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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee v.

RICARDO
BODOSO Y BOLOR, accused-appellant.
G.R.
Nos.
149382-149382,
5-5-2003.
EN
BANC,
BELLOSILLO, J.
LEAD: TRIAL COURTS MUST TAKE HEED that in criminal cases
involving capital offenses the waiver of the right to present
evidence and be heard should not be considered haphazardly,
perfunctorily, lightly or trivially, because the right is inherent in
due process, but must at all times be scrutinized by means of a
test and procedure to ascertain that the waiver was done
voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently with sufficient awareness
of its relevant cNIRCumstances and likely consequences.
FACTS: Jenny Bodoso (Jenny) filed a case of qualified rape by
means of force and intimidation against his father Ricardo Bodoso
(Ricardo). A warrant of arrest was issued by the court and Ricardo
was subsequently detained. He was subjected by the same court
to preliminary investigation where he failed to submit counter
affidavit/rebuttal evidence against his daughters complaintaffidavit.
Prosecution presented two witnesses Jenny and the doctor who
issued the medical certificate; after which, the defense counsel
cross-examined the prosecution witnesses. Jenny did not
substantiate the allegation that she was only 14 y.o. when the
crime was supposedly perpetrated.
The prosecution then submitted documentary evidence ,
which was admitted by the court, and then rested its case. Upon
the manifestation of the counsel de oficio, reception of the
evidence for the defense was deferred to the next month.
After a month, as booked in the trial calendar, the defense
was summoned to present its evidence. Lamentably, unlike in the
previous settings of the trial court, the consolidated records of the
criminal case do not indicate whether accused-appellant was
present on the scheduled trial date. There were also no transcript
of stenographic notes nor minutes of the proceedings on that date
that would have elucidated on the cryptic order of the trial judge
of even date tersely stating Upon the manifestation of counsel
for the accused, Atty. Danilo Brotamonte, that the defense is not
intending to present any evidence and now resting its case today,
this case therefore is now submitted for decision.
RTC: Ricardo guilty of 2 counts of qualified rape against his
14 y.o.old daughter; He was sentenced with capital punishment;
hence, the case was submitted to SC for automatic review.

ISSUE: WON Ricardo waived his right to present evidence and be


heard.
HELD: NO. DISPO: RTC decision was set aside and the case was
remanded to it.
RATIO: The counsel de oficio argued that the accusation was just
trumped up by Jennys bf, that there was no proof beyond
reasonable doubt, and that there was no evidence supporting
Jennys claim that she was just a minor when her father raped her.
However, they did not seek relief from the Order that inexplicably
waived their clients constitutional right to present evidence and
be heard.
Although such was not questioned by the counsel, because
a life is at stake in this case, the issue about the waiver of rights
was still considered by SC in the interest of justice.
Intestate Estate of the Late Vito Borromeo v. Borromeo
SC pointed out that this was a civil case where SC set aside the
waiver of hereditary rights because it was not clearly and
convincingly shown that the heir had the intention to waive his
right or advantage voluntarily.
The rule on waiver cannot be any less in this criminal case
where a life is at stake.
It is elementary that the existence of waiver must be positively demonstrated
since a waiver by implication cannot be presumed. The standard of waiver
requires that it "not only must be voluntary, but must be knowing, intelligent,
and done with sufficient awareness of the relevant cNIRCumstances and likely
consequences." There must thus be persuasive evidence of an actual intention
to relinquish the right. Mere silence of the holder of the right should not be
easily construed as surrender thereof; the courts must indulge every
reasonable presumption against the existence and validity of such waiver.
Necessarily, where there is a reservation as to the nature of any manifestation
or proposed action affecting the rights of the accused to be heard before he is
condemned, certainly, the doubt must be resolved in his favor to be allowed to
proffer evidence in his behalf.
The criminal rules of procedure strictly provide the step-bystep formula to be followed by courts in cases punishable by
death. This is to ensure that the constitutional presumption of
innocence in favor of the accused is preserved and the State
makes no mistake in taking life and liberty except that of the
guilty. Hence, any deviation from the regular course of trial should
always take into consideration that such a different or
extraordinary approach has been undertaken voluntarily and
intelligently. For otherwise, as in the instant case, denial of due
process can be successfully invoked since no valid waiver of
rights has been made.

