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SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. Nos. 159418-19. December 10, 2003]

NORMA DE JOYA, petitioner, vs. THE JAIL WARDEN OF BATANGAS


CITY AND HON. RUBEN A. GALVEZ AS PRESIDING JUDGE OF
BATANGAS CITY MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT IN CITIES, BRANCH
I, respondents.
DECISION
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
This is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed by Norma de Joya
praying for her release from the Batangas City Jail on the claim that her
detention was illegal.
The Antecedents
The petitioner was charged separately with violations of Batas Pambansa
Blg. 22 before the Municipal Trial Court In Cities in Batangas City. The docket
numbers and accusatory portion of each of the Informations reads:
Criminal Case No. 25484
That on or about September 28, 1994 at Batangas City, Philippines, and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused,
well-knowing that she does not have funds in or credit with the Solid Bank,
Batangas Branch, Batangas City, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and
feloniously draw, make and issue to Flor Catapang de Tenorio, Solid Bank
Check No. 040297 postdated to October 28, 1994 in the amount of ONE
HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND (P150,000.00) PESOS, Philippine Currency, to
apply on account or for value, but when said check was presented for full
payment with the drawee bank within a period of ninety (90) days from the
date of the check, the same was dishonored by the drawee bank on the
ground account closed, which in effect is even more than a dishonor for
insufficiency of funds, and despite notice of dishonor and demands made
upon her to make good her check by making proper arrangement with the
drawee bank or pay her obligation in full directly to Flor Catapang de Tenorio,
accused failed and refused to do so, which acts constitute a clear violation of
the aforecited law, to the damage and prejudice of transaction in commercial

documents in general and of Flor Catapang de Tenorio in particular in the


aforementioned amount.
CONTRARY TO LAW.[1]
Criminal Case No. 25773
That on or about October 17, 1994 at Batangas City, Philippines, and within
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, wellknowing that she does not have fund in or credit with the Security Bank and
Trust Company, Batangas Branch, Batangas City, did then and there, wilfully,
unlawfully and feloniously draw, make and issue to Resurreccion T. Castillo,
Security Bank and Trust Company Check No. 038111 postdated to October
24, 1994 in the amount of TWO HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND PESOS
(P225,000.00), Philippine Currency, to apply on account or for value, but
when said check was presented for full payment with the drawee bank within
a period of ninety (90) days from the date of the check, the same was
dishonored by the drawee bank on the ground of account closed, which in
effect is even more than a dishonor for insufficiency of funds, and despite
notice of dishonor and demands made upon her to make good her check by
making proper arrangement with the drawee bank or pay her obligation in
full directly to Resurreccion T. Castillo, accused failed and refused to do so,
which acts constitute a clear violation of the aforecited law, to the damage
and prejudice of transaction in commercial documents in general and of
Resurreccion T. Castillo in particular in the aforementioned amount.
CONTRARY TO LAW.[2]
When arraigned in both cases, the petitioner, assisted by counsel,
pleaded not guilty. While trial was going on, the petitioner jumped bail. No
evidence was thereby adduced in her defense in any of the two cases.
On December 14, 1995, the trial court promulgated its decision in
Criminal Case No. 25484. The petitioner and her counsel failed to appear
despite due notice. The decretal portion of the decision reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, this Court finds the accused Norma de Joya guilty of the crime
of Violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22, and hereby sentences said accused
to suffer an imprisonment of one (1) year and to indemnify the offended
party, Flor Catapang Tenorio, in the sum of ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND
(P150,000.00) PESOS, Philippine Currency.
SO ORDERED.[3]
On March 21, 1997, the decision in Criminal Case No. 25773 was likewise
promulgated in absentia. The decretal portion of the said decision reads:

WHEREFORE, the Prosecution having satisfactorily established the guilt of


the accused beyond reasonable doubt, this Court hereby sentences hereinaccused Norma de Joya of imprisonment of ONE (1) YEAR and to pay
complainant Resurreccion Castillo of the amount of TWO HUNDRED TWENTYFIVE THOUSAND (P225,000.00) PESOS by way of damages.
SO ORDERED.[4]
The petitioner remained at large and no appeal was filed from any of the
said decisions. In the meantime, the Court issued Supreme Court
Administrative Circular No. 12-2000 on November 21, 2000 enjoining all
courts and judges concerned to take notice of the ruling and policy of the
Court enunciated in Vaca v. Court of Appeals[5] and Lim v. People[6] with
regard to the imposition of the penalty for violations of B.P. Blg. 22.
After five years, the petitioner was finally arrested while she was applying
for an NBI clearance. She was forthwith detained at the Batangas City Jail on
December 3, 2002. On July 28, 2003, the petitioner filed an urgent motion
with the Municipal Trial Court of Batangas City asking the court to apply SC
Admin. Circular No. 12-2000 retroactively pursuant to Article 22 of the
Revised Penal Code and to order her release from detention. The public
prosecutor opposed the motion. In an Order dated August 15, 2003, the trial
court denied the motion on three grounds: (a) its decision convicting the
petitioner of violation of B.P. Blg. 22 had long become final and executory;
hence, could no longer be amended to change the penalty imposed therein;
(b) the SC Circular should be applied prospectively; and (c) the SC Circular
did not amend B.P. Blg. 22, a substantive law, but merely encourages trial
court judges to have a uniform imposition of fine.
Hence, the petition at bar.
The petitioner posits that SC Admin. Circular No. 12-2000 deleted the
penalty of imprisonment for violation of B.P. Blg. 22 and allows only the
imposition of a fine. The trial court was mandated to apply SC Admin.
Circular No. 12-2000 retroactively conformably with Article 22 of the Revised
Penal Code citing the ruling of this Court in United States v. Pacrose.[7] The
petitioner prays that the Court declare her detention illegal and order her
release from the Batangas City Jail.
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) opposed the petition contending
that:
1)

THE TWO (2) JUDGMENTS OF CONVICTION AGAINST THE


PETITIONER HAD LONG ATTAINED FINALITY AND COULD NO
LONGER BE MODIFIED.

2)

ADMINISTRATIVE CIRCULAR NO. 12-2000 AS MODIFIED BY


ADMINISTRATIVE CIRCULAR NO. 13-2001 DID NOT DELETE THE
PENALTY OF IMPRISONMENT IN BP 22 CASES.[8]

The OSG cited the ruling of this Court in Abarquez v. Court of Appeals.[9]
The petition has no merit.
Section 4, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court, as amended, provides that the
writ of habeas corpus is not allowed if the person alleged to be restrained of
his liberty is in the custody of an officer under process issued by a court or
judge or by virtue of a judgment or order of a court of record:
Sec. 4. When writ not allowed or discharged authorized. If it appears that
the person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an
officer under process issued by a court or judge or by virtue of a judgment or
order of a court of record, and that the court or judge had jurisdiction to
issue the process, render the judgment; or make the order, the writ shall not
be allowed; or if the jurisdiction appears after the writ is allowed, the person
shall not be discharged by reason of any informality or defect in the process,
judgment, or order. Nor shall anything in this rule be held to authorize the
discharge of a person charged with or convicted of an offense in the
Philippines, or of a person suffering imprisonment under lawful judgment.
In this case, the petitioner was arrested and detained pursuant to the
final judgment of the Municipal Trial Court of Batangas City, convicting her of
violation of B.P. Blg. 22. Irrefragably then, the petitioner is not entitled to a
writ of habeas corpus. Petitioners reliance of our ruling in Ordonez v.
Vinarao[10] that a convicted person is entitled to benefit from the reduction of
penalty introduced by the new law, citing People v. Simon,[11] is misplaced.
Thus, her plea that as provided for in Article 22 of the Revised Penal Code,
SC Admin. Circular No. 12-2000 as modified by SC Admin. Circular No. 132001 should benefit her has no basis.
First. SC Admin. Circular No. 12-2000 is not a penal law; hence, Article 22
of the Revised Penal Code is not applicable. The circular applies only to
those cases pending as of the date of its effectivity and not to cases already
terminated by final judgment.
Second. As explained by the Court in SC Admin. Circular No. 13-2001, SC
Admin. Circular No. 12-2000 merely lays down a rule of preference in the
application of the penalties for violation of B.P. Blg. 22. It does not amend
B.P. Blg. 22, nor defeat the legislative intent behind the law. SC Admin.
Circular No. 12-2000 merely urges the courts to take into account not only
the purpose of the law but also the circumstances of the accused whether he
acted in good faith or on a clear mistake of fact without taint of negligence
and such other circumstance which the trial court or the appellate court

believes relevant to the penalty to be imposed. The Court thus emphasized


that:
The clear tenor and intention of Administrative Circular No. 12-2000 is not to
remove imprisonment as an alternative penalty, but to lay down a rule of
preference in the application of the penalties provided for in B.P. Blg. 22.
The pursuit of this purpose clearly does not foreclose the possibility of
imprisonment for violators of B.P. Blg. 22. Neither does it defeat the
legislative intent behind the law.
Thus, Administrative Circular No. 12-2000 establishes a rule of preference in
the application of the penal provisions of B.P. Blg. 22 such that where the
circumstances of both the offense and the offender clearly indicate good
faith or a clear mistake of fact without taint of negligence, the imposition of a
fine alone should be considered as the more appropriate penalty. Needless
to say, the determination of whether the circumstances warrant the
imposition of a fine alone rests solely upon the Judge. Should the Judge
decide that imprisonment is the more appropriate penalty, Administrative
Circular No. 12-2000 ought not be deemed a hindrance.
It is, therefore, understood that:
1.

Administrative Circular No. 12-2000 does not remove


imprisonment as an alternative penalty for violations of B.P.
Blg. 22;

2.

The Judges concerned may, in the exercise of sound


discretion, and taking into consideration the peculiar
circumstances of each case, determine whether the
imposition of a fine alone would best serve the interests of
justice or whether forbearing to impose imprisonment
would depreciate the seriousness of the offense, work
violence on the social order, or otherwise be contrary to
the imperatives of justice;

3.

Should only a fine be imposed and the accused be


unable to pay the fine, there is no legal obstacle to the
application of the Revised Penal Code provisions on
subsidiary imprisonment.[12]

B.P. Blg. 22 provides for alternative penalties of fine or imprisonment or


both fine and imprisonment as follows:
SECTION 1. Checks without sufficient funds. Any person who makes or draws
and issues any check to apply on account or for value, knowing at the time

of issue that he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee
bank for the payment of such check in full upon its presentment, which
check is subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for insufficiency of
funds or credit or would have been dishonored for the same reason had not
the drawer, without any valid reason, ordered the bank to stop payment,
shall be punished by imprisonment of not less than thirty days but not more
than one (1) year or by a fine of not less than but not more than double the
amount of the check which fine shall in no case exceed two hundred
thousand pesos, or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the
court.[13]
The courts are given the discretion to choose whether to impose a single
penalty or conjunctive penalties; that is, whether to impose a penalty of fine,
or a penalty of imprisonment only, or a penalty of both fine and
imprisonment.
In providing for alternative penalties in B.P. Blg. 22, Congress took into
account the principal objectives of the law, namely, the prohibition on the
making of worthless checks and putting them in circulation. The practice is
prohibited by law because of its deleterious effects on public interest. The
effects of the increase of worthless checks transcend the private interest of
the parties directly involved in the transaction and touches the interest of
the community at large. The mischief it creates is not only a wrong to the
payee or holder, but also an injury to the public. The harmful practice of
putting valueless commercial papers in circulation multiplied a thousand-fold
can very well pollute the channels of trade and commerce, injure the banking
system and eventually hurt the welfare of society and the public interest.
The law punishes the act not as an offense against property but an offense
against public order.[14]
However, in imposing penalties for crimes, the courts must bear in mind
that Philippine penal law is based on the Spanish penal code and has
adopted features of the positivist theoryof criminal law. The positivist
theory states that the basis for criminal liability is the sum total of the social
and economic phenomena to which the offense is expressed. The adoption
of the aspects of the theory is exemplified by the indeterminate sentence
law, Article 4, paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code (impossible crime),
Article 68 and Articles 11 to 14, not to mention Article 63 of the Revised
Penal Code (penalties for heinous and quasi-heinous crimes). Philippine
penal law looks at the convict as a member of society. Among the important
factors to be considered in determining the penalty to be imposed on him are
(1) his relationship towards his dependents, family and their relationship with
him; and (2) his relationship towards society at large and the State. The
State is concerned not only in the imperative necessity of protecting the
social organization against the criminal acts of destructive individuals but
also in redeeming the individual for economic usefulness and other social
ends.[15] The purpose of penalties is to secure justice. The penalties imposed

must not only be retributive but must also be reformative, to give the convict
an opportunity to live a new life and rejoin society as a productive and civicspirited member of the community. The court has to consider not only the
primary elements of punishment, namely, the moral responsibility of the
convict, the relation of the convict to the private complainant, the intention
of the convict, the temptation to the act or the excuse for the crime was it
done by a rich man in the insolence of his wealth or by a poor man in the
extremity of his need? The court must also take into account the secondary
elements of punishment, namely, the reformation of the offender, the
prevention of further offenses by the offender, the repression of offenses in
others.[16] As Rousseau said, crimes can be thoroughly repressed only by a
system of penalties which, from the benignity they breathe, serve rather
than to soften than to inflame those on whom they are imposed. [17] There is
also merit in the view that punishment inflicted beyond the merit of the
offense is so much punishment of innocence.[18]
In this case, even if the Court applies SC Admin. Circular No. 12-2000, as
revised, retroactively, the petition must nevertheless be dismissed. The
petitioner did not offer any evidence during trial. The judgment of the court
became final and executory upon her failure to appeal therefrom. Worse, the
petitioner remained at large for five long years. Were it not for her attempt
to secure an NBI clearance, she would have been able to elude the long arm
of the law.
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is DISMISSED for lack
of merit.
SO ORDERED.
Puno, (Chairman), Quisumbing, Austria-Martinez, and Tinga, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 17584

March 8, 1922

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
GREGORIO SANTIAGO, defendant-appellant.
L. Porter Hamilton for appellant.
Acting Attorney-General Tuason for appellee.
ROMUALDEZ, J.:

Having caused the death of Porfirio Parondo, a boy 7 years old, by striking him with automobile that
he was driving, the herein appellant was prosecuted for the crime of homicide by reckless
negligence and was sentenced to suffer one year and one day of prision correccional, and to pay the
costs of the trial.
Not agreeable with that sentence he now comes to this court alleging that the court below committed
four errors, to wit:
1. The trial court erred in not taking judicial notice of the fact that the appellant was being
prosecuted in conformity with Act No. 2886 of the Philippine Legislature and that the Act is
unconstitutional and gave no jurisdiction in this case.
2. The lower court erred in not dismissing the complaint after the presentation of the
evidence in the case, if not before, for the reason that said Act No. 2886 is unconstitutional
and the proceedings had in the case under the provisions of the Act constitute a prosecution
of appellant without due process of law.
3. The court a quo erred in not finding that it lacked jurisdiction over the person of the
accused and over the subject- matter of the complaint.
4. The trial court erred in finding the appellant guilty of the crime charged and in sentencing
him to one year and one day of prison correccional and to the payment of costs.
With regard to the questions of fact, we have to say that we have examined the record and find that
the conclusions of the trial judge, as contained in his well-written decision, are sufficiently sustained
by the evidence submitted.
The accused was driving an automobile at the rate of 30 miles an hour on a highway 6 meter wide,
notwithstanding the fact that he had to pass a narrow space between a wagon standing on one side
of the road and a heap of stones on the other side where the were two young boys, the appellant did
not take the precaution required by the circumstances by slowing his machine, and did not proceed
with the vigilant care that under the circumstances an ordinary prudent man would take in order to
avoid possible accidents that might occur, as unfortunately did occur, as his automobile ran over the
boy Porfirio Parondo who was instantly killed as the result of the accident.
These facts are so well established in the records that there cannot be a shade of doubt about them.
Coming now to the other assignments of error, it will be seen that they deal with the fundamental
questions as to whether or not Act No. 2886, under which the complaint in the present case was
filed, is valid and constitutional.
This Act is attacked on account of the amendments that it introduces in General Orders No. 58, the
defense arguing that the Philippine Legislature was, and is, not authorized to amend General Orders
No. 58, as it did by amending section 2 thereof because its provisions have the character of
constitutional law. Said section 2 provides as follows:
All prosecutions for public offenses shall be in the name of the United States against the
persons charged with the offenses. (G. O. No. 58, sec. 2 ).

Act No. 2886, which amends it, by virtue of which the People of the Philippine Island is made the
plaintiff in this information, contains the following provisions in section 1:
SECTION 1. Section two of General Orders, Numbered Fifty-eight, series of nineteen
hundred, is hereby amended to read as follows:
"SEC. 2. All prosecutions for public offenses shall be in the name of the People of the
Philippine Islands against the persons charged with the offense."
Let us examine the question.
For practical reasons, the procedure in criminal matters is not incorporated in the Constitutions of the
States, but is left in the hand of the legislatures, so that it falls within the realm of public statutory law.
As has been said by Chief Justice Marshall:
A constitution, to contain an accurate detail of all the Subdivisions of which its great powers
will admit, and of all the means by which they may be carried into execution, would partake
of a prolixity of a legal code, and could scarcely be embraced by the human mind. It would
probably never be understood by the public. (M'Culloch vs. Maryland [1819], 4 Wheat., 316,
407; 4 L. ed., 579.)
That is why, in pursuance of the Constitution of the United States, each States, each State has the
authority, under its police power, to define and punish crimes and to lay down the rules of criminal
procedure.
The states, as a part of their police power, have a large measure of discretion in creating and
defining criminal offenses. . . .
A Statute relating to criminal procedure is void as a denial of the equal protection of the laws
if it prescribes a different procedure in the case of persons in like situation. Subject to this
limitation, however, the legislature has large measure of discretion in prescribing the modes
of criminal procedure. . . . (12 C.J., 1185, 1186. See Collins vs. Johnston, 237 U.S., 502; 35
s. Ct. Rep. 649; 59 L. ed., 1071; Shevlin-Carpenter Co. vs. Minnesota, 218 U.S., 57; 30 S.
Ct. Rep., 663; 54 L. ed., 930; Lynn vs. Flancders, 141 Ga., 500; 81 S.E., 205.)
This power of the States of the North American Union was also granted to its territories such as the
Philippines:
The plenary legislative power which Congress possesses over the territories and
possessions of the United States may be exercised by that body itself, or, as is much more
often the case, it may be delegated to a local agency, such as a legislature, the organization
of which proceeds upon much the same lines as in the several States or in Congress, which
is often taken as a model, and whose powers are limited by the Organic Act; but within the
scope of such act is has complete authority to legislate, . . . and in general, to legislate upon
all subjects within the police power of the territory. (38 Cyc., 205-207.)

The powers of the territorial legislatures are derived from Congress. By act of Congress their
power extends "to all rightful subjects of legislation not inconsistent with the Constitution and
laws of the United States;" and this includes the power to define and punish crimes. (16 C.
J., 62.)
And in the exercise of such powers the military government of the army of occupation, functioning as
a territorial legislature, thought it convenient to establish new rules of procedure in criminal matters,
by the issuance of General Orders No. 58, the preamble of which reads:
In the interests of justice, and to safeguard the civil liberties of the inhabitants of these
Islands, the criminal code of procedure now in force therein is hereby amended in certain of
its important provisions, as indicated in the following enumerated sections. (Emphasis ours.)
Its main purpose is, therefore, limited to criminal procedure and its intention is to give to its
provisions the effect of law in criminal matters. For that reason it provides in section 1 that:
The following provisions shall have the force and effect of law in criminal matters in the
Philippine Islands from and after the 15th day of May, 1900, but existing laws on the same
subjects shall remain valid except in so far as hereinafter modified or repealed expressly or
by necessary implication.
From what has been said it clearly follows that the provisions of this General Order do not the nature
of constitutional law either by reason of its character or by reason of the authority that enacted it into
law.
It cannot be said that it has acquired this character because this order was made its own by the
Congress of the United States for, as a mater of fact, this body never adopted it as a law of its own
creation either before the promulgation of Act No. 2886, herein discussed, or, to our knowledge, to
this date.
Since the provisions of this General Order have the character of statutory law, the power of the
Legislature to amend it is self-evident, even if the question is considered only on principle. Our
present Legislature, which has enacted Act No. 2886, the subject of our inquiry, is the legal
successor to the Military Government as a legislative body.
Since the advent of the American sovereignty in the Philippines the legislative branch of our
government has undergone transformations and has developed itself until it attained its present
form. Firstly, it was the Military Government of the army of occupation which, in accordance with
international law and practice, was vested with legislative functions and in fact did legislate;
afterwards, complying with the instructions of President McKinley which later were ratified by
Congress (sec. 1 of the Act of July 1, 1902) the legislative powers of the Military Government were
transferred to the Philippine Commission; then, under the provisions of section 7 of the Act of
Congress of July 1, 1902, the Philippine Assembly was created and it functioned as a colegislative
body with the Philippine Commission. Finally, by virtue of the provisions of sections 12 of the Act of
Congress of August 29, 1916, known as the Jones Law, the Philippine Commission gave way to the
Philippine Senate, the Philippine Assembly became the House of Representatives, and thus was
formed the present Legislature composed of two Houses which has enacted the aforesaid Act No.
2886.

As a matter of fact, Act No. 2886 is not the first law that amends General Orders No. 58. The
Philippine Commission, at various times, had amended it by the enactment of laws among which we
may cite Act No. 194, regarding preliminary investigation, Act No. 440 relating to counsels de
oficio and Act No. 590 about preliminary investigations by justices of the peace of provincial capitals.
Later on, and before the enactment of Act No. 2886, herein controverted, the Legislature had also
amended this General Orders No. 58 by the enactment of Act No. 2677 regarding appeals to the
Supreme Court of causes originating in the justice of the peace courts and by Act No. 2709 which
deals with the exclusion of accused persons from the information in order to be utilized as state's
witnesses.
These amendments repeatedly made by the Philippine Commission as well as by our present
Legislature are perfectly within the scope of the powers of the said legislative bodies as the
successors of the Military Government that promulgated General Orders No. 58.
No proof is required to demonstrate that the present Legislature had, and had, the power to enact
and amend laws. (U.S. vs. Bull. 15 Phil., 7.) That it has the power to legislate on criminal matters is
very evident from the wording of section 7 of the Jones Law which says:
That the legislative authority herein provided shall have power, when not inconsistent with
this Act, by due enactment to amend, alter, modify, or repeal any law, civil or criminal,
continued in force by this Act as it may from time to time see fit.
It is urged the right to prosecute and punish crimes is an attributed of sovereignty. This assertion is
right; but it is also true that by reason of the principle of territoriality as applied in the supression, of
crimes, such power is delegated to subordinate government subdivisions such as territories. As we
have seen in the beginning, the territorial legislatures have the power to define and punish crimes, a
power also possessed by the Philippine Legislature by virtue of the provisions of sections 7, already
quoted, of the Jones Law. These territorial governments are local agencies of the Federal
Government, wherein sovereignty resides; and when the territorial government of the Philippines
prosecutes and punishes public crimes it does so by virtue of the authority delegated to it by the
supreme power of the Nation.
This delegation may be made either expressly as in the case of the several States of the Union and
incorporated territories like Porto Rico and Hawaii, or tacitly as is the case with the Philippines,
which is an organized territory though not incorporated with the Union. (Malcolm, Philippine
Constitutional Law, 181-205.)
This tacit delegation to our Government needs no demonstration. As a matter of fact, the crimes
committed within our territory, even before section 2 of General Orders No. 58 was amended, were
prosecuted and punished in this jurisdiction as is done at present; but then as now the repression of
crimes was done, and is still done, under the sovereign authority of the United States, whose name
appears as the heading in all pleadings in criminal causes and in other judicial papers and notarial
acts.
The use of such a heading is prescribed for civil cases in form 1 of section 784 of the Code of Civil
Procedure; in criminal causes the constant practice followed in this jurisdiction established its use;
and in notarial matters its use is provided by section 127 of Act No. 496. This long continued practice
in criminal matters and the legal provision relating to civil cases and notarial acts have not been
amended by any law, much less by Act No. 2886, the subject of the present inquiry.

There is not a single constitutional provision applicable to the Philippines prescribing the name to be
used as party plaintiff in criminal cases.
The fact that the political status of this country is as yet undetermined and in a transitory stage, is, in
our opinion, responsible for the fact that there is no positive provision in our constitutional law
regarding the use of the name of the People of the Philippine Islands, as party plaintiff, in criminal
prosecutions, as is otherwise the case in the respective constitutional charters of the States of the
Union and incorporated territories a situation which must not be understood as depriving the
Government of the Philippines of its power, however delegated, to prosecute public crimes. The fact
is undeniable that the present government of the Philippines, created by the Congress of the United
States, is autonomous.
This autonomy of the Government of the Philippines reaches all judicial actions, the case at bar
being one of them; as an example of such autonomy, this Government, the same as that of Hawaii
and Porto Rico (People of Porto Rico vs. Rosaly y Castillo [1913], 227 U.S., 270; 57 L. ed., 507; 33
Sup. Ct. Rep., 352) cannot be sued without its consent. (Merritt vs. Government of the Philippine
Islands, 34 Phil., 311; L. S. Moon & Co. vs. Harrison, p. 27, ante.) The doctrine, laid down in these
cases, acknowledges the prerogative of personality in the Government of the Philippines, which, if it
is sufficient to shield it from any responsibility in court in its own name unless it consents thereto, it
should be also, as sufficiently authoritative in law, to give that government the right to prosecute in
court in its own name whomsoever violates within its territory the penal laws in force therein.
However, limiting ourselves to the question relative to the form of the complaint in criminal matters, it
is within the power of the Legislature to prescribe the form of the criminal complaint as long as the
constitutional provision of the accused to be informed of the nature of the accusation is not violated.
Under the Constitution of the United States and by like provisions in the constitutions of the
various states, the accused is entitled to be informed of the nature and cause of the
accusation against him . . .
It is within the power of the legislatures under such a constitutional provision to prescribe the
form of the indictment or information, and such form may omit averments regarded as
necessary at common law. (22 Cyc., 285.)
All these considerations a priori are strengthened a posteriori by the important reason disclosed by
the following fact that the Congress has tacitly approved Act No. 2886. Both the Act of Congress
of July 1, 1902, section 86, and the Jones Law, last paragraph of section 19, provide that all the laws
enacted by the Government of the Philippines or its Legislature shall be forwarded to the Congress
of the United States, which body reserves the right and power to annul them. And presuming, as
legally we must, that the provisions of these laws have been complied with, it is undisputed that the
Congress of the United States did not annul any of those acts already adverted to Nos. 194, 440,
490 (of the Philippine Commission), and 2677, 2709 and the one now in question No. 2886 (of the
present Legislature) all of which were amendatory of General Orders No. 58. The Act now under
discussion (No. 2886) took effect on February 24, 1920, and the criminal complaint in this case was
filed on May 10, 1920. The silence of Congress regarding those laws amendatory of the said
General Order must be considered as an act of approval.
If Congress fails to notice or take action on any territorial legislation the reasonable inference
is that it approves such act. (26 R.C.L., 679; vide Clinton vs. Englebrcht, 13 Wall., 434; 20 [L.

ed.] 659; Tiaco vs. Forbes, 228 U.S., 549; 33 S. Ct. Rep., 585; 57 [L. ed.], 960; Nixon vs.
Reid, 8 S.d., 507; 67 N.W., 57; 32 L.R.A., 315.)
Furthermore, supposing for the sake of argument, that the mention of the People of the Philippine
Islands as plaintiff in the title of the information constitutes a vice or defect, the same is not fatal
when, as in the present case, it was not objected to in the court below.
An indictment must, in many states under express statutory or constitutional provision, show
by its title or by proper recitals in the caption or elsewhere that the prosecution is in the name
and by the authority of the state, the commonwealth, or the people of the state, according to
the practice in the particular jurisdictions; but omissions or defects in this respect may be
supplied or cured by other parts of the records, and the omissions of such a recital or defects
therein, even when required by the constitution or by statute, is a defect of form within a
statute requiring exceptions for defect of form to be made before trial. (23 Cyc., 237, 238.)
We hold that the provisions of sections 2 of General Orders No. 58, as amended by Act No. 2886, do
not partake of the same character as the provisions of a constitution; that the said Act No. 2886 is
valid and is not violative of any constitutional provisions and that the court a quo did not commit any
of the errors assigned.
The sentence appealed from is hereby affirmed, the appellant being furthermore sentenced to the
accessory penalties prescribed in article 61 of the Penal Code, and to indemnify the heirs of the
deceased in the sum of P1,000 and to the payment of the costs of both instances. So ordered.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 164007 August 10, 2006
LT. (SG) EUGENE GONZALES, LT. (SG) ANDY TORRATO, LT. (SG) ANTONIO TRILLANES IV,
CPT. GARY ALEJANO, LT. (SG) JAMES LAYUG, CPT. GERARDO GAMBALA, CPT. NICANOR
FAELDON, LT. (SG) MANUEL CABOCHAN, ENS. ARMAND PONTEJOS, LT. (JG) ARTURO
PASCUA, and 1LT. JONNEL SANGGALANG, Petitioners,
vs.
GEN. NARCISO ABAYA, in his capacity as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines, and B. GEN. MARIANO M. SARMIENTO, JR., in his capacity as the Judge
Advocate General of the Judge Advocate Generals Office (JAGO), Respondents.
DECISION
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:

For our resolution is the Petition for Prohibition (with prayer for a temporary restraining order) filed by
the above-named members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), herein petitioners, against
the AFP Chief of Staff and the Judge Advocate General, respondents.
The facts are:
On July 26, 2003, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo received intelligence reports that some
members of the AFP, with high-powered weapons, had abandoned their designated places of
assignment. Their aim was to destabilize the government. The President then directed the AFP and
the Philippine National Police (PNP) to track and arrest them.
On July 27, 2003 at around 1:00 a.m., more than 300 heavily armed junior officers and enlisted men
of the AFP mostly from the elite units of the Armys Scout Rangers and the Navys Special Warfare
Group entered the premises of the Oakwood Premier Luxury Apartments on Ayala Avenue, Makati
City. They disarmed the security guards and planted explosive devices around the building.
Led by Navy Lt. (SG) Antonio Trillanes IV, the troops sported red armbands emblazoned with the
emblem of the"Magdalo" faction of the Katipunan. 1 The troops then, through broadcast media,
announced their grievances against the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, such
as the graft and corruption in the military, the illegal sale of arms and ammunition to the "enemies" of
the State, and the bombings in Davao City intended to acquire more military assistance from the US
government. They declared their withdrawal of support from their Commander-in-Chief and
demanded that she resign as President of the Republic. They also called for the resignation of her
cabinet members and the top brass of the AFP and PNP.
About noontime of the same day, President Arroyo issued Proclamation No. 427 declaring a state of
rebellion, followed by General Order No. 4 directing the AFP and PNP to take all necessary
measures to suppress the rebellion then taking place in Makati City. She then called the soldiers to
surrender their weapons at five oclock in the afternoon of that same day.
In order to avoid a bloody confrontation, the government sent negotiators to dialogue with the
soldiers. The aim was to persuade them to peacefully return to the fold of the law. After several
hours of negotiation, the government panel succeeded in convincing them to lay down their arms
and defuse the explosives placed around the premises of the Oakwood Apartments. Eventually, they
returned to their barracks.
A total of 321 soldiers, including petitioners herein, surrendered to the authorities.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) investigated the incident and recommended that the
military personnel involved be charged with coup detat defined and penalized under Article 134-A of
the Revised Penal Code, as amended. On July 31, 2003, the Chief State Prosecutor of the
Department of Justice (DOJ) recommended the filing of the corresponding Information against them.
Meanwhile, on August 2, 2003, pursuant to Article 70 of the Articles of War, respondent General
Narciso Abaya, then AFP Chief of Staff, ordered the arrest and detention of the soldiers involved in
the Oakwood incident and directed the AFP to conduct its own separate investigation.
On August 5, 2003, the DOJ filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Makati City an Information
for coup detat 2against those soldiers, docketed as Criminal Case No. 03-2784 and eventually
raffled off to Branch 61, presided by Judge Romeo F. Barza. 3 Subsequently, this case was

consolidated with Criminal Case No. 03-2678, involving the other accused, pending before Branch
148 of the RTC, Makati City, presided by Judge Oscar B. Pimentel.
On August 13, 2003, the RTC directed the DOJ to conduct a reinvestigation of Criminal Case No. 032784.
On the same date, respondent Chief of Staff issued Letter Order No. 625 creating a Pre-Trial
Investigation Panel tasked to determine the propriety of filing with the military tribunal charges for
violations of the Articles of War under Commonwealth Act No. 408, 4 as amended, against the same
military personnel. Specifically, the charges are: (a) violation of Article 63 for disrespect toward the
President, the Secretary of National Defense, etc., (b) violation of Article 64 for disrespect toward a
superior officer, (c) violation of Article 67 for mutiny or sedition, (d) violation of Article 96 for conduct
unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, and (e) violation of Article 97 for conduct prejudicial to good
order and military discipline.
Of the original 321 accused in Criminal Case No. 03-2784, only 243 (including petitioners herein)
filed with the RTC, Branch 148 an Omnibus Motion praying that the said trial court assume
jurisdiction over all the charges filed with the military tribunal. They invoked Republic Act (R.A.) No.
7055. 5
On September 15, 2003, petitioners filed with the Judge Advocate Generals Office (JAGO) a motion
praying for the suspension of its proceedings until after the RTC shall have resolved their motion to
assume jurisdiction.
On October 29, 2003, the Pre-Trial Investigation Panel submitted its Initial Report to the AFP Chief of
Staff recommending that the military personnel involved in the Oakwood incident be charged before
a general court martial with violations of Articles 63, 64, 67, 96, and 97 of the Articles of War.
Meanwhile, on November 11, 2003, the DOJ, after conducting a reinvestigation, found probable
cause against only 31 (petitioners included) of the 321 accused in Criminal Case No. 03-2784.
Accordingly, the prosecution filed with the RTC an Amended Information. 6
In an Order dated November 14, 2003, the RTC admitted the Amended Information and dropped the
charge ofcoup detat against the 290 accused.
Subsequently, or on December 12, 2003, the Pre-Trial Investigation Panel submitted its Final PreTrial Investigation Report 7 to the JAGO, recommending that, following the "doctrine of absorption,"
those charged withcoup detat before the RTCshould not be charged before the military tribunal for
violation of the Articles of War.
For its part, the RTC, on February 11, 2004, issued an Order 8 stating that "all charges before the
court martial against the accusedare hereby declared not service-connected, but rather absorbed
and in furtherance of the alleged crime of coup detat." The trial court then proceeded to hear
petitioners applications for bail.
In the meantime, Colonel Julius A. Magno, in his capacity as officer-in-charge of the JAGO, reviewed
the findings of the Pre-Trial Investigation Panel. He recommended that 29 of the officers involved in
the Oakwood incident, including petitioners, be prosecuted before a general court martial for
violation of Article 96 (conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman) of the Articles of War.

On June 17, 2004, Colonel Magnos recommendation was approved by the AFP top brass. The AFP
Judge Advocate General then directed petitioners to submit their answer to the charge. Instead of
complying, they filed with this Court the instant Petition for Prohibition praying that respondents be
ordered to desist from charging them with violation of Article 96 of the Articles of War in relation to
the Oakwood incident. 9
Petitioners maintain that since the RTC has made a determination in its Order of February 11, 2004
that the offense for violation of Article 96 (conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman) of the
Articles of War is not service-connected, but is absorbed in the crime of coup detat, the military
tribunal cannot compel them to submit to its jurisdiction.
The Solicitor General, representing the respondents, counters that R.A. No. 7055 specifies which
offenses covered by the Articles of War areservice-connected. These are violations of Articles 54 to
70, 72 to 92, and 95 to 97. The law provides that violations of these Articles are properly cognizable
by the court martial. As the charge against petitioners is violation of Article 96 which, under R.A. No.
7055 is a service-connected offense, then it falls under the jurisdiction of the court martial.
Subsequently, petitioners filed with this Court a Supplemental Petition raising the additional issue
that the offense charged before the General Court Martial has prescribed. Petitioners alleged therein
that during the pendency of their original petition, respondents proceeded with the Pre-Trial
Investigation for purposes of charging them with violation of Article 96 (conduct unbecoming an
officer and a gentleman) of the Articles of War; that the Pre-Trial Investigation Panel then referred
the case to the General Court Martial; that "almost two years since the Oakwood incident on July 27,
2003, only petitioner Lt. (SG) Antonio Trillanes was arraigned, and this was done under questionable
circumstances;" 10 that in the hearing of July 26, 2005, herein petitioners moved for the dismissal of
the case on the ground that they were not arraigned within the prescribed period of two (2) years
from the date of the commission of the alleged offense, in violation of Article 38 of the Articles of
War; 11 that "the offense charged prescribed on July 25, 2005;" 12 that the General Court Martial ruled,
however, that "the prescriptive period shall end only at 12:00 midnight of July 26, 2005;" 13 that "(a)s
midnight of July 26, 2005 was approaching and it was becoming apparent that the accused could not
be arraigned, the prosecution suddenly changed its position and asserted that 23 of the accused
have already been arraigned;" 14 and that petitioners moved for a reconsideration but it was denied
by the general court martial in its Order dated September 14, 2005. 15
In his Comment, the Solicitor General prays that the Supplemental Petition be denied for lack of
merit. He alleges that "contrary to petitioners pretensions, all the accused were duly arraigned on
July 13 and 18, 2005." 16 The "(r)ecords show that in the hearing on July 13, 2005, all the 29 accused
were present" and, "(o)n that day, Military Prosecutor Captain Karen Ong Jags read the Charges and
Specifications from the Charge Sheet in open court (pp. 64, TSN, July 13, 2005)." 17
The sole question for our resolution is whether the petitioners are entitled to the writ of prohibition.
There is no dispute that petitioners, being officers of the AFP, are subject to military law. Pursuant to
Article 1 (a) of Commonwealth Act No. 408, as amended, otherwise known as the Articles of War, the
term "officer" is "construed to refer to a commissioned officer." Article 2 provides:
Art. 2. Persons Subject to Military Law. The following persons are subject to these articles and
shall be understood as included in the term "any person subject to military law" or "persons subject
to military law," whenever used in these articles:
(a) All officers and soldiers in the active service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines or of
the Philippine Constabulary, all members of the reserve force, from the dates of their call to active

duty and while on such active duty; all trainees undergoing military instructions; and all other
persons lawfully called, drafted, or ordered into, or to duty or for training in the said service, from the
dates they are required by the terms of the call, draft, or order to obey the same.
Upon the other hand, Section 1 of R.A. No. 7055 reads:
SEC. 1. Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other persons subject to military law,
including members of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Units, who commit crimes or
offenses penalized under the Revised Penal Code, other special penal laws, or local government
ordinances, regardless of whether or not civilians are co-accused, victims, or offended parties, which
may be natural or juridical persons, shall be tried by the proper civil court, except when the offense,
as determined before arraignment by the civil court, is service-connected, in which case, the offense
shall be tried by court-martial, Provided, That the President of the Philippines may, in the interest of
justice, order or direct at any time before arraignment that any such crimes or offenses be tried by
the proper civil courts.
As used in this Section, service-connected crimes or offenses shall be limited to those defined in
Articles 54 to 70, Articles 72 to 92, and Articles 95 to 97 of Commonwealth Act No. 408, as
amended.
In imposing the penalty for such crimes or offenses, the court-martial may take into consideration the
penalty prescribed therefor in the Revised Penal Code, other special laws, or local government
ordinances.
Section 1 of R.A. No. 7055, quoted above, is clear and unambiguous. First, it lays down the general
rule that members of the AFP and other persons subject to military law, including members of the
Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Units, who commit crimes or offenses penalized under the
Revised Penal Code (like coup detat), other special penal laws, or local ordinances shall be tried by
the proper civil court. Next, it provides the exception to the general rule, i.e., where the civil court,
before arraignment, has determined the offense to be service-connected, then the offending soldier
shall be tried by a court martial. Lastly, the law states an exception to the exception, i.e., where the
President of the Philippines, in the interest of justice, directs before arraignment that any such
crimes or offenses be tried by the proper civil court.
The second paragraph of the same provision further identifies the "service-connected crimes or
offenses" as "limited to those defined in Articles 54 to 70, Articles 72 to 92, and Articles 95 to 97"
of the Articles of War. Violations of these specified Articles are triable by court martial. This
delineates the jurisdiction between the civil courts and the court martial over crimes or offenses
committed by military personnel.
Such delineation of jurisdiction by R.A. No. 7055 is necessary to preserve the peculiar nature of
military justice system over military personnel charged with service-connected offenses. The military
justice system is disciplinary in nature, aimed at achieving the highest form of discipline in order to
ensure the highest degree of military efficiency. 18 Military law is established not merely to enforce
discipline in times of war, but also to preserve the tranquility and security of the State in time of
peace; for there is nothing more dangerous to the public peace and safety than a licentious and
undisciplined military body. 19 The administration of military justice has been universally practiced.
Since time immemorial, all the armies in almost all countries of the world look upon the power of
military law and its administration as the most effective means of enforcing discipline. For this
reason, the court martial has become invariably an indispensable part of any organized armed
forces, it being the most potent agency in enforcing discipline both in peace and in war. 20

Here, petitioners are charged for violation of Article 96 (conduct unbecoming an officer and a
gentleman) of the Articles of War before the court martial, thus:
All persons subject to military law, did on or about 27 July 2003 at Oakwood Hotel, Makati City,
Metro Manila, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously violate their solemn oath as officers to defend
the Constitution, the law and the duly-constituted authorities and abused their constitutional
duty to protect the people and the State by, among others, attempting to oust the incumbent dulyelected and legitimate President by force and violence, seriously disturbing the peace and tranquility
of the people and the nation they are sworn to protect,thereby causing dishonor and disrespect
to the military profession, conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, in violation of AW
96 of the Articles of War.
CONTRARY TO LAW. (Underscoring ours)
Article 96 of the Articles of War 21 provides:
ART. 96. Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman. Any officer, member of the Nurse
Corps, cadet, flying cadet, or probationary second lieutenant, who is convicted of conduct
unbecoming an officer and a gentleman shall be dismissed from the service. (Underscoring ours)
We hold that the offense for violation of Article 96 of the Articles of War is service-connected. This is
expressly provided in Section 1 (second paragraph) of R.A. No. 7055. It bears stressing that the
charge against the petitioners concerns the alleged violation of their solemn oath as officers to
defend the Constitution and the duly-constituted authorities.Such violation allegedly caused
dishonor and disrespect to the military profession. In short, the charge has a bearing on
their professional conduct or behavior as military officers. Equally indicative of the "serviceconnected" nature of the offense is the penalty prescribed for the same dismissal from the
service imposable only by the military court.Such penalty is purely disciplinary in character,
evidently intended to cleanse the military profession of misfits and to preserve the stringent standard
of military discipline.
Obviously, there is no merit in petitioners argument that they can no longer be charged before the
court martial for violation of Article 96 of the Articles of War because the same has been declared by
the RTC in its Order of February 11, 2004 as "not service-connected, but rather absorbed and in
furtherance of the alleged crime of coup detat," hence, triable by said court (RTC). The RTC, in
making such declaration, practically amended the law which expressly vests in the court martial the
jurisdiction over "service-connected crimes or offenses." What the law has conferred the court
should not take away. It is only the Constitution or the law that bestows jurisdiction on the court,
tribunal, body or officer over the subject matter or nature of an action which can do so. 22 And it is
only through a constitutional amendment or legislative enactment that such act can be done. The
first and fundamental duty of the courts is merely to apply the law "as they find it, not as they like it to
be." 23 Evidently, such declaration by the RTC constitutes grave abuse of discretion tantamount to
lack or excess of jurisdiction and is, therefore, void.
In Navales v. Abaya., 24 this Court, through Mr. Justice Romeo J. Callejo, Sr., held:
We agree with the respondents that the sweeping declaration made by the RTC (Branch 148) in the
dispositive portion of its Order dated February 11, 2004 that all charges before the court-martial
against the accused were not service-connected, but absorbed and in furtherance of the crime of
coup detat, cannot be given effect. x x x, such declaration was made without or in excess of
jurisdiction; hence, a nullity.

