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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-22301 August 30, 1967
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHLPPNES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
MARO MAPA ! MAPULONG, defendant-appellant.
Francisco P. Cabigao for defendant-appellant.
Office of the Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz, Assistant Solicitor General F. R. Rosete and Solicitor O. C.
Hernandez for plaintiff-appellee.
FERNAN"O, J.:
The sole question in this appeal fro a !ud"ent of conviction b# the lo$er court is $hether or not the
appointent to and holdin" of the position of a secret a"ent to the provincial "overnor $ould constitute a
sufficient defense to a prosecution for the crie of ille"al possession of firear and aunition. %e hold
that it does not.
The accused in this case $as indicted for the above offense in an inforation dated Au"ust &', &()*
readin" as follo$s+ ,The undersi-ed accuses MAR./ MAPA 0 MAP12/N3 of a violation of 4ection 565 in
connection $ith 4ection *)(* of the Revised Adinistrative Code, as aended b# Coon$ealth Act No.
7) and as further aended b# Republic Act No. ', coitted as follo$s+ That on or iabout the &8th da#
of Au"ust, &()*, in the Cit# of Manila, Philippines, the said accused did then and there $ilfull# and
unla$full# have in his possession and under his custod# and control one hoe-ade revolver 9Palti:;, Cal.
**, $ithout serial nuber, $ith si< 9); rounds of aunition, $ithout first havin" secured the necessar#
license or perit therefor fro the correspondin" authorities. Contrar# to la$.,
%hen the case $as called for hearin" on 4epteber 8, &()8, the lo$er court at the outset as:ed the
counsel for the accused+ ,Ma# counsel stipulate that the accused $as found in possession of the "un
involved in this case, that he has neither a perit or license to possess the sae and that $e can subit
the sae on a question of la$ $hether or not an a"ent of the "overnor can hold a firear $ithout a perit
issued b# the Philippine Constabular#., After counsel sou"ht fro the fiscal an assurance that he $ould not
question the authenticit# of his e<hibits, the understandin" bein" that onl# a question of la$ $ould be
subitted for decision, he e<plicitl# specified such question to be ,$hether or not a secret a"ent is not
required to "et a license for his firear.,
1pon the lo$er court statin" that the fiscal should e<aine the docuent so that he could pass on their
authenticit#, the fiscal as:ed the follo$in" question+ ,=oes the accused adit that this pistol cal. ** revolver
$ith si< rounds of aunition entioned in the inforation $as found in his possession on Au"ust &8,
&()*, in the Cit# of Manila $ithout first havin" secured the necessar# license or perit thereof fro the
correspondin" authorit#>, The accused, no$ the appellant, ans$ered cate"oricall#+ ,0es, 0our ?onor.,
1pon $hich, the lo$er court ade a stateent+ ,The accused adits, 0es, and his counsel Att#. Cabi"ao
also affirs that the accused adits.,
@orth$ith, the fiscal announced that he $as ,$illin" to subit the sae for decision., Counsel for the
accused on his part presented four 9'; e<hibits consistin" of his appointent ,as secret a"ent of the ?on.
@eliciano 2eviste,, then 3overnor of Batan"as, dated Aune *, &()*B& another docuent li:e$ise issued b#
3ov. 2eviste also addressed to the accused directin" hi to proceed to Manila, Pasa# and Cue-on Cit# on
a confidential issionB*the oath of office of the accused as such secret a"ent,8 a certificate dated March
&&, &()8, to the effect that the accused ,is a secret a"ent, of 3ov. 2eviste.' Counsel for the accused then
stated that $ith the presentation of the above e<hibits he $as ,$illin" to subit the case on the question of
$hether or not a secret a"ent dul# appointed and qualified as such of the provincial "overnor is e<ept
fro the requireent of havin" a license of firear., The e<hibits $ere aditted and the parties $ere "iven
tie to file their respective eoranda.&D$phE&.FGt
Thereafter on Noveber *6, &()8, the lo$er court rendered a decision convictin" the accused ,of the
crie of ille"al possession of firears and sentenced to an indeterinate penalt# of fro one #ear and one
da# to t$o #ears and to pa# the costs. The firear and aunition confiscated fro hi are forfeited in
favor of the 3overnent.,
The onl# question bein" one of la$, the appeal $as ta:en to this Court. The decision ust be affired.
The la$ is e<plicit that e<cept as thereafter specificall# allo$ed, ,it shall be unla$ful for an# person to . . .
possess an# firear, detached parts of firears or aunition therefor, or an# instruent or ipleent
used or intended to be used in the anufacture of firears, parts of firears, or aunition.,7 The ne<t
section provides that ,firears and aunition re"ularl# and la$full# issued to officers, soldiers, sailors, or
arines Hof the Ared @orces of the PhilippinesI, the Philippine Constabular#, "uards in the eplo#ent of
the Bureau of Prisons, unicipal police, provincial "overnors, lieutenant "overnors, provincial treasurers,
unicipal treasurers, unicipal a#ors, and "uards of provincial prisoners and !ails,, are not covered
,$hen such firears are in possession of such officials and public servants for use in the perforance of
their official duties.,)
The la$ cannot be an# clearer. No provision is ade for a secret a"ent. As such he is not e<ept. /ur tas:
is equall# clear. The first and fundaental dut# of courts is to appl# the la$. ,Construction and interpretation
coe onl# after it has been deonstrated that application is ipossible or inadequate $ithout the.,6 The
conviction of the accused ust stand. .t cannot be set aside.
Accused ho$ever $ould rel# on People . !acarandang,5 $here a secret a"ent $as acquitted on appeal
on the assuption that the appointent ,of the accused as a secret a"ent to assist in the aintenance of
peace and order capai"ns and detection of cries, sufficientl# put hi $ithin the cate"or# of a ,peace
officer, equivalent even to a eber of the unicipal police e<pressl# covered b# section 56(., 4uch
reliance is isplaced. .t is not $ithin the po$er of this Court to set aside the clear and e<plicit andate of a
statutor# provision. To the e<tent therefore that this decision conflicts $ith $hat $as held in People .
!acarandang, it no lon"er spea:s $ith authorit#.
%herefore, the !ud"ent appealed fro is affired.
Concepcion, C."., Re#es, ".$.%., &izon, !a'alintal, $engzon, ".P., (aldiar, Sanchez, Castro and Angeles,
""., concur.
Foot#ot$s
&E<hibit &.
*E<hibit *.
8E<hibit 8.
'E<hibit '.
74ec. 565 as aended b# Republic Act No. ', Revised Adinistrative Code.
)4ec. 56(, Revised Adinistrative Code.
62i-arra"a ?eranos v. 0ap Tico, 9&(&8; *' Phil. 7J', 7&8.
52-&*J55, =eceber *8, &(7(.