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G.R. No.

113079 April 20, 2001

CORPORAT#ON, respondents.
G.R. No. 11%923 April 20, 2001
CORPORAT#ON, respondents.
The propriety of building a state-of-the-art gasoline service station along Benigno
Aquino, Jr. Avenue in Paraaque, Metro Manila is the bone of contention in these
consolidated petitions for certiorari under ule !" of the ules of #ourt. Petitioners
assert that the construction of such a $odern edifice is a necessity dictated by the
%e$erging econo$ic landscapes.% espondents say other&ise.
The factual antecedents of the case are $atters of record or are other&ise
Petitioner Pilipinas 'hell Petroleu$ #orporation ('hell) is engaged in the business
of i$porting crude oil, refining the sa$e and selling various petroleu$ products
through a net&or* of service stations throughout the country.
Private respondent Petroleu$ +istributors and 'ervice #orporation (P+'#) o&ns
and operates a #alte, service station at the corner of the M-A and +o$estic oads
in Pasay #ity.
.n June /0,123/, 'hell filed &ith the quonda$ Bureau of 4nergy 5tili6ation (B45)
an application for authority to relocate its 'hell 'ervice 'tation at Ta$bo,
Paraaque, Metro Manila, to -$elda Marcos Avenue of the sa$e $unicipality. The
application, &hich &as doc*eted as B45 #ase 7o. 3/-02-1/12, &as initially
re8ected by the B45 because 'hell9s old site had been closed for five (") years such
that the relocation of the sa$e to a ne& site &ould a$ount to a ne& construction of a
gasoline outlet, &hich construction &as then the sub8ect of a $oratoriu$.
'ubsequently, ho&ever, B45 rela,ed its position and gave due course to the
P+'# filed an opposition to the application on the grounds that: 1.; there are
adequate service stations attending to the $otorists9 require$ents in the trading area
covered by the application< =.; ruinous co$petition &ill result fro$ the
establish$ent of the proposed ne& service station< and /.; there is a decline not an
increase in the volu$e of sales in the area. T&o other co$panies, na$ely Petrophil
and #alte,, also opposed the application on the ground that 'hell failed to co$ply
&ith the 8urisdictional require$ents.
-n a esolution dated March >, 123!, the B45 dis$issed the application on
8urisdictional grounds and for lac* of %full title% of the lessor over the proposed site.
?o&ever, on May @, 123!, the B45 reinstated the sa$e application and thereafter
conducted a hearing thereon.
.n June /, 123>, the B45 rendered a decision denying 'hell9s application on a
finding that there &as %no necessity for an additional petroleu$ products retail outlet
in -$elda Marcos Avenue, Paraaque.% +issatisfied, 'hell appealed to the .ffice of
4nergy Affairs (.4A).
Mean&hile, on May 3, 123@, 4,ecutive .rder 7o. 1@= &as issued creating the
4nergy egulatory Board (4B) and transferring to it the regulatory and
ad8udicatory functions of the B45.
.n May 2, 1233, the .4A rendered a decision denying the appeal of 'hell and
affir$ing the B45 decision. 'hell $oved for reconsideration and prayed for a ne&
hearing or the re$and of the case for further proceedings. -n a supple$ent to said
$otion, 'hell sub$itted a ne& feasibility study to 8ustify its application.
The .4A issued an order on July 11, 1233, re$anding the case to the 4B for
further evaluation and consideration, noting therein that the %updated survey
conducted by 'hell% cited ne& develop$ents such as the accessibility of -$elda
Marcos Avenue, no& Benigno Aquino, Jr. Avenue, to Paraaque residents along
'ucat oad and the population gro&th in the trading area.
After the records of B45 #ase 7o. 3/-02-1/12 &as re$anded to the 4B, 'hell
filed on March /, 1232 an a$ended application, intended for the sa$e purpose as its
original application, &hich &as doc*eted as 4B #ase 7o. 32-"@. This a$ended
application &as li*e&ise opposed by P+'#.
.n 'epte$ber 1@, 1221, the 4B rendered a +ecision allo&ing 'hell to establish the
service station in Benigno Aquino, Jr. Avenue. The dispositive portion of the
+ecision reads:
A?44B.4, pre$ises considered, the application for authority to
relocate a 'hell service station fro$ Ta$bo to Benigno Aquino Avenue,
Paraaque, Metro Manila is hereby approved.
Applicant is hereby directed to:
1. 'tart the construction and operation of the retail outlet at the
actual approved site appearing in the vicinity $ap previously
sub$itted to the Board &ithin one (1) year, fro$ the finality of
this +ecision and thereafter sub$it a s&orn docu$ent of
co$pliance there&ith<
=. 'ub$it photographs sho&ing the left side, right side and front
vie& of the retail outlet &ithin fifteen (1") days fro$ co$pletion
of the construction &or*<
/. 'ub$it to the Board a report on the total volu$e of petroleu$
products sold each $onth during the first si, (>) $onths of the
operation of the station. The report shall be sub$itted in the
for$ of an affidavit &ithin ten (10) days after the end of the si,-
$onth period<
!. -nfor$ the Board in &riting and the general public through a
notice posted conspicuously &ithin the pre$ises of the station of
the (a) intention of applicant or its dealer to stop operation of the
retail outlet for a period longer than ninety (20) days< or (b)
notice of shutdo&n of operation of the retail outlet that &ill
li*ely e,tend beyond thirty (/0) days. 'uch notice $ust be given
fifteen (1") days before the actual cessation of operations in the
case of (a) and in the case of (b) &ithin the first five (") days of
an unplanned stoppage of operations.
'. .+44+.
P+'# filed a $otion for reconsideration of the foregoing +ecision. The $otion &as,
ho&ever, denied by 4B in an .rder dated Bebruary 1!, 122=.
Aggrieved, P+'# elevated its cause on April 1, 122= to the #ourt of Appeals, &here
the sa$e &as doc*eted as #A-C.. 'P 7o. =@>>1.
Thereafter, in a +ecision dated 7ove$ber 3, 122/,
the appellate court9s Tenth
+ivision reversed the 4B 8udg$ent thus:
A?44B.4, the challenged +ecision dated 'epte$ber 1@, 1221, as
&ell as the .rder dated Bebruary 1!, 122=, both of the respondent 4nergy
egulatory Board in 4B #ase 7o. 32-"@, are hereby 4D4'4+ and
'4T A'-+4. #orrespondingly, the application of respondent Pilipinas
'hell Petroleu$ #orporation to construct and operate the petroleu$ retail
outlet in question is +47-4+.
'. .+44+.
A $otion for reconsideration &as denied by the #ourt of Appeals in a esolution
dated > April 122!.
+issatisfied, both 'hell and 4B elevated the $atter to this
#ourt by &ay of these petitions, &hich &ere ordered consolidated by the #ourt in a
esolution dated July =",122!.
-t appears, ho&ever, fro$ the record that even as the proceedings in #A-C.. 'P 7o.
=@>>1 &ere pending in the appellate court, #alte, filed on January =!, 122= a
si$ilar application for the construction of a service station in the sa$e area &ith the
4B, doc*eted as 4B #ase 7o. 3@-/2/. This application &as li*e&ise opposed by
respondent P+'#, citing the sa$e grounds it raised in opposing 'hell9s application
in 4B #ase 7o. 32-"@.
-n the aforesaid case, petitioner 4B thereafter rendered a +ecision dated June 12,
122= approving the application of #alte,. This 4B +ecision &as challenged by
P+'#, again on the sa$e grounds it raised in #A-C.. 'P 7o. =@>>1, in a petition
for revie& filed &ith the #ourt of Appeals, &here the sa$e &as doc*eted as #A-
C.. 'P 7o. =2022.
'ubsequently, the appellate court9s 'i,teenth +ivision dis$issed P+'#9s petition in
a +ecision dated May 1!, 122/.
As grounds for the petition in the instant case, 4B asserts that E
(1) T?4 4D-+47#4 5P.7 A?-#? T?4 4B BA'4+ -T' +4#-'-.7
-' 74-T?4 'TAF4 7. -4F4DA7T A7+ T?4 'AM4 J5'T-B-4'
T?4 4'TABF-'?M47T .B T?4 P.P.'4+ P4T.F45M .5TF4T.
(=) T?4 4D-+47#4 P4'47T4+ BG APPF-#A7T '?4FF
4CA+-7C D4?-#F4 D.F5M4 A7+ B54F +4MA7+ '5PP.T'
T?4 #.7'T5#T-.7 .B T?4 P.P.'4+ .5TF4T.
(/) T?4 4'TABF-'?M47T .B T?4 '4D-#4 'TAT-.7 A-FF 7.T
F4A+ T. 5-7.5' #.MP4T-T-.7.
Bor its part, 'hell avers that E
T?4 ?.7.ABF4 #.5T .B APP4AF' CAD4FG 44+ -7
MAH-7C B-7+-7C' .B BA#T' #.7TAG T. T?.'4 .B T?4
474CG 4C5FAT.G B.A+ A?.'4 B-7+-7C' A44 BA'4+
.7 '5B'TA7T-AF 4D-+47#4.
T?4 ?.7.ABF4 #.5T .B APP4AF' CAD4FG 44+ -7
B-7+-7C T?AT T?4 B4A'-B-F-TG 'T5+G '5PP.T-7C
P4T-T-.749' APPF-#AT-.7 T. #.7'T5#T A '4D-#4
'TAT-.7 B4B.4 T?4 474CG 4C5FAT.G B.A+ ?A'
B4#.M4 %-4F4DA7T% B. ?AD-7C B447 P4'47T4+ -7
4D-+47#4 AB.5T TA. (=) G4A' ABT4 -T AA' P4PA4+.
T?4 ?.7.ABF4 #.5T .B APP4AF' CAD4FG 44+ -7
PA''-7C J5+CM47T A7+ MAH-7C P.7.57#4M47T' .7
P54FG 4#.7.M-# A7+ P.F-#G -''54' .7 P4T.F45M
B5'-74'' A?-#? A4 A-T?-7 T?4 4AFM .B T?4 474CG
4C5FAT.G B.A+ A?-#? ?A' A 4#.C7-I4+ 4JP4T-'4
-7 .-F 4#.7.M-#'.
T?4 ?.7.ABF4 #.5T .B APP4AF' CAD4FG 44+ -7
B-7+-7C T?AT T?4 P.P.'4+ '4D-#4 'TAT-.7 .B
P4T-T-.74 A.5F+ P.'4 5-7.5' #.MP4T-T-.7 T. P-DAT4
4'P.7+47T9' '4D-#4 'TAT-.7 BA'4+ MA-7FG .7
4D-+47#4 '5BM-TT4+ B. T?4 B-'T T-M4 A-T? T?4 'A-+
#.5T A7+ A-T?.5T #.7+5#T-7C A ?4A-7C T?44.7.
A''5M-7C T?4 ?.7.ABF4 #.5T .B APP4AF' ?A' T?4
P.A4 T. #.7'-+4 74A 4D-+47#4 P4'47T4+ B. T?4
B-'T T-M4 B4B.4 'A-+ #.5T, -T '?.5F+ ?AD4 4B44+
'5#? MATT4 T. T?4 474CG 4C5FAT.G B.A+ 57+4
T?4 +.#T-74 .B P-. 4'.T . P-MAG J5-'+-#T-.7.
The issues raised by the parties in these consolidated cases bring to the fore the
necessity of rationali6ing or reconciling t&o apparently conflicting decisions of the
appellate court on the propriety of building gasoline service stations along Benigno
Aquino, Jr. Avenue in Paraaque, Metro Manila. #onsidering that the questions
raised concern &ithin the oil industry, &hose i$pact on the nation9s econo$y is
pervasive and far-reaching, the #ourt is constrained to loo* into the policy and
purposes of its governing statutes to resolve this dile$$a.
The policy of the govern$ent in this regard has been to allo& a free interplay of
$ar*et forces &ith $ini$al govern$ent supervision. The purpose of governing
legislation is to liberali6e the do&nstrea$ oil industry in order to ensure a truly
co$petitive $ar*et under a regi$e of fair prices, adequate and continuous supply,
environ$entally clean and high-quality petroleu$ products.
-ndeed, e,clusivity of
any franchise has not been favored by the #ourt,
&hich is *een on pro$oting free
co$petition and the develop$ent of a free $ar*et consistent &ith the legislative
policy of deregulation as an ans&er to the proble$s of the oil industry.
The #ourt finds the petitions i$pressed &ith $erit.
The interpretation of an ad$inistrative govern$ent agency li*e the 4B, &hich is
tas*ed to i$ple$ent a statute, is accorded great respect and ordinarily controls the
construction of the courts.
A long line of cases establish the basic rule that the
courts &ill not interfere in $atters &hich are addressed to the sound discretion of
govern$ent agencies entrusted &ith the regulation of activities co$ing under the
special technical *no&ledge and training of such agencies.
More e,plicitly E
Cenerally, the interpretation of an ad$inistrative govern$ent agency,
&hich is tas*ed to i$ple$ent a statute, is accorded great respect and
ordinarily controls the construction of the courts.
The reason behind this
rule &as e,plained in Nestle Philippines, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals,
this &ise:
9The rationale for this rule relates not only to the e$ergence of
the $ultifarious needs of a $odern or $oderni6ing society and
the establish$ent of diverse ad$inistrative agencies for
addressing and satisfying those needs< it also relates to the
accu$ulation of e,perience and gro&th of speciali6ed
capabilities by the ad$inistrative agency charged &ith
i$ple$enting a particular statute. -n Asturias Sugar Central,
Inc. v. Commissioner of Customs,
the #ourt stressed that
e,ecutive officials are presu$ed to have fa$iliari6ed the$selves
&ith all the considerations pertinent to the $eaning and purpose
of the la&, and to have for$ed an independent, conscientious
and co$petent e,pert opinion thereon. The courts give $uch
&eight to the govern$ent agency or officials charged &ith the
i$ple$entation of the la&, their co$petence, e,pertness,
e,perience and infor$ed 8udg$ent, and the fact that they
frequently are drafters of the la& they interpret.%
As a general rule, conte$poraneous construction is resorted to for
certainty and predictability in the la&s,
especially those involving specific
ter$s having technical $eanings.
?o&ever, courts &ill not hesitate to set aside such e,ecutive interpretation
&hen it is clearly erroneous, or &hen there is no a$biguity in the rule,
&hen the language or &ords used are clear and plain or readily
understandable to any ordinary reader.
'tated differently, &hen an ad$inistrative agency renders an opinion or issues a
state$ent of policy, it $erely interprets a pre-e,isting la& and the ad$inistrative
interpretation is at best advisory for it is the courts that finally deter$ine &hat the
la& $eans.
Thus, an action by an ad$inistrative agency $ay be set aside by the
8udicial depart$ent if there is an error of la&, abuse of po&er, lac* of 8urisdiction or
grave abuse of discretion clearly conflicting &ith the letter and spirit of the la&.
?o&ever, there is no cogent reason to depart fro$ the general rule because the
findings of the 4B confor$ to, rather than conflict &ith, the governing statutes and
controlling case la& on the $atter.
Prior to epublic Act 7o. 3!@2, the do&nstrea$ oil industry &as regulated by the
4B and fro$ 122/ on&ards, the 4nergy -ndustry egulation Board. These
regulatory bodies &ere e$po&ered, a$ong others, to entertain and act on
applications for the establish$ent of gasoline stations in the Philippines. The 4B,
&hich used to be the Board of 4nergy (B.4), is tas*ed &ith the follo&ing po&ers
and functions by 4,ecutive .rder 7o. 1@=, &hich too* effect i$$ediately after its
issuance on May 3, 123@:
'4#. /. ()ri*!i+,io, Po-.r* a! F)+,io* o/ ,0. Boar!. E Ahen
&arranted and only &hen public necessity requires, the Board $ay
regulate the business of i$porting, e,porting, re-e,porting, shipping,
transporting, processing, refining, $ar*eting and distributing energy
resources. ,,,
The Board shall, upon prior notice and hearing, e,ercise the follo&ing,
a$ong other po&ers and functions:
(a) Bi, and regulate the prices of petroleu$ products<
(b) Bi, and regulate the rate schedule or prices of piped gas to be
charged by duly franchised gas co$panies &hich distribute gas
by $eans of underground pipe syste$s<
(c) Bi, and regulate the rates of pipeline concessionaires under
the provisions of epublic Act 7o. /3@, as a$ended, other&ise
*no& as the 9Petroleu$ Act of 12!2,9 as a$ended by Presidential
+ecree 7o. 1@00<
(d) egulate the capacities of ne& refineries or additional
capacities of e,isting refineries and license refineries that $ay
be organi6ed after the issuance of this 4,ecutive .rder, under
such ter$s and conditions as are consistent &ith the national
(e) Ahenever the Board has deter$ined that there is a shortage
of any petroleu$ product, or &hen public interest so requires, it
$ay ta*e such steps as it $ay consider necessary, including the
te$porary ad8ust$ent of the levels of prices of petroleu$
products and the pay$ent to the .il Price 'tabili6ation Bund
created under Presidential +ecree 7o. 12"> by persons or
entities engaged in the petroleu$ industry of such a$ounts as
$ay be deter$ined by the Board, &hich &ill enable the i$porter
to recover its costs of i$portation.
A distinct &orld&ide trend to&ards econo$ic deregulation has been evident in the
past decade. Both developed and developing countries have seriously considered
and e,tensively adopted various $easures for this purpose. The country has been no
e,ception. -ndeed, the bu66&ords of the third $illeniu$ are %deregulation%,
%globali6ation% and %liberali6ation.%
-t need not be overe$phasi6ed that this trend
is reflected in our policy considerations, statutes and 8urisprudence. Thus, in Garcia
v. Corona,
the #ourt said:
.A. 3!@2, the present deregulation la&, &as enacted to i$ple$ent Article
J--, 'ection 12 of the #onstitution &hich provides:
The 'tate shall regulate or prohibit $onopolies &hen the public
interest so requires. 7o co$binations in restraint of trade or
unfair co$petition shall be allo&ed.
This is so because the Covern$ent believes that deregulation &ill
eventually prevent $onopoly. The si$plest for$ of $onopoly e,ists &hen
there is only one seller or producer of a product or service for &hich there
are no substitutes. -n its $ore co$ple, for$, $onopoly is defined as the
8oint acquisition or $aintenance by $e$bers of a conspiracy, for$ed for
that purpose, of the po&er to control and do$inate trade and co$$erce in
a co$$odity to such an e,tent that they are able, as a group, to e,clude
actual or potential co$petitors fro$ the field, acco$panied &ith the
intention and purpose to e,ercise such po&er.
,,, ,,, ,,, ,,,
-t bears reiterating at the outset that deregulation of the oil industry is
policy deter$ination of the highest order. -t is unquestionably a priority
progra$ of Covern$ent. The +epart$ent of 4nergy Act of
e,pressly $andates that the develop$ent and updating of the
e,isting Philippine energy progra$ %shall include a policy direction
to&ards deregulation of the po&er and energy industry.%
,,, ,,, ,,, ,,,
.ur ruling in Tatad
is categorical that the #onstitution9s Article J--,
'ection 12, is anti-trust in history and spirit. #, .*po)*.* +o1p.,i,io. 2.
0a3. *,a,.! ,0a, ol4 +o1p.,i,io -0i+0 i* /air +a r.l.a*. ,0. +r.a,i3.
/or+.* o/ ,0. 1ar5.,. 2. r)l.! ,0a, ,0. pri+ipl. -0i+0 )!.rli.* ,0.
+o*,i,),ioal pro3i*io i* +o1p.,i,io. Thus:
'ection 12, Article J-- of our #onstitution is anti-trust in history
and spirit. It espouses competition. The desirability of
competition is the reason for the prohibition against restraint of
trade, the reason for the interdiction of unfair competition, and
the reason for regulation of unmitigated monopolies.
Competition is thus the underlying principle of Section !,
Article "II of our Constitution &hich cannot be violated by .A.
7o. 3130. Ae subscribe to the observation of Prof. Gellhorn that
the ob8ective of anti-trust la& is %to assure a co$petitive
econo$y based upon the belief that through competition
producers #ill strive to satisfy consumer #ants at the lo#est
price #ith the sacrifice of the fe#est resources. Competition
among producers allo#s consumers to bid for goods and
services and, thus matches their desires #ith society$s
opportunity costs.% ?e adds &ith appropriateness that there is a
reliance upon %the operation of the 9$ar*et9 syste$ (free
enterprise) to decide &hat shall be produced, ho& resources
shall be allocated in the production process, and to &ho$
various products &ill be distributed. The $ar*et syste$ relies on
the consu$er to decide &hat and ho& $uch shall be produced,
and on co$petition, a$ong producers &ho &ill $anufacture
Tested against the foregoing legal yardstic*s, it beco$es readily apparent that the
reasons relied upon by the appellate court in re8ecting petitioner9s application to set
up a gasoline service station beco$es tenuous. This is especially clear in the face of
such recent develop$ents in the oil industry, in relation to controlling case la& on
the $atter recently pro$ulgated to address the legal issues spa&ned by these events.
-n other &ords, recent develop$ents in the oil industry as &ell as legislative
enact$ents and 8urisprudential pronounce$ents have overta*en and rendered stale
the vie& espoused by the appellate court in denying 'hell9s application to put up the
gasoline station.
-n reversing the 4B, the #ourt of Appeals first avers in su$ that there is no
substantial evidence to support 4B9s finding of public necessity to &arrant
approval of 'hell9s application.
The #ourt disagrees.&#phi.n't
.n the contrary, the record discloses that the 4B +ecision approving 'hell9s
application in 4B #ase 7o. 32-"@ &as based on hard econo$ic data on
develop$ental pro8ects, residential subdivision listings, population count, public
conveyances, co$$ercial establish$ents, traffic count, fuel de$and, gro&th of
private cars, public utility vehicles and co$$ercial vehicles, etc.,
rather than
e$pirical evidence to support its conclusions. -n approving 'hell9s application, the
4B $ade the follo&ing factual findings and, on the basis thereof, 8ustified its
ruling thus:
-n evaluating the $erits of the application, the first question that co$es to
$ind is &hether there is indeed an increase in $ar*et potential fro$ the
ti$e this very sa$e application &as disapproved by the then Bureau of
4nergy 5tili6ation up to the present ti$e that &ould &arrant a reversal of
the for$er decision. The history of this case serves to 8ustify applicant
'hell9s position on the $atter. After a little over a year fro$ vigorously
opposing the original application, #alte, and Petron filed their respective
applications to construct their o&n service station &ithin the sa$e vicinity.
The figures in the applicant9s feasibility study pro8ects a scenario of
gro&th &ell up to the year 122!. Ahere the applicant listed only thirty-
five co$$ercial establish$ents, oppositor is servicing si,ty-five. The
develop$ent of subdivisions along the area provides for a buffer of $ar*et
potential that could readily be tapped by the applicant service.
Although the applicant9s &itness could have done better in accentuating
this fact, the oppositor did not do &ell either in do&nplaying the potentials
of the area. The $ain gist of P+'#9s contention is pre$ised on the rising
overhead cost of (increase in salaries and rent) in relation to the
establish$ent of ne& co$petition. The proposed station e,pects to target a
total volu$e of !>0,1"1 liters per $onth &ith a pro8ected increase of =.>K
per annu$ and presu$ably e,pects to $a*e a corresponding profit
thereof. .ppositor P+'#, on the other hand, &ith its lone #alte, 'ervice
'tation, e,pects to suffer inco$e loss even &ith a pro8ected volu$e of
>00,000 to 300,000 liters per $onth (4,hibit ").
#onsidering this pre$ise, it should be noted that the Board is tas*ed to
protect e,isting petroleu$ stations fro$ ruinous co$petition and not to
protect e,isting establish$ents fro$ its o&n ghost. The Board does not
e,ist for the benefit of any individual station but for the interest of the
public and the industry as a &hole.
-n its first application, the applicant9s pro8ection &as to reali6e only
="",000 liters per $onth or so$e =0 percent of the total potential de$and.
Aith its a$ended application, the !>0,1"1 liters it hopes to reali6e is
al$ost t&ice the for$er volu$e representing a s$aller percentage of the
present overall potential de$and.
Aith further gro&th and develop$ent of the businesses in the area, the
fuel potential &ill tre$endously increase and the presence of strategically
located service stations &ill greatly benefit the local co$$unity as &ell as
the transient $otoring public.
The Board believes that the construction and operation of the 'hell 'tation
&ill not lead to ruinous co$petition since Lthe; additional retail outlet is
Ti$e and again this #ourt has ruled that in revie&ing ad$inistrative decisions, the
findings of fact $ade therein $ust be respected as long as they are supported by
substantial evidence, even if not over&hel$ing or preponderant< that it is not for the
revie&ing court to &eigh the conflicting evidence, deter$ine the credibility of the
&itnesses or other&ise substitute its o&n 8udg$ent for that of the ad$inistrative
agency on the sufficiency of evidence< that the ad$inistrative decision in $atters
&ithin the e,ecutive 8urisdiction can only be set aside on proof of grave abuse of
discretion, fraud or error of la&.
Petitioner 4B is in a better position to resolve
petitioner 'hell9s application, being pri$arily the agency possessing the necessary
e,pertise on the $atter. The po&er to deter$ine &hether the building of a gasoline
retail outlet in a trading area &ould benefit public interest and the oil industry lies
&ith the 4B not the appellate courts.
-n the hierarchy of evidentiary values, proof beyond reasonable doubt is at the
highest level, follo&ed by clear and convincing evidence, preponderance of
evidence and substantial evidence, in that order.
A litany of cases has consistently
held that substantial evidence is all that is needed to support an ad$inistrative
finding of fact.
-t $eans such relevant evidence as a reasonable $ind $ight accept
to support a conclusion.
'uffice it to state in this regard that the factual landscape, $easured &ithin the
conte,t of such an evidentiary $atri,, is stre&n &ith &ell-nigh over&hel$ing proof
of the necessity to build such a gasoline retail outlet in the vicinity sub8ect of the
-n denying 'hell9s application, the #ourt of Appeals ne,t pointed to the alleged
9staleness9 of 'hell9s feasibility study because it &as sub$itted in evidence about t&o
(=) years after it &as prepared in early 1233.
Again, this #ourt is not persuaded.
The record sho&s that the feasibility study
is acco$panied by the follo&ing data,
na$ely: 1.; Annual Pro8ection of 4sti$ated Buel +e$and, Base Area< =.; Pro8ected
Dolu$e of the Proposed 'hell 'tation< /.; Pro8ected Buel Dolu$e +erived Bro$
Base Area< !.; 4sti$ated Buel +e$and Base Pro8ection E 122/< ".; 4sti$ated Buel
+e$and Base Pro8ection E 122!< >.; Annual Pro8ection of Population< @.; Annual
Pro8ection Cro&th of Private #ars in the Area< 3.; Annual Pro8ection Cro&th of
Public 5tilities in the Area< and 2; Annual Pro8ected Cro&th of #o$$ercial
Dehicles in the Area
E pro8ects a $ar*et scenario fro$ 1232 to 122!.
Ahile the #ourt of Appeals &as initially unconvinced that 'hell9s feasibility study
&as up-to-date and proceeded to render the assailed 8udg$ent, its attention &as
subsequently called, in 'hell9s $otion for reconsideration, to the 4B9s +ecision
dated June 12, 122=
approving a si$ilar application by #alte, to build a gasoline
retail outlet in the sa$e vicinity. 'aid decision &as appealed by P+'# to the #ourt
of Appeals (#A-C.. 'P 7o. =2022), and &as affir$ed by the latter in a +ecision
dated May 1!, 122/.
The +ecision in #alte,9s application, &here P+'# &as the
lone oppositor, &as challenged before the appellate court on the very sa$e grounds
it proffered in opposing 'hell9s application.
-n re8ecting P+'#9s contentions in #A-
C.. 'P 7o. =2022, the #ourt of Appeals9 'i,teenth +ivision ruled:
A* ,o ,0. /ir*, 6ro)! E
,,, ,,, ,,, ,,,
The petitioner had assu$ed that the entire 'ucat oad (starting fro$ as far
a&ay as its intersection &ith the 'outh 4,press&ay going to&ards Alabang
and further 'outh), Muirino Avenue, +o$estic oad (&hich passes in front
of the +o$estic Ter$inal), M-A oad, and 7inoy Aquino Avenue,
constitute &hat it refers to as the %trading area.% Thus, the herein petitioner
invites attention to the fact that in 'ucat oad there are five e,isting
gasoline stations< t&o along Muirino Avenue (fro$ 'ucat oad)< four
along +o$estic oad< and t&o along M-A oad, one of &hich is the
#alte,-7ayong Pilipino station at the corner of M-A oad and Benigno
Aquino Avenue. 4,cept for the gas station at one end of Benigno Aquino
Avenue (located in front of the 7ayong Bilipino), ,0. p.,i,io.r a!1i,*
,0a, ,0.r. 0a* 7.. a* 4., o 6a*oli. *,a,io .8i*,i6 alo6 ,0. .,ir.
*,r.,+0 o/ ,0. *ai! B.i6o A9)io A3.)., al,0o)60 ,0. ERB 0a!
r.+.,l4 appro3.! S0.ll:* appli+a,io ,o p), )p o. ,0.r.i.
This court is of the vie& that the afore$entioned assu$ption adopted by
petitioner is fallacious or incorrect considering the conclusion of 4B9s
Manuel Alvare6 in his %.cular -nspection eport and -n-+epth Analysis of
Beasibility 'tudy% ,0a, o o),l., pr.*.,l4 .8i*,* alo6 ,0. -0ol.
*,r.,+0 o/ ,0. Nio4 A9)io A3.). (ollo, p. 1=>) a! ,0a, ,0. o),l.,*
alo6 S)+a, Roa! ar. ;/ar /ro1 ,0. propo*.! *i,., a !i*,a, *.3.ral
5ilo1.,.r* a-a4 alo6 Dr. A. Sa,o* A3.). i S)+a, -0i+0 +a
alr.a!4 7. +o*i!.r.! a !i//.r., ,ra!i6 ar.a; (ibid., - underscoring
Assu$ing in gratia argumenti that the entirety of the above-specified
roadNavenues $ay be considered as a single trading area, the p.,i,io.r
0a! /ail.! ,o *0o- -04 Cal,.8:* 9.7< *0ar. o/ ,0. ,o,al 1ar5.,
po,.,ial, a* /o)! i Al3ar.=:* "ar5., S,)!4, i* o, a,,aia7l. or ,0a,
i, -o)l! r.*)l, i r)io)* +o1p.,i,io. As pointed by the respondents
(citing M+ Transit O Ta,i #o., -nc. v. Pepito, > '#A 1!0 and ay$undo
Trans. #o. v. #ervo, 21 Phil. /1/), .3. i/ a .- *,a,io -o)l! 7ri6
a7o), a !.+li. i ,0. *al.* o/ ,0. .8i*,i6 o),l.,*, i, ..! o,
.+.**aril4 r.*)l, i r)io)* +o1p.,i,io, a7*., a!.9)a,. proo/ ,o
,0a, .//.+,.
