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[G.R. No. 140079.

March 31, 2005]


AUGUSTO R. SAMALIO, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, CIVIL SERVICE
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE and BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION, respondents.

COMMISSION,

DECISION
CORONA, J.:
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the May 24,
1999 decision,[1] as well as the September 1, 1999 resolution, of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No.
48723 which in turn affirmed the November 26, 1997 resolution of the Civil Service Commission (CSC). The
aforementioned CSC resolution upheld the August 30, 1996 1 st Indorsement of then Justice Secretary Teofisto
T. Guingona confirming the penalty of dismissal from service imposed by the Bureau of Immigration upon
petitioner on the ground of dishonesty, oppression, misconduct and conduct grossly prejudicial to the best
interest of the service in connection with his act of extorting money from Ms. Weng Sai Qin, a foreign
national.
The facts, as found by the CA and adopted by petitioner himself, are as follows:
Petitioner Augusto R. Samalio was formerly an Intelligence Officer of the Bureau of Immigration
and Deportation.
In Resolution No. 0-93-0224 dated February 4, 1993, the City Prosecutors office of Pasay City recommended
that petitioner Samalio be prosecuted for the crimes of Robbery and Violation of Section 46 of the
Immigration Law before the Sandiganbayan under the following facts:
x x x that on 2 February 1993, Ms. Weng Sai Qin arrived at the NAIA from Saipan. While waiting
for her turn at the arrival immigration counter, her passport was examined by Immigration
Officer Juliet Pajarillaga. Noting that Ms. Weng, a Chinese, was holding a Uruguayan passport,
Ms. Pajarillaga suspected that the formers passport was fake. Ms. Weng was taken out of the
queue and brought to Respondent who was the duty intelligence officer. Ms. Weng, who could
only speak in Chinese, asked respondent by sign language that she wanted to meet a friend who
was waiting at the NAIA arrival area. Respondent approved the request and accompanied Ms. Weng to
the arrival area. Thereafter, Respondent, with Ms. Weng and her male friend in tow, returned to the
immigration area. While inside the office of Respondent, Ms. Weng asked that her passport be
returned. Sensing a demand for money in exchange for her passport, Ms. Weng flashed $500.00
in front of Respondent. The money was grabbed by Respondent. Shortly, her passport was
returned ans [sic] she was allowed to leave. When Ms. Weng checked her passport later, she
discovered that it did not bear an immigration arrival stamp. Thereafter, Ms. Weng complained
against Respondent.
In a later Indorsement communication dated February 9, 1993 to the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation
(BID), former NAIA General Manager Gen. Guillermo G. Cunanan enclosed a copy of the aforesaid City
Prosecutors Resolution. Reacting, then BID Commissioner, Zafiro L. Respicio, issued Personnel Order
No. 93-179-93 commencing an administrative case against petitioner Augusto R. Samalio for
Violation of CSMC No. 46, Rule 2, Section 1, for dishonesty, oppression, misconduct, disgraceful
and immoral conduct, inefficiency and incompetence in the performance of official duties,
violation of reasonable office rules and regulations and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of
the service, requiring petitioner to submit his answer to the charges together with supporting statements
and documents, and whether or not he elects a formal investigation if his answer is not considered
satisfactory. In the same Personnel Order, Samalio was preventively suspended for a period of

ninety (90) days as the charge sheet against him involves dishonesty, oppression and
misconduct. Forthwith, petitioner attempted the lifting of his preventive suspension. It was struck down.
Later on, petitioner submitted an answer denying the charges and expressly electing a formal investigation if
such answer be not found to be satisfactory. Attached thereto are the affidavits of his witnesses Rodrigo C.
Pedrealba, Dante Aquino, Florencio B. Austria and Winston C. Vitan. The answer was found to be
unsatisfactory so the case was set for formal hearing before the Board of Discipline of BID.
The case suffered several postponed hearings due to the requests and non-availability of the parties but
mostly due to the absence of complainants witnesses until on September 7, 1993, respondent was allowed to
file a motion to dismiss with the Special Prosecutor designated given time to comment thereon. When the
dismissal motion was filed, assigned Special Prosecutor Edmund F. Macaraig interposed no objection thereto.
Notwithstanding, the case was not dismissed and instead, the Special Prosecutor was given five (5) days to
inform the Board whether or not he intends to present additional witnesses.
On December 16, 1993, the DID Commissioner issued Personnel Order No. 93-428 reorganizing the Board of
Discipline and this case was assigned to a new Board presided by Atty. Kalaw. Subpoenas were again sent and
hearings were scheduled several times before the new Board until on February 6, 1995, Special Prosecutor
assigned, Edmund F. Macaraig, moved that Samalios Motion to Dismiss be denied and that the case be
considered submitted for resolution based on the records. On February 16, 1995, the hearing officer denied
Samalios Motion to Dismiss but granted his Comment/Manifestation explaining his absence during the
February 6, 1995 hearing and requesting that the case be set anew on February 22, 1995.
Finally, on July 25, 1996, BID Acting Commissioner Ramon J. Liwag, issued the decision finding Augusto R.
Samalio guilty of the charges and was ordered dismissed from service.
In the 1st Indorsement dated August 30, 1996, former Justice Secretary Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. confirmed the
penalty of dismissal from service of Augusto R. Samalio. Soon after, the Motion for Reconsideration was
denied in a Resolution dated June 2, 1997.
Guingonas decision was appealed to the Civil Service Commission which issued Resolution No. 974501 dated
November 26, 1997 dismissing the appeal for lack of merit and affirming the decisions of Acting
Commissioner Liwag and Secretary Guingona. Similarly, the attempt for a reconsideration was likewise
dismissed in Civil Service Resolution No. 981925.
In the meantime, on June 13, 1994, during the pendency of the instant administrative case,
Augusto R. Samalio was convicted (in Sandiganbayan Criminal Case No. 18679) of the crime of
Robbery, as defined in Articles 293 and 294, paragraph 5 of the Revised Penal Code and was
sentenced to suffer indeterminate penalty of Four (4) Months and One (1) Day of Arresto Mayor to Four (4)
Years, Two (2) Months and Eleven (11) Days of Prision Correccional and to indemnify complainant Weng Sai
Qin the amount of US $500.00 and to pay the costs. Samalio did not appeal the conviction and instead
applied for and was granted probation by the Sandiganbayan for two (2) years in an Order dated
December 12, 1994.[2](Citations omitted)
Petitioner assailed before the CA, in a petition for review, the correctness and validity of CSC Resolution
Nos. 974501 and 981925. The CA, however, dismissed the petition for review and subsequently denied the
motion for reconsideration.
Petitioner now comes before us to challenge the CA decision dismissing his petition for review as well as
the resolution denying his motion for reconsideration. Petitioner claims he was not accorded due
process and the CA failed to consider the proper effects of his discharge under probation.

In support of his contention that he was deprived of due process, petitioner alleges that no witness
or evidence was presented against him, that the CA erred in the interpretation of Section 47,
Rule 130 of the Rules of Court and that there was no hearing conducted on his case.
Petitioners contention is without merit.
The CSC decision and resolution which upheld the resolution of the Secretary of Justice confirming the
decision of the Commissioner of the BID are supported by substantial evidence. The CSC, as well as the
Secretary of Justice and the Commissioner of the BID, decided the case on the basis of the pleadings and
papers submitted by the parties, and relied on the records of the proceedings taken. In particular, the
decision was based on the criminal complaint filed by Weng Sai Qin against petitioner before the City
Prosecutors Office of Pasay City, as well as Resolution No. 0-93-0224 dated February 4, 1993 of the same
office recommending the prosecution of petitioner at the Sandiganbayan for the crimes of robbery and
violation of Section 46 of the Immigration Law.
The CSC, as well as the Secretary of Justice, also took cognizance of the testimony of Weng
Sai Qin in Sandiganbayan Criminal Case No. 18679 and the fact of petitioners conviction in that
case. Thus, there was ample evidence which satisfied the burden of proof required in
administrative proceedings substantial evidence or that quantum of relevant evidence which a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion [3] to support the decision of
the CSC.
The CSC and the Secretary of Justice did not err in applying Section 47, Rule 130 of the
Revised Rules of Court, otherwise known as the rule on former testimony, in deciding petitioners
administrative case. The provisions of the Rules of Court may be applied suppletorily to the rules
of procedure of administrative bodies exercising quasi-judicial powers, unless otherwise
provided by law or the rules of procedure of the administrative agency concerned. The Rules of
Court, which are meant to secure to every litigant the adjective phase of due process of law, may be applied
to proceedings before an administrative body with quasi-judicial powers in the absence of different and valid
statutory or administrative provisions prescribing the ground rules for the investigation, hearing and
adjudication of cases before it.[4]
For Section 47, Rule 130 to apply, the following requisites must be satisfied: (a) the witness
is dead or unable to testify; (b) his testimony or deposition was given in a former case or
proceeding, judicial or administrative, between the same parties or those representing the same
interests; (c) the former case involved the same subject as that in the present case, although on
different causes of action; (d) the issue testified to by the witness in the former trial is the same
issue involved in the present case and (e) the adverse party had an opportunity to cross-examine
the witness in the former case.[5]
In this case, Weng Sai Qin was unable to testify in the administrative proceedings before the
BID because she left the country on February 6, 1993, [6] or even before the administrative
complaint against petitioner was instituted. Petitioner does not deny that the testimony of Weng Sai Qin
was given in Sandiganbayan Criminal Case No. 18679, a case which sprang from the information filed
pursuant to Resolution No. 0-93-0224 dated February 4, 1993 of the City Prosecutors Office of Pasay City, the
very same resolution used by Commissioner Respicio as basis for filing the administrative complaint. Hence,
the issue testified to by Weng Sai Qin in Sandiganbayan Criminal Case No. 18679 was the same
issue in the administrative case, that is, whether petitioner extorted money from Weng Sai Qin.
Petitioner also had the opportunity to face and cross-examine his accuser Weng Sai Qin, and to
defend and vindicate his cause before the Sandiganbayan. Clearly, all the requisites for the
proper application of the rule on former testimony, as embodied in Section 47, Rule 130, were
satisfied. Thus, the CSC and the Secretary of Justice committed no error when they applied it and
took cognizance of the former testimony of Weng Sai Qin in Sandiganbayan Criminal Case No.
18679 where petitioner was convicted.

Petitioner contends that the CA, as well as the CSC and the Secretary of Justice, should not have applied
Section 47, Rule 130 because there was failure to lay the basis or predicate for the rule. The argument is
specious and deserves scant consideration. The records of this case reveal that even in the early stages of
the proceedings before the Board of Discipline of the BID, Weng Sai Qins departure from the country and
consequent inability to testify in the proceedings had already been disclosed to the parties. [7]
Further, administrative bodies are not bound by the technical niceties of law and procedure and the rules
obtaining in courts of law.[8] Administrative tribunals exercising quasi-judicial powers are unfettered by the
rigidity of certain procedural requirements, subject to the observance of fundamental and essential
requirements of due process in justiciable cases presented before them. [9] In administrative proceedings,
technical rules of procedure and evidence are not strictly applied and administrative due process cannot be
fully equated with due process in its strict judicial sense. [10]
The Uniform Rules of Procedure in the Conduct of Administrative Investigations in the CSC [11] which were
applicable to petitioners case provided that administrative investigations shall be conducted without
necessarily adhering to technical rules applicable in judicial proceedings. [12] The Uniform Rules further
provided that evidence having materiality and relevance to the administrative case shall be accepted. [13] Not
only was petitioners objection to the application of Section 47, Rule 130 a technicality that could be
disregarded; the testimony of Weng Sai Qin in Sandiganbayan Criminal Case No. 18679 was also
material and relevant to the administrative case. Hence, the CSC was correct in applying Section 47,
Rule 130 when it took cognizance of the former testimony of Weng Sai Qin in the aforementioned criminal
case.
Petitioners assertion that there was no hearing (that he was deprived of the opportunity to be heard) is
likewise without merit. Apparently, petitioners concept of the opportunity to be heard is the opportunity to
ventilate ones side in a formal hearing where he can have a face-to-face confrontation with the complainant.
However, it is well-settled that, in administrative cases, the requirement of notice and hearing does not
connote full adversarial proceedings.[14]
Due process in an administrative context does not require trial-type proceedings similar to those in
courts of justice. Where opportunity to be heard either through oral arguments or through pleadings is
accorded, there is no denial of procedural due process. [15] A formal or trial-type hearing is not at all times and
in all instances essential. The requirements are satisfied where the parties are afforded fair and reasonable
opportunity to explain their side of the controversy at hand. [16] The standard of due process that must be met
in administrative tribunals allows a certain degree of latitude as long as fairness is not ignored. [17] In other
words, it is not legally objectionable for being violative of due process for an administrative agency to resolve
a case based solely on position papers, afidavits or documentary evidence submitted by the parties as
affidavits of witnesses may take the place of their direct testimony. [18]
In this case, petitioner was heard through the various pleadings which he filed with the Board of
Discipline of the BID when he filed his answer [19] and two motions to dismiss,[20] as well as other motions and
papers. He was also able to participate in all stages of the administrative proceeding. He was able to elevate
his case to the Secretary of Justice and, subsequently, to the CSC by way of appeal.
We have consistently held that the essence of due process is simply the opportunity to be heard or, as
applied to administrative proceedings, the opportunity to explain ones side or the opportunity to seek a
reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. [21] And any seeming defect in its observance is cured by
the filing of a motion for reconsideration.[22] Denial of due process cannot be successfully invoked by a party
who has had the opportunity to be heard on his motion for reconsideration. [23]
Petitioner himself admits that he filed a motion for reconsideration [24] of the decision of the BID which was
confirmed by the Secretary of Justice. He also admits that he filed a motion for reconsideration [25] with the
CSC. Hence, by his own admission, petitioners protestations that he had been deprived of due process must
necessarily fail.

Petitioner claims that when the Sandiganbayan approved his probation in the criminal case, it restored
him to all civil rights lost or suspended as a result of his conviction, including the right to remain in
government service. Petitioner cites the case of Baclayon v. Mutia, et al.[26] where the grant of probation
suspended the imposition not only of the principal penalties but of the accessory penalties as well.
Petitioners contention is misplaced.
First, the Baclayon case is not in point. In that case, no administrative complaint was instituted against
the public officer, a public school teacher, during the pendency of the criminal case against her and even
after her conviction. There being no administrative case instituted against the public officer and no
administrative liability having been imposed, there was no administrative sanction that could have been
suspended by the grant of probation.
Second, dismissal is not an accessory penalty either of prision correccional [27] or arresto mayor,[28] the
range of penalty imposed upon petitioner in Sandiganbayan Criminal Case No. 18679. Hence, even
assuming arguendo that petitioners contention was correct, the grant of probation could not have resulted in
the suspension of an accessory penalty like dismissal that does not even exist.
Third, to suspend means to stop temporarily; to discontinue [29] or to cause to be intermitted or
interrupted.[30] The records of this case show that petitioner was granted probation in an order dated
December 12, 1992[31] of the Second Division of the Sandiganbayan. He was dismissed from the service in the
decision dated July 25, 1996[32] of the BID Commissioner. Since the grant of probation was granted long before
the administrative case was decided, the probation could not have possibly suspended the imposition of the
penalty of dismissal from the service in the administrative case since there was no administrative penalty
that could have been interrupted by the probation at the time it was granted. Indeed, petitioners discharge
on probation could not have restored or reinstated him to his employment in government service since he
had not been yet been dismissed therefrom at the time of his discharge.
Finally, even if dismissal had been one of the accessory penalties of the principal penalty imposed upon
petitioner in the criminal case, and even if the administrative case had been decided earlier than the criminal
case, still the imposition of the penalty of dismissal could not have been suspended by the grant of probation.
As petitioner himself contends, the criminal action is separate and distinct from the administrative case. And,
if only for that reason, so is administrative liability separate and distinct from penal liability. [33] Hence,
probation affects only the criminal aspect of the case,[34] not its administrative dimension.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED. The assailed decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP
No. 48723 dated May 24, 1999, affirming the decision and resolution of the Civil Service Commission is
AFFIRMED.
Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 127240

March 27, 2000

ONG CHIA, petitioner,


vs.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES and THE COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.
MENDOZA, J.:

This is a petition for review of the decision1 of the Court of Appeals reversing the decision of the Regional Trial
Court, Branch 24, Koronadal, South Cotabato2 admitting petitioner Ong Chia to Philippine citizenship.
The facts are as follows:
Petitioner was born on January 1, 1923 in Amoy, China. In 1932, as a nine-year old boy, he
arrived at the port of Manila on board the vessel "Angking." Since then, he has stayed in the
Philippines where he found employment and eventually started his own business, married a
Filipina, with whom he had four children. On July 4, 1989, at the age of 66, he filed a verified
petition to be admitted as a Filipino citizen under C.A. No. 473, otherwise known as the Revised
Naturalization Law, as amended. Petitioner, after stating his qualifications as required in 2, and lack of
the disqualifications enumerated in 3 of the law, stated
17. That he has heretofore made (a) petition for citizenship under the provisions of Letter of
Instruction No. 270 with the Special Committee on Naturalization, Office of the Solicitor General,
Manila, docketed as SCN Case No. 031776, but the same was not acted upon owing to the fact that
the said Special Committee on Naturalization was not reconstituted after the February, 1986
revolution such that processing of petitions for naturalization by administrative process was
suspended;
During the hearings, petitioner testified as to his qualifications and presented three witnesses to
corroborate his testimony. So impressed was Prosecutor Isaac Alvero V. Moran with the
testimony of petitioner that, upon being asked by the court whether the State intended to
present any witness present any witness against him, he remarked:
Actually, Your Honor, with the testimony of the petitioner himself which is rather
surprising, in the sense that he seems to be well-versed with the major portion of the
history of the Philippines, so, on our part, we are convinced, Your Honor Please, that
petitioner really deserves to be admitted as a citizen of the Philippines.And for this
reason, we do not wish to present any evidence to counteract or refute the testimony of
the witnesses for the petitioner, as well as the petitioner himself.3
Accordingly, on August 25, 1999, the trial court granted the petition and admitted petitioner to Philippine
citizenship. The State, however, through the Office of the Solicitor General, appealed all the names
by which he is or had been known; (2) failed to state all his former placer of residence in
violation of C.A. No. 473, 7; (3) failed to conduct himself in a proper and irreproachable manner
during his entire stay in the Philippines, in violation of 2; (4) has no known lucrative trade or
occupation and his previous incomes have been insufficient or misdeclared, also in contravention
of 2; and (5) failed to support his petition with the appropriate documentary evidence. 4
Annexed to the State's appellant's brief was a copy of a 1977 petition for naturalization filed by petitioner
with the Special Committee on Naturalization in SCN Case No. 031767, 5 in which petitioner stated that in
addition to his name of "Ong Chia," he had likewise been known since childhood as "Loreto Chia
Ong." As petitioner, however, failed to state this other name in his 1989 petition for naturalization, it was
contended that his petition must fail.6 The state also annexed income tax returns7 allegedly filed by petitioner
from 1973 to 1977 to show that his net income could hardly support himself and his family. To prove that
petitioner failed to conduct himself in a proper and irreproachable manner during his stay in the Philippines,
the State contended that, although petitioner claimed that he and Ramona Villaruel had been married twice,
once before a judge in 1953, and then again in church in 1977, petitioner actually lived with his wife without
the benefit of marriage from 1953 until they were married in 1977. It was alleged that petitioner failed to
present his 1953 marriage contract, if there be any. The State also annexed a copy of petitioner's 1977
marriage contract8 and a Joint-Affidavit9 executed by petitioner and his wife. These documents show that
when petitioner married Ramona Villaruel on February 23, 1977, no marriage license had been required in
accordance with Art. 76 of the Civil Code because petitioner and Ramona Villaruel had been living together as

husband and wife since 1953 without the benefit of marriage. This, according to the State, belies his claim
that when he started living with his wife in 1953, they had already been married.
The State also argued that, as shown by petitioner's Immigrant Certificate of Residence,
at "J.M. Basa Street, Iloilo," but he did not include said address in the petition.

10

petitioner resided

On November 15, 1996, the Court of Appeals rendered its decision which, as already noted, reversed the trial
court and denied petitioner's application for naturalization. It ruled that due to the importance naturalization
cases, the State is not precluded from raising questions not presented in the lower court and brought up for
the first time on appeal. 11 The appellate court held:
As correctly observed by the Office of the Solicitor General, petitioner Ong Chia failed to state in this
present petition for naturalization his other name, "LORETO CHIA ONG," which name appeared in his
previous application under Letter of Instruction No. 270. Names and pseudonyms must be stated in
the petition for naturalization and failure to include the same militates against a decision in his
favor. . . This is a mandatory requirement to allow those persons who know (petitioner) by those other
names to come forward and inform the authorities of any legal objection which might adversely affect
his application for citizenship.
Furthermore, Ong Chia failed to disclose in his petition for naturalization that he formerly resided in
"J.M. Basa St., Iloilo" and "Alimodian, Iloilo." Section 7 of the Revised Naturalization Law requires the
applicant to state in his petition "his present and former places of residence." This requirement is
mandatory and failure of the petitioner to comply with it is fatal to the petition. As explained by the
Court, the reason for the provision is to give the public, as well as the investigating agencies of the
government, upon the publication of the petition, an opportunity to be informed thereof and voice
their objections against the petitioner. By failing to comply with this provision, the petitioner is
depriving the public and said agencies of such opportunity, thus defeating the purpose of the law. . .
Ong Chia had not also conducted himself in a proper and irreproachable manner when he lived-in with
his wife for several years, and sired four children out of wedlock. It has been the consistent ruling that
the "applicant's 8-year cohabitation with his wife without the benefit of clergy and begetting by her
three children out of wedlock is a conduct far from being proper and irreproachable as required by the
Revised Naturalization Law", and therefore disqualifies him from becoming a citizen of the Philippines
by naturalization . . .
Lastly, petitioner Ong Chia's alleged annual income in 1961 of P5,000.00, exclusive of bonuses,
commissions and allowances, is not lucrative income. His failure to file an income tax return "because
he is not liable for income tax yet" confirms that his income is low. . . "It is not only that the person
having the employment gets enough for his ordinary necessities in life. It must be shown that the
employment gives one an income such that there is an appreciable margin of his income over
expenses as to be able to provide for an adequate support in the event of unemployment, sickness, or
disability to work and thus avoid one's becoming the object of charity or public charge." . . . Now that
they are in their old age, petitioner Ong Chia and his wife are living on the allowance given to them by
their children. The monthly pension given by the elder children of the applicant cannot be added to his
income to make it lucrative because like bonuses, commissions and allowances, said pensions are
contingent, speculative and precarious. . .
Hence, this petition based on the following assignment of errors:
I. THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN RULING THAT IN
NATURALIZATION CASES, THE APPELLATE COURT CAN DENY AN APPLICATION FOR
PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP ON THE BASIS OF DOCUMENTS NOT PRESENTED BEFORE THE
TRIAL COURT AND NOT FORMING PART OF THE RECORDS OF THE CASE.

II. THE FINDING OF THE COURT OF APPEALS THAT THE PETITIONER HAS BEEN KNOWN BY SOME OTHER
NAME NOT STATED IN HIS PETITION IS NOT SUPPORTED BY THE EVIDENCE ON RECORD.
III. CONTRARY TO THE FINDING OF THE COURT OF APPEALS, THE PETITIONER STATED IN HIS PETITION
AND ITS ANNEXES HIS PRESENT AND FORMER PLACES OF RESIDENCE.
IV. THE FINDING OF THE COURT OF APPEALS THAT THE PETITIONER FAILED TO CONDUCT HIMSELF IN A
PROPER AND IRREPROACHABLE MANNER IS NOT SUPPORTED BY THE EVIDENCE ON RECORD.
Petitioner's principal contention is that the appellate court erred in considering the documents which
had merely been annexed by the State to its appellant's brief and, on the basis of which, justified
the reversal of the trial court's decision. Not having been presented and formally offered as
evidence, they are mere "scrap(s) of paper devoid of any evidentiary value," 12 so it was argued,
because under Rule 132, 34 of the Revised Rules on Evidence, the court shall consider no
evidence which has not been formally offered.
The contention has no merit. Petitioner failed to note Rule 143

13

of the Rules of Court which provides that

These rules shall not apply to land registration, cadastral and election
cases, naturalization and insolvency proceedings, and other cases not herein provided
for, except by analogy or in a suppletory character and whenever practicable and
convenient. (Emphasis added).
Prescinding from the above, the rule on formal offer of evidence (Rule 132, 34) now being invoked by
petitioner is clearly not applicable to the present case involving a petition for naturalization. The only
instance when said rules may be applied by analogy or suppletorily in such cases is when it is "practicable
and convenient." That is not the case here, since reliance upon the documents presented by the
State for the first time on appeal, in fact, appears to be the more practical and convenient
course of action considering that decisions in naturalization proceedings are not covered by the
rule on res judicata. 14 Consequently, a final favorable judgment does not preclude the State from
later on moving for a revocation of the grant of naturalization on the basis of the same
documents.
Petitioner claims that as a result of the failure of the State to present and formally offer its documentary
evidence before the trial court, he was denied the right to object against their authenticity, effectively
depriving him of his fundamental right to procedural due process. 15 We are not persuaded. Indeed, the
reason for the rule prohibiting the admission of evidence which has not been formally offered is to afford the
opposite party the chance to object to their admissibility. 16 Petitioner cannot claim that he was deprived of
the right to object to the authenticity of the documents submitted to the appellate court by the State. He
could have included his objections, as he, in fact, did, in the brief he filed with the Court of Appeals. thus:
The authenticity of the alleged petition for naturalization (SCN Case No. 031767) which was
supposedly filed by Ong Chia under LOI 270 has not been established. In fact, the case number of the
alleged petition for naturalization. . . is 031767 while the case number of the petition actually filed by
the appellee is 031776. Thus, said document is totally unreliable and should not be considered by the
Honorable Court in resolving the instant appeal. 17
Indeed, the objection is flimsy as the alleged discrepancy is trivial, and, at most, can be accounted for as a
typographical error on the part of petitioner himself. That "SCN Case No. 031767," a copy of which was
annexed to the petition, is the correct case number is confirmed by the Evaluation Sheet 18 of the Special
Committee on Naturalization which was also docketed as "SCN Case No. 031767." Other than this, petitioner
offered no evidence to disprove the authenticity of the documents presented by the State.

Furthermore, the Court notes that these documents namely, the petition in SCN Case No.
031767, petitioner's marriage contract, the joint affidavit executed by him and his wife, and
petitioner's income tax returns are all public documents. As such, they have been executed
under oath. They are thus reliable. Since petitioner failed to make a satisfactory showing of any
flaw or irregularity that may cast doubt on the authenticity of these documents, it is our
conclusion that the appellate court did not err in relying upon them.
One last point. The above discussion would have been enough to dispose of this case, but to settle all the
issues raised, we shall briefly discuss the effect of petitioner's failure to include the address "J.M. Basa St.,
Iloilo" in his petition, in accordance with 7, C.A. No. 473. This address appears on petitioner's Immigrant
Certificate of Residence, a document which forms part of the records as Annex A of his 1989 petition for
naturalization. Petitioner admits that he failed to mention said address in his petition, but argues that since
the Immigrant Certificate of Residence containing it had been fully published, 19 with the petition and the
other annexes, such publication constitutes substantial compliance with 7. 20 This is allegedly because the
publication effectively satisfied the objective sought to be achieved by such requirement, i.e., to give
investigating agencies of the government the opportunity to check on the background of the applicant and
prevent suppression of information regarding any possible misbehavior on his part in any community where
he may have lived at one time or another. 21 It is settled, however, that naturalization laws should be rigidly
enforced and strictly construed in favor of the government and against the applicant. 22 As noted by the
State, C.A. No. 473, 7 clearly provides that the applicant for naturalization shall set forth in the petition his
present and former places of residence. 23 This provision and the rule of strict application of the law in
naturalization cases defeat petitioner's argument of "substantial compliance" with the requirement under the
Revised Naturalization Law. On this ground alone, the instant petition ought to be denied.1wphi1.nt
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED and the instant petition is hereby DENIED.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 153660. June 10, 2003]


PRUDENCIO BANTOLINO, NESTOR ROMERO, NILO ESPINA, EDDIE LADICA, ARMAN QUELING,
ROLANDO NIETO, RICARDO BARTOLOME, ELUVER GARCIA, EDUARDO GARCIA and NELSON
MANALASTAS, petitioners, vs. COCA-COLA BOTTLERS PHILS., INC., respondent.
DECISION
BELLOSILLO, J.:
This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the Decision of the
Court of Appeals[1] dated 21 December 2001 which affirmed with modification the decision of the National
Labor Relations Commission promulgated 30 March 2001.[2]
On 15 February 1995 sixty-two (62) employees of respondent Coca-Cola Bottlers, Inc., and its officers,
Lipercon Services, Inc., Peoples Specialist Services, Inc., and Interim Services, Inc., filed a complaint against
respondents for unfair labor practice through illegal dismissal, violation of their security of tenure and the
perpetuation of the Cabo System. They thus prayed for reinstatement with full back wages, and the
declaration of their regular employment status.
For failure to prosecute as they failed to either attend the scheduled mandatory conferences or submit
their respective affidavits, the claims of fifty-two (52) complainant-employees were dismissed. Thereafter,

Labor Arbiter Jose De Vera conducted clarificatory hearings to elicit information from the ten (10) remaining
complainants (petitioners herein) relative to their alleged employment with respondent firm.
In substance, the complainants averred that in the performance of their duties as route helpers, bottle
segregators, and others, they were employees of respondent Coca-Cola Bottlers, Inc. They further maintained
that when respondent company replaced them and prevented them from entering the company premises,
they were deemed to have been illegally dismissed.
In lieu of a position paper, respondent company filed a motion to dismiss complaint for lack of jurisdiction
and cause of action, there being no employer-employee relationship between complainants and Coca-Cola
Bottlers, Inc., and that respondents Lipercon Services, Peoples Specialist Services and Interim Services
being bona fide independent contractors, were the real employers of the complainants. [3] As regards the
corporate officers, respondent insisted that they could not be faulted and be held liable for damages as they
only acted in their official capacities while performing their respective duties.
On 29 May 1998 Labor Arbiter Jose De Vera rendered a decision ordering respondent company to
reinstate complainants to their former positions with all the rights, privileges and benefits due regular
employees, and to pay their full back wages which, with the exception of Prudencio Bantolino whose back
wages must be computed upon proof of his dismissal as of 31 May 1998, already amounted to an aggregate
of P1,810,244.00.[4]
In finding for the complainants, the Labor Arbiter ruled that in contrast with the negative declarations of
respondent companys witnesses who, as district sales supervisors of respondent company denied knowing
the complainants personally, the testimonies of the complainants were more credible as they sufficiently
supplied every detail of their employment, specifically identifying who their salesmen/drivers were, their
places of assignment, aside from their dates of engagement and dismissal.
On appeal, the NLRC sustained the finding of the Labor Arbiter that there was indeed an employeremployee relationship between the complainants and respondent company when it affirmed in toto the
latters decision.
In a resolution dated 17 July 2001 the NLRC subsequently denied for lack of merit respondents motion for
consideration.
Respondent Coca-Cola Bottlers appealed to the Court of Appeals which, although affirming the finding of
the NLRC that an employer-employee relationship existed between the contending parties, nonetheless
agreed with respondent that the affidavits of some of the complainants, namely, Prudencio Bantolino, Nestor
Romero, Nilo Espina, Ricardo Bartolome, Eluver Garcia, Eduardo Garcia and Nelson Manalastas, should not
have been given probative value for their failure to affirm the contents thereof and to undergo crossexamination. As a consequence, the appellate court dismissed their complaints for lack of sufficient evidence.
In the same Decision however, complainants Eddie Ladica, Arman Queling and Rolando Nieto were declared
regular employees since they were the only ones subjected to cross-examination. [5] Thus x x x (T)he labor arbiter conducted clarificatory hearings to ferret out the truth between the opposing claims
of the parties thereto. He did not submit the case based on position papers and their accompanying
documentary evidence as a full-blown trial was imperative to establish the parties claims. As their allegations
were poles apart, it was necessary to give them ample opportunity to rebut each others statements through
cross-examination. In fact, private respondents Ladica, Quelling and Nieto were subjected to rigid crossexamination by petitioners counsel. However, the testimonies of private respondents Romero, Espina, and
Bantolino were not subjected to cross-examination, as should have been the case, and no explanation was
offered by them or by the labor arbiter as to why this was dispensed with. Since they were represented by
counsel, the latter should have taken steps so as not to squander their testimonies. But nothing was done by
their counsel to that effect.[6]

Petitioners now pray for relief from the adverse Decision of the Court of Appeals; that, instead, the
favorable judgment of the NLRC be reinstated.
In essence, petitioners argue that the Court of Appeals should not have given weight to respondents
claim of failure to cross-examine them. They insist that, unlike regular courts, labor cases are decided based
merely on the parties position papers and affidavits in support of their allegations and subsequent pleadings
that may be filed thereto. As such, according to petitioners, the Rules of Court should not be strictly applied in
this case specifically by putting them on the witness stand to be cross-examined because the NLRC has its
own rules of procedure which were applied by the Labor Arbiter in coming up with a decision in their favor.
In its disavowal of liability, respondent commented that since the other alleged affiants were not
presented in court to affirm their statements, much less to be cross-examined, their affidavits should, as the
Court of Appeals rightly held, be stricken off the records for being self-serving, hearsay and inadmissible in
evidence. With respect to Nestor Romero, respondent points out that he should not have been impleaded in
the instant petition since he already voluntarily executed aCompromise Agreement, Waiver and Quitclaim in
consideration of P450,000.00. Finally, respondent argues that the instant petition should be dismissed in view
of the failure of petitioners [7] to sign the petition as well as the verification and certification of non-forum
shopping, in clear violation of the principle laid down in Loquias v. Office of the Ombudsman.[8]
The crux of the controversy revolves around the propriety of giving evidentiary value to the affidavits
despite the failure of the affiants to affirm their contents and undergo the test of cross-examination.
The petition is impressed with merit. The issue confronting the Court is not without precedent in
jurisprudence. The oft-cited case of Rabago v. NLRC[9] squarely grapples a similar challenge involving the
propriety of the use of affidavits without the presentation of affiants for cross-examination. In that case, we
held that the argument that the affidavit is hearsay because the affiants were not presented for crossexamination is not persuasive because the rules of evidence are not strictly observed in proceedings before
administrative bodies like the NLRC where decisions may be reached on the basis of position papers only.
In Rase v. NLRC,[10] this Court likewise sidelined a similar challenge when it ruled that it was not
necessary for the affiants to appear and testify and be cross-examined by counsel for the adverse party. To
require otherwise would be to negate the rationale and purpose of the summary nature of the proceedings
mandated by the Rules and to make mandatory the application of the technical rules of evidence.
Southern Cotabato Dev. and Construction Co. v. NLRC [11] succinctly states that under Art. 221 of the Labor
Code, the rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law do not control proceedings before the Labor Arbiter and
the NLRC. Further, it notes that the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC are authorized to adopt reasonable means to
ascertain the facts in each case speedily and objectively and without regard to technicalities of law and
procedure, all in the interest of due process. We find no compelling reason to deviate therefrom.
To reiterate, administrative bodies like the NLRC are not bound by the technical niceties of law and
procedure and the rules obtaining in courts of law. Indeed, the Revised Rules of Court and prevailing
jurisprudence may be given only stringent application, i.e., by analogy or in a suppletory character and effect.
The submission by respondent, citing People v. Sorrel,[12] that an affidavit not testified to in a trial, is mere
hearsay evidence and has no real evidentiary value, cannot find relevance in the present case considering
that a criminal prosecution requires a quantum of evidence different from that of an administrative
proceeding. Under the Rules of the Commission, the Labor Arbiter is given the discretion to determine the
necessity of a formal trial or hearing. Hence, trial-type hearings are not even required as the cases may be
decided based on verified position papers, with supporting documents and their affidavits.
As to whether petitioner Nestor Romero should be properly impleaded in the instant case, we only need
to follow the doctrinal guidance set by Periquet v. NLRC[13]which outlines the parameters for valid compromise
agreements, waivers and quitclaims -

Not all waivers and quitclaims are invalid as against public policy. If the agreement was voluntarily entered
into and represents a reasonable settlement, it is binding on the parties and may not later be disowned
simply because of a change of mind. It is only where there is clear proof that the waiver was wangled from an
unsuspecting or gullible person, or the terms of settlement are unconscionable on its face, that the law will
step in to annul the questionable transaction. But where it is shown that the person making the waiver did so
voluntarily, with full understanding of what he was doing, and the consideration for the quitclaim is credible
and reasonable, the transaction must be recognized as a valid and binding undertaking.
In closely examining the subject agreements, we find that on their face the Compromise
Agreement[14] and Release, Waiver and Quitclaim[15] are devoid of any palpable inequity as the terms of
settlement therein are fair and just. Neither can we glean from the records any attempt by the parties to
renege on their contractual agreements, or to disavow or disown their due execution. Consequently, the
same must be recognized as valid and binding transactions and, accordingly, the instant case should be
dismissed and finally terminated insofar as concerns petitioner Nestor Romero.
We cannot likewise accommodate respondents contention that the failure of all the petitioners to sign the
petition as well as the Verification and Certification of Non-Forum Shopping in contravention of Sec. 5, Rule 7,
of the Rules of Court will cause the dismissal of the present appeal. While the Loquias case requires the strict
observance of the Rules, it however provides an escape hatch for the transgressor to avoid the harsh
consequences of non-observance. Thus x x x x We find that substantial compliance will not suffice in a matter involving strict observance of the rules.
The attestation contained in the certification on non-forum shopping requires personal knowledge by the
party who executed the same. Petitioners must show reasonable cause for failure to personally sign the
certification. Utter disregard of the rules cannot justly be rationalized by harking on the policy of liberal
construction (underscoring supplied).
In their Ex Parte Motion to Litigate as Pauper Litigants, petitioners made a request for a fifteen (15)-day
extension, i.e., from 24 April 2002 to 8 May 2002, within which to file their petition for review in view of the
absence of a counsel to represent them. [16] The records also reveal that it was only on 10 July 2002 that Atty.
Arnold Cacho, through the UST Legal Aid Clinic, made his formal entry of appearance as counsel for herein
petitioners. Clearly, at the time the instant petition was filed on 7 May 2002 petitioners were not yet
represented by counsel. Surely, petitioners who are non-lawyers could not be faulted for the procedural lapse
since they could not be expected to be conversant with the nuances of the law, much less knowledgeable
with the esoteric technicalities of procedure. For this reason alone, the procedural infirmity in the filing of the
present petition may be overlooked and should not be taken against petitioners.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals is REVERSED and SET
ASIDE and the decision of the NLRC dated 30 March 2001 which affirmed in toto the decision of the Labor
Arbiter dated 29 May 1998 ordering respondent Coca-Cola Bottlers Phils., Inc., to reinstate Prudencio
Bantolino, Nilo Espina, Eddie Ladica, Arman Queling, Rolando Nieto, Ricardo Bartolome, Eluver Garcia,
Eduardo Garcia and Nelson Manalastas to their former positions as regular employees, and to pay them their
full back wages, with the exception of Prudencio Bantolino whose back wages are yet to be computed upon
proof of his dismissal, is REINSTATED, with the MODIFICATION that herein petition is DENIED insofar as it
concerns Nestor Romero who entered into a valid and bindingCompromise Agreement and Release, Waiver
and Quitclaim with respondent company.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 123546. July 2, 1998]


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. JOERAL GALLENO, accused-appellant.

DECISION
PER CURIAM:
What could be more compelling than deciding a case which involves the sexual abuse of a five-year old
child? Equally important is the fact that the case before us involves the highest penalty imposable by law.
Being the guardian of the most fundamental liberties of every citizen, the Court must pass upon every
intricate detail of the case at bar to determine whether or not accused-appellant committed the gruesome
act imputed against him.
Accused-appellant Joeral Galleno seeks reversal of the judgment of Branch 14 of the Regional Trial Court
of the 6th Judicial Region stationed in Roxas City, relying on the defense of denial. Since the case involves the
death penalty, the matter has been elevated to this Court for automatic review.
Accused-appellant was charged in an Information docketed as Criminal Case No. C-4629 for the crime of
Statutory Rape, reading as follows:
The undersigned Assistant Provincial Prosecutor, upon prior authority and approval of the Provincial
Prosecutor, and the original complaint filed by the guardian of the offended party, accuses Joeral
Galleno of the crime of STATUTORY RAPE, committed as follows:
That on or about 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon of August 16, 1994, at Brgy. Balighot, Maayon, Capiz,
and within the jurisdiction of this Court, the said accused did, then and there, wilfully and feloniously,
and without the permission of anyone, enter the house of EVELYN OBLIGAR, a five-year old child, and
succeeded in having carnal knowledge of her thereby inflicting upon the latter a vaginal laceration
which caused continuous bleeding and her admission of five (5) days at the Roxas Memorial Hospital.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
(p. 9, Rollo.)
Accused-appellant entered a plea of not guilty. Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued, resulting in a
judgment of conviction, the dispositive portion of which reads:
IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING ESTABLISHED FACTS, the Court finds accused JOERAL
GALLENO GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt under Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7659 amending
Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code.
Accordingly, accused JOERAL GALLENO is sentenced to suffer the supreme penalty of DEATH and to
indemnify the victim Evelyn Obligar Garganera the sum of FIFTY THOUSAND (P50,000.00) PESOS.
Let this DECISION serve as clear signal warning the perverts, the misguided elements of our society,
especially their lackadaisical parents in their innate moral obligation and responsibility in educating
their children that in this corner of the world the wheels of justice is not asleep and its unforgiving
hands and watchful eyes are as vigilant as ever.
(pp. 44-45, Rollo.)
In flashback, let us visualize the events.
Evelyn Obligar Garganera is the 5-year old daughter of Rosita Obligar Garganera who had to leave the
province to find work in Manila after separating from her husband. Evelyn, together with her younger brother,

3-year old Eleazar, was thus left under the care and custody of their uncle, Emetario Obligar, and aunt,
Penicola Obligar.
Less than kilometer away from their place of residence lived accused-appellant, 19-year old Joeral
Galleno, known well Evelyn's family due to his frequent visits at the Obligars' abode as he was paying court to
Emetario's eldest child, Gina.
On August 16, 1994, Emetario and Penicola left their residence to work at sugarcane plantation owned by
Magdalena Dasibar. Their three children had all ealier left for school. The only persons left in the house were
niece Evelyn and nephew Eleazar.
At around 4 o'clock in the afternoon, accused-appellant was on his way to his Lola Esing to have his pants
tailored. Since it was drizzling, he passed by theObligars' residence and found the two children left to
themselves. The prosecution and the defense presented conflicting versions on what occurred at said
residence. However, the result is undisputed. Evelyn sustained a laceration in her vagina which result in
profuse, and to our mind, life-threatening bleeding due to her tender age.
The prosecution's version of what took place at the Obligars' residence is based on the testimony of
Evelyn herself, her uncle Emetario, and the doctors who examined and treated her. The Solicitor General
summarized the same in this wise:
2. Appellant took advantage of the situation by sexually molesting Evelyn. After lowering her shorts,
he made Evelyn sit on his lap, facing him. As Evelyn was only five-years old while appellant was fullygrown man, the penetration caused the child's vagina to bleed, making her cry in pain. (pp.10-11
and 18-25, tsn, Garganera, January 10, 1995).
3. Appellant tried to stop the bleeding by applying, with his finger, the sap of "madre de cacao"
leaves on her vagina. Unsuccessful in his attempt, he left Evelyn grimacing and crying in pain. (pp.
14-15, tsn Garganera, January 10, 1995; pp. 6-7, tsn, Obligar, February 7, 1995).
4. Shortly, Emeterio and Penicola came home from work. The spouses were laborers in a sugarcane
plantation about two kilometers away from their house. They arrived to find Evelyn crying. Emetario
noticed that there was blood in Evelyn's dress and she was pressing a rug against her genital organ.
(pp. 11-12, tsn, Obligar, January 10, 1995; pp. 8-9, tsn, Obligar, February 7, 1995).
5. Emeterio asked Evelyn what happened but she did not answer. Emetario spread the child's legs
and saw that her vagina had been lacerated and blood was oozing therefrom. He summoned a
"quack" doctor who applied herbal medicine on Evelyns's vagina but did not stop the bleeding.
(pp.12-14, tsn, Obligar, January 12, 1995).
6. The following day, August 17, 1994, Emeterio brought Evelyn to the clinic of Dr. Alfonso D. Orosco,
the Rural Health Physician of Maayon, Capiz. Dr. Orosco reported, upon examining Evelyn, that he
found (1) clotted blood, about 1 centimeter in diameter, in her vaginal opening, and (2) a vaginal
laceration, measuring 1.0 centimeter x o.5 centimeter, between the 3:00 o'clock and 6:00 o'clock
position. He also affirmed that Evelyn's vaginal laceration could have been by blunt instrument
inserted into the vigina, that it was possible that a human penis in full erection had been forcibly
inserted into her vagina, and that a human penis in full errection is considered a blunt intrument (pp.
4-7, tsn, Orosco, November 28, 1994; p. 14, tsn, Obligar, January 12, 1995).
7. While he was examining Evelyn, Dr. Orosco asked Evelyn what caused her injuries. The child told
him that a penis was inserted into her vagina and that its insertion caused her pain. (pp. 9-10, 14
and 18-19, tsn, Orosco, November 28, 1994).

8. Since his clinic lacked the proper medical facilities needed to treat Evelyn, Dr. Orosco, after
dressing the victim's wound which continued to bleed, advised Emeterio and Penicola to bring the
child to the hospital for further medical treatment. (p.8, tsn, Orosco, November 28, 1994; pp. 14-16,
tsn, Obligar, January 12, 1995)
9. On August 18, 1994, Emeterio brought Evelyn to the Roxas Memorial General Hospital were she
was examined by resident physician Dr. Ma. Lourdes Laada. Dr. Laada, upon examining Evelyn found
that "there was a 3 cm. lacerated wound at the left anterior one-third of the vagina" and "the
pressence of about 10-15cc of blood" at the vaginal vault. Dr. Laada recommended that evelyn be
admitted for confinement in the hospital because the wound in her vagina, which was bleeding, had
to be repaired. Due to financial constraints, Evelyn was not admitted into the Hospital that day and
went home with Emeterio to Barangay Balighot. (pp.6-8,tsn Laada, January 4, 1995; pp. 15-16, ts,
Obligar, January 12, 1995).
10. Upon her examination of the victim on August 18, 1994, Dr. Laada opined that "a lot of things will
cause the lacerated wound in the vagina." (p. 9, tsn, Laada, January 4, 1995). According to Dr. Laada,
the vaginal laceration may be caused (1) by trauma to the area, when a girl falls and hits her genital
area on a blunt instrument; (2) by medical instrumentation, like the insertion of a speculum into the
vagina; or (3) by the insertion of blunt foreign object into the vagina, like a finger or a penis of a man
in full erection. (pp. 8-9, tsn, Laada, January 4, 1995).
11. On August 19, 1994, Emetario brought Evelyn back to the Roxas Memorial General Hospital
where she was attended to by Dr. Machael Toledo, the resident physician on duty, who found blood
clots and minimal bleeding in the genital area. Dr. Toledo " pack(ed) the area to prevent further
bleeding and (he) admitted the patient for possible repair of the laceration and blood transfusion
because she has anaemia 2ndary to bleeding." Two hundred fifty five (255) cc of blood was
transfused to Evelyn and she was given antibiotics to prevent infection. However, she was no longer
operated on because the laceration had healed. Five days later, Evelyn was discharged and sent
home with medication. (pp. 11-13, 17 and 26, tsn, Toledo, December 2, 1994).
12. Upon his examination of Evelyn on August 19, 1994, Dr. Toledo disclosed that the child suffered
severe compound laceration which could have been caused by a normal and fully developed penis of
a man in a state of erection that was forcibly inserted into her vagina and that the insertion caused
her vagina to hemorrhage which thus required the transfusion of 255 cc of blood (pp. 14-16 and 26,
tsn, Toledo, December 2, 1994.
13. Prior to her confinement in the Roxas Memorial General Hospital on August 19, Emetario and
Penicola Obligar brought Evelyn to the Maayon Police Station on August 18, 1994, where they
reported the crime to SPO1 Paulino Durana. That same day, appellant was apprehended in a house
near the Balighot Elementary School and brought to the police station (pp17-19, tsn, Obligar, January
12, 1995; pp. 5-9, 16-17 and 21, tsn, Durana, January 16, 1995).
(pp. 164-171, Rollo.)
Denial is presented as the defenses. Accused-appellant testified that when he arrived at the Obligar
residence that afternoon of August 16, 1994, he found the two children, Evelyn and Eleazar (also referred to
in the record as Pilfo). While seated at the balcony, accused-appellant was approached by Evelyn, who knew
him (tsn, April 5, 1995, pp.5 and 8). He cajoled her by throwing her up and down, his right hand holding the
child and his left hand covering her vagina (Ibid., p. 21). Upon lifting up the child the first time, his left ring
finger was accidentally inserted into the vagina of child since his fingernail was long and the child was not
wearing any underwear. Consequently, Evelyn began to cry because her vagina started to bleed. Upon seeing
this, he immediately went down the house and got some bark or leaves of madre de cacao tree and applied
the sap on the child's wound. The bleeding ceased and Evelyn stopped crying. Thereafter, accused-appellant
went home. (Ibid., pp.9-10).

Accused-appellant further testified that on August 18, 1994, at around 9 o'clock in the morning, he was
arrested. On the same day, Emeterio Obligar asked him to admit the offense so that he could be released the
next day, but accused-appellant did not do so (Ibid., pp. 26-27).
Accused-appellant's father Raul Galleno was called to the witness stand and he testified that he learned
about the arrest of his son on August 18, 1994 (tsn, May 12, 1995, p.6). The following day, he went to the
house of the Obligars to ask Evelyn what happened to her. The child allegedly answered that a finger was
accidentally inserted into her genital organ, but that Penicola who was then present, butted into the
conversation and told Raul Galleno that the penis of accused-appellant was likewise inserted (Ibid., p.8).
The trial court did not accord credence to the version of the defense, pointing out in its decision that
accused-appellant's defense of denial hinged on the argument that the statement of Evelyn as to how she
sustained her vaginal laceration was mere concoction and a plain distortion of facts by her guardian. The trial
court called this a "desperate attempt of the defense to becloud the charge of rape."
The trial court believed and accepted the testimony of Police Officer Paulino Durana that during the
interrogation of Evelyn which he conducted at the PNP Station of Maayon, Emeterio and Penicola Obligar did
not interfere with the responses of Evelyn, although, true enough, it was difficult to obtain answer from her
because of her tender age.
The trial deemed the following circumstances significant in finding accused-appellant culpable:
1. Accused-appellant failed to explain how his left finger accidentally came in contact with Evelyn's
vagina, while in the process of throwing her up and down. Besides, the prosecution was able to establish that
Evelyn was wearing shorts. And assuming for the sake of argument that Evelyn was not wearing any pants or
underwear at that time, accused-appellant failed to explain how his finger could possibly penetrate the
victim's vagina by about one-fourth of an inch (p. 23, tsn, April 5, 1995).
2. After satisfying his lust, accused-appellant left the victim with her 3-year old brother, in pain and
bleeding.
3. Evelyn's statement given to Dr. Ma. Lourdes Laada, the physician who examined her at the Roxas
Memorial General Hospital, that it was accused-appellant's finger which injured her, was a consequence of
the victim's confusion.
4. The formal offer of settlement made by accused-appellant's father Raul Galleno militates against the
cause of the defense.
Hence, the instant appeal and review, with accused-appellant assigning the following errors:
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GIVING FULL WEIGHT AND CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONIES OF THE
MEDICAL DOCTORS WHEN THE SAME FAILED TO CONCLUSIVELY AND SUFFICIENTLY ESTABLISH THE
CAUSE OF THE LACERATION IN THE OFFENDED PARTY'S VAGINA
THE TRIAL COURT SHOWED MANIFEST BIAS THEREBY DEPRIVING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT TO A
FAIR AND IMPARTIAL TRIAL AND DISREGARDED THE RIGHT OF THE ACCUSED TO BE PRESUMED
INNOCENT, WHEN HE ACTIVELY PARTICIPATED IN THE CROSS EXAMINATIUON OF THE ACCUSED
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THE WARRANTLESS ARREST OF THE ACCUSED AS
UNJUSTIFIED
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN INTERPRETING THE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE EXTENDED BY THE
PARENTS OF THE ACCUSED TO THE OFFENDED PARTY AS AN IMPLIED ADMISSION OF GUILT

(pp. 81-82, Rollo.)


One can not escape the feeling of utmost compassion for any rape victim, and more especially so for a 5year old statutory rape victim. However, in our consideration of the matter before us, we set aside emotion
and observe impartiality and coldness in drawing conclusions.
Under the first assigned error, accused-appellant contends that the testimony of the three expert
witnesses presented by the prosecution, namely, Dr. Alfonso Orosco, Dr. Ma. Lourdes Laada, and Dr. Machael
Toledo, which convinced the trial court that rape was committed against the offended party, is not
impeccable considering that they found that there was no presence of spermatozoa, and that they were not
sure as to what caused the laceration in the victim's vagina; that Dr. Laada herself testified that Evelyn told
her that it was the finger of accused-appellant which caused the laceration. In addition, accused-appellant
banks on the victim's testimony on cross-examination, that it was the finger of accused-appellant which
caused the laceration; and that she even disclosed this to accused-appellant's father, Raul Galleno.
We are not persuaded.
As a general rule, witnesses must state facts and not draw conclusions or give opinions. It is the court's
duty to draw conclusions from the evidence and form opinions upon the facts proved (Francisco, Pleadings
and Trial Practice, Vol. I. 1989 ed., pp. 889-890). However, conclusions and opinions of witnesses are received
in many cases, and are not confined to expert testimony, based on the principle that either because of the
special skill or expert knowledge of the witness, or because of the nature of the subject matter under
observation, of for other reasons, the testimony will aid the court in reaching a judgment. (Ibid., p.886).
In the case at bar, the trial court arrived at its conclusions not only with the aid of the expert testimony of
doctors who gave their opinions as to the possible cause of the victim's laceration, but also the testimony of
the other prosecution witness, especially the victim herself. In other words, the trial court did not rely solely
on the testimony of the expert witnesses. Such expert testimony merely aided the trial court in the exercise
of its judgment on the facts. Hence, the fact that the experts enumerated various possible causes of the
victim's laceration does not mean the trial court's interference is wrong.
The absence of spermatozoa in the victim's vagina does not negate the conclusion that it was his penis
which was inserted in the victim's vagina (People vs. Caada, 253 SCRA 277 [1996]). In rape, the important
consideration is not the emission of semen but the penetration of the female genitalia by the male organ
(People vs. Dadles, 254 SCRA 696 [1996]). Verily, it is entirely probable that climax on the part of accusedappellant was not reached due to the cries of pain of the victim and the profuse bleeding of her vagina.
As regards the inconsistencies in Evelyn's declaration, particularly as to what really caused the
laceration, we are convinced that the child, due to her tender age, was just confused. This is best exemplified
by the testimony of Dr. Lourdes Laada on cross-examination, as follows:
Q Now, Doctor, at the time that you conducted your examination, you were aware that this child was only
five years old?
A Yes, sir.
Q And at that tender age, Doctor, is it possible that the child may not know the difference of distinction
between fingers of the hands and a finger protruding between the legs of a person?
A Yes, sir, it is possible.
Q So that is possible, Doctor, that the child may have referred to a finger that is between the legs?

WITNESS
You mean the penis?
PROSECUTOR OBIENDA
Yes.
WITNESS
It is possible.
(TSN, p.27, March 30, 1995.)
Of vital consideration and importance too is the unreliability, if not the outright incredulity of the version
of accused-appellant which is not in accord with ordinary human experience. We thus can not help expressing
sentiments similar of those of the trial court when is said:
The contention of accused Joeral Galleno raises serious doubts to his credibility. He failed to explain
how his ring finger accidentally came in contact with the genitalia of Evelyn, while it was established
by the prosecution that at that time Evelyn was wearing shorts. Even assuming "ex gratia
argumente" that Evelyn was pantyless, how could it be possible for his finger to penetrate to the
vagina for about one-fourth of an inch when she was in shorts. The Supreme Court, in People vs.
Fulgencio Baquiran, 20 SCRA 451, (held that) evidence, to be believed must not only proceed from
the mouth of a credible witness, but it must be credible in itself. Human perception can be warped by
the impact of events and testimony colored by the unconscious workings of the mind. No better test
has yet been found to measure the value of a witness' testimony than its conformity to the
knowledge and common experience of mankind.
(pp.42-43, Rollo.)
Section 4, Rule 128 of the Rules of Court provides that "(e)vidence must have such a relation to the fact
in issue as to induce belief in its existence or nor-existence." This simply means that relevancy is
determinable by the rules of logic and human experience (Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium, Vol. II, 1988
ed., p.434). There is no precise and universal test of relevancy provided by law. However, the determination
of whether particular evidence is relevant rests largely at the discretion of the court, which must be exercised
according to the teachings of logic and everyday experience (Sibal and Salazar, Compendium on Evidence,
1995 ed., citing Alfred Asmore Pope Foundation vs. New York, 138 A. 444, 106 Conn. 432).
There is no explanation how the left ring finger (allegedly with long fingernail) of accused-appellant
penetrated the victim's vagina by a depth of one fourth of an inch. Admittedly, accused-appellant's right hand
held the child while his left hand supposedly held her in the vagina area. Why would the hold the child's
vagina if his only intention was to frolic and kid around with her?
Accused-appellant likewise failed to explain why after injuring Evelyn (and after applying to the wound
the sap of madre de cacao), he left her in the company of an even younger child, the victim's 3-year old
brother. He did not even make an effort to immediately inform Emeterio and Penicola of what
happened. Instead, he went home and kept mum about the incident.
Accused-appellant also said that after the alleged accident, before going home, he removed Eleazar's
shorts and put them on Evelyn. Assuming this to be true, this only shows that the child was still
bleeding. Why then would he leave the child considering that there was no adult to attend her? Significantly,
his act of immediately leaving the place, when considered in the light of the other evidence, reflects his fear

because of what he had done. The proverb "the wicked fleeth even when no man pursueth, but the innocent
are as bold as a lion" was correctly adopted by the trial court in drawing its conclusions.
All of these loopholes are palpable and manifest, and clearly work against the credibility of accusedappellant's story on which his defense is based.
Besides, the trial court's conclusions finds supports in the testimony of accused-appellant's own witness,
Dr. Lourdes Laada (who was earlier presented during the trial as a prosecution witness), who testified that a
laceration is caused by a blunt instrument and that a fingernail is not a blunt but a sharp instrument (TSN,
pp.32-33, March 30, 1995).
As regards accused-appellant's argument that the victim's testimony is just a concocted story of what
really happened, we apply the rule that the revelation of an innocent child whose chastity was abused
deserves full credence (People vs. Cagto, 253 SCRA 455 [1996]). We likewise consider the fact that her uncle
and aunt, virtually her foster parents, themselves support her story of rape. It is unnatural for a parent to use
her offspring as an engine of malice, especially if it will subject a daughter to embarrassment and even
stigma (People vs. Dones, supra.)
Accused-appellant's father, Raul Galleno, tried to destroy the credibility of Evelyn when he took the stand
and testified that the child disclosed to him that is was accused-appellant's finger which was inserted into her
vagina. Nevertheless, this testimony cannot prevail over the testimony of the victim, to wit:
FISCAL OBIENDA
Q You said that Joeral Galleno the accused in this case hurt you while you were in the farm, can you tell in
the farm, can you tell the Honorable Court which part of your body was hurt by Joeral Galleno?
A (Witness pointing to her vagina) Here.
Q When you said you were hurt did you bleed?
WITNESS
A Yes, Sir.
FISCAL OBIENDA
Q What was used by Joeral Galleno in hurting your sexual organ
A His (Pitoy). Penis.
COURT
Make the translation of "Pitoy" into Penis. Do you agree that the translation of Pitoy is Penis in
English?
ATTY. DISTURA
Agreeable, Your Honor.
FISCAL OBIENDA
Q What did Joeral Galleno do with his Pitoy (Penis) to your vagina (Putay)?

A It was inserted (ginsulod) to my vagina (Putay).


Q When Joeral Galleno inserted his penis (Pitoy) to your vagina (Putay), that was the reason why it bleed?
A Yes, sir.
Q And it was very painful?
A Yes, Sir.
Q And you cried because of pain?
A Yes, Sir.
FISCAL OBIENDA
Q And you were brought to the Doctor and admitted to the hospital because of that?
A Yes, Sir.
(TSN, pp.10-12, January 10, 1995)
Under the second assigned error, accused-appellant alleges that he was deprived of a fair and impartial
trial since the trial court showed bias by discounting his testimony, and by actually participating in the crossexamination of accused-appellant.
We recently pronounced in People vs. Malabago (265 SCRA 198 [1996]) that a judge may not properly
intervene in the presentation of evidence to expedite and prevent unnecessary waste of time and clarify
obscure and incomplete details after the witness was given direct testimony cannot be assailed as a specie of
bias.
Of course, we are aware of Rule 3.06 of the Code of Judicial Conduct provides:
While a judge may, to promote justice, prevent waste of time or clear up some obscurity, properly
intervene in the presentation of evidence during the trial, it should always be borne in mind that
undue interference may prevent the proper presentation of the cause or the ascertainment of truth.
And there is undoubtedly undue interference if the judge extensively propounds question to the witness
which will have the effect of or will tend to build or bolster the case for one of the parties. We have, however,
carefully examined the record and transcript of stenographic notes of the instant case. The trial court judge,
the Honorable Salvador S. Gubaton, did not to build the case for one of the parties. For instance, accusedappellant, in his brief, refers to the questions propounded by the trial court on his of cajoling the child. A
perusal of the line of questioning referred to hardly shows bias on the part of the trial court, but pure
clarification.
In the third assigned error, accused-appellant questions the validity of his arrest.
It is settled jurisprudence that any objection involving a warrant of arrest or procedure in the acquisition
by the court of jurisdiction over the person of the accused must be made before he enters his plea, otherwise
the objection is deemed waived (People vs. Lopez, Jr., 245 SCRA 95[1995]). An accused should question the
validity of his arrest before he enters his plea in the trial court (Filoteo, Jr. vs. Sandiganbayan, 263 SCRA 222
[1996]). He is estopped from questioning any defect in the manner of his arrest if he fails to move for the
quashing of the information before the trial court (People vs. Compil, 244 SCRA 135 [1995]) or if he

voluntarily submits himself to the jurisdiction of the court by entering a plea and by participating in the trial
(People vs. De Guzman, 22 4 SCRA 93 [1993); People vs. Lopez, Jr.,supra).
It does not appear in the record that accused-appellants raised this matter before entering his plea of
"not guilty" to the charge (pp. 63 & 67, Record). Further, this issue was not even touched during the trial.
Lastly, accused-appellant, in his fourth assigned error, argues that the trial court misinterpreted the
financial assistance extended by his parents as an attempt to settle the case. Accused-appellant even banks
on the alleged close relationship between Emeterio Obligar and Raul Galleno as compadres, and the fact that
Emeterio borrowed forty pesos from Raul Galleno, despite the fact that Emeterio already knew that accusedappellant caused the laceration in Evelyn's vagina.
Accused-appellant also draws attention to two incidents involving alleged financial assistance extended
by Raul Galleno to the spouses Emeterio and Penicola Obligar. First, Emeterio Obligar, whom Raul Galleno
said is his compadre, borrowed P40.00 for fare going Roxas City where Evelyn was confined. Decond, on
August 20, 1994, Raul Galleno and his wife and one of the brothers of Penicola Obligar went to Roxas
Memorial General Hospital. There he gave P400.00 financial assistance to Penicola Obligar. Raul Galleno later
admitted that the sum of P440.00 was returned to him by the spouses. Accused-appellant insists that these
offers of financial assistance were not attempts at an amicable settlement but were prompted out of a sincere
desire on the part of Raul Galleno to help the offended party.
We find no merit in the above-stated argument. It may be inferred that Raul Galleno wanted to settle the
case by offering an amount to the spouses Obligar, to wit:
Q Now according to you, you were paid in the amount of Four Hundred Pesos (P400.00) then you
expected your Comareng Pening as financial assistance to Evelyn Garganera, isn't it?
A Yes, Your Honor.
Q How long after August 19, 1994, that your Comareng Pening returned to you the amount of Four
Hundred Pesos (P400.00)?
A A week after when Evelyn had already checked up from the hospital.
Q It was given by you or as voluntary financial assistance, why did you receive the amount or the
payment returned to that amount of Four Hundred Pesos (P400.00)?
A That was telling me that they refused already for the settlement of the case.
Q And that is why they returned the amount of Four Hundred Pesos (P400.00).
(tsn, pp. 29-30, May 12, 1995.)
From the above-stated clarificatory questions by the trial court, it may gleaned that Raul Galleno no
longer had any interest in aiding the victim when he found that the Obligar spouses would still pursue the
case against his son, accused-appellant, and hence he found that his offer for settlement was unavailing.
Hence, on this point we likewise agree with the trial court when it took the financial assistance to mean an
act of settling the case. This does manifest a father's attempt to rescue his guilty son sure incarceration.
The nightmare that was forced into the tender mind of 5-year old Evelyn Obligar Garganera may
fortunately haunt her all her life. Justice may not be able to save from this nightmare but it can calm and
assure her that her tormentor and abuser shall undoubtedly face retribution.

Four members of the Court - although maintaining their adherence to the separate opinions expressed
in People vs. Echegaray (G.R. No. 117472, February 7, 1997) that Republic Act No. 7659, insofar as it
prescribes the death penalty is unconstitutional - nevertheless submit to the ruling of the Court, by a majority
vote, that the law is constitutional and that the death penalty should accordingly be imposed.
WHEREFORE, finding the conviction of accused-appellant justified by the evidence on record, the
assailed decision is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.
In accordance with Section 25 of Republic Act No. 7659, amending Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code,
upon finality of this decision, let the record of the case be forthwith forwarded to the Office of the President
for possible exercise of the pardoning power.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 158203. March 31, 2005]


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. RICO CALUMPANG and JOVENAL OMATANG, appellants.
DECISION
QUISUMBING, J.:
On appeal is the Decision[1] dated November 29, 2002, of the Regional Trial Court of Dumaguete City,
Branch 36, in Criminal Case No. 10152, convicting appellants Rico Calumpang and Jovenal Omatang of two
counts of murder and sentencing each of them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and ordering them
to pay damages to the heirs of the victims.
Appellants were charged under an Information which reads:
That on or about July 14, 1991 at 7:00 oclock in the evening, more or less, at Pamplona Coconut Plantation,
Pamplona, Negros Oriental, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused conspiring, confederating and helping one another, with intent to kill, evident premeditation and
treachery, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault, stab and hack ALICIA
CATIPAY and SANTIAGO CATIPAY with the use of bolos, with which the said accused were then armed and
provided, thereby inflicting upon ALICIA CATIPAY, the following injuries:
1. Hacked Wound - located at the Right Temporal area involving the temporal bones 4 inches in
length
2. Hacked Wound - located at the left occipital area involving the occipital bone and the brain
tissues
3. Incised Wound - located at the medial part of the left hand
4. Incised Wound - located at the medial part of the left wrist joint
5. Incised Wound - located at the middle medial part of the left forearm
and upon SANTIAGO CATIPAY, the following injuries:

1. Hacked Wound - located at the left side of the face extending from the ear to the lateral part of
the orbital bones.
2. Stabbed Wound - located at the antero-lateral part of the left chest wall measuring 4 inches in
depth 2 inches in width
3. Stabbed Wound - located at the abdomen 2 inches above the navel protruding the intestines
4. Stabbed Wound - located at the sternal area 3 inches in depth and 1 inch in width
5. Stabbed wound - located at the left lateral part of chest wall 6 (six) inches below the armpit 5
inches in depth, 3 inches in width
6. Incised Wound - located at the left dorsal part of the little and the ring finger.
which wounds or injuries caused the death of said ALICIA CATIPAY and SANTIAGO CATIPAY shortly thereafter.
Contrary to Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code.[2]
On arraignment, appellants entered a plea of not guilty. Thereafter trial ensued.

[3]

The prosecution presented three witnesses: Magno Gomez, Dr. Rogelio Kadili, and Alexander Ebias.
Their testimonies constitute the version of the case according to the prosecutions point of view.

Magno Gomez testified that around 6:30 p.m. of July 14, 1991, he was at Talay, Pamplona, Negros
Oriental, walking home to Sitio Makapa, Mangoto, Pamplona. He was with his neighbors, the spouses
Santiago and Alicia Catipay. On their way, they stopped at the store of Ana Andagan, located near the
Pamplona Coconut Plantation, and decided to have some beer. Magno added that Santiago saw appellants
drinking tuba inside Anas store, and offered them a glass of beer, but appellants refused. Santiago just drank
the glass of beer he was offering. [4] After that, Magno and the spouses left the store and took a shortcut
through the coconut plantation.
Magno saw appellants follow them. He suspected that appellants were planning something sinister
because they followed too closely and were concealing something at their backs. Magno cautioned Santiago,
but the latter just told him not to worry about appellants. [5] Magno and the spouses simply continued walking
for another half-kilometer until they reached the narrow waterway that let water from the river into the
plantation. Magno removed his slippers and started to cross ahead of the spouses. Santiago and Alicia
stayed slightly behind because Santiago had to remove his shoes. [6]
When Magno had crossed five feet of the waterway, Magno turned around to wait for his companions and
saw appellants attacking the spouses. With a bolo, appellant Calumpang hacked Santiago on the head and
stabbed his abdomen. At the same time, appellant Omatang attacked Alicia. [7]
Scared that appellants would also attack him, Magno ran away. After 50 meters, he reached Alexander
Ebiass house. He asked Alexander for a torch then continued walking towards Sitio Makapa, Mangoto,
Pamplona. After a kilometer, however, he saw the house of his cousin Rolando Retada. [8] He decided to spend
the night there.[9]
Magno further testified that he did not tell either Alexander or Rolando about what he saw at the
waterway because he was afraid. Magno added that he left Rolandos house around 6:30 the next morning to
report the incident at the municipal hall in the poblacion of Pamplona, but was arrested for questioning by
members of the Philippine Army on his way out of the store of Picio Yan, where he had to attend to some
personal business. Magno declared that he did not report to them that appellants killed the spouses. [10] It was

only after he was turned over to the police authorities of Pamplona and brought to the police station that he
reported what he saw the day before at the waterway in the plantation. [11]
Dr. Rogelio M. Kadili, Municipal Health Officer of the Rural Health Unit, Pamplona, Negros Oriental,
testified that he conducted the post-mortem examination of the victims at around 7:00 a.m. on July 15, 1991.
[12]
The results of his examination showed the wounds on Santiago and Alicia Catipay as follows:
[Santiago Catipay]
1.

Hacked Wound - located at the left side of the face extending from the ear to the lateral
part of the orbital bones

2.

Stabbed Wound - located at the antero-lateral part of the left chest wall measuring 4 inches
in depth 2 inches in width

3.

Stabbed Wound - located at the abdomen 2 inches above the navel protruding the
intestines

4.
5.

6.

Stabbed Wound - located at the sternal area 3 inches in depth and 1 inch in width
Stabbed wound - located at the left lateral part of chest wall 6 (six) inches below the armpit
5 inches in depth, 3 inches in width
Incised Wound - located at the left dorsal part of the little and the ring finger; [13]
[Alicia Catipay]

1.

Hacked Wound - located at the Right Temporal area involving the temporal bones 4 inches
in length

2.

Hacked Wound - located at the left occipital area involving the occipital bone and the brain
tissues

3.

Incised Wound - located at the medial part of the left hand

4.

Incised Wound - located at the medial part of the left wrist joint

5.

Incised Wound - located at the middle medial part of the left forearm. [14]

Dr. Kadili likewise identified the death certificates of Santiago and Alicia Catipay which showed the cause
of death as hemorrhage shock.[15]
Alexander Ebias, who lives near the waterway at the Pamplona Coconut Plantation, testified that around
the time Santiago and Alicia were murdered, he heard noise from the direction of the waterway, but did not
do anything to investigate. Moments later, he heard Magno calling from outside the house. Magno wanted
some dried coconut leaves to make a torch. He gave Magno what he wanted then asked about the noise
from the waterway. Magno said he did not know.[16]
For its part, the defense contradicted the version of the prosecution and presented Analyn Andagan,
Conchito Nilas,[17] Joseph Rabor and appellants to prove that appellants were nowhere near the waterway at
the precise time that Santiago and Alicia Catipay were murdered.

Analyn Andagan testified that on July 14, 1991, she was tending the store of her mother, Ana Andagan,
at Talay, Pamplona, Negros Oriental. Around 3:00 p.m. appellants Calumpang and Omatang arrived with one
Conchito Nilas. The three ordered a gallon of tuba and started drinking. Around 6:30 p.m., Magno and the
spouses arrived. They each had one bottle of beer and immediately left after finishing their beers. Analyn
further testified that appellants did not follow Magno, Santiago and Alicia when the three left her mothers
store. Appellant Omatang stayed until 7:00 p.m. and continued talking with his two companions, appellant
Calumpang and Conchito Nilas. He left when his 12-year-old nephew, defense witness Joseph Rabor, came to
fetch him for supper. Appellant Calumpang, for his part, stayed until 8:00 p.m. and helped her close the store.
He walked home with her and Conchito Nilas. [18]
Conchito Nilass testimony dovetailed Analyn Andagans testimony. He added that he saw his friend
appellant Calumpang go inside the latters house.[19]
Joseph Rabor corroborated Analyns testimony that he fetched his uncle, appellant Omatang, from the
store around 7:00 p.m. upon the order of his mother. He added that he and appellant Omatang slept in the
same room that night.[20]
Appellant Omatang likewise corroborated Analyns testimony that he left around 7:00 p.m. with Joseph.
He also claimed he had nothing to do with the killing of the spouses and averred that he was at home in the
same room with Joseph, sleeping, when the spouses were murdered. He claimed that he learned of the
murders only upon his arrest the next day.[21]
Appellant Calumpang vehemently denied killing the spouses. He declared that Santiago and Alicia had
no known enemies and were good people. He corroborated all of Analyns testimony, and added that Magno
and Santiago were arguing when the two came into the store. Appellant Calumpang likewise averred that
after helping Analyn close the store, he went home, ate supper, and went to bed. [22]
In addition to the above witnesses, the defense presented Rolando Retada and Visitacion Rabor. Rolando
confirmed that Magno spent the night at his house on July 14, 1991, and left very early the next morning
without drinking coffee. Visitacion Rabor, on the other hand, testified that she overheard Santiago berating
Magno when they passed her store around 6:30 p.m. on July 14, 1991. Santiago was mad at Magno because
Magno did not want to help Santiago clean the dam at Mangoto, Pamplona, as Magno was supposed to. She
added that Santiago continued calling Magno useless at Anas store until Alicia prevailed upon Santiago to go
home. When Santiago and Alicia left, Magno followed them. [23]
The trial court gave credence to the testimony of Magno Gomez and accepted his account of the
murders. Said the trial court:
The testimony of the lone eyewitness describing vividly the events prior, during and after the killing offers a
complete picture of the incident that only an eyewitness could supply. Moreover, the actuation of witness
Magno Gomez of not telling other people of the crime he just experience[d] for fear of his life, and his coming
back to town after sunrise. Even declining Retadas offer of a cup of coffee [and] to report to the authorities
the incident that he witnessed the night before, is consistent with human behavior and should be accorded
great respect and given more weight. (sic) His conduct after the incident added more credibility to his
testimony. As to the fear he exhibited after the killing of the spouses, the Supreme Court has this to say
there is no standard form of behavior when one is confronted by a shocking incident especially if the assailant
(assailants in this case) is physically near. No standard form of behavioral response, quite often said, could
be expected from everyone when confronted with a strange, startling or frightful occurrence. [24]
In its judgment dated November 29, 2002, the trial court convicted appellants as follows:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, each accused, RICO CALUMPANG and JOVENAL OMATANG are hereby
sentenced to suffer imprisonment of the maximum penalty ofreclusion perpetua, and further ordered to

indemnify jointly and severally the heirs of the spouses Santiago and Alicia Catipay the amount of
PhP100,000.00, and to pay moral damages in the amount of PhP100,000.00. The bail bond posted by both
accused for their temporary liberty during the trial of this case is hereby cancelled.
SO ORDERED.[25]
Hence, this appeal.
Appellant now assigns the following as errors:
I
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN BELIEVING THE TESTIMONY OF MAGNO GOMEZ SINCE HE WAS A PRINCIPAL
SUSPECT HIMSELF. HIS TESTIMONY IS REPLETE WITH MATERIAL INCONSISTENCIES, AND MANY OF HIS CLAIMS
ARE CONTRARY TO HUMAN EXPERIENCE;
II
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN COMPLETELY DISREGARDING THE EVIDENCE OF THE DEFENSE; AND
III
THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED A GRAVE MISTAKE IN CONCENTRATING ON THE DEFENSE OF ALIBI BY THE
ACCUSED, INSTEAD OF LOOKING INTO THE VAGUENESS AND WEAKNESS OF THE UNCORROBORATED
TESTIMONY OF THE PROSECUTIONS LONE EYEWITNESS.[26]
Essentially, for our resolution is the issue of whether the appellants guilt for double murder has been
proven beyond reasonable doubt.
Appellants argue that the trial court erred in giving credence to Magno Gomezs testimony, which is false
and unbelievable. They stress that Magnos testimony that he never saw Santiago try to escape during the
attacks contradicts his statements in his affidavit, executed during preliminary examination, that Santiago
tried to escape but was overtaken by appellants. [27] They suspect that Magno was himself the killer, and posit
that because he was already a prime suspect, Magno accused appellants of the murder to save himself.
[28]
Appellants likewise argue that the trial court erred in dismissing their defense of alibi on the ground that it
was a weak defense.[29]
Significantly, for the State, the Office of the Solicitor General contends that reasonable doubt concerning
the guilt of the appellants exist in this case. The OSG stresses that material inconsistencies exist between
Magnos testimony in court and his affidavit, which he executed during the preliminary examination. [30] The
OSG cites that Magno testified that the spouses were simultaneously attacked by appellants, with appellant
Calumpang attacking Santiago and appellant Omatang attacking Alicia. However, during the preliminary
examination, Magno declared that both appellants attacked Alicia first and that Santiago was hacked because
Santiago attempted to save his wife.[31] Further, the fact that Magno was a principal suspect and that he did
not choose to exonerate himself right away when he was arrested for questioning by members of the
Philippine Army, render his credibility suspect.[32] In addition, the OSG stresses that it was not shown in this
case that appellants had any ill motive to kill Santiago and Alicia Catipay. [33] The OSG concludes that
appellants deserve acquittal on reasonable doubt.
After a careful review of the records of this case, we find that the trial court overlooked pertinent pieces
of evidence favorable to the accused and disregarded several significant facts and circumstances that cast
doubt on the veracity of the testimony of the prosecutions lone eyewitness, Magno Gomez, justifying a
departure from the settled rule that factual findings of the trial court bind this Court. [34]

While Magno claimed to have witnessed the gruesome killings, the records show that serious
discrepancies attended Magnos testimony in court and his sworn statement, [35] executed during the
preliminary examination conducted by Judge Ananson E. Jayme on July 15, 1991, at the 1 st Municipal Circuit
Trial Court of Pamplona-Amlan-San Jose, Negros Oriental.
In his sworn statement, Magno narrated that both appellants hacked Alicia Catipay first and that Santiago
was attacked after he attempted to save his wife. Magno declared that Santiago attempted to run away but
he was chased and was overtaken and was hacked by both accused. Magno also claimed that appellants tried
to hack him after they had hacked Santiago. Magno said,
Q

How did the hacking incident happen?


A

At first, it was Alicia who was hacked and followed by stabbing immediately Santiago was
also hacked and when he attempted to flee by crossing the [waterway] both accused stabbed
Santiago and he fell to the river.

When Alicia Catipay was hacked was she hit?

Yes.

What part of her body was hit?

On [the] left side of her ear.

And who hacked her?

Both accused hacked her.

And who stabbed Alicia Catipay?

[Jovenal] Omatang.

Was Alicia Catipay hit?

Yes.

What part of her body was hit?

At the stomach.
Q

Bolo.
Q

You said both accused hacked Alicia Catipay first, what did Santiago Catipay do?

He attempted to save his wife and instead he was hacked.


Q

What weapon did Jovenal Omatang use in hacking and stabbing Alicia Catipay?

You said Santiago Catipay was hit what part of his body was hit when he was hacked by the
accused?

He was hit on his arm.

After he was hit on his arm what did he do?

He attempted to run away but he was chased.

Did Santiago Catipay succeed in escaping?

No, he was overtaken and was hacked by both accused.


Q

When [Santiago] was overtaken by the accused what part of his body was hit when he was
hacked?

I know he was hit but I do not know what part of his body was hit.
Q

When both accused hacked and stabbed Santiago Catipay while running, what happened to
Santiago Catipay?

He fell to the edge of the river.

When Santiago Catipay fell to the water, what did the accused do?

They also hacked me but I ran away.[36]

On the witness stand, however, Magno gave a different version of how the murders happened. Magno
testified at direct examination that only appellant Calumpang hacked Santiago and that Alicia was hacked
only by appellant Omatang. More important, he averred that the victims were attacked simultaneously.
Magno testified:
Q

According to you, Santiago Catipay and Alicia Catipay were quarreled by Rico Calumpang and
Jovenal Omatang. How was Santiago Catipay quarreled?

He was hacked at the head.

Who hacked him at the head?

Rico Calumpang.

What did Rico Calumpang use in hacking Santiago Catipay?

A bolo.

How many times did Rico Calumpang hack Santiago Catipay?

Santiago Catipay was stabbed once and he was hacked also once.
Q

Head.
Q

And where was Santiago Catipay hit by the hacking of Rico Calumpang?

Will you please point to the portion where Santiago Catipay was hit by the hacking of Rico
Calumpang?

Witness pointing at the left side of his head.

And according to you, he was also stabbed by Rico Calumpang, where was Santiago Catipay hit
by the stabbing?

Here witness pointing to this abdomen which is the lower part on the right side to the breast.
. . .

You testified that Alicia was killed, how was she killed?

She [was] hacked and stabbed.

