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THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v.

MARINA PADAN Y ALOVA, COSME


ESPINOSA, ERNESTO REYES and JOSE FAJARDO, Defendants. MARINA PADAN Y ALOVA
and JOSE FAJARDO, Defendants-Appellants.
Augusto Revilla for appellant Jose Fajardo.
W.M. Bayhon for appellant Marina Padan y Alova.
Solicitor General Ambrosio Padilla and Solicitor Jose P. Alejandro for Appellee.

SYLLABUS
1. CRIMINAL LAW; OFFENSE AGAINST MORALS AND DECENCY; CLAIM OF ART. The
Supreme Court has had occasion to consider offenses like the exhibition of still or moving pictures of
women in the nude, which it condemned for obscenity and offensive to morals. In those cases, one
might yet claim that there was involved the element of art; that connoisseurs of the same, and
painters and sculptors might find inspiration in the showing of pictures in the nude, or the human body
exhibited in sheer nakedness as models in tableaux vivants. But an actual exhibition of the sexual
act, preceded by acts of lasciviousness, can have no redeeming features. In it, there is no room for
art. One can see nothing in it but clear and unmitigated obscenity, indecency and an offense to public
morals, inspiring and causing as it does, nothing but lust and lewdness, and exerting a corrupting
influence especially on the youth of the land. Considering the seriousness of the crime, the relatively
severe penalty imposed by the trial court is proper.

DECISION

MONTEMAYOR, J.:

In the Court of First Instance of Manila, Marina Padan, Jose Fajardo y Garcia, Cosme Espinosa, and
Ernesto Reyes were charged with a violation of Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code, said to have
been committed as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
That on or about the 13th day of September, 1953, in the city of Manila, Philippines, the said accused
conspiring and confederating together and mutually helping one another, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously exhibit or cause to be exhibited inside a building at the corner of Camba
Ext. and Morga Ext., Tondo, this City, immoral scenes and acts, to wit: the said accused Jose Fajador
y Garcia, being then the manager and Ernesto Reyes y Yabut, as ticket collector and or exhibitor,
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously hired their co-accused Marina Palan y Alova and Cosme Espinosa
y Abordo to act as performers or exhibitionists to perform and in fact performed sexual intercourse in
the presence of many spectators, thereby exhibiting or performing highly immoral and indecent acts
or shows thereat."cralaw virtua1aw library
Upon arraignment, all pleaded not guilty. Later, however, Marina Padan, with the assistance of her
counsel de parte and counsel de oficio, asked for permission to withdraw her former plea of not guilty,
which was granted, and upon rearraignment, she pleaded guilty to the charge. In a decision dated
October 12, 1953, Marina Padan was found guilty as charged and sentenced to six months and one
day of prision correccional and a fine of P200, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, not

to exceed one-third of the principal penalty, with the accessory penalties prescribed by the law, and to
pay the proportionate costs. After trial of the three remaining accused, they were all found guilty;
Cosme Espinosa and Ernesto Reyes were sentenced each to not less than six months and one day
of prision correccional and not more than one year, one month and eleven days of prision
correccional, to pay a fine of P500, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, not to exceed
one-third of the principal penalty, and to pay the proportionate costs. Jose Fajardo was sentenced to
not less than one year, one month and ten days of prision correccional and not more than one year
eight months and twenty days, also of prision correccional, to pay a fine of P1,000, with subsidiary
imprisonment in case of insolvency, not to exceed one-third of the principal penalty and to pay the
proportionate costs. The army steel bed, the army woolen blanket, the pillow, the ladies panties, and
the mens underwear, described in Exhibit C, were declared confiscated.
The four accused appealed in the decision, the appeal having been sent to us. Appellants Espinosa
and Reyes failed to file their briefs within the period prescribed by law and their appeal was dismissed
by resolution of this Court of November 25, 1955, and the decision as to them became final and
executory on January 7, 1956, as appears from the entry of judgment.
Because of her plea of guilty in the lower court, appellant Marina in her appeal does not question her
conviction; she merely urges the reduction of the penalty by eliminating the prison sentence. We do
not feel warranted in interfering with the exercise of discretion in this matter, made by the lower court
presided by Judge Magno S. Gatmaitan. According to his decision of October 12, 1953, in imposing
the sentence, he already considered Marinas plea of leniency, and so despite the recommendation of
the fiscal that she be fined P600.00 in addition to the prison sentence of six months and one day, his
honor reduced the fine to only P200.
We believe that the penalty imposed fits the crime, considering its seriousness. As far as we know,
this is the first time that the courts in this jurisdiction, at least this Tribunal, have been called upon to
take cognizance of an offense against morals and decency of this kind. We have had occasion to
consider offenses like the exhibition of still or moving pictures of women in the nude, which we have
condemned for obscenity and as offensive to morals. In those cases, one might yet claim that there
was involved the element of art; that connoisseurs of the same, and painters and sculptors might find
inspiration in the showing of pictures in the nude, or the human body exhibited in sheer nakedness,
as models in tableaux vivants. But an actual exhibition of the sexual act, preceded by acts of
lasciviousness, can have no redeeming feature. In it, there is no room for art. One can see nothing in
it but clear and unmitigated obscenity, indecency, and an offense to public morals, inspiring and
causing as it does, nothing but lust and lewdness, and exerting a corrupting influence specially on the
youth of the land. We repeat that because of all this, the penalty imposed by the trial court on Marina,
despite her plea of guilty, is neither excessive nor unreasonable.
Going to the appeal of Jose Fajardo y Garcia, while he does not deny the fact of the commission of
the offense charged, he insists that he was not the manager or the person incharge of the show or
proceedings on the night of September 13, 1953; that his participation, if he participated at all, was to
play the role of an innocent bystander, but that because of his popularity in the neighborhood, being
popularly known as a "siga-siga" character, he was requested by the spectators to select the man
and the woman to engage or indulge in the actual act of coitus before the spectators; that after
making the selection, he did not even care to witness the act but left the scene and returned to it only
when he heard a commotion produced by the raid conducted by the police.
The evidence on his active participation and that he was the manager and one in charge of the show
is however ample, even conclusive. We have carefully examined such evidence, and we are satisfied
that they fully support the findings of the trial court. Such facts may be briefly stated as follows: At the
corner of Morga Extension and Camba Extension, Tondo, Manila, was a one story building which

judging from the picture exhibited is nothing but a shed, with a floor space of eight by fifteen meters
which was mainly used for playing ping-pong. A ping-pong table must have been placed in the center
and on two sides were built benches in tiers, so that the spectators seated on them could look down
and see the game. On September 13, 1953, however, the building was used for a different purpose. It
was to be the scene of what was said to be an exhibition of human "fighting fish", the actual act of
coitus of copulation. It must have been advertised by word of mouth; tickets therefor were sold at P3
each, and the show was supposed to begin at 8:00 oclock in the evening. About that time of the
night, there was already a crowd around the building, but the people were not admitted into it until
about an hour later, and the show did not begin until about 9:15. The Manila Police Department must
have gotten wind of the affair; it bought tickets and provided several of its members who later
attended the show, but in plain clothes, and after the show conducted a raid and made arrests. At the
trial, said policemen testified as to what actually took place inside the building. About two civilians
who attended the affair gave testimony as to what they saw.
The customers not provided with tickets actually paid P3 at the entrance to defendant Ernesto Reyes.
He also collected tickets. In all, there were about ninety paying customers, while about sixteen were
allowed to enter free, presumably friends of the management. Jose Fajardo y Garcia was clearly the
manager of the show. He was at the door to see to it that the customers either were provided with
tickets or paid P3.00 entrance fee. He even asked them from whom they had bought the tickets. He
ordered that an army steel bed be placed at the center of the floor, covered with an army blanket and
provided with a pillow. Once the spectators, about 106 in number, were crowded inside that small
building, the show started. Fajardo evidently to arouse more interest among the customers, asked
them to select among two girls present who was to be one of the principal actors. By pointing to or
holding his hand over the head of each of the two women one after the other, and judging by the
shouts of approval emitted by the spectators, he decided that defendant Marina Padan was the
subject of popular approval, and he selected her. After her selection, the other woman named
Concha, left. Without much ado, Fajardo selected Cosme Espinosa to be Marinas partner.
Thereafter, Cosme and Marina proceeded to disrobe while standing around the bed. When
completely naked, they turned around to exhibit their bodies to the spectators. Then they indulged in
lascivious acts, consisting of petting, kissing, and touching the private parts of each other. When
sufficiently aroused, they lay on the bed and proceeded to consummate the act of coitus in three
different positions which we deem unnecessary to describe. The four or five witnesses who testified
for the Government when asked about their reaction to what they saw, frankly admitted that they were
excited beyond description. Then the police who were among the spectators and who were previously
provided with a search warrant made the raid, arrested the four defendants herein, and took pictures
of Marina and Cosme still naked and of the army bed, which pictures were presented as exhibits
during the trial.
From all this, there can be no doubt that Jose Fajardo y Garcia contrary to what he claims, was the
person in charge of the show. Besides, as found by the trial court and as shown by some of the
tickets collected from the spectators, submitted as exhibits, said tickets while bearing on one side
printed matter regarding an excursion to Balara to be held on August 30, 1953, from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00
p.m., sponsored by a certain club, on the other side appears the following typewritten form,
reading:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"P3.00 Admit one
PLEASURE SHOW
Place: P. Morga Ext. and Camba Ext.
Time: 8:00 oclock sharp",

and superimposed on the same is the rubber stamped name "Pepe Fajardo," which defendant
Fajardo admits to be his name. Considering all the above circumstances, we agree with the trial court
that Jose Fajardo is the most guilty of the four, for he was the one who conducted the show and
presumably derived the most profit or gain from the same.
As regards the penalty imposed by the trial court on appellant Fajardo, we agree with the Solicitor
General that the same is correct, except the minimum thereof which is beyond the legal range, and
which should be reduced from one year, one month, and ten days of prision correccional to only six
months of arresto mayor.
With the modification above-mentioned, the decision appealed from by Marina Padan and Jose
Fajardo are hereby affirmed, with costs against both.
Paras, C.J., Padilla, Reyes, A., Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Endencia and
Felix, JJ., concur.

Gaudencio Fernando vs. CA, G.R. No. 159751, Dec. 6, 2001


This petition for review on certiorari assails the Decision[1] dated March 21, 2003 and the
Resolution dated September 2, 2003, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 25796, which affirmed
the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila (RTC), Branch 21, in Criminal Case No. 99-176582.
The RTC convicted Gaudencio E. Fernando and Rudy Estorninos for violation of Article
201[2] of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Presidential Decree Nos. 960 and 969, and
sentenced each to imprisonment of four (4) years and one (1) day to six (6) years of prision
correccional, and to pay the fine of P6,000 and cost of suit.
The facts as culled from the records are as follows.
Acting on reports of sale and distribution of pornographic materials, officers of the Philippine
National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in the National Capital Region (PNPCIDG NCR) conducted police surveillance on the store bearing the name ofGaudencio E. Fernando
Music Fair (Music Fair). On May 5, 1999, Judge Perfecto Laguio of the Regional Trial Court of
Manila, Branch 19, issued Search Warrant No. 99-1216 for violation of Article 201 of the Revised
Penal Code against petitioner Gaudencio E. Fernando and a certain Warren Tingchuy. The warrant
ordered the search of Gaudencio E. Fernando Music Fair at 564 Quezon Blvd., corner Zigay Street,
Quiapo, Manila, and the seizure of the following items:
a.
b.
c.
d.

Copies of New Rave Magazines with nude obscene pictures;


Copies of IOU Penthouse Magazine with nude obscene pictures;
Copies of Hustler International Magazine with nude obscene pictures; and
Copies of VHS tapes containing pornographic shows.[3]

On the same day, police officers of the PNP-CIDG NCR served the warrant on Rudy
Estorninos, who, according to the prosecution, introduced himself as the store attendant of Music
Fair. The police searched the premises and confiscated twenty-five (25) VHS tapes and ten (10)
different magazines, which they deemed pornographic.