A* ,o ,0. *.+o! a! ,0ir! 6ro)!* E
#oncerning the aver$ent that the evidence of #alte, is stale, this #ourt
notes that the said evidence refers principally to a revalidation study
conducted by 4B9s Alvare6 &ho undertoo* an ocular inspection of the
proposed site on 7ove$ber =/ to =@, 123@. The hearings of the instant
case continued up to early 122= (4B +ecision, p. !). The +ecision &as
rendered on June 12, 122= ((ollo, p. />). -t $ay be conceded that
substantial ti$e had elapsed since the ti$e of the afore$entioned
revalidation study. &o-.3.r, i, i* ,0i* +o)r,:* 3i.- ,0a, )l.** ,0.
p.,i,io.r i* a7l. ,o pro3. 74 +o1p.,., .3i!.+. ,0a, *i6i/i+a,
+0a6.* 0a3. o++)rr.! *)//i+i., ,o i3ali!a,. ,0. a/or.'*,a,.! *,)!4,
,0. pr.*)1p,io i* ,0a, ,0. *ai! *,)!4 r.1ai* 3ali!, a* /o)! 74 ,0.
ERB i i,* !.+i*io. Bar. a! *.l/'*.r3i6 1ai/.*,a,io* +ao, 7.
a++.p,.! 74 U* a* proo/> .*p.+iall4 i/ 2. ,a5. i,o a++o), ,0a,
0.ari6* ?a* i ,0. +a*. a, 7ar@ -o)l! ,a5. ,i1. a! i, -o)l! 7. 9)i,.
a7*)r! i/ -0a, -a* o+. appli+a7l. a! a++.p,a7l. .3i!.+. -o)l!
7. ipso facto r.!.r.! *,al. ,0ro)60 1.r. lap*. o/ ,i1. a7*., a4
+o,ro3.r,i6 .3i!.+.. So)! pro+.!)ral poli+4 r.9)ir.* ,0a, ,0.
7)r!. o/ proo/,i3. ,o ,0. pr.*., i3ali!i,4 o/ ,0. Al3ar.= r.por,
r.*,* o, -i,0 Cal,.8 7), o ,0. 0.r.i p.,i,io.r.
The petitioner had atte$pted to $a*e co$parisons bet&een the figures
specified in the 123@ study and those of the Bureau of 4nergy 5tili6ation
or B45 (&hich &ere given earlier in 123>). Thus, the petitioner points out
that &hile the B459s decision indicated that 2,0/! cars on the average
passed by going in both directions along 7inoy Aquino Avenue, the
Alvare6 revalidation study gave an average car traffic of only 3,/2"
resulting in a decline of >/2 cars. The petitioner, ho&ever, conveniently
ignored or failed to note that the 2,0/! figure &as that given by applicant
'hell and not be the govern$ent agency itself. The B45 refers to the said
figure as the applicant9s esti$ated potential de$and. -t is natural to e,pect
that an applicant &ould try to give up as high an esti$ated potential
de$and as possible to support its application.
The contention of the petitioner that the Alvare6 studyNreport is hearsay on
the ground inter alia that Alvare6 &as not presented as a &itness deserves
scant consideration by this #ourt. -n the first place, the 4B is not bound
by technical rules of procedure as contained in the ules of #ourt, the
latter being $ade applicable to 4B only %in a suppletory character% (ule
1> of the ules of Practice and Procedure Coverning ?earings Before the
4B). More i$portantly, 'ection =, paragraph = and 'ection @, paragraph
= of the above-$entioned 4B ules provides as follo&s:
The Board $ay, in the disposition of cases, before it, ta*e
8udicial notice of any data or infor$ation e,isting in its 8udicial
records, that $ay be relevant, pertinent or $aterial to the issues
involved, , , , ,
The Board $ay also, on its o&n initiative or upon a $otion of a
party, conduct such investigation or studies on any $atter
pertinent, related or $aterial to the issues involved in a case the
results of &hich $ay be sued by the Board as bases for the
proper evaluation of the said issues. ((ollo, pp. =0"-=0@ E
underscoring supplied)
The petitioner asserts that the island divider along Benigno Aquino
Avenue in front of the proposed site &as not ta*en into consideration in
the 123@ survey. -t could not be denied that the construction of such
divider could have an effect on the $atter of potential de$and. 7either
can it be denied ho&ever that the gas station that &ould be affected &ould
be #alte, itself. -t is not alleged that there e,ists a divider along the &hole
of 'ucat oad for e,a$ple. ?ence, the e,isting outlets have no reason to
co$plain about the divider.
The contention that &hen construction is co$pleted (connecting 'ucat
oad to the coastal road), a good nu$ber of vehicles &ould pass through
the coastal road instead of along Benigno Aquino LAvenue; appears to 5s
as speculative. There is no need for the petitioner, &hich it failed to do, to
sho& qualitatively and convincingly that the effect &ould be such as to
$a*e the sales level go do&n to such an e,tent that the viability of the
e,isting outlets &ould be seriously endangered or threatened.
The foregoing pronounce$ent of the #ourt of Appeals9 'i,teenth +ivision is $ore in
*eeping &ith the policy of the 'tate and the rationale of the statutes enacted to
govern the industry.
-n denying 'hell9s application, the #ourt of Appeals finally states that the proposed
service station &ould cause ruinous co$petition to respondent P+'#9s outlet in the
sub8ect vicinity.
Ae re$ain unconvinced.
-t $ust be pointed out that in deter$ining the allo&ance or disallo&ance of an
application for the construction of a service station, the appellate court confined the
factors thereof &ithin the rigid standards governing public utilility regulation, &here
e,clusivity, upon the satisfaction of certain require$ents, is allo&ed. ?o&ever,
e,clusivity is $ore the e,ception rather than the rule in the gasoline service station
business. Thus, ule D, 'ection 1, of the ules and egulations Coverning the
4stablish$ent, #onstruction, .peration, e$odelling andNor efurbishing of
Petroleu$ Products etail .utlets issued by the .il -ndustry #o$$ission,
adopted by the 4B, enu$erates the follo&ing factors deter$ining the allo&ance or
disallo&ance of an application for outlet construction, to &it:
(a). The operation of the proposed petroleu$ products retail outlet &ill
pro$ote public interest in a proper and suitable $anner considering the
need and convenience of the end-users.
(b) easonable e,pectation of a co$$ercially viable operation.
(c) The establish$ent and operation thereof &ill not result in a $onopoly,
co$bination in restraint of trade and ruinous co$petition.
(d) The require$ents of public safety and sanitation are properly observed.
(e) Cenerally, the establish$ent and operation thereof &ill help pro$ote
and achieve the purposes of epublic Act 7o. >1@/.
Ahile it is probable that the operation of the proposed 'hell outlet $ay, to a certain
e,tent, affect P+'#9s business, private respondent nevertheless failed to sho& that
its business &ould not have sufficient profit to have a fair return of its invest$ent.
The $ere possibility of reduction in the earnings of a business is not sufficient to
prove ruinous co$petition.
-ndeed E
-n order that the opposition based on ruinous co$petition $ay prosper, it
$ust be sho&n that the opponent &ould be deprived of fair profits on the
capital invested in its business. T0. 1.r. po**i7ili,4 o/ r.!)+,io i ,0.
.ari6* o/ a 7)*i.** i* o, *)//i+i., ,o pro3. r)io)* +o1p.,i,io. #,
1)*, 7. *0o- ,0a, ,0. 7)*i.** -o)l! o, 0a3. *)//i+i., 6ai* ,o
pa4 a /air ra,. o/ i,.r.*, o i,* +api,al i3.*,1.,.
Mere allegations
by the oppositor that its business &ould be ruined by the establish$ent of
the ice plants proposed by the applicants are not sufficient to &arrant this
#ourt to revo*e the order of the Public 'ervice #o$$ission.
-t &ould not be re$iss to point out that #alte,, P+'#9s principal, &hose products
are being retailed by private respondent in the service outlet it operates along the
M-AN+o$estic oad in Pasay #ity, never filed any opposition to 'hell9s application.
All told, a cli$ate of fear and pessi$is$ generated by unsubstantiated clai$s of
ruinous co$petition already re8ected in the past should not be $ade to retard free
co$petition, consistently &ith legislative policy of deregulating and liberali6ing the
oil industry to ensure a truly co$petitive $ar*et under a regi$e of fair prices,
adequate and continuous supply, environ$entally clean and high-quality petroleu$
2&EREFORE, in vie& of all the foregoing, the challenged +ecision of the #ourt
of Appeals dated 7ove$ber 3, 122/, as &ell as the subsequent esolution dated
April >, 122!, in #A-C.. 'P 7o. =@>>1, is RE$ERSED a! SET AS#DE, and
another one rendered RE#NSTAT#NG the .rder dated 'epte$ber 1@, 1221 of the
4nergy egulatory Board in 4B #ase 7o. 32-"@, granting the a$ended application
of Pilipinas 'hell Petroleu$ #orporation to relocate its service station to Benigno
Aquino Jr., Avenue, Paranaque, Metro Manila.
'. .+44+.
G.R. No. A%9BB No3.17.r 21, 1991
REPUBL#C OF T&E P&#L#PP#NES, petitioner,
DEEDS OF R#DAL ?"oro6 Bra+0@, respondents.
This petition see*s the revie& of the decision of the #ourt of Appeals in #.A.-C..
#D 7o. 1=2// entitled %epublic of the Philippines, Plaintiff-Appellants versus
Antonina Cuido, et al., +efendants-Appellees,% &hich affir$ed the decision of the
egional Trial #ourt, 7ational #apital egion, Branch #FD, stationed in Pasig,
declaring the authenticity of +ecreto 7o. >1!" and Transfer #ertificate of Title 7o.
=//@@ of the egistry of +eeds of Morong, i6al.
The facts of the case are as follo&s:
The epublic of the Philippines, represented by the 'olicitor Ceneral, filed on
August ==, 12@2, a co$plaint for declaration of nullity of +ecreto 7o. >1!", the
o&ner9s duplicate copy of T#T 7o. =//@ and all titles derived fro$ said decree< and
the declaration of the parcel of land covered by the decree as belonging to the state,
e,cept so $uch thereof as had been validly disposed of to third persons. The
co$plaint &as a$ended on .ctober 1=, 12@2. -t &as doc*eted as #ivil #ase 7o.
/!=!= of the #ourt of Birst -nstance of i6al. The co$plaint alleged inter alia, that:
1". The alleged +ecree 7o. >1!" issued on 'epte$ber 10, 1211
and the alleged o&ner9s copy of Transfer #ertificate of Title 7o.
=//@@ issued on May 1=, 12//, both in the na$e of Brancisco
and ?er$ogenes Cuido, and &hich supposed o&ner9s duplicate
&as $ade the basis of the ad$inistrative reconstitution of
Transfer #ertificate of Title 7o. (=//@@) T-M-000= on March
=2, 12@>, or about !/ years later, are false, spurious and
fabricated and &ere never issued by virtue of 8udicial
proceedings for registration of land, either under Act 7o. !2>, as
a$ended, other&ise *no&n as the Fand egistration Act, or any
other la&, . . . (pp. 21-2=, (ollo)
7a$ed defendants &ere: 1) Antonina, Margarita, Beli6a, #risanta and #andida, nee
Cuido, &ho clai$ to be the heirs of Brancisco Cuido and &hose spouses &ere 8oined
as defedants< =) 4speran6a, Alfredo (&ho died during the pendency of this case and
&ho &as substituted by his heirs), 4ufronia, Cliceria, Priscilla, Profeti6a,
Buenaventura, Buensuceso and #arlos, all surna$ed Cuido, &ho clai$ed to be the
heirs of ?er$ogenes Cuido and &hose respective spouses &ere 8oined as
defendants< /) 'pouses Jose and 4$ilina o8as< !) Pacil +evelop$ent #orporation<
and ") -nterport esources #orporation.
The defendants, herein private respondents, denied that +ecreto 7o. >1!" and T#T
7o. =//@@ &ere false and spurious. They consistently clai$ed (fro$ the trial court
up to this #ourt) that the parcel of land covered by the questioned docu$ent is a
portion of the vast ?acienda de Angono o&ned by their predecessor-in-interest, +on
Buenaventura Cuido y 'ta. Ana< that +on Buenaventura Cuido left a portion of the
hacienda (porcion del plano 11->=@) to his heirs, Brancisco and ?er$ogenes Cuido<
that the sub8ect $atter of the petition is only a portion of plano 11->=@, consisting of
an area of /,131.@! hectares and covered by +ecreto 7o. >1!", issued on 'epte$ber
1, 1211 in the na$e of the heirs of Buenaventura Cuido y 'ta. Ana (Brancisco and
?er$ogenes Cuido)< that on June 1=, 121=, an .riginal #ertificate of Title (.#T
7o. >//) &as issued on the basis of +ecreto 7o. >1!"< that the original title &as
subsequently cancelled and in lieu thereof, Transfer #ertificate of Title 7o. =//@@
&as issued on May 1=, 12//< that the heirs of Brancisco and ?er$ogenes Cuido
ad8udicated a$ong the$selves the estate left by their predecessors and transferred
one-half portion thereof to Jose o8as so$eti$e in 12!=, as contained in an 4,tra-
8udicial 'ettle$ent of 4state &ith Muitclai$ dated +ece$ber 1@, 12@/.
The parties, ho&ever, ad$it that on August =0, 12@!, the heirs of Buenaventura
Cuido, represented by their la&yer, requested the then Fand egistration
#o$$ission (no& Fand egistration Authority) to issue the corresponding original
certificate of title based on +ecreto >1!". The request &as denied on January 3,
.n March =2, 12@>, Alfredo Cuido, representing the other heirs, filed a petition
(4,hibit %---%-1, p. 130, ecords) for reconstitution of T#T 7o. =//@@ &ith the
egistry of +eeds of Morong. The petition alleged that the original of Transfer
#ertificate of Title 7o. =//@@ could not be located in the files of the egistry of
+eeds of i6al after he and his co-heirs sought the registration of their 4,tra-8udicial
'ettle$ent &ith Muitclai$ dated +ece$ber 1@, 12@/. The petition &as supported by
the o&ner9s duplicate copy of the title.
The petition for ad$inistrative reconstitution of T#T 7o. =//@@ &as granted and a
reconstituted certificate of title LT#T (=//@@) T-M-000=; &as issued dated March
=2, 12@>.
After the reconstitution, the heirs presented before the egistry of +eeds of Morong
the 4,tra-8udicial 'ettle$ent of 4state &ith Muitclai$ &hich they e,ecuted on
+ece$ber 1@, 12@/ in favor of Jose o8as and &hich they had earlier presented for
registration. 'ubsequently, the entire parcel of land covered by the decree &as
subdivided into t&enty-one (=1) lots and t&enty-one (=1) different certificates of
titles &ere issued in lieu of the reconstituted T#T 7o. =//@@. The na$ed heirs and
no& spouses Jose and 4$ilia o8as sold the property to Pacil Manage$ent
#orporation and ne& titles &ere issued in favor of the buyer on June =", 12@>.
?o&ever, on August =>, 12@>, Pacil Manage$ent #orporation reconveyed all the
t&enty one lots to the for$er o&ners. .n August =", 12@3, fourteen (1!) of these
t&enty-one (=1) lots &ere e,changed &ith shares of stoc*s of -nterport esources
#orporation. .n April =1, 1230, all the na$ed heirs renounced their rights over the
property in favor of their co-heir Alfredo Cuido, 'r. in e,change for $onetary
-t appears that the only parties &ith e,isting interests in the property sub8ect of this
case are -nterport esources #orporation, the ?eirs of Alfredo Cuido, 'r. and
spouses Jose o8as and 4$ilia o8as.
After trial, the court a )uo rendered 8udg$ent dis$issing the co$plaint and
declaring +ecree 7o. >1!" and T#T 7o. =//@@, genuine and authentic. The
pertinent portion of the decision states:
#onsidering that +ecree >1!" and T#T 7o. =//@@ are genuine
and authentic, the decree cannot no& be reopened or revived.
A decree of registration binds the lands (sic),
quiets title thereto, is conclusive upon all
persons and cannot be reopened or revived
after the lapse of one year after entry of the
decree. (Glarde v. Fichauco, != '#A >!1)
A?44B.4, pre$ises considered, this case is hereby
dis$issed. Fi*e&ise, the counter clai$s of the defendants are
The decision of the trial court &as appealed by the 'olicitor Ceneral to the #ourt of
Appeal &hich affir$ed said decision on July 1=, 1233 (pp. 1!2-1"!, (ollo).
.n July 1>, 1233, the 'olicitor Ceneral filed a $otion for reconsideration of the
decision of the #ourt of Appeals. -n the sa$e $otion, he prayed for an alternative
8udg$ent declaring the decree and its derivative titles authentic e,cept &ith respect
to such portions of the property &hich &ere either: 1) possessed and o&ned by bona
fideoccupants &ho had already acquired indefeasible titles thereto< =) possessed and
o&ned by bona fide occupants and their fa$ilies &ith lengths of possession &hich
a$ounted to o&nership (p. ==!, (ollo).
The $otion for reconsideration &as denied by the appellate court in a resolution
dated 'epte$ber 1!, 1233, &hich reads:
After careful consideration of the $otion for reconsideration and
defendants-appellees9 opposition thereto, &e find no cogent
reason to 8ustify the reversal of .ur +ecision dated July 1=,
1233, hence, the $otion is +47-4+.
Fi*e&ise +47-4+, is the alternative prayer to $odify the
afore$entioned +ecision %to the e,tent that the recognition of
the authenticity of +ecree 7o. >1!" and T#T 7o. =//@1 shall
not affect and pre8udice the parcels of land already possessed
and o&ned by bonafide occupants &ho have already acquired
indefeasible titles thereto,% for to grant said alternative prayer
&ould be to run roughshod over .ur decision averred to. (p.
30, (ollo)
This petition before 5s &as filed on .ctober 1!, 1233 &ith the sa$e prayer for the
declaration of nullity of +ecreto 7o. >1!" and T#T 7o. =//@@ as in the co$plaint
before the egional Trial #ourt and in the appeal before the #ourt of Appeals. The
prayer for an alternative 8udg$ent first brought to the #ourt of Appeals in the
$otion for reconsideration of its decision &as also reiterated, thus:
-n the alternative, 8udg$ent be rendered on equitable grounds,
$odifying the aforesaid +ecision dated July 1=, 1233 of the
respondent #ourt of Appeals, that the recognition of the
authenticity of +ecree 7o. >1!" and T#T 7o. =//@@ shall be
valid only to the e,tent of the area of land in question not
possessed and o&ned by bonafide occupants &ith indefeasible
registered titles of o&nership or &ith the length of possession
&hich has ripened to title of o&nership thereto. (p. "!, (ollo)
.n May 12, 1232, private respondent -nterport esources #orporation filed a
$anifestation that on May 1", 1232, it entered into an Agree$ent &ith the
Presidential #o$$ission on 5rban Poor (P#5P) for the disposition of five hundred
("00) hectares of the property involved in this case for the use of deserving urban
poor and to help the govern$ent in its ob8ective of alleviating the squatter proble$
in Metro Manila area. -n the sa$e $anifestation, it also stated that -nterport
esources had agreed to accept the alternative prayer of petitioner (pp. /01-
/0!, (ollo). #ounsel for private respondents Jose and 4$iliana o8as filed a 8oint
#o$$ent (p. /=!, (ollo) $anifesting no ob8ection to the granting of petitioner9s
alternative prayer. The illegiti$ate heirs of private respondent Alfredo Cuido, 'r.,
represented by Atty. Cilbert M. Babella 1 filed a separate co$$ent in &hich they
$anifested that there is no legal basis for the recognition of any alleged right of
those occupants &ho &ere able to secure titles over portions of the ?acienda de
Angono (pp. "@1-"@!, (ollo). The other set of heirs of private respondent Alfredo
Cuido, 'r. conceded in their co$$ent, to a portion of petitioners9 alternative prayer,
that is, only insofar as it &ould benefit those occupants in the property &ho obtained
certificates of titles to specific portions thereof (p. !=3, (ollo).
-n their 8oint $e$orandu$ (pp. >=!->/", (ollo), all of the private respondents
sub$itted that they had unani$ously agreed to accept the alternative prayer of the
petitioner, thus:
'ince +ece$ber !, 1220 up to this sub$ission favorable
develop$ents have occurred in the relationship bet&een the
group deno$inated as the legiti$ate heirs of Alfredo Cuido, 'r.
represented herein by the Faurel Fa& .ffices and the other
group of heirs represented herein by 4,ecutri, #lara$inda
Ansel$o Cuido and #lara$inda Cuido represented herein by
Atty. Cilbert M. Babella. 2These develop$ents have pro$pted
the latter group to &ithdra& as they hereby &ithdra& using this
Joint $e$orandu$ signed by their counsel Atty. Cilbert M.
Babella as the venue, their opposition to the Alternative Prayer.
Aith the signature of their counsel, they no& $anifest before
this ?onorable 'upre$e #ourt their adherence to the position of
all the other private respondents, i.e., accepting the Alternative
Prayer of the petition, adopting -nterport9s Manifestation and
Motion under date of May 1>, 1232 and praying li*e&ise that
8udg$ent be rendered based on said Alternative Prayer.
-n this petition, the petitioner alleged that respondent appellate court co$$itted
serious errors and co$$itted grave abuse of discretion in rendering its decision
$ore specifically:
a) in concluding and ruling that petitioner P %failed to satisfy
the require$ents of preponderant proof in support of its theory%
&hen, on the contrary, it has satisfactorily adduced $ore than
sufficient evidentiary and conclusive proof, de$onstrating
convincingly that both docu$ents in question, purporting,
respectively, to be a +ecreto 7o. >1!" and Transfer #ertificate
of Title 7o. =//@@, covering a vast area of land, so called
%?acienda Angono,% located in Binangonan, i6al, are fa*e and
spurious< and
b) in denying and riding %roughshod% over the alternative prayer
in the Motion for econsideration (Anne, %B%) to $odify the
$ain #A +ecision (Anne, %A%), despite the 8ustifiably legal and
equitable grounds for respondent #ourt of Appeals to grant the
sa$e, since there is evidentiary basis pointing to the alar$ing
situation &ith disastrous consequences, if and &hen the #A
+ecision (Anne, %A%) &ould be arbitrarily and fully
i$ple$ented, by &ay of cadastral chaos, $ultiplicity of suits
and loss of public faith in the Torrens 'yste$ as &ell as the
ensuing grandscale dispossession and social displace$ent of
several hundreds of bonafide occupants and their fa$ilies &ho
had already secured indefeasible registered titles to portions of
the so-called ?acienda Angono.
-t is the contention of petitioner that respondent #ourt of Appeals co$$itted serious
errors in the assess$ent of the evidence on record and acted &ith grave abuse of
discretion in concluding that the epublic failed to satisfy the require$ents of
preponderant proof in support of its theory.
-n civil cases, the party having the burden of proof $ust establish his case by a
preponderance of evidence. 'tated differently, the general rule in civil cases is that a
party having the burden of proof of an essential fact $ust produce a preponderance
of evidence thereon (- Moore on Bacts, !, cited in Dicente J. Brancisco, The evised
ules of #ourt in the Philippines, Dol. D--, Part --, p. "!=, 12@/ 4dition). By
preponderance of evidence is $eant si$ply evidence &hich is of greater &eight, or
$ore convincing than that &hich is offered in opposition to it (/= #.J.'., 10"1). The
ter$ %preponderance of evidence% $eans the &eight, credit and value of the
aggregate evidence on either side and is usually considered to be synony$ous &ith
the ter$s %greater &eight of evidence% or %greater &eight of the credible evidence.%
Preponderance of the evidence is a phrase &hich, in the last analysis, $eans
probability of the truth. Preponderance of the evidence $eans evidence &hich is
$ore convincing to the court as &orthy of belief than that &hich is offered in
opposition thereto. . . . . (=0 A$. Jur., 1100-1101)
The $atter of deter$ining &hich party had the preponderant evidence is &ithin the
province of the trial court before &ho$ the evidence of both parties are presented.
The decision of &ho to believe and &ho not to believe goes to the credibility of a
&itness &hich, li*e&ise, is &ithin the province of the trial court.
All the facts and circu$stances of the case $ust properly be considered in
deter$ining the &eight of evidence (=0 A$. Jur., 10=@). -n &eighing the evidence of
&itnesses, the trial court ta*es into consideration all the surrounding facts and
circu$stances of the case on trial including the $eans of *no&ledge of the
&itnesses, their true intentions, their see$ing honesty or lac* of it, their respective
opportunities for seeing and *no&ing the things about &hich they testify, their
conduct upon the &itness stand, their $anner of testifying, etc.
Ae have carefully gone through the records of this case and there is no reason for
this #ourt to reverse the decisions of both the court a )uo and the appellate court.
Both courts &ere one in concluding that the preponderance of evidence is in favor of
the theory presented by the private respondents, i.e., the authenticity of the
questioned docu$ents.
Petitioner9s pri$ary &itness &as Brancisco #ru6, Jr., a docu$ent e,a$iner of the P#
#ri$e Faboratory. The trial court su$$ari6ed his testi$ony as follo&s:
. . . . ?e found that as to Transfer #ertificate of Title 7o. =//@@,
the signature above the printed &ords egister of +eeds reveal
funda$ental divergencies in that the questioned signature &as
&ritten on a slo& and dra&n $anner, and no gradation of the in*
lines of the up and do&n stro*e &hereas the standard signatures
are e,ecuted &ith s$ooth and fluent $anner, habitual speed,
fir$ness of the stro*es, and sho& gradation of the in* lines< the
questioned and standard signatures have different slants,
different initial and different stro*es. As to the printing in the
questioned and standards T#Ts, they have different printing
characteristics, defects, spacing si6e and length. egarding the
red seal on the T#T, the questioned seal is dar* red in color,
&hile the standards are bright red and on e,posure to ultra-violet
la$p the questioned seal has no fluorescence reaction &hile the
standards give red reactions. As to the paper the surface of the
questioned T#T has a deep bro&n discoloration and did not
penetrate in&ard indicative of artificial aging.
egarding +ecree 7o. >1!", Brancisco #ru6, Jr. testified that as
to the signature and in* used are still intensely dar* &ithout the
indication of fading of color or o,idation and appear fresh &hile
the in* used in the standards are faded or discolored due to
o,idation, the signatures in the questioned and standard decrees
have different shading, divergent stro*es and penlifts. .n the dry
seal, the borderline reeds of the questioned seal are sharp &hile
in the standards they are full, there are @@ surrounding beads in
the questioned seal &hile there are 2@ in the standards, the
distances bet&een letters are different in the questioned and
standard docu$ents indicating they &ere not i$pressed by one
and the sa$e $achine. As to the rubber sta$p na$e, AFP? 4.
McP-4, the color of the in* in the questioned signature is
reddish &hile in the standards they are blue< they have different
characteristics indicating they &ere not fro$ one and the sa$e
$achine. Aith respect to the rubber sta$p eceived, the in*
used in the questioned docu$ent is pin*-red &hile the standards
faded violet, the rubber sta$p have different characteristics, si6e
and spacing of letters< the paper used in the questioned decree
has no &ater $ar*. (pp., 1"1-1"=, (ollo).
The testi$ony of Brancisco #ru6 &as corroborated by the report dated +ece$ber 1",
1230 of 'egundo A. Tabayoyong, 7B- #hief +ocu$ent 4,a$iner and #hief,
Muestioned +ocu$ents 'tation. ?o&ever, Tabayoyong &as not presented in court.
The private respondents, on the other hand, presented Atty. +esiderio Pagui, for$er
#hief, Muestioned +ocu$ents 'ection of the 7B-. -n 12@", even before the
co$plaint for declaration of nullity of +ecreta >1!" and T#T. 7o. =//@@ &as filed
in court, he &as requested by the Fand egistration #o$$ission to e,a$ine and
verify the authenticity of +ecree 7o. >1!". The court a )uo su$$ari6ed his
testi$ony as follo&s:
. . . ?e declared that the 7B- received a request for e,a$ination
of +ecree >1!" fro$ the Fand egistration #o$$ission &hich
&as for&arded to hi$ and after his e,a$ination and
investigation, he $ade a report, Muestioned +ocu$ent eport
7o. !@>->@" dated August ==, 12@" approved by 4rnesto C.
Brion, #hief #ri$inalistics +ivision and noted by Foren6o
Brion, +eputy +irector for Technical 'ervices, 7B-. ?e found
that there are significant si$ilarities in hand&riting
characteristics e,isting bet&een the questioned and standard
signatures AFP? 4. McP-4 in the decree such as proportion of
the base and height align$ent, $ade in fact and unconscious
$ove$ent< lateral spacing< consistent peculiar sight up&ard
tendency of the signature< gradation of pen pressure, presence of
pen e$phasis and tapering of lines< individual highly developed
letter designs< line quality< natural variation, i-dots, periods and
dash< and location of crossings of stro*es and that there are no
significant dissi$ilarities in &riting characteristics. There are
si$ilarities in type face design e,isting bet&een the type&ritings
appearing in the questioned and standard docu$ents indicating
that the decrees &ere typed fro$ the sa$e brand or *ind of
type&riter. Burther, he testified the +ecree >1!" sho&s natural
bro&nish coloration (unartificially) indicative of aged docu$ent
si$ilar &ith the decrees e,ecuted in 1210, 1211 an 121= on file
in the vault section, F#, the figure in &riting in %'ta$p
eceipt% in +ecree >1!" sho&s general characteristics &ith
those figures in &riting on 'ta$p eceipt in decrees e,ecuted in
1210, 1211 and 121=< the dry seal disclose si$ilarities in general
characteristics and the sta$ped signature in questioned decree
and the standard decrees have identical si$ilarities. As a
consequence of all these findings, he concluded that +ecree 7o.
>1!" is genuine. ?e also testified on the authenticity of the
o&ner9s duplicate of T#T =//@@, as follo&s: ?e testified further
that he li*e&ise e,a$ined Transfer #ertificate of Title 7o.
=//@@ and after a co$parative e,a$ination bet&een T#T 7o.