Who hacked and stabbed her?

It was Jovenal Omatang.


Q

According to you Alicia Catipay was hacked and stabbed by Jovenal Omatang, was Alicia hit by
the hacking of Jovenal Omatang?

Yes, she was hit.


. . .
Q

Was the attack of Santiago Catipay by Rico Calumpang and the attack of Jovenal Omatang on
Alicia Catipay simultaneous or they were hacking and stabbing almost at the same time by
these two accused performing their own individual acts? (sic)

Yes, it was simultaneous.


Q

After seeing Santiago Catipay hacked and stabbed by Rico Calumpang and Alicia Catipay
hacked and stabbed by Jovenal Omatang, what did you do?

I ran.

You ran after they were killed or they were still under attack?

They were still attacking when I ran away.[37]

Magno never said that appellants also tried to hack him and even claimed that they were still hacking the
victims when he ran away. Magno also never mentioned that Santiago tried to save his wife or that Santiago
was chased or even that Santiago tried to run. In fact, during cross-examination, he averred that he never
saw Santiago run away. Magno testified,
Q

During that hacking of Santiago Catipay, was Santiago Catipay able to run?

I do not know whether he was able to run or not. What I saw is that he was hacked and
stabbed.

And you are very sure of that, Mr. Gomez, that you did not see Santiago Catipay run?

That is what I can say. What I saw was he was hacked and stabbed. After that, I ran away.

That is why you told this Honorable Court that you did not see Santiago Catipay run when he
was being hacked and stabbed by Rico Calumpang?

Regarding that question, what I can say is that I saw the hacking and stabbing incident. After
that, I ran away.[38]

Generally, an affidavit, being taken ex parte, is considered almost always incomplete and often
inaccurate or lacking in details and is deemed inferior to the testimony given in open court. Jurisprudence,
however, forewarns that when serious and inexplicable discrepancies exist between a previously executed
sworn statement of a witness and his testimonial declarations, with respect to a persons participation in a
serious imputation such as murder, there is raised a grave doubt on the veracity of the witness account. [39]
The trial court believed that Magnos accusations against appellants are true, basing on the fact that
Magno was able to testify on direct examination as to the precise location of the hack wound on Santiagos
head and the stab wound on his abdomen. [40] But the court failed to consider that at the preliminary
examination, barely a day after the incident, Magno was asked the same questions asked in court, but could
not even recall where Santiago was hit when appellants hacked him. No explanation was given how Magno
was able to supply during the trial the precise location of Santiagos wounds 19 months after the incident. [41]
Similarly, several portions of Magnos testimony are unworthy of belief. There seems to be no explanation
as to why appellants ignored Magno and did not chase him [42] considering that he was only five feet away
when he allegedly got an unobstructed view of appellants murdering the spouses. Likewise, it makes no
sense why, if it were true that he was running away for fear that appellants might also attack him, Magno
chose to run only a short distance of only 50 meters, and while still unsure that appellants did in fact not run
after him, Magno took the time to stop by Alexander Ebiass house, called out to Alexander, asked for some
dried coconut leaves, and made a torch to light his path. Magnos actions were certainly not the actions of
someone seeking to avoid peril to his life. The lighted torch and the noise he made calling out to Alexander
would have revealed his location to the very people he said he was running from. Magnos claim that he
intended to go to the authorities and report that he saw appellants kill the spouses is far from credible,
considering that he did not do so, even for the sake of exonerating himself right away when members of the
Philippine Army arrested him for questioning. Well settled is the rule that evidence to be believed must not
only proceed from the mouth of a credible witness, but must be credible in itselfsuch as the common
experience and observation of mankind can approve as probable under the circumstances. [43]
Finally, no convincing proof could show that appellants had any reason to kill Santiago and Alicia in cold
blood. As the OSG points out, the supposed grudge, which Magno claimed could have motivated appellants
to kill the spouses, is too flimsy to be believed. It is highly improbable that appellants would murder the
spouses because Santiago had offered appellants a glass of beer and they refused him. [44] If anybody should
harbor a grudge from such an incident, it should have been Santiago whose offer appellants refused. But
there is no evidence of any grudge between Santiago and the appellants, and as Magno testified, Santiago
simply drank the glass of beer himself.[45]
Appellants defense of alibi was indeed weak, since their alibis were corroborated only by their relatives
and friends, and it was not shown that it was impossible for them to be at the place of the incident. However,
the rule that an accused must satisfactorily prove his alibi was never intended to change or shift the burden
of proof in criminal cases. It is basic that the prosecution evidence must stand or fall on its own weight and
cannot draw strength from the weakness of the defense. [46] Unless the prosecution overturns the
constitutional presumption of innocence of an accused by competent and credible evidence proving his guilt
beyond reasonable doubt, the presumption remains. [47] There being no sufficient evidence beyond reasonable
doubt pointing to appellants as the perpetrators of the crime, appellants presumed innocence stands.
WHEREFORE, the decision dated November 29, 2002, of the Regional Trial Court of Dumaguete City,
Branch 36, in Criminal Case No. 10152 is REVERSED. Appellants Rico Calumpang and Jovenal Omatang are
ACQUITTED on reasonable doubt. They are ordered released from custody immediately, unless they are being
lawfully held for another cause.

The Director of the Bureau of Corrections is directed to implement this Decision and to report to this
Court the action taken hereon within five (5) days from receipt hereof.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 152807

August 12, 2003

HEIRS OF LOURDES SAEZ SABANPAN: BERNARDO S. SABANPAN, RENE S. SABANPAN, DANILO S.


SABANPAN and THELMA S. CHU; HEIRS OF ADOLFO SAEZ: MA. LUISA SAEZ TAPIZ, MA. VICTORIA
SAEZ LAPITAN, MA. BELEN SAEZ and EMMANUEL SAEZ; and HEIRS OF CRISTINA SAEZ GUTIERREZ:
ROY SAEZ GUTIERREZ and LUIS SAEZ JR., petitioners,
vs.
ALBERTO C. COMORPOSA, HERDIN C. COMORPOSA, OFELIA C. ARIEGO,1 REMEDIOS COMORPOSA,
VIRGILIO A. LARIEGO,1a BELINDA M. COMORPOSA and ISABELITA H. COMORPOSA, respondents.
PANGANIBAN, J.:
The admissibility of evidence should be distinguished from its probative value. Just because a piece of
evidence is admitted does not ipso facto mean that it conclusively proves the fact in dispute.
The Case
Before us is a Petition for Review2 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, seeking to set aside the August 7, 2001
Decision and the February 27, 2002 Resolution of the Court of Appeals 3 (CA) in CA-GR SP No. 60645. The
dispositive portion of the assailed Decision reads as follows:
"WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the Court hereby AFFIRMS the Decision dated 22 June 2000
rendered by Branch 18 of the Regional Trial Court of Digos, Davao del Sur, REVERSING and SETTING
ASIDE the Decision of the Municipal Trial Court of Sta. Cruz, Davao del Su[r]." 4
The assailed Resolution5 denied petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration.
The Facts
The CA summarized the factual antecedents of the case as follows:
"A [C]omplaint for unlawful detainer with damages was filed by [petitioners] against [respondents]
before the Santa Cruz, Davao del Sur Municipal Trial Court.
"The [C]omplaint alleged that Marcos Saez was the lawful and actual possessor of Lot No. 845, Land
275 located at Darong, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur with an area of 1.2 hectares. In 1960, he died leaving
all his heirs, his children and grandchildren.
"In 1965, Francisco Comorposa who was working in the land of Oboza was terminated from his job.
The termination of his employment caused a problem in relocating his house. Being a close family
friend of [Marcos] Saez, Francisco Comorposa approached the late Marcos Saez's son, [Adolfo] Saez,
the husband of Gloria Leano Saez, about his problem. Out of pity and for humanitarian consideration,
Adolfo allowed Francisco Comorposa to occupy the land of Marcos Saez. Hence, his nipa hut was
carried by his neighbors and transferred to a portion of the land subject matter of this case. Such

transfer was witnessed by several people, among them, Gloria Leano and Noel Oboza. Francisco
Comorposa occupied a portion of Marcos Saez' property without paying any rental.
"Francisco Comorposa left for Hawaii, U.S.A. He was succeeded in his possession by the respondents
who likewise did not pay any rental and are occupying the premises through petitioners' tolerance.
"On 7 May 1998, a formal demand was made upon the respondents to vacate the premises but the
latter refused to vacate the same and claimed that they [were] the legitimate claimants and the
actual and lawful possessor[s] of the premises. A [C]omplaint was filed with the barangay office of Sta.
Cruz[,] Davao del Sur, but the parties failed to arrive at an amicable settlement. Thus, the
corresponding Certificate to File Action was issued by the said barangay and an action for unlawful
detainer was filed by petitioners against respondents.
"Respondents, in their Answer, denied the material allegations of the [C]omplaint and alleged that
they entered and occupied the premises in their own right as true, valid and lawful claimants,
possessors and owners of the said lot way back in 1960 and up to the present time; that they have
acquired just and valid ownership and possession of the premises by ordinary or extraordinary
prescription, and that the Regional Director of the DENR, Region XI has already upheld their
possession over the land in question when it ruled that they [were] the rightful claimants and
possessors and [were], therefore, entitled to the issuance of a title.
"The Municipal Trial Court of Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur rendered judgment in favor of petitioners but the
Regional Trial Court of Digos, Davao del Sur, on appeal, reversed and set aside the said decision. x x
x"6
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
Affirming the Regional Trial Court (RTC), the CA upheld the right of respondents as claimants and possessors.
The appellate court held that -- although not yet final -- the Order issued by the regional executive director of
the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) remained in full force and effect, unless
declared null and void. The CA added that the Certification issued by the DENR's community environment and
natural resources (CENR) officer was proof that when the cadastral survey was conducted, the land was still
alienable and was not yet allocated to any person.
According to the CA, respondents had the better right to possess alienable and disposable land of the public
domain, because they have sufficiently proven their actual, physical, open, notorious, exclusive, continuous
and uninterrupted possession thereof since 1960. The appellate court deemed as self-serving, and therefore
incredible, the Affidavits executed by Gloria Leano Saez, Noel Oboza and Paulina Paran.
Hence, this Petition.7
The Issue
In their Memorandum, petitioners raise the following issues for the Court's consideration:
"I
Did the Court of Appeals gravely abuse its discretion and [err] in sustaining the ruling of the Regional
Trial Court giving credence to the Order dated 2 April 1998 issued by the regional executive director?
"II

Did the Court of Appeals gravely abuse its discretion and err in sustaining the Regional Trial Court's
ruling giving weight to the CENR Officer's Certification, which only bears the facsimile of the alleged
signature of a certain Jose F. Tagorda and, [worse], it is a new matter raised for the first time on
appeal?
"III
Did the Court of Appeals gravely abuse its discretion and err in holding that the land subject matter of
this case has been acquired by means of adverse possession and prescription?
"IV
Did the Court of Appeals gravely abuse its discretion, and err in declaring that, 'neither is there error
on the part of the Regional Trial Court, when it did not give importance to the affidavits by Gloria
Leano Saez, Noel [Oboza], and Paulina Paran for allegedly being self serving?'" 8
To facilitate the discussion, the fourth and the third issues shall be discussed in reverse sequence.
The Court's Ruling
The Petition has no merit.
First Issue:
The DENR Order of April 2, 1998
Petitioners claim that the reliance of the CA upon the April 2, 1998 Order issued by the regional director of
the DENR was erroneous. The reason was that the Order, which had upheld the claim of respondents, was
supposedly not yet final and executory. Another Order dated August 23, 1999, 9 issued later by the DENR
regional director, allegedly held in abeyance the effectivity of the earlier one.
Under the Public Land Act,10 the management and the disposition of public land is under the primary control
of the director of lands11 (now the director of the Lands Management Bureau or LMB),12 subject to review by
the DENR secretary.13 As a rule, then, courts have no jurisdiction to intrude upon matters properly falling
within the powers of the LMB.
The powers given to the LMB and the DENR to alienate and dispose of public land does not, however, divest
regular courts of jurisdiction over possessory actions instituted by occupants or applicants to protect their
respective possessions and occupations.14 The power to determine who has actual physical possession or
occupation of public land and who has the better right of possession over it remains with the courts. 15 But
once the DENR has decided, particularly through the grant of a homestead patent and the issuance of a
certificate of title, its decision on these points will normally prevail. 16
Therefore, while the issue as to who among the parties are entitled to a piece of public land remains pending
with the DENR, the question of recovery of possession of the disputed property is a matter that may be
addressed to the courts.
Second Issue:
CENR Officer's Certification
Petitioners contend that the CENR Certification dated July 22, 1997 is a sham document, because the
signature of the CENR officer is a mere facsimile. In support of their argument, they cite Garvida v. Sales
Jr.17 and argue that the Certification is a new matter being raised by respondents for the first time on appeal.

We are not persuaded.


In Garvida, the Court held:
"A facsimile or fax transmission is a process involving the transmission and reproduction of printed
and graphic matter by scanning an original copy, one elemental area at a time, and representing the
shade or tone of each area by a specified amount of electric current. x x x" 18
Pleadings filed via fax machines are not considered originals and are at best exact copies. As such, they are
not admissible in evidence, as there is no way of determining whether they are genuine or authentic. 19
The Certification, on the other hand, is being contested for bearing a facsimile of the signature of CENR
Officer Jose F. Tagorda. The facsimile referred to is not the same as that which is alluded to in Garvida. The
one mentioned here refers to a facsimile signature, which is defined as a signature produced by mechanical
means but recognized as valid in banking, financial, and business transactions. 20
Note that the CENR officer has not disclaimed the Certification. In fact, the DENR regional director has
acknowledged and used it as reference in his Order dated April 2, 1998:
"x x x. CENR Officer Jose F. Tagorda, in a 'CERTIFICATION' dated 22 July 1997, certified among others,
that: x x x per records available in his Office, x x x the controverted lot x x x was not allocated to any
person x x x."21
If the Certification were a sham as petitioner claims, then the regional director would not have used it as
reference in his Order. Instead, he would have either verified it or directed the CENR officer to take the
appropriate action, as the latter was under the former's direct control and supervision.
Petitioners' claim that the Certification was raised for the first time on appeal is incorrect. As early as the
pretrial conference at the Municipal Trial Court (MTC), the CENR Certification had already been marked as
evidence for respondents as stated in the Pre-trial Order.22 The Certification was not formally offered,
however, because respondents had not been able to file their position paper.
Neither the rules of procedure23 nor jurisprudence24 would sanction the admission of evidence that has not
been formally offered during the trial. But this evidentiary rule is applicable only to ordinary trials, not to
cases covered by the rule on summary procedure -- cases in which no full-blown trial is held. 25
Third Issue:
Affidavit of Petitioners' Witnesses
Petitioners assert that the CA erred in disregarding the Affidavits of their witnesses, insisting that the Rule on
Summary Procedure authorizes the use of affidavits. They also claim that the failure of respondents to file
their position paper and counter-affidavits before the MTC amounts to an admission by silence.
The admissibility of evidence should not be confused with its probative value. Admissibility refers to the
question of whether certain pieces of evidence are to be considered at all, while probative value refers to the
question of whether the admitted evidence proves an issue.26 Thus, a particular item of evidence may be
admissible, but its evidentiary weight depends on judicial evaluation within the guidelines provided by the
rules of evidence.27
While in summary proceedings affidavits are admissible as the witnesses' respective testimonies, the failure
of the adverse party to reply does not ipso facto render the facts, set forth therein, duly proven. Petitioners
still bear the burden of proving their cause of action, because they are the ones asserting an affirmative
relief.28

Fourth Issue:
Defense of Prescription
Petitioners claim that the court a quo erred in upholding the defense of prescription proffered by respondents.
It is the former's contention that since the latter's possession of the land was merely being tolerated, there
was no basis for the claim of prescription. We disagree.
For the Court to uphold the contention of petitioners, they have first to prove that the possession of
respondents was by mere tolerance. The only pieces of evidence submitted by the former to support their
claim were a technical description and a vicinity map drawn in accordance with the survey dated May 22,
1936.29 Both of these were discredited by the CENR Certification, which indicated that the contested lot had
not yet been allocated to any person when the survey was conducted. 30 The testimony of petitioners'
witnesses alone cannot prevail over respondents' continued and uninterrupted possession of the subject lot
for a considerable length of time.
Furthermore, this is an issue of fact that cannot, as a rule, be raised in a petition for review under Rule 45. 31
WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 142856-57. August 25, 2003]


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. ROBERTO NEGOSA alias JOVIN, appellant.
DECISION
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
Before us on automatic review is the Decision [1] of the Regional Trial Court of Camiguin, Branch 28,
convicting the appellant Roberto Negosa alias Jovin of rape in Criminal Case No. 918, and sentencing him to
the supreme penalty of death; and convicting the said appellant guilty of acts of lasciviousness in Criminal
Case No. 919, and sentencing him to an indeterminate penalty of six months of arresto mayor maximum, as
minimum, four years and two months of prision correccional medium, as maximum. The appellant was also
ordered to pay the victim Gretchen Castao the sum of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity ex delicto in Criminal
Case No. 918, and the amount of P25,000.00 in Criminal Case No. 919.
In Criminal Case No. 918, the Information filed against the appellant reads:
That on or about June 28, 1997 at 9:00 oclock in the morning more or less, at their residence, in Bura,
Catarman, Camiguin, Philippines, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused,
stepfather of the victim and resident of Bura, Catarman, Camiguin, employing force and intimidation upon the
victim, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have sexual intercourse with one Gretchen
Castao, who was ten years old at the time of the commission of the crime.
CONTRARY to law and in violation of Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code. [2]
The said appellant was charged with the same felony in Criminal Case No. 919 under an Information
which reads:

That on or about September 4, 1998 at 10:00 oclock in the morning more or less, at their residence in Bura,
Catarman, Camiguin, Philippines, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused,
stepfather of the victim and resident of Bura, Catarman, Camiguin, employing force and intimidation upon the
victim, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have sexual intercourse with one Gretchen
Castao, who was eleven years old at the time of the commission of the crime.
CONTRARY to law and in violation of Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code. [3]
The appellant, assisted by counsel, was arraigned in both cases on April 8, 1999, and entered a plea of
not guilty to both charges.
The Case for the Prosecution
Living as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage, [4] Senador Acosta and Cenilda Castao had a
daughter Gretchen Castao who was born on May 26, 1986. [5] However, Senador and Cenilda fell out of love for
each other and went their separate ways, with Cenilda having to keep their daughter Gretchen.
Thereafter, Cenilda met the appellant who himself was also separated from his erstwhile wife, Tonia Gokong, with whom he had four children namely, Levy, 19; Sammy, 18; Ruel, 16; and Sheila, 13. [6] Sometime in
1992, Cenilda and the appellant decided to live together in Bura, Catarman, Camiguin. Cenilda entrusted
Gretchen to the care of her parents who also resided in Bura, Catarman, Camiguin. [7] In 1996, Gretchen
eventually joined her mother and the appellant. [8] Gretchen was then enrolled in Grade IV at the Bura
Elementary School. In the meantime, Cenilda gave birth to a son, Ronel (Dodong), fathered by the appellant.
When school year 1997-1998 started, Gretchen went to live with her mothers sister, Elsita Rabongue, in
Lawigan, Catarman, Camiguin. She enrolled in Grade V at the Lawigan Elementary School, but went home
every Saturday in Bura to visit her mother.[9]
June 28, 1997, a Saturday, [10] was the eve of the fiesta in Sitio Lumad, Bura, Catarman. Cenilda went to
Catarman to buy some items to sell during the fiesta the next day. Gretchen and the appellant were left in the
house. He asked Gretchen to get some liniment for him and Gretchen did as she was told. When Gretchen
was about to hand over the liniment to the appellant, he suddenly held her hand, pulled her towards himself
and made her lie down on the floor. The appellant pulled down and removed her shorts and panties, after
which, he also removed his shorts and underwear. Placing himself on top of Gretchen, Roberto inserted his
aroused phallus into her vagina. Gretchen felt excruciating pain but was too afraid to cry for help, for fear
that the appellant would harm her, as he used to whenever he was angry at her.[11] The appellant pulled out
his penis after having ejaculated. Gretchen felt a sticky substance flowing on the periphery of her vagina
which the appellant wiped off.He warned Gretchen not to tell her mother what he had done to her.
[12]
Gretchen kept the harrowing experience to herself because she was afraid that her mother would side with
the appellant if she found out what happened. Every now and then the appellant abused her sexually but she
did not tell her mother about it. However, she revealed her ordeal to some of her close friends in school, like
Germalin Bacorro, Rogelyn Madale, Recheney Pole, Corazon Apal, Mary Ann Ihong and Greta Bacorro. [13]
The following school year, 1998-1999, Gretchen went back to Bura and lived with the appellant and her
mother Cenilda. She was enrolled as a Grade VI pupil at the Bura Elementary School. [14] Gretchen decided to
record her ordeal at the hands of the appellant in the pages of a notebook. Recalling the sexual abuse she
suffered on June 28, 1997, Gretchen wrote on September 2, 1998, thus:
Gretchen Castao
I am Gretchen Castao, nicknamed Belen. My mother is Nenil and my father is Mador but they are separated
and her live-in partner now is Oben together with my brother Dodong.

This Oben is my step-father. One day during the fiesta of Lumad, a Saturday year 1997 my mother was in
Catarman and while she was there he raped me; first he asked me to get haplas (a liniment) then he
immediately held my hand and pulled me and let me lie down and he started to rape me. After that he
warned me not to tell my mother and because of fear I did not report; after that he always abused me when
my mother was out or when we are alone with Dodong only. But he does not do it when Dodong is still awake.
This incident is known by my female classmates Germelyn or Dayet, Roselyn, Retchale or Cheche, Cristi
(illegible), Charry me and Oben.[15]
My Secrets
Sep. (sic) 2, 1998
My mother got married to another man and my father was the second partner of mom and they resided and
brought me to Bura. My mother again left for Bukidnon. I was still very young and do not know my father and
mother and I stayed with nanay (mother) and they let me study until I reached third grade. During the fiesta
of Bura my mother returned home. I was still young and not familiar with her and she again left; thereafter
she again came back, this time bringing with her a male partner named Oben. Later they were able to buy a
house and we transferred there. A few days later during the fiesta of Lumad, a Saturday 1997, my mother
went to Catarman to buy some stuff to be sold during the fiesta of Lumad and the only ones left in our house
was Oben and myself; and he asked me to get a liniment (haplas). When it was handed to him, he
immediately held my hand and let me lie down and he rape me. After that he warned me not to tell anyone
and I never told my mother.[16]
because of fear; after that he repeatedly molested knowing that I did not tell my mother although I told some
of my female classmates. Others I did not tell.
Sgd. Gretchen Castao
And I thought now of starting making notes of what he did to me.
In the morning of September 4, 1998, Gretchen was wearing a pair of loose short pants and was looking
after her sleeping baby brother, Ronel. The appellant grabbed and caressed her. He started kissing her neck
and shoulder. He then mashed her prepubescent breasts. Not contented, the appellant slapped her. She
wrote the incident in the notebook:
Friday 10:30 date: 4th day, he sucked my breast and fondled it and he abused me slightly after that he
slapped me. I came from Catarman because I bought poultry feeds and my mother was searching for
coconuts.[17]
Gretchen tore off the pages and hid them. She inserted her diary in a notebook and placed it with her
things.
On September 9, 1998, at around 4:30 p.m., Gretchen had just arrived home from school. Her
grandmother asked her to buy rice in a nearby store. She left her school things in her grandmothers house
and proceeded to the store.[18] Her auntie, Josilyn Estaciones,[19] saw Gretchens things and decided to read the
notebooks to find out how her niece was doing in school. [20] Upon opening one of the notebooks, the torn
pages of Gretchens diary fell. Josilyn read the torn pages and was appalled to discover that the appellant had
been sexually abusing Gretchen.
When Gretchen returned from the store, Josilyn confronted her about the notes, and asked whether the
entries therein were all true. Gretchen admitted the veracity of what she had written. Josilyn immediately
informed her parents, brothers and sisters about Gretchens revelation. They decided not to tell Cenilda what

had happened to her daughter as she might get angry and cause trouble in their house. Without Cenildas
knowledge, they brought Gretchen to a doctor for physical examination. [21]
Dr. Wilfredo T.E. Dublin, Jr. examined Gretchen at the Catarman District Hospital on September 14, 1998.
He forthwith issued a Certificate of Treatment/ Confinement[22] quoted as follows:
CERTIFICATE OF TREATMENT/CONFINEMENT
00019
Record Number
September 14, 1998
Date
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
THIS IS TO CERTIFY that MISS GRETCHEN CASTAO, 12 years old, female, child, a resident of Bura, Catarman,
Camiguin, was seen and examined by the undersigned on September 14, 1998 for an alleged sexual abuse.
Pertinent Physical Examination Findings:
Skin : (-) hematoma, (-) abrasions
Breast : (-) hematoma, (-) abrasions
GUT : Hymen not intact, (+) abrasion left labia minora (8 oclock position);vaginal opening 6 mm.
Speculum exam: (+) bloody discharge at cervical os, (+) abrasion upper cervical lip
IMPRESSION: Sexual abuse child molestation and sexual intercourse.
This certification is being issued at the request of SPO4 Teodomiro G. Dayo for filing criminal complaint
against the respondent.
(SGD.) DR. WILFREDO T.E. DUBLIN, JR., M.D.
Medical Officer IV
License No. 085551
Thereafter, two criminal complaints for rape were filed against the appellant with the Municipal Circuit
Trial Court for preliminary examination. Finding a prima faciecase against the appellant for two counts of
statutory rape, the record of the case was forwarded to the Provincial Prosecutors Office for the filing of the
appropriate Informations in court.[23] Consequently, two Informations[24] for statutory rape were filed with the
RTC.
The Evidence of the Appellant
The appellant denied having raped Gretchen. He interposed the defense of alibi. He testified that he was
self-employed and raised fighting cocks. At around 8:00 a.m. on June 28, 1997, he left the house for Sitio
Lumad, to help Tado Calustre butcher a pig in preparation for the fiesta. At that time, he was with Bulao

Castao, Ruben Castao, and Tados son-in-law. The group also butchered a goat for an hour or so. Thereafter,
they had a drinking spree until 1:00 p.m. When he got home, he saw only his live-in partner, Cenilda. He had
not seen Gretchen that day since she was in Lawigan with her aunt Elsita. [25]
When confronted by Cenilda about what happened on September 4, 1998, the appellant admitted that he
attempted to have carnal knowledge with Gretchen, but desisted when he realized that he would be
committing a sin. He testified that he could have easily consummated the dastardly act since Gretchen could
not have resisted him.[26] He admitted that a year before, he had spanked Gretchen for not helping in the
household chores. However, he also admitted that there was no reason for Gretchen to fabricate the charges
against him.[27]
Gretchens mother Cenilda testified for the appellant. She testified that she was at home on June 28,
1997. Gretchen did not go to their house in Bura. At 8:00 a.m., the appellant left and went to the house of
Tado Calustre. He returned home at 1:00 p.m. On September 4, 1998, Cenilda was at home washing their
dirty laundry and had not noticed anything unusual that had happened between Gretchen and the appellant.
Gretchen was taking care of her younger brother Ronel, while the appellant was taking care of his fighting
cocks in front of their yard. However, Cenilda admitted that the appellant asked for her forgiveness for
attempting to rape Gretchen on September 4, 1998. [28] He told her that it was the devils act (sic) that I chose
(sic). He told her that he desisted because he remembered God.
The appellants counsel planned to call Tado Calustre to the witness stand to corroborate the appellants
testimony. However, his counsel, upon meeting with Tado Calustre, found that the latter had asked the
appellant to butcher a pig in 1996, and not in 1997 as the appellant claimed.
On March 2, 2000, the trial court rendered judgment finding the appellant guilty of rape in Criminal Case
No. 918 and imposed upon him the supreme penalty of death, and found him guilty only of acts of
lasciviousness in Criminal Case No. 919:
WHEREFORE, finding the accused Roberto Negosa y Redondo of Rape as charged in Criminal Case No. 918,
and of Acts of Lasciviousness, instead of Rape in Criminal Case No. 919, engendered by proof beyond
reasonable doubt, the Court hereby strikes a verdict of conviction and accordingly sentences him, Roberto
Negosa y Redondo, to suffer the penalty of death in Criminal Case No. 918, and in Criminal Case No. 919 the
penalty of imprisonment for an indeterminate period of from 6 months of arresto mayor maximum, as
minimum, to 4 years and 2 months of prision correccional medium, as maximum. The said accused is ordered
to pay the victim, Gretchen Castao, in the amount of P50,000.00 in Criminal Case No. 918, and the amount of
P25,000.00 in Criminal Case No. 919.
SO ORDERED.[29]
The appellant did not file any notice of appeal from the decision of the trial court in Criminal Case No.
919.
In his brief, the appellant assails the decision of the trial court contending that:
I
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN GIVING CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONY OF THE VICTIM DESPITE THE LONG
DELAY IN REPORTING THE INCIDENT OF RAPE ESPECIALLY WHEN THERE IS NO SHOWING THAT THE DELAY
WAS DUE TO THREATS ON HER LIFE OR DUE TO THE MORAL ASCENDANCY OF THE ACCUSED OVER THE
COMPLAINANT.
II

THE LOWER COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE
DOUBT OF THE CRIME CHARGED.
III
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPRECIATING THE AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCE OF STEPFATHERSTEPDAUGHTER RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE ACCUSED AND COMPLAINANT AS ALLEGED IN THE
INFORMATION WHEN THE ACCUSED IS NOT LEGALLY MARRIED TO COMPLAINANTS MOTHER. [30]
Anent the first and second assigned errors, the appellant asserts that Gretchens testimony is incredible;
hence, has no probative weight. She never divulged the sexual assault by the appellant to her mother, or to
her aunts Elsita Rabongue and Josilyn Estaciones for that matter. Although Gretchen told some of her
classmates of her harrowing experience, it was unnatural for her to keep it from her mother and her aunts,
who were in a better position to help her. He contends that the victims failure to report the rape incident
would have been understandable if he had threatened to inflict bodily harm on her. However, there is no
evidence on record that he had so threatened the victim. There is likewise no evidence that the victim
attempted to resist the appellants alleged sexual advances.
The trial court also erred when it relied on the victims account of events as contained in her diary. The
victims notes were entered only on September 2, 1998, more than a year after the appellant had allegedly
abused her on June 28, 1997.
The testimony of the victim is even inconsistent on material points. She testified on direct examination
that the penis of the appellant was able to penetrate her vagina on September 4, 1998. However, on cross
examination, she testified that she and the appellant were wearing short pants and underwear. It was
physically impossible for his penis to penetrate her vagina. Even the trial court did not believe her testimony
and convicted him only of acts of lasciviousness in Criminal Case No. 919. Moreover, the victim claimed that
she was raped by the appellant on June 28, 1997. Despite this, she still agreed to live with the appellant and
her mother. It is incredible that Gretchen would continue to live with the appellant even after the latter had
been sexually abusing her as she intractably claimed.
The contentions of the appellant do not persuade. It bears stressing that Gretchen was only in Grade V,
barely eleven years old when the appellant raped her on June 28, 1997. At such a tender age, still
inexperienced in the vagaries of life, she could not be expected to act and react like an adult. Being subjected
to a vicious sexual assault was an emotional and psychological experience on the part of the young victim.
In People v. Aquino,[31] this Court held that the range of emotions shown by rape victims is yet to be captured
even by calculus. It is thus unrealistic to expect information from rape victims. [32]
This Court has repeatedly ruled that "the workings of the human mind placed under a great deal of
emotional and psychological stress are unpredictable, and different people react differently. There is no
standard form of human behavioral response when one is confronted with a strange, startling, frightful or
traumatic experience -some may shout, some may faint, and some may be shocked into
insensibility."[33] Some may choose to keep to themselves the harrowing and debilitating experience rather
than suffer the embarrassment, humiliation and ostracization from relatives after divulging the terrible secret.
In this case, the evidence on record shows that the victim was the secretive and silent type, who chose not to
confide in her relatives.[34]
The appellants assertion that he never threatened nor intimidated the victim and, as such, is not
criminally liable for statutory rape, is unbelievable.
First. Gretchen testified that she was afraid to resist or to shout because on prior occasions, the appellant
intimidated her by stepping on her feet:

Q At about 10:00 oclock in the morning, more or less, of June 28, 1997, can you inform us if there were
unusual incidents that happened?
A Yes, sir.
Q Please tell the Court what is that unusual incident?
A I was rape (sic) by my stepfather.
Q Can you inform this Honorable Court how did your stepfather, the accused in this case, rape you?
A At first I was requested by my stepfather to get some leniment (sic) for massage. And when I returned I was
suddenly pulled my hand was suddenly pulled that made me lay down, and when I was already on the floor,
he removed by short pants and panty.
Q What did you do next after he removed your short pants and panties?
A He also removed his short pants and brief.
Q What did he do next after removing his short pants and brief?
A He put himself on top of me and he inserted his penis to my organ.
Q And, what did you feel?
A I felt so much pain.
Q What did you do, if any. Did you not shout?
A No, sir.
Q Why did you not shout?
A Because I am (sic) afraid that he will harm me.
Q Why, was there any occasion that he harmed you?
A Yes, sir.
Q How did he harm you?
A He stepped me with his feet.
Q When you, according to you, his penis was inserted into your vagina, did he succeed inserting his
penis?
A Yes, sir.[35]
Second. In her diary, Gretchen wrote that the appellant warned her not to tell her mother that he had
raped her. This Court ruled that it is not uncommon for a young girl of tender age to be intimidated into
silence by the mildest threat against her life.[36]

Furthermore, the fact that Gretchen started making entries in her diary only on September 2, 1998, more
than a year after the first rape incident occurred (June 28, 1997), does not lessen the probative weight of the
said entries.
Third. Even assuming that the appellant did not threaten nor intimidate the victim, this, and the fact that
the latter agreed to live with her mother and her abuser, are purely inconsequential matters. This does not
affect the veracity of the victims testimony.
It bears stressing that when the appellant raped the victim, she was only eleven years old, and under
Article 335, paragraph 3 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, the appellant is
guilty of statutory rape. In statutory rape, the under twelve-year-old victim is conclusively presumed
incapable of giving consent to sexual intercourse with another. [37]
The trial court disbelieved Gretchens testimony that on September 4, 1998, the appellant managed to
insert a small portion of his penis through the side of his short pants and the side of the victims loose short
pants and convicted the appellant only of acts of lasciviousness. This, however, does not impair Gretchens
credibility and the probative weight of her testimony that she was raped by the appellant on June 28,
1997. In People vs. Lucena,[38] we ruled that the testimony of a witness may be partly believed or disbelieved,
depending on the corroborative evidence and intent on the part of the witness to pervert the truth. The
principleFALSUS IN UNO FALSUS IN OMNIBUS is not strictly applied in this jurisdiction.
The maxim falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus deals only with the weight of evidence and is not a positive rule of
law; the rule is not an inflexible one of universal application. Modern trend in jurisprudence favors more
flexibility when the testimony of a witness may be partly believed and partly disbelieved depending on the
corroborative evidence presented at the trial. Thus, where the challenged testimony is sufficiently
corroborated in its material points, or where the mistakes arise from innocent lapses and not from an
apparent desire to pervert the truth, the rule may be relaxed. It is a rule that is neither absolute nor
mandatory and binding upon the court, which may accept or reject portions of the witness testimony based
on its inherent credibility or on the corroborative evidence in the case.[39]
In this case, the trial court believed Gretchens testimony that the appellant inserted his penis through
the side of his short pants and the side of her loose shorts, but disbelieved that part of her testimony that a
small part of his penis was able to penetrate her vagina.[40]
There is no evidence that Gretchen intended to pervert the truth as to the extent of the sexual abuse
done to her on September 4, 1998. Neither can it be claimed that she prevaricated when she testified that
the appellant raped her on June 28, 1997.
The Proper Penalty for the Crime
We agree with the appellants contention that he is guilty only of simple statutory rape and not of rape in
its qualified form under Article 335, paragraph 3 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. The prosecution
was burdened to prove the allegation in the Information that the appellant was the stepfather of the victim.
However, the prosecution failed to prove the same. The evidence on record shows that the appellant was
merely the common-law husband of the victims mother. This special qualifying circumstance, that the
appellant was the common-law husband of the mother of the victim, was not alleged in the Information. Even
if such special qualifying circumstance was proved, it cannot be appreciated against the appellant in order to
qualify the crime; otherwise, the appellant would be deprived of his right to be informed of the charge lodged
against him. This was the ruling of the Court in People vs. Lizada,[41] thus:
We agree with the accused-appellant that he is guilty only of two counts of simple rape, instead of qualified
rape. The evidence on record shows that the accused-appellant is the common-law husband of Rose, the
mother of the private complainant. The private complainant, as of October 1998, was still 13 years old, and

under Article 335 as amended by Republic Act 7659, the minority of the private complainant, concurring with
the fact that the accused-appellant is the common-law husband of the victims mother, is a special qualifying
circumstance warranting the imposition of the death penalty. However, the said circumstance was not alleged
in the Informations as required by Section 8, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure which was
given retroactive effect by this Court because it is favorable to the accused. Hence, even if the prosecution
proved the special qualifying circumstance of minority of the private complainant and relationship, the
accused-appellant being the common-law husband of her mother, accused-appellant is guilty only of simple
rape. Under the given law, the penalty for simple rape is reclusion perpetua.[42]
Thus, the appellant is guilty only of simple statutory rape for which the imposable penalty is reclusion
perpetua under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Rep. Act No. 7659.
Civil Liabilities of the Appellant
The trial court directed the appellant to pay the victim the amount of P50,000. The court did not award
moral damages. The decision of the trial court shall, thus, be modified. The appellant is directed to pay the
victim the amount of P50,000 as civil indemnity and the amount of P50,000 as moral damages, conformably
to current jurisprudence.[43]
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Camiguin, Branch 28, in
Criminal Case No. 918 is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. The appellant Roberto Negosa alias Jovin is found
guilty of statutory rape under Article 335, paragraph 3 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Rep. Act
No. 7659, and is hereby sentenced to reclusion perpetua. The appellant is directed to pay the victim Gretchen
Castao the amount of P50,000 as civil indemnity ex delicto and P50,000 as moral damages. Costs against the
appellant.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 144405. February 24, 2004]

PEOPLE
OF
THE
PHILIPPINES, appellee,
FREDDIE, appellant.

vs. FERDINAND

MATITO Y TORRES,

A.K.A.

DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:
Circumstantial evidence, when demonstrated with clarity and forcefulness, may be the sole basis of a
criminal conviction. It cannot be overturned by bare denials or hackneyed alibis.

The Case
Ferdinand Matito y Torres alias Freddie appeals the June 20, 2000 Decision[1] of the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) of Malolos, Bulacan (Branch 12), in Criminal Case No. 240-M-99, finding him guilty of murder and
sentencing him to reclusion perpetua. The dispositive part of the Decision is worded thus:

WHEREFORE, finding herein accused Ferdinand Matito y Torres @ Freddie guilty as principal beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of murder as charged, there being no attendant mitigating or aggravating
circumstance in the commission thereof, [the Court hereby sentences him] to suffer the penalty of reclusion
perpetua, to indemnify the heirs of the deceased in the amount of P75,000.00, plus P100,000.00 as moral
damages subject to the appropriate filing fee as a first lien, and to pay the costs of the proceedings.
In the service of his prison term the accused, being a detention prisoner, shall be credited with the full time
during which he had undergone preventive imprisonment, pursuant to Art. 29 of the Revised Penal Code. [2]
The Information,[3] dated November 24, 1998, charged appellant as follows:
That on or about the 16th day of October, 1998, in the [M]unicipality of Paombong, province of Bulacan,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, armed with a
firearm and with intent to kill one Mariano Raymundo, Jr. did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously, with evident premeditation, treachery and taking advantage of night time attack, as[s]ault and
shoot with the said firearm the said Mariano Raymundo, Jr. hitting the latter on the different parts of his body,
thereby causing him serious physical injuries which directly caused his death. [4]
Upon his arraignment on February 5, 1999, [5] appellant, assisted by his counsel de parte,[6] pleaded not
guilty. After trial in due course, the court a quo rendered the assailed Decision.

The Facts
Version of the Prosecution
In its Brief, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) presents the prosecutions version of the facts as
follows:
On October 16, 1998, around 10:30 in the evening, in San Roque, Hagonoy, Bulacan, Filomena [7] Raymundo
heard gunshots just moments after her husband Mariano Raymundo, Jr. had stepped out of their house to go
to the backyard to attend to his quails. As the shots came from the direction where Mariano was, Filomena
rushed to the kitchen door and, upon opening it, saw Mariano who was about to come in. He was pressing his
hands on his shoulder which was bloodied and bleeding. Once inside the house, Filomena asked Mariano what
happened and who did it to him. Mariano replied: Binaril ako ni Pareng Freddie. Binaril ako ni Pareng Freddie.
Mariano pushed Filomena away from the door when she tried to look outside. Filomena again asked Mariano
who shot him, but Marianos voice by then was barely audible.
Filomena and her two (2) daughters whom she had awakened, called out to their neighbors for help. Mariano
was boarded on a tricycle and rushed to the Divine World Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Dr. Manuel Aves conducted an autopsy examination on the victim at the Hagonoy District Hospital. His
examination revealed that the victim sustained one (1) fatal wound on the right lateral neck at the area of the
carotid triangle; two (2) other wounds on the left shoulder and right hand. Dr. Aves placed the cause of death
to hypovolemic shock due to GSW, neck.
On the following day, the police invited appellant and his father for questioning and conducted paraffin tests
on them. Filomena identified them as the last persons with whom Mariano had a quarrel prior to his death.
On October 19, 1998, Teresita Manalo Lopez, Forensic Chemist of the PNP Crime Laboratory, Malolos, Bulacan,
submitted her report that the right hand cast of appellant was positive for powder nitrates.
While still alive, Mariano was a barangay tanod and the secretary of their neighborhood association. A month
prior to his death, Mariano cut the supply of water to the house of appellant for his failure to pay his water
bills for two (2) months. Also, Mariano had interceded for and on behalf of some neighbors who demanded
that appellant move his fence away from their walk path. Then, about 6:30 in the evening of October 16,
1998, Marlene Raymundo, a daughter of Mariano and Filomena, met appellant along the road. After asking
her where her father was, appellant cursed: Putang ina iyang Tatay mo. Yari sa akin iyang Tatay mo. Marlene
Raymundo observed that appellant was drunk and his eyes were red. [8](Citations omitted)

Version of the Defense


The defense narrates its version of the facts in this manner:
On the part of the accused, they presented as witness MR. CEFERINO GALVEZ, 44 years old, a third cousin of
the victim [M]ariano Raymundo, Jr. He testified that he came to know of the death of Mariano Raymundo, Jr.
through a neighbor and upon learning it went to his wake at Hangga, Hagonoy, Bulacan. While at this wake,
he came to have a conversation with the victims widow who told him that her husband was already dead and
was not able to say anything before he died since blood was already coming out through his nose and mouth.
On cross[-]examination, he testified that the accused is a nephew of his wife and during the time he went to
the wake of the victim, he saw many of their relatives. The accused, during that time was outside the yard.
Another witness for the defense is DR. MANUEL AVES who on direct examination testified that the victim
Mariano Raymundo, Jr. sustaine[d] three (3) gunshot wounds and the most fatal of which [was] the one that
[was] inflicted in the neck of the deceased. The said injury [was] a bloody one that it can block the air
passage of the victim making him unable to talk.
On cross[-]examination, the doctor testified that the injury of the victim affect[ed] the larynx which [was] so
severe that it [was] not possible that he [could] talk as his injury [was] in the neck. There [was] no possibility
that the victim [could] speak.
The accused himself, FERDINAND MATITO was placed on the witness stand and testified that he [was] the
accused in this case and that he kn[e]w the victim Mariano Raymundo, Jr. because his wife is his sons
godmother in his confirmation. He is also a neighbor, their r[e]sidence being almost 50 meters away from
each other, separated by about four houses. On October 16, 1998, between the hours of 10:00 oclock to
11:00 oclock in the evening, he was at home with his wife and his four (4) children. On that night, at about
past 8:00 oclock in the evening, after having dinner, his family went to bed. Between the hours of 1:00 to
2:00 oclock in the morning of the next day, they were awaken[ed] by two (2) policemen who [were] then with
his brother Aries Matito. The policemen told him that they need[ed] to talk to [him] about the killing that
happened that day and told [him] that his kumare told the policemen that we were the only ones that [had] a
fight/quarrel with her victim husband. He asked the policemen who is the kumare that they [were] talking
about and they told [him] that it [was] Felomena Raymundo. He told the policemen that he knew nothing
about the killing and he was in fact only awaken[ed] by them. The accused also denied the allegations
testified to by the victims daughter Marilyn and denied having said anything against the victim. In fact,
between the hours of 6:00 in the evening of October 16, 1996, he [was] already at home. He also denied the
allegations as testified to by the widow of the victim and denied having any misunderstanding with the victim
when it cut[-]off the water supply. That they left a one meter passage when they put a barb[ed] wire fence
around their house. Of the two instances mentioned, the accused denied having any heated argument or
quarrel with the victim because ever since, they [had] good relationship as neighbors. He [had] no knowledge
of any person who could have done the same to his kumpadre.
On cross[-]examination, the accused testified that his good relation with the victim [was] the same as his
kumadre and their children. Thats why he [did] not know of any reason why the widow of the victim [had]
implicated him with the killing of her husband. On the day of October 16, 1998, he arrived home at around
4:30 in the afternoon from fishing. At about 8:00 oclock in the evening of that same day, he and his family
already went to bed and slept until he was awaken[ed] by the two policemen who invited him for some
inquiries at about 1:00 to 2:00 oclock in the morning of the next day. It [was] only at that time that he knew
that his kumpadre, the victim, was already dead. At about 2:00 oclock in the morning, he was brought by the
policemen to the laboratory office allegedly for examination but the examination did not [push] through x x x
because the crime lab at that time [had] no wax so they asked [them] to return on the 17 th of October, 1998.
Thereafter, [he] was told that the examination showed that the results gave a positive result and thereafter
[he] was [i]ncarcerated.
On re-direct examination, he testified that he was [i]ncarcerated on 19 October 1998. Between the dates of
October 16 to October 18, 1998 while he was not yet [i]ncarcerated, he was in their barangay attending x x x
the wake of his kumpadre.[9]

Ruling of the Trial Court


The RTC gave more credence and weight to the prosecution evidence. Debunking the defenses of denial
and alibi, it accepted the testimony of the widow that her husband, prior to his death on that fateful night,
declared that it was appellant who had gunned him down. It based its conclusion on her testimony and other
pieces of circumstantial evidence, such as the presence of nitrate powder on the cast taken from the right
hand of appellant; the bitter quarrel that ensued between him and the victim after the latter had cut off the
formers water supply; the denial by appellant of the request of his neighbors (including the victim) to widen
the right of way along the premises of his house; and hours before the victim was killed, the threatening
remarks of appellant to the formers daughter. Hence, the trial court concluded that it was appellant who had
shot the victim that night.
The lower court explained:
x x x the most incriminating circumstance against herein accused was the presence of gunpowder residue on
his right hand which the defense failed to explain over the likelihood opined by the forensic chemist that he
could have fired a gun. This, combined with the bitterness he had with the victim who was instrumental to the
cutting off [of] the essential water supply to his house, in addition to the other personal differences between
them that could sufficiently motivate him to take drastic action against the victim, makes the Court conclude
that, there being no one else who could have done so, it could only be herein accused who indeed shot the
victim to death, what with the word of his widow that before he collapsed into coma he was able to name him
as the culprit, and of their 12-year old daughter that earlier that night of the shooting he uttered threatening
remarks against her father.[10]
Hence, this appeal.[11]

Issues
In his Brief, appellant raises the following alleged errors for our consideration:
1. The lower court erred in appreciating the testimony of the witness as a dying declaration.
2. The lower court erred in convicting the accused when the prosecution failed to established the
guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.[12]
Succinctly worded, the main issue is the sufficiency of the prosecution evidence.

The Courts Ruling


The appeal is partly meritorious.

Main Issue:
Sufficiency of the Prosecution Evidence
Appellant contends that the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he had committed
the crime charged. Supposedly, the RTC erred in giving full credence to the testimony of the widow that prior
to the death of the victim, he had told her that it was appellant who had shot him. This dying declaration
should have been rejected by the trial court, appellant argues, based on the testimony of Dr. Manuel Aves,
the physician who had conducted the autopsy. According to the doctor, given the nature of the gunshot
wound sustained by the victim on the right carotid artery, it would have been impossible for the latter to
speak at all.
We are not persuaded.
The Court a quo was convinced of the credibility of the victims wife. The hornbook doctrine is that the
trial court, which has the opportunity to observe the demeanor of the witnesses on the stand, is in the best

position to discern whether they are telling the truth. Thus, unless tainted with arbitrariness or oversight of
some fact or circumstance of significance and influence, its factual findings are accorded the highest degree
of respect and will not be disturbed on appeal. [13] In this case, no sufficient reason was advanced by appellant
to justify a deviation from this principle.
The lower court accepted Felomena Raymundos story, because it cannot imagine the widow inventing
such narrative against the accused, if the victim did not really tell her that, and risking to let the real killer of
her husband go scot free.[14]
Moreover, the RTC deemed as incredulous the story proffered by the defense on the manner of the
victims death. Rosalina de Guzman, who was presented by the latter as eyewitness, narrated in her
testimony how three armed men had grappled with the victim before he died. According to her, one of these
three men stabbed him on the neck; when he fought back, he was shot by another one of them. This
concoction was implausible, because the autopsy shows that (1) the victim sustainedthree gunshot wounds,
not just one such wound; and (2) the fatal injury on his neck was a bullet, not a stab, wound.

Dying Declaration
A dying declaration, also known as a statement in articulo mortis, may be received in evidence under
Section 37 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, which we quote:
SEC. 37. Dying Declaration. The declaration of a dying person, made under a consciousness of an impending
death, may be received in any case wherein his death is the subject of inquiry, as evidence of the cause and
surrounding circumstances of such death.
To be admissible, the following requisites should be met: (a) the declaration must concern the cause and
the surrounding circumstances of the declarants death; (b) at the time the declaration is made, the declarant
is under a consciousness of impending death; (c) he or she is competent as a witness; and (d) the declaration
is offered in a case in which the declarants death is the subject of the inquiry. [15]
Even though Dr. Aves was accepted as an expert witness by both parties, he was not identified as a
speech therapist or as a neurologist who could authoritatively establish a causal connection between carotid
blood vessel injuries and functional damage to the voice box. Neither was he able to relate those injuries to
any of the nerves that controlled the speech mechanism of the victim. Moreover, there was no evidence of
injury to the tongue, the lips or the mouth of the victim -- organs responsible for audible and articulate
speech -- injury to which might have prevented him from communicating audibly to his wife before he lost
consciousness.
In addition, the fact that he was still able to enter the house after being shot three times, as well as the
significant lapse of time before he died in the hospital, showed that he had ample time to communicate to his
wife the assailants identity. That there was no way the victim could have told his wife before he died that it
was appellant who had shot him cannot be accorded absolute credence and faith, as such testimony was
given by Dr. Aves who was not a speech therapist or a neurologist.

Circumstantial Evidence
Circumstantial evidence is defined as that evidence that indirectly proves a fact in issue through an
inference which the factfinder draws from the evidence established. Resort thereto is essential when the lack
of direct testimony would result in setting a felon free. [16] It is not a weaker form of evidence vis--vis direct
evidence.[17] Cases have recognized that in its effect upon the courts, the former may surpass the latter in
weight and probative force.[18]
To warrant a conviction based on circumstantial evidence, the following requisites must concur: (1) there
is more than one circumstance; (2) the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and (3) the
combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce conviction beyond reasonable doubt. [19] The
totality of the evidence must constitute an unbroken chain showing the guilt of the accused beyond
reasonable doubt.

On the strength of the circumstantial evidence proven in the current case, we hold that the court a
quo did not err in convicting appellant of the crime charged. The combination of the circumstances
comprising such evidence forms an unbroken chain that points to appellant, to the exclusion of all others, as
the perpetrator of the crime.
First, narrating how her husband, before he died, had identified his killer, the widow testified as follows:
Q: Where is this Mariano Raymundo, Jr. now, your husband?
A: Already dead, sir.
Q: When did he die?
A: October 16, 1998, sir.
Q: Did you come to know the reason or cause of his death?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What?
A: He was shot, sir.
Q: When?
A: October 16, 1998, sir.
Q: Where?
A: Behind our house, sir.
Q: How did you come to know that?
A: Because [we] were the only ones there, sir.
Q: How did you come to know that your husband was shot or killed?
A: When he turned and stepped outside the door when I heard a gunshot, sir.
Q: Was he talking with anyone when you heard gunshot?
A: I did not hear of any, sir.
Q: How many minutes or seconds had elapsed when you heard a gunshot after he left?
A: Only seconds, sir.
Q: How far were you from him when you heard a gunshot?
A: When I heard the successive gunshot my distance from him was about five (5) or six (6) arms
length, sir.
Q: Immediately when you heard the gunshot, what did you do?
A: I was afraid. I opened the door and I saw him standing there about to come in, but holding his left
shoulder bleeding, sir.
Q: Did you bother to ask him why was he bleeding?
A: I asked him when he came inside what happened and who did this to you, sir.
Q: What was his reply?
A: He said x x x two (2) times, Binaril ako ni Pareng Freddie. Binaril ako ni Pareng Freddie.
Q: Who is this Pareng Freddie that he was trying to tell you who shot him?
Court:
Witness pointed to the accused inside the courtroom.[20]
Appellant assails her testimony, because she allegedly told a neighbor during the wake that her husband
had not been able to say anything to her before he died. When asked about this matter during the cross-

examination, she explained that she had not mentioned the dying declaration at the time, so that appellant
would not be forewarned that her husband had recognized him as the killler. She explained:
Court:
For clarification -Q: Why did you say that to that neighbor or person who asked you if your husband [told] you
anything?
A: Because my husband earlier told me that it was Pareng Freddie who shot him and if I would reveal
that to the person who asked me, if I said anything, Pareng Freddie might come to know of it and
might be able to escape, sir.[21]
Second, the victims daughter narrated how appellant had spoken with her that fateful evening. He had
asked her where her father was and even uttered threatening remarks against him. She testified thus:
Fiscal:
Q: On October 16, 1998, tell this Honorable Court if you have an occasion to see or meet Freddie
Matito?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Where?
A: Along the road at San Isidro, sir.
Q: About what time was that?
A: 6:00 to 6:30 in the evening, sir.
Q: And tell us the circumstances on how you saw or met the accused on that afternoon of October
16, 1998?
A: We came across each other on the street, sir.
Q: What if anything happened when you met him?
A: He said something, sir.
Q: What was that he told you?
A: He asked me where my father was.
Q: And after that?
A: He also said something else, sir.
Q: What was that something else that he said?
A: He said Putangina iyang Tatay mo. Yari sa akin iyang Tatay mo.
Court:
Anything else?
A: No more, Your Honor.
Fiscal:
Q: What was the physical appearance of Freddie Matito at that time?
A: He was drunk, sir, and his eyes looked red.
Q: And thereafter, where did you proceed?
A: I left, sir, and proceeded walking along the street, sir. [22]
Third, a bitter quarrel ensued between the victim and appellant when the latters water supply was cut off
by the former, the barangay tanod, and the secretary of the Homeowners Association.
Fourth, when asked by his neighbors (including the victim) to widen the right of way along his premises -which he, together with his father, had enclosed with barbed wire -- appellant refused to do so.

Fifth, there was a bitter quarrel between the daughters of appellant and the victim.
Sixth, nitrate powder was conclusively proven to be present on the cast taken from the right hand of
appellant.
Appellant assails this last piece of evidence, because the forensic chemist examined the cast on October
19 -- two days after it had been taken by police authorities. According to appelalnt, it may be possible that
the gun nitrate was implanted by the police in their desire to accomplish something. [23]
This argument does not persuade. Basic is the rule that police authorities enjoy the presumption of
regularity in the performance of their official duties.[24]

Denial and Alibi


Claiming good relations with the victim and his family, appellant denies having killed him. Moreover, the
two are compadres. Appellant cannot understand why he was implicated by Felomena and her daughter, as
he disclaims any quarrel with the victim. When asked where he was on the night when the killing occurred,
appellant simply answered that he was at home sleeping.
Alibi and denial, when unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence, are negative and self-serving,
undeserving of any weight in law. [25] Alibi is an inherently weak defense, for it is easy to fabricate and difficult
to disprove.[26] Appellant must prove that he was not only at some other place when the crime was
committed, but that it was impossible for him to be at the locus criminis at the time the crime was
perpetrated. This he failed to do.
He cannot be exculpated from the crime by his contention that he was at home sleeping when the victim
was killed. Their homes were only 50 meters apart; [27]thus, it was not impossible for the former to be at
the locus criminis when the crime was committed.

Proper Penalty
However, we are not convinced that appellant should be convicted of murder. To justify a conviction
therefor, the qualifying circumstances invoked must be proven as indubitably as the killing itself. They cannot
be deduced from unfounded inferences. [28] A review of the assailed Decision reveals that the trial judge did
not discuss the presence of any qualifying circumstance that would elevate the killing to murder.
Treachery, which must be proven positively, [29] cannot be appreciated in the instant case, because no one
saw how the killing was carried out. [30] It must be emphasized that the core of the prosecution evidence is the
dying declaration of the victim. Thus, appellants deliberate adoption of treacherous means in ending the
victims life cannot be assumed.
Neither can evident premeditation be considered, absent any clear showing of the time when appellant
determined to commit the crime; an act indicating that he clung to such determination; and, between the
determination and the execution thereof, a lapse of time sufficient to allow him to reflect upon the
consequences of the act.[31]
Finally, nighttime cannot be appreciated because, by itself, it is not an aggravating circumstance. [32] The
fact that the victim was killed at night will not suffice to sustain this aggravating circumstance, because it
must be shown that the darkness facilitated the commission of the crime and was purposely sought by
appellant.[33]
Verily, absent any qualifying circumstance, he can be convicted only of homicide. Under Article 249 of
the Revised Penal Code, the penalty prescribed for such crime is reclusion temporal. There being no
mitigating or aggravating circumstance, the penalty shall be imposed in its medium period, the range of
which is from 14 years, eight (8) months and one (1) day; to 17 years and four (4) months. The Indeterminate
Sentence Law is also applicable.
As regards appellants pecuniary liabilities, we reduce the civil indemnity ex delicto imposed by the lower
court -- from P75,000 to P50,000, consistent with current jurisprudence. [34] Although the entitlement to moral
damages was proven, it is reduced from P100,000 to P50,000, pursuant to prevailing jurisprudence.[35] We
deem it proper to award such damages for the pain and difficulty experienced by the family of the victim. [36] It

must be emphasized that he was the breadwinner. [37] Since he died, the widow had to shoulder all he was
doing to the family,[38] aside from her own duties and responsibilities.
WHEREFORE, the appeal is PARTLY GRANTED. Appellant is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt
of HOMICIDE and is sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of 9 years and four (4) months of prision mayor as
minimum; to 16 years and four (4) months of reclusion temporal as maximum. He is likewise ordered to pay
the heirs of the victim P50,000 as civil indemnity ex delicto and another P50,000 as moral damages. No
costs.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 152954. March 10, 2004]


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. PAULINO SEVILLENO y VILLANUEVA, a.k.a. Tamayo
Sevilleno, appellant.
DECISION
PER CURIAM:
On July 25, 1995, appellant Paulino Sevilleno y Villanueva alias Tamayo was charged with rape with
homicide in an Information[1] which reads:
That on or about 10:00 oclock a.m., July 22, 1995 at Hacienda San Antonio, Barangay Guadalupe, San Carlos
City, Negros Occidental, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused, by means of force, violence and intimidation, did, then and there, willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously have carnal knowledge of one VIRGINIA BAKIA, a minor, 9 years of age, against the latters will and
consent; and after attaining his purpose of ravishing said Virginia Bakia, accused, did, then and there, with
intent to hide his identity and to prevent discovery thereof, with intent to kill, strangled said Virginia Bakia
which directly resulted to her death.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
On arraignment, appellant entered a guilty plea. Trial proceeded to determine the voluntariness and full
comprehension of the plea. However, during the pendency of the proceedings, appellant escaped from prison
but he was recaptured several months later.
On March 6, 1997, the appellant was found guilty as charged by the Regional Trial Court of San
Carlos City, Negros Occidental, Branch 57, and sentenced to death and to pay the heirs of his victim
P50,000.00 plus costs.
On automatic review before this Court, it was found that the trial court failed to conduct a searching
inquiry into the voluntariness and full comprehension by the appellant of the consequences of his plea of
guilty. It likewise appeared that the defense lawyers were remiss in their duties to explain to appellant the
nature of the crime and the gravity of the consequences of his plea. Finding that appellant was not properly
apprised of his fundamental right to be informed of the nature of the accusation leveled against him, this
Court set aside and annulled the trial courts decision of March 6, 1997 and remanded the case to the court of
origin for the proper arraignment and trial of the appellant until terminated.
Appellant was thus re-arraigned on February 23, 2000, where he entered a plea of not guilty. Trial on the
merits ensued and the following facts were established:
At around 10:00 in the morning of July 22, 1995, 9-year old Virginia and 8-year old Norma, both surnamed
Bakia, met appellant on their way to a store in Brgy. Guadalupe, San Carlos City, Negros Occidental. Appellant

offered them bread and ice candy then invited Virginia to watch a beta show.[2] Appellant
and Virginiathereafter headed to the direction of the sugarcane fields while Norma followed. However, she
changed her mind and went home instead.
Rogelio Bakia, Virginias and Normas father, came home at around 11:00 that same morning and looked
for Virginia. They were informed by Norma that Virginiawent with appellant to Sitio Guindali-an. Rogelio
immediately set out after her. He met appellant in Sitio Guindali-an but he denied any knowledge of Virginias
whereabouts. Rogelio noticed fingernail scratches on appellants neck and a wound on his left cheek.
The following day, Rogelio and Eugenio Tiongson again met appellant at the house of former barangay
captain Paeng Lopez. When asked where Virginia was, appellant answered that she was in a sugarcane field
known as Camp 9, also located in Brgy. Guadalupe. Immediately, they proceeded to the designated place
where they found Virginias corpse covered with dried sugarcane leaves. She was naked except for her dress
which was raised to her armpits. Her legs were spread apart and her body bore multiple wounds.
Another prosecution witness, Maria Lariosa, testified that on July 22, 1995 at around noontime, she saw
appellant and Virginia pass by her house near Camp 9.The following day, July 23, 1995, she saw appellant
emerge alone from the sugarcane fields in Camp 9 with scratches on his face and neck.
Dr. Arnel Laurence Q. Portuguez, Health Officer of San Carlos City, autopsied Virginias body and found the
following: linear abrasion over hematoma, 3.0 x 2.0 cm., right superior anterior neck; linear abrasion over
hematoma, 2.5 x 3.0 cm., left superior anterior neck; hematoma 9.0 x 4.0 cm., right inguinal area; hematoma
9.0 x 5.0 cm., left inguinal area; superficial hymenal laceration 0.5 cm., at 12 oclock position, with clot
formation at intuitus; abrasion 5.5 x 4.0 cm., left superior gluteal area; abrasion 5.0 x 3.0 cm., right superior
gluteal area; abrasion 6.0 x 2.0 cm., right inferior lateral gluteal area; vaginal smear showing absence of
sperm cells except pus cells and epithelial cells. Cause of death: asphyxia secondary to strangulation.[3] The
examining physician concluded that Virginia must have been raped and strangled to death.
Appellant interposed the defense of denial and alibi. He claimed that on July 22, 1995, he left his house
at 6:30 in the morning and went to his work place at Uy King Poe warehouse in San Carlos City, arriving there
at about 7:00 in the morning. At 5:00 in the afternoon, he left the warehouse and passed by the market to
buy fish. He reached his house at 8:00 in the evening.
No other witness for the defense was presented. On October 16, 2001, the Regional Trial Court, San
Carlos City, Branch 59, rendered a decision,[4] the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, this Court finds and so holds the accused PAULINO
SEVILLENO y VILLANUEVA (detained) GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Rape with Homicide as
charged in the Information and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of DEATH.
The accused is likewise ordered to pay the heirs of the victim the sum of P75,000.00 as an indemnity for the
death of the victim; P50,000.00 as moral damages and P25,000.00 as exemplary damages.
The accused is further ordered to be immediately committed to the National Penitentiary for service of
sentence.
The Clerk of Court of this Court is hereby ordered to immediately forward the records of this case to the
Supreme Court for automatic review.
Costs against the accused.
SO ORDERED.

The case was elevated to this Court for automatic review, pursuant to Article 47 of the Revised Penal
Code, as amended. In his Brief, appellant submits that:
I
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE EXTRA-JUDICIAL CONFESSION EXECUTED BY HEREIN
APPELLANT IS VALID AND BINDING.
II
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE GUILT OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT FOR THE CRIME OF RAPE
WITH HOMICIDE HAS BEEN PROVEN BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.
Appellant argues that the voluntariness and due execution of his extra-judicial confession was not
sufficiently established, considering that only his thumbprint was affixed on said document. He alleges that
he customarily affixes his signature on all his documents. Appellant likewise argues that at the time his extrajudicial confession was taken, he was assisted by Atty. Vicente J. Agravante who was admonished by this
Court for being remiss in his duties.[5]
Appellants contention is misleading. The March 29, 1999 Resolution referred to Atty. Agravantes
participation during appellants arraignment and not during his custodial investigation. In fact, it was stated
therein that Atty. Vic Agravante assisted the accused during the arraignment only. [6]
Besides, the rule is that once the prosecution has shown compliance with the constitutional requirements
on custodial investigations, a confession is presumed voluntary and the declarant bears the burden of
destroying this presumption. The confession is admissible until the accused successfully proves that it was
given as a result of violence, intimidation, threat, or promise of reward or leniency. [7]
Appellant failed to show that his confession in this case was given under any of the above
circumstances. As correctly found by the trial court:
Atty. Agravante knows the accused Paulino Sevillano because the latter was his previous client in a case for
qualified theft and was also the previous counsel of the accused in the present case, The accused happened
to be his client way back in July 24, 1995 when he was called up by Patrolman Ramon Bartulin through a
telephone that the accused wanted his services, so he responded to the police station, and on his arrival at
the police station, he talked and inquired with the accused as to the incident and the latter answered that he
(accused) was charged with the crime of rape then the accused voluntarily confessed his guilt to him (Atty.
Agravante) then when asked the accused what was the latters opinion, the accused replied that he (accused)
will accept his guilt on the case charged against him and so the extra-judicial confession was executed by the
accused while he (Atty. Agravante) was present all the time until the end of the investigation. In fact, he was
with the accused and the investigator who went with them to the Prosecutors Office and he (Atty. Agravante)
also affixed his signature in the extra-judicial confession.
xxxxxxxxx
During cross-examination, witness Atty. Agravante further testified that before the accused was investigated,
the accused was informed of his constitutional rights and the accused requested him to translate the
question in visayan or the local vernacular, and he was certain that the accused understood his plea for
which in fact the accused had already confessed to him twice. That when the accused pleaded guilty during
the arraignment he was also the one who assisted the accused, however, the case was remanded by the
Supreme Court. . . .[8]

Also, we agree with the Solicitor Generals observation that appellant trusted Atty. Agravante considering
that he had previously hired the said lawyers legal services in a theft case and engaged him again in this
rape charge.[9]
Moreover, appellant failed to present evidence that his constitutional rights was violated when he
executed his extra-judicial confession. His claim that his extra-judicial confession bears only his thumbmark is
not an indication that his confession was irregular considering that it was executed in the presence of his
lawyer. Also, he never denied that Atty. Agravante was not his personally chosen counsel. Neither was there
evidence to prove that his extra-judicial confession was given as a result of violence, intimidation, threat, or
made upon a promise of reward or leniency.
Significantly, appellants conviction was not based solely on his extra-judicial confession but on other
pieces of evidence established by the prosecution to the satisfaction of the court.
In the second assigned error, appellant submits that the circumstances relied upon by the trial court as
bases for his conviction did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that he committed the crime.
The trial court convicted appellant based on the following circumstances:
1. Prior to the commission of the crime the victim and her sister were seen in the company of the appellant.
(TSN-Alcantara, Jan. 31, 2001, p. 8)
2. Appellant invited the victim to watch a beta-show in Sitio Guindali-an, Brgy. Guadalupe. (TSN-Alcantara,
Jan. 31, 2001, p. 8)
3. Norma Bakia saw the victim and the appellant proceed to a sugarcane field in Campo 9, Hacienda San
Antonio, the place where the corpse of the victim was found. (TSN-Alcantara, Jan. 31, 2001, p. 8)
4. Maria Lariosa, saw the appellant together with the victim at noon time of July 22, 1995 pass by the back of
their house en route to Camp 9, Hacienda San Antonio. (TSN-Alcantara, Feb. 28, 2001, p. 16)
5. Maria Lariosa saw the appellant emerge from the sugarcane field alone and without the victim, with fresh
scratches on his face, neck and both arms. (TSN-Alcantara, Feb. 28, 2001, p. 8)
6. When the appellant went to the residence of the victim in the morning of July 23, 1995, witness Norma
Bakia observed that the right portion of his face and neck have scratch marks on it. (TSN-Alcantara, Jan. 31,
2001, pp. 10-11).
7. The body of the victim was found in the same sugarcane field at Camp 9, the same place where the
appellant and the victim were seen by the witnesses go inside. (TSN-Alcantara, Feb. 28, 2001, pp. 8-9)
8. The multiple scratches suffered by the appellant on the right side of his face and ears were all caused by
human fingernails. (TSN-Mondragon, Dec. 13, 2000, p. 3)
9. The appellant was the last person seen in the company of the victim before the commission of the crime
and was positively identified as such by the witnesses; and
10. The victim suffered hymenal laceration, contusions, abrasions and hematoma on different parts of her
body and was strangled resulting to her death which indicated that there was a struggle and the victim
vigorously put up a fight against her attacker.[10]
Appellant argues that the scratches on his face do not prove that they were inflicted by Virginia, much
less that he committed the crime.

Indeed, the scratches on appellants face, by itself, may not prove that he committed the
crime. Nonetheless, he explained that the scratches were caused by a galvanized sheet which hit his face.
[11]
This claim, however, was contradicted by three prosecution witnesses. SPO4 Romeo S. Leyte testified that
appellant admitted to him that the scratches were inflicted by the victim Virginia. [12] Eugenio Tiongson
testified that appellant admitted to him that they were caused by his girlfriend. [13]Finally, Dr. Diosdado G.
Sarabia testified that when he examined appellant on July 23, 1995, he admitted that the scratches were
inflicted by Virginia.[14]
Appellant claims that if he was indeed guilty, he would not have gone to the victims residence in the
early morning of July 23, 1995.
We are not persuaded. Appellants act of going to the house of the victim may not be consistent with
ordinary human behavior, but is nevertheless possible. While an appellants post-incident behavior is never
proof of guilt, neither is it of innocence.[15]
The rules on evidence and precedents to sustain the conviction of an accused through circumstantial
evidence require the presence of the following requisites: (1) there are more than one circumstance; (2) the
inference must be based on proven facts; and (3) the combination of all circumstances produces a conviction
beyond reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused. [16] To justify a conviction upon circumstantial evidence,
the combination of circumstances must be such as to leave no reasonable doubt in the mind as to the
criminal liability of the appellant. [17] Jurisprudence requires that the circumstances must be established to
form an unbroken chain of events leading to one fair reasonable conclusion pointing to the appellant, to the
exclusion of all others, as the author of the crime.[18] These, the prosecution were able to establish.
It is doctrinal that the requirement of proof beyond reasonable doubt in criminal law does not mean such
a degree of proof as to exclude the possibility of error and produce absolute certainty. Only moral certainty is
required or that degree of proof which produces conviction in an unprejudiced mind. [19] While it is established
that nothing less than proof beyond reasonable doubt is required for a conviction, this exacting standard does
not preclude resort to circumstantial evidence when direct evidence is not available. Direct evidence is not a
condition sine qua non to prove the guilt of an accused beyond reasonable doubt. For in the absence of direct
evidence, the prosecution may resort to adducing circumstantial evidence to discharge its burden. Crimes are
usually committed in secret and under conditions where concealment is highly probable. If direct evidence is
insisted on under all circumstances, the prosecution of vicious felons who commit heinous crimes in secret or
secluded places will be hard, if not impossible, to prove.[20]
In People v. Corfin,[21] which is similar to this case, we upheld the conviction of the accused based on the
following circumstances: (1) the accused was the last person seen with the victim; (2) said accused and the
victim were seen together near the dry creek; (3) the accused was seen leaving said place alone; and (4) the
body of the victim was found in the dry creek.
Likewise, it did not help that appellant can only raise the defenses of denial and alibi. Denial is inherently
a weak defense. To be believed, it must be buttressed by strong evidence of non-culpability. Otherwise, such
denial is purely self-serving and without merit. [22] In the case at bar, appellants workplace and the crime
scene in Camp 9 are both in San Carlos City.
On the other hand, an alibi, to be believed, must receive credible corroboration from disinterested
witnesses.[23] Appellant failed to present his employer or any co-worker to corroborate his alibi or a logbook
that would prove his presence at his workplace at the time of the commission of the crime. Neither was there
any evidence to show that it was impossible for the appellant to be at the crime scene at the time of its
commission.
In the end, the rule is settled that where the culpability or innocence of the accused hinges on the
credibility of the witnesses and the veracity of their testimonies, the findings of trial courts are given the
highest degree of respect. Hence, their findings on such matters are binding and conclusive on appellate

courts, unless some fact or circumstance of weight and substance has been overlooked, misapprehended or
misinterpreted.[24] We find no circumstance of weight or substance that was overlooked by the trial court.
Appellant was thus correctly convicted by the trial court of Rape with Homicide under Article 335 of the
Revised Penal Code, in relation to R.A. 7659, which provides that when by reason or on the occasion of the
rape, a homicide is committed, the penalty shall be death. [25]
The trial court awarded damages in the amount of P75,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral
damages and P25,000.00 as exemplary damages.
Current judicial policy authorizes the mandatory award of P50,000.00 in case of death, and P50,000.00
upon the finding of rape. Thus, if homicide is committed by reason or on the occasion of the rape, indemnity
in the amount of P100,000.00 is fully justified and properly commensurate with the seriousness of the said
complex crime.[26] We therefore award P100,000.00 as civil indemnity to the heirs of the victim.
As to moral damages, jurisprudence allows that the amount of P75,000.00 be awarded in cases of rape
with homicide. Thus, the P50,000.00 award given by the court below as moral damages should likewise be
increased to P75,000.00.[27]
The P25,000.00 exemplary damages awarded by the trial court is deleted for lack of legal basis. Article
2230 of the New Civil Code provides that in criminal cases, exemplary damages may be imposed when the
crime was committed with one or more aggravating circumstances. There is none in this case.
WHEREFORE, the decision dated October 16, 2001 of the Regional Trial Court of San Carlos City, Negros
Occidental, Branch 59, in Criminal Case No. RTC-1285 finding Paulino Sevilleno y Villanueva a.k.a. Tamayo
Sevilleno GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Rape with Homicide, and imposing upon him the
penalty of DEATH, is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATIONS that he is ordered to pay the heirs of Virginia Bakia
the amounts of P100,000.00 as civil indemnity and P75,000.00 as moral damages. The award of P25,000.00
as exemplary damages is DELETED for lack of legal basis.
Upon the finality of this decision, and pursuant to Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by
Section 25 of Republic Act No. 7659, let the records of this case be forwarded to the Office of the President for
possible exercise of the pardoning power.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. Nos. 139751-52. January 26, 2004]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. NOEL DARILAY, appellant.


DECISION
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
The Spouses Pascual and Gemma Arganda were the parents of five children, the eldest of whom was
Marilyn who was born on October 24, 1988.[1] The second child, Ailyn, was born on September 14, 1990.[2] The
couple and their children resided in Sitio Magrimpong, Sta. Cruz, Tinambac, Camarines Sur.[3] The couple

knew the appellant, Noel Darilay, their 15-year-old barriomate because he and his friends frequented their
house.
At 7:30 a.m. on April 19, 1997, Hercules Bon was in the house of his uncle at Magrimpong, Sta. Cruz,
Tinambac, Camarines Sur. At about 8:00 a.m., his cousin, the appellant, arrived. Their friend, Jose Delfino,
also arrived. They had a drinking spree and consumed two bottles of gin. After about thirty minutes, the
appellant left because his father had arrived and was looking for him. [4]
At about 9:00 a.m., Marilyn and Ailyn were asked by their parents to buy tinapa (dried fish) from a store
about half a kilometer away from their residence. They used a foot path to get to the store. After buying the
dried fish, they walked back home. Momentarily, they saw the appellant emerge from a catmon tree.[5] He
struckAilyn twice with a piece of wood on her back and boxed her on the left side of her face. She felt
excruciating pain on her back and face, and all over her body. She fell unconscious.[6] The appellant then
struck Marilyn twice on the back with the piece of wood. He then carried Ailyn to a grassy area and left her
there. When Ailyn regained her bearings, she looked for Marilyn but the appellant and her sister were
nowhere to be found.[7]
Ailyn then rushed back home and told her mother what happened to her and Marilyn. [8] Their neighbor,
Allan Candelaria, then rushed to the farm where Pascual worked as a laborer and informed him of what
happened to his daughters.[9] Pascual hurried home and looked for Marilyn in Sitio Magrimpong and within the
vicinity of the river, to no avail. He rushed back home and after a while left again to resume his search for
Marilyn. Again, he failed to find her.[10] He searched anew for his daughter with the help of neighbors at
around 1:00 p.m., again to no avail.
At 11:00 a.m. earlier that day, Andres Arganda, the victims uncle reported the incident to the police
station. SPO1 Teresito Porteza, SPO1 Ernesto Ablaza and PO3 Antonio Pacardo rushed to the scene. [11] With
the help of tanods, they searched for Marilyn in the place where the appellant attacked the girls. About 15
meters away, they found a yellow-and-white-colored dress, [12] white panties,[13] and a slipper bearing the
name of Marilyn. The dress was torn. [14] In the meantime, Bon went back home and was informed that the
appellant was wanted for the injuries of Ailyn and Marilyn. He looked for the appellant and found him in the
house of Jose Delfino.[15]
While the policemen were conducting their investigation, the appellant arrived accompanied by PO3
Antonio Pacardo. When asked where Marilyn was, he told the police that she was about 30 meters away. Upon
the policemens failure to find the girl, the appellant finally told them where Marilyn was and volunteered to
accompany them to the place. The policemen, the appellant and Pascual Arganda then left and proceeded to
Palinao River, at Sitio Palinao, Binalay, Tinambac. They found Marilyns body in a grassy area near bushes and
trees along the Palinao River.[16] She was lying face down, her legs spread apart and was completely
naked. There was blood on her nose, her mouth, and her vagina. Her hair was disheveled. Photographer John
Francis Madrigal took pictures of Marilyn at the place where she was found. [17] The policemen arrested the
appellant and had him detained in jail.
Municipal Health Officer Dr. Salvador V. Betito, Jr., performed an autopsy of the cadaver and prepared a
report thereon which contained the following findings:
Post-mortem examination findings:
1. Abrasions, multiple, face.
2. Avulsion, 1 cm. x 3 cms., chin.
3. Abrasions, multiple, left and right shoulder and anterior chest wall.
4. Depressed fractures, occipital bone of the head.
5. Abrasions, multiple, posterior chest wall.
Vaginal Examination:
a. Labia majora blood-stained, slightly prominent and distinctly gaping.
b. Lacerations big, at six oclock position.

c. Vaginal canal reddened, presence of oozing blood.


Conclusions: She had sexual intercourse with a man.
Cause of Death: Internal hemorrhage secondary to depressed fractures of the skull. [18]
The doctor testified that the most fatal wound inflicted on Marilyn was wound no. 4. He also examined
Ailyn and signed a report stating that the victim sustained the following injuries:
Medical Certificate of Ailyn Arganda
Pertinent Physical Examination Findings:
1. Contusion, occipital aspect of the head.
2. Abrasions, multiple, posterior aspect of the chest.
3. Contusion, left zygomatic aspect of the face.[19]
The appellant was charged of attempted murder under an Amended Information filed with the Regional
Trial Court of Camarines Sur, Branch 63, docketed as Criminal Case No. RTC97-202, the accusatory portion of
which reads:
That on or about the 19th day of April 1997, at Sitio Magrimpong, Barangay Sta. Cruz, Municipality of
Tinambac, Province of Camarines Sur, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
above-named accused, with intent to kill, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously commences
the commission of a felony directly by overt acts by then and there with treachery and abuse of superior
strength assaulting and hitting with a piece of wood one AILYN ARGANDA, a seven (7) year old child, who as a
consequence thereof, lost consciousness but the accused was not able to perform all the acts of execution
which should have produced the felony intended by reason of some cause or accident other than his own
spontaneous desistance, that is, due to her tenacity to live and the fact that she was not fatally hit when she
was struck with the said piece of wood, to the damage and prejudice of said offended party.
ACTS CONTRARY TO LAW.[20]
The appellant was, likewise, charged with rape with homicide in an Amended Information filed in the
same court, docketed as Criminal Case No. RTC97-201, the accusatory portion of which reads:
That on or about the 19th day of April 1997, at Sitio Magrimpong, Barangay Sta. Cruz, Municipality of
Tinambac, Province of Camarines Sur, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
above-named accused, with lewd design did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously strike with a
piece of wood one Marilyn Arganda, an eight (8) year old child as a consequence thereof she lost
consciousness and when said child victim was thus unconscious or while hovering between life and death,
accused Noel Darilay did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously in order to satisfy his lust, had
carnal knowledge with said child victim by means of force as a result of which Marilyn Arganda suffered an
untimely and cruel death, to the damage and prejudice of the private offended party.
ACTS CONTRARY TO LAW.[21]
A joint trial of the two cases thereafter ensued.
On September 5, 1997, the appellant was arraigned, assisted by counsel, and entered a plea of not guilty
to the crimes charged.

The Case for the Appellant

The appellant denied killing and raping Marilyn and attempting to kill Ailyn. He claimed that Hercules Bon
and Jose Delfino hit Ailyn and Marilyn and that it was also them who raped and killed Marilyn. Although he
was present when Bon and Delfino committed the crimes, he could do nothing to prevent them.
The appellant testified that he was 15 years old. He was inveigled by Hercules Bon to indulge and use
rugby in the evening of April 18, 1997. At 7:30 a.m. the next day, April 19, 1997, he was in their house at
Tinambac, Sta. Cruz, Camarines Sur, with his family: his parents, the Spouses Manuel and Julieta Darilay; and
his siblings Christopher, Zarina, Midel, Francia and Shirley. When Bon fetched him, they proceeded to the
house of Jose Delfino, also in Sitio Tinambac, Sta. Cruz, Magrimpong, where they had a drinking spree. Not
content, they went to the riverbank and continued drinking. They were already inebriated. [22] They saw
Marilyn and Ailyn pass by on their way to the store of Salvacion San Andres. Bon ordered him and Delfino to
follow the girls. They did as they were told. Ailyn, who was walking ahead of her sister, was grabbed
by Delfino and the appellant, while Bon overtook Marilyn. Delfino then hit Ailyn. The latter fell to the ground,
face down. Delfino and the appellant left Ailyn and went back to where Bon was. The latter proposed that
they bring Marilyn to the other side of the riverbank. The appellant and Delfino agreed. Bon and Delfino
carried Marilyn, while the appellant followed. When they reached their destination, Bon and Delfino took turns
in raping Marilyn.
The appellant testified that he wanted to prevent his companions from assaulting the victim but he was
afraid because Bon and Delfino were armed with bladed weapons. [23] Besides, he was already drunk and
much weaker than his companions who had taken illicit drugs. [24] He then left the place and went home,
leaving Bon,Delfino and Marilyn behind. Policemen later arrived at their house and arrested and handcuffed
him. He was told that Ailyn had pointed to him as the one who abducted Marilyn. The appellant insisted that
Bon and Delfino were the culprits. [25] He was brought to the municipal hall where policemen forced him to
admit raping and killing Marilyn. He denied raping and killing the girl and told the policemen that Bon and
Delfino were the ones who raped and killed her. [26] It was he who pointed to the policemen and also
accompanied them to where Marilyns body was found.[27]
After trial, the court rendered judgment convicting the appellant of rape with homicide in Criminal Case
No. RTC97-201, and attempted murder in Criminal Case No. RTC97-202. The court appreciated in favor of the
appellant the privileged mitigating circumstance of minority, but sentenced him to reclusion perpetua for
rape with homicide. The decretal portion of the decision reads:
WHEREFORE, the prosecution having proved the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt, accused Noel
Darilay is found guilty of the offense of Rape with Homicide in Crim.Case No. RTC97-201 and guilty of the
offense of Attempted Murder in Crim. Case No. RTC97-202. He is ordered to suffer the following penalties:
1. In Crim. Case No. RTC97-201, Rape with Homicide, he is sentenced to suffer the penalty of Reclusion
Perpetua;
2. To pay the heirs of Marilyn Arganda the following:
a. P75,000.00 for her death;
b. P30,000.00 for moral damages;
c. P10,000.00 for exemplary damages;
d. P20,000.00 for actual damages;
3. In Crim. Case No. RTC97-202, accused is hereby sentenced to suffer the following penalties:
a. To suffer the penalty of imprisonment of TWO (2) MONTHS and ONE (1) DAY to FOUR (4) MONTHS of arresto
mayor in its medium period;
b. To pay the heirs of Ailyn Arganda the amount of P20,000.00 as moral damages and to pay the costs.
The accused being a minor, his father Manuel Darilay is hereby ordered to pay the heirs of Marilyn Arganda
and Ailyn Arganda the foregoing civil liabilities under Article 201, P.D. No. 603 as amended (Child and Youth
Welfare Code).

SO ORDERED.[28]
On appeal, the appellant assails the decision of the trial court contending that:
I
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT FOR THE CRIMES OF ATTEMPTED
MURDER AND RAPE WITH HOMICIDE WHEN THE GUILT OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT WAS NOT PROVEN
BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.
II
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT APPLYING THE PRIVILEGE[D] MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCE OF MINORITY
UNDER ARTICLE 68, PAR. 1, OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE IN CRIMINAL CASE NO. RTC97-201.
III
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT APPLYING THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 192 OF PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO.
603.[29]
The appellant avers that it was physically impossible for him to have raped and killed Marilyn in the
vicinity of the Palinao River. As testified to by SPO1 Teresito Porteza, one has to cross the river, then threefeet deep and strewn with big stones, to reach the place where Marilyns body was found. The appellant
reasoned that since he was only 15 years old at the time, it is inconceivable that he could single-handedly
carry a girl who weighed 18 kilos to a distance of one kilometer, even crossing the three-feet deep river in the
process.
The appellant asserts that all things considered, his testimony that Bon and Delfino carried Marilyn
across the Palinao River and brought her to the other side is believable. He also claims that Ailyn failed to see
Bon and Delfino because they were covered by grasses, the tallest of which were two feet
high. Ailyns testimony, that the appellant hit her at the back, is highly improbable considering that the
evidence shows that the appellant approached her head on. The appellant insists that the prosecutor failed to
prove that he raped and killed Marilyn as Ailyn herself admitted that she did not see the appellant rape and
kill her sister. As such, it was a travesty for the trial court to convict him of rape with homicide, relying solely
on Ailyns testimony that he struck Marilyn on the back twice with a piece of wood.
The contentions of the appellant do not hold water.
First. SPO1 Porteza declared that the portion of the Palinao river which he and his companions crossed to
reach the place where Marilyn was found is the ordinary place where people use to pass in going to the other
side of the river.[30] If ordinary people cross the river through that portion, there is no reason why the
appellant could not have done the same. In fact, the appellant and the policemen were able to cross the river
without much ado when they went to the place where Marilyn was found.
Second. The appellant testified that he himself crossed the river when Bon and Delfino carried Marilyn,
although he claimed that he merely accompanied them.
Third. The appellant was a young man in the prime of his life while Marilyn was a girl under 12 years old,
only 4 feet tall. It was, thus, not impossible for him to have carried her across the river to the other side and
dump her nearby, under the cover of bushes and trees to prevent her body from being discovered.
Fourth. The trial court gave credence and full probative weight to the testimony of Ailyn. The legal
aphorism is that the findings of facts of the trial court, its calibration of the testimonies of witnesses and its
assessment of their probative weight, as well as its conclusions, based on its findings are accorded by the
appellate court high respect, if not conclusive effect. The appellant failed to convince the court that the trial
court ignored, misunderstood or misinterpreted cogent facts and circumstances of substance which if
considered will change the outcome of the case. Ailyn testified how the appellant mercilessly waylaid her and
Marilyn as they were on their way home, and that she immediately told her mother that the appellant had
attacked them, and that her sister was nowhere to be found:
Q How is Marilyn related to you?
A She is my sister.

Q Who is older?
A Marilyn.
Q Where were you and your Ate Marilyn when you were asked by your mother to buy tinapa?
A We were still inside the house.
Q Where do you reside?
A Magrimpong.
Q What barrio?
A Tinambac.
Q Did you go with your sister to buy tinapa?
A Yes, sir.
ATTY. TAYER:
Q Objection Your Honor.
PROS. CU:
This is a follow-up question, Your Honor.
COURT:
Already answered.
PROS. CU:
Q Where did you buy tinapa or smoked fish?
A Ate Arlyn (sic).
Q Were you able to buy tinapa?
A Yes, sir.
Q So, after you bought smoked fish, what if anything, did you do next with your Ate Marilyn?
A We went home.
Q While on your way home with your Ate Marilyn, what, if anything, happened?
A Something happened, sir.
ATTY. TAYER:
We will object to that, no basis.
PROS. CU:
What, if anything, happened.
COURT:
What if anything happened when on the way going home? The witness has already answered,
anyway. Proceed.
PROS. CU:
Q You said that while on your way home, something happened. What was this event that happened?
A Suddenly, Noel Darilay came out from he were (sic).
Q Where did he come from?
A From a catmon tree.
Q When you saw Noel Darilay suddenly came out from a catmon tree, what if anything transpired
next?

A He struck us.
Q What if anything was Noel Darilay holding?
A A wood.
Q Who was the person whom Noel Darilay struck first?
...
COURT:
Witness may answer. Who is the first one?
A I was the one, sir.
PROS. CU:
Q In what portion of your body were you struck at?
A At my back.
Q How many times?
A Two (2) times.
Q Now, after you were struck by Noel Darilay with that piece of wood which he was holding, what if
anything did he do next to you?
A He punched me at my left cheekbone (sic).
Q After you were punched by Noel Darilay, what if anything did he do to Marilyn?
A He also struck Marilyn at her back.
Q And how many times did Noel Darilay strike your Ate Marilyn?
A Twice also, sir.
Q What, if anything, did you feel when you were struck by Noel Darilay with that piece of wood?
A I felt pain all over my body.
Q What about when you were punched by Noel Darilay on your left cheek, what, if anything, did you
feel?
A My face was very painful.
Q After Noel Darilay struck your Ate Marilyn twice also at her back with that piece of wood, what if
anything happened next?
A He threw us on the grassy portion.
Q Who first was carried by Noel Darilay to be thrown in a grassy portion then?
A I was the one, sir.
Q Why were you not able to escape, Ailyn?
A Because my body was very painful.
Q For how long did you find yourself on that state or condition in the place where you were thrown
at?
A Half an hour, sir.
Q Were you able to go back to your house, Ailyn?
A Yes, sir.
Q What time did you go back to your house?
A Around 9:00 oclock in the morning.
Q Was your Ate Marilyn with you when you went back to your house?

ATTY. TAYER:
Objection, leading.
COURT:
Sustained.
PROS. CU:
Q Were you alone when you went back?
ATTY. TAYER:
Objection, leading.
COURT:
Reform your question.
PROS. CU:
Q Who was with you when you went home?
A I have no companion, sir.
Q Why, where was, if you know, your Ate Marilyn?
A She was gone and I did not anymore find her.
Q When you arrived at your residence or house, who was the person inside the house?
A My mother, sir.
Q So, what, if anything, did you tell to your mother?
A I told my mother that Noel struck us.
Q Do you know the person of Noel Darilay?
A Yes, sir.[31]
Despite intense and grueling cross-examination by the appellants counsel, Ailyn remained steadfast and
unrelenting.
Fifth. The appellant was merely clutching at straws when he attempted to pin the criminal liability on Bon
and Delfino for the injuries sustained by Ailyn and the rape and death of Marilyn. If, indeed, Bon and Delfino
were involved, Ailyn would have said so when she testified. Moreover, Ailyn identified the appellant as the
only culprit. There is no evidence on record that Ailyn harbored any ill or devious motive to point to the
appellant as the sole perpetrator of the crime, for which the latter could be meted the capital penalty, if
convicted. Hence, Ailyns testimony is entitled to full probative weight. We agree with the disquisitions of the
trial court, thus:
These foregoing circumstantial evidence pieced together, points to the accused as the rapist-murderer of 8year-old Marilyn Arganda. The testimony of Ailyn Arganda identifying the accused having struck her and her
sister on the very day of April 19, 1997 between 8:30 and 9:00 oclock in the morning at Magrimpong,
Tinambac, Camarines Sur is consistent with truth considering that it was even admitted by the accused that
about that time, they were following the two (2) sisters. However, the defense of the accused was that it was
Hercules Bon who had struck Marilyn Arganda while Ailyn Arganda was walking ahead of Marilyn was
struck by Jose Delfino. This statement of the accused is quite unbelievable over the statement
of Ailyn Arganda even [if] she testified that she was so definite that it was accused Noel Darilay who was
alone at that time who struck her and her sister. Ailyn Arganda although she was only 8 years old is a very
much qualified witness despite her tender age because as observed by the court, she was narrating the
incident in a straightforward manner.Because of her tender age, she was asked by the prosecution whether
she knows that she has to tell the truth and nothing but the truth in giving her testimony in court and she
answered, yes, and she even testified that telling a lie is bad. Her testimony was likewise corroborated by the
findings of Dr. Betito who conducted an autopsy examination on the cadaver of Marilyn Arganda and
conducted a medical examination on the injuries of Ailyn Arganda. The findings of Dr. Betito was that Marilyn
Arganda suffered injuries on her head which were fatal and would cause internal hemorrhage that caused her
death while in the physical examination that he conducted on Ailyn Arganda. Dr. Betito testified that he had

found contusion and abrasion on the back of the head of Ailyn Arganda and also contusion on the left face of
Ailyn Arganda. Ailyn Arganda had testified clearly that she was hit twice by the accused and hit the back of
her head and she was punched hitting her cheek and this was corroborated then by the findings of Dr.
Betito. Likewise, she testified that her sisterwas also struck hitting her on the head and the findings of Dr.
Betito on the cadaver of Marilyn Arganda was that she had injuries on her head which may be caused by a
hard object.His alibi that he was not the one who had struck Marilyn and Ailyn Arganda and pointing to
Hercules Bon and Jose Delfino is unbelievable considering that Ailyn Arganda positively identified him to be
the one who both (sic) struck her and her sister Marilyn on April 19, 1997.[32]
[T]he testimony of Ailyn Arganda was made in a straightforward manner and all the facts that she has
narrated jibed with the findings of the doctor who conducted the autopsy on the cadaver of Marilyn and
conducted the medical examination on her. Her testimonies even remained the same and she remained
unshaken during the cross-examination. The witness who is of tender age such as Ailyn Arganda is a credible
witness because usually children of tender age cannot be coached and had to tell the truth of what she had
experienced. The court has no doubt as to the truthfulness of the testimony of Ailyn Arganda which is
consistent with common experience in the natural course of things coupled with the fact that it was
corroborated by an expert witness who conducted [an] examination both on Ailyn Arganda herself and on the
cadaver of Marilyn Arganda.
The testimony of children of sound mind is likely to be more correct and truthful than that of older persons, so
that once established that they have fully understood the character and nature of an oath, their testimony
should be given full credence. (Julio Marco vs. CA and People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 117561, June 11,
1997).[33]

The Crime Committed by the


Appellant in Criminal
Case No. RTC97-202
We agree with the ruling of the trial court that the appellant is guilty of attempted murder for the injuries
sustained by Ailyn. Under Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code, there is an attempt to commit a felony when
the offender commences the commission of a felony by direct acts, and does not perform all the acts of
execution by reason of some causes or accident other than his own spontaneous desistance. In People
v. Lizada,[34] we held:
The Supreme Court of Spain, in its decision of March 21, 1892, declared that for overt acts to constitute an
attempted offense, it is necessary that their objective be known and established or such that acts be of such
nature that they themselves should obviously disclose the criminal objective necessarily intended, said
objective and finality to serve as ground for designation of the offense. [35]
For one to be criminally liable for a consummated, frustrated or attempted homicide or murder, there
must be, on the part of the accused, an intent to kill the victim. Intent to kill is an internal act but may be
proved by evidence, inter alia, that the accused used a lethal weapon; the nature, location and number of
wounds sustained by the victim; and by the words uttered by the malefactor before, at the time or
immediately after the infliction of the injuries on the victim. [36] In this case, the prosecution proved that the
appellant intended to kill the victim Ailyn because (a) he used a piece of wood; (b) he struck Ailyn twice on
the back and boxed her on the face; (c) he threw her to the ground and dragged her to a grassy area; (d) he
left Ailyn all by herself. There is evidence on record that the injuries sustained by Ailyn were mortal and could
have caused her death. She recovered from her injuries in less than 5 days but not more than 9
days. Furthermore, the crime was qualified by treachery because Ailyn, who was only 7 years old at the time,
could not defend herself against the appellants physical assault. Hence, the appellant is guilty of attempted
murder.

The Crime Committed by the


Appellant in Criminal Case
No. RTC97-201

The appellant asserts that there was no eyewitness to the rape and killing of Marilyn. He contends that
the prosecution failed to prove that the appellant raped the victim and killed her on the occasion or by reason
of the said rape. He should thus be acquitted of the said crime. For its part, the Office of the Solicitor General
avers that as gleaned from the evidence on record and the findings of the trial court in its decision, the
prosecution adduced circumstantial evidence to prove that the appellant raped the victim and killed her on
the occasion or by reason of said crime. Hence, it asserts, the trial court did not err in convicting the
appellant of the special complex crime of rape with homicide.
We agree with the appellant that the prosecution failed to adduce direct evidence to prove that he raped
and killed Marilyn on the occasion or by reason of the said crime. However, direct evidence is not
indispensable to prove the guilt of the accused for the crime charged; it may be proved by circumstantial
evidence. In People v. Delim,[37] we held, thus:
Circumstantial evidence consists of proof of collateral facts and circumstances from which the existence of
the main fact may be inferred according to reason and common experience. What was once a rule of ancient
practicability is now entombed in Section 4, Rule 133 of the Revised Rules of Evidence which states that
circumstantial evidence, sometimes referred to as indirect or presumptive evidence, is sufficient as anchor for
a judgment of conviction if the following requisites concur:
x x x if (a) there is more than one circumstance; (b) the facts from which the inferences are derived have
been established; and (c) the combination of all the circumstances is such as to warrant a finding of guilt
beyond reasonable doubt.
The prosecution is burdened to prove the essential events which constitute a compact mass of
circumstantial evidence, and the proof of each being confirmed by the proof of the other, and all without
exception leading by mutual support to but one conclusion: the guilt of the accused for the offense charged.
For circumstantial evidence to be sufficient to support a conviction, all the circumstances must be consistent
with each other, consistent with the hypothesis that accused is guilty and at the same time inconsistent with
the hypothesis that he is innocent, and with every other rational hypothesis except that of guilt. If the
prosecution adduced the requisite circumstantial evidence to prove the guilt of accused beyond reasonable
doubt, the burden of evidence shifts to the accused to controvert the evidence of the prosecution. [38]
We are convinced that, based on the evidence on record and as declared by the trial court in its decision,
the prosecution adduced circumstantial evidence to prove beyond cavil that it was the appellant who raped
and killed Marilyn on the occasion or by reason of the rape. Hence, he is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
rape with homicide, a special complex crime.
First. The appellant alone waylaid Ailyn and Marilyn while the two were walking home after
buying tinapa. The appellant hit Ailyn twice with a piece of wood on her back and boxed the left side of her
face, rendering her unconscious. The appellant also struck Marilyn with a piece of wood on the back. After
dragging Ailyn to a grassy area, he left her there.
Second. When Ailyn regained consciousness, Marilyn and the appellant were nowhere to be found.
Third. The torn dress, the pair of panties, and a slipper were found about 15 meters away from where the
two young girls were waylaid by the appellant.
Fourth. The appellant testified that he himself accompanied the policemen and pointed to the place
where Marilyns body was dumped, completely naked, with blood oozing from her nose and vagina.
We are convinced that the appellant raped Marilyn about 15 meters from where he had earlier
waylaid Ailyn. He then carried Marilyn across the river where he killed her to prevent her from revealing to
the authorities that she was raped. The appellant hid her body under the bushes and trees to thus prevent
police authorities from discovering that he killed Marilyn. Irrefragably, Marilyn was killed by reason of the
rape. The killing of a child, barely 9 years old, is murder. Nonetheless, the appellant is guilty of rape with
homicide because the latter crime is used in its generic sense.

The Proper Penalties Against the Appellant


As found by the trial court, the appellant was over 9 years but under 15 years old when he committed
the crime. The appellant acted with discernment when he committed the same. Article 6 of the Revised Penal

Code provides that the imposable penalty should be reduced by two degrees. Under Article 335 of the
Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, rape with homicide is punishable by death.
Reducing the penalty by two degrees, the imposable penalty isreclusion temporal, from which the maximum
of the indeterminate penalty should be taken. To determine the minimum of the penalty, it should be reduced
by one degree, which is prision mayor. Applying the indeterminate sentence law and taking into account how
the ghastly crime was committed, the appellant should be sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty of
from 6 years and one day of prision mayor in its medium period, as minimum, to 17 years and 4 months
of reclusion temporal in its medium period, as maximum.
For attempted murder, the trial court sentenced the appellant to an indeterminate penalty, from 2
months and one day to 4 months of arresto mayor. The penalty imposed by the trial court is erroneous. The
penalty of consummated murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, is reclusion
perpetua to death. The imposable penalty should be reduced by two degrees under Article 68 of the Revised
Penal Code because the appellant is a minor. As reduced, the penalty is reclusion temporal.[39] Reclusion
temporal should be reduced by two degrees lower, conformably to Article 51 of the Revised Penal Code which
is prision correccional. This penalty should be reduced by one degree, which is arresto mayor, to determine
the minimum of the indeterminate penalty. Accordingly, the appellant should be sentenced to a straight
penalty of four (4) months. It goes without saying that if the trial court decides to impose on the accused a
penalty of imprisonment of one year or less, it should impose a straight penalty and not an indeterminate
penalty.

Civil Liability for the Crimes


Considering that at the time of the commission of the crime, the appellant was a minor under the
parental authority of his parents, the Spouses Manuel and Julieta Darilay are primarily and directly liable for
the damages sustained by the heirs of the victims Marilyn and Ailyn Arganda.[40] Consequently, the Spouses
Manuel and Julieta Darilay are hereby ordered, jointly and severally, in Criminal Case No. RTC97-201, to pay
to the heirs of the victim Marilyn Arganda, the amount of P100,000.00 as civil indemnity; [41] P50,000.00 as
moral damages;[42] and P28,000.00 as exemplary -damages.[43] The prosecution failed to adduce evidence in
support of actual damages; hence, the heirs of the victim are not entitled thereto. They are, however, entitled
to temperate damages in the amount of P25,000.00.[44]
In Criminal Case No. RTC97-202, the Spouses Manuel and Julieta Darilay are hereby ordered to pay,
jointly and severally, to Ailyn Arganda, the amount ofP25,000.00 as moral damages and P25,000.00 as
exemplary damages.
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the appealed decision of the Regional Trial Court of Camarines Sur,
Branch 63, is AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION. In Criminal Case No. RTC97-201, the appellant is found guilty of
rape with homicide under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and is hereby sentenced to
suffer an indeterminate penalty from six (6) years of prision mayor in its medium period, as minimum, to
seventeen (17) years and four (4) months of reclusion temporal in its medium period, as maximum. The
Spouses Manuel and Julieta Darilay, are hereby ordered to pay, jointly and severally, to the heirs of the victim
Marilyn Arganda P100,000.00 as civil indemnity; P50,000.00 as moral damages; P25,000.00 as exemplary
damages; and P25,000.00 as temperate damages.
In Criminal Case No. RTC97-202, the appellant is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of attempted
murder under Article 248 in relation to Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code, and is hereby sentenced to suffer
imprisonment of four (4) months. The Spouses Manuel and Julieta Darilay, are ordered to pay, jointly and
severally, to Ailyn Arganda the amount of P25,000.00 as moral damages and P25,000.00 as exemplary
damages.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. L-3544. March 27, 1907. ]


CARMEN AYALA DE ROXAS, Petitioner-Appellee, v. EDWIN CASE, Respondent-Appellant.
Hartigan, Rohde & Gutierrez, for Appellant.

Del-Pan, Ortigas & Fisher, for Appellee.


SYLLABUS
REALTY; EASEMENTS; RIGHT OF WAY. A right of way claimed to have been established by use prior to the
Civil Code, without written evidence, can not be proved by the memory of living witnesses alone. Whether the
additional proof should be by the declarations of persons deceased or by common reputation of ownership,
left undecided.
DECISION
TRACEY, J. :
This appeal from the Court of Land Registration involves a right of way claimed by the appellant, Edwin Case,
through a passage along the westerly side of the property of Carmen Ayala de Roxas, in the city of Manila,
which is bounded on the north by the Escolta and on the east by the Estero de Sibacon. The appellant owns
the two adjoining properties to the south and west, that to the south lying in the rear of appellees premises,
and being the dominant tenement, for the benefit of which the easement is claimed. It also adjoins the rear of
that to the west, which faces on the Escolta, but it was formerly owned by another and was occupied as a
hotel, to which the only ingress appears to have been at that time through this passageway.
The claim of the appellant is not that the right of way exists by necessity, growing out of the peculiarities of
the location, but simply that it arises by prescription, founded not on any written instrument but on
immemorial use alone. In regard to the nature of this servitude as apparent and discontinuous, its
inadmissibility under the provisions of the existing Civil Code, demanding a formal title, as well as the
applicability thereto of the antecedent Partidas and their requirement of an immemorial prescription in order
to establish an easement, nothing need be added to the very full exposition of the law in the decision of the
judge of the Court of Land Registration.
The appellant, however, here makes the additional point that since the passage of the Code of Civil Procedure
in these Islands an immemorial prescription does not call for the same proof as under the Spanish procedure.
The third Partida in title 31, law 15, after stating the various definite periods applicable to continuous
servitudes, says that discontinuous servitudes have no fixed periods, but must be proved by usage or a term
so long that men can not remember its commencement. "Tanto tiempo de que non se pueden accordar los
omes, quanto ha que lo commencaron a usar."cralaw virtua1aw library
In many judgments the supreme court of Spain has refused to accept proof of any definite number of years as
a satisfaction of this requirement of the law. In the judgment of the 11th of February, 1895, it was said that
the court should consider the testimony and number of witnesses over 60 years of age who were acquainted
with the servitude during their lives and who also had heard it spoken of in the same way by their elders.
With the first of these requirements the appellant has complied, having produced at least one witness over 60
years of age and two of 59, familiar with the property, by whom the use of the right of way was described as
existing in the year 1859, the passage running then between walls not apparently new. The way was about
3.75 meters in width, with an entrance of 2.61 meters on the Escolta, a narrow door on the left, about twothirds of the way down, leading into the property of the appellee, a wider door toward the end into that of the
appellant, and seems to have been used for the benefit of both properties, the servient as well as the
dominant tenement, a circumstance which renders doubtful the character of the easement by destroying its
exclusiveness.
With the second requirement, that of the declarations of persons older from the memory of the witnesses, the
appellant has not complied, urging the inadmissibility of such testimony as hearsay under the present Code
of Civil Procedure. Had a question been put calling for such declarations, it would have raised the point
whether the right to make use of such proof was saved under paragraph 6 of section 795 of the Code of Civil
Procedure, providing "that nothing in this act contained shall be so construed as to divest or injuriously affect
any property right that has already become vested under existing law."cralaw virtua1aw library

We have heretofore held that there is not vested right in a mere rule of evidence. (Aldeguer v. Hoskyn, 2 Phil.
Rep., 500.) But the point would be whether this requirement of the Spanish law is not substantive rather than
evidential in its nature, so as to survive the repeal. If substantive, then the appellant has failed to comply
with it; if not substantive, but merely a matter of procedure, then it must be taken to be replaced by the
corresponding provisions of our new code. We find therein no equivalent provision, other than subsection 11
of section 334, establishing as a disputable presumption "that a person is the owner of property from
exercising acts of ownership over it or from common reputation of his ownership." The use of the passage
proved in this case can not be held to constitute acts of ownership for the reason that it is quite consistent
with a mere license to pass, informal in its origin and revocable in its nature. It seems, however, that under
the clause quoted, common reputation of ownership of the right of way was open to proof and on this theory
of the case such testimony, if available, should have been offered.
We are of the opinion that in order to establish a right or prescription something more is required than the
memory of living witnesses. Whether this something should be the declaration of persons long dead,
repeated by those who testify, as executed by the Spanish law, or should be the common reputation of
ownership recognized by the Code of Procedure, it is unnecessary for us to decide.
On either theory the appellant has failed in his proof and the judgment must be affirmed with the costs of this
instance.
After the expiration of twenty days let judgment be entered in accordance herewith and ten days thereafter
the case remanded to the court from whence it came for proper action. So ordered.

[G.R. No. 153802. March 11, 2005]

HOMEOWNERS SAVINGS & LOAN BANK, petitioner, vs. MIGUELA C. DAILO, respondent.
DECISION
TINGA, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court, assailing
the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 59986 rendered on June 3, 2002, which affirmed with
modification the October 18, 1997 Decision[2] of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 29, San Pablo City, Laguna in
Civil Case No. SP-4748 (97).
The following factual antecedents are undisputed.
Respondent Miguela C. Dailo and Marcelino Dailo, Jr. were married on August 8, 1967. During their
marriage, the spouses purchased a house and lot situated at Barangay San Francisco, San Pablo City from a
certain Sandra Dalida. The subject property was declared for tax assessment purposes under Assessment of
Real Property No. 94-051-2802. The Deed of Absolute Sale, however, was executed only in favor of the late
Marcelino Dailo, Jr. as vendee thereof to the exclusion of his wife. [3]
On December 1, 1993, Marcelino Dailo, Jr. executed a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) in favor of one
Lilibeth Gesmundo, authorizing the latter to obtain a loan from petitioner Homeowners Savings and Loan
Bank to be secured by the spouses Dailos house and lot in San Pablo City. Pursuant to the SPA, Gesmundo
obtained a loan in the amount of P300,000.00 from petitioner. As security therefor, Gesmundo executed on
the same day a Real Estate Mortgage constituted on the subject property in favor of petitioner. The
abovementioned transactions, including the execution of the SPA in favor of Gesmundo, took place without
the knowledge and consent of respondent.[4]
Upon maturity, the loan remained outstanding. As a result, petitioner instituted extrajudicial foreclosure
proceedings on the mortgaged property. After the extrajudicial sale thereof, a Certificate of Sale was issued in
favor of petitioner as the highest bidder. After the lapse of one year without the property being redeemed,
petitioner, through its vice-president, consolidated the ownership thereof by executing on June 6, 1996 an
Affidavit of Consolidation of Ownership and a Deed of Absolute Sale. [5]

In the meantime, Marcelino Dailo, Jr. died on December 20, 1995. In one of her visits to the subject
property, respondent learned that petitioner had already employed a certain Roldan Brion to clean its
premises and that her car, a Ford sedan, was razed because Brion allowed a boy to play with fire within the
premises.
Claiming that she had no knowledge of the mortgage constituted on the subject property, which was
conjugal in nature, respondent instituted with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 29, San Pablo City, Civil Case
No. SP-2222 (97) for Nullity of Real Estate Mortgage and Certificate of Sale, Affidavit of Consolidation of
Ownership, Deed of Sale, Reconveyance with Prayer for Preliminary Injunction and Damages against
petitioner. In the latters Answer with Counterclaim, petitioner prayed for the dismissal of the complaint on the
ground that the property in question was the exclusive property of the late Marcelino Dailo, Jr.
After trial on the merits, the trial court rendered a Decision on October 18, 1997. The dispositive portion
thereof reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, the plaintiff having proved by the preponderance of evidence the allegations of the Complaint,
the Court finds for the plaintiff and hereby orders:
ON THE FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION:
1. The declaration of the following documents as null and void:
(a) The Deed of Real Estate Mortgage dated December 1, 1993 executed before Notary Public
Romulo Urrea and his notarial register entered as Doc. No. 212; Page No. 44, Book No. XXI,
Series of 1993.
(b) The Certificate of Sale executed by Notary Public Reynaldo Alcantara on April 20, 1995.
(c) The Affidavit of Consolidation of Ownership executed by the defendant
(c) The Affidavit of Consolidation of Ownership executed by the defendant over the residential lot
located at Brgy. San Francisco, San Pablo City, covered by ARP No. 95-091-1236 entered as
Doc. No. 406; Page No. 83, Book No. III, Series of 1996 of Notary Public Octavio M. Zayas.
(d) The assessment of real property No. 95-051-1236.
2. The defendant is ordered to reconvey the property subject of this complaint to the plaintiff.
ON THE SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION
1. The defendant to pay the plaintiff the sum of P40,000.00 representing the value of the car which was
burned.
ON BOTH CAUSES OF ACTION
1. The defendant to pay the plaintiff the sum of P25,000.00 as attorneys fees;
2. The defendant to pay plaintiff P25,000.00 as moral damages;
3. The defendant to pay the plaintiff the sum of P10,000.00 as exemplary damages;
4. To pay the cost of the suit.
The counterclaim is dismissed.
SO ORDERED.[6]
Upon elevation of the case to the Court of Appeals, the appellate court affirmed the trial courts finding
that the subject property was conjugal in nature, in the absence of clear and convincing evidence to rebut the

presumption that the subject property acquired during the marriage of spouses Dailo belongs to their
conjugal partnership.[7] The appellate court declared as void the mortgage on the subject property because it
was constituted without the knowledge and consent of respondent, in accordance with Article 124 of the
Family Code. Thus, it upheld the trial courts order to reconvey the subject property to respondent. [8] With
respect to the damage to respondents car, the appellate court found petitioner to be liable therefor because
it is responsible for the consequences of the acts or omissions of the person it hired to accomplish the
assigned task.[9] All told, the appellate court affirmed the trial courts Decision, but deleted the award for
damages and attorneys fees for lack of basis.[10]
Hence, this petition, raising the following issues for this Courts consideration:
1. WHETHER OR NOT THE MORTGAGE CONSTITUTED BY THE LATE MARCELINO DAILO, JR. ON THE SUBJECT
PROPERTY AS CO-OWNER THEREOF IS VALID AS TO HIS UNDIVIDED SHARE.
2. WHETHER OR NOT THE CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP IS LIABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE LOAN OBTAINED BY
THE LATE MARCELINO DAILO, JR. THE SAME HAVING REDOUNDED TO THE BENEFIT OF THE FAMILY. [11]
First, petitioner takes issue with the legal provision applicable to the factual milieu of this case. It
contends that Article 124 of the Family Code should be construed in relation to Article 493 of the Civil Code,
which states:
ART. 493. Each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and of the fruits and benefits pertaining
thereto, and he may therefore alienate, assign or mortgage it, and even substitute another person in its
enjoyment, except when personal rights are involved. But the effect of the alienation or the mortgage, with
respect to the co-owners, shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to him in the division upon the
termination of the co-ownership.
Article 124 of the Family Code provides in part:
ART. 124. The administration and enjoyment of the conjugal partnership property shall belong to both
spouses jointly. . . .
In the event that one spouse is incapacitated or otherwise unable to participate in the administration of the
conjugal properties, the other spouse may assume sole powers of administration. These powers do not
include the powers of disposition or encumbrance which must have the authority of the court or the written
consent of the other spouse. In the absence of such authority or consent, the disposition or encumbrance
shall be void. . . .
Petitioner argues that although Article 124 of the Family Code requires the consent of the other spouse to
the mortgage of conjugal properties, the framers of the law could not have intended to curtail the right of a
spouse from exercising full ownership over the portion of the conjugal property pertaining to him under the
concept of co-ownership.[12] Thus, petitioner would have this Court uphold the validity of the mortgage to the
extent of the late Marcelino Dailo, Jr.s share in the conjugal partnership.
In Guiang v. Court of Appeals,[13] it was held that the sale of a conjugal property requires the consent of
both the husband and wife.[14] In applying Article 124 of the Family Code, this Court declared that the absence
of the consent of one renders the entire sale null and void, including the portion of the conjugal property
pertaining to the husband who contracted the sale. The same principle in Guiang squarely applies to the
instant case. As shall be discussed next, there is no legal basis to construe Article 493 of the Civil Code as an
exception to Article 124 of the Family Code.
Respondent and the late Marcelino Dailo, Jr. were married on August 8, 1967. In the absence of a
marriage settlement, the system of relative community or conjugal partnership of gains governed the
property relations between respondent and her late husband. [15] With the effectivity of the Family Code on
August 3, 1988, Chapter 4 on Conjugal Partnership of Gains in the Family Code was made applicable to
conjugal partnership of gains already established before its effectivity unless vested rights have already been
acquired under the Civil Code or other laws.[16]
The rules on co-ownership do not even apply to the property relations of respondent and the late
Marcelino Dailo, Jr. even in a suppletory manner. The regime of conjugal partnership of gains is a special type
of partnership, where the husband and wife place in a common fund the proceeds, products, fruits and
income from their separate properties and those acquired by either or both spouses through their efforts or

by chance.[17] Unlike the absolute community of property wherein the rules on co-ownership apply in a
suppletory manner,[18] the conjugal partnership shall be governed by the rules on contract of partnership in all
that is not in conflict with what is expressly determined in the chapter (on conjugal partnership of gains) or by
the spouses in their marriage settlements.[19] Thus, the property relations of respondent and her late husband
shall be governed, foremost, by Chapter 4 on Conjugal Partnership of Gains of the Family Code and,
suppletorily, by the rules on partnership under the Civil Code. In case of conflict, the former prevails because
the Civil Code provisions on partnership apply only when the Family Code is silent on the matter.
The basic and established fact is that during his lifetime, without the knowledge and consent of his wife,
Marcelino Dailo, Jr. constituted a real estate mortgage on the subject property, which formed part of their
conjugal partnership. By express provision of Article 124 of the Family Code, in the absence of (court)
authority or written consent of the other spouse, any disposition or encumbrance of the conjugal property
shall be void.
The aforequoted provision does not qualify with respect to the share of the spouse who makes the
disposition or encumbrance in the same manner that the rule on co-ownership under Article 493 of the Civil
Code does. Where the law does not distinguish, courts should not distinguish. [20] Thus, both the trial court and
the appellate court are correct in declaring the nullity of the real estate mortgage on the subject property for
lack of respondents consent.
Second, petitioner imposes the liability for the payment of the principal obligation obtained by the late
Marcelino Dailo, Jr. on the conjugal partnership to the extent that it redounded to the benefit of the family. [21]
Under Article 121 of the Family Code, [T]he conjugal partnership shall be liable for: . . . (3) Debts and
obligations contracted by either spouse without the consent of the other to the extent that the family may
have been benefited; . . . . For the subject property to be held liable, the obligation contracted by the late
Marcelino Dailo, Jr. must have redounded to the benefit of the conjugal partnership. There must be the
requisite showing then of some advantage which clearly accrued to the welfare of the spouses. Certainly, to
make a conjugal partnership respond for a liability that should appertain to the husband alone is to defeat
and frustrate the avowed objective of the new Civil Code to show the utmost concern for the solidarity and
well-being of the family as a unit.[22]
The burden of proof that the debt was contracted for the benefit of the conjugal partnership of gains lies
with the creditor-party litigant claiming as such. [23] Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat (he who
asserts, not he who denies, must prove).[24] Petitioners sweeping conclusion that the loan obtained by the late
Marcelino Dailo, Jr. to finance the construction of housing units without a doubt redounded to the benefit of
his family, without adducing adequate proof, does not persuade this Court. Other than petitioners bare
allegation, there is nothing from the records of the case to compel a finding that, indeed, the loan obtained
by the late Marcelino Dailo, Jr. redounded to the benefit of the family. Consequently, the conjugal partnership
cannot be held liable for the payment of the principal obligation.
In addition, a perusal of the records of the case reveals that during the trial, petitioner vigorously
asserted that the subject property was the exclusive property of the late Marcelino Dailo, Jr. Nowhere in the
answer filed with the trial court was it alleged that the proceeds of the loan redounded to the benefit of the
family. Even on appeal, petitioner never claimed that the family benefited from the proceeds of the loan.
When a party adopts a certain theory in the court below, he will not be permitted to change his theory on
appeal, for to permit him to do so would not only be unfair to the other party but it would also be offensive to
the basic rules of fair play, justice and due process. [25] A party may change his legal theory on appeal only
when the factual bases thereof would not require presentation of any further evidence by the adverse party
in order to enable it to properly meet the issue raised in the new theory. [26]
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 144773. May 16, 2005]


AZNAR BROTHERS REALTY COMPANY, petitioner, vs. LAURENCIO AYING, IN HIS OWN BEHALF AND
IN BEHALF OF THE OTHER HEIRS OF EMILIANO AYING, PAULINO AYING, IN HIS OWN BEHALF
AND IN BEHALF OF THE OTHER HEIRS OF SIMEON AYING, AND WENCESLAO SUMALINOG, IN
HIS OWN BEHALF AND IN BEHALF OF THE OTHER HEIRS OF ROBERTA AYING,respondents.

DECISION
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
This resolves the petition for review on certiorari seeking the modification of the Decision [1] of the Court
of Appeals (CA) dated March 7, 2000 which affirmed with modification the Decision of the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) of Lapu-Lapu City, Branch 27 in Civil Case No. 2930-L; and the Resolution dated August 2, 2000 denying
petitioners motion for reconsideration of the aforementioned decision.
The antecedent facts are as follows:
The disputed property is Lot No. 4399 with an area of 34,325 square meters located at Dapdap, LapuLapu City. Crisanta Maloloy-on petitioned for the issuance of a cadastral decree in her favor over said parcel
of land. After her death in 1930, the Cadastral Court issued a Decision directing the issuance of a decree in
the name of Crisanta Maloloy-ons eight children, namely: Juan, Celedonio, Emiliano, Francisco, Simeon,
Bernabe, Roberta and Fausta, all surnamed Aying. The certificate of title was, however, lost during the war.
Subsequently, all the heirs of the Aying siblings executed an Extra-Judicial Partition of Real Estate with
Deed of Absolute Sale dated March 3, 1964, conveying the subject parcel of land to herein petitioner Aznar
Brothers Realty Company. Said deed was registered with the Register of Deeds of Lapu-Lapu City on March 6,
1964 under Act No. 3344 (the law governing registration for unregistered land), and since then, petitioner had
been religiously paying real property taxes on said property.
In 1988, herein petitioner filed a Petition for Reconstitution of the Original Title as the original title over
the subject property had been lost during the war. On April 12, 1988, the court granted said petition, thereby
directing the Register of Deeds of Lapu-Lapu City to issue a reconstituted title in the name of the
abovementioned Aying siblings. Thus, Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. RO-2856 was issued.
In 1991, petitioner, claiming to be the rightful owner of the subject property, sent out notices to vacate,
addressed to persons occupying the property. Unheeded, petitioner then filed a complaint for ejectment
against the occupants before the Metropolitan Trial Court (MTC), Lapu-Lapu City.
On February 1, 1994, the MTC ordered the occupants to vacate the property. The case eventually reached
this Court, docketed as G.R. No. 128102, entitledAznar Brothers Realty Company vs. Court of Appeals, Luis
Aying, Demetrio Sida, Felomino Augusto, Federico Abing, and Romeo Augusto.[2] On March 7, 2000, a Decision
was promulgated in favor of herein petitioner, declaring it as the rightful possessor of the parcel of land in
question.
Meanwhile, herein respondents, along with other persons claiming to be descendants of the eight Aying
siblings, all in all numbering around 220 persons, had filed a complaint for cancellation of the Extra-Judicial
Partition with Absolute Sale, recovery of ownership, injunction and damages with the RTC of Lapu-Lapu City.
The complaint was dismissed twice without prejudice. Said complaint was re-filed on August 19, 1993,
docketed as Civil Case No. 2930-L.
In their amended complaint, herein respondents (plaintiffs before the RTC) alleged that: they are coowners of subject property, being descendants of the registered owners thereof under OCT No. RO-2856; they
had been in actual, peaceful, physical, open, adverse, continuous and uninterrupted possession in concept of
owner of subject parcel of land since time immemorial; their possession was disturbed only in the last quarter
of 1991 when some of them received notices to vacate from petitioner and several weeks thereafter,
earthmoving equipment entered the disputed land, bulldozing the same and destroying plants, trees and
concrete monuments (mohon); respondents discovered that such activities were being undertaken by
petitioner together with Sta. Lucia Realty and Development, Inc.; petitioner claimed to be the owner of
subject property by virtue of an extra-judicial partition of real estate with deed of absolute sale executed in

petitioners favor by the alleged heirs of Crisanta Maloloy-on; the aforementioned extra-judicial partition of
real estate with deed of absolute sale is a fraud and is null and void ab initio because not all the co-owners of
subject property affixed their signature on said document and some of the co-owners who supposedly signed
said document had been dead at the time of the execution thereof; petitioner entered subject land in bad
faith, knowing fully well that it did not have any right to the land and used force, threat and intimidation
against respondents; and they suffered moral damages.[3]
Petitioner (defendant before the RTC) filed its Answer, denying that respondents are the lawful owners of
subject parcel of land by virtue of their being descendants or heirs of the registered owners of subject
property. Instead, petitioner alleged that it had been in actual possession of subject land as owner thereof by
virtue of the extra-judicial partition of real property and deed of absolute sale executed in its favor; that in
fact, it had been paying taxes thereon religiously; that it tolerated about 6 persons to live on said land but
said persons were eventually ejected by court order. Petitioner then raised the affirmative defenses of failure
to state cause of action and prescription, as it took respondents 27 years, 10 months and 27 days to file the
action to recover subject property, when an action to recover property based on an implied trust should be
instituted within 4 years from discovery of the fraud.[4]
In the Pre-Trial Order dated January 30, 1995 of the RTC, the issues were narrowed down to the following:
1. Whether or not the plaintiffs [herein respondents] are the heirs of the registered owners of Lot No. 4399.
2. Whether or not plaintiffs are the owners of Lot No. 4399.
3. Whether or not the defendant Aznar [herein petitioner] is estopped to make any claim on Lot No. 4399.
4. Whether or not the defendant Aznar is a builder in bad faith.
5. Whether or not the defendants are liable for damages and attorneys fees in favor of the plaintiffs.
6. Whether or not the Extra-Judicial Partition of Real Estate with Deed of Absolute Sale is valid and had, in
effect, validly conveyed to defendant Aznar Lot No. 4399.
7. Whether or not the plaintiffs action has prescribed.[5]
After trial, the RTC rendered a Decision dated July 4, 1997, ruling that respondents evidence failed to
prove that the extra-judicial partition with deed of absolute sale was a totally simulated or fictitious contract
and concluded that said document is valid, thus, effectively conveying to petitioner the property in question.
It further held that respondents action had prescribed in that the action is considered as one for
reconveyance based on implied or constructive trust, it prescribed in 10 years from the registration of the
deed on March 6, 1964; and if the action is considered as one for annulment of contract on the ground of
fraud, it should have been filed within 4 years from discovery of the fraud. The trial court also ruled that
respondents failed to present any admissible proof of filiation, hence, they were not able to prove that they
are indeed heirs of the eight Aying siblings who appear as the registered owners under OCT No. RO-2856.
The dispositive portion of the RTC Decision reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered dismissing the amended complaint on the ground of prescription,
and declaring the Extra-Judicial Partition of Real Estate with Deed of Absolute Sale dated March 3, 1964 as
valid and binding, adjudging that Lot 4399 with an area of 34,325 square meters located at Dapdap, Mactan,
Lapu-Lapu City had been validly conveyed to and in favor of Aznar Brothers Realty Company, and directing
the Register of Deeds of Lapu-Lapu City to register the above-mentioned deed in accordance with law and to
cancel Original Certificate of Title No. RO-2856, and to issue a transfer certificate of title in the name of Aznar
Brothers Realty Company upon payment of the necessary registration fees pursuant thereto.

The Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued in this case is hereby ordered dissolved.
The Motion for Contempt filed by the plaintiffs against defendants is dismissed for want of factual and legal
basis.
Costs against the plaintiffs.
SO ORDERED.[6]
Herein respondents appealed the foregoing decision to the CA and on March 7, 2000, said court
promulgated its Decision, the dispositive portion of which is reproduced hereunder:
THE FOREGOING CONSIDERED, the contested Decision while AFFIRMED is hereby MODIFIED. The heirs of
Emiliano Aying, Simeon Aying and Roberta Aying are hereby declared as the lawful owners of the contested
property but equivalent only to 3/8.
SO ORDERED.
In modifying the RTC judgment, the CA ratiocinated that an action for recovery of possession of
registered land never prescribes in view of the provision of Section 44, Act No. 496 (now Sec. 47, PD 1520), to
the effect that no title to registered land in derogation to that of a registered owner shall be acquired by
prescription. The CA further ruled that even if the action is deemed to be based on implied trust, prescription
did not begin to run since there is no evidence that positive acts of repudiation were made known to the heirs
who did not participate in the execution of the Extra-Judicial Partition of Real Estate with Deed of Absolute
Sale. Thus, striking down the RTCs ruling that the respondents complaint is dismissible on the ground of
prescription, the CA held instead that herein respondents action had not prescribed but upheld the validity of
the Extra-Judicial Partition of Real Estate with Deed of Absolute Sale, except as to the shares of the heirs of
Emiliano, Simeon and Roberta, who did not participate in the execution of said document.
Herein petitioners motion for reconsideration of the CA decision was denied per Resolution dated August
2, 2000.
Hence, the present petition for review on certiorari assailing the CA decision on the following grounds:
I
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FAILING TO APPLY THE RULE THAT AN HEIR OF THE ORIGINAL REGISTERED
OWNER MAY LOSE HIS RIGHT TO RECOVER A TITLED PROPERTY BY REASON OF LACHES;
II
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FAILING TO APPLY THE RULE THAT THE ACT OF REGISTRATION OF THE
DEED OF PARTITION WITH SALE MAY BE CONSIDERED AN UNEQUIVOCAL REPUDIATION OF THE TRUST GIVING
RISE TO PRESCRIPTION;
III
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FAILING TO APPLY THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 1104 OF THE CIVIL CODE
TO THE EFFECT THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF BAD FAITH OR FRAUD, THE PARTITION WITH PRETERITION OF ANY
COMPULSORY HEIR SHALL NOT BE RESCINDED.[7]
In their Comment, respondents argue that this case is an action to declare as null and void the ExtraJudicial Partition of Real Estate with Deed of Absolute Sale, hence, under Article 1410 of the Civil Code, an

action for declaration of an inexistent contract does not prescribe. Respondents further posit that the
principle of laches should be applied against petitioner and not against them, as they (respondents) had been
in actual possession of the subject property, while petitioner merely brought action to eject them more than
29 years after the alleged execution of the Extra-Judicial Partition of Real Estate with Deed of Absolute Sale.
They also refuted petitioners arguments regarding the application of the principles of implied and
constructive trusts in this case.
At the outset, it should be stressed that not all the plaintiffs who filed the amended complaint before the
trial court had been impleaded as respondents in the present petition. The only parties impleaded are the
heirs of Emiliano, Simeon and Roberta Aying, whom the CA adjudged as owners of a 3/8 portion of the land in
dispute for not having participated in the execution of the Extra-Judicial Partition of Real Estate with Deed of
Absolute Sale.
It is significant to note that herein petitioner does not question the CA conclusion that respondents are
heirs of the aforementioned three Aying siblings. Hence, the trial court and appellate courts findings that the
Extra- Judicial Partition of Real Estate with Deed of Absolute Sale was not forged nor simulated and that the
heirs of Emiliano, Simeon and Roberta Aying did not participate in the execution thereof, are now beyond
cavil.
The issues raised by petitioner for the Courts resolution are (1) whether or not respondents cause of
action is imprescriptible; and (2) if their right to bring action is indeed imprescriptible, may the principle of
laches apply.
Respondents alleged in their amended complaint that not all the co-owners of the land in question signed
or executed the document conveying ownership thereof to petitioner and made the conclusion that said
document is null and void. We agree with the ruling of the RTC and the CA that the Extra-Judicial Partition of
Real Estate with Deed of Absolute Sale is valid and binding only as to the heirs who participated in the
execution thereof, hence, the heirs of Emiliano, Simeon and Roberta Aying, who undisputedly did not
participate therein, cannot be bound by said document.
However, the facts on record show that petitioner acquired the entire parcel of land with the mistaken
belief that all the heirs have executed the subject document. Thus, the trial court is correct that the provision
of law applicable to this case is Article 1456 of the Civil Code which states:
ART. 1456. If property is acquired through mistake or fraud, the person obtaining it is, by force of law,
considered a trustee of an implied trust for the benefit of the person from whom the property comes.
In Vda. De Esconde vs. Court of Appeals,[8] the Court expounded thus:
Construing this provision of the Civil Code, in Philippine National Bank v. Court of Appeals, the Court stated:
A deeper analysis of Article 1456 reveals that it is not a trust in the technical sense for in a typical trust,
confidence is reposed in one person who is named a trustee for the benefit of another who is called the cestui
que trust, respecting property which is held by the trustee for the benefit of the cestui que trust. A
constructive trust, unlike an express trust, does not emanate from, or generate a fiduciary relation. While in
an express trust, a beneficiary and a trustee are linked by confidential or fiduciary relations, in a constructive
trust, there is neither a promise nor any fiduciary relation to speak of and the so-called trustee neither
accepts any trust nor intends holding the property for the beneficiary. [9]
The concept of constructive trusts was further elucidated in the same case, as follows:
. . . implied trusts are those which, without being expressed, are deducible from the nature of the transaction
as matters of intent or which are superinduced on the transaction by operation of law as matters of equity,

independently of the particular intention of the parties. In turn, implied trusts are either resulting or
constructive trusts. These two are differentiated from each other as follows:
Resulting trusts are based on the equitable doctrine that valuable consideration and not legal title determines
the equitable title or interest and are presumed always to have been contemplated by the parties. They arise
from the nature of circumstances of the consideration involved in a transaction whereby one person thereby
becomes invested with legal title but is obligated in equity to hold his legal title for the benefit of another. On
the other hand, constructive trusts are created by the construction of equity in order to satisfy the
demands of justice and prevent unjust enrichment. They arise contrary to intention against one
who, by fraud, duress or abuse of confidence, obtains or holds the legal right to property which
he ought not, in equity and good conscience, to hold. [10](Emphasis supplied)
Based on such concept of constructive trusts, the Court ruled in said case that:
The rule that a trustee cannot acquire by prescription ownership over property entrusted to him until and
unless he repudiates the trust, applies to express trusts and resulting implied trusts. However,
in constructive implied trusts, prescription may supervene even if the trustee does not repudiate the
relationship. Necessarily, repudiation of said trust is not a condition precedent to the running of the
prescriptive period.[11]
The next question is, what is the applicable prescriptive period?
In Amerol vs. Bagumbaran,[12] the Court expounded on the prescriptive period within which to bring an
action for reconveyance of property based on implied or constructive trust, to wit:
. . . under the present Civil Code, we find that just as an implied or constructive trust is an offspring of the law
(Art. 1456, Civil Code), so is the corresponding obligation to reconvey the property and the title thereto in
favor of the true owner. In this context, and vis--vis prescription, Article 1144 of the Civil Code is applicable.
Article 1144. The following actions must be brought within ten years from the time the right of action
accrues:
(1) Upon a written contract;
(2) Upon an obligation created by law;
(3) Upon a judgment.
xxx xxx xxx
An action for reconveyance based on an implied or constructive trust must perforce prescribe in ten years
and not otherwise. A long line of decisions of this Court, and of very recent vintage at that, illustrates this
rule. Undoubtedly, it is now well-settled that an action for reconveyance based on an implied or constructive
trust prescribes in ten years from the issuance of the Torrens title over the property. [13]
It has also been ruled that the ten-year prescriptive period begins to run from the date of registration of
the deed or the date of the issuance of the certificate of title over the property, but if the person claiming to
be the owner thereof is in actual possession of the property, the right to seek reconveyance, which in effect
seeks to quiet title to the property, does not prescribe.[14]
In the present case, respondents Wenceslao Sumalinog, an heir of Roberta Aying; Laurencio Aying, an
heir of Emiliano Aying; and Paulino Aying, an heir of Simeon Aying, all testified that they had never occupied

or been in possession of the land in dispute. [15] Hence, the prescriptive period of ten years would apply to
herein respondents.
The question then arises as to the date from which the ten-year period should be reckoned, considering
that the Extra-Judicial Partition of Real Estate with Deed of Absolute Sale was registered under Act No. 3344
and not under Act No. 496 (Land Registration Act), despite the fact the land in dispute was already titled
under Act No. 496 in the names of the Aying siblings at the time the subject document was executed.
In Spouses Abrigo vs. De Vera,[16] it was held that registration of instruments must be done in the proper
registry, in order to affect and bind the land and, thus, operate as constructive notice to the world. [17] Therein,
the Court ruled:
x x x If the land is registered under the Land Registration Act (and has therefore a Torrens Title), and it is sold
but the subsequent sale is registered not under the Land Registration Act but under Act 3344, as amended,
such sale is not considered REGISTERED x x x .[18]
In this case, since the Extra-Judicial Partition of Real Estate with Deed of Absolute Sale was registered
under Act No. 3344 and not under Act No. 496, said document is deemed not registered. Accordingly, the tenyear prescriptive period cannot be reckoned from March 6, 1964, the date of registration of the subject
document under Act No. 3344. The prescriptive period only began to run from the time respondents had
actual notice of the Extra-Judicial Partition of Real Estate with Deed of Absolute Sale.
The only evidence on record as to when such prescriptive period commenced as to each of the
respondents are Wenceslao Sumalinogs (heir of Roberta Aying) testimony that about three years after 1964,
they already learned of the existence of the Extra-Judicial Partition of Real Estate with Deed of Absolute Sale;
[19]
and Laurencio Ayings (heir of Emiliano Aying) admission that he found out about the sale of the land in
dispute a long time ago and can only estimate that it must be after martial law. [20] Paulino Aying (heir of
Simeon Aying) gave no testimony whatsoever as to when the children of Simeon Aying actually learned of the
existence of the document of sale. On the other hand, petitioner did not present any other evidence to prove
the date when respondents were notified of the execution of the subject document.
In view of the lack of unambiguous evidence of when the heirs of Emiliano Aying and Simeon Aying
discovered the existence of the document of sale, it must be determined which party had the burden of proof
to establish such fact.
The test for determining where the burden of proof lies is to ask which party to an action or suit will fail if
he offers no evidence competent to show the facts averred as the basis for the relief he seeks to obtain.
[21]
Moreover, one alleging a fact that is denied has the burden of proving it and unless the party asserting the
affirmative of an issue sustains the burden of proof of that issue by a preponderance of the evidence, his
cause will not succeed.[22] Thus, the defendant bears the burden of proof as to all affirmative defenses which
he sets up in answer to the plaintiffs claim or cause of action; he being the party who asserts the truth of the
matter he has alleged, the burden is upon him to establish the facts on which that matter is predicated and if
he fails to do so, the plaintiff is entitled to a verdict or decision in his favor. [23]
In the case at bar, it was petitioner, as the defendant before the RTC, which set up in its Answer the
affirmative defense of prescription. It was, therefore, incumbent upon petitioner to prove the date from which
the prescriptive period began to run. Evidence as to the date when the ten-year prescriptive period began
exists only as to the heirs of Roberta Aying, as Wenceslao Sumalinog admitted that they learned of the
existence of the document of sale in the year 1967. As to the heirs of Emiliano Aying and Simeon Aying, there
is no clear evidence of the date when they discovered the document conveying the subject land to petitioner.
Petitioner miserably failed to adduce proof of when the heirs of Emiliano Aying and Simeon Aying were
notified of the subject document. Hence, with regard to said heirs, the Court may consider the admission in
the amended complaint that they learned of the conveyance of the disputed land only in 1991 when

petitioner sent notices to vacate to the occupants of the subject land, as the date from which the ten-year
prescriptive period should be reckoned.
Respondents filed their Amended Complaint on December 6, 1993. [24] Thus, with regard to respondent
heirs of Roberta Aying who had knowledge of the conveyance as far back as 1967, their cause of action is
already barred by prescription when said amended complaint was filed as they only had until 1977 within
which to bring action. As to the respondent heirs of Emiliano and Simeon Aying, they were able to initiate
their action for reconveyance of property based on implied or constructive trust well within the ten-year
prescriptive period reckoned from 1991 when they were sent by petitioner a notice to vacate the subject
property.
Evidently, laches cannot be applied against respondent heirs of Emiliano and Simeon Aying, as they took
action to protect their interest well within the period accorded them by law.
With regard to petitioners argument that the provision of Article 1104 of the Civil Code, stating that a
partition made with preterition of any of the compulsory heirs shall not be rescinded, should be applied,
suffice it to say that the Extra-Judicial Partition of Real Estate with Deed of Absolute Sale is not being
rescinded. In fact, its validity had been upheld but only as to the parties who participated in the execution of
the same. As discussed above, what was conveyed to petitioner was ownership over the shares of the heirs
who executed the subject document. Thus, the law, particularly, Article 1456 of the Civil Code, imposed the
obligation upon petitioner to act as a trustee for the benefit of respondent heirs of Emiliano and Simeon Aying
who, having brought their action within the prescriptive period, are now entitled to the reconveyance of their
share in the land in dispute.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED and the Decision of the Court of
Appeals dated March 7, 2000 is MODIFIED, as follows: The amended complaint of the heirs of Roberta Aying is
DISMISSED on the ground of prescription. However, the heirs of Emiliano Aying and Simeon Aying, having
instituted the action for reconveyance within the prescriptive period, are hereby DECLARED as the LAWFUL
OWNERS of a 2/8 portion of the parcel of land covered by Original Certificate of Title No. RO-2856.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-45137 September 23, 1985


FE J. BAUTISTA and MILAGROS J. CORPUS, petitioners,
vs.
HON. MALCOLM G. SARMIENTO, District Judge, Court of First Instance of Pampanga, Branch I and
the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

CUEVAS, J.:
In this special civil action of certiorari and Prohibition with Preliminary Injunction, petitioners assail
respondent Judge Malcolm G. Sarmiento's denial of their Motion to Dismiss filed in the nature of demurrer to
evidence in Criminal Case No. 808 for Estafa entitled "PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. FE BAUTISTA,
MILAGROS CORPUS and TERESITA VERGERE ", pending before the defunct Court of First Instance of
Pampanga Branch I.
An information charging Fe Bautista, Milagros Corpus and Teresita Vergere with estafa was filed before the
sala of Judge Malcolm G. Sarmiento. The third accused, Teresita Vergere, was granted a separate trial. To
prove its case, the prosecution presented during the trial the private complainant, Dr. Leticia C. Yap, as its

only witness. Thereafter, petitioners, believing the prosecution failed to prove their guilty beyond reasonable
doubt, moved to dismissal the case by way of demurrer to the evidence.
In an Order dated June 3, 1976 respondent judge denied said motion. 1 The Order states:
Fe Bautista and Milagros Corpus, accused, through counsel, filed a "Moton to Dismiss"
(Demurrer to Evidence) to the information charging the two accused for Estafa, The other third
accused Teresita Vergere, granted as separate trial.
The grounds alleged in the Motion to Dismiss are as follows: First, the inf rmation alleges that the two accused
received jewelries from Dr. Leticia C. Yap on April 19, 1975 on consignment. The defense' contention is that
the jewelries were received by the said accused by virtue of purchase and sale. The defense overlooks the
other allegation in the Information specifically alleging:
That these pieces of jewelries should be sold by the accused on commission
basis and to pay or to deliver the proceeds thereof to Dr. Leticia C. Yap if sold,
and if not sold to return said jewelries. ...
In spite of represented demands made on the said accused, said accused failed
and refused and still fails and refuses to return the jewelries or deliver the
proceeds thereof to the damage and prejudice of said Dr. Leticia C. Yap in the
total amount of P77,300.00.
The meaning of consignment is not a sale.
It means that the goods sent by one person to another, to be sold or disposed of
by the latter for and on account of the former. The transmission of the goods.
Agency is within the foregoing meaning by Bouvier's Law Dictionary (Vol. 1, pp. 619-620)
The offended party testified that the accused acted as her agents for the sale of the jewelries.
Second ground, that the prosecution failed to establish the prior demand to prove
misappropriation on the part of the accused. Exhibits B and B-1 are documentary evidence to
establish demand through Atty. Gorospe made by the offended party prior to the filing of the
case. This letter of demand was subsequently made after several previous oral demands were
made by the complainant on said accused.
The Court believes that the prosecution established a prima facie case of Estafa alleged in the
Information against said accused on the evidence presented so far on record.
PREMISES CONSIDERED, the Court hereby denies the defense' Motion to Dismiss and orders the
trial of this case for the reception of evidence of the accused on July 9, 1976 at 8:00 o'clock in
the morning.
SO ORDERED.
Accordingly, a motion for reconsideration was duly filed
this petition.

but was likewise denied "for lack of merit

Hence,

Initially, it is necessary to point out that the remedy of certiorari is improper, The respondent Judge's order
denying the petitioners' motion to dismiss the complaint by way of demurrer to the evidence is merely an
interlocutory order, It cannot, therefore, be the subject of a petition for certiorari. What should have been

done was to continue with the trial of the case and had the decision been adverse, to raise the issue on
appeal. 4
The rule that certiorari cannot be a substitute for appeal, however, admits an exception. This is when the
questioned order is an oppressive exercise of judicial authority. 5 But, even granting petitioners the benefit of
the exception, still certiorari would not lie. For, as would be shortly explained, there was no arbitrary exercise
of judicial authority.
It is the contention of petitioners that respondent Judge lost jurisdiction to proceed with the trial of the case
and that he was in duty-bound to acquit them, considering his findings in denying their motion to dismiss that
"....the prosecution established a prima facie case of Estafa alleged in the Information against said accused
on the evidence presented so far on record". Petitioners further argue that in a criminal case, conviction can
be had only upon proof beyond reasonable doubt and not on a mere prima facie case.
Since the denial of the motion to dismiss was anchored on a finding of a prima facie case, a clear
understanding of the term and its implications is in order.
A prima facie case is that amount of evidence which would be sufficient to counter-balance the
general presumption of innocence, and warrant a conviction, if not encountered and controlled
by evidence tending to contradict it, and render it improbable, or to prove other facts
inconsistent with it, and the establishment of a prima facie case does not take away the
presumption of innocence which may in the opinion of the jury be such as to rebut and control
it. Ex parte Parr 288 P. 852, 855, 106 Cal.
App. 95. 6
There is no denying that in a criminal case, unless the guilt of the accused is established by proof beyond
reasonable doubt, he is entitled to an acquittal. But when the trial court denies petitioners' motion to dismiss
by way of demurrer to evidence on the ground that the prosecution had established a prima facie case
against them, they assume a definite burden. It becomes incumbent upon petitioners to adduce evidence to
meet and nullify, if not overthrow, the prima facie case against them. 7 This is due to the shift in the burden of
evidence, and not of the burden of proof as petitioners would seem to believe.
When a prima facie case is established by the prosecution in a criminal case, as in the case at bar, the burden
of proof does not shift to the defense. It remains throughout the trial with the party upon whom it is imposed
the prosecution. It is the burden of evidence which shifts from party to party depending upon the
exigencies of the case in the course of the trial. 8 This burden of going forward with the evidence is met by
evidence which balances that introduced by the prosecution. Then the burden shifts back.
A prima facie case need not be countered by a preponderance of evidence nor by evidence of greater weight.
Defendant's evidence which equalizes the weight of plaintiff's evidence or puts the case in equipoise is
sufficient. As a result, plaintiff will have to go forward with the proof. Should it happen that at the trial the
weight of evidence is equally balanced or at equilibrium and presumptions operate against plaintiff who has
the burden of proof, he cannot prevail. 9
In the case at bar, the order denying petitioners' motion to dismiss, required them to present their evidence.
They refused and/or failed to do so. This justified an inference of their guilt. The inevitable result was that the
burden of evidence shifted on them to prove their innocence, or at least, raises a reasonable doubt as to their
guilt.
Petitioners, likewise, assign as error the order of respondent Judge directing them to present their evidence
after the denial of their motion to dismiss. By doing so, they contend that respondent Judge would, in effect,
be relying on the possible weakness of the defense' evidence, rather than on the strength of the
prosecution's own evidence in resolving their guilt or innocence,

We find petitioners' aforesaid submission utterly devoid of merit. Such a procedure finds support in the case
of Arbriol vs. Homeres 10 wherein we held that
Now that the Government cannot appeal in criminal cases if the defendant would be placed
thereby in double jeopardy (Sec. 2, Rule 118), the dismissal of the case for insufficiency of the
evidence after the prosecution has rested terminates the case then and there. But if the
motion for dismissal is denied, the court should proceed to hear the evidence for the defense
before entering judgment regardless of whether or not the defense had reserved its Tight to
present evidence in the event its motion for dismissal be denied The reason is that it is the
constitutional right of the accused to be heard in his defense before sentence is pronounced on
him. Of course if the accused has no evidence to present or expressly waives the right to
present it, the court has no alternative but to decide the case upon the evidence presented by
the prosecution alone. (Emphasis supplied)
WHEREFORE, finding the order complained of to be well-taken and there being no grave abuse of discretion
that attended its issuance, the instant petition is DISMISSED with costs against petitioners.
The Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Pampanga where this case is now assigned, is hereby
ordered to continue immediately with the trial of Criminal Case No. 808 until its final disposition.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 115625. January 23, 1998]


ESMUNDO B. RIVERA, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, AMY ROBLES, PEREGRINO MIRAMBEL
and MERLINA MIRAMBEL,respondents.
DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:
In deciding this appeal, the Court relies on the rule that a party who has the burden of proof in a civil
case must establish his cause of action by a preponderance of evidence. When the evidence of the parties is
in equipoise, or when there is a doubt as to where the preponderance of evidence lies, the party with the
burden of proof fails and the petition/complaint must thus be denied.
Statement of the Case
The foregoing dictum is applied by this Court in denying this petition for review on certiorari assailing the
February 21, 1994 Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals[2] in CA-G.R. SP No. 32360, which held:
ACCORDINGLY, the instant petition for review is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. No pronouncement as to
costs.
IT IS SO ORDERED.[3]
The petition for review dismissed by the Court of Appeals challenged the decision [4] of the Regional Trial
Court of Valenzuela, Branch 172,[5] which disposed as follows:
The evidence on record presented by the plaintiff does not also show that his parents and himself have prior
possession of the land in question. The evidence presented by the defendants, however, show that they have

been the caretaker of the said public land located at Malinta, Valenzuela and adjacent to private lot of plaintiff
since the year 1969 which was applied for by their principal, Jose Bayani Salcedo under Miscellaneous Sales
Application No. (111-6) 131 now MLI (13-1) 33-2D.
It is very evident that the defendants are not squatters on the private land of the plaintiff.
Accordingly, therefore, the Joint Decision of the Metropolitan Trial Court dated March 18, 1993 is hereby set
aside and the three complaints, Civil Case Nos. 5740, 5741 and 5742 of the Court a quo are hereby dismissed
without pronouncement as to costs.
IT IS SO ORDERED.[6]
The Antecedent Facts
The facts are narrated by Respondent Court of Appeals as follows:
On July 19, 1990, petitioner filed complaints for ejectment against private respondents Amy Robles Peregrino
Mirambel, and Merlina Mirambel, docketed as Civil Case Nos. 5740, 5741 and 5742, respectively, before the
Metropolitan Trial Court of Valenzuela, Branch 81.
On August 8, 1990, movant Jose Bayani A. Salcedo filed an urgent motion for intervention on the ground that
he has a legal interest in the subject for he applied for title of the public land under MSA No. (11-6) 131 (now
MII [131-1] 33-D), which was denied on January 2, 1991.
On August 8, 1990, private respondents filed their answers, respectively.
After submission of their position papers, the (Metropolitan Trial Court) rendered joint judgment in favor of the
petitioner and against the private respondents on March 18, 1993, the dispositive portion of which hereinbelow quoted:
In fine, by evidence plaintiff has preponderably established his cause of action.
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff and against each of the above-named
defendants and any/all persons claiming rights respectively under each of them, ordering the latter as
follows:
1. In Civil Case No. 5740
a). To remove her house and to vacate plaintiffs land, together with all persons claiming
rights under her;
b). To pay plaintiff reasonable compensation for her use and occupancy of the land from May
29, 1990 up to the time that she actually vacates the same, at the rate of P500.00 a month;
c). To pay plaintiff attorneys fees in the sum of P3,500.00; and
d). To pay the costs of suit.
2. In Civil Case No. 5741
a). To remove his house and to vacate plaintiffs land, together with all persons claiming rights
under him;

b). To pay plaintiff reasonable compensation for his use and occupancy of the land from May
29, 1990 up to the time that he actually vacates the same, at the rate of P500.00 a month;
c). To pay plaintiff attorneys fees in the sum of P3,500.00; and
d). To pay the costs of suit.
3. In Civil Case No. 5742
a). To remove her house and to vacate plaintiffs land, together with all persons claiming
rights under her;
b). To pay plaintiff reasonable compensation for her use and occupancy of the land from May
29, 1990 up to the time that she actually vacates the same, at the rate of P500.00 a month;
c). To pay plaintiff attorneys fees in the sum of P3,500.00; and
d). To pay the costs of suit.
SO ORDERED.
Dissatisfied, private respondent filed an appeal before the (Regional Trial Court) which rendered the assailed
judgment on September 21, 1993 reversing and setting aside the decision of the (Metropolitan Trial Court). [7]
Thereafter, petitioner appealed to Respondent Court of Appeals, raising the following assignment of
errors:
I
RESPONDENT JUDGE GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT RESPONDENTS HOUSES ARE LOCATED ON
THE PUBLIC LAND APPLIED FOR BY COL. ATTY. JOSE BAYANI SALCEDO BASED MERELY ON A LETTER
DATED JUNE 7, 1971 BY THE DISTRICT LAND OFFICER OF THE BUREAU OF LAND ADDRESSED TO
EULOGIO J. RIVERA, PETITIONERS FATHER.
II
RESPONDENT
JUDGE
GRAVELY
ERRED
IN
FINDING
THAT
PETITIONER
AND
HIS
PARENTS/PREDECESSOR-IN-INTEREST NEVER HAD PRIOR POSSESSION OF THE LAND AND THAT
INSTEAD IT WAS RESPONDENTS WHO HAVE BEEN IN OCCUPANCY THEREOF SINCE 1969 AS
CARETAKER OF COL. ATTY. JOSE BAYANI SALCEDO.
III
RESPONDENT JUDGE GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT PETITIONERS LAND ENCROACHED UPON
THE PUBLIC LAND APPLIED FOR BY COL. ATTY. JOSE BAYANI SALCEDO BY AN AREA OF MORE OR
LESS 400 SQUARE METERS DUE TO RESURVEYS MADE BY PETITIONER AND HIS PARENTS. [8]
As earlier noted, the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for failure of petitioner, as plaintiff before
the trial court, to prove a cause of action. Hence, this petition for review.[9]
Public Respondents Ruling
In dismissing the petition, the Court of Appeals ruled as follows:

Petitioner maintains that the respondent court committed grave abuse of discretion in setting aside the
decision of the trial court particularly in finding that the lots where private respondents built their houses are
outside of the land owned by the petitioner, it appearing that such finding lacks evidentiary basis.
In the case at bar, petitioner seeks to eject herein private respondents who allegedly illegally constructed
their house on his land. The Metropolitan Trial Court ruled in favor of the petitioner and ordered the private
respondents to vacate the subject premises. On appeal, however, the respondent court reversed the
appealed judgment taking into consideration that the land where the house of the private respondents stand
is outside of the area owned by the petitioner, hence, there was no cause of action.
The decisive issue in the case at bar is whether or not the lot where private respondents constructed their
abode within the land [owned] by the petitioner.
The trial court believes so while the respondent court ruled otherwise and stated that the houses are located
in a public land. After a careful scrutiny of the decisions of the courts a quo, We find that both decisions are
not supported by substantial evidence. The decision of the trial court stated that: The evidence on hand
indubitably (sic) show however that a title on the property has been issued to herein plaintiff (petitioner
herein). The claim of the defendants therefore that they are occupying a public land cannot be taken as
gospel truth. It must be noted, however, that there is no showing that the evidence on hand showed that the
lot on which private respondents constructed their abode are [sic] located in the titled property of the
petitioner. The decision of the trial court disclosed that its Order dated August 12, 1991, directing the Land
Management Bureau to conduct a field survey and to submit a report thereof to enable the Court to
determine whether the land subject matter of these cases is a public or private land, was never
implemented. It can be seen that there is no certainty that the houses of the private respondents are located
on the lot owned by the petitioner. Nor was there an ocular inspection sanctioned by the court where the
parties were duly represented. The Court cannot rely solely on the survey commissioned by one party for it
may be self-serving absent a thorough verification thereof.
The respondent courts reliance of a letter dated June 7, 1971 of the District Land Officer Jesus B. Tabao to
petitioners predecessor-in-interest informing him that his application cannot be given due course because of
the prior application of Jose Bayani Salcedo (June 26, 1969) is misplaced for it does not proved anything. The
abovementioned observations as pertaining to the trial courts finding that the private land of the petitioner
and his parents encroached upon the subject land of the public domain to an area of more or less 400 square
meters due to re-survey made by the plaintiff and his parents.
In fine, We find that the courts a quo failed to make a definitive ruling on the issue of whether or not the
houses constructed by the private respondents are within the private land owned by the petitioner or a public
land. The parties should have conducted a field survey directed by the court below or to have an ocular
inspection of the subject premises.
Verily, it appears that petitioner, as plaintiff failed to establish a cause of action, hence, the complaint must
perforce be dismissed.[10]
The Issue
In his Memorandum dated February 22, 1996, Petitioner Esmundo B. Rivera formulated the issue as
follows: whether private respondents houses lie inside petitioners land, and whether petitioner was able to
prove that fact.[11] Put differently, the issue for resolution is whether or not petitioner proved his cause of
action.
The Courts Ruling
The petition is unmeritorious.

Proof Required in Civil Cases


Basic is the rule in civil cases that the party having the burden of proof must establish his case by a
preponderance of evidence.[12] By preponderance of evidence is meant simply evidence which is of greater
weight, or more convincing than that which is offered in opposition to it. [13] In the present ejectment case,
petitioner (as plaintiff) has the burden of proving that the houses of private respondents were located within
his titled land. To justify a judgment in his favor, petitioner must therefore establish a preponderance of
evidence on this essential fact.
Petitioner points out that the field survey, verification and measurement of his land by his privately hired
geodetic engineer, Ildefonso Padigos, found that private respondents houses are situated inside the same.
[14]
Insisting on the findings of this private survey, petitioner assails the Respondent Court of Appeals for
considering the same undeserving of credence and belief and insufficient to prove his case. [15]
This Court is not persuaded. The extant records of this case support the finding of the Court of Appeals
that the aggregate of evidence submitted by both parties was insufficient to determine with certainty
whether the private respondents houses were inside the petitioners titled property. As noted by Respondent
Court, private respondents claim that their houses were built on public land, which Attorney Salcedo applied
for, is not convincing because petitioner has a transfer certificate of title over the same parcel of
land. Likewise unconvincing is the private survey commissioned by the petitioner himself to prove that the
houses of private respondents encroached on his property. The reliability of the survey would have been
indubitable had it been properly authenticated by the Bureau of Lands or by officials thereof. [16]
Moreover, the field survey ordered by the Metropolitan Trial Court was never conducted. Neither was an
ocular inspection of the premises held in the presence of both parties. As correctly concluded by the Court of
Appeals, the absence of both processes precluded the final determination of the main issue.
Where the evidence on an issue of fact is in equipoise or there is doubt on which side the evidence
preponderates[,] the party having the burden of proof fails upon that issue. [17] Therefore, as neither party was
able to make out a case, neither side could establish its cause of action and prevail with the evidence it
had. They are thus no better off than before they proceeded to litigate, and, as a consequence thereof, the
courts can only leave them as they are. In such cases, courts have no choice but to dismiss the
complaints/petitions.[18]
In any event, we are here called upon essentially to review the public respondents assessment of the
weight of the evidence presented by both parties. This factual question, however, may not be raised in a
petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. This rule is subject to well-recognized exceptions,
[19]
but petitioner failed to prove that this case falls under one of them. If for this reason alone, the petition
should be denied.
WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is hereby DENIED, with costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 151827. April 29, 2005]


JOSEFINA BENARES, petitioner, vs. JAIME PANCHO, RODOLFO PANCHO, JR., JOSELITO MEDALLA,
PAQUITO MAGALLANES, ALICIA MAGALLANES, EVELYN MAGALLANES, VIOLETA VILLACAMPA,
MARITESS PANCHO, ROGELIO PANCHO AND ARNOLFO PANCHO, respondents.
DECISION

TINGA, J.:
Assailed in this Petition for Review on Certiorari[1] is the Decision[2] of the Court of Appeals which affirmed
the National Labor Relations Commissions (NLRC) decision [3] holding that respondents were illegally dismissed
and ordering petitioner to pay respondents separation pay, backwages, 13 th month pay, Cost of Living
Allowance (COLA), emergency relief allowance (ERA), salary differentials and attorneys fees. The NLRC
reversed the Labor Arbiters finding that respondents failed to lay down the facts and circumstances
surrounding their dismissal and to prove their entitlement to monetary awards. [4]
The antecedents, as narrated by the NLRC, follow.
Complainants alleged to have started working as sugar farm workers on various dates, to wit:
1. Jaime Pancho November 15, 1964
2. Rodolfo Pancho, Jr. February 1, 1975
3. Joselito Medalla November 15, 1964
4. Paquito Magallanes March 10, 1973
5. Felomino Magallanes November 15, 1964
6. Alicia Magallanes January 15, 1964
7. Evelyn Magallanes January 1, 1974
8. Violeta Villacampa December 1, 1979
9. Maritess Pancho December 15, 1985
10. Rogelio Pancho December 1, 1979
11. Arnolfo Pancho February 1, 1975
Respondent Hda. Maasin II is a sugar cane plantation located in Murcia, Negros Occidental with an area of 1224 has. planted, owned and managed by Josefina Benares, individual co-respondent.
On July 24, 1991, complainants thru counsel wrote the Regional Director of the Department of Labor and
Employment, Bacolod City for intercession particularly in the matter of wages and other benefits mandated
by law.
On September 24, 1991, a routine inspection was conducted by personnel of the Bacolod District Office of the
Department of Labor and Employment. Accordingly, a report and recommendation was made, hence, the
endorsement by the Regional Director of the instant case to the Regional Arbitration Branch, NLRC, Bacolod
City for proper hearing and disposition.
On October 15, 1991, complainants alleged to have been terminated without being paid termination benefits
by respondent in retaliation to what they have done in reporting to the Department of Labor and Employment
their working conditions viz-a-viz (sic) wages and other mandatory benefits.
On July 14, 1992, notification and summons were served to the parties wherein complainants were directed to
file a formal complaint.

On July 28, 1992, a formal complaint was filed for illegal dismissal with money claims.
From the records, summons and notices of hearing were served to the parties and apparently no amicable
settlement was arrived, hence, the parties were directed to file their respective position papers.
On January 22, 1993, complainant submitted their position paper, while respondent filed its position paper on
June 21, 1993.
On March 17, 1994, complainants filed their reply position paper and affidavit. Correspondingly, a rejoinder
was filed by respondent on May 16, 1994.
On August 17, 1994, from the Minutes of the scheduled hearing, respondent failed to appear, and that the
Office will evaluate the records of the case whether to conduct a formal trial on the merits or not, and that
the corresponding order will be issued.
On January 16, 1996, the Labor Arbiter issued an order to the effect that the case is now deemed submitted
for resolution.
On April 30, 1998, the Labor Arbiter a quo issued the assailed decision dismissing the complaint for lack of
merit.
On June 26, 1998, complainants not satisfied with the aforecited ruling interposed the instant appeal
anchored on the ground that:
THE HONORABLE LABOR ARBITER GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AND SERIOUSLY ERRED IN HOLDING
THAT THE COMPLAINANTS FAILED TO DISCUSS THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THEIR
DISMISSAL, HENCE, THERE IS NO DISMISSAL TO SPEAK OF AND THAT COMPLAINANTS FAILED TO ALLEGE AND
PROVE THAT THEIR CLAIMS ARE VALID, HENCE THE DISMISSAL OF THEIR COMPLAINT WOULD CAUSE GRAVE
AND IRREPARABLE DAMAGE TO HEREIN COMPLAINANTS.[5]
The NLRC held that respondents attained the status of regular seasonal workers of Hda. Maasin II having
worked therein from 1964-1985. It found that petitioner failed to discharge the burden of proving that the
termination of respondents was for a just or authorized cause. Hence, respondents were illegally dismissed
and should be awarded their money claims.
Petitioners motion for reconsideration[6] dated May 12, 1999 was denied in the resolution [7] dated October
29, 1999.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the NLRCs ruling, with the modification that the backwages and other
monetary benefits shall be computed from the time compensation was withheld in accordance with Article
279 of the Labor Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 6715.
In its Resolution[8] dated November 28, 2001, the appellate court denied petitioners motion for
reconsideration for lack of merit.
Petitioner is now before this Court averring that the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the decision of the
NLRC. While petitioner concedes that the factual findings of the NLRC are generally binding on the appellate
court, petitioner insists that the findings of the NLRC are vague and contradictory, thereby necessitating
review.
According to petitioner, the fact that she was able to present sufficient proof to rebut the claim of illegal
dismissal should be considered in light of the NLRCs admission that there are gray areas in the case which
require clarification. Petitioner avers that the NLRC should have at least remanded the case to the labor

arbiter to thresh out these gray areas. She further claims that the NLRC was overly zealous in awarding COLA
and ERA despite the fact that respondents did not even pray for these awards in their complaint. She also
questions the NLRCs general statement to the effect that the payroll she submitted is not convincing
asserting that she submitted 235 sets of payroll, not just one, and that the NLRC did not even bother to
explain why it found the payroll unconvincing.
Respondents filed a Comment[9] dated May 10, 2002 alleging that petitioner failed to submit certified true
copies of the assailed decisions and resolutions, and that the petition lacks proof of service and raises
questions of fact.
In her Reply to Comment[10] dated September 17, 2002, petitioner points out that the Rules of Court do
not require that all copies of the petition contain certified true copies of the questioned decisions and
resolutions. Further, all copies of the petition filed with the Court contain an affidavit of service. Respondents
copy does not have an affidavit of service because the sworn declaration can not be executed before service
of the petition is actually made. Petitioner also maintains that the rule on review of findings of fact by the
Supreme Court admits of certain exceptions such as when the conclusions arrived at are grounded entirely on
speculation, surmises and conjectures as in this case.
The petition was given due course and the parties were required to submit their respective memoranda
in the Resolution[11] dated March 3, 2003. Petitioner filed aManifestation and Compliance[12] dated April 22,
2003 adopting the allegations in her Petition for Review on Certiorari and Reply to Comment as her
memorandum. For their part, respondents filed a Memoranda For Private Respondents[13] dated May 7, 2003
alleging that the Court of Appeals correctly relied upon the factual findings of the NLRC after having found the
same to be supported by substantial evidence. They insist that they are regular seasonal employees of the
sugar plantation. As such, petitioner has the burden of proving that their dismissal was for a just or
authorized cause.
As regards the contention that the NLRC erroneously awarded COLA and ERA, respondents cite Osias
Academy v. DOLE,[14] which provides that the NLRC can extend monetary awards even if these are not prayed
for if the monetary benefits are statutory grants intended to alleviate the laborers plight like the COLA and
ERA.
The main question raised by the present petition is whether respondents are regular employees of
Hacienda Maasin and thus entitled to their monetary claims. Related to this is the issue of whether
respondents were illegally terminated.
This case presents a good opportunity to reiterate the Courts rulings on the subject of seasonal
employment. The Labor Code defines regular and casual employment, viz:
Art. 280. REGULAR AND CASUAL EMPLOYMENT.The provisions of written agreement to the contrary
notwithstanding and regardless of the oral agreement of the parties, an employment shall be deemed to be
regular where the employee has been engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable
in the usual business or trade of the employer, except where the employment has been fixed for a specific
project or undertaking the completion or termination of which has been determined at the time of the
engagement of the employee or where the work or service to be performed is seasonal in nature and the
employment is for the duration of the season.
An employment shall be deemed to be casual if it is not covered by the preceding paragraph: Provided, That,
any employee who has rendered at least one year of service, whether such service is continuous or broken,
shall be considered a regular employee with respect to the activity in which he is employed and his
employment shall continue while such activity exists.

The law provides for three kinds of employees: (1) regular employees or those who have been engaged
to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer;
(2) project employees or those whose employment has been fixed for a specific project or undertaking, the
completion or termination of which has been determined at the time of the engagement of the employee or
where the work or service to be performed is seasonal in nature and the employment is for the duration of
the season; and (3) casual employees or those who are neither regular nor project employees. [15]
In Mercado v. NLRC,[16] the Court ruled that seasonal workers do not become regular employees by the
mere fact that they have rendered at least one year of service, whether continuous or broken, because the
proviso in the second paragraph of Article 280 demarcates as casual employees, all other employees who do
not fall under the definition of the preceding paragraph. It deems as regular employees those casual
employees who have rendered at least one year of service regardless of the fact that such service may be
continuous or broken.
The factual circumstances obtaining in the Mercado case, however, are peculiar. In that case, the workers
were engaged to do a particular phase of agricultural work necessary for rice and/or sugarcane production,
after which they would be free to render services to other farm workers who need their services.
In contrast, in the case of Hacienda Fatima v. National Federation of Sugarcane Workers-Food and
General Trade,[17] respondents performed the same tasks for petitioners every season for several years. Thus,
they were considered the latters regular employees for their respective tasks. The fact that they do not work
continuously for one whole year but only for the duration of the season does not detract from considering
them in regular employment since in a litany of cases this Court has already settled that seasonal workers
who are called to work from time to time and are temporarily laid off during off-season are not separated
from service in that period, but merely considered on leave until re-employed. [18]
Citing jurisprudence, the Court, in Hacienda Fatima, condensed the rule that the primary standard for
determining regular employment is the reasonable connection between the particular activity performed by
the employee vis--vis the usual trade or business of the employer. This connection can be determined by
considering the nature of the work performed and its relation to the scheme of the particular business or
trade in its entirety. If the employee has been performing the job for at least a year, even if the performance
is not continuous and merely intermittent, the law deems repeated and continuing need for its performance
as sufficient evidence of the necessity if not indispensability of that activity to the business. Hence, the
employment is considered regular, but only with respect to such activity and while such activity exists. [19]
In this case, petitioner argues that respondents were not her regular employees as they were merely
pakiao workers who did not work continuously in the sugar plantation. They performed such tasks as
weeding, cutting and loading canes, planting cane points, fertilizing, cleaning the drainage, etc. These
functions allegedly do not require respondents daily presence in the sugarcane field as it is not everyday that
one weeds, cuts canes or applies fertilizer. In support of her allegations, petitioner submitted cultivo and
milling payrolls.
The probative value of petitioners evidence, however, has been passed upon by the labor arbiter, the
NLRC and the Court of Appeals. Although the labor arbiter dismissed respondents complaint because their
position paper is completely devoid of any discussion about their alleged dismissal, much less of the
probative facts thereof,[20] the ground for the dismissal of the complaint implies a finding that respondents are
regular employees.
The NLRC was more unequivocal when it pronounced that respondents have acquired the status of
regular seasonal employees having worked for more than one year, whether continuous or broken in
petitioners hacienda.
According to petitioner, however, the NLRCs conclusion is highly suspect considering its own admission
that there are gray areas which requires (sic) clarification. She alleges that despite these gray areas, the

NLRC chose not to remand the case to the Labor Arbiter.as this would unduly prolong the agony of the
complainants in particular. [21]
Petitioner perhaps wittingly omitted mention that the NLRC opted to appreciate the merits of the instant
case based on available documents/pleadings. [22] That the NLRC chose not to remand the case to the labor
arbiter for clarificatory proceedings and instead decided the case on the basis of the evidence then available
to it is a judgment call this Court shall not interfere with in the absence of any showing that the NLRC abused
its discretion in so doing.
The Court of Appeals, in fact, found no such grave abuse of discretion on the part of the NLRC.
Accordingly, it dismissed the petition for certiorari and affirmed with modification the findings of the NLRC. It
is well to note at this point that in quasi-judicial proceedings, the quantum of evidence required to support
the findings of the NLRC is only substantial evidence or that amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable
mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion.[23]
The issue, therefore, of whether respondents were regular employees of petitioner has been adequately
dealt with. The labor arbiter, the NLRC and the Court of Appeals have similarly held that respondents were
regular employees of petitioner. Since it is a settled rule that the factual findings of quasi-judicial agencies
which have acquired expertise in the matters entrusted to their jurisdiction are accorded by this Court not
only respect but even finality,[24] we shall no longer disturb this finding.
Petitioner next underscores the NLRC decisions mention of the payroll she presented despite the fact that
she allegedly presented 235 sets of payroll, not just one payroll. This circumstance does not in itself evince
any grave abuse of discretion on the part of the NLRC as it could well have been just an innocuous
typographical error.
Verily, the NLRCs decision, affirmed as it was by the Court of Appeals, appears to have been arrived at
after due consideration of the evidence presented by both parties.
We also find no reason to disturb the finding that respondents were illegally terminated. When there is no
showing of clear, valid and legal cause for the termination of employment, the law considers the matter a
case of illegal dismissal and the burden is on the employer to prove that the termination was for a just or
authorized cause.[25] In this case, as found both by the NLRC and the Court of Appeals, petitioner failed to
prove any such cause for the dismissal of respondents.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of
Appeals respectively dated June 29, 2001 and November 28, 2001 are hereby AFFIRMED. Costs against
petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

[A.M. No. MTJ-05-1601. August 11, 2005]


MERCEDES G. DUDUACO, complainant, vs. JUDGE LILY LYDIA A. LAQUINDANUM, Municipal Circuit
Trial Court, Kabacan, North Cotabato, respondent.
DECISION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J:

On March 4, 2002, complainant Mercedes G. Duduaco charged [1] respondent Judge Lily Lydia A.
Laquindanum[2] of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Kabacan-Carmen, North Cotabato with grave
misconduct, abuse of judicial office and/or gross ignorance of the law.
Complainant alleged that on April 27, 2001, respondent brought her vehicle to the Toyota Service Center
in Davao City (Toyota-Davao) for repairs and replacement of parts that were damaged due to a vehicular
mishap.
Upon being advised that her vehicle is ready for pick-up, respondent went to Toyota-Davao on June 23,
2001 at around 11:00 a.m. She was met by Jeson M. Garao, a service advisor, who told her that the vehicle
would be released upon payment of deductible franchise. Respondent allegedly refused to pay insisting that
the same will be paid by the insurance company. She then asked to speak with the manager, herein
complainant, but the latter was in a meeting.
At 3:00 p.m., respondent was referred to Randy A. Saragoza, Toyota-Davaos Administration and
Marketing Head. Saragoza claimed that he tried to explain to respondent that the payment of the deductible
franchise was upon instruction of the insurance company but the latter got angry and raised her voice while
demanding to see the manager.
She was eventually referred to Vicente U. Yez, [3] Service Department Manager, who alleged that
respondent heatedly disagreed with him and shouted that she was a judge and insisted on seeing the
manager. Upon being told that complainant was in a meeting, respondent furiously replied that she should be
given preferential treatment over said meeting.[4]
At this point, respondent asked for a demand letter and upon presentation thereof, she paid the amount
stated therein under protest.
Thereafter, Saragoza required respondent to sign the Release of Claim with Subrogation but she again
refused. She allegedly became enraged and said that as a judge, she knew better than to sign a blank form.
Yez offered to fill in the blanks but respondent curtly informed him that she will not sign just the same.
Judge Laquindanum left the service center without the car. On July 4, 2001, she filed a case for Replevin,
Damages and Attorneys Fees, with Prayer for the Issuance of a Writ of Replevin. [5]
In her Comment,[6] respondent denied that she threw her weight around and abused her judicial authority.
She claimed that upon being informed by Garao about the deductible franchise, she instructed the latter to
communicate with her insurer. After the lapse of two (2) hours, Garao told her that he could not contact the
insurers office because it was closed on Saturdays. She was referred to Saragoza and Yez but when no
agreement was reached, she suggested that they put in writing the demand for the deductible franchise
before she would pay.
She eventually paid[7] the deductible franchise under protest. She averred that she requested for the
execution of a demand letter [8] to serve as proof of her claim for refund. Thereafter, Garao brought out the
vehicle and gave the key to her driver, who inspected the car to make sure that everything is in order. She
then directed Salvador Caducoy to transfer her belongings from another vehicle. [9]
When respondent and her party were about to leave, Garao ran after them and told her that she needed
to sign a release form.[10] She was given a blank Release of Claim with Subrogation [11] form which she refused
to sign. When Saragoza advised her that the vehicle will not be released, she retorted that she will only sign if
the form has been properly filled up. The parties were at an impasse when Yez angrily said di fill up-an!, then
took back the form and went to his office but did not return.[12]

It was already 6:50 p.m. and respondent was still at the Toyota-Davao premises. She wrote a letter [13] to
complainant detailing her ordeal. The letter was received by a lady employee who gave her another demand
letter[14] stating that in addition to the payment of deductible franchise, she is also required to sign a release
form which she refused because some portions were blank. She left Toyota-Davao without her car.
On July 19, 2001, Yez, Saragoza together with complainant and Joe Linaza (Linaza) from FEB Mitsui
Marine Insurance, Co., came to see respondent in her sala to apologize. [15]
In his report, the Investigating Justice of the Court of Appeals recommended [16] the dismissal of the
complaint for lack of merit, insufficiency of evidence and reasonable doubt. He observed that respondents
refusal to pay the deductible franchise was not intended to violate the law. No fault can be attributed on
respondent for refusing to sign a blank form. Had respondent grossly humiliated or berated Garao, Yez or
Saragoza, they would not have gone to her office, together with complainant and Linaza, to apologize.
The OCA adopted the Investigating Justices recommendation with modification that complainant Duduaco
be fined in the amount of P10,000.00 for filing this baseless harassment suit. The OCA opined that
complainants insistence on pursuing her unsubstantiated charges despite lack of personal knowledge wasted
the time and resources not only of respondent but also of the Investigating Justice and this Court.
We agree with the recommendations of the OCA.
In administrative proceedings, complainants have the burden of proving by substantial evidence the
allegations in their complaints.[17] Administrative proceedings against judges are by nature, highly penal in
character and are to be governed by the rules applicable to criminal cases. The quantum of proof required to
support the administrative charges should thus be more substantial and they must be proven beyond
reasonable doubt.[18]
To constitute gross ignorance of the law, the acts complained of must not only be contrary to existing law
and jurisprudence but were motivated by bad faith, fraud, dishonesty and corruption. [19] On the other hand,
misconduct is any unlawful conduct on the part of a person concerned in the administration of justice
prejudicial to the rights of parties or to the right determination of the cause. It generally means wrongful,
improper or unlawful conduct motivated by a premeditated, obstinate or intentional purpose. [20]
Respondents refusal to pay the deductible franchise was justified. Her insistence that the demand to pay
be in writing, together with her refusal to affix her signature in the blank form, did not amount to grave
misconduct, abuse of judicial office or gross ignorance of the law. She was only exercising her legal right. Had
respondent signed the blank form, she would be deemed to have waived her earlier protest and would have
lost the right to claim for refund.
We agree with OCAs recommendation that complainant be sanctioned for filing this unfounded complaint.
Indeed, no person should be penalized for the exercise of the right to litigate. This right, however, must be
exercised in good faith.[21]
During the formal investigation, she admitted that she was absent when the event transpired on June 23,
2001,[22] which means that she has no personal and direct knowledge of the incident. Yet, in the verification
portion of the complaint, she claimed that all the allegations therein were true and correct of her own
knowledge and belief.[23] Significantly, she also went to respondents office and apologized.
Human nature dictates that redress for a wrong done is ordinarily sought by the aggrieved with zeal. Yet,
it appears that it was more than eight (8) months after the incident that complainant and Toyota-Davao filed
this complaint against an alleged erring member of the bench. Verily, the delay militates against the veracity
of their allegations.

Moreover, complainant filed the instant administrative case after Toyota-Davao lost possession of the
vehicle in favor of respondent and after she refused to settle the replevin suit she filed against them. More
specifically, the instant complaint was filed only on March 4, 2002 or about eight (8) months after respondent
filed the replevin case and secured the writ on July 4, 2001. As the Investigating Justice fittingly observed, the
timing couldnt be worse.[24]
The filing of the instant administrative complaint was not done in good faith. In complainants letter dated
January 21, 2002,[25] she informed this Court about a similar complaint filed before the Judicial and Bar Council
for the purpose of objecting to (respondents) application for appointment as Regional Trial Court in Midsayap,
North Cotabato or elsewhere. Clearly, this administrative case was filed not for the purpose of obtaining
justice to the aggrieved persons, however mistaken it may be, but for the sole purpose of degrading
respondents reputation and exposing her to public ridicule. This should not be countenanced.
In Retuya v. Gorduiz,[26] this Court penalized respondent-lawyer for filing a groundless suit against a
former client in order to harass and embarrass her by suspending him from the practice of law for six (6)
months.
In Industrial Insurance Company, Inc. v. Bondad,[27] we affirmed the award of moral damages, exemplary
damages, attorneys fees and litigation expenses imposed against petitioner for filing an unfounded suit in
bad faith.
The fine of P10,000.00, as recommended by OCA, is commensurate under the circumstances.
This Court will not shirk from its responsibility of imposing discipline upon erring members of the bench.
At the same time, however, the Court should not hesitate to shield them from unfounded suits that only serve
to disrupt rather than promote the orderly administration of justice. This Court could not be the instrument
that would destroy the reputation of any member of the bench, by pronouncing guilt on mere speculation. [28]
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the administrative complaint against respondent Judge Lily Lydia
A. Laquindanum, now Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Midsayap, Cotabato City, Branch 24, is
DISMISSED for lack of merit. Complainant Mercedes G. Duduaco is FINED in the amount of P10,000.00 for
having filed this baseless and unfounded suit.
SO ORDERED.

A.M. No. RTJ-92-876 September 19, 1994


STATE PROSECUTORS, complainants,
vs.
JUDGE MANUEL T. MURO, Regional Trial Court, Branch 54, Manila, respondent.

PER CURIAM:
In assaying the requisite norms for qualifications and eminence of a magistrate, legal authorities place a
premium on how he has complied with his continuing duty to know the law. A quality thus considered
essential to the judicial character is that of "a man of learning who spends tirelessly the weary hours after
midnight acquainting himself with the great body of traditions and the learning of the law; is profoundly
learned in all the learning of the law; and knows how to use that learning." 1

Obviously, it is the primary duty of a judge, which he owes to the public and to the legal profession, to know
the very law he is supposed to apply to a given controversy. He is called upon to exhibit more than just a
cursory acquaintance with the statutes and procedural rules. Party litigants will have great faith in the
administration of justice if judges cannot justly be accused of apparent deficiency in their grasp of the legal
principles. For, service in the judiciary means a continuous study and research on the law from beginning to
end. 2
In a letter-complaint 3 dated August 19, 1992, respondent Judge Manuel T. Muro of the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) of Manila, Branch 54, was charged by State Prosecutors Nilo C. Mariano, George C. Dee and Paterno V.
Tac-an with ignorance of the law, grave misconduct and violations of Rules 2.01, 3.01 and 3.02 of the Code of
Judicial Conduct, committed as follows:
1. That on August 13, 1992, respondent judge issued an Order dismissing eleven (11) cases
(docketed as Crim. Cases Nos. 92-101959 to 92- 101969, inclusive) filed by the undersigned
complainant prosecutors (members of the DOJ Panel of Prosecutors) against the accused Mrs.
Imelda Romualdez Marcos, for Violation of Central Bank Foreign Exchange Restrictions, as
consolidated in CB Circular No. 960, in relation to the penal provisions of Sec. 34 of R.A. 265, as
amended, . . .;
2. That respondent Judge issued his Order solely on the basis of newspaper reports (August 11,
1992 issues of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the Daily Globe) concerning the announcement
on August 10, 1992 by the President of the Philippines of the lifting by the government of all
foreign exchange restrictions and the arrival at such decision by the Monetary Board as per
statement of Central Bank Governor Jose Cuisia;
3. That claiming that the reported announcement of the Executive Department on the lifting of
foreign exchange restrictions by two newspapers which are reputable and of national
circulation had the effect of repealing Central Bank Circular No. 960, as allegedly supported by
Supreme Court decisions . . ., the Court contended that it was deprived of jurisdiction, and,
therefore, motu, prop(r)io had to dismiss all the eleven cases aforementioned "for not to do so
opens this Court to charges of trying cases over which it has no more jurisdiction;"
4. That in dismissing aforecited cases on August 13, 1992 on the basis of a Central Bank
Circular or Monetary Board Resolution which as of date hereof, has not even been officially
issued, and basing his Order/decision on a mere newspaper account of the advance
announcement made by the President of the said fact of lifting or liberalizing foreign exchange
controls, respondent judge acted prematurely and in indecent haste, as he had no way of
determining the full intent of the new CB Circular or Monetary Board resolution, and whether
the same provided for exception, as in the case of persons who had pending criminal cases
before the courts for violations of Central Bank Circulars and/or regulations previously issued
on the matter;
5. That respondent Judge's arrogant and cavalier posture in taking judicial notice purportedly
as a matter of public knowledge a mere newspaper account that the President had announced
the lifting of foreign exchange restrictions as basis for his assailed order of dismissal is highly
irregular, erroneous and misplaced. For the respondent judge to take judicial notice thereof
even before it is officially released by the Central Bank and its full text published as required by
law to be effective shows his precipitate action in utter disregard of the fundamental precept of
due process which the People is also entitled to and exposes his gross ignorance of the law,
thereby tarnishing public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary. How can the Honorable
Judge take judicial notice of something which has not yet come into force and the contents,
shape and tenor of which have not yet been published and ascertained to be the basis of
judicial action? The Honorable Judge had miserably failed to "endeavor diligently to ascertain

the facts" in the case at bar contrary to Rule 3.02 of the Code of Judicial Conduct constituting
Grave Misconduct;
6. That respondent Judge did not even ha(ve) the prudence of requiring first the comment of
the prosecution on the effect of aforesaid Central Bank Circular/Monetary Board resolution on
the pending cases before dismissing the same, thereby denying the Government of its right to
due process;
7. That the lightning speed with which respondent Judge acted to dismiss the cases may be
gleaned from the fact that such precipitate action was undertaken despite already scheduled
continuation of trial dates set in the order of the court (the prosecution having started
presenting its evidence . . .) dated August 11, 1992 to wit: August 31, September 3, 10, 21, &
23 and October 1, 1992, all at 9:30 o'clock in the morning, in brazen disregard of all notions of
fair play, thereby depriving the Government of its right to be heard, and clearly exposing his
bias and partiality; and
8. That, in fact, the motive of respondent Judge in dismissing the case without even waiting for
a motion to quash filed by the counsel for accused has even placed his dismissal Order
suspect.
Pursuant to a resolution of this Court dated September 8, 1992, respondent judge filed his
comment, 4 contending,inter alia, that there was no need to await publication of the Central Bank (CB)
circular repealing the existing law on foreign exchange controls for the simple reason that the public
announcement made by the President in several newspapers of general circulation lifting foreign exchange
controls was total, absolute, without qualification, and was immediately effective; that having acted only on
the basis of such announcement, he cannot be blamed for relying on the erroneous statement of the
President that the new foreign exchange rules rendered moot and academic the cases filed against Mrs.
Marcos, and which was corrected only on August 17, 1992 but published in the newspapers on August 18,
1992, and only after respondent judge had issued his order of dismissal dated August 13, 1992; that the
President was ill-advised by his advisers and, instead of rescuing the Chief Executive from embarrassment by
assuming responsibility for errors in the latter's announcement, they chose to toss the blame for the
consequence of their failures to respondent judge who merely acted on the basis of the announcements of
the President which had become of public knowledge; that the "saving clause" under CB Circular No. 1353
specifically refers only to pending actions or investigations involving violations of CB Circular No. 1318,
whereas the eleven cases dismissed involved charges for violations of CB Circular No. 960, hence the accused
cannot be tried and convicted under a law different from that under which she was charged; that assuming
that respondent judge erred in issuing the order of dismissal, the proper remedy should have been an appeal
therefrom but definitely not an administrative complaint for his dismissal; that a mistake committed by a
judge should not necessarily be imputed as ignorance of the law; and that a "court can reverse or modify a
doctrine but it does not show ignorance of the justices or judges whose decisions were reversed or modified"
because "even doctrines initiated by the Supreme Court are later reversed, so how much more for the lower
courts?"
He further argued that no hearing was necessary since the prosecution had nothing to explain because, as he
theorized, "What explanation could have been given? That the President was talking 'through his hat' (to use
a colloquialism) and should not be believed? That I should wait for the publication (as now alleged by
complainants), of a still then non-existent CB circular? . . . As it turned out, CB Circular No. 3153 (sic) does not
affect my dismissal order because the said circular's so-called saving clause does not refer to CB Circular 960
under which the charges in the dismissed cases were based;" that it was discretionary on him to take judicial
notice of the facts which are of public knowledge, pursuant to Section 2 of Rule 129; that the contention of
complainants that he acted prematurely and in indecent haste for basing his order of dismissal on a mere
newspaper account is contrary to the wordings of the newspaper report wherein the President announced the
lifting of controls as an accomplished fact, not as an intention to be effected in the future, because of the use
of the present perfect tense or past tense "has lifted," not that he "intends to lift," foreign exchange controls.

Finally, respondent judge asseverates that complainants who are officers of the Department of Justice,
violated Section 6, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court which provides that "proceedings against judges of first
instance shall be private and confidential" when they caused to be published in the newspapers the filing of
the present administrative case against him; and he emphasizes the fact that he had to immediately resolve
a simple and pure legal matter in consonance with the admonition of the Supreme Court for speedy
disposition of cases.
In their reply 5 and supplemental reply, 6 complainants aver that although the saving clause under Section 16
of CB Circular No. 1353 made specific reference to CB Circular No. 1318, it will be noted that Section 111 of
Circular No. 1318, which contains a saving clause substantially similar to that of the new circular, in turn
refers to and includes Circular No. 960. Hence, whether under Circular No. 1318 or Circular No. 1353, pending
cases involving violations of Circular No. 960 are excepted from the coverage thereof. Further, it is alleged
that the precipitate dismissal of the eleven cases, without according the prosecution the opportunity to file a
motion to quash or a comment, or even to show cause why the cases against accused Imelda R. Marcos
should not be dismissed, is clearly reflective of respondent's partiality and bad faith. In effect, respondent
judge acted as if he were the advocate of the accused.
On December 9, 1993, this Court issued a resolution referring the complaint to the Office of the Court
Administrator for evaluation, report and recommendation, pursuant to Section 7, Rule 140 of the Rules of
Court, as revised, there being no factual issues involved. The corresponding report and
recommendation, 7 dated February 14, 1994, was submitted by Deputy Court Administrator Juanito A. Bernad,
with the approval of Court Administrator Ernani Cruz-Pao.
The questioned order

of respondent judge reads as follows:

These eleven (11) cases are for Violation of Central Bank Foreign Exchange Restrictions as
consolidated in CB Circular No. 960 in relation to the penal provision of Sec. 34 of R.A. 265, as
amended.
The accused Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos pleaded not guilty to all these cases; apparently the other
accused in some of these cases, Roberto S. Benedicto, was not arrested and therefore the
Court did not acquire jurisdiction over his person; trial was commenced as against Mrs. Marcos.
His Excellency, the President of the Philippines, announced on August 10, 1992 that the
government has lifted all foreign exchange restrictions and it is also reported that Central Bank
Governor Jose Cuisia said that the Monetary Board arrived at such decision (issue of the
Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 11, 1992 and issue of the Daily Globe of the same date). The
Court has to give full confidence and credit to the reported announcement of the Executive
Department, specially from the highest official of that department; the Courts are charged with
judicial notice of matters which are of public knowledge, without introduction of proof, the
announcement published in at least the two newspapers cited above which are reputable and
of national circulation.
Per several cases decided by the Supreme Court (People vs. Alcaras, 56 Phil. 520, People vs.
Francisco, 56 Phil. 572, People vs. Pastor, 77 Phil. 1000, People vs. Crisanto Tamayo, 61 Phil.
225), among others, it was held that the repeal of a penal law without re-enactment
extinguishes the right to prosecute or punish the offense committed under the old law and if
the law repealing the prior penal law fails to penalize the acts which constituted the offense
defined and penalized in the repealed law, the repealed law carries with it the deprivation of
the courts of jurisdiction to try, convict and sentence persons charged with violations of the old
law prior to its repeal. Under the aforecited decisions this doctrine applies to special laws and
not only to the crimes punishable in the Revised Penal Code, such as the Import Control Law.
The Central Bank Circular No. 960 under which the accused Mrs. Marcos is charged is
considered as a penal law because violation thereof is penalized with specific reference to the

provision of Section 34 of Republic Act 265, which penalizes violations of Central Bank Circular
No. 960, produces the effect cited in the Supreme Court decisions and since according to the
decisions that repeal deprives the Court of jurisdiction, this Court motu proprio dismisses all
the eleven (11) cases as a forestated in the caption, for not to do so opens this Court to
charges of trying cases over which it has no more jurisdiction.
This order was subsequently assailed in a petition for certiorari filed with the Court of Appeals, entitled
"People of the Philippines vs. Hon. Manuel T. Muro, Judge, RTC of Manila, Br. 54 and Imelda R. Marcos,"
docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 29349. When required to file her comment, private respondent Marcos failed to
file any. Likewise, after the appellate court gave due course to the petition, private respondent was ordered,
but again failed despite notice, to file an answer to the petition and to show cause why no writ of preliminary
injunction should issue. Eventually, on April 29, 1993, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision 9 setting aside
the order of August 13, 1992, and reinstating Criminal Cases Nos. 92-101959 to 92-101969.
In finding that respondent judge acted in excess of jurisdiction and with grave abuse of discretion in issuing
the order of dismissal, the appellate court held that:
The order was issued motu proprio, i.e., without any motion to dismiss filed by counsel for the
accused, without giving an opportunity for the prosecution to be heard, and solely on the basis
of newspaper reports announcing that the President has lifted all foreign exchange restrictions.
The newspaper report is not the publication required by law in order that the enactment can
become effective and binding. Laws take effect after fifteen days following the completion of
their publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation unless it is
otherwise provided (Section 1, Executive Order No. 200). The full text of CB Circular 1353,
series of 1992, entitled "Further Liberalizing Foreign Exchange Regulation" was published in the
August 27, 1992 issue of the Manila Chronicle, the Philippine Star and the Manila Bulletin. Per
certification of the CB Corporate Affairs Office, CB Circular No. 1353 took effect on September 2
....
Considering that respondent judge admittedly had not seen the official text of CB Circular No.
1353, he was in no position to rule judiciously on whether CB Circular No. 960, under which the
accused Mrs. Marcos is charged, was already repealed by CB Circular No. 1353. . . .
xxx xxx xxx
A cursory reading of the . . . provision would have readily shown that the repeal of the
regulations on non-trade foreign exchange transactions is not absolute, as there is a provision
that with respect to violations of former regulations that are the subject of pending actions or
investigations, they shall be governed by the regulations existing at the time the cause of
action (arose). Thus his conclusion that he has lost jurisdiction over the criminal cases is
precipitate and hasty. Had he awaited the filing of a motion to dismiss by the accused, and
given opportunity for the prosecution to comment/oppose the same, his resolution would have
been the result of deliberation, not speculation.
I. The doctrine of judicial notice rests on the wisdom and discretion of the courts. The power to take judicial
notice is to be exercised by courts with caution; care must be taken that the requisite notoriety exists; and
every reasonable doubt on the subject should be promptly resolved in the negative. 10
Generally speaking, matters of judicial notice have three material requisites: (1) the matter must be one of
common and general knowledge; (2) it must be well and authoritatively settled and not doubtful or uncertain;
and (3) it must be known to be within the limits of the jurisdiction of the court. 11 The provincial guide in

determining what facts may be assumed to be judicially known is that of notoriety. 12 Hence, it can be said
that judicial notice is limited to facts evidenced by public records and facts of general notoriety. 13
To say that a court will take judicial notice of a fact is merely another way of saying that the usual form of
evidence will be dispensed with if knowledge of the fact can be otherwise acquired. 14 This is because the
court assumes that the matter is so notorious that it will not be disputed. 15 But judicial notice is not judicial
knowledge. The mere personal knowledge of the judge is not the judicial knowledge of the court, and he is
not authorized to make his individual knowledge of a fact, not generally or professionally known, the basis of
his action. Judicial cognizance is taken only of those matters which are "commonly" known. 16
Things of "common knowledge," of which courts take judicial notice, may be matters coming to the
knowledge of men generally in the course of the ordinary experiences of life, or they may be matters which
are generally accepted by mankind as true and are capable of ready and unquestioned
demonstration. 17 Thus, facts which are universally known, and which may be found in encyclopedias,
dictionaries or other publications, are judicially noticed, provided they are of such universal notoriety and so
generally understood that they may be regarded as forming part of the common knowledge of every
person. 18
Respondent judge, in the guise of exercising discretion and on the basis of a mere newspaper account which
is sometimes even referred to as hearsay evidence twice removed, took judicial notice of the supposed lifting
of foreign exchange controls, a matter which was not and cannot be considered of common knowledge or of
general notoriety. Worse, he took cognizance of an administrative regulation which was not yet in force when
the order of dismissal was issued. Jurisprudence dictates that judicial notice cannot be taken of a statute
before it becomes effective. 19 The reason is simple. A law which is not yet in force and hence, still inexistent,
cannot be of common knowledge capable of ready and unquestionable demonstration, which is one of the
requirements before a court can take judicial notice of a fact.
Evidently, it was impossible for respondent judge, and it was definitely not proper for him, to have taken
cognizance of CB Circular No. 1353, when the same was not yet in force at the time the improvident order of
dismissal was issued.
II. Central Bank Circular No. 1353, which took effect on September 1, 1992, further liberalized the foreign
exchange regulations on receipts and disbursements of residents arising from non-trade and trade
transactions. Section 16 thereof provides for a saving clause, thus:
Sec. 16. Final Provisions of CB Circular No. 1318. - All the provisions in Chapter X of CB Circular
No. 1318 insofar as they are not inconsistent with, or contrary to the provisions of this Circular,
shall remain in full force and effect: Provided, however, that any regulation on non-trade
foreign exchange transactions which has been repealed, amended or modified by this Circular,
violations of which are the subject of pending actions or investigations, shall not be considered
repealed insofar as such pending actions or investigations are concerned, it being understood
that as to such pending actions or investigations, the regulations existing at the time the cause
of action accrued shall govern.
Respondent judge contends that the saving clause refers only to the provisions of Circular No. 1318, whereas
the eleven criminal cases he dismissed involve a violation of CB Circular No. 960. Hence, he insists, Circular
No. 960 is deemed repealed by the new circular and since the former is not covered by the saving clause in
the latter, there is no more basis for the charges involved in the criminal cases which therefore warrant a
dismissal of the same. The contention is patently unmeritorious.
Firstly, the second part of the saving clause in Circular No. 1353 explicitly provides that "any regulation on
non-trade foreign transactions which has been repealed, amended or modified by this Circular, violations of
which are the subject of pending actions or investigations, shall not be considered repealed insofar as such
pending actions or investigations are concerned, it being understood that as to such pending actions or

investigations, the regulations existing at the time the cause of action accrued shall govern." The terms of
the circular are clear and unambiguous and leave no room for interpretation. In the case at bar, the accused
in the eleven cases had already been arraigned, had pleaded not guilty to the charges of violations of Circular
No. 960, and said cases had already been set for trial when Circular No. 1353 took effect. Consequently, the
trial court was and is supposed to proceed with the hearing of the cases in spite of the existence of Circular
No. 1353.
Secondly, had respondent judge only bothered to read a little more carefully the texts of the circulars
involved, he would have readily perceived and known that Circular No. 1318 also contains a substantially
similar saving clause as that found in Circular No. 1353, since Section 111 of the former provides:
Sec. 111. Repealing clause. - All existing provisions of Circulars 365, 960 and 1028, including
amendments thereto, with the exception of the second paragraph of Section 68 of Circular
1028, as well as all other existing Central Bank rules and regulations or parts thereof, which are
inconsistent with or contrary to the provisions of this Circular, are hereby repealed or modified
accordingly: Provided, however, that regulations, violations of which are the subject of pending
actions or investigations, shall be considered repealed insofar as such pending actions or
investigations are concerned, it being understood that as to such pending actions or
investigations, the regulations existing at the time the cause of action accrued shall govern.
It unequivocally appears from the section above quoted that although Circular No. 1318 repealed Circular No.
960, the former specifically excepted from its purview all cases covered by the old regulations which were
then pending at the time of the passage of the new regulations. Thus, any reference made to Circular No.
1318 necessarily involves and affects Circular No. 960.
III. It has been said that next in importance to the duty of rendering a righteous judgment is that of doing it in
such a manner as will beget no suspicion of the fairness and integrity of the judge. 20 This means that a judge
should not only render a just, correct and impartial decision but should do so in such a manner as to be free
from any suspicion as to its fairness and impartiality and as to his integrity. While a judge should possess
proficiency in law in order that he can competently construe and enforce the law, it is more important that he
should act and behave in such a manner that the parties before him should have confidence in his
impartiality. Thus, it is not enough that he decides cases without bias and favoritism. Nor is it sufficient that
he in fact rids himself of prepossessions. His actuations should moreover inspire that belief. Like Caesar's
wife, a judge must not only be pure but beyond suspicion. 21
Moreover, it has always heretofore been the rule that in disposing of controverted cases, judges should show
their full understanding of the case, avoid the suspicion of arbitrary conclusion, promote confidence in their
intellectual integrity and contribute useful precedents to the growth of the law. 22 A judge should be mindful
that his duty is the application of general law to particular instances, that ours is a government of laws and
not of men, and that he violates his duty as a minister of justice under such a system if he seeks to do what
he may personally consider substantial justice in a particular case and disregards the general law as he
knows it to be binding on him. Such action may have detrimental consequences beyond the immediate
controversy. He should administer his office with due regard to the integrity of the system of the law itself,
remembering that he is not a depository of arbitrary power, but a judge under the sanction of the
law. 23 These are immutable principles that go into the very essence of the task of dispensing justice and we
see no reason why they should not be duly considered in the present case.
The assertion of respondent judge that there was no need to await publication of Circular No. 1353 for the
reason that the public announcement made by the President in several newspapers of general circulation
lifting foreign exchange controls is total, absolute, without qualification, and immediately effective, is beyond
comprehension. As a judge of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, respondent is supposed to be well-versed in
the elementary legal mandates on the publication of laws before they take effect. It is inconceivable that
respondent should insist on an altogether different and illogical interpretation of an established and wellentrenched rule if only to suit his own personal opinion and, as it were, to defend his indefensible action. It

was not for him to indulge or even to give the appearance of catering to the at-times human failing of
yielding to first impressions. 24 He having done so, in the face of the foregoing premises, this Court is hard put
to believe that he indeed acted in good faith.
IV. This is not a simple case of a misapplication or erroneous interpretation of the law. The very act of
respondent judge in altogether dismissing sua sponte the eleven criminal cases without even a motion to
quash having been filed by the accused, and without at least giving the prosecution the basic opportunity to
be heard on the matter by way of a written comment or on oral argument, is not only a blatant denial of
elementary due process to the Government but is palpably indicative of bad faith and partiality.
The avowed desire of respondent judge to speedily dispose of the cases as early as possible is no license for
abuse of judicial power and discretion, 25 nor does such professed objective, even if true, justify a deprivation
of the prosecution's right to be heard and a violation of its right to due process of
law. 26
The lightning speed, to borrow the words of complainants, with which respondent judge resolved to dismiss
the cases without the benefit of a hearing and without reasonable notice to the prosecution inevitably opened
him to suspicion of having acted out of partiality for the accused. Regardless of how carefully he may have
evaluated changes in the factual situation and legal standing of the cases, as a result of the newspaper
report, the fact remains that he gave the prosecution no chance whatsoever to show or prove that it had
strong evidence of the guilt of the accused. To repeat, he thereby effectively deprived the prosecution of its
right to due process. 27 More importantly, notwithstanding the fact that respondent was not sure of the effects
and implications of the President's announcement, as by his own admission he was in doubt whether or not
he should dismiss the cases, 28 he nonetheless deliberately refrained from requiring the prosecution to
comment thereon. In a puerile defense of his action, respondent judge can but rhetorically ask: "What
explanation could have been given? That the President was talking 'through his hat' and should not be
believed? That I should wait for the publication of a still then non- existent CB Circular?" The pretended
cogency of this ratiocination cannot stand even the minutest legal scrutiny.
In order that bias may not be imputed to a judge, he should have the patience and circumspection to give the
opposing party a chance to present his evidence even if he thinks that the oppositor's proofs might not be
adequate to overthrow the case for the other party. A display of petulance and impatience in the conduct of
the trial is a norm of conduct which is inconsistent with the "cold neutrality of an impartial judge." 29 At the
very least, respondent judge acted injudiciously and with unjustified haste in the outright dismissal of the
eleven cases, and thereby rendered his actuation highly dubious.
V. It bears stressing that the questioned order of respondent judge could have seriously and substantially
affected the rights of the prosecution had the accused invoked the defense of double jeopardy, considering
that the dismissal was ordered after arraignment and without the consent of said accused. This could have
spawned legal complications and inevitable delay in the criminal proceedings, were it not for the holding of
the Court of Appeals that respondent judge acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of
jurisdiction. This saved the day for the People since in the absence of jurisdiction, double jeopardy will not set
in. To stress this point, and as a caveat to trial courts against falling into the same judicial error, we reiterate
what we have heretofore declared:
It is settled doctrine that double jeopardy cannot be invoked against this Court's setting aside
of the trial court's judgment of dismissal or acquittal where the prosecution which represents
the sovereign people in criminal cases is denied due process. . . . .
Where the prosecution is deprived of a fair opportunity to prosecute and prove its case, its right
to due process is thereby violated.
The cardinal precept is that where there is a violation of basic constitutional rights, courts are
ousted of their jurisdiction. Thus, the violation of the State's right to due process raises a

serious jurisdictional issue . . . which cannot be glossed over or disregarded at will. Where the
denial of the fundamental right of due process is apparent, a decision rendered in disregard of
that right is void for lack of jurisdiction . . . . 30
It is also significant that accused Marcos, despite due notice, never submitted either her comment on or an
answer to the petition for certiorari as required by the Court of Appeals, nor was double jeopardy invoked in
her defense. This serves to further underscore the fact that the order of dismissal was clearly unjustified and
erroneous. Furthermore, considering that the accused is a prominent public figure with a record of influence
and power, it is not easy to allay public skepticism and suspicions on how said dismissal order came to be, to
the consequent although undeserved discredit of the entire judiciary.
VI. To hold a judge liable for rendering a manifestly unjust order through inexcusable negligence or ignorance,
it must be clearly shown that although he has acted without malice, he failed to observe in the performance
of his duty that diligence, prudence and care which the law is entitled to exact in the rendering of any public
service. Negligence and ignorance are inexcusable if they imply a manifest injustice which cannot be
explained by a reasonable interpretation, and even though there is a misunderstanding or error of the law
applied, it nevertheless results logically and reasonably, and in a very clear and indisputable manner, in the
notorious violation of the legal precept.31
In the present case, a cursory perusal of the comment filed by respondent judge reveals that no substantial
argument has been advanced in plausible justification of his act. He utterly failed to show any legal, factual,
or even equitable justification for the dismissal of the eleven criminal cases. The explanation given is no
explanation at all. The strained and fallacious submissions therein do not speak well of respondent and
cannot but further depreciate his probity as a judge. On this point, it is best that pertinent unedited excerpts
from his comment 32 be quoted by way of graphic illustration and emphasis:
On the alleged ignorance of the law imputed to me, it is said that I issued the Order dismissing
the eleven (11) cases against Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos on the basis of newspaper reports referred
to in paragraph 2 of the letter complaint without awaiting the official publication of the Central
Bank Circular. Ordinarily a Central Bank Circular/Resolution must be published in the Official
Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation, but the lifting of "all foreign exchange
controls" was announced by the President of the Philippines WITHOUT QUALIFICATIONS; as
published in the Daily Globe, August 11, 1992" the government has lifted ALL foreign exchange
controls," and in the words of the Philippine Daily Inquirer report of the same date "The
government yesterday LIFTED the LAST remaining restrictions on foreign exchange
transactions, . . ." (emphasis in both quotations supplied) not only the President made the
announcement but also the Central Bank Governor Jose Cuisia joined in the announcement by
saying that "the Monetary Board arrived at the decision after noting how the "partial
liberalization" initiated early this year worked."
Therefore, because of the ABSOLUTE lifting of ALL restrictions on foreign exchange
transactions, there was no need to await the publication of the repealing circular of the Central
Bank. The purpose of requiring publication of laws and administrative rules affecting the public
is to inform the latter as to how they will conduct their affairs and how they will conform to the
laws or the rules. In this particular case, with the total lifting of the controls, there is no need to
await publication. It would have been different if the circular that in effect repealed Central
Bank Circular No. 960, under which the accused was charged in the cases dismissed by me,
had provided for penalties and/or modified the provisions of said Circular No. 960.
The Complainants state that the lifting of controls was not yet in force when I dismissed the
cases but it should be noted that in the report of the two (2) newspapers aforequoted, the
President's announcement of the lifting of controls was stated in the present perfect tense
(Globe) or past tense (Inquirer). In other words, it has already been lifted; the announcement
did not say that the government INTENDS to lift all foreign exchange restrictions but instead

says that the government "has LIFTED all foreign exchange controls," and in the other
newspaper cited above, that "The government yesterday lifted the last remaining restrictions
on foreign exchange transactions". The lifting of the last remaining exchange regulations
effectively cancelled or repealed Circular No. 960.
The President, who is the Chief Executive, publicly announced the lifting of all foreign exchange
regulations. The President has within his control directly or indirectly the Central Bank of the
Philippines, the Secretary of Finance being the Chairman of the Monetary Board which decides
the policies of the Central Bank.
No official bothered to correct or qualify the President's announcement of August 10, published
the following day, nor made an announcement that the lifting of the controls do not apply to
cases already pending, not until August 17 (the fourth day after my Order, and the third day
after report of said order was published) and after the President said on August 17, reported in
the INQUIRER's issue of August 18, 1992, that the "new foreign exchange rules have nullified
government cases against Imelda R. Marcos, telling reporters that the charges against the
widow of former President Marcos "have become moot and academic" because of new ruling(s)
which allow free flow of currency in and out of the country" (Note, parenthetically, the
reference to "new rules" not to "rules still to be drafted"). The INQUIRER report continues: "A
few hours later, presidential spokeswoman Annabelle Abaya said, RAMOS (sic) had "corrected
himself'." "He had been belatedly advised by the Central Bank Governor Jose Cuisia and Justice
Secretary Franklin Drilon that the Monetary Board Regulation excluded from its coverage all
criminal cases pending in court and such a position shall stand legal scrutiny', Mrs. Abaya,
said."
I will elaborate on two points:
1. If the President was wrong in making the August 10 announcement (published in August 11,
1992, newspapers) and in the August 17 announcement, SUPRA, and thus I should have relied
on the Presidential announcements, and there is basis to conclude that the President was at
the very least ILL-SERVED by his financial and legal advisers, because no one bothered to
advise the President to correct his announcements, not until August 17, 1992, a few hours after
the President had made another announcement as to the charges against Imelda Marcos
having been rendered moot and academic. The President has a lot of work to do, and is not, to
my knowledge, a financier, economist, banker or lawyer. It therefore behooved his subalterns
to give him timely (not "belated") advice, and brief him on matters of immediate and farreaching concerns (such as the lifting of foreign exchange controls, designed, among others to
encourage the entry of foreign investments). Instead of rescuing the Chief Executive from
embarrassment by assuming responsibility for errors in the latter's announcement, these
advisers have chosen to toss the blame for the consequence of their failing to me, who only
acted on the basis of announcements of their Chief, which had become of public knowledge.
xxx xxx xxx
The Court strongly feels that it has every right to assume and expect that respondent judge is possessed with
more than ordinary credentials and qualifications to merit his appointment as a presiding judge in the
Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Judicial Region, stationed in the City of Manila itself. It is,
accordingly, disheartening and regrettable to note the nature of the arguments and the kind of logic that
respondent judge would want to impose on this Court notwithstanding the manifest lack of cogency thereof.
This calls to mind similar scenarios and how this Court reacted thereto.
In one case, an RTC Judge was administratively charged for acquitting the accused of a violation of CB
Circular No. 960 despite the fact that the accused was apprehended with US$355,349.00 while boarding a
plane for Hongkong, erroneously ruling that the State must first prove criminal intent to violate the law and

benefit from the illegal act, and further ordering the return of US$3,000.00 out of the total amount seized, on
the mistaken interpretation that the CB circular exempts such amount from seizure. Respondent judge therein
was ordered dismissed from the government service for gross incompetence and ignorance of the law. 33
Subsequently, the Court dismissed another RTC judge, with forfeiture of retirement benefits, for gross
ignorance of the law and for knowingly rendering an unjust order or judgment when he granted bail to an
accused charged with raping an 11-year old girl, despite the contrary recommendation of the investigating
judge, and thereafter granted the motion to dismiss the case allegedly executed by the complainant. 34
Similarly, an RTC judge who was described by this Court as one "who is ignorant of fairly elementary and
quite familiar legal principles and administrative regulations, has a marked penchant for applying
unorthodox, even strange theories and concepts in the adjudication of controversies, exhibits indifference to
and even disdain for due process and the rule of law, applies the law whimsically, capriciously and
oppressively, and displays bias and impartiality," was dismissed from the service with forfeiture of all
retirement benefits and with prejudice to reinstatement in any branch of the government or any of its
agencies or instrumentalities. 35
Still in another administrative case, an RTJ judge was also dismissed by this Court for gross ignorance of the
law after she ordered, in a probate proceeding, the cancellation of the certificates of title issued in the name
of the complainant, without affording due process to the latter and other interested parties. 36
Only recently, an RTC judge who had been reinstated in the service was dismissed after he acquitted all the
accused in four criminal cases for illegal possession of firearms, on the ground that there was no proof of
malice or deliberate intent on the part of the accused to violate the law. The Court found him guilty of gross
ignorance of the law, his error of judgment being almost deliberate and tantamount to knowingly rendering
an incorrect and unjust judgment. 37
ACCORDINGLY, on the foregoing premises and considerations, the Court finds respondent Judge Manuel T.
Muro guilty of gross ignorance of the law. He is hereby DISMISSED from the service, such dismissal to carry
with it cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of leave credits and retirement benefits, and disqualification from
reemployment in the government service. 38
Respondent is hereby ordered to CEASE and DESIST immediately from rendering any judgment or order, or
continuing any judicial action or proceeding whatsoever, effective upon receipt of this decision.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 112212. March 2, 1998]


GREGORIO
FULE, petitioner,
vs. COURT
BELARMINO, respondents.

OF

APPEALS,

NINEVETCH CRUZ

and

JUAN

DECISION
ROMERO, J.:
This petition for review on certiorari questions the affirmance by the Court of Appeals of the decision [1] of
the Regional Trial Court of San Pablo City, Branch 30, dismissing the complaint that prayed for the nullification
of a contract of sale of a 10-hectare property in Tanay, Rizal in consideration of the amount of P40,000.00 and
a 2.5 carat emerald-cut diamond (Civil Case No. SP-2455). The lower courts decision disposed of the case as
follows:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court hereby renders judgment dismissing the complaint for lack of
merit and ordering plaintiff to pay:
1. Defendant Dra. Ninevetch M. Cruz the sum of P300,000.00 as and for moral damages and the sum
of P100,000.00 as and for exemplary damages;
2. Defendant Atty. Juan Belarmino the sum of P250,000.00 as and for moral damages and the sum
of P150,000.00 as and for exemplary damages;
3. Defendant Dra. Cruz and Atty. Belarmino the sum of P25,000.00 each as and for attorneys fees and
litigation expenses; and
4. The costs of suit.
SO ORDERED.
As found by the Court of Appeals and the lower court, the antecedent facts of this case are as follows:
Petitioner Gregorio Fule, a banker by profession and a jeweler at the same time, acquired a 10-hectare
property in Tanay, Rizal (hereinafter Tanay property), covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 320725 which
used to be under the name of Fr. Antonio Jacobe. The latter had mortgaged it earlier to the Rural Bank of
Alaminos (the Bank), Laguna, Inc. to secure a loan in the amount of P10,000.00, but the mortgage was later
foreclosed and the property offered for public auction upon his default.
In July 1984, petitioner, as corporate secretary of the bank, asked Remelia Dichoso and Oliva Mendoza to
look for a buyer who might be interested in the Tanay property. The two found one in the person of herein
private respondent Dr. Ninevetch Cruz. It so happened that at the time, petitioner had shown interest in
buying a pair of emerald-cut diamond earrings owned by Dr. Cruz which he had seen in January of the same
year when his mother examined and appraised them as genuine.Dr. Cruz, however, declined petitioners offer
to buy the jewelry for P100,000.00. Petitioner then made another bid to buy them for US$6,000.00 at the
exchange rate of $1.00 to P25.00. At this point, petitioner inspected said jewelry at the lobby of the
Prudential Bank branch in San Pablo City and then made a sketch thereof. Having sketched the jewelry for
twenty to thirty minutes, petitioner gave them back to Dr. Cruz who again refused to sell them since the
exchange rate of the peso at the time appreciated to P19.00 to a dollar.
Subsequently, however, negotiations for the barter of the jewelry and the Tanay property ensued. Dr.
Cruz requested herein private respondent Atty. Juan Belarmino to check the property who, in turn, found out
that no sale or barter was feasible because the one-year period for redemption of the said property had not
yet expired at the time.
In an effort to cut through any legal impediment, petitioner executed on October 19, 1984, a deed of
redemption on behalf of Fr. Jacobe purportedly in the amount of P15,987.78, and on even date, Fr. Jacobe sold
the property to petitioner for P75,000.00. The haste with which the two deeds were executed is shown by the
fact that the deed of sale was notarized ahead of the deed of redemption. As Dr. Cruz had already agreed to
the proposed barter, petitioner went to Prudential Bank once again to take a look at the jewelry.
In the afternoon of October 23, 1984, petitioner met Atty. Belarmino at the latters residence to prepare
the documents of sale.[2] Dr. Cruz herself was not around but Atty. Belarmino was aware that she and
petitioner had previously agreed to exchange a pair of emerald-cut diamond earrings for the Tanay
property. Atty. Belarmino accordingly caused the preparation of a deed of absolute sale while petitioner and
Dr. Cruz attended to the safekeeping of the jewelry.

The following day, petitioner, together with Dichoso and Mendoza, arrived at the residence of Atty.
Belarmino to finally execute a deed of absolute sale. Petitioner signed the deed and gave Atty. Belarmino the
amount of P13,700.00 for necessary expenses in the transfer of title over the Tanay property. Petitioner also
issued a certification to the effect that the actual consideration of the sale was P200,000.00 and
not P80,000.00 as indicated in the deed of absolute sale. The disparity between the actual contract price and
the one indicated on the deed of absolute sale was purportedly aimed at minimizing the amount of the
capital gains tax that petitioner would have to shoulder. Since the jewelry was appraised only at P160,000.00,
the parties agreed that the balance of P40,000.00 would just be paid later in cash.
As pre-arranged, petitioner left Atty. Belarminos residence with Dichoso and Mendoza and headed for the
bank, arriving there at past 5:00 p.m. Dr. Cruz also arrived shortly thereafter, but the cashier who kept the
other key to the deposit box had already left the bank. Dr. Cruz and Dichoso, therefore, looked for said
cashier and found him having a haircut. As soon as his haircut was finished, the cashier returned to the bank
and arrived there at 5:48 p.m., ahead of Dr. Cruz and Dichoso who arrived at 5:55 p.m. Dr. Cruz and the
cashier then opened the safety deposit box, the former retrieving a transparent plastic or cellophane bag with
the jewelry inside and handing over the same to petitioner. The latter took the jewelry from the bag, went
near the electric light at the banks lobby, held the jewelry against the light and examined it for ten to
fifteen minutes. After a while, Dr. Cruz asked, Okay na ba iyan? Petitioner expressed his satisfaction by
nodding his head.
For services rendered, petitioner paid the agents, Dichoso and Mendoza, the amount of US$300.00 and
some pieces of jewelry. He did not, however, give them half of the pair of earrings in question which he had
earlier promised.
Later, at about 8:00 oclock in the evening of the same day, petitioner arrived at the residence of Atty.
Belarmino complaining that the jewelry given to him was fake.He then used a tester to prove the alleged
fakery. Meanwhile, at 8:30 p.m., Dichoso and Mendoza went to the residence of Dr. Cruz to borrow her car so
that, with Atty. Belarmino, they could register the Tanay property. After Dr. Cruz had agreed to lend her car,
Dichoso called up Atty. Belarmino. The latter, however, instructed Dichoso to proceed immediately to his
residence because petitioner was there. Believing that petitioner had finally agreed to give them half of the
pair of earrings, Dichoso went posthaste to the residence of Atty. Belarmino only to find petitioner already
demonstrating with a tester that the earrings were fake. Petitioner then accused Dichoso and Mendoza of
deceiving him which they, however, denied. They countered that petitioner could not have been fooled
because he had vast experience regarding jewelry. Petitioner nonetheless took back the US$300.00 and
jewelry he had given them.
Thereafter, the group decided to go to the house of a certain Macario Dimayuga, a jeweler, to have the
earrings tested. Dimayuga, after taking one look at the earrings, immediately declared them counterfeit. At
around 9:30 p.m., petitioner went to one Atty. Reynaldo Alcantara residing at Lakeside Subdivision in San
Pablo City, complaining about the fake jewelry. Upon being advised by the latter, petitioner reported the
matter to the police station where Dichoso and Mendoza likewise executed sworn statements.
On October 26, 1984, petitioner filed a complaint before the Regional Trial Court of San Pablo City against
private respondents praying, among other things, that the contract of sale over the Tanay property be
declared null and void on the ground of fraud and deceit.
On October 30, 1984, the lower court issued a temporary restraining order directing the Register of
Deeds of Rizal to refrain from acting on the pertinent documents involved in the transaction. On November
20, 1984, however, the same court lifted its previous order and denied the prayer for a writ of preliminary
injunction.
After trial, the lower court rendered its decision on March 7, 1989. Confronting the issue of whether or not
the genuine pair of earrings used as consideration for the sale was delivered by Dr. Cruz to petitioner, the
lower court said:

The Court finds that the answer is definitely in the affirmative. Indeed, Dra. Cruz delivered (the) subject
jewelries (sic) into the hands of plaintiff who even raised the same nearer to the lights of the lobby of the
bank near the door. When asked by Dra. Cruz if everything was in order, plaintiff even nodded his satisfaction
(Hearing of Feb. 24, 1988). At that instance, plaintiff did not protest, complain or beg for additional time to
examine further the jewelries (sic). Being a professional banker and engaged in the jewelry business plaintiff
is conversant and competent to detect a fake diamond from the real thing. Plaintiff was accorded the
reasonable time and opportunity to ascertain and inspect the jewelries (sic) in accordance with Article 1584
of the Civil Code. Plaintiff took delivery of the subject jewelries (sic) before 6:00 p.m. of October 24,
1984. When he went at 8:00 p.m. that same day to the residence of Atty. Belarmino already with a tester
complaining about some fake jewelries (sic), there was already undue delay because of the lapse of a
considerable length of time since he got hold of subject jewelries (sic). The lapse of two (2) hours more or less
before plaintiff complained is considered by the Court as unreasonable delay. [3]
The lower court further ruled that all the elements of a valid contract under Article 1458 of the Civil Code
were present, namely: (a) consent or meeting of the minds; (b) determinate subject matter, and (c) price
certain in money or its equivalent. The same elements, according to the lower court, were present despite
the fact that the agreement between petitioner and Dr. Cruz was principally a barter contract. The lower court
explained thus:
x x x. Plaintiffs ownership over the Tanay property passed unto Dra. Cruz upon the constructive delivery
thereof by virtue of the Deed of Absolute Sale (Exh. D). On the other hand, the ownership of Dra. Cruz over
the subject jewelries (sic) transferred to the plaintiff upon her actual personal delivery to him at the lobby of
the Prudential Bank. It is expressly provided by law that the thing sold shall be understood as delivered, when
it is placed in the control and possession of the vendee (Art. 1497, Civil Code; Kuenzle & Straff vs. Watson &
Co. 13 Phil. 26). The ownership and/or title over the jewelries (sic) was transmitted immediately before 6:00
p.m. of October 24, 1984. Plaintiff signified his approval by nodding his head. Delivery or tradition, is one of
the modes of acquiring ownership (Art. 712, Civil Code).
Similarly, when Exhibit D was executed, it was equivalent to the delivery of the Tanay property in favor of
Dra. Cruz. The execution of the public instrument (Exh. D) operates as a formal or symbolic delivery of the
Tanay property and authorizes the buyer, Dra. Cruz to use the document as proof of ownership (Florendo v.
Foz, 20 Phil. 399). More so, since Exhibit D does not contain any proviso or stipulation to the effect that title
to the property is reserved with the vendor until full payment of the purchase price, nor is there a stipulation
giving the vendor the right to unilaterally rescind the contract the moment the vendee fails to pay within a
fixed period (Taguba v. Vda. De Leon, 132 SCRA 722; Luzon Brokerage Co. Inc. vs. Maritime Building Co. Inc.
86 SCRA 305; Froilan v. Pan Oriental Shipping Co. et al. 12 SCRA 276). [4]
Aside from concluding that the contract of barter or sale had in fact been consummated when petitioner
and Dr. Cruz parted ways at the bank, the trial court likewise dwelt on the unexplained delay with which
petitioner complained about the alleged fakery. Thus:
x x x. Verily, plaintiff is already estopped to come back after the lapse of considerable length of time to
claim that what he got was fake. He is a Business Management graduate of La Salle University, Class 197879, a professional banker as well as a jeweler in his own right. Two hours is more than enough time to make a
switch of a Russian diamond with the real diamond. It must be remembered that in July 1984 plaintiff made a
sketch of the subject jewelries (sic) at the Prudential Bank. Plaintiff had a tester at 8:00 p.m. at the residence
of Atty. Belarmino. Why then did he not bring it out when he was examining the subject jewelries (sic) at
about 6:00 p.m. in the banks lobby? Obviously, he had no need for it after being satisfied of the genuineness
of the subject jewelries (sic). When Dra. Cruz and plaintiff left the bank both of them had fully performed their
respective prestations. Once a contract is shown to have been consummated or fully performed by the
parties thereto, its existence and binding effect can no longer be disputed. It is irrelevant and immaterial to
dispute the due execution of a contract if both of them have in fact performed their obligations thereunder
and their respective signatures and those of their witnesses appear upon the face of the document (Weldon
Construction v. CA G.R. No. L-35721, Oct. 12, 1987). [5]

Finally, in awarding damages to the defendants, the lower court remarked:


The Court finds that plaintiff acted in wanton bad faith. Exhibit 2-Belarmino purports to show that the Tanay
property is worth P25,000.00. However, also on that same day it was executed, the propertys worth was
magnified at P75,000.00 (Exh. 3-Belarmino). How could in less than a day (Oct. 19, 1984) the value would
(sic) triple under normal circumstances? Plaintiff, with the assistance of his agents, was able to exchange the
Tanay property which his bank valued only at P25,000.00 in exchange for a genuine pair of emerald cut
diamond worth P200,000.00 belonging to Dra. Cruz. He also retrieved the US$300.00 and jewelries (sic) from
his agents. But he was not satisfied in being able to get subject jewelries for a song. He had to file a malicious
and unfounded case against Dra. Cruz and Atty. Belarmino who are well known, respected and held in high
esteem in San Pablo City where everybody practically knows everybody. Plaintiff came to Court with unclean
hands dragging the defendants and soiling their clean and good name in the process. Both of them are near
the twilight of their lives after maintaining and nurturing their good reputation in the community only to be
stunned with a court case. Since the filing of this case on October 26, 1984 up to the present they were living
under a pall of doubt. Surely, this affected not only their earning capacity in their practice of their respective
professions, but also they suffered besmirched reputations. Dra. Cruz runs her own hospital and defendant
Belarmino is a well respected legal practitioner.
The length of time this case dragged on during which period their reputation were (sic) tarnished and
their names maligned by the pendency of the case, the Court is of the belief that some of the damages they
prayed for in their answers to the complaint are reasonably proportionate to the sufferings they underwent
(Art. 2219, New Civil Code). Moreover, because of the falsity, malice and baseless nature of the complaint
defendants were compelled to litigate. Hence, the award of attorneys fees is warranted under the
circumstances (Art. 2208, New Civil Code).[6]
From the trial courts adverse decision, petitioner elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals. On October
20, 1992, the Court of Appeals, however, rendered a decision [7]affirming in toto the lower courts decision. His
motion for reconsideration having been denied on October 19, 1993, petitioner now files the instant petition
alleging that:
I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING PLAINTIFFS COMPLAINT AND IN HOLDING THAT THE
PLAINTIFF ACTUALLY RECEIVED A GENUINE PAIR OF EMERALD CUT DIAMOND EARRING(S) FROM
DEFENDANT CRUZ x x x;
II. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN AWARDING MORAL AND EXEMPLARY DAMAGES AND ATTORNEYS FEES
IN FAVOR OF DEFENDANTS AND AGAINST THE PLAINTIFF IN THIS CASE; and
III.THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THE DEED OF SALE OF THE TANAY PROPERTY (EXH.
`D) AS NULL AND VOID OR IN NOT ANNULLING THE SAME, AND IN FAILING TO GRANT
REASONABLE DAMAGES IN FAVOR OF THE PLAINTIFF.[8]
As to the first allegation, the Court observes that petitioner is essentially raising a factual issue as it
invites us to examine and weigh anew the facts regarding the genuineness of the earrings bartered in
exchange for the Tanay property. This, of course, we cannot do without unduly transcending the limits of our
review power in petitions of this nature which are confined merely to pure questions of law. We accord, as a
general rule, conclusiveness to a lower courts findings of fact unless it is shown, inter alia, that:
(1) the conclusion is a finding grounded on speculations, surmises or conjectures; (2) the inference
is manifestly mistaken, absurd and impossible; (3) when there is a grave abuse of discretion; (4) when the
judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; (5) when the findings of fact are conflicting; and (6) when
the Court of Appeals, in making its findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the same is contrary to
the admission of both parties.[9] We find nothing, however, that warrants the application of any of these
exceptions.

Consequently, this Court upholds the appellate courts findings of fact especially because these concur
with those of the trial court which, upon a thorough scrutiny of the records, are firmly grounded on evidence
presented at the trial.[10] To reiterate, this Courts jurisdiction is only limited to reviewing errors of law in the
absence of any showing that the findings complained of are totally devoid of support in the record or that
they are glaringly erroneous as to constitute serious abuse of discretion. [11]
Nonetheless, this Court has to closely delve into petitioners allegation that the lower courts decision of
March 7, 1989 is a ready-made one because it was handed down a day after the last date of the trial of the
case.[12] Petitioner, in this regard, finds it incredible that Judge J. Ausberto Jaramillo was able to write a 12page single-spaced decision, type it and release it on March 7, 1989, less than a day after the last hearing on
March 6, 1989. He stressed that Judge Jaramillo replaced Judge Salvador de Guzman and heard only his
rebuttal testimony.
This allegation is obviously no more than a desperate effort on the part of petitioner to disparage the
lower courts findings of fact in order to convince this Court to review the same. It is noteworthy that Atty.
Belarmino clarified that Judge Jaramillo had issued the first order in the case as early as March 9, 1987 or two
years before the rendition of the decision. In fact, Atty. Belarmino terminated presentation of evidence on
October 13, 1987, while Dr. Cruz finished hers on February 4, 1989, or more than a month prior to the
rendition of the judgment. The March 6, 1989 hearing was conducted solely for the presentation of
petitioner's rebuttal testimony.[13] In other words, Judge Jaramillo had ample time to study the case and write
the decision because the rebuttal evidence would only serve to confirm or verify the facts already presented
by the parties.
The Court finds nothing anomalous in the said situation. No proof has been adduced that Judge Jaramillo
was motivated by a malicious or sinister intent in disposing of the case with dispatch. Neither is there proof
that someone else wrote the decision for him. The immediate rendition of the decision was no more than
Judge Jaramillos compliance with his duty as a judge to dispose of the courts business promptly and decide
cases within the required periods.[14] The two-year period within which Judge Jaramillo handled the case
provided him with all the time to study it and even write down its facts as soon as these were presented to
court. In fact, this Court does not see anything wrong in the practice of writing a decision days before the
scheduled promulgation of judgment and leaving the dispositive portion for typing at a time close to the date
of promulgation, provided that no malice or any wrongful conduct attends its adoption. [15] The practice serves
the dual purposes of safeguarding the confidentiality of draft decisions and rendering decisions with
promptness. Neither can Judge Jaramillo be made administratively answerable for the immediate rendition of
the decision. The acts of a judge which pertain to his judicial functions are not subject to disciplinary power
unless they are committed with fraud, dishonesty, corruption or bad faith. [16] Hence, in the absence of
sufficient proof to the contrary, Judge Jaramillo is presumed to have performed his job in accordance with law
and should instead be commended for his close attention to duty.
Having disposed of petitioners first contention, we now come to the core issue of this petition which is
whether the Court of Appeals erred in upholding the validity of the contract of barter or sale under the
circumstances of this case.
The Civil Code provides that contracts are perfected by mere consent. From this moment, the parties are
bound not only to the fulfillment of what has been expressly stipulated but also to all the consequences
which, according to their nature, may be in keeping with good faith, usage and law. [17] A contract of sale is
perfected at the moment there is a meeting of the minds upon the thing which is the object of the contract
and upon the price.[18] Being consensual, a contract of sale has the force of law between the contracting
parties and they are expected to abide in good faith by their respective contractual commitments. Article
1358 of the Civil Code which requires the embodiment of certain contracts in a public instrument, is only for
convenience,[19] and registration of the instrument only adversely affects third parties. [20] Formal requirements
are, therefore, for the benefit of third parties. Non-compliance therewith does not adversely affect the validity
of the contract nor the contractual rights and obligations of the parties thereunder.

It is evident from the facts of the case that there was a meeting of the minds between petitioner and Dr.
Cruz. As such, they are bound by the contract unless there are reasons or circumstances that warrant its
nullification. Hence, the problem that should be addressed in this case is whether or not under the facts duly
established herein, the contract can be voided in accordance with law so as to compel the parties to restore
to each other the things that have been the subject of the contract with their fruits, and the price with
interest.[21]
Contracts that are voidable or annullable, even though there may have been no damage to the
contracting parties are: (1) those where one of the parties is incapable of giving consent to a contract; and
(2) those where the consent is vitiated by mistake, violence, intimidation, undue influence or fraud.
[22]
Accordingly,petitioner now stresses before this Court that he entered into the contract in the belief that
the pair of emerald-cut diamond earrings was genuine. On the pretext that those pieces of jewelry turned out
to be counterfeit, however, petitioner subsequently sought the nullification of said contract on the ground
that it was, in fact, tainted with fraud[23] such that his consent was vitiated.
There is fraud when, through the insidious words or machinations of one of the contracting parties, the
other is induced to enter into a contract which, without them, he would not have agreed to. [24] The records,
however, are bare of any evidence manifesting that private respondents employed such insidious words or
machinations to entice petitioner into entering the contract of barter. Neither is there any evidence showing
that Dr. Cruz induced petitioner to sell his Tanay property or that she cajoled him to take the earrings in
exchange for said property. On the contrary, Dr. Cruz did not initially accede to petitioners proposal to buy the
said jewelry. Rather, it appears that it was petitioner, through his agents, who led Dr. Cruz to believe that the
Tanay property was worth exchanging for her jewelry as he represented that its value was P400,000.00 or
more than double that of the jewelry which was valued only at P160,000.00. If indeed petitioners property
was truly worth that much, it was certainly contrary to the nature of a businessman-banker like him to have
parted with his real estate for half its price. In short, it was in fact petitioner who resorted to machinations to
convince Dr. Cruz to exchange her jewelry for the Tanay property.
Moreover, petitioner did not clearly allege mistake as a ground for nullification of the contract of
sale. Even assuming that he did, petitioner cannot successfully invoke the same. To invalidate a contract,
mistake must refer to the substance of the thing that is the object of the contract, or to those conditions
which have principally moved one or both parties to enter into the contract. [25] An example of mistake as to
the object of the contract is the substitution of a specific thing contemplated by the parties with another. [26] In
his allegations in the complaint, petitioner insinuated that an inferior one or one that had only Russian
diamonds was substituted for the jewelry he wanted to exchange with his 10-hectare land. He, however,
failed to prove the fact that prior to the delivery of the jewelry to him, private respondents endeavored to
make such substitution.
Likewise, the facts as proven do not support the allegation that petitioner himself could be excused for
the mistake. On account of his work as a banker-jeweler, it can be rightfully assumed that he was an expert
on matters regarding gems. He had the intellectual capacity and the business acumen as a banker to take
precautionary measures to avert such a mistake, considering the value of both the jewelry and his land. The
fact that he had seen the jewelry before October 24, 1984 should not have precluded him from having its
genuineness tested in the presence of Dr. Cruz. Had he done so, he could have avoided the present situation
that he himself brought about. Indeed, the finger of suspicion of switching the genuine jewelry for a fake
inevitably points to him. Such a mistake caused by manifest negligence cannot invalidate a juridical act. [27] As
the Civil Code provides, (t)here is no mistake if the party alleging it knew the doubt, contingency or risk
affecting the object of the contract.[28]
Furthermore, petitioner was afforded the reasonable opportunity required in Article 1584 of the Civil Code
within which to examine the jewelry as he in fact accepted them when asked by Dr. Cruz if he was satisfied
with the same.[29] By taking the jewelry outside the bank, petitioner executed an act which was more
consistent with his exercise of ownership over it. This gains credence when it is borne in mind that he himself
had earlier delivered the Tanay property to Dr. Cruz by affixing his signature to the contract of sale. That after

two hours he later claimed that the jewelry was not the one he intended in exchange for his Tanay property,
could not sever the juridical tie that now bound him and Dr. Cruz. The nature and value of the thing he had
taken preclude its return after that supervening period within which anything could have happened, not
excluding the alteration of the jewelry or its being switched with an inferior kind.
Both the trial and appellate courts, therefore, correctly ruled that there were no legal bases for the
nullification of the contract of sale. Ownership over the parcel of land and the pair of emerald-cut diamond
earrings had been transferred to Dr. Cruz and petitioner, respectively, upon the actual and constructive
delivery thereof.[30]Said contract of sale being absolute in nature, title passed to the vendee upon delivery of
the thing sold since there was no stipulation in the contract that title to the property sold has been reserved
in the seller until full payment of the price or that the vendor has the right to unilaterally resolve the contract
the moment the buyer fails to pay within a fixed period. [31] Such stipulations are not manifest in the contract
of sale.
While it is true that the amount of P40,000.00 forming part of the consideration was still payable to
petitioner, its nonpayment by Dr. Cruz is not a sufficient cause to invalidate the contract or bar the transfer of
ownership and possession of the things exchanged considering the fact that their contract is silent as to when
it becomes due and demandable.[32]
Neither may such failure to pay the balance of the purchase price result in the payment of interest
thereon. Article 1589 of the Civil Code prescribes the payment of interest by the vendee for the period
between the delivery of the thing and the payment of the price in the following cases:
(1) Should it have been so stipulated;
(2) Should the thing sold and delivered produce fruits or income;
(3) Should he be in default, from the time of judicial or extrajudicial demand for the payment of the
price.
Not one of these cases obtains here. This case should, of course, be distinguished from De la Cruz v. Legaspi,
[33]
where the court held that failure to pay the consideration after the notarization of the contract as
previously promised resulted in the vendees liability for payment of interest. In the case at bar, there is no
stipulation for the payment of interest in the contract of sale nor proof that the Tanay property produced fruits
or income. Neither did petitioner demand payment of the price as in fact he filed an action to nullify the
contract of sale.
All told, petitioner appears to have elevated this case to this Court for the principal reason of mitigating
the amount of damages awarded to both private respondents which petitioner considers as exorbitant. He
contends that private respondents do not deserve at all the award of damages. In fact, he pleads for the total
deletion of the award as regards private respondent Belarmino whom he considers a mere nominal party
because no specific claim for damages against him was alleged in the complaint. When he filed the case, all
that petitioner wanted was that Atty. Belarmino should return to him the owners duplicate copy of TCT No.
320725, the deed of sale executed by Fr. Antonio Jacobe, the deed of redemption and the check alloted for
expenses. Petitioner alleges further that Atty. Belarmino should not have delivered all those documents to Dr.
Cruz because as the lawyer for both the seller and the buyer in the sale contract, he should have protected
the rights of both parties. Moreover, petitioner asserts that there was no firm basis for damages except for
Atty. Belarminos uncorroborated testimony.[34]
Moral and exemplary damages may be awarded without proof of pecuniary loss. In awarding such
damages, the court shall take into account the circumstances obtaining in the case and assess damages
according to its discretion.[35] To warrant the award of damages, it must be shown that the person to whom
these are awarded has sustained injury. He must likewise establish sufficient data upon which the court can

properly base its estimate of the amount of damages. [36] Statements of facts should establish such data
rather than mere conclusions or opinions of witnesses.[37] Thus:
x x x. For moral damages to be awarded, it is essential that the claimant must have satisfactorily
proved during the trial the existence of the factual basis of the damages and its causal connection
with the adverse partys acts. If the court has no proof or evidence upon which the claim for moral
damages could be based, such indemnity could not be outrightly awarded. The same holds true with
respect to the award of exemplary damages where it must be shown that the party acted in a
wanton, oppressive or malevolent manner.[38]
In this regard, the lower court appeared to have awarded damages on a ground analogous to malicious
prosecution under Article 2219(8) of the Civil Code [39] as shown by (1) petitioners wanton bad faith in bloating
the value of the Tanay property which he exchanged for a genuine pair of emerald-cut diamond
worthP200,000.00; and (2) his filing of a malicious and unfounded case against private respondents who were
well known, respected and held in high esteem in San Pablo City where everybody practically knows
everybody and whose good names in the twilight of their lives were soiled by petitioners coming to court with
unclean hands, thereby affecting their earning capacity in the exercise of their respective professions and
besmirching their reputation.
For its part, the Court of Appeals affirmed the award of damages to private respondents for these
reasons:
The malice with which Fule filed this case is apparent. Having taken possession of the genuine
jewelry of Dra. Cruz, Fule now wishes to return a fake jewelry to Dra. Cruz and, more than that, get
back the real property, which his bank owns. Fule has obtained a genuine jewelry which he could sell
anytime, anywhere and to anybody, without the same being traced to the original owner for
practically nothing. This is plain and simple, unjust enrichment.[40]
While, as a rule, moral damages cannot be recovered from a person who has filed a complaint against
another in good faith because it is not sound policy to place a penalty on the right to litigate, [41] the same,
however, cannot apply in the case at bar. The factual findings of the courts a quo to the effect that petitioner
filed this case because he was the victim of fraud; that he could not have been such a victim because he
should have examined the jewelry in question before accepting delivery thereof, considering his exposure to
the banking and jewelry businesses; and that he filed the action for the nullification of the contract of sale
with unclean hands, all deserve full faith and credit to support the conclusion that petitioner was motivated
more by ill will than a sincere attempt to protect his rights in commencing suit against respondents.
As pointed out earlier, a closer scrutiny of the chain of events immediately prior to and on October 24,
1984 itself would amply demonstrate that petitioner was not simply negligent in failing to exercise due
diligence to assure himself that what he was taking in exchange for his property were genuine diamonds. He
had rather placed himself in a situation from which it preponderantly appears that his seeming ignorance was
actually just a ruse. Indeed, he had unnecessarily dragged respondents to face the travails of litigation in
speculating at the possible favorable outcome of his complaint when he should have realized that his
supposed predicament was his own making. We, therefore, see here no semblance of an honest and sincere
belief on his part that he was swindled by respondents which would entitle him to redress in court. It must be
noted that before petitioner was able to convince Dr. Cruz to exchange her jewelry for the Tanay property,
petitioner took pains to thoroughly examine said jewelry, even going to the extent of sketching their
appearance. Why at the precise moment when he was about to take physical possession thereof he failed to
exert extra efforts to check their genuineness despite the large consideration involved has never been
explained at all by petitioner. His acts thus failed to accord with what an ordinary prudent man would have
done in the same situation. Being an experienced banker and a businessman himself who deliberately skirted
a legal impediment in the sale of the Tanay property and to minimize the capital gains tax for its exchange, it
was actually gross recklessness for him to have merely conducted a cursory examination of the jewelry when
every opportunity for doing so was not denied him. Apparently, he carried on his person a tester which he

later used to prove the alleged fakery but which he did not use at the time when it was most needed.
Furthermore, it took him two more hours of unexplained delay before he complained that the jewelry he
received were counterfeit. Hence, we stated earlier that anything could have happened during all the time
that petitioner was in complete possession and control of the jewelry, including the possibility of substituting
them with fake ones, against which respondents would have a great deal of difficulty defending
themselves. The truth is that petitioner even failed to successfully prove during trial that the jewelry he
received from Dr. Cruz were not genuine. Add to that the fact that he had been shrewd enough to bloat the
Tanay propertys price only a few days after he purchased it at a much lower value. Thus, it is our considered
view that if this slew of circumstances were connected, like pieces of fabric sewn into a quilt, they would
sufficiently demonstrate that his acts were not merely negligent but rather studied and deliberate.
We do not have here, therefore, a situation where petitioners complaint was simply found later to be
based on an erroneous ground which, under settled jurisprudence, would not have been a reason for
awarding moral and exemplary damages. [42] Instead, the cause of action of the instant case appears to have
been contrived by petitioner himself. In other words, he was placed in a situation where he could not honestly
evaluate whether his cause of action has a semblance of merit, such that it would require the expertise of the
courts to put it to a test. His insistent pursuit of such case then coupled with circumstances showing that he
himself was guilty in bringing about the supposed wrongdoing on which he anchored his cause of action
would render him answerable for all damages the defendant may suffer because of it. This is precisely what
took place in the petition at bar and we find no cogent reason to disturb the findings of the courts below that
respondents in this case suffered considerable damages due to petitioners unwarranted action.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals dated October 20, 1992 is hereby AFFIRMED in
toto. Dr. Cruz, however, is ordered to pay petitioner the balance of the purchase price of P40,000.00 within
ten (10) days from the finality of this decision. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 117728. June 26, 1996]


SERVICEWIDE SPECIALISTS, INC., petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, SPOUSES EDUARDO and
FELISA TOLOSA, BIAN MOTOR SALES CORPORATION, and EDUARDO GARCIA, respondents.
DECISION
PUNO, J.:
Petitioner Servicewide Specialists, Inc. seeks a review of the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. R.
CV No. 20921[1] modifying the Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch LIV, Manila in Civil Case No. 81-604.
[2]

The records show that on December 15, 1981, petitioner Servicewide Specialists, Inc. (Servicewide) filed
a complaint for replevin and/or sum of money with damages before the then Court of First Instance of Manila,
Branch V against private respondents Eduardo and Felisa Tolosa (Tolosa spouses) and one John Doe.
[3]
Servicewide alleged that on January 15, 1981, the Tolosa spouses purchased from Amante Motor Works one
(1) Isuzu passenger-type jeepney with Motor No. C240-317331 and Serial No. CMCI-81063-C for the sum of
P48,432.00 to be paid in 24 monthly installments; [4] that the spouses executed a promissory note and drew a
deed of chattel mortgage over the vehicle in favor of Amante Motor Works; that on the same day, Amante
Motor Works, with notice to the Tolosas, assigned the promissory note and chattel mortgage to Filinvest
Finance and Leasing Corporation, that Filinvest Finance and Leasing Corporation also assigned its rights and
interest in said promissory note and chattel mortgage to Filinvest Credit Corporation; that Servicewide later
acquired the rights and interests of Filinvest Credit Corporation over said note and mortgage; that the Tolosa

spouses failed to pay the installments due on the purchase price despite several demands. In its prayer,
Servicewide demanded from the spouses and John Doe, the person in possession of the vehicle, the return of
the vehicle or the payment of the balance of P34,224.78 and damages. [5]
On January 13, 1982, the trial court issued an order for the seizure of the vehicle subject of the
complaint.[6]
The Tolosa spouses filed their Answer on March 22, 1982. They claimed that they purchased one jeepney
unit from Bian Motor Sales Corporation (Bian Motors), not Amante Motors Works; that in January 1981, they
ordered another unit from the same corporation through the proddings of its President and General Manager,
Eduardo Garcia; that Garcia informed the spouses that the additional unit shall be "house financed" by Bian
Motors; that Eduardo Tolosa noticed that the vendor indicated in the deed of sale was not Bian Motors but
Amante Motor Works; that Garcia explained to Tolosa that he (Garcia) was to make full payment on the
jeepney to Amante Motor Works and that he (Tolosa) was to pay Garcia the monthly installments thereon;
that Tolosa never received any notice from Bian Motors about the jeepney unit he ordered; that on December
17, 1981, Tolosa received a receipt from Filinvest Finance and Leasing Corporation about the payment he
allegedly made on a jeepney unit he purchased from Amante Motor Works; that Garcia informed him he was
in possession of the jeepney and said that he made the initial payment on the vehicle and that he himself
would pay its monthly amortization; that Garcia prepared and executed a "Deed of Sale with Assumption of
Mortgage" where it appears that Tolosa sold and transferred to Garcia the said jeepney. [7]
On June 10, 1982, Servicewide amended its complaint by adding Eduardo Garcia as the defendant in
place of John Doe. Servicewide alleged that the Tolosa spouses, without Servicewide's knowledge and
consent, executed and delivered to Eduardo Garcia a "Deed of Sale with Assumption of Mortgage" over the
jeepney sought to be recovered.[8]
On June 16, 1982, the trial court admitted the amended complaint and ordered the issuance of summons
on Garcia as additional defendant.
On October 28, 1982, the Tolosa spouses filed an "Amended Answer with Third-Party Complaint
impleading as third-party defendants Bian Motors and Eduardo Garcia. The trial court ordered service of
summons on the third-party defendants.
On January 18, 1983, the sheriff seized the subject vehicle from the possession of one Lourdes Bartina.
Three days later, Bartina filed a "Third Party Claim" and "Urgent Motion for Release" alleging ownership of
the jeepney. She claimed that she purchased the vehicle from Bian Motors and regularly paid its subsequent
installments to the Commercial Credit Corporation of Las Pias. [10]
[9]

On February 21, 1983, the trial court released the vehicle to Bartina on an indemnity bond of
P34,000.00. The court found that the documents supporting Bartina's ownership of the jeepney were in due
form and executed prior to the documents of the Tolosa spouses.
On March 2, 1983, Bian Motors and Eduardo Garcia filed their "Answer to Third-Party Complaint" claiming
that the third party plaintiffs (Tolosa spouses) had no cause of action against them as it was Amante Motor
Works that invoiced the vehicle; that the Tolosa spouses purchased a jeepney unit from them but their check
for downpayment bounced; that they initiated a complaint for violation of the Bouncing Checks Law against
Eduardo Tolosa for which an information was filed on December 2, 1982; that if the Tolosa spouses were
prejudiced it was because of their unreasonable neglect to make good their initial payment on the vehicle.
[11]
A reply was filed by the Tolosa spouses.
Despite the court's order of February 21, 1983, the subject jeepney was not released to Bartina. Thus, on
June 14, 1984, Bartina filed her "Complaint in Intervention." [12] Third-party defendants Garcia and Bian Motors
filed their "Answer to Complaint in Intervention." They claimed that they acquired the subject vehicle from

the Tolosas "in consideration of the value of one Celeste jeepney in the amount of P56,000.00" but that the
Tolosas failed to pay the downpayment on the vehicle; that they came to court with clean hands and that
they are actually the victims of the Tolosas. [13] Servicewide manifested that it was adopting its complaint in
the principal case as its comment or answer to the complaint-in-intervention. [14]
At the pre-trial conference of November 7, 1984, the trial court noted that summons and copy of the
amended complaint had not been served on Eduardo Garcia as additional defendant. It deferred the pretrial
until such service shall have been effected. [15]
On January 10, 1985, the trial court ordered Servicewide to turn over possession of the subject jeepney to
Bartina upon filing of the increased bond of P55,000.00.Pretrial was again scheduled on February 27, 1985
but for one reason or another, was postponed several times until October 7, 1985.
On October 7, 1985, all parties, through their respective counsels, appeared except the Tolosas and their
counsel. The trial court declared the Tolosas as in default with respect to the principal complaint and
scheduled the reception of evidence for Servicewide. The Tolosas were likewise declared nonsuited with
respect to their third-party complaint against Bian Motors and Garcia. With regard to the complaint-inintervention, the trial court scheduled a pretrial conference, thus:
"When this case was called for pretrial, Atty. Ocaya, for plaintiff, Atty. Alfred Juntilla for Intervenor-Tolosas (sic)
[16]
and Atty. Manuel Ramirez for third-party defendants appeared.However, defendants Eduardo and Felisa
Tolosa failed to appear notwithstanding due notice. For failure on the part of defendants to appear
notwithstanding due notice, upon motion of the plaintiff, defendants are hereby declared as in default and let
the reception of evidence insofar as said defendants are concerned be reset on November 7, 1985 at 8:30
a.m.
"Due to the absence of the defendant third-party plaintiff notwithstanding due notice, upon motion of the
Third-party defendant, the third-party complaint in so far as the third-party defendant is concerned is hereby
dismissed and likewise, said defendant being third-party plaintiff is declared nonsuited without special
pronouncement as to costs.
"In so far as the intervention is concerned which is directed against the Plaintiff and considering that there is
an on-going possibility of settlement between the Intervenor and the Plaintiff, the pre-trial in so far as the
Intervenor and Plaintiff are concerned is hereby cancelled and reset on November 7, 1985 at 8:30 a.m.
Atty. Ocaya, Atty. A. Juntilla and Atty. Manuel Ramirez are notified of this order in open Court and let a copy of
this order be furnished defendants Tolosas.
SO ORDERED.
Manila, October 7, 1985.
(SGD.) ERNESTO S. TENGCO
(Pairing Judge)"[17]
At the hearing of February 4, 1986 for reception of Servicewide's evidence, the Tolosas again failed to
appear despite due notice. Servicewide presented its legal accounts analyst, Ms. Nannette Navea, who
testified on the outstanding obligation of the Tolosas and Garcia. [18] It also presented several documents
consisting of the promissory note, deed of chattel mortgage, the deed of assignment of the Tolosas' credit by
Filinvest Finance and Leasing Corporation, and the notice and demand letter to the Tolosas. [19] Servicewide
then submitted the case for decision.

Pretrial for the complaint-in-intervention originally scheduled on November 7, 1985 was postponed
several times until March 1, 1988. The Tolosas were notified but again failed to appear on said date. For the
second time, the trial court declared them to have waived their right to present evidence as against the
complaint and dismissed with prejudice their third-party complaint against Garcia and Bian Motors. The court
also declared them as in default with respect to the complaint-in-intervention of Bartina and scheduled the
reception of Bartina's evidence accordingly. The order reads as follows:
"O R D E R
"Considering that counsel for the intervenor arrived in Court although late and pre-trial proceedings were had
as between the intervenor and the plaintiff; considering the non-appearance of the defendants Eduardo and
Felisa Tolosa, the said two defendants are deemed to have waived their right to present evidence as against
the Complaint and also they are deemed to be as in default with respect to the Complaint-in-Intervention of
Lourdes Bartina; the Third-Party Complaint against Eduardo Garcia is dismissed with prejudice and with costs
against the said defendants; this case is set for trial for the reception of intervenor's evidence on April 27,
1988 and May 5, 1988 at 9: 00 o'clock in the morning.
Notify Eduardo and Felisa Tolosa at their respective addresses it appearing that their counsel has already
withdrawn his appearance.
SO ORDERED.
Given in open Court, March 1, 1988.
(SGD.) MANUEL T. MURO
Judge"[20]
On April 27, 1988, at the hearing for reception of evidence on Bartina's complaint-in-intervention, the
Tolosas again did not appear despite due notice. Intervenor Bartina testified that the vehicle subject of the
complaint was sold to her by Bian Motors owned by Eduardo Garcia and that the vehicle was in her
possession when it was seized by the sheriff and thereafter turned over to Servicewide. [21] Bartina thereafter
identified and offered various documents proving her ownership of the subject vehicle. [22]
On May 23, 1988, Bartina and the defendants-in-intervention Eduardo Garcia and Bian Motors, with the
assistance of their respective counsels, moved to dismiss the complaint-in intervention. They alleged that
they had "arrived at an amicable settlement of their claims." [23] The court granted the motion on May 24,
1988.[24]
On August 3, 1988, a decision was rendered by the trial court. It ruled in favor of Servicewide granting it
the right to either foreclose the mortgage on the subject vehicle or to demand from defendants, jointly and
severally, payment of P34,224.78 plus interest and damages. The court held:
"WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in the alternative, for the plaintiff to either foreclose the
mortgage on the motor vehicle subject matter of this case which is in its possession or to have the
defendants jointly and severally pay plaintiff the sum of P34,224.78; plus interest at 24% per annum from
December 3, 1981 until fully paid, and in either case, for said defendants to pay plaintiff also jointly and
severally the sum of P18,385.68 as attorney's fees, liquidated damages, bonding fees and other expenses
incurred as well as the costs of the suit."[25]
Defendant Eduardo Garcia moved for reconsideration and clarification of the decision on the ground that
he was not one of the defendants in the principal case.He claimed that the court did not acquire jurisdiction

over his person because he was never served nor did he receive summons on the amended complaint
naming him as an additional defendant.
In an order dated September 9, 1988, the trial court denied the motion for reconsideration. It however
amended the dispositive portion of the decision to include Eduardo Garcia as one of the defendants liable to
Servicewide, to wit:
"Re 'Motion for Reconsideration and Clarification' dated August 20, 1988:
1. The dispositive portion of the Decision controls over the narration of facts and discussion, hence
all defendants are liable as per such dispositive portion;
2. The tenth line on page 2 of the Decision is hereby corrected to include Eduardo Garcia, the
omission of his name being thru inadvertence."[26]
Eduardo Garcia appealed to the Court of Appeals. [27] In a decision dated October 27, 1994, the appellate
court found that no summons on the amended complaint had been served on Garcia however, since Garcia
filed several pleadings as a third-party defendant in the trial court, he was deemed to have submitted himself
to its jurisdiction. Nonetheless, it found no sufficient evidence to hold Garcia solidarily liable with the Tolosa
spouses on the principal complaint. The Court of Appeals therefore modified the trial court's decision and
relieved Garcia from liability.
Hence, this petition.
Before us, petitioner submits that:
"1. IT IS A SERIOUS ERROR FOR THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS TO DWELL ON QUESTIONS
NOT RAISED AS AN ERROR ON APPEAL BY THE APPELLANT;
2. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS PALPABLY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THERE IS NO EVIDENCE
ADDUCED TO HOLD EDUARDO GARCIA LIABLE IN THIS CASE;
3. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS PALPABLY ERRED IN DISREGARDING THE EVIDENCE ADDUCED BY
INTERVENOR LOURDES BARTINA IN DECIDING THE INSTANT CASE."[28]
It is petitioner's claim that in releasing Eduardo Garcia from liability, the appellate court decided an issue
that was never raised by Garcia himself. On appeal, Garcia only contended that the trial court erred "in
finding him one of the defendants referred to in the dispositive portion of the decision" because he was not a
defendant in the principal complaint, jurisdiction not having been acquired over him. [29] According to
petitioner, the appellate court should have confined itself to the sole issue of jurisdiction over Garcia's person
and should not have determined his liability. [30]
We reject petitioner's submission.
An appellate court is clothed with ample authority to review rulings even if they are not assigned as
errors in the appeal. This is especially so if the court finds that their consideration is necessary in arriving at a
just decision of the case before it. We have consistently held that an unassigned error closely related to an
error properly assigned or upon which a determination of the question raised by the error properly assigned is
dependent, will be considered by the appellate court notwithstanding the failure to assign it as an error. [31]
In ruling on the liability of Garcia, the respondent appellate court can hardly be said to have treated an
issue unrelated to those litigated before the trial court. On the basis of the records, the appellate court found
that Eduardo Garcia had submitted himself voluntarily to the jurisdiction of the trial court. To avoid dispensing

piecemeal justice, it proceeded to determine whether Garcia was indeed liable on the obligation. The
procedure followed by respondent court is in accord with thedesideratum that calls for a complete
adjudication of a case to speed up the dispensation of justice.
We come now to the main issue of whether there is sufficient evidence on record to hold Garcia, together
with the Tolosa spouses, solidarily liable to petitioner for the return of the subject motor vehicle or payment of
its equivalent value in money.
Petitioner insists that there is enough evidence to prove Garcia's liability, viz.: (1) the pleadings filed by
Garcia and Bian Motors, specifically, the "Answer" to the complaint and the "Answer to Complaint in
Intervention" where Garcia admitted selling the mortgaged vehicle to the Tolosas which also show that he
sold the same vehicle to Bartina during the effectivity of the mortgage; (2) the testimony of Lourdes Bartina
where she declared that the same mortgaged vehicle was indeed sold to her by Garcia and Bian Motors; (3)
Garcia's subsequent compromise with Bartina which proves his liability for the obligation.
We do not agree.
Garcia and Bian Motors did not file an "Answer" to the complaint. The records of the case do not show
that both or either of them were served any summons on the amended complaint. This is precisely why
Garcia raised the issue of lack of jurisdiction. Garcia and Bian Motors however filed an "Answer to Third Party
Complaint" and "Answer to Complaint in Intervention."
It must be stressed that the third-party complaint filed by the Tolosas was dismissed twice by the trial
court - first at the pretrial of October 7,1985 for the principal complaint and second at the pretrial of March 1,
1988 for the complaint-in-intervention. The second dismissal was with prejudice. The complaint-inintervention was, upon motion of the parties-in-intervention, also dismissed by the trial court on May 24,
1988.
A dismissal or discontinuance of an action operates to annul orders, rulings or judgments previously
made in the case.[32] It also annuls all proceedings had in connection therewith and renders all pleadings
ineffective.[33] A dismissal or nonsuit leaves the situation as though no suit had ever been brought. Further
proceedings in the action are arrested and what has been done therein is also annulled, so that the action is
as if it had never been.[34] It carries down with it previous proceeding and orders in the action, and all
pleadings of both parties, and all issues with respect to the plaintiff's claim. [35]
The records do not show that petitioner adopted the "Answer to Third Party Complaint" and the "Answer
to Complaint in Intervention" filed by Bian Motors and Garcia, and the testimony of Bartina as part of its
evidence in the trial court. It cannot rely on them on appeal for evidence not formally offered before the trial
court cannot be considered.[36] To consider them at this stage will deny the other parties their right to rebut
them.
Assuming arguendo that the said pleadings of Garcia and Bian Motors and the evidence of Bartina can be
considered in favor of petitioner, still, they do not sufficiently prove Garcia's liability on the matter.
For one, the motor vehicle described in the "Answer to Third-Party Complaint" has different motor and
serial numbers from the vehicle subject of the complaint. The subject vehicle is a galvanized silver jeepney
with Motor No. C240-317331 and Serial No. CMCI-81063-C while the vehicle in said pleading is a red stainless
jeepney with Motor No. C-221-443144 and Serial No. CMCI-81795-C. [37] What Garcia and Bian Motors
admittedly sold to the Tolosas was not the subject vehicle.
In the "Answer to the Complaint in Intervention," Garcia and Bian Motors admitted that they acquired
from the Tolosas the "vehicle subject of the complaint in consideration of one Celeste jeepney valued at
P56,000.00." The vehicle subject of the complaint was the one found in the possession of Bartina. Under the

two pleadings, however, what Garcia and Bian Motors sold to the Tolosa spouses was a different vehicle from
the one they acquired from said spouses and which they allegedly sold to Bartina. A double sale of the same
jeepney could not rise because there appears to be two different jeepneys in the pleadings.
Even in the "Deed of Sale with Assumption of Mortgage" where the Tolosa spouses allegedly sold to
Garcia the jeepney subject of the complaint the vehicle described therein had different motor and chassis
number. The deed reveals that what the Tolosas sold to Garcia was a red jeepney with Motor No. C240-32833
and Chassis No. CMCI-82062-C.[38]
The documentary evidence of Bartina merely shows that the jeepney subject of the complaint was indeed
sold to her by Bian Motors represented by Juliet Garcia, Eduardo Garcia's daughter. There is nothing to show
that Eduardo Garcia sold to Bartina the same vehicle that he previously sold to the Tolosas.
We also hold that the compromise between Bartina and Garcia and Bian Motors cannot be taken as an
admission of Garcia's liability. In civil cases, an offer of compromise is not an admission of any liability.
[39]
With more reason, a compromise agreement should not be treated as an admission of liability on the part
of the parties vis-a-vis a third person. The compromise settlement of a claim or cause of action is not an
admission that the claim is valid, but merely admits that there is a dispute, and that an amount is paid to be
rid of the controversy,[40] nor is a compromise with one person an admission of any liability to someone else.
[41]
The policy of the law should be, and is, to encourage compromises. [42] When they are made, the rights of
third parties are not in any way affected thereby. [43]
On the whole, petitioner's evidence consists of the promissory note, the deed of chattel mortgage and
the deed of assignment and the notice and demand letter.The promissory note in favor of Amante Motor
Works was signed by the Tolosa spouses. [44] This same promissory note provides that any payment thereon
shall be made "to the order of Filinvest Finance and Leasing Corporation. [45] Both spouses also signed as
mortgagors the deed of chattel mortgage of the said jeepney in favor of Amante Motor Works. Amante Motor
Works assigned in the same deed all its rights over the chattel mortgage to Filinvest Finance and Leasing
Corporation.[46]Filinvest Finance and Leasing Corporation likewise assigned its rights and interest over the
promissory note and deed of chattel mortgage to Filinvest Credit Corporation which in turn assigned it to
petitioner.[47] The Tolosa spouses defaulted on the obligation and refused to pay the installments due despite
notice to them.By no stretch of logic can they prove Garcia's solidary liability.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is denied and the Decision dated October 27, 1994 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 20921 is affirmed.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. L-19101. February 29, 1964.]


EMILIANO DALANDAN, and MARIA DALANDAN, assisted by her husband JULIAN
SILVERIO,Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. VICTORIA JULIO, ELEUTERIO SANTOS and FRANCISCA ECHIPARI,
as natural guardian ad litem of the minors Dolores, Ponciano, Lorenzo and Nolasco, all surnamed
SANTOS, Defendants-Appellees.
Cornelio R. Magsarili, for Plaintiffs-Appellants.
Pedro R. Magsalin and Oscar Herrera for Defendants-Appellees.
SYLLABUS

1. PACTO DE RETRO SALE; WAIVER OF TEN-YEAR PERIOD TO REPURCHASE VOID; EFFECT OF INVALIDITY.
Where the parties to a pacto de retro sale of land agreed originally in 1932 to a ten-year period for
repurchase but subsequently in 1940, before the expiration of said period, entered into another contract
waiving said ten-year period, granting to the vendor a retro the right to make the repurchase at any time
without any limitation as to the period, it is held that such waiver is void as violative of Article 1508 of the old
Civil Code, which is the law applicable to the case, and the vendor a retro should have exercised his right to
repurchase within 10 years from the date of the original contract in 1932, and having failed to do so, title to
said property had been consolidated ipso facto in the vendee a retro at the expiration of said period.
2. ID.; ID.; WAIVER CANNOT AMOUNT TO A PROMISE TO SELL THE PROPERTY FOR AN INDEFINITE PERIOD.
The waiver, subsequently declared void, of the 10-year limitation period on the right to repurchase property
sold with pacto de retro cannot amount to a promise to sell said property for an indefinite period, because an
agreement to repurchase becomes a promise to sell only when made after an absolute sale or after title had
been consolidated in the vendee a retro for then it becomes a new independent contract binding on the
vendee a retro.
3. PLEADINGS AND PRACTICE; MOTION TO DISMISS; NOT CONCLUSIONS BUT ONLY MATERIAL ALLEGATIONS IN
COMPLAINT DEEMED ADMITTED. An allegation in the complaint that the questioned contract is an
"equitable mortgage" is a mere conclusion of plaintiffs, and is not a material allegation, so that the same
cannot be deemed admitted by the motion to dismiss filed by defendants. The same ruling applies to an
allegation in the amended complaint that plaintiffs and their predecessor-in-interest were the ones paying the
real estate taxes on the property, because it is not the fact of alleged payment of taxes that gives rise to the
disputable presumption of equitable mortgage under Article 1602 of the New Civil Code, but an agreement
whereby the vendor a retro binds himself to pay the taxes on the property, and there is no allegation of such
agreement in the complaint.
4. ID.; RIGHT TO ENJOY PRODUCTS OF PROPERTY NOT INCOMPATIBLE WITH CONTRACT OF SALE A RETRO. A
provision in a contract of a sale a retro of land entitling the vendee a retro to enjoy and receive the products
of the property sold is not incompatible with such a contract, and therefore is not a factor favoring an
equitable mortgage.
DECISION
BARRERA, J.:
From the order of the Court of First Instance of Rizal (Branch VII, Pasay City) dismissing their complaint (Civil
Case No. 317-R) against defendants Victoria Julio, Eleuterio Santos, and Francisca Echipari (as natural
guardian ad litem of the minors Dolores, Ponciano, Lorenzo and Nolasco Santos), plaintiffs Emiliano Dalandan
and Maria Dalandan (assisted by her husband Julian Silverio), interposed the present appeal.
The pertinent averments of the complaint that initiated this case filed on December 20, 1960 and amended
on January 23, 1961, read as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"7 That sometime in September 24, 1932, during the lifetime of Clemente Dalandan and Victorina Dalandan
(widower and widow respectively), they executed a notarial document whereby said Clemente Dalandan sold,
ceded, and transferred by way of pacto de retro sale to Victorina Dalandan (fifty (50) plots or salt beds
(banigan), which form part of the one hundred and fifty two (152) plots or banigan found on six (6) parcels
of registered land, situated at Las Pias, Rizal and which is specifically described under Tax Declaration Nos.
7480, 7481, 7482, 7483, 774 and 7919 of Las Pias, Rizal, subject to the right of Clemente Dalandan to
repurchase the said fifty (50) plots or banigan for the same amount of Four Thousand Pesos (P4,000.00)
within ten (10) years from September 24, 1932, the date of said pacto de retro sale:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"8. That before the expiration of the ten (10) years period stipulated in the said pacto de retro sale abovereferred to, the said Clemente Dalandan and Victorina Dalandan executed another notarial document on May
14, 1940, which expressly modified and amended the said pacto de retro sale, in that Victorina Dalandan
expressly waived the ten (10) years period of redemption or repurchase, provided for in said pacto de retro

sale, and granted to Clemente Dalandan the right to redeem or pay the price of P4,000.00 at any time,
without any limitation as to the period of redemption or repurchase, provided, that Victorina Dalandan shall
enjoy and be entitled to receive the products of the said fifty (50) plots or banigan during the period that
said P4,000.00 has not been returned to her (Victorina Dalandan) by Clemente Dalandan, and which notarial
document dated May 14, 1940, a copy is hereto attached and said part hereof as Annex A.
"9. That in the aforesaid notarial document (Annex A hereof), it was also expressly provided that in the
event of death of Victorina Dalandan, the redemption price of P4,000.00 shall be paid to Engracio Santos and
Eleuterio Santos (both grandsons of Victorina Dalandan) at P1,500.00 each, and to Victoria Julio (daughter of
Victorina Dalandan), the amount of P1,000.00.
"10. That the document executed by the deceased Clemente Dalandan in favor of the deceased Victorina
Dalandan over the said fifty (50) plots or banigan as alleged in paragraphs 5, 6, and 7 hereof, are in truth an
equitable mortgage, for:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
(a) The document executed on May 14, 1940 (Annex A hereof) expressly modified and amended the said
document of September 24, 1932, as Victorina Dalandan expressly waived the ten (10) years period of
redemption or repurchase therein and extending and/or granting a new period which is indefinite for
Clemente Dalandan to redeem or repurchase those fifty (50) plots or banigan.
(b) It may be fairly inferred from the context of said Annex A that the real intention of the parties therein
was that the transaction was only a security for the payment of a debt in the amount of P4,000.00, because
of the use or employment of the words redemption and redemption price therein found.
(c) The defendants, as well as their predecessor-in-interest, had never taken steps to consolidate ownership
over the said fifty (50) plots or banigan, as required under Article 1607 of the new Civil Code, in spite of the
lapse of over twenty (20) years, since they executed Annex A hereof, which inaction on the part of the
defendants and their predecessor-in-interest strongly indicates that the transaction between Victorina
Dalandan and Clemente Dalandan was really one of mortgage.
(d) Even assuming the contract (Annex A) was a true sale with right of repurchase, although it is merely a
mortgage, still under the last paragraph of Article 1606 of the new Civil Code, the plaintiffs herein have still
thirty (30) days to repurchase from the time final judgment is rendered in a civil action to consolidate
ownership, and which civil action has never been filed by the defendants nor their predecessor-in-interest.
(e) During the period from 1932 up to the present, the plaintiffs and their predecessor-in-interest were the
ones paying the real estate taxes over the said lots, and that the defendants nor their predecessor-in-interest
never paid any real estate taxes over the same.
(f) The provision in the contract, to the effect that Victorina Dalandan shall enjoy and be entitled to receive
the products of the said fifty (50) plots during the period that the amount of P4,000.00 is not returned to her,
is against the nature of a sale with pacto de retro, and is incompatible or inconsistent with such kind of
contract, and is more in consonant with and justify the fact that said contract was really one of mortgage or
equitable mortgage.
"11. That on December 12, 1960, the defendants were notified in writing that the plaintiffs are now ready to
pay the amount of P4,000.00 to them, in the manner and amount provided in Annex A hereof, and
requesting the defendants to name the place and time where they desire to accept the said amount as
payment of the debt of the plaintiffs predecessor-in-interest, but the defendants (in spite of the fact that they
received the said notice in writing) refused to accept or receive the said amount from the plaintiffs; and until
the filing of this complaint, the defendants Eleuterio Santos and Francisco Echipari did not even honor to
answer the said offer of payment of the plaintiffs, except the defendant Victoria Julio who answered the
plaintiffs letter by refusing to accept payment tendered to her, and instead claims that she is the exclusive
owner of the said (50) plots or banigan by inheritance from her deceased mother, Victorina Dalandan, to the
exclusion of Engracio Santos and Eleuterio Santos, and which letters tendering payment, and the answer
thereto are hereto attached and made part hereof as Annexes B, C, D, and E, respectively.
"12. That in the aforesaid letters (Annexes B, C, and D) the defendants were notified that their refusal to
accept the amount of P4,000.00 from the plaintiffs will force the latter to consign the same in court, and to
institute the proper action against them.
"13. That due to the refusal of the defendants to accept the payment of P4,000.00 as alleged in the preceding

paragraph for the redemption of the said fifty plots or banigan mentioned in the preceding paragraphs, the
plaintiffs are forced to consign or deposit the amount of P4,000.00 in court, as per Official Receipt No. F55425.17, dated December 20, 1960, and which amount is now at the disposal of this Honorable Court.
"14. That the plaintiffs, herein, having duly consigned the said amount of P4,000.00, with due notice to the
defendants, the plaintiffs, therefore, are entitled as of right under Article 1260 of the new Civil Code, to seek
the cancellation of their aforesaid obligation and hereby prays the Court to order the cancellation, release,
and discharge of those fifty (50) plots or banigan from the equitable mortgage embodied in Annex A
hereof, as well as that notarial document dated September 24, 1932, executed and ratified by Clemente
Dalandan and Victorina Dalandan before Notary Public Juan Ortega and entered as Doc. No. 604, Page 19,
Book 7, Series of 1932 of the said Notary Public;"
Against this complaint, defendants filed a motion to dismiss, on the grounds that (1) the complaint states no
cause of action; and (2) granting that it states a cause of action, it is already barred by the Statute of
Limitations and/or laches, because:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
(a) The stipulation that the subject matter of the sale may be redeemed at any time without limitation is null
and void and after the expiration of ten (10) years from the execution of the document, title to the property is
consolidated ipso facto to the vendee a retro
(b) The plaintiffs cited only one circumstance, namely, the alleged extension of the period of redemption, as
to why the document in question is merely an equitable mortgage, the rest of the circumstances alleged in
the complaint being either insufficient or mere conclusion of law, and under the doctrine laid down by the
Supreme Court in the case of Siopongco v. Castro (L-12167, April 29, 1959), for documents executed before
1950, there must be a combination of several circumstances enumerated in Article 1602 of the new Civil
Code, before courts may be justified in concluding that parties intended the written document of pacto de
retro to be a mere security for the payment of debt and, under the same decision, Article 1606 of the new
Civil Code is not applicable, because ownership has vested in the defendants before the approval of said
Code.
(c) Under the old Civil Code, it is not necessary for the vendee a retro to consolidate ownership, because the
same takes place upon failure to exercise the right of redemption under Article 1518 of the same Code. And,
even under the new Civil Code, ownership is consolidated by operation of law and the requirement of judicial
order in Article 1607 of the same Code is merely for purposes of registering the consolidation of title (Rosario
v. Rosario, L-13018, Dec. 29, 1960).
(d) Plaintiffs should have filed an action for reformation of instrument within the statutory period which under
the doctrine laid down in the case of Conde v. Cuenca (L-9405, July 31, 1956) must be within ten (10) years
from the time the right of action accrued.
(f) The allegation of usury is a mere conclusion of law and the ultimate facts to sustain the same clearly
shows that the alleged income of P480.00 a year does not exceed 12% of the purchase price of P4,000.00.
Besides, there could be no usury, because the transaction in question is one of true sale.
(g) The mere fact that taxes were allegedly paid by plaintiffs on the property in question is not one of these
circumstances mentioned under Article 1602 of the new Civil Code, but an agreement where the vendor binds
himself to pay the taxes on the land allegedly sold, which is not alleged in the complaint.
To this motion to dismiss, plaintiffs duly filed an opposition, to which defendants filed a reply.
On April 29, 1961, the court dismissed the complaint, in an order, which reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"ORDER
"This is a motion to dismiss the amended complaint filed on January 27, 1961, on the following grounds: (1)
That the complaint states no cause of action; (2) That even if we concede arguendo that the complaint states
a cause of action, the same is already barred by the Statute of Limitations and/or laches.
"After a careful consideration of the allegations of the amended complaint, and taking into account the
document, Annex A thereof, which serves as the main basis of the complaint, it is our sense that plaintiffs
had already lost their rights to redeem the lands in question within the period of ten years from the date of
the execution of said document. The stipulation in the contract that the parties thereto hereby waive the 10-

year period for redemption or repurchase provided for therein and instead, the party of the First Part,
Clemente Dalandan, is hereby granted the right by the party of the Second Part, Victorina Dalandan, to make
the redemption or pay the purchase price of Four Thousand Pesos (P4,000 00) to the latter, his heirs, or
assigns, at any time without any limitation as to the period of redemption or repurchase, whatsoever, offends
against the provisions of Article 1508 of the old Civil Code in so providing that the right to repurchase may be
exercised at anytime, that is, even after the 10-year period shall have elapsed. Such stipulation is,
consequently, illicit and could not be given force and effect by this Court, for it runs counter to the provisions
of the law on the matter.
"Let it not be said, because of the allegation in Paragraph 10 of the amended complaint, that the document,
Annex A, in question is in truth an equitable mortgage, the motion to dismiss could not be sustained,
because it hypothetically admits the truth thereof. Such allegations of equitable mortgage in the complaint
is, to our mind, but a mere conclusion of plaintiffs, and not a material allegation, so that the same can not be
deemed admitted by the defendants who filed the motion to dismiss.
"Considering that the document, Annex A, has the earmarks of a sale with right to repurchase and, as the
plaintiffs failed to exercise their rights to redeem the same within the statutory period fixed by the old Civil
Code which is applicable to the case at bar, we hereby hold that the plaintiffs had already lost whatever
rights they had over the property.
"WHEREFORE, the amended complaint is hereby dismissed without costs.
"SO ORDERED."cralaw virtua1aw library
Their motion for reconsideration of said order, having been denied, plaintiffs directly appealed to us.
The only issue to be resolved in this case is whether the trial court correctly dismissed plaintiffs complaint.
The records show that on September 24, 1932, Clemente Dalandan,1 for and in consideration of the sum of
P4,000.00, executed a contract of sale of 50 salt beds (banigan) located at Sitio Lakura, Las Pias, Rizal, in
favor of Victorina Dalandan, 2 with right to repurchase the same within 10 years from the date of the
execution of the contract, by paying back and returning to the latter the purchase price of P4,000.00, with all
the expenses incident to the preparation of said contract and, upon failure of Clemente Dalandan to exercise
said right of repurchase within said period, title thereto shall pass to and become vested, absolutely and
without reservation, to Victorina Dalandan, her heirs, and assigns. On May 14, 1940, however, or prior to the
expiration of the period of repurchase agreed upon, the parties executed another contract (Annex "A"),
pertinent portion of which reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"That the parties hereto have decided and agreed by these presents to modify the conditions and
agreements stated in the above-mentioned document of pacto de retro sale, in the sense that they hereby
waive the 10-year period for redemption or repurchase provided for therein and, instead, the Party of the First
Part, Clemente Dalandan, is hereby granted the right by the Party of the Second Part, Victorina Dalandan, to
make the redemption or pay the purchase price of Four Thousand Pesos (P4,000.00) to the latter, his heirs, or
assigns, at any time, without any limitation as to the period of redemption or repurchase, whatsoever:
Provided, however, That during the time or period that the said purchase price of Four Thousand Pesos is not
paid, the Party of the Second Part or Victorina Dalandan shall enjoy and be entitled to receive the products
from the said fifty (50) plots or banigan stated above; and Provided, further, that upon the death of the Party
of the Second Part, in the event that redemption price of P4,000.00 has not been paid, the same should be
paid by the Party of the First Part, his heirs or assigns, to the persons as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw
library
x

Note that the above stipulation, whereby the parties waived the original 10-year period for redemption or
repurchase of the property subject of the sale a retro, granting to the vendor a retro Clemente Dalandan the
right to make the repurchase "at any time, without any limitation as to the period of redemption or
repurchase, whatsoever", is violative of Article 1508 of the old Civil Code, applicable to the instant case,
which reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"ART. 1508. The right referred to in the next preceding article, in default of an express agreement, shall
endure four years, counted from the date of the contract.

"Should there be an agreement, the period shall not exceed ten years."cralaw virtua1aw library
In the case of Yadao v. Yadao (20 Phil. 260), where the contract contained a stipulation that the vendor a retro
could repurchase the land any time he had the money, this Court held that under the provision of the Civil
Code (old), the life of a pacto de retro or agreement could not exceed ten years, and if the property subject of
the contract was not redeemed within that period, the title then passed irrevocably to the vendee.
In line with this ruling, the aforementioned stipulation of May 14, 1940, insofar as it gave the vendor right to
repurchase beyond the ten year period, is illicit and, therefore, null and void and cannot be given force and
effect. The vendor a retro Clemente Dalandan should have exercised his right to repurchase the property in
question at any time prior to the expiration of 10 years from September 24, 1932, the date of execution of
the sale a retro. Having failed to do so, title to said property had been consolidated, ipso facto, in the vendee
a retro Victorina Dalandan, on September 24, 1942, (Alojado v. Lim Siongco, 51 Phil. 339, 342).
But appellants contend that if the said stipulation of May 14, 1940, wherein the parties waived the 10-year
repurchase period originally agreed upon in the contract of September 24, 1932, was null and void, then the
vendee a retro Victorina Dalandan became the absolute owner of the property, even prior to the expiration of
the 10-year repurchase period. Hence, they urge that, as a consequence, such a waiver amounted to a
promise to sell the property sold a retro, on the part of the vendee a retro to the vendor a retro Clemente
Dalandan for an indefinite period and, therefore, did not violate the aforequoted provision of Article 1508 of
the old Civil Code.
The claim is untenable. The waiver of the time limit to exercise the right of repurchase did not destroy or
extinguish the right itself, but only modified its exercise. Therefore the contract remained to be a sale subject
to repurchase, and did not become an absolute sale. Nor is such a stipulation (waiver of the period of
redemption) a promise to sell, an independent contract. The right to repurchase for an indefinite period
granted in the agreement of May 14, 1940 is the same right to repurchase within ten years provided in the
September 24, 1932 contract. An agreement to repurchase becomes a promise to sell when made after an
absolute sale, or after title has been consolidated in the vendee a retro, because where the sale is made
without such an agreement or where the period of repurchase has already expired, the purchaser acquires
the thing sold absolutely. If he afterwards grants the vendor the right to repurchase, it is a new contract and
is equivalent to a promise to sell (Ramos v. Ino, 51 Phil. 343, 346). The case of Madamba v. Tumaneng (L3031, March 15, 1951) cited by appellants is not in point, for there, the promise to sell the 2 parcels of land
sold a retro was made after the vendee a retro had become absolute owners thereof, and therefore was an
independent undertaking binding on the latter. (See Ramos v. Ino, supra). In the instant case, the promise (if
at all) to resell was made prior to the expiration of the repurchase period and before the vendee a retro had
become absolute owner of the property, and as such, was not a new contract but a mere modification in the
exercise of the same right of repurchase already reserved in the original contract of September 24, 1932.
Appellants also argue that by filing a motion to dismiss, appellees thereby admitted the allegation of
"equitable mortgage" found in Paragraph 10 of the amended complaint.
The argument is not sound. As the trial court correctly pointed out, "such allegation of equitable mortgage in
the complaint is a mere conclusion of plaintiffs (appellants), and not a material allegation, so that the same
cannot be deemed admitted by defendants (appellees) who filed the motion to dismiss." As a rule, the
complaint should contain allegation of ultimate facts constituting the plaintiffs cause of action.
"Neither is it proper to allege in a pleading inferences of fact from facts not stated, or incorrect inferences
from facts stated, for they are not the ultimate facts required by law to be pleaded. Legal conclusions need
not be pleaded, because so far as they are correct they are useless, and when erroneous, worse than
useless." (I Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court [1957 Ed.] p. 109).
And, to determine the sufficiency of the cause of action, only the facts alleged in the complaint and no other
should be considered.
"The allegation of nullify of a judgment in a complaint, being a conclusion and not a material allegation, is not
deemed admitted by the party who files a motion to dismiss." (Quiambao v. Peralta, G.R. No. L-9689, January
27, 1958).
The additional allegation in the amended complaint that from 1932 up to the present, appellants and their
predecessor-in-interest were the ones paying the real estate taxes on the property subject of the sale a retro

is of no moment, because it is not the fact of alleged payment of taxes that gives rise to the disputable
presumption (of equitable mortgage) under Article 1602 of the new Civil Code, but an agreement whereby
the vendor a retro binds himself to pay the taxes on the property sold a retro (Par. 5). There is absolutely no
allegation in appellants complaint of such an agreement. Moreover, as the transaction in question took place
before the effectivity of the new Civil Code, this circumstance (paying taxes) alone is not sufficient to justify
the conclusion that said transaction is a mere equitable mortgage and not a sale a retro. As we held in
Siopongco v. Castro (G.R. No. L-12167, April 29, 1959):jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Before 1950, the principle obtained here, that a combination of several such circumstances (stated in Article
1602 new Civil Code) might justify the courts in concluding that the parties intended the written documents
of pacto de retro to be a mere security for the payment of a debt. One was not enough. So that Article 1602
(providing one only of such circumstances as enough to give rise to the presumption) in effect enunciates a
new rules of law. As such, we do not think it could affect contracts like this entered into before
1950."cralaw virtua1aw library
Lastly, we note that the provision in the contract of May 14, 1940 entitling the vendee a retro Victorina
Dalandan to enjoy and receive the products of the property sold a retro is not incompatible with a contract of
sale a retro. In the case of Claridad v. Novella (G.R. No. L-12666, May 22, 1959), we already ruled
that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"The fact that the vendee a retro was given the right to enjoy the usufruct of the land during the period of
redemption, far from being a factor favoring an equitable mortgage, is an argument in favor of appellees
theory (that the contract was a sale a retro), for usufruct is an element of ownership which is involved in a
contract of sale."cralaw virtua1aw library
For all the foregoing, we find and so hold, that appellants amended complaint, on its face, states no cause of
action and, therefore, the trial court correctly dismissed the same.
WHEREFORE, the order appealed from is hereby affirmed, with costs against the appellants. It is so ordered.

G.R. No. 112573 February 9, 1995


NORTHWEST ORIENT AIRLINES, INC. petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and C.F. SHARP & COMPANY INC., respondents.

PADILLA, JR., J.:


This petition for review on certiorari seeks to set aside the decision of the Court of Appeals affirming the
dismissal of the petitioner's complaint to enforce the judgment of a Japanese court. The principal issue here is
whether a Japanese court can acquire jurisdiction over a Philippine corporation doing business in Japan by
serving summons through diplomatic channels on the Philippine corporation at its principal office in Manila
after prior attempts to serve summons in Japan had failed.
Petitioner Northwest Orient Airlines, Inc. (hereinafter NORTHWEST), a corporation organized under the laws of
the State of Minnesota, U.S.A., sought to enforce in Civil Case No. 83-17637 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
Branch 54, Manila, a judgment rendered in its favor by a Japanese court against private respondent C.F. Sharp
& Company, Inc., (hereinafter SHARP), a corporation incorporated under Philippine laws.
As found by the Court of Appeals in the challenged decision of 10 November 1993,
factual and procedural antecedents of this controversy:

the following are the

On May 9, 1974, plaintiff Northwest Airlines and defendant C.F. Sharp & Company, through its
Japan branch, entered into an International Passenger Sales Agency Agreement, whereby the
former authorized the latter to sell its air transportation tickets. Unable to remit the proceeds of
the ticket sales made by defendant on behalf of the plaintiff under the said agreement, plaintiff
on March 25, 1980 sued defendant in Tokyo, Japan, for collection of the unremitted proceeds of
the ticket sales, with claim for damages.
On April 11, 1980, a writ of summons was issued by the 36th Civil Department, Tokyo District
Court of Japan against defendant at its office at the Taiheiyo Building, 3rd floor, 132, Yamashitacho, Naka-ku, Yokohoma, Kanagawa Prefecture. The attempt to serve the summons was
unsuccessful because the bailiff was advised by a person in the office that Mr. Dinozo, the
person believed to be authorized to receive court processes was in Manila and would be back
on April 24, 1980.
On April 24, 1980, bailiff returned to the defendant's office to serve the summons. Mr. Dinozo
refused to accept the same claiming that he was no longer an employee of the defendant.
After the two attempts of service were unsuccessful, the judge of the Tokyo District Court
decided to have the complaint and the writs of summons served at the head office of the
defendant in Manila. On July 11, 1980, the Director of the Tokyo District Court requested the
Supreme Court of Japan to serve the summons through diplomatic channels upon the
defendant's head office in Manila.
On August 28, 1980, defendant received from Deputy Sheriff Rolando Balingit the writ of
summons (p. 276, Records). Despite receipt of the same, defendant failed to appear at the
scheduled hearing. Thus, the Tokyo Court proceeded to hear the plaintiff's complaint and on
[January 29, 1981], rendered judgment ordering the defendant to pay the plaintiff the sum of
83,158,195 Yen and damages for delay at the rate of 6% per annum from August 28, 1980 up
to and until payment is completed (pp. 12-14, Records).
On March 24, 1981, defendant received from Deputy Sheriff Balingit copy of the judgment.
Defendant not having appealed the judgment, the same became final and executory.
Plaintiff was unable to execute the decision in Japan, hence, on May 20, 1983, a suit for
enforcement of the judgment was filed by plaintiff before the Regional Trial Court of Manila
Branch 54. 2
On July 16, 1983, defendant filed its answer averring that the judgment of the Japanese Court
sought to be enforced is null and void and unenforceable in this jurisdiction having been
rendered without due and proper notice to the defendant and/or with collusion or fraud and/or
upon a clear mistake of law and fact (pp. 41-45, Rec.).
Unable to settle the case amicably, the case was tried on the merits. After the plaintiff rested
its case, defendant on April 21, 1989, filed a Motion for Judgment on a Demurrer to Evidence
based on two grounds:
(1) the foreign judgment sought to be enforced is null and void for want of jurisdiction and (2)
the said judgment is contrary to Philippine law and public policy and rendered without due
process of law. Plaintiff filed its opposition after which the court a quo rendered the now
assailed decision dated June 21, 1989 granting the demurrer motion and dismissing the
complaint (Decision, pp. 376-378, Records). In granting the demurrer motion, the trial court
held that:

The foreign judgment in the Japanese Court sought in this action is null and void
for want of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant considering that this is
an action in personam; the Japanese Court did not acquire jurisdiction over the
person of the defendant because jurisprudence requires that the defendant be
served with summons in Japan in order for the Japanese Court to acquire
jurisdiction over it, the process of the Court in Japan sent to the Philippines which
is outside Japanese jurisdiction cannot confer jurisdiction over the defendant in
the case before the Japanese Court of the case at bar.Boudard versus Tait 67
Phil. 170. The plaintiff contends that the Japanese Court acquired jurisdiction
because the defendant is a resident of Japan, having four (4) branches doing
business therein and in fact had a permit from the Japanese government to
conduct business in Japan (citing the exhibits presented by the plaintiff); if this is
so then service of summons should have been made upon the defendant in
Japan in any of these alleged four branches; as admitted by the plaintiff the
service of the summons issued by the Japanese Court was made in the
Philippines thru a Philippine Sheriff. This Court agrees that if the defendant in a
foreign court is a resident in the court of that foreign court such court could
acquire jurisdiction over the person of the defendant but it must be served upon
the defendant in the territorial jurisdiction of the foreign court. Such is not the
case here because the defendant was served with summons in the Philippines
and not in Japan.
Unable to accept the said decision, plaintiff on July 11, 1989 moved for reconsideration of the
decision, filing at the same time a conditional Notice of Appeal, asking the court to treat the
said notice of appeal "as in effect after and upon issuance of the court's denial of the motion
for reconsideration."
Defendant opposed the motion for reconsideration to which a Reply dated August 28, 1989 was
filed by the plaintiff.
On October 16, 1989, the lower court disregarded the Motion for Reconsideration and gave due
course to the plaintiff's Notice of Appeal. 3
In its decision, the Court of Appeals sustained the trial court. It agreed with the latter in its reliance
upon Boudard vs. Tait 4 wherein it was held that "the process of the court has no extraterritorial effect and no
jurisdiction is acquired over the person of the defendant by serving him beyond the boundaries of the state."
To support its position, the Court of Appeals further stated:
In an action strictly in personam, such as the instant case, personal service of summons within
the forum is required for the court to acquire jurisdiction over the defendant (Magdalena Estate
Inc. vs. Nieto, 125 SCRA 230). To confer jurisdiction on the court, personal or substituted
service of summons on the defendant not extraterritorial service is necessary (Dial Corp vs.
Soriano, 161 SCRA 739).
But while plaintiff-appellant concedes that the collection suit filed is an action in personam, it is
its theory that a distinction must be made between an action in personam against a resident
defendant and an action in personam against a non-resident defendant. Jurisdiction is acquired
over a non-resident defendant only if he is served personally within the jurisdiction of the court
and over a resident defendant if by personal, substituted or constructive service conformably
to statutory authorization. Plaintiff-appellant argues that since the defendant-appellee
maintains branches in Japan it is considered a resident defendant. Corollarily, personal,
substituted or constructive service of summons when made in compliance with the procedural
rules is sufficient to give the court jurisdiction to render judgment in personam.

Such an argument does not persuade.


It is a general rule that processes of the court cannot lawfully be served outside the territorial
limits of the jurisdiction of the court from which it issues (Carter vs. Carter; 41 S.E. 2d 532, 201)
and this isregardless of the residence or citizenship of the party thus served (Iowa-Rahr vs.
Rahr, 129 NW 494, 150 Iowa 511, 35 LRC, NS, 292, Am. Case 1912 D680). There must be
actual service within the proper territorial limits on defendant or someone authorized to accept
service for him. Thus, a defendant, whether a resident or not in the forum where the action is
filed, must be served with summons within that forum.
But even assuming a distinction between a resident defendant and non-resident defendant
were to be adopted, such distinction applies only to natural persons and not in the
corporations. This finds support in the concept that "a corporation has no home or residence in
the sense in which those terms are applied to natural persons" (Claude Neon Lights vs. Phil.
Advertising Corp., 57 Phil. 607). Thus, as cited by the defendant-appellee in its brief:
Residence is said to be an attribute of a natural person, and can be predicated on an artificial
being only by more or less imperfect analogy. Strictly speaking, therefore, a corporation can
have no local residence or habitation. It has been said that a corporation is a mere ideal
existence, subsisting only in contemplation of law an invisible being which can have, in fact,
no locality and can occupy no space, and therefore cannot have a dwelling place. (18 Am. Jur.
2d, p. 693 citing Kimmerle v. Topeka, 88 370, 128 p. 367; Wood v. Hartfold F. Ins. Co., 13 Conn
202)
Jurisprudence so holds that the foreign or domestic character of a corporation is to be
determined by the place of its origin where its charter was granted and not by the location of
its business activities (Jennings v. Idaho Rail Light & P. Co., 26 Idaho 703, 146 p. 101), A
corporation is a "resident" and an inhabitant of the state in which it is incorporated and no
other (36 Am. Jur. 2d, p. 49).
Defendant-appellee is a Philippine Corporation duly organized under the Philippine laws.
Clearly, its residence is the Philippines, the place of its incorporation, and not Japan. While
defendant-appellee maintains branches in Japan, this will not make it a resident of Japan. A
corporation does not become a resident of another by engaging in business there even though
licensed by that state and in terms given all the rights and privileges of a domestic corporation
(Galveston H. & S.A.R. Co. vs. Gonzales, 151 US 496, 38 L ed. 248, 4 S Ct. 401).
On this premise, defendant appellee is a non-resident corporation. As such, court processes
must be served upon it at a place within the state in which the action is brought and not
elsewhere (St. Clair vs. Cox, 106 US 350, 27 L ed. 222, 1 S. Ct. 354). 5
It then concluded that the service of summons effected in Manila or beyond the territorial boundaries of Japan
was null and did not confer jurisdiction upon the Tokyo District Court over the person of SHARP; hence, its
decision was void.
Unable to obtain a reconsideration of the decision, NORTHWEST elevated the case to this Court contending
that the respondent court erred in holding that SHARP was not a resident of Japan and that summons on
SHARP could only be validly served within that country.
A foreign judgment is presumed to be valid and binding in the country from which it comes, until the contrary
is shown. It is also proper to presume the regularity of the proceedings and the giving of due notice therein. 6

Under Section 50, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, a judgment in an action in personam of a tribunal of a foreign
country having jurisdiction to pronounce the same is presumptive evidence of a right as between the parties
and their successors-in-interest by a subsequent title. The judgment may, however, be assailed by evidence
of want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact. Also, under
Section 3 of Rule 131, a court, whether of the Philippines or elsewhere, enjoys the presumption that it was
acting in the lawful exercise of jurisdiction and has regularly performed its official duty.
Consequently, the party attacking a foreign judgment has the burden of overcoming the presumption of its
validity. 7Being the party challenging the judgment rendered by the Japanese court, SHARP had the duty to
demonstrate the invalidity of such judgment. In an attempt to discharge that burden, it contends that the
extraterritorial service of summons effected at its home office in the Philippines was not only ineffectual but
also void, and the Japanese Court did not, therefore acquire jurisdiction over it.
It is settled that matters of remedy and procedure such as those relating to the service of process upon a
defendant are governed by the lex fori or the internal law of the forum. 8 In this case, it is the procedural law
of Japan where the judgment was rendered that determines the validity of the extraterritorial service of
process on SHARP. As to what this law is is a question of fact, not of law. It may not be taken judicial notice of
and must be pleaded and proved like any other fact. 9 Sections 24 and 25, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court
provide that it may be evidenced by an official publication or by a duly attested or authenticated copy
thereof. It was then incumbent upon SHARP to present evidence as to what that Japanese procedural law is
and to show that under it, the assailed extraterritorial service is invalid. It did not. Accordingly, the
presumption of validity and regularity of the service of summons and the decision thereafter rendered by the
Japanese court must stand.
Alternatively in the light of the absence of proof regarding Japanese
law, the presumption of identity or similarity or the so-called processual presumption 10 may be invoked.
Applying it, the Japanese law on the matter is presumed to be similar with the Philippine law on service of
summons on a private foreign corporation doing business in the Philippines. Section 14, Rule 14 of the Rules
of Court provides that if the defendant is a foreign corporation doing business in the Philippines, service may
be made: (1) on its resident agent designated in accordance with law for that purpose, or, (2) if there is no
such resident agent, on the government official designated by law to that effect; or (3) on any of its officers
or agents within the Philippines.
If the foreign corporation has designated an agent to receive summons, the designation is exclusive, and
service of summons is without force and gives the court no jurisdiction unless made upon him. 11
Where the corporation has no such agent, service shall be made on the government official designated by
law, to wit: (a) the Insurance Commissioner in the case of a foreign insurance company; (b) the
Superintendent of Banks, in the case of a foreign banking corporation; and (c) the Securities and Exchange
Commission, in the case of other foreign corporations duly licensed to do business in the Philippines.
Whenever service of process is so made, the government office or official served shall transmit by mail a
copy of the summons or other legal proccess to the corporation at its home or principal office. The sending of
such copy is a necessary part of the service. 12
SHARP contends that the laws authorizing service of process upon the Securities and Exchange Commission,
the Superintendent of Banks, and the Insurance Commissioner, as the case may be, presuppose a situation
wherein the foreign corporation doing business in the country no longer has any branches or offices within
the Philippines. Such contention is belied by the pertinent provisions of the said laws. Thus, Section 128 of
the Corporation Code 13 and Section 190 of the Insurance Code 14 clearly contemplate two situations: (1) if
the corporation had left the Philippines or had ceased to transact business therein, and (2) if the corporation
has no designated agent. Section 17 of the General Banking Act 15 does not even speak a corporation which
had ceased to transact business in the Philippines.

Nowhere in its pleadings did SHARP profess to having had a resident agent authorized to receive court
processes in Japan. This silence could only mean, or least create an impression, that it had none. Hence,
service on the designated government official or on any of SHARP's officers or agents in Japan could be
availed of. The respondent, however, insists that only service of any of its officers or employees in its
branches in Japan could be resorted to. We do not agree. As found by the respondent court, two attempts at
service were made at SHARP's Yokohama branch. Both were unsuccessful. On the first attempt, Mr. Dinozo,
who was believed to be the person authorized to accept court process, was in Manila. On the second, Mr.
Dinozo was present, but to accept the summons because, according to him, he was no longer an employee of
SHARP. While it may be true that service could have been made upon any of the officers or agents of SHARP
at its three other branches in Japan, the availability of such a recourse would not preclude service upon the
proper government official, as stated above.
As found by the Court of Appeals, it was the Tokyo District Court which ordered that summons for SHARP be
served at its head office in the Philippine's after the two attempts of service had failed. 16 The Tokyo District
Court requested the Supreme Court of Japan to cause the delivery of the summons and other legal
documents to the Philippines. Acting on that request, the Supreme Court of Japan sent the summons together
with the other legal documents to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan which, in turn, forwarded the same
to the Japanese Embassy in Manila . Thereafter, the court processes were delivered to the Ministry (now
Department) of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, then to the Executive Judge of the Court of First Instance
(now Regional Trial Court) of Manila, who forthwith ordered Deputy Sheriff Rolando Balingit to serve the same
on SHARP at its principal office in Manila. This service is equivalent to service on the proper government
official under Section 14, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court, in relation to Section 128 of the Corporation Code.
Hence, SHARP's contention that such manner of service is not valid under Philippine laws holds no water. 17
In deciding against the petitioner, the respondent court sustained the trial court's reliance on Boudard
vs. Tait 18where this Court held:
The fundamental rule is that jurisdiction in personam over nonresidents, so as to sustain a
money judgment, must be based upon personal service within the state which renders the
judgment.
xxx xxx xxx
The process of a court, has no extraterritorial effect, and no jurisdiction is acquired over the
person of the defendant by serving him beyond the boundaries of the state. Nor has a
judgment of a court of a foreign country against a resident of this country having no property in
such foreign country based on process served here, any effect here against either the
defendant personally or his property situated here.
Process issuing from the courts of one state or country cannot run into another, and although a
nonresident defendant may have been personally served with such process in the state or
country of his domicile, it will not give such jurisdiction as to authorize a personal judgment
against him.
It further availed of the ruling in Magdalena Estate, Inc. vs. Nieto 19 and Dial Corp. vs. Soriano,
the principle laid down by the Iowa Supreme Court in the 1911 case of Raher vs. Raher. 21

20

as well as

The first three cases are, however, inapplicable. Boudard involved the enforcement of a judgment of the civil
division of the Court of First Instance of Hanoi, French Indo-China. The trial court dismissed the case because
the Hanoi court never acquired jurisdiction over the person of the defendant considering that "[t]he, evidence
adduced at the trial conclusively proves that neither the appellee [the defendant] nor his agent or employees
were ever in Hanoi, French Indo-China; and that the deceased Marie Theodore Jerome Boudard had never, at
any time, been his employee." In Magdalena Estate, what was declared invalid resulting in the failure of the
court to acquire jurisdiction over the person of the defendants in an action in personam was the service of

summons through publication against non-appearing resident defendants. It was claimed that the latter
concealed themselves to avoid personal service of summons upon them. In Dial, the defendants were foreign
corporations which were not, domiciled and licensed to engage in business in the Philippines and which did
not have officers or agents, places of business, or properties here. On the other hand, in the instant case,
SHARP was doing business in Japan and was maintaining four branches therein.
Insofar as to the Philippines is concerned, Raher is a thing of the past. In that case, a divided Supreme Court
of Iowa declared that the principle that there can be no jurisdiction in a court of a territory to render a
personal judgment against anyone upon service made outside its limits was applicable alike to cases of
residents and non-residents. The principle was put at rest by the United States Supreme Court when it ruled
in the 1940 case ofMilliken vs. Meyer 22 that domicile in the state is alone sufficient to bring an absent
defendant within the reach of the state's jurisdiction for purposes of a personal judgment by means of
appropriate substituted service or personal service without the state. This principle is embodied in section 18,
Rule 14 of the Rules of Court which allows service of summons on residents temporarily out of the Philippines
to be made out of the country. The rationale for this rule was explained inMilliken as follows:
[T]he authority of a state over one of its citizens is not terminated by the mere fact of his
absence from the state. The state which accords him privileges and affords protection to him
and his property by virtue of his domicile may also exact reciprocal duties. "Enjoyment of the
privileges of residence within the state, and the attendant right to invoke the protection of its
laws, are inseparable" from the various incidences of state citizenship. The responsibilities of
that citizenship arise out of the relationship to the state which domicile creates. That
relationship is not dissolved by mere absence from the state. The attendant duties, like the
rights and privileges incident to domicile, are not dependent on continuous presence in the
state. One such incident of domicile is amenability to suit within the state even during sojourns
without the state, where the state has provided and employed a reasonable method for
apprising such an absent party of the proceedings against him. 23
The domicile of a corporation belongs to the state where it was incorporated. 24 In a strict technical sense,
such domicile as a corporation may have is single in its essence and a corporation can have only one
domicile which is the state of its creation. 25
Nonetheless, a corporation formed in one-state may, for certain purposes, be regarded a resident in another
state in which it has offices and transacts business. This is the rule in our jurisdiction and apropos thereto, it
may be necessery to quote what we stated in State Investment House, Inc, vs. Citibank, N.A., 26 to wit:
The issue is whether these Philippine branches or units may be considered "residents of the
Philippine Islands" as that term is used in Section 20 of the Insolvency Law . . . or residents of
the state under the laws of which they were respectively incorporated. The answer cannot be
found in the Insolvency Law itself, which contains no definition of the term, resident, or any
clear indication of its meaning. There are however other statutes, albeit of subsequent
enactment and effectivity, from which enlightening notions of the term may be derived.
The National Internal Revenue Code declares that the term "'resident foreign corporation'
applies to a foreign corporation engaged in trade or business within the Philippines," as
distinguished from a "'non-resident foreign corporation' . . . (which is one) not engaged in trade
or bussiness within the Philippines." [Sec. 20, pars. (h) and (i)].
The Offshore Banking Law, Presidential Decree No. 1034, states "that branches, subsidiaries,
affiliation, extension offices or any other units of corporation or juridical person organized
under the laws of any foreign country operating in the Philippines shall be considered residents
of the Philippines. [Sec. 1(e)].

The General Banking Act, Republic Act No. 337, places "branches and agencies in the
Philippines of foreign banks . . . (which are) called Philippine branches," in the same category
as "commercial banks, savings associations, mortgage banks, development banks, rural banks,
stock savings and loan associations" (which have been formed and organized under Philippine
laws), making no distinction between the former and the latter in so far as the terms "banking
institutions" and "bank" are used in the Act [Sec. 2], declaring on the contrary that in "all
matters not specifically covered by special provisions applicable only to foreign banks, or their
branches and agencies in the Philippines, said foreign banks or their branches and agencies
lawfully doing business in the Philippines "shall be bound by all laws, rules, and regulations
applicable to domestic banking corporations of the same class, except such laws, rules and
regulations as provided for the creation, formation, organization, or dissolution of corporations
or as fix the relation, liabilities, responsibilities, or duties of members, stockholders or officers
of corporation. [Sec. 18].
This court itself has already had occasion to hold [Claude Neon Lights, Fed. Inc. vs. Philippine
Advertising Corp., 57 Phil. 607] that a foreign corporation licitly doing business in the
Philippines, which is a defendant in a civil suit, may not be considered a non-resident within the
scope of the legal provision authorizing attachment against a defendant not residing in the
Philippine Islands; [Sec. 424, in relation to Sec. 412 of Act No. 190, the Code of Civil Procedure;
Sec. 1(f), Rule 59 of the Rules of 1940, Sec. 1(f), Rule 57, Rules of 1964] in other words, a
preliminary attachment may not be applied for and granted solely on the asserted fact that the
defendant is a foreign corporation authorized to do business in the Philippines and is
consequently and necessarily, "a party who resides out of the Philippines." Parenthetically, if it
may not be considered as a party not residing in the Philippines, or as a party who resides out
of the country, then, logically, it must be considered a party who does reside in the Philippines,
who is a resident of the country. Be this as it may, this Court pointed out that:
. . . Our laws and jurisprudence indicate a purpose to assimilate foreign
corporations, duly licensed to do business here, to the status of domestic
corporations. (Cf. Section 73, Act No. 1459, and Marshall Wells Co. vs. Henry W.
Elser & Co., 46 Phil. 70, 76; Yu Cong Eng vs. Trinidad, 47 Phil. 385, 411) We think
it would be entirely out of line with this policy should we make a discrimination
against a foreign corporation, like the petitioner, and subject its property to the
harsh writ of seizure by attachment when it has complied not only with every
requirement of law made specially of foreign corporations, but in addition with
every requirement of law made of domestic corporations. . . .
Obviously, the assimilation of foreign corporations authorized to do business in the Philippines
"to the status of domestic corporations, subsumes their being found and operating as
corporations, hence,residing, in the country.
The same principle is recognized in American law: that the residence of a corporation, if it can
be said to have a residence, is necessarily where it exercises corporate functions . . .;" that it is
considered as dwelling "in the place where its business is done . . .," as being "located where
its franchises are exercised . . .," and as being "present where it is engaged in the prosecution
of the corporate enterprise;" that a "foreign corporation licensed to do business in a state is a
resident of any country where it maintains an office or agent for transaction of its usual and
customary business for venue purposes;" and that the "necessary element in its signification is
locality of existence." [Words and Phrases, Permanent Ed., vol. 37, pp. 394, 412, 493].
In as much as SHARP was admittedly doing business in Japan through its four duly registered branches at the
time the collection suit against it was filed, then in the light of the processual presumption, SHARP may be
deemed a resident of Japan, and, as such, was amenable to the jurisdiction of the courts therein and may be
deemed to have assented to the said courts' lawful methods of serving process. 27

Accordingly, the extraterritorial service of summons on it by the Japanese Court was valid not only under the
processual presumption but also because of the presumption of regularity of performance of official duty.
We find NORTHWEST's claim for attorney's fees, litigation expenses, and exemplary damages to be without
merit. We find no evidence that would justify an award for attorney's fees and litigation expenses under
Article 2208 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. Nor is an award for exemplary damages warranted. Under
Article 2234 of the Civil Code, before the court may consider the question of whether or not exemplary
damages should be awarded, the plaintiff must show that he is entitled to moral, temperate, or compensatory
damaged. There being no such proof presented by NORTHWEST, no exemplary damages may be adjudged in
its favor.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is partly GRANTED, and the challenged decision is AFFIRMED insofar as it
denied NORTHWEST's claims for attorneys fees, litigation expenses, and exemplary damages but REVERSED
insofar as in sustained the trial court's dismissal of NORTHWEST's complaint in Civil Case No. 83-17637 of
Branch 54 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, and another in its stead is hereby rendered ORDERING private
respondent C.F. SHARP L COMPANY, INC. to pay to NORTHWEST the amounts adjudged in the foreign
judgment subject of said case, with interest thereon at the legal rate from the filing of the complaint therein
until the said foreign judgment is fully satisfied.
Costs against the private respondent.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-26053

February 21, 1967

CITY OF MANILA, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
GERARDO GARCIA CARMENCITA VILLANUEVA, MODESTA PARAYNO NARCISO PARAYNO, JUAN
ASPERAS, MARIA TABIA SIMEON DILIMAN, AQUILINO BARRIOS LEONORA RUIZ, LAUREANO
DIZO, BERNABE AYUDA LEOGARDA DE LOS SANTOS, ISABELO OBAOB ANDREA RIPARIP, JOSE
BARRIENTOS, URBANO RAMOS,1 ELENA RAMOS, ESTEFANIA NEPACINA, MODESTA SANCHEZ,
MARCIAL LAZARO, MARCIANA ALANO, HONORIO BERIO SEDORA ORAYLE, GLORIA VELASCO,
WILARICO RICAMATA, BENEDICTO DIAZ, ANA DEQUIZ (MRS.) ALUNAN, LORENZO CARANDANG,
JUAN PECAYO, FELICIDAD MIRANDA EMIGDIO EGIPTO, defendants-appellants.
Mauricio Z. Alunan for defendants-appellants.
City Fiscal's Office for plaintiff-appellee.
SANCHEZ, J.:
Plaintiff City of Manila is owner of parcels of land, forming one compact area, bordering Kansas, Vermont and
Singalong streets in Malate, Manila, and covered by Torrens Titles Nos. 49763, 37082 and 37558. Shortly after
liberation from 1945 to 1947, defendants entered upon these premises without plaintiff's knowledge and
consent. They built houses of second-class materials, again without plaintiff's knowledge and consent, and
without the necessary building permits from the city. There they lived thru the years to the present.
In November, 1947, the presence of defendants having previously been discovered, defendants Felicidad
Miranda (Emigdio Egipto), Modesta C. Parayno, Benedicto Diaz, Laureano Dizo, Jose Barrientos, Elena Ramos,
Estefania Nepacina, Modesta Sanchez, Honorio Berio, Gloria Velasco, Ana Dequis Alunan and Benedicto
Ofiaza (predecessor of defendant Carandang) were given by Mayor Valeriano E. Fugoso written permits
each labeled "lease contract" to occupy specific areas in the property upon conditions therein set forth.
Defendants Isabelo Obaob and Gerardo Garcia (in the name of Marta A. Villanueva) received their permits
from Mayor Manuel de la Fuente on January 29 and March 18, respectively, both of 1948. The rest of the 23
defendants exhibited none.

For their occupancy, defendants were charged nominal rentals.1wph1.t


Following are the rentals due as of February, 1962:

NAME

Area
in sq.m.

Monthly
Rental

Amt. due from


date of delinquency
to Feb. 1962

1. Gerardo Garcia

66.00

P7.92

P1,628.97

2. Modesta C. Parayno

87.75

10.53

379.08

3. Juan Asperas

39.00

4.68

9.36

4. Maria Tabia

35.20

5.76

570.24

5. Aquilino Barrios
(Leonora Ruiz)

54.00

4.32

99.36

6. Laureano Dizo

35.00

2.80

22.40

7. Bernabe Ayuda

39.60

3.17

323.34

8. Isabelo Obaob

75.52

9.06

208.38

9. Jose Barrientos

39.53

4.74

744.18

10. Cecilia Manzano in


lieu of Urbano Ramos (deceased)

46.65

5.60

Paid up to
Feb. 1962.

11. Elena Ramos

34.80

2.78

186.26

12. Estefania Nepacina

41.80

3.34

504.34

13. Modesta Sanchez

33.48

2.68

444.88

14. Marcial Lazaro

22.40

1.79

688.32

15. Marciana Alano

25.80

2.06

255.44

16. Honorio Berio

24.00

1.92

188.16

17. Gloria Velasco

32.40

2.59

56.98

18. Wilarico Ricamata

45.83

3.67

739.68

19. Benedicto Diaz

40.20

4.82

Paid up to
March 1962.

20. Ana Dequis Alunan

64.26

7.71

30.84

21. Lorenzo Carandang

45.03

5.40

437.40

22. Juan N. Pecayo

25.52

3.06

30.60

23. Felicidad Miranda

48.02

5.76

132.48
P7,580.69

Epifanio de los Santos Elementary School is close, though not contiguous, to the property. Came the need for
this school's expansion; it became pressing. On September 14, 1961, plaintiff's City Engineer, pursuant to the
Mayor's directive to clear squatters' houses on city property, gave each of defendants thirty (30) days to
vacate and remove his construction or improvement on the premises. This was followed by the City
Treasurer's demand on each defendant, made in February and March, 1962, for the payment of the amount
due by reason of the occupancy and to vacate in fifteen (15) days. Defendants refused. Hence, this suit to
recover possession.2

The judgment below directed defendants to vacate the premises; to pay the amounts heretofore indicated
opposite their respective names; and to pay their monthly rentals from March, 1962, until they vacate the
said premises, and the costs. Defendants appealed.
1. We are called upon to rule on the forefront question of whether the trial court properly found that
the city needs the premises for school purposes.
The city's evidence on this point is Exhibit E, the certification of the Chairman, Committee on
Appropriations of the Municipal Board. That document recites that the amount of P100,000.00 had
been set aside in Ordinance 4566, the 1962-1963 Manila City Budget, for the construction of an
additional building of the Epifanio de los Santos Elementary School. It is indeed correct to say that the
court below, at the hearing, ruled out the admissibility of said document. But then, in the decision
under review, the trial judge obviously revised his views. He there declared that there was need for
defendants to vacate the premises for school expansion; he cited the very document, Exhibit E,
aforesaid.
It is beyond debate that a court of justice may alter its ruling while the case is within its power, to
make it conformable to law and justice.3 Such was done here. Defendants' remedy was to bring to the
attention of the court its contradictory stance. Not having done so, this Court will not reopen the case
solely for this purpose.4
Anyway, elimination of the certification, Exhibit E, as evidence, would not profit defendants. For, in
reversing his stand, the trial judge could well have taken because the was duty bound to take
judicial notice5 of Ordinance 4566. The reason being that the city charter of Manila requires all courts
sitting therein to take judicial notice of all ordinances passed by the municipal board of Manila. 6 And,
Ordinance 4566 itself confirms the certification aforesaid that an appropriation of P100,000.00 was set
aside for the "construction of additional building" of the Epifanio de los Santos Elementary School.
Furthermore, defendants' position is vulnerable to assault from a third direction. Defendants have
absolutely no right to remain in the premises. The excuse that they have permits from the mayor is at
best flimsy. The permits to occupy are recoverable on thirty days' notice. They have been asked to
leave; they refused to heed. It is in this factual background that we say that the city's need for the
premises is unimportant. The city's right to throw defendants out of the area cannot be gainsaid. The
city's dominical right to possession is paramount. If error there was in the finding that the city needs
the land, such error is harmless and will not justify reversal of the judgment below. 7
2. But defendants insist that they have acquired the legal status of tenants. They are wrong.
They entered the land, built houses of second-class materials thereon without the knowledge and
consent of the city. Their homes were erected without city permits.
These constructions are illegal. In a language familiar to all, defendants are squatters:
Since the last global war, squatting on another's property in this country has become a widespread
vice. It was and is a blight. Squatters' areas pose problems of health, sanitation. They are breeding
places for crime. They constitute proof that respect for the law and the rights of others, even those of
the government, are being flouted. Knowingly, squatters have embarked on the pernicious act of
occupying property whenever and wherever convenient to their interests without as much as leave,
and even against the will, of the owner. They are emboldened seemingly because of their belief that
they could violate the law with impunity. The pugnaciousness of some of them has tied up the hands
of legitimate owners. The latter are thus prevented from recovering possession by peaceful means.
Government lands have not been spared by them. They know, of course, that intrusion into property,
government or private, is wrong. But, then, the mills of justice grind slow, mainly because of lawyers
who, by means, fair or foul, are quite often successful in procuring delay of the day of reckoning.
Rampancy of forcible entry into government lands particularly, is abetted by the apathy of some
public officials to enforce the government's rights. Obstinacy of these squatters is difficult to explain
unless it is spawned by official tolerance, if not outright encouragement or protection. Said squatters
have become insensible to the difference between right and wrong. To them, violation of law means
nothing. With the result that squatting still exists, much to the detriment of public interest. It is high

time that, in this aspect, sanity and the rule of law be restored. It is in this environment that we look
into the validity of the permits granted defendants herein.
These permits, erroneously labeled "lease" contracts, were issued by the mayors in 1947 and 1948
when the effects of the war had simmered down and when these defendants could have very well
adjusted themselves. Two decades have now elapsed since the unlawful entry. Defendants could have,
if they wanted to, located permanent premises for their abode. And yet, usurpers that they are, they
preferred to remain on city property.
Defendants' entry as aforesaid was illegal. Their constructions are as illegal, without permits. 8 The city
charter enjoins the mayor to "safeguard all the lands" of the City of Manila. 9
Surely enough, the permits granted did not "safeguard" the city's land in question. It is our considered
view that the Mayor of the City of Manila cannot legalize forcible entry into public property by the
simple expedient of giving permits, or, for that matter, executing leases.
Squatting is unlawful and no amount of acquiescence on the part of the city officials will elevate it into
a lawful act. In principle, a compound of illegal entry and official permit to stay is obnoxious to our
concept of proper official norm of conduct. Because, such permit does not serve social justice; it
fosters moral decadence. It does not promote public welfare; it abets disrespect for the law. It has its
roots in vice; so it is an infected bargain. Official approval of squatting should not, therefore, be
permitted to obtain in this country where there is an orderly form of government.
We, accordingly, rule that the Manila mayors did not have authority to give permits, written or oral, to
defendants, and that the permits herein granted are null and void.
3. Let us look into the houses and constructions planted by defendants on the premises. They clearly
hinder and impair the use of that property for school purposes. The courts may well take judicial
notice of the fact that housing school children in the elementary grades has been and still is a
perennial problem in the city. The selfish interests of defendants must have to yield to the general
good. The public purpose of constructing the school building annex is paramount. 10
In the situation thus obtaining, the houses and constructions aforesaid constitute public nuisance per
se. And this, for the reason that they hinder and impair the use of the property for a badly needed
school building, to the prejudice of the education of the youth of the land. 11 They shackle the hands of
the government and thus obstruct performance of its constitutionally ordained obligation to establish
and maintain a complete and adequate system of public education, and more, to "provide at least free
public primary instruction".12
Reason dictates that no further delay should be countenanced. The public nuisance could well have
been summarily abated by the city authorities themselves, even without the aid of the courts.13
4. Defendants challenge the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance of Manila. They say that the case
should have been started in the municipal court. They prop up their position by the averment that
notice for them to vacate was only served in September, 1961, and suit was started in July, 1962.
Their legal ground is Section 1, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court. We have reached the conclusion that
their forcible entry dates back to the period from 1945 to 1947. That entry was not legalized by the
permits. Their possession continued to remain illegal from incipiency. Suit was filed long after the oneyear limitation set forth in Section 1 of Rule 70. And the Manila Court of First Instance has
jurisdiction.14
Upon the premises, we vote to affirm the judgment under review. Costs against defendants-appellants. So
ordered.

[G.R. No. L-18247. August 31, 1963.]


FLORENTINO GALLEGO, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND THE COURT OF
APPEALS, Respondents.

K. V. Faylona for Petitioner.


Solicitor General for Respondents.
SYLLABUS
1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; RIGHTS TO FREE SPEECH AND ASSEMBLY; POWER OF STATE TO REGULATE UNDER
THE POLICE POWER. The rights to freedom of speech and to peaceably assemble and petition the
government for redress of grievances are fundamental personal rights of the people recognized and
guaranteed by the constitutions of democratic countries. But the exercise of these rights is not absolute for it
may be so regulated that it shall not be injurious to the equal enjoyment of others having equal rights, nor
injurious to the rights of the community or society, and such power to regulate is termed the sovereign
"police power," which may in turn be delegated to political subdivisions, like municipalities and cities, which
may enact ordinances for the purpose.
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; MUNICIPAL ORDINANCES; JUDICIAL NOTICE BY COURT OF APPEALS. There is nothing in the
law that prohibits a court, like the Court of Appeals, from taking cognizance of a municipal ordinance. On the
contrary, Section 5 of Rule 123 of the Rules of Court enjoins courts to take judicial notice of matters which are
capable of unquestionable demonstration.
3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; JUDICIAL NOTICE BY COURTS OF FIRST INSTANCE. Court of First Instance should take
judicial notice of municipal ordinances within their respective jurisdictions.
4. CRIMINAL LAW; SLIGHT DISOBEDIENCE OF AN AGENT OF A PERSON IN AUTHORITY. Facts: In the morning
of March 10, 1957, appellant and his companions were about to hold a meeting of the Jehovahs Witnesses in
front of the public market of Lambunao, Iloilo. The Chief of Police, Avelino Larrosa, approached appellant and
inquired of him whether he had permit to hold said meeting. As appellant could not produce any, the chief of
police enjoined him from so proceeding with the meeting but instead of desisting in obedience to the chief of
polices intimation, appellant, in a challenging vein, addressed his followers, "You must continue that, we will
see what they (referring to the chief of police and his policemen) can do for us." Whereupon, the chief of
police warned appellant if he continued with the meeting, he was to place him under arrest. However,
appellant, disregarding the warning, continued the meeting for at least 30 minutes more whereupon, he
was arrested and charged accordingly. Held: Appellant is guilty of slight disobedience of an agent of a person
in authority.
5. ID.; ID.; ID.; DISOBEDIENCE NOT JUSTIFIED UNLESS ILLEGALITY OF ORDER IS CLEARLY MANIFEST.
Although petitioner may have legitimate reason to protest the order of the chief of police, he was not justified
in disobeying him and in assuming a bellicose attitude by exhorting his followers to proceed with their
meeting, as in fact the latter did. As Justice Malcolm once said, "To authorize resistance (also disobedience) to
the agents of the authority, the illegality of the invasion must be manifested. Here, there was possibly a
proper case for protest. (But,) there was no case of excessive violence to enforce defendants idea of a
debatable legal question." (People v. Veloso, 48 Phil. 169).
DECISION
REGALA, J.:
Petitioner was sentenced by the Court of First Instance of Iloilo to pay a fine of P10 and the costs and, in case
of insolvency, to suffer subsidiary imprisonment, following his conviction of slight disobedience of an agent of
a person in authority. He appealed to the Court of Appeals which affirmed his sentence. He now appeals to
this Court.
The Court of Appeals found the facts as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
". . . That in the morning of March 10, 1957, appellant and his companions were about to hold a meeting of

the Jehovahs Witnesses in front of the Public market of Lambunao, Iloilo. The chief of police, Avelino Larrosa,
approached appellant and inquired of him whether he had a permit to hold said meeting. As appellant could
not produce any, the chief of police enjoined him from so proceeding with the meeting but instead of
desisting in obedience to the chief of polices intimation, appellant, in a challenging vein, addressed his
followers, You must continue that, we will see what they (referring to the chief of police and his policeman)
can do for us.
"Whereupon the chief of police warned appellant if he continued with the meeting, he was to place him under
arrest. However, appellant, disregarding the warning, continued the meeting for at least 30 minutes more
whereupon, he was arrested and charged accordingly."cralaw virtua1aw library
In holding petitioner guilty of slight disobedience, the Court of Appeals stated:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"That there was disobedience on appellants part is self-evident from his immediate reaction to the chief of
police warning for him to discontinue the meeting his exhorting his followers to continue the meeting as
they were prepared to see what can the police do for them. And these words were followed by the overt act
of continuing the meeting for at least 30 minutes as sufficiently established by the evidence. And it appears
that, contrary to appellants contention, there was an existing municipal ordinance at the time (Ordinance No.
2, Series of 1957) providing for a previous permit for the holding of religious meeting in public places."cralaw
virtua1aw library
Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code provides:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"The penalty of arresto mayor and a fine not exceeding 500 pesos shall be imposed upon any person who not
being included in the provisions of the preceding articles shall resist or seriously disobey any person in
authority or the agents of such person, while engaged in the performance of official duties.
"When the disobedience to an agent of a person in authority is not of serious nature the penalty of arresto
menor or a fine ranging from 10 to 100 pesos shall be imposed."cralaw virtua1aw library
There is no question here that petitioners, in defiance of the order of the chief of police, held a meeting of his
religious sect. He contends, however, that he cannot be convicted of slight disobedience because, according
to him, there is no proof of the existence of an ordinance in force on March 10, 1957, requiring a permit for
the holding of a meeting. For this purpose, petitioner assails the Court of Appeals for taking judicial notice of
Ordinance No. 2, series of 1957 of Lambunao, Iloilo, when the trial court itself allegedly did not take
cognizance of the ordinance.
There is no merit in the defense. There is nothing in the law that prohibits a court, like the Court of Appeals,
from taking cognizance of a municipal ordinance. On the contrary, Section 5 of Rule 123 of the Rules of Court
enjoins courts to take judicial notice of matters which are capable of unquestionable demonstration. This is
exactly what the Court of Appeals did in this case in holding that "contrary to appellants (petitioners)
contention, there was an existing municipal ordinance at the time (Ordinance No. 2, Series of 1957) providing
for a previous permit for the holding of religious meeting in public places."cralaw virtua1aw library
Besides, it is not true, as claimed by petitioner, that the trial court did not take notice of the ordinance in
question. For the lower court mentioned petitioners "failure to secure the necessary permit" with obvious
reference to Ordinance No. 2, Series of 1957. In People v. Gebune, 87 Phil. 727, We held that courts of first
instance should take judicial notice of municipal ordinances within their respective jurisdictions. It must be in
compliance with this ruling that the trial court took notice of Ordinance No. 2, Series of 1957 of the
Municipality of Lambunao.
It is also contended that the order of the chief of police was illegal and, therefore, not entitled to obedience
because the ordinance applies only to meetings held in places where the traffic is heavy. Here, it is claimed
there is no proof that the traffic where the meeting was held was heavy. Petitioner adds that he was given a
permit by the mayor although at the time he could not produce it because it was given orally.
It should not be lost of sight that this is a prosecution for slight disobedience, not for violation of the
ordinance. Although petitioner may have legitimate reason to protest the order of the chief of people, he was
not justified in disobeying him and in assuming a bellicose attitude by exhorting his followers to proceed with
their meeting, as in fact the latter did. As Justice Malcolm once said, "To authorize resistance (also
disobedience) to the agents of the authority, the illegality of the invasion must be clearly manifested. Here,
there was possibly a proper case for protest. (But,) there was no case of excessive violence to enforce

defendants idea of a debatable legal question." (People v. Veloso, 48 Phil. 169)


Lastly, petitioner invokes the constitutional guaranty of free assembly to justify his act. The rights to freedom
of speech and to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances are fundamental
personal rights of the people recognized and guaranteed by the constitutions of democratic countries. But it
is a settled principle growing out of the nature of well-ordered civil societies that the exercise of these rights
is not absolute for it may be so regulated that it shall not be injurious to the equal enjoyment of others having
equal rights, nor injurious to the rights of the community or society. The power to regulate the exercise of
such and other constitutional rights is termed the sovereign "police power," which is the power to prescribe
regulations to promote the health, morals, peace, education, good order of safety and the general welfare of
the people. This power is exercised by the government through its legislative branch by the enactment of
laws regulating those and other constitutional and civil rights and it may be delegated to political
subdivisions, such as municipalities and cities, by authorizing their legislative bodies called municipal and city
councils to enact ordinances for the purpose. (Primicias v. Fugoso, 80 Phil. 71)
The ordinance in this case is a reasonable regulation of the use of public streets. There is no claim that it
gives the authorities arbitrary power to grant or deny permit; in fact there is no claim that petitioner was
arbitrarily denied a permit.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is affirmed, costs against the petitioner.

[G.R. No. 119288. August 18, 1997]


REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS, petitioner, vs. HON.
COURT OF APPEALS and JOSEFA GACOT, respondents.
RESOLUTION
VITUG, J.:
The Republic of the Philippines, represented by the Director of Lands, prays in the instant petition for
review on certiorari for the annulment of the decision, dated 22 February 1995, of the Court of Appeals
affirming the 12th August 1993 judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Palawan (Branch 50-Puerto Princesa)
which has adjudicated Lot No. 5367 in Cadastral Case No. 13, GLRO Cadastral Record No. 1133, to herein
private respondent, now deceased Josefa Gacot, the claimant in the cadastral case.
The antecedents are amply summarized in the appealed decision of the Court of Appeals, viz:
"The entire lot 5367 is being claimed by Josefa Gacot as per answer she filed on June 7, 1971. It appears from
the record that the lot is located in Barangay Los Angeles, Magsaysay, Palawan but the area was not
indicated. It also appeared that Ceferino Sabenacio is her co-owner.
This case was set for hearing on August 9, 1990 and the petitioner was represented by Assistant Provincial
Prosecutor Reynaldo Guayco and Rogelio Paglinawan, Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer
(CENRO) of Puerto Princesa City while the claimant appeared without counsel. In view thereof, the hearing
was reset to August 13, 1990.Before the scheduled hearing on August 13, 1990, the Court received a report
from the Land Registration Authority calling the Court's attention of the decision rendered by Judge Lorenzo
Garlitos on October 20, 1950 declaring this lot as property of the Republic of the Philippines. Despite this
declaration however, the petitioner nor the government did not bar the claimant from filing her answer,
possessing and occupying the lot and in fact accepted her tax payments and issuing her tax declaration on
the same.
The claimant presented herself as witness as well as her son, Vicente Dantic, Jr. The witnesses testified that
Josefa Gacot was married to Vicente Dantic, Sr. in 1940 and were in actual possession of the property for

more than 30 years, having bought the same from Cipriana Dantic-Llanera as per deed of sale dated April 22,
1955 in Cuyono dialect (Exhibit `1 and 1-A). Since she acquired the property from Cipriana Llanera, she
continued her occupation and introduced improvements thereon as well as declared Lot 5367 for taxation
purposes in her name (Exhibit 2) and paid the corresponding taxes thereon up to the present time (Exhibit
3). That claimant is now a widow and has 5 children namely, Hernando Dantic, Antero Dantic, Felipe Dantic,
Fe Dantic and Vicente Dantic, Jr.
Cipriano Sabenacio, the alleged co-owner of claimant Josefa Gacot appeared in Court and manifested that he
is waiving his claim over Lot 5367 in favor of Josefa Gacot who is in actual possession of the property as he is
only a boundary owner.
After the presentation of claimant and her son, they offered their exhibits and rested their case. Thereafter,
the petitioner thru counsel manifested that it is not presenting controverting evidence and is submitting the
case for resolution.[1]
On 05 September 1990, the trial court rendered judgment adjudicating Lot No. 5367 to Josefa Gacot, thus
"WHEREFORE, this Court finds the claim of Josefa Gacot Dantic to be in order. Accordingly, Lot 5367 is hereby
adjudicated to Josefa Gacot-Dantic, widow and a resident of Barangay Los Angeles, Magsaysay, Palawan with
all the improvements thereon, subject to the estate tax as provided by law."
"SO ORDERED."[2]
The Republic, through the Solicitor General, elevated the case to the Court of Appeals.
During the pendency of the appeal, the Office of the Solicitor General was able to verify that Lot 5367
was earlier declared to be the property of the Republic in a decision rendered by Judge Lorenzo Garlitos on 20
October 1950 following an order of general default. The Solicitor General thus filed a motion with the
appellate court to have the case reopened and remanded to the court a quo to allow the Republic of the
Philippines to present the decision of Judge Garlitos. In its resolution, dated 26 December 1991, the Court of
Appeals granted the motion.
What transpired thereafter was narrated by the trial court in its 12th August 1993 decision; viz:
This case was set for hearing several times for the government to present its evidence and for the parties to
submit their respective memorandum in support of their respective stand on the matter. The claimant
submitted her memorandum while the government represented by the Assistant Provincial Prosecutor
assigned to this sala has not presented any witness to support the governments claim, neither has he
submitted any memorandum to support the governments stand on this matter.
With the foregoing development, the Court is of the opinion that the subsequent application or claim of Josefa
Gacot-Dantic on Lot 5367 which became part of the public domain where her occupation thereto having been
open to the whole world, public and notorious in the concept of an owner since 38 years ago was well taken
and therefore entitled to the lawful adjudication of Lot 5367 in her name. Besides, the government
represented by the Assistant Provincial Prosecutor and the Community Environment and Natural Resources
Officer (CENRO) for Puerto Princesa City and Cuyo, Palawan have not made any protest nor interposed any
objection on the claim of Josefa Gacot during the hearings. Neither was there a manifestation of protest or
claim of government use coming from the municipal officials of Magsaysay, Palawan despite notice sent to
them of the cadastral hearing. And the sad part was that the government had accepted without any protest
all the taxes due the property paid by the claimant religiously. This is not to say that this order has been
considered in the previous decision of this Court which is hereunder quoted as follows:

xxxxxxxxx
With this finding of the Court, it is its considered opinion and so holds, that there is no reason to disturb its
previous decision aforequoted."[3]
An appeal was taken by the Republic from the decision of the trial court. In its now assailed decision of 22
February 1995, the Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the judgment of the trial court. The appellate court
ratiocinated:
In its brief, the Office of the Solicitor General claims that `records of the re-hearing show that on October 20,
1950, an order was, indeed, issued by Judge Lorenzo C. Garlitos of the Court of First Instance of Palawan, 7th
Judicial District, declaring that Lot No. 5367 was among lots declared as property of the Republic of the
Philippines. (p. 3, Appellants Brief; p. 19, Rec.) It now invokes Republic Act No. 931, approved on June 30,
1953 and Republic Act No. 2061, which took effect on June 30, 1958, both laws setting the time limits for the
filing of applications, among other things, for the reopening of judicial proceedings on certain lands which
were declared public land. Under R.A. 2061, the time for filing an application shall not extend beyond
December 31, 1968. Thus, petitioner-appellant argues that since claimant-appellee Josefa Gacot filed her
answer only on 07 June 1971, the court a quo did not acquire jurisdiction over the instant claim since she did
not file her answer within the period fixed by R.A. No. 2061.
This would be true, if the Order dated 20 October 1950 of Judge Lorenzo Garlitos declaring Lot No. 5367 as
property of the Republic of the Philippines, was presented as evidence in the rehearing of this
case. Unfortunately, the Republic of the Philippines failed to offer as its exhibit the said order. There is no
basis for the appellant, therefore, to invoke R.A. 2061, to support its claim that claimant-appellee Josefa
Gacot filed her answer beyond the period fixed by said law and therefore the court a quo did not acquire
jurisdiction over the case.
Precisely, the purpose of the rehearing was to enable the Republic of the Philippines, thru the Office of the
Solicitor General, to present in evidence the said order. The Solicitor General, in its Motion dated 21 May
1991, prayed that with regards to Lot No. 5367 `the proceedings therein be ordered reopened and the same
be remanded to the court a quo to enable the Republic of the Philippines to present the judgment dated
October 20, 1950 of Judge Lorenzo Garlitos declaring Lot No. 5367 as government property. (pp. 30-31, Rollo)
[Underlines Ours]
This Court granted the motion and ordered the records of the case remanded to the court a quo for further
proceedings to enable the government to present in evidence the judgment dated October 20, 1950,
declaring Lot No. 5367 as government property x x x. (p. 42, Rollo) [Underlines Ours]
During the rehearing, however, the Government failed to present the said order of Judge Garlitos in
evidence. Thus, the court a quo said in its appealed decision:
This case was set for hearing several times for the government to present its evidence and for the
parties to submit their respective memoranda in support of their respective stand on the matter. The
claimant submitted her memorandum while the government represented by the Assistant Provincial
Prosecutor has not presented any witness to present the governments claim neither has he
submitted any memorandum to support the governments stand on this matter. (see p. 92, Rollo)
[Underlines Ours]
It is the rule that `The court shall consider no evidence which has not been formally offered. (Rule 132, Sec.
34) It is true that the Order of 20 October 1950 has been appended to the records of this case (see p. 19,
Rec.). But it is misleading on the part of the Solicitor General to state that `Records of the rehearing show
that on October 20, 1950, an order was, indeed, issued by Judge Lorenzo C. Garlitos x x x. For, during the

rehearing, as reflected in the appealed decision, the government did not present any evidence nor any
memorandum despite having been ordered by the court a quo.
Neither can We take judicial notice of the Order of Judge Garlitos. As a general rule, courts are not authorized
to take judicial knowledge of the contents of the record of other cases, in the adjudication of cases pending
before them, even though the trial judge in fact knows or remembers the contents thereof, or even when said
other cases have been heard or are pending in the same court and notwithstanding the fact that both cases
may have been heard or are really pending before the same judge. (Municipal Council vs. Colegio de San
Jose, et al., G.R. No. L-45460; 31 C.J.S. 623-624; cited in p. 25, Evidence, Second Ed.; R.J. Francisco) Indeed,
the Government missed its opportunity to have the claim of Josefa Gacot, the herein appellee, declared as a
nullity, considering that no evidence was presented by it in opposition thereto. [4]
In the instant petition, the Republic, assigning a sole error, contends that THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS (HAS) ERRED IN RULING THAT THERE IS NO BASIS FOR PETITIONER TO
INVOKE R.A. No. 2061 TO SUPPORT ITS CLAIM THAT JOSEFA GACOT FILED HER ANSWER BEYOND THE PERIOD
FIXED BY THE SAID LAW AND THEREFORE THE TRIAL COURT DID NOT ACQUIRE JURISDICTION OVER THE
CASE, SINCE IT (HAS) FAILED TO OFFER AS ITS EXHIBIT THE ORDER, DATED OCTOBER 20, 1950 OF JUDGE
LORENZO GARLITOS.[5]
The Solicitor General explains that the records of the reopened case would show that a certified copy of
the decision, dated 20 October 1950, of Judge Garlitos has been appended to page 19 thereof. It is not
evident, however, why the Assistant Provincial Prosecutor and the Community Environment and Natural
Resources Officer ("CENRO") for Puerto Princesa, representing the government during the rehearing, did not
present it. The Solicitor General, nevertheless, invokes the rule that the Republic is not estopped by the
mistake or error on the part of its officials or agents.
In the meantime, Josefa Gacot passed away. The Solicitor General thereupon moved that the heirs of
Josefa Gacot be impleaded party respondents in substitution for the deceased. The motion was granted, and
the heirs were directed to comment on the governments petition.
To this day, private respondents have not submitted their comment. The Court, however, cannot allow
the case to remain pending and unresolved indefinitely. It must now dispense, as it hereby dispenses, with
such comment in order not to unduly delay the remand of the case to the trial court for further proceedings.
Let it initially be said that, indeed, the Court realizes the points observed by the appellate court over
which there should be no quarrel. Firstly, that the rules of procedure [6] and jurisprudence,[7] do not sanction
the grant of evidentiary value,[8] in ordinary trials,[9] of evidence which is not formally offered, and secondly,
that adjective law is not to be taken lightly for, without it, the enforcement of substantive law may not remain
assured. The Court must add, nevertheless, that technical rules of procedure are not ends in themselves but
primarily devised and designed to help in the proper and expedient dispensation of justice. In appropriate
cases, therefore, the rules may have to be so construed [10] liberally as to meet and advance the cause of
substantial justice.
Furthermore, Section 1, Rule 129, of the Rules of Court provides:
SECTION 1. Judicial notice, when mandatory. - A court shall take judicial notice, without the introduction of
evidence, of the existence and territorial extent of states, their political history, forms of government and
symbols of nationality, the law of nations, the admiralty and maritime courts of the world and their seals, the
political constitution and history of the Philippines, the official acts of the legislative, executive
and judicial departments of the Philippines, the laws of nature, the measure of time, and the geographical
divisions.

Mr. Justice Edgardo L. Paras[11] opined:


A court will take judicial notice of its own acts and records in the same case, of facts established in prior
proceedings in the same case, of the authenticity of its own records of another case between the same
parties, of the files of related cases in the same court, and of public records on file in the same court. In
addition judicial notice will be taken of the record, pleadings or judgment of a case in another court between
the same parties or involving one of the same parties, as well as of the record of another case between
different parties in the same court. Judicial notice will also be taken of court personnel.[12]
The remand of the case would likewise seem to be unavoidable. The area of Lot No. 5367 claimed and
awarded to the late Josefa Gacot had not been specified in the records. Indeed, on the basis of the
Certification of the Forest Management Services of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources,
Lot No. 5367, per Land Classification (LC) No. 1246 of 15 January 1936, would appear to contain an area of
394,043 square meters, 300,000 square meters of which were classified as Alienable and Disposable land and
94,043 square meters as Timberland, which under Proclamation No. 2152, dated 29 December 1981, had
been included to form part of the Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserve, closed for entry, exploitation and
settlement.[13]
It behooves all concerned that the above matters be carefully looked into, albeit with reasonable
dispatch, for the final resolution of this case.
WHEREFORE, the case is REMANDED to the trial court for further proceedings for it to ascertain and
resolve the conflicting claims of the parties conformably with the foregoing opinion of the Court. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 85423

May 6, 1991

JOSE TABUENA, petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and EMILIANO TABERNILLA, JR., respondents.
Ramon Dimen for petitioner.
Dionisio A. Hernandez for private respondent.

CRUZ, J.:
The petitioner faults the decision of the trial court, as affirmed by the respondent court, for lack of basis. It is
argued that the lower courts should not have taken into account evidence not submitted by the private
respondent in accordance with the Rules of Court.
The subject of the dispute is a parcel of residential land consisting of about 440 square meters and situated in
Poblacion, Makato, Aklan. In 1973, an action for recovery of ownership thereof was filed in the Regional Trial
Court of Aklan by the estate of Alfredo Tabernilla against Jose Tabuena, the herein petitioner. After trial,
judgment was rendered in favor of the plaintiff and the defendant was required to vacate the disputed lot. 1
As the trial court found, the lot was sold by Juan Peralta, Jr. sometime in 1926 to Alfredo Tabernilla while the
two were in the United States. Tabernilla returned to the Philippines in 1934, and Damasa Timtiman, acting
upon her son Juan's instruction, conveyed the subject land to Tabernilla. At the same time, she requested that
she be allowed to stay thereon as she had been living there all her life. Tabernilla agreed provided she paid
the realty taxes on the property, which she promised to do, and did. She remained on the said land until her

death, following which the petitioner, her son and half-brother of Juan Peralta, Jr., took possession thereof. The
complaint was filed when demand was made upon Tabuena to surrender the property and he refused,
claiming it as his own.
The trial court rejected his defense that he was the absolute owner of the lot, which he inherited from his
parents, who acquired it even before World War II and had been living thereon since then and until they died.
Also disbelieved was his contention that the subject of the sale between Peralta and Tabernilla was a different
piece of land planted to coconut trees and bounded on three sides by the Makato River.
Tabuena appealed to the respondent court, complaining that, in arriving at its factual findings, the trial
court motu proprio took cognizance of Exhibits "A", "B" and "C", which had been marked by the plaintiff but
never formally submitted in evidence. The trial court also erred when, to resolve the ownership of the subject
lot, it considered the proceedings in another case involving the same parties but a different parcel of land.
The said exhibits are referred to in the pre-trial order as follows:
Plaintiff proceeded to mark the following exhibits: Exh. "A", letter dated October 4, 1921 addressed in
Makato, Capiz, Philippines; Exh. "A-1", paragraph 2 of the letter indicating that the amount of P600.00
the first P300.00 and then another P300.00 as interest since October 4, 1921; Exh. "A-2", is
paragraph 3 of the letter; Exh. "B", a Spanish document; Exh. "C", deed of conveyance filed by Tomasa
Timtiman and Alfredo Tabernilla in 1923; and Exh. "C-1", paragraph 4 of Exh. "C".
In sustaining the trial court, the respondent court held that, contrary to the allegations of the appellant, the
said exhibits were in fact formally submitted in evidence as disclosed by the transcript of stenographic notes,
which it quoted at length. 2 The challenged decision also upheld the use by the trial court of testimony given
in an earlier case, to bolster its findings in the second case.
We have examined the record and find that the exhibits submitted were not the above-described documents
but Exhibits "X" and "T" and their sub-markings, which were the last will and testament of Alfredo Tabernilla
and the order of probate. It is not at all denied that the list of exhibits does not include Exhibits "A", "B" and
"C". In fact, the trial court categorically declared that "Exhibits "A-1, "A-2", "B", "C" and "C-l," were not among
those documents or exhibits formally offered for admission by plaintiff-administratrix." This is a clear
contradiction of the finding of the appellate court, which seems to have confused Exhibits "A," "B" and "C"
with Exhibits "X" and "Y", the evidence mentioned in the quoted transcript.
Rule 132 of the Rules of Court provides in Section 35 thereof as follows:
Sec. 35. Offer of evidence.The court shall consider no evidence which has not been formally offered.
The purpose for which the evidence is offered must be specified.
The mere fact that a particular document is marked as an exhibit does not mean it has thereby already been
offered as part of the evidence of a party. It is true that Exhibits "A," "B" and "C" were marked at the pre-trial
of the case below, but this was only for the purpose of identifying them at that time. They were not by such
marking formally offered as exhibits. As we said in Interpacific Transit, Inc. vs. Aviles, 3 "At the trial on the
merits, the party may decide to formally offer (the exhibits) if it believes they will advance its cause, and then
again it may decide not to do so at all. In the latter event, such documents cannot be considered evidence,
nor can they be given any evidentiary value."
Chief Justice Moran explained the rationale of the rule thus:
. . . The offer is necessary because it is the duty of a judge to rest his findings of facts and his
judgment only and strictly upon the evidence offered by the patties at the trial. 4
We did say in People vs. Napat-a 5 that even if there be no formal offer of an exhibit, it may still be admitted
against the adverse party if, first, it has been duly identified by testimony duly recorded and, second, it has
itself been incorporated in the records of the case. But we do not find that these requirements have been
satisfied in the case before us. The trial court said the said exhibits could be validly considered because, even
if they had not been formally offered, one of the plaintiffs witnesses, Cunegunda Hernandez, testified on them
at the trial and was even cross-examined by the defendant's counsel. We do not agree. Although she did

testify, all she did was identify the documents. Nowhere in her testimony can we find a recital of the contents
of the exhibits.
Thus, her interrogation on Exhibit "A" ran:
LEGASPI: That is this Exh. "A" about ?
A The translation of the letter.
Q What is the content of this Exh. "A", the letter of the sister of Juan Peralta to Alfredo Tabernilla?
Court: The best evidence is the document. Proceed.

She also did not explain the contents of the other two exhibits.
The respondent court also held that the trial court committed no reversible error in taking judicial notice of
Tabuena's testimony in a case it had previously heard which was closely connected with the case before it. It
conceded that as a general rule "courts are not authorized to take judicial notice, in the adjudication of cases
pending before them, of the contents of the records of other cases, even when such cases have been tried or
are pending in the same court, and notwithstanding the fact that both cases may have been heard or are
actually pending b before the same judge. 7 Nevertheless, it applied the exception that:
. . . in the absence of objection, and as a matter of convenience to all parties, a court may properly
treat all or any part of the original record of a case filed in its archives as read into the record of a case
pending before it, when, with the knowledge of the opposing party, reference is made to it for that
purpose, by name and number or in some other manner by which it is sufficiently designated; or when
the original record of the former case or any part of it, is actually withdrawn from the archives by the
court's direction, at the request or with the consent of the parties, and admitted as a part of the record
of the case then pending. 8
It is clear, though, that this exception is applicable only when, "in the absence of objection," "with the
knowledge of the opposing party," or "at the request or with the consent of the parties," the case is clearly
referred to or "the original or part of the records of the case are actually withdrawn from the archives" and
"admitted as part of the record of the case then pending." These conditions have not been established here.
On the contrary, the petitioner was completely unaware that his testimony in Civil Case No. 1327 was being
considered by the trial court in the case then pending before it. As the petitioner puts it, the matter was
never taken up at the trial and was "unfairly sprung" upon him, leaving him no opportunity to counteract.
The respondent court said that even assuming that the trial court improperly took judicial notice of the other
case, striking off all reference thereto would not be fatal to the plaintiff's cause because "the said testimony
was merely corroborative of other evidences submitted by the plaintiff." What "other evidences"? The trouble
with this justification is that the exhibits it intends to corroborate, to wit, Exhibits "A", "B" and "C", have
themselves not been formally submitted.
Considering the resultant paucity of the evidence for the private respondent, we feel that the complaint
should have been dismissed by the trial court for failure of the plaintiff to substantiate its allegations. It has
failed to prove that the subject lot was the same parcel of land sold by Juan Peralta, Jr. to Alfredo Tabernilla
and not another property, as the petitioner contends. Even assuming it was the same lot, there is no
explanation for the sale thereof by Juan Peralta, Jr., who was only the son of Damasa Timtiman. According to
the trial court, "there is no question that before 1934 the land in question belonged to Damasa Timtiman."
Juan Peralta, Jr. could not have validly conveyed title to property that did not belong to him unless he had
appropriate authorization from the owner. No such authorization has been presented.
It is true that tax declarations are not conclusive evidence of ownership, as we have held in many
cases.1wphi1 However, that rule is also not absolute and yields to the accepted and well-known exception.
In the case at bar, it is not even disputed that the petitioner and his predecessors-in-interest have possessed
the disputed property since even before World War II. In light of this uncontroverted fact, the tax declarations
in their name become weighty and compelling evidence of the petitioner's ownership. As this Court has held:

While it is true that by themselves tax receipts and declarations of ownership for taxation purposes
are not incontrovertible evidence of ownership they become strong evidence of ownership acquired by
prescription when accompanied by proof of actual possession of the property. 9
It is only where payment of taxes is accompanied by actual possession of the land covered by the tax
declaration that such circumstance may be material in supporting a claim of ownership. 10
The tax receipts accompanied by actual and continuous possession of the subject parcels of land by
the respondents and their parents before them for more than 30 years qualify them to register title to
the said subject parcels of land. 11
The Court can only wonder why, if Alfredo Tabernilla did purchase the property and magnanimously allowed
Damasa Timtiman to remain there, he did not at least require her to pay the realty taxes in his name, not
hers. The explanation given by the trial court is that he was not much concerned with the property, being a
bachelor and fond only of the three dogs he had bought from America. That is specious reasoning. At best, it
is pure conjecture. If he were really that unconcerned, it is curious that he should have acquired the property
in the first place, even asdacion en pago. He would have demanded another form of payment if he did not
have the intention at all of living on the land. On the other hand, if he were really interested in the property,
we do not see why he did not have it declared in his name when the realty taxes thereon were paid by
Damasa Timtiman or why he did not object when the payments were made in her own name.
In comparison, all the acts of Damasa Timtiman and Jose Tabuena indicate that they were the owners of the
disputed property. Damasa Timtiman and her forebears had been in possession thereof for more than fifty
years and, indeed, she herself stayed there until she died. 12 She paid the realty taxes thereon in her own
name. 13 Jose Tabuena built a house of strong materials on the lot. 14 He even mortgaged the land to the
Development Bank of the Philippines and to two private persons who acknowledged him as the
owner. 15 These acts denote ownership and are not consistent with the private respondent's claim that the
petitioner was only an overseer with mere possessory rights tolerated by Tabernilla.
It is the policy of this Court to accord proper deference to the factual findings of the courts below and even to
regard them as conclusive where there is no showing that they have been reached arbitrarily. The exception
is where such findings do not conform to the evidence on record and appear indeed to have no valid basis to
sustain their correctness. As in this case.
The conclusions of the trial court were based mainly on Exhibits "A", "B" and "C", which had not been formally
offered as evidence and therefore should have been totally disregarded, conformably to the Rules of Court.
The trial court also erred when it relied on the evidence submitted in Civil Case No. 1327 and took judicial
notice thereof without the consent or knowledge of the petitioner, in violation of existing doctrine. Thus
vitiated, the factual findings here challenged are as an edifice built upon shifting sands and should not have
been sustained by the respondent court.
Our own finding is that the private respondent, as plaintiff in the lower court, failed to prove his claim of
ownership over the disputed property with evidence properly cognizable under our adjudicative laws. By
contrast, there is substantial evidence supporting the petitioner's contrary contentions that should have
persuaded the trial judge to rule in s favor and dismiss the complaint.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The appealed decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE, with costs against
the private respondent. It is so ordered.

[G.R. Nos. 146710-15. April 3, 2001]

JOSEPH E. ESTRADA, petitioner, vs. ANIANO DESIERTO, in his capacity as Ombudsman, RAMON
GONZALES, VOLUNTEERS AGAINST CRIME AND CORRUPTION, GRAFT FREE PHILIPPINES

FOUNDATION, INC., LEONARD DE VERA, DENNIS FUNA, ROMEO CAPULONG and ERNESTO B.
FRANCISCO, JR., respondents.

[G.R. No. 146738. April 3, 2001]

JOSEPH E. ESTRADA, petitioner, vs. GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, respondent.


RESOLUTION
PUNO, J.:
For resolution are petitioners Motion for Reconsideration in G.R. Nos. 146710-15 and Omnibus Motion in
G.R. No. 146738 of the Courts Decision of March 2, 2001.
In G.R. Nos. 146710-15, petitioner raises the following grounds:
I. IT DISREGARDED THE CLEAR AND EXPLICIT PROVISIONS OF ART. XI, SECTION 3 (7) OF THE
CONSTITUTION AND THE SETTLED JURISPRUDENCE THEREON.
II. IT HELD THAT PETITIONER CAN BE PROSECUTED NOW, FOR THIS RULING WOULD VIOLATE THE
DOUBLE JEOPARDY CLAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION, CONSIDERING THAT PETITIONER WAS
ACQUITTED IN THE IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS.
III. IT HELD THAT PETITIONER IS NO LONGER ENTITLED TO ABSOLUTE IMMUNITY FROM SUIT.
IV. IT HELD THAT PETITIONERS DUE PROCESS RIGHTS TO A FAIR TRIAL HAVE NOT BEEN PREJUDICED
BY PRE-TRIAL PUBLICITY.
V. IT HELD THAT THERE IS NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO WARRANT THE COURT TO ENJOIN THE
PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION OF THE INCUMBENT OMBUDSMAN, PETITIONER HAVING FAILED TO
PROVE THE IMPAIRED CAPACITY OF THE OMBUDSMAN TO RENDER A BIASED FREE DECISION.
In G.R. No. 146738, petitioner raises and argues the following issues:
1. WHETHER PETITIONER RESIGNED OR SHOULD BE CONSIDERED RESIGNED AS OF JANUARY 20,
2001;
2. WHETHER THE ANGARA DIARY IS INADMISSIBLE FOR BEING VIOLATIVE OF THE FOLLOWING RULES
ON EVIDENCE: HEARSAY, BEST EVIDENCE, AUTHENTICATION, ADMISSIONS AND RES INTER ALIOS
ACTA;
3. WHETHER RELIANCE ON NEWSPAPER ACOUNTS IS VIOLATIVE OF THE HEARSAY RULE;
4. WHETHER CONGRESS POST FACTO CAN DECIDE PETITIONERS
CONSIDERING SECTION 11, ARTICLE VII OF THE CONSTITUTION; and

INABILITY

TO

GOVERN

5. WHETHER PREJUDICIAL PUBLICITY HAS AFFECTED PETITIONERS RIGHT TO FAIR TRIAL.


We find the contentions of petitioner bereft of merit.
I

Prejudicial Publicity on the Court

Petitioner insists he is the victim of prejudicial publicity. Among others, he assails the Decision for
adverting to newspaper accounts of the events and occurrences to reach the conclusion that he has
resigned. In our Decision, we used the totality test to arrive at the conclusion that petitioner has resigned. We
referred to and analyzed events that were prior, contemporaneous and posterior to the oath-taking of
respondent Arroyo as president. All these events are facts which are well-established and cannot be
refuted. Thus, we adverted to prior events that built up the irresistible pressure for the petitioner to

resign. These are: (1) the expose of Governor Luis Chavit Singson on October 4, 2000; (2) the I accuse speech
of then Senator Teofisto Guingona in the Senate; (3) the joint investigation of the speech of Senator Guingona
by the Blue Ribbon Committee and the Committee on Justice; (4) the investigation of the Singson expose by
the House Committee on Public Order and Security; (5) the move to impeach the petitioner in the House of
Representatives; (6) the Pastoral Letter of Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin demanding petitioners resignation;
(7) a similar demand by the Catholic Bishops conference; (8) the similar demands for petitioners resignation
by former Presidents Corazon C. Aquino and Fidel V. Ramos; (9) the resignation of respondent Arroyo as
Secretary of the DSWD and her call for petitioner to resign; (10) the resignation of the members of petitioners
Council of Senior Economic Advisers and of Secretary Mar Roxas III from the Department of Trade and
Industry; (11) the defection of then Senate President Franklin Drilon and then Speaker of the House of
Representatives Manuel Villar and forty seven (47) representatives from petitioners Lapiang Masang Pilipino;
(12) the transmission of the Articles of Impeachment by Speaker Villar to the Senate; (13) the unseating of
Senator Drilon as Senate President and of Representative Villar as Speaker of the House; (14) the
impeachment trial of the petitioner; (15) the testimonies of Clarissa Ocampo and former Finance Secretary
Edgardo Espiritu in the impeachment trial; (16) the 11-10 vote of the senator-judges denying the prosecutors
motion to open the 2nd envelope which allegedly contained evidence showing that petitioner held a P3.3
billion deposit in a secret bank account under the name of Jose Velarde; (17) the prosecutors walkout and
resignation; (18) the indefinite postponement of the impeachment proceedings to give a chance to the House
of Representatives to resolve the issue of resignation of their prosecutors; (19) the rally in the EDSA Shrine
and its intensification in various parts of the country; (20) the withdrawal of support of then Secretary of
National Defense Orlando Mercado and the then Chief of Staff, General Angelo Reyes, together with the chiefs
of all the armed services; (21) the same withdrawal of support made by the then Director General of the PNP,
General Panfilo Lacson, and the major service commanders; (22) the stream of resignations by Cabinet
secretaries, undersecretaries, assistant secretaries and bureau chiefs; (23) petitioners agreement to hold a
snap election and opening of the controversial second envelope. All these prior events are facts which
are within judicial notice by this Court. There was no need to cite their news accounts. The
reference by the Court to certain newspapers reporting them as they happened does not make
them inadmissible evidence for being hearsay. The news account only buttressed these facts as
facts. For all his loud protestations, petitioner has not singled out any of these facts as false.
We now come to some events of January 20, 2001 contemporaneous to the oath taking of respondent
Arroyo. We used the Angara Diary to decipher the intent to resign on the part of the petitioner. Let it be
emphasized that it is not unusual for courts to distill a persons subjective intent from the evidence before
them. Everyday, courts ascertain intent in criminal cases, in civil law cases involving last wills and
testaments, in commercial cases involving contracts and in other similar cases. As will be discussed below,
the use of the Angara Diary is not prohibited by the hearsay rule. Petitioner may disagree with some of the
inferences arrived at by the Court from the facts narrated in the Diary but that does not make the Diary
inadmissible as evidence.
We did not stop with the contemporaneous events but proceeded to examine some events posterior to
the oath-taking of respondent Arroyo. Specifically, we analyzed the all important press release of the
petitioner containing his final statement which was issued after the oath-taking of respondent Arroyo as
president. After analyzing its content, we ruled that petitioners issuance of the press release and his
abandonemnt of Malacaang Palace confirmed his resignation.[1] These are overt acts which leave no doubt to
the Court that the petitioner has resigned.
In light of this finding that petitioner has resigned before 12 oclock noon of Janaury 20, 2001,
the claim that the office of the President was not vacant when respondent Arroyo took her oath
of office at half past noon of the same day has no leg to stand on.
We also reject the contention that petitioners resignation was due to duress and an involuntary
resignation is no resignation at all.
x x x [I]t has been said that, in determining whether a given resignation is voluntarily tendered, the element
of voluntariness is vitiated only when the resignation is submitted under duress brought on by government
action. The three-part test for such duress has been stated as involving the following elements: (1) whether
one side involuntarily accepted the others terms; (2) whether circumstances permitted no other alternative;
and (3) whether such circumstances were the result of coercive acts of the opposite side. The view has also
been expressed that a resignation may be found involuntary if on the totality of the circumstances it
appears that the employers conduct in requesting resignation effectively deprived the employer of free
choice in the matter. Factors to be considered, under this test, are: (1) whether the employee was given
some alternative to resignation; (2) whether the employee understood the nature of the choice he or she was
given; (3) whether the employewe was given a reasonable time in which to choose; and (4) whether he or she

was permitted to select the effective date of resignation. In applying this totality of the circumstances test,
the assessment whether real alternatives were offered must be gauged by an objective standard rather than
by the employees purely subjective evaluation; that the employee may perceive his or her only option
to be resignation for example, because of concerns about his or her reputation is
irrelevant. Similarly, the mere fact that the choice is between comparably unpleasant
alternatives for example, resignation or facing disciplinary charges does not of itself establish
that a resignation was induced by duress or coercion, and was therefore involuntary. This is so
even where the only alternative to resignation is facing possible termination for cause, unless the employer
actually lacked good cause to believe that grounds for termination existed. In this regard it has also been said
that a resignation resulting from a choice between resigning or facing proceedings for dismissal is not
tantamount to discharge by coercion without procedural view if the employee is given sufficient time and
opportunity for deliberation of the choice posed. Futhermore, a resignation by an officer charged with
misconduct is not given under duress, though the appropriate authority has already determined that the
officers alternative is termination, where such authority has the legal authority to terminate the officers
employment under the particular circumstances, since it is not duress to threaten to do what one has the
legal right to do, or to threaten to take any measure authorized by law and the circumstances of the case. [2]
In the cases at bar, petitioner had several options available to him other than resignation. He
proposed to the holding of snap elections. He transmitted to the Congress a written declaration of temporary
inability. He could not claim he was forced to resign because immediately before he left Malacaang, he asked
Secretary Angara: Ed, aalis na ba ako? which implies that he still had a choice of whether or not to leave.
To be sure, pressure was exerted for the petitioner to resign. But it is difficult to believe that
the pressure completely vitiated the voluntariness of the petitioners resignation. The Malacaang
ground was then fully protected by the Presidential Security Guard armed with tanks and high-powered
weapons. The then Chief of Staff, General Angelo Reyes, and other military officers were in Malacaang to
assure that no harm would befall the petitioner as he left the Palace. Indeed, no harm, not even a scratch,
was suffered by the petitioner, the members of his family and his Cabinet who stuck it out with him in his last
hours. Petitioners entourage was even able to detour safely to the Municipal Hall of San Juan and bade
goodbye to his followers before finally going to his residence in Polk Street, Greenhills. The only incident
before the petitioner left the Palace was the stone throwing between a small group of pro and anti Erap
rallyists which resulted in minor injuries to a few of them. Certainly, there were no tanks that rumbled
through the Palace, no attack planes that flew over the presidential residence, no shooting, no large scale
violence, except verbal violence, to justify the conclusion that petitioner was coerced to resign.
II

Evidentiary Issues

Petitioner devotes a large part of his arguments on the alleged improper use by this Court of the Angara
Diary. It is urged that the use of the Angara Diary to determine the state of mind of the petitioner on the
issue of his resignation violates the rule against the admission of hearsay evidence.
We are unpersuaded. To begin with, the Angara diary is not an out of court statement. The Angara
Diary is part of the pleadings in the cases at bar. Petitioner cannot complain he was not furnished a
copy of the Angara Diary. Nor can he feign surprise on its use. To be sure, the said Diary was frequently
referred to by the parties in their pleadings. [3]The three parts of the Diary published in the PDI from February
4-6, 2001 were attached as Annexes A-C, respectively, of the Memorandum of private respondents Romeo T.
Capulong, et al., dated February 20, 2001. The second and third parts of the Diary were earlier also attached
as Annexes 12 and 13 of the Comment of private respondents Capulong, et al., dated February 12, 2001. In
fact, petitioner even cited in his Second Supplemental Reply Memorandum both the second part of the diary,
published on February 5, 2001,[4] and the third part, published on February 6, 2001. [5] It was also extensively
used by Secretary of Justice Hernando Perez in his oral arguments. Thus, petitioner had all the opportunity to
contest the use of the Diary but unfortunately failed to do so.
Even assuming arguendo that the Angara Diary was an out of court statement, still its use is not covered
bythe hearsay rule.[6] Evidence is called hearsay when its probative force depends, in whole or in part, on the
competency and credibility of some persons other than the witness by whom it is sought to produce it.
[7]
There are three reasons for excluding hearsay evidence: (1) absence of cross examination; (2) absence of
demeanor evidence, and (3) absence of the oath. [8] Not at all hearsay evidence, however, is inadmissible as
evidence. Over the years, a huge body of hearsay evidence has been admitted by courts due to their

relevance, trustworthiness and necessity. [9] The emergence of these exceptions and their wide spread
acceptance is well-explained by Weinstein, Mansfield, Abrams and Berger as follows:
xxx
On the other hand, we all make decisions in our everyday lives on the basis of other persons accounts of
what happened, and verdicts are usually sustained and affirmed even if they are based on hearsay
erroneously admitted, or admitted because no objection was made. See Shepp v. Uehlinger, 775 F 2d 452,
454-455 (1st Cir. 1985) (hearsay evidence alone can support a verdict). Although volumes have been written
suggesting ways to revise the hearsay rule, no one advocates a rule that would bar all hearsay
evidence. Indeed, the decided historical trend has been to exclude categories of highly probative
statements from the definition of hearsay (sections 2 and 3, infra), and to develop more class
exceptions to the hearsay rule (sections 4-11, infra). Furthermore, many states have added to
their rules the residual, or catch-all, exceptions first pioneered by the Federal Rules which
authorize the admission of hearsay that does not satisfy a class exception, provided it is
adequately trustworthy and probative (section 12, infra).
Moreover, some commentators believe that the hearsay rule should be abolished altogether
instead of being loosened. See, e.g., Note, The Theoretical Foundation of the Hearsay Rules, 93
Harv.L.Rev. 1786, 1804-1805, 1815 (1980) (footnotes omitted):
The Federal Rules of Evidence provide that [a]lthough relevant, evidence may be excluded if its probative
value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice. Under this structure, exclusion is justified
by fears of how the jury will be influenced by the evidence. However, it is not traditional to think of hearsay
as merely a subdivision of this structure, and the Federal Rules do not conceive of hearsay in that
manner. Prejudice refers to the jurys use of evidence for inferences other than those for which the evidence is
legally relevant; by contrast, the rule against hearsay questions the jurys ability to evaluate the strength of
a legitimate inference to be drawn from the evidence. For example, were a judge to exclude testimony
because a witness was particularly smooth or convincing, there would be no doubt as to the usurpation of the
jurys function. Thus, unlike prejudices recognized by the evidence rules, such as those stemming from racial
or religious biases or from the introduction of photographs of a victims final state, the exclusion of hearsay on
the basis of misperception strikes at the root of the jurys function by usurping its power to process quite
ordinary evidence, the type of information routinely encountered by jurors in their everyday lives.
Since virtually all criteria seeking to distinguish between good and bad hearsay are either incoherent,
inconsistent, or indeterminate, the only altenative to a general rule of admission would be an absolute rule of
exclusion, which is surely inferior. More important, the assumptions necessary to justify a rule against
hearsay seem insupportable and, in any event, are inconsistent with accepted notions of the function of the
jury. Therefore, the hearsay rules should be abolished.
Some support for this view can be found in the limited empirical research now available which is, however,
derived from simulations that suggests that admitting hearsay has little effect on trial outcomes
because jurors discount the value of hearsay evidence. See Rakos & Landsman, Researching the
Hearsay Rule: Emerging Findings, General Issues, and Future Directions, 76 Minn.L.Rev. 655 (1992); Miene,
Park, & Borgidas, Jury Decision Making and the Evaluation of Hearsay Evidence, 76 Minn.L.Rev. 683 (1992);
Kovera, Park, & Penrod, Jurors Perceptions of Eyewitness and Hearsay Evidence, 76 Minn.L.Rev. 703 (1992);
Landsman & Rakos, Research Essay: A Preliminary Empirical Enquiry Concerning the prohibition of Hearsay
Evidence in American Courts, 15 Law & Psychol. Rev. 65 (1991).
Others, even if they concede that restrictions on hearsay have some utility, question whether
the benefits outweigh the cost:
The cost of maintaining the rule is not just a function of its contribution to justice. It also includes the time
spent on litigating the rule. And of course this is not just a cost voluntarily borne by the parties, for in our
system virtually all the cost of the court salaries, administrative costs, and capital costs are borne by the
public. As expensive as litigation is for the parties, it is supported by an enormous public subsidy. Each time
a hearsay question is litigated, the public pays. The rule imposes other costs as well. Enormous time is
spent teaching and writing about the hearsay rule, which are both costly enterprises. In some law schools,
students spend over half their time in evidence classes learning the intricacies of the hearsay rule, and
enormous academic resources are expended on the rule.

Allen, Commentary on Professor Friendmans Article: The Evolution of the Hearsay Rule to a Rule of Admission,
76 Minn.L.Rev. 797, 800 [1992] (but would abolish rule only in civil cases). See also Friedman, Toward a Partial
Economic, Game-Theoretic Analysis of Hearsay, 76 Minn. L. Rev. 723 (1992). [10]
A complete analysis of any hearsay problem requires that we further determine whether the hearsay
evidence is one exempted from the rules of exclusion. A more circumspect examination of our rules
of exclusion will show that they do not cover admissions of a party and the Angara Diary belongs
to this class. Section 26 of Rule 130 provides that the act, declaration or omission of a party as to a relevant
fact may be given in evidence against him. [11] It has long been settled that these admissions are
admissible even if they are hearsay. Retired Justice Oscar Herrera of the Court of Appeals cites the
various authorities who explain why admissions are not covered by the hearsay rule:[12]
Wigmore, after pointing out that the partys declaration has generally the probative value of any other
persons asssertion, argued that it had a special value when offered against the party. In that
circumstance, the admission discredits the partys statement with the present claim asserted in pleadings and
testimony, much like a witness impeached by contradictory statements. Moreover, he
continued, admissions pass the gauntlet of the hearsay rule, which requires that extrajudicial
assertions be excluded if there was no opportunity for the opponent to cross-examine because it is the
opponents own declaration, and he does not need to cross examine himself. Wigmore then added that
the Hearsay Rule is satisfied since the party now as opponent has the full opportunity to put himself on the
stand and explain his former assertion. (Wigmore on evidence, Sec. 1048 (Chadbourn Rev. 1972),
cited in Sec. 154, McCormick)
According to Morgan: The admissibility of an admission made by the party himself rests not upon any notion
that the circumstances in which it was made furnish the trier means of evaluating it fairly, but upon the
adversary theory of litigation. A party can hardly object that he had no opportunity to cross-examine
himself or that he is unworthy of credence save when speaking under sanction of an oath.
A mans acts, conduct, and declaration, wherever made, if voluntary, are admissible against him, for the
reason that it is fair to presume that they correspond with the truth, and it is his fault if they do not. (U.S. vs.
Ching Po, 23 Phil. 578, 583).
The Angara Diary contains direct statements of petitioner which can be categorized as admissions of a
party: his proposal for a snap presidential election where he would not be a candidate; his statement that he
only wanted the five-day period promised by Chief of Staff Angelo Reyes; his statements that he would leave
by Monday if the second envelope would be opened by Monday and Pagod na pagod na ako. Ayoko na,
masyado nang masakit. Pagod na ako sa red tape, bureaucracy, intriga. (I am very tired. I dont want any
more of this its too painful. Im tired of the red tape, the bureaucracy, the intrigue). I just want to clear my
name, then I will go. We noted that days before, petitioner had repeatedly declared that he would not resign
despite the growing clamor for his resignation. The reason for the meltdown is obvious - - - his will not to
resign has wilted.
It is, however, argued that the Angara Diary is not the diary of the petitioner, hence, nonbinding on him. The argument overlooks the doctrine of adoptive admission.An adoptive admission is a
partys reaction to a statement or action by another person when it is reasonable to treat the partys
reaction as an admission of something stated or implied by the other person.[13] Jones explains that
the basis for admissibility of admissions made vicariously is that arising from the ratification or
adoption by the party of the statements which the other person had made. [14] To use the blunt language of
Mueller and Kirkpatrick, this process of attribution is not mumbo jumbo but common sense. [15] In
the Angara Diary, the options of the petitioner started to dwindle when the armed forces withdrew its
support from him as President and commander-in-chief. Thus, Executive Secretary Angara had to ask Senate
President Pimentel to advise petitioner to consider the option of dignified exit or resignation. Petitioner
did not object to the suggested option but simply said he could never leave the country. Petitioners silence on
this and other related suggestions can be taken as an admission by him. [16]
Petitioner further contends that the use of the Angara diary against him violated the rule on res inter
alios acta. The rule is expressed in section 28 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, viz: The rights of a party
cannot be prejudiced by an act, declaration, or omission of another, except as hereinafter provided.
Again, petitioner errs in his contention. The res inter alios acta rule has several exceptions. One of
them is provided in section 29 of Rule 130 with respect to admissions by a co-partner or agent.

Executive Secretary Angara as such was an alter ego of the petitioner. He was the Little
President. Indeed, he was authorized by the petitioner to act for him in the critical hours and days
before he abandoned Malacaang Palace. Thus, according to the Angara Diary, the petitioner told
Secretary Angara: Mula umpisa pa lang ng kampanya, Ed, ikaw na lang pinakikinggan ko. At hanggang sa
huli, ikaw pa rin. (Since the start of the campaign, Ed, you have been the only one Ive listened to. And now at
the end, you still are.) [17] This statement of full trust was made by the petitioner after Secretary
Angara briefed him about the progress of the first negotiation. True to this trust, the petitioner had to
ask Secretary Angara if he would already leave Malacaang after taking their final lunch on January 20, 2001
at about 1:00 p.m. The Angara Diary quotes the petitioner as saying to Secretary Angara: ed, kailangan ko
na bang umalis? (Do I have to leave now?) [18] Secretary Angara told him to go and he did. Petitioner cannot
deny that Secretary Angara headed his team of negotiators that met with the team of the respondent Arroyo
to discuss the peaceful and orderly transfer of power after his relinquishment of the powers of the
presidency. The Diary shows that petitioner was always briefed by Secretary Angara on the progress of their
negotiations. Secretary Angara acted for and in behalf of the petitioner in the crucial days before
respondent Arroyo took her oath as President. Consequently, petitioner is bound by the acts and
declarations of Secretary Angara.
Under our rules of evidence, admissions of an agent (Secretary Angara) are binding on the
principal (petitioner).[19] Jones very well explains the reasons for the rule, viz:What is done, by agent, is
done by the principal through him, as through a mere instrument. So, whatever is said by an agent, either in
making a contract for his principal, or at the time and accompanying the performance of any act within the
scope of his authority, having relation to, and connected with, and in the course of the particular contract or
transaction in which he is then engaged, or in the language of the old writers, dum fervet opus is, in legal
effect, said by his principal and admissible in evidence against such principal. [20]
Moreover, the ban on hearsay evidence does not cover independently relevant
statements. These are statements which are relevant independently of whether they are true or
not. They belong to two (2) classes: (1) those statements which are the very facts in issue, and (2) those
statements which are circumstantial evidence of the facts in issue. The second class includes the
following:[21]
a. Statement of a person showing his state of mind, that is, his mental condition, knowledge,
belief, intention, ill will and other emotions;
b. Statements of a person which show his physical condition, as illness and the like;
c. Statements of a person from which an inference may be made as to the state of mind of
another, that is, the knowledge, belief, motive, good or bad faith, etc. of the latter;
d. Statements which may identify the date, place and person in question; and
e. Statements showing the lack of credibility of a witness.
Again, Jones tells us why these independently relevant statements are not covered by the
prohibition against hearsay evidence:[22]
1088. Mental State or Condition Proof of Knowledge.- There are a number of comon issues, forming a general
class, in proof of which hearsay is so obviously necessary that it is not customary to refer to its admissibility
as by virtue of any exception to the general exclusionary rule. Admissibility, in such cases, is as of course. For
example, where any mental state or condition is in issue, such as motive, malice, knowledge, intent,
assent or dissent, unless direct testimony of the particular person is to be taken as conclusive of his state of
mind, the only method of proof available is testimony of others to the acts or statements of such
person. Where his acts or statements are against his interest, they are plainly admissible within the rules
hereinabove announced as to admissions against interest. And even where not against interest, if they are so
closely connected with the event or transaction in issue as to constitute one of the very facts in
controversy, they become admissible of necessity.
As aforediscussed, The Angara Diary contains statements of the petitioner which reflect his state of mind
and are circumstantial evidence of his intent to resign. It also contains statements of Secretary Angara from
which we can reasonably deduce petitioners intent to resign. They are admissible and they are not covered
by the rule on hearsay. This has long been a quiet area of our law on evidence and petitioners attempt to
foment a belated tempest cannot receive our imprimatur.
Petitioner also contends that the rules on authentication of private writings and best
evidence were violated in our Decision, viz:

The use of the Angara diary palpably breached several hornbook rules of evidence, such as the rule on
authentication of private writings
xxx
A. Rule on Proof of Private Writings Violated
The rule governing private documents as evidence was violated. The law provides that before any private
writing offered as authentic is received in evidence, its due execution and authenticity must be proved either:
a) by anyone who saw the document executed or written, or b) by evidence of the genuineness of the
signature or handwriting of the maker.
xxx
B. Best Evidence Rule Infringed
Clearly, the newspaper reproduction is not the best evidence of the Angara diary. It is secondary evidence, of
dubious authenticity. It was however used by this Honorable Court without proof of the unavailability of the
original or duplicate original of the diary. The Best Evidence Rule should have been applied since the contents
of the diary are the subject of inquiry.
The rule is that, except in four (4) specific instances, [w]hen the subject of inquiry is the contents of a
document, no evidence shall be admissible other than the original document itself. [23]
Petitioners contention is without merit. In regard to the Best Evidence rule, the Rules of Court provides
in sections 2 to 4 of Rule 130, as follows:
Sec. 2. Documentary evidence. Documents as evidence consist of writings or any material containing letters,
words, numbers, figures or other modes of written expressions offered as proof of their contents.
Sec. 3. Original document must be produced; exceptions. When the subject of inquiry is the contents of a
document, no evidence shall be admissible other than the original document itself, except in the following
cases:
(a) When the original has been lost or destroyed, or cannot be produced in court, without bad faith on the
part of the offeror;
(b) When the original is in the custody or under the control of the party against whom the evidence is offered,
and the latter fails to produce it after reasonable notice;
(c) When the original consists of numerous accounts or other documents which cannot be examined in court
without great loss of time and the fact sought to be established from them is only the general result of the
whole; and
(d) When the original is a public record in the custody of a public officer or is recorded in a public office.
Sec. 4. Original of document. (a) The original of a document is one the contents of which are the subject of
inquiry.
(b) When a document is in two or more copies executed at or about the same time, with identical contents, all
such copies are equally regarded as originals.
(c) When an entry is repeated in the regular course of business, one being copied from another at or near the
time of the transaction, all the entries are likewise equally regarded as originals.
It is true that the Court relied not upon the original but only copy of the Angara Diary as published in
the Philippine Daily Inquirer on February 4-6, 2001. In doing so, the Court, did not, however, violate the
best evidence rule. Wigmore, in his book on evidence, states that:

Production of the original may be dispensed with, in the trial courts discretion, whenever in the case in
hand the opponent does not bona fide dispute the contents of the documentand no other useful
purpose will be served by requiring production.[24]
xxx
In several Canadian provinces, the principle of unavailability has been abandoned, for certain documents in
which ordinarily no real dispute arised. This measure is a sensible and progressive one and deserves
universal adoption (post, sec. 1233). Its essential feature is that a copy may be used unconditionally, if the
opponent has been given an opportunity to inspect it. (empahsis supplied)
Franciscos opinion is of the same tenor, viz:
Generally speaking, an objection by the party against whom secondary evidence is sought to be introduced is
essential to bring the best evidence rule into application; and frequently, where secondary evidence has been
admitted, the rule of exclusion might have successfully been invoked if proper and timely objection had been
taken. No general rule as to the form or mode of objecting to the admission of secondary evidence is set
forth. Suffice it to say here that the objection should be made in proper season that is, whenever it
appears that there is better evidence than that which is offered and before the secondary
evidence has been admitted. The objection itself should be sufficiently definite to present a tangible
question for the courts consideration.[25]
He adds:
Secondary evidence of the content of the writing will be received in evidence if no objection is made to its
reception.[26]
In regard to the authentication of private writings, the Rules of Court provides in section 20 of Rule 132,
viz:
Sec. 20. Proof of private document. Before any private document offered as authentic is received in
evidence, its due execution and authenticity must be proved either:
(a) By anyone who saw the document executed or written; or
(b) By evidence of the genuineness of the signature or handwriting of the maker.
Any other private document need only be identified as that which it is claimed to be.
On the rule of authentication of private writings, Francisco states that:
A proper foundation must be laid for the admission of documentary evidence; that is, the identity and
authenticity of the document must be reasonably established as a pre-requisite to its admission. (Rouw v.
Arts, 174 Ark. 79, 294 S.W. 993, 52 A.L.R. 1263, and others) However, a party who does not deny the
genuineness of a proffered instrument may not object that it was not properly identified before it
was admitted in evidence. (Strand v. Halverson, 220 Iowa 1276, 264 N.W. 266, 103 A.L.R. 835). [27]
Petitioner cites the case of State prosecutors v. Muro,[28] which frowned on reliance by courts on
newspaper accounts. In that case, Judge Muro was dismissed from the service for relying on a newspaper
account in dismissing eleven (11) cases against Mrs. Imelda Romualdez Marcos. There is a significant
difference, however, between the Muro case and the cases at bar. In the Muro case, Judge Muro dismissed
the cases against Mrs. Marcos on the basis of a newspaper account without affording the prosecution the
basic opportunity to be heard on the matter by way of a written comment or on oral argument. . .(this is) not
only a blatant denial of elementary due process to the Government but is palpably indicative of bad faith and
partiality. In the instant cases, however, the petitioner had an opportunity to object to the admissibility
of the Angara Diary when he filed his Memorandum dated February 20, 2001, Reply Memorandum dated
February 22, 2001, Supplemental Memorandum dated February 23, 2001, and Second Supplemental
memorandum dated February 24, 2001. He was therefore not denied due process. In the words of
Wigmore, supra, petitioner had been given an opportunity to inspect the Angara Diary but did not object to

its admissibility. It is already too late in the day to raise his objections in an Omnibus Motion, after
the Angara Diary has been used as evidence and a decision rendered partly on the basis thereof.
III

Temporary Inability

Petitioner argues that the Court misinterpreted the meaning of section 11, Article VII, of the Constitution
in that congress can only decide the issue of inability when there is a variance of opinion between a majority
of the Cabinet and the President. The situation presents itself when majority of the Cabinet determines that
the President is unable to govern; later, the President informs Congress that his inability has ceased but is
contradicted by a majority of the members of the Cabinet. It is also urged that the presidents judgment that
he is unable to govern temporarily which is thereafter communicated to the Speaker of the House and the
President of the Senate is the political question which this Court cannot review.
We cannot sustain the petitioner. Lest petitioner forgets, he himself made the submission in G.R.
No. 146738 that Congress has the ultimate authority under the Constitution to determine whether
the President is incapable of performing his functions in the manner provided for in section 11 of
Article VII.[29] We sustained this submission and held that by its many acts, Congress has already
determined and dismissed the claim of alleged temporary inability to govern proffered by petitioner. If
petitioner now feels aggrieved by the manner Congress exercised its power, it is incumbent upon him to
seek redress from Congress itself. The power is conceded by the petitioner to be with Congress and
its alleged erroneous exercise cannot be corrected by this Court. The recognition of respondent
Arroyo as our de jure president made by Congress is unquestionably a political judgment. It is significant
that House Resolution No. 176 cited as the bases of its judgment such factors as the peoples loss of
confidence on the ability of former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada to effectively govern and the members
of the international community had extended their recognition of Her Excellency, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
as President of the Republic of the Philippines and it has a constitutional duty of fealty to the supreme will
of the people x x x. This political judgment may be right or wrong but Congress is answerable
only to the people for its judgment. Its wisdom is fit to be debated before the tribunal of the people and
not before a court of justice. Needles to state, the doctrine of separation of power constitutes
an inseparable bar against this courts interposition of its power of judicial review to review the judgment of
Congress rejecting petitioners claim that he is still the President, albeit on leave and that respondent Arroyo
is merely an acting President.
Petitioner attempts to extricate himself from his submission that Congress has the ultimate authority to
determine his inability to govern, and whose determination is a political question by now arguing
that whether one is a de jure or de facto President is a judicial question. Petitioners change of
theory, ill disguised as it is, does not at all impress. The cases at bar do not present the general issue of
whether the respondent Arroyo is the de jure or a de facto President. Specific issues were raised to the
Court for resolution and we ruled on an issue by issue basis. On the issue of resignation under section 8,
Article VII of the Constitution, we held that the issue is legal and ruled that petitioner has resigned from office
before respondent Arroyo took her oath as President. On the issue of inability to govern under section 11,
Article VII of the Constitution, we held that the Congress has the ultimate authority to determine the question
as opined by the petitioner himself and that the determination of Congress is a political judgment which this
Court cannot review.Petitioner cannot blur these specific rulings by the generalization that whether
one is a de jure or de facto President is a judicial question.
Petitioner now appears to fault Congress for its various acts expressed thru resolutions
which brushed off his temporary inability to govern and President-on-leave argument. He asserts
that these acts of Congress should not be accorded any legal significance because: (1) they are post
facto and (2) a declaration of presidential incapacity cannot be implied.
We disagree. There is nothing in section 11 of Article VII of the Constitution which states that the
declaration by Congress of the Presidents inability must always be a priori or before the Vice-President
assumes the presidency. In the cases at bar, special consideration should be given to the fact that the events
which led to the resignation of the petitioner happened at express speed and culminated on a
Saturday. Congress was then not in session and had no reasonable opportunity to act a priori on
petitioners letter claiming inability to govern. To be sure, however, the petitioner cannot strictly maintain that
the President of the Senate, the Honorable Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. and the then Speaker of the House of
Representatives, the Honorable Arnulfo P. Fuentebella, recognized respondent Arroyo as the constitutional

successor to the presidency post facto. Petitioner himself states that his letter alleging his inability to govern
was received by the Office of the Speaker on January 20, 2001 at 8:30 A.M. and the Office of the Senate at 9
P.M. of the same day. [30]Respondent took her oath of office a few minutes past 12 oclock in the afternoon of
January 20. Before the oath-taking, Senate President Pimentel, Jr. and Speaker Fuentebella had prepared a
Joint Statement which states:[31]
Joint Statement of Support
and Recognition from the
Senate President and the Speaker
Of the House of Representatives
We, the elected leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives, are called upon to address the
constitutional crisis affecting the authority of the President to effectively govern our distressed nation. We
understand that the Supreme Court at that time is issuing an en banc resolution recognizing this political
reality. While we may differ on the means to effect a change of leadership, we however, cannot be indifferent
and must act resolutely. Thus, in line with our sworn duty to represent our people and in pursuit of
our goals for peace and prosperity to all, we, the Senate President and the Speaker of the House
of Representatives, hereby declare our support and recognition to the constitutional successor
to the Presidency. We similarly call on all sectors to close ranks despite our political differences. May God
bless our nation in this period of new beginnings.
Mabuhay and Pilipinas at ang mamamayang Pilipino.
(Sgd.) AQUILINO PIMENTEL, JR.
Senate President
(Sgd.) ARNULFO P. FUENTEBELLA
Speaker of the House of Representatives
This a priori recognition by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of
respondent Arroyo as the constitutional successor to the presidency was followed post facto by various
resolutions of the Senate and the House, in effect, confirming this recognition. Thus, Resolution No. 176
expressed x x x the support of the House of Representatives to the assumption into office by Vice-President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as President of the Republic of the Philippines, extending its congratulations and
expressing its support for her administration as a partner in the attainment of the nations goal under the
Constitution.[32] Resolution No. 82 of the Senate and Resolution No. 178 of the House of Representatives both
confirmed the nomination of then Senator Teofisto Guingona, Jr., as Vice-President. [33] It also passed
Resolution No. 83 declaring the impeachment courtfunctus officio.[34] Both Houses sent bills to respondent
Arroyo to be signed by her into law as President of the Philippines. [35] These acts of Congress, a priori and
post facto, cannot be dismissed as merely implied recognitions of respondent Arroyo, as the
President of the Republic. Petitioners insistence that respondent Arroyo is just a de factoPresident
because said acts of Congress x x x are mere circumstances of acquiescence calculated to induce people to
submit to respondents exercise of the powers of the presidency [36]is a guesswork far divorced from reality to
deserve further discussion.
Similarly way off the mark is petitioners point that while the Constitution has made Congress the national
board of canvassers for presidential and vice-presidential elections, this Honorable Court nonetheless remains
the sole judge in presidential and vice presidential contests. [37] He thus postulates that such constitutional
provision[38] is indicative of the desire of the sovereign people to keep out of the hands of Congress
questions as to the legality of a persons claim to the presidential office. [39] Suffice to state that the
inference is illogical.Indeed, there is no room to resort to inference. The Constitution clearly sets out the
structure on how vacancies and election contest in the office of the President shall be decided.Thus, section
7 of Article VII covers the instance when (a) the President-elect fails to qualify, (b) if a President shall not
have been chosen and (c) if at the beginning of the term of the President, the President-elect shall have died
or shall have become permanently disabled. Section 8 of Article VII covers the situation of the death,
permanent disability, removal from office or resignation of the President. Section 11 of Article VII covers
the case where the President transmits to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of
Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. In
each case, the Constitution specifies the body that will resolve the issues that may arise from
the contingency. In case of election contest, section 4, Article VII provides that the contests shall be
resolved by this Court sitting en banc. In case of resignation of the President, it is not disputed that this Court
has jurisdiction to decide the issue. In case of inability to govern, section 11 of Article VII gives the Congress

the power to adjudge the issue and petitioner himself submitted this thesis which was shared by this Court. In
light of these clear provisions of the Constitution, it is inappropriate, to say the least, for petitioner to make
inferences that simply distort their meanings.

IV

Impeachment and Absolute Immunity

Petitioner contends that this Court disregarded section 3 (7) of Article XI of the Constitution which
provides:
(7) Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than removal from office and disqualification
to hold any office under the Republic of the Philippines, but the party convicted should nevertheless be liable
and subject to prosecution, trial and punishment according to law.
Petitioner reiterates the argument that he must be first convicted in the impeachment proceedings before
he could be criminally prosecuted. A plain reading of the provision will not yield this conclusion. The provision
conveys two uncomplicated ideas: first, it tells us that judgment in impeachment cases has a limited reach.
. .i.e., it cannot extend further than removal from office and disqualification to hold any office under the
Republic of the Philippines, and second, it tells us the consequence of the limited reach of a judgment in
impeachment proceedings considering its nature, i.e., that the party convicted shall still be liable and subject
to prosecution, trial and punishment according to law. No amount of manipulation will justify petitioners non
sequitur submission that the provision requires that his conviction in the impeachment proceedings is a
condition sine qua non to his prosecution, trial and punishment for the offenses he is now facing before the
respondent Ombudsman.
Petitioner contends that the private and public prosecutors walk out from the impeachment proceedings
should be considered failure to prosecute on the part of the public and private prosecutors, and the
termination of the case by the Senate is equivalent to acquittal.[40] He explains failure to prosecute as the
failure of the prosecution to prove the case, hence dismissal on such grounds is a dismissal on the merits.
[41]
He then concludes that dismissal of a case for failure to prosecute amounts to an acquittal for
purposes of applying the rule against double jeopardy.[42]
Without ruling on the nature of impeachment proceedings, we reject petitioners submission.
The records will show that the prosecutors walked out in the January 16, 2001 hearing of the
impeachment cases when by a vote of 11-10, the Senator-judges refused to open the second envelope
allegedly containing the P3.3 billion deposit of the petitioner in a secret bank account under the name Jose
Velarde. The next day, January 17, the public prosecutors submitted a letter to the Speaker of the House
tendering their resignation. They also filed their Manifestation of Withdrawal of Appearance with the
impeachment tribunal. Senator Raul Roco immediately moved for the indefinite suspension of the
impeachment proceedings until the House of Representatives shall have resolved the resignation of
the public prosecutors. The Roco motion was then granted by Chief Justice Davide, Jr. Before the House
could resolve the issue of resignation of its prosecutors or on January 20, 2001, petitioner relinquished the
presidency and respondent Arroyo took her oath as President of the Republic. Thus, on February
7, 2001, the Senate passedResolution No. 83 declaring that the impeachment court is functus officio.
Prescinding from these facts, petitioner cannot invoke double jeopardy. Double jeopardy
attaches only: (1) upon a valid complaint; (2) before a competent court; (3) after arraignment; (4) when a
valid plea has been entered; and (5) when the defendant was acquitted or convicted or the case was
dismissed or otherwise terminated without the express consent of the accused. [43] Assuming arguendo that
the first four requisites of double jeopardy were complied with, petitioner failed to satisfy the fifth requisite
for he was not acquitted nor was the impeachment proceeding dismissed without his express
consent. Petitioners claim of double jeopardy cannot be predicated on prior conviction for he was not
convicted by the impeachment court. At best, his claim of previous acquittal may be scrutinized in light of a
violation of his right to speedy trial, which amounts to a failure to prosecute. As Bernas points out, a failure to
prosecute, which is what happens when the accused is not given a speedy trial, means failure of the
prosecution to prove the case. Hence, dismissal on such grounds is a dismissal on the merits. [44]

This Court held in Esmea v. Pogoy[45], viz:


If the defendant wants to exercise his constitutional right to a speedy trial, he should ask, not for the
dismissal, but for the trial of the case. After the prosecutions motion for postponement of the trial is denied
and upon order of the court the fiscal does not or cannot produce his evidence and, consequently fails to
prove the defendants guilt, the court upon defendants motion shall dismiss the case, such dismissall
amounting to an acquittal of the defendant.
In a more recent case, this Court held:
It is true that in an unbroken line of cases, we have held that the dismissal of cases on the ground of failure to
prosecute is equivalent to an acquittal that would bar further prosecution of the accused for the same
offense. It must be stressed, however, that these dismissals were predicated on the clear right of the accused
to speedy trial. These cases are not applicable to the petition at bench considering that the right of the
private respondents to speedy trial has not been violated by the State. For this reason, private respondents
cannot invoke their right against double jeopardy.[46]
Petitioner did not move for the dismissal of the impeachment case against him. Even
assuming arguendo that there was a move for its dismissal, not every invocation of an accuseds right to
speedy trial is meritorious. While the Court accords due importance to an accuseds right to a speedy trial and
adheres to a policy of speedy administration of justice, this right cannot be invoked loosely. Unjustified
postponements which prolong the trial for an unreasonable length of time are what offend the right of the
accused to speedy trial.[47]The following provisions of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure are apropos:
Rule 115, Section 1(h). Rights of accused at the trial. -- In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be
entitled to the following rights:
(h) To have speedy, impartial and public trial.
Rule 119, Section 2. Continuous trial until terminated; postponements.-- Trial once commenced shall continue
from day to day as far as practicable until terminated. It may be postponed for a reasonable length of time for
good cause.
The court shall, after consultation with the prosecutor and defense counsel, set the case for continuous trial
on a weekly or other short-term trial calendar at the earliest possible time so as to ensure speedy trial. In no
case shall the entire trial period exceed one hundred eighty (180) days from the first day of trial, except as
otherwise authorized by the Supreme Court.
Petitioner therefore failed to show that the postponement of the impeachment proceedings
was unjustified, much less that it was for an unreasonable length of time.Recalling the facts, on
January 17, 2001, the impeachment proceeding was suspended until the House of Representatives shall have
resolved the issue on the resignation of the public prosecutors. This was justified and understandable for an
impeachment proceeding without a panel of prosecutors is a mockery of the impeachment process. However,
three (3) days from the suspension or January 20, 2001, petitioners resignation supervened. With the sudden
turn of events, the impeachment court became functus officio and the proceedings were therefore
terminated. By no stretch of the imagination can the four-day period from the time the impeachment
proceeding was suspended to the day petitioner resigned, constitute an unreasonable period of delay
violative of the right of the accused to speedy trial.
Nor can the claim of double jeopardy be grounded on the dismissal or termination of the case
without the express consent of the accused. We reiterate that the impeachment proceeding was closed
only after the petitioner had resigned from the presidency, thereby rendering the impeachment
court functus officio. By resigning from the presidency, petitioner more than consented to the termination
of the impeachmment case against him, for he brought about the termination of the impeachment
proceedings. We have consistently ruled that when the dismissal or termination of the case is made at the
instance of the accused, there is no double jeopardy.[48]
Petitioner stubbornly clings to the contention that he is entitled to absolute immunity from suit. His
arguments are merely recycled and we need not prolong the longevity of the debate on the subject. In our
Decision, we exhaustively traced the origin of executive immunity in our jurisdiction and its bends and turns
up to the present time. We held that given the intent of the 1987 Constitution to breathe life to the policy that

a public office is a public trust, the petitioner, as a non-sitting President, cannot claim executive
immunity for his alleged criminal acts committed while a sitting President. Petitioners rehashed
arguments including their thinly disguised new spins are based on the rejected contention that he is still
President, albeit, a President on leave. His stance that his immunity covers his entire term of office or until
June 30, 2004 disregards the reality that he has relinquished the presidency and there is now a new de
jure President.
Petitioner goes a step further and avers that even a non-sitting President enjoys immunity from suit
during his term of office. He buttresses his position with the deliberations of the Constitutional
Commission, viz:
Mr. Suarez. Thank you.
The last question is with reference to the Committees omitting in the draft proposal the immunity provision
for the President. I agree with Commissioner Nolledo that the Committee did very well in striking out this
second sentence, at the very least, of the original provision on immunity from suit under the 1973
Constitution. But would the Committee members not agree to a restoration of at least the first sentence that
the President shall be immune from suit during his tenure, considering that if we do not provide him that
kind of an immunity, he might be spending all his time facing litigations, as the President-in-exile in Hawaii is
now facing litigations almost daily?
Fr. Bernas: The reason for the omission is that we consider it understood in present jurisprudence that
during his tenure he is immune from suit.
Mr. Suarez: So there is no need to express it here.
Fr. Bernas: There is no need. It was that way before. The only innovation made by the 1973 Constitution
was to make that explicit and to add other things.
Mr. Suarez; On the understanding, I will not press for any more query, madam President.
I thank the Commissioner for the clarification.[49]
Petitioner, however, fails to distinguish between term and tenure. The term means the time
during which the officer may claim to hold the office as of right, and fixes the interval after which the several
incumbents shall succeed one another. The tenure represents the term during which the incumbent actually
holds office. The tenure may be shorter than the term for reasons within or beyond the power of the
incumbent.[50] From the deliberations, the intent of the framers is clear that the immunity of the
president from suit is concurrent only with his tenure and not his term.
Indeed, petitioners stubborn stance cannot but bolster the belief that the cases at bar were filed not
really for petitioner to reclaim the presidency but just to take advantage of the immunity attached to the
presidency and thus, derail the investigation of the criminal cases pending against him in the Office of the
Ombudsman.

Prejudicial Publicity on the Ombudsman

Petitioner hangs tough on his submission that his due process rights to a fair trial have been prejudiced
by pre-trial publicity. In our Decision, we held that there is not enough evidence to sustain petitioners claim of
prejudicial publicity. Unconvinced, petitioner alleges that the vivid narration of events in our Decision itself
proves the pervasiveness of the prejudicial publicity. He then posits the thesis that doubtless, the national
fixation with the probable guilt of petitioner fueled by the hate campaign launched by some high circulation
newspaper and by the bully pulpit of priests and bishops left indelible impression on all sectors of the
citizenry and all regions, so harsh and so pervasive that the prosecution and the judiciary can no longer
assure petitioner a sporting chance.[51] To be sure, petitioner engages in exageration when he alleges
that all sectors of the citizenry and all regions have been irrevocably influenced by this barrage of prejudicial

publicity. This exaggeration collides with petitioners claim that he still enjoys the support of the
majority of our people, especially the masses.
Petitioner pleads that we apply the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur (the thing or the transaction speaks for
itself) to support his argument. Under the res ipsa loquitur rule in its broad sense, the fact of the
occurrence of an injury, taken with the surrounding circumstances, may permit an inference or raise a
presumption of negligence, or make out a plaintiffs prima facie case, and present a question of fact for
defendant to meet with an explanation.[52] It is not a rule of substantive law but more a procedural rule. Its
mere invocation does not exempt the plaintiff with the requirement of proof to prove negligence. It merely
allows the plaintiff to present along with the proof of the accident, enough of the attending circumstances to
invoke the doctrine, creating an inference or presumption of negligence and to thereby place on the
defendant the burden of going forward with the proof. [53]
We hold that it is inappropriate to apply the rule on res ipsa loquitur, a rule usually applied only in
tort cases, to the cases at bar. Indeed, there is no court in the whole world that has applied the res
ipsa loquitur rule to resolve the issue of prejudicial publicity. We again stress that the issue before us
is whether the alleged pervasive publicity of the cases against the petitioner has prejudiced the minds of the
members of the panel of investigators. We reiterate the test we laid down in People v. Teehankee,[54] to
resolve this issue,viz:
We cannot sustain appellants claim that he was denied the right to impartial trial due to prejudicial
publicity. It is true that the print and broadcast media gave the case at bar pervasive publicity, just like all
high profile and high stake criminal trials. Then and now, we rule that the right of an accused to a fair trial is
not incompatible to a free press. To be sure, responsible reporting enhances an accuseds right to a fair trial
for, as well pointed out , a responsible press has always been regarded as the handmaiden of effective
judicial administration, especially in the criminal field x x x. The press does not simply publish information
about trials but guards against the miscarriage of justice by subjecting the police, prosecutors, and judicial
processes to extensive public scrutiny and criticism.
Pervasive publicity is not per se prejudicial to the right of an accused to fair trial. The mere fact that the trial
of appellant was given a day-to-day, gavel-to-gavel coverage does not by itself prove that the publicity so
permeated the mind of the trial judge and impaired his impartiality. For one, it is impossible to seal the minds
of members of the bench from pre-trial and other off-court publicity of sensational criminal cases. The state of
the art of our communication system brings news as hey happen straight to our breakfast tables and right to
our bedrooms. These news form part of our everyday menu of the facts and fictions of life. For another, our
idea of a fair and impartial judge is not that of a hermit who is out of touch with the world. We have not
installed the jury system whose members are overly protected from publicity lest they lost their impartiality. x
x x x x x x x x. Our judges are learned in the law and trained to disregard off-court evidence and on-camera
performances of parties to a litigation. Their mere exposure to publications and publicity stunts does not per
se fatally infect their impartiality.
At best, appellant can only conjure possibility of prejudice on the part of the trial judge due to the barrage of
publicity that characterized the investigation and trial of the case. InMartelino, et al. v. Alejandro, et al., we
rejected this standard of possibility of prejudice and adopted the test of actual prejudice as we ruled that to
warrant a finding of prejudicial publicity, there must be allegation and proof that the judges have been unduly
influenced, not simply that they might be, by the barrage of publicity. In the case at bar, the records do not
show that the trial judge developed actual bias against appellant as a consequence of the extensive media
coverage of the pre-trial and trial of his case. The totality of circumstances of the case does not prove that
the trial judge acquired a fixed opinion as a result of prejudicial publicity which is incapable of change even
by evidence presented during the trial. Appellant has the burden to prove this actual bias and he has not
discharged the burden.
Petitioner keeps on pounding on the adverse publicity against him but fails to prove how the
impartiality of the panel of investigators from the Office of the Ombudsman has been infected by
it. As we held before and we hold it again, petitioner has completely failed to adduce any proof of actual
prejudice developed by the members of the Panel of Investigators. This fact must be established by clear
and convincing evidence and cannot be left to loose surmises and conjectures. In fact, petitioner did not even
identify the members of the Panel of Investigators. We cannot replace this test of actual prejudice with the
rule of res ipsa loquitur as suggested by the petitioner. The latter rule assumes that an injury (i.e.,
prejudicial publicity) has been suffered and then shifts the burden to the panel of investigators to prove that
the impartiality of its members has been affected by said publicity. Such a rule will overturn our case law that
pervasive publicity is not per se prejudicial to the right of an accused to fair trial. The cases are not wanting

where an accused has been acquitted despite pervasive publicity. [55] For this reason, we continue to hold that
it is not enough for petitioner to conjure possibility of prejudice but must prove actual prejudice on
the part of his investigators for the Court to sustain his plea. It is plain that petitioner has failed to do so.
Petitioner agains suggests that the Court should order a 2-month cooling off period to allow passions to
subside and hopefully the alleged prejudicial publicity against him would die down. We regret not to
acquiesce to the proposal. There is no assurance that the so called 2-month cooling off period will achieve its
purpose. The investigation of the petitioner is a natural media event. It is the first time in our history that a
President will be investigated by the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged commission of heinous crimes
while a sitting President. His investigation will even be monitored by the foreign press all over the world in
view of its legal and historic significance. In other words, petitioner cannot avoid the kleiglight of
publicity. But what is important for the petitioner is that his constitutional rights are not violated
in the process of investigation. For this reason, we have warned the respondent Ombudsman in our
Decision to conduct petitioners preliminary investigation in a circus-free atmosphere. Petitioner is
represented by brilliant legal minds who can protect his right as an accused.

