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VOL.

65, JULY 31, 1975

635

People vs. Pilotin


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Nos. L3537778. July 31, 1975.

THE PEOPLE OP THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiffappellee,


vs. CAMILO PILOTIN, VINCENT CRISOLOGO, ISIDRO
PUGAL and ERNING ABAO, defendantsappellants.
Constitutional law; Supreme Court; Power to order a change
of venue or place of trial to avoid a miscarriage of justice; Case at
bar.Section 5(4), Article X of the Constitution expressly
empowers the Supreme Court to order a change of venue or place
of trial to avoid a miscarriage of justice. In the case at bar, what
is involved is not merely a miscarriage of justice but the personal
safety of the accused. It would be absurd to compel him to
undergo trial in a place where his life would be imperilled.
Same; Same; Same; Hostile sentiment against the accused at
place of trial a justification for transfer of venue.Present hostile
sentiment against the accused at the place of trial is a
justification for transfer of venue.
Same; Same; Same; Change of venue involves change of place
of hearing and transfer of expediente of case; Case at bar.The
change of venue involves not merely the change of the place of
hearing but also the transfer of the expediente of Criminal Case
No. 3949 to another court. According to the accuseds motion, the
alleged evidence against him is in the custody of the authorities at
Camp Crame, Quezon City. The transfer of Criminal Case No.
3949 to the City Court of Quezon City and the holding of the trial
at Camp Crame appear to be the most convenient arrangement.
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SECOND DIVISION.
636

636

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


People vs. Pilotin

RESOLUTION

AQUINO, J.:
Vincent Crisologo through counsel filed a verified motion
praying for the transfer to the New Bilibid Prisons or,
alternatively, to Camps Crame, Aguinaldo or Olivas, of the
place of trial of Criminal Case No. 3949 of the municipal
court of Vigan, Ilocos Sur, wherein he, as sole defendant, is
charged with illegal possession of firearms and
ammunitions.
As justificatory ground, he alleged that his life would be
in jeopardy if he were to be confined in the Vigan municipal
jail during the trial because there are many political
enemies of the Crisologo family in that vicinity; some of the
adherents of the Crisologos had in fact been murdered in
Ilocos Sur, and his father, Congressman Floro Crisologo,
was shot to death while hearing mass at the Vigan
cathedral.
Bluntly, he affirmed that inside that jail he would be a
sitting duck for a gunwielder or grenadethrower who
wants to assassinate him. He could even be lynched or shot
to death on the specious pretext that he was trying to
escape. Asked to comment on the motion, the Provincial
Fiscal of Ilocos Sur signified his conformity to the transfer
of the venue of the trial to the New Bilibid Prisons.
Section 5(4), Article X of the Constitution expressly
empowers this Court to order a change of venue or place of
trial to avoid a miscarriage of justice. Here, what is
involved is not merely a miscarriage of justice but the
personal safety of movant Crisologo, the accused. It would
be absurd to compel him to undergo trial in a place where
his life would be imperilled.
Present hostile sentiment against the accused at the
place of trial is a justification for transfer of venue (See
State vs. Siers 136 S. E. 503, 103, W. Va. 30; 22 C.J.S. 310).
We find Crisologos motion to be meritorious. The
change of venue involves not merely the change of the place
of hearing but also the transfer of the expediente of
Criminal Case No. 3949 to another court. According to
Crisologos motion, the alleged evidence against him is in
the custody of the authorities at Camp Crame, Quezon
City. The transfer of Criminal Case No. 3949 to the City
Court of Quezon City and the holding of the trial at Camp
Crame appear to be the most convenient
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VOL. 65, JULY 31, 1975

637

People vs. Pilotin

arrangement.
WHEREFORE, the municipal court of Vigan is directed
to transfer the record of Criminal Case No. 3949 to the City

Court of Quezon City where it should be redocketed and


raffled to any Judge thereof. The case may be tried at
Camp Crame. The usual precautions and security
measures should be adopted in bringing defendant
Crisologo to Camp Crame on the occasion of the hearing.
SO ORDERED.
Makalintal, C.J., Fernando, Barredo and
Concepcion Jr., JJ., concur.
Antonio, J., did not take part.
Notes.Power of the Supreme Court to transfer trial of
cases.The Constitution has vested the Judicial Power in
the Supreme Court and such inferior courts as may be
established by law (Article VIII, Section 13, [1937
Constitution]), and such judicial power connotes certain
incidental and inherent attributes reasonably necessary for
an effective administration of justice. The courts can by
appropriate means do all things necessary to preserve and
maintain every quality needful to make the judiciary an
effective institution of government. One of these incidental
and inherent powers of courts is that of transferring the
trial of cases from one court to another of equal rank in a
neighboring site, whenever the imperative of securing a
fair and impartial trial, or of preventing a miscarriage of
justice, so demands. This authority was early recognized in
England as inhering in the courts of justice even prior to
the eighteenth century. x x x This power to transer trial of
criminal cases is furtherance of justice, exercised through
writs of certiorari, has according to the weight of authority,
passed to the State Supreme Courts of the American
Union. x x x That such inherent powers are likewise
possessed by the Philippine courts admits of no doubt,
because they were organized on the American pattern with
the enactment of the first judicial organic law, Act 136, on
11 June 1901, by the Philippine Commission, then
composed by a majority of able American lawyers, fully
familiar with the institutions and traditions of the common
law. (People vs. Gutierrez, et al., L3228283, November 26,
1970, 36 SCRA 172).
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638

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