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G.R. No. 189176, March 19, 2014 The police officers called petitioners to the masters bedroom and showed them sachets of shabu allegedly found inside
BARRY LANIER AND PERLITA LANIER, Petitioners, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents. a box and marijuana leaves found in gift packs. They were forced to sign the inventory receipt but they refused to do so.
DECISION Petitioners ascribed illmotives on the part of the police officers on behest of the Barangay Captain against whom the
PEREZ, J.: petitioners had filed an administrative complaint.8
While the determination of probable cause is primarily an executive function, the Court would not hesitate to interfere if
there is a clear showing that Secretary of Justice gravely abused his discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction Petitioners attached to their motion the affidavits of their witnesses and the Home Study Report in Special Proceeding No.
in making his determination and in arriving at the conclusion he reached. 6829 of the RTC of Kalibo, Aklan with 75 pages of character references and a drugtest report showing that they were
tested negative for illegal drugs.
Guided by this principle, we shall resolve whether the Court of Appeals erred in reinstating the Information against
petitioners. On 28 January 2004, the trial court issued an Order denying the Motion to Quash. And on 9 February 2004, the trial court
remanded the case to the provincial prosecutor for preliminary investigation.
Assailed in this Petition for Review is the Decision1 and Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. SP No. 85736
reversing the Department of Justice (DOJ) Resolutions dated 6 May 2004 and 17 June 2004 which nullified the provincial In a Resolution dated 8 March 2004, the provincial prosecutor upheld the Information and directed the return of the
prosecutors Resolution finding probable cause to indict petitioners for illegal possession of prohibited drugs and the records to the trial court for disposition.
Regional Trial Courts (RTC) Order granting the Motion to Withdraw the Information.
On 28 March 2004, however, petitioners filed a petition for review before the DOJ assailing the 8 March 2004 Resolution
First, the factual antecedents. of the provincial prosecutor. On 6 May 2004, the Secretary of Justice acted on the petition favorably and directed the
withdrawal of the Information which directive the provincial prosecutor heeded by filing a Motion to Withdraw
In their Joint Affidavit of Arrest, SPO1 Juan Gorion (SPO1 Gorion) and PO2 Noemi Remaneses (PO2 Remaneses) attested Information before the trial court. The trial court granted the Motion to Withdraw Information on 24 June 2004.
that Task Force Roulette of the Aklan Police Provincial Office (APPO) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)
received information from an asset that petitioners Barry Lanier and Perlita Lanier (Perlita) were engaged in selling illegal The Secretary of Justice gave more credence to the version of petitioners that the illegal drugs seized were planted. The
drugs in Boracay Island. The police operatives conducted a testbuy at petitioners residence in Barangay Balabag, Secretary of Justice took note of the testimony of SPO1 Gorion during the clarificatory hearing on 20 February 2004 that
Boracay Island where they were able to purchase P5,000.00 worth of shabu and P1,000.00 worth of marijuana from there were two groups the raiding team and the search team that entered the house of petitioners. The fact that the
petitioners. On the basis of the testbuy operation, they were able to secure a search warrant from the RTC of Aklan.3 raiding team arrived ahead of the search team bolstered petitioners assertion that the illegal drugs seized were planted
by the raiding team.
SPO1 Gorion and PO2 Remaneses narrated that on 17 December 2003, police operatives proceeded to the house of
petitioners to serve the search warrant. After presentment of the warrant, the police operatives, in the presence of The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorariseeking to annul the DOJ
the Barangay Captain and some members of the media, conducted the search. In the living room in the second floor, they Resolutions directing the withdrawal of the Information against petitioners and the RTCs Order granting the Motion to
recovered three (3) sachets of shabu weighing 10.4 grams more or less, inside a jewelry box. They also found one big pack Withdraw filed by the provincial prosecutor.
containing dried marijuana leaves weighing 950 grams and two gift packs containing 9 bricks of marijuana with an
aggregate weight of 800 grams. A Receipt for Property Seized was prepared by SPO1 Nathaniel A. Tan, but petitioners On 26 September 2008, the Court of Appeals nullified and set aside the DOJ Resolutions and the RTC Order and reinstated
refused to sign the same. Thereafter, petitioners were placed under arrest.4 the Information against petitioners in Criminal Case No. 6972. The appellate court declared that the petition for review
was filed within the extension granted by the court; that the People, through the OSG, correctly filed the petition under
On 18 December 2003, the Assistant Provincial Prosecutor of Kalibo, Aklan filed an Information charging petitioners of Rule 65 of the Rules of Court because the Court of Appeals may review the resolution of the Secretary of Justice only in a
violation of Section 11, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165, which reads:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary petition for certiorariunder Rule 65 on the ground of grave abuse of discretion; that the Urgent Motion for Reconsideration
That on or about the 17th day of December, 2003, in the morning, at Barangay Balabag, Boracay Island, Municipality of filed by the provincial prosecutor complied with the condition sine qua non of exhausting all plain, speedy and adequate
Malay, Province of Aklan, Republic of the Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed remedies in the ordinary course of law; and that the petition for certiorari bore the proper verification of the OSG as the
accused, conspiring, confederating, and mutually helping each other, without authority of law, have in their possession, Peoples statutory counsel.
custody and control one (1) big pack of suspected dried Marijuana leaves weighing more or less NINE HUNDRED FIFTY
(950) grams, Nine (9) bricks of suspected dried Marijuana leaves weighing more or less EIGHT HUNDRED (800) grams and In the main, the appellate court found that there is probable cause to sustain petitioners indictment.
Three (3) plastic sachet[s] of suspected shabu weighing more or less 10.4 grams which members of the Task Force Roulette
of the Aklan Police Provincial Office, and the joint elements of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency confiscated from their Petitioners elevated the case to this Court seeking the reversal of the Decision of the Court of Appeals and consequently,
possession and control in the course of a search by virtue of Search Warrant Number 462003 issued by Honorable Judge the withdrawal of the Information for illegal possession of prohibited drugs filed against them.
Marietta J. HomenaValencia, Executive Judge, Regional Trial Court, Kalibo, Aklan.5
Petitioners now proffer essentially the same arguments presented before the Court of
On 23 December 2003, petitioners filed a Motion for Preliminary Investigation/Reinvestigation.6 Appeals:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
The petition for review before the Court of Appeals assailing the RTC Order is fatally defective because: a) it was filed out
On 9 January 2004, a Motion to Quash the Information7 was filed before the RTC of Kalibo, Aklan. Petitioners questioned of time; b) it substituted a lost appeal; and, c) it was not preceded by a timely motion for reconsideration.
why the police did not arrest them after allegedly receiving the marked money during the testbuy operation and why the The petition for review before the Court of Appeals assailing the DOJ Resolutions is fatally defective because: a) it was
marked money was not presented as evidence. Petitioners cried frame up and accused the police of planting the illegal filed out of time; and, b) it had become moot and academic when the RTC granted the withdrawal of the Information.
drugs. In their CounterAffidavit, petitioners claimed that around 4:00 a.m. on 17 December 2003, several men demanded The fact that the police officers were able to move around the house, unescorted by competent witnesses, and were able
entry into their house. When Perlita opened the door, two men pointed their guns at her and declared a raid. More than to predetermine the precise weight of the illegal drugs prior to the arrival of the weighing scale placed in serious doubt
15 people stormed into their house. She also saw 5 to 6 men, who were carrying backpacks, go into the masters bedroom. the real sources of the alleged illegal drugs.
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The admissions made by the arresting officers during the clarificatory hearings, pointing to the illegality of the search and
thereby rendering inadmissible all evidence obtained therefrom, negated the existence of probable cause. On the merits of the case, petitioners defend the Secretary of Justice in ordering the withdrawal of the Information on the
ground that the pieces of evidence obtained through an illegal search becomes inadmissible in evidence. Petitioners
According to petitioners, the Decision of the Court of Appeals is riddled with procedural lapses. First, petitioners point out explain that the search was illegal because it violated Section 8, Rule 126 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure when the
that the motion for extension of time filed by respondent prior to the filing of the petition for review before the Court of search was not made in the presence of the lawful occupants of the house. Petitioners aver that the Secretary of Justice
Appeals is patently defective, because, while the motion for extension did not implead the RTC Judge of Kalibo, the latter correctly rejected the version of the police officers based on the existing records. Petitioners noted that the time of search
was made a respondent in the petition for review. Since the RTC Judge was not furnished a copy of the motion for recorded on the Receipt for Property Seized is 5:10 a.m., while it as admitted by one police officer that they were about
extension, said motion became a mere scrap of paper which did not toll the running of the period to file the petition for to gain entry in the house only at 5:30 a.m. Petitioners raise doubts on how the police officers were able to determine and
review. Hence, the petition for review was filed out of time. record the exact weight of the illegal drugs when the weighing scale, as admitted by the SPO1 Gorio, came at around 8:00
p.m.
It is not necessary that the contents of a motion for extension should be similar to a petition for certiorari. When the OSG
in his motion for extension failed to implead the trial court judge, much less assail his Order, said omission should not limit It is wellsettled that courts of law are precluded from disturbing the findings of public prosecutors and the DOJ on the
the pitch and reach of the petition. Otherwise, the prayer for more time would be pointless. It is sufficient that the motion existence or nonexistence of probable cause for the purpose of filing criminal informations, unless such findings are
for extension state the material dates, as the Motion of the OSG did, showing the timeliness of its filing. The grant of the tainted with grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. The rationale behind the general rule
Motion for Extension occasioned the timeliness of the review of both the DOJ Resolutions and the RTC Order. rests on the principle of separation of powers, dictating that the determination of probable cause for the purpose of
indicting a suspect is properly an executive function; while the exception hinges on the limiting principle of checks and
Second, petitioners question the failure of respondent to file a motion for reconsideration from the RTC Order before balances, whereby the judiciary, through a special civil action of certiorari, has been tasked by the present Constitution to
filing a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals. determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the
part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.13
Wellestablished is the rule that a motion for reconsideration is a condition sine qua non for the filing of a petition
for certiorari . The rule however admits of exceptions,9 the most relevant of which is where the questions raised in Judicial review of the resolution of the Secretary of Justice is limited to a determination of whether there has been a grave
the certiorari proceedings have been duly raised and passed upon by the lower court. The RTC Order was anchored on the abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction considering that full discretionary authority has been
twin Resolutions issued by the DOJ granting the petition for review and directing the provincial prosecutor to withdraw delegated to the executive branch in the determination of probable cause during a preliminary investigation. Courts are
the Information. Thus, the appellate court correctly treated the Urgent Motion for Reconsideration submitted by the OSG not empowered to substitute their judgment for that of the executive branch; it may, however, look into the question of
before the DOJ as a substantial compliance with the condition of exhausting all plain, speedy and adequate remedies whether such exercise has been made in grave abuse of discretion.14
before filing a certiorari petition. Clearly, the facts, issues and arguments that would have been raised in a motion for
reconsideration in the RTC are rooted on the DOJs finding of the nonexistence of probable cause. As a requisite to the filing of a criminal complaint, probable cause pertains to facts and circumstances sufficient to incite
a wellfounded belief that a crime has been committed and the accused is probably guilty thereof. Only such facts
Third, petitioners claim that the Urgent Motion for Reconsideration with the DOJ was filed out of time. Petitioners cited sufficient to support a prima facie case against the respondent are required, not absolute certainty. Probable cause implies
paragraph 1 of the Motion which states that the 6 May 2004 Resolution of the Secretary of Justice was received on 7 May mere probability of guilt, i.e., a finding based on more than bare suspicion but less than evidence that would justify a
2004. Thus, respondent had until 17 May 2004 to file the Urgent Motion for Reconsideration, but the motion was filed conviction. What is determined is whether there is sufficient ground to engender a wellfounded belief that a crime has
only on 25 May 2004. been committed, and that the accused is probably guilty thereof and should be held for trial.15

A reading of the Motion for Extension indeed reveals that the OSG stated in Paragraph 1 that they received the 6 May We quote with approval the appellate courts finding of probable cause based on the following
2004 Resolution on 7 May 2004. Differently, the OSG, in its Urgent Motion for Reconsideration, stated that the 6 May circumstances:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
2004 Resolution was received on 18 May 2004. Records show that the OSG erred in indicating in the motion for extension Before the police conducted the search in Spouses Laniers residence, they had a thorough and careful surveillance of
7 May 2004 as the receipt date. 7 May 2004 was actually the mailing date as recorded in the registry receipt attached to their activities in the island of Boracay;
the 6 May 2004 Resolution.10 Verily, the variance in dates could be attributed to a mere clerical error. The OSG received a The police officers conducted a testbuy on Spouses Lanier who themselves sold to SPO1 Juben Vega and his Filipino
copy of the 6 May 2004 Resolution on 18 May 2004. And the OSG complied with the 10day reglementary period within American companion shabu and marijuana worth six thousand (P6,000.00) pesos;
which to file its Motion for Reconsideration by filing it on 26 May 2004. Based on the surveillance and testbuy, Executive Judge Marietta HomenaValencia found probable cause and issued a
search warrant on Spouses Laniers residence. There, the police officers recovered approximately 1.750 kilograms of
Fourth, petitioners maintain that the petition for certiorari had become moot and academic as against the Resolutions of dried marijuana leaves and 10.4 grams of shabu in the presence of BarangayCaptain Glenn Sacapano, two (2) members
the Secretary of Justice when the RTC Judge assumed jurisdiction over the case and granted the motion to withdraw the of the media and Perlita Lanier herself;
information. The testimonies of SPO1 Juan Gorion and SPO1 Juben Vega of the APPO and PO2 Noemi Ramaneses of PDEA were
consistent on what transpired from the time they received a tip regarding the illegal drug activities of Spouses Lanier up
In Verzano, Jr. v. Paro,11 we had the occasion to rule that while generally it is the Secretary of Justice who has the authority to the time of the implementation of the search warrant was completed;
to review the decisions of the prosecutors, the Court Appeals has the authority to correct the acts of the prosecutorial The defense failed to destroy the presumption of regularity in favor of the police officers who conducted the search;
officers tainted with grave abuse of discretion notwithstanding the filing of the informations before the trial court. The Spouses Lanier failed to substantiate their claim that Barangay Captain Joel Gelito orchestrated the raid in retaliation to
authority of the Court of Appeals is bolstered by the fact that the petition filed before it was one under Rule 65, such that the administrative complaint they allegedly filed against him;
it has the jurisdiction to determine whether or not the prosecutor and/or the Secretary of Justice acted with grave abuse Failure to use and present marked money during the preliminary investigation in itself does not weaken the existence of
of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.12 The filing or withdrawal, as in this case, of an Information before probable cause against Spouses Lanier. For settled is the rule that in the prosecution for the sale of dangerous drugs, the
the RTC does not foreclose the review on the basis of grave abuse of discretion the resolution of a prosecutor, or the absence of marked money does not create a hiatus in the evidence for the prosecution as long as the sale of dangerous
Secretary of Justice on the issue of probable cause. drugs is adequately proven and the drug subject of the transaction is presented before the court. Neither law nor
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jurisprudence requires the presentation of any money used in the buybust operation. What is material to a prosecution ruling is persuasive, it is not binding on courts.
for illegal sale of dangerous drugs is the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the
presentation in court of the corpus delicti as evidence.16 All told, the Court of Appeals did not commit any reversible error when it nullified and set aside the Resolutions and Order,
rendered by the Secretary of Justice and the RTC, respectively.
The elements of illegal possession of prohibited drugs are: (1) the accused is in possession of an item or object, which is
identified to be a prohibited or regulated drug; (2) such possession is not authorized by law; and (3) the accused freely WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated 26 September 2008 and Resolution dated 31 July 2009 of the
and consciously possessed the drug.17 Court of Appeals in CAG.R. SP No. 85736 are AFFIRMED.

The presence of these elements was attested to by evidence such as the Joint Affidavit of Arrest and the Receipt of the SO ORDERED.
Properties seized. The police officers averred that they recovered 3 sachets of shabu weighing 10.4 grams inside a jewelry
box on petitioners living room. They also seized one (1) big gift pack containing dried marijuana leaves weighing more or Carpio, (Chairperson), Brion, Del Castillo, and Reyes,* JJ., concur.
less 950 grams and two (2) gift packs containing nine (9) bricks of dried marijuana leaves weighing 800 grams on top of G.R. No. 188191 March 12, 2014
the head board of petitioners bed. Moreover, the finding of a dangerous drug in the house or within the premises of the ENRIQUE ALMERO y ALCANTARA, Petitioner,
house of the accused is prima facie evidence of knowledge or animus possidendi.18 vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, MIRASOL BARTOLOME, CLARITA P. MATIAS, ROSENDO P. MATIAS, and ANTONIO P.
When the Secretary of Justice concluded that there was planting of evidence based on the lone fact that the raiding team MATIAS, Respondents.
arrived ahead of the search team, he, in effect went into the merits of the defense. When he made a determination based RESOLUTION
on his own appreciation of the pieces of evidence for and against the accused, he effectively assumed the function of a SERENO, CJ:
trial judge in the evaluation of the pieces of evidence and, thereby, acted outside his jurisdiction. 19 We resolve the petition filed under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure by Enrique Almero y Alcantara from the
Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated 26 September 2008 and Resolution dated 29 May 2009 in CA-G.R. SP. No.
Regarding the submission of petitioners that the remedy from the RTCs Order to withdraw the filing of the Information 103030.1
should have been an ordinary appeal, we rule that on a finding of grave abuse of discretion, the RTC Order may be elevated THE MTC RULING IN CRIMINAL CASE No. 96-6531
to the Court of Appeals on certiorari. Petitioner is the accused in Criminal Case No. 96-6531 for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and multiple physical
injuries. After private respondents reserved the right to institute a separate action for damages, trial ensued. On 8 January
There is, here, a basis for such finding. 2007, the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Labo, Camarines Norte found petitioner guilty and sentenced him to suffer prision
correccional in its medium and maximum periods.
When confronted with a motion to withdraw an Information on the ground of lack of probable cause based on a resolution Petitioner filed an Application for Probation on 7 September 2007, reasoning that he was informed of his conviction only
of the Secretary of Justice, the bounden duty of the trial court is to make an independent assessment of the merits of such upon being served the warrant for his arrest.2 Prosecutor Analie Velarde opposed his application on the ground that he
motion. Having acquired jurisdiction over the case, the trial court is not bound by such resolution but is required to was known to be uncooperative, habitually absent, and had even neglected to inform the court of his change of address.
evaluate it before proceeding farther with the trial. While the Secretarys ruling is persuasive, it is not binding on On 22 February 2007, the MTC denied his application, prompting petitioner to file a special civil action with the Regional
courts.20 When the trial courts Order rests entirely on the assessment of the DOJ without doing its own independent Trial Court (RTC). While his first Petition raised the sole issue of the denial of his application for probation, he filed a
evaluation, the trial court effectively abdicates its judicial power and refuses to perform a positive duty enjoined by law. Supplemental Petition,3 which a) assailed the validity of the promulgation of the 8 January 2007 judgment; and b)
impleaded private complainants Mirasol Bartolome, Clarita P. Matias, Rosendo P. Matias and Antonio P. Matias.
The RTC erroneously held that it has not yet effectively acquired jurisdiction over the person of the accused as no THE RTC RULING IN SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION NO. 07-0012
commitment order has yet been issued against them. In Crespo v. Mogul,21 the Court held that once a criminal complaint In his supplemental Petition, petitioner stated that upon close scrutiny, he discovered that the judgment itself was
or information is filed in court, any disposition of the case or dismissal or acquittal or conviction of the accused rests within premature and flawed, because the MTC never ruled upon his Formal Offer of Exhibits.4 The RTC found that the MTC
the exclusive jurisdiction, competence, and discretion of the trial court. The rule applies to a motion to withdraw the committed grave abuse of discretion in rendering judgment without first ruling on his Formal Offer of Exhibits since,
Information or to dismiss the case even before or after arraignment of the accused. When the trial court grants a motion technically, petitioner had not yet rested his case. It also ruled that the promulgation of judgment was similarly tainted
of the public prosecutor to dismiss the case, or to quash the Information, or to withdraw the Information in compliance with grave abuse of discretion, because petitioner was not present at the time, in violation of Section 6, Rule 120 of the
with the directive of the Secretary of Justice, or to deny the said motion, it does so not out of subservience to or defiance Rules of Court. Without addressing the issue of probation, the dispositive portion states:
of the directive of the Secretary of Justice but in sound exercise of its judicial prerogative. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition for Certiorari is hereby GRANTED. The judgment promulgated on
22 February, 2007 is hereby SET ASIDE AND NULLIFIED and the case is remanded to the Municipal Trial Court of Labo,
The RTC clearly deferred to the finding of probable cause by the Secretary of Justice without doing its own independent Camarines Norte for further proceedings.
evaluation. The trial court even expressed its apprehension that no prosecutor would be willing to prosecute the case The Director of the Bureau of Corrections, Muntinlupa City or any person acting in his behalf to release immediately
should the motion to withdraw be denied. The only matter discussed by the trial court was its concurrence with the DOJ petitioner ENRIQUE ALMERO Y ALCANTARA from detention by virtue of the property bond posted by him for his provisional
relative to the service and conduct of the search for illegal drugs. The trial court declared that the evidence is inadmissible liberty in Criminal Case No. 96-6531, unless he is being detained for some other lawful cause or causes.
in view of the manner the search warrant was served. Settled is the rule that the presence or absence of the elements of No costs.
the crime is evidentiary in nature and is a matter of defense, the truth of which can be best passed upon after a fullblown SO ORDERED.5
trial on the merits. In the case at bar, the grounds relied upon by petitioners should be fully explained and threshed out THE CA RULING
not in a preliminary investigation but during trial as the same are matters of defense involving factual issues. The CA ruled that the RTC should have confined itself to determining whether or not the MTC committed grave abuse of
discretion in denying petitioners application for probation. Since no appeal or other plain, speedy and adequate remedy
At the risk of sounding repetitive, we must emphasize that the trial court, having acquired jurisdiction over the case, is not in the ordinary course of law is available against the denial of probation, a Rule 65 petition is clearly the appropriate
bound by such resolution but is required to evaluate it before proceeding further with the trial. While the Secretarys remedy. However, the trial court erred in taking cognizance of supplemental grounds assailing the judgment of conviction,
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because an application for probation is a waiver of the right to appeal from the judgment of conviction and effectively Petitioners second and third arguments are brought by an erroneous understanding of the nature of probation and shall
renders the same final. The CA ruled that even assuming petitioner failed to be present at the promulgation of judgment, be discussed jointly.
he had no one but himself to blame for failing to inform the MTC of his change of address.6 Probation is not a right but a mere privilege, an act of grace and clemency conferred by the State, and may be granted by
On the argument that private respondents possessed no legal personality to represent the State in a criminal case, the CA the court to a deserving defendant. Accordingly, the grant of probation rests solely upon the discretion of the court. It is
held that petitioner himself impleaded them in the certiorari petition before the RTC. The CA also found that petitioner to be exercised primarily for the benefit of organized society, and only incidentally for the benefit of the accused.16
filed his application for probation only on 7 September 2007, or more than one month after he received notice of the In Francisco v. Court of Appeals, the Court explained:
judgment of conviction. Inasmuch as the grant of probation rests solely on the discretion of the court, the denial thereof Probation is a special privilege granted by the state to a penitent qualified offender. It essentially rejects appeals and
cannot be considered grave abuse, viz.: encourages an otherwise eligible convict to immediately admit his liability and save the state of time, effort and expenses
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the trial courts appealed January 28, 2008 Decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. In to jettison an appeal. The law expressly requires that an accused must not have appealed his conviction before he can
lieu thereof, another is entered ordering the DISMISSAL of appellees petition for certiorari.7 avail of probation. This outlaws the element of speculation on the part of the accused to wager on the result of his
Petitioner comes before this Court, assigning the following errors: appeal that when his conviction is finally affirmed on appeal he now applies for probation as an "escape hatch" thus
I. The Court of Appeals committed an error of law in ruling that private complainants have personality to appeal the 28 rendering nugatory the appellate court's affirmance of his conviction.17
January 2008 Decision of the RTC. Aside from the goals of according expediency and liberality to the accused, the rationale for the treatment of appeal and
II. The Court of Appeals committed an error of law in ruling that the RTC reversibly erred in nullifying petitioners judgment probation as mutually exclusive remedies is that they rest on diametrically opposed legal positions. An accused applying
of conviction. for probation is deemed to have accepted the judgment. The application for probation is an admission of guilt on the part
III. The Court of Appeals committed an error of law in ruling that petitioner is not entitled to probation.8 of an accused for the crime which led to the judgment of conviction.18 This was the reason why the Probation Law was
OUR RULING amended: precisely to put a stop to the practice of appealing from judgments of conviction even if the sentence is
The Petition lacks merit. probationable for the purpose of securing an acquittal and applying for the probation only if the accused fails in his bid.19
Anent the first issue, petitioner argues that in criminal cases, the offended party is the State, and that private complainants Similarly, in the present case, petitioner cannot make up his mind whether to question the judgment, or apply for
interest is limited to the civil liability arising therefrom. Petitioner's application for probation purportedly did not involve probation, which is necessarily deemed a waiver of his right to appeal.20 While he did not file an appeal before applying
the civil aspect of the case. Heirs of the Late Francisco Abueg v. Court of Appeals cited by the CA allegedly cannot apply, for probation, he assailed the validity of the conviction in the guise of a petition supposedly assailing the denial of
since it does not even discuss the right of private complainants to interpose an appeal. probation. In so doing, he attempted to circumvent P.D. No. 968, as amended by P.D. 1990, which seeks to make appeal
In the Comment9 it filed, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) reiterated that what petitioner filed with the RTC was a and probation mutually exclusive remedies.
petition for certiorari, which is a special civil action. It cannot be considered an appeal in a criminal case over which only The assignment of errors in the Petition before us reflects the diametrically opposed positions taken by accused petitioner.
the State has an interest, but an appeal in a civil action from which private persons can appeal in the event of an adverse On the one hand, he bewails the defects committed by the trial court during the promulgation of the judgment, thus
outcome. Private respondents, in their Comment,10 argued that the CA correctly applied Abueg, which is on all fours with casting doubt on the judgment itself. Yet in the same breath, he persists in his application for probation, despite the waiver
the present case. In Abueg, the accused was convicted of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and damage to and admission of guilt implicit in any procedure for probation precisely the unhealthy wager the law seeks to prevent.
property for crashing against and killing Francisco Abueg. Instead of filing an appeal, the accused applied for probation. Petitioner applied for probation beyond the reglementary period, yet the trial court still allowed the filing before ultimately
After the CA affirmed the grant of probation, the Supreme Court entertained and acted upon the petition for certiorari denying it for lack of merit. Regarding this delay and the other defects imputed by petitioner to the RTC, we concur with
filed by the victims heirs.11 the findings of the CA:
We agree with the submission of the respondents. While the present petition originated from a criminal proceeding, what (W)e find that public respondent committed no grave abuse of discretion in denying appellees application for probation.
petitioner filed with the RTC was a special civil action, in which he himself impleaded private respondents. He cannot now Granted that appellee had not received the notice of the January 8, 2007 decision rendered in Criminal Case No. 06-6531,
belatedly change his stance to the prejudice of private respondents, who would otherwise be deprived of recourse in a it appears from the record that appellee had no one but himself to blame for the procedural quagmire he subsequently
civil action they did not initiate. In any case, this Court has consistently ruled that private parties may be clothed with found himself in. In denying appellees motion for reconsideration of the September 18, 2007 denial of the application for
sufficient personality if the facts show that the ends of substantial justice would be better served, and if the issues in the probation, public respondent distinctly ruled as follows:
action could be determined in a more just, speedy and inexpensive manner. x x x. (T)he application has been filed out of time as accused himself admitted in the motion.1wphi1 He blames Atty. Evan
In Narciso vs. Sta. Romana-Cruz,12 citing People v. Calo, Jr.,13 the Supreme Court ruled: D. Dizon, his former counsel, for not notifying the court of his change of address but Atty. Dizon himself had been trying
While the rule is, as held by the Court of Appeals, only the Solicitor General may bring or defend actions on behalf of the to contact accused since 2001 even before he filed his formal offer of evidence since all notices sent to the accuseds given
Republic of the Philippines, or represent the People or the State in criminal proceeding pending in this Court and the Court address have been returned to this court since 2001. If it is true that he moved to Cavite only in 2003, why were said
of Appeals, the ends of substantial justice would be better served, and the issues in this action could be determined in a notices returned with notations unknown, unclaimed, or moved?21
more just, speedy and inexpensive manner, by entertaining the petition at bar. As an offended party in a criminal case, This Court will not countenance pleas for liberality in adverse outcomes caused by the negligence and evasiveness of the
private petitioner has sufficient personality and a valid grievance against Judge Adaos order granting bail to the alleged parties themselves.
murderers of his (private petitioners) father.14 (Citations omitted.) WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, we deny the instant Petition for lack of merit. The Court of Appeals Decision and
Furthermore, in Paredes v. Gopengco, it was held that parties in criminal cases have sufficient personality as "person(s) Resolution in CA-G.R. SP No. 103030 dated 26 September 2008 and 29 May 2009 are hereby AFFIRMED, respectively.
aggrieved" to file the special civil action of prohibition and certiorari under Sections 1 and 2 of Rule 65 in line with the SO ORDERED.
underlying spirit of the liberal construction of the rules, to wit: MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO
Furthermore, as offended parties in the pending criminal case before petitioner judge, it cannot be gainsaid that Chief Justice, Chairperson
respondents have sufficient interest and personality as person(s) aggrieved by petitioner judges ruling on his non- WE CONCUR:
disqualification to file the special civil action under sections 1 and 2 of Rule 65. Recently in line with the underlying spirit G.R. No. 170701 January 22, 2014
of a liberal construction of the Rules of Court in order to promote their object, as against the literal application of Rule RALPH P. TUA, Petitioner,
110, section 2, we held, overruling the implication of an earlier case, that a widow possesses the right as an offended party vs.
to file a criminal complaint for the murder of her deceased husband.15 HON. CESAR A. MANGROBANG, Presiding Judge, Branch 22, Regional Trial Court, Imus, Cavite; and ROSSANA HONRADO-
TUA, Respondents.
5

DECISION Petitioner later filed an Urgent Motion for Issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction with Manifestation,8 praying that
PERALTA, J.: the enforcement of all orders, decision to be issued by the RTC and all the proceedings therein be restrained. A hearing9
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari which seeks to annul the Decision1 was, subsequently, conducted on the motion.
dated October 28, 2005 of the Court of Appeals (CA) issued in CA-G.R. SP No. 89939. On October 28, 2005, the CA issued its assailed decision, the decretal portion of which reads:
On May 20, 2005, respondent Rossana Honrado-Tua (respondent) filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Imus, Cavite WHEREFORE, based on the foregoing premises, the instant petition is hereby DENIED for lack of merit. Accordingly, the
a Verified Petition2 for herself and in behalf of her minor children, Joshua Raphael, Jesse Ruth Lois, and J ezreel Abigail, for assailed Temporary Protection Order dated May 23, 2002 (sic) issued by the Regional Trial Court of Imus, Cavite, Branch
the issuance of a protection order, pursuant to Republic Act (RA) 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and their 22 in Civil Case No. 0464-05 is UPHELD.10
Children Act of 2004, against her husband, petitioner Ralph Tua. The case was docketed as Civil Case No. 0464-05 and In so ruling, the CA found that the petition filed by respondent under RA 9262 is still pending before the RTC; thus, the
raffled-off to Branch 22. Respondent claimed that she and her children had suffered from petitioners abusive conduct; factual matters raised therein could not be passed upon in the petition for certiorari filed with it. The CA noted that during
that petitioner had threatened to cause her and the children physical harm for the purpose of controlling her actions or the pendency of the herein proceedings, petitioner filed an urgent motion to quash warrant issued by the RTC and which
decisions; that she was actually deprived of custody and access to her minor children; and, that she was threatened to be matter could not also be a subject of this petition which assails the TPO dated May 23, 2005 and that the motion to quash
deprived of her and her childrens financial support. should have been filed with the RTC.
Respondent and petitioner were married on January 10, 1998 in Makati City. They have three children, namely, Joshua The CA found that the TPO dated May 23, 2005 was validly issued by the RTC and found no grave abuse of discretion in
Raphael born on February 9, 1999, Jesse Ruth Lois, born on June 27, 2000, and Jezreel Abigail, born on December 25, the issuance thereof as the same were in complete accord with the provision of RA 9262.
2001. In her Affidavit3 attached to the petition, respondent claimed, among others, that: there was a time when petitioner As to petitioner's argument that there was no basis for the issuance of the TPO, considering that the provision authorizing
went to her room and cocked his gun and pointed the barrel of his gun to his head as he wanted to convince her not to such issuance is unconstitutional, the CA ruled that since the matter raised herein was the RTCs alleged grave abuse of
proceed with the legal separation case she filed; she hid her fears although she was scared; there was also an instance discretion in issuing the TPO, such matter could be resolved without having to rule on the constitutionality of RA 9262 and
when petitioner fed her children with the fried chicken that her youngest daughter had chewed and spat out; in order to its provisions. And that the requisites that the constitutionality of the law in question be the very lis mota of the case was
stop his child from crying, petitioner would threaten him with a belt; when she told petitioner that she felt unsafe and absent.
insecure with the latter's presence and asked him to stop coming to the house as often as he wanted or she would apply Dissatisfied, petitioner files the instant petition raising the following issues:
for a protection order, petitioner got furious and threatened her of withholding his financial support and even held her by I
the nape and pushed her to lie flat on the bed; and, on May 4, 2005, while she was at work, petitioner with companions THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS WITH DUE RESPECT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN HOLDING AND FINDING IN A MANNER
went to her new home and forcibly took the children and refused to give them back to her. CONTRARY TO ESTABLISHED RULES AND JURISPRUDENCE THAT PUBLIC RESPONDENT COMMITTED NO GRAVE ABUSE OF
On May 23, 2005, the RTC issued a Temporary Protection Order (TPO),4 which we quote in full: DISCRETION WHEN THE LATTER ISSUED THE TEMPORARY PROTECTIVE ORDER (TPO) DATED 23 MAY 2005 WITHOUT
Pursuant to the provisions of R.A. 9262, otherwise known as the "Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of OBSERVING DUE PROCESS OF LAW AND CONSIDERATIONS OF JUSTICE AND BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS.
2004, a Temporary Protection Order (TPO) effective for thirty (30) days from date of receipt is hereby issued against II
respondent Ralph P. Tua. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS IN REFUSING TO RULE ON THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE PROVISIONS OF RA 9262
For the purpose of the implementation of the Temporary Protection Order, the respondent (herein petitioner Ralph) is HAS DECIDED THE CASE IN A MANNER NOT IN ACCORD WITH ESTABLISHED LAWS AND JURISPRUDENCE CONSIDERING
hereby ordered to: THAT CONTRARY TO ITS FINDINGS THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE SAID LAW IS THE LIS MOTA OF THE CASE.11
1. Enjoin from committing and threatening to commit personally or through another, physical, verbal and emotional harm Petitioner claims that contrary to the stance of the CA in not deciding the issue of the constitutionality of RA 9262, the
or abuse against the herein petitioner (respondent) and other family and household members; issue presented is the very lis mota in the instant case.
2. Restrain from harassing, annoying, texting, telephoning, contacting or otherwise communicating with the petitioner The issue of constitutionality of RA 9262 was raised by petitioner in his Comment to respondent's Petition with Urgent
(respondent) whether directly or indirectly or engaged in any psychological form of harassment; Motion to Lift TPO dated May 23, 2005 filed with the RTC. However, without awaiting for the resolution of the same,
VIOLATION OF THIS ORDER IS PUNISHABLE BY LAW. petitioner filed a petition for certiorari with the CA assailing the TPO issued for violating the due process clause of the
The Sheriff of this Court, the PNP Imus, Cavite, or any Officers of the Law are hereby commanded to effect this Order Constitution. Contrary to the CA's finding that the matter raised in the petition filed with it was the RTCs alleged grave
immediately and to use necessary force and measures under the law to implement this Order. abuse of discretion in issuing the TPO which could be resolved without having to rule on the constitutionality of RA 9262
Let the hearing for Permanent Protection Order be set on June 9, 2005 at 2:00 oclock in the afternoon. and its provisions, we find that since petitioner is assailing the validity of RA 9262 wherein respondent's right to a
SO ORDERED.5 protection order is based upon, the constitutionality of the said law must first be decided upon. After all, the alleged
In his Comment6 to respondent's Petition with Urgent Motion to Lift TPO, petitioner denied respondents allegations and unconstitutionality of RA 9262 is, for all intents and purposes, a valid cause for the non-issuance of a protection
alleged, among others, that he had been maintaining a separate abode from petitioner since November 2004; that it was order.12 Notwithstanding, however, we still find no merit to declare RA 9262 unconstitutional.
respondent who verbally abused and threatened him whenever their children's stay with him was extended; that Petitioner particularly directs his constitutional attack on Section 15 of RA 9262 contending that had there been no ex
respondent had been staying with a certain Rebendor Zuiga despite the impropriety and moral implications of such set- parte issuance of the TPO, he would have been afforded due process of law and had properly presented his side on the
up; that despite their written agreement that their minor children should stay in their conjugal home, the latter violated matter; that the questioned provision simply encourages arbitrary enforcement repulsive to basic constitutional rights
the same when she surreptitiously moved out of their conjugal dwelling with their minor children and stayed with said which affects his life, liberty and property.
Zuiga; and, that respondent is mentally, psychologically, spiritually and morally unfit to keep the children in her custody. We are not impressed.
Petitioner contended that the issuance of the TPO on May 23, 2005 is unconstitutional for being violative of the due Section 15 of RA 9262 provides:
process clause of the Constitution. SECTION 15. Temporary Protection Orders. Temporary Protection Orders (TPOs) refers to the protection order issued
Without awaiting for the resolution of his Comment on the petition and motion to lift TPO, petitioner filed with the CA a by the court on the date of filing of the application after ex parte determination that such order should be issued. A court
petition for certiorari with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order may grant in a TPO any, some or all of the reliefs mentioned in this Act and shall be effective for thirty (30) days. The court
and preliminary injunction and hold departure order assailing the May 23, 2005 TPO issued by the RTC. shall schedule a hearing on the issuance of a [Permanent Protection Order] PPO prior to or on the date of the expiration
On June 9, 2005, the CA, in order not to render the petition moot and to avoid grave and irreparable injury, issued a of the TPO. The court shall order the immediate personal service of the TPO on the respondent by the court sheriff who
temporary restraining order to temporarily enjoin the parties and their agents from enforcing the assailed May 23, 2005 may obtain the assistance of law enforcement agents for the service. The TPO shall include notice of the date of the
TPO issued in Civil Case No. 0464-05.7 hearing on the merits of the issuance of a PPO.
6

In Garcia v. Drilon,13 wherein petitioner therein argued that Section 15 of RA 9262 is a violation of the due process clause unavailable to act on the application for a BPO, the application shall be acted upon by any available Barangay Kagawad. If
of the Constitution, we struck down the challenge and held: the BPO is issued by a Barangay Kagawad, the order must be accompanied by an attestation by the Barangay Kagawad
A protection order is an order issued to prevent further acts of violence against women and their children, their family or that the Punong Barangay was unavailable at the time of the issuance of the BPO. BPOs shall be effective for fifteen (15)
household members, and to grant other necessary reliefs. Its purpose is to safeguard the offended parties from further days. Immediately after the issuance of an ex parte BPO, the Punong Barangay or Barangay Kagawad shall personally serve
harm, minimize any disruption in their daily life and facilitate the opportunity and ability to regain control of their life. a copy of the same on the respondent, or direct any barangay official to effect its personal service.
The scope of reliefs in protection orders is broadened to ensure that the victim or offended party is afforded all the The parties may be accompanied by a non-lawyer advocate in any proceeding before the Punong Barangay.1wphi1
remedies necessary to curtail access by a perpetrator to the victim. This serves to safeguard the victim from greater risk Hence, the issuance of a BPO by the Punong Barangay or, in his unavailability, by any available Barangay Kagawad, merely
of violence; to accord the victim and any designated family or household member safety in the family residence, and to orders the perpetrator to desist from (a) causing physical harm to the woman or her child; and (2) threatening to cause
prevent the perpetrator from committing acts that jeopardize the employment and support of the victim. It also enables the woman or her child physical harm.
the court to award temporary custody of minor children to protect the children from violence, to prevent their abduction Such function of the Punong Barangay is, thus, purely executive in nature, in pursuance of his duty under the Local
by the perpetrator and to ensure their financial support. Government Code to "enforce all laws and ordinances," and to "maintain public order in the barangay."17
The rules require that petitions for protection order be in writing, signed and verified by the petitioner thereby undertaking Petitioner assails that the CA erred in finding that the RTC did not commit grave abuse of discretion in issuing the TPO
full responsibility, criminal or civil, for every allegation therein. Since "time is of the essence in cases of VAWC if further dated May 23, 2005 as the petition was bereft of any indication of grounds for the issuance of the same. Petitioner claims
violence is to be prevented," the court is authorized to issue ex parte a TPO after raffle but before notice and hearing that while the issuance of the TPO is ex parte, there must be a judicial determination of the basis thereof. He contends
when the life, limb or property of the victim is in jeopardy and there is reasonable ground to believe that the order is that the allegations in respondent's affidavit attached to the petition, and without admitting the same to be true, are
necessary to protect the victim from the immediate and imminent danger of VAWC or to prevent such violence, which is nothing more than normal or usual quarrels between a husband and wife which are not grave or imminent enough to
about to recur. merit the issuance of a TPO.
There need not be any fear that the judge may have no rational basis to issue an ex parte order. The victim is required not We are not persuaded.
only to verify the allegations in the petition, but also to attach her witnesses' affidavits to the petition. We quote again Section 15 of RA 9262 for ready reference, thus:
The grant of a TPO ex parte cannot, therefore, be challenged as violative of the right to due process. Just like a writ of SECTION 15. Temporary Protection Orders. Temporary Protection Orders (TPOs) refers to the protection order issued
preliminary attachment which is issued without notice and hearing because the time in which the hearing will take could by the court on the date of filing of the application after ex parte determination that such order should be issued. A court
be enough to enable the defendant to abscond or dispose of his property, in the same way, the victim of VAWC may may grant in a TPO any, some or all of the reliefs mentioned in this Act and shall be effective for thirty (30) days. The court
already have suffered harrowing experiences in the hands of her tormentor, and possibly even death, if notice and hearing shall schedule a hearing on the issuance of a PPO prior to or on the date of the expiration of the TPO. The court shall order
were required before such acts could be prevented. It is a constitutional commonplace that the ordinary requirements of the immediate personal service of the TPO on the respondent by the court sheriff who may obtain the assistance of law
procedural due process must yield to the necessities of protecting vital public interests, among which is protection of enforcement agents for the service. The TPO shall include notice of the date of the hearing on the merits of the issuance
women and children from violence and threats to their personal safety and security. of a PPO.
It should be pointed out that when the TPO is issued ex parte, the court shall likewise order that notice be immediately Clearly, the court is authorized to issue a TPO on the date of the filing of the application after ex parte determination that
given to the respondent directing him to file an opposition within five (5) days from service. Moreover, the court shall there is basis for the issuance thereof. Ex parte means that the respondent need not be notified or be present in the
order that notice, copies of the petition and TPO be served immediately on the respondent by the court sheriffs. The TPOs hearing for the issuance of the TPO. Thus, it is within the courts discretion, based on the petition and the affidavit attached
are initially effective for thirty (30) days from service on the respondent. thereto, to determine that the violent acts against women and their children for the issuance of a TPO have been
Where no TPO is issued ex parte, the court will nonetheless order the immediate issuance and service of the notice upon committed.
the respondent requiring him to file an opposition to the petition within five (5) days from service. The date of the And Section 5 of the same law provides:
preliminary conference and hearing on the merits shall likewise be indicated on the notice. SECTION 5. Acts of Violence Against Women and Their Children.- The crime of violence against women and their children
The opposition to the petition which the respondent himself shall verify, must be accompanied by the affidavits of is committed through any of the following acts:
witnesses and shall show cause why a temporary or permanent protection order should not be issued. (a) Causing physical harm to the woman or her child;
It is clear from the foregoing rules that the respondent of a petition for protection order should be apprised of the charges (b) Threatening to cause the woman or her child physical harm;
imputed to him and afforded an opportunity to present his side. x x x. The essence of due process is to be found in the (c) Attempting to cause the woman or her child physical harm;
reasonable opportunity to be heard and submit any evidence one may have in support of one's defense. "To be heard" (d) Placing the woman or her child in fear of imminent physical harm;
does not only mean verbal arguments in court; one may be heard also through pleadings. Where opportunity to be heard, (e) Attempting to compel or compelling the woman or her child to engage in conduct which the woman or her child has
either through oral arguments or pleadings, is accorded, there is no denial of procedural due process.14 the right to desist from or desist from conduct which the woman or her child has the right to engage in, or attempting to
Petitioner also assails that there is an invalid delegation of legislative power to the court and to barangay officials to issue restrict or restricting the woman's or her child's freedom of movement or conduct by force or threat of force, physical or
protection orders. other harm or threat of physical or other harm, or intimidation directed against the woman or child. This shall include, but
Section 2 of Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution provides that "the Congress shall have the power to define, prescribe, not limited to, the following acts committed with the purpose or effect of controlling or restricting the woman's or her
and apportion the jurisdiction of the various courts but may not deprive the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction over cases child's movement or conduct:
enumerated in Section 5 hereof." Hence, the primary judge of the necessity, adequacy, wisdom, reasonableness and (1) Threatening to deprive or actually depriving the woman or her child of custody to her/his family;
expediency of any law is primarily the function of the legislature.15 The act of Congress entrusting us with the issuance of (2) Depriving or threatening to deprive the woman or her children of financial support legally due her or her family, or
protection orders is in pursuance of our authority to settle justiciable controversies or disputes involving rights that are deliberately providing the woman's children insufficient financial support;
enforceable and demandable before the courts of justice or the redress of wrongs for violations of such rights.16 (3) Depriving or threatening to deprive the woman or her child of a legal right;
As to the issuance of protection order by the Punong Barangay, Section 14 pertinently provides: (4) Preventing the woman in engaging in any legitimate profession, occupation, business or activity or controlling the
SEC. 14. Barangay Protection Orders (BPOs); Who May Issue and How. Barangay Protection Orders (BPOs) refer to the victim's own money or properties, or solely controlling the conjugal or common money, or properties;
protection order issued by the Punong Barangay ordering the perpetrator to desist from committing acts under Section 5 (f) Inflicting or threatening to inflict physical harm on oneself for the purpose of controlling her actions or decisions;
(a) and (b) of this Act. A Punong Barangay who receives applications for a BPO shall issue the protection order to the
applicant on the date of filing after ex parte determination of the basis of the application. If the Punong Barangay is
7

(g) Causing or attempting to cause the woman or her child to engage in any sexual activity which does not constitute rape, 3. At 12:00 N. on August 6th, elements of the CSG searched the premises at 239-B Mayon Street, Quezon City. The stated
by force or threat of force, physical harm, or through intimidation directed against the woman or her child or her/his time is an allegation of petitioners, not specifically denied by respondents. In their COMMENT, however, respondents
immediate family; have alleged that the search was conducted "late on the same day"; that is late on august 6th.
(h) Engaging in purposeful, knowing, or reckless conduct, personally or through another, that alarms or causes substantial 4. On August 6th, at around 9:00 A.M., Lt. Col. Virgilio G. Saldajeno of the CSG, applied for a Search Warrant from
emotional or psychological distress to the woman or her child. This shall include, but not be limited to, the following acts: respondent Hon. Ernani Cruz Pao, Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court in Quezon City, to be served at No. 239-B
(1) Stalking or following the woman or her child in public or private places; Mayon Street, Quezon City, determined tyo be the leased residence of AGUILAR-ROQUE, after almost a month of "round
(2) Peering in the window or lingering outside the residence of the woman or her child; the clock surveillance" of the premises as a "suspected underground house of the CPP/NPA." AGUILAR-ROQUE has been
(3) Entering or remaining in the dwelling or on the property of the woman or her child against her/his will; long wanted by the military for being a high ranking officer of the Communist Party of the Philippines, particularly
(4) Destroying the property and personal belongings or inflicting harm to animals or pets of the woman or her child; and connected with the MV Karagatan/Doa Andrea cases.
(5) Engaging in any form of harassment or violence; In connection with the Search Warrant issued, the following may be stated:
(i) Causing mental or emotional anguish, public ridicule or humiliation to the woman or her child, including, but not limited (a) The Search Warrant was issued in proceedings entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Mila Aguilar-Roque, Accused,
to, repeated verbal and emotional abuse, and denial of financial support or custody of minor children of access to the Search Warrant No. 80- 84 for rebellion" (the SEARCH WARRANT CASE). Judge Panos Court was Branch 88.
woman's child/children. (b) It does not appear from the records before us that an application in writing was submitted by Lt. Col. Saldajeno to
In this case, the alleged acts of petitioner among others, i.e., he cocked the gun and pointed the same to his head in order Judge Pao.
to convince respondent not to proceed with the legal separation case; feeding his other children with the food which (c) According to the record, Lt. Col. Saldajeno and his witness S/A Dionicio A. Lapus, were examined under oath by Judge
another child spat out; and threatening the crying child with a belt to stop him from crying which was repeatedly done; Pao but only the deposition of S/A Lapus has been submitted to us. The latter deposed that to his personal knowledge,
and holding respondent by her nape when he got furious that she was asking him not to come often to their conjugal there were kept in the premises to be searched records, documents and other papers of the CPP/NPA and the National
home and hold office thereat after their agreed separation and threatening her of withholding half of the financial support Democratic Front, including support money from foreign and local sources intended to be used for rebellion. 1
for the kids, while not conclusive, are enough bases for the issuance of a TPO. Petitioner's actions would fall under the 5. In connection with the search made at 12:00 N. of August 6th the following may be stated:
enumeration of Section 5, more particularly, paragraphs a, d, e (2), f, h, and i. (a) TOLENTINO was a person then in charge of the premises. He was arrested by the searching party presumably without
It is settled doctrine that there is grave abuse of discretion when there is a capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment a warrant of arrest.
as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction, such as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason (b) The searching party seized 428 documents and written materials, 2 and additionally a portable typewriter, and 2
of passion or personal hostility, and it must be so patent and gross so as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or to a wooden boxes, making 431 items in all. 3
virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law.18We find that the CA did not err when (c) According to the Return, submitted in the SEARCH WARRANT CASE on August 10th, 4 the search was made in the
it found no grave abuse of discretion committed by the RTC in the issuance of the TPO. presence of Dra. Marciana Galang, owner of the premises, and of two (2) Barangay Tanods. No mention was made that
The factual matters herein raised by petitioner should be presented during the hearing on the merits on the issuance of TOLENTINO was present. The list of the 428 articles and documents attached to the Return was signed by the two Barangay
the Permanent Protection Order. Tanods, but not by Dra. Galang.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated October 28, 2005 of the Court of Appeals issued in CA-G.R. SP 6. (a) On August 10th, the three petitioners, AGUILAR-ROQUE, NOLASCO and TOLENTINO, were charged before the
No. 89939, upholding the Regional Trial Court's issuance of the Temporary Protection Order dated May 23, 2005, is Quezon City Fiscal's Office (the CITY FISCAL, for short) upon complaint filed by the CSG against petitioners for
AFFIRMED. The Regional Trial Court of "Subversion/Rebellion and/or Conspiracy to Commit Rebellion/Subversion."
Imus, Cavite is hereby ORDERED to resolve with dispatch respondent's Petition for a Permanent Protection Order. (b) On August 13th, the CITY FISCAL filed an Information for Violation of Presidential Decree No. 33 (Illegal Possession of
SO ORDERED. Subversive Documents) against petitioners before Branch 42 of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City (the
WE CONCUR: SUBVERSIVE DOCUMENTS CASE), respondent Judge Antonio P. Santos, presiding.
G.R. No. L-69803 October 8, 1985 (c) On August 16th, CSG filed a Motion for Reconsideration with the CITY FISCAL, praying that AGUILAR-ROQUE and
CYNTHIA D. NOLASCO, MILA AGUILAR-ROQUE and WILLIE C. TOLENTINO, petitioners, NOLASCO be charged with Subversion. The Motion was denied on November 16th.
vs. 7. (a) On September 10th, the CSG submitted an Amended Return in the SEARCH WARRANT CASE praying, inter alia, that
HON. ERNANI CRUZ PAO, Executive Judge, Regional Trial Court of Quezon City; HON. ANTONIO P. SANTOS, Presiding Judge, the CSG be allowed to retain the seized 431 documents and articles, in connection with cases that are presently pending
Branch XLII, Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City: HON. SERGIO F. APOSTOL, City Fiscal, Quezon City; HON. JUAN PONCE against Mila Aguilar Roque before the Quezon City Fiscal's Office and the court. 5
ENRILE, LT. GEN. FIDEL RAMOS and COL. JESUS ALTUNA, respondents. (b) On September 28th, petitioners were required by Judge Pano to comment on the Amended Return, which AGUILAR-
Jose W .Diokno, Joker P. Arroyo, Rene A. V. Sarmiento, Dan Malabonga and Cesar Maravilla for petitioners. ROQUE did on October 18th, raising the issue of the inadmissibility of any evidence obtained pursuant to the Search
Warrant.
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.: (c) On December 13, 1984, Judge Pao admitted the Amended Return and ruled that the seized documents "shall be
The facts before the Court in these Certiorari, Prohibition, and mandamus proceedings will be briefly stated. The three subject to disposition of the tribunal trying the case against respondent."
petitioners will be referred to through their surnames of NOLASCO, AGUILAR-ROQUE and TOLENTINO. 8. (a) On December 12th, petitioners filed a Motion to Suppress in the SUBVERSIVE DOCUMENTS CASE, praying that such
1. Prior to August 6, 1984 (hereinafter to be referred to without the year), AGUILAR-ROQUE was one of the accused of of the 431 items belonging to them be returned to them. It was claimed that the proceedings under the Search Warrant
Rebellion in Criminal Case No. were unlawful. Judge Santos denied the Motion on January 7, 1985 on the ground that the validity of the Search Warrant
MC-25-113 of Military Commission No. 25, both cases being entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Jose Ma. Sison, et al." has to be litigated in the SEARCH WARRANT CASE. He was apparently not aware of the Order of Judge Pao of December
She was then still at large. 13th issued in the SEARCH WARRANT CASE.
2. At 11:30 A.M. on August 6th, AGUILAR-ROQUE and NOLASCO were arrested by a Constabulary Security Group (CSG) at Hence, this Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and mandamus to annul and set aside the (1) Search Warrant issued by
the intersection of Mayon Street and P. Margall Street, Quezon City. The stated time is an allegation of petitioners, not respondent RTC Judge Pao; (2) his Order admitting the Amended Return and granting the Motion to Retain Seized Items;
denied by respondents. The record does not disclose that a warrant of arrest had previously beeen issued against and (3) Order of respondent MTC Judge Santos denying petitioners' Motion to Suppress.
NOLASCO. This Court, on February 12, 1985, issued a Temporary Restraining Order enjoining the respondents or their duly authorized
representatives from introducing evidence obtained under the Search Warrant.
8

The PETITIONERS principally assert that the Search Warrant is void because it is a general warrant since it does not Q What else?
sufficiently describe with particularity the things subject of the search and seizure, and that probable cause has not been A Conferences of the top ranking officials from the National Democratic Front, Organization of the Communist Party of
properly established for lack of searching questions propounded to the applicant's witness. The respondents, represented the Philippines ...
by the Solicitor General, contend otherwise, adding that the questions raised cannot be entertained in this present petition Q And may include what else?
without petitioners first moving for the quashal of the disputed Search Warrant with the issuing Judge. A Other papers and documents like Minutes of the Party Meetings, Plans of these groups, Programs, List of possible
We find merit in the Petition. supporters, subversive books and instructions, manuals not otherwise available to the public and support money from
Section 3, Article IV of the Constitution, guarantees the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers foreign and local sources. 9
and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose. It also specifically The foregoing questions propounded by respondent Executive Judge to the applicant's witness are not sufficiently
provides that no Search Warrant shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined by the Judge or such other searching to establish probable cause. The "probable cause" required to justify the issuance of a search warrant
responsible officer as may be authorized by law, after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the comprehends such facts and circumstances as will induce a cautious man to rely upon them and act in pursuant
witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the things to be seized. thereof. 10 Of the 8 questions asked, the 1st, 2nd and 4th pertain to Identity. The 3rd and 5th are leading not searching
The disputed Search Warrant (No. 80-84) describes the personalities to be seized as follows: questions. The 6th, 7th and 8th refer to the description of the personalities to be seized, which is Identical to that in the
Documents, papers and other records of the Communist Party of the Phihppines/New Peoples Army and/or the National Search Warrant and suffers from the same lack of particularity. The examination conducted was general in nature and
Democratic Front, such as Minutes of the Party Meetings, Plans of these groups, Programs, List of possible supporters, merely repetitious of the deposition of said witness. Mere generalization will not suffice and does not satisfy the
subversive books and instructions, manuals not otherwise available to the public, and support money from foreign or local requirements of probable cause upon which a warrant may issue. 11
sources. Respondents claim, however, that the proper forum for questioning the illegality of a Search Warrant is with the Court
It is at once evident that the foregoing Search Warrant authorizes the seizure of personal properties vaguely described that issued it instead of this original, independent action to quash. The records show, however, that petitioners did raise
and not particularized. It is an all- embracing description which includes everything conceivable regarding the Communist that issue in the SEARCH WARRANT CASE in their Comment, dated October 18, 1984. In fact, they already questioned the
Party of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front. It does not specify what the subversive books and instructions admissibility of the evidence obtained under the Search Warrant, even during the inquest investigation on August 10,
are; what the manuals not otherwise available to the public contain to make them subversive or to enable them to be 1984. And in the SUBVERSIVE DOCUMENTS CASE, they filed a Motion to Suppress on December 12, 1984 claiming that
used for the crime of rebellion. There is absent a definite guideline to the searching team as to what items might be the proceedings under the Search Warrant were unlawful. Substantially, therefore, while not denominated as a motion to
lawfully seized thus giving the officers of the law discretion regarding what articles they should seize as, in fact, taken also quash, petitioners had questioned the legality of the Search Warrant.
were a portable typewriter and 2 wooden boxes. It is thus in the nature of a general warrant and infringes on the Parenthetically, it strikes the Court that the pendency of the SEARCH WARRANT CASE and of the SUBVERSIVE DOCUMENTS
constitutional mandate requiring particular description of the things to be seized. In the recent rulings of this Court, search CASE before two different Courts is not conducive to an orderly administration of justice. It should be advisable that,
warrants of similar description were considered null and void for being too general. Thus: whenever a Search Warrant has been issued by one Court, or Branch, and a criminal prosecution is initiated in another
Subversive documents, pamphlets, leaflets, books, and other publications to promote the objectives and purposes of the Court, or Branch, as a result of the service of the Search Warrant, the SEARCH WARRANT CASE should be consolidated
subversive organizations known as Movement for Free Philippines. Light-a-Fire Movement and April 6 Movement. 6 with the criminal case for orderly procedure. The later criminal case is more substantial than the Search Warrant
The things to be seized under the warrant issued by respondent judge were described as 'subversive documents, proceeding, and the Presiding Judge in the criminal case should have the right to act on petitions to exclude evidence
propaganda materials, FAs, printing paraphernalia and all other subversive materials Such description hardly provided a unlawfully obtained.
definite guideline to the search team as to what articles might be lawfully seized thereunder. Said description is no Notwithstanding the irregular issuance of the Search Warrant and although, ordinarily, the articles seized under an invalid
different from if not worse than, the description found in the search warrants in "Burgos, et al. v. the Chief of Staff"which search warrant should be returned, they cannot be ordered returned in the case at bar to AGUILAR-ROQUE. Some searches
this Court declared null and void for being too general. 7 may be made without a warrant. Thus, Section 12, Rule 126, Rules of Court, explicitly provides:
In the case at bar, the search warrant issued by respondent judge allowed the seizure of printed copies of the Philippine Section 12. Search without warrant of person arrested.A person charged with an offense may be searched for dangerous
Times, manuscripts/drafts of articles for publication, newspaper dummies subversive documents, articles, etc., and even weapons or anything which may be used as proof of the commission of the offense.
typewriters, duplicating machines, mimeographing and tape recording machines. Thus, the language used is so all The provision is declaratory in the sense that it is confined to the search, without a search warrant, of a person who had
embracing as to include all conceivable records and equipment of petitioner regardless of whether they are legal or illegal. been arrested. It is also a general rule that, as an incident of an arrest, the place or premises where the arrest was made
The search warrant under consideration was in the nature of a general warrant which is constitutionally objectionable. 8 can also be search without a search warrant. In this latter case, "the extent and reasonableness of the search must be
The lack of particularization is also evident in the examination of the witness presented by the applicant for Search decided on its own facts and circumstances, and it has been stated that, in the application of general rules, there is some
Warrant. confusion in the decisions as to what constitutes the extent of the place or premises which may be searched. 12 "What
Q Mr. Dionicio Lapus, there is an application for search warrant filed by Lt. Col. Virgilio Saldajeno and the Court would like must be considered is the balancing of the individual's right to privacy and the public's interest in the prevention of crime
to know if you affirm the truth of your answer in this deposition? and the apprehension of criminals." 13
(The deposition instead) Considering that AGUILAR-ROQUE has been charged with Rebellion, which is a crime against public order; that the warrant
A Yes, sir, for her arrest has not been served for a considerable period of time; that she was arrested within the general vicinity of
Q How long did it take you for the surveillance? her dwelling; and that the search of her dwelling was made within a half hour of her arrest, we are of the opinion that in
A Almost a month, sir. her respect, the search at No. 239-B Mayon Street, Quezon City, did not need a search warrant; this, for possible effective
Q Are you a lawyer, Mr. Lapus? results in the interest of public order.
A No, Your Honor, but I was a student of law. Such being the case, the personalities seized may be retained. by CSG, for possible introduction as evidence in the
Q So, you are more or less familiar with the requisites of the application for search warrant? Rebellion Case, leaving it to AGUILAR-ROQUE to object to their relevance and to ask Special Military Commission No.1 to
A Yes, Your Honor. return to her any and all irrelevant documents and articles.
Q How did you come to know of the person of Mila Aguilar-Roque? WHEREFORE, while Search Warrant No. 80-84 issued on August 6, 1984 by respondent Executive Judge Ernani Cruz Pao
A Because of our day and night surveillance, Your Honor, there were so many suspicious persons with documents. is hereby annulled and set aside, and the Temporary Restraining Order enjoining respondent from introducing evidence
Q What kind of documents do you refer to? obtained pursuant to the Search Warrant in the Subversive Documents case hereby made permanent, the, personalities
A Documents related to the Communist Party of Philippines and New People's Army. seized may be retained by the Constabulary Security Group for possible introduction as evidence in Criminal Case No.
9

SMC-1-1, pending before Special Military commission No. 1, without prejudice to petitioner Mila Aguilar-Roque objecting The first incident took place [i]n December 2003 [the December 2003 incident]. AAAs mother was not in the house and
to their relevance and asking said Commission to return to her any and all irrelevant documents and articles. was with her relatives in Laguna. Taking advantage of the situation, [Pareja], while AAA was asleep, placed himself on top
SO ORDERED. of [her]. Then, [Pareja], who was already naked, begun to undress AAA. [Pareja] then started to suck the breasts of
G.R. No. 202122, January 15, 2014 [AAA]. Not satisfied, [Pareja] likewise inserted his penis into AAAs anus. Because of the excruciating pain that she felt,
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PlaintiffAppellee, v. BERNABE PAREJA Y CRUZ, AccusedAppellant. AAA immediately stood up and rushed outside of their house.
DECISION
LEONARDODE CASTRO, J.: Despite such traumatic experience, AAA never told anyone about the [December 2003] incident for fear that [Pareja]
The accusedappellant Bernabe Pareja y Cruz (Pareja) is appealing the January 19, 2012 Decision1of the Court of Appeals might kill her. [Pareja] threatened to kill AAA in the event that she would expose the incident to anyone.
in CAG.R. CR.H.C. No. 03794, which affirmed in toto the conviction for Rape and Acts of Lasciviousness meted out by
Branch 113, Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasay City in Criminal Case Nos. 041556CFM and 041557CFM.2 AAA further narrated that the [December 2003] incident had happened more than once. According to AAA, [i]n February
2004 [the February 2004 incident], she had again been molested by [Pareja]. Under the same circumstances as the
On May 5, 2004, Pareja was charged with two counts of Rape and one Attempted Rape. The Informations for the three [December 2003 incident], with her mother not around while she and her halfsiblings were asleep, [Pareja] again laid on
charges read as follows: top of her and started to suck her breasts. But this time, [Pareja] caressed [her] and held her vagina and inserted his finger
[i]n it.
I. For the two counts of Rape:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Criminal Case No. 041556CFM With regard to the last incident, on March 27, 2004 [the March 2004 incident], it was AAAs mother who saw [Pareja] in
the act of lifting the skirt of her daughter AAA while the latter was asleep. Outraged, AAAs mother immediately brought
That on or about and sometime in the month of February, 2004, in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines and within the AAA to the barangay officers to report the said incident. AAA then narrated to the barangay officials that she had been
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, Bernabe Pareja y Cruz, being the common law spouse of sexually abused by [Pareja] x x x many times x x x.
the minor victims mother, through force, threats and intimidation, did then and there wil[l]fully, unlawfully and
feloniously commit an act of sexual assault upon the person of [AAA3 ], a minor 13 years of age, by then and there mashing Subsequently, AAA, together with her mother, proceeded to the Child Protection Unit of the Philippine General Hospital
her breast and inserting his finger inside her vagina against her will.4 for a medical and genital examination. On March 29, 2004, Dr. Tan issued Provisional MedicoLegal Report Number 2004
030091. Her medicolegal report stated the following conclusion:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Criminal Case No. 041557CFM Hymen: Tanner Stage 3, hymenal remnant from 57 oclock area, Type of hymen: Crescentic

That on or about and sometime in the month of December, 2003, in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines and within the x x x
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, Bernabe Pareja y Cruz, being the stepfather of [AAA], a
minor 13 years of age, through force, threats and intimidation, did then and there wil[l]fully, unlawfully and feloniously Genital findings show Clear Evidence of Blunt Force or Penetrating Trauma.
have carnal knowledge of said minor against her will.5 After the results of the medicolegal report confirmed that AAA was indeed raped, AAAs mother then filed a complaint
for rape before the Pasay City Police Station.
II. For the charge of Attempted Rape:
Criminal Case No. 041558CFM To exculpate himself from liability, [Pareja] offered both denial and ill motive of AAA against him as his defense. He denied
raping [AAA] but admitted that he knew her as she is the daughter of his livein partner and that they all stay in the same
That on or about the 27th day of March, 2004, in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this house.
Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, BERNABE PAREJA Y CRUZ, being the common law spouse of minor victims
mother by means of force, threats and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously commence the Contrary to AAAs allegations, [Pareja] averred that it would have been impossible that the alleged incidents happened. To
commission of the crime of Rape against the person of minor, [AAA], a 13 years old minor by then and there crawling justify the same, [Pareja] described the layout of their house and argued that there was no way that the alleged sexual
towards her direction where she was sleeping, putting off her skirt, but did not perform all the acts of execution which abuses could have happened.
would have produce[d] the crime of rape for the reason other than his own spontaneous desistance, that is the timely
arrival of minor victims mother who confronted the accused, and which acts of child abuse debased, degraded and According to [Pareja], the house was made of wood, only about four (4) meters wide by ten (10) meters, and was so small
demeaned the intrinsic worth and dignity of said minor complainant as a human being.6 that they all have to sit to be able to fit inside the house. Further, the vicinity where their house is located was thickly
populated with houses constructed side by side. Allegedly, AAA also had no choice but to sleep beside her siblings.
On June 17, 2004, Pareja, during his arraignment, pleaded not guilty to the charges filed against him.7 After the completion
of the pretrial conference on September 16, 2004,8 trial on the merits ensued. All taken into account, [Pareja] asseverated that it was hard to imagine how he could possibly still go about with his plan
without AAAs siblings nor their neighbors noticing the same.
The antecedents of this case, as narrated by the Court of Appeals, are as follows:
AAA was thirteen (13) years of age when the alleged acts of lasciviousness and sexual abuse took place on three (3) Verily, [Pareja] was adamant and claimed innocence as to the imputations hurled against him by AAA. He contended that
different dates, particularly [in December 2003], February 2004, and March 27, 2004. AAA filed these charges against him only as an act of revenge because AAA was mad at [him] for being the reason behind
her parents separation.10
AAAs parents separated when she was [only eight years old9 ]. At the time of the commission of the aforementioned
crimes, AAA was living with her mother and with herein accusedappellant Bernabe Pareja who, by then, was cohabiting Ruling of the RTC
with her mother, together with three (3) of their children, aged twelve (12), eleven (11) and nine (9), in x x x, Pasay City.
On January 16, 2009, the RTC acquitted Pareja from the charge of attempted rape but convicted him of the crimes of rape
10

and acts of lasciviousness in the December 2003 and February 2004 incidents, respectively. The dispositive portion of the
Decision11 reads as follows: Core Issue: Credibility of AAA
WHEREFORE, the herein accused Bernabe Pareja y Cruz is hereby acquitted from the charge of attempted rape in Crim.
Case No. 041558, for want of evidence. Pareja claims that AAAs testimony cannot be the lone basis of his conviction as it was riddled with inconsistencies.19

In Crim. Case No. 041556, the said accused is CONVICTED with Acts of Lasciviousness and he is meted out the penalty of We find such argument untenable.
imprisonment, ranging from 2 years, 4 months and 1 day as minimum to 4 years and 2 months of prision [correccional] as
maximum. When the issue of credibility of witnesses is presented before this Court, we follow certain guidelines that have overtime
been established in jurisprudence. In People v. Sanchez,20 we enumerated them as follows:
In Crim. Case No. 041557, the said accused is CONVICTED as charged with rape, and he is meted the penalty of reclusion First, the Court gives the highest respect to the RTCs evaluation of the testimony of the witnesses, considering its unique
perpetua. position in directly observing the demeanor of a witness on the stand. From its vantage point, the trial court is in the best
position to determine the truthfulness of witnesses.
The accused shall be credited in full for the period of his preventive imprisonment.
Second, absent any substantial reason which would justify the reversal of the RTCs assessments and conclusions, the
The accused is ordered to indemnify the offended party [AAA], the sum of P50,000.00, without subsidiary imprisonment, reviewing court is generally bound by the lower courts findings, particularly when no significant facts and circumstances,
in case of insolvency.12 affecting the outcome of the case, are shown to have been overlooked or disregarded.

