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EN BANC

[G.R. No. 141125. February 28, 2002]

PEOPLE
OF
THE
PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. JEFFREY
GARCIA y CARAGAY and THREE JOHN DOES,accused.
JEFFREY GARCIA y CARAGAY, accused-appellant.
DECISION
PER CURIAM:

This is an automatic review pursuant to Article 47 of the Revised Penal Code, as


amended by Section 22 of Republic Act No. 7659, of the decision of the Regional Trial
Court of Baguio City, Branch 6, dated October 28, 1999, convicting accused-appellant
Jeffrey Garcia yCaragay of Forcible Abduction with Rape and three counts of Rape, and
sentencing him to death.
[1]

The victim, Cleopatra Changlapon, was nineteen years old and a sophomore
student of B.S. Physical Therapy at the Baguio CentralUniversity. On July 14, 1998, she
left school at 6:30 p.m. to go home to Km. 3, La Trinidad, Benguet. As she was
crossing Bonifacio Street,Baguio City, she saw a white van approaching so she stopped
to let it pass. Suddenly, the van stopped in front of her. The rear door slid open and
Cleopatra was pulled by the arms into the van. She struggled as the door closed and
the van sped away. Something was sprayed on her face which made her eyes sting and
feel dizzy. She shouted, then she felt a fist blow on her stomach and she fell
unconscious.
[2]

When Cleopatra came to, she was inside a room. She was totally undressed and
was lying flat on her back on a bed. In the room with her were four men. One of them,
who had Bombay features, was also totally naked while the other three were clad in
briefs and smoking cigarettes. The Bombay-looking man lay on top of her. She tried to
push him away but he held her left arm. Another man with long hair, whom she later
identified as accused-appellant Jeffrey Garcia, burned her right chin with a lighted
cigarette. Cleopatra fought back but accused-appellant held her right arm. While
accused-appellant was seated on her right side and holding her, the Bombay-looking
man proceeded to have sexual intercourse with her. She tried to kick him and close her
legs, but two men were holding her feet. The two men boxed her thighs and burned her
legs with cigarettes.
[3]

After the Bombay-looking man finished having sexual intercourse with Cleopatra,
accused-appellant took his turn and went on top of her. One of the men sat on her right
leg and pinned it down, while another held her left leg. Cleopatra tried to punch

accused-appellant with her right hand, but the Bombay-looking man held her right arm.
Accused-appellant then had sexual intercourse with her while holding her left arm.
[4]

The third man, whom Cleopatra noted had pimples on his face, went on top of her.
The Bombay-looking man was still holding her right arm, while the man on top of her
held her left arm. She tried to close her legs but someone hit her right thigh, which
forced her to keep her legs apart. The third man with pimples succeeded in having
carnal knowledge of her.
[5]

The fourth man was next in raping Cleopatra. By that time, she was feeling helpless
and was too tired to struggle. As the fourth man was having sexual intercourse with her,
she saw the Bombay-looking man burning her panties with a lighted cigarette. She
closed her eyes and heard the men laughing. After the fourth man finished raping her,
he got up. She felt dizzy and her private parts were aching. She opened her eyes and
tried to move, but accused-appellant hit her on the abdomen.
[6]

One of the men again sprayed something on Cleopatras face which made her
vision blurred. She heard somebody say that it was 1:30. After that, she blacked out.
When she regained consciousness, she was lying by the roadside somewhere between
Tam-awan andLonglong. It was still dark. She already had her clothes on. She felt pain
all over her body and was unable to move. A taxi passed by and picked her up. Although
she was afraid to ride the taxi, she boarded it just to get home. The taxi brought her to
her house.
[7]

[8]

Her aunt, Rufina Angog, saw Cleopatra alight the taxi crying. She also noticed that
Cleopatras clothes were inverted and she smelled bad. She woke up Cleopatras
brothers and cousins. They asked her what happened. Cleopatra just kept crying and
was unable to talk. After some time, when she was able to regain her composure, she
told them that she had been raped by four men.
[9]

[10]

The following day, July 15, 1998, Cleopatra was brought to the Baguio City Police
Station. After giving her statement to the police, she was brought to the Crime
Laboratory of the Baguio City Police, where she was examined by Dr.
Vladimir Villaseor.
In his Medico-Legal Report, Dr. Villaseor wrote the following findings:

FINDINGS:
General and Extra-genital:
Fairly nourished, fairly developed coherent female subject. Breasts are hemispherical
with light brown areola and nipples from which no secretion could be pressed out.
Abdomen is soft and flabby.
The following are the injuries noted:

1.
Second degree burns, mental region, measuring 1.3.1cm, 3cm from the anterior
midline.
2.
Second degree burns, left supra-mammary region, measuring 1 x 1cm, 8cm
from the anterior midline.
3.
Second degree burns, left supra-mammary region, measuring 0.6x0.6 cm, 8.5cm
from the anterior midline.
4.
Second degree burns, left hypothenar region, measuring 1x0.5cm, 7cm from the
posterior midline.
5.
Second degree burns, left middle 3 of the left thigh, measuring 2x1cm, 13cm
from the anterior midline.
rd

6.
Second degree burns, middle 3 of the right thigh, measuring 1x 1cm, 10cm
from the anterior midline.
rd

7.
Contusion, left mammary region, measuring 3x1cm, 5cm from the anterior
midline.
8.
Contusion, right mammary region, measuring 1x1cm, 9cm from the anterior
midline.
9.
Contusion, middle 3 of the right arm, measuring 5x3cm, 3cm from the anterior
midline.
rd

10. Contusion, middle 3 of the right thigh, measuing 6x4cm, 3cm from the
anterior midline.
rd

11. Hematoma, left zygomatic region, measuring 4x4cm 7cm from the anterior
midline.
There is tenderness on the mammary region, both thighs and at the abdominal region.
Genital:
There is abundant growth of pubic hair. Labia majora are full convex, gaping, with the
congested abraded labia minora presenting in between. On separating the same is
disclosed a congested hymen with shallow fresh lacerations at 7, 8 and 9 oclock and
deep fresh laceration at 6 oclock positions. External vaginal orifice offers strong
resistance to the introduction of the examining index finger and the virgin-sized

vaginal speculum. Vaginal canal is narrow with prominent rugosities. Cervix is


congested with moderate amount of whitish secretion.
CONCLUSION:
Findings are compatible with recent loss of virginity.
Barring unforeseen complications, it is estimated that the above injuries will resolve
in 14-15 days.
R E M AR K S :
Vaginal and peri-urethral smears are negative for gram
(-) diplococci and POSITIVE for spermatozoa.
[11]

The panties that Cleopatra was wearing was also submitted to the Crime Laboratory
for examination. Dr. Villaseor found cigarette burns and seminal stains, as well as
stains of blood on the panties. The Medico-Legal Report states:
[12]

[13]

SPECIMEN SUBMITTED:
Specimen A - One (1) white printed panty with cigarette burns and with suspected
seminal stains.
xxx

xxx
xxx.

FINDINGS:
Biochemical examination conducted on the above-mentioned specimen
gave POSITIVE result to the test for the presence of seminal stains.
CONCLUSION:
Specimen A revealed the presence of seminal stains.

[14]

On July 17, 1998, Cleopatra went back to the police station and gave a description
of the four rapists to the cartographer. She likewise executed another sworn
statement to the police.
[15]

[16]

Meanwhile, accused-appellant was arrested at 4:30 p.m. of July 17, 1998 in


connection with another rape charge against him filed by a certain Gilda Mangyo.
The cartographic sketches were published in the Sun-Star newspaper. Police
Officers Gilbert Bulalit and Archibald Diaz saw the sketches and noticed that one of the

suspects depicted in the cartographic sketch bore a striking resemblance to accusedappellant, who was in their custody. On July 26, 1998, Cleopatra was summoned to
the police station to identify accused-appellant. She was brought to the upper floor of
the police building and asked to look below on the basketball court of the city jail and
see if any of the inmates looked familiar to her. Cleopatra recognized accusedappellant among those watching the basketball game.
[17]

[18]

[19]

PO1 Bulalit brought accused-appellant to the office upstairs. When Cleopatra saw
accused-appellant face to face, she started to tremble and cry. Then she tried to attack
him but she was restrained by the police officers. On the same day, Cleopatra gave a
supplemental statement to the police, confirming her identification of accused-appellant
as one of her rapists.
[20]

[21]

Inquest proceedings followed in due course. On July 27, 1998, formal charges for
forcible abduction with rape were brought against accused-appellant and three John
Does, under an information which alleged:
[22]

That on or about the 14 day of July, 1998, in the City of Baguio, Philippines, and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring,
confederating and mutually aiding one another, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously, and by means of force and intimidation abduct
CLEOPATRA CHANGLAPON, 19 years old, by dragging her inside a van and taking
her to Tam-awan Village, Baguio City, against her will and with lewd design, and
once inside a house, had carnal knowledge of her, also by means of force and
intimidation and against her will.
th

CONTRARY TO LAW.

[23]

The information was docketed as Criminal Case No. 15805-R of


the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City, Branch 6. Accused-appellant was arraigned,
wherein he entered a plea of not guilty. Trial ensued as against him, while the other
three unidentified accused remained at large.
Accused-appellant testified that he spent the whole day of July 14, 1998 at the
boarding
house
where
his
brother-in-law
lived,
located
atNo.
36
Torres Bugallon Street, Aurora Hills, Baguio City. His brother-in-law asked him to go
there to take care of his nephew. That evening, while he was in the said house watching
television, some of his friends came over to visit him. They brought a bottle of gin and
began to have a drinking session. Accused-appellant did not join them because his
stomach was upset. Accused-appellants brother-in-law arrived a little before midnight,
after which his guests left. When asked about the charges of rape against him, he
denied the same.
[24]

[25]

Catherine Faith Madella was among those who visited accused-appellant in the
evening of July 14, 1998. She came to know him through her friend, Joy Tabinas, who
was a tenant at the said boarding house. Madella testified that she went to the boarding
house on July 14, 1998 at 9:00 p.m. At 12:00 midnight, she went to the bedroom of

Joy Tabinas and slept there. Her testimony was corroborated


boyfriend, Ronaldo T. Valdez, who also testified for the defense.
[26]

by

her

[27]

Joy Tabinas likewise testified that on July 14, 1998, she was at the boarding house.
She watched television with accused-appellant from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m.
[28]

On October 28, 1999, the trial court rendered its decision convicting accusedappellant of one count of forcible abduction with rape and three counts of rape.
The dispositive portion of the judgment reads:

WHEREFORE, the Court Finds the Accused Jeffrey Garcia guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the complex crime of Forcible Abduction with Rape and likewise of the three
(3) crimes of rape in conspiracy with three (3) others whose identities and
whereabouts are yet unknown as charged in the Information and hereby sentences him
to the supreme penalty of DEATH in each of the 4 offenses aforementioned; to
indemnify the offended party, Cleopatra Changlapon, the sum of One Hundred Forty
Six Thousand, One Hundred Twenty Five Pesos and Seventy Five Centavos (P
146,125.75) as actual damages and Fifty Thousand Pesos as moral damages without
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to pay one fourth (1/4) of the costs.
The police authorities are directed to exert all efforts to identify and arrest the three
other accused whose identities and whereabouts are yet unknown.
Meantime, pending their arrests, the case is Archived in respect to the three (3) other
accused whose identities and whereabouts are yet unknown to be revived upon their
arrest.
SO ORDERED.

[29]

In his Brief, accused-appellant raises the following errors:


I

THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING HEREIN ACCUSEDAPPELLANT JEFFREY GARCIA Y CARAGAY GUILTY BEYOND
REASONABLE DOUBT FOR THE COMPLEX CRIME OF FORCIBLE
ABDUCTION WITH RAPE AND FOR THREE (3) COUNTS OF RAPE
ALLEGEDLY COMMITTED IN CONSPIRACY WITH THREE (3) OTHERS
WHOSE IDENTITIES AND WHEREABOUTS ARE STILL UNKNOWN.
II

THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT GIVING SCANT


CONSIDERATION TO THE THEORY OF THE DEFENSE THAT ACCUSED-

APPELLANT JEFFREY GARCIA Y CARAGAY IS ONLY A LOOK-ALIKE OF


THE REAL CULPRIT.
III

THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT CLEOPATRA


CHANGLAPON HAD POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED JEFFREY GARCIA Y
CARAGAY AS ONE OF THOSE WHO ABDUCTED AND RAPED HER.
[30]

Accused-appellant assails his conviction based on complainants identification.


According to him, the identification was improperly suggested by the police. We are not
persuaded. Based on our own review of the records of this case, we find that
complainant was neither influenced nor induced by the police to point to accusedappellant as one of her molesters. On the contrary, the transcripts convincingly show
that complainant was left to freely study the faces of the thirty or more inmates on the
basketball court below to see whether she recognized any of them. There was no
suggestion from the police to point to the new detainee, who had just been arrested on
another rape charge.
[31]

Owing to the gravity of the crime and penalty involved, we have meticulously
studied the testimony of complainant CleopatraChanglapon and find it to be clear,
straightforward and categorical. The details of her narration are consistent on all
material points. Her actions throughout her ordeal correspond to normal human
behavior. We take particular note of her natural and spontaneous reaction of crying and
attacking her molester when brought before her face to face. The records also
eloquently exhibit that she repeatedly cried throughout her testimony. All of these
actuations bear the ring of truth and deserve full faith and credit.
More importantly, complainants narration of the events is well substantiated by the
physical evidence. The second degree burns found on her face, chest and thighs prove
that she was indeed burned with lighted cigarettes whenever she attempted to fight her
assailants. The medico-legal officer confirmed that they were consistent with cigarette
burns. Furthermore, the contusions found on her body were said to be caused by a
blunt instrument like a closed fist. This confirms her testimony that she was repeatedly
hit to stop her from struggling. The medico-legal officer placed the time of infliction of the
external physical injuries on complainant within the last twenty-four hours. The
findings on her genitals --- namely the gaping labia majora, the congested and abraded
labia minora, and the lacerations --- all suggest the entry of a foreign object, such as a
fully erect male organ. Finally, the presence of spermatozoa further confirms that
complainant recently had sexual intercourse.
[32]

[33]

[34]

[35]

[36]

In the face of complainants positive and categorical declarations that accusedappellant was one of her rapists, accused-appellants alibi must fail.

It is a well-settled rule that positive identification of the accused, where categorical


and consistent and without any showing of ill motive on the part of the eyewitness
testifying on the matter, prevails over alibi and denial which if not substantiated by

clear and convincing evidence are negative and self-serving evidence undeserving of
weight in law.
[37]

Furthermore, in order that the defense of alibi may prosper, accused-appellant must
establish not only that he was somewhere else when the crime was committed but also
that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime at the
time it was committed. In the case at bar, the place of commission of the rapes --somewhere between Tam-awan and Longlong --- and the boarding house where
accused-appellant alleged he was in the evening of July 14, 1998, are both situated
within Baguio City. The distance between Tam-awan and Aurora Hills, especially at
dawn, can be traversed in just a matter of minutes.
[38]

Indeed, as pointed out by the trial court, accused-appellants witnesses failed to


account for his whereabouts after 12:00 midnight. At the time of the rape, complainant
distinctly heard one of her molesters state the time as 1:30. Since it was still dark when
complainant was dropped off on the side of the road, it can safely be assumed that the
crimes were committed at dawn.
The trial court, therefore, did not err in convicting accused-appellant of the complex
crime of forcible abduction with rape. The two elements of forcible abduction, as defined
in Article 342 of the Revised Penal Code, are: (1) the taking of a woman against her will
and (2) with lewd designs. The crime of forcible abduction with rape is a complex crime
that occurs when there is carnal knowledge with the abducted woman under the
following circumstances: (1) by using force or intimidation; (2) when the woman is
deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and (3) when the woman is under twelve
years of age or is demented.
[39]

In the case at bar, the information sufficiently alleged the elements of forcible
abduction, i.e., the taking of complainant against her against her will and with lewd
design. It was likewise alleged that accused-appellant and his three co-accused
conspired, confederated and mutually aided one another in having carnal knowledge of
complainant by means of force and intimidation and against her will.
Aside from alleging the necessary elements of the crimes, the prosecution
convincingly established that the carnal knowledge was committed through force and
intimidation. Moreover, the prosecution sufficiently proved beyond reasonable doubt that
accused-appellant succeeded in forcibly abducting the complainant with lewd designs,
established by the actual rape.
[40]

Hence, accused-appellant is guilty of the complex crime of forcible abduction with


rape. He should also be held liable for the other three counts of rape committed by his
three co-accused, considering the clear conspiracy among them shown by their obvious
concerted efforts to perpetrate, one after the other, the crime. As borne by the records,
all the four accused helped one another in consummating the rape of complainant.
While one of them mounted her, the other three held her arms and legs. They also
burned her face and extremities with lighted cigarettes to stop her from warding off her
aggressor. Each of them, therefore, is responsible not only for the rape committed
personally by him but for the rape committed by the others as well.
[41]

However, as correctly held by the trial court, there can only be one complex crime of
forcible abduction with rape. The crime of forcible abduction was only necessary for the
first rape. Thus, the subsequent acts of rape can no longer be considered as separate
complex crimes of forcible abduction with rape. They should be detached from and
considered independently of the forcible abduction. Therefore, accused-appellant
should be convicted of one complex crime of forcible abduction with rape and three
separate acts of rape.
[42]

The penalty for complex crimes is the penalty for the most serious crime which shall
be imposed in its maximum period. Rape is the more serious of the two crimes and,
when committed by more than two persons, is punishable with reclusion perpetua to
death under Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No.
8353. Thus, accused-appellant should be sentenced to the maximum penalty of death
for forcible abduction with rape.
[43]

As regards the other three acts of rape, accused-appellant can only be sentenced
to reclusion perpetua. The trial court appreciated the aggravating circumstances of
nighttime, superior strength and motor vehicle. However, these were not alleged in the
information. Under the amended provisions of Rule 110, Sections 8 and 9 of the
Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, which took effect on December 1, 2000,
aggravating as well as qualifying circumstances must be alleged in the information,
otherwise, they cannot be considered against the accused even if proven at the trial.
Being favorable to accused-appellant, this rule should be applied retroactively in this
case. Hence, there being no aggravating circumstance that may be appreciated, and
with no mitigating circumstance, the lesser of the two indivisible penalties shall be
applied, pursuant to Article 63, paragraph (2) of the Revised Penal Code.
[44]

Anent the matter of damages, the trial court correctly awarded the amount of
P50,000.00 as moral damages. This was justified by complainants emotional and
physical suffering, as narrated in her testimony. Notably, the prosecution successfully
proved that complainant lost her virginity during the rape. As she narrated, virginity is
a highly regarded virtue among the people of Kalinga.
[45]

[46]

[47]

However, the trial court failed to award civil indemnity to the complainant. We have
ruled that if rape is committed or qualified by any of the circumstances which authorize
the imposition of the death penalty, the civil indemnity shall be not less than
P75,000.00. For the other three counts of simple rape, where the proper penalty
is reclusion perpetua, accused-appellant is liable for civil indemnity in the amount of
P50,000.00 for each count.
[48]

[49]

We also find that the actual damages awarded by the trial court was well
substantiated. Complainant presented the required receipts for her medications,
transportation and other expenses. Complainant testified that as a member of
the Kalinga tribe, she had to undergo thekorong and songa rituals, wherein they had to
butcher several chickens, pigs, and carabaos, thereby incurring total expenses of
P90,000.00. These rituals were intended for complainants safety and to call on the
tribes spirits so that no more violence or misfortune may befall her. The grand total of
all these actual expenses, including those for medicines and transportation, as duly
[50]

[51]

[52]

proved by the receipts and computations presented in evidence, is P 146,125.75,


amount awarded by the trial court.

[53]

the

WHEREFORE, based on the foregoing, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court
of Baguio City, Branch 6, in Criminal Case No. 15805-R, convicting accused-appellant
Jeffrey Garcia y Caragay of one count of Forcible Abduction with Rape and three counts
of Rape, is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS. As modified, accused-appellant is
sentenced to suffer the penalty of Death for the complex crime of Forcible Abduction
with Rape and Reclusion Perpetua for each of the three counts of rape. Further,
accused-appellant is ordered to pay complainant Cleopatra Changlapon the amounts of
P146,125.75 as actual damages, P75,000.00 as civil indemnity and P50,000.00 as
moral damages. Costs against accused-appellant.
In accordance with Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, upon finality
of this Decision, let the records of this case be forwarded to the Office of the President
for possible exercise of pardoning power or executive clemency.
SO ORDERED.
Davide,
Jr.,
C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan,
Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Buena, Ynares-Santiago, De Leon, Jr., SandovalGutierrez, and Carpio, JJ., concur.

[1]

Penned by Judge Ruben C. Ayson.

[2]

TSN, November 9, 1998, pp. 3-7.

