Anda di halaman 1dari 198

XI-XI-XI-XI-XI-XI-XI-XI-XI-XI-XI-XI-XI-XI-XI-XI-XI-XI-XI-XI-XI-XI-XI Pio S. Canta for petitioner in G.R. Nos. 66839-42.

Hermogenes Datuin, Jr. for petitioner in G.R. No. 71654.

FLORENTINA A. LOZANO, petitioner, Abinoja, Tabalingcos, Villalon & Associates for petitioner in G.R.
vs. Nos. 75122-49.
THE HONORABLE ANTONIO M. MARTINEZ, in his capacity as
Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, National Capital The Solicitor General for respondent in G.R. No. 63419, G.R. Nos.
Judicial Region, Branch XX, Manila, and the HONORABLE 66839-42, G.R. No. 71654, G.R. Nos. 74524-25, G.R. Nos. 75122-
JOSE B. FLAMINIANO, in his capacity as City Fiscal of
49, G.R. Nos. 75812-13, G.R. Nos. 75765-67 and counsel for
Manila, respondents. petitioner in G.R. No. 75789.

G.R. No. L-66839-42 December 18, 1986

LUZVIMINDA F. LOBATON petitioner, YAP, J.:


vs.
HONORABLE GLICERIO L. CRUZ, in his capacity as Presiding
Executive Judge, Branch V, Region IV, Regional Trial Court, The constitutionality of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 (BP 22 for
sitting at Lemery, Batangas, THE PROVINCIAL FISCAL OF short), popularly known as the Bouncing Check Law, which was
BATANGAS, and MARIA LUISA TORDECILLA, respondents. approved on April 3, 1979, is the sole issue presented by these
petitions for decision. The question is definitely one of first
impression in our jurisdiction.
G.R No. 71654 December 18, 1986

These petitions arose from cases involving prosecution of offenses


ANTONIO DATUIN and SUSAN DATUIN, petitioners, under the statute. The defendants in those cases moved
vs. seasonably to quash the informations on the ground that the acts
HONORABLE JUDGE ERNANI C. PANO, Regional Trial Court, charged did not constitute an offense, the statute being
Quezon City, Branch LXXXVIII, HONORABLE ClTY FISCAL OF unconstitutional. The motions were denied by the respondent trial
QUEZON CITY, respondents.
courts, except in one case, which is the subject of G. R. No.
75789, wherein the trial court declared the law unconstitutional and
G.R. No. 74524-25 December 18, 1986 dismissed the case. The parties adversely affected have come to
us for relief.
OSCAR VIOLAGO, petitioner,
vs. As a threshold issue the former Solicitor General in his comment
HONORABLE JUDGE ERNANI C. PAÑ;O Regional Trial Court, on the petitions, maintained the posture that it was premature for
Quezon City, Branch LXXXVIII, HONORABLE CITY FISCAL OF the accused to elevate to this Court the orders denying their
QUEZON CITY, respondents. motions to quash, these orders being interlocutory. While this is
correct as a general rule, we have in justifiable cases intervened to
review the lower court's denial of a motion to quash. 1 In view of
G.R. No. 75122-49 December 18, 1986
the importance of the issue involved here, there is no doubt in our
mind that the instant petitions should be entertained and the
ELINOR ABAD, petitioner, constitutional challenge to BP 22 resolved promptly, one way or
vs. the other, in order to put to rest the doubts and uncertainty that
THE HONORABLE NICOLAS A. GEROCHI, JR., in his capacity exist in legal and judicial circles and the general public which have
as Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, National Capital unnecessarily caused a delay in the disposition of cases involving
Judicial Region, Branch 139, Makati and FEDERICO L. the enforcement of the statute.
MELOCOTTON JR., in his capacity as Trial Fiscal Regional
Trial Court, Branch 139, Makati, respondents.
For the purpose of resolving the constitutional issue presented
here, we do not find it necessary to delve into the specifics of the
G.R No. 75812-13 December 18, 1986 informations involved in the cases which are the subject of the
petitions before us. 2 The language of BP 22 is broad enough to
AMABLE R. AGUILUZ VII and SYLVIA V. AGUILUZ, cover all kinds of checks, whether present dated or postdated, or
spouses, petitioners, whether issued in payment of pre-existing obligations or given in
vs. mutual or simultaneous exchange for something of value.
HONORABLE PRESIDING JUDGE OF BRANCH 154, now
vacant but temporarily presided by HONORABLE ASAALI S. I
ISNANI Branch 153, Court of First Instance of Pasig, Metro
Manila, respondent.
BP 22 punishes a person "who makes or draws and issues any
check on account or for value, knowing at the time of issue that he
G.R No. 75765-67 December 18, 1986 does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for
the payment of said check in full upon presentment, which check is
LUIS M. HOJAS, petitioner, subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for insufficiency of
vs. funds or credit or would have been dishonored for the same
HON. JUDGE SENEN PENARANDA, Presiding Judge, reason had not the drawer, without any valid reason, ordered the
Regional Trial Court of Cagayan de Oro City, Branch XX, bank to stop payment." The penalty prescribed for the offense is
HONORABLE JUDGE ALFREDO LAGAMON, Presiding Judge, imprisonment of not less than 30 days nor more than one year or a
Regional Trial Court of Cagayan de Oro City, Branch XXII, fine or not less than the amount of the check nor more than double
HONORABLE CITY FISCAL NOLI T. CATHI, City Fiscal of said amount, but in no case to exceed P200,000.00, or both such
Cagayan de Oro City,respondents. fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court. 3

G.R. No. 75789 December 18, 1986 The statute likewise imposes the same penalty on "any person
who, having sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank when
he makes or draws and issues a check, shall fail to keep sufficient
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, funds or to maintain a credit to cover the full amount of the check if
vs. presented within a period of ninety (90) days from the date
HON. DAVID G. NITAFAN, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial appearing thereon, for which reason it is dishonored by the drawee
Court, National Capital Judicial Region, Branch 52, Manila and bank. 4
THELMA SARMIENTO, respondents.
An essential element of the offense is "knowledge" on the part of
R.R. Nogales Law Office for petitioner in G.R. No. 63419, G.R. the maker or drawer of the check of the insufficiency of his funds in
Nos. 74524-25, G.R. Nos. 75812-13, G.R. Nos. 75765-67 and or credit with the bank to cover the check upon its presentment.
counsel for respondent in G.R. No. 75789. Since this involves a state of mind difficult to establish, the statute
itself creates a prima facie presumption of such knowledge where
payment of the check "is refused by the drawee because of xxx xxx xxx
insufficient funds in or credit with such bank when presented within
ninety (90) days from the date of the check. 5 To mitigate the (d) By postdating a check, or issuing a check in
harshness of the law in its application, the statute provides that
payment of an obligation the offender knowing
such presumption shall not arise if within five (5) banking days that at the time he had no funds in the bank, or
from receipt of the notice of dishonor, the maker or drawer makes the funds deposited by him were not sufficient
arrangements for payment of the check by the bank or pays the to cover the amount of the cheek without
holder the amount of the check. informing the payee of such circumstances.

Another provision of the statute, also in the nature of a rule of The scope of paragraph 2 (d), however, was deemed to exclude
evidence, provides that the introduction in evidence of the unpaid checks issued in payment of pre-existing obligations. 10 The
and dishonored check with the drawee bank's refusal to pay rationale of this interpretation is that in estafa, the deceit causing
"stamped or written thereon or attached thereto, giving the reason the defraudation must be prior to or simultaneous with the
therefor, "shall constitute prima facie proof of "the making or commission of the fraud. In issuing a check as payment for a pre-
issuance of said check, and the due presentment to the drawee for existing debt, the drawer does not derive any material benefit in
payment and the dishonor thereof ... for the reason written, return or as consideration for its issuance. On the part of the
stamped or attached by the drawee on such dishonored check." 6
payee, he had already parted with his money or property before
the check is issued to him hence, he is not defrauded by means of
The presumptions being merely prima facie, it is open to the any "prior" or "simultaneous" deceit perpetrated on him by the
accused of course to present proof to the contrary to overcome the drawer of the check.
said presumptions.
With the intention of remedying the situation and solving the
II problem of how to bring checks issued in payment of pre-existing
debts within the ambit of Art. 315, an amendment was introduced
by the Congress of the Philippines in 1967, 11 which was enacted
BP 22 is aimed at putting a stop to or curbing the practice of
issuing checks that are worthless, i.e. checks that end up being into law as Republic Act No. 4885, revising the aforesaid proviso to
read as follows:
rejected or dishonored for payment. The practice, as discussed
later, is proscribed by the state because of the injury it causes to t
public interests. (d) By postdating a check, or issuing a check in payment
of an obligation when the offender had no funds in the
bank, or his funds deposited therein were not sufficient to
Before the enactment of BP 22, provisions already existed in our
statute books which penalize the issuance of bouncing or rubber cover the amount of the check. The failure of the drawer
of the check to deposit the amount necessary to cover
checks. Criminal law has dealth with the problem within the context
of crimes against property punished as "estafa" or crimes involving his check within three (3) days from receipt of notice from
fraud and deceit. The focus of these penal provisions is on the the bank and/or the payee or holder that said check has
damage caused to the property rights of the victim. been dishonored for lack or insufficiency of funds shall be
puma facie evidence of deceit constituting false pretense
or fraudulent act.
The Penal Code of Spain, which was in force in the Philippines
from 1887 until it was replaced by the Revised Penal Code in
1932, contained provisions penalizing, among others, the act of However, the adoption of the amendment did not alter the situation
defrauding another through false pretenses. Art. 335 punished a materially. A divided Court held in People vs. Sabio, Jr. 12 that
person who defrauded another "by falsely pretending to possess Article 315, as amended by Republic Act 4885, does not cover
any power, influence, qualification, property, credit, agency or checks issued in payment of pre-existing obligations, again relying
on the concept underlying the crime of estafa through false
business, or by means of similar deceit." Although no explicit
mention was made therein regarding checks, this provision was pretenses or deceit—which is, that the deceit or false pretense
must be prior to or simultaneous with the commission of the fraud.
deemed to cover within its ambit the issuance of worthless or
bogus checks in exchange for money. 7
Since statistically it had been shown that the greater bulk of
In 1926, an amendment was introduced by the Philippine dishonored checks consisted of those issued in payment of pre-
existing debts, 13 the amended provision evidently failed to cope
Legislature, which added a new clause (paragraph 10) to Article
335 of the old Penal Code, this time referring in explicit terms to with the real problem and to deal effectively with the evil that it was
intended to eliminate or minimize.
the issuance of worthless checks. The amendment penalized any
person who 1) issues a check in payment of a debt or for other
valuable consideration, knowing at the time of its issuance that he With the foregoing factual and legal antecedents as a backdrop,
does not have sufficient funds in the bank to cover its amount, or the then Interim Batasan confronted the problem squarely. It opted
2) maliciously signs the check differently from his authentic to take a bold step and decided to enact a law dealing with the
signature as registered at the bank in order that the latter would problem of bouncing or worthless checks, without attaching the
refuse to honor it; or 3) issues a postdated check and, at the date law's umbilical cord to the existing penal provisions on estafa. BP
set for its payment, does not have sufficient deposit to cover the 22 addresses the problem directly and frontally and makes the act
same. 8 of issuing a worthless check malum prohibitum. 14

In 1932, as already adverted to, the old Penal Code was The question now arises: Is B P 22 a valid law?
superseded by the Revised Penal Code. 9 The above provisions,
in amended form, were incorporated in Article 315 of the Revised Previous efforts to deal with the problem of bouncing checks within
Penal Code defining the crime of estafa. The revised text of the the ambit of the law on estafa did not evoke any constitutional
provision read as follows: challenge. In contrast, BP 22 was challenged promptly.

Art. 315. Swindling (estafa).—Any person who shall Those who question the constitutionality of BP 22 insist that: (1) it
defraud another by any of the means mentioned offends the constitutional provision forbidding imprisonment for
hereinbelow shall be punished by: debt; (2) it impairs freedom of contract; (3) it contravenes the equal
protection clause; (4) it unduly delegates legislative and executive
xxx xxx xxx powers; and (5) its enactment is flawed in that during its passage
the Interim Batasan violated the constitutional provision prohibiting
2. By means of any of the following false pretenses or amendments to a bill on Third Reading.
fraudulent acts executed prior to or simultaneously with
the commis sion of the fraud: The constitutional challenge to BP 22 posed by petitioners
deserves a searching and thorough scrutiny and the most
(a) By using fictitious name, or falsely deliberate consideration by the Court, involving as it does the
pretending to possess power, influence, exercise of what has been described as "the highest and most
qualifications, property, credit, agency, delicate function which belongs to the judicial department of the
government." 15
business or imaginary transactions, or by
means of other similar deceits;
As we enter upon the task of passing on the validity of an act of a or on Saturday every week, was challenged for being violative of
co-equal and coordinate branch of the government, we need not the constitutional prohibition against imprisonment for debt. The
be reminded of the time-honored principle, deeply ingrained in our constitutionality of the law in question was upheld by the Court, it
jurisprudence, that a statute is presumed to be valid. Every being within the authority of the legislature to enact such a law in
presumption must be indulged in favor of its constitutionality. This the exercise of the police power. It was held that "one of the
is not to say that we approach our task with diffidence or timidity. purposes of the law is to suppress possible abuses on the part of
Where it is clear that the legislature has overstepped the limits of the employers who hire laborers or employees without paying
its authority under the constitution we should not hesitate to wield them the salaries agreed upon for their services, thus causing
the axe and let it fall heavily, as fall it must, on the offending them financial difficulties. "The law was viewed not as a measure
statute. to coerce payment of an obligation, although obviously such could
be its effect, but to banish a practice considered harmful to public
III welfare.

Among the constitutional objections raised against BP 22, the most IV


serious is the alleged conflict between the statute and the
constitutional provision forbidding imprisonment for debt. It is Has BP 22 transgressed the constitutional inhibition against
contended that the statute runs counter to the inhibition in the Bill imprisonment for debt? To answer the question, it is necessary to
of Rights which states, "No person shall be imprisoned for debt or examine what the statute prohibits and punishes as an offense. Is
non-payment of a poll tax." 16 Petitioners insist that, since the it the failure of the maker of the check to pay a debt? Or is it the
offense under BP 22 is consummated only upon the dishonor or making and issuance of a worthless check in payment of a debt?
non-payment of the check when it is presented to the drawee What is the gravamen of the offense? This question lies at the
bank, the statute is really a "bad debt law" rather than a "bad heart of the issue before us.
check law." What it punishes is the non-payment of the check, not
the act of issuing it. The statute, it is claimed, is nothing more than The gravamen of the offense punished by BP 22 is the act of
a veiled device to coerce payment of a debt under the threat of making and issuing a worthless check or a check that is
penal sanction. dishonored upon its presentation for payment. It is not the non-
payment of an obligation which the law punishes. The law is not
First of all it is essential to grasp the essence and scope of the intended or designed to coerce a debtor to pay his debt. The thrust
constitutional inhibition invoked by petitioners. Viewed in its of the law is to prohibit, under pain of penal sanctions, the making
historical context, the constitutional prohibition against of worthless checks and putting them in circulation. Because of its
imprisonment for debt is a safeguard that evolved gradually during deleterious effects on the public interest, the practice is proscribed
the early part of the nineteenth century in the various states of the by the law. The law punishes the act not as an offense against
American Union as a result of the people's revulsion at the cruel property, but an offense against public order.
and inhumane practice, sanctioned by common law, which
permitted creditors to cause the incarceration of debtors who could Admittedly, the distinction may seem at first blush to appear
not pay their debts. At common law, money judgments arising from
elusive and difficult to conceptualize. But precisely in the failure to
actions for the recovery of a debt or for damages from breach of a perceive the vital distinction lies the error of those who challenge
contract could be enforced against the person or body of the
the validity of BP 22.
debtor by writ of capias ad satisfaciendum. By means of this writ, a
debtor could be seized and imprisoned at the instance of the
creditor until he makes the satisfaction awarded. As a It may be constitutionally impermissible for the legislature to
consequence of the popular ground swell against such a penalize a person for non-payment of a debt ex contractu But
barbarous practice, provisions forbidding imprisonment for debt certainly it is within the prerogative of the lawmaking body to
came to be generally enshrined in the constitutions of various proscribe certain acts deemed pernicious and inimical to public
states of the Union. 17 welfare. Acts mala in se are not the only acts which the law can
punish. An act may not be considered by society as inherently
wrong, hence, not malum in se but because of the harm that it
This humanitarian provision was transported to our shores by the inflicts on the community, it can be outlawed and criminally
Americans at the turn of t0he century and embodied in our organic punished as malum prohibitum. The state can do this in the
laws. 18 Later, our fundamental law outlawed not only exercise of its police power.
imprisonment for debt, but also the infamous practice, native to our
shore, of throwing people in jail for non-payment of the cedula or
poll tax. 19 The police power of the state has been described as "the most
essential, insistent and illimitable of powers" which enables it to
prohibit all things hurtful to the comfort, safety and welfare of
The reach and scope of this constitutional safeguard have been society. 24 It is a power not emanating from or conferred by the
the subject of judicial definition, both by our Supreme Court 20 and
constitution, but inherent in the state, plenary, "suitably vague and
by American State courts. 21 Mr. Justice Malcolm speaking for far from precisely defined, rooted in the conception that man in
the Supreme Court in Ganaway vs. Queen, 22 stated: "The 'debt'
organizing the state and imposing upon the government limitations
intended to be covered by the constitutional guaranty has a well- to safeguard constitutional rights did not intend thereby to enable
defined meaning. Organic provisions relieving from imprisonment individual citizens or group of citizens to obstruct unreasonably the
for debt, were intended to prevent commitment of debtors to prison enactment of such salutary measures to ensure communal peace,
for liabilities arising from actions ex contractu The inhibition was safety, good order and welfare." 25
never meant to include damages arising in actions ex delicto, for
the reason that damages recoverable therein do not arise from any
contract entered into between the parties but are imposed upon The enactment of BP 22 is a declaration by the legislature that, as
the defendant for the wrong he has done and are considered as a matter of public policy, the making and issuance of a worthless
punishment, nor to fines and penalties imposed by the courts in check is deemed public nuisance to be abated by the imposition of
criminal proceedings as punishments for crime." penal sanctions.

The law involved in Ganaway was not a criminal statute but the It is not for us to question the wisdom or impolicy of the statute. It
Code of Procedure in Civil Actions (1909) which authorized the is sufficient that a reasonable nexus exists between means and
arrest of the defendant in a civil case on grounds akin to those end. Considering the factual and legal antecedents that led to the
which justify the issuance of a writ of attachment under our present adoption of the statute, it is not difficult to understand the public
Rules of Court, such as imminent departure of the defendant from concern which prompted its enactment. It had been reported that
the Philippines with intent to defraud his creditors, or concealment, the approximate value of bouncing checks per day was close to
removal or disposition of properties in fraud of creditors, etc. The 200 million pesos, and thereafter when overdrafts were banned by
Court, in that case, declared the detention of the defendant the Central Bank, it averaged between 50 minion to 80 million
unlawful, being violative of the constitutional inhibition against pesos a day. 26
imprisonment for debt, and ordered his release. The Court,
however, refrained from declaring the statutory provision in By definition, a check is a bill of exchange drawn on a bank and
question unconstitutional. payable on demand. 27 It is a written order on a bank, purporting to
be drawn against a deposit of funds for the payment of all events,
Closer to the case at bar is People v. Vera Reyes, 23 wherein a of a sum of money to a certain person therein named or to his
statutory provision which made illegal and punishable the refusal order or to cash and payable on demand. 28 Unlike a promissory
of an employer to pay, when he can do so, the salaries of his note, a check is not a mere undertaking to pay an amount of
employees or laborers on the fifteenth or last day of every month money. It is an order addressed to a bank and partakes of a
representation that the drawer has funds on deposit against which We find no valid ground to sustain the contention that BP 22
the check is drawn, sufficient to ensure payment upon its impairs freedom of contract. The freedom of contract which is
presentation to the bank. There is therefore an element of certainty constitutionally protected is freedom to enter into "lawful"
or assurance that the instrument wig be paid upon presentation. contracts. Contracts which contravene public policy are not
For this reason, checks have become widely accepted as a lawful. 33 Besides, we must bear in mind that checks can not be
medium of payment in trade and commerce. Although not legal categorized as mere contracts. It is a commercial instrument
tender, checks have come to be perceived as convenient which, in this modem day and age, has become a convenient
substitutes for currency in commercial and financial transactions. substitute for money; it forms part of the banking system and
The basis or foundation of such perception is confidence. If such therefore not entirely free from the regulatory power of the state.
confidence is shakes the usefulness of checks as currency
substitutes would be greatly diminished or may become nit Any Neither do we find substance in the claim that the statute in
practice therefore tending to destroy that confidence should be question denies equal protection of the laws or is discriminatory,
deterred for the proliferation of worthless checks can only create
since it penalizes the drawer of the check, but not the payee. It is
havoc in trade circles and the banking community. contended that the payee is just as responsible for the crime as
the drawer of the check, since without the indispensable
Recent statistics of the Central Bank show that one-third of the participation of the payee by his acceptance of the check there
entire money supply of the country, roughly totalling P32.3 billion, would be no crime. This argument is tantamount to saying that, to
consists of peso demand deposits; the remaining two. 29 These de give equal protection, the law should punish both the swindler and
deposit thirds consists of currency in circulation. ma deposits in the the swindled. The petitioners' posture ignores the well-accepted
banks constitute the funds against which among others, meaning of the clause "equal protection of the laws." The clause
commercial papers like checks, are drawn. The magnitude of the does not preclude classification of individuals, who may be
amount involved amply justifies the legitimate concern of the state accorded different treatment under the law as long as the
in preserving the integrity of the banking system. Flooding the classification is no unreasonable or arbitrary. 34
system with worthless checks is like pouring garbage into the
bloodstream of the nation's economy. It is also suggested that BP 22 constitutes undue or improper
delegation of legislative powers, on the theory that the offense is
The effects of the issuance of a worthless check transcends the not completed by the sole act of the maker or drawer but is made
private interests of the parties directly involved in the transaction to depend on the will of the payee. If the payee does not present
and touches the interests of the community at large. The mischief the check to the bank for payment but instead keeps it, there
it creates is not only a wrong to the payee or holder, but also an would be no crime. The logic of the argument stretches to
injury to the public. The harmful practice of putting valueless absurdity the meaning of "delegation of legislative power." What
commercial papers in circulation, multiplied a thousand fold, can cannot be delegated is the power to legislate, or the power to
very wen pollute the channels of trade and commerce, injure the make laws. 35 which means, as applied to the present case, the
banking system and eventually hurt the welfare of society and the power to define the offense sought to be punished and to prescribe
public interest. As aptly stated — 30 the penalty. By no stretch of logic or imagination can it be said that
the power to define the crime and prescribe the penalty therefor
The 'check flasher' does a great deal more than contract has been in any manner delegated to the payee. Neither is there
a debt; he shakes the pillars of business; and to my any provision in the statute that can be construed, no matter how
mind, it is a mistaken charity of judgment to place him in remotely, as undue delegation of executive power. The suggestion
the same category with the honest man who is unable to that the statute unlawfully delegates its enforcement to the
offended party is farfetched.
pay his debts, and for whom the constitutional inhibition
against' imprisonment for debt, except in cases of fraud
was intended as a shield and not a sword. Lastly, the objection has been raised that Section 9 (2) of Article
VII of the 1973 Constitution was violated by the legislative body
In sum, we find the enactment of BP 22 a valid exercise of the when it enacted BP 22 into law. This constitutional provision
police power and is not repugnant to the constitutional inhibition prohibits the introduction of amendments to a bill during the Third
Reading. It is claimed that during its Third Reading, the bill which
against imprisonment for debt.
eventually became BP 22 was amended in that the text of the
second paragraph of Section 1 of the bill as adopted on Second
This Court is not unaware of the conflicting jurisprudence obtaining Reading was altered or changed in the printed text of the bill
in the various states of the United States on the constitutionality of submitted for approval on Third Reading.
the "worthless check" acts. 31 It is needless to warn that foreign
jurisprudence must be taken with abundant caution. A caveat to be
A careful review of the record of the proceedings of the Interim
observed is that substantial differences exist between our statute
and the worthless check acts of those states where the Batasan on this matter shows that, indeed, there was some
jurisprudence have evolved. One thing to remember is that BP 22 confusion among Batasan Members on what was the exact text of
was not lifted bodily from any existing statute. Furthermore, we the paragraph in question which the body approved on Second
have to consider that judicial decisions must be read in the context Reading. 36 Part of the confusion was due apparently to the fact
of the facts and the law involved and, in a broader sense, of the that during the deliberations on Second Reading (the amendment
social economic and political environment—in short, the milieu— period), amendments were proposed orally and approved by the
body or accepted by the sponsor, hence, some members might not
under which they were made. We recognize the wisdom of the old
saying that what is sauce for the goose may not be sauce for the have gotten the complete text of the provisions of the bill as
amended and approved on Second Reading. However, it is clear
gander.
from the records that the text of the second paragraph of Section 1
of BP 22 is the text which was actually approved by the body on
As stated elsewhere, police power is a dynamic force that enables Second Reading on February 7, 1979, as reflected in the approved
the state to meet the exigencies of changing times. There are Minutes for that day. In any event, before the bin was submitted for
occasions when the police power of the state may even override a final approval on Third Reading, the Interim Batasan created a
constitutional guaranty. For example, there have been cases Special Committee to investigate the matter, and the Committee in
wherein we held that the constitutional provision on non- its report, which was approved by the entire body on March 22,
impairment of contracts must yield to the police power of the 1979, stated that "the clause in question was ... an authorized
state. 32 Whether the police power may override the constitutional amendment of the bill and the printed copy thereof reflects
inhibition against imprisonment for debt is an issue we do not have accurately the provision in question as approved on Second
to address. This bridge has not been reached, so there is no Reading. 37 We therefore, find no merit in the petitioners' claim that
occasion to cross it. in the enactment of BP 22 the provisions of Section 9 (2) of Article
VIII of the 1973 Constitution were violated.
We hold that BP 22 does not conflict with the constitutional
inhibition against imprisonment for debt. WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered granting the petition in G.R.
No. 75789 and setting aside the order of the respondent Judge
V dated August 19, 1986. The petitions in G.R. Nos. 63419, 66839-
42, 71654, 74524-25, 75122-49, 75812-13 and 75765-67 are
hereby dismissed and the temporary restraining order issued in
We need not detain ourselves lengthily in the examination of the G.R. Nos. 74524-25 is lifted. With costs against private petitioners.
other constitutional objections raised by petitioners, some of which
are rather flimsy.
SO ORDERED.
manifesting their findings and recommending
the institution of administrative and/or criminal
charges against Acting Municipal Treasurer
FELICIANO V. AGBANLOG, petitioner,
Feliciano Agbanlog.
vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND
SANDIGANBAYAN, respondents. At the outset, the Auditors found the accused
Agbanlog short in the amount of P32,950.34,
broken down in this manner:
Michael P. Moralde for petitioner.

Accountability:
Balance shown by your
cash book on May 31, 1986
QUIASON, J.: certified correct by you
and verified by us P85,186.40
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the
Revised Rules of Court and Section 7 of P.D. No. 1606 as Credits to Accountability:
amended, of the decision of the Sandiganbayan (First Division) Cash and valid cash items
promulgated on June 28, 1992, which found petitioner guilty produced by you
beyond reasonable doubt of Malversation of Public Funds, and counted on us P52,236.06
penalized under paragraph 4, Article 217, of the Revised Penal —————
Code, and sentencing him to suffer, in the absence of mitigating Shortage P32,950.34
and aggravating circumstances "the indeterminate penalty of, from
ELEVEN (11) years and one (1) DAY of Prision Mayor, as
Upon the finding that P11,009.64 of this
minimum to SIXTEEN (16) YEARS, FIVE (5) MONTHS and
amount was chargeable to the account of
ELEVEN (11) DAYS of Reclusion Temporal, as maximum, with the
former Municipal Treasurer Carlos Pastor,
accessory penalties of the law; to pay a fine in the amount of
predecessor of Municipal Treasurer Ruperto
P21,940.70; to suffer the penalty of perpetual special
Pallaya, the said amount of P11,009.64 was
disqualification and to pay the costs."
deducted from the accountability of Feliciano
Agbanlog. The Acting Municipal Treasurer was
The Sandiganbayan made the following findings of facts : nevertheless made accountable for the
shortage of P21,940.70, the amount for which
Feliciano Agbanlog y Vinluan was the Officer- he is not charged.
in-Charge of the Office of the Municipal
Treasurer of Aglipay, Quirino, for the period: As regards the disbursement voucher billed as
March 24, 1986 to May 31, 1988. When audited a cash advance for various expenses in the
by COA Auditing Examiner Marcelina P. Reyes amount of P12,504.49, Exhibit "E", this voucher
of the Provincial Auditor's Office of was disallowed by the auditors because there
Cobarroguis, Quirino, on August 4, 1986 for the was no appropriation for this disbursement. It is
aforesaid period of his incumbency as Acting indicated in the voucher that the giving out of
Municipal Treasurer, Feliciano Agbanlog was this money was in the nature of a cash
found short in his cash and accounts in the sum advance. The purpose for which the cash
of P21,940.70. advance was given out was, however, not
clearly indicated. The particulars of payment
The shortage was broken down in the following merely states "to cash advance to defray
manner : various expenditures". Only the signature of the
accused Feliciano Agbanlog may be found in
the voucher. This indicates that the amount of
a. Disallowed cash item P12,504.49 was given out to and received by
of Mr. Feliciano V. Agbanlog the accused, Feliciano V. Agbanlog, from
May 31, 1986 worded as Roberto E. Pallaya. Vouchers of this nature, in
cash order to be valid, must bear the signature of the
advance to defray various incumbent Municipal Mayor of Aglipay, Quirino.
expenses The signature of the then Mayor, the Hon.
which was not approved Deogracias L. Prego, Sr., does not appear in
by the Municipal Mayor the voucher. No invoice or receipt was
P12,504.49 presented to support the disbursement.

b. Disallowed voucher No. Thus, considering the fact that the accused,
101-86-04-71 dated April Feliciano V. Agbanlog received the proceeds of
18, 1986 the voucher, this disbursement has, indeed,
due to under delivery of become the accountability of the accused,
printed forms P2,900.00 whose duty it was to liquidate the same. The
accused did not so liquidate. Accused's
c. Disallowed voucher No. allegation that the amount of money involved
101-86-05-144 dated was given to him to the Municipal Mayor has
May 31, 1986 due to not been backed up by sufficient evidence. If
under delivery of printed this amount of money were for the Mayor's
forms P3,260.00 account, the Mayor should have been made to
sign the voucher, or else, there should have
been accomplished some sort of evidence
d. Unaccounted collection payment for the Mayor.
P3,276.21
————
Disbursement Voucher No. 101-8604-71, dated
April 18, 1986, Exhibit "F", in the amount of
Total P3,500.00, was partially disallowed because
P21,940. printed forms for which the voucher was made
70 out was not actually delivered but yet paid for.
The accused was able to present proof of
A written demand to explain the shortage and delivery only of accounting forms valued at
to pay the amount thereof was neither P600.00. Consequently, the accused was
answered nor acted upon by the accountable credited with the amount of P600.00. The
officer. Consequently, a Report was made by remaining balance of P2,900.00 was
Examining Auditors Marcelina P. Reyes, nevertheless disallowed.
Asuncion G. Tamondong and Margarita B.
Eugenio to the Provincial Auditor of Quirino,
Disbursement Voucher No. 101-8605-144, Petitioner admits that he was the one who prepared the voucher
dated May 31, 1986, Exhibit "G" in the amount dated April 18, 1986 for the payment of various forms in the
of P4,110.00 was likewise partially disallowed. amount of P3,500.00 (Exh. "F"). He was the one who
The accused was able to show proof of a acknowledged receipt of the supplies mentioned in the voucher
legitimate disbursement in the amount of and who received the amount of P3,500.00 in payment thereof. He
P850.00. Consequently, the accused was even certified to the necessity and legality of the expense.
credited with this amount and only the sum of
P3,260.00 was disallowed. When audited, petitioner was able to show the delivery of forms
valued at only P600.00. The burden was on petitioner to explain
As regards the shortage in the amount of satisfactorily the discrepancy between the voucher and the receipt
P3,276.21, representing the accused of the delivery.
unaccounted collections, per Collector's Daily
Statement of Collections for the period: April to Re : Shortage of P3,260.00
May, 1986, Exhibits "H" to "M", We find
evidence showing that this amount, while
turned over to the accused Feliciano Agbanlog Out of the amount of P4,100.00 disbursed under the voucher
in his capacity as Acting Municipal Treasurer by marked as Exhibit "G", petitioner admits having been able to
Collectors Jane G. Domingo, Marilyn Villarta, support payment of only P850.00; hence the amount of P3,260.00
Danilo de Guzman, Guadalupe M. Quimpayag was disallowed.
and Rolando Domingo, has not been
accounted for, the accused claiming that cash Re :Shortage of P3,276.21
collections of the aforesaid collectors were
never remitted to him. There is ample proof,
therefore, of the fact that the accused received As to the shortage in the amount of P3,276.21 representing the
these cash collections. His signatures on unaccounted collections of petitioner for the month of April and
various documents, Exhibits "H" to "M", "H-1", May 1986, petitioner claims that the said amount was never turned
"I-1", "J-1", "K-1", "L-1" and "M-1", virtually over to him. If this was true, he should not have signed the
indicate that the accused had actually received documents marked Exhibits "H" to "M", "A-1", "Y-7", "5-1", "K-1",
the amounts indicated in these exhibits. We "L-1" and "M-1", all acknowledging receipt of the cash collections
cannot believe that the accused would sign of the various collectors.
these documents if he did not receive the
amount of money corresponding thereto. The In all the foregoing cases of shortage, petitioner admits having
accused's allegation, made as an afterthought, prepared and collected the amounts stated in the vouchers (Exhs.
that the collectors who were supposed to "E", "F", "G") and having signed the collectors' daily statement of
turnover their collections to him did not actually collection, which evidence his receipt of the amounts stated therein
turnover their collections cannot be believed. (Exhs. "H" to "M"). With such admissions, how can petitioner now
The contention that the collectors had instead attribute the shortage of his accountable funds to his predecessor?
made out vales or cash advances covering the
amount of their collections, is not supported by
proof. The vale slips or cash advance papers It is also difficult to comprehend how an earlier audit of petitioner's
allegedly given to the accused in lieu of cash accountability or an audit made upon assumption of office of the
could not be produced by the accused. Municipal Treasurer could possible explain the shortages
unearthed by the government auditor and assist him in his
defense.
The accused was supposed to return these
vale slips to the collectors only after they made
good the borrowed amount. This lapse in The elements of malversation of public funds or property
evidence does not speak well of the defense punishable under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code are :
herein put up by the accused. (Rollo, pp. 30-34)
a) That the offender is a public officer;.
Petitioner admits the shortage of the accountable funds charged
by the prosecution but claims that the prosecution failed to show b) That he had the custody or control of funds or property by
that the shortage accrued during his short stint as acting treasurer. reason of the duties of his office;.
According to him, the audit of his funds should have been made
immediately upon his assumption as Officer-in-charge of the Office
c) That those funds or property were public funds or property for
of the Treasurer in the last week of March, 1986, instead of in
which he was accountable;.
August, 1986. He further claims that while there was a turn-over of
the funds on June 2, 1986 when Municipal Treasurer Ruperto
Pallaya reported back for work, there was no turnover of the funds d) That he appropriated, took, misappropriated or consented or,
when he temporarily took charge of the Office of the Treasurer. through abandonment or negligence permitted another person to
(Rollo, pp. 5-6) take them. (II Reyes, The Revised Penal Code, p. 391 [1981 ed.])

Re : Shortage of P12,504.49 The prosecution has established (a) that appellant received in his
possession public funds; (b) that he could not account for them
and did not have them in his possession when audited; and (c) that
Petitioner admits that he was the one who prepared the voucher,
he could not give a satisfactory explanation or reasonable excuse
(Exh. "E"), and who received the amount of P12,504.49 mentioned
for the disappearance of said funds. (Cabello v. Sandiganbayan,
therein. He does not deny the authenticity of his signatures
197 SCRA 94 [1991]) The prosecution is not required to present
appearing thereon. No other person, other than petitioner, was
direct evidence of the misappropriation, which may be impossible
involved in the preparation of the said voucher and the receipt of
to do. (Villanueva v. Sandiganbayan, 200 SCRA 722 [1991]).
the amount of P12,504.49. He only claims that the money was
given to the Municipal Mayor, who allegedly refused to sign the
voucher. The failure of a public officer to have duly forthcoming any public
funds or property with which he is chargeable, upon demand by
any duly authorized officer, is a prima facie evidence that he has
Petitioner, having worked as a bookkeeper in the Treasurer's
put such funds or property to personal use. (Art. 217, last
Office of Cobarroguis, Quirino, since 1979 and as Assistant
paragraph, Revised Penal Code as amended by R.A. 1060).
Municipal Treasurer since 1982, should know that vouchers must
be signed by the claimants. If he acknowledged receipt of the
money knowing that the claimant was the Municipal Mayor, he Petitioner questions as oppressive and unconstitutional the penalty
became a party to the fraud and assumed responsibility for the imposed on him — that of eleven years and one day of prision
consequences of his acts. The defense did not call the Municipal mayor, as minimum, to sixteen years, five months and eleven days
Mayor to testify that he was the real claimant and that he received of reclusion temporal, as maximum.
the money from the petitioner.
He argues that considering the value of the peso in 1932 when the
Re : Shortage of P2,900.00 Revised Penal Code was enacted and the value of peso today, the
penalty for malversation of P21,000.00 should only be an
imprisonment of one or two years. (Rollo, pp. 10-11)
Assuming arguendo that inflation has in effect made more severe We are not persuaded.
the penalty for malversing P21,000.00, the remedy cannot come
from this Court but from the Congress. The Court can intervene A memorandum check is in the form of an ordinary check, with the
and strike down a penalty as cruel, degrading or inhuman only
word "memorandum", "memo" or "mem" written across its face,
when it has become so flagrantly oppressive and so wholly signifying that the maker or drawer engages to pay the bona
disproportionate to the nature of the offense as to shock the moral fide holder absolutely, without any condition concerning its
senses. (People v. Dionisio, 22 SCRA 1299 [1968]; People v. presentment. 6 Such a check is an evidence of debt against the
Estoista, 93 Phil. 647 [1953]; U.S. v. Borromeo, 23 Phil. 279 drawer, and although may not be intended to be presented, 7 has
[1912]) Considering that malversation of public funds by a public the same effect as an ordinary check, 8 and if passed to the third
officer is a betrayal of the public trust, We are not prepared to say person, will be valid in his hands like any other check. 9
that the penalty imposed on petitioner is so disproportionate to the
crime committed as to shock the moral sense.
From the above definition, it is clear that a memorandum check,
which is in the form of an ordinary check, is still drawn on a bank
WHEREFORE, the petition for review is DISMISSED and the and should therefore be distinguished from a promissory note,
decision appealed from is AFFIRMED in toto, with costs against which is but a mere promise to pay. If private respondent seeks to
petitioner. equate memorandum check with promissory note, as he does to
skirt the provisions of B.P. 22, he could very well have issued a
SO ORDERED. promissory note, and this would be have exempted him form the
coverage of the law. In the business community a promissory note,
certainly, has less impact and persuadability than a check.

Verily, a memorandum check comes within the meaning of Sec.


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
185 of the Negotiable Instruments Law which defines a check as
vs.
"a bill of exchange drawn on a bank payable on demand." A check
HON. DAVID G. NITAFAN, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial
is also defined as " [a] written order or request to a bank or
Court, Branch 52, Manila, and K.T. LIM alias MARIANO
persons carrying on the business of banking, by a party having
LIM, respondents.
money in their hands, desiring them to pay, on presentment, to a
person therein named or bearer, or to such person or order, a
named sum of money," citing 2 Dan. Neg. Inst. 528; Blair
v. Wilson, 28 Gratt. (Va.) 170; Deener v. Brown,1 MacArth. (D.C.)
BELLOSILLO, J.: 350; In re Brown, 2 Sto. 502, Fed. Cas. No. 1,985. See Chapman
v. White, 6 N.Y. 412, 57 Am. Dec 464. 10 Another definition of
check is that is "[a] draft drawn upon a bank and payable on
Failing in his argument that B.P. 22, otherwise known as the demand, signed by the maker or drawer, containing an
"Bouncing Check Law", is unconstitutional, 1 private respondent unconditional promise to pay a sum certain in money to the order
now argues that the check he issued, a memorandum check, is in of the payee," citing State v. Perrigoue, 81 Wash, 2d 640, 503 p.
the nature of a promissory note, hence, outside the purview of the 2d 1063, 1066. 11
statute. Here, his argument must also fail.
A memorandum check must therefore fall within the ambit of B.P.
The facts are simple. Private respondent K.T. Lim was charged 22 which does not distinguish but merely provides that "[a]ny
before respondent court with violation of B.P. 22 in an Information person who makes or draws and issues any check knowing at the
alleging –– time of issue that he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with
the drawee bank . . . which check is subsequently dishonored . . .
That on . . . January 10, 1985, in the City of shall be punished by imprisonment . . ." (Emphasis supplied
Manila . . . the said accused did then and there ). 12 Ubi lex no distinguit nec nos distinguere debemus.
wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously make or draw
and issue to Fatima Cortez Sasaki . . . But even if We retrace the enactment of the "Bouncing Check
Philippine Trust Company Check No. 117383 Law" to determine the parameters of the concept of "check", We
dated February 9, 1985 . . . in the amount of can easily glean that the members of the then Batasang
P143,000.00, . . . well knowing that at the time Pambansa intended it to be comprehensive as to include all
of issue he . . . did not have sufficient funds in checks drawn against banks. This was particularly the ratiocination
or credit with the drawee bank . . . which check of Mar. Estelito P. Mendoza, co-sponsor of Cabinet Bill No. 9
. . . was subsequently dishonored by the which later became B.P. 22, when in response to the interpellation
drawee bank for insufficiency of funds, and of Mr. Januario T. Seño, Mr. Mendoza explained that the draft or
despite receipt of notice of such dishonor, said order must be addressed to a bank or depository, 13and accepted
accused failed to pay said Fatima Cortez the proposed amendment of Messrs. Antonio P. Roman and Arturo
Sasaki the amount of said check or to make M. Tolentino that the words "draft or order", and certain terms
arrangement for full payment of the same within which technically meant promissory notes, wherever they were
five (5) banking days after receiving said found in the text of the bill, should be deleted since the bill was
notice. 2 mainly directed against the pernicious practice of issuing checks
with insufficient or no funds, and not to drafts which were not
On 18 July 1986, private respondent moved to quash the drawn against banks. 14
Information of the ground that the facts charged did not constitute
a felony as B.P. 22 was unconstitutional and that the check he A memorandum check, upon presentment, is generally accepted
issued was a memorandum check which was in the nature of a by the bank. Hence it does not matter whether the check issued is
promissory note, perforce, civil in nature. On 1 September 1986, in the nature of a memorandum as evidence of indebtedness or
respondent judge, ruling that B.P. 22 on which the Information was whether it was issued is partial fulfillment of a pre-existing
based was unconstitutional, issued the questioned Order quashing obligation, for what the law punishes is the issuance itself of a
the Information. Hence, this petition for review on certiorari filed by bouncing check15 and not the purpose for which it was issuance.
the Solicitor General in behalf of the government. The mere act of issuing a worthless check, whether as a deposit,
as a guarantee, or even as an evidence of a pre-existing debt,
Since the constitutionality of the "Bouncing Check Law" has is malum prohibitum. 16
already been sustained by this Court in Lozano v.Martinez 3 and
the seven (7) other cases decided jointly with it, 4 the remaining We are not unaware that a memorandum check may carry with it
issue, as aptly stated by private respondent in his Memorandum, is the understanding that it is not be presented at the bank but will be
whether a memorandum check issued postdated in partial redeemed by the maker himself when the loan fall due. This
payment of a pre-existing obligation is within the coverage of B.P. understanding may be manifested by writing across the check
22. "Memorandum", "Memo" or "Mem." However, with the
promulgation of B.P. 22, such understanding or private
Citing U.S. v. Isham, 5 private respondent contends that although a arrangement may no longer prevail to exempt it from penal
memorandum check may not differ in form and appearance from sanction imposed by the law. To require that the agreement
an ordinary check, such a check is given by the drawer to the surrounding the issuance of check be first looked into and
payee more in the nature of memorandum of indebtedness and, thereafter exempt such issuance from the punitive provision of
should be sued upon in a civil action. B.P. 22 on the basis of such agreement or understanding would
frustrate the very purpose for which the law was enacted — to
stem the proliferation of unfunded checks. After having effectively President Mr. Bernhard Ashauer, Jr.; Mrs. Lea Amorcillo, Mrs.
reduced the incidence of worthless checks changing hands, the Milagros Majoremos, Mr. Danilo Aguylo, Mrs. Marjorie Jalalon,
country will once again experience the limitless circulation of Mrs. Jona Sarvida, Mrs. Analyn Malunes, Mrs. Edna Rubi, Mrs.
bouncing checks in the guise of memorandum checks if such Josephine Saballa, Mr. Benjamin Vergara, Mr. Jerry Peligro, Mrs.
checks will be considered exempt from the operation of B.P. 22. It Mary Joy Sandi, and Mr. Jaime Cabarse, all inside the Allers'
is common practice in commercial transactions to require debtors Property Compound at 8110 Dr. A. Santos Ave., San Dionisio,
to issue checks on which creditors must rely as guarantee of
Parañaque City.
payment. To determine the reasons for which checks are issued,
or the terms and conditions for their issuance, will greatly erode
the faith the public responses in the stability and commercial value
of checks as currency substitutes, and bring about havoc in trade xxx xxx xxx
and in banking communities. 17

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the Order of


respondent Judge of 1 September 1986 is SET ASIDE. 5. It is further shown that all known intervenors, lessees and
Consequently, respondent Judge, or whoever presides over the heirs were served of the motion and notified of the hearing, with no
Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 52, is hereby directed opposition except intervenor Berlito P. Taripe, based on his claim
forthwith to proceed with the hearing of the case until terminated. against the estate, which may be treated in due time for claims
against the estate. However, the motion under consideration refers
SO ORDERED. to the return to the court of the true Inventory of the Estate of the
deceased within three (3) months as directed under Section 1,
Rule 83 which sets a specific period of time to submit, otherwise it
G.R. No. 154037 April 30, 2003 is violated. The opposition is not tenable.

IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF 6. Finding the motion meritorious, the same is hereby
BENJAMIN VERGARA, JONA SARVIDA, MILAGROS GRANTED. As prayed for, the Inventory of the Estate attached
MAJOREMOS, MAJORIE JALALON, MAY JOY MENDOZA (@ therewith as Motion-Annex 'A' (sic) and considered as a
May Joy Sandi), and JOY SABALLA (@ Josephine Saballa), compliance of the required return of the true Inventory of the estate
MABELYN B. VERGARA, RIO SARVIDA, FRANCISCO of the decedent.
MAJOREMOS, in their respective behalves and in behalf of ROY
JALALON, ROMMEL MENDOZA and DELFIN SABALLA,
petitioners,
7. Further, the lessees above-cited and listed in the
vs. Inventory are directed to pay their respective monthly rental
regularly starting the month of August, 1999, including arrears if
HON. FRANCISCO C. GEDORIO, JR., Presiding Judge, Regional any, to the duly appointed Special Administratrix Mrs. Eleuteria P.
Trial Court of Ormoc, Branch 12; SPO3 ANGELO S. LLENOS and Bolaño, until further notice.
the CITY JAIL WARDEN OF ORMOC; and ELEUTERIA P.
BOLAÑO, respondents.

xxx xxx xxx

AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:

Let copies of this Order together with the Inventory served to all
above-cited.
Petitioners are the tenants of Berlito P. Taripe on a property
located in Dr. A. Santos Ave., Parañaque City. On December 24,
2001, they were arrested by Ormoc City policemen by authority of
a Warrant of Arrest dated November 19, 2001 issued by Judge SO ORDERED.3 (Emphasis Ours)
Fortunito L. Madrona in Sp. Proc. No. 3695-0 for Issuance of
Letters of Administration, Distribution and Partition pending before
the Regional Trial Court of Ormoc City (Branch 12).1
Copies of the order were sent on October 12, 1999 to petitioners
via registered mail.4

The warrant of arrest stemmed from a motion filed by respondent


Eleuteria P. Bolaño, as Special Administratrix of the estate of the
Five months later, on motion of respondent Bolaño, as Special
late Anselma P. Allers, praying that petitioners be held guilty of
Administratrix, the probate court issued a writ of execution on
indirect contempt for not complying with the probate court's order
March 3, 2000 to enforce the aforesaid order dated October 5,
dated October 9, 1999 directing them to pay their monthly rentals 1999. The Sheriff submitted a return dated August 10, 2000 stating
to respondent Bolaño.2 that on June 5, 2000, he met with petitioners but failed to collect
the rentals due on the property as Taripe had already collected
from them three months advance rentals.5
It appears that pending the settlement of the estate of the
deceased Allers, respondent Bolaño included the property leased
by Taripe to petitioners in the inventory of the estate. The probate On August 4, 2000, respondent Bolaño filed a motion to require
court issued the assailed Order dated October 5, 1999, portions of
petitioners to explain why they should not be cited in indirect
which read as follows:
contempt for disobeying the October 5, 1999 order of the probate
court.6 Petitioners were served copies of the motion by registered
mail.7 The probate court granted the motion in its Resolution dated
1. SUBMITTED FOR RESOLUTION is an omnibus motion September 7, 2000, portions of which read as follows:
filed by the Petitioner-Administratrix, informing among others, the
submission of the Inventory of the Estate of the decedent, referred
as Motion-Annex 'A' thereof. The Inventory shows that the
The Motion to Exclude Certain Parcels of Land as part of the
properties left by the deceased consists of Real and Personal
Estate of the decedent is also denied for lack of merit. The
Properties, as well as Credits and Collectibles, itemized under
properties sought to be excluded by intervenor Bertito P. Taripe
letter heading A, B, and C of the Inventory, respectively.
are titled/registered in the name of the decedent and therefore they
should be included in the inventory of the intestate estate of
Anselma Allers. If intervenor has claims against the estate, he
2. The Real Properties are occupied by some lessees, should file a separate action against the Administratrix in
namely: Cargo Bridge Philippines Corporation, represented by its accordance with Rule 87 of the Revised Rules of Court. As it is,
intervenor cannot claim ownership over properties registered in the Their motion for reconsideration having been denied, petitioners
name of the decedent by mere motion. filed herein petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the
Rules of Court, based on the following grounds:

The Return of the Deputy Sheriff of the Writ of Execution is noted.


I. THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN NOT HOLDING
THAT THE ORDER DATED OCTOBER 5, 1999 (ANNEX "E")
PARTICULARLY THE PORTION THEREOF WHICH SUMMARILY
Petitioner's motion to let the lessees explain why they should not
DIRECTED THE LESSEES TO TURNOVER THEIR MONTHLY
be cited for contempt for disobeying the Court's order is granted.
RENTALS OF THE APARTMENTS OF BERLITO P. TARIPE TO
All lessees listed on the Writ of Execution are hereby ordered to
ELEUTERIA P. BOLAÑO AS SPECIAL ADMINISTRATRIX, IS
explain within twenty (20) days from receipt of this order why they
UNLAWFUL;
should not be cited for indirect contempt of the Court for
disobeying the Court's Order dated October 5, 1999, and the Writ
of Execution dated May 29, 2000.
II. THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN NOT HOLDING
THAT THE MOTION FOR INDIRECT CONTEMPT OF COURT
FILED BY RESPONDENT ELEUTERIA P. BOLAÑO AGAINST
SO ORDERED. (Emphasis Ours)
THE LESSEES IS NOT THE PROPER REMEDY AND THAT THE
ORDER OF THE COURT A QUO GRANTING SAID MOTION
AND DECLARING THAT THE LESSEES ARE GUILTY OF
Petitioners were furnished copies of the said Order on September INDIRECT CONTEMPT IS A REVERSIBLE ERROR.
27, 2000 by registered mail.8

III. THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN NOT HOLDING


Six months later, in a letter dated March 18, 2001, some of the THAT THE ORDER OF THE COURT A QUO TO ISSUE
petitioners, together with the other tenants of the property, WARRANT OF ARREST AND THE SAID WARRANT SO ISSUED
informed the probate court that they are "freezing" their monthly AS WELL AS THE ACTUAL ARREST OF SAID LESSEES IN
rentals as they are in a quandary as to whom to pay the rentals.9 COMPLIANCE THEREWITH, ARE UNLAWFUL;

Respondent Bolaño then filed on March 20, 2001, a motion to cite IV. THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN NOT HOLDING
petitioners in contempt, which was set for hearing on May 11, THE TEMPORARY RELEASE OF THE LESSEES
2001.10 In its Order dated May 11, 2001, the probate court found PERMANENT.16
petitioners guilty of indirect contempt and ordered them to pay a
fine of P30,000.00 each and to undergo imprisonment until they
comply with the probate court's order for them to pay rentals.11
The crux of petitioners' arguments is that they were not notified of
the motion filed by respondent Special Administratrix Bolaño,
submitting an inventory of the estate of the late Anselma P. Allers,
Petitioners again wrote the probate court on June 11, 2001 asking which includes the property occupied by them. Such being the
that the indirect contempt "slapped" against them be withdrawn. case, petitioners contend that the order dated October 5, 1999
They stated that their failure to attend the May 11, 2001 hearing granting the motion and directing them to pay the rentals to Bolaño
was due to financial constraints, most of them working on is unlawful hence, their refusal to comply with it is not
construction sites, receiving minimum wages, and repeated that contumacious.17 They also assail the appointment of respondent
the reason why they are freezing the monthly rentals is that they Bolaño as Special Administratrix for having been made without the
are uncertain as to whom to remit it.12 required bond,18 and that she has no authority to file the motion
for indirect contempt, as her powers are limited.19

Upon motion of respondent Bolaño, the probate court, per its


Order dated November 16, 2001, issued a warrant of arrest on When service of notice is an issue, the rule is that the person
November 19, 2001. On December 24, 2001, petitioners were alleging that the notice was served must prove the fact of
arrested. service.20 The burden of proving notice rests upon the party
asserting its existence.21 In civil cases, service made through
registered mail is proved by the registry receipt issued by the
mailing office and an affidavit of the person mailing of facts
On December 26, 2001, petitioners filed with the Court of Appeals
showing compliance with Section 7 of Rule 13. In the present
a petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus.13 On
case, as proof that petitioners were served with copies of the
January 3, 2002, the appellate court ordered the temporary
omnibus motion submitting an inventory of the estate of deceased
release of petitioners.14 After due proceedings, the appellate court
Allers, respondent Bolaño presented photocopies of the motion
rendered its decision on March 26, 2002 denying the petition for
with a certification by counsel that service was made by registered
lack of merit. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:
mail, together with the registry receipts.22 While the affidavit and
the registry receipts proved that petitioners were served with
copies of the motion, it does not follow, however, that petitioners in
WHEREFORE, the instant petition for issuance of a writ of habeas fact received the motion. Respondent Bolaño failed to present the
corpus is hereby DENIED for lack of merit. This Court's resolution registry return cards showing that petitioners actually received the
ordering the temporary release of the lessees is hereby motion.23 Receipts for registered letters and return receipts do not
RECALLED. The lessees are ordered REMANDED to the custody prove themselves, they must be properly authenticated in order to
of the Jail Warden of Ormoc City until they have complied with the serve as proof of receipt of the letters.24 Respondent also failed to
orders of the probate court. present a certification of the postmaster that notice was duly
issued and delivered to petitioners such that service by registered
mail may be deemed completed.25
No pronouncement as to costs.

Nonetheless, even in the absence of proof of actual receipt by the


petitioners, the subject orders issued by the probate court are valid
SO ORDERED.15
and enforceable. Petitioners cannot deny the fact that they had
actual knowledge of the said orders. They have admitted in their
letter dated March 18, 2001 addressed to the probate court that
they received the court's order dated October 5, 1999 "barely 2
months before," 26 or sometime in January 2001. Instead of estate of the deceased, were ordered by the probate court to pay
complying with the said order, they "froze" payment of their rentals the rentals to the administratrix. Petitioners did not comply with the
for the reason that they are caught in the middle of the dispute and order for the principal reason that they were not certain as to the
are not sure to whom to give the rentals. When respondent Bolaño rightful person to whom to pay the rentals because it was a certain
filed the motion to cite them in indirect contempt, setting the Berlito P. Taripe who had originally leased the subject property to
hearing on May 11, 2001, again, records show that they had actual them. Clearly, the payment of rentals is covered by the
knowledge of the same. In their second letter, dated June 11, constitutional guarantee against imprisonment.
2001, addressed to the probate court, they acknowledged that they
knew of the hearing set on May 11, 2001, and the reason for their
failure to attend was due to financial constraints.27 They likewise
Moreover, petitioners cannot be validly punished for contempt
admitted in said letter that they knew of the court's order dated
under Section 8, Rule 71 of the Rules of Court to wit:
May 11, 2001 finding them guilty of indirect contempt.28
Petitioners therefore cannot cry denial of due process as they were
actually notified of the proceedings before the probate court. Thus,
under the circumstances, it is not imperative to require proof of a SEC. 8. Imprisonment until order obeyed. — When the contempt
formal notice. It would be an idle ceremony where an adverse consists in the refusal or omission to do an act which is yet in the
party, as in this case, had actual knowledge of the proceedings.29 power of the respondent to perform, he may be imprisoned by
order of the court concerned until he performs it. (7a)

When petitioners refused to remit the rentals to respondent Bolaño


per Order dated October 5, 1999, a written charge of indirect because herein subject order is not a special judgment
contempt was duly filed before the trial court and hearing on the enforceable, under Section 11, Rule 39, which provides:
motion set on May 11, 2001. As previously stated, petitioners did
not attend said hearing despite knowledge thereof; instead, they
wrote the court on June 11, 2001 asking that the contempt findings
SEC. 11. Execution of special judgment. — When a judgment
against them be withdrawn. Clearly, they were given the
requires the performance of any act other than those mention in
opportunity to be heard, and as aptly stated by the court, they were
the two preceding sections, a certified copy of judgment shall be
given more than sufficient time to comply with the Order dated
attached to the writ of execution and shall be served by the officer
October 5, 1999.30
upon the party against whom the same is rendered, or upon any
other person required thereby, or by law to obey the same, and
such party or person may be punished for contempt if he disobeys
Despite the foregoing, we find that the trial court's finding of such judgment.
contempt and the order directing the imprisonment of petitioner to
be unwarranted. The salutary rule is that the power to punish to
contempt must be exercised on the preservative, not vindictive
Section 9 of Rule 39 refers to the execution of judgments for
principle, and on the corrective and not retaliatory idea of
money, thus:
punishment. Court must exercise their contempt powers judiciously
and sparingly, with utmost self-restraint.31

SEC. 9. Execution of judgments for money, how enforced. — (a)


Immediate payment on demand. — The officer shall enforce an
In Halili vs. Court of Industrial Relations,32 the Court quoted the
execution of a judgment for money by demanding from the
pronouncements of some American courts, to wit:
judgment obligor the immediate payment of the full amount stated
in the writ of execution and all lawful fees. The judgment obligor
shall pay in cash, certified bank check payable to the judgment
Except where the fundamental power of the court to imprison for obligee, or any other form of payment acceptable to the latter, the
contempt has been restricted by statute, and subject to amount of the judgment debt under proper receipt directly to the
constitutional prohibitions where a contemnor fails or refuses to judgment obligee or his authorized representative if present at the
obey an order of the court for the payment of money he may be time of payment. The lawful fees shall be handed under proper
imprisoned to compel obedience to such order. [Fla.–Revell v. receipt to the executing sheriff who shall turn over the said amount
Dishong, 175 So. 905, 129 Fla. 9; Va. Branch v. Branch, 132 S.E. within the same day to the clerk of court of the court that issued
303; 144 Va. 244]. (17 C.J.S. 287). the writ.

xxx xxx xxx If the judgment obligee or his authorized representative is not
present to receive payment, the judgment obligor shall deliver the
aforesaid payment to the executing sheriff. The latter shall turn
over all the amounts coming into his possession within the same
. . . It has been said that imprisonment for contempt as a means of
day to the clerk of court of the court that issued the writ, or if the
coercion for civil purpose cannot be resorted to until all other
same is not practicable, deposit said amounts to a fiduciary
means fail [Mich.–Atchison, etc. R. co. v. Jennison, 27 N.W. 6, 60
account in the nearest government depository bank of the
Mich. 232], but the court's power to order the contemnor's
Regional Trial court of the locality.
detension continues so long as the contumacy persists [Ark.–Lane
v. Alexander, 271 S.W. 710, 168 Ark. 700] (17 C.J.S. 289).33

The clerk of said court shall thereafter arrange for the remittance of
the deposit to the account of the court that issued the writ whose
which we hereby adopt as proper guidelines in the determination
clerk of court shall then deliver said payment to the judgment
of whether the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the order of the
obligee in satisfaction of the judgment. The excess, if any, shall be
trial court finding petitioners guilty of indirect contempt of court and
delivered to the judgment obligor while the lawful fees shall be
directing their imprisonment for their contumacious refusal to pay
retained by the clerk of court for disposition as provided by law. In
the rentals to the administratrix.
no case shall the executing sheriff demand that any payment by
check be made payable to him.