On September 13, 1999, petitioners with Warren Tingchuy, were charged in an Information
which reads as follows:
That on or about May 5, 1999, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said
accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, feloniously, publicly and jointly exhibit
indecent or immoral acts, scenes or shows at Music Fair, located at 564 Quezon Blvd.,
corner Zigay [S]t., Quiapo[,] this City[,] by then and there selling and exhibiting obscene
copies of x-rated VHS Tapes, lewd films depicting men and women having sexual
intercourse[,] lewd photographs of nude men and women in explicating (sic) positions
which acts serve no other purpose but to satisfy the market for lust or pornography to
public view.
Contrary to law.[4]
When arraigned, petitioners and Tingchuy pleaded not guilty to the offense
charged. Thereafter, trial ensued.
The prosecution offered the confiscated materials in evidence and presented the following
witnesses: Police Inspector Rodolfo L. Tababan, SPO4 Rolando Buenaventura and Barangay
Chairperson Socorro Lipana, who were all present during the raid. After the prosecution presented its
evidence, the counsel for the accused moved for leave of court to file a demurrer to evidence, which
the court granted. On October 5, 2000, the RTC however denied the demurrer to evidence and
scheduled the reception of evidence for the accused. A motion for reconsideration was likewise
denied.
Thereafter, the accused waived their right to present evidence and instead submitted the case
for decision.[5]
The RTC acquitted Tingchuy for lack of evidence to prove his guilt, but convicted herein
petitioners as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court finds accused GAUDENCIO
FERNANDO and RUDY ESTORNINOS GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
charged and are hereby sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of FOUR (4)
YEARS and ONE (1) DAY as minimum to SIX (6) YEARS of prision correccional as
maximum, to pay fine of P6,000.00 each and to pay the cost.
For failure of the prosecution to prove the guilt of accused WARREN TINGCHUY
beyond reasonable doubt, he is hereby ACQUITTED of the crime charged.
The VHS tapes and the nine (9) magazines utilized as evidence in this case are
hereby confiscated in favor of the government.
SO ORDERED.[6]
Petitioners appealed to the Court of Appeals. But the appellate courtlatter affirmed in toto the
decision of the trial court, as follows,
WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error on the part of the trial court, the
decision appealed from is AFFIRMED IN TOTO.
Costs against accused-appellants.

SO ORDERED.[7]
Hence the instant petition assigning the following errors:
I.
Respondent court erred in convicting petitioner Fernando even if he was
not present at the time of the raid
II. Respondent erred in convicting petitioner Estorninos who was not doing
anything illegal at the time of the raid.[8]
Simply, the issue in this case is whether the appellate court erred in affirming the petitioners
conviction.
Petitioners contend that the prosecution failed to prove that at the time of the search, they were
selling pornographic materials. Fernando contends that since he was not charged as the owner of an
establishment selling obscene materials, the prosecution must prove that he was present during the
raid and that he was selling the said materials. Moreover, he contends that the appellate courts
reason for convicting him, on a presumption of continuing ownership shown by an expired mayors
permit, has no sufficient basis since the prosecution failed to prove his ownership of the
establishment. Estorninos, on the other hand, insists that he was not an attendant in Music Fair, nor
did he introduce himself so.[9]
The Solicitor General counters that owners of establishments selling obscene publications are
expressly held liable under Article 201, and petitioner Fernandos ownership was sufficiently
proven. As the owner, according to the Solicitor General, Fernando was naturally a seller of the
prohibited materials and liable under the Information. The Solicitor General also maintains that
Estorninos was identified by Barangay Chairperson Socorro Lipana as the store attendant, thus he
was likewise liable.[10]
At the outset, we note that the trial court gave petitionersthem the opportunity
to adduce present their evidence to disprove refute the prosecutions evidence.[11] . Instead,
they waived their right to present evidence and opted to submitted the case for decision.[A1][12] The
trial court therefore resolved the case on the basis of prosecutions evidence against the petitioners.
As obscenity is an unprotected speech which the State has the right to regulate, the State in
pursuing its mandate to protect, as parenspatriae, the public from obscene, immoral and indecent
materials must justify the regulation or limitation.
One such regulation is Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code. To be held liable, the
prosecution must prove that (a) the materials, publication, picture or literature are obscene; and (b)
the offender sold, exhibited, published or gave away such materials.[13] Necessarily, that the
confiscated materials are obscene must be proved.
Almost a century has passed since the Court first attempted to define obscenity in People
v. Kottinger.[14] There the Court defined obscenity as something which is offensive to chastity,
decency or delicacy. The test to determine the existence of obscenity is, whether the tendency of the
matter charged as obscene, is to deprave or corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral
influences and into whose hands a publication or other article charged as being obscene may
fall.[15] Another test according to Kottinger is that which shocks the ordinary and common sense of
men as an indecency.[16] But, Kottinger hastened to say that whether a picture is obscene or

indecent must depend upon the circumstances of the case, and that ultimately, the question is to be
decided by the judgment of the aggregate sense of the community reached by it. [17]
Thereafter, the Court in People v. Go Pin[18] and People v. Padan y Alova, et al.,[19] involving a
prosecution under Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code, laid the tests which did little to clearly draw
the fine lines of obscenity.
In People v. Go Pin, the Court said:
If such pictures, sculptures and paintings are shown in art exhibits and art
galleries for the cause of art, to be viewed and appreciated by people interested in art,
there would be no offense committed. However, the pictures here in question were
used not exactly for arts sake but rather for commercial purposes. In other words, the
supposed artistic qualities of said pictures were being commercialized so that the cause
of art was of secondary or minor importance. Gain and profit would appear to have
been the main, if not the exclusive consideration in their exhibition; and it would not be
surprising if the persons who went to see those pictures and paid entrance fees for the
privilege of doing so, were not exactly artists and persons interested in art and who
generally go to art exhibitions and galleries to satisfy and improve their artistic tastes,
but rather people desirous of satisfying their morbid curiosity and taste, and lust, and for
love [of] excitement, including the youth who because of their immaturity are not in a
position to resist and shield themselves from the ill and perverting effects of these
pictures.[20]
People v. Padan y Alova, et al. in a way reaffirmed the standards set in Go Pin but with its
own test of redeeming feature. The Court therein said that:
[A]n actual exhibition of the sexual act, preceded by acts of lasciviousness, can
have no redeeming feature. In it, there is no room for art. One can see nothing in it but
clear and unmitigated obscenity, indecency, and an offense to public morals, inspiring
and causing as it does, nothing but lust and lewdness, and exerting a corrupting
influence specially on the youth of the land.[21]
Notably, the Court in the later case of Gonzales v. Kalaw Katigbak,[22] involving motion pictures,
still applied the contemporary community standards of Kottinger but departed from the rulings
of Kottinger, Go Pin and Padan y Alova in that the Court measures obscenity in terms of the
dominant theme of the material taken as a whole rather than in isolated passages.
Later, in Pita v. Court of Appeals, concerning alleged pornographic publications, the Court
recognized that Kottinger failed to afford a conclusive definition of obscenity, and that both Go
Pin and Padan y Alova raised more questions than answers such as, whether the absence or
presence of artists and persons interested in art and who generally go to art exhibitions and galleries
to satisfy and improve their artistic tastes, determine what art is; or that if they find inspiration in the
exhibitions, whether such exhibitions cease to be obscene. [23] Go Pin andPadan y Alova gave too
much latitude for judicial arbitrament, which has permitted ad lib of ideas and two-cents worths
among judges as to what is obscene or what is art.[24]
The Court in Pita also emphasized the difficulty of the question and pointed out how hazy
jurisprudence is on obscenity and how jurisprudence actually failed to settle questions on the
matter. Significantly, the dynamism of human civilization does not help at all. It is evident that

individual tastes develop, adapt to wide-ranging influences, and keep in step with the rapid advance
of civilization.[25] It seems futile at this point to formulate a perfect definition of obscenity that shall
apply in all cases.
There is no perfect definition of obscenity but the latest word is that of Miller v.
California which established basic guidelines, to wit: (a) whether to the average person, applying
contemporary standards would find the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; (b)
whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined
by the applicable state law; and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic,
political, or scientific value.[26] But, it would be a serious misreading ofMiller to conclude that
the trier of facts has the unbridled discretion in determining what is patently offensive.[27] No one will
be subject to prosecution for the sale or exposure of obscene materials unless these materials depict
or describe patently offensive hard core sexual conduct.[28] Examples included (a) patently
offensive representations or descriptions of ultimate sexual acts, normal or perverted, actual or
simulated; and (b) patently offensive representations or descriptions of masturbation, excretory
functions, and lewd exhibition of the genitals.[29] What remains clear is that obscenity is an issue
proper for judicial determination and should be treated on a case to case basis and on the judges
sound discretion.
In this case, the trial court found the confiscated materials obscene and the Court of Appeals
affirmed such findings. The trial court in ruling that the confiscated materials are obscene, reasoned
as follows:
Are the magazines and VHS tapes confiscated by the raiding team obscene or
offensive to morals? . . .
Pictures of men and women in the nude doing the sexual act appearing in the
nine (9) confiscated magazines namely Dalaga, Penthouse, Swank, Erotic, Rave,
Playhouse, Gallery and two (2) issues of QUI are offensive to morals and are made and
shown not for the sake of art but rather for commercial purposes, that is gain and profit
as the exclusive consideration in their exhibition. The pictures in the magazine
exhibited indecent and immoral scenes and actsThe exhibition of the sexual act in
their magazines is but a clear and unmitigated obscenity, indecency and an offense to
public morals, inspiringlust and lewdness, exerting a corrupting influence especially
on the youth. (Citations omitted)
The VHS tapes also [exhibit] nude men and women doing the sexual
intercourse. The tape entitled Kahit sa Pangarap Lang with Myra Manibog as the
actress shows the naked body of the actress. The tape exhibited indecent and immoral
scenes and acts. Her dancing movements excited the sexual instinct of her male
audience. The motive may be innocent, but the performance was revolting and
shocking to good minds...
In one (1) case the Supreme Court ruled:
Since the persons who went to see those pictures and paid
entrance fees were usually not artists or persons interested in art to satisfy
and inspire their artistic tastes but persons who are desirous of satisfying
their morbid curiosity, taste and lust and for [love] of excitement, including
the youth who because of their immaturity are not in a position to resist
and shield themselves from the ill and perverting effects of the pictures,
the display of such pictures for commercial purposes is a violation of Art.

201. If those pictures were shown in art exhibits and art galleries for the
cause of art, to be viewed and appreciated by people interested in art,
there would be no offense committed (People vs. Go Pin, 97 Phil 418).
[B]ut this is not so in this case.[30]
Findings of fact of the Court of Appeals affirming that of the trial court are accorded great
respect, even by this Court, unless such findings are patently unsupported by the evidence on record or
the judgment itself is based on misapprehension of facts.[31] In this case, petitioners neither presented
contrary evidence nor questioned the trial courts findings. There is also no showing that the trial court,
in finding the materials obscene, was arbitrary.
Did petitioners participate in the distribution and exhibition of obscene materials?
We emphasize that mere possession of obscene materials, without intention to sell, exhibit, or
give them away, is not punishable under Article 201, considering the purpose of the law is to prohibit
the dissemination of obscene materials to the public. The offense in any of the forms under Article
201 is committed only when there is publicity. [32] The law does not require that a person be caught in
the act of selling, giving away or exhibiting obscene materials to be liable, for as long as the said
materials are offered for sale, displayed or exhibited to the public. In the present case, we find that
petitioners are engaged in selling and exhibiting obscene materials.
Notably, the subject premises of the search warrant was the Gaudencio E. Fernando Music Fair,
named after petitioner Fernando.[33] The mayors permit was under his name. Even his bail bond
shows that Hhe lives in the same place.[34] Moreover, the mayors permit dated August 8, 1996, shows
that he is the owner/operator of the store.[35] While the mayors permit had already expired, it does not
negate the fact that Fernando owned and operated the establishment. It would be absurd to make his
failure to renew his business permit and illegal operation a shield from prosecution of an unlawful
act. Furthermore, when he preferred not to present contrary evidence, the things which he possessed
were presumptively his.[36]
Petitioner Estorninos is likewise liable as the store attendant actively engaged in selling and
exhibiting the obscene materials. Prosecution witness Police Inspector Tababan, who led the PNPCIDG NCR that conducted the search, identified him as the store attendant upon whom the search
warrant was served.[37] Tababan had no motive for testifying falsely against Estorninos and we
uphold the presumption of regularity in the performance of his duties. Lastly, this Court accords great
respect to and treats with finality the findings of the trial court on the matter of credibility of witnesses,
absent any palpable error or arbitrariness in their findings.[38] In our view, no reversible error was
committed by the appellate court as well as the trial court in finding the herein petitioners guilty as
charged.
WHEREFORE, the Decision dated March 21, 2003 and the Resolution dated September 2,
2003, of the Court of Appeals affirming the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 21,
in Criminal Case No. 99-176582 are hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-7491


THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
GO PIN, defendant-appellant.
J. Perez Cardenas and Castao and Ampil for defendant.
Office of the Solicitor General Querube C. Makalintal and Solicitor Jesus A.
Avancea for appellee.
MONTEMAYOR, J.:
Go Pin, an alien and a Chinese citizen, was charged with a violation of Article 201 of theRevised
Penal Code for having exhibited in the City of Manila at the Globe Arcade, a recreation center, a large
number of one-real 16-millimeter films about 100 feet in length each, which are allegedly indecent
and/or immoral. At first, he pleaded not guilty of the information but later was allowed by the court to
change his plea to that of guilty which he did. Not content with the plea of guilty the trial court had the
films in question projected and were viewed by it in order to evaluate the same from the standpoint of
decency and morality. Thereafter, and considering the plea of guilty entered by the accused, and the
fact that after viewing the films the trial court noted only a slight degree of obscenity, indecency and
immorality in them, it sentenced the appellant to 6 months and 1 day of prision correcciconal and to
pay a fine of P300, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs. He is
now appealing from the decision.
Go Pin does not deny his guilt but he claims that under the circumstances surrounding the case,
particularly the slight degree of obscenity, indecency and immorality noted by the court in the films,
the prison sentence should be eliminated from the penalty imposed. His counsel brings to our
attention some authorities to the effect that paintings and pictures of women in the nude, including
sculptures of that kind are not offensive because they are made and presented for the sake of art. We
agree with counsel for appellant in part. If such pictures, sculptures and paintings are shown in art
exhibits and art galleries for the cause of art, to be viewed and appreciated by people interested in
art, there would be no offense committed. However, the pictures here in question were used not
exactly for art's sake but rather for commercial purposes. In other words, the supposed artistic
qualities of said pictures were being commercialized so that the cause of art was of secondary or
minor importance. Gain and profit would appear to have been the main, if not the exclusive
consideration in their exhibition; and it would not be surprising if the persons who went to see those
pictures and paid entrance fees for the privilege of doing so, were not exactly artists and persons
interested in art and who generally go to art exhibitions and galleries to satisfy and improve their
artistic tastes, but rather people desirous of satisfying their morbid curiosity and taste, and lust, and
for love for excitement, including the youth who because of their immaturity are not in a position to
resist and shield themselves from the ill and perverting effects of these pictures.
Before rendering sentence the trial court asked the prosecuting attorney for this recommendation and
said official recommendation that "considering that the accused Go Pin is an alien who is supposed to
maintain a high degree of morality while he is in the Philippines", and "considering that he engaged in
a very nefarious trade, which degenerates the moral character of our youth, who are usually the
regular customers of his trade", he recommended that appellant be sentenced to 2 years
imprisonment and a fine of P300. Notwithstanding this recommendation, the trial court as already
said, probably considering its opinion that the pictures were not so obscene, indecent and immoral
but only slightly so, gave appellant only 6 months and 1 day of prision correccional in addition to P300
fine.
The penalty imposed by the trial court is within the range provided by Article 201 of the Revised
Code. We are satisfied that in imposing the penalty the trial court made use of its sound discretion,

and we find no reason for modifying the said sentence. The Solicitor General in his brief even urges
that we recommend to the proper authorities that deportation proceedings be instituted against
appellant as an undesirable alien. The trial court could have done this but did not do so, believing
perhaps that it was warranted. We repeat that we do not feel justified in interfering with the discretion
of the trial court in the imposition of the sentence in this case.
In view of the foregoing, the decision appealed from is affirmed, with costs.
Bengzon, Acting C. J., Padilla, Reyes, A., Jugo, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, and Reyes,
J. B. L., JJ., concur.
Pp. vs. Aparici, 52 OG 249
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
CONGRESS OF THE PHILIPPINES
METRO MANILA
Fifteenth Congress
Second Regular Session
Begun and held in Metro Manila, on Monday, the twenty-fifth day of July, two thousand eleven.
[ REPUBLIC ACT NO. 10158 ]
AN ACT DECRIMINALIZING VAGRANCY, AMENDING FOR THIS PURPOSE ARTICLE 202 OF
ACT NO. 3815, AS AMENDED, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE REVISED PENAL CODE
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:
SECTION 1. Article 202 of the Revised Penal Code is hereby, amended to read as follows:
Article 202. Prostitutes; Penalty. For the purposes of this article, women who, for money or profit,
habitually indulge in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct, are deemed to be prostitutes.
Any person found guilty of any of the offenses covered by this article shall be punished by arresto
menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos, and in case of recidivism, by arresto mayor in its medium
period to prision correctional in its minimum period or a fine ranging from 200 to 2,000 pesos, or both,
in the discretion of the court.
SEC. 2. Effect on Pending Cases. All pending cases under the provisions of Article 202 of the
Revised Penal Code on Vagrancy prior to its amendment by this Act shall be dismissed upon
effectivity of this Act.
SEC. 3. Immediate Release of Convicted Persons. All persons serving sentence for violation of the
provisions of Article 202 of the Revised Penal Code on Vagrancy prior to its amendment by this Act
shall be immediately released upon effectivity of this Act: Provided,That they are not serving sentence
or detained for any other offense or felony.

SEC. 4. Repealing Clause. All laws, presidential decrees, executive orders, rules and regulations
and other issuances, or any part thereof, inconsistent with this Act are hereby repealed, modified or
amended accordingly.
SEC. 5. Effectivity Clause. This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in
the Official Gazette or in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation.
PRESIDENTIAL DECREE No. 1563
ESTABLISHING AN INTEGRATED SYSTEM FOR THE CONTROL AND ERADICATION OF
MENDICANCY, PROVIDING PENALTIES, APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR, AND FOR
OTHER PURPOSES
WHEREAS, the promotion of social justice and protection of life, property and dignity of the citizenry
in endangered by rampant mendicancy;
WHEREAS, mendicancy breeds crime, creates traffic hazards, endangers health, and exposes
mendicants to indignities and degradation; and
WHEREAS, there is an immediate need to provide appropriate services to enable mendicants to
meet their basic needs and develop self-reliance;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the
powers vested in me by the Constitution, do hereby order and decree:
Section 1. Title And Scope Of The Decree. This Decree shall be known as the Mendicancy Law of
1978. It shall apply to all mendicants, and exploited infants or children who are 8 years old and below,
minors found begging and covered by Presidential Decree No. 603 and parents of exploited infants
and children criminally liable under Article 59 and 60 of Presidential Decree No. 603.
Section 2. Purpose. This Decree shall be interpreted so as to, among others:
a. Prevent the commission of mendicancy;
b. Prevent the exploitation of infants and children through mendicancy and provide habilitative
services for those already exploited or in immediate danger of exploitation; and
c. Promote the rehabilitation of minors found begging and mendicants by providing an
integrated developmental package of preventive, habilitative interceptive, remedial, and/or
rehabilitative services.
Section 3. Definition Of Terms. As used in this Decree, the following shall, unless the context
otherwise requires, be construed thus:
a. "Mendicant" refers to any person, except those enumerated in Section 4 of this Decree, who
has no visible and legal means of support, or lawful employment and who is physically able to
work but neglects to apply himself to some lawful calling and instead uses begging as a means
of living.
b. "Exploited Infant" or "Child" refers to an infant or child 8 years and below who is used in
begging or one who accompanies a habitual vagrant or beggar.

c "Habitual Mendicant" refers to one who has been convicted of mendicancy under this Decree
two or more times.
d. "Duly Licensed Child Placement Agency" or "Individual" is an institution or person licensed
by the Department of Social Services and Development to assume the care, custody,
protection and maintenance of children for placement in any child-caring institution or home
under the care and custody of any person for purposes of adoption, guardianship or foster
care.
e. Integrated Developmental Package of Services include the following:
1. Preventive services to measures that forestall the occurrence of situations identified
as contributory to mendicancy;
2. Habilitative services refer to measures which provide environmental or socioeconomic conditions for the exploited infant or child which maximize possibilities and
opportunities for the enjoyment of satisfactory equality of life before the formation of
undesirable attitudes and values or the onset of conditions most conducive to
mendicancy;
3. Interceptive services are measures which channel or direct the growth potential and
productive energy of the mendicant infant, child, youth or adult to offset the effect of
factors contributing to mendicancy;
4. Remedial services refer to measures intended to meet the basic needs and improve
living condition of the mendicant; and
5. Rehabilitative services refer to medical, social, educational, psychological and
vocational measures to develop and/or restore the mendicant to the fullest state of wellbeing or economic usefulness of which he is capable, and to engage in a gainful
occupation.
Section 4. Apprehension Of And Services For Persons Found Begging. Any infants or child 8 years
old and below who is found begging or is being utilized by a mendicant for purposes of begging shall
be apprehended as a neglected child under Article 141 of PD 603 and shall be committed to the
custody and care of the Department of Social Services and Development or to any duly licensed child
placement agency or individual.
Any minor over 9 years of age under 15 found begging or is being utilized for purposes of begging
and who acted without discernment shall be apprehended as a neglected child under Article 141 of
Presidential Decree No. 603 and shall be committed to the custody and care of the Department of
Social Services and Development or to any duly licensed placement agency or individual.
Any minor over 9 years of age and under 15 who is found begging or is being utilized for the purpose
of begging and who acted with discernment shall be proceeded against in accordance with the
provisions of Chapter 3, Title VIII of Presidential Decree No. 603.
Any person not otherwise covered in the preceding paragraph of this Section who is found begging
and who is physically or mentally incapable of gainful occupation shall be provided the integrated
package of services by the Department of Social Services and Development, the Welfare units of
local governments and other cooperating agencies.

Section 5. Criminal Liability. A mendicant as defined in Paragraph (a) Section 3 hereof, shall, upon
conviction, be punished by a fine not exceeding P500.00 or by imprisonment for a period not
exceeding 2 years or both at the discretion of the court.
A habitual mendicant shall be punished by a fine not exceeding P1,000.00 or by imprisonment for a
period not exceeding 4 years or both at the discretion of the court.
Parents of exploited infants or minors under Section 4 of this Decree shall be proceeded against in
accordance with Articles 59 and 60 of Presidential Decree No. 603, unless they are themselves
mendicants.
Any person who abets mendicancy by giving alms directly to mendicants, exploited infants and
minors on public roads, sidewalks, parks and bridges shall be punished by a fine nor exceeding
P20.00.
Section 6. Information Program. The Department of Public Information shall conduct a nationwide
educational and information program on the Mendicancy Law and educate the public to contribute
only to lawful fund raising projects and prevent the community in giving alms except through
organized agencies, subject to such rules and regulations as the Secretary of the Department of
Public Information may promulgate.
Section 7. Local Programs And Facilities. Local governments shall provide socio-economic programs
and establish operating units including reception and action centers, sheltered workshops, constitute
homes and other facilities for mendicants, subject to such rules and regulations as the Secretary of
the Department of Local Government and Community Development may promulgate.
Section 8. Health Needs. The Department of Health shall provide the necessary measures in
meeting the health needs of mendicants, subject to such rules and regulations as the Secretary of the
Department of Health may promulgate.
Section 9. Law Enforcement. The Department of National Defense shall provide the necessary law
enforcement and other related services for the implementation of this Decree, subject to such rules
and regulations as the Secretary of the Department of National Defense may promulgate.
Section 10. Integrated Network Of Services. The Department of Social Services and Development
shall provide an integrated network of appropriate services to exploited infants and children 8 years
old and below as well as mendicant minors and adult mendicants and shall coordinate the services
related to the implementation of this Decree, subject to such rules and regulations as the Secretary of
the Department of Social Services and Development may promulgate.
Section 11. Appropriations. The sum of two million pesos (P2,000,000) is hereby authorized to be
appropriated out of any funds in the National Treasury that are not otherwise appropriated, in order to
support the activities under this Decree.
Section 12. Repealing Clause. All laws, decrees, orders, rules and regulations which are inconsistent
with this Decree are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.
Section 13. Separability Of Provisions. If for any reason any section of provision of this Decree is
declared unconstitutional or invalid, the other sections or provisions thereof which are not affected
thereby shall continue in full force and effect.
Section 14. Effectivity. This Decree shall take effect immediately.