=//@@ and various e,e$plars he found that there are significant
si$ilarities in hand&riting characteristics bet&een the
questioned and e,e$plar signatures above the printed &ords
%egister of +eeds% indicating that the signatures &ere &ritten
by one and the sa$e person. There are significant si$ilarities in
type printing i$pressions bet&een the questioned typed printed
&ord and the corresponding e,e$plars indicating that the
printed &ords in the questioned T#T and different e,e$plars
&ere i$pressed fro$ the sa$e printing $achine. As to the dry
seal i$pressions, there are significant si$ilarities bet&een the
questioned and e,e$plar dry seal i$pressions, although the
questioned dry seal appears dar*er &hile the e,e$plars are
lighter in color as variance in color is affected by different
conditions of storage. Fi*e&ise, the variance in color of the
docu$ents could be attributed to the different conditions &hen
the docu$ents &ere *ept in file. All these findings of the &itness
&ere li*e&ise e,plained by &ay of various charts and photo-
enlarge$ents pp. 1"=-1"/, (ollo)
Ae are confronted here &ith varying testi$onies of t&o e,pert &itnesses. ?o&ever,
Ae agree &ith the court a )uoand respondent appellate court in giving $ore &eight
to the testi$ony of Atty. +esiderio Pagui than to that of Mr. Brancisco A. #ru6. Their
respective educational and &or* bac*ground spea* of the differing levels of their
qualifications and co$petence to testify as e,pert &itnesses. Brancisco #ru6, a
+ocu$ent 4,a$iner of the P# #ri$e Faboratory, is a B'BA graduate &ho had
e,a$ined not less than 10,000 docu$ents. Atty. Pagui, on the other hand, is the
for$er #hief of the Muestioned +ocu$ent 'ection of the 7B-, an FFB and B. '.
#ri$inology graduate, and had e,a$ined about "0,000 questioned docu$ents. The
court a )uo observed, and Ae note this fact, that Atty. Pagui testified in a straight-
for&ard $anner &hile Mr. #ru6 &avered in ans&ering so$e pertinent questions. Ae
also note fro$ the transcript of stenographic notes that Pagui9s ans&ers to so$e
technical questions reveal his authority as a docu$ent and hand&riting &itness,
&hich cannot be said of Brancisco #ru6.
Atty. Pagui &as first to render a report on these questioned docu$ents. .n August
==, 12@", upon the request of the Fand egistration #o$$ission, he, then #hief of
the 7B-, Muestioned +ocu$ents 'ection, conducted his investigation and sub$itted
his report finding these docu$ents authentic. At the ti$e he $ade the investigation,
he &as i$partial and not conscious of any i$pending ease before the court. Bour (!)
years later, in 12@2, another request for investigation, this ti$e fro$ the .ffice of
the 'olicitor Ceneral, &as received by the 7B-. ?e &as disappointed and disgusted
by the reaction of then 7B- +irector &ho pretended not to have *no&n about the
e,isting 7B- report on +ecreto >1!". This, according to Pagui &as one of the
reasons for his early retire$ent fro$ the 7B- (T'7, March =@, 123!, pp. /2-!"). .n
+ece$ber 1", 1230, the 7B- rendered another report (4,hibit %M%) finding +ecreto
7o. >1!" not genuine, signed by 'egundo Tabayoyong, &ho &as appointed 7B-
#hief +ocu$ent 4,a$iner and #hief of the Muestioned +ocu$ents 'ection after the
retire$ent of Atty. Pagui. -t is note&orthy that, Mr. Tabayoyong &as one of those
&ho confor$ed &ith the previous report of the 7B- sub$itted by Atty. Pagui in
12@" as clai$ed by the latter and &hich &as not contradicted by the petitioner.
The petitioner also alleged that +ecree 7o. >1!", solitary in its hidden isolation and
detached fro$ the e*pedienteof the land registration case, surfaced >! years later
under $ysterious and bi6arre circu$stances.
The circu$stances surrounding the appearance of +ecree >1!" &as far fro$
$ysterious. acquel Marfori, a &itness for the petitioner, &ho &as then #hief of the
.rdinary +ecree 'ection of the +ivision of .riginal egistration, Fand egistration
#o$$ission testified that her office function is to receive copies of decrees, certified
copies of titles fro$ the egisters of +eeds, papers and docu$ents fro$ the #ourts,
the Bureau of Fands and other agencies and *eeps circulars and $e$oranda issued
by the office and fro$ the +epart$ent of Justice. 'he further testified that on
'epte$ber !, 12"!, then F# #o$$issioner Antonio 7oble8as issued #ircular 7o.
!, instructing all egisters of +eeds to for&ard all copies of decrees in their
possession for custody to the F# to co$plete the records of the #o$$ission. As
appearing in the record boo* of inventory in the F#, a$ong the decrees for&arded
to their office is +ecree >1!" (T'7, .ctober =>, 123=, pp. "!-""). 'he li*e&ise
categorically stated that in the course of investigation of this case, a copy of +ecree
>1!" &as found in the vault section of the #o$$ission (Ibid, p. >>).
Petitioner9s &itness Mr. Jose #ru6, testified that the alleged CF. nu$ber stated on
the decreto pertains to a tract of land o&ned by Dictorio Banaag and not
Buenaventura Cuido< that said property &as located in Bulacan and not in i6al and
that T#T 7o. ="3=2 &as issued in that case and not .#T >// as alleged by the
private respondents. ?o&ever, on cross-e,a$ination, he said that T#T 7o. =>3=2 of
Banaag did not contain any decree nu$ber nor CF. nu$ber. ?e also ad$itted that
indeed +ecree 7o. >1!" &as issued on 'epte$ber 1, 1211 in CF ecord 7o. =/"0.
M -n your report Mr. #ru6 appearing on page
= thereof, - a$ quoting a portion of your
report appearing on page = thereof, second
paragraph: %Alfredo Cuido one of the heirs
of ?er$ogenes Cuido, petitioned for the
reconstitution of the original Transfer
#ertificate of Title 7o. =//@@ of the egister
of +eeds of i6al and issuance of ne&
original Transfer #ertificate of Title, etc.,
etc.% and further$ore, this is the portion that
- a$ going to as* you of: %but upon
verification it appears that the original of
said Transfer #ertificate of Title 7o. =//@@
bearing Boo* T-2!, page 1@@ could not be
located in the files of the egister of +eeds
of i6al.% +o you re$e$ber having stated
that in your report &hich - a$ sho&ing to
A Ges sir, - cannot find the original Transfer
#ertificate of Title on file &ith the egister
of +eeds of Pasig.
M 'o, this state$ent of Mr. Cuido in his
petition for reconstitution is correctP
A Ges sir.
M And also on the sa$e page under the
heading findings, you stated and - quote: %-n
the .rdinary +ecree Boo* that #ourt of
Fand egistration ecord 7o. =/"0 &as
approved on August =>, 12@@ and issued
+ecree 7o. >1!" on 'epte$ber 1, 1211 for a
parcel of land located in the province of
i6al, but the na$e of o&ner, area and the
$unicipality it is located &as not
$entioned.% And you further stated and -
quote: %-t sho&s that #F ecord 7o. =/"0
&as really issued +ecree 7o. >1!" on
'epte$ber 1, 1211.% +o you affir$ those
state$ents you $adeP
A Ges sir.
M -n other &ords, there &as really such a
decree issued on 'epte$ber 1, 1211P
A Ges sir.
M -n fact Mr. #ru6, in one of your anne,es
to 4,hibit %#% &hich is your report and
&hich has been $ar*ed in this proceedings
as 4,hibit %#-@%, it &ould appear that there
is such a ecord =/"0, correctP
A Ges sir.
M -n the Province of i6alP
A Ges sir.
M And there &as a decree issued on August
=>, 120> as appearing in the colu$n date
o*ay for decree, is that correctP
A Ges sir.
M Moreover, it states in the last colu$n that
the decree &as issued on 'epte$ber 1,
A Ges sir.
M Bearing the +ecree 7o. >1!"P
A Ges sir.
M And it is equally true Mr. #ru6 that
+ecree >1!" fro$ your investigation &as
a$ong those old docu$ents and decrees
found in the Dault 'ection of the Fand
egistration #o$$ission, is that correctP
A That appears to be in the vault 'ection
because Justice Hapunan &as the one &ho
gave $e that decree.
M And Justice *apunan - suppose told you
that it ca$e fro$ the Dault 'ection of the
Fand egistration #o$$ission that is &hy
in your report, the one in the Dault 'ection
&here salvage and issued +ecrees are *ept
sho&s that +ecree 7o. >1!" &as found in
their files, is that correctP
A Ges sir. (T'7, pp. 13-==, ?earing of June
2, 123=)
The testi$onies of the $unicipal treasurers and ta, assessors that none of the private
respondents registered in their na$es big tracts of land nor paid any property ta,
corresponding to large tracts of land &as sufficiently e,plained by private
respondents. .riginally, the property sub8ect of this case &as &holly o&ned by the
heirs, herein private respondents Cuidos, pro-indiviso. The title to this land &as
never registered in their individual na$es. +ecree 7o. >1!" &as issued in the na$e
of %?erederos de Buenaventura Cuido y 'ta. Ana (Brancisco and ?er$ogenes
Cuido)% &hile T#T 7o. =//@@ &as registered in the na$e of his t&o sons, Brancisco
and ?er$ogenes Cuido. The declaration of property dated 12!1 (4,hibit 3) and the
property ta,es (4,hibits 11, 11-A to 11-B) for defendants &ere all in the na$e of
+on Buenaventura Cuido y 'ta. Ana. -n fact, even after the reconstitution of T#T
7o. =//@@ on March =2, 12@> and its subsequent subdivision into =1 different titles,
these parcels &ere still registered in the na$e of the heirs of Brancisco and
?er$ogenes, Cuido ('ee T#T 7os. M-00@32, M-003!> to M-003>>).
Alfredo Cuido, 'r., during his lifeti$e, testified that the o&ner9s duplicate copy of
T#T 7o. =//@@ (4,hibits %"% and %"-A% for defendants) &as given to hi$ by
Joaquin Cuido &ho is the son of Justo Cuido, the latter appearing to be a brother of
+on Buenaventura Cuido. Thus,
q Aill you e,plain to us ho& 4,hibits " and
"-A ca$e into your possessionP
a -t &as given to $e by Joaguin Cuido, $y
q Aill you relay to this ?on. #ourt under
&hat circu$stances this docu$ent &as
given to you by your uncleP
a - sued Joaquin Cuido and his brother
because they &anted to get the possession
and ad$inistration of ?acienda de Angono,
q Ahere did you file the caseP
a -n Pasig, sir.
q Aho is Joaquin CuidoP
a ?e is the son of Justo Cuido, sir.
q Ahat happened to the case you fileP
a 7othing happened, they 8ust *ept silent.
Ahen Joaquin Cuido testified in #ourt he
said he cannot deny that &e are his nephe&s
and even pointed and identified us in #ourt
giving their na$es. Joaquin Cuido even
testified that he is already old and he does
not &ant his conscience to bother hi$.
q Aill you relay to us under &hat
circu$stances your uncle Joaquin Cuido
gave you these docu$entsP
a Joaquin Cuido &ent to our house in
#ardona, one 'unday and he said, Alfredo -
have docu$ents here regarding that land and
- &ill give it to you but help $e because -
a$ sic* and - &ant to be treated. - said, - do
not have $uch $oney but if you li*e, - &ig
bring you to the office of Jose o,as, you
bring all those docu$ents in your
q Aas that proposal of yours to go to the
office of Mr. o,as $ateriali6edP
a Ges, sir, &e proceeded to #inera$a.P
q Ahat transpired &hile you &ere at the
office of Mr. o,as at #inera$aP
a Mr. o,as chec*ed the docu$ents and he
said to Joaquin Cuido, - &ill give you the
help you &ere as*ing.
The original of these docu$ents is no& in
the possession of the F#, - &ill reserve $y
e,a$ination of the &itness on that point,
your ?onor.
q Ahat happened &hen Mr. o,as chec*ed
the docu$entsP
a ?e as*ed Mr. Joaquin Cuido to return.
q +id he return thereafterP
a Ges, 'ir, after three days, $ore or less.
q Ahat happened &hen he returned to the
office of Mr. o,asP
a ?e &as given the a$ount of P/0,000.00,
q Ahat happened after the $oney &as given
to Joaquin CuidoP
a ?e left, sir.
q -s that pay$ent to Mr. Joaquin Cuido
evidenced by any docu$entP
a A chec*, sir.
q Ae request that this chec* 7o. 1>!"2 ?.
of the epublic Ban*, 4scolta dated March
=2, 12@> for P/0,000.00 . . . (pp. //-!0,
T'7, August ==, 123/).
The petitioner suspects that the circu$stances attending issuance of the reconstituted
T#T =//@@ &as not regular. alleged that the petition for reconstitution &as filed and
proved on the sa$e day and the reconstituted title issued on the sa$e day. Ahen
presented on the stand, Atty. Priscilla M. Tech, then egister of +eeds of i6al
(Morong Branch), &ho issued the reconstituted title clarified that the reconstituted
title &as not issued on the sa$e day the petition &as filed. The reconstituted title
&as actually issued days after the petition for reconstitution &as filed although the
reconstituted title sho&ed that it &as released on the sa$e day the petition &as filed
in accordance &ith 'ection "> 3 of Act !2>. Be that as it $ay, the fact alone that the
petition for reconstitution &as approved on the sa$e day that it &as filed did not
render the approval suspect. -n ad$inistrative reconstitution of a certificate of title
supported by the o&ner9s duplicate copy of the title, no other requisite &as required
under 'ection > of epublic Act => unli*e in 8udicial reconstitution under 'ection 1=
of the sa$e la&. The egister of +eeds correctly granted the reconstitution on the
basis of private respondents o&ners9 duplicate copy of T#T 7o. =//@@.
-n civil cases, it is a &ell settled rule that the appellate &ill not reverse a finding of
fact by the trial court $ade conflicting testi$ony and depending largely upon the
cridibility of &itnesses &ho testified in the presence of the court, the court failed to
ta*e into consideration so$e $aterial circu$stance or to &eigh accurately all of the
$aterial facts circu$stances presented to it for consideration (Balta6ar, et al. v.
Alberto, // Phil. //>< 'ee also Carcia v. Carcia de Bartolo$e, >/ Phil. !="< Melli6a
v. To&le, /! Phil. /!@< #aragay v. 5rqui6a, "/ Phil. @2< Jai-alai #orp. of the
Philippines v. #hing Hiat Bie*, et al., C.. F-@2>2, March /0,12>0< Tui Bon ?ui v.
epublic, F-3/@0, 7ove$ber 12,12">< 7eyra v. 7eyra, @> Phil. =23). -n the instant
case, Ae do not see any reason for the application of the e,ception to the 8ust cited
rule. Moreover, questions of authenticity being one of fact, this #ourt &ill not
disturb the conclusions of the #ourt of Appeals (4gao v. #A, C.. 7o. @2@3@, June
=2, 1232, 1@! '#A !3!.), especially &hen said appellate court $erely ai$ed the
findings of the court a quo &hich conducted the trial, had the opportunity to observe
the de$eanor of the principal &itnesses (the hand&riting and docu$ent e,perts),
assessed their ability to ans&er technical questions calling for the application of their
special education and training.
7o less than this #ourt in the case of Guido, et al., v. de +or,a, et al., C.. 7o. !01/,
Bebruary !,1202,1= Phil. @13 declared the e,istence of ?acienda de Angono and
recogni6ed the o&nership thereof by the %Cuidos% &hen it affir$ed the decision of
the then #ourt of Birst -nstance of the Province of i6al, that:
1. That the o&nership and possession of the hacienda of
Angono, as it appears described in the decision of said court, in
accordance &ith the a$ended co$plaint, pertains to Justo
Cuido, Juliana Cuido, Buenaventura Cuido and other
participants &ith the$ in said hacienda< by virtue thereof the
court belo& ordered the defendants to restore said possession to
the plaintiffs.
The 'olicitor Ceneral also faulted respondent appellate court fro$ denying their
alternative prayer see*ing the $odification of its decision by rendering 8udg$ent
declaring +ecreta >1!" and T#T =//@@ valid and genuine e,cept &ith respect to
such portions of the property &hich &ere either: 1) possessed and o&ned by bona
fideoccupants &ho had already acquired indefeasible titles thereto< or =) possessed
by bona fide occupants for such length of ti$e as to a$ount to o&nership &ithout
having obtained certificates of titles thereto.
Anent the alternative prayer of the petitioner, Ae find no legal basis for the
declaration of the questioned docu$ents as valid only &ith respect to such portions
of the property not possessed and o&ned by bonafideoccupants &ith indefeasible
registered titles of o&nership or &ith lengths of possession &hich had ripened to
o&nership. ?aving been found valid genuine, +ecreta 7o. >1!" therefore, possessed
all the attributes of a decree of registration. 'ection /1 of the Prope egistration
+ecree (P.+. 1"=2), second paragraph provides:
The decree of registration shall bind the land and quiet title
thereto, sub8ect only to such e,ceptions or liens as $ay be
provided by la&. -t shall be conclusive upon and against all
persons, including the 7ational Covern$ent and all branches
thereof, &hether $ention by na$e in the application or notice,
the sa$e being included in the general description %To all &ho$
it $ay concern%.
Fi*e&ise, T#T 7o. =//@@, having been found true and authentic also possessed all
the attributes of a torrens certificate of title. By e,press provision of 'ection !@ of
P.+. 1"=2, no to registered land in derogation to that of the registered o&ner shall be
acquired by prescription or adverse possession. declare that the decree and its
derivative titles is valid but only &ith respect to the e,tent of the area described in
the decree possessed by occupants &ith indefeasible registered titles or possessors
&ith such lengths of possession &hich had ripened o&nership is to under$ine the
people9s faith in the torrens being conclusive as to all $atters contained therein. The
certificate serves as evidence of an indefeasible title to the proper favor of the person
&hose na$es appear therein. After e,piration of the one year period fro$ the
issuance of the decree of registration upon &hich it is based, it beco$es
incontrovertible (see case of Pa$intuan v. 'an Agustin, !/ Phil, ""3< eyes and
7adres v. Borbon and +irector of Fands, "0 Phil. @21, Juco v. Brancisco, ..C. p.
=13>, April 1",12"@, Bri6uela v. Dargas, "/ ..C. =3==, May 1",12"@), unless
subsequent to issuance of the decree a third party $ay be able to sho& that acquired
title thereto by any of the $eans recogni6ed by la&.
-t should be noted ho&ever, that prior to the reconstruction of T#T 7o. =//@@ on
March =2, 12@>, Lthere &as; no record in .ffice of the egister of +eeds of i6al
sho& of the e,istence any registered title covering the land area sub8ect of this case.
The #ourt ta*es 8udicial notice of the fact that prior to said certain portions of the
area &ere in the possession of occupants &ho successfully obtained certificates of
titles over the are occupied by the$. There &ere also occupants &ho had obtained
certificates of titles over the area possessed by the but the lengths of their possession
&ere long enough to a$ount to o&nership, had the land been in fact unregistered.
This fact is ad$itted by the parties.
Although prescription is unavailing against private respondents because they are
holders of a valid certificate of title, the equitable presu$ption of laches $ay be
applied against the for failure to assert their o&nership for such an unreasonable
length of ti$e (only in 12@>) against subsequent occupants. The records sho&ed that
it &as only in 12@! &hen they tried obtain an original certificate of title. Ahen
rebuffed by the F# they applied for a reconstitution of a T#T only in 12@>.
-n the recent case of -ola v. CA, C.. 7o. F-!>"@/, 7ov. 1/, 123>, 1!" '#A !/2,
citing the cases of Pabalete v. .charri, /r., C.. 7o. F-=!/"@, /@ '#A "13, "=1,
"== quoting 0e,ia de -ucas v. Gamponia, 100 Phil. =@@, it &as held that %although
the defense of prescription is unavailing to the petitioners (Pablo and Ma,i$a Fola)
because, ad$ittedly, the title to Fot 7o. ""1@ is still registered in the na$e of the
respondent (dolores Iabala), still the petitioners have acquired title to it by virtue of
the equitable principle of laches due to the respondent9s failure to assert her clai$
o&nership for thirty t&o (/=) years.%
Moreover, conscious of the resulting %large scale dispossession and social
displace$ent of several hundreds ofbona fide occupants and their fa$ilies% &hich
the 'olicitor Ceneral pointed out, the private respondent agreed unani$ously to
accept the alternative prayer of the petitioner in their 8oint $e$orandu$ (pp. >=!-
>/>, (ollo). This agree$ent by private respondents ta*es the for$ of a &aiver.
Though a valid and clear right over the property e,ists in their favors, they
see$ingly have voluntarily abandoned the sa$e in favor of. 1) those &ho possessed
and actually occupied specific portions and obtained torrens certificates of titles, and
=) those &ho possessed certain specific portions for such lengths of ti$e as to
a$ount to full o&nership. The &aiver, not being contrary to la&, $orals, good
custo$s and good policy, is valid and binding on the private respondents.
?o&ever, &ith respect to the second set of possessors, &hose alleged bona
fide occupancy of specific portions of the property is not evidenced by Torrens
Titles, it is i$perative that their clai$sNoccupancy be duly proven in an appropriate
A##.+-7CFG, the decision of the #ourt of Appeals in #A-C.. 7o. 1=2// is
ABB-M4+ sub8ect to the herein declared superior rights of bona fide occupants
&ith registered titles &ithin the area covered by the questioned decree and bona
fide occupants therein &ith length of possession &hich had ripened to o&nership, the
latter to be deter$ined in an appropriate proceeding.
'. .+44+.
FG.R. No. 12G3GB. No3.17.r 21, 2001H
FLORES, petitioners, vs. &ON. COURT OF APPEALS, GLOR#A
BRADAL a! 1ior LOT#S BRADAL,*.,.! 74 0.r /a,0.r,
NOEL BRADAL, respondents.
D E C # S # O N
This petition see*s to annul the decision
dated 'epte$ber =1, 122", of the
#ourt of Appeals in #A C.. 7o. /2@3!, and its resolution
dated June 13, 122>
denying petitionersQ $otion for reconsideration.
Petitioners 'upre$e Transliner -nc. and Belipe 'ia are the registered o&ners of
a bus driven by co-petitioner 7ovencio Blores. .n 'epte$ber =!, 1220, the bus
collided &ith a passenger 8eepney carrying private respondents Cloria and Fotis
Bra6al. At the ti$e of the incident, the 8eepney &as o&ned and registered in the
na$e of Marcelino Dillones and driven by eynaldo +ecena.
As a result of the collision, private respondents suffered in8uries. They
instituted #ivil #ase 7o. 'P-//1= for da$ages against petitioners based on )uasi1
delict and against Dillones and +ecena for breach of contract. Petitioners, in turn,
filed a third-party co$plaint against #ountry Ban*ers -nsurance #o$pany, insurer
of the 'upre$e Transliner bus.
+uring the trial, Cloria Bra6al testified that on 'epte$ber =!, 1220, she and
her daughter Fotis &ere on board the passenger 8eepney &hen the 'upre$e
Transliner bus hit it, causing the$ in8uries that required $edical treat$ent.
+ecena and Dillones testified on their o&n behalf and presented Fu6vi$inda
Malabanan and 'gt. 7icolas M. o,as as &itnesses. +ecena recounted that on
'epte$ber =!, 1220, at about =:00 P.M., he &as driving a passenger 8eepney bound
for #andelaria, Mue6on. .n board, the 8eepney &as about fifteen passengers,
including private respondents Cloria and Fotis Bra6al. 5pon reaching 'a$paloc,
'ariaya, Mue6on, a 'upre$e Transliner bus co$ing fro$ the opposite direction,
suddenly appeared on a curved portion of the road and overtoo* another 8eepney,
&hich it &as then follo&ing. Thereafter, the bus collided &ith +ecenaQs 8eepney.
Petitioners presented 7ovencio Blores and Moises Alvare6, the Manager of
'upre$e Transliner. Both testified that the passenger 8eepney &as running very fast
&hen the accident occurred. .n the third-party co$plaint, petitioners sho&ed that
they already sub$itted the required docu$ents for insurance clai$ and that #ountry
Ban*ers -nsurance #o$pany pro$ised to settle the clai$, but did not.
.n .ctober =3, 122=, the trial court rendered its 8udg$ent, the dispositive
portion of &hich reads:
A?44B.4, finding that the plaintiffs Lhave; established by preponderance of
evidence the allegations of the co$plaint, 8udg$ent is hereby rendered:
.7 T?4 #.MPFA-7T:
1. .rdering the defendants Belipe 'ia, as registered o&ner of the 'upre$e Bus, and
7ovencio Blores pri$arily liable for the da$ages of the plaintiffs and directing the$
to 8ointly and severally pay plaintiffs the follo&ing:
a. The a$ount of TA47TG B-D4 T?.5'A7+ P4'.' (P=",000.00) by &ay of
actual da$ages<
b. The a$ount of P10,000.00 by &ay of $oral da$ages<
c. The a$ount of P",000.00 as attorneyQs fees.
.n the third-party co$plaint, 8udg$ent is hereby rendered ordering the third-party
defendant to pay the third-party plaintiffs any and all a$ounts that they have paid to
the plaintiffs by reason of this decision provided it does not e,ceed P"0,000.00.
Third-party defendant is also ordered to pay the costs.
'. .+44+.
The trial court declared that Blores &as negligent in operating the bus, &hile
'ia failed to e,ercise the diligence of a good father of a fa$ily in the choice,
supervision and direction of his e$ployees.
.n the third-party co$plaint, the trial court found that 'upre$e Transliner had
insured the bus &ith #ountry Ban*ers, paid the pre$iu$s for the period covering the
accident, and $ade an insurance clai$ by notifying the insurer and sub$itting the
required docu$ents. ?o&ever, until the filing of the co$plaint, #ountry Ban*ers
had not acted upon 'upre$e TranslinerQs clai$. The trial court ordered #ountry
Ban*ers to pay third-party plaintiffs an a$ount not e,ceeding P"0,000.
Petitioners appealed to the #ourt of Appeals &here they $aintained that the
trial court erred in: (a) pronouncing the$ liable to private respondents< (b) a&arding
the a$ount of P=",000 as actual da$ages< and (c) finding 'ia solidarily liable &ith
driver Blores. #ountry Ban*ers -nsurance #o$pany filed on July ", 122!, a
$anifestation and $otion &herein it stated that it had already settled its $a,i$u$
liability under the policy, and therefore prayed for its e,clusion fro$ the case.
.n 'epte$ber =1, 122", the #ourt of Appeals pro$ulgated its decision,
decreeing as follo&s:
A?44B.4, the appealed 8udg$ent is ABB-M4+ sub8ect to the Manifestation
and Motion filed by third-party defendant as discussed in the te,t of herein decision.
#osts against defendant-third party appellant Belipe 'ia and defendant-appellant
7ovencio #. Blores.
'. .+44+.
The #ourt of Appeals found that there &as co$petent and preponderant
evidence &hich sho&ed that driver 7ovencio BloresQ negligence &as the pro,i$ate
cause of the $ishap and that Belipe 'ia failed to perfor$ the required degree of care
in the selection and supervision of the bus driver. -t also found that the actual
da$ages representing the $edical e,penses incurred by private respondents &ere
properly supported by receipts.
Petitioners filed a $otion for reconsideration but this &as denied. ?ence, this
petition, &here petitioners raise the follo&ing issues:
A4 4D-+47#4' ('-#) -7 T?4 4#.+' .B T?4 #A'4 B5T 7.T
.BB44+ BG A PATG F-T-CA7T B4 #.7'-+44+ -7 T?4 FATT4Q'
A4 4D-+47#4' ('-#) A++5#4+ BG A #.-+4B47+A7T B4
#.7'-+44+ A' 4D-+47#4' ('-#) .B T?4 PFA-7T-BB A' ACA-7'T T?4
.T?4 +4B47+A7TP
Petitioners aver that the #ourt of Appeals erred in affir$ing the trial courtQs
decision &hich &as $ainly based on the evidence proffered by their co-defendants
+ecena and Dillones. Petitioners contend that this evidence, &hich proved their
liability for )uasi1delict, could not be appreciated against the$ because the sa$e
&as not adopted, $uch less offered in evidence by private respondents. 7either did
+ecena and Dillones file a cross-clai$ against the$. #onsequently, in accordance
&ith 'ection 1,
ule 1/1 and 'ections /!
and /"
, ule 1/= of the ules of
#ourt, said evidence &as placed beyond the courtQs consideration, hence they could
not be held liable on the basis thereof.
Private respondents contend that Philippine courts are not only courts of la&
but of equity and 8ustice as &ell. The #ourt of Appeals, being a court of record, has
to appreciate all the facts and evidence before it in deter$ining the partiesQ rights
and liabilities regardless of &ho a$ong the litigants actually presented the
sa$e. Burther, they point out that the issue is being raised for the first ti$e, thus it is
highly i$proper to nullify or reverse the #ourt of AppealsQ decision based solely on
a co$pletely ne& and foreign ground.
Bor our resolution are the follo&ing issues: (a) Aho has the burden of proving
herein petitionersQ liabilityP (b) May the evidence presented by +ecena and Dillones
be considered in deter$ining preponderance of evidence against herein petitionersP
Burden of proof is the duty of a party to present evidence to establish his clai$
or defense by the a$ount of evidence required by la&, &hich is preponderance of
evidence in civil cases.
The party, &hether plaintiff or defendant, &ho asserts the
affir$ative of the issue has the burden of proof to obtain a favorable 8udg$ent. Bor
the defendant, an affir$ative defense is one &hich is not a denial of an essential
ingredient in the plaintiffQs cause of action, but one &hich, if established, &ill be a
good defense E i.e. an RavoidanceS of the clai$.
-n this case, both private respondents as &ell as the 8eepney driver eynaldo
+ecena and its o&ner Marcelino Dillones clai$ that the bus driver, 7ovencio Blores,
&as liable for negligently operating the bus. Bor private respondents, the clai$
constitutes their cause of action against petitioners &hich said private respondents
$ust prove by preponderance of evidence. At the sa$e ti$e, the sa$e clai$ is a
$atter of affir$ative defense on the part of +ecena and Dillones &ho are i$pleaded
as co-defendants of petitioners. Therefore, both private respondents as &ell as the
said co-defendants had the burden of proving petitionersQ negligence by the quantu$
of proof required to establish the latterQs liability, i.e. by preponderance of evidence.
.n the second issue, &e rule in the affir$ative. The evidence presented by the
8eepney o&ner and its driver, Dillones and +ecena, for$s part of the totality of the
evidence concerning the negligence co$$itted by petitioners as defendants
in )uasi1delict case. Preponderance of evidence is deter$ined by considering all the
facts and circu$stances of the case, culled fro$ the evidence, regardless of &ho
actually presented it.
PetitionersQ liability &ere proved by the evidence presented
by +ecena and Dillones at the trial, ta*en together &ith the evidence presented by
the victi$s of the collision, na$ely herein private respondents Cloria and Fotis
Ae find petitionersQ reliance on 'ections /! and /" of ule 1/= of the ules of
#ourt $isplaced. Petitioners cited these rules to support their allegation that
evidence by +ecena and Dillones should not be considered in private respondentsQ
favor since the latter did not adopt $uch less offer the$ in evidence. 7othing in
'ection /! requires that the evidence be offered or adopted by a specific party before
it could be considered in his favor. -t is enough that the evidence is offered for the
courtQs consideration. Ae find, $oreover, no pertinence in petitionersQ invocation of
ule /", on &hen to $a*e an offer, e,cept to indicate to us petitionersQ reliance on
inapplicable technicalities that betray the lac* of $erit of their petition.