The RTC, in convicting Pareja of the crime of Rape and Acts of Lasciviousness, gave more weight to the prosecutions And third, the rule is even more stringently applied if the CA concurred with the RTC. (Citations omitted.)
evidence as against Parejas baseless denial and imputation of ill motive. However, due to the failure of the prosecution
to present AAAs mother to testify about what she had witnessed in March 2004, the RTC had to acquit Pareja of the crime The recognized rule in this jurisdiction is that the assessment of the credibility of witnesses is a domain best left to the
of Attempted Rape in the March 2004 incident for lack of evidence. The RTC could not convict Pareja on the basis of AAAs trial court judge because of his unique opportunity to observe their deportment and demeanor on the witness stand; a
testimony for being hearsay evidence as she had no personal knowledge of what happened on March 27, 2004 because vantage point denied appellate courtsand when his findings have been affirmed by the Court of Appeals, these are
she was sleeping at that time. generally binding and conclusive upon this Court.21 While there are recognized exceptions to the rule, this Court has
Ruling of the Court of Appeals found no substantial reason to overturn the identical conclusions of the trial and appellate courts on the matter of AAAs
credibility.
Wanting to reverse his two convictions, Pareja appealed13 to the Court of Appeals, which on January 19, 2012, affirmed in
toto the judgment of the RTC in Criminal Case Nos. 041556 and 041557, to wit: Besides, inaccuracies and inconsistencies in a rape victims testimony are generally expected.22 As this Court stated
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, the instant appeal is hereby DENIED and, consequently, DISMISSED. The in People v. Saludo23 :
appealed Decisions rendered by Branch 113 of the Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Judicial Region in Pasay City Rape is a painful experience which is oftentimes not remembered in detail. For such an offense is not analogous to a
on January 16, 2009 in Criminal Cases Nos. 041556 to 041557 are hereby AFFIRMED in persons achievement or accomplishment as to be worth recalling or reliving; rather, it is something which causes deep
toto.14ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary psychological wounds and casts a stigma upon the victim, scarring her psyche for life and which her conscious and
Issues subconscious mind would opt to forget. Thus, a rape victim cannot be expected to mechanically keep and then give an
accurate account of the traumatic and horrifying experience she had undergone. (Citation
Aggrieved, Pareja elevated his case to this Court15 and posited before us the following errors as he did before the Court of omitted.)chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Appeals:
I Since human memory is fickle and prone to the stresses of emotions, accuracy in a testimonial account has never been
used as a standard in testing the credibility of a witness.24 The inconsistencies mentioned by Pareja are trivial and non
THE TRIAL COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN CONVICTING [PAREJA] OF THE CRIMES CHARGED NOTWITHSTANDING THAT HIS consequential matters that merely caused AAA confusion when she was being questioned. The inconsistency regarding
GUILT HAS NOT BEEN PROVEN BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT. the year of the December incident is not even a matter pertaining to AAAs ordeal.25 The date and time of the commission
II of the crime of rape becomes important only when it creates serious doubt as to the commission of the rape itself or the
sufficiency of the evidence for purposes of conviction. In other words, the date of the commission of the rape becomes
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING [PAREJA] BASED SOLELY ON THE PROSECUTION WITNESS relevant only when the accuracy and truthfulness of the complainants narration practically hinge on the date of the
TESTIMONY.16 commission of the crime.26 Moreover, the date of the commission of the rape is not an essential element of the crime.27

In his Supplemental Brief17 Pareja added the following argument: In this connection, Pareja repeatedly invokes our ruling in People v. Ladrillo,28 implying that our rulings therein are
The private complainants actuations after the incident negate the possibility that she was raped.18 applicable to his case. However, the factual circumstances in Ladrillo are prominently missing in Parejas case. In
particular, the main factor for Ladrillos acquittal in that case was because his constitutional right to be informed of the
Parejas main bone of contention is the reliance of the lower courts on the testimony of AAA in convicting him for rape nature and cause of the accusation against him was violated when the Information against him only stated that the crime
and acts of lasciviousness. Simply put, Pareja is attacking the credibility of AAA for being inconsistent. Moreover, he was committed on or about the year 1992. We said:
claimed, AAA acted as if nothing happened after the alleged sexual abuse. The peculiar designation of time in the Information clearly violates Sec. 11, Rule 110, of the Rules Court which requires
Ruling of this Court that the time of the commission of the offense must be alleged as near to the actual date as the information or complaint
will permit. More importantly, it runs afoul of the constitutionally protected right of the accused to be informed of the
This Court finds no reason to reverse Parejas conviction. nature and cause of the accusation against him. The Information is not sufficiently explicit and certain as to time to inform
11

accusedappellant of the date on which the criminal act is alleged to have been committed. seclusion. Lust is no respecter of time or place,34 and rape defies constraints of time and space. In People v. Sangil,
Sr.,35 we expounded on such occurrence in this wise:
The phrase on or about the year 1992 encompasses not only the twelve (12 ) months of 1992 but includes the years In People v. Ignacio, we took judicial notice of the interesting fact that among poor couples with big families living in small
prior and subsequent to 1992, e.g., 1991 and 1993, for which accusedappellant has to virtually account for his quarters, copulation does not seem to be a problem despite the presence of other persons around them. Considering the
whereabouts. Hence, the failure of the prosecution to allege with particularity the date of the commission of the offense cramped space and meager room for privacy, couples perhaps have gotten used to quick and less disturbing modes of
and, worse, its failure to prove during the trial the date of the commission of the offense as alleged in the Information, sexual congresses which elude the attention of family members; otherwise, under the circumstances, it would be almost
deprived accusedappellant of his right to intelligently prepare for his defense and convincingly refute the charges against impossible to copulate with them around even when asleep. It is also not impossible nor incredible for the family members
him. At most, accusedappellant could only establish his place of residence in the year indicated in the Information and to be in deep slumber and not be awakened while the sexual assault is being committed. One may also suppose that
not for the particular time he supposedly committed the rape. growing children sleep more soundly than grownups and are not easily awakened by adult exertions and suspirations in
the night. There is no merit in appellants contention that there can be no rape in a room where other people are
x x x present. There is no rule that rape can be committed only in seclusion. We have repeatedly declared that lust is no
respecter of time and place, and rape can be committed in even the unlikeliest of places. (Citations omitted.)
Indeed, the failure of the prosecution to prove its allegation in the Information that accusedappellant raped complainant
in 1992 manifestly shows that the date of the commission of the offense as alleged was based merely on speculation and Demeanor of AAA
conjecture, and a conviction anchored mainly thereon cannot satisfy the quantum of evidence required for a as a rape victim
pronouncement of guilt, that is, proof beyond reasonable doubt that the crime was committed on the date and place
indicated in the Information.29 (Citation omitted.) Pareja asseverates that AAAs demeanor and conduct belie her claim that she was raped. He said that the ordinary
Filipina [would have summoned] every ounce of her strength and courage to thwart any attempt to besmirch her honor
In this case, although the dates of the December 2003 and February 2004 incidents were not specified, the period of time and blemish her purity. Pareja pointed out that they lived in a thickly populated area such that any commotion inside
Pareja had to account for was fairly short, unlike on or about the year 1992. Moreover, Ladrillo was able to prove that their house would have been easily heard by the neighbors, thus, giving AAA the perfect opportunity to seek their
he had only moved in the house where the rape supposedly happened, in 1993, therefore negating the allegation that he help.36 Moreover, Pareja said, AAAs delay in reporting the incidents to her mother or the authorities negates the
raped the victim in that house in 1992.30 possibility that he indeed committed the crimes. AAAs belated confession, he claimed, cannot be dismissed as trivial as
it puts into serious doubt her credibility.37
While it may be true that the inconsistencies in the testimony of the victim in Ladrillo contributed to his eventual acquittal,
this Court said that they alone were not enough to reverse Ladrillos conviction, viz: A person accused of a serious crime such as rape will tend to escape liability by shifting the blame on the victim for failing
Moreover, there are discernible defects in the complaining witness testimony that militates heavily against its being to manifest resistance to sexual abuse. However, this Court has recognized the fact that no clearcut behavior can be
accorded the full credit it was given by the trial court. Considered independently, the defects might not suffice to overturn expected of a person being raped or has been raped. It is a settled rule that failure of the victim to shout or seek help do
the trial courts judgment of conviction, but assessed and weighed in its totality, and in relation to the testimonies of other not negate rape. Even lack of resistance will not imply that the victim has consented to the sexual act, especially when
witnesses, as logic and fairness dictate, they exert a powerful compulsion towards reversal of the assailed that person was intimidated into submission by the accused. In cases where the rape is committed by a relative such as a
judgment.31 (Emphasis supplied.) father, stepfather, uncle, or common law spouse, moral influence or ascendancy takes the place of violence.38 In this
case, AAAs lack of resistance was brought about by her fear that Pareja would make good on his threat to kill her if she
It is worthy to note that Ladrillo also offered more than just a mere denial of the crime charged against him to exculpate ever spoke of the incident.
him from liability. He also had an alibi, which, together with the other evidence, produced reasonable doubt that he
committed the crime as charged. In contrast, Pareja merely denied the accusations against him and even imputed ill AAAs conduct, i.e., acting like nothing happened, after being sexually abused by Pareja is also not enough to discredit
motive on AAA. her. Victims of a crime as heinous as rape, cannot be expected to act within reason or in accordance with societys
expectations. It is unreasonable to demand a standard rational reaction to an irrational experience, especially from a
As regards Parejas concern about AAAs lone testimony being the basis of his conviction, this Court has held: young victim. One cannot be expected to act as usual in an unfamiliar situation as it is impossible to predict the workings
Furthermore, settled is the rule that the testimony of a single witness may be sufficient to produce a conviction, if the of a human mind placed under emotional stress. Moreover, it is wrong to say that there is a standard reaction or behavior
same appears to be trustworthy and reliable. If credible and convincing, that alone would be sufficient to convict the among victims of the crime of rape since each of them had to cope with different circumstances. 39
accused. No law or rule requires the corroboration of the testimony of a single witness in a rape case.32 (Citations
omitted.) Likewise, AAAs delay in reporting the incidents to her mother or the proper authorities is insignificant and does not affect
the veracity of her charges. It should be remembered that Pareja threatened to kill her if she told anyone of the
Improbability of sexual abuse incidents. In People v. Ogarte,40 we explained why a rape victims deferral in reporting the crime does not equate to
in their small house and in the falsification of the accusation, to wit:
presence of AAAs sleeping siblings The failure of complainant to disclose her defilement without loss of time to persons close to her or to report the matter
to the authorities does not perforce warrant the conclusion that she was not sexually molested and that her charges
Pareja argues that it was improbable for him to have sexually abused AAA, considering that their house was so small that against the accused are all baseless, untrue and fabricated. Delay in prosecuting the offense is not an indication of a
they had to sleep beside each other, that in fact, when the alleged incidents happened, AAA was sleeping beside her fabricated charge. Many victims of rape never complain or file criminal charges against the rapists. They prefer to bear
younger siblings, who would have noticed if anything unusual was happening.33 the ignominy and pain, rather than reveal their shame to the world or risk the offenders making good their threats to kill
or hurt their victims. (Citation omitted.)
This Court is not convinced. Parejas living conditions could have prevented him from acting out on his beastly desires,
but they did not. This Court has observed that many of the rape cases appealed to us were not always committed in Medical examination
not indispensable
12

Pareja avers that the MedicoLegal Report indicating that there is evidence of blunt force or penetrating trauma upon rape. 45 The central element in rape through sexual intercourse is carnal knowledge, which must be proven beyond
examination of AAAs hymen, cannot be given any significance, as it failed to indicate how and when the said signs of reasonable doubt.46
physical trauma were inflicted. Furthermore, Pareja said, the findings that AAAs hymen sustained trauma cannot be
utilized as evidence against him as the alleged sexual abuse that occurred in December, was not by penetration of the 2. Article 266A paragraph 2 refers to rape by sexual assault, also called instrument or object rape, or genderfree
vagina.41 rape.47 It must be attended by any of the circumstances enumerated in subparagraphs (a) to (d) of paragraph 1. 48

This Court has time and again held that an accused can be convicted of rape on the basis of the sole testimony of the In People v. Abulon,49 this Court differentiated the two modes of committing rape as follows:
victim. In People v. Colorado,42 we said:
[A] medical certificate is not necessary to prove the commission of rape, as even a medical examination of the victim is (1) In the first mode, the offender is always a man, while in the second, the offender may be a man or a woman;
not indispensable in a prosecution for rape. Expert testimony is merely corroborative in character and not essential to
conviction. x x x. (2) In the first mode, the offended party is always a woman, while in the second, the offended party may be a man or
a woman;
Therefore, the absence of testimony or medical certificate on the state of AAAs anus at the time she was examined is of
no consequence. On the contrary, the medical examination actually bolsters AAAs claim of being raped by Pareja on more (3) In the first mode, rape is committed through penile penetration of the vagina, while the second is committed by
than one occasion, and not just by anal penetration. However, as the prosecution failed to capitalize on such evidence inserting the penis into another persons mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or object into the genital or anal
and prove the incidence of carnal knowledge, Pareja cannot be convicted of rape under paragraph 1 of Article 266A of orifice of another person; and
the Revised Penal Code.
(4) The penalty for rape under the first mode is higher than that under the second.
In People v. Perez,43 this Court aptly held:
This Court has held time and again that testimonies of rape victims who are young and immature deserve full credence, Under Article 266A, paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, rape by sexual assault is [b]y any person who,
considering that no young woman, especially of tender age, would concoct a story of defloration, allow an examination of under any of the circumstances mentioned in paragraph 1 hereof, shall commit an act of sexual assault by inserting his
her private parts, and thereafter pervert herself by being subject to a public trial, if she was not motivated solely by the penis into another persons mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or object, into the genital or anal orifice of another
desire to obtain justice for the wrong committed against her. Youth and immaturity are generally badges of truth. It is person.
highly improbable that a girl of tender years, one not yet exposed to the ways of the world, would impute to any man a
crime so serious as rape if what she claims is not true. (Citations omitted.) AAA positively and consistently stated that Pareja, in December 2003, inserted his penis into her anus. While she may not
have been certain about the details of the February 2004 incident, she was positive that Pareja had anal sex with her in
Criminal Case No. 041557CFM: December 2003, thus, clearly establishing the occurrence of rape by sexual assault. In other words, her testimony on this
The December 2003 Incident account was, as the Court of Appeals found, clear, positive, and probable.50

In Criminal Case No. 041557CFM or the December 2003 incident, Pareja was charged and convicted of the crime of However, since the charge in the Information for the December 2003 incident is rape through carnal knowledge, Pareja
rape by sexual assault. The enactment of Republic Act No. 8353 or the AntiRape Law of 1997, revolutionized the concept cannot be found guilty of rape by sexual assault even though it was proven during trial. This is due to the material
of rape with the recognition of sexual violence on sexrelated orifices other than a womans organ is included in the differences and substantial distinctions between the two modes of rape; thus, the first mode is not necessarily included
crime of rape; and the crimes expansion to cover genderfree rape. The transformation mainly consisted of the in the second, and viceversa. Consequently, to convict Pareja of rape by sexual assault when what he was charged with
reclassification of rape as a crime against persons and the introduction of rape by sexual assault as differentiated from was rape through carnal knowledge, would be to violate his constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of
the traditional rape through carnal knowledge or rape through sexual intercourse.44 Republic Act No. 8353 amended the accusation against him.51
Article 335, the provision on rape in the Revised Penal Code and incorporated therein Article 266A which reads:
Article 266A. Rape, When and How Committed. Rape is committed Nevertheless, Pareja may be convicted of the lesser crime of acts of lasciviousness under the variance doctrine embodied
in Section 4, in relation to Section 5, Rule 120 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure,52to wit:
1) By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances: SEC. 4. Judgment in case of variance between allegation and proof. When there is a variance between the offense
charged in the complaint or information and that proved, and the offense as charged is included in or necessarily includes
a) Through force, threat or intimidation; the offense proved, the accused shall be convicted of the offense proved which is included in the offense charged, or of
b) When the offended party is deprived of reason or is otherwise unconscious, the offense charged which is included in the offense proved.
c) By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority;
d) When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though none of the SEC. 5. When an offense includes or is included in another. An offense charged necessarily includes the offense proved
circumstances mentioned above be present; when some of the essential elements or ingredients of the former, as alleged in the complaint or information,
constitute the latter. And an offense charged is necessarily included in the offense proved, when the essential ingredients
2) By any person who, under any of the circumstances mentioned in paragraph 1 hereof, shall commit an act of sexual of the former constitute or form part of those constituting the latter.
assault by inserting his penis into another persons mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or object, into the genital
or anal orifice of another person. Article 336 of the Revised Penal Code provides:
Art. 336. Acts of lasciviousness. Any person who shall commit any act of lasciviousness upon other persons of either
Thus, under the new provision, rape can be committed in two ways: sex, under any of the circumstances mentioned in the preceding article, shall be punished by prisin correccional.
The elements of the above crime are as follows:
1. Article 266A paragraph 1 refers to Rape through sexual intercourse, also known as organ rape or penile
13

(1) That the offender commits any act of lasciviousness or lewdness;


Such contention is untenable. AAAs credibility cannot be diminished or tainted by such imputation of ill motives. It is
(2) That it is done under any of the following circumstances: highly unthinkable for the victim to falsely accuse her father solely by reason of ill motives or grudge.58 Furthermore,
motives such as resentment, hatred or revenge have never swayed this Court from giving full credence to the testimony
a. By using force or intimidation; or of a minor rape victim.59 In People v. Manuel,60 we held:
Evidently, no woman, least of all a child, would concoct a story of defloration, allow examination of her private parts and
b. When the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; or subject herself to public trial or ridicule if she has not, in truth, been a victim of rape and impelled to seek justice for the
wrong done to her being. It is settled jurisprudence that testimonies of childvictims are given full weight and credit, since
c. When the offended party is under 12 years of age; and when a woman or a girlchild says that she has been raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape was
indeed committed.
(3) That the offended party is another person of either sex.53 (Citation omitted.)
Liability for Acts of Lasciviousness
Clearly, the abovementioned elements are present in the December 2003 incident, and were sufficiently established
during trial. Thus, even though the crime charged against Pareja was for rape through carnal knowledge, he can be The penalty for acts of lasciviousness under Article 336 of the Revised Penal Code is prisin correccional in its full
convicted of the crime of acts of lasciviousness without violating any of his constitutional rights because said crime is range. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law,61 the minimum of the indeterminate penalty shall be taken from the
included in the crime of rape.54 full range of the penalty next lower in degree,62 i.e., arresto mayor, which ranges from 1 month and 1 day to 6
months.63 The maximum of the indeterminate penalty shall come from the proper penalty64 that could be imposed under
Nonetheless, the Court takes this case as an opportunity to remind the State, the People of the Philippines, as represented the Revised Penal Code for Acts of Lasciviousness,65 which, in this case, absent any aggravating or mitigating circumstance,
by the public prosecutor, to exert more diligence in crafting the Information, which contains the charge against an is the medium period of prisin correccional, ranging from 2 years, 4 months and 1 day to 4 years and 2 months.66
accused. The primary duty of a lawyer in public prosecution is to see that justice is done55 to the State, that its penal
laws are not broken and order maintained; to the victim, that his or her rights are vindicated; and to the offender, that he In line with prevailing jurisprudence, the Court modifies the award of damages as follows: P20,000.00 as civil
is justly punished for his crime. A faulty and defective Information, such as that in Criminal Case No. 041556CFM, does indemnity;67 P30,000.00 as moral damages; and P10,000.00 as exemplary damages,68 for each count of acts of
not render full justice to the State, the offended party, and even the offender. Thus, the public prosecutor should always lasciviousness. All amounts shall bear legal interest at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of finality of this judgment.
see to it that the Information is accurate and appropriate.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. CR.H.C. No. 03794 is
Criminal Case No. 041556CFM: hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. We find accusedappellant Bernabe Pareja y Cruz GUILTY of two counts of Acts
The February 2004 Incident of Lasciviousness, defined and penalized under Article 336 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. He is sentenced to
two (2) indeterminate prison terms of 6 months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to 4 years and 2 months of prisin
It is manifest that the RTC carefully weighed all the evidence presented by the prosecution against Pareja, especially AAAs correccional, as maximum; and is ORDERED to pay the victim, AAA, P20,000.00 as civil indemnity, P30,000.00 as moral
testimony. In its scrutiny, the RTC found AAAs declaration on the rape in the December 2003 incident credible enough damages, and P10,000.00 as exemplary damages, for each count of acts of lasciviousness, all with interest at the rate of
to result in a conviction, albeit this Court had to modify it as explained above. However, it did not find that the same level 6% per annum from the date of finality of this judgment.ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
of proof, i.e., beyond reasonable doubt, was fully satisfied by the prosecution in its charge of attempted rape and a second
count of rape against Pareja. In Criminal Case No. 041556CFM, or the February 2004 incident, the RTC considered AAAs SO ORDERED.
confusion as to whether or not she was actually penetrated by Pareja, and eventually resolved the matter in Parejas favor. G.R. Nos. 118013-14 October 11, 1995
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
This Court agrees with such findings. AAA, in her Sinumpaang Salaysay,56 stated that aside from sucking her breasts, vs.
Pareja also inserted his finger in her vagina. However, she was not able to give a clear and convincing account of such HON. DEMOSTHENES L. MAGALLANES, as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 54, Bacolod City, and P/COL.
insertion during her testimony. Despite being repeatedly asked by the prosecutor as to what followed after her breasts NICOLAS M. TORRES, P/INSP. ADONIS C. ABETO, PO MARIO LAMIS Y FERNANDEZ, PO JOSE PAHAYUPAN, PO VICENTE
were sucked, AAA failed to testify, in open court, that Pareja also inserted his finger in her vagina. Moreover, later on, she CANUDAY, JR., JEANETTE YANSON-DUMANCAS, CHARLES DUMANCAS, DOMINADOR GEROCHE Y MAHUSAY, JAIME
added that Pareja inserted his penis in her vagina during that incident. Thus, because of the material omissions and GARGALLANO, ROLANDO R. FERNANDEZ, EDWIN DIVINAGRACIA, TEODY DELGADO, CESAR PECHA, and EDGAR
inconsistencies, Pareja cannot be convicted of rape in the February 2004 incident. Nonetheless, Parejas acts of placing HILADO, respondents.
himself on top of AAA and sucking her breasts, fall under the crime of acts of lasciviousness, which, as we have discussed
above, is included in the crime of rape. DAVIDE, JR., J.:
At issue in this special civil action for certiorari is whether it is the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bacolod City or the
Verily, AAA was again positive and consistent in her account of how Pareja sucked both her breasts in the February 2004 Sandiganbayan that has jurisdiction over the two criminal cases for kidnapping for ransom with murder wherein some of
incident. Thus, Pareja was correctly convicted by the courts a quo of the crime of acts of lasciviousness. the accused implicated as principals are members of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
On 13 January 1994, two informations for kidnapping for ransom with murder were filed with the RTC of Bacolod City
Defense of Denial against fourteen persons, five of whom are members of the PNP, namely, P/Col. Nicolas M. Torres, P/Insp. Adonis C. Abeto,
and Improper Motive Police Officers Mario Lamis, Jose Pahayupan, and Vicente Canuday, Jr.; the other nine are civilians. The informations, later
docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 15562 and 15563 in Branch 47 of the said court, are similarly worded, except as to the
Pareja sought to escape liability by denying the charges against him, coupled with the attribution of ill motive against names of the victims, who are Rufino Gargar, Jr. in the first case and Danilo Lumangyao in the second, thus:
AAA. He claims that AAA filed these cases against him because she was angry that he caused her parents The undersigned hereby accuses JEANETTE YANSON-DUMANCAS, CHARLES DUMANCAS (BOTH AS PRINCIPALS BY
separation. Pareja added that these cases were initiated by AAAs father, as revenge against him.57 INDUCTION), POLICE COL. NICOLAS M. TORRES (AS PRINCIPAL BY INDUCTION AND BY DIRECTION AND/OR INDISPENSABLE
14

COOPERATION), POLICE INSPECTOR ADONIS C. ABETO, POLICE OFFICERS MARIO LAMIS Y FERNANDEZ, JOSE PAHAYUPAN, latter told them: "You who are here inside, nobody knows what you have done, but you have to hide because the NBI's
VICENTE CANUDAY, JR., DOMINADOR GEROCHE Y MAHUSAY, JAIME GARGALLANO, ROLANDO R. FERNANDEZ, EDWIN are after you."3
DIVINAGRACIA, TEODY DELGADO, ALL AS PRINCIPALS BY PARTICIPATION, CESAR PECHA AND EDGAR HILADO, BOTH AS Thereafter, the prosecution rested its case and the trial court started to receive the evidence for the accused. Accused
ACCESSORIES, of the crime of KIDNAPPING FOR RANSOM WITH MURDER, committed as follows: Torres and Abeto presented their respective evidence. Presentation of evidence by the other accused was, however,
That during the period beginning in the late afternoon of August 6, 1992 and ending the late evening of the following day suspended because of the motions of several accused for the inhibition of Judge Garvilles. Despite opposition by the
in Sitio Pedrosa, Barangay Alijis, Bacolod City, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above- prosecution, Judge Garvilles voluntarily inhibited himself from further hearing both cases, which were thereafter re-raffled
named accused, conspiring, confederating and concurring in a common criminal intent and execution thereof with one to Branch 54, presided by herein public respondent Judge Demosthenes L. Magallanes.
another, save for the accessories for the purpose of extracting or extorting the sum of P353, 000.00, did, then and there On 24 June 1994, the private prosecutors moved for the transmittal of the records of the cases to the Sandiganbayan on
wilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously to wit: the ground that, pursuant to our decision of 11 March 1994 in Republic of the Philippines vs. Asuncion,4 the trial court has
Acting upon the inducement of spouses Jeanette Yanson-Dumancas and Charles Dumancas, under the direction no jurisdiction over the cases because the offenses charged were committed in relation to the office of the accused PNP
cooperation and undue influence, exerted by P/Col. Nicolas M. Torres, taking advantage of his position as Station officers. In his Manifestation with Urgent Motion to Transmit Records, the State Prosecutor adopted the motion of the
Commander of the Philippine National Police, Bacolod City Station, with the direct participation and cooperation of Police private prosecutors.5
Inspector Adonis C. Abeto, other police officers Vicente Canuday, Jr., Jose Pahayupan, Mario Lamis, civilian (police) agents In its order of 15 August 1994,6 the trial court, thru respondent Judge, ruled that the Sandiganbayan does not have
Rolando R. Fernandez, Edwin Divinagracia, Teody Delgado, Jaime Gargallano, also taking advantage of their respective jurisdiction over the subject cases because the informations do not state that the offenses were committed in relation to
positions, and Dominador Geroche, concurring and affirming in the said criminal design, with the use of motor vehicle the office of the accused PNP officers. Citing People vs. Montilla,7 it held that the allegation in the informations that the
abduct, kidnap and detain one RUFINO GARGAR, JR. (Criminal Case No. 94-15562 and DANILO LUMANGYAO (Criminal Case accused PNP officers took advantage of their office in the commission of the offense charged is merely an allegation of an
No. 94-15563), shortly thereafter at around 11:00 o'clock in the evening of August 7, 1992, failing in their aforesaid aggravating circumstance. It further stated that a public office is not a constituent element of the offense of kidnapping
common purpose to extort money and in furtherance of said conspiracy, with evident premeditation and treachery with murder nor is the said offense intimately connected with the office. It then denied the motion for transfer of the
nocturnity and the use of motor vehicle, did then and there shot and kill the said victims, while being handcuffed and records to the Sandiganbayan and declared that the trial of the case should continue.
blindfolded; that accused Cesar Pecha and Edgar Hilado, with knowledge that the said Gargar [and Lumangyao, in Crim. Relying on People vs. Montejo,8 the prosecution moved to reconsider the said order.9
Case No. 94-15563 were victims] of violence, did then and there secretly bury the corpses in a makeshift shallow grave for On 7 September 1994, 10 the trial court issued an order denying the motion because People vs. Montejo is not applicable,
the purpose of concealing the crime of murder in order to prevent its discovery for a fee of P500.00 each; aforesaid act or since in that case there was (a) an intimate connection between the offense charged and the public position of the accused
acts has caused damage and prejudice to the heirs of said victims, to wit: and (b) a total absence of personal motive; whereas, in these cases, no such intimate connection exists and the
P 50,000.00 as indemnity for death; informations emphasize that the accused were moved by selfish motives of ransom and extortion.
The respondent Judge then resumed the reception of the evidence for the other accused. Accused Gargallano, Fernandez,
50,000.00 actual damages; Lamis, Delgado, and Geroche, as well as his three witnesses, had already completed their respective testimonies when,
300,000.00 compensatory damages upon motion of the prosecution, the respondent Judge voluntarily inhibited himself on 15 September 1994. The cases
were then re-raffled to Branch 49 of the RTC of Bacolod City.
(Lost income); On 5 December 1994, the prosecution, represented by the Office of the Solicitor General, filed with us a petition
100,000.00 moral damages; for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus with a prayer for a temporary restraining order challenging the refusal of the
respondent Judge to transfer the cases to the Sandiganbayan.
50,000.00 exemplary damages. On 12 December 1994, we required the respondents to comment on the petition and issued a temporary restraining order
CONTRARY TO LAW (Articles 268 and 248 in relation to Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code). 1 enjoining the public respondent or his successor to desist from proceeding with the trial of the subject cases. 11
These cases were consolidated. On 27 February 1995, after considering the allegations, issues, and arguments adduced in the petition as well as in the
Each of the accused pleaded not guilty upon arraignment. Later, they filed their respective motions for bail. At the hearings comments of the private respondents, we gave due course to the petition and required the parties to submit their
thereof, the prosecution presented state witness Moises Grandeza, the alleged lone eyewitness and co-conspirator in the respective memoranda. Most of them submitted their memoranda, while the petitioner and some of the private
commission of the complex crimes. After the completion of his testimony, the trial court, per Judge Edgar G. Garvilles, respondents adopted their initiatory pleadings as their memoranda.
granted bail in favor of only six of the accused, namely, P/Insp. Adonis Abeto, Police Officers Jose Pahayupan and Vicente On 22 March 1995, private respondent Jeanette Yanson-Dumancas filed an urgent motion for the grant of bail, 12which
Canuday, Jr., Charles Dumancas, Edgar Hilado, and Cesar Pecha. The other eight accused who were denied bail are now we noted on 15 May 1995. 13
detained at the City Jail of Bacolod City.2 Deliberating on the arguments adduced by the parties, we are convinced that public respondent Judge Magallanes
Through the testimony of Grandeza, the prosecution established that in response to the complaint of spouses Charles and committed no grave abuse of discretion in holding that it is his court and not the Sandiganbayan which has jurisdiction
Jeanette Dumancas, P/Col. Nicolas Torres instructed his men to look for Rufino Gargar and Danilo Lumangyao who were over the two cases for kidnapping for ransom with murder.
allegedly members of the group that had swindled the Dumancas spouses. On 6 August 1992, Police Officer Mario Lamis, At the time the informations in the said cases were filed, the law governing the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan was
together with civilian agents, namely, Teody Delgado, Edwin Divinagracia, Jaime Gargallano, Rolando Fernandez, and Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by P.D. No. 1861, which pertinently provides as follows:
Moises Grandeza, arrested and abducted the two swindling suspects. Conformably with Torres's order, the two suspects Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise:
were brought to Dragon Lodge Motel. There, they were investigated by Police Inspector Adonis Abeto and Police Officers (a) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases involving:
Jose Pahayupan and Vicente Canuday, Jr.. They were then taken to the Ceres Compound, where Jeanette Dumancas (1) Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic
identified Lumangyao as a member of the group that had swindled her. She then asked about the money that the group Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code;
had received from her. Upon being told by Lumangyao that the money had already been divided among his partners long (2) Other offenses or felonies committed by public officers and employees in relation to their office, including those
time ago, she said to the accused, specifically to Dominador Geroche: "Doming, bring these two to the PC or police and I employed in government-owned or controlled corporations, whether simple or complexed with other crimes, where the
will call Atty. Geocadin so that proper cases could be filed against them." Thereafter, the two suspects were transferred penalty prescribed by Law is higher than prision correccional or imprisonment for six (6) years, or a fine of
to D' Hacienda Motel, then to Moonlit Inn, then to Casa Mel Lodge, and back to D' Hacienda Motel, where the two were 16,000.00: PROVIDED, HOWEVER, that offenses or felonies mentioned in this paragraph where the penalty prescribed by
shot and killed. The team forthwith went to the office of P/Col. Torres and reported that the killing had been done. The
15

law does not exceed prision correccional or imprisonment of six (6) years or a fine of P6,000.00 shall be tried by the proper and detained the two victims, and failing in their common purpose, they shot and killed the said victims. For the purpose
Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court and Municipal Circuit Trial Court. of determining jurisdiction, it is these allegations that shall control, and not the evidence presented by the prosecution at
(b) Exclusive appellate jurisdiction: the trial.
(1) On appeal, from the final judgments, resolutions or orders of the Regional Trial Courts in cases originally decided by The allegation of "taking advantage of his position" or "taking advantage of their respective positions" incorporated in the
them in their respective territorial jurisdiction. informations is not sufficient to bring the offenses within the definition of "offenses committed in relation to public office."
(2) By petition for review, from the final judgments, resolutions or orders of the Regional Trial Courts in the exercise of In Montilla vs. Hilario, 24 such an allegation was considered merely as an allegation of an aggravating circumstance, 25 and
their appellate jurisdiction over cases originally decided by the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and not as one that qualifies the crime as having been committed in relation to public office, It says:
Municipal Circuit Trial Court, in their respective jurisdiction. But the use or abuse of office does not adhere to the crime as an element; and even as an aggravating circumstance, its
xxx xxx xxx materiality arises, not from the allegations but on the proof, not from the fact that the criminals are public officials but
In case private individuals are charged as co-principals, accomplices or accessories with the public officers or employees, from the manner of the commission of the crime.
including those employed in government-owned or controlled corporations, they shall be tried jointly with said public Also, in Bartolome vs. People of the Philippines, 26 despite the allegation that the accused public officers committed the
officers and employees. crime of falsification of official document by "taking advantage of their official positions," this Court held that the
Applying this section, we held in Aguinaldo vs. Domagas 14 that for the Sandiganbayan to have exclusive original Sandiganbayan had no jurisdiction over the case because "[t]he information [did] not allege that there was an intimate
jurisdiction over offenses or felonies committed by public officers or employees under Section 4(a) (2) above, it is not connection between the discharge of official duties and the commission of the offense."
enough that the penalty prescribed therefor is higher than prision correccional or imprisonment for six years, or a fine of Accordingly, for lack of an allegation in the informations that the offenses were committed in relation to the office of the
P6,000.00; it is also necessary that the offenses or felonies were committed in relation to their office. We reiterated this accused PNP officers or were intimately connected with the discharge of the functions of the accused, the subject cases
pronouncement in Sanchez vs. Demetriou, 15 Natividad vs. Felix, 16 and Republic vs. Asuncion, 17In Sanchez, we restated the come within the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court 27 and not of the Sandiganbayan as insisted by the petitioner.
principle laid down in Montilla vs. Hilario 18 that an offense may be considered as committed in relation to the office if it In Dumancas's and Torres's motions for the early resolution of this case and in Abeto's Supplement to Comment with
cannot exist without the office, or if the office is a constituent element of the crime as defined in the statute, such as, for Motion to Dismiss all filed in July 1995, it is contended that even assuming that the informations do charge the accused
instance, the crimes defined and punished in Chapter Two to Six, Title Seven, of the Revised Penal Code. We also reiterated PNP officers with crimes committed in relation to their office, still the Regional Trial Court would have jurisdiction over
the principle in People vs. Montejo 19 that the offense must be intimately connected with the office of the offender, and the subject cases in view of the amendments to Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended, introduced by R.A. No. 7975,
we further intimated that the fact that the offense was committed in relation to the office must be alleged in the which was approved on 30 March 1995, whose Section 2 provides:
information.20 Sec. 2. Section 4 of the same decree [Presidential Decree No. 1606, as amended] is hereby further amended to read as
There is no dispute that the prescribed penalties for the offenses charged in Criminal Cases Nos. 15562 and 15563 before follows:
the court below are higher than prision correcional or imprisonment for more than six years. The only question that Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise original jurisdiction in all cases involving:
remains to be resolved then is whether the said offenses were committed in relation to the office of the accused PNP a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic
officers. Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the principal accused
Relying on its evidence and on the Montejo case, the petitioner submits that the crimes charged in the subject cases were are officials occupying the following positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at
connected with public office because the accused PNP officers, together with the civilian agents, arrested the two the time of the commission of the offense:
swindling suspects in the course of the performance of their duty and not out of personal motive, and if they demanded (1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, otherwise classified as grade
from the two suspects the production of the money of the Dumancas spouses and later killed the two; they did so in the 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including:
course of the investigation conducted by them as policemen. The petitioner further asserts that the allegations in the (a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sanggunian panlalawigan, and provincial treasurers, assessors,
informations reading "taking advantage of his position as Station Commander of the Philippine National Police" and "taking engineers, and other provincial department heads;
advantage of their respective positions" presuppose the exercise of the functions attached to the office of the accused (b) City mayors, vice-mayors, members of the sangguniang panlungsod, city treasurers, assessors, engineers, and other
PNP officers and are sufficient to show that the offenses charged were committed in relation to their office. The petitioner city department heads;
then concludes that the cases below fall within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. (c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying the position of consul and higher;
It is an elementary rule that jurisdiction is determined by the allegations in the complaint or information, 21 and not by the (d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank;
result of evidence after trial. 22 (a) PNP chief superintendent and PNP officers of higher rank;
In Montejo 23 where the amended information alleged: (f) City and provincial prosecutors and their assistants and officials and prosecutors in the Office of the Ombudsman and
Leroy S. Brown, City Mayor of Basilan City, as such, has organized groups of police patrol and civilian commandoes special prosecutor;
consisting of regular policemen and . . . special policemen, appointed and provided by him with pistols and high power (g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or -controlled corporations, state universities or
guns and then established a camp . . . at Tipo-tipo, which is under his command . . . supervision and control, where his educational institutions or foundations;
codefendants were stationed, entertained criminal complaints and conducted the corresponding investigations, as well (2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified as Grade "27" and up under the Compensation and Position
as assumed the authority to arrest and detain persons without due process of law and without bringing them to the proper Classification Act of 1989;
court, and that in line with this set-up established by said Mayor of Basilan City as such, and acting upon his orders, his (3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution;
codefendants arrested and maltreated Awalin Tebag, who died in consequence thereof. (4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional Commissions, without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution; and
we held that the offense charged was committed in relation to the office of the accused because it was perpetrated while (5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade "27" and higher under the Compensation and Position
they were in the performance, though improper or irregular, of their official functions and would not have peen committed Classification Act of 1989.
had they not held their office; besides, the accused had no personal motive in committing the crime; thus, there was an b. Other offenses or felonies committed by the public officials and employees mentioned in subsection (a) of this section in
intimate connection between the offense and the office of the accused. relation to their office.
Unlike in Montejo, the informations in Criminal Cases Nos. 15562 and 15563 in the court below do not indicate that the c. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A.
accused arrested and investigated the victims and then killed the latter in the course of the investigation. The informations In cases where none of the principal accused are occupying the positions corresponding to salary grade "27" or higher, as
merely allege that the accused, for the purpose of extracting or extorting the sum of P353,000.00, abducted, kidnapped, prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or PNP officers occupying the rank of superintendent or higher, or their
16

equivalent, exclusive jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Sec. 17 Bail, where filed. (a) Bail in the amount fixed may be filed with the court where the case is pending, or, in the
Municipal Trial Court, and Municipal Circuit Trial Court, as the case may be, pursuant to their respective jurisdictions as absence or unavailability of the judge thereof, with another branch of the same court within the province or city. If the
provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129. accused is arrested in a province, city or municipality other than where the case is pending, bail may be filed also with any
The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction on appeals from the final judgments, resolutions or regional trial court of said place, or, if no judge thereof is available, with any metropolitan trial judge, municipal trial judge
orders of regular courts where all the accused are occupying positions lower than grade "27," or not otherwise covered or municipal circuit trial judge therein.
by the preceding enumeration. (b) Whenever the grant of bail is a matter of discretion, or the accused seeks to be released on recognizance, the
xxx xxx xxx application therefor may be filed only in the particular court where the case is pending, whether for preliminary
In case private individuals are charged as co-principals, accomplices or accessories with the public officers or employees, investigation, trial, on appeal.
including those employed in government-owned or controlled corporations, they shall be tried jointly with said public (c) Any person in custody who is not yet charged in court may apply for bail with any court in the province, city or
officers and employees in the proper courts which shall have exclusive jurisdiction over them. (emphasis supplied). municipality where he is held.
As a consequence of these amendments, the Sandiganbayan partly lost its exclusive original jurisdiction in cases involving In the instant case, the motions for bail filed by the said accused-respondents with the Regional Trial Court where the
violations of R.A. No. 3019, 28 as amended; R.A. No. 1379; 29 and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal cases against them are pending were denied sometime in February, 1994
Code; 30 it retains only cases where the accused are those enumerated in subsection a, Section 4 above and, generally, In Enrile vs. Salazar, 38 as reiterated in Galvez vs. Court of Appeals, 39 this Court said: "Only after that remedy [petition to
national and local officials classified as Grade "27" and higher under the Compensation and Position Classification Act of be admitted to bail] was denied by the trial court should the review jurisdiction of this Court [be] invoked, and even then,
1989 (R.A. No. 6758). Moreover, its jurisdiction over other offenses or felonies committed by public officials and not without first applying to the Court of Appeals if appropriate relief was also available there."
employees in relation to their office is no longer determined by the prescribed penalty, viz., that which is higher There is no showing that the said accused-respondents have questioned the denial of their applications for bail in a petition
than prision correccional or imprisonment for six years or a fine of P6,000.00; it is enough that they are committed by for certiorari either before the Court of Appeals or this Court. It was only on 26 December 1994, when they filed their
those public officials and employees enumerated in subsection a, Section 4 above. However, it retains its exclusive original respective comments on the instant petition, that they challenged the denial premised on the ground that the evidence
jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to or in connection with E.O. Nos. 1, 31 2, 32 14, 33 and 14-A. 34 of guilt against them was not strong. Even if their respective Comment and Reiteration of Motion for Bail 40 and respondent
The respondents maintain that the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over Criminal Cases Nos. 15562 and 15563 because Dumancas's Motion for Bail 41 filed on 22 March 1995, were treated as petitions for certiorari, still the same would not
none of the five PNP officers involved therein occupy the rank of chief superintendent or higher, or are classified as Grade prosper for not having been seasonably filed. While the Rules of Court does not fix a time-frame for the filing of a special
"27" or higher under R.A. No. 6758 and of the five, P/Col. Nicolas Torres has the highest rank, viz., Senior Superintendent civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, existing jurisprudence requires that the same be filed within
whose salary grade under the said Act is Grade "18." a reasonable period of time from receipt of the questioned judgment or order. 42 And, in Philec Workers' Union vs. Hon.
Assuming then for the sake of argument that the informations in the said cases allege that the crimes charged were Romeo A. Young 43 it was held that a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court should be filed within a
committed by the five PNP officers in relation to their office, it would appear indubitable that the cases would fall within reasonable period of three months from notice of the decision or order. Here, about nine to ten months had already
the jurisdiction of the court a quo. Under Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as further amended by R.A. No. 7975: elapsed before the respondents assailed the denial of their motions for bail. In any event, the private respondents who
In cases where none of the principal accused are occupying the positions corresponding to salary grade "27" or higher, as were denied bail are not precluded from reiterating before the trial court their plea for admission to bail.
prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or PNP officers occupying the rank of superintendent35 or higher, or their WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The challenged orders are AFFIRMED, and the motions for bail of accused-
equivalent, exclusive jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, respondents Jeanette Dumancas and Nicolas Torres are DENIED.
Municipal Trial Court, and Municipal Circuit Trial Court, as the case may be, pursuant to their respective jurisdiction as The temporary restraining order issued on 12 December 1994 is LIFTED, and the Regional Trial Court of Bacolod City is
provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129. directed to immediately resume the hearings of Criminal Cases Nos. 15562 and 15563 and to thereafter resolve them with
However, the jurisdiction of a court is determined by the law in force at the time of the commencement of the reasonable and purposeful dispatch.
action. 36 Under the above assumption then, the cases should have been filed with the Sandiganbayan since at the time This decision is immediately executory.
the informations were filed, the governing law was Section 4 of P.D. No. 1606, as amended by P.D. No. 1861. But, would SO ORDERED.
that jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan be affected by R.A. No. 7975? G.R. No. L-75079 January 26, 1989
Ordinarily, jurisdiction once acquired is not affected by subsequent legislative enactment placing jurisdiction in another SOLEMNIDAD M. BUAYA, petitioner,
tribunal. It remains with the court until the case is finally terminated. 37 Hence, the Sandiganbayan or the courts, as the vs.
case may be, cannot be divested of jurisdiction over cases filed before them by reason of R.A. No. 7975. They retain their THE HONORABLE WENCESLAO M. POLO, Presiding Judge, Branch XIX, Regional Trial) Court of Manila and the COUNTRY
jurisdiction until the end of the litigation. BANKERS INSURANCE CORPORATION, respondents.
In the instant case, the Sandiganbayan has not yet acquired jurisdiction over the subject criminal cases, as the informations Apolinario M. Buaya for petitioner.
were filed not before it but before the Regional Trial Court. Even if we labor under the foregoing assumption that the Romeo G. Velasquez for respondent Country Bankers Insurance Corporation.
informations in the subject cases do charge the respondent PNP officers with offenses committed in relation to their office
so that jurisdiction thereof would fall under the Sandiganbayan, and assuming further that the informations had already PARAS, J.:
been filed with the said tribunal but hearing thereon has not begun yet, the Sandiganbayan can no longer proceed to hear Petitioner, Solemnidad M. Buaya, in the instant petition for certiorari, seeks to annul and set aside the orders of denial
the cases in view of the express provision of Section 7 of R.A. No. 7975. That section provides that upon the effectivity of issued by the respondent Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch XIX on her Motion to Quash/Dismiss and
the Act, all criminal cases in which trial has not yet begun in the Sandiganbayan shall be referred to the proper courts. Motion for Reconsideration in Criminal Case No. L-83-22252 entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Solemnidad M.
Hence, cases which were previously cognizable by the Sandiganbayan under P.D. No. 1606, as amended, but are already Buaya." The Motion to Dismiss was anchored on the following grounds (a) the court has no jurisdiction over the case and
under the jurisdiction of the courts by virtue of the amendment introduced by R.A. No. 7975, shall be referred to the latter (b) the subject matter is purely civil in nature.
courts if hearing thereon has not yet been commenced in the Sandiganbayan. It appears that petitioner was an insurance agent of the private respondent, who was authorized to transact and
It would, therefore, be a futile exercise to transfer the cases to the Sandiganbayan because the same would anyway be underwrite insurance business and collect the corresponding premiums for and in behalf of the private respondent. Under
transferred again to the Regional Trial Court pursuant to Section 7 of the new law in relation to Section 2 thereof. the terms of the agency agreement, the petitioner is required to make a periodic report and accounting of her transactions
As regards the motions for bail of accused-respondents Jeanette Dumancas and Nicolas Torres, the same must fail. Section and remit premium collections to the principal office of private respondent located in the City of Manila. Allegedly, an
17, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court provides: audit was conducted on petitioner's account which showed a shortage in the amount of P358,850.72. As a result she was
17

charged with estafa in Criminal Case No. 83-22252, before the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch XIX with the WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit The case is remanded to the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch
respondent Hon. Wenceslao Polo as the Presiding Judge. Petitioner filed a motion to dismiss. which motion was denied XIX for further proceedings.
by respondent Judge in his Order dated March 26, 1986. The subsequent motion for reconsideration of this order of denial SO ORDERED.
was also denied. G.R. No. L-46934 April 15, 1988
These two Orders of denial are now the subject of the present petition. It is the contention of petitioner that the Regional ALFREDO CUYOS y TULOR, petitioner,
trial Court of Manila has no jurisdiction because she is based in Cebu City and necessarily the funds she allegedly vs.
misappropriated were collected in Cebu City. HON. NICOLAS P. GARCIA, Presiding Judge, Municipal Court, San Fernando, Pampanga and THE PEOPLE OF THE
Petitioner further contends that the subject matter of this case is purely civil in nature because the fact that private PHILIPPINES, respondents.
respondent separately filed Civil Case No. 83-14931 involving the same alleged misappropriated amount is an acceptance De la Cruz, De Loso and Sison Law Offices for petitioner.
that the subject transaction complained of is not proper for a criminal action. The Solicitor General for respondents.
The respondents on the other hand, call for adherence to the consistent rule that the denial of a motion to dismiss or to RESOLUTION
quash, being interlocutory in character, cannot be questioned by certiorari and it cannot be the subject of appeal until
final judgment or order rendered (See. 2, Rule 41, Rules of Court). the ordinary procedure to be followed in such a case is FELICIANO, J.:
to enter a Plea, go to trial and if the decision is adverse, reiterate the issue on appeal from the final judgment (Newsweek Petitioner Alfredo Cuyos, in this Petition for certiorari with Prayer for Preliminary Injunction seeks to set aside the Order
Inc. v. IAC, 142 SCRA 171). dated 9 September 1977 issued by respondent Municipal Court Judge Nicolas P. Garcia in Criminal Case No. 77-1848
The general rule is correctly stated. But this is subject to certain exceptions the reason is that it would be unfair to require (entitled " People of the Philippines, plaintiff vs. Alfredo Cuyos y Tulor, accused") denying petitioner's Motion to Transfer
the defendant or accused to undergo the ordeal and expense of a trial if the court has no jurisdiction over the subject said case to the then Court of First Instance of Pampanga for trial on the merits.
matter or offense or it is not the court of proper venue. Petitioner was charged before the Municipal Court of San Fernando, Pampanga, with homicide with multiple serious
Here, petitioner questions the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court of Manila to take cognizance of this criminal case for physical injuries and damage to property, through reckless imprudence. Petitioner was driver of a cargo truck which had
estafa. collided with a Volkswagen automobile in a vehicular accident which resulted in the death of one (1) person and physical
It is well-settled that the averments in the complaint or information characterize the crime to be prosecuted and the court injuries to four (4) other people. The Amended Complaint against petitioner read as follows:
before which it must be tried (Balite v. People, L-21475, Sept. 30,1966 cited in People v. Masilang, 142 SCRA 680). That on or about the 9th day of June 1977, at about 6:10 P.M., at the MacArthur Highway, barrio San Isidro, San Fernando,
In Villanueva v. Ortiz, et al . (L-15344, May 30, 1960, 108 Phil, 493) this Court ruled that in order to determine the Pampanga, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, being then the driver and
jurisdiction of the court in criminal cases, the complaint must be examined for the purpose of ascertaining whether or not person in charge of a truck bearing plate No. V 139 T Filipinos 1977, willfully and unlawfully drive and operate the same in
the facts set out therein and the punishment provided for by law fall within the jurisdiction of the court where the a negligent, imprudent and careless manner, and without due regard to traffic laws, rules and regulations, and without
complaint is filed. The jurisdiction of courts in criminal cases is determined by the allegations of the complaint or taking the necessary precaution to prevent accident to person and damage to property, causing by such negligence,
information, and not by the findings the court may make after the trial (People v. Mission, 87 Phil. 641). imprudence and carelessness, the said truck driven and operated by him bumped and hit a Volkswagen car bearing plate
The information in the case at reads as follows: no. E 604 Filipinos 1977, then driven by Antonio M. Concepcion, as a result of which one of the occupants of the said car,
The undersigned accuses Solemnidad Buaya of the crime of estafa, committed as follows: Victoriana Miranda Concepcion died in the said accident, and the other occupants namely: Antonio Concepcion, Rhinna
That during the period 1980 to June 15, 1982, inclusive, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused did then and Lin Capili, Renee Ann Capili and Lourdes Concepcion sustained serious physical injuries, and the said car suffered damages
there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud the Country Bankers Insurance Corporation represented by Elmer Banez in the amount of P18,000.00, belonging to Antonio Concepcion, to the damage and prejudice of the offended parties.
duly organized and earth under the laws of the Philippine with principal address at 9th floor, G.R. Antonio Bldg., T.M. Petitioner entered a plea of not guilty at his arraignment. After arraignment, respondent Judge set the case for trial on
Kalaw, Ermita, in said City, in the following manner, to wit. the said having been authorized to act as insurance agent of 12,14 and 16 September 1977.
said corporation, among whose duties were to remit collections due from customers thereat and to account for and turn Before trial could commence, however, petitioner filed on 6 September 1977 a " Motion to Remand the Case to the Court
over the same to the said Country Bankers Insurance Corporation represented by Elmer Banez, as soon as possible or of First Instance for Trial" , alleging lack of jurisdiction over the case on the part of the Municipal Court. Petitioner's
immediately upon demand, collected and received the amount of P368,850.00 representing payments of insurance argument was that the amended criminal complaint alleged that the Volkswagen car involved in the accident had suffered
premiums from customers, but herein accused, once in possession of said amount, far from complying with her aforesaid damages amounting to P18,000.00, and that under paragraph 3, Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code, the crime with
obligation, failed and refused to do so and with intent to defraud, absconded with the whole amount thereby which he was charged would carry a fine in an amount ranging from the amount of the damage to three (3) times the
misappropriated, misapplied and converted the said amount of P358,850.00 to her own personal used and benefit, to the value of the damage alleged (i.e. 3 x P18,000.00 or P54,000.00). Petitioner urged in his Motion that because under Section
damage and prejudice of said Country Bankers Insurance Corporation in the amount of P358,850.00 Philippine Currency. 87 (e) of the Judiciary Act of 1948 as amended (Republic Act No. 296 as amended), the respondent Municipal Court of the
CONTRARY TO LAW. (p. 44, Rollo) Provincial Capital of Pampanga, had jurisdiction only over offenses punishable by a fine not exceeding P6,000.00, the case
Section 14(a), Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Court provides: In all criminal prosecutions the action shall be instituted had to be transferred to the Court of First Instance. On the same date, petitioner filed an Urgent Motion to Postpone the
and tried in the court of the municipality or province wherein the offense was committed or any of the essential elements trial of the case relying on the same grounds set out in his Motion to Transfer the Case to the Court of First Instance.
thereof took place. After a joint hearing of the two (2) Motions filed by petitioner, the respondent Municipal judge issued an order dated 9
The subject information charges petitioner with estafa committed "during the period 1980 to June 15, 1982 inclusive in September 1977 denying the Motion to transfer the Case to the Court of First Instance and set the trial of the case for 5
the City of Manila, Philippines . . . ." (p. 44, Rollo) October 1977. A verbal Motion for Reconsideration by petitioner was denied.
Clearly then, from the very allegation of the information the Regional Trial Court of Manila has jurisdiction. Hence the present Petition for Certiorari, assailing the jurisdiction of the respondent court to try the criminal case against
Besides, the crime of estafa is a continuing or transitory offense which may be prosecuted at the place where any of the petitioner on the merits.
essential elements of the crime took place. One of the essential elements of estafa is damage or prejudice to the offended By a Resolution dated 26 September 1977, this Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order enjoining the respondent
party. The private respondent has its principal place of business and office at Manila. The failure of the petitioner to remit Municipal Court from proceeding with Criminal Case No. 77-1848.
the insurance premiums she collected allegedly caused damage and prejudice to private respondent in Manila. The sole issue raised in this Petition is whether or not the respondent Municipal Court of San Fernando, Pampanga has
Anent petitioners other contention that the subject matter is purely civil in nature, suffice it to state that evidentiary facts jurisdiction to try the criminal case against petitioner.
on this point have still to be proved.
18

The Solicitor General, in his Comment dated 27 October 1977, agreed with and adopted the position taken by petitioner and not split into its component offenses and the latter made the subject of multiple informations possibly brought in
that respondent Municipal Court has no jurisdiction to try Criminal Case No. 77-1848. The Court agrees with the Solicitor different courts. This is the thrust of our case law on the matter.
General. In Angeles, etc., et al, v. Jose, et al., 2 the Court had occasion to deal with a criminal information against one Domingo
Criminal Case No. 77-1848 involves a complex crime of homicide, multiple serious physical injuries and damage to Mejia before the Court of First Instance of Manila, charging him with the crime of damage to property in the sum of
property, resulting from reckless imprudence. Under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code, in a prosecution for a complex P654.22 and with less serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence, committed, in one single act. There, the
crime constituted by two (2) or more grave or less grave felonies, the penalty for the most serious crime is to be imposed, respondent Court of First Instance dismissed the criminal information upon the ground that the penalty prescribed by
the same to be applied in its maximum period. In the present case, one might, as respondent Municipal Judge did, look Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code was only arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods which was within the
only at the acts which constitute the offenses comprising the complex crime here involved. One is likely to do so through exclusive jurisdiction of the Municipal Court. The prosecution then invited attention to the fact that the fine which could
eyes which are culturally conditioned and so is likely to assume, as did respondent Municipal Judge, that the most serious be imposed by the respondent court on account of the damage to property through reckless imprudence was a sum
offense of which petitioner is accused is homicide through reckless imprudence. Under paragraph 2, Article 365 of the ranging from P654.22 to P1,962.66 (P654.22 x 3) which amount was beyond the jurisdiction of a Municipal Court to impose
Revised Penal Code, the penalty imposable upon petitioner, should he be found guilty of homicide through reckless as fine. In setting aside the order of dismissal by the respondent Court of First Instance and remanding the case to the trial
imprudence, would be prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods. court further proceedings, the Supreme Court said:
Art. 365. Imprudence and negligence. [The third paragraph of Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code] simply means that if there is only damage to property the
xxx xxx xxx amount fixed therein shall be imposed, but if there are also physical injuries there, should be an additional penalty for the
The provisions contained in this Article shall not be applicable: latter. The information cannot be split into two; one for the physical injuries, and another for the damage to property, for
xxx xxx xxx both the injuries and the damage committed were caused by one single act of the defendant and constitute what may be
(2) When, by imprudence or negligence and with violation of the automobile law, the death of a person shall be caused, called a complex crime of physical injuries and damage to property. It is clear that the fine fixed by law in this case is beyond
in which case the defendants shall be punished by prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods. the jurisdiction of the municipal court and within that of the court of first instance. 3(Emphasis supplied)
xxx xxx xxx Thus, in Angeles, we held that the jurisdiction of the Court to take cognizance of the case must be determined, not by the
At the time of the filing of the criminal complaint against petitioner before the Municipal Court of San Fernando, penalty for the physical injuries charged but by the fine imposable for the damage to property resulting from reckless
Pampanga, such Municipal Court in the capital of the Province of Pampanga had jurisdiction to impose a penalty of imprudence. Damage to property through reckless imprudence need not be a lighter offense than less serious physical
imprisonment not exceeding six (6) years or a fine not exceeding P6,000. 00 or both. The applicable provision was the injuries through reckless imprudence. Because the maximum fine (P1,962.66) imposable upon the accused in
fourth paragraph of Article 87 (c) of Republic Act No. 296 as amended which provided as follows: the Angeles case was beyond the jurisdiction of the Municipal Court of Manila to impose, the criminal case fell within the
xxx xxx xxx jurisdiction of the respondent Court of First Instance of Manila.
Municipal judges in the capitals of provinces and sub-provinces and judges of city courts shall have like jurisdiction as the People v. Villanueva 4 followed the rule set out in Angeles. In Villanueva, the accused was charged before the Justice of
Court of First Instance to try parties charged with an offense committed within their respective jurisdictions, in which the Peace Court of Batangas, Batangas with the crime of serious and less serious physical injuries, with damage to property in
penalty provided by law does not exceed prision correccional or imprisonment for not more than six years or fine not the amount of P2,636.00, through reckless imprudence. The Justice of Peace Court subsequently declared itself without
exceeding six thousand pesos or both, and in the absence of the district judge, shall have like jurisdiction within the jurisdiction to try the case and forwarded the same to the Court of First Instance. The latter court then declared itself
province as the Court of First Instance to hear applications for bail. similarly without jurisdiction over the complex crime charged in the information, upon the ground that the penalty for the
xxx xxx xxx graver offense of physical injuries through reckless imprudence was only arresto mayor in its, maximum and medium
(Emphasis supplied) periods which penalty, even if applied in its maximum degree (in view of the complex -nature of the crime), would remain
Thus, if the basic assumption made earlier as to the relative gravity of homicide through reckless imprudence and damage within the jurisdiction of the Justice of Peace Court. Upon appeal by the prosecution, the Court, speaking through Mr.
to property through reckless imprudence were correct, the respondent Municipal Judge would have to be vested with Justice J.B.L. Reyes, held that the Court of First Instance had jurisdiction over the complex crime there involved:
jurisdiction over the criminal charges against petitioner. We find the appeal well taken, for this case comes squarely under the rule laid down by us in Angeles, et al. v. ,rose, et
As a technical legal proposition, however, the relative seriousness of offenses is determined by the seriousness of the al. [96 Phil. 151 (1954)],, wherein we held that.
penalties attached by the law to the several offenses. It was noted earlier that the imposable penalty in case of homicide xxx xxx xxx
through reckless imprudence is prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods, i.e., a correctional penalty in the Consider that it is the court of first instance that would undoubtedly have jurisdiction if the only offense that resulted from
scale of penalties set up in Article 25 of the Revised Penal Code. Upon the other hand, the penalty for damage to property appellant's imprudence were the damage to property in the amount of P2,636.00, it would be absurd to hold that for the
through reckless imprudence is provided for in the third paragraph of Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code which reads graver offense of serious and less serious physical injuries combined with damage to property through reckless
as follows: imprudence, jurisdiction would lie in the justice of the peace court. The presumption is against absurdity, and it is the duty
When the execution of the Act covered by this Article shall have only resulted in damage to the property of another, the of the courts to interpret the law in such a way as to avoid absurd results. Our system of apportionment of criminal
offender shall be punished by a fine ranging from an amount equal to the value of paid damages to three-times such jurisdictions among the various trial courts proceeds on the basic theory that crimes cognizable by the Courts of First
value, but which shall in no case be less than P25.00. (Emphasis supplied) Instance are more serious than those triable injustice of the peace or municipal courts.
Under Article 26 of the same Code, a fine may be an afflictive penalty (i.e., if it exceeds P6,000.00) or a correctional penalty Moreover, we cannot discard the possibility that the prosecution may not be able to prove all the supposed offenses
(i.e., if it is P200.00 or more but does not exceed P6,000.00). The offense so penalized with a fine may be a grave felony constituting the complex crime charge. Were we to hold that it is the justice of the Peace court that has jurisdiction in this
(i.e. if the imposable fine is afflictive in nature) or a less grave felony (i.e., if the imposable fine is merely correctional). 1 In case, if later the prosecution should fail to prove the physical injuries aspect of the case and establish only the damage to
the instant case, the maximum fine which may be imposed upon petitioner is P54,000.00 (3 x P18,000.00), obviously an property in the amount of P2,636.00, the inferior court would find itself without jurisdiction to impose the fine for the
afflictive penalty and hence, in the scheme of the Revised Penal Code, more serious than the penalty imposable for damage to property committed, since such fine can not be less than the amount of the damage. Again, it is to avoid this
homicide through reckless imprudence. further absurdity that we must hold that the jurisdiction lies in the court of first instance in this case. 5
In complex crimes, it is not uncommon that one constitutive offense carries with it an afflictive penalty while the other or The applicable rule on the allocation of jurisdiction between an inferior court on the one hand and the Regional Trial Court
other constitutive offenses carry with them only a correctional or even a light penalty. Jurisdiction over the whole complex on the other, in respect of complex crimes involving reckless imprudence resulting in homicide or physical injuries and
crime must logically be lodged with the trial court having jurisdiction to impose the maximum and most serious penalty damage to property, was summarized by Mr. Justice Barrera in People v. Malabanan: 6
imposable on an offense forming part of the complex crime. A complex crime must be prosecuted integrally, as it were,
19