The second paragraph of the above provision (referring to Section 1 of R.A. No. 7055) explicitly
specifies what are considered "service-connected crimes or offenses" under Commonwealth Act No.
408, as amended, also known as the Articles of War, to wit:
Articles 54 to 70:
Art. 54. Fraudulent Enlistment.
Art. 55. Officer Making Unlawful Enlistment.
Art. 56. False Muster.
Art. 57. False Returns.
Art. 58. Certain Acts to Constitute Desertion.
Art. 59. Desertion.
Art. 60. Advising or Aiding Another to Desert.
Art. 61. Entertaining a Deserter.
Art. 62. Absence Without Leave.
Art. 63. Disrespect Toward the President, Vice-President,
Congress of the Philippines, or Secretary of National
Defense.
Art. 64. Disrespect Toward Superior Officer.
Art. 65. Assaulting or Willfully Disobeying Superior Officer.
Art. 66. Insubordinate Conduct Toward Non-Commissioned Officer.
Art. 67. Mutiny or Sedition.
Art. 68. Failure to Suppress Mutiny or Sedition.
Art. 69. Quarrels; Frays; Disorders.
Art. 70. Arrest or Confinement.
Articles 72 to 92:
Art. 72. Refusal to Receive and Keep Prisoners.
Art. 73. Report of Prisoners Received.

Art. 74. Releasing Prisoner Without Authority.


Art. 75. Delivery of Offenders to Civil Authorities.
Art. 76. Misbehavior Before the Enemy.
Art. 77. Subordinates Compelling Commander to Surrender.
Art. 78. Improper Use of Countersign.
Art. 79. Forcing a Safeguard.
Art. 80. Captured Property to be Secured for Public Service.
Art. 81. Dealing in Captured or Abandoned Property.
Art. 82. Relieving, Corresponding With, or Aiding the Enemy.
Art. 83. Spies.
Art. 84. Military Property.Willful or Negligent Loss, Damage
or wrongful Disposition.
Art. 85. Waste or Unlawful Disposition of Military Property
Issued to Soldiers.
Art. 86. Drunk on Duty.
Art. 87. Misbehavior of Sentinel.
Art. 88. Personal Interest in Sale of Provisions.
Art. 88-A. Unlawful Influencing Action of Court.
Art. 89. Intimidation of Persons Bringing Provisions.
Art. 90. Good Order to be Maintained and Wrongs Redressed.
Art. 91. Provoking Speeches or Gestures.
Art. 92. Dueling.
Articles 95 to 97:
Art. 95. Frauds Against the Government.
Art. 96. Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman.

Art. 97. General Article.


Further, Section 1 of Rep. Act No. 7055 vests on the military courts the jurisdiction over the foregoing
offenses. x x x.
It is clear from the foregoing that Rep. Act No. 7055 did not divest the military courts of jurisdiction to
try cases involving violations of Articles 54 to 70, Articles 72 to 92, and Articles 95 to 97 of the
Articles of War as these are considered "service-connected crimes or offenses." In fact, it mandates
that these shall be tried by the court-martial.
Moreover, the observation made by Mr. Justice Antonio T. Carpio during the deliberation of this case
is worth quoting, thus:
The trial court aggravated its error when it justified its ruling by holding that the charge of Conduct
Unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman is absorbed and in furtherance to the alleged crime of
coup detat. Firstly, the doctrine of absorption of crimes is peculiar to criminal law and generally
applies to crimes punished by the same statute, 25 unlike here where different statutes are involved.
Secondly, the doctrine applies only if the trial court has jurisdiction over both offenses. Here, Section
1 of R.A. 7055 deprives civil courts of jurisdiction over service-connected offenses, including Article
96 of the Articles of War. Thus, the doctrine of absorption of crimes is not applicable to this case.
Military law is sui generis (Calley v. Callaway, 519 F.2d 184 [1975]), applicable only to military
personnel because the military constitutes an armed organization requiring a system of discipline
separate from that of civilians (see Orloff v. Willoughby, 345 U.S. 83 [1953]). Military personnel carry
high-powered arms and other lethal weapons not allowed to civilians. History, experience, and the
nature of a military organization dictate that military personnel must be subjected to a separate
disciplinary system not applicable to unarmed civilians or unarmed government personnel.
A civilian government employee reassigned to another place by his superior may question his
reassignment by asking a temporary restraining order or injunction from a civil court. However, a
soldier cannot go to a civil court and ask for a restraining or injunction if his military commander
reassigns him to another area of military operations. If this is allowed, military discipline will collapse.
xxx
This Court has recognized that courts-martial are instrumentalities of the Executive to enable the
President, as Commander-in-Chief, to effectively command, control, and discipline the armed forces
(see Ruffy v. Chief of Staff, 75 Phil. 875 [1946], citing Winthrops Military Law and Precedents, 2nd
edition, p. 49). In short, courts-martial form part of the disciplinary system that ensures the
Presidents control, and thus civilian supremacy, over the military. At the apex of this disciplinary
system is the President who exercises review powers over decisions of courts-martial (citing Article
50 of the Articles of War; quoted provisions omitted).
xxx
While the Court had intervened before in courts-martial or similar proceedings, it did so sparingly
and only to release a military personnel illegally detained (Ognir v. Director of Prisons, 80 Phil. 401
[1948] or to correct objectionable procedures (Yamashita v. Styer, 75 Phil. 563 [1945]). The Court
has never suppressed court-martial proceedings on the ground that the offense charged is
absorbed and in furtherance of another criminal charge pending with the civil courts. The Court may

now do so only if the offense charged is not one of the service-connected offenses specified in
Section 1 of RA 7055. Such is not the situation in the present case.
With respect to the issue of prescription raised by petitioners in their Supplemental Petition, suffice it
to say that we cannot entertain the same. The contending parties are at loggerheads as to (a) who
among the petitioners were actually arraigned, and (b) the dates of their arraignment. These are
matters involving questions of fact, not within our power of review, as we are not a trier of facts. In a
petition for prohibition, such as the one at bar, only legal issues affecting the jurisdiction of the
tribunal, board or officer involved may be resolved on the basis of the undisputed facts. 26
Clearly, the instant petition for prohibition must fail. The office of prohibition is to prevent the unlawful
and oppressive exercise of authority and is directed against proceedings that are done without or in
excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion, there being no appeal or other plain, speedy,
and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. 27 Stated differently, prohibition is the remedy to
prevent inferior courts, corporations, boards, or persons from usurping or exercising a jurisdiction or
power with which they have not been vested by law. 28
In fine, this Court holds that herein respondents have the authority in convening a court martial and
in charging petitioners with violation of Article 96 of the Articles of War.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition for prohibition is DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.
ANGELINA SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:

ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN
Chief Justice

REYNATO S. PUNO
Associate Justice

LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING
Associate Justice

CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO
Associate Justice

ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice

MA. ALICIA AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ


Associate Justice

ENATO C. CORONA
Associate Justice

CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES


Associate Justice

ROMEO J. CALLEJO, SR.


Associate Justice

ADOLFO S. AZCUNA
Associate Justice

DANTE O. TINGA
Associate Justice

MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO
Associate Justice

CANCIO C. GARCIA
Associate Justice

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.


Associate Justice
C E R TI F I C ATI O N
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the
above Decision were reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the
opinion of the Court.
ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN
Chief Justice

Footnotes
1

A group which spearheaded the Revolution of 1896 against Spain.

As defined and penalized under Article 134-A of the Revised Penal Code, as amended.

Now Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals.

Entitled "An Act for Making Further and More Effectual Provision for the National Defense
by Establishing a System of Military Justice for Persons Subject to Military Law."
4

Entitled "An Act Strengthening Civilian Supremacy Over The Military By Returning To The
Civil Courts The Jurisdiction Over Certain Offenses Involving Members Of The Armed Forces
Of The Philippines, Other Persons Subject To Military Law, And The Members Of The
Philippine National Police, Repealing For The Purpose Certain Presidential Decrees."
5

Rollo, pp. 176-179.

Id., pp. 370-380.

Id., pp. 207-209.

Id., pp. 14-15.

10

Par. 4, Supplemental Petition, p. 4.

11

Article 38 of the Articles of War partly provides:

"Article 38. As to Time. Except for desertion or murder committed in time of war, or for
mutiny, no person subject to military law shall be liable to be tried or punished by a courtmartial for any crime or offense committed more than two years before the arraignment of
such person: x x x."
12

Pars. 8, 18, Supplemental Petition, pp. 5, 10.

13

Par. 9, id.

Par. 10, id. Petitioners stated, under this footnote, that the "(r)ulings before the General
Court Martial were done orally; unavailability of the TSN for the July 26, 2005 hearing."
14

15

Par. 14, id.

16

Comment, p. 10.

17

Id., p. 18.

18

Gloria, PHILIPPINE MILITARY LAW Annotated, revised edition, p. 3.

19

Id.

20

Id., pp. 4-5.

Commonwealth Act No. 408, as amended by Republic Act No. 242 (approved on June 12,
1948).
21

Arnado v.Buban, A.M. No. MTJ-04-1543, May 31, 2004, 430 SCRA 382, 386; Republic v.
Estipular, G.R. No. 136588, July 20, 2000, 336 SCRA 333, 340.
22

23

Resins, Inc. v. Auditor General, G.R. No. 17888, October 29, 1968, 25 SCRA 754.

24

G.R. Nos. 162318 and 162341, October 25, 2004, 441 SCRA 393, 409-421.

E.g., Murder (Article 248) and Robbery (Articles 294-295) absorbed by Rebellion (Article
134) of the Revised Penal Code (People v. Hernandez, 99 Phil. 515 [1956]; Illegal
Possession of Marijuana (Section 8, Republic Act No. 6425) absorbed by Illegal Sale of
Marijuana (Section 4, Republic Act No. 6425) (People v. De Jesus, 229 Phil. 518 [1986]).
25

26

Mafinco Trading Corp. v. Ople, No. L-37790, March 25, 1976, 70 SCRA 139, 160-161.

Section 2, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended; Vergara v. Rugue,
No. L-32984, August 26, 1977, 78 SCRA 312.
27

Matuguina Integrated Wood Products, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 98310, October
24, 1996, 263 SCRA 490.
28

The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation

Agenda of August 8, 2006


Item No. 67
G.R. No. 164007 (LT. [SG] EUGENE GONZALES, LT. [SG] ANDY TORRATO, LT. [SG] ANTONIO
TRILLANES IV, CPT. GARY ALEJANO, LT. [SG] JAMES LAYUG, CPT. NICANOR FAELDON, LT.
[SG] MANUEL CABOCHAN, ENS. ARMAND PONTEJOS, LT. [JG] ARTURO PASCUA, ET AL. v.
GEN. NARCISO ABAYA, in his capacity as the Chief-of-Staff of the ARMED FORCES OF THE
PHILIPPINES, and BRIG. GEN. MARIANO M. SARMIENTO, JR., in his capacity as the Judge
Advocate General of the Judge Advocate General Office [JAGO])
Promulgated:
August 10, 2006
CONCURRING OPINION
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
I concur with the encompassing ponencia of Madame Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez ordering
the dismissal of the petition. However, I find it necessary to elucidate on my opinion relative to the
submission of petitioners that the punitive act for conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman
defined in Article 96 of the Articles of War is absorbed by coup detat, a political felony, especially in
light of the opinion of the Pre-Trial Investigation Panel that the punitive act as well as these serviceconnected punitive acts defined in Articles 63, 64, 96 and 97 of the Articles of War, are indeed
absorbed by coup detat.
The charge against petitioners reads:
Violation of Article 96
All persons subject to military law, did on or about 27 July 2003 at Oakwood Hotel, Makati City,
Makati, Metro Manila, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously violate their solemn oath as officers to
defend the Constitution, the law and the duly-constituted authorities and abuse their constitutional
duty to protect the people and the State by, among others, attempting to oust the incumbent dulyelected and legitimate president by force and violence, seriously disturbing the peace and tranquility
of the people and the nation they are sworn to protect, thereby causing dishonor and disrespect to
the military profession, conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, in violation of AW 96 of the
Articles of War.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
Article 96 of the Articles of War defines the punitive act of conduct unbecoming an officer and a
gentleman as follows:
Art. 96. Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman. Any officer, cadet, flying cadet, or
probationary second lieutenant, who is convicted of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman
shall be dismissed from the service.

Case law has it that common crimes committed in furtherance of a political crime, such as rebellion,
are therein absorbed. A political crime is one directly aimed against the political order as well as such
common crimes as may be committed to achieve a political purpose. The decisive factor is the intent
or motive. Coup detat is a political crime because the purpose of the plotters is to seize or diminish
State power. If a crime usually regarded as common, like murder, is perpetrated to achieve a political
purpose, then said common crime is stripped of its common complexion, inasmuch as, being part
and parcel of the crime of rebellion, the former acquires the political character of the latter. 1 Such
common offenses assume the political complexion of the main crime of which they are mere
ingredients, and, consequently, cannot be punished separately from the principal offense, or
complexed with the same to justify the imposition of the graver penalty. 2
In Ponce Enrile v. Amin, 3 the court ruled that the principle of absorption of common crimes by the
political crime applies to crimes defined and penalized by special laws, such as Presidential Decree
No. 1829, otherwise known as Obstruction of Justice. However, in Baylosis v. Chavez,
Jr., 4 the Court ruled that the rulings of this Court in People v. Hernandez, 5 Ponce Enrile v.
Amin 6 and Enrile v. Salazar, 7 do not apply to crimes which, by statutory fiat, are sui generis.
Indeed, the service-connected punitive acts defined and penalized under the Articles of War are sui
generis offenses not absorbed by rebellion perpetrated, inter alia, by the officers and enlisted
personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) or coup detat. This is so because such acts
or omissions are merely violations of military discipline, designed to secure a higher efficiency in the
military service; in other words, they are purely disciplinary in their nature, and have exclusive regard
to the special character and relation of the AFP officers and enlisted personnel. Laws providing for
the discipline as well as the organization of the AFP are essential to the efficiency for the military
service in case their services should ever be required. "Deprive the executive branch of the
government of the power to enforce proper military regulations by fine and imprisonment, and that,
too, by its own courts-martial, which from time immemorial have exercised this right, and we at once
paralyze all efforts to secure proper discipline in the military service, and have little left but a
voluntary organization, without cohesive force." 8
It bears stressing that for determining how best the AFP shall attend to the business of fighting or
preparing to fight rests with Congress and with the President. Both Congress and this Court have
found that the special character of the military requires civilian authorities to accord military
commanders some flexibility in dealing with matters that affect internal discipline and morale. In
construing a statute that touches on such matters, therefore, courts must be careful not to
circumscribe the authority of military commanders to an extent never intended by Congress. Under
these and many similar cases reviewing legislative and executive control of the military, the
sentencing scheme at issue in this case, and the manner in which it was created, are constitutionally
unassailable.9
Officers and enlisted personnel committing punitive acts under the Articles of War may be
prosecuted and convicted if found guilty of such acts independently of, and separately from, any
charges filed in the civilian courts for the same or similar acts which are penalized under the Revised
Penal Code, under special penal laws or ordinances; and prescinding from the outcome thereof.
At this point, it is well to have a basic understanding of the Articles of War under Commonwealth Act
No. 408, which was essentially copied from that of the United States, which, in turn, had been
superseded by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Our Articles of War has since been amended by
Republic Act Nos. 242 and 516.

The Articles of War is the organic law of the AFP and, in keeping with the history of military law, its
primary function is to enforce "the highest form of discipline in order to ensure the highest degree of
military efficiency." The following commentary is enlightening:
History points out the fact that nations have always engaged in wars. For that purpose, bodies of
men have been organized into armed forces under a commander-in-chief who, through his
subordinate commanders, enforces the highest form of discipline in order to ensure the highest
degree of military efficiency.
Victory in battle is the ultimate aim of every military commander, and he knows that victory cannot be
attained, no matter how superior his forces may be, in men and materials, if discipline among the
rank-and-file is found wanting. For, "if an Army is to be anything but an uncontrolled mob, discipline
is required and must be enforced." For this reason, in order to set an effective means of enforcing
discipline, all organized armies of the world have promulgated sets of rules and regulations and later,
laws as embodied in the articles of war, which define the duties of military personnel and distinguish
infractions of military law and impose appropriate punishment for violation thereof. 10
Every officer, before he enters in the duties of his office, subscribes to these articles and places
himself within the powers of courts-martial to pass on any offense which he may have committed in
contravention thereof. 11
It is said that conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman is a uniquely military offense. 12 In
order to constitute the said offense, the misconduct must offend so seriously against the law, justice,
morality or decorum as to expose to disgrace, socially or as a man, the offender, and at the same
time must be of such a nature or committed under such circumstances as to bring dishonor or
disrepute upon the military profession which he represents. 13 The article proscribing conduct
unbecoming an officer and a gentleman has been held to be wholly independent of other definitions
of offenses, and the same course of conduct may constitute an offense elsewhere provided for and
may also warrant a conviction under this provision; it is not subject to preemption by other punitive
articles. 14
The administration of military justice under the Articles of War has been exclusively vested in courtsmartial whether as General Courts-Martial, Special Courts-Martial or Summary CourtsMartial. 15 Courts-martial pertain to the executive department and are, in fact, simply instrumentalities
of the executive power, provided by Congress for the President as Commander-in-Chief to aid him in
properly commanding the army and navy, and enforcing discipline therein. 16
As enunciated by the United States Supreme Court, "the military is, by necessity, a specialized
society separate from civilian society. It has, again by necessity, developed laws and traditions of its
own during its long history. The differences between the military and civilian communities result from
the fact that it is the primary business of armies and navies to fight or ready to fight wars should the
occasion arise." 17 Further, the US Supreme Court quite succinctly stated that "the military constitutes
a specialized community governed by a separate discipline from that of the civilian." 18
I wish to emphasize, however, a caveat: not all service-connected punitive acts under the Articles of
War may be prosecuted before the courts-martial independently of a crime defined and penalized
under the Revised Penal Code against the same accused based on the same set of delictual acts.
Congress may criminalize a service-connected punitive offense under the Articles of War.
A review of the deliberations in the Senate or the Report of the Conference Committee of Senate Bill
1500 will readily show that coup detat was incorporated in the Revised Penal Code in Article 134-A

precisely to criminalize "mutiny" under Article 67 of the Articles of War and to penalize the punitive
act of mutiny, under the Articles of War as coup detat. Article 67 of the Articles of War reads:
Art. 67. Mutiny or Sedition. Any person subject to military law who attempts to create or who
begins, excites, causes, or joins in any mutiny or sedition in any company, party, post, camp,
detachment, guard, or other command shall suffer death or such other punishment as a court-martial
may direct.
Without Article 134-A in the Revised Penal Code, the mutineers would be charged for mutiny under
Article 67 of the Articles of War:
Senator Lina. Yes, Mr. President.
Senator Enrile. Then we added Article 134-A which deals with the new crime of coup detat.
Senator Enrile. and we defined how this newly characterized and defined crime would be
committed in Article 134-A?
Senator Lina. Yes, Mr. President.
Senator Enrile. And, in fact, we made a distinction between the penalty of the crimes defined under
Article 134 of the Revised Penal Code and the crime defined under Article 134-A, is this correct, Mr.
President?
Senator Lina. Yes, Mr. President.
Senator Enrile. In fact, we distinguished between the conspiracy and proposal to commit the crime of
rebellion from the conspiracy and proposal to commit coup d etat?
Senator Lina. Yes, Mr. President.
Senator Enrile. So that, for all intents and purposes, therefore, we are defining a new crime under
this proposed measure
Senator Lina. Yes, Mr. President.
Senator Enrile.which is coup detat. We are, in effect, bringing into the Revised Penal Code, a
crime that was penalized under the Articles of War as far as military participants are concerned and
call it with its name "coup detat"?
Senator Lina. Yes, Mr. President. That is the . . .
Senator Enrile. Because without this criminalization of coup detat under the Revised Penal Code,
people in the active service would be charged with mutiny?
Senator Lina. Yes, Mr. President. Especially when they are inside the camp, when the rank-and-file
go up to arms or insubordination or against the orders of their superiors, they would be charged
under the Articles of War.

Senator Enrile. In fact, one of the distinguishing features of a coup detat as defined here is, apart
from the overt acts of taking a swift attack with violence, intimidation, threat, strategy, or stealth
against the duly-constituted authorities or an installation, et cetera, the primary ingredient of this
would be the seizure or diminution of state power.
Senator Lina. Yes, that is the objective, Mr. President.
Senator Enrile. On the other hand, in the case of rebellion as defined under Article 134, it does not
necessarily mean a seizure of State power or diminution of State power, but all that is needed would
be to deprive the Chief Executive or the legislature of any of its powers.
Senator Lina. That is correct, Mr. President.
Senator Enrile. So that, there is a basis to consider a clear and definable distinction between the
crime of coup detat and the crime of rebellion as defined under Article 135?
Senator Lina. Yes, Mr. President.
Senator Enrile. I just want to put that into the Record.
Thus, officers and enlisted personnel of the AFP charged of coup detat can no longer be charged
with mutiny under Article 67 of the Articles of War before courts-martial for the same delictual or
punitive act.
I vote to DISMISS the petition.
ROMEO J. CALLEJO, SR.
Associate Justice

Footnotes
1

People v. Hernandez, 99 Phil. 515, 536 (1956).

Id. at 541.

G.R. No. 93335, September 13, 1990, 189 SCRA 573, 580-581.

G.R. No. 95136, October 3, 1991, 202 SCRA 405, 416.

Supra note 1.

Supra note 3.

G.R. No. 92163, June 5, 1990, 186 SCRA 217.

Michigan v. Wagner, 77 N.W. 422.

Loving v. U.S., 517 U.S. 748, 778, 116 S.Ct. 1737 (1966).

10

Gloria, Philippine Military Law Annotated, p. 3.

11

Carter v. Roberto, 177 U.S. 497 (1900).

12

U.S. v. Weldon, 7 M.J. 938 (1979).

13

Parker v. Levy, 417 U.S. 733 (1974).

14

U.S. v. Taylor, 23 M.J. 341 (1987).

15

Article 3, Articles of War.

16

Supra note 14, p.17, citing Winthrop, Military Law and Precedents (2nd ed.), 49.

17

U.S. ex rel. Toth v. Quarles, 350 U.S. 11 (1955).

18

Orloff v. Willoughby, 345 U.S. 83 (1953)

The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation

G.R. No. 164007 LT. (SG) EUGENE GONZALES, LT. (SG) ANDY TORRATO, LT. (SG) ANTONIO
TRILLANES IV, CAPT. GARY ALEJANO, LT. (SG) JAMES LAYUG, CPT. NICANOR FAELDON, LT.
(SG) MANUEL COBOCHAN, ENS. ARMAND PONTEJOS, LT. (JG) ARTURO PASCUA, and 1LT.
JONHNEL SANGGALANG, Petitioners, versus GEN. NARCISO ABAYA, in his capacity as Chief of
Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and B/GEN. MARIANO M. SARMIENTO, JR., in his
capacity as the Judge Advocate General of the Judge Advocate General Office (JAGO),
Respondents.
Promulgated:
August 10, 2006
SEPARATE OPINION
(Concurring and Dissenting)
Tinga, J.:
My concurrence to the dismissal of the petition is limited to a much narrower ground than that
offered by the majority opinion, which, with due respect, I am unable to fully join and thus impelled to
mostly dissent from. The broad propositions adopted by the majority render inutile Republic Act No.
7055, (RA 7055) that generally restored civil jurisdiction over offenses involving members of the
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). This law stands as a key implement in the restoration of
civilian supremacy over the military, a precept that was reinvigorated with the restoration of civil

democracy in 1986. The rationale that sustains the majority position stands athwart to that important
constitutional principle as effectuated through RA 7055.
Instead, my position hinges on the peculiar nature of Article 96 of the Articles of War, the violation of
which petitioners stand accused of before the court-martial. Not only does Article 96 embody a rule
uniquely military in nature, it also prescribes a penalty wholly administrative in character which the
civilian courts are incapable of rendering. For that reason alone, I agree that petitioners may stand
civilian trial for coup detat and court-martial for violation of Article 96.
Still, I acknowledge that I would have voted to grant the petition had petitioners faced other charges,
instead of the sole Article 96 charge, before the court-martial in connection with the Oakwood
mutiny. I submit that RA 7055 precisely authorizes the civil court to independently determine whether
the offense subject of the information before it is actually service-connected. If the trial court does
determine, before arraignment, that the offense is service-connected, it follows that, as a rule, the
military court will not have jurisdiction over the acts constituting the offense.
Restatement of Relevant Facts
The following facts I consider relevant.
On 5 August 2003, just a little over a week after the so-called Oakwood mutiny, the Department of
Justice filed an Information with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati against 321 military
personnel, including petitioners, for violation of Article 134-A of the Revised Penal Code which is the
crime of coup detat. After the case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 03-2784, the RTC directed
the DOJ to conduct a reinvestigation of the said case. On the same day that the order for reinvestigation was issued, the AFP Chief of Staff created a Pre-Trial Investigation Panel against the
same persons to determine the propriety of filing charges with a military tribunal against petitioners,
along with 300 or so other soldiers, for violation of the Articles of War, again in connection with the
Oakwood mutiny. Thus, 243 of the accused before the RTC, including petitioners, filed a motion with
the trial court praying that the court assume jurisdiction over all the charges filed with the military
tribunal, following RA 7055. 1
After re-investigation, the DOJ found probable cause for the crime of coup detat against only 31 of
the original 321 accused. The DOJ then filed a motion for dismissal of the charge of coup
detat against the 290 others, which motion was granted by the RTC in an Order dated 14 November
2003. Petitioners were among the 31 who still faced the charge of coup detat before the RTC.
Notwithstanding the dismissal of the charge of coup detat against the 290 soldiers, they were still
charged before the General Court Martial for violation of Articles 63, 64, 67, 96 and 97 of the Articles
of War. 2 Among the charges faced by these soldiers was for "mutiny," punishable under Article
63. Only those soldiers the charge of coup detat against whom was dismissed were
subjected to the charge of Articles of War violations before the court-martial. Some of these
290 soldiers challenged the jurisdiction of the court-martial in a petition for prohibition before this
Court, which was denied in Navales v. Abaya 3 in 2004.
On the other hand, on 9 December 2003, the Pre-Trial Investigation Panel recommended that the 31
officers facing the charge of coup detat before the trial court be excluded from the court-martial
proceedings. The rationale that the Panel offered was the assumption of civilian jurisdiction by the
RTC based on RA 7055 and its belief that the charges against the 31 it was investigating were
absorbed by the crime of coup detat, which was already within the jurisdiction of the RTC to try and
decide.

It was on 11 February 2004 that the RTC issued an Order (RTC Order) stating that "all charges
before the court-martial against the accused.. are hereby declared not service-connected, but rather
absorbed and in furtherance of the alleged crime of coup detat." Note that as of then, only 31
officers remained within the jurisdiction of the RTC. If there are any relevant subjects of the RTC
Order, it is these 31, including petitioners, and not the 290 others the case for coup detat against
whom had already been dismissed.
Thus, as things stood as of 11 February 2004, only 31 officers, including petitioners, were still within
the jurisdiction of the RTC, as they remained charged with coup detat. None of the 31 were facing
any charge before the court-martial, the investigation against them by the AFP Pre-Trial Investigation
Panel had already been concluded by then. On the other hand, the 290 other soldiers, including
the Navales petitioners, were no longer facing any criminal cases before the RTC, but were instead
facing court-martial charges. This symmetry is deliberate, cognizant as the DOJ and the AFP were of
the general principle, embodied in RA 7055, that jurisdiction over acts by soldiers which constitute
both a crime under the penal laws and a triable offense under the Articles of War is exercised
exclusively by either the civilian court or the court-martial, depending on the circumstances as
dictated under Section 1 of RA 7055.
It was in June of 2004 that this symmetry was shattered. It appears that at that point, the AFP
reconsidered its earlier decision not to try the 31 officers before the court-martial. There appears per
record, a letter dated 17 June 2004, captioned "Disposition Form," signed by a certain De Los
Reyes, and recommending that the 31 be charged as well before the court-martial for violation of
Article 96 of the Articles of War and that pre-trial investigation be reconducted for that purpose. 4 This
recommendation was approved by then AFP Chief of Staff Narciso Abaya. It was this decision to
reinitiate court-martial proceedings against the 31 that impelled the present petition for prohibition.
As stated earlier, I believe that ultimately, petitioners may still be charged with violation of Article 96
of the Articles of War, notwithstanding the pending case for coup detat before the RTC against them.
My reason for such view lies in the wholly administrative nature of Article 96 and the sole penalty
prescribed therein, dismissal from service, which is beyond the jurisdiction of civilian courts to
impose. Yet I arrive at such view without any denigration of the RTC Order, which proceeds from
fundamentally correct premises and which, to my mind, bears the effect of precluding any further
charges before the court-martial against petitioners in relation to the Oakwood mutiny. Unfortunately,
the majority gives undue short shrift to the RTC Order and the predicament confronting the present
petitioners, who are now facing not only trial before the civilian court for the crime of coup detat, but
also court-martial proceedings for acts which if not identical to those charged in the criminal case are
at least integrally related. I respectfully submit that RA 7055 was precisely designed to generally
prevent such anomaly, but that the majority fails to give fruition to such legislative intent.
Instead, the majority has laid down a general rule that if members of the military are charged
before military tribunals with violation of Articles of War 54 to 70, 72 to 92, and 95 to 97, then
the court-martial proceedings would progress unhampered even if the acts which constitute
the violation of the Articles of War also constitute offenses under the Revised Penal Code.
The court-martial proceedings would also ensue even if the said personnel are also charged
for the same acts with a criminal case before the civilian court, and even if the civilian court
determines that the acts are not service-connected. Most critically, this view would allow the
defendant to be tried and convicted by both the military and civilian courts for the same acts,
despite the consistent jurisprudential rule that double jeopardy applies even as between
court-martial and criminal trials. I cannot agree to these general propositions, excepting
when the defendants happen to be charged before the court-martial for violation of Article 96
of the Articles of War.

There are three fundamental questions that are consequently raised. First, can Congress by law
limit the jurisdiction of military tribunals and court-martials? Second, does RA 7055
effectively deprive military courts jurisdiction over violations of Articles of War 54 to 70, 72 to
92, and 95 to 97 if the civilian court determines that the offenses charged do not constitute
service-connected offenses? And third, does it constitute double jeopardy if the same
military actor is tried and convicted before both civilian and military courts for the same
acts? I respectfully submit that all these questions should generally be answered in the
affirmative.
Jurisdictions of Courts-Martial In
the Philippines Fundamentally Statutory
I begin with the constitutional and statutory parameters of courts-martial in the Philippines.
It is settled, in cases such as Ruffy v. Chief of Staff, 5 that court-martial proceedings are executive in
character, deriving as they do from the authority of the President as the Commander-in-Chief of the
armed forces. 6 Indeed, the authority of the President to discipline members of the armed forces
stands as one of the hallmarks of the commander-in-chief powers. Obedience to the President and
the chain-of-command are integral to a professional and effective military, and the proper juridical
philosophy is to accede as much deference as possible to this prerogative of the President.
However, in Marcos v. Chief of Staff, 7 decided five (5) years after Ruffy, the Court ruled that the
word "court" as used in the Constitution included the General Court-Martial, citing Winthrops Military
Law and Precedents, which noted that "courts-martial are [in] the strictest sense courts of
justice". 8 Indeed, it would be foolhardy to ignore, with semantics as expedient, the adjudicative
characteristics of courts-martial and their ability to inflict punishment constituting deprivation of
liberty, or even life. A court-martial is still a court of law and justice, 9 although it is not a part of the
judicial system and judicial processes, but remains to be a specialized part of the over-all
mechanism by which military discipline is preserved. 10
Regardless of the accurate legal character of courts-martial, it should go without saying that the
authority of the President to discipline military personnel through that process is still subject to a
level of circumscription. Without such concession, the President could very well impose such
draconian measures of military punishment, such as death by firing squad for overweight soldiers.
The Court has indeed, on occasion, recognized limitations and regulations over courts-martial.
In Olaguer v. Military Commission, 11 the Court reasserted that military tribunals cannot try and
exercise jurisdiction over civilians for as long as the civil courts are open and functioning. 12 The
authority of the Supreme Court to review decisions of the court-martial was affirmed in Ognir v.
Director of Prisons, 13 and should be recognized in light of the judicial power of the Supreme Court
under the 1987 Constitution, which extends to determining grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. And
finally, there are the series of rulings on the subject of double jeopardy, which I shall soon discuss
further.
Most strikingly, the "Articles of War" presently in use emanates not from executive fiat, but from a law
passed by the National Assembly known as Commonwealth Act No. 408. As such, the determination
of what acts or offenses are punishable by court-martial was in actuality made not by the President,
but by the legislature. As such, the Articles of War are utterly susceptible to legislative amendment,
augmentation, or even revocation.

I do not doubt that without an enabling law, the President would have the power to impose courtmartial proceedings under the aegis of the Commander-in-Chief clause. Yet if there is an enabling
law passed, such as Commonwealth Act No. 408, then the President is bound to exercise the power
to prescribe court-martial proceedings only within the limits imposed by the law. These precepts
should not preclude the President from mandating other forms of military discipline, but if the choice
is to subject the soldier concerned to court-martial, then such proceedings should ensue within the
boundaries determined by the legislature under Commonwealth Act No. 408.
American jurisprudence is actually quite emphatic that the jurisdiction of a court-martial is
established by statute, and a court-martial has no jurisdiction beyond what is given by statute. "[A]
court-martial [is] a special statutory tribunal, with limited powers." 14 To quote from Corpus Juris
Secundum:
The jurisdiction of a court-martial is premised on an authorized convening authority, court
membership in accordance with the law, and power derived from congressional act to try the
person and the offense charged. [ 15 Thus, in order for a court-martial to have jurisdiction, it must
be convened and constituted in accordance with law[ 16; and a court-martial has no jurisdiction
beyond what is given it by statute.[ 17 General court-martial jurisdiction is not restricted territorially to
the limits of a particular state or district.
The long continued practice of military authorities in exercising court-martial jurisdiction may aid in
the interpretation of statutes conferring such jurisdiction; but the authority of a Secretary of an
armed forces department to issue regulations does not permit extension of the jurisdictions
of courts-martial of the armed force controlled by that department beyond the limits fixed by
Congress[ 19
The language of statutes granting jurisdiction to courts-martial to try persons for offenses must be
construed to conform as near as may be to the constitutional guarantees that protect the rights of
citizens in general, it being assumed that Congress intended to guard jealously against dilution of
the liberties of citizens by the enlargement of jurisdiction of military tribunals at the expense of the
jurisdiction of the civil courts. 20
Clearly then, while court-martial under military law may be sui generis, it is not supra legem. The
power to try by court-martial is established, defined and limited by statute, even if it arises as a
consequence of the power of the President as Commander-in-Chief.
What are the implications of these doctrines to the case at bar? To my mind, they sufficiently
establish that Congress does have the power to exclude certain acts from the jurisdiction of the
General Court-Martial. The same legislature that enacted Commonwealth Act No. 408 is very well
empowered to amend that law, as it has done on occasion. 21 And I submit that Congress has done
so with the enactment of RA 7055.
Republic Act No. 7055
The title of RA 7055 reads "An Act Strengthening Civilian Supremacy Over the Military By
Returning to the Civil Courts the Jurisdiction Over Certain Offenses Involving Members of the
Armed Forces of the Philippines, Other Persons Subject to Military Law, and the Members of the
Philippine National Police, Repealing for the Purpose Certain Presidential Decrees." 22 In the
Philippines, the conferment of civil jurisdiction over members of the military charged with non-service
connected offenses is predicated on the constitutional principle of civilian supremacy over the
military. 23 As Senator Wigberto Taada remarked in his sponsorship remarks over Senate Bill No.
1468, eventually enacted as RA 7055, "[A]s long as the civil courts in the land remain open and are

regularly functioning, military tribunals cannot try and exercise jurisdiction over military men for
criminal offenses committed by them and which are properly cognizable by the civil courts. To have it
otherwise would be a violation of the aforementioned constitutional provisions on the supremacy of
civilian authority over the military and the integrity and independence of the judiciary, as well as the
due process and equal-protection clauses of the Constitution." 24
The title of the law alone is already indicative of the laws general intent to exclude from the
jurisdiction of the General Court-martial "certain offenses" which would now be tried by the
civil courts. Section 1 operationalizes such intent, asserting as a general rule that members of the
AFP "who commits crimes penalized under the Revised Penal Code, other special penal laws, or
local government ordinances xxx shall be tried by the proper civil court xxx." Notably, the majority
does concede the general rule.
The exception of course, are offenses which are service-connected. They are excluded from the
jurisdiction of the civilian courts. It is worth mentioning at this juncture that the concept of "serviceconnected" offenses as a determinant of court-martial jurisdiction arose from American
jurisprudence. In OCallahan v. Parker, 25 decided in 1969, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed
previous doctrines and announced a new constitutional principle that a military tribunal ordinarily
may not try a serviceman charged with a crime that has no service connection. 26
RA 7055 Reposes on the Trial Court
The Specific Role of Determining Whether
The Offense is Service-Connected
Obviously, the ascertainment of whether or not a crime is service-connected is of controversial
character, necessitating the exercise of judgment. Appropriately, that function is assigned by
Section 1 not to the courts-martial, but to the civil courts. Indeed, Section 1 requires that before
the offense shall be tried by court-martial, there must be first a determination before arraignment by
the civil court that the offense is indeed service-connected. Section 1 states:
Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other persons subject to military law xxx who
commit crimes or offenses penalized under the Revised Penal Code, other special penal laws, or
local government ordinances, regardless of whether or not civilians are co-accused, victims or
offended parties which may be natural or juridical persons, shall be tried by the proper civil court,
except when the offense, as determined before arraignment by the civil court, is serviceconnected, in which case the offense shall be tried by court-martial xxx
As used in this Section, service-connected crimes or offenses shall be limited to those
defined in Articles 54 to 70, Articles 72 to 92, and Articles 95 to 97 of Commonwealth Act No.
408, as amended. 27(Emphasis supplied.)
There are two possible scenarios that may arise after a soldier commits a crime which is punishable
under both the Revised Penal Code and under Commonwealth Act No. 408.
In one, the soldier is charged only with violation of the Articles of War and tried by the court-martial.
In this situation wherein no criminal case is filed against the soldier, the court-martial continues
unimpeded.

In the other, the soldier is charged with both violation of the Articles of War (triable by court-martial)
and a criminal offense involving the same act (triable by the civilian court). Here, a different set of
rules operates. RA 7055 comes into application in such a case. Section 1 of RA 7055 clearly reposes
on the trial court, and not the court-martial, the duty to determine whether the charges in the
information are service-connected. If the civilian court makes a determination that the acts
involved are not service-connected, then the court-martial will generally have no jurisdiction.
In this particular role, the trial court is merely guided in its determination by Articles of War
54 to 70, 72 to 92, and 95 to 97, the specific articles to which the determination of serviceconnected offenses according to RA 7055 is limited. The importance of the trial courts function
of determination cannot be dismissed lightly. Since the law mandates that the trial court make such a
determination, it necessarily follows that the court has to ascertain on its own whether the offenses
charged do fall within the Articles of War. It would not bind the civilian court that the defendants
are charged with the same acts before the court-martial under Articles of War 54 to 70, 72 to
92, and 95 to 97. The civilian court is required to still make a determination, independent of
that of the court-martial, that the acts charged constitute a service-connected offense.
However, the majority is satisfied that since petitioners are charged before the military tribunal with
violation of one of the Articles of War so mentioned in Section 1 of RA 7055, this offense is within the
jurisdiction of the court-martial. The majority is thus of the position that regardless of whatever
transpires in the civilian court trial, court-martial proceedings may ensue unimpeded so long as the
defendants therein are charged with Articles of War 54 to 70, 72 to 92, and 95 to 97. Such
jurisdiction of the court-martial subsists even if the civilian courts had determined that the acts which
constitute the offense triable under court-martial are not service-connected. This position renders
utterly worthless the function of the civilian courts to determine whether the offense is
indeed service-connected, as such determination would no longer have any bearing on the
jurisdiction of the courts-martial to try the same acts.
Justice Carpio, in particular, asserts in his Concurring Opinion that the civilian court is limited to "only
a facial examination of the charge sheet in determining whether the offense charged is service
connected." 28 This proposition negates the entire purpose of RA 7055, as it would ultimately render
the military as the sole judge whether a civilian court can acquire jurisdiction over criminal acts by
military personnel, even if such soldier has committed a crime under the Revised Penal Code. Under
this position, all the military has to do is to charge the actor with violation of Articles of War 54 to 70,
72 to 92, and 95 to 97, and the civilian court would be effectively deprived of jurisdiction to try the
offense, even if the act is clearly punishable under civil penal laws. With all due respect, such "facial
examination", which would be undertaken by a learned judge of a civilian court, can be
accomplished with ease by a non-lawyer, by a fifteen-year old, or anybody with rudimentary skills in
the English language. After all, the only necessary act for such purpose would be to look at the
charge sheet and the Articles of War. As long as the civilian court sees that charge sheet states that
the defendants have been charged with any of the aforementioned Articles of War, the determinative
function would already be accomplished.
Under the standard of "facial examination," the trial court can very well make its determination even
without the benefit of charge sheet if there is no such charge sheet yet. In reality though, the trial
courts primary source of information and basis for determination is the information in the criminal
case before it, as well as the affidavits and documents which the prosecution may make available to
it. Assuming that there is a court-martial charge sheet, the same on its face may be incapable of
capturing the particulars of the criminal acts committed, as there is no prescribed demand for such
particularity. As such, a "facial examination" could not suffice in affording the civilian court any
significant appreciation of the relevant factors in determining whether the offense was indeed
service-connected.

Worse, by advocating "facial examination" as a limit, this view would actually allow malfeasors in the
military to evade justice, if they are fortunate enough to have sympathizers within the military brass
willing to charge them with a violation of the aforementioned articles of war in order that they escape
the possibly harsher scrutiny of the civilian courts. For example, Article 69 of the Articles of War
punishes persons subject to military law who commit frauds against the government, which include,
among others, stealing, embezzling, knowingly and willfully misappropriating, applying to his own
use or benefit or wrongfully or knowingly selling or disposing of "any ordinance, arms, equipment,
ammunition, clothing, subsistence stores, money or other property of the Government furnished or
intended for the military service." 29 The offense, which according to the majority is strictly a serviceconnected offense, is punishable by "fine or imprisonment, or by such other punishment as a courtmartial may adjudge, or by any or all of said penalties." 30 A military comptroller who embezzles the
pension funds of soldiers could be made liable under Article 95, and thus could be appropriately
charged before the court-martial. Also pursuant to Article 95, the court-martial has the discretion to
impose as final punishment a fine ofP1,000.00, even if the comptroller embezzled millions of pesos.
If the said comptroller has friends within the military top brass, the prospect of such a
disproportionate penalty is actually feasible.
Now, if Justice Carpios position were to be pursued, no civilian court, whether the RTC or the
Sandiganbayan, could acquire jurisdiction over the comptroller for the offense of embezzlement,
which is punishable under the Revised Penal Code and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, the
moment the comptroller faces the charge of violating Article 95 before the court-martial. Why?
Because these civilian courts would be limited to "only a facial examination of the charge sheet in
determining whether the offense is service-connected." Justice Carpio adds, "[i]f the offense, as
alleged in the charge sheet, falls under the enumeration of service-connected offenses in Section 1
of RA No. 7055, then the military court has jurisdiction over the offense."
Applying Justice Carpios analysis to this theoretical example, the offense is "as alleged in the
charge sheet" is a violation of Article 95 of the Articles of War. Article 95 "falls under the enumeration
of service-connected offenses in Section 1 of R.A. No. 7055." Then, according to Justice Carpio, "the
military court has jurisdiction over the offense." Yet Section 1 also
states that as a general rule that it is the civilian courts which have jurisdiction to try the
offense, "except when the offense, as determined before arraignment by the civil court, is
service-connected, in which case the offense shall be tried by court-martial." The ineluctable
conclusion, applying Justice Carpios view to our theoretical example, is that the civilian
court does not have jurisdiction to try the offense constituting embezzlement since it was
forced to determine, following the limited facial examination of the charge sheet, that the act
of embezzlement punishable under Article 95 of the Articles of War is a service-connected
offense.
If "facial examination" ill-suffices as the appropriate standard of determination, what then should be
the proper level of determination?
Full significance should be accorded the legislative tasking of the civil court, not the military court, to
determine whether the offense before it is service-connected or not. Indeed, determination clearly
implies a function of adjudication on the part of the trial court, and not a mechanical application of a
standard pre-determined by some other body. The word "determination" implies deliberation 31 and
is, in normal legal contemplation, equivalent to "the decision of a court of justice." 32 The Court
in EPZA v. Dulay 33 declared as unconstitutional a presidential decree that deprived the courts the
function of determining the value of just compensation in eminent domain cases. In doing so, the
Court declared, "the determination of just compensation in eminent domain cases is a judicial
function." 34

The majority shows little respect for the plain language of the law. As earlier noted, they believe that
the determination reposed in the civilian court is limited to a facial examination of the military charge
sheet to ascertain whether the defendants have been charged before the court-martial with the
violation of Articles of War 54 to 70, 72 to 92, and 95 to 97. Their position could have been sustained
had Section 1 read, "As used in this Section, service-connected crimes or offenses are those
defined in Articles 54 to 70, Articles 72 to 92, and Articles 95 to 97 of Commonwealth Act No. 408, as
amended," discarding the phrase "shall be limited to" immediately preceding the words "those
defined." Such phraseology makes it clear that "service-connected crimes or offenses" are
equivalent to "Articles 54 to 70, Articles 72 to 92, and Articles 95 to 97." Yet Section 1 is hardly styled
in that fashion. Instead, it precisely reads, "xxx service-connected crimes or offenses shall be
limited tothose defined in Articles 54 to 70 xxx."
What is the implication of the phrase "shall be limited to"? This has to be tied to the role of
determination ascribed to the civilian court in the previous paragraph under Section 1. Note again,
"determination" signifies that the civilian court has to undertake an inquiry whether or not the acts
are service connected. As stated earlier, the Articles of War specified in Section 1 serve as guides for
such determination. "shall be limited to" assures that the civilian court cannot rely on a ground not
rooted on those aforementioned articles in ruling that an offense is service-connected. For example,
the civilian court cannot declare that an offense is service-connected because the offender is a
three-star general. Being a three-star general is in no way connected to Articles 54 to 70, Articles 72
to 92, and Articles 95 to 97.
At the same time, Section 1 concedes that if the act or offense for which the defendant is prosecuted
before the civilian court also falls within those specified Articles of War, then the civilian court has to
further determine whether the offense is service-connected. For example, a soldier who knowingly
harbors or protects an enemy of the state may be liable under Article 82 of the Articles of War, which
generally punishes military persons who aid the enemy, or under Article 114 of the Revised Penal
Code, which classifies giving aid or comfort to the enemy as an act of treason. If the soldier is
charged with treason, the civilian court may be called upon to determine whether the acts of
assistance are service-connected, and it should be able to take into account the particular
circumstances surrounding such acts. If the trial court determines that the offense is indeed serviceconnected, finding for example that the defendant had used his/her rank to assist the enemy, then it
may rely on Article 82 in its conclusion that the act is service-connected. If however, the actors being
also a soldier proved merely incidental and inconsequential to the assistance rendered to the enemy,
the civilian court could very well declare that the offense is not service-connected and thus subject to
trial for treason before it.
The function devolved by the law on the trial court involves the determination of which offenses are
service-connected and which offenses are not. The power of determination, however, is
circumscribed by the law itself. By employing the phrase "shall be limited to" and tying it with
specifically enumerated Articles, the law precludes the trial court from characterizing acts which fall
under the Articles not so enumerated as service-connected. Since Article 93 defining rape and Article
94 defining "various crimes" are not included in the enumeration in RA 7055 it follows that the trial
court is devoid of authority to declare rape and "various crimes" as service-connected.
Again, the general purpose of RA 7055 is to deprive the court-martial of jurisdiction to try cases
which are properly cognizable before the civilian courts. Hence, if a soldier is charged with violation
of any of the articles other than those referred to in Section 1, the court-martial is deprived of
jurisdiction under RA 7055 if such violation also constitutes a crime or offense under our penal laws.
Section 1, by citing those aforementioned articles, carves an exception to the general rule, yet at the
same time, qualifies this exception as subject to the determination of the trial court. Hence, if the trial

court so determines that the "service-connected" exception does not apply, the general rule
depriving the court-martial jurisdiction over the offense should continue to operate.
It is worth mentioning that prior to RA 7055, Commonwealth Act No. 408 recognized an exception to
the rule that military persons are always subjected to court-martial in lieu of civil trial. Article 94
stipulated that a person subject to military law who committed a felony, crime, breach of law or
violation of municipal ordinance recognized as an offense of a penal nature was punishable by courtmartial, provided that such act was committed "inside a reservation of the [AFP]," or outside such
reservation when the offended party is a person subject to military law.35 The implication, therefore,
was that if such act described were committed outside a military reservation, the civilian courts
would have jurisdiction to try such offense. As the official Manual for Courts-Martial of the AFP
states, "[w]henever persons subject to military law commit any of the offenses above stated outside
Philippine Army reservations, they fall under the exclusive jurisdiction of civil courts." 36
RA 7055 clearly expands this exception, by now mandating that even crimes committed within
military reservations fall within the jurisdiction of civil courts, the only exception remaining is if it is
determined by the civilian court that the offense is actually service-connected. Significantly, Section 1
of RA 7055 did not include Article 94 as among the Articles of War which define service-connected
offenses. 37 Evidently the situs of the offense is not material as to whether the acts committed are
service-connected offenses.
Admittedly, RA 7055 effectively curtails the ability of the military leadership to discipline the soldiers
under their command through the court-martial process. This is accomplished though not by
shielding errant soldiers from the criminal processes, but instead through the opposite route, by
entrusting to the civilian courts the authority and sufficient discretion to impose substantive justice on
such soldiers, conformably with the constitutional principle of civilian supremacy over the military. It
must be noted that the acquisition of exclusive jurisdiction by the court-martial to try soldiers for acts
punishable under penal laws is a double-edged sword of mischief. It can be utilized by a military
leadership with an unquenchable thirst to punish its soldiers, a procedure which is facilitated due to
the relatively lighter evidentiary requirements under military justice. It can also be utilized by a
military leadership greatly sympathetic to one of their "mistahs" under fire, since the ability to inflict
the lightest and most disproportionate of punishments falls within the wide range of discretion in the
punishment accorded by law to courts-martial. Either premise is undesirable, and precisely RA 7055
was enacted to ensure that the civilian courts have all the opportunity to acquire jurisdiction over
military persons who commit crimes, and to assure the trial courts all the discretion necessary to
determine whether it should assume jurisdiction if the exception provided under Section 1 of the law
is invoked.
RA 7055 Generally Prevents Military Personnel
From Facing Simultaneous Criminal Trials and Courts-Martial
Over the Same Acts or Offenses
It is thus not enough that petitioners have been charged with violating an Article of War referred to in
Section 1 to authorize their court-martial to proceed, since the same act that constitutes the violation
of an Article of War is also alleged in the complaint for coup detat now pending in the civilian courts.
In order that the court-martial proceedings against petitioners could ensue, it is indisputably
necessary that the RTC Order determining that the charges before the court-martial are not serviceconnected is directly nullified or reconsidered with the needed effect of terminating the criminal case
for coup detat against them. If the act constituting the offense triable before the civilian courts and

the court-martial are the same, then the defendants may be tried only either before the civilian courts
or the court-martial, and not in both tribunals.
This is precisely why the exceptions under Section 1 of RA 7055 were provided for to
prevent the anomaly of the defendants being subjected to two different trials of equally
punitive value for the same act. It is well worth noting that the Senate deliberations on RA 7055
indicate a strong concern on the part of the legislators over the situation wherein violations of the
Articles of War also stand as violations of the Revised Penal Code. The following exchange between
the late Senate President Neptali Gonzales and Senator Wigberto Taada is worth noting:
Senator Gonzales. Again, in line 16, it says: The offenses defined in Articles 54 to 93 and 95 to 97
of the Articles of War, established by Commonwealth Act Numbered Four Hundred Eight, as
amended, the same shall be triable by court-martial.
But there are many offenses which are also violations of the Articles of War. For example,
murder. It may not necessarily be a murder of a fellow member of the Armed Forces. That is
also a violation of the Articles of War; but, at the same time, it is also a crime punishable
under the Penal Code. What do we do in such a situation?
Senator Taada. In such an example, that would be tried by the civil courts. We had accepted
the amendment proposed by Senator Ziga to exclude Article 93 under the Articles of War which
would refer to murder or rape committed in times of war. Now, we have excluded that, because we
believe that the murder or rape, whether committed in times of war, should not be tried by the civil
courts.
Senator Gonzales. Do we have the distinguished Gentlemans assurance that after deleting Article
93, also with respect to Articles 54 to 92, 95 to 97, there is absolutely no situation wherein the same
act constitutes a violation of the Revised Penal Code and at the same time a violation of the Articles
of War?
Senator Taada. Yes, Mr. President. We excluded also Article 94 of the Articles of War, because this
refers to various crimes that may be committed by persons subject to military law, which crimes can
be considered as felonies, breach of law, or violation of municipal ordinance, which is recognized as
an offense of a penal nature, and is punishable under the penal laws of the Philippines or under
municipal ordinances.
Senator Gonzales. We have the assurance of the distinguished Gentleman, and we rely on that
assurance. xxx 38
The passage deserves to be cited as it affirms the deliberate intent, already evident in the text of the
law itself, to avoid the scenario of the civilian courts and the courts-martial exercising concurrent
jurisdiction over the same acts. Hence, for as long as the act committed by the soldier does not fall
within those Articles of War referred to in Section 1, the civilian courts alone exercises jurisdiction
over the trial of the acts. If it is asserted by the courts-martial, or otherwise argued, that the act
complained of falls within those Articles of War referred to in Section 1, then the civilian court must
make a determination that the acts committed are "service-connected," with the cited Articles as
reference, before it can exercise its jurisdiction to the exclusion of the courts-martial. If the trial court
declares that the acts are service-connected, it then is obliged to decline jurisdiction in favor of the
courts-martial.
The cited passage does express the opinion of Senator Taada that there is absolutely no situation
wherein the same act constitutes a violation of the Revised Penal Code and at the same time a

violation of the Articles of War. Such opinion might be cited to refute the declaration in the RTC
Order that the acts charged before the court-martial were absorbed in the crime of coup detat. Yet
caution should be had before this opinion of Senator Taada is cited for that purpose. The quoted
remarks were made on 21 May 1990, or five (5) months before the crime of coup detat was
incorporated into the Revised Penal Code with the enactment of Republic Act No. 6968 on 24
October 1990. Certainly, when Senator Taada made such opinion, he had no reason to believe that
the cited Articles of War did not constitute any violation of the Revised Penal Code, particularly the
crime of coup detat, since no such crime existed then.
Double Jeopardy
There is another vital reason RA 7055 cannot be interpreted in such a way as to permit both civilian
and military trials of military personnel over the same act. Double jeopardy would arise as a
consequence if such an interpretation were foisted.
It is very well settled that double jeopardy attaches if one is tried by both a military court and a
civilian court over the same act, notwithstanding the differing natures of both tribunals. The rule was
pronounced by the Philippine Supreme Court as far back as 1903, in U.S. v. Colley. 39 Therein, the
defendant was sentenced to death by a court-martial after murdering a fellow soldier, but the
sentence could not be carried out after the reviewing authority of the Army concluded that the
military authorities were without power to carry into execution the sentence. He then was charged
with the same offense before a civilian court. In ruling that the criminal case should be dismissed,
the Court ruled that the criminal trial was barred by double jeopardy. The Court pronounced: "So
here there is but one offense, that against the United States, and when the Government chooses the
tribunal in which to try an offender, when the trial takes place in that tribunal, and when the accused
is convicted and sentenced, he can not again be put in jeopardy in another court of the same
sovereignty. xxx It follows that the defendant having been once in jeopardy can not be tried again for
the offense of which he was formerly convicted." 40 A similar situation obtained in U.S. v.
Tubig, 41 decided some months later, and a similar judgment of acquittal was mandated by the Court
on the ground of double jeopardy.
The doctrine has survived past the American occupation. In 1954, the Court was again confronted
with the issue whether a sentence passed by a military court barred further prosecution of the same
offense in a civilian court. The Court, in Crisologo v. People, 42 squarely ruled that double jeopardy
indeed barred such prosecution:
As we see it, the case hinges on whether the decision of the military court constitutes a bar to further
prosecution for the same offense in the civil courts.
The question is not of first impression in this jurisdiction. In the case of U. S. vs. Tubig, 3 Phil., 244, a
soldier of the United States Army in the Philippines was charged in the Court of First Instance of
Pampanga with having assassinated one Antonio Alivia. Upon arraignment, he pleaded double
jeopardy in that he had already been previously convicted and sentenced by a court-martial for the
same offense and had already served his sentence. The trial court overruled the plea on the grounds
that as the province where the offense was committed was under civil jurisdiction, the military court
had no jurisdiction to try the offense. But on appeal, this court held that "one who has been tried and
convicted by a court-martial under circumstances giving that tribunal jurisdiction of the defendant
and of the offense, has been once in jeopardy and cannot for the same offense be again prosecuted
in another court of the same sovereignty." In a later case, Grafton vs. U. S. 11 Phil., 776, a private in
the United States Army in the Philippines was tried by a general court-martial for homicide under the
Articles of War. Having been acquitted in that court, he was prosecuted in the Court of First Instance
of Iloilo for murder under the general laws of the Philippines. Invoking his previous acquittal in the

military court, he pleaded it in bar of proceedings against him in the civil court, but the latter court
overruled the plea and after trial found him guilty of homicide and sentenced him to prison. The
sentence was affirmed by this Supreme Court, but on appeal to the Supreme Court of the United
States, the sentence was reversed and defendant acquitted, that court holding that "defendant,
having been acquitted of the crime of homicide alleged to have been committed by him by a courtmartial of competent jurisdiction proceeding under the authority of the United States, cannot be
subsequently tried for the same offense in a civil court exercising authority in the Philippines."
There is, for sure, a rule that where an act transgresses both civil and military law and subjects the
offender to punishment by both civil and military authority, a conviction or an acquittal in a civil court
cannot be pleaded as a bar to a prosecution in the military court, and vice versa. But the rule "is
strictly limited to the case of a single act which infringes both the civil and the military law in such a
manner as to constitute two distinct offenses, one of which is within the cognizance of the military
courts and the other a subject of civil jurisdiction" (15 Am. Jur., 72), and it does not apply where both
courts derive their powers from the same sovereignty. (22 C. J. S., 449.) It therefore, has no
application to the present case where the military court that convicted the petitioner and the civil
court which proposes to try him again derive their powers from one sovereignty and it is not disputed
that the charges of treason tried in the court-martial were punishable under the Articles of War, it
being as a matter of fact impliedly admitted by the Solicitor General that the two courts have
concurrent jurisdiction over the offense charged. 43
As noted earlier, Marcos, relying on Winthrops Military Law, pronounced that courts-martial are still
courts in constitutional contemplation. 44 At the same time, the Court in Marcos pursued the logic of
this thinking insofar as double jeopardy was concerned:
Besides, that a court-martial is a court, and the prosecution of an accused before it is a criminal and
not an administrative case, and therefore it would be, under certain conditions, a bar to another
prosecution of the defendant for the same offense, because the latter would place the accused in
double jeopardy, is shown by the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of
Grafton vs. United States, 206 U. S. 333; 51 Law. Ed., 1088, 1092, in which the following was held:
"If a court-martial has jurisdiction to try an officer or soldier for a crime, its judgment will be accorded
the finality and conclusiveness as to the issues involved which attend the judgments of a civil court
in a case of which it may legally take cognizance; . . . and restricting our decision to the above
question of double jeopardy, we adjudge that, consistently with the above act of 1902, and for the
reasons stated, the plaintiff in error, a soldier in the Army, having been acquitted of the crime of
homicide, alleged to have been committed by him in the Philippines, by a military court of competent
jurisdiction, proceeding under the authority of the United States, could not be subsequently tried for
the same offense in a civil court exercising authority in that territory."
I am aware that following the Courts 1993 ruling in People v. Pineda, 45 double jeopardy will not
attach unless either the RTC or the court-martial passes sentence on the petitioners. Yet even
applying the Pineda doctrine, it is inevitable that, once either tribunal renders judgment on the
merits, double jeopardy would bar the further prosecution by the court which was last in time to
pronounce sentence, regardless whether petitioners were convicted or acquitted. If both the RTC
trial for coup detat and the court-martial of the petitioners are allowed to proceed unhampered, the
strong likelihood arises that either one will be eventually mooted, no matter the stage, should the
other pronounce sentence.
I submit that RA 7055 precisely sought to avoid such a scenario by prescribing, as a general rule, an
exclusively civilian trial for military personnel charged with offenses punishable under our penal laws,
even if they are also punishable under the Articles of War. The only general exception lies if the

civilian court determines that the acts constituting the court-martial offenses are service-connected,
as defined under those Articles of War referred to in Section 1, in which case jurisdiction falls
exclusively with the court-martial. If the civilian court arrives at a contrary determination, the civilian
court retains jurisdiction to the exclusion of the court-martial unless and until such determination is
reconsidered or set aside, or unless the criminal case is dismissed or dropped for reasons other than
acquittal on the merits. The only exception I am willing to concede is if the charge before the courtmartial falls under Article 96, which I will discuss further.
Notion of Absorption of Crimes
Irrelevant to Determination under RA 7055
I would like to dwell briefly on the suggestion that the RTC erred in pronouncing that the acts for
which petitioners were charged before the court-martial were "absorbed" in the crime of coup detat.
Justice Callejo, Sr., in his Concurring Opinion, cites Baylosis v. Chavez, 46 and the rule that the
doctrines laid down on the absorption of common crimes by political crimes do not apply to crimes
which are sui generis offenses.
This aspect is no longer material to my own disposition of the petition, yet I think it is misplaced to
apply the doctrine of absorption of crimes to the determination of service-connected offenses made
by the civilian court pursuant to Section 1 of RA 7055. The function of such determination by the trial
court under RA 7055 is wholly different from that utilized by the trial court in ascertaining whether
crime A is absorbed by crime B in the classic criminal law context. The latter is material to the trial
court in reaching conclusions as to which crimes may be considered against the accused and which
penalties may apply as to them. However, the purpose of the determination under RA 7055 is merely
for establishing whether the acts for which the accused stand charged before the courts-martial are
indeed service-connected offenses cognizable exclusively before the military courts, or non-service
connected offenses cognizable exclusively before the civilian courts. The determining factor is
whether the act is "service-connected," not whether one act is absorbed into the other.
The RTC may have been too loose in language when it utilized the word "absorbed," yet the word
should not be appreciated in the context of absorption of crimes, as such consideration is wholly
irrelevant for purposes of Section 1. Instead, I think that the pertinent conclusion of the RTC in its
Order was that the acts charged before the court-martial were not service-connected, as they were
committed in furtherance of the crime of coup detat. This, and not the notion of absorption of crimes,
should be the foundational basis for any attack of the RTC Order.
The Special Circumstance Surrounding Article of War 96
It is my general conclusion that if the civilian court makes a determination that the acts for which the
accused stands charged of, for violating those Articles of War referred to in Section 1 of RA 7055,
are not service-connected, then such determination, once final, deprives the court-martial jurisdiction
to try the offense. However, I submit that Article of War 96 warrants special consideration, as it differs
in character from the other Articles of War referred to in Section 1 of RA 7055.
Article 96 of Commonwealth Act No. 408, as amended, reads:
Art. 96. Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman. Any officer, cadet, flying cadet, or
probationary second lieutenant, who is convicted of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman
shall be dismissed from the service.

Justice Callejo, Sr. points out in his Concurring Opinion that "conduct unbecoming an officer and a
gentleman is a uniquely military offense," 47 and that "[t]he article proscribing conduct unbecoming an
officer and a gentleman has been held to be wholly independent of other definitions of offenses xxx
[and] is not subject to preemption by other punitive articles." 48 It is difficult to dispute these
conclusions, which derive from American military case law. After all, "conduct unbecoming" pertains
to the unique exigencies of military life and discipline, whereby an officer is expected to conform to
an idiosyncratic etiquette not required of civilians.
Yet more pertinent to my position is the penalty prescribed by Article 96 for "conduct unbecoming."
The penalty is dismissal from service, a penalty which is administrative in character, and beyond the
jurisdiction of the civilian court to impose. Notably, of all the Articles of War referred to in Section 1 of
RA 7055, it is only Article 96 that provides for dismissal from service as the exclusive penalty. All the
other articles so mentioned allow for the penalty of death, imprisonment, or a punishment "as a
court-martial may so direct" which could very well constitute any deprivation of life or liberty. While
these other articles prescribes a penalty which is penal in nature, it is only Article 96 which provides
for a penalty which is administrative in character.
As a result, I am prepared to conclude that courts-martial retain the jurisdiction to try violations of
Article 96 of Commonwealth Act No. 408, or conduct unbecoming of an officer, even if the RTC
determines that the acts constituting such violation are service-connected. The intent of RA 7055 is
to restore to civilian courts jurisdiction over offenses which are properly cognizable by them to the
exclusion of courts-martial. Such intent could obviously not extend to those offenses which the
civilian courts do not have jurisdiction to try and punish. Civilian courts are utterly incapable of
penalizing military officers with the penalty of discharge from the service, since the penalty is
administrative in character 49 and imposable only by the military chain of command.
Petition Should Have Been Granted If Petitioners
Were Charged Under A Different Article of War
Still, if petitioners were facing the charge of mutiny under Article 63 of the Articles of War, or any
other Article of War for that matter, in connection with the Oakwood incident, the petition would have
been fully meritorious. The RTC has made a determination that all acts related to the Oakwood
incident are not service-connected offenses. I am not fully prepared to subscribe to the position that
the acts relating to Oakwood were "absorbed" in the offense of coup detat. However, I do concede
two important points. First, the RTC did determine that the acts relating to Oakwood were not
service-connected. Second, the determination of the RTC, as embodied in the 11 February 2004
Order, remains binding as the said Order has not been appealed. It has not been modified or set
aside, even by the present decision or by the ruling in Navales.
The majority is clearly in a quandary, all too willing to pronounce that the Order is wrong, or even a
nullity, yet unable to directly nullify the same. Respondents argue that the Order is already final and
beyond challenge, and that contention should not be dismissed offhand. The suggestion has been
raised that the principle of res judicatashould not be made to apply in this case, since the AFP was
not a party to the criminal case. This claim is off-tangent, assuming as it does that the AFP somehow
has a distinct and segregate legal personality from the government of the Philippines. The AFP is
part of the government. It is indeed headed by the same person who heads the executive branch of
government. The AFP likewise answers to officers of the executive branch, such as the Secretary of
Defense. Certainly, the rendition of the Order would have presumably caused the same level and
degree of grief on the AFP as it would have on the Department of Justice.

But was the government truly offended by the RTC Order? If it were, it should have timely elevated
the same for appellate review. The fact that it did not gives further indication that the government
recognized that Order as fundamentally correct, especially considering that it contains the very same
conclusions reached by the Pre-Trial Investigating Panel constituted by the AFP.
I think in the end, respondents fully understood and applied the correct implications of RA 7055 as it
pertained to petitioners. Had respondents been aligned in thinking with the majority, they would have
been emboldened to charge petitioners with violations of other Articles of War despite the RTC Order
and the pendency of the coup detat case. Petitioners could have very well been charged before the
court-martial with violation of Article 63, for mutiny, just as the 290 other participants in the "Oakwood
mutiny." Respondents however did not do so, respecting in fact the assumption of jurisdiction by the
civilian court over the crime of coup detat. Instead, respondents limited the court-martial charge
against petitioners for violation of Article 96, a punitive article which is nonetheless wholly
administrative in character and in penalty.
The majority unfortunately shows no similar prudence. Instead, it has opted to take the path that
leads to most resistance. With the decision today, there now stands a very real danger tomorrow that
persons standing criminal trial before the civil courts, including the Sandiganbayan, who also happen
to be facing charges before the court-martial for violation of Articles 54 to 70, 72 to 92, 95 or 97, will
move for the dismissal of all their cases before the civilian courts. Assuming that there is integral
relation between the acts now cognizable under court-martial and the acts for which those
defendants face criminal trial, the trial courts will feel but little choice to dismiss those charge, in light
of the present majority ruling. Military justice was once supreme over civilian justice. We should not
go down that way again. Too many ghosts haunt that road.
I vote to dismiss the petition, for the reason discussed above. Insofar as the majority ruling deviates
from the views I stated herein, I respectfully dissent.
DANTE O. TINGA
Associate Justice

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-5270

January 15, 1910

THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
H. N. BULL, defendant-appellant.
Bruce & Lawrence, for appellant.
Office of the Solicitor-General Harvey, for appellee.
ELLIOTT, J.:

The appellant was convicted in the Court of First Instance of a violation of section 1 of Act No. 55, as
amended by section 1 of Act No. 275, and from the judgment entered thereon appealed to this court,
where under proper assignments of error he contends: (1) that the complaint does not state facts
sufficient to confer jurisdiction upon the court; (2) that under the evidence the trial court was without
jurisdiction to hear and determine the case; (3) that Act No. 55 as amended is in violation of certain
provisions of the Constitution of the United States, and void as applied to the facts of this case; and
(4) that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction.
The information alleges:
That on and for many months prior to the 2d day of December, 1908, the said H. N. Bull was
then and there master of a steam sailing vessel known as the steamship Standard, which
vessel was then and there engaged in carrying and transporting cattle, carabaos, and other
animals from a foreign port and city of Manila, Philippine Islands; that the said accused H. N.
Bull, while master of said vessel, as aforesaid, on or about the 2d day of December, 1908,
did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and wrongly carry, transport, and bring into the port
and city of Manila, aboard said vessel, from the port of Ampieng, Formosa, six hundred and
seventy-seven (677) head of cattle and carabaos, without providing suitable means for
securing said animals while in transit, so as to avoid cruelty and unnecessary suffering to the
said animals, in this, to wit, that the said H. N. Bull, master, as aforesaid, did then and there
fail to provide stalls for said animals so in transit and suitable means for trying and securing
said animals in a proper manner, and did then and there cause some of said animals to be
tied by means of rings passed through their noses, and allow and permit others to be
transported loose in the hold and on the deck of said vessel without being tied or secured in
stalls, and all without bedding; that by reason of the aforesaid neglect and failure of the
accused to provide suitable means for securing said animals while so in transit, the noses of
some of said animals were cruelly torn, and many of said animals were tossed about upon
the decks and hold of said vessel, and cruelly wounded, bruised, and killed.
All contrary to the provisions of Acts No. 55 and No. 275 of the Philippine Commission.
Section 1 of Act No. 55, which went into effect January 1, 1901, provides that
The owners or masters of steam, sailing, or other vessels, carrying or transporting cattle,
sheep, swine, or other animals, from one port in the Philippine Islands to another, or from
any foreign port to any port within the Philippine Islands, shall carry with them, upon the
vessels carrying such animals, sufficient forage and fresh water to provide for the suitable
sustenance of such animals during the ordinary period occupied by the vessel in passage
from the port of shipment to the port of debarkation, and shall cause such animals to be
provided with adequate forage and fresh water at least once in every twenty-four hours from
the time that the animals are embarked to the time of their final debarkation.
By Act No. 275, enacted October 23, 1901, Act No. 55 was amended by adding to section 1 thereof
the following:
The owners or masters of steam, sailing, or other vessels, carrying or transporting cattle,
sheep, swine, or other animals from one port in the Philippine Islands to another, or from any
foreign port to any port within the Philippine Islands, shall provide suitable means for
securing such animals while in transit so as to avoid all cruelty and unnecessary suffering to

the animals, and suitable and proper facilities for loading and unloading cattle or other
animals upon or from vessels upon which they are transported, without cruelty or
unnecessary suffering. It is hereby made unlawful to load or unload cattle upon or from
vessels by swinging them over the side by means of ropes or chains attached to the thorns.
Section 3 of Act No. 55 provides that
Any owner or master of a vessel, or custodian of such animals, who knowingly and willfully
fails to comply with the provisions of section one, shall, for every such failure, be liable to pay
a penalty of not less that one hundred dollars nor more that five hundred dollars, United
States money, for each offense. Prosecution under this Act may be instituted in any Court of
First Instance or any provost court organized in the province or port in which such animals
are disembarked.
1. It is contended that the information is insufficient because it does not state that the court was
sitting at a port where the cattle were disembarked, or that the offense was committed on board a
vessel registered and licensed under the laws of the Philippine Islands.
Act No. 55 confers jurisdiction over the offense created thereby on Courts of First Instance or any
provost court organized in the province or port in which such animals are disembarked, and there is
nothing inconsistent therewith in Act No. 136, which provides generally for the organization of the
courts of the Philippine Islands. Act No. 400 merely extends the general jurisdiction of the courts
over certain offenses committed on the high seas, or beyond the jurisdiction of any country, or within
any of the waters of the Philippine Islands on board a ship or water craft of any kind registered or
licensed in the Philippine Islands, in accordance with the laws thereof. (U.S.vs. Fowler, 1 Phil. Rep.,
614.) This jurisdiction may be exercised by the Court of First Instance in any province into which
such ship or water upon which the offense or crime was committed shall come after the commission
thereof. Had this offense been committed upon a ship carrying a Philippine registry, there could have
been no doubt of the Jurisdiction of the court, because it is expressly conferred, and the Act is in
accordance with well recognized and established public law. But the Standard was a Norwegian
vessel, and it is conceded that it was not registered or licensed in the Philippine Islands under the
laws thereof. We have then the question whether the court had jurisdiction over an offense of this
character, committed on board a foreign ship by the master thereof, when the neglect and omission
which constitutes the offense continued during the time the ship was within the territorial waters of
the United States. No court of the Philippine Islands had jurisdiction over an offenses or crime
committed on the high seas or within the territorial waters of any other country, but when she came
within 3 miles of a line drawn from the headlines which embrace the entrance to Manila Bay, she
was within territorial waters, and a new set of principles became applicable. (Wheaton, Int. Law
(Dana ed.), p. 255, note 105; Bonfils, Le Droit Int., sec 490 et seq.; Latour, La Mer Ter., ch. 1.) The
ship and her crew were then subject to the jurisdiction of the territorial sovereign subject through the
proper political agency. This offense was committed within territorial waters. From the line which
determines these waters the Standard must have traveled at least 25 miles before she came to
anchor. During that part of her voyage the violation of the statue continued, and as far as the
jurisdiction of the court is concerned, it is immaterial that the same conditions may have existed
while the vessel was on the high seas. The offense, assuming that it originated at the port of
departure in Formosa, was a continuing one, and every element necessary to constitute it existed
during the voyage across the territorial waters. The completed forbidden act was done within
American waters, and the court therefore had jurisdiction over the subject-matter of the offense and
the person of the offender.

The offense then was thus committed within the territorial jurisdiction of the court, but the objection to
the jurisdiction raises the further question whether that jurisdiction is restricted by the fact of the
nationality of the ship. Every. Every state has complete control and jurisdiction over its territorial
waters. According to strict legal right, even public vessels may not enter the ports of a friendly power
without permission, but it is now conceded that in the absence of a prohibition such ports are
considered as open to the public ship of all friendly powers. The exemption of such vessels from
local jurisdiction while within such waters was not established until within comparatively recent times.
In 1794, Attorney-General Bradford, and in 1796 Attorney-General Lee, rendered opinions to the
effect that "the laws of nations invest the commander of a foreign ship of war with no exemption from
the jurisdiction of the country into which he comes." (1, Op. U.S. Attys. Gen., 46, 87.) This theory
was also supported by Lord Stowell in an opinion given by him to the British Government as late as
1820. In the leading case of the Schooner Exchange vs. McFadden (7 Cranch (U.S.), 116, 144),
Chief Justice Marshall said that the implied license under which such vessels enter a friendly port
may reasonably be construed as "containing exemption from the jurisdiction of the sovereign within
whose territory she claims the rights of hospitality." The principle was accepted by the Geneva
Arbitration Tribunal, which announced that "the priviledge of exterritoriality accorded to vessels of
war has been admitted in the law of nations; not as an absolute right, but solely as a proceeding
founded on the principle of courtesy and mutual deference between nations."
(2 Moore, Int. Law Dig., secs. 252 and 254; Hall, Int. Law, sec. 55; Taylor, Int. Law, sec. 256; Ortolan,
Dip de la Mer, 2. C.X.)
Such vessels are therefore permitted during times of peace to come and go freely. Local official
exercise but little control over their actions, and offenses committed by their crew are justiciable by
their own officers acting under the laws to which they primarily owe allegiance. This limitation upon
the general principle of territorial sovereignty is based entirely upon comity and convenience, and
finds its justification in the fact that experience shows that such vessels are generally careful to
respect local laws and regulation which are essential to the health, order, and well-being of the port.
But comity and convenience does not require the extension of the same degree of exemption to
merchant vessels. There are two well-defined theories as to extent of the immunities ordinarily
granted to them, According to the French theory and practice, matters happening on board a
merchant ship which do not concern the tranquillity of the port or persons foreign to the crew, are
justiciable only by the court of the country to which the vessel belongs. The French courts therefore
claim exclusive jurisdiction over crimes committed on board French merchant vessels in foreign
ports by one member of the crew against another. (See Bonfils, Le Droit Int. (quat. ed.), secs. 624628; Martens, Le Droit Int., tome 2, pp. 338, 339; Ortolan, Dip. de la Mer, tit. 1, p. 292; Masse, Droit
Int., tome 2, p. 63.) Such jurisdiction has never been admitted or claim by Great Britain as a right,
although she has frequently conceded it by treaties. (Halleck, Int. Law (Baker's ed.), vol. 1, 231;
British Territorial Waters Act, 1878.) Writers who consider exterritoriality as a fact instead of a theory
have sought to restrict local jurisdiction, but Hall, who is doubtless the leading English authority, says
that
It is admitted by the most thoroughgoing asserters of the territoriality of merchant vessels
that so soon as the latter enter the ports of a foreign state they become subject to the local
jurisdiction on all points in which the interests of the country are touched. (Hall, Int. Law, p.
263.)
The United States has adhered consistently to the view that when a merchant vessel enters a
foreign port it is subject to the jurisdiction of the local authorities, unless the local sovereignty has by
act of acquiescence or through treaty arrangements consented to waive a portion of such

jurisdiction. (15 Op. Attys. Gen., U. S., 178; 2 Moore, Int. Law Dig., sec. 204; article by Dean
Gregory, Mich. Law Review, Vol. II, No. 5.) Chief Justice Marshall, in the case of the Exchange, said
that
When merchant vessels enter for the purpose of trade, in would be obviously in convinient
and dangerous to society and would subject the laws to continual infraction and the
government to degradation if such individual merchants did not owe temporary and local
allegiance, and were not amendable to the jurisdiction of the country.
The Supreme Court of the United States has recently said that the merchant vessels of one country
visiting the ports of another for the purpose of trade, subject themselves to the laws which govern
the ports they visit, so long as they remain; and this as well in war as in peace, unless otherwise
provided by treaty. (U. S. vs. Diekelman, 92 U. S., 520-525.)
Certain limitations upon the jurisdiction of the local courts are imposed by article 13 of the treaty of
commerce and navigation between Sweden and Norway and the United States, of July 4, 1827,
which concedes to the consul, vice-consuls, or consular agents of each country "The right to sit as
judges and arbitrators in such differences as may arise between the captains and crews of the
vessels belonging to the nation whose interests are committed to their charge, without the
interference of the local authorities, unless the conduct of the crews or of the captains should disturb
the order or tranquillity of the country." (Comp. of Treaties in Force, 1904, p. 754.) This exception
applies to controversies between the members of the ship's company, and particularly to disputes
regarding wages. (2 Moore, Int. Law Dig., sec. 206, p. 318; Tellefsen vs. Fee, 168 Mass., 188.) The
order and tranquillity of the country are affected by many events which do not amount to a riot or
general public disturbance. Thus an assault by one member of the crew upon another, committed
upon the ship, of which the public may have no knowledge whatever, is not by this treaty withdrawn
from the cognizance of the local authorities.
In 1876 the mates of the Swedish bark Frederike and Carolina engaged in a "quarrel" on board the
vessel in the port of Galveston, Texas. They were prosecuted before a justice of the peace, but the
United States district attorney was instructed by the Government to take the necessary steps to have
the proceedings dismissed, and the aid of the governor of Texas was invoked with the view to "guard
against a repetition of similar proceedings." (Mr. Fish, Secretary of State, to Mr. Grip, Swedish and
Norwegian charged, May 16, 1876; Moore, Int. Law Dig.) It does not appear that this "quarrel" was of
such a nature as to amount to a breach of the criminal laws of Texas, but when in 1879 the mate for
the Norwegian bark Livingston was prosecuted in the courts of Philadelphia County for an assault
and battery committed on board the ship while lying in the port of Philadelphia, it was held that there
was nothing in the treaty which deprived the local courts of jurisdiction.
(Commonwealth vs. Luckness, 14 Phila. (Pa.), 363.) Representations were made through diplomatic
channels to the State Department, and on July 30, 1880, Mr. Evarts, Secretary of State, wrote to
Count Lewenhaupt, the Swedish and Norwegian minister, as follows:
I have the honor to state that I have given the matter careful consideration in connection with
the views and suggestion of your note and the provisions of the thirteenth article of the treaty
of 1827 between the United States and Sweden and Norway. The stipulations contained in
the last clause of that article . . . are those under which it is contended by you that jurisdiction
is conferred on the consular officers, not only in regard to such differences of a civil nature
growing out of the contract of engagement of the seamen, but also as to disposing of

controversies resulting from personal violence involving offense for which the party may be
held amenable under the local criminal law.
This Government does not view the article in question as susceptible of such broad
interpretation. The jurisdiction conferred upon the consuls is conceived to be limited to their
right to sit as judges or abitratorsin such differences as may arise between captains and
crews of the vessels, where such differences do not involve on the part of the captain or
crew a disturbance of the order or tranquillity of the country. When, however, a complaint is
made to a local magistrate, either by the captain or one or more of the crew of the vessel,
involving the disturbance of the order or tranquillity of the country, it is competent for such
magistrate to take cognizance of the matter in furtherance of the local laws, and under such
circumstances in the United States it becomes a public duty which the judge or magistrate is
not at liberty voluntarily to forego. In all such cases it must necessarily be left to the local
judicial authorities whether the procedure shall take place in the United States or in Sweden
to determine if in fact there had been such disturbance of the local order and tranquillity, and
if the complaint is supported by such proof as results in the conviction of the party accused,
to visit upon the offenders such punishment as may be defined against the offense by the
municipal law of the place." (Moore, Int. Law Dig., vol. 2, p. 315.)
The treaty does not therefore deprive the local courts of jurisdiction over offenses committed on
board a merchant vessel by one member of the crew against another which amount to a disturbance
of the order or tranquillity of the country, and a fair and reasonable construction of the language
requires un to hold that any violation of criminal laws disturbs the order or traquillity of the country.
The offense with which the appellant is charged had nothing to so with any difference between the
captain and the crew. It was a violation by the master of the criminal law of the country into whose
port he came. We thus find that neither by reason of the nationality of the vessel, the place of the
commission of the offense, or the prohibitions of any treaty or general principle of public law, are the
court of the Philippine Islands deprived of jurisdiction over the offense charged in the information in
this case.
It is further contended that the complaint is defective because it does not allege that the animals
were disembarked at the port of Manila, an allegation which it is claimed is essential to the
jurisdiction of the court sitting at that port. To hold with the appellant upon this issue would be to
construe the language of the complaint very strictly against the Government. The disembarkation of
the animals is not necessary in order to constitute the completed offense, and a reasonable
construction of the language of the statute confers jurisdiction upon the court sitting at the port into
which the animals are bought. They are then within the territorial jurisdiction of the court, and the
mere fact of their disembarkation is immaterial so far as jurisdiction is concerned. This might be
different if the disembarkation of the animals constituted a constitutional element in the offense, but it
does not.
It is also contended that the information is insufficient because it fails to allege that the
defendant knowingly andwillfully failed to provide suitable means for securing said animals while in
transit, so as to avoid cruelty and unnecessary suffering. The allegation of the complaint that the act
was committed willfully includes the allegation that it was committed knowingly. As said in
Woodhouse vs. Rio Grande R.R. Company (67 Texas, 416), "the word 'willfully' carries the idea,
when used in connection with an act forbidden by law, that the act must be done knowingly or
intentionally; that, with knowledge, the will consented to, designed, and directed the act." So in
Wongvs. City of Astoria (13 Oregon, 538), it was said: "The first one is that the complaint did not

show, in the words of the ordinance, that the appellant 'knowingly' did the act complained of. This
point, I think, was fully answered by the respondent's counsel that the words 'willfully' and
'knowingly' conveyed the same meaning. To 'willfully' do an act implies that it was done by design
done for a certain purpose; and I think that it would necessarily follow that it was 'knowingly' done."
To the same effect is Johnson vs. The People (94 Ill., 505), which seems to be on all fours with the
present case.
The evidence shows not only that the defendant's acts were knowingly done, but his defense rests
upon the assertion that "according to his experience, the system of carrying cattle loose upon the
decks and in the hold is preferable and more secure to the life and comfort of the animals." It was
conclusively proven that what was done was done knowingly and intentionally.
In charging an offense under section 6 of General Orders, No. 58, paragraph 3, it is only necessary
to state the act or omission complained of as constituting a crime or public offense in ordinary and
concise language, without repitition. It need not necessarily be in the words of the statute, but it must
be in such form as to enable a person of common understanding to know what is intended and the
court to pronounce judgment according to right. A complaint which complies with this requirement is
good. (U.S. vs. Sarabia, 4 Phil. Rep., 556.)
The Act, which is in the English language, impose upon the master of a vessel the duty to "provide
suitable means for securing such animals while in transit, so as to avoid all cruelty and unnecessary
suffering to the animals." The allegation of the complaint as it reads in English is that the defendant
willfully, unlawfully, and wrongfully carried the cattle "without providing suitable means for securing
said animals while in transit, so as to avoid cruelty and unnecessary suffering to the said animals in
this . . . that by reason of the aforesaid neglect and failure of the accused to provide suitable means
for securing said animals were cruelty torn, and many of said animals were tossed about upon the
decks and hold of said vessels, and cruelty wounded, bruised, and killed."
The appellant contends that the language of the Spanish text of the information does not charge him
with failure to provide "sufficient" and "adequate" means. The words used are "medios suficientes"
and "medios adecuados." In view of the fact that the original complaint was prepared in English, and
that the word "suitable" is translatable by the words "adecuado," "suficiente," and "conveniente,"
according to the context and circumstances, we determine this point against the appellant,
particularly in view of the fact that the objection was not made in the court below, and that the
evidence clearly shows a failure to provide "suitable means for the protection of the animals."
2. The appellant's arguments against the constitutionality of Act No. 55 and the amendment thereto
seems to rest upon a fundamentally erroneous conception of the constitutional law of these Islands.
The statute penalizes acts and ommissions incidental to the transportation of live stock between
foreign ports and ports of the Philippine Islands, and had a similar statute regulating commerce with
its ports been enacted by the legislature of one of the States of the Union, it would doubtless have
been in violation of Article I, section 3, of the Constitution of the United States. (Stubbs vs. People
(Colo.), 11 L. R. A., N. S., 1071.)
But the Philippine Islands is not a State, and its relation to the United States is controlled by
constitutional principles different from those which apply to States of the Union. The importance of
the question thus presented requires a statement of the principles which govern those relations, and
consideration of the nature and extent of the legislative power of the Philippine Commission and the

Legislature of the Philippines. After much discussion and considerable diversity of opinion certain
applicable constitutional doctrines are established.
The Constitution confers upon the United States the express power to make war and treaties, and it
has the power possessed by all nations to acquire territory by conquest or treaty. Territory thus
acquired belongs to the United States, and to guard against the possibility of the power of Congress
to provide for its government being questioned, the framers of the Constitution provided in express
terms that Congress should have the power "to dispose of and make all needful rules and
regulations respecting territory and other property belonging to the United States." (Art. IV, sec. 3,
par. 3.) Upon the acquisition of the territory by the United States, and until it is formally incorporated
into the Union, the duty of providing a government therefor devolves upon Congress. It may govern
the territory by its direct acts, or it may create a local government, and delegate thereto the ordinary
powers required for local government. (Binns vs. U. S., 194 U. S., 486.) This has been the usual
procedure. Congress has provided such governments for territories which were within the Union,
and for newly acquired territory not yet incorporated therein. It has been customary to organize a
government with the ordinary separation of powers into executive, legislative, and judicial, and to
prescribe in an organic act certain general conditions in accordance with which the local government
should act. The organic act thus became the constitution of the government of the territory which
had not been formally incorporated into the Union, and the validity of legislation enacted by the local
legislature was determined by its conformity with the requirements of such organic act. (National
Bank vs. Yankton, 11 Otto (U. S.), 129.) To the legislative body of the local government Congress
has delegated that portion of legislative power which in its wisdom it deemed necessary for the
government of the territory, reserving, however, the right to annul the action of the local legislature
and itself legislate directly for the territory. This power has been exercised during the entire period of
the history of the United States. The right of Congress to delegate such legislative power can no
longer be seriously questioned. (Dorr vs. U. S., 195 U. S., 138; U. S. vs. Heinszen, 206 U. S., 370,
385.)
The Constitution of the United States does not by its own force operate within such territory, although
the liberality of Congress in legislating the Constitution into contiguous territory tended to create an
impression upon the minds of many people that it went there by its own force. (Downes vs. Bidwell,
182 U. S., 289.) In legislating with reference to this territory, the power of Congress is limited only by
those prohibitions of the Constitution which go to the very root of its power to act at all, irrespective
of time or place. In all other respects it is plenary. (De Limavs. Bidwell, 182 U. S., 1;
Downes vs. Bidwell, 182 U. S., 244; Hawaii vs. Mankichi, 190 U. S., 197; Dorr vs. U. S., 195 U. S.,
138; Rassmussen vs. U. S., 197 U. S., 516.)
This power has been exercised by Congress throughout the whole history of the United States, and
legislation founded on the theory was enacted long prior to the acquisition of the present Insular
possessions. Section 1891 of the Revised Statutes of 1878 provides that "The Constitution and all
laws of the United States which are not locally inapplicable shall have the same force and effect
within all the organized territories, and in every Territory hereafter organized, as elsewhere within the
United States." When Congress organized a civil government for the Philippines, it expressly
provided that this section of the Revised Statutes should not apply to the Philippine Islands. (Sec. 1,
Act of 1902.)
In providing for the government of the territory which was acquired by the United States as a result
of the war with Spain, the executive and legislative authorities have consistently proceeded in
conformity with the principles above state. The city of Manila was surrendered to the United States

on August 13, 1898, and the military commander was directed to hold the city, bay, and harbor,
pending the conclusion of a peace which should determine the control, disposition, and government
of the Islands. The duty then devolved upon the American authorities to preserve peace and protect
person and property within the occupied territory. Provision therefor was made by proper orders, and
on August 26 General Merritt assumed the duties of military governor. The treaty of peace was
signed December 10, 1898. On the 22d of December, 1898, the President announced that the
destruction of the Spanish fleet and the surrender of the city had practically effected the conquest of
the Philippine Islands and the suspension of the Spanish sovereignty therein, and that by the treaty
of peace the future control, disposition, and government of the Islands had been ceded to the United
States. During the periods of strict military occupation, before the treaty of peace was ratified, and
the interim thereafter, until Congress acted (Santiago vs. Noueral, 214 U.S., 260), the territory was
governed under the military authority of the President as commander in chief. Long before Congress
took any action, the President organized a civil government which, however, had its legal
justification, like the purely military government which it gradually superseded, in the war power. The
military power of the President embraced legislative, executive personally, or through such military or
civil agents as he chose to select. As stated by Secretary Root in his report for 1901
The military power in exercise in a territory under military occupation includes executive,
legislative, and judicial authority. It not infrequently happens that in a single order of a military
commander can be found the exercise of all three of these different powers the exercise
of the legislative powers by provisions prescribing a rule of action; of judicial power by
determination of right; and the executive power by the enforcement of the rules prescribed
and the rights determined.
President McKinley desired to transform military into civil government as rapidly as conditions would
permit. After full investigation, the organization of civil government was initiated by the appointment
of a commission to which civil authority was to be gradually transferred. On September 1, 1900, the
authority to exercise, subject to the approval of the President. "that part of the military power of the
President in the Philippine Islands which is legislative in its character" was transferred from the
military government to the Commission, to be exercised under such rules and regulations as should
be prescribed by the Secretary of War, until such time as complete civil government should be
established, or congress otherwise provided. The legislative power thus conferred upon the
Commission was declared to include "the making of rules and orders having the effect of law for the
raising of revenue by taxes, customs duties, and imposts; the appropriation and expenditure of
public funds of the Islands; the establishment of an educational system to secure an efficient civil
service; the organization and establishment of courts; the organization and establishment of
municipal and departmental government, and all other matters of a civil nature which the military
governor is now competent to provide by rules or orders of a legislative character." This grant of
legislative power to the Commission was to be exercised in conformity with certain declared general
principles, and subject to certain specific restrictions for the protection of individual rights. The
Commission were to bear in mind that the government to be instituted was "not for our satisfaction or
for the expression of our theoretical views, but for the happiness, peace, and prosperity of the
people of the Philippine Island, and the measures adopted should be made to conforms to their
customs, their habits, and even their prejudices, to the fullest extent consistent with the
accomplishment of the indispensable requisites of just and effective government." The specific
restrictions upon legislative power were found in the declarations that "no person shall be deprived
of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; that private property shall not be taken for
public use without just compensation; that in all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the
right to a speedy and public trial, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, to be

confronted with the witnesses against him, to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in
his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense; that excessive bail shall not be
required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted; that no person
shall be put twice in jeopardy for the same offense or be compelled in any criminal case to be a
witness against himself; that the right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures
shall not be violated; that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist except as a punishment
for crime; that no bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed; that no law shall be passed
abridging the freedom of speech or of the press or of the rights of the people to peaceably assemble
and petition the Government for a redress of grievances; that no law shall be made respecting an
establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, and that the free exercise and
enjoyment of religious profession and worship without discrimination or preference shall forever be
allowed."
To prevent any question as to the legality of these proceedings being raised, the Spooner
amendment to the Army Appropriation Bill passed March 2, 1901, provided that "all military, civil, and
judicial powers necessary to govern the Philippine Islands . . . shall until otherwise provided by
Congress be vested in such person and persons, and shall be exercised in such manner, as the
President of the United States shall direct, for the establishment of civil government, and for
maintaining and protecting the inhabitants of said Islands in the free enjoyment of their liberty,
property, and religion." Thereafter, on July 4, 1901, the authority, which had been exercised
previously by the military governor, was transferred to that official. The government thus created by
virtue of the authority of the President as Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy continued to
administer the affairs of the Islands under the direction of the President until by the Act of July 1,
1902, Congress assumed control of the situation by the enactment of a law which, in connection with
the instructions of April 7, 1900, constitutes the organic law of the Philippine Islands.
The Act of July 1, 1902, made no substancial changes in the form of government which the
President had erected. Congress adopted the system which was in operation, and approved the
action of the President in organizing the government. Substantially all the limitations which had been
imposed on the legislative power by the President's instructions were included in the law, Congress
thus extending to the Islands by legislative act nor the Constitution, but all its provisions for the
protection of the rights and privileges of individuals which were appropriate under the conditions.
The action of the President in creating the Commission with designated powers of government, in
creating the office of the Governor-General and Vice-Governor-General, and through the
Commission establishing certain executive departments, was expressly approved and ratified.
Subsequently the action of the President in imposing a tariff before and after the ratification of the
treaty of peace was also ratified and approved by Congress. (Act of March 8, 1902; Act of July 1,
1902; U.S. vs. Heinszen, 206 U.S., 370; Lincolnvs. U.S., 197 U.S., 419.) Until otherwise provided by
law the Islands were to continue to be governed "as thereby and herein provided." In the future the
enacting clause of all statutes should read "By authority of the United States" instead of "By the
authority of the President." In the course of time the legislative authority of the Commission in all
parts of the Islands not inhabited by Moros or non-Christian tribes was to be transferred to a
legislature consisting of two houses the Philippine Commission and the Philippine Assembly. The
government of the Islands was thus assumed by Congress under its power to govern newly acquired
territory not incorporated into the United States.
This Government of the Philippine Islands is not a State or a Territory, although its form and
organization somewhat resembles that of both. It stands outside of the constitutional relation which
unites the States and Territories into the Union. The authority for its creation and maintenance is

derived from the Constitution of the United States, which, however, operates on the President and
Congress, and not directly on the Philippine Government. It is the creation of the United States,
acting through the President and Congress, both deriving power from the same source, but from
different parts thereof. For its powers and the limitations thereon the Government of the Philippines
looked to the orders of the President before Congress acted and the Acts of Congress after it
assumed control. Its organic laws are derived from the formally and legally expressed will of the
President and Congress, instead of the popular sovereign constituency which lies upon any subject
relating to the Philippines is primarily in Congress, and when it exercise such power its act is from
the viewpoint of the Philippines the legal equivalent of an amendment of a constitution in the United
States.
Within the limits of its authority the Government of the Philippines is a complete governmental
organism with executive, legislative, and judicial departments exercising the functions commonly
assigned to such departments. The separation of powers is as complete as in most governments. In
neither Federal nor State governments is this separation such as is implied in the abstract statement
of the doctrine. For instance, in the Federal Government the Senate exercises executive powers,
and the President to some extent controls legislation through the veto power. In a State the veto
power enables him to exercise much control over legislation. The Governor-General, the head of the
executive department in the Philippine Government, is a member of the Philippine Commission, but
as executive he has no veto power. The President and Congress framed the government on the
model with which Americans are familiar, and which has proven best adapted for the advancement
of the public interests and the protection of individual rights and priviliges.
In instituting this form of government of intention must have been to adopt the general constitutional
doctrined which are inherent in the system. Hence, under it the Legislature must enact laws subject
to the limitations of the organic laws, as Congress must act under the national Constitution, and the
States under the national and state constitutions. The executive must execute such laws as are
constitutionally enacted. The judiciary, as in all governments operating under written constitutions,
must determine the validity of legislative enactments, as well as the legality of all private and official
acts. In performing these functions it acts with the same independence as the Federal and State
judiciaries in the United States. Under no other constitutional theory could there be that government
of laws and not of men which is essential for the protection of rights under a free and orderly
government.
Such being the constitutional theory of the Government of the Philippine Islands, it is apparent that
the courts must consider the question of the validity of an act of the Philippine Commission or the
Philippine Legislature, as a State court considers an act of the State legislature. The Federal
Government exercises such powers only as are expressly or impliedly granted to it by the
Constitution of the United States, while the States exercise all powers which have not been granted
to the central government. The former operates under grants, the latter subject to restrictions. The
validity of an Act of Congress depends upon whether the Constitution of the United States contains a
grant of express or implied authority to enact it. An act of a State legislature is valid unless the
Federal or State constitution expressly or impliedly prohibits its enaction. An Act of the legislative
authority of the Philippines Government which has not been expressly disapproved by Congress is
valid unless its subject-matter has been covered by congressional legislation, or its enactment
forbidden by some provision of the organic laws.
The legislative power of the Government of the Philippines is granted in general terms subject to
specific limitations. The general grant is not alone of power to legislate on certain subjects, but to

exercise the legislative power subject to the restrictions stated. It is true that specific authority is
conferred upon the Philippine Government relative to certain subjects of legislation, and that
Congress has itself legislated upon certain other subjects. These, however, should be viewed simply
as enactments on matters wherein Congress was fully informed and ready to act, and not as
implying any restriction upon the local legislative authority in other matters. (See Opinion of Atty.
Gen. of U. S., April 16, 1908.)
The fact that Congress reserved the power to annul specific acts of legislation by the Government of
the Philippine tends strongly to confirm the view that for purposes of construction the Government of
the Philippines should be regarded as one of general instead of enumerated legislative powers. The
situation was unusual. The new government was to operate far from the source of its authority. To
relieve Congress from the necessity of legislating with reference to details, it was thought better to
grant general legislative power to the new government, subject to broad and easily understood
prohibitions, and reserve to Congress the power to annul its acts if they met with disapproval. It was
therefore provided "that all laws passed by the Government of the Philippine Islands shall be
reported to Congress, which hereby reserves the power and authority to annul the same." (Act of
Congress, July 1, 1902, sec. 86.) This provision does not suspend the acts of the Legislature of the
Philippines until approved by Congress, or when approved, expressly or by acquiescence, make
them the laws of Congress. They are valid acts of the Government of the Philippine Islands until
annulled. (Miners Bank vs. Iowa, 12 How. (U. S.), 1.)
In order to determine the validity of Act No. 55 we must then ascertain whether the Legislature has
been expressly or implication forbidden to enact it. Section 3, Article IV, of the Constitution of the
United States operated only upon the States of the Union. It has no application to the Government of
the Philippine Islands. The power to regulate foreign commerce is vested in Congress, and by virtue
of its power to govern the territory belonging to the United States, it may regulate foreign commerce
with such territory. It may do this directly, or indirectly through a legislative body created by it, to
which its power in this respect if delegate. Congress has by direct legislation determined the duties
which shall be paid upon goods imported into the Philippines, and it has expressly authorized the
Government of the Philippines to provide for the needs of commerce by improving harbors and
navigable waters. A few other specific provisions relating to foreign commerce may be found in the
Acts of Congress, but its general regulation is left to the Government of the Philippines, subject to
the reserved power of Congress to annul such legislation as does not meet with its approval. The
express limitations upon the power of the Commission and Legislature to legislate do not affect the
authority with respect to the regulation of commerce with foreign countries. Act No. 55 was enacted
before Congress took over the control of the Islands, and this act was amended by Act No. 275 after
the Spooner amendment of March 2, 1901, was passed. The military government, and the civil
government instituted by the President, had the power, whether it be called legislative or
administrative, to regulate commerce between foreign nations and the ports of the territory.
(Crossvs. Harrison, 16 How. (U.S.), 164, 190; Hamilton vs. Dillin, 21 Wall. (U.S.), 73, 87.) This Act
has remained in force since its enactment without annulment or other action by Congress, and must
be presumed to have met with its approval. We are therefore satisfied that the Commission had, and
the Legislature now has, full constitutional power to enact laws for the regulation of commerce
between foreign countries and the ports of the Philippine Islands, and that Act No. 55, as amended
by Act No. 275, is valid.
3. Whether a certain method of handling cattle is suitable within the meaning of the Act can not be
left to the judgment of the master of the ship. It is a question which must be determined by the court
from the evidence. On December 2, 1908, the defendant Bull brought into and disembarked in the

port and city of Manila certain cattle, which came from the port of Ampieng, Formosa, without
providing suitable means for securing said animals while in transit, so as to avoid cruelty and
unnecessary suffering to said animals, contrary to the provisions of section 1 of Act No. 55, as
amended by section 1 of Act No. 275. The trial court found the following facts, all of which are fully
sustained by the evidence:
That the defendant, H. N. Bull, as captain and master of the Norwegian steamer known as
the Standard, for a period of six months or thereabouts prior to the 2d day of December,
1908, was engaged in the transportation of cattle and carabaos from Chines and Japanese
ports to and into the city of Manila, Philippine Islands.
That on the 2d day of December, 1908, the defendant, as such master and captain as
aforesaid, brought into the city of Manila, aboard said ship, a large number of cattle, which
ship was anchored, under the directions of the said defendant, behind the breakwaters in
front of the city of Manila, in Manila Bay, and within the jurisdiction of this court; and that
fifteen of said cattle then and there had broken legs and three others of said cattle were
dead, having broken legs; and also that said cattle were transported and carried upon said
ship as aforesaid by the defendant, upon the deck and in the hold of said ship, without
suitable precaution and care for the transportation of said animals, and to avoid danger and
risk to their lives and security; and further that said cattle were so transported abroad said
ship by the defendant and brought into the said bay, and into the city of Manila, without any
provisions being made whatever upon said decks of said ship and in the hold thereof to
maintain said cattle in a suitable condition and position for such transportation.
That a suitable and practicable manner in which to transport cattle abroad steamship coming
into Manila Bay and unloading in the city of Manila is by way of individual stalls for such
cattle, providing partitions between the cattle and supports at the front sides, and rear
thereof, and cross-cleats upon the floor on which they stand and are transported, of that in
case of storms, which are common in this community at sea, such cattle may be able to
stand without slipping and pitching and falling, individually or collectively, and to avoid the
production of panics and hazard to the animals on account or cattle were transported in this
case. Captain Summerville of the steamship Taming, a very intelligent and experienced
seaman, has testified, as a witness in behalf of the Government, and stated positively that
since the introduction in the ships with which he is acquainted of the stall system for the
transportation of animals and cattle he has suffered no loss whatever during the last year.
The defendant has testified, as a witness in his own behalf, that according to his experience
the system of carrying cattle loose upon the decks and in the hold is preferable and more
secure to the life and comfort of the animals, but this theory of the case is not maintainable,
either by the proofs or common reason. It can not be urged with logic that, for instance, three
hundred cattle supports for the feet and without stalls or any other protection for them
individually can safely and suitably carried in times of storm upon the decks and in the holds
of ships; such a theory is against the law of nature. One animal falling or pitching, if he is
untied or unprotected, might produce a serious panic and the wounding of half the animals
upon the ship if transported in the manner found in this case.
The defendant was found guilty, and sentenced to pay a fine of two hundred and fifty pesos, with
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs. The sentence and judgment is
affirmed. So ordered.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-18924

October 19, 1922

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
WONG CHENG (alias WONG CHUN), defendant-appellee.
Attorney-General Villa-Real for appellant.
Eduardo Gutierrez Repide for appellee.
ROMUALDEZ, J.:
In this appeal the Attorney-General urges the revocation of the order of the Court of First Instance of
Manila, sustaining the demurrer presented by the defendant to the information that initiated this case
and in which the appellee is accused of having illegally smoked opium, aboard the merchant
vessel Changsa of English nationality while said vessel was anchored in Manila Bay two and a half
miles from the shores of the city.
The demurrer alleged lack of jurisdiction on the part of the lower court, which so held and dismissed
the case.
The question that presents itself for our consideration is whether such ruling is erroneous or not; and
it will or will not be erroneous according as said court has or has no jurisdiction over said offense.
The point at issue is whether the courts of the Philippines have jurisdiction over crime, like the one
herein involved, committed aboard merchant vessels anchored in our jurisdiction waters.
1awph!l.net

There are two fundamental rules on this particular matter in connection with International Law; to wit,
the French rule, according to which crimes committed aboard a foreign merchant vessels should not
be prosecuted in the courts of the country within whose territorial jurisdiction they were committed,
unless their commission affects the peace and security of the territory; and the English rule, based
on the territorial principle and followed in the United States, according to which, crimes perpetrated
under such circumstances are in general triable in the courts of the country within territory they were
committed. Of this two rules, it is the last one that obtains in this jurisdiction, because at present the
theories and jurisprudence prevailing in the United States on this matter are authority in the
Philippines which is now a territory of the United States.
In the cases of The Schooner Exchange vs. M'Faddon and Others (7 Cranch [U. S.], 116), Chief
Justice Marshall said:
. . . When merchant vessels enter for the purposes of trade, it would be obviously
inconvenient and dangerous to society, and would subject the laws to continual infraction,

and the government to degradation, if such individuals or merchants did not owe temporary
and local allegiance, and were not amenable to the jurisdiction of the country. . . .
In United States vs. Bull (15 Phil., 7), this court held:
. . . No court of the Philippine Islands had jurisdiction over an offense or crime committed on
the high seas or within the territorial waters of any other country, but when she came within
three miles of a line drawn from the headlands, which embrace the entrance to Manila Bay,
she was within territorial waters, and a new set of principles became applicable. (Wheaton,
International Law [Dana ed.], p. 255, note 105; Bonfils, Le Droit Int., secs. 490 et seq.;
Latour, La Mer Ter., ch. 1.) The ship and her crew were then subject to the jurisdiction of the
territorial sovereign subject to such limitations as have been conceded by that sovereignty
through the proper political agency. . . .
It is true that in certain cases the comity of nations is observed, as in Mali and Wildenhus vs. Keeper
of the Common Jail (120 U.., 1), wherein it was said that:
. . . The principle which governs the whole matter is this: Disorder which disturb only the
peace of the ship or those on board are to be dealt with exclusively by the sovereignty of the
home of the ship, but those which disturb the public peace may be suppressed, and, if need
be, the offenders punished by the proper authorities of the local jurisdiction. It may not be
easy at all times to determine which of the two jurisdictions a particular act of disorder
belongs. Much will undoubtedly depend on the attending circumstances of the particular
case, but all must concede that felonious homicide is a subject for the local jurisdiction, and
that if the proper authorities are proceeding with the case in the regular way the consul has
no right to interfere to prevent it.
Hence in United States vs. Look Chaw (18 Phil., 573), this court held that:
Although the mere possession of an article of prohibited use in the Philippine Islands, aboard
a foreign vessel in transit in any local port, does not, as a general rule, constitute a crime
triable by the courts of the Islands, such vessels being considered as an extension of its own
nationality, the same rule does not apply when the article, the use of which is prohibited in
the Islands, is landed from the vessels upon Philippine soil; in such a case an open violation
of the laws of the land is committed with respect to which, as it is a violation of the penal law
in force at the place of the commission of the crime, no court other than that established in
the said place has jurisdiction of the offense, in the absence of an agreement under an
international treaty.
As to whether the United States has ever consented by treaty or otherwise to renouncing such
jurisdiction or a part thereof, we find nothing to this effect so far as England is concerned, to which
nation the ship where the crime in question was committed belongs. Besides, in his work "Treaties,
Conventions, etc.," volume 1, page 625, Malloy says the following:
There shall be between the territories of the United States of America, and all the territories
of His Britanic Majesty in Europe, a reciprocal liberty of commerce. The inhabitants of the
two countries, respectively, shall have liberty freely and securely to come with their ships and
cargoes to all such places, ports and rivers, in the territories aforesaid, to which other
foreigners are permitted to come, to enter into the same, and to remain and reside in any

parts of the said territories, respectively; also to hire and occupy houses and warehouses for
the purposes of their commerce; and, generally, the merchants and traders of each nation
respectively shall enjoy the most complete protection and security for their commerce, but
subject always to the laws and statutes of the two countries, respectively. (Art. 1, Commerce
and Navigation Convention.)
We have seen that the mere possession of opium aboard a foreign vessel in transit was held by this
court not triable by or courts, because it being the primary object of our Opium Law to protect the
inhabitants of the Philippines against the disastrous effects entailed by the use of this drug, its mere
possession in such a ship, without being used in our territory, does not being about in the said
territory those effects that our statute contemplates avoiding. Hence such a mere possession is not
considered a disturbance of the public order.
But to smoke opium within our territorial limits, even though aboard a foreign merchant ship, is
certainly a breach of the public order here established, because it causes such drug to produce its
pernicious effects within our territory. It seriously contravenes the purpose that our Legislature has in
mind in enacting the aforesaid repressive statute. Moreover, as the Attorney-General aptly observes:
. . . The idea of a person smoking opium securely on board a foreign vessel at anchor in the
port of Manila in open defiance of the local authorities, who are impotent to lay hands on
him, is simply subversive of public order. It requires no unusual stretch of the imagination to
conceive that a foreign ship may come into the port of Manila and allow or solicit Chinese
residents to smoke opium on board.
The order appealed from is revoked and the cause ordered remanded to the court of origin for
further proceedings in accordance with law, without special findings as to costs. So ordered.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-5887 December 16, 1910
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
LOOK CHAW (alias LUK CHIU), defendant-appellant.
Thos. D. Aitken for appellant.
Attorney-General Villamor for appellee.

ARELLANO, C. J.:

The first complaint filed against the defendant, in the Court of First Instance of Cebu, stated that he
"carried, kept, possessed and had in his possession and control, 96 kilogrammes of opium," and that
"he had been surprised in the act of selling 1,000 pesos worth prepared opium."
The defense presented a demurrer based on two grounds, the second of which was the more than
one crime was charged in the complaint. The demurrer was sustained, as the court found that the
complaint contained two charges, one, for the unlawful possession of opium, and the other, for the
unlawful sale of opium, and, consequence of that ruling, it ordered that the fiscal should separated
one charge from the other and file a complaint for each violation; this, the fiscal did, and this cause
concerns only the unlawful possession of opium. It is registered as No. 375, in the Court of First
Instance of Cebu, and as No. 5887 on the general docket of this court.
The facts of the case are contained in the following finding of the trial court:
The evidence, it says, shows that between 11 and 12 o'clock a. m. on the present month
(stated as August 19, 1909), several persons, among them Messrs. Jacks and Milliron, chief
of the department of the port of Cebu and internal-revenue agent of Cebu, respectively, went
abroad the steamship Erroll to inspect and search its cargo, and found, first in a cabin near
the saloon, one sack (Exhibit A) and afterwards in the hold, another sack (Exhibit B). The
sack referred to as Exhibit A contained 49 cans of opium, and the other, Exhibit B, the larger
sack, also contained several cans of the same substance. The hold, in which the sack
mentioned in Exhibit B was found, was under the defendant's control, who moreover, freely
and of his own will and accord admitted that this sack, as well as the other referred to in
Exhibit B and found in the cabin, belonged to him. The said defendant also stated, freely and
voluntarily, that he had bought these sacks of opium, in Hongkong with the intention of
selling them as contraband in Mexico or Vera Cruz, and that, as his hold had already been
searched several times for opium, he ordered two other Chinamen to keep the sack. Exhibit
A.
It is to be taken into account that the two sacks of opium, designated as Exhibits A and B, properly
constitute thecorpus delicti. Moreover, another lot of four cans of opium, marked, as Exhibit C, was
the subject matter of investigation at the trial, and with respect to which the chief of the department
of the port of Cebu testified that they were found in the part of the ship where the firemen habitually
sleep, and that they were delivered to the first officer of the ship to be returned to the said firemen
after the vessel should have left the Philippines, because the firemen and crew of foreign vessels,
pursuant to the instructions he had from the Manila custom-house, were permitted to retain certain
amounts of opium, always provided it should not be taken shore.
And, finally, another can of opium, marked "Exhibit D," is also corpus delicti and important as
evidence in this cause. With regard to this the internal-revenue agent testified as follows:
itc-alf

FISCAL. What is it?


WITNESS. It is a can opium which was bought from the defendant by a secret-service agent
and taken to the office of the governor to prove that the accused had opium in his
possession to sell.

On motion by the defense, the court ruled that this answer might be stricken out "because it refers to
a sale." But, with respect to this answer, the chief of the department of customs had already given
this testimony, to wit:
FISCAL. Who asked you to search the vessel?
WITNESS. The internal-revenue agent came to my office and said that a party brought him a
sample of opium and that the same party knew that there was more opium on board the
steamer, and the agent asked that the vessel be searched.
The defense moved that this testimony be rejected, on the ground of its being hearsay evidence,
and the court only ordered that the part thereof "that there was more opium, on board the vessel" be
stricken out.
The defense, to abbreviate proceedings, admitted that the receptacles mentioned as Exhibits A, B,
and C, contained opium and were found on board the steamship Erroll, a vessel of English
nationality, and that it was true that the defendant stated that these sacks of opium were his and that
he had them in his possession.
According to the testimony of the internal-revenue agent, the defendant stated to him, in the
presence of the provincial fiscal, of a Chinese interpreter (who afterwards was not needed, because
the defendant spoke English), the warden of the jail, and four guards, that the opium seized in the
vessel had been bought by him in Hongkong, at three pesos for each round can and five pesos for
each one of the others, for the purpose of selling it, as contraband, in Mexico and Puerto de Vera
Cruz; that on the 15th the vessel arrived at Cebu, and on the same day he sold opium; that he had
tried to sell opium for P16 a can; that he had a contract to sell an amount of the value of about P500;
that the opium found in the room of the other two Chinamen prosecuted in another cause, was his,
and that he had left it in their stateroom to avoid its being found in his room, which had already been
searched many times; and that, according to the defendant, the contents of the large sack was 80
cans of opium, and of the small one, 49, and the total number, 129.
It was established that the steamship Erroll was of English nationality, that it came from Hongkong,
and that it was bound for Mexico, via the call ports of Manila and Cebu.
The defense moved for a dismissal of the case, on the grounds that the court had no jurisdiction to
try the same and the facts concerned therein did not constitute a crime. The fiscal, at the conclusion
of his argument, asked that the maximum penalty of the law be imposed upon the defendant, in view
of the considerable amount of opium seized. The court ruled that it did not lack jurisdiction, inasmuch
as the crime had been committed within its district, on the wharf of Cebu.
The court sentenced the defendant to five years' imprisonment, to pay a fine of P10,000, with
additional subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, though not to exceed one third of the
principal penalty, and to the payment of the costs. It further ordered the confiscation, in favor of the
Insular Government, of the exhibits presented in the case, and that, in the event of an appeal being
taken or a bond given, or when the sentenced should have been served, the defendant be not
released from custody, but turned over to the customs authorities for the purpose of the fulfillment of
the existing laws on immigration.
From this judgment, the defendant appealed to this court.

lawphi1.net

The appeal having been heard, together with the allegations made therein by the parties, it is found:
That, although the mere possession of a thing of prohibited use in these Islands, aboard a foreign
vessel in transit, in any of their ports, does not, as a general rule, constitute a crime triable by the
courts of this country, on account of such vessel being considered as an extension of its own
nationality, the same rule does not apply when the article, whose use is prohibited within the
Philippine Islands, in the present case a can of opium, is landed from the vessel upon Philippine soil,
thus committing an open violation of the laws of the land, with respect to which, as it is a violation of
the penal law in force at the place of the commission of the crime, only the court established in that
said place itself had competent jurisdiction, in the absence of an agreement under an international
treaty.
It is also found: That, even admitting that the quantity of the drug seized, the subject matter of the
present case, was considerable, it does not appear that, on such account, the two penalties fixed by
the law on the subject, should be imposed in the maximum degree.
Therefore, reducing the imprisonment and the fine imposed to six months and P1,000, respectively,
we affirm in all other respects the judgment appealed from, with the costs of this instance against the
appellant. So ordered.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-13005

October 10, 1917

THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
AH SING, defendant-appellant.
Antonio Sanz for appellant.
Acting Attorney-General Paredes for appellee.

MALCOLM, J.:
This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Cebu finding the defendant guilty
of a violation of section 4 of Act No. 2381 (the Opium Law), and sentencing him to two years
imprisonment, to pay a fine of P300 or to suffer subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and
to pay the costs.
The following facts are fully proven: The defendant is a subject of China employed as a fireman on
the steamshipShun Chang. The Shun Chang is a foreign steamer which arrived at the port of Cebu

on April 25, 1917, after a voyage direct from the port of Saigon. The defendant bought eight cans of
opium in Saigon, brought them on board the steamship Shun Chang, and had them in his
possession during the trip from Saigon to Cebu. When the steamer anchored in the port of Cebu on
April 25, 1917, the authorities on making a search found the eight cans of opium above mentioned
hidden in the ashes below the boiler of the steamer's engine. The defendant confessed that he was
the owner of this opium, and that he had purchased it in Saigon. He did not confess, however, as to
his purpose in buying the opium. He did not say that it was his intention to import the prohibited drug
into the Philippine Islands. No other evidence direct or indirect, to show that the intention of the
accused was to import illegally this opium into the Philippine Islands, was introduced.
Has the crime of illegal importation of opium into the Philippine Islands been proven?
Two decisions of this Court are cited in the judgment of the trial court, but with the intimation that
there exists inconsistently between the doctrines laid down in the two cases. However, neither
decision is directly a precedent on the facts before us.
In the case of United States vs. Look Chaw ([1910], 18 Phil., 573), in the opinion handed down by
the Chief Justice, it is found
That, although the mere possession of a thing of prohibited use in these Islands, aboard a
foreign vessel in transit, in any of their ports, does not, as a general rule, constitute a crime
triable by the courts of this country, on account of such vessel being considered as an
extension of its own nationality, the same rule does no apply when the article, whose use is
prohibited within the Philippine Islands, in the present case a can of opium, is landed from
the vessel upon Philippine soil, thus committing an open violation of the laws of the land,
with respect to which, as it is a violation of the penal law in force at the place of the
commission of the crime, only the court established in the said place itself has competent
jurisdiction, in the absence of an agreement under an international treaty.
1awphil.net

A marked difference between the facts in the Look Chaw case and the facts in the present instance
is readily observable. In the Look Chaw case, the charge case the illegal possession and sale of
opium in the present case the charge as illegal importation of opium; in the Look Chaw case the
foreign vessel was in transit in the present case the foreign vessel was not in transit; in the Look
Chaw case the opium was landed from the vessel upon Philippine soil in the present case of
United States vs. Jose ([1916], 34 Phil., 840), the main point, and the one on which resolution
turned, was that in a prosecution based on the illegal importation of opium or other prohibited drug,
the Government must prove, or offer evidence sufficient to raise a presumption, that the vessel from
which the drug is discharged came into Philippine waters from a foreign country with the drug on
board. In the Jose case, the defendants were acquitted because it was not proved that the opium
was imported from a foreign country; in the present case there is no question but what the opium
came from Saigon to Cebu. However, in the opinion in the Jose case, we find the following which
may be obiter dicta, but which at least is interesting as showing the view of the writer of the opinion:
The importation was complete, to say the least, when the ship carrying it anchored in Subic
Bay. It was not necessary that the opium discharged or that it be taken from the ship. It was
sufficient that the opium was brought into the waters of the Philippine Islands on a boat
destined for a Philippine port and which subsequently anchored in a port of the Philippine
Islands with intent to discharge its cargo.

Resolving whatever doubt was exist as to the authority of the views just quoted, we return to an
examination of the applicable provisions of the law. It is to be noted that section 4 of Act No. 2381
begins, "Any person who shall unlawfully import or bring any prohibited drug into the Philippine
Islands." "Import" and "bring" are synonymous terms. The Federal Courts of the United States have
held that the mere act of going into a port, without breaking bulk, is prima facie evidence of
importation. (The Mary [U. S.], 16 Fed. Cas., 932, 933.) And again, the importation is not the making
entry of goods at the custom house, but merely the bringing them into port; and the importation is
complete before entry of the Custom House. (U. S. vs. Lyman [U. S.], 26, Fed. Cas., 1024, 1028;
Perots vs. U. S., 19 Fed. Cas., 258.) As applied to the Opium Law, we expressly hold that any
person unlawfully imports or brings any prohibited drug into the Philippine Islands, when the
prohibited drug is found under this person's control on a vessel which has come direct from a foreign
country and is within the jurisdictional limits of the Philippine Islands. In such case, a person is guilty
of illegal importation of the drug unless contrary circumstances exist or the defense proves
otherwise. Applied to the facts herein, it would be absurb to think that the accused was merely
carrying opium back and forth between Saigon and Cebu for the mere pleasure of so doing. It would
likewise be impossible to conceive that the accused needed so large an amount of opium for his
personal use. No better explanation being possible, the logical deduction is that the defendant
intended this opium to be brought into the Philippine Islands. We accordingly find that there was
illegal importation of opium from a foreign country into the Philippine Islands. To anticipate any
possible misunderstanding, let it be said that these statements do not relate to foreign vessels in
transit, a situation not present.
The defendant and appellant, having been proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt as charged and
the sentence of the trial court being within the limits provided by law, it results that the judgment
must be affirmed with the costs of this instance against the appellant. So ordered.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 80762 March 19, 1990
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
FAUSTA GONZALES, AUGUSTO GONZALES, CUSTODIO GONZALES, SR., CUSTODIO
GONZALES, JR., NERIO GONZALES and ROGELIO LANIDA, accused, CUSTODIO
GONZALES, SR., accused-appellant.

SARMIENTO, J.:

In a decision 1 dated October 31, 1984, the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo, Branch XXXVIII (38), in Criminal
Case No. 13661, entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Fausta Gonzales, Augusto Gonzales, Custodia
Gonzales, Custodio Gonzales, Jr., Nerio Gonzales and Rogelio Lanida," found all the accused, except
Rogelio Lanida who eluded arrest and up to now has remain at large and not yet arrained, guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of murder as defined under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code. They
were sentenced "to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of twelve (12) years and one (1) day to seventeen
(17) years and four (4) months of reclusion temporal, to indemnify the heirs of the deceased victim in the
amount of P40,000.00, plus moral damages in the sum of P14,000.00 and to pay the costs." 2 The victim
was Lloyd Peacerrada, 44, landowner, and a resident of Barangay Aspera, Sara, Iloilo.
Through their counsel, all the accused, except of course Rogelio Lanida, filed a notice of appeal
from the trial court's decision. During the pendency of their appeal and before judgment thereon
could be rendered by the Court of Appeals, however, all the accused-appellants, except Custodio
Gonzales, Sr., withdrew their appeal and chose instead to pursue their respective applications for
parole before the then Ministry, now Department, of Justice, Parole Division. 3
On October 27, 1987, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision 4 on the appeal of Custodio Gonzales,
Sr. It modified the appealed decision in that the lone appellant was sentenced to reclusion perpetua and
to indemnify the heirs of Lloyd Peacerrada in the amount of P30,000.00. In all other respect, the decision
of the trial court was affirmed. Further, on the basis of our ruling in People vs. Ramos, 5 the appellate
court certified this case to us for review. 6
The antecedent facts are as follows:
At around 9:00 o'clock in the evening of February 21, 1981, Bartolome Paja, the barangay captain of
Barangay Tipacla, Ajuy, Iloilo, was awakened from his sleep by the spouses Augusto and Fausta
Gonzales. Augusto informed Paja that his wife had just killed their landlord, Lloyd Peacerrada, and
thus would like to surrender to the authorities. Seeing Augusto still holding the knife allegedly used in
the killing and Fausta with her dress smeared with blood, Paja immediately ordered a nephew of his
to take the spouses to the police authorities at the Municipal Hall in Poblacion, Ajuy. As instructed,
Paja's nephew brought the Gonzales spouses, who "backrode" on his motorcycle, to the municipal
building. 7 Upon reaching the Ajuy Police sub-station, the couple informed the police on duty of the
incident. That same night, Patrolman Salvador Centeno of the Ajuy Police Force and the Gonzales
spouses went back to Barangay Tipacla. Reaching Barangay Tipacla the group went to Paja's residence
where Fausta was made to stay, while Paja, Patrolman Centeno, and Augusto proceeded to the latter's
residence at Sitio Nabitasan where the killing incident allegedly occurred. 8 There they saw the lifeless
body of Lloyd Peacerrada, clad only in an underwear, sprawled face down inside the bedroom. 9 The
group stayed for about an hour during which time Patrolman Centeno inspected the scene and started to
make a rough sketch thereof and the immediate surroundings. 10 The next day, February 22, 1981, at
around 7:00 o'clock in the morning, Patrolman Centeno, accompanied by a photographer, went back to
the scene of the killing to conduct further investigations. Fausta Gonzales, on the other hand, was brought
back that same day by Barangay Captain Paja to the police substation in Ajuy. When Patrolman Centeno
and his companion arrived at Sitio Nabitasan, two members of the 321st P.C. Company stationed in Sara,
Iloilo, who had likewise been informed of the incident, were already there conducting their own
investigation. Patrolman Centeno continued with his sketch; photographs of the scene were likewise
taken. The body of the victim was then brought to the Municipal Hall of Ajuy for autopsy.
The autopsy of Lloyd Peacerrada's cadaver was performed at about 11:20 a.m. on February 22,
1981; after completed, a report was made with the following findings:

PHYSICAL FINDINGS
1. Deceased is about 5 ft. and 4 inches in height, body moderately built and on
cadaveric rigidity.
EXTERNAL FINDINGS
1. Puncture wound, 1 cm. in width, 9 cm. in length, located at the lower 3rd anterior
aspect of the arm, right, directed upward to the right axillary pit.
2. Stab wound, thru and thru, located at the proximal 3rd, forearm right, posterior
aspect with an entrance of 5 cm. in width and 9 cm. in length with an exit at the
middle 3rd, posterior aspect of the forearm, right, with 1 cm. wound exit.
3. Stab wound, thru and thru, located at the middle 3rd, posterior aspect of the
forearm right, 1 cm. in width.
4. Incised wound, 4 cm. long, depth visualizing the right lateral border of the sternum,
6th and 7th ribs, right located 1.5 inches below the right nipple.
5. Stab wound, 2 cm. in width, 10.5 cm. in depth, directed inward to the thoracic
cavity right, located at the left midclavicular line at the level of the 5th rib left.
6. Stab wound, 2 cm. in width, 9.5 cm. in depth directed toward the right thoracic
cavity, located at the mid left scapular line at the level of the 8th intercostal space.
7. Puncture wound, 1 cm. in width, located at the base of the left armpit directed
toward the left thoracic cavity.
8. Puncture wound, 1 cm. in width, 11 cm. in length, directed toward the left deltoid
muscle, located at the upper 3rd axilla left.
9. Puncture wound, 3 cm in width, 11.5 cm in length, located at the anterior aspect,
proximal 3rd arm left, directed downward.
10. Stab wound, thru and thru, 2.5 cm. in width, and 5 cm. in length, medial aspect,
palm right.
11. Stabwound, 4 cm.in width, iliac area, right, directed inward with portion of large
intestine and mysentery coming out.
12. Stab wound, 4 cm. in width, located at the posterior portion of the shoulder, right,
directed downward to the aspex of the light thoracic cavity.
13. Incised wound, 1 cm. in width, 10 cm. in length, located at the medial portion of
the medial border of the right scapula.

14. Incised wound, 1 cm. in width, 4.5 cm. in length, located at the posterior aspect of
the right elbow.
15. Incised wound, 1 cm. in width, 2 cm. in length, located at the posterior portion,
middle 3rd, forearm, right.
16. Lacerated wound at the anterior tantanelle with fissural fracture of the skull.
INTERNAL FINDINGS:
1. Stab wound No. 5, injuring the left ventricle of the heart.
2. Stab wound No. 6, severely injuring the right lower lobe of the
lungs.
3. Stab wound No. 7, injuring the right middle lobe of the lungs.
4. Stab wound No. 11, injuring the descending colon of the large
intestine, thru and thru.
5. Stab wound No. 12, severely injuring the apex of the right lungs
(sic).
CAUSE OF DEATH:
MASSIVE HEMMORRHAGE DUE TO MULTIPLE
LACERATED, STABBED (sic), INCISED AND
PUNCTURED WOUNDS.
JESUS
D.
ROJAS,
M.D.
Rural
Health
Physici
an
Ajuy,
Iloilo 11
The autopsy report thus showed that Dr. Rojas "found sixteen (16) wounds, five (5) of which are fatal
because they penetrated the internal organs, heart, lungs and intestines of the deceased." 12
On February 23, two days after the incident, Augusto Gonzales appeared before the police substation in the poblacion of Ajuy and voluntarily surrendered to Police Corporal Ben Sazon for
detention and protective custody for "having been involved" in the killing of Lloyd Peacerrada. He
requested that he be taken to the P.C. headquarters in Sara, Iloilo where his wife, Fausta, was
already detained having been indorsed thereat by the Ajuy police force. 13

Based on the foregoing and on the investigations conducted by the Ajuy police force and the 321st
P.C. Company, an information for murder dated August 26, 1981, was filed by the Provincial Fiscal of
Iloilo against the spouses Augusto and Fausta Gonzales. The information read as follows:
The undersigned Provincial Fiscal accuses FAUSTA GONZALES and AUGUSTO
GONZALES of the crime of MURDER committed as follows:
That on or about the 21st day of February, 1981, in the Municipality of Ajuy, Province
of Iloilo, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, the above-named
accused with four other companions whose identities are still unknown and are still at
large, armed with sharp-pointed and deadly weapons, conspiring, confederating and
helping each other, with treachery and evident premeditation, with deliberate intent
and decided purpose to kill, and taking advantage of their superior strength and
number, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault, stab,
hack, hit and wound Lloyd D. Peacerrada, with the weapons with which said
accused were provided at the time, thereby inflicting upon said Lloyd D. Peacerrada
multiple wounds on different parts of his body as shown by autopsy report attached
to the record of this case which multifarious wounds caused the immediate death of
said Lloyd D. Peacerrada.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
Iloilo City, August 26, 1981. 14
When arraigned on September 16, 1981, Augusto and Fausta both entered a plea of not guilty.
Before trial, however, Jose Huntoria 15 who claimed to have witnessed the killing of Lloyd Peacerrada,
presented himself to Nanie Peacerrada, the victim's widow, on October 6, 1981, and volunteered to
testify for the prosecution. A reinvestigation of the case was therefore conducted by the Provincial Fiscal
of Iloilo on the basis of which an Amended Information, 16 dated March 3, 1982, naming as additional
accused Custodio Gonzales, Sr. (the herein appellant), Custodio Gonzales, Jr., Nerio Gonzales, and
Rogelio Lanida, was filed. Again, all the accused except as earlier explained, Lanida, pleaded not guilty to
the crime.
At the trial, the prosecution presented Dr. Jesus Rojas, the Rural Health physician of Ajuy who
conducted the autopsy on the body of the victim; Bartolome Paja, the barangay captain of Barangay
Tipacla; Patrolman Salvador Centeno and Corporal Ben Sazon of the Ajuy Police Force; Sgt. (ret)
Nicolas Belicanao and Sgt. Reynaldo Palomo of the 321st P.C. Company based in Sara, Iloilo; Jose
Huntoria; and Nanie Peacerrada, the widow.
Dr. Jesus Rojas testified that he performed the autopsy on the body of the deceased Lloyd
Penacerrada at around 11:20 a.m. on February 22, 1981 after it was taken to the municipal hall of
Ajuy. 17 His findings revealed that the victim suffered from 16 wounds comprising of four (4) punctured
wounds, seven (7) stab wounds, four (4) incised wounds, and one (1) lacerated wound. In his testimony,
Dr. Rojas, while admitting the possibility that only one weapon might have caused all the wounds (except
the lacerated wound) inflicted on the victim, nevertheless opined that due to the number and different
characteristics of the wounds, the probability that at least two instruments were used is high. 18 The police
authorities and the P.C. operatives for their part testified on the aspect of the investigation they
respectively conducted in relation to the incident. Nanie Peacerrada testified mainly on the expenses
she incurred by reason of the death of her husband while Barangay Captain Bartolome Paja related the

events surrounding the surrender of the spouses Augusto and Fausta Gonzales to him, the location of the
houses of the accused, as well as on other matters.

By and large, the prosecution's case rested on Huntoria's alleged eyewitness account of the
incident. According to Huntoria, who gave his age as 30 when he testified on July 27, 1982, 19 at 5:00
o'clock in the afternoon on February 21, 1981, he left his work at Barangay Central, in Ajuy, Iloilo where
he was employed as a tractor driver by one Mr. Piccio, and walked home; 20 he took a short-cut
route. 21 While passing at the vicinity of the Gonzales spouses' house at around 8:00 o'clock in the
evening, he heard cries for help. 22 Curiosity prompted him to approach the place where the shouts were
emanating. When he was some 15 to 20 meters away, he hid himself behind a clump of banana
trees. 23 From where he stood, he allegedly saw all the accused ganging upon and takings turns in
stabbing and hacking the victim Lloyd Peacerrada, near a "linasan" or threshing platform. He said he
clearly recognized all the accused as the place was then awash in moonlight. 24 Huntoria further
recounted that after the accused were through in stabbing and hacking the victim, they then lifted his body
and carried it into the house of the Gonzales spouses which was situated some 20 to 25 meters away
from the "linasan". 25 Huntoria then proceeded on his way home. Upon reaching his house, he related
what he saw to his mother and to his wife 26 before he went to sleep. 27 Huntoria explained that he did not
immediately report to the police authorities what he witnessed for fear of his life. 28 In October 1981
however, eight months after the extraordinary incident he allegedly witnessed, bothered by his conscience
plus the fact that his father was formerly a tenant of the victim which, to his mind, made him likewise a
tenant of the latter, he thought of helping the victim's widow, Nanie Peacerrada. Hence, out of his
volition, he travelled from his place at Sitio Nabitasan, in Barangay Tipacla Municipality of Ajuy, to Sara,
Iloilo where Mrs. Peacerrada lived, and related to her what he saw on February 21, 1981. 29
Except Fausta who admitted killing Lloyd Peacerrada in defense of her honor as the deceased
attempted to rape her, all the accused denied participation in the crime. The herein accusedappellant, Custodio Gonzales, Sr., claimed that he was asleep 30 in his house which was located some
one kilometer away from the scene of the crime 31when the incident happened. He asserted that he only
came to know of it after his grandchildren by Augusto and Fausta Gonzales went to his house that night of
February 21, 1981 to inform him. 32
The trial court disregarded the version of the defense; it believed the testimony of Huntoria.
On appeal to the Court of Appeals, Custodia Gonzales, Sr., the lone appellant, contended that the
trial court erred in convicting him on the basis of the testimony of Jose Huntoria, the lone alleged
eyewitness, and in not appreciating his defense of alibi.
The Court of Appeals found no merit in both assigned errors. In upholding Huntoria's testimony, the
appellate court held that:
. . . Huntoria positively identified all the accused, including the herein accusedappellant, as the assailants of Peacerrada. (TSN, p. 43, July 27, 1982) The claim
that Huntoria would have difficulty recognizing the assailant at a distance of 15 to 20
meters is without merit, considering that Huntoria knew all the accused. (Id., pp. 3739) If Huntoria could not say who was hacking and who was stabbing the deceased,
it was only because the assailant were moving around the victim.
As for the delay in reporting the incident to the authorities, we think that Huntoria's
explanation is satisfactory. He said he feared for his life. (Id., pp. 50-51, 65) As stated
in People vs. Realon, 99 SCRA 442, 450 (1980): "The natural reticence of most

people to get involved in a criminal case is of judicial notice. As held in People


v. Delfin, '. . . the initial reluctance of witnesses in this country to volunteer
information about a criminal case and their unwillingness to be involved in or dragged
into criminal investigations is common, and has been judicially declared not to affect
credibility.'"
It is noteworthy that the accused-appellant self admitted that he had known Huntoria
for about 10 years and that he and Huntoria were in good terms and had no
misunderstanding whatsoever. (TSN, p. 33, July 18, 1984) He said that he could not
think of any reason why Huntoria should implicate him. (Id., p. 34) Thus, Huntoria's
credibility. is beyond question. 33
The Court of Appeals likewise rejected the appellant's defense of alibi. 34 The appellate court,
however, found the sentence imposed by the trial court on the accused-appellant erroneous. Said the
appellate court:
Finally, we find that the trial court erroneously sentenced the accused-appellant to 12
years and 1 day to 17 years and 4 months of reclusion temporal. The penalty for
murder under Article 248 isreclusion temporal in its maximum period to death. As
there was no mitigating or aggravating circumstance, the imposible penalty should
be reclusion perpetua. Consequently, the appeal should have been brought to the
Supreme Court. With regard to the indemnity for death, the award of P40,000.00
should be reduced to P30,000.00, in accordance with the rulings of the Supreme
Court. (E.g., People v. De la Fuente, 126 SCRA 518 (1983); People v. Atanacio, 128
SCRA 31 (1984); People v. Rado, 128 SCRA 43 (1984); People v. Bautista, G.R. No.
68731, Feb. 27, 1987). 35
The case, as mentioned earlier, is now before us upon certification by the Court of Appeals, the
penalty imposed being reclusion perpetua.
After a careful review of the evidence adduced by the prosecution, we find the same insufficient to
convict the appellant of the crime charged.
To begin with, the investigation conducted by the police authorities leave much to be desired.
Patrolman Centeno of the Ajuy police force in his sworn statements 36 even gave the date of the
commission of the crime as "March 21, 1981." Moreover, the sketch 37 he made of the scene is of little
help. While indicated thereon are the alleged various blood stains and their locations relative to the scene
of the crime, there was however no indication as to their quantity. This is rather unfortunate for the
prosecution because, considering that there are two versions proferred on where the killing was carried
out, the extent of blood stains found would have provided a more definite clue as to which version is more
credible. If, as the version of the defense puts it, the killing transpired inside the bedroom of the Gonzales
spouses, there would have been more blood stains inside the couple's bedroom or even on the ground
directly under it. And this circumstance would provide an additional mooring to the claim of attempted
rape asseverated by Fausta. On the other hand, if the prosecution's version that the killing was committed
in the field near the linasan is the truth, then blood stains in that place would have been more than in any
other place.
The same sloppiness characterizes the investigation conducted by the other authorities. Police
Corporal Ben Sazon who claimed that accused Augusto Gonzales surrendered to him on February

23, 1981 failed to state clearly the reason for the "surrender." It would even appear that Augusto
"surrendered" just so he could be safe from possible revenge by the victim's kins. Corporal Sazon
likewise admitted that Augusto never mentioned to him the participation of other persons in the killing
of the victim. Finally, without any evidence on that point, P.C. investigators of the 321st P.C.
Company who likewise conducted an investigation of the killing mentioned in their criminal
complaint 38 four other unnamed persons, aside from the spouses Augusto and Fausta Gonzales, to have
conspired in killing Lloyd Peacerrada.
Now on the medical evidence. Dr. Rojas opined that it is possible that the sixteen wounds described
in the autopsy report were caused by two or more bladed instruments. Nonetheless, he admitted the
possibility that one bladed instrument might have caused all. Thus, insofar as Dr. Rojas' testimony
and the autopsy report are concerned, Fausta Gonzales' admission that she alone was responsible
for the killing appears not at all too impossible. And then there is the positive testimony of Dr. Rojas
that there were only five wounds that could be fatal out of the sixteen described in the autopsy
report. We shall discuss more the significance of these wounds later.
It is thus clear from the foregoing that if the conviction of the appellant by the lower courts is to be
sustained, it can only be on the basis of the testimony of Huntoria, the self-proclaimed eyewitness.
Hence, a meticulous scrutiny of Huntoria's testimony is compelling.
To recollect, Huntoria testified that he clearly saw all the accused, including the appellant, take turns
in hacking and stabbing Lloyd Peacerrada, at about 8:00 o'clock in the evening, on February 21,
1981, in the field near a "linasan" while he (Huntoria) stood concealed behind a clump of banana
trees some 15 to 20 meters away from where the crime was being committed. According to him, he
recognized the six accused as the malefactors because the scene was then illuminated by the
moon. He further stated that the stabbing and hacking took about an hour. But on cross-examination,
Huntoria admitted that he could not determine who among the six accused did the stabbing and/or
hacking and what particular weapon was used by each of them.
ATTY. GATON (defense counsel on cross-examination):
Q And you said that the moon was bright, is it correct?
A Yes, Sir.
Q And you would like us to understand that you saw the hacking and
the stabbing, at that distance by the herein accused as identified by
you?
A Yes, sir, because the moon was brightly shining.
Q If you saw the stabbing and the hacking, will you please tell this
Honorable Court who was hacking the victim?
A Because they were surrounding Peacerrada and were in constant
movement, I could not determine who did the hacking.
ATTY. GATON:

The interpretation is not clear.


COURT:
They were doing it rapidly.
A The moving around or the hacking or the "labu" or "bunu" is rapid. I
only saw the rapid movement of their arms, Your Honor, and I cannot
determine who was hacking and who was stabbing. But I saw the
hacking and the stabbing blow.
ATTY. GATON:
Q You cannot positively identify before this Court who really hacked
Lloyd Peacerrada?
A Yes sir, I cannot positively tell who did the hacking.
Q And likewise you cannot positively tell this Honorable Court who
did the stabbing?
A Yes sir, and because of the rapid movements.
Q I noticed in your direct testimony that you could not even identify
the weapons used because according to you it was just flashing?
A Yes, sir. 39
(Emphasis supplied)

From his very testimony, Huntoria failed to impute a definite and specific act committed, or
contributed, by the appellant in the killing of Lloyd Peacerrada.
It also bears stressing that there is nothing in the findings of the trial court and of the Court of
Appeals which would categorize the criminal liability of the appellant as a principal by direct
participation under Article 17, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code. Likewise, there is nothing in
the evidence for the prosecution that inculpates him by inducement, under paragraph 2 of the same
Article 17, or by indispensable cooperation under paragraph 3 thereof. What then was the direct part
in the killing did the appellant perform to support the ultimate punishment imposed by the Court of
Appeals on him?
Article 4 of the Revised Penal Code provides how criminal liability is incurred.
Art. 4. Criminal liability Criminal liability shall be incurred:
1. By any person committing a felony (delito) although the wrongful act done be
different from that which he intended.

2. By any person performing an act which would be an offense against persons or


property, were it not for the inherent impossibility of its accomplishment or on account
of the employment of inadequate or ineffectual means.
(Emphasis supplied.)
Thus, one of the means by which criminal liability is incurred is through the commission of a felony.
Article 3 of the Revised Penal Code, on the other hand, provides how felonies are committed.
Art. 3. Definition Acts and omissions punishable by law are felonies (delitos).
Felonies are committed not only by means of deceit (dolo) but also by means of fault
(culpa).
There is deceit when the act is performed with deliberate intent; and there is fault
when the wrongful act results from imprudence, negligence, lack of foresight, or lack
of skill.
(Emphasis supplied.)
Thus, the elements of felonies in general are: (1) there must be an act or omission; (2) the act or
omission must be punishable under the Revised Penal Code; and (3) the act is performed or the
omission incurred by means of deceit or fault.
Here, while the prosecution accuses, and the two lower courts both found, that the appellant has
committed a felony in the killing of Lloyd Peacerrada, forsooth there is paucity of proof as to what
act was performed by the appellant. It has been said that "act," as used in Article 3 of the Revised
Penal Code, must be understood as "any bodily movement tending to produce some effect in the
external world." 40 In this instance, there must therefore be shown an "act" committed by the appellant
which would have inflicted any harm to the body of the victim that produced his death.
Yet, even Huntoria, as earlier emphasized, admitted quite candidly that he did not see who "stabbed"
or who "hacked" the victim. Thus this principal witness did not say, because he could not whether the
appellant "hacked or "stabbed" victim. In fact, Huntoria does not know what specific act was
performed by the appellant. This lack of specificity then makes the case fall short of the test laid
down by Article 3 of the Revised Penal Code previously discussed. Furthermore, the fact that the
victim sustained only five fatal wounds out of the total of sixteen inflicted, as adverted to above, while
there are six accused charged as principals, it follows to reason that one of the six accused could
not have caused or dealt a fatal wound. And this one could as well be the appellant, granted ex
gratia argumenti that he took part in the hacking and stabbing alleged by Huntoria. And why not him?
Is he not after all the oldest (already sexagenarian at that time) and practically the father of the five
accused? And pursuing this argument to the limits of its logic, it is possible, nay even probable, that
only four, or three, or two of the accused could have inflicted all the five fatal wounds to the exclusion
of two, three, or four of them. And stretching the logic further, it is possible, nay probable, that all the
fatal wounds, including even all the non-fatal wounds, could have been dealt by Fausta in rage
against the assault on her womanhood and honor. But more importantly, there being not an iota of
evidence that the appellant caused any of the said five fatal wounds, coupled with the prosecution's
failure to prove the presence of conspiracy beyond reasonable doubt, the appellant's conviction can
not be sustained.

Additionally, Huntoria's credibility as a witness is likewise tarnished by the fact that he only came out
to testify in October 1981, or eight long months since he allegedly saw the killing on February 21,
1981. While ordinarily the failure of a witness to report at once to the police authorities the crime he
had witnessed should not be taken against him and should not affect his credibility, 41 here, the
unreasonable delay in Huntoria's coming out engenders doubt on his veracity. 42 If the silence of coming
out an alleged eyewitness for several weeks renders his credibility doubtful, 43 the more it should be for
one who was mute for eight months. Further, Huntoria's long delay in reveiling what he allegedly
witnessed, has not been satisfactorily explained. His lame excuse that he feared his life would be
endangered is too pat to be believed. There is no showing that he was threatened by the accused or by
anybody. And if it were true that he feared a possible retaliation from the accused, 44 why did he finally
volunteer to testify considering that except for the spouses Augusto and Fausta Gonzales who were
already under police custody, the rest of the accused were then still free and around; they were not yet
named in the original information, 45 thus the supposed danger on Huntoria's life would still be clear and
present when he testified.
Moreover, Huntoria is not exactly a disinterested witness as portrayed by the prosecution. He
admitted that he was a tenant of the deceased. In fact, he stated that one of the principal reasons
why he testified was because the victim was also his landlord.
xxx xxx xxx
Q Now, Mr. Huntoria, why did it take you so long from the time you
saw the stabbing and hacking of Lloyd Peacerrada when you told
Mrs. Peacerrada about what happened to her husband?
A At first I was then afraid to tell anybody else but because I was
haunted by my conscience and secondly the victim was also my
landlord I revealed what I saw to the wife of the victim. 46
xxx xxx xxx

(Emphasis ours.)
At this juncture, it may be relevant to remind that under our socioeconomic set-up, a tenant owes the
very source of his livelihood, if not existence itself, from his landlord who provides him with the land
to till. In this milieu, tenants like Huntoria are naturally beholden to their landlords and seek ways and
means to ingratiate themselves with the latter. In this instance, volunteering his services as a
purported eyewitness and providing that material testimony which would lead to the conviction of the
entire family of Augusto Gonzales whose wife, Fausta, has confessed to the killing of Lloyd
Peacerrada, would, in a perverted sense, be a way by which Huntoria sought to ingratiate himself
with the surviving family of his deceased landlord. This is especially so because the need to get into
the good graces of his landlord's family assumed a greater urgency considering that he ceased to be
employed as early as May 1981. 47 Volunteering his services would alleviate the financial distress he
was in. And Huntoria proved quite sagacious in his choice of action for shortly after he volunteered and
presented himself to the victim's widow, he was taken under the protective wings of the victim's uncle, one
Dr. Biclar, who gave him employment and provided lodging for his family. 48 Given all the foregoing
circumstances, we can not help but dismiss Huntoria as an unreliable witness, to say the least.

At any rate, there is another reason why we find the alleged participation of the appellant in the
killing of Lloyd Peacerrada doubtful it is contrary to our customs and traditions. Under the
Filipino family tradition and culture, aging parents are sheltered and insulated by their adult children
from any possible physical and emotional harm. It is therefore improbable for the other accused who
are much younger and at the prime of their manhood, to summon the aid or allow the participation of
their 65-year old 49 father, the appellant, in the killing of their lone adversary, granting that the victim was
indeed an adversary. And considering that the appellant's residence was about one kilometer from the
scene of the crime, 50 we seriously doubt that the appellant went there just for the purpose of aiding his
three robust male sons (Custodia Jr., Nerio, and Augusta), not to mention the brother and sister, Rogelio
and Fausta, in the killing of Lloyd Peacerrada, even if the latter were a perceived enemy.
Finally, while indeed alibi is a weak defense, 51 under appropriate circumstances, like in the instant case
in which the participation of the appellant is not beyond cavil it may be considered as exculpatory. Courts
should not at once look with disfavor at the defense of alibi for if taken in the light of the other evidence on
record, it may be sufficient to acquit the accused. 52
In fine, the guilt of the appellant has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt.
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the
appellant is hereby ACQUITTED. Costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED.
Melencio-Herrera, Paras, Padilla and Regalado, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-35748

December 14, 1931

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
ROMANA SILVESTRE and MARTIN ATIENZA, defendants-appellants.
Teofilo Mendoza for appellants.
Attorney-General Jaranilla for appellee.

VILLA-REAL, J.:
Martin Atienza and Romana Silvestre appeal to this court from the judgment of the Court of First
Instance of Bulacan convicting them upon the information of the crime of arson as follows: The
former as principal by direct participation, sentenced to fourteen years, eight months, and one day

of cadena temporal, in accordance with paragraph 2 of article 550, Penal Code; and the latter as
accomplice, sentenced to six years and one day ofpresidio mayor; and both are further sentenced to
the accessories of the law, and to pay each of the persons whose houses were destroyed by the fire,
jointly and severally, the amount set forth in the information, with costs.
Counsel appointed by the court to defend the accused- appellants de oficio, after delivering his
argument, prayed for the affirmance of the judgment with reference to the appellant Martin Atienza,
and makes the following assignments of error with reference to Romana Silvestre, to wit:
1. The lower court erred in convincing Romana Silvestre as accomplice of the crime charged
in the information.
2. Finally, the court erred in not acquitting said defendant from the information upon the
ground of insufficient evidence, or at the least, of reasonable doubt.
The following facts were proved at the hearing beyond a reasonable doubt:
Romana Silvestre, wife of Domingo Joaquin by her second marriage, cohabited with her
codefendant Martin Atienza from the month of March, 1930, in the barrio of Masocol, municipality of
Paombong, Province of Bulacan. On May 16, 1930, the complaining husband, Domingo Joaquin,
filed with the justice of the peace for that municipality, a sworn complaint for adultery, supported by
affidavits of Gerardo Cabigao and Castor de la Cruz (Exhibit B). On the same date, May 16, 1930,
the said accused were arrested on a warrant issued by said justice of the peace. On the 20th of the
month, they were released on bail, each giving a personal bond of P6,000. Pending the preliminary
investigation of the case, the two defendants begged the municipal president of Paombong,
Francisco Suerte Felipe, to speak to the complaint, Domingo Joaquin, urging him to withdraw the
complaint, the two accused binding themselves to discontinue cohabitation, and promising not to live
again in the barrio of Masocol; Martin Atienza voluntarily signed the promise (Exhibit A). The
municipal president transmitted the defendants' petition to the complaining husband, lending it his
support. Domingo Joaquin acceded to it, and on May 20, 1930, filed a motion for the dismissal of his
complaint. In consideration of this petition, the justice of the peace of Paombong dismissed the
adultery case commenced against the accused, and cancelled the bonds given by them, with the
costs against the complainant.
The accused then left the barrio of Masocol and went to live in that of Santo Nio, in the same
municipality of Paombong.
About November 20, 1930, the accused Romana Silvestre met her son by her former marriage,
Nicolas de la Cruz, in the barrio of Santo Nio, and under pretext of asking him for some nipa
leaves, followed him home to the village of Masocol, and remained there. The accused, Martin
Atienza, who had continued to cohabit with said Romana Silvestre, followed her and lived in the
home of Nicolas de la Cruz. On the night of November 25, 1930, while Nicolas de la Cruz and his
wife, Antonia de la Cruz, were gathered together with the appellants herein after supper, Martin
Atienza told said couple to take their furniture out of the house because he was going to set fire to it.
Upon being asked by Nicolas and Antonia why he wanted to set fire to the house, he answered that
that was the only way he could be revenged upon the people of Masocol who, he said, had
instigated the charge of adultery against him and his codefendant, Romana Silvestre. As Martin
Atienza was at that time armed with a pistol, no one dared say anything to him, not even Romana
Silvestre, who was about a meter away from her codefendant. Alarmed at what Martin Atienza had

said, the couple left the house at once to communicate with the barrio lieutenant, Buenaventura
Ania, as to what they had just heard Martin Atienza say; but they had hardly gone a hundred arms'
length when they heard cries of "Fire! Fire!" Turning back they saw their home in flames, and ran
back to it; but seeing that the fire had assumed considerable proportions, Antonia took refuge in the
schoolhouse with her 1 year old babe in her arms, while Nicolas went to the home of his parents-inlaw, took up the furniture he had deposited there, and carried it to the schoolhouse. The fire
destroyed about forty-eight houses. Tomas Santiago coming from the barrio artesian well, and
Tomas Gonzalez, teacher at the barrio school of Masocol, and Felipe Clemente, an old man 61
years of age, coming from their homes, to the house on fire, saw Martin Atienza going away from the
house where the fire started, and Romana Silvestre leaving it.
lawphil.net

As stated in the beginning, counsel appointed by this court to defend the accused-appellant de
oficio, prays for the affirmance of the judgment appealed from with reference to defendant Martin
Atienza. The facts related heretofore, proved beyond a reasonable doubt at the hearing, justify this
petition of the de oficio counsel, and establish beyond a reasonable doubt said defendant's guilt of
arson as charged, as principal by direct participation.
With respect to the accused-appellant Romana Silvestre, the only evidence of record against her
are: That, being married, she lived adulterously with her codefendant Martin Atienza, a married man;
that both were denounced for adultery by Domingo Joaquin, Romana Silvestre's second husband;
that in view of the petition of the accused, who promised to discontinue their life together, and to
leave the barrio of Masocol, and through the good offices of the municipal president of Paombong,
the complaining husband asked for the dismissal of the complaint; that in pursuance of their
promise, both of the accused went to lived in the barrio of Santo Nio, in the same municipality; that
under pretext for some nipa leaves from her son by her former marriage, Nicolas de la Cruz, who
had gone to the barrio of Santo Nio, Romana Silvestre followed him to his house in the barrio of
Masocol on November 23, 1930, and remained there; that her codefendant, Martin Atienza followed
her, and stayed with his coaccused in the same house; that on the night of November 25, 1930, at
about 8 o'clock, while all were gathered together at home after supper, Martin Atienza expressed his
intention of burning the house as the only means of taking his revenge on the Masocol resident, who
had instigated Domingo Joaquin to file the complaint for adultery against them, which compelled
them to leave the barrio of Masocol; that Romana Silvestre listened to her codefendant's threat
without raising a protest, and did not give the alarm when the latter set fire to the house. Upon the
strength of these facts, the court below found her guilty of arson as accomplice.
Article 14 of the Penal Code, considered in connection with article 13, defines an accomplice to be
one who does not take a direct part in the commission of the act, who does not force or induce other
to commit it, nor cooperates in the commission of the act by another act without which it would not
have been accomplished, yet cooperates in the execution of the act by previous or simultaneous
actions.
Now then, which previous or simultaneous acts complicate Romana Silvestre in the crime of arson
committed by her codefendant Martin Atienza? Is it her silence when he told the spouses, Nicolas de
la Cruz and Antonia de la Cruz, to take away their furniture because he was going to set fire to their
house as the only means of revenging himself on the barrio residents, her passive presence when
Martin Atienza set fire to the house, where there is no evidence of conspiracy or cooperation, and
her failure to give the alarm when the house was already on fire?

The complicity which is penalized requires a certain degree of cooperation, whether moral, through
advice, encouragement, or agreement, or material, through external acts. In the case of the
accused-appellant Romana Silvestre, there is no evidence of moral or material cooperation, and
none of an agreement to commit the crime in question. Her mere presence and silence while they
are simultaneous acts, do not constitute cooperation, for it does not appear that they encouraged or
nerved Martin Atienza to commit the crime of arson; and as for her failure to give the alarm, that
being a subsequent act it does not make her liable as an accomplice.
The trial court found the accused-appellant Martin Atienza guilty of arson, defined and penalized in
article 550, paragraph 2, of the Penal Code, which reads as follows:
ART. 550. The penalty of cadena temporal shall be imposed upon:
xxx

xxx

xxx

2. Any person who shall set fire to any inhabited house or any building in which people are
accustomed to meet together, without knowing whether or not such building or house was
occupied at the time, or any freight train in motion, if the damage caused in such cases shall
exceed six thousand two hundred and fiftypesetas.
While the defendant indeed knew that besides himself and his codefendant, Romana Silvestre, there
was nobody in De la Cruz's house at the moment of setting fire to it, he cannot be convicted merely
arson less serious than what the trial court sentenced him for, inasmuch as that house was the
means of destroying the others, and he did not know whether these were occupied at the time or
not. If the greater seriousness of setting fire to an inhabited house, when the incendiary does not
know whether there are people in it at the time, depends upon the danger to which the inmates are
exposed, not less serious is the arson committed by setting fire to inhabited houses by means of
another inhabited house which the firebrand knew to be empty at the moment of committing the act,
if he did not know whether there were people or not in the others, inasmuch as the same danger
exists.
With the evidence produced at the trial, the accused-appellant Martin Atienza might have been
convicted of the crime of arson in the most serious degree provided for in article 549 of the Penal
Code, if the information had alleged that at the time of setting fire to the house, the defendant knew
that the other houses were occupied, taking into account that barrio residents are accustomed to
retire at the tolling of the bell for the souls in purgatory, i.e., at 8 o'clock at night.
For all the foregoing considerations, we are of the opinion and so hold, that: (1) Mere passive
presence at the scene of another's crime, mere silence and failure to give the alarm, without
evidence of agreement or conspiracy, do not constitute the cooperation required by article 14 of the
Penal Code for complicity in the commission of the crime witnessed passively, or with regard to
which one has kept silent; and (2) he who desiring to burn the houses in a barrio, without knowing
whether there are people in them or not, sets fire to one known to be vacant at the time, which
results in destroying the rest, commits the crime of arson, defined and penalized in article 550,
paragraph 2, Penal Code.
By virtue wherefore, the judgment appealed from is modified as follows: It is affirmed with reference
to the accused-appellant Martin Atienza, and reversed with reference to the accused-appellant

Romana Silvestre, who is hereby acquitted with


one-half of the costs de oficio. So ordered.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-5272

March 19, 1910

THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
AH CHONG, defendant-appellant.
Gibb & Gale, for appellant.
Attorney-General Villamor, for appellee.
CARSON, J.:
The evidence as to many of the essential and vital facts in this case is limited to the testimony of the
accused himself, because from the very nature of these facts and from the circumstances
surrounding the incident upon which these proceedings rest, no other evidence as to these facts was
available either to the prosecution or to the defense. We think, however, that, giving the accused the
benefit of the doubt as to the weight of the evidence touching those details of the incident as to
which there can be said to be any doubt, the following statement of the material facts disclose by the
record may be taken to be substantially correct:
The defendant, Ah Chong, was employed as a cook at "Officers' quarters, No. 27," Fort Mc Kinley,
Rizal Province, and at the same place Pascual Gualberto, deceased, was employed as a house boy
or muchacho. "Officers' quarters No. 27" as a detached house situates some 40 meters from the
nearest building, and in August, 19087, was occupied solely as an officers' mess or club. No one
slept in the house except the two servants, who jointly occupied a small room toward the rear of the
building, the door of which opened upon a narrow porch running along the side of the building, by
which communication was had with the other part of the house. This porch was covered by a heavy
growth of vines for its entire length and height. The door of the room was not furnished with a
permanent bolt or lock, and occupants, as a measure of security, had attached a small hook or catch
on the inside of the door, and were in the habit of reinforcing this somewhat insecure means of
fastening the door by placing against it a chair. In the room there was but one small window, which,
like the door, opened on the porch. Aside from the door and window, there were no other openings of
any kind in the room.
On the night of August 14, 1908, at about 10 o'clock, the defendant, who had received for the night,
was suddenly awakened by some trying to force open the door of the room. He sat up in bed and
called out twice, "Who is there?" He heard no answer and was convinced by the noise at the door
that it was being pushed open by someone bent upon forcing his way into the room. Due to the
heavy growth of vines along the front of the porch, the room was very dark, and the defendant,

fearing that the intruder was a robber or a thief, leaped to his feet and called out. "If you enter the
room, I will kill you." At that moment he was struck just above the knee by the edge of the chair
which had been placed against the door. In the darkness and confusion the defendant thought that
the blow had been inflicted by the person who had forced the door open, whom he supposed to be a
burglar, though in the light of after events, it is probable that the chair was merely thrown back into
the room by the sudden opening of the door against which it rested. Seizing a common kitchen knife
which he kept under his pillow, the defendant struck out wildly at the intruder who, it afterwards
turned out, was his roommate, Pascual. Pascual ran out upon the porch and fell down on the steps
in a desperately wounded condition, followed by the defendant, who immediately recognized him in
the moonlight. Seeing that Pascual was wounded, he called to his employers who slept in the next
house, No. 28, and ran back to his room to secure bandages to bind up Pascual's wounds.
There had been several robberies in Fort McKinley not long prior to the date of the incident just
described, one of which took place in a house in which the defendant was employed as cook; and as
defendant alleges, it was because of these repeated robberies he kept a knife under his pillow for his
personal protection.
The deceased and the accused, who roomed together and who appear to have on friendly and
amicable terms prior to the fatal incident, had an understanding that when either returned at night,
he should knock at the door and acquiant his companion with his identity. Pascual had left the house
early in the evening and gone for a walk with his friends, Celestino Quiambao and Mariano Ibaez,
servants employed at officers' quarters No. 28, the nearest house to the mess hall. The three
returned from their walk at about 10 o'clock, and Celestino and Mariano stopped at their room at No.
28, Pascual going on to his room at No. 27. A few moments after the party separated, Celestino and
Mariano heard cries for assistance and upon returning to No. 27 found Pascual sitting on the back
steps fatally wounded in the stomach, whereupon one of them ran back to No. 28 and called
Liuetenants Jacobs and Healy, who immediately went to the aid of the wounded man.
The defendant then and there admitted that he had stabbed his roommate, but said that he did it
under the impression that Pascual was "a ladron" because he forced open the door of their sleeping
room, despite defendant's warnings.
No reasonable explanation of the remarkable conduct on the part of Pascuals suggests itself, unless
it be that the boy in a spirit of mischief was playing a trick on his Chinese roommate, and sought to
frightened him by forcing his way into the room, refusing to give his name or say who he was, in
order to make Ah Chong believe that he was being attacked by a robber.
Defendant was placed under arrest forthwith, and Pascual was conveyed to the military hospital,
where he died from the effects of the wound on the following day.
The defendant was charged with the crime of assassination, tried, and found guilty by the trial court
of simple homicide, with extenuating circumstances, and sentenced to six years and one
day presidio mayor, the minimum penalty prescribed by law.
At the trial in the court below the defendant admitted that he killed his roommate, Pascual Gualberto,
but insisted that he struck the fatal blow without any intent to do a wrongful act, in the exercise of his
lawful right of self-defense.
Article 8 of the Penal Code provides that
The following are not delinquent and are therefore exempt from criminal liability:

xxx

xxx

xxx

4 He who acts in defense of his person or rights, provided there are the following attendant
circumstances:
(1) Illegal aggression.
(2) Reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it.
(3) Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself.
Under these provisions we think that there can be no doubt that defendant would be entitle to
complete exception from criminal liability for the death of the victim of his fatal blow, if the intruder
who forced open the door of his room had been in fact a dangerous thief or "ladron," as the
defendant believed him to be. No one, under such circumstances, would doubt the right of the
defendant to resist and repel such an intrusion, and the thief having forced open the door
notwithstanding defendant's thrice-repeated warning to desist, and his threat that he would kill the
intruder if he persisted in his attempt, it will not be questioned that in the darkness of the night, in a
small room, with no means of escape, with the thief advancing upon him despite his warnings
defendant would have been wholly justified in using any available weapon to defend himself from
such an assault, and in striking promptly, without waiting for the thief to discover his whereabouts
and deliver the first blow.
But the evidence clearly discloses that the intruder was not a thief or a "ladron." That neither the
defendant nor his property nor any of the property under his charge was in real danger at the time
when he struck the fatal blow. That there was no such "unlawful aggression" on the part of a thief or
"ladron" as defendant believed he was repelling and resisting, and that there was no real "necessity"
for the use of the knife to defend his person or his property or the property under his charge.
The question then squarely presents it self, whether in this jurisdiction one can be held criminally
responsible who, by reason of a mistake as to the facts, does an act for which he would be exempt
from criminal liability if the facts were as he supposed them to be, but which would constitute the
crime of homicide or assassination if the actor had known the true state of the facts at the time when
he committed the act. To this question we think there can be but one answer, and we hold that under
such circumstances there is no criminal liability, provided always that the alleged ignorance or
mistake or fact was not due to negligence or bad faith.
In broader terms, ignorance or mistake of fact, if such ignorance or mistake of fact is sufficient to
negative a particular intent which under the law is a necessary ingredient of the offense charged
(e.g., in larcerny, animus furendi; in murder, malice; in crimes intent) "cancels the presumption of
intent," and works an acquittal; except in those cases where the circumstances demand a conviction
under the penal provisions touching criminal negligence; and in cases where, under the provisions of
article 1 of the Penal Code one voluntarily committing a crime or misdeamor incurs criminal liability
for any wrongful act committed by him, even though it be different from that which he intended to
commit. (Wharton's Criminal Law, sec. 87 and cases cited; McClain's Crim. Law, sec. 133 and cases
cited; Pettit vs. S., 28 Tex. Ap., 240; Commonwealth vs. Power, 7 Met., 596; Yates vs. People, 32
N.Y., 509; Isham vs. State, 38 Ala., 213; Commonwealth vs. Rogers, 7 Met., 500.)
The general proposition thus stated hardly admits of discussion, and the only question worthy of
consideration is whether malice or criminal intent is an essential element or ingredient of the crimes
of homicide and assassination as defined and penalized in the Penal Code. It has been said that
since the definitions there given of these as well as most other crimes and offense therein defined,

do not specifically and expressly declare that the acts constituting the crime or offense must be
committed with malice or with criminal intent in order that the actor may be held criminally liable, the
commission of the acts set out in the various definitions subjects the actor to the penalties described
therein, unless it appears that he is exempted from liability under one or other of the express
provisions of article 8 of the code, which treats of exemption. But while it is true that contrary to the
general rule of legislative enactment in the United States, the definitions of crimes and offenses as
set out in the Penal Code rarely contain provisions expressly declaring that malice or criminal intent
is an essential ingredient of the crime, nevertheless, the general provisions of article 1 of the code
clearly indicate that malice, or criminal intent in some form, is an essential requisite of all crimes and
offense therein defined, in the absence of express provisions modifying the general rule, such as are
those touching liability resulting from acts negligently or imprudently committed, and acts done by
one voluntarily committing a crime or misdemeanor, where the act committed is different from that
which he intended to commit. And it is to be observed that even these exceptions are more apparent
than real, for "There is little distinction, except in degree, between a will to do a wrongful thing and
indifference whether it is done or not. Therefore carelessness is criminal, and within limits supplies
the place of the affirmative criminal intent" (Bishop's New Criminal Law, vol. 1, s. 313); and, again,
"There is so little difference between a disposition to do a great harm and a disposition to do harm
that one of them may very well be looked upon as the measure of the other. Since, therefore, the
guilt of a crime consists in the disposition to do harm, which the criminal shows by committing it, and
since this disposition is greater or less in proportion to the harm which is done by the crime, the
consequence is that the guilt of the crime follows the same proportion; it is greater or less according
as the crime in its own nature does greater or less harm" (Ruth. Ints. C. 18, p. 11); or, as it has been
otherwise stated, the thing done, having proceeded from a corrupt mid, is to be viewed the same
whether the corruption was of one particular form or another.
Article 1 of the Penal Code is as follows:
Crimes or misdemeanors are voluntary acts and ommissions punished by law.
Acts and omissions punished by law are always presumed to be voluntarily unless the
contrary shall appear.
An person voluntarily committing a crime or misdemeanor shall incur criminal liability, even
though the wrongful act committed be different from that which he had intended to commit.
The celebrated Spanish jurist Pacheco, discussing the meaning of the word "voluntary" as used in
this article, say that a voluntary act is a free, intelligent, and intentional act, and roundly asserts that
without intention (intention to do wrong or criminal intention) there can be no crime; and that the
word "voluntary" implies and includes the words "con malicia," which were expressly set out in the
definition of the word "crime" in the code of 1822, but omitted from the code of 1870, because, as
Pacheco insists, their use in the former code was redundant, being implied and included in the word
"voluntary." (Pacheco, Codigo Penal, vol. 1, p. 74.)
Viada, while insisting that the absence of intention to commit the crime can only be said to exempt
from criminal responsibility when the act which was actually intended to be done was in itself a lawful
one, and in the absence of negligence or imprudence, nevertheless admits and recognizes in his
discussion of the provisions of this article of the code that in general without intention there can be
no crime. (Viada, vol. 1, p. 16.) And, as we have shown above, the exceptions insisted upon by
Viada are more apparent than real.
Silvela, in discussing the doctrine herein laid down, says:

In fact, it is sufficient to remember the first article, which declared that where there is no
intention there is no crime . . . in order to affirm, without fear of mistake, that under our code
there can be no crime if there is no act, an act which must fall within the sphere of ethics if
there is no moral injury. (Vol. 2, the Criminal Law, folio 169.)
And to the same effect are various decisions of the supreme court of Spain, as, for example in its
sentence of May 31, 1882, in which it made use of the following language:
It is necessary that this act, in order to constitute a crime, involve all the malice which is
supposed from the operation of the will and an intent to cause the injury which may be the
object of the crime.
And again in its sentence of March 16, 1892, wherein it held that "considering that, whatever may be
the civil effects of the inscription of his three sons, made by the appellant in the civil registry and in
the parochial church, there can be no crime because of the lack of the necessary element or criminal
intention, which characterizes every action or ommission punished by law; nor is he guilty of criminal
negligence."
And to the same effect in its sentence of December 30, 1896, it made use of the following language:
. . . Considering that the moral element of the crime, that is, intent or malice or their absence
in the commission of an act defined and punished by law as criminal, is not a necessary
question of fact submitted to the exclusive judgment and decision of the trial court.
That the author of the Penal Code deemed criminal intent or malice to be an essential element of the
various crimes and misdemeanors therein defined becomes clear also from an examination of the
provisions of article 568, which are as follows:
He who shall execute through reckless negligence an act that, if done with malice, would
constitute a grave crime, shall be punished with the penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum
degree, to prision correccional in its minimum degrees if it shall constitute a less grave crime.
He who in violation of the regulations shall commit a crime through simple imprudence or
negligence shall incur the penalty of arresto mayor in its medium and maximum degrees.
In the application of these penalties the courts shall proceed according to their discretion,
without being subject to the rules prescribed in article 81.
The provisions of this article shall not be applicable if the penalty prescribed for the crime is
equal to or less than those contained in the first paragraph thereof, in which case the courts
shall apply the next one thereto in the degree which they may consider proper.
The word "malice" in this article is manifestly substantially equivalent to the words "criminal intent,"
and the direct inference from its provisions is that the commission of the acts contemplated therein,
in the absence of malice (criminal intent), negligence, and imprudence, does not impose any criminal
liability on the actor.
The word "voluntary" as used in article 1 of the Penal Code would seem to approximate in meaning
the word "willful" as used in English and American statute to designate a form of criminal intent. It
has been said that while the word "willful" sometimes means little more than intentionally or
designedly, yet it is more frequently understood to extent a little further and approximate the idea of

the milder kind of legal malice; that is, it signifies an evil intent without justifiable excuse. In one case
it was said to mean, as employed in a statute in contemplation, "wantonly" or "causelessly;" in
another, "without reasonable grounds to believe the thing lawful." And Shaw, C. J., once said that
ordinarily in a statute it means "not merely `voluntarily' but with a bad purpose; in other words,
corruptly." In English and the American statutes defining crimes "malice," "malicious," "maliciously,"
and "malice aforethought" are words indicating intent, more purely technical than "willful" or willfully,"
but "the difference between them is not great;" the word "malice" not often being understood to
require general malevolence toward a particular individual, and signifying rather the intent from our
legal justification. (Bishop's New Criminal Law, vol. 1, secs. 428 and 429, and cases cited.)
But even in the absence of express words in a statute, setting out a condition in the definition of a
crime that it be committed "voluntarily," willfully," "maliciously" "with malice aforethought," or in one of
the various modes generally construed to imply a criminal intent, we think that reasoning from
general principles it will always be found that with the rare exceptions hereinafter mentioned, to
constitute a crime evil intent must combine with an act. Mr. Bishop, who supports his position with
numerous citations from the decided cases, thus forcely present this doctrine:
In no one thing does criminal jurisprudence differ more from civil than in the rule as to the
intent. In controversies between private parties the quo animo with which a thing was done is
sometimes important, not always; but crime proceeds only from a criminal mind. So that
There can be no crime, large or small, without an evil mind. In other words, punishment is
the sentence of wickedness, without which it can not be. And neither in philosophical
speculation nor in religious or mortal sentiment would any people in any age allow that a
man should be deemed guilty unless his mind was so. It is therefore a principle of our legal
system, as probably it is of every other, that the essence of an offense is the wrongful intent,
without which it can not exists. We find this doctrine confirmed by
Legal maxims. The ancient wisdom of the law, equally with the modern, is distinct on this
subject. It consequently has supplied to us such maxims as Actus non facit reum nisi mens
sit rea, "the act itself does not make man guilty unless his intention were so;" Actus me incito
factus non est meus actus, "an act done by me against my will is not my act;" and others of
the like sort. In this, as just said, criminal jurisprudence differs from civil. So also
Moral science and moral sentiment teach the same thing. "By reference to the intention, we
inculpate or exculpate others or ourselves without any respect to the happiness or misery
actually produced. Let the result of an action be what it may, we hold a man guilty simply on
the ground of intention; or, on the dame ground, we hold him innocent." The calm judgment
of mankind keeps this doctrine among its jewels. In times of excitement, when vengeance
takes the place of justice, every guard around the innocent is cast down. But with the return
of reason comes the public voice that where the mind is pure, he who differs in act from his
neighbors does not offend. And
In the spontaneous judgment which springs from the nature given by God to man, no one
deems another to deserve punishment for what he did from an upright mind, destitute of
every form of evil. And whenever a person is made to suffer a punishment which the
community deems not his due, so far from its placing an evil mark upon him, it elevates him
to the seat of the martyr. Even infancy itself spontaneously pleads the want of bad intent in
justification of what has the appearance of wrong, with the utmost confidence that the plea, if
its truth is credited, will be accepted as good. Now these facts are only the voice of nature
uttering one of her immutable truths. It is, then, the doctrine of the law, superior to all other
doctrines, because first in nature from which the law itself proceeds, that no man is to be

punished as a criminal unless his intent is wrong. (Bishop's New Criminal Law, vol. 1, secs.
286 to 290.)
Compelled by necessity, "the great master of all things," an apparent departure from this doctrine of
abstract justice result from the adoption of the arbitrary rule that Ignorantia juris non
excusat ("Ignorance of the law excuses no man"), without which justice could not be administered in
our tribunals; and compelled also by the same doctrine of necessity, the courts have recognized the
power of the legislature to forbid, in a limited class of cases, the doing of certain acts, and to make
their commission criminal without regard to the intent of the doer. Without discussing these
exceptional cases at length, it is sufficient here to say that the courts have always held that unless
the intention of the lawmaker to make the commission of certain acts criminal without regard to the
intent of the doer is clear and beyond question the statute will not be so construed (cases cited in
Cyc., vol. 12, p. 158, notes 76 and 77); and the rule that ignorance of the law excuses no man has
been said not to be a real departure from the law's fundamental principle that crime exists only
where the mind is at fault, because "the evil purpose need not be to break the law, and if suffices if it
is simply to do the thing which the law in fact forbids." (Bishop's New Criminal Law, sec. 300, and
cases cited.)
But, however this may be, there is no technical rule, and no pressing necessity therefore, requiring
mistake in fact to be dealt with otherwise that in strict accord with the principles of abstract justice.
On the contrary, the maxim here is Ignorantia facti excusat ("Ignorance or mistake in point of fact is,
in all cases of supposed offense, a sufficient excuse"). (Brown's Leg. Max., 2d ed., 190.)
Since evil intent is in general an inseparable element in every crime, any such mistake of fact as
shows the act committed to have proceeded from no sort of evil in the mind necessarily relieves the
actor from criminal liability provided always there is no fault or negligence on his part; and as laid
down by Baron Parke, "The guilt of the accused must depend on the circumstances as they appear
to him." (Reg. vs. Thurborn, 1 Den. C., 387; P. vs.Anderson, 44 Cal.., 65; P. vs. Lamb, 54 Barb., 342;
Yates vs. P., 32 N. Y., 509; Patterson vs. P., 46 Barb., 625; Reg. vs. Cohen, 8 Cox C. C., 41;
P. vs. Miles, 55 Cal., 207, 209; Nalley vs. S., 28 Tex. Ap., 387.) That is to say, the question as to
whether he honestly, in good faith, and without fault or negligence fell into the mistake is to be
determined by the circumstances as they appeared to him at the time when the mistake was made,
and the effect which the surrounding circumstances might reasonably be expected to have on his
mind, in forming the intent, criminal or other wise, upon which he acted.
If, in language not uncommon in the cases, one has reasonable cause to believe the
existence of facts which will justify a killing or, in terms more nicely in accord with the
principles on which the rule is founded, if without fault or carelessness he does believe them
he is legally guiltless of the homicide; though he mistook the facts, and so the life of an
innocent person is unfortunately extinguished. In other words, and with reference to the right
of self-defense and the not quite harmonious authorities, it is the doctrine of reason and
sufficiently sustained in adjudication, that notwithstanding some decisions apparently
adverse, whenever a man undertakes self-defense, he is justified in acting on the facts as
they appear to him. If, without fault or carelessness, he is misled concerning them, and
defends himself correctly according to what he thus supposes the facts to be the law will not
punish him though they are in truth otherwise, and he was really no occassion for the
extreme measures. (Bishop's New Criminal Law, sec. 305, and large array of cases there
cited.)
The common illustration in the American and English textbooks of the application of this rule is the
case where a man, masked and disguised as a footpad, at night and on a lonely road, "holds up" his
friends in a spirit of mischief, and with leveled pistol demands his money or his life, but is killed by

his friend under the mistaken belief that the attack is a real one, that the pistol leveled at his head is
loaded, and that his life and property are in imminent danger at the hands of the aggressor. No one
will doubt that if the facts were such as the slayer believed them to be he would be innocent of the
commission of any crime and wholly exempt from criminal liability, although if he knew the real state
of the facts when he took the life of his friend he would undoubtedly be guilty of the crime of
homicide or assassination. Under such circumstances, proof of his innocent mistake of the facts
overcomes the presumption of malice or criminal intent, and (since malice or criminal intent is a
necessary ingredient of the "act punished by law" in cases of homicide or assassination) overcomes
at the same time the presumption established in article 1 of the code, that the "act punished by law"
was committed "voluntarily."
Parson, C.J., in the Massachusetts court, once said:
If the party killing had reasonable grounds for believing that the person slain had a felonious
design against him, and under that supposition killed him, although it should afterwards
appear that there was no such design, it will not be murder, but it will be either manslaughter
or excusable homicide, according to the degree of caution used and the probable grounds of
such belief. (Charge to the grand jury in Selfridge's case, Whart, Hom., 417, 418, Lloyd's
report of the case, p.7.)
In this case, Parker, J., charging the petit jury, enforced the doctrine as follows:
A, in the peaceable pursuit of his affairs, sees B rushing rapidly toward him, with an
outstretched arms and a pistol in his hand, and using violent menaces against his life as he
advances. Having approached near enough in the same attitude, A, who has a club in his
hand, strikes B over the head before or at the instant the pistol is discharged; and of the
wound B dies. It turns out the pistol was loaded with powder only, and that the real design of
B was only to terrify A. Will any reasonable man say that A is more criminal that he would
have been if there had been a bullet in the pistol? Those who hold such doctrine must
require that a man so attacked must, before he strikes the assailant, stop and ascertain how
the pistol is loaded a doctrine which would entirely take away the essential right of selfdefense. And when it is considered that the jury who try the cause, and not the party killing,
are to judge of the reasonable grounds of his apprehension, no danger can be supposed to
flow from this principle. (Lloyd's Rep., p. 160.)
To the same effect are various decisions of the supreme court of Spain, cited by Viada, a few of
which are here set out in full because the facts are somewhat analogous to those in the case at bar.
QUESTION III. When it is shown that the accused was sitting at his hearth, at night, in
company only of his wife, without other light than reflected from the fire, and that the man
with his back to the door was attending to the fire, there suddenly entered a person whom he
did not see or know, who struck him one or two blows, producing a contusion on the
shoulder, because of which he turned, seized the person and took from his the stick with
which he had undoubtedly been struck, and gave the unknown person a blow, knocking him
to the floor, and afterwards striking him another blow on the head, leaving the unknown lying
on the floor, and left the house. It turned out the unknown person was his father-in-law, to
whom he rendered assistance as soon as he learned his identity, and who died in about six
days in consequence of cerebral congestion resulting from the blow. The accused, who
confessed the facts, had always sustained pleasant relations with his father-in-law, whom he
visited during his sickness, demonstrating great grief over the occurrence. Shall he be
considered free from criminal responsibility, as having acted in self-defense, with all the
circumstances related in paragraph 4, article 8, of the Penal Code? The criminal branch of

theAudiencia of Valladolid found that he was an illegal aggressor, without sufficient


provocation, and that there did not exists rational necessity for the employment of the force
used, and in accordance with articles 419 and 87 of the Penal Code condemned him to
twenty months of imprisonment, with accessory penalty and costs. Upon appeal by the
accused, he was acquitted by the supreme court, under the following sentence:
"Considering, from the facts found by the sentence to have been proven, that the accused
was surprised from behind, at night, in his house beside his wife who was nursing her child,
was attacked, struck, and beaten, without being able to distinguish with which they might
have executed their criminal intent, because of the there was no other than fire light in the
room, and considering that in such a situation and when the acts executed demonstrated
that they might endanger his existence, and possibly that of his wife and child, more
especially because his assailant was unknown, he should have defended himself, and in
doing so with the same stick with which he was attacked, he did not exceed the limits of selfdefense, nor did he use means which were not rationally necessary, particularly because the
instrument with which he killed was the one which he took from his assailant, and was
capable of producing death, and in the darkness of the house and the consteration which
naturally resulted from such strong aggression, it was not given him to known or distinguish
whether there was one or more assailants, nor the arms which they might bear, not that
which they might accomplish, and considering that the lower court did not find from the
accepted facts that there existed rational necessity for the means employed, and that it did
not apply paragraph 4 of article 8 of the Penal Code, it erred, etc." (Sentence of supreme
court of Spain, February 28, 1876.) (Viada, Vol. I, p. 266.) .
QUESTION XIX. A person returning, at night, to his house, which was situated in a retired
part of the city, upon arriving at a point where there was no light, heard the voice of a man, at
a distance of some 8 paces, saying: "Face down, hand over you money!" because of which,
and almost at the same money, he fired two shots from his pistol, distinguishing immediately
the voice of one of his friends (who had before simulated a different voice) saying, "Oh! they
have killed me," and hastening to his assistance, finding the body lying upon the ground, he
cried, "Miguel, Miguel, speak, for God's sake, or I am ruined," realizing that he had been the
victim of a joke, and not receiving a reply, and observing that his friend was a corpse, he
retired from the place. Shall he be declared exempt in toto from responsibility as the author
of this homicide, as having acted in just self-defense under the circumstances defined in
paragraph 4, article 8, Penal Code? The criminal branch of the Audiencia of Malaga did not
so find, but only found in favor of the accused two of the requisites of said article, but not that
of the reasonableness of the means employed to repel the attack, and, therefore,
condemned the accused to eight years and one day of prison mayor, etc. The supreme court
acquitted the accused on his appeal from this sentence, holding that the accused was acting
under a justifiable and excusable mistake of fact as to the identity of the person calling to
him, and that under the circumstances, the darkness and remoteness, etc., the means
employed were rational and the shooting justifiable. (Sentence supreme court, March 17,
1885.) (Viada, Vol. I, p. 136.)
QUESTION VI. The owner of a mill, situated in a remote spot, is awakened, at night, by a
large stone thrown against his window at this, he puts his head out of the window and
inquires what is wanted, and is answered "the delivery of all of his money, otherwise his
house would be burned" because of which, and observing in an alley adjacent to the mill
four individuals, one of whom addressed him with blasphemy, he fired his pistol at one the
men, who, on the next morning was found dead on the same spot. Shall this man be
declared exempt from criminal responsibility as having acted in just self-defense with all of
the requisites of law? The criminal branch of the requisites of law? The criminal branch of
the Audiencia of Zaragoza finds that there existed in favor of the accused a majority of the
requisites to exempt him from criminal responsibility, but not that of reasonable necessity for

the means, employed, and condemned the accused to twelve months of prision
correctional for the homicide committed. Upon appeal, the supreme court acquitted the
condemned, finding that the accused, in firing at the malefactors, who attack his mill at night
in a remote spot by threatening robbery and incendiarism, was acting in just self-defense of
his person, property, and family. (Sentence of May 23, 1877). (I Viada, p. 128.)
A careful examination of the facts as disclosed in the case at bar convinces us that the defendant
Chinaman struck the fatal blow alleged in the information in the firm belief that the intruder who
forced open the door of his sleeping room was a thief, from whose assault he was in imminent peril,
both of his life and of his property and of the property committed to his charge; that in view of all the
circumstances, as they must have presented themselves to the defendant at the time, he acted in
good faith, without malice, or criminal intent, in the belief that he was doing no more than exercising
his legitimate right of self-defense; that had the facts been as he believed them to be he would have
been wholly exempt from criminal liability on account of his act; and that he can not be said to have
been guilty of negligence or recklessness or even carelessness in falling into his mistake as to the
facts, or in the means adopted by him to defend himself from the imminent danger which he believe
threatened his person and his property and the property under his charge.
The judgment of conviction and the sentence imposed by the trial court should be reversed, and the
defendant acquitted of the crime with which he is charged and his bail bond exonerated, with the
costs of both instance de oficio. So ordered.
Johnson Moreland and Elliott, JJ., concur.
Arellano, C.J., and Mapa, J., dissent.

Separate Opinions
TORRES, J., dissenting:
The writer, with due respect to the opinion of the majority of the court, believes that, according to the
merits of the case, the crime of homicide by reckless negligence, defined and punishes in article 568
of the Penal Code, was committed, inasmuch as the victim was wilfully (voluntariomente) killed, and
while the act was done without malice or criminal intent it was, however, executed with real
negligence, for the acts committed by the deceased could not warrant the aggression by the
defendant under the erroneous belief on the part of the accused that the person who assaulted him
was a malefactor; the defendant therefore incurred responsibility in attacking with a knife the person
who was accustomed to enter said room, without any justifiable motive.
By reason of the nature of the crime committed, in the opinion of the undersigned the accused
should be sentenced to the penalty of one year and one month of prision correctional, to suffer the
accessory penalties provided in article 61, and to pay an indemnify of P1,000 to the heirs of the
deceased, with the costs of both instances, thereby reversing the judgment appealed from.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-47722

July 27, 1943

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
ANTONIO Z. OANIS and ALBERTO GALANTA, defendants-appellants.
Antonio Z. Oanis in his own behalf.
Maximo L. Valenzuela for appellant Galanta.
Acting Solicitor-General Ibaez and Assistant Attorney Torres for appellee.
MORAN, J.:
Charged with the crime of murder of one Serapio Tecson, the accused Antonio Z. Oanis and Alberto
Galanta, chief of police of Cabanatuan and corporal of the Philippine Constabulary, respectively,
were, after due trial, found guilty by the lower court of homicide through reckless imprudence and
were sentenced each to an indeterminate penalty of from one year and six months to two years and
two months of prison correccional and to indemnify jointly and severally the heirs of the deceased in
the amount of P1,000. Defendants appealed separately from this judgment.
In the afternoon of December 24, 1938. Captain Godofredo Monsod, Constabulary Provincial
Inspector at Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, received from Major Guido a telegram of the following tenor:
"Information received escaped convict Anselmo Balagtas with bailarina and Irene in Cabanatuan get
him dead or alive." Captain Monsod accordingly called for his first sergeant and asked that he be
given four men. Defendant corporal Alberto Galanta, and privates Nicomedes Oralo, Venancio Serna
and D. Fernandez, upon order of their sergeant, reported at the office of the Provincial Inspector
where they were shown a copy of the above-quoted telegram and a newspaper clipping containing a
picture of Balagtas. They were instructed to arrest Balagtas and, if overpowered, to follow the
instruction contained in the telegram. The same instruction was given to the chief of police Oanis
who was likewise called by the Provincial Inspector. When the chief of police was asked whether he
knew one Irene, a bailarina, he answered that he knew one of loose morals of the same name. Upon
request of the Provincial Inspector, the chief of police tried to locate some of his men to guide the
constabulary soldiers in ascertaining Balagtas' whereabouts, and failing to see anyone of them he
volunteered to go with the party. The Provincial Inspector divided the party into two groups with
defendants Oanis and Galanta, and private Fernandez taking the route to Rizal street leading to the
house where Irene was supposedly living. When this group arrived at Irene's house, Oanis
approached one Brigida Mallare, who was then stripping banana stalks, and asked her where Irene's
room was. Brigida indicated the place and upon further inquiry also said that Irene was sleeping with
her paramour. Brigida trembling, immediately returned to her own room which was very near that
occupied by Irene and her paramour. Defendants Oanis and Galanta then went to the room of Irene,
and an seeing a man sleeping with his back towards the door where they were, simultaneously or
successively fired at him with their .32 and .45 caliber revolvers. Awakened by the gunshots, Irene
saw her paramour already wounded, and looking at the door where the shots came, she saw the
defendants still firing at him. Shocked by the entire scene. Irene fainted; it turned out later that the
person shot and killed was not the notorious criminal Anselmo Balagtas but a peaceful and innocent
citizen named Serapio Tecson, Irene's paramour. The Provincial Inspector, informed of the killing,
repaired to the scene and when he asked as to who killed the deceased. Galanta, referring to

himself and to Oanis, answered: "We two, sir." The corpse was thereafter brought to the provincial
hospital and upon autopsy by Dr. Ricardo de Castro, multiple gunshot wounds inflicted by a .32 and
a .45 caliber revolvers were found on Tecson's body which caused his death.
These are the facts as found by the trial court and fully supported by the evidence, particularly by the
testimony of Irene Requinea. Appellants gave, however, a different version of the tragedy. According
to Appellant Galanta, when he and chief of police Oanis arrived at the house, the latter asked Brigida
where Irene's room was. Brigida indicated the place, and upon further inquiry as to the whereabouts
of Anselmo Balagtas, she said that he too was sleeping in the same room. Oanis went to the room
thus indicated and upon opening the curtain covering the door, he said: "If you are Balagtas, stand
up." Tecson, the supposed Balagtas, and Irene woke up and as the former was about to sit up in
bed. Oanis fired at him. Wounded, Tecson leaned towards the door, and Oanis receded and
shouted: "That is Balagtas." Galanta then fired at Tecson.
On the other hand, Oanis testified that after he had opened the curtain covering the door and after
having said, "if you are Balagtas stand up." Galanta at once fired at Tecson, the supposed Balagtas,
while the latter was still lying on bed, and continued firing until he had exhausted his bullets: that it
was only thereafter that he, Oanis, entered the door and upon seeing the supposed Balagtas, who
was then apparently watching and picking up something from the floor, he fired at him.
The trial court refused to believe the appellants. Their testimonies are certainly incredible not only
because they are vitiated by a natural urge to exculpate themselves of the crime, but also because
they are materially contradictory. Oasis averred that be fired at Tecson when the latter was
apparently watching somebody in an attitudes of picking up something from the floor; on the other
hand, Galanta testified that Oasis shot Tecson while the latter was about to sit up in bed immediately
after he was awakened by a noise. Galanta testified that he fired at Tecson, the supposed Balagtas,
when the latter was rushing at him. But Oanis assured that when Galanta shot Tecson, the latter was
still lying on bed. It is apparent from these contradictions that when each of the appellants tries to
exculpate himself of the crime charged, he is at once belied by the other; but their mutual
incriminating averments dovetail with and corroborate substantially, the testimony of Irene Requinea.
It should be recalled that, according to Requinea, Tecson was still sleeping in bed when he was shot
to death by appellants. And this, to a certain extent, is confirmed by both appellants themselves in
their mutual recriminations. According, to Galanta, Oanis shot Tecson when the latter was still in bed
about to sit up just after he was awakened by a noise. And Oanis assured that when Galanta shot
Tecson, the latter was still lying in bed. Thus corroborated, and considering that the trial court had
the opportunity to observe her demeanor on the stand, we believe and so hold that no error was
committed in accepting her testimony and in rejecting the exculpatory pretensions of the two
appellants. Furthermore, a careful examination of Irene's testimony will show not only that her
version of the tragedy is not concocted but that it contains all indicia of veracity. In her crossexamination, even misleading questions had been put which were unsuccessful, the witness having
stuck to the truth in every detail of the occurrence. Under these circumstances, we do not feel
ourselves justified in disturbing the findings of fact made by the trial court.
The true fact, therefore, of the case is that, while Tecson was sleeping in his room with his back
towards the door, Oanis and Galanta, on sight, fired at him simultaneously or successively, believing
him to be Anselmo Balagtas but without having made previously any reasonable inquiry as to his
identity. And the question is whether or not they may, upon such fact, be held responsible for the
death thus caused to Tecson. It is contended that, as appellants acted in innocent mistake of fact in
the honest performance of their official duties, both of them believing that Tecson was Balagtas, they
incur no criminal liability. Sustaining this theory in part, the lower court held and so declared them
guilty of the crime of homicide through reckless imprudence. We are of the opinion, however, that,

under the circumstances of the case, the crime committed by appellants is murder through specially
mitigated by circumstances to be mentioned below.
In support of the theory of non-liability by reasons of honest mistake of fact, appellants rely on the
case of U.S. v. Ah Chong, 15 Phil., 488. The maxim is ignorantia facti excusat, but this applies only
when the mistake is committed without fault or carelessness. In the Ah Chong case, defendant
therein after having gone to bed was awakened by someone trying to open the door. He called out
twice, "who is there," but received no answer. Fearing that the intruder was a robber, he leaped from
his bed and called out again., "If you enter the room I will kill you." But at that precise moment, he
was struck by a chair which had been placed against the door and believing that he was then being
attacked, he seized a kitchen knife and struck and fatally wounded the intruder who turned out to be
his room-mate. A common illustration of innocent mistake of fact is the case of a man who was
marked as a footpad at night and in a lonely road held up a friend in a spirit of mischief, and with
leveled, pistol demanded his money or life. He was killed by his friend under the mistaken belief that
the attack was real, that the pistol leveled at his head was loaded and that his life and property were
in imminent danger at the hands of the aggressor. In these instances, there is an innocent mistake of
fact committed without any fault or carelessness because the accused, having no time or opportunity
to make a further inquiry, and being pressed by circumstances to act immediately, had no alternative
but to take the facts as they then appeared to him, and such facts justified his act of killing. In the
instant case, appellants, unlike the accused in the instances cited, found no circumstances
whatsoever which would press them to immediate action. The person in the room being then asleep,
appellants had ample time and opportunity to ascertain his identity without hazard to themselves,
and could even effect a bloodless arrest if any reasonable effort to that end had been made, as the
victim was unarmed, according to Irene Requinea. This, indeed, is the only legitimate course of
action for appellants to follow even if the victim was really Balagtas, as they were instructed not to
kill Balagtas at sight but to arrest him, and to get him dead or alive only if resistance or aggression is
offered by him.
Although an officer in making a lawful arrest is justified in using such force as is reasonably
necessary to secure and detain the offender, overcome his resistance, prevent his escape, recapture
him if he escapes, and protect himself from bodily harm (People vs. Delima, 46 Phil, 738), yet he is
never justified in using unnecessary force or in treating him with wanton violence, or in resorting to
dangerous means when the arrest could be effected otherwise (6 C.J.S., par. 13, p. 612). The
doctrine is restated in the new Rules of Court thus: "No unnecessary or unreasonable force shall be
used in making an arrest, and the person arrested shall not be subject to any greater restraint than is
necessary for his detention." (Rule 109, sec. 2, par. 2). And a peace officer cannot claim exemption
from criminal liability if he uses unnecessary force or violence in making an arrest (5 C.J., p. 753;
U.S.vs. Mendoza, 2 Phil., 109). It may be true that Anselmo Balagtas was a notorious criminal, a lifetermer, a fugitive from justice and a menace to the peace of the community, but these facts alone
constitute no justification for killing him when in effecting his arrest, he offers no resistance or in fact
no resistance can be offered, as when he is asleep. This, in effect, is the principle laid down,
although upon different facts, in U.S. vs. Donoso (3 Phil., 234, 242).
It is, however, suggested that a notorious criminal "must be taken by storm" without regard to his
right to life which he has by such notoriety already forfeited. We may approve of this standard of
official conduct where the criminal offers resistance or does something which places his captors in
danger of imminent attack. Otherwise we cannot see how, as in the present case, the mere fact of
notoriety can make the life of a criminal a mere trifle in the hands of the officers of the law. Notoriety
rightly supplies a basis for redoubled official alertness and vigilance; it never can justify precipitate
action at the cost of human life. Where, as here, the precipitate action of the appellants has cost an
innocent life and there exist no circumstances whatsoever to warrant action of such character in the
mind of a reasonably prudent man, condemnation not condonation should be the rule;
otherwise we should offer a premium to crime in the shelter of official actuation.

The crime committed by appellants is not merely criminal negligence, the killing being intentional and
not accidental. In criminal negligence, the injury caused to another should be unintentional, it being
simply the incident of another act performed without malice. (People vs. Sara, 55 Phil., 939). In the
words of Viada, "para que se celifique un hecho de imprudencia es preciso que no haya mediado en
el malicia ni intencion alguna de daar; existiendo esa intencion, debera calificarse el hecho del
delito que ha producido, por mas que no haya sido la intencion del agente el causar un mal de tanta
gravedad como el que se produjo." (Tomo 7, Viada Codigo Penal Comentado, 5.a ed. pag. 7). And,
as once held by this Court, a deliberate intent to do an unlawful act is essentially inconsistent with
the idea of reckless imprudence (People vs. Nanquil, 43 Phil., 232; People vs. Bindor, 56 Phil., 16),
and where such unlawful act is wilfully done, a mistake in the identity of the intended victim cannot
be considered as reckless imprudence (People vs. Gona, 54 Phil., 605) to support a plea of
mitigated liability.
As the deceased was killed while asleep, the crime committed is murder with the qualifying
circumstance ofalevosia. There is, however, a mitigating circumstance of weight consisting in the
incomplete justifying circumstance defined in article 11, No. 5, of the Revised Penal Code. According
to such legal provision, a person incurs no criminal liability when he acts in the fulfillment of a duty or
in the lawful exercise of a right or office. There are two requisites in order that the circumstance may
be taken as a justifying one: (a) that the offender acted in the performance of a duty or in the lawful
exercise of a right; and (b) that the injury or offense committed be the necessary consequence of the
due performance of such duty or the lawful exercise of such right or office. In the instance case, only
the first requisite is present appellants have acted in the performance of a duty. The second
requisite is wanting for the crime by them committed is not the necessary consequence of a due
performance of their duty. Their duty was to arrest Balagtas or to get him dead or alive if resistance
is offered by him and they are overpowered. But through impatience or over-anxiety or in their desire
to take no chances, they have exceeded in the fulfillment of such duty by killing the person whom
they believed to be Balagtas without any resistance from him and without making any previous
inquiry as to his identity. According to article 69 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty lower by one
or two degrees than that prescribed by law shall, in such case, be imposed.
For all the foregoing, the judgment is modified and appellants are hereby declared guilty of murder
with the mitigating circumstance above mentioned, and accordingly sentenced to an indeterminate
penalty of from five (5) years of prision correctional to fifteen (15) years of reclusion temporal, with
the accessories of the law, and to pay the heirs of the deceased Serapio Tecson jointly and severally
an indemnity of P2,000, with costs.
Yulo, C.J., Bocobo, Generoso and Lopez Vito, A., concur.

Separate Opinions
PARAS, J., dissenting:
Anselmo Balagtas, a life termer and notorious criminal, managed to escape and flee form Manila to
the provinces. Receiving information to the effect that he was staying with one Irene in Cabanatuan,
Nueva Ecija, the office of the Constabulary in Manila ordered the Provincial Inspector in Cabanatuan
by telegram dispatched on December 25, 1938, to get Balagtas "dead or alive". Among those
assigned to the task of carrying out the said order, were Antonio Z. Oanis, chief of police of
Cabanatuan, and Alberto Galanta, a Constabulary corporal, to whom the telegram received by the
Provincial Inspector and a newspaper picture of Balagtas were shown. Oanis, Galanta and a

Constabulary private, after being told by the Provincial Inspector to gather information about
Balagtas, "to arrest him and, if overpowered, to follow the instructions contained in the telegram,"
proceeded to the place where the house of Irene was located. Upon arriving thereat, Oanis
approached Brigida Mallari, who was then gathering banana stalks in the yard, and inquired for the
room of Irene. After Mallari had pointed out the room, she was asked by Oanis to tell where Irene's
paramour, Balagtas, was, whereupon Mallari answered that he was sleeping with Irene. Upon
reaching the room indicated, Oanis and Galanta, after the former had shouted "Stand up, if you are
Balagtas," started shooting the man who was found by them lying down beside a woman. The man
was thereby killed, but Balagtas was still alive, for it turned out that the person shot by Oanis and
Galanta was one Serapio Tecson.
Consequently, Oanis and Galanta were charged with having committed murder. The Court of First
Instance of Nueva Ecija, however, convicted them only of homicide through reckless imprudence
and sentenced them each to suffer the indeterminate penalty of from 1 year and 6 months to 2 years
and 2 months of prision correctional, to jointly and severally indemnify the heirs of Serapio Tecson in
the amount of P1,000, and to pay the costs. Oanis and Galanta have appealed.
In accomplishing the acts with which the appellants were charged, they undoubtedly followed the
order issued by the Constabulary authorities in Manila requiring the Provincial Inspector in
Cabanatuan to get Balagtas dead or alive, in the honest belief that Serapio Tecson was Anselmo
Balagtas. As the latter became a fugitive criminal, with revolvers in his possession and a record that
made him extremely dangerous and a public terror, the Constabulary authorities were justified in
ordering his arrest, whether dead or alive. In view of said order and the danger faced by the
appellants in carrying it out, they cannot be said to have acted feloniously in shooting the person
honestly believed by them to be the wanted man. Conscious of the fact that Balagtas would rather
kill than be captured, the appellants did not want to take chances and should not be penalized for
such prudence. On the contrary, they should be commended for their bravery and courage bordering
on recklessness because, without knowing or ascertaining whether the wanted man was in fact
asleep in his room, they proceeded thereto without hesitation and thereby exposed their lives to
danger.
The Solicitor-General, however, contends that the appellants were authorized to use their revolvers
only after being overpowered by Balagtas. In the first place, the alleged instruction by the Provincial
Inspector to that effect, was in violation of the express order given by the Constabulary authorities in
Manila and which was shown to the appellants. In the second place, it would indeed be suicidal for
the appellants or, for that matter, any agent of the authority to have waited until they have been
overpowered before trying to put our such a character as Balagtas. In the third place, it is immaterial
whether or not the instruction given by the Provincial Inspector was legitimate and proper, because
the facts exist that the appellants acted in conformity with the express order of superior Constabulary
authorities, the legality or propriety of which is not herein questioned.
The theory of the prosecution has acquired some plausibility, though quite psychological or
sentimental, in view only of the fact that it was not Balagtas who was actually killed, but an "innocent
man . . . while he was deeply asleep." Anybody's heart will be profoundly grieved by the trade, but in
time will be consoled by the realization that the life of Serapio Tecson was not vainly sacrificed, for
the incident will always serve as a loud warning to any one desiring to follow in the footsteps of
Anselmo Balagtas that in due time the duly constituted authorities will, upon proper order, enforce
the summary forfeiture of his life.
In my opinion, therefore, the appellants are not criminally liable if the person killed by them was in
fact Anselmo Balagtas for the reason that they did so in the fulfillment of their duty and in obedience
to an order issued by a superior for some lawful purpose (Revised Penal Code, art. 11, pars. 5 and

6). They also cannot be held criminally liable even if the person killed by them was not Anselmo
Balagtas, but Serapio Tecson, because they did so under an honest mistake of fact not due to
negligence or bad faith. (U.S. vs. Ah Chong, 15 Phil., 488).
It is true that, under article 4 of the Revised Penal Code, criminal liability is incurred by any person
committing a felony although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended; but said
article is clearly inapplicable since the killing of the person who was believed to be Balagtas was, as
already stated, not wrongful or felonious.
The case of U.S. vs. Mendieta (34 Phil., 242), cited by the Solicitor-General, is not in point,
inasmuch as the defendant therein, who intended to injure Hilario Lauigan with whom he had a
quarrel, but killed another by mistake, would not be exempted from criminal liability if he actually
injured or killed Hilario Lauigan, there being a malicious design on his part. The other case involved
by the prosecution is U.S. vs. Donoso (3 Phil., 234). This is also not in point, as it appears that the
defendants therein killed one Pedro Almasan after he had already surrendered and allowed himself
to be bound and that the said defendants did not have lawful instructions from superior authorities to
capture Almasan dead or alive.
The appealed judgment should therefore be reversed and the appellants, Antonio Z. Oanis and
Alberto Galanta, acquitted, with costs de oficio.

HONTIVEROS, J., dissenting:


According to the opinion of the majority, it is proper to follow the rule that a notorious criminal "must
be taken by storm without regard to his life which he has, by his conduct, already forfeited,"
whenever said criminal offers resistance or does something which places his captors in danger of
imminent attack. Precisely, the situation which confronted the accused-appellants Antonio Z. Oanis
and Alberto Galanta in the afternoon of December 24, 1938, was very similar to this. It must be
remembered that both officers received instructions to get Balagtas "dead or alive" and according to
the attitude of not only the said appellants but also of Capt. Monsod, constabulary provincial
inspector of Nueva Ecija, it may be assumed that said instructions gave more emphasis to the first
part; namely, to take him dead. It appears in the record that after the shooting, and having been
informed of the case, Capt. Monsod stated that Oanis and Galanta might be decorated for what they
had done. That was when all parties concerned honestly believed that the dead person was
Balagtas himself, a dangerous criminal who had escaped from his guards and was supposedly
armed with a .45 caliber pistol Brigida Mallari, the person whom the appellants met upon arriving at
the house of Irene Requinea, supposed mistress of Balagtas, informed them that said Balagtas was
upstairs. Appellants found there asleep a man closely resembling the wanted criminal. Oanis said: If
you are Balagtas stand up," But the supposed criminal showed his intention to attack the appellants,
a conduct easily explained by the fact that he should have felt offended by the intrusion of persons in
the room where he was peacefully lying down with his mistress. In such predicament, it was nothing
but human on the part of the appellants to employ force and to make use of their weapons in order
to repel the imminent attack by a person who, according to their belief, was Balagtas It was
unfortunate, however that an innocent man was actually killed. But taking into consideration the facts
of the case, it is, according to my humble opinion, proper to apply herein the doctrine laid down in
the case of U.S. vs. Ah Chong (15 Phil., 488). In the instant case we have, as in the case supra, an
innocent mistake of fact committed without any fault or carelessness on the part of the accused, who
having no time to make a further inquiry, had no alternative but to take the facts as they appeared to
them and act immediately.

The decision of the majority, in recognition of the special circumstances of this case which favored
the accused-appellants, arrives at the conclusion that an incomplete justifying circumstance may be
invoked, and therefore, according to Article 69 of the Revised Penal Code, the imposable penalty
should be one which is lower by one or two degrees than that prescribed by law. This incomplete
justifying circumstance is that defined in Article 11, No. 5 of the Revised Penal Code, in favor of "a
person who acts in the fulfillment of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right or office." I believe that
the application of this circumstance is not proper. Article 69 of the Revised Penal Code provides as
follows:
Art. 69. Penalty to be imposed when the crime committed is not wholly excusable. A
penalty lower by one or two degrees than that prescribed by law shall be imposed if the deed
is not wholly excusable by reason of the lack of some of the conditions required to justify the
same or to exempt from criminal liability in the several cases mentioned in articles 11 and 12,
provided that the majority of such conditions be present. The courts shall impose the penalty
in the period which may be deemed proper, in view of the number and nature of the
conditions of exemption present or lacking.
This provision has been copied almost verbatim from Article 84 of the old Penal Code of the
Philippines, and which was also taken from Article 87 of the Spanish Penal Code of 1870.
Judge Guillermo Guevara, one of the members of the Committee created by Administrative Order
No. 94 of the Department of Justice for the drafting of the Revised Penal Code, in commenting on
Article 69, said that the justifying circumstances and circumstances exempting from liability which
are the subject matter of this article are the following: self-defense, defense of relatives, defense of
strangers, state of necessity and injury caused by mere accident. Accordingly, justifying
circumstance No. 5 of Article 11 dealing with the fulfillment of a duty or the lawful exercise of a right,
calling or office, cannot be placed within its scope.
The eminent treatiser of criminal law Mr. Groizard, in his commentary of Article 87 of the Spanish
Penal Code of 1870 which is the source of Article 69 of our Code says:
Ni tratandose de la imbecilidad, ni de la locura, ni de la menor edad, ni del que obra
violentado por una fuerza inrresistible o impulsado por miedo insuperable de un mal igual o
mayor, o en cumplimiento de un deber, o en el ejercito legitimo de un derecho, oficio o
cargo, o en virtud de obediencia debida, ni del que incurre en alguna omision hallandose
impedido por causa legitima o insuperable, puede tener aplicacion al articulo que
comentamos. Y la razon es obvia. En ninguna de estas execiones hay pluralidad de
requisitos. La irrespondabilidad depende de una sola condicion. Hay o no perturbacion de la
razon; el autor del hecho es o no menor de nueve aos; existe o no violencia material o
moral irresistible, etc., etc.; tal es lo que respectivamente hay que examinar y resolver para
declarar la culpabilidad o inculpabilidad. Es, por lo tanto, imposible que acontezca lo que el
texto que va al frente de estas lineas rquiere, para que se imponga al autor del hecho la
penalidad excepcional que establece; esto es, que falten algunos requisitos de los que la ley
exige para eximir de responsabilidad, y que concurran el mayor numero de ellos, toda vez
que, en los casos referidos, la ley no exige multiples condiciones.
It must be taken into account the fact according to Article 69 a penalty lower by one or two degrees
than that prescribed by law shall be imposed if the deed is not wholly excusable by reason of the
lack of some of the conditions required by the law to justify the same or exempt from criminal liability.
The word "conditions" should not be confused with the word "requisites". In dealing with justifying
circumstance No. 5 Judge Guevara states: "There are two requisites in order that this circumstance
may be taken into account: (a) That the offender acted in the performance of his duty or in the lawful

exercise of a right; and (b) That the injury or offense committed be the necessary consequence of
the performance of a duty or the lawful exercise of a right or office." It is evident that these two
requisites concur in the present case if we consider the intimate connection between the order given
to the appellant by Capt. Monsod, the showing to them of the telegram from Manila to get Balagtas
who was with a bailarina named Irene, the conduct of said appellants in questioning Brigida Mallari
and giving a warning to the supposed criminal when both found him with Irene, and the statement
made by Capt. Monsod after the shooting.
If appellant Oanis is entitled to a reversal of the decision of the court below, there are more reasons
in favor of the acquittal of appellant Galanta. According to the evidence no bullet from the gun fired
by this accused ever hit Serapio Tecson. Galanta was armed in the afternoon of December 24, 1938,
with a .45 caliber revolver (Exhibit L). He so testified and was corroborated by the unchallenged
testimony of his superior officer Sgt. Valeriano Serafica. According to this witness, since Galanta was
made a corporal of the Constabulary he was given, as part of his equipment, revolver Exhibit L with
a serial No. 37121. This gun had been constantly used by Galanta, and, according to Sgt. Pedro
Marasigan, who accompanied said accused when he took it from his trunk in the barracks on the
night of December 24, 1938, upon order of Captain Monsod, it was the same revolver which was
given to the witness with five .45 caliber bullets and one empty shell. Fourteen unused bullets were
also taken from Galanta by Sergeant Serafica, thus completing his regular equipment of twenty
bullets which he had on the morning of December 24, 1938, when Sergeant Serafica made the usual
inspection of the firearms in the possession of the non-commissioned officers and privates of the
constabulary post at Cabanatuan. Galanta stated that he had fired only one shot and missed. This
testimony is corroborated by that of a ballistic expert who testified that bullets exhibits F and O,
the first being extracted from the head of the deceased, causing wound No. 3 of autopsy report
Exhibit C and the second found at the place of the shooting, had not been fired from revolver
Exhibit L nor from any other revolver of the constabulary station in Cabanatuan. It was impossible for
the accused Galanta to have substituted his revolver because when Exhibit L was taken from him
nobody in the barracks doubted that the deceased was none other than Balagtas. Moreover, Exhibit
L was not out of order and therefore there was no reason why Galanta should carry along another
gun, according to the natural course of things. On the other hand, aside from wound No. 3 as above
stated, no other wound may be said to have been caused by a .45 caliber revolver bullet. Doctor
Castro's record gives the conclusion that wound No. 2 must have been caused by a .45 caliber
revolver bullet. Doctor Castro's record gives the conclusion that wound No. 2 must have been
caused by a .45 caliber bullet, but inasmuch as the diameter of the wound's entrance was only 8
mm., the caliber should be .32 and not .45, because according to the medico-legal expert who
testified in this case, a bullet of a .45 caliber will produce a wound entrance with either 11 mm. or 12
mm. diameter. All other wounds found by the surgeon who performed the autopsy appeared to have
been caused by bullets of a lesser caliber. In consequence, it can be stated that no bullet fired by
Galanta did ever hit or kill Serapio Tecson and therefore there is no reason why he should be
declared criminally responsible for said death.

FIRST DIVISION
[A.M. No. RTJ-02-1673. August 11, 2004]
EDUARDO
P.
DIEGO, complainant,
vs. JUDGE
CASTILLO, Regional
Trial
Court,
Dagupan
43, respondent.
DECISION

SILVERIO
Q.
City,
Branch

AZCUNA, J.:
This is an administrative complaint against Regional Trial Court Judge
Silverio Q. Castillo for allegedly knowingly rendering an unjust judgment in a
criminal case and/or rendering judgment in gross ignorance of the law.
The facts and circumstances of the criminal case are summarized, as
follows:
a) On January 9, 1965, accused Lucena Escoto contracted marriage
with Jorge de Perio, Jr., solemnized before then Mayor Liberato
Reyna of Dagupan City. The couple were both Filipinos. In the
marriage contract, the accused used and adopted the name
Crescencia Escoto, with a civil status of single;
b) In a document dated February 15, 1978, denominated as a Decree
of Divorce and purportedly issued to Jorge de Perio as petitioner by
the Family District Court of Harris County, Texas (247thJudicial
District), it was ordered, adjudged and decreed, that the bonds of
matrimony heretofore existing between Jorge de Perio and
Crescencia de Perio are hereby Dissolved, Cancelled and Annulled
and the Petitioner is hereby granted a Divorce.
c) Subsequently, on June 4, 1987, the same Crescencia Escoto
contracted marriage with herein complainants brother, Manuel P.
Diego, solemnized before the Rev. Fr. Clemente T. Godoy, parish
priest of Dagupan City. The marriage contract shows that this time,
the accused used and adopted the name Lucena Escoto, again,
with a civil status of single.[1]
After trial of the criminal case for bigamy, respondent Judge promulgated
a decision, on February 24, 1999, the dispositive part of which stated:
WHEREFORE, for failure of the STATE to prove accuseds guilt beyond whisper
of doubt, the COURT hereby orders her ACQUITTAL with costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED.[2]
The decision states that the main basis for the acquittal was good faith
on the part of the accused. Respondent Judge gave credence to the defense
of the accused that she acted without any malicious intent. The combined
testimonial and documentary evidence of the defense was aimed at
convincing the court that accused Lucena Escoto had sufficient grounds to

believe that her previous marriage to Jorge de Perio had been validly
dissolved by the divorce decree and that she was legally free to contract the
second marriage with Manuel P. Diego.
In rendering the decision, respondent Judge reasoned, thus:
While it is true that in our jurisdiction the matrimonial bond between Jorge de
Perio and the accused are not yet annulled, it remains undisputed that
cessation of the same was decreed in the Family District Court of Harris
County, Texas, 247th Judicial District, effective February 15, 1978.
xxx
The CHARGE filed against the accused is categorized as Mala en se (sic)
which requires the indispensable presence of criminal intent/dolo.
The felony on BIGAMY as defined and penalized by the Revised Penal Code
explicitly mandates that it must be committed with criminal intent. In other
words, there must be an unquestionable demonstration on the part of the
perpetrator that he/she criminally, willfully and unlawfully contracted a
second marriage despite knowledge that his/her first marriage is still
existing.
As borne out by the evidence adduced, the accused contracted the second
marriage after she was informed and furnished of the Divorce Decree which
was granted by the Family District Court of Harris County Texas in her favor.
As an ordinary laywoman accused being a recipient of a divorce decree, she
entertains the impression that she can contract a subsequent marriage
which she did when she married the late Manuel Diego.
To the honest evaluation of the Court the act complained of against the
accused is not patently illegal for the reason that she acted in good faith
believing that her marriage was already annulled by a foreign judgment.[3]
Complainant herein alleges that the decision rendered by the respondent
Judge is manifestly against the law and contrary to the evidence. He
questions the evidentiary weight and admissibility of the divorce decree as a
basis for the finding of good faith. In addition, complainant stresses that the
evidence on record negates respondent Judges finding of good faith on the
part of the accused. Thus, complainant urges this Court to impose sanctions
upon respondent Judge as, according to complainant, these acts amount to
knowingly rendering an unjust judgment and/or gross ignorance of the law.

In his comment, respondent Judge explains that what was in issue was
the criminal culpability of the accused under Article 349 of the Revised Penal
Code. Respondent Judge does not dispute that the second marriage was
bigamous because at the time it was contracted, the first marriage was still
subsisting since divorce is not recognized in our country and because the
accuseds first husband was still alive. Respondent Judge, however, maintains
that what was controlling was whether by virtue of the divorce decree the
accused honestly believed, albeit mistakenly, that her first marriage had
been severed and she could marry again. According to respondent Judge, the
same is a state of mind personal to the accused. He further stressed that
knowledge of the law should not be exacted strictly from the accused since
she is a lay person, and that ineptitude should not be confused with criminal
intent.
By separate manifestations, both parties agreed to submit the case for
resolution based on the pleadings.
The Disputed Decision
A careful study of the disputed decision reveals that respondent Judge
had been less than circumspect in his study of the law and jurisprudence
applicable to the bigamy case.
In his comment, respondent Judge stated: That the accused married
Manuel P. Diego in the honest belief that she was free to do so by virtue of
the decree of divorce is a mistake of fact.
This Court, in People v. Bitdu,[4] carefully distinguished between a mistake
of fact, which could be a basis for the defense of good faith in a bigamy case,
from a mistake of law, which does not excuse a person, even a lay person,
from liability. Bitdu held that even if the accused, who had obtained a divorce
under the Mohammedan custom, honestly believed that in contracting her
second marriage she was not committing any violation of the law, and that
she had no criminal intent, the same does not justify her act. This Court
further stated therein that with respect to the contention that the accused
acted in good faith in contracting the second marriage, believing that she
had been validly divorced from her first husband, it is sufficient to say that
everyone is presumed to know the law, and the fact that one does not know
that his act constitutes a violation of the law does not exempt him from the
consequences thereof.[5]
Moreover, squarely applicable to the criminal case for bigamy, is People
v. Schneckenburger, [6] where it was held that the accused who secured a

foreign divorce, and later remarried in the Philippines, in the belief that the
foreign divorce was valid, is liable for bigamy.
These findings notwithstanding, the issue before us is whether or not
respondent Judge should be held administratively liable for knowingly
rendering an unjust judgment and/or gross ignorance of the law.
Knowingly Rendering an Unjust Judgment
Knowingly rendering an unjust judgment is a criminal offense defined and
penalized under Article 204[7] of the Revised Penal Code. For conviction to lie,
it must be proved that the judgment is unjust and that the judge knows that
it is unjust. Knowingly means consciously, intelligently, willfully or
intentionally. It is firmly established in this jurisdiction that for a judge to be
held liable for knowingly rendering an unjust judgment, it must be shown
that the judgment is unjust as it is contrary to law or is not supported by the
evidence, and that the same was made with conscious and deliberate intent
to do an injustice.[8]
The law requires that (a) the offender is a judge; (b) he renders a
judgment in a case submitted to him for decision; (c) the judgment is unjust;
(d) he knew that said judgment is unjust. [9]This Court reiterates that in order
to hold a judge liable, it must be shown that the judgment is unjust and that
it was made with conscious and deliberate intent to do an injustice. That
good faith is a defense to the charge of knowingly rendering an unjust
judgment remains the law.[10]
As held in Alforte v. Santos,[11] even assuming that a judge erred in
acquitting an accused, she still cannot be administratively charged lacking
the element of bad faith, malice or corrupt purpose. Malice or bad faith on
the part of the judge in rendering an unjust decision must still be proved and
failure on the part of the complainant to prove the same warrants the
dismissal of the administrative complaint.[12]
There is, therefore, no basis for the charge of knowingly rendering an
unjust judgment.
Gross Ignorance of the Law
Anent the charge of gross ignorance of the law, Maozca v. Domagas,[13] is
instructive. Therein respondent judge was charged with gross ignorance of
the law resulting in a manifestly unjust judgment for granting a demurrer to
the evidence in a bigamy case. The grant of the demurrer to the evidence

was based on the judges finding of good faith on the part of the accused,
anchored upon a document denominated as a Separation of Property with
Renunciation of Rights. This Court stated that said act of the judge exhibited
ignorance of the law, and accordingly he was fined in the amount of P5,000.
Also, in Guillermo v. Reyes, Jr.,[14] where therein respondent judge was
given a reprimand with a stern warning of a more severe penalty should the
same or similar act be committed in the future, this Court explained:
We have heretofore ruled that a judge may not be held administratively
accountable for every erroneous order or decision he renders. To unjustifiably
hold otherwise, assuming that he has erred, would be nothing short of
harassment and would make his position doubly unbearable, for no one
called upon to try the facts or interpret the law in the process of
administering justice can be infallible in his judgment.The error must be
gross or patent, malicious, deliberate or in evident bad faith. It is only in this
latter instance, when the judge acts fraudulently or with gross ignorance,
that administrative sanctions are called for as an imperative duty of this
Court.
As a matter of public policy then, the acts of a judge in his official capacity
are not subject to disciplinary action, even though such acts are
erroneous. Good faith and absence of malice, corrupt motives or improper
considerations are sufficient defenses in which a judge charged with
ignorance of the law can find refuge. It does not mean, however, that a
judge, given the leeway he is accorded in such cases, should not evince due
care in the performance of his adjudicatory prerogatives.
Furthermore, in Wingarts v. Mejia,[15] where therein respondent judge,
although absolved of any guilt for the charge of knowingly rendering an
unjust judgment, was still imposed sanctions by this Court, thus:
In any event, respondent judge deserves to be appropriately penalized for
his regrettably erroneous action in connection with Criminal Case No. 2664 of
his court. We have repeatedly stressed that a municipal trial judge occupies
the forefront of the judicial arm that is closest in reach to the public he
serves, and he must accordingly act at all times with great constancy and
utmost probity. Any kind of failure in the discharge of this grave responsibility
cannot be countenanced, in order to maintain the faith of the public in the
judiciary, especially on the level of courts to which most of them resort for
redress.[16]

Applying these precedents to the present case, the error committed by


respondent Judge being gross and patent, the same constitutes ignorance of
the law of a nature sufficient to warrant disciplinary action.
Penalty
After evaluation of the merits of the case, the Office of the Court
Administrator (OCA) recommended that respondent Judge be reprimanded
with a stern warning of a more severe penalty in the future.
The act of respondent Judge in rendering the decision in question took
place on February 24, 1999 or before the effectivity, on October 1, 2001, of
A.M. No. 01-8-10-SC which classified gross ignorance of the law as a serious
charge and penalized the offense with a fine of not less than P20,000 but not
more than P40,000.
Applying the rule as then prevailing, [17] and in line with applicable
jurisprudence,[18] the sanction on respondent Judge should be a fine in the
amount of P10,000.
WHEREFORE, Regional Trial Court Judge Silverio Q. Castillo is hereby
FINED in the amount of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000) with a STERN
WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with more
severely.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, and Carpio,
JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-34665

August 28, 1931

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
DONATO BINDOY, defendant-appellant.

Florentino Saguin for appellant.


Attorney-General Jaranilla for appellee.
VILLAMOR, J.:
The appellant was sentenced by the Court of First Instance of Occidental Misamis to the penalty of
twelve years and one day of reclusion temporal, with the accessories of law, to indemnify the heirs of
the deceased in the amount of P1,000, and to pay the costs. The crime charged against the accused
is homicide, according to the following information:
That on or about the 6th of May, 1930, in the barrio of Calunod, municipality of Baliangao,
Province of Occidental Misamis, the accused Donato Bindoy willfully, unlawfully, and
feloniously attacked and with his bolo wounded Emigdio Omamdam, inflicting upon the latter
a serious wound in the chest which caused his instant death, in violation of article 404 of the
Penal Code.
The accused appealed from the judgment of the trial court, and his counsel in this instance contends
that the court erred in finding him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and in convicting him of the
crime of homicide.
The record shows that in the afternoon of May 6, 1930, a disturbance arose in a tuba wineshop in
the barrio market of Calunod, municipality of Baliangao, Province of Occidental Misamis, started by
some of the tubadrinkers. There were Faustino Pacas (alias Agaton), and his wife called Tibay. One
Donato Bindoy, who was also there, offered some tuba to Pacas' wife; and as she refused to drink
having already done so, Bindoy threatened to injure her if she did not accept. There ensued an
interchange of words between Tibay and Bindoy, and Pacas stepped in to defend his wife,
attempting to take away from Bindoy the bolo he carried. This occasioned a disturbance which
attracted the attention of Emigdio Omamdam, who, with his family, lived near the market. Emigdio
left his house to see what was happening, while Bindoy and Pacas were struggling for the bolo. In
the course of this struggle, Bindoy succeeded in disengaging himself from Pacas, wrenching the
bolo from the latter's hand towards the left behind the accused, with such violence that the point of
the bolo reached Emigdio Omamdam's chest, who was then behind Bindoy.
There is no evidence that Emigdio took part in the fight between Bindoy and Pacas. Neither is there
any indication that the accused was aware of Emigdio Omamdam's presence in the place, for,
according to the testimony of the witnesses, the latter passed behind the combatants when he left
his house to satisfy his curiosity. There was no disagreement or ill feeling between Bindoy and
Omamdam, on the contrary, it appears they were nephew and uncle, respectively, and were on good
terms with each other. Bindoy did not try to wound Pacas, and instead of wounding him, he hit
Omamdam; he was only defending his possession of the bolo, which Pacas was trying to wrench
away from him, and his conduct was perfectly lawful.
The wound which Omamdam received in the chest, judging by the description given by the sanitary
inspector who attended him as he lay dying, tallies with the size of the point of Bindoy's bolo.
There is no doubt that the latter caused the wound which produced Emigdio Omamdam's death, but
the defendant alleges that it was caused accidentally and without malicious intent.

Pacas and the widow of the deceased, Carmen Angot, testified having seen the accused stab
Omamdam with his bolo. Such testimony is not incompatible with that of the accused, to the effect
that he wounded Omamdam by accident. The widow testified that she knew of her husband's wound
being caused by Bindoy from his statement to her before his death.
The testimony of the witnesses for the prosecution tends to show that the accused stabbed
Omamdam in the chest with his bolo on that occasion. The defendant, indeed, in his effort to free
himself of Pacas, who was endeavoring to wrench his bolo from him, hit Omamdam in the chest; but,
as we have stated, there is no evidence to show that he did so deliberately and with the intention of
committing a crime. If, in his struggle with Pacas, the defendant had attempted to wound his
opponent, and instead of doing so, had wounded Omamdam, he would have had to answer for his
act, since whoever willfully commits a felony or a misdemeanor incurs criminal liability, although the
wrongful act done be different from that which he intended. (Art. 1 of the Penal Code.) But, as we
have said, this is not the case.
The witness for the defense, Gaudencio Cenas, corroborates the defendant to the effect that Pacas
and Bindoy were actually struggling for the possession of the bolo, and that when the latter let go,
the former had pulled so violently that it flew towards his left side, at the very moment when Emigdio
Omamdam came up, who was therefore hit in the chest, without Donato's seeing him, because
Emigdio had passed behind him. The same witness adds that he went to see Omamdam at his
home later, and asked him about his wound when he replied: "I think I shall die of this wound." And
then continued: "Please look after my wife when I die: See that she doesn't starve," adding further:
"This wound was an accident. Donato did not aim at me, nor I at him: It was a mishap." The
testimony of this witness was not contradicted by any rebuttal evidence adduced by the fiscal.
We have searched the record in vain for the motive of this kind, which, had it existed, would have
greatly facilitated the solution of this case. And we deem it well to repeat what this court said in
United States vs. Carlos (15 Phil., 47), to wit:
The attention of prosecuting officers, and especially of provincial fiscals, directed to the
importance of definitely ascertaining and proving, when possible, the motives which actuated
the commission of a crime under investigation.
In many criminal cases one of the most important aids in completing the proof of the
commission of the crime by the accused is the introduction of evidence disclosing the
motives which tempted the mind of the guilty person to indulge the criminal act.
In view of the evidence before us, we are of opinion and so hold, that the appellant is entitled to
acquittal according to article 8, No. 8, Penal Code. Wherefore, the judgment appealed from is
reversed, and the accused Donato Bindoy is hereby acquitted with costs de oficio. So ordered.

G.R. No. 38511, October 06, 1933


THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLEE,
VS. FRANCISCO CAGOCO Y RAMONES (ALIAS FRANCISCO CAGURO,
ALIAS FRANCISCO ADMONES, ALIAS BUCOY, ALIAS FRISCO GUY),

DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.


DECISION
VICKERS, J.:
The accused was charged in the Court of First Instance of Manila with the
crime of asesinato, committed as follows:
"That on or about the 24th day of July, 1932, in the City of Manila, Philippine
Islands, the said accused did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously, without any just cause therefor and with intent to kill and
treachery, assault and attack one Yu Lon by suddenly giving him a fist blow
on the back part of the head, under conditions which intended directly and
especially to insure the accomplishment of his purpose without risk to
himself arising from any defense the victim Yu Lon might make, thus causing
him to fall on the ground as a consequence of which he suffered a lacerated
wound on the scalp and a fissured fracture on the left occipital region, which
were necessarily mortal and which caused the immediate death of the said
Yu Lon."
After hearing the evidence, Judge Luis P. Torres found the defendant guilty as
charged, and sentenced him to suffer reclusion perpetua, with the accessory
penalties of the law, to indemnify the heirs of the deceased Yu Lon in the
sum of P1,000, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to
pay the costs.
Appellant's attorney de oficio makes the following assignments of error:
"1. The trial court erred in finding that the appellant is the person who
committed the assault on Yu Lon, the victim of the crime charged in the
information.
"2. Assuming that the appellant is the person who committed the assault on
Yu Lon (a fact which we specifically deny), the trial court erred in finding that
the appellant struck his supposed victim.
"3. Assuming that the appellant is the person who committed the assault on
Yu Lon, and that the appellant did strike his supposed victim (facts which we
specifically deny) the trial court erred in finding that the blow was dealt from
the victim's rear.

"4. The trial court erred in finding that the identity of the appellant was fully
established.
"5. Assuming that the four preceding errors assigned are without merit, the
trial court erred in convicting the appellant of the crime of murder, under
article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, instead of convicting him of the crime
of maltreatment, under article 266 of the said Code."
It appears from the evidence that about 8.30 on the night of July 24, 1932 Yu
Lon and Yu Yee, father and son, stopped to talk on the sidewalk at the corner
of Mestizos and San Fernando Streets in the District of San Nicolas. Yu Lon
was standing near the outer edge of the sidewalk, with his back to the street.
While they were talking, a man passed back and forth behind Yu Lon once or
twice, and when Yu Yee was about to take leave of his father, the man that
had been passing back and forth behind Yu Lon approached him from behind
and suddenly and without warning struck him with his fist on the back part of
the head. Yu Lon tottered and fell backwards. His head struck the asphalt
pavement; the lower part of his body fell on the sidewalk. His assailant
immediately ran away. Yu Yee pursued him through San Fernando, Camba,
and Jaboneros Streets, and then lost sight of him. Two other Chinese, Chin
Sam and Yee Fung, who were walking along Calle Mestizos, saw the incident
and joined him in the pursuit of Yu Lon's assailant. The wounded man was
taken to the Philippine General Hospital, where he died about midnight. A
post-mortem examination was made the next day by Dr. Anastacia Villegas,
who found that the deceased had sustained a lacerated wound and fracture
of the skull in the occipital region, and that he had died from cerebral
hemorrhage; that he had tuberculosis, though not in an advanced stage, and
a tumor in the left kidney.
Yu Yee promptly reported the incident to the police, and about 3 o'clock the
next morning Sergeant Sol Cruz and other detectives, accompanied by Yu
Yee, went to the scene of the crime and found blood stains in the street. Yu
Yee said that he could recognize his father's assailant, and described him as
being about five feet in height, 25 or 30 years old, with long hair and wearing
a suit of dark clothes. After Sergeant Sol Cruz had been working on the case
for three or four days he received information that the accused might be the
person that had assaulted Yu Lon, and on August 4th the accused was
arrested by detectives Manrique and Bustamante. He was wearing a dark
wool suit. Yu Yee was immediately called to the police station. The accused
was placed near the middle of a line of some eleven persons that had been
detained for investigation. They were wearing different kinds of clothes. Yu
Yee without hesitation pointed out the defendant as the person that had
assaulted Yu Lon. He identified him not only by his long hair combed towards

the back and worn long on the sides in the form of side-whiskers (patillas),
but also by his high cheek-bones and the fact that his ears have no lobes.
The defendant was identified at the trial not only by Yu Yee, but also by Chin
Sam and Yee Fung.
With respect to the first four assignments of error, which raise questions of
fact as to the identification of the accused, and whether or not he struck the
deceased, and if he did assault the deceased, whether he did so in a
treacherous manner, we see no sufficient reason, after considering the
evidence and arguments of counsel, to doubt the correctness of the findings
of the trial judge. The accused was identified by Yu Yee and two other
Chinese, and although Yu Yee may have overstated at the trial some of the
facial peculiarities in the defendant that he claimed to have observed at the
time of the incident, it must be remembered that Yu Yee without hesitation
picked the defendant out of a group of eleven persons as his father's
assailant, and that he had exceptional opportunities for observing his father's
assailant, because while that person was walking back and forth behind Yu
Lon, Yu Yee was facing the assailant.
We find the testimony of the defendant and his witnesses as to the
whereabouts of the defendant on the night in question unworthy of credit.
The testimony of the three Chinese that a man struck the deceased and then
ran away is corroborated by the testimony of a 15-year old boy, Dominador
Sales.
As to the contention that the deceased would have fallen on his face if he
had been struck on the back of the head, the expert testimony shows that in
such a case a person instinctively makes an effort to preserve or regain his
balance, and that as result thereof the deceased may have fallen backwards.
Another consideration is that sidewalks almost invariably slope towards the
pavement, and this being true, when the deceased straightened up, he
naturally tended to fall backwards. The evidence leaves no room for doubt
that the accused struck the deceased on the back of the head, because
when the deceased was assaulted he and Yu Yee were standing on the
sidewalk, facing each other, and if the accused had not struck the deceased
on the back of the head, it would have been necessary for him to go between
the deceased and Yu Yee. Since the accused struck the deceased from
behind and without warning, he acted with treachery. "There is treachery
when the offender commits any of the crimes against the person, employing
means, methods, or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and
specially to insure its execution, without risk to himself arising from the

defense which the offended party might make." (Article 14, No. 16, of the
Revised Penal Code.)
The fourth assignment of error is a repetition of the first.
In the fifth assignment of error it is contended that the appellant if guilty at
all, should be punished in accordance with article 266 of the Revised Penal
Code, or for slight physical injuries instead of murder.
Paragraph No. 1 of article 4 of the Revised Penal Code provides that criminal
liability shall be incurred by any person committing a felony (delito) although
the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended; but in order
that a person may be criminally liable for a felony different from that which
he proposed to commit, it is indispensable that the two following requisites
be present, to wit: (a) That a felony was committed; and (b) that the wrong
done to the aggrieved person be the direct consequence of the crime
committed by the offender. (U. S. vs. Brobst, 14 Phil., 310; U. S. vs. Mallari,
29 Phil., 14; U. S. vs. Diana, 32 Phil., 344.)
In the Brobst case, supra, it was held that death may result from a blow over
or near the heart or in the abdominal region, notwithstanding the fact that
the blow leaves no outward mark of violence; that where death results as the
direct consequence of the use of illegal violence, the mere fact that the
diseased or weakened condition of the injured person contributed to his
death, does not relieve the illegal aggressor of criminal responsibility; that
one is not relieved, under the law in these Islands, from criminal liability for
the natural consequences of one's illegal acts, merely because one does not
intend to produce such consequences; but that in such cases, the lack of
intention, while it does not exempt from criminal liability, is taken into
consideration as an extenuating circumstance. (U. S. vs.Luciano, 2 Phil., 96.)
The reasoning of the decisions cited is applicable to the case at bar. There
can be no reasonable doubt as to the cause of the death of Yu Lon. There is
nothing to indicate that it was due to some extraneous case. It was clearly
the direct consequence of defendants felonious act, and the fact that the
defendant did not intend to cause so great an injury does not relieve him
from the consequence of his unlawful act, but is merely a mitigating
circumstance (U. S. vs. Rodriguez, 23 Phil., 22).
The next question is whether the crime committed by the defendant should
be classified as homicide or murder. Can the defendant be convicted of
murder when he did not intend to kill the deceased?

We have seen that under the circumstances of this case the defendant is
liable for the killing of Yu Lon, because his death was the direct consequence
of defendant's felonious act of striking him on the head. If the defendant had
not committed the assault in a treacherous manner, he would nevertheless
have been guilty of homicide, although he did not intend to kill the
deceased; and since the defendant did commit the crime with treachery, he
is guilty of murder, because of the presence of the qualifying circumstance of
treachery.
The Supreme Court of Spain has held that there is no incompatibility, moral
or legal, between alevosia and the mitigating circumstance of not having
intended to cause so great an injury:
"Considering that there is no moral or legal incompatibility between
treachery and the mitigating circumstance No. 3 of article 9 of the Penal
Code, because the former depends upon the manner of execution of the
crime and the latter upon the tendency of the will towards a definite
purpose, and therefore there is no obstacle, in case treacherous means,
modes or forms are employed, to the appreciation of the first of said
circumstances and simultaneously of the second if the injury produced
exceeds the limits intended by the accused; and for that reason it cannot be
held in the instant case that this mitigating circumstance excludes treachery,
or that the accused, being chargeable with the death of the offended party,
should not be liable for murder, inasmuch as this was the offense committed
due to the voluntary presence of treachery in the act perpetrated, although
with the mitigation corresponding to the disparity between the act intended
and the act consummated, etc." (Decision of May 10, 1905, Gazette of April
20, 1906; Viada: 5th edition, Vol. 2, p. 156.)
In the case of the United States vs. Candelaria (2 Phil., 104), this court
speaking through Chief Justice Arellano said:
"In tying Jacinto to a tree the three defendants acted treacherously
(alevosamente). Whether it was to prevent him from making resistance,
whether it was to torture him for the purpose of making him give
information, or whether it was for the purpose of inflicting further
punishment, the fact is that by this means the defendants secured
themselves against any risk which might have arisen from an attempt at selfdefense on the part of the victim. We are of opinion that they had no
intention to cause so great an evil as that which resulted, but this does not
neutralize that other qualifying circumstance of the resulting death, because
if there was no alevosia for the purpose of killing there was alevosia for the
purpose of illtreating. The means employed were not made use of for the

precise purpose of making certain the death of Jacinto de Jesus, but as a safe
means of illtreating him without risk to the persons who were doing so. If by
this means the ill treatment was aggravated, it follows that it is a qualifying
circumstance in the death which resulted. It was not a condition of the
purpose, but it was a condition of the criminal act itself, in whatever sense
this be taken."
The penalty for murder (article 248 of the Revised Penal Code) is reclusion
temporal in its maximum period to death, and there being present in this
case one mitigating and no aggravating circumstance the prison sentence of
the appellant is reduced to seventeen years, four months, and one day
of reclusion temporal. As thus modified, the decision appealed from is
affirmed, with the costs against the appellant.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. NO. 178873

April 24, 2009

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee,


vs.
ILLUSTRE LLAGAS a.k.a. NONOY LLAGAS, Appellant.
DECISION
CARPIO-MORALES, J.:
By Information filed on May 28, 2003 before the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City, docketed as
Criminal Case No. 21514-R, Illustre Llagas (appellant) was charged with rape as follows:
That on or about the 16th day of April, 2003, in the City of Baguio, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully
and feloniously and by means of violence and intimidation, have carnal knowledge of the said
complainant [AAA],1 against her will and consent.2
The prosecution gave the following version of the incident:
AAA worked as a waitress at a restaurant and karaoke bar 3 in Baguio City.4 Her work schedule was
from 5:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. of the next day. As she was residing in La Trinidad, she often slept at the
house of her co-worker, BBB,5 in Baguio City.

On February 24, 2003,6 appellant, BBBs cousin, whose wife was an overseas worker in Hongkong,
met AAA in BBBs house. From then on, appellant would sometimes bring food to BBBs house
where the three of them would take lunch and watch television (TV) together.7
On April 16, 2003, as previously agreed, appellant and AAA met at 2:00 p.m. in front of McDonalds,
Center Mall, Baguio City as she was going to buy his cellphone. Appellant, having told AAA that he
left the phone charger at his house at Km. 4, Asin Road, Baguio City, suggested that they go there to
get it. AAA demurred, saying she would go somewhere and he could just give it to her the following
day. He persisted, however, assuring her that they would not be alone since his mother and sister
were there. With that assurance, AAA relented.8
Via a taxi, appellant and AAA repaired to appellants house. On finding that they were alone in the
house, AAA tried to leave but appellant quickly locked the door. When she insisted to leave, he
boxed her twice on the stomach causing her to sit. She begged for mercy, but he would hear none of
it. When she struggled to leave, he strangled her on the neck, threatening her not to shout or else he
would kill her. He then took a knife from a table and aimed it at her chest. He pulled her inside a
room but she struggled, so he boxed her again on the stomach, rendering her weak. He finally
succeeded in pulling her inside the room and putting her on the bed. She tried to push him away but
failed as he was still holding a knife. He kissed her, removed her T-shirt, pants, and panties. He then
removed his shirt and pants, went on top of her and inserted his penis into her vagina while she was
crying helplessly. After ejaculating, he stood up and sneered at her, saying she would not be able to
go out of the house anymore. While she was crying, his cellphone rang. It was a call from his wife.
While he was talking with his wife, she swiftly took the opportunity to escape.
AAA went home to Sison, Pangasinan. Still shocked and not knowing what to do, she went to San
Fabian of the same province and related the incident to her uncle, a policeman. With the assistance
of her uncle, she filed a complaint against appellant for rape before the police authorities in Baguio
City.9
Dr. Lorelle Coquia, a physician of the Baguio City General Hospital, found AAA to be coherent and
oriented as to date, time, and place. Since it was already more than a week from the occurrence of
the incident, the doctor found no evident injury on AAAs body, but discovered a healed laceration in
her hymen at 3:00 oclock and 9:00 oclock positions, which could have been caused by a
penetrating trauma like that of an erect male organ.10
Appellant, denying the accusation that he raped AAA on April 16, 2003, claimed that he had had
sexual intercourse with her, but on February 28 or 29, 2003 while they were watching TV at BBBs
house; and that it happened by mutual consent.
By Decision11 of March 26, 2005, the trial court (Branch 6) found appellant guilty of rape, disposing
as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court finds the accused Illustre Llagas also known as
Nonoy Llagas guilty of Rape as defined and penalized under Art. 266-A in relation to Art. 266-B
Chapter 3 Title 8 of the Revised Penal Code as amended by Sec. 2 of Republic Act 8353 and
sentences him to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua, to indemnify the offended party x x x the
sum of P50,000.00 as Civil Indemnity and the sum ofP100,000.00 as Moral Damages for the pain
and anguish suffered by her, both without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to pay
the costs.
The accused Illustre Llagas being a detention prisoner is entitled to be credited 4/5 of his preventive
imprisonment in the service of his sentence in accordance with Art. 29 of the Revised Penal Code.

SO ORDERED.
Before the Court of Appeals to which appellant appealed his conviction, he faulted the trial court
I
IN FINDING THAT ACCUSED-APPELLANT USED FORCE AND INTIMIDATION WHEN IN FACT
THE SEXUAL INTERCOURSE WAS WITH THE MUTUAL CONSENT OF THE PRIVATE
COMPLAINANT AND THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT.
II
IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT DESPITE THE WEAK EVIDENCE PRESENTED
BY THE PROSECUTION AGAINST HIM.
III
IN AWARDING ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P100,000.00) AS MORAL DAMAGES
FOR BEING NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PREVAILING JURISPRUDENCE. 12
The People, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), maintained that, except for the award
of moral damages which should be reduced to P50,000, the appealed decision, being in conformity
with the law and evidence, should be affirmed.13
The appellate court, by Decision14 of April 13, 2007 in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 01407, affirmed the
factual findings of the trial court, but modified the award of moral damages by reducing it
from P100,000 to P50,000, consistent with prevailing jurisprudence. 15 The appellate court thus
disposed:
WHEREFORE, the decision of the RTC, Branch 6, Baguio City, in Criminal Case No. 21514-R
appealed from isAFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that the amount of moral damages is reduced
to P50,000.00.
SO ORDERED.16 (Emphasis in the original)
Hence, appellants present appeal. In separate Manifestations, appellant and the OSG found it no
longer necessary to file their respective supplemental briefs.
In the main, appellant submits in his Appellants Brief filed before the appellate court that his act of
answering a phone call from his wife "on the very same date and time that he was allegedly
raping [AAA] is more of an evidence of consensual sexual intercourse and not of forced carnal
knowledge"17 (Underscoring supplied).
Such change of theory on appeal can only be construed against his innocence, however. For while
before the trial court appellant denied having had sexual intercourse with AAA on April 16, 2003, he
admitted having done so but on February 28 or 29, 2003 and with AAAs consent.
1avvphi1

But even if the Court were to credit appellants change of position when the case reached the
appellate court, his citation of his having received his wifes phone call as negating the use of force
or intimidation is illogical, to say the least. For it was, in fact, on account of his talking to his wife on
the phone that AAA found the opportunity to escape.

AAAs following vivid account, quoted verbatim, which was punctuated with her crying, of how she
was sexually assaulted by appellant clearly shows the total absence of consensual sex as claimed
by him:
Q You said earlier that the accused mentioned his mother and a sister in the house. Were
those two inside the house when you arrived?
A When I was already inside the house I noticed that there is no person inside so I asked
him, "Where is your mother and your sister?" and he said "they just left for a while and they
will be coming back soon."
xxxx
Q So what else happened after that?
A I was already standing and I have the intention of going out but he suddenly locked the
door.
Pros. Tabangin:
We put on record the observation that the witness is now starting to cry.
Q All right, so what happened after the locking of the door? May we have a recess, Your
Honor.
Court:
All right, get hold of yourself.
Pros. Tabangin:
Q All right, how did he lock the door?
A He pushed the doorknob, sir.
Q Then, what happened after he locked the door?
A He suddenly boxed me twice on my stomach.
Q And what happened to you after you were boxed on your stomach?
A I was forced to sit because I was hurt of the x x x blow from him and I pleaded to him
saying, "Maawa ka (have mercy)."
Q Where in the house did this take place?
A In the living room near the bedroom, sir.
Q And you were forced to sit, where? On the floor?

A Yes, sir, on the floor.


Q And what else did he do after boxing you twice?
A He choked me on my neck and said, "Do not shout or else I will kill you."
Q How did he choke your neck? Will you demonstrate?
A (Witness demonstrating the way she was choked by putting her hands on her neck.)
Pros. Tabangin:
And what did you feel as the accused was choking you with his two hands?
A I coughed for the forcible tightening of my neck with his two hands.
Q How long did he choke your neck?
A For a while but then he suddenly took hold of a knife from the table and pointed it on my
chest.
Q What kind of knife was that?
A Kitchen knife, sir.
xxxx
Q And after pointing the knife on [sic] your chest, what did he do next?
A He pulled me inside the room but I was struggling so he boxed me again on my stomach.
xxxx
Q And what happened to you after you were boxed for the third time?
A I became weak and I could no longer fight him so he continued pulling me inside the room.
Q Then what happened inside the room?
A While we were inside the room he put me on the bed and I was trying to push him away
but still the knife was with him so I cannot fight him anymore.
xxxx
Pros. Tabangin:
You said earlier that you pleaded for mercy from him. What else did you tell him, if there was
any?

A I was pleading for mercy but he does not hear me and I am already weak and still the knife
was beside him.
Court:
Put it on record that the witness is continuously crying at this point. Continue.
Pros. Tabangin:
Then, after he laid you down on the bed, what did he do to you?
A While I was on the bed he kept on kissing me, then (he) removed my upper shirt and pants
and he removed everything. I was naked.
Q And after removing all your clothes, what did he do next?
A He went on top of me and he inserted his penis into my vagina.
Q By the way, you said that all your clothes were removed by him, how about the accused
was he wearing anything?
A He removed also his t-shirt and pants.
Q When he was removing his shirt and pants, how about you, how did you feel?
A I kept on crying because the knife is [sic] still there beside him.
Q You said that he inserted his penis into your vagina, how long did he remain on top of you?
A For a while because after ejaculating he stood up.
Q And after standing up, what did he do next?
A He was even sneering telling me that I cannot get out from that house anymore.
Q And what about you, what did you do also?
A I continued crying, sir, and while we were inside the room, the cellphone rang and he
received the call so he went out of the room.
Q So, when he went out of the room, what did you do also?
A I immediately put on my clothes, sir.
Q And after putting on your clothes, what did you do?
A I got out from the room but I noticed he could see me so I was afraid to go out.
Q So, what did you do next?

A I was inside the sala walking to and fro thinking how to escape.
Q And what else happened?
A I notice that he was still talking with his wife thru the cellfone and I even heard saying
"Noynoy" and I heard him telling to the wife that "there [is] no woman here in the house and I
dont want to be imprisoned again."
Q And what did you say that the accused was talking with his wife?
A Yes because that was the call he was waiting, the call of his wife.
Q "Noynoy" is the same accused?
A Yes, sir.
Q All right, and were you able to get out of the house eventually?
A Yes sir.18 (Underscoring supplied)
The trial and appellate courts found AAAs straightforward, candid, and spontaneous testimony
credible as it bears the hallmarks of a truthful witness, unflawed by inconsistencies or contradictions.
The credibility of a rape victim is augmented where, as here, there is absolutely no evidence which
even remotely suggests that she could have been actuated by ill-motive to testify against appellant. 19
Appellant goes on to attack AAAs character as a witness as he finds her weeklong delay in reporting
the rape to the authorities to be an indication that she "could have easily fabricated an elaborate
scheme to destroy the life of appellant."20
Appellants position fails to impress. There is nothing in the records to indicate that AAA has a
debased character to prompt her to weave an untruthful tale just to ruin anothers life. On the
contrary, the records depict her as a decent, resourceful, and hardworking Filipina trying to earn a
living while waiting for a job abroad.
lawphil.zw+

As for AAAs one week delay in reporting the rape, she did not know what to do as she feared
appellants threat that he would kill her if she told anybody of the incident. 21 It has been held that
delay or vacillation in making a criminal accusation does not necessarily weaken the credibility of a
witness where, as here, such delay is satisfactorily explained. 22
Respecting the civil aspect of the case, the Court finds that AAA is also entitled to an award of
exemplary damages which jurisprudence pegs at P25,000 as it was proven, although not alleged in
the information, during the trial that the use of deadly weapon attended the commission of the crime.
It bears stating that while such circumstance cannot be appreciated for the purpose of fixing a
heavier penalty, it can be considered as basis for an award of exemplary damages. 23
WHEREFORE, the appeal is DISMISSED. The assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
CR-HC No. 01407 is AFFIRMED, with the MODIFICATION that appellant Illustre Llagas a.k.a.
Nonoy Llagas is ORDERED to pay the private complainant the sum of Twenty Five Thousand Pesos
(P25,000) as exemplary damages.
SO ORDERED.

CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES


Associate Justice
Acting Chairperson
WE CONCUR:
DANTE O. TINGA
Associate Justice

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.


Associate Justice

TERESITA J. LEONARDO DE CASTRO*


Associate Justice

ARTURO D. BRION
Associate Justice

ATT E S TATI O N
I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case
was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES
Associate Justice
Acting Chairperson
C E R TI F I C ATI O N
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, and the Division Chairpersons Attestation, I
certify that the conclusions in the above decision had been reached in consultation before the case
was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-60100 March 20, 1985
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
JAIME RODRIGUEZ alias JIMMY alias WILFRED DE LARA y MEDRANO and RICO
LOPEZ, accused-appellants.
G.R. No. L-60768 March 20, 1985

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
DARIO DE REYES alias DARIO DECE RAYMUNDO y ELAUSA, accused- appellant.
G.R. No. L-61069 March 20, l985
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
PETER PONCE y BULAYBULAY alias PETER POWE, accused-appellant.

PER CURIAM:
Appellants Jaime Rodriguez alias Jimmy alias Wilfred de Lara y Medrano, Rico Lopez, Davao Reyes
alias Dario Dece Raymundo y Elausa and Peter Ponce y Bulaybulay alias Peter Power were
charged of the crime of piracy in an information filed before the then Court of First Instance of Sulu
and Tawi-Tawi, which reads:
That on or about 3:15 in the morning of August 31, 1981, at the vicinity of Muligin
Island and within the territorial waters of the Municipality of Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi,
Province of Tawi-Tawi, and within the jurisdiction of this honorable Court, the abovenamed accused Wilfred de Lara y Medrano, alias Jaime Rodriguez (Jimmy) Dario
Dece Raymundo y Elausa; Rico Lopez y Fernandez and Peter Ponce y Bulaybulay
alias Peter Power being crew members of the M/V Noria 767, a barter trade vessel of
Philippine registry, conspiring and confederating together and mutually helping one
another and armed with bladed weapons and high caliber firearms, to wit: three (3)
daggers, two (2) M-14, one (1) garand and one (1) Browning Automatic Rifle, with
intent of gain and by means of violence and intimidation upon persons, did then and
there willfully and unlawfuflly, and feloniously take, steal and carry away against the
consent of the owners thereof, the equipments and other persona) properties
belonging to the crew members and passengers of the said M/V Noria 767,
consisting of cash money amounting to Three Million Five Hundred Seventeen
Thousand Three Hundred Pesos (P3,517,300.00), personal belongings of
passengers and crew amounting to One Hundred Thirty Thousand Pesos
(P130,000.00), the vessel's compass, navigational charts and instruments amounting
to Forty Thousand Pesos (P40,000.00) to the damage and prejudice of the
aforementioned owners in the total amount of THREE MILLION SIX HUNDRED
EIGHTY SEVEN THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED PESOS (P3,687,300.00)
Philippine Currency; that by reason of and on the occasion of the said piracy and for
the purpose of enabling the abovenamed accused to take, steal and carry away the
properties abovementioned, the herein accused in pursuance to their conspiracy, did
then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously with intent to kill and with evident
premeditation, treacherously attack, assault, stab, shot and, taking advantage of
superior strength, use personal violence upon the persons of Abdusador Sumihag,
Vicente America, Perhan Tan, Marcos Que, Ismael Turabin, Mabar Abdurahman,
Wadi Aduk Rasdi Alfad, Kasmir Tan, Peter Paul Chiong, Juaini Husini Ismael Ombra,
Sabturani Ulag, Mutalib Sarahadil, Bajubar Adam, Quillermo Wee, Reuben Segovia
Ho, Michael Lao, Yusop Abubakar, Hahji Hussin Kulavan, Amjad Quezon, Rebuan

Majid Edgar Tan, Abdurasul Alialam Federico Canizares, Omar Tahil Gilbert Que,
Arajul Salialam, Masihul Bandahala, Asola Mohammaddin, Batoto Sulpicio, Sakirani
Bassal, Ibrahim Jamil, Saupi Malang and Gulam Sahiddan, thereby inflicting upon
them multiple gunshot wounds which caused their instantaneous death and likewise
causing physical injuries upon the persons of Inggal Issao Abduhasan Indasan Hadji
Yusop H. Alfad and Hadji Mahalail Alfad, thus performing all acts of execution which
could have produced the death of said persons, but nevertheless did not produce it
by reason or cause independent of the will of said accused, that is, by the timely and
able medical assistance rendered to said victims which prevented death.
CONTRARY TO LAW, with the aggravating circumstances of treachery, evident
premeditation, night time and the use of superior strength. (pp. 97-98, Rollo of L61069)
Upon arraignment on February 25, 1982, Jaime Rodriguez and Rico Lopez, assisted by their
counsel, pleaded guilty to the charge, were convicted on March 5, 1982 and sentenced each "to
suffer the extreme penalty of death."
Dario Dece Raymundo, upon arraignment, interposed a plea of not guilty. However, he withdrew his
plea and substituted it with that of guilty. On March 10, 1982 he was convicted of the crime charged
and sentenced "to suffer the extreme penalty of death."
Peter Ponce y Bulaybulay entered the plea of not guilty.
After trial, he was found guilty and was also sentenced "to suffer the extreme penalty of death."
No pronouncement was made with respect to the civil liabilities of the four defendants because
"there was a separate civil action for breach of contract and damages filed with the same trial court
in Civil Case No. N-85 against the several defendants, including the four accused aforementioned."
(p. 26, L-61069)
The case of the four convicted defendants is now before Us on automatic review.
Evidence shows that on August 29, 1981, at about 7:30 in the evening, the vessel M/V Noria 767,
owned and registered in the name of Hadji Noria Indasan left Jolo wharf for Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi.
It arrived at the port of Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi the following day, August 30, 1981, at around 2:00 in
the afternoon. In the evening of the same date, the vessel left for Labuan. On board the vessel were
several traders and crew members. Two or three hours after its departure, while sailing about 25
miles from Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi, a commotion occurred in one of the cabins of the vessel.
Three witnesses testified on what they saw and heard.
Mr. Clyde Que, a passenger, heard noises inside a cabin and, after awhile, he heard shots being
fired. He rushed to the motor launch to hide and on his way through the engine room, he saw
appellant Peter Ponce. Then appellants Jaime Rodriguez, Dario Dece and Rico Lopez, all armed
with rifles, started firing towards Que's companions after which they brought Que to the pilot's house
to handle the steering wheel. He was substituted by Usman, another passenger, while Que and the
other crew members were ordered to throw overboard sacks of copra and the dead bodies of Peter

Chiong, Michael Lao, Casmin Tan and Vicente America. At the time, appellant Peter Ponce, armed
with a M-14 rifle, stood guard.
Hadji Mahalail Alfad, another passenger, heard commotions from the motor launch, followed by
gunfire. He hid by laying down among the sacks of copra. He saw appellants Peter Ponce, Jaime
Rodriguez, Rico Lopez and Dario Dece coming down the stairs as they were firing shots until Fred
Canizares and Guilbert Que were hit, their bodies falling upon him. When he tried to move, he
realized that he was also hit on the right side of his stomach. Thereafter, he pretended to be dead till
daytime.
Emil Macasaet, Jr., the skipper of the vessel heard the commotion from one of the cabins. He
ordered his men to open the door but it could not be opened. After awhile, the door opened and he
saw a gun pointed at them. Whereupon, he hid behind the bags of copra until appellant Jaime
Rodriguez came and fired at him. Luckily, he was not hit. He and some of his men crawled and they
took cover in the bodega of copra. While in hiding there were gunfires coming from Dario Dece and
Peter Ponce. About four (4) hours later, his Chief Mate Usman persuaded him to come out otherwise
something worse would happen. He saw Jaime Rodriguez who ordered him to direct his men to
throw the copras as well as the dead bodies overboard.
About ten o'clock in the morning of the same day, the vessel reached an island where the four
appellants were able to secure pumpboats. Macasaet was ordered to load in one of the pumpboats
nine (9) attache cases which were full of money. Rico Lopez and Jaime Rodriguez boarded one
pumpboat, while Peter Ponce and Dario Dece boarded another, bringing with them: dressed
chicken, softdrinks, durian, boxes of ammunitions, gallons of water and some meat, as well as rifles.
Municipal Health Officer Leopoldo Lao went aboard the vessel M/V Noria when it arrived at Cagayan
de Tawi-Tawi on September 2, 1981 and saw at the wharf ten dead bodies, all victims of the seajacking, namely: Gulam Sahiddan, Arajul Naran Salialam, Mallang Saupi, Guilbert Que, Frederico
Canizares, Masihul Bandahala, Ribowan Majid Edgar Tan, Omar Sabdani Tahir and Abdurasul
Salialam.
In their brief, appellants Jaime Rodriguez, Rico Lopez and Dario Dece claim that the trial court erred
(1) in imposing the death penalty to the accused-appellants Jaime Rodriguez alias Wilfred de Lara,
Rico Lopez y Fernandez and Davao de Reyes, alias Dario Dece Raymundo y Elausa despite their
plea of guilty; (2) in giving weight to the alleged sworn statements of Peter Ponce y Bulaybulay,
Identified as Exhibits "C" to "C-10" and Exhibits "I to I-5", as evidence against Peter Ponce y
Bulaybulay; (3) in holding that accused-appellant Peter Ponce y Bulaybulay is guilty of the crime of
piracy; (4) in holding that the defense of Peter Ponce y Bulaybulay was merely a denial; and, (5) in
holding that Peter Ponce y Bulaybulay entrusted the P1,700.00 which was his personal money to
Atty. Efren Capulong of the National Bureau of Investigation.
There is no merit in this appeal of the three named defendants, namely: Jaime Rodriguez and Rico
Lopez in G.R. No. L-60100, and Dario Dece in G.R. No. L-60768.
Anent the first assigned error, suffice it to say that Presidential Decree No. 532, otherwise known as
the Anti-Piracy Law, amending Article 134 of the Revised Penal Code and which took effect on
August 8, 1974, provides:

SEC. 3. Penalties.Any person who commits piracy or highway robbery/brigandage


as herein defined, shall, upon conviction by competent court be punished by:
a) Piracy.The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium and maximum periods
shall be imposed. If physical injuries or other crimes are committed as a result or on
the occasion thereof, the penalty of reclusion perpetua shall be imposed. If rape,
murder or no homocide is committed as a result or on the occasion of piracy, or when
the offenders abandoned the victims without means of saving themselves, or when
the seizure is accomplished by firing upon or boarding a vessel, the mandatory
penalty of death shall be imposed. (Emphasis supplied)
Clearly, the penalty imposable upon persons found guilty of the crime of piracy where rape, murder
or homicide is committed is mandatory death penalty. Thus, the lower court committed no error in not
considering the plea of the three (3) defendants as a mitigating circumstance. Article 63 of the
Revised Penal Code states that:
b) ART. 63. Rules for the application of indivisible penalties.In all cases in which
the law prescribes a single indivisible penalty, it shag be applied by the courts
regardless of any mitigating or aggravating circumstances that may have attended
the commission of the deed.
With respect to the other assigned errors, We also find them to be devoid of merit. Appellants Peter
Ponce gave a statement (Exhibits "C" to "C-11") to the Malaysian authorities and another statement
(Exhibits "I" to "I-15") before the National Bureau of Investigation of Manila. When said statement
(Exhibits "C" to "C-11") was offered in evidence by the prosecution, the same was not objected to by
the defense, aside from the fact that Peter Ponce, on cross examination, admitted the truthfulness of
said declarations, thus:
Q And the investigation was reduced into writing is that correct?
A Yes. sir.
Q And you were investigated by the police authority of Kudat and
Kota Kinabalo, is that right?
A Yes, sir. Only in Kudat.
Q And that statement you gave to the authority at Kudat, you have
signed that statement, is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q And what you stated is all the truth before the authority in Kudat?
A Yes, sir. (pp. 33-34, tsn, May 28, 1982)
Relative to the appeal of appellant Peter Ponce (G.R. No. L-61069), which We likewise declare to be
without merit, evidence shows that his participation in the commission of the offense was positively

testified to by the master of the vessel, Emil Macasaet, Jr., and a passenger, Hadji Mahalail Alfad.
Another witness, passenger Clyde Que also pointed to have seen him (Peter Ponce) armed with an
M-14 rifle.
Considering the testimonies of Clyde Que and Emil Macasaet, Jr. who actually saw appellant Peter
Ponce firing his weapon indiscriminately at the passengers and crew members in wanton disregard
of human lives and the fact that after the looting and killing, appellant Peter Ponce, still armed, joined
Dario Dece in one pumpboat, there can be no question that he was in conspiracy with the three
other defendants. After his arrest, Ponce gave a statement to the authorities stating therein his
participation as well as those of his companions (Exhibits "I" to "I-1").
The four (4) appellants were arrested and detained by the Malaysian authorities. On January 8,
1982, the National Bureau of Investigation authorities fetched and brought them to Manila where
they executed their respective statements after Rico Lopez and Peter Ponce delivered to the NBI,
P3,700.00 and P1,700.00, respectively, aside from the P527,595.00 and one Rolex watch which the
Malaysian authorities also turned over to the Acting In-Charge of the NBI in Jolo.
The statement of Ponce (Exhibit " I ") contains the questions and answers pertinent to Section 20 of
the 1973 Constitution, to wit:
l. QUESTION: Mr. Peter Ponce, we are informing you that you are
under investigation here in connection with the robbery committed on
the M/V Noria last August 31, 1981, where you are an Assistant
Engineer. You have a right to remain silent and to refuse to answer
any of our questions here. You have the right to be represented by
counsel of your choice in this investigation. Should you decide to be
represented by a lawyer but cannot afford one we will provide a
lawyer for you free. Should you decide to give a sworn statement, the
same shall be voluntary and free from force or intimidation or promise
of reward or leniency and anything that you saw here maybe used for
or against you in any court in the Philippines. Now do you understand
an these rights of yours?
ANSWER: Yes, sir.
2. Q: Do you need the services of a lawyer?
A: No, sir.
3. Q: Are you willing to affix your signature hereinbelow to signify that
you so understand all your rights as above stated and that you do not
need the services of a lawyer?
A: Yes, sir. (p. 11 6, Rollo)
Thus, it is clear that Peter Ponce was fully advised of his constitutional right to remain silent and his
right to counsel.

Considering the written statements of all the appellants, (Exhibits "E", "F", "G", "H", "J" and "K"),
interlocking as they are with each other as each admits his participation and those of the other coaccused, there is no room for doubt that conspiracy existed among them. The conduct of appellant
Peter Ponce before, during and after the commission of the crime is a circumstance showing the
presence of conspiracy in the commission of the crime. As a consequence, every one is responsible
for the crime committed.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
Makasiar, Aquino, Concepcion, Jr., Abad Santos, Melencio- Herrera, Plana, Escolin Relova,
Gutierrez, Jr., De la Fuente, Cuevas and Alampay JJ., concur.
Fernando, C.J., took no part,

Separate Opinions

TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:


I concur with the judgment of conviction, there being sufficient direct evidence and positive
Identification by eyewitnesses.
I take exception, however, to the statement therein that accused Peter Ponce "was fully advised of
his constitutional right to remain silent and his right to counsel." The monosyllabic answers of "Yes"
and "No" have been stricken down by the Court as utterly unacceptable as a voluntary and intelligent
waiver of the constitutional right to silence and to counsel in People vs. Caguioa (95 SCRA 2). in line
with my separate concurring and dissenting opinion in the recent case of People vs. Itlanas (G.R.
No. 60118, prom. February 28, 1985). As therein stated, I subscribe to the Court's requirement
in Morales, Jr. vs. Ponce Enrile (121 SCRA 538) that "the right to counsel may be waived but the
waiver shall not be valid unless made with the assistance of counsel" in order to assure that it is
knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently given.

Separate Opinions
TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:
I concur with the judgment of conviction, there being sufficient direct evidence and positive
Identification by eyewitnesses.

I take exception, however, to the statement therein that accused Peter Ponce "was fully advised of
his constitutional right to remain silent and his right to counsel." The monosyllabic answers of "Yes"
and "No" have been stricken down by the Court as utterly unacceptable as a voluntary and intelligent
waiver of the constitutional right to silence and to counsel in People vs. Caguioa (95 SCRA 2). in line
with my separate concurring and dissenting opinion in the recent case of People vs. Itlanas (G.R.
No. 60118, prom. February 28, 1985). As therein stated, I subscribe to the Court's requirement
in Morales, Jr. vs. Ponce Enrile (121 SCRA 538) that "the right to counsel may be waived but the
waiver shall not be valid unless made with the assistance of counsel" in order to assure that it is
knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently given.