SC said that the RTC is wrong in not assuring if Ricardo


really did waive his rights and this waiver should "not only must
be voluntary, but must be knowing, intelligent, and done with
sufficient awareness of the relevant cNIRCumstances and likely
consequences." RTC should have been more cautious because this
should have already been an automatic procedure, but more
importantly Ricardo did not personally, on a person-to-person
basis, manifest to the trial court the waiver of his own right.
Also, RTC should not have just based the waiver on the
counsel de oficios words because he may just have been driven
by self-interest of finishing that cases he is handling. RTC must
itself properly inquire if the waiver was validly done.
In People v. Court of Appeals and People v. Flores SC said
that even if the accused waived his right to present evidence, the
court should have still insured that the accused knows importance
of what he is waiving and its consequence. SC also said that there
are some precedents where the accused was correctly denied the
right to present defense evidence after he had waived his right to
be heard. These cases however involved a valid, verified, clear
and convincing renunciation of an accuseds right to offer contrary
proof, cNIRCumstances that are sorely missing in the instant case.
To protect the right to due process of every accused in a
capital offense and to avoid any confusion about the proper steps
to be taken when a trial court comes face to face with an accused
or his counsel who wants to waive his clients right to present
evidence and be heard, SC adopted, as a prerequisite to the
validity of such waiver, a procedure akin to a "searching
inquiry" as specified in People v. Aranzado when an
accused pleads guilty:
1. The trial court shall hear both the prosecution and the accused with their
respective counsel on the desire or manifestation of the accused to waive the
right to present evidence and be heard.
2. The trial court shall ensure the attendance of the prosecution and especially
the accused with their respective counsel in the hearing which must be
recorded. Their presence must be duly entered in the minutes of the
proceedings.
3. During the hearing, it shall be the task of the trial court to
a. ask the defense counsel a series of questions to determine whether
he had conferred with and completely explained to the accused that
he had the right to present evidence and be heard as well as its
meaning and consequences, together with the significance and
outcome of the waiver of such right. If the lawyer for the accused has
not done so, the trial court shall give the latter enough time to fulfill
this professional obligation.

b. inquire from the defense counsel with conformity of the accused


whether he wants to present evidence or submit a memorandum
elucidating on the contradictions and insufficiency of the prosecution
evidence, if any, or in default thereof, file a demurrer to evidence with
prior leave of court, if he so believes that the prosecution evidence is
so weak that it need not even be rebutted. If there is a desire to do so,
the trial court shall give the defense enough time for this purpose.
c. elicit information about the personality profile of the accused, such
as his age, socio-economic status, and educational background, which
may serve as a trustworthy index of his capacity to give a free and
informed waiver.
d. all questions posed to the accused should be in a language known
and understood by the latter, hence, the record must state the
language used for this purpose as well as reflect the corresponding
translation thereof in English
SC also said that in order to be safe, lower courts may use the
above procedure for non-capital offenses.
General rule: If there is an invalid waiver but that facts
were adequately represented in the criminal case and no
procedural unfairness or irregularity has prejudiced either the
prosecution or the defense, the guilty verdict may nevertheless be
upheld where the judgment is supported beyond reasonable doubt
by the evidence on record since it would be a useless ritual to
return the case to the trial court for further proceedings.
The general rule is obviously not applicable in this case
and thus remanded to the trial court.
RIMBERTO T. SALVANERA, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE
PHILIPPINES and LUCITA PARANE, respondents
Facts:

OF

THE

In an Information 1 dated November 30, 1996, petitioner Rimberto


Salvanera, together with Feliciano Abutin, Edgardo Lungcay and Domingo
Tampelix, is charged with the murder of Ruben Parane.
The prosecution, on March 4, 1997, moved for the discharge of
accused Feliciano Abutin and Domingo Tampelix, to serve as state
witnesses.|||However, the trial court denies its motion.
The prosecution then appealed to the Court of Appeals. It
contended that the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion when it

denied the motion to discharge accused Abutin and Tampelix to be state


witnesses. It alleged that the testimonies of the two accused are absolutely
necessary to establish that petitioner masterminded the murder of Ruben
Parane. The prosecution likewise claimed that it was premature and
baseless for the trial court to grant petitioner's application for bail because
the prosecution had not yet rested its case in the hearing for the discharge
of the two accused.|||
The prosecution then appealed to the Court of Appeals.
Hence, this petition filed by Lucita Parane the spouse of victim Ruben
Parane.
ISSUE:
Whether or not Feliciano Abutin and Domingo Tampelix may be
discharged as state witness.
RULING:
In the discharge of an accused in order that he may be a state
witness, the following conditions must be present, namely:
(1) Two or more accused are jointly charged with the
commission of an offense;
(2) The motion for discharge is filed by the prosecution
before it rests its case;
(3) The prosecution is required to present evidence and
the sworn statement of each proposed state
witness at a hearing in support of the discharge;
(4) The accused gives his consent to be a state witness;
and
(5) The trial court is satisfied that:
a) There is absolute necessity for the testimony
of the accused whose discharge is
requested;
b) There is no other direct evidence available for
the proper prosecution of the offense
committed, except the testimony of said
accused;

