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Subject Matter: State authority to punish crimes

Relevant Codal Provisions/Doctrine (accdg to Course Outline): 1987 Constitution


Article II. SECTION 5. The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property, and the promotion of
the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy.
Article VI. SECTION 1. The legislative power shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines which shall consist of a
Senate and a House of Representatives, except to the extent reserved to the people by the provision on initiative and
referendum.
Article II. SECTION 1. The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all
government authority emanates from them.

The People of The Philippine Islands (plaintiff & appellee) v. Gregorio Santiago (defendant & appellant)
G.R. NO. 17584 / 43 Phil. 120 / 08 March 1922 (before the 1987 Constitution)
Ponente: ROMUALDEZ
Facts:
Defendant Gregorio Santiago, with his automobile, ran over Porfirio Parondo (7 years old) due to his
negligence (failure to drive with vigilant care). Santiago was prosecuted for the crime of homicide by reckless
negligence and was sentenced to suffer one year and one day of prison correccional, and to pay the costs of
the trial.
Defendant appealed with the allegation that the lower court has committed four errors:
1. Appellant was prosecuted in conformity with Act No. 2886 of the Philippine Legislature and that this
Act is unconstitutional and gave no jurisdiction in this case.
2. Lower court erred in not dismissing the case after the presentation of the evidence, if not before, for
the reason that Act No. 2886 is unconstitutional. Thus the proceedings had no due process of the law.
3. The court 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 its sentence.
Issue/s:
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
a 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."
Holding: Yes. The act is valid and is not a violation of any constitutional provision.
Procedure in criminal matters is not incorporated in the Constitutions of the States, but is left in the hands of
the legislatures, so it falls within the realm of public statutory law.
It is urged that the right to prosecute and punish crimes is an attribute of sovereignty (US government). But by
reason of the principle of territoriality as applied in the suppression of crimes, such power is delegated to
subordinate government subdivisions such as territories.
The power to define and punish crimes is possessed by the Philippine Legislature by virtue of the provisions
of section 7 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.
Jones Law - Section 7. "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."
LAW RELATING TO PLAINTIFF IN CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS.There is not a single
constitutional provision applicable to the Philippines prescribing the name to be employed as party

plaintiff in criminal cases. The Philippine Government is autonomous and acts under its delegated
powers in the prosecution and punishment of crimes, and Act No. 2886 was not expressly repealed by
Congress and it neither contravenes any provision of the Federal Constitution nor of the Philippine
Organic Act. Therefore, its provision that all prosecutions for public offenses shall be in the name of the
People of the Philippine Islands against the person charged with the offense is valid and constitutional.
Dispositive: Decision of the Court of First Instance of Occidental Negros (Judge Villareal) affirmed. The appellant is
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.