It is true that, following the ruling of this Court in the case of Lapuz v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-6382, March 30,1954 4. All other criminal cases where the penalty prescribed by law for the offenses charged does not exceed six months
(40 O.G. 18 supp.), in imposing the corresponding penalty, to the quasi-offense of reckless imprudence resulting in physical imprisonment, or a fine of one thousand pesos (P1,000.00), or both, irrespective of other imposable penalties, accessory or
injuries and damage to property, Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code should be applied. However, there may be cases, as otherwise, or of the civil liability arising therefrom. . . . (Emphasis supplied.)
the one at bar, where the imposable penalty for the physical injuries charged would come within the jurisdiction of the xxx xxx xxx
municipal or justice of the peace court while the fine, for the damage to property, would fall on the Court of First Sec. 9. How commenced. The prosecution of criminal cases falling within the scope of this Rule shall be either by
Instance. As the information cannot be split into two, one for damages and another for the physical injuries, the jurisdiction complaint or by information filed directly in court without need of a prior preliminary examination or preliminary
of the court to take cognizance of the case must be determined not by the corresponding penalty for the physical injuries investigation: Provided, however, That in Metropolitan Manila and chartered cities, such cases shall be commenced only
charged but by the fine imposable for the damage to property resulting from the reckless imprudence. 7 (Emphasis by information; Provided, further, That when the offense cannot be prosecuted de oficio, the corresponding complaint
supplied) shall be signed and sworn to before the fiscal by the offended party.
It remains only to point out that under B.P. Blg. 129, the law presently in effect, we would have to reach the same result: She then invokes Act. No. 3326, as amended, entitled "An Act to Establish Periods of Prescription for Violations Penalized
i.e., that the criminal case against petitioner falls within the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court. Under Section 32 (2) by Special Acts and Municipal Ordinances and to Provide When Prescription Shall Begin to Run," reading as follows:
of B.P. Blg. 129, Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts have: Sec. 1. Violations penalized by special acts shall, unless provided in such acts, prescribe in accordance with the following
(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses punishable with imprisonment of not exceeding four (4) years and two rules: . . . Violations penalized by municipal ordinances shall prescribe after two months.
(2) months, or a fine of not more than four thousand pesos, or both such fine and imprisonment, regardless of other Sec. 2. Prescription shall begin to run from the day of the commission of the violation of the law, and if the same be not
imposable accessory or other penalties, including the civil liability arising from such offenses or predicated thereon, known at the time, from the discovery thereof and the institution of judicial proceedings for its investigation and
irrespective of kind, nature, value, or amount thereof Provided, however, That in offenses involving damage to property punishment.
through criminal negligence they should have exclusive original jurisdiction where the imposable fine does not exceed The prescription shall be interrupted when proceedings are instituted against the guilty person, and shall begin to run again
twenty thousand pesos. (Emphasis supplied) if the proceedings are dismissed for reasons not constituting jeopardy.
Since the maximum fine imposable in the present case is P54,000.00, and the maximum imprisonment imposable (for the Sec. 3. For the purposes of this Act, special acts shall be acts defining and penalizing violations of law not included in the
homicide through reckless imprudence) is six (6) years, clearly, the criminal charge involved falls outside the jurisdiction Penal Code. (Emphasis supplied)
of the Municipal Trial Court and consequently within the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court of San Fernando, Her conclusion is that as the information was filed way beyond the
Pampanga. two-month statutory period from the date of the alleged commission of the offense, the charge against her should have
WHEREFORE, the Order of the respondent Municipal Court of 9 September 1977 is hereby SET ASIDE as null and void and been dismissed on the ground of prescription.
the Temporary Restraining Order issued by this Court on 26 September 1977 is hereby made PERMANENT. Because the For its part, the prosecution contends that the prescriptive period was suspended upon the filing of the complaint against
proceedings before the respondent Municipal Court are null and void, the Provincial Fiscal of Pampanga will have to file a her with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor. Agreeing with the respondent judge, the Solicitor General also invokes
new information against petitioner in the Regional Trial Court, San Fernando, Pampanga. No pronouncement as to costs. Section 1, Rule 110 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, providing as follows:
SO ORDERED. Sec. 1. How Instituted For offenses not subject to the rule on summary procedure in special cases, the institution of
G.R. No. 102342 July 3, 1992 criminal action shall be as follows:
LUZ M. ZALDIVIA, petitioner, a) For offenses falling under the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court, by filing the complaint with the appropriate officer
vs. for the purpose of conducting the requisite preliminary investigation therein;
HON. ANDRES B. REYES, JR., in his capacity as Acting Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Fourth Judicial Region, b) For offenses falling under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts, by filing the
Branch 76, San Mateo, Rizal, and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. complaint directly with the said courts, or a complaint with the fiscal's office. However, in Metropolitan Manila and other
chartered cities, the complaint may be filed only with the office of the fiscal.
CRUZ, J.: In all cases such institution interrupts the period of prescription of the offense charged. (Emphasis supplied.)
The Court is asked to determine the applicable law specifying the prescriptive period for violations of municipal Emphasis is laid on the last paragraph. The respondent maintains that the filing of the complaint with the Office of the
ordinances. Provincial Prosecutor comes under the phrase "such institution" and that the phrase "in all cases" applies to all cases,
The petitioner is charged with quarrying for commercial purposes without a mayor's permit in violation of Ordinance No. without distinction, including those falling under the Rule on Summary Procedure.
2, Series of 1988, of the Municipality of Rodriguez, in the Province of Rizal. The said paragraph, according to the respondent, was an adoption of the following dictum in Francisco v. Court of
The offense was allegedly committed on May 11, 1990.1 The referral-complaint of the police was received by the Office Appeals: 5
of the Provincial Prosecutor of Rizal on May 30, 1990. 2 The corresponding information was filed with the Municipal Trial In view of this diversity of precedents, and in order to provide guidance for Bench and Bar, this Court has re-examined the
Court of Rodriguez on October 2, 1990. 3 question and, after mature consideration, has arrived at the conclusion that the true doctrine is, and should be, the one
The petitioner moved to quash the information on the ground that the crime had prescribed, but the motion was denied. established by the decisions holding that the filing of the complaint in the Municipal Court, even if it be merely for purposes
On appeal to the Regional Trial Court of Rizal, the denial was sustained by the respondent judge. 4 of preliminary examination or investigation, should, and does, interrupt the period of prescription of the criminal
In the present petition for review on certiorari, the petitioner first argues that the charge against her is governed by the responsibility, even if the court where the complaint or information is filed can not try the case on its merits. Several
following provisions of the Rule on Summary Procedure: reasons buttress this conclusion: first, the text of Article 91 of the Revised Penal Code, in declaring that the period of
Sec. 1. Scope This rule shall govern the procedure in the Metropolitan Trial Courts, the Municipal Trial Courts, and the prescription "shall be interrupted by the filing of the complaint or information" without distinguishing whether the
Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in the following cases: complaint is filed in the court for preliminary examination or investigation merely, or for action on the merits. Second,
xxx xxx xxx even if the court where the complaint or information is filed may only proceed to investigate the case, its actuations
B. Criminal Cases: already represent the initial step of the proceedings against the offender. Third, it is unjust to deprive the injured party of
1. Violations of traffic laws, rules and regulations; the right to obtain vindication on account of delays that are not under his control. All that the victim of the offense may
2. Violations of rental law; do on his part to initiate the prosecution is to file the requisite complaint.
3. Violations of municipal or city ordinances; It is important to note that this decision was promulgated on May 30, 1983, two months before the promulgation of the
Rule on Summary Procedure on August 1, 1983. On the other hand, Section 1 of Rule 110 is new, having been incorporated
20

therein with the revision of the Rules on Criminal Procedure on January 1, 1985, except for the last paragraph, which was Narvasa, C.J., Gutierrez, Jr., Paras, Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Nocon
added on October 1, 1988. and Bellosillo, JJ., concur.
That section meaningfully begins with the phrase, "for offenses not subject to the rule on summary procedure in special
cases," which plainly signifies that the section does not apply to offenses which are subject to summary procedure. The G.R. No. L-1477 January 18, 1950
phrase "in all cases" appearing in the last paragraph obviously refers to the cases covered by the Section, that is, those THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
offenses not governed by the Rule on Summary Procedure. This interpretation conforms to the canon that words in a vs.
statute should be read in relation to and not isolation from the rest of the measure, to discover the true legislative intent. JULIO GUILLEN, defendant-appellant.
As it is clearly provided in the Rule on Summary Procedure that among the offenses it covers are violations of municipal Mariano A. Albert for appellant.
or city ordinances, it should follow that the charge against the petitioner, which is for violation of a municipal ordinance Office of the Solicitor General Felix Bautista Angelo and Solicitor Francisco A. Carreon for appellee.
of Rodriguez, is governed by that rule and not Section 1 of Rule 110. PER CURIAM, J.:
Where paragraph (b) of the section does speak of "offenses falling under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Trial Courts and This case is before us for review of, and by virtue of appeal from, the judgment rendered by the Court of First Instance of
Municipal Circuit Trial Courts," the obvious reference is to Section 32(2) of B.P. No. 129, vesting in such courts: Manila in case No. 2746, whereby Julio Guillen y Corpus, or Julio C. Guillen, is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses punishable with imprisonment of not exceeding four years and two the crime of murder and multiple frustrated murder, as charged in the information, and is sentenced to the penalty of
months, or a fine of not more than four thousand pesos, or both such fine and imprisonment, regardless of other death, to indemnify the of the deceased Simeon Valera (or Barrela) in the sum of P2,000 and to pay the costs.
imposable accessory or other penalties, including the civil liability arising from such offenses or predicated thereon, Upon arraignment the accused entered a plea of not guilty to the charges contained in the information.
irrespective of kind, nature, value, or amount thereof; Provided, however, That in offenses involving damage to property Then the case was tried in one of the branches of the Court of First Instance of Manila presided over by the honorable
through criminal negligence they shall have exclusive original jurisdiction where the imposable fine does not exceed Buenaventura Ocampo who, after the submission of the evidence of the prosecution and the defense, rendered judgment
twenty thousand pesos. as above stated.
These offenses are not covered by the Rule on Summary Procedure. In this connection it should be stated that, at the beginning of the trial and before arraignment, counsel de oficiofor the
Under Section 9 of the Rule on Summary Procedure, "the complaint or information shall be filed directly in court without accused moved that the mental condition of Guillen be examined. The court, notwithstanding that it had found out from
need of a prior preliminary examination or preliminary investigation." 6 Both parties agree that this provision does not the answers of the accused to questions propounded to him in order to test the soundness of his mind, that he was not
prevent the prosecutor from conducting a preliminary investigation if he wants to. However, the case shall be deemed suffering from any mental derangement, ordered that Julio Guillen be confined for Hospital, there to be examined by
commenced only when it is filed in court, whether or not the prosecution decides to conduct a preliminary investigation. medical experts who should report their findings accordingly. This was done, and, according to the report of the board of
This means that the running of the prescriptive period shall be halted on the date the case is actually filed in court and not medical experts, presided over by Dr. Fernandez of the National Psychopathic Hospital, Julio Guillen was not insane. Said
on any date before that. report (Exhibit L), under the heading "Formulation and Diagnosis," at pages 13 and 14, reads:
This interpretation is in consonance with the afore-quoted Act No. 3326 which says that the period of prescription shall FORMULATION AND DIAGNOSIS
be suspended "when proceedings are instituted against the guilty party." The proceedings referred to in Section 2 thereof Julio C. Guillen was placed under constant observation since admission. There was not a single moment during his whole
are "judicial proceedings," contrary to the submission of the Solicitor General that they include administrative 24 hours daily, that he was not under observation.
proceedings. His contention is that we must not distinguish as the law does not distinguish. As a matter of fact, it does. The motive behind the commission of the crime is stated above. The veracity of this motivation was determined in the
At any rate, the Court feels that if there be a conflict between the Rule on Summary Procedure and Section 1 of Rule 110 Narcosynthesis. That the narco-synthesis was successful was checked up the day after the test. The narco-synthesis proved
of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, the former should prevail as the special law. And if there be a conflict between Act. not only reveal any conflict or complex that may explain a delusional or hallucinatory motive behind the act.
No. 3326 and Rule 110 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, the latter must again yield because this Court, in the exercise Our observation and examination failed to elicit any sign or symptom of insanity in Mr. Julio C. Guillen. He was found to
of its rule-making power, is not allowed to "diminish, increase or modify substantive rights" under Article VIII, Section 5(5) be intelligent, always able to differentiate right from wrong, fully aware of the nature of the crime he committed and is
of the Constitution. Prescription in criminal cases is a substantive right. 7 equally decided to suffer for it in any manner or form.
Going back to the Francisco case, we find it not irrelevant to observe that the decision would have been conformable to His version of the circumstances of the crime, his conduct and conversation relative thereto, the motives, temptations
Section 1, Rule 110, as the offense involved was grave oral defamation punishable under the Revised Penal Code and provocations that preceded the act, were all those of an individual with a sound mind.
with arresto mayor in its maximum period toprision correccional in its minimum period. By contrast, the prosecution in On the other hand he is an man of strong will and conviction and once arriving at a decision he executes, irrespective of
the instant case is for violation of a municipal ordinance, for which the penalty cannot exceed six months, 8 and is thus consequences and as in this case, the commission of the act at Plaza Miranda.
covered by the Rule on Summary Procedure. What is of some interest in the personality of Julio C. Guillen is his commission of some overt acts. This is seen not only in
The Court realizes that under the above interpretation, a crime may prescribe even if the complaint is filed seasonably the present instance, but sometime when an employee in la Clementina Cigar Factory he engaged in a boxing bout Mr.
with the prosecutor's office if, intentionally or not, he delays the institution of the necessary judicial proceedings until it is Manzano, a Span-wanted to abuse the women cigar makers, and felt it his duty to defend them. One time he ran after a
too late. However, that possibility should not justify a misreading of the applicable rules beyond their obvious intent as policeman with a knife in hand after being provoked to a fight several times. He even challenged Congressman Nueno to
reasonably deduced from their plain language. The remedy is not a distortion of the meaning of the rules but a rewording a fight sometime before when Mr. Nueno was running for a seat in the Municipal Board of the City of Manila, after hearing
thereof to prevent the problem here sought to be corrected. him deliver one of his apparently outspoken speeches.
Our conclusion is that the prescriptive period for the crime imputed to the petitioner commenced from its alleged All these mean a defect in his personality characterized by a weakness of censorship especially in relation to rationalization
commission on May 11, 1990, and ended two months thereafter, on July 11, 1990, in accordance with Section 1 of Act about the consequences of his acts.
No. 3326. It was not interrupted by the filing of the complaint with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor on May 30, In view of the above findings it is our considered opinion that Julio C. Guillen is not insane but is an individual with a
1990, as this was not a judicial proceeding. The judicial proceeding that could have interrupted the period was the filing personality defect which in Psychiatry is termed, Constitutional Psychopathic Inferiority.
of the information with the Municipal Trial Court of Rodriguez, but this was done only on October 2, 1990, after the crime Final Diagnosis
had already prescribed. Not insane: Constitutional Psychopathic Inferiority, without psychosis.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED, and the challenged Order dated October 2, 1991 is SET ASIDE. Criminal Case No. In view of the above-quoted findings of the medical board, and notwithstanding the contrary opinion of one Dr. Alvarez,
90-089 in the Municipal Trial Court of Rodriguez, Rizal, is hereby DISMISSED on the ground of prescription. It is so ordered. who was asked by the defense to give his opinion on the matter, the court ruled that Guillen, not being insane, could be
tired, as he was tired, for the offenses he committed on the date in question.
21

THE FACTS A copy (Exhibit B-1) of the original in Tagalog (Exhibit B), made at the request of Guillen by his nephew, was handed to
Upon careful perusal of the evidence and the briefs submitted by counsel for the accused, the Solicitor General and their him only at about 6 o'clock in the afternoon of March 10, 1947, for which reason said Exhibit B-1 appears unsigned,
respective memoranda, we find that there is no disagreement between the prosecution and the defense, as to the because he was in a hurry for that meeting at Plaza de Miranda.
essential facts which caused the filing of the present criminal case against this accused. Those facts may be stated as When he reached Plaza de Miranda, Guillen was carrying two hand grenades concealed in a paper bag which also
follows: contained peanuts. He buried one of the hand grenades (Exhibit D), in a plant pot located close to the platform, and when
On the dates mentioned in this decision, Julio Guillen y Corpus, although not affirmed with any particular political group, he decided to carry out his evil purpose he stood on the chair on which he had been sitting and, from a distance of about
has voted for the defeated candidate in the presidential elections held in 1946. Manuel A. Roxas, the successful candidate, seven meters, he hurled the grenade at the President when the latter had just closed his speech, was being congratulated
assumed the office of President of the Commonwealth and subsequently President of the President of the Philippine by Ambassador Romulo and was about to leave the platform.
Republic. According to Guillen, he became disappointed in President Roxas for his alleged failure to redeem the pledges General Castaeda, who was on the platform, saw the smoking, hissing, grenade and without losing his presence of mind,
and fulfill the promises made by him during the presidential election campaign; and his disappointment was aggravated kicked it away from the platform, along the stairway, and towards an open space where the general thought the grenade
when, according to him, President Roxas, instead of looking after the interest of his country, sponsored and campaigned was likely to do the least harm; and, covering the President with his body, shouted to the crowd that everybody should lie
for the approval of the so-called "parity" measure. Hence he determined to assassinate the President. down. The grenade fell to the ground and exploded in the middle of a group of persons who were standing close to the
After he had pondered for some time over the ways and means of assassinating President Roxas, the opportunity platform. Confusion ensued, and the crowd dispersed in a panic. It was found that the fragments of the grenade had
presented itself on the night of March 10, 1947, when at a popular meeting held by the Liberal Party at Plaza de Miranda, seriously injured Simeon Varela (or Barrela ) who died on the following day as the result of mortal wounds caused by
Quiapo, Manila attended by a big crowd, President Roxas, accompanied by his wife and daughter and surrounded by a the fragments of the grenade (Exhibits F and F-1) Alfredo Eva, Jose Fabio, Pedro Carrillo and Emilio Maglalang.
number of ladies and gentlemen prominent in government and politics, stood on a platform erected for that purpose and Guillen was arrested by members of the Police Department about two hours after the occurrence. It appears that one
delivered his speech expounding and trying to convince his thousand of listeners of the advantages to be gained by the Angel Garcia, who was one spectators at that meeting, saw how a person who was standing next to him hurled an object
Philippines, should the constitutional amendment granting American citizens the same rights granted to Filipino nationals at the platform and, after the explosion, ran away towards a barber shop located near the platform at Plaza de Miranda.
be adopted. Suspecting that person was the thrower of the object that exploded, Garcia went after him and had almost succeeded in
Guillen had first intended to use a revolver for the accomplishment of his purpose, but having lost said firearm, which was holding him, but Guillen offered stiff resistance, got loose from Garcia and managed to escape. Garcia pursued him, but
duly licensed, he thought of two hand grenades which were given him by an American soldier in the early days of the some detectives, mistaking the former for the real criminal and the author of the explosion, placed him under arrest. In
liberation of Manila in exchange for two bottles of whisky. He had likewise been weighing the chances of killing President the meantime, while the City Mayor and some agents of the Manila Police Department were investigating the affair, one
Roxas, either by going to Malacaan, or following his intended victim in the latter's trips to provinces, for instance, to Manuel Robles volunteered the information that the person with whom Angel Garcia was wrestling was Julio Guillen; that
Tayabas (now Quezon) where the President was scheduled to speak, but having encountered many difficulties, he decided he (Manuel Robles) was acquainted with Julio Guillen for the previous ten years and had seen each other in the plaza a
to carry out his plan at the pro-parity meeting held at Plaza de Miranda on the night of March 10, 1947. few moments previous to the explosion.
On the morning of that he went to the house of Amando Hernandez whom he requested to prepare for him a document The police operatives interrogated Garcia and Robles, and Julio Guillen was, within two hours after the occurrence, found
(Exhibit B), in accordance with their pervious understanding in the preceding afternoon, when they met at the premises in his home at 1724 Juan Luna Street, Manila, brought to the police headquarters and identified by Angel Garcia, as the
of the Manila Jockey Club on the occasion of an "anti-parity" meeting held there. On account of its materially in this case, same person who hurled towards the platform the object which exploded and whom Garcia tried to hold when he was
we deem it proper to quote hereunder the contents of said document. An English translation (Exhibit B-2) from its original running away.
Tagalog reads: During the investigation conducted by the police he readily admitted his responsibility, although at the same time he tried
FOR THE SAKE OF A FREE PHILIPPINES to justify his action in throwing the bomb at President Roxas. He also indicated to his captors the place where he had
I am the only one responsible for what happened. I conceived it, I planned it, and I carried it out all by myself alone. It took hidden his so called last will quoted above and marked Exhibit B, which was then unsigned by him and subsequently signed
me many days and nights pondering over this act, talking to my own conscience, to my God, until I reached my conclusion. at the police headquarters.
It was my duty. Re-enacting the crime (Exhibit C), he pointed out to the police where he had buried (Exhibit C-1) the other hand grenade
I did not expected to live long; I only had on life to spare. And had I expected to lives to spare, I would not have hesitated (Exhibit D), and, in the presence of witnesses he signed a statement which contained his answers to question propounded
either ton sacrifice it for the sake of a principle which was the welfare of the people. to him by Major A. Quintos of the Manila Police, who investigated him soon after his arrest (Exhibit E). From a perusal of
Thousands have died in Bataan; many more have mourned the loss of their husbands, of their sons, and there are millions his voluntary statement, we are satisfied that it tallies exactly with the declarations and made by him on the witness stand
now suffering. Their deeds bore no fruits; their hopes were frustrated. during the trial of this case.
I was told by my conscience and by my God that there was a man to be blamed for all this: he had deceived the people, THE ISSUES
he had astounded them with no other purpose than to entice them; he even went to the extent of risking the heritage of In the brief submitted by counsel de oficio for this appellant, several errors are assigned allegedly committed by the trial
our future generations. For these reasons he should not continue any longer. His life would mean nothing as compared court, namely: first, "in finding the appellant guilty of murder for the death of Simeon Varela"; second, "in declaring the
with the welfare of eighteen million souls. And why should I not give up my life too if only the good of those eighteen appellant guilty of the complex crime of murder and multiple frustrated murder"; third, "in applying sub-section 1 of article
million souls. 49 of the Revised Penal Code in determining the penalty to be imposed upon the accused"; and fourth, "in considering the
These are the reasons which impelled me to do what I did and I am willing to bear up the consequences of my act. I t concurrence of the aggravating circumstances of nocturnity and of contempt of public authorities in the commission of
matters not if others will curse me. Time and history will show, I am sure, that I have only displayed a high degree of crime."
patriotism in my performance of my said act. The evidence for the prosecution, supported by the brazen statements made by the accused, shows beyond any shadow
Hurrah for a free Philippines. of doubt that, when Guillen attended that meeting, carrying with him two hand grenades, to put into execution his
Cheers for the happiness of every Filipino home. preconceived plan to assassinate President Roxas, he knew fully well that, by throwing one of those two hand grenades in
May God pity on me. his possession at President Roxas, and causing it to explode, he could not prevent the persons who were around his main
Amen. and intended victim from being killed or at least injured, due to the highly explosive nature of the bomb employed by him
to carry out his evil purpose.
JULIO C. GUILLEN
Guillen, testifying in his own behalf, in answer to questions propounded by the trial judge (page 96 of transcript) supports
our conclusion. He stated that he performed the act voluntarily; that his purpose was to kill the President, but that it did
22

not make any difference to him if there were some people around the President when he hurled that bomb, because the him "by reason of some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous desistance." For the same reason we qualify
killing of those who surrounded the President was tantamount to killing the President, in view of the fact that those the injuries caused on the four other persons already named as merely attempted and not frustrated murder.
persons, being loyal to the President being loyal to the President, were identified with the latter. In other word, although In this connection, it should be stated that , although there is abundant proof that , in violation of the provisions of article
it was not his main intention to kill the persons surrounding the President, he felt no conjunction in killing them also in 148 of the Revised Penal Code, the accused Guillen has committed among others the offense of assault upon a person in
order to attain his main purpose of killing the President. authority, for in fact his efforts were directed towards the execution of his main purpose of eliminating President Roxas
The facts do not support the contention of counsel for appellant that the latter is guilty only of homicide through reckless for his failure to redeem his electoral campaign promises, by throwing at him in his official capacity as the Chief Executive
imprudence in regard to the death of Simeon Varela and of less serious physical injuries in regard to Alfredo Eva, Jose of the nation the hand grenade in question, yet, in view of the appropriate allegation charging Guillen with the commission
Fabio, Pedro Carrillo and Emilio Maglalang, and that he should be sentenced to the corresponding penalties for the of said offense, we shall refrain making a finding to that effect.
different felonies committed, the sum total of which shall not exceed three times the penalty to be imposed for the most The complex crimes of murder and multiple attempted murder committed by the accused with the single act of throwing
serious crime in accordance with article 70 in relation to article 74 of the Revised Penal Code. a hand grenade at the President, was attended by the various aggravating circumstances alleged in the information,
In throwing hand grenade at the President with the intention of killing him, the appellant acted with malice. He is therefore without any mitigating circumstance. But we do not deem it necessary to consider said aggravating circumstances because
liable for all the consequences of his wrongful act; for in accordance with article 4 of the Revised Penal Code, criminal in any event article 48 of the Revised Penal Code above-quoted requires that the penalty for the most serious of said
liability is incurred by any person committing felony (delito) although the wrongful act done be different from that which crimes be applied in its maximum period. The penalty for murder is reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death.
he intended. In criminal negligence, the injury caused to another should be unintentional, it being simply the incident of (Art. 248.)
another act performed without malice. (People vs. Sara, 55 Phil., 939.) In the words of Viada, "in order that an act may be It is our painful duty to apply the law and mete out to the accused the extreme penalty provided by it upon the facts and
qualified as imprudence it is necessary that either malice nor intention to cause injury should intervene; where such circumstances hereinabove narrated.
intention exists, the act should qualified by the felony it has produced even though it may not have been the intention of The sentence of the trial court being correct, we have no alternative but to affirm it, and we hereby do so by a unanimous
the actor to cause an evil of such gravity as that produced.' (Viada's Comments on the Penal Code, vol. 7, 5th ed., p.7.) vote. The death sentence shall be executed in accordance with article 81 of the Revised Penal Code, under authority of
And, as held by this Court, a deliberate intent to do an unlawful act is essentially inconsistent with the idea of reckless the Director of Prisons, on such working day as the trial court may fix within 30 days from the date the record shall have
imprudence. (People vs. Nanquil, 43 Phil., 232.) Where such unlawful act is wilfully done, a mistake in the identity of the been remanded. It is so ordered.
intended victim cannot be considered as reckless imprudence. (People vs. Gona, 54 Phil., 605) Moran, C.J., Ozaeta, Paras, Pablo, Bengzon, Padilla, Tuason, Montemayor, Reyes and Torres, JJ., concur.
Squarely on the point by counsel is the following decision of the Supreme Court of Spain: G.R. No. 130605 June 19, 2001
Cuestion 62. Se presenta A, a las ocho de la noche, en el estanco de B a comprar tabaco, y habiendose negado este a PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
darselo al fiado, se retira a quel sin mediar entre ambos disputa alguna; pero; trnscurrido un cuarto de hora, hallandose vs.
el estanquero despachando a C, se oye la detonacion de un arma de fuego disparada por A desde la calle, quedando FELIX UGANAP alias Commander Matador, FAUSTINO UGANAP, SALVADOR UGANAP, NONOY PANDAY, TIRSO ARANG and
muertos en el acto C y el estanquero; supuesta la no intencion en A de matar a C y si solo al estanquero, cabe calificar la four (4) JOHN DOES, accused.
muerte de este de homicidio y la de c de imprudencia temeraria? La Sala de lo Criminal de la Auudiencia de Granada lo FELIX UGANAP, accused-appellant.
estimo asi, y condeno al procesado a catorse anos de reclusion por el homivcidio y a un ao de prision correctional por la GONZAGA-REYES, J.:
imprudencia. Aparte de que la muerte del estanquero debio calificarse de assesinato y no de homicidio, por haberse Petitioner is the lone appellant from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Davao City1 which convicted him alone for
ejecutado con aleviosa. es evidente que la muerte de C, suponiendo que no se propusiera ejecutaria el procesado, no the murder of Pedro Arang and acquitted the rest of the accused.
pudo calificarse de imprudencia teme raria, sino que tambien debio declararsele responsable de la misma, a tenor de lo The information against Felix Uganap, Salvador Uganap, Faustino Uganap, Nonoy Panday, Tirso Arang, and four John Does,
puesto en este apartado ultimo del articulo; y que siendo ambas muertes producidas por un solo hecho, o sea por un solo docketed as Criminal Case No. 23264-91, reads:
disparo, debio imponerse al reo la pena del delito de asesinato en el grado maximo, a tenor de lo dispuesto en el art. 90 The undersigned accuses the above-named accused of the crime of Murder under Art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code,
del Codigo, o sea la pena de muerte. Se ve, pues, claramente que en el antedicha sentencia, aparte de otros articulos del committed as follows:
Codigo, se infringio por la Sala la disposicion de este apartado ultimo del articulo muy principalmente, y asi lo declaro el That on or about January 6, 1990, in the City of Davao, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
Tribunal Supremo en S. de 18 junio de 1872. (Gaceta de 1,0 de agosto.) (I Viada, 5th Ed., p. 42.) above-mentioned accused, conspiring and confederating together and helping each other, armed with firearm and a
Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code provides as follows: bladed weapon, with treachery and evident premeditation and with intent to kill, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
Art. 48. Penalty for Complex Crimes. When a single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies, or when an attacked, assaulted, stabbed and shot with said weapons one Pedro Arang, thereby inflicting him mortal wounds which
offense is a necessary means for committing the other, the penalty for the most serious crime shall be imposed, the same caused his death.
to be applied in its maximum period. CONTRARY TO LAW.2
We think it is the above-quoted article and not paragraph 1 of article 49 that is applicable. The case before us is clearly Salvador Uganap died before he could be arrested; hence, trial proceeded only as against Felix Uganap, Faustino Uganap,
governed by the first clause of article 48 because by a single act, that a throwing highly explosive hand grenade at President Nonoy Panday, and Tirso Arang.
Roxas, the accused committed two grave felonies, namely: (1) murder, of which Simeon Varela was the victim; and (2) Six witnesses were presented by the prosecution, including one eyewitness and the doctor who conducted the necropsy
multiple attempted murder, of which President Roxas, Alfredo Eva, Jose Fabio, Pedro Carrillo and Emilio Maglalang were over the victims body.
the injured parties. It was established from the testimonies that the victim and some of the accused were close relatives. Accused Tirso Arang
The killing of Simeon Varela was attended by the qualifying circumstance of treachery. In the case of People vs. Mabug- is the half-brother of the victim, while accused-appellant Felix Uganap is also the victims cousin. Accused Faustino Uganap
at, supra, this court held that the qualifying circumstance of treachery may be properly considered, even when the victim is the brother-in-law of the victim, being the brother of the latters wife, Leilani Arang. They are all members of the Bagobo
of the attack was not the one whom the defendant intended to kill, if it appears from the evidence that neither of the two tribe.
persons could in any manner put up defense against the attack, or become aware of it. In the same case it was held that The lone eyewitness, Samuel Arang, also a cousin of the victim, testified that at around 8:30 in the evening of January 6,
the qualifying circumstance of premeditation may not be properly taken into the account when the person whom the 1990, he was walking home when he stopped near the house of Salvador Uganap, one of the accused, to light a cigarette.
defendant proposed to kill was different from the one who became his victim. He peeped through a hole in the wall of the house and saw the five accused gathered together --- Felix Uganap had a .38
There can be no question that the accused attempted to kill President Roxas by throwing a hand grenade at him with the revolver tucked to his waist, while Nonoy Panday held a pistolized carbine.3 The room was illuminated by a lamp.4 Upon
intention to kill him, thereby commencing the commission of a felony by over acts, but he did not succeed in assassinating seeing that they were armed, Samuel Arang moved away from the house and hid behind a coconut tree. The accused left
23

Salvador Uganaps house and went to the victims house, which was about 30 meters away from where the witness Thus, the trial court concluded:
was.5 Samuel Arang stated that he saw Salvador Uganap kick the door of Pedro Arangs house; seconds later, Pedro opened Collating the various testimon(ies) of (the) prosecution witnesses, we surmised that Pedro Arang upon opening the door
the door, carrying with him a kerosene lamp. Immediately, Felix Uganap shot him. Pedro shouted for help, calling on his and realizing the malevolent intention of the men standing outside, immediately turned his back, but accused Salvador
"Tio Pelagio" (the eyewitnesss father). Upon seeing the shooting, Samuel Arang fled to his house where he told his father Uganap who was near him instantaneously stabbed him at the back, hitting him at his left side. As Pedro Arang was
of what he saw. As they were afraid, they did not attempt to rescue the victim but waited until the next morning to attend slumping down (on) the floor, accused Felix Uganap shot him, hitting him at the upper middle part of his buttocks and
to the body.6 right leg.13
Samuel Arang correctly identified the four surviving accused in open court. From this mode of attack, the trial court concluded treachery. The killing was thus qualified to murder.
The trial court also took into consideration the testimony of Nolly Luchavez, who identified all the accused as members of Having acquitted accused Faustino Uganap, Nonoy Panday, and Tirso Arang for failure of the prosecution to prove
a religious vigilante group called Ituman. Luchavez was himself recruited into the group when he was only 14 years old. conspiracy as against them, the RTC held that only Felix Uganap and Salvador Uganap were proved culpable. Owing to the
Accused-appellant Felix Uganap was the groups designated field commander, and carried the alias "Commander earlier death of Salavador Uganap, only Felix Uganap, herein accused-appellant, was convicted.
Matador". Accused Nonoy Panday was also a commander. Luchavez left the group after five years, in 1990, disillusioned The dispositive part of the RTC decision reads:
that the group which he thought had good objectives turned out to be nothing more than a gang of hired killers.7 IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, accused Faustino Uganap, Nonoy Panday and Tirso Arang are hereby acquitted of the
Luchavezs testimony revealed that the plan to kill Pedro Arang was proposed by Faustino Uganap at a coffee shop in Toril, crime charged and they shall be released from custody immediately.
Davao City on December 18, 1989. Present at that meeting were the four other accused and Luchavez. Faustino paid Felix In pronouncing an acquittal, we are moved by the circumstances already mentioned which though not enough to convince
P3,000.00 for the purpose. Luchavez was supposed to knock on the door of Pedro Arangs house. He said that the group us of accuseds innocence, nonetheless, preclude us from making a pronouncement that the guilt had been established
intended to undertake the killing on December 24, but this was aborted since they found out that the victim left town to beyond reasonable doubt which is ought to be, to justify their conviction (People vs. Joel Quintero y Ybasco, G.R. No.
visit his wife in Tagum.8 Hence, the plan was set to January 6. 80315-16, November 16, 1994).
Luchavez, however, was unable to go with the group to Pedro Arangs house because he had a fever that day. Felix Uganap As to accused Felix Uganap, his guilt having been established beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder under Art.
reportedly said, "Well, it is alright, anyway we have another mission."9 The day after, he learned from Tirso Arang and Felix 248 of the Revised Penal Code, he is hereby sentenced to suffer a penalty of reclusion perpetua.
Uganap that Pedro had been killed. Accused Felix Uganap is further ordered to indemnify the family of Pedro Arang the following:
The trial court determined that the cause of the conflict between Faustino Uganap and the victim was a piece of 1. P50,000.00 for the death of Pedro Arang;
land.10 Pedro wanted to build his house therein but Faustino opposed it. 2. For loss of income, what was proved on record is that the victim, at the time of his death, was 36 years old, in good
Two other prosecution witnesses corroborated the testimony of the eyewitness, Samuel Arang. Ernito Libano and health, and working at a hacienda with wage of P1,000.00 per month. Hence, using the formula repeatedly adopted by
Alejandro Bualan, Jr. both heard gunshots from the direction of Pedro Arangs house. Libano heard a shout and recognized the Supreme Court: [2/3 x (80 age of victim at time of death) x a reasonable portion of the net income which would have
the victims voice. He also claimed that when he looked out of his window he recognized Salvador Uganap, whose face been received by the heirs as support], this Court fixes the award for loss of earning capacity of the victim at P90,000.00;
was illuminated by the sulo (torch) he was holding, as one of the persons standing outside Pedro Arangs house. and
Based on the necropsy report of Dr. Jose Ladrido, it was ascertained that Pedro Arang died almost instantly from the 3. P5,000.00 for burial expenses.
multiple wounds he sustained --- seven stab wounds and three gunshot wounds. The stab wound that punctured the SO ORDERED.14
victims left kidney, and the gunshot wound that penetrated the intestines, were fatal. In this appeal, Felix Uganap pleads a review of his conviction, asseverating that there was no sufficient evidence to hold
All the accused interposed denials and alibis. They denied that they were together on the night of the incident, or that him guilty of the murder of Pedro Arang. He bases his argument on the inconsistencies in the testimony of the purported
they went to the house of Pedro Arang. Faustino said he was making copra with his nephew, Margarito Arang. Nonoy eyewitness, Samuel Arang, whose claim that he saw accused-appellant shoot the victim as soon as the latter opened the
Panday and Tirso Arang said that they were not in town. Accused-appellant stated that he reported to work at Crown door was proven wrong by the location of the wounds on the victims body. He asserts that the credibility of Samuel
Fruits, where he remained on duty as a guard the whole night. They all denied being members of Arangs statements being in serious question, his conviction could not stand in the absence of positive identification of
the vigilante group Ituman. him as the assailant and murderer of Pedro Arang.
The conspiracy theory of the prosecution fell through with the lower court, which found the evidence to be less than Accused-appellants argument capitalizes on the lower courts finding of the absence of conspiracy. Without a finding of
convincing. It held that only two of the five accused, herein accused-appellant and the deceased Salvador Uganap, were conspiracy, where the perpetrators are perceived to further a common criminal design and thus, the act of one is taken
positively identified by witnesses Samuel Arang and Ernito Libano on the night of the incident. Moreover, although Nolly to be the act of all, a conviction of accused-appellant must rest on evidence that points to him particularly as the assailant
Luchavez testified that Faustino Uganap proposed the killing, there was no showing that he participated in the killing as and killer of Pedro Arang. Indeed, reasonable doubt of accused-appellants guilt is engendered by the inadequacies of the
based on the account of Samuel Arang he, as well as Nonoy Panday and Tirso Arang, merely stood around while Felix lone eyewitnesss testimony which, due to his distance (he witnessed the incident some 30 meters afar) and poor visibility
Uganap assaulted Pedro Arang.11 (there was no moon that night and the only illumination came from the sulo that Salvador Uganap held), failed to clearly
The RTC likewise found that the purported eyewitness account that Pedro was shot as soon as he opened the door was and convincingly point to accused-appellant, to the exclusion of everyone else, as the perpetrator of the crime. The
belied by the necropsy report which indicated that the bullets entered the victims body from the posterior. In fact, all credibility of Samuel Arangs account is further undermined by the fact that it is not supported by the findings in the
stab and gunshot wounds were located on the victims back. necropsy report (the location of the wounds does not sustain the claim that the victim was frontally shot), a matter which
The trial court pursued its point in this wise: the defense insists could mean that the whole eyewitness claim was a fabrication.
Analyzing further the Necropsy Report and testimony of Dr. Jose Ladrido, the victim Pedro Arang could not have been shot Certainly, the position of accused-appellant is easy to accept where, setting the conspiracy theory aside, there is no direct
while standing because the gunshot wounds were located at the lower part of his body and (their) projection was evidence that positively identifies him as the one who rendered the fatal blow or shot which killed Pedro Arang. A diligent
downwards. If Pedro Arang was shot while standing or even in a prone position, the projection of the gunshot wounds study of the records, however, convinces the Court that a conspiracy to kill Pedro Arang was in fact clearly and convincingly
would not be downwards but at level. proven, and that accused-appellant was a part of this conspiracy.
The most logical explanation is that Pedro Arang was first stabbed and when he was slumping down, he was shot. The review of criminal cases necessitates a re-examination of the entire evidence on record. Although the absence of
At a distance of 30 meters from where witness Samuel Arang was standing and taking into consideration the nighttime, conspiracy, as with any other finding of fact, will not be disturbed on appeal where the same is consistent with the
and the relative position of accused Salvador Uganap, who we believe is in front of the group, as he was holding a lamp evidence presented, the Court is likewise not prohibited from instituting a finding of conspiracy, in reversal of the findings
and therefore, his back was turned from witness Samuel Arang, the latter could not have seen accused Felix Uganap of the lower court, when its existence is manifest from the evidence at hand.
frontally shooting the victim Pedro Arang.12
24

Conspiracy is revealed by the acts before, during and after the commission of the crime which indicate joint purpose, was slumping down the floor, accused Felix Uganap shot him, hitting him at the upper middle part of his buttocks and
concerted action, and concurrence of sentiments.15 In innumerable cases, the Court has held that direct proof is not right leg."25 This is purely conjecture on the part of the trial court. In several cases, we have declined to appreciate
essential,16 because conspiracy may be equably inferred from the acts of the accused disclosing their joint purpose and treachery where no particulars were shown as to the manner by which the aggression was commenced and
design. In the instant case, however, nothing less than direct proof of a previous agreement to kill the victim, plus an developed.26 Treachery cannot be acknowledged on the basis of mere presumptions or suppositions, but must be proven
eyewitness account of how the conspirators effected their plan, was submitted into evidence but disregarded by the trial as clearly as the crime itself.27
court. Similarly, the elements of evident premeditation must be established with equal certainty and clarity as the criminal act
The testimony of Nolly Luchavez attests that a conspiracy was hatched on December 18, 1989, when Faustino Uganaps itself before it can be appreciated as a qualifying circumstance.28 These elements are: (1) the time when the accused
proposal to kill Pedro Arang was accepted by the rest of the accused. On that same occasion, money changed hands and determined to commit the crime; (2) an overt act manifestly indicating that they clung to their determination to commit
the evil deal was sealed. It was accused-appellant himself who received the money from Faustino Uganap. The criminal the crime; and (3) a sufficient lapse of time between the decision to commit the crime and the execution thereof to allow
resolve was sustained for more than two weeks (the first meeting was on December 18, 1989; the second meeting, the accused to reflect upon the consequences of their act.29 The essence, therefore, of evident premeditation is that the
December 24, 1989; the killing was done on January 6, 1990.).17 execution of the criminal act is preceded by cool thought and reflection upon the resolution to carry out the criminal
Because of the inadequacies of Samuel Arangs testimony, there is no sufficient evidence to establish the precise mode of intent within a space of time sufficient to arrive at a calm judgment.30
attack or extent of participation of each of the accused. However, we are not prepared to dismiss the entire testimony of All the elements of evident premeditation are met in this case. As early as December 18, 1989, the conspirators had
Samuel Arang which does not merely dwell on the attack at the victim but also on the incidents moments before the determined to kill Pedro Arang. On December 24, 1989, they met to set their heinous plan into effect but they had to
attack, namely, that he saw the accused together at Salvador Uganaps house, that they were armed, and that they left postpone it because Pedro left for another town to visit his wife. Still they clung to their resolve as they simply postponed
together for the house of Pedro Arang. Shortly after these incidents, gunshots and a shout were heard by both Ernito the execution to January 6, 1990. All these demonstrate that the criminal intent had been harbored in dark reflection and
Libano and Alejandro Bualan, Jr. coming from the direction of Pedro Arangs house. The next day, Pedros lifeless body calculation for more than two weeks, where the malefactors had every opportunity to abandon it but did not do so.
was found in that house. The Court also observes that another aggravating circumstance was proven by the evidence. Nolly Luchavezs testimony
Thus, we give full credence to the testimony of Samuel Arang on the actuations of the accused moments before the killing. that the taking of Pedro Arangs life carried the price of P3,000.00 was categorical, credible, and unrebutted.
That his statements on the mode of attack do not jive with the medical findings should not operate to destroy the weight PROSECUTOR GARCIA, JR.
and credibility of his entire testimony. Q: Alright, you said the group was for hire. Was there any amount involved during that meeting?
xxx Even where a witness is found to have deliberately falsified the truth in some particulars, and it was not shown that A: Yes, sir.
there was such intended prevarication by complainant in this case, it is not required that the entire testimony be rejected, Q: Who had the money and to whom was the money given?
since such portions thereof deemed worthy of belief may be credited. [People vs. Gohol, 170 SCRA 585 (1989).] It is A: Given to us. The money came from Faustino (Uganap), intended for Felix Uganap.
perfectly reasonable to believe the testimony of a witness with respect to some facts and disbelieve it with respect to Q: How much was given by Faustino to Felix?
other facts. [People vs. Arbolante, 203 SCRA 85 (1991).]18 A: P3,000.00.
Besides, a conspiracy having been unquestionably shown, it is actually unnecessary to establish who among the Q: Did you see?
malefactors inflicted the fatal blow.19 All conspirators are liable as co-principals regardless of intent and character of A: Yes, sir.
participation.20 Q: Did you see (if) the money was counted by Felix?
The plot against Pedro Arangs life having been explicitly established by the testimony of Nolly Luchavez, it would be absurd A: Yes, sir, that was after we took our merienda, he immediately counted the money.31
to accept that Faustino Uganap, Nonoy Panday and Tirso Arang were at the victims house as mere onlookers. That they However, because under the Rules of Criminal Procedure as revised on December 1, 2000, generic aggravating
did not lift a finger against the victim is beside the point, because the evidence shows that they were part of the conspiracy circumstances must be specifically named in the information,32 the Court will allow for this amendment to retroact for the
from its inception. Much as we are prevented from disturbing the acquittals granted them by the court a quo,21 we benefit of accused-appellant. Hence, the aggravating circumstance of price or reward will not be appreciated.
reiterate the existence of a conspiracy among the accused and hold herein accused-appellant liable as one of the The crime was committed before the amendatory provisions of Republic Act No. 765933 took effect. Thus, at that time,
conspirators. the provisions of Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code set the penalty for murder at reclusion temporal in its maximum
Neither may accused-appellant invoke the acquittal of the other conspirators to merit the reversal of his conviction. The period to death. Conformably with People vs. Muoz34 and reiterative cases35, in the absence of mitigating or aggravating
case of People vs. Arlalejo22 illustrates that circumstances, the penalty of reclusion perpetua is applicable.
xxx there is nothing irregular with the acquittal of one of the supposed co-conspirators and the conviction of another. On the damages awarded for loss of earning capacity, we are inclined to grant the same despite the non-availability of
Generally, conspiracy is only a means by which a crime is committed as the mere act of conspiring is not by itself documentary evidence.36 In People vs. Dizon,37 we stated that oral testimony will suffice to prove net earning capacity
punishable. Hence, it does not follow that one person alone cannot be convicted when there is a finding of conspiracy. As where the victim was employed as a daily wage worker earning less than the minimum wage under current labor laws.
long as the acquittal of a co-conspirator does not remove the basis of a charge of conspiracy, one defendant may be found Pedro Arang, a hacienda worker receiving wages of P1,000.00 a month,38 was certainly earning far less than the minimum
guilty of the offense. wage.
Unlike the case of Arlalejo, however, where the Court found that the evidence proved only the existence of a conspiracy The trial court correctly adopted the formula used by this Court in computing loss of earning capacity. Thus:
but not the culpability of accused-appellant, the evidence in the instant case shows that the conspirators (including herein Net earning capacity = [2/3 x (80 age at time of death) x (gross annual income reasonable and necessary living
accused-appellant) implemented their plan to full effect. expenses)]39
The information alleges that the crime was attended by treachery and evident premeditation.23 The existence of any of As there is no proof of living expenses of the deceased, the net income is estimated to be 50% of the gross annual
these circumstances will qualify the killing to murder. The evidence falls short of proving treachery, but we find the income.40 Hence, in the instant case, the damages payable for loss of earning capacity is computed as follows:
presence of evident premeditation. Net earning capacity = [2/3 x (80 - 36) x (P12,000.00 P6,000.00)]
We have earlier determined that no convincing evidence was submitted on the manner of attack. We cannot thus sustain
the trial courts finding of treachery based on its admitted "surmise"24 on how the attack took place. While dismissing as = 2/3 x 44 x P6,000.00
incredible Samuel Arangs testimony that the victim was shot the moment he opened the door, it substituted in place of = P176,000.00
evidence its own inference that "Pedro Arang upon opening the door xxx immediately turned his back, but accused Based on the foregoing, the damages representing loss of earning capacity is set at P176,000.00.
Salavador Uganap who was near him instantaneously stabbed him at the back, hitting him at his left side. As Pedro Arang
25

The award of P5,000.00 as actual damages, representing burial expenses, is sustained. 41 due to the victims previous child birth; and that no spermatozoa was found on the victim, which was likely because the
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is AFFIRMED with the above modifications. Accused-appellant Felix Uganap is hereby examination was conducted only two days after the alleged rape.11
declared guilty of murder and sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. He is further required to pay the heirs For the defense, two witnesses were presented. First was the appellant himself, SANICO NUEVO. He declared that he knew
of Pedro Arang P50,000.00 as death indemnity, P176,000.00 as damages for loss of earning capacity, and P5,000.00 as Roberta since they were schoolmates in grade school and she was a former neighbor. He lived about 100 meters from her
actual damages. house. Moreover, her husband Anselmo, Jr., was his "barkada". He recounted that at about 6:30 P.M., December 4, 1994,
SO ORDERED. his father and he went to the house of Anselmo, Sr., to buy Tanduay Rum and drank with their friends Rudy and Ami
Melo, (Chairman), Vitug, Panganiban, and Sandoval-Gutierrez, JJ., concur. Tinambakan. On the way, they had to pass by the house of Anselmo, Jr. He denied he invited the younger Anselmo to go
G.R. No. 132169 October 26, 2001 drinking as the latters house was already close by. It was Anselmo, Jr., who later followed and joined them until around
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, 10:30 P.M. Appellant said he stayed in the house of Anselmo, Sr., where he slept at around 12:00 oclock midnight. It was
vs. already 6:30 A.M. the following day when he woke up. He denied raping Roberta. He added that the house of Anselmo,
SANICO NUEVO @ "SANY", accused-appellant. Sr., was only about 35 meters from the house of Roberta.12
QUISUMBING, J.: The second witness for the defense was EMELIO13 NUEVO, brother of appellant. He claimed that he was with his brother
On automatic review is the decision1 of the Regional Trial Court of Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte, Branch 11, finding Sanico and two neighbors the night of the incident. He corroborated his brothers story that they were drinking at the
accused Sanico Nuevo @ "Sany" guilty of rape and sentencing him to death. house of Anselmo, Sr., and he noticed his brother asleep on the upper floor of Anselmo Sr.s house, when he left at around
His conviction stemmed from the following information:2 5:00 A.M. early in the morning while the others were still dancing downstairs. He admitted, however, that he told no one
That, in the evening, on or about the 4th day of December, 1994, in the municipality of Godod, Zamboanga del Norte, of seeing his brother sleep in the house of Anselmo Sr., even when he found out that his brother was to be arrested, and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, moved by lewd and unchaste design and by means of even when he saw him tied up and already in the custody of the police. He did not disclose this fact, even when he was
force, violence and intimidation, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously succeed in having sexual already alone with his other brother who was a councilor of their place. It was only in his testimony during trial that he
intercourse with one ROBERTA CIDO, a 20 year old married woman, against her will and without her consent. chose to reveal these facts in Sanicos defense. He also said he was not aware of any misunderstanding between his
CONTRARY TO LAW (Viol. of Art. 335, Revised Penal Code). brother and the spouses Roberta and Anselmo, Jr.14
A plea of not guilty was entered upon arraignment. The trial court found the prosecutions version of events credible and disbelieved that of the defense. It rendered
During trial, the prosecution presented three witnesses, namely: (1) complainant Roberta Cido; (2) Anselmo Cido, Jr., the judgment as follows:
complainants husband; and (3) Dr. Esmeralda Nadela, a resident physician of the Sindangan District Hospital, Sindangan, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Court finds the accused SANICO NUEVO guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
Zamboanga del Norte. They testified as follows: charged in the above-quoted information with aggravating circumstances of dwelling (Article 14, (3) of the Revised Penal
ROBERTA CIDO3 recalled that at about 9:00 oclock in the evening of December 4, 1994, Sanico Nuevo passed by their Code; People vs. Padilla, 242 SCRA 629) and committed in full view of the relative within the third degree of consanguinity
house and invited her husband Anselmo Cido, Jr., to a drinking spree at the house of Anselmo, Sr., her father-in-law.4 She (Sec. 11 R.A. 7659), but since no mitigating circumstances (sic) to offset the above aggravating circumstances, the Court
was left at home with her 10-month-old daughter and her nine-year-old niece Gemma Atis. They slept in the living hereby sentences the accused Sanico Nuevo to suffer the maximum penalty provided by law which is DEATH and to pay
room, cum bedroom, the only room in the house.5 At around 11:00 P.M., appellant surreptitiously returned and entered the private offended party in the sum of P50,000.00.
their room. She was awakened when appellant held her neck, pinned down her arms and took off her clothing. While COSTS de officio.
Sanico was removing her panties, she struggled to extricate herself but to no avail. She was unable to shout because SO ORDERED.15
appellant was covering her mouth. While she was lying on her back, appellant laid on top of her and proceeded to forcibly In his brief, appellant assigns one error only:
have sexual intercourse with her, at the same time pinning her down with a bolo. As this was happening her niece Gemma, THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING ACCUSED-APPELLANT SANICO NUEVO OF COMMITTING RAPE AGAINST ALLEGED
who was present, witnessed what was being done to her. Appellant even warned Gemma not to reveal what she saw and VICTIM ROBERTA CIDO DESPITE INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE OF HIS POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION.16
at the same time threatened Roberta not to tell her husband about the incident or else he would kill her.6 He thereafter In resolving cases of rape, this Court is guided by the following principles: (a) an accusation for rape can be made with
left the house. facility; it is difficult to prove but even more difficult for the appellant, although innocent, to disprove; (b) in view of the
Roberta further testified that her husband Anselmo, Jr., returned home only the morning after. She immediately told her intrinsic nature of the crime where only two persons are usually involved, the testimony of the complainant must be
husband about the previous nights incident. The latter hastened to the house of Sanico but did not find him. Appellant scrutinized with extreme caution; (c) the evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merit, and cannot be
was arrested that same afternoon.7 allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense (People vs. Quijada, 321 SCRA 426 [1999]);
Although Roberta testified on cross-examination, that she did not see him because it was very dark that night, she and (d) the evaluation of the trial court judges regarding the credibility of witnesses deserves utmost respect on the ground
identified him through his voice.8 She was certain it was he because she was very familiar with appellants voice. Not only that they are in the best position to observe the demeanor, act, conduct, and attitude of the witnesses in court while
have they been neighbors since childhood, she also heard the appellant when he invited her husband earlier that evening, testifying (People vs. Maglente, 306 SCRA 546 [1999]).
and when he warned her and her niece not to tell anyone what happened. In our view, the first issue for our resolution here is whether appellant was sufficiently identified by the offended party
For his part, ANSELMO CIDO, JR., corroborated part of his wifes story. He narrated that at around 9:00 P.M., December based only on her recognition of the sound of his voice. The second issue is whether the prosecutions evidence suffices
4, 1994, Sanico with companions dropped by their house and invited him to a drinking spree in his fathers (Anselmo, Sr.) for the conviction of rape and the imposition of the death penalty on him.
house, about 50 meters away from theirs. While there, they drank until dawn. Sanico left his fathers place at around Appellant denies he raped Roberta Cido. He questions the certainty of his identification as the offender. He avers that the
11:00 P.M., purportedly to answer the call of nature, and returned only at around 1:00 A.M. of December 5, 1994. At the night of the rape, there was no moon and it was very dark. Nor was there any showing of illumination from any source in
time Sanico left, Anselmo, Jr., observed that he was carrying an 18-inch bolo. When Anselmo, Jr., arrived home early in and out of the house of the victim. Further, she averred that she identified her rapist only because she recognized his
the morning, his wife told him of her ordeal.9 voice. According to appellant, such voice identification is insufficient to prove he was the rapist.
DR. ESMERALDA NADELA testified on her medical findings contained in her Medico-Legal Certificate dated December 6, In People vs. Reyes,17 we held that once a person has gained familiarity with another, identification becomes quite an easy
1994, which document10 she brought along and read in open court. She said Roberta told her that the latter was submitting task even from a considerable distance. In a number of cases, we ruled that the sound of the voice of a person is an
herself for medical examination because she was raped, and that her last sexual contact with her husband was a week acceptable means of identification where it is established that the witness and the accused knew each other personally
before the incident. Nadela testified further that based on her examination conducted two days after the alleged incident, and closely for a number of years.18 Appellant did not deny that he and Roberta had known each other since
no fresh injuries were actually found on the victim; that only old lacerations were present; that such absence was possible childhood19 and that appellant and Robertas husband were "barkada."20 It is not impossible then that complainant could
26

immediately recognize appellant through his voice alone. In addition, appellants face was very near the victim21 such that Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban, Pardo, Buena, Ynares-Santiago, De Leon, Jr., and
the victim could not have misidentified him, even only by voice recognition. Sandoval-Gutierrez, JJ., concur.
According to appellant, Roberta claims she smelled marijuana on the rapist but she patently made a mistake since he Vitug, J., on official leave.
should have smelled of Tanduay Rum instead, because that was what he drank. In addition, he argues that since no physical AVELINO CASUPANAN and ROBERTO CAPITULO, petitioners, vs. MARIO LLAVORE LAROYA, respondent.
injury was found on Roberta to show that there was force or intimidation inflicted on her, therefore, no rape had DECISION
happened. CARPIO, J.:
As testified to by Dr. Nadela, however, lacerations or signs of injury may not be present in this case due to the fact that The Case
the victim had already given birth to a child.22 Moreover, according to the victim,23 appellants penis was relatively small This is a petition for review on certiorari to set aside the Resolution [1] dated December 28, 1999 dismissing the petition
in size, about two and a half inches long. This is consistent with Dr. Nadelas testimony that in some cases of women who for certiorari and the Resolution[2] dated August 24, 2000 denying the motion for reconsideration, both issued by the
have already given birth, it would take an "extra-large" male organ to cause lacerations. According to her, healed Regional Trial Court of Capas, Tarlac, Branch 66, in Special Civil Action No. 17-C (99).
lacerations or the absence of spermatozoa in the vaginal canal do not negate rape.24We are, thus, constrained to say that The Facts
appellants bland conclusion that no rape happened for lack of physical injuries on the person of the victim is clearly a non- Two vehicles, one driven by respondent Mario Llavore Laroya (Laroya for brevity) and the other owned by petitioner
sequitur. Roberto Capitulo (Capitulo for brevity) and driven by petitioner Avelino Casupanan (Casupanan for brevity), figured in an
Appellants claim that Roberta should have smelled him reeking of liquor instead of marijuana is beside the point and accident. As a result, two cases were filed with the Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC for brevity) of Capas, Tarlac. Laroya
deserves scant consideration. Note that appellant and his five other companions shared only four bottles of pocket-sized filed a criminal case against Casupanan for reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property, docketed as Criminal
Tanduay mixed with softdrinks.25 Thus, it was not unlikely that he did not smell strongly of liquor. Further, note that the Case No. 002-99. On the other hand, Casupanan and Capitulo filed a civil case against Laroya for quasi-delict, docketed as
drinking spree started at 8:30 P.M., and it was barely two hours thereafter when appellant left the group, according to Civil Case No. 2089.
prosecution witnesses. Besides, that Roberta said she detected the smell of marijuana on her abuser does not change the When the civil case was filed, the criminal case was then at its preliminary investigation stage. Laroya, defendant in the
fact that she identified him positively and without any reservation as the perpetrator of the offense. civil case, filed a motion to dismiss the civil case on the ground of forum-shopping considering the pendency of the criminal
Considering the circumstances in this case, in the light of the testimony by the victim and her witnesses as well as of those case. The MCTC granted the motion in the Order of March 26, 1999 and dismissed the civil case.
for the defense, we agree with the trial court that Roberta had sufficiently identified appellant as the person who raped On Motion for Reconsideration, Casupanan and Capitulo insisted that the civil case is a separate civil action which can
her, by means of force, violence and intimidation, against her will and without her consent. Appellant is guilty beyond proceed independently of the criminal case. The MCTC denied the motion for reconsideration in the Order of May 7,
reasonable doubt of the crime charged. 1999. Casupanan and Capitulo filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 before the Regional Trial Court (Capas RTC for
We are, however, constrained to disagree concerning the penalty imposed on him. An appeal in a criminal case throws brevity) of Capas, Tarlac, Branch 66,[3] assailing the MCTCs Order of dismissal.
the entire case wide open for review and it is the duty of the appellate court to correct errors, as may be found in the The Trial Courts Ruling
appealed judgment, even if unassigned.26 This salutary principle governs our automatic review of death penalty cases as The Capas RTC rendered judgment on December 28, 1999 dismissing the petition for certiorari for lack of merit. The Capas
well. RTC ruled that the order of dismissal issued by the MCTC is a final order which disposes of the case and therefore the
Although not assigned as an error, it is our view that the trial court erred in appreciating the qualifying circumstance under proper remedy should have been an appeal. The Capas RTC further held that a special civil action for certiorari is not a
par. 3, Section 11, R.A. 7659,27 concerning the presence of a relative, to justify the imposition of the death penalty. substitute for a lost appeal. Finally, the Capas RTC declared that even on the premise that the MCTC erred in dismissing
In People vs. Amadore, we held that the attendance of any of the circumstances under the provisions of Section 11 of the civil case, such error is a pure error of judgment and not an abuse of discretion.
Republic Act No. 7659, mandating the death penalty are in the nature of qualifying circumstances and the absence of Casupanan and Capitulo filed a Motion for Reconsideration but the Capas RTC denied the same in the Resolution of August
proper averment thereof in the complaint will bar the imposition of that extreme penalty.28 The information in this case 24, 2000.
did not allege the qualifying circumstance, that the rape was committed in full view of a niece (a relative within the third Hence, this petition.
degree of consanguinity). Because of this deficiency, appellant was not properly apprised of the extent of the punishment The Issue
which the charges against him entailed. Thus, it was an error to consider the foregoing circumstance in the imposition of The petition premises the legal issue in this wise:
the proper penalty on appellant. In a certain vehicular accident involving two parties, each one of them may think and believe that the accident was caused
Further, while the decision of the trial court held that dwelling and the use of a deadly weapon aggravated the crime by the fault of the other. x x x [T]he first party, believing himself to be the aggrieved party, opted to file a criminal case for
committed, we find that these were not averred in the information. The Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, effective reckless imprudence against the second party. On the other hand, the second party, together with his operator, believing
December 1, 2000, provides that every complaint or information must state not only the qualifying but also the themselves to be the real aggrieved parties, opted in turn to file a civil case for quasi-delict against the first party who is
aggravating circumstances with specificity.29 This requirement of procedure has retroactive effect and is applicable to the very private complainant in the criminal case.[4]
actions pending and undetermined at the time of their passage insofar as it is favorable to the appellant. Procedural laws Thus, the issue raised is whether an accused in a pending criminal case for reckless imprudence can validly file,
are retroactive in that sense and to that extent.30 Here, it was error to appreciate dwelling and the use of a deadly weapon simultaneously and independently, a separate civil action for quasi-delict against the private complainant in the criminal
as aggravating circumstances in the commission of the offense. In sum, we find that no aggravating as well as qualifying case.
circumstances have been properly pleaded and proved by the prosecution in this case. The result is that the crime The Courts Ruling
committed by appellant is only simple rape, which under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code as amended by R.A. 7659, Casupanan and Capitulo assert that Civil Case No. 2089, which the MCTC dismissed on the ground of forum-shopping,
the law prevailing at the time of commission thereof, is punished only with reclusion perpetua. constitutes a counterclaim in the criminal case. Casupanan and Capitulo argue that if the accused in a criminal case has a
Moreover, on the civil aspect, modification is also in order. Private complainant is entitled not only to P50,000 as civil counterclaim against the private complainant, he may file the counterclaim in a separate civil action at the proper
indemnity, but following current jurisprudence, also to P50,000 as moral damages and P25,000 as exemplary damages. time. They contend that an action on quasi-delict is different from an action resulting from the crime of reckless
WHEREFORE, the decision of the trial court is MODIFIED. The appellant is declared GUILTY of the crime of simple rape imprudence, and an accused in a criminal case can be an aggrieved party in a civil case arising from the same incident.
beyond reasonable doubt, and he is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. Conformably with They maintain that under Articles 31 and 2176 of the Civil Code, the civil case can proceed independently of the criminal
prevailing jurisprudence, appellant is also ordered to pay the offended party P50,000 as civil indemnity, P50,000 as moral action. Finally, they point out that Casupanan was not the only one who filed the independent civil action based on quasi-
damages and P25,000 as exemplary damages. delict but also Capitulo, the owner-operator of the vehicle, who was not a party in the criminal case.
SO ORDERED.
27