VI

Recusation

Finally, petitioner prays that the members of this Honorable Court who went to EDSA put on record who
they were and consider recusing or inhibiting themselves, particularly those who had ex-parte contacts with
those exerting pressure on this Honorable Court, as mentioned in our Motion of March 9, 2001, given the
need for the cold neutrality of impartial judges.[56]
We hold that the prayer lacks merit. There is no ground to inhibit the twelve (12) members of the
Court who merely accepted the invitation of the respondent Arroyo to attend her oath taking. As mere
spectators of a historic event, said members of the Court did not prejudge the legal basis of the claim of
respondent Arroyo to the presidency at the time she took her oath. Indeed, the Court in its en banc resolution
on January 22, 2001, the first working day after respondent Arroyo took her oath as President, held in
Administrative Matter No. 01-1-05 SC, to wit:
A.M. No. 01-1-05-SC In re: Request for Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to Take Her Oath of Office as
President of the Republic of the Philippines before the Chief Justice Acting on the urgent request of Vice
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to be sworn in as President of the Republic of the Philippines, addressed to
the Chief Justice and confirmed by a letter to the Court, dated January 20, 2001, which request was treated as
an administrative matter, the court Resolved unanimously to confirm the authority given by the twelve (12)
members of the Court then present to the Chief Justice on January 20, 2001 to administer the oath of office to
Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as President of the Philippines, at noon of January 20, 2001.
This resolution is without prejudice to the disposition of any justiciable case that may be filed by a proper
party.
The above resolution was unanimously passed by the 15 members of the Court. It should be clear
from the resolution that the Court did not treat the letter of respondent Arroyo to be administered the oath by
Chief Justice Davide, Jr., as a case but as an administrative matter. If it were considered as a case, then
petitioner has reason to fear that the Court has predetermined the legitimacy of the claim of
respondent Arroyo to the presidency. To dispel the erroneous notion, the Court precisely treated
the letter as an administrative matter and emphasized that it was without prejudice to the
disposition of any justiciable case that may be filed by a proper party. In further clarification, the
Court on February 20, 2001 issued another resolution to inform the parties and the public that it xxx did
not issue a resolution on January 20, 2001 declaring the office of the President vacant and that neither did
the Chief Justice issue a press statement justifying the alleged resolution. Thus, there is no reason for
petitioner to request for the said twelve (12) justices to recuse themselves. To be sure, a motion
to inhibit filed by a party after losing his case is suspect and is regarded with general disfavor.
Moreover, to disqualify any of the members of the Court, particularly a majority of them, is nothing short
of pro tanto depriving the Court itself of its jurisdiction as established by the fundamental

law. Disqualification of a judge is a deprivation of his judicial power. And if that judge is the one designated by
the Constitution to exercise the jurisdiction of his court, as is the case with the Justices of this Court, the
deprivation of his or their judicial power is equivalent to the deprivation of the judicial power of the court
itself. It affects the very heart of judicial independence. [57] The proposed mass disqualification, if sanctioned
and ordered, would leave the Court no alternative but to abandon a duty which it cannot lawfully discharge if
shorn of the participation of its entire membership of Justices.[58]
IN VIEW WHEREOF, petitioners Motion for Reconsideration in G.R. Nos. 146710-15 and his Omnibus
Motion in G.R. No. 146738 are DENIED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.

[A.M. No. P-03-1708. February 16, 2005]

ATTY. JOSE R. ORTIZ, JR., Clerk of Court VI, Metropolitan Trial Court, Quezon City, complainant,
vs. LARRY DE GUZMAN, Branch Clerk of Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 31, Quezon
City, respondent.
RESOLUTION
PER CURIAM:
This administrative case stems from the letter[1] of Atty. Jose R. Ortiz, Jr.,[2] regarding falsified receipts and
other documents emanating from Branch 31, Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Quezon City. The falsifications
were allegedly committed by respondent branch clerk of court Larry de Guzman. [3]
Atty. Ortizs initial investigation[4] revealed that on various dates, respondent demanded and received
cash bond deposits in violation of standing regulations of this Court. After issuing either fake receipts or
unauthorized provisional receipts, he then overstepped the limits of his authority by ordering jail officers to
release the accused in each of the following cases:
Parties

Case No.

Provisional
ReceiptFake Rece
ipt No.

Date
ofIssuance

Amount

PP vs. Orlando Barlaan

31-10609

8903326

8-20-98

P 5,000.00

PP vs. Nympha
Magalona

31-42077-82

Prov. Rec.

undated

26,000.00

PP vs. Bernadeth A.
Ramos

31-42823

8903327

7-24-98

15,000.00

PP vs. Rolando Noynay

31-14170

13490965

11-22-00

3,000.00

PP vs. Florence Pua

31-107377

written notice

undated

5,000.00

PP vs. Dandy L.
Dimapiles

31-110282 &
35279

4,000.00

According to Atty. Ortiz, the falsifications committed were apparent after comparing the fake receipts
with the original receipts duly issued by the property division of the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) of
the Supreme Court.
He requested that a formal investigation be conducted.
Meanwhile, Judge Henri Jean-Paul Inting[5] brought to the attention of the Honorable Chief Justice Hilario
G. Davide, Jr. other irregularities respondent was involved in. He submitted to the Deputy Court Administrator
photocopies of complaints, fake receipts and a copy of a criminal complaint [6] for falsification of public
document and estafa against respondent.
A second report[7] was submitted, as follows:
Parties

Case No.

PP vs. Jeremy S. Ong

31-014826

PP vs. Onofre
Timbang

31-103558

PP vs. Ruth Timbang

Provisional
Receipt
Fake Receipt No.

Date
ofIssuance

Amount

3-07-01

P5,000.00

12586906

5-15-01

1,000.00

31-103558

12586907

5-15-01

1,000.00

PP vs. Grace
Timbang

31-103558

12586908

5-15-01

1,000.00

PP vs. Feliciano
Legaspi

31-109136

Prov. Rec.

3-08-02

12,000.00

PP vs. Adela Vidad

31-97114

11770955

8-18-00

1,500.00

PP vs. Remedios
Cullamco

31-102927

13490968

12-14-00

1,000.00

On November 25, 2002, the OCA recommended that respondent be suspended and ordered to comment
on the allegations against him.
The OCA also noted the arrest of respondent in an entrapment operation conducted by the National
Bureau of Investigation. Together with another court employee, he was caught extorting P5,000 from a
winning party litigant for the implementation of a certain court decision. This case is now the subject of A.M.
No. 02-8-198.[8] The Third Division of this Court then issued a resolution [9] placing respondent under
preventive suspension pending the investigation of the case.
A third report[10] was submitted on January 9, 2003, as follows:

Complainants

Case No.

Provisional
Receipt
Fake Receipt No.

Date
ofIssuance

Ana Marie J.
Carticiano

Amount

3,000.00

Teodorico C. Braga,
Jr.

7-23-02

2,500.00

Jovito Arias

31-104546

12586893

3-22-01

12,000.00

SPO3 Ariel &


Engracia Aguilar

31-84391

6323262-63

6-6-97

2,000.00

Maria Ting

31-56584

20293697

3-22-99

10,000.00

Susan Gallardo

42-48651

Jimmy Tong

31-107576

45,000.00

12327477

9-19-01

12,000.00

This report was also referred to the OCA for evaluation, report and recommendation.
On April 21, 2003, the OCA issued a resolution again directing the respondent to comment on the
allegations against him. Atty. Ortiz was also directed to submit an additional report to then Executive Judge
Jose Catral Mendoza[11] who was tasked to conduct an investigation on the matter.
However, on April 23, 2003, in A.M No. 03-3-71-MeTC, the Third Division of this Court resolved to drop the
respondent from the rolls for going on AWOL beginning October 3, 2002. His salaries and benefits were
likewise ordered withheld.
Nonetheless, the investigation of the case at hand continued.
On June 18, 2003, the Third Division adopted the April 21, 2003 resolution of the OCA.
On September 3, 2003, additional cases of falsified receipts were reported, as follows:
Complainants

Case No.

Provisional

Date of
Issuance

Amount

Receipt No. / Fake


Receipt No.

1. SPO4 Feliciano U.
Panitan

99758

11770953

5-8-2000

P6,000.00

2. Maristela G. Fandino

71797-807

11297817-27

8-15-1999

P32,000.00

Due to the promotion of Executive Judge Mendoza to the Court of Appeals, Executive Judge Natividad A.
Giron-Dizon[12] took over the investigation. Pertinent portions of her report and recommendation [13] follow.
From the evidence adduced in this administrative matter, the Investigating Judge is persuaded that
complainant has preponderantly established his charge against the herein respondent. The evidence is
overwhelming that respondent issued fake and provisional receipts of cash bonds for the provisional liberty of
several accused. Despite all opportunities accorded to respondent to appear and present his countervailing
evidence, he failed to do so. Hence, respondents silence may be considered as an implied admission of guilt.
By issuing fake and provisional receipts covering the [accuseds] cash bonds and the proceeds thereof
converted to respondents own benefit, to the damage and prejudice of the accused who posted said cash
bonds, (he) blatantly degraded the judiciary and diminished the respect and regard of the people to the court
and its personnel. Every employee of the judiciary should be an example of integrity, morality and honesty.
In this administrative case, the respondents acts constitute serious misconduct, dishonesty and conduct
unbecoming of a public servant. Hence, respondent does not deserve to stay any minute longer in the judicial
service.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, it is hereby recommended that respondent LARRY DE GUZMAN,
Branch Clerk of Court, Branch 31 Metropolitan Trial Court, Quezon City, be DISMISSED from the service
considering the gravity of the charge against him, with forfeiture of all his benefits and with prejudice to reemployment in any branch or instrumentality of the government and also for the filing of the corresponding
criminal case.
Finally, on March 18, 2004, the OCA issued its resolution: [14]
WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, it is respectfully recommended to this Honorable Court that:
1] respondent Larry de Guzman, Branch Clerk of Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Quezon City, Branch 31, be
held liable for unauthorized collection of cash bond and falsification of official receipts and thus
be DISMISSED from the service with FORFEITURE of all retirement benefits including the monetary value of
his terminal leave benefits; and
2] respondent is further DISQUALIFIED from being re-employed in any branch, agency, or instrumentality of
the government, including government-owned-and-controlled corporations and government financial
institutions.
We affirm.
It is noteworthy that throughout the entire process, and despite the many opportunities given to
respondent, he refused to comment and present his side. The gravity of the charges and the weight of the
evidence against him would have prompted an innocent man to come out and clear his name. However, he
opted to maintain his silence.
The respondents refusal to face the charges against him head-on is contrary to the principle in criminal
law that the first impulse of an innocent man, when accused of wrongdoing, is to express his innocence at
the first opportune time.[15] For his silence and inaction can easily be misinterpreted as a defiance to the
directives issued, or worse, an admission of guilt.
We are therefore inclined to believe that the respondent is guilty of all the charges against him.
First, in demanding and receiving cash bond deposits without authority, respondent, as branch clerk of
court, committed grave misconduct. This is in line with our ruling in Madrid v. Ramirez:[16]
Supreme Court Circular No. 13-92 dated March 1, 1992 enumerates the guidelines to be followed in making
deposits or withdrawals of all collections from bailbonds, rental deposits and other fiduciary collections. The
said circular is addressed to executive judges and clerks of court. It goes without saying, that fiduciary
collections ought to be the responsibility of the clerk of court, not the branch clerk of court. This is to
ensure that all the money received in trust are duly accounted for.
xxx xxx xxx

The mere fact that Supreme Court Circular No. 13-92 is addressed to executive judges and clerks of court will
not exculpate respondent from administrative sanction for its violation. With more reason, he should have
turned over the money to the clerk of court and made sure that the official receipt therefore had been issued
since the latter is the custodian of official receipts and fiduciary collections of the court. (emphasis ours)
Second, apart from the unauthorized collection of cash bond deposits, respondent issued fake receipts
and unauthorized provisional receipts. Such can only be classified as dishonesty.
We have repeatedly warned clerks of court that dishonesty will not be countenanced as they definitely
denigrate the image of courts of justice as havens of thievery and corruption. This Court has not and will
never tolerate nor condone any conduct which will violate the norms of public accountability, and diminish or
even tend to diminish the faith of the people in the justice system. [17]
Third, issuing orders of release to jail officers was clearly not part of his duties. The issuance of a release
order is a judicial function, not an administrative one. He had no power to order the commitment or the
release on bail of persons charged with penal offenses. In so doing, he arrogated to himself the authority to
exercise judicial discretion and overstepped the boundaries of his function. [18]
We believe respondent is guilty of grave misconduct and dishonesty. The inculpatory acts committed by
him are so grave as to call for the most severe administrative penalty. Dishonesty and grave misconduct,
both being in the nature of a grave offense, carry the extreme penalty of dismissal from service with
forfeiture of retirement benefits except accrued leave credits, and perpetual disqualification for reemployment in the government service. This penalty is in accordance with Sections 52 and 58 of the Revised
Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service.
WHEREFORE, respondent Larry de Guzman is hereby found GUILTY of DISHONESTY and GRAVE
MISCONDUCT and is hereby DISMISSED from the service with forfeiture of retirement benefits except accrued
leave credits, if any, and with prejudice to re-employment in any branch or instrumentality of the
government, including government-owned and controlled corporations. This is without prejudice to any
criminal complaints that may be filed against him.
Let a copy of this decision be attached to respondents personnel records in this Court.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-7973

April 27, 1959

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
CENON SERRANO alias PIPING, ET AL., defendants.
DOMINGO CADIANG, SANTIAGO YUMUL and FILEMON CENZON, defendants-appellants.
First Assistant Solicitor General Guillermo E. Torres for appellee.
Santos, Valencia and Cenzon for appellants.
PADILLA, J.:
Domingo Cadiang, Santiago Yumul and Filemon Cenzon appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance
of Pampanga finding them and their co-defendants, who did not appeal, guilty of murder for the death of
Pablo Navarro and sentencing them to suffer reclusion perpetua and to pay indemnity and the proportionate
share in the costs (Criminal Case No. 1262).
In the evening of 16 October 1950, between 8:00 and 9:00 o'clock, Eulogio Serrano told Cenon
Serrano aliasPiping, Domingo Cadiang, Santiago Yumul, Filemon Cenzon and Anastacio Reyes then gathered
at the sala of the house of the first in the barrio of Potrero, Bacolor, Pampanga, that Pablo Navarro had been
including and prompting people to call on Senator Pablo Angeles David and testify on the Maliwalu massacre,
and for that reason he manifested to them his desire and plan to do away with Navarro. Eulogio Serrano
instructed them to wait for Navarro in the town of Bacolor, lure him to go with them to barrio Dolores and
there kill him. After disclosing to them his plan, Eulogio Serrano told them to go to sleep at the post of the

civilian guards near his house. In pursuance of the plan, the next day (17 October), Cenon
Serrano alias Piping, Domingo Cadiang, Santiago Yumul, Filemon Cenzon and Anastacio Reyes waited for
Pablo Navarro at the gambling casino and Chinese stores in the town of Bacolor where he used to hang
around. Navarro did not show up that day. The following day (18 October), the group waited for him at the
same places. This time Navarro showed up at the gambling casino and Cenon Serrano aliasPiping promptly
invited him to a drink but Navarro declined saying that he was going somewhere. On 19 October, the group
again waited for their quarry at the same places but failed to make contact with him as he did not show up.
At about 10:00 o'clock in the morning of 20 October, the group waited for Navarro in the same places.
Navarro arrived at the gambling casino between 1:00 and 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon. Cenon
Serrano alias Piping asked him for some drinks. Navarro ordered some drinks and all in the group except
Cenon Serrano alias Piping drank. After drinking the contents of six bottles of Black Dog gin, Orange Wine and
Sy Hoc Tong wine, Navarro asked Cenon Serrano alias Piping whether what they had drunk was enough, and
the latter answered "No, look for some more." Navarro left the gambling casino, went to the market place
about 20 meters away and came back accompanied by Simplicio Manguerra bringing four bottles of Orange
wine and Sy Hoc Tong wine. Simplicio Manguerra joined the party and all except Cenon Serrano alias Piping
drank the four bottles of wine. While the spree was going on, Cenon Serrano alias Piping suggested to Pablo
Navarro that they should go to San Fernando for a "good time," to which suggestion Navarro agreed. Cenon
Serrano alias Piping sent out Domingo Cadiang to look for a jeep, and Cading returned with an auto calesa
jeep driven by Marcelino Sicate. After drinking the four bottles of wine, Cenon Serranoalias Piping, Domingo
Cadiang, Santiago Yumul, Filemon Cenzon, Pablo Navarro, Simplicio Manguerra and Anastacio Reyes boarded
the jeep, the first and the last sitting at the front with the driver and the rest inside. From the gambling casino
the party repaired to Don Q gasoline station to refuel and proceeded to San Fernando. But before reaching
San Fernando, Cenon Serrano alias Piping remarked that "there is no use having a good time" in San
Fernando and suggested that they should proceed to Angeles for the "good time" which suggestion Navarro
approved. On the way to Angeles Cenon Serrano alias Piping ordered the driver to stop at Tony's Place in San
Fernando to buy some more wine. After buying another jar of San Miguel gin, part of which Navarro who was
already drunk was made to drink, the party resumed their trip; but upon reaching a small road near the
schoolhouse of barrio San Isidro, Cenon Serrano alias Piping told the driver to proceed to barrio Dolores,
Bacolor, where they arrived at about 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon. There Cenon Serrano alias Piping
dismissed the driver of the jeep. At barrio Dolores, the group passed by the house of Simeon Dizon, the barrio
lieutenant, told him to come down and ordered him to call for some temporary policemen. Upon seeing
Benjamin Tolentino at the house of Dizon, Cenon Serranoalias Piping beckoned and ordered Tolentino to tie
Navarro's hands with rope. Upon Cenon Serrano's order Felipe Garcia, a civilian guard who came with Simeon
Dizon, pointed a gun at Navarro. The latter asked Cenon Serranoalias Piping why he was being tied and
Cenon Serrano alias Piping answered "You deserve to be tied up because you are against us." Navarro was
brought to the stockade of the civilian guards where he was questioned and accused Cenon
Serrano alias Piping of bringing witnesses to the house of Senator Pablo Angeles David to testify on the
Maliwalu massacre. As Navarro denied the charge, Cenon Serrano alias Piping hit Navarro with his fist, struck
him with the butt of his .45 caliber pistol and ordered Domingo Cadiang to beat up Navarro. Cadiang did as he
was ordered by beating up Navarro with a piece of bamboo about 4 inches in diameter and less than a meter
long. As a result of the beating Navarro fell down. Cenon Serrano alias Piping kicked him and ordered him to
rise, and as Navarro was rising Cadiang hit him on the back, so Navarro again fell down. Cenon
Serrano alias Piping then told Filemon Cenzon to beat up Navarro and Cenzon with the same piece of bamboo
struck Navarro on his back about the waistline as he made an effort to stand up. Cenon Serrano alias Piping
returned to where the jeep was parked and ordered Felipe Garcia to tie the hands of Simplicio Manguerra.
Upon hearing the order of Cenon Serrano aliasPiping, Simplicio Manguerra asked whether he was to be killed.
Cenon Serrano answered "I will also have you killed, you son of a whole." Manguerra clung to Anastacio Reyes
begging for mercy but the latter disengaged himself from him. Cenon Serrano alias Piping pushed Manguerra
and ordered Santiago Yumul to beat him up. Santiago Yumul hit Manguerra with a pestle on the back.
Manguerra fell to the ground. Then Cenon Serrano alias Piping ordered Domingo Cadian and Felipe Garcia to
bring Manguerra to the post behind the stockade. At this juncture Basilio de Guzman arrived and was ordered
by Cenon Serrano alias Piping to kill Manguerra. De Guzman and Garcia brought Manguerra to a field in
Dolores where De Guzman dug a pit while Garcia stood guard; and after digging the pit De Guzman shot
Manguerra twice and shoved Manguerra's body in the pit and covered it with earth. Afterwards, Cenon

Serrano alias Piping, Domingo Cadiang, Santiago Yumul, Filemon Cenzon and Anastacio Reyes repaired to the
house of Eulogio Serrano in barrio Potrero to report to him that the two victims were already in barrio Dolores,
arriving at barrio Potrero at past 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon. As Eulogio Serrano was not in his house when
Cenon Serrano alias Piping arrived, the latter boarded the jeep of the late Maximino Serrano and drove on it
to the town of Bacolor together with Domingo Cadiang, Santiago Yumul, Filemon Cenzon and Anastacio
Reyes. Upon reaching the second bridge at barrio San Antonio on the way to Bacolor, Santiago Yumul
alighted. The rest resumed driving to town and met Eulogio Serrano that the two men were already in barrio
Dolores. Eulogio told Cenon that he would go to Dolores. Domingo Cadiang was left in the barrio of San
Antonio while Filemon Cenzon, Cenon Serrano aliasPiping and Anastacio Reyes proceeded to the town of
Bacolor.
In the afternoon of 20 October 1950, while Emiliano Manalo known also as Isaias, a civilian guard, was in his
house at barrio Dolores, Bacolor, Pampanga, Benjamin Tolentino came and asked him to help him dig a pit at
Sitio Castilang Malati, barrio Dolores, to bury a dead horse of Atilano Gopez. He acceded to his request and
helped Tolentino did it. After digging the pit he went home and then proceeded to his post in Sitio Pigulut
Mauli, barrio Dolores. Upon reaching his post he was called by Eulogio Serrano who was outside the stockade
together with Atilano Gopez, Melchor Esguerra and Benjamin Tolentino talking with another person inside the
stockade who he later on learned was Pablo Navarro. He heard Eulogio Serrano ask "Ambo, are you the one
bringing those people from Maliwalu to Don Pablo? Navarro answered that he was not the one. Eulogio
Serrano then told Atilano Gopez to take Pablo Navarro out of the stockade and to bring him along with them
(Eulogio Serrano, Atilano Gopez, Benjamin Tolentino, Melchor Esguerra and Emiliano Manalo) to barrio Potrero.
When they reached sitio Castilang Malati Eulogio Serrano ordered Melchor Esguerra and Benjamin Tolentino
to shoot Pablo Navarro from behind. Melchor Esguerra and Benjamin Tolentino fired one shot each
simultaneously. Navarro fell down dead. Eulogio Serrano ordered them to bring the dead body of Pablo
Navarro to the pit that Benjamin Tolentino and Emiliano Manalo had dug and to cover it with earth.
Afterwards, they walked back to barrio Dolores. Sometime after the elections in November 1951, Atilano
Gopez ordered Emiliano Manalo and Benjamin Tolentino to exhume the bones of the late Pablo Navarro, put
them in a sack and threw them into a creek. On 6 December 1951 the chief of police of Bacolor, Benjamin
Tolentino, Melchor Esguerra, Eulogio Serrano and Emiliano Manalo, accompanied by Constabulary soldiers,
exhumed the bones of the late Pablo Navarro.
On 17 December 1951, Cenon Serrano alias Piping, Benjamin Tolentino, Melchor Esguerra, Domingo Cadiang,
Santiago Yumul, Filemon Cenzon and Anastacio Reyes were charged with illegal detention with murder for the
death of Pablo Navarro in an information filed by the provincial fiscal of Pampanga. On 12 February 1952,
upon motion of the assistant provincial fiscal, the Court ordered the discharge of Anastacio Reyes from the
information to testify as witness for the prosecution. Eulogio Serrano was charged with the same crime in
criminal case No. 1819 but has not yet been apprehended. Cenon Serrano alias Piping charged with the same
crime was also at large but later on arrested and brought to trial with his co-defendants in both criminal cases
for the death of Pablo Navarro (case No. 1262) and for the death of Simplicio Manguerra (case No. 1263). The
evidence for the prosecution heard against his co-defendants before his arrest and arraignment was again
presented to afford him the opportunity to confront and cross-examine the witnesses.
After a joint trial with criminal case No. 1263 for the death of Simplicio Manguerra, the Court found.
. . . Cenon Serrano alias Piping, Benjamin Tolentino, Melchor Esguerra, Domingo Cadiang, Santiago
Yumul and Filemon Cenzon guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder in Criminal Case
No. 1262 (for the death of Pablo Navarro) and, appreciating No aggravating or mitigating
circumstance, hereby sentences each to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. They are also
sentenced to indemnify, jointly and severally, the heirs of Pablo Navarro in the sum of P6,000.00 and
to pay their proportionate shares of the costs.
Only Domingo Cadiang, Santiago Yumul and Filemon Cenzon have appealed.

The appellants deny having been in the house of Eulogio Serrano at barrio Potrero, Bacolor, Pampanga, in the
evening of 16 October 1950, when Eulogio Serrano told them to lure Pablo Navarro to barrio Dolores and to
kill him there. Domingo Cadiang claims that on 16 October 1950 he was at the farm of Paquito Liongson in
the barrio of San Antonio helping his in-laws thresh palay that they had promised and agreed to do; and that
on 17, 18 and 19 October he was in the yard of his house cutting kapok trees for fuel. Filemon Cenzon claims
that on 16 October 1950, between 8:00 and 9:00 o'clock in the evening, he was on the market place of
Bacolor; that on 17 October up to the early morning of 18 October, he was at Bagac Bay hauling lumber; that
at about 11:00 o'clock in the morning of 18 October he was already in Bacolor where he refilled the tank of
his truck with petrol and thereafter he together with Juanito Bognot proceeded to Dagupan to deliver lumber
for his employer, Manuel Joseph, to the Liberty Lumber; and that he returned to Bacolor at about 11:00
o'clock in the morning of the next day, 19 October, and brought his truck to the garage of the company and
went home. Santiago Yumul, claims that from 16 to 19 October 1950 he was working as laborer for Martin
Tuason and Martin Yumul, claims that from 16 to 19 October 1950 he was working as laborer for Martin
Tuason to remove a railroad track of the Pampanga Sugar Development Company leading to Magalang,
Pampanga; and from that reason he could not have been with Eulogio Serrano, Cenon Serrano aliasPiping,
Domingo Cadiang and Filemon Cenzon in the evening of 16 October at the house of Eulogio Serrano, and
from 17 to 19 October in the town of Bacolor waiting for Pablo Navarro to carry out the plan of luring him to
barrio Dolores and there kill him. And although they admit to have been in the company of Cenon
Serrano alias Piping and Anastacio Reyes, who they claim brought Pablo Navarro and Simplicio Manguerra to
barrio Dolores in the jeep driven by Marcelino Sicat on 20 October 1950, yet they disclaim any knowledge of
the plot to kill them, and that if they ever took a hand in maltreating the victims it was out of fear to
Anastacio Reyes and Cenon Serrano aliasPiping, the latter ordering them to inflict injury upon the victims at
the point of a gun.
The weak defense of alibi put up by the appellants to disprove complicity in the murder of Pablo Navarro
cannot overcome the clear and positive testimony of Anastacio Reyes that they were at the house of Eulogio
Serrano in the evening of 16 October 1950 when the latter told them to lure Pablo Navarro to barrio Dolores
and there kill him; and that they were together on 17, 18 and 19 October waiting for Pablo Navarro in the
town of Bacolor to lure him to barrio Dolores, and on 20 October when they finally succeeded in luring him to
barrio Dolores where they killed him. It is difficult to believe that a man who had made up his mind to kill
another would bring along with him other persons who know nothing about the plan just to witness the
commission of the crime. If they were not in the know, as they contend, they also would have been done
away with right then and there, in the same way Simplicio Manguerra, who was not to be killed, had been
done away with, to prevent him from reporting to the authorities or from testifying against them in Court; or
they also would have been sent away upon arriving at barrio Dolores, in the same way that Marcelino Sicat,
the driver of the jeep on which they rode in going to the said barrio, was sent away. The way the appellants
were seated in the jeep in going to barrio Dolores-Anastacio Reyes and Cenon Serrano alias Piping at the front
seat with the driver and the three appellants on the two parallel seats inside the jeep-belies the assertion that
they were prevented by Cenon Serrano alias Piping and Anastacio Reyes from running away upon learning
that criminal act was to be committed. The assertion that Cenon Serrano alias Piping pointed his gun at them
at the gasoline station, where they stopped to refuel, to prevent them from deserting, is unbelievable,
because the gasoline station is located in the heart of the town of Bacolor, in a busy street where the
slightest commotion or any sign of distress would easily draw the attention of the nearby traffic officer
directing the traffic.
The fact that in the evening of 16 October 1950, the three appellants and their co-defendants were gathered
at the house of Eulogio Serrano, over-all commander of the civilian guard and temporary police organizations,
who ordered them to lure Pablo Navarro to barrio Dolores and to kill him there, because he had been
including and prompting people to call on Senator Pablo Angeles David to inform him about and to testify on
the Maliwalu massacre; that pursuant to the plan laid out by Eulogio Serrano, from 17 to 20 October 1950 the
appellants joined Cenon Serranoalias Piping and Anastacio Reyes in waiting for Pablo Navarro at the gambling
casino and Chinese stores in the town of Bacolor where he used to frequent; that they were actually with
Cenon Serrano alias Piping and Anastacio Reyes when Pablo Navarro was lured to go to Dolores on the pretext
of going to San Fernando and then to Angeles for a "good time" after a drinking spree in bacolor; that they

took turns in manhandling the victim as he was hogtied and rendered helpless; and the fact that the
appellants went into hiding after the incident together with Cenon Serrano alias Piping in the barrio of
Escribania, show that they were in league with Eulogio Serrano and Cenon Serrano alias Piping to kill Pablo
Navarro. Each of them is, therefore, guilty as co-principal.
The appellants contend further that in order that the testimony of a conspirator may be admissible in
evidence against his co-conspirator, it must appear and be shown by evidence other than the admission itself
that the conspiracy actually existed and that the person who is to be bound by the admission was a privy to
the conspiracy. And as there is nothing but the lone testimony of prosecution witness Anastacio Reyes, a coconspirator, the trial court erred in finding that conspiracy has been established and in convicting the
appellants based upon the lone testimony of their co-conspirator. The contention does not merit serious
consideration, because the rule that "The act or declaration of a conspirator relating to the conspiracy and
during its existence, may be given in evidence against the co-conspirator after the conspiracy is shown by
evidence other than such act or declaration,"1 applies only to extra-judicial acts or declaration, but not to
testimony given on the stand at the trial,2 where the defendant has the opportunity to cross-examine the
declarant. And while the testimony of accomplices or confederates in crime is always subject to grave
suspicion, "coming as it does from a polluted source," and should be received with great caution and
doubtingly examined, it is nevertheless admissible and competent. 3
The trial court did not err in convicting the appellants. For lack of sufficient number of votes to impose the
death penalty, the judgment appealed from is affirmed, with the proportionate costs against the appellants.

[G.R. No. 123542. June 26, 2001]


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ROGELIO BULOS, accused-appellant.
DECISION
GONZAGA-REYES, J.:
Elevated for our review is the conviction of the accused-appellant for the crime of rape, for which he was
sentenced to reclusion perpetua.[1] Pertinent portions of the information accusing him of the crime are as
follows:
Upon a complaint filed by the offended party Nancy P. Cordero, the undersigned accuses ROGELIO BULOS of
the crime of Rape under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, committed as follows:
That on or about December 3, 1992, in the Municipality of Panabo, Province of Davao, Philippines, and within
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, employing force and intimidation while
holding a knife, willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously had carnal knowledge of Nancy P. Cordero against her
will, to the damage and prejudice of the latter.
CONTRARY TO LAW.[2]
Both the offended party and the accused are working for spouses Mario and Delia Fariolan, who reside in
Barangay Dujali, Panabo, Davao. The offended party was the cook and general househelp while the accused
worked as a truck helper for the business of Mario Fariolan; they both stayed in the house of the Fariolans.
As testified to by Nancy Cordero, at about 3:00 in the afternoon of December 3, 1992, she was in her
room folding laundry when the accused suddenly entered, locked the door from inside, and closed the
window. At the time, the Fariolans were out of the house. She attempted to flee but the accused grabbed her

and threatened her with a hunting knife. Nancy shouted for help, but the accused told her to stop shouting or
he will kill her. She lost consciousness and when she came to, she found him on top of her and having carnal
knowledge of her. Soon after, a certain "Bong" or "Bobong", the accused's uncle who allegedly served as a
lookout, knocked on the door and warned that the Fariolans might be returning anytime soon. Before he left
her, the accused threatened the victim not to report the incident to anyone. After he had gone, Nancy
examined herself and discovered that she was bleeding. She did not dare tell anyone but wept alone in pain
and anger.[3]
At 5 o'clock the next morning, Nancy left the Fariolan residence for her house, also in Barangay Duwali,
where she told her mother of what happened. Immediately they reported the incident to the barangay
captain.[4] On the same day, the accused also left the house of the Fariolans and was nowhere to be located.
[5]
He only turned up on December 14, 1992, Upon which he was immediately arrested. [6]
The medical examination on Nancy Cordero conducted on December 14, 1992 revealed the following
findings:
Physical no findings noted in any part of her body.
External Examination of Perenium:
1) normal vaginal contour
2) moderate pubic hairs
3) hymen -noted healed lacerations at 2 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions
4) with moderate vaginal bleeding
5) inserted 2 fingers easily
Note: For referral to Regional Hospital for evaluation of vaginal bleeding and further management.
Under normal conditions and proper treatment and barring any untoward complications that may arise as a
result of the injury and or deeper involvement w/o may not be apparent at the time of the examination, the
above mentioned physical injuries may heal in about ___days. [7]
The examining doctor, Dr. Emelda T. Bendijo, testified that the lacerations could have been caused by the
introduction of a male penis into the vagina of the complainant. [8]
The defense sought to refute the accusations of Nancy Cordero, and presented witnesses to prove
alibi. The combined testimonies of Mario Fariolan, the employer of both the offended party and the accused,
and Conrado Perido, sought to establish that the accused was not at the Fariolans' house on the afternoon in
question but was vacationing in Tampakan, South Cotabato where he stayed at Perido's house. Fariolan
further testified that Nancy Cordero had indeed worked as a cook at their house but had left their employ on
November 16, 1992;[9] thus, the alleged rape on December 3, 1992 could not have happened because Nancy
Cordero and the accused were not in their house at said date. Fariolan also disputed Nancy's statement that
no one else was in the house on the afternoon of December 3, 1992 since they had another maid; moreover,
he and his wife and child were in fact in the house at the time. [10]
The accused himself also took the witness stand to refute the accusations of Nancy Cordero. He claimed
that he left the Fariolans house on November 18, 1992, to go with Roberto Perido or "Bobong" (the person
Nancy accused of acting as the lookout, and Conrado Perido's son to the latter's house in Tampakan, South
Cotabato. He said that he only returned to the Fariolans on December 7, 1992.

On rebuttal, Merson Cordero refuted the accused's claim that he was not with the Fariolans but in South
Cotabato on December 3, 1992. Cordero, a brother of the offended party, also worked as a helper at the rice
mill owned by the Fariolans. Cordero testified that the accused in fact left the Fariolans house only on
December 4, 1992, after he had already raped his sister; [11] he returned only on December 14, 1992, the day
he was also arrested.[12] Cordero also said that the accused in fact offered marriage to Nancy, [13] that the
Fariolan spouses actively persuaded Nancy to accept the offer of marriage, [14] and that Nancy
refused. Because Nancy turned down the accused's offer of marriage, the Fariolans informed Cordero that he
cannot work for them anymore.[15]
Two sur-rebuttal witnesses, Luna Tabayay and Delia Fariolan, reiterated the defense's position that Nancy
Cordero left work by November 16, 1992, and not December 4, 1992 as she alleged.
In rendering its decision, the trial court upheld the version of the offended party, finding that her acts
immediately after the incident attest to the truth of her accusations. [16]Although she told no one in the
Fariolan household about the rape, she left that house first thing in the morning after the incident and
reported the matter to her mother. They then sought the help of the barangay captain. When they looked for
the accused he was suddenly nowhere to be found.
In contrast, the testimonies of the defense witnesses struck the trial court as instructed and rehearsed,
and contrived merely to cover up for the crime of the accused. The trial court found it unusual that Mario
Fariolan would allow the accused to take an extended vacation leave when the latter had worked no more
than five months with him; moreover, Mario Fariolan simply accepted the accused's word that he was leaving
"to take a rest" without questioning where he was going. The corroborating accounts of Delia Fariolan, Mario's
wife, and Luna Tabayay, an employee of the Fariolans, were met with the same incredulity. Conrado Perido
was a relative of the accused by affinity; the trial court also gave scant consideration to his testimony that
the accused was at his farm and left only on December 4, 1992.
[17]

Citing decided cases that the sole testimony of the rape victim, even if uncorroborated but delivered in a
clear, straightforward, sincere, and convincing manner, is sufficient to convict, the trial court meted out a
judgment of conviction and declared:
WHEREFORE, consistent with all the foregoing premises, this Court finds the accused Rogelio Bulos guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape penalized under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as
charged in the information, and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, with all the
accessory penalties provided by law, to indemnify the offended party, Nancy Cordero, by way of moral
damages in the amount of P30,000.00; and by way of exemplary damages in the amount of P10,000.00, and
to pay the costs.[18]
This appeal imputes the following errors to the decision of the RTC:
1 The trial court erred in failing to consider the fact that the initial criminal complaint filed by the
complainant was against two (2) accused (Rogelio Bulos and alias "Bong") supported by her sworn
statement apparently showing conspiracy by the duo in the commission of the crime.
2. The trial Court erred in failing to consider the inconsistencies of complainant in her testimony in
order to properly assess her credibility.
3. The trial court erred in failing to properly consider the testimonies of defense witnesses especially
the spouses Fariolan who are the employers of both the complainant and the accused-appellant.
[19]

The criminal complaint filed by Nancy Cordero recounts that a certain "Bong" acted as the lookout while
accused-appellant assaulted and raped her in her room. Accused-appellant would convince us that the failure

of Nancy to pursue the charges against "Bong" is inconsistent with the allegations of her complaint and
should seriously undermine the credibility of her accusations.
This argument is threadbare and deserving of scant consideration. The non-inclusion of "Bong" as one of
the accused does not diminish accused-appellant's individual culpability, nor does it preclude the subsequent
filing of charges against the said "Bong" as an accomplice to the rape. If the intention of defense counsel was
to make it appear that Nancy changed her story since the filing of the complaint, he is proven wrong by the
transcripts which show that Nancy testified that "Bong" acted as the lookout during the rape.
Accused-appellant would also want us to examine the details of Nancy's testimony which he claims to be
fraught with inconsistencies, and to reconsider accused's alibi in the light of the testimony of the defense
witnesses, whom the trial court dismissed as biased witnesses. The alleged inconsistencies refer to the exact
time when the victim lost consciousness, whether the rape was committed before or after she lost
consciousness, and the presence of other people in the house when the rape was committed.
We find these so-called inconsistencies too inconsequential to merit the reversal of the trial court's
findings. A rape victim cannot be expected to remember or recount in utmost clarity and consistency the
details of her harrowing and humiliating experience. [20] If anything, inconsistencies on minor details project a
spontaneity and earnestness which render greater credibility to a rape account.
Contrary to accused-appellant's contentions, Nancy Cordero's testimony was straightforward, clear and
convincing.
ATTY. MILLAN
Q: You told us that suddenly, the accused entered your room. As soon as he got in, what did he do?
A: He locked the door.
Q: And then, what did he do?
A: He closed the window and held my hands.
Q: When he held your hands, what did you do?
A: I attempted to go outside, but he grabbed my hands and pointed a knife at me.
Q: You said you tried to run out of your room but you were stopped by the accused. What did you do next?
A: I shouted for help.
Q: And when you did that, what did the accused do?
A: He told me not to shout, or else I will be killed.
Q: And then?
A: That was the reason why I lost consciousness.
Q: You mean, you lost consciousness?
A: Yes, Sir.

Q: Thereafter, when you regained consciousness, what happened?


A: He, succeeded (in) his intention.
Q: More particularly or specifically, when you regained consciousness, where was the accused?
A: He was still on top of me.
Q: And what was he precisely doing?
A: I cried for help.
Q: My question is, what was he doing when you regained consciousness?
A: He was still on top of me, but he already succeeded (in) his intention.
Q: What was he doing actually?
A: He fucked me.
Q: And when you realized he was having carnal knowledge with you, what did you do?
A: I did not report the incident because I was warned by the accused not to report to my mother, or else I
will be killed.[21]
It is doctrinally settled that the lone testimony of the rape victim herself is competent to establish guilt,
where the same is found to be credible, convincing, and consistent with human nature and the normal course
of things.[22] This is because from the nature of the offense, the only evidence that can oftentimes be offered
to establish the guilt of the accused is the complainant's testimony. [23] The Court also considers that
ordinarily, no woman would be willing to undergo the humiliation of a public trial and testify to the details of
her ordeal were it not but a response to the compelling need to seek and obtain justice. [24] There is nothing in
this case to indicate that Nancy Cordero, an 18-year old cook and house helper, would have any motive to
falsely implicate the accused, in the process admitting to the stain to her modesty and honor, and losing her
humble means of employment; the logical conclusion is that her testimony is worthy of full faith and
credence.
Furthermore, Nancy's statements are corroborated by the medical certificate, which confirmed the
presence of healed vaginal lacerations. When testimony of rape is supported by physical findings of
penetration, there is sufficient foundation for concluding that there was carnal knowledge. [25] Lacerations,
whether healed or fresh, are the best physical evidence of forcible defloration. [26]
We also join the observation of the trial Court that Nancy Cordero's conduct after the rape renders
credibility to her accusations. We have held that the conduct of the victim immediately following the assault
is of utmost importance in establishing the truth or falsity of the charge of rape. [27] Here, Nancy lost no time in
fleeing the Fariolan residence to seek the help of her mother, and together report the matter to the
authorities.
A gratuitous disclaimer by accused-appellant cannot prevail over the positive identification of the
offended party, more so if the alibi is corroborated only by the accused's relatives and friends. [28] Accusedappellant argues that the Fariolan spouses, as the employers of both the offended party and accusedappellant, were not only unbiased witnesses but even shared with the offended party an interest in having
the perpetrator brought to ,justice as the rape was also effectively a desecration of their home. This
argument is unacceptable, however, in light of the spouses' active involvement in persuading Nancy to

accept accused-appellant's offer of marriage. It is certainly revealing of which employee they favor, and
where their biases lie.
The Court also takes into consideration the flight of accused-appellant the day after the rape, and his
offer of marriage to the victim after the incident had been reported to the authorities. As a rule in rape cases,
an offer of marriage to the offended party is an admission of guilt. [29]
Accused-appellant was charged with rape under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, before the
amendatory provisions of Republic Act No. 7659 took effect. With no attendant mitigating or aggravating
circumstances, the imposable penalty is reclusion perpetua.
As for the resulting indemnities, the trial court awarded only P30,000.00 by way of moral damages and
P10,000.00 as exemplary damages. Comfortably with recent case rulings,[30] we grant civil indemnity ex
delicto in the amount of P50,000.00, and increase the award of moral damages, to which the offended party
is entitled automatically and without need of proof, to P50,000.00. The award of exemplary damages is
deleted, no aggravating circumstance having attended the commission of the offense. [31]
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Davao is AFFIRMED, with the MODIFICATION that
accused-appellant Rogelio Bulos is ordered to pay P50,000.00 as moral damages. The award of exemplary
damages is deleted. No pronouncement as to cost.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 136975. March 31, 2005]


COMMISSION OF INTERNAL REVENUE, petitioner, vs. HANTEX TRADING CO., INC., respondent.
DECISION
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
Before us is a petition for review of the Decision [ 1 ] of the Court of Appeals (CA) which reversed the
Decision[ 2 ] of the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) in CTA Case No. 5126, upholding the deficiency income and sales
tax assessments against respondent Hantex Trading Co., Inc.
The Antecedents
The respondent is a corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the Philippines. Being
engaged in the sale of plastic products, it imports synthetic resin and other chemicals for the manufacture of
its products. For this purpose, it is required to file an Import Entry and Internal Revenue Declaration
(Consumption Entry) with the Bureau of Customs under Section 1301 of the Tariff and Customs Code.
Sometime in October 1989, Lt. Vicente Amoto, Acting Chief of Counter-Intelligence Division of the
Economic Intelligence and Investigation Bureau (EIIB), received confidential information that the respondent
had imported synthetic resin amounting to P115,599,018.00 but only declared P45,538,694.57.[ 3 ] According
to the informer, based on photocopies of 77 Consumption Entries furnished by another informer, the 1987
importations of the respondent were understated in its accounting records. [ 4 ] Amoto submitted a report to
the EIIB Commissioner recommending that an inventory audit of the respondent be conducted by the Internal
Inquiry and Prosecution Office (IIPO) of the EIIB.[ 5 ]

Acting on the said report, Jose T. Almonte, then Commissioner of the EIIB, issued Mission Order No. 39889[ 6 ] dated November 14, 1989 for the audit and investigation of the importations of Hantex for 1987. The
IIPO issued subpoena duces tecum and ad testificandum for the president and general manager of the
respondent to appear in a hearing and bring the following:
1. Books of Accounts for the year 1987;
2. Record of Importations of Synthetic Resin and Calcium Carbonate for the year 1987;
3. Income tax returns & attachments for 1987; and
4. Record of tax payments.[ 7 ]
However, the respondents president and general manager refused to comply with the subpoena,
contending that its books of accounts and records of importation of synthetic resin and calcium bicarbonate
had been investigated repeatedly by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on prior occasions. [ 8 ] The IIPO
explained that despite such previous investigations, the EIIB was still authorized to conduct an investigation
pursuant to Section 26-A of Executive Order No. 127. Still, the respondent refused to comply with the
subpoena issued by the IIPO. The latter forthwith secured certified copies of the Profit and Loss Statements
for 1987 filed by the respondent with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). [ 9 ] However, the IIPO
failed to secure certified copies of the respondents 1987 Consumption Entries from the Bureau of Customs
since, according to the custodian thereof, the original copies had been eaten by termites. [ 1 0 ]
In a Letter dated June 28, 1990, the IIPO requested the Chief of the Collection Division, Manila
International Container Port, and the Acting Chief of the Collection Division, Port of Manila, to authenticate the
machine copies of the import entries supplied by the informer. However, Chief of the Collection Division
Merlita D. Tomas could not do so because the Collection Division did not have the original copies of the
entries. Instead, she wrote the IIPO that, as gleaned from the records, the following entries had been duly
processed and released after the payment of duties and taxes:
IMPORTER HANTEX TRADING CO., INC. SERIES OF 1987
ENTRY NO. DATE RELEASED ENTRY NO. DATE RELEASED
03058-87 1-30-87 50265-87 12-09-87
09120-87 3-20-87 46427-87 11-27-87
18089-87 5-21-87 30764-87 8-21-87
19439-87 6-2-87 30833-87 8-20-87
19441-87 6-3-87 34690-87 9-16-87
11667-87 4-15-87 34722-87 9-11-87
23294-87 7-7-87 43234-87 11-2-87
45478-87 11-16-87 44850-87 11-16-87
45691-87 12-2-87 44851-87 11-16-87
25464-87 7-16-87 46461-87 11-19-87

26483-87 7-23-87 46467-87 11-18-87


29950-87 8-11-87 48091-87 11-27-87[ 1 1 ]
Acting Chief of the Collection Division of the Bureau of Customs
authenticate the machine copies of the import entries as well, since the
filed with the Bureau of Customs had apparently been eaten by termites.
that the following enumerated entries were filed by the respondent which
the Port of Manila after payment of duties and taxes, to wit:
Hantex Trading Co., Inc.
Entry No. Date Released Entry No. Date Released
03903 1-29-87 22869 4-8-87
04414 1-20-87 19441 3-31-87
10683 2-17-87 24189 4-21-87
12611 2-24-87 26431 4-20-87
12989 2-26-87 45478 7-3-87
17050 3-13-87 26796 4-23-87
17169 3-13-87 28827 4-30-87
18089 3-16-87 31617 5-14-87
19439 4-1-87 39068 6-5-87
21189 4-3-87 42581 6-21-87
43451 6-29-87 42793 6-23-87
42795 6-23-87 45477 7-3-87
35582 not received 85830 11-13-87
45691 7-3-87 86650 not received
46187 7-8-87 87647 11-18-87
46427 7-3-87 88829 11-23-87
57669 8-12-87 92293 12-3-87
62471 8-28-87 93292 12-7-87
63187 9-2-87 96357 12-16-87
66859 9-15-87 96822 12-15-87

Augusto S. Danganan could not


original copies of the said entries
However, he issued a certification
were processed and released from

67890 9-17-87 98823 not received


68115 9-15-87 99428 12-28-87
69974 9-24-87 99429 12-28-87
72213 10-2-87 99441 12-28-87
77688 10-16-87 101406 1-5-87
84253 11-10-87 101407 1-8-87
85534 11-11-87 03118 1-19-87[ 1 2 ]
Bienvenido G. Flores, Chief of the Investigation Division, and Lt. Leo Dionela, Lt. Vicente Amoto and Lt.
Rolando Gatmaitan conducted an investigation. They relied on the certified copies of the respondents Profit
and Loss Statement for 1987 and 1988 on file with the SEC, the machine copies of the Consumption Entries,
Series of 1987, submitted by the informer, as well as excerpts from the entries certified by Tomas and
Danganan.
Based on the documents/records on hand, inclusive of the machine copies of the Consumption Entries,
the EIIB found that for 1987, the respondent had importations totaling P105,716,527.00 (inclusive of advance
sales tax). Compared with the declared sales based on the Profit and Loss Statements filed with the SEC, the
respondent had unreported sales in the amount of P63,032,989.17, and its corresponding income tax liability
was P41,916,937.78, inclusive of penalty charge and interests.
EIIB Commissioner Almonte transmitted the entire docket of the case to the BIR and recommended the
collection of the total tax assessment from the respondent.[ 1 3 ]
On February 12, 1991, Deputy Commissioner Deoferio, Jr. issued a Memorandum to the BIR Assistant
Commissioner for Special Operations Service, directing the latter to prepare a conference letter advising the
respondent of its deficiency taxes.[ 1 4 ]
Meanwhile, as ordered by the Regional Director, Revenue Enforcement Officers Saturnino D. Torres and
Wilson Filamor conducted an investigation on the 1987 importations of the respondent, in the light of the
records elevated by the EIIB to the BIR, inclusive of the photocopies of the Consumption Entries. They were to
ascertain the respondents liability for deficiency sales and income taxes for 1987, if any. Per Torres and
Filamors Report dated March 6, 1991 which was based on the report of the EIIB and the documents/records
appended thereto, there was a prima facie case of fraud against the respondent in filing its 1987
Consumption Entry reports with the Bureau of Customs. They found that the respondent had unrecorded
importation in the total amount of P70,661,694.00, and that the amount was not declared in its income tax
return for 1987. The District Revenue Officer and the Regional Director of the BIR concurred with the report.
[15]

Based on the said report, the Acting Chief of the Special Investigation Branch wrote the respondent and
invited its representative to a conference at 10:00 a.m. of March 14, 1991 to discuss its deficiency internal
revenue taxes and to present whatever documentary and other evidence to refute the same. [ 1 6 ] Appended to
the letter was a computation of the deficiency income and sales tax due from the respondent, inclusive of
increments:
B. Computations:
1. Cost of Sales Ratio A2/A1 85.492923%

2. Undeclared Sales Imported A3/B1 110,079,491.61


3. Undeclared Gross Profit B2-A3 15,969,316.61
C. Deficiency Taxes Due:
1. Deficiency Income Tax B3 x 35% 5,589,261.00
50% Surcharge C1 x 50% 2,794,630.50
Interest to 2/28/91 C1 x 57.5% 3,213,825.08
Total 11,597,825.58
2. Deficiency Sales Tax
at 10% 7,290,082.72
at 20% 10,493,312.31
Total Due 17,783,395.03
Less: Advanced Sales Taxes Paid 11,636,352.00
Deficiency Sales Tax 6,147,043.03
50% Surcharge C2 x 50% 3,073,521.52
Interest to 2/28/91 5,532,338.73
Total 14,752,903.28[ 1 7 ]
===========
The invitation was reiterated in a Letter dated March 15, 1991. In his Reply dated March 15, 1991,
Mariano O. Chua, the President and General Manager of the respondent, requested that the report of Torres
and Filamor be set aside on the following claim:
[W]e had already been investigated by RDO No. 23 under Letters of Authority Nos. 0322988 RR dated Oct. 1,
1987, 0393561 RR dated Aug. 17, 1988 and 0347838 RR dated March 2, 1988, and re-investigated by the
Special Investigation Team on Aug. 17, 1988 under Letter of Authority No. 0357464 RR, and the Intelligence
and Investigation Office on Sept. 27, 1988 under Letter of Authority No. 0020188 NA, all for income and
business tax liabilities for 1987. The Economic Intelligence and Investigation Bureau on Nov. 20, 1989,
likewise, confronted us on the same information for the same year.
In all of these investigations, save your request for an informal conference, we welcomed them and proved
the contrary of the allegation. Now, with your new inquiry, we think that there will be no end to the problem.
Madam, we had been subjected to so many investigations and re-investigations for 1987 and nothing came
out except the payment of deficiency taxes as a result of oversight. Tax evasion through underdeclaration of
income had never been proven.[ 1 8 ]

Invoking Section 235[ 1 9 ] of the 1977 National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC), as amended, Chua
requested that the inquiry be set aside.
The petitioner, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, through Assistant Commissioner for Collection
Jaime M. Maza, sent a Letter dated April 15, 1991 to the respondent demanding payment of its deficiency
income tax of P13,414,226.40 and deficiency sales tax of P14,752,903.25, inclusive of surcharge and interest.
[20]
Appended thereto were the Assessment Notices of Tax Deficiency Nos. FAS-1-87-91-001654 and FAS-4-8791-001655.[ 2 1 ]
On February 12, 1992, the Chief of the Accounts Receivables/Billing Division of the BIR sent a letter to the
respondent demanding payment of its tax liability due for 1987 within ten (10) days from notice, on pain of
the collection tax due via a warrant of distraint and levy and/or judicial action. [ 2 2 ] The Warrant of Distraint
and/or Levy[ 2 3 ] was actually served on the respondent on January 21, 1992. On September 7, 1992, it wrote
the Commissioner of Internal Revenue protesting the assessment on the following grounds:
I. THAT THE ASSESSMENT HAS NO FACTUAL AS WELL AS LEGAL BASIS, THE FACT THAT NO
INVESTIGATION OF OUR RECORDS WAS EVER MADE BY THE EIIB WHICH RECOMMENDED ITS
ISSUANCE.[ 2 4 ]
II. THAT GRANTING BUT WITHOUT ADMITTING THAT OUR PURCHASES FOR 1987 AMOUNTED
TO P105,716,527.00 AS CLAIMED BY THE EIIB, THE ASSESSMENT OF A DEFICIENCY INCOME TAX IS
STILL DEFECTIVE FOR IT FAILED TO CONSIDER OUR REAL PURCHASES OF P45,538,694.57.[ 2 5 ]
III. THAT THE ASSESSMENT OF A DEFICIENCY SALES TAX IS ALSO BASELESS AND UNFOUNDED
CONSIDERING THAT WE HAVE DUTIFULLY PAID THE SALES TAX DUE FROM OUR BUSINESS. [ 2 6 ]
In view of the impasse, administrative hearings were conducted on the respondents protest to the
assessment. During the hearing of August 20, 1993, the IIPO representative presented the photocopies of the
Consumption and Import Entries and the Certifications issued by Tomas and Danganan of the Bureau of
Customs. The IIPO representative testified that the Bureau of Customs failed to furnish the EIIB with certified
copies of the Consumption and Import Entries; hence, the EIIB relied on the machine copies from their
informer.[ 2 7 ]
The respondent wrote the BIR Commissioner on July 12, 1993 questioning the assessment on the ground
that the EIIB representative failed to present the original, or authenticated, or duly certified copies of the
Consumption and Import Entry Accounts, or excerpts thereof if the original copies were not readily available;
or, if the originals were in the official custody of a public officer, certified copies thereof as provided for in
Section 12, Chapter 3, Book VII, Administrative Procedure, Administrative Order of 1987. It stated that the
only copies of the Consumption Entries submitted to the Hearing Officer were mere machine copies furnished
by an informer of the EIIB. It asserted that the letters of Tomas and Danganan were unreliable because of the
following:
In the said letters, the two collection officers merely submitted a listing of alleged import entry numbers and
dates released of alleged importations by Hantex Trading Co., Inc. of merchandise in 1987, for which they
certified that the corresponding duties and taxes were paid after being processed in their offices. In said
letters, no amounts of the landed costs and advance sales tax and duties were stated, and no particulars of
the duties and taxes paid per import entry document was presented.
The contents of the two letters failed to indicate the particulars of the importations per entry number, and the
said letters do not constitute as evidence of the amounts of importations of Hantex Trading Co., Inc. in 1987.
[28]

The respondent cited the following findings of the Hearing Officer:

[T]hat the import entry documents do not constitute evidence only indicate that the tax assessments in
question have no factual basis, and must, at this point in time, be withdrawn and cancelled. Any new findings
by the IIPO representative who attended the hearing could not be used as evidence in this hearing, because
all the issues on the tax assessments in question have already been raised by the herein taxpayer. [ 2 9 ]
The respondent requested anew that the income tax deficiency assessment and the sales tax deficiency
assessment be set aside for lack of factual and legal basis.
The BIR Commissioner[ 3 0 ] wrote the respondent on December 10, 1993, denying its letter-request for the
dismissal of the assessments.[ 3 1 ] The BIR Commissioner admitted, in the said letter, the possibility that the
figures appearing in the photocopies of the Consumption Entries had been tampered with. She averred,
however, that she was not proscribed from relying on other admissible evidence, namely, the Letters of Torres
and Filamor dated August 7 and 22, 1990 on their investigation of the respondents tax liability. The
Commissioner emphasized that her decision was final.[ 3 2 ]
The respondent forthwith filed a petition for review in the CTA of the Commissioners Final Assessment
Letter dated December 10, 1993 on the following grounds:
First. The alleged 1987 deficiency income tax assessment (including increments) and the alleged 1987
deficiency sales tax assessment (including increments) arevoid ab initio, since under Sections 16(a) and 49(b)
of the Tax Code, the Commissioner shall examine a return after it is filed and, thereafter, assess the correct
amount of tax. The following facts obtaining in this case, however, are indicative of the incorrectness of the
tax assessments in question: the deficiency interests imposed in the income and percentage tax deficiency
assessment notices were computed in violation of the provisions of Section 249(b) of the NIRC of 1977, as
amended; the percentage tax deficiency was computed on an annual basis for the year 1987 in accordance
with the provision of Section 193, which should have been computed in accordance with Section 162 of the
1977 NIRC, as amended by Pres. Decree No. 1994 on a quarterly basis; and the BIR official who signed the
deficiency tax assessments was the Assistant Commissioner for Collection, who had no authority to sign the
same under the NIRC.
Second. Even granting arguendo that the deficiency taxes and increments for 1987 against the
respondent were correctly computed in accordance with the provisions of the Tax Code, the facts indicate that
the above-stated assessments were based on alleged documents which are inadmissible in either
administrative or judicial proceedings. Moreover, the alleged bases of the tax computations were anchored on
mere presumptions and not on actual facts. The alleged undeclared purchases for 1987 were based on mere
photocopies of alleged import entry documents, not the original ones, and which had never been duly
certified by the public officer charged with the custody of such records in the Bureau of Customs. According
to the respondent, the alleged undeclared sales were computed based on mere presumptions as to the
alleged gross profit contained in its 1987 financial statement. Moreover, even the alleged financial statement
of the respondent was a mere machine copy and not an official copy of the 1987 income and business tax
returns. Finally, the respondent was following the accrual method of accounting in 1987, yet, the BIR
investigator who computed the 1987 income tax deficiency failed to allow as a deductible item the alleged
sales tax deficiency for 1987 as provided for under Section 30(c) of the NIRC of 1986. [ 3 3 ]
The Commissioner did not adduce in evidence the original or certified true copies of the 1987
Consumption Entries on file with the Commission on Audit. Instead, she offered in evidence as proof of the
contents thereof, the photocopies of the Consumption Entries which the respondent objected to for being
inadmissible in evidence.[ 3 4 ] She also failed to present any witness to prove the correct amount of tax due
from it. Nevertheless, the CTA provisionally admitted the said documents in evidence, subject to its final
evaluation of their relevancy and probative weight to the issues involved. [ 3 5 ]
On December 11, 1997, the CTA rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:

IN THE LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby rendered DENYING the herein petition. Petitioner
is hereby ORDERED TO PAY the respondent Commissioner of Internal Revenue its deficiency income and sales
taxes for the year 1987 in the amounts of P11,182,350.26 and P12,660,382.46, respectively, plus 20%
delinquency interest per annum on both deficiency taxes from April 15, 1991 until fully paid pursuant to
Section 283(c)(3) of the 1987 Tax Code, with costs against the petitioner.
SO ORDERED.[ 3 6 ]
The CTA ruled that the respondent was burdened to prove not only that the assessment was erroneous,
but also to adduce the correct taxes to be paid by it. The CTA declared that the respondent failed to prove the
correct amount of taxes due to the BIR. It also ruled that the respondent was burdened to adduce in evidence
a certification from the Bureau of Customs that the Consumption Entries in question did not belong to it.
On appeal, the CA granted the petition and reversed the decision of the CTA. The dispositive portion of
the decision reads:
FOREGOING PREMISES CONSIDERED, the Petition for Review is GRANTED and the December 11, 1997
decision of the CTA in CTA Case No. 5162 affirming the 1987 deficiency income and sales tax assessments
and the increments thereof, issued by the BIR is hereby REVERSED. No costs. [ 3 7 ]
The Ruling of the Court of Appeals
The CA held that the income and sales tax deficiency assessments issued by the petitioner were unlawful
and baseless since the copies of the import entries relied upon in computing the deficiency tax of the
respondent were not duly authenticated by the public officer charged with their custody, nor verified under
oath by the EIIB and the BIR investigators. [ 3 8 ] The CA also noted that the public officer charged with the
custody of the import entries was never presented in court to lend credence to the alleged loss of the
originals.[ 3 9 ] The CA pointed out that an import entry is a public document which falls within the provisions of
Section 19, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, and to be admissible for any legal purpose, Section 24, Rule 132 of
the Rules of Court should apply. [ 4 0 ] Citing the ruling of this Court in Collector of Internal Revenue v. Benipayo,
[41]
the CA ruled that the assessments were unlawful because they were based on hearsay evidence. The CA
also ruled that the respondent was deprived of its right to due process of law.
The CA added that the CTA should not have just brushed aside the legal requisites provided for under the
pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court in the matter of the admissibility of public documents, considering
that substantive rules of evidence should not be disregarded. It also ruled that the certifications made by the
two Customs Collection Chiefs under the guise of supporting the respondents alleged tax deficiency
assessments invoking the best evidence obtainable rule under the Tax Code should not be permitted to
supplant the best evidence rule under Section 7, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.
Finally, the CA noted that the tax deficiency assessments were computed without the tax returns. The CA
opined that the use of the tax returns is indispensable in the computation of a tax deficiency; hence, this
essential requirement must be complied with in the preparation and issuance of valid tax deficiency
assessments.[ 4 2 ]
The Present Petition
The Commissioner of Internal Revenue, the petitioner herein, filed the present petition for review under
Rule 45 of the Rules of Court for the reversal of the decision of the CA and for the reinstatement of the ruling
of the CTA.
As gleaned from the pleadings of the parties, the threshold issues for resolution are the following: (a)
whether the petition at bench is proper and complies with Sections 4 and 5, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court; (b)

whether the December 10, 1991 final assessment of the petitioner against the respondent for deficiency
income tax and sales tax for the latters 1987 importation of resins and calcium bicarbonate is based on
competent evidence and the law; and (c) the total amount of deficiency taxes due from the respondent for
1987, if any.
On the first issue, the respondent points out that the petition raises both questions of facts and law which
cannot be the subject of an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. The respondent notes
that the petition is defective because the verification and the certification against forum shopping were not
signed by the petitioner herself, but only by the Regional Director of the BIR. The respondent submits that the
petitioner should have filed a motion for reconsideration with the CA before filing the instant petition for
review.[ 4 3 ]
We find and so rule that the petition is sufficient in form. A verification and certification against forum
shopping signed by the Regional Director constitutes sufficient compliance with the requirements of Sections
4 and 5, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court. Under Section 10 of the NIRC of 1997, [ 4 4 ] the Regional Director has the
power to administer and enforce internal revenue laws, rules and regulations, including the assessment and
collection of all internal revenue taxes, charges and fees. Such power is broad enough to vest the Revenue
Regional Director with the authority to sign the verification and certification against forum shopping in behalf
of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue. There is no other person in a better position to know the collection
cases filed under his jurisdiction than the Revenue Regional Director.
Moreover, under Revenue Administrative Order No. 5-83,[ 4 5 ] the Regional Director is authorized to sign all
pleadings filed in connection with cases referred to the Revenue Regions by the National Office which,
otherwise, require the signature of the petitioner.
We do not agree with the contention of the respondent that a motion for reconsideration ought to have
been filed before the filing of the instant petition. A motion for reconsideration of the decision of the CA is not
a condition sine qua non for the filing of a petition for review under Rule 45. As we held in Almora v. Court of
Appeals:[ 4 6 ]
Rule 45, Sec. 1 of the Rules of Court, however, distinctly provides that:
A party may appeal by certiorari from a judgment of the Court of Appeals, by filing with the Supreme Court a
petition for certiorari within fifteen (15) days from notice of judgment, or of the denial of his motion for
reconsideration filed in due time. (Emphasis supplied)
The conjunctive or clearly indicates that the 15-day reglementary period for the filing of a petition for
certiorari under Rule 45 commences either from notice of the questioned judgment or from notice of denial of
the appellants motion for reconsideration. A prior motion for reconsideration is not indispensable for a
petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 to prosper. [ 4 7 ]
While Rule 45 of the Rules of Court provides that only questions of law may be raised by the petitioner
and resolved by the Court, under exceptional circumstances, the Court may take cognizance thereof and
resolve questions of fact. In this case, the findings and conclusion of the CA are inconsistent with those of the
CTA, not to mention those of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue. The issues raised in this case relate to
the propriety and the correctness of the tax assessments made by the petitioner against the respondent, as
well as the propriety of the application of Section 16, paragraph (b) of the 1977 NIRC, as amended by Pres.
Decree Nos. 1705, 1773, 1994 and Executive Order No. 273, in relation to Section 3, Rule 132 of the Rules of
Evidence. There is also an imperative need for the Court to resolve the threshold factual issues to give justice
to the parties, and to determine whether the CA capriciously ignored, misunderstood or misinterpreted
cogent facts and circumstances which, if considered, would change the outcome of the case.

On the second issue, the petitioner asserts that since the respondent refused to cooperate and show its
1987 books of account and other accounting records, it was proper for her to resort to the best evidence
obtainable the photocopies of the import entries in the Bureau of Customs and the respondents financial
statement filed with the SEC. [ 4 8 ] The petitioner maintains that these import entries were admissible as
secondary evidence under the best evidence obtainable rule, since they were duly authenticated by the
Bureau of Customs officials who processed the documents and released the cargoes after payment of the
duties and taxes due.[ 4 9 ] Further, the petitioner points out that under the best evidence obtainable rule, the
tax return is not important in computing the tax deficiency. [ 5 0 ]
The petitioner avers that the best evidence obtainable rule under Section 16 of the 1977 NIRC, as
amended, legally cannot be equated to the best evidence rule under the Rules of Court; nor can the best
evidence rule, being procedural law, be made strictly operative in the interpretation of the best evidence
obtainable rule which is substantive in character.[ 5 1 ] The petitioner posits that the CTA is not strictly bound by
technical rules of evidence, the reason being that the quantum of evidence required in the said court is
merely substantial evidence.[ 5 2 ]
Finally, the petitioner avers that the respondent has the burden of proof to show the correct
assessments; otherwise, the presumption in favor of the correctness of the assessments made by it stands.
[53]
Since the respondent was allowed to explain its side, there was no violation of due process. [ 5 4 ]
The respondent, for its part, maintains that the resort to the best evidence obtainable method was illegal.
In the first place, the respondent argues, the EIIB agents are not duly authorized to undertake examination of
the taxpayers accounting records for internal revenue tax purposes. Hence, the respondents failure to accede
to their demands to show its books of accounts and other accounting records cannot justify resort to the use
of the best evidence obtainable method. [ 5 5 ] Secondly, when a taxpayer fails to submit its tax records upon
demand by the BIR officer, the remedy is not to assess him and resort to the best evidence obtainable rule,
but to punish the taxpayer according to the provisions of the Tax Code. [ 5 6 ]
In any case, the respondent argues that the photocopies of import entries cannot be used in making the
assessment because they were not properly authenticated, pursuant to the provisions of Sections 24 [ 5 7 ] and
25[ 5 8 ] of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court. It avers that while the CTA is not bound by the technical rules of
evidence, it is bound by substantial rules. [ 5 9 ] The respondent points out that the petitioner did not even
secure a certification of the fact of loss of the original documents from the custodian of the import entries. It
simply relied on the report of the EIIB agents that the import entry documents were no longer available
because they were eaten by termites. The respondent posits that the two collectors of the Bureau of Customs
never authenticated the xerox copies of the import entries; instead, they only issued certifications stating
therein the import entry numbers which were processed by their office and the date the same were released.
[60]

The respondent argues that it was not necessary for it to show the correct assessment, considering that
it is questioning the assessments not only because they are erroneous, but because they were issued without
factual basis and in patent violation of the assessment procedures laid down in the NIRC of 1977, as
amended.[ 6 1 ] It is also pointed out that the petitioner failed to use the tax returns filed by the respondent in
computing the deficiency taxes which is contrary to law; [ 6 2 ] as such, the deficiency assessments constituted
deprivation of property without due process of law.[ 6 3 ]
Central to the second issue is Section 16 of the NIRC of 1977, as amended, [ 6 4 ] which provides that the
Commissioner of Internal Revenue has the power to make assessments and prescribe additional requirements
for tax administration and enforcement. Among such powers are those provided in paragraph (b) thereof,
which we quote:
(b) Failure to submit required returns, statements, reports and other documents. When a report required by
law as a basis for the assessment of any national internal revenue tax shall not be forthcoming within the

time fixed by law or regulation or when there is reason to believe that any such report is false, incomplete or
erroneous, the Commissioner shall assess the proper tax on the best evidence obtainable.
In case a person fails to file a required return or other document at the time prescribed by law, or willfully or
otherwise files a false or fraudulent return or other document, the Commissioner shall make or amend the
return from his own knowledge and from such information as he can obtain through testimony or otherwise,
which shall be prima facie correct and sufficient for all legal purposes. [ 6 5 ]
This provision applies when the Commissioner of Internal Revenue undertakes to perform her
administrative duty of assessing the proper tax against a taxpayer, to make a return in case of a taxpayers
failure to file one, or to amend a return already filed in the BIR.
The petitioner may avail herself of the best evidence or other information or testimony by exercising her
power or authority under paragraphs (1) to (4) of Section 7 of the NIRC:
(1) To examine any book, paper, record or other data which may be relevant or material to such inquiry;
(2) To obtain information from any office or officer of the national and local governments, government
agencies or its instrumentalities, including the Central Bank of the Philippines and government owned or
controlled corporations;
(3) To summon the person liable for tax or required to file a return, or any officer or employee of such person,
or any person having possession, custody, or care of the books of accounts and other accounting records
containing entries relating to the business of the person liable for tax, or any other person, to appear before
the Commissioner or his duly authorized representative at a time and place specified in the summons and to
produce such books, papers, records, or other data, and to give testimony;
(4) To take such testimony of the person concerned, under oath, as may be relevant or material to such
inquiry; [ 6 6 ]
The best evidence envisaged in Section 16 of the 1977 NIRC, as amended, includes the corporate and
accounting records of the taxpayer who is the subject of the assessment process, the accounting records of
other taxpayers engaged in the same line of business, including their gross profit and net profit sales.
[67]
Such evidence also includes data, record, paper, document or any evidence gathered by internal revenue
officers from other taxpayers who had personal transactions or from whom the subject taxpayer received any
income; and record, data, document and information secured from government offices or agencies, such as
the SEC, the Central Bank of the Philippines, the Bureau of Customs, and the Tariff and Customs Commission.
The law allows the BIR access to all relevant or material records and data in the person of the taxpayer. It
places no limit or condition on the type or form of the medium by which the record subject to the order of the
BIR is kept. The purpose of the law is to enable the BIR to get at the taxpayers records in whatever form they
may be kept. Such records include computer tapes of the said records prepared by the taxpayer in the course
of business.[ 6 8 ] In this era of developing information-storage technology, there is no valid reason to immunize
companies with computer-based, record-keeping capabilities from BIR scrutiny. The standard is not the form
of the record but where it might shed light on the accuracy of the taxpayers return.
In Campbell, Jr. v. Guetersloh,[ 6 9 ] the United States (U.S.) Court of Appeals (5th Circuit) declared that it is
the duty of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue to investigate any circumstance which led him to believe
that the taxpayer had taxable income larger than reported. Necessarily, this inquiry would have to be outside
of the books because they supported the return as filed. He may take the sworn testimony of the taxpayer;
he may take the testimony of third parties; he may examine and subpoena, if necessary, traders and brokers
accounts and books and the taxpayers book accounts. The Commissioner is not bound to follow any set of
patterns. The existence of unreported income may be shown by any practicable proof that is available in the

circumstances of the particular situation. Citing its ruling in Kenney v. Commissioner,[ 7 0 ] the U.S. appellate
court declared that where the records of the taxpayer are manifestly inaccurate and incomplete, the
Commissioner may look to other sources of information to establish income made by the taxpayer during the
years in question.[ 7 1 ]
We agree with the contention of the petitioner that the best evidence obtainable may consist of hearsay
evidence, such as the testimony of third parties or accounts or other records of other taxpayers similarly
circumstanced as the taxpayer subject of the investigation, hence, inadmissible in a regular proceeding in the
regular courts.[ 7 2 ] Moreover, the general rule is that administrative agencies such as the BIR are not bound by
the technical rules of evidence. It can accept documents which cannot be admitted in a judicial proceeding
where the Rules of Court are strictly observed. It can choose to give weight or disregard such evidence,
depending on its trustworthiness.
However, the best evidence obtainable under Section 16 of the 1977 NIRC, as amended, does not include
mere photocopies of records/documents. The petitioner, in making a preliminary and final tax deficiency
assessment against a taxpayer, cannot anchor the said assessment on mere machine copies of
records/documents. Mere photocopies of the Consumption Entries have no probative weight if offered as
proof of the contents thereof. The reason for this is that such copies are mere scraps of paper and are of no
probative value as basis for any deficiency income or business taxes against a taxpayer. Indeed, in United
States v. Davey,[ 7 3 ] the U.S. Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit) ruled that where the accuracy of a taxpayers
return is being checked, the government is entitled to use the original records rather than be forced to accept
purported copies which present the risk of error or tampering. [ 7 4 ]
In Collector of Internal Revenue v. Benipayo,[ 7 5 ] the Court ruled that the assessment must be based on
actual facts. The rule assumes more importance in this case since the xerox copies of the Consumption
Entries furnished by the informer of the EIIB were furnished by yet another informer. While the EIIB tried to
secure certified copies of the said entries from the Bureau of Customs, it was unable to do so because the
said entries were allegedly eaten by termites. The Court can only surmise why the EIIB or the BIR, for that
matter, failed to secure certified copies of the said entries from the Tariff and Customs Commission or from
the National Statistics Office which also had copies thereof. It bears stressing that under Section 1306 of the
Tariff and Customs Code, the Consumption Entries shall be the required number of copies as prescribed by
regulations.[ 7 6 ] The Consumption Entry is accomplished in sextuplicate copies and quadruplicate copies in
other places. In Manila, the six copies are distributed to the Bureau of Customs, the Tariff and Customs
Commission, the Declarant (Importer), the Terminal Operator, and the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
Inexplicably, the Commissioner and the BIR personnel ignored the copy of the Consumption Entries filed with
the BIR and relied on the photocopies supplied by the informer of the EIIB who secured the same from
another informer. The BIR, in preparing and issuing its preliminary and final assessments against the
respondent, even ignored the records on the investigation made by the District Revenue officers on the
respondents importations for 1987.
The original copies of the Consumption Entries were of prime importance to the BIR. This is so because
such entries are under oath and are presumed to be true and correct under penalty of falsification or perjury.
Admissions in the said entries of the importers documents are admissions against interest and presumptively
correct.[ 7 7 ]
In fine, then, the petitioner acted arbitrarily and capriciously in relying on and giving weight to the
machine copies of the Consumption Entries in fixing the tax deficiency assessments against the respondent.
The rule is that in the absence of the accounting records of a taxpayer, his tax liability may be
determined by estimation. The petitioner is not required to compute such tax liabilities with mathematical
exactness. Approximation in the calculation of the taxes due is justified. To hold otherwise would be
tantamount to holding that skillful concealment is an invincible barrier to proof. [ 7 8 ] However, the rule does not
apply where the estimation is arrived at arbitrarily and capriciously. [ 7 9 ]

We agree with the contention of the petitioner that, as a general rule, tax assessments by tax examiners
are presumed correct and made in good faith. All presumptions are in favor of the correctness of a tax
assessment. It is to be presumed, however, that such assessment was based on sufficient evidence. Upon the
introduction of the assessment in evidence, a prima facie case of liability on the part of the taxpayer is made.
[80]
If a taxpayer files a petition for review in the CTA and assails the assessment, the prima
facie presumption is that the assessment made by the BIR is correct, and that in preparing the same, the BIR
personnel regularly performed their duties. This rule for tax initiated suits is premised on several factors other
than the normal evidentiary rule imposing proof obligation on the petitioner-taxpayer: the presumption of
administrative regularity; the likelihood that the taxpayer will have access to the relevant information; and
the desirability of bolstering the record-keeping requirements of the NIRC. [ 8 1 ]
However, the prima facie correctness of a tax assessment does not apply upon proof that an assessment
is utterly without foundation, meaning it is arbitrary and capricious. Where the BIR has come out with a naked
assessment, i.e., without any foundation character, the determination of the tax due is without rational basis.
[82]
In such a situation, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled [ 8 3 ] that the determination of the Commissioner
contained in a deficiency notice disappears. Hence, the determination by the CTA must rest on all the
evidence introduced and its ultimate determination must find support in credible evidence.
The issue that now comes to fore is whether the tax deficiency assessment against the respondent based
on the certified copies of the Profit and Loss Statement submitted by the respondent to the SEC in 1987 and
1988, as well as certifications of Tomas and Danganan, is arbitrary, capricious and illegal. The CTA ruled that
the respondent failed to overcome the prima facie correctness of the tax deficiency assessment issued by the
petitioner, to wit:
The issue should be ruled in the affirmative as petitioner has failed to rebut the validity or correctness of the
aforementioned tax assessments. It is incongruous for petitioner to prove its cause by simply drawing an
inference unfavorable to the respondent by attacking the source documents (Consumption Entries) which
were the bases of the assessment and which were certified by the Chiefs of the Collection Division, Manila
International Container Port and the Port of Manila, as having been processed and released in the name of the
petitioner after payment of duties and taxes and the duly certified copies of Financial Statements secured
from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Any such inference cannot operate to relieve petitioner from
bearing its burden of proof and this Court has no warrant of absolution. The Court should have been
persuaded to grant the reliefs sought by the petitioner should it have presented any evidence of relevance
and competence required, like that of a certification from the Bureau of Customs or from any other agencies,
attesting to the fact that those consumption entries did not really belong to them.
The burden of proof is on the taxpayer contesting the validity or correctness of an assessment to prove not
only that the Commissioner of Internal Revenue is wrong but the taxpayer is right (Tan Guan v. CTA, 19 SCRA
903), otherwise, the presumption in favor of the correctness of tax assessment stands (Sy Po v. CTA, 164
SCRA 524). The burden of proving the illegality of the assessment lies upon the petitioner alleging it to be so.
In the case at bar, petitioner miserably failed to discharge this duty. [ 8 4 ]
We are not in full accord with the findings and ratiocination of the CTA. Based on the letter of the
petitioner to the respondent dated December 10, 1993, the tax deficiency assessment in question was based
on (a) the findings of the agents of the EIIB which was based, in turn, on the photocopies of the Consumption
Entries; (b) the Profit and Loss Statements of the respondent for 1987 and 1988; and (c) the certifications of
Tomas and Danganan dated August 7, 1990 and August 22, 1990:
In reply, please be informed that after a thorough evaluation of the attending facts, as well as the laws and
jurisprudence involved, this Office holds that you are liable to the assessed deficiency taxes. The conclusion
was arrived at based on the findings of agents of the Economic Intelligence & Investigation Bureau (EIIB) and
of our own examiners who have painstakingly examined the records furnished by the Bureau of Customs and
the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC). The examination conducted disclosed that while your actual
sales for 1987 amounted to P110,731,559.00, you declared for taxation purposes, as shown in the Profit and

Loss Statements, the sum of P47,698,569.83 only. The difference, therefore, of P63,032,989.17 constitutes as
undeclared or unrecorded sales which must be subjected to the income and sales taxes.
You also argued that our assessment has no basis since the alleged amount of underdeclared importations
were lifted from uncertified or unauthenticated xerox copies of consumption entries which are not admissible
in evidence. On this issue, it must be considered that in letters dated August 7 and 22, 1990, the Chief and
Acting Chief of the Collection Division of the Manila International Container Port and Port of Manila,
respectively, certified that the enumerated consumption entries were filed, processed and released from the
port after payment of duties and taxes. It is noted that the certification does not touch on the genuineness,
authenticity and correctness of the consumption entries which are all xerox copies, wherein the figures
therein appearing may have been tampered which may render said documents inadmissible in evidence, but
for tax purposes, it has been held that the Commissioner is not required to make his determination
(assessment) on the basis of evidence legally admissible in a formal proceeding in Court (Mertens, Vol. 9, p.
214, citing Cohen v. Commissioner). A statutory notice may be based in whole or in part upon admissible
evidence (Llorente v. Commissioner, 74 TC 260 (1980); Weimerskirch v. Commissioner, 67 TC 672 (1977);
and Rosano v. Commissioner, 46 TC 681 (1966). In the case also of Weimerskirch v. Commissioner (1977), the
assessment was given due course in the presence of admissible evidence as to how the Commissioner
arrived at his determination, although there was no admissible evidence with respect to the substantial issue
of whether the taxpayer had unreported or undeclared income from narcotics sale. [ 8 5 ]
Based on a Memorandum dated October 23, 1990 of the IIPO, the source documents for the actual cost
of importation of the respondent are the machine copies of the Consumption Entries from the informer which
the IIPO claimed to have been certified by Tomas and Danganan:
The source documents for the total actual cost of importations, abovementioned, were the different copies of
Consumption Entries, Series of 1987, filed by subject with the Bureau of Customs, marked Annexes F-1 to F68. The total cost of importations is the sum of the Landed Costs and the Advance Sales Tax as shown in the
annexed entries. These entries were duly authenticated as having been processed and released, after
payment of the duties and taxes due thereon, by the Chief, Collection Division, Manila International Container
Port, dated August 7, 1990, Annex-G, and the Port of Manila, dated August 22, 1990, Annex-H. So, it was
established that subject-importations, mostly resins, really belong to HANTEX TRADING CO., INC. [ 8 6 ]
It also appears on the worksheet of the IIPO, as culled from the photocopies of the Consumption Entries
from its informer, that the total cost of the respondents importation for 1987 was P105,761,527.00. Per the
report of Torres and Filamor, they also relied on the photocopies of the said Consumption Entries:
The importations made by taxpayer verified by us from the records of the Bureau of Customs and xerox
copies of which are hereto attached shows the big volume of importations made and not declared in the
income tax return filed by taxpayer.
Based on the above findings, it clearly shows that a prima facie case of fraud exists in the herein transaction
of the taxpayer, as a consequence of which, said transaction has not been possibly entered into the books of
accounts of the subject taxpayer.[ 8 7 ]
In fine, the petitioner based her finding that the 1987 importation of the respondent was underdeclared
in the amount of P105,761,527.00 on the worthless machine copies of the Consumption Entries. Aside from
such copies, the petitioner has no other evidence to prove that the respondent imported goods
costingP105,761,527.00. The petitioner cannot find solace on the certifications of Tomas and Danganan
because they did not authenticate the machine copies of the Consumption Entries, and merely indicated
therein the entry numbers of Consumption Entries and the dates when the Bureau of Customs released the
same. The certifications of Tomas and Danganan do not even contain the landed costs and the advance sales
taxes paid by the importer, if any. Comparing the certifications of Tomas and Danganan and the machine
copies of the Consumption Entries, only 36 of the entry numbers of such copies are included in the said

certifications; the entry numbers of the rest of the machine copies of the Consumption Entries are not found
therein.
Even if the Court would concede to the petitioners contention that the certification of Tomas and
Danganan authenticated the machine copies of the Consumption Entries referred to in the certification, it
appears that the total cost of importations inclusive of advance sales tax is only P64,324,953.00 far from the
amount ofP105,716,527.00 arrived at by the EIIB and the BIR, [ 8 8 ] or even the amount of P110,079,491.61
arrived at by Deputy Commissioner Deoferio, Jr.[ 8 9 ] As gleaned from the certifications of Tomas and
Danganan, the goods covered by the Consumption Entries were released by the Bureau of Customs, from
which it can be presumed that the respondent must have paid the taxes due on the said importation. The
petitioner did not adduce any documentary evidence to prove otherwise.
Thus, the computations of the EIIB and the BIR on the quantity and costs of the importations of the
respondent in the amount of P105,761,527.00 for 1987 have no factual basis, hence, arbitrary and capricious.
The petitioner cannot rely on the presumption that she and the other employees of the BIR had regularly
performed their duties. As the Court held in Collector of Internal Revenue v. Benipayo,[ 9 0 ] in order to stand
judicial scrutiny, the assessment must be based on facts. The presumption of the correctness of an
assessment, being a mere presumption, cannot be made to rest on another presumption.
Moreover, the uncontroverted fact is that the BIR District Revenue Office had repeatedly examined the
1987 books of accounts of the respondent showing its importations, and found that the latter had minimal
business tax liability. In this case, the presumption that the District Revenue officers performed their duties in
accordance with law shall apply. There is no evidence on record that the said officers neglected to perform
their duties as mandated by law; neither is there evidencealiunde that the contents of the 1987 and 1988
Profit and Loss Statements submitted by the respondent with the SEC are incorrect.
Admittedly, the respondent did not adduce evidence to prove its correct tax liability. However,
considering that it has been established that the petitioners assessment is barren of factual basis, arbitrary
and illegal, such failure on the part of the respondent cannot serve as a basis for a finding by the Court that it
is liable for the amount contained in the said assessment; otherwise, the Court would thereby be committing
a travesty.
On the disposition of the case, the Court has two options, namely, to deny the petition for lack of merit
and affirm the decision of the CA, without prejudice to the petitioners issuance of a new assessment against
the respondent based on credible evidence; or, to remand the case to the CTA for further proceedings, to
enable the petitioner to adduce in evidence certified true copies or duplicate original copies of the
Consumption Entries for the respondents 1987 importations, if there be any, and the correct tax deficiency
assessment thereon, without prejudice to the right of the respondent to adduce controverting evidence, so
that the matter may be resolved once and for all by the CTA. In the higher interest of justice to both the
parties, the Court has chosen the latter option. After all, as the Tax Court of the United States emphasized
in Harbin v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue,[ 9 1 ] taxation is not only practical; it is vital. The obligation of
good faith and fair dealing in carrying out its provision is reciprocal and, as the government should never be
over-reaching or tyrannical, neither should a taxpayer be permitted to escape payment by the concealment
of material facts.
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals is
SET ASIDE. The records are REMANDED to the Court of Tax Appeals for further proceedings, conformably with
the decision of this Court. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 127263

April 12, 2000

FILIPINA Y. SY, petitioner,


vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, THE HONORABLE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, SAN FERNANDO,
PAMPANGA, BRANCH XLI, and FERNANDO SY, respondents.