2&EREFORE, the instant petition is +47-4+. The decision and resolution
dated 'epte$ber =1, 122" and June 13, 122>, respectively, of the #ourt of Appeals
are hereby ABB-M4+.
#osts against petitioners.
FG.R. No. 130A7B. D.+.17.r G, 2003.H
FRANC#SCO ALONSO ?D.+.a*.!@, *)7*,i,),.! 74 "ERCEDES $ ALONSO,
TO"AS $. ALONSO a! ASUNC#ON $. ALONSO, Petitioners, 3. CEBU
COUNTRY CLUB, #NC., Respondent.
R E S O L U T # O N
-n our +ecision dated January /1, =00=, &e declared that:chanrob1es virtual 1a&
. . . neither To$as 7. Alonso nor his son Brancisco M. Alonso or the latterQs heirs are
the la&ful o&ners of Fot 7o. @=@ in dispute. 7either has the respondent #ebu
#ountry #lub, -nc. been able to establish a clear title over the contested estate. The
reconstitution of a title is si$ply the reissuance of a lost duplicate certificate of title
in its original for$ and condition. -t does not deter$ine or resolve the o&nership of
the land covered by the lost or destroyed title. A reconstituted title, li*e the original
certificate of title, by itself does not vest o&nership of the land or estate covered
thereby. 1
on &hich basis, the dispositive portion of the decision reads:chanrob1es virtual 1a&
A?44B.4, &e +47G the petition for revie&. ?o&ever, &e '4T A'-+4 the
decision of the #ourt of Appeals and that of the egional Trial #ourt, #ebu #ity,
Branch 03.chanrob1es virtual la& library
-7 F-45 T?44.B, &e +-'M-'' the co$plaint and counterclai$ of the parties in
#ivil #ase 7o. #4B 1=2=> of the trial court. Ae declare that Fot 7o. @=@ +-= of the
Banilad Briar Fands 4state covered by .riginal #ertificate of Title 7os. ="1, =/=,
and ="/ legally belongs to the Covern$ent of the Philippines.
7o costs.
'. .+44+. =
Petitioners and respondent filed separate $otions for reconsideration, each assailing
a different aspect of the decision.
Petitioners, in their Motion for econsideration dated March >, =00=, vigorously
argue that: (a) the $a8ority decision unduly deprives petitioners of their property
&ithout due process of la& and %in a $anner shoc*ing to good conscience% < (b) in
invalidating the sale of Fot @=@ to the late To$as Alonso, the ponencia unfairly
deviated fro$ established doctrine to favor a $ere obiter dictu$ as $isapplied in
Fiao v. #ourt of Appeals, using as basis factual findings either unsupported by the
evidence or contradicted by the appellate courtQs findings of fact< (c) the core issues
of fraud and &ant of 8urisdiction afflicting the reconstitution of respondent #ebu
#ountry #lubQs title &ere not squarely and frontally $et, to the pre8udice and
da$age of the petitioners< and (d) the dissenting opinion deserves a second hard
loo* as it presents a $ore balanced, sober, factually accurate, and 8uridically precise
approach to the critical issues of this case, including prescription and laches.
.n the other hand, respondent #ebu #ountry #lub, -nc., in its Motion for
econsideration dated March ", =00=, staunchly assails the decision insofar as it
declared that %Fot @=@-+-= of the Banilad Briar Fands 4state legally belongs to the
Covern$ent of the epublic of the Philippines.% espondent argues that the .ffice
of the 'olicitor Ceneral (.'C), as representative of the Covern$ent, has not
intervened nor has it been i$pleaded in the egional Trial #ourt (T#) nor during
the appeal in the #ourt of Appeals, and, the Torrens #ertificate of Title, T#T 7o.
T-1/10 (T-11/"1) of respondent, covering Fot @=@, Banilad Briar Fands 4state,
cannot be collaterally attac*ed and nullified in this case at bar.
Ae find no $erit in petitionersQ $otion for reconsideration. The $atters raised in the
$otion have already been substantially discussed in the decision.
-t $ust be e$phasi6ed that in civil cases, the burden of proof to be established by
preponderance of evidence is on the plaintiff &ho is asserting the affir$ative of an
issue. ?e has the burden of presenting evidence required to obtain a favorable
8udg$ent, and he, having the burden of proof, &ill be defeated if no evidence &ere
given on either side. / -nas$uch as petitioners pray for the %+eclaration of 7ullity
and 7on-4,istence of +eedNTitle, #ancellation of #ertificates of Title and ecovery
of Property% against the respondent, they had the burden to establish their clai$s of
o&nership of the sub8ect property &hich they failed to do in this case.
'ection 13 of Act 7o. 11=0 or the Briar Fands Act ! unequivocally provides: %7o
lease or sale $ade by the #hief of the Bureau of Public Fands (no& the +irector of
Fands) under the provisions of this Act shall be valid until approved by the 'ecretary
of the -nterior (no&, the 'ecretary of 7atural esources). Thus, petitionersQ clai$ of
o&nership $ust fail in the absence of positive evidence sho&ing the approval of the
'ecretary of -nterior. Approval of the 'ecretary of the -nterior cannot si$ply be
presu$ed or inferred fro$ certain acts since the la& is e,plicit in its $andate. This
is the settled rule as enunciated in 'olid 'tate Multi-Products #orporation v. #ourt
of Appeals " and reiterated in Fiao v. #ourt of Appeals. > Petitioners have not
offered any cogent reason that &ould 8ustify a deviation fro$ this rule.
#ontrary to petitionersQ protestations, &e squarely resolved the core issues of fraud
and &ant of 8urisdiction afflicting the reconstitution of respondentQs title. Ahile &e
held that the issue of the validity of respondentQs title is factual &hich cannot be
revie&ed on appeal, nevertheless, &e have ans&ered each ground raised by
petitioner in assailing respondentQs title. @ 7eedless to stress, $ere allegations of
fraud are not enough. 3 Braud is never presu$ed but $ust be proved by clear and
convincing evidence, 2 $ere preponderance of evidence not even being adequate. 10
As &e have held in 'aguid v. #ourt of Appeals, contentions $ust be proved by
co$petent evidence and reliance $ust be had on the strength of the partyQs o&n
evidence and not upon the &ea*ness of the opponentQs defense. 11 Petitioners failed
to discharge that burden.
Moreover, it cannot be over-accentuated that To$as Alonso, petitionersQ
predecessor-in-interest, never asserted any clai$ of o&nership over the disputed
property during his lifeti$e. Ahen he &as alive, To$as Alonso did not e,ert any
effort to have the title of the disputed property reconstituted in his na$e or see*
recovery thereof fro$ the respondent &hich &as in possession since 12/1. 1=
'ignificantly, To$as Alonso had caused the reconstitution of his title on Fot 310,
&hich is ad8acent to the disputed property, so$eti$e in 12!> and yet petitioners
failed to sho& that To$as Alonso e,erted the sa$e effort to reconstitute his alleged
title to the sub8ect property. As successors-in-interest, petitioners $erely stepped into
the shoes of To$as Alonso. They cannot clai$ a right greater than that of their
predecessor. 7otably, To$as Alonso and his son Brancisco Alonso &ere not ordinary
or unschooled $en. They &ere learned $en of the la&. They belonged to the landed
gentry and, thus, had adequate financial resources at their disposal. To$as Alonso
&as even a $e$ber of #ongress. The length of ti$e that has elapsed, spanning si,
decades, before the institution of the suit to recover the property, begs for a valid
e,planation, of &hich none &as convincingly offered. PetitionersQ silent
acquiescence for several decades and belated invocation of an alleged right spea*
strongly of the staleness of their clai$. Their clai$s can hardly evo*e 8udicial
co$passion. Digilantibus et non dor$ientibus 8ura subveniunt. %-f eternal vigilance
is the price of safety, one cannot sleep on oneQs right for $ore than a tenth of a
century and e,pect it to be preserved in its pristine purity.% 1/
Ae li*e&ise find no $erit in respondentQs $otion for reconsideration insofar as the
decision declared that Fot @=@-+-= of the Banilad Briar Fands 4state legally belongs
to the Covern$ent of the epublic of the Philippines.
-t $ust be borne in $ind that the disputed property is part of the %Briar Fands% over
&hich the Covern$ent holds title and are not public lands but private or patri$onial
property of the Covern$ent 1! and can be alienated only upon proper co$pliance
&ith the require$ents of Act 7o. 11=0 or the Briar Fands Act.chanrob1es virtual la&
'ections 11, 1= and 13 of Act 7o. 11=0 provide:chanrob1es virtual 1a& library
'4#T-.7 11. 'hould any person &ho is the actual and bona fide settler upon and
occupant of any portion of said lands . . . desire to purchase the land so occupied by
hi$, he shall be entitled to do so at the actual cost thereof to the Covern$ent, and
shall be allo&ed ten years fro$ the date of purchase &ithin &hich to pay for the
sa$e in equal annual install$ents, if he so desires, all deferred pay$ents to bear
interest at the rate of four per centu$ per annu$ on all deferred pay$ents.
* * *
'4#T-.7 1=. . . . Ahen the cost thereof shall have been thus ascertained the #hief
of the Bureau of Public Fands shall give the said settler and occupant a certificate
&hich shall set forth in detail that the Covern$ent has agreed to sell to such settler
and occupant the a$ount of land so held by hi$, at the pri6e so fi,ed, payable as
provided in this Act . . . and that upon the pay$ent of the final install$ent together
&ith all accrued interest the Covern$ent &ill convey to such settler and occupant
the said land so held by hi$ by proper instru$ent of conveyance, &hich shall be
issued and beco$e effective in the $anner provided in section one hundred and
t&enty-t&o of the Fand egistration Act. . . .
'4#T-.7 13. 7o lease or sale $ade by the #hief of the Bureau of Public Fands
under the provisions of this Act shall be valid until approved by the 'ecretary of the
-t &as thus pri$ordial for the respondent to prove its acquisition of its title by clear
and convincing evidence in vie& of the nature of the land. -n fact, it is essential for
both respondent and petitioners to establish that it had beco$e private property.
Both parties failed to do so. As &e have held earlier, petitioners have not succeeded
to prove their clai$ of o&nership over the sub8ect property.
.n the part of respondent, it failed to shed light on ho& its predecessor in interest,
5nited 'ervices #ountry #lub, -nc., acquired its title. 'urprisingly, there is not even
one evidence to sho& &hen and ho& its predecessor in interest, 5nited 'ervices
#ountry #lub, -nc., acquired the property fro$ anybody. -t $ay be true that records
&ere destroyed during the &ar, but respondent has not offered any clear evidence,
testi$onial or docu$entary, on the circu$stances surrounding the acquisition of Fot
@=@, thereby creating a &ide chas$ in its clai$ of o&nership. -t only serves to
underscore the paucity of the proof of respondent to support its clai$ of o&nership
over the disputed property.
espondent relies solely on its reconstituted title &hich, by itself, does not deter$ine
or resolve the o&nership of the land covered by the lost or destroyed title. The
reconstitution of a title is si$ply the re-issuance of a lost duplicate certificate of title
in its original for$ and condition. -t does not deter$ine or resolve the o&nership of
the land covered by the lost or destroyed title. A reconstituted title, li*e the original
certificate of title, by itself does not vest o&nership of the land or estate covered
thereby. 1"
7either $ay the re&ards of prescription be successfully invo*ed by respondent, as it
is an iron-clad dictu$ that prescription can never lie against the Covern$ent. 'ince
respondent failed to present the paper trail of the propertyQs conversion to private
property, the lengthy possession and occupation of the disputed land by respondent
cannot be counted in its favor, as the sub8ect property being a friar land, re$ained
part of the patri$onial property of the Covern$ent. Possession of patri$onial
property of the Covern$ent, &hether spanning decades or centuries, can not ipso
facto ripen into o&nership. Moreover, the rule that statutes of li$itation do not run
against the 'tate, unless therein e,pressly provided, is founded on %the great
principle of public policy, applicable to all govern$ents ali*e, &hich forbids that the
public interests should be pre8udiced by the negligence of the officers or agents to
&hose care they are confided.% 1>
Burther$ore, the declarations in the #ourtQs 8udg$ent that the sub8ect property
belongs to the Covern$ent is not an offshoot of a collateral attac* on respondentQs
title. The validity of the reconstitution of title to the land in question &as directly in
dispute, and the proceedings before the trial court &as in the nature of a direct attac*
on the legality of respondentQs title.
Binally, our declaration that Fot @=@-+-= of the Banilad Briar Fands 4state legally
belongs to the Covern$ent does not a$ount to reversion &ithout due process of la&
insofar as both parties are concerned. The disputed property is a Briar Fand and both
parties failed to sho& that it had ceased to belong to the patri$onial property of the
'tate or that it had beco$e private property.
-7 D-4A T?44.B, &e +47G &ith finality the separate $otions for
reconsideration of the petitioners and (espondent.
'. .+44+.
A.C. No. B%03 A)6)*, 31, 200%
TACORDA, co$plainants,
ATTY. "ANUEL N. CA"AC&O, respondent.
4 ' . F 5 T - . 7
.n 7ove$ber =/, =000, udecon Manage$ent #orporation and Atty. udegelio +.
Tacorda filed &ith the -ntegrated Bar of the Philippines (-BP) a verified co$plaint
for disbar$ent or suspension fro$ the practice of la& against Atty. Manuel 7.
#a$acho for *no&ingly co$$itting foru$-shopping, in violation of 'upre$e #ourt
Ad$inistrative #ircular 7o. 0!-2! in relation to the provisions of 'ection ", ule @,
122@ ules of #ivil Procedure and the #anons of the #ode of Professional
The factual antecedents leading to the instant co$plaint are as follo&s:
.n 'epte$ber /, 1223, 'isenando 'ingson, represented by herein respondent Atty.
Manuel 7. #a$acho, filed &ith the egional Trial #ourt (T#) of Mue6on #ity a
co$plaint against herein co$plainant udecon Manage$ent #orporation for
da$ages and reconveyance, doc*eted as #ivil #ase 7o. M-23-/"!!!.
The case &as
originally raffled to Branch @2, T#, Mue6on #ity (Branch @2 for brevity) but &as
eventually re-raffled to Branch 3" of the sa$e court.
.n 'epte$ber =1, 1223, 'ingson, again represented by Atty. #a$acho, filed &ith
Branch @3, T#, Mue6on #ity (Branch @3 for brevity) a %Motion for -ntervention
(Aith Attached Ans&er in -ntervention Aith Affir$ative +efenses and #o$pulsory
#ounterclai$)% in #ivil #ase 7o. M-23-/"/=>, entitled, %udecon Manage$ent
#orporation,plaintiff1appellee vs. a$on M. Delu6, defendant1appellant,% a case for
unla&ful detainer on appeal before said court.
.n .ctober 1, 1223, udecon filed a $otion before Branch @3 see*ing to cite
'ingson and his counsel, Atty. #a$acho, for conte$pt for having allegedly violated
the rule against foru$ shopping. udecon contends that the ans&er-in-intervention
filed before Branch @3 involves the sa$e issues already raised in the co$plaint filed
&ith Branch @2.
.n 7ove$ber >, 1223, Branch @3, issued an order, &ith the follo&ing dispositive
A?44B.4, finding appelleeQs herein Motion to be &ell ta*en, this
#ourt finds &ould-be-intervenor, 'isenando 'ingson and his counsel, Atty.
Manuel 7. #a$acho to have violated the rule on foru$-shopping and
holds the$ liable for conte$pt of #ourt under #ircular 7o. 0!-2! and
'ection ", ule @, ules of #ourt in relation to ule @1 and hereby
repri$ands both of the$ &ithout pre8udice to any ad$inistrative and
appropriate action against &ould-be-intervenorQs counsel.
'. .+44+.
'ingson and #a$acho did not appeal the order.
.n the basis of the above-cited order, udecon and Tacorda filed the instant
co$plaint for disbar$ent or suspension against Atty. #a$acho. #o$plainants
sub$it that aside fro$ disregarding the rule against foru$ shopping, contained in
'upre$e #ourt Ad$inistrative #ircular 7o. 0!-2! and 'ection ", ule @ of the 122@
ules of #ourt, respondent is also guilty of violating ules 1.01 and 1.0=, #anon 1
and ule 10.01, #anon 10 of the #ode of Professional esponsibility.
espondent filed his Ans&er to the instant co$plaint. ?e denies the allegations of
co$plainant and contends that he is not guilty of foru$ shopping. ?e clai$s that the
Ans&er in -ntervention filed &ith Branch @3 in #ivil #ase 7o. M-23-/"/=> and the
#o$plaint filed &ith Branch @2 in #ivil #ase 7o. M-23-/"!!! do not involve the
sa$e issues and reliefs prayed for and that he did not resort to the filing of both
actions in order to increase the chances of his client obtaining a favorable decision.
The case &as doc*eted by -BP as #B+ #ase 7o. 00-@@2 and &as referred by the
#o$$ission on Bar +iscipline of the -BP to an -nvestigating #o$$issioner for
investigation, report and reco$$endation.
.n .ctober =!, =00/, -nvestigating #o$$issioner Julio #. 4la$paro sub$itted his
report to the -BP Board of Covernors &ith the follo&ing findings and
. . . . .
T&o court cases gave rise to the present co$plaint. The first is 'isenando
'ingson vs. udecon Manage$ent #orp., #ivil #ase 7o. M-23-/"!!!
before Mue6on #ity, T# Branch @2 and the other case is udecon
Manage$ent #orp. vs. a$on M. Delu6, #ivil #ase 7o. M-23-/"/=>
before Mue6on #ity, T# Branch @3.
The respondent does not deny the e,istence of an .rder dated 7ove$ber
>, 1223 issued by T# Branch @3 of Mue6on #ity in the case entitled
udecon Manage$ent #orp. vs. a$on M. Delu6, #ivil #ase 7o. M-23-
/"/=>. espondent does not deny also that this .rder has beco$e final
and e,ecutory. Ahat the respondent asserts is that he is not guilty of foru$
shopping because the cause of action and the reliefs prayed for in #ivil
#ase 7o. M-23-/"/=> are different fro$ the cause of action and reliefs
prayed for in #ivil #ase 7o. M-23-/"!!! are different.
Ahen respondent failed to contest the .rder dated 7ove$ber >, 1223, the
sa$e &as rendered final and e,ecutory. This office is therefore devoid of
any 8urisdiction to revie& the factual finding of the trial court &hich give
rise to said order finding the respondent guilty of foru$ shopping. This
office has no other option but to recogni6e the validity of said order.
. . . . .
Accordingly, it is respectfully reco$$ended that the penalty of &arning
be $eted out against the respondent for violating the prohibition against
foru$ shopping, specifically, 'upre$e #ourt Ad$. 7o. 0!-2!, paragraph =
and 'ection ", ule @, paragraph = of the 122@ ules of #ivil Procedure.
.n Bebruary =@, =00!, the -BP Board of Covernors passed esolution 7o. JD--
=00!-!/ adopting and approving the report and reco$$endation of -nvestigating
#o$$issioner 4la$paro.
Ae do not entirely agree &ith the -BP esolution.
Based on the records, there are t&o issues to be resolved: (1) &hether respondent is
guilty of foru$ shopping< and (=) &hether respondent $ay be held ad$inistratively
liable for violation of the #ode of Professional esponsibility. As to the first issue,
&e rule in the affir$ative. As to the second issue, &e rule in the negative.
Anent the first issue.
espondent $aintains that he is not guilty of foru$ shopping. ?o&ever, it is not
disputed that the T# found respondent and his client guilty of foru$ shopping, on
the basis of &hich it held both of the$ in conte$pt. This order has beco$e final and
e,ecutory for failure of respondent to appeal the sa$e. The general rule is that once
an issue has been ad8udicated in a valid final 8udg$ent of a co$petent court, it can
no longer be controverted ane& and should be finally laid to rest.
Ahen a final
8udg$ent beco$es e,ecutory, it beco$es i$$utable and unalterable. The 8udg$ent
$ay no longer be $odified in any respect, directly or indirectly, even if the
$odification is $eant to correct &hat is perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of
fact or la&, and regardless of &hether the $odification is atte$pted to be $ade by
the court rendering it or by this #ourt.
The only recogni6ed e,ceptions are the
correction of clerical errors or the $a*ing of so called nunc pro tunc entries &hich
cause no pre8udice to any party, and, of course &here the 8udg$ent is void.
instant case does not fall under any of these e,ceptions. -ndeed, it has been held that
controlling and irresistible reasons of public policy and of sound practice in the
courts de$and that at the ris* of occasional error, 8udg$ents of courts deter$ining
controversies sub$itted to the$ should beco$e final at so$e definite ti$e fi,ed by
la&, or by a rule of practice recogni6ed by la&, so as to be thereafter beyond the
control even of the court &hich rendered the$ for the purpose of correcting error of
fact or of la&, into &hich, in the opinion of the court it $ay have fallen.
-n the
present case, since the order of the trial court dated 7ove$ber >, 1223 has already
attained finality, &e are no& precluded fro$ see*ing other&ise.
Anent the second issue.
After a perusal of the records before us, &e agree &ith respondent that there &as no
intention on his part to $islead the court by concealing the pendency of #ivil #ase
7o. M-23-/"!!! in Branch @2 &hen they filed the Motion for -ntervention and
Ans&er in -ntervention in #ivil #ase 7o. M-23-/"/=> in Branch @3. -ndeed, the first
paragraph of the said Ans&er in -ntervention sho&s that respondent and his client
called the trial courtQs attention &ith respect to the pendency of #ivil #ase 7o. M-
23-/"!!!. ?erein co$plainant, &hich is the plaintiff in #ivil #ase 7o. M-23-/"/=>,
does not dispute respondentQs allegation that the latter and his client attached to their
Ans&er in -ntervention a copy of their co$plaint in #ivil #ase 7o. M-23-/"!!!.
ules 1.01, 1.0=, #anon 1 and ule 10.01, #anon 10 of the #ode of Professional
esponsibility provide as follo&s:
#A7.7 1 E A la&yer shall uphold the constitution, obey the la&s of the
land and pro$ote respect for la& and for legal processes.
ule 1.01 E A la&yer shall not engage in unla&ful, dishonest, i$$oral or
deceitful conduct.
ule 1.0= E A la&yer shall not counsel or abet activities ai$ed at defiance
of the la& or at lessening confidence in the legal syste$.
. . . . .
#A7.7 10 E A la&yer o&es candor, fairness and good faith to the court.
ule 10.01 E A la&yer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing
of any in court< nor shall he $islead or allo& the court to be $isled by any
#o$plainants see* the disbar$ent or suspension of respondent fro$ the practice of
la& for his having allegedly violated the above-quoted provisions of the #ode of
Professional esponsibility in relation to 'upre$e #ourt Ad$inistrative #ircular 0!-
2! and 'ection ", ule @
of the 122@ ules of #ourt.
-n ad$inistrative cases for disbar$ent or suspension against la&yers, the quantu$ of
proof required is clearly preponderant evidence and the burden of proof rests upon
the co$plainant.
Moreover, an ad$inistrative case against a la&yer $ust sho& the
dubious character of the act done as &ell as of the $otivation thereof.
-n the
present case, co$plainant failed to present clear and preponderant evidence to sho&
that respondent &illfully and deliberately resorted to falsehood and unla&ful and
dishonest conduct in violation of the standards of honesty as provided for by the
#ode of Professional esponsibility &hich &ould have &arranted the i$position of
ad$inistrative sanction against hi$.
2&EREFORE, esolution 7o. JD--=00!-!/ dated Bebruary =@, =00! of the
-ntegrated Bar of the Philippines is '4T A'-+4 and the instant ad$inistrative case
filed against Atty. Manuel 7. #a$acho is +-'M-''4+ for lac* of $erit.
FG.R. No. 127%73. D.+.17.r A, 2003.H
P&#L#PP#NE A#RL#NES, #NC., Petitioner, 3. COURT OF APPEALS, (UDY
A"OR, (ANE GA"#L, 1ior* G#AN CARLO A"OR*.,.! 74 ATTY.
BEN#TED, Respondents.
D E C # S # O N
Before us is a petition for revie& on certiorari under ule !" of the ules of #ourt
see*ing the reversal of the decision 1 dated August 1=, 122>, in #A-C.. #D 7o.
/3/=@ = and the esolution dated 7ove$ber 1", 122> denying the $otion for
reconsideration of Philippine Airlines, -nc. (petitioner for brevity).chanrob1es
virtua1 la& library
Private respondents Judy A$or, Jane Ca$il, $inor Cian #arlo A$or, represented by
his father, Atty. .&en A$or, and, $inor #arlo Benite6, represented by his $other,
Josephine Benite6, filed &ith the egional Trial #ourt (Branch "/), 'orsogon,
'orsogon, a co$plaint / for da$ages against petitioner due to the latterQs failure to
honor their confir$ed tic*ets.
-n support of their clai$, private respondents presented evidence establishing the
follo&ing facts:chanrob1es virtual 1a& library
Private respondent Judy A$or purchased three confir$ed plane tic*ets for her and
her infant son, Cian #arlo A$or as &ell as her sister Jane Ca$il for the May 3,
1233, @:10 a.$. flight, P 1@3, bound for Manila fro$ defendantQs branch office in
Fegaspi #ity. Judy A$or, a dentist and a $e$ber of the Board of +irectors of the
'orsogon +ental Association, &as scheduled to attend the 7ational #onvention of
the Philippine +ental Association fro$ May 3 to 1!, 1233 at the Philippine
-nternational #onvention #enter. !
.n May 3, 1233, Judy &ith Cian, Jane and $inor #arlo Benite6, nephe& of Judy
and Jane, arrived at the Fegaspi Airport at >:=0 a.$. for P 1@3. #arlo Benite6 &as
supposed to use the confir$ed tic*et of a certain +ra. 4$ily #hua. " They &ere
acco$panied by Atty. .&en A$or and the latterQs cousin, 'alvador Con6ales &ho
fell in line at the chec*-in counter &ith four persons ahead of hi$ and three persons
behind hi$ > &hile plaintiff Judy &ent to the office of the station $anager to request
that $inor plaintiff #arlo Benite6 be allo&ed to use the tic*et of +ra. #hua. @ Ahile
&aiting for his turn, Con6ales &as as*ed by Floyd Bo8as, the chec*-in cler* on duty,
to approach the counter. Bo8as &rote so$ething on the tic*ets &hich Con6ales later
read as %late chec*-in @:0".% Ahen Con6alesQ turn ca$e, Bo8as gave hi$ the tic*ets
of private respondents Judy, Jane and Cian and told hi$ to proceed to the cashier to
$a*e arrange$ents. 3
'alvador then &ent to Atty. A$or and told hi$ about the situation. Atty. A$or
pleaded &ith Bo8as, pointing out that it is only >:!" a.$., but the latter did not even
loo* at hi$ or utter any &ord. Atty. A$or then tried to plead &ith +elfin
#anoni6ado and Ceorge #arran6a, e$ployees of petitioner, but still to no avail.
Private respondents &ere not able to board said flight. The plane left at @:/0 a.$.,
t&enty $inutes behind the original schedule. 2
Private respondents &ent to the bus ter$inals hoping to catch a ride for Manila.
Binding none, they &ent bac* to the airport and tried to catch an afternoon flight. 10
5nfortunately, the =:/0 p.$. flight, P =@3, &as cancelled due to %aircraft situation.%
11 Private respondents &ere told to &ait for the ":/0 p.$. flight, P 130. They
chec*ed-in their bags and &ere told to hand in their tic*ets. Fater, a PAF e$ployee
at the chec*-in counter called out the na$e of private respondent $inor #arlo
Benite6. Plaintiff Judy approached the counter and &as told by the PAF personnel
that they cannot be acco$$odated. Bo8as &ho &as also at the counter then re$oved
the boarding passes inserted in private respondentsQ tic*ets as &ell as the tags fro$
their luggages. 1=
Manuel Balta6ar, a for$er Acting Manager of petitioner in Fegaspi #ity in May
1233, testified that based on his investigation, the private respondents, although
confir$ed passengers, &ere not able to board P 1@3 in the $orning of May 3, 1233
because there &ere %go-sho&% or %&aitlisted% and non-revenue passengers &ho &ere
acco$$odated in said flight. ?e also noted that there &as overboo*ing for P 1@3.
.n the other hand, petitioner contends that private respondents are not entitled to
their clai$ for da$ages because they &ere late in chec*ing-in for P 1@3< and that
they &ere only chance or &aitlisted passengers for P 130 and &ere not
acco$$odated because all confir$ed passengers of the flight had chec*ed-in. -n
support thereof, petitioner presented Floyd Bo8as, &ho testified, as
follo&s:chanrob1es virtual 1a& library
-n the $orning of May 3, 1233, he &as on duty at the chec*-in counter of the
Fegaspi Airport. ?e &as the one &ho attended to the tic*ets of private respondents
&hich &ere tendered by 'alvador Con6ales at @:0" a.$. &hen the counter &as
already closed. The cloc* at the chec*-in counter sho&ed that it &as already @:0"
and so he told Con6ales that they are already late and &rote %late chec*-in, @:0"% on
private respondentsQ tic*ets. The flight &as scheduled to leave at @:10 a.$. and
chec*ing-in is allo&ed only until /0 $inutes before departure ti$e. At the ti$e
private respondents &ent to the chec*-in counter, passengers &ere already leaving
the pre-departure area and going to&ards the plane and there &ere no $ore
passengers in the chec*-in area, not even &aitlisted passengers. The baggages of the
passengers have been loaded in the aircraft. Con6ales left and later ca$e bac* &ith
Atty. A$or &ho pleaded that plaintiffs be acco$$odated in the flight. ?e told Atty.
A$or to go to his supervisor to re-boo* the tic*ets because there &ere no $ore
boarding passes and it &as already ti$e for boarding the plane. Atty. A$or then left
the counter. 1!