In his Comment, Laroya claims that the petition is fatally defective as it does not state the real antecedents. Laroya further Thus, to file a separate and independent civil action for quasi-delict under the 1985 Rules, the offended party had to
alleges that Casupanan and Capitulo forfeited their right to question the order of dismissal when they failed to avail of the reserve in the criminal action the right to bring such action. Otherwise, such civil action was deemed impliedly instituted
proper remedy of appeal. Laroya argues that there is no question of law to be resolved as the order of dismissal is already in the criminal action. Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules provided as follows:
final and a petition for certiorari is not a substitute for a lapsed appeal. Section 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery of
In their Reply, Casupanan and Capitulo contend that the petition raises the legal question of whether there is forum- civil liability is impliedly instituted with the criminal action, unless the offended party waives the action, reserves his right
shopping since they filed only one action - the independent civil action for quasi-delict against Laroya. to institute it separately, or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action.
Nature of the Order of Dismissal Such civil action includes recovery of indemnity under the Revised Penal Code, and damages under Articles 32, 33, 34 and
The MCTC dismissed the civil action for quasi-delict on the ground of forum-shopping under Supreme Court Administrative 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines arising from the same act or omission of the accused.
Circular No. 04-94. The MCTC did not state in its order of dismissal[5] that the dismissal was with prejudice. Under the A waiver of any of the civil actions extinguishes the others. The institution of, or the reservation of the right to file, any of
Administrative Circular, the order of dismissal is without prejudice to refiling the complaint, unless the order of dismissal said civil actions separately waives the others.
expressly states it is with prejudice.[6] Absent a declaration that the dismissal is with prejudice, the same is deemed without The reservation of the right to institute the separate civil actions shall be made before the prosecution starts to present
prejudice. Thus, the MCTCs dismissal, being silent on the matter, is a dismissal without prejudice. its evidence and under circumstances affording the offended party a reasonable opportunity to make such reservation.
Section 1 of Rule 41[7] provides that an order dismissing an action without prejudice is not appealable. The remedy of the In no case may the offended party recover damages twice for the same act or omission of the accused.
aggrieved party is to file a special civil action under Rule 65. Section 1 of Rule 41 expressly states that where the judgment x x x. (Emphasis supplied)
or final order is not appealable, the aggrieved party may file an appropriate special civil action under Rule 65. Clearly, the Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules was amended on December 1, 2000 and now provides as follows:
Capas RTCs order dismissing the petition for certiorari, on the ground that the proper remedy is an ordinary appeal, is SECTION 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. (a) When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery
erroneous. of civil liability arising from the offense charged shall be deemed instituted with the criminal action unless the offended
Forum-Shopping party waives the civil action, reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal
The essence of forum-shopping is the filing of multiple suits involving the same parties for the same cause of action, either action.
simultaneously or successively, to secure a favorable judgment.[8]Forum-shopping is present when in the two or more The reservation of the right to institute separately the civil action shall be made before the prosecution starts presenting
cases pending, there is identity of parties, rights of action and reliefs sought.[9] However, there is no forum-shopping in its evidence and under circumstances affording the offended party a reasonable opportunity to make such reservation.
the instant case because the law and the rules expressly allow the filing of a separate civil action which can proceed xxx
independently of the criminal action. (b) x x x
Laroya filed the criminal case for reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property based on the Revised Penal Code Where the civil action has been filed separately and trial thereof has not yet commenced, it may be consolidated with the
while Casupanan and Capitulo filed the civil action for damages based on Article 2176 of the Civil Code. Although these criminal action upon application with the court trying the latter case. If the application is granted, the trial of both actions
two actions arose from the same act or omission, they have different causes of action. The criminal case is based on culpa shall proceed in accordance with section 2 of this rule governing consolidation of the civil and criminal actions. (Emphasis
criminal punishable under the Revised Penal Code while the civil case is based on culpa aquiliana actionable under Articles supplied)
2176 and 2177 of the Civil Code. These articles on culpa aquiliana read: Under Section 1 of the present Rule 111, what is deemed instituted with the criminal action is only the action to recover
Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the civil liability arising from the crime or ex-delicto. All the other civil actions under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil
damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a Code are no longer deemed instituted, and may be filed separately and prosecuted independently even without any
quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter. reservation in the criminal action. The failure to make a reservation in the criminal action is not a waiver of the right to file
Art. 2177. Responsibility for fault or negligence under the preceding article is entirely separate and distinct from the civil a separate and independent civil action based on these articles of the Civil Code. The prescriptive period on the civil actions
liability arising from negligence under the Penal Code. But the plaintiff cannot recover damages twice for the same act or based on these articles of the Civil Code continues to run even with the filing of the criminal action. Verily, the civil actions
omission of the defendant. based on these articles of the Civil Code are separate, distinct and independent of the civil action deemed instituted in the
Any aggrieved person can invoke these articles provided he proves, by preponderance of evidence, that he has suffered criminal action.[10]
damage because of the fault or negligence of another. Either the private complainant or the accused can file a separate Under the present Rule 111, the offended party is still given the option to file a separate civil action to recover civil liability
civil action under these articles. There is nothing in the law or rules that state only the private complainant in a criminal ex-delicto by reserving such right in the criminal action before the prosecution presents its evidence. Also, the offended
case may invoke these articles. party is deemed to make such reservation if he files a separate civil action before filing the criminal action. If the civil action
Moreover, paragraph 6, Section 1, Rule 111 of the 2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure (2000 Rules for brevity) expressly to recover civil liability ex-delicto is filed separately but its trial has not yet commenced, the civil action may be
requires the accused to litigate his counterclaim in a separate civil action, to wit: consolidated with the criminal action. The consolidation under this Rule does not apply to separate civil actions arising
SECTION 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. (a) x x x. from the same act or omission filed under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code.[11]
No counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint may be filed by the accused in the criminal case, but any cause of Suspension of the Separate Civil Action
action which could have been the subject thereof may be litigated in a separate civil action. (Emphasis supplied) Under Section 2, Rule 111 of the amended 1985 Rules, a separate civil action, if reserved in the criminal action, could not
Since the present Rules require the accused in a criminal action to file his counterclaim in a separate civil action, there can be filed until after final judgment was rendered in the criminal action.If the separate civil action was filed before the
be no forum-shopping if the accused files such separate civil action. commencement of the criminal action, the civil action, if still pending, was suspended upon the filing of the criminal action
Filing of a separate civil action until final judgment was rendered in the criminal action. This rule applied only to the separate civil action filed to recover
Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure (1985 Rules for brevity), as amended in 1988, allowed the liability ex-delicto. The rule did not apply to independent civil actions based on Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil
filing of a separate civil action independently of the criminal action provided the offended party reserved the right to file Code, which could proceed independently regardless of the filing of the criminal action.
such civil action. Unless the offended party reserved the civil action before the presentation of the evidence for the The amended provision of Section 2, Rule 111 of the 2000 Rules continues this procedure, to wit:
prosecution, all civil actions arising from the same act or omission were deemed impliedly instituted in the criminal SEC. 2. When separate civil action is suspended. After the criminal action has been commenced, the separate civil action
case. These civil actions referred to the recovery of civil liability ex-delicto, the recovery of damages for quasi-delict, and arising therefrom cannot be instituted until final judgment has been entered in the criminal action.
the recovery of damages for violation of Articles 32, 33 and 34 of the Civil Code on Human Relations. If the criminal action is filed after the said civil action has already been instituted, the latter shall be suspended in whatever
stage it may be found before judgment on the merits. The suspension shall last until final judgment is rendered in the
28

criminal action. Nevertheless, before judgment on the merits is rendered in the civil action, the same may, upon motion commencement or prosecution of the criminal action will not suspend the civil action for quasi-delict. The only limitation
of the offended party, be consolidated with the criminal action in the court trying the criminal action. In case of is that the offended party cannot recover damages twice for the same act or omission of the defendant. In most cases,
consolidation, the evidence already adduced in the civil action shall be deemed automatically reproduced in the criminal the offended party will have no reason to file a second civil action since he cannot recover damages twice for the same
action without prejudice to the right of the prosecution to cross-examine the witnesses presented by the offended party act or omission of the accused. In some instances, the accused may be insolvent, necessitating the filing of another case
in the criminal case and of the parties to present additional evidence. The consolidated criminal and civil actions shall be against his employer or guardians.
tried and decided jointly. Similarly, the accused can file a civil action for quasi-delict for the same act or omission he is accused of in the criminal
During the pendency of the criminal action, the running of the period of prescription of the civil action which cannot be case. This is expressly allowed in paragraph 6, Section 1 of the present Rule 111 which states that the counterclaim of the
instituted separately or whose proceeding has been suspended shall be tolled. accused may be litigated in a separate civil action. This is only fair for two reasons. First, the accused is prohibited from
x x x. (Emphasis supplied) setting up any counterclaim in the civil aspect that is deemed instituted in the criminal case. The accused is therefore
Thus, Section 2, Rule 111 of the present Rules did not change the rule that the separate civil action, filed to recover forced to litigate separately his counterclaim against the offended party. If the accused does not file a separate civil action
damages ex-delicto, is suspended upon the filing of the criminal action. Section 2 of the present Rule 111 also prohibits for quasi-delict, the prescriptive period may set in since the period continues to run until the civil action for quasi-delict is
the filing, after commencement of the criminal action, of a separate civil action to recover damages ex-delicto. filed.
When civil action may proceed independently Second, the accused, who is presumed innocent, has a right to invoke Article 2177 of the Civil Code, in the same way that
The crucial question now is whether Casupanan and Capitulo, who are not the offended parties in the criminal case, can the offended party can avail of this remedy which is independent of the criminal action. To disallow the accused from filing
file a separate civil action against the offended party in the criminal case. Section 3, Rule 111 of the 2000 Rules provides a separate civil action for quasi-delict, while refusing to recognize his counterclaim in the criminal case, is to deny him due
as follows: process of law, access to the courts, and equal protection of the law.
SEC 3. When civil action may proceed independently. - In the cases provided in Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Thus, the civil action based on quasi-delict filed separately by Casupanan and Capitulo is proper. The order of dismissal by
Code of the Philippines, the independent civil action may be brought by the offended party. It shall proceed independently the MCTC of Civil Case No. 2089 on the ground of forum-shopping is erroneous.
of the criminal action and shall require only a preponderance of evidence. In no case, however, may the offended party We make this ruling aware of the possibility that the decision of the trial court in the criminal case may vary with the
recover damages twice for the same act or omission charged in the criminal action. (Emphasis supplied) decision of the trial court in the independent civil action. This possibility has always been recognized ever since the Civil
Section 3 of the present Rule 111, like its counterpart in the amended 1985 Rules, expressly allows the offended party to Code introduced in 1950 the concept of an independent civil action under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Code. But
bring an independent civil action under Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code. As stated in Section 3 of the present the law itself, in Article 31 of the Code, expressly provides that the independent civil action may proceed independently
Rule 111, this civil action shall proceed independently of the criminal action and shall require only a preponderance of of the criminal proceedings and regardless of the result of the latter. In Azucena vs. Potenciano,[13] the Court declared:
evidence. In no case, however, may the offended party recover damages twice for the same act or omission charged in x x x. There can indeed be no other logical conclusion than this, for to subordinate the civil action contemplated in the
the criminal action. said articles to the result of the criminal prosecution whether it be conviction or acquittal would render meaningless the
There is no question that the offended party in the criminal action can file an independent civil action for quasi-delict independent character of the civil action and the clear injunction in Article 31 that this action 'may proceed independently
against the accused. Section 3 of the present Rule 111 expressly states that the offended party may bring such an action of the criminal proceedings and regardless of the result of the latter.
but the offended party may not recover damages twice for the same act or omission charged in the criminal action. Clearly, More than half a century has passed since the Civil Code introduced the concept of a civil action separate and independent
Section 3 of Rule 111 refers to the offended party in the criminal action, not to the accused. from the criminal action although arising from the same act or omission. The Court, however, has yet to encounter a case
Casupanan and Capitulo, however, invoke the ruling in Cabaero vs. Cantos[12] where the Court held that the accused of conflicting and irreconcilable decisions of trial courts, one hearing the criminal case and the other the civil action
therein could validly institute a separate civil action for quasi-delictagainst the private complainant in the criminal for quasi-delict. The fear of conflicting and irreconcilable decisions may be more apparent than real. In any event, there
case. In Cabaero, the accused in the criminal case filed his Answer with Counterclaim for malicious prosecution. At that are sufficient remedies under the Rules of Court to deal with such remote possibilities.
time the Court noted the absence of clear-cut rules governing the prosecution on impliedly instituted civil actions and One final point. The Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure took effect on December 1, 2000 while the MCTC issued the
the necessary consequences and implications thereof. Thus, the Court ruled that the trial court should confine itself to order of dismissal on December 28, 1999 or before the amendment of the rules. The Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure
the criminal aspect of the case and disregard any counterclaim for civil liability. The Court further ruled that the accused must be given retroactive effect considering the well-settled rule that -
may file a separate civil case against the offended party after the criminal case is terminated and/or in accordance with x x x statutes regulating the procedure of the court will be construed as applicable to actions pending and undetermined
the new Rules which may be promulgated. The Court explained that a cross-claim, counterclaim or third-party complaint at the time of their passage. Procedural laws are retroactive in that sense and to that extent.[14]
on the civil aspect will only unnecessarily complicate the proceedings and delay the resolution of the criminal case. WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is hereby GRANTED. The Resolutions dated December 28, 1999 and
Paragraph 6, Section 1 of the present Rule 111 was incorporated in the 2000 Rules precisely to address August 24, 2000 in Special Civil Action No. 17-C (99) are ANNULLED and Civil Case No. 2089 is REINSTATED.
the lacuna mentioned in Cabaero. Under this provision, the accused is barred from filing a counterclaim, cross-claim or SO ORDERED.
third-party complaint in the criminal case. However, the same provision states that any cause of action which could have G.R. No. L-64261 December 26, 1984
been the subject (of the counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint) may be litigated in a separate civil action. The JOSE BURGOS, SR., JOSE BURGOS, JR., BAYANI SORIANO and J. BURGOS MEDIA SERVICES, INC., petitioners,
present Rule 111 mandates the accused to file his counterclaim in a separate civil action which shall proceed vs.
independently of the criminal action, even as the civil action of the offended party is litigated in the criminal action. THE CHIEF OF STAFF, ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES, THE CHIEF, PHILIPPINE CONSTABULARY, THE CHIEF LEGAL
Conclusion OFFICER, PRESIDENTIAL SECURITY COMMAND, THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL, ET AL., respondents.
Under Section 1 of the present Rule 111, the independent civil action in Articles 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code is Lorenzo M. Taada, Wigberto E. Taada, Martiniano Vivo, Augusto Sanchez, Joker P. Arroyo, Jejomar Binay and Rene
not deemed instituted with the criminal action but may be filed separately by the offended party even without Saguisag for petitioners.
reservation. The commencement of the criminal action does not suspend the prosecution of the independent civil action The Solicitor General for respondents.
under these articles of the Civil Code. The suspension in Section 2 of the present Rule 111 refers only to the civil action
arising from the crime, if such civil action is reserved or filed before the commencement of the criminal action. ESCOLIN, J.:
Thus, the offended party can file two separate suits for the same act or omission. The first a criminal case where the civil Assailed in this petition for certiorari prohibition and mandamus with preliminary mandatory and prohibitory injunction is
action to recover civil liability ex-delicto is deemed instituted, and the other a civil case for quasi-delict - without violating the validity of two [2] search warrants issued on December 7, 1982 by respondent Judge Ernani Cruz-Pano, Executive
the rule on non-forum shopping. The two cases can proceed simultaneously and independently of each other. The Judge of the then Court of First Instance of Rizal [Quezon City], under which the premises known as No. 19, Road 3, Project
29

6, Quezon City, and 784 Units C & D, RMS Building, Quezon Avenue, Quezon City, business addresses of the "Metropolitan whatever he pleases with them, within legal bounds. The fact that he has used them as evidence does not and cannot in
Mail" and "We Forum" newspapers, respectively, were searched, and office and printing machines, equipment, any way affect the validity or invalidity of the search warrants assailed in this petition.
paraphernalia, motor vehicles and other articles used in the printing, publication and distribution of the said newspapers, Several and diverse reasons have been advanced by petitioners to nullify the search warrants in question.
as well as numerous papers, documents, books and other written literature alleged to be in the possession and control of 1. Petitioners fault respondent judge for his alleged failure to conduct an examination under oath or affirmation of the
petitioner Jose Burgos, Jr. publisher-editor of the "We Forum" newspaper, were seized. applicant and his witnesses, as mandated by the above-quoted constitutional provision as wen as Sec. 4, Rule 126 of the
Petitioners further pray that a writ of preliminary mandatory and prohibitory injunction be issued for the return of the Rules of Court .6 This objection, however, may properly be considered moot and academic, as petitioners themselves
seized articles, and that respondents, "particularly the Chief Legal Officer, Presidential Security Command, the Judge conceded during the hearing on August 9, 1983, that an examination had indeed been conducted by respondent judge of
Advocate General, AFP, the City Fiscal of Quezon City, their representatives, assistants, subalterns, subordinates, Col. Abadilla and his witnesses.
substitute or successors" be enjoined from using the articles thus seized as evidence against petitioner Jose Burgos, Jr. 2. Search Warrants No. 20-82[a] and No. 20- 82[b] were used to search two distinct places: No. 19, Road 3, Project 6,
and the other accused in Criminal Case No. Q- 022782 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, entitled People v. Jose Quezon City and 784 Units C & D, RMS Building, Quezon Avenue, Quezon City, respectively. Objection is interposed to the
Burgos, Jr. et al. 1 execution of Search Warrant No. 20-82[b] at the latter address on the ground that the two search warrants pinpointed
In our Resolution dated June 21, 1983, respondents were required to answer the petition. The plea for preliminary only one place where petitioner Jose Burgos, Jr. was allegedly keeping and concealing the articles listed therein, i.e., No.
mandatory and prohibitory injunction was set for hearing on June 28, 1983, later reset to July 7, 1983, on motion of the 19, Road 3, Project 6, Quezon City. This assertion is based on that portion of Search Warrant No. 20- 82[b] which states:
Solicitor General in behalf of respondents. Which have been used, and are being used as instruments and means of committing the crime of subversion penalized
At the hearing on July 7, 1983, the Solicitor General, while opposing petitioners' prayer for a writ of preliminary mandatory under P.D. 885 as amended and he is keeping and concealing the same at 19 Road 3, Project 6, Quezon City.
injunction, manifested that respondents "will not use the aforementioned articles as evidence in the aforementioned case The defect pointed out is obviously a typographical error. Precisely, two search warrants were applied for and issued
until final resolution of the legality of the seizure of the aforementioned articles. ..." 2 With this manifestation, the prayer because the purpose and intent were to search two distinct premises. It would be quite absurd and illogical for respondent
for preliminary prohibitory injunction was rendered moot and academic. judge to have issued two warrants intended for one and the same place. Besides, the addresses of the places sought to
Respondents would have this Court dismiss the petition on the ground that petitioners had come to this Court without be searched were specifically set forth in the application, and since it was Col. Abadilla himself who headed the team
having previously sought the quashal of the search warrants before respondent judge. Indeed, petitioners, before which executed the search warrants, the ambiguity that might have arisen by reason of the typographical error is more
impugning the validity of the warrants before this Court, should have filed a motion to quash said warrants in the court apparent than real. The fact is that the place for which Search Warrant No. 20- 82[b] was applied for was 728 Units C & D,
that issued them. 3 But this procedural flaw notwithstanding, we take cognizance of this petition in view of the seriousness RMS Building, Quezon Avenue, Quezon City, which address appeared in the opening paragraph of the said
and urgency of the constitutional issues raised not to mention the public interest generated by the search of the "We warrant. 7 Obviously this is the same place that respondent judge had in mind when he issued Warrant No. 20-82 [b].
Forum" offices, which was televised in Channel 7 and widely publicized in all metropolitan dailies. The existence of this In the determination of whether a search warrant describes the premises to be searched with sufficient particularity, it
special circumstance justifies this Court to exercise its inherent power to suspend its rules. In the words of the revered has been held "that the executing officer's prior knowledge as to the place intended in the warrant is relevant. This would
Mr. Justice Abad Santos in the case of C. Vda. de Ordoveza v. Raymundo, 4 "it is always in the power of the court [Supreme seem to be especially true where the executing officer is the affiant on whose affidavit the warrant had issued, and when
Court] to suspend its rules or to except a particular case from its operation, whenever the purposes of justice require it...". he knows that the judge who issued the warrant intended the building described in the affidavit, And it has also been said
Respondents likewise urge dismissal of the petition on ground of laches. Considerable stress is laid on the fact that while that the executing officer may look to the affidavit in the official court file to resolve an ambiguity in the warrant as to the
said search warrants were issued on December 7, 1982, the instant petition impugning the same was filed only on June place to be searched." 8
16, 1983 or after the lapse of a period of more than six [6] months. 3. Another ground relied upon to annul the search warrants is the fact that although the warrants were directed against
Laches is failure or negligence for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time to do that which, by exercising due Jose Burgos, Jr. alone, articles b belonging to his co-petitioners Jose Burgos, Sr., Bayani Soriano and the J. Burgos Media
diligence, could or should have been done earlier. It is negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, Services, Inc. were seized.
warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has abandoned it or declined to assert it. 5 Section 2, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court, enumerates the personal properties that may be seized under a search warrant,
Petitioners, in their Consolidated Reply, explained the reason for the delay in the filing of the petition thus: to wit:
Respondents should not find fault, as they now do [p. 1, Answer, p. 3, Manifestation] with the fact that the Petition was Sec. 2. Personal Property to be seized. A search warrant may be issued for the search and seizure of the following
filed on June 16, 1983, more than half a year after the petitioners' premises had been raided. personal property:
The climate of the times has given petitioners no other choice. If they had waited this long to bring their case to court, it [a] Property subject of the offense;
was because they tried at first to exhaust other remedies. The events of the past eleven fill years had taught them that [b] Property stolen or embezzled and other proceeds or fruits of the offense; and
everything in this country, from release of public funds to release of detained persons from custody, has become a matter [c] Property used or intended to be used as the means of committing an offense.
of executive benevolence or largesse The above rule does not require that the property to be seized should be owned by the person against whom the search
Hence, as soon as they could, petitioners, upon suggestion of persons close to the President, like Fiscal Flaminiano, sent a warrant is directed. It may or may not be owned by him. In fact, under subsection [b] of the above-quoted Section 2, one
letter to President Marcos, through counsel Antonio Coronet asking the return at least of the printing equipment and of the properties that may be seized is stolen property. Necessarily, stolen property must be owned by one other than the
vehicles. And after such a letter had been sent, through Col. Balbino V. Diego, Chief Intelligence and Legal Officer of the person in whose possession it may be at the time of the search and seizure. Ownership, therefore, is of no consequence,
Presidential Security Command, they were further encouraged to hope that the latter would yield the desired results. and it is sufficient that the person against whom the warrant is directed has control or possession of the property sought
After waiting in vain for five [5] months, petitioners finally decided to come to Court. [pp. 123-124, Rollo] to be seized, as petitioner Jose Burgos, Jr. was alleged to have in relation to the articles and property seized under the
Although the reason given by petitioners may not be flattering to our judicial system, We find no ground to punish or warrants.
chastise them for an error in judgment. On the contrary, the extrajudicial efforts exerted by petitioners quite evidently 4. Neither is there merit in petitioners' assertion that real properties were seized under the disputed warrants. Under
negate the presumption that they had abandoned their right to the possession of the seized property, thereby refuting Article 415[5] of the Civil Code of the Philippines, "machinery, receptables, instruments or implements intended by the
the charge of laches against them. owner of the tenement for an industry or works which may be carried on in a building or on a piece of land and which
Respondents also submit the theory that since petitioner Jose Burgos, Jr. had used and marked as evidence some of the tend directly to meet the needs of the said industry or works" are considered immovable property. In Davao Sawmill Co.
seized documents in Criminal Case No. Q- 022872, he is now estopped from challenging the validity of the search warrants. v. Castillo9 where this legal provision was invoked, this Court ruled that machinery which is movable by nature becomes
We do not follow the logic of respondents. These documents lawfully belong to petitioner Jose Burgos, Jr. and he can do immobilized when placed by the owner of the tenement, property or plant, but not so when placed by a tenant,
usufructuary, or any other person having only a temporary right, unless such person acted as the agent of the owner.
30

In the case at bar, petitioners do not claim to be the owners of the land and/or building on which the machineries were 4] TOYOTA-TAMARAW, colored white with Plate No. PBP 665; and,
placed. This being the case, the machineries in question, while in fact bolted to the ground remain movable property 5] TOYOTA Hi-Lux, pick-up truck with Plate No. NGV 427 with marking "Bagong Silang."
susceptible to seizure under a search warrant. In Stanford v. State of Texas 16 the search warrant which authorized the search for "books, records, pamphlets, cards,
5. The questioned search warrants were issued by respondent judge upon application of Col. Rolando N. Abadilla receipts, lists, memoranda, pictures, recordings and other written instruments concerning the Communist Party in Texas,"
Intelligence Officer of the P.C. Metrocom.10 The application was accompanied by the Joint Affidavit of Alejandro M. was declared void by the U.S. Supreme Court for being too general. In like manner, directions to "seize any evidence in
Gutierrez and Pedro U. Tango, 11 members of the Metrocom Intelligence and Security Group under Col. Abadilla which connectionwith the violation of SDC 13-3703 or otherwise" have been held too general, and that portion of a search
conducted a surveillance of the premises prior to the filing of the application for the search warrants on December 7, warrant which authorized the seizure of any "paraphernalia which could be used to violate Sec. 54-197 of the Connecticut
1982. General Statutes [the statute dealing with the crime of conspiracy]" was held to be a general warrant, and therefore
It is contended by petitioners, however, that the abovementioned documents could not have provided sufficient basis for invalid. 17 The description of the articles sought to be seized under the search warrants in question cannot be
the finding of a probable cause upon which a warrant may validly issue in accordance with Section 3, Article IV of the 1973 characterized differently.
Constitution which provides: In the Stanford case, the U.S. Supreme Courts calls to mind a notable chapter in English history: the era of disaccord
SEC. 3. ... and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined by the between the Tudor Government and the English Press, when "Officers of the Crown were given roving commissions to
judge, or such other responsible officer as may be authorized by law, after examination under oath or affirmation of the search where they pleased in order to suppress and destroy the literature of dissent both Catholic and Puritan Reference
complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or herein to such historical episode would not be relevant for it is not the policy of our government to suppress any
things to be seized. newspaper or publication that speaks with "the voice of non-conformity" but poses no clear and imminent danger to state
We find petitioners' thesis impressed with merit. Probable cause for a search is defined as such facts and circumstances security.
which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed and that the As heretofore stated, the premises searched were the business and printing offices of the "Metropolitan Mail" and the
objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place sought to be searched. And when the search warrant applied "We Forum newspapers. As a consequence of the search and seizure, these premises were padlocked and sealed, with
for is directed against a newspaper publisher or editor in connection with the publication of subversive materials, as in the the further result that the printing and publication of said newspapers were discontinued.
case at bar, the application and/or its supporting affidavits must contain a specification, stating with particularity the Such closure is in the nature of previous restraint or censorship abhorrent to the freedom of the press guaranteed under
alleged subversive material he has published or is intending to publish. Mere generalization will not suffice. Thus, the the fundamental law, 18 and constitutes a virtual denial of petitioners' freedom to express themselves in print. This state
broad statement in Col. Abadilla's application that petitioner "is in possession or has in his control printing equipment and of being is patently anathematic to a democratic framework where a free, alert and even militant press is essential for the
other paraphernalia, news publications and other documents which were used and are all continuously being used as a political enlightenment and growth of the citizenry.
means of committing the offense of subversion punishable under Presidential Decree 885, as amended ..." 12 is a mere Respondents would justify the continued sealing of the printing machines on the ground that they have been sequestered
conclusion of law and does not satisfy the requirements of probable cause. Bereft of such particulars as would justify a under Section 8 of Presidential Decree No. 885, as amended, which authorizes "the sequestration of the property of any
finding of the existence of probable cause, said allegation cannot serve as basis for the issuance of a search warrant and person, natural or artificial, engaged in subversive activities against the government and its duly constituted authorities ...
it was a grave error for respondent judge to have done so. in accordance with implementing rules and regulations as may be issued by the Secretary of National Defense." It is
Equally insufficient as basis for the determination of probable cause is the statement contained in the joint affidavit of doubtful however, if sequestration could validly be effected in view of the absence of any implementing rules and
Alejandro M. Gutierrez and Pedro U. Tango, "that the evidence gathered and collated by our unit clearly shows that the regulations promulgated by the Minister of National Defense.
premises above- mentioned and the articles and things above-described were used and are continuously being used for Besides, in the December 10, 1982 issue of the Daily Express, it was reported that no less than President Marcos himself
subversive activities in conspiracy with, and to promote the objective of, illegal organizations such as the Light-a-Fire denied the request of the military authorities to sequester the property seized from petitioners on December 7, 1982.
Movement, Movement for Free Philippines, and April 6 Movement." 13 Thus:
In mandating that "no warrant shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined by the judge, ... after examination The President denied a request flied by government prosecutors for sequestration of the WE FORUM newspaper and its
under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce; 14 the Constitution requires no less than printing presses, according to Information Minister Gregorio S. Cendana.
personal knowledge by the complainant or his witnesses of the facts upon which the issuance of a search warrant may be On the basis of court orders, government agents went to the We Forum offices in Quezon City and took a detailed
justified. In Alvarez v. Court of First Instance, 15 this Court ruled that "the oath required must refer to the truth of the facts inventory of the equipment and all materials in the premises.
within the personal knowledge of the petitioner or his witnesses, because the purpose thereof is to convince the Cendaa said that because of the denial the newspaper and its equipment remain at the disposal of the owners, subject
committing magistrate, not the individual making the affidavit and seeking the issuance of the warrant, of the existence to the discretion of the court. 19
of probable cause." As couched, the quoted averment in said joint affidavit filed before respondent judge hardly meets That the property seized on December 7, 1982 had not been sequestered is further confirmed by the reply of then Foreign
the test of sufficiency established by this Court in Alvarez case. Minister Carlos P. Romulo to the letter dated February 10, 1983 of U.S. Congressman Tony P. Hall addressed to President
Another factor which makes the search warrants under consideration constitutionally objectionable is that they are in the Marcos, expressing alarm over the "WE FORUM " case. 20 In this reply dated February 11, 1983, Minister Romulo stated:
nature of general warrants. The search warrants describe the articles sought to be seized in this wise: 2. Contrary to reports, President Marcos turned down the recommendation of our authorities to close the paper's printing
1] All printing equipment, paraphernalia, paper, ink, photo (equipment, typewriters, cabinets, tables, facilities and confiscate the equipment and materials it uses. 21
communications/recording equipment, tape recorders, dictaphone and the like used and/or connected in the printing of IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, Search Warrants Nos. 20-82[a] and 20-82[b] issued by respondent judge on December 7,
the "WE FORUM" newspaper and any and all documents communication, letters and facsimile of prints related to the "WE 1982 are hereby declared null and void and are accordingly set aside. The prayer for a writ of mandatory injunction for
FORUM" newspaper. the return of the seized articles is hereby granted and all articles seized thereunder are hereby ordered released to
2] Subversive documents, pamphlets, leaflets, books, and other publication to promote the objectives and piurposes of petitioners. No costs.
the subversive organization known as Movement for Free Philippines, Light-a-Fire Movement and April 6 Movement; and, SO ORDERED.
3] Motor vehicles used in the distribution/circulation of the "WE FORUM" and other subversive materials and propaganda, Teehankee, J., concur.
more particularly, G.R. No. L-65192 April 27, 1988
1] Toyota-Corolla, colored yellow with Plate No. NKA 892; RODOLFO DELA CRUZ, petitioner,
2] DATSUN pick-up colored white with Plate No. NKV 969 vs.
3] A delivery truck with Plate No. NBS 524;
31

Hon. FELIX L. MOYA, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of Branch II of the Court of First Instance of Davao, and PEOPLE OF In the instant case, even as no certificate issued by the Secretary of National Defense was presented in court, the record
THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. contains a copy of Mission Order No. 7, signed by a certain Lieutenant Huerta, directing Dela Cruz, among others, to
Rolando C. Rama for petitioner. proceed to Barangay Pangi, Maco, Sto. Tomas, Davao to verify and apprehend persons reportedly engaged in illegal
The Solicitor General for respondents. cockfighting. The evidence of the prosecution presented in court likewise shows that Cabilto was shot while petitioner
was executing the mission order. These undisputed facts compel this Court to declare that respondent court was without
CORTES, J.: jurisdiction to try the case against petitioner Dela Cruz.
Involving as it does a purely legal question, the present petition for certiorari and mandamus was certified to this Court The Solicitor General points out that at the time the information was filed, Presidential Decrees Nos. 1822 and 1822-A
by the then Intermediate Appellate Court in its resolution dated August 30, 1983. which vest in the courts-martial jurisdiction over offenses committed by members of the AFP in the performance of their
On February 23, 1979, Rodolfo Dela Cruz, a member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines assigned to the Intelligence duties were not yet in effect, the same having been promulgated only in 1981.
and Operations Section of the 432nd PC Company, together with other PC men, received a mission order to proceed to Truly, PD 1822 and 1822-A are inapplicable to the case at bar. However, General Order No. 59 cited above applies.
Barangay Pangi, Maco, Sto. Tomas, Davao for the purpose of verifying and apprehending persons who were allegedly WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The in Criminal Case No. 4008 are declared null and void but without prejudice to
engaged in illegal cockfighting. In compliance with said mission order, Dela Cruz and company proceeded to Maco, Davao the filing of another action in the proper forum. Let a copy of this decision be furnished the Judge Advocate of the
del Norte and caught in flagrante the operators of said illegal cockfighting, but said operators resisted arrest. The soldiers Philippine Constabulary, Camp Crame, Quezon City, for appropriate action.
left the place but they brought with them to the PC Headquarters the evidence of the crime, such as gaffs and fighting Fernan, Gutierrez, Jr., Feliciano and Bidin, JJ., concur.
cocks. The operators of the illegal cockfights, including the deceased Eusebio Cabilto, followed the soldiers on their way
back to the PC Headquarters, catching up with them on the Tagum-Mati National Highway. Fighting ensued and in the STATE PROSECUTOR RINGCAR B. PINOTE, A.M. No. RTJ-05-1944
scuffle, Dela Cruz shot Cabilto. Petitioner, [Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 05-2189-RTJ]
On August 2, 1979, Dela Cruz was charged with homicide in the Court of First Instance of Davao, in an information filed by
the Provincial Fiscal. The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 40080. Present:
While the case was pending trial, Presidential Decree Nos. 1822 and 1822-A were promulgated by the President of the
Philippines on January 16, 1981, vesting in courts-martial jurisdiction over crimes committed by members of the Armed -versus- PANGANIBAN, Chairman,
Forces or of the Philippine Constabulary in performance of their duties. SANDOVAL- GUTIERREZ,
Claiming that the crime for which he was charged was committed in relation to the performance of his duties, Dela Cruz CORONA,
filed with the Court of First Instance of Davao a motion to transfer the case to the military authorities so he could be tried CARPIO MORALES, and
by court martial. The motion was denied. Hence, the present petition. JUDGE ROBERTO L. AYCO, GARCIA, JJ.
At issue is whether the civil courts have jurisdiction over the subject matter of Criminal Case No. 40080. Respondent.
One of the essential requisites of a valid court proceeding is that the court hearing the case must have jurisdiction over
the subject matter of the case. If the court is acting without jurisdiction, then the entire proceedings are null and void. Promulgated:
Jurisdiction over the subject matter is determined by the statute in force at the time of the commencement of the action.
[Silvestre v. Military Commission, L-48366, March 8, 1978, 82 SCRA 10; People v. Romualdo, 90 Phil. 739 (1952); Rilloraza
v. Arciaga, 128 Phil. 799 (1967), 21 SCRA 717.] And once jurisdiction is vested in the court, it is retained up to the end of December 13, 2005
the litigation. [Pamintuan v. Tiglao, 53 Phil. 1, (1929); Phil. Land-Air-Sea Labor Union (PLASLU), Inc. v. CIR, 93 Phil. 747
(1953); Tuvera v. De Guzman, 121 Phil. 706 (1965),13 SCRA 729; Rilloraza v. Arciaga, supra: Rizal Surety and Insurance Co. x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - x
v. Manila Railroad Co., et al., 123 Phil. 766 (1966),16 SCRA908).
In the instant case, the information was filed on August 2, 1979. On such date, by virtue of General Order No. 59, dated DECISION
June 24, 1977, published in 73 Official Gazette (Supplement) #28, pages 6373-1 to 6373-3. (July 11, 1977), military
tribunals created under General Order No. 8 exercised exclusive jurisdiction over "(a)ll offenses committed by military CARPIO MORALES, J.:
personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines while in the performance of their official duty or which arose out of any
act or omission done in the performance of their official duty; Provided, that for the purpose of determining whether an On August 13 and 20, 2004, Judge Roberto L. Ayco of Branch 26, Regional Trial Court (RTC) of South Cotabato allowed the
offense was committed while in the performance of official duty or whether it arose out of an act or omission done in the defense in Criminal Case No. 1771 TB, People v. Vice Mayor Salvador Ramos, et al., for violation of Section 3 of Presidential
performance of official duty, a certificate issued by the Secretary of National Defense to that effect shall be conclusive Decree (P.D.) No. 1866, to present evidence consisting of the testimony of two witnesses, even in the absence of State
unless modified or revoked by the President. . . " (Section 1.) As no amendatory law was ever published in the Official Prosecutor Ringcar B. Pinote who was prosecuting the case.
Gazette between the time G.R. No. 59 was published until the information in Criminal Case No. 40080 was filed on August
2,1979, then said General Order No. 59 remained in force on said date. State Prosecutor Pinote was on August 13 and 20, 2004 undergoing medical treatment at the Philippine Heart Center in
In the case at bar, it is not disputed that at the time of the commission of the alleged offense, petitioner Dela Cruz was a Quezon City, hence, his absence during the proceedings on the said dates.
member of the Philippine Constabulary, and that the shooting of the deceased Cabilto was committed while petitioner On the subsequent scheduled hearings of the criminal case on August 27, October 1, 15 and 29, 2004, State Prosecutor
was executing the Mission Order. Pinote refused to cross-examine the two defense witnesses, despite being ordered by Judge Ayco, he maintaining that the
But what is the significance of the proviso regarding the certificate to be issued by the Secretary of National Defense? proceedings conducted on August 13 and 20, 2004 in his absence were void.
The proviso merely states that the certificate issued by the Secretary of National Defense is conclusive for the purpose of
determining whether an offense was committed while in the performance of official duty, or arose out of an act or State Prosecutor Pinote subsequently filed a Manifestation on November 12, 2004 before the trial court, he restating why
omission done in the performance of official duty. It does not in any way preclude the courts from making any finding as he was not present on August 13 and 20, 2004, and reiterating his position that Judge Aycos act of allowing the defense
to whether an offense is duty-connected. Nor does it make the certificate a condition precedent for the exercise by either to present evidence in his absence was erroneous and highly irregular. He thus prayed that he should not be coerced to
civilian courts or military tribunals of their jurisdiction over offenses committed by members of the AFP. cross-examine those two defense witnesses and that their testimonies be stricken off the record.
32

trial of criminal cases is necessary to protect vital state interests, foremost of which is its interest to vindicate the rule of
By Order issued also on November 12, 2004, Judge Ayco, glossing over the Manifestation, considered the prosecution to law, the bedrock of peace of the people.[2]
have waived its right to cross-examine the two defense witnesses.
Respondents act of allowing the presentation of the defense witnesses in the absence of complainant public prosecutor
Hence, arose the present administrative complaint lodged by State Prosecutor Pinote (complainant) against Judge Ayco or a private prosecutor designated for the purpose is thus a clear transgression of the Rules which could not be rectified
(respondent), for Gross Ignorance of the Law, Grave Abuse of Authority and Serious Misconduct. by subsequently giving the prosecution a chance to cross-examine the witnesses.

By Comment dated March 18, 2005, respondent proffers that complainant filed the complaint to save his face and cover Respondents intention to uphold the right of the accused to a speedy disposition of the case, no matter how noble it may
up for his incompetence and lackadaisical handling of the prosecution of the criminal case as in fact complainant was, on be, cannot justify a breach of the Rules. If the accused is entitled to due process, so is the State.
the request of the Provincial Governor of South Cotabato, relieved as prosecutor in the case by the Secretary of Justice.
And respondent informs that even after complainant was already relieved as the prosecutor in the case, he filed a motion Respondents lament about complainants failure to inform the court of his inability to attend the August 13 and 20, 2004
for his inhibition without setting it for hearing. hearings or to file a motion for postponement thereof or to subsequently file a motion for reconsideration of his Orders
allowing the defense to present its two witnesses on said dates may be mitigating. It does not absolve respondent of his
On the above-said Manifestation filed by complainant before the trial court on November 12, 2004, respondent brands utter disregard of the Rules.
the same as misleading and highly questionable, complainants having undergone medical treatment at the Philippine
Heart Center on August 13 and 20, 2004 having been relayed to the trial court only on said date. WHEREFORE, respondent Judge Roberto L. Ayco is hereby ordered to pay a fine FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (P5,000.00) with
warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts in the future shall be dealt with more severely.
On his Order considering the prosecution to have waived presenting evidence, respondent justifies the same on Respecting the counter-complaint against complainant State Prosecutor Ringcar B. Pinote, respondent is advised that the
complainants failure to formally offer the evidence for the prosecution despite several extensions of time granted for the same should be lodged before the Secretary of Justice.
purpose.
SO ORDERED.
Finally, respondent proffers that no substantial prejudice was suffered by the prosecution for complainant was permitted ARTEMIO T. TORRES, JR., G.R. No. 164268
to cross examine the two defense witnesses but he refused to do so. Petitioner,
Present:
By way of counter-complaint, respondent charges complainant with Contempt of Court and Grave Misconduct and/or Davide, Jr., C.J. (Chairman),
Conduct Unbecoming of a Member of the Bar and as an Officer of the Court. - versus - Quisumbing,
Ynares-Santiago,
On evaluation of the case, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), citing Section 5, Rule 110 of the Revised Rule on Carpio, and
Criminal Procedure, finds respondent to have breached said rule and accordingly recommends that he be reprimanded Azcuna, JJ.
therefor, with warning that a repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely. SPS. DRS. EDGARDO AGUINALDO &
NELIA T. TORRES-AGUINALDO, Promulgated:
Rule 110, Section 5 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure reads: Respondents.
June 28, 2005
Sec. 5. Who must prosecute criminal actions. - All criminal actions commenced by a complaint or information shall x ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- x
be prosecuted under the direction and control of the prosecutor. In case of heavy work schedule or in the event of lack of
public prosecutors, the private prosecutor may be authorized in writing by the Chief of the Prosecution Office or the DECISION
Regional State Prosecution Office to prosecute the case subject to the approval of the Court. Once so authorized to
prosecute the criminal action, the private prosecutor shall continue to prosecute the case up to the end of the trial even
in the absence of a public prosecutor, unless the authority is revoked or otherwise withdrawn. YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:

x x x (Underscoring supplied)
This petition for review on certiorari[1] assails the decision[2] of the Court of Appeals dated March 22, 2004 in CA-G.R. SP
No. 77818, and its resolution[3] dated June 28, 2004 denying reconsideration thereof.
Thus, as a general rule, all criminal actions shall be prosecuted under the control and direction of the public prosecutor.
The facts are as follows:
If the schedule of the public prosecutor does not permit, however, or in case there are no public prosecutors, a private
prosecutor may be authorized in writing by the Chief of the Prosecution Office or the Regional State Prosecution Office to Respondent-spouses Edgardo and Nelia Aguinaldo filed before the Office of the City Prosecutor (OCP) of Manila, [4] a
prosecute the case, subject to the approval of the court. Once so authorized, the private prosecutor shall continue to complaint against petitioner Artemio T. Torres, Jr. (Torres) for falsification of public document. They alleged that titles to
prosecute the case until the termination of the trial even in the absence of a public prosecutor, unless the authority is their properties covered by Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. T-93596, T-87764, and T-87765, were transferred without
revoked or otherwise withdrawn. their knowledge and consent in the name of Torres through a forged Deed of Sale[5] dated July 21, 1979.
Torres denied the allegations of forgery and claimed that Aguinaldo sold the subject properties to him [6] as evidenced by
Violation of criminal laws is an affront to the People of the Philippines as a whole and not merely to the person directly the March 10, 1991 Deed of Absolute Sale.[7]
prejudiced, he being merely the complaining witness.[1] It is on this account that the presence of a public prosecutor in the
33

Finding probable cause, the OCP recommended the filing of an information for falsification of public document against
Torres,[8] which was filed before the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila (MTC), Branch 8, on October 3, 2001. VII.
WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENTS ENGAGED IN FORUM SHOPPING WARRANTING THE OUTRIGHT DISMISSAL OF THE
Torres moved for reconsideration[9] but was denied.[10] PETITIONER (sic) FOR CERTIORARI UNDER RULE 65 WHICH THEY FILED BEFORE THE COURT OF APPEALS.
On appeal,[11] the Secretary of Justice reversed the findings of the investigating prosecutor and ordered the withdrawal of
the information.[12] The motion for reconsideration filed by Aguinaldo was denied.[13] VIII.
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS SANCTIONED THE DISREGARD OF SECTION 3, RULE 46 OF THE 1997 RULES OF
A Motion to Withdraw Information[14] was filed which the MTC granted on June 11, 2003.[15] It should be noted that CIVIL PROCEDURE WHEN IT ENTERTAINED THE PETITION FOR CERTIORARI UNDER RULE 65 FILED BY RESPONDENTS.[20]
petitioner has not been arraigned.

Meanwhile, Aguinaldo filed before the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari [16] which was granted in the assailed The foregoing assignment of errors may be summarized into three issues:
decision dated March 22, 2004.
I. Whether the order of the MTC-Manila dated June 11, 2003 granting the motion to withdraw the information rendered
The dispositive portion of the assailed decision reads: moot the petition for certiorari filed by Aguinaldo for the purpose of reinstating the April 30, 2001 resolution of the OCP
of Manila; and in the alternative, whether the rule on provisional dismissal under Section 8, Rule 117 applies.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition is GRANTED. The resolutions of the Secretary of Justice dated
November 12, 2002 and April 30, 2003 in IS No. 01B-05485 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The April 30, 2001 Resolution II. Whether Aguinaldo committed forum shopping.
of the City Prosecutor of Manila finding probable cause against private respondent Artemio Torres, Jr. is REINSTATED. No
costs. III. Whether the Court of Appeals erred in finding that the Secretary of Justice gravely abused his discretion in reinstating
the April 30, 2001 order of the OCP of Manila finding probable cause against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.[17]
Anent the first issue, Torres contends that the order granting the withdrawal of the information rendered moot the
Torres motion for reconsideration was denied,[18] hence, the instant petition for review on certiorari[19] on the following petition for certiorari filed before the Court of Appeals. Citing Baares II v. Balising,[21] Torres insists that an order dismissing
grounds: a case without prejudice is final if no motion for reconsideration or appeal therefrom is timely filed.

I. The contention is untenable. A motion to withdraw information differs from a motion to dismiss. While both put an end
WHETHER OR NOT THE ORDER OF THE MTC-MANILA DATED 11 JUNE 2003 RENDERED MOOT AND ACADEMIC THE to an action filed in court, their legal effect varies. The order granting the withdrawal of the information attains finality
PETITION FOR CERTIORARI UNDER RULE 65 FILED BY RESPONDENTS BEFORE THE COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE PURPOSE after fifteen (15) days from receipt thereof, without prejudice to the re-filing of the information upon reinvestigation.
OF REINSTATING THE RESOLUTION OF THE OCP-MANILA DATED 30 APRIL 2001.
On the other hand, the order granting a motion to dismiss becomes final fifteen (15) days after receipt thereof, with
II. prejudice to the re-filing of the same case once such order achieves finality. In Baares II v. Balising, a motion to dismiss
WHETHER OR NOT THE ASSAILED DECISION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS REINSTATING THE RESOLUTION OF THE OCP- was filed thus putting into place the time-bar rule on provisional dismissal.
MANILA DATED 30 APRIL 2001 VIOLATED THE DOCTRINE THAT THE DETERMINATION OF A CRIMINAL CASE IS WITHIN THE
EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION OF THE COURT ONCE THE INFORMATION HAS BEEN FILED THEREIN. In the case at bar, a motion to withdraw information was filed and not a motion to dismiss. Hence, Baares II v.
Balising would not apply. Unlike a motion to dismiss, a motion to withdraw information is not time-barred and does not
III. fall within the ambit of Section 8, Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure which provides that the law on
WHETHER OR NOT THE EVIDENCE OF A RESPONDENT IN A CRIMINAL CASE SHOULD BE CONSIDERED DURING THE provisional dismissal becomes operative once the judge dismisses, with the express consent of the accused and with notice
PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION IN DETERMINING IF PROBABLE CAUSE EXISTS TO INDICT HIM FOR THE CRIME CHARGED. to the offended party: (a) a case involving a penalty of imprisonment not exceeding six (6) years or a fine of any amount,
or both, where such provisional dismissal shall become permanent one (1) year after issuance of the order without the
IV. case having been revived; or (b) a case involving a penalty of imprisonment of more than six (6) years, where such
WHETHER OR NOT THE OCP-MANILA HAS ABSOLUTE DISCRETION IN DETERMINING IF PROBABLE CAUSE EXISTS TO INDICT provisional dismissal shall become permanent two (2) years after issuance of the order without the case having been
THE PETITIONER FOR THE CRIME CHARGED. revived.

V. There is provisional dismissal[22] when a motion filed expressly for that purpose complies with the following requisites, viz.:
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS WENT BEYOND THE OFFICE OF A WRIT OF CERTIORARI WHEN IT SUBSTITUTED (1) It must be with the express consent of the accused; and (2) There must be notice to the offended party. Section 8, Rule
ITS OWN JUDGMENT FOR THAT OF THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE. 117 contemplates the filing of a motion to dismiss, and not a motion to withdraw information. Thus, the law on provisional
dismissal does not apply in the present case.

Even assuming that the Motion to Withdraw Information is the same as a Motion to Dismiss, we do not find that it
VI. complied with the above requisites. The Motion to Withdraw Information was filed by the Assistant City Prosecutor and
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS SANCTIONED THE DELIBERATE DISREGARD OF THE RULES OF PROCEDURE approved by the City Prosecutor without the conformity of the accused, herein petitioner Torres. Thus, it cannot be said
WHEN IT IGNORED THE FINAL ORDER OF THE MTC-MANILA DATED 11 JUNE 2003 AND ORDERED THE REINSTATEMENT that the motion was filed with his express consent as required under Section 8, Rule 117.
OF THE RESOLUTION OF THE OCP-MANILA DATED 30 APRIL 2001.
34

Respondent-spouses are not guilty of forum shopping. The cases they filed against petitioner are based on distinct causes The Court of Appeals erred in relying solely on the affidavit-complaint and the NBI report[32] and disregarding totally the
of action. Besides, a certificate of non-forum shopping is required only in civil complaints under Section 5, Rule 7 of the counter-affidavit and documentary evidence of petitioner.
Revised Rules of Civil Procedure. In People v. Ferrer,[23] we held that such certificate is not even necessary in criminal cases
and distinct causes of action. It is well to note that Section 3, Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure not only requires the submission of
the complaint and the affidavits of the complainant and his witnesses, as well as other supporting documents, but also
Be that as it may, what is principally assailed is the Court of Appeals decision reversing the resolution of the Justice directs the respondent to submit his counter-affidavit and that of his witnesses and other supporting documents relied
Secretary and reinstating the April 30, 2001 resolution of the OCP of Manila. upon for his defense. Section 4 thereof also mandates the investigating prosecutor to certify under oath in the information
that the accused was informed of the complaint and the evidence against him, and that he was given an opportunity to
The issue, therefore, is whether the Secretary of Justice gravely abused his discretion in reversing the investigating submit controverting evidence.
prosecutors findings on the existence of probable cause.
Thus, in determining the existence or absence of probable cause, the investigating officer shall examine the complaint and
Section 1, Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure defines preliminary investigation as an inquiry or proceeding documents in support thereof as well as the controverting evidence presented by the defense. While the validity and
to determine whether there is sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and merits of a partys defense or accusation and the admissibility of the testimonies and evidence are best ventilated in a full
that the respondent is probably guilty thereof, and should be held for trial. The officers authorized to conduct a preliminary blown trial, still, in a preliminary investigation, a proper consideration of the complaint and supporting evidence as well
investigation are the: (a) Provincial or city fiscals and their assistants; (b) Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial as the controverting evidence, is warranted to determine the persons who may be reasonably charged with the crime.
Courts Judges; (c) National and Regional state prosecutors; and (d) Such other officers as may be authorized by law.[24] The determination must be based on the totality of evidence presented by both parties.
Prescinding from these premises, we find that the Justice Secretary did not abuse his discretion in examining both the
Preliminary investigation is executive in character. It does not contemplate a judicial function. It is essentially an evidence presented by the complainant and the accused in determining the existence or the lack of probable cause.
inquisitorial proceeding, and often, the only means of ascertaining who may be reasonably charged with a crime. It is not
a trial on the merits and has no purpose except to determine whether a crime has been committed and whether there is There is basis in his finding that no probable cause exists. The complaint and the 1979 Deed of Sale do not connect
probable cause to believe that the accused is guilty thereof. It does not place the person against whom it is taken in petitioner with the crime of falsification. While the NBI report showed that the 1979 Deed of Sale was falsified, there is no
jeopardy. showing that petitioner was the author thereof. We cannot discern direct and personal participation by the petitioner in
the alleged forged deed. While a finding of probable cause rests on evidence showing that, more likely than not, a crime
Generally, preliminary investigation falls under the authority of the prosecutor. However, since there are not enough has been committed and was committed by the accused, the existence of such facts and circumstance must be strong
prosecutors, this function was also assigned to judges of Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts. Their enough to create a rational and logical nexus between the acts and omissions and the accused.
findings are reviewed by the provincial or city prosecutor whose findings, in turn, may be reviewed by the Secretary of
Justice in appropriate cases. After conducting preliminary investigation, the investigating judge must transmit within ten The allegation that petitioner effectuated the illicit transfer of the disputed properties in his name is without factual basis.
(10) days the resolution of the case together with the entire records to the provincial or city prosecutor.[25] He was not in possession of the alleged forged deed which does not even bore his signature. We find merit in his
In Crespo v. Mogul,[26] we underscored the cardinal principle that the public prosecutor controls and directs the contention that the subject properties were sold to him on March 10, 1991 considering that the new TCTs were issued in
prosecution of criminal offenses whose resolutions may be reviewed by the Secretary of Justice.[27] We held that where his name only on March 26, 1991. His address mentioned in the 1979 Deed of Sale was non-existent yet in 1979, thus
there is a clash of views between a judge who did not investigate and a fiscal who conducted a reinvestigation, those of giving the impression that it was executed on a later date. It would be absurd for petitioner to use the 1979 Deed of Sale
the prosecutor should normally prevail.[28] to facilitate the transfer on March 26, 1991 considering his possession of the March 10, 1991 Deed of Sale.

