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Rape not a respecter of people, time and place - Rape has been known to be

committed not only in seclusion but in public places, inside an occupied house, or even
where there are other people around. We have accordingly ruled that rape is not a
respecter of people, time, or place. It is not improbable that accused-appellant was able to
succumb to his lechery while AAAs grandmother and sister were sound asleep.
Moreover, AAA testified that accused-appellant warned her not to tell anyone of the
sexual abuse or else he would kill her. It is not unnatural then for AAA to have kept silent
during the rape for fear for her personal safety. The failure of the victim to shout for help
does not negate the commission of rape. (People of the philippines vs fidel canete Nov
7, 2008 GR 182193)

Inflicting immediate harm to a young victim without using a deadly weapon - On the
alleged impossibility of inflicting immediate harm on AAA since accused-appellant had
no deadly weapon at the time of the rape incidents, we held in People v. Santos that it is
common for a young victim of tender age to be fearful in the face of the mildest threat
against her life. Although not alleged in the informations, the moral ascendancy of
accused-appellant over his victim as her uncle was more than sufficient to cow her into
submission, even without use of a deadly weapon. (People of the philippines vs fidel
canete Nov 7, 2008 GR 182193)

Definition and Elements of Laches - In the Estate of the Late Encarnacion Vda. de
Panlilio v. Dizon explains the concept of laches in this wise: “According to settled
jurisprudence, laches means the failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained
length of time, to do that which by the exercise of due diligence could or should have
been done earlier. Verily, laches serves to deprive a party guilty of it of any judicial
remedies. Its elements are: (1) conduct on the part of the defendant, or of one under
whom the defendant claims, giving rise to the situation which the complaint seeks a
remedy; (2) delay in asserting the complainants rights, the complainant having had
knowledge or notice of the defendants conduct as having been afforded an opportunity to
institute a suit; (3) lack of knowledge or notice on the part of the defendant that the
complainant would assert the right in which the defendant bases the suit; and (4) injury
or prejudice to the defendant in the event relief is accorded to the complainant, or the suit
is not held barred”. In Santiago v. Court of Appeals, we explained that there is no
absolute rule as to what constitutes laches or staleness of demand; each case is to be
determined according to its particular circumstances. ( Associated Labor Union(ALU)
vs Court of Appeals 570 scra 332 Oct 31, 2008 G.R. No. 156882)

Project employess and regular employees - the service of project employees are
coterminus with the project and may be terminated upon the end or completion of that
project or project phase for which they were hired. Regular employees, in contrast, enjoy
security of tenure and are entitled to hold on to their work or position until their services
are terminated by any of the modes recognized under the Labor Code. (Equipment
technical services vs Court of Appeals October 8, 2008 GR 157680)
The principal test for determining whether an employee is properly characterized as
project employee, as distinguished from regular employee, is whether or not the project
employee was assigned to carry out a specific project or undertaking, the duration and
scope of which were specified at the time the employees were engaged for that project.
And as Article 280 of the Labor Code, defining a regular employee vis--vis a project
employee, would have it:

Art. 280. Regular and casual employment. The provisions of written agreement to the
contrary notwithstanding and regardless of the oral agreement of the parties, an
employment shall be deemed to be regular where the employee has been engaged to
perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade
of the employer, except where the employment has been fixed for a specific project or
undertaking the completion or termination of which has been determined at the time of
the engagement of the employee. (Equipment technical services vs Court of Appeals
October 8, 2008 GR 157680)

Elements of illegal recruitment - Illegal recruitment is committed when two (2)


elements concur: First, the offender does not have the required license or authority to
engage in the recruitment and placement of workers. Second, the offender undertook (1)
recruitment and placement activity defined under Article 13(b) of the Labor Code or (2)
any prohibited practice under Art. 34 of the same code. Illegal recruitment is qualified
into large scale, when three or more persons, individually or as group, are victimized.
Art. 13(b) of the Labor Code defines recruitment and placement, as follows:

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, in any manner, offers or promises for a fee employment to two or more
persons shall be deemed engaged in recruitment and placement. (People vs bartolome
July 4, 2008 G.R. No. 129486)

Falsifying public documents - Falsification of public document under the RPC is within
the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. This conclusion finds support from Sec. 4 of RA
8249, which enumerates the cases in which the Sandiganbayan has exclusive jurisdiction,
as follows:

a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-graft
and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII,
Book II of the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the accused are officials
occupying the following positions in the government whether in a permanent, acting or
interim capacity, at the time of the commission of the offense:
(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and
higher, otherwise classified as Grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position
Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including:
(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and
provincial treasurers, assessors, engineers and other provincial department heads;

(5) All other national and local officials classified as Grade 27 and higher under the
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989.
b. Other offenses or felonies whether simple or complexed with other crimes committed
by the public officials and employees mentioned in subsection a. of this section in
relation to their office.

Also, Falsification under Art. 171 and also Art. 172 of the RPC, which, for reference, are
quoted below:

Art.171. Falsification by public officer, employee; or notary or ecclesiastical minister.

2. Causing it to appear that persons have participated in any act or proceeding when they
did not in fact so participate.

Art. 172. Falsification by private individual and use of falsified documents.The penalty of
prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods and a fine of not more than
5,000 shall be imposed upon:

1. Any private individual who shall commit any of the falsification enumerated in the
next preceeding article in any public or official document or letter of exchange or any
other kind of commercial document;

Any person who shall knowingly introduce in evidence in any judicial proceedings or to
the damage of another or who, with the intent to cause such damage, shall use any of the
false documents embraced in the next preceeding article or in any of the foregoing
subdivisions of this article shall be punished by the penalty next lower in degree.

Note that the last paragraph of Art. 172 does not specify that the offending person is a
public or private individual as does its par. 1. Note also that the last paragraph of Art. 172
alludes to the use of the false document embraced in par. 2 of Art. 171 where it was made
to appear that persons have participated in any act or proceeding when they did not in fact
participate. Patently, even a public officer may be convicted under Art. 172. The crime in
Art. 171 is absorbed by the last paragraph of Art. 172. Thus, Pactolins argument about
being deprived of his right to be informed of the charges against him when the
Sandiganbayan convicted him as a private person under Art. 172, is baseless. The
headings in italics of the two articles are not controlling. What is controlling is not the
title of the complaint, or the designation of the offense charged or the particular law or
part thereof allegedly violated, but the description of the crime charged and the particular
facts therein recited. (Pactolin vs Sandiganbayan May 20, 2008 G.R. No. 161455)

Certiorari (Rule 45 and Rule 65 of Rules of Court) - At the outset, it must be pointed
out that petitioners invoked the certiorari jurisdiction of the Court under Rule 65 when an
appeal under Rule 45 is the proper remedy and should have been filed.
Under the first paragraph of Section 1 of Rule 65, the remedy of certiorari may only be
availed of in the absence of any other remedy in the ordinary course of law open to the
petitioner. The provision states:

Section 1. Petition for certiorari.When any tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or
quasi-judicial functions has acted without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, and there is no
appeal, nor any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, a
person aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court, alleging the facts
with certainty and praying that judgment be rendered annulling or modifying the
proceedings of such tribunal, board or officer, and granting such incidental reliefs as law
and justice may require. (Emphasis supplied.)

In the instant case, the CA had already finally disposed of the case with the issuance of
the Resolution dated April 10, 1997 denying due course to petitioners petition for review
of the RTCs decision, and the Resolution dated August 29, 1997 denying petitioners
Motion for Reconsideration. Thus, the remedy of an appeal under Rule 45 was then
already available to petitioners.