[3]

Ibid., pp. 8-16.

[4]

Ibid., pp. 17-20.

[5]

Ibid., pp. 20-22.

[6]

Ibid., pp. 22-24.

[7]

Ibid., pp. 24-25.

[8]

Ibid., pp. 28-34.

[9]

Ibid., pp. 34-35.

[10]

TSN, November 11, 1998, pp. 9-10.

[11]

Exh. "D".

[12]

Exh. "E-1"; TSN, October 1, 1998, p. 62.

[13]

Exh. "H-1"; TSN, October 8, 1998, p. 56.

[14]

Exh. "E".

[15]

Exhs. "M", "N". "O", "Q".

[16]

Exh. "R".

[17]

TSN, October 8, 1998, pp. 26-27; TSN, October 9, 1998, p. 14.

[18]

TSN, October 1, 1998, pp. 8-11.

[19]

TSN, November 9, 1998, pp. 41-43.

[20]

TSN, October 1, 1998, p. 14.

[21]

Exh. "S".

[22]

Docketed as I.S. No. 98-3868.

[23]

Rollo, p. 14.

[24]

TSN, August 4, 1998, pp. 3-13.

[25]

Ibid., p. 14.

[26]

TSN, March 1, 1999, pp. 7-12.

[27]

TSN, April 16, 1999; Exh. 19.

[28]

TSN, August 11, 1999, pp. 20-21.

[29]

Rollo, p. 74.

[30]

Ibid., pp. 97-98.

[31]

TSN, September 30, 1998, p. 7.

[32]

TSN, October 1, 1998, pp. 48-50.

[33]

Ibid., pp. 50-53.

[34]

TSN, October 1, 1998, p. 58.

[35]

Ibid., pp. 54-56.

[36]

Exh. "D".

[37]

People v. Mantes, G.R. No. 138914, November 14, 2001; citations omitted.

[38]

People v. Vista, G.R. No. 137369, November 15, 2001.

[39]

People v. Lacanieta, G.R. No. 124299 April 12, 2000.

[40]

People v. De Lara, G.R. No. 124703, June 27, 2000.

[41]

People v. Quianola, G.R. No. 126148, May 5, 1999.

[42]

People v. Velasquez, G.R. No. 137383-83, November 23, 2000.

[43]

Three justices of the Court have continued to maintain the unconstitutionality of Republic Act No. 7659
insofar as it prescribes the death penalty; nevertheless they submit to the ruling of the majority to
the effect that this law is constitutional and that the death penalty can be lawfully imposed in the
case at bar.

[44]

People v. Ramirez, G.R. No. 136094, April 20, 2001.

[45]

TSN, November 10, 1998, pp. 9-12.

[46]

Exh. "D-3"; TSN, October 1, 1998, pp. 57,60.

[47]

TSN, November 10, 1998, p.12.

[48]

People v. Thamsey, G.R. No. 144179, July 19, 2001.

[49]

People v. Nubla, G.R. No. 137164, June 19, 2001; People v. Galas, G.R. Nos. 139413-15, March 20,
2001.

[50]

Exhs. "U" to "U-26".

[51]

TSN, November 9, 1998, p. 50.

[52]

TSN, November 10, 1998, p. 5.

[53]

Exhs. "T" to "T-2".

G.R. No. L-26222, People v. HGon.


Pineda et al., 20 SCRA 748
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
July 21, 1967
G.R. No. L-26222
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
HONORABLE JUDGE HERNANDO PINEDA of the Court of First
Instance of Lanao del Norte; and TOMAS NARBASA, TAMBAC
ALINDO and RUFINO BORRES,respondents.
Dominador L. Padilla for petitioner.
Narbasa, Tambac Alindo and Borres for respondents.
SANCHEZ, J.:
Respondents Tomas Narbasa, Tambac Alindo and Rufino Borres stand
indicted before the Court of First Instance of Lanao del Norte, as
principals, in five (5) separate cases, four for murder, viz:
Criminal Case 1246 murder of Neceforo Mendoza;
Criminal Case 1247 murder of Epifania Mendoza;
Criminal Case 1248 frustrated murder of Valeriana Bontilao de
Mendoza;
Criminal Case 1249 murder of Teofilo Mendoza;
Criminal Case 1250 murder of Marcelo Mendoza.

The five informations were planted upon facts gathered by the


prosecuting attorney from his investigation. Of course, the truth of
these facts is yet to be tested in the crucible of a full-dress trial on
the merits.
The indictments are bottomed upon the following alleged pivotal
facts:
On the night of July 29, 1965, the occupants of the home of the
spouses Teofilo Mendoza and Valeriana Bontilao de Mendoza in
Pugaan City of Iligan, were asleep. It was then that guns (rifle,
caliber 22) and paliuntod (homemade gun) were fired in rapid
succession from outside the house. Teofilo Mendoza fell dead.
Thereafter, defendants below destroyed the door of the house,
entered therein, and let loose several shots killing Neceforo
Mendoza, all minor children of the couple and wounding
Valeriana Bontilao de Mendoza.
Two of the three defendants in the five criminal cases heretofore
listed Tomas Narbasa and Tambak Alindo moved for a
consolidation thereof "into one (1) criminal case." Their plea is that
"said cases arose out of the same incident and motivated by one
impulse."
Giving the nod to defendants' claim, respondent Judge, in an order
dated May 13, 1966, directed the City Fiscal to unify all the five
criminal cases, and to file one single information in Case 1246. He
also ordered that the other four cases, Nos. 1247, 1248, 1249 and
1250 "be dropped from the docket."
The City Fiscal balked at the foregoing order, sought reconsideration
thereof, upon the ground that "more than one gun was used, more
than one shot was fired and more than one victim was killed." The
defense opposed.

On May 31, 1966, respondent Judge denied the motion to reconsider.


He took the position that the acts complained of "stemmed out of a
series of continuing acts on the part of the accused, not by different
and separate sets of shots, moved by one impulse and should
therefore be treated as one crime though the series of shots killed
more than one victim;" and that only one information for multiple
murder should be filed, to obviate the necessity of trying five cases
instead of one."
Primarily to annul respondent Judge's orders of May 13, 1966 and
May 31, 1966, as having been issued without or in excess of
jurisdiction and/or with grave abuse of discretion, the People came
to this Court on certiorari with a prayer for a writ of preliminary
injunction, and for other reliefs.
This Court, on July 1, 1966, issued the cease-and-desist order prayed
for.
The question here presented, simply is this: Should there be one
information, either for the complex crime of murder and frustrated
murder or for the complex crime of robbery with multiple homicide
and frustrated homicide? Or, should the five indictments remain as
they are?
1. The case before us calls into question the applicability of Article
48 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, which reads:
Art. 48. Penalty for complex crimes. When a single act constitutes
two or more grave or less grave felonies, or when an offense is a
necessary means for committing the other, the penalty for the most
serious crime shall be imposed, the same to be applied in its
maximum period.
Read as it should be, Article 48 provides for two classes of crimes
where a single penalty is to be imposed: first, where a single act
constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies (delito

compuesto); and, second, when an offense is a necessary means for


committing the other (delito complejo). 1
Best exemplified by the first of the two cases is where one shot from
a gun results in the death of two or more persons. Jurisprudence
teaches that, in this factual setting, the complex crime defined in
the first part of Article 48 finds application. 2 A similar rule obtains
where one stabbed another and the weapon pierced the latter's
body through and wounded another. The first died instantaneously;
the second, seven days later. This Court convicted the assailant of
double murder. 3 So where a person plants a bomb in an airplane
and the bomb explodes, with the result that a number of persons are
killed, that single act again produces a complex crime. 4
A different rule governs where separate and distinct acts result in a
number killed. Deeply rooted is the doctrine that when various
victims expire from separate shots, such acts constitute separate
and distinct crimes. 5 Thus, where the six defendants, with others
(armed with pistols, carbines and also a submachine gun and
Garand rifles), fired volleys into a house killing eleven and wounding
several others, each of the said accused is "guilty of as many crimes
of murder as there were deaths (eleven). 6 Again, eleven persons
were indicted for quadruple murder with the use of bolos, a pistol,
a barbed arrow and a piece of bamboo of a man, his common-law
wife, and their two children in cold blood. The accused were found
guilty by the trial court of such offense. This Court, in reversing this
ruling below, held that "[t]he four victims were not killed by a single
act but by various acts committed on different occasions and by
different parties"; that such acts "may not be regarded as
constituting one single crime"; and that "[t]hey should be held as
separate and distinct crimes." 7 And a third. At the commencement
exercises of an elementary school, "a shot suddenly rang out"
followed by a "series of shots" from a pistol. Two persons lay dead
and a third seriously wounded but who later on also died. This Court
there ruled that there were "three distinct and separate murders"
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committed by appellant Juan Mones. 8 And finally, in People vs.


Gatbunton, L-2435, May 10, 1950, the spouses Mariano Sebastian
and Maxima Capule who were asleep were killed by one burst
of machinegun fire; and then, by a second burst of machinegun fire,
two of the couple's children also asleep were killed. The
accused, Tomas Gatbunton, was found guilty by the trial court of
quadruple murder. On appeal, this Court declared that "appellant
must be declared guilty of four murders." 9
The present ease is to be differentiated from People vs. Lawas, L7618-20, June 30, 1955. There, on a single occasion, about fifty
Maranaos were killed by a group of home guards. It was held that
there was only one complex crime. In that case, however, there was
no conspiracy to perpetuate the killing. In the case at bar,
defendants performed several acts. And the informations charge
conspiracy amongst them. Needless to state, the act of one is the
act of all. 10 Not material here, therefore is the finding in Lawas that
"it is impossible to ascertain the individual deaths caused by each
and everyone" of the accused. It is to be borne in mind, at this point,
that apply the first half of Article 48, heretofore quoted, there must
be singularity of criminal act; singularity of
criminal impulse is not written into the law. 11
The respondent Judge reasons out in his order of May 31, 1966 that
consolidation of the five cases into one would have the salutary
effect of obviating the necessity of trying five cases instead of one.
To save time, indeed, is laudable. Nonetheless, the statute confers
upon the trial judge the power to try these cases jointly, such that
the fear entertained by respondent Judge could easily be remedied.
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Upon the facts and the law, we hold that the City Fiscal of Iligan City
correctly presented the five separate informations four for murder
and one for frustrated murder.

2. We have not overlooked the suggestion in the record that,


because of an affidavit of one of the witnesses, possibility exists that
the real intent of the culprits was to commit robbery, and that the
acts constituting murders and frustrated murder complained of were
committed in pursuance thereof. If true, this would bring the case
within the coverage of the second portion of Article 48, which treats
as a complex crime a case where an offense is a necessary means
for committing the other.
A rule of presumption long familiar, however, is that official duty has
been regularly performed. 13 If the Fiscal has not seen fit to give
weight to said affidavit wherein it is alleged that certain personal
properties (transistor radio and money) were taken away by the
culprits after the shooting, we are not to jettison the prosecutor's
opinion thereon. The Fiscal could have had reasons for his act. For
one thing, there is the grave problem of proving the elements of
that offense robbery. For another, the act could have been but a
blind to cover up the real intent to kill. Appropriately to be noted
here is that all the informations charged evident premeditation. With
ponderables and imponderables, we are reluctant to hazard a guess
as to the reasons for the Fiscal's action. We are not now to say that,
on this point, the Fiscal has abused his discretion. A prosecuting
attorney, by the nature of his office, is under no compulsion to file a
particular criminal information where he is not convinced that he
has evidence to prop up the averments thereof, or that the evidence
at hand points to a different conclusion. This is not to discount the
possibility of the commission of abuses on the part of the
prosecutor. But we must have to recognize that a prosecuting
attorney should not be unduly compelled to work against his
conviction. In case of doubt, we should give him the benefit thereof.
A contrary rule may result in our courts being unnecessarily
swamped with unmeritorious cases. Worse still, a criminal suspect's
right to due process the sporting idea of fair play may be
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transgressed. So it is, that in People vs. Sope 75 Phil. 810, 815, this
Court made the pronouncement that "[i]t is very logical that the
prosecuting attorney, being the one charged with the prosecution of
offenses, should determine the information to be filed and cannot be
controlled by the off ended party." 14
3. The impact of respondent Judge's orders is that his judgment is to
be substituted for that of the prosecutor's on the matter of what
crime is to be filed in court. The question of instituting a criminal
charge is one addressed to the sound discretion of the investigating
Fiscal. The information he lodges in court must have to be supported
by facts brought about by an inquiry made by him. It stands to
reason then to say that in a clash of views between the judge who
did not investigate and the fiscal who did, or between the fiscal and
the offended party or the defendant, those of the Fiscal's should
normally prevail. In this regard, he cannot ordinarily be subject to
dictation. We are not to be understood as saying that criminal
prosecution may not be blocked in exceptional cases. A relief in
equity "may be availed of to stop it purported enforcement of a
criminal law where it is necessary (a) for the orderly administration
of justice; (b) to prevent the use of the strong arm of the law in an
oppressive and vindictive manner; (c) to avoid multiplicity of
actions; (d) to afford adequate protection to constitutional rights;
and (e) in proper cases, because the statute relied upon is
unconstitutional or was 'held invalid.' " 15 Nothing in the record would
as much as intimate that the present case fits into any of the
situations just recited.
And at this distance and in the absence of any compelling fact or
circumstance, we are loathe to tag the City Fiscal of Iligan City with
abuse of discretion in filing separate cases for murder and frustrated
murder, instead of a single case for the complex crime of robbery
with homicide and frustrated homicide under the provisions of
Article 294 (1) of the Revised Penal Code or, for that matter, for
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multiple murder and frustrated murder. We state that, here, the


Fiscal's discretion should not be controlled.
Upon the record as it stands, the writ of certiorari prayed for is
hereby granted; the orders of respondent Judge of May 13, 1965 and
May 31, 1966 are hereby set and declared null and void, and, in
consequence, the writ of preliminary injunction heretofore issued is
made permanent insofar as it stops enforcement of the said orders;
and the respondent Judge, or whoever takes his place, is hereby
directed to reinstate Criminal Cases 1246, 1247, 1248, 1249 and
1250 as they were commenced, and to take steps towards the final
determination thereof.
Costs against respondents Tomas Narbasa, Tambac Alindo and
Rutino Borres. So ordered.
Reyes, J.B.L., Makalintal, Bengzon J.P., Zaldivar, Castro, Angeles and
Fernando, JJ., concur.
Concepcion, C.J. and Dizon, J., took no part.
Footnotes
1 Tomo I, Cuello Colon, Derecho Penal, 1960 ed., p. 635.
2 In People vs. Pama (C.A.), 44 O.G. No. 9, pp. 3339, 3345-3346,
where four bullets were fired causing four mortal wounds to a
person, but one of which also struck a child resulting in the latter's
death, the Court of Appeals held that, by the one single shot, a
single information should have been filed to cover both deaths, and
a single penalty should be imposed.
In People vs. Buyco, 80 Phil. 58, 67-69, where the accused fired
several bullets in succession from a submachine gun with
a single pull of the trigger, killing one person with treachery
and another only accidentally, this Court, citing II Viada, 5th
ed., p. 629, categorized the facts as constituting one single act
a complex crime of murder and homicide. Cf. People vs.
Gatbunton, infra.
In People vs. Deveza (C.A.), 44 O.G. No. 5, pp. 1501, 1507[[

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1511, one shot from a pistol caused the death of a person and
serious physical injuries to another; the court considered the
factual situation as a complex crime of homicide and serious
physical injuries.
3 People vs. Balotol, 84 Phil. 289, 290-291.
4 People vs. Largo, 99 Phil. 1061-1062. In pari materia, see:
People vs. Fulgencio, L-5370, November 10, 1952; People vs.
Guillen, 85 Phil. 307, 318-319. See also: Angeles vs. Jose, 96
Phil. 151, 152.
5 People vs. Pardo, 79 Phil. 568, 577-578; People vs.
Buyco, supra, at p. 69; People vs. Ordonio, 82 Phil. 324, 334;
People vs. Chan, 90 Phil. 1, 5; People vs. Basarain, L-6690, May
24, 1955; People vs. Moro, L-6771, May 28, 1957; People vs.
Remolino, L-14008, September 30, 1960. See also: People vs.
Torres, L-4642, May 29, 1953.
6 People vs. Macaso, 85 Phil. 819, 828.
7 People vs. Daligdig, 89 Phil. 598, 615.
8 People vs. Mones, 86 Phil. 331, 333, 339.
9 To the same effect: People vs. Desierto, (C.A.) 45 O.G. No.
10, pp. 4542, 4549-4550.
10 People vs. Masin, 64 Phil. 757, 767, citing cases; People vs.
Timbang, 74 Phil. 295, 299; People vs. Santos, 84 Phil. 97, 104;
People vs. Domenden L-17822, October 30, 1962; People vs.
Ambran, L-15581, April 29, 1963.
11 See I Padilla, Criminal Law, 1964 ed., p. 548, at footnote.
12 Section 15, Rule 119, Rules of Court, reads:
"SEC 15. Consolidation of trials of related offenses. Charges
for offenses founded on the same facts, or which form or are a
part of a series of offenses of the same or similar character
may, in the discretion of the court, be tried jointly."
13 Section 5 (m), Rule 131, Rules of Court.
14 See: Gonzales vs. Court of First Instance of Bulacan, 63 Phil.
846, 855, citing cases; Zulueta vs. Nicolas 102 Phil. 944,
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946, citing People vs. Liggayu, 97 Phil. 865, and People vs.
Natoza 100 Phil. 533; Bagatua vs. Revilla, L-12247, August 26,
1958.
15 Hernandez vs. Albano, L-19272, January 25, 1967, citing
cases.
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Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

G.R. No. 109266 December 2, 1993


MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO, petitioner,
vs.
HON. JUSTICE FRANCIS GARCHITORENA, SANDIGANBAYAN (First Division) and PEOPLE
OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
Amado M. Santiago, Jr. for petitioner.
The Solicitor General for the People of the Philippines.

QUIASON, J.:
This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court to set aside: (a) the
Resolution dated March 3, 1993 in Criminal Case
No. 16698 of the Sandiganbayan (First Division) and to declare Presiding Justice Francis
Garchitorena of the Sandiganbayan, disqualified from acting in said criminal case; and (b) the
Resolution of said court promulgated on
March 14, 1993, which deemed as "filed" the 32 Amended Informations against petitioner (Rollo, pp.
2-35 and pp. 36-94).
On May 1, 1991, petitioner was charged in Criminal Case No. 16698 of the Sandiganbayan with
violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and
Corrupt Practices Act, allegedly committed by her favoring "unqualified" aliens with the benefits of
the Alien Legalization Program (Rollo, p. 36).
On May 24, 1991, petitioner filed with us a petition for certiorari and prohibition, docketed as G.R.
No. 99289-99290 (Santiago v. Vasquez, 205 SCRA 162 [1992]), to enjoin the Sandiganbayan from
proceeding with Criminal Case No. 16698 on the ground that said case was intended solely to
harass her as she was then a presidential candidate. She alleged that this was in violation of Section
10, Article IX-C of the Constitution which provides that "(b)ona fide candidates for any public office
shall be free from any form of harassment and discrimination." The petition was dismissed on
January 13, 1992.
On October 16, 1992, petitioner filed a motion for inhibition of Presiding Justice Garchitorena, which
motion was set for hearing on November 13, 1992 at 8:00 A.M. (Rollo, pp. 38-41).

On October 27, 1992, the Sandiganbayan (First Division), of which Presiding Justice Garchitorena is
a member, set the criminal case for arraignment on November 13, 1992 at 8:00 A.M. (Rollo, p. 42)
On November 6, 1992, petitioner moved to defer the arraignment on the grounds that there was a
pending motion for inhibition, and that petitioner intended to file a motion for a bill of particulars
(Rollo, pp. 43-44).
On November 9, 1992, the Sandiganbayan (First Division) denied the motion to defer the
arraignment (Rollo, p. 45).
On November 10, 1992, petitioner filed a motion for a bill of particulars (Rollo, pp. 47-48). The
motion stated that while the information alleged that petitioner had approved the application or
legalization of "aliens" and gave them indirect benefits and advantages it lacked a list of the favored
aliens. According to petitioner, unless she was furnished with the names and identities of the aliens,
she could not properly plead and prepare for trial.
On November 12, 1992 and upon motion of petitioner in G.R.
No. 107598 (Miriam Defensor Santiago v. Sandiganbayan, et al.), we directed the Sandiganbayan
(First Division) to reset the arraignment to a later date and to dispose of the two incidents pending
before it (Re: disqualification of Presiding Justice Garchitorena and the motion for the bill of
particulars).
At the hearing on November 13, 1992 on the motion for a bill of particulars, the prosecution stated
categorically that they would file only one amended information against petitioner.
However, on December 8, 1992, the prosecution filed a motion to
admit the 32 Amended Informations (Criminal Cases Nos. 18371 to 18402; Rollo, pp. 61-126).
On March 3, 1993, Presiding Justice Garchitorena issued the questioned Resolution dated March
11, 1993, denying the motion for his disqualification (Rollo, pp. 151-164).
On March 14, 1993, the Sandiganbayan (First Division) promulgated a resolution, admitting the 32
Amended Informations and ordering petitioner to post the corresponding bail bonds within ten days
from notice (Rollo, pp. 165-185). Petitioner's arraignment on the 32 Amended Informations was set
for
April 12, 1993 at 8:00 A.M. (Rollo, p. 186).
Hence, the filing of the instant petition.
Acting on the petition for the issuance of a restraining order, we issued the Resolution dated March
25, 1993, ordering Presiding Justice Garchitorena "to CEASE and DESIST from sitting in the case
until the question of his disqualification is finally resolved by this Court and from enforcing the
resolution dated March 11, 1993, ordering petitioner to post bail bonds for the 32 Amended
Informations and from proceeding with the arraignment on
April 12, 1993" (Rollo, p. 194).