Done in the City of Manila, this 11th day of June, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and
seventy-eight.
Republic of the Philippines
Congress of the Philippines
Metro Manila
Twelfth Congress
Second Regular Session

Begun held in Metro Manila on Monday, the twenty-second day of July, two thousand two
Republic Act No. 9208

May 26, 2003

AN ACT TO INSTITUTE POLICIES TO ELIMINATE TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS ESPECIALLY


WOMEN AND CHILDREN, ESTABLISHING THE NECESSARY INSTITUTIONAL MECHANISMS
FOR THE PROTECTION AND SUPPORT OF TRAFFICKED PERSONS, PROVIDING PENALTIES
FOR ITS VIOLATIONS, AND FOR OTHER
Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress
assembled:
Section 1. Title. This Act shall be known as the "Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003".
Section 2. Declaration of Policy. It is hereby declared that the State values the dignity of every
human person and guarantees the respect of individual rights. In pursuit of this policy, the State shall
give highest priority to the enactment of measures and development of programs that will promote
human dignity, protect the people from any threat of violence and exploitation, eliminate trafficking in
persons, and mitigate pressures for involuntary migration and servitude of persons, not only to
support trafficked persons but more importantly, to ensure their recovery, rehabilitation and
reintegration into the mainstream of society.
It shall be a State policy to recognize the equal rights and inherent human dignity of women and men
as enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights, United Nations
Convention on the Rights of the Child, United Nations Convention on the Protection of Migrant
Workers and their Families. United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime
Including its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and
Children and all other relevant and universally accepted human rights instruments and other
international conventions to which the Philippines is a signatory.
Section 3. Definition of Terms. - As used in this Act:
(a) Trafficking in Persons - refers to the recruitment, transportation, transfer or harboring, or
receipt of persons with or without the victim's consent or knowledge, within or across national
borders by means of threat or use of force, or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud,
deception, abuse of power or of position, taking advantage of the vulnerability of the person,
or, the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having
control over another person for the purpose of exploitation which includes at a minimum, the

exploitation or the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or
services, slavery, servitude or the removal or sale of organs.
The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of a child for the purpose of
exploitation shall also be considered as "trafficking in persons" even if it does not involve any
of the means set forth in the preceding paragraph.
(b) Child - refers to a person below eighteen (18) years of age or one who is over eighteen (18)
but is unable to fully take care of or protect himself/herself from abuse, neglect, cruelty,
exploitation, or discrimination because of a physical or mental disability or condition.
(c) Prostitution - refers to any act, transaction, scheme or design involving the use of a person
by another, for sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct in exchange for money, profit or any
other consideration.
(d) Forced Labor and Slavery - refer to the extraction of work or services from any person by
means of enticement, violence, intimidation or threat, use of force or coercion, including
deprivation of freedom, abuse of authority or moral ascendancy, debt-bondage or deception.
(e) Sex Tourism - refers to a program organized by travel and tourism-related establishments
and individuals which consists of tourism packages or activities, utilizing and offering escort
and sexual services as enticement for tourists. This includes sexual services and practices
offered during rest and recreation periods for members of the military.
(f) Sexual Exploitation - refers to participation by a person in prostitution or the production of
pornographic materials as a result of being subjected to a threat, deception, coercion,
abduction, force, abuse of authority, debt bondage, fraud or through abuse of a victim's
vulnerability.
(g) Debt Bondage - refers to the pledging by the debtor of his/her personal services or labor or
those of a person under his/her control as security or payment for a debt, when the length and
nature of services is not clearly defined or when the value of the services as reasonably
assessed is not applied toward the liquidation of the debt.
(h) Pornography - refers to any representation, through publication, exhibition,
cinematography, indecent shows, information technology, or by whatever means, of a person
engaged in real or simulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts
of a person for primarily sexual purposes.
(i) Council - shall mean the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking created under Section 20
of this Act.
Section 4. Acts of Trafficking in Persons. - It shall be unlawful for any person, natural or juridical, to
commit any of the following acts:
(a) To recruit, transport, transfer; harbor, provide, or receive a person by any means, including
those done under the pretext of domestic or overseas employment or training or
apprenticeship, for the purpose of prostitution, pornography, sexual exploitation, forced labor,
slavery, involuntary servitude or debt bondage;
(b) To introduce or match for money, profit, or material, economic or other consideration, any
person or, as provided for under Republic Act No. 6955, any Filipino woman to a foreign

national, for marriage for the purpose of acquiring, buying, offering, selling or trading him/her to
engage in prostitution, pornography, sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery, involuntary
servitude or debt bondage;
(c) To offer or contract marriage, real or simulated, for the purpose of acquiring, buying,
offering, selling, or trading them to engage in prostitution, pornography, sexual exploitation,
forced labor or slavery, involuntary servitude or debt bondage;
(d) To undertake or organize tours and travel plans consisting of tourism packages or activities
for the purpose of utilizing and offering persons for prostitution, pornography or sexual
exploitation;
(e) To maintain or hire a person to engage in prostitution or pornography;
(f) To adopt or facilitate the adoption of persons for the purpose of prostitution, pornography,
sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery, involuntary servitude or debt bondage;
(g) To recruit, hire, adopt, transport or abduct a person, by means of threat or use of force,
fraud, deceit, violence, coercion, or intimidation for the purpose of removal or sale of organs of
said person; and
(h) To recruit, transport or adopt a child to engage in armed activities in the Philippines or
abroad.
Section 5. Acts that Promote Trafficking in Persons. - The following acts which promote or facilitate
trafficking in persons, shall be unlawful:
(a) To knowingly lease or sublease, use or allow to be used any house, building or
establishment for the purpose of promoting trafficking in persons;
(b) To produce, print and issue or distribute unissued, tampered or fake counseling certificates,
registration stickers and certificates of any government agency which issues these certificates
and stickers as proof of compliance with government regulatory and pre-departure
requirements for the purpose of promoting trafficking in persons;
(c) To advertise, publish, print, broadcast or distribute, or cause the advertisement, publication,
printing, broadcasting or distribution by any means, including the use of information technology
and the internet, of any brochure, flyer, or any propaganda material that promotes trafficking in
persons;
(d) To assist in the conduct of misrepresentation or fraud for purposes of facilitating the
acquisition of clearances and necessary exit documents from government agencies that are
mandated to provide pre-departure registration and services for departing persons for the
purpose of promoting trafficking in persons;
(e) To facilitate, assist or help in the exit and entry of persons from/to the country at
international and local airports, territorial boundaries and seaports who are in possession of
unissued, tampered or fraudulent travel documents for the purpose of promoting trafficking in
persons;

(f) To confiscate, conceal, or destroy the passport, travel documents, or personal documents
or belongings of trafficked persons in furtherance of trafficking or to prevent them from leaving
the country or seeking redress from the government or appropriate agencies; and
(g) To knowingly benefit from, financial or otherwise, or make use of, the labor or services of a
person held to a condition of involuntary servitude, forced labor, or slavery.
Section 6. Qualified Trafficking in Persons. - The following are considered as qualified trafficking:
(a) When the trafficked person is a child;
(b) When the adoption is effected through Republic Act No. 8043, otherwise known as the
"Inter-Country Adoption Act of 1995" and said adoption is for the purpose of prostitution,
pornography, sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery, involuntary servitude or debt bondage;
(c) When the crime is committed by a syndicate, or in large scale. Trafficking is deemed
committed by a syndicate if carried out by a group of three (3) or more persons conspiring or
confederating with one another. It is deemed committed in large scale if committed against
three (3) or more persons, individually or as a group;
(d) When the offender is an ascendant, parent, sibling, guardian or a person who exercises
authority over the trafficked person or when the offense is committed by a public officer or
employee;
(e) When the trafficked person is recruited to engage in prostitution with any member of the
military or law enforcement agencies;
(f) When the offender is a member of the military or law enforcement agencies; and
(g) When by reason or on occasion of the act of trafficking in persons, the offended party dies,
becomes insane, suffers mutilation or is afflicted with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or
the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Section 6. Confidentiality. - At any stage of the investigation, prosecution and trial of an offense
under this Act, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, court personnel and medical
practitioners, as well as parties to the case, shall recognize the right to privacy of the trafficked person
and the accused. Towards this end, law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges to whom the
complaint has been referred may, whenever necessary to ensure a fair and impartial proceeding, and
after considering all circumstances for the best interest of the parties, order a closed-door
investigation, prosecution or trial. The name and personal circumstances of the trafficked person or of
the accused, or any other information tending to establish their identities and such circumstances or
information shall not be disclosed to the public.
In cases when prosecution or trial is conducted behind closed-doors, it shall be unlawful for any
editor, publisher, and reporter or columnist in case of printed materials, announcer or producer in
case of television and radio, producer and director of a film in case of the movie industry, or any
person utilizing tri-media facilities or information technology to cause publicity of any case of
trafficking in persons.
Section 8. Prosecution of Cases. - Any person who has personal knowledge of the commission of
any offense under this Act, the trafficked person, the parents, spouse, siblings, children or legal
guardian may file a complaint for trafficking.

Section 9. Venue. - A criminal action arising from violation of this Act shall be filed where the offense
was committed, or where any of its elements occurred, or where the trafficked person actually resides
at the time of the commission of the offense: Provided, That the court where the criminal action is first
filed shall acquire jurisdiction to the exclusion of other courts.
Section 10. Penalties and Sanctions. - The following penalties and sanctions are hereby established
for the offenses enumerated in this Act:
(a) Any person found guilty of committing any of the acts enumerated in Section 4 shall suffer
the penalty of imprisonment of twenty (20) years and a fine of not less than One million pesos
(P1,000,000.00) but not more than Two million pesos (P2,000,000.00);
(b) Any person found guilty of committing any of the acts enumerated in Section 5 shall suffer
the penalty of imprisonment of fifteen (15) years and a fine of not less than Five hundred
thousand pesos (P500,000.00) but not more than One million pesos (P1,000,000.00);
(c) Any person found guilty of qualified trafficking under Section 6 shall suffer the penalty of life
imprisonment and a fine of not less than Two million pesos (P2,000,000.00) but not more than
Five million pesos (P5,000,000.00);
(d) Any person who violates Section 7 hereof shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of six (6)
years and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) but not more
than One million pesos (P1,000,000.00);
(e) If the offender is a corporation, partnership, association, club, establishment or any juridical
person, the penalty shall be imposed upon the owner, president, partner, manager, and/or any
responsible officer who participated in the commission of the crime or who shall have
knowingly permitted or failed to prevent its commission;
(f) The registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and license to
operate of the erring agency, corporation, association, religious group, tour or travel agent,
club or establishment, or any place of entertainment shall be cancelled and revoked
permanently. The owner, president, partner or manager thereof shall not be allowed to operate
similar establishments in a different name;
(g) If the offender is a foreigner, he shall be immediately deported after serving his sentence
and be barred permanently from entering the country;
(h) Any employee or official of government agencies who shall issue or approve the issuance
of travel exit clearances, passports, registration certificates, counseling certificates, marriage
license, and other similar documents to persons, whether juridical or natural, recruitment
agencies, establishments or other individuals or groups, who fail to observe the prescribed
procedures and the requirement as provided for by laws, rules and regulations, shall be held
administratively liable, without prejudice to criminal liability under this Act. The concerned
government official or employee shall, upon conviction, be dismissed from the service and be
barred permanently to hold public office. His/her retirement and other benefits shall likewise be
forfeited; and
(i) Conviction by final judgment of the adopter for any offense under this Act shall result in the
immediate rescission of the decree of adoption.

Section 11. Use of Trafficked Persons. - Any person who buys or engages the services of trafficked
persons for prostitution shall be penalized as follows:
(a) First offense - six (6) months of community service as may be determined by the court and
a fine of Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00); and
(b) Second and subsequent offenses - imprisonment of one (1) year and a fine of One hundred
thousand pesos (P100,000.00).
Section 12. Prescriptive Period. - Trafficking cases under this Act shall prescribe in ten (10)
years: Provided, however, That trafficking cases committed by a syndicate or in a large scale as
defined under Section 6 shall prescribe in twenty (20) years.
The prescriptive period shall commence to run from the day on which the trafficked person is
delivered or released from the conditions of bondage and shall be interrupted by the filing of the
complaint or information and shall commence to run again when such proceedings terminate without
the accused being convicted or acquitted or are unjustifiably stopped for any reason not imputable to
the accused.
Section 13. Exemption from Filing Fees. - When the trafficked person institutes a separate civil action
for the recovery of civil damages, he/she shall be exempt from the payment of filing fees.
Section 14. Confiscation and Forfeiture of the Proceeds and Instruments Derived from Trafficking in
Persons. - In addition to the penalty imposed for the violation of this Act, the court shall order the
confiscation and forfeiture, in favor of the government, of all the proceeds and properties derived from
the commission of the crime, unless they are the property of a third person not liable for the unlawful
act; Provided, however, That all awards for damages shall be taken from the personal and separate
properties of the offender; Provided, further, That if such properties are insufficient, the balance shall
be taken from the confiscated and forfeited properties.
When the proceeds, properties and instruments of the offense have been destroyed, diminished in
value or otherwise rendered worthless by any act or omission, directly or indirectly, of the offender, or
it has been concealed, removed, converted or transferred to prevent the same from being found or to
avoid forfeiture or confiscation, the offender shall be ordered to pay the amount equal to the value of
the proceeds, property or instruments of the offense.
Section 15. Trust Fund. - All fines imposed under this Act and the proceeds and properties forfeited
and confiscated pursuant to Section 14 hereof shall accrue to a Trust Fund to be administered and
managed by the Council to be used exclusively for programs that will prevent acts of trafficking and
protect, rehabilitate, reintegrate trafficked persons into the mainstream of society. Such programs
shall include, but not limited to, the following:
(a) Provision for mandatory services set forth in Section 23 of this Act;
(b) Sponsorship of a national research program on trafficking and establishment of a data
collection system for monitoring and evaluation purposes;
(c) Provision of necessary technical and material support services to appropriate government
agencies and non-government organizations (NGOs);
(d) Sponsorship of conferences and seminars to provide venue for consensus building
amongst the public, the academe, government, NGOs and international organizations; and

(e) Promotion of information and education campaign on trafficking.


