point of view of
Nevers & Callaghan as a judgment creditor of the Altagracia Company and the rights derived
by them from the execution levied on the machinery placed by the corporation in the plant.
Following the Code Napoleon, the Porto Rican Code treats as immovable (real) property, not
only land and buildings, but also attributes immovability in some cases to property of a
movable nature, that is, personal property, because of the destination to which it is applied.
"Things," says section 334 of the Porto Rican Code, "may be immovable either by their own
nature or by their destination or the object to which they are applicable." Numerous
illustrations are given in the fifth subdivision of section 335, which is as follows: "Machinery,
vessels, instruments or implements intended by the owner of the tenements for the
industrial or works that they may carry on in any building or upon any land and which tend
directly to meet the needs of the said industry or works." (See also Code Nap., articles 516,
518 et seq. to and inclusive of article 534, recapitulating the things which, though in
themselves movable, may be immobilized.) So far as the subject-matter with which we are
dealing machinery placed in the plant it is plain, both under the provisions of the Porto
Rican Law and of the Code Napoleon, that machinery which is movable in its nature only
becomes immobilized when placed in a plant by the owner of the property or plant. Such
result would not be accomplished, therefore, by the placing of machinery in a plant by a
tenant or a usufructuary or any person having only a temporary right. (Demolombe, Tit. 9,
No. 203; Aubry et Rau, Tit. 2, p. 12, Section 164; Laurent, Tit. 5, No. 447; and decisions
quoted in Fuzier-Herman ed. Code Napoleon under articles 522 et seq.) The distinction
rests, as pointed out by Demolombe, upon the fact that one only having a temporary right
to the possession or enjoyment of property is not presumed by the law to have applied
movable property belonging to him so as to deprive him of it by causing it by an act of
immobilization to become the property of another. It follows that abstractly speaking the
machinery put by the Altagracia Company in the plant belonging to Sanchez did not lose its
character of movable property and become immovable by destination. But in the concrete
immobilization took place because of the express provisions of the lease under which the
Altagracia held, since the lease in substance required the putting in of improved machinery,
deprived the tenant of any right to charge against the lessor the cost such machinery, and it
was expressly stipulated that the machinery so put in should become a part of the plant
belonging to the owner without compensation to the lessee. Under such conditions the
tenant in putting in the machinery was acting but as the agent of the owner in compliance
with the obligations resting upon him, and the immobilization of the machinery which
resulted arose in legal effect from the act of the owner in giving by contract a permanent
destination to the machinery.
x x x x x x x x x
The machinery levied upon by Nevers & Callaghan, that is, that which was placed in the
plant by the Altagracia Company, being, as regards Nevers & Callaghan, movable property, it
follows that they had the right to levy on it under the execution upon the judgment in their
favor, and the exercise of that right did not in a legal sense conflict with the claim of Valdes,
since as to him the property was a part of the realty which, as the result of his obligations
under the lease, he could not, for the purpose of collecting his debt, proceed separately
against. (Valdes vs. Central Altagracia [192], 225 U.S., 58.)
Finding no reversible error in the record, the judgment appealed from will be affirmed, the
costs of this instance to be paid by the appellant.
Villa-Real, Imperial, Butte, and Goddard, JJ., concur.