QUISUMBING, J.:
For review is the decision1 dated May 21, 1996 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 44144,
which affirmedthe decision2 of the Regional Trial Court of San Fernando, Pampanga, denying the petition3 for
declaration of absolute nullity of marriage of the spouses Filipina Sy and Fernando Sy.
Petitioner Filipina Y. Sy and private respondent Fernando Sy contracted marriage on November 15, 1973 at
the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes in Quezon City. 4 Both were then 22 years old. Their union was blessed with
two children, Frederick and Farrah Sheryll who were born on July 8, 1975 and February 14, 1978, respectively. 5
The spouses first established their residence in Singalong, Manila, then in Apalit, Pampanga, and later at San
Matias, Sto. Tomas, Pampanga. They operated a lumber and hardware business in Sto. Tomas, Pampanga. 6
On September 15, 1983, Fernando left their conjugal dwelling. Since then, the spouses lived separately, and
their two children were in the custody of their mother. However, their son Frederick transferred to his father's
residence at Masangkay, Tondo, Manila on May 15, 1988, and from then on, lived with his father. 7
On February 11, 1987, Filipina filed a petition for legal separation, docketed as Civil Case No. 7900 before the
Regional Trial Court of San Fernando, Pampanga. Later, upon motion of petitioner, the action was later
amended to a petition for separation of property on the grounds that her husband abandoned her without just
cause; that they have been living separately for more than one year; and that they voluntarily entered into a
Memorandum of Agreement dated September 29, 1983, containing the rules that would govern the
dissolution of their conjugal partnership.8 Judgment was rendered dissolving their conjugal partnership of
gains and approving a regime of separation of properties based on the Memorandum of Agreement executed
by the spouses.9 The trial court also granted custody of the children to Filipina. 10
In May 1988, Filipina filed a criminal action for attempted parricide against her husband, docketed as Criminal
Case No. 88-68006, before the Regional Trial Court of Manila. Filipina testified that in the afternoon of May 15,
1988, she went to the dental clinic at Masangkay, Tondo, Manila, owned by her husband but operated by his
mistress, to fetch her son and bring him to San Fernando, Pampanga. While she was talking to her son, the
boy ignored her and continued playing with the family computer. Filipina got mad, took the computer away
from her son, and started spanking him. At that instance, Fernando pulled Filipina away from their son, and
punched her in the different parts of her body. Filipina also claimed that her husband started choking her
when she fell on the floor, and released her only when he thought she was dead. Filipina suffered from
hematoma and contusions on different parts of her body as a result of the blows inflicted by her husband,
evidenced by a Medical Certificate issued by a certain Dr. James Ferraren. She said it was not the first time
Fernando maltreated her. 11
The Regional Trial Court of Manila, however, in its decision 12 dated April 26, 1990, convicted Fernando only of
the lesser crime of slight physical injuries, and sentenced him to 20 days imprisonment.
Petitioner later filed a new action for legal separation against private respondent, docketed as Civil Case No.
8273, on the following grounds: (1) repeated physical violence; (2) sexual infidelity; (3) attempt by
respondent against her life; and (4) abandonment of her by her husband without justifiable cause for more
than one year. The Regional Trial Court of San Fernando, Pampanga, in its decision 13 dated December 4,
1991, granted the petition on the grounds of repeated physical violence and sexual infidelity, and issued a

decree of legal separation. It awarded custody of their daughter Farrah Sheryll to petitioner, and their son
Frederick to respondent.
On August 4, 1992, Filipina filed a petition 14 for the declaration of absolute nullity of her marriage to
Fernando on the ground of psychological incapacity. She points out that the final judgment rendered by the
Regional Trial Court in her favor, in her petitions for separation of property and legal separation, and
Fernando's infliction of physical violence on her which led to the conviction of her husband for slight physical
injuries are symptoms of psychological incapacity. She also cites as manifestations of her husband's
psychological incapacity the following: (1) habitual alcoholism; (2) refusal to live with her without fault on her
part, choosing to live with his mistress instead; and (3) refusal to have sex with her, performing the marital
act only to satisfy himself. Moreover, Filipina alleges that such psychological incapacity of her husband
existed from the time of the celebration of their marriage and became manifest thereafter. 15
The Regional Trial Court of San Fernando, Pampanga, in its decision 16 dated December 9, 1993, denied the
petition of Filipina Sy for the declaration of absolute nullity of her marriage to Fernando. It stated that the
alleged acts of the respondent, as cited by petitioner, do not constitute psychological incapacity which may
warrant the declaration of absolute nullity of their marriage.
Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals which affirmed the decision of the trial court. In the decision 17 of
the Court of Appeals dated May 21, 1996, it ruled that the testimony of petitioner concerning respondent's
purported psychological incapacity falls short of the quantum of evidence required to nullify a marriage
celebrated with all the formal and essential requisites of law. Moreover, the Court of Appeals held that
petitioner failed to show that the alleged psychological incapacity of respondent had existed at the time of
the celebration of their marriage in 1973. It reiterated the finding of the trial court that the couple's marital
problems surfaced only in 1983, or almost ten years from the date of the celebration of their marriage. And
prior to their separation in 1983, they were living together harmoniously. Thus, the Court of Appeals affirmed
the judgment of the lower court which it found to be in accordance with law and the evidence on record. 18
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration,
November 21, 1996. 20
Hence, this appeal by certiorari

21

19

which the Court of Appeals denied in its resolution dated

wherein petitioner now raises the following issues:

1. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS MANIFESTLY OVERLOOKED THE FACT THAT
ON THE DATE OF THE CELEBRATION OF THE PARTIES' MARRIAGE ON NOVEMBER 15, 1973, NOT
DISPUTED BY RESPONDENT FERNANDO, THERE WAS NO MARRIAGE LICENSE THERETO;
2. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED MISAPPREHENSION OF FACTS
BY STATING THAT THE GROUNDS RELIED UPON BY APPELLANT [herein petitioner] DO NOT CONSTITUTE
PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY AS WOULD JUSTIFY NULLIFICATION OF HER MARRIAGE TO APPELLEE
[herein respondent];
3. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED MISAPPREHENSION OF FACTS
BY STATING THAT APPELLANT FAILED TO SHOW THAT THE ALLEGED UNDESIRABLE ACTUATIONS OF
APPELLEE HAD EXISTED OR WERE PRESENT AT THE TIME THEIR MARRIAGE WAS CELEBRATED IN 1973;
4. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION
IN AFFIRMING THE ERRONEOUS RULING OF THE LOWER COURT THAT THERE IS A REDEEMING
ATTITUDE SHOWN TO THE COURT BY RESPONDENT FERNANDO WITH RESPECT TO HIS CHILDREN AND
ALSO BELIEVES THAT RECONCILIATION BETWEEN THE PARTIES IS NOT A REMOTE POSSIBILITY WHICH
IS ERRONEOUS; AND

5. WHETHER OR NOT THE CASE OF SANTOS V. COURT OF APPEALS (240 SCRA 20) IS APPLICABLE
HERETO. 22
In sum, two issues are to be resolved:
1. Whether or not the marriage between petitioner and private respondent is void from the beginning for lack
of a marriage license at the time of the ceremony; and
2. Whether or not private respondent is psychologically incapacitated at the time of said marriage celebration
to warrant a declaration of its absolute nullity.
Petitioner, for the first time, raises the issue of the marriage being void for lack of a valid marriage license at
the time of its celebration. It appears that, according to her, the date of the actual celebration of their
marriage and the date of issuance of their marriage certificate and marriage license are different and
incongruous.
Although we have repeatedly ruled that litigants cannot raise an issue for the first time on appeal, as this
would contravene the basic rules of fair play and justice, 23 in a number of instances, we have relaxed
observance of procedural rules, noting that technicalities are not ends in themselves but exist to protect and
promote substantive rights of litigants. We said that certain rules ought not to be applied with severity and
rigidity if by so doing, the very reason for their existence would be defeated. 24 Hence, when substantial
justice plainly requires, exempting a particular case from the operation of technicalities should not be subject
to cavil. 25 In our view, the case at bar requires that we address the issue of the validity of the marriage
between Filipina and Fernando which petitioner claims is void from the beginning for lack of a marriage
license, in order to arrive at a just resolution of a deeply seated and violent conflict between the parties.
Note, however, that here the pertinent facts are not disputed; and what is required now is a declaration of
their effects according to existing law.
Petitioner states that though she did not categorically state in her petition for annulment of marriage before
the trial court that the incongruity in the dates of the marriage license and the celebration of the marriage
itself would lead to the conclusion that her marriage to Fernando was void from the beginning, she points out
that these critical dates were contained in the documents she submitted before the court. The date of issue
of the marriage license and marriage certificate, September 17, 1974, is contained in their marriage contract
which was attached as Annex "A" in her petition for declaration of absolute nullity of marriage before the trial
court, and thereafter marked as Exhibit "A" in the course of the trial. 26 The date of celebration of their
marriage at Our Lady of Lourdes, Sta. Teresita Parish, on November 15, 1973, is admitted both by petitioner
and private respondent, as stated in paragraph three of petitioner's petition for the declaration of absolute
nullity of marriage before the trial court, and private respondent's answer admitting it. 27 This fact was also
affirmed by petitioner, in open court, on January 22, 1993, during her direct examination, 28 as follows:
ATTY. RAZON: In the last hearing, you said that you were married on November 15, 1973?
FILIPINA SY: Yes, Sir.
November 15, 1973, also appears as the date of marriage of the parents in both their son's and daughter's
birth certificates, which are also attached as Annexes "B" and "C" in the petition for declaration of absolute
nullity of marriage before the trial court, and thereafter marked as Exhibits "B" and "C" in the course of the
trial. 29 These pieces of evidence on record plainly and indubitably show that on the day of the marriage
ceremony, there was no marriage license. A marriage license is a formal requirement; its absence renders the
marriage void ab initio. In addition, the marriage contract shows that the marriage license, numbered
6237519, was issued in Carmona, Cavite, yet, neither petitioner nor private respondent ever resided in
Carmona. 30

Carefully reviewing the documents and the pleadings on record, we find that indeed petitioner did not
expressly state in her petition before the trial court that there was incongruity between the date of the actual
celebration of their marriage and the date of the issuance of their marriage license. From the documents she
presented, the marriage license was issued on September 17, 1974, almost one year after the ceremony took
place on November 15, 1973. The ineluctable conclusion is that the marriage was indeed contracted without
a marriage license. Nowhere do we find private respondent denying these dates on record. Article 80 of the
Civil Code 31 is clearly applicable in this case. There being no claim of an exceptional character, the purported
marriage between petitioner and private respondent could not be classified among those enumerated in
Articles 72-79 32 of the Civil Code. We thus conclude that under Article 80 of the Civil Code, the marriage
between petitioner and private respondent is void from the beginning.
We note that their marriage certificate and marriage license are only photocopies. So are the birth certificates
of their son Frederick and daughter Farrah Sheryll. Nevertheless, these documents were marked as Exhibits
during the course of the trial below, which shows that these have been examined and admitted by the trial
court, with no objections having been made as to their authenticity and due execution. Likewise, no objection
was interposed to petitioner's testimony in open court when she affirmed that the date of the actual
celebration of their marriage was on November 15, 1973. We are of the view, therefore, that having been
admitted in evidence, with the adverse party failing to timely object thereto, these documents are deemed
sufficient proof of the facts contained therein. 33
The remaining issue on the psychological incapacity of private respondent need no longer detain us. It is
mooted by our conclusion that the marriage of petitioner to respondent is void ab initio for lack of a marriage
license at the time their marriage was solemnized.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the Regional Trial Court of San Fernando, Pampanga,
dated December 9, 1993 as well as the Decision promulgated on May 21, 1996 by the Court of Appeals and
its Resolution dated November 21, 1996 in CA-G.R. No. 44144 are set aside. The marriage celebrated on
November 15, 1973 between petitioner Filipina Yap and private respondent Fernando Sy is hereby
declared void ab initio for lack of a marriage license at the time of celebration. No pronouncement as to
costs.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 117384 October 21, 1998


HEIRS OF TEODORO DELA CRUZ represented by EDRONEL DELA CRUZ, petitioners,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, PACIFICO MARQUEZ, FILOMENO and GREGORIO, both surnamed
MADRID,respondents.

ROMERO, J.:
Petitioners seek the reversal of the decision of the Court of Appeals, 1 in CA G.R. No. 25339 dated September
27, 1994 affirming the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Isabela in Civil Case No. 19-219 dated October 9,
1989 which adjudicated lot Nos. 7036-A-10-A, 7036-A-10-B and 7036-A-10-C to herein private respondents. 2
The following facts, concisely related in the petition, 3 are not in dispute.
On November 20, 1986, petitioners filed an action for reconveyance with damages 4 against private
respondents involving a parcel of land situated in Poblacion, San Mateo, Isabela with a total area of 3,277

square meters. In their complaint, petitioners assert that the subject land was bought by their predecessor-ininterest from the private respondents, Madrid brothers, for P4,000.00 in a deed of sale executed on May 18,
1959, and since then they have been in actual, physical, continuous and open possession of the property.
However, sometime in October 1986, much to their dismay and surprise, private respondents managed to
obtain a Torrens Title over the said land.
On the other hand, the Madrids denied having executed the said deed of sale and assuming that said
document exists, the same is fictitious and falsified. Moreover, while they admit petitioners' possession of the
land, they assert that this possession is in defiance of their repeated demands that the former relinquish the
same. Meanwhile, Pacifico Marquez contends that he is an innocent purchaser for value of the property
having bought the same from the Madrid brothers in 1976. 5
During the trial, petitioners were unable to present the original deed of sale since it was lost. Consequently,
they were constrained to offer, as Exhibit "A," a photo copy of the purported original carbon copy of the deed
of sale in an effort to prove the transaction.
However, in disposing of the case, the trial court ruled that Exhibit "A" was inadmissible in evidence, thus:
Since at the time of the execution of Teodoro dela Cruz' affidavit or on June 14, 1966, a
duplicate original carbon copy of the alleged sale was still in his possession, the plaintiffs must
have to account for it. No proof was adduced that this remaining copy was lost or destroyed.
Furthermore, no attempt was done to produce the copies retained by the notary public
although there is a possibility that the same still exist (sic). Neither was there any proof that
the copy sent to the court as required by the notarial law is unavailable. Under these (sic) state
of facts, the Court believes that the "xerox copy of a certified true copy" of the original issued
by the notary public cannot be admitted in evidence to prove the conveyance of the land in
question.
Accordingly, the trial court dismissed petitioners' complaint, the dispositive portion of the decision of which
reads:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing considerations, judgment is hereby rendered:
1. Dismissing the complaint;
2. Declaring the defendants the lawful owners of the land in question insofar as the portion
thereof falling or found in their respective titles are concerned; and
3. Ordering the plaintiffs, their agents, representatives or any person or persons deriving their
title, ownership or possession from the plaintiffs, to vacate the portions of Lots 7036-A-10-A,
70360A-10-B and 7036-A-10-C, occupied by them and to deliver the possession thereof to the
defendants;
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Evidently aggrieved by the decision, petitioners appealed to the Court of Appeals contending that the trial
court erred in holding that: (1) Exhibit "A" was inadmissible in evidence to prove the transaction; (2) there
was no valid sale of the land in question; (3) that they (petitioners) are not entitled to the improvements they
had introduced in the land.

On September 27, 1994, the Court of Appeals rendered its judgment which ruled that Exhibit "A" was
admissible in evidence for failure of the private respondents to object when it was offered during the trial,
thus:
It is therefore evident that defendants-appellees never put in issue the inadmissible nature of
Exh. "A" as a mere secondary evidence and that the trial judge did not exclude the same when
it was formally offered, only to ultimately exclude it in its decision. It is true that the originals of
Exh. "A" were never produced or accounted for by plaintiffs. Yet, notwithstanding this omission,
the defense did not object to its not being the best evidence when it was formally offered. Had
the defendant interposed an objection to Exh. "A" on the ground of its incompetency for not
complying with the best evidence rule, it would have been properly excluded by the trial court.
Defendants' omission to object on the proper ground operated as a waiver, as this was a
matter resting on their discretion.
Unfortunately, petitioners' victory was shortlived. For the Court of Appeals, while ruling that Exhibit "A" was
admissible, concluded that the sine had no probative value to support the allegation of the petitioners that
the disputed land was sold to them in 1959, viz.:
The lone fact that Atty. Tabangay asserted that he recognized his signature on the copy shown
by Teodoro when the loss of the originals was just made known to him, does not render Exh.
"A" trustworthly as to the actual execution of the alleged deed of sale. Exh. "A" does not even
contain a reproduction of the alleged signatures of the Madrid brothers for comparison
purposes. The surviving witness to the alleged execution, Constantino Balmoja was not
presented to corroborate Atty. Tabangay's testimony, hinged as the latter was on secondary
evidence.
Hence, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the decision of the trial court dated October 9,
1989 is hereby AFFIRMED with the modification that the case be remanded to the court a
quo to conduct the proper proceedings to determine the value of the useful improvements
introduced by appellants for reimbursement by appellees.
SO ORDERED.
Failing in their bid to reconsider the decision, the petitioners have filed the present petition.
Petitioners maintain that even if Exhibit "A" were a mere photo copy of the original carbon copy, they had
presented other substantial evidence during the trial to prove the existence of the sale. 6 First, the testimony
of the notary public, Atty. Tabangay, who acknowledged the due execution of the deed of sale. Second, their
long possession of the land in question, bolstered by the construction of various improvements gives rise to
the disputable presumption of ownership.
While we concur with the Court of Appeals' finding that Exhibit "A" does not prove that the sale of the land
indeed occurred, still we are constrained to reverse its decision in view of the circumstances present in this
case.
To begin with, Atty. Sevillano Tabangay, the notary public who notarized the deed of sale, testified that the
document has about five (5) copies. 7 Hence, it is imperative that all the originals must be accounted for
before secondary evidence can be presented. 8 These petitioners failed to do. Moreover, records show that
none of these five copies was even presented during the trial. Petitioners' explanation that these copies were
lost or could not be found in the National Archives was not even supported by any certification from the said
office.

It is a well-settled principle that before secondary evidence can be presented, all duplicates and/or
counterparts must be accounted for, and no excuse for the non-production of the original document itself can
be regarded as established until all its parts are unavailable. 9
Notwithstanding this procedural lapse, when Exhibit "A" was presented private respondents failed, not only to
object, but even to cross-examine the notary public, Atty. Tabangay, regarding its execution. 10 Forthwith,
upon private respondents' failure to object to Exhibit "A" when it was presented, the same becomes primary
evidence. 11 To be sure, even if Exhibit "A" is admitted in evidence, we agree with the Court of Appeals that its
probative value must still meet the various tests by which its reliability is to be determined. Its tendency to
convince and persuade must be considered for admissibility of evidence should not be confused with its
probative value. 12
As earlier stated, Exhibit "A" was merely a photocopy lifted from the carbon copy of the alleged deed of
sale. 13 A cursory glance will immediately reveal that it was unsigned by any of the parties and undated as to
when it was executed. Worse, when Atty. Tabangay typed Exhibit "A," the contents were based on an alleged
carbon original which petitioners' predecessor-in-interest presented to him, without bothering to check his
own files to verify the correctness of the contents of the document he was copying. In other words, Atty.
Tabangay's failure to determine the accuracy of the carbon copy requested by the petitioners' predecessor-ininterest renders Exhibit "A" unreliable.
However, despite our prescinding discussion, all is not lost for the petitioner.
The records show that the disputed petitioners since 1959. They have since been introducing several
improvements on the land which certainly could not have escaped the attention of the Madrids. Furthermore,
during all this time, the land was enclosed, thus signifying petitioners' exclusive claim of ownership. The
construction of various infrastructure on the land rice mill, storage house, garage, pavements and other
buildings was undoubtedly a clear exercise of ownership which the Madrids could not ignore. Oddly, not
one of them protested.
We cannot accept the Madrids' explanation that they did not demand the petitioners to vacate the land due
to the unexplained killings within the area. 14 Not a single shred of evidence was presented to show that
these killings were perpetrated by the petitioners. All told, their remonstration and fears are nothing but pure
speculation. To make matters worse, the record is bereft of any documentary evidence that the Madrids sent
a written demand to the petitioners ordering them to vacate the land. Their failure to raise a restraining arm
or a shout of dissent to the petitioners' possession of the subject land in a span of almost thirty (30) years is
simply contrary to their of ownership.
Next, the Madrids argue that neither prescription nor laches can operate against them because their title to
the property is registered under the Torrens system and therefore imprescriptable. 15 The principle raised,
while admittedly correct, are not without exception. The fact that the Madrids were able to secure TCT No.
167250, and Marquez, TCT Nos. 167220 and 167256, did not operate to vest upon them ownership of the
property. The Torrens system does not create or vest title. It has never been recognized as a mode of
acquiring ownership, 16 especially considering the fact that both the Madrids and Marquezes obtained their
respective TCT's only in October 1986, twenty-seven long (27) years after petitioners first took possession of
the land. If the Madrids and Marquezes wished to assert their ownership, they should have filed a judicial
action for recovery of possession and not merely to have the land registered under their respective names.
For as earlier mentioned, Certificates of Title do not establish ownership. 17
Even if we were to rule that the Certificates of Title to the private respondents would ripen into ownership of
the land, and therefore, the defense of prescription would be unavailing, still, the petitioners would have
acquired title to it by virtue of the equitable principle of laches. The Madrids' long inaction or passivity in
asserting their rights over disputed property will preclude them from recovering the same. 18
The above ruling was stressed in the following cases:

Miguel v. Catalino

19

declared:

Notwithstanding the errors aforementioned in the appealed decision, we are of the opinion that the judgment
in favor of defendant-appellee Florencio Catalino must be sustained. For despite the invalidity of his sale to
Catalino Agyapao, father of defendant-appellee, the vendor Bacaquio suffered the latter to enter, possess and
enjoy the land in question without protest, from 1928 to 1943, when the seller died; and the appellants, in
turn, while succeeding the deceased, also remained inactive, without taking any step to reinvindicate the lot
from 1944 to 1962, when the present suit was commenced in court. Even granting appellants' proposition
that no prescription lies against their father's recorded title, their passivity and inaction for more than 34
years (1928-1962) justifies the defendant-appellee in setting up the equitable defense of laches in his own
behalf. As a result, the action of plaintiffs-appellants must be considered barred and the Court below correctly
so held. Courts can not look with favor at parties who, by their silence, delay and inaction, knowingly induce
another to spend time, effort and expense in cultivating the land, paying taxes and making improvements
thereon for 30 long years, only to spring from ambush and claim title when the possessor's efforts and the
rise of land values offer an opportunity to make easy profit at his expense. . . . .
Pabalete v. Echarri

20

stated:

Upon a careful consideration of the facts and circumstances, we are constrained to find, however, that while
no legal defense to the action lies, an equitable one lies in favor of the defendant and that is, the equitable
defense of laches. We hold that the defense of prescription or adverse possession in derogation of the title of
the registered owner Domingo Mejia does not lie, but that of the equitable defense of laches. Otherwise
stated, we hold that while defendant may not be considered as having acquired title by virtue of his and his
predecessor's long continued possession for 37 years, the original owner's right to recover back the
possession of the property and the title thereto from the defendant has, by the long period of 37 years and by
patentee's inaction and neglect been converted into a stale demand. (Quoting Mejia de Lucas v. Gamponia,
100 Phil. 277).
xxx xxx xxx
This defense is an equitable one and does not concern itself with the character of the defendant's title, but
only with whether or not by reason of the plaintiff's long inaction or inexcusable neglect he should be barred
from asserting this claim at all, because to allow him to do so would be inequitable and unjust to the
defendant. . . .
Lastly, Marquez' claim that he is a purchaser in good faith and for value does not inspire any merit. In his
testimony, he admitted that he knew the land in question. 21 Curiously, in his Answer 22 to the complaint filed
by the petitioners, he stated that he has been aware that the former were in possession of the land since
1959. Where a purchaser was fully aware of another person's possession of the lot he purchased, he cannot
successfully pretend later to be an innocent purchaser for value. 23 Moreover, one who buys without checking
the vendor's title takes all the risks and losses consequent to such failure. 24
In fact, it would have been expected that in the normal course of daily life, both the Madrids and Marquezes
talked about the status of the property. This being so, it would be difficult to imagine that the latter were not
made aware of the petitioner's possession of the land. Armed with such information, they should have acted
with the diligence of a prudent man in determining the circumstances surrounding the property. Otherwise,
the law does not give him the benefit afforded to an innocent purchaser for value. 25
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the decision of the Court of Appeals dated September 24, 1994 in CAG.R. No. 25339 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Instead, petitioners are hereby declared as the legal
owners of the subject land. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-28498 July 14, 1986


SALVADOR DE LA RAMA, plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
RAFAEL LEDESMA, defendant-appellee.

PARAS, J.:
This is an appeal from the decision of the defunct Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental in Civil Case
No. 8284 dismissing plaintiff-appellant's money claim for lack of a cause of action.
On August 18, 1967, Salvador de la Rama, one of the incorporators of the Inocentes de la Rama Inc. filed a
complaint with the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental docketed as Civil Case No. 8284, concerning a
money claim against Rafael Ledesma who is his own nephew and purchaser of his shares of stock in aforesaid
corporation.
De la Rama alleged that the Inocentes de la Rama Inc. suffered damages during the last war and had an
approved war damage claim with the Philippine War Damage Commission in the sum of P106,000.00. The
first payment on said claim, in the sum of P56,000.00 which was paid by the Commission while De la Rama
was still a stockholder, was, upon resolution of the majority of its stockholders, used for the reconstruction of
the Iris Theater Building. On November 18, 1958, before the additional liquidation of said claim, De la Rama
sold to Ledesma at par value his 140 shares in the corporation by endorsing his certificates of stock in favor
of the latter with an alleged understanding that De la Rama reserved to himself his proportionate equity in
the war damage benefits due on his 140 shares which Ledesma promised to deliver to him upon payment by
the Foreign Claim Settlement Commission of the United States. Upon presentation of the endorsed shares of
stock, new certificates of stock were issued in the name of Ledesma. On March 20, 1965, the corporation
received a final payment of its war damage claim in the sum of P46,696.33. The Board of Directors passed a
resolution distributing the final payment received by said corporation among its stockholders of record as of
March 20, 1965, as dividend computed at P29.59 per share. When Ledesma received the dividends pertaining
to his total shareholding including the 140 shares he had purchased from De la Rama, the latter demanded
from the former the return and delivery to him of his corresponding share in the claim in question. Ledesma
refused and De la Rama filed subject complaint alleging that he suffered moral and exemplary damages in
the sum of not less than P10,000.00 and attorney's fees in the sum of P1,000.00. (Complaint, Record on
Appeal, pp. 1-6; Decision of CFI Negros Occ., Record on Appeal, pp. 1820).
In his answer, Ledesma admits the allegation in the complaint except: (a) the alleged verbal understanding
between De la Rama and himself regarding the unpaid war damage claim; (b) the alleged equity of De la
Rama in the said claim as such equity is with the corporation itself, and not with the stockholders individually;
and (c) his liability for either moral or exemplary damages, much less for attorney's fees, the same having no
basis at all in law or in fact. By way of special defense, Ledesma claimed that the indorsement by De la Rama
of the Stock Certificate in question without qualification or condition constituted the sole and exclusive
contract between the parties and to allow De la Rama to prove any alleged simultaneous oral agreement
would run counter to the Parol Evidence Rule and the Statute of Frauds. Furthermore, the unpaid balance on
the said corporation's war damage claim at the time De la Rama sold his shareholdings belonged to the
corporation itself and not to its stockholders and so was the final payment which was paid to the corporation
itself, for its Board of Directors to do what it deemed best. (Answer, Record on Appeal, pp. 8-11.)
In reply to the special defenses raised by Ledesma, De la Rama avers: (a) that the War Damage Payment
made by the government of the United States to claimants in the Philippines who suffered losses during
World War II is not a profit of the Corporation which can be distributed as dividends; the use and disposition of

said funds as specified by the Philippine Rehabilitation Act of 1946 are reserved for those who suffered losses
during the war like himself; (b) that the Statute of Frauds applies only to Executory Contracts, and not to
partially or fully consummated cases; and (c) that the instant case is exempted from the Parol Evidence Rule
since the writing fails to express the true intent and agreement of the parties, and this fact is pleaded. He
further stated that the war damage benefits while due to the corporation redounds to the benefit of the
stockholders who actually suffered the damage, which means the stockholders of record at the time the
damage was inflicted; that in the disposition of such benefits the Board of Directors should be guided by the
spirit and letter of the Philippine Rehabilitation Act of 1946 and that the oral agreement of the parties is
consistent with the trust and confidence of the parties at the time in view of their close blood relationship.
(Record on Appeal, pp. 12-16.)
At the pre-trial of this case, the parties, through counsel, agreed to submit for the resolution of the Court the
question as to whether or not De la Rama is allowed to present parol evidence to prove his alleged
reservation to the war damage benefits in question. The parties further agreed that should the ruling of the
Court be in the negative, then the Court may render judgment on the pleadings. However, should the Court
rule in favor of admissibility of parol evidence, a hearing on the merits will be scheduled for the admission of
the evidence of both parties. (Record on Appeal, pp. 18-19.)
The lower court ruled in the negative, as follows:
Under the foregoing circumstances, the Court believes that any evidence tending to establish
the plaintiff's cause of action would be inadmissible under the parol evidence rule and the
provisions of the Statute of Frauds. In the light of the facts not controverted in the pleading
submitted by the parties, the Court finds that the plaintiff has no cause of action against the
defendant. (Record on Appeal, pp. 25-26.)
From this decision, the plaintiff-appellant appealed, and raised the following assignment of errors:
I
The lower court erred in holding that defendant is a successor in interest of plaintiff's
appellant's equitable share in the war damage benefits granted to Inocentes de la Rama, Inc.
by operation of the Philippine Rehabilitation Act of 1946 and of the United States Public Law 87616.
II
The lower court erred in not holding that plaintiff, as the pre-war shareholder of the Inocentes
de la Rama, Inc. and registered owner of shares of stock in the said corporation up to the year
1958, is the claimant having unpaid balance due on awards as determined by the former
Philippine War Damage Commission prior to its abolishment in April 1951 by operation of the
above stated laws.
III
The lower court erred in holding that the verbal agreement of the herein parties in which
plaintiff reserved and the defendant agreed to the right of plaintiff to the balance of the war
damage claim at the time of plaintiff's sale of his share of stock to defendant in 1958 is barred
by the Statute of Frauds and the Parol Evidence Rule.
The appeal is without merit.

The only issue crucial to this appeal is whether or not the alleged verbal agreement of the parties concerning
plaintiff's reservation of his right to the balance of the war damage claim at the time of the sale of his shares
to the defendant, can be proven by parol evidence under the Parol Evidence Rule and the Statute of Frauds.
There is merit in appellee's contention that the alleged oral reservation and the sale of the shares of stock
were made simultaneously and contemporaneously, so that to allow De la Rama to prove the same would run
counter to the Parol Evidence Rule.
In his brief, appellant alleged that "at the time he sold his shares of stock to the defendant in 1958 he has
reserved to himself the said benefits and to which defendant agreed." (Brief for Appellant, p. 3). Again, in his
third assignment of error he claims that the lower court erred in holding that the disputed oral reservation,
cannot be proved under the Statute of Frauds and the Parol Evidence." (Ibid., p.11.)
It is a well accepted principle of law that evidence of a prior or contemporaneous verbal agreement is
generally not admissible to vary, contradict or defeat the operation of a valid instrument. (American Factors
(Phil.) Inc. vs. Murphy Tire Corporation, et al. (C.A.) 49 O.G. 189.)
While parol evidence is admissible in a variety of ways to explain the meaning of written contracts, it cannot
serve the purpose of incorporating into the contract additional contemporaneous conditions which are not
mentioned at all in the writing, unless there has been fraud or mistake. (Yu Tek & Co. v. Gonzales, 29 Phil.
384.) Indeed, the exceptions to the rule do not apply in the instant case, there being no intrinsic ambiguity or
fraud, mistake, or failure to express the true agreement of the parties. If indeed the alleged reservation had
been intended, businessmen like the parties would have placed in writing such an important reservation.
In the case at bar, nowhere in the complaint were the exceptions to the rule alleged or put in issue. (See
Infante v. Cunanan, et al., 93 Phil. 691).
The alleged reservation not being admissible under the Parol Evidence Rule, WE do not find it necessary to
discuss the applicability or non-applicability to the present case of the Statute of Frauds.
For the same reason We see no reason for resolving whether the war damage award in favor of the
corporation should be regarded as capital stock or profit. Whether the award be part of one or the other the
fact is that appellant is not entitled to share in the same, having already disposed of his equity in favor of the
appellee.
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is hereby AFFIRMED, with costs against appellant.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-11346

March 21, 1918

ESPIRIDIONA CANUTO, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
JUAN MARIANO, defendant-appellant.
Alfredo Chicote, Jose Arnaiz and Pascual B. Azanza for appellant.
Alfonso E. Mendoza for appellee.
CARSON, J.:

This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Manila, providing for the execution of a
deed evidencing the repurchase by the plaintiff of a parcel of land from the defendant, upon the payment by
the former of the sum of P360.
On December 4, 1913, the plaintiff executed a deed of sale of the parcel of land described in the complaint,
to the defendant, for the sum of P360, reserving the right to repurchase the land for that amount within one
year from the date of the deed of sale. The redemption period having elapsed, and the plaintiff having failed
to exercise her right to repurchase within that period, the defendant set up a claim of absolute ownership to
the land, notwithstanding the insistent demand of the plaintiff that she be permitted to exercise her reserved
right of repurchase in accordance with an alleged oral agreement for the extension of the r redemption period
down to the end of the month of December, 1914. She claims that on the second day of December, 1914, two
days before the expiration of the original redemption period, she asked the defendant for an extension of
time for the repurchase of the land and that upon her promise to make the repurchase during the month of
December, 1914, the defendant agreed to extend the redemption set out in the written contract, to the end
of that month; that after the expiration of the original redemption period, she thought to make the
repurchase in accordance with the agreement as to the extension of the time therefor; but the defendant
failed to appear at the time and place agreed upon for the payment of the purchase price and has refused
since that time to execute a deed of resale, or to reserve the purchase price agreed upon, despite the
plaintiff's repeated demands and tender of the purchase price.
The plaintiff testified that on the morning of December the second, 1914, while she was washing clothes near
a well, the defendant passed by; that she seized the opportunity to beg an extension of time in which to
repurchase the land, promising the defendant that she would borrow the money and make payment if he
would extend the redemption period until the end of the month; that after some demur the defendant agreed
to allow her the whole of the month of December in which to redeem the land; that the following Sunday she
went to the house of the defendant and that he promised to meet her at the house of Mercado, an attorney,
at 4 o'clock of the next day, there to receive the purchase price and execute the necessary documents
evidencing the transaction; that she took the money to the lawyer's office at the time appointed, and waited
there until dark, but that the defendant failed to meet his engagement; that she then went to his house, but
was told that he was not at home; and that since that time defendant has refused to carry out his oral
agreement, claiming that the redemption period set out in the original deed of sale expired on the fourth day
of December, 1914, and that she had no right to repurchase the land after that date. Severino Pascual, who
was present when the oral agreement to extend the time for the repurchase of the land was made,
corroborated her testimony in this regard, and we find nothing in the record which would justify us in
disturbing the findings of the trial judge who accepted her testimony as a substantially true account of all
that occurred, and declined to believe the conflicting testimony of the defendant which he characterized as
vague and incredible.
The defendant having extended the time within which the plaintiff could repurchase the land on condition
that she would find the money and make repurchase within the extended period, it is clear that he cannot be
permitted to repudiate his promise, it appearing that the plaintiff stood ready to make the payment within the
extended period, and was only prevented from doing so by the conduct of the defendant himself. (Villegas vs.
Capistrano, 9 Phil. Rep., 416; Fructo vs. Fuentes, 15 Phil. Rep., 362; Retes vs. Suelto, 20 Phil. Rep., 394;
Rosales vs. Reyes and Ordoveza, 25 Phil. Rep., 495.)
The contention that the plaintiff should not be permitted to alter, vary, or contradict the terms of the written
instrument by the introduction of oral evidence is manifestly untenable under the circumstances of the case,
as will readily appear from the following citation from 17 Cyc., p. 734, and numerous cases cited in support of
the doctrine:
The rule forbidding the admission of parol or extrinsic evidence to alter, vary, or contradict a written
instrument does not apply so as to prohibit the establishment by parol of an agreement between the
parties to a writing, entered into subsequent to the time when the written instrument was executed,
notwithstanding such agreement may have the effect of adding to, changing, modifying, or even

altogether abrogating the contract of the parties as evidenced by the writing; for the parol evidence
does not in any way deny that the original agreement of the parties was that which the writing
purports to express, but merely goes to show that the parties have exercised their right to change or
abrogate the same, or to make a new and independent contract.
It makes no difference how soon after the execution of the written contract the parol one was made. If
it was in fact subsequent and is otherwise unobjectionable it may be proved and enforced.
The contention that the plaintiff lost her right to redeem because she failed to make judicial deposit of the
purchase price when the defendant declined to receive it, is not entitled to serious consideration in view of
the repeated decisions of this court to the contrary collated and discussed in the case of Rosales vs. Reyes
and Ordoveza (25 Phil. Rep., 495). In that case and in the cases cited therein we declared that the settled rule
in this jurisdiction is that a bona fide offer or tender of the price agreed upon for the repurchase is sufficient
to preserve the rights of the party making it, without the necessity of making judicial deposit, if the offer or
tender is refused; and in the case of Fructo vs. Fuentes (15 Phil. Rep., 362) we said that in such cases when
diligent effort is made by the vendor of the land to exercise the right to repurchase reserved by him in his
deed of sale "and fails by reason of circumstances over which he has no control, we are of the opinion and so
hold that he does not lose his right to repurchase on the day of maturity."
We conclude that the judgment entered in the court below should be affirmed with costs of this instance
against the appellant. So ordered.

G.R. No. L-39972 & L-40300 August 6, 1986


VICTORIA LECHUGAS, petitioner,
vs.
HON. COURT OF APPEALS, MARINA LOZA, SALVADOR LOZA, ISIDRO LOZA, CARMELITA LOZA,
DAVID LOZA, AMPARO LOZA, ERLINDA LOZA and ALEJANDRA LOZA, respondents.
A.R. Montemayor for petitioner.
Arturo L. Limoso for private respondents.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J:
This petition for review invokes the parol evidence rule as it imputes grave abuse of discretion on the part of
the appellate court for admitting and giving credence to the testimony of the vendor regarding the sale of the
disputed lot. The testimony is contrary to the contents of the deed of sale executed by the vendor in favor of
the petitioner.
The petitioner filed a complaint for forcible entry with damages against the private respondents, alleging that
the latter by means of force, intimidation, strategy and stealth, unlawfully entered lots A and B,
corresponding to the middle and northern portion of the property owned by the petitioner known as Lot No.
5456. She alleged that they appropriated the produce thereof for themselves, and refused to surrender the
possession of the same despite demands made by the petitioner. The complaint was dismissed. Petitioner
appealed to the then Court of First Instance (CFI) of Iloilo where the case was docketed as Civil Case No.
5055.
While the above appeal was pending, the petitioner instituted another action before the CFI of Iloilo for
recovery and possession of the same property against the private respondents.

This case was docketed as Civil Case No. 5303. The two cases were tried jointly. After trial, the court rendered
judgment. The dispositive portion of the decision states:
Wherefore, premises considered, judgment is rendered, to wit:
a. dismissing the complaints in two cases;
b. declaring defendants except Salvador Anona and Jose Lozada as owners and lawful
possessors of the land in question together with all the improvements thereon;
c. dismissing the claim for damages of all defendants except that of Jose Lozada;
d. ordering plaintiff to pay defendant Jose Lozada the sum of P500.00 as attorney's fees and
the amount of P300.00 as litigation expenses; and
e. ordering plaintiff to pay the costs of both proceedings.
The petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals but the latter sustained the dismissal of the cases. Hence,
this petition with the petitioner making the following assignments of errors:
I
THAT THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN CONSIDERING PAROL EVIDENCE OVER THE
OBJECTION OF THE PETITIONER IN ORDER TO VARY THE SUBJECT MATTER OF THE DEED OF
DEFINITE SALE (EXHIBIT A) ALTHOUGH THE LAND THEREIN IS DESCRIBED AND DELIMITED BY
METES AND BOUNDS AND IdENTIFIED AS LOT NO. 5456 OF LAMBUNAO CADASTRE.
II
THAT THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN CONSIDERING THE THEORY OF THE DEFENDANTSAPPELLEES FOR THE FIRST TIME ON APPEAL THAT THE LAND DESCRIBED IN THE DEED OF SALE
(EXHIBIT A) IS LOT NO. 5522 INSTEAD OF LOT NO. 5456 OF THE LAMBUNAO CADASTRE, THEIR
ORIGINAL THEORY BEING THAT THE DEED OF SALE (EXHIBIT A) IS NULL AND VOID AB INITIO
BECAUSE LEONCIA LASANGUE CAN NOT SELL THE LAND IN QUESTION IN 1950 SINCE IT WAS
ALLEGEDLY SOLD IN 1941 BY HER FATHER EMETERIO LASANGUE.
III
THAT THE RESPONDENT COURT CANNOT REFORM THE DEED OF DEFINITE SALE BY CHANGING
ITS SUBJECT MATTER IN THE ABSENCE OF STRONG, CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE AND
ON THE STRENGTH OF LONG TESTIMONY OF THE VENDOR AND ALTHOUGH NO DIRECT ACTION
FOR REFORMATION WAS FILED IN THE COURT OF ORIGIN.
A summary of the facts which brought about the controversy is contained in the findings of the appellate
court:
Plaintiff (petitioner) Victoria Lechugas testified that she bought the land now subject of this
litigation from Leoncia Lasangue as evidenced by a public "Deed of Absolute Sale" which
plaintiff had caused to be registered in the Office of the Register of Deeds; preparatory to the
execution of the deed Exhibit "A", plaintiff had the land segregated from the bigger portion of
12 hectares owned by Leoncia Lasangue by contracting a private land surveyor, the Sirilan
Surveying Office, to survey the land on December 3, 1950 and establish its boundaries, shape,
form and area in accordance with the said plan which was attached to exhibit A as Annex A

thereof. She also states that she caused the declaration of the said portion of six hectares
subject of Exhibit A in her name beginning the year 1951 under tax declaration No. 7912, paid
taxes on the same land, and has taken possession of the land through her tenants Jesus
Leoncio, Roberta Losarita and Simeon Guinta, who shared one-half of the produce of the
riceland with her, while she shouldered some of the expenses in cultivation and seeds, and
one-third share in other crops, like coffee beans, bamboos, coconuts, corn and the like.
xxx xxx xxx
Plaintiff's declaration is corroborated by her tenant Simeon Guinta who testifies that the land
subject of the complaint was worked on by him 1954 when its former tenant, Roberto Lazarita,
now deceased, left the land. As tenant thereof, he planted rice, corn peanuts, coffee, and other
minor products, sharing the same with the owner, plaintiff Victoria Lechugas; that on June 14,
1958, while witness was plowing Lot A preparatory to rice planting, defendants entered the
land and forced him to stop his work. Salvador Anona and Carmelita Losa, particularly, told
witness that if he (witness) would sign an affidavit recognizing them as his landlords, they
would allow him to continue plowing the land. On that occasion, Salvador Anona, David Loza
and Jose Loza were carrying unsheathed bolos, which made this witness very afraid, so much
so that he left the land and reported the matter to Victoria Lechugas who reportedly went to
the Chief of Police of Lambunao to ask the latter to intervene. The advise however of the chief
of police, who responded to the call of plaintiff, was not heeded by the defendants who stayed
adamantly on Lot A and refused to surrender the possession thereof to plaintiff appropriating
the harvest to themselves. This witness further declares that on June 24, 1958, defendants
entered Lot B of the land in question, situated on the northern portion, and cut the bamboo
poles growing thereof counted by plaintiff's brother and overseer in the land, Bienvenido
Laranja, to be 620 bamboo poles all in all. Despite the warning of the overseer Laranja,
defendants did not stop cutting the bamboos, and they remained on the land, refusing to leave
the same. To top it all, in June of 1959, defendants, not contended with just occupying the
middle and northern portions of the land (Lots A and B), grabbed the whole parcel containing
six hectares to the damage and prejudice of herein plaintiff, so that plaintiff was left with no
other recourse but to file Civil Case No. 5303 for ownership, recovery of possession and
damages.
Defendants, on the other hand, maintain that the land which plaintiff bought from Leoncia
Lasangue in 1950 as evidenced by the deed exhibit A, is different from the land now subject of
this action, and described in paragraph 2 of plaintiff's complaint. To prove this point,
defendants called as their first witness plaintiff herself (pp. 6167, t.s.n., Tuble), to elicit from
her the reason why it was that although her vendor Leoncia Lasangue was also residing at the
municipality of Lambunao, Iloilo, plaintiff did not care to call her to the witness stand to testify
regarding the Identity of the land which she (plaintiff) bought from said vendor Leoncia
Lasangue; to which query witness Lechugas countered that she had tried to call her vendor,
but the latter refused, saying that she (Lasangue) had already testified in plaintiff's favor in the
forcible entry case in the Justice of the Peace Court. In connection with her testimony regarding
the true Identity of the land plaintiff, as witness of defendants, stated that before the execution
of Exhibit "A" on December 8, 1950 the lot in question was surveyed (on December 3, 1950) by
the Sirilan Surveyor Company after due notice to the boundary owners including Leoncia
Lasangue.
Defendant's evidence in chief, as testified to by Carmelita Lozada (pp. 100-130, t.s.n.,
Trespeces; pp. 131-192, t.s.n., Tuble) shows that on April 6, 1931 Hugo Loza father of Carmelita
Loza and predecessor-in-interest of the rest of the heirs of herein defendants, (with the
exception of Jose Loza and Salvador Anona) purchased a parcel of land from one Victorina
Limor as evidenced by the deed "Venta Definitiva" (exhibit 3, pp. 49-50, folder of exhibits). This
land, containing 53,327 square meters is bounded on the north by Ramon Lasangue, on the

south by Emeterio Lasangue and covered by tax declaration No. 7346 (exhibit 3-9, p. 67, Id.) in
vendor's name; that immediately after the sale, Hugo Loza took possession of the said parcel of
land and declared the same in his name (exhibit 3-10, p. 67, folder of exhibits) starting the
year 1935. On March 17, 1941, Hugo Loza bought from Emeterio Lasangue a parcel of land
with an area of four hectares more or less, adjoining the land he (Loza) had earlier bought from
Victoria Limor, and which sale was duly evidenced by a public instrument (exhibit 2, pp. 35-36,
folder of exhibits). This property had the following boundaries, to wit: on the north by Eladio
Luno, on the south, by Simeon Lasangue, on the west, by Gregorio Militar and Emeterio
Lasangue and on the east, by Maximo Lasangue and Hipolito Lastica (exhibit 2, exhibit 2-B, p.
37, Id). After the execution of the deed of sale, Exhibit 2, Hugo Loza cause the transfer of the
declaration in his own name (tax declaration No. 8832, exh. 2-C, p. 38, Id.) beginning 1945, and
started paying the taxes on the land (exhibits 2-d to 2-i, pp. 39-44, Id.). These two parcels of
land (that purchased by Hugo Loza in 1941 from Emeterio Lasangue, and a portion of that
bought by him from Victoria Limor sometime in 1931) were consolidated and designated,
during the cadastral survey of Lambunao, Iloilo in 1959 as Lot No. 5456; while the remaining
portion of the lot bought from Victorina Limor, adjoining Lot 5456 on the east, was designated
as Lot No. 5515 in the name of the Heirs of Hugo Loza. Defendants claim that the lot bought by
plaintiff from Leoncia Lasangue as evidenced by exhibit A, is situated south of the land now
subject of this action and designated during cadastral survey of Lambunao as Lot No. 5522, in
the name of Victoria Lechugas.
xxx xxx xxx
Leoncia Lasangue, plaintiff's vendor in exhibit A, testifying for defendants (pp. 182-115, t.s.n.,
Tambagan; pp. 69-88, t.s.n., Tuble) declared that during his lifetime her father, Emeterio
Lasangue, owned a parcel of land in Lambunao, Iloilo, containing an area of 36 hectares; that
said Emeterio Lasangue sold a slice of 4 hectares of this property to Hugo Loza evidenced by a
deed of sale (Exh. 2) dated March 17, 1941; that other sales were made to other persons,
leaving only some twelve hectares out of the original 36; that these 12 hectares were
transferred by her parents in her (witness) name, being the only child and heir; that on
December 8, 1950, she (Leoncia Lasangue) sold six hectares of her inherited property to
Victoria Lechugas under a public instrument (exhibit A) which was prepared at the instance of
Victoria Lechugas and thumbmarked by herself (the vendor).
Refuting plaintiff's contention that the land sold to her is the very land under question, vendor
Leoncia Lasangue testifies that:
Q. But Victoria Lechugas declared here that, by means of this document, exhibit
'A', you sold to her this very land in litigation; while you declared here now that
this land in litigation was not included in the sale you made of another parcel of
land in her favor. What do you say about that?
A. I only sold six (6) hectares to her.
Q. And that was included in this land in litigation?
A. No.
xxx xxx xxx
Q. Did you tell her where that land you were selling to her was situated?
xxx xxx xxx

A. On the South.
Q. South side of what land, of the land in litigation?
A. The land I sold to her is south of the land in litigation.
xxx xxx xxx
Q. What portion of these thirty-six (36) hectares of land did you sell actually,
according to your agreement with Victoria Lechugas, and was it inside the thirtysix (36) hectares of land or a portion on one of the sides of thirty-six (36)
hectares?
A. It is on the edge of the whole land.
Q. Where is that edge? on the north, east, west or south?
A . This edge. (witness indicating the lower edge of the piece of paper shown into
her)
Q. Do you know what is east, that is, the direction where the sun rises?
A. I know what is east.
Q. Do you know where the sun sets ?
A. The sun sets on the west.
Q. If you are standing in the middle of your land containing thirty-six (36)
hectares and facing the east, that is, the direction where the sun rises, where is
that portion of land sold to Victoria Lechugas, on your left, on your right, front of
you or behind you?
A. On my right side. (Witness indicating south). (Testimony of Leoncia Lasangue,
pp. 209-211, rollo) (emphasis supplied).
On the basis of the above findings and the testimony of vendor Leoncia Lasangue herself, who although
illiterate was able to specifically point out the land which she sold to the petitioner, the appellate court
upheld the trial court's decision except that the deed of sale (Exhibit A) was declared as not null and void ab
initio insofar as Leoncia Lasangue was concerned because it could pass ownership of the lot in the south
known as Lot No. 5522 of the Lambunao Cadastre which Leoncia Lasangue intended to sell and actually sold
to her vendee, petitioner Victoria Lechugas.
In her first assignment of error, the petitioner contends that the respondent Court had no legal justification
when it subjected the true intent and agreement to parol evidence over the objection of petitioner and that to
impugn a written agreement, the evidence must be conclusive. Petitioner maintains, moreover, that the
respondent Court relied so much on the testimony of the vendor who did not even file a case for the
reformation of Exhibit A.
The contentions are without merit.
The appellate court acted correctly in upholding the trial court's action in admitting the testimony of Leoncia
Lasangue. The petitioner claims that Leoncia Lasangue was the vendor of the disputed land. The petitioner

denies that Leoncia Lasangue sold Lot No. 5522 to her. She alleges that this lot was sold to her by one
Leonora Lasangue, who, however, was never presented as witness in any of the proceedings below by herein
petitioner.
As explained by a leading commentator on our Rules of Court, the parol evidence rule does not apply, and
may not properly be invoked by either party to the litigation against the other, where at least one of the
parties to the suit is not party or a privy of a party to the written instrument in question and does not base a
claim on the instrument or assert a right originating in the instrument or the relation established thereby.
(Francisco on Evidence, Vol. VII, part I of the Rules of Court, p. 155 citing 32 C.J.S. 79.)
In Horn v. Hansen (57 N.W. 315), the court ruled:
...and the rule therefore applies, that as between parties to a written agreement, or their
privies, parol evidence cannot be received to contradict or vary its terms. Strangers to a
contract are, of course, not bound by it, and the rule excluding extrinsic evidence in the
construction of writings is inapplicable in such cases; and it is relaxed where either one of the
parties between whom the question arises is a stranger to the written agreement, and does not
claim under or through one who is party to it. In such case the rule is binding upon neither. ...
In the case of Camacho v. Municipality of Baliuag, 28 Phil. 466, this Court held that parol evidence which was
introduced by the municipality was competent to defeat the terms of the plaintiff's deed which the latter
executed with the Insular Government. In his concurring opinion, Justice Moreland stated:
It should be noted in the first place, that there is no written instrument between the plaintiff
and the municipality, that is, between the parties to the action; and there is, therefore, no
possibility of the question arising as to the admissibility of parol evidence to vary or contradict
the terms of an instrument. The written instrument that is, the conveyance on which plaintiff
bases his action was between the Insular Government and the plaintiff, and not between the
municipality and the plaintiff; and therefore, there can arise, as between the plaintiff and
defendant no question relative to the varying or contradicting the terms of a written instrument
between them ...
The petitioner's reliance on the parol evidence rule is misplaced. The rule is not applicable where the
controversy is between one of the parties to the document and third persons. The deed of sale was executed
by Leoncia Lasangue in favor of Victoria Lechugas. The dispute over what was actually sold is between
petitioner and the private respondents. In the case at bar, through the testimony of Leoncia Lasangue, it was
shown that what she really intended to sell and to be the subject of Exhibit A was Lot No. 5522 but not being
able to read and write and fully relying on the good faith of her first cousin, the petitioner, she just placed her
thumbmark on a piece of paper which petitioner told her was the document evidencing the sale of land. The
deed of sale described the disputed lot instead.
This fact was clearly shown in Lasangue's testimony:
Q. And how did you know that that was the description of the land that you
wanted to sell to Victoria Lechugas?
R. I know that because that land came from me.
S. But how were you able to read the description or do you know the description?
A. Because, since I do not know how to read and write and after the document
was prepared, she made me sign it. So I just signed because I do not know how
to read.

xxx xxx xxx


Q. What explanation did she make to you?
A. She said to me, 'Manang, let us have a document prepared for you to sign on
the land you sold to me.' So, after the document was prepared, I signed.
Q. Did you tell her where that land you were selling to her was situated?
xxx xxx xxx
A. On the South.
Q. South side of what land, of the land in litigation?
A. The land I sold to her is south of the land in litigation.
Q. Did you tell her that before preparing the document you signed?
A. Yes, I told her so because I had confidence in her because she is my first
cousin. (pp. 198-207, rollo)
From the foregoing, there can be no other conclusion but that Lasangue did not intend to sell as she could not
have sold, a piece of land already sold by her father to the predecessor-in-interest of the respondents.
The fact that vendor Lasangue did not bring an action for the reformation of Exhibit "A" is of no moment. The
undisputed fact is that the respondents have timely questioned the validity of the instrument and have
proven that, indeed Exhibit "A" does not reflect the true intention of the vendor.
There is likewise no merit in the contention of the petitioner that the respondents changed their theory on
appeal.
Respondents, from the very start, had questioned and denied Leoncia Lasangue's capacity to sell the
disputed lot to petitioner. It was their contention that the lot was sold by Leoncia's father Emeterio Lasangue
to their father, Hugo Loza wayback in 1941 while the alleged sale by Leoncia to the petitioner took place only
in 1950. In essence, therefore, the respondents were already attacking the validity of Exhibit "A". Moreover,
although the prior sale of the lot to their father may have been emphasized in their defenses in the civil cases
filed against them by the petitioner in the lower court, nevertheless in their affirmative defense, the
respondents already raised doubt on the true intention of Leoncia Lasangue in signing Exhibit "A" when they
alleged that..." Leoncia Lasangue, publicly, and in writing repudiated said allegation and pretension of the
plaintiff, to the effect that the parcel of land now in litigation in the present case "WAS NOT INCLUDED in the
sale she executed in favor of the plaintiff ... .
Consequently, petitioner cannot impute grave abuse on the part of the appellate court and state that it
allowed a change of theory by the respondents for the first time on appeal for in reality, there was no such
change.
The third issue raised by the petitioner has no merit. There is strong, clear, and convincing evidence as to
which lot was actually sold to her. We see no reason to reverse the factual findings of both the Court of First
Instance and the Court of Appeals on this point. The "reformation" which the petitioner questions was, in fact,
intended to favor her. Instead of declaring the deed of sale null and void for all purposes, the Court upheld its
having passed ownership of Lot No. 5522 to the petitioner.

WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit with costs
against the petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-568

July 16, 1947

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
JUAN FRANCISCO, defendant-appellant.
Augusto Kalaw for appellant.
Assistant Solicitor General Roberto A. Gianzon and Acting Solicitor Isidro C. Borromeo for appellee.
HILADO, J.:
Convicted of the crime of parricide by the Court of First Instance of Mindoro, Juan Francisco appeals to this
Court and asks us to reverse the decision of the trial court and to acquit him of the crime charged.
On March 4, 1945, defendant, who had been previously arrested on charges of robbery, was being held as
detention prisoner in the municipal jail of Mansalay, Mindoro. On that date he requested permission from the
chief of police, and he was allowed to go with Sergeant Pacifico Pimentel, who was detailed to guard him.
Upon their reaching the house, the sergeant allowed the prisoner to see his wife who was at the time in a
room of said house, while said sergeant remained at the foot of the stairs. After a few moments, Pimentel
heard the scream of a woman. Running upstairs, he met defendant's wife running out of the room and
holding her right breast which was bleeding. Still moments later, Pimentel saw defendant lying down with his
little son Romeo, aged one year and a half, on his breast. Pimentel also found defendant to have a wound in
his belly while his child had a wound in the back. Pimentel found the child dead.
The prosecution, in recommending the imposition of the capital penalty upon the accused, relies mainly on:
(1) the affidavit, Exhibit C (translation, Exhibit C-1), which is a virtual confession of the accused; (2) Exhibit D,
which is the record made by the justice of the peace of Mansalay of the arraignment of the defendant upon
which the latter entered a plea of guilty; and (3) the rebuttal testimony of Emilia Taladtad, wife of the
appellant.
Exhibit C is an affidavit signed and sworn to by the appellant before the justice of the peace of Mansalay on
March 5, 1945,. Exhibit C-1 is its English translation. In said affidavit appellant declares that: "I asked
permission from the chief of police so that I may be able to raise my bond and to indicate to me the house of
one Guillermo Gervasio, a policeman, and I was consented and the sergeant of police accompanied me to my
house; that upon arriving at the house, Sgt. Pacifico Pimentel allowed me to go up in order that I may be able
to talk to my wife and the sergeant of police awaited me in the stairs of the house; when I was in the house, I
remembered what my uncle told me to the effect that he would order someone to kill me because I am a
shame and a dishonor to our family and suddenly I lost my sense and I thought to myself that if someone
would kill me it would be more preferable for me to kill myself; when I looked at the bed I saw a scissor near
my wife and unconsciously I picked up the said scissor and immediately stabbed my wife whereupon I looked
for my child on the bed and stabbed him; I killed my son Romeo Francisco whose age is more or less two
years and after that I stabbed myself; after stabbing myself, I heard a shot and the sergeant of police asked
me if I would surrender to him or not; I replied him "yes" then I lost my consciousness."
Sergeant of Police Pimentel, whose veracity we find in the evidence no reason to doubt, declared (p. 6, t.s.n.,
Lunar) that the accused confessed to him that because he was already tired or disgusted with his life "on
account of the accusation of his father-in-law" against him, he wanted to wipe out his family by stabbing his
wife, his son and himself, and killing the three of them. The same witness also stated (p. 9, ibid.) that the
accused confessed to him that he stabbed his wife, his child and himself because he was ashamed, as his
father-in-law told him that he should rather die than live in shame for having dishonored the family of his
wife.

The voluntariness and spontaniety of the confession contained in Exhibit C was testified to by the justice of
the peace of Mansalay and police sergeant Pimentel, one Sebastian Punzalan, and the chief of police Alfredo
Iwahi; that said justice of the peace had previously read the contents of the same affidavit to the accused and
that the accused signed without any intimidation having been exerted in the presence of said justice of the
peace; that the accused signed voluntarily in the session hall of the justice of the peace court in Barrio
Paclasan (pp. 26-27, ibid.) Pimentel testified, upon the same point, that no force was exerted upon appellant
to state what is contained in the affidavit; that he had not maltreated or boxed the accused as pretended by
the latter; that the contents of the exhibit were read to the accused; that he did not threatened the accused
to shoot the latter if he would not swear to Exhibit C before the justice of the peace, as declared by said
accused (pp. 25-26, ibid.) In this connection we note from the testimony of the accused himself that on the
way to the house of the justice of the peace after the incident, he was being helped by the chief of police
Iwahi when, according to him, Sergeant Pimentel told him that he was going to swear to the contents of
Exhibit C and that if he would not do so Pimentel would shoot him (p. 17, ibid.); that (the same accused
assured the court) Iwahi treated him well (t.s.n., p. 20, ibid.); and really from the entire testimony of this
accused the good treatment accorded him by Chief of Police Iwahi is clearly discernible. He was under
preventive detention in the house of Iwahi and it was Iwahi who suggested or told him, after he had killed and
dressed the former's pig, that he bring a kilo of the meat to his (appellant's) wife (p. 13, ibid.) It was also
Iwahi who allowed him to go to his house on the same occasion for the purposes of the procurement of his
bail (p. 13, ibid.).
Under these circumstances, besides the complete absence of proof of any reason or motive why Pimentel
should so threaten the accused, we find the accused's version incredible. On page 16 of the same transcript,
answering a question by the Court of First Instance, the accused testified that he understands English and the
translation Exhibit C-1 of the affidavit Exhibit C is in that language.
Other indications of appellant's lack of trustworthiness are: While on page 14 of said transcript he testified
that he was the only one who went to the house of his wife because Pimentel, according to him, remained in
the house of Roberto Magramo, on page 13 he declared that he was accompanied by the sergeant of police of
Mansalay, Pacifico Pimentel to the house of his wife and that the chief of police ordered Pimentel to so
accompany him. Contradicting the same pretension of his having gone alone to his wife's house is his own
testimony on page 17 of the transcript wherein he assured affirmatively the question of his own counsel
whether Pimentel was the policeman who was with him to guard him on the occasion of his going to his wife's
house; and really, while he imputed upon his wife the wounding of their child, who died as a consequence
thereof, he admitted that he did not tell this to the justice of the peace of Mansalay (p. 18, ibid.), and the
reason he assigned for this passive conduct on his part to the effect that he was afraid of Pimentel (p.
19, ibid.) is patently unacceptable, for no motive whatsoever has been established to make us believe that
the accused had reasons to be so afraid of Pimentel. Appellant's testimony to the effect that Pacifico Pimentel
was testifying against him because Pimentel "being my guard that time he might be held responsible for
allowing me to go alone" (p. 17, ibid.) is absolutely without merit. This testimony clearly reveals a desire to
show that because Pimentel allowed the accused to go up the house while the former stayed at the foot of
the stairs, said Pimentel would be responsible for what had happened unless the accused was the one who
killed the child and wounded his wife rather than the wife having accidentally wounded the child and killed
him and been stabbed by the accused, who also stabbed himself. As we said a moment ago, we do not give
any merit to this purpose in testifying against the accused to relieve himself of all responsibility for what had
happened, it would have been more conducive to this result if Pimentel had testified that it was not the
accused, whom he had allowed to go upstairs unguarded, who was guilty, but his wife, of the wounding of the
child, and that the accused wounded his wife only as the result of the obfuscation produced by the child's
death. And the fact that Pimentel gave the version which might place no small blame on him for allowing the
accused to go up the house alone, gives special weight to his testimony.
This case, as developed by the evidence for the prosecution, which has not been destroyed nor enervated by
that of the defense, presents a truly strange happening. But the fact of the commission of the crime of
parricide appears to us to have been established beyond reasonable doubt. As to the reasons impelling the
commission of the act, the case is a strange one and admittedly not common. But while it is not necessary
even to prove motive in case the commission of the crime is established as required by law (U.S. vs. Ricafor,
1 Phil., 173; U.S. vs. McMann, 4 Phil., 561; U.S. vs. Reyes, 18 Phil., 495; U.S. vs. Balmori and Apostol, 18 Phil.,
578), here we have a case of a crime proven beyond reasonable doubt, not absolutely without a proven
motive, but with proof of a motive testified to by the accused himself in his confession, strange though it be.
But at times "truth is stranger than fiction," and it so happens here. The law must be applied to the facts.

We have scanned and searched the evidence and the record diligently for facts and circumstances which
might sufficiently establish insanity or any allied defense, but we have failed to find them.
As we construe the evidence, we believe that Exhibit C contains the truth, as narrated by the accused himself
who, at the time of making it, must have been moved only by the determination of a repentant father and
husband to acknowledge his guilt for facts which, though perhaps done under circumstances productive of a
diminution of the exercise of will-power, fell short of depriving the offender of consciousness of his acts. We
will have occasion to further consider this aspect of the case later.
Exhibit C was signed and sworn to by appellant the day following the fatal event. Presumably, on making this
confession appellant had not yet had time to reflect upon the consequences of such a confession to himself
egoism was not yet allowed to operate against the promptings of his conscience. But when on February 23,
1946 almost one year after this man testified in his own defense in the Court of First Instance, he
already had had ample opportunity to reflect upon those consequences. And what happened? As in similar
cases, he repudiated his confession, and alleged torture and violence to have been exerted upon his person
and his mind in order, so he now pretends, to extract it from him. As we find the confession to have been
given voluntarily, we feel justified in concluding that its subsequent repudiation by the accused almost a year
after must have been due to his fear of its consequences to himself, which he not improbably thought might
cost him his own life. It was the struggle between the noble and the ignoble in the man, and the latter, aided
by instinct of self-preservation, won.
Defense counsel attacks the value of Exhibit C as evidence of guilt for the reason that the statements
contained therein were not, counsel contends, given spontaneously but through use of violence and
intimidation. He also questions the admissibility of Exhibit D on the ground that it has not been properly
identified; and, with more vigor and stronger emphasis, he impugns the admissibility of the testimony of
appellant's wife, invoking the provision of section 26 (d) of Rule 123 prohibiting the wife and the husband
from testifying for or against each other.
As to Exhibit C, this document was sworn to and subscribed by said accused before the justice of the peace of
Mansalay. This official testified that he asked the prisoner before the latter signed said exhibit whether he
understood the contents thereof, and that said latter answered in the affirmative. The witness further
declared that appellant signed the exhibit voluntarily and that said appellant said that the said affidavit was
his (p. 10, ibid.). There is a total absence of evidence, besides the testimony of appellant himself, to show
that his statements contained in said exhibit were extracted form him by the use of violence and intimidation.
While we are not unaware of the practice resorted to by some peace officers of extracting admissions or
confessions from persons accused of crime by the employment of third-degree methods, in the present case
we fail to find from the evidence sufficient proof to destroy the categorical testimony of the justice of the
peace that Exhibit C was signed by appellant voluntarily and with a full understanding thereof. Furthermore,
the statements of appellant in said Exhibit C were corroborated by the testimony of his wife on rebuttal. This
leads us to the consideration of the admissibility of the wife's testimony.
The rule contained in section 265 (d) of Rule 123 is an old one. Courts and text-writers on the subject have
assigned as reasons therefor the following: First, identity of interest; second, the consequent danger of
perjury; third, the policy of the law which deems it necessary to guard the security and confidences of private
life even at the risk of an occasional failure of justice, and which rejects such evidence because its admission
would lead to domestic disunion and unhappiness; and fourth, because where a want of domestic tranquility
exists, there is danger of punishing one spouse through the hostile testimony of the other. This has been said
in the case of Cargill vs.State (220 Pac., 64; 25 Okl. Cr., 314; 35 A.L.R., 133), thus:
The reasons given by law text-writers and courts why neither a husband nor wife shall in any case be
a witness against the other except in a criminal prosecution for a crime committed by one against the
other have been stated thus: First, identity of interests; second, the consequent danger of perjury;
third, the policy of the law which deems it necessary to guard the security and confidences of private
life even at the risk of an occasional failure of justice, and which rejects such evidence because its
admission would lead to domestic disunion and unhappiness; and fourth, because, where a want of
domestic tranquility exists, there is danger of punishing one spouse through the hostile testimony of
the other. (70 C.J., 119.)
However, as all other general rules, this one has its own exceptions, both in civil actions between the spouses
and in criminal cases for offenses committed by one against the other. Like the rule itself, the exceptions are

backed by sound reasons which, in the excepted cases, outweigh those in support of the general rule. For
instance, where the marital and domestic relations are so strained that there is no more harmony to be
preserved nor peace and tranquility of interests disappears and the consequent danger of perjury based on
that identity is non-existent. Likewise, in such a situation, the security and confidences of private life which
the law aims at protecting will be nothing but ideals which, through their absence, merely leave a void in the
unhappy home.
At any rate, in the instant case the wife did not testify in the direct evidence for the prosecution but under
circumstances presently to be stated. It will be noted that the wife only testified against her husband after
the latter, testifying in his own defense, imputed upon her the killing of their son. (p. 15, ibid.) By all rules of
justice and reason this gave the prosecution, which had theretofore refrained from presenting the wife as a
witness against her husband, the right to do so, as it did in rebuttal; and the the wife herself the right to so
testify, at least, in self-defense, not of course, against being subjected to punishment in that case in which
she was not a defendant but against any or all of various possible consequences which might flow from her
silence, namely: (1) a criminal prosecution against her which might be instituted by the corresponding
authorities upon the basis of her husband's aforesaid testimony; (2) in the moral and social sense, her being
believed by those who heard the testimony orally given, as well as by those who may read the same, once
put in writing, to be the killer of her infant child. It has been aptly said that the law of evidence is the law of
common sense. Presuming the husband who so testified against his wife to be endowed with common sense,
he must be taken to have expected that the most natural reaction which the said testimony would give rise to
on the part of the prosecution, as well as of his wife, was to deny upon rebuttal the new matter which was
involved in the same testimony, namely, the imputation that it was his wife who killed their little son. Upon
the part of the prosecution, because he not only limited himself to denying that he was the killer, but went
further and added what was really a new matter consisting in the imputation of the crime upon his wife. And
upon the part of the wife, because of the reasons already set forth above. Hence, in giving such testimony,
the husband must, in all fairness, be held to have intended all its aforesaid natural and necessary
consequences. By his said act, the husband himself exercising the very right which he would deny to his
wife upon the ground of their marital relations must be taken to have waived all objection to the latter's
testimony upon rebuttal, even considering that such objection would have been available at the outset.
At this point, it behooves us to emphasize the all-important role of the State in this case. The State being
interested in laying the truth before the courts so that the guilty may be punished and the innocent
exonerated, must have the right to offer the rebutting testimony in question, even against the objection of
the accused, because it was the latter himself who gave rise to its necessity. It may be said that the accused
husband thought that he would have more chances of convincing the court of his pretended innocence if he
pointed to his wife as having caused the death of their child, instead of simply denying that he was the
author of the fatal act. To this we would counter by saying that if he was to be allowed, for his convenience,
to make his choice and thereby impute the act upon his spouse, justice would be partial and one-sided if both
the State and the wife were to be absolutely precluded from introducing the latter's rebutting testimony.
As well-settled as this rule of marital incompetency itself is the other that it may be waived.
Waiver of incompetency. Objections to the competency of a husband or wife to testify in a criminal
prosecution against the other may be waived as in the case of the other witnesses generally. Thus, the
accused waives his or her privilege by calling the other spouse as a witness for him or her, thereby
making the spouse subject to cross-examination in the usual manner. It is well-established that where
an accused introduces his wife as a witness in his behalf, the state is entitled to question her as to all
matters germane and pertinent to her testimony on direct examination. It is also true that objection to
the spouse's competency must be made when he or she is first offered as witness, and that the
incompetency may be waived by the failure of the accused to make timely objection to the admission
of the spouse's testimony, although knowing of such incompetency, and the testimony admitted,
especially if the accused has assented to the admission, either expressly or impliedly. Other courts
have held that the witness's testimony is not admissible even with the other spouse's consent. Clearly,
if the statute provides that a spouse shall in no case testify against the other except in a prosecution
for an offense against the other, the failure of the accused to object does not enable the state to use
the spouse as a witness. (3 Wharton's Criminal Evidence, 11th Ed., section 1205, pp. 2060-2061.)
Wharton, in note 10 at the foot of page 2060 of the cited volume refers us to section 1149 appearing on page
1988 of the same volume, dealing with waiver objection to incompetency of witnesses in general. We
transcribe this section for convenient reference:

Waiver of objection to incompetency. A party may waive his objection to the competency of a
witness and permit him to testify. A party calling an incompetent witness as his own waives the
incompetency. Also, if, after such incompetency appears, there is failure to make timely objection, by
a party having knowledge of the incompetency, the objection will be deemed waived, whether it is on
the ground of want of mental capacity or for some other reason. If the objection could have been
taken during the trial, a new trial will be refused and the objection will not be available on writ of error.
If, however, the objection of a party is overruled and the ruling has been excepted to, the party may
thereafter examine the witness upon the matters as to which he was allowed to testify to without
waiving his objections to the witness's competency. (Ibid., section 1149, p. 1988.)
It will be noted, as was to be expected, that in the last above-quoted section, the author mentions certain
specific cases where the courts concerned hold that there was waiver, but for obvious reasons neither the
author nor said courts have attempted to make an enumeration of all possible cases of waiver. In the very
nature of things, it would be impossible to make a priori such a complete enumeration and to say that it is
exclusive. So long as the Legislature itself does not make its own statutory and exclusive specification of
cases of such waiver and we doubt that it ever will no complete and exclusive enumeration can, nor
should, be attempted by the courts, for in the absence of such legislation the cases of waiver will be as
indefinite in number as indefinite are and always will be the varying and unpredictable circumstances
surrounding each particular case.
To illustrate, Mr. Wharton says above that the accused waives his or her privilege by calling the other spouse
as a witness for him or her, thereby making the spouse subject to cross-examination in the usual manner, the
reason being that the State is entitled to question the spouse so presented as to all matters germane and
pertinent to the direct testimony. In the same way, and for a similar reason, when the herein appellant gave
his testimony in question in his defense, the State had the right to rebut the new matter contained in that
testimony consisting in the imputation upon his wife of the death of the little boy. And that rebuttal evidence,
which was rendered necessary byappellant's own testimony, could be furnished only by his wife who, as he
fully knew, was alone with him and their son at the precise place and time of the event. This right to rebut is
secured to the State, no less than to the accused, by Rule 115, section 3, paragraph (c), the provision further
authorizing the court, in furtherance of justice, to permit one or the other party to offer "new additional
evidence bearing upon the main issue in question." So that if the waiver that we here declare to flow from the
above-mentioned testimony of appellant does not happen to be among those which were mentioned in the
cases cited by Mr. Wharton, that is no reason against the existence of said waiver.
When the husband testified that it was his wife who caused the death of their son, he could not, let us repeat,
justly expect the State to keep silent and refrain from rebutting such new matter in his testimony, through
the only witness available, namely, the wife; nor could he legitimately seal his wife's lips and thus gravely
expose her to the danger of criminal proceedings against her being started by the authorities upon the
strength and basis of said testimony of her husband, or to bear the moral and social stigma of being thought,
believed, or even just suspected, to be the killer of her own offspring. A decent respect and considerate
regard for the feelings of an average mother will tell us that such a moral and social stigma would be no less
injurious to her than a criminal punishment. And if the wife should, in such a case and at such a juncture, be
allowed to testify upon rebuttal, the scope of her testimony should at least be the same as that of her
husband. This is only simple justice and fairness dictated by common sense. Since the husband had testified
that it was his wife who caused the death of the little boy, she should be allowed to say that it was really her
husband who did it. We hold that it is not necessary, to justify such rebuttal evidence, and to declare the
existence of the waiver upon which it was based, that the wife be in jeopardy of punishment in the same
case by reason of such testimony of her accused husband. The rule of waiver of objection to the competency
of witnesses generally does not require this prerequisite in the case between husband and wife. Rather the
rule makes the determination of the question hinge around t