Section 16. Programs that Address Trafficking in Persons. - The government shall establish and
implement preventive, protective and rehabilitative programs for trafficked persons. For this purpose,
the following agencies are hereby mandated to implement the following programs;
(a) Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) - shall make available its resources and facilities
overseas for trafficked persons regardless of their manner of entry to the receiving country,
and explore means to further enhance its assistance in eliminating trafficking activities through
closer networking with government agencies in the country and overseas, particularly in the
formulation of policies and implementation of relevant programs.
The DFA shall take necessary measures for the efficient implementation of the Machine
Readable Passports to protect the integrity of Philippine passports, visas and other travel
documents to reduce the incidence of trafficking through the use of fraudulent identification
documents.
It shall establish and implement a pre-marriage, on-site and pre-departure counseling program
on intermarriages.
(b) Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) - shall implement rehabilitative
and protective programs for trafficked persons. It shall provide counseling and temporary
shelter to trafficked persons and develop a system for accreditation among NGOs for purposes
of establishing centers and programs for intervention in various levels of the community.
(c) Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) - shall ensure the strict implementation and
compliance with the rules and guidelines relative to the employment of persons locally and
overseas. It shall likewise monitor, document and report cases of trafficking in persons
involving employers and labor recruiters.
(d) Department of Justice (DOJ) - shall ensure the prosecution of persons accused of
trafficking and designate and train special prosecutors who shall handle and prosecute cases
of trafficking. It shall also establish a mechanism for free legal assistance for trafficked
persons, in coordination with the DSWD, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and other
NGOs and volunteer groups.
(e) National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW) - shall actively participate
and coordinate in the formulation and monitoring of policies addressing the issue of trafficking
in persons in coordination with relevant government agencies. It shall likewise advocate for the
inclusion of the issue of trafficking in persons in both its local and international advocacy for
women's issues.
(f) Bureau of Immigration (BI) - shall strictly administer and enforce immigration and alien
administration laws. It shall adopt measures for the apprehension of suspected traffickers both
at the place of arrival and departure and shall ensure compliance by the Filipino
fiancs/fiances and spouses of foreign nationals with the guidance and counseling
requirement as provided for in this Act.
(g) Philippine National Police (PNP) - shall be the primary law enforcement agency to
undertake surveillance, investigation and arrest of individuals or persons suspected to be
engaged in trafficking. It shall closely coordinate with various law enforcement agencies to
secure concerted efforts for effective investigation and apprehension of suspected traffickers. It

shall also establish a system to receive complaints and calls to assist trafficked persons and
conduct rescue operations.
(h) Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) - shall implement an effective preemployment orientation seminars and pre-departure counseling programs to applicants for
overseas employment. It shall likewise formulate a system of providing free legal assistance to
trafficked persons.
(i) Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) - shall institute a systematic
information and prevention campaign and likewise maintain a databank for the effective
monitoring, documentation and prosecution of cases on trafficking in persons.
(j) Local government units (LGUs) - shall monitor and document cases of trafficking in persons
in their areas of jurisdiction, effect the cancellation of licenses of establishments which violate
the provisions of this Act and ensure effective prosecution of such cases. They shall also
undertake an information campaign against trafficking in persons through the establishment of
the Migrants Advisory and Information Network (MAIN) desks in municipalities or provinces in
coordination with DILG, Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Commission on Filipinos
Overseas (CFO), NGOs and other concerned agencies. They shall encourage and support
community based initiatives which address the trafficking in persons.
In implementing this Act, the agencies concerned may seek and enlist the assistance of
NGOs, people's organizations (Pos), civic organizations and other volunteer groups.
Section 17. Legal Protection to Trafficked Persons. - Trafficked persons shall be recognized as
victims of the act or acts of trafficking and as such shall not be penalized for crimes directly related to
the acts of trafficking enumerated in this Act or in obedience to the order made by the trafficker in
relation thereto. In this regard, the consent of a trafficked person to the intended exploitation set forth
in this Act shall be irrelevant.
Section 18. Preferential Entitlement Under the Witness Protection Program. - Any provision of
Republic Act No. 6981 to the contrary notwithstanding, any trafficked person shall be entitled to the
witness protection program provided therein.
Section 19. Trafficked Persons Who are Foreign Nationals. - Subject to the guidelines issued by the
Council, trafficked persons in the Philippines who are nationals of a foreign country shall also be
entitled to appropriate protection, assistance and services available to trafficked persons under this
Act: Provided, That they shall be permitted continued presence in the Philippines for a length of time
prescribed by the Council as necessary to effect the prosecution of offenders.
Section 20. Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking. - There is hereby established an Inter-Agency
Council Against Trafficking, to be composed of the Secretary of the Department of Justice as
Chairperson and the Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development as CoChairperson and shall have the following as members:
(a) Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs;
(b) Secretary, Department of Labor and Employment;
(c) Administrator, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration;
(d) Commissioner, Bureau of Immigration;

(e) Director-General, Philippine National Police;


(f) Chairperson, National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women; and
(g) Three (3) representatives from NGOs, who shall be composed of one (1) representative
each from among the sectors representing women, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and
children, with a proven record of involvement in the prevention and suppression of trafficking in
persons. These representatives shall be nominated by the government agency representatives
of the Council, for appointment by the President for a term of three (3) years.
The members of the Council may designate their permanent representatives who shall have a
rank not lower than an assistant secretary or its equivalent to meetings, and shall receive
emoluments as may be determined by the Council in accordance with existing budget and
accounting, rules and regulations.
Section 21. Functions of the Council. - The Council shall have the following powers and functions:
(a) Formulate a comprehensive and integrated program to prevent and suppress the trafficking
in persons;
(b) Promulgate rules and regulations as may be necessary for the effective implementation of
this Act;
(c) Monitor and oversee the strict implementation of this Act;
(d) Coordinate the programs and projects of the various member agencies to effectively
address the issues and problems attendant to trafficking in persons;
(e) Coordinate the conduct of massive information dissemination and campaign on the
existence of the law and the various issues and problems attendant to trafficking through the
LGUs, concerned agencies, and NGOs;
(f) Direct other agencies to immediately respond to the problems brought to their attention and
report to the Council on action taken;
(g) Assist in filing of cases against individuals, agencies, institutions or establishments that
violate the provisions of this Act;
(h) Formulate a program for the reintegration of trafficked persons in cooperation with DOLE,
DSWD, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Commission on
Higher Education (CHED), LGUs and NGOs;
(i) Secure from any department, bureau, office, agency, or instrumentality of the government or
from NGOs and other civic organizations such assistance as may be needed to effectively
implement this Act;
(j) Complement the shared government information system for migration established under
Republic Act No. 8042, otherwise known as the "Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act
of 1995" with data on cases of trafficking in persons, and ensure that the proper agencies
conduct a continuing research and study on the patterns and scheme of trafficking in persons
which shall form the basis for policy formulation and program direction;

(k) Develop the mechanism to ensure the timely, coordinated, and effective response to cases
of trafficking in persons;
(l) Recommend measures to enhance cooperative efforts and mutual assistance among
foreign countries through bilateral and/or multilateral arrangements to prevent and suppress
international trafficking in persons;
(m) Coordinate with the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC),
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and other NGOs in monitoring the promotion of
advertisement of trafficking in the internet;
(n) Adopt measures and policies to protect the rights and needs of trafficked persons who are
foreign nationals in the Philippines;
(o) Initiate training programs in identifying and providing the necessary intervention or
assistance to trafficked persons; and
(p) Exercise all the powers and perform such other functions necessary to attain the purposes
and objectives of this Act.
Section 22. Secretariat to the Council. - The Department of Justice shall establish the necessary
Secretariat for the Council.
Section 23. Mandatory Services to Trafficked Persons. - To ensure recovery, rehabilitation and
reintegration into the mainstream of society, concerned government agencies shall make available
the following services to trafficked persons:
(a) Emergency shelter or appropriate housing;
(b) Counseling;
(c) Free legal services which shall include information about the victims' rights and the
procedure for filing complaints, claiming compensation and such other legal remedies available
to them, in a language understood by the trafficked person;
(d) Medical or psychological services;
(e) Livelihood and skills training; and
(f) Educational assistance to a trafficked child.
Sustained supervision and follow through mechanism that will track the progress of recovery,
rehabilitation and reintegration of the trafficked persons shall be adopted and carried out.
Section 24. Other Services for Trafficked Persons. (a) Legal Assistance. - Trafficked persons shall be considered under the category "Overseas
Filipino in Distress" and may avail of the legal assistance created by Republic Act No. 8042,
subject to the guidelines as provided by law.

(b) Overseas Filipino Resource Centers. - The services available to overseas Filipinos as
provided for by Republic Act No. 8042 shall also be extended to trafficked persons regardless
of their immigration status in the host country.
(c) The Country Team Approach. - The country team approach under Executive Order No. 74
of 1993, shall be the operational scheme under which Philippine embassies abroad shall
provide protection to trafficked persons insofar as the promotion of their welfare, dignity and
fundamental rights are concerned.
Section 25. Repatriation of Trafficked Persons. - The DFA, in coordination with DOLE and other
appropriate agencies, shall have the primary responsibility for the repatriation of trafficked persons,
regardless of whether they are documented or undocumented.
If, however, the repatriation of the trafficked persons shall expose the victims to greater risks, the
DFA shall make representation with the host government for the extension of appropriate residency
permits and protection, as may be legally permissible in the host country.
Section 26. Extradition. - The DOJ, in consultation with DFA, shall endeavor to include offenses of
trafficking in persons among extraditable offenses.
Section 27. Reporting Requirements. - The Council shall submit to the President of the Philippines
and to Congress an annual report of the policies, programs and activities relative to the
implementation of this Act.
Section 28. Funding. - The heads of the departments and agencies concerned shall immediately
include in their programs and issue such rules and regulations to implement the provisions of this Act,
the funding of which shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.
Section 29. Implementing Rules and Regulations. - The Council shall promulgate the necessary
implementing rules and regulations within sixty (60) days from the effectivity of this Act.
Section 30. Non-restriction of Freedom of Speech and of Association, Religion and the Right to
Travel. - Nothing in this Act shall be interpreted as a restriction of the freedom of speech and of
association, religion and the right to travel for purposes not contrary to law as guaranteed by the
Constitution.
Section 31. Separability Clause. - If, for any reason, any section or provision of this Act is held
unconstitutional or invalid, the other sections or provisions hereof shall not be affected thereby.
Section 32. Repealing clause. - All laws, presidential decrees, executive orders and rules and
regulations, or parts thereof, inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or
modified accordingly: Provided, That this Act shall not in any way amend or repeal the provision of
Republic Act No. 7610, otherwise known as the "Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse,
Exploitation and Discrimination Act".
Section 33. Effectivity. - This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days from the date of its complete
publication in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


HADJA JARMA LALLI y PURIH,
RONNIE ARINGOY y MASION, and
NESTOR RELAMPAGOS (at large),
Accused.

HADJA JARMA LALLI y PURIH and

Promulgated:

RONNIE ARINGOY y MASION,


Accused-Appellants.

October 12, 2011

G.R. No. 195419


CARPIO, J.:
The Case
This is a consolidated criminal case filed against the accused-appellants for the crimes of Illegal
Recruitment (Criminal Case No. 21930) and Trafficking in Persons (Criminal Case No. 21908).
The Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Zamboanga City, in its Decision dated 29 November 2005 (RTC
Decision),1 found accused-appellants guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crimes of Illegal
Recruitment and Trafficking in Persons committed by a syndicate, and sentenced each of the
accused to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment plus payment of fines and damages. On appeal, the
Court of Appeals (CA) in Cagayan de Oro, in its Decision dated 26 February 2010 (CA
Decision),2 affirmed in toto the RTC Decision. The accused-appellants appealed to this Court by filing
a Notice of Appeal3 in accordance with Section 3(c), Rule 122 of the Rules of Court.
The Facts
The findings of fact of the RTC, which were affirmed in toto by the CA, are as follows:

In the evening of June 3, 2005, while Lolita Sagadsad Plando, 23 years old, single, was
in Tumaga, Zamboanga City on her way to the house of her grandfather, she met
Ronnie Masion Aringoy and Rachel Aringoy Caete. Ronnie greeted Lolita, Oy, its good you
are here (oy, maayo kay dia ka). Rachel asked Lolita if she is interested to work in Malaysia.
x x x Lolita was interested so she gave her cellphone number to Ronnie. After their
conversation, Lolita proceeded to her grandfathers house.

xxx

On June 4, 2005, at about 7:00 oclock in the morning, Lolita received a text message from
Ronnie Aringoy inviting her to go to the latters house. At 7:30 in the morning, they met
at Tumaga on the road near the place where they had a conversation the night before. Ronnie
brought Lolita to the house of his sister inTumaga. Lolita inquired what job is available in
Malaysia. Ronnie told her that she will work as a restaurant entertainer. All that is needed is a
passport. She will be paid 500 Malaysian ringgits which is equivalent to P7,000.00 pesos in
Philippine currency. Lolita told Ronnie that she does not have a passport. Ronnie said that
they will look for a passport so she could leave immediately. Lolita informed him that her
younger sister, Marife Plando, has a passport. Ronnie chided her for not telling him
immediately. He told Lolita that she will leave for Malaysia on June 6, 2005 and they will go
to Hadja Jarma Lalli who will bring her to Malaysia. Ronnie sent a text message to Lalli but the
latter replied that she was not in her house. She was at the city proper.