.n cross-e,a$ination, Bo8as testified that he did not *no& ho& $any &aitlisted or
non-revenue passengers &ere acco$$odated or issued boarding passes in the @:00
a.$. and in the afternoon flight of May 3, 1233. 1"
After trial, the T# rendered 8udg$ent upholding the evidence presented by private
respondents, the dispositive portion of &hich reads:chanrob1es virtual 1a& library
A?44B.4, 8udg$ent is hereby rendered:chanrob1es virtual 1a& library
(a) ordering the defendant to rei$burse the plaintiffs the a$ount of P1,1@1.>0
representing the purchase price of the four (!) plane tic*ets<chanrob1es virtua1 1a&
(b) conde$ning the defendant to pay plaintiffs Judy A$or and Jane Ca$il the
a$ount of P="0,000.00 each as $oral da$ages, P=00,000.00 as e,e$plary da$ages,
plus P100,000.00 as actual da$ages<
(c) for the defendant to pay plaintiffs the a$ount of P/0,000.00 as attorneyQs fees,
plus P"00.00 for every appearance, or a total of P10,"00.00 for =1 actual appearance
(sic) in court, P=,000.00 as incidental litigation e,penses, and to pay the cost of the
'. .+44+. 1>
Aggrieved, petitioner appealed to the #ourt of Appeals (#A for brevity) &hich
affir$ed the 8udg$ent of the trial court in toto and denied petitionerQs $otion for
?ence, the present petition of PAF, raising the follo&ing issues:chanrob1es virtual
1a& library
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-n support of the first issue, petitioner argues:chanrob1es virtual 1a& library
(1) Ahile ordinarily, the findings of the #A are accepted as conclusive by this #ourt,
there are instances &hen the #ourt $ay $a*e its o&n findings such as &hen the
appellate court based its findings on speculation, sur$ises or con8ectures. The
appellate court erroneously gave too $uch reliance on the testi$ony of Balta6ar &ho
is a disgruntled for$er e$ployee and relative of private respondent A$or. ?e &as
not present at the ti$e of the incident. Balta6ar $erely interpreted the flight $anifest
and $ade a lot of speculations &hich is undeserving of attention and $erit.
(=) -ts e$ployees are adequately trained and service oriented that they &ould not
dare violate co$pany rules and regulations. They are a&are of the drastic
consequences that $ay befall the$ as &hat happened to Balta6ar.
(/) As to P 130, private respondents &ere $erely &aitlisted in said flight hence it
&as *no&n to the$ that their acco$$odation in said flight &as dependent upon the
failure of any confir$ed passenger to chec*-in &ithin the regulation chec*-in ti$e.
5nfortunately for the$, all the confir$ed passengers on P 130 chec*ed-in on ti$e.
-n support of the second issue, petitioner contends:chanrob1es virtual 1a& library
(1) The a&ard of actual, $oral and e,e$plary da$ages to private respondents have
no factual nor legal basis at all. -ts failure to acco$$odate private respondents on
Blights P 1@3, =@3 and 130 &as not $otivated by bad faith or $alice but due to a
situation &hich private respondents brought upon the$selves. -t had e,erted ut$ost
and sincere effort to lessen the %agony and predica$ent% of private respondents.
They i$$ediately $ade protective boo*ings for private respondents on the =:/0
p.$. flight, P =@3, &hich unfortunately &as cancelled due to %aircraft situation.%
5pon cancellation of P =@3, they $ade special arrange$ents to enable private
respondents to have first priority in P 130 in case of a %no sho&% confir$ed
(=) To a&ard da$ages to a passenger &ho chec*ed-in late &ould place a pre$iu$ or
re&ard for breach of contract that &ould encourage passengers to intentionally
chec*-in late &ith the e,pectation of an a&ard of da$ages.
(/) Moral and e,e$plary da$ages as &ell as attorneyQs fees are not recoverable in
da$age suits predicated on breach of contract of carriage unless there is evidence of
fraud, $alice or bad faith on the part of the carrier. 4ven assu$ing arguendo that
petitioner is liable for da$ages, the a$ounts a&arded in favor of private respondents
are e,cessive, unreasonable and unconscionable. The pri$ary ob8ect of an a&ard of
da$ages in a civil action is co$pensation or inde$nity or to repair the &rong that
has been done. +a$ages a&arded should be equal to, and co$$ensurate &ith, the
in8ury sustained.
(!) -t &as erroneous to a&ard da$ages in favor of Jane Ca$il &hen she never
appeared before the trial court to prove her clai$ for da$ages.
-n their #o$$ent, private respondents stress that the fact they &ere not late in
chec*ing-in for P 1@3 has been substantially established in the hearing before the
trial court and affir$ed by the #A. They $aintain that, contrary to the assertion of
petitioner, they have established their case not only by a preponderance of evidence
but by proof that is $ore than &hat is required by la& 8ustifying the factual findings
of the trial court and the #A.chanrob1es virtua1 la& library
Private respondents point out that since the issues raised by this petition are factual
and do not fall under e,ceptional circu$stances, there is nothing left to be revie&ed
or e,a$ined by the 'upre$e #ourt.
As to the da$ages a&arded, private respondents contend that the a$ounts a&arded
are not e,cessive, unconscionable or unreasonable because of the high-handed,
$alicious, dictatorial and savage act of petitionerQs e$ployee &hich caused the$
untold $ental anguish, e,cruciating pain, public conte$pt and ridicule, sleepless
nights and other for$s of $oral suffering.
-n its eply, petitioner reiterates its earlier points and questions once $ore the
credibility of private respondentsQ &itnesses, particularly Atty. .&en A$or,
'alvador Con6ales and Manuel Balta6ar &ho are related to the respondents by blood
or affinity.
-n their e8oinder, private respondents aver that the findings of facts of the courts a
quo &ere based not only on the testi$onies of their &itnesses but also on petitionerQs
o&n e$ployee, Floyd Bo8as, &ho testified that there &ere non-revenue, go-sho& and
&aitlisted passengers &ho &ere acco$$odated in P 1@3. They reiterate their
position that &here there is a question regarding the credibility of &itnesses, the
findings of trial courts are generally not disturbed by appellate courts. Binally, as to
the da$ages a&arded, private respondents clai$ that there &as substantial basis in
a&arding such a$ounts.
4vidently, in resolving the t&o issues raised in the present petition, it is inevitable
and $ost crucial that &e first deter$ine the question &hether or not the #A erred in
upholding the T# ruling that private respondents &ere late in chec*ing-in. Both
issues call for a revie& of the factual findings of the lo&er courts.
-n petitions for revie& on certiorari under ule !" of the ules of #ourt, the general
rule is that only questions of la& $ay be raised by the parties and passed upon by
this #ourt. 13 Bactual findings of the appellate court are generally binding on us
especially &hen in co$plete accord &ith the findings of the trial court. 12 This is
because it is not our function to analy6e or &eigh the evidence all over again. =0
?o&ever, this general rule ad$its of e,ceptions, to &it:chanrob1es virtual 1a&
(a) &here there is grave abuse of discretion< (b) &hen the finding is grounded
entirely on speculations, sur$ises or con8ectures< (c) &hen the inference $ade is
$anifestly $ista*en, absurd or i$possible< (d) &hen the 8udg$ent of the #ourt of
Appeals &as based on a $isapprehension of facts< (e) &hen the factual findings are
conflicting< (f) &hen the #ourt of Appeals, in $a*ing its findings, &ent beyond the
issues of the case and the sa$e are contrary to the ad$issions of both appellant and
appellee< (g) &hen the #ourt of Appeals $anifestly overloo*ed certain relevant facts
not disputed by the parties and &hich, if properly considered, &ould 8ustify a
different conclusion< and, (h) &here the findings of fact of the #ourt of Appeals are
contrary to those of the trial court, or are $ere conclusions &ithout citation of
specific evidence, or &here the facts set forth by the petitioner are not disputed by
the respondent, or &here the findings of fact of the #ourt of Appeals are pre$ised on
the absence of evidence and are contradicted by the evidence on record. =1
Petitioner invo*es e,ception (b).
As to the first issue: Ahether or not private respondents chec*ed-in on ti$e for P
1@3. The deter$ination of this issue is necessary because it is e,pressly stipulated in
the airline tic*ets issued to private respondents that PAF &ill consider the reserved
seat cancelled if the passenger fails to chec*-in at least thirty $inutes before the
published departure ti$e. ==
After a careful revie& of the records, &e find no reason to disturb the affir$ance by
the #A of the findings of the trial court that the private respondents have chec*ed-in
on ti$e< that they reached the airport at >:=0 a.$., based on the testi$onies of
private respondent Judy A$or, and &itnesses 'alvador Con6ales and Atty. .&en
A$or &ho &ere consistent in their declarations on the &itness stand and
corroborated one anotherQs state$ents< and that the testi$ony of petitionerQs lone
&itness, Floyd Bo8as is not sufficient to overco$e private respondentsQ
evidence.chanrob1es virtua1 la& library
Ae have repeatedly held that the truth is established not by the nu$ber of &itnesses
but by the quality of their testi$onies. =/ -n the present case, it cannot be said that
the quality of the testi$ony of petitionerQs lone &itness is greater than those of the
private respondents. Bo8as testified that &hen respondents &ent to the chec*-in
counter, there &ere no $ore persons in that area since all the passengers already
boarded the plane. =! ?o&ever, the testi$onies of Manuel Balta6ar and Judy A$or
together &ith the $anifest, 4,hibits %4%, %4-1% and %4-=%, point to the fact that $any
passengers &ere not able to board said flight, including confir$ed passengers,
because of overboo*ing.="crala&:red
-t is a &ell-entrenched principle that absent any sho&ing of grave abuse of discretion
or any palpable error in its findings, this #ourt &ill not question the probative
&eight accorded by the lo&er courts to the various evidence presented by the parties.
As &e e,plained in 'uperlines Transportation #o. -nc., v. -## Feasing O Binancing
#orporation: =>
The #ourt is not tas*ed to calibrate and assess the probative &eight of evidence
adduced by the parties during trial all over again . . . 'o long as the findings of facts
of the #ourt of Appeals are consistent &ith or are not palpably contrary to the
evidence on record, this #ourt shall decline to e$bar* on a revie& on the probative
&eight of the evidence of the parties. =@ (.mphasis supplied)
-t is also &ell established that findings of trial courts on the credibility of &itnesses
is entitled to great respect and &ill not be disturbed on appeal e,cept on very strong
and cogent grounds. =3 Petitioner failed to de$onstrate that the trial court
co$$itted any error in upholding the testi$onies of private respondentsQ &itnesses.
Ae find that the #A co$$itted no reversible error in sustaining the findings of facts
of the trial court.
Private respondents &ho had confir$ed tic*ets for P 1@3 &ere bu$ped-off in favor
of non-revenue passengers. Aitness Manuel Balta6ar, a for$er Acting Manager of
petitioner, evaluated the $anifest for P 1@3 and found that there &ere non-revenue
passengers allo&ed to go on board. ?e specifically identified the fa$ily of Fabanda,
a certain Mr. Fu6, petitionerQs for$er branch $anager, and, a certain Mr. Moyo. =2
Although petitioner had every opportunity to refute such testi$ony, it failed to
present any countervailing evidence. -nstead, petitioner $erely focused on assailing
the credibility of Balta6ar on the ground that he &as a disgruntled e$ployee and a
relative of private respondents. Apart fro$ the bare allegations in petitionerQs
pleadings, no evidence &as ever presented in court to substantiate its clai$ that
Balta6ar &as a disgruntled e$ployee that i$pelled hi$ to testify against petitioner.
As to his relationship &ith private respondents, this #ourt has repeatedly held that a
&itnessQ relationship to the victi$ does not auto$atically affect the veracity of his or
her testi$ony. /0 Ahile this principle is often applied in cri$inal cases, &e dee$
that the sa$e principle $ay apply in this case, albeit civil in nature. -f a &itnessQ
relationship &ith a party does not ipso facto render hi$ a biased &itness in cri$inal
cases &here the quantu$ of evidence required is proof beyond reasonable doubt,
there is no reason &hy the sa$e principle should not apply in civil cases &here the
quantu$ of evidence is only preponderance of evidence.
As aptly observed by the #A &hich &e hereby adopt:chanrob1es virtual 1a& library
-ronically for the defendant, aside fro$ appellantQs assu$ption that Balta6ar could
be a disgruntled for$er e$ployee of their co$pany and could be biased (&hich
sa$e reason could be attributed to Floyd Bo8as) due to a distant relationship &ith the
plaintiff, it offered no proof or evidence to rebut, de$ean and contradict the
substance of the testi$ony of Balta6ar on the crucial point that plaintiffs-appellees
&ere bu$ped off to acco$$odate non-revenue, &aitlisted or go-sho& passengers.
.n this fact alone, defendantQs position &ea*ens &hile credibly establishing that
indeed plaintiffs arrived at the airport on ti$e to chec*-in for Blight P 1@3. Burther
e$phasis $ust be $ade that Floyd Bo8as even affir$ed in court that he can not
recall ho& $any P 1@3 boarding passes he had at the chec*-in counter because
$anage$ent has authority to acco$$odate in any flight and correspondingly issue
boarding passes to non-revenue passengers (pages 1"E1>, T'7, January =!, 1220).
-ndeed, Petitioner, through its lone &itness Bo8as, could only ans&er during his
e,a$ination on the &itness stand that he is unable to recall the circu$stances
reco$$ending the issuances of boarding passes to &aitlisted and that it is the
$anage$ent &hich has the authority to issue boarding passes to non-revenue
passengers. /= 4ven in the afternoon flight, P 130. Bo8as could not squarely deny
that confir$ed paying passengers &ere bu$ped-off in favor of non-revenue ones.
The #A li*e&ise correctly concluded that there &as overboo*ing in the $orning
flight on the basis of the testi$ony of private respondentsQ &itness Manuel Balta6ar,
to &it:chanrob1es virtual 1a& library
ATTG. #AF-#A:chanrob1es virtual 1a& library
M There &as a $e$orandu$ order of the PAF prohibiting overboo*ing. Are you
a&are of #AB egulation 7o. @ on boarding passengersPchanrob1es virtua1 la&
A-T74'':chanrob1es virtual 1a& library
A Ges.
ATTG. #AF-#A:chanrob1es virtual 1a& library
M Gou &ill agree &ith $e that this regulation allo&s only overboo*ing by 10KP
A-T74'':chanrob1es virtual 1a& library
A Ges, that is a govern$ent regulation and the co$pany regulation is different.
#.5T:chanrob1es virtual 1a& library
M But in the $orning flight of May 3, 1233, granting that the govern$ent regulation
allo&s only 10K overboo*ing, can you tell the #ourt fro$ the $anifest itself
&hether it e,ceeded the 10K overboo*ing allo&ed by the regulation rec*oning fro$
the 102 passenger seaterP
A-T74'':chanrob1es virtual 1a& library
A Aith the capacity of 102, 10K of it &ill be 10 or 11, so if &e add this it &ill not
e,ceed 1=0 passengers.
#.5T:chanrob1es virtual 1a& library
M -n that flight ho& $any &ere confir$edP
A-T74'':chanrob1es virtual 1a& library
A -n that flight those passengers that &ere confir$ed have a total of 1=>.
#.5T:chanrob1es virtual 1a& library
M 4ven if &hen allo&ed the govern$ent regulation of overboo*ing, you &ill still
e,ceed the allo&able overboo*ing nu$berP
A-T74'':chanrob1es virtual 1a& library
A Ges. /! (.mphasis supplied)
This fact of overboo*ing, again, &as not adequately refuted by petitionerQs evidence.
The appellate court aptly sustained the trial court in giving probative &eight to the
M: And ho& about you, &hat did you do &hen you arrived at the Fegaspi Airport at
>:=0 &hile 'alvador Con6ales &as at the chec*-in counter to pay the tic*etsP
A: - &ent to the .ffice of the .-# Manager at the right side of the Fegaspi Ter$inal.
* * *
M: Aho &as that ManagerP
A: - &as able to *no& his na$e as +elfin #anoni6ado.
M: There &ere also people there near the table of Mr. #anoni6ado, do you *no&
&hat &ere they doingP
A: They &ere $a*ing co$plaints also because they &ere also scheduled for flight on
that day. They &ere not acco$$odated. /" (.mphasis supplied)
Ae have noted an inconsistency in the testi$ony of private respondentsQ &itness,
'alvador Con6ales in the direct and cross-e,a$inations. -n his direct testi$ony,
Con6ales stated that &hile he &as &aiting in line at the chec*-in counter, &ith four
persons still ahead of hi$, Floyd Bo8as as*ed hi$ to approach the counter, too*
private respondentsQ tic*ets and &rote so$ething on the$. -t &as only later on &hen
his turn ca$e, that he found out that &hat Bo8as &rote on the tic*ets &as %late chec*-
in @:0".% .n cross-e,a$ination, Con6ales testified that it &as only after the four
persons ahead of hi$ &ere acco$$odated that Bo8as &rote on the tic*ets %late
chec*-in @:0".% ?o&ever, upon clarificatory questions propounded by the trial court,
Con6ales &as able to clarify that Bo8as had &ritten the ti$e on the tic*et before the
four persons ahead of hi$ &ere entertained at the counter. /> 5nderstandably, the
lo&er courts found no cogent reason to discredit the testi$ony of &itness
Con6ales.chanrob1es virtua1 la& library
Ae have held in an earlier case that a &itness $ay contradict hi$self on the
circu$stances of an act or different acts due to a long series of questions on cross-
e,a$ination during &hich the $ind beco$es tired to such a degree that the &itness
does not understand &hat he is testifying about, especially if the questions, in their
$a8ority are leading and tend to $a*e hi$ ratify a for$er contrary declaration. /@
-n fine, the findings of fact of the trial court, as sustained by the #A, have to be
respected. As &e have consistently held, trial courts en8oy the unique advantage of
observing at close range the de$eanor, deport$ent and conduct of &itnesses as they
give their testi$onies. Thus, assign$ent to declarations on the &itness stand is best
done by the$ &ho, unli*e appellate $agistrates, can &eigh firsthand the testi$ony
of a &itness. /3
Anent the second issue as to &hether or not the da$ages a&arded are e,cessive, &e
rule in the affir$ative. The #ourt of Appeals co$$itted an error in sustaining the
ruling of the trial court requiring petitioner to rei$burse private respondents the
a$ount of four plane tic*ets, including the tic*et for private respondent $inor #arlo
As ad$itted by private respondent Judy in her testi$ony, the only confir$ed tic*ets
for the $orning flight (P 1@3) are the tic*ets for herself, her infant son, Cian #arlo
and her sister Jane Ca$il. They had another tic*et &hich Judy bought for a certain
+ra. 4$ily #hua &ho bac*ed out and &hose tic*et they had intended to be
transferred to #arlo Benite6. /2 Although it is clearly stated in the tic*et that the
sa$e is non-transferrable, !0 Judy testified that a PAF e$ployee issued another
tic*et in the na$e of #arlo Benite6 in lieu of the tic*et issued for +ra. #hua.
?o&ever, an e,a$ination of the tic*et issued, 4,hibit %#%, discloses that it does not
state therein the flight nu$ber or ti$e of departure. #onsequently, in the absence of
co$petent evidence, private respondent #arlo Benite6Q co$plaint should be
Ae find no 8ustifiable reason that &arrants the a&ard of P100,000.00 as actual
da$ages in favor of all private respondents. Article =122 of the #ivil #ode, provides
that actual or co$pensatory da$ages $ay only be given for such pecuniary loss
suffered by hi$ as he has duly proved. Ae e,plained in #han v. Maceda !1
that:chanrob1es virtual 1a& library
. . . A court cannot rely on speculations, con8ectures or guess&or* as to the fact and
a$ount of da$ages, but $ust depend upon co$petent proof that they have been
suffered by the in8ured party and on the best obtainable evidence of the actual
a$ount thereof. -t $ust point out specific facts &hich could afford a basis for
$easuring &hatever co$pensatory or actual da$ages are borne. !=
All that &as proved by herein private respondents &as the a$ount of the purchase
price of the plane tic*ets of private respondents Judy, Jane and Cian #arlo. .nly
said a$ounts should therefore be considered in a&arding actual da$ages. As borne
by the records, private respondent Judy A$or paid P!>>.00 each for her tic*et and
that of Jane< &hile she paid P!>.>0 for her infant Cian #arlo. !/ The a$ount of
actual da$ages should therefore be reduced to P2@3.>0, payable to private
respondent Judy A$or.
As to $oral da$ages.
-t should be stressed that $oral da$ages are not intended to enrich a plaintiff at the
e,pense of the defendant but are a&arded only to allo& the for$er to obtain $eans,
diversion or a$use$ents that &ill serve to alleviate the $oral suffering he has
undergone due to the defendantQs culpable action. !! Ae e$phasi6ed in Philippine
7ational Ban* v. #ourt of Appeals that $oral da$ages are not punitive in nature but
are designed to so$eho& alleviate the physical suffering, $ental anguish, fright,
serious an,iety, bes$irched reputation, &ounded feelings, $oral shoc*, social
hu$iliation and si$ilar in8ury un8ustly caused to a person. Ae have held that even
though $oral da$ages are incapable of pecuniary co$putation, it should
nevertheless be proportional to and in appro,i$ation of the suffering inflicted. And,
to be recoverable, such da$age $ust be the pro,i$ate result of a &rongful act or
o$ission the factual basis for &hich is satisfactorily established by the aggrieved
party. !"
-n the case at bar, private respondent Judy A$or testified that she felt %asha$ed%
&hen the plane too* off and they &ere left at the airport since there &ere $any
people there &ho sa& the$ including dentists li*e her. 'he also related that she
$issed the Philippine +ental #onvention scheduled on the 3th of May, 1233 &here
she &as supposed to attend as a dentist and officer of the 'orsogon +ental
Association. They tried to loo* for buses bound for Manila but $issed those
scheduled in the $orning. They &ent bac* to the airport but still failed to ta*e an
afternoon flight. ?ence, she &as forced to ta*e a bus that evening for Manila &hich
did not allo& her to sleep that night. !> Private respondent Judy ho&ever did not
$iss the &hole convention as she &as able to leave on the night of the first day of
the &ee* long convention.chanrob1es virtua1 la& library
Ahile there is no hard and fast rule for deter$ining &hat &ould be a fair a$ount of
$oral da$ages, generally, the a$ount a&arded should be co$$ensurate &ith the
actual loss or in8ury suffered. !@
The #A erred in upholding the trial courtQs a&ard of $oral da$ages based on Judy
A$orQs clai$ that there &as a denigration of her social and financial standing.
Private respondent Judy failed to sho& that she &as treated rudely or disrespectfully
by petitionerQs e$ployees despite her stature as a dentist. As &e held in Hierulf v.
#ourt of Appeals. !3
The social and financial standing of Fucila cannot be considered in a&arding $oral
da$ages. The factual circu$stances prior to the accident sho& that no %rude and
rough% reception, no %$enacing attitude,% no %supercilious $anner,% no %abusive
language and highly scornful reference% &as given her. The social and financial
standing of a clai$ant of $oral da$ages $ay be considered in a&arding $oral
da$ages only if he or she &as sub8ected to conte$ptuous conduct despite the
offenderQs *no&ledge of his or her social and financial standing. !2 (.mphasis
7evertheless, &e hold that private respondent Judy A$or is entitled to $oral
da$ages. -n a nu$ber of cases, &e have pronounced that air carriage is a business
possessed &ith special qualities. -n 'ingson v. #ourt of Appeals, "0 &e e,plained
that:chanrob1es virtual 1a& library
A contract of air carriage is a peculiar one. -$bued &ith public interest, co$$on
carriers are required by la& to carry passengers safely as far as hu$an care and
foresight can provide, using the ut$ost diligence of a very cautious person, &ith due
regard for all the circu$stances. A contract to transport passengers is quite different
in *ind and degree fro$ any other contractual relation. And this because its business
is $ainly &ith the traveling public. -t invites people to avail of the co$forts and
advantages it offers. The contract of carriage, therefore, generates a relation attended
&ith a public duty. Bailure of the carrier to observe this high degree of care and
e,traordinary diligence renders it liable for any da$age that $ay be sustained by its
passengers. "1
As the lo&er courts have found, evidence positively sho& that petitioner has
acco$$odated &aitlisted and non-revenue passengers and had overboo*ed $ore
than &hat is allo&ed by la&, to the pre8udice of private respondents &ho had
confir$ed tic*ets. .verboo*ing a$ounts to bad faith "= and therefore petitioner is
liable to pay $oral da$ages to respondent Judy A$or.
#onsidering all the foregoing, &e dee$ that the a&ard of P="0,000.00 as $oral
da$ages in favor of private respondent Judy A$or is e,orbitant. Ahere the da$ages
a&arded are far too e,cessive co$pared to the actual losses sustained by the
aggrieved party, the sa$e should be reduced to a $ore reasonable a$ount. "/ Ae
find the a$ount of P100,000.00 to be sufficient, 8ust and reasonable.
Ae consider the a&ard of actual da$ages in favor of private respondent Jane Ca$il
to be inappropriate considering the testi$ony of Judy A$or that she &as the one
&ho paid for the tic*ets. "! Fi*e&ise, the appellate court erred in sustaining the
a&ard of $oral da$ages in favor of Jane Ca$il as she never testified in court. -t has
been held that &here the plaintiff fails to ta*e the &itness stand and testify as to his
social hu$iliation, &ounded feelings and an,iety, $oral da$ages cannot be
recovered.% ""
As to the a&ard of e,e$plary da$ages, Article ==/! of the #ivil #ode provides that
the clai$ant $ust sho& that he &ould be entitled to $oral, te$perate or
co$pensatory da$ages before the court $ay consider the question &hether or not
e,e$plary da$ages should be a&arded.
#onsequently, private respondent Jane Ca$il, not being entitled to actual and $oral
da$ages, is not entitled to e,e$plary da$ages.
The a&ard of e,e$plary da$ages in favor of private respondent Judy A$or is
&arranted in this case. "> Aaitlisted and non-revenue passengers &ere
acco$$odated &hile private respondent Judy A$or &ho had fully paid her fare and
&as a confir$ed passenger &as unduly deprived of enplaning. Petitioner &as guilty
of overboo*ing its flight to the pre8udice of its confir$ed passengers. This practice
cannot be countenanced especially considering that the business of air carriage is
i$bued &ith public character. Ae have ruled that &here in breaching the contract of
carriage, the airline is sho&n to have acted in bad faith, as in this case, "@ the a&ard
of e,e$plary da$ages in addition to $oral and actual da$ages is proper. "3
?o&ever, as in the $atter of the $oral da$ages a&arded by the trial court, &e
consider the a$ount of P=00,000.00 as e,e$plary da$ages to be far too e,cessive.
The a$ount of P=",000.00 is 8ust and proper.
Ae find the a&ard of attorneyQs fees in this case to be in order since it is &ell settled
that the sa$e $ay be a&arded &hen the defendantQs act or o$ission has co$pelled
the plaintiff to litigate &ith third persons or to incur e,penses to protect his interest.
A?44B.4, &e affir$ the decision of the #ourt of Appeals &ith the follo&ing
M.+-B-#AT-.7':chanrob1es virtual 1a& library
1. Petitioner is ordered to pay private respondent Judy A$or the a$ount of P2@3.>0
as and for actual da$ages< P100,000.00 as $oral da$ages< P=",000.00 as e,e$plary
da$ages< and attorneyQs fees in the a$ount of P/0,000.00 plus P"00.00 for every
appearance of private respondentQs la&yer, or a total of P10,"00.00 for =1 actual
appearances in court< P=,000.00 as incidental litigation e,penses< and costs of suit.
=. The clai$ for da$ages of private respondent Jane Ca$il is +47-4+ for lac* of
/. The co$plaint of private respondent #arlo Benite6 is +-'M-''4+ for lac* of
cause of action.chanrob1es virtua1 la& library
7o pronounce$ent as to costs.
'. .+44+.
G.R. No. AAG39 O+,o7.r 2B, 1993
JUE CU#SON, !oi6 7)*i.** )!.r ,0. /ir1 a1. a! *,4l.;JUE CU#SON
PAPER SUPPLY,; petitioner,
ASSOC#ATES, respondents.
B#D#N, J.:
This petition for revie& assails the decision of the respondent #ourt of Appeals
ordering petitioner to pay private respondent, a$ong others, the su$ of P=2@,!3=./0
&ith interest. 'aid decision reversed the appealed decision of the trial court rendered
in favor of petitioner.
The case involves an action for a su$ of $oney filed by respondent against
petitioner anchored on the follo&ing antecedent facts:
Petitioner Hue #uison is a sole proprietorship engaged in the purchase and sale of
ne&sprint, bond paper and scrap, &ith places of business at Baesa, Mue6on #ity, and
'to. #risto, Binondo, Manila. Private respondent Daliant -nvest$ent Associates, on
the other hand, is a partnership duly organi6ed and e,isting under the la&s of the
Philippines &ith business address at Haloo*an #ity.
Bro$ +ece$ber !, 12@2 to Bebruary 1", 1230, private respondent delivered various
*inds of paper products a$ounting to P=2@,!3@./0 to a certain Filian Tan of FT
Trading. The deliveries &ere $ade by respondent pursuant to orders allegedly
placed by Tiu ?uy Tiac &ho &as then e$ployed in the Binondo office of petitioner.
-t &as li*e&ise pursuant to Tiac9s instructions that the $erchandise &as delivered to
Filian Tan. 5pon delivery, Filian Tan paid for the $erchandise by issuing several
chec*s payable to cash at the specific request of Tiu ?uy Tiac. -n turn, Tiac issued
nine (2) postdated chec*s to private respondent as pay$ent for the paper products.
5nfortunately, sad chec*s &ere later dishonored by the dra&ee ban*.
Thereafter, private respondent $ade several de$ands upon petitioner to pay for the
$erchandise in question, clai$ing that Tiu ?uy Tiac &as duly authori6ed by
petitioner as the $anager of his Binondo office, to enter into the questioned
transactions &ith private respondent and Filian Tan. Petitioner denied any
involve$ent in the transaction entered into by Tiu ?uy Tiac and refused to pay
private respondent the a$ount corresponding to the selling price of the sub8ect
Feft &ith no recourse, private respondent filed an action against petitioner for the
collection of P=2@,!3@./0 representing the price of the $erchandise. After due
hearing, the trial court dis$issed the co$plaint against petitioner for lac* of $erit.
.n appeal, ho&ever, the decision of the trial court &as $odified, but &as in effect
reversed by the #ourt of Appeals, the dispositive portion of &hich reads:
A?44B.4, the decision appealed fro$ is M.+-B-4+ in
that defendant-appellant Hue #uison is hereby ordered to pay
plaintiff-appellant Daliant -nvest$ent Associates the su$ of
P=2@,!3@./0 &ith 1=K interest fro$ the filing of the co$plaint
until the a$ount is fully paid, plus the su$ of @K of the total
a$ount due as attorney9s fees, and to pay the costs. -n all other
respects, the decision appealed fro$ is affir$ed. ((ollo, p. "")
-n this petition, petitioner contends that:
T?4 ?.7.ABF4 #.5T 44+ -7 B-7+-7C T-5 ?5G
T-A# AC47T .B +4B47+A7T-APP4FFA7T #.7TAG
T. T?4 57+-'P5T4+N4'TABF-'?4+ BA#T' A7+
T?4 ?.7.ABF4 #.5T 44+ -7 B-7+-7C
+4B47+A7T-APP4FFA7T F-ABF4 B. A7 .BF-CAT-.7
57+-'P5T4+FG B4F.7C-7C T. T-5 ?5G T-A#.