c) The testimony of said accused can be


substantially corroborated in its material
points;
d) Said accused does not appear to be the most
guilty; and,
e) Said accused has not at any time been
convicted of any offense involving moral
turpitude. 4
According to petitioner, the testimony of an accused sought to be
discharged to become a state witness must be substantially corroborated,
not by a co-accused likewise sought to be discharged, but by other
prosecution witnesses who are not the accused in the same criminal case.
Petitioner justifies this theory on the general principles of justice and sound
logic. He contends that it is a notorious fact in human nature that a culprit,
confessing a crime, is likely to put the blame on others, if by doing so, he
will be freed from any criminal responsibility. Thus, in the instant case,
petitioner supposes that both Abutin and Tampelix will naturally seize the
opportunity to be absolved of any liability by putting the blame on one of
their co-accused. Petitioner argues that prosecution witnesses Parane and
Salazar, who are not accused, do not have personal knowledge of the
circumstances surrounding the alleged conspiracy. Thus, they could not
testify to corroborate the statement of Abutin and Tampelix that petitioner is
the mastermind or the principal by induction. TEcCHD
We agree with the Court of Appeals in dismissing this reasoning as
specious. To require the two witnesses Parane and Salazar to corroborate
the testimony of Abutin and Tampelix on the exact same points is to render
nugatory the other requisite that "there must be no other direct evidence
available for the proper prosecution of the offense committed, except the
testimony of the state witness." 5 The corroborative evidence required by
the Rules does not have to consist of the very same evidence as will be
testified on by the proposed state witnesses. We have ruled that "a
conspiracy is more readily proved by the acts of a fellow criminal than by
any other method. If it is shown that the statements of the conspirator are
corroborated by other evidence, then we have convincing proof of
veracity. Even if the confirmatory testimony only applies to some particulars,

we can properly infer that the witness has told the truth in other
respects." 6 It is enough that the testimony of a co-conspirator is
corroborated by some other witness or evidence. In the case at bar, we are
satisfied from a reading of the records that the testimonies of Abutin and
Tampelix are corroborated on important points by each other's testimonies
and the circumstances disclosed through the testimonies of the other
prosecution witnesses, and "to such extent that their trustworthiness
becomes manifest." 7
As part of the conspiracy, Abutin and Tampelix can testify on the
criminal plan of the conspirators. Where a crime is contrived in secret, the
discharge of one of the conspirators is essential because only they have
knowledge of the crime. 8 The other prosecution witnesses are not
eyewitnesses to the crime, as, in fact, there is none. No one except the
conspirators knew and witnessed the murder. The testimonies of the
accused and proposed state witnesses Abutin and Tampelix can directly
link petitioner to the commission of the crime.

PLACIDO
L.
MAPA,
JR.,
and
J.
VERGARA, petitioners, vs. SANDIGANBAYAN, respondent

LORENZO

The denial of the right to be free from further prosecution of a cooperative


witness who has been granted immunity is the core issue posed in this
petition. On balance are important rights in conflict: the right of an individual
who has surrendered his constitutional prerogative to be silent to the State
to be exempt from further prosecution; the right of the State to prosecute all
persons who appears to have committed a crime and its prerogative to
revoke the immunity it has granted to an accused for breach of agreement;
and the extent of the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan as an impartial
tribunal to review the grant of immunity extended by the PCGG to an
accused.|||

Dominador Lopez, Jr., Fernando Maramag, Jr., and Jose Crisanto, Jr., were
charged with violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (R.A.
3019)||| .
Except for petitioner Araneta, all the accused in Criminal Case No.
11960 were arraigned.|||
In the interim, the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos and Mrs.
Imelda R. Marcos were charged in New York with violations of the
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) by transporting
to the United States and concealing the investment of money through
cronies and offshore organizations
After the interview, the PCGG granted them immunity from
prosecution subject to condition that they will testify as witness against
MARCOSES.
.But despite their availability and willingness to testify, the US
prosecutors decided not to call them to the witness stand. Then, mapa and
vergara filed a Joint Motion to Dismiss. The PCGG did not object. However,
the Sandiganbayan denied there motion and contend that T]he granting of
'Immunity' from criminal liability and/or prosecution is a matter subject to the
court's judicious determination and approval, after applying the test of
compliance and the standard of reasonableness with the rigid requirements
for such grant under Section 5 of Executive Order No. 14-A
ISSUE:
whether the respondent court has jurisdiction to review the
immunity granted by PCGG in favor of the petitioners.
Whether or not respondent court can reverse the grant of immunity
made by the PCGG by supplanting the latter's judgment.