In Philippine jurisdiction, Section 20, Article 3 of the 1987


Philippine Constitution expressly provides that no person shall be
(b) Satisfaction by levy. — If the judgment obligor cannot
imprisoned for debt. Debt, as used in the Constitution, refers to
pay all or part of the obligation in cash, certified bank check or
civil debt or one not arising from a criminal offense.34 It means
other mode or payment acceptable to the judgment obligee, the
any liability to pay arising out of a contract, express or implied.35
officer shall levy upon the properties of the judgment obligor of
In the present case, petitioners, as recognized lessees of the
every kind and nature whatsoever which may be disposed of for
value and not otherwise exempt from execution giving the latter Where an order for the arrest and imprisonment of defendant for
the option to immediately choose which property or part thereof contempt of court (for failure to satisfy a judgment for support on
may be levied upon, sufficient to satisfy the judgment. If the ground of insolvency) would, in effect, violate the Constitution.
judgment obligor does not exercise the option, the officer shall first
levy on the personal properties, if any, and then on the real
properties if the personal properties are insufficient to answer for
Thus, petitioners could not be held guilty of contempt of court for
the judgment.
their continued refusal to comply with the probate court's order to
pay rentals to the administratrix nor could they be held guilty of
contempt for disobeying the writ of execution issued by the probate
The sheriff shall sell only a sufficient portion of the personal or real court, which directs therein the Sheriff, thus:
property of the judgment obligor which has been levied upon.

Should lessees fail to pay the aforementioned amounts on rentals,


When there is more property of the judgment obligor than is then of the goods and chattels of said lessees you may cause to
sufficient to satisfy the judgment and lawful fees, he must sell only be made the sum sufficient to cover the aforestated amounts, but if
so much of the personal or real property as is sufficient to satisfy no sufficient personal properties are found thereof to satisfy this
the judgment and lawful fees. execution, then of the real properties you make the sums of money
in the manner required by law and make return of your proceeding
under this writ within the reglementary period.38
Real property, stocks, shares, debts, credits, and other personal
property, or any interest in either real or personal property, may be
levied upon in like manner and with like effect as under a writ of It was the sheriff's duty to enforce the writ.39
attachment.

Under Section 9(b), Rule 39, of the Rules of Court, in cases when
(c) Garnishment of debts and credits. — The officer may the execution calls for payment of money and the obligor cannot
levy on debts due the judgment obligor and other credits, including pay all or part of the obligation in cash, certified bank check or
bank deposits, financial interests, royalties, commissions and other other mode or payment acceptable to the judgment obligee, the
personal property not capable of manual delivery in the possession officer shall levy upon the properties of the judgment obligor of
or control of third parties. Levy shall be made by serving notice every kind and nature whatsoever which may be disposed of for
upon the person owing such debts or having in his possession or value and not otherwise exempt from execution giving the latter
control such credits to which the judgment obligor is entitled. The the option to immediately choose which property or part thereof
garnishment shall cover only such amount as will satisfy the may be levied upon, sufficient to satisfy the judgment. If the
judgment and all lawful fees. judgment obligor does not exercise the option, the officer shall first
levy on the personal properties, if any, and then on the real
properties if the personal properties are insufficient to answer for
the judgment. The sheriff shall sell only a sufficient portion of the
The garnishee shall make a written report to the court within five
personal or real property of the judgment obligor which has been
(5) days from service of the notice of garnishment stating whether
levied upon. When there is more property of the judgment obligor
or not the judgment obligor has sufficient funds or credits to satisfy
than is sufficient to satisfy the judgment and lawful fees, he must
the amount of the judgment. If not, the report shall state how much
sell only so much of the personal or real property as is sufficient to
funds or credits the garnishee holds for the judgment obligor. The
satisfy the judgment and lawful fees. Real property, stocks, shares,
garnished amount in cash, or certified bank check issued in the
debts, credits, and other personal property, or any interest in either
name of the judgment obligee, shall be delivered directly to the
real or personal property, may be levied upon in like manner and
judgment obligee within ten (10) working days from service of
with like effect as under a writ of attachment.
notice on said garnishee requiring such delivery, except the lawful
fees which shall be paid directly to the court.

The writ of execution issued by the trial court in this case


commanded its sheriff to collect from petitioners the rentals due
In the event there are two or more garnishees holding deposits or
from the property, and should they fail to pay, from petitioners'
credits sufficient to satisfy the judgment, the judgment obligor, if
personal/real properties sufficient to cover the amounts sought to
available, shall have the right to indicate the garnishee or
be collected.40 It was not addressed to petitioners. It pertained to
garnishees who shall be required to deliver the amount due;
the sheriff to whom the law entrusts the execution of judgments,41
otherwise, the choice shall be made by the judgment obligee.
and it was due to the latter's failure that the writ was not duly
enforced.

The executing sheriff shall observe the same procedure under


paragraph (a) with respect to delivery of payment to the judgment
In fine, the Court of Appeals committed a reversible error in
obligee. (8a, 15a)
affirming the Decision dated November 16, 2001 of the trial court.

while Section 10 of the same Rule refers to execution of judgments


WHEREFORE, finding the petition for review on certiorari to be
for specific acts such as conveyance, delivery of deeds or other
with merit, the decision dated March 26, 2002 rendered by the
specific acts vesting title; sale of real or personal property, delivery
Court of Appeals is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Its Resolution
or restitution of real property, removal of improvements on property
dated January 3, 2002 ordering the temporary release of
subject of execution and delivery of personal property.
petitioners is made permanent. The Warrant of Arrest dated
November 19, 2001 issued by the Regional Trial Court of Ormoc
City (Branch 12) in Sp. Proc. No. 3695-0 is DEEMED RECALLED.
The order directing the payment of rentals falls within the purview
of Section 9 as quoted above. Until and unless all the means
provided for under Section 9, Rule 39 have been resorted to and
No costs.
failed, imprisonment for contempt as a means of coercion for civil
purposes cannot be resorted to by the courts.36 In Sura vs. Martin,
Sr.,37 we held that:
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-32485 October 22, 1970 (4) alters the legal rules of evidence, and authorizes
conviction upon less or different testimony than the law required at
the time of the commission of the offense;
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR THE DECLARATION
OF THE PETITIONER'S RIGHTS AND DUTIES UNDER SEC. 8
OF R.A. No. 6132. (5) assuming to regulate civil rights and remedies only, in
effect imposes penalty or deprivation of a right for something which
when done was lawful; and
KAY VILLEGAS KAMI, INC., petitioner.

(6) deprives a person accused of a crime of some lawful


protection to which he has become entitled, such as the protection
of a former conviction or acquittal, or a proclamation of amnesty.3

MAKASIAR, J.:.
From the aforesaid definition as well as classification of ex post
facto laws, the constitutional inhibition refers only to criminal laws
which are given retroactive effect.4
This petition for declaratory relief was filed by Kay Villegas Kami,
Inc., claiming to be a duly recognized and existing non-stock and
non-profit corporation created under the laws of the land, and
While it is true that Sec. 18 penalizes a violation of any provision of
praying for a determination of the validity of Sec. 8 of R.A. No.
R.A. No. 6132 including Sec. 8(a) thereof, the penalty is imposed
6132 and a declaration of petitioner's rights and duties thereunder.
only for acts committed after the approval of the law and not those
In paragraph 7 of its petition, petitioner avers that it has printed
perpetrated prior thereto. There is nothing in the law that remotely
materials designed to propagate its ideology and program of
insinuates that Secs. 8(a) and 18, or any other provision thereof,
government, which materials include Annex B; and that in
shall apply to acts carried out prior to its approval. On the contrary,
paragraph 11 of said petition, petitioner intends to pursue its
See. 23 directs that the entire law shall be effective upon its
purposes by supporting delegates to the Constitutional Convention
approval. It was approved on August 24, 1970.
who will propagate its ideology.

WHEREFORE, the prayer of the petition is hereby denied and


Petitioner, in paragraph 7 of its petition, actually impugns because
paragraph 1 of Sec. 8(a) of R.A. No. 6132 is not unconstitutional.
it quoted, only the first paragraph of Sec. 8(a) on the ground that it
Without costs.
violates the due process clause, right of association, and freedom
of expression and that it is an ex post facto law.

G.R. No. 135080 November 28, 2007


The first three grounds were overruled by this Court when it held
that the questioned provision is a valid limitation on the due
process, freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom ORLANDO L. SALVADOR, for and in behalf of the Presidential Ad
of assembly and equal protection clauses; for the same is Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest Loans, Petitioner,
designed to prevent the clear and present danger of the twin
substantive evils, namely, the prostitution of electoral process and vs.
denial of the equal protection of the laws. Moreover, under the
PLACIDO L. MAPA, JR., RAFAEL A. SISON, ROLANDO M.
balancing-of-interests test, the cleansing of the electoral process,
ZOSA, CESAR C. ZALAMEA, BENJAMIN BAROT, CASIMIRO
the guarantee of equal change for all candidates, and the
TANEDO, J.V. DE OCAMPO, ALICIA L. REYES, BIENVENIDO R.
independence of the delegates who must be "beholden to no one
TANTOCO, JR., BIENVENIDO R. TANTOCO, SR., FRANCIS B.
but to God, country and conscience," are interests that should be
BANES, ERNESTO M. CARINGAL, ROMEO V. JACINTO, and
accorded primacy.1
MANUEL D. TANGLAO, Respondents.

The petitioner should therefore be accordingly guided by the


DECISION
pronouncements in the cases of Imbong and Gonzales. 2

NACHURA, J.:
The claim of petitioner that the challenged provision constitutes an
ex post facto law is likewise untenable.

The Presidential Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest


Loans, (the Committee), through Atty. Orlando L. Salvador (Atty.
An ex post facto law is one which:.
Salvador), filed this Petition for Review on Certiorari seeking to
nullify the October 9, 1997 Resolution1 of the Office of the
Ombudsman in OMB-0-96-2428, dismissing the criminal complaint
(1) makes criminal an act done before the passage of the against respondents on ground of prescription, and the July 27,
law and which was innocent when done, and punishes such an 1998 Order2 denying petitioner’s motion for reconsideration.
act;

On October 8, 1992 then President Fidel V. Ramos issued


(2) aggravates a crime, or makes it greater than it was, when Administrative Order No. 13 creating the Presidential Ad Hoc Fact-
committed; Finding Committee on Behest Loans, which reads:

(3) changes the punishment and inflicts a greater WHEREAS, Sec. 28, Article II of the 1987 Constitution provides
punishment than the law annexed to the crime when committed; that "Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law, the State
adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its 1. Inventory all behest loans; identify the lenders and borrowers,
transactions involving public interest"; including the principal officers and stockholders of the borrowing
firms, as well as the persons responsible for granting the loans or
who influenced the grant thereof;
WHEREAS, Sec. 15, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution provides
that "The right of the state to recover properties unlawfully
acquired by public officials or employees, from them or from their 2. Identify the borrowers who were granted "friendly waivers," as
nominees or transferees, shall not be barred by prescription, well as the government officials who granted these waivers;
laches or estoppel"; determine the validity of these waivers;

WHEREAS, there have been allegations of loans, guarantees, and 3. Determine the courses of action that the government should
other forms of financial accommodations granted, directly or take to recover those loans, and to recommend appropriate
indirectly, by government-owned and controlled bank or financial actions to the Office of the President within sixty (60) days from the
institutions, at the behest, command, or urging by previous date hereof.
government officials to the disadvantage and detriment of the
Philippines government and the Filipino people;
The Committee is hereby empowered to call upon any department,
bureau, office, agency, instrumentality or corporation of the
ACCORDINGLY, an "Ad-Hoc FACT FINDING COMMITTEE ON government, or any officer or employee thereof, for such
BEHEST LOANS" is hereby created to be composed of the assistance as it may need in the discharge of its functions.3
following:

Chairman of the Presidential


By Memorandum Order No. 61 dated November 9, 1992, the
functions of the Committee were subsequently expanded, viz.:

Commission on Good Government - Chairman

WHEREAS, among the underlying purposes for the creation of the


Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest Loans is to facilitate
The Solicitor General - Vice-Chairman the collection and recovery of defaulted loans owing government-
owned and controlled banking and/or financing institutions;

Representative from the


WHEREAS, this end may be better served by broadening the
Office of the Executive Secretary - Member
scope of the fact-finding mission of the Committee to include all
non-performing loans which shall embrace behest and non-behest
loans;
Representative from the

Department of Finance - Member


NOW THEREFORE, I, FIDEL V. RAMOS, President of the
Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the power vested in me by
law, do hereby order:
Representative from the

Department of Justice - Member


Sec. 1. The Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest Loans
shall include in its investigation, inventory, and study, all non-
performing loans which shall embrace both behest and non-behest
Representative from the
loans:
Development Bank of the Philippines - Member

The following criteria may be utilized as a frame of reference in


Representative from the determining a behest loan:

Philippine National Bank - Member


1. It is under-collateralized;

Representative from the

Asset Privatization Trust - Member 2. The borrower corporation is undercapitalized;

Government Corporate Counsel - Member 3. Direct or indirect endorsement by high government officials like
presence of marginal notes;

Representative from the


4. Stockholders, officers or agents of the borrower corporation are
Philippine Export and Foreign identified as cronies;

Loan Guarantee Corporation - Member 5. Deviation of use of loan proceeds from the purpose intended;

The Ad Hoc Committee shall perform the following functions: 6. Use of corporate layering;
7. Non-feasibility of the project for which financing is being sought; It bears to stress that Section 11 of R.A. No. 3019 as originally
and enacted, provides that the prescriptive period for violations of the
said Act (R.A. 3019) is ten (10) years. Subsequently, BP 195,
enacted on March 16, 1982, amended the period of prescription
from ten (10) years to fifteen (15) years
8. Extraordinary speed in which the loan release was made.

Moreover as enunciated in [the] case of People vs.


Moreover, a behest loan may be distinguished from a non-behest
Sandiganbayan, 211 SCRA 241, the computation of the
loan in that while both may involve civil liability for non-payment or
prescriptive period of a crime violating a special law like R.A. 3019
non-recovery, the former may likewise entail criminal liability.4
is governed by Act No. 3326 which provides, thus:

Several loan accounts were referred to the Committee for


xxxx
investigation, including the loan transactions between Metals
Exploration Asia, Inc. (MEA), now Philippine Eagle Mines, Inc.
(PEMI) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).
Section 2. Prescription shall begin to run from the day of the
commission of the violation of law, and if the same be not known at
the time, from the discovery thereof and the institution of the
After examining and studying the documents relative to the loan
judicial proceedings for its investigation and punishment.
transactions, the Committee determined that they bore the
characteristics of behest loans, as defined under Memorandum
Order No. 61 because the stockholders and officers of PEMI were
known cronies of then President Ferdinand Marcos; the loan was The prescription shall be interrupted when the proceedings are
under-collateralized; and PEMI was undercapitalized at the time instituted against the guilty person, and shall begin to run again if
the loan was granted. the proceedings are dismissed for reasons not constituting
jeopardy.

Specifically, the investigation revealed that in 1978, PEMI applied


for a foreign currency loan and bank investment on its preferred Corollary thereto, the Supreme Court in the case of People vs.
shares with DBP. The loan application was approved on April 25, Dinsay, C.A. 40 O.G. 12th Supp., 50, ruled that when there is
1979 per Board Resolution (B/R) No. 1297, but the loan was never nothing which was concealed or needed to be discovered because
released because PEMI failed to comply with the conditions the entire series of transactions were by public instruments, the
imposed by DBP. To accommodate PEMI, DBP subsequently period of prescription commenced to run from the date the said
adopted B/R No. 2315 dated June 1980, amending B/R No. 1297, instrument were executed.
authorizing the release of PEMI’s foreign currency loan proceeds,
and even increasing the same. Per B/R No. 95 dated October 16,
1980, PEMI was granted a foreign currency loan of
The aforesaid principle was further elucidated in the cases of
$19,680,267.00 or P146,601,979.00, and it was released despite
People vs. Sandiganbayan, 211 SCRA 241, 1992, and People vs.
non-compliance with the conditions imposed by DBP. The
Villalon, 192 SCRA 521, 1990, where the Supreme Court
Committee claimed that the loan had no sufficient collaterals and
pronounced that when the transactions are contained in public
PEMI had no sufficient capital at that time because its acquired
documents and the execution thereof gave rise to unlawful acts,
assets were only valued at P72,045,700.00, and its paid up capital
the violation of the law commences therefrom. Thus, the reckoning
was only P46,488,834.00.
period for purposes of prescription shall begin to run from the time
the public instruments came into existence.

Consequently, Atty. Orlando L. Salvador, Consultant of the Fact-


Finding Committee, and representing the Presidential Commission
In the case at bar, the subject financial accommodations were
on Good Government (PCGG), filed with the Office of the
entered into by virtue of public documents (e.g., notarized
Ombudsman (Ombudsman) a sworn complaint for violation of
contracts, board resolutions, approved letter-request) during the
Sections 3(e) and (g) of Republic Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft
period of 1978 to 1981 and for purposes of computing the
and Corrupt Practices Act, against the respondents Placido I.
prescriptive period, the aforementioned principles in the Dinsay,
Mapa, Jr., Rafael A. Sison; Rolando M. Zosa; Cesar C. Zalamea;
Villalon and Sandiganbayan cases will apply. Records show that
Benjamin Barot, Casimiro Tanedo, J.V. de Ocampo, Bienvenido R.
the complaint was referred and filed with this Office on October 4,
Tantoco, Jr., Francis B. Banes, Ernesto M. Caringal, Romeo V.
1996 or after the lapse of more than fifteen (15) years from the
Jacinto, Manuel D. Tanglao and Alicia Ll. Reyes.5
violation of the law. [Deductibly] therefore, the offenses charged
had already prescribed or forever barred by Statute of Limitations.

After considering the Committee’s allegation, the Ombudsman


handed down the assailed Resolution,6 dismissing the complaint.
It bears mention that the acts complained of were committed
The Ombudsman conceded that there was ground to proceed with
before the issuance of BP 195 on March 2, 1982. Hence, the
the conduct of preliminary investigation. Nonetheless, it dismissed
prescriptive period in the instant case is ten (10) years as provided
the complaint holding that the offenses charged had already
in the (sic) Section 11 of R.A. 3019, as originally enacted.
prescribed, viz.:

Equally important to stress is that the subject financial transactions


[W]hile apparently, PEMI was undercapitalized at the time the
between 1978 and 1981 transpired at the time when there was yet
subject loans were entered into; the financial accommodations
no Presidential Order or Directive naming, classifying or
were undercollateralized at the time they were granted; the
categorizing them as Behest or Non-Behest Loans.
stockholders and officers of the borrower corporation are identified
cronies of then President Marcos; and the release of the said loans
was made despite non-compliance by PEMI of the conditions
attached therewith, which consequently give a semblance that the To reiterate, the Presidential Ad Hoc Committee on Behest Loans
subject Foreign Currency Loans are indeed Behest Loans, the was created on October 8, 1992 under Administrative Order No.
prosecution of the offenses charged cannot, at this point, prosper 13. Subsequently, Memorandum Order No. 61, dated November 9,
on grounds of prescription. 1992, was issued defining the criteria to be utilized as a frame of
reference in determining behest loans. Accordingly, if these Orders
are to be considered the bases of charging respondents for
alleged offenses committed, they become ex-post facto laws which The issue of prescription has long been settled by this Court in
are proscribed by the Constitution. The Supreme Court in the case Presidential Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest Loans v.
of People v. Sandiganbayan, supra, citing Wilensky V. Fields, Fla, Desierto,13 thus:
267 So 2dl, 5, held that "an ex-post facto law is defined as a law
which provides for infliction of punishment upon a person for an act
done which when it was committed, was innocent."7
[I]t is well-nigh impossible for the State, the aggrieved party, to
have known the violations of R.A. No. 3019 at the time the
questioned transactions were made because, as alleged, the
Thus, the Ombudsman disposed: public officials concerned connived or conspired with the
"beneficiaries of the loans." Thus, we agree with the COMMITTEE
that the prescriptive period for the offenses with which the
respondents in OMB-0-96-0968 were charged should be computed
WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is hereby respectfully
from the discovery of the commission thereof and not from the day
recommended that the instant case be DISMISSED.
of such commission.14

SO RESOLVED.8
The ruling was reiterated in Presidential Ad Hoc Fact-Finding
Committee on Behest Loans v. Ombudsman Desierto,15 wherein
the Court explained:
The Committee filed a Motion for Reconsideration, but the
Ombudsman denied it on July 27, 1998.
In cases involving violations of R.A. No. 3019 committed prior to
the February 1986 EDSA Revolution that ousted President
Hence, this petition positing these issues: Ferdinand E. Marcos, we ruled that the government as the
aggrieved party could not have known of the violations at the time
the questioned transactions were made. Moreover, no person
would have dared to question the legality of those transactions.
A. WHETHER OR NOT THE CRIME DEFINED BY SEC. 3(e) AND
Thus, the counting of the prescriptive period commenced from the
(g) OF R.A. 3019 HAS ALREADY PRESCRIBED AT THE TIME
date of discovery of the offense in 1992 after an exhaustive
THE PETITIONER FILED ITS COMPLAINT.
investigation by the Presidential Ad Hoc Committee on Behest
Loans.16

B. WHETHER OR NOT ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 13 AND


MEMORANDUM ORDER NO. 61 ARE EX-POST FACTO
This is now a well-settled doctrine which the Court has applied in
LAW[S].9
subsequent cases involving the PCGG and the Ombudsman.17

The Court shall deal first with the procedural issue.


Since the prescriptive period commenced to run on the date of the
discovery of the offenses, and since discovery could not have
been made earlier than October 8, 1992, the date when the
Commenting on the petition, Tantoco, Reyes, Mapa, Zalamea and Committee was created, the criminal offenses allegedly committed
Caringal argued that the petition suffers from a procedural infirmity by the respondents had not yet prescribed when the complaint was
which warrants its dismissal. They claimed that the PCGG availed filed on October 4, 1996.
of the wrong remedy in elevating the case to this Court.

Even the Ombudsman, in its Manifestation & Motion (In Lieu of


Indeed, what was filed before this Court is a petition captioned as Comment),18 conceded that the prescriptive period commenced
Petition for Review on Certiorari. We have ruled, time and again, from the date the Committee discovered the crime, and not from
that a petition for review on certiorari is not the proper mode by the date the loan documents were registered with the Register of
which resolutions of the Ombudsman in preliminary investigations Deeds. As a matter of fact, it requested that the record of the case
of criminal cases are reviewed by this Court. The remedy from the be referred back to the Ombudsman for a proper evaluation of its
adverse resolution of the Ombudsman is a petition for certiorari merit.
under Rule 65,10 not a petition for review on certiorari under Rule
45.
Likewise, we cannot sustain the Ombudsman’s declaration that
Administrative Order No. 13 and Memorandum Order No. 61
However, though captioned as a Petition for Review on Certiorari, violate the prohibition against ex post facto laws for ostensibly
we will treat this petition as one filed under Rule 65 since a reading inflicting punishment upon a person for an act done prior to their
of its contents reveals that petitioner imputes grave abuse of issuance and which was innocent when done.
discretion to the Ombudsman for dismissing the complaint. The
averments in the complaint, not the nomenclature given by the
parties, determine the nature of the action.11 In previous rulings,
The constitutionality of laws is presumed. To justify nullification of
we have treated differently labeled actions as special civil actions
a law, there must be a clear and unequivocal breach of the
for certiorari under Rule 65 for reasons such as justice, equity, and
Constitution, not a doubtful or arguable implication; a law shall not
fair play.12
be declared invalid unless the conflict with the Constitution is clear
beyond reasonable doubt. The presumption is always in favor of
constitutionality. To doubt is to sustain.19 Even this Court does not
Having resolved the procedural issue, we proceed to the merits of decide a question of constitutional dimension, unless that question
the case. is properly raised and presented in an appropriate case and is
necessary to a determination of the case, i.e., the issue of
constitutionality must be the very lis mota presented.201âwphi1
As the Committee puts it, the issues to be resolved are: (i) whether
or not the offenses subject of its criminal complaint have
prescribed, and (ii) whether Administrative Order No. 13 and Furthermore, in Estarija v. Ranada,21 where the petitioner raised
Memorandum Order No. 61 are ex post facto laws. the issue of constitutionality of Republic Act No. 6770 in his motion
for reconsideration of the Ombudsman’s decision, we had
occasion to state that the Ombudsman had no jurisdiction to
entertain questions on the constitutionality of a law. The SECOND DIVISION
Ombudsman, therefore, acted in excess of its jurisdiction in
declaring unconstitutional the subject administrative and
memorandum orders.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,

In any event, we hold that Administrative Order No. 13 and


Plaintiff-Appellee,
Memorandum Order No. 61 are not ex post facto laws.

- versus -
An ex post facto law has been defined as one — (a) which makes
an action done before the passing of the law and which was
innocent when done criminal, and punishes such action; or (b)
which aggravates a crime or makes it greater than it was when CLEMENTE CASTA y CAROLINO,
committed; or (c) which changes the punishment and inflicts a
greater punishment than the law annexed to the crime when it was
committed; or (d) which alters the legal rules of evidence and
Accused-Appellant.
receives less or different testimony than the law required at the
time of the commission of the offense in order to convict the
defendant.22 This Court added two (2) more to the list, namely: (e)
that which assumes to regulate civil rights and remedies only but in G.R. No. 172871
effect imposes a penalty or deprivation of a right which when done
was lawful; or (f) that which deprives a person accused of a crime
of some lawful protection to which he has become entitled, such as
Present:
the protection of a former conviction or acquittal, or a proclamation
of amnesty.23

QUISUMBING, J., Chairman,


The constitutional doctrine that outlaws an ex post facto law
generally prohibits the retrospectivity of penal laws. Penal laws are
those acts of the legislature which prohibit certain acts and carpio MORALES,
establish penalties for their violations; or those that define crimes,
treat of their nature, and provide for their punishment.24 The
subject administrative and memorandum orders clearly do not
come within the shadow of this definition. Administrative Order No. TINGA,
13 creates the Presidential Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on
Behest Loans, and provides for its composition and functions. It
does not mete out penalty for the act of granting behest loans. VELASCO, JR., and
Memorandum Order No. 61 merely provides a frame of reference
for determining behest loans. Not being penal laws, Administrative
Order No. 13 and Memorandum Order No. 61 cannot be
characterized as ex post facto laws. There is, therefore, no basis BRION, JJ.
for the Ombudsman to rule that the subject administrative and
memorandum orders are ex post facto.
Promulgated:

One final note. Respondents Mapa and Zalamea, in their


respective comments, moved for the dismissal of the case against September 16, 2008
them. Mapa claims that he was granted transactional immunity
from all PCGG-initiated cases,25 while Zalamea denied
participation in the approval of the subject loans.26 The arguments
advanced by Mapa and Zalamea are matters of defense which x --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
should be raised in their respective counter-affidavits. Since the --x
Ombudsman erroneously dismissed the complaint on ground of
prescription, respondents’ respective defenses were never passed
upon during the preliminary investigation. Thus, the complaint
should be referred back to the Ombudsman for proper evaluation
of its merit. DECISION

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed Resolution


and Order of the Office of Ombudsman in OMB-0-96-2428, are
SET ASIDE. The Office of the Ombudsman is directed to conduct BRION, J.:
with dispatch an evaluation of the merits of the complaint against
the herein respondents.
This is an appeal from the March 10, 2006 Decision1 of the Court
of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 01217. The CA affirmed
SO ORDERED. the August 18, 1999 Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
Branch 55, Alaminos, Pangasinan, finding the appellant Clemente
Casta y Carolino (appellant) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of murder and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of
reclusion perpetua.
Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT ANTECEDENT FACTS


Manila
The prosecution charged the appellant before the RTC with the At the police station, the appellant confessed to the killing of Danilo
crime of murder under an Information that states: after being informed of his constitutional rights and in the presence
of counsel, a certain Atty. Antonio V. Tiong,14 The confession was
reduced to writing and was signed by the appellant and Atty.
Tiong.15
That on or about the 20th day of August, 1989 in the afternoon, at
barangay Goyoden, municipality of Bolinao, province of
Pangasinan, New [sic]Republic of the Philippines and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, Dionisia Camba (Dionisia), Danilo’s widow, testified that her
with intent to kill and by means of treachery, did, then and there, husband was an employee of the Office of the Register of Deeds,
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, suddenly and without warning Lingayen, Pangasinan at the time of his death, earning more than
attack and stab DANILO CAMBA with a knife, inflicting upon the P3,000.00 a month.16 They have four (4) children and that her
victim the following injuries to wit: husband was the sole breadwinner of the family. According to her,
she spent a total of P13,500.00 for the funeral and burial expenses
of her husband17 but the receipts for these expenses have all
been lost.18
- stab wound, 3 inches in length, 4 inches in depth, located at the
back, left side, 5 inches (level) below the armpit;

Dr. Prudencio C. de Perio (Dr. de Perio), the Municipal Health


Officer of Bolinao, Pangasinan, narrated that he conducted an
- stab wound at the left forearm, 3 cm. length and 1 inch depth.
autopsy on the remains of Danilo at the request of the police,19
and made the following findings:

which caused his instantaneous death to the damage and


prejudice of the heirs of Danilo Camba.
AUTOPSY REPORT

CONTRARY to Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code.3


xxxx

The appellant pleaded not guilty to the charge upon arraignment.


III. Findings
The prosecution presented the following witnesses in the trial on
the merits that followed: Marlyn4 Cister; Modesto Cardona;
Domingo Camba; Dionisia Camba; and Dr. Prudencio C. de Perio.
The appellant took the witness stand for the defense. A male cadaver undergoing rigor mortis, around 5’6" in height, and
around 145 lbs. in weight.

Marlyn Cister (Marlyn) testified that in the afternoon of August 20,


1989, while seated on the steps of the stairs of their house, she - Stab wound, 3 inches in length, 4 inches in depth, located at the
saw Danilo Camba (Danilo) and Modesto Cardona (Modesto) back, left side, 5 inches (level) below the armpit.
standing by the roadside.5 Suddenly, the appellant appeared from
behind Danilo and stabbed him (Danilo).6 Danilo fell and died on
the spot. Thereafter, the appellant fled.7
- Left lung injured and also the heart, causing massive
hemorrhages.

Modesto narrated that at around 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon of


August 20, 1989, he was walking along the road at Sitio Makber,
- Stab wound at the left forearm, 3 cm. length and 1 inch depth.
Goyoden, Bolinao, Pangasinan when Danilo emerged from a small
road and joined him. Along the way, they met Marcos Gumangan
(Marcos) and Angel Gatchalian (Angel) with whom they exchanged
greetings; it was Danilo’s first time to visit Goyoden after several Wound is horizontal.20
years. They all walked towards the west with Marcos and Angel
walking behind them. Suddenly, the appellant appeared from
behind Danilo and stabbed him using a double-bladed knife.8
According to Dr. de Perio, the victim’s cause of death was "shock,
Danilo turned around and then fell; the appellant fled still holding
due to massive hemorrhage brought about by the stab wounds."21
the knife he used in stabbing Danilo.9
He added that the stab wounds were caused by a sharp-pointed
instrument such as a dagger.22

On cross-examination, he testified that he was at about "two (2)


arms length" away from Danilo when he was stabbed, while their
The appellant gave a different version of the events which the RTC
other companions were behind them.10
summarized as follows

Senior Police Officer I Domingo Camba (SPO1 Camba), a member


x x x that on August 20, 1989 in the afternoon, he went to Sitio
of the Bolinao Police Station, narrated that on August 20, 1989,
Matber, Goyoden, Bolinao, to buy fish; that before reaching the
Barangay Captain Igmedio Gatchalian went to the Bolinao Police
place where he will buy fish, he met a person whom he did not
Station to report the stabbing of Danilo by the appellant; the
know.23 This person called him by waving his hand and pointing to
incident was entered in the police blotter as Entry No. 4300.11 He
him. He responded to the call of this person by approaching him
and other police officers promptly went to Barangay Goyoden and
but when he was near him, this person boxed him but he was not
conducted an on-the-spot investigation at the crime scene.12 The
hit. They grappled with each other and he did not notice if there
next day (August 21, 1989), the appellant’s uncle came and told
were other persons around them; that he then noticed that his
him that the appellant was at his (the appellant’s) house. He went
knife was already bloody so he ran away; that there was no person
with the appellant’s uncle to the appellant’s house where the
around that he noticed when he saw his knife bloody; that at that
appellant gave himself up. He forthwith brought the appellant to
time, he did not know the identity of the person with whom he
the police station for investigation.13
grappled; that when he was already detained, he learned that the
person was Danilo Camba.24
The accused also declared that he was not arrested by the Police,
but he surrendered to Pat. Domingo Camba on August 21, 1989 to
whom his uncle relayed the information that he wanted to THE COURT’S RULING
surrender and Pat. Camba fetched him. While under Police
custody, he was investigated by Pat. Camba and said investigation
was in writing and signed by him (Exhibit D, D-1 and D-2), but he We resolve to deny the appeal but we modify the penalty imposed
said that the document was not his statement although it bears his and the amount of the awarded indemnities.
signature.25 He was forced to sign the investigation because he
was afraid of the investigator who bears the same family name as
the victim but he does not know if they are related; x x x x26
Sufficiency of Prosecution Evidence

On cross-examination, he declared that he did not plan to kill the


victim and his killing was accidental.27 He gave his affidavit in the An established rule in appellate review is that the trial court’s
Bolinao dialect in questions and answers (Exhibits D and series); factual findings, including its assessment of the credibility of the
that all the signatures bearing his name are his (Exhibit D-4, D-5, witnesses and the probative weight of their testimonies, as well as
D-6); that this document has an English translation (Exhibit F); x x the conclusions drawn from the factual findings, are accorded
x that he admitted on direct examination that he stabbed Danilo respect, if not conclusive effect. These actual findings and
Camba and he threw the knife into the sea when he rode on a conclusions assume greater weight if they are affirmed by the CA.
motorboat and was confused; that he knew that the date when he Despite the enhanced persuasive effect of the initial RTC factual
stabbed Danilo Camba was August 20, 1989 and in the afternoon ruling and the results of the CA’s appellate factual review, we
but he did no know the time.28 nevertheless fully scrutinized the records of this case as the
penalty of reclusion perpetua that the lower courts imposed on the
accused demands no less than this kind of scrutiny.34

On re-direct examination, the accused declared that the reason for


his stabbing Danilo Camba was that when they met on the road
and Camba was drunk, without any provocation on his part, A striking feature of this case is that the appellant did not deny that
Camba positioned to box him so he drew his knife and stabbed he stabbed Danilo. He expressly made this admission in his
him; that he did not know the reason why Camba wanted to box testimony of January 18, 1995:
him; that at that time, Camba was with one Fedelino Gatchalian;
that he had no previous grudge with Camba because he did not
know him; that he did not see the victim with any weapon and he ATTY. ROMIE V. BRAGA:
did not know if he was armed or not; and that he is bigger than
Camba.29 [Footnotes referring to the pertinent parts of the record
supplied]
Q: In your direct-examination, you admitted having stabbed the
deceased Danilo Camba, will you tell the Court where was that
knife which you used in stabbing Danilo Camba?
The RTC convicted the appellant of the crime of murder in its
decision of August 18, 1999 as follows:

CLEMENTE CASTA:

Wherefore, in view of the foregoing considerations, the Court


hereby renders judgment, finding the accused Clemente Casta y
Carolino, of Barangay Goyoden, Bolinao, Pangasinan, guilty A: I left it in the sea, sir.
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder for the death of
Danilo Camba, of the same place, and hereby sentences him to
suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to indemnify the heirs Q: You mean you threw it into the sea?
of the deceased in the amount of P50,000.00 as compensation for
the death of the victim, P100,000.00 as moral and exemplary
damages and P13,000.00 as actual damages.
A: Yes, sir.

With costs de oficio.


Q: Will you tell the Court why you threw the knife which you used
in stabbing Danilo Camba into the sea?

SO ORDERED.30

A: Because I rode in a motor boat and then I threw it into the sea,
sir.
The records of this case were originally transmitted to this Court on
appeal. Pursuant to our ruling in People v. Mateo,31 we endorsed
the case and its records to the CA for appropriate action and
disposition.32 Q: And will you tell the Court why you threw or drop it into the sea?

The CA, in a decision dated March 10, 2006, affirmed the RTC A: Because I was confused, sir.
decision in toto.

Q: Now will you tell us what time was it more or less when you
In his brief,33 the appellant argues that the RTC erred – stabbed Danilo Camba?

1. in convicting him of the crime of murder; and A: I do not know the time, sir.

2. in imposing upon him the penalty of reclusion perpetua. Q: But it was in the afternoon of August 20, 1989, is that correct?
xxx

A: Yes, sir. x x x35 [Emphasis ours]

Q: When you grappled with each other, who was the first who
grappled against whom?
This in-court admission confirms the separate admission he made
at the Bolinao police station on August 22, 1989 in the presence of
counsel, Atty. Antonio V. Tiong.
A: He, sir.

The petitioner sought to exculpate himself by claiming that the


stabbing was an act of self-defense. In his testimony of May 3, Q: What happened when he grappled with you and you grappled
1994, he claimed: with him, what happened next?

ATTY. TEOFILO A. HUMILDE: A: I did not notice that my knife has already blood so I ran away.

Q: After Gumangan left and you continued walking, were you able xxx
to reach the place where you were to buy fish?

Q: Did you come to know him later, that person whom you
CLEMENTE CASTA: grappled with?

A: No, sir. A: When I was in prison, sir.

Q: Why? Q: Who was that?

A: I met the person whom I don’t know, sir. A: Danilo Camba, sir.36 [Emphasis ours]

xxx Like the RTC, we do not believe that the appellant acted in self-
defense.

Q: What did you do when you saw that person by the roadside
after you have seen Gumangan? As a rule, the prosecution bears the burden of establishing the guilt
of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. However, when the
accused admits the killing and, by way of justification, pleads self-
defense, the burden of evidence shifts; he must then show by clear
A: None, sir, he called me. and convincing evidence that he indeed acted in self-defense. For
that purpose, he must rely on the strength of his own evidence and
not on the weakness of the prosecution’s case.37
xxx

Article 11(1) of the Revised Penal Code spells out the elements
Q: Will you tell us what you heard when you said that person that the accused must establish by clear and convincing evidence
called you? to successfully plead self-defense. The Article provides:

A: He called me by waving his hand and then he pointed me [sic]. Art. 11. Justifying Circumstances. – The following do not incur any
criminal liability:

Q: After that, did you respond to his hand-waving by getting near?


1. Anyone who acts in defense of his person or rights, provided
that the following circumstances concur:

A: When I got near him, he boxed me, sir.

First. Unlawful aggression;

Q: Were you hit when he boxed you?

Second. Reasonable necessity of the means to prevent or repel it;

A: No, sir.

Third. Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person


defending himself.
Q: What happened next after that person boxed you?

xxx
A: We fought each other by grappling, sir.
There is unlawful aggression when the peril to one’s life, limb or attack was sudden and while the victim was in an unguarded
right is either actual or imminent. There must be actual physical position: from his rear so that the unsuspecting victim had
force or actual use of a weapon. It is a statutory and doctrinal practically no chance to defend himself. The location of the thrust –
requirement to establish self-defense that unlawful aggression at the left side, below the armpit – shows that the heart was the
must be present. It is a condition sine qua non; there can be no targeted organ to immediately incapacitate the victim and render
self-defense, complete or incomplete, unless the victim commits him unable to defend against or respond to the attack. As the
unlawful aggression against the person defending himself.38 evidence shows, the victim simply fell immediately after being
stabbed, in the way that a raging bull immediately crumbles to its
knees, spent and harmless, upon being hit by the matador’s sword
thrust, delivered from above, between its shoulder blades,
We find that the appellant miserably failed to prove that he had to
targeting the heart. These mode, manner and execution of the
defend himself against an unlawful aggression. Aside from his own
attack, to our mind, bespeak of treachery.
claim (which we find under the circumstances to be self-serving),
the appellant did not present any other evidence to corroborate his
claim that the victim boxed him when they met on the road in Sitio
Makber, Barangay Goyoden, Bolinao, Pangasinan. As against his Voluntary Surrender
bald claim, two eye-witnesses - Marlyn and Modesto – saw no
unlawful aggression by the victim against the appellant. Marlyn
testified that at the time he was stabbed, Danilo was merely
Voluntary surrender, properly undertaken, is a mitigating
standing near the roadside fronting her (Marlyn’s) house. Modesto,
circumstance that lowers the imposable penalty. It is present when
on the other hand, narrated that, he, Danilo and several others
the following elements concur: a) the offender has not been
were simply walking slowly along the Sitio Makber, Goyoden road
actually arrested; b) the offender surrenders himself to a person in
towards the west when the appellant suddenly approached from
authority or to the latter’s agent; and c) the surrender is voluntary.
behind and stabbed Danilo.
To be sufficient, the surrender must be spontaneous and made in
a manner clearly indicating the intent of the accused to surrender
unconditionally, either because he acknowledges his guilt or
We find no reason to disbelieve these straightforward narration of wishes to save the authorities the trouble and expense attendant
the events surrounding the stabbing that led to Danilo’s death. Nor to the efforts of searching for and capturing him.43
do we see anything on the record showing any improper motive
that would lead the witnesses to testify as they did. In fact, the
appellant never imputed any such motive on Marlyn and Modesto.
We find all the requisites present in this case. The appellant
The established rule, laid down in an already long line of cases, is
testified that he had asked his uncle, Ediom Casta, to go to the
that in the absence of evidence showing any reason or motive for
police to signify his intention to surrender. At around 7:00 o’clock in
the prosecution witnesses to falsely testify, their testimony can be
the morning of August 21, 1989, SPO1 (then Patrolman) Camba
given full faith and credit.39 Thus, no actual or imminent threat to
came to his house to bring him back to the Bolinao Police Station
the appellant’s life or limb existed when he stabbed Danilo to
for investigation. The appellant’s testimony that he voluntarily
death.
surrendered was corroborated by the November 21, 1991
testimony of SPO1 Camba, which we quote:

The Crime Committed


ATTY. ROMIE V. BRAGA

Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code defines the crime of murder
as follows:
Q: Now, as police investigator, will you inform the Court if
Clemente Casta, the accused herein, ever presented himself to
your office?
Article 248. Murder. – Any person who not falling within the
provisions of Article 246, shall kill another, shall be guilty of murder
and shall be punished by reclusion temporal in its maximum period
DOMINGO CAMBA
to death, if committed with any of the following attendant
circumstances:

A: Yes, sir.
1. With treachery x x x x 40

Q: And in relation with this incident and that appearance of


Clemente Casta in your office, was it reflected and entered in your
Treachery, the qualifying circumstance alleged against the
police blotter?
appellant, exists when an offender commits any of the crimes
against persons, employing means, methods or forms which tend
directly or especially to ensure its execution, without risk to the
offender, arising from the defense that the offended party might A: Yes, sir.
make.41 This definition sets out what must be shown by evidence
to conclude that treachery existed, namely: (1) the employment of
such means of execution as would give the person attacked no
Q: Now, will you go over your police blotter and read into the
opportunity for self-defense or retaliation; and (2) the deliberate
record the fact of the appearance of Clemente in your office in
and conscious adoption of the means of execution. To reiterate,
relation with this incident?
the essence of qualifying circumstance is the suddenness, surprise
and the lack of expectation that the attack will take place, thus
depriving the victim of any real opportunity for self-defense while
ensuring the commission of the crime without risk to the A: On entry 4302 21 August, 1989 07 hundred hours Clemente
aggressor.42 Casta y Carolino, 21 years old, single, fisherman, resident of
Goyuden Bolinao, Pangasinan was brought into this station for
investigation following his voluntary surrender to have allegedly
killed Danilo Camba on or about 1500 hundred hours 20 August
The evidence in the case shows that Danilo was by the roadside
1989 in Goyuden this municipality.44
when the appellant, wielding a deadly weapon - a double-bladed
knife - suddenly appeared from behind and stabbed him. The
unsuspecting victim was hit at the back below the left armpit,
puncturing his heart and lungs. As the witnesses testified, the
That the appellant surrendered only in the morning of August 21, award of P50,000.00 as moral damages in order in accordance
1989 (or a day after the stabbing incident) does not diminish nor with established jurisprudence. 51
affect the voluntariness of his surrender. For voluntary surrender to
mitigate an offense, it is not required that the accused surrender at
the first opportunity.45 Here, the appellant went voluntarily went
The award of exemplary damages is justified by the duly proven
with SPO1 Camba to the police station within a day after the killing
qualifying circumstance of treachery; when a crime is committed
to own up to the killing. Thus, the police did not devote time and
with an aggravating circumstance, either qualifying or generic, an
effort to the investigation of the killing and to the search and
award of P25,000.00 as exemplary damages is justified under
capture of the assailant.
Article 2230 of the New Civil Code.52

Based on these considerations, we hold that the mitigating


We cannot award loss of earning capacity to the victim’s heirs
circumstance of voluntary surrender should be appreciated in
since no documentary evidence was presented to substantiate this
appellant’s favor.
claim. As a rule, documentary evidence should be presented to
substantiate a claim for damages for loss of earning capacity.
While there are exceptions to the rule, these exceptions do not
The Proper Penalty apply as the victim, Danilo, was an employee of the Office of the
Register of Deeds of Lingayen, Pangasinan when he died; he was
not a worker earning less than the minimum wage under the
prevailing labor laws.53
The Information in this case indicates that the crime of murder was
committed by the appellant on August 20, 1989 which was before
the effectivity of Republic Act No. 7659 on December 31, 1993
amending Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code on murder, We affirm the P50,000.00 death indemnity awarded to the victim’s
raising the penalty to reclusion perpetua to death. Prior to its heirs, in accordance with prevailing jurisprudence.54
amendment the penalty for the crime of murder under Article 248
of the Revised Penal Code was reclusion temporal in its maximum
period to death.
WHEREFORE, in light of all the foregoing, we hereby AFFIRM the
March 10, 2006 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-
HC
In light of the greater penalty that attaches under the amendment,
the previous penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to
death will have to be imposed in order not to run afoul of the
No. 01217 with the following MODIFICATIONS:
constitutional prohibition against ex post facto laws. Under Section
22 of Article III of the 1987 Constitution, no ex post facto law or bill
of attainder shall be enacted. An ex post facto law, among others,
is one that changes the penalty and inflicts a greater punishment (1) the appellant is sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of
than what the law annexed to the crime when committed46 - the imprisonment for (10) years and one (1) day of prision mayor
situation that would obtain if the amendment under Republic Act maximum, as minimum, to seventeen (17) years four (4) months
No. 7659 would be applied. and one (1) day of reclusion temporal maximum, as maximum;

Considering that the appellant has in his favor the mitigating (2) moral damages is REDUCED to P50,000.00;
circumstance of voluntary surrender with no aggravating
circumstance to offset it, the imposable penalty should be in the
minimum period, i.e., reclusion temporal in its maximum period.
(3) exemplary damages is REDUCED to P25,000.00;
Under the Indeterminate Sentence Law,47 the maximum sentence
shall be reclusion temporal in its maximum period (17 years, 4
months and 1 day to 20 years) and the minimum shall be taken
from the next lower penalty, which is prision mayor maximum to (4) the award of actual damages is DELETED; and
reclusion temporal medium (10 years and 1 day to 17 years and 4
months).
(5) the appellant is ORDERED to PAY the victim’s heirs the
amount of P25,000.00 as temperate damages.
Civil Liability

Costs against the appellant Clemente Casta.


The RTC awarded the amount of P13,000.00 to the victim’s heirs
as actual damages in light of established jurisprudence that allows
only expenses duly supported by receipts as proof of actual
SO ORDERED.
damages.48 This RTC ruling has however been overtaken by our
rulings in the landmark cases of People v. Abrazaldo49 and
People v. Villanueva.50 In Abrazaldo, we ruled that where the
amount of the actual damages cannot be determined because of
the absence of supporting and duly presented receipts but
evidence confirming the heirs’ entitlement to actual damages, G.R. No. 176169 November 14, 2008
temperate damages in the amount of P25,000.00 may be
awarded. This ruling was reiterated, with slight modification in
Villanueva, where we held that when the actual damages proven ROSARIO NASI-VILLAR, petitioner,
by receipts during the trial amount to less than P25,000.00, we can
nevertheless award temperate damages of P25,000.00. Thus, the vs.
heirs’ entitlement is P25,000.00 of temperate damages.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.

We also modify the award of P100,000.00 as moral and exemplary


damages which the RTC lumped together. Moral damages are DECISION
mandatory in cases of murder and homicide without need of
allegation and proof other than the death of the victim. We find the
TINGA, J.: Thus, the Court of Appeals declared that petitioner should have
been charged under the Labor Code, in particular Art. 13(b)
thereof, and not under R.A. No. 8042. Accordingly, it made its
findings on the basis of the provisions of the Labor Code and
This is a Petition for Review1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court
found petitioner liable under Art. 38, in relation to Art. 13(b), and
filed by petitioner Rosario Nasi-Villar assailing the Decision2 dated
Art. 39 of the Labor Code. The appellate court affirmed with
27 June 2005 and Resolution3 dated 28 November 2006 of the
modification the decision of the RTC, decreeing in the dispositive
Court of Appeals. This case originated from an Information4 for
portion, thus:
Illegal Recruitment as defined under Sections 6 and 7 of Republic
Act (R.A.)

WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the appealed Decision


of the Regional Trial Court, 11th Judicial Region, Br. 18, City of
No. 80425 filed by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Davao
Digos, Province of Davao del Sur, finding Rosario Nasi-Villar guilty
del Sur on 5 October 1998 for acts committed by petitioner and
beyond reasonable doubt o the crime of Illegal Recruitment is
one Dolores Placa in or about January 1993. The Information
AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that Rosario Nasi-Villar is
reads:
ORDERED to pay Nila Panilag the sum of P10,000.00 as
temperate damages.

That on [sic] or about the month of [January 1993], in the


Municipality of Sta. Cruz, Province of Davao del Sur, Philippines
SO ORDERED.10
and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, the aforenamed
accused, conspiring together, confederating with and mutually
helping one another through fraudulent representation and
deceitful machination, did then and there [willfully], unlawfully and On 28 November 2006, the appellate court denied petitioner's
feloniously recruit Nila Panilag for employment abroad[,] demand motion for reconsideration.11
and receive the amount of P6,500.00 Philippine Currency [sic] as
placement fee[,] the said accused being a non-licensee or non-
holder of authority to engage in the recruitment of workers abroad
Hence, petitioner filed the instant petition for review.
to the damage and prejudice of the herein offended party.

Petitioner alleges that the Court of Appeals erred in failing to


CONTRARY TO LAW.6
consider that R.A. No. 8042 cannot be given retroactive effect and
that the decision of the RTC constitutes a violation of the
constitutional prohibition against ex post facto law. Since R.A. No.
On 3 July 2002, after due trial, the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Br. 8042 did not yet exist in January 1993 when the crime was
18, Digos City, Davao del Sur found the evidence presented by the allegedly committed, petitioner argues that law cannot be used as
prosecution to be more credible than that presented by the the basis of filing a criminal action for illegal recruitment. What was
defense and thus held petitioner liable for the offense of illegal applicable in 1993 is the Labor Code, where under Art. 38, in
recruitment under the Labor Code, as amended.7 The dispositive relation to Art. 39, the violation of the Code is penalized with
portion of the decision reads: imprisonment of not less than four (4) years nor more than eight
(8) years or a fine of not less than P20,000.00 and not more than
P100,000.00 or both. On the other hand, Sec. 7(c) of R.A. No.
8042 penalizes illegal recruitment with a penalty of imprisonment
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court hereby finds
of not less than six (6) years and one (1) day but not more than
accused ROSARIO NASI-VILLAR GUILTY BEYOND
twelve (12) years and a fine not less than P200,000.00 nor more
REASONABLE DOUBT of Illegal Recruitment and, in accordance
than P500,000.00. Thus, the penalty of imprisonment provided in
with the penalty set forth under the Labor Code, as amended, said
the Labor Code was raised or increased by R.A. No. 8042.
accused is hereby sentenced to an indeterminate penalty ranging
Petitioner concludes that the charge and conviction of an offense
from FOUR YEARS as minimum to FIVE YEARS as maximum.
carrying a penalty higher than that provided by the law at the time
of its commission constitutes a violation of the prohibition against
ex post facto law and the retroactive application of R.A. No. 8042.
On the civil aspect of the case, there being no substantial proof
presented to justify a grant of civil damages, this Court makes no
pronouncement thereon.
In its Comment12 dated 7 September 2007, the Office of the
Solicitor General (OSG) argues that the Court of Appeals'
conviction of petitioner under the Labor Code is correct. While
With respect to accused Ma. Dolores Placa, who is still at large, conceding that there was an erroneous designation of the law
the records of this case are hereby sent to the archives to be violated by petitioner, the OSG stresses that the designation of the
retrieved in the event that said accused would be apprehended. offense in the Information is not determinative of the nature and
Issue an alias warrant of arrest for the apprehension of said character of the crime charged against her but the acts alleged in
accused. the Information. The allegations in the Information clearly charge
petitioner with illegal recruitment as defined in Art. 38, in relation to
Art. 13(b) of the Labor Code, and penalized under Art. 39(c) of the
same Code. The evidence on record substantiates the charge to a
SO ORDERED.8
moral certainty. Thus, while there was an erroneous specification
of the law violated by petitioner in the Information, the CA was
correct in affirming the RTC's imposition of the penalty for simple
Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals raising as sole issue illegal recruitment under the Labor Code, the OSG concludes.
the alleged error by the trial court in finding her guilty of illegal
recruitment on the basis of the trial court's appreciation of the
evidence presented by the prosecution.
The petition is denied. We find no reversible error in the decision
arrived at by the Court of Appeals.

The Court of Appeals, in its Decision dated 27 June 2005,9


following the principle that an appeal in a criminal case throws the
In Gabriel v. Court of Appeals,13 we held that the real nature of
whole case wide open for review, noted that the criminal acts
the crime charged is determined, not from the caption or preamble
alleged to have been committed happened sometime in 1993.
of the information nor from the specification of the law alleged to
However, R.A. No. 8042, under which petitioner was charged, was
have been violated–these being conclusions of law–but by the
approved only on 7 June 1995 and took effect on 15 July 1995.
actual recital of facts in the complaint or information. What controls G.R. Nos. L-32613-14 December 27, 1972
is not the designation but the description of the offense charged.
From a legal point of view, and in a very real sense, it is of no
concern to the accused what the technical name of the crime of
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
which he stands charged is. If the accused performed the acts
alleged in the body of the information, in the manner stated, then vs.
he ought to be punished and punished adequately, whatever may
be the name of the crime which those acts constitute.14 HON. SIMEON. FERRER (in his capacity as Judge of the Court of
First Instance of Tarlac, Branch I), FELICIANO CO alias LEONCIO
CO alias "Bob," and NILO S. TAYAG alias Romy Reyes alias
"Taba," respondents.
In the case at bar, the prosecution established beyond reasonable
doubt that petitioner had performed the acts constituting the
offense defined in Art. 38, in relation to Art. 13(b) and punished by
Art. 39 of the Labor Code, as alleged in the body of the Solicitor R. Mutuc for respondent Feliciano Co.
Information. To prove illegal recruitment, two elements must be
shown, namely: (1) the person charged with the crime must have
undertaken recruitment activities, or any of the activities
Jose W. Diokno for respondent Nilo Tayag.
enumerated in Article 34 of the Labor Code, as amended; and (2)
said person does not have a license or authority to do so.15 Art.
13(b) defines "recruitment and placement" as "any act of
canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring, or
procuring workers, and includes referrals, contract services,
promising, or advertising for employment, locally or abroad,
whether for profit or not; Provided that any person or entity which,
CASTRO, J.:p
in any manner, offers or promises for a fee employment to two or
more persons, is considered engaged in recruitment and
placement." The trial court found these two elements had been
proven in the case at bar. Petitioner has not offered any argument I. Statement of the Case
or proof that countervails such findings.

Posed in issue in these two cases is the constitutionality of the


The basic rule is that a criminal act is punishable under the law in Anti-Subversion
force at the time of its commission. Thus, petitioner can only be
charged and found guilty under the Labor Code which was in force Act, 1 which outlaws the Communist Party of the Philippines and
in 1993 when the acts attributed to her were committed. Petitioner other "subversive associations," and punishes any person who
was charged in 1998 under an Information that erroneously "knowingly, willfully and by overt acts affiliates himself with,
designated the offense as covered by R.A. No. 8042, but alleged becomes or remains a member" of the Party or of any other similar
in its body acts which are punishable under the Labor Code. As it "subversive" organization.
was proven that petitioner had committed the acts she was
charged with, she was properly convicted under the Labor Code,
and not under R.A. No. 8042. On March 5, 1970 a criminal complaint for violation of section 4 of
the Anti-Subversion Act was filed against the respondent Feliciano
Co in the Court of First Instance of Tarlac. On March 10 Judge
There is no violation of the prohibition against ex post facto law nor Jose C. de Guzman conducted a preliminary investigation and,
a retroactive application of R.A. No. 8042, as alleged by petitioner. finding a prima facie case against Co, directed the Government
An ex post facto law is one which, among others, aggravates a prosecutors to file the corresponding information. The twice-
crime or makes it greater than it was when committed or changes amended information, docketed as Criminal Case No. 27, recites:
the punishment and inflicts a greater punishment than the law
annexed to the crime when committed.16 Penal laws and laws
which, while not penal in nature, nonetheless have provisions That on or about May 1969 to December 5, 1969, in the
defining offenses and prescribing penalties for their violation Municipality of Capas, Province of Tarlac, Philippines, and within
operate prospectively. Penal laws cannot be given retroactive the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused,
effect, except when they are favorable to the accused.17 feloniously became an officer and/or ranking leader of the
Communist Party of the Philippines, an outlawed and illegal
organization aimed to overthrow the Government of the Philippines
R.A. No. 8042 amended pertinent provisions of the Labor Code by means of force, violence, deceit, subversion, or any other illegal
and gave a new definition of the crime of illegal recruitment and means for the purpose of establishing in the Philippines a
provided for its higher penalty. There is no indication in R.A. No. totalitarian regime and placing the government under the control
8042 that said law, including the penalties provided therein, would and domination of an alien power, by being an instructor in the
take effect retroactively. A law can never be considered ex post Mao Tse Tung University, the training school of recruits of the New
facto as long as it operates prospectively since its strictures would People's Army, the military arm of the said Communist Party of the
cover only offenses committed after and not before its Philippines.
enactment.18 Neither did the trial court nor the appellate court give
R.A. No. 8042 a retroactive application since both courts passed
upon petitioner's case only under the aegis of the Labor Code. The That in the commission of the above offense, the following
proceedings before the trial court and the appellate court did not aggravating circumstances are present, to wit:
violate the prohibition against ex post facto law nor involved a
retroactive application of R.A. No. 8042 in any way.

(a) That the crime has been committed in contempt of or


with insult to public authorities;
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed Decision
dated 27 June 2005 and Resolution dated 28 November 2006 of
the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED.
(b) That the crime was committed by a band; and afford
impunity.

SO ORDERED.
(c) With the aid of armed men or persons who insure or insure or afford impunity; and (b) craft, fraud, or disguise was
afford impunity. employed.