Re: Disqualification of the Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice


The petition for disqualification of Presiding Justice Garchitorena is based on the publication of is
letter in the July 29, 1992 issue of the Philippine Star, which to petitioner "prejudged" the validity of
the information filed
against her. Petitioner claims that Presiding Justice Garchitorena "cannot be expected to change the
conclusions he has subconsciously drawn in his public statements . . . when he sits in judgment on
the merits of the case . . ." (Rollo, pp. 16-17).
The letter in question was written in response to an item in Teodoro Benigno's column in the July 22,
1992 issue of the Philippine Star, criticizing the Sandiganbayan for issuing on July 11, 1992 a holddeparture order against petitioner. Benigno wrote that said order reflected a "perverse morality" of
the Sandiganbayan and the lack of "legal morality" of its Presiding Justice, thus:
I cannot, for example accept the legal morality of Sandiganbayan Justice Francis
Garchitorena who would stop Miriam Defensor Santiago from going abroad for a
Harvard scholarship because of graft charges against her. Some of the most
perfidious Filipinos I know have come and gone, left and returned to these shores
without Mr. Garchitorena kicking any kind of rumpus. Compared to the peccadilloes
of this country's outstanding felons, what Miriam is accused of is kindergarten stuff.
The Sandiganbayan Supremo got a lot of headlines for stopping Miriam but I contend
this is the kind of perverse morality we can do without (Rollo, p. 156).
The portion of the letter of Presiding Justice Garchitorena, which petitioner finds objectionable, reads
as follows:
(c) Mrs. Santiago has never informed any court where her cases are pending of her
intention to travel, whether the Regional Trial Court where she is charged with
soliciting donations from people transacting with her office at Immigration or before
the Sandiganbayan where she is charged with having favored unqualified aliens with
the benefits of the Alien Legalization Program nor even the Supreme Court where
her petition is still pending (Rollo, p. 158).
In particular, petitioner considered as prejudgment the statement of Presiding Justice Garchitorena
that petitioner had been charged before the Sandiganbayan "with having favored unqualified aliens
with the benefits of the Alien Legalization Program."
The statement complained of was just a restatement of the Information filed against petitioner in
Criminal Case No. 16698 in connection with which the hold-departure order was issued. Said
Information specified the act constituting the offense charged, thus:
That on or about October 17, 1988, or for sometime prior or subsequent thereto, in
Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused
Miriam Defensor-Santiago, being then the Commissioner of the Commission on
Immigration and Deportation, with evident bad faith and manifest partiality, did then
and there willfully, unlawfully and criminally approve the application for legalization of

aliens who arrived in the Philippines after January 1, 1984 in violation of Executive
Order No. 324 dated April 13, 1988 which does not allow the legalization of the
same, thereby causing undue injury to the government and giving unwarranted
benefits and advantages to said aliens in the discharge of the official and
administrative functions of said accused (Rollo, p. 36).
It appears that petitioner tried to leave the country without first securing the permission of the
Sandiganbayan, prompting it to issue the hold-departure order which Benigno viewed as uncalled
for. The letter of Presiding Justice Garchitorena, written in defense of the dignity and integrity of the
Sandiganbayan, merely stated that all persons facing criminal charges in court, with no exception,
have to secure permission to leave the country. Nowhere in the letter is the merit of the charge
against petitioner ever touched. Certainly, there would have been no occasion for the letter had
Benigno not written his diatribe, unfair at that, against the Sandiganbayan.
Notwithstanding petitioner's misgiving, it should be taken into consideration that the Sandiganbayan
sits in three divisions with three justices in each division. Unanimity among the three members is
mandatory for arriving at any decision of a division (P.D. No. 1606, Sec. 5). The collegiate character
of the Sandiganbayan thus renders baseless petitioner's fear of prejudice and bias on the part of
Presiding Justice Garchitorena (Paredes v. Gopengco, 29 SCRA 688 [1969] ).
Re: Claim of denial of due process
Petitioner cannot complain that her constitutional rights to due process were violated by reason of
the delay in the termination of the preliminary investigation. According to her, while the offense was
allegedly committed "on or before October 17, 1988", the information was filed only on May 9, 1991
and the amended informations on December 8, 1992 (Rollo, p. 14).
Tatad v. Sandiganbayan, 159 SCRA 70 [1988] is inapplicable to petitioner's case. In Tatad, there
indeed was an unexplained inaction on the part of the public prosecutors inspite of the simplicity of
the legal and factual issues involved therein.
In the case at bench, there was a continuum of the investigatory process but it got snarled because
of the complexity of the issues involved. The act complained of in the original information came to
the attention of the Ombudsman only when it was first reported in the January 10, 1989 issue of
the Manila Standard. Immediately thereafter, the investigatory process was set in motion. The
investigation was first assigned to Special Prosecutor Gualberto dela Llana but on request of
petitioner herself the investigation was first assigned to Special Prosecutor Gualberto dela Llana but
on request of petitioner herself the investigation was re-assigned to the Office of the Deputy
Ombudsman for Luzon. The case was handled by a panel of four prosecutors, who submitted a draft
resolution for the filing of the charges on March 29, 1990. The draft resolution had to undergo the
hierarchy of review, normal for a draft resolution with a dissenting vote, until it reached the
Ombudsman in March 1991.
We note that petitioner had previously filed two petitions before us involving Criminal Case No.
16698 (G.R. Nos. 99289-99290; G.R.
No. 107598). Petitioner has not explained why she failed to raise the issue of delay in the preliminary

investigation and the filing of the information against her in those petitions. a piece-meal
presentation of issues, like the splitting of causes of action, is self-defeating.
Petitioner next claims that the Amended Informations did not charge any offense punishable under
Section 3 (e) of R.A. No. 3019 because the official acts complained of therein were authorized under
Executive Order No. 324 and that the Board of Commissioners of the Bureau of Investigation
adopted the policy of approving applications for legalization of spouses and unmarried, minor
children of "qualified aliens" even though they had arrived in the Philippines after December 31,
1983. she concludes that the Sandiganbayan erred in not granting her motion to quash the
informations (Rollo, pp. 25-31).
In a motion to quash, the accused admits hypothetically the allegations of fact in the information
(People v. Supnad, 7 SCRA 603 [1963] ). Therefore, petitioner admitted hypothetically in her motion
that:
(1) She was a public officer;
(2) She approved the application for legalization of the stay of aliens, who arrived in
the Philippines after January 1, 1984;
(3) Those aliens were disqualified;
(4) She was cognizant of such fact; and
(5) She acted in "evident bad faith and manifest partiality in the execution of her
official functions."
The foregoing allegations of fact constitute the elements of the offense defined in Section 3 (e) of
R.A. No. 3019.
The claims that the acts complained of were indeed authorized under Executive Order No. 324, that
petitioner merely followed in good faith the policy adopted by the Board of Commissioners and that
the aliens were spouses or unmarried minor children of persons qualified for legalization of stay, are
matters of defense which she can establish at the trial.
Anent petitioner's claim that the Amended Informations did not allege that she had caused "undue
injury to any party, including the Government," there are two ways of violating Section 3 (e) of R.A.
No. 3019. These are: (a) by causing undue injury to any party, including the Government; and (b) by
giving any private party any unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference.
In Uy v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 100334, December 5, 1991, we held:
The use of the distinctive term "or" connotes that either act qualifies as a violation of
Section 3 (a). In other words the act of giving any private party any unwarranted
benefit, advantage or preference is not an indispensable element of the offense of

"causing any undue injury to any party" as claimed by petitioners although there may
be instances where both elements concur.
Re: Delito continuado
Be that as it may, our attention was attracted by the allegation in the petition that the public
prosecutors filed 32 Amended Informations against petitioner, after manifesting to the
Sandiganbayan that they would only file one amended information (Rollo, pp. 6-61). We also noted
that petitioner questioned in her opposition to the motion to admit the 32 Amended Informations, the
splitting of the original information (Rollo, pp. 127-129). In the furtherance of justice, we therefore
proceed to inquire deeper into the validity of said plant, which petitioner failed to pursue with vigor in
her petition.
We find that, technically, there was only one crime that was committed in petitioner's case, and
hence, there should only be one information to be file against her.
The 32 Amended Informations charge what is known as delito continuado or "continued crime" and
sometimes referred to as "continuous crime."
In fairness to the Ombudsman's Office of the Special Prosecutor, it should be borne in mind that the
concept ofdelito continuado has been a vexing problem in Criminal Law difficult as it is to define
and more difficult to apply.
According to Cuello Calon, for delito continuado to exist there should be a plurality of acts performed
during a period of time; unity of penal provision violated; and unity of criminal intent or purpose,
which means that two or more violations of the same penal provisions are united in one and same
instant or resolution leading to the perpetration of the same criminal purpose or aim
(II Derecho Penal, p. 520; I Aquino, Revised Penal Code, 630, 1987 ed.).
According to Guevarra, in appearance, a delito continuado consists of several crimes but in reality
there is only one crime in the mind of the perpetrator (Commentaries on the Revised Penal Code,
1957 ed., p. 102; Penal Science and Philippine Criminal Law, p. 152).
Padilla views such offense as consisting of a series of acts arising from one criminal intent or
resolution (Criminal Law, 1988 ed. pp. 53-54).
Applying the concept of delito continuado, we treated as constituting only one offense the following
cases:
(1) The theft of 13 cows belonging to two different owners committed by the accused
at the same time and at the same period of time (People v. Tumlos, 67 Phil. 320
[1939] ).
(2) The theft of six roosters belonging to two different owners from the same coop
and at the same period of time (People v. Jaranillo, 55 SCRA 563 [1974] ).

(3) The theft of two roosters in the same place and on the same occasion (People v.
De Leon, 49 Phil. 437 [1926] ).
(4) The illegal charging of fees for services rendered by a lawyer every time he
collects veteran's benefits on behalf of a client, who agreed that the attorney's fees
shall be paid out of said benefits (People v. Sabbun, 10 SCRA 156 [1964] ). The
collection of the legal fees were impelled by the same motive, that of collecting fees
for services rendered, and all acts of collection were made under the same criminal
impulse (People v. Lawas, 97 Phil. 975 [1955] ).
On the other hand, we declined to apply the concept to the following cases:
(1) Two estafa cases, one of which was committed during the period from January 19
to December 1955 and the other from January 1956 to July 1956 (People v. Dichupa,
113 Phil. 306 [1961] ). The said acts were committed on two different occasions.
(2) Several malversations committed in May, June and July, 1936, and falsifications
to conceal said offenses committed in August and October 1936. The malversations
and falsifications "were not the result of only one purpose or of only one resolution to
embezzle and falsify . . ." (People v. Cid, 66 Phil. 354 [1938] ).
(3) Two estafa cases, one committed in December 1963 involving the failure of the
collector to turn over the installments for a radio and the other in June 1964 involving
the pocketing of the installments for a sewing machine (People v. Ledesma, 73
SCRA 77 [1976] ).
(4) 75 estafa cases committed by the conversion by the agent of collections from
customers of the employer made on different dates (Gamboa v. Court of Appeals, 68
SCRA 308 [1975]).
The concept of delito continuado, although an outcry of the Spanish Penal Code, has been applied
to crimes penalized under special laws,
e.g. violation of R.A. No. 145 penalizing the charging of fees for services rendered following up
claims for war veteran's benefits (People v. Sabbun, 10 SCRA 156 [1964] ).
Under Article 10 of the Revised Penal Code, the Code shall be supplementary to special laws,
unless the latter provide the contrary. Hence, legal principles developed from the Penal Code may
be applied in a supplementary capacity to crimes punished under special laws.
The question of whether a series of criminal acts over a period of time creates a single offense or
separate offenses has troubled also American Criminal Law and perplexed American courts as
shown by the several theories that have evolved in theft cases.
The trend in theft cases is to follow the so-called "single larceny" doctrine, that is, the taking of
several things, whether belonging to the same or different owners, at the same time and place
constitutes but one larceny. Many courts have abandoned the "separate larceny doctrine," under

which there is a distinct larceny as to the property of each victim. Also abandoned was the doctrine
that the government has the discretion to prosecute the accused or one offense or for as many
distinct offenses as there are victims (annotation, 37 ALR 3rd 1407, 1410-1414).
The American courts following the "single larceny" rule, look at the commission of the different
criminal acts as but one continuous act involving the same "transaction" or as done on the same
"occasion" (State v. Sampson, 157 Iowa 257, 138 NW 473; People v. Johnson, 81 Mich. 573, 45 NW
1119; State v. Larson, 85 Iowa 659, 52 NW 539).
An American court held that a contrary rule would violate the constitutional guarantee against putting
a man in jeopardy twice for the same offense (Annotation, 28 ALR 2d 1179). Another court observed
that the doctrine is a humane rule, since if a separate charge could be filed for each act, the accused
may be sentenced to the penitentiary for the rest of his life (Annotation, 28 ALR 2d 1179).
In the case at bench, the original information charged petitioner with performing a single criminal act
that of her approving the application for legalization of aliens not qualified under the law to enjoy
such privilege.
The original information also averred that the criminal act : (i) committed by petitioner was in
violation of a law Executive Order No. 324 dated
April 13, 1988, (ii) caused an undue injury to one offended party, the Government, and (iii) was done
on a single day, i.e., on or about October 17, 1988.
The 32 Amended Informations reproduced verbatim the allegation of the original information, except
that instead of the word "aliens" in the original information each amended information states the
name of the individual whose stay was legalized.
At the hearing of the motion for a bill of particulars, the public prosecutors manifested that they
would file only one amended information embodying the legalization of stay of the 32 aliens. As
stated in the Order dated November 12, 1992 of the Sandiganbayan (First Division):
On the matter of the Bill of Particulars, the prosecution has conceded categorically
that the accusation against Miriam Defensor Santiago consists of one violation of the
law represented by the approval of the applications of 32 foreign nationals for
availment (sic) of the Alien Legalization Program. In this respect, and responding
directly to the concerns of the accused through counsel, the prosecution is
categorical that there will not be 32 accusations but only one . . . (Rollo, p. 59).
The 32 Amended Informations aver that the offenses were committed on the same period of
time, i.e., on or about October 17, 1988. The strong probability even exists that the approval of the
application or the legalization of the stay of the 32 aliens was done by a single stroke of the pen, as
when the approval was embodied in the same document.
Likewise, the public prosecutors manifested at the hearing the motion for a bill of particulars that the
Government suffered a single harm or injury. The Sandiganbayan in its Order dated November 13,
1992 stated as follows:

. . . Equally, the prosecution has stated that insofar as the damage and prejudice to
the government is concerned, the same is represented not only by the very fact of
the violation of the law itself but because of the adverse effect on the stability and
security of the country in granting citizenship to those not qualified (Rollo, p. 59).
WHEREFORE, the Resolution dated March 3, 1993 in Criminal Case No. 16698 of the
Sandiganbayan (First Division) is AFFIRMED and its Resolution dated March 11, 1993 in Criminal
Case No. 16698 is MODIFIED in the sense that the Office of the Special Prosecutor of the Office of
the Ombudsman is directed to consolidate the 32 Amended Informations (Criminal Cases Nos.
18371 to 18402) into one information charging only one offense under the original case number, i.e.,
No. 16698. The temporary restraining order issued by this Court on March 25, 1993 is LIFTED
insofar as to the disqualification of Presiding Justice Francis Garchitorena is concerned.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Cruz, Padilla, Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Nocon, Bellosillo, Melo and Puno, JJ.,
concur.

Separate Opinions

VITUG, J., concurring and dissenting:


While I share the view expressed by Mr. Justice Florentino P. Feliciano in his dissent from the
majority opinion inMiriam Defensor-Santiago vs. Conrado Vasquez, et al. (205 SCRA 162), the
decision in said case, however, having become final, has, in my view, the effect of foreclosing the
issues there involved.
Accordingly, in this petition now at bench (G.R. No. 109266, I vote with the majority in simply
directing, for the reasons expressed for the Court by
Mr. Justice Camilo D. Quiason, the consolidation of the thirty-two Amended Informations into a single
Information.
FELICIANO, J., dissenting:
I dissent from the opinion written for the majority by Mr. Justice Quiason, to the extent that that
opinion directed the Office of the Special Prosecutor of the Office of the Ombudsman to consolidate
the thirty-two (32) Amended Informations (Criminal Cases Nos. 18371 and 18402) into one
Information under the original case number, i.e., No. 16698.

I believe that the Court should order the Sandiganbayan to dismiss the thirty-two (32) Amended
Informations, for that court seriously erred in not granting petitioner's Motion to Quash those
Informations. The grounds for my submission in this respect were spelled out in detail in my
dissenting opinion 1 in Miriam Defensor-Santiago v.Conrado M. Vasquez, Ombudsman, et al. (205 SCRA
162 at 174-180 [1992] ), which I beg leave to reproduce here:
The information filed before the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 16698 charges
the petitioner as follows:
That on or about October 17, 1988, or for sometime prior or
subsequent thereto, in Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction
of this Honorable Court, accused Miriam Defensor-Santiago, being
the Commissioner of the Commission on Immigration and
Deportation, with evident bad faith and manifest partiality, did then
and there, willfully, unlawfully and criminally approve the application
for legalization of aliens who arrived in the Philippines after January
1, 1984 in violation of Executive Order No. 324 dated April 13, 1988
which does not allow the legalization of the same, thereby causing
undue injury to the government and giving unwarranted benefits and
advantage to the said aliens in the discharge of the official and
administrative functions of said accused.
Contrary to law.
Essentially, the above information charges that petitioner had, in violation of the
provisions of Executive Order No. 324 approved applications for legalization of the
stay of aliens who had arrived in the Philippines after January 1, 1984. The
information takes the position that the Executive Order "does not allow the
legalization of the same."
Executive Order No. 324 entitled "Waiving Passport Requirements for Immigrants
under Certain Conditions," dated April 13, 1988, was promulgated pursuant to
section 47 (A)(3) of C.A. No. 613, as amended, the Philippine Immigration Act of
1940, which provides that
Notwithstanding the provisions of this Act, the President is authorized:
(a) when the public interest to warrants:
xxx xxx xxx
(3) to waive the passport requirements for immigrants, under such
conditions as he may prescribe.
Executive Order No. 324 provides that an alien may apply with the Commissioner of
Immigration and Deportation for waiver of passport beginning on a date to be

designated by the Commissioner. The Order provides, among other things, that the
alien "must establish that he entered the Philippines before January 1, 1984 and that
he has resided continuously in the Philippines in an unlawful status from such date to
the filing of his application."
Petitioner is charged with having unlawfully waived the passport requirements of
certain aliens who arrived after January 1, 1984. It is clear from the record of this
case, especially of the preliminary investigation conducted by the Office of the
Special Prosecutor, that petitioner herself stated that she had allowed aliens who
had arrived in the Philippines after January 1, 1984, but who were the spouses or
minor children of qualified aliens the latter being alien spouses or parents who had
entered the Philippines before January 1, 1984 and who were themselves qualified
for waiver of passport requirements under Executive Order No. 324 to apply for
waiver of passport requirements and, after compliance with requirements of
Executive Order No. 324, approved such "legalization."
Executive Order No. 324 is not itself a statute prescribing penal sanctions for certain
acts. Thus, disregard of Executive Order No. 324 would not, by itself, give rise to
criminal liability. The criminal information in this case in effect links up Executive
Order No. 324 with Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019, known as the Anti-Graft
and Corrupt Practices Act. Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft Act reads as follows:
xxx xxx xxx
It must be noted, firstly, that petitioner, as the then Commissioner of Immigration and
Deportation, was expressly authorized and obliged by Executive Order No. 324 to
apply and administer and enforce its provisions. Indeed, petitioner was authorized to
issue rules and regulations to implement that Executive Order (paragraph 16).
Secondly, the application and administration of Executive Order No. 324 involve, not
ministerial or mechanical acts, but rather the exercise of judgment and discretion,
adjudicatory and hence quasi-judicial in nature. Thirdly, and perhaps most notably,
paragraphs 11 and 12 of the Executive Order provide as follows:
11. Except as provided in Paragraph 12, herein, the Commissioner of
Immigration and Deportation may waive exclusion grounds under the
Immigration Act in the cases of individual aliens for humanitarian
purposes to assure family unity or for the public interest.
12. The following grounds for exclusion may not be waived by the
Commissioner of Immigration and Deportation, namely, (a) those
relating to criminals; (b) those relating to aliens likely to become
public charges; (c) those relating to drug offenses, except for so
much of those provisions as relates to a single offense of simple
possession of marijuana; and (d) those relating to national security
and members of subversive organization.

xxx xxx xxx


(Emphasis supplied)
Paragraph 11, it will be seen, expressly authorizes petitioner to waive grounds for
exclusion of aliens under the Immigration Act in two (2) cases: (a) "for humanitarian
purposes to assure family unity;" and (b) "for the public interest." Under Section 29
(a) of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, as amended, the classes of aliens
excluded from entry into the Philippines include:
(17) Persons not properly documented for admission as may be
required under the provisions of this Act. 2
Upon the other hand, paragraph 12 specifies the categories of persons in whose cases
no waiver of grounds of exclusion may be granted.

