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FIRST DIVISION of reconsidering his orders declaring the accused as having


waived his right to present further evidence.
3. REMEDIAL LAW; DISQUALIFICATION OF JUDGES; JUDGES
[G.R. Nos. 107041-42. May 15, 1996] NOT DISQUALIFIED FROM SITTING AND DECIDING CASE
WHERE HE AS THE THEN CLERK OF COURT TESTIFIED ON
THE SAME CASE AFFECTING AN ISSUED CERTIFICATION. -
Under Rule 137, Sec. 1 of the Rules of Court, Judge Diaz'
FELICIANO MALIWAT, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, previous actuations in testifying as then clerk of court on the
Former Special First Division, and the REPUBLIC OF THE issued official certification did not render him legally disqualified
PHILIPPINES, respondents. from sitting and deciding the case. The suggestion that he is not
wholly free, disinterested and independent could have been
SYLLABUS buttressed by the exercise of his sound discretion in voluntarily
1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS; DUE PROCESS; disqualifying himself. Yet, the manner in which he exhibited
RIGHT NOT DENIED WHERE ACCUSED WHO TESTIFIED himself during the trial negates any suspicion of prejudgment in
SOUGHT AND GRANTED THE POSTPONEMENT AND the case.
CANCELLATION OF HEARING FOR NO LESS THAN 40 4. ID.; EVIDENCE; GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT;
TIMES. - Maliwat cannot claim that he was denied due ESTABLISHED IN CASE AT BAR. - The only remaining issue
process. The records show that he did testify on his own behalf then is whether or not petitioner's guilt has been proven beyond
and was cross-examined by the prosecution. Admittedly, he was reasonable doubt. In the interest of justice, the Court treated the
unable to adduce additional documentary evidence that he claims annexes attached to the petition which had been marked as
would establish his innocence and which he now attaches as exhibits in the course of the trial but were not formally offered, to
annexes in his petition for review and memorandum of law before form part of the records of this case. And after close scrutiny
the Court. But as noted earlier, it was Maliwat who had sought the thereof, the Court is of the considered opinion, and so holds, that
postponements and cancellations of the hearings for no less than petitioner was correctly convicted of having committed the crime
forty (40) times, from the date of his arraignment to the of falsification of public documents.
promulgation of judgment, a fact that spanned almost a decade
(1978 to 1988). 5. ID.; ID.; PRESUMPTIONS; PERSON TAKING ADVANTAGE OF A
FALSIFIED DOCUMENT, PRESUMED THE MATERIAL
2. JUDICIAL ETHICS; JUDGES; MUST RENDER JUST AND AUTHOR OF THE 'FALSIFICATION. - The settled rule is that in
IMPARTIAL JUDGMENT FREE FROM ANY SUSPICION; the absence of satisfactory explanation, one found in possession
GRANTING OF ACCUSED'S SEVERAL REQUESTS FOR of and who used a forged document is the forger and therefore
POSTPONEMENT, LENIENCY NOT IMPARTIALITY. - The guilty of falsification. If a person had in his possession a falsified
guiding rule is that a judge must not only render a just, correct document and he made use of it (uttered it), taking advantage of
and impartial decision but should do so in such a manner as to be it and profiting thereby, the clear presumption is that he is the
free from any suspicion as to his fairness, impartiality and material author of the falsification.
integrity. As applied to the case at bar, the attitude exhibited by
Judge Diaz speaks more of extraordinary leniency to the accused APPEARANCES OF COUNSEL
in granting all his requests for postponements, even to the extent
Tranquilino, R. Gale, and Pacifico C. Yadao for petitioner.
The Solicitor General for respondents.
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DECISION give due course to this petition for review. The parties were required
to file their respective memoranda as the Court ordered the RTC of
PADILLA, J.: Cavite City to forward the records of the cases to the Court.[8]
Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of The antecedent facts of the case may be summarized as follows:
the Rules of Court is the decision [1] of public respondent Court of On 18 November 1977, two (2) separate informations were filed
Appeals (CA) dated 29 November 1991 in CA-G.R. Nos. 09428- before the then CFI of Cavite, Branch 3 (now RTC, Branch 17)
09429, entitled People of the Philippines versus Feliciano Maliwat, as charging petitioner with the crime of Falsification of Public and Official
well as the resolution dated 17 September 1992 which denied Documents.
petitioner's motion for reconsideration. The CA decision and resolution
affirmed the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Cavite City which The first information, docketed as Criminal Case No. 158-77,
convicted herein petitioner of falsification of public documents as reads as follows:
defined and penalized under Article 172 par. 1 of the Revised Penal
Code. "That on or about the first week of November 1975, in the City of Cavite,
Republic of the Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
In a resolution dated 16 November 1992, this Court denied the
Court, the above-named accused, a private person, having somehow obtained
present petition for review for failure to comply with the Rules of Court
possession of a blank form of a transfer certificate of title with Serial No.
and Circular 28 -9 1.[2] Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration
1403456, which is a public and official document, did, then and there,
which the Court denied with finality on 18 January 1993. [3] Petitioner
wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously commit acts of falsification, by then and
followed with a second motion for reconsideration which the Court
there, filling, typing and inserting on the blank spaces therein or causing to
noted without action in its 3 March 1993 resolution.[4]
be filled, typed and inserted on said public and official document, the
On 21 June 1993, petitioner filed a motion for declaration of technical descriptions of a parcel of land, Lot No. 5825 of the Imus Estate
mistrial, pleading for the first time that his constitutional right to due Subdivision, Province of Cavite, with an area of 553,853 sq. meters including
process was impaired when Judge Rolando Diaz rendered the the corresponding title number, and making it appear that the same is the
judgment of conviction in Criminal Cases Nos. 158-77 and 159-77, owner's reconstituted copy of Transfer Certificate of Title No. RT-11850 of
knowing fully well that he (Judge Diaz) previously testified against the the Register of Deeds of the Province of Cavite, with the herein accused as
petitioner (then accused) in said cases, while then the Clerk of Court the registered owner and that the said public and official document was
of the Court of First Instance (CFI) Branches 2 and 3 of Cavite City. reconstituted by virtue of the order of the Court of First Instance of Cavite
dated November 13, 1963 and causing it to appear further that the then
The Court issued a resolution[5] on 7 July 1993 requiring Judge Register of Deeds of the Province of Cavite, Escolastico Cuevas had
Diaz to comment on the said motion for declaration of mistrial. On 14 participated in the preparation and signing of the said falsified Owner's copy
July 1993, petitioner filed a motion for the issuance of a temporary of TCT No. RT-11850, when in truth and in fact, the said accused well knew
restraining order and inhibition order against Judge Diaz. On 21 July that said parcel of land is already registered in the name of Green Valley
1993, the Court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining Judge Realty Corporation and that then Register of Deeds Escolastico Cuevas never
Diaz from conducting further proceedings in Criminal Cases Nos. 158- intervened in the preparation and signing of said falsified document much
77 and 159-77 (entitled People of the Philippines vs. Feliciano less did he authorize anybody to write his name or affix his signature therein
Maliwat, Regional Trial Court, Branch 17).[6] nor was there any judicial proceedings for reconstitution nor order from the
Judge Diaz filed his comment on petitioner's motion.[7] After Court regarding TCT RT-11850, and thereafter, the above-named accused
careful deliberations, the Court resolved on 14 March 1994 to lift the presented the said falsified owner's duplicate copy of Transfer Certificate of
entry of final judgment dated 3 February 1993 and to reinstate and
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Title No. RT-11850, in the office of the Register of Deeds of Cavite, for the located by the vault keeper of the office. Meanwhile, Atty. Santiago
purpose of reconstituting the original thereof. examined the owner's duplicate copies presented to her by Maliwat
and upon closer scrutiny, she noticed the annotations on the lower
Contrary to law."[9] part of the two (2) titles which read: "reconstituted as per order of
CFI/Cavite City dated November 13, 1963 Sgd. Escolastico Cuevas."
The second information was docketed as Criminal Case No. 159- The same annotation on the two (2) titles aroused her suspicion
77 and recited the same allegations as in the first information, except because she was familiar with the customary signature of Escolastico
that the number of the TCT involved in the second information was Cuevas, and the signatures of Cuevas appearing in the two (2) titles,
[11]
TCT No. RT 11854 with serial no. 1403457, allegedly covering lot no. appeared to be forged.
5826 of the Imus Estate Subdivision, with an area of 299,403 sq. Atty. Santiago did not confront Maliwat about the said signatures,
meters. instead, she referred the latter to the Clerk of Court (of the CFI) to
Petitioner was arraigned on 2 August 1978 at which, he pleaded verify the existence of such an order from the court records. Maliwat
not guilty to each charge. Thereafter, joint trial of the two (2) cases allegedly obliged but did not return to the office of the Register of
ensued. Deeds. That same afternoon, Atty. Santiago went to see the Clerk of
Court, Atty. Rolando Diaz, who informed her that the court had no
On 12 February 1986, the trial court rendered a decision, later record of the said orders.
amended on 28 June 1988, the dispositive part of which, as amended,
reads as follows: On 6 November 1975, Atty. Santiago wrote a letter to the NBI
Director to report the existence of the alleged dubious certificates of
"WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Court finds the accused title in Maliwat's possession and requested for an investigation of the
Feliciano Maliwat guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Falsification of Public matter.[12] The following year, Atty. Santiago went on sick leave and
Documents as defined and penalized in par. 1, Article 172 of the Revised Atty. Jorge Gutierrez was designated by the Land Registration
Penal Code and he is hereby sentenced to - in Crim. Case No. 158-77 to an Commission Head Office to act in her stead from 26 January - 17
indeterminate prison term of from six (6) months of arresto mayor as February 1976. When Atty. Santiago resumed her position on 17
minimum, to four (4) years and two (2) months of prison correccional as February, she received a letter[13] from Atty. Gutierrez informing her
maximum and to pay a fine of P5,000.00; in Crim. Case No. 159-77 to an that during her absence, Feliciano Maliwat had applied for
indeterminate [prison] term of from six (6) months of arresto mayor as administrative reconstitution of title and that he (Gutierrez) approved
minimum, to four (4) years and two (2) months of prison correccional as the same, based on the owner's duplicate certificates of title submitted
maximum and to pay a fine of P5,000.00 without subsidiary imprisonment in to him.
case of insolvency and to pay the costs in both instances. Concerned with these developments, Atty. Santiago informed the
NBI about the reconstitution of the two (2) alleged fake titles and
SO ORDERED."[10] requested for an immediate investigation. The NBI acted swiftly and
sent subpoenas to Feliciano Maliwat, Atty. Gutierrez, Atty. Santiago
The evidence for the prosecution sought to establish that and Atty. Cuevas who all appeared and testified before NBI agent
sometime in October 1975, Maliwat, accompanied by two (2) other Tobias Lozada.
persons, went to the office of Atty. Milagros Santiago, then the acting
Register of Deeds of Cavite, to inquire about the originals of TCT Nos. Agent Tobias Lozada's investigation[14] revealed that on his first
T-11850 and T-11854 covering lots 5825 and 5826 of the Imus Estate day in office as acting Register of Deeds (of Cavite), Atty. Gutierrez
Subdivision. The original copies of said titles, however, could not be met a person in his office who introduced himself as Feliciano
Maliwat. Maliwat inquired why certain titles he had presented for
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reconstitution as early as 14 January 1976 had not been acted appearing on the two (2) titles, i.e., TCT No. RT-11850 on form No.
upon. Atty. Gutierrez had the papers located and seeing no formal 1403456 and TCT No. RT-11854 on form No. 1403457. He also stated
defects and believing them to be in order, reconstituted the titles. Due that he executed a sworn statement[15] before the NBI where he
to some typing errors, however, only one title was delivered to Maliwat similarly made the same denial. In that affidavit, he recalled that as
on that day. witness for the prosecution in a certain criminal case before Judge
Coquia (of the CFI Manila) several years before the present incident,
The following day, when the deputy Register of Deeds Atty. he encountered the very same titles in open court, and he testified
Alejandro Villanueva reported for work, Atty. Gutierrez recounted to that the signatures attributed to him in the two (2) titles were not his,
him the events of the previous day including the fact that he had but were plain forgeries.
reconstituted the titles belonging to Feliciano Maliwat.
Maliwat, for his part, denied authorship of the two (2) forged titles
Atty. Villanueva informed Atty. Gutierrez that he should not have and claimed that he bought the two (2) parcels of land from a certain
reconstituted the titles since Atty. Santiago believed that they were Benigno T. Aseo as evidenced by a Deed of Absolute Sale[16] dated 2
spurious and had in fact requested the NBI to look into the January 1963. He registered the same and surrendered Aseo's titles
matter. Atty. Villanueva also informed Atty. Gutierrez that Maliwat had to the Register of Deeds for cancellation, after which he was issued
been previously convicted for estafa thru falsification of public two (2) new titles, namely: TCT No. RT- 11850 with Serial
document and was generally believed to be part of a criminal No. 603461 and RT- 11854 with Serial number 603462.[17] Maliwat
syndicate operating in Cavite. further claimed that he witnessed Escolastico Cuevas, the then
With this information, Atty. Gutierrez told the NBI that he made his Register of Deeds, actually sign his name over the said titles before
own investigation and discovered that Maliwat had subsequently tried they were issued to him.[18]
to obtain a tax declaration from the Provincial Assessor's Office (PAO) Thus, from the issuance of his titles in 1963 up to 1975, Maliwat
but this was denied because the PAO personnel doubted the averred that he took physical possession of the lands covered
authenticity of his titles. Upon verification with the LRC main office, he thereby, and paid real estate taxes thereon except in 1974 when he
(Gutierrez) was further informed that no such titles were originally went to Canada. He was not aware of any title adverse to his own
issued to Maliwat. A similar Verification with the Bureau of Lands titles and that he was informed only during the trial that a certain
yielded the same results. Atty. Gutierrez alleged that the formal Green Valley Corporation had titles to said property and had been
requisites presented by Maliwat for reconstitution were the following: paying the real estate taxes thereon. Although he had a location plan
over the said properties, he did not have them relocated anymore to
(a) a verified petition for issuance of new titles under R.A. 26 signed and determine whether or not there was an overlap of titles.
sworn to by Feliciano Maliwat before Salvador R. Aguinaldo, a notary public
for Manila and recorded in the latter's notarial book as Document No. 1215 In 1975, Maliwat alleged that certain buyers were interested in his
on Page3 of Book No. 116, Series of 1976 (Annex D). property. Together with a friend named Judge Alejo, they went to the
Register of Deeds to have his titles verified but the Register of Deeds
(b) Transfer Certificate of Title No. RT-11850 on Form No. 1403456 (Annex allegedly could not locate the original file copy of Maliwat's owner's
E) and TCT No. RT-11854 on Form No. 1403457 (Annex E-2). duplicate TCTs in their records. Maliwat was then informed that since
the Registry of Deeds was burned twice in the past, the file (original)
Atty. Gutierrez properly identified these documents before the NBI. titles were presumably destroyed.

