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G.R. No. 95136 (October 3, 1991)



The case at bar originated from an information filed in the Regional Trial Court at Pasig charging petitioners
Rafael Baylosis and Benjamin de Vera, together with one Marco Palo, all known high ranking officers of the
Communist Party of the Philippines, and its military arm, the New People’s Army), with a violation of par. 3, Sec 1 of
PD 1866.

That provision punishes with the penalty of reclusion perpetua, any person who unlawfully manufactures,
deals in, acquires, disposes of, or possesses any firearm, in furtherance of, or incident to, or in connection with the
crimes of rebellion, insurrection or subversion. Baylosis, de Vera, and Palo, filed a motion to quash the information on
the following grounds: (I) the facts charged do not constitute an offense because they are founded on an
unconstitutional/repealed statute, (2) for the same reason, this Honorable Court is devoid of jurisdiction to try this
case. However, the Trial Court denied the motion to quash and a motion for reconsideration was also denied. Hence,
Baylosis and de Vera instituted this special action of certiorari, prohibition and mandamus.

Whether or not PD No. 1866, or at least par. 3 of Section 1 thereof, is unconstitutional for being violative of
due process and equal protection clauses of the Constitution.

The issue of constitutionality of Presidential Decree No. 1866 has been laid to rest in the case of Misolas v.
Panga, G.R. No. 83341, January 30, 1990 (181 SCRA 648), where this Court held that the declaration of
unconstitutionality of the third paragraph of Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1866 is wanting in legal basis since it
is neither a bill of attainder nor does it provide a possibility of a double jeopardy.

P.D. No. 1866 does not possess the elements of a bill of attainder. It does not seek to inflict punishment
without a judicial trial. Nowhere in the measure is there a finding of guilt and an imposition of a corresponding
punishment. What the decree does is to define the offense and provide for the penalty that may be imposed,
specifying the qualifying circumstances that would aggravate the offense.

Moreover, mere severity of penalty does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. To come under the
ban, the punishment must be ‘flagrantly and plainly oppressive’, wholly disproportionate to the nature of the offense
as to shock the moral sense of the community. There is no challenge to the penalties imposed under PD 1866 as
being cruel and unusual.

The petitioners' invocation of the doctrine of double jeopardy as an argument against the constitutionality of
PD 1866 is equally futile. The right against double jeopardy is a matter which the accused may raise in a motion to
quash (Sec. 3[h], Rule 117). But, petitioner's motion to quash filed in the trial court did not raise the issue of double
jeopardy because it had not arisen. Moreover, even if such a subsequent or second jeopardy does arise, PD No.
1866 will not be rendered unconstitutional because such is not a ground to nullify that law. Double jeopardy is merely
a defense that an accused may raise to defeat a subsequent prosecution or conviction for the same offense. Hence,
the petition is DISMISSED in view of petitioner's failure to clearly and unequivocally establish that the third paragraph
of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866 violates the Constitution.