It will be seen that the acts of petitioner, which the information assumes to be
criminal in nature, constituted official acts of petitioner done in the course of
applying, interpreting and construing Executive Order No. 324. There is no question
that the applications for waiver of passport requirements by the spouses and minor
children of qualified aliens were admitted and approved by petitioner "for
humanitarian purposes to assure family unity." It is also not disputed that the said
alien spouses and minor children did not fall under any of the (non-waivable)
excluded classes listed in paragraph 12 of Executive Order No. 324. It is similarly
undisputed that no one has pretended that petitioner had any personal or corrupt
interest in any of the cases of alien spouses and minor children of qualified aliens
she had acted upon. No one has suggested, for instance that the feesspecified in
paragraph 9 of Executive Order No. 324 either were not collected by petitioner and
converted to her own use. It may be noted, incidentally, that paragraph 9 expressly
authorizes the Commissioner "in her discretion, [to] charge a lower fee for the
spouse and minor children below 21 years old of the applicant." The criminal
information, as noted above, included an allegation of "evident bad faith and manifest
partiality." It is clear, however, that the facts brought out in the preliminary
investigation offered absolutely no basis for such an allegation which actually a
conclusion offered by the Special Prosecutor, much like the words "wilfully, unlawfully
and criminally" which are recited redundantly in the criminal information here. Again,
the facts disclosed in the preliminary investigation showed no undue injury, "to the
Government and no unwarranted benefit or advantage" to the aliens outside of the
simple acceptance and approval of the applications for waiver of passport
requirements (so called "legalization") by petitioner. In other words, if the
interpretation or construction given by petitioner to Executive Order
No. 324 is correct i.e., that applications for waiver of passport requirements by
alien wives and minor children, arriving after January 1, 1984, of qualified aliens who
had themselves arrived in the Philippines before January 1, 1984 and who were
otherwise eligible under the terms and conditions of Executive Order No. 324 may be
granted for humanitarian purposes in the interest of allowing or restoring family unity

there would be no "injury," let alone an "undue injury," to the Government. Neither
can the benefit of waiver of passport requirements in the cases of such spouses and
minor children of qualified aliens be deemed to be an "unwarranted" benefit to such
aliens if petitioner's interpretation of Executive Order
No. 324 be held to be correct.
It is a rule too firmly established to require documentation that contemporaneous
interpretations of a statute or implementing regulation by the executive or
administrative officials precisely charged with the implementation of such a stature or
regulation, are entitled to great weight and respect from the courts. This Court itself
has in many instances deferred to such interpretations rendered by such
administrative officers. (See, e.g., Ramos v. Court of Industrial Relations, 21 SCRA
1282 [1967]; Salavaria v. Buenviaje, 81 SCRA 722 [1978]; Asturias Sugar Central,
Inc. v. Commissioner of Customs, 29 SCRA 617 [1969]; University of the Philippines
v. Court of Appeals, 37 SCRA 54 [1971]; Lim Hao Ting v. Central Bank, 104 Phil. 573
[1958] ). But even if an administrative interpretation be ultimately found to be
incorrect as a matter of law by this Court, the official responsible for such
interpretation is not, for that reason alone, to be held liable personally, whether civilly
or criminally or administratively. It is just as firmly settled that to impose liability upon
the public officer who has so acted, something far graver that error of law or error of
judgment must be clearly shown and that is corrupt personal intentions, personal
malice or bad faith. (See generally Marcelo v. Sandiganbayan, 185 SCRA 346
[1990]). As noted above, no such allegations were made during the preliminary
investigation in Criminal Case No. 16698.
My submission, with respect, is that whether the acts admittedly done by petitioner
were criminal in nature, is a legal question, on which petitioner in effect asks us to
rule in this Petition. I believe, further, that there is nothing to prevent this Court from
addressing and ruling on this legal issue. There is no real need for proof of any
additional essential facts apart from those already admitted by petitioner. It seems to
me that a public officer is entitled to have legal questions like that before this Court
resolved at the earliest possible opportunity, that a public officer should not be
compelled to go through the aggravation, humiliation and expense of the whole
process of criminal trial, if the legal characterization of the acts charged as criminal is
the very issue at stake.
I respectfully submit, still further, that the acts charged do not, as a matter of law,
constitute a crime.Indeed, if the acts which petitioner admits having done constitute a
criminal offense, very serious consequences would follow for the administration of
law and government rules and regulations in general. For the thrust of the criminal
information here would appear to be that public officers interpret and apply statutory
and regulatory provisions at their own peril and at the risk of criminal liability,
notwithstanding the absence of any corrupt intent to profit personally by any such
interpretation and application. (Emphasis in the penultimate and ultimate paragraphs
supplied)

The Information, quoted internally above, was filed in Criminal Case


No. 16698 back in 1 May 1991. approximately two-and-a-half (2-1/2) years later, the proceedings
before the Sandiganbayan are still going on, and indeed appear to me to be back where the case
was at the time the original Information was filed. Had this Court ruled on the legal question which
petitioner in effect had asked us to rule inSantiago v. Vasquez (supra), the case should be
terminated by now, one way or the other. Once more, I respectfully submit that a public officer should
not be compelled to go through the aggravation, humiliation and expense of the whole process of
criminal trial, if the legal nature of the acts charged as criminal is the very issue at stake.
I vote to grant the Petition for Certiorari and to require the Sandiganbayan to dismiss the thirty-two
(32) Amended Informations.
Romero, J., concurs.

# Separate Opinions
VITUG, J., concurring and dissenting:
While I share the view expressed by Mr. Justice Florentino P. Feliciano in his dissent from the
majority opinion inMiriam Defensor-Santiago vs. Conrado Vasquez, et al. (205 SCRA 162), the
decision in said case, however, having become final, has, in my view, the effect of foreclosing the
issues there involved.
Accordingly, in this petition now at bench (G.R. No. 109266, I vote with the majority in simply
directing, for the reasons expressed for the Court by Mr. Justice Camilo D. Quiason, the
consolidation of the thirty-two Amended Informations into a single Information.
FELICIANO, J., dissenting:
I dissent from the opinion written for the majority by Mr. Justice Quiason, to the extent that that
opinion directed the Office of the Special Prosecutor of the Office of the Ombudsman to consolidate
the thirty-two (32) Amended Informations (Criminal Cases Nos. 18371 and 18402) into one
Information under the original case number, i.e., No. 16698.
I believe that the Court should order the Sandiganbayan to dismiss the thirty-two (32) Amended
Informations, for that court seriously erred in not granting petitioner's Motion to Quash those
Informations. The grounds for my submission in this respect were spelled out in detail in my
dissenting opinion 1 in Miriam Defensor-Santiago v.Conrado M. Vasquez, Ombudsman, et al. (205 SCRA
162 at 174-180 [1992] ), which I beg leave to reproduce here:
The information filed before the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 16698 charges
the petitioner as follows:

That on or about October 17, 1988, or for sometime prior or


subsequent thereto, in Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction
of this Honorable Court, accused Miriam Defensor-Santiago, being
the Commissioner of the Commission on Immigration and
Deportation, with evident bad faith and manifest partiality, did then
and there, willfully, unlawfully and criminally approve the application
for legalization of aliens who arrived in the Philippines after January
1, 1984 in violation of Executive Order No. 324 dated April 13, 1988
which does not allow the legalization of the same, thereby causing
undue injury to the government and giving unwarranted benefits and
advantage to the said aliens in the discharge of the official and
administrative functions of said accused.
Contrary to law.
Essentially, the above information charges that petitioner had, in violation of the
provisions of Executive Order No. 324 approved applications for legalization of the
stay of aliens who had arrived in the Philippines after January 1, 1984. The
information takes the position that the Executive Order "does not allow the
legalization of the same."
Executive Order No. 324 entitled "Waiving Passport Requirements for Immigrants
under Certain Conditions," dated April 13, 1988, was promulgated pursuant to
section 47 (A)(3) of C.A. No. 613, as amended, the Philippine Immigration Act of
1940, which provides that
Notwithstanding the provisions of this Act, the President is authorized:
(a) when the public interest to warrants:
xxx xxx xxx
(3) to waive the passport requirements for immigrants, under such
conditions as he may prescribe.
Executive Order No. 324 provides that an alien may apply with the Commissioner of
Immigration and Deportation for waiver of passport beginning on a date to be
designated by the Commissioner. The Order provides, among other things, that the
alien "must establish that he entered the Philippines before January 1, 1984 and that
he has resided continuously in the Philippines in an unlawful status from such date to
the filing of his application."
Petitioner is charged with having unlawfully waived the passport requirements of
certain aliens who arrived after January 1, 1984. It is clear from the record of this
case, especially of the preliminary investigation conducted by the Office of the
Special Prosecutor, that petitioner herself stated that she had allowed aliens who

had arrived in the Philippines after January 1, 1984, but who were the spouses or
minor children of qualified aliens the latter being alien spouses or parents who had
entered the Philippines before January 1, 1984 and who were themselves qualified
for waiver of passport requirements under Executive Order No. 324 to apply for
waiver of passport requirements and, after compliance with requirements of
Executive Order No. 324, approved such "legalization."
Executive Order No. 324 is not itself a statute prescribing penal sanctions for certain
acts. Thus, disregard of Executive Order No. 324 would not, by itself, give rise to
criminal liability. The criminal information in this case in effect links up Executive
Order No. 324 with Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019, known as the Anti-Graft
and Corrupt Practices Act. Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft Act reads as follows:
xxx xxx xxx
It must be noted, firstly, that petitioner, as the then Commissioner of Immigration and
Deportation, was expressly authorized and obliged by Executive Order No. 324 to
apply and administer and enforce its provisions. Indeed, petitioner was authorized to
issue rules and regulations to implement that Executive Order (paragraph 16).
Secondly, the application and administration of Executive Order No. 324 involve, not
ministerial or mechanical acts, but rather the exercise of judgment and discretion,
adjudicatory and hence quasi-judicial in nature. Thirdly, and perhaps most notably,
paragraphs 11 and 12 of the Executive Order provide as follows:
11. Except as provided in Paragraph 12, herein, the Commissioner of
Immigration and Deportation may waive exclusion grounds under the
Immigration Act in the cases of individual aliens for humanitarian
purposes to assure family unity or for the public interest.
12. The following grounds for exclusion may not be waived by the
Commissioner of Immigration and Deportation, namely, (a) those
relating to criminals; (b) those relating to aliens likely to become
public charges; (c) those relating to drug offenses, except for so
much of those provisions as relates to a single offense of simple
possession of marijuana; and (d) those relating to national security
and members of subversive organization.
xxx xxx xxx
(Emphasis supplied)
Paragraph 11, it will be seen, expressly authorizes petitioner to waive grounds for
exclusion of aliens under the Immigration Act in two (2) cases: (a) "for humanitarian
purposes to assure family unity;" and (b) "for the public interest." Under Section 29
(a) of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, as amended, the classes of aliens
excluded from entry into the Philippines include:

(17) Persons not properly documented for admission as may be


required under the provisions of this Act. 2
Upon the other hand, paragraph 12 specifies the categories of persons in whose cases
no waiver of grounds of exclusion may be granted.

It will be seen that the acts of petitioner, which the information assumes to be
criminal in nature, constituted official acts of petitioner done in the course of
applying, interpreting and construing Executive Order No. 324. There is no question
that the applications for waiver of passport requirements by the spouses and minor
children of qualified aliens were admitted and approved by petitioner "for
humanitarian purposes to assure family unity." It is also not disputed that the said
alien spouses and minor children did not fall under any of the (non-waivable)
excluded classes listed in paragraph 12 of Executive Order No. 324. It is similarly
undisputed that no one has pretended that petitioner had any personal or corrupt
interest in any of the cases of alien spouses and minor children of qualified aliens
she had acted upon. No one has suggested, for instance that the feesspecified in
paragraph 9 of Executive Order No. 324 either were not collected by petitioner and
converted to her own use. It may be noted, incidentally, that paragraph 9 expressly
authorizes the Commissioner "in her discretion, [to] charge a lower fee for the
spouse and minor children below 21 years old of the applicant." The criminal
information, as noted above, included an allegation of "evident bad faith and manifest
partiality." It is clear, however, that the facts brought out in the preliminary
investigation offered absolutely no basis for such an allegation which actually a
conclusion offered by the Special Prosecutor, much like the words "wilfully, unlawfully
and criminally" which are recited redundantly in the criminal information here. Again,
the facts disclosed in the preliminary investigation showed no undue injury, "to the
Government and no unwarranted benefit or advantage" to the aliens outside of the
simple acceptance and approval of the applications for waiver of passport
requirements (so called "legalization") by petitioner. In other words, if the
interpretation or construction given by petitioner to Executive Order
No. 324 is correct i.e., that applications for waiver of passport requirements by
alien wives and minor children, arriving after January 1, 1984, of qualified aliens who
had themselves arrived in the Philippines before January 1, 1984 and who were
otherwise eligible under the terms and conditions of Executive Order No. 324 may be
granted for humanitarian purposes in the interest of allowing or restoring family unity
there would be no "injury," let alone an "undue injury," to the Government. Neither
can the benefit of waiver of passport requirements in the cases of such spouses and
minor children of qualified aliens be deemed to be an "unwarranted" benefit to such
aliens if petitioner's interpretation of Executive Order
No. 324 be held to be correct.
It is a rule too firmly established to require documentation that contemporaneous
interpretations of a statute or implementing regulation by the executive or
administrative officials precisely charged with the implementation of such a stature or
regulation, are entitled to great weight and respect from the courts. This Court itself

has in many instances deferred to such interpretations rendered by such


administrative officers. (See, e.g., Ramos v. Court of Industrial Relations, 21 SCRA
1282 [1967]; Salavaria v. Buenviaje, 81 SCRA 722 [1978]; Asturias Sugar Central,
Inc. v. Commissioner of Customs, 29 SCRA 617 [1969]; University of the Philippines
v. Court of Appeals, 37 SCRA 54 [1971]; Lim Hao Ting v. Central Bank, 104 Phil. 573
[1958] ). But even if an administrative interpretation be ultimately found to be
incorrect as a matter of law by this Court, the official responsible for such
interpretation is not, for that reason alone, to be held liable personally, whether civilly
or criminally or administratively. It is just as firmly settled that to impose liability upon
the public officer who has so acted, something far graver that error of law or error of
judgment must be clearly shown and that is corrupt personal intentions, personal
malice or bad faith. (See generally Marcelo v. Sandiganbayan, 185 SCRA 346
[1990]). As noted above, no such allegations were made during the preliminary
investigation in Criminal Case No. 16698.
My submission, with respect, is that whether the acts admittedly done by petitioner
were criminal in nature, is a legal question, on which petitioner in effect asks us to
rule in this Petition. I believe, further, that there is nothing to prevent this Court from
addressing and ruling on this legal issue. There is no real need for proof of any
additional essential facts apart from those already admitted by petitioner. It seems to
me that a public officer is entitled to have legal questions like that before this Court
resolved at the earliest possible opportunity, that a public officer should not be
compelled to go through the aggravation, humiliation and expense of the whole
process of criminal trial, if the legal characterization of the acts charged as criminal is
the very issue at stake.
I respectfully submit, still further, that the acts charged do not, as a matter of law,
constitute a crime.Indeed, if the acts which petitioner admits having done constitute a
criminal offense, very serious consequences would follow for the administration of
law and government rules and regulations in general. For the thrust of the criminal
information here would appear to be that public officers interpret and apply statutory
and regulatory provisions at their own peril and at the risk of criminal liability,
notwithstanding the absence of any corrupt intent to profit personally by any such
interpretation and application. (Emphasis in the penultimate and ultimate paragraphs
supplied)
The Information, quoted internally above, was filed in Criminal Case
No. 16698 back in 1 May 1991. approximately two-and-a-half (2-1/2) years later, the proceedings
before the Sandiganbayan are still going on, and indeed appear to me to be back where the case
was at the time the original Information was filed. Had this Court ruled on the legal question which
petitioner in effect had asked us to rule inSantiago v. Vasquez (supra), the case should be
terminated by now, one way or the other. Once more, I respectfully submit that a public officer should
not be compelled to go through the aggravation, humiliation and expense of the whole process of
criminal trial, if the legal nature of the acts charged as criminal is the very issue at stake.

I vote to grant the Petition for Certiorari and to require the Sandiganbayan to dismiss the thirty-two
(32) Amended Informations.
Romero, J., concurs.
# Footnotes
FELICIANO, J., dissenting:
1 Gutierrez, Grio-Aquino and Romero, JJ., joined in the dissent. Melencio
Herrera, J. wrote a separate opinion, but adopted the substantive points made in my
dissenting opinion.
2 It is also pertinent to note the following classes of excluded aliens:
(10) Persons who are members of a family accompanying an excluded alien, unless
in the opinion of the Commissioner of Immigration no hardship would result from their
admission;
(11) Persons accompanying an excluded person who is helpless from mental or
physical disability or infancy, when the protection or guardianship of such
accompanying person or persons is required by the excluded persons, as shall be
determined by the Commissioner of Immigration;
(12) Children under fifteen years of age, unaccompanied by or not coming to a
parent, except that any such children may be admitted in the discretion of the
Commissioner of Immigration, if otherwise admissible;
xxx xxx xxx"
(Section 29 (a), C.A. No. 613, as amended; emphasis supplied)