On June 5, 2005, at about 6:00 oclock in the evening, Ronnie Aringoy and
Rachel Aringoy Caete arrived on board a tricycle driven by Ronnie at the house where Lolita
was staying at Southcom Village. Ronnie asked if Lolita already had a passport. Lolita said that
she will borrow her sisters passport. Ronnie, Rachel and Lolita went to Buenavista where
Lolitas other sister, Gina Plando was staying. Her sister Marife Plando was there at that time.
Lolita asked Marifeto let her use Marifes passport. Marife refused but Lolita got the
passport. Marife cried. Ronnie, Rachel and Lolita proceeded to Tumaga. Ronnie, Rachel and
Lolita went to the house of Hadja Jarma Lalli just two hundred meters away from the house of
Ronnie in Tumaga. Ronnie introduced Lolita to Hadja Jarma, saying Ji, she is also interested
in going to Malaysia. Lolita handed a passport to Hadja Jarma telling her that it belongs to her
sister Marife Plando. HadjaJarma told her it is not a problem because they have a connection
with the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) and Marifes picture in the passport will be
substituted with Lolitas picture. Nestor Relampagos arrived driving an owner-type
jeep. Hadja Jarma introduced Nestor to Lolita as their financier who will accompany them to
Malaysia. x x x Lolita noticed three other women in Hadja Jarmas house. They were Honey,
about 20 years old; Michele, 19 years old, and another woman who is about 28 years old. The
women said that they are from Ipil, Sibugay Province. Ronnie told Lolita that she will have
many companions going to Malaysia to work. They will leave the next day, June 6, and will
meet at the wharf at 2:30 in the afternoon.

On June 6, 2005, Lolita went to Zamboanga City wharf at 2:00 oclock in the afternoon bringing
a bag containing her make-up and powder. She met at the wharfHadja Jarma Lalli,
Ronnie Aringoy, Honey and Michele. Ronnie gave to Lolita her boat ticket for the vessel M/V
Mary Joy bound for Sandakan, Malaysia; a passport in the name of Marife Plando but with
Lolitas picture on it, and P1,000.00 in cash. Hadja Jarma, Lolita, Honey, Michele and two
other women boarded the boat M/V Mary Joy bound for Sandakan. Ronnie Aringoy did not go
with them. He did not board the boat. x x x After the boat sailed, Hadja Jarma Lalli and
Nestor Relampagos approached Lolita and her companions. Nestor told them that they will
have a good job in Malaysia as restaurant entertainers. They will serve food to customers.
They will not be harmed.

M/V Mary Joy arrived at the port of Sandakan, Malaysia at 10:00 oclock in the morning of
June 7, 2005. After passing through the immigration office, HadjaJarma Lalli,
Nestor Relampagos, Lolita, Honey, Michele and two other women boarded a van for
Kota Kinabalu. x x x At the hotel, Nestor Relampagosintroduced to Lolita and her companions
a Chinese Malay called Boss as their employer. After looking at the women, Boss brought
Lolita, Honey, Diane and Lorraine to a restaurant near the hotel. Diane and Lorraine were also
on baord M/V Mary Joy when it left the port of Zamboanga for Sandakan on June 6, 2005.
When they were already at the restaurant, a Filipina woman working there said that the place
is a prostitution den and the women there are used as prostitutes. Lolita and her companions
went back to the hotel. They told Hadja Jarma and Nestor that they do not like to work as
prostitutes. x x x After about five minutes, another person called boss arrived.
x x x [T]hey were fetched by a van at about 7:00 oclock in the evening and brought
to Pipen Club owned by Boss Awa, a Malaysian. At the club, they were told that they owe the
club 2,000 ringgits each as payment for the amount given by the club to Hadja JarmaLalli and
Nestor Relampagos. They will pay for the said amount by entertaining customers. The
customers will pay 300 ringgits for short time services of which 50 ringgits will go to
the entertainer, and 500 ringgits for over night service of which 100 ringgits will be given to the
entertainer. Pipen Club is a big club in a two-storey building. There were about 100 women
working in the club, many of them were Filipina women.

Lolita Plando was forced to work as entertainer at Pipen Club. She started working at 8:30 in
the evening of June 14, 2005. She was given the number 60 which was pinned on her. That
night, she had her first customer who selected her among the other women at the club. He was
a very big man, about 32 years old, a Chinese-Malay who looked like a wrestler. The man paid
for short time service at the counter. Lolita was given by the cashier a small pink paper. She
was instructed to keep it. A small yellow paper is given to the entertainer for overnight
services. The customer brought Lolita to a hotel. She did not like to go with him but a boss at
the club told her that she could not do anything. At the hotel, the man poked a gun at Lolita
and instructed her to undress. She refused. The man boxed her on the side of her body. She
could not bear the pain. The man undressed her and had sexual intercourse with her. He had
sexual intercourse with her every fifteen minutes or four times in one hour. When the customer
went inside the comfort room, Lolita put on her clothes and left. The customer followed her and
wanted to bring her back to the hotel but Lolita refused. At about 1:00 oclock in the morning of
June 15, 2005, Lolita was chosen by another customer, a tall dark man, about 40 years old.
The customer paid for an overnight service at the counter and brought Lolita to Mariner Hotel
which is far from Pipen Club. At the hotel, the man told Lolita to undress. When she refused,
the man brought her to the comfort room and bumped her head on the wall. Lolita felt dizzy.
The man opened the shower and said that both of them will take a bath. Lolitas clothes got
wet. She was crying. The man undressed her and had sexual intercourse with her. They
stayed at the hotel until 11:00 oclock in the morning of June 15, 2005. The customer used
Lolita many times. He had sexual intercourse with her every hour.

Lolita worked at Pipen Club from June 14 to July 8, 2005. Every night, a customer used her.
She had at least one customer or more a night, and at most, she had around five customers a
night. They all had sexual intercourse with her. On July 9, 2005, Lolita was able to contact
by cellphone at about 10:00 oclock in the morning her sister Janet Plando who is staying
at Sipangkot Felda x x x. Janet is married to Said Abubakar, an Indonesian national who is
working as a driver in the factory. x x x Lolita told Janet that she is in Labuan, Malaysia and

beg Janet to save her because she was sold as a prostitute. Janet told Lolita to wait because
her husband will go to Pipen Club to fetch Lolita at 9:00 oclock that evening of that day.
x x x She told Janet to instruct her husband to ask for No. 60 at PipenClub. x x x At 9:00
oclock in the evening, Lolita was told by Daddy Richard, one of the bosses at the club, that a
customer requested for No. 60. The man was seated at one of the tables. Lolita approached
the man and said, good evening. The man asked her is she is the sister of Janet Plando.
Lolita replied that she is, and asked the man if he is the husband of her sister. He said, yes.
The man had already paid at the counter. He stood up and left the place. Lolita got her wallet
and followed him. x x x Lolita told her sister about her ordeal. She stayed at her sisters house
until July 22, 2005. On July 21, 2005 at 7:00 oclock in the evening, a policeman went to
her sisters house and asked if there is a woman staying in the house without a passport. Her
sister told the policeman that she will send Lolita home on July 22. At dawn on July 22, Lolita
and her brother-in-law took a taxi from Sipangkot Felda to Mananamblas where Lolita will
board a speedboat to Sibuto, Tawi-Tawi. x x x

Upon arrival in Zamboanga City on July 24, 2005, Lolita went directly to the house of her
eldest sister Alejandra Plando Maywila at Sta. Catalina, ZamboangaCity. She left her things at
her sisters house and immediately went to the sister of Ronnie Aringoy in Tumaga. Ronnie
was not there. She asked Russel, niece of Ronnie, to call for the latter. Ronnie arrived and
said to her, so you are here, you arrived already. He said he is not involved in what
happened to her. Lolita asked Ronnie to accompany her to the house of
Nestor Relampagos because she has something to get from him. Ronnie refused. He told
Lolita not to let them know that she had already arrived from Malaysia.

Lolita was advised to file a complaint with the police regarding her ordeal in Malaysia. On
August 2, 2005, at past 9:00 oclock in the morning, Lolita Plandowent to Zamboanga Police
Office at Gov. Lim Avenue to file her complaint. x x x

In her Counter-Affidavit (Exh. 1; 1-A-Lalli), Hadja Jarma Lalli admitted that she met
Lolita Plando on June 6, 2005 on board M/V Mary Joy while the said vessel was at sea on its
way to Sandakan, Malaysia. The meeting was purely coincidental. By coincidence
also, Hadja Jarma, Nestor Relampagos and LolitaPlando boarded the same van for
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. Upon arrival, they parted ways. They did not see each other anymore
at Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. She did not know what happened to them. She went to
Kota Kinabalu to visit his son-in-law. She denied having recruited Lolita Plando for employment
abroad (Exh. 1; 1-A). x x x

In his Counter-Affidavit (Exh. 1-Aringoy), Ronnie Aringoy affirmed that he personally knows
Lolita Plando since she was a teenager and he knows for a fact that her name is Cristine and
not Marife as she purports it to appear. Sometime in the first week of June 2005, Lolita
borrowed P1,000.00 from Ronnie because she wanted to go to Malaysia to work as a guest
relation officer (GRO). Ronnie lent her P1,000.00. He told her that he knows a
certain Hadja JarmaLalli, distant neighbor, who frequents to Malaysia and with whom she can
ask pertinent information on job opportunities. The entries in Philippine Passport

No.MM401136 issued to Hadja Jarma Lalli on January 29, 2004 (Exh. 2; 2-A to 2-Q)
showed that she traveled to Malaysia no less than nine (9) times within the period from March
2004 to June 2005.

xxx

Nora Mae Adling, ticketing clerk of Aleson Shipping Lines, owner of the vessel M/V Mary Joy 2
plying Zamboanga City to Sandakan, Malaysia route and of M/V Kristel Jane 3, testified
that Hadja Jarma Lalli bought passenger tickets for her travel to Sandakan, not only for herself
but also for other women passengers.

xxx

Ronnie Aringoy submitted the Affidavit of his witness Rachel Caete (Exh. 2) and the Joint
Affidavits of witnesses Mercedita Salazar and Estrella Galgan.Rachel Canete declared that
Lolita Plando whom she knows as Cristine Plando worked as a GRO (guest relation officer)
and massage attendant at Magic 2Videoke and Massage Parlor, that Lolita Plando has four
children sired by different men; and that she knows for a fact that Lolita Plando has been going
to and from Malaysia to work in bars. When she testified in court, Rachel did not present other
evidence to substantiate her allegations. Mercedita Salazar and EstrellaGalgan declared in
their Joint Affidavit that Lolita Plando who is known to them as Marife Plando was their coworker as massage attendant and GRO (guest relation officer) at Magic 2 Massage Parlor and
Karaoke bar where she used the names Gina Plando and Cristine Plando. She worked in the
said establishment for nine months from February to October 2002. She has four children from
four different men. No other evidence was submitted in court to prove their assertions. 4
The Decision of the Trial Court
The Regional Trial Court rendered its Decision on 29 November 2005, with its dispositive portion
declaring:

WHEREFORE, the Court finds accused HADJA JARMA LALLI y PURIH and RONNIE
ARINGOY y MASION GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt in Criminal Case No. 21908 of the
Crime of Trafficking in Persons defined in Section 3(a) and penalized under Section 10(c) in
relation to Sections 4(a) and 6(c) of Republic Act No. 9208 known as the Anti-Trafficking in
Persons Act of 2003 and in Criminal Case No. 21930 of the crime of Illegal Recruitment
defined in Section 6 and penalized under Section 7(b) of Republic Act No. 8042 known as the
Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 and SENTENCES each of said
accused:

1.

In Criminal Case No. 21908, to suffer the penalty of LIFE IMPRISONMENT and to pay a fine
of P2,000,000.00 pesos;

2.

In Criminal Case No. 21930, to suffer the penalty of LIFE IMPRISONMENT and to pay a fine
of P500,000.00 pesos;

3.