Atty. Escolastico Cuevas, retired Register of Deeds of Cavite Maliwat admitted that in January 1976, he filed two (2) petitions
Province, whose signatures on the certificates of title were allegedly for reconstitution of the titles before the Register of Deeds, after which
forged, testified before the court a quo denying his alleged signature he received a letter from then acting, Register of Deeds Gutierrez
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requiring him to submit the owner's duplicate copies before the Court of Appeals but the appeal was deemed abandoned and
Register of Deeds as basis for the reconstitution of title. Maliwat dismissed on 24 October 1987.[22]
claimed that Atty. Gutierrez got back the letter [19]when his wife and his
Maliwat's absences continued up to the promulgation of judgment
lawyer, Moreno Gaid, went to the office of Atty. Gutierrez to surrender
the owner's duplicate copies - which bore Serial Nos. 603461 and by the trial court which also had to be reset four (4) times. It was only
after then that Maliwat's counsel filed a motion for new trial before the
603462 respectively, and not Serial Nos. 1403456 and 1403457 as
evidenced by a receipt[20] issued by Atty. Gutierrez. Maliwat denied trial court. When the motion was denied on 14 September 1988,
Maliwat appealed the decision to the appellate court. Maliwat could
having any knowledge of the existence of TCT-11850 RT and T-11854
RT with serial nos. 1403456 and 1403457 which found their way into have filed another motion for new trial before the appellate court on
the ground of newly discovered evidence material to his defense
the Register of Deeds of Cavite and maintained that what were
surrendered to Atty. Gutierrez were genuine owner's duplicate copies under Rule 124, Sec. 14 of the new Rules of Criminal Procedure, but
he did not.Instead he sought affirmative relief by prosecuting his
of TCT 11850-RT and T-11854 RT bearing serial numbers 603461 and
603462. appeal from the judgment of conviction until the Court of Appeals
promulgated its decision affirming the judgment of conviction of the
After giving due course to the petition at bar, the Court court a quo.
painstakingly reviewed the records to inquire and determine whether
Under the foregoing facts and circumstances, Maliwat certainly
or not petitioner was given a fair trial in the lower court.
cannot claim that he was denied due process. The records show that
The Court notes that from the time of petitioner's arraignment on he did testify on his own behalf and was cross-examined by the
2 August 1978 up to the time the prosecution offered its evidence, and prosecution. Admittedly, he was unable to adduce additional
rested, the hearings were either reset or cancelled no less than thirty documentary evidence that he claims would establish his innocence
(30) times owing to a variety of reasons proffered by petitioner. As and which he now attaches as annexes in his petition for review and
early as 20 May 1982, the case was set for hearing of the evidence memorandum of law before the Court. But as noted earlier, it was
for the defense, but the case was reset for another eight (8) times, Maliwat who had sought the postponements and cancellations of the
again owing to petitioner's absences. Within said period, the defense hearings for no less than forty (40) times, from the date of his
also failed to file any written objections to the prosecution's formal arraignment to the promulgation of judgment, a fact that spanned
offer of evidence. When Judge Diaz took over the case on 12 April almost a decade (1978 to 1988).
1983, Maliwat moved to postpone for yet another eight (8) times,
prompting Judge Diaz to issue an order on 17 October 1983 declaring Although admittedly a belated plea, petitioner argues that there
was a mistrial since a vital prosecution witness, then Clerk of Court
Maliwat to have waived his right to present further evidence.
Rolando Diaz, became the judge of the case and had no choice but to
This was not, however, the end of the trial court's leniency in render a judgment of conviction against him.
Maliwat's favor. Owing to Maliwat's manifestation that he was
suffering from chronic malaria, Judge Diaz reconsidered[21]and set the The records show that Rolando Diaz, then Clerk of Court of the
CFI of Cavite City, indeed testified for the prosecution. But as
case for hearing on 26 March 1984. When Maliwat and counsel still
failed to appear on said date, Judge Diaz deemed the case submitted explained by the Solicitor General, his testimony was limited to certain
facts directly connected with or arising from the performance of his
for decision, but again reconsidered and set another hearing on 11
June 1984 to allow the defense to present additional evidence. When official duties as Clerk of Court, without any reference to or
pronouncement as to the innocence or guilt of the accused. And as
both accused and counsel still failed to appear, Judge Diaz deemed
the case submitted for decision and required the parties to file their explained by Judge Diaz himself in his comment before this Court
dated 19 January 1994,
respective memoranda. Maliwat's lawyer appealed this order to the
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"That the only participation of the undersigned Judge as [then] Clerk of reconsidering his orders declaring the accused as having waived his
Court was to issue a certification and the only testimony given in this case right to present further evidence.
was, while still a Clerk of Court of the Court of First Instance of Cavite with
station at Cavite City, he saw the accused Feliciano Maliwat in his office Under Rule 137, Sec. 1 of the Rules of Court, Judge Diaz'
after he was referred to him by the Acting Register of Deeds of Cavite previous actuations did not render him legally disqualified from sitting
Province, Atty. Milagros Santiago and who presented to him two certificates and deciding the case. The suggestion that he is not wholly free,
of title and requested for the production of the order annotated at the bottom disinterested and independent could have been buttressed by the
of the face of said certificates of title wherein it was shown that the same had exercise of his sound discretion in voluntarily disqualifying
been reconstituted as per order of the Court of First Instance dated November himself. Yet, the manner in which he exhibited himself during the trial
30, 1983 and which after diligent search he could not produce, as either the negates any suspicion of prejudgment in the case.
said order or a copy of the petition were actually inexistent (sic) and he The only remaining issue then is whether or not petitioner's guilt
noticed further that the signature of Escolastico Cuevas, Register of Deeds of has been proven beyond reasonable doubt. In the interest of justice,
the Province of Cavite at the time said order was issued was not the signature the Court treated the annexes attached to the petition which had been
of Atty. Cuevas with which he was familiar; marked as exhibits in the course of the trial but were not formally
offered, to form part of the records of this case. And after close
That the undersigned did not consider said testimony as bias on his part scrutiny thereof, the Court is of the considered opinion, and so holds,
against the herein accused and he based his conviction of the accused in these that petitioner was correctly convicted of having committed the crime
cases not on his prejudgment but rather on the over-all evidence presented of falsification of public documents. As clearly observed by the trial
before the Court; court which was evidently in the best position to weigh and evaluate
the evidence:
That accused did not question his actuations in these cases during the trial
and instead opted for the continuation thereof thus perhaps believing that the "From the evidence submitted, there is no question that the two certificates of
undersigned would render judgment according to the evidence presented; title RT-11850 with serial no. 1403456 and RT- 11854 with Serial No.
1403457 Exhibits A and B are falsified; that as per finding of the NBI,
That he did not likewise question the actuations of the Judge in his appeal to testified to by then Senior Agent Toribio Lozada the same were among those
the Court of Appeals nor on certiorari to this Honorable Court which denied intended for the province of Cotabato but which were lost in transit as per
his petition for review for failure to comply the Rules of Court in Circular certification issued by Fortunato T. Pascual of the Land Registration
No. 28-91 in a resolution of November 13, 1992 whereby entry of Judgment Commission (Exhs. Q and Q-2); and a memorandum circular of the loss was
was issued on February 3, 1993 by the Deputy Clerk of Court and Chief issued by then Acting Commissioner Gregorio Bilog Jr. of the LRC (Exh. O)
Judicial Records Office and it was only on June 21, 1993 did he file the and the titles found their way into the office of the Register of Deeds of
instant motion so as to hold in abeyance the promulgation of judgment on the Cavite Province pursuant to a petition for reconstitution filed by the herein
ground of mistrial";[23] accused on January 8, 1976 (Exh. R) and the same were administratively
reconstituted by then Acting Register of Deeds of Cavite province Atty. Jorge
The guiding rule is that a judge must not only render a just, V. Gutierrez and for which the said owners duplicate were surrendered to the
correct and impartial decision but should do so in such a manner as to office of the Register of Deeds of Cavite province and new owner's
be free from any suspicion as to his fairness, impartiality and duplicates issued to the herein accused. The Court cannot give credence
integrity. As applied to the case at bar, the attitude exhibited by Judge thereto over the positive identification made by Atty. Santiago in open Court
Diaz speaks more of extraordinary leniency to the accused in granting together with the confirmation made by the NBI agent on the case. Atty.
all his requests for postponements, even to the extent of Tobias Lazada and the former Register of Deeds, Atty. Escolastico Cuevas
whose signature thereon was forged. (Italics supplied)
7