Co moved to quash on the ground that the Anti-Subversion Act is a On July 21, 1970 Tayag moved to quash, impugning the validity of
bill of attainder. the statute on the grounds that (1) it is a bill of attainder; (2) it is
vague; (3) it embraces more than one subject not expressed in the
title thereof; and (4) it denied him the equal protection of the laws.
Meanwhile, on May 25, 1970, another criminal complaint was filed
with the same court, sharing the respondent Nilo Tayag and five
others with subversion. After preliminary investigation was had, an Resolving the constitutional issues raised, the trial court, in its
information was filed, which, as amended, reads: resolution of September 15, 1970, declared the statute void on the
grounds that it is a bill of attainder and that it is vague and
overboard, and dismissed the informations against the two
accused. The Government appealed. We resolved to treat its
The undersigned provincial Fiscal of Tarlac and State Prosecutors
appeal as a special civil action for certiorari.
duly designated by the Secretary of Justice to collaborate with the
Provincial Fiscal of Tarlac, pursuant to the Order dated June 5,
above entitled case, hereby accuse Nilo S. Tayag, alias Romy
Reyes alias TABA, ARTHUR GARCIA, RENATO (REY) CASIPE, II. Is the Act a Bill of Attainder?
ABELARDO GARCIA, MANUEL ALAVADO, BENJAMIN BIE alias
COMMANDER MELODY and several JOHN DOES, whose
identities are still unknown, for violation of REPUBLIC ACT No.
Article III, section 1 (11) of the Constitution states that "No bill of
1700, otherwise known as the Anti-Subversion Law, committed as
attainder or ex port facto law shall be enacted." 2 A bill of attainder
follows:
is a legislative act which inflicts punishment without trial. 3 Its
essence is the substitution of a legislative for a judicial
determination of guilt. 4 The constitutional ban against bills of
That in or about March 1969 and for sometime prior thereto and attainder serves to implement the principle of separation of powers
thereafter, in the Province of Tarlac, within the jurisdiction of this 5 by confining legislatures to
Honorable Court, and elsewhere in the Philippines, the above-
named accused knowingly, willfully and by overt acts organized, rule-making 6 and thereby forestalling legislative usurpation of the
joined and/or remained as offices and/or ranking leaders, of the judicial function. 7 History in perspective, bills of attainder were
KABATAANG MAKABAYAN, a subversive organization as defined employed to suppress unpopular causes and political minorities, 8
in Republic Act No. 1700; that BENJAMIN BIE and COMMANDER and it is against this evil that the constitutional prohibition is
MELODY, in addition thereto, knowingly, willfully and by over acts directed. The singling out of a definite class, the imposition of a
joined and/or remained as a member and became an officer and/or burden on it, and a legislative intent, suffice to stigmatizea statute
ranking leader not only of the Communist Party of the Philippines as a bill of attainder. 9
but also of the New People's Army, the military arm of the
Communist Party of the Philippines; and that all the above-named
accused, as such officers and/or ranking leaders of the aforestated In the case at bar, the Anti-Subversion Act was condemned by the
subversive organizations, conspiring, confederating and mutually court a quo as a bill of attainder because it "tars and feathers" the
helping one another, did then and there knowingly, willfully and Communist Party of the Philippines as a "continuing menace to the
feloniously commit subversive and/or seditious acts, by inciting, freedom and security of the country; its existence, a 'clear, present
instigating and stirring the people to unite and rise publicly and and grave danger to the security of the Philippines.'" By means of
tumultuously and take up arms against the government, and/or the Act, the trial court said, Congress usurped "the powers of the
engage in rebellious conspiracies and riots to overthrow the judge," and assumed "judicial magistracy by pronouncing the guilt
government of the Republic of the Philippines by force, violence, of the CCP without any of the forms or safeguards of judicial trial."
deceit, subversion and/or other illegal means among which are the Finally, according to the trial court, "if the only issue [to be
following: determined] is whether or not the accused is a knowing and
voluntary member, the law is still a bill of attainder because it has
expressly created a presumption of organizational guilt which the
1. On several occasions within the province of Tarlac, the accused can never hope to overthrow."
accused conducted meetings and/or seminars wherein the said
accused delivered speeches instigating and inciting the people to
unite, rise in arms and overthrow the Government of the Republic 1. When the Act is viewed in its actual operation, it will be
of the Philippines, by force, violence, deceit, subversion and/or seen that it does not specify the Communist Party of the
other illegal means; and toward this end, the said accused Philippines or the members thereof for the purpose of punishment.
organized, among others a chapter of the KABATAANG What it does is simply to declare the Party to be an organized
MAKABAYAN in barrio Motrico, La Paz, Tarlac for the avowed conspiracy for the overthrow of the Government for the purposes
purpose of undertaking or promoting an armed revolution, of the prohibition, stated in section 4, against membership in the
subversive and/or seditious propaganda, conspiracies, and/or riots outlawed organization. The term "Communist Party of the
and/or other illegal means to discredit and overthrow the Philippines" issued solely for definitional purposes. In fact the Act
Government of the Republic of the Philippines and to established applies not only to the Communist Party of the Philippines but also
in the Philippines a Communist regime. to "any other organization having the same purpose and their
successors." Its focus is not on individuals but on conduct. 10

2. The accused NILO TAYAG alias ROMY REYES alias


TABA, together with FRANCISCO PORTEM alias KIKO Gonzales This feature of the Act distinguishes it from section 504 of the U.S.
and others, pursued the above subversive and/or seditious Federal Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959
activities in San Pablo City by recruiting members for the New 11 which, in U.S. vs. Brown, 12 was held to be a bill of attainder
People's Army, and/or by instigating and inciting the people to and therefore unconstitutional. Section 504 provided in its pertinent
organize and unite for the purpose of overthrowing the parts as follows:
Government of the Republic of the Philippines through armed
revolution, deceit, subversion and/or other illegal means, and
establishing in the Philippines a Communist Government.
(a) No person who is or has been a member of the
Communist

That the following aggravating circumstances attended the Party ... shall serve —
commission of the offense: (a) aid of armed men or persons to
activities, after it is once registered pursuant to sec. 7, the Act
provides adequate means of relief. (367 US, at 87, 6 L ed 2d at
(1) as an officer, director, trustee, member of any executive 683)
board or similar governing body, business agent, manager,
organizer, or other employee (other than as an employee
performing exclusively clerical or custodial duties) of any labor
organization. Indeed, were the Anti-Subversion Act a bill of attainder, it would be
totally unnecessary to charge Communists in court, as the law
alone, without more, would suffice to secure their punishment. But
the undeniable fact is that their guilt still has to be judicially
established. The Government has yet to prove at the trial that the
accused joined the Party knowingly, willfully and by overt acts, and
during or for five years after the termination of his membership in
that they joined the Party, knowing its subversive character and
the Communist Party....
with specific intent to further its basic objective, i.e., to overthrow
the existing Government by force deceit, and other illegal means
and place the country under the control and domination of a
(b) Any person who willfully violates this section shall be foreign power.
fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than one
year, or both.
As to the claim that under the statute organizationl guilt is
nonetheless imputed despite the requirement of proof of knowing
This statute specified the Communist Party, and imposes disability membership in the Party, suffice it to say that is precisely the
and penalties on its members. Membership in the Party, without nature of conspiracy, which has been referred to as a "dragneet
more, ipso facto disqualifies a person from becoming an officer or device" whereby all who participate in the criminal covenant are
a member of the governing body of any labor organization. As the liable. The contention would be correct if the statute were
Supreme Court of the United States pointed out: construed as punishing mere membership devoid of any specific
intent to further the unlawful goals of the Party. 13 But the statute
specifically required that membership must be knowing or active,
with specific intent to further the illegal objectives of the Party. That
Under the line of cases just outlined, sec. 504 of the Labor
is what section 4 means when it requires that membership, to be
Management Reporting and Disclosure Act plainly constitutes a bill
unlawful, must be shown to have been acquired "knowingly,
of attainder. Congress undoubtedly possesses power under the
willfully and by overt acts." 14 The ingredient of specific intent to
Commerce Clause to enact legislation designed to keep from
pursue the unlawful goals of the Party must be shown by "overt
positions affecting interstate commerce persons who may use of
acts." 15 This constitutes an element of "membership" distinct from
such positions to bring about political strikes. In section 504,
the ingredient of guilty knowledge. The former requires proof of
however, Congress has exceeded the authority granted it by the
direct participation in the organization's unlawful activities, while
Constitution. The statute does not set forth a generally applicable
the latter requires proof of mere adherence to the organization's
rule decreeing that any person who commits certain acts or
illegal objectives.
possesses certain characteristics (acts and characteristics which,
in Congress' view, make them likely to initiate political strikes) shall
not hold union office, and leaves to courts and juries the job of
deciding what persons have committed the specified acts or 2. Even assuming, however, that the Act specifies
possessed the specified characteristics. Instead, it designates in individuals and not activities, this feature is not enough to render it
no uncertain terms the persons who possess the feared a bill of attainder. A statute prohibiting partners or employees of
characteristics and therefore cannot hold union office without securities underwriting firms from serving as officers or employees
incurring criminal liability — members of the Communist Party. of national banks on the basis of a legislative finding that the
persons mentioned would be subject to the temptation to commit
acts deemed inimical to the national economy, has been declared
not to be a bill of attainder. 16 Similarly, a statute requiring every
Communist Party v. Subversive Activities Control Board, 367 US 1,
secret, oath-bound society having a membership of at least twenty
6 L ed 2d 625, 81 S CT 1357, lend a support to our conclusion.
to register, and punishing any person who becomes a member of
That case involved an appeal from an order by the Control Board
such society which fails to register or remains a member thereof,
ordering the Communist Party to register as a "Communist-action
was declared valid even if in its operation it was shown to apply
organization," under the Subversive Activities Control Act of 1950,
only to the members of the Ku Klux Klan. 17
64 Stat 987, 50 USC sec. 781 et seq. (1958 ed). The definition of
"Communist-action organization" which the Board is to apply is set
forth in sec. 3 of the Act:
In the Philippines the validity of section 23 (b) of the Industrial
Peace Act, 18 requiring labor unions to file with the Department of
Labor affidavits of union officers "to the effect that they are not
[A]ny organization in the United States ... which (i)is substantially
members of the Communist Party and that they are not members
directed, dominated, or controlled by the foreign government or
of any organization which teaches the overthrow of the
foreign organization controlling the world Communist movement
Government by force or by any illegal or unconstitutional method,"
referred to in section 2 of this title, and(ii) operates primarily to
was upheld by this Court. 19
advance the objectives of such world Communist movement... 64
Stat 989, 50 USC sec. 782 (1958 ed.)

Indeed, it is only when a statute applies either to named individuals


or to easily ascertainable members of a group in such a way as to
A majority of the Court rejected the argument that the Act was a
inflict punishment on them without a judicial trial does it become a
bill of attainder, reasoning that sec. 3 does not specify the persons
bill of attainder. 20 It is upon this ground that statutes which
or groups upon which the deprivations setforth in the Act are to be
disqualified those who had taken part in the rebellion against the
imposed, but instead sets forth a general definition. Although the
Government of the United States during the Civil War from holding
Board has determined in 1953 that the Communist Party was a
office, 21 or from exercising their profession, 22 or which
"Communist-action organization," the Court found the statutory
prohibited the payment of further compensation to individuals
definition not to be so narrow as to insure that the Party would
named in the Act on the basis of a finding that they had engages in
always come within it:
subversive activities, 23 or which made it a crime for a member of
the Communist Party to serve as an officer or employee of a labor
union, 24 have been invalidated as bills of attainder.
In this proceeding the Board had found, and the Court of Appeals
has sustained its conclusion, that the Communist Party, by virtud
of the activities in which it now engages, comes within the terms of
the Act. If the Party should at anytime choose to abandon these
But when the judgment expressed in legislation is so universally In the Philippines the character of the Communist Party has been
acknowledged to be certain as to be "judicially noticeable," the the object of continuing scrutiny by this Court. In 1932 we found
legislature may apply its own rules, and judicial hearing is not the Communist Party of the Philippines to be an illegal association.
needed fairly to make such determination. 25 28 In 1969 we again found that the objective of the Party was the
"overthrow of the Philippine Government by armed struggle and to
establish in the Philippines a communist form of government
similar to that of Soviet Russia and Red China." 29 More recently,
In New York ex rel. Bryant vs. Zimmerman, 26 the New York
in Lansang vs. Garcia, 30 we noted the growth of the Communist
legislature passed a law requiring every secret, oath-bound society
Party of the Philippines and the organization of Communist fronts
with a membership of at least twenty to register, and punishing any
among youth organizations such as the Kabataang Makabayan
person who joined or remained a member of such a society failing
(KM) and the emergence of the New People's Army. After
to register. While the statute did not specify the Ku Klux Klan, in its
meticulously reviewing the evidence, we said: "We entertain,
operation the law applied to the KKK exclusively. In sustaining the
therefore, no doubts about the existence of a sizeable group of
statute against the claim that it discriminated against the Ku Klux
men who have publicly risen in arms to overthrow the government
Klan while exempting other secret, oath-bound organizations like
and have thus been and still are engaged in rebellion against the
masonic societies and the Knights of Columbus, the United States
Government of the Philippines.
Supreme Court relied on common knowledge of the nature and
activities of the Ku Klux Klan. The Court said:

3. Nor is it enough that the statute specify persons or


groups in order that it may fall within the ambit of the prohibition
The courts below recognized the principle shown in the cases just
against bills of attainder. It is also necessary that it must apply
cited and reached the conclusion that the classification was
retroactively and reach past conduct. This requirement follows
justified by a difference between the two classes of associations
from the nature of a bill of attainder as a legislative adjudication of
shown by experience, and that the difference consisted (a) in a
guilt. As Justice Frankfurter observed, "frequently a bill of attainder
manifest tendency on the part of one class to make the secrecy
was ... doubly objectionable because of its ex post facto features.
surrounding its purpose and membership a cloak for acts and
This is the historic explanation for uniting the two mischiefs in one
conduct inimical to personal rights and public welfare, and (b) in
the absence of such a tendency on the part of the other class. In clause — 'No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed.'
pointing out this difference one of the courts said of the Ku Klux ... Therefore, if [a statute] is a bill of attainder it is also an ex post
Klan, the principal association in the included class: "It is a matter facto law. But if it is not an ex post facto law, the reasons that
of common knowledge that this organization functions largely at establish that it is not are persuasive that it cannot be a bill of
night, its members disguised by hoods and gowns and doing attainder." 31
things calculated to strike terror into the minds of the people;" and
later said of the other class: "These organizations and their
purposes are well known, many of them having been in existence
for many years. Many of them are oath-bound and secret. But we Thus in Gardner vs. Board of Public Works, 32 the U.S. Supreme
hear no complaint against them regarding violation of the peace or Court upheld the validity of the Charter of the City of Los Angeles
interfering with the rights of others." Another of the courts said: "It which provided:
is a matter of common knowledge that the association or
organization of which the relator is concededly a member
exercises activities tending to the prejudice and intimidation of ... [N]o person shall hold or retain or be eligible for any public office
sundry classes of our citizens. But the legislation is not confined to or employment in the service of the City of Los Angeles, in any
this society;" and later said of the other class: "Labor unions have office or department thereof, either elective or appointive, who has
a recognized lawful purpose. The benevolent orders mentioned in within five (5) years prior to the effective date of this section
the Benevolent Orders Law have already received legislative advised, advocated, or taught, or who may, after this section
scrutiny and have been granted special privileges so that the becomes effective, become a member of or affiliated with any
legislature may well consider them beneficial rather than harmful group, society, association, organization or party which advises,
agencies." The third court, after recognizing "the potentialities of advocates or teaches or has within said period of five (5) years
evil in secret societies," and observing that "the danger of certain advised, advocated, or taught the overthrow by force or violence of
organizations has been judicially demonstrated," — meaning in the Government of the United States of America or of the State of
that state, — said: "Benevolent orders, labor unions and college California.
fraternities have existed for many years, and, while not immune
from hostile criticism, have on the whole justified their existence."

In upholding the statute, the Court stressed the prospective


application of the Act to the petitioner therein, thus:
We assume that the legislature had before it such information as
was readily available including the published report of a hearing,
before a committee of the House of Representatives of the 57th
Congress relating to the formation, purposes and activities of the ... Immaterial here is any opinion we might have as to the charter
Klu Klux Klan. If so it was advised — putting aside controverted provision insofar as it purported to apply restrospectively for a five-
evidence — that the order was a revival of the Ku Klux Klan of an year period to its effective date. We assume that under the Federal
earlier time with additional features borrowed from the Know Constitution the Charter Amendment is valid to the extent that it
Nothing and the A. P. A. orders of other periods; that its bars from the city's public service persons who, subsequently to its
memberships was limited to native-born, gentile, protestant whites; adoption in 1941, advise, advocate, or reach the violent overthrow
that in part of its constitution and printed creed it proclaimed the of the Government or who are or become affiliated with any group
widest freedom for all and full adherence to the Constitution of the doing so. The provisions operating thus prospectively were a
United States; in another exacted of its member an oath to shield reasonable regulation to protect the municipal service by
and preserve "white supremacy;" and in still another declared any establishing an employment qualification of loyalty to the State and
person actively opposing its principles to be "a dangerous the United States.
ingredient in the body politic of our country and an enemy to the
weal of our national commonwealth;" that it was conducting a
crusade against Catholics, Jews, and Negroes, and stimulating ... Unlike the provisions of the charter and ordinance under which
hurtful religious and race prejudices; that it was striving for political petitioners were removed, the statute in the Lovett case did not
power and assuming a sort of guardianship over the administration declare general and prospectively operative standards of
of local, state and national affairs; and that at times it was taking qualification and eligibility for public employment. Rather, by its
into its own hands the punishment of what some of its members terms it prohibited any further payment of compensationto named
conceived to be crimes. 27 individuals or employees. Under these circumstances, viewed
against the legislative background, the statutewas held to have
imposed penalties without judicial trial.
Indeed, if one objection to the bill of attainder is thatCongress In truth, the constitutionality of the Act would be opento question if,
thereby assumed judicial magistracy, them it mustbe demonstrated instead of making these findings in enactingthe statute, Congress
that the statute claimed to be a bill of attainderreaches past omitted to do so.
conduct and that the penalties it imposesare inescapable. As the
U.S. Supreme Court observedwith respect to the U.S. Federal
Subversive Activities ControlAct of 1950:
In saying that by means of the Act Congress has assumed judicial
magistracy, the trial courd failed to takeproper account of the
distinction between legislative fact and adjudicative fact. Professor
Nor is the statute made an act of "outlawry" or of attainderby the Paul Freund elucidatesthe crucial distinction, thus:
fact that the conduct which it regulates is describedwith such
particularity that, in probability, few organizationswill come within
the statutory terms. Legislatures may act tocurb behaviour which
... A law forbidding the sale of beverages containingmore than 3.2
they regard as harmful to the public welfare,whether that conduct
per cent of alcohol would raise a question of legislativefact, i.e.,
is found to be engaged in by manypersons or by one. So long as
whether this standard has a reasonable relationto public health,
the incidence of legislation issuch that the persons who engage in
morals, and the enforcement problem. Alaw forbidding the sale of
the regulated conduct, bethey many or few, can escape regulation
intoxicating beverages (assuming itis not so vague as to require
merely by altering thecourse of their own present activities, there
supplementation by rule-making)would raise a question of
can be no complaintof an attainder. 33
adjudicative fact, i.e., whether thisor that beverage is intoxicating
within the meaning of the statuteand the limits on governmental
action imposed by the Constitution. Of course what we mean by
This statement, mutatis mutandis, may be said of theAnti- fact in each case is itselfan ultimate conclusion founded on
Subversion Act. Section 4 thereof expressly statesthat the underlying facts and oncriteria of judgment for weighing them.
prohibition therein applies only to acts committed"After the
approval of this Act." Only those who "knowingly,willfully and by
overt acts affiliate themselves with,become or remain members of
A conventional formulation is that legislative facts — those facts
the Communist Party of thePhilippines and/or its successors or of
which are relevant to the legislative judgment — will not be
any subversive association"after June 20, 1957, are punished.
canvassed save to determine whether there is a rationalbasis for
Those whowere members of the Party or of any other subversive
believing that they exist, while adjudicativefacts — those which tie
associationat the time of the enactment of the law, weregiven the
the legislative enactment to the litigant — are to be demonstrated
opportunity of purging themselves of liability byrenouncing in
and found according to the ordinarystandards prevailing for judicial
writing and under oath their membershipin the Party. The law
trials. 36
expressly provides that such renunciationshall operate to exempt
such persons from penalliability. 34 The penalties prescribed by
the Act are thereforenot inescapable.
The test formulated in Nebbia vs. new York, 37 andadopted by this
Court in Lansang vs. Garcia, 38 is that 'if laws are seen to have a
reasonable relation to a proper legislative purpose, and are neither
III. The Act and the Requirements of Due Process
arbitrary nor discriminatory, the requirements of due process are
satisfied, and judicial determination to that effect renders a court
functus officio." The recital of legislative findings implements this
1. As already stated, the legislative declaration in section 2 test.
of the Act that the Communist Party of the Philippinesis an
organized conspiracy for the overthrow of theGovernment is
inteded not to provide the basis for a legislativefinding of guilt of
With respect to a similar statement of legislative findingsin the U.S.
the members of the Party butrather to justify the proscription
Federal Subversive Activities Control Actof 1950 (that
spelled out in section 4. Freedom of expression and freedom of
"Communist-action organizations" are controlledby the foreign
association are sofundamental that they are thought by some to
government controlling the worldCommunist movement and that
occupy a"preferred position" in the hierarchy of constitutional
they operate primarily to"advance the objectives of such world
values. 35 Accordingly, any limitation on their exercise mustbe
Communist movement"),the U.S. Supreme Court said:
justified by the existence of a substantive evil. This isthe reason
why before enacting the statute in question Congressconducted
careful investigations and then stated itsfindings in the preamble,
thus: It is not for the courts to reexamine the validity of theselegislative
findings and reject them....They are the productof extensive
investigation by Committes of Congress over morethan a decade
and a half. Cf. Nebbia v. New York, 291 U.S.502, 516, 530. We
... [T]he Communist Party of the Philippines althoughpurportedly a
certainly cannot dismiss them as unfoundedirrational imaginings.
political party, is in fact an organized conspiracyto overthrow the
... And if we accept them, as we mustas a not unentertainable
Government of the Republic of the Philippinesnot only by force and
appraisal by Congress of the threatwhich Communist
violence but also by deceit, subversionand other illegal means, for
organizations pose not only to existing governmentin the United
the purpose of establishing in thePhilippines a totalitarian regime
States, but to the United States as asovereign, independent
subject to alien dominationand control;
Nation. ...we must recognize that thepower of Congress to regulate
Communist organizations of thisnature is

... [T]he continued existence and activities of the CommunistParty extensive. 39


of the Philippines constitutes a clear, present andgrave danger to
the security of the Philippines;
This statement, mutatis mutandis, may be said of thelegislative
findings articulated in the Anti-Subversion Act.
... [I]n the face of the organized, systematice and
persistentsubversion, national in scope but international in
direction,posed by the Communist Party of the Philippines and its That the Government has a right to protect itself againstsubversion
activities,there is urgent need for special legislation to cope is a proposition too plain to require elaboration.Self-preservation is
withthis continuing menace to the freedom and security of the the "ultimate value" of society. It surpasses and transcendes every
country. other value, "forif a society cannot protect its very structure from
armedinternal attack, ...no subordinate value can be protected" 40
As Chief Justice Vinson so aptly said in Dennis vs. United States:
41
Whatever theoretical merit there may be to the argumentthat there outweighed by the overriding considerationsof national security
is a 'right' to rebellion against dictatorial governmentsis without and the preservartion of democraticinstitutions in his country.
force where the existing structure of government provides for
peaceful and orderly change. We rejectany principle of
governmental helplessness in the face of preparationfor revolution,
The membership clause of the U.S. Federal Smith Actis similar in
which principle, carried to its logical conclusion,must lead to
many respects to the membership provision ofthe Anti-Subversion
anarchy. No one could conceive that it isnot within the power of
Act. The former provides:
Congress to prohibit acts intended tooverthrow the government by
force and violence.

Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize anysociety,


group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, orencourage
2. By carefully delimiting the reach of the Act to conduct (as
the overthrow or destruction of any such governmentby force or
explicitly described in sectin 4 thereof), Congressreaffirmed its
violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliatedwith, any such
respect for the rule that "even throughthe governmental purpose
society, group or assembly of persons, knowingthe purpose
be legitimate and substantial,that purpose cannot be pursued by
thereof —
means that broadly stiflefundamental personal liberties when the
end can be more narrowly achieved." 42 The requirement of
knowing membership,as distinguished from nominal membership,
hasbeen held as a sufficient basis for penalizing membershipin a Shall be fined not more than $20,000 or imprisoned notmore than
subversive organization. 43 For, as has been stated: twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for emplymentby the
United States or any department or agencythereof, for the five
years next following his conviction.... 46
Membership in an organization renders aid and encouragement to
the organization; and when membership is acceptedor retained
with knowledge that the organization is engaged inan unlawful In sustaining the validity of this provision, the "Court said in Scales
purpose, the one accepting or retaining membershipwith such vs. United States: 47
knowledge makes himself a party to the unlawfulenterprise in
which it is engaged. 44
It was settled in Dennis that advocacy with which we arehere
concerned is not constitutionally protected speech, and itwas
3. The argument that the Act is unconstitutionallyoverbroad further established that a combination to promote suchadvocacy,
because section 2 merely speaks of "overthrow"of the Government albeit under the aegis of what purports to be a politicalparty, is not
and overthrow may be achieved by peaceful means, misconceives such association as is protected by the firstAmendment. We can
the function of the phrase"knowingly, willfully and by overt acts" in discern no reason why membership, whenit constitutes a
section 4. Section 2 is merely a legislative declaration; the purposeful form of complicity in a group engagingin this same
definitionsof and the penalties prescribed for the different acts forbidden advocacy, should receive anygreater degree of
prescribedare stated in section 4 which requires that protection from the guarantees of that Amendment.
membershipin the Communist Party of the Philippines, to be
unlawful, must be acquired "knowingly, willfully and by overt acts."
Indeed, the first "whereas" clause makes clear thatthe overthrow
Moreover, as was held in another case, where the problemsof
contemplated is "overthrow not only by forceand violence but also
accommodating the exigencies of self-preservationand the values
be deceit, subversion and other illegalmeans." The absence of this
of liberty are as complex and intricate as inthe situation described
qualificatio in section 2 appearsto be due more to an oversight
in the legislative findings stated inthe U.S. Federal Subversive
rather than to deliberateomission.
Activities Control Act of 1950,the legislative judgment as to how
that threat may best bemet consistently with the safeguards of
personal freedomsis not to be set aside merely because the
Moreover, the word "overthrow' sufficiently connotesthe use of judgment of judgeswould, in the first instance, have chosen other
violent and other illegal means. Only in a metaphoricalsense may methods. 48 For in truth, legislation, "whether it restrains freedom
one speak of peaceful overthrow ofgovernments, and certainly the tohire or freedom to speak, is itself an effort at
law does not speak in metaphors.In the case of the Anti- compromisebetween the claims of the social order and individual
Subversion Act, the use ofthe word "overthrow" in a metaphorical freedom,and when the legislative compromise in either case
sense is hardlyconsistent with the clearly delineated objective of isbrought to the judicial test the court stands one step
the "overthrow,"namely, "establishing in the Philippines a removedfrom the conflict and its resolution through law." 49
totalitarianregime and place [sic] the Government under thecontrol
and domination of an alien power." What thisCourt once said in a
prosecution for sedition is appropos: "The language used by the
V. The Act and its Title
appellant clearly imported anoverthrow of the Government by
violence, and it should beinterpreted in the plain and obvious
sense in which it wasevidently intended to be understood. The
word 'overthrow'could not have been intended as referring to an The respondent Tayag invokes the constitutional commandthat "no
ordinarychange by the exercise of the elective franchise. The bill which may be enacted into law shall embrace more than one
useof the whip [which the accused exhorted his audience to subject which shall be expressed in the title of the bill." 50
useagainst the Constabulary], an instrument designed toleave
marks on the sides of adversaries, is inconsistentwith the mild
interpretation which the appellant wouldhave us impute to the
What is assailed as not germane to or embraced in thetitle of the
language." 45
Act is the last proviso of section 4 which reads:

IV. The Act and the Guaranty of Free Expression


And provided, finally, That one who conspires with anyother
person to overthrow the Government of the Republic ofthe
Philippines, or the government of any of its political subdivisionsby
As already pointed out, the Act is aimed against conspiracies to force, violence, deceit, subversion or illegal means,for the purpose
overthrow the Government by force, violence orother illegal of placing such Government or political subdivisionunder the
means. Whatever interest in freedom of speechand freedom of control and domination of any lien power, shallbe punished by
association is infringed by the prohibitionagainst knowing prision correccional to prision mayor with allthe accessory
membership in the Communist Party ofthe Philippines, is so penalties provided therefor in the same code.
indirect and so insubstantial as to beclearly and heavily
It is argued that the said proviso, in reality, punishes notonly G.R. No. 149927 March 30, 2004
membership in the Communist Party of the Philippinesor similar
associations, but as well "any conspiracyby two persons to
overthrow the national or any local governmentby illegal means,
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Represented by the
even if their intent is not to establisha totalitarian regime, burt a
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
democratic regime, evenif their purpose is not to place the nation
under an aliencommunist power, but under an alien democratic Under then Minister ERNESTO R. MACEDA; and Former
power likethe United States or England or Malaysia or even an Government Officials CATALINO MACARAIG, FULGENCIO S.
anti-communistpower like Spain, Japan, Thailand or Taiwanor FACTORAN, ANGEL C. ALCALA, BEN MALAYANG, ROBERTO
Indonesia." PAGDANGANAN, MARIANO Z. VALERA and ROMULO SAN
JUAN, petitioners,

vs.
The Act, in addition to its main title ("An Act to Outlawthe
Communist Party of the Philippines and SimilarAssociations, ROSEMOOR MINING AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION,
Penalizing Membership Therein, and forOther Purposes"), has a PEDRO DEL CONCHA, and ALEJANDRO and RUFO DE
short title. Section 1 providesthat "This Act shall be known as the GUZMAN, respondents.
Anti-Subversion Act."Together with the main title, the short title of
the statuteunequivocally indicates that the subject matter is
subversionin general which has for its fundamental purpose the DECISION
substitutionof a foreign totalitarian regime in place of theexisting
Government and not merely subversion by
Communistconspiracies..
PANGANIBAN, J.:

The title of a bill need not be a catalogue or an indexof its


A mining license that contravenes a mandatory provision of the law
contents, and need not recite the details of the Act. 51 It is a valid
under which it is granted is void. Being a mere privilege, a license
title if it indicates in broad but clear termsthe nature, scope, and
does not vest absolute rights in the holder. Thus, without offending
consequences of the proposed lawand its operation. 52 A narrow
the due process and the non-impairment clauses of the
or technical construction isto be avoided, and the statute will be
Constitution, it can be revoked by the State in the public interest.
read fairly and reasonablyin order not to thwart the legislative
intent. We holdthat the Anti-Subversion Act fully satisfies these
requirements.
The Case

VI. Conclusion and Guidelines


Before us is a Petition for Review1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of
Court, seeking to nullify the May 29, 2001 Decision2 and the
September 6, 2001 Resolution3 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in
In conclusion, even as we uphold the validity of theAnti-Subversion
CA-GR SP No. 46878. The CA disposed as follows:
Act, we cannot overemphasize the needfor prudence and
circumspection in its enforcement, operatingas it does in the
sensitive area of freedom of expressionand belief. Accordingly, we
set the following basic guidelines to be observed in any "WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appealed Decision is
prosecution under the Act.The Government, in addition to proving hereby AFFIRMED in toto."4
such circumstancesas may affect liability, must establish the
following elementsof the crime of joining the Communist Party of
the Philippinesor any other subversive association:
The questioned Resolution denied petitioners’ Motion for
Reconsideration.

(1) In the case of subversive organizations other thanthe


Communist Party of the Philippines, (a) that thepurpose of the
On the other hand, trial court’s Decision, which was affirmed by the
organization is to overthrow the presentGovernment of the
CA, had disposed as follows:
Philippines and to establish in thiscountry a totalitarian regime
under the domination of aforeign power; (b) that the accused
joined such organization;and (c) that he did so knowingly, willfully
and byovert acts; and "WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:

(2) In the case of the Communist Party of the Philippines,(a) ‘1. Declaring that the cancellation of License No. 33 was done
that the CPP continues to pursue the objectiveswhich led without jurisdiction and in gross violation of the Constitutional right
Congress in 1957 to declare it to be an organizedconspiracy for of the petitioners against deprivation of their property rights without
the overthrow of the Government by illegalmeans for the purpose due process of law and is hereby set aside.
of placing the country under thecontrol of a foreign power; (b) that
the accused joined theCPP; and (c) that he did so willfully,
knowingly and byovert acts.
‘2. Declaring that the petitioners’ right to continue the exploitation
of the marble deposits in the area covered by License No. 33 is
maintained for the duration of the period of its life of twenty-five
We refrain from making any pronouncement as to thecrime or (25) years, less three (3) years of continuous operation before
remaining a member of the Communist Party ofthe Philippines or License No. 33 was cancelled, unless sooner terminated for
of any other subversive association: weleave this matter to future violation of any of the conditions specified therein, with due
determination. process.

ACCORDINGLY, the questioned resolution of September15, 1970 ‘3. Making the Writ of preliminary injunction and the Writ of
is set aside, and these two cases are herebyremanded to the court Preliminary Mandatory Injunction issued as permanent.
a quo for trial on the merits. Costs de oficio.
‘4. Ordering the cancellation of the bond filed by the Petitioners in "On September 27, 1996, the trial court rendered the herein
the sum of 1 Million. questioned decision."6

‘5. Allowing the petitioners to present evidence in support of the The trial court ruled that the privilege granted under respondents’
damages they claim to have suffered from, as a consequence of license had already ripened into a property right, which was
the summary cancellation of License No. 33 pursuant to the protected under the due process clause of the Constitution. Such
agreement of the parties on such dates as maybe set by the Court; right was supposedly violated when the license was cancelled
and without notice and hearing. The cancellation was said to be
unjustified, because the area that could be covered by the four
separate applications of respondents was 400 hectares. Finally,
according to the RTC, Proclamation No. 84, which confirmed the
‘6. Denying for lack of merit the motions for contempt, it appearing
cancellation of the license, was an ex post facto law; as such, it
that actuations of the respondents were not contumacious and
violated Section 3 of Article XVIII of the 1987 Constitution.
intended to delay the proceedings or undermine the integrity of the
Court.

On appeal to the Court of Appeals, herein petitioners asked


whether PD 463 or the Mineral Resources Development Decree of
‘No pronouncement yet as to costs.’"5
1974 had been violated by the award of the 330.3062 hectares to
respondents in accordance with Proclamation No. 2204. They also
questioned the validity of the cancellation of respondents’ Quarry
The Facts License/Permit (QLP) No. 33.

The CA narrated the facts as follows: Ruling of the Court of Appeals

"The four (4) petitioners, namely, Dr. Lourdes S. Pascual, Dr. Sustaining the trial court in toto, the CA held that the grant of the
Pedro De la Concha, Alejandro De La Concha, and Rufo De quarry license covering 330.3062 hectares to respondents was
Guzman, after having been granted permission to prospect for authorized by law, because the license was embraced by four (4)
marble deposits in the mountains of Biak-na-Bato, San Miguel, separate applications -- each for an area of 81 hectares. Moreover,
Bulacan, succeeded in discovering marble deposits of high quality it held that the limitation under Presidential Decree No. 463 -- that
and in commercial quantities in Mount Mabio which forms part of a quarry license should cover not more than 100 hectares in any
the Biak-na-Bato mountain range. given province -- was supplanted by Republic Act No. 7942,7
which increased the mining areas allowed under PD 463.

"Having succeeded in discovering said marble deposits, and as a


result of their tedious efforts and substantial expenses, the
petitioners applied with the Bureau of Mines, now Mines and
Geosciences Bureau, for the issuance of the corresponding It also ruled that the cancellation of respondents’ license without
license to exploit said marble deposits. notice and hearing was tantamount to a deprivation of property
without due process of law. It added that under the clause in the
Constitution dealing with the non-impairment of obligations and
contracts, respondents’ license must be respected by the State.
xxxxxxxxx

Hence, this Petition.8


"After compliance with numerous required conditions, License No.
33 was issued by the Bureau of Mines in favor of the herein
petitioners.
Issues

xxxxxxxxx
Petitioners submit the following issues for the Court’s
consideration:

"Shortly after Respondent Ernesto R. Maceda was appointed


Minister of the Department of Energy and Natural Resources
(DENR), petitioners’ License No. 33 was cancelled by him through "(1) [W]hether or not QLP No. 33 was issued in blatant
his letter to ROSEMOOR MINING AND DEVELOPMENT contravention of Section 69, P.D. No. 463; and (2) whether or not
CORPORATION dated September 6, 1986 for the reasons stated Proclamation No. 84 issued by then President Corazon Aquino is
therein. Because of the aforesaid cancellation, the original petition valid. The corollary issue is whether or not the Constitutional
was filed and later substituted by the petitioners’ AMENDED prohibition against ex post facto law applies to Proclamation No.
PETITION dated August 21, 1991 to assail the same. 84"9

"Also after due hearing, the prayer for injunctive relief was granted The Court’s Ruling
in the Order of this Court dated February 28, 1992. Accordingly,
the corresponding preliminary writs were issued after the
petitioners filed their injunction bond in the amount of ONE The Petition has merit.
MILLION PESOS (P1,000,000.00).

First Issue:
xxxxxxxxx
Validity of License
Respondents contend that the Petition has no legal basis, because parties, all mineral resources in public or private lands, including
PD 463 has already been repealed.10 In effect, they ask for the timber or forestlands as defined in existing laws, shall be open to
dismissal of the Petition on the ground of mootness. mineral agreements or financial or technical assistance agreement
applications. Any conflict that may arise under this provision shall
be heard and resolved by the panel of arbitrators."
PD 463, as amended, pertained to the old system of exploration,
development and utilization of natural resources through licenses,
concessions or leases.11 While these arrangements were "SECTION 19. Areas Closed to Mining Applications. -- Mineral
provided under the 193512 and the 197313 Constitutions, they agreement or financial or technical assistance agreement
have been omitted by Section 2 of Article XII of the 1987 applications shall not be allowed:
Constitution.14

(a) In military and other government reservations, except upon


With the shift of constitutional policy toward "full control and prior written clearance by the government agency concerned;
supervision of the State" over natural resources, the Court in
Miners Association of the Philippines v. Factoran Jr. 15 declared
the provisions of PD 463 as contrary to or violative of the express
(b) Near or under public or private buildings, cemeteries,
mandate of the 1987 Constitution. The said provisions dealt with
archeological and historic sites, bridges, highways, waterways,
the lease of mining claims; quarry permits or licenses covering
railroads, reservoirs, dams or other infrastructure projects, public
privately owned or public lands; and other related provisions on
or private works including plantations or valuable crops, except
lease, licenses and permits.
upon written consent of the government agency or private entity
concerned;

RA 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 embodies the new


constitutional mandate. It has repealed or amended all laws,
(c) In areas covered by valid and existing mining rights;
executive orders, presidential decrees, rules and regulations -- or
parts thereof -- that are inconsistent with any of its provisions.16

(d) In areas expressly prohibited by law;


It is relevant to state, however, that Section 2 of Article XII of the
1987 Constitution does not apply retroactively to a "license,
concession or lease" granted by the government under the 1973 (e) In areas covered by small-scale miners as defined by law
Constitution or before the effectivity of the 1987 Constitution on unless with prior consent of the small-scale miners, in which case
February 2, 1987.17 As noted in Miners Association of the a royalty payment upon the utilization of minerals shall be agreed
Philippines v. Factoran Jr., the deliberations of the Constitutional upon by the parties, said royalty forming a trust fund for the
Commission18 emphasized the intent to apply the said socioeconomic development of the community concerned; and
constitutional provision prospectively.

(f) Old growth or virgin forests, proclaimed watershed forest


While RA 7942 has expressly repealed provisions of mining laws reserves, wilderness areas, mangrove forests, mossy forests,
that are inconsistent with its own, it nonetheless respects national parks, provincial/municipal forests, parks, greenbelts,
previously issued valid and existing licenses, as follows: game refuge and bird sanctuaries as defined by law and in areas
expressly prohibited under the National Integrated Protected Areas
System (NIPAS) under Republic Act No. 7586, Department
Administrative Order No. 25, series of 1992 and other laws."
"SECTION 5. Mineral Reservations. — When the national interest
so requires, such as when there is a need to preserve strategic
raw materials for industries critical to national development, or
certain minerals for scientific, cultural or ecological value, the "SECTION 112. Non-impairment of Existing Mining/ Quarrying
President may establish mineral reservations upon the Rights. — All valid and existing mining lease contracts,
recommendation of the Director through the Secretary. Mining permits/licenses, leases pending renewal, mineral production-
operations in existing mineral reservations and such other sharing agreements granted under Executive Order No. 279, at the
reservations as may thereafter be established, shall be undertaken date of effectivity of this Act, shall remain valid, shall not be
by the Department or through a contractor: Provided, That a small impaired, and shall be recognized by the Government: Provided,
scale-mining cooperative covered by Republic Act No. 7076 shall That the provisions of Chapter XIV on government share in mineral
be given preferential right to apply for a small-scale mining production-sharing agreement and of Chapter XVI on incentives of
agreement for a maximum aggregate area of twenty-five percent this Act shall immediately govern and apply to a mining lessee or
(25%) of such mineral reservation, subject to valid existing contractor unless the mining lessee or contractor indicates his
mining/quarrying rights as provided under Section 112 Chapter XX intention to the secretary, in writing, not to avail of said provisions:
hereof. All submerged lands within the contiguous zone and in the Provided, further, That no renewal of mining lease contracts shall
exclusive economic zone of the Philippines are hereby declared to be made after the expiration of its term: Provided, finally, That
be mineral reservations. such leases, production-sharing agreements, financial or technical
assistance agreements shall comply with the applicable provisions
of this Act and its implementing rules and regulations.
"x x x x x x x x x

"SECTION 113. Recognition of Valid and Existing Mining Claims


and Lease/Quarry Application. — Holders of valid and existing
"SECTION 7. Periodic Review of Existing Mineral Reservations. —
mining claims, lease/quarry applications shall be given preferential
The Secretary shall periodically review existing mineral
rights to enter into any mode of mineral agreement with the
reservations for the purpose of determining whether their
government within two (2) years from the promulgation of the rules
continued existence is consistent with the national interest, and
and regulations implementing this Act." (Underscoring supplied)
upon his recommendation, the President may, by proclamation,
alter or modify the boundaries thereof or revert the same to the
public domain without prejudice to prior existing rights."
Section 3(p) of RA 7942 defines an existing mining/quarrying right
as "a valid and subsisting mining claim or permit or quarry permit
or any mining lease contract or agreement covering a mineralized
"SECTION 18. Areas Open to Mining Operations. — Subject to
area granted/issued under pertinent mining laws." Consequently,
any existing rights or reservations and prior agreements of all
determining whether the license of respondents falls under this
definition would be relevant to fixing their entitlement to the rights
and/or preferences under RA 7942. Hence, the present Petition "A mining claim shall cover one such block although a lesser area
has not been mooted. may be allowed if warranted by attendant circumstances, such as
geographical and other justifiable considerations as may be
determined by the Director: Provided, That in no case shall the
locator be allowed to register twice the area allowed for lease
Petitioners submit that the license clearly contravenes Section 69 under Section 43 hereof." (Italics supplied)
of PD 463, because it exceeds the maximum area that may be
granted. This incipient violation, according to them, renders the
license void ab initio.
Clearly, the intent of the law would be brazenly circumvented by
ruling that a license may cover an area exceeding the maximum by
the mere expediency of filing several applications. Such ruling
Respondents, on the other hand, argue that the license was validly would indirectly permit an act that is directly prohibited by the law.
granted, because it was covered by four separate applications for
areas of 81 hectares each.

Second Issue:

The license in question, QLP No. 33,19 is dated August 3, 1982, Validity of Proclamation No. 84
and it was issued in the name of Rosemoor Mining Development
Corporation. The terms of the license allowed the corporation to
extract and dispose of marbleized limestone from a 330.3062-
Petitioners also argue that the license was validly declared a nullity
hectare land in San Miguel, Bulacan. The license is, however,
and consequently withdrawn or terminated. In a letter dated
subject to the terms and conditions of PD 463, the governing law
September 15, 1986, respondents were informed by then Minister
at the time it was granted; as well as to the rules and regulations
Ernesto M. Maceda that their license had illegally been issued,
promulgated thereunder.20 By the same token, Proclamation No.
because it violated Section 69 of PD 463; and that there was no
2204 -- which awarded to Rosemoor the right of development,
more public interest served by the continued existence or renewal
exploitation, and utilization of the mineral site -- expressly
of the license. The latter reason, they added, was confirmed by the
cautioned that the grant was subject to "existing policies, laws,
language of Proclamation No. 84. According to this law, public
rules and regulations."21
interest would be served by reverting the parcel of land that was
excluded by Proclamation No. 2204 to the former status of that
land as part of the Biak-na-Bato national park.
The license was thus subject to Section 69 of PD 463, which
reads:
They also contend that Section 74 of PD 463 would not apply,
because Minister Maceda’s letter did not cancel or revoke QLP No.
"Section 69. Maximum Area of Quarry License – Notwithstanding 33, but merely declared the latter’s nullity. They further argue that
the provisions of Section 14 hereof, a quarry license shall cover an respondents waived notice and hearing in their application for the
area of not more than one hundred (100) hectares in any one license.
province and not more than one thousand (1,000) hectares in the
entire Philippines." (Italics supplied)
On the other hand, respondents submit that, as provided for in
Section 74 of PD 463, their right to due process was violated when
The language of PD 463 is clear. It states in categorical and their license was cancelled without notice and hearing. They
mandatory terms that a quarry license, like that of respondents, likewise contend that Proclamation No. 84 is not valid for the
should cover a maximum of 100 hectares in any given province. following reasons: 1) it violates the clause on the non-impairment
This law neither provides any exception nor makes any reference of contracts; 2) it is an ex post facto law and/or a bill of attainder;
to the number of applications for a license. Section 69 of PD 463 and 3) it was issued by the President after the effectivity of the
must be taken to mean exactly what it says. Where the law is 1987 Constitution.
clear, plain, and free from ambiguity, it must be given its literal
meaning and applied without attempted interpretation.22
This Court ruled on the nature of a natural resource exploration
permit, which was akin to the present respondents’ license, in
Moreover, the lower courts’ ruling is evidently inconsistent with the Southeast Mindanao Gold Mining Corporation v. Balite Portal
fact that QLP No. 33 was issued solely in the name of Rosemoor Mining Cooperative,24 which held:
Mining and Development Corporation, rather than in the names of
the four individual stockholders who are respondents herein. It
likewise brushes aside a basic postulate that a corporation has a
"x x x. As correctly held by the Court of Appeals in its challenged
separate personality from that of its stockholders.23
decision, EP No. 133 merely evidences a privilege granted by the
State, which may be amended, modified or rescinded when the
national interest so requires. This is necessarily so since the
The interpretation adopted by the lower courts is contrary to the exploration, development and utilization of the country’s natural
purpose of Section 69 of PD 463. Such intent to limit, without mineral resources are matters impressed with great public interest.
qualification, the area of a quarry license strictly to 100 hectares in Like timber permits, mining exploration permits do not vest in the
any one province is shown by the opening proviso that reads: grantee any permanent or irrevocable right within the purview of
"Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 14 hereof x x x." The the non-impairment of contract and due process clauses of the
mandatory nature of the provision is also underscored by the use Constitution, since the State, under its all-encompassing police
of the word shall. Hence, in the application of the 100-hectare-per- power, may alter, modify or amend the same, in accordance with
province limit, no regard is given to the size or the number of the demands of the general welfare."25
mining claims under Section 14, which we quote:

This same ruling had been made earlier in Tan v. Director of


"SECTION 14. Size of Mining Claim. -- For purposes of registration Forestry26 with regard to a timber license, a pronouncement that
of a mining claim under this Decree, the Philippine territory and its was reiterated in Ysmael v. Deputy Executive Secretary,27 the
shelf are hereby divided into meridional blocks or quadrangles of pertinent portion of which reads:
one-half minute (1/2) of latitude and longitude, each block or
quadrangle containing area of eighty-one (81) hectares, more or
less.
"x x x. Timber licenses, permits and license agreements are the
principal instruments by which the State regulates the utilization
and disposition of forest resources to the end that public welfare is Too, there is no merit in the argument that the proclamation is an
promoted. And it can hardly be gainsaid that they merely evidence ex post facto law. There are six recognized instances when a law
a privilege granted by the State to qualified entities, and do not is considered as such: 1) it criminalizes and punishes an action
vest in the latter a permanent or irrevocable right to the particular that was done before the passing of the law and that was innocent
concession area and the forest products therein. They may be when it was done; 2) it aggravates a crime or makes it greater than
validly amended, modified, replaced or rescinded by the Chief it was when it was committed; 3) it changes the punishment and
Executive when national interests so require. Thus, they are not inflicts one that is greater than that imposed by the law annexed to
deemed contracts within the purview of the due process of law the crime when it was committed; 4) it alters the legal rules of
clause [See Sections 3(ee) and 20 of Pres. Decree No. 705, as evidence and authorizes conviction upon a less or different
amended. Also, Tan v. Director of Forestry, G.R. No. L-24548, testimony than that required by the law at the time of the
October 27, 1983, 125 SCRA 302]."28 (Italics supplied) commission of the offense; 5) it assumes the regulation of civil
rights and remedies only, but in effect imposes a penalty or a
deprivation of a right as a consequence of something that was
considered lawful when it was done; and 6) it deprives a person
In line with the foregoing jurisprudence, respondents’ license may accused of a crime of some lawful protection to which he or she
be revoked or rescinded by executive action when the national become entitled, such as the protection of a former conviction or
interest so requires, because it is not a contract, property or a an acquittal or the proclamation of an amnesty.40 Proclamation
property right protected by the due process clause of the No. 84 does not fall under any of the enumerated categories;
Constitution.29 Respondents themselves acknowledge this hence, it is not an ex post facto law.
condition of the grant under paragraph 7 of QLP No. 33, which we
quote:

It is settled that an ex post facto law is limited in its scope only to


matters criminal in nature.41 Proclamation 84, which merely
"7. This permit/license may be revoked or cancelled at any time by restored the area excluded from the Biak-na-Bato national park by
the Director of Mines and Geo-Sciences when, in his opinion canceling respondents’ license, is clearly not penal in character.
public interests so require or, upon failure of the permittee/licensee
to comply with the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 463, as
amended, and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder,
as well as with the terms and conditions specified herein; Finally, it is stressed that at the time President Aquino issued
Provided, That if a permit/license is cancelled, or otherwise Proclamation No. 84 on March 9, 1987, she was still validly
terminated, the permittee/licensee shall be liable for all unpaid exercising legislative powers under the Provisional Constitution of
rentals and royalties due up to the time of the termination or 1986.42 Section 1 of Article II of Proclamation No. 3, which
cancellation of the permit/license[.]"30 (Italics supplied) promulgated the Provisional Constitution, granted her legislative
power "until a legislature is elected and convened under a new
Constitution." The grant of such power is also explicitly recognized
and provided for in Section 6 of Article XVII of the 1987
The determination of what is in the public interest is necessarily Constitution.43
vested in the State as owner of all mineral resources. That
determination was based on policy considerations formally
enunciated in the letter dated September 15, 1986, issued by then
Minister Maceda and, subsequently, by the President through WHEREFORE, this Petition is hereby GRANTED and the
Proclamation No. 84. As to the exercise of prerogative by Maceda, appealed Decision of the Court of Appeals SET ASIDE. No costs.
suffice it to say that while the cancellation or revocation of the
license is vested in the director of mines and geo-sciences, the
latter is subject to the former’s control as the department head. We SO ORDERED.
also stress the clear prerogative of the Executive Department in
the evaluation and the consequent cancellation of licenses in the
process of its formulation of policies with regard to their utilization.
Courts will not interfere with the exercise of that discretion without
any clear showing of grave abuse of discretion.31
G.R. No. 181704 December 6, 2011

Moreover, granting that respondents’ license is valid, it can still be


BUREAU OF CUSTOMS EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION (BOCEA),
validly revoked by the State in the exercise of police power.32 The
represented by its National President (BOCEA National Executive
exercise of such power through Proclamation No. 84 is clearly in
Council) Mr. Romulo A. Pagulayan, Petitioner,
accord with jura regalia, which reserves to the State ownership of
all natural resources.33 This Regalian doctrine is an exercise of its vs.
sovereign power as owner of lands of the public domain and of the
patrimony of the nation, the mineral deposits of which are a HON. MARGARITO B. TEVES, in his capacity as Secretary of the
valuable asset.34 Department of Finance, HON. NAPOLEON L. MORALES, in his
capacity as Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs, HON.
LILIAN B. HEFTI, in her capacity as Commissioner of the Bureau
of Internal Revenue, Respondents.
Proclamation No. 84 cannot be stigmatized as a violation of the
non-impairment clause. As pointed out earlier, respondents’
license is not a contract to which the protection accorded by the
non-impairment clause may extend.35 Even if the license were, it DECISION
is settled that provisions of existing laws and a reservation of
police power are deemed read into it, because it concerns a
subject impressed with public welfare.36 As it is, the non-
VILLARAMA, JR., J.:
impairment clause must yield to the police power of the state.37

Before this Court is a petition1 for certiorari and prohibition with


We cannot sustain the argument that Proclamation No. 84 is a bill
prayer for injunctive relief/s under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of
of attainder; that is, a "legislative act which inflicts punishment
Civil Procedure, as amended, to declare Republic Act (R.A.) No.
without judicial trial."38 Its declaration that QLP No. 33 is a patent
9335,2 otherwise known as the Attrition Act of 2005, and its
nullity39 is certainly not a declaration of guilt. Neither is the
Implementing Rules and Regulations3 (IRR) unconstitutional, and
cancellation of the license a punishment within the purview of the
the implementation thereof be enjoined permanently.
constitutional proscription against bills of attainder.
Teves, in his capacity as Secretary of the Department of Finance
(DOF), Commissioner Napoleon L. Morales (Commissioner
The Facts Morales), in his capacity as BOC Commissioner, and Lilian B.
Hefti, in her capacity as Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal
Revenue (BIR). In its petition, BOCEA made the following
On January 25, 2005, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo averments:
signed into law R.A. No. 9335 which took effect on February 11,
2005.
Sometime in 2008, high-ranking officials of the BOC pursuant to
the mandate of R.A. No. 9335 and its IRR, and in order to comply
In Abakada Guro Party List v. Purisima4 (Abakada), we said of with the stringent deadlines thereof, started to disseminate
R.A. No. 9335: Collection District Performance Contracts7 (Performance
Contracts) for the lower ranking officials and rank-and-file
employees to sign. The Performance Contract pertinently
provided:
RA [No.] 9335 was enacted to optimize the revenue-generation
capability and collection of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)
and the Bureau of Customs (BOC). The law intends to encourage
BIR and BOC officials and employees to exceed their revenue xxxx
targets by providing a system of rewards and sanctions through
the creation of a Rewards and Incentives Fund (Fund) and a
Revenue Performance Evaluation Board (Board). It covers all WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of Sec. 25 (b) of the
officials and employees of the BIR and the BOC with at least six Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Attrition Act of
months of service, regardless of employment status. 2005, that provides for the setting of criteria and procedures for
removing from the service Officials and Employees whose revenue
collection fall short of the target in accordance with Section 7 of
The Fund is sourced from the collection of the BIR and the BOC in Republic Act 9335.
excess of their revenue targets for the year, as determined by the
Development Budget and Coordinating Committee (DBCC). Any
incentive or reward is taken from the fund and allocated to the BIR xxxx
and the BOC in proportion to their contribution in the excess
collection of the targeted amount of tax revenue.

NOW, THEREFORE, for and in consideration of the foregoing


premises, parties unto this Agreement hereby agree and so
The Boards in the BIR and the BOC are composed of the agreed to perform the following:
Secretary of the Department of Finance (DOF) or his/her
Undersecretary, the Secretary of the Department of Budget and
Management (DBM) or his/her Undersecretary, the Director
General of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) xxxx
or his/her Deputy Director General, the Commissioners of the BIR
and the BOC or their Deputy Commissioners, two representatives
from the rank-and-file employees and a representative from the 2. The "Section 2, PA/PE" hereby accepts the allocated Revenue
officials nominated by their recognized organization. Collection Target and further accepts/commits to meet the said
target under the following conditions:

Each Board has the duty to (1) prescribe the rules and guidelines
for the allocation, distribution and release of the Fund; (2) set a.) That he/she will meet the allocated Revenue Collection Target
criteria and procedures for removing from the service officials and and thereby undertakes and binds himself/herself that in the event
employees whose revenue collection falls short of the target; (3) the revenue collection falls short of the target with due
terminate personnel in accordance with the criteria adopted by the consideration of all relevant factors affecting the level of collection
Board; (4) prescribe a system for performance evaluation; (5) as provided in the rules and regulations promulgated under the Act
perform other functions, including the issuance of rules and and its IRR, he/she will voluntarily submit to the provisions of Sec.
regulations and (6) submit an annual report to Congress. 25 (b) of the IRR and Sec. 7 of the Act; and

The DOF, DBM, NEDA, BIR, BOC and the Civil Service b.) That he/she will cascade and/or allocate to respective
Commission (CSC) were tasked to promulgate and issue the Appraisers/Examiners or Employees under his/her section the said
implementing rules and regulations of RA [No.] 9335, to be Revenue Collection Target and require them to execute a
approved by a Joint Congressional Oversight Committee created Performance Contract, and direct them to accept their individual
for such purpose.5 target. The Performance Contract executed by the respective
Examiners/Appraisers/Employees shall be submitted to the Office
of the Commissioner through the LAIC on or before March 31,
The Joint Congressional Oversight Committee approved the 2008.
assailed IRR on May 22, 2006. Subsequently, the IRR was
published on May 30, 2006 in two newspapers of general
circulation, the Philippine Star and the Manila Standard, and x x x x8
became effective fifteen (15) days later.6

BOCEA opined that the revenue target was impossible to meet


Contending that the enactment and implementation of R.A. No. due to the Government’s own policies on reduced tariff rates and
9335 are tainted with constitutional infirmities in violation of the tax breaks to big businesses, the occurrence of natural calamities
fundamental rights of its members, petitioner Bureau of Customs and because of other economic factors. BOCEA claimed that
Employees Association (BOCEA), an association of rank-and-file some BOC employees were coerced and forced to sign the
employees of the Bureau of Customs (BOC), duly registered with Performance Contract. The majority of them, however, did not
the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Civil sign. In particular, officers of BOCEA were summoned and
Service Commission (CSC), and represented by its National required to sign the Performance Contracts but they also refused.
President, Mr. Romulo A. Pagulayan (Pagulayan), directly filed the To ease the brewing tension, BOCEA claimed that its officers sent
present petition before this Court against respondents Margarito B.
letters, and sought several dialogues with BOC officials but the Consolidate15 the present case with Abakada on April 16, 2008.
latter refused to heed them. However, pending action on said motion, the Court rendered its
decision in Abakada on August 14, 2008. Thus, the consolidation
of this case with Abakada was rendered no longer possible.16
In addition, BOCEA alleged that Commissioner Morales exerted
heavy pressure on the District Collectors, Chiefs of Formal Entry
Divisions, Principal Customs Appraisers and Principal Customs In Abakada, this Court, through then Associate Justice, now Chief
Examiners of the BOC during command conferences to make Justice Renato C. Corona, declared Section 1217 of R.A. No. 9335
them sign their Performance Contracts. Likewise, BOC Deputy creating a Joint Congressional Oversight Committee to approve
Commissioner Reynaldo Umali (Deputy Commissioner Umali) the IRR as unconstitutional and violative of the principle of
individually spoke to said personnel to convince them to sign said separation of powers. However, the constitutionality of the
contracts. Said personnel were threatened that if they do not sign remaining provisions of R.A. No. 9335 was upheld pursuant to
their respective Performance Contracts, they would face possible Section 1318 of R.A. No. 9335. The Court also held that until the
reassignment, reshuffling, or worse, be placed on floating status. contrary is shown, the IRR of R.A. No. 9335 is presumed valid and
Thus, all the District Collectors, except a certain Atty. Carlos So of effective even without the approval of the Joint Congressional
the Collection District III of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Oversight Committee.19
(NAIA), signed the Performance Contracts.