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. Nos. 169727-28 August 18, 2006
BRIG. GEN. (Ret.) JOSE S. RAMISCAL, JR., Petitioner,
vs.
SANDIGANBAYAN (4th Division) and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.
DECISION
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
Before the Court is a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court for the nullification of
the Resolution 1 of the Sandiganbayan (4th Division) in Criminal Case Nos. 28022 and 28023, as
well as its Resolution denying the motion for reconsideration thereof.
In 1998, the Senate Committees on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigation (Blue Ribbon)
and on National Defense and Security (collectively, Senate Blue Ribbon Committee) carried out an
extensive joint inquiry into the "coup rumors and the alleged anomalies" in the Armed Forces of the
Philippines-Philippine Retirement Benefits Systems (AFP-RSBS). In its Report dated December 23,
1998, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee outlined, among others, the anomalies in the acquisition of
lots in Tanauan, Batangas, Calamba, Laguna and Iloilo City by the AFP-RSBS, and described the
modus operandi of the perpetrators as follows:
The modus operandi in the buying of the lots was to cover the same transactions with two deeds of
sale. One deed of sale would be signed only by the seller or sellers (unilateral deed). Another deed
of sale would be signed by the seller or seller and the buyer, AFP-RSBS (bilateral deed).
The devious gimmicking was uncovered by your Committee which also found out that the buying
prices stated in the unilateral deeds did not match those stated in the bilateral deeds. To borrow a
word from lawyers, the "consideration" (i.e., prices) in the unilateral deeds of sale and the bilateral
deeds of sale did not tally even if they covered the same transaction.
Without exception, the deed(s) signed by the seller(s) only (unilateral deeds) were the one registered
with the registrar (sic) of deeds. These Unilateral Deeds of Sale recorded lower consideration paid
by the System to the buyer(s) than those stated in the Bilateral Deeds. The motivation was obviously
to evade payment of the correct taxes to the government and save money for the seller(s), broker(s)
and who knows, probably even for the kickbacks going to certain officials of RSBS, the buyer.
xxxx
The bilateral deeds were kept in the dark files [of] the System over the years. They were uncovered
only recently as a result of your Committees investigation. Your Committee submits that the reason
why the bilateral deeds were kept in the vaults of the System was to justify the huge lot payments
made by the System just in case any soldier-member of RSBS would be bold or curious enough to
inquire about the matter directly with the System. The curious soldier would then be shown the

bilateral deed to impress upon him/her that indeed the System has spent huge amounts for the
purchase of the lots in question.
Until the investigation uncovered the anomaly, the matter of the two sets of documents covering the
purchases of the same parcels of land made by the System were, like the Clinton-Lewinsky trysts,
kept from the prying eyes officials of the System but so unfair because the public continues to
shoulder, in behalf of the RSBS, the payments for the pension and retirement benefits of the
soldiers." (Emphasis supplied)
The Initial Report of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, which was cited by the Feliciano
Commission in its Report to the President of the Philippines, included the following discussion:
Essentially, the Blue Ribbon Committee found that the real estate purchases by RSBS were
uniformly documented, by two (2) sets of instruments: Firstly, a unilateral covering the same piece of
land, executed both by the seller and by RSBS as buyer. The price stated in the second bilateral
instrument was invariably much higher than the price reflected in the unilateral deed of sale. The
discrepancies between the purchase price booked by RSBS and the purchase price reflected in the
unilateral deed of sale actually registered in the relevant Registry of Deeds, totaled about seven
hundred three million pesos (P703 Million). The two sets of purchase price figures obviously could
not both be correct at the same time. Either the purchase price booked and paid out by RSBS was
the true purchase price of the land involved, in which case RSBS had obviously assisted or abetted
the seller in grossly understating the capital gains realized by him and in defrauding the National
treasury; or the purchase price in the unilateral deed of sale was the consideration actually received
by the seller from RSBS, in which case, the buyer-RSBS had grossly overpaid, with the differential,
in the belief of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, going into the pockets of RSBS officials. A third
possibility was that the differential between the purchase price booked and paid by the buyer-RSBS
and the selling price admitted by the seller of the land, had been shared by the buyer and seller in
some undisclosed ratio. 2
Pursuant to the recommendation of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to "prosecute and/or cause
the prosecution of Gen. Jose Ramiscal Jr. (Ret), past AFP-RSBS President, who had signed the
unregistered deeds of sale covering the acquisition of certain parcels of land," Ombudsman
Investigators Ricardo Sullano, Rodil Buenaventura and Anatolio Alejandrino of the Office of the
Deputy Ombudsman for the Military conducted a fact-finding investigation. They executed a Joint
Affidavit-Complaint, 3 stating that based on their findings, the following may be charged with
falsification of public documents and violation of Section 3(e) and (g) of Republic Act (R.A.) No.
3019: petitioner B/Gen. Jose Ramiscal, Jr., former AFP-RSBS president; Atty. Meinrado Enrique
Bello, Head of the AFP-RSBS Legal Department in charge of Land Acquisition; Capt. Perfecto
Enrique Quilicot, AFP-RSBS Project Officer, Tanauan, Batangas, Land Acquisition; and Notaries
Public Alfredo Nasser and Manuel Satuito.
The matter was further looked into by a panel of Ombudsman Investigators, which issued on March
30, 2001 a Joint Resolution 4 finding probable cause to file the corresponding Informations for 148
counts of violation of Article 315, in relation to Article 171, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code,
and Section 3 (e) of R.A. No. 3019 against Meinrado Bello and Atty. Manuel Satuito. However, it was
likewise recommended that the complaint against petitioner be dismissed, without prejudice to a
thorough fact-finding investigation on his liability in light of this Courts ruling in Arias v.
Sandiganbayan. 5
The Ombudsman did not act on this recommendation. Instead, another panel of prosecutors was
directed to review the Joint Resolution and conduct a thorough investigation of the case. After
conducting clarificatory hearings, the investigating panel issued a Memorandum 6 dated June 15,

2004, recommending to the Ombudsman that petitioner be charged with 148 counts of estafa
through falsification of public documents, and one count violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019.
Petitioners allegation that he merely relied on the legal staff of the AFP-RSBS when he signed the
unregistered bilateral deeds of sale was considered untenable. The panel declared that the deeds
were used purposely to facilitate the payment of amounts in excess of that paid to the landowners.
Moreover, petitioner, as AFP-RSBS president, could not claim that he was merely involved in toplevel policy implementation.
The Memorandum also stated that the AFP-RSBS had an Investment Committee tasked to screen
project proposals, which was headed by petitioner, Oscar Martinez and other AFP-RSBS officers;
these potential investments were then elevated for further screening and approval to the Executive
Committee, of which petitioner and Martinez were also members. The panel found that petitioner
knew of the unilateral deeds of sale, considering that they were duly registered with the Register of
Deeds and titles were issued on the basis thereof. The investigating panel clarified that the ruling of
this Court in Arias does not apply because petitioners
participation consisted of signing and approving documents prepared by his subordinates relative to
the transactions, from the time of conceptualization until payment by AFP-RSBS.
The panel further found that the culpability of petitioner, Quilicot, Bello and Satuito is evidenced by
the fact that they signed documents in manifest bad faith, with full knowledge of the anomalous
transactions. The bilateral deeds of absolute sale were prepared by the Legal Department of AFPRSBS where Bello and Satuito were assigned, later enabling them to amass enormous profits. The
investigating panel "confirmed" the observations of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee as follows:
We have also noted that in all the 148 transactions of lot acquisition, the Bilateral Deeds of Sale
never bore the marks/annotations of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Register of Deeds of
Tanauan, Batangas, as would always appear, if they were used as basis for transfer of title. These
Bilateral Deeds of Sale were attached to the payment vouchers to justify the payment of the much
higher price considerations of the acquired lots, yet, no one of the respondents and the concerned
AFP-RSBS officials and employees questioned the fact that the Bilateral Deeds of Sale never bore
the marks and annotations of the Bureau of Internal Revenue indicative that the proper taxes have
been paid nor that of the Register of Deeds of Tanauan, Batangas particularly the assigned Entry
Number and the date of said entry as reflected in its Primary Entry Book.
From the concerted silence and inaction of the respondents on the glaring irregularities attendant to
the transaction, we can draw the conclusion that these officers of the AFP-RSBS who passed upon
the Disbursement Voucher and the Status Transaction Forms were aware of the forgeries and the
result thereof. All the respondents were acting under a common design and purpose to give a
semblance of regularity to the acquisition of the subject one hundred forty eight (148) lots at a price
very much higher than what was actually paid to the individual lot owners. The element of conspiracy
was therefore present. 7
The panel opined that the AFP-RSBS funds used to purchase the parcels of land were trust funds
and for administration purposes. 8 Moreover, Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 361, the charter of the
AFP-RSBS, intended to create a trust fund for the specific purpose of benefiting the members of the
armed forces, hence contributions thereto were compulsory. Since soldiers and military personnel
rely on the administration of the AFP-RSBS for their retirement, pension and separation benefits,
petitioner and his co-officers occupy positions of trust, with obligations and responsibilities akin to
those imposed on directors and officers of a corporation; and considering that the responsible
officers are not mere directors but trustees, there is all the more reason to apply the fiduciary
relationship principle in this case.

The Ombudsman approved the recommendation of the Panel of Prosecutors without prejudice to the
liability of the landowners involved in the transactions.
Petitioner and his co-accused filed their respective Motions for Reconsideration of the investigating
panels June 15, 2004 Memorandum. Petitioner alleged the following:
1. RESPONDENT RAMISCALS PARTICIPATION IN THE SUBJECT SALE TRANSACTIONS,
WHICH WERE DULY APPROVED BY THE RSBS BOARD, WAS PURELY MINISTERIAL AS PART
OF HIS LIMITED FUNCTIONS AS PRESIDENT OF RSBS.
2. THE CONSPIRACY THEORY LINKING RESPONDENT RAMISCAL TO THE CHARGES IS
DEVOID OF FACTUAL AND/OR LEGAL BASIS. IN FACT, THE MEMORANDUM FAILED TO
SHOW, AS THERE IS NONE (SIC) ANY OVERT ACT OF CONSPIRACY COMMITTED BY
RESPONDENT RAMISCAL.
3. IN ANY EVENT, THE CHARGES OF FALSIFICATION BASED ON THE BILATERAL DEEDS
HAVE NO LEGAL LEG TO STAND ON AS AGAINST RESPONDENT RAMISCAL.
4. MORE THAN THAT, THE CHARGES OF ESTAFA AND VIOLATION OF SECTION 3(E) R.A. 3019
HAVE NO FACTUAL AND/OR LEGAL BASES INASMUCH AS THE AMOUNTS PAID BY AFP-RSBS
TO THE VENDORS ARE THOSE THAT WERE INDICATED IN THE BILATERAL DEEDS OF SALE,
HENCE, NO UNWARRANTED BENEFITS WERE AFFORDED THE SELLERS NOR DID THE [AFPRSBS] AND THE GOVERNMENT SUFFER UNDUE INJURY INCIDENT THERETO. 9
On September 27, 2004, the Panel of Prosecutors issued a Memorandum
recommending that the motion be denied, which the latter duly approved.

10

to the Ombudsman

Thereafter, the panel of Prosecutors and the Special Prosecutors had a series of meetings with the
Ombudsman, where it was agreed upon that only five Informations for estafa through falsification of
public documents and five Informations for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 would be
initially filed with the Sandiganbayan instead of the 148 counts previously recommended by the
Ombudsman. This was due to the lack of prosecutors who would handle the voluminous cases. 11
Of the Informations filed, two were raffled to the Fourth Division of the Sandiganbayan, one of which
was docketed as Criminal Case No. 28022 for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019. The
accusatory portion reads:
That on April 23, 1997 and sometime prior or subsequent thereto, in the Province of Batangas and
Quezon City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed
accused public officers, namely: Brigadier General Jose Servando Ramiscal, Jr., a high-ranking
public official, being then the President of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Retirement,
Separation and Benefit System (AFP-RSBS); Atty. Meinrado Enrique A. Bello, Head of Legal
Division; Atty. Manuel Se Satuito, Chief of Documentation, Legal Division; Captain Perfecto O.
Quilicot, Jr., Project Officer, and certain John and John Does, also of the AFP-RSBS, a government
entity, being a government owned or controlled corporation, while in the performance of their official
functions and committing the offense in relation to their office, acting with evident bad faith,
conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another, with private individuals John Does and
Jane Does, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and criminally cause undue injury to AFP-RSBS
and its members by purchasing a parcel of land covering an area of seven thousand five hundred
eighty-two square meters (7,582 sq. m.), more or less, situated at Tanauan, Batangas, registered in
the name of Marianito V. Plaza, Glicerio V. Plaza and Petra Maunahan and covered by OCT-11835
and TCT 65973 of the Registry of Deeds of Tanauan, Batangas, under a bilateral Deed of Absoute

Sale dated April 23, 1997, making it appear therein that the afore-described real property was sold
by the said owners and purchased by the AFP-RSBS, represented by accused BGen. Jose
Servando Ramiscal, Jr., for the amount of ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THIRTY-ONE
THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED SIXTY-FOUR PESOS (P1,531,564.00), Philippine Currency, paid
under AFP-RSBS General Voucher No. 61789 dated May 28, 1997 with corresponding Philippine
National Bank Check No. 72789 dated June 3, 1997, when in truth and in fact, accused knew fully
well that the true and real consideration thereof is only TWO HUNDRED TWENTY-SEVEN
THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED SIXTY PESOS (P227,460.00), Philippine Currency, as correctly
indicated in a unilateral Deed of Absolute Sale dated April 14, 1997 executed by the said owners,
thereby resulting to an overprice of ONE MILLION THREE HUNDRED FOUR THOUSAND ONE
HUNDRED FOUR PESOS (P1,304,104.00) to the damage and prejudice of AFP-RSBS and its
members.
CONTRARY TO LAW. 12
The other, for estafa thru falsification of public documents, was docketed as Criminal Case No.
28023. The accusatory portion reads:
That on April 23, 1997 and sometime prior or subsequent thereto, in the Province of Batangas and
Quezon City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed
accused public officers, namely: Brigadier General Jose Servando Ramiscal, Jr., a high ranking
public official, being then the President of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Retirement
Separation and Benefit System (AFP-RSBS); Atty. Meinrado Enrique A. Bello, Head of Legal
Division; Atty. Manuel Se Satuito, Chief of Documentation, Legal Division; Captain Perfecto O.
Quilicot, Jr., Project Officer, and certain John and Jane Does, also of the AFP-RSBS, a government
entity, being a government owned or controlled corporation, while in the performance of their official
functions and committing the offense in relation to their office, acting with unfaithfulness and abuse
of confidence, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another, with private individuals
John Does and Jane Does, and with intent to defraud the AFP-RSBS and its members, did then and
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously falsify or cause to be falsified a bilateral Deed of Absolute
Sale dated April 23, 1997 covering seven thousand five hundred eighty-two square meters (7,582
sq. m.), more or less, of real property situated at Tanauan, Batangas, registered in the name of
Marianito V. Plaza, Glicerio V. Plaza and Petra Maunahan and covered by OCT-11835 and TCT
65973 of the Registry of Deeds of Tanauan, Batangas, by making it appear therein that the
aforedescribed real property was sold by the said owners and purchased by the AFP-RSBS,
represented by accused BGen. Jose Servando Ramiscal, Jr., for the overpriced amount of ONE
MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THIRTY-ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED SIXTY-FOUR PESOS
(P1,531,564.00), Philippine Currency, from its funds held by the accused AFP-RSBS officials in trust
and for administration, when in truth and in fact, accused knew fully well that the true and real
consideration thereof is only TWO HUNDRED TWENTY-SEVEN THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED
SIXTY PESOS (P227,460.00), Philippine Currency, as correctly indicated in a unilateral Deed of
Absolute Sale dated April 14, 1997 executed by the said owners, and thereafter, to facilitate the
payment of the said overpriced amount by the AFP-RSBS, the accused used the said falsified
bilateral Deed of Absolute Sale as supporting document, among others, to the AFP-RSBS General
Voucher No. 61789 dated May 28, 1997, and relying on said fraudulent acts, AFP-RSBS released
the amount of ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THIRTY-ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED SIXTYFOUR PESOS (P1,531,564.00) by way of Philippine National Bank Check No. 72789 dated June 3,
1997, which amount included the overprice of ONE MILLION THREE HUNDRED FOUR
THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED FOUR PESOS (P1,304,104.00) and which the accused subsequently
misappropriated and converted to their personal use and benefit, to the damage and prejudice of the
AFP-RSBS and its members.

CONTRARY TO LAW. 13
Raffled to the First Division of the anti-graft court were two other cases docketed as Criminal Case
No. 28026 14for violation of Section 3(e) of
R.A. 3019, and Criminal Case No. 28027 15 for estafa through falsification of public documents.
Criminal Case No. 28028 16 for violation of Section 3(e), R.A. No. 3019 and Criminal Case No.
28029 17 for estafa through falsification of public documents were raffled to the Second Division,
while Criminal Case No. 28021 18 for estafa through falsification of public documents was raffled to
the Third Division. Criminal Case No. 28024 19 for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 and
Criminal Case No. 28025 20 for estafa through falsification of public documents were raffled to the
Fifth Division.
Petitioner filed in the Fourth Division of the anti-graft court (in Criminal Case Nos. 28022 and 28023)
an "Urgent Motion for Hearing to Determine Probable Cause and Consolidate All Cases in One
Information with Prayer to Defer Issuance of An Arrest Warrant Pending Resolution Hereof." 21 The
Sandiganbayan denied the motion on January 17, 2005, holding that the judicial determination of
probable cause is not an adversarial proceeding but summary in nature. While it ordered the
issuance of warrants of arrest against the accused, it resolved to hold in abeyance the resolution on
the matter of consolidation of all the cases until after it had acquired jurisdiction over their
persons. 22 After petitioner posted bail for his provisional release, the Sandiganbayan denied the
motion for the consolidation of the cases, considering that the other cases filed were pending in its
other divisions.
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the resolution and sought to have the cases dismissed
for lack of probable cause. 23 He alleged that, in finding probable cause, the Sandiganbayan merely
relied on the findings of the Ombudsman and did not take into account the other affidavits on record.
The Sandiganbayan again denied the motion on February 22, 2005. 24
Undaunted, petitioner filed a Motion to Quash
following grounds:

25

in Criminal Cases Nos. 28022 and 28023 on the

I. This Court has no jurisdiction over the offenses charged in both Informations;
II. In Criminal Case No. 28023 (estafa through falsification), the facts charged being an essential part
of the continuing crime of Estafa separately charged in Criminal Cases Nos. 28021, 28025, 28027
and 28029, pending in the 3rd, 1st, 5th and 2nd divisions, respectively, only one Information must be
filed for all these cases including those covered by the OSP memorandum dated June 15, 2004;
and,
III. In Criminal Case No. 20822 (violation of RA No. 3019), the said case is abated by Criminal Case
No. 20823 (Estafa through falsification) because the very facts alleged in the former are also the
very facts alleged in the latter. 26
On June 2, 2005, the Sandiganbayan resolved to deny the motion, holding that contrary to
petitioners claim, it had jurisdiction over the crimes charged. 27 Petitioner filed a motion for
reconsideration which was also denied on August 17, 2005. 28 Petitioner then posted bail for his
provisional liberty.
When arraigned on September 1, 2005, petitioner refused to enter a plea, prompting the anti-graft
court to enter a plea of not guilty in both cases. 29

On October 7, 2005, petitioner filed the instant petition for certiorari under Rule 65, praying that the
said Resolution be nullified on the following grounds:
I. THE RESPONDENT COURT COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO
LACK AND/OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN SUSTAINING THE OMBUDSMANS FINDING OF
PROBABLE CAUSE FOR THE COMMISSION OF ONE HUNDRED FORTY EIGHT (148) COUNTS
OF ESTAFA THRU FALSIFICATION OF PUBLIC DOCUMENT AND ANOTHER ONE HUNDRED
FORTY EIGHT (148) COUNTS OF VIOLATION OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 3019 AND IN NOT
DISMISSING THE INFORMATIONS.
II. THE RESPONDENT COURT COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO
LACK AND/OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN NOT QUASHING THE INFORMATIONS AND IN
NOT DISMISSING THE CASES NOTWITHSTANDING THAT IT HAD NO JURISDICTION OVER
THE OFFENSE CHARGED IN THE INFORMATION.
III. THE RESPONDENT COURT COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO
LACK AND/OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN NOT QUASHING THE INFORMATION IN
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 28023 (ESTAFA THROUGH FALSIFICATION), NOTWITHSTANDING THAT
THE FACTS CHARGED THEREIN WERE AN ESSENTIAL PART OF ONE CONTINUING CRIME
OF ESTAFA SEPARATELY CHARGED IN CRIMINAL CASES NOS. 28021, 28025, 28027 AND
28029, PENDING IN THE THIRD, FIRST, FIFTH AND SECOND DIVISIONS OF THE
SANDIGANBAYAN, RESPECTIVELY, CONSIDERING THAT BASED ON THE DOCUMENTS
ADDUCED BY THE PEOPLE AND FOR OBVIOUS WANT OF RELIABLE EVIDENCE, ONLY ONE
INFORMATION FOR ESTAFA SHOULD HAVE BEEN FILED FOR ALL THESE CASES INCLUDING
THE REMAINING ONE HUNDRED FORTY THREE (143) COUNTS COVERED BY THE OSP
MEMORANDUM DATED JUNE 15, 2004, ANNEX T;
IV. THE RESPONDENT COURT COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO
LACK AND/OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN NOT QUASHING THE INFORMATION IN
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 20822 (VIOLATION OF RA NO. 3019) NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THE
SAID CASE WAS ABATED BY CRIMINAL CASE NO. 20823 (ESTAFA THROUGH FALSIFICATION)
BECAUSE THE VERY FACTS ALLEGED IN THE FORMER WERE ALSO THE VERY FACTS
ALLEGED IN THE LATTER, THUS VIOLATING THE RULE ON DOUBLE JEOPARDY. 30
Petitioner insists that, in finding probable cause against him for estafa through falsification of public
document and violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019, the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction, as it relied solely on the Memorandum of the
investigation panel of Ombudsman Prosecutors. He posits that it behooved the anti-graft court to
review the Ombudsmans findings and scrutinize the evidence, the affidavits on record, including the
transcript of stenographic notes. As gleaned from the Joint Resolution dated March 30, 2001, the
initial finding of the Ombudsman Prosecutors was that there was no probable cause to charge him
for the acts complained of, in the light of the Courts ruling in the Arias case. He asserts that there
was no evidence of bad faith on his part relative to the deeds of sale subject of the Informations filed
against him. He insists that based on the Joint Resolution, and even the report of the Senate Blue
Ribbon Committee, he had no part whatsoever in the commission of the crimes charged. The
disparity of the prices of the properties in the bilateral deeds of sale, vis--vis the unilateral deeds of
sale, do not support the finding of probable cause against him made by the investigating panel of
Ombudsman Prosecutors. Petitioner asserts that there is no evidence on record that he conspired
with the other accused in the commission of the crimes charged.
Petitioner further posits that the Sandiganbayan likewise committed grave abuse of its discretion
when it found probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest against him instead of setting

the case for hearing. He insists that the anti-graft court failed to consider the other evidence on
record and erred in relying solely on the evaluation and resolution of the investigating panel of
Prosecutors; the fact that he posted bail bonds for his provisional liberty does not estop him from
raising the issue in his Motion to Quash.
Petitioner avers that the Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over the crimes charged as provided in
Section 4 of R.A. 8249. He insists that the AFP-RSBS is not a government-owned or controlled
corporation and that he does not fall under Salary Grade 27 as required in Section 4 of the law,
inasmuch as his position as AFP-RSBS President is not even included under the Compensation and
Classification Act of 1989. Petitioner cites the ruling of this Court in Inding v. Sandiganbayan 31 to
support his claim.
Petitioner asserts that the charges filed against him constitute only one crime of estafa through
falsification of public document, in the nature of delito continuado, or a series of repetition of the
same acts arising from one and the same criminal intent. He maintains that while there are 148
bilateral deeds of sale signed by him and 145 unilateral deeds of sale signed by the sellers, it cannot
thereby be concluded that he is criminally liable for each deed executed. The number of transactions
purportedly entered into is not a gauge in ascertaining criminal intent for the several transactions.
The best test should be the presence of clear, convincing and positive evidence showing distinct
criminal intent for each sales transaction, which in any event, is wanting in this case. Petitioner
further alleges that for multiple transactions to be considered as separate and distinct crimes, there
must be a series of acts with individual sellers such as (a) negotiations; (b) discussion of the terms of
the sale; (c) finalizing the terms thereof; and (d) instruction to prepare payment and (e) actual
payment. He points out that there is no
evidence that he and the other accused involved ever met with any of the sellers. While he admits
the possibility that he could have signed the bilateral deeds of sale in one sitting, he insists that
these documents were
notarized separately; there is even no evidence on record that the sellers of the property transacted
separately with him. He points out that the corporate officers of AFP-RSBS, especially its President,
do not personally deal with any of the sellers. The bare fact that he executed the bilateral deeds of
sale and that the project was approved by the higher level of the management, cannot lead to the
conclusion that he took part in the implementation of the transactions.
Petitioner maintains that the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
of or excess of jurisdiction in filing the charges against him. He insists that the delictual acts
contained in the two Informations, Criminal Case No. 28022 (for violation of R.A. 3019) and Criminal
Case No. 28023 (for estafa through falsification of public document), are one and the same; to
charge him under Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 despite his indictment for estafa is to duplicate the very
same charge under another name, which under the principle of double jeopardy, is proscribed. He
further argues that while it is true that, in Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019, the charge against him for said
crime is "in addition" to his criminal liability under the Revised Penal Code, the phrase connotes
cumulativeness and simultaneity of liability.
Petitioner points out that the panel of Ombudsman Prosecutors recommended the filing of only one
count of violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, but the Ombudsman filed five (5) counts thereof.
The issues are the following: (1) whether the Ombudsman committed grave abuse of discretion
amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in finding probable cause against petitioner for estafa
through falsification of public document and for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019; (2)
whether the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction
in finding probable cause against petitioner for the issuance of warrants for petitioners arrest without

first conducting a hearing; (3) whether petitioner may be charged and prosecuted for five (5) counts
of estafa thru falsification of public documents; and (4) whether petitioner may be prosecuted for
both estafa through falsification of a public document and violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019
without violating his right against double jeopardy.
The petition has no merit.
On the first issue, the rule is that as far as crimes cognizable by the Sandiganbayan are concerned,
the determination of probable cause during the preliminary investigation, or reinvestigation for that
matter, is a function that belongs to the Office of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is empowered
to determine, in the exercise of his discretion, whether probable cause exists, and to charge the
person believed to have committed the crime as defined by law. Whether or not the Ombudsman
has correctly discharged his function, i.e., whether or not he has made a correct assessment of the
evidence of probable cause in a case, is a matter that the trial court may not be compelled to pass
upon.
As a rule, courts should not interfere with the Ombudsmans investigatory power, exercised through
the Ombudsman Prosecutors, and the authority to determine the presence or absence of probable
cause, 32 except when the finding is tainted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction. In such case, the aggrieved party may file a petition for certiorari under Rule
65 of the Rules of Court. 33 Indeed, if the Ombudsman does not take essential facts into
consideration in the determination of probable cause, there is abuse of discretion. 34 As we ruled in
Mendoza-Arce v. Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas), 35 a writ of certiorari may issue in any of the
following instances:
1. When necessary to afford adequate protection to the constitutional rights of the accused;
2. When necessary for the orderly administration of justice or to avoid oppression or multiplicity of
actions;
3. When there is a prejudicial question which is sub judice;
4. When the acts of the officer are without or in excess of authority;
5. Where the prosecution is under an invalid law, ordinance or regulation;
6. When double jeopardy is clearly apparent;
7. Where the court has no jurisdiction over the offense;
8. Where it is a case of persecution rather than prosecution;
9. Where the charges are manifestly false and motivated by the lust for vengeance;
10. When there is clearly no prima facie case against the accused and a motion to quash on that
ground has been denied. 36
In this case, however, petitioner failed to establish that the Ombudsman committed grave abuse of
discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in finding probable cause to charge him with
violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 and for estafa through falsification of a public document.

We are not convinced by petitioners claim that there is no probable cause on record for the filing of
the Information against him. It bears stressing that probable cause need not be based on clear and
convincing evidence of guilt, neither on evidence establishing guilt beyond reasonable doubt and
definitely not on evidence establishing absolute certainty of guilt. It implies probability of guilt and
requires more than bare suspicion but less than evidence which would justify conviction. 37 The
Ombudsmans finding of probable cause against petitioner is buttressed by his encompassing and
comprehensive resolution, independent of the findings of the Senate Committees, as well as the
documents appended to the Informations. Petitioners bare claim to the contrary cannot prevail over
such positive findings of the Ombudsman. In fine, the Ombudsmans finding of
probable cause prevails over petitioners bare allegations of grave abuse of discretion; that he was
not involved in the step-by-step consummation of the anomalous transaction; and that as President
he was involved only in the top level policy formulation and implementation.
It is true that in the Joint Resolution dated March 30, 2001, the Panel of Ombudsman Prosecutors
found no sufficient evidence that petitioner acted in bad faith and that he merely relied on the
recommendations of his subordinates. However, after a thorough investigation, another panel of
Ombudsman Prosecutors found that, indeed, petitioner not merely relied on the recommendations of
his subordinates but likewise perpetrated overt acts, which, along with those of the other accused,
resulted in the consummation of the crimes charged. Thus, as maintained by the respondents in
their Comment on the petition, petitioner signed documents, indicating his evident bad faith on the
highly anomalous transactions; petitioner was aware of the forgeries and anomalies in the buying of
the parcels of land, yet gave his conformity thereto, causing grave injury to its members and to the
public in general. Thus, it was also found that petitioner, together with his cohorts, conspired to
perpetuate clear fraud on the government and the AFP-RSBS members by giving a semblance of
regularity to real estate acquisitions at bloated prices.
The fact alone that petitioner was aware, in each transaction, that the two (2) deeds of sale contain
contradictory costs for every acquisition, and that he failed to rectify the same eloquently speak of
his participation in the criminal malevolence. He was a member of the Investment Committee of the
AFP-RSBS, which screened potential investments, that were thereafter subjected to further
screening and approval by the Executive Committee of which he was also a member; hence,
petitioner had full knowledge of the transactions, from the time they were conceptualized until the
properties were paid for. The records show that the Tanauan, Batangas properties alone were
overpriced by about 600%. Thus, petitioner consented to the crimes charged by the following overt
acts:
(1) Petitioner and his co-accused prepared or caused to be prepared two (2) deeds of sale covering
the same transactions: a deed of sale with the seller or sellers as the sole signatory or signatories
therein (unilateral deeds); and a deed of sale with the seller or sellers and the buyer, AFP-RSBS,
represented by petitioner (bilateral deeds);
(2) The considerations in the unilateral deeds of sale and the bilateral deeds of sale did not tally,
notwithstanding the fact that they covered the same subject matter and transaction, with the bilateral
deeds of sale bearing a bloated price; and,
(3) Of these two deeds, the unilateral deeds of sale bore the correct value given to the seller(s) as
evinced, among others, by the fact that the same were the ones registered with the Registry of
Deeds.
The bilateral deeds of sale could not possibly be the basis of the transfer of the properties because
the supporting bilateral deeds carried dates much later than the date of issue of the titles, which

were likewise not filed with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Registry of Deeds of
Tanauan, Batangas. The Court cannot supplant the findings of the Ombudsman that the unilateral
deeds of sale were prepared by the Legal Department of AFP-RSBS, in as much as both the
unilateral and bilateral deeds of sale have exactly the same print and form. The residence certificate
number of petitioner which is indicated in the bilateral deeds of sale is likewise printed in the
unilateral deeds. Petitioners fraudulent intent is further proven by the fact that the Status of
Transaction Form (STF), where the subject lots were endorsed for payment, bore his signature. The
unilateral deeds of sale resulted in the issuance of the titles, which were also the supporting
documents enumerated in the STF. In many instances, the bilateral deeds of sale carry dates much
later than the dates their corresponding titles were issued.
Petitioner was likewise unable to establish his claim that the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse
of discretion in finding probable cause for the issuance of a warrant for his arrest. His bare claim that
the Sandiganbayan merely relied on the Memoranda of the Panel of Prosecutors to the Ombudsman
and did not scrutinize the evidence appended thereto is not supported by the records. In the first
place, the Sandiganbayan is presumed to have performed its duty as provided in the Revised Rules
of Criminal Procedure, which can likewise be gleaned from its February 22, 2005 Resolution:
[1] While accused Ramiscal is correct in stating that this Court, in determining the existence of
probable cause for the issuance of the warrant of arrest against the accused, had evaluated the
resolution of the Office of the Ombudsman and its supporting documents, he is, however, wrong in
presuming that such process failed to consider the evidence the accused adduced during
preliminary investigation. It should be noted that the supporting documents submitted by the Office
of the Ombudsman to this Court included, among others, the counter-affidavits submitted by the
accused at the preliminary investigation. Parenthetically, there is no need, and the rules do not
require this Court, to enumerate in detail what were the supporting documents it considered in
determining the existence of probable cause for the issuance of the warrant of arrest because the
same are matters of record that the parties can easily verify. 38
We agree with the Sandiganbayans ruling that the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure do not
require cases to be set for hearing to determine probable cause for the issuance of a warrant for the
arrest of the accused before any warrant may be issued. Section 6, Rule 112 mandates the judge to
personally evaluate the resolution of the Prosecutor (in this case, the Ombudsman) and its
supporting evidence, and if he/she finds probable cause, a warrant of arrest or commitment order
may be issued within 10 days from the filing of the complaint or Information; in case the Judge
doubts the existence of probable cause, the prosecutor may be ordered to present additional
evidence within five (5) days from notice. The provision reads in full:
SEC. 6. When warrant of arrest may issue. (a) By the Regional Trial Court. Within ten (10) days
from the filing of the complaint or information, the judge shall personally evaluate the resolution of
the prosecutor and its supporting evidence. He may immediately dismiss the case if the evidence on
record clearly fails to establish probable cause. If he finds probable cause, he shall issue a warrant
of arrest, or a commitment order if the accused has already been arrested pursuant to a warrant
issued by the judge who conducted the preliminary investigation
or when the complaint or information was filed pursuant to section 7 of this Rule. In case of doubt on
the existence of probable cause, the judge may order the prosecutor to present additional evidence
within five (5) days from notice and the issue must be resolved by the court within thirty (30) days
from the filing of the complaint of information. 39
The periods provided in the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure are mandatory, and as such, the
judge must determine the presence or absence of probable cause within such periods. The

Sandiganbayans determination of probable cause is made ex parte and is summary in nature, not
adversarial. The Judge should not be stymied and distracted from his determination of probable
cause by needless motions for determination of probable cause filed by the accused.
We hold that petitioner likewise failed to establish his claim that the Sandiganbayan committed a
grave abuse of authority in denying his motion to quash the Information.
First. The anti-graft court correctly ruled that it has jurisdiction over the crimes charged.
In People v. Sandiganbayan 40 and Ramiscal, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan, 41 this Court ruled that the AFPRSBS is a government-owned and controlled corporation, and that its funds are in the nature of
public funds. Under Section 4(a)(1)(g) of R.A. No. 8249, the Sandiganbayan has exclusive
jurisdiction over offenses committed by presidents, directors, trustees or
managers of government owned or controlled corporations. 42 Under Section 4(b) of R.A. No. 8249,
the Sandiganbayan has exclusive jurisdiction over offenses committed by public officers and
employees in relation to their office, whether simple or complexed with other crimes. 43
As gleaned from the material averments of the Information in Criminal Case No. 28023, the charge
against petitioner is estafa through falsification of public document in the performance of his duties
and in relation to his position as president of the AFP-RSBS.
Second. On petitioners claim that he should be charged with only one count of estafa through
falsification of public document instead of five (5) charges, respondents counter that the criminal acts
petitioner and his co-accused are not continuous crimes. Respondents argue that a continuous
crime may exist only if there is only a single criminal intent and the commission of diverse acts is
merely a partial execution of said single criminal resolution. In the instant cases, the requirement of
singularity of criminal intent does not exist because there are as many criminal intents as there are
anomalous transactions, causing grave damage to the government at each instance. There was no
need for the accused to perform another or other delictual acts to consummate the felony.
Respondents maintain that petitioner was motivated by separate intents as he signed each
document, all of which are criminal in character; hence, it is but proper that corresponding
Informations be filed against him for each and every act of falsification committed.
The Sandiganbayan, for its part, sustained the contention of respondents and ruled that the
determination of (a) the charge/s and the person/s against whom the charge is filed are addressed to
the sound discretion of the Prosecutors based on the facts before them; and (b) the crimes
committed by petitioner are separate, and not a single crime consisting of series of acts arising from
a single criminal resolution. Thus:
In the first place, the question of the number of criminal charges that must be instituted against a
criminal respondent (whether one count or multiple counts of the same offense) is one addressed to
the sound discretion of the prosecution service. It is enough, as this Court has already ruled, that the
informations filed in these cases are based on facts establishing probable cause for the offenses
charged. This Court will not compel the Office of the Ombudsman to file only one information for
Estafa through Falsification of Public Documents when its preliminary investigation established the
commission of several counts thereof as such action on the part of this Court would constitute undue
interference with the Office of the Ombudsmans control over the prosecution of these cases.
In the second place, this Court is not persuaded that what is involved in these cases is a continuous
crime, that is to say, a single crime consisting of a series of acts arising from a single criminal
resolution or intent not susceptible of division, with each act in that series being merely the partial
execution of a single delict. On the contrary, the Court is of the view that what is involved herein are

several completed and distinct purported criminal acts which should be prosecuted as multiple
counts of the same type of offense. Thus, as correctly perceived by the prosecution, there are as
many alleged offenses as there are alleged anomalous transactions involved in these cases. 44
When required to comment on the motion of petitioner and his co- accused for a consolidation of the
charges filed against them before the Sandiganbayan, the Special Prosecutor objected thereto,
insisting that there were as many crimes committed by the accused as there were sales contracts
forged by them.
Indeed, the determination of what charges to file and who are to be charged are matters addressed
to the discretion of the Ombudsman, including the matter of whether the crime perpetrated by
petitioner and his co-accused under the Informations pending in the Divisions of the Sandiganbayan
constitute delito continuado or classified as concurso de
delitos; or involve separate crimes under the category of concurso real delito involve factual
issues. 45 Such factual issues should be resolved after trial on the merits, and not in this case. The
Court is being tasked to determine whether the several sales contracts executed by petitioner and
his co-accused were set afoot or triggered by a single impulse and operated by an uninterrupted
force however long a time it may occupy, which, however, is a matter best left to the determination of
the trial court, in this case, the Sandiganbayan. 46
Thus, the present petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court is hardly the
appropriate remedy and forum for petitioner to ventilate the issues he has raised, as only
jurisdictional issues can be resolved therein. As eloquently expressed by Justice Florenz D.
Regalado, speaking for this Court in Iligan v. Court of Appeals: 47
If, as petitioners seem to apprehend, the adverse actions of two lower courts could create a scenario
of multiple prosecutions for the same offense or, more candidly expressed, of double jeopardy, then
this is neither the procedural stage nor the proper occasion to pass upon that possibility. For,
squarely imputable to petitioners is the evident lack of factual basis for and a grossly defective
presentation of that issue for this Court to rule thereon in this proceeding and at this time. 48
It must be stressed that our disposition of the matters in the present recourse will not foreclose
petitioners right to ventilate the same in the Sandiganbayan, for as declared in Iligan:
However, this observation would not foreclose relief to petitioners if at the trial of this case the
evidence presented and the developments therein suffice to establish the supervening fact that
indeed there could possibly be a breach of the rule of double jeopardy. Under Section 8 of Rule 117,
they can still hereafter raise that defense of non bis in idem, provided that they can lay the
evidentiary bases therefor and refute from the standpoint of substantive penal law what was earlier
said on the nature and the non-identity of the several crimes of Estafa involved which, to repeat, we
pronounced purely on the bases of existing records sans the benefit of any evidentiary fact since
none has been adduced. 49
On the last issue, we agree with the contention of respondents that the crimes committed by public
officers and employees in relation to their offices defined and penalized under the Anti-Graft Law do
not exclude prosecution for felonies defined and penalized under the Revised Penal Code and vice
versa. Section 3 of R.A. No. 3019 reads:
Section 3. Corrupt practices of public officers.In addition to acts or omissions of public officers
already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer
and are hereby declared to be unlawful: x x x (Emphasis supplied)

It is clear then that one may be charged of violation of R.A. No. 3019 in addition to a felony under the
Revised Penal Code for the same delictual act, that is, either concurrently or subsequent to being
charged with a felony under the Code.
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is DENIED. Costs against the petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
ROMEO J. CALLEJO, SR.
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN
Chief Justice
Chairperson
MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO
Associate Justice
C E R TI F I C ATI O N
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the
above decision were reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the
opinion of the Courts Division.
ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN
Chief Justice

Footnotes
Penned by Associate Justice Gregory S. Ong with Associate Justices Jose R. Hernandez
and Rodolfo A. Ponferrada concurring; rollo, pp. 222-223.
1

See Ramiscal, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. Nos. 140576-99, December 13, 2004, 446
SCRA 166, 190.
2

Rollo, pp. 60-61.

Id. at 84-109.

G.R. No. 81563, December 19, 1989, 180 SCRA 309.

Rollo, pp. 110-148.

Id. at 139-140.

In its Final Report No. 51, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee made the following findings
on the nature of the AFP-RSBS funds:
8

By pouring in the Systems money in highly speculative investments, the RSBS managers,
including Ramiscal, violated the spirit, if not the letter, of its charter. By its very nature, the
Systems funds are trust funds. Therefore, it was incumbent upon Ramiscal and other
responsible officials of the RSBS to exercise utmost prudence and use the Systems funds
only in a conservative, secure manner in order to protect the soldiers money. (Emphasis
supplied)
9

Rollo, p. 151.

10

Id at 150-161.

11

Id. at 163.

12

Id. at 165-167.

13

Id. at 169-171.

14

Id. at 173-176.

15

Id. at 177-180.

16

Id. at 181-184.

17

Id. at 185-188.

18

Id. at 193-196.

19

Id. at 197-200.

20

Id. at 201-204.

21

Id. at 205-220.

22

Id. at 222-223.

23

Id. at 224-232.

24

Id. at 233-235.

25

Id. at 236-249.

26

Id. at 236-237.

27

Id. at 250-260.

28

Id. at 268-273.

29

Id. at 274.

30

Id. at 23.

31

G.R. No. 143047, July 14, 2004, 434 SCRA 388.

32

Cabahug v. People, 426 Phil. 490, 500 (2002).

33

Garcia-Rueda v. Pascasio, 344 Phil. 323, 329 (1997).

34

Sistoza v. Desierto, 437 Phil. 117, 129 (2002).

35

430 Phil. 101 (2002).

36

Id. at 113.

Drilon v. Court of Appeals, 327 Phil. 922, 923 (1996), citing Webb v. De Leon, G.R. No.
121234, August 23, 1995, 247 SCRA 652.
37

38

Rollo, p. 233.

In Administrative Matter No. 05-8-26-SC dated August 26, 2005, which took effect October
3, 2005, the rule reads:
39

SEC. 5. When warrant of arrest may issue.


(a) By the Regional Trial Court. Within ten (10) days from the filing of the complaint or
information, the judge shall personally evaluate the resolution of the prosecutor and its
supporting evidence. He may immediately dismiss the case if the evidence on record clearly
fails to establish probable cause. If he finds probable cause, he shall issue a warrant of
arrest, or a commitment order when the complaint or information was filed pursuant to
section 6 of this Rule. In case of doubt on the existence of probable cause, the judge may
order the prosecutor to present additional evidence within five (5) days from notice and the
issue must be resolved by the court within thirty (30) days from the filing of the complaint or
information.
Rule 1, Section 2, of the Revised Internal Rules of the Sandiganbayan provides:
The Rules of Court, resolutions, circulars, and other issuances promulgated by the Supreme
Court relating to or affecting the Regional Trial Courts and the Court of Appeals, insofar as
applicable, shall govern all actions and proceedings filed with the Sandiganbayan.
40

G.R. No. 141951, August 12, 2003, 408 SCRA 672.

41

G.R. Nos. 140576-99, December 13, 2004, 446 SCRA 166.

42

The provision reads in full:

SEC. 4. Jurisdiction.The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all


cases involving:

a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-graft and
Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII, Book II of
the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the accused are officials occupying the
following positions in the government, whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at
the time of the commission of the offense:
xxxx
(g) Presidents, directors or trustees, or managers of government-owned or-controlled
corporations, state universities or educational institutions or foundations.
The pertinent portion reads "[o]ther offenses or felonies whether simple or complexed with
other crime committed by the public officials and employees mentioned in subsection (a) of
this section in relation to their office."
43

44

Rollo, p. 256.

In People v. Zapata and Bondoc, 88 Phil. 688, 691 (1951), the Court held that "[f]or a delito
continuado to exist, there should be plurality of acts committed separately during a period of
time or even as to same occasions; unity of penal provisions infringed upon or violated; and
unity of criminal intent or purpose, which means that two or more violations of the same
penal provisions are united in one and the same intent leading to the perpetration of the
same criminal purpose or aim."
45

46

See Mallari v. People, No. L-58886, December 13, 1998, 168 SCRA 422, 429.

47

G.R. No. 110617, December 29, 1994, 239 SCRA 575.

48

Id. at 590.

49

Id.

EN BANC
[G.R. No. 43556. December 18, 1935.]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. HONORATO ESPINA Y
REAL,Defendant-Appellant.
Natalio M. Balboa for Appellant.
Solicitor-General Hilado for Appellee.
SYLLABUS
1. CRIMINAL LAW; THEFT; IMPOSITION OF ADDITIONAL PENALTY FOR HABITUAL DELINQUENCY; DOCTRINE
IN PEOPLE v. MELENDREZ, AFFIRMED. question whether, in imposing the additional penalty on the
appellant as an habitual delinquent, recidivism, as an aggravating circumstance inherent in habitual
delinquency, should still be taken into consideration in fixing the principal penalty, has already been
expressly decided in the affirmative by this court in People v. Melendrez (59 Phil., 154).
2. ID.; ID.; ID. There is no doubt that the purpose of the law in imposing additional penalty on a habitual
delinquent is to punish him more severely. However, the result would be otherwise if, for imposing the
additional penalty, recidivism could not be considered as aggravating circumstance in fixing the principal
penalty.

DECISION

AVANCEA, C.J. :

The appellant was charged in the lower court with the crime of theft of articles valued at P585.15 and,
having pleaded guilty, was sentenced to six months and one day of prision correccional and, being a habitual
delinquent, to an additional penalty of two years, four months and one day of prision correccional.
The principal penalty imposed by the court is not correct. The amount stolen is more than P200 but does not
exceed P6,000 and, under article 309, subsection 3, of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty to be imposed
should be prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods. Being a recidivist and having pleaded
guilty, both circumstances should compensate each other and the penalty should be imposed in its medium
period, that is, one year, eight months and twenty-one days. As the appellant is a habitual delinquent, this
being his third conviction, the additional penalty of two years, four months and one day of prision
correccional should also be imposed upon him.
The question whether, in imposing the additional penalty on the appellant as an habitual delinquent,
recidivism, as an aggravating circumstances inherent in habitual delinquency, should still be taken into
consideration in fixing the principal penalty, has been expressly decided in the affirmative by this court in
People v. Melendrez (59 Phil., 154).
There is no doubt that the purpose of the law in imposing additional penalty on a habitual delinquent is to
punish him more severely. However, the result be otherwise if, for imposing the additional penalty,
recidivism could not be considered aggravating circumstances in fixing the principal penalty. This may be
clearly understood from the following example.
An accused who has already been previously convicted twice of the crime of theft, having served the

sentences imposed upon him commits, within ten years after service of his last sentence, the crime of
robbery, inflicting on occasion thereof some of the physical injuries punished in subsection 1 of article 263
(article 294, subsection 2, of the Revised Penal Code). This crime is punished with reclusion temporal in its
medium period to reclusion perpetua. Being a habitual delinquent, the penalty of two years, four months
and one day of prision correccional should be imposed upon him in addition to the principal penalty. Without
taking into consideration the aggravating circumstance of recidivism, the principal penalty to be imposed
upon him would be seventeen years, four months and one day. Adding the additional to this principal
penalty, the resulting penalty would be nineteen years, eight months and two days. However, if the
additional penalty for habitual delinquency were not imposed, by imposing the principal penalty, taking into
consideration the aggravating circumstance of recidivism, the penalty would be reclusion perpetua which is
the maximum period of the penalty prescribed by law, or thirty years, if he is pardoned thereafter.
Let us suppose that a mitigating circumstance was present in the foregoing example. If the aggravating
circumstance of recidivism is not to be taken into consideration for imposing the additional penalty for
habitual delinquency, the mitigating circumstance would require that the penalty prescribed by law be
imposed in its minimum period or fourteen years, eight months and one day. Adding to this the additional
penalty of two years, four months and one day, the penalty would be seventeen years and two days. If the
additional penalty is not imposed and the aggravating circumstance of recidivism is taken into account the
latter would compensate the mitigating circumstance and the penalty should have to be imposed in its
medium period, or seventeen years, four months and one day, which would be four months more severe.
Let us suppose that instead of one mitigating circumstance, two were present in this same example.
Considering the aggravating circumstance of recidivism, it would have to be compensated by one mitigating
circumstance , leaving another, and the penalty to be imposed would be the minimum period, or fourteen
years, eight months and one day of reclusion temporal. If the aggravating circumstance of recidivism were
not taken into consideration for imposing the additional penalty, the two mitigating circumstance would have
to be taken into consideration and the penalty next lower in degree imposed in any of its periods, which may
be the minimum, according to the circumstances of the case, or eight years and one day. Adding to this the
additional penalty of two years, four months and two days, or two years, three months and twenty-nine
days less.
Applying these examples to other cases of habitual delinquency, the result would, more or less, be the
same.
According to this, if the theory counter to that adopted by this court in People v. Melendrez, supra, were to
be followed, the imposition of the additional penalty would make the penalty lighter, instead of more severe,
contrary to the purpose of the law.
Wherefore, it being understood that the principal penalty imposed upon the appellant is one year, eight
months and twenty-one days, the appealed judgment is affirmed in all other respects, with costs. So
ordered.
Hull, and Vickers, JJ., concur.
Separate Opinions
ABAD SANTOS, J., concurring:

chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

In people v. Melendrez (59 Phil., 154), I expressed the view that the aggravating circumstance of recidivism
should not be taken into consideration in fixing the penalty prescribed by law for the offense charged, where
the accused is found by the court a habitual delinquent and sentenced accordingly, my reason being that in
such a case recidivism is an inherent element of habitual delinquency. My view in that respect did not
prevail, as the majority of the court held otherwise. While I still maintain the same opinion, I feel that I
should concur in the decision in this case, in order not to embarrass the work of the court by causing the
case to be submitted to the court in banc. When the appropriate time comes, however, I propose to renew
my effort to have the majority of the court adopt the view which I consider sound and correct.
RECTO, J., concurring:

chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

I concur in the points of view expressed in this concurring opinion of Justice Abad Santos.

G.R. No. 45198, People v. De


Jesus, 63 Phil. 760
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
October 31, 1936
G.R. No. 45198
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
BASILIO DE JESUS Y JAVIER, defendant-appellant.
Isabelo G. Reyes for appellant.
Office of the Solicitor-General Hilado for appellee.
DIAZ, J.:
Basilio de Jesus y Javier was convicted by the Court of First Instance
of Manila in criminal case No. 52270 of said court, of the theft of an
umbrella and a buri hat valued at P2.65 committed, according to the
information, on April 28, 1936. He was therein sentenced to one
month and one day of arresto mayor with the accessory penalties,
to indemnify Francisco Liwanag in the sum of P2.50 representing the
value of the umbrella which was not recovered, and being a habitual
delinquent, the additional penalty of two years, four months and one
day of prision correccional with the corresponding accessory
penalties was also imposed upon him in conformity with the
provisions of subsection 5, paragraph (a), of article 62 of

the Revised Penal Code. Not agreeing with said penalties he


appealed from the sentence undoubtedly for the review of his case.
The appellant's counsel de oficio in this instance, considering the
appealed sentence in accordance with law, recommends the
affirmance thereof in all respects in his short brief.
Due to the amount involved, the theft imputed to the appellant is
punishable witharresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods
the duration of which is from one month and one day to four months
(art. 309, subsection 6, Revised Penal Code); and the minimum
period of said penalty is from one month and one day to two
months. It appears therefrom that the penalty questioned by the
appellant is the minimum period, as no other less penalty could
have been imposed upon him because said penalty in itself already
constitutes the minimum limit under the law. The reasons which
prompted the lower court to be lenient with the appellant were
undoubtedly his voluntary confession before the prosecution
presented its evidence, which constitutes a mitigating circumstance
(art. 13, subsection 7, Revised Penal Code), and the apparent
absence of all allegation in the information of some aggravating
circumstance that may compensate said mitigating circumstance
(art. 63, rule 1,Revised Penal Code).
The imposition of the additional penalty of two years, four months
and one day upon the appellant is justified by his own admission of
guilt because the rule is well settled in this jurisdiction that when
one pleads guilty of the crime imputed to him in an information, it is
understood that he admits all the material facts alleged therein (U.
S. vs. Barba, 29 Phil., 206; U.S. vs. Santiago, 35 Phil., 20), not
excluding those alleging his former convictions of other crimes
(U.S. vs. Burlado, 42 Phil., 72); and in the information filed against
the appellant, it was alleged:

That the said accused is a habitual delinquent within the purview of


rule 5 of article 62 of the Revised Penal Code, he having been
convicted by final judgments of competent courts of the following
crimes: On January 4, 1933, he was convicted of theft and
sentenced to one month and one day of imprisonment, and on
November 18, 1935, he was convicted of qualified theft and
sentenced to serve two months and one day of imprisonment, the
date of his last release being January 10, 1936.
The Solicitor-General, taking advantage of the allegation in the
information that the appellant is a habitual delinquent, recommends
that instead of affirming his principal penalty of one month and one
day of arresto mayor, it be increased to the minimum of the medium
period of that prescribed by law for his crime, or two months and
one day of arresto mayor, considering the aggravating circumstance
of recidivism established but compensated by the mitigating
circumstance of voluntary confession. His argument appears to be
as follows: Habitual delinquency necessarily implies recidivism or
former conviction, at least more than once. The appellant having
admitted in his confession that he is a habitual delinquent for having
committed theft for the third time within the period prescribed by
law, he must necessarily be considered a recidivist. This naturally
raises the question whether or not in this case the circumstance of
recidivism can be and must be twice taken into consideration
against the appellant, first as an aggravating circumstance although
compensated by another mitigating circumstance, and second as a
qualifying circumstance or one inherent, as the case may be, in
habitual delinquency. If such an opinion were sustained, would not
an injustice be committed against the appellant by imposing two
penalties upon him, the principal and the additional, in a period
which must be determined by taking into consideration one and the
same fact or circumstance, which is recidivism? There is no express
provision of law prohibiting it. On the contrary, as to the principal

penalty, there is the rule that in cases in which the penalty


prescribed by law contains three periods, the courts must take into
consideration, in the application of said penalty, the aggravating
mitigating circumstances established at the trial if they do not
appear to be compensated by other circumstances; and there is also
the rule that when only an aggravating circumstance is present the
former, that is the principal penalty, must be imposed in its
maximum period (art. 64, Revised Penal Code); and in People vs.
Aguinaldo (47 Phil., 728), this court has stated, and it is reiterated
in People vs. Melendrez (59 Phil., 154), that the aggravating
circumstance of recidivism, even in cases of habitual delinquency,
should be taken into consideration in the application of the principal
penalty in the corresponding period.
As to the additional penalty, if we must rely upon the spirit and
letter of the law, we would say that the purpose of the latter in
establishing it was to prevent those who for the second time or more
commit the crimes enumerated in the last paragraph of article 62 of
the Revised Penal Code from relapsing thereafter at least during the
period fixed thereby, as if to tell them: "If you relapse, the penalty
corresponding to your last offense will be imposed upon you plus
another additional penalty ranging from prision correccional in its
medium and maximum periods to prision mayor in its maximum
period and reclusion temporal in its minimum period, according to
your recidivism, that is, the third, fourth, fifth or more times."
When the law has prescribed the additional penalty for habitual
delinquency in a manner susceptible of division into periods and has
enumerated it among the penalties that may be imposed by
incorporating it into the Revised Penal Code, it was for no other
purpose than that all the circumstances present in every case be
taken into consideration in order to avoid arbitrariness in the
determination of the period in which said penalty should be

imposed. It would be arbitrary, in the absence of any circumstance,


to impose the maximum of the additional penalty upon a habitual
delinquent, as it would also be arbitrary to impose the minimum
thereof upon him when there are circumstances justifying its
application in the maximum period.
We should not lose sight of the fact that when the Legislature
incorporated the provision relative to habitual delinquency into
the Revised Penal Code, it was aware this, at least, is the
presumption of law that recidivism was, as it continues to be in
the majority of cases to this date, an aggravating circumstance the
effect of which, as the name itself implies, is to aggravate the
criminal responsibility of the delinquent. But unlike other
circumstances, as treachery, evident premeditation, sex, craft,
relationship, public position, dwelling, not to mention several others
so as not to be tedious, which may be aggravating, qualifying and
inherent as the case may be, recidivism is and can be nothing else
but an aggravating circumstance. This is the general rule; but as
such it certainly is not without its exception as other general rules.
The exception is found in the case of habitual delinquency, as
recidivism is precisely one of those that constitute and give it
existence, the other being former conviction, but it is not necessary
that both be present at the same time.
Treachery, evident premeditation and relationship are aggravating
circumstances in crimes against persons and when one of them is
present, for instance, in a case of homicide, the crime committed
ceases to be homicide and becomes murder or parricide, as the case
may be. In such cases, that of the said three circumstances which
has raised the crime committed from the category of homicide to
that of murder or parricide, ceases to be an aggravating
circumstance to become a qualifying circumstance and, once
accepted as such, it cannot, by virtue of the legal maxim non bis in

idem be considered as an aggravating circumstance at the same


time (U. S. vs. Estopia, 28 Phil., 97; U. S. vs. Vitug, 17 Phil., 1;
Decision of the Supreme Court of Spain of November 13, 1871). So
must recidivism be considered in habitual delinquency. We have
taken it into consideration in imposing the principal penalty and we
cannot again take it into consideration in imposing the additional
penalty because inasmuch as recidivism is a qualifying or inherent
circumstance in habitual delinquency, it cannot be considered an
aggravating circumstance at the same time. Consequently, the
additional penalty to be imposed upon the appellant must be the
minimum of the prescribed by law as, with the exception of
recidivism, no other circumstance or fact justifying the imposition of
said penalty in a higher period has been present.
The proposition based on rules 1 and 2 of article 62 of the Revised
Penal Code, that if recidivism is considered an inherent or qualifying
circumstance of habitual delinquency it should not be taken into
account in the imposition of the principal penalty, seems to us
untenable because it is based upon the erroneous assumption that
the habitual delinquency is a crime. It is simply a fact or
circumstance which, if present in a given case with the other
circumstances enumerated in rule 5 of said article, gives rise to the
imposition of the additional penalties therein prescribed. This is all
the more true because the law itself clearly provides that the
habitual delinquent must be sentenced to the penalty provided by
law for his last crime in addition to the additional penalty he
deserves.
In view of the foregoing facts and considerations and furthermore
taking into account the provisions of article 62, rule 5, paragraph
(a), of the Revised Penal Code, we deem it clear that the appellant
deserves the additional penalty imposed by the lower court upon
him. The penalty prescribed by said rule is prision correccional in its

medium and maximum periods, or from two years, four months and
one day to six years. What was imposed upon the appellant is the
minimum of said penalty and he has absolutely no reason to
complain because after all he can not be exempt from the additional
penalty by reason of his admission at the trial that he is a habitual
delinquent, having committed the crime of theft for the third time
before the expiration of ten years from the commission of his former
crime.
In resume we hold that the principal penalty of the appellant must
be two months and one day of arresto mayor. We therefore modify
the appealed sentence in this sense and so modified it is affirmed in
all other respects, with the costs to the appellant. So ordered.
Avancea, C. J., Villa-Real, Imperial, and Laurel, JJ., concur.
Separate Opinions
ABAD SANTOS and RECTO, JJ., dissenting:
We dissent from the opinion of the court in so far as it holds that, in
the imposition of the penalty prescribed by law for the crime of
which the appellant has been found guilty, the aggravating
circumstance of recidivism should be taken into consideration. Our
views on this question, and the reasons in support thereof, have
already been set forth in the opinion subscribed by us in People vs.
Bernal (G.R. No. 44988, October 31, 1936, pp. 750, 755, ante).

EN BANC

[G.R. No. 141125. February 28, 2002]

PEOPLE
OF
THE
PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. JEFFREY
GARCIA y CARAGAY and THREE JOHN DOES,accused.
JEFFREY GARCIA y CARAGAY, accused-appellant.
DECISION
PER CURIAM:

This is an automatic review pursuant to Article 47 of the Revised Penal Code, as


amended by Section 22 of Republic Act No. 7659, of the decision of the Regional Trial
Court of Baguio City, Branch 6, dated October 28, 1999, convicting accused-appellant
Jeffrey Garcia yCaragay of Forcible Abduction with Rape and three counts of Rape, and
sentencing him to death.
[1]

The victim, Cleopatra Changlapon, was nineteen years old and a sophomore
student of B.S. Physical Therapy at the Baguio CentralUniversity. On July 14, 1998, she
left school at 6:30 p.m. to go home to Km. 3, La Trinidad, Benguet. As she was
crossing Bonifacio Street,Baguio City, she saw a white van approaching so she stopped
to let it pass. Suddenly, the van stopped in front of her. The rear door slid open and
Cleopatra was pulled by the arms into the van. She struggled as the door closed and
the van sped away. Something was sprayed on her face which made her eyes sting and
feel dizzy. She shouted, then she felt a fist blow on her stomach and she fell
unconscious.
[2]

When Cleopatra came to, she was inside a room. She was totally undressed and
was lying flat on her back on a bed. In the room with her were four men. One of them,
who had Bombay features, was also totally naked while the other three were clad in
briefs and smoking cigarettes. The Bombay-looking man lay on top of her. She tried to
push him away but he held her left arm. Another man with long hair, whom she later
identified as accused-appellant Jeffrey Garcia, burned her right chin with a lighted
cigarette. Cleopatra fought back but accused-appellant held her right arm. While
accused-appellant was seated on her right side and holding her, the Bombay-looking
man proceeded to have sexual intercourse with her. She tried to kick him and close her
legs, but two men were holding her feet. The two men boxed her thighs and burned her
legs with cigarettes.
[3]

After the Bombay-looking man finished having sexual intercourse with Cleopatra,
accused-appellant took his turn and went on top of her. One of the men sat on her right
leg and pinned it down, while another held her left leg. Cleopatra tried to punch

accused-appellant with her right hand, but the Bombay-looking man held her right arm.
Accused-appellant then had sexual intercourse with her while holding her left arm.
[4]

The third man, whom Cleopatra noted had pimples on his face, went on top of her.
The Bombay-looking man was still holding her right arm, while the man on top of her
held her left arm. She tried to close her legs but someone hit her right thigh, which
forced her to keep her legs apart. The third man with pimples succeeded in having
carnal knowledge of her.
[5]

The fourth man was next in raping Cleopatra. By that time, she was feeling helpless
and was too tired to struggle. As the fourth man was having sexual intercourse with her,
she saw the Bombay-looking man burning her panties with a lighted cigarette. She
closed her eyes and heard the men laughing. After the fourth man finished raping her,
he got up. She felt dizzy and her private parts were aching. She opened her eyes and
tried to move, but accused-appellant hit her on the abdomen.
[6]

One of the men again sprayed something on Cleopatras face which made her
vision blurred. She heard somebody say that it was 1:30. After that, she blacked out.
When she regained consciousness, she was lying by the roadside somewhere between
Tam-awan andLonglong. It was still dark. She already had her clothes on. She felt pain
all over her body and was unable to move. A taxi passed by and picked her up. Although
she was afraid to ride the taxi, she boarded it just to get home. The taxi brought her to
her house.
[7]

[8]

Her aunt, Rufina Angog, saw Cleopatra alight the taxi crying. She also noticed that
Cleopatras clothes were inverted and she smelled bad. She woke up Cleopatras
brothers and cousins. They asked her what happened. Cleopatra just kept crying and
was unable to talk. After some time, when she was able to regain her composure, she
told them that she had been raped by four men.
[9]

[10]

The following day, July 15, 1998, Cleopatra was brought to the Baguio City Police
Station. After giving her statement to the police, she was brought to the Crime
Laboratory of the Baguio City Police, where she was examined by Dr.
Vladimir Villaseor.
In his Medico-Legal Report, Dr. Villaseor wrote the following findings:

FINDINGS:
General and Extra-genital:
Fairly nourished, fairly developed coherent female subject. Breasts are hemispherical
with light brown areola and nipples from which no secretion could be pressed out.
Abdomen is soft and flabby.
The following are the injuries noted:

1.
Second degree burns, mental region, measuring 1.3.1cm, 3cm from the anterior
midline.
2.
Second degree burns, left supra-mammary region, measuring 1 x 1cm, 8cm
from the anterior midline.
3.
Second degree burns, left supra-mammary region, measuring 0.6x0.6 cm, 8.5cm
from the anterior midline.
4.
Second degree burns, left hypothenar region, measuring 1x0.5cm, 7cm from the
posterior midline.
5.
Second degree burns, left middle 3 of the left thigh, measuring 2x1cm, 13cm
from the anterior midline.
rd

6.
Second degree burns, middle 3 of the right thigh, measuring 1x 1cm, 10cm
from the anterior midline.
rd

7.
Contusion, left mammary region, measuring 3x1cm, 5cm from the anterior
midline.
8.
Contusion, right mammary region, measuring 1x1cm, 9cm from the anterior
midline.
9.
Contusion, middle 3 of the right arm, measuring 5x3cm, 3cm from the anterior
midline.
rd

10. Contusion, middle 3 of the right thigh, measuing 6x4cm, 3cm from the
anterior midline.
rd

11. Hematoma, left zygomatic region, measuring 4x4cm 7cm from the anterior
midline.
There is tenderness on the mammary region, both thighs and at the abdominal region.
Genital:
There is abundant growth of pubic hair. Labia majora are full convex, gaping, with the
congested abraded labia minora presenting in between. On separating the same is
disclosed a congested hymen with shallow fresh lacerations at 7, 8 and 9 oclock and
deep fresh laceration at 6 oclock positions. External vaginal orifice offers strong
resistance to the introduction of the examining index finger and the virgin-sized

vaginal speculum. Vaginal canal is narrow with prominent rugosities. Cervix is


congested with moderate amount of whitish secretion.
CONCLUSION:
Findings are compatible with recent loss of virginity.
Barring unforeseen complications, it is estimated that the above injuries will resolve
in 14-15 days.
R E M AR K S :
Vaginal and peri-urethral smears are negative for gram
(-) diplococci and POSITIVE for spermatozoa.
[11]

The panties that Cleopatra was wearing was also submitted to the Crime Laboratory
for examination. Dr. Villaseor found cigarette burns and seminal stains, as well as
stains of blood on the panties. The Medico-Legal Report states:
[12]

[13]

SPECIMEN SUBMITTED:
Specimen A - One (1) white printed panty with cigarette burns and with suspected
seminal stains.
xxx

xxx
xxx.

FINDINGS:
Biochemical examination conducted on the above-mentioned specimen
gave POSITIVE result to the test for the presence of seminal stains.
CONCLUSION:
Specimen A revealed the presence of seminal stains.

[14]

On July 17, 1998, Cleopatra went back to the police station and gave a description
of the four rapists to the cartographer. She likewise executed another sworn
statement to the police.
[15]

[16]

Meanwhile, accused-appellant was arrested at 4:30 p.m. of July 17, 1998 in


connection with another rape charge against him filed by a certain Gilda Mangyo.
The cartographic sketches were published in the Sun-Star newspaper. Police
Officers Gilbert Bulalit and Archibald Diaz saw the sketches and noticed that one of the

suspects depicted in the cartographic sketch bore a striking resemblance to accusedappellant, who was in their custody. On July 26, 1998, Cleopatra was summoned to
the police station to identify accused-appellant. She was brought to the upper floor of
the police building and asked to look below on the basketball court of the city jail and
see if any of the inmates looked familiar to her. Cleopatra recognized accusedappellant among those watching the basketball game.
[17]

[18]

[19]

PO1 Bulalit brought accused-appellant to the office upstairs. When Cleopatra saw
accused-appellant face to face, she started to tremble and cry. Then she tried to attack
him but she was restrained by the police officers. On the same day, Cleopatra gave a
supplemental statement to the police, confirming her identification of accused-appellant
as one of her rapists.
[20]

[21]

Inquest proceedings followed in due course. On July 27, 1998, formal charges for
forcible abduction with rape were brought against accused-appellant and three John
Does, under an information which alleged:
[22]

That on or about the 14 day of July, 1998, in the City of Baguio, Philippines, and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring,
confederating and mutually aiding one another, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously, and by means of force and intimidation abduct
CLEOPATRA CHANGLAPON, 19 years old, by dragging her inside a van and taking
her to Tam-awan Village, Baguio City, against her will and with lewd design, and
once inside a house, had carnal knowledge of her, also by means of force and
intimidation and against her will.
th

CONTRARY TO LAW.

[23]

The information was docketed as Criminal Case No. 15805-R of


the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City, Branch 6. Accused-appellant was arraigned,
wherein he entered a plea of not guilty. Trial ensued as against him, while the other
three unidentified accused remained at large.
Accused-appellant testified that he spent the whole day of July 14, 1998 at the
boarding
house
where
his
brother-in-law
lived,
located
atNo.
36
Torres Bugallon Street, Aurora Hills, Baguio City. His brother-in-law asked him to go
there to take care of his nephew. That evening, while he was in the said house watching
television, some of his friends came over to visit him. They brought a bottle of gin and
began to have a drinking session. Accused-appellant did not join them because his
stomach was upset. Accused-appellants brother-in-law arrived a little before midnight,
after which his guests left. When asked about the charges of rape against him, he
denied the same.
[24]

[25]

Catherine Faith Madella was among those who visited accused-appellant in the
evening of July 14, 1998. She came to know him through her friend, Joy Tabinas, who
was a tenant at the said boarding house. Madella testified that she went to the boarding
house on July 14, 1998 at 9:00 p.m. At 12:00 midnight, she went to the bedroom of

Joy Tabinas and slept there. Her testimony was corroborated


boyfriend, Ronaldo T. Valdez, who also testified for the defense.
[26]

by

her

[27]

Joy Tabinas likewise testified that on July 14, 1998, she was at the boarding house.
She watched television with accused-appellant from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m.
[28]

On October 28, 1999, the trial court rendered its decision convicting accusedappellant of one count of forcible abduction with rape and three counts of rape.
The dispositive portion of the judgment reads:

WHEREFORE, the Court Finds the Accused Jeffrey Garcia guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the complex crime of Forcible Abduction with Rape and likewise of the three
(3) crimes of rape in conspiracy with three (3) others whose identities and
whereabouts are yet unknown as charged in the Information and hereby sentences him
to the supreme penalty of DEATH in each of the 4 offenses aforementioned; to
indemnify the offended party, Cleopatra Changlapon, the sum of One Hundred Forty
Six Thousand, One Hundred Twenty Five Pesos and Seventy Five Centavos (P
146,125.75) as actual damages and Fifty Thousand Pesos as moral damages without
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to pay one fourth (1/4) of the costs.
The police authorities are directed to exert all efforts to identify and arrest the three
other accused whose identities and whereabouts are yet unknown.
Meantime, pending their arrests, the case is Archived in respect to the three (3) other
accused whose identities and whereabouts are yet unknown to be revived upon their
arrest.
SO ORDERED.

[29]

In his Brief, accused-appellant raises the following errors:


I

THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING HEREIN ACCUSEDAPPELLANT JEFFREY GARCIA Y CARAGAY GUILTY BEYOND
REASONABLE DOUBT FOR THE COMPLEX CRIME OF FORCIBLE
ABDUCTION WITH RAPE AND FOR THREE (3) COUNTS OF RAPE
ALLEGEDLY COMMITTED IN CONSPIRACY WITH THREE (3) OTHERS
WHOSE IDENTITIES AND WHEREABOUTS ARE STILL UNKNOWN.
II

THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT GIVING SCANT


CONSIDERATION TO THE THEORY OF THE DEFENSE THAT ACCUSED-

APPELLANT JEFFREY GARCIA Y CARAGAY IS ONLY A LOOK-ALIKE OF


THE REAL CULPRIT.
III

THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT CLEOPATRA


CHANGLAPON HAD POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED JEFFREY GARCIA Y
CARAGAY AS ONE OF THOSE WHO ABDUCTED AND RAPED HER.
[30]

Accused-appellant assails his conviction based on complainants identification.


According to him, the identification was improperly suggested by the police. We are not
persuaded. Based on our own review of the records of this case, we find that
complainant was neither influenced nor induced by the police to point to accusedappellant as one of her molesters. On the contrary, the transcripts convincingly show
that complainant was left to freely study the faces of the thirty or more inmates on the
basketball court below to see whether she recognized any of them. There was no
suggestion from the police to point to the new detainee, who had just been arrested on
another rape charge.
[31]

Owing to the gravity of the crime and penalty involved, we have meticulously
studied the testimony of complainant CleopatraChanglapon and find it to be clear,
straightforward and categorical. The details of her narration are consistent on all
material points. Her actions throughout her ordeal correspond to normal human
behavior. We take particular note of her natural and spontaneous reaction of crying and
attacking her molester when brought before her face to face. The records also
eloquently exhibit that she repeatedly cried throughout her testimony. All of these
actuations bear the ring of truth and deserve full faith and credit.
More importantly, complainants narration of the events is well substantiated by the
physical evidence. The second degree burns found on her face, chest and thighs prove
that she was indeed burned with lighted cigarettes whenever she attempted to fight her
assailants. The medico-legal officer confirmed that they were consistent with cigarette
burns. Furthermore, the contusions found on her body were said to be caused by a
blunt instrument like a closed fist. This confirms her testimony that she was repeatedly
hit to stop her from struggling. The medico-legal officer placed the time of infliction of the
external physical injuries on complainant within the last twenty-four hours. The
findings on her genitals --- namely the gaping labia majora, the congested and abraded
labia minora, and the lacerations --- all suggest the entry of a foreign object, such as a
fully erect male organ. Finally, the presence of spermatozoa further confirms that
complainant recently had sexual intercourse.
[32]

[33]

[34]

[35]

[36]

In the face of complainants positive and categorical declarations that accusedappellant was one of her rapists, accused-appellants alibi must fail.

It is a well-settled rule that positive identification of the accused, where categorical


and consistent and without any showing of ill motive on the part of the eyewitness
testifying on the matter, prevails over alibi and denial which if not substantiated by

clear and convincing evidence are negative and self-serving evidence undeserving of
weight in law.
[37]

Furthermore, in order that the defense of alibi may prosper, accused-appellant must
establish not only that he was somewhere else when the crime was committed but also
that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime at the
time it was committed. In the case at bar, the place of commission of the rapes --somewhere between Tam-awan and Longlong --- and the boarding house where
accused-appellant alleged he was in the evening of July 14, 1998, are both situated
within Baguio City. The distance between Tam-awan and Aurora Hills, especially at
dawn, can be traversed in just a matter of minutes.
[38]

Indeed, as pointed out by the trial court, accused-appellants witnesses failed to


account for his whereabouts after 12:00 midnight. At the time of the rape, complainant
distinctly heard one of her molesters state the time as 1:30. Since it was still dark when
complainant was dropped off on the side of the road, it can safely be assumed that the
crimes were committed at dawn.
The trial court, therefore, did not err in convicting accused-appellant of the complex
crime of forcible abduction with rape. The two elements of forcible abduction, as defined
in Article 342 of the Revised Penal Code, are: (1) the taking of a woman against her will
and (2) with lewd designs. The crime of forcible abduction with rape is a complex crime
that occurs when there is carnal knowledge with the abducted woman under the
following circumstances: (1) by using force or intimidation; (2) when the woman is
deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and (3) when the woman is under twelve
years of age or is demented.
[39]

In the case at bar, the information sufficiently alleged the elements of forcible
abduction, i.e., the taking of complainant against her against her will and with lewd
design. It was likewise alleged that accused-appellant and his three co-accused
conspired, confederated and mutually aided one another in having carnal knowledge of
complainant by means of force and intimidation and against her will.
Aside from alleging the necessary elements of the crimes, the prosecution
convincingly established that the carnal knowledge was committed through force and
intimidation. Moreover, the prosecution sufficiently proved beyond reasonable doubt that
accused-appellant succeeded in forcibly abducting the complainant with lewd designs,
established by the actual rape.
[40]

Hence, accused-appellant is guilty of the complex crime of forcible abduction with


rape. He should also be held liable for the other three counts of rape committed by his
three co-accused, considering the clear conspiracy among them shown by their obvious
concerted efforts to perpetrate, one after the other, the crime. As borne by the records,
all the four accused helped one another in consummating the rape of complainant.
While one of them mounted her, the other three held her arms and legs. They also
burned her face and extremities with lighted cigarettes to stop her from warding off her
aggressor. Each of them, therefore, is responsible not only for the rape committed
personally by him but for the rape committed by the others as well.
[41]

However, as correctly held by the trial court, there can only be one complex crime of
forcible abduction with rape. The crime of forcible abduction was only necessary for the
first rape. Thus, the subsequent acts of rape can no longer be considered as separate
complex crimes of forcible abduction with rape. They should be detached from and
considered independently of the forcible abduction. Therefore, accused-appellant
should be convicted of one complex crime of forcible abduction with rape and three
separate acts of rape.
[42]

The penalty for complex crimes is the penalty for the most serious crime which shall
be imposed in its maximum period. Rape is the more serious of the two crimes and,
when committed by more than two persons, is punishable with reclusion perpetua to
death under Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No.
8353. Thus, accused-appellant should be sentenced to the maximum penalty of death
for forcible abduction with rape.
[43]

As regards the other three acts of rape, accused-appellant can only be sentenced
to reclusion perpetua. The trial court appreciated the aggravating circumstances of
nighttime, superior strength and motor vehicle. However, these were not alleged in the
information. Under the amended provisions of Rule 110, Sections 8 and 9 of the
Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, which took effect on December 1, 2000,
aggravating as well as qualifying circumstances must be alleged in the information,
otherwise, they cannot be considered against the accused even if proven at the trial.
Being favorable to accused-appellant, this rule should be applied retroactively in this
case. Hence, there being no aggravating circumstance that may be appreciated, and
with no mitigating circumstance, the lesser of the two indivisible penalties shall be
applied, pursuant to Article 63, paragraph (2) of the Revised Penal Code.
[44]

Anent the matter of damages, the trial court correctly awarded the amount of
P50,000.00 as moral damages. This was justified by complainants emotional and
physical suffering, as narrated in her testimony. Notably, the prosecution successfully
proved that complainant lost her virginity during the rape. As she narrated, virginity is
a highly regarded virtue among the people of Kalinga.
[45]

[46]

[47]

However, the trial court failed to award civil indemnity to the complainant. We have
ruled that if rape is committed or qualified by any of the circumstances which authorize
the imposition of the death penalty, the civil indemnity shall be not less than
P75,000.00. For the other three counts of simple rape, where the proper penalty
is reclusion perpetua, accused-appellant is liable for civil indemnity in the amount of
P50,000.00 for each count.
[48]

[49]

We also find that the actual damages awarded by the trial court was well
substantiated. Complainant presented the required receipts for her medications,
transportation and other expenses. Complainant testified that as a member of
the Kalinga tribe, she had to undergo thekorong and songa rituals, wherein they had to
butcher several chickens, pigs, and carabaos, thereby incurring total expenses of
P90,000.00. These rituals were intended for complainants safety and to call on the
tribes spirits so that no more violence or misfortune may befall her. The grand total of
all these actual expenses, including those for medicines and transportation, as duly
[50]

[51]

[52]

proved by the receipts and computations presented in evidence, is P 146,125.75,


amount awarded by the trial court.

[53]

the

WHEREFORE, based on the foregoing, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court
of Baguio City, Branch 6, in Criminal Case No. 15805-R, convicting accused-appellant
Jeffrey Garcia y Caragay of one count of Forcible Abduction with Rape and three counts
of Rape, is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS. As modified, accused-appellant is
sentenced to suffer the penalty of Death for the complex crime of Forcible Abduction
with Rape and Reclusion Perpetua for each of the three counts of rape. Further,
accused-appellant is ordered to pay complainant Cleopatra Changlapon the amounts of
P146,125.75 as actual damages, P75,000.00 as civil indemnity and P50,000.00 as
moral damages. Costs against accused-appellant.
In accordance with Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, upon finality
of this Decision, let the records of this case be forwarded to the Office of the President
for possible exercise of pardoning power or executive clemency.
SO ORDERED.
Davide,
Jr.,
C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan,
Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Buena, Ynares-Santiago, De Leon, Jr., SandovalGutierrez, and Carpio, JJ., concur.

[1]

Penned by Judge Ruben C. Ayson.

[2]

TSN, November 9, 1998, pp. 3-7.

[3]

Ibid., pp. 8-16.

[4]

Ibid., pp. 17-20.

[5]

Ibid., pp. 20-22.

[6]

Ibid., pp. 22-24.

[7]

Ibid., pp. 24-25.

[8]

Ibid., pp. 28-34.

[9]

Ibid., pp. 34-35.

[10]

TSN, November 11, 1998, pp. 9-10.

[11]

Exh. "D".

[12]

Exh. "E-1"; TSN, October 1, 1998, p. 62.

[13]

Exh. "H-1"; TSN, October 8, 1998, p. 56.

[14]

Exh. "E".

[15]

Exhs. "M", "N". "O", "Q".

[16]

Exh. "R".

[17]

TSN, October 8, 1998, pp. 26-27; TSN, October 9, 1998, p. 14.

[18]

TSN, October 1, 1998, pp. 8-11.

[19]

TSN, November 9, 1998, pp. 41-43.

[20]

TSN, October 1, 1998, p. 14.

[21]

Exh. "S".

[22]

Docketed as I.S. No. 98-3868.

[23]

Rollo, p. 14.

[24]

TSN, August 4, 1998, pp. 3-13.

[25]

Ibid., p. 14.

[26]

TSN, March 1, 1999, pp. 7-12.

[27]

TSN, April 16, 1999; Exh. 19.

[28]

TSN, August 11, 1999, pp. 20-21.

[29]

Rollo, p. 74.

[30]

Ibid., pp. 97-98.

[31]

TSN, September 30, 1998, p. 7.

[32]

TSN, October 1, 1998, pp. 48-50.

[33]

Ibid., pp. 50-53.

[34]

TSN, October 1, 1998, p. 58.

[35]

Ibid., pp. 54-56.

[36]

Exh. "D".

[37]

People v. Mantes, G.R. No. 138914, November 14, 2001; citations omitted.

[38]

People v. Vista, G.R. No. 137369, November 15, 2001.

[39]

People v. Lacanieta, G.R. No. 124299 April 12, 2000.

[40]

People v. De Lara, G.R. No. 124703, June 27, 2000.

[41]

People v. Quianola, G.R. No. 126148, May 5, 1999.

[42]

People v. Velasquez, G.R. No. 137383-83, November 23, 2000.

[43]

Three justices of the Court have continued to maintain the unconstitutionality of Republic Act No. 7659
insofar as it prescribes the death penalty; nevertheless they submit to the ruling of the majority to
the effect that this law is constitutional and that the death penalty can be lawfully imposed in the
case at bar.

[44]

People v. Ramirez, G.R. No. 136094, April 20, 2001.

[45]

TSN, November 10, 1998, pp. 9-12.

[46]

Exh. "D-3"; TSN, October 1, 1998, pp. 57,60.

[47]

TSN, November 10, 1998, p.12.

[48]

People v. Thamsey, G.R. No. 144179, July 19, 2001.

[49]

People v. Nubla, G.R. No. 137164, June 19, 2001; People v. Galas, G.R. Nos. 139413-15, March 20,
2001.

[50]

Exhs. "U" to "U-26".

[51]

TSN, November 9, 1998, p. 50.

[52]

TSN, November 10, 1998, p. 5.

[53]

Exhs. "T" to "T-2".