Moreover, a closer scrutiny of the numbering of the titles in canceling Aseo's (the vendor's) titles which were not reconstituted
question which accused alleges to have gotten from the office of the titles. It also bears stressing that there must have been a petition for
Register of Deeds of Cavite Province when he registered the sale reconstitution, whether judicial or administrative, before Maliwat could
executed in his favor by Benigno T. Aseo shows the letters 'RT' be issued said reconstituted titles.But no such petition was
precedes the number which the Court can take judicial notice of that produced. From Maliwat's testimony, he averred that he obtained the
the letters RT stand for reconstituted title and these initials with the said titles when Aseo's titles were canceled by virtue of a deed of
corresponding number follow the original number of the title issued, absolute sale between him and Aseo.
but in this case the same is missing and does not state the original
number of the title which is out of the ordinary procedure of the The Court also observes that Exh. 1-A, which is TCT Nos. RT-
11850 and Exh. 4-A which is TCT No. RT-11854 [25] were made to
Register of Deeds.
appear by accused as reconstituted titles. Thus, whether or not what
Likewise, it is quite absurd to see that Exhibits 'A' and 'B' which were issued to the accused bore SN 603461 and 603462 or SN
are accountable forms bearing consecutive serial numbers (1403456 1403456 and 1403457 is of no moment because both titles should
and 1403457) respectively would have been given nonconsecutive never have been reconstituted titles in the first place. More so,
title numbers (RT-11850 and RT-11854) and would have been issued because the evidence[26] shows that Judicial Forms with SN 603461
ten months apart (RT-11850) was issued on November 15, 1983 while and 603462 were issued to the Registry of Deeds of Cotabato
RT-11854 was issued on January 18, 1963. province in May 1963.Hence, the titles in Maliwat's possession cannot
be genuine.
Moreover, RT-11850 does not bear the number of the certificate
of titles from which it was transferred whereas TCT No. RT-11854 is The Court further notes that the signatures of Escolastico Cuevas
supposed to have canceled T-8331 and which apparently conflicts in SN-1403456; SN-1403457 and SN-603461 and SN-603462 were
with the allegation of the accused that he acquired these two parcels not the same and, as plain to the naked eye, very different from the
of land from Benigno T. Aseo whose ownership was evidenced by specimen signature of Register of Deeds Escolastico
[27]
TCT No. T-2474 and T-2475. If that were the case then, the said title Cuevas executed before the NBI. It is ineluctable, therefore, that
number would have appeared on Exhibits 'A' and 'B'. these titles were falsified and the evidence points to Maliwat as the
author of the falsification under par. 1 of Article 172 in relation to
Anent, the testimony of the accused that the certificate of title, the Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code.
owner's duplicate of TCT No. RT-11850 and RT-11854 which he
presented for reconstitution bore the serial Nos. 603461 and 603462 it As correctly observed by the Court of Appeals:
will be noted that he only presented xerox copies of the said titles
"When Judicial Forms 109-D, with Serial Nos. 1403456 and
without producing the originals and during the investigation at the NBI
as per report marked as Exhibits H and H-4 he never submitted the 1403457 were filled up, issued and made to appear in form, as
Transfer Certificates of Titles Nos. RT-11850 and RT-11854,
originals thereof. Whichever serial numbers they bore, it appears that
said title forms were falsified in view of the attestations of the Land respectively, both in the name of Feliciano Maliwat to show his
ownership of Lots Nos. 5825 and 5826 which are included in the Imus
Registration Commission that they were never intended for the
Register of Deeds of Cavite Province." (Italics supplied)[24] Estate Subdivision although they were not, falsification as defined in
paragraph 7 of Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code was committed.
Additionally, the Court observes that the titles presented by
Maliwat for reconstitution were allegedly owner's duplicate Again, when in the same forms it was made to appear that they
were signed and issued by Register of Deeds Escolastico Cuevas,
reconstituted titles, since the numbers were preceded by the letters
RT. This fact, assuming it to be true, negates petitioner's allegation although in truth and in fact he has neither signed, issued nor filled up
that these titles were obtained from the Registry of Deeds by
8

the same, falsification penalized under paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the accused praying thatde la Vega, Jr. be tried in absentia invoking the
same Article of the Revised Penal Code has also been committed. application of Section 19, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution. Pursuant to the
above-written provision, the lower court proceeded with the trial of the case
The fact that no proof was introduced to prove or show as to who but nevertheless gave de ala Vega the opportunity to take the witness stand
committed the falsification abovementioned, does not exempt or the moment he shows up in court. After due trial, or on 6 November 1973,
exculpate the herein accused-appellant from liability.The accused- the lower court rendered a decision dismissing the case against the other five
appellant is the person who stood to benefit by the falsification of the accused (Suan, et. al.) while holding in abeyance the proceedings against de
documents in question as such, 'it is presumed that he is the material la Vega. On 16 November 1973, Gimenez and Mercado filed a Motion for
author of the falsifications.' (Sarep vs. Sandiganbayan, 177 SCRA Reconsideration questioning the dispositive portion of the court's decision on
440; 449).[28] the ground that it will render
The settled rule is that in the absence of satisfactory explanation, nugatory the constitutional provision on "trial in absentia" cited earlier.
one found in possession of and who used a forged document is the However, this was denied by the lower court in an Order dated 22 November
forger and therefore guilty of falsification.[29] 1973. Gimenez and Mercado filed a petition for certiorari and mandamus
with the Supreme Court.
If a person had in his possession a falsified document and he
made use of it (uttered it), taking advantage of it and profiting thereby, Issue: Whether judgment upon an accused tried should be in abeyance
-the clear presumption is that he is the material author of the pending the appearance of the accused before the court.
falsification.[30]
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED and the decision of Held: The second part of Section 19, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution
the Court of Appeals in CA G.R. Nos. 0942829 dated 29 November provides that a "trial in absentia" may be had when the following requisites
1991, which upholds the amended decision of the Court of First are present:
Instance of Cavite dated 28 June 1988 in Criminal Cases Nos. 158-77 (1) that there has been an arraignment
and 159-77 is hereby AFFIRMED en toto. Costs against petitioner. (2) that the accused has been notified;
(3) that he fails to appear and his failure to do so is unjustified.
SO ORDERED
Herein, all the above conditions were attendant calling for a trial in absentia.
Bellosillo, Vitug, and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ., concur.
De la Vega was arraigned on 22 August 1973 and in the said arraignment he
Kapunan, J., on leave.
pleaded not guilty. He was also informed of the scheduled hearings set on
Gimenez vs. Nazareno September 18 and 19, 1973 and this is evidenced by his signature on the
Facts: notice issued by the lower court. It was also proved by a certified copy of the
On 3 August 1973, Samson Suan, Alex Potot, Rogelio Mula, Fernando Police Blotter that de la Vega escaped from his detention center. No
Cargando, Rogelio Baguio and Teodoro de la Vega, Jr., were charged with the explanation for his failure to appear in court in any of the scheduled hearings
crime of murder. The accused were arraigned and each of them pleaded not was given. Even the trial court considered his absence unjustified.
guilty to the crime charged. Following the arraignment, the judge, Hon. The lower court correctly proceeded with the reception of the evidence of the
Ramon E. Nazareno, set the hearing of the case for 18 September 1973 at prosecution and the other accused in the absence of de la Vega, but it erred
1:00 p.m. All the accused were duly informed of this. Before the scheduled when it suspended the proceedings as to de la Vega and rendered a decision
date of the first hearing the de la Vega escaped from his detention center and as to the other accused only. Upon the termination of a trial in absentia, the
on the said date, failed to appear in court. This prompted the fiscals handling court has the duty to rule upon the evidence presented in court. The court
the case (Fiscal Celso M. Gimenez and Federico B. Mercado) to file a motion need not wait for the time until the accused who escape from custody finally
with the lower court to proceed with the hearing of the case against all the decides to appear in court to present his evidence and cross-examine the
9

witnesses against him. To allow the delay of proceedings for this purpose is her office door, and in newspapers circulated in Manila, and
to render ineffective the constitutional provision on trial in absentia. Still, the adding the prefix Dra. To her name, causing the public to
accused remain to be presumed innocent, a judgment of conviction must still believe that she was a legitimate doctor. Defendant admitted
be based upon the evidence presented in court, and such evidence must prove
said facts. She further admitted to collecting 1 from Noble
him guilty beyond reasonable doubt. There can be no violation of due
process since the accused was given the opportunity to be heard. By his for her services, and that she graduated a doctor of
failure to appear during the trial of which he had notice, he virtually waived chiropractic from the American University School of
the rights to cross-examine and to present evidence on his behalf. Thus, an Chiropractic on 13-Aug-1919, in Chicago.
escapee who has been duly tried in absentia waives his right to present
evidence on his own behalf and to confront and cross-examine witnesses who
testified against him.
Trial court found her guilty. Counsel for defendant appealed
Doctrine: that the demurrer to information should have been sustained
The trial against the fugitives, just like those of the others, should have been when the information charged more than one offense (illegal
brought to its ultimate conclusion. Thereafter, the trial court had the duty to practice of medicine, and illegal representation).
rule on the evidence presented by the prosecution against all the accused and
to render its judgment accordingly. It should not wait for the fugitives re-
appearance or re-arrest. They were deemed to have waived their right to
present evidence on their own behalf and to confront and cross-examine the
witnesses who testified against them G.R. No. L-22945 March 3, 1925

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, Plaintiff-


People vs Buenviaje Appellee, vs. JOVITA V. BUENVIAJE, Defendant-Appellant.

Facts: Francisco and Lualhati and Ariston Rivera for appellant.


Attorney-General Villa-Real for appellee.

OSTRAND, J.:
Defendant Jovita V. Buenviaje was accused of violating
the Medical Act, where the information filed against her
The defendant is accused of the violation of the Medical Act,
alleged that said defendant had been practicing medicine the information alleging "that on or about the first day of
without having obtained from the Board of Medical Examiners June, 1923, and for some time prior to said date, the said
the necessary certificate of registration, in the City of Manila, accused without having obtained from the Board of Medical
whereby she was further alleged that she assisted, treated, Examiners the corresponding certificate of registration for
and manipulated the head and body of Regino Noble, for the the practice of medicine in the Philippine Islands, voluntarily,
purposes of curing him of ailments, diseases, pains and illegally and criminally and for compensation, practiced
physical defects which he pretended to suffer from, and for medicine in the City of Manila, Philippine Islands, assisting,
advertising and offering her services as a physician (doctor of treating and manipulating the head and body of Regino Noble
for the purpose of curing him of the ailments, diseases, pains
chiropractic), evidenced by letterheads and signs exposed on
10

and physical defects from which he pretended to suffer, and prefixed the abbreviation `Dra.' to her name; that she was
advertising and offering her services as a physician, by graduated a doctor in chiropractic on the 13th day of August,
means of cards which she distributed and by letterheads and 1919, as evidenced by a certificate marked Exhibit I and
signs which she exposed on the door of her office, situated at issued by the American University School of Chiropractic of
No. 712 Calle Asuncion, and in newspapers which are Chicago, Illinois."chanrobles virtual law library
published and circulated in the City of Manila, in which cards,
letterheads, signs and advertising she added and prefixed to Upon this admission and some other evidence to the same
her name the letters `Dra.,' which is the abbreviation of the effect, the trial court found the defendant guilty as charged
word `doctor,' for the purpose of causing the public to in the information and, in accordance with section 2678 of
believe that she, the said defendant, had received the the Administrative Code, sentenced her to pay a fine of
corresponding title of doctor."chanrobles virtual law library P300, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and
to pay the costs. From this judgment the defendant appeals
To this information the defendant demurred in the court to this court and presents four assignments of
below on the grounds: (1) That it stated more than one error.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
offense, and (2) that it was not drawn in accordance with the
form prescribed by law. The demurrer was overruled and the I. In the first assignment of error counsel contends that the
defendant pleaded not demurrer to the information should have been sustained on
guilty.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law the ground that said information charged more than one
library offense. The Medical Law is contained in sections 758 to 783
of the Administrative Code and it is argued that inasmuch as
At the trial of the case the defendant made the following some of the illegal acts with which the defendant is charged
admissions: "That on the first of June, 1923, she had no are prohibited by section 770 of the Code and others by
certificate from the Board of Medical Examiners authorizing section 783, the defendant is in reality accused of two
her to practice medicine in the Philippine Islands; that on separate and distinct offenses, namely, illegal practice of
that day she treated and manipulated the head and body of medicine and illegally representing oneself as a
Regino Noble in order to cure him of ailments from which he doctor.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
pretended to suffer, the treatment consisting in a `thrust' by library
means of the application of the hand to the spinal column;
that she for such treatment received and collected from said We cannot accept this view. It may be noted that the Medical
Regino Noble the sum of P1; that the said treatment took Law itself, as it appears in the Administrative Code, does not
place in her office situated at No. 712 Calle Asuncion, District declare any of the therein prohibited acts penal offenses. The
of Binondo, City of Manila, Philippine Islands; that she on or penal provisions relating thereto are contained in section
about the first day of June, 1923, and for some time prior to 2678 of the Code, which reads as follows:
that date, advertised herself as a `doctor of chiropractic,' in
said City of Manila, said advertisement appearing upon her SEC. 2678. Violation of Medical Law. - A person violating any
business cards and in the newspaper `El Debate,' in its issue provision of the Medical Law shall, upon conviction, be
of April 29, 1923, edited and published in Manila and in punished by a fine of not more than three hundred pesos or
which cards and newspaper advertisement the defendant
11