Notwithstanding our ruling in Abakada, both parties complied with


BOCEA further claimed that Pagulayan was constantly harassed our Resolution20 dated February 10, 2009, requiring them to
and threatened with lawsuits. Pagulayan approached Deputy submit their respective Memoranda.
Commissioner Umali to ask the BOC officials to stop all forms of
harassment, but the latter merely said that he would look into the
matter. On February 5, 2008, BOCEA through counsel wrote the
The Issues
Revenue Performance Evaluation Board (Board) to desist from
implementing R.A. No. 9335 and its IRR and from requiring rank-
and-file employees of the BOC and BIR to sign Performance
Contracts.9 In his letter-reply10 dated February 12, 2008, Deputy BOCEA raises the following issues:
Commissioner Umali denied having coerced any BOC employee to
sign a Performance Contract. He also defended the BOC, invoking
its mandate of merely implementing the law. Finally, Pagulayan
I.
and BOCEA’s counsel, on separate occasions, requested for a
certified true copy of the Performance Contract from Deputy
Commissioner Umali but the latter failed to furnish them a copy.11
WHETHER OR NOT THE ATTRITION LAW, REPUBLIC ACT
[NO.] 9335, AND ITS IMPLEMENTING RULES AND
REGULATIONS ARE UNCONSTITUTIONAL AS THESE
This petition was filed directly with this Court on March 3, 2008.
VIOLATE THE RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS OF THE COVERED
BOCEA asserted that in view of the unconstitutionality of R.A. No.
BIR AND BOC OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES[;]
9335 and its IRR, and their adverse effects on the constitutional
rights of BOC officials and employees, direct resort to this Court is
justified. BOCEA argued, among others, that its members and
other BOC employees are in great danger of losing their jobs II.
should they fail to meet the required quota provided under the law,
in clear violation of their constitutional right to security of tenure,
and at their and their respective families’ prejudice.
WHETHER OR NOT THE ATTRITION LAW, REPUBLIC ACT
[NO.] 9335, AND ITS IMPLEMENTING RULES AND
REGULATIONS ARE UNCONSTITUTIONAL AS THESE
In their Comment,12 respondents, through the Office of the VIOLATE THE RIGHT OF BIR AND BOC OFFICIALS AND
Solicitor General (OSG), countered that R.A. No. 9335 and its IRR EMPLOYEES TO THE EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAWS[;]
do not violate the right to due process and right to security of
tenure of BIR and BOC employees. The OSG stressed that the
guarantee of security of tenure under the 1987 Constitution is not a
III.
guarantee of perpetual employment. R.A. No. 9335 and its IRR
provided a reasonable and valid ground for the dismissal of an
employee which is germane to the purpose of the law. Likewise,
R.A. No. 9335 and its IRR provided that an employee may only be WHETHER OR NOT REPUBLIC ACT [NO.] 9335 AND ITS
separated from the service upon compliance with substantive and IMPLEMENTING RULES AND REGULATIONS VIOLATE THE
procedural due process. The OSG added that R.A. No. 9335 and RIGHT TO SECURITY OF TENURE OF BIR AND BOC
its IRR must enjoy the presumption of constitutionality. OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES AS ENSHRINED UNDER
SECTION 2 (3), ARTICLE IX (B) OF THE CONSTITUTION[;]

In its Reply,13 BOCEA claimed that R.A. No. 9335 employs means
that are unreasonable to achieve its stated objectives; that the law IV.
is unduly oppressive of BIR and BOC employees as it shifts the
extreme burden upon their shoulders when the Government itself
has adopted measures that make collection difficult such as
reduced tariff rates to almost zero percent and tax exemption of WHETHER OR NOT REPUBLIC ACT [NO.] 9335 AND ITS
big businesses; and that the law is discriminatory of BIR and BOC IMPLEMENTING RULES AND REGULATIONS ARE
employees. BOCEA manifested that only the high-ranking officials UNCONSTITUTIONAL AS THEY CONSTITUTE UNDUE
of the BOC benefited largely from the reward system under R.A. DELEGATION OF LEGISLATIVE POWERS TO THE REVENUE
No. 9335 despite the fact that they were not the ones directly PERFORMANCE EVALUATION BOARD IN VIOLATION OF THE
toiling to collect revenue. Moreover, despite the BOCEA’s PRINCIPLE OF SEPARATION OF POWERS ENSHRINED IN
numerous requests,14 BOC continually refused to provide BOCEA THE CONSTITUTION[; AND]
the Expenditure Plan on how such reward was distributed.

V.
Since BOCEA was seeking similar reliefs as that of the petitioners
in Abakada Guro Party List v. Purisima, BOCEA filed a Motion to
WHETHER OR NOT REPUBLIC ACT [NO.] 9335 IS A BILL OF effectively removed remedies provided in the ordinary course of
ATTAINDER AND HENCE[,] UNCONSTITUTIONAL BECAUSE IT administrative procedure afforded to government employees. The
INFLICTS PUNISHMENT THROUGH LEGISLATIVE FIAT UPON law likewise created another ground for dismissal, i.e., non-
A PARTICULAR GROUP OR CLASS OF OFFICIALS AND attainment of revenue collection target, which is not provided
EMPLOYEES WITHOUT TRIAL.21 under CSC rules and which is, by its nature, unpredictable and
therefore arbitrary and unreasonable.

BOCEA manifested that while waiting for the Court to give due
course to its petition, events unfolded showing the patent 4. R.A. No. 9335 and its IRR violate the 1987 Constitution because
unconstitutionality of R.A. No. 9335. It narrated that during the first Congress granted to the Revenue Performance Evaluation Board
year of the implementation of R.A. No. 9335, BOC employees (Board) the unbridled discretion of formulating the criteria for
exerted commendable efforts to attain their revenue target of P196 termination, the manner of allocating targets, the distribution of
billion which they surpassed by as much as P2 billion for that year rewards and the determination of relevant factors affecting the
alone. However, this was attained only because oil companies targets of collection, which is tantamount to undue delegation of
made advance tax payments to BOC. Moreover, BOC employees legislative power.
were given their "reward" for surpassing said target only in 2008,
the distribution of which they described as unjust, unfair, dubious
and fraudulent because only top officials of BOC got the huge sum
5. R.A. No. 9335 is a bill of attainder because it inflicts punishment
of reward while the employees, who did the hard task of collecting,
upon a particular group or class of officials and employees without
received a mere pittance of around P8,500.00. In the same
trial. This is evident from the fact that the law confers upon the
manner, the Bonds Division of BOC-NAIA collected 400+% of its
Board the power to impose the penalty of removal upon
designated target but the higher management gave out to the
employees who do not meet their revenue targets; that the same is
employees a measly sum of P8,500.00 while the top level officials
without the benefit of hearing; and that the removal from service is
partook of millions of the excess collections. BOCEA relies on a
immediately executory. Lastly, it disregards the presumption of
piece of information revealed by a newspaper showing the list of
regularity in the performance of the official functions of a public
BOC officials who apparently earned huge amounts of money by
officer.25
way of reward.22 It claims that the recipients thereof included
lawyers, support personnel and other employees, including a
dentist, who performed no collection functions at all. These alleged
anomalous selection, distribution and allocation of rewards was On the other hand, respondents through the OSG stress that
due to the failure of R.A. No. 9335 to set out clear guidelines.23 except for Section 12 of R.A. No. 9335, R.A. No. 9335 and its IRR
are constitutional, as per our ruling in Abakada. Nevertheless, the
OSG argues that the classification of BIR and BOC employees as
public officers under R.A. No. 9335 is based on a valid and
substantial distinction since the revenue generated by the BIR and
In addition, BOCEA avers that the Board initiated the first few BOC is essentially in the form of taxes, which is the lifeblood of the
cases of attrition for the Fiscal Year 2007 by subjecting five BOC State, while the revenue produced by other agencies is merely
officials from the Port of Manila to attrition despite the fact that the incidental or secondary to their governmental functions; that in
Port of Manila substantially complied with the provisions of R.A. view of their mandate, and for purposes of tax collection, the BIR
No. 9335. It is thus submitted that the selection of these officials and BOC are sui generis; that R.A. No. 9335 complies with the
for attrition without proper investigation was nothing less than "completeness" and "sufficient standard" tests for the permissive
arbitrary. Further, the legislative and executive departments’ delegation of legislative power to the Board; that the Board
promulgation of issuances and the Government’s accession to exercises its delegated power consistent with the policy laid down
regional trade agreements have caused a significant diminution of in the law, that is, to optimize the revenue generation capability
the tariff rates, thus, decreasing over-all collection. These and collection of the BIR and the BOC; that parameters were set in
unrealistic settings of revenue targets seriously affect BIR and order that the Board may identify the officials and employees
BOC employees tasked with the burden of collection, and worse, subject to attrition, and the proper procedure for their removal in
subjected them to attrition.24 case they fail to meet the targets set in the Performance Contract
were provided; and that the rights of BIR and BOC employees to
due process of law and security of tenure are duly accorded by
R.A. No. 9335. The OSG likewise maintains that there was no
BOCEA assails the constitutionality of R.A. No. 9335 and its IRR encroachment of judicial power in the enactment of R.A. No. 9335
on the following grounds: amounting to a bill of attainder since R.A. No. 9335 and its IRR
merely defined the offense and provided for the penalty that may
be imposed. Finally, the OSG reiterates that the separation from
1. R.A. No. 9335 and its IRR violate the BIR and BOC employees’ the service of any BIR or BOC employee under R.A. No. 9335 and
right to due process because the termination of employees who its IRR shall be done only upon due consideration of all relevant
had not attained their revenue targets for the year is peremptory factors affecting the level of collection, subject to Civil Service
and done without any form of hearing to allow said employees to laws, rules and regulations, and in compliance with substantive
ventilate their side. Moreover, R.A. No. 9335 and its IRR do not and procedural due process. The OSG opines that the
comply with the requirements under CSC rules and regulations as Performance Contract, far from violating the BIR and BOC
the dismissal in this case is immediately executory. Such employees’ right to due process, actually serves as a notice of the
immediately executory nature of the Board’s decision negates the revenue target they have to meet and the possible consequences
remedies available to an employee as provided under the CSC of failing to meet the same. More, there is nothing in the law which
rules. prevents the aggrieved party from appealing the unfavorable
decision of dismissal.26

2. R.A. No. 9335 and its IRR violate the BIR and BOC employees’
right to equal protection of the law because R.A. No. 9335 and its In essence, the issues for our resolution are:
IRR unduly discriminates against BIR and BOC employees as
compared to employees of other revenue generating government
agencies like the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, 1. Whether there is undue delegation of legislative power to the
Department of Transportation and Communication, the Air Board;
Transportation Office, the Land Transportation Office, and the
Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, among others, which are
not subject to attrition.
2. Whether R.A. No. 9335 and its IRR violate the rights of
BOCEA’s members to: (a) equal protection of laws, (b) security of
tenure and (c) due process; and
3. R.A. No. 9335 and its IRR violate the BIR and BOC employees’
right to security of tenure because R.A. No. 9335 and its IRR
3. Whether R.A. No. 9335 is a bill of attainder. carried out or implemented by the delegate. It lays down a
sufficient standard when it provides adequate guidelines or
limitations in the law to map out the boundaries of the delegate’s
authority and prevent the delegation from running riot. To be
Our Ruling
sufficient, the standard must specify the limits of the delegate’s
authority, announce the legislative policy and identify the
conditions under which it is to be implemented.
Prefatorily, we note that it is clear, and in fact uncontroverted, that
BOCEA has locus standi. BOCEA impugns the constitutionality of
R.A. No. 9335 and its IRR because its members, who are rank-
RA [No.] 9335 adequately states the policy and standards to guide
and-file employees of the BOC, are actually covered by the law
the President in fixing revenue targets and the implementing
and its IRR. BOCEA’s members have a personal and substantial
agencies in carrying out the provisions of the law. Section 2 spells
interest in the case, such that they have sustained or will sustain,
out the policy of the law:
direct injury as a result of the enforcement of R.A. No. 9335 and its
IRR.27

"SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. — It is the policy of the State to


optimize the revenue-generation capability and collection of the
However, we find no merit in the petition and perforce dismiss the
Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs
same.
(BOC) by providing for a system of rewards and sanctions through
the creation of a Rewards and Incentives Fund and a Revenue
Performance Evaluation Board in the above agencies for the
It must be noted that this is not the first time the constitutionality of purpose of encouraging their officials and employees to exceed
R.A. No. 9335 and its IRR are being challenged. The Court already their revenue targets."
settled the majority of the same issues raised by BOCEA in our
decision in Abakada, which attained finality on September 17,
2008. As such, our ruling therein is worthy of reiteration in this
Section 4 "canalized within banks that keep it from overflowing" the
case.
delegated power to the President to fix revenue targets:

We resolve the first issue in the negative.


"SEC. 4. Rewards and Incentives Fund. — A Rewards and
Incentives Fund, hereinafter referred to as the Fund, is hereby
created, to be sourced from the collection of the BIR and the BOC
The principle of separation of powers ordains that each of the in excess of their respective revenue targets of the year, as
three great branches of government has exclusive cognizance of determined by the Development Budget and Coordinating
and is supreme in matters falling within its own constitutionally Committee (DBCC), in the following percentages:
allocated sphere.28 Necessarily imbedded in this doctrine is the
principle of non-delegation of powers, as expressed in the Latin
maxim potestas delegata non delegari potest, which means "what
Excess of Collection [Over] the Revenue Targets
has been delegated, cannot be delegated." This doctrine is based
Percent (%) of the Excess Collection to Accrue to the
on the ethical principle that such delegated power constitutes not
Fund
only a right but a duty to be performed by the delegate through the
instrumentality of his own judgment and not through the 30% or below — 15%
intervening mind of another.29 However, this principle of non-
delegation of powers admits of numerous exceptions,30 one of More than 30% — 15% of the first 30% plus 20% of the
which is the delegation of legislative power to various specialized remaining excess
administrative agencies like the Board in this case.
The Fund shall be deemed automatically appropriated the year
immediately following the year when the revenue collection target
was exceeded and shall be released on the same fiscal year.
The rationale for the aforementioned exception was clearly
explained in our ruling in Gerochi v. Department of Energy,31 to
wit:
Revenue targets shall refer to the original estimated revenue
collection expected of the BIR and the BOC for a given fiscal year
as stated in the Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing
In the face of the increasing complexity of modern life, delegation (BESF) submitted by the President to Congress. The BIR and the
of legislative power to various specialized administrative agencies BOC shall submit to the DBCC the distribution of the agencies’
is allowed as an exception to this principle. Given the volume and revenue targets as allocated among its revenue districts in the
variety of interactions in today’s society, it is doubtful if the case of the BIR, and the collection districts in the case of the BOC.
legislature can promulgate laws that will deal adequately with and
respond promptly to the minutiae of everyday life. Hence, the need
to delegate to administrative bodies — the principal agencies
tasked to execute laws in their specialized fields — the authority to xxx xxx x x x"
promulgate rules and regulations to implement a given statute and
effectuate its policies. All that is required for the valid exercise of
this power of subordinate legislation is that the regulation be Revenue targets are based on the original estimated revenue
germane to the objects and purposes of the law and that the collection expected respectively of the BIR and the BOC for a
regulation be not in contradiction to, but in conformity with, the given fiscal year as approved by the DBCC and stated in the BESF
standards prescribed by the law. These requirements are submitted by the President to Congress. Thus, the determination
denominated as the completeness test and the sufficient standard of revenue targets does not rest solely on the President as it also
test.32 undergoes the scrutiny of the DBCC.

Thus, in Abakada, we held, On the other hand, Section 7 specifies the limits of the Board’s
authority and identifies the conditions under which officials and
employees whose revenue collection falls short of the target by at
Two tests determine the validity of delegation of legislative power: least 7.5% may be removed from the service:
(1) the completeness test and (2) the sufficient standard test. A law
is complete when it sets forth therein the policy to be executed,
"SEC. 7. Powers and Functions of the Board. — The Board in the
agency shall have the following powers and functions:
Equal protection simply provides that all persons or things similarly
situated should be treated in a similar manner, both as to rights
conferred and responsibilities imposed. The purpose of the equal
xxx xxx xxx protection clause is to secure every person within a state’s
jurisdiction against intentional and arbitrary discrimination, whether
occasioned by the express terms of a statute or by its improper
(b) To set the criteria and procedures for removing from service execution through the state’s duly constituted authorities. In other
officials and employees whose revenue collection falls short of the words, the concept of equal justice under the law requires the state
target by at least seven and a half percent (7.5%), with due to govern impartially, and it may not draw distinctions between
consideration of all relevant factors affecting the level of collection individuals solely on differences that are irrelevant to a legitimate
as provided in the rules and regulations promulgated under this governmental objective.361awphil
Act, subject to civil service laws, rules and regulations and
compliance with substantive and procedural due process:
Provided, That the following exemptions shall apply: Thus, on the issue on equal protection of the laws, we held in
Abakada:

1. Where the district or area of responsibility is newly-created, not


exceeding two years in operation, and has no historical record of The equal protection clause recognizes a valid classification, that
collection performance that can be used as basis for evaluation; is, a classification that has a reasonable foundation or rational
and basis and not arbitrary. With respect to RA [No.] 9335, its
expressed public policy is the optimization of the revenue-
generation capability and collection of the BIR and the BOC. Since
2. Where the revenue or customs official or employee is a recent the subject of the law is the revenue-generation capability and
transferee in the middle of the period under consideration unless collection of the BIR and the BOC, the incentives and/or sanctions
the transfer was due to nonperformance of revenue targets or provided in the law should logically pertain to the said agencies.
potential nonperformance of revenue targets: Provided, however, Moreover, the law concerns only the BIR and the BOC because
That when the district or area of responsibility covered by revenue they have the common distinct primary function of generating
or customs officials or employees has suffered from economic revenues for the national government through the collection of
difficulties brought about by natural calamities or force majeure or taxes, customs duties, fees and charges.
economic causes as may be determined by the Board, termination
shall be considered only after careful and proper review by the
Board. The BIR performs the following functions:

(c) To terminate personnel in accordance with the criteria adopted "Sec. 18. The Bureau of Internal Revenue. — The Bureau of
in the preceding paragraph: Provided, That such decision shall be Internal Revenue, which shall be headed by and subject to the
immediately executory: Provided, further, That the application of supervision and control of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue,
the criteria for the separation of an official or employee from who shall be appointed by the President upon the recommendation
service under this Act shall be without prejudice to the application of the Secretary [of the DOF], shall have the following functions:
of other relevant laws on accountability of public officers and
employees, such as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of
Public Officers and Employees and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act; (1) Assess and collect all taxes, fees and charges and account for
all revenues collected;

xxx xxx x x x"


(2) Exercise duly delegated police powers for the proper
performance of its functions and duties;

At any rate, this Court has recognized the following as sufficient


standards: "public interest", "justice and equity", "public
convenience and welfare" and "simplicity, economy and welfare". (3) Prevent and prosecute tax evasions and all other illegal
In this case, the declared policy of optimization of the revenue- economic activities;
generation capability and collection of the BIR and the BOC is
infused with public interest.33
(4) Exercise supervision and control over its constituent and
subordinate units; and
We could not but deduce that the completeness test and the
sufficient standard test were fully satisfied by R.A. No. 9335, as
evident from the aforementioned Sections 2, 4 and 7 thereof. (5) Perform such other functions as may be provided by law.
Moreover, Section 534 of R.A. No. 9335 also provides for the
incentives due to District Collection Offices. While it is apparent
that the last paragraph of Section 5 provides that "[t]he allocation,
distribution and release of the district reward shall likewise be xxx xxx x x x"
prescribed by the rules and regulations of the Revenue
Performance and Evaluation Board," Section 7 (a)35 of R.A. No.
9335 clearly mandates and sets the parameters for the Board by On the other hand, the BOC has the following functions:
providing that such rules and guidelines for the allocation,
distribution and release of the fund shall be in accordance with
Sections 4 and 5 of R.A. No. 9335. In sum, the Court finds that
R.A. No. 9335, read and appreciated in its entirety, is complete in "Sec. 23. The Bureau of Customs. — The Bureau of Customs
all its essential terms and conditions, and that it contains sufficient which shall be headed and subject to the management and control
standards as to negate BOCEA’s supposition of undue delegation of the Commissioner of Customs, who shall be appointed by the
of legislative power to the Board. President upon the recommendation of the Secretary [of the DOF]
and hereinafter referred to as Commissioner, shall have the
following functions:

Similarly, we resolve the second issue in the negative.


(1) Collect custom duties, taxes and the corresponding fees, exemptions42 were set, contravening BOCEA’s claim that its
charges and penalties; members may be removed for unattained target collection even
due to causes which are beyond their control. Moreover, an
employee’s right to be heard is not at all prevented and his right to
appeal is not deprived of him.43 In fine, a BIR or BOC official or
(2) Account for all customs revenues collected;
employee in this case cannot be arbitrarily removed from the
service without according him his constitutional right to due
process. No less than R.A. No. 9335 in accordance with the 1987
(3) Exercise police authority for the enforcement of tariff and Constitution guarantees this.
customs laws;

We have spoken, and these issues were finally laid to rest. Now,
(4) Prevent and suppress smuggling, pilferage and all other the Court proceeds to resolve the last, but new issue raised by
economic frauds within all ports of entry; BOCEA, that is, whether R.A. No. 9335 is a bill of attainder
proscribed under Section 22,44 Article III of the 1987 Constitution.

(5) Supervise and control exports, imports, foreign mails and the
clearance of vessels and aircrafts in all ports of entry; On this score, we hold that R.A. No. 9335 is not a bill of attainder.
A bill of attainder is a legislative act which inflicts punishment on
individuals or members of a particular group without a judicial trial.
Essential to a bill of attainder are a specification of certain
(6) Administer all legal requirements that are appropriate;
individuals or a group of individuals, the imposition of a
punishment, penal or otherwise, and the lack of judicial
trial.451avvphi1
(7) Prevent and prosecute smuggling and other illegal activities in
all ports under its jurisdiction;
In his Concurring Opinion in Tuason v. Register of Deeds,
Caloocan City,46 Justice Florentino P. Feliciano traces the roots of
(8) Exercise supervision and control over its constituent units; a Bill of Attainder, to wit:

(9) Perform such other functions as may be provided by law. Bills of attainder are an ancient instrument of tyranny. In England a
few centuries back, Parliament would at times enact bills or
statutes which declared certain persons attainted and their blood
corrupted so that it lost all heritable quality (Ex Parte Garland, 4
xxx xxx x x x"
Wall. 333, 18 L.Ed. 366 [1867]). In more modern terms, a bill of
attainder is essentially a usurpation of judicial power by a
legislative body. It envisages and effects the imposition of a
Both the BIR and the BOC are bureaus under the DOF. They penalty — the deprivation of life or liberty or property — not by the
principally perform the special function of being the ordinary processes of judicial trial, but by legislative fiat. While cast
instrumentalities through which the State exercises one of its great in the form of special legislation, a bill of attainder (or bill of pains
inherent functions — taxation. Indubitably, such substantial and penalties, if it prescribed a penalty other than death) is in
distinction is germane and intimately related to the purpose of the intent and effect a penal judgment visited upon an identified
law. Hence, the classification and treatment accorded to the BIR person or group of persons (and not upon the general community)
and the BOC under RA [No.] 9335 fully satisfy the demands of without a prior charge or demand, without notice and hearing,
equal protection.37 without an opportunity to defend, without any of the civilized forms
and safeguards of the judicial process as we know it (People v.
Ferrer, 48 SCRA 382 [1972]; Cummings and Missouri, 4 Wall. 277,
18 L. Ed. 356 [1867]; U.S. v. Lovett, 328, U.S. 303, 90 L.Ed. 1252
As it was imperatively correlated to the issue on equal protection, [1945]; U.S. v. Brown, 381 U.S. 437, 14 L.Ed. 2d. 484 [1965]. Such
the issues on the security of tenure of affected BIR and BOC is the archetypal bill of attainder wielded as a means of legislative
officials and employees and their entitlement to due process were oppression. x x x47
also settled in Abakada:

R.A. No. 9335 does not possess the elements of a bill of attainder.
Clearly, RA [No.] 9335 in no way violates the security of tenure of It does not seek to inflict punishment without a judicial trial. R.A.
officials and employees of the BIR and the BOC. The guarantee of No. 9335 merely lays down the grounds for the termination of a
security of tenure only means that an employee cannot be BIR or BOC official or employee and provides for the
dismissed from the service for causes other than those provided consequences thereof. The democratic processes are still followed
by law and only after due process is accorded the employee. In the and the constitutional rights of the concerned employee are amply
case of RA [No.] 9335, it lays down a reasonable yardstick for protected.
removal (when the revenue collection falls short of the target by at
least 7.5%) with due consideration of all relevant factors affecting
the level of collection. This standard is analogous to inefficiency
and incompetence in the performance of official duties, a ground A final note.
for disciplinary action under civil service laws. The action for
removal is also subject to civil service laws, rules and regulations
and compliance with substantive and procedural due process.38
We find that BOCEA’s petition is replete with allegations of defects
and anomalies in allocation, distribution and receipt of rewards.
While BOCEA intimates that it intends to curb graft and corruption
In addition, the essence of due process is simply an opportunity to in the BOC in particular and in the government in general which is
be heard, or as applied to administrative proceedings, a fair and nothing but noble, these intentions do not actually pertain to the
reasonable opportunity to explain one’s side.39 BOCEA’s constitutionality of R.A. No. 9335 and its IRR, but rather in the
apprehension of deprivation of due process finds its answer in faithful implementation thereof. R.A. No. 9335 itself does not
Section 7 (b) and (c) of R.A. No. 9335.40 The concerned BIR or tolerate these pernicious acts of graft and corruption.48 As the
BOC official or employee is not simply given a target revenue Court is not a trier of facts, the investigation on the veracity of, and
collection and capriciously left without any quarter. R.A. No. 9335 the proper action on these anomalies are in the hands of the
and its IRR clearly give due consideration to all relevant factors41 Executive branch. Correlatively, the wisdom for the enactment of
that may affect the level of collection. In the same manner, this law remains within the domain of the Legislative branch. We
merely interpret the law as it is. The Court has no discretion to give of eight of its members, leaving only the vice-chairman in
statutes a meaning detached from the manifest intendment and office. 7 For this reason, the MOLE, on September 9, 1986, set
language thereof.49 Just like any other law, R.A. No. 9335 has in aside the orders of June 9 and 13, 1986, and directly assumed
its favor the presumption of constitutionality, and to justify its jurisdiction of the dispute, at the same time enjoining the company
nullification, there must be a clear and unequivocal breach of the to accept all returning workers. 8 This order was itself set aside on
Constitution and not one that is doubtful, speculative, or November 24,1986, upon motion of both the BATU and the ATC in
view of the appointment of new commissioners in the NLRC. The
argumentative.50 We have so declared in Abakada, and we now
MOLE then returned the case to the respondent NLRC and
reiterate that R.A. No. 9335 and its IRR are constitutional.
directed it to expeditiously resolve all issues relating to the dispute,
"adding that the union and the striking workers are ordered to
return to work immediately." 9 Conformably, the NLRC issued on
WHEREFORE, the present petition for certiorari and prohibition January 13, 1987 the following resolution, which it affirmed in its
with prayer for injunctive relief/s is DISMISSED. resolution of February 12, 1987, denying the motion for
reconsideration:

CERTIFIED CASE No. NCR-NS-5-214-86,


No costs. entitled Asian Transmission Corporation,
Petitioner versus Bisig ng Asian Transmission
Labor Union (BATU), et al., Respondents.-
Considering that the petitioner, despite the
SO ORDERED. order dated 24 November 1986 of the Acting
Minister, "to accept all the returning workers"
G.R. No. 75271-73 June 27, 1988 continues to defy the directive insofar as 44 of
the workers are concerned, the Commission,
sitting en banc, resolved to order the petitioner
CATALINO N. SARMIENTO and 71 other striking workers of
to accept the said workers, or, to reinstate them
ASIAN TRANSMISSION CORPORATION,petitioners,
on payroll immediately upon receipt of the
vs.
resolution.
THE HON. JUDGE ORLANDO R. TUICO of the Municipal Trial
Court of Calamba, Laguna, ROBERTO PIMENTEL, NELSON C.
TEJADA, and the COMMANDING OFFICER, 224th PC It is these orders of January 13 and February 12, 1987, that are
Company at Los Baños Laguna, respondents. challenged by the ATC in this petition for certiorari and are the
subject of the temporary restraining order issued by this Court on
March 23, 1987. 10
No. L-77567 June 27, 1988

The second issue was raised in G.R. Nos. 75271-73, which we


ASIAN TRANSMISSION, CORPORATION (ATC), petitioner,
have consolidated with the first- mentioned petition because of the
vs.
Identity of their factual antecedents. This issue was provoked by
THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION
three criminal complaints filed against the petitioning workers in
(NLRC), respondent.
the municipal trial court of Calamba, Laguna, two by the personnel
administrative officer of the ATC and the third by the Philippine
Jose C. Espinas for petitioners in G.R. Nos. 75271-73. Constabulary. The first two complaints, filed on July 11 and July
15, 1986, were for "Violation of Article 265, par. 1, in relation to
Augusto Gatmaytan for petitioner ATC. Article 273 of the Labor Code of the Philippines." 11 The third, filed
on July 17, 1986, was for coercion. 12 In all three complaints, the
defendants were charged with staging an illegal strike, barricading
Emilio C. Capulong, Jr. for private respondents in G.R. Nos. the gates of the ATC plant and preventing the workers through
75271-73. intimidation, harassment and force from reporting for work. Acting
on Criminal Case No. 15984, Judge Orlando Tuico issued a
warrant of arrest against the petitioners and committed 72 of them
to jail although he later ordered the release of 61 of them to the
custody of the municipal mayor of Calamba, Laguna. 13 The
CRUZ, J.: petitioners had earlier moved for the lifting of the warrant of arrest
and the referral of the coercion charge to the NLRC and, later, for
Two basic questions are presented in these cases, to wit: the dismissal of Criminal Cases Nos. 15973 and 15981 on the
ground that they came under the primary jurisdiction of the
NLRC. 14 As the judge had not ruled on these motions, the
1. Whether or not a return-to-work order may be validly issued by
petitioners came to this Court in this petition for certiorari and
the National Labor Relations Commission pending determination
prohibition. On August 12, 1986, we issued a temporary restraining
of the legality of the strike; and
order to prevent Judge Tuico from enforcing the warrant of arrest
and further proceeding with the case.15 This order was reiterated
2. Whether or not, pending such determination, the criminal on September 21, 1987, "to relieve tensions that might prevent an
prosecution of certain persons involved in the said strike may be amicable settlement of the dispute between the parties in the
validly restrained. compulsory arbitration proceedings now going on in the
Department of Labor," and made to apply to Judge Paterno Lustre,
The first issue was submitted to the Court in G.R. No. 77567, to who had succeeded Judge Tuico. 16
which we gave due course on July 1, 1987. 1 The case arose when
on May 7, 1986, petitioner Asian Transmission Corporation That is the background. Now to the merits.
terminated the services of Catalino Sarmiento, vice-president of
the Bisig ng Asian Transmission Labor Union (BATU), for allegedly
It is contended by the ATC that the NLRC had no jurisdiction in
carrying a deadly weapon in the company premises. 2 As a result,
issuing the return-to-work order and that in any case the same
the BATU filed a notice of strike on May 26, 1986, claiming that the
should be annulled for being oppressive and violative of due
ATC had committed an unfair labor practice. 3 The conciliatory
process.
conference held on June 5, 1986, failed to settle the dispute. The
ATC then filed a petition asking the Ministry of Labor and
Employment to assume jurisdiction over the matter or certify the The question of competence is easily resolved. The authority for
same to the NLRC for compulsory arbitration. 4 Noting that the the order is found in Article 264(g) of the Labor Code, as amended
impending strike would prejudice the national interest as well as by B.P. Blg. 227, which provides as follows:
the welfare of some 350 workers and their families, the MOLE
issued an order on June 3, 1986, certifying the labor dispute to the When in his opinion there exists a labor dispute
NLRC. 5 At the same time, it enjoined the management from causing or likely to cause strikes or lockouts
locking out its employees and the union from declaring a strike or adversely affecting the national interest, such
similar concerted action. This order was reiterated on June 13, as may occur in but not limited to public utilities,
1986, upon the representation of the ATC that some 40 workers companies engaged in the generation or
had declared a strike and were picketing the company distribution of energy, banks, hospitals, and
premises. 6 Proceedings could not continue in the NLRC, however, export- oriented industries, including those
because of the acceptance by President Aquino of the resignations within export processing zones, the Minister of
Labor and Employment shall assume export earnings and our dollar reserves, not to mention possible
jurisdiction over the dispute and decide it or cancellation of the contracts of the company with foreign importers.
certify the same to the Commission for It was particularly for the purpose of avoiding such a development
compulsory arbitration. Such assumption or that the labor dispute was certified to the NLRC, with the return-to-
certification shall have the effect of work order following as a matter of course under the law.
automatically enjoining the intended or
impending strike or lockout as specified in the It is also important to emphasize that the return-to-work order not
assumption order. If one has already taken so much confers a right as it imposes a duty; and while as a right it
place at the time of assumption or certification, may be waived, it must be discharged as a duty even against the
all striking or locked out employees shall worker's will. Returning to work in this situation is not a matter of
immediately return to work and the employer option or voluntariness but of obligation. The worker must return to
shall immediately resume operations and his job together with his co-workers so the operations of the
readmit all workers under the same terms and
company can be resumed and it can continue serving the public
conditions prevailing before the strike or and promoting its interest. That is the real reason such return can
lockout. The Minister may seek the assistance
be compelled. So imperative is the order in fact that it is not even
of law-enforcement agencies to ensure considered violative of the right against involuntary servitude, as
compliance with this provision as well as such this Court held in Kaisahan ng Mga Manggagawa sa Kahoy v.
orders as he may issue to enforce the same. Gotamco Sawmills. 18 The worker can of course give up his work,
thus severing his ties with the company, if he does not want to
The justification of the MOLE for such order was embodied therein, obey the order; but the order must be obeyed if he wants to retain
thus: his work even if his inclination is to strike.

Asian Transmission Corporation is an export- If the worker refuses to obey the return-to-work order, can it be
oriented enterprise and its annual export said that he is just suspending the enjoyment of a right and he is
amounts to 90% of its sales generating more entitled to assert it later as and when he sees fit? In the meantime
than twelve (12) million dollars per year. The is the management required to keep his position open, unable to
corporation employs three hundred fifty (350) employ replacement to perform the work the reluctant striker is
workers with a total monthly take home pay or unwilling to resume because he is still manning the picket lines?
approximately P1,300,000.00 a month.
While the ATC has manifested its willingness to accept most of the
Any disruption of company operations will workers, and has in fact already done so, it has balked at the
cause the delay of shipments of export finished demand of the remaining workers to be also allowed to return to
products which have been previously work. 19 Its reason is that these persons, instead of complying with
committed to customers abroad, thereby the return-to-work order, as most of the workers have done,
seriously hampering the economic recovery insisted on staging the restrained strike and defiantly picketed the
program which is being pursued by the company premises to prevent the resumption of operations. By so
government. It wig also affect gravely the doing, the ATC submits, these strikers have forfeited their right to
livelihood of three hundred fifty (350) families be readmitted, having abandoned their positions, and so could be
who will be deprived of their incomes. validly replaced.

This Office is therefore of the opinion that a The Court agrees.


strike or any disruption in the normal operation
of the company will adversely affect the The records show that the return-to-work order was first issued on
national interest. It is in the interest of both June 3, 1986, and was reiterated on June 13, 1986. The strike was
labor and management that the dispute be declared thereafter, if we go by the criminal complaints in G.R.
certified for compulsory arbitration to National Nos. 75271-73, where the alleged acts are claimed to have been
Labor Relations Commission. done on June 9,1986, and July 15,1986.

WHEREFORE, this Office hereby certifies the These dates are not denied. In fact, the petitioners argue in their
labor dispute to the National Labor Relations pleadings that they were engaged only in peaceful
Commission in accordance with Article 264(g) picketing, 20 which would signify that they had not on those dates
of the Labor Code, as amended. In line with returned to work as required and had decided instead to ignore the
this Certification, the management is enjoined said order. By their own acts, they are deemed to have abandoned
from locking out its employees and the union their employment and cannot now demand the right to return
from declaring a strike, or any concerted action
thereto by virtue of the very order they have defied.
which will disrupt the harmonious labor-
management relations at the company. 17
One other point that must be underscored is that the return-to-work
order is issued pending the determination of the legality or illegality
There can be no question that the MOLE acted correctly in
of the strike. It is not correct to say that it may be enforced only if
certifying the labor dispute to the NLRC, given the predictable the strike is legal and may be disregarded if the strike is illegal, for
prejudice the strike might cause not only to the parties but more
the purpose precisely is to maintain the status quo while the
especially to the national interest. Affirming this fact, we conclude determination is being made. Otherwise, the workers who contend
that the return-to-work order was equally valid as a statutory part that their strike is legal can refuse to return to their work and cause
and parcel of the certification order issued by the MOLE on a standstill in the company operations while retaining the positions
November 24, 1986. The law itself provides that "such assumption they refuse to discharge or allow the management to fill. Worse,
or certification shall have the effect of automatically enjoining the they win also claim payment for work not done, on the ground that
intended or impending strike. If one has already taken place at the they are still legally employed although actually engaged in
time of assumption or certification, all striking or locked out activities inimical to their employer's interest.
employees shall immediately return to work and the employer shall
immediately resume operations and readmit all workers under the
same terms and conditions prevailing before the strike or lockout." This is like eating one's cake and having it too, and at the expense
The challenged order of the NLRC was actually only an of the management. Such an unfair situation surely was not
implementation of the above provision of the Labor Code and a contemplated by our labor laws and cannot be justified under the
reiteration of the directive earlier issued by the MOLE in its own social justice policy, which is a policy of fairness to both labor and
assumption order of September 9, 1986. management. Neither can this unseemly arrangement be
sustained under the due process clause as the order, if thus
interpreted, would be plainly oppressive and arbitrary.
It must be stressed that while one purpose of the return-to-work
order is to protect the workers who might otherwise be locked out
by the employer for threatening or waging the strike, the more Accordingly, the Court holds that the return-to-work order should
important reason is to prevent impairment of the national interest in benefit only those workers who complied therewith and, regardless
case the operations of the company are disrupted by a refusal of of the outcome of the compulsory arbitration proceedings, are
the strikers to return to work as directed. In the instant case, entitled to be paid for work they have actually performed.
stoppage of work in the firm will be hurtful not only to both the Conversely, those workers who refused to obey the said order and
employer and the employees. More particularly, it is the national instead waged the restrained strike are not entitled to be paid for
economy that will suffer because of the resultant reduction in our
work not done or to reinstatement to the positions they have a fine of five thousand pesos plus costs. He was also barred from
abandoned by their refusal to return thereto as ordered. engaging in wholesale and retail business for five years.

Turning now to the second issue, we hold that while as a general In this appeal he argues that the trial judge erred: (a) in not holding
rule the prosecution of criminal offenses is not subject to that the charge was fabricated; (b) in imposing a punishment
injunction, the exception must apply in the case at bar. The wholly disproportionate to the offense and therefore
suspension of proceedings in the criminal complaints filed before unconstitutional and (c) in not invalidating Republic Act No. 509 in
the municipal court of Calamba, Laguna, is justified on the ground so far as it prescribed excessive penalties.
of prematurity as there is no question that the acts complained of
are connected with the compulsory arbitration proceedings still The evidence shows that in the morning of October 14, 1950,
pending in the NLRC. The first two complaints, as expressly Eduardo Bernardo, Jr. went to the defendant's store in Sampaloc,
captioned, are for "violation of Art. 265, par. 2, in relation to Art. Manila, and purchased from him a six-ounce tin of "Carnation" milk
273, of the Labor Code of the Philippines," and the third complaint for thirty centavos. As the purchase had been made for Ruperto
relates to the alleged acts of coercion committed by the Austria, who was not in good terms with Pablo de la Cruz the
defendants in blocking access to the premises of the ATC. Two of matter reached the City Fiscal's office and resulted in this criminal
the criminal complaints were filed by the personnel administrative prosecution, because Executive Order No. 331 (issued by
officer of the ATC although he vigorously if not convincingly insists
authority of Republic Act No. 509) fixed 20 centavos as the
that he was acting in his personal capacity. maximum price for that kind of commodity.

In view of this, the three criminal cases should be suspended until The record is now before us, and from a reading thereof, we find it
the completion of the compulsory arbitration proceedings in the
difficult to accept appellants contention that the charge had no
NLRC, conformably to the policy embodied in Circular No. 15, foundation in fact. The People's case has been established
series of 1982, and Circular No. 9, series of 1986, issued by the
beyond reasonable doubt.
Ministry of Justice in connection with the implementation of B.P.
Blg. 227. 21These circulars, briefly stated, require fiscals and other
government prosecutors to first secure the clearance of the And his argument based on the principles of entrapment, may not
Ministry of Labor and/or the Office of the President "before taking be upheld, because he was selling to the public, i.e., to anybody
cognizance of complaints for preliminary investigation and the filing who would come to his store to buy his commodities, and no
in court of the corresponding informations of cases arising out of or special circumstances are shown to support the claim that he was
related to a labor dispute," including "allegations of violence, led or induced to commit the offense.
coercion, physical injuries, assault upon a person in authority and
other similar acts of intimidation obstructing the free ingress to and However, appellant's extensive discussion of his two propositions
egress from a factory or place of operation of the machines of such about the penalty, deserves serious consideration.
factory, or the employer's premises." It does not appear from the
record that such clearance was obtained, conformably to the
procedure laid down "to attain the industrial peace which is the Republic Act No. 509 provides in part as follows:
primordial objectives of this law," before the three criminal cases
were filed. SEC. 12. Imprisonment for a period of not less two
months nor more than twelve years or a fine of not less
The Court makes no findings on the merits of the labor dispute and than two thousand pesos nor more than ten thousand
the criminal cases against the workers as these are not in issue in pesos, or both, shall be imposed upon any person who
the petitions before it. What it can only express at this point is the sells any article, goods, or commodity in excess of the
prayerful hope that these disagreements will be eventually maximum selling price fixed by the president; . . . .
resolved with justice to all parties and in that spirit of mutual
accommodation that should always characterize the relations In addition to the penalties prescribed above, the
between the workers and their employer. Labor and management persons, corporations, partnerships, or associations
are indispensable partners in the common endeavor for individual found guilty of any violation of this Act or of any rule or
dignity and national prosperity. There is no reason why they regulations issued by the president pursuant to this Act
cannot pursue these goals with open hands rather than clenched shall be barred from the wholesome and retail business
fists, striving with rather than against each other, that they may for a period of five years for a first offense, and shall be
together speed the dawning of a richer day for all in this amiable permanently barred for the second or succeeding
land of ours. offenses.

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered as follows: The constitution directs that "Excessive fines shall not be imposed,
nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted." The prohibition of
1. In G.R. No. 77567, the petition is DENIED and the challenged cruel and unusual punishments is generally aimed at the form or
Orders of the NLRC dated January 13, 1986, and February 12, character of the punishment rather than its severity in respect of
1986, are AFFIRMED as above interpreted. The temporary duration or amount, and apply to punishment which never existed
restraining order dated March 23, 1987, is LIFTED. in America of which public sentiment has regarded as cruel or
obsolete (15 Am. Jur., p. 172), for instance those inflicted at the
whipping post, or in the pillory, burning at the stake, breaking on
2. In G.R. Nos. 75271-73, the temporary restraining order of the wheel, disemboweling, and the like (15 Am. Jur., supra, Note
August 12,1986, and September 21, 1986, are CONTINUED IN 35 L.R.A. p. 561). Fine and imprisonment would not thus be within
FORCE until completion of the compulsory arbitration proceedings the prohibition.
in the NLRC.
However, there are respectable authorities holding that the
No costs. It is so ordered. inhibition applies as well to punishments that although not cruel
and unusual in nature, may be so severe as to fall within the
G.R. No. L-5790 April 17, 1953 fundamental restriction. (15 Am. Jur., p. 178.) These authorities
explain, nevertheless, that to justify a court's declaration of conflict
with the Constitution, the prison term must be so disproportionate
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, to the offense committed as to shock the moral sense of all
vs. reasonable men as to what is right and proper under the
PABLO DE LA CRUZ, defendant-appellant. circumstances (lb.). And seldom has a sentence been declared to
be cruel and unusual solely on account of its duration (15 Am. Jur.,
Claro M. Recto for appellant. p. 179).
Assistant Solicitor General Guillermo E. Torres and Solicitor
Felixberto Milambiling for appellee. Because it expressly enjoins the imposition of "excessive fines" the
Constitution might have contemplated the latter school of thought
BENGZON, J.: assessing punishments not only by their character but also by their
duration or extent. And yet, having applied "excessive" to fines,
Having retailed a can of milk at ten centavos more than the ceiling and "cruel and unusual" to punishment did it not intend to
distinguish "excessive" from "cruel" or "unusual"? And then, it has
price, Pablo de la Cruz was sentenced, after trial, in the court of
first instance of Manila, to imprisonment for five years, and to pay been heretofore the practice that when a court finds the penalty to
be "clearly excessive" it enforces the law but makes a
recommendation to the Chief Executive for clemency (Art. 5 Adelino B. Sitoy for private respondents.
Revised Penal Code). Did the Constitutional Convention intend to
stop that practice? Or is that article unconstitutional?

So far as the writer of this opinion has been able to ascertain, REGALADO, J.:
these questions have not been definitely passed upon by this
court,1 although in U.S. vs. Borromeo, 23 Phil., 279 it was said that
the prohibition of the Philippine Bill on punishments refer not only Involved in this special civil action is the unique situation, to use an
to the mode but to the extent thereto. euphemistic phrase, of an alternative penal sanction of
imprisonment imposed by law but without a specification as to the
term or duration thereof.
For the purposes of this decision, we may assume, without actually
holding, that too long a prison term might clash with the Philippine
Constitution. As a consequence of such legislative faux pas or oversight, the
petition at bar seeks to set aside the decision of the then Court of
First Instance of Leyte, Branch IV, dated September
But that brings up again two opposing theories. On one side we 8,1976, 1 penned by herein respondent judge and granting the
are told the prohibition applies to legislation only, and not to the
petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction filed
courts' decision imposing penalties within the limits of the statute by herein private respondents and docketed therein as Civil Case
(15 Am. Jur., "Criminal Law" sec. 526). On the other, authorities
No. 5428, as well as his resolution of October 19, 1976 2 denying
are not lacking to the effect that the fundamental prohibition the motions for reconsideration filed by the parties therein. Subject
likewise restricts the judge's power and authority (State vs. Ross of said decision were the issues on jurisdiction over violations of
55 Or. 450, 104 Pac. 596; State vs. Whitaker, 48 La. Am. 527, 19 Republic Act No. 4670, otherwise known as the Magna Carta for
So. 457). (See also U.S. vs. Borromeo, 23 Phil., 279.) Public School Teachers, and the constitutionality of Section 32
thereof.
In other words, and referring to the penalty provided in Republic
Act No. 509, under the first theory the section would violate the In a complaint filed by the Chief of Police of Hindang, Leyte on
Constitution, if the penalty is excessive under any and all April 4, 1975, herein private respondents Celestino S. Matondo,
circumstances, the minimum being entirely out of proportion to the Segundino A. Caval and Cirilo M. Zanoria, public school officials of
kind of offenses prescribed. If it is not, the imposition by the judge Leyte, were charged before the Municipal Court of Hindang, Leyte
of a stiff penalty — but within the limits of the section — will not be in Criminal Case No. 555 thereof for violation of Republic Act No.
deemed unconstitutional.2 The second theory would contrast the 4670. The case was set for arraignment and trial on May 29, 1975.
penalty imposed by the court with the gravity of the particular crime
At the arraignment, the herein private respondents, as the accused
or misdemeanor, and if notable disparity results, it would apply the therein, pleaded not guilty to the charge. Immediately thereafter,
constitutional brake, even if the statute would, under other
they orally moved to quash the complaint for lack of jurisdiction
circumstances, be not extreme or oppressive. over the offense allegedly due to the correctional nature of the
penalty of imprisonment prescribed for the offense. The motion to
Now therefore, if we adopt the first doctrine the present issue quash was subsequently reduced to writing on June 13,
would be: Is imprisonment for two months or fine of two thousand 1975. 3 On August 21, 1975, the municipal court denied the motion
pesos too excessive for a merchant who sells goods at prices to quash for lack of merit. 4 On September 2, 1975, private
beyond the ceilings established in the Executive Order? Obviously respondents filed a motion for the reconsideration of the aforesaid
a negative answer must be returned, because in overstepping the denial order on the same ground of lack of jurisdiction, but with the
price barriers he might derive, in some instances, profits further allegation that the facts charged do not constitute an
amounting to thousands of pesos. Therefore under that doctrine, offense considering that Section 32 of Republic Act No. 4670 is
the penalty imposed in this case would not be susceptible of valid null and void for being unconstitutional. In an undated order
attack, it being within the statutory limits. received by the counsel for private respondents on October
20,1975, the motion for reconsideration was denied. 5
Under the second theory the inquiry should be: Is five years and
five thousand pesos, cruel and unusual for a violation that merely On October 26, 1975, private respondents filed a petitions 6 for
netted a ten-centavo profit to the accused? Many of us do not certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction before the
regard such punishment unusual and cruel, remembering the former Court of First Instance of Leyte, Branch VIII, where it was
national policy against profiteering in the matter of foodstuffs docketed as Civil Case No. B-622, to restrain the Municipal Judge,
affecting the people's health, the need of stopping speculation in Provincial Fiscal and Chief of Police of Hindang, Leyte from
such essentials and of safeguarding public welfare in times of food proceeding with the trial of said Criminal Case No. 555 upon the
scarcity or similar stress. In our opinion the damage caused to the ground that the former Municipal Court of Hindang had no
State is not measured exclusively by the gains obtained by the jurisdiction over the offense charged. Subsequently, an amended
accused, inasmuch as one violation would mean others, and the petition 7 alleged the additional ground that the facts charged do
consequential breakdown of the beneficial system of price not constitute an offense since the penal provision, which is
controls. Section 32 of said law, is unconstitutional for the following reasons:
(1) It imposes a cruel and unusual punishment, the term of
imprisonment being unfixed and may run to reclusion perpetua;
Some of us however are deeply moved by the plight of this modest
store-owner with a family to support, who will serve in Muntinglupa and (2) It also constitutes an undue delegation of legislative power,
the duration of the penalty of imprisonment being solely left to the
a stretch of five years, for having attempted to earn a few extra
centavos. discretion of the court as if the latter were the legislative
department of the Government.

Fortunately there is an area of compromise, skirting the


On March 30, 1976, having been advised that the petition of herein
constitutional issue, yet executing substantial justice: We may
decrease the penalty, exercising that discretion vested in the private respondents was related to Criminal Case No. 1978 for
violation of Presidential Decree No. 442 previously transferred
courts by the same statutory enactment.
from Branch VIII to Branch IV of the erstwhile Court of First
Instance of Leyte, Judge Fortunate B. Cuna of the former branch
Wherefore, reducing the imprisonment to six months and the fine transferred the said petition to the latter branch for further
to two thousand pesos, we hereby affirm the appealed decision in proceedings and where it was subsequently docketed therein as
all other respects. Civil Case No. 5428. 8 On March 15, 1976, the petitioner herein
filed an opposition to the admission of the said amended
G.R. No. L-45127 May 5, 1989 petitions 9but respondent judge denied the same in his resolution
of April 20, 1976. 10 On August 2, 1976, herein petitioner filed a
supplementary memorandum in answer to the amended petition. 11
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the Provincial
Fiscal of Leyte, petitioner,
vs. On September 8, 1976, respondent judge rendered the aforecited
HON. JUDGE AUXENCIO C. DACUYCUY, CELESTINO S. challenged decision holding in substance that Republic Act No.
MATONDO, SEGUNDINO A, CAVAL and CIRILO M. 4670 is valid and constitutional but cases for its violation fall
ZANORIA, respondents. outside of the jurisdiction of municipal and city courts, and
remanding the case to the former Municipal Court of Hindang,
Leyte only for preliminary investigation.
The Office of the Solicitor General for petitioner.
As earlier stated, on September 25, 1976, petitioner filed a motion the first of the cases it decided after the last
for reconsideration. 12 Likewise, private respondents filed a motion world war is appropriate here:
for reconsideration of the lower court's decision but the same was
limited only to the portion thereof which sustains the validity of
The Constitution directs that
Section 32 of Republic Act No. 4670. 13 Respondent judge denied 'Excessive fines shall not be
both motions for reconsideration in a resolution dated October 19, imposed, nor cruel and
1976. 14 unusual punishment
inflicted.' The prohibition of
The instant petition to review the decision of respondent judge cruel and unusual
poses the following questions of law: (1) Whether the municipal punishments is generally
and city courts have jurisdiction over violations of Republic Act No. aimed at the form or
4670; and (2) Whether Section 32 of said Republic Act No. 4670 is character of the punishment
constitutional. rather than its severity in
respect of duration or
We shall resolve said queries in inverse order, since prior amount, and apply to
determination of the constitutionality of the assailed provision of punishments which never
existed in America, or which
the law involved is necessary for the adjudication of the
jurisdictional issue raised in this petition. public sentiment has
regarded as cruel or
obsolete (15 Am. Jur., p.
1. The disputed section of Republic Act No. 172), for instance there (sic)
4670 provides: inflicted at the whipping
post, or in the pillory,
Sec. 32. Penal Provision. — A person who burning at the stake,
shall wilfully interfere with, restrain or coerce breaking on the wheel,
any teacher in the exercise of his rights disemboweling, and the like
guaranteed by this Act or who shall in any other (15 Am. Jur. Supra, Note 35
manner commit any act to defeat any of the L.R.A. p. 561). Fine and
provisions of this Act shall, upon conviction, be imprisonment would not
punished by a fine of not less than one hundred thus be within the
pesos nor more than one thousand pesos, or prohibition.' (People vs. de
by imprisonment, in the discretion of the court. la Cruz, 92 Phil. 906). 16
(Emphasis supplied).
The question that should be asked, further, is whether the
Two alternative and distinct penalties are consequently imposed, constitutional prohibition looks only to the form or nature of the
to wit: (a) a fine ranging from P100.00 to P1,000.00; or (b) penalty and not to the proportion between the penalty and the
imprisonment. It is apparent that the law has no prescribed period crime.
or term for the imposable penalty of imprisonment. While a
minimum and maximum amount for the penalty of fine is specified, The answer thereto may be gathered from the pronouncement
there is no equivalent provision for the penalty of imprisonment, in People vs. Estoista, 17 where an "excessive" penalty was upheld
although both appear to be qualified by the phrase "in the as constitutional and was imposed but with a recommendation for
discretion of the court. executive clemency, thus:

Private respondents contend that a judicial determination of what ... If imprisonment from 5 to 10 years is out of
Congress intended to be the duration of the penalty of proportion to the present case in view of certain
imprisonment would be violative of the constitutional prohibition circumstances, the law is not to be declared
against undue delegation of legislative power, and that the unconstitutional for this reason. The
absence of a provision on the specific term of imprisonment constitutionality of an act of the legislature is
constitutes that penalty into a cruel and unusual form of not to be judged in the light of exceptional
punishment. Hence, it is vigorously asserted, said Section 32 is cases. Small transgressors for which the heavy
unconstitutional. net was not spread are, like small fishes, bound
to be caught, and it is to meet such a situation
The basic principle underlying the entire field of legal concepts as this that courts are advised to make a
pertaining to the validity of legislation is that in the enactment of recommendation to the Chief Executive for
legislation a constitutional measure is thereby created. In every clemency or reduction of the penalty...
case where a question is raised as to the constitutionality of an act,
the court employs this doctrine in scrutinizing the terms of the law. That the penalty is grossly disproportionate to the crime is an
In a great volume of cases, the courts have enunciated the insufficient basis to declare the law unconstitutional on the ground
fundamental rule that there is a presumption in favor of the that it is cruel and unusual. The fact that the punishment
constitutionality of a legislative enactment. 15 authorized by the statute is severe does not make it cruel or
unusual. 18 In addition, what degree of disproportion the Court will
It is contended that Republic Act No. 4670 is unconstitutional on consider as obnoxious to the Constitution has still to await
the ground that the imposable but indefinite penalty of appropriate determination in due time since, to the credit of our
imprisonment provided therein constitutes a cruel and unusual legislative bodies, no decision has as yet struck down a penalty for
punishment, in defiance of the express mandate of the being "cruel and unusual" or "excessive."
Constitution. This contention is inaccurate and should be rejected.
We turn now to the argument of private respondents that the entire
We note with approval the holding of respondent judge that — penal provision in question should be invalidated as an 49 "undue
delegation of legislative power, the duration of penalty of
imprisonment being solely left to the discretion of the court as if the
The rule is established beyond question that a lattter were the legislative department of the government."
punishment authorized by statute is not cruel or
unusual or disproportionate to the nature of the
offense unless it is a barbarous one unknown Petitioner counters that the discretion granted therein by the
to the law or so wholly disproportionate to the legislature to the courts to determine the period of imprisonment is
nature of the offense as to shock the moral a matter of statutory construction and not an undue delegation of
sense of the community. Based on the legislative power. It is contended that the prohibition against undue
principle, our Supreme Court has consistently delegation of legislative power is concerned only with the
overruled contentions of the defense that the delegation of power to make laws and not to interpret the same. It
punishment of fine or imprisonment authorized is also submitted that Republic Act No. 4670 vests in the courts the
by the statute involved is cruel and unusual. discretion, not to fix the period of imprisonment, but to choose
(Legarda vs. Valdez, 1 Phil. 146; U.S. vs. Pico, which of the alternative penalties shall be imposed.
18 Phil. 386; People vs. Garay, 2 ACR 149;
People vs. Estoista 93 Phil. 647; People vs. Tiu Respondent judge sustained these theses of petitioner on his
Ua. 96 Phil. 738; People vs. Dionisio, 22 SCRA theory that "the principle of separation of powers is not violated by
1299). The language of our Supreme Court in
vesting in courts discretion as to the length of sentence or amount fine when imposed in conjunction with imprisonment is subordinate
of fine between designated limits in sentencing persons convicted to the latter penalty. In sum, a fine is as much a principal penalty
of crime. In such instance, the exercise of judicial discretion by the as imprisonment. Neither is subordinate to the other. 24
courts is not an attempt to use legislative power or to prescribe
and create a law but is an instance of the administration of justice 2. It has been the consistent rule that the criminal jurisdiction of the
and the application of existing laws to the facts of particular court is determined by the statute in force at the time of the
cases." 19 What respondent judge obviously overlooked is his own commencement of the action. 25
reference to penalties "between designated limits."

With the deletion by invalidation of the provision on imprisonment


In his commentary on the Constitution of the United States, Corwin in Section 32 of Republic Act No. 4670, as earlier discussed, the
wrote: imposable penalty for violations of said law should be limited to a
fine of not less than P100.00 and not more than P1,000.00, the
.. At least three distinct ideas have contributed same to serve as the basis in determining which court may
to the development of the principle that properly exercise jurisdiction thereover. When the complaint
legislative power cannot be delegated. One is against private respondents was filed in 1975, the pertinent law
the doctrine of separation of powers: Why go to then in force was Republic Act No. 296, as amended by Republic
the trouble of separating the three powers of Act No. 3828, under which crimes punishable by a fine of not more
government if they can straightway remerge on than P 3,000.00 fall under the original jurisdiction of the former
their own motion? The second is the concept of municipal courts. Consequently, Criminal Case No. 555 against
due process of laws which precludes the herein private respondents falls within the original jurisdiction of
transfer of regulatory functions to private the Municipal Trial Court of Hindang, Leyte.
persons. Lastly, there is the maxim of agency
"Delegata potestas non potest delegari." 20
WHEREFORE, the decision and resolution of respondent judge
are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Criminal Case No. 555
An apparent exception to the general rule forbidding the delegation filed against private respondents herein is hereby ordered to be
of legislative authority to the courts exists in cases where remanded to the Municipal Trial Court of Hindang, Leyte for trial on
discretion is conferred upon said courts. It is clear, however, that the merits.
when the courts are said to exercise a discretion, it must be a
mere legal discretion which is exercised in discerning the course
SO ORDERED.
prescribed by law and which, when discerned, it is the duty of the
court to follow. 21
G.R. No. 105907 May 24, 1993
So it was held by the Supreme Court of the United States that the
principle of separation of powers is not violated by vesting in courts FELICIANO V. AGBANLOG, petitioner,
discretion as to the length of sentence or the amount of fine vs.
between designated limits in sentencing persons convicted of a PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND
crime. 22 SANDIGANBAYAN, respondents.

In the case under consideration, the respondent judge Michael P. Moralde for petitioner.
erronneously assumed that since the penalty of imprisonment has
been provided for by the legislature, the court is endowed with the
discretion to ascertain the term or period of imprisonment. We
cannot agree with this postulate. It is not for the courts to fix the
term of imprisonment where no points of reference have been QUIASON, J.:
provided by the legislature. What valid delegation presupposes
and sanctions is an exercise of discretion to fix the length of This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the
service of a term of imprisonment which must be encompassed Revised Rules of Court and Section 7 of P.D. No. 1606 as
within specific or designated limits provided by law, the absence of amended, of the decision of the Sandiganbayan (First Division)
which designated limits well constitute such exercise as an undue promulgated on June 28, 1992, which found petitioner guilty
delegation, if not-an outright intrusion into or assumption, of beyond reasonable doubt of Malversation of Public Funds,
legislative power. penalized under paragraph 4, Article 217, of the Revised Penal
Code, and sentencing him to suffer, in the absence of mitigating
Section 32 of Republic Act No. 4670 provides for an and aggravating circumstances "the indeterminate penalty of, from
indeterminable period of imprisonment, with neither a minimum nor ELEVEN (11) years and one (1) DAY of Prision Mayor, as
a maximum duration having been set by the legislative authority. minimum to SIXTEEN (16) YEARS, FIVE (5) MONTHS and
The courts are thus given a wide latitude of discretion to fix the ELEVEN (11) DAYS of Reclusion Temporal, as maximum, with the
term of imprisonment, without even the benefit of any sufficient accessory penalties of the law; to pay a fine in the amount of
standard, such that the duration thereof may range, in the words of P21,940.70; to suffer the penalty of perpetual special
respondent judge, from one minute to the life span of the accused. disqualification and to pay the costs."
Irremissibly, this cannot be allowed. It vests in the courts a power
and a duty essentially legislative in nature and which, as applied to The Sandiganbayan made the following findings of facts :
this case, does violence to the rules on separation of powers as
well as the non-delegability of legislative powers. This time, the
preumption of constitutionality has to yield. Feliciano Agbanlog y Vinluan was the Officer-
in-Charge of the Office of the Municipal
Treasurer of Aglipay, Quirino, for the period:
On the foregoing considerations, and by virtue of the separability March 24, 1986 to May 31, 1988. When audited
clause in Section 34 of Republic Act No. 4670, the penalty of by COA Auditing Examiner Marcelina P. Reyes
imprisonment provided in Section 32 thereof should be, as it is of the Provincial Auditor's Office of
hereby, declared unconstitutional. Cobarroguis, Quirino, on August 4, 1986 for the
aforesaid period of his incumbency as Acting
It follows, therefore, that a ruling on the proper interpretation of the Municipal Treasurer, Feliciano Agbanlog was
actual term of imprisonment, as may have been intended by found short in his cash and accounts in the sum
Congress, would be pointless and academic. It is, however, worth of P21,940.70.
mentioning that the suggested application of the so-called rule or
principle of parallelism, whereby a fine of P1,000.00 would be The shortage was broken down in the following
equated with one year of imprisonment, does not merit judicial manner :
acceptance. A fine, whether imposed as a single or as an
alternative penalty, should not and cannot be reduced or converted
into a prison term; it is to be considered as a separate and a. Disallowed cash item
independent penalty consonant with Article 26 of the Revised of Mr. Feliciano V. Agbanlog
Penal Code. 23 It is likewise declared a discrete principal penalty in May 31, 1986 worded as
the graduated scales of penalties in Article 71 of said Code. There cash
is no rule for transmutation of the amount of a fine into a term of advance to defray various
imprisonment. Neither does the Code contain any provision that a expenses
which was not approved
by the Municipal Mayor the voucher. No invoice or receipt was
P12,504.49 presented to support the disbursement.

b. Disallowed voucher No. Thus, considering the fact that the accused,
101-86-04-71 dated April Feliciano V. Agbanlog received the proceeds of
18, 1986 the voucher, this disbursement has, indeed,
due to under delivery of become the accountability of the accused,
printed forms P2,900.00 whose duty it was to liquidate the same. The
accused did not so liquidate. Accused's
c. Disallowed voucher No. allegation that the amount of money involved
101-86-05-144 dated was given to him to the Municipal Mayor has
May 31, 1986 due to not been backed up by sufficient evidence. If
under delivery of printed this amount of money were for the Mayor's
forms P3,260.00 account, the Mayor should have been made to
sign the voucher, or else, there should have
been accomplished some sort of evidence
d. Unaccounted collection payment for the Mayor.
P3,276.21
————
Disbursement Voucher No. 101-8604-71, dated
April 18, 1986, Exhibit "F", in the amount of
Total P3,500.00, was partially disallowed because
P21,940. printed forms for which the voucher was made
70 out was not actually delivered but yet paid for.
The accused was able to present proof of
A written demand to explain the shortage and delivery only of accounting forms valued at
to pay the amount thereof was neither P600.00. Consequently, the accused was
answered nor acted upon by the accountable credited with the amount of P600.00. The
officer. Consequently, a Report was made by remaining balance of P2,900.00 was
Examining Auditors Marcelina P. Reyes, nevertheless disallowed.
Asuncion G. Tamondong and Margarita B.
Eugenio to the Provincial Auditor of Quirino, Disbursement Voucher No. 101-8605-144,
manifesting their findings and recommending dated May 31, 1986, Exhibit "G" in the amount
the institution of administrative and/or criminal of P4,110.00 was likewise partially disallowed.
charges against Acting Municipal Treasurer The accused was able to show proof of a
Feliciano Agbanlog. legitimate disbursement in the amount of
P850.00. Consequently, the accused was
At the outset, the Auditors found the accused credited with this amount and only the sum of
Agbanlog short in the amount of P32,950.34, P3,260.00 was disallowed.
broken down in this manner:
As regards the shortage in the amount of
Accountability: P3,276.21, representing the accused
Balance shown by your unaccounted collections, per Collector's Daily
cash book on May 31, 1986 Statement of Collections for the period: April to
certified correct by you May, 1986, Exhibits "H" to "M", We find
and verified by us P85,186.40 evidence showing that this amount, while
turned over to the accused Feliciano Agbanlog
in his capacity as Acting Municipal Treasurer by
Credits to Accountability: Collectors Jane G. Domingo, Marilyn Villarta,
Cash and valid cash items Danilo de Guzman, Guadalupe M. Quimpayag
produced by you and Rolando Domingo, has not been
and counted on us P52,236.06 accounted for, the accused claiming that cash
————— collections of the aforesaid collectors were
Shortage P32,950.34 never remitted to him. There is ample proof,
therefore, of the fact that the accused received
Upon the finding that P11,009.64 of this these cash collections. His signatures on
amount was chargeable to the account of various documents, Exhibits "H" to "M", "H-1",
former Municipal Treasurer Carlos Pastor, "I-1", "J-1", "K-1", "L-1" and "M-1", virtually
predecessor of Municipal Treasurer Ruperto indicate that the accused had actually received
Pallaya, the said amount of P11,009.64 was the amounts indicated in these exhibits. We
deducted from the accountability of Feliciano cannot believe that the accused would sign
Agbanlog. The Acting Municipal Treasurer was these documents if he did not receive the
nevertheless made accountable for the amount of money corresponding thereto. The
shortage of P21,940.70, the amount for which accused's allegation, made as an afterthought,
he is not charged. that the collectors who were supposed to
turnover their collections to him did not actually
turnover their collections cannot be believed.
As regards the disbursement voucher billed as The contention that the collectors had instead
a cash advance for various expenses in the made out vales or cash advances covering the
amount of P12,504.49, Exhibit "E", this voucher amount of their collections, is not supported by
was disallowed by the auditors because there proof. The vale slips or cash advance papers
was no appropriation for this disbursement. It is allegedly given to the accused in lieu of cash
indicated in the voucher that the giving out of could not be produced by the accused.
this money was in the nature of a cash
advance. The purpose for which the cash
advance was given out was, however, not The accused was supposed to return these
clearly indicated. The particulars of payment vale slips to the collectors only after they made
merely states "to cash advance to defray good the borrowed amount. This lapse in
various expenditures". Only the signature of the evidence does not speak well of the defense
accused Feliciano Agbanlog may be found in herein put up by the accused. (Rollo, pp. 30-34)
the voucher. This indicates that the amount of
P12,504.49 was given out to and received by Petitioner admits the shortage of the accountable funds charged
the accused, Feliciano V. Agbanlog, from by the prosecution but claims that the prosecution failed to show
Roberto E. Pallaya. Vouchers of this nature, in that the shortage accrued during his short stint as acting treasurer.
order to be valid, must bear the signature of the According to him, the audit of his funds should have been made
incumbent Municipal Mayor of Aglipay, Quirino. immediately upon his assumption as Officer-in-charge of the Office
The signature of the then Mayor, the Hon. of the Treasurer in the last week of March, 1986, instead of in
Deogracias L. Prego, Sr., does not appear in
August, 1986. He further claims that while there was a turn-over of d) That he appropriated, took, misappropriated or consented or,
the funds on June 2, 1986 when Municipal Treasurer Ruperto through abandonment or negligence permitted another person to
Pallaya reported back for work, there was no turnover of the funds take them. (II Reyes, The Revised Penal Code, p. 391 [1981 ed.])
when he temporarily took charge of the Office of the Treasurer.
(Rollo, pp. 5-6) The prosecution has established (a) that appellant received in his
possession public funds; (b) that he could not account for them
Re : Shortage of P12,504.49 and did not have them in his possession when audited; and (c) that
he could not give a satisfactory explanation or reasonable excuse
Petitioner admits that he was the one who prepared the voucher, for the disappearance of said funds. (Cabello v. Sandiganbayan,
(Exh. "E"), and who received the amount of P12,504.49 mentioned 197 SCRA 94 [1991]) The prosecution is not required to present
therein. He does not deny the authenticity of his signatures direct evidence of the misappropriation, which may be impossible
appearing thereon. No other person, other than petitioner, was to do. (Villanueva v. Sandiganbayan, 200 SCRA 722 [1991]).
involved in the preparation of the said voucher and the receipt of
the amount of P12,504.49. He only claims that the money was The failure of a public officer to have duly forthcoming any public
given to the Municipal Mayor, who allegedly refused to sign the funds or property with which he is chargeable, upon demand by
voucher. any duly authorized officer, is a prima facie evidence that he has
put such funds or property to personal use. (Art. 217, last
Petitioner, having worked as a bookkeeper in the Treasurer's paragraph, Revised Penal Code as amended by R.A. 1060).
Office of Cobarroguis, Quirino, since 1979 and as Assistant
Municipal Treasurer since 1982, should know that vouchers must Petitioner questions as oppressive and unconstitutional the penalty
be signed by the claimants. If he acknowledged receipt of the imposed on him — that of eleven years and one day of prision
money knowing that the claimant was the Municipal Mayor, he mayor, as minimum, to sixteen years, five months and eleven days
became a party to the fraud and assumed responsibility for the of reclusion temporal, as maximum.
consequences of his acts. The defense did not call the Municipal
Mayor to testify that he was the real claimant and that he received
He argues that considering the value of the peso in 1932 when the
the money from the petitioner. Revised Penal Code was enacted and the value of peso today, the
penalty for malversation of P21,000.00 should only be an
Re : Shortage of P2,900.00 imprisonment of one or two years. (Rollo, pp. 10-11)

Petitioner admits that he was the one who prepared the voucher Assuming arguendo that inflation has in effect made more severe
dated April 18, 1986 for the payment of various forms in the the penalty for malversing P21,000.00, the remedy cannot come
amount of P3,500.00 (Exh. "F"). He was the one who from this Court but from the Congress. The Court can intervene
acknowledged receipt of the supplies mentioned in the voucher and strike down a penalty as cruel, degrading or inhuman only
and who received the amount of P3,500.00 in payment thereof. He when it has become so flagrantly oppressive and so wholly
even certified to the necessity and legality of the expense. disproportionate to the nature of the offense as to shock the moral
senses. (People v. Dionisio, 22 SCRA 1299 [1968]; People v.
Estoista, 93 Phil. 647 [1953]; U.S. v. Borromeo, 23 Phil. 279
When audited, petitioner was able to show the delivery of forms
valued at only P600.00. The burden was on petitioner to explain [1912]) Considering that malversation of public funds by a public
satisfactorily the discrepancy between the voucher and the receipt officer is a betrayal of the public trust, We are not prepared to say
of the delivery. that the penalty imposed on petitioner is so disproportionate to the
crime committed as to shock the moral sense.

Re : Shortage of P3,260.00
WHEREFORE, the petition for review is DISMISSED and the
decision appealed from is AFFIRMED in toto, with costs against
Out of the amount of P4,100.00 disbursed under the voucher petitioner.
marked as Exhibit "G", petitioner admits having been able to
support payment of only P850.00; hence the amount of P3,260.00
was disallowed. SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 117472 February 7, 1997


Re :Shortage of P3,276.21

As to the shortage in the amount of P3,276.21 representing the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
unaccounted collections of petitioner for the month of April and vs.
LEO ECHEGARAY y PILO, accused-appellant.
May 1986, petitioner claims that the said amount was never turned
over to him. If this was true, he should not have signed the
documents marked Exhibits "H" to "M", "A-1", "Y-7", "5-1", "K-1",
"L-1" and "M-1", all acknowledging receipt of the cash collections
of the various collectors.
PER CURIAM:

In all the foregoing cases of shortage, petitioner admits having On June 25, 1996, we rendered our decision in the instant case
prepared and collected the amounts stated in the vouchers (Exhs. affirming the conviction of the accused-appellant for the crime of
"E", "F", "G") and having signed the collectors' daily statement of
raping his ten-year old daughter. The crime having been
collection, which evidence his receipt of the amounts stated therein committed sometime in April, 1994, during which time Republic Act
(Exhs. "H" to "M"). With such admissions, how can petitioner now
(R.A) No. 7659, commonly known as the Death Penalty Law, was
attribute the shortage of his accountable funds to his predecessor? already in effect, accused-appellant was inevitably meted out the
supreme penalty of death.
It is also difficult to comprehend how an earlier audit of petitioner's
accountability or an audit made upon assumption of office of the
On July 9, 1996, the accused-appellant timely filed a Motion for
Municipal Treasurer could possible explain the shortages Reconsideration which focused on the sinister motive of the
unearthed by the government auditor and assist him in his victim's grandmother that precipitated the filing of the alleged false
defense. accusation of rape against the accused. We find no substantial
arguments on the said motion that can disturb our verdict.
The elements of malversation of public funds or property
punishable under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code are :
On August 6, 1996, accused-appellant discharged the defense
counsel, Atty. Julian R. Vitug, and retained the services of the Anti-
a) That the offender is a public officer;. Death Penalty Task Force of the Free Legal Assistance Group of
the Philippines (FLAG).
b) That he had the custody or control of funds or property by
reason of the duties of his office;. On August 23, 1996, we received the Supplemental Motion for
Reconsideration prepared by the FLAG on behalf of accused-
c) That those funds or property were public funds or property for appellant. The motion raises the following grounds for the reversal
of the death sentence:
which he was accountable;.
[1] Accused-appellant should not have been c) the size of the penis of the accused cannot
prosecuted since the pardon by the offended have possibly penetrated the alleged victim's
party and her mother before the filing of the private part; and
complaint acted as a bar to his criminal
prosecution. d) the accused was in Parañaque during the
time of the alleged rape.
[2] The lack of a definite allegation of the date
of the commission of the offense in the
In his Brief before us when the rape case was elevated for
Complaint and throughout trial prevented the automatic review, the accused-appellant reiterated as grounds for
accused-appellant from preparing an adequate exculpation:
defense.

a) the ill-motive of the victim's maternal grandmother in prompting


[3] The guilt of the accused was not proved her grandchild to file the rape case;
beyond a reasonable doubt.

b) the defense of denial relative to the size of his penis which could
[4] The Honorable Court erred in finding that
not have caused the healed hymenal lacerations of the victim; and
the accused-appellant was the father or
stepfather of the complainant and in affirming
the sentence of death against him on this basis. c) the defense of alibi.

[5] The trial court denied the accused-appellant Thus, a second hard look at the issues raised by the new counsel
of due process and manifested bias in the of the accused-appellant reveals that in their messianic appeal for
conduct of the trial. a reversal of our judgment of conviction, we are asked to consider
for the first time, by way of a Supplemental Motion for
Reconsideration, the following matters:
[6] The accused-appellant was denied his
constitutional right to effective assistance of
counsel and to due process, due to the a) the affidavit of desistance written by the
incompetence of counsel. victim which acted as a bar to the criminal
prosecution for rape against the accused-
appellant;
[7] R.A. [No.] 7659, reimposing the death
penalty is unconstitutional per se:
b) the vagueness attributed to the date of the
commission of the offense in the Complaint
a. For crimes where no which deprived the accused-appellant from
death results from the
adequately defending himself;
offense, the death penalty is
a severe and excessive
penalty in violation of Article c) the failure of this Court to clearly establish
III, Sec. 19(1) of the 1987 the qualifying circumstance that placed the
Constitution. accused-appellant within the coverage of the
Death Penalty Law;
b. The death penalty is cruel
and unusual punishment in d) the denial of due process and the manifest
violation of Article III, Sec. bias exhibited by the trial court during the trial
11 of the 1987 Constitution. of the rape case.

In sum, the Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration Apparently, after a careful scrutiny of the foregoing points for
raises three (3) main issues: (1) mixed factual and legal reconsideration, the only legitimate issue that we can tackle relates
matters relating to the trial proceedings and findings; (2) to the Affidavit of Desistance which touches on the lack of
alleged incompetence of accused-appellant's former jurisdiction of the trial court to have proceeded with the prosecution
counsel; and (3) purely legal question of the of the accused-appellant considering that the issue of jurisdiction
constitutionality of R.A. No. 7659. over the subject matter may be raised at any time, even during
appeal. 2
I
It must be stressed that during the trial proceedings of the rape
case against the accused-appellant, it appeared that despite the
It is a rudimentary principle of law that matters neither alleged in admission made by the victim herself in open court that she had
the pleadings nor raised during the proceedings below cannot be signed an Affidavit of Desistance, she, nevertheless, "strongly
ventilated for the first time on appeal before the Supreme Court. pointed out that she is not withdrawing the charge against the
Moreover, as we have stated in our Resolution in Manila Bay Club accused because the latter might do the same sexual assaults to
Corporation v. Court of Appeals: 1 other women." 3 Thus, this is one occasion where an affidavit of
desistance must be regarded with disfavor inasmuch as the victim,
If well-recognized jurisprudence precludes in her tender age, manifested in court that she was pursuing the
raising an issue only for the first time on appeal rape charges against the accused-appellant.
proper, with more reason should such issue be
disallowed or disregarded when initially raised We have explained in the case of People v. Gerry Ballabare, 4 that:
only in a motion for reconsideration of the
decision of the appellate court.
As pointed out in People v. Lim (24 190 SCRA
706 [1990], which is also cited by the accused-
It is to be remembered that during the proceedings of the rape appellant, an affidavit of desistance is merely
case against the accused-appellant before the sala of then
an additional ground to buttress the accused's
presiding judge Maximiano C. Asuncion, the defense attempted to defenses, not the sole consideration that can
prove that:
result in acquittal. There must be other
circumstances which, when coupled with the
a) the rape case was motivated by greed, retraction or desistance, create doubts as to the
hence, a mere concoction of the alleged truth of the testimony given by the witnesses at
victim's maternal grandmother; the trial and accepted by the judge. 5

b) the accused is not the real father of the In the case at bar, all that the accused-appellant offered as
complainant; defenses mainly consisted of denial and alibi which cannot
outweigh the positive identification and convincing testimonies
given by the prosecution. Hence, the affidavit of desistance, which
the victim herself intended to disregard as earlier discussed, must
have no bearing on the criminal prosecution against the accused- and barbarous, something more than the mere
appellant, particularly on the trial court's jurisdiction over the case. extinguishment of life. 13

II Consequently, we have time and again emphasized that


our courts are not the for a for a protracted debate on the
morality or propriety of the death sentence where the law
The settled rule is that the client is bound by the negligence or
mistakes of his counsel. 6 One of the recognized exceptions to this itself provides therefor in specific and well-defined
criminal acts. Thus we had ruled in the 1951 case
rule is gross incompetency in a way that the defendant is highly
prejudiced and prevented, in effect, from having his day in court to of Limaco that:
defend himself. 7
. . . there are quite a number of people who
honestly believe that the supreme penalty is
In the instant case, we believe that the former counsel of the
accused-appellant to whom the FLAG lawyers now impute either morally wrong or unwise or ineffective.
However, as long as that penalty remains in the
incompetency had amply exercised the required ordinary diligence
or that reasonable decree of care and skill expected of him relative statute books, and as long as our criminal law
to his client's defense. As the rape case was being tried on the provides for its imposition in certain cases, it is
merits, Atty. Vitug, from the time he was assigned to handle the the duty of judicial officers to respect and apply
case, dutifully attended the hearings thereof. Moreover, he had the law regardless of their private opinions. 14
seasonably submitted the Accused-Appellant's Brief and the
Motion for Reconsideration of our June 25, 1996 Decision with and this we have reiterated in the 1995 case of People
extensive discussion in support of his line of defense. There is no v. Veneracion. 15
indication of gross incompetency that could have resulted from a
failure to present any argument or any witness to defend his client. Under the Revised Penal Code, death is the penalty for the crimes
Neither has he acted haphazardly in the preparation of his case of treason, correspondence with the enemy during times of war,
against the prosecution evidence. The main reason for his failure
qualified piracy, parricide, murder, infanticide, kidnapping, rape
to exculpate his client, the accused-appellant, is the overwhelming with homicide or with the use of deadly weapon or by two or more
evidence of the prosecution. The alleged errors committed by the
persons resulting in insanity, robbery with homicide, and arson
previous counsel as enumerated by the new counsel could not resulting in death. The list of capital offenses lengthened as the
have overturned the judgment of conviction against the accused-
legislature responded to the emergencies of the times. In 1941,
appellant. Commonwealth Act (C.A.) No. 616 added espionage to the list. In
the 1950s, at the height of the Huk rebellion, the government
III enacted Republic Act (R.A.) No. 1700, otherwise known as the
Anti-Subversion Law, which carried the death penalty for leaders
Although its origins seem lost in obscurity, the imposition of death of the rebellion. From 1971 to 1972, more capital offenses were
as punishment for violation of law or custom, religious or secular, created by more laws, among them, the Anti-Hijacking Law, the
is an ancient practice. We do know that our forefathers killed to Dangerous Drugs Act, and the Anti-Carnapping Law. During
avenge themselves and heir akin and that initially, the criminal law martial law, Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1866 was enacted
was used to compensate for a wrong done to a private party or his penalizing with death, among others, crimes involving homicide
family, not to punish in the name of the state. committed with an unlicensed firearm.

The dawning of civilization brought with it both the increasing In the aftermath of the 1986 revolution that dismantled the Marcos
sensitization throughout the later generations against past regime and led to the nullification of the 1973 Constitution, a
barbarity and the institutionalization of state power under the rule Constitutional Commission was convened following appointments
thereto by Corazon Aquino who was catapulted to power by the
of law. Today every man or woman is both an individual person
with inherent human rights recognized and protected by the state people.
and a citizen with the duty to serve the common weal and defend
and preserve society. Tasked with formulating a charter that echoes the new found
freedom of a rejuvenated people, the Constitutional
One of the indispensable powers of the state is the power to Commissioners grouped themselves into working committees
among which is the Bill of Rights Committee with Jose B. Laurel,
secure society against threatened and actual evil. Pursuant to this,
the legislative arm of government enacts criminal laws that define Jr. as Chairman and Father Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J., as Vice-
Chairman.
and punish illegal acts that may be committed by its own subjects,
the executive agencies enforce these laws, and the judiciary tries
and sentences the criminals in accordance with these laws. On July 17, 1986, Father Bernas presented the committee draft of
the proposed bill of rights to the rest of the commission. What is
now Article III, Section 19 (1) of the 1987 Constitution was first
Although penologists, throughout history, have not stopped
debating on the causes of criminal behavior and the purposes of denominated as Section 22 and was originally worded as follows:
criminal punishment, our criminal laws have been perceived as
relatively stable and functional since the enforcement of the Excessive fines shall not be imposed nor cruel,
Revised Penal Code on January 1, 1932, this notwithstanding degrading or inhuman punishment or the death
occasional opposition to the death penalty provisions therein. The penalty inflicted. Death penalty already
Revised Penal Code, as it was originally promulgated, provided for imposed shall be commuted to reclusion
the death penalty in specified crimes under specific circumstances. perpetua.
As early as 1886, though, capital punishment had entered our
legal system through the old Penal Code, which was a modified Father Bernas explained that the foregoing provision was
version of the Spanish Penal Code of 1870. the result of a consensus among the members of the Bill
of Rights Committee that the death penalty should be
The opposition to the death penalty uniformly took the form of a abolished. Having agreed to abolish the death penalty,
constitutional question of whether or not the death penalty is a they proceeded to deliberate on how the abolition was to
cruel, unjust, excessive or unusual punishment in violation of the be done--whether the abolition should be done by the
constitutional proscription against cruel and unusual punishments. Constitution or by the legislature-and the majority voted
We unchangingly answered this question in the negative in the for a constitutional abolition of the death penalty. Father
cases ofHarden v. Director of Prison, 8 People v. Limaco, 9 People Bernas explained:
v. Camano, 10 People v. Puda 11 and People
v. Marcos. 12In Harden, we ruled:
. . . [T]here was a division in the Committee not
on whether the death penalty should be
The penalty complained of is neither cruel, abolished or not, but rather on whether the
unjust nor excessive. In Ex-parte Kemmler, 136 abolition should be done by the Constitution —
U.S., 436, the United States Supreme Court in which case it cannot be restored by the
said that 'punishments are cruel when they legislature — or left to the legislature. The
involve torture or a lingering death, but the majority voted for the constitutional abolition of
punishment of death is not cruel, within the the death penalty. And the reason is that capital
meaning of that word as used in the punishment is inhuman for the convict and his
constitution. It implies there something inhuman family who are traumatized by the waiting, even
if it is never carried out. There is no evidence compelling reasons involving heinous crimes, the national
that the death penalty deterred deadly assembly provides for the death penalty," came from
criminals, hence, life should not be destroyed Commissioners Monsod, Jose E. Suarez and de los Reyes.
just in the hope that other lives might be saved. Commissioner Rodrigo, however, expressed reservations even as
Assuming mastery over the life of another man regards the proposed amendment. He said:
is just too presumptuous for any man. The fact
that the death penalty as an institution has . . . [T]he issue here is whether or not we
been there from time immemorial should not should provide this matter in the Constitution or
deter us from reviewing it. Human life is more leave it to the discretion of our legislature.
valuable than an institution intended precisely Arguments pro and con have been given. . . .
to serve human life. So, basically, this is the But my stand is, we should leave this to the
summary of the reasons which were presented discretion of the legislature.
in support of the constitutional abolition of the
death penalty. 16
The proposed amendment is halfhearted. It is
awkward because we will, in effect repeal by
The original wording of Article III, Section 19 (1), however, did not our Constitution a piece of legislation and after
survive the debate that it instigated. Commissioner Napoleon G.
repealing this piece of legislation tell the
Rama first pointed out that "never in our history has there been a legislature that we have repealed the law and
higher incidence of crime" and that "criminality was at its zenith
that the legislature can go ahead and enact it
during the last decade". 17 Ultimately, the dissent defined itself to again. I think this is not worthy of a
an unwillingness to absolutely excise the death penalty from our constitutional body like ours. If we will leave the
legal system and leave society helpless in the face of a future matter of the death Penalty to the legislature,
upsurge of crimes or other similar emergencies. As Commissioner let us leave it completely to the discretion of the
Rustico F. de los Reyes, Jr. suggested, "although we abolish the legislature, but let us not have this half-baked
death penalty in the Constitution, we should afford some amount of provision. We have many provisions in the
flexibility to future legislation", 18 and his concern was amplified by Revised Penal Code imposing the death
the interpellatory remarks of Commissioner Lugum L. penalty. We will now revoke or repeal these
Commissioner and now Associate Justice Florenz Regalado,
pieces of legislation by means of the
Commissioner Crispino M. de Castro, Commissioner Ambrosio B. Constitution, but at the same time say that it is
Padilla, Commissioner Christian Monsod, Commissioner Francisco
up to the legislature to impose this again.
A. Rodrigo, and Commissioner Ricardo Romulo. Commissioner
Padilla put it succinctly in the following exchange with
Commissioner Teodoro C. Bacani: . . . The temper and condition of the times
change . . . and so we, I think we should leave
this matter to the legislature to enact statutes
BISHOP BACANI. . . . At present, they explicitly depending on the changing needs of the times.
make it clear that the church has never Let us entrust this completely to the legislature
condemned the right of the state to inflict composed of representatives elected by the
capital punishment. people.

MR. PADILLA. . . . So it is granted that the I do not say that we are not competent. But we
state is not deprived of the right even from a have to admit the fact that we are not elected
moral standpoint of imposing or prescribing by the people and if we are going to entrust this
capital punishment. to the legislature, let us not be half-baked nor
halfhearted about it. Let us entrust it to the
BISHOP BACANI. Yes. What I am saying is legislature 100 percent. 20
that from the Catholic point of view, that right of
the state is not forbidden. Nonetheless, the proposed amendment was approved
with twenty-three (23) commissioners voting in favor of
MR. PADILLA. In fact . . . we have to accept the amendment and twelve (12) voting against it,
that the state has the delegated authority from followed by more revisions, hence the present wording of
the Creator to impose the death penalty under Article III, Section 19(1) of the 1987 Constitution in the
certain circumstances. following tenor:

BISHOP BACANI. The state has the delegation Excessive fines shall not be imposed nor cruel,
from God for it to do what is needed for the degrading or inhuman punishment inflicted.
sake of the common good but the issue at Neither shall death penalty be imposed, unless,
stake is whether or not under the present for compelling reasons involving heinous
circumstances that will be for the common crimes, the Congress hereafter provides for it.
good. Any death penalty already imposed shall be
reduced to reclusion perpetua.
MR. PADILLA. But the delegated power of the
state cannot be denied. The implications of the foregoing provision on the effectivity of the
death penalty provisions in the Revised Penal Code and certain
BISHOP BACANI. Yes, the state can be special criminal laws and the state of the scale of penalties
thereunder, were tremendous.
delegated by God at a particular stage in
history, but it is not clear whether or not that
delegation is forever under all circumstances. The immediate problem pertained to the applicable penalty for
what used to be capital crimes. In People v.Gavarra, 21 we stated
that "in view of the abolition of the death penalty under Section 19,
MR. PADILLA. So this matter should be left to
the legislature to determine, under certain Article III of the 1987 Constitution, the penalty that may be
imposed for murder is reclusion temporal in its maximum period
specified conditions or circumstances, whether
the retention of the death penalty or its abolition to reclusion perpetua"22 thereby eliminating death as the original
would be for the common good. I do not believe maximum period. The constitutional abolition of the death penalty,
this Commission can a priori, and as was it seemed, limited the penalty for murder to only the remaining
remarked within a few days or even a month, periods, to wit, the minimum and the medium, which we then,
determine a positive provision in the in People v. Masangkay, 23 People v. Atencio 24 and People
25
Constitution that would prohibit even the v. Intino divided into three new periods, to wit, the lower half
ofreclusion temporal maximum as the minimum; the upper half of
legislature to prescribe the death penalty for the
most heinous crimes, the most grievous reclusion temporal maximum as the medium; and reclusion
perpetua as the maximum, in keeping with the three-grade scheme
offenses attended by many qualifying and
aggravating circumstances. 19 under the Revised Penal Code. In People v. Munoz, 26however, we
reconsidered these aforecited cases and after extended
discussion, we concluded that the doctrine announced therein did
What followed, thus, were proposed amendments to the not reflect the intention of the framers. The crux of the issue was
beleaguered provision. The move to add the phrase, "unless for
whether or not Article III, Section 19 (1) absolutely abolished the reimposed, and thereafter, a seven-man
death penalty, for if it did, then, the aforementioned new three- committee would be formed to draft the
grade penalty should replace the old one where the death penalty compromise bill in accordance with the result of
constituted the maximum period. But if no total abolition can be the voting. If the Body decides in favor of the
read from said constitutional provision and the death penalty is death penalty, the Chair said that the
only suspended, it cannot as yet be negated by the institution of a committee would specify the crimes on which
new three-grade penalty premised on the total inexistence of the death penalty would be imposed. It affirmed
death penalty in our statute books. We thus ruled in Munoz: that a vote of Yes in the nominal voting would
mean a vote in favor of death penalty on at
The advocates of the Masangkay ruling argue least one crime, and that certain refinements on
that the Constitution abolished the death how the penalty would be imposed would be
penalty and thereby limited the penalty for left to the discretion of the seven-man
committee.
murder to the remaining periods, to wit, the
minimum and the medium. These should now
be divided into three new periods in keeping xxx xxx xxx
with the three-grade scheme intended by the
legislature. Those who disagree feel that Article
INQUIRY OF SENATOR TANADA
III, Section 19 (1) merely prohibits the
imposition of the death penalty and has not, by
reducing it to reclusion perpetua, also In reply to Senator Tanada's query, the Chair
correspondingly reduced the remaining affirmed that even if a senator would vote "yes"
penalties. These should be maintained intact. on the basic policy issue, he could still vote "no"
on the imposition of the death penalty on a
particular crime.
A reading of Section 19 (1) of Article III will
readily show that there is really nothing therein
which expressly declares the abolition of the REMARKS OF SENATOR TOLENTINO
death penalty. The provision merely says that
the death penalty shall not be imposed unless Senator Tolentino observed that the Body
for compelling reasons involving heinous would be voting on the basic policy issue of
crimes the Congress hereafter provides for it whether or not the death penalty would be
and, if already imposed, shall be reduced included in the scale of penalties found in
to reclusion perpetua. The language, while Article 27 of the Revised Penal Code. so that if
rather awkward, is still plain enough. 27 it is voted down, the Body would discontinue
discussing Senate Bill No. 891 pursuant to the
Nothing is more defining of the true content of Article III, Section Rules, but if approved, a special committee, as
19 (1) of the 1987 Constitution than the form in which the agreed upon in the caucus, is going to be
legislature took the initiative in re-imposing the death penalty. appointed and whatever course it will take will
depend upon the mandate given to it by the
Body later on.
The Senate never doubted its power as vested in it by the
constitution, to enact legislation re-imposing the death penalty for
compelling reasons involving heinous crimes. Pursuant to this The Chair affirmed Senator Tolentino's
constitutional mandate, the Senate proceeded to a two-step observations.
process consisting of: first, the decision, as a matter of policy, to
re-impose the death penalty or not; and second, the vote to pass REMARKS OF SENATOR ROCO
on the third reading the bill re-imposing the death penalty for
compelling reasons involving heinous crimes.
Senator Roco stated that the Body would vote
whether or not death as a penalty will be
On February 15, 1993, after a fierce and fiery exchange of reincorporated in the scale of penalties
arguments for and against capital punishment, the Members of the provided by the Revised Penal Code. However,
Senate voted on the policy issue of death penalty. The vote was he pointed out that if the Body decides in favor
explained, thus: of death penalty, the Body would still have to
address two issues: 1) Is the crime for which
SUSPENSION OF THE RULES the death penalty is supposed to be imposed
heinous pursuant to the constitutional
mandate? 2) And, if so, is there a compelling
Upon motion of Senator Romulo, there being reason to impose the death penalty for it? The
no objection, the Body suspended the Rules of
death penalty, he stressed, cannot be imposed
the Senate. simply because the crime is heinous. 28

Thereafter, upon motion of Senator Romulo, With seventeen (17) affirmative votes and seven (7)
there being no objection, the Chair directed that
negative votes and no abstention, the Chair declared that
a nominal voting be conducted on the policy the Senate has voted to re-incorporate death as a
issue of death penalty. penalty in the scale of penalties as provided in the
Revised Penal Code. A nine-person committee was
INQUIRY OF SENATOR TOLENTINO subsequently created to draft the compromise bill
pursuant to said vote. The mandate of the committee
Asked by Senator Tolentino on how the was to retain the death penalty, while the main debate in
Members of the Senate would vote on this the committee would be the determination of the crimes
policy question, Senator Romulo stated that a to be considered heinous.
vote of Yes would mean a vote in favor of death
as a penalty to be reincorporated in the scale of On March 17, 1993, Senator Arturo Tolentino, Chairman of the
penalties as provided in the Revised Penal Special Committee on the Death Penalty, delivered his
Code, and a vote of No would be a vote against Sponsorship Speech. He began with an explanation as to why the
the reincorporation of death penalty in the scale Senate Bill No. 891 re-imposes the death penalty by amending the
of penalties in the Revised Penal Code. Revised Penal Code and other special penal laws and includes
provisions that do not define or punish crimes but serve purposes
INQUIRY OF SENATOR ALVAREZ allied to the re-imposition of the death penalty. Senator Tolentino
stated:

xxx xxx xxx


. . . [W]hen the Senate approved the policy of
reimposing the death penalty on heinous
The Chair explained that it was agreed upon crimes and delegated to the Special Committee
that the Body would first decide the question the work of drafting a bill, a compromise bill that
whether or not death penalty should be would be the subject for future deliberations of
this Body, the Committee had to consider that The stiffest opposition thereto was bannered by Senator Lina who
the death penalty was imposed originally in the kept prodding the sponsors of the bill to state the compelling
Revised Penal Code. reason for each and every crime for which the supreme penalty of
death was sought. Zeroing in on the statement in the preamble of
So, when the Constitution was approved in the death penalty bill that the same is warranted in the face of "the
order to do away with the death penalty, unless alarming upsurge of [heinous] crimes", Senator Lina demanded for
Congress should, for compelling reasons solid statistics showing that in the case of each and every crime in
reimpose that penalty on heinous crimes, it was the death penalty bill, there was a significantly higher incidence of
obvious that it was the Revised Penal Code each crime after the suspension of the death penalty on February
that was affected by that provision of the 2, 1987 when the 1987 Constitution was ratified by the majority of
Constitution. The death penalty, as provided in the Filipino people, than before such ratification. 31 Inasmuch as
the Revised Penal Code, would be considered the re-impositionists could not satisfy the abolitionists with
sufficient statistical data for the latter to accept the alarming
as having been repealed-all provisions on the
death penalty would be considered as having upsurge of heinous crimes as a compelling reason justifying the re-
imposition of the death penalty, Senator Lina concluded that there
been repealed by the Constitution, until
Congress should, for compelling reasons, were, in fact, no compelling reasons therefor. In the alternative,
reimpose such penalty on heinous crimes. Senator Lina argued that the compelling reason required by the
Therefore, it was not only one article but many constitution was that "the State has done everything in its
articles of the Revised Penal Code that were command so that it can be justified to use an inhuman punishment
actually affected by the Constitution. called death penalty". 32 The problem, Senator Lina emphasized,
was that even the re-impositionists admit that there were still
numerous reforms in the criminal justice system that may and must
And it is in consideration of this consequence of be put in place, and so clearly, the recourse to the enactment of a
the constitutional provision that our Special death penalty bill was not in the nature of a last resort, hence,
Committee had to consider the Revised Penal unconstitutional in the absence of compelling reasons. As an initial
Code itself in making this compromise bill or reaction to Senator Lina's contentions, Senator Tolentino
text of the bill. That is why, in the proposed explained that the statement in the preamble is a general one and
draft now under consideration which we are refers to all the crimes covered by the bill and not to specific
sponsoring, the specific provisions of the crimes. He added that one crime may not have the same degree of
Revised Penal Code are actually either increase in incidence as the other crimes and that the public
reenacted or amended or both. Because by the demand to impose the death penalty is enough compelling
effect of the Constitution, some provisions were reason. 33
totally repealed, and they had to be reenacted
so that the provisions could be retained. And
some of them had to be amended because the Equally fit to the task was Senator Wigberto Tanada to whom the
Committee thought that amendments were battle lines were clearly drawn. He put to issue two things: first, the
proper. 29 definition of "heinous crimes" as provided for in the death penalty
bill; and second, the statement of compelling reasons for each and
every capital crime. His interpellation of Senator Tolentino clearly
In response to a query by Senator Gloria Macapagal- showed his objections to the bill:
Arroyo as to whether or not it would have been better if
the Senate were to enact a special law which merely
Senator Tanada. . . . But what would make
defined and imposed the death penalty for heinous
crimes, Senator Tolentino explicated, thus: crimes heinous, Mr. President? Are crimes
heinous by their nature or elements as they are
described in the bill or are crimes heinous
. . . [T]hat may be a way presenting the bill. But because they are punished by death, as bribery
we must bear in mind that the death penalty is and malversation are proposed to be punished
imposed in the Revised Penal Code. Therefore, in the bill?
when the Constitution abolished the death
penalty, it actually was amending the Revised
Senator Tolentino. They are heinous by their
Penal Code to such an extent that the
Constitution provides that where the death nature, Mr. President, but that is not supposed
penalty has already been imposed but not yet to be the exclusive criterion. The nature of the
carried out, then the penalty shall bereclusion offense is the most important element in
perpetua, that is the penalty in the Revised considering it heinous but at the same time, we
Penal Code. So we thought that it would be should consider the relation of the offense to
best to just amend the provisions of the society in order to have a complete idea of the
heinous nature of these offenses.
Revised Penal Code, restoring the death
penalty for some crimes that may be
considered as heinous. That is why the bill is in In the case of malversation or bribery, for
this form amending the provisions of the instance, these offenses by themselves
Revised Penal Code. connected with the effect upon society and the
government have made them fall under the
classification of heinous crimes. The compelling
Of course, if some people want to present a
special bill . . . the whole trouble is, when a reason for imposing the death penalty is when
the offenses of malversation and bribery
special bill is presented and we want to punish
in the special bill the case of murder, for becomes so grave and so serious as indicated
instance, we will have to reproduce the in the substitute bill itself, then there is a
provisions of the Revised Penal Code on compelling reason for the death penalty.
murder in order to define the crime for which
the death penalty shall be imposed. Or if we Senator Tanada. With respect to the compelling
want to impose the death penalty in the case of reasons. Mr. President, does the Gentleman
kidnapping which is punished in the Revised believe that these compelling reasons, which
Penal Code, we will do the same — merely would call for the reimposition of the death
reproduce. Why will we do that? So we just penalty, should be separately, distinctly and
followed the simpler method of keeping the clearly stated for each crime so that it will be
definition of the crime as the same and merely very clear to one and all that not only are these
adding some aggravating circumstances and crimes heinous but also one can see the
reimposing the death penalty in these offenses compelling reasons for the reimposition of the
originally punished in the Revised Penal death penalty therefor?
Code. 30
Senator Tolentino. Mr. President that matter
From March 17, 1993, when the death penalty bill was presented was actually considered by the Committee. But
for discussion until August 16, 1993, the Members of the Senate the decision of the Committee was to avoid
debated on its provisions. stating the compelling reason for each and
every offense that is included in the substitute
measure. That is why in the preamble, general
statements were made to show these heinous, is not very important. If the question is
compelling reasons. And that we believe, raised in the Supreme court, it is not what we
included in the bill, when converted into law, say in the bill that will be controlling but what
would be sufficient notice as to what were the Supreme Court will fell as a sufficient
considered compelling reasons by the compelling reason or as to the heinous nature
Congress, in providing the death penalty for whether the crime is heinous or not. The
these different offenses. accused can certainly raise the matter of
constitutionality but it will not go into the matter
If a matter like this is questioned before the of due process. It will go into the very power of
Supreme Court, I would suppose that with the Congress to enact a bill imposing the death
preamble already in general terms, the penalty. So that would be entirely separate
Supreme Court would feel that it was the sense from the matter of due process. 34
of Congress that this preamble would be
applicable to each and every offense described Senator Francisco Tatad, on his part, pointed out that the death
or punishable in the measure. penalty bill violated our international commitment in support of the
worldwide abolition of capital punishment, the Philippines being a
signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
So we felt that it was not necessary to repeat
these compelling reasons for each and every and its Second Optional Protocol. Senator Ernesto Herrera
clarified, however, that in the United Nations, subject matters are
offense.
submitted to the different committees which vote on them for
consideration in the plenary session. He stressed that unless
Senator Tanada. Mr. President, I am thinking approved in the plenary session, a declaration would have no
about the constitutional limitations upon the binding effect on signatory countries. In this respect, the
power of Congress to enact criminal legislation, Philippines cannot be deemed irrevocably bound by said covenant
especially the provisions on the Bill of Rights, and protocol considering that these agreements have reached only
particularly the one which says that no person the committee level.35
shall be held to answer for a criminal offense
without due process of law.
After the protracted debate, the Members of the Senate voted on
Senate Bill No. 891 on third reading. With seventeen (17)
Can we not say that under this provision, it is affirmative votes, four (4) negative votes, and one abstention, the
required that the compelling reasons be so death penalty bill was approved on third reading on August 16,
stated in the bill so that the bill, when it 1993.
becomes a law, will clearly define the acts and
the omissions punished as crimes?
The Senate's vote to pass Senate Bill No. 891 on third reading on
August 16, 1993 was a vindication of, the House of
Senator Tolentino. Mr. President I believe that Representatives. The House had, in the Eight Congress, earlier
in itself, as substantive law, this is sufficient. approved on third reading House Bill No. 295 on the restoration of
The question of whether there is due process the death penalty for certain heinous crimes. The House was in
will more or less be a matter of procedure in the effect rebuffed by the Senate when the Senate killed House Bill
compliance with the requirements of the No. 295 along with other bills coming from the House. House Bill
Constitution with respect to due process itself No. 295 was resurrected during the Ninth Congress in the form of
which is a separate matter from the substantive House Bill No. 62 which was introduced by twenty one (21)
law as to the definition and penalty for crimes. Members of the House of Representatives on October 27, 1992.
House Bill No. 62 was a merger of House Bill Nos. 125, 187, 411,
Senator Tanada. Under the Constitution, Mr. 764, 506, 781, 955, 1565, 1586, 2206, 3238, 3576 and 3632
President, it appears that the reimposition of authored by various Members of the Lower House.
the death penalty is subject to three conditions
and these are: In his Sponsorship Speech, Representative Manuel R. Sanchez of
Rizal ably essayed the constitutional vesting in Congress of the
1. power to re-impose the death penalty for compelling reasons
Congres invoking heinous crimes as well as the nature of this constitutional
s should pre-requisite to the exercise of such power.
so
provide "Mr. Speaker, in Article III, Section 19(1) of Constitution reads, a I
such quote:
reimposit
ion of the
death Neither shall death penalty be imposed, unless,
penalty; for compelling reasons involving heinous
crimes, the Congress shall thereafter provide
for it. . .
2. There
are
compellin The phrase "unless, for compelling reasons
involving heinous crimes, the Congress shall
g
reasons; thereafter provide for it was introduced as an
amendment by then Comm. Christian Monsod.
and

3. These The import of this amendment is unmistakable.


involve By this amendment, the death penalty was not
completely abolished by the 1987 Constitution.
heinous
crimes. Rather, it merely suspended the death penalty
and gave Congress the discretion to review it at
the propitious time.
Under these provision of the Constitution,
paragraph 1, Section 13, does the
distinguished Gentleman not feel that Congress Arguing for the inclusion of said amendment in
the fine provision, Comm. Ricardo Romulo said,
is bound to state clearly the compelling reasons
for the reimposition of the death penalty for and I quote:
each crime, as well as the elements that make
each of the crimes heinous included in the bill? "The people should have the
final say on the subject,
Senator Tolentino. Mr. President, that is a because, at some future
matter of opinion already. I believe that whether time, the people might want
we state the compelling reasons or not, to restore death penalty
whether we state why a certain offense is through initiative and
referendum.
Commissioner Monsod further argued, and I society is unwilling or unable
quote: to impose upon criminal
offenders the punishment
they deserve, there are
We cannot presume to have
the wisdom of the ages. sown the seeds of anarchy
Therefore, it is entirely — of self-help, of vigilante
possible in the future that justice and lynch law. The
circumstances may arise people will take the law
which we should not upon their hands and exact
preclude today. vengeance in the nature of
personal vendetta."

xxx xxx xxx


It is for this reason, Mr. Speaker, that I stand
here and support House Bill No. 62.
I believe that [there] are enough compelling
reasons that merit the reimposition of the
capital punishment. The violent manner and the As duly elected Representatives of our people,
viciousness in which crimes are now committed collectively, we ought to listen to our
with alarming regularity, show very clearly a constitutents and heed their plea — a plea for
patent disregard of the law and a mockery of life, liberty and pursuit of their happiness under
public peace and order. a regime of justice and democracy, and without
threat that their loves ones will be kidnapped,
raped or butchered.
In the public gallery section today are the
relatives of the vict ims of heinous crimes — the
Hultmans, the Maguans, the Vizcondes, the But if such a misfortune befalls them, there is
the law they could rely on for justice. A law that
Castanoses, and many more, and they are all
crying for justice. We ought to listen to them will exact retribution for the victims. A law that
will deter future animalistic behavior of the
because their lives, their hopes, their dreams,
their future have fallen asunder by the cruel criminal who take their selfish interest over and
above that of society. A law that will deal a
and vicious criminality of a few who put their
selfish interest above that of society. deathblow upon all heinous crimes.

Heinous crime is an act or series of acts which, Mr. Speaker, my distinguished colleagues, for
the preservation of all that we hold dear and
by the flagrantly violent manner in which the
same was committed or by the reason of its sacred, let us retore the death penalty. 36
inherent viciousness, shows a patent disregard
and mockery of the law, public peace and A studious comparison of the legislative proceedings in the Senate
order, or public morals. It is an offense whose and in the House of Representatives reveals that, while both
essential and inherent viciousness and atrocity Chambers were not wanting of oppositors to the death penalty, the
are repugnant and outrageous to a civilized Lower House seemed less quarrelsome about the form of the
society and hence, shock the moral self of a death penalty bill as a special law specifying certain heinous
people. crimes without regard to the provisions of the Revised penal Code
and more unified in the perception of what crimes are heinous and
Of late, we are witness to such kind of barbaric that the fact of their very heinousness involves the compulsion and
the imperative to suppress, if not completely eradicate, their
crimes.
occurrence. Be it the foregoing general statement of
Representative Sanchez or the following details of the nature of
The Vizconde massacre that took the lives of a the heinous crimes enumerated in House Bill No. 62 by
mother and her two lovely daughters, will stand Representative Miguel L. Romero of Negros Oriental, there was
in the people's memory for many long years as clearly, among the hundred or so re-impositionists in the Lower
the epitome of viciousness and atrocity that are House, no doubt as to their cause:
repugnant to civilized society.
My friends, this bill provides for the imposition
The senseless murder of Eldon Maguan, and of the death penalty not only for the
up-and-coming young business executive, was importation, manufacture and sale of
and still is an outrage that shocks the moral self dangerous drugs, but also far other heinous
of our people. crimes such as reason; parricide; murder;
kidnapping; robbery; rape as defined by the
The mind-boggling death of Maureen Revised Penal Code with or without additionally
Hultmann, a comely 16 year-old high school defined circumstances; plunder, as defined in
student who dreamt of becoming a commercial R.A. 7080; piracy, as defined under Section 2
model someday, at the hands of a crazed man of PD 532: carnapping, as defined in Section 2
was so repulsive, so brutal that it offends the of RA 6539, when the owner, driver or
sensibilities of Christians and non-Christians occupant is killed; hijacking as defined in . . .
alike. RA 6235; and arson resulting in the death of
any occupants.
The cold-blooded double murder of Cochise
Bernabe and Beebom Castanos, the lovely and All these crimes have a common denominator
promising couple from the University of the which qualifies them to the level of heinous
Philippines, is eternally lodged in the recesses crimes. A heinous crime is one which by reason
of our minds and still makes our stomach turn of its inherent or manifest wickedness,
in utter disgust. viciousness, atrocity or perversity, is repugnant
and outrageous to the common standards of
decency and morality in a just and civilized
xxx xxx xxx society.

The seriousness of the situation is such that if For instance, the crime of treason is defined as
no radical action is taken by this body in a breach of allegiance to a government,
restoring death penalty as a positive response committed by a person who owes allegiance to
to the overwhelming clamor of the people, then, it (U.S. v. Abad I Phil. 437). By the "allegiance"
as Professor Esteban Bautista of the Philippine is meant the obligation of fidelity and obedience
Law Center said and I quote: which individuals owe to the government under
which they live or to their sovereign in return for
"When people begin to the protection which they receive (52 Arm Jur
believe that organized 797).
In kidnapping, the though alone of one's loved without complying with the twin requirements of compelling
one being held against his or her own will in reasons and heinous crimes.
some unidentified xxx house by a group of
scoundrels who are strangers is enough terrify
At this juncture, the detailed events leading to the enactment of
and send shivers of fear through the spine of R.A. No. 7659 as unfurled in the beginning of this disquisition,
any person, even scoundrels themselves. necessarily provide the context for the following analysis.

In robbery accompanied by rape, intentional


Article III, Section 19 (1) of the 1987 Constitution plainly vests in
mutilation or arson, what is being punished by Congress the power to re-impose the death penalty "for compelling
death is the fact that the perpetrator, at the time reasons involving heinous crimes". This power is not subsumed in
of the commission of the crime, thinks nothing the plenary legislative power of Congress, for it is subject to a clear
of the other crime he commits and sees it showing of "compelling reasons involving heinous crimes."
merely as a form of self-amusement. When a
homicide is committed by reason of the
robbery, the culprits are perceived as willing to The constitutional exercise of this limited power to re-impose the
take human life in exchange for money or other death penalty entails (1) that Congress define or describe what is
personal property. meant by heinous crimes; (2) that Congress specify and penalize
by death, only crimes that qualify as heinous in accordance with
the definition or description set in the death penalty bill and/or
In the crime of rape, not only do we speak of designate crimes punishable by reclusion perpetua to death in
the pain and agony of the parents over the which latter case, death can only be imposed upon the attendance
personal shock and suffering of their child but
of circumstances duly proven in court that characterize the crime
the stigma of the traumatic and degrading to be heinous in accordance with the definition or description set in
incident which has shattered the victim's life
the death penalty bill; and (3) that Congress, in enacting this death
and permanently destroyed her reputation, not penalty bill be singularly motivated by "compelling reasons
to mention the ordeal of having to undergo the involving heinous crimes."
shameful experience of police interrogation and
court hearings.
In the second whereas clause of the preamble of R.A. No. 7659,
we find the definition or description of heinous crimes. Said clause
Piracy, which is merely a higher form of
provides that:
robbery, is punished for the universal hostility of
the perpetrators against their victims who are
passengers and complement of the vessel, and . . . the crimes punishable by death under this
because of the fact that, in the high seas, no Act are heinous for being grievous, odious and
one may be expected to be able to come to the hateful offenses and which, by reason of their
rescue of the helpless victims. For the same inherent or manifest wickedness, viciousness,
reason, Mr. Speaker, the crime of air piracy is atrocity and perversity are repugnant and
punished due to the evil motive of the hijackers outrageous to the common standards and
in making unreasonable demands upon the norms of decency and morality in a just civilized
sovereignty of an entire nation or nations, and ordered society.
coupled with the attendant circumstance of
subjecting the passengers to terrorism. 37 Justice Santiago Kapunan, in his dissenting opinion
in People v. Alicando, 40 traced the etymological root of
The debate on House Bill No. 62 lasted from October 27, 1992 to the word "heinous" to the Early Spartans' word,
February 11, 1993. On February 11, 1993, the Members of the "haineus", meaning hateful and abominable, which in
House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the death turn, was from the Greek prefix "haton", denoting acts so
penalty bill on second reading. hatefully or shockingly evil.

On February 23, 1993, after explaining their votes, the Members of We find the foregoing definition or description to be a sufficient
the House of Representatives cast their vote on House Bill No. 62 criterion of what is to be considered a heinous crime. This criterion
when it was up for consideration on third reading. 38 The results is deliberately undetailed as to the circumstances of the victim, the
were 123 votes in favor, 26 votes against, and 2 abstentions. accused, place, time, the manner of commission of crime, its
proximate consequences and effects on the victim as well as on
society, to afford the sentencing authority sufficient leeway to
After the approval on third reading of House Bill No. 62 on exercise his discretion in imposing the appropriate penalty in cases
February 23, 1993 and of Senate Bill No. 891 on August 16, 1993, where R.A. No 7659 imposes not a mandatory penalty of death but
the Bicameral Conference Committee convened to incorporate and the more flexible penalty of reclusion perpetua to death.
consolidate them.

During the debates on the proposed death penalty bill, Senators


On December 31, 1993, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7659, entitled, Lina and Tañada grilled the sponsors of the bill as regards what
"An Act to Impose the Death Penalty on Certain Heinous Crimes, they perceived as a mere enumeration of capital crimes without a
Amending for that Purpose the Revised Penal Code, as Amended, specification of the elements that make them heinous. They were
Other Special Penal Laws, and for Other Purposes," took effect. 39 oblivious to the fact that there were two types of crimes in the
death penalty bill: first, there were crimes penalized by reclusion
Between December 31, 1993, when R.A No. 7659 took effect, and perpetua to death; and second, there were crimes penalized by
the present time, criminal offenders have been prosecuted under mandatory capital punishment upon the attendance of certain
said law, and one of them, herein accused-appellant has been, specified qualifying circumstances.
pursuant to said law, meted out the supreme penalty of death for
raping his ten-year old daughter. Upon his conviction his case was Under R.A. No. 7659, the following crimes are penalized
elevated to us on automatic review. On June 25, 1996, we affirmed by reclusion perpetua to death:
his conviction and the death sentence.

(1)
Now, accused-appellant comes to us in the heels of this court's Treason
affirmation of his death sentence and raises for the first time the (Sec. 2);
issue of the constitutionality of R.A. 7659. His thesis is two-fold: (1)
that the death penalty law is unconstitutional per se for having
been enacted in the absence of compelling reasons therefor; and (2)
(2) that the death penalty for rape is a cruel, excessive and Qualified
inhuman punishment in violation of the constitutional proscription piracy
against punishment of such nature. (Sec. 3);

We reject accused-appellant's proposition. (3)


Parricide
(Sec. 5);
Three justices interposed their dissent hereto, agreeing with
accused-appellant's view that Congress enacted R.A No. 7659
(4) building
Murder where
(Sec. 6); people
usually
(5) gather;
Infanticid (c) a
e (Sec. train,
7); ship or
airplane
for public
(6) use: (d) a
Kidnappi building
ng and or factory
serious in the
illegal service
detention of public
if utilities:
attended (e) a
by any of building
the for the
following purpose
four of
circumst concealin
ances: g or
(a) the destroyin
victim g
was evidence
detained of a
for more crime: (f)
than an
three arsenal,
days; (6) fireworks
it was factory,
committe or
d governm
simulatin ent
g public museum:
authority; and (g) a
(c) storehou
serious se or
physical factory of
injuries explosive
were materials
inflicted located
on the in an
victim or inhabited
threats to place; or
kill him regardles
were s of what
made; is burned
and (d) if if the
the victim arson is
is a perpetrat
minor, ed by
except two or
when the more
accused persons(
is any of Sec. 10);
the
parents,
female or (9) Rape
attended
a public
officer by any of
(Sec. 8); the
following
circumst
(7) ances:
Robbery (a) the
with rape is
homicide committe
, rape or d with a
intention deadly
al weapon;
mutilatio (b) the
n (Sec. rape is
9); committe
d by two
(8) or more
Destructi persons:
ve arson and (c)
if what is the rape
burned is is
(a) one attempte
or more d or
buildings frustrated
or and
edifice; committe
(b) a d with
homicide ure of
(Sec. regulated
11); drugs
(id.);
(10)
Plunder (19)
involving Sale,
at least administr
P50 ation,
million(S dispensa
ec. 12); tion,
delivery,
(11) transport
Importati ation,
on of and
prohibite distributi
on of
d drugs
(Sec. regulated
drugs
13),
(id.):

(12)
Sale, (20)
Maintena
administr
ation nce of
delivery, den,
distributi dive, or
on, and resort for
transport users of
ation of regulated
prohibite drugs
d drugs (Sec.
15),
(id.);

(13) (21)
Maintena Possessi
on or use
nce of
den, dive of
regulated
or resort
for users drugs in
of specified
prohibite amounts
d drugs (Sec.
(id.); 16);

(14) (22)
Manufact Misappro
ure of priation,
prohibite misapplic
d drugs ation or
(id.); failure to
account
dangerou
(15) s drugs
Possessi confiscat
on or use ed by the
of arresting
prohibite officer
d drugs (Sec.
in certain 17);
specified
amounts
(id.) (23)
Planting
evidence
(16) of
Cultivatio dangerou
n of s drugs
plants in person
which or
are immediat
sources e vicinity
of of
prohibite another
d drugs to
(id.) implicate
the latter
(17) (Sec.
Importati 19); and
on of
regulated (24)
drugs Carnappi
(Sec. ng where
1J): the
owner,
(18) driver or
Manufact occupant
of the When by reason or on the occasion of the rape,
carnappe a homicide is committed, the penalty shall be
d motor death.
vehicle is
killed or The death penalty shall also be Imposed if the
raped crime of rape is committed with any of the
(Sec. following attendant circumstances:
20).

1. When the victim is under eighteen (18) years


All the foregoing crimes are not capital crimes per se, the of age and the offender is parent, ascendant,
uniform penalty for all of them being not mandatory death step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity
but the flexible penalty of reclusion perpetua to death. In or affinity within the third civil degree, or the
other words, it is premature to demand for a specification common-law spouse of the parent of the victim.
of the heinous elements in each of the foregoing crimes
because they are not anyway mandatorily penalized with
death. The elements that call for the imposition of the 2. when the victim is under the custody of the
supreme penalty of death in these crimes, would only be police or military authorities.
relevant when the trial court, given the prerogative to
imposereclusion perpetua, instead actually imposes the 3. when the rape is committed in full new of the
death penalty because it has, in appreciating the husband, parent, any of the children or other
evidence proffered before it, found the attendance of relatives within the third degree of
certain circumstances in the manner by which the crime consanguinity.
was committed, or in the person of the accused on his
own or in relation to the victim, or in any other matter of
significance to the commission of the crime or its effects 4. when the victim is a religious or a child below
on the victim or on society, which circumstances seven (7) years old.
characterize the criminal acts as grievous, odious, or
hateful, or inherently or manifestly wicked, vicious, 5. when the offender that he is afflicted with
atrocious or perverse as to be repugnant and outrageous Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
to the common standards and norms of decency and disease.
morality in a just, civilized and ordered society.
6. when committal by any member of the
On the other hand. under R.A. No 7659, the mandatory penalty of Armed Forces of the Philippines or the
death is imposed in the following crimes: Philippine National Police or any law
enforcement agency.
(1) Qualified bribery
7. when by reason or on the occasion of the
"If any public officer is entrusted with law rape, the victim has suffered permanent
enforcement and he refrains from arresting or physical mutilation. (Sec. 11)
prosecuting an offender who has committed a
come punishable by reclusion perpetua and/or (5) Sale, administration, delivery, distribution
death in consideration of any offer, promise, gift and transportation of prohibited drugs where
or present, he shall suffer the penalty for the the victim is a minor or the victim dies
offense which was not prosecuted
"Notwithstanding, the provision of Section 20 of
If it is the public officer who asks or demands this Act to the contrary, if the victim of the
such gift or present, he shall suffer the penalty offense is a minor, or should a prohibited drug
of death. (Sec. 4) involved in any offense under this Section be
the proximate cause of the death of victim
(2) Kidnapping and serious illegal detention for thereof; the maximum penalty [of death] herein
ransom resulting in the death of the victim or provided shall be imposed." (Sec. 13)
the victim is raped tortured or subjected to
dehumanizing acts (6) Maintenance of den, dive, or resort for users
of prohibited drugs where the victim is a minor
"The penalty shall be death where the or the victim dies
kidnapping or detention was committed for the
purpose of ransom from the victim or any other "Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 20 of
person, even if none of the circumstances this Act to the contrary, the maximum of the
above-mentioned were present in the penalty (of death) shall be imposed in every
commission of the offense. case where a prohibited drug is administered,
delivered or sold to a minor who is allowed to
When the victim is killed or dies as a use the same in such place.
consequence of the detention " is raped, or is
subject to torture or dehumanizing acts, the Should a prohibited drug be the proximate case
maximum penalty [of death] shall be imposed. of the death of a person using the same in such
(Sec. 8) den, dive or resort, the maximum penalty
herein provided shall be imposed on the
(3) Destructive arson resulting in death maintainer notwithstanding the provisions of
Section 20 of this Act to the contrary." (Sec. 13)
"If as a consequence of the commission of any
of the acts penalized under this Article, death (7) Sale, administration, dispensation, delivery,
results, the mandatory penalty of death shall be distribution and transportation of regulated
imposed." (Sec. 10) drugs where the victim is a minor or the victim
dies
(4) Rape with the victim becoming insane, rape
with homicide and qualified rape "Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 20 of
this Act to the contrary, if the victim of the
offense is a minor, or should a regulated drug
"When by reason or on the occasion of the involved in any offense under this Section be
rape, the victim has become insane, the the proximate cause of the death of a victim
penalty shall be death. thereof, the maximum penalty [of death] herein
provided shall be imposed." (Sec. 14)
xxx xxx xxx
(8) Maintenance of den, dive. or resort for users to dehumanizing acts; destructive arson resulting in death; and
of regulated drugs where the victim is a minor drug offenses involving minors or resulting in the death of the
or the victim dies victim in the case of other crimes; as well as murder, rape,
parricide, infanticide, kidnapping and serious illegal detention
'Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 20 of where the victim is detained for more than three days or serious
this Act to the contrary, the maximum penalty physical injuries were indicted on the victim or threats to kill him
[of death] herein provided shall be imposed in were made or the victim is a minor, robbery with homicide rape or
every case where a regulated drug is intentional mutilation, destructive arson, and carnapping where the
administered, delivered or sold to a minor who owner, driver or occupant of the carnapped vehicle is killed or
is allowed to use the same in such place. raped, which are penalized by reclusion perpetua to death, are
clearly heinous by their very nature.

Should a regulated drug be the proximate


cause of death of a person using the same in There are crimes, however, in which the abomination lies in the
such den, dive or resort, the maximum penalty significance and implications of the subject criminal acts in the
herein provided shall be imposed on the scheme of the larger socio-political and economic context in which
maintainer notwithstanding the provisions of the state finds itself to be struggling to develop and provide for its
poor and underprivileged masses. Reeling from decades of corrupt
Section 20 of this Act to the contrary." (Sec. 15)
tyrannical rule that bankrupted the government and impoverished
the population, the Philippine Government must muster the
(9) Drug offenses if convicted are government political will to dismantle the culture of corruption dishonesty, greed
officials, employees or officers including and Syndicated criminality that so deeply entrenched itself in the
members of police agencies and armed forces structures of society and the psyche of the populace. Terribly
lacking the money to provide even the most basic services to its
"The maximum penalties [of death] provided for people, any form of misappropriation or misapplication of
in Section 3, 4 (1), 5 (1 ), 6, 7, 8. R, 9 1 1, 12 government funds translates to an actual threat to the very
and 13 of Article II and Sections 14, 14-A, 14 ( existence of government, and in turn, the very survival of the
1), 15A (1), 16, and 19 of Article III [of the people it governs over. Viewed in this context, no less heinous are
Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972] shall be the effects and repercussions of crimes like qualified bribery,
imposed, if those found guilty of any of the destructive arson resulting in death, and drug offenses involving
same offenses are government officials, government officials, employees or officers, that their perpetrators
employees or officers including members of must not be allowed to cause further destruction and damage to
police agencies and the armed forces. " (Sec. society.
19)
We have no doubt, therefore, that insofar as the element of
(10) Planting of dangerous drugs as evidence heinousness is concerned, R.A. No. 7659 has correctly identified
in drug offenses with the mandatory death crimes warranting the mandatory penalty of death. As to the other
penalty if convicted are government officials, crimes in R.A No 7659 punished by reclusion perpetua to death,
employees or officers they are admittingly no less abominable than those mandatorily
penalized by death. The proper time to determine their
heinousness in contemplation of law, is when on automatic review,
"Any such above government official, employee we are called to pass on a death Sentence involving crimes
or officer who is round guilty of planting any punishable by reclusion perpetua to death under R.A. No. 7659,
dangerous drugs punished in Section s 3, 4, 7, with the trial court meting out the death sentence in exercise of
8, 9 and 13 of Article II and Sections 14, 14-A, judicial discretion. This is not to say, however, that the aggravating
15, and 16 of Article III (of the Dangerous circumstances under the Revised Penal Code need be additionally
Drugs Act of 1972) in the person or in the alleged as establishing the heinousness of the crime for the trial
immediate vicinity of another as evidence to Court to validly impose the death penalty in the crimes under R.A.
implicate the latter, shall suffer the same No. 7659 which are punished with the flexible penalty of reclusion
penalty as therein provided." (Sec. 19) perpetua to death.

(11) In all the crimes in RA. No. 7659 in their In the first place, the 1987 Constitution did not amend or repeal the
qualified form provisions of the Revised Penal Code relating to aggravating
circumstances Secondly, R.A. No. 7659, while it specifies
"When in the commission of the crime, circumstances that generally qualify a crime provided therein to be
advantage was taken by the offends of his punished by the maximum penalty of death, neither amends nor
public position, the penalty to be imposed shall repeals the aggravating circumstances under the Revised Penal
be in its maximum [of death] regardless of Code. Thus, construing R.A. No. 7659 in pari materia with the
mitigating circumstances. Revised Penal Code, death may be imposed when (1) aggravating
circumstances attend the commission of the crime as to make
operative the provision of the Revised Penal Code regarding the
The maximum penalty [of death] shall be imposition of the maximum penalty; and (2) other circumstances
imposed if the offense was committed by any attend the commission of the crime which indubitably characterize
person who belongs to an the same as heinous in contemplation of R.A. No. 7659 that justify
organized/syndicated crime group. the imposition of death, albeit the imposable penalty isreclusion
perpetua to death. Without difficulty, we understand the rationale
An organized/syndicated crime group means a for the guided discretion granted in the trial court to cognize
group of two or more persons collaborating, circumstances that characterize the commission of the crime as
confederating or mutually helping one another heinous. Certainly there is an infinity of circumstances that may
for purposes of gain in the commission of any attend the commission of a crime to the same extent that there is
crime." (Sec. 23) no telling the evil that man is capable of. The legislature cannot
and need not foresee and inscribe in law each and every
loathsome act man is capable of. It is sufficient thus that R.A. No.
It is specifically against the foregoing capital crimes that the test of
7659 provides the test and yardstick for the determination of the
heinousness must be squarely applied.
legal situation warranting the imposition of the supreme penalty of
death. Needless to say, we are not unaware of the ever existing
The evil of a crime may take various forms. There are crimes that danger of abuse of discretion on the part of the trial court in meting
are, by their very nature, despicable, either because life was out the death sentence. Precisely to reduce to nil the possibility of
callously taken or the victim is treated like an animal and utterly executing an innocent man or one criminal but not heinously
dehumanized as to completely disrupt the normal course of his or criminal, R.A. No. 7659 is replete with both procedural and
her growth as a human being. The right of a person is not only to substantive safeguards that ensure only the correct application of
live but to live a quality life, and this means that the rest of society the mandate of R.A. No. 7659.
is obligated to respect his or her individual personality, the integrity
and the sanctity of his or her own physical body, and the value he
In the course of the congressional debates on the constitutional
or she puts in his or her own spiritual, psychological, material and
requirement that the death penalty be re-imposed for compelling
social preferences and needs. Seen in this light, the capital crimes
reasons involving heinous crimes, we note that the main objection
of kidnapping and serious illegal detention for ransom resulting in
to the death penalty bill revolved around the persistent demand of
the death of the victim or the victim is raped, tortured, or subjected
the abolitionists for a statement of the compelling reason in each zealously fighting against racial discrimination. Thus, the U.S.
and every heinous crime and statistical proof that such compelling Supreme Court stated in Furman:
reason actually exists.
We cannot say from facts disclosed in these
We believe, however, that the elements of heinousness and records that these defendants were sentenced
compulsion are inseparable and are, in fact, interspersed with to death because they were black. Yet our task
each other. Because the subject crimes are either so revolting and is not restricted to an effort to divine what
debasing as to violate the most minimum of the human standards motives impelled these death penalties. Rather,
of decency or its effects, repercussions, implications and we deal with a system of law and of justice that
consequences so destructive, destabilizing, debilitating, or leaves to the uncontrolled discretion of judges
aggravating in the context of our socio-political and economic or juries the determination whether defendants
agenda as a developing nation, these crimes must be frustrated, committing these crimes should die . . . .
curtailed and altogether eradicated. There can be no its or buts in
the face of evil, and we cannot afford to wait until we rub elbows xxx xxx xxx
with it before grasping it by the ears and thrashing it to its
demission.
In a Nation committed to equal protection of the
laws there is no permissible caste' aspect of
The abolitionists in congress insisted that all criminal reforms first law enforcement. Yet we know that the
be pursued and implemented before the death penalty be re- discretion of judges and juries in imposing the
imposed in case such reforms prove unsuccessful They claimed death penalty enables the penalty to be
that the only compelling reason contemplated of by the constitution
selectively applied feeding prejudices against
is that nothing else but the death penalty is left for the government the accused if he is poor and despised . . .
to resort to that could check the chaos and the destruction that is
being caused by unbridled criminality. Three of our colleagues, are
of the opinion that the compelling reason required by the xxx xxx xxx
constitution is that there occurred a dramatic and significant
change in the socio-cultural milieu after the suspension of the Thus, these discretionary statutes are
death penalty on February 2, 1987 such as an unprecedented rise unconstitutional in their operation. They are
in the incidence of criminality. Such are, however, interpretations pregnant with discrimination and discrimination
only of the phrase "compelling; reasons" but not of the conjunctive is an ingredient not compatible with the idea of
phrase "compelling reasons involving heinous crimes". The equal protection of the laws that is implicit in
imposition of the requirement that there be a rise in the incidence the ban on cruel and unusual punishments.
of criminality because of the suspension of the death penalty,
moreover, is an unfair and misplaced demand, for what it amounts
to, in fact, is a requirement that the death penalty first proves itself Furman, thus, did not outlaw the death penalty because it was
to be a truly deterrent factor in criminal behavior. If there was a cruel and unusual per se. While the U.S. Supreme Court nullified
dramatically higher incidence of criminality during the time that the all discretionary death penalty statutes in Furman, it did so
death penalty was suspended, that would have proven that the because the discretion which these statutes vested in the trial
death penalty was indeed a deterrent during the years before its judges and sentencing juries was uncontrolled and without any
suspension. Suffice it to say that the constitution in the first place parameters, guidelines, or standards intended to lessen, if not
did not require that the death penalty be first proven to be a altogether eliminate, the intervention of personal biases, prejudices
deterrent; what it requires is that there be compelling reasons and discriminatory acts on the part of the trial judges and
involving heinous crimes. sentencing juries.

Article III, Section 19(1) of the 1987 Constitution simply states that Consequently, in the aftermath of Furman when most of the states
congress, for compelling reasons involving heinous crimes, may re-enacted their death penalty statutes now bearing the procedural
re-impose the death penalty. Nothing in the said provision imposes checks that were required by the U.S. Supreme Court, said court
a requirement that for a death penalty bill to be valid, a positive affirmed the constitutionality of the new death penalty statutes in
manifestation in the form of a higher incidence of crime should first the cases of Gregg v. Georgia, 42 Jurek v.
be perceived and statistically proven following the suspension of Texas, 43 and Profitt v. Florida 44.
the death penalty. Neither does the said provision require that the
death penalty be resorted to as a last recourse when all other Next, accused-appellant asseverates that the death penalty is a
criminal reforms have failed to abate criminality in society It is cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment for the crime of rape
immaterial and irrelevant that R.A. No. 7659 cites that there has mainly because the latter, unlike murder, does not involve the
been an "alarming upsurge of such crimes", for the same was taking of life. In support of his contention, accused-appellant
never intended by said law to be the yardstick to determine the largely relies on the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in Coker
existence of compelling reasons involving heinous crimes. v. Georgia. 45
Fittingly, thus, what R.A. No. 7659 states is that "the Congress, in
the interest of justice, public order and rule of law, and the need to
rationalize and harmonize the penal sanctions for heinous crimes, In Coker, the U.S Supreme Court ruled as follows:
finds compelling reasons to impose the death penalty for said
crimes." . . . It is now settled that the death penalty is not
invariably cruel and punishment within the
We now proceed to answer accused-appellant's other ground for meaning of Eight Amendment; it is not
attacking the constitutionality of R.A. No. 7659,i.e., that the death inherently unacceptable mode of punishment
penalty imposed in rape is violative of the constitutional for crime; neither is it always disproportionate to
proscription against cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment. the crime for which it is imposed. It is also
established that imposing capital punishment at
least for murder, in accordance with the
Accused-appellant first claims that the death penalty is per se a procedures provided under the Georgia
cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment as ruled by the United Statutes saves the sentence from the infirmities
States (U.S.) Supreme Court in Furman v. Georgia. 41 To state, which led the Court to invalidate the prior
however, that the U.S. Supreme Court, in Furman, categorically Georgia capital punishment statute in Furman
ruled that the death penalty is a cruel, degrading or inhuman v. Georgia . . .
punishment, is misleading and inaccurate.
xxx xxx xxx
The issue in Furman was not so much death penalty itself but the
arbitrariness pervading the procedures by which the death penalty
was imposed on the accused by the sentencing jury. Thus, the In Gregg [v. Georgia] . . . the Court's judgment
defense theory in Furmancentered not so much on the nature of was that the death penalty for deliberate
the death penalty as a criminal sanction but on the discrimination murder was neither the purposeless Imposition
against the black accused who is meted out the death penalty by a of severe punishment nor a punishment grossly
white jury that is given the unconditional discretion to determine disproportionate to the crime. But the Court
whether or not to impose the death penalty. In fact, the long road reserved the question of the constitutionality of
of the American abolitionist movement leading to the landmark the death penalty when imposed for other
case of Furman was trekked by American civil rights advocates crimes. . . .
That question, with respect to rape of an adult involve the unjustified taking of human life.
woman, is now before us. Although it may be accompanied by another
crime, rape by definition does not include the
death of or even the serious injury to another
xxx xxx xxx
person. The murderer kills; the rapist, if no
more than that does not. Life is over for the
. . . [T]he public judgment with respect to rape. victim of the murderer; for the rape victim, life
as reflected in the statutes providing the may not be nearly so happy as it was, but it is
punishment for that crime, has been not over and normally is not beyond repair. We
dramatically different. In reviving death penalty have the abiding conviction that the death
laws to satisfy Furman's mandate, none of the penalty, which "is unique in its severity and
states that had not previously authorized death irrevocability" . . . is an excessive penalty for
for rape chose to include rape among capital the rapist who, as such does not take human
felonies. Of the 16 States in which rape had life.
been a capital offense, only three provided the
death penalty for rape of an adult woman in
their revised statutes-Georgia, North Carolina The U.S. Supreme Court based its foregoing ruling on two
grounds: first, that the public has manifested its rejection of the
and Louisiana. In the latter two States, the
death penalty was mandatory for those found death penalty an a proper punishment for the crime of rape
through the willful omission by the state legislatures to include rape
guilty, and those laws were invalidated by
Woodson and Roberts. When Louisiana and in their in the aftermath of Furman; and second, that rape, while
North Carolina respondent to those decisions, concededly a dastardly contemptuous violation of a woman's
again revised their capital punishment laws, spiritual integrity, physical privacy, and psychological balance,
they reenacted the death penalty for murder but does not involve the taking of life.
not for rape; none of the seven other
legislatures that to our knowledge have Anent the first ground, we fail to see how this could have any
amended or replaced their death penalty bearing on the Philippine experience and in the context of our own
statutes since July 2, 1976, including four culture.
States (in addition to Louisiana and North
Carolina) that had authorized the death Anent the second ground, we disagree with the court's predicate
sentence for rape prior to 1972 and had that the gauge of whether or not a crime warrants the death
reacted to Furman with mandatory statutes, penalty or not, is the attendance of the circumstance of death on
included rape among the crimes for which
the part of the victim. Such a premise is in fact an ennobling of the
death was an authorized punishment. biblical notion of retributive justice of "an eye for an eye, a tooth for
a tooth". We have already demonstrated earlier in our discussion
xxx xxx xxx of heinous crimes that the forfeiture of life simply because life was
taken, never was a defining essence of the death penalty in the
It should be noted that Florida. Mississippi, and context of our legal history and cultural experience; rather, the
death penalty is imposed in heinous crimes because the
Tennessee also authorized the death penalty in
some rape cases, but only where the victim perpetrators thereof have committed unforgivably execrable acts
was a child and the rapist an adult. the that have so deeply dehumanized a person or criminal acts with
Tennessee statute has since been invalidated severely destructive effects on the national efforts to lift the
because the death sentence was mandatory. x masses from abject poverty through organized governmental
x x The upshot is that Georgia is the sole strategies based on a disciplined and honest citizenry, and
jurisdiction in the United States at the present because they have so caused irreparable and substantial injury to
time that authorizes a sentence of death when both their victim and the society and a repetition of their acts would
the rape victim is an adult woman, and only two pose actual threat to the safety of individuals and the survival of
government, they must be permanently prevented from doing so.
other jurisdictions provide capital punishment
when the victim is a child. At any rate, this court has no doubts as to the innate heinousness
of the crime of rape, as we have held in the case ofPeople
v. Cristobal: 46
The current judgment with respect to the death
penalty for rape is not wholly unanimous
among state legislatures, but it obviously Rape is the forcible violation of the sexual
intimacy of another person. It does injury to
weighs very heavily on the side of rejecting
capital punishment as a suitable penalty for justice and charity. Rape deeply wounds the
raping an adult woman. respect, Freedom, and physical and moral
integrity to which every person has a right. It
causes grave damage that can mark the victim
. . . [T]he legislative rejection of capital for life. It is always an intrinsically evil act . . . an
punishment for rape strongly confirms our own outrage upon decency and dignity that hurts not
judgment, which is that death is indeed a only the victim but the society itself
disproportionate penalty for the crime of raping
an adult woman.
We are not unaware that for all the legal posturings we have so
essayed here, at the heart of the issue of capital punishment is the
We do not discount the seriousness of rape as wistful, sentimental life-and-death question to which all of us,
a crime. It is highly reprehensible, both in a without thinking, would answer, "life, of course, over death". But
moral sense and in its almost total contempt for dealing with the fundamental question of death provides a context
the personal integrity and autonomy of the for struggling with even more basic questions, for to grapple with
female victim and for the latter's privilege of the meaning of death is, in an indirect way to ask the meaning of
choosing those with whom intimate life. Otherwise put, to ask what the rights are of the dying is to ask
relationships are to be established. Short of what the rights are of the living.
homicide, it is the ultimate violation of self. It is
also a violent crime because it normally
Capital punishment ought not to be abolished
involves force, or the threat of force or
intimidation, to over come the will and the solely because it is substantially repulsive, if
capacity of the victim to resist. Rape is very infinitely less repulsive than the acts which
often accompanied by physical injury to the invoke it. Yet the mounting zeal for its abolition
female and can also inflict mental and seems to arise from a sentimentalized
psychological damage. Because it undermines hyperfastidiousness that seeks to expunge
the community's sense of security. there is from the society all that appears harsh and
public injury as well. suppressive. If we are to preserve the humane
society we will have to retain sufficient strength
of character and will to do the unpleasant in
Rape is without doubt deserving of serious order that tranquility and civility may rule
punishment; but in terms of moral depravity and comprehensively. It seems very likely that
of the injury to the person and to the public. it capital punishment is a . . . necessary, if limited
does not compare with murder, which does factor in that maintenance of social tranquility
and ought to be retained on this ground. To do the damage and prejudice of said Carmelita
otherwise is to indulge in the luxury of Santos in the total amount of P100,000.00.
permitting a sense of false delicacy to reign
over the necessity of social survival. 47
CONTRARY TO LAW.

WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the Motion for


Accused pled not quilty and underwent trial.
Reconsideration and Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration are
hereby DENIED 48 for LACK OF MERIT.
The evidence for the prosecution shows that on September 21,
1990, accused opened savings and current account with Amanah
SO ORDERED
Bank. 1 In the morning of August 20, 1993, Marites Bo-ot brought
the accused to the office of Carmelita V. Santos at Room 504
G.R. No. 123567 June 5, 1998 Pacific Place, Pearl Drive, Ortigas Center, Pasig City to borrow
money. 2 The accused asked for P50,000.00 to be paid not later
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, than December 1993. 3 He assured Santos that his receivables
vs. would come in by November 1993. He persuaded Santos to give
the loan by issuing five (5) check, each in the sum of P10,000.00,
ROBERTO TONGKO, accused-appellant.
postdated December 20, 1993 and by signing a promissory
note. 4 The promissory note was co-signed by Bo-ot. In the
afternoon of the same date, the accused returned to Santos and
borrowed an additional P50,000.00. Again, he issued five (5)
PUNO, J.: checks, each worth P10,000.00 postdated December 20, 1993. He
also signed a promissory note together with Bo-ot. 5
This is an appeal by accused Roberto Tongko from the Decision of
the RTC of Pasig City, Branch 156 finding him guilty of estafa On September 14, 1993, Amanah Bank closed accused's current
under Article 315 (2) (d) of the Revised Penal Code. He was account for lack of funds. On October 19, 1993, accused himself
sentenced to suffer twenty seven (27) years of reclusion requested for the closing of his savings account. 6
perpetua and to indemnify Carmelita v. Santos by way of actual
damges in the sum of P100,000.00 and to pay the cost of suit. Santos did not present accused's checks to the drawee bank on
their due date upon the request of accused himself. 7 Instead, the
Accused was charged under the following Information: checks were presented on March 1, 1994 but were dishonored as
accused's accounts had been closed. 8 Accused was informed that
his checks had bounced. He promised to make good the checks.
That on or about the 20th day of August, 1993, He failed to redeem his promise, hence, the case at bar. 9
in the Municipality of Pasig, Metro Manila,
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, The accused testified for himself. Nobody corroborated his
by means of deceit and false pretenses testimony. He admitted the evidence of the prosecution but alleged
committed prior to or simultaneously with the that the postdated checks were issued a day or two after he signed
commission of the fraudulent acts, did then and the promissory notes.10 Obviously, he was relying on the defense
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously make that the checks were in payment of a pre-existing obligation.
or draw and issue to one, Carmelita Santos to
apply on account or for value, the check As aforestated, the trial court convicted the accused. He appealed
described below: to this Court and changed his counsel. 11 He now contends:

BANK CHECK NO. DATE AMOUNT I

Phil. Amanah Bank 203729 12-20-93 THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING
P10,000.00 THAT THE ISSUANCE OF THE TEN (10)
POSTDATED CHECKS (EXHS. "C" TO "L") BY
Phil. Amanah Bank 203730 12-20-93 10,000.00 THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT CONSTITUTED
FRAUD WHICH INDUCED THE PRIVATE
COMPLAINANT TO EXTEND THE LOANS. IT
Phil. Amanah Bank 203731 12-20-93 10,000.00 IS RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED THAT THE
INDUCEMENT WAS THE EXECUTION OF
Phil. Amanah Bank 203732 12-20-93 10,000.00 THE TWO (2) PROMISSORY NOTES AS
WELL AS THE CO-SIGNING THEREOF BY
MA. THERESA DEL ROSARIO BO-OT (WHO
Phil. Amanah Bank 203733 12-20-93 10,000.00 INTRODUCED ACCUSED-APPELLANT TO
PRIVATE COMPLAINANT), IN A JOINT AND
Phil. Amanah Bank 203737 12-20-93 10,000.00 SEVERAL CAPACITY.

Phil. Amanah Bank 203738 12-20-93 10,000.00 II

Phil. Amanah Bank 203739 12-20-93 10,000.00 THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT
HOLDING THAT THE POST-DATED CHECKS
WERE IN PAYMENT OF PRE-EXISTING
Phil. Amanah Bank 203740 12-20-93 10,000.00
OBLIGATIONS.

Phil. Amanah Bank 203741 12-20-93 10,000.00


III

said accused well knowing at the time of issue


THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THE
he did not have sufficient funds in or credit with
ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY OF ESTAFA
the drawee bank for the payment in full of the
AS CHARGED, AND IN IMPOSING A STIFF
face amount of such check upon presentment
PRISON TERM OF 27 YEARS
which check when presented for payment
OF RECLUSIONPERPETUA, A PENALTY
within ninety (90) days from the date thereof
"TOO HARSH AND OUT OF PROPORTION"
was subsequently dishonored by the drawee
AS TO BE VIOLATIVE OF THE
bank for the reason "Account Closed" and
CONSTITUTION.
despite the lapse of three (3) banking days
from receipt of notice that said check has been
dishonored, the accused failed to pay said The appeal is without merit.
payee the face amount of such check or to
make arrangement for full payment thereof, to
Estafa, under Article 315, paragraph 2(d) of the Revised Penal disemboweling, and the like . . ." In People v.Estoista, 15 we further
Code, as amended by Republic Act. No. 4885, has the following held:
elements: (1) postdating or issuance of a check in payment of an
obligation contracted at the time the check was issued; (2) lack of
It takes more than merely being harsh,
sufficiency of funds to cover the check; and (3) damage to the excessive, out of proportion, or severe for a
payee thereof. penalty to be obnoxious to the Constitution.
The fact that the punishment authorized by the
To avoid the first element, appellant contends that he was able to statute is severe does not make it cruel and
borrow P100,000.00 from Santos due to the promissory notes he unusual. Expressed in other terms, it has been
co-signed with Bo-ot and not due to the postdated checks he held that to come under the ban, the
issued. We reject this contention. Firstly, this contention was punishment must be "flagrantly and plainly
contrived only after appellant's conviction in the trial court. The oppressive," "wholly disproportionate to the
records show that appellant did not raise this defense in the trial nature of the offense as to shock the moral
court. He cannot fault the trial court for failing to consider a sense of the community."
defense which he never raised. Secondly, Santos is the best
person who can testify on what induced her to lend P100,000.00 to The legislature was not thoughtless in imposing severe
the appellant. Santos categorically declared that it was the
penalties for violation of par. 2(d) of Article 315 of the
issuance of postdated checks which persuaded her to part with her Revised Penal Code. The history of the law will show that
money. We quote her testimony, viz.: 12
the severe penalties were intended to stop the upsurge
of swindling by issuance of bouncing checks. It was felt
Q What happened to those that unless aborted, this kind of estafa ". . . would erode
checks you mentioned in the the people's confidence in the use of negotiable
promissory note? instruments as a medium of commercial transaction and
consequently result in the retardation of trade and
A When presented to the commerce and the undermining of the banking system of
bank they were all returned the country." 16 The Court cannot impugn the wisdom of
by the bank for reason, Congress in setting this policy.
account closed.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Decision dated January 16, 1996 of the
Q Before this was deposited RTC of Pasig City, Br. 156 in Criminal Case No. 106614 convicting
to the bank when the appellant is affirmed. Costs against appellant.
accused came to your office
and loaned money from you, SO ORDERED.
what was his representation
if any to you?

A That his collection will [G.R. No. 132601. October 12, 1998]
come in by Nov. 1993 and
also the checks issued to
me will be definitely funded
on the date that it will
become due. LEO ECHEGARAY y PILO, petitioner, vs. THE SECRETARY OF
JUSTICE and THE DIRECTOR OF THE BUREAU OF
CORRECTIONS, THE EXECUTIVE JUDGE OF THE
Q Were you persuaded as a
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF QUEZON CITY AND
result of the statement of the
THE PRESIDING JUDGE OF REGIONAL TRIAL
accused that these checks
COURT OF QUEZON CITY, BRANCH
will be good that you parted
104, respondents.
away the amount?

DECISION
A Yes, sir.
PER CURIAM:
There is likewise no merit to the submission of appellant that his
postdated checks were in payment of a pre-existing obligation. On June 25, 1996, this Court affirmed[1] the conviction of
Again, we note appellant's change of theory in foisting this petitioner Leo Echegaray y Pilo for the crime of rape of the 10
argument. In the trial court, appellant testified that he issued the year-old daughter of his common-law spouse and the imposition
postdated checks, thru Bo-ot, a day or two after he obtained the upon him of the death penalty for the said crime.
P100,000.00 loan from Santos. 13 The falsity of the uncorroborated
claim, however, is too obvious and the trial court correctly rejected Petitioner duly filed a Motion for Reconsideration raising
it. The claim cannot succeed in light of Santos' testimony that the mainly factual issues, and on its heels, a Supplemental Motion for
issuance of said checks persuaded her to grant the loans. A look Reconsideration raising for the first time the issue of the
at the two promissory notes will show that they bear the date constitutionality of Republic Act No. 7659[2] (the death penalty law)
August 20, 1993 and they referred to the postdated checks issued and the imposition of the death penalty for the crime of rape.
by the appellant. There could be no reference to the postdated
checks if they were issued a day or two after the loans. In this On February 7, 1998, this Court denied[3] petitioner's Motion
appeal, however, appellant offers the new thesis that since the for Reconsideration and Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration
checks were postdated December 1993, ergo, they were issued in with a finding that Congress duly complied with the requirements
payment of the P100,000.00 he got from Santos on August 20, for the reimposition of the death penalty and therefore the death
1993. The postdating of the checks to December 1993 simply penalty law is not unconstitutional.
means that on said date the checks would be properly funded. It
In the meantime, Congress had seen it fit to change the
does not mean that the checks should be deemed as issued only
mode of execution of the death penalty from electrocution to lethal
on December 1993.
injection,[4] and passed Republic Act No. 8177, AN ACT
DESIGNATING DEATH BY LETHAL INJECTION AS THE
Lastly, appellant contends that the penalty of twenty seven (27) METHOD OF CARRYING OUT CAPITAL PUNISHMENT,
years of reclusion perpetua is too harsh and out of proportion to AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE ARTICLE 81 OF THE
the crime he committed. He submits that his sentence violates REVISED PENAL CODE, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 24 OF
section 19(1), Article III of the Constitution which prohibits the REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7659.[5] Pursuant to the provisions of said
infliction of cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment. We are not law, the Secretary of Justice promulgated the Rules and
persuaded. InPeople v. de la Cruz, 14 we held that ". . . the Regulations to Implement Republic Act No. 8177 ("implementing
prohibition of cruel and unusual punishments is generally aimed at rules")[6] and directed the Director of the Bureau of Corrections to
the form or character of the punishment rather than its severity in prepare the Lethal Injection Manual.[7]
respect of duration or amount, and apply to punishments which
never existed in America or which public sentiment has regarded On March 2, 1998, petitioner filed a Petition[8] for Prohibition,
as cruel or obsolete . . . for instance those inflicted at the whipping Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order to enjoin
post, or in the pillory, burning at the stake, breaking on the wheel, respondents Secretary of Justice and Director of the Bureau of
Prisons from carrying out the execution by lethal injection of On March 27, 1998, petitioner filed a Reply[17] stating that (1)
petitioner under R.A. No. 8177 and its implementing rules as these this Court is not barred from exercising judicial review over the
are unconstitutional and void for being: (a) cruel, degrading and death penalty per se, the death penalty for rape and lethal injection
inhuman punishment per seas well as by reason of its being (b) as a mode of carrying out the death penalty; (2) capital punishment
arbitrary, unreasonable and a violation of due process, (c) a is a cruel, degrading and inhuman punishment; (3) lethal injection
violation of the Philippines' obligations under international is cruel, degrading and inhuman punishment, and that being the
covenants, (d) an undue delegation of legislative power by "most modern" does not make it less cruel or more humane, and
Congress, (e) an unlawful exercise by respondent Secretary of the that the Solicitor General's "aesthetic" criteria is short-sighted, and
power to legislate, and (f) an unlawful delegation of delegated that the lethal injection is not risk free nor is it easier to implement;
powers by the Secretary of Justice to respondent Director. and (4) the death penalty violates the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights considering that the Philippines
On March 3, 1998, petitioner, through counsel, filed a Motion participated in the deliberations of and voted for the Second
for Leave of Court[9] to Amend and Supplement Petition with the Optional Protocol.
Amended and Supplemental Petition[10] attached thereto, invoking
the additional ground of violation of equal protection, and After deliberating on the pleadings, the Court gave due
impleading the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court of course to the petition, which it now resolves on the merits.
Quezon City and the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 104, in order to enjoin said public respondents from acting In the Amended and Supplemental Petition, petitioner assails
under the questioned rules by setting a date for petitioner's the constitutionality of the mode of carrying out his death sentence
execution. by lethal injection on the following grounds: [18]

On March 3, 1998, the Court resolved, without giving due I.


course to the petition, to require the respondents to COMMENT
thereon within a non-extendible period of ten (10) days from DEATH BY LETHAL INJECTION IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL
notice, and directed the parties "to MAINTAIN the status FOR BEING A CRUEL, DEGRADING AND INHUMAN
quo prevailing at the time of the filing of this petition." PUNISHMENT.
On March 10, 1998, the Court granted the Motion for Leave
of Court to Amend and Supplement Petition, and required II.
respondents to COMMENT thereon within ten (10) days from
notice. THE DEATH PENALTY VIOLATES THE INTERNATIONAL
COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS, WHICH
On March 16, 1998, petitioner filed a Very Urgent Motion (1)
IS PART OF THE LAW OF THE LAND.
To clarify Status Quo Order, and (2) For the Issuance of a
Temporary Restraining Order expressly enjoining public
respondents from taking any action to carry out petitioner's III.
execution until the petition is resolved.
On March 16, 1998, the Office of the Solicitor General [11] filed LETHAL INJECTION, AS AUTHORIZED UNDER
a Comment (On the Petition and the Amended Supplemental REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8177 AND THE QUESTIONED
Petition)[12] stating that (1) this Court has already upheld the RULES, IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL BECAUSE IT IS AN
constitutionality of the Death Penalty Law, and has repeatedly UNNECESSARY AND WANTON INFLICTION OF PAIN ON
declared that the death penalty is not cruel, unjust, excessive or A PERSON AND IS, THUS, A CRUEL, DEGRADING, AND
unusual punishment; (2) execution by lethal injection, as INHUMAN PUNISHMENT.
authorized under R.A. No. 8177 and the questioned rules, is
constitutional, lethal injection being the most modern, more IV.
humane, more economical, safer and easier to apply (than
electrocution or the gas chamber); (3) the International Covenant
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8177 UNDULY DELEGATES
on Civil and Political Rights does not expressly or impliedly prohibit
LEGISLATIVE POWER TO RESPONDENT DIRECTOR.
the imposition of the death penalty; (4) R.A. No. 8177 properly
delegated legislative power to respondent Director; and that (5)
R.A. No. 8177 confers the power to promulgate the implementing V.
rules to the Secretary of Justice, Secretary of Health and the
Bureau of Corrections. RESPONDENT SECRETARY UNLAWFULLY DELEGATED
On March 17, 1998, the Court required the petitioner to file a THE LEGISLATIVE POWERS DELEGATED TO HIM
REPLY thereto within a non-extendible period of ten days from UNDER REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8177 TO RESPONDENT
notice. DIRECTOR.

On March 25, 1998, the Commission on Human VI.


Rights[13] filed a Motion for Leave of Court to Intervene and/or
Appear as Amicus Curiae[14] with the attached Petition to Intervene
and/or Appear asAmicus Curiae[15] alleging that the death penalty RESPONDENT SECRETARY EXCEEDED THE
imposed under R.A. No. 7659 which is to be implemented by R.A. AUTHORITY DELEGATED TO HIM UNDER REPUBLIC
No. 8177 is cruel, degrading and outside the limits of civil society ACT NO. 8177 AND UNLAWFULLY USURPED THE
standards, and further invoking (a) Article II, Section 11 of the POWER TO LEGISLATE IN PROMULGATING THE
Constitution which provides: "The State values the dignity of every QUESTIONED RULES.
human person and guarantees full respect for human rights."; (b)
Article III of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which VII.
states that "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of
person," and Article V thereof, which states that "No one shall be
subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or SECTION 17 OF THE QUESTIONED RULES IS
punishment."; (c) The International Covenant on Civil and Political UNCONSTITUTIONAL FOR BEING DISCRIMINATORY AS
Rights, in particular, Article 6 thereof, and the Second Optional WELL AS FOR BEING AN INVALID EXERCISE BY
Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights RESPONDENT SECRETARY OF THE POWER TO
Aiming At The Abolition of the Death Penalty; (d) Amnesty LEGISLATE.
International statistics showing that as of October 1996, 58
countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, 15 VIII.
countries have abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes,
and 26 countries are abolitionists de facto, which means that they
INJUCTION MUST ISSUE TO PREVENT IRREPARABLE
have retained the death penalty for ordinary crimes but are
DAMAGE AND INJURY TO PETITIONER'S RIGHTS BY
considered abolitionists in practice that they have not executed
REASON OF THE EXISTENCE, OPERATION AND
anyone during the past ten (10) years or more, or in that they have
IMPLEMENTATION OF AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL
made an international commitment not to carry out executions, for
STATUTE AND EQUALLY INVALID AND IMPLEMENTING
a total of 99 countries which are total abolitionists in law or
RULES.
practice, and 95 countries as retentionists; [16] and (e) Pope John
Paul II's encyclical, "Evangelium Vitae." In a Resolution dated April
3, 1998, the Court duly noted the motion. Concisely put, petitioner argues that R.A. No. 8177 and its
implementing rules do not pass constitutional muster for: (a)
violation of the constitutional proscription against cruel, degrading
or inhuman punishment, (b) violation of our international treaty as to the date of execution nor the time of notification. As to the
obligations, (c) being an undue delegation of legislative power, and date of execution, Section 15 of the implementing rules must be
(d) being discriminatory. read in conjunction with the last sentence of Section 1 of R.A. No.
8177 which provides that the death sentence shall be carried out
The Court shall now proceed to discuss these "not earlier than one (1) year nor later then eighteen (18) months
issues in seriatim. from the time the judgment imposing the death penalty became
final and executory, without prejudice to the exercise by the
I. LETHAL INJECTION, NOT CRUEL, DEGRADING
President of his executive clemency powers at all times." Hence,
OR INHUMAN PUNISHMENT UNDER SECTION
the death convict is in effect assured of eighteen (18) months from
19, ARTICLE III OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION.
the time the judgment imposing the death penalty became final
The main challenge to R.A. 8177 and its implementing rules and executory[28] wherein he can seek executive clemency[29] and
is anchored on Article III, Section 19 (1) of the 1987 Constitution attend to all his temporal and spiritual affairs. [30]
which proscribes the imposition of "cruel, degrading or inhuman"
Petitioner further contends that the infliction of "wanton pain"
punishment. "The prohibition in the Philippine Bill against cruel and
in case of possible complications in the intravenous injection,
unusual punishments is an Anglo-Saxon safeguard against
considering and as petitioner claims, that respondent Director is an
governmental oppression of the subject, which made its first
untrained and untested person insofar as the choice and
appearance in the reign of William and Mary of England in 'An Act
administration of lethal injection is concerned, renders lethal
declaring the rights and liberties of the subject, and settling the
injection a cruel, degrading and inhuman punishment. Such
succession of the crown,' passed in the year 1689. It has been
supposition is highly speculative and unsubstantiated.
incorporated into the Constitution of the United States (of America)
and into most constitutions of the various States in substantially First. Petitioner has neither alleged nor presented evidence
the same language as that used in the original statute. The exact that lethal injection required the expertise only of phlebotomists
language of the Constitution of the United States is used in the and not trained personnel and that the drugs to be administered
Philippine Bill."[19] "The counterpart of Section 19 (1) in the 1935 are unsafe or ineffective.[31] Petitioner simply cites situations in the
Constitution reads: 'Excessive fines shall not be imposed, nor cruel United States wherein execution by lethal injection allegedly
and inhuman punishment inflicted.' xxx In the 1973 Constitution resulted in prolonged and agonizing death for the
the phrase became 'cruel or unusual punishment.' The Bill of convict,[32] without any other evidence whatsoever.
Rights Committee of the 1986 Constitutional Commission read the
1973 modification as prohibiting 'unusual' punishment even if not Second. Petitioner overlooked Section 1, third paragraph of
'cruel.' It was thus seen as an obstacle to experimentation in R.A. No. 8177 which requires that all personnel involved in the
penology. Consequently, the Committee reported out the present execution proceedings should be trained prior to the performance
text which prohibits 'cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment' as of such task.We must presume that the public officials entrusted
more consonant with the meaning desired and with jurisprudence with the implementation of the death penalty (by lethal injection)
on the subject."[20] will carefully avoid inflicting cruel punishment. [33]
Petitioner contends that death by lethal injection constitutes Third. Any infliction of pain in lethal injection is merely
cruel, degrading and inhuman punishment considering that (1) incidental in carrying out the execution of death penalty and does
R.A. No. 8177 fails to provide for the drugs to be used in carrying not fall within the constitutional proscription against cruel,
out lethal injection, the dosage for each drug to be administered, degrading and inhuman punishment. "In a limited sense, anything
and the procedure in administering said drug/s into the accused; is cruel which is calculated to give pain or distress, and since
(2) R.A. No. 8177 and its implementing rules are uncertain as to punishment imports pain or suffering to the convict, it may be said
the date of the execution, time of notification, the court which will that all punishments are cruel. But of course the Constitution does
fix the date of execution, which uncertainties cause the greatest not mean that crime, for this reason, is to go unpunished."[34] The
pain and suffering for the convict; and (3) the possibility of cruelty against which the Constitution protects a convicted man is
"botched executions" or mistakes in administering the drugs cruelty inherent in the method of punishment, not the necessary
renders lethal injection inherently cruel. suffering involved in any method employed to extinguish life
humanely.[35] Numerous federal and state courts of the United
Before the Court proceeds any further, a brief explanation of States have been asked to review whether lethal injections
the process of administering lethal injection is in order. constitute cruel and unusual punishment. No court has found lethal
injections to implicate prisoner's Eighth Amendment rights. In fact,
In lethal injection, the condemned inmate is strapped on a
most courts that have addressed the issue state in one or two
hospital gurney and wheeled into the execution room. A trained
sentences that lethal injection clearly is a constitutional form of
technician inserts a needle into a vein in the inmate's arm and
execution.[36] A few jurisdictions, however, have addressed the
begins an intravenous flow of saline solution. At the warden's
merits of the Eighth Amendment claims. Without exception, these
signal, a lethal combination of drugs is injected into the
courts have found that lethal injection does not constitute cruel and
intravenous line. The deadly concoction typically includes three
unusual punishment. After reviewing the medical evidence that
drugs: (1) a nonlethal dose of sodium thiopenthotal, a sleep
indicates that improper doses or improper administration of the
inducing barbiturate; (2) lethal doses of pancuronium bromide, a
drugs causes severe pain and that prison officials tend to have
drug that paralyzes the muscles; and (3) potassium chloride, which
little training in the administration of the drugs, the courts have
stops the heart within seconds. The first two drugs are commonly
found that the few minutes of pain does not rise to a constitutional
used during surgery to put the patient to sleep and relax muscles;
violation.[37]
the third is used in heart bypass surgery.[21]
What is cruel and unusual "is not fastened to the obsolete
Now it is well-settled in jurisprudence that the death
but may acquire meaning as public opinion becomes enlightened
penalty per se is not a cruel, degrading or inhuman
by a humane justice" and "must draw its meaning from the
punishment.[22] In the oft-cited case of Harden v. Director of
evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a
Prisons,[23] this Court held that "[p]unishments are cruel when they
maturing society."[38] Indeed, "[o]ther (U.S.) courts have focused on
involve torture or a lingering death; but the punishment of death is
'standards of decency' finding that the widespread use of lethal
not cruel, within the meaning of that word as used in the
injections indicates that it comports with contemporary
constitution. It implies there something inhuman and barbarous,
norms."[39] the primary indicator of society's standard of decency
something more than the mere extinguishment of life." Would the
with regard to capital punishment is the response of the country's
lack in particularity then as to the details involved in the execution
legislatures to the sanction.[40] Hence, for as long as the death
by lethal injection render said law "cruel, degrading or
penalty remains in our statute books and meets the most stringent
inhuman"? The Court believes not. For reasons hereafter
requirements provided by the Constitution, we must confine our
discussed, the implementing details of R.A. No. 8177 are matters
inquiry to the legality of R.A. No. 8177, whose constitutionality we
which are properly left to the competence and expertise of
duly sustain in the face of petitioner's challenge. We find that the
administrative officials.[24]
legislature's substitution of the mode of carrying out the death
Petitioner contends that Sec. 16[25] of R.A. No. 8177 is penalty from electrocution to lethal injection infringes no
uncertain as to which "court" will fix the time and date of execution, constitutional rights of petitioner herein.
and the date of execution and time of notification of the death
II. REIMPOSITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY LAW
convict. As petitioner already knows, the "court" which designates
DOES NOT VIOLATE INTERNATIONAL TREATY
the date of execution is the trial court which convicted the accused,
OBLIGATIONS
that is, after this Court has reviewed the entire records of the
case[26] and has affirmed the judgment of the lower Petitioner assiduously argues that the reimposition of the
court. Thereupon, the procedure is that the "judgment is entered death penalty law violates our international obligations, in
fifteen (15) days after its promulgation, and 10 days thereafter, the particular, the International Covenant on Civil And Political Rights,
records are remanded to the court below including a certified copy which was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations
of the judgment for execution.[27] Neither is there any uncertainty
on December 16, 1996, signed and ratified by the Philippines on OF BUREAU OF CORRECTIONS, BUT SECTION
December 19, 1966 and October 23, 1986,[41] respectively. 19 OF THE RULES AND REGULATIONS TO
IMPLEMENT R.A. NO. 8177 IS INVALID.
Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights provides: The separation of powers is a fundamental principle in our
system of government. It obtains not through express provision but
by actual division in the framing of our Constitution. Each
"1. Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall
be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life. department of the government has exclusive cognizance of
matters placed within its jurisdiction, and is supreme within its own
sphere.[45] Corollary to the doctrine of separation of powers is the
2. In countries which have not abolished the death penalty, principle of non-delegation of powers. "The rule is that what has
sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious been delegated, cannot be delegated or as expressed in a Latin
crimes in accordance with the law in force at the time of the maxim: potestas delegata non delegari potest."[46] The recognized
commission of the crime and not contrary to the provisions of the exceptions to the rule are as follows:
present Covenant and to the Convention on the Prevention and
Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This penalty can only be (1) Delegation of tariff powers to the President under
carried out pursuant to a final judgment rendered by a competent Section 28 (2) of Article VI of the Constitution;
court." (emphasis supplied)
(2) Delegation of emergency powers to the President
under Section 23 (2) of Article VI of the
3. When deprivation of life constitutes the crime of genocide, it is Constitution;
understood that nothing in this article shall authorize any State
Party to the present Covenant to derogate in any way from any (3) Delegation to the people at large;
obligation assumed under the provisions of the Convention on the
Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. (4) Delegation to local governments; and
(5) Delegation to administrative bodies.[47]
4. Anyone sentenced to death shall have the right to seek pardon
or commutation of the sentence. Amnesty, pardon or commutation Empowering the Secretary of Justice in conjunction with the
of the sentence of death may be granted in all-cases. Secretary of Health and the Director of the Bureau of Corrections,
to promulgate rules and regulations on the subject of lethal
injection is a form of delegation of legislative authority to
5. Sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by administrative bodies.
persons below eighteen years of age and shall not be carried out
on pregnant women. The reason for delegation of authority to administrative
agencies is the increasing complexity of the task of government
6. Nothing in this article shall be invoked to delay or to prevent the requiring expertise as well as the growing inability of the legislature
to cope directly with the myriad problems demanding its
abolition of capital punishment by any State. Party to the present
Covenant." attention. The growth of society has ramified its activities and
created peculiar and sophisticated problems that the legislature
cannot be expected to attend to by itself. Specialization even in
Indisputably, Article 6 of the Covenant enshrines the legislation has become necessary. On many problems involving
individual's right to life. Nevertheless, Article 6 (2) of day-to-day undertakings, the legislature may not have the needed
the Covenant explicitly recognizes that capital punishment is an competence to provide the required direct and efficacious, not to
allowable limitation on the right to life, subject to the limitation that say, specific solutions. These solutions may, however, be
it be imposed for the "most serious crimes". Pursuant to Article 28 expected from its delegates, who are supposed to be experts in
of the Covenant, a Human Rights Committee was established and the particular fields assigned to them.[48]
under Article 40 of the Covenant, State parties to the Covenant are
required to submit an initial report to the Committee on the Although Congress may delegate to another branch of the
measures they have adopted which give effect to the rights Government the power to fill in the details in the execution,
recognized within the Covenant and on the progress made on the enforcement or administration of a law, it is essential, to forestall a
enjoyment of those rights one year of its entry into force for the violation of the principle of separation of powers, that said law: (a)
State Party concerned and thereafter, after five years. On July 27, be complete in itself - it must set forth therein the policy to be
1982, the Human Rights Committee issued General Comment No. executed, carried out or implemented by the delegate [49] - and (b)
6 interpreting Article 6 of the Covenant stating that "(while) it fix a standard - the limits of which are sufficiently determinate or
follows from Article 6 (2) to (6) that State parties are not obliged to determinable - to which the delegate must conform in the
abolish the death penalty totally, they are obliged to limit its use performance of his functions.[50]
and, in particular, to abolish it for other than the 'most serious
crimes.' Accordingly, they ought to consider reviewing their Considering the scope and the definiteness of R.A. No.
criminal laws in this light and, in any event, are obliged to restrict 8177, which changed the mode of carrying out the death penalty,
the application of the death penalty to the most serious the Court finds that the law sufficiently describes what job must be
crimes.' The article strongly suggests (pars. 2 (2) and (6) that done, who is to do it, and what is the scope of his authority. [51]
abolition is desirable. xxx The Committee is of the opinion that the R.A. No. 8177 likewise provides the standards which define
expression 'most serious crimes' must be read restrictively to the legislative policy, mark its limits, map out its boundaries, and
mean that the death penalty should be a quite exceptional specify the public agencies which will apply it. it indicates the
measure." Further, the Safeguards Guaranteeing Protection of circumstances under which the legislative purpose may be carried
Those Facing the Death Penalty[42] adopted by the Economic and out.[52] R.A. No. 8177 specifically requires that "[t]he death
Social Council of the United Nations declare that the ambit of the sentence shall be executed under the authority of the Director of
term 'most serious crimes' should not go beyond intentional the Bureau of Corrections, endeavoring so far as possible to
crimes, with lethal or other extremely grave consequences. mitigate the sufferings of the person under the sentence
The Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil during the lethal injection as well as during the proceedings
and Political Rights was adopted by the General Assembly of the prior to the execution."[53]Further, "[t]he Director of the Bureau of
United Nations on December 16, 1966, and signed and ratified by Corrections shall take steps to ensure that the lethal injection to
the Philippines on December 19, 1966 and August 22, be administered is sufficient to cause the instantaneous death
1989,[43] respectively. The Optional Protocol provides that the of the convict."[54] The legislature also mandated that "all
Human Rights Committee shall receive and consider personnel involved in the administration of lethal injection
communications from individuals claiming to be victims of shall be trained prior to the performance of such task."[55] The
violations of any of the rights set forth in the Covenant. Court cannot see that any useful purpose would be served by
requiring greater detail.[56] The question raised is not the definition
On the other hand, the Second Optional Protocol to the of what constitutes a criminal offense,[57] but the mode of carrying
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Aiming at the out the penalty already imposed by the Courts. In this sense, R.A.
Abolition of the Death Penalty was adopted by the General No. 8177 is sufficiently definite and the exercise of discretion by
Assembly on December 15, 1989. The Philippines neither the administrative officials concerned is, to use the words of
signed nor ratified said document.[44] Evidently, petitioner's Justice Benjamin Cardozo, canalized within banks that keep it from
assertion of our obligation under the Second Optional Protocol is overflowing.
misplaced.
Thus, the Court finds that the existence of an area for
III. THERE IS NO UNDUE DELEGATION OF exercise of discretion by the Secretary of Justice and the Director
LEGISLATIVE POWER IN R.A. NO. 8177 TO THE of the Bureau of Corrections under delegated legislative power is
SECRETARY OF JUSTICE AND THE DIRECTOR proper where standards are formulated for the guidance and the
exercise of limited discretion, which though general, are capable of "SEC. 17. SUSPENSION OF THE EXECUTION OF
reasonable application.[58] THE DEATH SENTENCE. Execution by lethal injection shall
not be inflicted upon a woman within the three years next
It is also noteworthy that Article 81 of the Revised Penal following the date of the sentence or while she is pregnant,
Code which originally provided for the death penalty by nor upon any person over seventy (70) years of age. In this
electrocution was not subjected to attack on the ground that it latter case, the death penalty shall be commuted to the
failed to provide for details such as the kind of chair to be used, the penalty of reclusion perpetua with the accessory penalties
amount of voltage, volume of amperage or place of attachment of provided in Article 40 of the Revised Penal Code."
electrodes on the death convict. Hence, petitioner's analogous
argument with respect to lethal injection must fail.
Petitioner contends that Section 17 is unconstitutional for
A careful reading of R.A. No. 8177 would show that there is being discriminatory as well as for being an invalid exercise of the
no undue delegation of legislative power from the Secretary of power to legislate by respondent Secretary. Petitioner insists that
Justice to the Director of the Bureau of Corrections for the simple Section 17 amends the instances when lethal injection may be
reason that under the Administrative Code of 1987, the Bureau of suspended, without an express amendment of Article 83 of the
Corrections is a mere constituent unit of the Department of Revised Penal Code, as amended by section 25 of R.A. No. 7659.
Justice.[59] Further, the Department of Justice is tasked, among
others, to take charge of the "administration of the correctional Article 83 f the Revised Penal Code, as amended by section
system."[60] Hence, the import of the phraseology of the law is that 25 of R.A. No. 7659 now reads as follows:
the Secretary of Justice should supervise the Director of the
Bureau of Corrections in promulgating the Lethal Injection Manual, "ART. 83, Suspension of the execution of the death
in consultation with the Department of Health. [61] sentence.- The death sentence shall not be inflicted upon a
woman while she is pregnant or within one (1) year after
However, the Rules and Regulations to Implement Republic delivery, nor upon any person over seventy years of age. In
Act No. 8177 suffer serious flaws that could not be overlooked. To this last case, the death sentence shall be commuted to the
begin with, something basic appears missing in Section 19 of the penalty of reclusion perpetua with the accessory penalty
implementing rules which provides: provided in Article 40. x x x".

"SEC. 19. EXECUTION PROCEDURE. - Details of the On this point, the Courts finds petitioner's contention
procedure prior to, during and after administering the lethal impressed with merit. While Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code,
injection shall be set forth in a manual to be prepared by the as amended by Section 25 of Republic Act No. 7659, suspends
Director. The manual shall contain details of, among others, the implementation of the death penalty while a woman is
the sequence of events before and after execution; pregnant or within one (1) year after delivery, Section 17 of the
procedures in setting up the intravenous line; the implementing rules omits the one (1) year period following delivery
administration of the lethal drugs; the pronouncement of as an instance when the death sentence is suspended, and adds a
death; and the removal of the intravenous system. ground for suspension of sentence no longer found under Article
83 of the Revised Penal Code as amended, which is the three-
Said manual shall be confidential and its distribution year reprieve after a woman is sentenced. This addition is, in
shall be limited to authorized prison personnel." petitioner's view, tantamount to a gender-based discrimination
sans statutory basis, while the omission is an impermissible
contravention of the applicable law.
Thus, the Courts finds in the first paragraph of Section 19 of
the implementing rules a veritable vacuum. The Secretary of Being merely an implementing rule, Section 17 aforecited
Justice has practically abdicated the power to promulgate the must not override, but instead remain consistent and in harmony
manual on the execution procedure to the Director of the Bureau of with the law it seeks to apply and implement. Administrative rules
Corrections, by not providing for a mode of review and approval and regulations are intended to carry out, neither to supplant nor to
thereof. Being a mere constituent unit of the Department of modify, the law."[67] An administrative agency cannot amend an act
Justice, the Bureau of Corrections could not promulgate a manual of Congress.[68] In case of discrepancy between a provision of
that would not bear the imprimatur of the administrative superior, statute and a rule or regulation issued to implement said statute,
the Secretary of Justice as the rule-making authority under R.A. the statutory provision prevails. Since the cited clause in Section
No. 8177. Such apparent abdication of departmental responsibility 17 which suspends the execution of a woman within the three (3)
renders the said paragraph invalid. years next following the date of sentence finds no supports in
Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code as amended, perforce
As to the second paragraph of section 19, the Court finds the
Section 17 must be declared invalid.
requirement of confidentiality of the contents of the manual even
with respect to the convict unduly suppressive. It sees no legal One member of the Court voted to declare Republic Act. No.
impediment for the convict, should he so desire, to obtain a copy of 8177 as unconstitutional insofar as it delegates the power to make
the manual. The contents of the manual are matters of public rules over the same subject matter to two persons (the Secretary
concern "which the public may want to know, either because these of Justice and the Director of the Bureau of Corrections) and
directly affect their lives, or simply because such matters naturally constitutes a violation of the international norm towards the
arouse the interest of an ordinary citizen." [62] Section 7 of Article III abolition of the death penalty. One member of the Court,
of the 1987 Constitution provides: consistent with his view in People v. Echegaray, 267 SCRA 682,
734-758 (1997) that the death penalty law (Republic Act. No.
"SEC. 7. The right of the people to information on 7659) is itself unconstitutional, believes that Republic Act No. 8177
matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to which provides for the means of carrying out the death sentence,
official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to is likewise unconstitutional. Two other members of the court
official acts, transaction, or decisions, as well as to concurred in the aforesaid Separate Opinions in that the death
government research data used as a basis for policy penalty law (Republic Act No. 7659) together with the assailed
development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such statute (Republic Act No. 8177) are unconstitutional. In sum, four
limitation as may be provided by law." members of the Court voted to declare Republic Act. No. 8177 as
unconstitutional. These Separate Opinions are hereto
annexed, infra.
The incorporation in the Constitution of a guarantee of
access to information of public concern is a recognition of the WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED insofar as petitioner
essentiality of the free flow of ideas and information in a seeks to declare the assailed statute (Republic Act No. 8177) as
democracy.[63] In the same way that free discussion enables unconstitutional; but GRANTED insofar as Sections 17 and 19 of
members of society to cope with the exigencies of their the Rules and Regulations to Implement Republic Act No. 8177
time,[64] access to information of general interest aids the people in are concerned, which are hereby declared INVALID because (a)
democratic decision-making[65] by giving them a better perspective Section 17 contravenes Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code, as
of the vital issues confronting the nation. [66] amended by Section 25 of the Republic Act No. 7659; and (b)
Section 19 fails to provide for review and approval of the Lethal
D. SECTION 17 OF THE RULES AND REGULATIONS Injection Manual by the Secretary of Justice, and unjustifiably
TO IMPLEMENT R.A. NO. 8177 IS INVALID FOR makes the manual confidential, hence unavailable to interested
BEING DISCRIMINATORY AND CONTRARY TO parties including the accused/convict and counsel. Respondents
LAW. are hereby enjoined from enforcing and implementing Republic Act
Even more seriously flawed than Section 19 is Section of the No. 8177 until the aforesaid Sections 17 and 19 of the Rules and
implementing rules which provides: Regulations to Implement Republic Act No. 8177 are appropriately
amended, revised and/or corrected in accordance with this
Decision.
NO COSTS. the 2000 Bail Bond Guide involving estafa under Article 315, par. 2
(d), and qualified theft. Said Circular specifically provides as
SO ORDERED. follows:
xxx xxx xxx

3) Where the amount of fraud is P32,000.00 or over in


which the imposable penalty is reclusion
temporal to reclusion perpetua, bail shall be based
[G.R. No. 149276. September 27, 2002] on reclusion temporal maximum, pursuant to Par. 2
(a) of the 2000 Bail Bond Guide, multiplied by
P2,000.00, plus an additional of P2,000.00 for
every P10,000.00 in excess of
P22,000.00; Provided, however, that the total
JOVENCIO LIM and TERESITA LIM, petitioners, vs. THE
amount of bail shall not exceed P60,000.00.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, THE REGIONAL
TRIAL COURT OF QUEZON CITY, BRANCH 217, THE In view of the aforementioned resolution, the matter
CITY PROSECUTOR OF QUEZON CITY, AND WILSON concerning bail shall no longer be discussed. Thus, this decision
CHAM, respondents. will focus on whether or not PD 818 violates Sections 1 and 19 of
Article III of the Constitution, which respectively provide:
DECISION
Section 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property
CORONA, J.:
without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the
equal protection of the laws.
The constitutionality of PD 818, a decree which amended
Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code by increasing the penalties
xxx
for estafa committed by means of bouncing checks, is being
challenged in this petition for certiorari, for being violative of the
due process clause, the right to bail and the provision against Section 19 (1) Excessive fines shall not be imposed, nor cruel,
cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment enshrined under the degrading or inhuman punishment inflicted. x x x.
Constitution.
The antecedents of this case, as gathered from the parties We shall deal first with the issue of whether PD 818 was
pleadings and documentary proofs, follow. enacted in contravention of Section 19 of Article III of the
Constitution. In this regard, the impugned provision of PD 818
In December 1991, petitioner spouses issued to private reads as follows:
respondent two postdated checks, namely, Metrobank check no.
464728 dated January 15, 1992 in the amount of P365,750 and SECTION 1. Any person who shall defraud another by means of
Metrobank check no. 464743 dated January 22, 1992 in the false pretenses or fraudulent acts as defined in paragraph 2(d) of
amount of P429,000. Check no. 464728 was dishonored upon Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic
presentment for having been drawn against insufficient funds while Act No. 4885, shall be punished by:
check no. 464743 was not presented for payment upon request of
petitioners who promised to replace the dishonored check.
1st. The penalty of reclusion temporal if the amount of the fraud is
When petitioners reneged on their promise to cover the over 12,000 pesos but does not exceed 22,000 pesos, and if such
amount of check no. 464728, the private respondent filed a amount exceeds the later sum, the penalty provided in this
complaint-affidavit before the Office of the City Prosecutor of paragraph shall be imposed in its maximum period, adding one
Quezon City charging petitioner spouses with the crime of estafa year for each additional 10,000 pesos but the total penalty which
under Article 315, par. 2 (d) of the Revised Penal Code, as may be imposed shall in no case exceed thirty years. In such
amended by PD 818. cases, and in connection with the accessory penalties which may
be imposed under the Revised Penal Code, the penalty shall be
On February 16, 2001, the City Prosecutor issued a termed reclusion perpetua;
resolution finding probable cause against petitioners and
recommending the filing of an information for estafa with no bail
recommended. On the same day, an information for the crime of 2nd. The penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period, if the
estafa was filed with Branch 217 of the Regional Trial Court of amount of the fraud is over 6,000 pesos but does not exceed
Quezon City against petitioners. The case was docketed as 12,000 pesos.
Criminal Case No. Q-01-101574. Thereafter, the trial court issued
a warrant for the arrest of herein petitioners, thus: 3rd. The penalty of prision mayor in its medium period, if such
amount is over 200 pesos but does not exceed 6,000 pesos; and
It appearing on the face of the information and from supporting
affidavit of the complaining witness and its annexes that probable 4th. By prision mayor in its minimum period, if such amount does
cause exists, that the crime charged was committed and accused not exceed 200 pesos.
is probably guilty thereof, let a warrant for the arrest of the accused
be issued.
Petitioners contend that, inasmuch as the amount of the
subject check is P365,750, they can be penalized with reclusion
No Bail Recommended. perpetua or 30 years of imprisonment. This penalty, according to
petitioners, is too severe and disproportionate to the crime they
SO ORDERED.[1] committed and infringes on the express mandate of Article III,
Section 19 of the Constitution which prohibits the infliction of cruel,
degrading and inhuman punishment.
On July 18, 2001, petitioners filed an Urgent Motion to
Quash Information and Warrant of Arrest which was denied by the Settled is the rule that a punishment authorized by statute is
trial court. Likewise, petitioners motion for bail filed on July 24, not cruel, degrading or disproportionate to the nature of the
2001 was denied by the trial court on the same day. Petitioner offense unless it is flagrantly and plainly oppressive and wholly
Jovencio Lim was arrested by virtue of the warrant of arrest issued disproportionate to the nature of the offense as to shock the moral
by the trial court and was detained at the Quezon City sense of the community. It takes more than merely being harsh,
Jail.However, petitioner Teresita Lim remained at large. excessive, out of proportion or severe for a penalty to be
obnoxious to the Constitution.[2] Based on this principle, the Court
On August 22, 2001, petitioners filed the instant petition for has consistently overruled contentions of the defense that the
certiorari imputing grave abuse of discretion on the part of the penalty of fine or imprisonment authorized by the statute
lower court and the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City, involved is cruel and degrading.
arguing that PD 818 violates the constitutional provisions on due
process, bail and imposition of cruel, degrading or inhuman In People vs. Tongko,[3] this Court held that the prohibition
punishment. against cruel and unusual punishment is generally aimed at the
form or character of the punishment rather than its severity in
In a resolution dated February 26, 2002, this Court granted respect of its duration or amount, and applies to punishments
the petition of Jovencio Lim to post bail pursuant to Department of which never existed in America or which public sentiment regards
Justice Circular No. 74 dated November 6, 2001 which amended as cruel or obsolete. This refers, for instance, to those inflicted at
the whipping post or in the pillory, to burning at the stake, breaking Involved in this special civil action is the unique situation, to use an
on the wheel, disemboweling and the like. The fact that the penalty euphemistic phrase, of an alternative penal sanction of
is severe provides insufficient basis to declare a law imprisonment imposed by law but without a specification as to the
unconstitutional and does not, by that circumstance alone, make it term or duration thereof.
cruel and inhuman.
As a consequence of such legislative faux pas or oversight, the
Petitioners also argue that while PD 818 increased the petition at bar seeks to set aside the decision of the then Court of
imposable penalties for estafa committed under Article 315, par. 2 First Instance of Leyte, Branch IV, dated September 8,1976, 1
(d) of the Revised Penal Code, it did not increase the amounts penned by herein respondent judge and granting the petition for
corresponding to the said new penalties. Thus, the original certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction filed by herein
amounts provided for in the Revised Penal Code have remained private respondents and docketed therein as Civil Case No. 5428,
the same notwithstanding that they have become negligible and as well as his resolution of October 19, 1976 2 denying the
insignificant compared to the present value of the peso. motions for reconsideration filed by the parties therein. Subject of
said decision were the issues on jurisdiction over violations of
This argument is without merit. The primary purpose of PD
Republic Act No. 4670, otherwise known as the Magna Carta for
818 is emphatically and categorically stated in the following:
Public School Teachers, and the constitutionality of Section 32
thereof.
WHEREAS, reports received of late indicate an upsurge of estafa
(swindling) cases committed by means of bouncing checks; In a complaint filed by the Chief of Police of Hindang, Leyte on
April 4, 1975, herein private respondents Celestino S. Matondo,
WHEREAS, if not checked at once, these criminal acts would Segundino A. Caval and Cirilo M. Zanoria, public school officials of
erode the peoples confidence in the use of negotiable instruments Leyte, were charged before the Municipal Court of Hindang, Leyte
as a medium of commercial transaction and consequently result in in Criminal Case No. 555 thereof for violation of Republic Act No.
the retardation of trade and commerce and the undermining of the 4670. The case was set for arraignment and trial on May 29, 1975.
banking system of the country; At the arraignment, the herein private respondents, as the accused
therein, pleaded not guilty to the charge. Immediately thereafter,
they orally moved to quash the complaint for lack of jurisdiction
WHEREAS, it is vitally necessary to arrest and curb the rise in this over the offense allegedly due to the correctional nature of the
kind of estafa cases by increasing the existing penalties provided penalty of imprisonment prescribed for the offense. The motion to
therefor. quash was subsequently reduced to writing on June 13, 1975. 3
On August 21, 1975, the municipal court denied the motion to
Clearly, the increase in the penalty, far from being cruel and quash for lack of merit. 4 On September 2, 1975, private
degrading, was motivated by a laudable purpose, namely, to respondents filed a motion for the reconsideration of the aforesaid
effectuate the repression of an evil that undermines the countrys denial order on the same ground of lack of jurisdiction, but with the
commercial and economic growth, and to serve as a necessary further allegation that the facts charged do not constitute an
precaution to deter people from issuing bouncing checks. The fact offense considering that Section 32 of Republic Act No. 4670 is
that PD 818 did not increase the amounts corresponding to the null and void for being unconstitutional. In an undated order
new penalties only proves that the amount is immaterial and received by the counsel for private respondents on October
inconsequential. What the law sought to avert was the proliferation 20,1975, the motion for reconsideration was denied. 5
of estafa cases committed by means of bouncing checks. Taking
into account the salutary purpose for which said law was decreed, On October 26, 1975, private respondents filed a petitions 6 for
we conclude that PD 818 does not violate Section 19 of Article certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction before the
III of the Constitution. former Court of First Instance of Leyte, Branch VIII, where it was
docketed as Civil Case No. B-622, to restrain the Municipal Judge,
Moreover, when a law is questioned before the Court, the Provincial Fiscal and Chief of Police of Hindang, Leyte from
presumption is in favor of its constitutionality. To justify its proceeding with the trial of said Criminal Case No. 555 upon the
nullification, there must be a clear and unmistakable breach of the ground that the former Municipal Court of Hindang had no
Constitution, not a doubtful and argumentative one. [4] The burden jurisdiction over the offense charged. Subsequently, an amended
of proving the invalidity of a law rests on those who challenge it. In petition 7 alleged the additional ground that the facts charged do
this case, petitioners failed to present clear and convincing proof to not constitute an offense since the penal provision, which is
defeat the presumption of constitutionality of PD 818. Section 32 of said law, is unconstitutional for the following reasons:
(1) It imposes a cruel and unusual punishment, the term of
With respect to the issue of whether PD 818 infringes on imprisonment being unfixed and may run to reclusion perpetua;
Section 1 of Article III of the Constitution, petitioners claim that PD and (2) It also constitutes an undue delegation of legislative power,
818 is violative of the due process clause of the Constitution as it the duration of the penalty of imprisonment being solely left to the
was not published in the Official Gazette. This claim is incorrect discretion of the court as if the latter were the legislative
and must be rejected. Publication, being an indispensable part of department of the Government.
due process, is imperative to the validity of laws, presidential
decrees and executive orders.[5] PD 818 was published in the On March 30, 1976, having been advised that the petition of herein
Official Gazette on December 1, 1975.[6] private respondents was related to Criminal Case No. 1978 for
With the foregoing considerations in mind, this Court upholds violation of Presidential Decree No. 442 previously transferred
the constitutionality of PD 818. from Branch VIII to Branch IV of the erstwhile Court of First
Instance of Leyte, Judge Fortunate B. Cuna of the former branch
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED. transferred the said petition to the latter branch for further
proceedings and where it was subsequently docketed therein as
SO ORDERED. Civil Case No. 5428. 8 On March 15, 1976, the petitioner herein
filed an opposition to the admission of the said amended petitions
9 but respondent judge denied the same in his resolution of April
20, 1976. 10 On August 2, 1976, herein petitioner filed a
supplementary memorandum in answer to the amended petition.
11
G.R. No. L-45127 May 5, 1989
On September 8, 1976, respondent judge rendered the aforecited
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the Provincial
challenged decision holding in substance that Republic Act No.
Fiscal of Leyte, petitioner,
4670 is valid and constitutional but cases for its violation fall
vs.
outside of the jurisdiction of municipal and city courts, and
HON. JUDGE AUXENCIO C. DACUYCUY, CELESTINO S.
remanding the case to the former Municipal Court of Hindang,
MATONDO, SEGUNDINO A, CAVAL and CIRILO M. ZANORIA,
Leyte only for preliminary investigation.
respondents.
As earlier stated, on September 25, 1976, petitioner filed a motion
The Office of the Solicitor General for petitioner.
for reconsideration. 12 Likewise, private respondents filed a motion
for reconsideration of the lower court's decision but the same was
Adelino B. Sitoy for private respondents.
limited only to the portion thereof which sustains the validity of
Section 32 of Republic Act No. 4670. 13 Respondent judge denied
both motions for reconsideration in a resolution dated October 19,
1976. 14
REGALADO, J.:
The instant petition to review the decision of respondent judge The answer thereto may be gathered from the pronouncement in
poses the following questions of law: (1) Whether the municipal People vs. Estoista, 17 where an "excessive" penalty was upheld
and city courts have jurisdiction over violations of Republic Act No. as constitutional and was imposed but with a recommendation for
4670; and (2) Whether Section 32 of said Republic Act No. 4670 is executive clemency, thus:
constitutional.
... If imprisonment from 5 to 10 years is out of proportion to the
We shall resolve said queries in inverse order, since prior present case in view of certain circumstances, the law is not to be
determination of the constitutionality of the assailed provision of declared unconstitutional for this reason. The constitutionality of an
the law involved is necessary for the adjudication of the act of the legislature is not to be judged in the light of exceptional
jurisdictional issue raised in this petition. cases. Small transgressors for which the heavy net was not spread
are, like small fishes, bound to be caught, and it is to meet such a
1. The disputed section of Republic Act No. 4670 provides: situation as this that courts are advised to make a
recommendation to the Chief Executive for clemency or reduction
Sec. 32. Penal Provision. — A person who shall wilfully interfere of the penalty...
with, restrain or coerce any teacher in the exercise of his rights
guaranteed by this Act or who shall in any other manner commit That the penalty is grossly disproportionate to the crime is an
any act to defeat any of the provisions of this Act shall, upon insufficient basis to declare the law unconstitutional on the ground
conviction, be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred that it is cruel and unusual. The fact that the punishment
pesos nor more than one thousand pesos, or by imprisonment, in authorized by the statute is severe does not make it cruel or
the discretion of the court. (Emphasis supplied). unusual. 18 In addition, what degree of disproportion the Court will
consider as obnoxious to the Constitution has still to await
Two alternative and distinct penalties are consequently imposed, appropriate determination in due time since, to the credit of our
to wit: (a) a fine ranging from P100.00 to P1,000.00; or (b) legislative bodies, no decision has as yet struck down a penalty for
imprisonment. It is apparent that the law has no prescribed period being "cruel and unusual" or "excessive."
or term for the imposable penalty of imprisonment. While a
minimum and maximum amount for the penalty of fine is specified, We turn now to the argument of private respondents that the entire
there is no equivalent provision for the penalty of imprisonment, penal provision in question should be invalidated as an 49 "undue
although both appear to be qualified by the phrase "in the delegation of legislative power, the duration of penalty of
discretion of the court. imprisonment being solely left to the discretion of the court as if the
lattter were the legislative department of the government."
Private respondents contend that a judicial determination of what
Congress intended to be the duration of the penalty of Petitioner counters that the discretion granted therein by the
imprisonment would be violative of the constitutional prohibition legislature to the courts to determine the period of imprisonment is
against undue delegation of legislative power, and that the a matter of statutory construction and not an undue delegation of
absence of a provision on the specific term of imprisonment legislative power. It is contended that the prohibition against undue
constitutes that penalty into a cruel and unusual form of delegation of legislative power is concerned only with the
punishment. Hence, it is vigorously asserted, said Section 32 is delegation of power to make laws and not to interpret the same. It
unconstitutional. is also submitted that Republic Act No. 4670 vests in the courts the
discretion, not to fix the period of imprisonment, but to choose
The basic principle underlying the entire field of legal concepts which of the alternative penalties shall be imposed.
pertaining to the validity of legislation is that in the enactment of
legislation a constitutional measure is thereby created. In every Respondent judge sustained these theses of petitioner on his
case where a question is raised as to the constitutionality of an act, theory that "the principle of separation of powers is not violated by
the court employs this doctrine in scrutinizing the terms of the law. vesting in courts discretion as to the length of sentence or amount
In a great volume of cases, the courts have enunciated the of fine between designated limits in sentencing persons convicted
fundamental rule that there is a presumption in favor of the of crime. In such instance, the exercise of judicial discretion by the
constitutionality of a legislative enactment. 15 courts is not an attempt to use legislative power or to prescribe
and create a law but is an instance of the administration of justice
It is contended that Republic Act No. 4670 is unconstitutional on and the application of existing laws to the facts of particular
the ground that the imposable but indefinite penalty of cases." 19 What respondent judge obviously overlooked is his own
imprisonment provided therein constitutes a cruel and unusual reference to penalties "between designated limits."
punishment, in defiance of the express mandate of the
Constitution. This contention is inaccurate and should be rejected. In his commentary on the Constitution of the United States, Corwin
wrote:
We note with approval the holding of respondent judge that —
.. At least three distinct ideas have contributed to the development
The rule is established beyond question that a punishment of the principle that legislative power cannot be delegated. One is
authorized by statute is not cruel or unusual or disproportionate to the doctrine of separation of powers: Why go to the trouble of
the nature of the offense unless it is a barbarous one unknown to separating the three powers of government if they can straightway
the law or so wholly disproportionate to the nature of the offense remerge on their own motion? The second is the concept of due
as to shock the moral sense of the community. Based on the process of laws which precludes the transfer of regulatory
principle, our Supreme Court has consistently overruled functions to private persons. Lastly, there is the maxim of agency
contentions of the defense that the punishment of fine or "Delegata potestas non potest delegari." 20
imprisonment authorized by the statute involved is cruel and
unusual. (Legarda vs. Valdez, 1 Phil. 146; U.S. vs. Pico, 18 Phil. An apparent exception to the general rule forbidding the delegation
386; People vs. Garay, 2 ACR 149; People vs. Estoista 93 Phil. of legislative authority to the courts exists in cases where
647; People vs. Tiu Ua. 96 Phil. 738; People vs. Dionisio, 22 discretion is conferred upon said courts. It is clear, however, that
SCRA 1299). The language of our Supreme Court in the first of the when the courts are said to exercise a discretion, it must be a
cases it decided after the last world war is appropriate here: mere legal discretion which is exercised in discerning the course
prescribed by law and which, when discerned, it is the duty of the
The Constitution directs that 'Excessive fines shall not be imposed, court to follow. 21
nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.' The prohibition of
cruel and unusual punishments is generally aimed at the form or So it was held by the Supreme Court of the United States that the
character of the punishment rather than its severity in respect of principle of separation of powers is not violated by vesting in courts
duration or amount, and apply to punishments which never existed discretion as to the length of sentence or the amount of fine
in America, or which public sentiment has regarded as cruel or between designated limits in sentencing persons convicted of a
obsolete (15 Am. Jur., p. 172), for instance there (sic) inflicted at crime. 22
the whipping post, or in the pillory, burning at the stake, breaking
on the wheel, disemboweling, and the like (15 Am. Jur. Supra, In the case under consideration, the respondent judge
Note 35 L.R.A. p. 561). Fine and imprisonment would not thus be erronneously assumed that since the penalty of imprisonment has
within the prohibition.' (People vs. de la Cruz, 92 Phil. 906). 16 been provided for by the legislature, the court is endowed with the
discretion to ascertain the term or period of imprisonment. We
The question that should be asked, further, is whether the cannot agree with this postulate. It is not for the courts to fix the
constitutional prohibition looks only to the form or nature of the term of imprisonment where no points of reference have been
penalty and not to the proportion between the penalty and the provided by the legislature. What valid delegation presupposes
crime. and sanctions is an exercise of discretion to fix the length of
service of a term of imprisonment which must be encompassed
within specific or designated limits provided by law, the absence of
which designated limits well constitute such exercise as an undue On 1 February 1975, members of the Batangas City Police
delegation, if not-an outright intrusion into or assumption, of together with personnel of the Batangas Electric Light System,
legislative power. equipped with a search warrant issued by a city judge of Batangas
City, searched and examined the premises of the Opulencia
Section 32 of Republic Act No. 4670 provides for an Carpena Ice Plant and Cold Storage owned and operated by the
indeterminable period of imprisonment, with neither a minimum nor private respondent Manuel Opulencia. The police discovered that
a maximum duration having been set by the legislative authority. electric wiring, devices and contraptions had been installed,
The courts are thus given a wide latitude of discretion to fix the without the necessary authority from the city government, and
term of imprisonment, without even the benefit of any sufficient "architecturally concealed inside the walls of the building" 1 owned
standard, such that the duration thereof may range, in the words of by the private respondent. These electric devices and contraptions
respondent judge, from one minute to the life span of the accused. were, in the allegation of the petitioner "designed purposely to
Irremissibly, this cannot be allowed. It vests in the courts a power lower or decrease the readings of electric current consumption in
and a duty essentially legislative in nature and which, as applied to the electric meter of the said electric [ice and cold storage] plant."
this case, does violence to the rules on separation of powers as 2 During the subsequent investigation, Manuel Opulencia admitted
well as the non-delegability of legislative powers. This time, the in a written statement that he had caused the installation of the
preumption of constitutionality has to yield. electrical devices "in order to lower or decrease the readings of his
electric meter. 3
On the foregoing considerations, and by virtue of the separability
clause in Section 34 of Republic Act No. 4670, the penalty of On 24 November 1975, an Assistant City Fiscal of Batangas City
imprisonment provided in Section 32 thereof should be, as it is filed before the City Court of Batangas City an information against
hereby, declared unconstitutional. Manuel Opulencia for violation of Ordinance No. 1, Series of 1974,
Batangas City. A violation of this ordinance was, under its terms,
It follows, therefore, that a ruling on the proper interpretation of the punishable by a fine "ranging from Five Pesos (P5.00) to Fifty
actual term of imprisonment, as may have been intended by Pesos (P50.00) or imprisonment, which shall not exceed thirty (30)
Congress, would be pointless and academic. It is, however, worth days, or both, at the discretion of the court." 4 This information
mentioning that the suggested application of the so-called rule or reads as follows:
principle of parallelism, whereby a fine of P1,000.00 would be
equated with one year of imprisonment, does not merit judicial The undersigned, Assistant City Fiscal, accuses Manuel Opulencia
acceptance. A fine, whether imposed as a single or as an y Lat of violation of Sec. 3 (b) in relation to Sec. 6 (d) and Sec. 10
alternative penalty, should not and cannot be reduced or converted Article II, Title IV of ordinance No. 1, S. 1974, with damage to the
into a prison term; it is to be considered as a separate and City Government of Batangas, and penalized by the said
independent penalty consonant with Article 26 of the Revised ordinance, committed as follows:
Penal Code. 23 It is likewise declared a discrete principal penalty
in the graduated scales of penalties in Article 71 of said Code. That from November, 1974 to February, 1975 at Batangas City,
There is no rule for transmutation of the amount of a fine into a Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
term of imprisonment. Neither does the Code contain any provision above-named accused, with intent to defraud the City Government
that a fine when imposed in conjunction with imprisonment is of Batangas, without proper authorization from any lawful and/or
subordinate to the latter penalty. In sum, a fine is as much a permit from the proper authorities, did then and there wilfully,
principal penalty as imprisonment. Neither is subordinate to the unlawfully and feloniously make unauthorized installations of
other. 24 electric wirings and devices to lower or decrease the consumption
of electric fluid at the Opulencia Ice Plant situated at Kumintang,
2. It has been the consistent rule that the criminal Ibaba, this city and as a result of such unathorized installations of
jurisdiction of the court is determined by the statute in force at the electric wirings and devices made by the accused, the City
time of the commencement of the action. 25 Government of Batangas was damaged and prejudiced in the total
amount of FORTY ONE THOUSAND, SIXTY TWO PESOS AND
With the deletion by invalidation of the provision on imprisonment SIXTEEN CENTAVOS (P41,062.16) Philippine currency, covering
in Section 32 of Republic Act No. 4670, as earlier discussed, the the period from November 1974 to February, 1975, to the damage
imposable penalty for violations of said law should be limited to a and prejudice of the City Government of Batangas in the
fine of not less than P100.00 and not more than P1,000.00, the aforestated amount of P41,062.16, Philippine currency.
same to serve as the basis in determining which court may
properly exercise jurisdiction thereover. When the complaint The accused Manuel Opulencia pleaded not guilty to the above
against private respondents was filed in 1975, the pertinent law information. On 2 February 1976, he filed a motion to dismiss the
then in force was Republic Act No. 296, as amended by Republic information upon the grounds that the crime there charged had
Act No. 3828, under which crimes punishable by a fine of not more already prescribed and that the civil indemnity there sought to be
than P 3,000.00 fall under the original jurisdiction of the former recovered was beyond the jurisdiction of the Batangas City Court
municipal courts. Consequently, Criminal Case No. 555 against to award. In an order dated 6 April 1976, the Batangas City Court
herein private respondents falls within the original jurisdiction of granted the motion to dismiss on the ground of prescription, it
the Municipal Trial Court of Hindang, Leyte. appearing that the offense charged was a light felony which
prescribes two months from the time of discovery thereof, and it
WHEREFORE, the decision and resolution of respondent judge appearing further that the information was filed by the fiscal more
are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Criminal Case No. 555 than nine months after discovery of the offense charged in
filed against private respondents herein is hereby ordered to be February 1975.
remanded to the Municipal Trial Court of Hindang, Leyte for trial on
the merits. Fourteen (14) days later, on 20 April 1976, the Acting City Fiscal of
Batangas City filed before the Court of First Instance of Batangas,
SO ORDERED. Branch 11, another information against Manuel Opulencia, this
time for theft of electric power under Article 308 in relation to
Article 309, paragraph (1), of the Revised Penal Code. This
G.R. No. L-45129 March 6, 1987 information read as follows:

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, The undersigned Acting City Fiscal accuses Manuel Opulencia y
vs. Lat of the crime of theft, defined and penalized by Article 308, in
THE HONORABLE BENJAMIN RELOVA, in his capacity as relation to Article 309, paragraph (1) of the Revised Penal Code,
Presiding Judge of the Court of First Instance of Batangas, committed as follows:
Second Branch, and MANUEL OPULENCIA, respondents.
That on, during, and between the month of November, 1974, and
the 21st day of February, 1975, at Kumintang, lbaba, Batangas
City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
FELICIANO, J.: Court, the above-named accused, with intent of gain and without
the knowledge and consent of the Batangas Electric Light System,
In this petition for certiorari and mandamus, the People of the did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, steal
Philippines seek to set aside the orders of the respondent Judge of and appropriate electric current valued in the total amount of
the Court of First Instance of Batangas in Criminal Case No. 266, FORTY ONE THOUSAND, SIXTY TWO PESOS AND SIXTEEN
dated 12 August 1976 and 8 November 1976, respectively, CENTAVOS (P41,062.16) Philippine Currency, to the damage and
quashing an information for theft filed against private respondent prejudice of the said Batangas Electric Light System, owned and
Manuel Opulencia on the ground of double jeopardy and denying operated by the City Government of Batangas, in the
the petitioner's motion for reconsideration. aforementioned sum of P41,062.16.
The above information was docketed as Criminal Case No. 266 The gist of the offense under the City Ordinance, the petitioner's
before the Court of First Instance of Batangas, Branch II. Before argument continues, is the installing of electric wiring and devices
he could be arraigned thereon, Manuel Opulencia filed a Motion to without authority from the proper officials of the city government.
Quash, dated 5 May 1976, alleging that he had been previously To constitute an offense under the city ordinance, it is not essential
acquitted of the offense charged in the second information and that to establish any mens rea on the part of the offender generally
the filing thereof was violative of his constitutional right against speaking, nor, more specifically, an intent to appropriate and steal
double jeopardy. By Order dated 16 August 1976, the respondent electric fluid.
Judge granted the accused's Motion to Quash and ordered the
case dismissed. The gist of this Order is set forth in the following In contrast, the petitioner goes on, the offense of theft under Article
paragraphs: 308 of the Revised Penal Code filed before the Court of First
Instance of Batangas in Criminal Case No. 266 has quite different
The only question here is whether the dismissal of the first case essential elements. These elements are:
can be properly pleaded by the accused in the motion to quash.
1. That personal property be taken;
In the first paragraph of the earlier information, it alleges that the
prosecution "accuses Manuel Opulencia y Lat of violation of Sec. 2. That the personal property (taken) belongs to another;
3(b) in relation to Sec. 6(d) and Sec. 10 Article II, Title IV of
Ordinance No. 1, s. 1974, with damage to the City Government of 3. That the taking be done with intent of gain;
Batangas, etc. " (Emphasis supplied). The first case, as it appears,
was not simply one of illegal electrical connections. It also covered 4. That the taking be done without the consent of the
an amount of P41,062.16 which the accused, in effect, allegedly owner; and
with intent to defraud, deprived the city government of Batangas. If
the charge had meant illegal electric installations only, it could 5. That the taking be accomplished without violence against
have alleged illegal connections which were done at one instance or intimidation of persons or force upon things. 6
on a particular date between November, 1974, to February 21,
1975. But as the information states "that from November, 1974 to The petitioner also alleges, correctly, in our view, that theft of
February 1975 at Batangas City, Philippines, and within the electricity can be effected even without illegal or unauthorized
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused installations of any kind by, for instance, any of the following
with intent to defraud the City Government of Batangas, without means:
proper authorization from any lawful and/or permit from the proper
authorities, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously 1. Turning back the dials of the electric meter;
make unauthorized installations of electric wirings and devices,
etc." (Emphasis supplied), it was meant to include the P 41,062.16 2. Fixing the electric meter in such a manner that it will not
which the accused had, in effect, defrauded the city government. register the actual electrical consumption;
The information could not have meant that from November 1974 to
21 February 1975, he had daily committed unlawful installations. 3. Under-reading of electrical consumption; and

When, therefore, he was arraigned and he faced the indictment 4. By tightening the screw of the rotary blade to slow down
before the City Court, he had already been exposed, or he felt he the rotation of the same. 7
was exposed to consequences of what allegedly happened
between November 1974 to February 21, 1975 which had The petitioner concludes that:
allegedly resulted in defrauding the City of Batangas in the amount
of P 41,062.16. (Emphases and parentheses in the original) The unauthorized installation punished by the ordinance [of
Batangas City] is not the same as theft of electricity [under the
A Motion for Reconsideration of the above-quoted Order filed by Revised Penal Code]; that the second offense is not an attempt to
the petitioner was denied by the respondent Judge in an Order commit the first or a frustration thereof and that the second offense
dated 18 November 1976. is not necessarily included in the offense charged in the first
inforrnation 8
On 1 December 1976, the present Petition for certiorari and
mandamus was filed in this Court by the Acting City Fiscal of The above arguments made by the petitioner are of course correct.
Batangas City on behalf of the People. This is clear both from the express terms of the constitutional
provision involved — which reads as follows:
The basic premise of the petitioner's position is that the
constitutional protection against double jeopardy is protection No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the
against a second or later jeopardy of conviction for the same same offense. If an act is punished by a law and an ordinance,
offense. The petitioner stresses that the first information filed conviction or acquittal under either shall constitute a bar to another
before the City Court of Batangas City was one for unlawful or prosecution for the same act. (Emphasis supplied; Article IV (22),
unauthorized installation of electrical wiring and devices, acts 1973 Constitution) 9
which were in violation of an ordinance of the City Government of
Batangas. Only two elements are needed to constitute an offense and from our case law on this point. 10 The basic difficulty with the
under this City Ordinance: (1) that there was such an installation; petitioner's position is that it must be examined, not under the
and (2) no authority therefor had been obtained from the terms of the first sentence of Article IV (22) of the 1973
Superintendent of the Batangas City Electrical System or the Constitution, but rather under the second sentence of the same
District Engineer. The petitioner urges that the relevant terms of section. The first sentence of Article IV (22) sets forth the general
the City Ordinance — which read as follows: rule: the constitutional protection against double jeopardy is not
available where the second prosecution is for an offense that is
Section 3.-Connection and Installation different from the offense charged in the first or prior prosecution,
although both the first and second offenses may be based upon
(a) xxx the same act or set of acts. The second sentence of Article IV (22)
embodies an exception to the general proposition: the
(b) The work and installation in the houses and building and constitutional protection, against double jeopardy is available
their connection with the Electrical System shall be done either by although the prior offense charged under an ordinance be different
the employee of the system duly authorized by its Superintendent from the offense charged subsequently under a national statute
or by persons adept in the matter duly authorized by the District such as the Revised Penal Code, provided that both offenses
Engineer. Applicants for electrical service permitting the works of spring from the same act or set of acts. This was made clear
installation or connection with the system to be undertaken by the sometime ago in Yap vs. Lutero. 11
persons not duly authorized therefor shall be considered guilty of
violation of the ordinance. In Yap, petitioner Manuel Yap was charged in Criminal Case No.
16054 of the Municipal Court of Iloilo City, with violation of Article
would show that: 14 of Ordinance No. 22, Series of 1951, in relation to Ordinance
No. 15, Series of 1954, of the City of Iloilo. The information
The principal purpose for (sic) such a provision is to ensure that charged him with having "wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously
electrical installations on residences or buildings be done by drive[n] and operate[d]" an automobile — "recklessly and without
persons duly authorized or adept in the matter, to avoid fires and reasonable caution thereby endangering other vehicles and
accidents due to faulty electrical wirings. It is primarily a regulatory pedestrians passing in said street." Three months later, Yap was
measure and not intended to punish or curb theft of electric fluid again charged in Criminal Case No. 16443 of the same Municipal
which is already covered by the Revised Penal Code. 5 Court, this time with serious physical injuries through reckless
imprudence. The information charged him with violation of the
Revised Motor Vehicle Law (Act No. 3992 as amended by earlier and the subsequent offenses charged. In contrast, where
Republic Act No. 587) committed by driving and operating an one offense is charged under a municipal ordinance while the
automobile in a reckless and negligent manner and as a result other is penalized by a statute, the critical inquiry is to the identity
thereof inflicting injuries upon an unfortunate pedestrian. Yap of the acts which the accused is said to have committed and which
moved to quash the second information upon the ground that it are alleged to have given rise to the two offenses: the
placed him twice in jeopardy of punishment for the same act. This constitutional protection against double jeopardy is available so
motion was denied by the respondent municipal judge. Meantime, long as the acts which constitute or have given rise to the first
another municipal judge had acquitted Yap in Criminal Case No. offense under a municipal ordinance are the same acts which
16054. Yap then instituted a petition for certiorari in the Court of constitute or have given rise to the offense charged under a
First Instance of Iloilo to set aside the order of the respondent statute.
municipal judge. The Court of First Instance of Iloilo having
reversed the respondent municipal judge and having directed him The question may be raised why one rule should exist where two
to desist from continuing with Criminal Case No. 16443, the offenses under two different sections of the same statute or under
respondent Judge brought the case to the Supreme Court for different statutes are charged, and another rule for the situation
review on appeal. In affirming the decision appealed from and where one offense is charged under a municipal ordinance and
holding that the constitutional protection against double jeopardy another offense under a national statute. If the second sentence of
was available to petitioner Yap, then Associate Justice and later the double jeopardy provision had not been written into the
Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion wrote: Constitution, conviction or acquittal under a municipal ordinance
would never constitute a bar to another prosecution for the same
To begin with, the crime of damage to property through reckless act under a national statute. An offense penalized by municipal
driving — with which Diaz stood charged in the court of first ordinance is, by definition, different from an offense under a
instance — is a violation of the Revised Penal Code (third statute. The two offenses would never constitute the same offense
paragraph of Article 365), not the Automobile Law (Act No. 3992, having been promulgated by different rule-making authorities —
as amended by Republic Act No. 587). Hence, Diaz was not twice though one be subordinate to the other — and the plea of double
accused of a violation of the same law. Secondly, reckless driving jeopardy would never lie. The discussions during the 1934-1935
and certain crimes committed through reckless driving are Constitutional Convention show that the second sentence was
punishable under different provisions of said Automobile Law. inserted precisely for the purpose of extending the constitutional
Hence — from the view point of Criminal Law, as distinguished protection against double jeopardy to a situation which would not
from political or Constitutional Law — they constitute, strictly, otherwise be covered by the first sentence. 13
different offenses, although under certain conditions, one offense
may include the other, and, accordingly, once placed in jeopardy The question of Identity or lack of Identity of offenses is addressed
for one, the plea of double jeopardy may be in order as regards the by examining the essential elements of each of the two offenses
other, as in the Diaz case. (Emphases in the original) charged, as such elements are set out in the respective legislative
definitions of the offenses involved. The question of Identity of the
Thirdly, our Bill of Rights deals with two (2) kinds of double acts which are claimed to have generated liability both under a
jeopardy. The first sentence of clause 20, section 1, Article III of municipal ordinance and a national statute must be addressed, in
the Constitution, ordains that "no person shall be twice put in the first instance, by examining the location of such acts in time
jeopardy of punishment for the same offense." (Emphasis in the and space. When the acts of the accused as set out in the two
original) The second sentence of said clause provides that "if an informations are so related to each other in time and space as to
act is punishable by a law and an ordinance, conviction or acquittal be reasonably regarded as having taken place on the same
under either shall constitute a bar to another prosecution for the occasion and where those acts have been moved by one and the
same act." Thus, the first sentence prohibits double jeopardy of same, or a continuing, intent or voluntary design or negligence,
punishment for the same offense, whereas the second such acts may be appropriately characterized as an integral whole
contemplates double jeopardy of punishment for the same act. capable of giving rise to penal liability simultaneously under
Under the first sentence, one may be twice put in jeopardy of different legal enactments (a municipal ordinance and a national
punishment of the same act provided that he is charged with statute).
different offenses, or the offense charged in one case is not
included in or does not include, the crime charged in the other In Yap, the Court regarded the offense of reckless driving under
case. The second sentence applies, even if the offenses charged the Iloilo City Ordinance and serious physical injuries through
are not the same, owing to the fact that one constitutes a violation reckless imprudence under the Revised Motor Vehicle Law as
of an ordinance and the other a violation of a statute. If the two derived from the same act or sets of acts — that is, the operation
charges are based on one and the same act conviction or acquittal of an automobile in a reckless manner. The additional technical
under either the law or the ordinance shall bar a prosecution under element of serious physical injuries related to the physical
the other. 12 Incidentally, such conviction or acquittal is not consequences of the operation of the automobile by the accused,
indispensable to sustain the plea of double jeopardy of punishment i.e., the impact of the automobile upon the body of the offended
for the same offense. So long as jeopardy has attached under one party. Clearly, such consequence occurred in the same occasion
of the informations charging said offense, the defense may be that the accused operated the automobile (recklessly). The moral
availed of in the other case involving the same offense, even if element of negligence permeated the acts of the accused
there has been neither conviction nor acquittal in either case. throughout that occasion.

The issue in the case at bar hinges, therefore, on whether or not, In the instant case, the relevant acts took place within the same
under the information in case No. 16443, petitioner could — if he time frame: from November 1974 to February 1975. During this
failed to plead double jeopardy — be convicted of the same act period, the accused Manuel Opulencia installed or permitted the
charged in case No. 16054, in which he has already been installation of electrical wiring and devices in his ice plant without
acquitted. The information in case No. 16054 alleges, obtaining the necessary permit or authorization from the municipal
substantially, that on the date and in the place therein stated, authorities. The accused conceded that he effected or permitted
petitioner herein had wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously driven and such unauthorized installation for the very purpose of reducing
operated "recklessly and without reasonable caution" an electric power bill. This corrupt intent was thus present from the
automobile described in said information. Upon the other hand, the very moment that such unauthorized installation began. The
information in case No. 16443, similarly states that, on the same immediate physical effect of the unauthorized installation was the
date and in the same place, petitioner drove and operated the inward flow of electric current into Opulencia's ice plant without the
aforementioned automobile in a "reckless and negligent manner at corresponding recording thereof in his electric meter. In other
an excessive rate of speed and in violation of the Revised Motor words, the "taking" of electric current was integral with the
Vehicle Law (Act No. 3992), as amended by Republic Act No. 587, unauthorized installation of electric wiring and devices.
and existing city ordinances." Thus, if the theories mentioned in
the second information were not established by the evidence, It is perhaps important to note that the rule limiting the
petitioner could be convicted in case No. 16443 of the very same constitutional protection against double jeopardy to a subsequent
violation of municipal ordinance charged in case No. 16054, unless prosecution for the same offense is not to be understood with
he pleaded double jeopardy. absolute literalness. The Identity of offenses that must be shown
need not be absolute Identity: the first and second offenses may
It is clear, therefore, that the lower court has not erred eventually be regarded as the "same offense" where the second offense
sustaining the theory of petitioner herein. necessarily includes the first offense or is necessarily included in
such first offense or where the second offense is an attempt to
Put a little differently, where the offenses charged are penalized commit the first or a frustration thereof. 14 Thus, for the
either by different sections of the same statute or by different constitutional plea of double jeopardy to be available, not all the
statutes, the important inquiry relates to the identity of offenses technical elements constituting the first offense need be present in
charge: the constitutional protection against double jeopardy is the technical definition of the second offense. The law here seeks
available only where an Identity is shown to exist between the to prevent harrassment of an accused person by multiple
prosecutions for offenses which though different from one another
are nonetheless each constituted by a common set or overlapping PADILLA, J.:
sets of technical elements. As Associate Justice and later Chief
Justice Ricardo Paras cautioned in People vs. del Carmen et al., Petition for review on certiorari to set aside the order of the
88 Phil. 51 (1951): respondent City Court of Manila, Branch VI, dated 20 January
1973, dismissing the information (for violation of Article 201 (3) of
While the rule against double jeopardy prohibits prosecution for the the Revised Penal Code) against the accused, herein respondent
same offense, it seems elementary that an accused should be Agapito Gonzales, in Criminal Case No. F-147348 and its
shielded against being prosecuted for several offenses made out amended order, dated 16 March 1973, denying petitioner's motion
from a single act. Otherwise, an unlawful act or omission may give for reconsideration of the first order.
use to several prosecutions depending upon the ability of the
prosecuting officer to imagine or concoct as many offenses as can Respondent Agapito Gonzales, together with Roberto Pangilinan,
be justified by said act or omission, by simply adding or subtracting was accused of violating Section 7, in relation to Section 11,
essential elements. Under the theory of appellant, the crime of Republic Act No. 3060 and Article 201 (3) of the Revised Penal
rape may be converted into a crime of coercion, by merely alleging Code, in two (2) separate informations filed with the City Court of
that by force and intimidation the accused prevented the offended Manila on 4 April 1972.
girl from remaining a virgin. (88 Phil. at 53; emphases supplied)
On 7 April 1972, before arraignment in the two (2) cases, the City
By the same token, acts of a person which physically occur on the Fiscal amended the information in Criminal Case No. F-147347
same occasion and are infused by a common intent or design or (for violation of Section 7 in relation to Section 11, Rep. Act No.
negligence and therefore form a moral unity, should not be 3060), by alleging that the accused.
segmented and sliced, as it were, to produce as many different
acts as there are offenses under municipal ordinances or statutes conspiring, and confederating together, and mutually helping each
that an enterprising prosecutor can find other did then and there wilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously publicly
exhibit and cause to be publicly exhibited ... completed composite
It remains to point out that the dismissal by the Batangas City prints of motion film, of the 8 mm. size, in color forming visual
Court of the information for violation of the Batangas City moving images on the projection screen through the mechanical
Ordinance upon the ground that such offense had already application of the projection equipment, which motion pictures
prescribed, amounts to an acquittal of the accused of that offense. have never been previously submitted to the Board of Censors for
Under Article 89 of the Revised Penal Code, "prescription of the Motion Pictures for preview, examination and partnership, nor duly
crime" is one of the grounds for "total extinction of criminal liability." passed by said Board, in a public place, to wit: at Room 309, De
Under the Rules of Court, an order sustaining a motion to quash Leon Building, Raon Street corner Rizal Avenue, [Manila].
based on prescription is a bar to another prosecution for the same
offense. 15 On the other hand, the information in Criminal Case No. F-147348
(for violation of Article 201 (3) of the Revised Penal Code) was
It is not without reluctance that we deny the people's petition for amended to allege that, on the same date, 16 July 1971, the same
certiorari and mandamus in this case. It is difficult to summon any accused,
empathy for a businessman who would make or enlarge his profit
by stealing from the community. Manuel Opulencia is able to conspiring and confederating together and actually helping each
escape criminal punishment because an Assistant City Fiscal by other, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully, feloniously and
inadvertence or otherwise chose to file an information for an publicly exhibit, through the mechanical application of movie
offense which he should have known had already prescribed. We projection equipment and the use of projection screen, indecent
are, however, compelled by the fundamental law to hold the and immoral motion picture scenes, to wit: motion pictures of the 8
protection of the right against double jeopardy available even to mm. size, in color, depicting and showing scenes of totally naked
the private respondent in this case. female and male persons with exposed private parts doing the sex
act in various lewd and obvious positions, among other similarly
The civil liability aspects of this case are another matter. Because and equally obscene and morally offensive scenes, in a place
no reservation of the right to file a separate civil action was made open to public view, to wit: at Room 309, De Leon Building, Raon
by the Batangas City electric light system, the civil action for Street corner Rizal Avenue, [Manila].
recovery of civil liability arising from the offense charged was
impliedly instituted with the criminal action both before the City On 31 May 1972, upon arraignment, accused Agapito Gonzales
Court of Batangas City and the Court of First Instance of pleaded not guilty to both charges. The other accused, Roberto
Batangas. The extinction of criminal liability whether by Pangilinan, was not arraigned as he was (and he still is) at large.
prescription or by the bar of double jeopardy does not carry with it
the extinction of civil liability arising from the offense charged. In On 26 June 1972, accused Agapito Gonzales filed a motion to
the present case, as we noted earlier, 16 accused Manuel quash the informations in the two (2) cases, on the ground that
Opulencia freely admitted during the police investigation having said informations did not charge an offense. The motion was
stolen electric current through the installation and use of denied on 17 July 1972 and the cases were set for trial on 7
unauthorized elibctrical connections or devices. While the accused August 1972.
pleaded not guilty before the City Court of Batangas City, he did
not deny having appropriated electric power. However, there is no No hearing was held on 7 August 1972, however, as the accused
evidence in the record as to the amount or value of the electric moved for postponement of the trial set on said date and the trial
power appropriated by Manuel Opulencia, the criminal set on two (2) other dates. On 15 November 1972, the accused
informations having been dismissed both by the City Court and by Gonzales moved for permission to withdraw his plea of "not guilty"
the Court of First Instance (from which dismissals the Batangas in Criminal Case No. F-147348, without however, substituting or
City electric light system could not have appealed 17) before trial entering another plea. The Court granted the motion and reset the
could begin. Accordingly, the related civil action which has not hearing of the cases for 27 December 1972.
been waived expressly or impliedly, should be remanded to the
Court of First Instance of Batangas City for reception of evidence On 27 December 1972, accused Gonzales moved to quash the
on the amount or value of the electric power appropriated and information in Criminal Case No. F-147348 on the ground of
converted by Manuel Opulencia and rendition of judgment double jeopardy, as there was according to him, also pending
conformably with such evidence. against him Criminal Case No. F-147347, for violation of Rep. Act
No. 3060, where the information allegedly contains the same
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari and mandamus is allegations as the information in Criminal Case No. F-147348.
DENIED. Let the civil action for related civil liability be remanded to
the Court of First Instance of Batangas City for further proceedings Petitioner opposed the motion to quash but the respondent City
as indicated above. No pronouncement as to costs. Court, in an order, dated 20 January 1973, dismissed the case
(Criminal Case No. F-147348) stating thus:
SO ORDERED.
In one case (F-147347), the basis of the charge is a special law,
G.R. No. L-36528 September 24, 1987 Rep. Act No. 3060. In the other case (F-147348), the basis of the
same is the pertinent provision of the Revised Penal Code.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, Considering that the allegations in the information of said cases
vs. are Identical the plea entered in one case by the accused herein
THE CITY COURT OF MANILA, BRANCH VI and AGAPITO can be reasonably seen as exposing him to double jeopardy in the
GONZALES Y VENERACION, respondents. other case, as said allegations therein are not only similar but [sic]
Identical facts.
After the dismissal of Criminal Case No. F-147348, or on 7 constitutes a criminal offense. 3 On the other hand, the offense
February 1973, in Criminal Case No. F-147347, the accused punished in Article 201 (3) of the Revised Penal Code is the public
changed his plea of "not guilty" and entered a plea of "guilty" for showing of indecent or immoral plays, scenes, acts, or shows, not
violation of Rep. Act No. 3060. He was accordingly sentenced to just motion pictures. 4
pay a fine of P600.00.
The nature of both offenses also shows their essential difference.
On 10 February 1973, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration The crime punished in Rep. Act No. 3060 is a malum prohibitum in
of the order of 20 January 1973, dismissing Criminal Case No. F- which criminal intent need not be proved because it is presumed,
147348. This was however denied by respondent court in its order while the offense punished in Article 201 (3) of the Revised Penal
dated 15 March 1973, and in its amended order dated 16 March Code is malum in se, in which criminal intent is an indispensable
1973; hence, this petition for review on certiorari. ingredient.

Petitioner contends that the accused could not invoke the Considering these differences in elements and nature, there is no
constitutional guarantee against double jeopardy, when there had Identity of the offenses here involved for which legal jeopardy in
been no conviction, acquittal, dismissal or termination of criminal one may be invoked in the other. 5 Evidence required to prove one
proceedings in another case for the same offense. 1 The offense is not the same evidence required to prove the other. The
respondent, on the other hand, argues that conviction or acquittal defense of double jeopardy cannot prosper. As aptly put in People
in, or dismissal or termination of a first case is not necessary, so v. Doriquez. 6
long as he had been put in jeopardy of being convicted or
acquitted in the first case of the same offense. 2 It is a cardinal rule that the protection against double jeopardy may
be invoked only for the same offense or Identical offense. A single
It is a settled rule that to raise the defense of double jeopardy, act may offend against two (or more) entirely distinct and unrelated
three requisites must be present: (1) a first jeopardy must have provisions of law, and if one provision requires proof of an
attached prior to the second; (2) the first jeopardy must have been additional fact or element which the other does not, an acquittal or
validly terminated; and (3) the second jeopardy must be for the conviction or a dismissal of the information under one does not bar
same offense, or the second offense includes or is necessarily prosecution under the other. (People v. Bacolod, 89 Phil. 621;
included in the offense charged in the first information, or is an People v. Alvarez, 45 Phil. 24). Phrased elsewhere, where two
attempt to commit the same or a frustration thereof different laws (or articles of the same code) define two crimes,
prior jeopardy as to one of them is no obstacle to a prosecution of
All these requisites do not exist in this case. the other, although both offenses arise from the same facts, if each
crime involves some important act which is not an essential
The two (2) informations with which the accused was charged, do element of the other. (People v. Alvarez, 45 Phil. 472). 7
not make out only one offense, contrary to private respondent's (Emphasis supplied)
allegations. In other words, the offense defined in section 7 of Rep.
Act No. 3060 punishing the exhibition of motion pictures not duly Petitioner also questions the propriety of allowing the accused in
passed by the Board of Censors for Motion Pictures does not Criminal Case No. F-147348 to withdraw his plea of not guilty in
include or is not included in the offense defined in Article 201 (3) of order to file a motion to quash on the ground of double jeopardy.
the Revised Penal Code punishing the exhibition of indecent and Petitioner argues:
immoral motion pictures.
It is true that on February 3, 1973, the trial court finally convicted
The two (2) offenses do not constitute a jeopardy to each other. A respondent Gonzales in Criminal Case No. F-147347 by imposing
scrutiny of the two (2) laws involved would show that the two (2) on him a fine of P600.00. But it is obvious that respondent
offenses are different and distinct from each other. The relevant Gonzales's conviction in that case cannot retroactively supply the
provisions of Rep. Act No. 3060 state: ground for the dismissal of Criminal Case No. F-147348.

Sec. 7. It shall be unlawful for any person or entity to exhibit or But even if conviction in Criminal Case No. F-147347 preceded the
cause to be exhibited in any motion picture theater or public place, dismissal of Criminal Case No. F-147348, still that conviction
or by television within the Philippines any motion picture, including cannot bar the prosecution for violation of Article 201 (3) of the
trailers, stills, and other pictorial advertisements in connection with Revised Penal Code, because, by pleading to the charge in
motion pictures, not duly passed by the Board; or to print or cause Criminal Case No. F-147348 without moving to quash the
to be printed on any motion picture to be exhibited in any theater, information, the accused (now the respondent) Gonzales must be
or public place or by television, a label or notice showing the same taken to have waived the defense of double jeopardy, pursuant to
to have been previously passed by the said Board when the same the provisions of Rule 117, section 10. (Barot v. Villamor, 105 Phil.
has not been previously authorized, except motion pictures 263 [1959]) It is only in cases where, after pleading or moving to
imprinted or exhibited by the Philippine Government and/or its quash on some other grounds, the accused learns for the first time
departments and agencies, and newsreels. that the offense of which he is charged is an offense for which he
has been in jeopardy that the court may in its discretion entertain
Sec. 11. Any violation of Section seven of this Act shall be at any time before judgment a motion to quash on that ground. ...
punished by imprisonment of not less than six months but not In the case at bar, however, the fact is that the accused (now the
more than two years, or by a fine of not less than six hundred nor respondent Gonzales) was arraigned in the same court. He,
more than two thousand pesos, or both at the discretion of the therefore, cannot claim ignorance of the existence of another
court. If the offender is an alien he shall be deported immediately. charge against him for supposedly the same offense. 8
The license to operate the movie theater or television shall also be
revoked. Any other kind of violation shall be punished by Petitioner's argument is well-taken. Sec. 10, Rule 117, of the Rules
imprisonment of not less than one month nor more than three of Court, before its amendment stated —
months or a fine of not less than one hundred pesos nor more than
three hundred pesos, or both at the discretion of the court. In case SEC. 10. Failure to move to quash-Effect of- Exception. — If the
the violation is committed by a corporation, partnership or defendant does not move to quash the complaint or information
association, the liability shall devolve upon the president, manager, before he pleads thereto he shall be taken to have waived all
administrator, or any office thereof responsible for the violation. objections which are grounds for a motion to quash except when
the complaint or information does not charge an offense, or the
On the other hand, Article 201 (3) of the Revised Penal Code court is without jurisdiction of the same. If, however, the defendant
provides: learns after he has pleaded or has moved to quash on some other
ground that the offense for which he is now charged is an offense
Art. 201. Immoral doctrines, obscene publications and exhibitions.- for which he has been pardoned, or of which he has been
The penalty of prision correccional in its minimum period, or a fine convicted or acquitted or been in jeopardy, the court may in its
ranging from 200 to 2,000 pesos, or both, shall be imposed upon: discretion entertain at any time before judgment a motion to quash
on the ground of such pardon, conviction, acquittal or jeopardy.
... 3. Those who in theaters, fairs, cinematographs, or any (Emphasis supplied)
other place open to public view, shall exhibit indecent or immoral
plays, scenes, acts, or shows; ... However, it must be noted that, under the 1985 Rules, the
provision now reads as follows:
It is evident that the elements of the two (2) offenses are different.
The gravamen of the offense defined in Rep. Act No. 3060 is the Failure to move or quash or to allege any ground therefore. The
public exhibition of any motion picture which has not been failure of the accused to assert any ground of a motion to quash
previously passed by the Board of Censors for Motion Pictures. before he pleads to the complaint or information, either because
The motion picture may not be indecent or immoral but if it has not he did not file a motion to quash or failed to allege the same in said
been previously approved by the Board, its public showing motion, shall be deemed a waiver of the grounds for a motion to
quash, except the grounds of no offense charged, lack of Complainant Filomena de la Cruz, who was undisputedly born on
jurisdiction, extinction of the offense or penalty, and jeopardy. ... 9 August 10, 1946 at Calamba, Laguna (Exh. B), was employed in
the house of Pita Alvero at San Pablo City as a domestic helper for
The above, being an amendment favorable to the accused, the a period of only nine (9) days from November 20, 1964 to
benefit thereof can be extended to the accused-respondent. November 29, 1964. On November 27, 1964, she came to know
However, whatever benefit he may derive from this amendment, is defendant Francisca Alimagno who was bringing money to her
also illusory. For, as previously noted, there is no double jeopardy employer Pita Alvero. On said date, defendant Alimagno tried to
which gave rise to a valid motion to quash. convince her to leave the house of Pita Alvero, promising her a
better job. Defendant Alimagno, having gained her confidence,
The People (petitioner) rightly appealed the dismissal of Criminal succeeded in thus persuading her to leave the house of Pita
Case No F-147348. For, as ruled in People v. Desalisa: 10 Alvero. Hence, on November 29, 1964, after leaving a self-
explanatory note, Exh. A, which was admittedly written by accused
As a general rule, the dismissal or termination of a case after Francisca Alimagno herself, which reads:
arraignment and plea of the defendant to a valid information shall
be a bar to another prosecution for the offense charged, or for any Ako ho ay nagtanan kasama ko ay lalake.
attempt to commit the same or frustration thereof, or for any
offense which necessarily includes or is necessarily included in the Your Utusan
complaint or information (Sec. 9, Rule 113). However, an appeal
by the prosecution from the order of dismissal (of the criminal complainant abandoned the house of her mistress and went with
case) by the trial court shall not constitute double jeopardy if (1) defendants Francisca Alimagno and Jovita Melo in a jeep, together
the dismissal is made upon motion, or with the express consent, of with a man and a driver. They then proceeded to Barrio Putol, San
the defendant, and (2) the dismissal is not an acquittal or based Pablo City, where she was brought to a hut thereat and there
upon consideration of the evidence or of the merits of the case; allowed to be ravished by a man. whom she saw for the first time,
and (3) the question to be passed upon by the appellate court is after the latter had covered her mouth with a rag and tied her
purely legal so that should the dismissal be found incorrect, the hands, so that she was rendered speechless and helpless from
case would have to be remanded to the court of origin for further offering any resistance, so much so that he was able to satiate his
proceedings, to determine the guilt or innocence of the defendant. lust with her until 12:00 o'clock midnight. Thereafter, she was
11 brought by the man to the house of defendant Jovita Melo only to
be transferred later to the house of defendant Francisca Alimagno,
WHEREFORE, the petition is granted. The appealed orders are where she stayed for more or less three days until she was found
hereby reversal and set aside. Criminal Case No. F-147348 is there and taken back by Leovigildo Perez and Pita Alvero. The two
ordered reinstated and remanded to the respondent Court for trial thereafter brought her to the Police Department for the
according to law. corresponding investigation.

SO ORDERED. Petitioners contend that the Court of Appeals erred (1) in


convicting them of the crime of corruption of minor upon wholly
unsubstantial and inherently conflicting evidence; (2) in not holding
G.R. No. L-36458 February 21, 1983 that the facts, as found by it and the trial court, do not constitute
the crime of corruption of minors as defined and penalized by
FRANCISCA ALIMAGNO and JOVITA MELO, petitioners, Article 340 of the Revised Penal Code; (3) in not holding that the
vs. minor referred to in Article 340 of the Revised Penal Code should
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent. be below 18 years of age; (4) in not holding that a person who is
already corrupted can no longer be the victim of corruption of
Joaquin E. Chipeco and Fortunato Gupit, Jr., for petitioners. minors committed through abuse of authority or confidence; (5) in
not acquitting the petitioners of the crime of corruption of minors;
The Solicitor General for respondent. and, (6) in not holding that the penalty imposed upon petitioner
Melo is incorrect.

Petitioners argue that they were convicted upon unsubstantial and


RELOVA, J.: inherently conflicting evidence. This contention is devoid of factual
basis considering the findings of the Court of Appeals which are
Petitioners Francisca Alimagno and Jovita Melo were convicted, as hereunder reproduced if only to demonstrate that the same were
principal and accomplice, respectively, of the crime of corruption of made after a thorough analysis of the evidence, and hence are
minor, as defined in Article 340 of the Revised Penal Code, by the beyond this Court's power of review:
City Court of San Pablo, and sentenced as follows:
Appellants (herein petitioners) further contend that the lower court
... The accused Francisca Alimagno, to suffer the penalty ranging erred in not finding that even before November 29, 1964, the
from six (6) months of arresto mayor as minimum to two (2) years, complainant Filomena de la Cruz was already a corrupted person
eleven (11) months and ten (10) days as maximum, to indemnify and therefore she could no longer be the victim of the crime of
the offended party in the sum of P500.00 with subsidiary "Corruption of Minors" penalized by Article 340 of the Revised
imprisonment in case of insolvency, which shall not be more than Penal Code in view of the fact that from her own statement, Exh. 1,
one-third of the principal penalty herein imposed and to pay the she admitted that she had sexual intercourse with other men.
proportionate costs; the accused Jovita Melo, to suffer the penalty
of six (6) months of arresto mayor, to indemnify the offended party This argument is clearly untenable. Complainant, who does not
in the sum of P200.00 with subsidiary imprisonment in case of know how to read and write vehemently denied the contents of
insolvency which shall not be more than one-third of the principal Exh. 1, saying that it was not the statement she gave to the police.
penalty herein imposed and to pay the proportionate costs. Indeed, she testified that previous to the incident, she did not have
any coition with any man and the trial court so believed her. In any
The Court of Appeals modified the decision with respect to the event, even assuming it to be true, Article 340 does not prescribe
subsidiary penalty, thus: that the persons corrupted be of good reputation, as in the case of
simple seduction under Article 338, much less that they be virgins,
However, the subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency of the as in qualified seduction under Article 337, both of the Revised
defendants to pay the respective indemnities imposed upon them Penal Code. It follows that the above-mentioned traits are of no
should be eliminated from the dispositive portion of the lower consequence. ...
court's decision. (Rep. Act No. 5465). Moreover, it should be
ordained therein that in the event of insolvency of one of them, the xxx xxx xxx
other should be subsidiarily liable thereto, with right of
reimbursement, pursuant to Article 110 of the Revised Penal With regard to the letter (Exh. A), appellant Francisca Alimagno
Code. admitted having written the same out of pity to the complainant
Filomena de la Cruz (tsn., p. 70, April 22, 1966). But, if she had
WHEREFORE, with the modification indicated above, the decision nothing to do with complainant's sexual adventure, it is strange
appealed from, being in keeping with the evidence and the law, is why she wrote said letter, containing false averments, and then
hereby affirmed, with costs against the appellants. took the complainant away from the house of Pita Alvero, without
the knowledge and consent of the latter. She, being a friend of Pita
The main facts are set forth in the decision of the Court of Appeals, Alvero, should have known that her actuation in writing the letter
from which We quote: was ill-advised and morally wrong. Her admission that she wrote
the same clearly indicates her plan to facilitate or promote the
prostitution or corruption of the complainant.
offer of compromise is an evidence of guilt. (People vs. Manzano,
Appellant Francisca Alimagno testified that the witness for the CA-G.R. No. 00204-R, Nov. 29,1962.)
prosecution Leovigildo Perez was demanding P5,000.00 from her
and later was reduced to P2,000.00 (tsn. p. 83, April 22, 1966) to We find no reason in this case to depart from the rule which limits
quash the case against her. On cross-examination, she (Francisca this Court's appellate jurisdiction to review only errors of law
Alimagno) said that Perez was asking the aforesaid amount on the "accepting as conclusive the factual findings of the lower court
ground floor of the Secret Service Division. The pertinent portion of upon its own assessment of the evidence. (Evangelista vs. Abad
her testimony read, thus: Santos, 51 SCRA 416.)

Q You stated that Leovigildo Perez asked P5,000.00 from you, can On the question raised that petitioners could not be guilty of the
you tell where Leovigildo Perez asked P5,000.00 from you? crime of corruption because the offended party is more than
eighteen years of age at the time the alleged offense is committed,
A At the ground floor, sir. the point to consider is whether "under age" means below eighteen
or twenty-one years old. Article 340 of the Revised Penal Code
Q Are you referring to the Office of the Secret Service Division? provides:

A At the ground floor but not within the office of the Secret Service Any person who shall habitually or with abuse of authority or
Division. confidence, promote or facilitate the prostitution or corruption of
persons under age to satisfy the lust of another, shall be punished
Q Was that when you were called by the Secret Service men? by...

A Yes, sir. Petitioners contend that in "crimes against chastity, like seduction,
acts of lasciviousness with the consent of the offended party and
Q Did you immediately denounce Perez to the police what he was consented abduction, the age of the victim is pegged at below 18
asking from you? years of age; ... that the phrase 'person under age' (in Article 340
of the Revised Penal Code) was meant by the lawmakers to refer
A No, sir. to persons below 18 years of age." (p. 61, Petitioner's Brief.)

Q Why did you not tell or report the matter to the police? We cannot subscribe to this view. Article 402 of the Civil Code
provides that "majority commences upon the attainment of the age
A Because we called up Atty. Alvero and asked him to assist us. of twenty-one years." When the lawmakers specifically provide
"persons under age", instead of "below eighteen years of age",
Q And you told Atty. Alvero that Leovigildo Perez was asking you they could mean no other than that the offended party must be
P5,000.00? below 21 years old, and not below 18 years of age. The same is
true in Acts of Lasciviousness in Article 336. White Slave Trade in
A No, sir, he just told me go home. Article 341, and Forcible Abduction in Article 342 of the Revised
Penal Code, where the age limit is not set at eighteen. Justice
Q In other words when Atty. Alvero arrived he just told you to go Ramon C. Aquino, in his commentary on the Revised Penal Code,
home? page 1623, Book II, states that "Art. 340 was taken from art. 444 of
the old Penal Code. The requisites of the crime of corruption of
A Yes. sir. (tsn., pp.100-101, Ibid.) minors are that the accused acted habitually or with the abuse of
authority or confidence; that he promoted or facilitated the
If there is truth on the matter that Leovigildo Perez was extorting prostitution or corruption of persons below 21 years of age and
money from her (Francisca Alimagno) for the purpose of quashing that he so acted in order to satisfy the lust of another." (emphasis
the case, appellant Alimagno should have reported or denounced supplied).
immediately to the police such attitude of Perez, inasmuch as they
were near the office of the Secret Service Division or told the However, We take note of the recommendation of the Solicitor
matter to Atty. Alvero, but she allegedly kept the matter to herself. General that with respect to petitioner Jovita Melo who was found
The truth, however, is that it was appellant Alimagno who made an guilty as accomplice in a consummated crime where the penalty is
offer of P50.00 to Leovigildo Perez to drop the case against her. arresto mayor, medium and maximum periods (2 months and 1
Thus, the pertinent portion of his (Perez) testimony reads: day to 6 months), and where there is no modifying circumstances
present, the penalty in its medium period should be imposed, or
A The truth is that the spouses went to our residence and asked not less than 3 months and 11 days nor more than 4 months and
me to accept the amount of P50.00 and drop the case. I told them 20 days. Otherwise stated, the petitioner Jovita Melo should suffer
to ask the complainant, but the complainant refused and said that the penalty of 4 months and 20 days, instead of 6 months of
let the court decide the case. arresto mayor.

xxx xxx xxx WHEREFORE, with the modification above indicated, the decision
of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED. With costs.
Q In your answer you refer to the spouses, will you please
specify whom you are referring to? SO ORDERED.

A The spouses, Alimagno, Sir. (tsn., pp. 145-146, June 1, 1966)


G.R. No. L-36342 April 27, 1983
The above-quoted testimony of Leovigildo Perez was strengthened
by the testimony of Detective Sergeant Francisco Escondo, a THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
disinterested witness for the prosecution who testified, thus: vs.
THE CITY COURT OF MANILA, BRANCH XI and FRANCISCO
Q Will you please tell the conversation between you and the GAPAY y MALLARES, respondents.
accused for the second time?
Solicitor General for petitioner.
A They seek our service to help them in settling the case.
Mario F. Estayan for respondents.
Q What was your answer?
RESOLUTION
A I told them, its up to you. (tsn., pp. 14-15, June 7, 1965.)

On cross-examination, the same witness further testified, thus:


RELOVA, J:
A After Francisca Alimagno had talked with the complainant she
requested us to help them to settle this case. t.s.n., p. 22, Ibid.) This is a petition to review the order, dated November 17, 1972, of
the City Court of Manila, Branch XI, dismissing the information for
It is clear from the foregoing testimony, of both witnesses for the homicide thru reckless imprudence filed against private
prosecution that the appellants made an offer of compromise for respondent, Francisco Gapay y Mallares, in Criminal Case No. E-
the settlement of the case. These overtures made by the 505633 on the ground of double jeopardy. Respondent court held
appellants to have the case settled out of court are indicative of a that the private respondent having been previously tried and
guilty conscience and it is well-settled in this jurisdiction that an convicted of serious physical injuries thru reckless imprudence for
the resulting death of the victim would place the accused in double
jeopardy.
G.R. No. L-29270 November 23, 1971
The question presented in this case is whether a person who has
been prosecuted for serious physical injuries thru reckless THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellant,
imprudence and convicted thereof may be prosecuted vs.
subsequently for homicide thru reckless imprudence if the RODRIGO YORAC, defendant-appellee.
offended party dies as a result of the same injuries he had
suffered. Office of the Solicitor General Antonio P. Barredo, Assistant
Solicitor General
In Melo vs. People, 85 Phil. 766, this Court held that "where after
the first prosecution a new fact supervenes for which the Pacifico P. de Castro and Solicitor Pedro A. Ramirez for plaintiff-
defendant is responsible, which changes the character of the appellant.
offense and, together with the facts existing at a time, constitutes a
new and distinct offense, the accused cannot be said to be in Vicente F. Delfin for defendant-appellee.
second jeopardy if indicted for the second offense." However, the
trial court held that the doctrine of Melo vs. People does not apply
in the case at bar in view of this Court's ruling in People vs. Buan,
22 SCRA 1383, that Article 365 of the Penal Code punishes the FERNANDO, J.:
negligent state of mind and not the resulting injury. The trial court
concluded that once prosecuted for and convicted of negligence, The constitutional right not to be put twice in jeopardy for the same
the accused cannot again be prosecuted for the same negligence offense 1 was the basis for a motion to quash filed by the accused,
although for a different resulting injury. now appellee, Rodrigo Yorac. He was prosecuted for frustrated
murder arising allegedly from having assaulted, attacked, and hit
In the case at bar, the incident occurred on October 17, 1971. The with a piece of wood the offended party, for which he had been
following day, October 18, an information for serious physical previously tried and sentenced for slight physical injuries, his plea
injuries thru reckless imprudence was filed against private being one of guilt. The later information for frustrated murder was
respondent driver of the truck. On the same day, the victim Diolito based on a second medical certificate after the lapse of one week
de la Cruz died. from the former previously given by the same physician who,
apparently, was much more thorough the second time, to the effect
On October 20, 1972, private respondent was arraigned on the that the victim did suffer a greater injury than was at first
charge of serious physical injuries thru reckless imprudence. He ascertained. The lower court, presided by the Honorable Judge
pleaded guilty, was sentenced to one (1) month and one (1) day of Nestor B. Alampay, considering that there was no, supervening
arresto mayor, and commenced serving sentence. fact that would negate the defense of double jeopardy, sustained
the motion to quash in an order of June 21, 1968. The People
On October 24, 1972, an information for homicide thru reckless appealed. As the order complained of is, fully supported by the
imprudence was filed against private respondent. latest authoritative ruling of this Tribunal, People v. Buling, 2 we
have to affirm.
On November 17, 1972, the City Court of Manila, upon motion of
private respondent, issued an order dismissing the homicide thru In the brief for the People of the Philippines, it was shown that the
reckless imprudence case on the ground of double jeopardy. accused Yorac was charged with slight physical injuries before the
City Court of Bacolod, the offended party being a certain Lam
Well-settled is the rule that one who has been charged with an Hock who, according to the medical certificate issued in April 10,
offense cannot be charge again with the same or Identical offense 1968 by a Dr. Rogelio Zulueta, a resident physician of the
though the latter be lesser or greater than the former. However, as Occidental Negros Provincial Hospital, was confined "since April 8,
held in the case of Melo vs. People, supra, the rule of Identity does 1968 up to the present time for head injury." 3 Then came a plea
not apply when the second offense was not in existence at the of guilty by the accused on April 16, 1968 resulting in his being
time of the first prosecution, for the reason that in such case there penalized to suffer ten days of arresto menor. He started serving
is no possibility for the accused, during the first prosecution, to be his sentence forthwith. On April 18, 1968, the provincial fiscal filed
convicted for an offense that was then inexistent. "Thus, where the an information, this time in the Court of First Instance of Negros
accused was charged with physical injuries and after conviction, Occidental, charging the same defendant with frustrated murder
the injured person dies, the charge for homicide against the same arising from the same act against the aforesaid victim Lam Hock
accused does not put him twice in jeopardy." Stated differently, upon another medical certificate dated April 17, 1968 issued by the
where after the first prosecution a new fact supervenes for which same Dr. Zulueta. In the medical certificate of April 17, 1968, it
the defendant is responsible, which changes the character of the was made to appear that the confinement of the offended party in
offense and, together with the facts existing at the time, constitutes the hospital was the result of: "1. Contusion with lacerated wound
a new and distinct offense, the accused cannot be said to be in 4 inches parieto-occipital region scalp mid portion. 2. Cerebral
second jeopardy if indicted for the new offense. concussion, moderately severe, secondary." 4 Moreover, it further
contained a statement that the X-ray finding did not yield any
As stated above, the victim Diolito dela Cruz died on the day the "radiographic evidence of fracture." The healing period barring
information was filed, and the accused was arraigned two (2) days complications, was declared to be from eighteen to twenty-one
after, or on October 20, 1972. When the information for homicide days. 5
thru reckless imprudence was, therefore, filed on October 24,
1972, the accused-private respondent was already in jeopardy. Afterwards, a motion to quash was filed by the accused on June
10, 1968 on the ground that, having been previously convicted of
In his memorandum, the Solicitor General made mention of the slight physical injuries by the City Court of Bacolod and having
fact that on October 21, 1972, the City Fiscal filed an Urgent already served the penalty imposed on him for the very same
Motion asking that the "hearing and arraignment of this case be offense, the prosecution for frustrated murder arising out of the
held in abeyance for there is information that the victim, Diolito same act committed against the same offended party, the crime of
dela Cruz died, and the information would have to be amended." slight physical injuries necessarily being included in that of
Be that as it may, the fact remains that the victim Diolito dela Cruz frustrated murder, he would be placed in second jeopardy if
died on October 18 "one (1) day after the accident and the arrest indicted for the new offense. 6 In its well-reasoned resolution of
of the respondent Gapay" (P. 103, Rollo) and that on October 20, June 21, 1968 granting the motion to quash and ordering the
1972, the accused was arraigned, pleaded guilty and sentenced dismissal of a criminal case for frustrated murder against the
accordingly. Thus, jeopardy had attached and no new fact accused, Judge Alampay relied on People v. Buling which, in his
supervened after the arraignment and conviction of the accused. opinion, was squarely applicable as "nothing in the later medical
certificate [indicated] that a new or supervening fact had developed
ACCORDINGLY, the order of dismissal of the lower court is or arisen since the time of the filing of the original action" against
affirmed. the accused. A motion for reconsideration being unavailing, an
appeal was elevated to us.
SO ORDERED.
As succinctly set forth in the brief of the People of the Philippines:
Melencio-Herrera and Plana, JJ., concur. "The sole issue in this case is whether the defendant, who had
already been convicted of slight physical injuries before the City
Teehankee (Chairman), J., took no part. Court of Bacolod for injuries inflicted upon Lam Hock, and had
served sentence therefore, may be prosecuted anew for frustrated
murder for the same act committed against the same person." 7
The position taken by the appellant is in the affirmative but, as
indicated at the outset, the controlling force of People v. Buling 3. There is then the indispensable requirement of the
would preclude us from reversing the resolution of Judge Alampay. existence of "a new fact [which] supervenes for which the
defendant is responsible" changing the character of the crime
1. The Constitution, to repeat, is quite explicit: "No person imputed to him and together with the facts existing previously
shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense. constituting a new and distinct offense. The conclusion reached in
As Justice Laurel made clear in an address as delegate before the People v. Buling, 19 the latest case in point relied upon by Judge
Constitutional Convention, such a provision finds its origin" from Alampay in the resolution no appeal, was thus, predictable. As set
the days when sanguinary punishments were frequently resorted forth in the opinion of Justice Labrador in the case, there was a
to by despots." 9 A defendant in a criminal case should therefore, medical certification that the wounds for which the accused
according to him, be adjudged either guilty or not guilty and Buenaventura as first prosecuted for less serious physical injuries
thereafter left alone in peace, in the latter case the State being would require medical attendance from a period of from ten days
precluded from taking an appeal. 10 It is in that sense that the right to fifteen days. He pleaded guilty and on December 8, 1956,
against being twice put in jeopardy is considered as possessing sentenced by the Justice of the Peace of Cabalian Leyte, to one
many features in common with the rule of finality in civil cases. For month and one day of arresto mayor. He started serving his
the accused is given assurance that the matter is closed, enabling sentence on the same day. On January 18, 1957, however,
him to plan his, future accordingly, protecting him from continued another physician examined the offended party and with the use of
distress, not to mention saving both him and the state from the an X-ray apparatus, certified that he did suffer a fracture requiring
expenses incident to redundant litigation. There is likewise the a treatment of from one and one-half months to two and one half
observation that this constitutional guarantee helps to equalize the months, barring complications. As a result, on February 20, 1957,
adversary capabilities of two grossly mismatched litigants, a poor an information was filed against the same accused, this time
and impecunious defendant hardly in a position to keep on before the Court of First Instance of Leyte, charging him with
shouldering the costs of a suit. serious physical injuries. He stood trial and was found guilty of
such an offense and sentenced to imprisonment of four months of
Then, as a member of the Supreme Court, Justice Laurel had the arresto mayor as minimum to one year of prision correccional as
first opportunity to give meaning to what, under the Constitution, maximum. On appeal to this Court, his invocation of the defense of
should be considered "the same offense." In the case of People v. double jeopardy struck a responsive chord, and he was acquitted.
Tarok, decided in 1941, 11 the then comparatively new Rules of
Court in its Section 9 of Rule 113 speaks of a bar to another 4. The opinion of Justice Labrador explained with clarity
prosecution for the offense charged after a defendant shall have why the constitutional right against being put twice in jeopardy was
been convicted or acquitted or the case against him dismissed or a bar to the second prosecution. Thus: "If the X-ray examination
otherwise terminated without his express consent, "or for any discloses the existence of a fracture on January 17, 1957, that
attempt to commit the same or frustration thereof or for, any fracture must have existed when the first examination was made
offense which necessarily includes or is necessarily included in the on December 10, 1956. There is therefore, no view or supervening
offense charged in the former complaint or information." 12 fact that could be said to have developed or arisen since the filing
of the original action, which would justify the application of the
In the Tarok case, the conviction for parricide of the accused was ruling enunciated by us in the cases if Melo vs. People and People
sought to be set aside, as previously he had been indicted for the vs. Manolong ... . We attribute the new finding of fracture, which
crime of serious physical injuries, to which he had pleaded guilty. evidently lengthened the period of healing of the wound, to the
He was sentenced and was actually incarcerated by virtue of such very superficial and inconclusive examination made on December
penalty imposed. The offended party was his wife whom he 10, 1956. Had an X-ray examination been taken at the time, the
hacked with bolo, his ire being aroused by certain, remarks made fracture would have certainly been disclosed. The wound causing
her. While he was thus serving sentence, the victim died resulting the delay in healing was already in existence at the time of the first
in the new prosecution for parricide of which he was convicted. On examination, but said delay was, caused by the very superficial
appeal to this Court, it was decided over the dissents of the then examination then made. As we have stated, we find therefore that
Justice Moran and Justice Diaz that the offense of serious physical no supervening fact had occurred which justifies the application of
injury of which he was found guilty being included in parricide his the rule in the case of Melo vs. People and People vs. Manolong
previous conviction was a bar to such subsequent prosecution for for which reason we are constrained to apply the general rule of
the more serious crime. The lower court judgement of conviction double jeopardy." 20 It is quite apparent, in the light of the
was thus reversed. According to Justice Laurel who spoke for the foregoing, why the lower court, submitting to the compulsion of the
Court: "To our mind, the principle embodied in the New Rules of Buling decision, had to sustain the motion to quash and to dismiss
Court is a clear expression of selection of rule amidst conflicting the information against appellee Yorac. No error could therefore be
theories. We take the position that when we amended section 26 rightfully imputed to it.
of General Orders No. 58 by providing that the conviction or
acquittal of the defendant or the dismissal of the case shall be a WHEREFORE, the resolution of June 21, 1968 of Judge Nestor B.
bar to another prosecution for any offense not only necessarily Alampay granting the motion to quash, ordering the dismissal of
therein included but which necessarily includes the offense the case and the immediate release of the appellee Rodrigo Yorac,
charged in the former complaint or information, we meant what we is affirmed. Without costs.
have, in plain language, stated. We certainly did not mean to
engage in the simple, play of words." 13 Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro,
Teehankee, Villamor and Makasiar, JJ., concur.
2. Such a ruling was however re-examined and set aside in
Melo v. People, 14 where it was held that an accused who pleaded Barredo, J., took no part.
guilty to the offense of frustrated homicide, the offended party
thereafter dying in the evening of the same day, could not rely on a
plea of double jeopardy if, as a result thereof, the information was
amended to charge him with homicide. 15 As was clarified in the
opinion of this Court through the then Chief Justice Moran, one of G.R. No. 162206 November 17, 2010
the dissenters in the Tarok case: "This rule of identity does not
apply, however, when the second offense was not in existence at MONICO V. JACOB and CELSO L. LEGARDA, Petitioners,
the time of the first prosecution, for the simple reason that in such vs.
case there is no possibility for the accused, during the first HON. SANDIGANBAYAN FOURTH DIVISION and THE OFFICE
prosecution, to be convicted for an offense that was then OF THE OMBUDSMAN, Respondents.
inexistent. Thus, where the accused was charged with physical
injuries and after conviction the injured person dies, the charge for DECISION
homicide against the same accused does not put him twice in
jeopardy." 16 Stated differently, if after the first prosecution "a new LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
fact supervenes on which defendant may be held liable, resulting
in altering the character of the crime and giving rise to a new and This is a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court
distinct offense, "the accused cannot be said to be in second for the nullification of the Resolutions dated February 4, 20021 of
jeopardy if indicted for the new offense." 17 It is noteworthy, the Sandiganbayan Special Fourth Division and December 12,
however, that in the Melo ruling, there was a reiteration of what 20032 of the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division. In its Resolution
was so emphatically asserted by Justice Laurel in the Tarok case dated February 4, 2002, the Sandiganbayan Special Fourth
in these words: "As the Government cannot begin with the highest, Division set aside the order to dismiss Criminal Case Nos. 25922-
and then down step by step, bringing the man into jeopardy for 25939, among other cases, verbally issued by Associate Justice
every dereliction included therein, neither can it begin the lowest Narciso S. Nario (Justice Nario), Chairman of the Sandiganbayan
and ascend to the highest with precisely the same result." 18 Fourth Division, during the court session held on August 20,
2001;3 while in its Resolution dated December 12, 2003, the
Sandiganbayan Fourth Division denied the motions for situation/alleged participation is similar to that of Mr. Pacifico Cruz,
reconsideration of the petitioners and other accused. they should similarly be dropped from the criminal cases. Despite
this, the respondent Office of the Ombudsman took no action.
The following facts are duly established from the pleadings of the
parties: Considering the time that had lapsed, the [Sandiganbayan Fourth
Division], at the hearing on 1 June 2001, expressly warned the
From 1993 to 1997, Petron Corporation (Petron), a corporation prosecution that should it fail to resolve the
engaged in the business of refining, marketing and distribution of reconsideration/investigation, it would order the dismissal of the
petroleum products, received Tax Credit Certificates (TCCs) by cases or require the prosecution to show cause why it should not
assignment from 18 private firms4 registered with the Board of be cited for contempt.
Investments (BOI). The TCCs were issued by the One Stop Shop
Inter-Agency Tax Credit & Duty Drawback Center (OSS), an office In its Resolution dated 26 June 2001, the [Sandiganbayan Fourth
under the Department of Finance (DOF), created by virtue of Division] in fact denied the motion of the prosecution for the
Administrative Order No. 266 dated February 7, 1992. Petron used resetting of the scheduled arraignment and pre-trial on 2 July 2001
the assigned TCCs to pay its excise tax liabilities. "it appearing that the Reinvestigation of these cases has been
pending for more than one (1) year now and the court cannot
The practice was for the BOI-registered firms to sign the Deeds of countenance the unreasonable delay attributable to the plaintiff."
Assignment upon delivery of the TCCs to Petron. Petron then
forwarded said documents to the OSS, with a request for In spite of the denial of their motion, the prosecution still failed to
authorization to use said TCCs to pay for its excise tax liabilities. submit its report to the [Sandiganbayan Fourth Division] during the
DOF Undersecretary Antonio P. Belicena (Belicena) approved the 2 July 2001 hearing. Instead they asked for a period of seven (7)
request of Petron through the issuance of Tax Debit Memoranda more days to resolve the motions for reconsideration. The
(TDM) addressed to the Collection Program Division of the Bureau arraignment (of the other accused) and pre-trial therefore had to
of Internal Revenue (BIR). The BIR Collection Program Division be reset again to 17 July 2001.
accepted the TCCs as payment for the excise tax liabilities of
Petron by issuing its own TDM.5 The control numbers of the BIR- One day before the schedule hearing, the prosecution filed a
TDM were indicated on the back of the TCCs, marking the final Manifestation requesting the cancellation of the arraignment and
utilization of the tax credits.6 pre-trial scheduled the next day on the ground that the motions for
reconsideration/reinvestigation were still pending resolution.
However, the Fact Finding and Intelligence Bureau (FFIB) of the
Office of the Ombudsman eventually found that the Once again, [the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division] gave the
aforementioned transactions involving the TCCs were irregular and prosecution another chance. During the hearing on 17 July 2001,
violative of the Memorandum of Agreement dated August 29, 1989 the [Sandiganbayan 4th Division] directed the prosecution, through
between the BOI and the DOF, which implemented Article 21 of Prosecutor Orlando Ines, to terminate the reinvestigation within a
Executive Order No. 226, otherwise known as the Omnibus period of one (1) more month. The arraignment and pre-trial were
Investments Code of 1987.7 then reset to 20 August 2001.

After the termination of the requisite preliminary investigation, the At the scheduled hearing on August 20, 2001, Prosecutor Orlando
Office of the Ombudsman issued a Resolution dated March 27, Ines, however, again requested for the deferment of the
2000 finding probable cause against several public officers and arraignment and pre-trial on the ground that the resolution on the
private individuals, including petitioners Monico V. Jacob (Jacob), various motions for reconsideration/reinvestigation were still
President, and Celso L. Legarda (Legarda), Vice-President and pending approval by the Office of the Ombudsman.
General Manager for Marketing, both of Petron, for perpetrating
the so-called "tax credit scam." On April 10, 2010, the Office of the In all the hearings conducted in the cases the defense verbally and
Ombudsman filed a total of 62 Informations, 18 of which, docketed consistently invoked their right to speedy trial and moved for the
as Criminal Case Nos. 25922-25939, were against DOF dismissal of the cases. In the course of more than one year,
Undersecretary Belicena, OSS Deputy Executive Director Uldarico however, the [Sandiganbayan 4th Division] kept affording the
P. Andutan, Jr., petitioners and other Petron officials, and officers prosecution one chance after another. The sixty days granted to
of the BOI-registered firms which assigned the TCCs to Petron, the prosecution became more than four hundred days – still, there
charging them with violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. was no resolution in sight.
3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices
Act. Thus on 20 August 2001, compelled by its duty to uphold the
fundamental law, the [Sandiganbayan Fourth Division, through its
Petitioners provided an undisputed account of the events that Chairman, Justice Nario] issued a verbal order dismissing the
subsequently took place before the Sandiganbayan: cases. The dismissal was duly recorded in the minutes of the
hearing of the said date which was attested to by the Clerk of
On April 14, 2000, petitioners and the four other Petron officers Court and signed by the parties.
who were similarly charged filed a Motion for Reinvestigation [with
the Office of the Ombudsman]. On 24 August 2001, the prosecution filed a Motion for
Reconsideration with the following prayer: "WHEREFORE, the
On 17 April 2000, the [Sandiganbayan Fourth Division] issued an undersigned Ombudsman Prosecutors prayed (sic) that the Order
Order giving the prosecution a period of sixty (60) days within issued by the Honorable Court for the summary dismissal of all the
which – graft and estafa charges aforecited be SET ASIDE."

… to re-assess its evidence in these cases and to take appropriate On August 31, 2001, the [Sandiganbayan Fourth Division] issued
action on the said motion for reconsideration of accused movants an Order taking cognizance of the Motion for Reconsideration filed
and to inform the Court within the same period as to its findings by the prosecution and requiring the accused to file their
and recommendations including the action thereon of the respective comments thereon within five (5) days.
Honorable Ombudsman.
On 4 February 2002, OR SIX (6) MONTHS after [Justice Nario]
Sixty (60) days passed but the Office of the Ombudsman did not issued the verbal order of dismissal, the [Sandiganbayan Special
even bother to submit a report on the status of the motions for Fourth Division] issued an Order setting aside said verbal order.
reconsideration. Months passed, and then, AN ENTIRE YEAR
PASSED. There was still nothing from the respondent Office of the xxxx
Ombudsman.
In the 4 February 2002 Resolution, this time a Division of five
In the meantime, petitioner Jacob was arraigned on 1 June 2000 justices (two of whom dissented) rendered a Resolution stating:
while petitioner Legarda was arraigned on 18 May 2001.
WHEREFORE, the dismissal of these cases orally ordered in open
On March 20, 2001, in view of a significant development in the court by the Chairman of the Fourth Division during its court
Shell cases (then pending with the 5th Division of [the session held on August 20, 2001, and reiterated in his subsequent
Sandiganbayan]), petitioners and other accused Petron officials ponencia, is hereby set aside.8 (Citations omitted.)
filed a Motion to Resolve with the Office of the Ombudsman. In the
said motion, petitioners cited the Memorandum dated 30 January The Sandiganbayan Special Fourth Division gave the following
2001 issued by Special Prosecutor Leonardo P. Tamayo upholding reasons for overruling Justice Nario’s verbal order dismissing the
the dropping of the charges against Shell official Pacifico Cruz on criminal cases against the accused in the alleged tax credit scam:
the ground that there was no sufficient evidence to prove that he
was part of the conspiracy. Petitioners asserted that since their
In the present case, (1) there is already a delay of the trial for more Section 1(h), Rule 115 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure
than one year now; (2) but it is not shown that the delay is provides that the accused is entitled to a speedy, impartial and
vexatious, capricious and oppressive; (3) it may be that, as stated public trial. Section 2, Rule 119 of the said Rules provides that
in the herein dissented Resolution, "at the hearings conducted in trial, once commenced, shall be continuous until terminated:
these cases, the defense orally, openly and consistently asked for
the dismissal of these cases"; however, these oral manifestations Sec. 2. Continuous trial until terminated; postponements. – Trial,
were more of "knee-jerk reactions" of the defense counsel in those once commenced, shall continue from day to day as far as
hearings everytime the prosecution requested for postponement practicable until terminated. It may be postponed for a reasonable
than anything else as said defense counsel did not seriously period of time for good cause.
pursue the dismissal of these cases, such as by reducing their
"request" in a formal written motion to dismiss and/or insisting that The court shall, after consultation with the prosecutor and defense
the court formally rule on their request for dismissal and go on counsel, set the case for continuous trial on a weekly or other
certiorari if denied; and (4) considering the nature and importance short-term trial calendar at the earliest possible time so as to
of the cases, if there is any prejudice that may have resulted as a ensure speedy trial. In no case shall the entire trial period exceed
consequence of the series of postponements, it would be more one hundred eighty (180) days from the first day of trial, except as
against the government than against any of the accused; however, otherwise authorized by the Supreme Court.
be that as it may, none of the herein accused has come out to
claim having been thus prejudiced.9 The time limitations provided under this section and the preceding
section shall not apply where special laws or circulars of the
On February 26, 2002, petitioners, together with four other co- Supreme Court provide for a shorter period of trial.
accused Petron officials, filed a Motion for Reconsideration10 of
the February 4, 2002 Resolution of the Sandiganbayan Special However, any period of delay resulting from a continuance granted
Fourth Division. Other accused also filed their motions for by the court motu proprio, or on motion of either the accused or his
reconsideration and motions to quash/dismiss. The prosecution counsel, or the prosecution, if the court granted the continuance on
expectedly opposed all such motions of the accused. the basis of its findings set forth in the order that the ends of justice
is served by taking such action outweigh the best interest of the
In an Omnibus Resolution dated December 12, 2003, the public and the accused on a speedy trial, shall be deducted.
Sandiganbayan Fourth Division ruled in the prosecution’s favor
and denied all the motions filed by the accused, to wit: The trial court may grant continuance, taking into account the
following factors:
Wherefore, premises considered, this court issues an Omnibus
Resolution denying all the above-described Motion to Quash for (a) Whether or not the failure to grant a continuance in the
lack of merit. proceeding would likely make a continuation of such proceeding
impossible or result in a miscarriage of justice; and
Hence, petitioners come before us via the instant Petition for
Certiorari averring grave abuse of discretion on the part of the (b) Whether or not the case taken as a whole is so novel, unusual
Sandiganbayan Special Fourth Division, specifically: and complex, due to the number of accused or the nature of the
prosecution, or that it is unreasonable to expect adequate
I preparation within the periods of time established therein.

THE RESPONDENT COURT COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF In addition, no continuance under section 3(f) of this Rule shall be
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF granted because of congestion of the court’s calendar or lack of
JURISDICTION IN DENYING PETITIONERS’ RIGHT TO diligent preparation or failure to obtain available witnesses on the
SPEEDY TRIAL. part of the prosecutor.15

II We further emphasized in Uy that "speedy trial" is a relative term


and necessarily a flexible concept. In determining whether the right
THE RESPONDENT COURT COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF of the accused to a speedy trial was violated, the delay should be
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF considered, in view of the entirety of the proceedings. Indeed,
JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONERS HAVE NOT mere mathematical reckoning of the time involved would not
BEEN PUT IN DOUBLE JEOPARDY. suffice as the realities of everyday life must be regarded in judicial
proceedings which, after all, do not exist in a vacuum.16
III
Corpuz v. Sandiganbayan17 is a case originating from exactly the
THE RESPONDENT COURT COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF same factual background as the case at bar. Therein petitioners
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF Marialen C. Corpuz and Antonio H. Roman, Sr. were officers of
JURISDICTION IN NOT CONSIDERING THE GLARING LACK OF FILSYN Corporation, one of the BOI-registered firms that assigned
EVIDENCE AGAINST PETITIONERS.11 TCCs to Petron; and were among the accused in Criminal Case
No. 25922. They filed a separate Petition for Certiorari before us
To recall, Justice Nario, as the Chairman of the Sandiganbayan assailing the Resolutions dated February 4, 2002 of the
Fourth Division, ordered the dismissal of all criminal cases arising Sandiganbayan Special Fourth Division and December 12, 2003 of
from the purported tax credit scam on the ground that the accused, the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division.
including petitioners, had already been deprived of their right to a
speedy trial and disposition of the cases against them. Petitioners We expounded more extensively in Corpuz on the right of the
assert that the Sandiganbayan gravely abused its discretion in accused to a speedy trial and disposition of the case against him,
reversing Justice Nario’s order of dismissal of Criminal Case Nos. thus:
25922-25939 because such reversal violated petitioners’
constitutional right against double jeopardy. The right of the accused to a speedy trial and to a speedy
disposition of the case against him was designed to prevent the
An accused’s right to "have a speedy, impartial, and public trial" is oppression of the citizen by holding criminal prosecution
guaranteed in criminal cases by Section 14(2), Article III12 of the suspended over him for an indefinite time, and to prevent delays in
Constitution. This right to a speedy trial may be defined as one the administration of justice by mandating the courts to proceed
free from vexatious, capricious and oppressive delays, its "salutary with reasonable dispatch in the trial of criminal cases. Such right to
objective" being to assure that an innocent person may be free a speedy trial and a speedy disposition of a case is violated only
from the anxiety and expense of a court litigation or, if otherwise, when the proceeding is attended by vexatious, capricious and
of having his guilt determined within the shortest possible time oppressive delays. The inquiry as to whether or not an accused
compatible with the presentation and consideration of whatsoever has been denied such right is not susceptible by precise
legitimate defense he may interpose. Intimating historical qualification. The concept of a speedy disposition is a relative term
perspective on the evolution of the right to speedy trial, we and must necessarily be a flexible concept.
reiterate the old legal maxim, "justice delayed is justice denied."
This oft-repeated adage requires the expeditious resolution of While justice is administered with dispatch, the essential ingredient
disputes, much more so in criminal cases where an accused is is orderly, expeditious and not mere speed. It cannot be definitely
constitutionally guaranteed the right to a speedy trial.13 said how long is too long in a system where justice is supposed to
be swift, but deliberate. It is consistent with delays and depends
Hence, the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure also include upon circumstances. It secures rights to the accused, but it does
provisions that ensure the protection of such right. As we not preclude the rights of public justice. Also, it must be borne in
presented in Uy v. Hon. Adriano14: mind that the rights given to the accused by the Constitution and
the Rules of Court are shields, not weapons; hence, courts are to ordered by the Sandiganbayan to submit a report within a period of
give meaning to that intent.18 (Emphases ours.) 60 days, but also because said Office is bound by the
Constitution20 and Republic Act No. 6770, otherwise known as the
We went on to lay down in Corpuz the test for determining whether Ombudsman Act of 1989,21 to act promptly on complaints and
an accused was indeed deprived of his right to a speedy trial and cases pending before it.
disposition of the case against him:
Nevertheless, while the re-investigation by the Office of the
In determining whether the accused has been deprived of his right Ombudsman delayed the proceedings in Criminal Case Nos.
to a speedy disposition of the case and to a speedy trial, four 25922-25939, the said process could not have been dispensed
factors must be considered: (a) length of delay; (b) the reason for with as it was undertaken for the protection of the rights of
the delay; (c) the defendant’s assertion of his right; and (d) petitioners themselves (and their co-accused) and their rights
prejudice to the defendant. Prejudice should be assessed in the should not be compromised at the expense of expediency.
light of the interest of the defendant that the speedy trial was
designed to protect, namely: to prevent oppressive pre-trial In Corpuz, we warned against the overzealous or precipitate
incarceration; to minimize anxiety and concerns of the accused to dismissal of a case that may enable the defendant, who may be
trial; and to limit the possibility that his defense will be impaired. Of guilty, to go free without having been tried, thereby infringing the
these, the most serious is the last, because the inability of a societal interest in trying people accused of crimes rather than
defendant adequately to prepare his case skews the fairness of granting them immunization because of legal error.22 Earlier, in
the entire system. There is also prejudice if the defense witnesses People v. Leviste,23 we already stressed that:
are unable to recall accurately the events of the distant past. Even
if the accused is not imprisoned prior to trial, he is still [T]he State, like any other litigant, is entitled to its day in court, and
disadvantaged by restraints on his liberty and by living under a to a reasonable opportunity to present its case. A hasty dismissal
cloud of anxiety, suspicion and often, hostility. His financial such as the one in question, instead of unclogging dockets, has
resources may be drained, his association is curtailed, and he is actually increased the workload of the justice system as a whole
subjected to public obloquy. and caused uncalled-for delays in the final resolution of this and
other cases. Unwittingly, the precipitate action of the respondent
Delay is a two-edge sword. It is the government that bears the court, instead of easing the burden of the accused, merely
burden of proving its case beyond reasonable doubt. The passage prolonged the litigation and ironically enough, unnecessarily
of time may make it difficult or impossible for the government to delayed the case – in the process, causing the very evil it
carry its burden. The Constitution and the Rules do not require apparently sought to avoid. Such action does not inspire public
impossibilities or extraordinary efforts, diligence or exertion from confidence in the administration of justice.24
courts or the prosecutor, nor contemplate that such right shall
deprive the State of a reasonable opportunity of fairly prosecuting Thus, even though we acknowledge the delay in the criminal
criminals. As held in Williams v. United States, for the government proceedings, as well as the prejudice suffered by petitioners and
to sustain its right to try the accused despite a delay, it must show their co-accused by reason thereof, the weighing of interests
two things: (a) that the accused suffered no serious prejudice militate against a finding that petitioners’ right to speedy trial and
beyond that which ensued from the ordinary and inevitable delay; disposition of the cases involving them would have justified the
and (b) that there was no more delay than is reasonably dismissal of Criminal Case Nos. 25922-25939. We agree with the
attributable to the ordinary processes of justice. Sandiganbayan Special Fourth Division that Justice Nario’s
dismissal of the criminal cases was unwarranted under the
Closely related to the length of delay is the reason or justification circumstances, since the State should not be prejudiced and
of the State for such delay. Different weights should be assigned to deprived of its right to prosecute the criminal cases simply
different reasons or justifications invoked by the State. For because of the ineptitude or nonchalance of the Office of the
instance, a deliberate attempt to delay the trial in order to hamper Ombudsman. We reiterate our observations in Corpuz that:
or prejudice the defense should be weighted heavily against the
State. Also, it is improper for the prosecutor to intentionally delay There can be no denying the fact that the petitioners, as well as
to gain some tactical advantage over the defendant or to harass or the other accused, was prejudiced by the delay in the
prejudice him. On the other hand, the heavy case load of the reinvestigation of the cases and the submission by the
prosecution or a missing witness should be weighted less heavily Ombudsman/Special Prosecutor of his report thereon. So was the
against the State. Corollarily, Section 4, Rule 119 of the Revised State. We have balanced the societal interest involved in the cases
Rules of Criminal Procedure enumerates the factors for granting a and the need to give substance to the petitioners’ constitutional
continuance.19 rights and their quest for justice, and we are convinced that the
dismissal of the cases is too drastic a remedy to be accorded to
In the Petition at bar, Criminal Case Nos. 25922-25939 were filed the petitioners. The cloud of suspicion may still linger over the
on April 10, 2000. Petitioner Jacob was arraigned on June 1, 2000, heads of the petitioners by the precipitate dismissal of the cases.
while petitioner Legarda was arraigned on May 18, 2001; with both We repeat -- the cases involve the so-called tax credit certificates
petitioners pleading not guilty. Since then, there had been no other scam and hundreds of millions of pesos allegedly perpetrated by
significant development in the cases since the prosecution government officials in connivance with private individuals. The
repeatedly requested for deferment or postponement of the People has yet to prove the guilt of the petitioners of the crimes
scheduled hearings as it awaits the result of the reinvestigation of charged beyond reasonable doubt. We agree with the ruling of the
the Office of the Ombudsman. Judge Nario verbally ordered the Sandiganbayan that before resorting to the extreme sanction of
dismissal of said cases during the hearing on August 20, 2001. depriving the petitioner a chance to prove its case by dismissing
Thus, the criminal cases had been pending for about a year and the cases, the Ombudsman/Special Prosecutor should be ordered
four months by the time they were dismissed by Justice Nario. by the Sandiganbayan under pain of contempt, to explain the delay
in the submission of his report on his reinvestigation.25
The accused, including petitioners, had consistently asked in open
court that the criminal cases be dismissed every time the Furthermore, the Sandiganbayan Special Fourth Division did not
prosecution moved for a deferment or postponement of the abuse its discretion in setting aside Justice Nario’s verbal order,
hearings. which dismissed Criminal Case Nos. 25922-25939, for not only
was such order baseless, as we had previously discussed herein;
The prosecution attributed the delay in the criminal proceedings to: but more importantly, because it is an utter nullity, as we had ruled
1) the 23 motions for reinvestigation or reconsideration filed by the in Corpuz.
accused, which was granted by the Sandiganbayan in its April 17,
2000 Order; and 2) the failure of the Office of the Ombudsman to We held in Corpuz that:
terminate its reinvestigation and submit its report within the 60-day
period fixed by the said graft court. In the unanimous Resolution of December 12, 2003, the
Sandiganbayan ruled as follows:
Irrefragably, there had been an undue and inordinate delay in the
reinvestigation of the cases by the Office of the Ombudsman, In the cases at bar, the dismissal made in open court by the
which failed to submit its reinvestigation report despite the lapse of Chairman, which was not reduced in writing, is not a valid
the 60-day period set by the Sandiganbayan, and even more than dismissal or termination of the cases. This is because the
a year thereafter. That there were 23 Motions for Reinvestigation Chairman cannot unilaterally dismiss the same without the
filed is insignificant. It should be stressed that reinvestigation, as approval or consent of the other members of the Division. The
the word itself implies, is merely a repeat investigation of the case. Sandiganbayan is a collegiate court and under its internal rules
It is simply a chance for the Office of the Ombudsman to review prevailing at the time (Rule XVIII, Section 1(b) of the 1984 Revised
and re-evaluate its findings based on the evidence previously Rules of the Sandiganbayan, which is now Section 1(b), Rule VIII
submitted by the parties. The Office of the Ombudsman should of the 2002 Revised Internal Rules of the Sandiganbayan), an
have expedited the reinvestigation, not only because it was order, resolution or judgment, in order to be valid - that is to say, in
order to be considered as an official action of the Court itself - SO ORDERED.
must bear the unanimous approval of the members of the division,
or in case of lack thereof, by the majority vote of the members of a
special division of five. G.R. No. 172716 November 17, 2010
We agree with the foregoing ratiocination. Section 1, Rule 120 of
the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, mandates that a JASON IVLER y AGUILAR, Petitioner,
judgment must be written in the official language, personally and vs.
directly prepared by the judge and signed by him and shall contain HON. MARIA ROWENA MODESTO-SAN PEDRO, Judge of the
clearly and distinctly a statement of the facts and the law upon Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 71, Pasig City, and
which it is based. The rule applies to a final order dismissing a EVANGELINE PONCE, Respondents.
criminal case grounded on the violation of the rights of the accused
to a speedy trial. A verbal judgment or order of dismissal is a DECISION
violation of the provision; hence, such order is, in contemplation of
law, not in esse, therefore, ineffective. Justice Nario failed to issue
a written resolution dismissing the criminal cases for failure of the CARPIO, J.:
prosecution to submit its report on the reinvestigation of the cases
within the sixty-day period fixed by the graft court. Moreover, the The Case
verbal order was rejected by majority vote of the members of the
Sandiganbayan Special Division. In fine, there has been no valid
and effective order of dismissal of the cases. The Sandiganbayan The petition seeks the review1 of the Orders2 of the Regional Trial
cannot then be faulted for issuing the assailed resolutions. Court of Pasig City affirming sub-silencio a lower court’s ruling
finding inapplicable the Double Jeopardy Clause to bar a second
Neither are the petitioners entitled to a writ of mandamus to prosecution for Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Homicide and
compel the Sandiganbayan to reinstate the cases, considering that Damage to Property. This, despite the accused’s previous
the verbal order of Justice Nario as aforestated does not exist at all conviction for Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Slight Physical
in contemplation of law.26 (Emphases ours.) Injuries arising from the same incident grounding the second
prosecution.
Given that Justice Nario’s verbal order dismissing Criminal Case
Nos. 25922-25939 is null and void, and does not exist at all in The Facts
contemplation of law, it follows that petitioners cannot invoke the
constitutional right against double jeopardy.1avvphi1
Following a vehicular collision in August 2004, petitioner Jason
Ivler (petitioner) was charged before the Metropolitan Trial Court of
To substantiate a claim for double jeopardy, the following must be
Pasig City, Branch 71 (MeTC), with two separate offenses: (1)
demonstrated:
Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Slight Physical Injuries
(Criminal Case No. 82367) for injuries sustained by respondent
(1) [A] first jeopardy must have attached prior to the second; (2)
Evangeline L. Ponce (respondent Ponce); and (2) Reckless
the first jeopardy must have been validly terminated; (3) the
Imprudence Resulting in Homicide and Damage to Property
second jeopardy must be for the same offense, or the second
(Criminal Case No. 82366) for the death of respondent Ponce’s
offense includes or is necessarily included in the offense charged
husband Nestor C. Ponce and damage to the spouses Ponce’s
in the first information, or is an attempt to commit the same or is a
vehicle. Petitioner posted bail for his temporary release in both
frustration thereof.
cases.
And legal jeopardy attaches only: (a) upon a valid indictment; (b)
before a competent court; (c) after arraignment; (d) [when] a valid On 7 September 2004, petitioner pleaded guilty to the charge in
plea [has] been entered; and (e) the case was dismissed or Criminal Case No. 82367 and was meted out the penalty of public
otherwise terminated without the express consent of the censure. Invoking this conviction, petitioner moved to quash the
accused.27 Information in Criminal Case No. 82366 for placing him in jeopardy
of second punishment for the same offense of reckless
In the instant Petition, legal jeopardy has not yet attached since imprudence.
there is so far no valid dismissal or termination of the criminal
cases against petitioners. The MeTC refused quashal, finding no identity of offenses in the
two cases.3
Finally, the Sandiganbayan Special Fourth Division did not commit
grave abuse of discretion nor erred in not considering the glaring
lack of evidence against petitioners. After unsuccessfully seeking reconsideration, petitioner elevated
the matter to the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 157
As we pointed out in Rizon v. Desierto28: (RTC), in a petition for certiorari (S.C.A. No. 2803). Meanwhile,
petitioner sought from the MeTC the suspension of proceedings in
Time and again, we have held that a prosecutor does not decide Criminal Case No. 82366, including the arraignment on 17 May
whether there is evidence beyond reasonable doubt of the guilt of 2005, invoking S.C.A. No. 2803 as a prejudicial question. Without
the person charged. He merely determines whether there is acting on petitioner’s motion, the MeTC proceeded with the
sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime arraignment and, because of petitioner’s absence, cancelled his
has been committed and that the accused is probably guilty bail and ordered his arrest.4 Seven days later, the MeTC issued a
thereof, and should be held for trial. A finding of probable cause, resolution denying petitioner’s motion to suspend proceedings and
therefore, does not require an inquiry as to whether there is postponing his arraignment until after his arrest.5 Petitioner sought
sufficient evidence to secure a conviction. It is enough that the reconsideration but as of the filing of this petition, the motion
prosecutor believes that the act or omission complained of remained unresolved.
constitutes the offense charged. A trial is intended precisely for the
reception of prosecution evidence in support of the charge. It is the Relying on the arrest order against petitioner, respondent Ponce
court that is tasked to determine guilt beyond reasonable doubt sought in the RTC the dismissal of S.C.A. No. 2803 for petitioner’s
based on the evidence presented by the parties at the trial on the loss of standing to maintain the suit. Petitioner contested the
merits.29 motion.

Here, there has been no trial yet. Therefore, there has been no
occasion yet for the full and exhaustive display of the parties’ The Ruling of the Trial Court
evidence. The presence or absence of the elements of the crime is
evidentiary in nature that shall be passed upon after a full-blown In an Order dated 2 February 2006, the RTC dismissed S.C.A. No.
trial on the merits. 2803, narrowly grounding its ruling on petitioner’s forfeiture of
standing to maintain S.C.A. No. 2803 arising from the MeTC’s
WHEREFORE, there being no showing that the impugned order to arrest petitioner for his non-appearance at the arraignment
Resolutions dated February 4, 2002 of the Sandiganbayan Special in Criminal Case No. 82366. Thus, without reaching the merits of
Fourth Division and December 12, 2003 of the Sandiganbayan S.C.A. No. 2803, the RTC effectively affirmed the MeTC. Petitioner
Fourth Division in Criminal Case Nos. 25922-25939 are tainted sought reconsideration but this proved unavailing. 6
with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction, the instant Petition for Certiorari is DISMISSED for lack
Hence, this petition.
of merit.
Petitioner denies absconding. He explains that his petition in proof of his loss of standing becomes more evident when one
S.C.A. No. 2803 constrained him to forego participation in the considers the Rules of Court’s treatment of a defendant who
proceedings in Criminal Case No. 82366. Petitioner distinguishes absents himself from post-arraignment hearings. Under Section
his case from the line of jurisprudence sanctioning dismissal of 21, Rule 11411 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, the
appeals for absconding appellants because his appeal before the defendant’s absence merely renders his bondsman potentially
RTC was a special civil action seeking a pre-trial relief, not a post- liable on its bond (subject to cancellation should the bondsman fail
trial appeal of a judgment of conviction. 7 to produce the accused within 30 days); the defendant retains his
standing and, should he fail to surrender, will be tried in absentia
Petitioner laments the RTC’s failure to reach the merits of his and could be convicted or acquitted. Indeed, the 30-day period
petition in S.C.A. 2803. Invoking jurisprudence, petitioner argues granted to the bondsman to produce the accused underscores the
that his constitutional right not to be placed twice in jeopardy of fact that mere non-appearance does not ipso facto convert the
punishment for the same offense bars his prosecution in Criminal accused’s status to that of a fugitive without standing.
Case No. 82366, having been previously convicted in Criminal
Case No. 82367 for the same offense of reckless imprudence Further, the RTC’s observation that petitioner provided "no
charged in Criminal Case No. 82366. Petitioner submits that the explanation why he failed to attend the scheduled proceeding" 12 at
multiple consequences of such crime are material only to the MeTC is belied by the records. Days before the arraignment,
determine his penalty. petitioner sought the suspension of the MeTC’s proceedings in
Criminal Case No. 82366 in light of his petition with the RTC in
S.C.A. No. 2803. Following the MeTC’s refusal to defer
Respondent Ponce finds no reason for the Court to disturb the
RTC’s decision forfeiting petitioner’s standing to maintain his arraignment (the order for which was released days after the
petition in S.C.A. 2803. On the merits, respondent Ponce calls the MeTC ordered petitioner’s arrest), petitioner sought
Court’s attention to jurisprudence holding that light offenses (e.g. reconsideration. His motion remained unresolved as of the filing of
slight physical injuries) cannot be complexed under Article 48 of this petition.
the Revised Penal Code with grave or less grave felonies (e.g.
homicide). Hence, the prosecution was obliged to separate the Petitioner’s Conviction in Criminal Case No. 82367
charge in Criminal Case No. 82366 for the slight physical injuries Bars his Prosecution in Criminal Case No. 82366
from Criminal Case No. 82367 for the homicide and damage to
property. The accused’s negative constitutional right not to be "twice put in
jeopardy of punishment for the same offense"13protects him from,
In the Resolution of 6 June 2007, we granted the Office of the among others, post-conviction prosecution for the same offense,
Solicitor General’s motion not to file a comment to the petition as with the prior verdict rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction
the public respondent judge is merely a nominal party and private upon a valid information.14 It is not disputed that petitioner’s
respondent is represented by counsel. conviction in Criminal Case No. 82367 was rendered by a court of
competent jurisdiction upon a valid charge. Thus, the case turns
The Issues on the question whether Criminal Case No. 82366 and Criminal
Case No. 82367 involve the "same offense." Petitioner adopts the
affirmative view, submitting that the two cases concern the same
Two questions are presented for resolution: (1) whether petitioner offense of reckless imprudence. The MeTC ruled otherwise,
forfeited his standing to seek relief in S.C.A. 2803 when the MeTC finding that Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Slight Physical
ordered his arrest following his non-appearance at the arraignment Injuries is an entirely separate offense from Reckless Imprudence
in Criminal Case No. 82366; and (2) if in the negative, whether Resulting in Homicide and Damage to Property "as the [latter]
petitioner’s constitutional right under the Double Jeopardy Clause requires proof of an additional fact which the other does not." 15
bars further proceedings in Criminal Case No. 82366.
We find for petitioner.
The Ruling of the Court
Reckless Imprudence is a Single Crime,
We hold that (1) petitioner’s non-appearance at the arraignment in its Consequences on Persons and
Criminal Case No. 82366 did not divest him of personality to Property are Material Only to Determine
maintain the petition in S.C.A. 2803; and (2) the protection the Penalty
afforded by the Constitution shielding petitioner from prosecutions
placing him in jeopardy of second punishment for the same
offense bars further proceedings in Criminal Case No. 82366. The two charges against petitioner, arising from the same facts,
were prosecuted under the same provision of the Revised Penal
Code, as amended, namely, Article 365 defining and penalizing
Petitioner’s Non-appearance at the Arraignment in quasi-offenses. The text of the provision reads:
Criminal Case No. 82366 did not Divest him of Standing
to Maintain the Petition in S.C.A. 2803
Imprudence and negligence. — Any person who, by reckless
imprudence, shall commit any act which, had it been intentional,
Dismissals of appeals grounded on the appellant’s escape from would constitute a grave felony, shall suffer the penalty of arresto
custody or violation of the terms of his bail bond are governed by mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its medium
the second paragraph of Section 8, Rule 124, 8 in relation to period; if it would have constituted a less grave felony, the penalty
Section 1, Rule 125, of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure of arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods shall be
authorizing this Court or the Court of Appeals to "also, upon imposed; if it would have constituted a light felony, the penalty of
motion of the appellee or motu proprio, dismiss the appeal if the arresto menor in its maximum period shall be imposed.
appellant escapes from prison or confinement, jumps bail or flees
to a foreign country during the pendency of the appeal." The
"appeal" contemplated in Section 8 of Rule 124 is a suit to review Any person who, by simple imprudence or negligence, shall
judgments of convictions. commit an act which would otherwise constitute a grave felony,
shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its medium and
maximum periods; if it would have constituted a less serious
The RTC’s dismissal of petitioner’s special civil action for certiorari felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum period shall be
to review a pre-arraignment ancillary question on the applicability imposed.
of the Due Process Clause to bar proceedings in Criminal Case
No. 82366 finds no basis under procedural rules and
jurisprudence. The RTC’s reliance on People v. When the execution of the act covered by this article shall have
only resulted in damage to the property of another, the offender
Esparas9 undercuts the cogency of its ruling
because Esparas stands for a proposition contrary to the RTC’s shall be punished by a fine ranging from an amount equal to the
value of said damages to three times such value, but which shall in
ruling. There, the Court granted review to an appeal by an accused
who was sentenced to death for importing prohibited drugs even no case be less than twenty-five pesos.
though she jumped bail pending trial and was thus tried and
convicted in absentia. The Court in Esparas treated the mandatory A fine not exceeding two hundred pesos and censure shall be
review of death sentences under Republic Act No. 7659 as an imposed upon any person who, by simple imprudence or
exception to Section 8 of Rule 124.10 negligence, shall cause some wrong which, if done maliciously,
would have constituted a light felony.
The mischief in the RTC’s treatment of petitioner’s non-
appearance at his arraignment in Criminal Case No. 82366 as
In the imposition of these penalties, the court shall exercise their penalty for the willful offense, there would then be a corresponding
sound discretion, without regard to the rules prescribed in Article penalty for the negligent variety. But instead, our Revised Penal
sixty-four. Code (Art. 365) fixes the penalty for reckless imprudence at
arresto mayor maximum, to prision correccional [medium], if the
The provisions contained in this article shall not be applicable: willful act would constitute a grave felony, notwithstanding that the
penalty for the latter could range all the way from prision mayor to
death, according to the case. It can be seen that the actual penalty
1. When the penalty provided for the offense is equal to for criminal negligence bears no relation to the individual willful
or lower than those provided in the first two paragraphs crime, but is set in relation to a whole class, or series, of
of this article, in which case the court shall impose the crimes.18 (Emphasis supplied)
penalty next lower in degree than that which should be
imposed in the period which they may deem proper to
apply. This explains why the technically correct way to allege quasi-
crimes is to state that their commission results in damage, either to
person or property.19
2. When, by imprudence or negligence and with violation
of the Automobile Law, to death of a person shall be
caused, in which case the defendant shall be punished Accordingly, we found the Justice of the Peace in Quizon without
by prision correccional in its medium and maximum jurisdiction to hear a case for "Damage to Property through
periods. Reckless Imprudence," its jurisdiction being limited to trying
charges for Malicious Mischief, an intentional crime conceptually
incompatible with the element of imprudence obtaining in quasi-
Reckless imprudence consists in voluntary, but without malice, crimes.
doing or failing to do an act from which material damage results by
reason of inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the person
performing or failing to perform such act, taking into consideration Quizon, rooted in Spanish law20 (the normative ancestry of our
his employment or occupation, degree of intelligence, physical present day penal code) and since repeatedly reiterated, 21 stands
on solid conceptual foundation. The contrary doctrinal
condition and other circumstances regarding persons, time and
place. pronouncement in People v. Faller22that &qu