We ruled in Ledesma v. Court of Appeals[29] that when a motion to withdraw an information is filed on the ground of lack Respondents never denied the allegation that they assumed the obligation of transferring the Tanza properties in
of probable cause based on a resolution of the Secretary of Justice, the bounden duty of the trial court is to independently petitioners name. Considering that they wanted to cancel the sale and that they were in possession of the forged deed, it
assess the merits of the motion. The judge is not bound by the resolution of the Justice Secretary but must evaluate it is not far-fetched to assume that they facilitated the transfer of the properties using the allegedly 1979 forged deed. It
before proceeding with the trial. While the ruling of the Justice Secretary is persuasive, it is not binding on courts. appears that the conveyance of the questioned properties in favor of petitioner was made at the instance of the
respondents.
In sum, prosecutors control and direct the prosecution of criminal offenses, including the conduct of preliminary
investigation, subject to review by the Secretary of Justice. While his resolution is persuasive, it is not binding on the courts. Torres has no reason to falsify the 1979 Deed of Sale when he had in his possession the 1991 Deed of Sale which he claims
The trial court must at all times make its own independent assessment of the merits of each case. to be authentic. By presenting the alleged forged deed of sale, respondents cast a cloud of doubt on petitioners title.
While motive is not reasonable basis in determining probable cause, the absence thereof further obviates the probability
Thus, it is only where the decision of the Justice Secretary, or the trial court, as the case may be, is tainted with grave of petitioners guilt.
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction that the Court of Appeals may take cognizance of the case
in a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure whose decision may then be appealed to Besides, Nelia Aguinaldo admitted in her letter dated November 12, 1998 the sale of the properties although she wanted
this Court by way of a petition for review on certiorari. the sale cancelled. This admission is consistent with petitioners declaration that the sale took place.
The Court of Appeals held that the Justice Secretary committed grave abuse of discretion because he based his findings
on the lack of probable cause on the 1991 Deed of Sale when what was assailed was the 1979 Deed of Sale.[30] It ruled that In their complaint, respondents claimed that they discovered the alleged illegal conveyance in November 2000.[33] This
the defenses raised by Torres should not have been considered during the preliminary investigation but should be was, however, belied by their Adverse Claim dated December 18, 1999 which appeared as Entry No. 5856-115 and
threshed out only during trial.[31] Only the evidence presented by the complainant should be considered in determining annotated on the new titles issued in the name of Torres in February 2000.[34] In November 1998, Nelia was claiming her
probable cause or the lack thereof. share in the property that was sold by Torres to Porfirio and Yolanda Dones in 1993.[35]

We are not persuaded. In D.M. Consunji, Inc. v. Esguerra,[36] grave abuse of discretion is defined:
35

"That on or about the 10th date of January 1986 in the Municipality of Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines, and within the
By grave abuse of discretion is meant, such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, being the Vice President and Treasurer of Aurora/Uni-
jurisdiction. The abuse of discretion must be grave as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by Group, Inc., received from Olivier Philippines and Skiva International, Inc. as represented by Teresita M. Tujan the amount
reason of passion or personal hostility and must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or to of $41,300.00 for the sole purpose of meeting the cost of textile and labor in the manufacture of seven hundred dozen
a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined by or to act at all in contemplation of law. stretch twill jeans which he (accused) is duty bound to deliver to said complainant, and the accused once in possession of
the same, far from complying from his obligation, with unfaithfulness and abuse of confidence and to defraud said
The Secretary of Justice did not whimsically and capriciously exercise his discretion. His findings was grounded on sound complainant, did, then and there willfully and unlawfully and feloniously misappropriate, misapply and convert the same
statutory and factual basis. Chief Justice Andres Narvasa in his separate opinion in Roberts, Jr. v. Court of for his own personal use and benefit despite repeated demands to return the said amount, failed and refused and still
Appeals[37] declared that the determination of probable cause to warrant the prosecution in court should be consigned fails and refuses to do so, to the damage and prejudice of said complainant, in the aforementioned amount of $41,300.00
and entrusted to the Department of Justice, as reviewer of the findings of the public prosecutors. To do otherwise is to or its equivalent in Philippine currency.
usurp a duty that exclusively pertains to an executive official. Contrary to law."1
On arraignment, petitioner pleaded "not guilty" to the charge.
In Noblejas v. Salas,[38] we reaffirmed the power of supervision and control of the department secretary over his It appears that Skiva International, Inc. ("Skiva") is a New York-based corporation which imports clothes from the
subordinate. We stated that the power of control therein contemplated means to alter, modify, or nullify or set aside what Philippines through its buying agent, Olivier (Philippines) Inc. ("Olivier"). Aurora Manufacturing & Development
a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former for that of Corporation ("Aurora") and Uni-Group Inc. ("Uni-Group") are domestic corporations which supply finished clothes to Skiva.
the latter. For, while it is the duty of the fiscal to prosecute persons who, according to evidence received from the Mr. Werner Lettmayr is the President of both Aurora and Uni-Group while the petitioner, Jorge Salazar, is the Vice-
complainant, are shown to be guilty of a crime, the Secretary of Justice is likewise bound by his oath of office to protect President and Treasurer of Uni-Group and a consultant of Aurora.
innocent persons from groundless, false or serious prosecution. He would be committing a serious dereliction of duty if Skiva, through its buying agent, Olivier, has been purchasing finished clothes from Aurora and Uni-Group. When an order
he orders or sanctions the filing of an information based upon a complaint where he is not convinced that the evidence is procured for the delivery of clothes, Olivier, issues to the local supplier, Aurora/Uni-Group, a "Purchase Contract" and
warrants the filing of the action in court. Olivier issues to Skiva a "Sales Contract". In these transactions, payment is usually made by way of a letter of credit wherein
the supplier is paid only upon the presentation of the proper shipping documents to the designated bank.2
We also find that the trial court independently assessed the merits of the motion to withdraw information. Before it was In December 1985, Skiva informed Olivier that it needs ladies jeans to be delivered sometime in January 1986. Olivier, in
granted, respondents were allowed to submit their opposition[39] and the petitioner to comment[40] thereon, which were turn, through its Officer-in-Charge, Ms. Teresita Tujan, contacted Aurora and Uni-Group to supply the jeans. 3 Thus, a
both considered. The trial judge also considered the basis of the Justice Secretarys resolution before finding that no Purchase Contract dated December 18, 1985 was issued by Olivier to Uni-Group wherein Uni-Group was to supply 700
probable cause exists, thus: dozens of three (3) different designs of "Ladies Basic 5 Pockets Stretch Twill Jeans" payable by means of a letter of credit
at sight.4 The Purchase Contract was confirmed by Mr. Lettmayr on December 30, 1985 .5 A Sales Contract was also issued
The two DOJ Resolutions absolving the accused from incipient criminal liability were premised on the ground that the by Olivier to Skiva containing the same terms and conditions as the Purchase Contract and was confirmed by Mr. Jack
herein accused had no participation in the preparation of the alleged falsified Deed of Sale dated July 29, 1979, which Chehebar of Skiva.6
deed, in effect, transferred ownership of private complainants three parcels of land located in Tanza, Cavite to the On January 7, 1986, the parties agreed that Skiva will advance to Aurora/Uni-Group the amount of US$41,300.00 (then
accused. This finding was based on the argument that it would be highly irregular for the accused to effect the transfer of equivalent to P850,370.00 at the exchange rate of P20.59 to US$1.00) as Aurora/Uni-Group did not have sufficient funds
the property through a falsified deed when accused had in his possession a valid and genuine Deed of Sale dated March to secure raw materials to manufacture the jeans.7 It was also agreed that the amount advanced by Skiva represents
10, 1991 executed by the spouses-complainants transferring ownership of the aforesaid property to him. advance payment of its order of 700 dozens of ladies jeans. 8 Skiva then issued a check in the said amount payable to Uni-
Group. 9 However, due to the length of time needed for the check to be cleared, the parties made arrangements to remit
The court is inclined to grant the motion of the public prosecutor. the funds instead by way of telegraphic transfer. 10 Thus, the check issued by Skiva was returned by Mr. Lettmayr11 and as
agreed, the funds were remitted by Skiva from its bank in New York, the Israel Discount Bank, to the joint account of Mr.
The issues which the court has to resolve in the instant case had been amply discussed in the aforesaid resolutions of the and Mrs. Jorge Salazar and Mr. and Mrs. Werner Lettmayr at Citibank N.A.12
DOJ and it is convinced that, indeed, no probable cause exists against the accused.[41] On January 16, 1986, petitioner, who had possession and control of the passbook of the said joint account, withdrew the
amount of US$21,675.2113 and on January 22, 1986, petitioner withdrew the amount of US$20,000.00.14 The prosecution
also presented evidence that subsequent to said withdrawals, the amounts of US$71.70 and US$63.99 were deducted
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated March 22, 2004 is REVERSED and SET from the joint account as telegraphic transfer fee and commission for the remittance of the funds to another account.15
ASIDE. The resolution of the Secretary of Justice dated November 12, 2002 is REINSTATED. No costs. In the meantime, Ms. Tujan contacted Aurora/Uni-Group to follow up on the production of the jeans. She learned that
only 3,000 meters out of the 10,000 meters of Litton fabrics required for the order were purchased from Litton Mills by
SO ORDERED. the petitioner.16 3,000 meters of Litton fabrics are enough to produce only 200 dozens of ladies jeans - an amount
insufficient to satisfy the order of Skiva of 700 dozens of ladies twill jeans.17 Upon inquiry with Mr. Lettmayr, the latter
G.R. No. 149472 October 15, 2002 advised Ms. Tujan that the query be directed to petitioner as petitioner is in charge of securing the materials. 18 However,
JORGE SALAZAR, petitioner, Ms. Tujan could not locate the petitioner.19
vs. Consequently, in a letter dated March 13, 1986, demand was made upon Aurora/Uni-Group through its President, Mr.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent. Lettmayr, to return the money advanced in the amount of US$41,300.00.20
DECISION For failure of Aurora/Uni-Group to deliver the ladies jeans or to account for the US$41,300.00 despite demand, Skiva,
PUNO, J.: through its local agent represented by Ms. Tujan, filed a criminal complaint for estafa against Mr. Lettmayr and petitioner.
In an information dated January 21, 1987, petitioner Jorge Salazar was charged with estafa under Article 315 paragraph After preliminary investigation, the Public Prosecutor dismissed the complaint against Mr. Lettmayr and an information
1(b) of the Revised Penal Code. The information reads: was filed against petitioner.21
36

After trial, the lower court convicted herein petitioner of estafa under Article 315 paragraph 1 (b) of the Revised Penal This means that Atty. Singson was no longer connected with PHIVIDEC when he authenticated said document based on
Code, sentencing him to suffer the indeterminate penalty of imprisonment of eight (8) years and one (1) day of prision his copy which implies that the document was not obtained from the records of PHIVIDEC."37
mayor as the minimum to fourteen (14) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day of reclusion temporal as the maximum Further, even assuming that the letter may be given credence, we are unable to see any indication that the amount of
and to pay Uni-Group and Aurora the amount of P595,259.00. 22 On March 13, 1997, the lower court denied petitioners P850,780.00 or at least a portion thereof (assuming that the said amount represents the advance payment made by Skiva)
Motion for Reconsideration. 23 On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the decision of the trial court and denied has been received by Aurora and/or Uni-Group from petitioner. At most, what said letter indicates is that Aurora
petitioners Motion for Reconsideration.24 acknowledges liability to Uni-Group in the said amount or that said amount has been received by Uni-Group from Skiva as
Aggrieved by the aforementioned rulings, petitioner files the instant petition for review. advance payment which Uni-Group may have, in turn, assigned to Aurora. The glaring fact remains that nowhere can it be
The petition is bereft of merit. seen from the said letter that there was actual receipt by Aurora from petitioner of the amount indicated therein, or at
The following are the elements of estafa under Article 315 paragraph 1 (b) of the Revised Penal Code: a) that money, least a portion thereof, after deduction of the cost of the materials purchased to manufacture the jeans ordered.
goods or other personal property is received by the offender in trust, or on commission, or for administration, or under Moreover, the prosecution was able to establish that upon withdrawal of the said amounts, petitioner caused the
any other obligation involving the duty to make delivery of, or to return the same; b) that there be misappropriation or telegraphic transfer of the amount to another account prior to petitioners receipt of the amount in pesos.38 In fact, upon
conversion of such money or property by the offender; or denial on his part of such receipt; c) that such misappropriation being confronted by the prosecution with Exhibits "R" and "T" which are account debit forms showing that certain amounts
or conversion or denial is to the prejudice of another; and d) there is demand made by the offended party to the offender.25 were deducted by Citibank N.A. from the joint account as telegraphic transfer fee for the amounts withdrawn by
We agree with the trial courts finding that the contract between Skiva and Aurora/Uni-Group was one of sale.26Thus, petitioner, petitioner admitted that upon withdrawal, "the dollars was converted by the bank, remitted abroad, and given
upon remittance by Skiva of its advance payment in the amount of US$41,300.00, ownership thereof was transferred to to me in pesos."39 The act committed by petitioner of remitting the funds abroad constitutes an act of conversion or
Aurora/Uni-Group and Aurora/Uni-Group had no obligation to account or deliver the money to Skiva, its only obligation misappropriation. This Court has previously held that even a temporary disturbance of property rights constitutes
under the contract of sale being to deliver the 700 dozens of ladies jeans. However, petitioner, as an employee of misappropriation.40 The words "convert" and "misappropriate" as used in Article 315 paragraph 1 (b) of the Revised Penal
Aurora/Uni-Group who was aware of the specific purpose of the remittance, upon receipt of the amount, had the Code, connote an act of using or disposing of anothers property as if it were ones own, or of devoting it to a purpose or
obligation to account for the proceeds thereof to Aurora/Uni-Group. use different from that agreed upon. To "misappropriate" a thing of value for ones own use includes, not only conversion
The records establish that: 1) the amount of US$41,300.00 was remitted by telegraphic transfer to the joint account of to ones personal advantage but also every attempt to dispose of the property of another without right.41 Thus, when
the petitioner and his wife and Mr. and Mrs. Werner Lettmayr;27 2) the said amount was remitted as advance payment by petitioner caused the remittance of the amount withdrawn to another account, such act constituted conversion or
Skiva for the jeans it ordered;28 and 3) the amount of US$21,675.21 was withdrawn by petitioner on January 16, 1986 and misappropriation or unauthorized disposition of the property, contrary to the purpose for which the property was
the amount of US$20,000.00 was withdrawn by petitioner on January 22, 1986.29 In fact, petitioner himself admits having devoted.
withdrawn from the joint account on two occasions after the remittance was made.30 Petitioner further admits having Petitioner also claims that the third element of estafa is not present as the party prejudiced, in accordance with the
made such withdrawal for the purpose of purchasing materials to be used for the jeans ordered by Skiva and a portion findings of the trial court and the Court of Appeals, is Skiva, when petitioner had no obligation to account to Skiva the
thereof to be given to Aurora.31 Thus, upon withdrawal by petitioner of the amounts advanced by Skiva, petitioner received proceeds of the amount withdrawn. Petitioner argues that consistent with the ruling of the lower court that Aurora is the
the same in trust with an obligation to return the funds or account for the proceeds thereof. owner of the sum remitted as advance payment, petitioner had the obligation to account for the proceeds thereof to
With respect to the element of conversion or misappropriation of the amount received, petitioner claims that a portion Aurora and not to Skiva. 42 Thus, petitioner maintains that a conviction for estafa will not hold as no damage to Aurora was
of the amount was used to purchase 3,000 meters of Litton fabrics and the balance was returned to Aurora.32 However, alleged in the information nor did the prosecution present any proof of damage to Aurora.
upon cross-examination, petitioner was unable to recall the amount paid for the purchase of the fabrics or the amount We are not persuaded.
given to Aurora nor was petitioner able to identify whether payment for the purchase of fabric or the return of funds to As held in the case of First Producers Holdings Corporation v. Co,43 in estafa, the person prejudiced or the immediate
Aurora was made in cash or in check.33 victim of the fraud need not be the owner of the goods misappropriated. Thus, Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code
In fact, except for his bare testimony, petitioner failed to present evidence to support his defense that payment for the provides that "any person who shall defraud another by any means mentioned [in Article 315]" may be held liable for
purchase of fabrics had been made or that the balance of the amount received by petitioner was given to Aurora. The only estafa. The use by the law of the word "another" instead of the word "owner" means that as an element of the offense,
reason why the Court is inclined to believe that 3,000 meters of Litton fabrics were purchased for the manufacture of the loss should have fallen upon someone other than the perpetrator of the crime. 44 Thus, the finding of the trial court that
jeans is because the witness for the prosecution, Ms. Tujan, independently verified the purchase of the said materials Skiva, the party prejudiced, is not the owner of the sum misappropriated will not nullify the conviction of the petitioner.
from Litton Mills.34 Petitioner claims that the element of demand is absent as no demand was made by Skiva on petitioner. Petitioner argues
To support petitioners claim that the remainder of the amount withdrawn was returned to Aurora, petitioner presents a that although demand was made by Skiva to Aurora/Uni-Group and/or Mr. Lettmayr, no demand was shown to have been
letter dated October 15, 1986 from the Philippine Veterans Investment Development Corporation (PHIVIDEC) addressed made on petitioner himself.
to Mr. Werner Lettmayr, President of Aurora, regarding the financial audit of Aurora, wherein the amount of P850,780.00 We hold that the element of demand was satisfied when demand was made upon Aurora/Uni-Group. To require Skiva to
is indicated as an amount "due to Uni-Group."35 Atty. Cesar Singson, witness for the defense, testified that the amount of make a demand on petitioner himself would be superfluous and would serve no other additional purpose. We note that
P850,780.00 indicated in the said letter represents the peso equivalent of the advance payment of US$41,300.00 made at the time when Ms. Tujan was following up on the delivery of the jeans, except for the advice of Mr. Lettmayr to direct
by Skiva to Uni-Group.36 her queries to petitioner who was in charge of procuring the materials for the jeans, Ms. Tujan could not have known that
We agree with the trial court that the probative value of the said letter is nil. The trial court correctly ruled: petitioner may be primarily responsible for the non-delivery of the jeans. As far as Skiva/Olivier was concerned, it was the
"The court doubts the probative value of the contents of [the letter] because the person who testified thereon, a certain obligation of Aurora/Uni-Group to deliver the jeans, which at the time of demand, was not complied with. Thus,
Atty. Cesar Singson, was not the one who prepared the document. He was only one [of] those who was furnished a copy Skiva/Olivier acted appropriately when it demanded from Aurora/Uni-Group the return of the amount advanced.
thereof. Moreover, when said piece of evidence was presented, there were inconsistencies in the testimony of the To require that demand should have been made by Skiva/Olivier upon petitioner himself to uphold the conviction of the
[petitioner] as to how he was able to procure said documents. In a hearing he testified that he personally procured said trial court is to sustain a blind application of the law. In the case of United States v. Ramirez,45 this Court held:
letter from the records of PHIVIDEC and the person who certified said copy signed the same in his presence. On cross "The consummation of the crime of estafa does not depend on the fact that a request for the return of the money is
examination, he testified that he did not personally obtain said letter and he was not there when the person who first made and refused in order that the author of the crime should comply with the obligation to return the sum
authenticated said letter signed it and that it was only given to him by his former counsel. This is further muddled when misapplied. The appropriation or conversion of money received to the prejudice of the owner thereof are the sole essential
Atty. Singson testified that he was the one who authenticated said document on December 7, 1987 from his copy upon facts which constitute the crime of estafa, and thereupon the author thereof incurs the penalty imposed by the Penal
the request of the accused. Atty. Singson has already severed his ties with PHIVIDEC on the latter part of the year 1986. Code."
37

Further, in Tubbs v. People and Court of Appeals46 this Court ruled that "the law does not require a demand as a condition man who resembled Tudtuds description denied that he was carrying any drugs.[18] PO1 Desierto asked him if he could see
precedent to the crime of embezzlement. It so happens only that failure to account, upon demand for funds and property the contents of the box.[19] Tudtud obliged, saying, it was alright.[20] Tudtud opened the box himself as his companion
held in trust, is circumstantial evidence of misappropriation." looked on.[21]
In Benito Sy y Ong v. People and Court of Appeals,47 we also held that in a prosecution for estafa, demand is not necessary The box yielded pieces of dried fish, beneath which were two bundles, one wrapped in a striped plastic bag[22] and another
when there is evidence of misappropriation. in newspapers.[23] PO1 Desierto asked Tudtud to unwrap the packages.[24] They contained what seemed to the police
Petitioner likewise maintains that Skiva has no authority to institute the present action as estafa was not committed officers as marijuana leaves.[25]
against Skiva but against Aurora/Uni-Group on the basis of the finding that the transaction between Skiva and Aurora/Uni- The police thus arrested Tudtud and his companion, informed them of their rights and brought them to the police
Group was one of sale. Thus, petitioner argues that pursuant to Section 3, Rule 110 of the Rules on Criminal station.[26] The two did not resist.[27]
Procedure,48 the complaint should not have been instituted by Skiva as it is not the "offended party" contemplated by the The confiscated items were turned over to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory for
Rules and petitioner had no obligation to account to Skiva the proceeds of the amount withdrawn from the joint account.49 examination.[28] Forensic tests conducted by Police Chief Inspector Noemi Austero, forensic chemist of the PNP Crime
The "complaint" referred to in Rule 110 contemplates one that is filed in court to commence a criminal action in those Laboratory, Region XI, on specimens taken from the confiscated items confirmed the police officers suspicion. The plastic
cases where a complaint of the offended party is required by law, instead of an information which is generally filed by a bag contained 3,200 grams of marijuana leaves while the newspapers contained another 890 grams.[29] Police Chief
fiscal.50 It is not necessary that the proper "offended party" file a complaint for purposes of preliminary investigation by Inspector Austero reduced her findings in her report, Physical Sciences Report No. D-220-99 dated 2 August 1999.[30]
the fiscal. The rule is that unless the offense subject of the complaint is one that cannot be prosecuted de oficio, any Noel Tudtud and his companion, Dindo Bulong, were subsequently charged[31] before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
competent person may file a complaint for preliminary investigation.51 Davao City with illegal possession of prohibited drugs.[32] Upon arraignment, both accused pleaded not guilty.[33] The
Thus, as a general rule, a criminal action is commenced by a complaint or information, both of which are filed in court. If defense, however, reserved their right to question the validity of their arrest and the seizure of the evidence against
a complaint is filed directly in court, the same must be filed by the offended party and in case of an information, the same them.[34]
must be filed by the fiscal. However, a "complaint" filed with the fiscal prior to a judicial action may be filed by any Trial ensued thereafter.
person.52 Thus, in the case at bar, the complaint was validly filed by Skiva despite the finding of the lower court that The prosecution presented five witnesses, namely, arresting officers PO1 Desierto and PO1 Floreta, their civilian informant
petitioner had no obligation to account to Skiva. Bobong Solier, forensic chemist Police Chief Inspector Noemi Austero, and SPO3 Nicolas Algabre, exhibit custodian of the
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED and the appealed judgment of the court a quo finding petitioner guilty beyond PNP Crime Laboratory. Said witnesses testified to the foregoing narration of facts.
reasonable doubt of the crime of Estafa under Article 315 paragraph 1 (b) of the Revised Penal Code is AFFIRMED. Costs The accused, denying the charges against them, cried frame-up.
against appellant. Noel Tudtud recalled that on August 1, 1999 he had gone to Kabacan, North Cotabato to sell pairs of Levis pants, which
SO ORDERED. was his sideline.[35] At about 5:00 in the afternoon, he returned to Davao City by bus.[36] Upon reaching Toril, Tudtud, along
Panganiban, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Corona, and Carpio-Morales, JJ., concur. with less than ten passengers, got down the bus.[37]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. NOEL TUDTUD y PAYPA and DINDO BOLONG y NARET, accused- Suddenly, a man who identified himself as a police officer approached him, pointing a .38 caliber revolver.[38] The man told
appellants. him not to run.[39] Tudtud raised his arms and asked, Sir, what is this about?[40] The man answered that he would like to
DECISION inspect the plastic bag Tudtud was carrying, and instructed Tudtud to open the bag, which revealed several pairs of Levis
TINGA, J.: pants.[41]
. It is desirable that criminals should be detected, and to that end that all available evidence should be used. It also is The man then directed Tudtud to open a carton box some two meters away.[42] According to Tudtud, the box was already
desirable that the government should not itself foster and pay for other crimes, when they are the means by which the there when he disembarked the bus.[43] Tudtud told the man the box was not his, but proceeded to open it out of fear
evidence is to be obtained. If it pays its officers for having got evidence by crime, I do not see why it may not as well pay after the man again pointed his revolver at him.[44] Tudtud discovered pieces of dried fish, underneath which was
them for getting it in the same way, and I can attach no importance to protestations of disapproval if it knowingly accepts something wrapped in cellophane.[45]
and pays and announces that it will pay for the fruits. We have to choose, and for my part I think it a less evil that some What is that? the man asked.[46] Tudtud replied that he did not know.[47] Without even unwrapping the cellophane, the
criminals should escape than that the government should play an ignoble part. man said it was marijuana and abruptly handcuffed Tudtud.[48]
So wrote Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in Olmstead v. U.S.[1] On this occasion, this Court is made to choose between Simultaneously, another man was pointing a firearm at Dindo Bolong at the other side of the street, some eight meters
letting suspected criminals escape or letting the government play an ignoble part. from Tudtud.[49]
Sometime during the months of July and August 1999, the Toril Police Station, Davao City received a report from a civilian Bolong recounted that he was on his way to a relative in Daliao after attending a cousins wedding in Hagonoy, Davao del
asset named Bobong Solier about a certain Noel Tudtud.[2] Solier related that his neighbors have been complaining about Sur when he was accosted.[50] After alighting the bus, Bolong crossed the street.[51] Someone then approached him and
Tudtud, who was allegedly responsible for the proliferation of marijuana in their area.[3] pointed a gun at him.[52] The man ordered him not to move and handcuffed him.[53] Bolong asked why he was being
Reacting to the report, PO1 Ronald Desierto, PO1 Ramil Floreta and their superior, SPO1 Villalonghan,[4] all members of arrested but the man just told him to go with them.[54]
the Intelligence Section of the Toril Police Station, conducted surveillance in Soliers neighborhood in Sapa, Toril, Davao The suspects were then taken to the police station where, they would later claim, they met each other for the first time.[55]
City.[5] For five days, they gathered information and learned that Tudtud was involved in illegal drugs.[6] According to his Assailing the credibility of informant Bobong Solier, the defense offered the testimonies of Felicia Julaton,[56] Branch 3
neighbors, Tudtud was engaged in selling marijuana.[7] Clerk of Court, Claudio Bohevia,[57] Branch 7 Clerk of Court, and Mercedita Abunda,[58] Branch 9 Utility Clerk, all of the
On August 1, 1999, Solier informed the police that Tudtud had headed to Cotabato and would be back later that day with Davao City Municipal Trial Circuit Court. They testified and presented court documents showing that one Bobo or Bobong
new stocks of marijuana.[8] Solier described Tudtud as big-bodied and short, and usually wore a hat.[9] At around 4:00 in Ramirez was charged in their respective branches with various crimes, specifically, light threats, less serious physical
the afternoon that same day, a team composed of PO1 Desierto, PO1 Floreta and SPO1 Villalonghan posted themselves injuries and robbery. The defense asserted that the Bobo or Bobong Ramirez accused in these cases is the same person
at the corner of Saipon and McArthur Highway to await Tudtuds arrival.[10] All wore civilian clothes.[11] as the informant Bobong Solier.[59]
About 8:00 later that evening, two men disembarked from a bus and helped each other carry a carton[12] marked King Swayed by the prosecutions evidence beyond reasonable doubt, the RTC rendered judgment convicting both accused as
Flakes.[13] Standing some five feet away from the men, PO1 Desierto and PO1 Floreta observed that one of the men fit charged and sentencing them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of P500,000.00.[60]
Tudtuds description.[14] The same man also toted a plastic bag.[15] On appeal, Noel Tudtud and Dindo Bolong assign, among other errors, the admission in evidence of the marijuana leaves,
PO1 Floreta and PO1 Desierto then approached the suspects and identified themselves as police officers.[16] PO1 Desierto which they claim were seized in violation of their right against unreasonable searches and seizures.
informed them that the police had received information that stocks of illegal drugs would be arriving that night.[17] The The right against unreasonable searches and seizures is secured by Section 2, Article III of the Constitution, which states:
38

SEC. 2. The right of the people to be secured in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches committed in his presence or within his view.[75] In Burgos, the authorities obtained information that the accused had
and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall forcibly recruited one Cesar Masamlok as member of the New Peoples Army, threatening the latter with a firearm. Upon
issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation finding the accused, the arresting team searched his house and discovered a gun as well as purportedly subversive
of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the places to be searched and the documents. This Court, in declaring then Section 6 (a), Rule 113 of the Rules of Court inapplicable, ruled that:
persons or things to be seized. There is no such personal knowledge in this case. Whatever knowledge was possessed by the arresting officers, it came in
The rule is that a search and seizure must be carried out through or with a judicial warrant; otherwise, such search and its entirety from the information furnished by Cesar Masamlok. The location of the firearm was given by the appellants
seizure becomes unreasonable within the meaning of the above-quoted constitutional provision, and any evidence wife.
secured thereby, will be inadmissible in evidence for any purpose in any proceeding.[61] Section 3 (2), Article III of the At the time of the appellants arrest, he was not in actual possession of any firearm or subversive document. Neither was
Constitution explicitly provides: he committing any act which could be described as subversive. He was, in fact, plowing his field at the time of the arrest.
(2) Any evidence obtained in violation of the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding. The right of a person to be secure against any unreasonable seizure of his body and any deprivation of his liberty is a most
The proscription in Section 2, Article III, however, covers only unreasonable searches and seizures. The following instances basic and fundamental one. The statute or rule which allows exceptions to the requirement of warrants of arrest is strictly
are not deemed unreasonable even in the absence of a warrant: construed. Any exception must clearly fall within the situations when securing a warrant would be absurd or is manifestly
1. Warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest. (Sec. 12, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court and prevailing jurisprudence); unnecessary as provided by the Rule. We cannot liberally construe the rule on arrests without warrant or extend its
2. Search of evidence in plain view. The elements are: (a) a prior valid intrusion based on the valid warrantless arrest in application beyond the cases specifically provided by law. To do so would infringe upon personal liberty and set back a
which the police are legally present in the pursuit of their official duties; (b) the evidence was inadvertently discovered by basic right so often violated and so deserving of full protection.[76]
the police who have the right to be where they are; (c) the evidence must be immediately apparent; (d) plain view justified Consequently, the items seized were held inadmissible, having been obtained in violation of the accuseds constitutional
mere seizure of evidence without further search; rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.
3. Search of a moving vehicle. Highly regulated by the government, the vehicles inherent mobility reduces expectation of In People v. Aminnudin,[77] this Court likewise held the warrantless arrest and subsequent search of appellant therein
privacy especially when its transit in public thoroughfares furnishes a highly reasonable suspicion amounting to probable illegal, given the following circumstances:
cause that the occupant committed a criminal activity; the accused-appellant was not, at the moment of his arrest, committing a crime nor was it shown that he was about to do
4. Consented warrantless search; so or that he had just done so. What he was doing was descending the gangplank of the M/V Wilcon 9 and there was no
5. Customs search; outward indication that he called for his arrest. To all appearances, he was like any of the other passengers innocently
6. Stop and Frisk; and disembarking from the vessel. It was only when the informer pointed to him as the carrier of the marijuana that he
7. Exigent and emergency circumstances.[62] suddenly became suspect and so subject to apprehension. It was the furtive finger that triggered his arrest. The
The RTC justified the warrantless search of appellants belongings under the first exception, as a search incident to a lawful identification by the informer was the probable cause as determined by the officers (and not a judge) that authorized
arrest. It cited as authorities this Courts rulings in People v. Claudio,[63] People v. Tangliben,[64] People v. them to pounce upon Aminnudin and immediately arrest him.[78]
Montilla,[65] and People v. Valdez.[66] The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), in arguing for the affirmance of the appealed Thus, notwithstanding tips from confidential informants and regardless of the fact that the search yielded contraband, the
decision, invokes the cases of People v. Maspil, Jr.,[67] People v. Malmstedt,[68] and People v. Bagista.[69] mere act of looking from side to side while holding ones abdomen,[79]or of standing on a corner with ones eyes moving
A search incidental to a lawful arrest is sanctioned by the Rules of Court. Prior to its revision in 2000, Section 12,[70] Rule very fast, looking at every person who came near,[80] does not justify a warrantless arrest under said Section 5 (a). Neither
126 of said Rules read as follows: does putting something in ones pocket,[81] handing over ones baggage,[82] riding a motorcycle,[83] nor does holding a bag
SEC. 12. Search incident to lawful arrest. A person lawfully arrested may be searched for dangerous weapons or anything on board a trisikad[84]sanction State intrusion. The same rule applies to crossing the street per se.[85]
which may be used as proof of the commission of an offense, without a search warrant. Personal knowledge was also required in the case of People v. Doria.[86] Recently, in People v. Binad Sy Chua,[87] this Court
Section 5 (a), Rule 113 of the Rules, in turn, allows warrantless arrests: declared invalid the arrest of the accused, who was walking towards a hotel clutching a sealed Zest-O juice box. For the
SEC. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person: exception in Section 5 (a), Rule 113 to apply, this Court ruled, two elements must concur: (1) the person to be arrested
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an must execute an overt act indicating he has just committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit a crime;
offense; and (2) such overt act is done in the presence or within the view of the arresting officer.Reliable information alone is
. insufficient.
It is significant to note that the search in question preceded the arrest. Recent jurisprudence holds that the arrest must In the following cases, the search was held to be incidental to a lawful arrest because of suspicious circumstances: People
precede the search; the process cannot be reversed.[71] Nevertheless, a search substantially contemporaneous with an v. Tangliben[88] (accused was acting suspiciously), People v. Malmstedt[89] (a bulge on the accuseds waist), and People v. de
arrest can precede the arrest if the police have probable cause to make the arrest at the outset of the search.[72] The Guzman[90] (likewise a bulge on the waist of the accused, who was wearing tight-fitting clothes).
question, therefore, is whether the police in this case had probable cause to arrest appellants. Probable cause has been There is, however, another set of jurisprudence that deems reliable information sufficient to justify a search incident to a
defined as: warrantless arrest under Section 5 (a), Rule 113, thus deviating from Burgos. To this class of cases belong People v. Maspil,
an actual belief or reasonable grounds of suspicion. The grounds of suspicion are reasonable when, in the absence of Jr.,[91] People v. Bagista,[92] People v. Balingan,[93] People v. Lising,[94] People v. Montilla,[95] People v. Valdez,[96] and People v.
actual belief of the arresting officers, the suspicion that the person to be arrested is probably guilty of committing the Gonzales.[97] In these cases, the arresting authorities were acting on information regarding an offense but there were no
offense, is based on actual facts, i.e., supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to create the probable overt acts or suspicious circumstances that would indicate that the accused has committed, is actually committing, or is
cause of guilt of the person to be arrested. A reasonable suspicion therefore must be founded on probable cause, coupled attempting to commit the same. Significantly, these cases, except the last two, come under some other exception to the
with good faith of the peace officers making the arrest.[73] rule against warrantless searches. Thus, Maspil, Jr. involved a checkpoint search, Balingan was a search of a moving
The long-standing rule in this jurisdiction, applied with a great degree of consistency, is that reliable information alone is vehicle, Bagista was both, and Lising and Montilla were consented searches.
not sufficient to justify a warrantless arrest under Section 5 (a), Rule 113. The rule requires, in addition, that the accused Nevertheless, the great majority of cases conforms to the rule in Burgos, which, in turn, more faithfully adheres to the
perform some overt act that would indicate that he has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an letter of Section 5(a), Rule 113. Note the phrase in his presence therein, connoting personal knowledge on the part of the
offense. arresting officer. The right of the accused to be secure against any unreasonable searches on and seizure of his own body
In the leading case of People v. Burgos,[74] this Court held that the officer arresting a person who has just committed, is and any deprivation of his liberty being a most basic and fundamental one, the statute or rule that allows exception to the
committing, or is about to commit an offense must have personal knowledge of that fact. The offense must also be
39

requirement of a warrant of arrest is strictly construed. Its application cannot be extended beyond the cases specifically showing that the person who affected the warantless arrest had, in his own right, knowledge of facts implicating the
provided by law.[98] person arrested to the perpetration of a criminal offense, the arrest is legally objectionable.[102] [Italics in the original.]
The cases invoked by the RTC and the OSG are, therefore, gravely misplaced. In Claudio,[99] the accused, who was seated Expressing his accord with Mr. Justice Punos ponencia, Justice Panganiban said that Doria rightfully brings the Court back
aboard a bus in front of the arresting officer, put her bag behind the latter, thus arousing the latters to well-settled doctrines on warrantless arrests and searches, which have seemingly been modified through
suspicion. In Tangliben and Malmstedt, the accused had also acted suspiciously. an obiter in People v. Ruben Montilla.[103]
As noted earlier, Maspil, Jr., Bagista and Montilla were justified by other exceptions to the rule against warrantless Montilla, therefore, has been seemingly discredited insofar as it sanctions searches incidental to lawful arrest under similar
searches. Montilla, moreover, was not without its critics. There, majority of the Court held: circumstances. At any rate, Montilla was a consented search. As will be demonstrated later, the same could not be said of
Appellant insists that the mere fact of seeing a person carrying a traveling bag and a carton box should not elicit the this case.
slightest suspicion of the commission of any crime since that is normal. But precisely, it is in the ordinary nature of things That leaves the prosecution with People v. Valdez, which, however, involved an on-the-spot information. The urgency of
that drugs being illegally transported are necessarily hidden in containers and concealed from view. Thus, the officers the circumstances, an element not present in this case, prevented the arresting officer therein from obtaining a warrant.
could reasonably assume, and not merely on a hollow suspicion since the informant was by their side and had so informed Appellants in this case were neither performing any overt act or acting in a suspicious manner that would hint that a crime
them, that the drugs were in appellants luggage. It would obviously have been irresponsible, if now downright absurd has been, was being, or was about to be, committed. If the arresting officers testimonies are to be believed, appellants
under the circumstances, to require the constable to adopt a wait and see attitude at the risk of eventually losing the were merely helping each other carry a carton box. Although appellant Tudtud did appear afraid and
quarry. perspiring,[104] pale[105] and trembling,[106]this was only after, not before, he was asked to open the said box.
Here, there were sufficient facts antecedent to the search and seizure that, at the point prior to the search were already In no sense can the knowledge of the herein arresting officers that appellant Tudtud was in possession of marijuana be
constitutive of probable cause, and which by themselves could properly create in the minds of the officers a well-grounded described as personal, having learned the same only from their informant Solier. Solier, for his part, testified that he
and reasonable belief that appellant was in the act of violating the law. The search yielded affirmance both of that probable obtained his information only from his neighbors and the friends of appellant Tudtud:
cause and the actuality that appellant was then actually committing a crime by illegally transporting prohibited drugs. With Q What was your basis in your report to the police that Tudtud is going to Cotabato and get stocks of marijuana?
these attendant facts, it is ineluctable that appellant was caught in flagrante delicto, hence his arrest and the search of his A Because of the protest of my neighbors who were saying who will be the person whou [sic] would point to him because
belongings without the requisite warrant were both justified.[100] he had been giving trouble to the neighborhood because according to them there are [sic] proliferation of marijuana in
While concurring with the majority, Mr. Justice Vitug reserved his vote on the discussion on the warrantless search being our place. That was the complained [sic] of our neighbors.
incidental to a lawful arrest. Mr. Justice Panganiban, joined by Messrs. Justices Melo and Puno, filed a Separate Opinion. Q Insofar as the accused Tudtud is concerned what was your basis in reporting him particularly?
Although likewise concurring in the majoritys ruling that appellant consented to the inspection of his baggage, Justice A His friends were the once who told me about it.
Panganiban disagreed with the conclusion that the warrantless search was incidental to a lawful arrest. He argued that Q For how long have you know [sic] this fact of alleged activity of Tudtud in proliferation of marijuana?
jurisprudence required personal knowledge on the part of the officers making the in flagrante delicto arrest. In Montilla, A About a month.
the appellant did not exhibit any overt act or strange conduct that would reasonably arouse in their minds suspicion that .
he was embarking on some felonious enterprise. Q Regarding the report that Tudtud went to Cotabato to get stocks of marijuana which led to his apprehension sometime
Law and jurisprudence in fact require stricter grounds for valid arrests and searches without warrant than for the issuance in the evening of August 1 and according to the report [which] is based on your report my question is, how did you know
of warrants therefore. In the former, the arresting person must have actually witnessed the crime being committed or that Tudtud will be bringing along with him marijuana stocks on August 1, 1999?
attempted by the person sought to be arrested; or he must have personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person .
to be arrested perpetrated the crime that had just occurred. In the latter case, the judge simply determines personally A Because of the information of his neighbor.[107]
from testimonies of witnesses that there exists reasonable grounds to believe that a crime was committed by the accused. In other words, Soliers information itself is hearsay. He did not even elaborate on how his neighbors or Tudtuds friends
. acquired their information that Tudtud was responsible for the proliferation of drugs in their neighborhood.
To say that reliable tips constitute probable cause for a warrantless arrest or search is in my opinion, a dangerous Indeed, it appears that PO1 Floreta himself doubted the reliablility of their informant. He testified on cross-examination:
precedent and places in great jeopardy the doctrines laid down in many decisions made by this Court, in its effort to Q You mean to say that Bobot Solier, is not reliable?
zealously guard and protect the sacred constitutional right against unreasonable arrests, searches and seizures. Everyone A He is trustworthy.
would be practically at the mercy of so-called informants, reminiscent of the makapilis during the Japanese occupation. Q Why [did] you not consider his information not reliable if he is reliable?
Any one whom they point out to a police officer as a possible violator of the law could then be subject to search and A (witness did not answer).
possible arrest. This is placing limitless power upon informants who will no longer be required to affirm under oath their ATTY. CAETE:
accusations, for they can always delay their giving of tips in order to justify warrantless arrests and searches. Even law Never mind, do not answer anymore. Thats all.[108]
enforcers can use this as an oppressive tool to conduct searches without warrants, for they can always claim that they The prosecution, on re-direct examination, did not attempt to extract any explanation from PO1 Floreta for his telling
received raw intelligence information only on the day or afternoon before. This would clearly be a circumvention of the silence.
legal requisites for validly effecting an arrest or conducting a search and seizure. Indeed the majoritys ruling would open Confronted with such a dubious informant, the police perhaps felt it necessary to conduct their own surveillance. This
loopholes that would allow unreasonable arrests, searches and seizures.[101] surveillance, it turns out, did not actually consist of staking out appellant Tudtud to catch him in the act of plying his illegal
Montilla would shortly find mention in Justice Panganibans concurring opinion in People v. Doria, supra, where this Court trade, but of a mere gather[ing] of information from the assets there.[109] The police officers who conducted such
ruled: surveillance did not identify who these assets were or the basis of the latters information. Clearly, such information is also
Accused-Appellant Gaddao was arrested solely on the basis of the alleged identification made by her co-accused. PO3 hearsay, not of personal knowledge.
Manlangit, however, declared in his direct examination that appellant Doria named his co-accused in response to his (PO3 Neither were the arresting officers impelled by any urgency that would allow them to do away with the requisite warrant,
Manlangits) query as to where the marked money was. Appellant Doria did not point to appellant Gaddao as his associate PO1 Desiertos assertions of lack of time[110] notwithstanding. Records show that the police had ample opportunity to apply
in the drug business, but as the person with whom he left the marked bills. This identification does not necessarily lead to for a warrant, having received Soliers information at around 9:00 in the morning; Tudtud, however, was expected to arrive
the conclusion that appellant Gaddao conspired with her co-accused in pushing drugs. Appellant Doria may have left the at around 6:00 in the evening of the same day.[111] In People v. Encinada, supra, the Court ruled that there was sufficient
money in her house, with or without any conspiracy. Save for accused-appellant Dorias word, the Narcom agents had no time to procure a warrant where the police officers received at 4:00 in the afternoon an intelligence report that the
accused, who was supposedly carrying marijuana, would arrive the next morning at 7:00 a.m.:
40

Even if the information was received by Bolonia about 4:00 p.m. of May 20, 1992 at his house, there was sufficient time Q And you can asked [sic] the assistance of any prosecutor to apply for the search warrant or the prosecutor do [sic] not
to secure a warrant of arrest, as the M/V Sweet Pearl was not expected to dock until 7:00 a.m. the following assist?
day. Administrative Circular No. 13 allows application for search warrants even after office hours: A They help.
3. Raffling shall be strictly enforced, except only in case where an application for search warrant may be filed directly with Q But you did not come to Davao City, to asked [sic] for a search warrant?
any judge whose jurisdiction the place to be searched is located, after office hours, or during Saturdays, Sundays, and legal A As I said, we do not have sufficient basis.[113]
holidays, in which case the applicant is required to certify under oath the urgency of the issuance thereof after office It may be conceded that the mere subjective conclusions of a police officer concerning the existence of probable cause is
hours, or during Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays; . . .. not binding on [the courts] which must independently scrutinize the objective facts to determine the existence of probable
The same procedural dispatch finds validation and reiteration in Circular No. 19, series of 1987, entitled Amended cause and that a court may also find probable cause in spite of an officers judgment that none exists.[114] However, the
Guidelines and Procedures on Application for search warrants for Illegal Possession of Firearms and Other Serious Crimes fact that the arresting officers felt that they did not have sufficient basis to obtain a warrant, despite their own information-
Filed in Metro Manila Courts and Other Courts with Multiple Salas: gathering efforts, raises serious questions whether such surveillance actually yielded any pertinent information and even
This Court has received reports of delay while awaiting raffle, in acting on applications for search warrants in the campaign whether they actually conducted any information-gathering at all, thereby eroding any claim to personal knowledge.
against loose firearms and other serious crimes affecting peace and order. There is a need for prompt action on such Finally, there is an effective waiver of rights against unreasonable searches and seizures if the following requisites are
applications for search warrant. Accordingly, these amended guidelines in the issuance of a search warrant are issued: present:
1. All applications for search warrants relating to violation of the Anti-subversion Act, crimes against public order as 1. It must appear that the rights exist;
defined in the Revised Penal Code, as amended, illegal possession of firearms and/or ammunition and violations of the 2. The person involved had knowledge, actual or constructive, of the existence of such right;
Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as amended, shall no longer be raffled and shall immediately be taken cognizance of and 3. Said person had an actual intention to relinquish the right.[115]
acted upon by the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, and Municipal Trial Court under Here, the prosecution failed to establish the second and third requisites. Records disclose that when the police officers
whose jurisdiction the place to be searched is located. introduced themselves as such and requested appellant that they see the contents of the carton box supposedly
2. In the absence of the Executive Judge, the Vice-Executive Judge shall take cognizance of and personally act on the containing the marijuana, appellant Tudtud said it was alright. He did not resist and opened the box himself.
same. In the absence of the Executive Judge or Vice-Executive Judge, the application may be taken cognizance of and The fundamental law and jurisprudence require more than the presence of these circumstances to constitute a valid
acted upon by any judge of the Court where application is filed. waiver of the constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures. Courts indulge every reasonable
3. Applications filed after office hours, during Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, shall likewise be taken cognizance of and presumption against waiver of fundamental constitutional rights; acquiescence in the loss of fundamental rights is not to
acted upon by any judge of the Court having jurisdiction of the place to be searched, but in such cases the applicant shall be presumed.[116] The fact that a person failed to object to a search does not amount to permission thereto.
certify and state the facts under oath, to the satisfaction of the judge, that its issuance is urgent. . As the constitutional guaranty is not dependent upon any affirmative act of the citizen, the courts do not place the citizen
4. Any judge acting on such application shall immediately and without delay personally conduct the examination of the in the position of either contesting an officers authority by force, or waiving his constitutional rights; but instead they hold
applicant and his witnesses to prevent the possible leakage of information. He shall observe the procedures, safeguards, that a peaceful submission to a search or seizure is not a consent or an invitation thereto, but is merely a demonstration
and guidelines for the issuance of search warrants provided for in this Courts Administrative Circular No. 13, dated October of regard for the supremacy of the law.[117] [Underscoring supplied.]
1, 1985.[112] [Italics in the original.] Thus, even in cases where the accused voluntarily handed her bag[118] or the chairs[119] containing marijuana to the
Given that the police had adequate time to obtain the warrant, PO1 Floretas testimony that the real reason for their arresting officer, this Court held there was no valid consent to the search.
omission was their belief that they lacked sufficient basis to obtain the same assumes greater significance. This was PO1 On the other hand, because a warrantless search is in derogation of a constitutional right, peace officers who conduct it
Floretas familiar refrain: cannot invoke regularity in the performance of official functions and shift to the accused the burden of proving that the
Q When Solier reported to you that fact, that Tudtud will be coming from Cotabato to get that (sic) stocks, you did not go search was unconsented.[120]
to court to get a search warrant on the basis of the report of Bobot Solier? In any case, any presumption in favor of regularity would be severely diminished by the allegation of appellants in this
A No. case that the arresting officers pointed a gun at them before asking them to open the subject box. Appellant Tudtud
Q Why? testified as follows:
A Because we have no real basis to secure the search warrant. Q This person who approached you according to you pointed something at you[.] [What] was that something?
Q When you have no real basis to secure a search warrant, you have also no real basis to search Tudtud and Bulong at A A 38 cal. Revolver.
that time? Q How did he point it at you?
A Yes, sir. A Like this (Witness demonstrating as if pointing with his two arms holding something towards somebody).
. Q This man[,] what did he tell you when he pointed a gun at you?
Q And Bobot Solier told you that Tudtud, that he would already bring marijuana? A He said do not run.
A Yes, sir. Q What did you do?
Q And this was 9:00 a.m.? A I raised my hands and said Sir, what is this about?
A Yes, sir. Q Why did you call him Sir?
Q The arrival of Tudtud was expected at 6:00 p.m.? A I was afraid because when somebody is holding a gun, I am afraid.
A Yes, sir. Q Precisely, why did you address him as Sir?
Q Toril is just 16 kilometers from Davao City? A Because he was holding a gun and I believed that somebody who is carrying a gun is a policeman.
A Yes, sir. Q When you asked him what is this? What did he say?
Q And the Office of the Regional Trial Court is only about 16 kilometers, is that correct? A He said I would like to inspect what you are carrying.[]
A Yes, sir. Q What did you say when you were asked to open that carton box?
Q And it can be negotiated by thirty minutes by a jeep ride? A I told him that is not mine.
A Yes, sir. Q What did this man say?
A He again pointed to me his revolver and again said to open.
41

Q What did you do? The Facts


A So I proceeded to open for fear of being shot.[121] The facts of the case are summarized by the CA in this wise:
Appellants implied acquiescence, if at all, could not have been more than mere passive conformity given under coercive "On July 27, 1994, accused [Napoleon Roman y Macadangdang] was found guilty and convicted of the crime of reckless
or intimidating circumstances and is, thus, considered no consent at all within the purview of the constitutional imprudence resulting to triple homicide, multiple physical injuries and damage to property and was sentenced to suffer
guarantee.[122] Consequently, appellants lack of objection to the search and seizure is not tantamount to a waiver of his the penalty of four (4) years, nine (9) months and eleven (11) days to six (6) years, and to pay damages as follows:
constitutional right or a voluntary submission to the warrantless search and seizure.[123] a. to pay the heirs of JUSTINO TORRES the sum of 50,000.00 as indemnity for his death, plus the sum of 25,383.00, for
As the search of appellants box does not come under the recognized exceptions to a valid warrantless search, the funeral expenses, his unearned income for one year at 2,500.00 a month, 50,000.00 as indemnity for the support of
marijuana leaves obtained thereby are inadmissible in evidence. And as there is no evidence other than the hearsay Renato Torres, and the further sum of 300,000.00 as moral damages;
testimony of the arresting officers and their informant, the conviction of appellants cannot be sustained. b. to the heirs of ESTRELLA VELERO, the sum of 50,000.00 as indemnity for her death, the sum of 237,323.75 for funeral
The Bill of Rights is the bedrock of constitutional government. If people are stripped naked of their rights as human beings, expenses, her unearned income for three years at 45,000.00 per annum, and the further sum of 1,000,000.00 as moral
democracy cannot survive and government becomes meaningless.This explains why the Bill of Rights, contained as it is in damages and 200,000.00 as attorneys fees[;]
Article III of the Constitution, occupies a position of primacy in the fundamental law way above the articles on c. to the heirs of LORNA ANCHETA, the sum of 50,000.00 as indemnity for her death, the sum of 22,838.00 as funeral
governmental power.[124] expenses, the sum of 20,544.94 as medical expenses and her loss of income for 30 years at 1,000.00 per month, and
The right against unreasonable search and seizure in turn is at the top of the hierarchy of rights,[125] next only to, if not on the further sum of 100,000.00 for moral damages;
the same plane as, the right to life, liberty and property, which is protected by the due process clause.[126] This is as it d. to MAUREEN BRENNAN, the sum of 229,654.00 as hospital expenses, doctors fees of 170,000.00 for the orthopedic
should be for, as stressed by a couple of noted freedom advocates,[127] the right to personal security which, along with the surgeon, 22,500.00 for the [n]eurologist, an additional indemnity [of] at least 150,000.00 to cover future correction of
right to privacy, is the foundation of the right against unreasonable search and seizure includes the right to exist, and the deformity of her limbs, and moral damages in the amount of 1,000,000.00;
right to enjoyment of life while existing. Emphasizing such right, this Court declared in People v. Aruta: e. to ROSIE BALAJO, the sum of 3,561.46 as medical expenses, 2,000.00 as loss of income, and 25,000.00 as moral
Unreasonable searches and seizures are the menace against which the constitutional guarantees afford full damages;
protection. While the power to search and seize may at times be necessary to the public welfare, still it may be exercised f. to TERESITA TAMONDONG, the sum of 19,800.47 as medical expenses, 800.00 for loss of income, and 25,000.00 as
and the law enforced without transgressing the constitutional rights of the citizens, for the enforcement of no statute is moral damages;
of sufficient importance to justify indifference to the basic principles of government. g. to JULIANA TABTAB, the amount of 580.81 as medical expenses, 4,600.00 as actual damages and her loss earnings
Those who are supposed to enforce the law are not justified in disregarding the rights of the individual in the name of of 1,400.00 as well as moral damages in the amount of 10,000.00;
order. Order is too high a price to pay for the loss of liberty. As Justice Holmes declared: I think it is less evil that some h. to MIGUEL ARQUITOLA, the sum of 12,473.82 as hospital expenses, 14,530.00 as doctors fees, 1,000.00 for
criminals escape than that the government should play an ignoble part. It is simply not allowed in free society to violate a medicines and 50,000.00 as moral damages;
law to enforce another, especially if the law violated is the Constitution itself.[128] i. to CLARITA CABANBAN, the sum of 155.00 for medical expenses, 87.00 for medicines, 1,710.00 as actual damages
Thus, given a choice between letting suspected criminals escape or letting the government play an ignoble part, the and 5,000.00 as moral damages;
answer, to this Court, is clear and ineluctable. j. to MARIANO CABANBAN, the sum of 1,395.00 for hospital bills, 500.00 for medicine, 2,100.00 as actual damages,
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Davao City is REVERSED. Appellants Noel Tudtud y Paypa and 1,200.00 for loss of income and 5,000.00 as moral damages;
Dindo Bolong y Naret are hereby ACQUITTED for insufficiency of evidence. The Director of the Bureau of Prisons is ordered k. to La Union Electric Company as the registered owner of the Toyota Hi-Ace Van, the amount of 250,000.00 as actual
to cause the immediate release of appellants from confinement, unless they are being held for some other lawful cause, damages for the cost of the totally wrecked vehicle; to the owner of the jeepney, the amount of 22,698.38 as actual
and to report to this Court compliance herewith within five (5) days from receipt hereof. damages;
SO ORDERED. "The court further ruled that [petitioner], in the event of the insolvency of accused, shall be liable for the civil liabilities of
Bellosillo, (Chairman), Austria-Martinez, and Callejo, Sr., JJ., concur. the accused. Evidently, the judgment against accused had become final and executory.
Quisumbing, J., please see dissenting opinion. "Admittedly, accused had jumped bail and remained at-large. It is worth mention[ing] that Section 8, Rule 124 of the Rules
of Court authorizes the dismissal of appeal when appellant jumps bail. Counsel for accused, also admittedly hired and
G.R. No. 147703 April 14, 2004 provided by [petitioner], filed a notice of appeal which was denied by the trial court. We affirmed the denial of the notice
PHILIPPINE RABBIT BUS LINES, INC., petitioner, of appeal filed in behalf of accused.
vs. "Simultaneously, on August 6, 1994, [petitioner] filed its notice of appeal from the judgment of the trial court. On April 29,
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent. 1997, the trial court gave due course to [petitioners] notice of appeal. On December 8, 1998, [petitioner] filed its brief.
DECISION On December 9, 1998, the Office of the Solicitor General received [a] copy of [petitioners] brief. On January 8, 1999, the
PANGANIBAN, J.: OSG moved to be excused from filing [respondents] brief on the ground that the OSGs authority to represent People is
When the accused-employee absconds or jumps bail, the judgment meted out becomes final and executory. The employer confined to criminal cases on appeal. The motion was however denied per Our resolution of May 31, 1999. On March 2,
cannot defeat the finality of the judgment by filing a notice of appeal on its own behalf in the guise of asking for a review 1999, [respondent]/private prosecutor filed the instant motion to dismiss."6 (Citations omitted)
of its subsidiary civil liability. Both the primary civil liability of the accused-employee and the subsidiary civil liability of the Ruling of the Court of Appeals
employer are carried in one single decision that has become final and executory. The CA ruled that the institution of a criminal case implied the institution also of the civil action arising from the offense.
The Case Thus, once determined in the criminal case against the accused-employee, the employers subsidiary civil liability as set
Before this Court is a Petition for Review1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the March 29, 20002 and the March forth in Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code becomes conclusive and enforceable.
27, 20013 Resolutions of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR CV No. 59390. Petitioners appeal from the judgment of the The appellate court further held that to allow an employer to dispute independently the civil liability fixed in the criminal
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of San Fernando, La Union in Criminal Case No. 2535 was dismissed in the first Resolution as case against the accused-employee would be to amend, nullify or defeat a final judgment. Since the notice of appeal filed
follows: by the accused had already been dismissed by the CA, then the judgment of conviction and the award of civil liability
"WHEREFORE, for all the foregoing, the motion to dismiss is GRANTED and the appeal is ordered DISMISSED."4 became final and executory. Included in the civil liability of the accused was the employers subsidiary liability.
The second Resolution denied petitioners Motion for Reconsideration.5 Hence, this Petition.7
42

The Issues "In default of the persons criminally liable, innkeepers, tavernkeepers, and any other persons or corporations shall be
Petitioner states the issues of this case as follows: civilly liable for crimes committed in their establishments, in all cases where a violation of municipal ordinances or some
"A. Whether or not an employer, who dutifully participated in the defense of its accused-employee, may appeal the general or special police regulation shall have been committed by them or their employees.
judgment of conviction independently of the accused. "Innkeepers are also subsidiary liable for restitution of goods taken by robbery or theft within their houses from guests
"B. Whether or not the doctrines of Alvarez v. Court of Appeals (158 SCRA 57) and Yusay v. Adil (164 SCRA 494) apply to lodging therein, or for payment of the value thereof, provided that such guests shall have notified in advance the innkeeper
the instant case."8 himself, or the person representing him, of the deposit of such goods within the inn; and shall furthermore have followed
There is really only one issue. Item B above is merely an adjunct to Item A. the directions which such innkeeper or his representative may have given them with respect to the care and vigilance over
The Court's Ruling such goods. No liability shall attach in case of robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons unless committed
The Petition has no merit. by the innkeepers employees."
Main Issue: Moreover, the foregoing subsidiary liability applies to employers, according to Article 103 which reads:
Propriety of Appeal by the Employer "The subsidiary liability established in the next preceding article shall also apply to employers, teachers, persons, and
Pointing out that it had seasonably filed a notice of appeal from the RTC Decision, petitioner contends that the judgment corporations engaged in any kind of industry for felonies committed by their servants, pupils, workmen, apprentices, or
of conviction against the accused-employee has not attained finality. The former insists that its appeal stayed the finality, employees in the discharge of their duties."
notwithstanding the fact that the latter had jumped bail. In effect, petitioner argues that its appeal takes the place of that Having laid all these basic rules and principles, we now address the main issue raised by petitioner.
of the accused-employee. Civil Liability Deemed Instituted in the Criminal Prosecution
We are not persuaded. At the outset, we must explain that the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure has clarified what civil actions are deemed
Appeals in Criminal Cases instituted in a criminal prosecution.
Section 1 of Rule 122 of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure states thus: Section 1 of Rule 111 of the current Rules of Criminal Procedure provides:
"Any party may appeal from a judgment or final order, unless the accused will be placed in double jeopardy." "When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense charged shall
Clearly, both the accused and the prosecution may appeal a criminal case, but the government may do so only if the be deemed instituted with the criminal action unless the offended party waives the civil action, reserves the right to
accused would not thereby be placed in double jeopardy.9 Furthermore, the prosecution cannot appeal on the ground institute it separately or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action.
that the accused should have been given a more severe penalty.10 On the other hand, the offended parties may also appeal "x x x xxx x x x"
the judgment with respect to their right to civil liability. If the accused has the right to appeal the judgment of conviction, Only the civil liability of the accused arising from the crime charged is deemed impliedly instituted in a criminal action;
the offended parties should have the same right to appeal as much of the judgment as is prejudicial to them.11 that is, unless the offended party waives the civil action, reserves the right to institute it separately, or institutes it prior
Appeal by the Accused Who Jumps Bail to the criminal action.18 Hence, the subsidiary civil liability of the employer under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code
Well-established in our jurisdiction is the principle that the appellate court may, upon motion or motu proprio, dismiss an may be enforced by execution on the basis of the judgment of conviction meted out to the employee.19
appeal during its pendency if the accused jumps bail. The second paragraph of Section 8 of Rule 124 of the 2000 Revised It is clear that the 2000 Rules deleted the requirement of reserving independent civil actions and allowed these to proceed
Rules of Criminal Procedure provides: separately from criminal actions. Thus, the civil actions referred to in Articles 32,20 33,21 3422 and 217623 of the Civil Code
"The Court of Appeals may also, upon motion of the appellee or motu proprio, dismiss the appeal if the appellant escapes shall remain "separate, distinct and independent" of any criminal prosecution based on the same act. Here are some direct
from prison or confinement, jumps bail or flees to a foreign country during the pendency of the appeal."12 consequences of such revision and omission:
This rule is based on the rationale that appellants lose their standing in court when they abscond. Unless they surrender 1. The right to bring the foregoing actions based on the Civil Code need not be reserved in the criminal prosecution, since
or submit to the courts jurisdiction, they are deemed to have waived their right to seek judicial relief.13 they are not deemed included therein.
Moreover, this doctrine applies not only to the accused who jumps bail during the appeal, but also to one who does so 2. The institution or the waiver of the right to file a separate civil action arising from the crime charged does not extinguish
during the trial. Justice Florenz D. Regalado succinctly explains the principle in this wise: the right to bring such action.
"x x x. When, as in this case, the accused escaped after his arraignment and during the trial, but the trial in 3. The only limitation is that the offended party cannot recover more than once for the same act or omission.24
absentia proceeded resulting in the promulgation of a judgment against him and his counsel appealed, since he What is deemed instituted in every criminal prosecution is the civil liability arising from the crime or delict per se (civil
nonetheless remained at large his appeal must be dismissed by analogy with the aforesaid provision of this Rule [Rule 124, liability ex delicto), but not those liabilities arising from quasi-delicts, contracts or quasi-contracts. In fact, even if a civil
8 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure]. x x x"14 action is filed separately, the ex delicto civil liability in the criminal prosecution remains, and the offended party may --
The accused cannot be accorded the right to appeal unless they voluntarily submit to the jurisdiction of the court or are subject to the control of the prosecutor -- still intervene in the criminal action, in order to protect the remaining civil
otherwise arrested within 15 days from notice of the judgment against them.15 While at large, they cannot seek relief from interest therein.25
the court, as they are deemed to have waived the appeal.16 This discussion is completely in accord with the Revised Penal Code, which states that "[e]very person criminally liable for
Finality of a Decision in a Criminal Case a felony is also civilly liable."26
As to when a judgment of conviction attains finality is explained in Section 7 of Rule 120 of the 2000 Rules of Criminal Petitioner argues that, as an employer, it is considered a party to the criminal case and is conclusively bound by the
Procedure, which we quote: outcome thereof. Consequently, petitioner must be accorded the right to pursue the case to its logical conclusion --
"A judgment of conviction may, upon motion of the accused, be modified or set aside before it becomes final or before including the appeal.
appeal is perfected. Except where the death penalty is imposed, a judgment becomes final after the lapse of the period The argument has no merit. Undisputedly, petitioner is not a direct party to the criminal case, which was filed solely against
for perfecting an appeal, or when the sentence has been partially or totally satisfied or served, or when the accused has Napoleon M. Roman, its employee.
waived in writing his right to appeal, or has applied for probation." In its Memorandum, petitioner cited a comprehensive list of cases dealing with the subsidiary liability of employers.
In the case before us, the accused-employee has escaped and refused to surrender to the proper authorities; thus, he is Thereafter, it noted that none can be applied to it, because "in all th[o]se cases, the accuseds employer did not interpose
deemed to have abandoned his appeal. Consequently, the judgment against him has become final and executory.17 an appeal."27 Indeed, petitioner cannot cite any single case in which the employer appealed, precisely because an appeal
Liability of an Employer in a Finding of Guilt in such circumstances is not possible.
Article 102 of the Revised Penal Code states the subsidiary civil liabilities of innkeepers, as follows: The cases dealing with the subsidiary liability of employers uniformly declare that, strictly speaking, they are not parties
to the criminal cases instituted against their employees.28 Although in substance and in effect, they have an interest
43

therein, this fact should be viewed in the light of their subsidiary liability. While they may assist their employees to the of their employees without the latters consent would also result in improperly amending, nullifying or defeating the
extent of supplying the latters lawyers, as in the present case, the former cannot act independently on their own behalf, judgment.
but can only defend the accused. The decision convicting an employee in a criminal case is binding and conclusive upon the employer not only with regard
Waiver of Constitutional Safeguard Against Double Jeopardy to the formers civil liability, but also with regard to its amount. The liability of an employer cannot be separated from that
Petitioners appeal obviously aims to have the accused-employee absolved of his criminal responsibility and the judgment of the employee.49
reviewed as a whole. These intentions are apparent from its Appellants Brief29 filed with the CA and from its Before the employers subsidiary liability is exacted, however, there must be adequate evidence establishing that (1) they
Petition30 before us, both of which claim that the trial courts finding of guilt "is not supported by competent evidence."31 are indeed the employers of the convicted employees; (2) that the former are engaged in some kind of industry; (3) that
An appeal from the sentence of the trial court implies a waiver of the constitutional safeguard against double jeopardy the crime was committed by the employees in the discharge of their duties; and (4) that the execution against the latter
and throws the whole case open to a review by the appellate court. The latter is then called upon to render judgment as has not been satisfied due to insolvency.50
law and justice dictate, whether favorable or unfavorable to the appellant.32 This is the risk involved when the accused The resolution of these issues need not be done in a separate civil action. But the determination must be based on the
decides to appeal a sentence of conviction.33 Indeed, appellate courts have the power to reverse, affirm or modify the evidence that the offended party and the employer may fully and freely present. Such determination may be done in the
judgment of the lower court and to increase or reduce the penalty it imposed.34 same criminal action in which the employees liability, criminal and civil, has been pronounced; 51and in a hearing set for
If the present appeal is given course, the whole case against the accused-employee becomes open to review. It thus that precise purpose, with due notice to the employer, as part of the proceedings for the execution of the judgment.
follows that a penalty higher than that which has already been imposed by the trial court may be meted out to him. Just because the present petitioner participated in the defense of its accused-employee does not mean that its liability
Petitioners appeal would thus violate his right against double jeopardy, since the judgment against him could become has transformed its nature; its liability remains subsidiary. Neither will its participation erase its subsidiary liability. The
subject to modification without his consent. fact remains that since the accused-employees conviction has attained finality, then the subsidiary liability of the
We are not in a position to second-guess the reason why the accused effectively waived his right to appeal by jumping employer ipso facto attaches.
bail. It is clear, though, that petitioner may not appeal without violating his right against double jeopardy. According to the argument of petitioner, fairness dictates that while the finality of conviction could be the proper sanction
Effect of Absconding on the Appeal Process to be imposed upon the accused for jumping bail, the same sanction should not affect it. In effect, petitioner-employer
Moreover, within the meaning of the principles governing the prevailing criminal procedure, the accused impliedly splits this case into two: first, for itself; and second, for its accused-employee.
withdrew his appeal by jumping bail and thereby made the judgment of the court below final.35 Having been a fugitive The untenability of this argument is clearly evident. There is only one criminal case against the accused-employee. A
from justice for a long period of time, he is deemed to have waived his right to appeal. Thus, his conviction is now final finding of guilt has both criminal and civil aspects. It is the height of absurdity for this single case to be final as to the
and executory. The Court in People v. Ang Gioc36 ruled: accused who jumped bail, but not as to an entity whose liability is dependent upon the conviction of the former.
"There are certain fundamental rights which cannot be waived even by the accused himself, but the right of appeal is not The subsidiary liability of petitioner is incidental to and dependent on the pecuniary civil liability of the accused-employee.
one of them. This right is granted solely for the benefit of the accused. He may avail of it or not, as he pleases. He may Since the civil liability of the latter has become final and enforceable by reason of his flight, then the formers subsidiary
waive it either expressly or by implication. When the accused flees after the case has been submitted to the court for civil liability has also become immediately enforceable. Respondent is correct in arguing that the concept of subsidiary
decision, he will be deemed to have waived his right to appeal from the judgment rendered against him. x x x."37 liability is highly contingent on the imposition of the primary civil liability.
By fleeing, the herein accused exhibited contempt of the authority of the court and placed himself in a position to No Deprivation of Due Process
speculate on his chances for a reversal. In the process, he kept himself out of the reach of justice, but hoped to render the As to the argument that petitioner was deprived of due process, we reiterate that what is sought to be enforced is the
judgment nugatory at his option.38 Such conduct is intolerable and does not invite leniency on the part of the appellate subsidiary civil liability incident to and dependent upon the employees criminal negligence. In other words, the employer
court.39 becomes ipso facto subsidiarily liable upon the conviction of the employee and upon proof of the latters insolvency, in
Consequently, the judgment against an appellant who escapes and who refuses to surrender to the proper authorities the same way that acquittal wipes out not only his primary civil liability, but also his employers subsidiary liability for his
becomes final and executory.40 criminal negligence.52
Thus far, we have clarified that petitioner has no right to appeal the criminal case against the accused-employee; that by It should be stressed that the right to appeal is neither a natural right nor a part of due process.53 It is merely a procedural
jumping bail, he has waived his right to appeal; and that the judgment in the criminal case against him is now final. remedy of statutory origin, a remedy that may be exercised only in the manner prescribed by the provisions of law
Subsidiary Liability Upon Finality of Judgment authorizing such exercise.54 Hence, the legal requirements must be strictly complied with.55
As a matter of law, the subsidiary liability of petitioner now accrues. Petitioner argues that the rulings of this Court It would be incorrect to consider the requirements of the rules on appeal as merely harmless and trivial technicalities that
in Miranda v. Malate Garage & Taxicab, Inc.,41 Alvarez v. CA42 and Yusay v. Adil43 do not apply to the present case, because can be discarded.56 Indeed, deviations from the rules cannot be tolerated.57 In these times when court dockets are clogged
it has followed the Courts directive to the employers in these cases to take part in the criminal cases against their with numerous litigations, such rules have to be followed by parties with greater fidelity, so as to facilitate the orderly
employees. By participating in the defense of its employee, herein petitioner tries to shield itself from the undisputed disposition of those cases.58
rulings laid down in these leading cases. After a judgment has become final, vested rights are acquired by the winning party. If the proper losing party has the right
Such posturing is untenable. In dissecting these cases on subsidiary liability, petitioner lost track of the most basic tenet to file an appeal within the prescribed period, then the former has the correlative right to enjoy the finality of the
they have laid down -- that an employers liability in a finding of guilt against its accused-employee is subsidiary. resolution of the case.59
Under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code, employers are subsidiarily liable for the adjudicated civil liabilities of their In fact, petitioner admits that by helping the accused-employee, it participated in the proceedings before the RTC; thus, it
employees in the event of the latters insolvency.44 The provisions of the Revised Penal Code on subsidiary liability -- cannot be said that the employer was deprived of due process. It might have lost its right to appeal, but it was not denied
Articles 102 and 103 -- are deemed written into the judgments in the cases to which they are applicable.45 Thus, in the its day in court.60 In fact, it can be said that by jumping bail, the accused-employee, not the court, deprived petitioner of
dispositive portion of its decision, the trial court need not expressly pronounce the subsidiary liability of the employer. the right to appeal.
In the absence of any collusion between the accused-employee and the offended party, the judgment of conviction should All told, what is left to be done is to execute the RTC Decision against the accused. It should be clear that only after proof
bind the person who is subsidiarily liable.46 In effect and implication, the stigma of a criminal conviction surpasses mere of his insolvency may the subsidiary liability of petitioner be enforced. It has been sufficiently proven that there exists an
civil liability.47 employer-employee relationship; that the employer is engaged in some kind of industry; and that the employee has been
To allow employers to dispute the civil liability fixed in a criminal case would enable them to amend, nullify or defeat a adjudged guilty of the wrongful act and found to have committed the offense in the discharge of his duties. The proof is
final judgment rendered by a competent court.48 By the same token, to allow them to appeal the final criminal conviction clear from the admissions of petitioner that "[o]n 26 August 1990, while on its regular trip from Laoag to Manila, a
passenger bus owned by petitioner, being then operated by petitioners driver,Napoleon Roman, figured in an accident in
44

San Juan, La Union x x x."61 Neither does petitioner dispute that there was already a finding of guilt against the accused the drawee bank the necessary amount to cover the aforesaid check, to the damage and prejudice of the herein
while he was in the discharge of his duties. complainant in the aforementioned amount of P515,000.00
WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby DENIED, and the assailed Resolutions AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., Ynares-Santiago, Carpio, and Azcuna, JJ., concur.
A. RAFAEL C. DINGLASAN JR., G. R. No. 145420 On 16 December 1991, the trial court convicted Dinglasan for having committed the crime charged. In a
Petitioner, Present: Decision[4] promulgated on the same date, the court a quo found him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating
Batas Pambansa Blg. 22. The dispositive portion reads this wise:
PANGANIBAN, C.J.
Chairperson, WHEREFORE, finding accused A. Rafael C. Dinglasan, Jr. guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating B.P. Blg. 22, he is
YNARES-SANTIAGO, hereby sentenced to suffer an imprisonment of one year and to pay a fine of Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000.00);
- versus - AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, and, to indemnify ANTROM, INC., the sum of Five Hundred Fifteen (sic) (P515,000.00) Pesos, at [the] legal rate of interest
CALLEJO, SR., and from October 3, 1985, until the full amount of P515,000.0 is fully paid.
CHICO-NAZARIO, JJ.