by imprisonment for not more than ninety days, or both, in It is not objectionable, when a single offense may be
the discretion of the court. committed by the use of different means, to charge, in the
alternative, the various means by which the crime may have
The offense here penalized is "violation of the Medical Law." been committed. (U.S. vs. Potter, 27 Fed. Cases, 604;
The statute makes no distinction between illegal practice of Bishop's New Criminal Procedure, sec. 434.)
medicine and illegally advertising oneself as a doctor. Both
are in violation of the Medical Law and carry the same The same rule was followed in the case of United States vs.
penalty. They are merely different ways or means of Dorr (2 Phil., 332); United States vs. Tolentino (5 Phil., 682);
committing the same offense and both of these means are and United States vs. Gustilo (19 Phil., 208) and is in
closely related to each other and usually employed harmony with the views of the courts in other jurisdictions.
together.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law That the various means of committing the offense is
library described in more than one section of the statute does not
necessarily effect the general principle involved; the
In these circumstances and where, as alleged in the subdivision of a statute into section is merely a matter of
information in the present case, the various violations have convenience and while it sometimes may be of some aid in
taken place simultaneously, we do not think it was the ascertaining the legislative intent, it is, of course, not
intention of the legislator that each single act should be conclusive thereof.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles
regarded as a separate offense and separate informations virtual law library
presented for each. The language of this court in the case of
United States vs. Poh Chi (20 Phil., 140), in regard to the II. Under the second assignment of error the appellant
Opium Law, is opposite to the present case. argues in substance that chiropractic has nothing to do with
medicine and that the practice of that profession can
It is true that the Commission has provided a certain therefore not be regarded as practice of medicine. There is
punishment for the possession of a pipe used in the smoking no merit whatever in this contention. Assuming without
of opium, for the smoking of opium, as well as a punishment conceding that chiropractic does not fall within the term
for the illegal possession of opium, but it is not believed that "practice of medicine" in its ordinary acceptation, we have
it was the intention of the legislature to have separate the statutory definition contained in section 770 of the
complaints filed against a person who was found in the illegal Administrative Code and which clearly includes the
possession of opium and a pipe at the same time. If that manipulations employed in chiropractic. The statutory
were true then every person who was found to be smoking definition necessarily prevails over the ordinary
opium could be charged in three different complaints: First, one.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
with the illegal possession of the pipe; second, the illegal
possession of the opium; andthird, for smoking the opium. Under the same assignment of error the defendant also
Certainly the legislature did not intend any such argues that the examination prescribed by section 776 of the
consequences. Administrative Code for admission to the practice of
medicine, embraces subjects which have no connection with
In the case of United States vs. Douglass (2 Phil., 461), the chiropractic and that to require chiropractors to take that
court said: examination is unreasonable and, in effect amounts to
12

prohibition of the practice of their profession and therefore the Act is not sufficiently expressed in its title and that it
violates the constitutional principle that all men have the embraces more than one subject. There is no merit in this
right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and are contention. The title of Act No. 3111 reads as follows:
entitled to the equal protection of the
law.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library An Act to amend sections seven hundred and fifty-nine,
seven hundred and sixty, seven hundred and sixty-one,
There is very little force in this argument. The subjects in seven hundred and sixty-two, seven hundred and sixty-five,
which an examination is required by section 778 of the seven hundred and sixty-seven, seven hundred and seventy,
Administrative Code, as amended by Act No. 3111, relate to seven hundred and seventy-four, seven hundred and
matters of which a thorough knowledge seems necessary for seventy-five, seven hundred and seventy-six, seven hundred
the proper diagnosis of diseases of the human body and it is and seventy-eight, seven hundred and eighty, seven hundred
within the police power of the State to require that persons and eighty-two, seven hundred and eighty-three, and
who devote themselves to the curing of human ills should twenty-six hundred and seventy-eight of Act Numbered
possess such knowledge. (State vs. Edmunds, 127 Iowa, Twenty-seven hundred and eleven, known as the
333; 69 L.R.A., 504; Underwood vs. Scott, 43 Kan., 714; Administrative Code, increasing the number of the members
People vs. Blue Mountain Joe, 129 Ill., 370; State vs. Mylod, of the Board of Medical Examiners, conferring upon the same
20 R. I., 632; 41 L.R.A., 428; Stewartvs. Raab, 55 Minn., 20; certain additional powers and responsibilities and for other
Matthei vs. Wooley, 69 Ill. App., 654; State vs. Buswell, 40 purposes.
Neb., 158; 24 L.R.A., 68; O'Connor vs. State, 46 Neb., 157;
U. S. vs. Gomez Jesus, 31 Phil., 218.)chanrobles virtual law All of the sections enumerated in the title quoted relate to
library the same general subject, namely, defining and regulating
the practice of medicine, and section 770 is expressly
III. The third assignment of error is closely related to the mentioned as one of the sections
foregoing. The appellant contends that the prohibition in amended.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
section 783 against the unauthorized use of the title "doctor" library
must be understood to refer to "Doctor of Medicine" and has
no application to doctors of chiropractic. Under different This is sufficient. Under constitutional provisions similar to
circumstances that might possibly be so, but where, as here, ours the general rule is that a title which declares the
chiropractic is by statute made a form of the practice of amendatory statute to be an act to amend a designated
medicine, it necessarily follows that a person holding himself section or the like of a specified Code is sufficient and the
out as a doctor of chiropractic in legal effect represents precise nature of the amendatory Act need not be further
himself as a doctor of stated. (Ross vs. Aguirre, 191 U.S., 60; Udell vs. Citizens
medicine.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law Street R. Co., 152 Ind., 507; McGuire vs. Chicago, etc., R.
library Co., 131 Iowa, 340; Lankford vs. County Commissioners of
Somerset County, 73 Md., 105; Tabor vs. State, 34 Tex.
IV. In her fourth assignment of error the appellant attacks Crim., 631; Com. vs. Brown, 91 Va., 762.) For a full and
the constitutionality of Act No. 3111, amending section 770 authoritative discussion of this subject, see Note to Lewis vs.
of the Administrative Code, on the ground that the subject of Dunne, 55 L.R.A., 833. See also Government of the
13

Philippine Islands vs. Municipality of Binalonan and Roman


Catholic Bishop of Nueva Segovia (32 Phil., 634) and Yu Cong Issue: Whether or not the court erred in observing the
Eng vs. Trinidad (p. presumption of innocence of the accused of the charge
385, ante).chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law against him
library

We find no error in the judgment appealed from and the


same is therefore affirmed, with the costs against the Held: It is held that presumption of innocence of the accused
appellant. So ordered. should yield to the positive findings that he malversed the
government funds considering all the evidences presented
Malcolm, Villamor, and Johns, JJ., concur. that point out to his guilt on the charge imputed against him.
Records shows that the checks issued for the paymaster
were duly liquidated to the accused and there were
inconsistent entries on his cash books and that he was not
really on leave on the day the said checks were disbursed by
Separate Opinions
the paymaster.
ROMUALDEZ, J., dissenting:chanrobles virtual law library
FIRST DIVISION
I believe that the complaint charges more than one offense,
and that the demurrer interposed on that ground should [G.R. No. 130709. March 6, 2002]
have been sustained. For that reason I dissent from the
opinion of the majority. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. MARIANITO
MONTERON y PANTORAS, accused-appellant.
Corpuz v People 194 SCRA 73 (1991)
DECISION
Facts: Petitioner seeks reversal of the lower courts decision
finding him guilty for malversation of public funds. The YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
accused was the acting supervising cashier at the Provincial
Treasurers office. He denied having misused the whole This is an appeal from the decision[1] of the Regional Trial Court of
amount of P72,823.08 which was discovered to be a shortage Davao City, Branch 15, dated May 28, 1997 in Criminal Cases Nos.
from the government funds contending that the P50,000.00 36,564-96, convicting accused-appellant Marianito Monteron of the
was the unliquidated withdrawal made by their paymaster crime of rape. The dispositive portion of the appealed decision reads:
Pineda thru the 4 checks he issued while the petitioner was
on leave and that he was forced by their Provincial Treasurer WHEREFORE, the prosecution having proven the guilt of the accused
Aluning to post said amount in his cash book despite not beyond reasonable doubt, Marianito Monteron is hereby sentenced
actually receiving the amount.
14

to reclusion perpetua and to indemnify Mary Ann Martenez the sum of Fifty On March 12, 1996, accused-appellant was formally charged with
Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00).1 rape. At his arraignment, accused-appellant entered a plea of not
guilty.[5] After trial, the lower court convicted him of the crime of rape.
The factual antecedents are as follows:
Accused-appellant is now before us on appeal on a lone
On March 7, 1996, at 12:10 p.m., fifteen year-old Mary Ann assigned error:
Martenez was walking home from Wangan National Agricultural
School, Davao City. While she was walking on a secluded portion of DUE TO REASONABLE DOUBT, THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT
the road, Mary Ann was hit on the head by a slingshot. She turned to IN DAVAO CITY, BRANCH 15 HAS COMMITED AN ERROR IN
see where the stone came from, she was hit again on the mouth. She NOT ACQUITTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT OF THE CRIME
fell down unconscious.[2] CHARGED IN THE INFORMATION.[6]

When Mary Ann came to, she found herself lying on the grass Accused-appellant argues that his negative plea to the
naked. Accused-appellant was lying on top of her, also naked. She information filed against him; his filing of the notice of appeal; and his
struggled but accused-appellant, who was stronger, restrained her. denial of the rape charge against him during trial indicate his
[3]
He placed his penis on top of her vagina, which caused her to feel innocence.[7]
pain. She frantically grabbed his erect penis and pushed it away from
her. This caused accused-appellant to stand up in pain. Mary Ann ran We are not persuaded.
towards the road while putting on her clothes.
Constitutional due process demands that the accused in a
Mary Anns cousin, Arnel Arat, witnessed the whole incident as he criminal case should be informed of the nature and cause of the
was then walking to Wangan Agricultural School. He met Mary Ann accusation against him. The rationale behind this constitutional
while the latter was running away and brought her home. When they guarantee are: First, to furnish the accused with the description of the
got home, Mary Ann told her uncle what happened. Her uncle, in turn, charge against him as will enable him to make his defense; second, to
told her mother. avail himself of his conviction or acquittal, for protection against a
further prosecution for the same cause; and third, to inform the court
That afternoon, upon complaint of Mary Ann, the Calinan Police of the facts alleged, so that it may decide whether they are sufficient
Precinct arrested accused-appellant. in law to support a conviction, if one should be had.[8]

The following morning, Mary Ann was brought to the City Health In fulfillment of the aforesaid constitutional guarantee, Rule 116,
Office of Davao City where she was examined by Dr. Danilo P. Section 1 (a) of the Rules of Court mandates that an accused be
Ledesma. The latter found that Mary Anns hymen was intact and had arraigned in open court and asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty
no laceration, but her labia minora was coaptated and her labia of the crime charged. The purpose of arraignment is, thus, to apprise
majora was gaping.[4] the accused of the possible loss of freedom, even of his life,
depending on the nature of the crime imputed to him, or at the very
15

least to inform him of why the prosecuting arm of the State is Q: What happened next?
mobilized against him.[9] Consequently, when accused-appellant
entered a negative plea during his arraignment, the same was not A: I lost consciousness and when I regained consciousness,
binding on the court as an indication of his innocence. Rather, it is a I was surprised because I was already at the grassy
general denial of the charges impugned against him and an exercise area.
of his right to be heard of his plea.
Q: This person that you saw who hit you with a sling shot, do
Neither is accused-appellants filing of a notice of you know him?
appeal[10] indicative of his innocence. On the contrary, accused-
appellants appeal was necessitated by the judgment of conviction A: Yes, sir.
rendered against him by the trial court. At the very least, the judgment
below constituted a preliminary finding of accused-appellants guilt. Q: Why do you know him?