Sec. 1 of Rule 45 states:

Section 1. Filing of petition with Supreme Court.A party desiring to appeal by certiorari
from a judgment or final order or resolution of the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan,
the Regional Trial Court or other courts whenever authorized by law, may file with the
Supreme Court a verified petition for review on certiorari. The petition shall raise only
questions of law which must be distinctly set forth.

Petitioners, therefore, then had 15 days from their receipt on September 10, 1997 of the
Resolution dated August 29, 1997, or until September 25, 1997 within which to file a
petition for review under Rule 45. Instead, they filed on September 25, 1997 the instant
Petition for Certiorari dated September 18, 1997.

Clearly, the proper remedy in the instant case should have been the filing of a petition for
review under Rule 45. This Court has repeatedly ruled that reviews under Rules 45 and
65 of the Rules of Court are mutually exclusive and the remedy of certiorari under Rule
65 cannot be made a substitute for a petitioners failure to timely appeal under Rule 45.
(Gonzaga vs Court of Appeals Feb 26, 2008 GR 130841)[P]

Forcible entry - For a complaint for forcible entry to prosper, the plaintiff must allege in
his complaint that he had prior physical possession of the land and that the defendant
unlawfully deprived him of such possession through any of the grounds provided in Rule
70, Sec. 1. The requirement of prior physical possession in ejectment cases was explained
by this Court in Mediran v. Villanueva, to wit:
Juridically speaking, possession is distinct from ownership, and from this distinction are
derived legal consequences of much importance. In giving recognition to the action of
forcible entry and detainer the purpose of the law is to protect the person who in fact has
actual possession; and in case of controverted right, it requires the parties to preserve the
status quo until one or the other of them sees fit to invoke the decision of a court of
competent jurisdiction upon the question of ownership. It is obviously just that the person
who has first acquired possession should remain in possession pending this decision; and
the parties cannot be permitted meanwhile to engage in a petty warfare over the
possession of the property which is the subject of dispute. To permit this would be highly
dangerous to individual security and disturbing to social order. Therefore, where a person
supposes himself to be the owner of a piece of property and desires to vindicate his
ownership against the party actually in possession, it is incumbent upon him to institute
an action to this end in a court of competent jurisdiction; and he can not be permitted, by
invading the property and excluding the actual possessor, to place upon the latter the
burden of instituting an action to try the property right.

Clearly then, complainants in forcible entry cases must allege and eventually prove prior
physical possession. Else, their cases fail, as here. (Gonzaga vs Court of Appeals Feb
26, 2008 GR 130841)[P]

The finding of the court of appeals - the prevailing rule that the findings of fact of the
CA are generally conclusive and binding and the Court need not pass upon the supporting
evidence. For, it is not this Courts function to analyze or weigh evidence all over
again.Stated a bit differently, the CAs findings of fact affirming those of the trial court
will not be disturbed by the Court. This is as it should be for the trial court, as trier of
facts, is best equipped to make the assessment of issues raised and evidence adduced
before it. Therefore, its factual findings are generally not disturbed on appeal unless it is
perceived to have overlooked, misunderstood, or misinterpreted certain facts or
circumstances of weight, which, if properly considered, would affect the result of the case
and warrant a reversal of the decision involved. In the instant case, we find no cogent
reason to depart from this general principle. (Atlas consolidated vs CIR Feb 18, 2008
G.R. No. 159490)

Evidence - the Rules of Court, which is suppletory in quasi-judicial proceedings,


particularly Sec. 34 of Rule 132, Revised Rules on Evidence, is clear that no evidence
which has not been formally offered shall be considered. Thus, where the pertinent
invoices or receipts purportedly evidencing the VAT paid by Atlas were not submitted, the
courts a quo evidently could not determine the veracity of the input VAT Atlas has paid.
Moreover, when Atlas likewise failed to submit pertinent export documents to prove
actual export sales with due certification from accredited banks on the export proceeds in
foreign currency with the corresponding conversion rate into Philippine currency, the
courts a quo likewise could not determine the veracity of the export sales as indicated in
Atlas amended VAT return. It must be noted that the most competent evidence must be
adduced and presented to prove the allegations in a complaint, petition, or protest before
a judicial court. And where the best evidence cannot be submitted, secondary evidence
may be presented. In the instant case, the pertinent documents which are the best pieces
of evidence were not presented. (Atlas consolidated vs CIR Feb 18, 2008 G.R. No.
159490)