Promulgated: Dinglasan, thereafter, filed a Motion for Reconsideration[5] which was denied by the same court for lack of merit in an
HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL., Order[6] issued on 4 September 1992.
Respondents. September 19, 2006
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x On 25 September 1992, Dinglasan appealed to the Court of Appeals the adverse RTC Decision dated 16 December 1991,
finding him guilty of violating Batas PambansaBlg. 22 and the RTC Order dated 4 September 1992, denying his Motion for
Reconsideration.[7]
DECISION
On 26 October 1998, the appellate court in CA-G.R. CR No. 14138, People of the Philippines v. A. Rafael.
C. Dinglasan, handed down a Decision,[8] dismissing the appeal, thereby, affirming in toto the Decision of the RTC
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: finding Dinglasan guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating Batas Pambansa Blg. 22. The dispositive portion reads:

WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error therefrom, the Decision now on appeal is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. Costs against
Before this Court is a Petition for New Trial and, in the alternative, for the Reopening of the Case[1] on the ground of newly accused-appellant.
discovered evidence filed by A. Rafael C. Dinglasan, Jr. (Dinglasan) who was found guilty[2] of violating Batas Pambansa Blg.
22, otherwise known as The Bouncing Checks Law, by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati, Branch 62, in Criminal Case
No. 21238. Aggrieved, the accused filed before this Court a Petition for Review on Certiorari[9] questioning the 26 October
1998 Decision of the Court of Appeals. The petition was docketed as G.R. No. 137800, A. Rafael C. Dinglasan v. Court of
On 17 August 1985, Elmyra Trading Corporation (Elmyra), represented by its President, Dinglasan, and Antrom, Inc. Appeals, and was raffled to the Third Division of this Court. In a Resolution[10] dated 28 June 1999, this Court resolved to
(Antrom), also represented by its President, Antonio Garcia Jr., entered into a Memorandum of Agreement whereby the deny the petition for failure to show that a reversible error had been committed by the appellate court.
parties agreed that Antrom will extend credit accommodation in favor of Elmyra to finance its prawn business. The latter,
in turn, will issue checks to guarantee the payment of its obligations. A Motion for Reconsideration[11] was then filed by Dinglasan on 26 August 1999, but the same was again denied by this
Court in a Resolution dated 13 September 1999 for failure to raise substantial arguments that would warrant
A few months after a number of financing transactions were made, Elmyras indebtedness to Antrom reached the amount reconsideration of the Resolution dated 28 June 1999 with an ad cautelam that such denial is final.[12]
of P1,476,000.58. As initial payment, Dinglasanissued a Commercial Bank (drawee bank) Check No. HO270451
with Antrom as payee, but postdated on 3 October 1985 in the amount of P515,000.00. Upon presentment for payment Undaunted, Dinglasan filed a Second Motion for Reconsideration but the same was merely noted without action by this
with the drawee bank, however, the said check was dishonored for insufficiency of funds. Court in view of the En Banc Resolution dated 7 April 1987 that no motion for leave to file a second motion for
reconsideration of a judgment or a final resolution by the same party shall be entertained. In a Resolution dated 16
Consequently, on 16 December 1985, an Information[3] charging Dinglasan with Violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 was December 1999, this Court directed that no further pleadings shall be entertained in this case.
filed before the RTC of Makati, Branch 62, docketed as Criminal Case No. 21238, People of the Philippines v. A. Rafael
C. Dinglasan, Jr. The Information reads: The Resolution of this Court dated 28 June 1999 denying Dinglasans Petition for Review became final and executory on 14
October 1999 as evidenced by the Entry of Judgment.[13]
That on or about the 3rd day of October, 1985, in the Municipality of Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, well knowing that he has no sufficient funds in or credit By virtue of the final and executory judgment rendered by this Court in G.R. No. 137800, the prosecution, on 19 September
with the bank, did there and then willfully, unlawfully and feloniously make out and issue Commercial Bank of Manila 2000, filed a motion[14] with the RTC for the issuance of the warrant of arrest and writ of execution in order to satisfy the
Check No. H0207451 dated October 3, 1985 in the amount of P515,000.00 in payment of his obligation to Antrom Inc., judgment. The prosecution likewise prayed that a hold-departure order be issued in order to prevent Dinglasan from
represented by Rosanna E. Velasco, but when said check was presented to the bank for payment, the same was dishonored leaving the country until he has fully served his sentence.
and/or refused payment for reason Drawn Against Insufficient Funds and accused, despite repeated demands and lapse
of five (5) banking days from notice thereof, failed and refused to make good the said check and/or to deposit with
45

In an Order[15] issued on 21 September 2000, the trial court, acting on the said motion, issued a warrant for the arrest were not satisfactorily complied with. Let it be noted that the transmittal letter dated 8 October 1995 was previously
of Dinglasan and a writ of execution for the enforcement of his civil liability and, at the same time, enjoining him from attached as evidence in a Petition for Review filed by Dinglasan before the Ministry of Justice (now the Department of
leaving the country. Justice) on 15 December 1986, assailing the Resolution of the Fiscal dated 11 December 1986 recommending the filing of
Information against him. The same letter was also introduced as evidence before the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No.
Alarmed, Dinglasan on 30 October 2000, filed the instant Petition for New Trial and, in the alternative, for the Reopening 14138 when Dinglasan assailed the RTC decision dated 16 December 1991. Hence, the claim that the alleged evidence
of the Case[16] based on newly discovered evidence, which was docketed as G.R. No. 145420, entitled, A. Rafael was not available during the trial in the courts below, and is thus, newly discovered is erroneous, if not misleading.[21]
C. Dinglasan Jr. v. Court of Appeals. He urges this Court to uphold substantial justice, emphasizing that the newly
discovered evidence he seeks to introduce in this case is so material and of such weight that, if, admitted would probably Finally, Antrom stresses that, granting for the sake of argument, that the petition at bar was filed on time and the alleged
change the judgment, hence, suspension of procedural rules is warranted. evidence is newly discovered within the purview of the law, such evidence introduced and admitted, nevertheless, would
not exculpate Dinglasan from liability. The gravamen of the offense is the act of the drawer in making or issuing a check
The alleged newly discovered evidence claimed by Dinglasan are the affidavits of Ma. Elena Dinglasan, in her capacity as with the full knowledge that he does not have sufficient funds to cover the amount. Such awareness was admitted
Executive Vice-President and Treasurer of Elmyra, and Ma. Encarnacion Vda. De Dinglasan, the wife of Mariano Dinglasan, by Dinglasan when he expressly requested Antrom not to deposit the check without his explicit conformity in anticipation
who, during his lifetime, was the Cashier and Liaison Officer of the same company. These affidavits, together with the that such check will be dishonored if presented for payment. The mere act of issuing a worthless check and not the
transmittal letter dated 8 October 1985 attached to Solidbank Managers Check No. 002969 dated 3 October 1985 sent by nonpayment of the obligation is punished by law because of its deleterious effect on public interest.
Ma. Elena Dinglasan to Antrom, tends to prove that Dinglasan made good of the check within five banking days from
notice of dishonor. He could not, therefore, be validly convicted of violating Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 for one of the The Solicitor General, representing the People of the Philippines, on their part, submitted that the instant petition should
essential elements of the offense, that is, the drawer failed and refused to make good the said check within five banking be dismissed because it was filed out of time and Dinglasans evidence sought to be admitted is neither material nor newly
days from the notice of dishonor, is absent. discovered so as to warrant new trial or reopening of the case. The alleged evidence if introduced and admitted, would
not in any way alter the judgment. Upon perusal of the transmittal letter dated 8 October 1985, it was nowhere stated
In her affidavit,[17] Ma. Elena Dinglasan attested that she was the Executive Vice-President and Treasurer of Elmyra for the therein that Solidbank Managers Check No. 002969 dated 3 October 1985 was intended as partial payment of Commercial
period of 1985-1986. As such, she was in-charge of disbursing and sourcing of corporation funds including the preparation Bank Check No. 270451 dated 3 October 1985 that bounced. The said letter was a mere proposal wherein a payment in
of checks and approval of vouchers supporting the disbursements. In the course of its business, the affiant caused the kind or dacion en pago was offered by Elmyra. The Solicitor General likewise noted that the letter dated 8 October
issuance of Commercial Bank Check No. 270451 on 27 September 1985 in the amount of P515,000.00, but postdated on 3 1986 was already introduced as evidence in the Petition for Review with the Ministry of Justice filed by Dinglasan.[22]
October 1985, which was dishonored by the bank for insufficiency of funds and which eventually
caused Dinglasans conviction for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22. Upon receiving the notice of dishonor, she caused For the resolution of this Court are the following issues:
the preparation of Solidbank Managers Check No. 002969 dated 3 October 1985 in the amount of P150,000.00 intended
to cover a part of the amount of the bounced check. The Solidbank check, together with its transmittal letter dated 8 I.
October 1985, stating the purpose of the said check, was sent to Antrom and was received by its representative as
evidenced by the signature appearing on the receiving copy thereof. WHETHER OR NOT THE INSTANT PETITION WAS FILED ON TIME.

Explaining why the said transmittal letter dated 8 October 1985 was belatedly offered as evidence on this case, Ma.
Elena Dinglasan reasoned that that she was not aware that the said letter has any significance on Dinglasans liability. She II.
explained further that in 1993 she was diagnosed of breast cancer and had to undergo surgical operation and
chemotherapy. WHETHER OR NOT A NEW TRIAL OR REOPENING OF THE CASE BASED ON NEWLY DISCOVERED EVIDENCE SHOULD BE
ALLOWED.
To corroborate the statements of Ma. Elena Dinglasan, Encarnacion Vda. De Dinglasan on her part, narrated under oath
that her late husband used to bring some of Elmyrasdocuments home to work on at night and after her husbands death
in 1994, such documents were kept inside a box and left somewhere in one corner of their house. It was only when a The pertinent provision of the Revised Rules of Court reads:
minor renovation was made therein several years after her husband passed away that she was able to chance upon the
said documents again. The said documents were turned over to Dinglasan on 21 October 2000. It was later discovered Rule 124 Procedure in the Court of Appeals.
that the said documents include the transmittal letter dated 8 October 1985 sent by Ma. Elena Dinglasan to Antrom.[18]
Section 14. Motion for New Trial. At any time after the appeal from the lower court has been perfected and before the
In contrast, private respondent Antrom contends that the Petition for New Trial and/or Reopening of the Case based on judgment of the Court of Appeals convicting the accused becomes final, the latter may move for a new trial on the ground
newly discovered evidence should be dismissed on the ground that the same is procedurally and substantially defective.[19] of newly discovered evidence material to his defense. The motion shall conform to the provisions of section 4 Rule 121.
(Emphasis supplied.)
Elaborating, Antrom claims that under the Revised Rules of Court, the Motion for New Trial should be filed at any time
after the appeal from the lower court has been perfected and before the judgment of the appellate court convicting the
accused becomes final. The judgment of this Court in G.R. No. 137800 dated 28 June 1999 became final Explicit from the above stated rule that a Motion for New Trial should be filed before the judgment of the appellate court
and executory on 14 October 1999 as evidenced by the Entry of Judgment. The present petition, on the other hand, was convicting the accused becomes final.
filed only on 30 October 2000 or a year after the finality of the decision in G.R. No. 137800. The filing of the instant action,
therefore, has already prescribed.[20] While Dinglasan agrees with the above stated rules that the instant petition should be filed before the finality of the
Moreover, Antrom continues, considering for the sake of argument that the instant action was filed within the judgment convicting the appellant, he, however argues that judgment attains finality only upon the receipt of the order
reglementary period, still, the petition must fail for the requisites for newly discovered evidence as ground for new trial or resolution denying his second motion for reconsideration.
46

Dinglasan further asseverates that this petition was belatedly made because the evidence sought to be admitted were not
Dinglasans argument is without merit. available at the time the instant petition should have been filed. Accordingly, he claims that this evidence falls within the
purview of newly discovered evidence as contemplated by law.
Let it be recalled that Dinglasans Motion for Leave to File Second Motion for Reconsideration was denied by this Court as
the subject matter thereof is a prohibited pleading and that the Motion for Reconsideration was merely noted without The pertinent provision of the Revised Rules of Court reads:
action. This order is issued pursuant to En Banc Resolution dated 7 April 1999 which prohibits any motion for leave to file
a second motion for reconsideration and was further emphasized by the provision of the Revised Rules of Court which Rule 121 New Trial or Reconsideration.
provides that:
Sec. 2. Grounds for a new trial. The court shall grant a new trial on any of the following grounds:
Rule 52. Motion for Reconsideration. (a) That errors of law or irregularities prejudicial to the substantial rights of the accused have been committed during
the trial;
Section 2. Second Motion for Reconsideration. No second motion for reconsideration of a judgment or a final resolution (b) That new and material evidence has been discovered which the accused could not with reasonable diligence have
by the same party shall be entertained. discovered and produced at the trial and which if introduced and admitted would probably change the judgment.

This prohibition is justified by public policy which demands that at the risk of occasional errors, judgments of courts must The requisites for newly discovered evidence under Section 2, Rule 121 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure are:
become final at some definitive date fixed by law.[23] (a) the evidence was discovered after the trial; (b) such evidence could not have been discovered and produced at the
trial with reasonable diligence; and (c) that it is material, not merely cumulative, corroborative or impeaching, and is of
To rule that finality of judgment shall be reckoned from the receipt of the resolution or order denying the second motion such weight that, if admitted, will probably change the judgment.[26]
for reconsideration would result to an absurd situation whereby courts will be obliged to issue orders or resolutions
denying what is a prohibited motion in the first place, in order that the period for the finality of judgments shall run, These standards, also known as the Berry Rule, trace their origin to the 1851 case of Berry v. State of Georgia[27] where the
thereby, prolonging the disposition of cases. Moreover, such a ruling would allow a party to forestall the running of the Supreme Court of Georgia held:
period of finality of judgments by virtue of filing a prohibited pleading; such a situation is not only illogical but also unjust
to the winning party. Applications for new trial on account of newly discovered evidence, are not favored by the Courts. x x x Upon the following
points there seems to be a pretty general concurrence of authority, viz; that it is incumbent on a party who asks for a new
It bears stressing further that on 14 October 1999, the Resolution of this Court in G.R. No. 137800 dated 28 June trial, on the ground of newly discovered evidence, to satisfy the Court, 1st. That the evidence has come to his knowledge
1999 became final and executory as evidenced by the Entry of Judgment according to the pertinent provision of the since the trial. 2d. That it was not owing to the want of due diligence that it did not come sooner. 3d. That it is so material
Revised Rules of Court, which reads: that it would produce a different verdict, if the new trial were granted. 4th. That it is not cumulative only - viz; speaking to
facts, in relation to which there was evidence on the trial. 5th. That the affidavit of the witness himself should be produced,
Rule 51. - Judgment. or its absence accounted for. And 6th, a new trial will not be granted, if the only object of the testimony is to impeach the
character or credit of a witness.
Sec. 10. Entry of judgments and final resolutions. If no appeal or motion for new trial or reconsideration is filed within the
time provided in these Rules, the judgment or final resolution shall forthwith be entered by the clerk in the book of entries
of judgments. The date when the judgment or final resolution becomes executory shall be deemed as the date of its These guidelines have since been followed by our courts in determining the propriety of motions for new trial based on
entry. The record shall contain the dispositive part of the judgment or final resolution and shall be signed by the clerk, newly discovered evidence.
with a certificate that such judgment or final resolution has become final and executory.
It should be emphasized that the applicant for new trial has the burden of showing that the new evidence he seeks to
present has complied with the requisites to justify the holding of a new trial.[28]
After the judgment or final resolution is entered in the entries of judgment, the case shall be laid to rest. A decision that
acquired finality becomes immutable and unalterable and it may no longer be modified in any respect even if the The threshold question in resolving a motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence is whether
modification is meant to correct erroneous conclusions of fact or law and whether it will be made by the court that the proferred evidence is in fact a newly discovered evidence which could not have been discovered by due diligence. The
rendered it or by the highest court of the land.[24] question of whether evidence is newly discovered has two aspects: a temporal one, i.e., when was the evidence
discovered, and a predictive one, i.e., when should or could it have been discovered.[29]
Very clearly, the filing of the instant Petition for New Trial and/or Reopening of the Case on 30 October 2000 was made
way beyond the prescriptive period for doing so.The claim of Dinglasan that he honestly believed that this Court will Applying the foregoing test, Dinglasan insists, and the affidavits of
appreciate his defense of payment as reiterated in his Second Motion for Reconsideration which was why he deemed it Ma. Elena Dinglasan and Encarnacion Vda. De Dinglasan attest, that the transmittal letter dated 8 October 1985 was
pre-mature to file the instant petition before receiving the Courts ruling on the said motion, could not be given credence. discovered recently or just before the time the affidavits were executed on 23 October 2000. The records, however, show
otherwise.
The finality of decision is a jurisdictional event which cannot be made to depend on the convenience of the party. To rule
otherwise would completely negate the purpose of the rule on completeness of service, which is to place the date of In CA-G.R. CR No. 14138, it appears that the appellate court already considered that transmittal letter dated 8 October
receipt of pleadings, judgment and processes beyond the power of the party being served to determine at his pleasure.[25] 1985 in rendering its Decision dated 26 October 1998. The pertinent portion of the Decision reads:
47

It appears, however, that in accused-appellants letter dated October 10, 1986, (Exhibit B) no mention was made of the against her reads:
two (2) managers checks, considering that at least one of the two (2), both dated October 8, 1988 (pp. 2-3, Records) was
allegedly given to private complainant on the said date (pp. 69-70, Ibid.). Instead a proposal wherein payment in kind That on or about the 2nd day of October 2003, in the municipality of Jagna, province of Bohol, Philippines and within the
or dacion en pago was offered by accused-appellant. Also, the trial court correctly noted that, x x x accused is a lawyer jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with intent to prejudice a juridical person, did then and
and a businessman. He will not part of more than one million pesos, in the form of managers checks, as replacement of a there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously falsify a commercial receipt No. 6729 of Garden Cafe, Jagna, Bohol, by making
check that bounced, without any supporting document. (p. 8, Decision, Criminal Case No. 21238). an alteration or intercalation in the said receipt No. 6729 from EIGHT HUNDRED TEN PESOS (P810.00) to ONE THOUSAND
EIGHT HUNDRED TEN PESOS (P1,810.00) and thereafter accused used the said receipt to claim reimbursement with DKT
We are in accord with the findings of the lower court that there is no evidence establishing that accused-appellant asked Philippines, Inc. represented by Atty. Edgar Borje and accused as a result of which received the amount of P1,810.00 to
for the return of the Combank Check in the same way that the PTB Check had been returned, other than stating in his her own benefit; to the damage and prejudice of the offended party in the amount to be proved during trial. Acts
letter of October 8, 1985 that said check had been considered cancelled (p. 69, Records), and after the Combank Check committed contrary to the provision of Article 172, No. 2, in relation to Article 171, No. 6 of the Revised Penal Code.
had already bounced. (p. 10, Brief for Accused-Appellant). Its quite absurd that accused-appellant would replace
the Combank Check with an amount more than the P515,000.00, if the whole indebtedness was still subject to final Tagbilaran City, (for Jagna, Bohol) February 10, 2005.[4]
liquidation. As evidenced by the voucher (Exhibit 5) accused-appellant issued Combank Check in exchange for PTB Check. On August 1, 2005, Navaja filed a Motion to Quash and Defer Arraignment[5] on the ground that none of the essential
Hence, it is quite quizzical why accused-appellant did not ask for the return of the Combank check after having issued two elements of the crime of falsification of private document occurred in Jagna, Bohol, hence, the MCTC had no jurisdiction
(2) managers check.[30] (Emphasis supplied.) to take cognizance of the case due to improper venue.

In the Order dated November 2, 2005, the MCTC denied the motion to quash and set the case for arraignment, the decretal
Verily, the claim of Dinglasan that the alleged evidence sought to be presented in this case was recently discovered is a portion of the Order reads:
falsity. It is a desperate attempt to mislead this Court to give due course to a cause that has long been
lost. Dinglasan appeals for the compassion of this Court but never did so in good faith. It is contrary to human experience WHEREFORE, the motion is DENIED, but considering however that accused has already submitted themselves to the
to have overlooked an evidence which was decisively claimed to have such significance that might probably change the jurisdiction of the court by filing cash bond for their respective temporary liberty, set this case for ARRAIGNMENT on
judgment. November 22, 2005, at 10:00 o'clock in the morning at the Session Hall, 10th MCTC, Jagna, Bohol.

The records are very clear. The transmittal letter dated 8 October 1985 was already offered as evidence in CA-G.R. CR No. The previous Court Order setting these cases for arraignment on November 09, 2005, is hereby set aside.
14138 and was even annexed to the Petition for Review filed before the Court of Appeals as Annex B. Irrefragably, the
letter dated 8 October 1985 is not newly discovered. It is an attempt to raise again a defense which was already weighed SO ORDERED.[6]
by the appellate court. A contrary ruling may open the floodgates to an endless review of decisions, where losing litigants, Navaja filed a motion for reconsideration of the November 2, 2005 Order, but the MCTC denied it in a Resolution[7] dated
in delaying the disposition of cases, invoke evidence already presented, whether through a motion for reconsideration or January 24, 2006.
for a new trial, in guise of newly discovered evidence.
Navaja filed a petition for certiorari[8] before the RTC, assailing the November 2, 2005 Order and January 24, 2006
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition is DISMISSED. Costs against the petitioner. Resolution of the MCTC for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion.

SO ORDERED. On September 21, 2006, the RTC issued an Order denying the petition for certiorari for lack of legal basis or merit.[9] On
Navaja's contention that the case for falsification of private document against her was filed with the MCTC which has no
jurisdiction due to wrong venue, hence, the RTC ruled:

The contention of the petitioner is untenable. As correctly pointed out by the MCTC, the improper venue was already
PERALTA, J.: resolved squarely by the Regional State Prosecutor when he held that there are sufficient evidences (sic) indicating that
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the Decision[1] dated August 28, the falsification took place in Jagna.
2007 and the Resolution[2] dated May 7, 2008 rendered by the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 02353, which
affirmed the Order dated September 21, 2006 issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Loay, Bohol, Branch 50, in SP This court notes that in that particular resolution, reference was made to the sworn statement of Ms. Cherly Lavaro who
Civil Action No. 0356. narrated that after she issued the receipt to Ms. Navaja, the latter borrowed her pen and in her presence wrote something
on the said receipt. The Regional State Prosecutor then concluded that Ms. Lavaro's statement describes an apparent
The factual antecedents are as follows: scheme or pattern of altering receipts right after issuance. The borrowing of the cashier's pen and the use thereof must
have been intended to create an impression that the receipt was prepared by the cashier herself.
The instant case arose from a Complaint-Affidavit[3] filed by private respondent DKT Philippines, Inc., represented by Atty.
Edgar Borje, against petitioner Ana Lou B. Navaja, alleging that while she was still its Regional Sales Manager, she falsified In the same affidavit, Ms. Lavaro corroborated the affidavit of another witness, which categorically states that Ms. Navaja
a receipt by making it appear that she incurred meal expenses in the amount of P1,810.00, instead of the actual amount was in Jagna when the questioned receipt was issued.
of P810.00, at Garden Cafe, Jagna, Bohol, and claimed reimbursement for it.
If the court were to follow the logic of the petition, her claim that her request for reimbursement was made in Cebu City
Navaja is charged with the crime of falsification of private document before the Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) of not in Jagna, Bohol, would likewise give no showing or indication that the falsification was done in Cebu City. In other
Jagna-Garcia-Hernandez, Bohol, docketed as Criminal Case No. 2904. The accusatory portion of the Information filed words, the said contention would necessarily result in a neither here no there situation.[10]
48

Navaja elevated the case on appeal with the CA. In determining the venue where the criminal action is to be instituted and the court which has jurisdiction over it, Section
15(a), Rule 110 of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides:
In the Decision dated August 28, 2007, the CA dismissed Navaja's appeal and affirmed in toto the September 21, 2006 RTC
Order. (a) Subject to existing laws, the criminal action shall be instituted and tried in the court or municipality or territory where
the offense was committed or where any of its essential ingredients occurred.
Navaja filed a motion for reconsideration but the CA denied it in the Resolution dated May 7, 2008. Aggrieved, she filed Section 10, Rule 110 of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure pertinently states:
the instant petition for review on certiorari, raising the following issues:
Place of commission of the offense. The complaint or information is sufficient if it can be understood from its allegations
I. THE MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT OF JAGNA, BOHOL[,] DOES NOT HAVE JURISDICTION OVER THE INSTANT CRIMINAL CASE. that the offense was committed or some of its essential ingredients occurred at some place within the jurisdiction of the
court, unless the particular place where it was committed constitutes an essential element of the offense charged or is
i. Not one of the essential elements of the alleged crime of falsification of a private document was committed in Jagna, necessary for its identification.
Bohol. In Union Bank of the Philippines v. People,[16] the Court said that both provisions categorically place the venue and
jurisdiction over criminal cases not only in the court where the offense was committed, but also where any of its essential
ii. Venue in criminal cases is jurisdictional and cannot be presumed or established from the alleged acts of the petitioner ingredients took place. In other words, the venue of action and of jurisdiction are deemed sufficiently alleged where the
on a totally different and unrelated time and occasion. Information states that the offense was committed or some of its essential ingredients occurred at a place within the
territorial jurisdiction of the court.
iii. The strict rules on venue in criminal cases were established for the protection of the rights of the accused and to prevent
undue harassment and oppression. In cases of falsification of private documents, the venue is the place where the document is actually falsified, to the
II. HEREIN PETITIONER PROPERLY AVAILED OF THE REMEDY OF FILING A PETITION FOR CERTIORARI IN QUESTIONING prejudice of or with the intent to prejudice a third person, regardless whether or not the falsified document is put to the
IMPROPER VENUE IN THE INSTANT CASE. improper or illegal use for which it was intended.[17]

III. SETTLED LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE CLEARLY PERMITS THE FILING OF A PETITION FOR CERTIORARI TO QUESTION THE Contrary to Navaja's argument that the MCTC of Jagna, Bohol, has no jurisdiction over the case because not one of the
DENIAL OF A MOTION TO QUASH.[11] essential elements of falsification of private document was committed within its jurisdiction, the allegations in the
The petition lacks merit. Information and the complaint-affidavit make out a prima facie case that such crime was committed in Jagna, Bohol. In
particular, the Information clearly alleged that she committed such crime thereat, to wit:
On the substantive issue of whether the MCTC of Jagna, Bohol, has jurisdiction over her case for falsification of a private
document, Navaja argues that not one of the three (3) essential elements[12] of such crime was shown to have been That on or about the 2nd day of October 2003, in the municipality of Jagna, province of Bohol, Philippines and within the
committed in Jagna, Bohol. She insists that there is no showing in the Information, or even in the complaint-affidavit and jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with intent to prejudice a juridical person, did then and
the annexes thereto that the crime of falsification of a private document was committed or consummated in Jagna, Bohol. there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously falsify a commercial receipt No. 6729 of Garden Cafe, Jagna, Bohol, by making
In particular, the allegation in the complaint-affidavit that the subject receipt was issued by Garden Cafe in Jagna, Bohol, an alteration or intercalation in the said receipt No. 6729 from EIGHT HUNDRED TEN PESOS (P810.00) to ONE THOUSAND
cannot determine the venue because the place of issuance of the receipt is not an element of the said crime. It was also EIGHT HUNDRED TEN PESOS (P1,810.00) and thereafter accused used the said receipt to claim reimbursement with DKT
impossible for her to have committed the crime in Jagna, Bohol, because the alleged request for reimbursement under Philippines, Inc. represented by Atty. Edgar Borje and accused as a result of which received the amount of P1,810.00 to
the Weekly Travel Expense Report for September 29 to October 4, 2003, was prepared and submitted on October 6, 2003 her own benefit; to the damage and prejudice of the offended party in the amount to be proved during trial. xxx[18]
in Cebu City, while the subject receipt was issued on October 2, 2003 by Garden Cafe in Jagna, Bohol. She further insists Likewise, the Complaint-Affidavit dated February 18, 2004 alleged that the she committed the said crime in Jagna,
that at the time of the issuance of the subject receipt on October 2, 2003, the element of damage was absent, hence, Bohol, viz:
there is no crime of falsification of private document to speak of. She explains that any damage that private respondent
could have suffered would only occur when it pays the request for reimbursement in the Travel Expense Report submitted 4. Among the expenses she reimbursed from DKT is the amount of Php1,810.00 she supposedly incurred at Garden's
on October 6, 2003, but not before that date, much less at time of the issuance of the said receipt. Cafe, Jagna branch. Photocopy of the receipt dated 02 October 2003 she sent to the DKT office in Metro Manila is hereto
attached as Annex C.
Navaja's arguments are misplaced.
5. However, upon recent field investigation of Navaja's expenses in Bohol, it was found that the actual amount she incurred
Venue in criminal cases is an essential element of jurisdiction.[13] This principle was explained by the Court in Foz, Jr. v. at Garden's (sic) Cafe is only Php810.00 Photocopy of the duplicate original official receipt (pink copy) certified true and
People,[14]thus: correct by the cashier of Garden's Cafe, Jagna is hereto attached as Annex D.

It is a fundamental rule that for jurisdiction to be acquired by courts in criminal cases the offense should have been 6. Evidently, Navaja falsified the receipt in Bohol upon receiving it with the intent of causing damage to DKT.[19]
committed or any one of its essential ingredients took place within the territorial jurisdiction of the court. Territorial Guided by the settled rule that the jurisdiction of the court is determined by the allegations of the complaint or information
jurisdiction in criminal cases is the territory where the court has jurisdiction to take cognizance or to try the offense and not by the result of proof[20], the Court holds that Navaja's case for falsification of private document falls within the
allegedly committed therein by the accused. Thus, it cannot take jurisdiction over a person charged with an offense territorial jurisdiction of the MCTC of Jagna, Bohol.
allegedly committed outside of that limited territory. Furthermore, the jurisdiction of a court over the criminal case is
determined by the allegations in the complaint or information. And once it is so shown, the court may validly take Meanwhile, Navaja's defense that it was impossible for her to have committed the crime in Jagna, Bohol, cannot be
cognizance of the case. However, if the evidence adduced during the trial show that the offense was committed sustained at this point where the prosecution has yet to present evidence to prove the material allegations of the charge
somewhere else, the court should dismiss the action for want of jurisdiction.[15] against her, which include the place where the subject receipt was falsified. However, given that the defense of lack of
jurisdiction due to improper venue may be raised at any stage of the proceeding, the Court stresses that if the evidence
49

adduced during the trial would show that the crime was indeed committed outside its territorial jurisdiction, the MCTC respondent;
should dismiss the case based on such ground.
(j) When the findings of fact are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the evidence on
On Navaja's claim that there is no crime of falsification of private document to speak of because at the time of the issuance record; or
of the subject receipt on October 2, 2003, the element of damage was absent, the Court sustains the RTC ruling that such
damage need not be present, as Article 172 (2)[21] of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, states that mere intent to cause (k) When the CA manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties, which, if properly considered,
such damage is sufficient.[22] would justify a different conclusion.[27]
Navaja failed to show that any of these circumstances is present.
Navaja further contends that the CA's reliance on the findings of the Regional State Prosecutor as to the sworn statement
of a certain Cheryl Labarro[23] for purposes of determining venue was misplaced, as her sworn statement pertains to an It also bears emphasis that the factual findings of the appellate court generally are conclusive, and carry even more weight
incident in Miravilla Resort in Tagbilaran City, which was entirely separate and distinct from the facts material to the case. when said court affirms the findings of the trial court, absent any showing that the findings are totally devoid of support
She adds that the CA's reliance on the said statement in upholding the venue of the case clearly runs afoul with the in the records, or that they are so glaringly erroneous as to constitute grave abuse of discretion.[28] In this case, the CA,
provisions of Section 34, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.[24] She submits that nowhere in the Rules of Court is it allowed the RTC and the MCTC all agree that the issue of improper venue was already resolved by the Regional State Prosecutor
that the actions of the accused on a different occasion maybe used to confer venue in another case, since venue must be when he held that there are sufficient evidences (sic) indicating that the falsification took place in Jagna.[29] The Court
determined solely and exclusively on the facts obtaining in the instant case and cannot be inferred or presumed from perceives no compelling reason to disturb such factual finding.
other collateral allegations.
Anent Navaja's claim that the MCTC simply made reference to the findings of the Regional State Prosecutor without
The Court finds no merit in Navaja's foregoing contentions which boil down to the factual issue of whether the crime of specifying the factual and legal bases of its resolution, the Court finds that the RTC had squarely addressed such issue as
falsification of private document was committed in Jagna, Bohol or in Cebu City. follows:

Section 1, Rule 45 of the Rules of Court states that petitions for review on certiorari "shall raise only questions of law which This court notes that in that particular resolution, reference was made to the sworn statement of Ms. Cherly Lavaro who
must be distinctly set forth." In Pagsibigan v. People, et al.,[25] the Court held: narrated that after she issued the receipt to Ms. Navaja, the latter borrowed her pen and in her presence wrote something
on the said receipt. The Regional State Prosecutor then concluded that Ms. Lavaro's statement describes an apparent
A petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court should cover only questions of law. Questions of fact are not scheme or pattern of altering receipts right after issuance. The borrowing of the cashier's pen and the use thereof must
reviewable. A question of law exists when the doubt centers on what the law is on a certain set of facts. A question of fact have been intended to create an impression that the receipt was prepared by the cashier herself.
exists when the doubt centers on the truth or falsity of the alleged facts.
In the same affidavit, Ms. Lavaro corroborated the affidavit of another witness, which categorically states that Ms. Navaja
There is a question of law if the issue raised is capable of being resolved without need of reviewing the probative value of was in Jagna when the questioned receipt was issued.
the evidence. The issue to be resolved must be limited to determining what the law is on a certain set of facts. Once the
issue invites a review of the evidence, the question posed is one of fact. If the court were to follow the logic of the petition, her claim that her request for reimbursement was made in Cebu City
Whether the crime of falsification of private document was committed in Jagna, Bohol or in Cebu City, is a question of not in Jagna, Bohol, would likewise give no showing or indication that the falsification was done in Cebu City. In other
fact. Indeed, in the exercise of its power of review, the Court is not a trier of facts and, subject to certain exceptions, it words, the said contention would necessarily result in a neither here no there situation.[30]
does not normally undertake the re-examination of the evidence presented by the parties during trial.[26] In certain On Navaja's argument that the CA's reliance on Labarro's[31] aforesaid statement in upholding the venue of the case
exceptional cases, however, the Court may be urged to probe and resolve factual issues, viz: violates Section 34, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court,[32] the Court holds that such evidentiary rule has no bearing in
determining the place where the crime was committed for purposes of filing a criminal information which merely requires
(a) When the findings are grounded entirely on speculation, surmises, or conjectures; the existence of probable cause. In Fenequito v. Vergara, Jr.,[33] the Court expounded on the concept of probable cause in
this wise:
(b) When the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd, or impossible;
Probable cause, for the purpose of filing a criminal information, has been defined as such facts as are sufficient to engender
(c) When there is grave abuse of discretion; a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and that respondent is probably guilty thereof. The term does not
mean "actual and positive cause" nor does it import absolute certainty. It is merely based on opinion and reasonable belief.
(d) When the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; Probable cause does not require an inquiry into whether there is sufficient evidence to procure a conviction. It is enough
that it is believed that the act or omission complained of constitutes the offense charged.
(e) When the findings of facts are conflicting;
A finding of probable cause needs only to rest on evidence showing that, more likely than not, a crime has been committed
(f) When in making its findings the CA went beyond the issues of the case, or its findings are contrary to the admissions of by the suspects. It need not be based on clear and convincing evidence of guilt, not on evidence establishing guilt beyond
both the appellant and the appellee; reasonable doubt, and definitely not on evidence establishing absolute certainty of guilt. In determining probable cause,
the average man weighs facts and circumstances without resorting to the calibrations of the rules of evidence of which he
(g) When the CAs findings are contrary to those by the trial court; has no technical knowledge. He relies on common sense. What is determined is whether there is sufficient ground to
engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed, and that the accused is probably guilty thereof and
(h) When the findings are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based; should be held for trial. It does not require an inquiry as to whether there is sufficient evidence to secure a conviction.[34]
Also, Navaja insists that the rule on venue should have been construed liberally in favor her favor as the accused, and
(i) When the facts set forth in the petition, as well as in the petitioners main and reply briefs, are not disputed by the strictly against private respondent, given its purpose of preventing harassment and inconvenience by compelling the
50

accused to appear in a different court from that of the province where the crime was committed. Yet, private respondent rendered, the remedy is not to resort forthwith to certiorari, but to continue with the case in due course and, when an
willfully chose to prosecute separately the other cases for falsification of private document against her in different unfavorable verdict is handed down, to take an appeal in the manner authorized by law.
jurisdictions, namely, Cebu City, Bacolod City, Iloilo City and Tagbilaran, Bohol, to harass and drain her financial resources, On a number of occasions, however, Court had sanctioned a writ of certiorari as an appropriate remedy to assail an
when all these criminal cases, involving minimal amounts of actual damages,[35] should have been filed in one (1) criminal interlocutory order in the following circumstances:
jurisdiction to avoid multiplicity of actions.
(1) when the court issued the order without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion;
The Court overrules Navaja's assertions, and upholds the RTC's sound ruling thereon:
(2) when the interlocutory order is patently erroneous and the remedy of appeal would not afford adequate and
The petitioner's insistence that all the criminal complaints filed against her should be filed in one jurisdiction would be a expeditious relief;
blatant violation of the law on jurisdiction as one cannot file a criminal case other than where the offense was allegedly
committed. (3) in the interest of a more enlightened and substantial justice;

In short, if it so happens that several offenses are alleged to have been committed in different venues, then it is just (4) to promote public welfare and public policy; and
unfortunate that whatever complaints have to be filed, will have to filed in those different venues. To do otherwise would
be procedurally fatal.[36] (5) when the cases have attracted nationwide attention, making it essential to proceed with dispatch in the consideration
To stress, in criminal proceedings, improper venue is lack of jurisdiction because venue in criminal cases is an essential thereof.[43]
element of jurisdiction.[37] Unlike in a civil case where venue may be waived, this could not be done in a criminal case As can be gleaned from the Court's discussion on the substantive issue of the case, Navaja failed to prove that any of the
because it is an element of jurisdiction. Thus, one cannot be held to answer for any crime committed by him except in the said special circumstances obtains in this case, let alone the grave abuse of discretion she imputed against the MCTC.
jurisdiction where it was committed. Be that as it may, Section 5 (4), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution provides that the Hence, the CA did not err in affirming the RTC ruling that the MCTC correctly denied her motion to quash.
Court has the power to order a change of venue or place of trial to avoid a miscarriage of justice. Consequently, where
there are serious and weighty reasons present, which would prevent the court of original jurisdiction from conducting a Finally, the remaining factual issues raised by the parties need not be discussed further, as they are properly resolved in
fair and impartial trial, the Court has been mandated to order a change of venue so as to prevent a miscarriage of due course of the proceedings in the instant case before the MCTC and, when an unfavorable verdict is handed down, to
justice.[38] That private respondent filed several criminal cases for falsification in different jurisdictions, which unduly take an appeal in the manner authorized by law.
forced Navaja to spend scarce resources to defend herself in faraway places can hardly be considered as compelling reason
which would prevent the MCTC from conducting a fair and impartial trial. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The Court of Appeals Decision dated August 28, 2007 and the Resolution
dated May 7, 2008 in CA G.R. SP No. 02353 are AFFIRMED.
Besides, it is erroneous for Navaja to argue that the separate filing of the falsification cases she allegedly committed in
different jurisdictions would result in multiplicity of actions. Such separate filing of cases is only consistent with the SO ORDERED.
principles that there are as many acts of falsification as there are documents falsified[39] and that the venue of such cases G.R. No. 220598
is where the document was actually falsified[40]. GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO, Petitioner,
vs.
The Court now resolves the second and third procedural issues. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND THE SANDIGANBAYAN, (First Division), Respondents
RESOLUTION
On the second issue, Navaja states that she did not commit a grave procedural error in filing a petition for certiorari from BERSAMIN,, J.:
the denial of her motion to quash. She posits that venue is an element of the jurisdiction of the court over the subject On July 19, 2016, the Court promulgated its decision, disposing:
matter of a criminal proceeding, and that lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter may be interposed at any stage of WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petitions for certiorari; ANNULS and SETS ASIDE the resolutions issued in Criminal
the proceeding. Thus, even if a party fails to file a motion to quash, the accused may still question the jurisdiction of the Case No. SB-12-CRM-0174 by the Sandiganbayan on April 6, 2015 and September 10, 2015; GRANTSthe petitioners'
court later on, and such objection may be raised or considered motu propio by the court at any stage of the proceeding respective demurrers to evidence; DISMISSES Criminal Case No. SB-12-CRM-0174 as to the
or on appeal. petitioners GLORIAMACAPAGAL-ARROYO and BENIGNOAGUAS for insufficiency of evidence; ORDERS the immediate
release from detention of said petitioners; and MAKES no pronouncements on costs of suit.
On the third issue, Navaja asserts that the Supreme Court has allowed the filing of a petition for certiorari to question the SO ORDERED. 1
denial of a motion to quash in cases where grave abuse of discretion was patently committed, or when the lower court On August 3, 2016, the State, through the Office of the Ombudsman, has moved for the reconsideration of the decision,
acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction. She claims that not only did the lower court commit grave abuse of discretion submitting that:
in denying the motion to quash, but there is likewise the issue of improper venue that need to be settled with finality and I. THIS HONORABLE COURT'S GIVING DUE COURSE TO A CERTIORARI ACTION ASSAILING AN INTERLOCUTORY ORDER
dispatch. In support of her assertion, she cites a ruling[41] that when the court has no jurisdiction at the time of the filing DENYING DEMURRER TO EVIDENCE VIOLA TES RULE 119, SECTION 23 OF THE RULES OF COURT, WHICH PROVIDES THAT
of the complaint, the court should dismiss the case, instead of ordering its transfer. AN ORDER DENYING THE DEMURRER TO EVIDENCE SHALL NOT BE REVIEWABLE BY APPEAL OR BY
CERTIORARI BEFORE JUDGMENT.
Apropos to the second and third procedural issues is Querijero v. Palmes-Limitar[42] where the Court reiterated the II. THE HONORABLE COURT COMMITTED GRAVE ERRORS WHICH AMOUNT TO A VIOLATION OR DEPRIVATION OF THE
fundamental principle that an order denying a motion to quash is interlocutory and, therefore, not appealable, nor can it STATE'S FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS OF LAW.
be the subject of a petition for certiorari, thus: A. THE DECISION REQUIRES ADDITIONAL ELEMENTS IN THE PROSECUTION OF PLUNDER, VIZ. IDENTIFICATION OF THE
MAIN PLUNDERER AND PERSONAL BENEFIT TO HIM/HER, BOTH OF WHICH ARE NOT PROVIDED IN THE TEXT OF REPUBLIC
In Zamoranos v. People, this Court emphasized that a special civil action for certiorari is not the proper remedy to assail ACT (R.A.) NO. 7080.
the denial of a motion to quash an information. The established rule is that, when such an adverse interlocutory order is
51

B. THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED BY THE PROSECUTION WAS NOT FULLY TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT, INCLUDING BUT NOT their conviction they may then appeal the conviction, and assign the denial as among the errors to be reviewed. Indeed,
LIMITED TO THE IRREGULARITIES IN THE CONFIDENTIAL/INTELLIGENCE FUND (CIF) DISBURSEMENT PROCESS, it is doctrinal that the situations in which the writ of certiorari may issue should not be limited, because to do so -
QUESTIONABLE PRACTICE OF CO-MINGLING OF FUNDS AND AGUAS' REPORTS TO THE COMMISSION ON AUDIT (COA) x x x would be to destroy its comprehensiveness and usefulness. So wide is the discretion of the com1 that authority is not
THAT BULK OF THE PHP365,997,915.00 WITHDRAWN FROM THE PHILIPPINE CHARITY SWEEPSTAKES OFFICE'S (PCSO) CIF wanting to show that certiorari is more discretionary than either prohibition or mandamus. In the exercise of
WERE DIVERTED TO THE ARROYO-HEADED OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT. oursuperintending control over other courts, we are to be guided by all the circumstances of each particular case 'as the
C. ARROYO AND AGUAS, BY INDISPENSABLE COOPERATION, IN CONSPIRACY WITH THEIR COACCUSED IN SB-12-CRM-0174, ends of justice may require.' So it is that the writ will be granted where necessary to prevent a substantial wrong or to do
COMMITTED PLUNDER VIA A COMPLEX ILLEGAL SCHEME WHICH DEFRAUDED PCSO IN HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF substantial justice.
PESOS. The Constitution itself has imposed upon the Court and the other courts of justice the duty to correct errors of jurisdiction
D. EVEN ASSUMING THAT THE ELEMENTS OF PLUNDER WERE NOT PROVEN BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT, THE EVIDENCE as a result of capricious, arbitrary, whimsical and despotic exercise of discretion by expressly incorporating in Section 1 of
PRESENTED BY THE PEOPLE SHOWS, BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT, THAT ARROYO, AGUAS AND THEIR COACCUSED IN SB- Article VIII the following provision:
12-CRM-0174 ARE GUILTY OF MALVERSATION.2 Section 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.
In contrast, the petitioners submit that the decision has effectively barred the consideration and granting of the motion Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally
for reconsideration of the State because doing so would amount to the re-prosecution or revival of the charge against demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to
them despite their acquittal, and would thereby violate the constitutional proscription against double jeopardy. lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. The exercise of this power
Petitioner Gloria M. Macapagal-Arroyo (Arroyo) points out that the State miserably failed to prove the corpus delicti of to correct grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality
plunder; that the Court correctly required the identification of the main plunderer as well as personal benefit on the part of the Government cannot be thwarted by rules of procedure to the contrary or for the sake of the convenience of one
of the raider of the public treasury to enable the successful prosecution of the crime of plunder; that the State did not side. This is because the Court has the bounden constitutional duty to strike down grave abuse of
prove the conspiracy that justified her inclusion in the charge; that to sustain the case for malversation against her, in lieu discretion whenever and wherever it is committed. Thus, notwithstanding the interlocutory character and effect of the
of plunder, would violate her right to be informed of the accusation against her because the information did not denial of the demurrers to evidence, the petitioners as the accused could avail themselves of the remedy
necessarily include the crime of malversation; and that even if the information did so, the constitutional prohibition against of certiorari when the denial was tainted with grave abuse of discretion. As we shall soon show, the Sandiganbayan as the
double jeopardy already barred the re-opening of the case for that purpose. trial court was guilty of grave abuse of discretion when it capriciously denied the demurrers to evidence despite the
Petitioner Benigno B. Aguas echoes the contentions of Arroyo in urging the Com1 to deny the motion for reconsideration. absence of competent and sufficient evidence to sustain the indictment for plunder, and despite the absence of the factual
In reply, the State avers that the prohibition against double jeopardy does not apply because it was denied its day in court, bases to expect a guilty verdict.3
thereby rendering the decision void; that the Court should re-examine the facts and pieces of evidence in order to find We reiterate the foregoing resolution, and stress that the prohibition contained in Section 23, Rule 119 of the Rules of
the petitioners guilty as charged; and that the allegations of the information sufficiently included all that was necessary to Court is not an insuperable obstacle to the review by the Court of the denial of the demurrer to evidence
fully inform the petitioners of the accusations against them. through certiorari. We have had many rulings to that effect in the past. For instance, in Nicolas v. Sandiganbayan,4the
Ruling of the Court Court expressly ruled that the petition for certiorari was the proper remedy to assail the denial of the demurrer to
The Court DENIES the motion for reconsideration for its lack of merit. evidence that was tainted with grave abuse of discretion or excess of jurisdiction, or oppressive exercise of judicial
To start with, the State argues' that the consolidated petitions for certiorari were improper remedies in light of Section authority.
23, Rule 119 of the Rules of Court expressly prohibiting the review of the denial of their demurrer prior to the judgment Secondly, the State submits that its right to due process was violated because the decision imposed additional elements
in the case either by appeal or by certiorari; that the Court has thereby limited its own power, which should necessarily for plunder that neither ' Republic Act No. 7080 nor jurisprudence had theretofore required, i.e., the identification of the
prevent the giving of due course to the petitions for certiorari, as well as the undoing of the order denying the petitioners' main plunderer, and personal benefit on the part of the accused committing the predicate crime of raid on the public
demurrer to evidence; that the proper remedy under the Rules of Court was for the petitioners to proceed to trial and to treasury. The State complains that it was not given the opportunity to establish such additional elements; that the
present their evidence-in-chief thereat; and that even if there had been grave abuse of discretion attending the denial, imposition of new elements fu1iher amounted to judicial legislation in violation of the doctrine of separation of powers;
the Court's certiorari powers should be exercised only upon the petitioners' compliance with the stringent requirements that the Court nitpicked on the different infirmities of the information despite the issue revolving only around the
of Rule 65, particularly with the requirement that there be no plain, speedy or adequate remedy in the ordinary course of sufficiency of the evidence; and that it established all the elements of plunder beyond reasonable doubt.
law, which they did not establish. The State cites the plain meaning rule to highlight that the crime of plunder did not require personal benefit on the part
Section 23, Rule 119 of the Rules of Court, pertinently provides: of the raider of the public treasury. It insists that the definition of raids on the public treasury, conformably with the plain
Section 23. Demurrer to evidence. xxx meaning rule, is the taking of public money through fraudulent or unlawful means, and such definition does not require
xxxx enjoyment or personal benefit on the part of plunderer or on the part of any of his co-conspirators for them to be
The order denying the motion for leave of court to file demurrer to evidence or the demurrer itself shall not be reviewable convicted for plunder.
by appeal or by certiorari before judgment. (n) The submissions of the State are unfounded.
The argument of the State, which is really a repetition of its earlier submission, was squarely resolved in the decision, as The requirements for the identification of the main plunderer and for personal benefit in the predicate act of raids on the
follows: public treasury have been written in R.A. No. 7080 itself as well as embedded in pertinent jurisprudence. This we made
The Court holds that it should take cognizance of the petitions for certiorari because the Sandiganbayan, as shall shortly clear in the decision, as follows:
be demonstrated, gravely abused its discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. A perusal of the information suggests that what the Prosecution sought to show was an implied conspiracy to commit
The special civil action for certiorari is generally not proper to assail such an interlocutory order issued by the trial court plunder among all of the accused on the basis of their collective actions prior to, during and after the implied agreement.
because of the availability of another remedy in the ordinary course of law. Moreover, Section 23, Rule 119 of the Rules It is notable that the Prosecution did not allege that the conspiracy among all of the accused was by express agreement,
of Court expressly provides that "the order denying the motion for leave of court to file demurrer to evidence or the or was a wheel conspiracy or a chain conspiracy.
demurrer itself shall not be reviewable by appeal or by certiorari before judgment." It is not an insuperable obstacle to This was another fatal flaw of the Prosecution.
this action, however, that the denial of the demurrers to evidence of the petitioners was an interlocutory order that did In its present version, under which the petitioners were charged, Section 2 of Republic Act No. 7080 (Plunder Law) states:
not terminate the proceedings, and the proper recourse of the demurring accused was to go to trial, and that in case of Section 2. Definition of the Crime of Plunder: Penalties. - Any public officer who, by himself or in connivance with members
of his family, relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business associates, subordinates or other persons, amasses,
52

accumulates or acquires ill-gotten wealth through a combination or series of overt criminal acts as described in Section 1 In particular reference to Criminal Case No. SB-12-CRM-0174, the individuals charged therein - including the petitioners -
(d) hereof in the aggregate amount or total value of at least Fifty million pesos (50,000,000.00) shall be guilty of the were 10 public officials; hence, it was only proper to identify the main plunderer or plunderers among the 10 accused who
crime of plunder and shall be punished by reclusion perpetua to death. Any person who participated with the said public herself or himself had amassed, accumulated, or acquired ill-gotten wealth with the total value of at least 50,000,000.00.
officer in the commission of an offense contributing to the crime of plunder shall likewise be punished for such offense. The phrase raids on the public treasury as used in Section 1 (d) of R. A. No. 7080 is itself ambiguous. In order to ascertain
In the imposition of penalties, the degree of participation and the attendance of mitigating and extenuating circumstances, the objective meaning of the phrase, the act of raiding the public treasury cannot be divided into parts. This is to
as provided by the Revised Penal Code, shall be considered by the court. The court shall declare any and all ill-gotten differentiate the predicate act of raids on the public treasury from other offenses involving property, like robbery, theft,
wealth and their interests and other incomes and assets including the properties and shares of stocks derived from the or estafa. Considering that R.A. No. 7080 does not expressly define this predicate act, the Court has necessarily resorted
deposit or investment thereof forfeited in favor of the State. [As Amended by Section 12, Republic Act No. 7659 (The to statutory construction. In so doing, the Court did not adopt the State's submission that personal benefit on the part of
Death Penalty Law)] the accused need not be alleged and shown because doing so would have defeated the clear intent of the law itself,6 which
Section l(d) of Republic Act No. 7080 provides: was to punish the amassing, accumulating, or acquiring of ill-gotten wealth in the aggregate amount or total value of at
Section 1. Definition of terms. - As used in this Act, the term: least 150,000,000.00 by any combination or series of acts of misappropriation, conversion, misuse, or malversation of
xxxx public funds or raids on the public treasury.
d. "Ill-gotten wealth" means any asset, property, business enterprise or material possession of any person within the As the decision has observed, the rules of statutory construction as well as the deliberations of Congress indicated the
purview of Section two (2) hereof, acquired by him directly or indirectly through dummies, nominees, agents, subordinates intent of Congress to require personal benefit for the predicate act of raids on the public treasury, viz.:
and/or business associates by any combination or series of the following means or similar schemes: The phrase raids on the public treasury is found in Section 1 (d) of R.A. No. 7080, which provides:
1. Through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, or malversation of public funds or raids on the public treasury; Section l .Definition of Terms. xxx
2. By receiving, directly or indirectly, any commission, gift, share, percentage, kickbacks or any/or entity in connection with xxxx
any government contract or project or by reason of the office or position of the public officer concerned; d) Ill-gotten wealth means any asset, prope1iy, business enterprise or material possession of any person within the
3. By the illegal or fraudulent conveyance or disposition of assets belonging to the National Government or any of its purview of Section Two (2) hereof, acquired by him directly or indirectly through dummies, nominees, agents,
subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities or government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries; subordinates and/or business associates by any combination or series of the following means or similar schemes:
4. By obtaining, receiving or accepting directly or indirectly any shares of stock, equity or any other form of interest or 1) Through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, or malversation of public funds or raids on the public treasury;
participation including the promise of future employment in any business enterprise or undertaking; xxxx
5. By establishing agricultural, industrial or commercial monopolies or other combinations and/or implementation of To discern the proper import of the phrase raids on the public treasury, the key is to look at the accompanying
decrees and orders intended to benefit particular persons or special interests; or words: misappropriation, conversion, misuse or malversation of public funds. This process is conformable with the maxim
6. By taking undue advantage of official positi0n, authority, relationship, connection or influence to unjustly enrich himself of statutory construction noscitur a sociis, by which the correct construction of a particular word or phrase that is
or themselves at the expense and to the damage and prejudice ambiguous in itself or is equally susceptible of various meanings may be made by considering the company of the words
The law on plunder requires that a particular public officer must be identified as the one who amassed, acquired or in which the word or phrase is found or with which it is associated. Verily, a word or phrase in a statute is always used in
accumulated ill-gotten wealth because it plainly states that plunder is committed by any public officer who, by himself or association with other words or phrases, and its meaning may, therefore, be modified or restricted by the latter.
in connivance with members of his family, relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business associates, subordinates or other To convert connotes the act of using or disposing of another's property as if it were one's own; to misappropriate means
persons, amasses, accumulates or acquires ill-gotten wealth in the aggregate amount or total value of at least to own, to take something for one's own benefit; misuse means "a good, substance, privilege, or right used improperly,
50,000,000.00 through a combination or series of overt criminal acts as described in Section l(d) hereof. Surely, the law unforcsccably, or not as intended;" and malversation occurs when "any public officer who, by reason of the duties of his
requires in the criminal charge for plunder against several individuals that there must be a main plunderer and her co- office, is accountable for public funds or property, shall appropriate the same or shall take or misappropriate or shall
conspirators, who may be members of her family, relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business associates, subordim1tes consent, through abandonment or negligence, shall permit any other person to take such public funds, or property, wholly
or other persons. In other words, the allegation of the wheel conspiracy or express conspiracy in the information was or partially." The common thread that binds all the four terms together is that the public officer used the property taken.
appropriate because the main plunderer would then be identified in either manner. Of course, implied conspiracy could Considering that raids on the public treasury is in the company of the four other terms that require the use of the property
also identify the main plunderer, but that fact must be properly alleged and duly proven by the Prosecution. taken, the phrase raids on the public treasury similarly requires such use of the property taken. Accordingly,
This interpretation is supported by Estrada v. Sandiganbayan, where the Court explained the nature of the conspiracy the Sandiganbayan gravely erred in contending that the mere accumulation and gathering constituted the forbidden act
charge and the necessity for the main plunderer for whose benefit the amassment, accumulation and acquisition was of raids on the public treasury. Pursuant to the maxim of noscitur a sociis, raids on the public treasury requires the raider
made, thus: to use the property taken impliedly for his personal benefit.7
There is no denying the fact that the "plunder of an entire nation resulting in material damage to the national economy" The Prosecution asserts that the Senate deliberations removed personal benefit as a requirement for plunder. In not
is made up of a complex and manifold network of crimes. In the crime of plunder, therefore, different parties may be requiring personal benefit, the Sandiganbayan quoted the following exchanges between Senator Enrile and Senator
united by a common purpose. In the case at bar, the different accused and their different criminal acts have a commonality Tafiada, viz.:
- to help the former President amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth. Sub-paragraphs (a) to (d) in the Amended Senator Enrile. The word here, Mr. President, "such public officer or person who conspired or knowingly benefited". One
Information alleged the different participation of each accused in the conspiracy. The gravamen of the conspiracy charge, does not have to conspire or rescheme. The only element needed is that he "knowingly benefited". A candidate for the
therefore, is not that each accused agreed to receive protection money from illegal gambling, that each misappropriated Senate for instance, who received a political contribution from a plunderer, knowing that the contributor is a plunderer
a portion of the tobacco excise tax, that each accused ordered the GSIS and SSS to purchase shares of Belle Corporation and therefore, he knowingly benefited from the plunder, would he also suffer the penalty, Mr. President, for life
and receive commissions from such sale, nor that each unjustly enriched himself from commissions, gifts and kickbacks; imprisonment?
rather, it is that each of them, by their individual acts, agreed to participate, directly or indirectly, in the amassing, Senator Tafiada. In the committee amendments, Mr. President, we have deleted these lines 1 to 4 and part of line 5, on
accumulation and acquisition of ill-gotten wealth of and/or for former President Estrada. 5 [bold underscoring supplied for page 3. But, in a way, Mr. President, it is good that the Gentleman is bringing out these questions, I believe that under the
emphasis] examples he has given, the Court will have to...
Indeed, because plunder is a crime that only a public official can commit by amassing, accumulating, or acquiring ill-gotten Senator Enrile. How about the wife, Mr. President, he may not agree with the plunderer to plunder the country but
wealth in the aggregate amount or total value of at least 50,000,000.00, the identification in the information of such because she is a dutiful wife or a faithful husband, she has to keep her or his vow of fidelity to the spouse. And, of course,
public official as the main plunderer among the several individuals thus charged is logically necessary under the law itself. she enjoys the benefits out of the plunder. Would the Gentleman now impute to her or him the crime of plunder simply
53

because she or he knowingly benefited out of the fruits of the plunder and, therefore, he must suffer or he must suffer 3. The penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period to reclusion temporal in its minimum period, if the amount involved
the penalty of life imprisonment? is more than six thousand pesos but is less than twelve thousand pesos.
The President. That was stricken out already in the Committee amendment. 4. The penalty of reclusion temporal, in its medium and maximum periods, if the amount involved is more than twelve
Senator Taada. Yes, Mr. President. Lines 1 to 4 and part of line 5 were stricken out in the Committee amendment. But, thousand pesos but is less than twenty-two thousand pesos. If the amount exceeds the latter, the penalty shall be reclusion
as I said, the examples of the Minority Floor Leader are still worth spreading the Record. And, I believe that in those temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua.
examples, the Court will have just to take into consideration all the other circumstances prevailing in the case and the In all cases, persons guilty of malversation shall also suffer the penalty of perpetual special disqualification and a fine equal
evidence that will be submitted. to the amount of the funds malversed or equal to the total value of the property embezzled.
The President. In any event, 'knowingly benefited' has already been stricken off." The failure of a public officer to have duly forthcoming any public funds or property with which he is chargeable, upon
The exchanges between Senator Enrile and Senator Taada reveal, therefore, that what was removed from the coverage demand by any duly authorized officer, shall be prima facie evidence that he has put such missing funds or property to
of the bill and the final version that eventually became the law was a person who was not the main plunderer or a co- personal use. (As amended by RA 1060).
conspirator, but one who personally benefited from the plunderers' action. The requirement of personal benefit on the The elements of malversation are that: (a) the offender is an accountable public officer; (b) he/she is responsible for the
part of the main plunderer or his co-conspirators by virtue of their plunder was not removed. misappropriation of public funds or property through intent or negligence; and (c) he/she has custody of and received
As a result, not only did the Prosecution fail to show where the money went but, more importantly, that GMA and Aguas such funds and property by reason of his/her office. 10
had personally benefited from the same. Hence, the Prosecution did not prove the predicate act of raids on the public The information in Criminal Case No. SB-12-CRM-017411 avers:
treasury beyond reasonable doubt. 8 The undersigned Assistant Ombudsman and Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer III, Office of the Ombudsman,
Thirdly, the State contends that the Court did not appreciate the totality of its evidence, particularly the different hereby accuse GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, ROSARIO C. URIARTE, SERGIO O. VALENCIA, MANUEL L. MORATO, JOSE R.
irregularities committed in the disbursement of the PCSO funds, i.e., the commingling of funds, the non-compliance with TARUC V, RAYMUNDO T. ROQUERO, MA. FATIMA AS. VALDES, BENIGNO B. AGUAS, REYNALDO A. VILLAR and NILDA B.
LOI No. 1282, and the unilateral approval of the disbursements. Such totality, coupled with the fact of the petitioners' PLARAS, of the crime of PLUNDER, as defined by, and penalized under Section 2 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7080, as
indispensable cooperation in the pilfering of public funds, showed the existence of the conspiracy to commit plunder amended by R.A. No. 7659, committed, as follows:
among all of the accused. That during the period from January 2008 to June 2010 or sometime prior or subsequent thereto, in Quezon City,
The contention lacks basis. Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, then the President
As can be readily seen from the decision, the Court expressly granted the petitioners' respective demurrers to evidence of the Philippines, ROSARIO C. URIARTE, then General Manager and Vice Chairman, SERGIO 0. VALENCIA, then Chairman
and dismissed the plunder case against them for insufficiency of evidence because: of the Board of Directors, MANUEL L. MORA TO, JOSE R. TARUC V, RAYMUNDO T. ROQUERO, MA. FATIMA AS. VALDES,
x x x the Sandiganbayan as the trial court was guilty of grave abuse of discretion when it capriciously denied the demurrers then members of the Board of Directors, BENIGNO B. AGUAS, then Budget and Accounts Manager, all of the Philippine
to evidence despite the absence of competent and sufficient evidence to sustain the indictment for plunder, and despite Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), REYNALDO A. VILLAR, then Chairman, and NILDA B. PLARAS, then Head of
the absence of the factual bases to expect a guilty verdict. 9 Intelligence/Confidential Fund Fraud Audit Unit, both of the Commission on Audit, all public officers committing the
Such disposition of the Court fully took into consideration all the evidence adduced against the petitioners. We need not offense in relation to their respective offices and taking undue advantage of their respective official positions, authority,
rehash our review of the evidence thus adduced, for it is enough simply to stress that the Prosecution failed to establish relationships, connections or influence, conniving, conspiring and confederating with one another, did then and there
the corpus delicti of plunder - that any or all of the accused public officials, particularly petitioner Arroyo, had amassed, willfully, unlawfully and criminally 'amass,, accumulate and/or acquire directly or indirectly, ill-gotten wealth in the
accumulated, or acquired ill-gotten wealth in the aggregate amount or total value of at least 50,000,000.00. aggregate amount or total value of THREE HUNDRED SIXTY FIVE MILLION NINE HUNDRED NINETY SEVEN THOUSAND NINE
Fourthly, in accenting certain inadequacies of the allegations of the information, the Court did not engage in purposeless HUNDRED FIFTEEN PESOS (PHP365,997,915.00), more or less, through any or a combination or a series of overt or criminal
nitpicking, and did not digress from the primary task of determining the sufficiency of the evidence presented by the State acts, or similar schemes or means, described as follows:
against the petitioners. What the Court thereby intended to achieve was to highlight what would have been relevant in (a) diverting in several instances, funds from the operating budget of PCSO to its Confidential/Intelligence Fund that could
the proper prosecution of plunder and thus enable itself to discern and determine whether the evidence of guilt was be accessed and withdrawn at any time with minimal restrictions, and converting, misusing, and/or illegally conveying or
sufficient or not. In fact, the Court categorically clarified that in discussing the essential need for the identification of the transferring the proceeds drawn from said fund in the aforementioned sum, also in several instances, to themselves, in
main plunderer it was not harping on the sufficiency of the information, but was only enabling itself to search for and to the guise of fictitious expenditures, for their personal gain and benefit;
find the relevant proof that unequivocally showed petitioner Arroyo as the "mastermind" - which was how the (b) raiding the public treasury by withdrawing and receiving, in several instances, the above-mentioned amount from the
Sandiganbayan had characterized her participation - in the context of the implied conspiracy alleged in the information. Confidential/Intelligence Fund from PCSO's accounts, and or unlawfully transferring or conveying the same into their
But the search came to naught, for the information contained nothing that averred her commission of the overt possession and control through irregularly issued disbursement vouchers and fictitious expenditures; and
act necessary to implicate her in the supposed conspiracy to commit the crime of plunder. Indeed, the Court assiduously (c) taking advantage of their respective official positions, authority, relationships, connections or influence, in several
searched for but did not find the sufficient incriminatory evidence against the petitioners. Hence, the Sandiganbayan instances, to unjustly enrich themselves in the aforementioned sum, at the expense of, and the damage and prejudice of
capriciously and oppressively denied their demurrers to evidence. the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines.
Fifthly, the State posits that it established at least a case for malversation against the petitioners. CONTRARY TO LAW.
Malversation is defined and punished under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code, which reads thusly: In thereby averring the predicate act of malversation, the State did not sufficiently allege the aforementioned essential
Article 217. Malversation of public funds or property; Presumption of malversation. - Any public officer who, by reason of elements of malversation in the information. The omission from the information of factual details descriptive of the
the duties of his office, is accountable for public funds or property, shall appropriate the same or shall take or aforementioned elements of malversation highlighted the insufficiency of the allegations. Consequently, the State's
misappropriate or shall consent, through abandonment or negligence, shall permit any other person to take such public position is entirely unfounded.
funds, or property, wholly or partially, or shall otherwise be guilty of the misappropriation or malversation of such funds Lastly, the petitioners insist that the consideration and granting of the motion for reconsideration of the State can amount
or property, shall suffer: to a violation of the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy because their acquittal under the decision was a
1. The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods, if the amount involved in the misappropriation prior jeopardy within the context of Section 21, Article III (Bill of Rights) of the 1987 Constitution, to wit:
or malversation does not exceed two hundred pesos. Section 21. No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense. If an act is punished by a law
2. The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum and medium periods, if the amount involved is more than two hundred and an ordinance, conviction or acquittal under either shall constitute a bar to another prosecution for the same act.
pesos but does not exceed six thousand pesos.
54