T?4 ?.7.ABF4 #.5T 44+ -7 4D4'-7C T?4 A4FF-B.57+4+
+4#-'-.7 .B T?4 T-AF #.5T, ((ollo, p, 12)
The issue here is really quite si$ple T &hether or not Tiu ?uy Tiac possessed the
required authority fro$ petitioner sufficient to hold the latter liable for the disputed
This petition ought to have been denied outright, forin the final analysis, it raises a
factual issue. -t is ele$entary that in petitions for revie& under ule !", this #ourt
only passes upon questions of la&. An e,ception thereto occurs &here the findings
of fact of the #ourt of Appeals are at variance &ith the trial court, in &hich case the
#ourt revie&s the evidence in order to arrive at the correct findings based on the
As to the $erits of the case, it is a &ell-established rule that one &ho clothes another
&ith apparent authority as his agent and holds hi$ out to the public as such cannot
be per$itted to deny the authority of such person to act as his agent, to the pre8udice
of innocent third parties dealing &ith such person in good faith and in the honest
belief that he is &hat he appears to be (Mac*e, et al, v. #a$ps, @ Phil. ""/ (120@;<
Philippine 7ational Ban*. v #ourt of Appeals, 2! '#A /"@ L12@2;). Bro$ the facts
and the evidence on record, there is no doubt that this rule obtains. The petition $ust
therefore fail.
-t is evident fro$ the records that by his o&n acts and ad$ission, petitioner held out
Tiu ?uy Tiac to the public as the $anager of his store in 'to. #risto, Binondo,
Manila. More particularly, petitioner e,plicitly introduced Tiu ?uy Tiac to
Bernardino Dillanueva, respondent9s $anager, as his (petitioner9s) branch $anager as
testified to by Bernardino Dillanueva. 'econdly, Filian Tan, &ho has been doing
business &ith petitioner for quite a &hile, also testified that she *ne& Tiu ?uy Tiac
to be the $anager of petitioner9s 'to. #risto, Binondo branch. This general
perception of Tiu ?uy Tiac as the $anager of petitioner9s 'to. #risto store is even
$ade $anifest by the fact that Tiu ?uy Tiac is *no&n in the co$$unity to be the
%*ina*apatid% (godbrother) of petitioner. -n fact, even petitioner ad$itted his close
relationship &ith Tiu ?uy Tiac &hen he said that they are %li*e brothers% ((ollo, p.
"!). There &as thus no reason for anybody especially those transacting business &ith
petitioner to even doubt the authority of Tiu ?uy Tiac as his $anager in the 'to.
#risto Binondo branch.
-n a futile atte$pt to discredit Dillanueva, petitioner alleges that the for$er9s
testi$ony is clearly self-serving inas$uch as Dillanueva &or*ed for private
respondent as its $anager.
Ae disagree, The argu$ent that Dillanueva9s testi$ony is self-serving and therefore
inad$issible on the la$e e,cuse of his e$ploy$ent &ith private respondent utterly
$isconstrues the nature of %9self-serving evidence% and the specific ground for its
e,clusion. As pointed out by this #ourt in Co v. Court of Appeals et, al., (22 '#A
/=1 L1230;):
'elf-serving evidence is evidence $ade by a party out of court at
one ti$e< it does not include a party$s testimony as a #itness in
court. -t is e,cluded on the sa$e ground as any hearsay
evidence, that is the lac* of opportunity for cross-e,a$ination
by the adverse party, and on the consideration that its ad$ission
&ould open the door to fraud and to fabrication of testi$ony. .n
theother hand, a party9s testi$ony in court is s&orn and affords
the other party the opportunity for cross-e,a$ination (e$phasis
Petitioner cites Dillanueva9s failure, despite his co$$it$ent to do so on cross-
e,a$ination, to produce the very first invoice of the transaction bet&een petitioner
and private respondent as another ground to discredit Dillanueva9s testi$ony. 'uch
failure, proves that Dillanueva &as not only bluffing &hen he pretended that he can
produce the invoice, but that Dillanueva &as li*e&ise prevaricating &hen he insisted
that such prior transactions actually too* place. Petitioner is $ista*en. -n fact, it &as
petitioner9s counsel hi$self &ho &ithdre& the reservation to have Dillanueva
produce the docu$ent in court. As aptly observed by the #ourt of Appeals in its
. . . ?o&ever, during the hearing on March /, 1231, Dillanueva
failed to present the docu$ent adverted to because defendant-
appellant9s counsel &ithdre& his reservation to have the for$er
(Dillanueva) produce the docu$ent or invoice, thus pro$pting
plaintiff-appellant to rest its case that sa$e day (t.s.n., pp. /2-!0,
'ess. of March /, 1231). 7o&, defendant-appellant assails the
credibility of Dillanueva for having allegedly failed to produce
even one single docu$ent to sho& that plaintiff-appellant have
had transactions before, &hen in fact said failure of Dillanueva
to produce said docu$ent is a direct off-shoot of the action of
defendant-appellant9s counsel &ho &ithdre& his reservation for
the production of the docu$ent or invoice and &hich led
plaintiff-appellant to rest its case that very day. ((ollo, p."=)
-n the sa$e $anner, petitioner assails the credibility of Filian Tan by alleging that
Tan &as part of an intricate plot to defraud hi$. ?o&ever, petitioner failed to
substantiate or prove that the sub8ect transaction &as designed to defraud hi$.
-ronically, it &as even the testi$ony of petitioner9s daughter and assistant $anager
-$elda Hue #uison &hich confir$ed the credibility of Tan as a &itness. .n the
&itness stand, -$elda testified that she *ne& for a fact that prior to the transaction in
question, Tan regularly transacted business &ith her father (petitioner herein),
thereby corroborating Tan9s testi$ony to the sa$e effect. As correctly found by the
respondent court, there &as no logical e,planation for Tan to i$pute liability upon
petitioner. ather, the testi$ony of -$elda Hue #uison only served to add credence
to Tan9s testi$ony as regards the transaction, the liability for &hich petitioner &ishes
to be absolved.
But of even greater &eight than any of these testi$onies, is petitioner9s categorical
ad$ission on the &itness stand that Tiu ?uy Tiac &as the $anager of his store in
'to. #risto, Binondo, to &it:
,,, ,,, ,,,
M And &ho &as $anaging the store in 'to.
A At first it &as Mr. Ang, then later Mr. Tiu
?uy Tiac but - cannot re$e$ber the e,act
M 'o, Mr. Tiu ?uy Tiac too* over the
A 7ot that &as because every afternoon, -
&as there, sir.
M But in the $orning, &ho ta*es chargeP
A Tiu 2uy Tiac ta3es charge of
management and if there (sic) orders for
ne&sprint or bond papers they are al&ays
referred to the co$pound in Baesa, sir.
(t.s.n., p. 1>, 'ession of January =0, 1231,
#A decision, (ollo, p. "0, e$phasis
'uch ad$ission, spontaneous no doubt, and standing alone, is sufficient to negate all
the denials $ade by petitioner regarding the capacity of Tiu ?uy Tiac to enter into
the transaction in question. Burther$ore, consistent &ith and as an obvious
indication of the fact that Tiu ?uy Tiac &as the $anager of the 'to. #risto branch,
three (/) $onths after Tiu ?uy Tiac left petitioner9s e$ploy, petitioner even sent,
co$$unications to its custo$ers notifying the$ that Tiu ?uy Tiac is no longer
connected &ith petitioner9s business. 'uch underta*ing spo*e un$ista*enly of Tiu
?uy Tiac9s valuable position as petitioner9s $anager than any uttered disclai$er.
More than anything else, this act ta*en together &ith the declaration of petitioner in
open court a$ount to ad$issions under ule 1/0 'ection == of the ules of #ourt,
to &it : %The act, declaration or o$ission of a party as to a relevant fact $ay be
given in evidence against hi$.% Bor &ell-settled is the rule that %a $an9s acts,
conduct, and declaration, &herever $ade, if voluntary, are ad$issible against hi$,
for the reason that it is fair to presu$e that they correspond &ith the truth, and it is
his fault if they do not. -f a $an9s e,tra8udicial ad$issions are ad$issible against
hi$, there see$s to be no reason &hy his ad$issions $ade in open court, under
oath, should not be accepted against hi$.% (5.'. vs. #hing Po, =/ Phil. "@3, "3/
Moreover, petitioner9s une,plained delay in diso&ning the transactions entered into
by Tiu ?uy Tiac despite several atte$pts $ade by respondent to collect the a$ount
fro$ hi$, proved all the $ore that petitioner &as a&are of the questioned
co$$ission &as tanta$ount to an ad$ission by silence under ule 1/0 'ection =/
of the ules of #ourt, thus: %Any act or declaration $ade in the presence of and
&ithin the observation of a party &ho does or says nothing &hen the act or
declaration is such as naturally to call for action or co$$ent if not true, $ay be
given in evidence against hi$.%
All of these point to the fact that at the ti$e of the transaction Tiu ?uy Tiac &as
ad$ittedly the $anager of petitioner9s store in 'to. #risto, Binondo. #onsequently,
the transaction in question as &ell as the conco$itant obligation is valid and binding
upon petitioner.
By his representations, petitioner is no& estopped fro$ disclai$ing liability for the
transaction entered by Tiu ?uy Tiac on his behalf. -t $atters not &hether the
representations are intentional or $erely negligent so long as innocent, third persons
relied upon such representations in good faith and for value As held in the case
of 0anila (emnant Co. Inc. v. Court of Appeals, (121 '#A >== L1220;):
More in point, &e find that by the principle of estoppel, Manila
e$nant is dee$ed to have allo&ed its agent to act as though it
had plenary po&ers. Article 1211 of the #ivil #ode provides:
%4ven &hen the agent has e,ceeded his
authority, the principal issolidarily liable
&ith the agent if the for$er allo&ed the
latter to act as though he had full po&ers.%
(4$phasis supplied).
The above-quoted article is ne&. -t is intended to protect the
rights of innocent persons. -n such a situation, both the principal
and the agent $ay be considered as 8oint tortfeasors &hose
liability is 8oint and solidary.
Authority by estoppel has arisen in the instant case because by
its negligence, the principal, Manila e$nant, has per$itted its
agent, A.5. Dalencia and #o., to e,ercise po&ers not granted to
it. That the principal $ight not have had actual *no&ledge of
theagent9s $isdeed is of no $o$ent.
Tiu ?uy Tiac, therefore, by petitioner9s o&n representations and $anifestations,
beca$e an agent of petitioner by estoppel, an ad$ission or representation is
rendered conclusive upon the person $a*ing it, and cannot be denied or disproved
as against the person relying thereon (Article 1!/1, #ivil #ode of the Philippines). A
party cannot be allo&ed to go bac* on his o&n acts and representations to the
pre8udice of the other party &ho, in good faith, relied upon the$ (Philippine
7ational Ban* v. -nter$ediate Appellate #ourt, et al., 132 '#A >30 L1220;).
Ta*en in this light,. petitioner is liable for the transaction entered into by Tiu ?uy
Tiac on his behalf. Thus, even &hen the agent has e,ceeded his authority, the
principal is solidarily liable &ith the agent if the for$er allo&ed the latter to fact as
though he had full po&ers (Article 1211 #ivil #ode), as in the case at bar.
Binally, although it $ay appear that Tiu ?uy Tiac defrauded his principal (petitioner)
in not turning over the proceeds of the transaction to the latter, such fact cannot in
any &ay relieve nor e,onerate petitioner of his liability to private respondent. Bor it
is an equitable $a,i$ that as bet&een t&o innocent parties, the one &ho $ade it
possible for the &rong to be done should be the one to bear the resulting loss
(Brancisco vs. Covern$ent 'ervice -nsurance 'yste$, @ '#A "@@ L12>/;).
-nas$uch as the funda$ental issue of the capacity or incapacity of the purported
agent Tiu ?uy Tiac, has already been resolved, the #ourt dee$s it unnecessary to
resolve the other peripheral issues raised by petitioner.
A?44B.4, the instant petition in hereby +47-4+ for lac* of $erit. #osts
against petitioner.
'. .+44+.
G.R. No. AB939 A)6)*, 2, 1993
PEOPLE OF T&E P&#L#PP#NES, plaintiff-appellee,
DA$#DE, (R., J.:
'antos +ucay and 4dgardo +ucay, father and son, &ere charged &ith the co$ple,
cri$e of double $urder and $ultiple frustrated $urder in an -nfor$ation
filed on
1> .ctober 123> &ith the egional Trial #ourt (T#) of Dalen6uela, Metro Manila,
allegedly co$$itted as follo&s:
that on or about the 1=th day of .ctober, 123>, in the
$unicipality of Dalen6uela, Metro Manila, Philippines, and
&ithin the 8urisdiction of this ?onorable #ourt, the above-na$ed
accused, &ith intent to *ill Pacita Fabos, Manuel Fabos, Fina
Fabos-Mo8ica, 4d&in Fabos and Ma. #ristina Fabos, conspiring
and confederating together and $utually helping one another,
did then and there &illfully, unla&fully and feloniously, &ith
evident pre$editation, abuse of superior strength and treachery,
attac*, assault and shoot &ith a .!" caliber Lpistol; and shotgun
they &ere then provided the said Pacita Fabos, Manuel Fabos<
Fina Fabos-Mo8ica, 4d&in Fabos and Maria #ristina Fabos,
hitting the$ on their body, thereby causing the$ serious
physical in8uries &hich directly caused the death of Pacita Fabos
and Manuel Fabos< thereby, also, &ith respect to Fina Fabos-
Mo8ica, 4d&in Fabos and Maria #ristina Fabos, perfor$ing all
the acts of e,ecution &hich ordinarily &ould have produced the
cri$e of $urder but &hich nevertheless did not produce it by
reason of a cause independent of their &ill, that is, the ti$ely
and able $edical attendance rendered to said Fina Fabos-
Mo8ica, 4d&in Fabos and Maria #ristina Fabos &hich prevented
their death.
The case &as doc*eted as #ri$inal #ase 7o. @@2=-D-> before Branch 1@= of the
said court. 5pon arraign$ent, both accused entered a plea not guilty.
-n due course,
the trial on the $erits proceeded.
The &itnesses presented by the prosecution &ere 4d&in Fabos, Fina Fabos, 'gt.
Ponciano #asile, +r. odolfo Fi6ondra, +r. Tahil Mindalano and +r. Feo Arthur
.n the other hand, the &itnesses presented by the defense &ere accused
'antos +ucay and 4dgardo +ucay, uben A$puan, Mario Abad and #ristino
Prosecution &itness Fina Fabos testified that at about ":00 o9cloc* in the $orning of
1= .ctober 123>, she &as sleeping in the sala at the second floor of the house
together &ith her husband, Manuel Fabos, and their si,-$onth old daughter, Ma.
#ristina Fabos, &hen she &as a&a*ened by the pounding of the door on the first
floor leading to the sala. Mo$ents later, 'antos +ucay and his son, 4dgardo +ucay,
appeared in the sala. 'antos &as carrying a long firear$ &hile 4dgardo held a
caliber .!" pistol. The t&o started firing at Manuel, &ho &as already standing albeit
half asleep. Then they shot her $other-in-la&, Pacita Fabos. Both Manuel and Pacita
&ere *illed. The accused also shot her, Ma. #ristina, and 4d&in Fabos, her brother-
in-la&, &ho &as then co$ing out of the bedroo$. 'he &as hit in the sto$ach and
gall bladder &hile Ma. #ristina &as hit in the right leg, left thigh and abdo$en. The
accused then turned their bac*s and one of the$ uttered %4bos ang lahi.% 'he &as
able to identify the t&o accused, &ho are her for$er neighbors, because of the
fluorescent light in the sala. After the accused had left, the police ca$e and brought
the &ounded to the Jose eyes Me$orial Medical #enter.
4d&in Fabos testified that on =! +ece$ber 123" his brother Manuel Fabos and
'antos +ucay quarreled and stabbed each other< ho&ever, 'antos +ucay did not file
any charges against Manuel &ho gave the for$er P=00.00 for $edical
?e also corroborated the testi$ony of his sister-in-la&. ?e heard the
banging of the door and several gunshots, then he &ent out of his roo$ and sa& his
brother Manuel already spra&led dead on the floor. ?e sa& both accused shoot his
sister-in-la& and his niece.
4dgardo then fired at hi$, hitting hi$ in the right thigh,
&hile 'antos shot his $other.
?e &as later treated at the Jose eyes Me$orial
Medical #enter &here he spent P1/,=22."/ (4,hibits %M% to %M-1>"%). They paid
P1/,=00.00 to Popular Me$orial #hapels and P2,0>0.00 to ?oly #ross Me$orial
#hapel for the inter$ent of his $other and brother.
'gt. Ponciano #asile, a police investigator of the Dalen6uela Police 'tation, testified
that he &as ordered to investigate the incident. -n the course of his investigation, he
learned that the assailants &ere 'antos +ucay and a yet unidentified $an &ho, upon
Fina +ucay9s s&orn state$ent given t&o days later, &as identified as 'antos +ucay9s
son, 4dgardo.
+r. odolfo Fi6ondra, 'upervising Medico-Fegal .fficer of the 7ational Bureau of
-nvestigation (7B-), testified on the post-$orte$ e,a$inations he conducted on the
cadavers of Pacita and Manuel Fabos, the results of &hich are e$bodied in t&o
autopsy reports (4,hibits %H% and %M%).
?e deter$ined the cause of death of
Pacita as %he$orrhage, secondary to shotgun &ounds of the chest, abdo$en and left
ar$,% and that of Manuel as %he$orrhage, secondary to gunshot &ounds of the head
and chest.% +r. Tahil Mindalano testified regarding the in8uries sustained by Fina
and Ma. #ristina Fabos and the $edical assistance rendered to the$,
&hile +r.
Arthur Feo Macasiano #a$agay testified about the in8uries sustained by 4d&in
+rs. Mindalano and #a$agay declared that &ithout the $edical attendance
given to Fina, Ma. #ristina and 4d&in Fabos, said persons &ould have died because
of the nature of the in8uries sustained by the$.
Per the Medico-Fegal #ertificates issued, Fina Fabos sustained three gunshot
&ounds on her %left u$bilical,% %left buttoc*s,% and %lateral +N/rd left thigh.% The
point of e,it of the last &ound &as at the %anterior $iddle /rd left thigh,% thereby
%penetrating the liver by 1." c$. thru and thru, perforating the duodenu$ by 1 c$.
thru and thru, perforating 8e8uno$ by 0." c$. lacerating the pancreas by = c$.
transecting $uscular branch aorta (abdo$inal)% (4,hibit %A%). 4d&in Fabos
sustained a gunshot &ound at the %$iddle /rd anterior surface thigh, right% &ith no
point of e,it resulting in %Custilo-Anderson type --- open fracture co$$inuted
MN/rd fe$ur, right,% (4,hibit %D%) and Ma. #ristina Fabos sustained three gunshot
&ounds located at %lateral aspect +N/rd thigh right,% %antero-$edial aspect MN/rd
thigh, left% and %periu$bilcal right% (4,hibit %B%).
Both accused testified that they &ere in their house at Area !, Dalen6uela at the ti$e
of the incident in question. At about >:00 o9cloc* in the $orning, they &ere roused
fro$ their sleep by a friend, Martin Cabu*an, &ho infor$ed the$ that 'antos &as a
suspect in the shooting of the Fabos fa$ily.
Cabu*an told 'antos not to &orry
because %$any people heard that Lthe accused; &ere really not the one.%
&as arrested on 1! .ctober 123> in Balagtas, Bulacan
&hile he &as loo*ing for a
la&yer, &hile 4dgardo &as ta*en into custody by the police &hile he &as attending
to his father in the police headquarters.
#ristino Marinao, a neighbor of the +ucays, testified that at about >:00 o9cloc* in the
$orning of 1= .ctober 123>, 'antos +ucay ca$e and said that he ('antos) &as a
suspect in the shooting incident in question.
The follo&ing day, he brought 'antos
to the Barangay #aptain, Pio Angeles, &ho entered in the barangay blotter (4,hibit
%>%) 'antos9 profession of innocence of the cri$e he &as suspected of. .n cross-
e,a$ination, #ristino stated that the distance bet&een Area !, &here he and the
+ucays are residing, and the house of the Faboses at Area > (also referred to as Area
11) is about one *ilo$eter.
uben A$puan, a neighbor of the Faboses, testified that at the ti$e of the incident
and &hile he &as still lying do&n, he heard gunshots. ?e stood up, opened the
&indo& and sa& t&o $en leaving the house of the Faboses. ?e stated that they &ere
not the accused in this case.
Mario Abad Allegado testified that he &as at the %ta$ba*an% &hich is about thirty
$eters fro$ the scene of the cri$e &hen he heard several gunshots. As he headed
for ho$e, he $et t&o persons in front of the la$p post near the house of the
4ugenios heading to&ards Maysan oad. .ne of the$, a tall, thin fello&, &ith curly
hair and $esti6o features, &as carrying a firear$, &hile the other, &hose face he did
not see,
&as shorter. ?e believed that both persons &ere the assailants.
declared that they &ere not the accused &ho$ he *no&s very &ell being his for$er
5pon reaching ho$e, he heard a co$$otion fro$ the house of the
Faboses. ?e &ent inside the Faboses9 house and sa& the &ounded fa$ily $e$bers.
?e as*ed 4d&in and Fina Fabos &hether they recogni6ed their assailants and both
ans&ered that they did not.
#apt. #arlos Tiquia, #hief -nvestigator of the Dalen6uela Police 'tation, &ho &as
presented as the only defense &itness during the hearing for the application for bail
and &hose testi$ony &as adopted in the trial on the $erits, declared that he
proceeded to the cri$e scene after receiving a report on the incident fro$ the
investigator assigned to the case. Ahen he and the investigator returned to the office,
his investigator too* do&n the state$ents of the &itnesses, one of &ho$ &as 4r&in
Fabos and &hose state$ent &as ta*en do&n at !:00 o9cloc* in the $orning of 1!
.ctober 123>. ?o&ever, he believed that 4r&in &as not telling the truth so that he
personally tal*ed to hi$, and at >:00 a.$., 4r&in e,ecuted a supple$ental state$ent
(4,hibit %!%) in the presence of several people including his brother enato Fabos.
This ti$e, 4r&in described one of the alleged assailants as tall, &ith curly hair and
$esti6o features. .n the basis of such a description, Tiquia $ade a request for a
cartographic s*etch to the P# #ri$e Faboratory.
.n =2 April 1233, the trial court pro$ulgated its 8udg$ent finding 'antos +ucay
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the cri$e charged but acquitting 4dgardo +ucay
on ground of reasonable doubt.
The dispositive portion of the decision reads:
-n vie& of the foregoing, the #ourt finds guilty beyond
reasonable doubt 'antos +ucay of the co$ple, cri$e of double
$urder and $ultiple frustrated $urder as charged.
The penalty of reclusion temporal in its $a,i$u$ period to
death is equivalent to 1@ years, ! $onths and 1 day to death, the
$ini$u$ being 1@ years, ! $onths and 1 day to =0 years, the
$ediu$ beingreclusion perpetua and $a,i$u$, death.
The #ourt, could have $eted the death sentence on 'antos
+ucay but is prevented fro$ doing so by the 7e& #onstitution.
'antos +ucay is, therefore, hereby sentenced to suffer
i$prison$ent for life,reclusion perpetua &hich is the $ediu$
period of the penalty provided by la&, and all the accessory
penalties provided by la&, to inde$nify the heirs of the victi$
Pacita Fabos in the su$ of P/0,000.00 and the heirs of Manuel
Fabos P/0,000.00< to inde$nify the victi$s 4d&in Fabos in the
su$ of P1/,=22."/ as rei$burse$ent of $edical e,penses, and
the su$ of P!,"00.00 as lost earnings for the period fro$
.ctober 1=, 123> to July 123@< to inde$nify Fina Fabos and
Ma. #ristina Fabos in the total su$ of P10,000.00 as
rei$burse$ent of $edical e,penses< and to pay the costs of suit.
The #ourt finds 4dgardo +ucay not guilty of the cri$e charged
on ground of reasonable doubt and is hereby acquitted. The Jail
Aarden of Dalen6uela, Metro Manila, is hereby ordered to
release 4dgardo +ucay fro$ detention unless held for any other
la&ful cause.
-n convicting 'antos +ucay, the trial court said:
The #ourt never doubts the participation of 'antos +ucay not
only on the basis of the positive identification $ade by surviving
victi$s, Fina and 4d&in Fabos, the $otive 'antos +ucay had to
avenge the assault done on hi$ by Manuel Fabos, but also
because his positive identification s&eeps aside altogether his
defense T that of alibi T a very &ea* defense in the light of the
over&hel$ing evidence against hi$.
,,, ,,, ,,,
Bro$ the evidence thus adduced the #ourt is convinced beyond
reasonable doubt that it &as 'antos +ucay &ho &as one of the
persons &ho conspired &ith another in *illing the victi$s,
Manuel Fabos, Pacita Fabos, and in trying to *ill Fina Fabos,
Maria #ristina Fabos and 4d&in Fabos, but &as frustrated, The
evidence of evident pre$editation, abuse of superior strength
and treachery, &ere clearly sho&n by the prosecution &hen it
proved convincingly to the #ourt that considering the ti$e of the
attac*, ":00 at da&n, evident pre$editation is clear especially if
the testi$ony of 4d&in Fabos &ill be considered that $onths
previous to this attac*, 'antos +ucay had a quarrel &ith one of
the victi$s shot to death. There &as abuse of superior strength
and treachery because the victi$s &ere asleep at the ti$e of the
attac* and &ere therefore unprepared and unar$ed for the
attac*. They had no chance &hatsoever to fight bac*, the si,
$onths baby Ma. #ristina Fabos especially.
The trial court e,pressed the vie& that t&o $urders and three frustrated $urders
&ere co$$itted, or that there are as $any cri$es as there are victi$s in this case
because %the trigger of the gun used in co$$itting the acts co$plained of &as
pressed in several instances and not in one single act. ?o&ever, it did not i$pose the
corresponding penalties therefor %because the infor$ation to &hich the accused
pleaded is only one cri$e of double $urder and $ultiple frustrated $urder.%
.n 1/ May 1233, 'antos +ucay filed a Partial Motion Bor econsideration AndN.r
7e& Trial.
?e sought the ad$ission of the alleged result of a paraffin test
conducted on hi$ on 1/ .ctober 123>, or a day after the incident, &hich sho&s that
he &as found negative for po&der burns. Bor lac* of $erit, the trial court denied the
$otion in its .rder of =! May 1233.
'antos +ucay, hereinafter referred to as the Appellant, then filed on @ June 1233 a
7otice of Appeal.
-n his %Brief for the +efense% filed on =! 'epte$ber 122=,
the appellant raises the
follo&ing assign$ent of errors:
1. T?4 T-AF #.5T 44+ -7 ?.F+-7C A'
%P.'-T-D4% P.'4#5T-.7 A-T74''4' 4+A-7 FAB.'
A7+ F-7A FAB.'9 -+47T-B-#AT-.7 .B A##5'4+<
?47#4, -T 44+ A?47 -T 4J4#T4+ A##5'4+9'
+4B47'4 .B AF-B-.
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-n the first assigned error, the appellant attac*s the credibility of prosecution
&itnesses Fina and 4d&in Fabos and alleges that their identification of the appellant
is vague and highly dubious. To buttress this clai$, he refers this #ourt to his
testi$ony that a neighbor by the na$e of Martin Cabu*an told hi$ that &hile the
victi$s &ere the hospital, he (Martin) overheard 4d&in Fabos say that he did not
really see the appellant and 4dgardo +ucay< that 4d&in only happened to $ention
the na$e of the appellant &hen he has as*ed by the police about their ene$ies in
their place. The appellant then concludes that the cri$e &as i$puted upon hi$ not
because he &as seen at the scene of the cri$e but because of the $otive alleged,
na$ely, that he and Manuel Fabos had an altercation on =! +ece$ber 123". As to
Fina Fabos, the appellant $aintains that she gave her state$ent only on 1! .ctober
123> or t&o days after the occurrence of the incident< she thus had sufficient ti$e to
concoct a story and i$plicate the appellant and 4dgardo after she had tal*ed &ith
her brother-in-la&, 4d&in, and her father-in-la&, Jesus Fabos.
The appellant further clai$s that since the trial court did not believe Fina and
4d&in9s testi$onies that they positively identified 4dgardo +ucay, then follo&ing
the $a,i$ %falsus et 5sic6 uno, falsus et 5sic6 omnibus,%
it should not have also
believed their testi$ony as regards the appellant. ?e also faults the trial court for
re8ecting the supple$entary state$ent (4,hibit %!%) of 4r&in Fabos, brother of
4d&in Fabos, and 4r&in9s %conte$poraneous% state$ent to 4dgar +ucay: %Huya
pasensiya *a na, naturo *ita noon una, hindi na$an i*a&,% allegedly absolving the
accused and pointing to a tall, $esti6o and curly-haired $an as one of the assailants,
&hich state$ent &as allegedly confir$ed by 'gt. #asile and #apt. Tiquia and $ade
as the basis of the cartographic s*etch by the P# #ri$e Faboratory. According to the
appellant, these declarations of 4r&in are declarations against interest and are part of
the res gestae. Binally, the appellant asserts that the evidence for the prosecution is
&ea* because no disinterested &itness &as presented despite the fact that the
incident occurred in a thic*ly populated area. ?e also contends that the prosecution
suppressed evidence by failing to present 4r&in Fabos as a &itness.
These clai$s are &ithout $erit.
A careful evaluation of the records and the evidence adduced by the prosecution
discloses that the appellant had been positively identified by Fina and 4r&in Fabos.
-n his s&orn state$ent (4,hibit %?%) e,ecuted barely four hours after the incident
and &hile he &as still in the e$ergency roo$ of the hospital, 4d&in e,plicitly
declared that the appellant &as one of the assailants. This s&orn state$ent &as
spontaneously given at the ti$e he &as hovering bet&een life and death. ?e had no
opportunity then to contrive or fabricate a story. The appellant is the only one
identified therein by 4d&in. Thus:
,,, ,,, ,,,
TA7.7C Ba*it *a narito ngayon sa loob ng
+r. Jose eyes ?ospital, 4$ergency oo$,
'AC.T Binaril po a*o.
T 'ino and bu$aril sa iyoP
' Ang *asa$a ni 'antos +ucay po na*atira
sa Area-!, Ba$ily #o$pound, Haruhatan,
Dal. M.M.
T Hilala $o ba ang bu$aril sa iyo na
*asa$a ni 'antosP
' Hong $a*i*ita *o $uli.