To pay the offended party Lolita Plando y Sagadsad, jointly and severally, the sum
of P50,000.00 as moral damages, and P50,000.00 as exemplary damages; and

4.

To pay the costs.


SO ORDERED.5

The trial court did not find credible the denials of the accused-appellants over the candid, positive and
convincing testimony of complainant Lolita Plando (Lolita). The accused, likewise, tried to prove that
Lolita was a Guest Relations Officer (GRO) in the Philippines with four children fathered by four
different men. However, the trial court found these allegations irrelevant and immaterial to the criminal
prosecution. These circumstances, even if true, would not exempt or mitigate the criminal liability of
the accused. The trial court found that the accused, without a POEA license, conspired in recruiting
Lolita and trafficking her as a prostitute, resulting in crimes committed by a syndicate.6 The trial court
did not pronounce the liability of accused-at-large Nestor Relampagos (Relampagos) because
jurisdiction was not acquired over his person.

The Decision of the Court of Appeals

On 26 February 2010, the Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the RTC Decision and found accusedappellants guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crimes of Illegal Recruitment and Trafficking in
Persons.
The Issue
The only issue in this case is whether the Court of Appeals committed a reversible error in
affirming in toto the RTC Decision.
The Ruling of this Court
We dismiss the appeal for lack of merit.
We modify and increase the payment of damages in the crime of Trafficking in Persons
from P50,000 to P500,000 for moral damages andP50,000 to P100,000 for exemplary damages.
Grounds for Appeal
In his Appeal Brief,7 Ronnie Aringoy (Aringoy) admits that he referred Lolita to a
certain Hadja Jarma Lalli (Lalli), Aringoys neighbor who frequents Malaysia and from whom Lolita

could ask pertinent information on job opportunities.8 Aringoy claims that he learned later that Lolita
left for Malaysia.9 He denies knowing Relampagos to whom Lolita paid P28,000 as placement fee for
finding her work in Malaysia.10

Aringoy presented three witnesses: his niece Rachel Aringoy Caete (Rachel), Mercedita Salazar
(Mercedita), and Estrella Galgan (Estrella). In her testimony, Rachel declared that: (1) Lolita is a GRO
and Massage Attendant at Magic 2 Videoke and Massage Parlor; (2) Lolita has four children sired by
different men; and (3) Lolita has been travelling to Malaysia to work in bars. Mercedita and Estrella,
on the other hand, declared in their testimonies that Lolita was their co-worker as Massage Attendant
and GRO in Magic 2 Massage Parlor and Karaoke Bar from February to October 2002.11
Aringoy assailed the credibility of Lolitas testimony because of inconsistencies with regard to: (1)
Lolitas grandfathers status and name; (2) the persons (Ronnie and Rachel) who approached Lolita
to talk about the job opportunity in Malaysia; (3) certain statements in Lolitas testimony that were not
alleged in her Sworn Statement; (4) payment of placement fee of 28,000; and (5) names of the other
female recruits who were with Lolita in the boat going to Sandakan and Kota
Kinabalu.12 Aringoy likewise claims that he was never included in the initial complaint filed by Lolita,
and Lolitas statements about her meetings with him, Lalli and Relampagos on 3, 4, 5 and 6 June
2005 were not corroborated by any witness.13

On the other hand, in her Appeal Brief,14 Lalli claims that she simply met Lolita on 6 June 2005 on
board the ship M/V Mary Joy bound for Sandakan, Malaysia.15 Lalli denies having met Lolita prior to
their meeting on board M/V Mary Joy.16 Lalli claims she was going to Malaysia to visit her daughter
and son-in-law who was a Malaysian national.17 Lalli further claims that she only spoke to Lolita
aboard the ship for idle conversation to pass away the time. 18 In this conversation, she learned that
Lolita was with a party of girls accompanied by Relampagos, and the latter was bringing them to
Malaysia to work as sales ladies.19 Lalli admits that Lolita, Relampagos and the other girls rode
in Lallis van in Sandakan, driven by a friend of Lallis son-in-law.20 They all rode together
because Relampagos talked to the van driver, requesting if he and his party of girls could board the
van and pay their fare when they reach the city proper of Kota Kinabalu.21 Lalli boarded the van with
Lolita,Relampagos and their companions.22 Upon reaching her destination, Lalli got off the van,
leaving Lolita, Relampagos and their other companions to continue their journey towards the city
proper of Kota Kinabalu.23 After spending several days in Malaysia with her daughter and son-inlaw, Lalli went to Brunei to visit a cousin on 12 June 2005, and headed back to Malaysia on 14 June
2005.24
Lalli assails the credibility of Lolita due to inconsistencies in her testimony with regard to: (1) Lolita not
being in Southcom Village on 5 June 2005 at 6:00 p.m., as she claimed, but in Buenavista Village;
and (2) Lolitas claim that Lalli and Relampagos on 12 June 2005 brought the girls to Labuan, when in
fact, Lalli was already in Brunei on 12 June 2005, as evidenced by the stamp in her passport. 25
Credibility of Testimonies

Both Aringoy and Lalli, in their respective Appeal Briefs, assail the testimony of Lolita due to its
alleged inconsistency on immaterial facts, such as the status of Lolitas grandfather, the name of the
village she was in, the date she was brought to Labuan, Malaysia, and the like. In a long line of

cases, the Court has ruled that inconsistencies pointed out by the accused in the testimony of
prosecution witnesses relating to minor details do not destroy the credibility of witnesses. 26 On the
contrary, they indicate that the witnesses were telling the truth and not previously rehearsed. 27

The clear material inconsistency in this case, however, lies in the testimonies of
accused Aringoy and Lalli. Aringoy admitted that he referred Lolita to a certain Hadja Jarma Lalli,
his neighbor who frequents Malaysia and with whom Lolita could ask pertinent information on job
opportunities.28 Lalli, on the other hand, denies having met Lolita prior to their meeting on board M/V
Mary Joy on 6 June 2005,29 and claims that her meeting with Lolita was purely
coincidental.30 Lalli admits that, even if she met Relampagos, Lolita and their companions only on that
day on board M/V Mary Joy, she allowed these people to ride with her in Malaysia using the van
driven by the friend of Lallis son-in-law.31Lastly, Lalli claims that she often goes to Malaysia to visit
her daughter and son-in-law.32 However, this does not explain why Lalli purchased boat tickets, not
only for herself, but for the other women passengers going to Malaysia. 33 From March 2004 to June
2005, Lalli traveled to Malaysia no less than nine (9) times.34 Nora Mae Adling, ticketing clerk
of Aleson Shipping Lines, owner of the vessel M/V Mary Joy 2 plyingZamboanga City to Sandakan,
Malaysia route and of M/V Kristel Jane 3, testified in open court that Hadja Jarma Lalli bought
passenger tickets for her travel to Sandakan, not only for herself but also for other women
passengers.35 Clearly, it is not Lolitas testimony that is materially inconsistent, but the testimonies
of Lalli and Aringoy.

Aringoy presented his witnesses Rachel, Mercedita and Estrella to impeach the credibility of Lolita by
alleging that Lolita was a Massage Attendant and GRO in a massage parlor and videoke bar. His
witness Rachel further declared that Lolita, at the young age of 23 years, already had four children
sired by four different men, and had been previously travelling to Malaysia to work in bars. These
bare allegations were not supported by any other evidence. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that
Lolita previously worked in a Karaoke Bar and Massage Parlor and that she had four children from
different men, such facts cannot constitute exempting or mitigating circumstances to relieve the
accused from their criminal liabilities. It does not change the fact that the accused recruited Lolita to
work in Malaysia without the requisite POEA license, thus constituting the crime of illegal recruitment.
Worse, the accused deceived her by saying that her work in Malaysia would be as restaurant
entertainer, when in fact, Lolita would be working as a prostitute, thus, constituting the crime of
trafficking.
The facts found by the trial court, as affirmed in toto by the Court of Appeals, are, as a general rule,
conclusive upon this Court, in the absence of any showing of grave abuse of discretion. 36 The Court,
however, may determine the factual milieu of cases or controversies under specific circumstances,
such as:

(1) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or


impossible;
(2) when there is a grave abuse of discretion;
(3) when the finding is grounded entirely on speculations,
surmises or conjectures;
(4) when the judgment of the Court of Appeals is based on

misapprehension of facts;
(5) when the findings of fact are conflicting;
(6) when the Court of Appeals, in making its findings, went
beyond the issues of the case and the same is contrary to the
admissions of both appellant and appellee;
(7) when the findings of the Court of Appeals are contrary to
those of the trial court;
(8) when the findings of fact are conclusions without citation of
specific evidence on which they are based;
(9) when the Court of Appeals manifestly overlooked certain
relevant facts not disputed by the parties and which, if
properly considered, would justify a different conclusion; and
(10) when the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are premised
on the absence of evidence and are contradicted by the
evidence on record.37

In this case, none of these exceptions to the general rule on conclusiveness of facts are applicable.
The Court gives weight and respect to the trial courts findings in criminal prosecution because the
latter is in a better position to decide the question, having heard the witnesses in person and
observed their deportment and manner of testifying during the trial. 38 For this reason, the Court
adopts the findings of fact of the trial court, as affirmed in toto by the Court of Appeals, there being no
grave abuse of discretion on the part of the lower courts.

Criminal Case No. 21930 (Illegal Recruitment)

Section 6 of Republic Act No. 8042 (RA 8042) defines illegal recruitment, as follows:

[I]llegal recruitment shall mean any act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting,
utilizing, hiring, or procuring workers and includes referring, contact services, promising or
advertising for employment abroad, whether for profit or not, when undertaken by a nonlicensee or non-holder of authoritycontemplated under Article 13(f) of Presidential Decree
No. 442, as amended, otherwise known as the Labor Code of the Philippines.

xxx

Illegal recruitment when committed by a syndicate or in large scale shall be considered an


offense involving economic sabotage.

xxx

Illegal recruitment is deemed committed by a syndicate if carried out by a group of three (3) or
more persons conspiring or confederating with one another. (Emphasis supplied)
Article 13(f) of Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended, otherwise known as the Labor Code of the
Philippines, defines authority as follows:

Authority means a document issued by the Department of Labor authorizing a person or


association to engage in recruitment and placement activities as a private recruitment entity.

Section 7 of RA 8042 provides for the penalty of illegal recruitment committed by a syndicate (which
constitutes economic sabotage), as follows:

(b) The penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos
(P500,000.00) nor more than One million pesos (P1,000,000.00) shall be imposed if illegal
recruitment constitutes economic sabotage as defined therein.

It is clear that a person or entity engaged in recruitment and placement activities without the requisite
authority from the Department of Laborand Employment (DOLE), whether for profit or not, is engaged
in illegal recruitment.39 The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), an agency
under DOLE created by Executive Order No. 797 to take over the duties of the Overseas
Employment Development Board, issues the authority to recruit under the Labor Code. The
commission of illegal recruitment by three or more persons conspiring or confederating with one
another is deemed committed by a syndicate and constitutes economic sabotage,40 for which the
penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of not less than 500,000 but not more than 1,000,000 shall
be imposed.41

The penalties in Section 7 of RA 8042 have already been amended by Section 6 of Republic Act No.
10022, and have been increased to a fine of not less than 2,000,000 but not more than 5,000,000.
However, since the crime was committed in 2005, we shall apply the penalties in the old law, RA
8042.

In People v. Gallo,42 the Court enumerated the elements of syndicated illegal recruitment, to wit:

1.

the offender undertakes either any activity within the meaning of recruitment and
placement defined under Article 13(b), or any of the prohibited practices enumerated under
Art. 34 of the Labor Code;

2.

he has no valid license or authority required by law to enable one to lawfully engage in
recruitment and placement of workers; and

3.

the illegal recruitment is committed by a group of three (3) or more persons conspiring or
confederating with one another.43

Article 13(b) of the Labor Code of the Philippines defines recruitment and placement as any act of
canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring or procuring workers, and includes
referrals, contract services, promising or advertising for employment, locally or abroad, whether for
profit or not, provided, that any person or entity which, in any manner, offers or promises for a fee,
employment to two or more persons shall be deemed engaged in recruitment and placement.
Clearly, given the broad definition of recruitment and placement, even the mere act of referring
someone for placement abroad can be considered recruitment. Such act of referral, in connivance
with someone without the requisite authority or POEA license, constitutes illegal recruitment. In its
simplest terms, illegal recruitment is committed by persons who, without authority from the
government, give the impression that they have the power to send workers abroad for employment
purposes.44
In this case, the trial court, as affirmed by the appellate court, found Lalli, Aringoy and Relampagos to
have conspired and confederated with one another to recruit and place Lolita for work in Malaysia,
without a POEA license. The three elements of syndicated illegal recruitment are present in this case,
in particular: (1) the accused have no valid license or authority required by law to enable them to
lawfully engage in the recruitment and placement of workers; (2) the accused engaged in this activity
of recruitment and placement by actually recruiting, deploying and transporting Lolita to Malaysia; and
(3) illegal recruitment was committed by three persons (Aringoy, Lalli and Relampagos), conspiring
and confederating with one another.