On the whole, accused-appellant denies having abused and A: Because he is my neighbor, sir.
raped Mary Ann. Time-tested is the rule that between the positive
assertions of prosecution witnesses and the negative averments of Q: How long?
the accused, the former undisputedly deserves more credence and
entitled to greater evidentiary weight.[11] Moreover, positive A: Very long time, sir.
identification of the accused by prosecution witnesses as to his
participation in the crime cannot be overcome by his denial of Q: What happened when you were brought to the grassy
participation.[12] place?

In the case at bar, Mary Ann Martenez positively identified A: When I regained my consciousness I was already stripped
accused-appellant as her molester in this wise: naked and he was on top of me.

Q: Did you see the person who hit you with a sling shot? Q: What was he doing?

A: Yes, sir. A: His penis was on top of my vagina, sir.

Q: Whom did you see? Q: What else happened?

A: (Witness pointing to a person wearing maong pants, white A: I felt pain in my vagina.
T-shirt and when asked his name he answered that he is
Marianito Monteron.) Q: What did you do?

A: I grabbed his penis and so he felt pain and stood up.


16

Q: You said earlier that you saw the person who hit you with Q: What was he doing that time?
a sling shot?
A: He was on top of Mary Ann. (Emphasis provided)[14]
A: Yes, sir.
It is axiomatic that negative assertions cannot prevail over the
Q: You recognized him? positive testimonies of credible witnesses.[15] Thus, the accused-
appellants denial, not being substantiated by clear and convincing
A: Yes, sir. evidence, is negative and self-serving evidence bearing no weight in
law.[16] Moreover, the defense of denial is inherently weak and has
Q: You saw a person on top of you later on the grassy place? always been viewed with disfavor by the courts due to the facility with
which they can be concocted.[17]
A: Yes, sir.
Accused-appellant challenges the testimony of Arnel Arat, saying
Q: Who is this person that you saw in the grassy place? that he was a biased witness because he is Mary Anns cousin. [18] It is
a basic precept that relationship per se of a witness with the victim
A: The same person, sir. does not necessarily mean that he is biased. [19] On the contrary,
relatives have more interest in telling the truth for they want the real
(Witness pointing to Mr. Monteron the accused). culprits to be meted their punishment.[20] To be sure, there is no law
disqualifying a person from testifying in a criminal case in which his
(Emphasis provided) [13] relative is involved if the former was at the scene of the crime and
witnessed the execution of the crime.[21] Thus, the relationship of Arnel
Mary Anns testimony pointing to accused-appellant as the author Arat to Mary Ann does not impair the credibility of his testimony,
of the crime is corroborated by her cousin Arnel Arat, viz: especially so when the same was given in a clear, convincing and
straightforward manner.
Q: What did you see?
Accused-appellant further posits that Mary Anns charge against
A: (Witness pointing to a person wearing a white T-shirt) I him was prompted by ill-will or grudge harbored by the Martenez
saw Marianito Monteron, the accused. family against the Monterons. More specifically, accused-appellant
narrated that his father and Mary Anns father quarreled in a cockpit.
Q: Did you recognize him that time? [22]
This, however, cannot be considered as a motive strong enough to
falsely accuse accused-appellant of so grave a crime as rape. Not a
A: Yes, sir. few accused in rape cases have attributed the charges brought
against them to family feud, resentment, or revenge. But such alleged
Q: Why do you know him? motives have never swayed this Court from lending full credence to
the testimony of the complainant where she remains steadfast in her
A: Because we played basketball together.
17

direct and cross examination.[23] Besides, no parent would expose his In People v. Campuhan,[30] we held that the labia majora of the
or her own daughter to the shame and scandal of having undergone victim must be entered for rape to be consummated, and not merely
such debasing defilement of her chastity if the charges were not true. for the penis to stroke the surface of the female organ. Thus, a
[24]
It is unnatural for a parent to use his own offspring as an engine of grazing of the surface of the female organ or touching the mons
malice, especially if it will subject a daughter to embarrassment and pubis of the pudendum is not sufficient to constitute consummated
even stigma.[25] rape. Absent any showing of the slightest penetration of the female
organ, i.e., touching of either labia of the pudendum by the penis,
Accused-appellant also contends that it was unlikely for him to there can be no consummated rape; at most, it can only be attempted
strip naked and commit rape in broad daylight. [26] In this connection, rape, if not acts of lasciviousness.[31]
suffice it to say that lust is no respecter of time and place. It is known
to happen in the most unlikely places such as parks, along roadsides, Consummated rape is punishable by reclusion perpetua.[32] For
within school premises or even occupied rooms. [27] Rape has also attempted rape, the penalty two degrees lower shall be imposed,
been committed on a passageway and at noontime.[28] [33]
i.e., prision mayor.

While accused-appellant is guilty of rape, the same was During his direct examination, accused-appellant testified that he
committed only in its attempted stage. Mary Ann clearly testified that was born on December 3, 1979.[34] Consequently, when the crime was
accused-appellant only placed his penis on top of her vagina. In fact, committed on March 7, 1996, accused-appellant was only seventeen
she was able to grab it and push it away from her, causing accused- years old. We have held that the claim of minority by an accused will
appellant to stand up. The pain she felt may have been caused by be upheld by the court even without any proof to corroborate his
accused-appellants attempts to insert his organ into hers. However, testimony, especially so when coupled by the fact that prosecution
the fact remains, based on Mary Anns own narrative, that accused- failed to present contradictory evidence thereto.[35]
appellants penis was merely on top of her vagina and has not actually
entered the same.Accused-appellant has commenced the Therefore, considering the privileged mitigating circumstance of
commission of the rape directly by overt acts, i.e., that of undressing minority, the penalty to be imposed on accused-appellant should be
himself and the victim and lying on top of her, but he did not perform lowered by one more degree,[36] i.e., prision correccional. There being
all the acts of execution which should produce the felony by reason of no more aggravating or mitigating circumstances, the same shall be
some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous imposed in its medium period. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence
desistance. In the case at bar, it was Mary Anns violent resistance Law, the penalty to be imposed should be four (4) months and one (1)
which prevented the insertion of accused-appellants penis in her day of arresto mayor, as minimum, to four (4) years and two (2)
vagina. months of prision correccional, as maximum.

The foregoing conclusion is supported by the medical findings of The trial court correctly ordered accused-appellant to indemnify
Dr. Danilo P. Ledesma that Mary Anns hymen was intact and had no the victim, Mary Ann Martenez, in the amount of P50,000.00. Moral
laceration.[29] damages may also be awarded without necessity for pleading or proof
18

thereof. In cases of attempted rape, the amount of moral damages is The focal point of the case is the alleged vagueness of the law in the
P25,000.00.[37] terms it uses. Particularly, this terms are: combination, series and
unwarranted. Because of this, the petitioner uses the facial challenge
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the decision of the on the validity of the mentioned law.
Regional Trial Court of Davao City, Branch 15, in Criminal Case No.
36,564-96, is MODIFIED. Accused-appellant Marianito Monteron y Issue:
Pantoras is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Whether or not the petitioner possesses the locus standi to attack the
Attempted Rape and is sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of four validity of the law using the facial challenge.
(4) months and one (1) day of arresto mayor, as minimum, to four (4)
years and two (2) months of prision correccional, as Ruling:
maximum. Further, accused-appellant is ordered to pay the victim, On how the law uses the terms combination and series does not
Mary Ann Martenez, the sums of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity and constitute vagueness. The petitioners contention that it would not give
a fair warning and sufficient notice of what the law seeks to penalize
P25,000.00 as moral damages. cannot be plausibly argued. Void-for-vagueness doctrine is manifestly
misplaced under the petitioners reliance since ordinary intelligence
Costs de oficio. can understand what conduct is prohibited by the statute. It can only
be invoked against that specie of legislation that is utterly vague on its
SO ORDERED. face, wherein clarification by a saving clause or construction cannot
be invoked. Said doctrine may not invoked in this case since the
Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Puno, and Kapunan, JJ., concur. statute is clear and free from ambiguity. Vagueness doctrine merely
requires a reasonable degree of certainty for the statute to be upheld,
not absolute precision or mathematical exactitude.
On the other hand, overbreadth doctrine decrees that governmental
purpose may not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily
ESTRADA v SANDIGANBAYAN broadly and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms.
G.R. No. 148560, November 19, 2001 Doctrine of strict scrutiny holds that a facial challenge is allowed to be
made to vague statute and to one which is overbroad because of
Facts: possible chilling effect upon protected speech. Furthermore, in the
Petitioner Joseph Estrada prosecuted An Act Defining and Penalizing area of criminal law, the law cannot take chances as in the area of
the Crime of Plunder, wishes to impress upon the Court that the free speech. A facial challenge to legislative acts is the most difficult
assailed law is so defectively fashioned that it crosses that thin but challenge to mount successfully since the challenger must establish
distinct line which divides the valid from the constitutionally infirm. His that no set of circumstances exists.
contentions are mainly based on the effects of the said law that it Doctrines mentioned are analytical tools developed for facial
suffers from the vice of vagueness; it dispenses with the "reasonable challenge of a statute in free speech cases. With respect to such
doubt" standard in criminal prosecutions; and it abolishes the element statue, the established rule is that one to who application of a statute
of mens rea in crimes already punishable under The Revised Penal is constitutional will not be heard to attack the statute on the ground
Code saying that it violates the fundamental rights of the accused. that impliedly it might also be taken as applying to other persons or
other situations in which its application might be unconstitutional. On
19

its face invalidation of statues results in striking them down entirely on


the ground that they might be applied to parties not before the Court Are the Informations filed by the People sufficient in form and
whose activities are constitutionally protected. It is evident that the substance to constitute the offense of "illegal possession of
purported ambiguity of the Plunder Law is more imagined than real.
deadly weapon" penalized under Presidential Decree (PD for
The crime of plunder as a malum in se is deemed to have been
short) No. 9?
resolve in the Congress decision to include it among the heinous
crime punishable by reclusion perpetua to death.
Supreme Court holds the plunder law constitutional and petition is There are two elements to the the offense: first, the carrying
dismissed for lacking merit. outside one's residence of any bladed, blunt, or pointed
weapon, etc. not used as a necessary tool or implement for a
livelihood; and second, that the act of carrying the weapon
Statutory Construction was either in furtherance of, or to abet, or in connection with
subversion, rebellion, insurrection, lawless violence,
Case of People of the R.P. vs. Purisima criminality, chaos, or public disorder.
GR Nos. L-42050-66 20November1978 The petitioner by having one particular stand of the carrying
of any dangerous weapon outside of the residence w/o regard
FACTS OF THE CASE: to motive or intent makes this a case of statutory
There are twenty-six (26) Petitions for Review filed by the construction.
People of the Philippines represented, respectively, by the
Office of the City Fiscal of Manila, the Office of the Provincial HELD:
Fiscal of Samar, and joined by the Solicitor General, are
consolidated in this one Decision as they involve one basic COURT DISMISSED ALL MOTIONS MADE BY THE PETITIONER
question of law. AND AFFIRMS ALL DECISIONS MADE BY THE RESPONDENT
Before those courts, Informations were filed charging the JUDGES.
respective accused with "illegal possession of deadly
Republic of the Philippines
weapon" in violation of Presidential Decree No. 9. On a
SUPREME COURT
motion to quash filed by the accused, the three Judges Manila
mentioned above issued in the respective cases filed before
them the details of which will be recounted below an EN BANC
Order quashing or dismissing the Informations, on a common
ground, viz, that the Information did not allege facts which G.R. No. L-42050-66 November 20, 1978
constitute the offense penalized by Presidential Decree No. 9
because it failed to state one essential element of the crime. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
ISSUES OF THE CASE: HONORABLE JUDGE AMANTE P. PURISIMA, COURT OF FIRST
20

INSTANCE OF MANILA, BRANCH VII, and PORFIRIO Jose L. Gamboa, Fermin Martin, Jr. & Jose D. Cajucom, Office of the
CANDELOSAS, NESTOR BAES, ELIAS L. GARCIA, SIMEON City of Fiscal of Manila and the Office of Provincial Fiscal of Samar for
BUNDALIAN, JR., JOSEPH C. MAISO, EDUARDO A. LIBORDO, petitioners.
ROMEO L. SUGAY, FEDERICO T. DIZON, GEORGE M. ALBINO,
MARIANO COTIA, JR., ARMANDO L. DIZON, ROGELIO B. Norberto Parto for respondents Candelosas, Baes and Garcia.
PARENO, RODRIGO V. ESTRADA, ALFREDO A. REYES, JOSE A.
BACARRA, REYNALDO BOGTONG, and EDGARDO M. Amado C. de la Marced for respondents Simeon Bundalian Jr., et al.
MENDOZA, respondents.
Manuel F. de Jesus for all the respondents in L-46229-32 and L-
G.R. No. L-46229-32 November 20, 1978 46313-16.