,,, ,,, ,,,
T Paano $o nasabi na *asa$a ni 'antos
+ucay and bu$aril sa iyoP
' Na3ita 3o po si Santos 7ucay na ang
ha#a3 niya shotgun at siya ang bumaril sa
3uya 3o, 0anuel, nanay 3o, Pacita, Ate 3o,
-ina at bata na si 0aria Cristina.
T +ati $o bang *ilala si 'antos +ucayP
' .po.
T Paano $o siya na*ilalaP
' +ati po siyang ('antos) *apitbahay na$in
at lu$ipat as Area-! Ba$ily #o$pound,
Haruhatan, Dal., M.M.
-n court, 4d&in unhesitatingly pointed to the appellant as one of the assailants.
Fina Fabos also identified the appellant as one of the $alefactors both in her
hand&ritten s&orn state$ent, 4,hibit %4,%
e,ecuted on 1! .ctober 123> or t&o
days after the incident, and in her court testi$ony.
That her state$ent &as
e,ecuted t&o days after the incident does not perforce affect her credibility. Aith the
three gunshot &ounds she sustained and the thought of the death of her husband and
$other-in-la& and the serious in8uries of her daughter and brother-in-la&, it &ould
be too $uch to e,pect fro$ her that physical and e$otional fortitude to forth&ith
give her state$ent as &hat 4d&in did. +elay or vacillation in $a*ing a cri$inal
accusation does not necessarily i$pair the credibility of a &itness if such delay is
satisfactorily e,plained.
-n any case, the speculation that she could have contrived
her testi$ony after having tal*ed &ith her father-in-la& and brother-in-la& is &holly
unsupported by evidence.
Ae agree &ith the appellee that the alleged state$ents $ade by Martin Cabu*an to
the appellant, &hich the latter related in court, is hearsay and has little, if any,
probative value. #ounsel for the appellant *ne&, or ought to have *no&n, that this
&as so. Get, the defense did not present Martin as &itness.
7or can &e subscribed to the proposition that since the trial court did not give credit
to 4d&in and Fina9s testi$onies that they positively identified 4dgardo, it should,
pursuant to the $a,i$ %falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus,% li*e&ise disregard their
testi$onies as against the appellant and accordingly acquit hi$. -n People
this #ourt stated that the $a,i$ is not a $andatory rule of evidence, but
rather a per$issible inference that the court $ay or $ay not dra&. -n People
vs. Pacada,
&e stated that the testi$ony of a &itness can be believed as to so$e
facts and disbelieved as to others. And in People vs. 8sias,
&e ruled that:
-t is perfectly reasonable to believe the testi$ony of a &itness
&ith respect to so$e facts and disbelieve it &ith respect to other
facts. And it has been aptly said that even &hen &itnesses are
found to have deliberately falsified in so$e $aterial particulars,
it is not required that the &hole of their uncorroborated
testi$ony be re8ected but such portions thereof dee$ed &orthy
of belief $ay be credited.
The pri$ordial consideration is that the &itness &as present at
the scene of the cri$e and that he positively identified Lthe
accused; as one of the perpetrators of the cri$e charged . . . .
Professor Aig$ore gives the follo&ing enlightening co$$entary:
-t $ay be said, once for all, that the $a,i$ is in itself &orthless
Tfirst, in point of validity, because in one for$ it $erely
contains in loose fashion a *ernel of truth &hich no one needs to
be told, and in the others it is absolutely false as a $a,i$ of life<
and secondly, in point of utility, because it $erely tells the 8ury
&hat they $ay do in any event, not &hat they $ust do or $ust
not do, and therefore it is a superfluous for$ of &ords. -t is also
in practice pernicious, first, because there is frequently a
$isunderstanding of its proper force, and secondly, because it
has beco$e in the hands of $any counsel a $ere instru$ent for
obtaining ne& trials upon points &holly uni$portant in
The trial court did not err in re8ecting the supple$entary state$ent (4,hibit %!%) of
4r&in Fabos, brother of 4d&in Fabos, and his alleged conte$poraneous state$ent
to 4dgardo +ucay. 4r&in Fabos &as not called by the defense as its &itnessTeven
as a hostile one. Ahatever declaration he $ade to any party, either &ritten or oral, is
thus hearsay. The prosecution seasonably ob8ected to the ad$ission of 4,hibit
Besides, as noted by the prosecution, this docu$ent is not under oath &hile
his first state$ent i$plicating the appellant is duly subscribed and s&orn to. The
defense should have presented 4r&in as a &itness if indeed it &as convinced that
4,hibit %!% e,presses the truth. There is no sho&ing that this could not have been
done because 4r&in &as not available. ?is brother, 4d&in, testified that 4r&in &as
staying &ith his father in 4scolta.
This infor$ation should have been utili6ed by
the defense to have co$pulsory process issued to bring 4r&in to court.
-nstead, the defense i$putes suppression of evidence upon the prosecution in not
presenting 4r&in Fabos as its &itness. -t is settled that suppression of evidence is
inapplicable in a case &here the evidence is at the disposal of both the prosecution
and the defense.
Besides, the prosecution had no cogent reason for presenting
4r&in since there is no sho&ing that he &as in the house &hen the incident occurred.
.n the other hand, the defense needed his testi$ony for if, indeed, he should affir$
his supple$ental state$ent, he $ay so$eho& enhance the theory of the defense.
Ae do not li*e&ise agree &ith the appellant that 4r&in9s alleged state$ent to
4dgardo +ucay: %9uya pasensiya 3a na, naturo 3ita noon una, hindi naman
i3a#,% uttered i$$ediately after he $ade his supple$ental state$ent, is a part of
the res gestae and thus an e,ception to the hearsay rule.
The rule on spontaneous state$ents as part of the res gestae is stated in 'ection !=,
ule 1/0 of the ules of #ourt: %state$ents $ade by a person &hile a startling
occurrence is ta*ing place or i$$ediately prior or subsequent thereto &ith respect to
the circu$stances thereof, $ay be given in evidence as part of the res gestae. . . . .%
There are three requisites for the ad$ission of spontaneous state$ents as evidence
of the res gestae: 1) that the principal act, the res gestae, be a startling occurrence< =)
that the state$ents &ere $ade before the declarant had ti$e to contrive or devise<
and /) that the state$ents $ust concern the occurrence in question and its
i$$ediately attending circu$stances.
The rationale for the e,ception lies in the
fact that a state$ent $ade under the stress of an e,citing event or condition tends to
ensure that the state$ent is spontaneous and, therefore, trust&orthy< and the li*ely
pro,i$ity in ti$e bet&een the event or condition and the state$ent $ini$i6es the
possibility of a $e$ory proble$.
4r&in9s alleged state$ent to 4dgardo +ucay
does not refer to the incident in question but rather to his prior state$ent (not the
supple$ental state$ent) i$plicating 4dgardo +ucay. Burther$ore, the alleged
%conte$poraneous% state$ent &as $ade t&o days after the shooting incident. -n no
&ay can it be said that 4r&in &as under the stress of an e,citing event or condition.
7or do &e find $erit in the appellant9s argu$ent that the prosecution9s evidence is
&ea* because unli*e the defense, it did not present any disinterested &itness. ?e
suggests that since the place &here the incident happened is thic*ly populated, there
&ere $any people &ho sa& the gun$en and &ho could have pointed to the accused
if they &ere the ones &ho co$$itted the cri$e considering that they &ere fa$iliar
to the residents of the area. -n the first place, it &as not sho&n that at the ti$e the
incident occurred, $any people &ere already a&a*e and &ere able to see the
gun$en. -n the second place, assu$ing that it &as so sho&n, the deter$ination of
&ho should be utili6ed as &itnesses by the prosecution is addressed to the sound
discretion of the prosecutor handling the case.
That the prosecutor did not present
any disinterested &itness does not lessen the strength of the prosecution9s case,
&hich is anchored on the testi$onies of 4d&in and Fina Fabos, &ho &ere
the$selves eye&itnesses and victi$s of the cri$e.
-n the ulti$ate analysis, the first assigned error involves the credibility of &itnesses.
-t is settled that &hen the issue is one of credibility of &itnesses, appellate courts
&ill generally not disturb the findings of the trial court considering that the latter is
in a better position to decide the question, having heard the &itnesses the$selves
and observed their deport$ent and $anner of testifying during the trial unless it has
plainly overloo*ed certain facts of substance that, if considered, $ight affect the
result of the case.
Ae find no reason to depart fro$ this rule in this case.
-n his second assigned error, the appellant faults the trial court for denying his
$otion for ne& trial on the ground of ne&ly discovered evidence consisting of
#he$istry eport 7o. .-1>/0-3> of the P# #ri$e Faboratory 'ervice, the result of
the paraffin test conducted on 'antos +ucay on 1/ .ctober 123> or the day after the
incident on question, &hich allegedly sho&s that %both hands of the Lappellant; gave
74CAT-D4 result to the test for gunpo&der residue (nitrates).%
.ne of the grounds for a ne& trial $entioned in 'ection =, ules of #ourt is the
discovery of ne& and $aterial evidence. The requisites therefor &hich $ust concur
are: (1) that the evidence &as discovered after the trial< (=) that such evidence could
not have been discovered and produced at the trial even &ith the e,ercise of
reasonable diligence< and (/) that such evidence is $aterial, not $erely cu$ulative,
corroborative or i$peaching, and is of such &eight that, if ad$itted, it &ill probably
change the 8udg$ent.
-n the present case, the appellant &as sub8ected to a paraffin
test the day after the cri$e &as co$$itted. #ertainly, he *ne& that the findings of
such test &ould be forthco$ing. ?e should have as*ed for the result of the test to
find out if it is e,culpatory, in &hich case he could have presented it during the
hearing of his application for bail or, at the latest, during the trial on the $erits. -n
any event, the che$istry report cannot be considered as ne&ly discovered evidence
since it &as already e,isting even before the trial co$$enced and could have been
easily produced in court by co$pulsory process. The appellant either did not
e,ercise reasonable diligence for its production or si$ply forgot about it. Borgotten
evidence is, of course, not a ground for a ne& trial.
Moreover, the result of the
paraffin test conducted on the appellant is not conclusive evidence that he did not
fire a gun.
-t is possible for a person to fire a gun and yet be negative for the
presence of nitrates, as &hen he &ore gloves or &ashed his hands after&ards.
trial court, therefore, correctly denied the $otion for ne& trial.
The testi$onies of the &itnesses and the nature of the &ounds suffered by the
victi$s sho& that there &ere t&o different firear$s used by t&o assailants, one of
&ho$ is the appellant. The cri$es co$$itted &ere not caused by a single act nor
&ere any of the cri$es co$$itted as a necessary $eans of co$$itting the others. -n
this case, there are as $any cri$es co$$itted as there are victi$s. The trial court
correctly ruled that there &as no co$ple, cri$e %considering that the trigger of the
gun used in co$$itting the acts co$plained of &as pressed in several instances and
not in one single act.% -t is settled that &hen various victi$s e,pire fro$ separate
shots, such acts constitute separate and distinct cri$es.
?o&ever, the trial court
erred &hen it ruled that %(i)t cannot, ho&ever, i$pose the corresponding penalty of
the cri$e co$$itted against each victi$ because the infor$ation to &hich the
accused pleaded is only one cri$e of double $urder and $ultiple frustrated $urder.%
The infor$ation in this case, although deno$inated as one for a co$ple, cri$e,
clearly charges the accused &ith five different cri$inal acts. -t states: %the above-
na$ed accused, &ith intent to 3ill Pacita Fabos, Manuel Fabos, Fina Fabos-Mo8ica,
4d&in Fabos, and Ma. #ristina Fabos, . . . did then and there . . . attac*, assault and
shoot &ith a .!" caliber Lpistol; and shotgun they &ere then provided the said Pacita
Fabos, Manuel Fabos, Fina Fabos-Mo8ica, 4d&in Fabos and Ma. #ristina
Fabos, . . . .% The appellant and his co-accused did not $ove to quash the
infor$ation on the ground of $ultiplicity of charges. At no other ti$e thereafter did
they ob8ect thereto. They therefore &aived such defect
and the trial court thus
validly rendered 8udg$ent against the$ for as $any cri$es as &ere alleged and
The cri$es co$$itted by the appellant and his co$panion, &hich &ere proven
beyond reasonable doubt are: (1) t&o counts of $urder &ith the qualifying
circu$stance of treachery since the attac* on the victi$s &as so sudden and at a
ti$e &hen the victi$s &ere barely a&a*e, thus giving the$ no chance &hatsoever to
defend the$selves< and (=) three counts of frustrated $urder. #onspiracy
the assailants &as duly proven. Together they ca$e to the house of the victi$s,
si$ultaneously attac*ed the$, and then, together again, they fled. Before fleeing,
one of the$ even e,clai$ed %4bos ang lahi.% These acts sufficiently established a
co$$on plan or design to co$$it the cri$es charged and a concerted action to
effectively pursue it. ?ence, the act of one is the act of all.
Ae do not, ho&ever, agree &ith the trial court that evident pre$editation &as
sufficiently established. Although Manuel Fabos stabbed the appellant on =!
+ece$ber 123", there is paucity of evidence as to &hen the latter deter$ined to *ill
the for$er and any $e$ber of his fa$ily and as to acts $anifestly indicating that he
has clung to his deter$ination.
7evertheless, the aggravating circu$stance of
d&elling &hich &as proved &ithout ob8ection fro$ the defense should be
appreciated against the appellant since the victi$s &ere attac*ed and shot inside
their o&n d&elling. The assailants displayed greater perversity in their deliberate
invasion of the ho$e of the Faboses.
5nder Article =!3 of the evised Penal #ode, the cri$e of $urder is punishable
by reclusion temporal $a,i$u$ to death. The $a,i$u$ of the penalty should be
i$posed in vie& of the presence of the aggravating circu$stance of d&elling &hich
is not offset by any $itigating
circu$stance. ?o&ever, the i$position of the death penalty is prohibited by the
hence, the proper i$posable penalty &ould be reclusion perpetua.
The penalty for the cri$e of frustrated $urder is the penalty ne,t lo&er in degree
that the prescribed for $urder,
that is, prision mayor $ediu$ as $a,i$u$
to reclusion temporal $ediu$.
The appellant is entitled to the benefits of the -ndeter$inate 'entence Fa& in the
frustrated $urder cases. Thus, he $ay be sentenced in each of the three frustrated
$urder cases to an indeter$inate penalty ranging fro$ eight (3) years and one (1)
day of prision mayor $ediu$ as $ini$u$ to fourteen (1!) years, eight (3) $onths
and one (1) day of reclusion temporal $ediu$ as $a,i$u$.
A##.+-7CFG, the challenged 8udg$ent of Branch 1@= of the egional Trial
court of Dalen6uela, Metro Manila in #ri$inal #ase 7o. @@2=-D-> is ABB-M4+
sub8ect to the $odifications herein indicated. As $odified, appellant 'antos +ucay
is convicted of (a) t&o cri$es of $urder for the death of Pacita Fabos and Manuel
Fabos and is accordingly sentenced to reclusion perpetua for each death, &ith the
inde$nity in each cri$e increased fro$ P/0,000.00 to P"0,000.00 in confor$ance
&ith the current policy of this #ourt< and (b) three cri$es of frustrated $urder
co$$itted on Fina Fabos, Ma. #ristina Fabos and 4d&in Fabos, and is hereby
sentenced in each cri$e to an indeter$inate penalty of eight (3) years and one (1)
day of prision mayor $ediu$ as $ini$u$ to fourteen (1!) years, eight (3) $onths
and one (1) day of reclusion temporal $ediu$ as ma*imum.
#osts against the appellant.
'. .+44+.
G.R. No*. G%3%%'%G (a)ar4 10, 199%
PEOPLE OF T&E P&#L#PP#NES, plaintiff-appellee,
2#LL#E A"AGU#N AND G#LDO A"AGU#N, accused-appellants.
The coup de main on the .ro brood sent t&o brothers to the $ortuary and a third to
$edical care. The bloodbath resulted in the brothers Aillie, Cildo and #elso, all
surna$ed A$aguin, being charged &ith the $urder of the .ro brothers Pacifico and
+iosdado. Aillie and Cildo &ent through trial &hile #elso to this date re$ains a
The culpability of the A$aguin brothers &as recounted by ?ernando .ro, a younger
brother of Pacifico and +iosdado. ?ernando narrated that in the afternoon of =! May
12@@, he and his brothers +iosdado and +anilo, brother-in-la& afael #andelaria, an
first cousin 'ergio Argon6ola &ere invited by their eldest brother Pacifico to the
latter9s house in the interior of +ivinagracia 'treet, Fa Pa6, -loilo #ity, for a s$all
gathering to celebrate the to&n fiesta.
At about five o9cloc* in the afternoon, after
parta*ing of the $eager preparations put together by Pacifico, he (?ernando) and his
co$panions decided to leave. They &ere acco$panied by their host to the pla6a
&here they could get a ride.
.n their &ay, &hile traversing +ivinagracia 'treet, Pacifico &as called by accused
#elso A$aguin : %Pare, co$e here.% But Pacifico ans&ered : %Pare, not yet because -
have to conduct $y guests first.% -$$ediately, #elso, &ith a butcher9s *nife in hand,
rushed to&ards Pacifico. Cildo, #elso9s younger brother, &ith a *nife tuc*ed to his
&aist, follo&ed &ith a slingshot *no&n as %-ndian pana% or %-ndian target%. Ahile
Cildo ai$ed the dart fro$ his slingshot at +anilo, &hich hit the latter on the chest,
#elso hac*ed Pacifico. Cildo then stabbed +iosdado &ith a *nife. Thereafter, Aillie,
the eldest of the A$aguin brothers, appeared &ith a handgun and successively shot
the brothers Pacifico, +iosdado and the fleeing +anilo. +iosdado, o&n *neeling,
gasping for breath and pleading for his life, &as again shot by Aillie &ho ne,t fired
ane& at Pacifico. Mean&hile, Cildo and #elso repeatedly stabbed Pacifico &ho
already lying prostrate and defenseless.
+anilo .ro, the youngest of the .ros, li*e&ise testified. ?e said that at around five
o9cloc* in the afternoon of =! May 12@@, &hile &al*ing along +ivinagracia 'treet
on their &ay to the pla6a for ride ho$e &ith his three brothers and t&o others, they
&ere &aylaid by #elso, Aillie and Cildo, their cousin +anny, all surna$ed
A$aguin, and several others. #elso placed an ar$ on the shoulder of Pacifico and
stabbed hi$ &ith a *nife.
Then there &as a clash bet&een the t&o groups. -n a split
second, he (+anilo) &as hit on the left chest by a dart fro$ the slingshot of Cildo
&ho$ he sa& ai$ing at hi$. ?e (+anilo) pulled the dart fro$ his chest and ran
a&ay but &as hit on the lips by a bullet. Then he &as pushed by ?ernando to see*
afael #andelaria, a brother-in-la& of the .ros, also too* the &itness stand. ?is
version &as that &hile he, his brothers-in-la& and one 'ergio Argon6ola &ere
&al*ing along +ivinagracia 'treet that afternoon, t&o $en approached the$.
Aithout any provocation, one suddenly stabbed hi$. After being hit on the left ar$,
he i$$ediately fled to the pla6a &here he flagged do&n a passing cab to ta*e hi$ to
the hospital. ?e did not see &hat happened ne,t to his co$panions.
The defense ho&ever $aintains that it &as the .ro brothers &ho started the fight.
Accused Cildo A$aguin recounted that on =! May 12@@, at about five o9cloc* in the
afternoon, Pacifico &ith five others &ent to their house in +ivinagracia 'treet, Fa
Pa6, -loilo #ity, and approached his brother #elso, &ho &as &aiting for his &ife at
the foot of the stairs. Ahile Pacifico &as tal*ing to #elso, a co$panion of Pacifico
ca$e for&ard, held #elso by the shoulder and said : %This is the bravest $an in
+ivinagracia 'treet, the A$aguin.% Mean&hile, another co$panion of Pacifico gave
#elso a flying *ic* that sent hi$ reeling. Cildo then &ent do&n the house shouting :
%+on9t fight.% ?o&ever, the attac*ers dre& their *nives and slingshots. -n return,
#elso pulled out his *nife. 'ince one of the co$panions of Pacifico lunged at hi$,
Cildo retreated to the other side of the road and thre& stones at his attac*ers.
Mean&hile, he sa& his cousin +anny hit +anilo .ro &ith a dart fro$ a slingshot.
But later +anny hi$self &as stabbed fro$ behind by one of Pacifico9s co$panions.
Then 4rnie .rtigas, a guest of #elso, e$erged fro$ the A$aguin residence holding
a revolver. 4rnie initially fired three &arning shots, after &hich he successively shot
Pacifico and a person &ho tried to stab the for$er as &ell as an identified
co$panion of Pacifico. Fater, both 4rnie .rtigas and #elso A$aguin escaped
to&ards the rail&ay trac*s.
The follo&ing day, he &as brought by his uncle to the
P# authorities in Bort 'an Pedro for %safe-*eeping% and turned over to the local
police after a &ee*.
The story of Cildo &as confir$ed by Dicente Belicano
and 7ilda Tagnong,
ti$e residents of +ivinagracia 'treet, and 7enita A$aguin, $other of the accused
brothers, &ho even affir$ed that her son #elso &as indeed troubleso$e,
but added
that Aillie %never had any brush &ith the
.n his part, Aillie related that he &as in the house of his uncle along +ivinagracia
'treet that afternoon drin*ing &ith so$e friends. ?e left the group after hearing
so$e e,plosions co$ing fro$ the direction of his $other9s house and then seeing his
cousin +anny, &ith a stab &ound at the bac*, being ta*en by t&o police$en, and his
&ounded brother Cildo running to&ards the pla6a. Thus, he &ent to his $other9s
residence to find out &hat happened. But &hen he got there, the incident had already
ended. As a consequence, he &as told by his $other to loo* for his t&o brothers &ho
&ere &ounded in the fight and to ta*e the$ to the hospital.
?e turned hi$self in
after five days, upon learning that la& enforcers &ere loo*ing for hi$.
5lpiano Dencer, ogelio de la Pa6 and Pat Jereos all confir$ed that accused Aillie
only left their gathering after the e,plosions &ere heard, and only after seeing his
&ounded brother Cildo and his cousin +anny, &ho &as in the co$pany of t&o
police$en, pass by.
Perla Belle6a, a vegetable vendor in the Fa Pa6 Public Mar*et, also testified that
after hearing si, e,plosions, she sa& an unidentified $an &ith a revolver running
a&ay fro$ the scene of the cri$e, follo&ed by accused #elso &ho &as holding a
*nife. 'he &as certain that the unidentified $an &as not accused Aillie as the latter
&as very &ell *no&n to her, she being a for$er neighbor of the A$aguins.
+r. Tito +oro$al, Asst. Medico-Fegal .fficer, -loilo Metropolitan +istrict
#o$$and, -7P, conducted an autopsy on Pacifico and +iosdado. ?e declared that
out of the 1" stab &ounds and one gunshot &ound Pacifico sustained, five of the
stab &ounds &ere fatal. Aith regard to +iosdado, four (!) stab &ounds, out of the
ten (10), and the lone bullet he had sustained &ere considered fatal.
After a 8oint trial, and finding the version of the prosecution to be $ore credible, the
then #ourt of Birst -nstance of -loilo, Br. --,
found the accused Cildo A$aguin,
also *no&n as %Tigib,% guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the cri$e of Murder, and .
. . sentenced (hi$) to (eclusion Perpetua, both in #ri$inal #ases 7os. 30!1 and
30!=, together &ith all the accessory penalties, and to pay the costs.%
As regards Aillie A$aguin alias %Ti*boy,% the trial court found hi$ guilty %as
acco$plice in both #ri$inal #ases 30!1 and 30!=, and . . . sentenced (hi$) to an
indeter$inate penalty of 'eventeen (1@) Gears, Bour (!) Months, and .ne (1) +ay to
T&enty (=0) Gears each in said cases together &ith all the accessory penalties, and to
pay the costs.%
Both accused &ere %further sentenced to inde$nify the heirs of the late Pacifico .ro
and +iosdado .ro, 8ointly and severally in the total su$ of P=!,000.00 as death
co$pensation< P=0,000.00 (as) $oral da$ages< P10,000.00 (as) e,e$plary
da$ages< and P",000.00 for burial e,penses, in both #ri$inal cases nos. 30!1 and
-n this appeal, accused Aillie A$aguin and Cildo A$aguin clai$ that the court a
)uo erred: (a) in categori6ing the offenseNs as $urder< (b) in finding Aillie A$aguin
to be the person involved in the incident< (c) in holding that there &as conspiracy
bet&een the brothers Cildo and #elso A$aguin (the latter is at large)< (d) in finding
Cildo A$aguin to be ar$ed &ith a *nife and an -ndian target &hen he &as only
ar$ed &ith stones< and, (e) even assu$ing the accused to be guilty, in not holding
the$ responsible for their individual acts, and in not appreciating the $itigating
circu$stance of voluntary surrender.
Before disposing of the other issues raised by appellants, &e resolve the second and
fourth assigned errors first to deter$ine &hich of the t&o conflicting versions of the
incident deserves credence. Their resolution rests upon the credibility of the
&itnesses &ho have co$e for&ard, a $atter addressed to the sound 8udg$ent of the
trial court &hich is in a better position to decide the$, it having heard the &itnesses
and observed their deport$ent and $anner of testifying during the trial.
#onsequently, the assess$ent of the trial 8udge is usually received &ith respect, if
not conclusiveness, on appeal unless there is a sho&ing of arbitrariness. Al&ays, this
has been the fa$iliar rule.
-n the instant case, the trial court has accepted as credible the testi$onies of
?ernando and +anilo .ro &ho positively identified accused #elso and Cildo
A$aguin as having started the assault on the .ro brothers &ith the use of a *nife
and an %-ndian pana,% and accused Aillie A$aguin as the gun&ielder &ho shot the
brothers Pacifico, +iosdado and +anilo during the fray. Ae see no reason to
disregard the assess$ent. Ae si$ply cannot set aside the factual findings of the trial
court absent any sho&ing of capriciousness on its part.
The defense belittles the testi$ony of ?ernando .ro pointing to accused Aillie
A$aguin as the gun$an as it stands %singly and alone,% in contrast to the declaration
of the defense &itnesses e,onerating Aillie and Cildo. Ahile the defense $ay have
presented a nu$ber of &itnesses &ho, as the trial court puts it, %virtually 9sang9 in a
chorus that the *illers (#elso and +anny A$aguin and a certain 4rnie .rtigas) not
the t&o accused herein (Aillie and Cildo
still the trial 8udge had the opportunity, as &ell as the right and
responsibility, to assess their credibility T 8ust li*e all other &itnesses. After all,
there is no la& &hich requires that the testi$ony of a single &itness needs
corroboration e,cept &hen the la& so e,pressly requires. As it is often said,
&itnesses are to be &eighed, not nu$bered. -f credible and positive, the testi$ony of
a single &itness is sufficient to convict.
-ndeed the deter$ination of the credibility
of &itnesses is the trial court9s do$ain, hence, &e respect its factual findings.
Bor, even the respective defenses of the accused, i.e., accused Aillie A$aguin9s alibi
that he did not participate in the fray and that he &as in the nearby house of his uncle
drin*ing &ith his friends, and accused Cildo A$aguin9s denial that he &as unar$ed
but later forced to hurl stones to defend hi$self, are &ithout sound basis. Alibi is
one of the &ea*est defenses that can be resorted to especially &here there is direct
testi$ony of an eye&itness, not only because it is inherently &ea* and unreliable but
also because of the ease of its fabrication and the difficulty of chec*ing and
rebutting it.
Besides, alibi to be believed $ust be supported by the physical
i$possibility of the accused to have been at the scene of the cri$e.
And as in an
alibi, a denial, if unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence, is a negative and
self-serving evidence &hich deserves no &eight in la& and cannot be given greater
evidentiary value over the testi$ony of credible &itnesses &ho testify on affir$ative
Thus, as bet&een a $ere denial of the accused and the positive
identification and detailed declarations of the prosecution &itnesses, the trial court
co$$itted no error in according heavier &eight to the latter.
?ence, this version of the prosecution prevails: #elso and Cildo, together &ith
others, attac*ed the .ros. +uring the fray, Cildo &as ar$ed &ith a *nife and an
%-ndian target.% And 8ust as they &ere about to finish off the .ro brothers, Aillie, the
eldest of the A$aguins, appeared &ith a revolver and delivered the coup de grace.
The factual setting having been settled, &e no& go to the first assigned error , i.e.,
th&t the lo&er court erred in categori6ing the offense as $urder there being no
treachery since %the co$batants &ere face to face% and %Lc;onfronting each other
frontally . . . that each &ill *no& each other9s ne,t $ove.%
4,cept for appellants9
pre$ise, the argu$ent has $erit. The *illing of Pacifico and +iosdado cannot be
qualified by treachery.
Ahile &e have already ruled that even a frontal attac* can be treacherous, as &hen it
is sudden and une,pected and the victi$ is unar$ed,
here, it appears that the
aggressors did not e$ploy $eans tending directly and specially to ensure the
e,ecution of the cri$e &ithout ris* to the$selves arising fro$ the defense &hich the
offended parties $ight ta*e.
-t $ust be noted that the assailants attac*ed a group of si, (>) individuals &ho could
have been ar$ed.
-t is highly probable that at least one of those attac*ed could offer resistance and
could put the lives of the aggressors in danger, as &hat indeed happened &hen
accused-appellant Cildo A$aguin and his cousin +anny suffered in8uries as a result
of the fight &hich, fro$ all indications, ended in a free-for-all. That Pacifico
sustained 1" stab &ounds and a gunshot &ound, and +iosdado, ten stab &ounds and
a bullet &ound, does not necessarily $ean that treachery attended the *illings. As
already adverted to, for treachery to be appreciated, the offender $ust e$ploy
$eans, $ethods, or for$s in the co$$ission of the cri$e &hich tend directly and
specially to insure its e,ecution &ithout ris* to hi$self arising fro$ the defense
&hich the offended party $ight ta*e.
?ere, there is serious doubt.
.n the third assigned error, i.e., that there &as conspiracy bet&een Cildo and #elso,
&ho re$ains at large, the evidence sho&s ho& #elso and Cildo si$ultanously
assaulted the .ro brothers. Ahile #elso lunged at Pacifico, Cildo ai$ed his
slingshot at +anilo &ho &as hit by its dart, and i$$ediately
attac*ed Pacifico &ith a *nife. 5nder the circu$stances, it is evident that Cildo and
#elso acted in unison and cooperated &ith each other to&ard the acco$plish$ent of
a co$$on felonious ob8ective. #ertainly, there &as conspiracy bet&een the brothers
Cildo and #elso, and it &as not necessary to prove a previous agree$ent to co$$it
the cri$e since fro$ their overt acts, it &as clear that they acted in concert in the
pursuit of their unla&ful design.