Election laws should be reasonably and liberally construed - the COMELEC has the
discretion to construe its rules liberally and, at the same time, suspend the rules or any of
their portions in the interest of justice. As aptly stated by Commissioner Rene V.
Sarmiento in his Dissenting Opinion:

It is well settled that election laws should be reasonably and liberally construed to
achieve their purpose to effectuate and safeguard the will of the electorate in the choice
of their representatives. The courts frown upon any interpretation that would hinder in
any way not only the free and intelligent casting of votes in any election but also the
correct ascertainment of the results thereof.

Disputes in the outcome of elections involve public interest. Technicalities and


procedural barriers should not be allowed to stand if they constitute an obstacle to the
determination of the true will of the electorate in the choice of their elective officials.
Laws governing such disputes must be liberally construed to the end that the will of the
people in the choice of public officials may not be defeated by mere technicalities. Hence,
it is submitted that there is a need to suspend the procedural rules and resolve the merits
of the case to promote justice and safeguard the will of the electorate of Catubig,
Northern Samar.

Accordingly, the COMELEC should have not dismissed the appeal filed by petitioner
Hipe on the ground of belated filing.( hector hipe vs Commission on elections Oct 2,
2009 G.R. No. 181528)

Duty of a lawyer as an officer of the court - In Re: Letter Dated 21 February 2005 of
Atty. Noel S. Sorreda, we reiterated our pronouncement in Rheem of the Philippines v.
Ferrer that the duty of attorneys to the courts can only be maintained by rendering no
service involving any disrespect to the judicial office which they are bound to uphold.
The Court wrote in Rheem of the Philippines:

As explicit is the first canon of legal ethics which pronounces that [i]t is the duty of a
lawyer to maintain towards the Courts a respectful attitude, not for the sake of the
temporary incumbent of the judicial office, but for the maintenance of its supreme
importance. That same canon, as a corollary, makes it peculiarly incumbent upon
lawyers to support the courts against unjust criticism and clamor. And more. The
attorneys oath solemnly binds him to a conduct that should be with all good fidelity to the
courts.

Also, in Sorreda, the Court revisited its holding in Surigao Mineral Reservation Board v.
Cloribel that:
A lawyer is an officer of the courts; he is, like the court itself, an instrument or agency to
advance the ends of justice. His duty is to uphold the dignity and authority of the courts
to which he owes fidelity, not to promote distrust in the administration of justice. Faith in
the courts, a lawyer should seek to preserve. For, to undermine the judicial edifice is
disastrous to the continuity of government and to the attainment of the liberties of the
people. Thus has it been said of a lawyer that [a]s an officer of the court, it is his sworn
and moral duty to help build and not destroy unnecessarily that high esteem and regard
towards the courts so essential to the proper administration of justice.

The lady senator belongs to the legal profession bound by the exacting injunction of a
strict Code. Society has entrusted that profession with the administration of the law and
dispensation of justice. Generally speaking, a lawyer holding a government office may
not be disciplined as a member of the Bar for misconduct committed while in the
discharge of official duties, unless said misconduct also constitutes a violation of his/her
oath as a lawyer. (Antero pobre vs miriam defensor santiago Aug 25, 2009 AC NO.
7399)

Retention limit per landowner - There can be no claim of more than one right of
retention per landowner. Neither PD 27 nor RA 6657 has a provision for a landowner to
exercise more than one right of retention. The law is simple and clear as to the retention
limits per landowner. PD 27 states, In all cases, the landowner may retain an area of not
more than seven (7) hectares if such landowner is cultivating such area or will now
cultivate it; while RA 6657 states:

SEC. 6. Retention Limits.Except as otherwise provided in this Act, no person may own or
retain, directly, any public or private agricultural land, the size of which shall vary
according to factors governing a viable family-sized farm, such as commodity produced,
terrain, infrastructure, and soil fertility as determined by the Presidential Agrarian Reform
Council (PARC) created hereunder, but in no case shall the retention by the landowner
exceed five (5) hectares. Three (3) hectares may be awarded to each child of the
landowner, subject to the following qualifications: (1) that he is at least fifteen (15) years
of age; and (2) that he is actually tilling the land or directly managing the farm: Provided,
That landowners whose lands have been covered by Presidential Decree No. 27 shall be
allowed to keep the area originally retained by them thereunder; Provided, further, That
original homestead grantees or direct compulsory heirs who still own the original
homestead at the time of the approval of this Act shall retain the same areas as long as
they continue to cultivate said homestead.

Nothing in either law supports Archbishops claim to more than one right of retention on
behalf of each cestui que trust. The provisions of PD 27 and RA 6657 are plain and
require no further interpretation there is only one right of retention per landowner, and no
multiple rights of retention can be held by a single party. (ROMAN CATHOLIC
ARCHBISHOP OF CACERES VS SECRETARY OF AGRARIAN REFORM, DEC
21, 2007 GR 139285)

What is included in agrarian reform law and what is exempted - The Comprehensive
Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 shall cover, regardless of tenurial arrangement and
commodity produced, all public and private agricultural lands as provided in
Proclamation No. 131 and Executive Order No. 229, including other lands of the public
domain suitable for agriculture. The lands in Archbishops name are agricultural lands that
fall within the scope of the law, and do not fall under the exemptions.

The exemptions under RA 6657 form an exclusive list, as follows:

SEC. 10. Exemptions and Exclusions.


(a) Lands actually, directly and exclusively used for parks, wildlife, forest reserves,
reforestation, fish sanctuaries and breeding grounds, watersheds and mangroves shall be
exempt from the coverage of this Act.
(b) Private lands actually, directly and exclusively used for prawn farms and fishponds
shall be exempt from the coverage of this Act: Provided, That said prawn farms and
fishponds have not been distributed and Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA)
issued under the Agrarian Reform Program.
In cases where the fishponds or prawn farms have been subjected to the Comprehensive
Agrarian Reform Law, by voluntary offer to sell, or commercial farms deferment or
notices of compulsory acquisition, a simple and absolute majority of the actual regular
workers or tenants must consent to the exemption within one (1) year from the effectivity
of this Act. When the workers or tenants do not agree to this exemption, the fishponds or
prawn farms shall be distributed collectively to the worker-beneficiaries or tenants who
shall form cooperative or association to manage the same.
In cases where the fishponds or prawn farms have not been subjected to the
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, the consent of the farmworkers shall no longer be
necessary; however, the provision of Section 32-A hereof on incentives shall apply.
(c) Lands actually, directly and exclusively used and found to be necessary for national
defense, school sites and campuses, including experimental farm stations operated by
public or private schools for educational purposes, seeds and seedlings research and pilot
production center, church sites and convents appurtenant thereto, mosque sites and
Islamic centers appurtenant thereto, communal burial grounds and cemeteries, penal
colonies and penal farms actually worked by the inmates, government and private
research and quarantine centers and all lands with eighteen percent (18%) slope and over,
except those already developed, shall be exempt from the coverage of this Act. (As
amended by R. A. 7881)
Archbishop would claim exemption from the coverage of agrarian reform by stating that
he is a mere administrator, but his position does not appear under the list of exemptions
under RA 6657. (ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF CACERES VS
SECRETARY OF AGRARIAN REFORM, DEC 21, 2007 GR 139285)