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, Norberto L. Apostol for respondent Panchito Refuncion.
vs.
JUDGE MAXIMO A. MACEREN, COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF Hon. Amante P. Purisima for and in his own behalf.
MANILA, BRANCH XVIII, and REYNALDO LAQUI Y AQUINO,
ELPIDIO ARPON, VICTOR EUGENIO Y ROQUE and ALFREDO
VERSOZA, respondents.
MUOZ PALMA, J.:
G.R. No. L-46313-16 November 20, 1978
These twenty-six (26) Petitions for Review filed by the People of the
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, Philippines represented, respectively, by the Office of the City Fiscal
vs. of Manila, the Office of the Provincial Fiscal of Samar, and joined by
JUDGE MAXIMO A. MACEREN, COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF the Solicitor General, are consolidated in this one Decision as they
MANILA, BRANCH XVIII, and JUANITO DE LA CRUZ Y NUNEZ, involve one basic question of law.
SABINO BUENO Y CACAL, TIRSO ISAGAN Y FRANCISCO and
BEN CASTILLO Y UBALDO, respondents. These Petitions or appeals involve three Courts of First Instance,
namely: the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch VII, presided by
G.R. No. L-46997 November 20, 1978 Hon. Amante P. Purisima (17 Petitions), the Court of First Instance of
Manila, Branch XVIII, presided by Hon. Maximo A. Maceren (8
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, Petitions) and, the Court of First Instance of Samar, with Hon.
vs. Wenceslao M. Polo, presiding, (1 Petition).
THE HONORABLE WENCESLAO M. POLO, Judge of the Court of
First Instance of Samar, and PANCHITO Before those courts, Informations were filed charging the respective
REFUNCION, respondents. accused with "illegal possession of deadly weapon" in violation of
Presidential Decree No. 9. On a motion to quash filed by the accused,
21

the three Judges mentioned above issued in the respective cases then and there wilfully, unlawfully, feloniously and
filed before them the details of which will be recounted below an knowingly have in his possession and under his
Order quashing or dismissing the Informations, on a common ground, custody and control one (1) carving knife with a blade
viz, that the Information did not allege facts which constitute the of 6- inches and a wooden handle of 5-1/4 inches, or
offense penalized by Presidential Decree No. 9 because it failed to an overall length of 11- inches, which the said
state one essential element of the crime. accused carried outside of his residence, the said
weapon not being used as a tool or implement
Thus, are the Informations filed by the People sufficient in form and necessary to earn his livelihood nor being used in
substance to constitute the offense of "illegal possession of deadly connection therewith.
weapon" penalized under Presidential Decree (PD for short) No. 9?
This is the central issue which we shall resolve and dispose of, all Contrary to law. (p. 32, rollo of L-42050-66)
other corollary matters not being indispensable for the moment.
The other Informations are similarly worded except for the name of
A The Information filed by the People the accused, the date and place of the commission of the crime, and
the kind of weapon involved.
1. In L-42050-66, one typical Information filed with the Court presided
by Judge Purisima follows: 2. In L-46229-32 and L-46313-16, the Information filed with the Court
presided by Judge Maceren follows:
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff, versus
PORFIRIO CANDELOSAS Y DURAN, accused. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff, versus
REYNALDO LAQUI Y AQUINO, accused.
Crim. Case No. 19639
CRIM. C
VIOLATION OF PAR. 3, PRES. DECREE No. 9 OF 29677
PROCLAMATION 1081
VIOL. O
INFORMATION
PD 9 IN
The undersigned accuses PORFIRIO CANDELOSAS LOI
Y DURAN of a violation of paragraph 3, Presidential
Decree No. 9 of Proclamation 1081, committed as No. 266
follows: Chief

That on or about the 14 th day of December, 1974, in Executiv


the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused did April 1,
22

INFORMATION ILLEGA
POSSE
The undersigned accuses REYNALDO LAQUI Y
AQUINO of a VIOLATION OF PARAGRAPH 3, DEADLY
PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 9 in relation to Letter of WEAPO
Instruction No. 266 of the Chief Executive dated April 1,
1975, committed as follows: (VIOLAT
PD NO.
That on or about the 28 th day of January, 1977, in the
City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused did then INFORMATION
and there wilfully, unlawfully and knowingly carry
outside of his residence a bladed and pointed weapon, The undersigned First Assistant Provincial Fiscal of
to wit: an ice pick with an overall length of about 8 Samar, accuses PANCHITO REFUNCION of the crime
inches, the same not being used as a necessary tool or of ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF DEADLY WEAPON or
implement to earn his livelihood nor being used in VIOLATION OF PD NO. 9 issued by the President of
connection therewith. the Philippines on Oct. 2, 1972, pursuant to
Proclamation No. 1081 dated Sept. 21 and 23, 1972,
Contrary to law. (p. 14, rollo of L-46229-32) committed as follows:

The other Informations are likewise similarly worded except for the That on or about the 6th day of October, 1976, in the
name of the accused, the date and place of the commission of the evening at Barangay Barruz, Municipality of
crime, and the kind of weapon involved. Matuginao, Province of Samar Philippines, and within
the jurisdiction of this Honorabe Court, the
3. In L-46997, the Information before the Court of First Instance of abovenamed accused, knowingly, wilfully, unlawfully
Samar is quoted hereunder: and feloniously carried with him outside of his
residence a deadly weapon called socyatan, an
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, complainant, versus instrument which from its very nature is no such as
PANCHITO REFUNCION, accused. could be used as a necessary tool or instrument to
earn a livelihood, which act committed by the accused
CRIM. CASE NO. is a Violation of Presidential Decree No. 9.
933
CONTRARY TO LAW. (p. 8, rollo of L-46997)
For
: B. The Orders of dismissal
23

In dismissing or quashing the Informations the trial courts concurred five to ten years for a rusted kitchen knife or a pair of
with the submittal of the defense that one essential element of the scissors, which only God knows where it came from.
offense charged is missing from the Information, viz: that the carrying Whereas before martial law an extortion-minded peace
outside of the accused's residence of a bladed, pointed or blunt officer had to have a stock of the cheapest paltik, and
weapon is in furtherance or on the occasion of, connected with or even that could only convey the coercive message of
related to subversion, insurrection, or rebellion, organized one year in jail, now anything that has the semblance
lawlessness or public disorder. of a sharp edge or pointed object, available even in
trash cans, may already serve the same purpose, and
1. Judge Purisima reasoned out, inter alia, in this manner: yet five to ten times more incriminating than the
infamous paltik.
... the Court is of the opinion that in order that
possession of bladed weapon or the like outside For sure, P.D. No. 9 was conceived with the best of
residence may be prosecuted and tried under P.D. No. intentions and wisely applied, its necessity can never
9, the information must specifically allege that the be assailed. But it seems it is back-firing, because it is
possession of bladed weapon charged was for the too hot in the hands of policemen who are inclined to
purpose of abetting, or in furtherance of the conditions backsliding.
of rampant criminality, organized lawlessness, public
disorder, etc. as are contemplated and recited in The checkvalves against abuse of P.D. No. 9 are to be
Proclamation No. 1081, as justification therefor. Devoid found in the heart of the Fiscal and the conscience of
of this specific allegation, not necessarily in the same the Court, and hence this resolution, let alone technical
words, the information is not complete, as it does not legal basis, is prompted by the desire of this Court to
allege sufficient facts to constitute the offense apply said checkvalves. (pp. 55-57, rollo of L-42050-
contemplated in P.D. No. 9. The information in these 66)
cases under consideration suffer from this defect.
2. Judge Maceren in turn gave his grounds for dismissing the charges
xxx xxx xxx as follows:

And while there is no proof of it before the Court, it is xxx xxx xxx
not difficult to believe the murmurings of detained
persons brought to Court upon a charge of possession As earlier noted the "desired result" sought to be
of bladed weapons under P.D. No. 9, that more than attained by Proclamation No. 1081 is the maintenance
ever before, policemen - of course not all can be so of law and order throughout the Philippines and the
heartless now have in their hands P.D. No. 9 as a prevention and suppression of all forms of lawless
most convenient tool for extortion, what with the violence as well as any act of insurrection or rebellion.
terrifying risk of being sentenced to imprisonment of It is therefore reasonable to conclude from the
24

foregoing premises that the carrying of bladed, pointed imprisonment from five to ten years under the decree.
or blunt weapons outside of one's residence which is Such person cannot claim that said knife is going to be
made unlawful and punishable by said par. 3 of P.D. used by him to earn a livelihood because he intended it
No. 9 is one that abets subversion, insurrection or merely for use by his cook in preparing his meals.
rebellion, lawless violence, criminality, chaos and
public disorder or is intended to bring about these This possibility cannot be discounted if Presidential
conditions. This conclusion is further strengthened by Decree No. 9 were to be interpreted and applied in the
the fact that all previously existing laws that also made manner that that the prosecution wants it to be done.
the carrying of similar weapons punishable have not The good intentions of the President in promulgating
been repealed, whether expressly or impliedly. It is this decree may thus be perverted by some
noteworthy that Presidential Decree No. 9 does not unscrupulous law enforcement officers. It may be used
contain any repealing clause or provisions. as a tool of oppression and tyranny or of extortion.

xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx

The mere carrying outside of one's residence of these It is therefore the considered and humble view of this
deadly weapons if not concealed in one's person and if Court that the act which the President intended to
not carried in any of the aforesaid specified places, make unlawful and punishable by Presidential Decree
would appear to be not unlawful and punishable by No. 9, particularly by paragraph 3 thereof, is one
law. that abets or is intended to abet subversion, rebellion,
insurrection, lawless violence, criminality, chaos and
With the promulgation of Presidential Decree No. 9, public disorder. (pp. 28-30, rollo of L-46229-32)
however, the prosecution, through Assistant Fiscal
Hilario H. Laqui, contends in his opposition to the 3. Judge Polo of the Court of First Instance of Samar expounded his
motion to quash, that this act is now made unlawful order dismissing the Information filed before him, thus:
and punishable, particularly by paragraph 3 thereof,
regardless of the intention of the person carrying such ... We believe that to constitute an offense under the
weapon because the law makes it "mala prohibita". If aforcited Presidential decree, the same should be or
the contention of the prosecution is correct, then if a there should be an allegation that a felony was
person happens to be caught while on his way home committed in connection or in furtherance of
by law enforcement officers carrying a kitchen knife subversion, rebellion, insurrection, lawless violence
that said person had just bought from a store in order and public disorder. Precisely Proclamation No. 1081
that the same may be used by one's cook for preparing declaring a state of martial law throughout the country
the meals in one's home, such person will be liable for was issued because of wanton destruction to lives and
punishment with such a severe penalty as properties widespread lawlessness and anarchy. And
25

in order to restore the tranquility and stability of the We quote in full Presidential Decree No. 9, to wit:
country and to secure the people from violence anti
loss of lives in the quickest possible manner and time, PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 9
carrying firearms, explosives and deadly weapons
without a permit unless the same would fall under the DECLARING VIOLATIONS OF GENERAL ORDERS
exception is prohibited. This conclusion becomes more NO. 6 and NO. 7 DATED SEPTEMBER 22, 1972, AND
compelling when we consider the penalty imposable, SEPTEMBER 23, 1972, RESPECTIVELY, TO BE
which is from five years to ten years. A strict UNLAWFUL AND PROVIDING PENALTIES
enforcement of the provision of the said law would THEREFORE.
mean the imposition of the Draconian penalty upon the
accused. WHEREAS, pursuant to Proclamation No. 1081 dated
September 21, 1972, the Philippines has been placed
xxx xxx xxx under a state of martial law;