The insistence of the petitioners is fully warranted. Indeed, the consideration and granting of the motion for Is Section 23 of RA 9165, which prohibits plea-bargaining in drugs cases, unconstitutional?
reconsideration of the State will amount to the violation of the constitutional guarantee against double jeopardy.
The Court's consequential dismissal of Criminal Case No. SB-12- CRM-0174 as to the petitioners for insufficiency of HELD: Yes, Section 23 of RA 9165 is unconstitutional for two reason. First, it violates the equal protection clause since
evidence amounted to their acquittal of the crime of plunder charged against them. In People v. Tan, 12the Court shows other criminals (rapists, murderers, etc.) are allowed to plea bargain but drug offenders are not, considering that rape and
why: murder are more heinous than drug offenses. Second, it violates the doctrine of separation of powers by encroaching
In People v. Sandiganbayan, this Com1 explained the general rule that the grant of a demurrer to evidence operates as an upon the rule-making power of the Supreme Court under the constitution. Plea-bargaining is procedural in nature and it
acquittal and is, thus, final and unappealable, to wit: is within the sole prerogative of the Supreme Court.
The demurrer to evidence in criminal cases, such as the one at bar, is ''filed after tile prosecution had rested its case," and For more reliable news, please visit http://news.abs-cbn.com. Ina Reformina writes for ABS-CBN News: [Start of quote] The
when the same is granted, it calls "for an appreciation of the evidence adduced by the prosecution and its sufficiency to ruling is in favor of Salvador Estipona, Jr., currently detained in Legazpi, Albay for possession of .084 gram of shabu in
warrant conviction beyond reasonable doubt, resulting in a dismissal of the case on the merits, tantamount to an acquittal March 2016.
of the accused." Such dismissal of a criminal case by the grant of demurrer to evidence may not be appealed, for to do so
would be to place the accused in double jeopardy. The verdict being one of acquittal, the case ends there. Assisted by the Public Attorneys Office (PAO), Estipona had urged the high court to thumb down the provision in
xxxx September 2016.
The rule on double jeopardy, however, is not without exceptions. In People v. Laguio, Jr., this Court stated that the only
instance when double jeopardy will not attach is when the RTC acted with grave abuse of discretion, thus: Though the high court has yet to release its full decision, voted on August 15, it said on Friday the provision is
... The only instance when double ,jeopardy will not attach is when the trial court acted with grave abuse of discretion unconstitutional for being contrary to the rule making authority of the [SC] in Article VIII, Section 5 (5) of the 1987
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, such as where the prosecution was denied the opportunity to present its case Constitution.
or where the trial was a sham. However, while certiorari may be availed of to correct an erroneous acquittal, the petitioner
in such an extraordinary proceeding must clearly demonstrate that the trial court blatantly abused its authority to a point In his petition, Estipona argued that [t]hose accused of other heinous crimes such as murder, some acts of rape, and
so grave as to deprive it of its very power to dispense justice. 13 other crimes where the maximum imposable penalty is either life imprisonment, reclusion perpetua, or death, are allowed
The constitutional prohibition against placing a person under double jeopardy for the same offense bars not only a new into plea bargaining under Section 1, Rule 118 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure."
and independent prosecution but also an appeal in the same action after jeopardy had attached. 14 As such,
every acquittal becomes final immediately upon promulgation and cannot be recalled for correction or amendment. With He lamented how those accused of violations of RA No. 9165 have not been allowed to strike plea bargain deals. Estiponas
the acquittal being immediately final, granting the State's motion for reconsideration in this case would violate the motion for plea bargain was junked twice by the Legazpi City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 3.
Constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy because it would effectively reopen the prosecution and subject the
petitioners to a second jeopardy despite their acquittal. "This, despite the fact that the various pertinent violations under RA 9165 do not bare out any reason to consider a person
It is cogent to remind in this regard that the Constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy provides to the accused accused under the said law as a separate and distinct specie that would exempt from plea bargaining, his petition read.
three related protections, specifically: protection against a second prosecution for the same offense after acquittal;
protection against a second prosecution for the same offense after conviction; and protection against multiple He stressed the prohibition encroached upon the power of the high court to promulgate rules of procedure in criminal
punishments for the same offense. 15The rationale for the three protections is expounded in United States v. Wilson: 16 cases.
The interests underlying these three protections arc quite similar. When a defendant has been once convicted and
punished for a particular crime, principles of fairness and finality require that he not be subjected to the possibility of "Section 23 of RA 9165 deprives not only the accused and the prosecution, but more importantly, the courts, of the
further punishment by being again tried or sentenced for the same offense. Ex pa rte Lange, 18 Wall 163 (1874); In re benefits of a validly entered plea bargaining agreement. It is antithetical to the early resolution of cases and declogging of
Nielsen, 131 U.S. 176 (1889). When a defendant has been acquitted of an offense, the Clause guarantees that the State court dockets, especially in instances such as this case, where the prosecution does not object and both the prosecution
shall not be permitted to make repeated attempts to convict him, and defense are open to the possibility of plea bargaining," the petition read.
"thereby subjecting him to embarrassment, expense and ordeal, and compelling him to live in a continuing state of anxiety
and insecurity, as well as enhancing the possibility that, even though innocent, he may be found guilty." At the time the petition was filed, some 82,000 persons were detained on drug charges.
Green v. United States, 355 U.S. 184, 187-188 (1957).
The policy of avoiding multiple trials has been regarded as so important that exceptions to the principle have been only PAO chief Atty. Persida Acosta hailed the high courts ruling.
grudgingly allowed. Initially, a new trial was thought to be unavailable after appeal, whether requested by the prosecution
or the defendant. See United States v. Gibert, 25 F. Cas. 1287 (No. 15,204) (CCD Mass. 1834) (Story, J.). It was not until "Ako ay masaya at patunay ito sa kagustuhan natin (government) na buhay ang ating mga kababayang nawawala sa
1896 that it was made clear that a defendant could seek a new trial after conviction, even though the Government enjoyed landas maipagamot at matulungang magbagong buhay.
no similar right. United States v. Ball, 163 U.S. 662. (Bold underscoring supplied for emphasis)
WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES the motion for reconsideration for lack of merit. May pag-asa na ngayon ang 82,000 mga kababayan nating nakapiit na makalaya, Acosta said
SALVADOR A. ESTIPONA, JR., Petitioner, vs. HON. FRANK E. LOBRIGO, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Legazpi ROLEX RODRIGUEZ v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. No. 192799. October 24, 2012
City, Branch 3, and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents. FACTS:

FACTS: Estipona was charged with an offense under RA 9165. He wants to enter into a plea bargaining agreement but RTC convicted Rolex Rodriguez of Unfair Competition. After promulgation of sentence, he filed for a motion for
Judge Lobrigo did not allow him to do so because Section 23 specifically prohibits plea bargaining in drugs cases. Estipona reconsideration before the RTC on last day of the reglementary period to appeal. Fourteen days after receipt of the RTC
argues that Section 23 is unconstitutional. denying his motion for reconsideration, he filed his Notice of Appeal. Thus, the denial of his Notice of Appeal on the ground
of its being filed out of time under Sec. 6, Rule 122, Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure (29 days after promulgation).
ISSUE:
Rodriguez asserted that the fresh period rule should be applied after the motion for new trial or reconsideration.
55

strengthen our cases against the principal accused, Municipal Mayor Benedicto Kuizon, who appears to be the master
ISSUE: Whether the fresh period rule should apply. mind of these criminal acts.
Insofar as the malversation cases are concerned, the prosecution was likewise amenable to the offer of said accused to
RULING: plead guilty to the lesser crime of failure of an accountable officer to render accounts because:
x x x JOSELITO RANIERO J. DAAN has already restituted the total amount of P18,860.00 as per official receipt issued by the
The SC held that the fresh period rule should also apply to criminal cases. provincial government of Leyte dated February 26, 2002. In short, the damage caused to the government has already
been restituted x x x.[3]
As was the decision in Yu v. Tatad, the fresh period rule should also apply to Rule 122, Sec. 6 of the Rules of Court. The SC
said that the privilege should also accord those in criminal cases and not just in civil cases. The Sandiganbayan, in the herein assailed Resolution,[4] dated March 25, 2004, denied petitioners Motion to Plea Bargain,
JOSELITO RANIERO J. DAAN, G.R. Nos. 163972-77 despite favorable recommendation by the prosecution, on the main ground that no cogent reason was presented to justify
Petitioner, its approval.[5]
Present:
The Sandiganbayan likewise denied petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration in a Resolution dated May 31, 2004.
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.,
- versus - Acting Chairperson, This compelled petitioner to file the present case for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for the issuance of a temporary
TINGA,* restraining order and/ or writ of preliminary injunction under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.
CHICO-NAZARIO,
NACHURA, and Petitioner argues that the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion in denying his plea bargaining offer on the
REYES, JJ. following grounds: first, petitioner is not an accountable officer and he merely affixed his signature on the payrolls on
THE HON. SANDIGANBAYAN a routinary basis, negating any criminal intent; and that the amount involved is only P18,860.00, which he already
(Fourth Division), Promulgated: restituted.[6]
Respondent. March 28, 2008
x---------------------------------------------------------x The petition is meritorious.

Plea bargaining in criminal cases is a process whereby the accused and the prosecution work out a mutually satisfactory
DECISION disposition of the case subject to court approval. It usually involves the defendant's pleading guilty to a lesser offense or
to only one or some of the counts of a multi-count indictment in return for a lighter sentence than that for the graver
charge.[7]
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
Plea bargaining is authorized under Section 2, Rule 116 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, to wit:
Joselito Raniero J. Daan (petitioner), one of the accused in Criminal Cases Nos. 24167-24170, 24195-24196,[1] questions
the denial by the Sandiganbayan of his plea bargaining proposal. SEC. 2. Plea of guilty to a lesser offense. At arraignment, the accused, with the consent of the offended party and the
prosecutor, may be allowed by the trial court to plead guilty to a lesser offense which is necessarily included in the offense
The antecedents facts are laid down by Sandiganbayan in its Resolution dated March 25, 2004, as follows: charged. After arraignment but before trial, the accused may still be allowed to plead guilty to said lesser offense after
withdrawing his plea of not guilty. No amendment of the complaint or information is necessary. (sec. 4, cir. 38-98)
Said accused,[2] together with accused Benedicto E. Kuizon, were charged before this Court for three counts Ordinarily, plea bargaining is made during the pre-trial stage of the proceedings. Sections 1 and 2, Rule 118 of the Rules
of malversation of public funds involving the sums of P3,293.00, P1,869.00, and P13,528.00, respectively, which they of Court, require plea bargaining to be considered by the trial court at the pre-trial conference,[8] viz:
purportedly tried to conceal by falsifying the time book and payrolls for given period making it appear that some laborers
worked on the construction of the new municipal hall building of Bato, Leyte and collected their respective salaries SEC. 1. Pre-trial; mandatory in criminal cases. In all criminal cases cognizable by the Sandiganbayan, Regional Trial Court,
thereon when, in truth and in fact, they did not. Thus, in addition to the charge for malversation, the accused were also Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Municipal Trial Court and Municipal Circuit Trial Court, the court
indicted before this Court for three counts of falsification of public document by a public officer or employee. shall, after arraignment and within thirty (30) days from the date the court acquires jurisdiction over the person of the
In the falsification cases, the accused offered to withdraw their plea of not guilty and substitute the same with a plea of accused, unless a shorter period is provided for in special laws or circulars of the Supreme Court, order a pre-trial
guilty, provided, the mitigating circumstances of confession or plea of guilt and voluntary surrender will be appreciated in conference to consider the following:
their favor. In the alternative, if such proposal is not acceptable, said accused proposed instead to substitute their plea of
not guilty to the crime of falsification of public document by a public officer or employee with a plea of guilty, but to the (a) plea bargaining;
lesser crime of falsification of a public document by a private individual. On the other hand, in the malversation cases, the (b) stipulation of facts;
accused offered to substitute their plea of not guilty thereto with a plea of guilty, but to the lesser crime of failure of (c) marking for identification of evidence of the parties;
an accountable officer to render accounts. (d) waiver of objections to admissibility of evidence;
Insofar as the falsification cases are concerned, the prosecution found as acceptable the proposal of the accused to plead (e) modification of the order of trial if the accused admits the charge but interposes a lawful defense; and
guilty to the lesser crime of falsification of public document by a private individual. The prosecution explained: (f) such matters as will promote a fair and expeditious trial of the criminal and civil aspects of the case.
With respect to the falsification cases earlier mentioned, it appears that the act of the accused in pleading guilty for a SEC. 2. Pre-trial agreement. All agreements or admissions made or entered during the pre-trial conference shall be
lesser offense of falsification by a private individual defined and penalized under Article 172 of the Revised Penal code will reduced in writing and signed by the accused and counsel, otherwise, they cannot be used against the accused. The
agreements covering the matters referred to in section 1 of this Rule shall be approved by the court. (Emphasis supplied)
56

and of its power of control and supervision over the proceedings of lower courts,[19] in order to afford equal justice to
But it may also be made during the trial proper and even after the prosecution has finished presenting its evidence and petitioner.
rested its case. Thus, the Court has held that it is immaterial that plea bargaining was not made during the pre-trial stage In People of the Philippines v. Estrada,[20] the Sandiganbayan, in its Resolution dated March 14, 2007, approved the Plea
or that it was made only after the prosecution already presented several witnesses.[9] Bargaining Agreement entered into by the prosecution and one of the accused, Charlie Atong Ang. The agreement
provided that the accused undertakes to assist in the prosecution of the case and promises to return the amount
Section 2, Rule 116 of the Rules of Court presents the basic requisites upon which plea bargaining may be made, i.e., that of P25,000,000.00. In approving the Plea Bargaining Agreement, the Sandiganbayan took into consideration the
it should be with the consent of the offended party and the prosecutor,[10]and that the plea of guilt should be to a lesser timeliness of the plea bargaining and whether the agreement complied with the requirements of Section 2, Rule 116 of
offense which is necessarily included in the offense charged. The rules however use word may in the second sentence of the Rules of Court. The Sandigabayan noted that the accused had already withdrawn his earlier plea of not guilty; and that
Section 2, denoting an exercise of discretion upon the trial court on whether to allow the accused to make the prosecution consented to the plea of guilt to a lesser offense; and the lesser offense, which is Corruption of Public
such plea.[11] Trial courts are exhorted to keep in mind that a plea of guilty for a lighter offense than that actually charged Officials in relation to Indirect Bribery, is necessarily included in the offense charged, which is Plunder.[21]
is not supposed to be allowed as a matter of bargaining or compromise for the convenience of the accused.[12]
The Court sees no reason why the standards applied by the Sandiganbayan to Estrada should not be applied to the present
In People of the Philippines v. Villarama,[13] the Court ruled that the acceptance of an offer to plead guilty to a lesser offense case. Records show that there was a favorable recommendation by the Office of the Special Prosecutor to approve
is not demandable by the accused as a matter of right but is a matter that is addressed entirely to the sound discretion of petitioner's motion to plea bargain. Thus, in its Memorandum dated August 16, 2002, the Office of the Special Prosecutor
the trial court,[14] viz: rationalized:

x x x In such situation, jurisprudence has provided the trial court and the Office of the Prosecutor with a yardstick within In the cases at bar, there is no dispute that JOSELITO RANIERO J. DAAN has already restituted the total amount
which their discretion may be properly exercised. Thus, in People v. Kayanan (L-39355, May 31, 1978, 83 SCRA 437, of P18,860.00 as per official receipt issued by the provincial government of Leyte dated February 26, 2002. In short, the
450), We held that the rules allow such a plea only when the prosecution does not have sufficient evidence to establish the damage caused to the government has already been restituted by the accused.
guilt of the crime charged. In his concurring opinion in People v. Parohinog (G.R. No. L-47462, February 28, 1980, 96 SCRA
373, 377), then Justice Antonio Barredo explained clearly and tersely the rationale or the law: There is also no dispute that accused DAAN voluntarily surrendered in the instant cases. Moreover, the accused is also
x x x (A)fter the prosecution had already rested, the only basis on which the fiscal and the court could rightfully act in willing to plead guilty to a lesser offense which to our mind, merits consideration.
allowing the appellant to change his former plea of not guilty to murder to guilty to the lesser crime of homicide could be
nothing more nothing less than the evidence already in the record. The reason for this being that Section 4 of Rule 118 With respect to the falsification cases earlier mentioned, it appears that the act of the accused in pleading guilty for a
(now Section 2, Rule 116) under which a plea for a lesser offense is allowed was not and could not have been intended as lesser offense of falsification by private individual defined and penalized under Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code will
a procedure for compromise, much less bargaining.[15] (Emphasis supplied) strengthen our cases against the principal accused, the Municipal Mayor Benedicto Kuizon, who appears to be the master
mind of these criminal acts. After all, the movants herein JOSELITO RANIERO J. DAAN was merely designated as draftsman
However, Villarama involved plea bargaining after the prosecution had already rested its case. detailed as foreman/timekeeper of the Municipality of Bato, Leyte.[22]
Moreover, the lesser offenses of Falsification by Private Individuals and Failure to Render Account by an Accountable
As regards plea bargaining during the pre-trial stage, as in the present case, the trial court's exercise of its discretion should Officer are necessarily included in the crimes of Falsification of Public Documents and Malversation of Public Funds,
neither be arbitrary nor should it amount to a capricious and whimsical exercise of discretion. Grave abuse of discretion respectively, with which petitioner was originally charged.
implies such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction or, in other words, where
the power is exercised in an arbitrary manner by reason of passion, prejudice, or personal hostility; and it must be so Under Article 171, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code, for the crime of Falsification of Public Documents through an
patent or gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined by law, untruthful narration of facts to be established, the following elements must concur: (a) the offender makes in a document
or to act at all in contemplation of law.[16] untruthful statements in a narration of facts; (b) the offender has a legal obligation to disclose the truth of the facts
narrated; (c) the facts narrated by the offender are absolutely false; and (d) the perversion of truth in the narration of
In the present case, the Sandiganbayan rejected petitioner's plea offer on the ground that petitioner and the prosecution facts was made with the wrongful intent of injuring a third person.[23]
failed to demonstrate that the proposal would redound to the benefit of the public. The Sandiganbayan believes that
approving the proposal would only serve to trivialize the seriousness of the charges against them and send the wrong On the other hand, Falsification by Private Individuals penalized under Article 172, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code
signal to potential grafters in public office that the penalties they are likely to face would be lighter than what their criminal has the following elements: (a) the offender is a private individual or a public officer or employee who did not take
acts would have merited or that the economic benefits they are likely to derive from their criminal activities far outweigh advantage of his official position; (b) the offender committed any of the acts of falsification enumerated under Article 171
the risks they face in committing them; thus, setting to naught the deterrent value of the laws intended to curb graft and of the Revised Penal Code; and (c) the falsification was committed in a public or official or commercial document.[24]
corruption in government.[17]
As regards the crime of Malversation of Public Funds defined and penalized under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code,
Apparently, the Sandiganbayan has proffered valid reasons in rejecting petitioner's plea offer. However, subsequent with which petitioner was also charged, the elements are as follows: (a) the offender is a public officer; (b) he has custody
events and higher interests of justice and fair play dictate that petitioner's plea offer should be accepted. The present case or control of funds or property by reason of the duties of his office; (c) the funds or property involved are public funds or
calls for the judicious exercise of this Court's equity jurisdiction - property for which he is accountable; and (d) he has appropriated, taken or misappropriated, or has consented to, or
through abandonment or negligence permitted, the taking by another person of such funds or property.[25] Article 217
Equity as the complement of legal jurisdiction seeks to reach and do complete justice where courts of law, through the also provides that the failure of the public officer to have duly forthcoming such public funds or property, upon demand
inflexibility of their rules and want of power to adapt their judgments to the special circumstances of cases, are by a duly authorized officer, shall be prima facie evidence that he has put such missing funds or property to personal
incompetent so to do. Equity regards the spirit of and not the letter, the intent and not the form, the substance rather use. In this regard, it has been ruled that once such presumption is rebutted, then it is completely destroyed; in fact,
than the circumstance, as it is variously expressed by different courts.[18] the presumption is never deemed to have existed at all.[26]
57

Meanwhile, under Article 218 of the Revised Penal Code, Failure to Render Account by an Accountable Officer, the lesser This Petition for Review on Certiorari3 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assails the May 4, 2007 Resolution4and the
offense which petitioner seeks to plead guilty of, the following elements must concur: (a) the offender is a public officer; September 4, 2007 Resolution5 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 98502.
(b) the offender must be an accountable officer for public funds or property; (c) the offender is required by law or Factual Antecedents
regulation to render accounts to the COA or to a provincial auditor; and (d) the offender fails to render an account for a This case is an offshoot of People v. Court of Appeals,6 docketed as G.R. No. 144332 and promulgated on June 10, 2004.
period of two months after such accounts should be rendered.[27] Efren D. Almuete (petitioner), Johnny Ila (Ila) and Joel Lloren (Lloren) were charged before the Regional Trial Court (RTC)
of Nueva Vizcaya, Branch 27, with violation of Section 687 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 705, otherwise known as the
Section 5, Rule 120 of the Rules of Court states when an offense includes or is included in the other, to wit: "Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines," as amended by Executive Order (E.O.) No. 277,8 docketed as Criminal Case No.
2672.9
SEC. 5. When an offense includes or is included in another. An offense charged necessarily includes the offense proved On the scheduled date of promulgation of judgment, petitioners counsel informed the trial court that petitioner and
when some of the essential elements or ingredients of the former, as alleged in the complaint or information, constitute Lloren were ill while Ila was not notified of the scheduled promulgation.10 The RTC, however, found their absence
the latter. And an offense charged is necessarily included in the offense proved, when the essential ingredients of the inexcusable and proceeded to promulgate its Decision as scheduled.11 The dispositive portion of the September 8, 1998
former constitute or form part of those constituting the latter. Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, finding the accused, namely, Efren S. Almuete, Johnny Ila y Ramel and Joel Lloren y dela Cruz GUILTY beyond
An offense may be said to necessarily include another when some of the essential elements or ingredients of the former reasonable doubt of violation of Section 68, P.D. No. 705, as amended, they are each sentenced to suffer the penalty of
as alleged in the complaint or information constitute the latter. And vice versa, an offense may be said to be necessarily 18 years, 2 months and 21 days of reclusion temporal, as minimum period to 40 years of reclusion perpetua as maximum
included in another when the essential ingredients of the former constitute or form part of those constituting the latter.[28] period. Costs against the said accused.
SO ORDERED.12
In this case, the allegations in the Informations filed against petitioner are sufficient to hold petitioner liable for the lesser Accordingly, the RTC cancelled the bail bonds of petitioner, Ila and Lloren13 and issued warrants of arrest against them.14
offenses. Thus, in the charge for Falsification of Public Documents, petitioner may plead guilty to the lesser offense of Petitioner and his co-accused moved for reconsideration, questioning the validity of the promulgation, the factual and
Falsification by Private Individuals inasmuch as it does not appear that petitioner took advantage of his official position in legal bases of their conviction, and the correctness of the penalty imposed.15
allegedly falsifying the timebookand payroll of the Municipality of Bato, Leyte. In the same vein, with regard to the crime On October 12, 1998, the RTC denied their motion for lack of merit.16
of Malversation of Public Funds, while the Informations contain allegations which make out a case forMalversation against Instead of filing an appeal, petitioner and his co-accused filed a Petition for Certiorari, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 49953,
petitioner, nevertheless, absent the element of conversion, theoretically, petitioner may still be held liable for Failure to with the CA.17
Render Account by an Accountable Officer if it is shown that the failure to render account was in violation of a law or On May 19, 2000, the CA granted the Petition and disposed of the case in this wise:
regulation that requires him to render such an accounting within the prescribed period. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the present petition is hereby GRANTED. On the basis of the evidence on record,
accused Efren S. Almuete should be, as he is hereby ACQUITTED of the charge against him.
Given, therefore, that some of the essential elements of offenses charged in this case likewise constitute the lesser The court a quo is ORDERED to re-promulgate the decision in the presence of the accused Ila and Lloren, duly assisted by
offenses, then petitioner may plead guilty to such lesser offenses. counsel of their own choice, after notice and allow them to appeal. Let the complete records of this case be remanded to
the court a quo.
Finally, as propounded by petitioner, indeed, he is not an accountable officer in that the nature of his duty as SO ORDERED.18
foreman/timekeeper does not permit or require possession or custody of local government funds,[29] not to mention that The acquittal of petitioner prompted the People of the Philippines to elevate the case to this Court via a Petition for Review
petitioner has already restituted the amount of P18,860.00 involved in this case. Unlike Estrada which involves a crime on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, docketed as G.R. No. 144332.
punishable by reclusion perpetuato death,[30] and a whopping P25,000,000.00 taken from the public coffers, this case On June 10, 2004, this Court reversed petitioners acquittal and reinstated the RTCs September 8, 1998 Decision and its
tremendously pales in comparison. October 12, 1998 Order, to wit:
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals
Under the peculiar circumstances of the present case, where gross inequity will result in a discriminatory dispensation of are REVERSED AND SET ASIDE. The Decision of the Regional Trial Court dated September 8, 1998 and its Order dated
justice, the Court will not hesitate to intervene in order to equalize the imbalance. October 12, 1998 are REINSTATED. No costs.
SO ORDERED.19
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Resolutions dated March 25, 2004 and May 31, Aggrieved, petitioner moved for reconsideration but his motion was denied by this Court in a Resolution dated January
2004 are SET ASIDE. The Sandiganbayan is hereby ORDERED to grant petitioner's Motion to Plea Bargain. Let records of 17, 2005.20
this case be REMANDED to the Sandiganbayan for further proceedings in accordance with this Decision. On February 15, 2005, this Court issued an Entry of Judgment.21
Unfazed, petitioner filed a second and a third Motion for Reconsideration, which were denied by this Court in its March
SO ORDERED. 28, 2005 and November 9, 2005 Resolutions, respectively.22
G.R. No. 179611 March 12, 2013 Petitioner then filed a Motion for Clarification23 on whether he could still appeal the RTCs September 8, 1998 Decision.
EFREN S. ALMUETE, Petitioner, This Court noted without action his Motion for Clarification in its July 26, 2006 Resolution.24
vs. On December 13, 2006, petitioner filed with the RTC a Motion for Repromulgation25 of the September 8, 1998 Decision.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent. Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
DECISION The RTC, in its January 17, 2007 Order,26 denied the Motion for Repromulgation.
DEL CASTILLO, J.: Petitioner sought reconsideration but the RTC denied the same in its February 20, 2007 Order.27
Section 6,1 Rule 120 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure allows promulgation of judgment in absentia and gives the Ruling of the Court of Appeals
accused a period of fifteen (15) days from notice to him or his counsel within which to appeal; otherwise, the decision Imputing grave abuse of discretion on the part of the RTC, petitioner filed a Petition for Certiorari28 with the CA. On May
becomes final.2 4, 2007, the CA rendered its Resolution29 which dismissed the Petition for lack of merit.
Petitioners Motion for Reconsideration30 was likewise denied by the CA in its September 4, 2007 Resolution.31
58

Issues By sections 8 and 9 of Rule 53 (now Sections 10 and 11 of Rule 51) in relation to section 17 of Rule 120 (now Section 17
Hence, this recourse, with petitioner raising the following issues: of Rule 124), a judgment is entered 15 days after its promulgation, and 10 days thereafter, the records are remanded to
1. Whether x x x the Decision of the RTC convicting petitioner Almuete of the charge against him passed the requisite the court below including a certified copy of the judgment for execution.
conviction beyond reasonable doubt. In the case of People vs. Sumilang (44 Off. Gaz., 881, 883; 77 Phil. 764), it was explained that "the certified copy of the
2. Whether x x x the promulgation of the Decision of the RTC convicting the petitioner was valid despite the absence of judgment is sent by the clerk of the appellate court to the lower court under section 9 of rule 53, not for the promulgation
the petitioner and regardless of petitioners intention to be present at the promulgation of the Decision. or reading thereof to the defendant, but for the execution of the judgment against him," it "not being necessary to
3. Whether x x x the Honorable CA committed grave abuse of discretion when it acquitted petitioner Almuete in a Petition promulgate or read it to the defendant, because it is to be presumed that accused or his attorney had already been notified
for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. thereof in accordance with sections 7 and 8, as amended, of the same Rules 53 (now sections 9 and 10 of Rule 51)," and
4. Whether x x x the judgment of acquittal by the Honorable CA bars further proceedings and that to do so would constitute that the duty of the court of first instance in respect to such judgment is merely to see that it is duly executed when in
a violation of petitioners constitutional right against double jeopardy. their nature the intervention of the court of first instance is necessary to that end.
5. Whether x x x the denial of the RTC of petitioners motion for re-promulgation is in order, the denial being based on an 2. The practice of requiring the convict to appear before the trial court for "promulgation" of the judgment of the appellate
inappropriate court should, therefore, be immediately discontinued. It is not only an unauthorized surplusage entailing unnecessary
Administrative Order of this Honorable Supreme Court (Administrative Order No. 16-93).32 expense, but it could also create security problems where the convict was already under detention during the pendency
Petitioners Arguments of the appeal, and the place of confinement is at some distance from the station of the court. Upon receipt of the certified
Petitioner maintains his innocence and asserts that he was wrongly convicted by the RTC because his guilt was not proven copy of the judgment of the appellate court if the convict is under detention, the trial court should issue forthwith the
beyond reasonable doubt.33 He argues that his conviction was based on circumstantial and hearsay evidence as he was corresponding mittimus or commitment order so that the prisoner may be considered remitted or may be transferred to
convicted only because he owns the truck containing the lumber.34 Thus, he contends that his earlier acquittal by the CA the corresponding prison facility for confinement and service of sentence. When the convict is out on bail, the trial court
was proper,35 and that his acquittal can no longer be assailed without violating the principle of double jeopardy.36 shall immediately order the bondsman to surrender the convict to it within ten (10) days from notice and thereafter issue
Petitioner likewise assails the validity of the promulgation of the judgment against him since it was made in his the corresponding mittimus. In both cases, the trial court shall submit to this Court proof of the execution of judgment
absence.37 He insists that he had a valid reason for not attending the promulgation of the judgment as he was suffering within fifteen (15) days from date of such execution. (Emphasis supplied)
from stress, anxiety, and some physiological disturbance, and thus, was advised to rest.38 He also claims that the RTCs xxxx
denial of his Motion for Repromulgation was not proper.39 Hence, a repromulgation of the judgment should be made to It is clear from the foregoing that the practice of requiring convicts to appear before the trial courts for promulgation of
allow him to avail of his right to appeal.40 the affirmance or modification by this Court or the CA of judgments of conviction in criminal cases is no longer allowed.
Respondents Arguments Hence, we find no error on the part of the RTC in denying the Motion for Repromulgation of the RTCs September 8, 1998
The Solicitor General, on behalf of the People, contends that the issues and arguments raised by petitioner may no longer Decision which was reinstated in People v. Court of Appeals.49
be entertained as these have been addressed in People v. Court of Appeals,41 which is already the "law of the case."42 He The promulgation of judgment is valid.
likewise points out that the promulgation of judgment in absentia is allowed under Section 643 of Rule 120 of the 1985 Petitioners attempt to assail the validity of the promulgation of the RTCs September 8, 1998 Decision must likewise fail
Rules of Criminal Procedure,44 and that the denial of petitioners Motion for Repromulgation of the September 8, 1998 as this has already been addressed by this Court in People v. Court of Appeals.50 As this Court has explained, there was no
Decision is proper as the same is in accordance with Administrative Circular No. 16-93.45 reason to postpone the promulgation because petitioners absence was unjustifiable.51Hence, no abuse of discretion could
As to petitioners right to appeal, respondent opines that petitioners right has prescribed,46 as the same should have been be attributed to the RTC in promulgating its Decision despite the absence of petitioner.52
filed within 15 days from the time he or his counsel received a copy of the September 8, 1998 Decision instead of filing a It bears stressing that the June 10, 2004 Decision of this Court has attained finality. In fact, an Entry of Judgment was made
Petition for Certiorari with the CA.47 by this Court on February 15, 2005.
However, notwithstanding the finality of petitioners conviction, respondent recommends that the penalty be modified Petitioners right to appeal has prescribed.
by reducing the same to six (6) years and one (1) day to ten (10) years in accordance with the Indeterminate Sentence Law As to whether petitioner may still appeal the RTCs September 8, 1998 Decision, we rule in the negative.
(ISL).48 In People v. Court of Appeals,53 this Court reversed petitioners acquittal by the CA as it was made with grave abuse of
Our Ruling discretion. This Court explained that an acquittal via a Petition for Certiorari is not allowed because "the authority to
The petition lacks merit. review perceived errors of the trial court in the exercise of its judgment and discretion x x x are correctible only by appeal
The denial of the Motion for by writ of error."54 Thus, in filing a Petition for Certiorari instead of an appeal, petitioner availed of the wrong remedy.
Repromulgation is in accordance with Thus:
Administrative Circular No. 16-93 In this case, the RTC rendered judgment finding all the accused, respondents herein, guilty of the crime charged based on
Administrative Circular No. 16-93, issued on September 9, 1993, provides that: the evidence on record and the law involved, and sentenced them to suffer the penalty of imprisonment as provided for
TO: ALL JUDGES OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURTS, METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURTS, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS, AND in P.D. No. 705, in relation to Articles 304 and 305 of the Revised Penal Code. They had a plain, speedy and adequate
MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURTS remedy at law to overturn the decision as, in fact, they even filed a motion for reconsideration of the decision on its merits,
RE: PROCEDURE AFTER AFFIRMANCE OR MODIFICATION BY SUPREME COURT OR COURT OF APPEALS OF JUDGMENTS OF and for the nullification of the promulgation of the said decision. Upon the trial courts denial of their motion for
CONVICTION IN CRIMINAL CASES reconsideration, the petitioners had the right to appeal, by writ of error, from the decision on its merits on questions of
To ensure uniformity in the procedure to be observed by the trial courts in criminal cases after their judgments of facts and of law. The appeal of the petitioners in due course was a plain, speedy and adequate remedy. In such appeal,
conviction shall have been affirmed or modified by the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals, attention is invited to the the petitioners could question the findings of facts of the trial court, its conclusions based on the said findings, as well as
decisional and statutory guidelines set out hereunder. the penalty imposed by the court. It bears stressing that an appeal in a criminal case throws the whole case open for
1. The procedure for the promulgation of judgments in the trial courts in criminal cases, differs from that prescribed for review and that the appellate court can reverse any errors of the trial court, whether assigned or unassigned, found in its
the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals where promulgation is effected by filing the signed copy of the judgment judgment. However, instead of appealing the decision by writ of error, the respondents filed their petition for certiorari
with the Clerk of Court who causes true copies thereof to be served upon the parties. The procedural consequence of this with the CA assailing the decision of the trial court on its merits. They questioned their conviction and the penalty imposed
distinction was reiterated in Jesus Alvarado, etc. vs. The Director of Prisons, to wit: on them, alleging that the prosecution failed to prove their guilt for the crime charged, the evidence against them being
merely hearsay and based on mere inferences. In fine, the respondents alleged mere errors of judgment of the trial court
59

in their petition. It behooved the appellate court to have dismissed the petition, instead of giving it due course and granting occasion of fire, earthquake, typhoon, volcanic eruption, or any other calamity, vehicular accident or civil disturbance.
it. None of these circumstances is present in the instant case. Thus, the proper imposable penalty should be that which is
The CA reviewed the trial courts assessment of the evidence on record, its findings of facts, and its conclusions based on prescribed under Article 309.
the said findings. The CA forthwith concluded that the said evidence was utterly insufficient on which to anchor a judgment In this case, the amount of the timber involved is 57,012.00. Since the amount exceeds 22,000.00, the penalty of prision
of conviction, and acquitted respondent Almuete of the crime charged. mayor in its minimum and medium periods57 should be imposed in its maximum period58 plus an additional one (1) year
The appellate court acted with grave abuse of its discretion when it ventured beyond the sphere of its authority and for each additional 10,000 pesos in excess of 22,000.00 or three more years.59 Thus, the correct imposable maximum
arrogated unto itself, in the certiorari proceedings, the authority to review perceived errors of the trial court in the exercise penalty is anywhere between eleven (11) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day of prision mayor to thirteen (13) years
of its judgment and discretion, which are correctible only by appeal by writ of error. Consequently, the decision of the CA of reclusion temporal.
acquitting respondent Almuete of the crime charged is a nullity. If a court is authorized by statute to entertain jurisdiction Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the minimum penalty is one degree lower than that prescribed by the law. In
in a particular case only, and undertakes to exercise the jurisdiction conferred in a case to which the statute has no this case, the minimum penalty should be prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods, which is anywhere
application, the judgment rendered is void. The lack of statutory authority to make a particular judgment is akin to lack of between two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day to six (6) years.
subject-matter jurisdiction. In this case, the CA is authorized to entertain and resolve only errors of jurisdiction and not This Court is not unaware of the rule that "a final judgment may no longer be altered, amended or modified, even if the
errors of judgment. alteration, amendment or modification is meant to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of fact or law
A void judgment has no legal and binding effect, force or efficacy for any purpose. In contemplation of law, it is non- and regardless of what court, be it the highest court of the land, rendered it."60 However, this Court has suspended the
existent. It cannot impair or create rights; nor can any right be based on it. Thus, respondent Almuete cannot base his application of this rule based on certain recognized exceptions, viz:
claim of double jeopardy on the appellate courts decision.55 (Emphasis supplied) Aside from matters of life, liberty, honor or property which would warrant the suspension of the Rules of the most
Clearly, petitioners right to appeal the RTCs September 8, 1998 Decision has long prescribed. Consequently, the said mandatory character and an examination and review by the appellate court of the lower courts findings of fact, the other
Decision is no longer open to an appeal. elements that should be considered are the following: (a) the existence of special or compelling circumstances, (b) the
The penalty imposed must be modified. merits of the case, (c) a cause not entirely attributable to the fault or negligence of the party favored by the suspension
Nonetheless, we agree with the suggestion of the Office of the Solicitor General that the penalty imposed by the RTC in of the rules, (d) a lack of any showing that the review sought is merely frivolous and dilatory, and (e) the other party will
its September 8, 1998 Decision must be modified. Concededly, this case is an offshoot of G.R. No. 144332 which the Court not be unjustly prejudiced thereby.61
decided on June 10, 2004 which found grave abuse of discretion on the part of the CA in acquitting Almuete. In this case, it cannot be gainsaid that what is involved is the life and liberty of petitioner. If his penalty of imprisonment
Section 68 of P.D. No. 705, as amended by E.O. No. 277, provides that: remains uncorrected, it would be not conformable with law and he would be made to suffer the penalty of imprisonment
Sec. 68. Cutting, Gathering and/or collecting Timber, or Other Forest Products Without License. Any person who shall cut, of 18 years, 2 months and 21 days of reclusion temporal as minimum, to 40 years of reclusion perpetua, as maximum,
gather, collect, remove timber or other forest products from any forest land, or timber from alienable or disposable public which is outside the range of the penalty prescribed by law. Contrast this to the proper imposable penalty the minimum
land, or from private land, without any authority, or possess timber or other forest products without the legal documents of which should only be within the range of 2 years, 4 months and 1 day to 6 years of prision correccional, while the
as required under existing forest laws and regulations, shall be punished with the penalties imposed under Articles 309 maximum should only be anywhere between 11 years, 8 months and 1 day of prision mayor to 13 years of reclusion
and 310 of the Revised Penal Code: Provided, That in the case of partnerships, associations, or corporations, the officers temporal. Substantial justice demands that we suspend our Rules in this case. "It is always within the power of the court
who ordered the cutting, gathering, collection or possession shall be liable, and if such officers are aliens, they shall, in to suspend its own Rules or except a particular case from its operation, whenever the purposes of justice require. x x x
addition to the penalty, be deported without further proceedings on the part of the Commission on Immigration and Indeed, when there is a strong showing that a grave miscarriage of justice would result from the strict application of the
Deportation. Rules, this Court will not hesitate to relax the same in the interest of substantial justice."62 Suspending the Rules is justified
The court shall further order the confiscation in favor of the government of the timber or any forest products cut, "where there exist strong compelling reasons, such as serving the ends of justice and preventing a miscarriage
gathered, collected, removed, or possessed as well as the machinery, equipment, implements and tools illegally used in thereof."63 After all, the Courts "primordial and most important duty is to render justice x x x."64
the area where the timber or forest products are found. (Emphasis supplied) Surely, this is not the first time that the Court modified the penalty imposed notwithstanding the finality of the assailed
On the other hand, Articles 309 and 310 of the Revised Penal Code state that: decision.
Art. 309. Penalties. Any person guilty of theft shall be punished by: In People v. Barro,65 Benigno Barro (Benigno), Joel Florin (Florin) and Joel Barro (Joel) were charged with murder. After
1. The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum and medium periods, if the value of the thing stolen is more than 12,000 trial, the trial court convicted them as charged. Only Benigno and Florin filed their notice of appeal. Joel failed to appeal
pesos but does not exceed 22,000 pesos; but if the value of the thing stolen exceed[s] the latter amount, the penalty shall as he escaped from confinement. Hence, the trial courts Decision insofar as Joel is concerned had become final and
be the maximum period of the one prescribed in this paragraph, and one year for each additional ten thousand pesos, but executory. In the Courts Decision of August 17, 2000, the appeal filed by Benigno and Florin was found without merit.
the total of the penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed twenty years. In such cases, and in connection with the However, the Court noted that as regards Joel, the penalty imposed by the trial court was "outside the range"66 of the
accessory penalties which may be imposed and for the purpose of the other provisions of this Code, the penalty shall be penalty prescribed for the offense. Consequently, the Court modified the penalty imposed on him notwithstanding that
termed prision mayor or reclusion temporal, as the case may be. (Emphasis supplied) the same had already become final and executory. The Court ratiocinated that:
xxxx Joel Barro, below 15 years old at the time of the commission of the offense, is entitled to the privileged mitigating
Art. 310. Qualified theft. The crime of theft shall be punished by the penalties next higher by two degrees than those circumstance of minority pursuant to Article 68, par. 1 of the Revised Penal Code. The penalty for murder is reclusion
respectively specified in the next preceding articles, if committed by a domestic servant, or with grave abuse of confidence, temporal in its maximum period to death. Two degrees lower is prision correccional maximum to prision mayor medium.
or if the property stolen is motor vehicle, mail matter or large cattle or consists of coconuts taken from the premises of Joel Barro escaped from jail, hence, he is disqualified from the benefits of the Indeterminate Sentence Law. He should,
the plantation or fish taken from a fishpond or fishery, or if property is taken on the occasion of fire, earthquake, typhoon, therefore, be meted the straight penalty of eight years which is within the medium period (6 years 1 month and 11 days
volcanic eruption, or any other calamity, vehicular accident or civil disturbance. (Emphasis supplied) to 8 years and 20 days) of the said penalty. The trial court erred in imposing the penalty of imprisonment of 8 years and 8
Perusal of the records would show that the trial court imposed the penalty as prescribed in Article 310 which is two months because it is outside the range of said penalty. The records show that Joel Barro did not appeal. However, where
degrees higher than those specified in Article 309.56 This is erroneous considering that the penalty prescribed in Article the penalty imposed on the co-accused who did not appeal was a nullity because it was never authorized by law, that
310 would apply only if the theft was committed under any the following circumstances: a) by a domestic servant, or with penalty imposed on the accused can be corrected to make it conform to the penalty prescribed by law, the reason being
grave abuse of confidence, or b) if the stolen property is motor vehicle, mail matter or large cattle, or consists of coconuts that, said penalty can never become final and executory and it is within the duty and inherent power of the Court to have
taken from the premises of the plantation or fish taken from a fishpond or fishery, or c) if the property is taken on the it conformable with law.67
60

In Estrada v. People,68 petitioner was charged with the crime of estafa. While the trial was pending, petitioner jumped bail. Finally, no constitutional or legal right of this accused is violated by the imposition upon him of the corrected duration,
Understandably, during the promulgation of judgment in 1997, petitioner was absent. Two years later, or in 1999, inherent in the essence and concept, of the penalty. Otherwise, he would be serving a void sentence with an illegitimate
petitioner was arrested. She then moved for reconsideration of the trial courts Decision. The same was denied for having penalty born out of a figurative liaison between judicial legislation and unequal protection of law. He would thus be the
been filed out of time. Thus, petitioner filed a Petition for Certiorari before the CA which was denied. Hence, petitioner victim of an inadvertence which could result in the nullification, not only of the judgment and the penalty meted therein,
brought the case before this Court. In its Decision dated August 25, 2005, the Court ruled that petitioners trial in absentia but also of the sentence he may actually have served. Far from violating any right of U Aung Win, therefore, the remedial
was proper; that she was not denied due process; and that the denial by the trial court of her motion for reconsideration and corrective measures interposed by this opinion protect him against the risk of another trial and review aimed at
was proper as the same was filed beyond the reglementary period. However, the Court noted that the penalty imposed determining the correct period of imprisonment.74
by the trial court (which is 12 years of prision mayor to 24 years as maximum) on petitioner was erroneous. As computed Also, it would not be amiss to mention that the Office of the Solicitor General prayed for the modification of the imposable
by the Court, considering that the amount defrauded is only 68,700.00, the proper minimum imposable penalty should penalty.75
only be within the range of "6 months, and 1 day of prision correccional in its minimum period and 4 years and 2 months Finally, pursuant to Section 11(a),76Rule 122 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, the favorable modification of the
of prision correccional in its medium period"69 while the proper maximum imposable penalty should only be within the penalty should likewise apply to petitioner's co-accused who failed to appeal.77
range of "10 years, 8 months and 21 days and 12 years of prision mayor in its maximum period."70 Hence, notwithstanding WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby DENIED. The May 4, 2007 and the September 4, 2007 Resolutions of the Court of
the finality of the trial courts Decision, the Court modified the penalty imposed, as the same was outside the range Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 98502 are hereby AFFIRMED. In addition, for reasons stated above, the September 8, 1998
prescribed by law. Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Nueva Vizcaya, Branch 27, docketed as Criminal Case No. 2672, is hereby MODIFIED
In Rigor v. The Superintendent, New Bilibid Prison,71 this Court also modified the penalty imposed on the petitioner insofar as the penalty of imprisonment is concerned. The accused, namely, Efren S. Almuete, Johnny Ila y Ramel and Joel
notwithstanding the finality of the trial courts Decision based on the observation that the penalty imposed by the trial Lloren y dela Cruz are each sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of six ( 6) years of prision correccional, as
court was erroneous because it was outside the range prescribed by law. The Court ruled thus: minimum, to thirteen (13) years of reclusion temporal, as maximum.
However, the Court noted a palpable error apparent in the Joint Decision of the trial court that must be rectified in order SO ORDERED.
to avoid its repetition. The trial court erroneously included an additional one day on the maximum period of arresto mayor MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO
imposed on petitioner, which is incorrect, as it is outside the range of said penalty. The duration of arresto mayor is only Associate Justice
from one month and one day to six months. Adding one day to the maximum penalty will place it within the range of G.R. No. 179267 June 25, 2013
prision correccional. JESUS C. GARCIA, Petitioner,
Moreover, imposing the maximum penalty of imprisonment of four years, four months and one day of prision correccional vs.
is also incorrect as it is outside the range of the penalty imposable in this case. x x x THE HONORABLE RAY ALAN T. DRILON, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court-Branch 41, Bacolod City, and ROSALIE JAYPE-
xxxx GARCIA, for herself and in behalf of minor children, namely: JO-ANN, JOSEPH EDUARD, JESSE ANTHONE, all surnamed
The error of the trial court in the present case can be corrected to make it conform to the penalty prescribed by law as it GARCIA, Respondents.
is within the Courts duty and inherent power. x x x DECISION
xxxx PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:
Thus, the correction to be made by this Court is meant only for the penalty imposed against petitioner to be in accordance Hailed as the bastion of Christianity in Asia, the Philippines boasts of 86.8 million Filipinos- or 93 percent of a total
with the law and nothing else. It is not tantamount to a reduction in order to be favorable to the petitioner nor an increase population of 93.3 million adhering to the teachings of Jesus Christ.1 Yet, the admonition for husbands to love their wives
so as to be prejudicial to him.72 as their own bodies just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her2 failed to prevent, or even to curb, the
In People v. Gatward73 the Court explicitly stated that by merely modifying the penalty imposed, it is not reopening the pervasiveness of violence against Filipino women. The National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW)
case; neither is it saying that there was error in judgment. In the same manner, in this case, we are not reopening G.R. No. reported that, for the years 2000-2003, "female violence comprised more than 90o/o of all forms of abuse and violence
144332, much more reversing it. Thus: and more than 90% of these reported cases were committed by the women's intimate partners such as their husbands
x x x In the case of U Aung Win, and the same hold true with respect to Gatward, the penalty inflicted by the court a quo and live-in partners."3
was a nullity because it was never authorized by law as a valid punishment. The penalties which consisted of aliquot one- Thus, on March 8, 2004, after nine (9) years of spirited advocacy by women's groups, Congress enacted Republic Act (R.A.)
third portions of an indivisible penalty are self-contradictory in terms and unknown in penal law. Without intending to No. 9262, entitled "An Act Defining Violence Against Women and Their Children, Providing for Protective Measures for
sound sardonic or facetious, it was akin to imposing the indivisible penalties of public censure, or perpetual absolute or Victims, Prescribing Penalties Therefor, and for Other Purposes." It took effect on March 27, 2004.4
special disqualification, or death in their minimum or maximum periods. R.A. 9262 is a landmark legislation that defines and criminalizes acts of violence against women and their children (VAWC)
This was not a case of a court rendering an erroneous judgment by inflicting a penalty higher or lower than the one perpetrated by women's intimate partners, i.e, husband; former husband; or any person who has or had a sexual or dating
imposable under the law but with both penalties being legally recognized and authorized as valid punishments. An relationship, or with whom the woman has a common child.5 The law provides for protection orders from the barangay
erroneous judgment, as thus understood, is a valid judgment. But a judgment which ordains a penalty which does not and the courts to prevent the commission of further acts of VAWC; and outlines the duties and responsibilities of barangay
exist in the catalogue of penalties or which is an impossible version of that in the roster of lawful penalties is necessarily officials, law enforcers, prosecutors and court personnel, social workers, health care providers, and other local
void, since the error goes into the very essence of the penalty and does not merely arise from the misapplication thereof. government officials in responding to complaints of VAWC or requests for assistance.
Corollarily, such a judgment can never become final and executory.1wphi1 A husband is now before the Court assailing the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 as being violative of the equal protection
Nor can it be said that, despite the failure of the accused to appeal, his case was reopened in order that a higher penalty and due process clauses, and an undue delegation of judicial power to barangay officials.
may be imposed on him. There is here no reopening of the case, as in fact the judgment is being affirmed but with a The Factual Antecedents
correction of the very substance of the penalty to make it conformable to law, pursuant to a duty and power inherent in On March 23, 2006, Rosalie Jaype-Garcia (private respondent) filed, for herself and in behalf of her minor children, a
this Court. The penalty has not been changed since what was decreed by the trial court and is now being likewise affirmed verified petition6 (Civil Case No. 06-797) before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bacolod City for the issuance of a
by this Court is the same penalty of reclusion perpetua which, unfortunately, was imposed by the lower court in an Temporary Protection Order (TPO) against her husband, Jesus C. Garcia (petitioner), pursuant to R.A. 9262. She claimed
elemental form which is non-existent in and not authorized by law. Just as the penalty has not been reduced in order to to be a victim of physical abuse; emotional, psychological, and economic violence as a result of marital infidelity on the
be favorable to the accused, neither has it been increased so as to be prejudicial to him. part of petitioner, with threats of deprivation of custody of her children and of financial support.7
Private respondent's claims
61

Private respondent married petitioner in 2002 when she was 34 years old and the former was eleven years her senior. dwelling; this order is enforceable notwithstanding that the house is under the name of 236 Realty Holdings Inc. (Republic
They have three (3) children, namely: Jo-Ann J. Garcia, 17 years old, who is the natural child of petitioner but whom private Act No. 9262 states "regardless of ownership"), this is to allow the Petitioner (private respondent herein) to enter the
respondent adopted; Jessie Anthone J. Garcia, 6 years old; and Joseph Eduard J. Garcia, 3 years old.8 conjugal dwelling without any danger from the Respondent.
Private respondent described herself as a dutiful and faithful wife, whose life revolved around her husband. On the other After the Respondent leaves or is removed from the conjugal dwelling, or anytime the Petitioner decides to return to the
hand, petitioner, who is of Filipino-Chinese descent, is dominant, controlling, and demands absolute obedience from his conjugal dwelling to remove things, the Petitioner shall be assisted by police officers when re-entering the family home.
wife and children. He forbade private respondent to pray, and deliberately isolated her from her friends. When she took The Chief of Police shall also give the Petitioner police assistance on Sunday, 26 March 2006 because of the danger that
up law, and even when she was already working part time at a law office, petitioner trivialized her ambitions and prevailed the Respondent will attempt to take her children from her when he arrives from Manila and finds out about this suit.
upon her to just stay at home. He was often jealous of the fact that his attractive wife still catches the eye of some men, b) To stay away from the petitioner and her children, mother and all her household help and driver from a distance of
at one point threatening that he would have any man eyeing her killed.9 1,000 meters, and shall not enter the gate of the subdivision where the Petitioner may be temporarily residing.
Things turned for the worse when petitioner took up an affair with a bank manager of Robinson's Bank, Bacolod City, who c) Not to harass, annoy, telephone, contact or otherwise communicate with the Petitioner, directly or indirectly, or through
is the godmother of one of their sons. Petitioner admitted to the affair when private respondent confronted him about it other persons, or contact directly or indirectly her children, mother and household help, nor send gifts, cards, flowers,
in 2004. He even boasted to the household help about his sexual relations with said bank manager. Petitioner told private letters and the like. Visitation rights to the children may be subject of a modified TPO in the future.
respondent, though, that he was just using the woman because of their accounts with the bank.10 d) To surrender all his firearms including a .9MM caliber firearm and a Walther PPK and ordering the Philippine National
Petitioner's infidelity spawned a series of fights that left private respondent physically and emotionally wounded. In one Police Firearms and Explosives Unit and the Provincial Director of the PNP to cancel all the Respondent's firearm licenses.
of their quarrels, petitioner grabbed private respondent on both arms and shook her with such force that caused bruises He should also be ordered to surrender any unlicensed firearms in his possession or control.
and hematoma. At another time, petitioner hit private respondent forcefully on the lips that caused some bleeding. e) To pay full financial support for the Petitioner and the children, including rental of a house for them, and educational
Petitioner sometimes turned his ire on their daughter, Jo-Ann, who had seen the text messages he sent to his paramour and medical expenses.
and whom he blamed for squealing on him. He beat Jo-Ann on the chest and slapped her many times. When private f) Not to dissipate the conjugal business.
respondent decided to leave petitioner, Jo-Ann begged her mother to stay for fear that if the latter leaves, petitioner g) To render an accounting of all advances, benefits, bonuses and other cash he received from all the corporations from 1
would beat her up. Even the small boys are aware of private respondent's sufferings. Their 6-year-old son said that when January 2006 up to 31 March 2006, which himself and as President of the corporations and his Comptroller, must submit
he grows up, he would beat up his father because of his cruelty to private respondent.11 to the Court not later than 2 April 2006. Thereafter, an accounting of all these funds shall be reported to the court by the
All the emotional and psychological turmoil drove private respondent to the brink of despair. On December 17, 2005, Comptroller, copy furnished to the Petitioner, every 15 days of the month, under pain of Indirect Contempt of Court.
while at home, she attempted suicide by cutting her wrist. She was found by her son bleeding on the floor. Petitioner h) To ensure compliance especially with the order granting support pendente lite, and considering the financial resources
simply fled the house instead of taking her to the hospital. Private respondent was hospitalized for about seven (7) days of the Respondent and his threat that if the Petitioner sues she will not get a single centavo, the Respondent is ordered
in which time petitioner never bothered to visit, nor apologized or showed pity on her. Since then, private respondent has to put up a BOND TO KEEP THE PEACE in the amount of FIVE MILLION PESOS, in two sufficient sureties.
been undergoing therapy almost every week and is taking anti-depressant medications.12 On April 24, 2006, upon motion19 of private respondent, the trial court issued an amended TPO,20 effective for thirty (30)
When private respondent informed the management of Robinson's Bank that she intends to file charges against the bank days, which included the following additional provisions:
manager, petitioner got angry with her for jeopardizing the manager's job. He then packed his things and told private i) The petitioners (private respondents herein) are given the continued use of the Nissan Patrol and the Starex Van which
respondent that he was leaving her for good. He even told private respondent's mother, who lives with them in the family they are using in Negros Occidental.
home, that private respondent should just accept his extramarital affair since he is not cohabiting with his paramour and j) The petitioners are given the continued use and occupation of the house in Paraaque, the continued use of the Starex
has not sired a child with her.13 van in Metro Manila, whenever they go to Manila.
Private respondent is determined to separate from petitioner but she is afraid that he would take her children from her k) Respondent is ordered to immediately post a bond to keep the peace, in two sufficient sureties.
and deprive her of financial support. Petitioner had previously warned her that if she goes on a legal battle with him, she l) To give monthly support to the petitioner provisionally fixed in the sum of One Hundred Fifty Thousand Pesos (Php
would not get a single centavo.14 150,000.00) per month plus rental expenses of Fifty Thousand Pesos (Php 50,000.00) per month until the matter of
Petitioner controls the family businesses involving mostly the construction of deep wells. He is the President of three support could be finally resolved.
corporations 326 Realty Holdings, Inc., Negros Rotadrill Corporation, and J-Bros Trading Corporation of which he and Two days later, or on April 26, 2006, petitioner filed an Opposition to the Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for Renewal of the
private respondent are both stockholders. In contrast to the absolute control of petitioner over said corporations, private TPO21 seeking the denial of the renewal of the TPO on the grounds that it did not (1) comply with the three-day notice
respondent merely draws a monthly salary of 20,000.00 from one corporation only, the Negros Rotadrill Corporation. rule, and (2) contain a notice of hearing. He further asked that the TPO be modified by (1) removing one vehicle used by
Household expenses amounting to not less than 200,000.00 a month are paid for by private respondent through the use private respondent and returning the same to its rightful owner, the J-Bros Trading Corporation, and (2) cancelling or
of credit cards, which, in turn, are paid by the same corporation together with the bills for utilities.15 reducing the amount of the bond from 5,000,000.00 to a more manageable level at 100,000.00.
On the other hand, petitioner receives a monthly salary of 60,000.00 from Negros Rotadrill Corporation, and enjoys Subsequently, on May 23, 2006, petitioner moved22 for the modification of the TPO to allow him visitation rights to his
unlimited cash advances and other benefits in hundreds of thousands of pesos from the corporations. 16After private children.
respondent confronted him about the affair, petitioner forbade her to hold office at JBTC Building, Mandalagan, where all On May 24, 2006, the TPO was renewed and extended yet again, but subject only to the following modifications prayed
the businesses of the corporations are conducted, thereby depriving her of access to full information about said for by private respondent:
businesses. Until the filing of the petition a quo, petitioner has not given private respondent an accounting of the a) That respondent (petitioner herein) return the clothes and other personal belongings of Rosalie and her children to
businesses the value of which she had helped raise to millions of pesos.17 Judge Jesus Ramos, co-counsel for Petitioner, within 24 hours from receipt of the Temporary Protection Order by his
Action of the RTC of Bacolod City counsel, otherwise be declared in Indirect Contempt of Court;
Finding reasonable ground to believe that an imminent danger of violence against the private respondent and her children b) Respondent shall make an accounting or list of furniture and equipment in the conjugal house in Pitimini St., Capitolville
exists or is about to recur, the RTC issued a TPO18 on March 24, 2006 effective for thirty (30) days, which is quoted Subdivision, Bacolod City within 24 hours from receipt of the Temporary Protection Order by his counsel;
hereunder: c) Ordering the Chief of the Women's Desk of the Bacolod City Police Headquarters to remove Respondent from the
Respondent (petitioner herein), Jesus Chua Garcia, is hereby: conjugal dwelling within eight (8) hours from receipt of the Temporary Protection Order by his counsel, and that he cannot
a) Ordered to remove all his personal belongings from the conjugal dwelling or family home within 24 hours from receipt return until 48 hours after the petitioners have left, so that the petitioner Rosalie and her representatives can remove
of the Temporary Restraining Order and if he refuses, ordering that he be removed by police officers from the conjugal
62

things from the conjugal home and make an inventory of the household furniture, equipment and other things in the 9) Ordered that the Register of Deeds of Bacolod City and E.B. Magalona shall be served a copy of this TEMPORARY
conjugal home, which shall be submitted to the Court. PROTECTION ORDER and are ordered not to allow the transfer, sale, encumbrance or disposition of these above-cited
d) Deliver full financial support of Php200,000.00 and Php50,000.00 for rental and Php25,000.00 for clothes of the three properties to any person, entity or corporation without the personal presence of petitioner Rosalie J. Garcia, who shall
petitioners (sic) children within 24 hours from receipt of the Temporary Protection Order by his counsel, otherwise be affix her signature in the presence of the Register of Deeds, due to the fear of petitioner Rosalie that her signature will be
declared in indirect contempt of Court; forged in order to effect the encumbrance or sale of these properties to defraud her or the conjugal partnership of gains.
e) That respondent surrender his two firearms and all unlicensed firearms to the Clerk of Court within 24 hours from In its Order29 dated September 26, 2006, the trial court extended the aforequoted TPO for another ten (10) days, and gave
receipt of the Temporary Protection Order by his counsel; petitioner a period of five (5) days within which to show cause why the TPO should not be renewed, extended, or modified.
f) That respondent shall pay petitioner educational expenses of the children upon presentation of proof of payment of Upon petitioner's manifestation,30 however, that he has not received a copy of private respondent's motion to
such expenses.23 modify/renew the TPO, the trial court directed in its Order31 dated October 6, 2006 that petitioner be furnished a copy of
Claiming that petitioner continued to deprive them of financial support; failed to faithfully comply with the TPO; and said motion. Nonetheless, an Order32 dated a day earlier, October 5, had already been issued renewing the TPO dated
committed new acts of harassment against her and their children, private respondent filed another application24for the August 23, 2006. The pertinent portion is quoted hereunder:
issuance of a TPO ex parte. She alleged inter xxxx
alia that petitioner contrived a replevin suit against himself by J-Bros Trading, Inc., of which the latter was purportedly no x x x it appearing further that the hearing could not yet be finally terminated, the Temporary Protection Order issued on
longer president, with the end in view of recovering the Nissan Patrol and Starex Van used by private respondent and the August 23, 2006 is hereby renewed and extended for thirty (30) days and continuously extended and renewed for thirty
children. A writ of replevin was served upon private respondent by a group of six or seven policemen with long firearms (30) days, after each expiration, until further orders, and subject to such modifications as may be ordered by the court.
that scared the two small boys, Jessie Anthone and Joseph Eduard.25 After having received a copy of the foregoing Order, petitioner no longer submitted the required comment to private
While Joseph Eduard, then three years old, was driven to school, two men allegedly attempted to kidnap him, which respondent's motion for renewal of the TPO arguing that it would only be an "exercise in futility."33
incident traumatized the boy resulting in his refusal to go back to school. On another occasion, petitioner allegedly grabbed Proceedings before the CA
their daughter, Jo-Ann, by the arm and threatened her.26 The incident was reported to the police, and Jo-Ann subsequently During the pendency of Civil Case No. 06-797, petitioner filed before the Court of Appeals (CA) a petition34 for prohibition
filed a criminal complaint against her father for violation of R.A. 7610, also known as the "Special Protection of Children (CA-G.R. CEB-SP. No. 01698), with prayer for injunction and temporary restraining order, challenging (1) the
Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act." constitutionality of R.A. 9262 for being violative of the due process and the equal protection clauses, and (2) the validity
Aside from the replevin suit, petitioner's lawyers initiated the filing by the housemaids working at the conjugal home of a of the modified TPO issued in the civil case for being "an unwanted product of an invalid law."
complaint for kidnapping and illegal detention against private respondent. This came about after private respondent, On May 26, 2006, the appellate court issued a 60-day Temporary Restraining Order36 (TRO) against the enforcement of
armed with a TPO, went to said home to get her and her children's belongings. Finding some of her things inside a the TPO, the amended TPOs and other orders pursuant thereto.
housemaid's (Sheryl Jamola) bag in the maids' room, private respondent filed a case for qualified theft against Jamola.27 Subsequently, however, on January 24, 2007, the appellate court dismissed36 the petition for failure of petitioner to raise
On August 23, 2006, the RTC issued a TPO,28 effective for thirty (30) days, which reads as follows: the constitutional issue in his pleadings before the trial court in the civil case, which is clothed with jurisdiction to resolve
Respondent (petitioner herein), Jesus Chua Garcia, is hereby: the same. Secondly, the challenge to the validity
1) Prohibited from threatening to commit or committing, personally or through another, acts of violence against the of R.A. 9262 through a petition for prohibition seeking to annul the protection orders issued by the trial court constituted
offended party; a collateral attack on said law.
2) Prohibited from harassing, annoying, telephoning, contacting or otherwise communicating in any form with the His motion for reconsideration of the foregoing Decision having been denied in the Resolution37 dated August 14, 2007,
offended party, either directly or indirectly; petitioner is now before us alleging that
3) Required to stay away, personally or through his friends, relatives, employees or agents, from all the Petitioners Rosalie The Issues
J. Garcia and her children, Rosalie J. Garcia's three brothers, her mother Primitiva Jaype, cook Novelita Caranzo, driver I.
Romeo Hontiveros, laundrywoman Mercedita Bornales, security guard Darwin Gayona and the petitioner's other THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DISMISSING THE PETITION ON THE THEORY THAT THE ISSUE OF CONSTITUTIONALITY
household helpers from a distance of 1,000 meters, and shall not enter the gate of the subdivision where the Petitioners WAS NOT RAISED AT THE EARLIEST OPPORTUNITY AND THAT, THE PETITION CONSTITUTES A COLLATERAL ATTACK ON THE
are temporarily residing, as well as from the schools of the three children; Furthermore, that respondent shall not contact VALIDITY OF THE LAW.
the schools of the children directly or indirectly in any manner including, ostensibly to pay for their tuition or other fees II.
directly, otherwise he will have access to the children through the schools and the TPO will be rendered nugatory; THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR IN FAILING TO CONCLUDE THAT R.A. 9262 IS DISCRIMINATORY,
4) Directed to surrender all his firearms including .9MM caliber firearm and a Walther PPK to the Court; UNJUST, AND VIOLATIVE OF THE EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE.
5) Directed to deliver in full financial support of Php200,000.00 a month and Php50,000.00 for rental for the period from III.
August 6 to September 6, 2006; and support in arrears from March 2006 to August 2006 the total amount of THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE MISTAKE IN NOT FINDING THAT R.A. 9262 RUNS COUNTER TO THE DUE
Php1,312,000.00; PROCESS CLAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION.
6) Directed to deliver educational expenses for 2006-2007 the amount of Php75,000.00 and Php25,000.00; IV.
7) Directed to allow the continued use of a Nissan Patrol with Plate No. FEW 508 and a Starex van with Plate No. FFD 991 THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE LAW DOES VIOLENCE TO THE POLICY OF THE STATE TO
and should the respondent fail to deliver said vehicles, respondent is ordered to provide the petitioner another vehicle PROTECT THE FAMILY AS A BASIC SOCIAL INSTITUTION.
which is the one taken by J Bros Tading; V.
8) Ordered not to dissipate, encumber, alienate, sell, lease or otherwise dispose of the conjugal assets, or those real THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN NOT DECLARING R.A. No. 9262 AS INVALID AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL
properties in the name of Jesus Chua Garcia only and those in which the conjugal partnership of gains of the Petitioner BECAUSE IT ALLOWS AN UNDUE DELEGATION OF JUDICIAL POWER TO THE BARANGAY OFFICIALS.38
Rosalie J. Garcia and respondent have an interest in, especially the conjugal home located in No. 14, Pitimini St., Capitolville The Ruling of the Court
Subdivision, Bacolod City, and other properties which are conjugal assets or those in which the conjugal partnership of Before delving into the arguments propounded by petitioner against the constitutionality of R.A. 9262, we shall first tackle
gains of Petitioner Rosalie J. Garcia and the respondent have an interest in and listed in Annexes "I," "I-1," and "I-2," the propriety of the dismissal by the appellate court of the petition for prohibition (CA-G.R. CEB-SP. No. 01698) filed by
including properties covered by TCT Nos. T-186325 and T-168814; petitioner.
63

As a general rule, the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest opportunity so that if not raised in the contribution, indemnity, subrogation or any other relief, in respect of his opponent's claim.52As pointed out by Justice
pleadings, ordinarily it may not be raised in the trial, and if not raised in the trial court, it will not be considered on Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro, the unconstitutionality of a statute is not a cause of action that could be the subject of a
appeal.39 Courts will not anticipate a question of constitutional law in advance of the necessity of deciding it.40 counterclaim, cross-claim or a third-party complaint. Therefore, it is not prohibited from being raised in the opposition in
In defending his failure to attack the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 before the RTC of Bacolod City, petitioner argues that view of the familiar maxim expressio unius est exclusio alterius.
the Family Court has limited authority and jurisdiction that is "inadequate to tackle the complex issue of Moreover, it cannot be denied that this issue affects the resolution of the case a quo because the right of private
constitutionality."41 respondent to a protection order is founded solely on the very statute the validity of which is being attacked53 by petitioner
We disagree. who has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement. The alleged unconstitutionality of R.A. 9262
Family Courts have authority and jurisdiction to consider the constitutionality of a statute. is, for all intents and purposes, a valid cause for the non-issuance of a protection order.
At the outset, it must be stressed that Family Courts are special courts, of the same level as Regional Trial Courts. Under That the proceedings in Civil Case No. 06-797 are summary in nature should not have deterred petitioner from raising the
R.A. 8369, otherwise known as the "Family Courts Act of 1997," family courts have exclusive original jurisdiction to hear same in his Opposition. The question relative to the constitutionality of a statute is one of law which does not need to be
and decide cases of domestic violence against women and children.42 In accordance with said law, the Supreme Court supported by evidence.54 Be that as it may, Section 25 of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC nonetheless allows the conduct of a hearing
designated from among the branches of the Regional Trial Courts at least one Family Court in each of several key cities to determine legal issues, among others, viz:
identified.43 To achieve harmony with the first mentioned law, Section 7 of R.A. 9262 now provides that Regional Trial SEC. 25. Order for further hearing. - In case the court determines the need for further hearing, it may issue an order
Courts designated as Family Courts shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over cases of VAWC defined under the containing the following:
latter law, viz: (a) Facts undisputed and admitted;
SEC. 7. Venue. The Regional Trial Court designated as a Family Court shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over (b) Factual and legal issues to be resolved;
cases of violence against women and their children under this law. In the absence of such court in the place where the (c) Evidence, including objects and documents that have been marked and will be presented;
offense was committed, the case shall be filed in the Regional Trial Court where the crime or any of its elements was (d) Names of witnesses who will be ordered to present their direct testimonies in the form of affidavits; and
committed at the option of the complainant. (Emphasis supplied) (e) Schedule of the presentation of evidence by both parties which shall be done in one day, to the extent possible, within
Inspite of its designation as a family court, the RTC of Bacolod City remains possessed of authority as a court of general the 30-day period of the effectivity of the temporary protection order issued. (Emphasis supplied)
original jurisdiction to pass upon all kinds of cases whether civil, criminal, special proceedings, land registration, To obviate potential dangers that may arise concomitant to the conduct of a hearing when necessary, Section 26 (b) of
guardianship, naturalization, admiralty or insolvency.44 It is settled that RTCs have jurisdiction to resolve the A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC provides that if a temporary protection order issued is due to expire, the trial court may extend or
constitutionality of a statute,45 "this authority being embraced in the general definition of the judicial power to determine renew the said order for a period of thirty (30) days each time until final judgment is rendered. It may likewise modify the
what are the valid and binding laws by the criterion of their conformity to the fundamental law."46 The Constitution vests extended or renewed temporary protection order as may be necessary to meet the needs of the parties. With the private
the power of judicial review or the power to declare the constitutionality or validity of a law, treaty, international or respondent given ample protection, petitioner could proceed to litigate the constitutional issues, without necessarily
executive agreement, presidential decree, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation not only in this Court, but in all running afoul of the very purpose for the adoption of the rules on summary procedure.
RTCs.47 We said in J.M. Tuason and Co., Inc. v. CA48 that, "plainly the Constitution contemplates that the inferior courts In view of all the foregoing, the appellate court correctly dismissed the petition for prohibition with prayer for injunction
should have jurisdiction in cases involving constitutionality of any treaty or law, for it speaks of appellate review of final and temporary restraining order (CA-G.R. CEB - SP. No. 01698). Petitioner may have proceeded upon an honest belief that
judgments of inferior courts in cases where such constitutionality happens to be in issue." Section 5, Article VIII of the if he finds succor in a superior court, he could be granted an injunctive relief. However, Section 22(j) of A.M. No. 04-10-
1987 Constitution reads in part as follows: 11-SC expressly disallows the filing of a petition for certiorari, mandamus or prohibition against any interlocutory order
SEC. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers: issued by the trial court. Hence, the 60-day TRO issued by the appellate court in this case against the enforcement of the
xxx TPO, the amended TPOs and other orders pursuant thereto was improper, and it effectively hindered the case from taking
2. Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, final its normal course in an expeditious and summary manner.
judgments and orders of lower courts in: As the rules stand, a review of the case by appeal or certiorari before judgment is prohibited. Moreover, if the appeal of a
a. All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential judgment granting permanent protection shall not stay its enforcement,55 with more reason that a TPO, which is valid only
decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question. for thirty (30) days at a time,56 should not be enjoined.
xxxx The mere fact that a statute is alleged to be unconstitutional or invalid, does not of itself entitle a litigant to have the same
Thus, contrary to the posturing of petitioner, the issue of constitutionality of R.A. 9262 could have been raised at the enjoined.57 In Younger v. Harris, Jr.,58 the Supreme Court of the United States declared, thus:
earliest opportunity in his Opposition to the petition for protection order before the RTC of Bacolod City, which had Federal injunctions against state criminal statutes, either in their entirety or with respect to their separate and distinct
jurisdiction to determine the same, subject to the review of this Court. prohibitions, are not to be granted as a matter of course, even if such statutes are unconstitutional. No citizen or member
Section 20 of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC, the Rule on Violence Against Women and Their Children, lays down a new kind of of the community is immune from prosecution, in good faith, for his alleged criminal acts. The imminence of such a
procedure requiring the respondent to file an opposition to the petition and not an answer.49 Thus: prosecution even though alleged to be unauthorized and, hence, unlawful is not alone ground for relief in equity which
SEC. 20. Opposition to petition. (a) The respondent may file an opposition to the petition which he himself shall verify. exerts its extraordinary powers only to prevent irreparable injury to the plaintiff who seeks its aid. (Citations omitted)
It must be accompanied by the affidavits of witnesses and shall show cause why a temporary or permanent protection The sole objective of injunctions is to preserve the status quo until the trial court hears fully the merits of the case. It bears
order should not be issued. stressing, however, that protection orders are granted ex parte so as to protect women and their children from acts of
(b) Respondent shall not include in the opposition any counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint, but any cause violence. To issue an injunction against such orders will defeat the very purpose of the law against VAWC.
of action which could be the subject thereof may be litigated in a separate civil action. (Emphasis supplied) Notwithstanding all these procedural flaws, we shall not shirk from our obligation to determine novel issues, or issues of
We cannot subscribe to the theory espoused by petitioner that, since a counterclaim, cross-claim and third-party first impression, with far-reaching implications. We have, time and again, discharged our solemn duty as final arbiter of
complaint are to be excluded from the opposition, the issue of constitutionality cannot likewise be raised therein. A constitutional issues, and with more reason now, in view of private respondent's plea in her Comment59 to the instant
counterclaim is defined as any claim for money or other relief which a defending party may have against an opposing Petition that we should put the challenge to the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 to rest. And so we shall.
party.50 A cross-claim, on the other hand, is any claim by one party against a co-party arising out of the transaction or Intent of Congress in enacting R.A. 9262.
occurrence that is the subject matter either of the original action or of a counterclaim therein.51Finally, a third-party
complaint is a claim that a defending party may, with leave of court, file against a person not a party to the action for
64

Petitioner claims that since R.A. 9262 is intended to prevent and criminalize spousal and child abuse, which could very procedures and standards in our courts which give credence to evidentiary support and cannot just arbitrarily and
well be committed by either the husband or the wife, gender alone is not enough basis to deprive the husband/father of whimsically entertain baseless complaints.
the remedies under the law.60 Mr. President, this measure is intended to harmonize family relations and to protect the family as the basic social
A perusal of the deliberations of Congress on Senate Bill No. 2723,61 which became R.A. 9262, reveals that while the institution. Though I recognize the unequal power relations between men and women in our society, I believe we have an
sponsor, Senator Luisa Pimentel-Ejercito (better known as Senator Loi Estrada), had originally proposed what she called a obligation to uphold inherent rights and dignity of both husband and wife and their immediate family members,
"synthesized measure"62 an amalgamation of two measures, namely, the "Anti-Domestic Violence Act" and the "Anti- particularly children.
Abuse of Women in Intimate Relationships Act"63 providing protection to "all family members, leaving no one in isolation" While I prefer to focus mainly on women, I was compelled to include other family members as a critical input arrived at
but at the same time giving special attention to women as the "usual victims" of violence and abuse,64 nonetheless, it was after a series of consultations/meetings with various NGOs, experts, sports groups and other affected sectors, Mr.
eventually agreed that men be denied protection under the same measure. We quote pertinent portions of the President.
deliberations: Senator Sotto. Mr. President.
Wednesday, December 10, 2003 The President Pro Tempore. Yes, with the permission of the other senators.
Senator Pangilinan. I just wanted to place this on record, Mr. President. Some women's groups have expressed concerns Senator Sotto. Yes, with the permission of the two ladies on the Floor.
and relayed these concerns to me that if we are to include domestic violence apart from against women as well as other The President Pro Tempore. Yes, Sen. Vicente C. Sotto III is recognized.
members of the household, including children or the husband, they fear that this would weaken the efforts to address Senator Sotto. I presume that the effect of the proposed amendment of Senator Legarda would be removing the "men
domestic violence of which the main victims or the bulk of the victims really are the wives, the spouses or the female and children" in this particular bill and focus specifically on women alone. That will be the net effect of that proposed
partners in a relationship. We would like to place that on record. How does the good Senator respond to this kind of amendment. Hearing the rationale mentioned by the distinguished sponsor, Sen. Luisa "Loi" Ejercito Estrada, I am not sure
observation? now whether she is inclined to accept the proposed amendment of Senator Legarda.
Senator Estrada. Yes, Mr. President, there is this group of women who call themselves "WIIR" Women in Intimate I am willing to wait whether she is accepting this or not because if she is going to accept this, I will propose an amendment
Relationship. They do not want to include men in this domestic violence. But plenty of men are also being abused by to the amendment rather than object to the amendment, Mr. President.
women. I am playing safe so I placed here members of the family, prescribing penalties therefor and providing protective xxxx
measures for victims. This includes the men, children, live-in, common-law wives, and those related with the family.65 Senator Estrada. The amendment is accepted, Mr. President.
xxx The President Pro Tempore. Is there any objection?
Wednesday, January 14, 2004 xxxx
xxxx Senator Sotto. x x x May I propose an amendment to the amendment.
The President Pro Tempore. x x x The President Pro Tempore. Before we act on the amendment?
Also, may the Chair remind the group that there was the discussion whether to limit this to women and not to families Senator Sotto. Yes, Mr. President.
which was the issue of the AWIR group. The understanding that I have is that we would be having a broader scope rather The President Pro Tempore. Yes, please proceed.
than just women, if I remember correctly, Madam sponsor. Senator Sotto. Mr. President, I am inclined to believe the rationale used by the distinguished proponent of the
Senator Estrada. Yes, Mr. President. amendment. As a matter of fact, I tend to agree. Kung may maaabuso, mas malamang iyong babae kaysa sa lalake. At saka
As a matter of fact, that was brought up by Senator Pangilinan during the interpellation period. iyong mga lalake, puwede na talagang magulpi iyan. Okey lang iyan. But I cannot agree that we remove the children from
I think Senator Sotto has something to say to that. this particular measure.
Senator Legarda. Mr. President, the reason I am in support of the measure. Do not get me wrong. However, I believe that So, if I may propose an amendment
there is a need to protect women's rights especially in the domestic environment. The President Pro Tempore. To the amendment.
As I said earlier, there are nameless, countless, voiceless women who have not had the opportunity to file a case against Senator Sotto. more than the women, the children are very much abused. As a matter of fact, it is not limited to minors.
their spouses, their live-in partners after years, if not decade, of battery and abuse. If we broaden the scope to include The abuse is not limited to seven, six, 5-year-old children. I have seen 14, 15-year-old children being abused by their
even the men, assuming they can at all be abused by the women or their spouses, then it would not equalize the already fathers, even by their mothers. And it breaks my heart to find out about these things.
difficult situation for women, Mr. President. Because of the inadequate existing law on abuse of children, this particular measure will update that. It will enhance and
I think that the sponsor, based on our earlier conversations, concurs with this position. I am sure that the men in this hopefully prevent the abuse of children and not only women.
Chamber who love their women in their lives so dearly will agree with this representation. Whether we like it or not, it is SOTTO-LEGARDA AMENDMENTS
an unequal world. Whether we like it or not, no matter how empowered the women are, we are not given equal Therefore, may I propose an amendment that, yes, we remove the aspect of the men in the bill but not the children.
opportunities especially in the domestic environment where the macho Filipino man would always feel that he is stronger, Senator Legarda. I agree, Mr. President, with the Minority Leader.
more superior to the Filipino woman. The President Pro Tempore. Effectively then, it will be women AND CHILDREN.
xxxx Senator Sotto. Yes, Mr. President.
The President Pro Tempore. What does the sponsor say? Senator Estrada. It is accepted, Mr. President.
Senator Estrada. Mr. President, before accepting this, the committee came up with this bill because the family members The President Pro Tempore. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, the amendment, as amended, is
have been included in this proposed measure since the other members of the family other than women are also possible approved.66
victims of violence. While women are most likely the intended victims, one reason incidentally why the measure focuses It is settled that courts are not concerned with the wisdom, justice, policy, or expediency of a statute.67 Hence, we dare
on women, the fact remains that in some relatively few cases, men also stand to be victimized and that children are almost not venture into the real motivations and wisdom of the members of Congress in limiting the protection against violence
always the helpless victims of violence. I am worried that there may not be enough protection extended to other family and abuse under R.A. 9262 to women and children only. No proper challenge on said grounds may be entertained in this
members particularly children who are excluded. Although Republic Act No. 7610, for instance, more or less, addresses proceeding. Congress has made its choice and it is not our prerogative to supplant this judgment. The choice may be
the special needs of abused children. The same law is inadequate. Protection orders for one are not available in said law. perceived as erroneous but even then, the remedy against it is to seek its amendment or repeal by the legislative. By the
I am aware that some groups are apprehensive about granting the same protection to men, fearing that they may use this principle of separation of powers, it is the legislative that determines the necessity, adequacy, wisdom and expediency of
law to justify their abusive behavior against women. However, we should also recognize that there are established any law.68 We only step in when there is a violation of the Constitution. However, none was sufficiently shown in this case.
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R.A. 9262 does not violate the guaranty of equal protection of the laws. The Roman concept of patria potestas allowed the husband to beat, or even kill, his wife if she endangered his property
Equal protection simply requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be treated alike, both as to rights right over her. Judaism, Christianity and other religions oriented towards the patriarchal family strengthened the male
conferred and responsibilities imposed. The oft-repeated disquisition in the early case of Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope dominated structure of society.
Workers' Union69 is instructive: English feudal law reinforced the tradition of male control over women. Even the eminent Blackstone has been quoted in
The guaranty of equal protection of the laws is not a guaranty of equality in the application of the laws upon all citizens of his commentaries as saying husband and wife were one and that one was the husband. However, in the late 1500s and
the state. It is not, therefore, a requirement, in order to avoid the constitutional prohibition against inequality, that every through the entire 1600s, English common law began to limit the right of husbands to chastise their wives. Thus, common
man, woman and child should be affected alike by a statute. Equality of operation of statutes does not mean indiscriminate law developed the rule of thumb, which allowed husbands to beat their wives with a rod or stick no thicker than their
operation on persons merely as such, but on persons according to the circumstances surrounding them. It guarantees thumb.
equality, not identity of rights. The Constitution does not require that things which are different in fact be treated in law In the later part of the 19th century, legal recognition of these rights to chastise wives or inflict corporeal punishment
as though they were the same. The equal protection clause does not forbid discrimination as to things that are different. ceased. Even then, the preservation of the family was given more importance than preventing violence to women.
It does not prohibit legislation which is limited either in the object to which it is directed or by the territory within which The metamorphosis of the law on violence in the United States followed that of the English common law. In 1871, the
it is to operate. Supreme Court of Alabama became the first appellate court to strike down the common law right of a husband to beat
The equal protection of the laws clause of the Constitution allows classification. Classification in law, as in the other his wife:
departments of knowledge or practice, is the grouping of things in speculation or practice because they agree with one The privilege, ancient though it may be, to beat one's wife with a stick, to pull her hair, choke her, spit in her face or kick
another in certain particulars. A law is not invalid because of simple inequality. The very idea of classification is that of her about the floor, or to inflict upon her like indignities, is not now acknowledged by our law... In person, the wife is
inequality, so that it goes without saying that the mere fact of inequality in no manner determines the matter of entitled to the same protection of the law that the husband can invoke for himself.
constitutionality. All that is required of a valid classification is that it be reasonable, which means that the classification As time marched on, the women's advocacy movement became more organized. The temperance leagues initiated it.
should be based on substantial distinctions which make for real differences; that it must be germane to the purpose of These leagues had a simple focus. They considered the evils of alcoholism as the root cause of wife abuse. Hence, they
the law; that it must not be limited to existing conditions only; and that it must apply equally to each member of the class. demonstrated and picketed saloons, bars and their husbands' other watering holes. Soon, however, their crusade was
This Court has held that the standard is satisfied if the classification or distinction is based on a reasonable foundation or joined by suffragette movements, expanding the liberation movement's agenda. They fought for women's right to vote,
rational basis and is not palpably arbitrary. (Emphasis supplied) to own property, and more. Since then, the feminist movement was on the roll.
Measured against the foregoing jurisprudential yardstick, we find that R.A. 9262 is based on a valid classification as shall The feminist movement exposed the private invisibility of the domestic violence to the public gaze. They succeeded in
hereinafter be discussed and, as such, did not violate the equal protection clause by favoring women over men as victims transforming the issue into an important public concern. No less than the United States Supreme Court, in 1992 case
of violence and abuse to whom the State extends its protection. Planned Parenthood v. Casey, noted:
I. R.A. 9262 rests on substantial distinctions. In an average 12-month period in this country, approximately two million women are the victims of severe assaults by
The unequal power relationship between women and men; the fact that women are more likely than men to be victims their male partners. In a 1985 survey, women reported that nearly one of every eight husbands had assaulted their wives
of violence; and the widespread gender bias and prejudice against women all make for real differences justifying the during the past year. The [American Medical Association] views these figures as "marked underestimates," because the
classification under the law. As Justice McIntyre succinctly states, "the accommodation of differences ... is the essence of nature of these incidents discourages women from reporting them, and because surveys typically exclude the very poor,
true equality."70 those who do not speak English well, and women who are homeless or in institutions or hospitals when the survey is
A. Unequal power relationship between men and women conducted. According to the AMA, "researchers on family violence agree that the true incidence of partner violence is
According to the Philippine Commission on Women (the National Machinery for Gender Equality and Women's probably double the above estimates; or four million severely assaulted women per year."
Empowerment), violence against women (VAW) is deemed to be closely linked with the unequal power relationship Studies on prevalence suggest that from one-fifth to one-third of all women will be physically assaulted by a partner or
between women and men otherwise known as "gender-based violence". Societal norms and traditions dictate people to ex-partner during their lifetime... Thus on an average day in the United States, nearly 11,000 women are severely assaulted
think men are the leaders, pursuers, providers, and take on dominant roles in society while women are nurturers, men's by their male partners. Many of these incidents involve sexual assault... In families where wife beating takes place,
companions and supporters, and take on subordinate roles in society. This perception leads to men gaining more power moreover, child abuse is often present as well.
over women. With power comes the need to control to retain that power. And VAW is a form of men's expression of Other studies fill in the rest of this troubling picture. Physical violence is only the most visible form of abuse. Psychological
controlling women to retain power.71 abuse, particularly forced social and economic isolation of women, is also common.
The United Nations, which has long recognized VAW as a human rights issue, passed its Resolution 48/104 on the Many victims of domestic violence remain with their abusers, perhaps because they perceive no superior
Declaration on Elimination of Violence Against Women on December 20, 1993 stating that "violence against women is a alternative...Many abused women who find temporary refuge in shelters return to their husbands, in large part because
manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and they have no other source of income... Returning to one's abuser can be dangerous. Recent Federal Bureau of Investigation
discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women, and that violence against statistics disclose that 8.8 percent of all homicide victims in the United States are killed by their spouses...Thirty percent
women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into subordinate positions, compared with of female homicide victims are killed by their male partners.
men."72 Finally in 1994, the United States Congress enacted the Violence Against Women Act.
Then Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno traced the historical and social context of gender-based violence and developments in In the International front, the women's struggle for equality was no less successful. The United States Charter and the
advocacies to eradicate VAW, in his remarks delivered during the Joint Launching of R.A. 9262 and its Implementing Rules Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirmed the equality of all human beings. In 1979, the UN General Assembly
last October 27, 2004, the pertinent portions of which are quoted hereunder: adopted the landmark Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). In 1993,
History reveals that most societies sanctioned the use of violence against women. The patriarch of a family was accorded the UN General Assembly also adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women. World conferences
the right to use force on members of the family under his control. I quote the early studies: on the role and rights of women have been regularly held in Mexico City, Copenhagen, Nairobi and Beijing. The UN itself
Traditions subordinating women have a long history rooted in patriarchy the institutional rule of men. Women were established a Commission on the Status of Women.
seen in virtually all societies to be naturally inferior both physically and intellectually. In ancient Western societies, women The Philippines has been in cadence with the half and full steps of all these women's movements. No less than Section
whether slave, concubine or wife, were under the authority of men. In law, they were treated as property. 14, Article II of our 1987 Constitution mandates the State to recognize the role of women in nation building and to ensure
the fundamental equality before the law of women and men. Our Senate has ratified the CEDAW as well as the Convention
on the Rights of the Child and its two protocols. To cap it all, Congress, on March 8, 2004, enacted Rep. Act No. 9262,
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entitled "An Act Defining Violence Against Women and Their Children, Providing for Protective Measures for Victims, withdrawn. This lack of response or reluctance to be involved by the police and prosecution reinforces the escalating,
Prescribing Penalties therefor and for other Purposes." (Citations omitted) recurring and often serious nature of domestic violence."80
B. Women are the "usual" and "most likely" Sadly, our own courts, as well, have exhibited prejudices and biases against our women.
victims of violence. In a recent case resolved on March 9, 2011, we fined RTC Judge Venancio J. Amila for Conduct Unbecoming of a Judge. He
At the time of the presentation of Senate Bill No. 2723, official statistics on violence against women and children show used derogatory and irreverent language in reference to the complainant in a petition for TPO and PPO under R.A. 9262,
that calling her as "only a live-in partner" and presenting her as an "opportunist" and a "mistress" in an "illegitimate
x x x physical injuries had the highest number of cases at 5,058 in 2002 representing 55.63% of total cases reported (9,903). relationship." Judge Amila even called her a "prostitute," and accused her of being motivated by "insatiable greed" and of
And for the first semester of 2003, there were 2,381 reported cases out of 4,354 cases which represent 54.31%. xxx (T)he absconding with the contested property.81 Such remarks betrayed Judge Amila's prejudices and lack of gender sensitivity.
total number of women in especially difficult circumstances served by the Department of Social Welfare and Development The enactment of R.A. 9262 aims to address the discrimination brought about by biases and prejudices against women.
(DSWD) for the year 2002, there are 1,417 physically abused/maltreated cases out of the total of 5,608 cases. xxx (T)here As emphasized by the CEDAW Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, addressing or correcting
are 1,091 DSWD cases out of a total number of 3,471 cases for the first semester of 2003. Female violence comprised discrimination through specific measures focused on women does not discriminate against men.82Petitioner's
more than 90% of all forms of abuse and violence and more than 90% of these reported cases were committed by the contention,83 therefore, that R.A. 9262 is discriminatory and that it is an "anti-male," "husband-bashing," and "hate-men"
women's intimate partners such as their husbands and live-in partners.73 law deserves scant consideration. As a State Party to the CEDAW, the Philippines bound itself to take all appropriate
Recently, the Philippine Commission on Women presented comparative statistics on violence against women across an measures "to modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the
eight-year period from 2004 to August of 2011 with violations under R.A. 9262 ranking first among the different VAW elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the
categories since its implementation in 2004,74 thus: superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women."84 Justice Puno correctly pointed out that
Table 1. Annual Comparative Statistics on Violence Against Women, 2004 - 2011* "(t)he paradigm shift changing the character of domestic violence from a private affair to a public offense will require the
development of a distinct mindset on the part of the police, the prosecution and the judges."85
*2011 report covers only from January to August II. The classification is germane to the purpose of the law.
Source: Philippine National Police Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC) The distinction between men and women is germane to the purpose of R.A. 9262, which is to address violence committed
On the other hand, no reliable estimates may be obtained on domestic abuse and violence against men in the Philippines against women and children, spelled out in its Declaration of Policy, as follows:
because incidents thereof are relatively low and, perhaps, because many men will not even attempt to report the situation. SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. It is hereby declared that the State values the dignity of women and children and guarantees
In the United Kingdom, 32% of women who had ever experienced domestic violence did so four or five (or more) times, full respect for human rights. The State also recognizes the need to protect the family and its members particularly women
compared with 11% of the smaller number of men who had ever experienced domestic violence; and women constituted and children, from violence and threats to their personal safety and security.
89% of all those who had experienced 4 or more incidents of domestic violence.75 Statistics in Canada show that spousal Towards this end, the State shall exert efforts to address violence committed against women and children in keeping with
violence by a woman against a man is less likely to cause injury than the other way around (18 percent versus 44 percent). the fundamental freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution and the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human
Men, who experience violence from their spouses are much less likely to live in fear of violence at the hands of their Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Convention on the Rights of the
spouses, and much less likely to experience sexual assault. In fact, many cases of physical violence by a woman against a Child and other international human rights instruments of which the Philippines is a party.
spouse are in self-defense or the result of many years of physical or emotional abuse.76 In 1979, the U.N. General Assembly adopted the CEDAW, which the Philippines ratified on August 5, 1981. Subsequently,
While there are, indeed, relatively few cases of violence and abuse perpetrated against men in the Philippines, the same the Optional Protocol to the CEDAW was also ratified by the Philippines on October 6, 2003.86 This Convention mandates
cannot render R.A. 9262 invalid. that State parties shall accord to women equality with men before the law87 and shall take all appropriate measures to
In a 1960 case involving the violation of a city ordinance requiring drivers of animal-drawn vehicles to pick up, gather and eliminate discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations on the basis of equality of
deposit in receptacles the manure emitted or discharged by their vehicle-drawing animals in any public highways, streets, men and women.88 The Philippines likewise ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its two protocols.89 It is,
plazas, parks or alleys, said ordinance was challenged as violative of the guaranty of equal protection of laws as its thus, bound by said Conventions and their respective protocols.
application is limited to owners and drivers of vehicle-drawing animals and not to those animals, although not utilized, but III. The classification is not limited to existing
similarly pass through the same streets. conditions only, and apply equally to all members
The ordinance was upheld as a valid classification for the reason that, while there may be non-vehicle-drawing animals Moreover, the application of R.A. 9262 is not limited to the existing conditions when it was promulgated, but to future
that also traverse the city roads, "but their number must be negligible and their appearance therein merely occasional, conditions as well, for as long as the safety and security of women and their children are threatened by violence and
compared to the rig-drawing ones, as not to constitute a menace to the health of the community."77The mere fact that abuse.
the legislative classification may result in actual inequality is not violative of the right to equal protection, for every R.A. 9262 applies equally to all women and children who suffer violence and abuse. Section 3 thereof defines VAWC as:
classification of persons or things for regulation by law produces inequality in some degree, but the law is not thereby x x x any act or a series of acts committed by any person against a woman who is his wife, former wife, or against a woman
rendered invalid.78 with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom he has a common child, or against her
C. Gender bias and prejudices child whether legitimate or illegitimate, within or without the family abode, which result in or is likely to result in physical,
From the initial report to the police through prosecution, trial, and sentencing, crimes against women are often treated sexual, psychological harm or suffering, or economic abuse including threats of such acts, battery, assault, coercion,
differently and less seriously than other crimes. This was argued by then United States Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr., now harassment or arbitrary deprivation of liberty. It includes, but is not limited to, the following acts:
Vice President, chief sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), in defending the civil rights remedy as a valid A. "Physical Violence" refers to acts that include bodily or physical harm;
exercise of the U.S. Congress' authority under the Commerce and Equal Protection Clauses. He stressed that the B. "Sexual violence" refers to an act which is sexual in nature, committed against a woman or her child. It includes, but is
widespread gender bias in the U.S. has institutionalized historic prejudices against victims of rape or domestic violence, not limited to:
subjecting them to "double victimization" first at the hands of the offender and then of the legal system.79 a) rape, sexual harassment, acts of lasciviousness, treating a woman or her child as a sex object, making demeaning and
Our own Senator Loi Estrada lamented in her Sponsorship Speech for Senate Bill No. 2723 that "(w)henever violence sexually suggestive remarks, physically attacking the sexual parts of the victim's body, forcing her/him to watch obscene
occurs in the family, the police treat it as a private matter and advise the parties to settle the conflict themselves. Once publications and indecent shows or forcing the woman or her child to do indecent acts and/or make films thereof, forcing
the complainant brings the case to the prosecutor, the latter is hesitant to file the complaint for fear that it might later be the wife and mistress/lover to live in the conjugal home or sleep together in the same room with the abuser;
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b) acts causing or attempting to cause the victim to engage in any sexual activity by force, threat of force, physical or other of violence; to accord the victim and any designated family or household member safety in the family residence, and to
harm or threat of physical or other harm or coercion; prevent the perpetrator from committing acts that jeopardize the employment and support of the victim. It also enables
c) Prostituting the woman or child. the court to award temporary custody of minor children to protect the children from violence, to prevent their abduction
C. "Psychological violence" refers to acts or omissions causing or likely to cause mental or emotional suffering of the victim by the perpetrator and to ensure their financial support."97
such as but not limited to intimidation, harassment, stalking, damage to property, public ridicule or humiliation, repeated The rules require that petitions for protection order be in writing, signed and verified by the petitioner98 thereby
verbal abuse and marital infidelity. It includes causing or allowing the victim to witness the physical, sexual or psychological undertaking full responsibility, criminal or civil, for every allegation therein. Since "time is of the essence in cases of VAWC
abuse of a member of the family to which the victim belongs, or to witness pornography in any form or to witness abusive if further violence is to be prevented,"99 the court is authorized to issue ex parte a TPO after raffle but before notice and
injury to pets or to unlawful or unwanted deprivation of the right to custody and/or visitation of common children. hearing when the life, limb or property of the victim is in jeopardy and there is reasonable ground to believe that the order
D. "Economic abuse" refers to acts that make or attempt to make a woman financially dependent which includes, but is is necessary to protect the victim from the immediate and imminent danger of VAWC or to prevent such violence, which
not limited to the following: is about to recur.100
1. withdrawal of financial support or preventing the victim from engaging in any legitimate profession, occupation, There need not be any fear that the judge may have no rational basis to issue an ex parte order. The victim is required not
business or activity, except in cases wherein the other spouse/partner objects on valid, serious and moral grounds as only to verify the allegations in the petition, but also to attach her witnesses' affidavits to the petition.101
defined in Article 73 of the Family Code; The grant of a TPO ex parte cannot, therefore, be challenged as violative of the right to due process. Just like a writ of
2. deprivation or threat of deprivation of financial resources and the right to the use and enjoyment of the conjugal, preliminary attachment which is issued without notice and hearing because the time in which the hearing will take could
community or property owned in common; be enough to enable the defendant to abscond or dispose of his property,102 in the same way, the victim of VAWC may
3. destroying household property; already have suffered harrowing experiences in the hands of her tormentor, and possibly even death, if notice and hearing
4. controlling the victims' own money or properties or solely controlling the conjugal money or properties. were required before such acts could be prevented. It is a constitutional commonplace that the ordinary requirements of
It should be stressed that the acts enumerated in the aforequoted provision are attributable to research that has exposed procedural due process must yield to the necessities of protecting vital public interests,103 among which is protection of
the dimensions and dynamics of battery. The acts described here are also found in the U.N. Declaration on the Elimination women and children from violence and threats to their personal safety and security.
of Violence Against Women.90 Hence, the argument advanced by petitioner that the definition of what constitutes abuse It should be pointed out that when the TPO is issued ex parte, the court shall likewise order that notice be immediately
removes the difference between violent action and simple marital tiffs is tenuous. given to the respondent directing him to file an opposition within five (5) days from service. Moreover, the court shall
There is nothing in the definition of VAWC that is vague and ambiguous that will confuse petitioner in his defense. The order that notice, copies of the petition and TPO be served immediately on the respondent by the court sheriffs. The TPOs
acts enumerated above are easily understood and provide adequate contrast between the innocent and the prohibited are initially effective for thirty (30) days from service on the respondent.104
acts. They are worded with sufficient definiteness that persons of ordinary intelligence can understand what conduct is Where no TPO is issued ex parte, the court will nonetheless order the immediate issuance and service of the notice upon
prohibited, and need not guess at its meaning nor differ in its application. 91 Yet, petitioner insists92 that phrases like the respondent requiring him to file an opposition to the petition within five (5) days from service. The date of the
"depriving or threatening to deprive the woman or her child of a legal right," "solely controlling the conjugal or common preliminary conference and hearing on the merits shall likewise be indicated on the notice.105
money or properties," "marital infidelity," and "causing mental or emotional anguish" are so vague that they make every The opposition to the petition which the respondent himself shall verify, must be accompanied by the affidavits of
quarrel a case of spousal abuse. However, we have stressed that the "vagueness" doctrine merely requires a reasonable witnesses and shall show cause why a temporary or permanent protection order should not be issued.106
degree of certainty for the statute to be upheld not absolute precision or mathematical exactitude, as petitioner seems It is clear from the foregoing rules that the respondent of a petition for protection order should be apprised of the charges
to suggest. Flexibility, rather than meticulous specificity, is permissible as long as the metes and bounds of the statute are imputed to him and afforded an opportunity to present his side. Thus, the fear of petitioner of being "stripped of family,
clearly delineated. An act will not be held invalid merely because it might have been more explicit in its wordings or property, guns, money, children, job, future employment and reputation, all in a matter of seconds, without an inkling of
detailed in its provisions.93 what happened" is a mere product of an overactive imagination. The essence of due process is to be found in the
There is likewise no merit to the contention that R.A. 9262 singles out the husband or father as the culprit. As defined reasonable opportunity to be heard and submit any evidence one may have in support of one's defense. "To be heard"
above, VAWC may likewise be committed "against a woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating does not only mean verbal arguments in court; one may be heard also through pleadings. Where opportunity to be heard,
relationship." Clearly, the use of the gender-neutral word "person" who has or had a sexual or dating relationship with the either through oral arguments or pleadings, is accorded, there is no denial of procedural due process.107
woman encompasses even lesbian relationships. Moreover, while the law provides that the offender be related or It should be recalled that petitioner filed on April 26, 2006 an Opposition to the Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for Renewal of
connected to the victim by marriage, former marriage, or a sexual or dating relationship, it does not preclude the the TPO that was granted only two days earlier on April 24, 2006. Likewise, on May 23, 2006, petitioner filed a motion for
application of the principle of conspiracy under the Revised Penal Code (RPC). Thus, in the case of Go-Tan v. Spouses the modification of the TPO to allow him visitation rights to his children. Still, the trial court in its Order dated September
Tan,94 the parents-in-law of Sharica Mari L. Go-Tan, the victim, were held to be proper respondents in the case filed by the 26, 2006, gave him five days (5) within which to show cause why the TPO should not be renewed or extended. Yet, he
latter upon the allegation that they and their son (Go-Tan's husband) had community of design and purpose in tormenting chose not to file the required comment arguing that it would just be an "exercise in futility," conveniently forgetting that
her by giving her insufficient financial support; harassing and pressuring her to be ejected from the family home; and in the renewal of the questioned TPO was only for a limited period (30 days) each time, and that he could prevent the
repeatedly abusing her verbally, emotionally, mentally and physically. continued renewal of said order if he can show sufficient cause therefor. Having failed to do so, petitioner may not now
R.A. 9262 is not violative of the be heard to complain that he was denied due process of law.
due process clause of the Constitution. Petitioner next laments that the removal and exclusion of the respondent in the VAWC case from the residence of the
Petitioner bewails the disregard of R.A. 9262, specifically in the issuance of POs, of all protections afforded by the due victim, regardless of ownership of the residence, is virtually a "blank check" issued to the wife to claim any property as her
process clause of the Constitution. Says he: "On the basis of unsubstantiated allegations, and practically no opportunity conjugal home.108
to respond, the husband is stripped of family, property, guns, money, children, job, future employment and reputation, The wording of the pertinent rule, however, does not by any stretch of the imagination suggest that this is so. It states:
all in a matter of seconds, without an inkling of what happened."95 SEC. 11. Reliefs available to the offended party. -- The protection order shall include any, some or all of the following
A protection order is an order issued to prevent further acts of violence against women and their children, their family or reliefs:
household members, and to grant other necessary reliefs. Its purpose is to safeguard the offended parties from further xxxx
harm, minimize any disruption in their daily life and facilitate the opportunity and ability to regain control of their life.96 (c) Removing and excluding the respondent from the residence of the offended party, regardless of ownership of the
"The scope of reliefs in protection orders is broadened to ensure that the victim or offended party is afforded all the residence, either temporarily for the purpose of protecting the offended party, or permanently where no property rights
remedies necessary to curtail access by a perpetrator to the victim. This serves to safeguard the victim from greater risk are violated. If the respondent must remove personal effects from the residence, the court shall direct a law enforcement
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agent to accompany the respondent to the residence, remain there until the respondent has gathered his things and children exists or is about to recur that would necessitate the issuance of a BPO. The preliminary investigation conducted
escort him from the residence; by the prosecutor is, concededly, an executive, not a judicial, function. The same holds true with the issuance of a BPO.
xxxx We need not even belabor the issue raised by petitioner that since barangay officials and other law enforcement agencies
Indubitably, petitioner may be removed and excluded from private respondent's residence, regardless of ownership, only are required to extend assistance to victims of violence and abuse, it would be very unlikely that they would remain
temporarily for the purpose of protecting the latter. Such removal and exclusion may be permanent only where no objective and impartial, and that the chances of acquittal are nil. As already stated, assistance by barangay officials and
property rights are violated. How then can the private respondent just claim any property and appropriate it for herself, other law enforcement agencies is consistent with their duty to enforce the law and to maintain peace and order.
as petitioner seems to suggest? Conclusion
The non-referral of a VAWC case Before a statute or its provisions duly challenged are voided, an unequivocal breach of, or a clear conflict with the
to a mediator is justified. Constitution, not merely a doubtful or argumentative one, must be demonstrated in such a manner as to leave no doubt
Petitioner argues that "by criminalizing run-of-the-mill arguments, instead of encouraging mediation and counseling, the in the mind of the Court. In other words, the grounds for nullity must be beyond reasonable doubt.116 In the instant case,
law has done violence to the avowed policy of the State to "protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous however, no concrete evidence and convincing arguments were presented by petitioner to warrant a declaration of the
social institution."109 unconstitutionality of R.A. 9262, which is an act of Congress and signed into law by the highest officer of the co-equal
Under Section 23(c) of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC, the court shall not refer the case or any issue thereof to a mediator. The executive department. As we said in Estrada v. Sandiganbayan, 117 courts must assume that the legislature is ever
reason behind this provision is well-explained by the Commentary on Section 311 of the Model Code on Domestic and conscious of the borders and edges of its plenary powers, and passed laws with full knowledge of the facts and for the
Family Violence as follows:110 purpose of promoting what is right and advancing the welfare of the majority.
This section prohibits a court from ordering or referring parties to mediation in a proceeding for an order for protection. We reiterate here Justice Puno's observation that "the history of the women's movement against domestic violence shows
Mediation is a process by which parties in equivalent bargaining positions voluntarily reach consensual agreement about that one of its most difficult struggles was the fight against the violence of law itself. If we keep that in mind, law will not
the issue at hand. Violence, however, is not a subject for compromise. A process which involves parties mediating the again be a hindrance to the struggle of women for equality but will be its fulfillment."118 Accordingly, the constitutionality
issue of violence implies that the victim is somehow at fault. In addition, mediation of issues in a proceeding for an order of R.A. 9262 is, as it should be, sustained.
of protection is problematic because the petitioner is frequently unable to participate equally with the person against WHEREFORE, the instant petition for review on certiorari is hereby DENIED for lack of merit.
whom the protection order has been sought. (Emphasis supplied) SO ORDERED.
There is no undue delegation of MANOLET O. LAVIDES, petitioner, vs. HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS; HON. ROSALINA L. LUNA PISON, Judge Presiding over
judicial power to barangay officials. Branch 107, RTC, Quezon City; and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
Petitioner contends that protection orders involve the exercise of judicial power which, under the Constitution, is placed DECISION
upon the "Supreme Court and such other lower courts as may be established by law" and, thus, protests the delegation MENDOZA, J.:
of power to barangay officials to issue protection orders.111 The pertinent provision reads, as follows: Petitioner Manolet Lavides was arrested on April 3, 1997 for child abuse under R.A. No. 7610 (an act providing for stronger
SEC. 14. Barangay Protection Orders (BPOs); Who May Issue and How. Barangay Protection Orders (BPOs) refer to the deterrence and special protection against child abuse, exploitation and discrimination, providing penalties for its violation,
protection order issued by the Punong Barangay ordering the perpetrator to desist from committing acts under Section 5 and other purposes). His arrest was made without a warrant as a result of an entrapment conducted by the police. It
(a) and (b) of this Act.1wphi1 A Punong Barangay who receives applications for a BPO shall issue the protection order to appears that on April 3, 1997, the parents of complainant Lorelie San Miguel reported to the police that their daughter,
the applicant on the date of filing after ex parte determination of the basis of the application. If the Punong Barangay is then 16 years old, had been contacted by petitioner for an assignation that night at petitioners room at the Metropolitan
unavailable to act on the application for a BPO, the application shall be acted upon by any available Barangay Kagawad. If Hotel in Diliman, Quezon City. Apparently, this was not the first time the police received reports of petitioners activities.
the BPO is issued by a Barangay Kagawad, the order must be accompanied by an attestation by the Barangay Kagawad An entrapment operation was therefore set in motion. At around 8:20 in the evening of April 3, 1997, the police knocked
that the Punong Barangay was unavailable at the time of the issuance of the BPO. BPOs shall be effective for fifteen (15) at the door of Room 308 of the Metropolitan Hotel where petitioner was staying. When petitioner opened the door, the
days. Immediately after the issuance of an ex parte BPO, the Punong Barangay or Barangay Kagawad shall personally serve police saw him with Lorelie, who was wearing only a t-shirt and an underwear, whereupon they arrested him. Based on
a copy of the same on the respondent, or direct any barangay official to effect its personal service. the sworn statement of complainant and the affidavits of the arresting officers, which were submitted at the inquest, an
The parties may be accompanied by a non-lawyer advocate in any proceeding before the Punong Barangay. information for violation of Art. III, 5(b) of R.A. No. 7610 was filed on April 7, 1997 against petitioner in the Regional Trial
Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally Court, Quezon City, where it was docketed as Criminal Case No. Q-97-70550. Edp
demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to On April 10, 1997, petitioner filed an "Omnibus Motion (1) For Judicial Determination of Probable Cause; (2) For the
lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.112 On the other hand, Immediate Release of the Accused Unlawfully Detained on an Unlawful Warrantless Arrest; and (3) In the Event of Adverse
executive power "is generally defined as the power to enforce and administer the laws. It is the power of carrying the laws Resolution of the A
into practical operation and enforcing their due observance."113 bove Incident, Herein Accused be Allowed to Bail as a Matter of Right under the Law on Which He is Charged."[1]
As clearly delimited by the aforequoted provision, the BPO issued by the Punong Barangay or, in his unavailability, by any On April 29, 1997, nine more informations for child abuse were filed against petitioner by the same complainant, Lorelie
available Barangay Kagawad, merely orders the perpetrator to desist from (a) causing physical harm to the woman or her San Miguel, and by three other minor children, Mary Ann Tardesilla, Jennifer Catarman, and Annalyn Talingting. The cases
child; and (2) threatening to cause the woman or her child physical harm. Such function of the Punong Barangay is, thus, were docketed as Criminal Case Nos. Q-97-70866 to Q-97-70874. In all the cases, it was alleged that, on various dates
purely executive in nature, in pursuance of his duty under the Local Government Code to "enforce all laws and ordinances," mentioned in the informations, petitioner had sexual intercourse with complainants who had been "exploited in
and to "maintain public order in the barangay."114 prostitution and . . . given money [by petitioner] as payment for the said [acts of] sexual intercourse."
We have held that "(t)he mere fact that an officer is required by law to inquire into the existence of certain facts and to No bail was recommended. Nonetheless, petitioner filed separate applications for bail in the nine cases.
apply the law thereto in order to determine what his official conduct shall be and the fact that these acts may affect private On May 16, 1997, the trial court issued an order resolving petitioners Omnibus Motion, as follows:
rights do not constitute an exercise of judicial powers."115 WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, this Court finds that:
In the same manner as the public prosecutor ascertains through a preliminary inquiry or proceeding "whether there is 1. In Crim. Case No. Q-97-70550, there is probable cause to hold the accused under detention, his arrest having been
reasonable ground to believe that an offense has been committed and the accused is probably guilty thereof," the Punong made in accordance with the Rules. He must therefore remain under detention until further order of this Court;
Barangay must determine reasonable ground to believe that an imminent danger of violence against the woman and her 2. The accused is entitled to bail in all the above-entitled case. He is hereby granted the right to post bail in the amount of
P80,000.00 for each case or a total of P800,000.00 for all the cases under the following conditions:
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a) The accused shall not be entitled to a waiver of appearance during the trial of these cases. He shall and must always be b) In the event that he shall not be able to do so, his bail bonds shall be automatically cancelled and forfeited, warrants
present at the hearings of these cases; for his arrest shall be immediately issued and the cases shall proceed to trial in absentia;
b) In the event that he shall not be able to do so, his bail bonds shall be automatically cancelled and forfeited, warrants c) The hold-departure Order of this Court dated April 10, 1997 stands; and Edpmis
for his arrest shall be immediately issued and the cases shall proceed to trial in absentia; d) Approval of the bail bonds shall be made only after the arraignment to enable this Court to immediately acquire
c) The hold-departure Order of this Court dated April 10, 1997 stands; and jurisdiction over the accused;
d) Approval of the bail bonds shall be made only after the arraignment to enable this Court to immediately acquire The Court of Appeals declared conditions (a) and (b) invalid but declined to pass upon the validity of condition (d) on the
jurisdiction over the accused; ground that the issue had become moot and academic. Petitioner takes issue with the Court of Appeals with respect to its
3. Let these cases be set for arraignment on May 23, 1997 at 8:30 oclock in the morning.[2] treatment of condition (d) of the May 16, 1997 order of the trial court which makes petitioners arraignment a prerequisite
On May 20, 1997, petitioner filed a motion to quash the informations against him, except those filed in Criminal Case No. to the approval of his bail bonds. His contention is that this condition is void and that his arraignment was also invalid
Q-97-70550 or Q-97-70866. Pending resolution of his motion, he asked the trial court to suspend the arraignment because it was held pursuant to such invalid condition.
scheduled on May 23, 1997.[3] Then on May 22, 1997, he filed a motion in which he prayed that the amounts of bail bonds We agree with petitioner that the appellate court should have determined the validity of the conditions imposed in the
be reduced to P40,000.00 for each case and that the same be done prior to his arraignment.[4] Misedp trial courts order of May 16, 1997 for the grant of bail because petitioners contention is that his arraignment was held in
On May 23, 1997, the trial court, in separate orders, denied petitioners motions to reduce bail bonds, to quash the pursuance of these conditions for bail.
informations, and to suspend arraignment. Accordingly, petitioner was arraigned during which he pleaded not guilty to In requiring that petitioner be first arraigned before he could be granted bail, the trial court apprehended that if petitioner
the charges against him and then ordered him released upon posting bail bonds in the total amount of P800,000.00, were released on bail he could, by being absent, prevent his early arraignment and thereby delay his trial until the
subject to the conditions in the May 16, 1997 order and the "hold-departure" order of April 10, 1997. The pre-trial complainants got tired and lost interest in their cases. Hence, to ensure his presence at the arraignment, approval of
conference was set on June 7, 1997. petitioners bail bonds should be deferred until he could be arraigned. After that, even if petitioner does not appear, trial
On June 2, 1997, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari (CA-G.R. SP No. 44316) in the Court of Appeals, assailing the trial can proceed as long as he is notified of the date of hearing and his failure to appear is unjustified, since under Art. III, 14(2)
courts order, dated May 16, 1997, and its two orders, dated May 23, 1997, denying his motion to quash and maintaining of the Constitution, trial in absentia is authorized. This seems to be the theory of the trial court in its May 16, 1997 order
the conditions set forth in its order of May 16, 1997, respectively. conditioning the grant of bail to petitioner on his arraignment.
While the case was pending in the Court of Appeals, two more informations were filed against petitioner, bringing the This theory is mistaken. In the first place, as the trial court itself acknowledged, in cases where it is authorized, bail should
total number of cases against him to 12, which were all consolidated. be granted before arraignment, otherwise the accused may be precluded from filing a motion to quash. For if the
On June 30, 1997, the Court of Appeals rendered its decision, the dispositive portion of which reads: information is quashed and the case is dismissed, there would then be no need for the arraignment of the accused. In the
WHEREFORE, considering that the conditions imposed under Nos. 2-a) and 2-b),[5] of the May 23 (should be May 16), 1997 second place, the trial court could ensure the presence of petitioner at the arraignment precisely by granting bail and
Order, are separable, and would not affect the cash bond which petitioner posted for his provisional liberty, with the sole ordering his presence at any stage of the proceedings, such as arraignment. Under Rule 114, 2(b) of the Rules on Criminal
modification that those aforesaid conditions are hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE, the May 16, May 23 and May 23, 1997 Procedure, one of the conditions of bail is that "the accused shall appear before the proper court whenever so required
Orders are MAINTAINED in all other respects.[6] Misoedp by the court or these Rules," while under Rule 116, 1(b) the presence of the accused at the arraignment is required.
The appellate court invalidated the first two conditions imposed in the May 16, 1997 order for the grant of bail to On the other hand, to condition the grant of bail to an accused on his arraignment would be to place him in a position
petitioner but ruled that the issue concerning the validity of the condition making arraignment a prerequisite for the where he has to choose between (1) filing a motion to quash and thus delay his release on bail because until his motion
approval of petitioners bail bonds to be moot and academic. It noted "that petitioner has posted the cash bonds; that to quash can be resolved, his arraignment cannot be held, and (2) foregoing the filing of a motion to quash so that he can
when arraigned, represented by lawyers, he pleaded not guilty to each offense; and that he has already been released be arraigned at once and thereafter be released on bail. These scenarios certainly undermine the accuseds constitutional
from detention." The Court of Appeals thought that the aforesaid conditions in the May 16, 1997 order were contrary to right not to be put on trial except upon valid complaint or information sufficient to charge him with a crime and his right
Art. III, 14(2) of the Constitution which provides that "[a]fter arraignment, trial may proceed notwithstanding the absence to bail.[8]
of the accused provided that he has been duly notified and his failure to appear is unjustifiable." It is the condition in the May 16, 1997 order of the trial court that "approval of the bail bonds shall be made only after
With respect to the denial of petitioners motion to quash the informations against him, the appellate court held that arraignment," which the Court of Appeals should instead have declared void. The condition imposed in the trial courts
petitioner could not question the same in a petition for certiorari before it, but what he must do was to go to trial and to order of May 16, 1997 that the accused cannot waive his appearance at the trial but that he must be present at the
reiterate the grounds of his motion to quash on appeal should the decision be adverse to him. hearings of the case is valid and is in accordance with Rule 114. For another condition of bail under Rule 114, 2(c) is that
Hence this petition. Petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals erred[7] __ "The failure of the accused to appear at the trial without justification despite due notice to him or his bondsman shall be
1.......In ruling that the condition imposed by respondent Judge that the approval of petitioners bail bonds "shall be made deemed an express waiver of his right to be present on the date specified in the notice. In such case, trial shall proceed in
only after his arraignment" is of no moment and has been rendered moot and academic by the fact that he had already absentia." Jjsc
posted the bail bonds and had pleaded not guilty to all the offenses; Art. III, 14(2) of the Constitution authorizing trials in absentia allows the accused to be absent at the trial but not at certain
2.......In not resolving the submission that the arraignment was void not only because it was made under compelling stages of the proceedings, to wit: (a) at arraignment and plea, whether of innocence or of guilt,[9](b) during trial whenever
circumstance which left petitioner no option to question the respondent Judges arbitrary action but also because it necessary for identification purposes,[10] and (c) at the promulgation of sentence, unless it is for a light offense, in which
emanated from a void Order; case the accused may appear by counsel or representative.[11] At such stages of the proceedings, his presence is required
3.......In ruling that the denial of petitioners motion to quash may not be impugned in a petition for certiorari; and and cannot be waived. As pointed out in Borja v. Mendoza,[12] in an opinion by Justice, later Chief Justice, Enrique
4.......In not resolving the legal issue of whether or not petitioner may be validly charged for violation of Section 5(b) of RA Fernando, there can be no trial in absentia unless the accused has been arraigned.
No. 7610 under several informations corresponding to the number of alleged acts of child abuse allegedly committed Undoubtedly, the trial court knew this. Petitioner could delay the proceedings by absenting himself from the arraignment.
against each private complainant by the petitioner. But once he is arraigned, trial could proceed even in his absence. So it thought that to ensure petitioners presence at the
We will deal with each of these contentions although not in the order in which they are stated by petitioner. arraignment, petitioner should be denied bail in the meantime. The fly in the ointment, however, is that such court
First. As already stated, the trial courts order, dated May 16, 1997, imposed four conditions for the grant of bail to strategy violates petitioners constitutional rights.
petitioner: Second. Although this condition is invalid, it does not follow that the arraignment of petitioner on May 23, 1997 was also
a) The accused shall not be entitled to a waiver of appearance during the trial of these cases. He shall and must always be invalid. Contrary to petitioners contention, the arraignment did not emanate from the invalid condition that "approval of
present at the hearings of these cases; the bail bonds shall be made only after the arraignment." Even without such a condition, the arraignment of petitioner
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could not be omitted. In sum, although the condition for the grant of bail to petitioner is invalid, his arraignment and the condition (d) in the second paragraph of the order of May 16, 1997 (making arraignment a prerequisite to the grant of
subsequent proceedings against him are valid. bail to petitioner), which is hereby declared void.
Third. Petitioner concedes that the rule is that the remedy of an accused whose motion to quash is denied is not to file a SO ORDERED. Sjcj
petition for certiorari but to proceed to trial without prejudice to his right to reiterate the grounds invoked in his motion
to quash during trial on the merits or on appeal if an adverse judgment is rendered against him. However, he argues that
this case should be treated as an exception. He contends that the Court of Appeals should not have evaded the issue of
whether he should be charged under several informations corresponding to the number of acts of child abuse allegedly
committed by him against each of the complainants.
In Tano v. Salvador,[13] the Court, while holding that certiorari will not lie from a denial of a motion to quash, nevertheless
recognized that there may be cases where there are special circumstances clearly demonstrating the inadequacy of an
appeal. In such cases, the accused may resort to the appellate court to raise the issue decided against him. This is such a
case. Whether petitioner is liable for just one crime regardless of the number of sexual acts allegedly committed by him
and the number of children with whom he had sexual intercourse, or whether each act of intercourse constitutes one
crime is a question that bears on the presentation of evidence by either party. It is important to petitioner as well as to
the prosecution how many crimes there are. For instance, if there is only one offense of sexual abuse regardless of the
number of children involved, it will not matter much to the prosecution whether it is able to present only one of the
complainants. On the other hand, if each act of sexual intercourse with a child constitutes a separate offense, it will matter
whether the other children are presented during the trial. Scjj
The issue then should have been decided by the Court of Appeals. However, instead of remanding this case to the appellate
court for a determination of this issue, we will decide the issue now so that the trial in the court below can proceed without
further delay.
Petitioners contention is that the 12 informations filed against him allege only one offense of child abuse, regardless of
the number of alleged victims (four) and the number of acts of sexual intercourse committed with them (twelve). He
argues that the act of sexual intercourse is only a means of committing the offense so that the acts of sexual
intercourse/lasciviousness with minors attributed to him should not be subject of separate informations. He cites the
affidavits of the alleged victims which show that their involvement with him constitutes an "unbroken chain of
events," i.e., the first victim was the one who introduced the second to petitioner and so on. Petitioner says that child
abuse is similar to the crime of large-scale illegal recruitment where there is only a single offense regardless of the number
of workers illegally recruited on different occasions. In the alternative, he contends that, at the most, only four
informations, corresponding to the number of alleged child victims, can be filed against him.
Art. III, 5 of R.A. No. 7160 under which petitioner is being prosecuted, provides:
Sec. 5 Child Prostitution and Other Sexual Abuse. __ Children, whether male or female, who for money, profit, or any other
consideration or due to the coercion or influence of any adult, syndicate or group, indulge in sexual intercourse or
lascivious conduct, are deemed to be children exploited in prostitution and other sexual abuse.
The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon the following:
....
(b) Those who commit the act of sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct with a child exploited in prostitution or subjected
to other sexual abuse.
The elements of the offense are as follows: (1) the accused commits the act of sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct;
(2) that said act is performed with a child exploited in prostitution or subjected to other sexual abuse; and (3) the
child,[14] whether male or female, is or is deemed under 18 years of age. Exploitation in prostitution or other sexual abuse
occurs when the child indulges in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct (a) for money, profit, or any other consideration;
or (b) under the coercion or influence of any adult, syndicate, or group.
Each incident of sexual intercourse and lascivious act with a child under the circumstances mentioned in Art. III, 5 of R.A.
No. 7160 is thus a separate and distinct offense. The offense is similar to rape or act of lasciviousness under the Revised
Penal Code in which each act of rape or lascivious conduct should be the subject of a separate information. This conclusion
is confirmed by Art. III, 5(b) of R.A. No. 7160, which provides:
[t]hat when the victim is under twelve (12) years of age, the perpetrators shall be prosecuted under Article 335, paragraph
3, for rape and Article 336 of Act No. 3815, as amended, the Revised Penal Code, for rape or lascivious conduct, as the
case may be: Provided, That the penalty for lascivious conduct when the victim is under twelve (12) years of age shall
be reclusion temporal in its medium period;
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is SET ASIDE and another one is RENDERED declaring the orders dated
May 16, 1997 and May 23, 1997 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 107, Quezon City to be valid, with the exception of