?o&ever, it &as error to rule that accused Aillie &as an acco$plice to his brothers.
There being no sufficient evidence to lin* hi$ to the conspiracy, he should be liable
for the natural and logical consequence of his o&n felonious acts. ?ence, &e ta*e
e,ception to the conclusion of the trial court that Pacifico and +iosdado did not die
due to the gunshot &ounds inflicted by Aillie.
+r. Tito +oro$al, the $edico-legal officer &ho autopsied the bodies of Pacifico and
+iosdado, testified that &hile the gunshot &ound sustained by Pacifico &as not fatal,
that suffered by +iosdado &as fatal.
#onsequently, in #ri$. #ase 7o. 30!1, &here Aillie $ortally shot +iosdado, he
should be liable for ho$icide. And, since +iosdado &as already on bended *nees
and pleading for his life &hen fatally shot, the aggravating circu$stance of the abuse
of superior strength, although not alleged in the infor$ation but proven during the
trial, $ay be considered as a generic aggravating circu$stance.
-n #ri$. #ase 7o. 30!=, &here Aillie shot Pacifico &hile lying prostrate already
&ith nu$erous fatal stab &ounds, Aillie should be liable for frustrated ho$icide it
appearing that the gunshot &ound &as not fatal although his intent to *ill &as
evident. Fi*e&ise, the aggravating circu$stance of abuse of superior strength $ay
be appreciated as a generic aggravating circu$stance.
Binally, &e agree &ith accused-appellants9 vie& that voluntary surrender should be
appreciated in their favor. Ahile it $ay have ta*en both Aillie and Cildo a &ee*
before turning the$selves in, the fact is, they voluntarily surrendered to the police
authorities before arrest could be effected. Bor voluntary surrender to be appreciated
as a $itigating circu$stance, the follo&ing ele$ents $ust be present: (a) the
offender has not been actually arrested< (b) the offender surrendered hi$self to a
person in authority< and (c) the surrender $ust be voluntary.
All these requisites
appear to have attended their surrender.
7o&, &e turn to the penalties.
-n #ri$. #ases 7os. 30!1 and 30!=, Cildo A$aguin is guilty of t&o (=) separate
cri$es of ho$icide for the death of +iosdado and Pacifico, respectively. The penalty
prescribed by la& for ho$icide is reclusion
Applying the -ndeter$inate 'entence Fa&, and appreciating the
$itigating circu$stance of voluntary surrender &ith no aggravating circu$stance,
the $a,i$u$ penalty to be i$posed on accused Cildo A$aguin for each of the
ho$icide he has co$$itted, &hich he $ust serve successively, should be ta*en fro$
the $ini$u$ of the i$posable penalty, &hich isreclusion temporal the range of the
$ini$u$ period of &hich is t&elve (1=) years and one (1) day to fourteen (1!) years
and eight (3) $onths, &hile the $ini$u$ should be ta*en fro$ the penalty ne,t
lo&er in degree, &hich is prision mayor the full range of &hich is si, (>) years and
one (1) day to t&elve (1=) years, in any of its periods.
-n #ri$. case 7o. 30!1, Aillie A$aguin is guilty of ho$icide aggravated by abuse
of superior strength but offset by the $itigating circu$stance of voluntary surrender,
and in #ri$. #ase 7o. 30!=, he is guilty of frustrated ho$icide li*e&ise aggravated
by abuse of superior strength but offset by voluntary surrender. Bor the ho$icide,
applying the -ndeter$inate 'entence Fa& and ta*ing into account the $itigating
circu$stance of voluntary surrender &hich, as earlier $entioned, offsets the
aggravating circu$stance of abuse of superior strength, the $a,i$u$ penalty
should be ta*en fro$ the $ediu$ of the i$posable penalty, &hich is reclusion
temporal the range of the $ediu$ period of &hich is fourteen (1!) years eight (3)
$onths and one (1) day to seventeen (1@) years and four (!) $onths, &hile the
$ini$u$ should be ta*en fro$ the penalty ne,t lo&er in degree &hich is prision
mayor in any of its periods.
Bor the frustrated ho$icide, the i$posable penalty is one degree lo&er than the
penalty prescribed by la& for the consu$$ated offense, and one degree lo&er
than reclusion temporal is prision mayor. Applying the -ndeter$inate 'entence Fa&
and the attending circu$stances &hich offset each other, the $a,i$u$ penalty to be
i$posed should be ta*en fro$ the $ediu$ of the i$posable penalty, &hich is
prision $ayor the range of the $ediu$ period of &hich is eight (3) years and one (1)
day to ten (10) years, &hile the $ini$u$ should be ta*en fro$ the penalty ne,t
lo&er in degree, &hich is prision correccional the full range of &hich is si, (>)
$onths and one (1) day to si, (>) years, in any of its periods.
A?44B.4, the decision of the court a )uo finding the accused-appellants
A-FF-4 AMAC5-7 and C-F+. AMAC5-7 guilty in #ri$. #ases 7os. 30!1 and
30!= is M.+-B-4+ as follo&s:
(a) accused-appellant A-FF-4 AMAC5-7 is found guilty of ?.M-#-+4 in #ri$.
#ase 7o. 30!1 and is sentenced to si, (>) years, t&o (=) $onths and one (1) day
of prision mayor $ini$u$ as $ini$u$, to fourteen (1!) years, eight (3) $onths
and t&enty (=0) days of reclusion temporal $ediu$ as $a,i$u$, and of
B5'TAT4+ ?.M-#-+4 in #ri$. #ase 7o. 30!= and is sentenced to si, (>)
$onths and t&enty (=0) days of prision correccional $ini$u$ as $ini$u$, to eight
(3) years, four (!) $onths and ten (10) days of prision mayor as $a,i$u$, to be
served successively<.
(b) accused-appellant C-F+. AMAC5-7 is found guilty of t&o (=) separate cri$es
of ?.M-#-+4 in #ri$. #ases 7os. 30!1 and 30!= and is sentenced to si, (>) years
t&o (=) $onths and one (1) day of prision mayor $ini$u$ as $ini$u$, to t&elve
(1=) years, si, (>) $onths and ten (10) days of reclusion temporal $ini$u$ as
$a,i$u$, for each ho$icide, to be served successively<
(c) in #ri$. #ase 7o. 30!1, accused-appellants A-FF-4 AMAC5-7 and C-F+.
AMAC5-7 are declared 8ointly and severally liable to the heirs of +iosdado .ro for
P"0,000.00 as civil inde$nity consistent &ith prevailing 8urisprudence< and,
(d) in #ri$. case 7o. 30!=, accused-appellant C-F+. AMAC5-7 is liable to the
heirs of Pacifico .ro for P"0,000.00 as civil inde$nity.
#osts against accused-appellants A-FF-4 AMAC5-7 and C-F+. AMAC5-7 in
both cases.
'. .+44+.
FG.R. No. 1%0B1A. D.+.17.r 10, 2003H
PEOPLE OF T&E P&#L#PP#NES, appellee, vs. BERNARDO SARA, appellant.
D E C # S # O N
Appellant Bernardo RBerningS 'ara &as charged before the egional Trial
#ourt (T#) of -loilo #ity &ith Murder in an infor$ation dated March @,
1233 reading:
The undersigned Provincial Biscal accuses B47A+. 'AA, La;lias
RB47-7C,S of the cri$e of M5+4 co$$itted as follo&s:
That on or about 7ove$ber =, 123@, in the Municipality of #abatuan, Province of
-loilo, Philippines and &ithin the 8urisdiction of this #ourt, the above-na$ed
accused, together &ith an unidentified person, conspiring and helping one another,
ar$ed &ith firear$s of un*no&n caliber, &ith treachery and evident pre$editation
and deliberate intent and decided purpose to *ill, did then and there &illfully,
unla&fully and feloniously shoot and hit one Paterno Morcillo on his chest &hich
caused his death.
#.7TAG T. FAA.
Appellant &as earlier charged for the sa$e offense, along &ith 4fren obles,
in a 7ove$ber >, 123@ co$plaint.
-n a +ece$ber 1@, 123@ .rder,
Acting Municipal #ircuit Trial Judge 'i$eonito A. 'alarda of #abatuan, -loilo, &ho
conducted the preli$inary e,a$ination, found no probable cause to hale obles into
5pon arraign$ent
on July >, 1233, appellant, assisted by his counsel, entered
a plea of not guilty.
Bro$ the evidence for the prosecution, the follo&ing version is established:
At around @:/0 p.$. of 7ove$ber =, 123@, &hile Paterno Morcillo (the
victi$) and his &ife-prosecution &itness Dirginia Morcillo &ere sitting at their
balcony situated at the left side of their one storey house
in Barangay Acao,
#abatuan, -loilo, the victi$ revealed to her that on account of his accusation against
appellant and 4fren obles for *illing his chic*en,
the t&o had threatened to *ill
hi$ on 7ove$ber 1, 123@.
Allaying any an,iety of the victi$, his &ife told hi$
not to be bothered as it &as already the second of 7ove$ber, and he should be
than*ful for being alive.

Mo$ents later, hearing the incessant bar*ing of dogs, Dirginia prodded the
victi$ to transfer their carabao fro$ the bac* portion of the house to the front.
?earing that the victi$, their father, &as going to transfer the carabao,
prosecution &itnesses Belipe and Ben8a$in Morcillo curiously loo*ed out of the
&indo& situated at the side of their house
to &atch the transfer of the carabao.
5n*no&n to the victi$ &ho proceeded to the bac* of the house, appellant and
one &ho$ Belipe and Ben8a$in clai$ to be 4fren obles &ere squatting
beside a
nearby coconut tree.
Ahile the victi$ &as at the right side of the house,
he could reach the carabao, he &as shot by appellant.
'oon after hearing the sound of a gunshot, Dirginia heard her husband-the
victi$ $oaning.
Another shot &as soon after fired by 4fren obles,
pro$pting Dirginia to
run do&nstairs &here she sa& her husband lying on the ground.
'he then lifted
hi$ and placed hi$ in her ar$s,
and as their children Belipe and Ben8a$in
approached her, they told her R7ay, it &as Tay Berning &ho *illed Tatay.S
she turned her attention bac* to her husband, he &as already dead.
The post$orte$ e,a$ination conducted on the victi$ by +r. -$elda P. Pi6,
resident physician at the a$on Tabiana Me$orial +istrict ?ospital in
#abatuan, -loilo, sho&ed that the victi$ died of cardiac ta$ponade secondary to
rupture of the right ventricular heart and thoracic aorta due to $ultiple gunshot
&ounds on the chest.
The e,a$ination conducted by Ienaida 'infuego, a forensic che$ist for the
-ntegrated 7ational Police in #a$p +elgado, -loilo #ity, sho&ed that the left and
right hands of both appellant and 4fren obles &ere positive for gunpo&der residue
(nitrates) as reflected in #he$istry eport 7o. #-0!"-3@.
+enying the accusation and proferring alibi, appellant clai$ed that on
7ove$ber =, 123@, at around @:00 p.$., he had dinner &ith his &ife and children at
their house in BarangayAcao, #abatuan, -loilo,
follo&ing &hich or at around 3:00
p.$., he &ent to sleep.
AppellantQs &ife, #leofas 'ara, corroborated hi$.
+iscrediting appellantQs denial and alibi in favor of the positive and
categorical testi$ony of Belipe and Ben8a$in that they sa& appellant squatting and
holding a short firear$ several $eters a&ay fro$ the victi$, Branch =@ of the -loilo
#ity T# convicted appellant of Murder by decision
of .ctober 1@, 1221 the
dispositive portion of &hich is quotedverbatim:
A?44B.4, in vie& of the foregoing, the court hereby sentences the accused
B47A+. 'AA to suffer the penalty of i$prison$ent of 'eventeen (1@) years,
Bour (!) $onths and .ne (1) day of(eclusion Temporal as $ini$u$ to T&enty Bive
(=") years, 7ine (2) $onths and 4leven (11) days to (eclusion Perpetua as
$a,i$u$< +irecting said accused to inde$nify the heirs of the deceased Paterno
Morcillo the a$ount of Thirty Thousand (P/0,000.00) Pesos< To pay attorneyQs fees
in the a$ount of P",000.00< #offin and burial and actual e,penses in the a$ount
of P11,000.00< And costs.
.n appeal to the #ourt of Appeals, appellant assailed the verdict of the trial
court on four (!) grounds:
(a) the trial court erred in giving full faith and credence
to the patently incredible, fabricated, unreliable, inconsistent if not contradictory
testi$onies of the prosecution &itnesses< (b) the trial court erred in not
disregarding the results of the paraffin test conducted on the person of the accused-
appellant as the sa$e &as not conclusive< (c) the trial court erred in not giving
evidentiary and e,culpatory &eight to the evidence adduced by the defenses< and (d)
the trial court $anifestly erred in rendering a verdict of conviction despite the fact
that the guilt of accused-appellant &as not proved beyond reasonable doubt.
Binding no reversible error in the factual findings of the trial court, the #ourt
of Appeals, by +ecision of 'epte$ber 3, 122",
affir$ed the conviction of
appellant but $odified the penalty i$posed to reclusion
perpetua. The dispositive portion of the appellate courtQs decision reads,
quoted verbatim:
2&EREFORE, the 8udg$ent appealed fro$ is ABB-M4+ &ith modifications as
to penalty and civil indemnity. Accused-appellant +ernardo Sara is hereby
sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. The civil inde$nity a&arded
to the heirs of deceased Paterno Morcillo is hereby increased
to P"0,000.00. (4$phasis, underscoring and italics in the original)
-n an August /0, 1222 esolution,
the appellate court certified the case to
this #ourt for revie& in accordance &ith 'ection 1/, ule 1=!, par. = of the ules of
#ri$inal Procedure.
This #ourt afforded appellant the opportunity to file an additional brief
&hich he assigns the follo&ing errors:
T?4 #.5T .B APP4AF' 44+ -7 7.T +-'#A+-7C T?4
PAT47TFG -7#.7'-'T47T, 7AG #.7BF-#T-7C
'TAT4M47T' .B T?4 P.'4#5T-.7 A-T74''4' A747T
T?4 '5BJ4#T -7#-+47T A?-#? A44 T.TAFFG -C7.4+
BG T?4 T-AF #.5T.
CA7T-7C B. T?4 'AH4 .B AC5M47T T?AT T?4
A##5'4+-APP4FFA7T -' C5-FTG, 7.74T?4F4'', T?4
T-AF #.5T 44+ -7 #.7D-#T-7C ?-M .B M5+4
'-7#4 T?4 M5AF-BG-7C #-#5M'TA7#4 .B T4A#?4G
-' AA7T-7C, ?47#4, T?4 P47AFTG -MP.'4+ 5P.7 ?-M
M5'T B4 A##.+-7CFG 4+5#4+.
The resolution of the case hinges on (1) &hether the evidence for the
prosecution established the guilt of appellant beyond reasonable doubt< and (=) if in
the affir$ative, &hether the proper penalty &as correctly $odified by the appellate
-n affir$ing the conviction of appellant, the appellate court relied, as did the
trial court, $ainly on the testi$ony of Belipe and Ben8a$in, particularly their
positive identification of appellant.
Appellant be&ails, ho&ever, the brushing aside of his defense of alibi despite
the e,istence, so he clai$s, of conflicting state$ents in the testi$onies of the
prosecution &itnesses, he highlighting the follo&ing instances: BelipeQs testi$ony
during cross-e,a$ination that he sa& appellant and 4fren obles in the balcony of
the victi$Qs house,
&hereas on further cross-e,a$ination, he declared that he sa&
appellant and obles at the tambi or bac* porch<
BelipeQs testi$ony that his
sister Fianisa &as inside the house during the incident but he did not *no& &hat she
&as then doing,
&hereas in his s&orn state$ent, Belipe stated that Fianisa
&as urinating at the tambi or bac* porch<
BelipeQs testi$ony that a short
firear$ &as used in shooting his father,
&hereas in his s&orn state$ent he stated
that he did not *no& the *ind of firear$ &as used<
BelipeQs testi$ony that there
&as a grudge bet&een appellant and his father,
&hereas in his s&orn state$ent he
stated that he did not *no& of any reason or $otive behind his fatherQs $urder<
Ben8a$inQs testi$ony during cross-e,a$ination that he &as lying
do&n, preparing to go to sleep &hen he heard the dogs bar*ing,
&hereas on
further cross-e,a$ination, he declared that he and Belipe &ere playing and
teasing each other<
Ben8a$inQs testi$ony that he sa& appellant at the side of a
coconut tree &hen he shot the victi$,
&hereas in BelipeQs testi$ony, he declared
that he sa& appellant and 4fren obles in the balcony of their house<
testi$ony that he did not *no& of any reason or $otive for the *illing of his father,
&hereas in BelipeQs testi$ony, he stated that there &as a grudge bet&een
appellant and his deceased father<
DirginiaQs testi$ony that she and the victi$
&ere in the balcony tal*ing &ith each other &hen the dogs started bar*ing,
&hereas in BelipeQs
and Ben8a$inQs
testi$onies they declared that she
&as inside the house< and DirginiaQs testi$ony that Belipe and Ben8a$in told her that
they sa& another person aside fro$ appellant but that they could not recogni6e hi$,
&hereas both Belipe
and Ben8a$in
stated that 4fren obles &as &ith
appellant during the incident.
The appeal is bereft of $erit.
Appellant &as positively identified as the assailant by t&o credible
eye&itnesses. The victi$Qs son Belipe testified, thus:
M: B), !o 4o) 5o- 0o- !i! 4o)r /a,0.r !i.K
A: &. -a* *0o,.
M: Do 4o) F5o-H -0o *0o, 4o)r /a,0.rK
A: Y.*, *ir.
M: Ca 4o) i/or1 ,0. +o)r, -0o *0o, 4o)r /a,0.rK
A: B.rar!o Sara.
M: #/ ,0i* B.rar!o Sara i* i*i!. ,0. +o)r,roo1, +a 4o) poi, 0i1
A: Y.*, *ir. ?2i,.** poi,i6 ,o a p.r*o i*i!. ,0. +o)r,roo1
-0o, -0. a*5.!, a*-.r.! 74 ,0. a1. o/ B.rar!o Sara.@
M: Before your father died, ho& long have you *no&n this Bernardo
A: 4veryday.
M: -n other &ords, everyday, you $et this Bernardo 'araP
A: Ges, sir.
, , ,
M: Gou said that your father &as shot by Bernardo 'ara. #an you
infor$ the #ourt &here &ere you &hen your father &as shot by
Bernardo 'araP
A: .n the &indo&.
M: ?o& far &ere you fro$ the place &here your father &as at that ti$e,
&hen he &as shotP
A: About three ar$s length.
M: 7o&, &hen Bernardo 'ara shot your father, &hat happened to hi$P
A: ?e fell do&n.
M: &o- !i! 4o) 0app. ,o r.+o6i=. ,0a, ,i1. ,0a, i, -a* B.rar!o
Sara -0o *0o, 4o)r /a,0.rK
A: # *a- 0i1.
M: ?o& far &ere you fro$ Bernardo &hen he shot your fatherP
A: About 2 ar$s length. (4$phasis and underscoring supplied)
And the victi$Qs other son, Ben8a$in, testified thus:
M: Ahen your father &ent do&nstairs, &hat did you do if you did
A: - loo*ed out of the &indo&.
M: Ahen you loo*ed out of the &indo&, can you see the place &here
your father &as at that ti$eP
A: Ges, sir.
M: 20a, 0app..! ,o 4o)r /a,0.rK
A: &. -a* *0o,.
M: 2.r. 4o) a7l. ,o r.+o6i=. ,0. p.r*o -0o *0o, 4o)r /a,0.rK
A: Y.*, *ir.
M: Pl.a*. ,.ll )* -0o ,0a, p.r*o -a*.
A: B.rar!o Sara.
M: 20. 4o) *ai! B.rar!o Sara, 4o) ar. r./.rri6 ,o ,0. a++)*.!
i ,0i* +a*.K
A: Y.*, *ir.
#.5T :
M: #/ ,0i* B.rar!o Sara i* i*i!. ,0. +o)r,roo1, pl.a*. poi, ,o
A: ?2i,.** poi,* ,o a p.r*o i*i!. ,0. +o)r,roo1 -0o -0.
a*5.! a*-.r.! ,o ,0. a1. o/ B.rar!o Sara.@
M: Ahy do you *no& this Bernardo 'araP
A: Because &e are neighbors.
M: Bor ho& long have you *no&n this Bernardo 'araP
A: 'ince - reached the age of reason.
, , ,
ATTG. #5A+A':
M: 204 !o 4o) *a4 ,0a, i, -a* B.rar!o Sara -0o *0o, 4o)r /a,0.r
,0a, .3.i6 o/ No3.17.r 2, 19A7K
A: B.+a)*. # *a- 0i1.
M: -n relation to the place &here you &ere at that ti$e, ho& far &ere
you fro$ the place &here Bernardo 'ara &as at the ti$e &hen he
shot your fatherP
A: Around 1= ar$s length a&ay.
M: #onsidering that this incident happened in the evening of 7ove$ber
=, 123@, ho& did you recogni6e or by &hat $eans did you identify
that it &as Bernardo 'ara &ho shot your fatherP
A: Because the $oon &as bright. (4$phasis and underscoring
Both Belipe and Ben8a$in testified that there &as a$ple illu$ination fro$ the
$oon to enable the$ to see the face of their fatherQs assailant. That the light fro$
the stars,
or the $oon,
or fla$es fro$ an oven,
or a &ic* la$p
or gasera
can give a$ple illu$ination to enable a person to identify or recogni6e
another, this #ourt has had occasions to appreciate. There &as thus no possibility
for both &itnesses to be $ista*en in identifying their fatherQs assailant, especially
considering that they have *no&n appellant, their neighbor, for a long ti$e.
There being no indication that Belipe and Ben8a$in &ere actuated by any
i$proper $otive to falsely testify against appellant, their relationship &ith the victi$
not&ithstanding, there is no reason to doubt the veracity of their
testi$onies. elationship could in fact even strengthen the &itnessesQ credibility, it
being unnatural for aggrieved relatives to falsely accuse so$eone other than the
actual culprit, for their natural interest in securing the conviction of the guilty &ould
deter the$ fro$ i$plicating any other.
That appellantQs hands &ere found positive for gunpo&der nitrates
corroborates the evidence of his guilt.
Aith respect to the then 10-year old BelipeQs inconsistent testi$ony on &here
appellant &as at the ti$e of the incident, that could reasonably be attributed to his
tender age and his failure to understand the questions of defense counsel.
Bor to
young &itnesses &ho, $uch $ore than adults, &ould naturally be gripped &ith
tension due to the novelty of the e,perience of testifying before a court, a$ple
$argin of error and understanding $ust be accorded.
-n any event, upon
clarification by the trial court, it &as sufficiently established that Belipe sa&
appellant and obles outside of his house.
Ahile, ad$ittedly, there &ere contradictions bet&een the prosecution
&itnessesQ testi$onies in open court and their s&orn state$ents, discrepancies do
not necessarily i$pair their credibility, for affidavits, being ta*en e* parte, are
al$ost al&ays inco$plete and often inaccurate
for lac* of searching inquiries by
the investigating officer
or due to partial suggestions,
and are thus generally
considered to be inferior to the testi$ony given in open court.
A 'inu$paang 'alaysay or a s&orn state$ent is $erely a short narrative subscribed
to by the co$plainant in question and ans&er for$. Thus, it is only to be e,pected
that it is not as e,haustive as oneQs testi$ony in open court. The contradictions, if
any, $ay be e,plained by the fact that an affidavit can not possibly disclose the
details in their entirety, and $ay inaccurately describe, &ithout deponent detecting
it, so$e of the occurrences narrated. Being ta*en e*1parte, an affidavit is al$ost
al&ays inco$plete and often inaccurate, so$eti$es fro$ partial suggestions, and
so$eti$es fro$ the &ant of suggestions and inquiries. -t has thus been held that
affidavits are generally subordinated in i$portance to open court declarations
because the for$er are often e,ecuted &hen an affiantQs $ental faculties are not in
such a state as to afford her a fair opportunity of narrating in full the incident &hich
has transpired. Burther, affidavits are not co$plete reproductions of &hat the
declarant has in $ind because they are generally prepared by the ad$inistering
officer and the affiant si$ply signs the$ after the sa$e have been read to her.
As for the other alleged inconsistencies in the testi$onies of the prosecution
&itnesses, they refer to $inor and collateral $atters, not to an essential ele$ent of
the cri$e,
and do not have any bearing on the essential fact testified to, that is, the
*illing of the victi$. Moreover, $inor contradictions a$ong several &itnesses of a
particular incident and aspect thereof &hich do not relate to the grava$en of the
cri$e charged are to be e,pected in vie& of their differences in i$pressions,
$e$ory, vantage points and other related factors.
-n fact, they bolster rather than
&ea*en their credibility as they erase any suspicion that their testi$onies have been
Ahat is i$portant is that both Belipe and Ben8a$in &ere consistent in
positively identifying appellant as the person &ho shot their father.
AppellantQs alibi thus fails vis-U-vis the positive and categorical assertion of
the prosecution &itnesses.
'uch defense is &orthless, considered &ith suspicion
and al&ays received &ith caution not only because it is inherently &ea* and
unreliable but also because it is easily fabricated and concocted.
Being negative
in nature and self-serving, it cannot secure &orthiness $ore than that placed upon
the testi$onies of prosecution &itnesses &ho testify on clear and positive evidence.

At all events, for the defense of alibi to prosper, it is not enough to sho& that
the accused &as so$e&here else &hen the cri$e &as co$$itted. ?e $ust further
de$onstrate that it &as physically i$possible for hi$ to have been at the scene of
the cri$e at the ti$e of the co$$ission thereof.
Appellant glaringly failed in this
regard. Bor by his clai$, he &as at the ti$e the cri$e &as perpetrated at his
residence &hich &as only about =00 to /00 $eters a&ay fro$ the locus criminis.
As for the presence of treachery in the *illing, the #ourt of Appeals correctly
appreciated the sa$e. The essence of treachery is that the attac* is deliberate and
&ithout &arning done in a s&ift and une,pected $anner of e,ecution, affording the
hapless and unsuspecting victi$ no chance to resist or escape.
-n the case at bar,
the victi$ &as caught defenseless &hen appellant, &ho &as squatting beside a tree,
suddenly shot hi$ as he &as on his &ay to the bac* portion of his house to transfer a
carabao. The attac* being s&ift and une,pected, the victi$ &ho &as unar$ed could
not have resisted. Ahereas, on the other hand, appellant &as not thereby e,posed to
any danger.
+oubtless, appellant is guilty of $urder. The cri$e &as co$$itted before the
effectivity of epublic Act 7o. @>"2.
At the ti$e, Article =!3 of the evised
Penal #ode penali6ed $urder &ith reclusion temporal in its $a,i$u$ period to
death. There being neither $itigating nor aggravating circu$stance, reclusion
perpetua, the $ediu$ period of the penalty, &as correctly i$posed by the #ourt of
Appeals, pursuant to Article >! (1) of the evised Penal #ode.
As to the civil aspect of the case, the #ourt of Appeals correctly too increased
the a&ard of inde$nity to the heirs of the victi$ fro$ P/0,000.00 to P"0,000.00 in
line &ith prevailing 8urisprudence, &hich a&ard needs no proof other than the fact
that a cri$e &as co$$itted resulting in the death of the victi$ and that the accused
&as responsible therefor.
As for the a&ard of P11,000.00 representing RLc;offin and burial and actual
e,penses,S the sa$e appears to have been based on the testi$onial clai$ of the
victi$Qs &ife that the fa$ily incurred funeral e,penses in the a$ount of P=0,000.00.
7o official receipts &ere, ho&ever, presented to substantiate the clai$. ?er
testi$ony cannot thus be considered as co$petent proof and cannot replace the
probative value of official receipts to 8ustify the a&ard of actual da$ages, for
8urisprudence instructs that the sa$e $ust be duly substantiated by receipts.
Moreover, Article =122 of the #ivil #ode e,plicitly requires that, e,cept as
provided by la& or stipulation, one is entitled to an adequate co$pensation only for
such pecuniary loss suffered by hi$ as he has duly proved. -n other &ords, only
substantiated and proven e,penses, or those that appear to have been genuinely
incurred in connection &ith the death, &a*e or burial of the victi$ &ill be
recogni6ed in court.
7onetheless, &here no sufficient proof of actual da$ages is presented in the
trial court (or &hen the actual da$ages proven is less than P=",000.00), this #ourt
generally a&ards the a$ount of P=",000.00 as te$perate da$ages,
it being
reasonable to presu$e that &hen death occurs, the fa$ily of the victi$ necessarily
incurs e,penses for the &a*e and funeral.

-n the case at bar, ho&ever, the victi$Qs &ife testified, as earlier noted, that the
a$ount of P=0,000.00 &as incurred for funeral e,penses. This #ourt thus a&ards
te$perate da$ages in the said a$ount.

5nder Article ==0> of the #ivil #ode, the heirs of the victi$ are entitled to
inde$nity for loss of earning capacity. .rdinarily, docu$entary evidence is
necessary for the purpose. By &ay of e,ception, testi$onial evidence $ay suffice if
the victi$ &as either (1) self-e$ployed, earning less than the $ini$u$ &age under
current labor la&s, and 8udicial notice $ay be ta*en of the fact that in the victi$Qs
line of &or*, no docu$entary evidence is available< or (=) e$ployed as a daily-&age
&or*er earning less than the $ini$u$ &age under current labor la&s.
-n the case
at bar, ho&ever, &hile the victi$Qs &ife testified that the victi$ earned P=00.00
every $ar*et day
as &ell as 1=0 sac*s a year fro$ cultivating a =-hectare piece of
she did not indicate the nu$ber of $ar*et days in a year nor identify the
crops &hich her husband harvested or give the value thereof. -nde$nification for
loss of earning capacity parta*es of the nature of actual da$ages &hich $ust be
duly proven
by co$petent proof and the best obtainable evidence thereof.
Binally, in accordance &ith Article ==/0 of the #ivil #ode, the qualifying
circu$stance of treachery being present, e,e$plary da$ages in the a$ount
of P=",000.00 $ust be a&arded.
-t is on account of the a&ard of e,e$plary
da$ages that the a&ard of a&ard attorneyQs fees in the a$ount of P",000.00 is
2&EREFORE, the decision of the #ourt of Appeals, finding
appellant B47A+. 'AA guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Murder and
sentencing hi$ to suffer the penalty ofreclusion perpetua is hereby
ABB-M4+. The civil aspect of the case is M.+-B-4+ to read as
follo&s: Appellant is hereby .+44+ to pay the heirs of Paterno Morcillo the
a$ounts of P"0,000.00 as civil inde$nity for his death, P=0,000.00 as te$perate
da$ages, P=",000.00 as e,e$plary da$ages, and P",000.00 as attorneyQs fees.