It is public knowledge that in rural areas, even before WHEREAS, by virtue of said Proclamation No. 1081,
and during martial law, as a matter of status symbol, General Order No. 6 dated September 22, 1972 and
carrying deadly weapons is very common, not General Order No. 7 dated September 23, 1972, have
necessarily for committing a crime nor as their farm been promulgated by me;
implement but for self-preservation or self-defense if
necessity would arise specially in going to and from WHEREAS, subversion, rebellion, insurrection, lawless
their farm. (pp. 18-19, rollo of L-46997) violence, criminality, chaos and public disorder
mentioned in the aforesaid Proclamation No. 1081 are
In most if not all of the cases, the orders of dismissal were given committed and abetted by the use of firearms,
before arraignment of the accused. In the criminal case before the explosives and other deadly weapons;
Court of (First Instance of Samar the accused was arraigned but at
the same time moved to quash the Information. In all the cases where NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS,
the accused were under arrest, the three Judges ordered their Commander-in-Chief of all the Armed Forces of the
immediate release unless held on other charges. Philippines, in older to attain the desired result of the
aforesaid Proclamation No. 1081 and General Orders
C. The law under which the Informations in question were filed by Nos. 6 and 7, do hereby order and decree that:
the People.
1. Any violation of the aforesaid General Orders Nos. 6
As seen from the Informations quoted above, the accused are and 7 is unlawful and the violator shall, upon conviction
charged with illegal possession of deadly weapon in violation of suffer:
Presidential Decree No. 9, Paragraph 3.
26

(a) The mandatory penalty of death by a firing squad or combustible units or other ingredients in such
electrocution as a Military, Court/Tribunal/Commission proportion, quantity, packing, or bottling that ignites by
may direct, it the firearm involved in the violation is fire, by friction, by concussion, by percussion, or by
unlicensed and is attended by assault upon, or detonation of all or part of the compound or mixture
resistance to persons in authority or their agents in the which may cause such a sudden generation of highly
performance of their official functions resulting in death heated gases that the resultant gaseous pressures are
to said persons in authority or their agent; or if such capable of producing destructive effects on
unlicensed firearm is used in the commission of crimes continguous objects or of causing injury or death of a
against persons, property or chastity causing the death person; and any person convicted thereof shall be
of the victim used in violation of any other General punished by imprisonment ranging from ten to fifteen
Orders and/or Letters of Instructions promulgated years as a Military Court/Tribunal/Commission may
under said Proclamation No. 1081: direct.

(b) The penalty of imprisonment ranging from twenty 3. It is unlawful to carry outside of residence any
years to life imprisonment as a Military bladed, pointed or blunt weapon such as "fan knife,"
Court/Tribunal/commission may direct, when the "spear," "dagger," "bolo," "balisong," "barong," "kris," or
violation is not attended by any of the circumstances club, except where such articles are being used as
enumerated under the preceding paragraph; necessary tools or implements to earn a livelihood and
while being used in connection therewith; and any
(c) The penalty provided for in the preceding person found guilty thereof shall suffer the penalty of
paragraphs shall be imposed upon the owner, imprisonment ranging from five to ten years as a
president, manager, members of the board of directors Military Court/Tribunal/Commission may direct.
or other responsible officers of any public or private
firms, companies, corporations or entities who shall 4. When the violation penalized in the preceding
willfully or knowingly allow any of the firearms owned paragraphs 2 and 3 is committed during the
by such firm, company, corporation or entity concerned commission of or for the purpose of committing, any
to be used in violation of said General Orders Nos. 6 other crime, the penalty shall be imposed upon the
and 7. offender in its maximum extent, in addition to the
penalty provided for the particular offenses committed
2. It is unlawful to posses deadly weapons, including or intended to be committed.
hand grenades, rifle grenades and other explosives,
including, but not limited to, "pill box bombs," "molotov Done in the City of Manila, this 2nd day of October in
cocktail bombs," "fire bombs," or other incendiary the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and seventy-
device consisting of any chemical, chemical two.
compound, or detonating agents containing
27

(S The City Fiscal of Manila in his brief adds further that in statutory
GD offenses the intention of the accused who commits the act is
) immaterial; that it is enough if the prohibited act is voluntarily
FE perpetuated; that P.D. 9 provides and condemns not only the carrying
RDI of said weapon in connection with the commission of the crime of
NA subversion or the like, but also that of criminality in general, that is, to
ND eradicate lawless violence which characterized pre-martial law days.
E. It is also argued that the real nature of the criminal charge is
MA determined not from the caption or preamble of the information nor
RC from the specification of the provision of law alleged to have been
OS violated but by the actual recital of facts in the complaint or
information. 2
President
E. Our Ruling on the matter
Re
pub 1. It is a constitutional right of any person who stands charged in a
lic criminal prosecution to be informed of the nature and cause of the
of accusation against him. 3
the
Phil Pursuant to the above, Section 5, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court,
ippi expressly requires that for a complaint or information to be sufficient it
nes must, inter alia state the designation of the offense by the statute, and
the acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense. This
D. The arguments of the People is essential to avoid surprise on the accused and to afford him the
opportunity to prepare his defense accordingly. 4
In the Comment filed in these cases by the Solicitor General who as
stated earlier joins the City Fiscal of Manila and the Provincial Fiscal To comply with these fundamental requirements of the Constitution
of Samar in seeking the setting aside of the questioned orders of and the Rules on Criminal Procedure, it is imperative for the specific
dismissal, the main argument advanced on the issue now under statute violated to be designated or mentioned 4 in the charge. In fact,
consideration is that a perusal of paragraph 3 of P.D. 9 'shows that another compelling reason exists why a specification of the statute
the prohibited acts need not be related to subversive activities; that violated is essential in these cases. As stated in the order of
the act proscribed is essentially a malum prohibitum penalized for respondent Judge Maceren the carrying of so-called "deadly
reasons of public policy. 1 weapons" is the subject of another penal statute and a Manila city
ordinance. Thus, Section 26 of Act No. 1780 provides:
28

Section 26. It should be unlawful for any person to That being the case, the right becomes more compelling for an
carry concealed about his person any bowie knife, dirk accused to be confronted with the facts constituting the essential
dagger, kris, or other deadly weapon: ... Any person elements of the offense charged against him, if he is not to become
violating the provisions of this section shall, upon an easy pawn of oppression and harassment, or of negligent or
conviction in a court of competent jurisdiction, be misguided official action a fear understandably shared by
punished by a fine not exceeding five hundred pesos, respondent Judges who by the nature of their judicial functions are
or by imprisonment for a period not exceeding six daily exposed to such dangers.
months, or both such fine and imprisonment, in the
discretion of the court. 2. In all the Informations filed by petitioner the accused are charged in
the caption as well as in the body of the Information with a violation of
Ordinance No. 3820 of the City of Manila as amended by Ordinance paragraph 3, P.D. 9. What then are the elements of the offense
No. 3928 which took effect on December 4, 1957, in turn penalizes treated in the presidential decree in question?
with a fine of not more than P200.00 or imprisonment for not more
than one months, or both, at the discretion of the court, anyone who We hold that the offense carries two elements: first, the carrying
shall carry concealed in his person in any manner that would disguise outside one's residence of any bladed, blunt, or pointed weapon, etc.
its deadly character any kind of firearm, bowie knife, or other deadly not used as a necessary tool or implement for a livelihood;
weapon ... in any public place. Consequently, it is necessary that the and second, that the act of carrying the weapon was either in
particular law violated be specified as there exists a substantial furtherance of, or to abet, or in connection with subversion, rebellion,
difference between the statute and city ordinance on the one hand insurrection, lawless violence, criminality, chaos, or public disorder.
and P.D. 9 (3) on the other regarding the circumstances of the
commission of the crime and the penalty imposed for the offense. It is the second element which removes the act of carrying a deadly
weapon, if concealed, outside of the scope of the statute or the city
We do not agree with petitioner that the above-mentioned statute and ordinance mentioned above. In other words, a simple act of carrying
the city ordinance are deemed repealed by P.D. 9 (3). 5 P. D. 9(3) any of the weapons described in the presidential decree is not a
does not contain any repealing clause or provision, and repeal by criminal offense in itself. What makes the act criminal or punishable
implication is not favored. 6 This principle holds true with greater force under the decree is the motivation behind it. Without that motivation,
with regards to penal statutes which as a rule are to be construed the act falls within the purview of the city ordinance or some statute
strictly against the state and liberally in favor of the accused. 7 In fact, when the circumstances so warrant.
Article 7 of the New Civil Code provides that laws are repealed only
by subsequent ones and their violation or non- observance shall not Respondent Judges correctly ruled that this can be the only
be excused by disuse, or custom or practice to the contrary. reasonably, logical, and valid construction given to P.D. 9(3).

Thus we are faced with the situation where a particular act may be 3. The position taken by petitioner that P.D. 9(3) covers one and all
made to fall, at the discretion of a police officer or a prosecuting fiscal, situations where a person carries outside his residence any of the
under the statute, or the city ordinance, or the presidential decree. weapons mentioned or described in the decree irrespective of
29

motivation, intent, or purpose, converts these cases into one of the explanatory note or enacting clause of the decree, if it indeed
"statutory construction." That there is ambiguity in the presidential limits the violation of the decree, cannot prevail over the text
decree is manifest from the conflicting views which arise from its itself inasmuch as such explanatory note merely states or explains
implementation. When ambiguity exists, it becomes a judicial task to the reason which prompted the issuance of the decree. (pp. 114-115,
construe and interpret the true meaning and scope of the measure, rollo of 46997)
guided by the basic principle that penal statutes are to be construed
and applied liberally in favor of the accused and strictly against the We disagree with these contentions. Because of the problem of
state. determining what acts fall within the purview of P.D. 9, it becomes
necessary to inquire into the intent and spirit of the decree and this
4. In the construction or interpretation of a legislative measure a can be found among others in the preamble or, whereas" clauses
presidential decree in these cases the primary rule is to search for which enumerate the facts or events which justify the promulgation of
and determine the intent and spirit of the law. Legislative intent is the the decree and the stiff sanctions stated therein.
controlling factor, for in the words of this Court in Hidalgo v. Hidalgo,
per Mr. Justice Claudio Teehankee, whatever is within the spirit of a A "preamble" is the key of the statute, to open the
statute is within the statute, and this has to be so if strict adherence to minds of the makers as to the mischiefs which are to
the letter would result in absurdity, injustice and contradictions. 8 be remedied, and objects which are to be
accomplished, by the provisions of the statute." (West
There are certain aids available to Us to ascertain the intent or reason Norman Timber v. State, 224 P. 2d 635, 639, cited in
for P.D. 9(3). Words and Phrases, "Preamble"; emphasis supplied)

First, the presence of events which led to or precipitated the While the preamble of a statute is not strictly a part
enactment of P.D. 9. These events are clearly spelled out in the thereof, it may, when the statute is in itself ambiguous
"Whereas" clauses of the presidential decree, thus: (1) the state of and difficult of interpretation, be resorted to, but not to
martial law in the country pursuant to Proclamation 1081 dated create a doubt or uncertainty which otherwise does not
September 21, 1972; (2) the desired result of Proclamation 1081 as exist." (James v. Du Bois, 16 N.J.L. (1 Har.) 285, 294,
well as General Orders Nos. 6 and 7 which are particularly mentioned cited in Words and Phrases, "Preamble")
in P.D. 9; and (3) the alleged fact that subversion, rebellion,
insurrection, lawless violence, criminality, chaos, aid public disorder In Aboitiz Shipping Corporation, et al. v. The City of Cebu, et al. this
mentioned in Proclamation 1081 are committed and abetted by the Court had occasion to state that '(L)egislative intent must be
use of firearms and explosives and other deadly weapons. ascertained from a consideration of the statute as a whole, and not of
an isolated part or a particular provision alone. This is a cardinal rule
The Solicitor General however contends that a preamble of a of statutory construction. For taken in the abstract, a word or phrase
statute usually introduced by the word "whereas", is not an essential might easily convey a meaning quite different from the one actually
part of an act and cannot enlarge or confer powers, or cure inherent intended and evident when the word or phrase is considered with
defects in the statute (p. 120, rollo of L-42050-66); that those with which it is associated. Thus, an apparently general
30

provision may have a limited application if read together with other endangered and continue to endanger public order and
provisions. 9 safety and the security of the nation, ...