Facts:

Whether or not granting of such immunity is subject to courts


approval under sec. 5
Whether or not failure on the part of petitioners Placido Mapa, Jr.
and Jesus Vergara to testify in favor of the government and against other
defendants on matters referred to in the immediately preceding
paragraph nullifies the immunity granted to both defendants.

Petitioners Placido L. Mapa and Lorenzo Vergara, together with


Gregorio Ma. Araneta III, Fernando Balatbat, Ramon Aviado, Jr.,

RULING:

1. We sustain the jurisdiction of the respondent court. To be


sure, we have grappled with this once slippery issue in the case
of Republic vs. Sandiganbayan:
The powers of the PCGG are not unlimited. Its jurisdiction over
cases involving ill-gotten wealth must be within the parameters stated
in Executive Order No. 14. Necessarily, the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan which is tasked to handle the ill-gotten wealth cases must
include the jurisdiction to determine whether or not the PCGG exceeded its
power to grant immunity pursuant to the provisions of Executive Order No.
14."
It should also be noted that the respondent court has already
acquired jurisdiction to try and decide Case No. 11960 where petitioners
stand accused of violating RA 3019.
2.
We are not prepared to concede the correctness of this proposition.
Neither the text nor the texture of E.O. No. 14, as amended, lends color to
the suggested interpretation. Section 5 of E.O. No. 14, as amended, vests
no such role in respondent court. In instances, where the intent is to endow
courts of justice with the power to review and reverse tactical moves of the
prosecution, the law confers the power in clear and certain language. Thus,
under section 9 of Rule 119, the prosecution in the exercise of its
discretion may tactically decide to discharge an accused to be a state
witness but its decision is made subject to the approval of the court trying
the case. It has to file a proper motion and the motion may be denied by the
court if the prosecution fails to prove that it has satisfied the requirements of
the rule on discharge of a witness. The rule is crafted as to leave no iota of
doubt on the power of the court to interfere with the discretion of the
prosecution on the matter.
In the case at bench, E.O. 14, as amended, is eloquently silent with
regard to the range and depth of the power of the respondent court to
review the exercise of discretion by the PCGG granting a section 5
immunity.
3.
We observe that in contrast to our other laws on immunity, section
5 of E.O. No. 14, as amended, confers on the PCGG the power to grant
immunity alone and on its own authority. The exercise of the power is

not shared with any other authority. Nor is its exercise subject to the
approval or disapproval of another agency of government. The basic
reason for vesting the power exclusively on the PCGG lies in the principles
of separation of power. The decision to grant immunity from prosecution
forms a constituent part of the prosecution process. It is essentially a
tactical decision to forego prosecution of a person for government to
achieve a higher objective.
we hold that in reviewing the grant of a section 5 immunity made by
the PCGG to the petitioners, the power of the respondents court can go
no further than to pass upon its procedural regularity. The respondent
court should only ascertain: (a) whether the person claiming immunity has
provided information or testimony in any investigation conducted by the
PCGG in the discharge of its functions; (b) whether in the bona fide
judgment of the PCGG, the information or testimony given would establish
the unlawful manner in which the respondent, defendant or accused has
acquired or accumulated the property or properties in question; and (c)
whether in the bona fide judgment of the PCGG, such information or
testimony is necessary to ascertain or prove the guilt or civil liability of the
respondent, defendant or accused. Respondent court cannot substitute its
judgment to the discretion of the PCGG without involving itself in
prosecution and without ceasing to be a court catering untilted justice.
4.
Contrary to the ruling of the respondent court, the failure of
petitioners to testify in the RICO cases against the Marcoses in New York
can not nullify their immunity. They have satisfied the requirements both of
the law and the parties' implementing agreements. Under section 5 of E.O.
No. 14, as amended, their duty was to give information to the prosecution,
and they did. Under their Memorandum of Agreement, they promised to
make themselves available as witnesses in the said RICO cases, and they
did.
Since petitioners' failure to testify was not of their own
choosing nor was it due to any fault of their own, justice and equity
forbid that they be penalized by the withdrawal of their immunity.
We also rule that there was nothing irregular when PCGG granted a
section 5 immunity to petitioners while they were already undergoing trial in
Criminal Case No. 11960. Section 5 of E.O. 14, as amended, does not
prohibit the PCGG from granting immunity to persons already charged in

court and undergoing trial. As long as the privilege of immunity so given will
in the judgment of the PCGG assist it in attaining its greater objectives, the
PCGG is well within legal grounds to exercise this power at any stage of the
proceedings. This section 5 immunity frees and releases one from liability,
and as it inures to the benefit of an accused, it can be invoked at any time
after its acquisition and before his final conviction.