Aringoy claims and admits that he only referred Lolita to Lalli for job opportunities to Malaysia. Such
act of referring, whether for profit or not, in connivance with someone without a POEA license, is
already considered illegal recruitment, given the broad definition of recruitment and placement in
the Labor Code.
Lalli, on the other hand, completely denies any involvement in the recruitment and placement of Lolita
to Malaysia, and claims she only met Lolita for the first time by coincidence on board the ship M/V
Mary Joy. Lallis denial does not deserve credence because it completely conflicts with the testimony
of Aringoy who claims he referred Lolita to Lalli who had knowledge of the job opportunities in
Malaysia.

The conflicting testimonies of Lalli and Aringoy on material facts give doubt to the truth and veracity of
their stories, and strengthens the credibility of the testimony of Lolita, despite allegations of irrelevant
inconsistencies.

No improper motive could be imputed to Lolita to show that she would falsely testify against the
accused. The absence of evidence as to an improper motive entitles Lolitas testimony to full faith and
credit.45
Aringoy claims that no conspiracy existed in illegal recruitment, as he denies even
knowing Relampagos, who is currently at-large. Lalli denies any involvement in the illegal recruitment,
and claims that she only met Relampagos through Lolita on board the ship M/V Mary Joy on 6 June
2005, and learned that Relampagos was bringing Lolita and their other girl companions to Malaysia to
work as sales ladies.

Under Article 8 of the Revised Penal Code, there is conspiracy when two or more persons come to
an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it.

In People v. Lago,46 the Court discussed conspiracy in this wise:

The elements of conspiracy are the following: (1) two or more persons came to an agreement,
(2) the agreement concerned the commission of a felony, and (3) the execution of the felony
was decided upon. Proof of the conspiracy need not be based on direct evidence, because it
may be inferred from the parties conduct indicating a common understanding among
themselves with respect to the commission of the crime. Neither is it necessary to show that
two or more persons met together and entered into an explicit agreement setting out the
details of an unlawful scheme or objective to be carried out. The conspiracy may be deduced
from the mode or manner in which the crime was perpetrated; it may also be inferred from the
acts of the accused evincing a joint or common purpose and design, concerted action and
community of interest. 47

In this case, Lolita would not have been able to go to Malaysia if not for the concerted efforts
of Aringoy, Lalli and Relampagos. First, it wasAringoy who knew Lolita, since Aringoy was
a neighbor of Lolitas grandfather. It was Aringoy who referred Lolita to Lalli, a fact clearly admitted
by Aringoy. Second, Lolita would not have been able to go to Malaysia if Lalli had not purchased
Lolitas boat ticket to Malaysia. This fact can be deduced from the testimony of Nora
Mae Adling (Nora), ticketing clerk of Aleson Shipping Lines, owner of the vessel M/V Mary Joy 2
plying Zamboanga City to Sandakan, Malaysia route and of M/V Kristel Jane 3. Nora testified in open
court that Hadja Jarma Lallibought passenger tickets for her travel to Sandakan, not only for herself
but also for other women passengers. Lallis claim that she only goes to Malaysia to visit her
daughter and son-in-law does not explain the fact why she bought the boat tickets of the other women
passengers going to Malaysia. In fact, it appears strange that Lalli visited Malaysia nine (9) times in a
span of one year and three months (March 2004 to June 2005) just to visit her daughter and son-in-

law. In Malaysia, it was Relampagos who introduced Lolita and her companions to a Chinese Malay
called Boss as their first employer. When Lolita and her companions went back to the hotel to
tell Relampagos and Lalli that they did not want to work as prostitutes, Relampagos brought Lolita
and the girls on board a van to Sangawan China Labuan, where they stayed in a room for one night.
The next day, they were picked up by a van and brought to Pipen Club, where Lolita and her
companions worked as prostitutes. To date, accused Relampagos is at large and has not been
brought under the jurisdiction of the courts for his crimes.
Flight in criminal law is the evading of the course of justice by voluntarily withdrawing oneself in order
to avoid arrest or detention or the institution or continuance of criminal proceedings. 48 The
unexplained flight of an accused person may as a general rule be taken into consideration as
evidence having a tendency to establish his guilt.49 Clearly, in this case, the flight of
accused Relampagos, who is still at-large, shows an indication of guilt in the crimes he has been
charged.
It is clear that through the concerted efforts of Aringoy, Lalli and Relampagos, Lolita was recruited
and deployed to Malaysia to work as a prostitute. Such conspiracy
among Aringoy, Lalli and Relampagos could be deduced from the manner in which the crime was
perpetrated each of the accused played a pivotal role in perpetrating the crime of illegal recruitment,
and evinced a joint common purpose and design, concerted action and community of interest.

For these reasons, this Court affirms the CA Decision, affirming the RTC Decision, declaring accused
Ronnie Aringoy y Masion and HadjaJarma Lalli y Purih guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
illegal recruitment committed by a syndicate in Criminal Case No. 21930, with a penalty of life
imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 imposed on each of the accused.

Criminal Case No. 21908 (Trafficking in Persons)

Section 3(a) of Republic Act No. 9208 (RA 9208), otherwise known as the Anti-Trafficking in Persons
Act of 2003, defines Trafficking in Persons, as follows:

Trafficking in Persons refers to the recruitment, transportation, transfer or harboring, or


receipt of persons with or without the victims consent or knowledge, within or across
national borders by means of threat or use of force, or other forms of coercion, abduction,
fraud, deception, abuse of power or of position, taking advantage of the vulnerability of the
person, or, the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person
having control over another person for the purpose of exploitation which includes at a
minimum, the exploitation or the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation,
forced labor or services, slavery, servitude or the removal or sale of organs. x x x (Emphasis
supplied)

Section 4 of RA 9208 enumerates the prohibited acts of Trafficking in Persons, one of which is:

(a) To recruit, transport, transfer, harbor, provide, or receive a person by any means, including
those done under the pretext of domestic or overseas employment or training or
apprenticeship, for the purpose of prostitution, pornography, sexual exploitation, forced labor,
slavery, involuntary servitude or debt bondage.

The crime of Trafficking in Persons is qualified when committed by a syndicate, as provided in


Section 6(c) of RA 9208:

(c) When the crime is committed by a syndicate, or in large scale. Trafficking is deemed
committed by a syndicate if carried out by a group of three (3) or more persons conspiring or
confederating with one another. It is deemed committed in large scale if committed against
three (3) or more persons, individually or as a group.
Section 10(c) of RA 9208 provides for the penalty of qualified trafficking:

(c) Any person found guilty of qualified trafficking under Section 6 shall suffer the penalty of life
imprisonment and a fine of not less than Two million pesos (P2,000,000.00) but not more than
Five million pesos (P5,000,000.00).

The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act is a new law passed last 26 May 2003, designed to criminalize the
act of trafficking in persons for prostitution, sexual exploitation, foced labor and slavery, among
others.

In this case, Aringoy claims that he cannot be convicted of the crime of Trafficking in Persons
because he was not part of the group that transported Lolita from the Philippines to Malaysia on
board the ship M/V Mary Joy. In addition, he presented his niece, Rachel, as witness to testify that
Lolita had been travelling to Malaysia to work in bars. On the other hand, Lalli denies any involvement
in the recruitment and trafficking of Lolita, claiming she only met Lolita for the first time on board M/V
Mary Joy going to Malaysia.

The testimony of Aringoys niece, Rachel, that Lolita had been travelling to Malaysia to work in bars
cannot be given credence. Lolita did not even have a passport to go to Malaysia and had to use her
sisters passport when Aringoy, Lalli and Relampagos first recruited her. It is questionable how she
could have been travelling to Malaysia previously without a passport, as Rachel claims. Moreover,
even if it is true that Lolita had been travelling to Malaysia to work in bars, the crime of Trafficking in
Persons can exist even with the victims consent or knowledge under Section 3(a) of RA 9208.

Trafficking in Persons under Sections 3(a) and 4 of RA 9208 is not only limited to transportation of
victims, but also includes the act of recruitment of victims for trafficking. In this case, since it has been
sufficiently proven beyond reasonable doubt, as discussed in Criminal Case No. 21930, that all the
three accused (Aringoy, Lalli and Relampagos) conspired and confederated with one another to
illegally recruit Lolita to become a prostitute in Malaysia, it follows that they are also guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of Qualified Trafficking in Persons committed by a syndicate under RA
9208 because the crime of recruitment for prostitution also constitutes trafficking.

When an act or acts violate two or more different laws and constitute two different offenses, a
prosecution under one will not bar a prosecution under the other. 50 The constitutional right against
double jeopardy only applies to risk of punishment twice for the same offense, or for an act punished
by a law and an ordinance.51 The prohibition on double jeopardy does not apply to an act or series of
acts constituting different offenses.

DAMAGES

Lolita claimed actual damages of 28,000, which she allegedly paid to the accused as placement fee
for the work of restaurant entertainer in Malaysia. The trial court did not award this amount to Lolita.
We agree and affirm the trial courts non-award due to Lolitas inconsistent statements on the
payment of placement fee. In her sworn statement, Lolita alleged that she paid 28,000 as placement
fee to Lalli.52 On cross-examination, however, she admitted that she never paid 28,000 to the
accused.53

We, however, modify and increase the payment of damages in the crime of Trafficking in Persons
from 50,000 to 500,000 as moral damages and 50,000 to 100,000 as exemplary damages.

The Civil Code describes moral damages in Article 2217:

Art. 2217. Moral damages include physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety,
besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar injury.

Though incapable of pecuniary computation, moral damages may be recovered if they are the
proximate result of the defendants wrongful act for omission.

Exemplary damages, on the other hand, are awarded in addition to the payment of moral damages,
by way of example or correction for the public good, as stated in the Civil Code:

Art. 2229. Exemplary or corrective damages are imposed, by way of example or correction for
the public good, in addition to the moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages.

Art. 2230. In criminal offenses, exemplary damages as a part of the civil liability may be
imposed when the crime was committed with one or more aggravating circumstances. Such
damages are separate and distinct from fines and shall be paid to the offended party.

The payment of 500,000 as moral damages and 100,000 as exemplary damages for the crime of
Trafficking in Persons as a Prostitute finds basis in Article 2219 of the Civil Code, which states:

Art. 2219. Moral damages may be recovered in the following and analogous cases:
(1) A criminal offense resulting in physical injuries;
(2) Quasi-delicts causing physical injuries;
(3) Seduction, abduction, rape, or other lascivious acts;
(4) Adultery or concubinage;
(5) Illegal or arbitrary detention or arrest;
(6) Illegal search;
(7) Libel, slander or any other form of defamation;
(8) Malicious prosecution;
(9) Acts mentioned in Article 309;
(10) Acts and actions referred to in Articles 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34, and 35.
The parents of the female seduced, abducted, raped, or abused, referred to in No. 3 of this
article, may also recover moral damages.

The spouse, descendants, ascendants, and brothers and sisters may bring the action
mentioned in No. 9 of this article, in the order named.

The criminal case of Trafficking in Persons as a Prostitute is an analogous case to the crimes of
seduction, abduction, rape, or other lascivious acts. In fact, it is worse. To be trafficked as a prostitute
without ones consent and to be sexually violated four to five times a day by different strangers is
horrendous and atrocious. There is no doubt that Lolita experienced physical suffering, mental
anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, and social
humiliation when she was trafficked as a prostitute in Malaysia. Since the crime of Trafficking in
Persons was aggravated, being committed by a syndicate, the award of exemplary damages is
likewise justified.
WHEREFORE, we AFFIRM the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 26 February 2010, affirming
the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga City dated 29 November 2005, finding
accused Lalli and Aringoy guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crimes of Illegal Recruitment and
Trafficking in Persons committed by a syndicate, with the following MODIFICATIONS:

1.

In Criminal Case No. 21908, each of the accused is sentenced to suffer the penalty of LIFE
IMPRISONMENT and to pay a fine of 2,000,000;

2.

In Criminal Case No. 21930, each of the accused is sentenced to suffer the penalty of
LIFE IMPRISONMENT and to pay a fine of 500,000;

3.

Each of the accused is ordered to pay the offended party Lolita Plando y Sagadsad, jointly
and severally, the sum of 500,000 as moral damages, and 100,000 as
exemplary damages for the crime of Trafficking in Persons; and to pay the costs.

The Court cannot pronounce the liability of accused-at-large Nestor Relampagos as jurisdiction over
his person has not been acquired.

SO ORDERED.