Second, the result or effects of the presidential decree must be within xxx xxx xxx
its reason or intent.
WHEREAS, it is evident that there is throughout the
In the paragraph immediately following the last "Whereas" clause, the land a state of anarchy and lawlessness, chaos and
presidential decree states: disorder, turmoil and destruction of a magnitude
equivalent to an actual war between the forces of our
NOW, THEREFORE, I , FERDINAND E. MARCOS, duly constituted government and the New People's
Commander-in-Chief of an the Armed Forces of the Army and their satellite organizations because of the
Philippines, in order to attain the desired result of the unmitigated forays, raids, ambuscades, assaults,
aforesaid Proclamation No. 1081 and General Orders violence, murders, assassinations, acts of terror,
Nos. 6 and 7, do hereby order and decree that: deceits, coercions, threats, intimidations, treachery,
machinations, arsons, plunders and depredations
xxx xxx xxx committed and being committed by the aforesaid
lawless elements who have pledged to the whole
From the above it is clear that the acts penalized in nation that they will not stop their dastardly effort and
P.D. 9 are those related to the desired result of scheme until and unless they have fully attained their
Proclamation 1081 and General Orders Nos. 6 and 7. primary and ultimate purpose of forcibly seizing
General Orders Nos. 6 and 7 refer to firearms and political and state power in this country by
therefore have no relevance to P.D. 9(3) which refers overthrowing our present duly constituted
to blunt or bladed weapons. With respect to government, ... (See Book I, Vital Documents on the
Proclamation 1081 some of the underlying reasons for Declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines by the
its issuance are quoted hereunder: Supreme Court of the Philippines, pp. 13-39)

WHEREAS, these lawless elements having taken up It follows that it is only that act of carrying a blunt or bladed weapon
arms against our duly constituted government and with a motivation connected with or related to the afore-quoted
against our people, and having committed and are still desired result of Proclamation 1081 that is within the intent of P.D.
committing acts of armed insurrection and rebellion 9(3), and nothing else.
consisting of armed raids, forays, sorties, ambushes,
wanton acts of murders, spoilage, plunder, looting, Statutes are to be construed in the light of purposes to
arsons, destruction of public and private buildings, and be achieved and the evils sought to be remedied. (U.S.
attacks against innocent and defenseless civilian lives v. American Tracking Association, 310 U.S. 534, cited
and property, all of which activities have seriously
31

in LVN Pictures v. Philippine Musicians Guild, 110 Phil. ever before, policemen - of course not all can be so
725, 731; emphasis supplied) heartless now have in their hands P.D. No. 9 as a
most convenient tool for extortion, what with the
When construing a statute, the reason for its terrifying risk of being sentenced to imprisonment of
enactment should be kept in mind, and the statute five to ten years for a rusted kitchen knife or a pair of
should be construed with reference to its intended scissors, which only God knows where it came from.
scope and purpose. (Statutory Construction by E.T. Whereas before martial law an extortion-minded peace
Crawford, pp. 604-605, cited in Commissioner of officer had to have a stock of the cheapest paltik, and
Internal Revenue v. Filipinas Compania de Seguros, even that could only convey the coercive message of
107 Phil. 1055, 1060; emphasis supplied) one year in jail, now anything that has the semblance
of a sharp edge or pointed object, available even in
5. In the construction of P.D. 9(3) it becomes relevant to inquire into trash cans, may already serve the same purpose, and
the consequences of the measure if a strict adherence to the letter of yet five to ten times more incriminating than the
the paragraph is followed. infamous paltik. (pp. 72-73, rollo L-42050-66)

It is a salutary principle in statutory construction that there exists a And as respondent Judge Maceren points out, the people's
valid presumption that undesirable consequences were never interpretation of P.D. 9(3) results in absurdity at times. To his example
intended by a legislative measure, and that a construction of which We may add a situation where a law-abiding citizen, a lawyer by
the statute is fairly susceptible is favored, which will avoid all profession, after gardening in his house remembers to return the bolo
objectionable, mischievous, indefensible, wrongful, evil, and injurious used by him to his neighbor who lives about 30 meters or so away
consequences. 9-a and while crossing the street meets a policeman. The latter upon
seeing the bolo being carried by that citizen places him under arrest
It is to be presumed that when P.D. 9 was promulgated by the and books him for a violation of P.D. 9(3). Could the presidential
President of the Republic there was no intent to work a hardship or an decree have been conceived to produce such absurd, unreasonable,
oppressive result, a possible abuse of authority or act of oppression, and insensible results?
arming one person with a weapon to impose hardship on another, and
so on. 10 6. Penal statutes are to be construed strictly against the state and
liberally in favor of an accused.
At this instance We quote from the order of Judge Purisima the
following: American jurisprudence sets down the reason for this rule to be "the
tenderness of the law of the rights of individuals; the object is to
And while there is no proof of it before the Court, it is establish a certain rule by conformity to which mankind would be safe,
not difficult to believe the murmurings of detained and the discretion of the court limited." 11 The purpose is not to enable
persons brought to Court upon a charge of possession a guilty person to escape punishment through a technicality but to
of bladed weapons under P.D. No. 9, that more than provide a precise definition of forbidden acts. 12
32

Our own decisions have set down the same guidelines in this manner, In People v. Yadao, 1954, this Court through then Justice Cesar
viz: Bengzon who later became Chief Justice of the Court affirmed an
order of the trial court which quashed an Information wherein the facts
Criminal statutes are to be construed strictly. No recited did not constitute a public offense as defined in Section 1,
person should be brought within their terms who is not Republic Act 145. 15
clearly within them, nor should any act be pronounced
criminal which is not made clearly so by the statute. G. The filing of these Petitions was unnecessary because the People
(U.S. v. Abad Santos, 36 Phil. 243, 246) could have availed itself of other available remedies below.

The rule that penal statutes are given a strict Pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court follow:
construction is not the only factor controlling the
interpretation of such laws, instead, the rule merely Rule 117, Section 7. Effect of sustaining the motion to
serves as an additional, single factor to be considered quash. If the motion to quash is sustained the court
as an aid in determining the meaning of penal laws. may order that another information be filed. If such
(People v. Manantan, 5 SCRA 684, 692) order is made the defendant, if in custody, shall remain
so unless he shall be admitted to bail. If such order is
F. The Informations filed by petitioner are fatally defective. not made or if having been made another information
is not filed withuntime to be specified in the order, or
The two elements of the offense covered by P.D. 9(3) must be alleged within such further time as the court may allow for
in the Information in order that the latter may constitute a sufficiently good cause shown, the defendant, if in custody, shall
valid charged. The sufficiency of an Information is determined solely be discharged therefrom, unless he is in custody on
by the facts alleged therein. 13 Where the facts are incomplete and do some other charge.
not convey the elements of the crime, the quashing of the accusation
is in order. Rule 110, Section 13. Amendment. The information
or complaint may be amended, in substance or form,
Section 2(a), Rule 117 of the Rules of Court provides that the without leave of court, at any time before the defendant
defendant may move to quash the complaint or information when the pleads; and thereafter and during the trial as to all
facts charged do not constitute an offense. matters of form, by leave and at the discretion of the
court, when the same can be done without prejudice to
In U.S.U. Gacutan, 1914, it was held that where an accused is the rights of the defendant.
charged with knowingly rendering an unjust judgment under Article
204 of the Revised Penal Code, failure to allege in the Information xxx xxx xxx
that the judgment was rendered knowing it to be unjust, is fatal. 14
Two courses of action were open to Petitioner upon the quashing of
the Informations in these cases, viz:
33

First, if the evidence on hand so warranted, the People could have and just conclusion if a situation falls within the purview of P.D. 9(3)
filed an amended Information to include the second element of the and the prosecution under said decree is warranted and justified. This
offense as defined in the disputed orders of respondent Judges. We obligation becomes a sacred duty in the face of the severe penalty
have ruled that if the facts alleged in the Information do not constitute imposed for the offense.
a punishable offense, the case should not be dismissed but the
prosecution should be given an opportunity to amend the On this point, We commend the Chief State Prosecutor Rodolfo A.
Information. 16 Nocon on his letter to the City Fiscal of Manila on October 15, 1975,
written for the Secretary, now Minister of Justice, where he stated the
Second, if the facts so justified, the People could have filed a following:
complaint either under Section 26 of Act No. 1780, quoted earlier, or
Manila City Ordinance No. 3820, as amended by Ordinance No. In any case, please study well each and every case of
3928, especially since in most if not all of the cases, the dismissal this nature so that persons accused of carrying bladed
was made prior to arraignment of the accused and on a motion to weapons, specially those whose purpose is not to
quash. subvert the duly constituted authorities, may not be
unduly indicted for the serious offenses falling under
Section 8. Rule 117 states that: P.D. No. 9. 17

An order sustaining the motion to quash is not a bar to Yes, while it is not within the power of courts of justice to inquire into
another prosecution for the same offense unless the the wisdom of a law, it is however a judicial task and prerogative to
motion was based on the grounds specified in section determine if official action is within the spirit and letter of the law and if
2, subsections (f) and (h) of this rule. basic fundamental rights of an individual guaranteed by the
Constitution are not violated in the process of its implementation. We
Under the foregoing, the filing of another complaint or Information is have to face the fact that it is an unwise and unjust application of a
barred only when the criminal action or liability had been extinguished law, necessary and justified under prevailing circumstances, which
(Section 2[f]) or when the motion to quash was granted for reasons of renders the measure an instrument of oppression and evil and leads
double jeopardy. (ibid., [h]) the citizenry to lose their faith in their government.

As to whether or not a plea of double jeopardy may be successfully WHEREFORE, We DENY these 26 Petitions for Review and We
invoked by the accused in all these cases should new complaints be AFFIRM the Orders of respondent Judges dismissing or quashing the
filed against them, is a matter We need not resolve for the present. Information concerned, subject however to Our observations made in
the preceding pages 23 to 25 of this Decision regarding the right of
H. We conclude with high expectations that police authorities and the State or Petitioner herein to file either an amended Information
the prosecuting arm of the government true to the oath of office they under Presidential Decree No. 9, paragraph 3, or a new one under
have taken will exercise utmost circumspection and good faith in other existing statute or city ordinance as the facts may warrant.
evaluating the particular circumstances of a case so as to reach a fair
34

Without costs. I concur with the additional observation that accused could properly
be convicted of a violation of Act 1780 of the Philippine Commission
SO ORDERED. or of the ordinance.

Fernando, Teehankee, Santos, Fernandez and Guerrero, JJ., concur.

Castro, C.J. and Antonio, J, concur in the result.

Aquino, J, took no part. Separate Opinions

BARREDO, J., concurring.

I concur with the qualification that under existing jurisprudence


conviction is possible, without the need of amending the information,
Separate Opinions for violation of other laws or ordinances on concealment of deadly
weapons.

Makasiar, J, concurs.
BARREDO, J., concurring.
CONCEPCION, JR., J, concurring:
I concur with the qualification that under existing jurisprudence
conviction is possible, without the need of amending the information, I concur with the additional observation that accused could properly
for violation of other laws or ordinances on concealment of deadly be convicted of a violation of Act 1780 of the Philippine Commission
weapons. or of the ordinance.

Makasiar, J, concurs.

CONCEPCION, JR., J, concurring: